Never Regret Your Work Life Balance by Using The Family Board Meeting Jim Sheils SBM Podcast

Tersh talks with Jim Sheils, author of The Family Board Meeting!

Today’s interview is with an amazing author who is determined to help us create amazing relationships with our children by using a method that we use in business all of the time! 

In today’s episode, Tersh and Jim talk about the 3 MUST DO principles for you to grow your family’s relationships through board meetings.   

Our Deep Dive~

  1. One on One time
  2. No electronics!
  3. Let them decide on a fun activity for the day


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“If you know how people will emotionally react, you have an advantage more valuable than all of humanity’s innovations.”

Thank you for listening to another episode of the Service Business Mastery Podcast!


Episode 513 Family Board Meeting Jim Sheils Transcription

Tersh Blissett: [00:04:13] Hello, everyone out there in the podcast world, are you having a great day. Thank you for tuning in to the next episode of the Service Business Mastery Podcast. I’m super excited to have Jim Shields on the show today. A wild while back, we were in a small, small mastermind group and we were tasked with reading a book that when I first was told, it’s time for you to read this book, pick up this, copy your copy of the Family Board meeting. And I was like, hmm, OK, this is a little different, but alright Wayne, I trust you. I’ll definitely check it out. And I, I got the audio audible version of it and I got the paperback version and I was like, OK, let’s do it.

Tersh Blissett: [00:05:02] And I’m not normally one that’s huge on the books that aren’t pertaining directly to business. So if you get me to read a book that’s not like how to make more money by marketing this way, like you’re doing something pretty good. And I trust the wine and I’m very thankful that I did this book is was amazing. It’s really honestly done in a world when a change mentally within me as a person, as a dad, when it comes to family life and within our business also. It’s been `a really cool experience. But with that being said, you know, welcome to the show, Jim.

Jim Sheils: [00:05:48] It’s great to be here, Tersh. And I’m glad you read it. I think a lot of the reasons why people read my books, because it’s short to It’s since I’m in the real estate service business like you as well as my other business, you know, we don’t have a lot of time and we are busy with our business. But what I found is there’s tons of stuff out there to grow the business. But, you know, as we grow our business, we don’t want our family life to be left behind. So I always tried to find simple strategies and rhythms that I could use myself, and then I started to share. And that’s where the book came about.

Tersh Blissett: [00:06:19] It’s so often that we think about and even like I hear this comparison of like the dad, the granddad, the business owner that’s very successful and they’re on their deathbed. And what’s the one thing that they never say is like, I wish I spent more time in on a board meeting a bushel and spent more time and making sure that my KPIs were perfect. Yeah. The thing that they always say is that she wants more time with the family. I wish it would have included them more in the business and growing up. And so this your book is a perfect example of how to how to bring those people together. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, your history, and why you even wrote the book?

Jim Sheils: [00:07:07] Yeah, well, to piggyback on that story you just told back in 2011, I was reading an article that was sent to me about a guy named Isaacson. And Walter Isaacson’s claim to fame is he was the biographer for Steve Jobs and was a really interesting read because he was interviewed a few days after Steve Jobs had passed away. And the article went like this. Steve Jobs spent his final days surrounded by close family and use the opportunity for final interviews to explain to his wife and children why it wasn’t always there for them. And then Jobs was quote in the article saying, I wanted my family to know who I was. I wasn’t always there for them. And I wanted to explain why and for them to understand. And then supposedly his biographer, this guy Isaacson, I don’t know, but highly respected, he called Steve out and he said, Are you glad you had a family, Steve? Are you glad you had children? And Steve fired right back. And what he said was, it’s 10000 times better than anything I’ve ever done. Wow. And that really stuck with me. And of course, I tried to dismiss the lesson reading that article that day, because people say, oh, yes, Steve Jobs had a reputation for being a jerk. You know, that’s not me. But then I started to think, how many times did I put commitments with family to the side for something smaller in business? You know, where was I not holding myself up? What if the rugged health got pulled out from me, you know, in six months, would I be in the same position doing final interviews to explain myself? And I didn’t like the answers that I was getting Tersh.

