Give Thanks, Hugs, and Feelings of Significance

Be A Champion Dad wishes you the best this Thanksgiving. This day is more than being indulgent and watching football (or gearing up for Black Friday).

Thanksgiving is a time where families and friends can unite and celebrate all of the blessings they have received throughout the year. It is a time for reflection and an opportunity to show appreciation for everyone in their lives (past and present).

Slow down today and embrace the moment. Give extra hugs and make others feel significant.

Below is a song that Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) recited to the US Senate in 1969. His goal this day was to defend and support funding for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in response to the significant proposed cuts by President Nixon.

I have shared a lot about emotional regulation this year and song encapsulates the true spirit of it. Fred was a master in making children feeling valued and heard. He addressed real feelings and problems. He hit hard topics head first and normalized them. What a wonderful soul.

“What do you do with the mad that you feel? When you feel so mad you could bite. When the whole wide world seems oh so wrong, and nothing you do seems very right. What do you do? Do you punch a bag? Do you pound some clay or some dough? Do you round up friends for a game of tag or see how fast you go? It’s great to be able to stop when you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong. And be able to do something else instead, and think this song —

I can stop when I want to. Can stop when I wish. Can stop, stop, stop anytime….And what a good feeling to feel like this! And know that the feeling is really mine. Know that there’s something deep inside that helps us become what we can. For a girl can be someday a lady, and a boy can be someday a man.”

What would the world look like if every child was taught these skills? Imagine what a difference we would see if adults and children honored their feelings and chose their response to them….instead of getting consumed by them…..

….speaking of consuming….I smell a turkey that needs my attention!

Be well and eat extra pie!

-MJ

Photo by Suzy Brooks via Unsplash

Home Environments: Emotional Safety

There are times where I am baffled by my children. It is like I have a couple of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydes. When we go out for the day (anywhere away from home) my kids are very well behaved. They watch, listen, and generally stick close to my wife and I. When we are at home though it is a very different story. At home my kids are quick to act up, be crazy, and run afoul with sinister giggles. Perhaps, your kids are the same…and guess what? I think this is a great sign that we are doing something right.

A great home environment is one that creates and maintains emotional safety for the child. When a child feels emotional safe they are free to express themselves fully let their hair down. The home life should be like the prototype lab of a company. In the lab ideas are expressed, things are tried, adjusted, tried again. The home lab (environment) thoughts and expressions are made that might not be world ready….and that is ok! Sometimes things get wild as the kids learn how to be well adjusted citizens. And like a prototype lab, the home environment should be a safe place to work things out and develop.

What is emotional safety? Emotional safety is where a person can be who they are without concern of judgment, punishment, or disrespect.

“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” – Fred Rogers

There are five components of emotional safety. Each of the components are important in cultivating a safe home environment and rock solid relationships.

  • Trust: All emotional safety begins here. Trust is built in a myriad of ways but for the home environment the child should be able to rely on a consistent supportive experience. When running a household this is often facilitated through making everyone feel significant and heard.
  • Empathy: A great home is one where all of the members are understanding and are sensitive to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of each other. The family unit shares the victories, hardships, and drudgery of day to day life.
  • Non-judgement: We accept each member of the family as they are while tempering down the feelings of who we want them to be. This acceptance provides the freedom for the child to develop their authenticity through their unique individual needs.
  • Emotional Respect: A safe home environment is where feelings can be expressed without repercussions. Emotions are honored and are not made out to be good or bad. In this respect, I find it helpful to remind myself that I can control what I think but I cannot control the feelings that arise. Therefore, I do not judge emotions when they happen in my children. Then I can coach the child in how to manage the emotion without shame or guilt.
  • Individuality Respect: We respect the similarities and differences of all members of the household. In this environment we share admiration towards each other and demonstrate their importance.

Emotional safety is not only for the home environment. Utilize these five components everywhere you go and with everyone you meet. You will be amazed at the transformation in your relationships when these five areas are honored. Hopefully this post today brought some awareness in creating the ultimate home environment for your children (loved ones).

Be well

-MJ

Photo by Allen Taylor via Unsplash

3 Questions to Unearth Your Calling

Over the last couple of posts you probably get the sense that I have gone through a lot in life lately. However, to the outside observer I am just a happy-go-lucky guy marching through his life. So the question may beg- how do you not let life beat you down? Or, how do you shake off the garbage and keep your head held high? Well, the answer is simple: Know your Calling, your Why, your Bliss.

*For purposes of clarity I will only use Why going forward. However, Calling, Why, and Bliss are all interchangeable.

This year I have written a few of posts that speak to cultivating an unbeatable attitude in life:

While I enjoy these posts, there is one thing they do not assist with: Helping someone find their Why.

I see so many people running off to go achieve their way through life and yet they don’t have an internal guiding system. It is similar to a person stepping on the gas to a car but without any control of the steering wheel. Inevitably they crash. Or, we could say that they are forever lost since they do not have any idea where they are going.

Knowing your Why will anchor you in your life, will provide unlimited inspiration, and help keep you afloat when all seems lost.

The Why is bigger than the self. It extends beyond ego and guides us along like a GPS even when we try to fight it. Which leads me to a profound truth I have come to realize as I got older:

The life of just personal achievement eventually leads to hollowness.

Perhaps, like me, at times you have had days where you ask: What is the point of it all? Is this all there is? I thought once I hit my goals I would be happy but I am not.….

