Last year, I remember washing dishes in my kitchen when a single thought hit me. A challenge, as much as a question.
“What would happen if I changed my mindset to be a value-based rather than currency-based?”
It’s a question that really challenged me. Not to be mistaken for a money-driven mindset, I use the term ‘currency-based’ in the sense of allowing the dollars-and—cents approach I’ve taken to life, where my success criteria for each day/week/month is somehow tied to my occupation in business. The value-driven approach views the world through the lens of family values, time with Atlas and being a master and commander of my own emotions, spirit and mind.
I made it a point to see the world through this lens, which is far more of a color spectrum than a black-and-white gauntlet that the ‘currency-driven’ mindset has put me through for many years.
It helped me see challenging times in my business through the lens of time, rather than the bottom line. For example, I realized that even when things don’t go the way I’d like them to, there’s one thing I have that few people do; time.
As I write this, I’m mentally warming up for a long stretch of work ahead this evening, ahead of an important presentation tomorrow to showcase a major project which still isn’t complete. Throughout the day, I’ve had to battle all of the critical thoughts and scenarios in my mind that could happen if for some reason the presentation doesn’t go 100% tomorrow afternoon. Namely, I’ve fought the idea that my client would fire me – which would be the loss of my biggest and most long-term client I have.
I was also watching Atlas while these thoughts raced through my mind. It was difficult all day to know that the time I needed to spend in front of my computer was instead being spent reading him stories, playing with him or even taking him to his first boxing class. It felt like mental whack-a-mole to push out those thoughts and instead focus on being a Dad.
Boys need their parents. But, they especially need their Dad. I don’t ever want to be the Dad that sticks his kid in front of a screen so that he can work, because I know one day there will be a day where the work doesn’t matter – and can never matter as much as the irreplaceable moments that are shared when you choose to be present for and with your child.
I’ve found that when you put your priorities in the right order, everything else seems to fall into place. That sounds a lot simpler than the reality of it, because every time you choose your family first, you’re consciously saying ‘goodbye’ to something else. The decision doesn’t get easier as time goes by, either. Rather, it simply feels like it gets more complex/difficult every time you make it.
These past two years have been the most rewarding of my life, as well as the most difficult. It wasn’t until recently that I felt like I had local support from people who loved and cared for me, which I found in the walls of a church. Up until that point, I felt like every single day was an excruciating battle that I slugged through like a Rocky fight.
Being a parent is difficult, but being a single parent is exponentially harder. There have been a lot of moments where I’ve cried out to God for help because I simply feel overwhelmed as I fight to do every dish, change every diaper, run a business and manage the weight of being fully responsible for my finances – and others.
Somehow, it all falls into place. One day at a time.