Jim Sheils: [00:08:34] And so that that was a time I really need to hear it. I mean, at the time of that, you know, I was running my my real estate business that I had brought back from near extinction from the 08 meltdown, you know, so I was really committed to it. And it was still had It’s wounds. I was in the process of adopting my my two oldest sons. Now I have two, two adopted, two biological. And it’s all the same to me. But, you know, I was in a big step up in my life and at that time to read that article had just been approved to donate a kidney to my father. So with that article, literally, it was one of those things. I think I think Japanese people call it a story like an instant awakening. I just. All those things I was going through, I couldn’t look at things the same and I just put a different had a different curiosity and commitment towards family from that day on appointments. And that really brought about of wanting to help myself without perfection because there’s no perfect family, there’s no perfect dad, but to do my best, to have more success in business, but also have success at home. And that’s how the family gardening book came about.

Tersh Blissett: [00:09:45] So kind of for those who haven’t read it and they’re dying to know exactly what it is that we’re talking about, what is can you explain to us what what is the whole concept behind the Family Board meeting?

Jim Sheils: [00:10:00] Yeah, it’s a simple rhythm and a rhythm is an action habit that we have in our lives to help keep us grounded. It’s basically what a rhythm means. It keeps that beat going. And it was a rhythm I designed to get me closer to my older son’s. And it’s only three principles to it. Tersh You’ve read it. You’re using it now with your four kids. I had to make it simple, repetitive, enjoyable, easy to understand because otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t get it. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m going to drop the ball. But now, a decade into this, it works and that’s all of us. So it really is a simple strategy, a rhythm that has three principles that we can talk about today. And combining these three principles, it can be a Ray regaining of of relationships, steadiness and growth with the people most important with you. They use it with their children. Now, we also use it with my wife. I actually use it with myself. Now, these three principles, which is kind of interesting once, and we’ll go through it now. But the three principles are really important because you’re going to be able to understand them, comprehend them and understand why they would work, I think, pretty easily.

Tersh Blissett: [00:11:10] I love that because, like you said, we do it with our kids. And it’s funny because when we first when we first did this It’s in our group, my wife, she got into like I don’t mean what she was doing. She picked up the book or. Seen it on my audible or something, and she like a board meeting.

Tersh Blissett: [00:11:33] What is this? Because I hadn’t really talked to her about it a whole lot. And after the fact, it was like, oh, yeah, this is really cool thing. And so and then another guy that was in our small group, he actually listened to it with his wife. And it was really like their whole dynamic and their family really changed a lot, too, which was really awesome. But yeah, go ahead and cheer principle number one on that.

Jim Sheils: [00:11:57] Yeah. So overall, the Family Board is just once a quarter. I take at least a half a day to spend time with each of my children. That’s where this whole thing started. I gave my my two oldest sons quality time coupons when they were seven and five I think, and said, hey, you’re going to cash in one of these coupons every quarter. And they’re like, what’s a quarter and every 90 days? And it’s going to be a day just for us. And I built it around these three principles that now a lot of people use. So it’s half a day scheduled every quarter and it goes like this. The first principle is one on one. And honestly, Tersh, if people listen to nothing else, I say nothing. This one is so easy, so potent and powerful is you got to separate the parts to strengthen the home. Yes, the power of focused one on one time can take away sibling rivalry distraction. It puts the magnifying glass on the relationship in a positive way. Yet in this busy world it rarely happens because there’s always a spouse or sibling or a best friend or your friend or there’s there’s but one on one time clears all of that away. And it puts just that on the plate and it rarely happens. I mean, I grew up in an Irish Catholic family, which means I have like 7000 cousins, you know, and big family gatherings are great. But communication and getting below the surface, that usually happens in one on one time. So the principal of that day is It’s one on one. That’s principle number one and one on one time. It’s it’s incredible how important it is to improving your relationship.

Tersh Blissett: [00:13:36] Yeah, absolutely. No, nobody else, like don’t do groups like if you have two girls and three boys don’t do the boys and the girls that.

