It’s quite interesting when you start adding up the costs of “missed opportunity”. Many of these costs aren’t just financial. Many of us entrepreneurs miss the opportunity of a lifetime to be a good parent or spouse. We spend countless nights and weekends “grinding” away at our dreams. We tend to keep growing and growing, creating and solving, wanting more and more. It never stops.
I’ve always thought I did a good job at spending time with my wife and kids while also trying to create a business. My wife has always joked that I am the only person she knows that “could work 10 hours a week and make $500,000/year and refuses to do so”. She’s right, or at least she used to be. Most of the time I’m justifying it with the old, “once and a lifetime opportunity” excuse. That excuse is powerful. There are many, “Once and a lifetime” opportunities out there. As I reflect on my 17 years of being an entrepreneur I believe the most important opportunity was my wife and kids. Too bad for them, they only get what’s left. They get what is left of my attention and desire after a long day of headaches. Many of these headaches are needless, and unimportant. As I reflect, the opportunity of a lifetime that I’ve missed the most of was being with my kids while they are still at home. We’ve paid for private school, lavish vacations, nice houses, and fancy cars throughout the years and always worked a little harder and harder to “provide” for our desires. Now, as my oldest son is a senior and about to leave the home, I wonder if I made the right choices.
A great example of this is the DFW Investors club 2020 REI started with George Roddy in 2016. For two years I missed nights with my kids and time with my family. I missed over half of the events because it was not something that was a priority for me. You also must consider the amount of time I spent working on the events during the month and the increased meetings and personnel that added to my overhead burden to execute them. That was time I could have spent making money (investor clubs don’t make money) or focused on things my family needed. Ultimately, it wasn’t something I was passionate about. If you want to know a secret, it wasn’t even my idea. Ryan Harper designed the whole thing and advocated to do them. I had always sworn I’d never get into the club business, but I said yes. He loved those type of things and seems to be doing it even bigger and better for Daniel Moore at Propelio. On April 9th, I was at the DFW Investors event in Addison when my son injured his knee. His knee was locked (bucket handle meniscus tear), and they called me to come get him. I was too busy with the event and sent my wife to get him. Then I took a couple hours at the event “taking care of things” before I finally headed home. The next week he was on the operating table. That was the end of DFW Investors. George and I shut the club the following month and I haven’t missed one of my kids’ events since.
My point is I had let my drive, ego, determination and goals get in the way of the entire reason I had those goals. I was giving up time with them, to one day have time with them. It really didn’t make sense. I finally stopped trading my time for the goal of having time. I’m committed to doing more with less, so I can have more of what I want now. Focus on what you need to have the life you want, and don’t be distracted by what other people have or are doing. Like I tell my boys, run your own race.
And that, is the way I see it!