"Are you comparing your standards to ideal standards OR to mediocre standards that make you feel good about your own standards?"
Today’s episode is the most important I’ve recorded for you in a long time and ends with me giving you a simple 3-step solution to quickly (and literally) transform any area of your life, as I recently did after having a painful realization… I’ve been a mediocre dad.
That hurts to admit—even to myself. But the other night, I had a profound personal breakthrough when I suddenly realized that I’ve fallen back into some old patterns and have been settling for mediocrity in the area of my life that matters more to me than anything… my children.
Part of the breakthrough was realizing that I’ve been oblivious, delusional and in denial about this. AND… I realized that being oblivious, delusional and in denial about our blind spots is something we ALL suffer from in one way or another. Thus, it is crucial that we all give ourselves the reality check that I’m sharing with you in today’s episode.
If you think you’re settling for mediocrity in any way, it’s time for you to get out of your comfort zone, engage in a reality check, and schedule time for reflection in whatever areas you need to address.
- How do you know if you’re settling for mediocrity in a crucial area of your life?
- What if you’re oblivious, delusional and/or in denial about it and don’t even realize it?
- What are the long-term (painful) consequences if you don’t make a change, now?
- And how exactly can you immediately make a profound change so that you avoid those long-term (painful) consequences.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
If you enjoyed this post and received value from this episode, please leave a quick comment below and SHARE with your friends. Thank YOU for paying it forward! :^)
COMMENT QUESTION: What is your big takeaway? Write it in the comments below.
Hal: Hello, goal achievers. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, your friend, Hal Elrod, and today’s episode which I’m very excited about, by the way, before we get to our sponsor of today’s episode, this is a solo episode and I’ll tell you I mostly do interviews on the Achieve Your Goals Podcast because there are so many brilliant people that I am blessed to have a connection with, or be a degree or two or three or four away from, and be able to bring on the podcast and introduce to you and share their story and share their message and share what they’ve learned and how it’s changed their life in a way that you can use it to change your life. So, we do mostly interviews, right, but I’ll be completely transparent with you as I always strive to be and that is that I prefer solo episodes like this and there’s a few reasons for that.
Number one, interviews stress me out. I’m always a little bit stressed out like I’ve never talked to this person or sometimes I have. Sometimes I know the person, but more often than not it’s the first time we’re having the conversation and I don’t feel like I’m the best conversationalist. It’s my own insecurity that I deal with. So, that’s the one reason or it’s one of the reasons that I don’t prefer interviews but I do them because I think they’re very valuable for you. Number two is I’m a talker like I’m a professional speaker, a keynote speaker, I used to be a coach. I like to share knowledge or epiphanies. But here’s the most important part. When I do a solo episode, it’s almost always because I have something on my mind or something on my heart that is impacting my life in a major way and I feel compelled, even responsible, to share it with you because I want to pay forward the value that I’m experiencing. It might be a new activity or a new book I read or in this case, it’s a radical breakthrough that I had the other night like two nights ago, a radical, radical, life-changing breakthrough and it’s already transforming my life. It’s transforming my family’s lives or life. Family members’ lives and so that’s why I am doing this episode to share it with you.
And I’ll tell you that today’s episode we’re going to answer a few questions. I guess four is more than a few but number one is are you settling in your life? Are you settling for mediocrity? Are you settling? Are you settling for behavior that is causing you unintended consequences that is causing pain in your life either now that you might not even be aware of because it’s subtle and it’s gradual, but ultimately, the long-term consequences could be really detrimental to your health, to your relationships, to your happiness, to your finances, you name it? So, number one question is, are you settling in your life? Are you selling for mediocrity in your life, in general, or in a specific area? For me, it was a very specific area, but it shed light on a much bigger opportunity for all of us.
The second thing is, are you in denial about it? Are you in denial about it? If you are settling for mediocrity in any area of your life, are you in denial about it? Do you justify that, “Eh, it’s not a big deal. Eh, It’s okay. Eh, other people are worse than me?” because that’s what I was doing. I was completely in denial about this area of my life that is so radically important to me. Yet I realized two nights ago that I was settling for mediocrity in that area and it is unacceptable. Once I realized it, and hopefully, you’ll have a similar experience today. The third question is what are the long-term consequences if you don’t change now, if you don’t make a change now? What are the long-term consequences? And what can you do now? So, the fourth question, what can you do now to excel in the area of your life to make these positive changes in the areas of your life that matter most so you avoid those long-term consequences?