Jim Sheils: [00:13:44] No, I mean you can separating the parts, the strength in the hole is great. You know, we’ll go to dinner with just our older boys. We have quite an age gap. You know, we have from three to seventeen. So our two older teen boys, you know, we’ll do a dinner with them and our other kids will, you know, maybe have a babysitter and we’ll go with them. But for my strategy, one on one, you’re going one on one time so you can play with separating the parts. But I encourage you to have individual one on one time with each of your people.

Tersh Blissett: [00:14:11] So how about number two?

Jim Sheils: [00:14:14] Number two is without electronics, it’s something that we call the principal of Tech FaceTime. I don’t have to tell you Tersh I’m sure that your phone can can make music with as much as it brings. If you had your your ring on bling bling bling for every text, email, if it came through Facebook thread, whatever, you got to disconnect to reconnect. You know, technology I think is a wonderful thing. It can connect to a lot of ways. It was able to keep certain things going in the pandemic, but you have to turn that off. It’s been proven by experts, way smarter than me that the blockage that’s causing in human relationships is huge. You know, you don’t want to spend a half a day that you’ve planned to go out with your kids and you’re both on the phone. And also it shows a lack of respect.

Tersh Blissett: [00:15:01] I always know that with that, like your older kids, your older boys, did you find I know in the book you mentioned it’s a little bit, but did you find a resistance that they had? Like, because my daughter, she’s six and so she could be fine, like perfectly fine without a cell phone or anything like that. My older boys, 11, 12 years old, they’re already like, all right. Like, I can’t they’re kind of like feeling to get back to their cell phones. Did you have any of that kind of resistance when I wrote you?

Jim Sheils: [00:15:37] Honestly, I didn’t have that resistance only because I started them young. So but for other people where I’ve heard how do you get over that, say, oh, my teen doesn’t want to turn off their phone? Well, you’ve got to set the example. You know, a lot of the times there’s some hypocrisy. As we said, get off your phone and then you’re over there. So you’re saying, look, I’m turning mine life. You’re turning years off and it’s just for a few hours and either one of us is going to die because the world’s not going to blow up because our phones are off. You’re not going to miss your whole social life because of this, you know, make light of it. But you set the example of turning yourself first. If you start with teens, with younger kids, it probably won’t be a big deal. But it is a big deal for the younger kids is to give that attention because there’s nothing worse than a kid trying to explain something to you or excitedly telling you something and you totally missing your. Aha. And I’ve been guilty that so many times. It’s yeah. It’s horrible. It’s horrible. I tell a story of my life. I came home from work one day and this wasn’t even a board meeting, but I came home from work and I have times where I turn off my phone, not only in these board meetings I have, but every day I have periods where my phone is completely off. At the end of the day, I get on the trampoline with my daughter. She loves to jump on the trampoline and my phone buzzes my pocket. I pull it out Tersh and someone is really messed up in real estate closing. Never doing. I mean, just just total. I’m going. How could this happen? Now my head goes out here. I’m swearing under my breath. You know, I’m not on the trampoline anymore. You know, I’m in this problem.

Jim Sheils: [00:17:04] And it could have waited. It could have waited. But all of a sudden, my my five year old five. She’s six. Now that time goes, Daddy, why are you so mad at me?

Jim Sheils: [00:17:14] So talk about a dagger through the heart. Yeah, right. Because here she is. She doesn’t understand that little It’s is it without even checking it Tersh. You know what I’m talking about. It can pull you out. So if you’re completely off on airplane mode, you know, because you want to take a picture of this day you’re going to spend with your kid, it changes things. You will actually start to feel this weird decompression when there’s no electronics between you and a loved one for that long because we don’t realize how quick it comes between us when we’re together.

Tersh Blissett: [00:17:46] I know the first couple of times that we’ve done anything like this fix that was like constant, like it was like, wow, I went to this like at that point you’re like, holy cow.

Tersh Blissett: [00:18:01] I didn’t realize how many times I reached for my phone. And if even if it’s turned off like like for me, I had to, like, completely disconnect from it. Like, I just put it on my nightstand and we just went and did our thing and I come back and it turn it on. And it had like four million mixed messages and notifications and whatever. But the whole time it’s like I’m like reaching for my my phone. And it’s it’s a reality check for for me as an adult to like, do it. I really am I really that much of an addict that I need to depend on this that much, you know, Though,.

