(Post by Alyse Stehl)
The day was ending innocently enough, we just finished dinner and I opened the door for the kids to play in the backyard with my husband while I cleaned the kitchen. The baby was napping and the weather was beautiful. I just kept smiling and looking at my family from the kitchen window. My oldest son was playing with the toddler and my daughter was twirling around and singing, always in her own little world. Everything couldn’t have been more perfect.
I wrapped up, grabbed my glass of wine and started to head out to sit with my husband and watch our kids play when my daughter stopped me in my tracks. I fully expected her to tell me she was hungry, as she always does immediately after dinner, but instead, she said something that made my heart drop:
“Mommy, I’m going to miss you when you die.”
I just stood there and stared at her, pretty sure I wasn’t blinking or breathing. I tried to keep the complete look of horror off my face so she wouldn’t think she couldn’t come up and talk to me about anything.
“Oh Maybug, I’m not dying. I’ll be here for a long time”
“Yeah, but you will die, right?”
“Well yes, everyone dies, but it won’t be until you’re really old and I’m really old.”
And she skipped away as if this kind of conversation is a common occurrence in our household.
So, what the heck does this have to do with your business? A lot. It’s called your legacy. And if your business is part of that, then you want to make sure it speaks to your passion and is taken care of should you leave before you’re ready.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
If you are wanting to start a business and you still haven’t decided what you are going to do, or you have a business but you’ve lost the desire to continue, thinking about how you want to be remembered when you leave this earth is a good way to find that passion of yours quickly! Especially if you have children. Either you ask them or they tell you what they want to be when they grow up. Answers can be realistic to downright outrageous. Then, inevitably, they will ask you the same thing. This has been one of the best practices for me to make sure I’m living my truth and I’m in alignment.
I have a degree in construction engineering and I had quite the run as a project manager before I had kids. My college diploma is displayed proudly above my desk in my office and my son asked me what it was. When I told him about my glory days as a person that built houses he asked me why I don’t do it anymore. I told him that I chose to stay home and raise him and his siblings instead. His response? “And so you could start painting!” He remembered when I used to paint. Not only do I have a weird passion for construction, my kid easily remembered my passion for art as well. I decided to sell my wine & paint business when I was about to have my third child, but I do miss it! And will I ever get back into building homes? Maybe. Only time will tell.
Kids will ask questions without filters and they will make up their minds about you without thinking about your feelings. They really are some of the best life coaches out there.
Have your kids guess what you do for fun. Ask it like this, “what does mommy/daddy do for work?” When you listen to their answer, listen to your heart. Does it make you beam with pride if they guess it right? Or maybe you’ll feel pangs of disappointment when they guess you like to go shopping but you actually sit at a desk all day. That dream of being a wardrobe consultant might have to become a reality!
Then ask what they think you should do for work. This is where the fun begins!
What are you leaving behind?
Do you have a plan for your business for when you leave this earth? Do you have bills, clients, property or assets that need to be taken care of or moved around? What is in your contract for those clients that pay in full for your most expensive product or service? Does that money get refunded if you pass away or if THEY pass away?
One of the best pieces of business advice I ever received was to always have a way out. This is true for your untimely passing: whether you close your business down, pass it to your next of kin or sell it.
In my experience, writing a will is one of the hardest things to do. Especially after you have children. You can’t imagine and don’t want to imagine, the world without you in it. But for the sake of your family, this is an absolute necessity.
Think about what you have going on in your business right now. If you were to shut it down, how are people going to take care of your business? List all websites, logins & passwords, bank accounts, merchant accounts, inventory, client lists/email lists…make sure it’s all accounted for and updated as often as necessary. If there is a special way you do business, make sure those systems and practices are outlined and ready so if someone were to read them they would know exactly what to do as if you were training them to take your place.
Are you the main stream of income for your family? Or maybe you’re a pretty good chunk of it? Talk to an insurance broker about life insurance if you don’t have any because the last thing you want to do is leave your family in dire straits with no money coming in or no way to pay for your funeral expenses.
Sorry to put a damper on your day!
It really wasn’t my intention to make you sad or think about things that you had no desire in thinking about right now, but sometimes things come our way for a reason unknown to us. Maybe you’ve been thinking of changing jobs, starting a business or just feel there’s something bigger out there for you. Life is short, you are not promised today or tomorrow, so why not live big? Why not put yourself out there and do exactly what you were meant to do? Talk to your kids and see if they know what you should be doing!
Plan for the end because trust me I have seen a friend who had to figure things out from scratch when her mother died and I have seen a friend have everything planned out when her mother died. I bet you can guess which friend had a better time coping with their mother’s passing. Plan plan plan. Not just for you but for your children, spouse, and extended family. Plan for your clients, vendors, and employees. When you really sit back and look at your life you are touching more lives than you know!
Alyse is a stay at home mom to four children and a side hustle entrepreneur. Her blog is currently under construction but stay tuned for more!
You can find her at themavenmom.com
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