I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my manager, back in the 1990’s when I was a corporate guy, working in the London office of a petrochemical giant.
We were talking about a key client. My manager was telling me about a conversation he had with him, and where this customer expressed regret about how he lived his life.
He’d always been a workaholic, and now wished he had spent more time with his children, who at the time were in their teens.
This conversation had a big impact on my views on work/family balance. I decided even before having kids that I’m not going to be one of those father’s who’s only a father in name, I wanted to be hands on, and I wanted my children to remember me being involved in their lives.
So when my daughter was born I made the firm decision to make sure I did not become one of those entrepreneurs who sacrifices everything for the success of the business. And now, 11 years later, I’m happy to have stuck to that decision, because those 11 years passed in a blink!
Selma, Laith and Tameem know how busy I am, but they never felt like their dad was not around. I know I’m not perfect, and I know fathers who are much more involved than I am, but considering I run multiple businesses and an NGO, I’m doing pretty well.
And just to be sure that my feeling was correct, I got some feedback about my performance as a father. I recently asked my kids if they felt that I was gone too much the time, and they said no. Selma told me that I was the best father in the world, and that made my day!
Why am I telling you this? Because I don’t want you to have regrets, you only have them for about 18 years or so, and those 18 years pass in the blink of an eye, remember that.