I was at our quarterly Advance Leadership Workshop this week. The facilitator had us in groups of two discussing a simple problem. My partner for the experience was talking about his daughter and how she was having trouble identifying friends of reason, season, and for life.

I’d never heard this before and asked him to say more. “In our lives, we find that we have friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for life,” he explained. I knew exactly what he meant. I have soccer friends (a reason), college friends (season) and several deep relationships that have spanned over 25 years (for life).

My thoughts turned to business. I did a quick mental search through my career. I thought I would own my first business for life, but it turned out to be a season. I have invested in start-ups to get specific experiences – a reason. I have developed personal purpose and mission statements that help me choose opportunities – for life.

I find that a lot of owners and CEOs look at business and their careers as near-term problems to solve and fires to put out. That kind of work feels productive, but it makes for bad decision making. By looking at your business and career through a lens of reason, season, and life, you can put perspective on a situation.

When is it time to exit your business? You want to change careers or find a new path. What do you do about a partnership where you both have different visions for the future of the business?

If you get into a helicopter and look down on your life, where do you plot your current situations, challenges, or opportunities? Reason, season, or life? How does that change your perspective on what to do next?

Dan Cooper
Post by Dan Cooper
May 7, 2018
Dan Cooper co-founded ej4, a video-based online training company, in 2003, and was its CEO until selling in 2012. During his time with ej4, he grew the company from a startup to a nationally-recognized firm, serving clients including Pepsi-Cola, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Honeywell, Monsanto and Syngenta. Channel partners included SAP and Oracle. As of the 2012, ej4 was serving 1,000+ customers, delivering millions of program views, was highly profitable and debt-free. Today, he is the CEO of Acumen, a mastermind community platform built for CEOs and Owners of strong and growing companies. He and his wife, Ali, have three children and attend Cure of Ars church in Leawood, KS. Dan enjoys running, all things soccer — coaching, playing and watching —and burning all types of meat on the backyard barbecue grill.