This week, we’re doing something a little bit different. In celebration of Father’s Day, I appeared on the Mom Podcast, Generation.Mom Generation.Mom podcast. Their podcast rarely features fathers as guests, so it was an honor to talk to Lara and Jenn about how to prioritize parenthood and where to start.
Like many fathers, I felt underprepared when my first child was born. As my kids got older, I worked hard to find the right balance between being a parent, a partner, and a business leader. In today’s podcast, we talk about the importance of date nights, how to stop policing (and start empowering) your children, and the unique connection that fathers have with their kids. If you’re a parent or parent to be, it’s a must-listen.
Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
- [7:39] We open our talk with a conversation about how fatherhood transformed my career – and why I think of myself as a husband and dad first and a financial advisor second.
- [11:00] Next, we get into the idea of “dad guilt” – and why so many men aren’t honest with themselves when they use work as an excuse to miss family milestones. This leads us to talk about how entrepreneurship and owning your own business, and the fact that work never stops for so many of us, can be both a blessing and a curse.
- [15:27] From there, we dive into how becoming parents transformed mine and my wife’s relationship. We get into how it deepened my love for her and changed my perspective, as well as how unprepared I felt throughout much of the process. I also share the story of how I found out we were expecting our second son while our first was only seven months old, and why it’s okay if things don’t go exactly to plan.
- [19:05] Next, we dig into specific strategies and techniques for strengthening family without sacrificing career. We talk about the importance of support groups, how to build a calendar that puts family first, and what your kids REALLY want from you.
- [39:10] From there, we talk about divorce, the importance of continuing to date your spouse, and how adding meditation to our morning routine brought us much closer together.
- [48:00] I then share some of my favorite games, books, tools, and exercises to create family rhythms and rituals – and the importance of modeling behavior instead of just saying it.
- [1:03:00] We wrap up our conversation by discussing why you can’t sacrifice family for business – and the hard lessons I learned about family from working with clients in their 40s, 50s, and 60s when I was in my late 20s.
- [12:40] Why it’s so easy to be “always on” as an entrepreneur – and the importance of putting rules in place to hit the stop button and truly be present with your family.
- [21:10] The lesson from business that served me very well in parenthood, the importance of going to dads’ retreats, and how coaching and masterminds have informed my fatherhood.
- [24:50] Why you should put family time on your calendar first – and add everything business-related on after that.
- [34:50] Why women want their husbands to have supernatural connections with their kids – and why so many new fathers don’t immediately have that with their very young children.
- [48:45] How Table Topics, a simple $10 Amazon purchase I learned about on a dads’ retreat, changed our family dinners for the better.
- [60:00] How we address our struggles as a family with screen time and other daily challenges.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Mom Podcast, Generation.Mom
- Table Topics
- Even If Your Toes Turn Purple: Raising Teenagers That Are Confident, Happy, and Stand Out
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
- Accountable Kids
- The Family Board Meeting: Is Business Success Hurting Your Family?
- Jim Sheils on How Financial Advisors Can Run a Successful Business Without Sacrificing Their Family & the Board Meeting Framework
- Define Financial
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[00:00:01] Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast with your host, Brad Johnson. Brad’s the VP of advisor development at Advisors Excel, the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the U.S. He’s also a regular contributor to Investment News, the Wall Street Journal, and other industry publications.
[00:00:22] Brad: Welcome to the Elite Advisor Blueprint, the podcast for world-class financial advisers. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of advisor development at Advisors Excel. It’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.
Today I’m throwing in another bonus episode as this is a guest appearance I actually had on the Generation.Mom Podcast. It’s hosted by Lara Schulte and Jenn Rout. Special thanks to Taylor, Lara’s husband, over at Define Financial who made the intro after we traded multiple messages on Twitter that ended up leading to me dropping him a copy of The Family Board Meeting book in the mail. This is a bit off the beaten path, but with Father’s Day right around the corner I wanted to share this episode with you all. One of the common themes that I’ve run into over the last decade coaching hard-charging, ultra high achieving financial advisors is how tough it can be to balance a business that never turns off with your family. That’s the bulk of what we cover in this conversation: the blessing and the curse of being an entrepreneur and navigating being a dad, a Mom, a husband or a wife all at the same time.
We dive into a bunch, including my own struggles with balancing it myself, many of the frameworks our family has implemented with success and a number of the books my wife and I have found valuable along the parenthood journey. This is definitely a different type of conversation and not as business focused, but many of you have expressed the value in past episodes like the one with Jim Sheils that have made a difference for you. I decided to include it as a bonus episode. Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. This is an episode you may want to grab your wives for and listen in with them.
One other thing before we get to the show. As my special gift to help celebrate Father’s Day for those of you listening in, if you’d like a copy of Jim Sheils’ book that we talk about a lot in this episode, The Family Board Meeting, which is probably at this point my most gifted book of all time here’s all you need to do. Number one, I ask that you leave an honest review out on iTunes for our show. You can visit the link www.bradleyjohnson.com/itunes to make it easy or scroll down on your mobile player. Number two, once you’ve left a review just drop us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org with your iTunes username and a mailing address, and we’ll drop you a copy in the mail as a thank you. That simple.
Also, all the additional show notes, books mentioned and people discussed as well as a full transcript of the show can be found at https://bradleyjohnson.com/59 or simply by scrolling down on most mobile podcast players. That’s it. As always, thanks for listening in. Without further delay, my conversation with Lara and Jenn, hosts of the Generation.Mom podcast.
[00:03:00] Lara: Welcome, Brad. We are so happy to have you on the show today, especially because we are gearing up to celebrate Father’s Day this week. It is important to us to highlight parenthood from a father’s perspective. We hear so much from other mothers on the show but never from fathers. We are so excited to be highlighting fatherhood and talking to you.
For the listeners, I was introduced to you by my husband, Taylor, who has followed your work professionally as you’re both entrepreneurs in the financial world. He’s also admired you from afar as a father during a time that he has been growing both his business and his family. Seeing that you’ve done so successfully, he just recommended we speak to you about fatherhood because you’ve really impacted his life as a dad and as a business professional. We are so excited about that and officially want to say welcome.
[00:03:54] Brad: Thank you, Lara. What a way to intro into a show. I think what’s been really cool, how we connected it just shows the power of podcasting and the power of social media. Twitter I think was where Taylor and I connected. I think I followed him somewhere along the way just because we’re both in financial services. He put a post up about… he was just real. It wasn’t one of these glamor posts that you see on Facebook or Instagram. It was like, “Hey, being a dad’s tough sometimes and I have a tough time balancing it sometimes.” It was something about I think you guys were out doing something. I was like, “Hey, have you… ” I recommended a book. I was like, “Hey, I’ll just send you a copy because it made a big impact for myself and my wife and our family.” It just speaks to the power of being able to connect. It’s so cool to see what you all are doing. I’ve already recommended your podcast to my wife, so you picked up a new subscriber along the way too in this interview.
[00:04:47] Lara: Awesome. We are so happy to hear that.
[00:04:49] Jenn: Yeah. Brad, before we jump into further discussion, do you mind first sharing a little bit about yourself and your family personally? Second, how you would describe or say your career has transitioned due to fatherhood?