Maybe you don’t know your Why or perhaps you have a sense of what it is but have not defined it. Below are the three questions to answer which will put you on the right path of cultivating (drawing out) your Why.

  1. What is it that you most enjoy? List out activities that continually bring you the most joy. What are those things that you do that make your heart sing? These are the things you wake up early on the weekend for…or the things you would do for the sake of doing them because they excite you.
  2. What is it that you are naturally good at? List out all of your natural talents or things that have always just come to you. We all have talents. Study yourself and jot down your abilities you naturally excel at. What are your super powers?
  3. How can I be of service to the world? Using the answers from the first two questions start to connect the dots on how to provide value to others. This question is the binding agent for your Why. It is critical to be of service or you will end up in The Meaningless Hollow*.

As an example of how this works, let’s examine how mine was unearthed (this is very high level but at least we can get a sense of the process).

What do I most enjoy? I love working, laughing, and connecting with others. My life is about play even when I am working. I find the most joy when I am sharing and listening to life experiences. I love inspiring smiles in others and helping them feel significant.

What am I naturally good at? Sports of any kind. Yet if I dig a little deeper, I have this uncanny ability to see the larger picture, game plan, and figure out a way to win. I love studying strategy. Even when all seems lost I can figure out how to get to the finish line first. To me, everything is just a puzzle to figure out. Yet, even when I don’t win I come back stronger, smarter, and more confident.

How can I be of service? I have gone through a lot of hard times in my life (like everyone) and have landed on my feet. I can connect and teach others how to define their values and goals. Then I can help them strategize and figure out a game plan to live their best life. By connecting authentically, I can inspire others to stand up and kick some ass! (By kicking ass, I mean own your life and put in the work. There are no victims)

This example illustrates why Be A Champion Dad is in existence. The Champ Dad site is devoted to helping dads (others) navigate their chaotic life. It aims to assist all dads declutter their mind, sharpen their dreams, and live the life they envision in their heart.

I cannot stress the importance of uncovering your calling. Once it is unearthed you will have an inexhaustible light to follow through good and bad times. You will always have wind in your sails even on the days where you just want to sleep the day away.

Answer the questions and get on with living your bliss. There is nothing greater!

Be well

-MJ

*The Meaningless Hollow: A trapped and fearful state of mind. A mind that is imprisoned by obligations and expectations of others. A depressed state where personal achievement no longer can cover up the void within one’s heart.

Photo by Ambir Tolang via Unsplash

Stopping the Flywheel Mind

Earlier this year I wrote a post called Endless Distraction. In it I detailed how I was in the habit of always checking or reaching for my phone. I also touched upon how these mindless (or programmed) activities take us out of the moment (put away the phone when you are in the presence of your children). A little later I wrote a post, Too Busy to Arouse Your Soul, in which we offered a couple of suggestions to get out from under the weight of the too busy mindset.

Today is a slightly different spin on those earlier posts. Not too much has changed for me personally since I wrote those. However, I am in much more control of the impulses that drive my phone use. This post is an examination of the current state of my mind. See, I still have too much to do. I am still strongly drawn to checking my phone for texts, emails, news, and whatever social media apps I use.

I have observed an unsettling pattern of late. My brain will not stop racing. It is always on the go…to the next thought, next worry, next thing to do, or the next problem to solve. There is little to no stillness even when I have no external distractions. Let me unpack this a little bit. My mind seems to be in a holding pattern of unrest. I have gone so long now in trying to get everything done that my mind is always seeking or moving to the next thing. It is much like a flywheel continuing on with its own crazy momentum. I seemed to have taught it to be this way and now I aim to stop it in its tracks!

It stinks and here are some symptoms that you may share the flywheel mind:

  • Does your mind endlessly loop on a worry?
  • Do you have trouble thinking one thought through to its completion without jumping to something new?
  • Are you quick to self judge as you remember things that you have missed or recognize an expectation you did not meet?
  • Do you feel like your mind is going to crack if one more thing gets thrown your way?
  • Do you ever think “once I get all of this done then I can relax and be happy”?

Well, here is how I am personally going to slowdown and stop my flywheel mind. Over the next thirty days I will follow these two approaches to get back to sanity:

  1. Meditation. For at least 10 minutes a day I will sit in stillness with no external distractions. 10 minutes might not seem like a lot but science supports that this is a great starting point to quiet the mind.
  2. No more multitasking. I will make a tremendous conscious effort to only do one thing at a time. All of my focus will be centered on my current task. When distracted, I will recenter around my chosen task. Multitasking trains the mind to be habitually unfocused. Dr. Travis Bradberry said this about it:

“Focus on one thing at a time. Focusing completely on a single task is a big risk—the risk of failing at something to which you’ve given your all. That’s why it’s so uncomfortable. The alternative—multitasking—is a real productivity killer. Research conducted at Stanford confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully. When you spread yourself too thin and chase after every bright, shiny thing that catches your eye, you’re missing out on an important opportunity for personal growth.” To read the full posting click here.

So in thirty days I will report back with how my experiment worked. Hopefully I will have retrained my mind how to rest, focus, and be at peace.

Peace of mind is a habit and more valuable than my worried to-do list. It is ok to stop racing….there is no finish line to cross. Peace is the way.

Be well

-MJ

Photo by Ben White via Unsplash