There are many different kinds of bravery. There’s the bravery of thinking of others before oneself. Now, your father has never brandished a sword nor fired a pistol, thank heavens. But, he’s made many sacrifices for this family and put away many dreams.
Where did he put them? He put them in a drawer. And sometimes, late at night, we take them out and admire them. But it gets harder and harder to close the drawer.Peter Pan, 2003 Film
When I started this blog late last year, I had big plans for it to succeed. I put time into researching and writing articles and tried to monetize it. Then December came and life, as usual, became very hectic. I lost focus and have not made an effort to regain that focus until now. In the effort of regaining that focus, I believe that I have a better understanding of why I lost focus initially – because I was not passionate about writing a blog simply for the sake of monetization.
I recently listened to Tim Ferris interview Jim Collins for his podcast. Although I read Good to Great four years ago, I had never really internalized the Hedgehog Concept until listening to this podcast. The Hedgehog Concept is the idea that there is one powerful idea that motivates truly great companies. That idea is the intersection of three circles:
- What are you deeply passionate about?
- What can you be the best in the world at?
- What drives your economic engine?
I don’t know if I have the answers to all of these questions about this particular adventure into blogging. What I do know, is that I was NOT deeply passionate about some of the ideas I was developing according to the so-called “experts” on how to blog successfully. However, I do know that I want to spend time creatively writing about things that matter to me – and can benefit others. I feel that, as a dad, as a professional and as a member of the human race, there are ideas that I can offer others. My goal is to better myself while benefiting others in the process. That is what I am deeply passionate about.
What About the Peter Pan Quote?
I’m not 100% sure I understand how the quote above relates to this post – and I’m not 100% sure they are a great match – but I prefer to stick to my stream-of-consciousness style of reflection and writing.
What I do know is that when I re-watched the 2003 Peter Pan movie, which is much darker than the original Disney version, that quote struck a cord inside me. I have had big dreams about my life and they haven’t quite panned out the way I expected. I am not disappointed by this fact, but I do sometimes think about those dreams and think about what could have been.
Being a father changes everything about the world. Suddenly, your dreams become less important or, possibly, more distant. The world, while becoming fuller, also becomes more difficult. Basic things become luxuries – like personal space and time. How does one maintain focus and stay motivated pursuing their dreams and aspirations while being a good father?
Balancing Parenthood & Your Dreams
I’m luck that I have two hours of driving every weekday. You may think I am crazy for writing that, but it is true. Instead of listening to sports radio or music, I have chosen to listen to audio-books and podcasts. Both have been extremely influential in helping to define a better me.
I often believe there are not enough hours in the day – when the truth is that I simply do not take advantage of all the hours available to me. That is why I consider my driving time to be so valuable – because I am not distracted by anything else and can simply drive and listen.
My wife goes to bed around 9:00 every night and I used to spend my time from 9:00 to 11:00 playing video games. I really enjoyed those hours, but they aren’t very productive. I can’t get those hours back and don’t really have anything of value to show for them. Now, instead of playing video games, I take time to read, work on my blog or other activities that exercise me creatively – and go to bed by 10:00. The extra hour of sleep affords me the time to get up earlier to go to the gym in the morning. Clearly, this is a much better use of my time than playing video games.
The Best in the World at Being Me
I have become passionate at self improvement. Which is difficult, because not everyone is supportive of people trying to make themselves better. That is a topic for another day. When I look at the Hedgehog Principle and apply it to my life, I know that I can be the best at the world at being me. What does that mean?
First, I think it means that I spend my time continuing my education into my professional life. This allows me to be an expert in my profession. More importantly, it allows me to be a current expert in my profession.
Second, I can work at being a great father and husband. There is so much information on parenting and marriage that I can apply to my daily life. Perhaps now, you can see why my two hours per day of listening and learning help. It affords me the time to digest a ton of information.
Finally, I can be the healthiest version of myself. Whether it is through meditation, exercise, stretching, yoga or anything else – my goal is to live a long and healthy life.
A Final Word on Dreams
Dreams often change. I once dreamed of performing on Broadway or in Hollywood. My initial major in college was journalism so I could be a photojournalist for National Geographic. I’ve wanted to own restaurants and backpack across Europe. Those are all good dreams, but it is OK to let them change into the dreams of tomorrow. Perhaps that is a loss of innocence or just getting old – but I think as long as I have big dreams then I am motivated to be the best at being me.
Now, I dream of raising great children to become great adults. I dream of being responsible economically and retiring in time to enjoy myself. My dreams also include being the best at whatever path my career takes and also being a good husband to my beloved wife. All while being true to what I am truly passionate about.