A friend of mine, Alex Stoddard, recently asked if I had a Monday Morning Boost for young fathers trying to get their career going and what it was like when I was starting out.
I didn’t have a Monday Morning Boost for this young father. At least not specifically.
So I wrote this one.
PROVIDING & NURTURING
I hardly slept when I was a young father.
At least that’s what it felt like.
I look back 20 to 25 years ago and it seems like I was always hustling between jobs, school, and home, trying to make enough money to feed our rapidly growing family.
I’ve always struggled to find a balance providing financially for my family and providing nurturing for my family.
While I was going to school fulltime, I also worked several part-time jobs. For most of those school years, I worked as a maintenance worker for USU housing, a custodian at Daedalus Research, a page designer at the USU Statesman student newspaper, and circulation director for the Cache Citizen community newspaper. Then one weekend a month I was a soldier with the National Guard.
My schedule had me in classes during the day, work on most evenings, then 3-4 overnight shifts cleaning the shop out at Daedulus. It was a busy time and sleep was pretty non-existent. I sometimes wonder how I managed.
I share the details to give you this perspective:
I was so worried about paying the bills I overlooked how important it was to be home with my wife and children.
But sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do. There is a time and a season for everything, and that was the season for me to get an education and work hard.
At least that’s what I thought.
That’s wrong thinking. Sure, you have to work hard and pay the bills. But you also have to play with your kids, do the dishes and laundry, and tuck them at night. I did some of all of that, and much more. I wish I would have done it more often.
LESSON LEARNED: If I could change one thing from those younger years I would focus less on the providing and more on the nurturing.
The schooling and hard work paid off.
As doors opened up, opportunities unfolded. I found an entry-level job in marketing. That opened the door for a great job in radio. And that eventually created an incredible opportunity to build Red Edge Marketing.
I still have to hustle to make it work. Hard work is still a constant companion. I have also discovered if you really want something you need to go create the opportunities that open the doors.
A big part of creating opportunities is building solid relationships with people you can help. When you help others grow the more successful you will become. Success is measured, as Adam Grant teaches, in what your success does for the people around you.
LESSON LEARNED: If I could change another thing from those younger years, I would believe more in my ability to create opportunities.
I wish I would have better-realized earlier how important it is to talk with your spouse. I wish I would have known how to share my frustrations and self-doubts, along with my dreams, excitement, and plans for the future.
As men, we tend to be too quiet in communicating. Our wives need us to talk to them. They also need us to listen openly and sincerely, without trying to fix things.
I’m still working on both of these and grateful I have a very patient and understanding wife.
LESSON LEARNED: If I could change another thing from those younger years, I would talk more with Elisa.
JOY IN THE JOURNEY
Finding joy in the journey was one of the most important elements that gave me the boost I needed in those young years.
It still does today.
Even during some of the most difficult parts of the journey, like going through cancer in my twenties and deploying to Iraq a decade later, I discovered an amazing presence of joy.
Joy opens our hearts and our minds to see things we can’t see when our vision is clouded by doubt, sorrow, frustration, discouragement, stress, anxiety, etc.
That joy for me is centered around my family. Despite wishing I had spent more time nurturing, I’m grateful for the time I did spend.
LESSON LEARNED: If I could change another thing from those younger years, I would look for more joy inside myself and within my family.
I suppose there are many more things I could share with Alex. These will suffice for now. I hope they will mean something to him, and to you. But it’s alright if they don’t.
They mean everything to me.
Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to ponder what you would share.
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