All right. Let’s dive in. Before we do, today’s episode is brought to you by the Best Year Ever Blueprint Live Experience. I looked at my notes and I realized I’m about to forget that. Here’s a question. Can one weekend change your life? Imagine that. Like, we’ve all got areas of our life we want to change. Hopefully, after today you’ll have even more awareness of what those areas are but can one weekend change your life, the direction of your life, the quality of your life? And I would argue that yes, it can and it doesn’t come from theory. It comes from experience. Every single year at the Best Year Ever Blueprint, that is our annual live event or we call it an experience, it is community created, it is for over 400 members of the Miracle Morning Community and listeners of this podcast that come together in San Diego for a truly transformative weekend and we are almost sold out. So, if you’ve been on the fence, if you’ve been thinking about it, it’s less than or it’s a month and a week away so it’s literally from today it’s one month and one week away.
So, right around a month away and go to BestYearEverLive.com and check out the details, watch the video, see if it’s a good fit for you. There is an Entrepreneur Day upgrade. If you are an entrepreneur or you want to be an entrepreneur, we have an entire day where we bring in seven and eight-figure entrepreneurs, meaning entrepreneurs that have built million and multimillion-dollar businesses and they teach you what they’ve learned about, what they wish they would’ve done differently, and give you that blueprint of how do you launch your business if you don’t have one, or how do you grow your business if you’ve already got an established business. So, BestYearEverLive.com, all the details, check it out. And if it works for you, if the dates work for you, A, we’re almost sold out, so if you’re on the fence like now is the time to take some action and I cannot wait for those. For those of you that already got your tickets, the 400 of you that already secured your spot, I cannot wait to see you in San Diego and spend a few days together. Every year it’s really a magical, magical experience.
All right. Here we go. Now, I want to mention I had an awesome date night with my wife last night too, by the way. It’s something we’ve been doing for the last month and I encourage you, anyone in your life whether it is your significant other, your children, your parent, your friend, make sure you have a recurring time in your schedule. And for some people it might be every day you got some time with them, it might be on the phone, it might be in person. Maybe it’s like my wife and I do the date night once a week. Maybe it’s something that you and your mom or dad get together once a month, but in fact, I’m going to write a note for myself about my realization. I just realized something that I want to make sure I share too. How much I need to… All right. So, the date night has been really radical. It’s magical and it’s something that we’ve heard about. Think about things you’ve heard about for a long time like we’ve heard, “Oh yeah, date night, you should definitely do date night with your significant other,” and you’re like, “Yeah. Yeah. That’d be good.” But it’s not until you do it, not until you experience it that you go, “Oh, why didn’t we do this a long time ago?” like people that start the Miracle Morning I know that often they’ll go, “Gosh, I wish I would’ve learned about this when I was like 30 years ago or 10 years ago or five years or whatever. I wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long to figure this out.”
So, that’s part of what today’s episode is going to really be about. This is really a reality check where you’re going to look at your life in a really honest way and get really real with yourself and really honest with yourself and look at if there are areas where you’re sabotaging by settling in certain areas of your life. But for me, my wife and I realized that we needed that date night. We finally started doing it. Once we did it, we got to have conversations and deepen our relationship and our connection every week. It was like, “Man, we should’ve done this a long time ago,” but of course, can’t go back in time so now moving forward it’s been a great last few months and last night we had a great date night. I’ve also been spending more time with my kids than ever and I’m going to talk a lot about that today because that was my breakthrough the other night. And last but not least, I’m going to Italy tomorrow and actually flying to Italy to share the Miracle Morning. One day I’m at an event speaking. I give two different messages sharing the Miracle Morning with all of our Italian members of the Miracle Morning Community which is going to be really cool and then the next day I meet with my Italian publisher who translated The Miracle Morning into Italian and put it in all the bookstores in Italy. I’m going to be meeting with the publisher and do a day of media and interviews and videos and all sorts of stuff. So, yeah, wish me safe travels as I head out to Italy tomorrow.
Hal: All right. So, let me dive into this story that this is hard to share and, honestly, it was two nights ago. It was really a painful realization. It was a painful realization, and actually I intentionally made it painful which I don’t normally do and I’ll explain that in a minute but I made it painful because I needed to feel the pain of my current behavior so that I would change it because if we don’t feel enough pain for our current way of being, and I am not saying our overall way of being like you need to feel painful about who you are, I don’t mean that. I mean, if you get specific, look at your health or look at your fitness or look at your relationships or look at your whatever area of your life. If we don’t get painfully honest with ourselves, in fact, I talk about this I think in the Miracle Morning book is that it’s healthy. You don’t want to beat yourself up. You definitely don’t want to have low self-esteem and if you have low self-esteem then this is something that you want to be cognizant of and talk to yourself in a positive way where you frame things positively. But for me, I have almost the opposite problem where I am so positive that I can always frame or reframe any experience or any belief or anything in life to feel good, into to make me feel good, and I realized that that actually can be detrimental.
