How Coaching Enables you to CHANGE

We all know that change is difficult. In fact, change is so difficult that our brain is actually wired in a way that provokes sensations of physiological discomfort as soon as we face the slightest threat of change. As such, many of us do whatever it takes to avoid it.

Neuroscience (the study of the anatomy and physiology of the brain) has, in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging, provided insights into why change is so difficult. When we want to make a conscious change, we use an area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is where our working memory is placed. This area of the brain uses up a lot of energy and its use quickly generates a sense of discomfort, or even anger, because is linked to the amygdale, which controls our fight-or-flight response.

In order to avoid this discomfort and stress, our brains favor the use of the basal ganglia, which is the part of the brain that controls habit-based behavior. Have you ever locked your front door and then completely forgotten that you have done so? Such events are the result of your use of the basal ganglia, which can complete any familiar activity without conscious thought, all the while using much less energy than the prefrontal cortex.

On top of this, many people seriously resist being told what to do because this fires the prefrontal cortex’s connection to the amygdale. This provokes a defensive reaction and an inclination to find as many reasons as possible not to obey the instruction. This is especially true when the emotional aspects of new plans for change have not been explicitly addressed.

Finally, because the brain is programmed by experiences that are unique to each individual, everybody thinks in a different way. As a result of this, solutions provided by others are not as meaningful to us as the solutions that we reached by ourselves, using our own experiences and opinions.

Coaching your way through change

Coaching involves helping clients to think about possibilities, encourages them to arrive at their own answers and solutions, energizes them and motivates them to take action. Coaching is an ideal tool for bypassing the prefrontal cortex’s defenses and driving people to implement changes.

Research has shown that when we find our own answers to problems, our brains undergo high levels of activity as they build new connections. Studies into neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to change structurally and functionally) show that if we focus our attention on positive things that is where we are going to be making and reinforcing connections. As an example, a study of brain patterns in Buddhist monks revealed that the part of their brain associated with happiness (left prefrontal cortex) was highly developed. This indicates that, they do possess the capacity to educate themselves to be happy!

The coaching process reinforces the motivation to implement changes by making the client design their own solutions and actively plan the steps that need to be taken. This entails that they devise their own action plan and retain accountability for its implementation. David Rock and Jeffery Schwazrt in their article “The Neuroscience of Leadership,” point out that those reinforcing moments of insight can make changes in the brain that can lead to new behaviors.

Coaching is a process that releases people’s potential and both accelerates change and keeps it sustainable, long after the coaching engagement is complete.

By Carmen Lence Coach and Consultant at NextGen Consulting & Coaching LLC

If you want to learn more about coaching and coaching for Family Business, I’ll be presenting “Coaching, Next Generation and Sustainable Change in Family Business” together with Christin McClave and Dennis Jaffe at the FFI international congress in Brussels on October 19th. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!



How Tony Robbins helped me to stop making excuses


Tony Robbins at Dreamforce in San Francisco

Today, a little dream of mine came true. I had the opportunity to listen to one of the most inspirational speakers and successful coaches of our time: Mr. Tony Robbins. Thanks to the organizers of the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, I found myself jumping up and down in the Moscome center, hugging complete strangers with all my love, shouting YES! YES! YES! while throwing my arms up in the air, clapping like my life depended on it, dancing and jumping even higher… I left with an extra dose of motivation plus a good workout! Great deal!

I have admired Tony Robbins for a long time. He was once a struggling teenager but one day he came across a marvelous book: “Think and grow rich” by Napoleon Hill, which changed his life by starting him out on a path of curiosity that examined the psychology of successful people and helped him to question how he could change his own situation for the better.I also experienced troubles when I was a young adult and I too had come across Hill’s book by pure chance. As with Tony Robbins, the book also changed my life. Like Robbins, I became a self-help junkie, reading any self-help book I could get my hands on. It seemed that those books where the only support I had when nobody else supported me, and after reading so many of them, I came to the conclusion that you are not what you eat, you are what you read! I went from feeling like a victim to feeling empowered and aware that I’m the only one who is responsible for the failures or successes that I encounter in my life; my circumstances were no longer an excuse.

I believe that Tony Robbins’ message is basically a fundamental truth that deep down we all know, but most of the time choose to ignore. That truth is that you can either have what you want, or  excuses not to have it. We all have the potential to achieve our dreams, but quite often we decide that we cannot do so, perhaps due to A, B, or C reason, and many of us look to others to validate our excuses. However, the reality of the situation is that the only thing between you and what you want, is YOU.

During the presentation, Tony explained that our decisions shape our life and that those decisions are controlled by our mental state (how we feel from moment to moment) and our blueprint (our story and expectations). He demonstrated how we are able to change our state by changing our physiology (or moving our body, hence all the jumping) and our focus. You can change your focus by asking yourself questions that launch your thinking in the direction of positivity and possibilities.

For example, instead of focusing on what you don’t have and asking yourself why you are not earning X amount a year? Ask yourself, what is something I can be proud of? What is really important to me? What can I be really grateful for? What excites me? If I were earning X, what would my life be like? What would be the ideal situation? What is an action I can take today to get one step closer to where I want to be tomorrow?

As Buddha said: All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” So, be aware of what your mind is focused on and learn how to change it when this focus is not serving you well.

I know that all this is easier said than done. We all fall back from time to time and return to a state of negativity,  self-defeat or pasivity. That is why the help of a professional coach can make the difference between dreaming and achieving. A professional coach is trained in exercises and questioning techniques that help you to keep your focus on what you want and how you can achieve it. A coach is trained to help you to devise your own solutions that suit your own unique situation and they help you to implement these solutions, keeping you accountable and motivated. A professional coach knows how to inspire you to take the actions you need to take to positively change for the better!

