I used to be the guy who said “family is my #1 priority” and yet, my schedule often told a completely different story. I was a workaholic, and I was in denial.
Thankfully, Jon Vroman started Front Row Dads—a community for family men with businesses, not businessmen with families. Without exaggerating, my involvement with Front Row Dads has become the biggest factor contributing to my progress in becoming a better husband and father.
Joining me on this special bonus episode of the podcast is none other than Jon Vroman and our great friend, Justin Donald. We’re talking about what it means to be the Dad and Husband your family deserves, what each of us is excelling at AND struggling with when it comes to our own families.
We also talk about the upcoming Front Row Dads Live Summit, which is bringing 100+ men together from around the world to increase awareness, build brotherhood and ignite action to be better fathers and husbands. I’ll be speaking at the event, and I hope you’ll join us on December 2-4 in Austin, TX! Visit FrontRowDads.com/Live and use the discount code HAL for 10% off your ticket price.
- What does it mean to be a Front Row Dad?
- How to develop a better relationship with your kids through quarterly (or even monthly) one-on-one’s.
- Making plans that speak your spouse’s love language.
- Why a YES to somebody else, is by default, a NO to your family.
- Why getting together with like-minded Dads can completely transform your life at home.
- The value of spending time with AND without your family.
- A simple change I made to make my daughter go from being annoyed by me to feeling totally connected and wanting to spend time with me.
- Stop trying to set the agenda and figure out what’s important to your family instead.
- The difference between exposing yourself to information and immersing yourself in an experience.
- What will you gain from being at the Front Row Dads annual live event?
THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Organifi makes the highest quality nutritional products, which are made from whole food ingredients (not synthetic vitamins) that I enjoy nearly every day, and have for many years. Visit Organifi.com/Hal, and use the code HAL at checkout to get 20% off of your entire order. I hope you find something there that you love! :^)
Rise by CURED Nutrition is a natural supplement made from CBD, Lions Mane and Ginseng (among others) that helps boost energy, performance and cognitive function. There’s no caffeine, no jitters and most importantly, no crash. Visit CuredNutrition.com/Hal and receive 20% off of your entire order. They have tons of other products as well, hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. :^)
- Front Row Dads
- Jon Vroman on LinkedIn | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
- Justin Donald on Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
- Front Row Dads LIVE
- The Lifestyle Investor: The 10 Commandments of Cash Flow Investing for Passive Income and Financial Freedom by Justin Donald
- Preston Smiles
- Jim Sheils
- Pat Flynn
- Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour, Ph.D.
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Hal Elrod: Hello and welcome to a bonus episode of the Achieve Your Goals podcast. I think this is the second bonus episode I’ve done in nine years since the podcast began, so it’s a big deal. We’re going to talk about being a Front Row Dad. What does that mean? It’s being the dad that your kids deserve. If you are married, it’s being the husband that your wife deserves. And I am a member of Front Row Dads. I have been for since it began. It was the first event five years ago or so and the first-ever live event is coming up. I want to mention this in case you don’t listen to the end of the podcast for some reason, which I encourage you to do. But we talk about this briefly at the end and so I want to mention at the beginning the first-ever live Front Row Dads event. Now, there have been a lot of live masterminds, like small group masterminds with 30 or 40 fathers getting together and supporting each other and being the best husbands and fathers that we can be for our family. But this is the first-ever live event with roughly 100 people in attendance.
And I’m going to be speaking there, Preston Smiles, Justin Donald, author of Lifestyle Investor, who I’m talking with today, as well as the founder, Jon Vroman. And these two fellas that are on the call today on the podcast. Jon Vroman is the founder of Front Row Dads and Justin Donald is the author of New York Times, or sorry, Wall Street Journal, bestselling author of The Lifestyle Investor. And these are two of my best friends in the entire world. I meet with them once a month in person to discuss family. And the theme of Front Row Dads is family men with businesses, not businessmen with families. And essentially, if you are a father who really wants to be better for your kids or just the best that you can possibly be, that’s what today is about. That’s what this event is about. And I know the event’s almost sold out, so head over to FrontRowDads.com/Live and then use the discount code “HAL” because as one of the speakers, all the speakers get 10% off for all of their community members. So, if you want to go, you can use the code, HAL, and get 10% off your ticket.
So, head over to FrontRowDads.com/Live. Check that out for all the details. It’s a beautiful site, by the way. I was just going down. I was on the site myself. And then today is really going to be about what’s working for me, for Justin, for Jon. We’re each going to share where we’re excelling in our family life and why that is so that you all can learn from what’s working. And then we’re also going to share where we’re struggling and what we’re learning from the struggle so that you can learn from that as well and possibly identify with that and realize that we’re all doing the best we can with what we know. But I think that the big takeaway from today is that there is so much power in surrounding yourself with like-minded people who have a similar objective as you do. So, again, if you are a dad who wants to be the best you can be for your family, this episode is for you. And of course, the Front Row Dads live event is the next level for you as well. I hope you enjoy today’s episode and I love you so much. Thanks for listening. And here’s to being the best family man that we can be for our families and the world.
Hal Elrod: Good morning, fellas.
Jon Vroman: Yo.
Justin Donald: What’s happening then?
Hal Elrod: It’s good to see you on Zoom. And I was with you, what, two days ago? Three days ago? A few days ago?