You may have heard me say this before, but there is a fine line between optimism and delusion where you’re like, “I’m so optimistic. Everything’s positive,” but if you’re doing something that is potentially taking you down the wrong path and you’re not brutally honest with yourself about it, you don’t feel the pain of the direction you’re heading, if it’s not a positive direction, then ultimately, you’re going to end up in that painful circumstance down the road because you didn’t feel the pain of where you were headed ahead of time. So, there’s a fine line between optimism and delusion, and so be aware if you’re like me, the eternal optimist, you might need to do what I did the other night, which is I literally had a conversation with myself in the mirror and it was like a drill sergeant conversation. I was hard on myself and here’s the realization, and again this is hard for me to share with you, it’s hard for me to say to myself, and it’s hard because I value my children and my relationship with them and their well-being more than anything else in the world and here’s what I told myself in the mirror.
I am a mediocre parent. I am a mediocre parent. What do I mean by that? Well, here’s the problem and this is a problem that we all have. It’s our comparisons. Now, meaning who we compare ourselves to and how we compare ourselves to the two other people. So, for some of us, there’s kind of two sides of the coin here. Some of us might do it where we compare ourselves to people that are better than us and then we feel bad about ourselves where it actually hurts our self-esteem because we go, “Oh, they’re so much better than me. I’m a loser. I suck. I’m terrible.” Or what most of us do is we compare ourselves to people that are doing worse than us in order to feel good about ourselves. So, for example, you might compare your diet to the standard American diet. You go, “Well, compared to the standard American diet I eat better than the average person,” but that doesn’t – like the standard American diet, right, the S-A-D, SAD diet, the standard American diet it’s terrible. That’s why if you look at Americans, the number one cause of death, at least last I checked and it could have changed since I read the statistic probably a few years ago but it was heart disease was the number one cause of death, which very closely related to our diet. The other was cancer is number two, very closely related to our diet as well for most cancers.
So, the standard American diet will put you in the hospital. It’ll put you on your deathbed. So, comparing ourselves, our standards, if we’re comparing ourselves to the lowest possible standard and here’s an example. I don’t know if I gave this example yet or not but imagine if someone is a meth addict meaning the street drug meth. If someone does meth, but let’s say they only meth once a week, they might compare themselves to their friends who do math every single day and then you go, “Well, compared to my friends like I only do meth once a week like that’s hardly at all. Bob does it every day. Shoot. Mary does it twice a day. I mean like I’m not even close to them.” Yeah, but you’ve got to be honest, you’re still doing meth. It’s still detrimental to your health. So, that’s kind of a radical example. For some people, it might even hit close to home. I don’t know. But the point is, I realized that I compared myself to most dads and that justification of most people, how we compare ourselves to most people, to people that we don’t feel are as healthy as us or as happy as us or as engaged as us or whatever area of life we’re looking at. If you’re looking at your weight, you’re going, “Well, sure, I’m 40 pounds overweight, but that’s nothing compared to my other. I’ve got friends that are 100 pounds overweight, or even more. I’m not nearly as bad as them.”
So, we use these comparisons and what that does is all it does is it justifies our own mediocrity because we find someone that is worse. So, here’s the way to think of it. There are degrees of bad. There are degrees of bad. There are degrees of good. There are degrees of healthy. There are degrees of unhealthy. There are degrees of everything. So, if you to make yourself feel better, if you simply compare your degree of unhealthy behavior, your degree of bad with people who have worse degrees of bad or unhealthy behavior, that doesn’t make your bad good. You follow? So, here’s an example like we’ll just go back to health. If on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being you eat like the most healthy diet someone possibly can eat the most healthy diet. It’s all pure, organic, there’s no sugar, there’s no bleached flour, there’s no cheat day. It’s just all I eat is pure, healthy, plant-based food grown from the ground. If there is meat involved it’s the healthiest. If that’s at 10 and then a one is you eat plastic and dirt and like whatever like you eat the most unhealthy thing is a one. So, if a 10 is a purely healthy diet and a one is the most unhealthy like you can’t live on that diet, you’re going to kill yourself by whatever you’re eating. It’s so toxic. But let’s say a five in the middle is like a standard American diet. So, if you’re at a six and you’re going, “Well, I don’t eat as bad as, you know, I don’t eat fast food every day and some people eat fast food every day,” but if that’s how you compare yourself, two bads don’t make it good. So, you’ve got to be really cautious in your comparisons.
And what I realized, sorry, I’m getting off a little bit on a tangent. Let me bring you back to the story. I realized that I’m a mediocre parent that I’ve been comparing myself to most dads. In fact, when I told a friend of mine this realization the next day I said, “Hey, I had a powerful realization and I think that you might have the same realization if you hear me share this with you.” He goes, “Wow,” and he was very intrigued and I said, “I realized that I’m a mediocre parent,’ and he goes, “If you’re a mediocre parent then I’m terrible.” He said, “Actually, I think you’re a great dad and I compare myself often to you and I get inspiration from you and the way that you engage with your kids for me to be better dad,” and I said, “Okay, but you comparing yourself to me, that’s the problem. We’re not comparing ourselves to an ideal standard. We’re comparing ourselves to other flawed people and making ourselves feel better about ourselves or worse sometimes based on those other people.” I said, “So, I compare myself to most dads and I feel like I’m a great dad but compared to who?” I need to compare myself not to other das but to the best dads, not just to the average dads or the dad, you know. I need to compare myself to the best dad.
