Habit 3 of a Family that Wins: Character

The Sum Total of All Your Everyday Choices

Who are you when no one is looking? Habit 3 of a family that wins was taught to me by my grandparents and parents who believed it to be the foundation of everything. What is it? Character.

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I grew up believing character to be who you are when no one is looking. I’ve shared that definition with my children as we’ve worked to make it the bedrock of our family culture.

It is also the real foundation of all worthwhile success and the sum total of all the choices we make in life.

Habit 2 of a Family that Wins: Commitment

The Habit that Makes All Other Habits Stick

What makes a habit stick? My last post introduced the first habit for a family that wins—care. But what is the habit that ensures all other positive characteristics actually become habits?

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The key to anything going from good idea, to dream, to a reality that can be replicated is the second habit – commitment.

The family that values commitment will be a family that is well-positioned to win.

Parents and families are not lacking in ideas of how to get stronger and win together, but those ideas often go off-course because the family has not developed the habit of commitment.

The One Thing Fathers Can’t Delegate

3 Reasons Dads Need to Lead at Home

Over the last several years since I re-engaged as CEO of my family, I’ve shared about our family’s success with many dads who are business owners and leaders. Unfortunately, what I often hear are sad tales of fathers who’ve given up or checked out. “I let my wife take care of family stuff,” is a line I hear often.

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I get it. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and frustrated about the chaos at home. But one thing I have learned the hard way, dads: some things can’t be delegated.

Do You Let Technology Control Your Family Time?

Try This Simple Tactic to Take Control of Technology

Technology. Thanks to smartphones and Wi-Fi, it’s everywhere these days. Sometimes I wonder how in the world our family ever lived without it. And other times I really wish we could find out.

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As an entrepreneur, I often feel the need to be plugged in 24/7. My staff members and sales reps all have my phone number and know the door is always open to talk. I check my email often to make sure everything is going well.

But I recently got a wake-up call from one of my kids. She called me out one day and said: “You know, Dad, when you put me to bed you used to really talk to me, but now I catch you checking your text messages or checking your email. That tells me you’re not really here.”

Ouch.

I realized right then that I had been letting technology take control of what should have been family time.

As I thought about it, I realized I was doing the same thing with my wife when I came home every day. Instead of being all-in and fully present when I walked in the door, I’d be checking technology all night long.

It caused me to realize that family time isn’t family time if we’re not fully present for it.

How to Take Back Your Family Time

I decided to make a change. I led by example. I put my technology on the table.

Now when I walk into the house after a day of work, I put my smartphone on the table.

I know where it is if I need it. I can hear it if it rings. But I’m not tempted to check it every two minutes.

Just by doing what seems a simple thing, I am free to connect with my kids and my wife without being tempted to check emails, social media, or voicemail one more time.

I’ve even coined the phrase in our family, “Put your technology, on the table.” When we all go out to dinner as a family, it’s the first thing we say. Every member of the family then puts their technology in the middle of the table.

Our kids get out their phones and we stack them up in a pyramid on the table. All of our technology stays on the table until the dinner is done.

By putting our technology on the table, we all get a break from the constant tug of technology. It sends a clear signal that we are choosing to focus our attention on one another.

It’s also allowed us to talk more about how we can intentionally use technology to build the brand equity of our family business. By not posting to Instagram or checking email for a few minutes, we can get the greatest return on our investment of time together as a family.

Now whenever we gather as a family, whether for dinner, family meeting, or any family time, we put technology on the table — and it changes the dynamics of the gathering. Our kids will even call for everyone to put technology on the table if they want to get our attention.

The fact is that technology is important; we couldn’t run our businesses without it. And it can make family life simpler in many ways.

But if you really want to build your family’s brand equity, put your technology on the table — and encourage the rest of your family to join you.

Question:What do you think of our solution for putting technology in its place? What other strategies have you discovered for protecting family time from technology? You can share your thoughts by clicking here.

How a Work Ethic Gives Your Kids an Advantage

Teaching Children the Value of Work Prepares Them to Live a Valuable Life

Every business leader knows that you can prepare and plan all you want, but success often hinges on how willing you are to hustle when everyone else is taking it easy. Sometimes what you need to succeed — and what your children will need to succeed — seems to be in rare supply: a diligent work ethic.

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As a small business owner, I’ve done a lot of hiring over the years. In my experience, more and more young people seem to want a high-paying job right from the start, but they don’t have the work ethic required to achieve it. I hear a lot of talk about raising the minimum-wage level but not the minimum-work level.

How Parents Can Turn Battles of Will into Teachable Moments

Harness the Power of Contracts to Win at Home

Mom, can I get a phone? Can I get a job? Dad, can I be on the soccer team? Drive a car? Play my X-Box? What parent hasn’t occasionally felt overwhelmed by all the questions from their kids? If you’re like me, you want to say yes as much as you can, but know your kids also need to learn responsibility. All too often, you end up in a battle of wills with your children where there are no winners, only survivors.

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We experienced the same conflict in our family. As you can imagine, with six children in the teen and pre-teen years now, we live in that tension between needing to guide our kids and giving them the freedom to grow. Before we began to approach our family as a business, the result was often utter chaos.

The irony is that as a business leader I would never tolerate such chaos in my business. I would never settle for “He said, She said” scenarios, ‘‘You didn’t tell me…” arguments, and all the confusion that ensued.

Get Rid of Struggles with Kids about Money Once and For All

Don't Lose Your Parenting Marbles—Use Them

Money. For most families, it’s a taboo topic. As business leaders, we’re used to working with money every day. But we struggle with our kids at home when money is involved — what can they buy, what should they save, and where should they get their money in the first place?

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All too often, our kids end up growing up with no clue how to handle money because we’re just not sure how to teach them. For a long time, our family was no different. Our kids didn’t really understand the sacrifice required to give them what they wanted. It wasn’t their fault, really; we just didn’t share that information with them.

When they wanted something, they asked. Like most parents, we wanted to say yes all the time — but knew we couldn’t and shouldn’t. So it became one guilt trip after another as we repeatedly said no – and then caved when we felt bad about it. Even though we tried to treat them all fairly, we always felt as if we were failing to be fair and failing to teach our kids how to handle money in the real world.