When I get myself worked up about some trivial thing, I pause and remind myself that my kids get it right about as often as I do.
Like me, they can struggle a bit when we are all together, or tired.
Here’s a filter I use to make better decisions when I’m in my role as “Dad.”
If I want to offer correction…
- Get Up
- Follow through
No talking from the other room. No shouting from downstairs…
- Calmly get in front of the kid
- Let them talk it out
- Ask them “what am I going to say now?”
- Follow through, regardless of the inconveniences
Every. Single. Time.
Avoid the trap of constant negative feedback, that both of you are ignoring!
I expected a lot more physical decline!
The decision to phase out athletic competition was one of my best.
So much chronic fatigue is gone and replaced with healthier pursuits (strength training, human relationships, being-a-better-man projects).
If I could give you one thing to achieve for your 40s then it would be to write down, how you get in your own way.
That’s one of the best things about getting older. The repeated mistakes make it obvious what’s going on.
Three post-it notes are enough for me:
- Don’t act on anger.
- Are you sure?
- What do you want to have happen? What do you think will happen?
All three are stuck to my computer monitor.
That’s my “what not to do” list.
What about my “to do more often” list?
My 40s happened to coincide with the Great Recession, preschoolers, the death of my last two grandparents, a massive corporate insolvency and periodic unemployment.
Some years were better than others.
It took a decade to arrive back where I started:
- A feeling of control over my schedule
- Daily exercise: ideally, in nature
- Teaching: kids, instead of clients
- Seeking Mastery: skiing, instead of triathlon
- Learning: how to think, act and be better
The core structure of my days, my values and what I enjoy to do… all are unchanged from my 20s.
What remains undone?