Over the last several weeks, the community here at MarkTimm.com has grown significantly as I’ve connected with so many of you who want to be better leaders at home. It has been a privilege to connect with so many parents—and future parents—who long for clarity and confidence at home just like me.
One of the most valuable things to me about connecting with all of you is hearing the challenges you’re presently facing as a family.
So many of you have told me you struggle with organization, time management, and finding a proven structure to help you execute the dream of how your family could be. Many of you are leaders outside your home who feel dazed and confused when it comes to leading at home.
I get it. I used to be there myself and admittedly there are days I still feel it. Leading at home is not easy, but there is no more important calling.
If you aren’t familiar with the story of how our family left the chaos behind, click here to read more about it.
What Binds Our Family Together
I don’t claim to have it all figured out, but we’ve made more progress than my wife Ann and I could ever have imagined. Once we began to apply what I had learned from a lifetime in business, our blended family came together and began to function as a family we could be proud of.
Fortunately, my wife Ann was on board so we could tackle the challenge together. We’ve both survived every stage from newborns to teenagers–our oldest is in China right now studying Mandarin. (Ann now blogs at her own site: KeeperoftheHome.org.)
It wasn’t always easy, though, especially at the beginning. It took some hard work and persistence to get us started on a new course—just as it does in business.
When I reflect on our journey to parenting with greater confidence, I recall one of the first real business books I read—The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders by Stephen Covey.
I remember Covey describing how much energy was required to get the space shuttle the first few miles up into the air compared with how little was needed for the next 500,000 miles of the journey.
It was the same way with our family, at first, when I started to think of my family as the most valuable business I would ever own. It took a lot of effort to change at first, but now our family has new life and momentum of its own.
As I’ve thought about so many of the questions I’ve received from readers lately, I’ve reflected on what might be the key ingredient to sustainable change in your family.
Yes, there are major initiatives we can put in put in place, but I think there is there is glue that holds it all together. When that glue is missing, the strategy starts to fall apart pretty quickly.
What is the glue? Habits.
The 7 Habits that Help Us Win as a Family
We recently finished a goal-setting course with our entire family for 2016, so we talked a lot about habits a part of that process.
I’m sure all of you have personal habits. You probably have habits you’re trying to change. You’ve no doubt heard the many different theories of how many days it takes to change those habits.
I think we all know what habits are. But have you ever stopped to consider the habits of your family?
Before starting this process of rethinking how I view my family, I had never even considered that my family, like any person, had habits.
I knew my own personal habits and those of individual family members, but not the habits of the entire family.
For example, our family used to be in total chaos as a way of life – looking back it had become a habit. When we first started regular family meetings, it took a lot of energy to get everyone on the same page. But now that family meetings have become a habit, they are easier to hold. Now we suffer when we don’t have a family meeting.
The family meetings are part of a larger habit of communication, one of seven habits I’ve identified as being critical to our family’s success.
Over the next 7 weeks, I’ll unpack each of these habits with examples and teachable moments from our own story so you can learn from our wins – and our mistakes.
Here are the 7 habits that every successful family depends on to thrive:
These habits flow from an effort to be intentional about making a difference in the bottom line of our most valuable business—our family.
For the next next few weeks, I will do a deep dive into each of these habits and how you can apply them together, as a total family unit.
I once heard a speaker describe a habit as a single strand. Every day we do something as a habit, we add another strand. Over time, that strand becomes a strong and powerful rope. That rope can support us or bind us. It can be a powerful tool or a constricting cord.
When you are intentional about the strands your family adds, you can fashion family ties that are unbreakable.
And isn’t that what we want as parents?
I know I want a family that is strong, that can handle whatever adversity comes its way, and that is positioned to leave a legacy that matters for generations to come.
Question: Have you ever thought about the habits of your family? What family habits do you most want to change and why? You can share your thoughts by clicking here.