I sit here tonight with my priorities in order.
I have an "Ops deck" that's due tomorrow which I've done very little for and it will likely be a long evening.
That's because over the past few days I've been changing behaviors at work and that's been having an impressive (impressively positive) outcomes. It's created possibilities where there didn't seem to be any previously and has given/taken spoons at different times. So it's oddly more important to me to do my work correctly and effectively. In a way I have "something to prove" and have accepted that challenge and it's invigorating.
All those cool and wonderful things said, I still have been spending the last ~3 hours spending it with my 5 year old daughter (soon to be 6 - Her birthday party is September 3rd). You may see this as "messing around" when I have something to PROVE, something to drive me, but it's exactly this type of thinking that is wrong... My 6 year old should ALWAYS take priority over anything that's required from work.
So instead of working at my job - we got out the scrubby in the shower and got super clean. We worked on focusing on what she's doing. When I asked her for focus she immediately snapped to what she was supposed to be doing (getting her undies on). She returned with undies in what I swear was 20 seconds and for my daughter that's a record as she tends to get that "squirrel" syndrome. I'm growing a responsible human being. Taking the time to TEACH and tutor in the every day moments is what being a good father is about for me.
Being a good father has really made me a better leader. I know that sounds strange but learning how to deal with children can sometimes prepare you for life in the business world (in my humble opinion). Hosting parties with children and being able to engage with them in a positive way at their level is really a skill that has come in useful in the business world from a leadership perspective.
I'm not for a moment saying that people you lead are like children. No, not at all. What I am saying is that to be a good leader you have to ADAPT to your audience. And when you're adapting at the pace of children.... It can really be dizzying to try and follow along the stream of thought of a group of 6 year old girls "imagining things". And if you can adapt to those different situations and correct behavior, explain concepts as the girls talk and really PARTICIPATE with them, then the opportunities to teach them open wide up because you engage them at their level.
So here I sit typing this all out and getting it on paper so I don't forget my ideas to a pillow... And still ignoring work... Why? Because of YOU reading this... YOU are worth what will be a 2:30 am bedtime with a 6:30 am wake up call... You reading this is why.
Because I believe that learning something and putting it into action in your own life is good. Teaching others to do the same and being the example of the change you believe in... THAT is what I hope to do. Through living this life and showing what I find valuable, to help others to enrich their own lives.
Wow... I got up on a soapbox didn't I?
There are a few times in you life where you really get to see the fruits of your labor.
Today my 16 year old son and I got into an argument about some behavior that I didn't like and I asked him to stop.
<long story intentionally omitted>
But what happened after we'd resolved the argument and gotten to a level place really amazed me. This was all in the same conversation.
My son asked me to go on a snorkeling trip with his high school/ROTC friends.
No offense here to my dad, but I'd have viewed my chance to get to a snorkeling trip at 16 as a great way to get AWAY from my family, not take it along with me.
My views now are a bit different at 48.
I paused for about 15-30 seconds (I was stunned at what I had just been asked) and then looked him square in the eye and gave a very firm "Yes".
I'm thinking of letting him back out of it, but part of me doesn't want to give him the option of backing out.
Me, I have to get in shape once I find out what the hell I just signed up for.
A spark. A moment of realization.
When something that you'd been focusing on (making a conscious decision on) turns into a habit.
There are times that should be recognized and rewarded where the hard effort you've undertaken finally becomes something you no longer have to spend time thinking on. Those bad behaviors, corrected and a new path trod upon.
Something as simple as not biting your nails, or rolling your eyes all the way to the truly disturbing things such as violence towards another... Maybe even someone you love.
That moment when you realize that hard work training your mind really can pay off.
Find something bigger than yourself that you believe in, are passionate about and makes the world or humanity better. Something that you could never reasonably finish in your lifetime. Fix that firmly in your focus and gaze on that goal with all the attention you possess. Is it firmly focused? Good. Move toward that. Not to the detriment of all else but in a way that meets your responsibilities as well as keeps you moving forward. That is your goal. That is why you exist.