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Let them know they are prioritized and loved, with Dr. Ely Weinschneider and Ben Wright

At a basic level we all want to feel loved, cared for, and needed. If you spend any amount of time with a child you’ll know that this is ingrained in all of us from the very start of our lives. As children are observing the world around them, they notice when your attention is […]


At a basic level we all want to feel loved, cared for, and needed. If you spend any amount of time with a child you’ll know that this is ingrained in all of us from the very start of our lives. As children are observing the world around them, they notice when your attention is on them versus other things. If you prioritize other aspects of your life instead of spending time with your children, they interpret your actions to mean those activities are more important. People who grew up feeling prioritized and loved find it easier to relate to and love those around them as adults.


As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Ben Wright. Ben is CEO of Velocity Global, the leading provider of global employment solutions. The company is the first in the industry to provide end-to-end services that help companies expand globally using just one partner. Today, Velocity Global has over 100 employees with 10 international offices and is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. In 2018, Wright was named Entrepreneur of the Year for the Mountain Desert Region by EY and his company ranked number 4 on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America. Wright lives in Denver with his wife and two children.

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Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico as the son of a nuclear physicist and a health educator. Team sports were a big part of my childhood with some school sprinkled in. I always got fairly good grades but I wouldn’t say that school was ever my passion. No one in my family is in business so I never imagined a career in the business world. It’s funny how life works sometimes.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

I was an employee at a company and loved the work we did. Unfortunately, the culture of that company was to always hire from the outside. I kept trying to find my place in the senior ranks, but after the third or fourth time I was told “keep doing what you’re doing.” As another person was hired over me, I decided it was time to take my career into my own hands. I remember thinking, “if you’re not going to make me CEO then I’m going to start a company and give myself a CEO role.” Luckily at the same time the idea for this business appeared and the stars aligned!

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

Recently my normal day made a big evolutionary step, I transitioned from “all day, every day” meetings to 75% unstructured time. There are still bi-weekly recurring meetings with my Executive Team, but otherwise my day is mostly set aside for strategic thinking, market and public-facing activities, and general availability for our internal team. This is one of the many transitions over the first five years of the business and each are accompanied with some discomfort as I grow accustomed to my new role. But, one thing is clear at the present moment, my less structured schedule has been a great benefit to the overall business direction.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

At a basic level we all want to feel loved, cared for, and needed. If you spend any amount of time with a child you’ll know that this is ingrained in all of us from the very start of our lives. As children are observing the world around them, they notice when your attention is on them versus other things. If you prioritize other aspects of your life instead of spending time with your children, they interpret your actions to mean those activities are more important. People who grew up feeling prioritized and loved find it easier to relate to and love those around them as adults.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is important to make time to spend with your children?

I mean, let’s be honest about what’s more rewarding; putting out work fires or wrestling with your child?

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

  1. Living in Colorado we try to enjoy all of the gifts the state provides to its residents, and in the winter that means skiing! Most weekends in the winter we make the trek up to the mountains and spend two full days together. By the end of the winter there are days where you just wish you could stay home and be a couch potato, but it’s all of those interactions every weekend that bring us together as a family.
  2. This last summer we took two months off of work to be together as a family. And by being off of work, I mean my wife and I literally took email off of our phones and left the laptops at home. Without the usual work distractions, we became unbelievably close as a family and as a result, we know each other better than we ever have before.
  3. My son plays competitive baseball. Just last year he played in over 50 games and that’s hard to fit in with a busy work schedule. But every time he looks up and sees me in the stands, I know it’s all worthwhile.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

  1. Put the phone down when you’re with the children.
  2. Turn off the television.
  3. Believe that all time is your time. Whether you’re working, exercising, relaxing, or spending time with your children, it’s all your time. This allows you to stay more present in any situation.
  4. Try to say yes. Whether it’s a piggy-back ride, reading a story, heading to the park, or basically anything else related to spending time together, just say yes.
  5. Examine the activities in your life that don’t create value and eliminate those activities in favor of more quality time and attention with your children.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

A good parent is someone who cares enough about their children to have boundaries, but always shows love and compassion. One example is a couple of years ago when our daughter was having a hard time in school, as reflected by the grades she brought home each week. We sat her down and said “we love you and we know you have it in you to do better in school. We expect you to try your best because life is easier if you hold yourself accountable to hard work.” It was a hard conversation but when we were clear about our expectations and she started to change her behaviors accordingly, her mood improved and we found ample opportunities to celebrate and reward her successes, which made for a stronger relationship between us.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

We talk all the time about not limiting yourself with negative self-thought stories. Just today, I told the kids we were going to go ride our bikes on a mountain bike trail. My 7-year-old daughter burst into tears because she’d never done it before and was scared she’d crash and hurt herself. For the next two hours she kept mentioning how she was “going to crash.” So, I asked her to reflect on the story she keeps telling herself about crashing. I said, “what if you tell yourself that you are brave and you love to try new things?” It instantly changed her perception and wouldn’t you know it, she loved biking and enjoyed trying a new thing!

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

I define success as whether I made the world a better place during my short time on this planet. It doesn’t have to be history-changing improvements, just a small and incremental improvement is all that is required. Specifically, I focus my efforts in three areas: 1) did I take care of my family in every aspect? 2) have I given those that work for me a once-in-a-career professional opportunity so that they all have the tools to go on and give the same to their future employees? and 3) have I used my resources and abilities to give back to the community in which I live?

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

Radical Candor and Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. Radical Candor has shown me that in all aspects of my life I need to care personally, but challenge directly. And Thich Nhat Hanh has showed me that all time is my time, and that mindfulness makes me a better father and husband.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Teddy Roosevelt said this during his Citizenship in a Republic speech in 1910:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I love this quote on so many levels. Life’s rewards are reserved for those who live in action, regardless of the outcome. It’s not the dragon we must slay, but rather fear itself.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would start a movement that empowered every company and business leader to always put their people first above profits, ego, pride, and fear. I have worked for too many companies, before founding Velocity Global, that overlooked the very people that made those companies successful. I would want to create company cultures that were so rewarding for the employees that they refused to work for companies who didn’t celebrate their staff. At a grassroots level, we would cause culture-sucking organizations to fail or change their ways.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

About the Author:

Dr. Ely Weinschneider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in New Jersey. Dr. Ely specializes in adolescent and adult psychotherapy, parenting, couples therapy, geriatric therapy, and mood and anxiety disorders. He also has a strong clinical interest in Positive Psychology and Personal Growth and Achievement, and often makes that an integral focus of treatment.

An authority on how to have successful relationships, Dr. Ely has written, lectured and presented nationally to audiences of parents, couples, educators, mental health professionals, businesses, physicians and healthcare policymakers on subjects such as: effective parenting, raising emotionally intelligent children, motivation, bullying prevention and education, managing grief and loss, spirituality, relationship building, stress management, and developing healthy living habits.

Dr. Ely also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column about the importance of “being present with your children”.

When not busy with all of the above, Dr. Ely works hard at practicing what he preaches, raising his adorable brood (which includes a set of twins and a set of triplets!) together with his wife in Toms River, New Jersey.

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