I mark the walls to progress my kid’s growth. Sometimes they don’t seem to grow. Other times, they’re shooting upward. It’s the same for our personal or professional progress. Sometimes we can see and measure it. Other times, we feel stuck in place. Just because the things we can see with the naked eye aren’t trending upward doesn’t mean we aren’t growing. The growth we can’t see is the making of us.
Month: March 2023
50% custody, 100% dad
Although my children’s other parent and I share equal physical and legal custody (50/50), I am fully committed to being a father and being involved in my children’s lives even when they aren’t physically with me.
This means I prioritize spending quality time with them when I have them and staying involved and engaged in their life even when they are not physically present. It means I am committed to providing my children emotional support, guidance, and stability, regardless of custody arrangements.
50% Custody, 100% Dad means I have made doctor and dental appointments, and I have researched and pursued other vital matters such as braces or not, such as speech therapy, and who to call. I have signed each of the children up for sports and purchased the necessary equipment for said sports, and attended every game. I have coached my son’s football team. I have been involved in my children’s academic progress. I have spoken with teachers about matters. I have attended conferences. I have created one-on-one play dates. I have followed up on themes that enrich each child. I have purchased clothing and shoes as necessary. I have made it a priority to arrange my schedule so that I am available. I take them to school each morning and pick them up in the afternoon. And now it’s Sunday, and I’m playing board games in the living room while watching the meatloaf in the oven.
“50% custody, but 100% dad” expresses my dedication to being an active and engaged father, regardless of custody arrangements.
I love them! They are worth 100% of my commitment.
Send a card to someone you appreciate in the mail
Not a text, not a DM on social, not an email. Not even a phone call. This is an envelope with a stamp the delivery person brings to your mailbox.
Imagine the recipient of said note when they check their mailbox. Unsuspecting of this remarkable communication they are about to receive.
Typically, they would sift through credit card offers, coupons, and ads. Nothing unusual or exciting. Nothing to take notice of.
Yet on this particular day, mixed in with the junk mail, is the envelope from you. Something different.
You now have their attention.
The pull of this envelope is more potent than a 15-second Tic Tok video and more urgent than scrolling news headlines. Almost nothing on a screen can compete with your note.
They will even put their phone down. Opening the envelope requires two hands.
Congrats, you have cut through the noise. And you’ve done so with the most authentic intentions.
Curious. They waste no time opening the envelope. Then read something you wrote just for them, which feels positive and uplifting, and they feel appreciated.
In that moment of appreciation, they have zero negative feelings. They are filled with goodness. You have just made their moment.
This gesture may cause the grateful recipient to perform a similar act and pass it forward.
The simple act of following up on your kindness promptings will change the world.
Imagine if you made this five-minute habit a daily practice and wrote something worth sending daily for a year. One person at a time, day after day. It compounds.
- Would this make a positive difference in the world? Your world?
- Could this be the righteous act that conscientiously objects to taking sides, joining tribes, or making others wrong?
- Could this be the path of positive resistance you’ve been looking for?
I believe it’s worth a try. I have started and stopped and started again with this practice.
I can report that this happy habit won’t just rock the world of others but also your world. With consistent practice, your attitude, your ideas, and your entire trajectory will begin to improve.
Before you know it, you’ll be looking for the good in your daily encounters, and when you’re looking for the good, it’s impossible to be looking for the bad simultaneously.
If you’re the type of person that looks for the good, the good will find you. You become more “attractive.”
Let’s say you decided to try this for a week. Seven consecutive days. Who would be the first recipient, and what would you communicate?
Progress doesn’t arrive if I retreat into isolation to perfect my work. I never emerge with a masterpiece. Instead, I evolve in public, which means showing up and being prepared to deliver. I don’t find it comfortable to think aloud or persist through failure to produce “good enough” work. Yet that’s how I’m getting better. Day by day. Assignment by assignment. Client by client. Blog post after blog post. Drip, drip, drip. I show up ready to my home office. In doing so, I refine and deliver – through personal practice, collaboration, mentorship, and ultimately the market. This awareness is part of the work. The idea lends itself to anything worth pursuing.
At coffee with an ideal customer
“I don’t know what to write,” he said.
We took a “Zoom coffee” meeting together.
Then he proceeded to talk about his business for 40 minutes.
Everything he talked about, I imagined as blogs, emails, and social media posts.
He had plenty of “content” but perhaps didn’t realize it.
I ended with this:
It’s like you’re at coffee with your ideal customer. What would you say?
You’d share a recent encounter at your store; you’d explain something about what you do that only you know; you’d articulate the resonant voice in your head; you’d speak into an insight you can’t ignore; you’d exclaim what you’re excited about, and sometimes you’d try to say what you almost know but can’t quite explain.
For the right people, This is something worth telling.
