What if you could see decades into the future of how the choices you make now would impact your family?
Specifically your choices on how you lead your family… would you be scared to find out?
There may be some in your business or at your job that think you're a natural born leader.
The way you lead teams… the way you lead projects… the way you lead clients… may feel automatic and natural.
And yet when it comes to being a leader in your home… how often does that feel awkward and unnatural? How often does leading your family feel more difficult?
And how many times do you wonder if it would be easier to step back and allow your spouse to take care of leading the home?
Attempting to passively lead your family will cause you to lose your family.
Here’s how I know…
Using the Past to Predict Your Future
This idea of seeing decades into the future was brought to my attention as I experienced some of the same challenges my dad communicated to me that he went through around the time that I was born.
Around the time that I was born, one of the things my father had on his plate was running the second largest CPA firm in the entire state of Arizona.
And at this time he's introduced me, his first son, into his family… along with all the expectations of what it means to be a father raising a son.
And according to him, I was a big tease.
I would act like I wanted to go to him, then when he would reach out for me, I'd pull back. I was rarely interested in him and a complete mama's boy.
That created this feeling of rejection, this feeling of, “Okay, why are things moving forward and going well at work? Why can I get these responses at work, and yet in my own home, I'm being dissed by a 12 month old?”
So he made the decision to just let my mom raise me. He thought, “You know what, she'll take care of him and I'll figure it out when he's older. It'll be fine.”
The idea was, his wife would raise the kids at home, and he would work super hard to provide for his family.
As the years went on, he began to realize that it wasn't working and that he didn't like that approach.
He wanted to be more involved.
And around that time, my younger brother was born.
So now with another child, he became more intentional in his choices and how he would interact with my younger brother.
Why a Terrible Rift Tore Through Our Home
As we begin to get older, this created a terrible dynamic between the three of us – my father, me and my brother.
While I can't speak to what those years were like for my father or brother… I can speak to what I experienced.
I always felt like I was left out. That my Dad was more interested in my brother than he was in me.
I felt the constant failings of trying to prove my position, or of trying to get some kind of recognition or validation from my father.
So how does this apply to leading in the home?
Well, the lack of involvement between my father and I created a rift, a terrible divide, between him and I, that lasted for decades.
It created a rift between me and my brother that lasted for decades.
Now, through hard work… through a lot of effort… things have been rectified.
My brother is now one of my best friends.
My dad is now one of my best friends.
By many accounts, people might think this is a best case scenario.
But I've seen firsthand the challenges that resulted by my father making a specific decision to step back from his role as a leader in our home… to step back from leading side by side with my mother.
I have felt the results of what seemed like a totally logical decision to have his spouse lead one part of the family while he took care of providing the financial aspects.
This story has become vitally important in my life, as a leader in my home and with my family.
Because I have seen the same patterns in my work… and in my business… and it gives me the foresight to make the required changes.
A Veteran in Business, a Rookie at Home
When I was in the corporate world I could lead a team, I could do a project, I could take on an audit.
Whatever was taking place, I could attack it, and get through it.
And then I would come home, and I had no idea how to raise a two year old.
I had no idea how to deal with recurring fevers in my oldest child. I’m talking every 3 weeks like clock work. High fevers of 104, 105, 106.
I didn't know how to help… and it felt crushing.
So there was a desire to withdraw.
I didn't know how to deal with tantrums.
(I still don't necessarily know how to deal with tantrums. That's an ongoing learning curve).
But there's all these aspects of being a spouse, of being a parent that feel or seem like they're so different from what I was able to successfully do in my job, and now in my business.
So it's easy, it's natural to say, “Wow, okay, these business things… I've studied, I've learned how to do them, and I'm good at them. So I'm going to put more of my focus on what is easier and what I'm good at. And the things that are difficult… the things where I feel like I'm continually failing or struggling, or running around in circles… I’m going to withdraw from those.”
It's a natural response to want to focus on what comes easier to you.
It’s natural to focus on what you’re familiar with, or what you've studied and learned to do.
It’s natural to want to stay away from things that lead to doubt or uncertainty.
And when you add that there's another parent who can carry that load… it’s natural to consider letting them take care of things.
But I've learned from the stories of my father.
Stories that act as a crystal ball of what will likely happen to my family… and to your family, should we continue on the path of taking a passive leadership role within our homes.
Why Your Family Needs You Now, More Than Ever
This is especially true now, because kids have access to cell phones and to the internet.
There's more information being shared at school, online, and on social media platforms.
All of these things are out there trying to mold your children into who society wants them to be.
And that is likely very different from who you want them to be.
It has never been more important for you to learn how to effectively, properly, and passionately lead your family.
You must be proactive in leading your family.
If you take nothing else away from this, please realize… you don't have time to wait.
