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Ep. 17: Mark & Bethany Douglass Part I—Building a Family’s Future Using V-REEL

The V in V-REEL® stands for Value, but after visiting with Mark and Bethany Douglas, I’m thinking of another v word: versatility. The way Mark and Bethany are applying V-REEL is very versatile and, honestly, they surprised me.

Do try this at home.

Mark and Bethany are both entrepreneurs and have used the V-REEL framework in their businesses for a while now. Mark’s business, Fidelis Creative Agency, helps businesses look, sound, and perform better. They handle digital services, websites, media, and are expanding into digital marketing. Bethany’s business, Cloistered Away, is a lifestyle blog that is focused on simple, purposeful family living where she writes about keeping a simple lifestyle, recipes, resources for homeschoolers, and offers encouragement for parents.

But here’s the surprising part: Mark and Bethany shared V-REEL with their kids last year while driving around in their suburban on vacation. Wow! Now they’re using it together as a family to implement their strategic thinking at home. Double wow!

Mark says, “We didn't use words like ‘distinctive competency,’ but for our youngest, it was like, ‘What are those things that work against us?’ I tried to put it in language that they could grasp.”

One of the key points that came up in my conversation with Mark and Bethany is the fact that V-REEL is a language, or a way to have better language, about really important issues. Now the Douglas’ use V-REEL to talk about all kinds of issues, from the big ones, such as making family decisions and how to develop each kid’s talents and gifts, but also the day to day issues, like helping a child sort out emotions, plan the day, and be more efficient. This is even more important because the Douglas’ homeschool.

“It gave us terms and more specific language in the dialogue about how we negotiate our values. What are the factors that help us toward those things? What are the things that keep us from them?” says Bethany.

When a mission statement is not enough.

Thinking strategically is not a new idea for the Douglas family. They already had a family mission statement in place when we first met a while back and had zeroed in on fostering a culture that values creativity, education, and entrepreneurship.

But knowing where you want to end up doesn’t mean you know how to make it happen. 

Having the terminology and the framework to discuss things such as enabling factors, eroding factors, and longevity between themselves and also with their children helps them work together as a family unit. It also helps them train their children in the unique ways they will create value in the world. And what’s better for a child’s self-esteem than knowing they are not only of value but can bring value to the world with their rareness?

Don’t miss out on this one. It’s a must listen—even if you’re not a parent.