[00:05:04] Brad: It’s been really interesting. I’ve got a really good friend named Jon Vroman. I think he really sums it up, at least the way I try to live, and I don’t always hit the mark on this. He was a professional speaker. He said oftentimes he was asked, “What do you do for a living?” He’d just always give the professional side. Then he started to realize “Actually, you know what, I’m a dad and I’m a husband first and then all this other stuff follows that.” I really try to deliver on that. I think I don’t always achieve it or succeed there, but I really think that’s what’s most important. The reason I work and have a career is so I can create amazing experiences for my family. Whether it’s just my wife and I or if it’s a full family trip or just anything, the house, the roof that’s over our heads. I think first and foremost I like to think of myself as a dad and as a husband. I hope I do really, really well there and I strive to get better every day.
Then after that I work in financial services. Started with a company based out of Topeka, Kansas, Advisors Excel, which at the time was this sleepy little company that no one had ever heard of in a place that nobody ever visited basically. Today we’ve grown it into the largest independent insurance brokerage firm in the United States. We deal with annuities, life insurance. Just opened a wealth management division three years ago that’s now the second fastest growing in the U.S. Did over seven billion three years later. It’s been really cool to see a company that started a small town company really start to have a national impact. I don’t think we plan on slowing down anytime soon on that front either.
Then I guess let me fill in the gaps on my family. I married my high school sweetheart, Sarah. We married in 2005. Met her when I was a junior in high school, dated all through college. Then we have three kiddos. We’ve got Braun who’s our oldest. He’s a nine year old, super into everything sports-related. Got a hoverboard for his last birthday and now he’s just crunching all of our finish all around every aspect of our house with that thing, so that’s good. Nash is our middle boy. He’s almost eight. Really into nothing sports-related. Really into legos, really into more creative type of things. He’s in taekwondo, playing the piano, so that’s his gig. Then our littlest, Nellie. She’s three and she’s the toughest out of all of them. I think she’s going to be all into sports. She’s into gymnastics right now. What else is she into? All things princess and pink. Yeah, so that’s us.
[00:07:52] Lara: I love the family dynamic. It’s adorable. It’s interesting to hear you say really first and foremost you always try to keep in mind that you’re a father. Sometimes the life and running the business and all of that, that can cloud someone’s perspective and make them maybe feel overwhelmed and doing career alongside of fatherhood.
On this podcast, we often are talking about women now that have careers alongside of motherhood. We see that a lot of women today are feeling really stretched when it comes to being a parent and having a career of any kind, even if it’s a job that allows them to work a few hours a week from their home. Would you say from your perspective that fathers struggle with the same kind of feeling, this dad guilt? We don’t talk about dad guilt the way that we talk about Mom guilt. Does that exist? In your experience do you feel that that exists for fathers just as much as it does for mothers?
[00:09:01] Brad: I think it does. I don’t know to the level that it does for mothers. I think a lot of times guys just aren’t honest with themselves. You look at kind of, I’ll call it old school, like 1950s, like Leave It to Beaver type of families. I think we’re a long ways away from that today but I think there’s still that theme in America where the guy makes the money and the gal stays home and takes care of the kids, although that’s definitely evolved a lot. I think a lot of dads will say where they dismiss the dad guilt- and maybe this is their defense mechanism- it’s “I’m out making a living to support my family. I’m earning the money to do it, therefore if I’m away or I miss important activities it’s okay.”
I think as an entrepreneur it’s the blessing and the curse. The blessing is you have the freedom to create this amazing business that you’re your own boss. The curse is that never stops. It doesn’t turn off. It’s not an eight to five, I hang it up and life is good. A lot of our coaching, we coach financial advisors for a living. They’re type A. As you know, Lara, that business doesn’t turn off either, being married to Taylor. I like to talk through ‘build a business that you never want to retire from.’ As an entrepreneur you have that power and the ability to do it. Oftentimes it’s just giving into impulses. Such as now we have this thing called an iPhone that’s right there next to us all hours of the day. It’s really easy to check a quick email and then the next thing you know you’re 45 minutes into that and your kids are like… you’re actually supposed to be interacting with them in the evening.
That’s something I personally have struggled a lot with is it doesn’t turn off. You have to really put these rules in place in your life to make it turn off. Once you do and you’re present with your family that’s the best. It’s actually hitting the stop button and figuring out tools and tricks to be able to do that, is what I’ve found anyway.
[00:11:07] Lara: Yeah. I think it’s a work in progress. It’s a skill that we all have to acquire. Some days we’re going to do better than others. Just this morning I shared with you before we jumped on, Taylor’s out of town right now so I’m doing this Mom thing alone until I have help come with the kids and I can go to work. I was sitting there writing an email and my two-year-old picked a book up that you actually had sent us and ripped it apart. It’s because I wasn’t sitting there spending time with him, giving him that quality attention. I was distracted by my computer and an email that I needed to get out because I didn’t get it out last night. It’s this juggle.
Nina O’Neal talks about “The juggle is real,” with, I think it’s Investor News. It’s a real thing that I know Moms experience. It’s interesting to see the dads experience it too regardless of how their businesses are set up in their life. Thank you for sharing that.
[00:12:08] Brad: Yeah, no problem.
[00:12:09] Jenn: Yeah. I agree with the setting boundaries is hard. Like Lara mentioned earlier, both of our husbands are entrepreneurs. It’s true, it never turns off. He’s the… As I’m sure you understand, you’re the one that everyone’s looking for. You drive the business forward. You’re in control. It’s harder to set boundaries for that. That makes me think about how challenging the transition into parenthood must have been. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the term matrescence, which is basically what’s called the birth or the transition of a mother. When the baby is born you have a baby but you also have now been born as a Mom. That transition has been likened to when children go through adolescence, where it’s basically a massive change physically as well as emotionally.
I believe that you have three children. When you look back to when your eldest son was born, what can you tell us about your transition into being a father, into fatherhood? Was it shocking? How did it feel? If you compare that transition to how you observed your wife transition, would you say it was as impactful for you?
[00:13:21] Brad: She was a natural. I had to figure it out. From a husband’s perspective, I think all things new can be scary. There’s this saying ‘There’s no manual for parenthood,’ and that’s 100% the truth. The first thing that was really impactful to me was the level of love for my wife. Seeing her go through pregnancy, which is not easy on a human being’s body. Then the actual birth process itself, to see her go through that to bring our child into the world. My level of love for her before that to after didn’t even compare. I think our relationship in that process became stronger and I had a higher appreciation for her. That was the start of it.
Then from the baby, this new little thing that’s half you and figuring that all out it’s scary. I had one younger brother. I didn’t come from a big family where I was holding babies my whole life growing up. The whole process of figuring out how to care for this child you’re scared to break was new, but you figure it out. I think another big thing is you have to get a lot less selfish really quick. My wife and I we’re social people. We like to go out. We like to hang out with friends. We’re also independent so we can do that on our own. We’re not the couple that has to follow each other around. Realizing, “Brad, you’re going to go out. Who’s going to take care of the baby?” All of a sudden there’s a heavier weight on your shoulders of always needing to be there. The level of selfishness immediately drops because you’re not the number one priority anymore, or your spouse isn’t the number one priority anymore. I guess individually as you look at yourself you’re not the number one priority. That really changed a lot. I think we grew and we’re a lot stronger today because of that.
I think being a parent makes you a better person. You start thinking completely… You are much more self-aware. It’s not always about you or always about you as a couple. At least high level, at least a few things off the top of my mind that definitely starting out changed.
