The Fork In The Road

You can’t make everyone happy.

I’ve tried. I have gone to extreme lengths to try. We all have. Guess what? It’s time to stop trying.

As a leader in business and on the sports field, I’ve gone over-and-above to bring about positive change to my workplace and for my teams.

It doesn’t matter how much revenue you generate at work. Someone will be unhappy or jealous that it wasn’t more or will criticize on your methods for achieving that success.

It doesn’t matter how many wins your team had this year. It doesn’t matter they only won 3 games last year and they won 25+ this year, someone will be unhappy about a practice session, something you said in the locker-room or the lack of perceived attention to their child.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve started to watch a lot of content from a wonderful and inspiring man, Gary Vaynerchuk. For those of you who don’t know Gary, he’s a business man, motivational speaker, marketing guru…the list goes on.

Gary is different. He swears. He doesn’t dress the part. He doesn’t talk the talk. There is no bullshit with Gary. I honestly feel that when I listen to him. If you haven’t yet consumed his content, go now!

As a father, husband and coach, I often second-guess myself. I spend far too much time thinking about what others think of me and my actions rather than something more productive. I haven’t always been like this. There was a period of about 10 years after my son was born that I didn’t give a crap about what people thought. Can I go back in time and bottle just some of that complacency?

Some of us spend far too much time doing things for the sake of pleasing others or to avoid being judged in a negative fashion. We put our own convictions aside to take the path of least resistance with the hopes of making everyone happy.

In the end, this path only leads us down the road of being unhappy with ourselves. Stick to your plan. Hold strong with your own ideas and opinions as we’re bound to upset someone in the process but at least that person won’t be us.

The World Has Gone Mad

Over the last week, I read about a story about a young man that lost his life last year unexpectedly. A tragic situation.

A friend wanted to hold a celebration. Get some people together, pay their respects and let off some balloons in memory.

Then the shit hit the fan.

People that didn’t know the young man had the nerve to criticize the way these people were memorializing their friend on Facebook. See, Facebook makes everyone brave sitting behind that screen. They went on about the dangers that balloons pose on our wildlife…even the danger that balloons pose to donkeys. Yes, I said donkeys. There were endless amounts of posts to tell someone how to memorialize their friend. No class at all.

While there’s no doubt that plastic or balloons have an adverse effect on our environment. I agree with the message but completely disagree with how that message was conveyed. It lacked class. It was awful to hijack a post about a dead child. You’d never consider interrupting this memorial to share your opinion.

Social media has caused too many people to become brave and lack the understanding of ‘time and place’. Just because you’re sitting at your computer and have the time, doesn’t mean it’s the right place to share your comments.

Father’s Day

If you have your Dad in your life, yesterday was the perfect opportunity to spend time with him. Granted, you should do this as often as possible. Don’t wait for Father’s Day to finally show your dad how much you care for him. I hate these ‘days’ like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Valentines Day. I don’t need a special day to show my love and appreciation for my parents or my wife, it’s something I do often. You should too.

Yesterday was a great day. I got to spend the day with my wife, 3 kids and my parents with amazing weather at our cottage. Despite the weather being unbearably hot, I’ll take a hot day with my dad than without.

I know that I often take for granted that I have both my parents in my life. They are a healthy and (mostly) happy couple with 40 years of marriage behind them. The past few years, we’ve spent a lot of time with my parents. We’ve been to Cancun twice and Punta Cana once. We’ve made some lifelong memories. Memories my kids will take with them long after my parents have left this Earth.

It’s been almost a year since my dad lost his mother. My grandmother was almost 93 when she passed and it was that moment that really made me step back and appreciate that I have both parents in my life. My mom lost her dad in 1982 and her mom in 1993. My dad’s father passed in 1994.

If you still have your dad in your life, make sure you tell him how much you love and appreciate him. There will be a time when you can’t make that call or say those words and you’ll wish you did it sooner and far more often.

What did I learn?

Wow. What a roller-coaster of a week.

After hearing from him on Wednesday, I was much more comfortable the rest of the week.  I was excited about his return on Saturday.

When Saturday arrived and we waited patiently for the bus to arrive, I kept telling myself not to get emotional. I failed miserably.

I’ve never missed anyone or anything this much. It was amazing to see my boy again. Of course, he was the same as we left him.I’m grateful for the opportunity to have my kids in my life on a daily basis and miss them when they go away. There are a lot of dad’s out there that miss their kids non-stop as they live with Mom or have been taken from them.

This struggle was more than just missing him but coming to the realization that him and his sisters are growing up. We’re not needed as much and the 5 days without any contact was a sign of the times. For the last 14 years, I’ve never felt ‘not needed’ until this past week. It sucks.

The silver-lining to all of this is how much of a great time he had. He learned a lot and no doubt, grew up a little more in the process. I guess that makes two of us.

I’m excited

Christmas 2010 006

Remember Christmas morning? That’s what it feels like for me today.  In just over 12 hours, my son will be home from camp.

I’m sure you’re sitting there reading this and asking “Is this guy still going on about his kid being away from camp?”. Damn right I am. If that makes me a softy, that’s perfectly fine with me.

This has been such a heartbreaking and sad week while also being an amazing experience for him and a fantastic learning experience for me. I have learned more about myself and my son in the last 4 days that I have in the last year.

Earlier in the week when I was in pre-meltdown mode, I wouldn’t even dare step downstairs near his bedroom. Having him away without contact was truly felt like a loss. Today, after a couple days of contact and anticipation of his arrival, I went down to his room, fixed his door like I said I would and played on his PS4 for good measure. I had to make sure it worked when he got home, right? 🙂

Having battled through the emotions of the week, we’re already taking about him going away next year and hopefully, his sisters will join him. I’m confident that I will handle the absence better next time…but I can never be too sure.

Why am I here?

camp-kids1:24am.

My 13 year old son has been away at camp for 5 days, 10 hours and 25 minutes.  All my life, I’ve had the understanding that dad’s need to be tough and not give a shit about the ‘sensitive stuff’. In 1994, I watched my dad stand over my grandfather’s newly deceased body with no emotion at all. That’s what I thought was expected of me.

That’s not me. It never has been. I miss my son…..and that’s okay.

My son is at a week-long camp where technology use is extremely limited. They have one hour per day to use technology if they choose, but they have to wait in line to get their device. We asked him to reach out to us at least once during the week. I didn’t expect it to take so long and why did I say only once!!?

3 days in, my girls attend a sleepover camp with their class. WTF! How am I supposed to deal with missing all 3 of my kids??? This is awful. Luckily, the girls were able to communicate with us and let us know they were having a good time. It put my mind at ease.

As we hit day #4, we still hadn’t heard from him. It was awful. I kept trying to tell myself that I should be fine with it but I wasn’t. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was consumed by my thoughts and I ate like a stray dog.

We heard from other parents that they received a text from their daughter’s at camp. One even received a letter. We heard he was having a great time. Why didn’t we get anything?

At last! 4:30pm on Day 4. The word “BREH” comes up on my phone. My heart melts. This is a nickname we have for each other. “My boy!” I said in my head. I can’t remember the last time I felt this happy and relieved. We shared some texts shortly after.

I was happy to see that my boy was still my boy. He talked the same. Most importantly, he said he missed me too.

As a dad, it’s okay to miss your kids. It’s okay to be sad when they’re gone. It’s okay to cry when you’re sad and it’s equally okay if your kids see you when you’re emotional.

Thanks for coming on this journey with me. It’s gonna be fun. 🙂