Friday, March 15, 2019

Mindset... it always starts with you.

 Today as we took a look around a new park Link was in a particularly foul mood. I think he stayed up too late last night. In his mind, everything was against him. He didn't like the park (his sister thought it was the best park she had "ever been too"), he was tired, he was sweaty, the bugs were biting... if it could go wrong for him it did and even things that were not wrong were aggravating him.

I found myself telling him straighten up, turn your attitude around, decide to have a good time and you will immediately start having one. After passing on this advice a few times, I found myself getting aggravated because he was ungrateful and whiny. I was starting to snap with my responses. Suddenly it hit me... I was not following my own advice. Here I am telling him to start acting like he's having a good time and turn his attitude around in order to turn a bad day into a good one, but I was doing the exact opposite. I'm trying to teach him that external input is a small part of the equation. Events happen, good and bad... some we can control, most we cannot. What we do have total control over is our reaction. I took my own advice and examined my reactions. As we walked over the boardwalk we saw a creek and I excitedly told the kids to watch my leaf. I cast it off and they all watched with intensity as my leaf swung around the bend, almost caught on a limb and tumbled along the shallow sandy bottom out of sight.

One of Link's sisters said, "Let's race!" I agreed and encouraged Link to grab a red leaf nearby. Everyone had a leaf in the water and several were stuck. I told them all to try again, there is no limit to the race leaves you can use! Soon all were smiling and tossing in leaves as I announced the leaf race as if it were the Kentucky Derby. Link's smile soon spread to his mindset and the rest of the walk was pleasant. We all spoke in the car about mindset and how we worked together to change Link's. I told him I was proud of how he was able to turn his day around and rewarded them with some sprinkler time once we got home.

It always starts with ourselves. The only thing we can control. The sooner we learn that we cannot control others, even our children's emotions and feelings then the sooner we can look inward to find the way to help them by helping ourselves.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Get Out Of Your Lane

It has been over 4 years since I last attended the Dad 2.0 summit. The last time I was there, I was in the throes of a separation and was heading back to the workforce after 5 years as a stay home dad. It was one of the most difficult times of my life as I had to say goodbye to a marriage and to my days full of my children and turn again to the corporate world.

I also had reached nearly 300lbs and was suffering from many weight related health issues. For a few years I flopped around in this limbo. I had bad habits, I had my children half the time and the other half I lived like I was a frat boy bachelor. My health spiraled further.

I was lucky enough to meet a woman who saw past my shortcomings and saw the version of myself that I had once sought. She loved me for the bits of that guy that still shined through. We started dating and were married about a year later. We blended our households and became the modern day Brady Bunch. We bought a house and started getting used to asking for a table for a half-dozen when we were out to eat. Unfortunately, my health did not improve much. I was happy and lost a bit of weight, but was still dealing with serious hypertension, high cholesterol and my blood sugar was on the rise into pre-diabetic levels.

After a year in our new home the doctor gave me some stern warnings and I decided that I needed to address my health. I reached out to a friend, started a nutritional program and lost 152 lbs combined (I lost 80 and my wife lost 72). It was during that time that I decided it was time to get out of my lane to change my body, my mind and my situation. I missed my time at home and made it my goal to find a way to support my family from home. Since the weight loss had changed my life so much, I looked into and became a health coach, soon I walked away from my previous career and have since helped over 60 people find healthier versions of themselves.

Then just last month, I attended the Dad 2.0 summit again, this time as a presenter and I had the amazing opportunity to speak with other parents about how they too could get out of their lane and make changes in their relationships, their jobs or any area of their lives with a clear goal, a plan and action. As usually, the summit was rejuvenating for me. To have the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best fathers on the planet (no kidding) and to rekindle friendships from those I only see online was amazing. This year was also a new experience, in that it was the first time I took my wife. It was fun to see her meet some of the characters from my online world in real life and for them to meet her and get to know her grace and kindness. We had an amazing vacation in San Antonio while attending the conference and she was able to see some of the movers and shakers I am always talking about.

It's nearly unbelievable to fathom how much a life can change, a person can change, in 4 short years. I just wanted to tell you all that your current reality does not have to dictate your future. It is never too late to make a change and to create the life you have dreamt of. Find your "why," set a goal, make a plan and do the work... that is how you change a dream to a reality.

I have so much to be thankful for and work everyday to pay it forward. If you have personal goals you seek to meet, go after it and do it hard. If I can help you in anyway, just reach out.

My wife and I when we met (above left) and now (above right and below).