Our Firm is 25 Years Old: What Have I Learned?

We’ve just hit a pretty amazing milestone in our firm. My Dad started our firm in November 1997, 25 years ago now. And 6 years later, he let me join the firm to lead the firm into the future. It was so special to celebrate this anniversary with my Dad recently, with Julie, my wonderful partner and friend, and our whole team at our team retreat.

I know it’s common to write the obligatory “25 Things I Learned from Leading our 25 Year-Old Firm” but I’m not going to. I’m just going to share two key areas where I’ve learned about myself from the past and what I’ve learned about how I see the future. 

The first thing I want to share is that I didn’t realize how well or poorly I was managing my relationships in my life until I had a lot of them. I’ll explain. Let’s say you have only one main relationship in your life. You can get into whatever rut (or benefit from the great support of) what that one relationship provides in your life. However, that benefit will be limited to what that one main relationship will allow for. When you have multiple important relationships, you have to learn very quickly how to manage the depth, care, and value of all of them at the same time. So you (hopefully) learn to prioritize things in those relationships to make all of them work. You also have to work to stay on the same page with all of your relationships as to what each relationship expects and what time you can devote to each one. I didn’t realize all of the many important relationships I would have in my life from being a firm entrepreneur (and how unskilled I was in maintaining multiple relationships). My many relationships have truly been a gift to me, and I have grown more in my life through my relationships than in any other way. With many relationships in life comes a breadth of learning, growth, wisdom, new ideas, challenges to your old mental models, depth of care and support, and so many more benefits that it’s hard to list them all. I’m much wiser because of my relationships. 

The second thing I’ve learned is something I don’t think I could have learned had I not journeyed into my 50s as an entrepreneur over the past 25 years of our firm. The second thing I want to relate is that entrepreneurship is better in the later years of life. Of course, I could only know this in the later years of my life. And I’m not even in the later years of my life. I’m in my 50s and know that I can now have an incredibly impactful 30-year career ahead of me. After all I’ve learned in the first 30 years of my career, I can now know with certainty how valuable and impactful I have the privilege to be in the next 30 years. Do you understand how powerful that is as I look forward into my life? This is power that only time can afford. My challenge to you is that if you are in the first 5 to 10 years of leading your own firm, know that your power will grow in the next 20 years. Then your power to impact your clients and team in the next 30 years after that will be life-changing. With all of the mistakes I’ve made, I’m so thankful I’m here in this place (with the support from Julie, my partner, and so many others that joined the journey with me). Don’t pass up what you can become in the later years of your entrepreneurial career by leaving the profession now. Stay the course. 

I’ve learned so much it’s hard to really document all of the lessons. History does have a way of being the best teacher if you have ears to hear. Are you learning from your past, and looking forward to a wiser future?

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