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Fatherpreneurship, six tips for being a great business owner and father

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First of all I’m super excited to announce the birth of my son Joshua. He was born on Friday, May 16 at 3:44 p.m. He weighted 10lbs 9oz. My wife is a super woman, and has done something infinitely harder than any Ultra Marathon I will ever run.

Hello, World!

Hello, World!

The birth of Joshua got me thinking a lot about how much of a privilege it is to have a family and be an entrepreneur. Running your own business essentially allows you to set your own schedule so that you can have more time with family.

Here are six tips for being an awesome father and entrepreneur. For some entrepreneurs, this might not be easy, but I can tell you from personal experience these things work, and are totally worth it. It will strengthen your relationship with your kids, and your spouse.

1. Don’t make 50-60 hour workweeks the norm. Limit your workweeks to 40 hours or less on a normal week. If you do find yourself needing extra hours to get things done, wake up early in the morning to complete those tasks, rather than cutting into family time in the evening.

2. Establish a work cut off time. For me this is typically 5pm, but I sometimes take calls until 6pm because of time zone differences. Once I’m home, that time is family time. I even have my phone scheduled to enter do not disturb mode every day at 6pm, and it stays that way until 7am the next day.

3. The home life is your sanctuary. Guard the time you have with your family in the evening. Resist checking email, and don’t check social media. I admit these are actually hard ones fore me to be consistent with, but when I do I find the time with my daughter and newborn son much more rich, and my wife appreciates it A LOT as well.

4. Take your kids along for the ride. We all have hobbies, so include them in your hobbies with you. I love running and rock climbing, so I try to take my daughter on a run with me at least once a week, and I bring her to the crag to go climbing whenever I can. The running actually ends up giving my wife a break from taking care of the little one, and the trips to the crag give the entire family time to bond. Sure, your training plans are going to look different with a little one in tow, but sharing the joys you have with your children are far more important than setting a new PR in your next race.

5. Stop being selfish. Just as you have to focus on the needs of your team to have a successful business, you have to focus on the needs of your family to have a rocking family life. If you focus less on yourself and more on your little ones and wife, life will be much more rich.

6. Get your work life organized. If you struggle working 50-60 hours a week, chances are you are not working efficiently, and are wasting lots of time. The most valuable thing you can do for yourself and your family is to get organized so that you can peacefully leave work at the end of each day and be devoted to family time. I highly recommend the KanBan system for organization, as well as reading Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Being overworked sucks! Being in control of your work and spending time with your family is awesome. How do you manage running a business and carving out quality time with your family?

Being a father rocks, 7 reasons why fatherhood is so amazing

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Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Abby and I at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas. Photo Credit: Brandon Hall

When I first got married I thought I wanted kids almost right away, but soon after Kristy and I were wed, fear hit me over the head and I saw what I thought would be a life that took away rather than give life. But the truth is that being a father is one of the most rewarding, life-giving things on this side of eternity. Here are my top seven reasons for why being a father is so amazing.

Selflessness by force

Are you selfish? Chances are, YES. Well, being a father will help you die to yourself and start living for another human being. If getting married didn’t help you with that enough, having a child will totally change your perspective on life.

A child will help you stop living for yourself and start investing in another. You spent the first 20 something years of your life living for yourself. Children allow you to grow beyond that and start investing/mentoring, just like your parents (hopefully) did with you.

Waking up to a smiling face

Waking up to your child smiling and bouncing around is pure joy. In the middle of writing this paragraph I actually got up just to see my daughter whom I heard spouting baby babble in the other room. She was excited to start the day and was ready to see her parents. It was a joy to take a break from writing to see her standing up in her crib smiling.

Teaching values

Just as your parents and mentors throughout life taught you the values that shaped who you are, parenthood gives you that opportunity to shape the life of another human being. As scary as it sound, it’s a huge privilege and should be taken seriously. And don’t be afraid of teaching YOUR values to your child. Just because you teach them what you believe to be right doesn’t mean they will go up accepting every single bit of it. Though I hold to many of the values my dad taught me through the years, there are some issues we don’t agree on.

Sharing your passions

When I grew up my dad would always take me camping, fishing, and hunting. I loved the outdoors. I always looked forward to our family trips to places like Colorado and Yellowstone National Park. I no longer fish or hunt, but my involvement in the outdoors lead to my love for camping, backcountry hiking, and rock climbing.

It’s these passions that I have already started sharing with my daughter. She is only eight months old and we have already taken her camping three times, and another trip already on the calendar.

Watching a human life grow

There is something amazing about watching a human life develop. From the moment my daughter emerged from the womb she has been learning, growing and observing life. It seems like every single day she develops a new skill or awareness. I’m in awe of how much a simple child can know. It’s an amazing reflection of God’s sovereign design and work in creation. The mountains, trees and streams have always blown my mind, but nothing is more mind-blowing and inspiring than watching a child grow.

Your worldview changes

Having a child helps you understand love in a whole new way. Scripture says God loves people like a father loves his child and it becomes clear just how deep that love is when you have a child. Depending on the household you grew up in, you might have experienced a great amount of love from your father, but you can’t truly know the extent of that love until you become a father.

Having a daughter of my own has helped me to value life in ways I never have before. I felt like I began to know her even when she was in the womb. Our relationship began before she even emerged to see the light of the world. Her activity in the womb gave us a pretty good indication of how she would be; active and happy, and that is just how she is today.

Joy in so many little things

There are countless little things that bring you joy. Seeing my daughter laugh and smile from getting tossed into the air, hearing her let out shrieks of excitement for no apparent reason, watching her pull up and stand for the first time, seeing her climb up the sides of the couch before she can even walk (hoping this is an indicator she will be a climber), and many other things are a simple delight.

When I first found out we were pregnant I was hesitant to accept the roll of fatherhood, and it was mostly for selfish reasons. But now that I have a child I wouldn’t trade her for the world, or any other experience. I love my daughter and am extremely thankful for her. I look forward to sharing many great and exciting experiences with her.