Amy Rees Anderson

Do You Know The Life They’ve Lived? Have You Thought To Ask?

Today I had an interesting experience while driving out to Deer Valley, Utah to go to a Limited Partner meeting for a venture capital fund I’m an investor in with my 25 year old son:   As we were making the one hour drive out to our meeting he began asking me questions about the companies I had started and my early years of being an entrepreneur. As I started sharing some of the details of my early entrepreneurial journey and the things I’d been through in business my son suddenly stopped me and said, “Why haven’t you told me any of these stories before??!!”   I replied, “You’ve never asked me about it before.”

He seemed totally fascinated to hear some of the more challenging things his mother had been through in business, so much so that when his cell phone rang he didn’t want to take it because he said he didn’t want anything to interrupt my telling the story. As I continued he remarked that he couldn’t believe there was so much about my life experiences that he didn’t know about.  He said he never really stopped and thought to ask about any of it before because he’d just assumed that where he’d lived with me his entire life he just already knew everything I’d been through.  I explained that as a parent we typically shelter our kids from knowing the hard things we go through in business because we want them to be able to enjoy being a kid and we don’t want them to worry about the adult business stresses we faced.  But truth be told by the time our kids do grow up to become adults themselves we’ve lived so much more life at that point that we often just don’t remember to bring up those stories of what we’d been through in our business lives.

As we got near to our destination my son said, “You need to tell me and Ashley (his sister) more of this stuff!!!”  He’s right…I do….and I guess I just hadn’t thought to because they hadn’t asked. So two lessons came from that car ride – 1. When we ourselves reach adulthood we need to remember to ask our parents to tell us the stories of what they went through in their career lives because we would probably be shocked to know how much they’d gone through and experienced in their lives. And 2. As parents we need to remember to share our life stories and career experiences with our children when they reach adulthood so they can know who we are and appreciate what we’ve gone through and hopefully learn from our life experiences.

And I have to say that the more I shared with my son, the more I myself started to recognize just how much I’ve been through and just how many challenging things I’ve faced and overcome over the years.  Frankly, it was a much needed reminder that I’m actually a lot stronger person than I think I am.

As we now head into this Memorial Day weekend where we honor the memory of those who gave their life in service to their country perhaps we ought to also take a moment to talk with those who are still living, whether it be our parents or relatives or loved ones, and ask them to share a few of their stories with us. THINK TO ASK!

Have a great holiday weekend and I’ll be back with you after Memorial Day 🙂

~Amy Rees Anderson

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