[00:15:38] Lara: What about when your second son was born? Did you feel more prepared? Did you have a similar adjustment in terms of “Now we have four. Each of us get one now essentially. Man on man defense for child care for a little bit”? Did that feel easier? Did it feel more stressful? We hear a lot from women that becoming a mother is very challenging, but it seems like you guys or that you at least transitioned well.
[00:16:08] Brad: We were fortunate. Financially we were set up in a way where my wife could stay at home with the kids, so that was super helpful. My wife taught grade school and she coached volleyball. She was fortunate she was able to keep coaching volleyball. That was kind of her sanity, her grown up time where she could actually go out and have regular conversations. She continues to coach today and is very, very good at it. I think that that’s always been a good thing that she’s had a little bit of that balance to get outside of the house and keep those relationships going with friends.
The funny story with our second was not planned whatsoever. My wife, I remember she came in and she was like, “Hey, can we talk?” Immediately we sit down at the kitchen table and she starts bawling, and not happy tears. She’s like, “I’m pregnant.” This was… Let me think here. I’ve got to do my math. We had a seven-month-old at the time so her-
[00:17:02] Lara: Yeah, I’ve been there, Brad.
[00:17:05] Brad: That’s sounding a little too familiar? Yeah, our two boys are 16 months apart. My wife will tell you… I guess her mom guilt sometimes is she doesn’t feel like she gave Nash, both Braun and Nash, our two oldest, she feels like she shorted each of them in the deal because they were so close together. Our little magical fairytale story we had predetermined that all of us have before it actually happens was we’re going to have a baby about every two years and we’re going to have… We thought for sure three, maybe four. There’s a huge gap between our youngest and our middle because we were just in this whirlwind of chaos for three or four years. Our second was definitely not planned but now it’s great. The two of them they can do a lot of activities together. They’re pretty good buddies most of the time.
I guess for those Moms out there- I would assume a lot of your listeners are Moms- it’s okay if things like that go down. It’s not always going to be storybook like you have a plan but it’ll all work out in the end.
[00:18:16] Lara: No, life is not a straight line.
[00:18:18] Brad: No.
[00:18:18] Lara: The challenges that we are faced with come to serve us in a way. Speaking of that, I want to know a couple things. One, it sounds like yes, you and your wife managed the transition into parenthood pretty well compared to what a lot of people do. With that being said, I’m sure it didn’t go without hard work. I assume that you’ve done a lot of work to be a present father and a present husband, and to work through navigating parenthood. What I would like to know is what would have been helpful for you to have known ahead of becoming a father about that transition?
[00:18:59] Brad: I think a lesson in business served me really well in parenthood. I’ve been really fortunate on the business side. We’ve been a company that we brought in Tony Robbins to speak. We brought in Darren Hardy. We brought in a ton of thought leader type of people to where it serves you on the business side, but also some of these principles and rules can serve you on the personal side.
A guy I mentored under in a mastermind for a couple of years, a guy named Michael Hyatt who I still hold in the highest regard. Happily married, five daughters. All of his daughters actually still like him, so that’s just a huge accomplishment by itself and they’re all grown now. He gave me a piece of advice. It is, anything in life that you want to figure out, whether it’s I want to shed a few pounds at the gym or I want to do this in business or be a better husband, go get a coach. Go get somebody that that’s what they specialize in. They’ve been there before. They’ve seen people struggle with this. They’ve helped them down the path to get them where they want to go.
I’ve looked at me as a husband and me as a father and I’ve tried to model the same thing that a lot of people model in business. They have a business coach but they don’t really have anybody that helps them on the other side. One of my good friends, a guy named Jon Vroman, he created an event called The Dads Retreat because same thing, he was going to all these business conferences. He was like, “I want to go learn how to be a better dad. What’s out there?” I’ve gone to that now three or four years. That’s where I met Jim Sheils. The book that I sent you, The Family Board Meeting, that model by itself in our life has been massive. I’m so thankful I found it when my kids were young. I think Braun was four or five.
[00:20:43] Lara: Let’s jump into that. Let’s talk about how going to this dad retreat and then reading that book and all of that has formed your fatherhood.
[00:20:53] Brad: I think first off, going to a dads retreat the thing that I found, like most places, is sometimes the scariest voice to listen to is the one inside your own head. When you go there and you listen to other guys that they want to be great dads too and, guess what, they struggle with putting the cell phone up at night. They struggle with work trips and all of the things that people that run successful businesses do. The first thing is you start to realize, “I’m not alone in this battle by myself. If I’ve got other people there, kind of accountability partners, that can be really helpful.” Then when you have that bad day a support group to reach out to. The whole context of that I think is very helpful where you’re not alone and getting all worked up because you think you’re battling by yourself.
I’m a big framework guy. Probably it has a lot to do with coaching a ton on business. Frameworks where you can break down super complicated stuff and make it easy and attainable. The Family Board Meeting, Jim Sheils, that was a framework I took and I was like, “This is a no brainer. It’s not that hard.” Essentially, it’s one on one time with each child. Four hours, no technology and they choose the activity and then you reflect at the end. Basically I just put that on my calendar.
That would be another tip I would say is if you’ve got these aspirations, things you want to do either as a husband, wife, Mom, dad, rather than talk about it and then a month from now you’re like, “Oh, yeah. I never did that,” just go straight up to your calendar, put it on there. In my family we call it putting the big rocks on the calendar first. A lot of times what happens is all the business stuff goes on and then, “Oh, shoot. When can I fit in this quality time with my kid?” In reality that’s what’s most important. Look out to 2020 right now where it’s fairly open and say, “I’m going to spend some one on one time with each of my children each quarter.” Boom, it’s on there. Now when all the business stuff rolls around you just work that around it.
That’s been really big. My wife and I did that for the first time this year where January, I think, we sat down with Michelle on my team who runs my calendar. We literally put all of our family events on it first and then we put all the business stuff on after. I know after that my wife, Sarah, was just like, “Oh my gosh, that’s the best meeting we’ve ever done. We need to do that every year.” It took a lot of stress off both of us.
Then the family board meetings. I grew up with a younger brother, two years younger. It’s really interesting because I didn’t really think about it until I read that book and I got some time to hang out with Jim one on one. Every childhood memory, for the most part, of mine is my brother’s right next to me and that’s great. That’s awesome. I look back to some of my best moments. I remember this one time where my grandpa- I couldn’t have been more than six or seven years old- picked me up in his old beat-up red pickup truck. I grew up in the middle of Kansas so think a dirt road middle of nowhere. We drive like a couple miles over. We go into this pasture. There’s a little fishing pond, and him and I just sat there and fished. I’m six or seven and I still vividly remember that. As I go back I’m like, “Why is that drilled into my brain? Why do I remember that so vividly?” It was because it was him and me. In every other family event it was him and 12 other grandkids. That one on one time as a kid, your kids don’t… Disney’s great, let’s go. We do that too. What they really want is you focused eyeball to eyeball talking about things that they actually want to talk about and are interested in.
The more of those I can get on the calendar, the more of them I do, the more important I see that they are. Now my kids they ask me, they’re like, “Dad, when’s our next Daddy Braun Day?” “When’s our next Daddy Nash Day?” That’s all they care about. That would be a simple thing. If I can get five people that listen to this do it that’s a huge win. I guarantee it will impact your relationship with your kids forever.
[00:25:14] Lara: Hey, Jenn, do you think they like us?