If you’re stuck on content creation, have coffee with your ideal customer, and listen to what you say. That’s the content you want to share.
The things we fear to initiate don’t come with instructions. Read that again, and think about all your problems. There aren’t any instructions. The things we fear to initiate don’t come with instructions.
If there aren’t instructions for a problem, let’s apply “possibility.” Let’s explore what happens when we take an assumed rule and throw it out. Let’s not hesitate to apply this to our problems.
Let’s seek all of the favorable potential outcomes and choose the one we want to map back to. Yesterday I turned 47, and this is how I’ve arrived feeling. I won’t forget this idea and will carry it to age 100.
The things we fear to initiate don’t come with instructions. I love the word “initiate” because its main ingredient is a possibility. Possibility says it can be done. Possibility says we don’t need instructions.
Then why do I feel like a nervous fifth grader? I could blame society, school, or my parents, but I am the change. I believe in possibility. So, new story.
Our perception of life is a product of the frames through which we view it.
I think it works like this:
Our beliefs shape our understanding of the world around us. This influences our sense of urgency, our crises, and our decisions. All the things! Even though there are many truths in the world, we often focus on specific aspects, such as expectations, desires, or notions of justice or injustice. This self-selected “truth” becomes the foundation upon which we base our lives and everything else we encounter.
Sometimes, this leads to feeling stuck and the frustration that follows.
“Possibility” is about changing our beliefs, transforming our perspective, shifting our priorities, and unlocking new opportunities.
So the question is, how do we shift our mindset to one of possibility, and the answer is we don’t know. It doesn’t come with instructions.
Wayfinding takes different forms, such as discovering our path, accomplishing tasks, and altering our beliefs. In other words, wayfinding requires us to be open. To stay open. Wayfinding requires faith.
The most challenging part -“Going for it” has to balance with “This might not work.” That never feels comfortable, but what if instead of turning the other way, we saw that as a sign that we were on the right track? That’s a muscle that has to be worked through the repetitions.
This “possibility” through facing the fear of wayfinding is what I define as personal growth and fulfillment. It starts with recognizing the power of our beliefs and challenging them. Doing so can change how we view the world, our problems, and ourselves.
I’m trying, and if you’re reading this, I know you are too. Cheers!
I help owners find customer stories. Then, in a workshop setting, we get the communication “right” – together – to amplify these stories. Actual individual customers. Not just how many people they serve. Instead, how they helped one person, one family, one business. This includes finding, owning, and sharing these stories, which enables an owner to demonstrate that they are not just a company that measures up. More importantly, they are a company that matters.
If there’s one thing I love doing, it’s working with another business to find and highlight their best customer stories. That’s what I enjoy about my relationships, too – listening for a story, and the story makes your ideas matter.
Look away from the pack
Alternatively, I could look away from the pack.
There’s more room to move. More room for error, too. That is part of what is scary. There’s more room for growth. More room to spread my wings.
For example, SEO company websites look and feel the same. Freelancers, too. Most florists sell the same flowers, maybe wrapped in different paper. The gyms have similar training schedules. Real estate agents run the same mailers. For most, if the formula looks like it’s working, we’re happy to follow it. Of course, follow the well-trodden path!
But… if we stick with anything long enough, heading AWAY from the pack could be best because most people don’t risk going where everyone else isn’t, and in the long run, this is how I set myself apart. It’s still too early to tell, and I have much more work in front of me.
Ass in seat at 5 A.M.
With my (freelance) writing or any creative endeavor, I must “put my butt where my heart wants to be.” If I want to do work that matters and continue leveling up, I must show up regularly, regardless of setbacks or challenges,
ie. Hello, 5 AM = Ass in the seat at the kitchen table.
Where does your heart want to be, and are you willing to put your butt there, too?
As a single dad, I juggle a full-time day job, freelance writing work, and parenting three kids. It’s a balancing act that requires me to manage myself effectively. As Seth Godin points out, we are often our own worst bosses.
So I’ve been thinking of myself as “the boss.”
With three competing tasks vying for my attention, I feel overwhelmed. Yet, I am grateful for the flexibility my day job and freelance writing provide. It’s a privilege and a right to pursue upward mobility and provide for and protect my kids.
To succeed, I try to set clear goals, establish a routine that maximizes my productivity, and care for myself physically and emotionally. Still, there are times when I falter and waste time.
Ultimately, the responsibility falls on me to hold myself accountable. It can be a daunting task, but when I am successful, it’s gratifying.
As the boss, I’m removing the title of “Boss.” Instead, I will continue striving to be the best Director of Self I can be, for myself, my kids, and my day job. I’m a lousy boss. I’m becoming a better Director.
How are you achieving the right balance to move forward without dropping all that’s good and precious within the status quo?