As an example from my own life, I have been putting off writing a new blog post for months and I always seem to find a good excuse to start “tomorrow.”  Today, after all the jumping and hugging, Tony asked the conference attendants to generate one professional goal, I wrote: “have X more clients by the end of the year,” then he asked us to write one specific action that we would take immediately towards achieving this goal. I wrote: “write my blog again.” There you go… done! Coaching works!!!

By Carmen Lence Coach and Consultant at NextGen Consulting & Coaching LLC

If you want to learn more about coaching and coaching for Family Business, I’ll be presenting “Coaching, Next Generation and Sustainable Change in Family Business” together with Christin McClave and Dennis Jaffe at the FFI international congress in Brussels on October 19th. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

Is Women Power Enough to Break the Glass Ceiling?


I just got off the phone with my friend Michio, back in Japan. She was so fustrated about her job situation that she really needed a friendly ear to vent to. After five years working for the same company she just had enough of waiting for an “opportunity” and she decided to look for it elsewhere. “I’m one of the few women in my office that is not working as an ‘office lady,’ and still they are reluctant to promote me; they believe that sooner or later I’ll leave my job to get married and have kids,” she said. Michio’s profile, a single woman in her early thirties with a university degree, several years’ work experience and frustrated with the difficulties in getting ahead in her career, is not unique to Japanese society, but especially common in Japan, where less than one percent of corporate directors are women.

Family businesses are not an exception.

Apart from interesting cases like the “ryokans” (Japanese traditional inn) in Japan, where women rule generation after generation, most women in family businesses get leadership positions when there are no men in the family to go around. Still, succeeding dad in the family business is one of the fastest ways for a woman to break into top management.

Women power does make a difference

Global leaders like IBM and P&G are promoting their “gender diversity” programs as they have figured out that having more women in management will help them to better understand the needs of a big percentage of their customers, women.

Also, a study conducted by Catalyst, a research company specializing in gender issues, shows that the leading companies in their sample had women accounting for 20 percent of their top managers, while the bottom companies had less than 2 percent.

If this is not enough proof of women managers positive impact on company performance, look at the UK’s Cranfield School of Management study, which found that 69 firms in the FTSE 100 with at least one women director scored an average return of equity of 13.8 percent compared with 9.9 percent of the other 39 companies with no women directors at all.

Why are there still so few women in top management?

Many go the easy way and blame women themselves, arguing that they are not as ambitious and committed as men to making the hard climb to top management and that they are too eager to leave their careers when they get married or have children. As a woman, I find this argument quite cynical.

I’ve meet many expatriate’s wives throughout the years living in different countries. Most of them have great education and work experience but left their careers and well paid jobs when their husbands were offered job opportunities abroad. Why? Simply because they could not compete with their husbands higher salaries and better career prospects.

This is also a choice that many women are compelled to take when they have children. If the couple doesn’t make money enough to pay baby care, the woman’s job is the first to go, as she  normally earns less than her husband. Statistics show that women in general have fewer offers to managerial positions and generally lower salaries for the same positions.

Society is not so supportive to career women.

Women are blamed for the low birth rate in the industrialized world, picturing working women that remain childless as selfish and self-centred. Needless to say, working mothers don’t get much better press either, making many mothers feel guilty about wanting to have a career.

Interestingly enough, statistics show that the countries that have the lowest levels of fertility are those with relatively low levels of female labour force participation while the countries with higher fertility levels tend to have relatively high female labour force participation rates.  So, it seems that supporting women to have careers actually makes them more willing to be mothers as they feel more confidence in being able to provide a better life for their families.

In my opinion, companies and governments have to make an effort to help women combine family and career. Women will have no incentive to return to work after maternity leave if they are not offered the possibility to rise to management-level positions and the flexibility that a working mother requires. Who wants to go back to a dead-end job that costs you money because you have to pay someone to look after your child?

Women power is not enough to break the glass ceiling; companies should offer true equality of opportunity– equal pay to men and women for the same positions, and flexible hours and child care facilities for working parents. Governments should help with tax incentives and positive discrimination establishing minimum quotas of women in management. Basically, women power needs people power to really make a difference.

Written by Carmen Lence, Executive Coach specialized in working with Family business and women entrepreneur.

For more information about Carmen Lence click on

Believe It or Not, There’s Life Beyond The Family Business


Christin McClave, 3rd Generation of Cardone Industries

Christin Cardone McClave is a third-generation owner of Cardone Industries; the world’s largest privately help auto parts remanufacturing company, and an entrepreneur. In this interview, she shares why she later decided not to work in the family business, how she dealt with her husband working for her father for 19 years, and how she felt when they almost sold the company.

 You started working for your families business at the age of 12. How did that influenced your life?

It instilled a strong work ethic. I was able to work in different parts of the business and get experience with sales, marketing, customer service, finance, quality control and manufacturing. I majored in business in college and after college I decided that I really wanted to work outside the family business. When I was 20 I got an internship at Johnson & Johnson. After my internship, I received a job offer to work for Johnson & Johnson.

 You spent most of your career working at Johnson & Johnson and the last few years running your own company, Unifi Coaching. I’m curious as to why you decided not to work for your family business.

I just knew I didn’t want to be stuck in my family business. I had an internal drive to go outside and see if I could make it in the “real world”. I’ve gained so much self-confidence with working at Johnson & Johnson and starting my own coaching practice. The other thing that I learned was that if I ever go back in the family business it would be a well thought out choice. I think it’s important for people who are in their family business to choose it for themselves. I just knew in my heart that I needed to go work somewhere else and prove to myself that I could make it in a Fortune 500 company. I knew I could always come back to the family business and be respected. Now I have the experience and the ability to perform outside of the family business. I have really enjoyed consulting and being on a board committee.