[00:25:17] Jenn: Wait, what do you mean by that, Lara?
[00:25:19] Lara: Do you think our listeners like us, you know, on Instagram?
[00:25:24] Jenn: Of course they do, or at least they mean to. Come on, guys. If you’re not following us on IG, we would love to connect with you there.
[00:25:31] Lara: Yes, we want to get to know you better and we want you to get to know Generation.Mom even more.
[00:25:37] Jenn: Please make sure you are following us on Instagram @generation.mom. You can shoot us a direct message and say hello.
[INTERVIEW PART 2]
[00:25:46] Brad: Disney’s great. Let’s go. We do that too. What they really want is you focused eyeball to eyeball talking about things that they actually want to talk about and are interested in. The more of those I can get on the calendar, the more of them I do, the more important I see that they are. Now my kids, they ask me, they’re like, “Dad, when’s our next Daddy Braun Day?” “When’s our next Daddy Nash Day?” That’s all they care about. That would just be a simple thing. If I can get five people that listen to this do it that’s a huge win. I guarantee it will impact your relationship with your kids forever.
[00:26:24] Jenn: I like that point of view thinking about what your memories are as a child. Similar to what you just shared, my best memories as a child are when I was only with my dad. Not that I didn’t like my mom and sister of course, but those are the most prevalent when I think of them or the most emotional still as an adult. Totally, it’s great advice and makes sense. You experienced that. It’s a great way using this one on one time and creating frameworks like you mentioned to bridge entrepreneurship and parenthood together to create quality time.
[00:27:00] Brad: To that point, as an entrepreneur you actually have more freedom oftentimes to do things like that. If you were working for the corporate job eight to five it’s actually really hard. You’ve got to now start to take vacation and plan all this stuff out. I’ve got buddies that are on the speaking circuit, authors, they start just like, “Hey, I’ve got this speaking event.” They take one of their kids with them. That whole trip becomes their version of a board meeting. I think as an entrepreneur if you are purposeful and intentional about it, you can actually create some even way over the top family board meetings that probably most individuals couldn’t pull off.
[00:27:39] Lara: Yeah. I think I saw Rachel Hollis. I think it was Rachel Hollis who was doing that where if she is away from her kids for longer than five days she always takes one with her. Again, to your guys’ point, for me looking back on my life, I have two siblings. We’re all very close in age. The memories that stick out most are the ones where I had one on one time with both parents, but significantly my father. He was really good about having his dates with his daughters and then he would go camping with my brother all of the time. It’s all very significant. Just to clarify a couple of things, this isn’t something that only the father would be doing with the children. The mother should be and can be creating these types of one to one relationships and experiences as well, correct?
[00:28:29] Brad: Yeah. It’s interesting. I don’t know if you all fall into this. Maybe you do, maybe don’t. I’m the guy, I go to a lot of conferences every year. Some are business, some, like the dads’ retreats, for a different reason. I’m also the guy, I’ve made the mistake of being gone for two days. Then the first thing I say when I get back home to my wife is like, “Hey honey, here’s the seven things we’ve got to implement in the next two days.” I’m all amped up about the last conference I went to and the cool ideas. She’s just holding a kid out like, “Please take this child before I kill them,” but not quite to that extent.
[00:29:07] Jenn: Yeah, we can relate.
[00:29:10] Brad: Anyway, I think with Sarah the way this worked is I came back. I think it was one of those things like, “Okay, here’s another idea.” Then she started to see how it impacted our kiddos and now she started to do the same on her side. It’s a little different with three kids. If we had two it’d be really easy. One does a kiddo mom day and then a kiddo dad day. If you have three kids now you’ve got to start to plan a bit more.
That’s so interesting that both of you have super strong memories one on one. Where I’ve seen the biggest impact with our kids… Nellie’s still a little young. She actually completely dissed me. We had the Nellie Dad Day and she’s like, “I just want to stay with Mom.” I was like, “Okay, that’s cool. Hopefully she comes around eventually. Nash, he’s always had an older brother talking over him, interrupting him, trying to redirect things. For him those one on one times is where I see him come out as a person because he’s got complete freedom. He can own the conversation. We can do the activities he actually wants to do instead of his older brother wants to do. I think especially as your family grows the younger siblings… I’m not going to say the older sibling doesn’t still need it. They absolutely do, but I’d see even more powerful in some of the younger siblings that have older siblings running the show.
[00:30:39] Lara: Yeah, I can definitely see that. My kids are still very young but that two year old of mine he dominates the baby. He sees the baby get one… Yesterday the baby was touching my hand and it was a big deal.
[00:30:54] Jenn: “That’s my mama’s hand.”
[00:30:55] Lara: Yeah. He was all, “No baby, no baby, don’t touch her.” We have to work on that. Another point that you made too, and I love it, I so see the power in how your wife felt when you had that meeting in January and you sat down with Michelle and you said, “We’ve got to put the rocks on our calendar.” I love that. I am going to actually start working on that with Taylor because I think that’s key. Just like he lays out his conferences for the year for his business and the things that he must be doing. He has two months of the year where he grinds down and does all of his annual meetings. We have to put those big rocks, those family events on the calendar too. I think that’s so important.
It reminds me of… I don’t know if you’ve seen that YouTube video or heard that story about filling up your bucket. You have to put the rocks in first. The rocks here being the quality pieces of your life, whether that’s career or family or whatever. That has to go in first because once it starts filling with sand there’s no place for the rocks, right?
[00:31:58] Brad: Exactly. Yeah. I did this for the longest time. I’m sure everybody does out there. You filled it with the sand first and then you get to the end and there’s no room for the rocks. That’s super frustrating.
[00:32:10] Lara: Yeah. To go back a little bit, I do want to come more into some of the tools and the skills that you use within your fatherhood in your family dynamic. I want to talk a little bit more about your wife or just mothers in general. Okay? What is something that you wish more wives or partners would really understand about the role and the experience of the father and what they’re going in their fatherhood?
[00:32:41] Brad: I think a lot of dads, and a lot of my friends, as we’ve talked about it, it’s just like we’re clueless. It’s like just tell us what to do. I think a lot of women you have these motherly instincts. I’m not saying all women. A good example, my wife loves babies, that zero to six months, nine months. If there’s a baby in the room she’ll just go pick him up and cuddle him and nestle him. The guy version of that… I’m just being real with you here. I love them but I don’t really have a need to want to go hold them. I’m like, get them walking and being able to run around and wrestle and do all the fun stuff. Awesome. That first year, being really truthful and honest here, I didn’t have a supernatural connection.
I think a lot of Moms want their husband to have that. A lot of guys I’ve talked to that first year, yes, they will go, they will help out because they want to be helpful and they want to be a great husband and dad, but there’s not this natural pull to do it. However, once they start to get a little older and can interact, talk, personalities come out, run around, I think that’s where a lot of guys start to really be super drawn to their kids and want to play with them all day long. Does that make any sense whatsoever or am I completely off base?
[00:34:10] Lara: Yeah, absolutely. I think that now Jenn and I both have toddlers so we can see that with our own husbands. Having a toddler and a baby right now, the bond that I see between my husband and my toddler is more significant now than it is between the baby and my husband because the baby is relying on me for the most part.
That bond with the baby for me it’s interesting. It feels different than the bond with my first. I think when we just had one there was a lot of focus on the one and we both… There was a lot of fusion tied between all three of us and there was that triangle created. Then you add the second kid. That baby has been more… I don’t want to say more of my responsibility, but has been more reliant on me. I feel like I have a different and a special bond with the second because my husband has really had a new bond with our first.
