There’s No Such Thing as a Family Decision in the Integrated Life

So often we talk about family decisions as though they’re isolated from the rest of our lives.

It’s so easy to talk about work and how it hinders everything else in our lives. But how often do we consider the ramifications of our decisions in those other more personal areas and how they affect the other aspects of our lives?

Here are two examples about how major decisions I’ve made have benefited me both professionally and in my family.

Moving across the country for my family benefited my career.

When Teresa and I decided to move from Texas to Virginia, it was a “family decision.” We spent years thinking and praying about whether it was the right move. The reality was we moved simply because as a family we needed more support from other like-minded families.

Teresa needed other women with husbands who were pursuing a career while their wives were at home building the family. While we were ten minutes from her mom, dad, and siblings, she didn’t have those friendships that allowed her to sustain. She didn’t have the community and support that allowed her to survive in the periods of time when I was working late, or on a trip, or even when I was at work during the day.

It was detrimental not only to our family life and to Teresa, but even to my work. It put undue stress on me that I needed to not only be her best friend and husband but also to fill those other voids of friendship as well.

We moved to Virginia and, interestingly, not only did her life improve, but that’s when my career began to take off. One of my fears about the decision was that I thought I was well ingrained and was moving up the corporate ladder. I thought that I had made a name for myself in the area and that I was cutting that short.

When we took care of the broader family issue, and that freed me to do a an even better job at work. The job I found in VA was really an accelerator for my career. It gave me additional confidence, more skills, and the opportunity to learn from others, and doing all of that in an environment that wasn’t hindering my family life. It truly was an integrated decision.

Founding 3Pillar has changed who I am and who my family is.

As you begin to grow a company, you realize that it’s not just about the company. It takes a life of its own. It really consumes and becomes a part of who you are.

There’s no doubt that 3Pillar is just as much of me and my identity and who I am and what I do as my family, as the other aspects of my life. It has been a defining moment not just for me but even for my wife. It has changed and impacted Teresa.

Isn’t it funny how decisions that we think are purely family-oriented or purely business-oriented overlap? That’s because we are a single person. We are all of these things.

Living the integrated life and really considering these decisions from the perspective of the integrated life will actually help you make a better decision, not just for the primary impact of that decision, but for all areas of your life.

Question: When has a decision you’ve made either for your family or for your business impacted you in ways you didn’t expect? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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  • Michael Posey

    David – great topic and I agree with your observations – we cannot separate our life at work and our life at home. They are one, integrated unit. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George Constanza has his ‘worlds collide’ when his work, family, and friends overlap in his daily events. That just isn’t healthy or realistic, and yet, it’s easy to try to compartmentalize different aspects of our lives.

    To answer your question – I made a decision early in my career to join a startup. At the time, the decision was based on career aspirations. As it turned out, the decision ended up being the foundation which allowed my wife and I the flexibility to choose for her to stay home and homeschool our kids. That wasn’t even a concept in our minds at the time, but the career decision ultimately helped open that door for our family.

    • David DeWolf

      I love the Seinfeld reference – as they say, the best humor is born out of reality!

      Thanks for sharing your story – truly inspiring for those that may be considering an entrepreneurial run but are afraid of the negative impact it can have on the family.