You feel you add more value to your family business when you have outside experience?

Yes, absolutely. I think I bring more value. I am able to see things from a different perspective then when you are working in a business for so long, which often happens in a family business.  They have many lifetime employees, very loyal and wonderful employees that may not necessarily have much outside experience. Although they are very capable people, just providing a different point of view is something that I bring to the table each time I’m working on a project or on the board.

Your husband has been working for the family business for 19 years. Tell me a little bit about that.

That is also another reason why I chose not to go into the family business. With my husband working there, we felt it was too much for both of us to be there. We met after he had already been working at Cardone for a few years. He had a proven track record and once we got married it really provided a nice balance in our family on a technical side. Our family tends to gravitate to sales and marketing while my husband has an Engineering degree and an MBA in Finance. He has a really good temperament, is creative, and very supportive which is a great component to have in a family business.

So overall it has been a positive experience?

Yes, I think it has been but he left the company at the end of January. He just felt like it was time for him to do something else. There are a lot of challenges and I think he’s gotten to the place where he’d like to work where he wouldn’t have to deal with all the extra issues. He’s not complaining about it – he’s basically said that it was time for him to move on and do something else.

He wants to do something in sports business, which is very different from what he has been doing for the past 19 years. His coach helped him work out his values and figure out where his passions are. That really helped him see that its time for him to move on and do something that he’s really passionate about. He is leaving on a really positive note and is definitely one of the top leaders of the company. It will be sad for the company to lose him but I think everyone understands, including my family.

Do you find that you have to choose between supporting your husband and supporting your father or brother? Can you give any advice to other women in your situation?

We do an exercise; I also do a lot of this in my coaching, changing hats, which is “wearing” a hat that is different, then your normal hat. When having a conversation with my husband sometimes we have on the family business shareholder hat. Sometimes it is the mom and wife hats; sometimes it’s my parent’s hat. We try to look at things in different perspectives. I’ll say you know I really see your perspective but if I put my dads hat on I can see how this is a really frustrating situation for him. We try to really talk in those terms because then it takes the emotion out the topic. We’re able to look at it through multiple perspectives and it helps us step back and not let it affect us emotionally.

Your family has recently gone through the process of a possible sale of the business that didn’t happen in the end. Why did the family make the decision to sell?

Every family business at some point has to deal with this question. Our business has 5500 employees in multiple countries. It is a very complex business model. With the challenges we were coming up against with local costs of labor, manufacturing issues, investments, we decided that we needed outside investment to help us grow. Also, my father is in his early 60’s. He started the business when he was 21 with my grandfather.

My father is pretty adamant when he says he will not work for a publically held company. He’s very passionate about keeping the company private and having majority ownership. It felt like the best option was to sell it to a company that could really grow the business. However, these last few years have been tough on a lot of different businesses and for us as well. We went through the whole selling process and in the end it didn’t work out. We’re regrouping, trying to figure out what the next steps are but for now we are back in family business mode.

What advice can you give to other families going through the process of selling the family business?

I think it’s really important for each family to look at themselves. It all depends on how many family units you have involved. We have four family units my parents, then my 2 siblings and I and everybody’s married. I think it is a really emotional process. Because my father is the majority shareholder, he gets to make the final decision. And of course because it’s his baby.

It was a very emotional rollercoaster for him going through the process. It was also emotional for me. I’ve thought should I have worked in the family business? Should I have helped out more? Could we have done things differently? How could I have been more supportive to my dad?  Should we keep the family business together? We do look at these other 4th, 5th, and even 6th generation companies that have made it work. It is very impressive how they have been able to extend their family business to that level.

It’s a wonderful opportunity but at the same time a lot of stress too. It’s like a double-edged sword. There are wonderful benefits of having a family business. There are wonderful work experiences. The other side is that it felt like there was a huge weight on my shoulders. As your business gets bigger and bigger there’s a lot of facets to weigh. You’ve got over 5000 employees that count on you, certain debt on the business, estate-planning questions. Having a coach has really helped me talk and work through it, look at my life, and own it. There is life beyond the family business, even if we do sell it.

Written by Carmen Lence, Coach and Consultant at NextGen Consulting and Coaching LLC.

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How Do You Eat an Elephant? Dr. Lee Hausner explains her six-step transition model for succession in family businesses at the FFI Northern California event.


Dr. Lee Hausner, Author of "Hats Off To You 2...Balancing Roles and Creating Success in Family Business Succession"

Last week the FFI NCAL Chapter Formation Team hosted the first event of a series that is aimed at raising awareness of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter for the Family Firm Institute. Dennis Jaffe, Susan Ott, Henry Kaiser, Doug Kennedy, Leslie Simon, Timothy Swords, Louis Wellmeier, David Kelly and myself, Carmen Lence, are currently leading the efforts to create better networking and educational opportunities for family business professionals in the Bay Area.

The conference was a huge success and this was predominantly down to the efforts of Susan Ott and Henry Kaiser, who did a fantastic job of organizing the event. Thank you very much for your hard work!

It was also great to see Carmen Bianchi and Mary Gust at the event and the FFI NCAL Chapter Formation Team really appreciated the fact that they took time to attend and show their support for our work.

Thanks to the efforts of Susan and Henry, we were fortunate to gain the support of Dr. Lee Hausner, who was the first speaker of a series to come. She gave an inspiring insight into her succession planning model, the highlights of which I would like to share with you now.