I would say that that is probably accurate for most. I know I was really frustrated, to be completely honest, with Taylor when I was pregnant with my second child because it was like, “You don’t seem to care that I’m pregnant with another kid. Like the nostalgia or something has worn off around having children.” He was like, “Honestly, it’s not that. It’s just really hard. Those first zero to nine months I have a hard time with. You don’t get a lot back from the baby. I can’t really do as much as you can. You’re feeding the baby. You’re up with the baby. I can’t do a whole lot.” To him it felt like he was helpless in that situation, and men don’t want to feel that way.
[00:35:49] Brad: There’s at least two of us out there then. It’s Taylor and I on our own little island. There might be a couple more somewhere.
[00:35:56] Jenn: I have the opposite problem in which I also don’t really like baby stage. My husband and I are in agreement that we both don’t really like the baby stage.
[00:36:08] Brad: That’s good to hear. That’s good to hear that that happens on the woman’s side too.
[00:36:13] Jenn: Yeah. At least for sure that’s how our experience with our first was. That brought into a new dynamic with us about how we had to really learn how to communicate as parents differently.
Do you have any tips or feedback about how you and your wife are able to continue to find time to communicate or to get on the same page about topics related to parenting? Do you have a similar structure like you do with your children where you have one on one time where you guys make it a point to communicate? Or how do you work together to get on the same page?
[00:36:48] Brad: This is really scary as couples, so I’m glad you went there because I’m at the… I’m 38. I’m at the age now where I’m starting to see a lot of couples, unfortunately, start to hit the national average of divorce. Our first 5-10 years all our friends are still married. That must not be a Kansas thing. Then now it’s definitely catching up. There’s been some trends I’ve seen. I don’t want to pretend to be a couples’ therapist or anything like that, but I definitely see some trends of those that haven’t lasted. I can think of one specifically where great parents. The best parents. Kids are all into sports and all of this. It just blindsided me when they split. My wife and I talked a lot about it because we were like, ‘Wow, seriously? How did this happen?” When we really looked back, it was they invested all their time and energy into their kids and they forgot about each other. That’s the outside perspective. There could have been other things happening.
One thing that I think is really important is you can be the best parent on earth, but if you don’t maintain that relationship with your spouse or your partner or whoever that is, that’s massively impactful to the kids. My parents divorced as I was a freshman going into high school. It resonated. I didn’t go off and start smoking cigarettes behind the school or something like that, but it was very impactful and it still is today. We’ve got three Christmases to hit every Christmas.
I think one thing you can’t forget is you always have to keep dating your spouse. Something Sarah and I have done… It’s gone through gaps. I think there’s always seasons. Lara on your side, I guess you’re seven months in, but Jenn you’re… Both of you are still going through these seasons where you’re in the chaos phase of a new kiddo. Those things will sometimes… You might not have the every Wednesday date night or something like that. The one thing that I would challenge all couples out there is you have to keep dating each other. If you don’t then it just becomes like you’re roommates raising kids together. You’ve got to keep the passion alive. You got to keep the communication alive. That’s one of our rhythms is we have a weekly date night. In fact, it’s tonight. It doesn’t have to be special. My wife yesterday she’s like, “What do you think about we just have the babysitter take the kids downstairs and then we just watch a movie in our room?”
[00:39:27] Lara: That sounds amazing.
[00:39:30] Brad: With potentially a bottle of wine involved too. I’m like, “That sounds awesome.” We don’t have to get dressed up. We can just throw on some sweats or whatever. I think that that’s really key, is keep the relationship alive. It’s really scary if you don’t keep investing time there. I think that’s where a lot of our communication comes out. We don’t try to make our date nights like meetings or just like, “Hey, here are the eight things to check off our checklist.” Oftentimes the things that need to come out come out there.
One other thing that was huge for me… This is one of my favorite quotes of all time and I got this at a marriage retreat three or four years ago. It’s credited to Viktor Frankl but I don’t think anybody’s actually ever proved that he said it. It is “Between stimulus and response there’s a space, and in that space lies all your opportunity for growth.” I might’ve missed a word or two in there but that’s the basics of it. A guy named Ian Cron shared that with me. He wrote a book called The Road Back to You. It’s around the Enneagram. I don’t know if you’re familiar. An awesome, awesome book for couples. I learned more about my wife in that marriage retreat than the 10-11 years prior that we’d been married.
Times where I see communication break down between us or between our kids it’s typically when I react versus when I give myself space. I take it in and I immediately go to defend or make my point instead of seeking to understand, why was that said? My wife was at the time struggling with… Our kids were a little younger and it was that just out of toddler phase where they can actually talk back a little bit. They can get some zingers in there. She was just struggling. She asked Ian, “How do I develop that? How do I widen that space?” His analogy was most people walk through life and that space is about as wide as a crack on the sidewalk. They walk over it. They don’t even realize it. His response was the best. This is a guy that he’s an episcopal priest and a psychologist, which is a pretty crazy combo. He’s had a lot of experience with couples over the years.
His response was, “You should meditate.” This was one of those things I’d been talking to Sarah about for a year or two and she’d written it off as some Tony Robbins stuff or whatever. We made a rhythm for close to a year where in our morning routine we got up before the kids were up. It’s usually about 5:30, so it was definitely a commitment. We meditated just the two of us downstairs in our basement. It’s dark, no lights on. We weren’t touching whatsoever but it was one of the most intimate experiences because you’re in a space with someone you love in complete silence. Have either of you meditated at all or messed around with it-?
[00:42:41] Lara: A little bit. I’m not great at it. I will say that when Taylor started picking up on the practice regularly he became so much less reactionary to any issue in our marriage.
[00:42:53] Brad: Yeah. It was kind of the same. It sounds like, Lara, on your side it was similar. I started it a little bit but when Sarah started doing it with me.. We’ve fallen a bit out of the practice honestly lately. Anytime we’re not super well connected we’re like, “Let’s get back on that meditation.” It creates more space and you’re prouder of how you react to things. I don’t know. Your brain basically rewires itself. I don’t know all the science behind it, but I just know it helps and you’re a more self-aware person. It was really cool to experience that together.
[00:43:35] Lara: Isn’t there something that’s said about how the best communication is the communication that exists between two people when nothing’s said at all, like they’re sitting next to each other? I don’t know that quote around it or exactly what it is. That feeling where you can just look at each other and know what one another’s thinking because you’ve created that space for one another.
So much of what you’ve said is so true. I want to go back to what you said a couple of minutes ago about sometimes you’re in seasons. Jenn’s about to enter a season with a newborn. When you have really small kids you’re in the thick of it. Like you said, it’s a continuous chaotic season, and within that season things aren’t going to be regular. You might not have regular date nights, but just taking a moment to do something. Maybe the kids are asleep and you go in the backyard and you have a glass of wine. Just taking that moment to take yourself out of the chaos of the house or taking care of the kids or whatever it is, remove yourself and get some fresh air together. It’s so impactful.
