This newsletter is titled Family Office Perspective as I hope to deliver valuable ideas from the family office and family governance worlds for all families fortunate enough to have champions like you, dear reader, to receive them.
I started a series on CanadianFamilyOffices.com about my favourite governance tool (besides storytelling) called the Family Bank, check it out!
The wealth equation is my main perspective, the main chord progression so to speak, and these newsletters are all different riffs. So, the wealth equation:
FAMILY WEALTH = FA (HC + RC)
Because the equation is multiplication, there is a clear relationship between deploying resources into your people and relationships and the ability to amplify wealth.
I’m often asked for examples of investing resources into people and relationships. While I often cite investing in more impactful family vacations, adding things like family meetings, videography, and rituals to the traditional luxury and comfort we all love about vacations, it occurred to me recently that another word, not “vacation”, is more appropriate for families when determining ways to make their limited time together more valuable.
The word of the day is: pilgrimage.
However you define your tribe; a pilgrimage is one of the strongest examples in history of effective human development.
I last experienced a pilgrimage following the steps through the Andes and entering through the Sun Gate to Machu Pichu; an ancient pilgrimage.
My regulatory and compliance lawyer Don Campbell recently made the pilgrimage to Omaha, Nebraska. A journey common to those drawn to the Oracle of Omaha. If the term can apply to an investment firm’s AGM, it can certainly apply how your family intends to use it!
I recommend shedding past uses of the term and focus on how you would define a family pilgrimage. Adopt an important term.
So how does a family invest in a pilgrimage. What are the components?
I have reduced my definition of a family pilgrimage to three components. They are: the journey, unplugging and time. A pilgrimage should include movement within an atypical space, a unique space, hopefully an awe-inspiring space. This creates a natural environment to enjoy new perspectives and thoughts.
In line with designing a unique journey that is unique and requires time and effort, the journey should occur unplugged from your smartphone and regular life. Again, to create a unique and quiet space.
Finally, a family pilgrimage should include family time. The time together, particularly without outside influences in unique space, will no doubt create situations where the people you know best will be different, where everyone will get to think and speak. Family time is always valuable (it is why I love family meetings) and spending time together on a pilgrimage will be uniquely valuable. Perhaps it will become an annual or biannual family ritual!
Pilgrimages are often individual pursuits, in fact some definitions require that they are individual in nature. Although I’m recommending a family pilgrimage, perhaps there are sections journeyed alone. There is something so rewarding and healthy about spending quiet time with yourself. Whether your thoughts are abstract, the mind is quiet, or you explore questions really important to you at that time, any which result is valuable to improving your relationship with yourself.
Although I do not journal, I’ve read that one of the benefits of journaling is similar; organizing your thinking as a form of healing and meditation.
These key principles and the overarching ability to live intentionally and adapt. These are the ways to survive for generations.
There’s something so valuable about rituals, ways that groups remind themselves about what they stand for and care about. Clearly rituals like pilgrimages are valuable: I’ll spend a future newsletter on this 🙂
However you define your tribe; a pilgrimage is one of the strongest examples in history of effective culture building.