You can always make more money, but you can’t ever get back missed memories.
If you’re a dad, there will always time for the things you like, but never enough time for the things that you love. The last 10 months of fatherhood have taught me an incredible amount about life and I want to share them here with you.
Here are the five powerful lessons that fatherhood is teaching me right now:
1. There’s no time for laziness
I’ve never thought of myself as a lazy person, but this was still a HARD lesson I had to learn. I had to become much more efficient and strategic in my work and life. As a father, there’s no time to fool around when you’re responsible for brand new life.
A virtual mentor of mine, Dale Partridge, often says something along the lines of, “you don’t work so that you can work more, you work so that you can work less.” It’s my goal to make sure I don’t stay at the office any later than 5:30 p.m. I also am very committed to at least 1.5 days off each week. I usually work Saturday mornings on writing and consulting, but try to shut my laptop off by noon and take the rest of the weekend off.
The crazy paradox is that now, good work is more valuable than ever—but it’s not more important. My family needs me to provide better than ever before, but I can’t spend all my time working.
The truth is that I can’t sit at home on the carpet and race hot wheels all day, but I can work smart so that I don’t miss those special moments when they come around.
2. My wife is super tough
For the last 10 months I don’t think my wife has slept for more than two-hours at a time. That means she’s tired most days, even when she has a lot of things to do, especially tough and time consuming things like grocery shopping, washing and drying laundry, cooking dinner, planning, and more.
In my opinion, being a stay-at-home mom is the toughest job on the planet, and Rebekah is absolutely killing it. I’m so proud of her and thankful that I picked her to be my baby mamma.
3. Everything must have purpose
I believe that family is everything, so that means I’m fully committed to serving my wife and children in a way that helps them thrive, and you should too.
There are many things that will come in contact with your family over the years, from new business opportunities, to new friends and new communities. But dads need to make choices and decisions that support the identity and purpose of each member of their family.
For every opportunity that comes my way this year, I’m committing to asking a set of questions to filter whether or not it promotes a purpose for us or not. The process goes something like this:
Will this opportunity strengthen my relationship with God, my wife, and children?
Will this opportunity support my current business lifestyle, and not distract or detract from my other business goals?
Will this opportunity make me a happier, healthier, and a stronger person?
If I can answer yes, and only yes to each of these questions, then it’s an opportunity that will help us thrive with purpose. If I answer no to any of these questions, it’s a purpose killer and will end up making one or all of us unhappy somewhere down the road.
4. What I do matters
The days where my choices and actions don’t have a long-lasting impact are over. Everything I do is either imitated or soaked up by Peter.
For example, the way I treat work for the next 20 years makes a big difference how Peter will approach work in his life. I want him to have a healthy view of work, and that means hustling smart—a lesson I’m still learning myself.
Peter also watches how I treat his mom. Am I hugging her, kissing her, and encouraging her every day? He definitely notices, and will likely treat her with the same amount of love and respect.
My dad always told me that mom is a “delicate flower.” My job was to treat her like one. That kind of love is the legacy I want to pass on to Peter.
5. It’s not about the things
More often than not, my plans and to-do lists are focused on the things that need to get done. Whether “the things” are writing a blog post, reaching out for new partnerships, planning a vacation, or paying bills, a day’s tasks are too often focused on things, not people.
If our daily tasks are instead focused on people instead of things, we’d all hear more laughing, see more smiling, and feel less stressed. As Peter grows throughout the years, I want him to know that the people in his life are more important than anything, like chores, cars, or profit.
For the next year—and far into the future—I’m committing to building a thriving life for my family that supports hard work, love, purpose, love, legacy, and community.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.