Jim Sheils: [00:18:41] And this is why it’s a principle that is absolutely key for this special that you have with your kids each quarter. But it can start to be practiced elsewhere. You know, do a tech bust every day, do a tech past weekend. Well, that’s a big one where you just really, truly feel rested. But this this disconnect to reconnect is a real thing. And it’s it it shows you, like you said, once you do it, I didn’t realize how much I was actually using it, so. So that’s principle number two, you’re going to be doing a tech fast, both of you. There’s plenty of time to be on electronics. Now is not the time. This takes away distractions and again puts the magnifying glass in a positive way on the relationship.

Tersh Blissett: [00:19:26] Now, how about number three?

Jim Sheils: [00:19:28] Number three, when I’ve been doing these days with my kids now for four years, it’s a fun activity of their choice with focus reflection, which just means time to talk at the end. It’s It’s. We we think we know what our kids want and we don’t, you know, so when they plan the day there’s ownership, you know, I know there’s people will say, oh, I’m going to take my kids to run errands and a Jaguars game all day. Well, that’s great. But what if they don’t like football? You like football and say, well, we bonded. That’s great. Now let them on the day. Let them pick their people saying, I want to know more about my kid’s talents, what they’re interested in, and let them play in a day when isn’t to you. It’s going to start to float to the surface big time.

Tersh Blissett: [00:20:15] Yeah. Crazy how much like exactly that you’re like. Well, I think that they like they would enjoy go into the mountains and like let’s go to Pigeon Forge for the day. Like even if you took like a wild thing like that and then come to find out now they would rather just go jump on a trampoline for four hours.

Jim Sheils: [00:20:35] It is, yeah. So you let them play in the day and you get to they give ownership, they going to create it. You know, people are committed to things they helped create. That’s the old saying. So I let them create today. It’s something of their choice. And I go all in and then basically focus. Reflection is just meaning spending time at the end of the day to talk. So you’ve probably had a great activity together, maybe shared a meal. And at the end it’s not some big ceremony, but you’re just opening up the lines of communication and experiential education, which I love. Alternative education. Experiential education is direct, inspiring experiences with focus, reflections. You put kids in direct, inspiring experiences and at the end you have this focus reflection, which is asking questions. So you talk about it with jobs, instill the values and concrete the lessons. That’s what experiential education is. And that’s kind of what you’re doing here. And the number one question that is, what was your favorite part of the activity for the day and why can start big conversations. But this is this is a great opportunity, Tersh. Where it is not a lecture period, let me just make that clear for all of us annoying parents out there.

Jim Sheils: [00:21:51] I know you got your next 50 lectures, but don’t give any of them. Now is not the time or talk about them. Never wanted to go on one again like that will end it. Now is a good time for you to show some vulnerability, which is especially tough for us pig headed guys, where you might you might show a sincere apology or a genuine compliment. And we think we give them more often than we do. And now could be the time. We have a little conversations and authentically and vulnerably, maybe there’s one of those. Do you have been kind of an overstressed jerk at the house because you’ve been trying to work and apologize as entrepreneurs? Well, I know how hard I’m working. I don’t need to apologize. But you do. And then the same thing or a genuine compliment, like, hey, I’ve been helping with your little sister so much, and that really means a lot to me. I notice that you’ve been getting that whatever it is and getting better, you’ve been working on that skateboard track and all of a sudden you’re jumping over two of those barrels. Wow, that’s incredible. Just a genuine compliment. A sincere apology without motivation, with an ulterior motive goes a long way.

Tersh Blissett: [00:23:03] And I love that you said stay away from the the the speech or my lectures. Me just stay away from the lecture like that. Even if you could learn something from that scenario, just just stay away from that at this time period. And so got a little bit into the setting, the date for the next time that you’re going to do it.

