Guest post by Samantha Fleming, Family Council, Shady Brook Farm

Four years ago, my husband’s family’s business joined DVFBC in the hopes of finding great tools to become better leaders in their business. For much of that time, I have been a supportive observer with little or no role directly in the business. My time was full being a mom of 4, (now ranging from 14 down to 9 years of age), a supportive wife, a teacher, a business owner of an Irish dance school, and a board member at various school and extracurricular activities for my kids. So, one would never wonder why I didn’t have any time to meddle in his business.

That was until we began investing a lot of time in to our “Red” family council mountain and I was asked to lead this area for our business and family. About 6 months ago, while attending a family council meeting, my husband made a statement that in my mind changed my role in his business. He said, “The majority of my job is being spent working ‘on’ the business and not ‘in’ the business.” As the mother of 4 young owners of this family business, I realized that my influence on them will drastically affect how they perceive the business, and will eventually impact the success of the business.

And so, my journey began!

It Started with Awareness

Little did I know how much this investment for our family business would actually create change in me. Through family meetings, women’s leadership labs, one-on-one meetings, and self-growth reading, I have started to become more aware of my interactions with people, and I am seeing results with better outcomes.

choosing our direction

Over the last 6 months, I have developed tools for better and more effective communication. Although I’ve never been stumped for words, my delivery needed work. Sometimes the smallest adjustments can have the biggest impact. I have had the opportunity to create and communicate boundaries, dig deep to share my vulnerabilities, and learn to embrace the uncomfortable conversations. Those conversations, whether dealing with teenage kids, a business colleague, or fellow school parent, are vital in the success of a relationship.

I recently had a discussion with my sister about a difficult family situation. I made a conscious effort to use tools that I had been learning about. Midway through our conversation, she stopped me and asked, “Are you in therapy or something?”

I found it quite funny that the simplest change in me could be visible by someone else. Instead of possibly perpetuating a negative situation, I focused the conversation to find a positive change that can help the situation. I’m choosing my direction.

Bettering Ourselves

We all know those people who make our blood boil, whether it be family, kids, business colleagues, or friends. The bottom line though, is that we can only control our own thoughts and actions. In a Matthew Kelly book I started reading recently, he said, “Every time you become a better version of yourself, the consequences of your transformation echo throughout your family, friends, business, neighborhood, church, marriage, and beyond. If you get the man (woman) right, you get the world right.”

As women, whether you are the CEO of a company or the CEO of your household, your influence and actions can greatly change others. I am excited about this growth for myself. It’s not about changing everyone around me. Other people are out of my control. If I can change myself – my thoughts, words, and actions – even in the slightest way, it will no doubt change others.

Matthew Kelly also writes:

“Focus on affecting what you can affect and you will have the most effect. It all starts with you”.

We can all better ourselves. And it’s never too late to start choosing our direction.


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