Get to Work
I logged into Facebook yesterday and was tagged in a post from a young coach – who is also a new Father.
He was praising a few people who have helped him live his dreams by opening a new gym. In a very short time, he has not only succeeded, the gym has grown like crazy.
He talked about my advice to him and how I told him to work like a mad man after his daughter had gone to bed and “grinding” into the early hours of the morning.
Let nothing stand in your way and be ‘relentless,’ I told him.
Because when I think about my own journey, that is exactly what I did.
When you’re tired, work.
When you have a big project, work.
Well, thinking about this conversation with this young man and reflecting on the last 16 years, I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons about life and being a Father.
One of the biggest lessons is highlighted in the story below:
SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?”
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?”
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh! (With his head down).
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow $50?”
The father was furious.
DAD: “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior.”
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:
Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $ 50 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.
DAD: “Are you asleep, son?”
SON: “No daddy, I’m awake”.
DAD: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $50 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, smiling.
SON: “Oh, thank you daddy!”
Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.
DAD: “Why do you want more money if you already have some?”
SON: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.
“Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.
After the coach posted my advice and I saw the story above the next day, I was overcome with a huge amount of guilt.
What did I lose in trying to provide for my family?
Did I sacrifice time with my kids?
Did I sacrifice my own health?
The scary answer to both questions is “Yes.”
I believe we all do the best we can at each moment in time.
I also understand and believe that if you want to achieve anything outside of yourself, only consistency, hard work, and goals can get you there.
But, there has to be a balance and you have to take your blinders off.
At some point, the very family you are trying to inspire and provide for, can get pushed aside and made secondary to the work.
You sacrifice the freedom you long for, working long hours to get the money you think you need to get the life that never arrives.
I didn’t intend to sacrifice my sleep, my health, or the time with my children when I first started out trying to ‘earn a living’ – but that is exactly what happened.
I should have stopped, looked around, took a deep breath, and realized that everything I ever wanted was already right in front of me.
Work, when it is time to work, and don’t confuse being busy with being productive.
Then, when it is time to stop, relax, and spend time with your family and friends, do it with everything you have.
Because, as it has always been, this moment now is all that we have.
By Smitty on October 7th, 2015
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