You don't have time to say, “Well, I just need to get through this year. This year has been extra difficult. There's been these different challenges. Unexpected events have come up and profits dropped and now my job is on the line.”
Guess what? It doesn’t have to be an either/or.
Even if it did, there's more important things than your job and your business.
Your family. Your spouse. Your kids… They are more important than your job and your business.
You might be thinking that the work you do is for your family.
Well… what's the point if you lose your family in that journey?
What's the point if you lose those relationships?
What's the point if a member of your family loses his or her way, because you were not being proactive in leading your home?
What Does it Mean to Lead Your Family?
Please understand that I'm talking about being a leader… a good, quality, servant leader.
Somebody that leads with love and compassion. Somebody that follows the patterns of the most effective leaders throughout time.
This is not being a dictator in your home.
It's not coming home and seeing things out of order and suddenly… the belt comes off… the whips gonna crack… they're gonna get things done and they're gonna get them done now.
And they’ll do it because you said so and you’re the dad, or the mom, or whoever you are in your role in your family.
This is about true leadership. This is about connection.
You don't have time to wait.
Because today is moving faster… Today is starting sooner.
There's more out there to pull the attention. There's more out there to demoralize your children in your family.
And today… this moment matters.
You must be proactive in your position as a parent in your position as a leader in your home.
What Can You Do Today to Lead Your Family?
Choose one thing that you can do today to proactively lead and connect with your family.
I’ll share some examples that show how simple this can be. But first, remember that simple doesn't mean easy.
And it doesn't mean perfect.
It is highly likely that your efforts to be an effective leader in your home will fail and stumble at first. Remember that leading in your business or in your job didn’t start out perfect.
It's still not.
You might be better than you were before, but there are still challenges that you face.
So make sure you have that same expectation and that same understanding for leading in your home.
Give yourself plenty of grace to work through this. Give your family members plenty of grace to work through this.
Because if this is not something you've been consistent at, then it's going to come across as alien… foreign… new… different.
They may question your motives. They may be shocked and respond, “Uhhhh… So we're doing what now?”
You're going to have to work through that just like you would if you needed to change the culture or the expectations of your business or in your work environment.
So again, here's what I want you to do today:
Choose one thing you can immediately do to proactively lead and connect with your family.
This might mean, it's dinnertime, and you're gonna put your phone away at dinner and ask others to do the same.
It might mean that when you get home, you go to one of your kids, sit down and say, “Hey, I just wanted to ask what's on your mind”
If they're not giving much… if they say they don't know… if they say they’re not sure…. Pause. Smile.
Express love free of expectation.
When you look at them, see that child you love or see the spouse you love.
Think about the reasons why you love them.
Think about the value that they add to your life.
Think about the greatest moments you've had with them and how those moments have profoundly impacted your world.
And let that come across in how you reach out to them and how you look to them.
But it starts with a simple question… “Hey, can we chat, I was just curious what's on your mind?”
And as they share things, ask, “And what else?”
Just listen. Don't fix anything.
If they're expressing problems, tell them you love them and you believe in them.
You're not there to fix. You're not there to give advice. You're there to listen.
You can proactively lead your family in that.
Here's another example: Invite your family to have an evening prayer together.
“Hey, everybody, before we go our separate ways for the night. Would it be okay if we just knelt around the couch and said a quick prayer?”
Another example would be to give your spouse a five minute shoulder massage, just because you love them.
You don't even have to lead off with anything, you can just come up behind your spouse and start rubbing their shoulders. And say, “This is just because I love you with no expectations.”
And make sure you have no expectations. Do it because you love them.
After a few minutes, give them a kiss on the head and go back to what it is that you're doing.
This is What It’s All About
Being a good leader is about connection. It's about understanding. It's about the example that you set.
It's not about fixing everything.
That comes through your example… through your connection.
There's nothing more important than your family.
I've given you four examples:
- Put your phone away at dinner and ask others to do the same.
- Sit down with a child and ask what's on their mind. Then just listen.
- Invite your family to have an evening prayer together before you all go your separate ways for the night.
- Or surprise your spouse with an impromptu five minute shoulder massage. Just because you love them.
These are simple things. You can do any one of these today.
Or come up with your own thing. You know your family. You know the ages of your children. You know the current connection with your spouse.
Whatever you do, take action today.
Remember, being a great leader in your business or job does not automatically translate to being a great leader in your home.
If you don't proactively choose to be involved and lead your home, then the default becomes the latest TikTok trend or the latest Netflix release.
So be proactive. and start with one simple thing today.
Because you love them.
And because they love you too.
PS – If you want more tips on how to proactively lead your home… you’re in luck!
Each Thursday at 9am Pacific I will be live on Facebook @theJoePomeroy to answer questions, provide support, and cheer on your successes as you implement the material from this post. So set a reminder and I'll see you this coming Thursday at 9am Pacific on Facebook @theJoePomeroy.