After years of planning and successor grooming, the day will finally come when it is time to pass the baton of the family business into the hands of the next generation. Undoubtedly this transition will elicit a host of competing emotions from pride to fear and excitement to anxiety. But not simply because you’ll be transferring what you’ve built over the course of your lifetime to your successors, but because it may be difficult to imagine who you are and what you’ll do outside of your business life. How will you spend the next twenty years? What will your Life 2.0 look like?
Finding Fulfillment after the Family Business
What will life look like when you’re no longer coming into the office every day? This can be a tough question to answer. For so many years, your sense of purpose and identity have been wrapped up in building and leading the family enterprise. Suddenly, your time and energy are free to be spent however you choose. Ask yourself these questions as you begin to formulate your 2.0 Life:
- Looking back 20 years, what advice do you have for your younger self?
- Looking 20 years forward, what needs to happen for you to feel you’ve lived a fulfilled and successful life?
- Are you living a fulfilled life now?
- What can you do to live a more fulfilled life tomorrow?
Flip Your Mindset
As you approach this next chapter, it’ll be important to take inventory of how you are processing this change. Are you lamenting what is being “lost”, or celebrating what is being gained? Allowing for growth or fixed on the past?
If you’re having difficulty giving up control, it may be time to adjust your thinking patterns in order to truly appreciate the possibilities that lay ahead. Your mind is a muscle that can be strengthened by accepting challenges and learning new things. Rather than fixating on the growing pains of this major change, view Life 2.0 as an opportunity for yourself, your family, and your business to evolve and improve. After all, your perception shapes your reality. If you remain preoccupied with the past, you could miss out on an even more rewarding future.
Train Your Brain to Capitalize on Possibility
Even though you are leaving your role in the business, it doesn’t mean you have to give up the side of you that thrives in this environment. Nor do you have to abandon or ignore the parts of your identity that are tied to your business-centric talents. In fact, we recommend you don’t.
Instead, use your skills, experience, and expertise to capitalize on new possibilities. We like to use the Six Elements of Wealth to help our transitioning business owners brainstorm ways they can put their talents to use.
As a personal challenge, choose one of the six elements below and focus on two action items for that category. Over the next ninety days, implement these action items and identify how you could improve upon them.
- Structural Finding organizations that you can be on the board of directors to share your knowledge.
- Heritage & Values – Creating a personal mission or value statement that you read at the beginning and end of your day.
- Human Talent – Discovering interests or hobbies to dedicate time to that bring you fulfillment and joy.
- Financial – Create ways to share your financial success through giving and shared knowledge.
- Family – Brainstorm ways to spend more intentional quality time with family.
- Community – Reach out and build more social connections and or nurture the ones you already have created.
For example, if you chose #2 Heritage & Values, practice writing a value statement and work time into your day to read it over. How will you hold yourself accountable? What do you like or dislike about your statement? Could your statement be revised to better reflect your mindset?
Continue to Support the Family Enterprise, Mindfully and Respectfully
Your family business has been a cornerstone in your life for as long as you can remember. And there likely won’t be a day that passes that you won’t feel the urge to be a part of it.
But, if you wish to continue participating in or contributing to the family business in any way, be mindful of the challenges your successor is facing during this transition, as well. They are likely already feeling immense pressure in taking over the family enterprise and will need their own space to adjust to this new role.
Speak with your successor about how you can meaningfully contribute to the business without stepping on their toes. You’ll have to find a dynamic in which each party is both respectful and respected, understanding the other’s place in this new evolution of the enterprise.
Embrace the Change
People tend to resist change because they fear they will not be able to adapt to new ways. Oftentimes, they also fear that they will lose something of value. In the case of business transitions, this sense of loss can be particularly poignant.
Start easing into Life 2.0 by embracing one small win each day leading up to your transition. In anticipation of letting go of the reigns, start by leaving the office an hour earlier each week. Then, cut back your schedule to four days a week instead of five. In preparation for how you will spend your time in a way that is personally fulfilling, start incorporating more of your favorite activities into your routine. This will help to take your mind off the office and give your retirement days a test run.
We have found that our WillKate clients find Life 2.0 far more rewarding when they have visualized and imagined this next chapter ahead of time. Even though you may have trepidations about this next step, Life 2.0 is waiting for you. What will your next chapter look like?
If you’re interested in learning more about our exclusive work with multi-generational family enterprises, we encourage you to download our more extensive guide here. Email Somer Schimke at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 605-275-9181 to schedule a first conversation with our team.