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Disconnection to Deep Connection: Bridging the Gap Between Work and Family with Guest Jim Sheils: MakingBank S3E13

with Jim Sheils



When you ventured into the entrepreneurial market, did you think, “Man, I’m really going to miss that 9 to 7 grind?” or “Hey, you know what I want? Less vacation and family time.” No! You went out on your own with the hope of more freedom. You chose to carve your own path to make space for the more important things in life. You wanted to put people first, or at least have the option to.

But so often, what happens is the opposite. We sacrifice our family, social, and mental health for the promise of a future we don’t believe we can have now. Jim Sheils, entrepreneur, public speaker, and author of Family Board Meeting puts it like this,  “There’s this entrepreneurial lie: ‘I’m going to build the business and get back to my family later. And that is the kiss of death…and it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Around seven or eight years ago, Jim experienced a life shift, a season of uncertainty and change that flipped his perspective on what it means to “have it all.” The 2008 economic crash thrust his real estate company into a state of near extinction, like it did for so many entrepreneurs during that time. While reimagining his business, Jim was also in the process of adopting two sons, and preparing to donate a kidney to his father, all of which cast a harsh light on what was really important: quality time with loved ones.

“We only have 18 summers, you know, with our kids…Let’s make the most of the time that we have, let’s be successful at home and successful in our career.” 18 summers. Jim tells us to do the math, and it’s a stark reality to face. It may seem daunting, like there is a ticking clock, an expiration date on family growth, or even like it’s too late. But Jim has a framework, a strategy in place to deepen familial connection without sacrificing your career, and that’s the Family Board Meeting.

What is a Family Board Meeting?

  • Scheduled one-on-one time
  • 4 hours at a time
  • Technology free
  • At an activity of their choosing
  • Every 90 days.

Simple enough? Jim pulls his method from the traditional 90 day board meeting big companies implement with the goal of reuniting to look to the future—the next 90 days. It “puts the magnifying glass on the relationship in a positive way. It takes away sibling rivalry…it’s just us one-on-one.”

He challenges us to think of a time in our life when we experienced that kind of undiluted, uninterrupted, quality, designated one-on-one time with our parents, and for most people it’s hard to come up with even one example. Four hours of devoted time forces you to break through the surface level chit chat, and opens the doors of communication allowing you to deepen your relationship and learn about each other. It affords you the opportunity to be vulnerable and connect on shared life experiences.