Being a father is one of the greatest gifts I have ever experienced. It is incredible the things kids teach us about life. You know, those things we sometimes overlook, their resilience and just overall love for life.
They are inquisitive, wow us with facts we never considered, and help put a smile on our faces even in darker times.
Children push us to limits, challenge rules and boundaries, and help us become the best versions of ourselves. They teach us about kindness and saying how we feel. Additionally, they help us live in the moment and appreciate the little things like ice cream sundaes or a butterfly landing on a flower.
And I (Tony) say all this to say, gosh, being a father first and entrepreneur second can take a toll. Some days I wasn’t sure how we would make it work, but you do. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I know that other fathers will benefit.
Because at no point does anyone say to you, hey, here’s the blueprint to being a super dad and successful entrepreneur – no big deal!’. In fact, we stumble, experience guilt, and lose sight of the greatness in both worlds.
4 Things a Father who is also an Entrepreneur Needs to Know
Sarah and I are truly blessed with two children — whom many people have come to know through social media. Although I am slightly biased, they are two of the most incredible human beings. We are fortunate that they have been able to join us in several aspects of our business; trips, events, and the occasional Facebook Live appearance (surprise ones at that!).
But it wasn’t always easy.
It took some figuring it out — but for the most part, we’ve nailed it (most days!).
Expect the Unexpected, No Joke
Kids get sick, meetings fall through, and last-minute travel to speak at events comes up. Being a father and an entrepreneur has taught me to think fast and get comfortable dealing with or managing the unexpected.
So, take advantage of surprise breathers. 9:00 p.m. is a great time to catch up on emails after you’ve put your kids to sleep. A canceled Zoom meeting becomes an excellent opportunity to have lunch with your partner. Keep a calm demeanor and stick to a schedule or routine. When there is stability, there is confidence, and confidence breeds success.
Always Be Conscious of Your Circle
We don’t want kids hanging around with bullies or mean or dishonest children — obviously!
So, we promote interactions with good kids – as most parents do, right?
And so, how I translate this in business is, I surround myself with leadership, corporate staff, and business partners who have my back, understand the business, and work hard— overall, good people. Your circle as an adult is just as important as when you were a teenager. Maybe even more so. As I mentioned above, we include our kids in many of our business-related things.
Celebrate and Take Pride in the Little Things
We all decided at one point to be entrepreneurs because we’re motivated by the culture, the challenge, the income, and the flexibility. As fathers, we want the best for our kids.
They may be the next president, a football star, the greatest inventor, or a Nobel Prize winner.
However, you may miss the little wins if you only focus on the payout. Like, losing a first tooth, taking the first steps, achieving a milestone, and writing a report about pandas. Some of my most memorable accomplishments are the smallest ones. Take time to celebrate these wins.
Here, in the little things, it grows to the big ones!
Learn Something New Everyday
Whether it’s a new method of onboarding clients to create duplication or the scientific word for a frog specialist (it’s herpetology, by the way), listen intentionally to those around you. Some of my best ideas, insights, and perspectives have come from my kids.
Be present—you don’t do anything well if you’re not fully engaged. I try to focus on work when I’m in business mode and on my kids when I’m with my kids. Building a Lego castle in the playroom and responding to messages on Facebook makes for a wobbly castle.
Sometimes you are in full-out crush-it mode, and your child needs you.
Although you may feel some frustration at the time, their smile or whispering, ‘I love you, Daddy, ‘ changes everything. Be open and honest with your kids that there is daddy-work-time and daddy-time.
Creating a schedule – a visual one is best – is priceless. Get them involved in coloring it with you or drawing the lines in. When we know what to expect can help tremendously. Balancing the two takes practice, but totally worth it.
Truth is, being an entrepreneur has helped me become a better father and vis versa.