As a new dad, witnessing the birth of our baby must belong to the most emotional experiences we will ever witness. At the same time, becoming a father means big changes: All of a sudden, we are responsible for an entire family. We have new commitments. And we have a wife who is also experiencing a whole new range of feelings.
Life moves so quickly which is why we rarely take the time to think about how we want to handle these changes, and how they may affect our priorities and long-term goals. This is one of the reasons why becoming a dad can feel so exhausting.
At the same time, being a dad offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on how we want to experience the next chapter of our life. I say this because whether we want it or not, our life is different once we have our own family– so why not consciously steer it in the direction we want to move towards…
But let’s be honest: how many fathers take time off to ask themselves questions like:
“Now that I am a dad, how will this change who I am?”
“What are my biggest dreams and fears for my family, and what can I do so we will enjoy the most meaningful and enjoyable life together?”
In a way, we feel safe in our comfort zone. It becomes easier not to ask the kind of questions that might trigger change. And without consciously asking ourselves these kinds of questions, and creating long-term pictures of the kind of life we desire to have, it will be very unlikely that we will make any adjustments in our lives. We will continue to chase every dollar we can make, often without realizing the real price we are paying in our personal lives.
If you have been following my blogs, you will know I am not against making lots of money. However, I do think we should aim at becoming more successful without sacrificing our happiness.
Deep down, don’t we all want to be amazing role models for our kids, live according to our highest values, and leave a legacy that will make our children proud of us? This is what ultimately makes us feel fulfilled.
There is, however, one specific thought that has the power to instantly transform any man. It is the moment we willingly or unwillingly think about our own mortality that we start asking ourselves:
Did I live life fully, as a dad, husband, business owner and human being?
It often is only after becoming more about how we come closer to death every day that we fear to live a life full of regrets. In the bestselling book, The Top 5 regrets of the dying, Bronnie Ware interviewed people who were in the last few weeks of their lives. Interestingly, they didn’t regret earning too little money, buying better toys, or having bigger grudges towards people that caused them pain. Instead, they gave the following answers:
I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected from me.
I wish I had not worked so hard.
I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
I wish I had stayed in touch with friends.
I wish I had let myself be happier.
So rather than wait until we age, why not consciously think about how we would want to review our life once we turn 100.
You probably have heard about Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize. Less known is his story of how he became such an inspirational personality. Let me share it with you:
Initially, Nobel became successful as the inventor of dynamite. When his brother died, a leading Swedish newspaper mistakenly thought it was Alfred Nobel who passed away. They published a damning obituary in which they claimed that he had caused many deaths in Europe through his invention of dynamite.
When Alfred read this, it changed his life forever. He wanted to be remembered as someone who promoted peace, not war! So he set up the Nobel Committee, created the Nobel Prize, and gave much of his money to reward creative and courageous people for their work. Until today, the Nobel Prize is one of the most distinguished awards a person can receive.
Not everyone is so lucky to read their own obituary while they are still alive. What we can do is ask ourselves powerful questions like:
What it is I really want in my life.
How do I want to be remembered once I am gone?
What is it that would make me really happy
What is stopping me?
If you want to take this a step further, spend 60 minutes writing your own eulogy, as if it were being read by your wife or your children. Obviously, this is not easy and can be very emotional. But it is worth the effort.
Try and really express what it is they loved about you, what made you so loving and caring, what were the accomplishments people remembered most. The more details you include, the more powerful this will be.
Then read your own eulogy on a regular basis. The more you become aware how every day counts in your quest to live a fulfilling lifestyle, the easier it will become to find the motivation to take steps towards the right direction.
But don’t forget to take action:
Think about one thing you could do right NOW that would bring you closer to one of your big goals, and share it with us here.