Here’s something intriguing I recently learned: The characteristics of being a CEO and an adoptive parent are actually strikingly similar. Both require massive amounts of energy, the ability to balance multiple priorities and the ability to work well and empathize with others.
As a married man and hard-working father of three, I had constantly juggled balancing my home life with my professional career. As the CEO of a company which now operates in 150 cities across the country, I learned long ago that parenting multiple kids can pose quite the challenge to my ongoing lessons in leadership.
Then I upped that challenge: In 2017 my wife and I expanded our family through adoption, and it was the lessons I learned through that experience that really set me up for leadership success.
Alison and I always planned on having four children; however, after having our third biological child, we decided that we would adopt our fourth. At a church service, we were reminded of the overwhelming number of kids that need foster and adoptive parents. In fact, this has been an ongoing, even increasing, issue, with The Economist in 2017 reporting on a shocking number of children — 428,000 in 2015 — in the U.S. foster care system — up from 397,000 in 2012.
Though our biological kids were teenagers at that point, we decided to begin the parenting process all over again.
That process began quite suddenly: We were on our way home from a trip when our agency called to see if we would look after a 7-year-old girl for the weekend. Faith was in foster care, but not eligible for adoption. Yet, when they dropped her off, her foster parents told us that they would not be coming back to pick her up.
We were pretty overwhelmed at that moment, but instantly fell in love with this little girl, who rocked our lives.
The Department of Child Services then called to see if we would keep her and convert our status to foster parents. Faith has been with us ever since, and after a little over a year of being foster parents, on Sept. 28, 2017, we became her adoptive parents. We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of that watershed event and now can’t imagine our family without her.
Nor can I, as a business owner, imagine not drawing from the lessons about life and leadership that being an adoptive dad have taught me:
Read the lessons that this CEO learned from being an adoptive dad at entrepreneur.com