I’ll share something funny. Taylor and I actually have our first trip together planned for next week. We had this trip planned for a while, probably for the last six months and he got a speaking opportunity on the exact same weekend. He came to me and he was like, “Look, I got this opportunity. I hate to pass it up.” I’m in complete support of him and any opportunities. He said, “But I want to put our vacation first because we really need this time together.” I appreciated him saying that but I said, “Why don’t I just go with you? We’ll go. It’ll be a longer trip. I’ll go with you. I don’t care where it is. The fact that we get to go on an airplane alone is amazing. That is amazing and that is our quality time. If I could just sit with you on an airplane I’m going to make that fun.”
[00:45:33] Jenn: Even if you have a delay and they lose your luggage it’s still so much easier than traveling with the toddlers.
[00:45:39] Brad: Yeah.
[00:45:40] Lara: Being grateful for those little moments and making those little moments. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Like you’ve said, tonight you’re just going to watch a movie with your wife while there’s a babysitter. That’s awesome. It’s a lot less pressure too. When you’re in the thick of it find a way to even take 15 minutes for yourself as a couple.
Then another thing that you had brought up in conversation a little while back when we said, “What do you wish more wives and partners knew?” It’s about men for the most part they don’t love the baby stage, or at least in your experience. I do think there’s a few men and they’re kind of like unicorns that love little babies. They’re like unicorns. You said it’s fun when you can start talking to your kids. Let’s talk about some of the frameworks for great conversation that you can create with your kids. How would you do that as your kids get older?
[00:46:30] Brad: There’s one little tool that is awesome and makes it really easy. Have you all heard of Table Topics by chance?
[00:46:39] Jenn: No.
[00:46:40] Brad: Okay. This is going to be your new favorite $10 Amazon purchase, maybe $15. There are these little cards and they make them kids’ version, they make adult versions. They’re super deep questions, kind of philosophical questions. Going back to rhythms that are important in our family. All else can go wrong in the day. If I’m home by 6:00 pm to have family dinner all is good. That’s really one of our rhythms. That’s one of our non-negotiables other than if I’m traveling for work or something. 6:00 pm family dinner and at the dinner table, not watching TV, no electronics from any kids, no electronics from Mom or dad. Just an old-school family dinner. We had these monotonous of like, “How was your day?” Or, “What was the best thing from school today?” After a while kids completely zone out on those or they just give you two word answers. Actually, I think it was the dads retreat there somebody was talking about Table Topics. I got home, bought those.
They’re questions, like Nash’s favorite, “You’re going to be deserted on a desert island. You can only take three things. What are you taking?” The kids will fight over who gets to answer them first. It gives you so much insight into everybody’s personality, what’s important to them. When they started out they’re like, “I would take a sandwich, I would take my Pokémon cards and I would take an apple.” Then the answers started evolving the second time around where Nash was like, “I would take a grocery store because I can get everything there.” I was like, “Okay, now we’re thinking.” It’s really fun. “If you were a superhero what superhero would you be and what’s your favorite superpower?” Some of them are just silly questions but they make for interesting conversation.
Another book recommendation, Even If Your Toes Turn Purple written by Rich and Tim Christiansen. Rich was an entrepreneur, I think still is an entrepreneur. Has five boys. His book is written in conjunction with his son. It was actually a business project. He’s got a chapter in there, it’s basically how him and his wife created all these rituals and rhythms.
One of the things that Sarah and I have really started to talk a lot about is what’s going to be really important to us after our kids are out of the house? Sarah comes from a lot bigger family, a Catholic family. They do everything together. Like, “It’s second cousin’s birthday. Let’s all get together.” One of those type of families. At first I was like, “Seriously?” but now I’ve really come to appreciate. Around her parents’ family kitchen table there have been some of the best conversations, games. It’s a very warm environment. We’ve talked about what sort of things do we need to do to replicate that where our kids actually want to come back home when they don’t have to. A lot of it’s just around developing relationships.
Yeah, it’s chapter nine, Power Tools For Parents, in this book. It’s jam-packed with so much stuff. One of the coolest things we’ve done yet with our kids… I got an idea out of here Basically, he came up with a list of… Of course he had five boys so he said, “If you’re a Christiansen boy what does that mean? What’s it mean to be a Christiansen boy?” We basically came up with our version of that, “What’s it mean to be a Johnson kid?” We all got sticky notes and markers. I had Braun and Nash. Nellie was a little young. We actually circled back around with her. I had a morning with the boys and I said, “Hey, what’s it mean to be a Johnson kid?” Then I just shut up and they started writing. They came up with things like, “Treat others’ things as if they’re ours. Have fun. Be creative.” They came up with all these amazing ideas. They were coming up with them. I wasn’t. They were writing them on sticky notes, slapping them down. I went back and asked Nellie. At three she came up with these, she said, “Love their mommy, love their daddy, have fun, play.” I think those were her four. I went to… I think it’s Canva. Is that a website, Canva?
[00:51:19] Lara: Yes.
[00:51:20] Brad: Just made a poster out of them. It looks cool. I put that poster up on the boys’ wall, I put that poster up on Nellie’s wall. At night we’ll do our bedtime story stuff. Then I’ll start to ask them like, “Hey, name one thing. What’s it mean to be a Johnson kid?” They’ll name a random thing off there. Then if they name one, two nights in a row I’ll say, “Hey, come up with another one. What’s another one on there?”
It’s cool to start to see them ingrain these things into who they are. Also on the other side when they’re a jerk to their brother, “Hey,” I’ll look up at that poster, “now was that treating your brother like you want to be treated?” They came up with it. If it’s dad or Mom telling them what they should be that’s one thing. It’s another thing with them creating that on their own and then living up to their expectation of themselves. That was more of a conversational thing that we had but what organically came out of it that’s been pretty cool to see.
[00:52:28] Jenn: Hey Lara, have you checked out our weekly email yet?
[00:52:30] Lara: Wait, we have an email?
[00:52:32] Jenn: Yes. That is where all of our really great insider promo codes offers and all the extra additional insight on our featured guests are. Don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and emails today.
[INTERVIEW PART 3]
[00:52:46] Brad: It’s cool to start to see them ingrain these things into who they are. Also on the other side when they’re a jerk to their brother, “Hey,” I’ll look up at that poster, “now was that treating your brother like you want to be treated?” They came up with it. If it’s dad or Mom telling them what they should be that’s one thing. It’s another thing with them creating that on their own and then living up to their expectation of themselves. That was more of a conversational thing that we had but what organically came out of it that’s been pretty cool to see.
[00:53:24] Jenn: When I hear you say how your kids wrote all these things down about what it means to be a Johnson kid, I think immediately that they listed all those things because that’s how they saw you and your wife model behavior. That that’s the culture of the family that you’d already created, right?
[00:53:44] Brad: I hope so. That’s what I strive to do. That was a huge lesson for me.
[00:53:51] Jenn: Yeah, that you were doing a good job, right? That’s what I hear too.
[00:53:56] Brad: It’s been a huge lesson for me when I don’t. When I’m real with myself, which my wife will tell me, she’s like, “One of these days you’ll learn it’s okay to say that you’re not always right.” I think as good as we all strive to be, we’re all human beings and we’re flawed at certain things. That point of modeling versus saying is so big. One of the things that I started to do recently, I will express my love for my wife in front of my kids. Jenn, I think you said earlier how your dad took you on dates when you were little.
[00:54:33] Jenn: Yeah.
