I just said “no” to the top spot in my family’s business.
The position I am referring to is working for my family as the Board Chair of our family’s foundation. I have been training for this since I was 15 years old and dreaming about holding this position since my mid-twenties. I’ve always known, without a doubt, that this position would be mine one day. And one day just turned into now. It was mine for the taking.
As Board Chair, you oversee the governance of the foundation. As a major philanthropic player in West and Northern Michigan, it’s a big deal. Great leaders from my family have filled this role. It requires not only leadership in the boardroom but also a great deal of public visibility. It was my turn to move from Vice Chair to Board Chair, and I said no.
Before you start shouting at the computer screen about turning down an opportunity like this, please allow me to explain.
I have been working with my family since I was a teenager. I’ve always known that I would serve as a Trustee and Board Chair at some point in my life—multiple times, most likely. The foundation is endowed in perpetuity, so I have a good long runway in front of me.
When I stepped into the role of Vice Chair, I realized it was a perfect fit. I attended and spoke at conferences—something I love to do. I served on amazing national philanthropic boards, and I was able to share what I was learning with my siblings and cousins, who are my fellow Trustees. I was also kept in the loop by our Board Chair, my cousin, and was always prepared to lead meetings and conversations if she had a conflict of any sort. I was a great wing-woman and loving my role.
Then there is my business. I started Successful Generations two years ago to help the next generation leaders of family business and family philanthropy. I love and believe in my nextgen peeps, so much so that I earned my coaching certification to serve them better. I launched a podcast to share resources and add more value to my audience.
Through Successful Generations, I truly believe I am making a difference in the lives of many men and women, so they don’t have to struggle or feel alone as they navigate working with and leading family.
As my coaching business took off, several things became evident:
- I have a lot of work to do on my own beliefs about working with my family.
- I love coaching way more than I thought I would.
- This stuff takes time! Launching a business and running towards your dreams doesn’t happen overnight.
- As my perspective changed, my dreams started to shift. I have grown in this work. I believe deeply in it and am driven to serve as many people as possible.
Throughout this process, I began to see the obstacles holding me back from really going ALL IN on my business goals:
- I was the problem AND the solution.
- My thoughts about my schedule were controlling how I showed up during the week. I’ve since banned the word “busy” from my vocabulary and am taking active measures to allow more margin in my work life (more on this another time).
- I was holding back. I still had one foot in “old Ellie” and one foot striving for the future I was working hard to create.
So I said “no” to the old dream and “yes” to a new one.
The vision I have for Successful Generations, and my desire to serve the people I’m coaching is far greater than the dream I once had. By saying no to one thing, I am saying YES to a whole new future. It’s a future I can’t even begin to imagine, and I am loving every minute of creating it.
Are you facing a big decision in your life? Are you going after your own dream? Or are you looking to add more margin to your life? I can help. Schedule a call with me today.