Many people say the shower, or on a walk, or while trying to clear their head of all thoughts during morning meditation.

Those are good, for sure, but for me, also good is when I’m hearing the experiences and perspectives of people who are doing something similar to me, but a bit differently, for whatever reason.

Earlier this summer, I spent 3 days conferring with 40 people who do somewhat the same job as me, but all in different settings, with different policies, populations, purposes. Everyone describes what life is like for them, and I go in there without any pressure to do anything differently, but allow myself to be washed over by the many ways to get from point A to point B.

At the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley, you may meet someone who uses the same materials, machines, or metrics; or eats the same sandwich as you every day; or whose grandfather started the company in the same year, or who has the same fear of failure, or success. They may have dealt with adversity 5 years ago in a way that inspires you to do it the same or different when it happens to you now. Maybe they warn you that they failed when they did what you’re thinking to do. Maybe the bravery they displayed in the story they told you makes you brave.

There are many things that make us resilient, inventive, and powerful, and certainly strategic schmoozing with others who survived/thrived helps us not reinvent the wheel as much; and to see the wisdom of sharpening our axes. If you still- after 23 years- have not stuck your toe in the water, by coming to one of our dinner forums or morning workshops (not to mention confidential peer groups), it’s about time to take us up on this idea!!

Please contact me to find out more, and to register. You can come to one as a guest of one of our member companies or strategic partners.

About the Author

The Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley is a resource for families in business, and one giant aspect of that is the next generation, working its way into leadership; often discovering how to operate as a sibling or cousin team; assuming the risks in a more competitive market than ever before; needing to innovate and evolve to avoid failure; and realize how to achieve that magic state of work/life balance, combined with doing what you love, as well as using your unique talents, different than what your family has known before. This page will be a place for you to connect, explore, and express yourself in the local and global communities of the Nxt Gen of family business.

Ira Bryck is president of the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley (in Western Mass). The center provides a learning community for family and closely held companies, which include dinner forums, confidential roundtables, and varied workshops; and produces the website and advice column, Dear Ira: Fresh Air and Cold Water for the Perplexed Business Family. Ira confers with entrepreneurial families on an array of usual and unusual challenges. He is the author of three plays about life in family business, including A Tough Nut to Crack, based on his 17 years in his family's 4th generation childrenswear business on Long Island, where he served simultaneously in every role from president to tailor. The plays have been performed internationally over 100 times. Ira hosts The Western Mass Business Show on WHMP in Northampton Mass, where he interviews business owners and expert advisors about what inspires them, keeps them awake, helps them succeed, and makes them unique.

For more info, contact Ira Bryck at 413 835 0810 or

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