Have you ever found yourself working in the office and feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities and the pressure to leave on time to make your kids sporting event that evening? What about the daily self-doubt that says you aren’t giving your kids the time and memories they deserve? I’ve been there and can relate to these thoughts.
I want to share some insight into a useful discipline that I learned from successful entrepreneurs on how they go about battling this self-doubt.
Before you read any further, I want to issue this caveat: what I’m about to say is not meant as to be a substitution for developing a healthy work/life balance. Part of being an entrepreneur is learning when it’s time to end the workday and focus on your spouse and kids. Watch today’s episode to learn my secret.
With that being said, finding that balance is not at all comfortable. If you do have kids, then you know what it’s like to be torn between how much time we give career and how much time we give the family. This tension isn’t going to go away even if your kids are adults. So let’s shed light on a discipline you can use to invest quality time with your kids.
The term “best day” describes a day that you and your child have carved out of the schedule to be 100% focused on them. There are rules: No movies and no tv or devices. Other than that, they get to pick what happens from sunup to sundown. They get to go anywhere they want, eat anything they want, and as much as they want.
This is a yes day. While they are little, it could be going to play miniature golf with ice cream and laser tag with their favorite lunch. When they’re older, it could be river rafting, horseback riding, or zip lining. They might also pick going to visit castles in England. No matter what it is your answer is “yes.” You might have to plan and save. In the meantime you can stay local with no holds barred.
Examples: When I asked my seven-year-old daughter where she wanted to go it was the Pancake House for breakfast, then Disneyland and then In-n-Out Burger for dinner. At fourteen she requested flying to Vegas to stay in a fancy hotel and to see Michael Jackson “One” by Cirque du Soleil followed up by lunch and round of golf at Top Golf.
It was epic. It’s a memory neither one of us will ever forget. She held my hand as we walked around. It was focused dad-and-daughter time without any interruptions. As we sat at the burger joint, she chose for lunch and ate ice cream she shared the ups and downs of her world with school, friends, and dreams. It was a trip for the books.
Then there was the time Lil’ Noah, after seeing the movies Home Alone and Elf wanted to fly first-class to New York, stay at the Plaza Hotel, and have pizza and ice cream. We visited the American Museum of Natural History and walked down just about every street in Manhattan. This was the week before Christmas, and the city felt like a movie set. It began snowing as we walked back from the Lego® store with his new build and settled down for the last night.
As an entrepreneur, one of the greatest disciplines you can implement is becoming the underwriter of your families dreams. Sure we can build companies and brands that impact our employees and customers. But the most critical clients in our lives are our spouse and kids. Make them the example and your greatest client. You won’t get these years back. This is the last year they will be this age.
Think about it: You won’t be on your deathbed wishing you would have spent more time at the office.
Action step: The next time you’re with your kids at a meal ask them, “If you go anywhere for one day, do anything you want, and eat whatever you want, where would you want to go and what would you want to do?” Then, once you hear their answer, put the date on the calendar. The most significant part of this is the anticipation and looking forward to it.
Tip: I would encourage you to tell your team and clients not to contact you at all on this day. Go dark as much as you can. Your goal is to be present, off the grid, focusing on your child entirely. They’ll know if you’ve made this a priority based on the interruptions, texts, and phone calls. Also, take tons of pictures. Afterward, post the images online, tell stories about their day, and gloat over the memories you built with them. Celebrate them.
Finally, let’s flip this around. When was the last time you invested time in the kid in you? I make it an aim to spend about 2-3 hours Saturday and Sunday mornings before the family is up to drive to my favorite coffee spot, sit on the beach cliffs, and fill my cup through time with God and prayer. It realigns my priorities and goals. It lets me play in my mental sandbox to dream the next dream. Take the kid in you out. When was the last time they heard from you?
Leave a comment below: What are some “best days” that you can do with your kids and yourself?
I’m in your corner,
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