Giving Up and Parenting

At the beginning of March, I wrote about internal and external motivation. The combination of motivation and persistence (with ability) is what generates success. Success then sets up positive reinforcement of additional effort and persistence.

The challenge of moving through a transitional phase (like fatherhood) is a desire to follow past models for success. This week, I will share some tactics that have helped with my own transition.

My ever expanding family acts as a catalyst to help me focus on:

  • My goals for the core aspects of my life (marriage, kids, professional, self)
  • My desired outcome when faced with challenging situations
  • Saying no to myself, and others, to create space to achieve goals and outcomes

Before I was married, my capacity to strip away and create a sole focus served me well. It was easy for me to create long periods of serenity in my life. With my life filling up with dependents, periods of serenity have become more valuable.

Over the winter, I asked myself what I could give up to create space. I’m going to share my list but the real value is knowing your own list.

Over the last year, the following have gone:

  • Sold my most visible self-indulgence, my SportsMobile
  • Cleared out my race schedule so I could spend more time with my athletic friends – one of the ironies of racing is how little time we spend with our buddies on the course
  • Ditched running so that I could ride more – it’s more enjoyable to be a superior masters cyclist than an undertrained triathlete. Solo rides are serene and cycling is my main interaction with my buddies.
  • Invited a friend to partner with the operations of a company that I founded – I realized my mission is writing and teaching, rather than admin and financial return.
  • Cleared half of my personal stuff – this was surprisingly easy, which may mean that it’s time to do another 50% reduction!
  • Facebook – I took a break in March and I don’t think it’s coming back.

Everything that I gave up had value to me. Most importantly, it’s very difficult to value serenity, lack of clutter and time to think. So the payoff is difficult to see immediately. Six months in, we’ve made real progress.

The key moment, that caused me to accelerate change, was the realization that I could live with being far less externally successful, so long as I was internally successful

What can you give up to create the life you desire?

Change slowly.