[00:54:33] Brad: Right. I know Nellie it’s going to mean so much more. She’s going to model how I treat Sarah in front of her. That’s what she’s going to look for in a future husband versus if I just say, “Make sure boys respect you.” One of the things that I’ll try to do is at bedtime I’ll say, “Hey… ” Sarah and I actually did this a lot. We’d be like, “Hey, Mom loves you. Dad loves you.” We’d express all of our love for our kids. I started saying, “You know how much your dad loves your Mom?” Now it’s a running joke with the kids, like, “Yeah, we know you love Mom. You think Mom’s beautiful. Yeah, yeah.”
I realized we were doing all the modeling for them but we weren’t modeling how much we loved each other in front of them, and how important that is to see what a healthy relationship looks like. To the dating your daughter that’s really important to me and I want to… She turned down her first date with dad, but maybe I’ll get the second one. I think modeling is so important. When you start to catch… Here’s the importance of modeling. The other day we were sitting around the kitchen island. I don’t remember what I said but it was something in the wrong tone to my wife. My oldest son Braun goes, “Dad, is that how you should talk to Mom?”
[00:55:59] Lara: Whoa.
[00:56:00] Jenn: Nice.
[00:56:01] Brad: I’m like, “Oh boy, this is getting out of hand.” I had to step back and I’m like, “You’re right, Braun. That’s not how I should talk to Mom. Thanks for pointing that out.” It’s kind of a self-policing system as much as family can be. If you try to do it with the right intention it can actually come back the other way where it keeps you in check as a husband as well.
[00:56:26] Lara: I think that’s a good skill that you’re teaching him this and he’s teaching you back. He’s keeping you in check, like you said. As we wrap up here we want to ask you a few final questions. What else has really made an impact on your fatherhood or on your kids’ childhood that you’re doing, that you’re incorporating? Any other specific stories or tools or books that have been really helpful?
[00:56:53] Brad: A book that made a huge impact, Mindset by Carol Dweck. I was making the mistake, as any proud parent would. Our oldest son is fairly athletic, fairly fast. I was like, “Braun, you’re so fast,” or “You’re so smart.” Setting labels on things. That book one of the things it teaches you is it’s really dangerous to create labels around your kids because, guess what, someday Braun’s going to get in a race and he’s not going to be the fastest. He’s going to get second or third. If I’ve now labeled his success based on a label of fast or not fast then he’s going to want to stop entering those races because now every race he enters proves that he’s not fast and he wants to maintain that self-identity.
Started to focus on the effort versus labeling. “Hey, I love how you’re working so hard and you’re in those races and you’re getting faster.” I won’t go deep into the book, but there’s a lot of real world analogies, like Michael Jordan versus John McEnroe. How failure didn’t mean that that’s it, it meant “I need to work harder and get better”. I think all of us as parents want our kids to work hard and achieve and get better. That was a huge book. I’m glad I read it when my kids were young because I was making a lot of mistakes by putting labels onto them.
That’s been big. Another thing that’s been big for our family is screen time and how everybody really, really struggles with that. One of my clients, Justin, if you happen to be listening to this, he actually… We had him out for a family dinner and we were just talking about it. There’s a cool little system. You can buy it online. It’s called Accountable Kids. Have you heard of it by chance?
[00:58:44] Lara: No.
[00:58:45] Brad: It’s crazy. It’s this hidden little gem that nobody knows about. It’s Accountable Kids. It’s like an old school pegboard. What it does is you have one for each of the kids and they’re personalized with their names on them. You can actually have tasks for the day. “Here are your morning activities, your lunchtime activities, your evening activities.” It says all the way down to putting your clothes on, brushing your teeth so you can start really young. I think we started maybe three or four with our kids. Here are the activities that it takes to be a member of the family. You basically flip those cards. Do you have all your morning cards done? Once you get that done then you get a ticket. The ticket can be assigned to any value. For us it’s 20 to 30 minutes. We’ve changed the time over time, but 20 to 30 minutes of the activity of their choosing, so if they want to get on the iPad for 30 minutes. Rather than always when a kid brings an iPad, “No, you’re not getting on the iPad.” We felt like we were constantly just like, “No, no, no, no, no.” Now we’re like, “Sure you can. Do you have a ticket?” Now it teaches budgeting, so Taylor should love this on your side, Lara. Our oldest, for example, he’ll burn through tickets as soon as he gets them. Nash, he’ll save them up.
Basically, you can control the screen time based on your ticket allocation. Then you also have additional activities like chores where they’ve got a thing called bonus bucks where now they can earn money. The other thing is we don’t say, “No, you can’t buy that.” We’ll say, “Sure you can buy that. Do you have enough money? If you don’t, let’s find a way to earn some.” It really changed the dynamic of empowering the kids versus being the parent that was always policing and saying no. It’s like, “Sure you can but you’ve got to be able to earn it.”
It’s got one other thing that’s cool called a best behavior card that you can award good activities. One day Braun held the door open when we were going into IHOP for another family so I’m like, “Braun, guess what? You just earned a best behavior card.” You can really encourage great behaviors. That’s been a really foundational tool that we’ve used from when the kids were young. I’m sure someday they’ll outgrow it but that’s been great monitoring the day-to-day stuff for our family.
[01:00:59] Lara: Yeah, I love that. I think that’s super impactful and an easy thing to do and fun.
[01:01:04] Brad: Yeah. The kids actually like it. Kids want accountability. They want structure. I think oftentimes as parents we don’t know how to provide that in a way that’s not a ton of work, so therefore a lot of times people don’t do it.
[01:01:19] Jenn: I like that because even like you said, you started young with your daughter. Lara and I both have two year olds. Trying to convince them, “Yes, we get dressed and we brush our teeth and we do our hair,” that alone is already hard. Starting to make it be accountable and then learning all those lessons along with it I think is really impactful. Thank you for sharing that.
Brad, do you have any final words that you would share with any of the men who are currently walking along in fatherhood with you? Any encouragement to those entrepreneur dads or their wives that are supporting them?
[01:01:53] Brad: I think as an entrepreneur we separate things often, right? Like, “Here’s my work over here and here’s my family over here.” I think in reality you can’t do that because that’s not how it works. If being a good husband and being a good dad is important to you as an entrepreneur, you have to look at it no different than you do an important business meeting that’s on your calendar. If I’ve got a big sale or some big account I’m bringing on and I’ve got a three o’clock scheduled on Tuesday, is there ever a chance I’m going to blow that off? Probably not. Yet I think oftentimes on the flip side we sacrifice family things for work stuff. You can always make more money. You can never make more time.
I’ve been really fortunate that I started working with people that were decades in front of me. My average clientele was 40, 50, 60 years old when I was in my mid-20s. When we had our first child when I was 29 every single one of them they were sharing two stories with me. They were sharing the story of, “Hey man, these days and years go by fast so just appreciate them. Love on them.” I got these awesome inspirational stories that just reinforced “Be present.” Then I got these other stories. These were the sad one. They were the stories of regret. The stories of, “Yeah, man, I was building the business and I missed a bunch of games. Don’t be that guy. It’s not that important.”
Back to what we said earlier, as an entrepreneur, you actually have freedom to build what you want. Build a business that serves you, not one that you sacrifice your family for making money. When you look back 10, 15, 20 years from now that is not going to be a deal that you’re happy with. Be present and be… Going back to those big rocks. Put the big rocks on now, the things that matter and, guess what, the business is still going to run. You’ve got the best excuse in the world if you ever bring on a client… It’s funny. Literally we just had clients in Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. I was at a dinner. It was seven o’clock. I excused myself and I said, “Hey Chris, I’m going to head home because I want to catch bedtime with my kids.” The next morning he told me, “One of the things I love about your company is I heard that from two other guys besides you last night. The fact that you value your family and that’s important to you that makes me want to work with you guys that much more.” I think so many entrepreneurs don’t realize the power in being so intentional about that. It actually draws people to you. It doesn’t push them away. You’re not sacrificing business when you do that. That would be my parting advice there.
