It was 12pm and my wife and I just wrapped up dinner, so I crammed as many mojitos, beer and wine that could be served within 3 hours of being in a restaurant since only one of us was allowed to drink. After all, it was a long week of fulfilling employee contracts for someone else’s business that I figured “We’re out, it’s Friday, I deserve it so let’s have some fun!”.
But soon did I realize that putting back more seafood than Long John Silver himself could handle, only then would I realize that my life would soon change forever. Before I had a chance to blink, it was 2:00am and a mere 2 hours later that we were on our way to the hospital about to deliver our first child, and I was ready to deliver that night’s meal on the way there.
It didn’t take long after being in the delivery room, holding back every ounce of last night’s wrongdoing during mother nature’s finest moment, did the expectations as a father become set in stone. It was the first time in my life that someone else would be looking up to me to set the example and be a good leader, which would become the foundation I use as an entrepreneur to drive forward every day.
With each new opportunity that has presented itself, I can’t help but think and measure the success of startup survival than to being a father, trying to raise them as if they should be nurtured and cared for with the greatest of detail as not to fail in the eyes of my customers (mom included). Because there is nothing like diving in head first on both counts, that I’ve summarized around these 5 characteristics which set the tone for my day-to-day as a father founder.
If you aren’t mentally prepared for what is about to change, including diapers, get ready. Nothing will prepare you more for negotiating deals, learning the ropes, and how to navigate safely with precious cargo than reading the realities of the position you are about to take with by absorbing much information as possible.
This doesn’t mean you should follow every bit of advice under the sun, it means the details you gather are necessary to draw your own conclusions around what type of daily routine you will be having so your brain starts to familiarize itself with those realities. The more details you can gather, the more prepared your mind will be for entering into a new stage of your life to be better prepared which includes having good instincts.
My wife’s uncle would always say “you can’t take care of everyone else unless you take care of your nucleus”. After having new additions to the family running around, and a new business to tend to, both get put under the spotlight for chasing dreams, both in the office and around the house.
When your nucleus is in need of an outside support system in the form of family, friends, and colleagues, it’s critical to ask for help instead of trying to please everyone. Both your 9-5 and home life will thank you for it.
Instead of trying to be all things to everything, learn how to say no. As much as you are going to want to say yes to every little opportunity and request to please those around you, it’s OK to turn them down. While it may not feel good to shy away from giving those close to you what they want and are looking for, you will be much farther (and father) ahead when you can take a step back and keep the things that matter most from a sense of direction and ultimate goal attainment as your primary reasoning.
After all, when it comes to setting priorities to deliver on expectations like Jim Collins once said, “If you have more than 3 priorities, you have none.”
Oftentimes being in a startup we want answers fast because its how we want it and when we want it – which is basically code for “Right Now”. If startups were to act like children trying to ink deals, they would come across as the toddler tugging at your jeans asking “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…” – Sound familiar?
There’s good timing and bad timing, when things fall into place right away or you struggle to wonder where and when progress will present itself. We end up questioning our decisions sometimes whether it was the right one, the wrong one, or did I really just say that out loud?
Here’s the reality…everyone not being on your schedule takes a lot of getting used to. And having patience isn’t exactly my speciality. Oftentimes being at home asking my son what patience means when he responds with “Waiting!” to which I am constantly reminded by saying “Close. Patience is how we behave while we wait.”
Learn how to accept that and know that when you are looking for attention, not everyone has the same calendar and it takes patience and a lot of persistence to ensure that the right time will come where things will fall into place accordingly.
Nothing in this world has prepared me more in business as becoming a father that day back in December 2009. But I wouldn’t have been able to produce results without executing. Other than timing, the most important factor in the success of results comes from compounding daily activity in some form or fashion. Similar to Einstein’s note “The most powerful force in the world is compound interest” and for startups, family, and success are no different. Darren Hardy, the founder of Success Mag wrote a great book on this exact ideology for anyone looking to understand the impact.
Just about every area that I have been involved in a startup; from walking away from a six-figure salary, knowing what decisions to make (or trying to pretend that I do sometimes), and how to prioritize time management that creates opportunity, have I realized how important it is for fathers to not only have as much support and confidence throughout their business journey to become leaders, but execution not just for themselves but for their very own to follow.
After all, it’s when a father says to his son “Be careful where you walk” it is the son who replies to his father “you be careful Dad, I follow in your footsteps”.