I have launched two companies in my adulthood adventures, one pre-fatherhood and one post. While both companies were started from scratch, the decision to “go or no-go” were two drastically different considerations. As a father, there were little footsteps in the company’s vision that were only going to get bigger. These footsteps created doubt like I had never experienced.
Previously, there was no question that I could just suck up any shortcomings by living on less, working more, and traveling to the far reaches of the world to “get’r done.” With an expanded title beyond entrepreneur, there was now a pull (and strong desire) to be around for first steps, baseball games, school plays, lunches to be made, the hard conversations, and family vacations. Life was instantly bigger than my career, but my career had to now fuel life.
Obviously, this is true for all parents, not just entrepreneurs, but there is something very haunting when your six-year-old asks “are we going to be homeless if FluidStance doesn’t work?” Can you say gut check? While I use this as fuel to make this dream a reality and to show my kids how to create change in the world, I would be lying if I didn’t admit in the dark of night that I sometimes consider if “we” would have been better off if I had just kept my head down and picked up a corporate check every other Friday.
Thankfully, in the calm of a weekly adventure in nature, I typically come back to the reality that my most important job as a father is to live my most authentic self. I show my boys and the FluidStance® team that life is an act of dynamic balance, not just being great in one silo of my life. Sure, the ratios as a father change the dynamics of that life balance, but the importance of leaving space to pursue personal “dreams” as an individual should not be lost with family, customers, or payroll.
A friend once told me he had three quick dashboard items he monitored as a father:
- How am I doing in my own body?
- How is my family life?
- How is my career?
It is a simple checklist to maintain balance as a father. If you’re honest with yourself, you will be surprised how many times you are just getting by in only one of these categories. Typically, it is our body that is last to get our attention. In my early years as a father, I spent more money and time teaching our boys to swim than on my own personal sustainability. It is easy to hide in the “honor” of sacrifice, but it is ultimately just a way to hide from doing our own hard work to realize our greatest potential as an individual, parent, or entrepreneur.
With this fatherhood checklist, I have landed on a formula that life’s responsibilities should consume 70% of our time. It is our job to provide the basics of those who depend upon us. Furthermore, 20% of our time should be invested in creating organic extensions of ourselves, making sure we continue to grow by learning new skills, hobbies, seeing new places, and meeting new people. Lastly, it is paramount that we invest 10% of our awake hours and resources in our personal innovation. Making sure your own body, mind, and spirit are better in the next decade than they are today. If history proves itself, this small investment will have the greatest ROI in our legacies – as a person, father, and as an agent of good.
How about you...how do you balance fatherhood with the rest of life? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.