Our succession meeting with Dad lasted less than 1 minute…
I remember the day when Dad called my brothers and me into the office.
‘We need to talk about money’, he said.
I was 17 at the time, and I thought I was about to hit a bit of a jackpot.
I was wrong.
We all sat down facing his office desk, and he started: ‘your mother and I have made a decision. We are not going to give you boys any money or any inheritance. In the next year or so, we will sell this farm and need the money to live. We have educated you, but it stops there.’
We all just nodded, and that was the end of the meeting.
You would think that I may have felt rather upset that day, but instead, something magic happened to me. I have spoken to my brothers about this, and they also agree.
That was when each of us decided:
‘if it is to be, it is up to me’ – William Johnsen
I knew from that day that I was responsible for my destiny, and there was no plan B.
Mum and dad have since sold the farm and moved to the Sunshine Coast, and true to their word, there has never been a payment or handout. My brothers and I couldn’t be happier about this – we also all live here, catch up regularly, and don’t ever have any issues with money or fighting over inheritance.
Don’t get me wrong, we still have our differences, but it’s nice knowing we have our own independence and are trying to do the best we can.
There is an excellent story of a child that finds a butterfly struggling to fly. It has just emerged from its cocoon, and the child wants to help. So he tries to straighten the butterfly’s wings. After a few hours, the butterfly is still struggling, so he takes it to his dad, who is a vet. The dad explains to the child that the butterfly needs to be left alone – it needs to find strength in its wings to fly, and trying to help it will actually hurt it.
I love this story, and I have found that some of the greatest lessons I have learned have come in my most challenging times.
In my early days of running a business, I rang dad and asked to borrow $5k. He said no. It hurt me at the time, but I spoke with him about this later, and he did this to me as a favour. He helped me access another layer of creativity and resourcefulness by saying no. I had to think outside the box to find that money, and I could.
The fact that mum and dad helped us with our education was, in hindsight, the best inheritance we could have ever had.