Dr. Lee Hausner is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist, business consultant, author and family wealth adviser. During her presentation, she explained how to approach the daunting endeavor of eating the big elephant that is succession in family business. In her own words, the best approach is: “bite by bite.” To help us to tackle the huge meal ahead, she advises that we start by dividing the elephant into six parts before starting the “feast.”

The six-step transition model for succession in family business was first introduced in Dr. Hausner’s book “Hats Off To You 2…Balancing Roles and Creating Success in Family Business Succession.” It involves a multidisciplinary approach to succession planning in which the founder and the family are involved throughout the process of succession implementation. The first and second steps, focus on founder and family but their involvement in the process continues as it goes through the next steps of dealing with the business, management, ownership and estate transition phases.

Interestingly, in Dr. Hausner’s model, estate planning is the last step in the process, despite the fact that, in most family businesses, it is actually sometimes the first and only step they take with regards to succession planning. In her opinion this is a big mistake because it does not address the sustainability of the business or the family’s “health.”

In Dr. Hausner’s model, the first step involves the founder’s transition, in which it is essential to address any resistance to let go. When discussing this phase of succession planning, Dr. Hausner pointed out that the transfer of power should be a slow process, during which she advises founders extend their limits of authority gradually, expect mistakes and don’t hope or demand to have a clone as a successor.

The second step involves the family transition, in which she recommends family members put on a different “hat,” depending on the situation they are dealing with. For example, members may wish to wear one “hat” when they are conversing as father and son or dealing with a family issue, and a different “hat” when dealing with a business issue. She also stressed the importance of setting clear expectations and transparency to avoid suspicion and the opportunity for “physiological cancer” in the family.

When dealing with the next generation during succession planning, it is important to lay out clear responsibilities, avoid entitlement and promote achievement. Dr. Hausner also mentioned the value of supporting the next generation’s development through coaching and mentoring.

The following step involves business transition, and Dr. Hausner outlined the need for a strong board of directors with independent advisors that can provide objectivity and accountability during the transition process.

Following this, during the management transition step, the family should decide what their future role should be. Should they get involved in the management of the business or would they be better overseeing the business as owners?

The 5th step of Dr. Hausner’s model involves ownership and, in her presentation, she pointed out that “fair and equal are not the same.” This is something that is important to take into account when deciding who is going to own what of the company and family’s assets.

Finally, regarding estate planning, it is important to set clear expectations and aim for a lifetime transfer. Dr. Hausner also stressed the importance of involving the family in philanthropy and any educational opportunities that can be used to develop the younger next generation.

Succession planning is a big elephant to eat and digest, but with the right process, tools and guidance it may become the most rewarding “meal” you have ever had!

Bon appetit!

Written by Carmen Lence coach and consultant at

Six-step transition model for succession in family business

How to Overcome “The Sad Princess Syndrome”


The Princess is sad. What could it be the Princess has?

The Princess is sad. What could it be the Princess has? She says the King does not include her in any
decision making, nor gives her any true responsibility, nor is he raising her to govern the kingdom in
the future. She says the Prince Consort gets angry with her for no apparent reason. She says that her
family obligations limit her freedom and leaves her no time to continue to grow, look for ways to
develop her skills or seek opportunities where she would be able to exert her leadership skills. She
says that all the problems fall on her.
Poor Princess. The world is so unjust! Everything would just be different if her Father did what she
wanted; her husband did what she wanted and, the rest of the world did what she wanted. If they
could just be and do without her having to ask them. If only there were no difficulties and all was the
way she wanted! Then yes, the world would come to know her as the brilliant Princess that she really
is. The Heroine that will lead the kingdom to new levels of richness and wellbeing that her father could
only have dreamt about—but, since the others won’t allow her, what can the Princess do?
She hides her frustration and insecurity behind the mask of arrogance. She disguises her lack of
bravery as the victim of circumstances and of others. She uses cynicism and sarcasm. She seeks
approval. She never says no or, she says no to everything.
Anything but to look at herself in the mirror and come face to face with the true person responsible for
all her misfortunes and the only person that can save her from it all. Yes Princess, You are your own
worst enemy when you could be your best ally. No one will fight your battles for you. No one is going
to solve any problems for you and, as the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.”
You want to be successful but, do you know what success is? To achieve the goal or to overcome
whatever difficulties may cross your path? Can there really be any triumph without difficulties? No,
because by its own definition, “Triumph” implies difficulty and, if it were not that way, it would not be
a triumph. It would be like bread that falls from heaven, a real miracle!
To pretend to be victorious without difficulties while waiting for others to get rid of them for you is not
only being unrealistic but irresponsible as well. Winners are made, not born. They are forged from the
base of occupation instead of preoccupation and giving excuses. They are the ones who do, make
mistakes and learn from them and better themselves, again and again. They are made from difficult decision making, determination to see them through, flexibility to adapt to new circumstances, humility to learn from their mistakes and learn from others.

And that is the way it has to be since winning is not an end to itself but a process. There’s no point to
reaching the summit without “paying the price.” First of all you would not feel it as any kind of victory.
Second, without the due training, experience and self-confidence in one’s own self that allows the
process of winning, “Your” time in the summit would be limited only to the arrival of the first storm.
What can the Princess do to be successful? To be responsible of her situation, whatever it may be.
She has the power to change by changing herself and not waiting for the others to change.
Princess, what is it you really want? What do you have to do to obtain it? What is it you need? What
are your strengths? What do you need to improve? Who can help you? Princess, be brave, believe in
yourself and, in spite of feeling afraid, take that first step and then another, another and another—you
can do it. I believe in you! Ahead!

Written By Carmen Lence, Coach and Consultant at NextGen LLC.