So, what I did is I looked at my children and I looked at how much time I was spending with them and I realized that I could be spending a lot more time with them. So, I immediately went to my wife. Actually, first, I recorded. Listen to this. If you have a realization that you feel is valuable for you, do what I did. I encourage you to do what I did, which is I didn’t have this all figured out. I just had a million thoughts in my head, I’m like, “Oh, man. I need to engage more with the kids but I also need to work. How can I do this?” So, I turned on my phone and I just started talking into it because I was having all these thoughts in my head and about every third or fourth thought was valuable like two, three were random. It didn’t make sense and it was all over the place, but every fourth or fifth thought was valuable and I was like I need to capture all of this. So, I ended up recording a 23-minute selfie video of me just talking to myself about this realization and what I was realizing and why it was important. And then I started and finally about 17 minutes into this video after I was kind of being hard on myself, which was important, I needed to be hard on myself. I needed to be like, “Hey, don’t tell yourself you’re great just to feel good. Don’t say you’re a great dad, a great parent, just feel good, and feel okay about yourself,” and that’s what we do. We want to feel good about ourselves. So, we tell ourselves that we’re okay, we’re good.
And of course, we can’t go off on a tangent much here but there’s a whole other conversation of if you beat yourself up like that’s not healthy. You shouldn’t beat yourself up, but we should be honest with ourselves and not from a place of condemnation or judgment but from a place of inspiration, meaning it’s a subtle distinction, but it’s imperative, meaning there’s a difference in going, “You suck. You’re a loser. You’re ruining your life.” There’s a difference between communicating to yourself that way versus, “Hey, you’re better than this. You’re capable of more than this. You need to compare yourself to a higher standard and start making some changes to live in alignment with your full potential because you deserve that.” You follow that? I’m going to try to say that again or maybe you can rewind it but that’s essentially communicating the same message in terms of the end result, which is you need to improve. But one way makes you feel bad about yourself. It discourages you, it disempowers you, it makes you feel inadequate, that first way of saying it of you’re a loser, you suck, you’re ruining your life. What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you make changes? If you go down, you’re letting people down, you’re letting yourself down.
That first way of beating yourself up, you’re trying to communicate that you need to make changes but you’re doing it in a way where it’s harmful to your psyche. The other way is, “Hey, you’re better than this. You’re actually amazing. You’re incredible.” So, this is how you’re talking to yourself. You’re capable of so much more. It’s time now. If you don’t change now, what makes you think tomorrow’s going to be any different. You’ve got to make it. Let’s draw your line in the sand and pull out this paper, pull out the computer, pull out your phone, make a note, let’s pull out the video, record. This is what I did. I was talking to myself kind of positively like this, but I was harsh. I’m like, “Dude, your kids deserve better than this. I was looking at myself in the mirror and having this conversation. Your kids deserve better. They deserve not a pretty good dad, not a dad that’s better than the average dad. They deserve the best dad in the world. They deserve the best dad you can possibly be.” And then I pulled out a piece of paper, pulled out the video recorder, and I got clear on what does that look like, what are actionable commitments that I can make and this is a question you’ll be asking yourself, at the end I’m going to give you this step-by-step kind of the solution on maybe three steps to how do you solve this, how do you resolve any areas of your life that you’re settling for mediocrity in, how do you get clear on what those are, how do you gain that clarity, and then how do you identify what changes need to be made and how do you make those changes.
So, for me, the most important part once I got clear on this, and I was harsh with myself. I didn’t beat myself up, I didn’t tell myself I sucked, I just was harsh with myself and, by the way, if you’re a leader and if you’re a parent, you are a leader, but if you’re human, you’re a leader but if you’re a leader or you consider yourself a leader or whenever you’re interacting with another person, your friends, your family, consider this, how you communicate with other people is vital and when someone does something, let’s call it “wrong,” someone does something that’s harmful or detrimental, keep in mind that the way you use your words the way you communicate your message to them, it’s imperative to the impact that it has. If you say, “You shouldn’t do this, you’re messing up,” if it’s a critical message where you’re criticizing them, and you’re putting them down, and you’re telling them that they are wrong, that is not the way to lead. Not the best way to lead. The way to do it is to use that positive framework. Yes, be firm, yes, be harsh, but from a frame of you’re not good enough and you’re wrong, not that frame. Use the frame of you’re better than this. You are capable of so much more and I know that you living in the line with your full potential is what you want. It’s what you deserve. Let me help you figure out how to do that. Let’s figure that out.
