On May 14, 2017, as I celebrated my 45th birthday, I posted “My 45 pieces of Advice to You” and at No. 20 in the list was this: Your family is your best start-up.
I had many good personal reasons for saying this: On September 11, 2011, my wife Christine and I had decided to officially invest in our own small ‘family business’ by getting married. Two years later, on January 28, we added another partner and, I am delighted to announce, on April 24, we added another two. The Virardi ‘family business’ now has three children.
Like any business, a family needs constant investment, hard work and, as I have recently rediscovered, many sleepless nights! But one good thing about a family is that, when properly cared for, its value never stops growing and the Return On Investment is continuous and long-term.
Here are four reasons why I encourage you to either invest in a similar ‘family business’ or grow and nourish the one you already have:
1. During challenging times, a family can be relied on
2020 was hard and, so far, 2021 has been a similar story. When life is difficult, people need a somewhere to turn to for support. A healthy family acts as a cushion of love and encouragement, providing the necessary strength and comfort. I consider myself blessed to have had – and now created – such a family.
2. People raised in close-knit families develop healthier relationships
It’s said that relationships, more than talent, are what determines a successful personal and professional life for our children and research has shown that people from close-knit families go on to enjoy close relationships later in life. Having a healthy relationship within our ‘family business’ will surely act as the springboard for our kids to do the same when it’s time for their own future ‘start-ups’.
3. Families provide important life-lessons
Maintaining the determination to pursue my passion, even if it meant waiting patiently on the sidelines for seven years, was a lesson and a trait I learnt from my father. So many of his words still echo in my heart and mind four years after his passing. His life-lessons proved invaluable to me in both my personal life and my professional career. I definitely plan to offer the same to Rolando, Hector and Marianda.
4. Families teach values
The decisions we take every day are a reflection of our values. Kindness, integrity, honesty and happiness are some of the fundamental values that Christine and I aim to pass on to our children. Such values are so important that we should all be willing to sacrifice almost anything to live by them. A good family ensures that children are taught and instilled with the values that they will ultimately pass on to their own children.
"Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in ten years."
Today, three weeks after the birth of our twins, as I was preparing to celebrate my 49th birthday, I was reminded of this inspiring comment made by Bill Gates some years ago and I was struck by how accurately it reflects my own situation: It took me a long time to get to where I wanted to be in my professional life and I certainly overestimated how much I would achieve during my first year. And in the personal sphere, I could never have imagined that within 10 years of getting married, Christine and I would be the proud and happy parents of three wonderful children. I love this ‘family business’ and I thoroughly recommend it to all of you.