Note by the Author:
To recognize that one has a problem is the first step to solve it. To take responsibility of it, accepting
that we are not victims of the circumstances or of others, only of our own attitudes and beliefs is the
second step to take. To become conscious that we ourselves are the ones that have to do something
in order to change our situation is the third step. After you decide what it is you want to do, create a
plan to achieve that and start walking. One step after another. You will trip, have difficulties, be
fearful and, you will no doubt be tempted many times to turn around and walk away, but that is part of
the process. There is no victory without failure.
Working with a coach will provide you with the clarity on what it is you really want to achieve. It will
help you create a plan that you really want to obtain and will you keep you motivate and centered in
what it is you want until you obtain it. Coaching is the impulse and the support that you need in order
to make things happen.
Invest in yourself and in your goals this year and, give yourself the best opportunity as a gift in order to
achieve your dreams by contracting a coach. Contact me to reserve a free 30 minute session through
Merry Christmas and may the New Year be full of successes for you!

Como Superar El “Síndrome de la Princesa Triste”


La princesa está triste… ¿Qué tendrá la princesa? Dice que el Rey no la incluye en la toma de decisiones, no le da verdadera responsabilidad y no la forma para gobernar el reino en el futuro. Dice que el príncipe consorte se enfada con ella sin razón. Dice que sus obligaciones familiares limitan su libertad dejándola sin tiempo para seguir formándose, buscar maneras de desarrollar sus habilidades o oportunidades donde poder ejercer sus dotes de liderazgo. Dice que recaen sobre ella todos los problemas.

Pobre princesa. ¡Que mundo tan injusto! Todo sería diferente si su padre hiciera lo que ella quiere, si su marido hiciera lo que ella quiere, si el resto del mundo hiciera lo que ella quiere. A poder ser, sin tener ni siquiera que pedirlo.  ¡Si no hubiera dificultades y las cosas fueran justo de la manera que ella quiere! Entonces sí. Entonces el mundo conocería la Princesa brillante que realmente es. La Heroína que va ha llevar al Reino a niveles de riqueza y bienestar que ni siquiera su padre pudo soñar… Pero como los demás no le dejan. ¿Qué puede hacer la princesa?

Esconder su frustración y falta de seguridad en si misma detrás de la mascara de la arrogancia. Disfrazar su falta de valor de víctima de las circunstancias y de los demás. Utilizar el cinismo y el sarcasmo. Buscar aprobación. No decir que no, o decir que no a todo.

Cualquier cosa menos mirarse al espejo y enfrentarse a la verdadera responsable de todas sus desgracias y a la única que puede salvarle de ellas. Sí, Princesa, tú misma. Eres tú peor enemigo, pudiendo ser tú mejor aliada.  Nadie va a luchar tus batallas por ti. Nadie te va a solucionar los problemas. “El que algo quiere, algo le cuesta”, dice el refrán.

Tú quieres triunfar, pero ¿Sabes qué es triunfar? ¿Alcanzar la meta o superar las dificultades en el camino? ¿Puede haber triunfo sin dificultad? No, por propia definición, el triunfo implica dificultad, si no , no sería triunfo. Sería como el pan que cae del cielo, ¡un milagro!

Pretender triunfar sin dificultades o esperando que otros las eliminen por ti, no solo es irrealista, pero irresponsable. El triunfador no nace, se hace. Se hace a base de ocuparse en vez de preocuparse y disculparse. Se hace a base de hacer, de equivocarse, aprender y mejorar. Una y otra vez.

Se hace a base de valor para tomar decisiones difíciles, decisión para llevarlas  a cabo, flexibilidad para adaptarse a nuevas circunstancias, humildad para aprender de los errores y aprender de los demás.

Y así tiene que ser, el triunfo no es un fin, es un proceso. No  tiene sentido triunfar sin ‘pagar el precio’. Primero, no lo sentirías como triunfo. Segundo, sin la preparación, experiencia y seguridad en uno mismo que proporciona el proceso de triunfar tu tiempo en la cima esta limitado a la llegada de la primera tormenta.

¿Qué puede hacer la Princesa para triunfar? Tomar responsabilidad de su situación, cualquiera que sea. Ella tiene el poder de cambiarla cambiando ella, no esperando que cambien los demás.

Princesa, ¿Qué es lo que quieres?, ¿Qué tienes que hacer para conseguirlo?, ¿Qué necesitas?, ¿Cuáles son tus fortalezas?, ¿Dónde tienes que mejorar?, ¿Quién te puede ayudar?. Princesa, se valiente, cree en ti y a pesar del miedo da un paso, y después otro, y otro, y otro… Tú puedes. Yo creo en ti. ¡Adelante!.

Escrito por Carmen Lence, Coach y Consultora de NextGen LLC

Nota del autor:

Reconocer que uno tiene un problema, es el primer paso para solucionarlo. Responsabilizarse de ello, aceptando que no somos víctimas de las circunstancias, ni de los demás, si no solo de nuestras actitudes y creencias, es el segundo paso. Tomar conciencia de que somos nosotros los que tenemos que hacer algo para cambiar nuestra situación es el tercer paso. Después decide que es lo que quieres hacer, crea un plan para conseguirlo y échate ha andar. Un paso tras otro. Va ha haber traspiés, dificultades, miedo y te vas a ver tentado a dar marcha atrás una y otra vez, pero eso es parte del proceso. No hay triunfo sin fracaso.

Trabajar con un coach te proporciona claridad sobre que es aquello que quieres conseguir, te ayuda a crear un plan para conseguirlo y te mantiene motivado y centrado en lo que quieres hasta que lo consigas. Coaching, es el impulso y apoyo que necesitas para hacer que las cosas pasen.