I do this with my kids all the time. I try to always be cognizant of never putting them down and making them feel bad. In fact, one of my favorite books on parenting is called Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker and she says, “Your number one objective with your daughter is to always leave her feeling better about herself than she did when you guys engaged.” Every conversation should leave her feeling better about herself. And if you are a leader, this is just a side tangent lesson but we’re all leaders, we all communicate with other people. Your objective anytime you communicate with someone that you lead or someone that you love is to leave them feeling better about themselves. And as I close the story out, you’ll see how I did that because, yes, I was harsh with myself. My kids deserved better. That got me. That was a wake-up call. That got me really alert and aware but then I focused on, “Okay. What are the actionable commitments that you’re going to make?” And once I got clear on the actual commitments that I would make that would improve this area of my life that I was identifying, I accepted mediocrity in.
Once I got clear on those actionable commitments, I got excited. I actually went to bed that night feeling happier than I have felt in I don’t even remember. This was just two nights ago. I’ve been feeling so alive and alert and excited because one of the most important parts of my life or, I mean, arguably, the most important part which is my two kids, my daughter, Sophie, is nine, my son, Halston, is six, they’re my world. They’re my heart. They mean everything to me. And to get clear even though it started out as being harsh with myself, being firm, even though that’s how it started and it was painful at first, it was painful, it ended with actionable commitments that would improve my life in that area. And for the last few days, I’ve been spending more time so the couple things that I did right away is I immediately scheduled a daddy-kiddo fun day the next day. So, that night I went and talked to my wife. I told her about my realization. I shared the video with her that I recorded this 23-minute selfie-video where I was like just had this really just honest conversation with myself and ended that with the actual commitments and then I told her so I said, “Sweetie, I’m committed to being the best dad I could possibly be. Please support me in that.”
And I’ll tell you some funny parts about that conversation here in a few minutes, but I said, “I want your support. I want your accountability, please. And here’s the first thing that I’m committed to doing.” I said, “I am going to pick up our kids every single day from school.” At this point, I take my daughter to school, usually four days a week. I have not been taking my son to school. I used to last year, preschool. This year we just kind of changed it and I’ve noticed my son and I there’s a little bit of distance. I’m going, “Why is that distance there?” This was the other night, part of my realization and I go, “I’m not spending that time with him every single day. I usually play with them after school but there’s something missing, that quality time.” And so, here’s a big, if you’re a parent and I think you can apply this to any area of your life but I’ll tell you if you’re a parent specifically and if you’re a dad, actually. If you’re a mom, you’re probably with your kids all the time. If you’re a dad, usually you just like trying to spend enough time with them to feel good about your relationship with them like, “Well, I’m so…” and you justify, “Well, I’ve got to provide for the family.” That’s the justification, right? “I got to provide for the family. I’m busy. I need to do that.”
But you’ve heard me say this before, at the end of your kids’ lives or at any point, they’re not going to remember how many mortgage payments you made or how many hours you worked at the office. In fact, they might remember that but not in a positive way. They’re going to remember how much how engaged you were with them, the rituals that you have. Yeah. When I was a kid, man, my dad, we played every day after school or he took me to my basketball games or he drove me to school every day or we had Miracle Morning together every day. So, I do Miracle Morning with my kids. That’s one actual commitment. I’m picking them up every day now from school, we’re getting quality time. Immediately that night I went and ordered a book called Get to Know Your Kid off Amazon which is a journal that asked questions and engage new questions at dinner time that instead of just asking the kids, “How was your day?” They go, “Fine.” We’re asking pointed questions, “Who do you eat lunch with. What was one thing you learned today?” We’ve got this whole list of questions that we printed off of Google. My wife, I had her, I assigned her this. She googled like great questions to ask your kids. I’ve got the journal.
So, here’s the mindset shift. Instead of spending enough time with my kids, I now am striving to spend every possible waking moment with my children that I have available and I would say whatever areas of your life are crucially important, how much time, that’s the question, how much time are you spending in that area? Because typically, how much time you spend focused on an area will determine how much you excel in that area as long as the time is productive. How much time do you spend focused on an area, being productive in an area? Now, granted, you could schedule time and sit there and do nothing or you could just spend time saying you’re working and all you’re doing is reading, but you’re not actually doing any action so, obviously, you could spend time spinning your wheels. I’m not talking about time spinning your wheels. If you’re spending time and if it’s with another person and it’s quality time engaged in conversations and that’s my commitment with my kids is not just watching TV, occasionally we’ll watch TV, but it’s engaged in those deep conversations.
