Shifting from Obligation to Opportunity

Helping family members integrate and deploy their resources for their own and the world’s benefit

About 15 years ago, I was deep into the myriad questions raised by entering a multigenerational business family. How to manage the financial capital over time? How to ensure my children would be ok? What was the purpose of it all? I was reading books, going to seminars, networking with advisors and other families, and generally worrying.

At one point, I was overseas with my father-in-law. We were up late because of jet lag, drinking coffee and looking out over the Persian Gulf. I was pestering him with thoughts and questions along these lines. Eventually he looked over at me and said, “you know, at some point all of this is going to shift for you from obligation to opportunity.”

I nodded, or said something, or tried to look like I understood. At one level, I did. But it actually took years to absorb the impact of that simple phrase. A great deal of my journey since that moment has been about making the shift from obligation to opportunity. From seeing wealth and the family enterprise I lead as a burden–a task, a responsibility, a thing that I need to do—to seeing it as an opportunity—a joy, a challenge, a learning curve, a platform for leverage in the world, a creative expression. From wanting to avoid the downside—the risk of financial loss, the risk of harm to my children—to wanting to capture the upside. From being motivated by fear or obligation, or even motivated by love and loyalty, to being motivated by spirit.

This is the shift from obligation to opportunity that I hope all members of enterprising families can make, so that they can fully integrate and deploy their financial and human capital for the good of all.

Read about my other guiding beliefs

Going Beyond Stewards versus Inheritors

Encouraging emerging family leader-owner-elders.

Building a Family-Focused Office

Changing what it means to serve enterprising families.

Bringing Transparency to Family Wealth

Convening conversations about stuff that matters.

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