Invierte en ti y en tus objetivos este año y regálate la mejor de las oportunidades para conseguir lo que quieres contratando un coach. Contáctame para reservar una sesión gratuita de 30 minutos en el email:

¡Feliz navidad, y que el Año Nuevo venga cargado de éxitos para ti!

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? Next Generation Goes to Stetson University to Get Answers

Peter Begalla, Outreach Director of the Family Enterprise Center, Adjunct Professor at the School of Business Administration at Stetson University

Stetson University is the first school in the USA to offer a degree in Family Business. The program focuses on next-generation members of family businesses, and one of its goals is to encourage them to take ownership of their own lives and careers.

Peter Begalla is the Outreach Director of the Family Enterprise Center, Adjunct Professor at the School of Business Administration at Stetson University and an expert in next-generation leadership development. This is what he has to say about the next generation, leadership and making things happen for oneself.

What, in your experience, is the main problem that next generation members of family businesses face?

It tends to be credibility: within the family, within the enterprise, as well as marketability of their skills in either the family enterprise setting or out in the real world. So the idea is that because they have a family business they may not be as they have to be in their own right. They have to be recognized as credible and marketable themselves separate from their family so that their own identity can be established.

The program stresses the need for the next generation to be proactive and create their own future. How does the program support its students to help them to achieve that?

The introductory course kind of sets the tone for the whole program. It’s the one that’s the most intensive. The course is divided up into thirds. The first part of the course is a whole segment devoted to who you are: personality assessment, values assessment, and a discussion about what you know about yourself from a personality dynamic. What you believe about yourself.

The second section of the course is what is your family story. So there’s some gene gram work, some work on the family values, there’s an interview process in which the students ask their family members, their mom and dad, why did they choose the career that they did. What kind of family dynamics. What was important for them in terms of their business or their career choice. How has that affected the family. By doing that, the student works with the family to determine what kinds of messages have been important to the family, for a couple of generations. What their family story is and how it might impact the student.

There’s also some identification in that same time period as to what role they play in the family in terms of birth order and everybody’s influence to birth order.

And then the third component is what do you want to do. Now that you understand a little bit about who you are and what your script is, what do you want to do with this? Is it work within the family business? Is it work outside? How does your plan match up with reality? How does it match up with the reality of the family? How does it match up with you as a person? Are your values in line with what those plans are? Is your personality in line?

One more piece is that all three of those segments are then collected into what we call the Life Plan. It tends to be about 50 pages long. It’s designed for the student to essentially define success as they see it within the family business or outside. It basically changes how they view themselves and what they are going to do and how they are going to go about doing it in the world.

Do you have more students going to work in the family business or outside it after finishing the program?

It’s different for each person. I can’t say that the rule of thumb is that they all go back to their family businesses and I can’t say that they all bail out. It’s a fairly decent mix. However, it tends to lean more towards the student going outside the family business for a period of time. I can’t say we’ve done any research to support what I call “Gut Check.”

What would be your advice to those next generation members living in “golden cages,” meaning, working in the family business with a good job title, good salary but no real responsibility, accountability and lacking preparation to take over the leadership of the company. Living in fear about what is going to happen in the future when their parents are not around anymore.

First is to “know thyself”; know exactly what your skills are. Know what you have to bring to better the situation. That way you know where to start and you shop on your technical skills or on your soft skills. For example, if you’ve got an accounting issue, or if you’ve got a marketing issue or a financial issue, you can always ask for help. Although the responsibility in that situation is ultimately yours, know how much guidance you need in order to make the right decision, know your capacity, know your abilities and your strengths and weaknesses so that you can call for help when you do have to make the decision (because again, you’ve got the title, you’ve got the responsibility) but you have guidance.

The other thing we stress with the program is that getting unbiased feedback is advice that often leads to a profound change in the individual. The feedback is such that it just kind of says “hey this is what I see” kind of holding up a mirror “this is what I see you doing”; it allows the student to make some choices about a different behavior versus “hey, you know what you should do?” which nobody really likes. If somebody who is in a position of responsibility within an organization doesn’t have feedback then they are kind of looking in a vacuum.

What is the profile of your students? What kind of family companies do they come from?

We have a mix of students; some have family businesses and some do not. One of the ways in which we talk about the program is that if you don’t have a family business, you still benefit from it because 90% of businesses in America are family businesses. So you’re probably going to work in one. The other thing we do is stress an advisory track as well towards the end of the program. We train students on some basic advising type of skills working with companies.

So in terms of the students we have that have family businesses, it spans  a pretty wide range. I’ve had students with international holdings that are fairly vast where their families come from two generations deep in South America and in the Caribbean. Everything from real estate to restaurants, mining, aggregates, and land family grocery store holders here in the States. It spans from annual revenue exceeding 1 billion to the little mom and pop jewelry store worth half a million a year or even restaurants.

They have been working for the family company or it’s a bit of both?

They definitely have exposure to it. The ones who don’t have exposure to it the parents are in a business that tends to be more advising. For example like financial services, a dad owns financial services and  he has 2 or 3 guys working with him like an insurance business; the student doesn’t work in it. If it’s the construction business, the student has worked in it. If its manufacturing, the student has worked in it. If it’s a distributor of some sort, the students have worked in it.

Is this a unique program in the U.S. that you are managing?

