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 curious and inquisitive, wow us with facts we never considered, and help put a smile on our face 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 were going to make it work but you do. There are a few things I’ve learned along the way and I know that other father’s will benefit. Because at no point in time does anyone say to you, hey here’s the blueprint to being super dad and successful entrepreneur – no big deal!’. In fact we stumble, experience guilt and lose sight of the greatness that exists 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 probably a little bias, 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 that 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 trips to speak at events come 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 a great opportunity to have lunch with your partner. Keep a calm demeanour and stick to a schedule or routine—when there is stability there is confidence, and confidence breeds success.
Always Be Conscious of your Circle
Think about it, we don’t want our girls hanging around with bullies, mean or dishonest children. So, we try to promote interactions with good kids – as most parents do, right? And so in business, 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 it was when you were a teenager. Maybe more even more so. As I mentioned above, we include our kids in a lot of our business related things, do that. You have two important families here, and it’s good if they get to know each other.
Celebrate and Take Pride in the Little Things
We all decided at one point in time 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. Maybe they will be the next president, a football star, greatest inventor or a Nobel Prize winner. However, if you only focus on the payout, you may miss out on the little wins. Like, losing a first tooth, 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. It is here, in the little things, that grow to the big ones!
Learn Something New Everyday
Whether it’s a new method of on boarding 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. In simple terms, be present—you don’t do anything well if you’re not fully engaged. I try and focus on work when I’m in business mode, and focus 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.
There will be times that 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 they know what to expect it 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.
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Choose to Shine,
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