At some point in my career, I realized that I’m supposed to be some sort of big shot. I’m not sure when it happened, but all of a sudden I realized that I’m supposed to set an example and “be professional.” I felt some pressure to be nothing but a work machine, and like I could never let anything in my personal life get in the way. Thankfully something happened to me 10 years ago that snapped me out of that–I became a dad. And then it happened again, and then 3 more times after that… and now I’m more trying to remind myself to “act professional” while I’m wiping butts while (hopefully) muted on a conf call. But I do think it’s important to talk about our identity and who we are as people. Especially as professionals, executives, and leaders, we should do more of this. Because let’s face it, life is funny, especially when you’re on a conference call and your kid is asking you for a snack.
When a job becomes your identity
It’s easy to get your identity wrapped up as your job, and when your job is not going well, you feel like life sucks or you suck at life. But when you become a parent or add anything really intense and important to your life outside of work, you end up finding ways to prioritize and you just have perspective on who you are. So, if you’re ever feeling down because of work, just remember that you’re not defined by your job, you’re also a parent, a partner, a friend, and so much more.
Parents will get sh%# done.
Pardon my french, but it’s true! As a parent, you learn to multitask like a boss. Not that non-parents can’t be extremely productive as well, but I love working with moms and dads because I know they’ll cut through the crap (sometimes while literally dealing with human crap). If you want something done quickly, give it to a busy mom or dad because there’s a really good chance that they’re going to get it done. They know they have to, and they have to get out the door at 4:45 to go pick up their kid for soccer practice. I love that about being a working parent. We’re basically superheroes, balancing work, kids, and everything in between.
Adoption, Foster Care, and my Unexpected Journey
One aspect of my parenthood with my wife is that we are adoptive parents. We have five amazing boys, and all five of them are adopted. The last three came into our lives through foster-care, which was also not something we were expecting. Adoption and foster care is one of the hardest things in the world, but I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to raise my boys. We have a new perspective on so many things that I wouldn’t have given though to in my pre-parental years. We’ve connected with some great adoptive and foster parents to be a part of that community.
Building a job for myself that can flex with my family.
Being a parent has also taught me to be creative when it comes to my career. I had to find a way to balance my professional and personal life, so I have built a job for myself that can flex with my family. I’m lucky to have found a career that allows me to be there for my kids, and still pursue my passion. And, I’m grateful for the opportunity to help others do the same. Because, at the end of the day, you can make more money, or buy more stuff, or get a better (title/car/house/you name it), but the one thing you can’ take more of is time. So my career (and yes – the needs of you, my clients) will always take a backseat to me giving the time that I want to give to my family.
I hope you might consider doing the same.