I believe so, it’s one of two majors in the world, its basically the first major in the world. We think we have something that is very promising. We essentially are having a dialogue about family businesses that no one else is having with students at a time in which they are forming identities and forming a sense of where they want to go in the world. And we promise them, what my college Greg McCann says and why he founded the program the way he did, “Look, you get a discussion with your peers and your family for four years about who you are and where you want to go. If that’s within the family business that’s great, if not that’s great too. But essentially you get to write your own story versus just being pushed along by the family history and by the family’s script of the business.” Especially if it’s a large successful business, it can override the identity of someone who is trying to form and carve himself out a sense of self and where he wants to go.

In your experience, what are the main traits of successful next generation?

They tend to want truth and honesty. They tend to want everything to be exactly as it is and for everybody to know it and what’s going on. So there’s this level of transparency that I think is required personally as well as about the organization, and about the older generation and the next generation. And again, it is to “know thyself.” What your strengths and weakness are and to be ok with that to say, this is what I bring to the table, this is what I don’t bring to the table, and how are we going to make this work.

Any tips or words of advice for next generation members of family businesses?

No matter what you do, start now. Start thinking about who you are, what you are about, what you bring to the table, and how that’s viewed by your family. Also, how it’s viewed by non-family members within the business. Start the dialogue A) with yourself then B) with your family about what you bring to the table and what you want to do next. How you can contribute to the business.

So, next generation, what are you going to do to make things happen for you?

For more information about the Stetson University Family Enterprise Center, please click on:

Written by  Carmen Lence, MBA
NextGen Consulting & Coaching

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Family Business and Tough Love, Something to Be Grateful For


I’m the middle kid in my family. I have an older sister who is much prettier than I and a younger brother, who was a dream come true for my father, who always wanted to have a boy to carry on the family name, so it’s no wonder that I’ve always been the rebel, the troublemaker in the family. I suppose that I just wanted attention, but I also had a strong desire to live my life my way.

Growing up with a strong-minded entrepreneur who had a very clear idea in his mind about what was best not only for the company but for every single member of his family was not easy for me. I imagine that dealing with a strong-minded child was not easy for him, either.

My father’s biggest loves in his life are his kids and his business, so he has always tried to keep us together. We started working in the family business as children helping out on the weekends. Later, as teenagers, we rotated through different positions giving holidays to employees and working part-time during college managing one of the service areas of the company.

I loved it. I hated it. I loved the learning, the responsibility, and feeling useful and proud of my family. I hated the lack of freedom, feeling that I did not have a say in what I wanted, and how demanding and difficult to please may father could be.

When we had arguments, my father would end the discussion with, “You don’t understand how much a parent loves a child until you have one.” I think I understand now that I’m also a parent.

My father asked us to take on jobs such as waiting tables, pumping gasoline, and cleaning cars. His expectation that we would work as hard in the business as he did was his way of loving us and teaching us the value of money, appreciation for what we had, humility, and respect for other people regardless of their background. Our successful company was not a present; it was the result of hard work and dedication.

My father did not make things easy for me. I had to fight hard for want I wanted. This was also his way of loving me. He just wanted to protect me, but his strong desire to control my life was my biggest motivation to be brave, follow my instincts, and not settle for less than what I wanted.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I have many things to be grateful for: my family, my husband, my kids, my friends, my wonderful life… But what I have to be the most grateful for is growing up in a family business with a strong father who cared deeply about me. Thanks to him and to all the good and bad moments we have gone through, I am who I am and I have the life I have today. I couldn’t be more grateful for that!

Thanks, Dad, for being the wonderful father you are. I love you.

Happy thanksgiving to everybody!

Written by Carmen Lence, Family Business Consultant and coach

When is a Good Time to Pass The Baton… to Your Brother? Burnout Time!

Kirk McMillan is now CEO/Owner @ VIS3


Second-generation Kirk McMillan successfully grew his family’s U.S. company, Twelve Baskets, from $4 million to $50 million annual revenue. Then his brother was invited by his father to join in and decision-making became “complicated.” Learn from someone who has come out through the tunnel of frustration, lack of support, and ultimately burnout and who learned how to survive and thrive.

-You assumed the leadership of your family business right after finishing university. What were the circumstances around it?

I was a senior in college and I was about to start interviewing. I was home for the holidays. After dinner, I was at the dinner table and my parents asked me, “Would you be interested in coming to work for the family? We need help.” And I thought about it, I was like, ok. I’d been working in the business, I had done all the little things you do growing up in a family business. Then I came in and there wasn’t a formal process to say: Here’s how the business runs…I just had to jump in and figure it out as I went along.

– When did you become CEO of the company?

Within four years. I started out without a title. Then I was there for four years and my dad and mom made me the president of the organization but I was already acting in that role without having the title. Because I was already doing the strategies, already putting things in place that needed to be done to change the company.

-How did it feel not to have a job description when you joined in?

I didn’t have an official one so… the people looked at me from a leadership perspective. But my dad looked at me as a son, he didn’t look at me as someone like a partner. I don’t really even know if he looked at me as an employee either, he just looked at me as a son. And so when we would have meetings with employees, suppliers, and customers that dynamic was not working because he was treating me like a son in all of these meetings. So I told him, “Dad you can’t continue to treat me as a son, if this is going to work, you have to start looking at me as part of the organization, as an owner, as a leader of it.” But that didn’t change; he kept doing it so I had to find a way to change it up. So I stopped calling him Dad. In those meetings I started calling him by his first name. And that was a shock for him. But eventually he did change—it took him a little while but he did. The funny part was that it immediately made a difference with the employees, the customers, and the suppliers. They looked at me differently. I call it system shock—I had to shock the system to make it change.

– What were the main challenges in taking over the presidency so young?

I was 26 at the time. The challenges were more strategic challenges because where I was taking the business was strategically different than where my dad was comfortable. So the challenge was trying to marry the risk that is involved with the strategies and getting the family on board with that. So that was difficult whereas my dad and mom didn’t take much risk before. But we had to take more risks to survive, to grow the business. We couldn’t do all the things that I wanted to do because there had to be some synergy between the family and the business.