[01:05:02] Lara: I think that’s awesome parting advice. I think all of the advice that you’ve shared today is so valuable. It’s really awesome that you are so open and honest in discussing fatherhood and your experience. Not many men will hold themselves in a place to allow for vulnerability and exposure. Because you’re doing this, because you reached out to Taylor when you saw him post something personal on Twitter and had a conversation about fatherhood, you’re bringing this awareness and setting an example for fathers today. Again, not just the fathers of today. The fathers of tomorrow; for our sons, for your sons, and all the young boys that will one day be dads. The more that we can influence our children, the more that our partners, our husbands and dads today can do that for their children, the better they will do for generations to come. Thank you for doing that. We want to acknowledge that you are impacting many families by keeping it real and doing your best.
[01:06:11] Brad: Back at you, Lara and Jenn. When Taylor reached out and he was like, “Hey, my wife does a podcast for Moms,” I of course did what any human being does. Natural curiosity. I pulled up the website and was looking at what you all were doing and I’m like, “Wow, how cool.” Not that you don’t already have enough going on being a Mom, but to do this as well. I think it’ awesome that you all… I run a podcast. One of the things like running a podcast is how you grow as a host. You all are getting exposed to all these ideas that are making you better Moms and wives, I’m sure, as well. It’s cool that you’re doing it.
Same. Back at you. The one thing that’ll be here when it’s all said and done is the only true legacy we’re all going to leave. It’s our kids and how they act when we’re gone, and then how their kids act and those kids act. To me you can make all the money in the world. You could put a wing up at the local library with your name on it, but the stuff that’s really going to matter, the true legacy is your kids and their kids and what they do in the world, and how they interact with the world, and how they treat others. Kudos to you guys for doing this.
[01:07:26] Jenn: Thank you.
[01:07:28] Lara: Thank you. Lastly, what is on the horizon for you? What are you excited about? Where can our audience find and follow along with your message and your business?
[01:07:40] Brad: What’s on the horizon? An amazing date night tonight. Where everyone can find me? My website’s www.bradleyjohnson.com. That’s where my podcasts lives and an article every once in a while when I actually decided to write, but mostly podcasting. For those that are interested, I did a podcast with Jim Sheils where we really go into the framework of The Family Board Meeting, if they want to check that out.
[01:08:09] Lara: I think that would be an awesome episode to link to. We’ll make sure to do that in our show notes.
[01:08:15] Jenn: Yeah. Thank you so much for being with us today, Brad, and we’d love to have you back.
[01:08:20] Brad: Anytime. Would love to come back. Thank you.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[01:08:24] Jenn: Moms, what did you guys think about today’s episode with Brad? He had incredible resources to share. Honestly, we can’t wait to share them with ourselves and our family. Lara, what was one of your favorite takeaways from our conversation with Brad?
[01:08:37] Lara: I really, really loved the whole idea of putting your rocks on the calendar and those rocks being your family time. Taking a look at the year ahead and treating those big parts of what is important to your family as you would a business situation, like a conference or a big meeting, and putting that on your calendar right away. I think it’s so important and valuable. We do a similar thing like that in our family but we’ll definitely be incorporating that more, especially as our children get older.
[01:09:08] Jenn: Yeah, I liked that he called them rocks. It’s super visual. It really is a good reminder how important it is. It’s the foundation of your family.
[01:09:16] Lara: I like that too.
[01:09:18] Jenn: I really liked one thing he said at the very beginning, which was he felt underprepared for this parenthood thing and didn’t know anything about it. He was like, “Let’s hire a coach.” He went straight into basically, “How can I learn? How can I make this better? What can I learn from my community?” He really shared so many great resources. He had so many books that he really liked. Was there any one that you liked best or remember that he mentioned?
[01:09:43] Lara: He mentioned a lot of great books, but I will just let our audience know that I have already read the book The Family Board Room by Jim Sheils. It’s really, really great especially if you are a parent that has a business that is really hard for you to turn off and is something that you’re not walking away from at the end of the day and is lingering in your head. How to approach your family with the same quality as you would your business.
[01:10:14] Jenn: I ordered it actually already.
[01:10:17] Lara: One thing I really liked was when he talked about making sure that you have one to one time with your spouse regardless of the season. Going through a busy season myself with my husband and having a young baby and another young child, it’s hard to have regular date nights. Those moments that we’ve been taking and setting aside to go outside and take a breather once the kids are in bed or getting that date night or whatever, I think it’s so important. I loved how he was so refreshing. Clearly, he’s successful. He could probably take his wife on any date or they could do anything, but what they needed in that moment was just one-to-one time to connect and sit down and get in their pajamas and watch a movie at home. You just have to figure out a way to make it work.
[01:11:07] Jenn: Yeah, every day, right? It’s a balance.
[01:11:09] Lara: Yeah, something.
[01:11:11] Jenn: I really appreciated when he mentioned the accountability boards that he had for his children. I grew up with a chore chart. We all had one taped to the fridge. I really liked how it was visual for the kids that they could be in control of what reward that they got, and helped keep them accountable to get done what they need to do to be a contributing member, to be a Johnson kid, to work together as a team. I thought that was a really good and easy, simple thing. That’s probably been around a while, but he was able to use it in a way that really helped move his family and his team forward every day.
[01:11:45] Lara: Yeah. He used a point system to get his kids excited about being kind to other people. They get points for that and then they get to go use that for screen time. It’s… I don’t want to call it bribery because-
[01:11:57] Jenn: It’s motivation.
[01:11:58] Lara: It’s motivation, exactly. It might feel like bribery right now in my family just because my kids are so little, but motivation. I think it’s wonderful. Then, honestly, what he’s doing is modeling amazing behavior for his children and modeling behavior of love and kindness to his spouse for his children to look to, to eventually make them better parents and better people and contribute in this world in a good way. I love that his kids are keeping him in check.
[01:12:26] Jenn: Yeah, that was great. Mommas, what did you like best from this episode? Did you have the same aha moments that we did? Do you and your husband practice parenthood with any of these same tools or philosophies? Or are you getting started on implementing them right now?
[01:12:41] Lara: We want to know. Make sure you follow along with us and talk directly with us on Instagram. We are @generation.mom. That is where we lean on motherhood experts and our own experience and, most importantly, your personal stories to learn and share more tips on how to be the best versions of ourselves. Make sure you do that. Then get to know more of us at our website, www.generation.mom.com where you can subscribe to our emails and more. As always if you liked today’s episode please show us some love. Give us a five star review wherever you listen and share this episode with another Momma. Cheers Mom. See you next week.
[01:13:24] Thanks for listening to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. For access to show notes, transcripts and exclusive content from our show’s guests visit www.bradleyjohnson.com. Before you go I’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you’re liking the podcast you can help support the show by leaving your rating and review on iTunes. Not only do we read every single comment, but this will help the show rank and get discovered by new listeners. It really does help. Thanks again for joining and be sure to tune in next week for another episode.
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