Your whole life is controlled by two things: your beliefs & values – Tony Robbins
Boxing icon, Muhammad Ali, once commented: “In the big leagues everyone has ability. It comes down to mind games. Whoever is more mentally strong—wins.”
I live and work around men…strong, manly men…good men. I love and admire these guys. But, sadly, I have watched many of these men succeed at building thriving businesses, while their home-lives suffered. Their careers got their best; their families got the scraps. I HAVE BEEN that man! That is MY story. Winning on the job; losing at home. Thankfully, I have turned it around, and at this point in my life, am firmly convinced that if you don’t win AT HOME, you don’t win AT ALL. Very simple. Very straightforward.
Men, it is absolutely imperative that we win as husbands and fathers! There is so much on the line if we don’t. Family IS the BIG LEAGUES! We can’t afford to lose.
Regrettably, James Allen, in his classic book, As A Man Thinketh, observed: “People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they, therefore, remain bound.”
Question: Why is it that so many men are unwilling to improve themselves?
Because we have all sorts of “good reasons” (excuses) not to. Our minds are infected with subtle, but toxic beliefs that dissuade or discourage us from taking the time or making the effort to work on ourselves. And it is absolutely true: our whole lives are controlled by our beliefs and our values. Winning at home starts in our minds, the way we think, what we believe…and these mindsets set us up for failure…or at best, mediocrity.
I want to expose 8 subtle, but toxic beliefs that, initially, seem harmless, but sabotage our growth, and then replace them with specific beliefs that will set us up for success as husbands and fathers.
Toxic Belief #1: “I don’t NEED to grow!”
“Life Is Growth. If We Stop Growing, Technically And Spiritually, We Are As Good As Dead.” ~Morihei Ueshiba
That venomous snake of a belief was firmly lodged in my delusional and puffed up head just before my personal life and career crashed back in 2007. As I related in the last article, my wife and I had started a church with 17 people that had grown to over 1500 people in just under 3 years. I felt like I had the world by the tail. I was doing just “fine” (the real “f-word”). I didn’t need to grow…or so I thought.
The Bible states (and centuries of experience proves): “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit precedes a fall.” And I fell…hard. I was so bloody convinced of my invincibility because I was riding a wave of momentum and success. But this success and pride blinded me to my deep need to continue working on my heart, my mind and my soul. I lost my leadership position, my church family, my ministry…and almost my marriage.
Former NFL All-Pro defensive back and now author, Bo Eason, writes in his challenging book, There’s No Plan B for You’re A-Game: “You never want to get too high, and you never want to get too low. Don’t let your highest high be winning something; you always have to have something past that to look forward to…enjoy it, enjoy every minute, but then go back to work.”
“But then go back to work.” There it is. You always stay teachable, humble and hungry.
Brother, replace the toxic belief “I don’t need to grow” with this new belief: “I can NEVER stop growing.” That belief is your ally.
Toxic Belief #2: “I ASSUME that I will AUTOMATICALLY grow.”
Is this a safe assumption? Is growth automatic?
Several winters ago, I took a private downhill skiing lesson. On the way up the lift with my instructor, Ellen, I asked her when she had experienced the most growth in her skiing career. To my surprise, she stated that her progress had exploded just that year, when she herself had started taking private lessons. She told me that she had been skiing for 25 years, since she was 3 years old, and had become a “veteran with a lot of bad habits.” She had not become an “expert” until this year when she had intentionally focused on improving as a skier. Interesting.
For those of us who have been dads and/or husbands for a while, it is easy to shift into cruise control, assuming that we must be experts, or at least “good enough.” Nope! Bad assumption and bad move. With this mindset, it is more likely that we are “veterans with a lot of bad habits.” This applies to all areas of our lives.
Getting older doesn’t make us wiser, and growth isn’t like fine wine…improving because of age. We get “older” by just hanging around this planet, but we don’t automatically get “wiser.” Many times we get worse, and the bad habits become even more ingrained!
Dad, Husband…You are either struggling forward, or sliding backward…journeying uphill, or coasting downhill…growing or dying! It is toxic to assume that you are “automatically growing.” You aren’t. This belief will keep you from winning at home. Instead, chose this alternative, empowering belief: “Growth is NOT automatic. It requires daily, intentional work if I want to improve.” Let that one motivate you.
Tying it all together
It is toxic to believe that I don’t need to grow OR that I will automatically grow. Neither are true, and both keep me stuck and headed for a crash. The truth is that growth must be a life-long process that I work at on a daily basis.
In Part 2 of this article, I will address 2 more toxic beliefs. These ones are so bloody common, so easy to fall into…and so easy to justify!
How have either of these beliefs impacted you as a man, a husband or a father? Please share your thoughts in the comments section, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.