-And then you grew your family business from $4 million a year to $50 million. What in your opinion has been the key to your success?

Well first, the system shock.  Continuing to challenge the business and the employees to do something differently than what they are used to. That was the biggest key, keeping people on edge to grow the business.

Having the buy-in from people collectively as a group was another big key, getting everybody together to move forward. And finally, looking further out time wise. We would look five years out or ten years out and not try to get caught up in what’s happening today to where you’re just reacting to the world that’s happening around you. That was a big culture shift for our business because my dad is a very reactive person. He’s happy when he goes home and he’s put out ten fires during the day.

Another challenge was keeping people motivated and energized, getting them where they are happy coming in to work wanting to do the things that were important.

-How did you feel when your father offered your younger brother a position with the company without asking for your input first?

At first I was angry, it was sort of taken as disrespectful, a lack of recognition for not only the position and work I was doing, but lack of recognition and respect for our relationship. That was my initial reaction to that. But then I asked myself, “Is this a family business?” and I really had to sit back and say, “All right, this is a family business and this may be best for us.” It doesn’t matter so much how I feel about it, I can make the most of this situation and make it as positive as possible.

-In 2007 your company got a very good offer from a competitor to get bought out and your family didn’t accept the offer. That was the first time that you didn’t feel you were in a family business—why?

It’s a big step for the family to say yes, we want to entertain an offer from another company, so you are basically saying that we are willing to give up what we built. And then as we got further into the negotiations, my brother, I, my parents, everybody had individual motivations to sell and they weren’t collective. It wasn’t where everyone was getting together and saying all right, what’s best for the family. That’s when I realized, Is this really a family business? And if it doesn’t feel like a family business maybe I really need to look at doing something else. And I was already feeling this way personally from other aspects because I was losing energy. I was burned out. I had been president of the organization for thirteen years but really running the business for fifteen years. I couldn’t convince my family to get a board of directors so I didn’t have a support network. I didn’t have any support systems where I could get honest feedback.

When I was running the business early on and up until when my brother got there, ultimately I was making decisions as president of the organization and I didn’t really seek my dad’s buy-in on those decisions. I just did what I thought was best and if my dad didn’t like them we would just end up fighting about it some but for the most part he ended up coming along on those decisions. When my brother came in things shifted and it became more of a democracy where decisions weren’t getting made. So I was really getting burned out. My dad and brother would be in alignment and I would be the outsider trying to do things. The business wasn’t moving forward, I wasn’t able to convince them to do things that I thought needed to be done. So now this offer comes in, we agreed to talk to this company and then all the personal motivations started to come out—what people are looking for. I said this just doesn’t seem like a family business. The motivations don’t really seem like we’re looking out for the family long term.

– After 15 years leading the company you decide to pass the baton to your younger brother. How did it feel?

It was a five-year process. It was two years of this very emotional cycle. The self-evaluation of what did I like about the business? What did I dislike? What did I get out of it personally? What were the challenges? What were my successes? What were my failures? Why would I want to stay? Why would I want to go? In that two-year process I just kept evaluating and at the end I realized that it was best for me to leave. For personal growth, for personal reasons that I needed to do something else. So at the end of the two years is when I told my parents; I didn’t talk to them before that period of time. Once I made the decision there was peace. I was happy with it. From that point on whatever I needed to do to help the transition I was willing to do. So my brother and I took on a co-president role for a year but ultimately he was making a lot of the decisions. I took on the CFO role during his first year as president and a year later, I stepped away from the business, realizing that my brother needed me to be away for him to be able to grow. He needed that autonomy to not have anybody to blame and only he himself to enjoy the successes. My brother had been in my shadow for all of his life.  I realized that I needed to step away completely so I did and now he’s got the chance to experience that on his own, which I think has been really good for him.

-If you had the chance to do it all over again what would you do differently?

I would have insisted on a board of directors. Looking back I would have found other ways to at least have found an advisory board because I think ultimately that’s where I lost my motivation. I think that would have made a world of difference, probably to the point where I might have had the motivation to stay around. And I would have had the different perspectives and views to where maybe the company could have gone in a different direction and maybe become even better. Also, I would have forced my family to do more communication collectively as a family. Unfortunately the conversations that I typically had with my dad or my mom ended up being business-related. So we didn’t have that connection on a personal perspective. I would have tried to find some creative ways to where the family could have done some things as family. Probably use some outside facilitators to do that. Other than that I don’t look back and have regrets. I had failures over time but I wouldn’t trade those because I learned a lot from those failures.

-Do you have a word of advice for Next Generation members who find themselves going through a similar situation?

You’ve got to find ways to stay energized. And for everybody that’s different. For me what I realized is that I needed a support system that was going to challenge me intellectually, professionally and personally. I didn’t have that so I would say for anybody that’s thinking of running their family’s business or that’s in their family’s business and they’re just feeling overwhelmed in the process is to find that support network. Whether it’s a group of peers, friends, or an advisory board, I think you need an outlet to let things go. You need an outlet to bounce ideas off. An outlet where you can get some validation and support that gives you that strength, that energy to make the hard decisions. For me the hardest part was for a lot of time I made a lot of decisions where I felt like I was on an island by myself. So you really don’t have a basis to say am I doing a good job, am I doing a bad job? People are social; we need people to share things with. To continue to be energized and challenged—that’s the best advice I can give.


What about you? Have you gone through a similar experience? What have you done to overcome it?



Written by Carmen Lence, Family Business Coach and Consultant at