Glance Back and Leap Forward

Champ Dads going strong into 2020!

WOW! This year has gone by fast! Within a week, this site will have its first anniversary. Over that time, we have put up 64 posts and 7 different pages of content. Current day, all of the content has broken down into two categories: Personal Strategies and Parenting Strategies.

As we close out this year and look forward to 2020, we will be shifting focus from blogging to creating video content. The blogging will still happen but on a lesser scale.

We have a series coming out that will be a stockpile of short videos of things that all dads should know how to do. Topics will range all over the map, from how to tie a Windsor knot (tie) to how to shuck an oyster without hurting yourself. 

Once we get the above video series rolling, we will be putting together interviews with various Champion Dads and thought leaders in our local community.

Okay! After reviewing the stats this year, I present to you the top 10 least viewed pages. Yep…..the least viewed. Why the least viewed? Because this website took some time to gain a solid readership in its first year. Therefore, the odds are that many might have missed several posts while we were finding our way. So take a peek and view some posts that started it all.

  1. Be a good enough dad part I
  2. Agent of Change
  3. Influential Matters: The Tale of two Dads
  4. Three steps to morning freedom
  5. 5 Ways to increase laughter in your home
  6. A Perfect Mess
  7. Authenticity part I
  8. Traditions: The binding stories of our life
  9. Sacred Time: a pillar for mental wellness
  10. Break the mold: Inspire your Child’s authentic self to emerge

May you have a great and safe end to 2019. Please continue to join us in 2020 as we continue to gain traction and build out this wonderful Champion Dads community. If you have any comments or suggestions please reach out to us through our contact page.

Love, Peace, and Harmony,

Be well!

-MJ

Photo by Trent Szmolnik via Unsplash

Failure: I am looking forward to it!

As this year is wrapping up, I start my annual process of reflecting on the year just completed and thinking of a few goals for the new year. Many of us go through this process…parties and celebrations happen and are followed up with some resolutions. (How much is that gym membership?)

I have one vague and weird goal: I want to fail more than I ever have before. Yep…fail. Crazy right?!

Let me unpack it a little bit, and maybe you can take away a few nuggets to help you on your journey. 

Failure is the pathway to being a Champion. The more you fail at things, the more you will learn valuable lessons and information. Yes, this does sound simple, but how many of us embrace the failure for all of the glory that it is? Not many-and if you said, “I do MJ!” I would call your bluff and put all my chips in the center of the table.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

― Thomas A. Edison

In my life, I have fought so hard to win and win over others. However, this attitude of winning, when unchecked, has wreaked havoc on my happiness. This habit of trying to hit the goal or please, results in a frantic attitude of not losing. Trying not to lose is the perfect recipe to lose. 

“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” 

― Herbert Bayard Swope

If you want to win or accomplish something, the proper mindset is to focus on the process…the moment. Anytime we focus on the result, our attention is misplaced. Remember: placing too much attention on future thoughts generates worry and anxiety…ain’t nobody got time for that! Stay in the moment and focus squarely on the process.

Now I aim to fail in a smart way (I fail to achieve and learn…not because I am a masochist). So here are my guidelines so that I can fail smartly:

  1. I am going to go hard at the goals that I set. This means that I will take incredible action in the direction of the goal without overthinking it. Whenever I find myself dwelling on the goal, I will stop, figure out the next best action to take, and then take action. 5…4…3…2…1…GO!
  2. I am going to study and take notes every time a failure happens. Having the habit of check and adjust will allow you to eliminate the failure from happening again. Each failure has valuable information to be gleaned. Embrace it, study it, adjust, and then take more action! 
  3. I am not going to take any of it personally! No one can choose their emotions, but everyone can control how they act and respond to their emotions when they happen. Pause when failure happens. Feel the feelings associated with it and then get back to step number 1 and 2 above. Remember, emotions rise on their own accord and have important information for us. Honor them and then move on. Or, as others have said, “Fail fast.” 
  4. I am not going to concern myself with what others think. That is their business, and I will be too focused on the process at hand to carry their views with me (don’t accept criticism from someone you wouldn’t seek advice from).
  5. I am going to have fun while I fail. This little step is often overlooked in life because most of us carry around the attitude of no pain; no gain. Guess what? Let’s have fun while we go through the struggle and pain. Like I say at work: “I have no problem working hard, but I will have fun doing it.” Maintaining a playful attitude will really help keep your emotions in check and help you stay healthy in your pursuits.

I am really excited about this year coming up. I am moving in directions that I have never gone to before. I have big ideas for this site that I am going to have to learn the ropes on. We have a video series in the works. We have inspirational videos on the way. We have interviews that will take place. So, I will go hard, and I expect there to be lots of failures along the way…but no worries as failure are the pathway to success.

Yep-I am going to fail my way to victory. It’s going to be fun and I hope you join in 2020!

Be well

-MJ

The Flywheel Mind Revisited

Just over a month ago, I started a thirty-day journey to stop my “flywheel” mind. In those thirty days, my goal was to practice doing one thing at a time and to meditate every day. I have had some mixed results with this adventure, but I did start to build some good habits while I regained control.