So, let’s get back to answering those questions for you that we opened the show with. Number one, are you settling for mediocrity in your life, in any area? Look at your diet, look at your fitness, look at your health. Fitness is another area where I decided I wanted to spend more time exercising. I was exercising every day but it was for like 10 minutes. It was like really short. I’m like that’s mediocre. I’m accepting mediocrity in the realm of exercise and again, it was justifying, “Well, I’m exercising every day at least. It’s better than nothing, it’s better than those who don’t exercise.” Choose your comparisons wisely. Then I just saw if I compare myself to Jon Berghoff, the exercise maniac. Jon runs like for two hours a day through the woods and he does yoga forever. Jon exercises like to the umpteenth degree. Now, I don’t need to match him. It’s not about that but why compare ourselves to people that are accepting a lower level of mediocrity than we are and let ourselves off the hook and make it okay to settle for less than we know we could or should be doing?
So, number one, are you settling for mediocrity in your life? Be really honest about that. Are you in denial about it? I’m going to give you three actual steps to help you go through these but you want to have these questions written down. Am I settling for mediocrity in my life? That’s question number one. Am I in denial about it? And you have to really sit on that and how do you know if you’re in denial? Who are you comparing yourself to? Are you comparing your standards in every area of your life to ideal standards or simply to mediocre standards in order to feel good about your own standards? So, are you in denial about it? And the good way to figure that out is look at your comparisons. If you’re comparing yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, what would level 10 be? That’s the ideal. If you’re at level 7, how do you get to level 8? If you’re at a level 4, you better get to level 5. I mean, that’s going to create those long-term consequences, and that’s that third question is what are the long-term consequences if you don’t make a change? What are the long-term, and I looked at my kids, I went, “The long-term consequences are, A, my kids are being raised by other influences. If I’m not with them, they’re being raised by their friends and I would imagine their friends probably, no offense, but they’re nine and six years old, they’re probably not as personally developed as I am.” I don’t mean that in an arrogant way but I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I know a lot. I have a lot of knowledge that I’ve learned from people that are wiser than me, that I can impart on my children while I’m spending time with them and I do want to spend time with them. So, therefore, the amount of time I spend with them determines the amount of positive influence I can have in their lives. And so, if I didn’t make that change and spend more time with them, then I am not shaping their character and I’m leaving it up to outside influences and that is unacceptable for me as their father.
And then the fourth question is, what can you do now to make positive changes in the areas of your life that matter most so you can avoid those long-term consequences? You can write that whole question or just what positive changes can you make now? But that way you avoid those long-term consequences. So, for me, it was not just enough to have this realization but pulling out my phone and pulling out my schedule and scheduling actionable commitments, recurring daily and weekly commitments that will improve my relation. And one of them is every Saturday now. Usually, we hang out as a family. Now, that’s good. It’s good hanging out as a family, but I realized I want some one-on-one time with my kids or one-on-two times. Because I travel a lot so when I do, I travel a couple times a month, so I’m not with my kids at all. They’re just with my wife. So, for me, I realized I want to spend the same way my wife gets that one-on-two time with my kids or one-on-one time when I’m out of town, I need that with them and my wife needs a break. When I travel, I get a break. I to get to be in a hotel by myself. I can go to Italy for five days. That’s hard for me. It’s funny. It’s amazing how once you make a shift in your mind, once I shifted my mind from going, “I spend enough time with my kids,” to, “No, I can’t spend. There’s not enough time in the day for me to spend on my kids.” I mean, that’s being dramatic but meaning like I don’t want to spend enough time with my kids. The more time I spend with them, the deeper our connection, and the more I can influence their development and their character in a positive way. So, really, I want to spend as much time as humanly possible.
Once I made that shift from squeezing in an hour here, an hour there, whatever, which is it’s good, but good isn’t great, once I made that shift from squeezing in enough time to the more time I can spend with them the better, it’s killing me that I’m going to Italy like it’s painful now that I’m going to be away from my children not influencing them for the next five days. That’s rough. And actually, then I come back and I’m here for two days and actually, I’m speaking at an event in Italy, The Genius Network annual event, or not in Italy, sorry, in Phoenix. So, again, I’m like, “Oh no!” and I realized it’s okay because I’m making these changes and I’m engaging so much more with them and with my kids now like three hours a day. No, I’m sorry, longer than that because I was already with them three hours in the evening, but now it’s like three hours. It’s going to be like six hours a day I’m with my kids while I’m still working for almost full-time.
So, six hours a day with the kids. I feel so excited. That’s roughly double what I was doing before. And realistically before probably it wasn’t three hours a day because it was technically three hours, but part of that they were doing homework or they were bathing or I do this sauna thing for my health every day, or they were maybe at the neighbor’s house for an hour so it wasn’t even really a full three hours, but now I’m picking them up from school, I’m taking them in the morning, I’m picking them up every day like now I’m in the car with them for like an extra two hours a day. So, anyway, I’m excited about that as you could tell.
