I treasure long relationships. Gloria and I have been married 35 years and have been together even longer. I work a lot with my family; my brother, Papo, and his wife are the CPAs for all of my businesses. And many of our employees have worked with me for so long that they feel like family.
But let's face it: Not every day is going to be perfect. The keys to strong, solid relationships are communication, loyalty and respect. When you express clearly what you think, make a commitment to work together and appreciate what the other person brings to the mix, you're on the right path to success.
Communicating is more about listening to what people say than telling them what you want them to hear.
With my kids, Nayib and Emily, I spent a lot of time explaining and answering questions. Even then, I tried to let them find their own way. I'd say, "Listen, if I were in your place, I might do this, but that doesn't mean you have to."
And as a producer, I find that works with successful artists. They have a lot riding on their decisions. They may want to continue down a familiar path, but the world is always expecting something special and unique from them. I help by giving them the confidence to take a risk, to try something new, then let them ultimately choose what sounds best. It's the same process working with Gloria: We discuss her choices, but the final decision rests with her.
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Just as communication is a two-way street, so is loyalty: Artists I produce may find they need more attention or a different point of view. I wish them the best and strongly support them as they evolve and work with other producers. With even my own employees, I always encourage them to grow and move on when opportunities present themselves; I'm always thrilled when they use their talents in different ways in my businesses, and happy for them as they evolve professionally. Maintaining communication, loyalty and respect means continuing relationships through life's changes.
A chapter in Life Reimagined: Discovering Your New Life Possibilities discusses the importance of Life Reimagined's second step, Connect. "Social isolation," it says, "can take up to seven years off of your life." Life is short enough! Talk to people, and listen to them. Commit the best of yourself to your family and friends. Treat others with respect and they will reflect that back on you. That may help you live longer, and I know for certain it will help you to live a happier life.
Emilio Estefan is a music mogul, a restaurateur, a father, a husband and a philanthropist. As Life Reimagined ambassador for AARP, Emilio will share his expertise on a variety of subjects, including his passion for living, mentoring, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and much more.