It wasn’t the warmest weather, but just seeing the palm trees and the bright sunshine peer over the buildings on the corner of Canal & Bourbon Streets was enough to put a smile on my face.
Leaving Toronto – during one of the harshest cold spells of the year (it got down to -32 Celcius a few days before leaving) – was tough because I was leaving my family at home, but welcomed for the opportunity ahead.
As most of you already know, I travelled to New Orleans this weekend to the Dad 2.0 Summit (a conference for “Dad Bloggers”) to talk about the psychology of why men have a tendency to let themselves go after kids enter their lives and the strategies to help prevent them from letting things get out of hand and to moderate a panel of experts as we discussed various aspects of men’s health.
There were 500 guys there who actually “got me”.
It was refreshing being able to speak to a large group of men that have similar experiences, understand the struggles that we face as involved fathers and can relate to a busy life where, sometimes, taking care of yourself isn’t the priority.
I started writing online in 2008 trying to speak to these guys. Relating my own obstacles as a then father of 3. I thought I was busy back then. Little did I know life was going to get a lot busier.
During our panel discussion we talked about diet, sticking to an exercise program and the pressures of being a father as it relates to men’s health.
As the discussion went on – regardless if the theme switched from nutrtion to exercise to suicide (yes, it got quite heavy) to child rearing – 3 foundational elements seemed to surface throughout.
So regardless if your goal is to press half your bodyweight, complete a snatch test, lose 30lbs or be the best parent you can be, without understanding these 3 elements, your road will be a lot tougher…
1. Know your “Why”.
Be honest. Why do you train? Why do you want to be strong? Why do you want to lose weight?
I want to be strong because I want my kids to aspire to be physically strong individuals as well. The best way I know how to do that is by leading through example.
I also know that that I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t for vanity purposes as well. I want to be strongest guy in the room. I want to be known as the dad that looks great and well put together.
In truth, I want to set the example for others. Because in my eyes a guy that runs 2 businesses, works from home and has 5 homeschooling kids can do it, then so can others. I want to inspire through example and through relating my own experiences and struggles. I’m not afraid to put myself out there if it’s going to help another dad who is struggling to lose weight.
In the end, my “why” is about service and having a greater purpose… to help others with their struggles as busy, family-focused individuals.
2. Don’t do it Alone
In 2011 I joined my first Mastermind Group. It was a transformative year in my professional life. Being surrounded by a group of like-minded individuals whose purpose was to help others through the life solutions that their businesses provided propelled me to another level – both professionally and personally.
I wouldn’t be able to reach out to you if it wasn’t for the group support that I received earlier on in my entrepreneurial journey.
Similarly, being part of the StrongFirst community has helped me in my journey to become the strongest version of myself. Daily postings of my training journal as I battle the iron and my own genetic shortcomings allows me to stay accountable to others who, again, have similar goals and therefore similar struggles.
Every time I post a training update or ask a question on the SFG forum, I’m met with words of encouragement and advice from others who are going through the same journey.
Having a group I can rely on to both help me when I fall and celebrate my victories has been essential to helping me achieve my goals.
It’s why our Kettlebell Evolution VIPs are breaking PRs and getting stronger & leaner day after day.
As humans, we are a collaborative species. Those of us with a mindset of abundance know that the efforts of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. So I strongly suggest that you find your support group.
And if you’re a dad, then HERE is where I suggest you go.
3. Take Responsibility For Your Life
On Friday, as I was walking through the conference I met a gentleman named Greg. He was a big, burly man who reminded me of retired Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome “The Bus” Bettis.
But more than his physical stature, what stood out the most about Greg, was his passion for being a homeschooling dad. We connected instantly.
Greg, having gone through the school system himself, did not find that conventional schooling catered to the emotional needs or individuality of young black men. So he took matters in his own hands by quitting his six-figure job (his wife still works), downsizing his home, and pulling his 2 sons out of school to homeschool them himself.
Greg, has taken responsibility for his situation. He found an inherent flaw in the way his sons were being educated. But instead of bitching and complaining about it, he took action, and put it on himself to create his own system and do what he felt was best for his boys.
We need more people like Greg. Not homeschoolers necessarily, but individuals that take responsibility for their circumstances and take action.
“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
This was by far the most Impactful Lesson that any and everyone had taken away from our panel discussion on Friday – TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE.
If you’re overweight, accept that only YOU can change your lifestyle habits.
If you’re broke, accept that only YOU have the power to change your spending habits, create opportunities for yourself to earn extra income and pull yourself out of debt.
If you’re weak, understand that incorporating the daily habit of practicing strength and/or educating yourself on how do so is within your control.
Stop blaming others.
Seek the support of others to help you.
And be honest with yourself as to WHY you want to do those things.