Are clients more important than kids?

It is the 6th time in a row that I have promised to take my kids to our local children’s farm and each time work has stopped me.

This time it is that all important networking meeting that just might get me that big contract.  If I win this mythical contract, then I can takes my kids somewhere to make up for all the times I have cancelled with them. Maybe this really is the meeting that will change my life for the better.  Who am I kidding?

I had just left the house and was walking down the road thinking how lucky I was to have 4 lovely children. They had all just given me a hug and lots of kisses. Their faces watching me and waving as I walked past the window. I was so lucky to have such lovely children who love me totally even when I disappoint them and tell them I can no longer take them to see the rabbits, feed the sheep or stroke the cows.
Instead of spending time with my 4 kids I would rather generate new business with a room full of strangers trying to do exactly the same. Was this a definition of mixed priorities?

Was I a good businessman supporting my family to have an easy life or was a a crap father?
As I walked to the top of the hill I asked myself if I would treat my clients like I treat my kids. Definitely not.

If I treated my clients like I treated my kids I wouldn’t have any clients!

There would be no trust. Can you imagine one of your suppliers agreeing to meet with you and at the last minute, they phone to cancel.  This didn’t happen once – this was the 6th time!

Would my clients just smile, hug and kiss me and wait for another time when I was less busy and did not have an important meeting somewhere else. Would they hell!

So why am I treating my clients better that I treat my own children?
It was then I realised that I needed to treat my children like clients. If I made an appointment with them I MUST KEEP IT. There would be no last minute cancellations. There would be no more excuses. There would be me and the kids having that special time that every father cherishes and wishes they had more of.

I would treat them like my next big client.  No, like my best client.  Like the one that will change my life for the better.

I would love to say I turned around on that hill and went back to my children.  But I didn’t.  I went to my meeting where that big client wasn’t there.  But I did make a deal with myself to treat my kids as my clients.

6 months on I have kept to that promise and my life is richer.  I now book time in my calendar to spend time with the kids.  They are happier, I am happier.  It is not perfect but it is better.

What one thing could you do to spend more of that special time with your children before it is too late and they have grown up and you have missed their childhood?

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