Here’s the actionable solution for you to really take this to engage in this reality check for yourself and whatever areas of your life you’re going to look at. Three steps I’m going to give here. Number one is schedule time for reflection ASAP. Schedule a time for reflection ASAP and if you need – let me spell it out for you. Answer those four questions that I gave you at the beginning of the show that I just repeated to you, those are the four questions to answer. Are you settling for mediocrity in your life? Look at every area, look at your health, look at your relationships, look at your finances. Are you justifying, “Well, I’ll start saving money when I make more.” That’s not okay. You’ve got to save 10% of whatever you make even if it’s not enough, whatever. So, again, are you settling for mediocrity in your life? Number two, are you in denial about it? And the way to figure that out is check your comparisons. How do you rank in each area of your life on a scale of not you compared to people that are doing worse than you? How do you rank on a scale of you compared to a level 10, you compared to the ideal, compared to your full potential? Number three, what are the long-term consequences if you don’t make a change? Number four, what can you do now to make positive changes in the areas that that matter most to you? That way you avoid those long-term consequences.
Number two, ask people who know you for honest feedback. So, here’s the deal. You might schedule a time for reflection and it’s hard like we, literally. I have like an out-of-body experience. I’m like how have I never seen this about myself before? It’s hard to see ourselves from getting a real perspective. So, if you need to, ask someone else, ask someone in your life, someone who knows you from way back. So, I went and talked to my wife. After I had this realization, I asked my wife and here’s the funny part. The funny part is that she was kind of nodding her head and she reminded me how she’s been telling me this for a long time that she’s been telling me that this time with our kids that it’s going so fast and I needed to spend as much time with them as possible and I would hear this from her and I nod my head and be like, “Yeah. Okay,” and I’d add in another half an hour. It was like I didn’t fully get it like I didn’t hear her. She’s like, “I’ve been telling you this, you know, I’ve been telling you that you need to spend as much time with them as possible that you’re going to regret it that you’re never going to get it back,” and I would always I think I would get pretty offensive. I’d be like, “Dude, I’m making an effort. Give me some slack.” I think I got defensive.
I think that’s the problem is when people give us feedback, I think we get defensive but when you go and you seek the feedback and you do it from a place of an open mind and if you need to, if you have the Miracle Morning book, go read the book. Here’s the blueprint, here’s the directions on how to get asked for feedback. There is a chapter, I believe it’s a bonus chapter called The Email That Will Change Your Life and it’s an email that I sent to over 20 of my friends and colleagues back in the day. This was 10 years ago and I asked them for feedback on and I asked them very pointed questions, “Hey, what is the biggest thing that you see about me that I need to change? What do I need to change? And please be honest with me and I don’t care if you’re brutally honest. Be harsh. I need your feedback. I need to know where my blind spots are.” So, ask other people for feedback. And again, you have to realize that you might be in denial. When I got these emails back and if you email, you don’t have to do, you could do the email that will change your life. It’s powerful. I’ve had hundreds of people email me and say, “Hal, I sent that email that will change your life.” It was terrifying. I was afraid to get that feedback, but, man, that feedback was so eye-opening and I’m a better person for it and now I’m taking actions to change my life. So, that’s number two is ask people who know you for honest feedback.
And number three, once you get clear whether it’s through your reflection through getting feedback from someone else or multiple people or a combination of the two, once you’re clear on, “Man, I need to make a change in this area of my life,” and maybe it’s one, maybe it’s more than one. Start with one. You don’t need to overwhelm yourself. It’s a big change. Make that one change but number three and this is probably the most important is schedule recurring actionable changes. So, change your behavior. Do something different. So, what did I do again? So, my realization through my reflection was I need to spend more time with my kids and more quality time. And the way that I define quality time is time where I’m having conversations, thoughtful conversations, asking them questions, getting to understand what they’re learning, what they’re being influenced by, what their value. Are they valuing people they’re seeing on TV? Is that who they’re looking up to and they’re admiring? And if so, I need to be aware of that. So, through my reflection, I got clear that I needed to engage with my kids more, spend more time with them, and having deep, thoughtful conversations, getting to know them, and then positively influencing them.
