How Reddit's Alexis Ohanian Balances Work and Family
For all the time and effort and hopes and dreams you put into growing your business, it’s no wonder that entrepreneurs often refer to their company as their baby.
The idea that you can figure out how to perfectly balance all aspects of your life is something of a myth, and it’s something Reddit and Initialized Capital co-founder Alexis Ohanian readily admits he doesn’t have figured out, as new husband and dad.
“It’s a constant tension, no doubt. It’s something I know I still struggle with. But like all things, it's just one more step on that walk of self-improvement,” Ohanian tells Entrepreneur. “The good news is that being an entrepreneur has in a lot of ways prepared me, because exercising those muscles are required if you want to have success as an entrepreneur. And they apply pretty nicely to being a good partner and parent.”
Ohanian says that his best work and family time consists of the same kind of “uninterrupted flow state” when he can be completely focused, whether on solving a problem in the office or spending time with wife Serena Williams and daughter Alexis Olympia.
Ohanian’s advice for anyone looking for that equilibrium is to take time to acknowledge milestones both big and small. The entrepreneur is partnering with Johnnie Walker to commemorate his first Father’s Day. “I figure when you're going to celebrate you do it with the best, and the Blue Label is my pick. Have a moment as a team to take a breath and to celebrate. This is not a short road. It's a very long road. And those moments are important.”
He also wants other new parents to not have to choose between their work and personal life, advocating that having a comprehensive parental leave policy is vital for a company’s long-term success.
“If you don't have one at your company and can do something about it, you should,” Ohanian says. “Both Reddit and Initialized have fantastic 16-week programs for parents. I hope more companies follow suit, because it's a huge asset when a workforce believes there's a process for taking time to be with their families and their jobs won't be at risk while they're away.”