Over two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ posed a show-stopping question:
“What does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process?”
That question alone is worth a week of silent contemplation. But for this article, I’d like to pose another version of that question for us hard-charging, success-oriented men…who also have wives and children.
“What does a man benefit if he builds a thriving, profitable career, but loses his wife and kids in the process?”
I’ve almost done it…twice. Third time around I’m figuring it out. It’s required a lot of failure and loss, much heart-ache, and an immense amount of personal work…but I’m figuring it out. I’ve had to grow, my friend. Lord knows, I’ve had to grow as a man, a husband and as a father. And I continue to work.
It’s likely that you are not as extreme as I was. You are probably doing quite a bit better than me, but at this point in the journey here is what I know:
· It doesn’t matter how successful you are at work.
· It doesn’t matter how many awards you’ve won for production or leadership…or anything else.
If you don’t win AT HOME, you don’t win AT ALL. Period.
And winning at home requires a die-hard commitment to ongoing…intentional…personal growth–a focused, consistent effort at getting better.
In the last article, I exposed and replaced 2 toxic beliefs that have infected our minds, and have kept us from growing.
· “I don’t NEED to grow”…replaced by “I can NEVER stop growing.”
· “I ASSUME I will AUTOMATICALLY grow”…replaced by “Growth is NOT automatic. It requires daily, intentional work if I want to improve.”
Here are 2 more.
Toxic Belief #3: “I Don’t Know HOW to Grow.”
“Everything is figure-out-able.” Maria Forleo
When I was in the 8th grade, I managed to solve the Rubik’s Cube in under 1 minute, start to finish. I was absolutely NOT the smartest person in the 8th grade, but I succeeded in solving it faster than almost all of my classmates. How? I desperately wanted to. I found books that taught me, I watched peers who were ahead of me, and I practiced and practiced until my cube was virtually falling apart. I memorized every move, and mastered the Rubik’s Cube.
How badly do you want to be a great husband? A great dad? It’s amazing how much time, money and work we invest in things that we are passionate about. The “I don’t know HOW to grow” belief is really an issue of passion.
Be bloody honest with yourself: Are you willing to be a mediocre husband? Are you willing to be a mediocre father? Are you willing to be mediocre in general?
If the answer is “YES”, then I’ve got nothing for you. I wish you the best. But if the answer to these two questions is “NO!”, then ask yourself these questions: Where do I need to improve as a man…husband…father?
Pull out a sheet of paper and write down your answers. Get very clear about this…and then, when you are clear, begin searching for the HOW! The old adage is absolutely true: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
Until then, try on this new, inspiring belief: “I have the ability and the resources needed to figure out how to become a phenomenal husband and father.”
Let that one fire you up!
Toxic Belief #4: “I don’t have TIME to grow as a husband and father.”
“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to.'” Lao Tzu
Have you thought or said this one? “I’m too busy…”
An article in the Wall Street Journal some time ago challenged its readers:
“What if, starting today, you were no longer allowed to utter the words: “I don’t have time.” Instead, you were required to say, “It’s not a priority.” Watch how quickly your perspective shifts when looking at life’s challenges this way:
· “I’d love to work out, I just don’t have time” becomes “Exercising isn’t a priority.”
· “I’d love to eat healthier, but I don’t have time to cook” becomes “Eating healthy isn’t a priority.”
· “I don’t have time to study” becomes “Studying isn’t a priority.”
Suddenly, the excuse of time becomes an incredibly weak argument.
When it comes to your family, “I don’t have the time!” becomes “Being an excellent husband and father isn’t a priority for me.” Stings a bit, huh?”
Reality: You DO have the time. You have 168 hours in a week, just like every other dad and husband.
The Law of Diminishing Intent states: “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”
Can you really afford to delay your growth in this area? What is the cost to you? What is the cost to your wife and kids?
The great sage, Bruce Springsteen, once declared: “A time comes when you need to STOP WAITING for the man you want to become and START BEING the man you want to be.”
Here is a much more powerful belief: “I can (and will) MAKE the time to become a great husband and father.”
You can do this, my friend.
Tying it all together
Success as husbands, fathers, and as men in general, requires that we deal ruthlessly with the toxic thoughts/excuses of “I don’t know how to grow” and “I don’t have time to grow.” We must choose to replace those toxic thoughts with this life-giving thought: “I will make the time to learn how to be a great husband and father”…because, at the end of the day, if you gain the world but lose your family, your sum total gain is ZERO. Don’t do it!
In Part 3 of this article, I will address 2 mindsets that have absolutely crippled me in the past, but no longer. They are subtle, but brutal, and have to be eradicated if you are going to grow and thrive at home…or anywhere, for that matter.
How do you make time to grow as a father or husband? Please share your thoughts in the comments section, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.