Go beyond the business to draw inspiration from family, life

September 29, 2021 By    

Many people are feeling burned out at work and at home.

A 2021 survey by Indeed found more than half of respondents feel burned out, and more than two-thirds believe the feeling worsened throughout the pandemic. But perhaps there’s some comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

My job title is executive vice president at Paraco, but I’m also a parent, juggling responsibilities within and beyond my company in new ways. While it was chaotic at times, I noticed there were incredible business lessons that could be learned from an unlikely source – my children.

Paraco has always been a family business – from my family’s three generations of leadership to the second family we’ve created among our employees. But recently, I’ve started to expand that “family” view.

I realized there were things so obvious to children that we have lost sight of as adults – things that could tremendously benefit our leadership, the future of our businesses and the future of our industry.

Forgiveness and win-win solutions

Children’s conflict resolution is often somewhat of a roller coaster. However, I’ve noticed they are much more likely to come to a solution that’s pleasing to everyone. They can also be quick to forgive. Too often as adults, we are focused on ourselves and not willing to make sacrifices to benefit others – often to our own detriment.

Your choices in these situations can make or break the success of your company. If we strive for mutually beneficial resolutions like our children do, then we are more likely to have happier employees, satisfied long-term customers, successful mergers and acquisitions, adaptability as our industry changes, and overall business growth and longevity.

Honesty and transparency

Children are known for speaking whatever is on their minds. While parents have moments when that level of transparency may make them cringe, it’s a good lesson. Honesty and transparency mean less guesswork in wondering how a person feels, what they want, or what is really going on in a particular situation. As we get older, we lose comfortability with that level of transparency. But I have applied this in my professional life, encouraging my own team as well as owners of the family-run propane companies Paraco has acquired over the years, and I can tell you from experience that we’d all benefit from it.

Talking through our fears

When children are afraid, we encourage them to talk about their feelings, and we help them cope. As adults, fears may be different, but they still exist in the form of the same “what-if” scenarios in our heads. How many of us verbalize those fears, though? Discussing your fears could benefit your company from a risk management perspective, or it could help you strike a better deal for a merger or acquisition. Even discussing personal fears can reduce anxiety and help us achieve more success in our careers and with our businesses.

Dreaming about the future in detail

Christina Armentano


Do you remember what you wanted to be “when you grow up”? As children, we plan for the future based on the things we enjoy, and children are very specific about the details for this dream future. It seems simple, but this concept of taking time to dream about your future gets lost in the daily tasks – or in our fears – as an adult. We may spend time daydreaming about a component of our future, but too often it remains just that – a dream. We should all dedicate time to articulate exactly what we want for our personal goals, our careers and the legacy we want to leave for our business and this industry.

When we feel stress, anxiety or uncertainty, these simple lessons from our children can give us direction. The importance of taking a step back, looking at the bigger picture in life and reflecting on everything around you collectively is a critical aspect to operating a business – from interacting with employees, to growing a customer base and achieving a successful integration after a merger or acquisition.

The key is to embrace your inner child.

Christina Armentano is executive vice president at Paraco. She can be reached at 914-250-3736 or carmentano@paracogas.com.

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