Let me start with where I fell the most. Meditating every day proved to be more difficult than I expected. When I remembered to do it, I was pressed with the urge to get something else done. This urge is the mind’s attempt to push its way through life. Meditation’s goal is to let go of those urges. Thoughts will arise, and you let them pass without attaching to them. So doing nothing but letting the thoughts go is quite a hard practice. Yet, every time I could sit in peace and meditate, I came away from experience balanced and found myself in a more rejuvenated state.

If you are looking to build a habit of meditation into your life, let me offer you these tips:

  • Schedule your meditation each day. When you set aside sacred time to sit, you are signaling to your brain that this is important. For me, what works best is to have it at the same time every day. This way, you are developing a routine that you will create your habit around.
  • If you are new to this practice, start with some guided meditations. Having guidance to keep you focused will be a lifesaver while practicing. Guided meditations provide you the tools to build a strong habit. Without some basic tools to navigate, it will be easy for the mind to run rampant and overwhelm you. There are some great apps you can get on your phone for this. Headspace is my preferred.

Where I had the most success during this time was in focusing on one thing at a time. Often, when my mind would start to race, I would remind myself to pick one thing and move forward. Staying in the moment with the one task at hand provided incredible relief and balance for my mind. Perhaps the greatest win with this practice is that I do not allow my brain to fire off all of the feelings of panic when I am singular in focus. This has a downstream effect by lowering the body’s stress response over time. Essentially, while staying centered, you are training your mind to stay in a state of wellness instead of survival.

If you are looking to build habits around singular focus, here are a couple of things that worked for me: 

  • When the mind starts to run off and fixate on all of the worries or to-do list for the day, please take a moment to write them down. Writing out a list is like opening a valve on a pressure cooker. Once they are on paper, pick one and take action. This way, you have acknowledged the thoughts and taken back control through the action.
  • Note the feelings associated with each item. Do not try to fix or change the feeling. Just be a space for the feeling to be present. Allowing the emotion to run its course removes it from the body. I go into great detail in this post how to regulate here: Flight…The other quiet emotional trigger response (and how to get out of it)

Getting in control of your mind is perhaps the greatest achievement you can have in your life. It can be very hard at first, but you can turn it into an ally with the right tools and practice (habits). So, instead of your mind resembling a flywheel that is out of control, it may now resemble a fidget spinner. A spinner that is balanced on a flat surface. It is still running, but it is not all-consuming. We can enjoy the spinner while it works for us and not against us.

Be well

-MJ

Photo provided by Ian Dooley via Unsplash

The Entitlement Antidote: Gratitude

If you are like me, you probably would say that you want to give your kids the world. I mean, as you look at it, love is that way. You want to provide for them and give them all that they need.

However, if you are also like me, you have a big problem with attitudes of entitlement. This attitude is defiant to my personal belief that everything in life is a gift and is not owed to you.

The idea for this post came from reading my daughter’s and son’s wish list letter to Santa. Instead of a standard letter format with storied content, it read more like an order fulfillment request. They are young but are just at the age where they can start to think of others instead of solely themselves.

So there is the rub for this post. I want to give my kids the world, but I do not want them to develop even a smidge of an entitled feeling. During the holidays, this can prove very hard to do as I want my kids to experience a magical Christmas with lots of stuff under the tree. So how do we give them stuff without the development of an entitled mind? Gratitude.

The entitled mind says I deserve this, or I am owed this. The grateful mind says everything I receive is a gift.

(In my research to develop some good ideas to help them shift their attitude, I came across a great book: Dr. Robert A Emmons: The Little Book of Gratitude. According to Dr. Emmons, the attitude of gratitude has many other benefits besides being a well-adjusted person. Gratitude boosts the immune system, improves sleep, lowers depression, and helps with feelings of compassion.)

How will I battle the “get me” attitude and assist my kids with developing gratitude? Thank you cards/notes!

Thank you notes go beyond the standard lip service of please and thank you. Great thank you notes should express the following:

  • Point out intention– The receiver can identify and express the intent of why the gift was given. “Thank you so much for footballWe were never able to find the one that we lost, and now we can play again…”
  • Cost– Cost comes down to time and money….what did the person give up to make this gift happen? The key point here is to recognize that the cost of a thing ($) is not the only cost (time, effort). “I can’t believe that you were able to track down the popular doll. It was sold out everywhere; I bet you had to travel to a lot of stores….”
  • How it helps you– Identifying how this will benefit your life or enhancing your life shows that we are all dependent on others. “Now that I have the new art set, I can paint pictures that I could only imagine before…”

Depending on how old your kids are, I want to point out that they may not articulate what has been outlined above. In these cases, it is quite all right to map it out for them. It has been my experience that I have received a handwritten card or letter any time it is a gift unto itself. The recipient won’t care too much about how it was created and is more likely to be grateful for it. For younger children, have them sign their name or draw a picture. For older children, push them to find their own words of gratitude.

Taking time to handwrite a card is a wonderful practice in grateful contemplation. It slows down the world and allows the child to appreciate the moments in which things are good. They may not feel it at the moment but developing this gratitude attitude will greatly enhance their lives down the road.

Be well

-MJ

Photo by Aaron Burden via Unsplash