Jim Sheils: [00:23:30] Yeah. That what your schedule gets done. And the only time I’ve fallen behind on my board meetings has been released, but I don’t put them on the calendar. These are your most important clients that you’ll ever have in your life. And the name of our company is 18 summers. It changes once they’re grown up. You know, you don’t get as much time with the new opportunities. So we have kids under the age of 18 men grabbed this and run with it. But that which we schedule gets done as the same. So if you can put it on your calendar and make it non-negotiable with your with your business team, with your assistant, your your whatever, and say this is a very important appointment and, you know, to change it, there has to be something pretty substantial, make it that clear and important. And when you put it on the calendar, it seems to happen. When you don’t, it doesn’t.

Tersh Blissett: [00:24:16] Yeah, that and one of the things you said there is the most important clients of your life are it’s true that it’s crazy and it is wild how fast those 18 summers go by two. And you think about like, wow, like I know as a parent when the summer comes to an end. Like who? Teachers pick these kids back. I think about it. And you’re like, man, like it was a whole summer that’s gone, you know?

Tersh Blissett: [00:24:42] And if you’re lucky, you get 18 of them. And so it’s it’s crazy how that how hard this puts all of that into perspective and changes that your your child’s outlook on life, too, because you could have just some some conversations not to get too deep about all of this, but you could have like a child that is really got some pent up issues, anger or emotional issues that they just don’t know how to express. And then you go into a meeting like this and and you dove deep in and they they learn that they can be open and vulnerable with you, like during this this board meeting. And then it’s like like a switch gets turned and they’re like completely open and very, very vulnerable with you and around you. And it’s wild how that that can happen.

Jim Sheils: [00:25:33] Yeah. And that’s why I’m setting this up the right way. That’s that’s what been one of the biggest rewards, not for myself or for other parents, especially busy working entrepreneurs like us is setting the stage because now you scheduled something you’ve let them play in the day. You’ve been one on one. Your phone’s off. You have that good time, a meal. There’s some decompression where people feel a little more open again, one on one. Think for a twelve year old really, or thirteen year old. You really want to talk about puberty in front of your seven year old brother? Oh, my gosh. Shoot. Now we got it. This sets the stage to open up. And parents have said, I can’t believe what they brought up. And you’re talking the peer pressure, you know, the drugs, the really strong concerns, fears like big things. And so it is setting the stage. They’re open, deeper lines. And that’s what this is all about.

Tersh Blissett: [00:26:29] That’s really cool. Jim, thank you so much for coming on the show. Is there anything else that that I forgot to ask or mention?

Tersh Blissett: [00:26:37] No, I think you did a great job. Let’s keep it simple. There’s three principles. One on one tuck fasting and a fun activity of their choice going all the. And spend time at the end talking and you do that once a quarter, you’re going to start to see some building blocks in your relationship. Where’s the best place to find your book? It’s on Amazon. And if people want some free downloads, a little bit more about family rhythms for busy entrepreneurs and business women, and then then you can go to 18 Sommer’s dotcom.

Jim Sheils: [00:27:10] One eight summers dot com. 

Tersh Blissett: [00:27:13] Ill add all, that’s the sure and thank you again for coming on the show today.

Jim Sheils: [00:27:17] Good seeing you, Tersh. Take care.

Tersh Blissett: [00:27:19] Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for everybody that’s listening or watching this episode of the Service Business Mastery Podcast. If you have any questions at all. Reach out to Jim, or reach out to me and I’ll gladly be the mediator and help answer any questions that you may have or get you in contact with Jim. With that being said, I hope you have a wonderful day. Stay safe. And thank you again for watching. Another episode of the Service Business Mastery Podcast It’s a podcast Focused on service business owners, managers and technicians who are considering becoming business owners themselves. Have a wonderful day.

Meet the Hosts:

Tersh Blissett

Tersh Blissett is a serial entrepreneur who has created and scaled multiple profitable home service businesses in his small-town market. He’s dedicated to giving back to the industry that has provided so much for him and his family. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Joshua Crouch

Joshua Crouch has been in the home services industry, specifically HVAC, for 8+ years as an Operations Manager, Branch Manager, Territory Sales Manager, and Director of Marketing. He’s also the Founder of Relentless Digital, where the focus is dominating your local market online. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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