And then the recurring actionable changes that I made, number one, is the next day I scheduled a daddy-kiddo fun day and I made that recurring for every Saturday so every Saturday I start by I bought this waffle maker so I can make the kids waffles and then we’re going to go do some fun activity that we plan together, probably the day or two before. I’m thinking Thursday we’re going to plan after school. We’re going to plan our Saturday together, so they’re excited about it. Even so that like if they want to on Friday, they can be all looking forward to it all day. They’ve been telling their friends like, “My dad’s taking me to do mini golf tomorrow or we’re going to the park. We’re doing this thing.” I thought it’d be fun to like create all this anticipation. Because think about that by the way, that’s a totally different lesson. But when we’re looking for, I call that the anticipation prints. I don’t think I made it up. I probably heard it somewhere else but when we have something to look forward to, it extends that experience. Think about it. If someone says, “Hey, get in the car. We’re going to do this thing you want to do.” That’s exciting. You’re excited for that hour-long drive in the car, that 10-minute drive, then you do the thing and you look back on it, but if you have something that’s a month away and you are super excited for it, the longer you get to anticipate it, think about what’s happening inside your body emotionally. You’re literally getting the benefit of that experience of how exciting it’s going to be over and over and over and over again as you lead up to the experience.
In fact, there’s a book called, oh, I wrote the foreword for this book. It is called The Family Board Meeting and he talks about scheduling his quarterly family board meetings and that’s one of the principles he talked about is you plan it with your kids so that they’re engaged, they’re on board with it, and then you put it on the calendar like months in advance and then they get to look at it, anticipate it, and be excited. So, anyway, so that’s what I’m doing with my kids this weekly recurring daddy fun day where we’re going to spend three, four, five, six hours together and give my wife a break because I get a break when I travel for speaking engagements. She’s getting a break. And then more important than I believe the once a week time is I scheduled where instead of my wife picking up the kids every day, now I pick up the kids every single day and that takes about an hour, spend an hour in the car together between picking up one kid and the other kid and then driving home. I’m also taking them in the morning too so I’ve already got that time in my schedule I just added so I’m now taking the kids in the morning, taking them in the afternoon, we’re getting a ton of time together, we’re playing when they get home, we’re doing board meetings after dinner with the family like all sorts of stuff.
It’s like finally, finally, it took me years, it took me cancer, it took me another realization like part of what I realized too the other night is I’m like I’ve slipped back into some of my old patterns. Like during cancer I have a lot of these epiphanies and I was like I’m going to make all these changes but I realized I had fallen back into some of my old workaholic patterns and so, boom. That’s okay, right? Like, sometimes we take a step forward and we take a step backward and we have to take a step backward and then be firm, be intent with ourselves to be like, “Hey, dude. You’re better than this. You need to make some changes,” and sometimes it takes that step backward as a catalyst to take a leap forward.
And that’s my hope for you, goal achiever. My hope for you is that you will do this exercise that you’ll take this reality check that you’ll look at what are areas of your life where you’re settling, you’re self-sabotaging, you’re accepting mediocrity. It’s not acceptable because you look at the long-term consequences if you go down that path and you realize that, “I’m not okay with where this is leading me.” Financially, if you’re accepting mediocrity, if you’re not getting out of your comfort zone and doing things to make enough income to set yourself up for financial freedom in the future then the odds are you’re going to be struggling the rest of your life financially. You don’t want that. You’ve got to draw your line in the sand and decide I’m going to schedule this time for reflection. I’m going to get feedback from the people that know me the best and I’m going to schedule recurring actionable changes that will change the direction of my life starting now forever. And someday I’ll look back on this podcast, I’ll look back on this day were you made that commitment to take that time to do that reflection, to gain that feedback from others, to make those actual commitments. You’ll look back as, “Wow. That was literally the day that the course of my life or at least an area of your life changed forever.” And now in the future, the long-term consequences of the change you made cancel out the long-term consequences of continuing with that mediocrity or that self-sabotaging behavior that we so often were in denial about, we do it unconsciously. So, today’s the day for all of us to draw our line in the sand.
Hal: I think that wraps. I think that’s about it. I’m going to go eat some lunch. Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. I love you, goal achievers. If you are going to be in San Diego on December 7 or 8 and 9 at the Best Year Ever Blueprint, I can’t wait to see you. If you’re still on the fence, we’re almost sold out. We are very close. It is time to go to BestYearEverLive.com. Check it out, see if you can make it, and I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. This for me was transformative to go through this process two nights ago and so, yeah, I invite you to take this process on for yourself and until next week where we’ll talk again. I sincerely I love you, I appreciate you, I hope you’re doing really well.
And please, by the way, this is something I don’t do nearly often enough. In fact, I never do this and I need to. Comment underneath the podcast, underneath this episode. Comment on like whatever, whatever, either your biggest take away or what are you going to do or if you go and do the process and you want to comment afterward, you can’t but you’ll probably forget so I would comment ahead of time and tell me that you’re committed like, “Hey, I’ve scheduled my time to go through those three steps, that process.” You’ve scheduled your time to go through and reflect, get feedback from other people, and schedule those recurring actual changes. Let me know in the comments below or let me know in the Miracle Morning Community. Tag me. Let me know somewhere. I would love, love, love for you to be accountable and to do that and then for me to be able to comment, engage, support you, and loving you some more. So, love you guys and gals. Goal achievers, I will talk to you next week.