Jon Vroman: You’ve been with me my whole life, Hal, in my heart, in my soul.
Hal Elrod: You’re so sweet. Hey. So, let’s get into this. This is a bonus episode. And first and foremost, I just want to mention that I maybe have done one bonus episode in the nine years that I’ve had this podcast. So, this is special. You all are special.
Justin Donald: Love it.
Jon Vroman: We’ve earned the right, Justin.
Justin Donald: I appreciate it.
Hal Elrod: Or it depends on how you look at it. You’re either special or you’re not worthy of a regular.
Justin Donald: Haven’t we each already had a regular episode though? So, I think it’s really what we are anticipating at the end.
Hal Elrod: Look at Justin. Just right into the silver lining every time. If you all don’t know Justin Donald, he is Mr. Silver Lining.
Justin Donald: Well, thank you. It’s a good way to live.
Hal Elrod: I thought I was Mr. Silver Lining, JD, until I met you. All right. Let’s dive in. This is for dads. So, this is a specific episode for fathers who want to be the best dads they can be, if they are married to be the best husbands they can be, if they’re looking for that future wife, being the person that can really create an extraordinary relationship for everybody in their world. So, Jon, I want to start with you. I want to ask you, you’re the founder of Front Row Dads. How do you define a Front Row Dad? What is a Front Row Dad?
Jon Vroman: I think a Front Row Dad is someone who steps up, who wants to engage with their families, somebody who wants to put others on the stage, shine the light on their spouse, on their kids, and really to lift somebody in their surroundings. So, a Front Row Dad is putting their kids and their families in the proximity of other amazing families, somebody who values community, somebody who values gathering together, and supporting one another. So, Front Row is it’s a statement about proximity and what people, places, thoughts, and things do we want to be close to, do we want to engage with, do we want to support.
Hal Elrod: It’s that Front Row metaphor. You founded Front Row Dads, what, it’s been five years ago?
Jon Vroman: Yeah, about that.
Hal Elrod: And for those that don’t know, Justin Donald and I and Jon Vroman and actually Tim, our friend Tim, who’s not on today, are in what’s called a Front Row Dads band. And essentially it’s like a band of brothers. We meet once a month and then support each other as needed throughout. And it’s really about coming together and looking at sharing what’s working in our marriage, what’s working with our kids, and what’s not. Where are we struggling? Where do we need support and ideas? And I’ve shared this very openly, that being a part of Front Row Dads as a whole, and even probably more so, our band has just been life-changing for me. I’ve said it’s probably the number one determining factor that’s helped me be the or just continue to strive to be. I haven’t arrived but the husband that my wife deserves, the father that my kids deserve. Justin, let me start with you. Where would you say that you excel as a father and a husband? So, you can take those in one or separately. Where do you excel as a father and a husband? And then where do you struggle as a father and as a husband?
Justin Donald: Hal, you’re always asking such good and deep questions. All right. So, where I think I excel is bringing fun and energy and excitement and experiences to marriage and parenting and really just even the family unit as a whole. So, we’re always trying to do cool things, interesting things, new experiences, or trying to make experiences that we’ve had already fun again or fun in a different way. So, I think that energy is something I know for my daughter is a lot of fun, the different activities we do. I feel like I do a good job of one-on-one with her. Basically, once a father…
Hal Elrod: Sorry to interrupt. How old is your daughter? I should have started there with all of our kids but how old is your daughter?
Justin Donald: Yeah. She’s nine. Actually, she should be ten in two months. So, kind of getting to that next age and this is just such a fun season. And so, we had learned in Front Row Dads, actually, one of the original sessions that we did from a guy named Jim Sheils, that it’s really important to be doing at least a quarterly one-on-one with each of your children. And so, I felt like how cool would it be if instead of doing this once a quarter, I just did it once a month. And so, that’s been huge for my daughter and my relationship. And then same thing with my wife.
Hal Elrod: Wait. Again, I’m going to keep interrupting you. Give me some examples of what you’ve been doing for one-on-ones with your daughter. I think that’s super helpful. I know that for me my daughter’s 13, and like that relationship, it’s like it gets tougher. The older that they get, the more they start to become independent. Yeah. So, what are some of the one-on-ones that you do monthly with Anna?
Justin Donald: Well, the goal is really to find what it is that she wants to do. Like, how can I involve her in the planning and engage her in a way to find what would be most fun, most productive? So, when we go grab some food, I’m trying to cater it to a restaurant that she’s most excited about and for an experience. You know, sometimes we go to this really fun arcade called Cidercade. Sometimes we go to a bounce house, sometimes we go to a trampoline park, sometimes we go to a water park, whatever it is. And if she’s unsure, then I’ll try some stuff. And sometimes, in the beginning, she wasn’t sure so I kind of let it and gave options and did a bunch. And now she has these ideas and she really loves getting gelato. So, last night that was one of the things we did to kind of put a bow on an already really exciting day.
Hal Elrod: Nice, nice.
Justin Donald: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: And then where do you excel with Jennifer, with your wife?
Justin Donald: Yeah. So, I know that her number one love language is quality time. So, for me, it’s really important that I’m providing opportunities for us to connect at a deep level that is technology free. You know, I used to think, “Oh yeah, when we watch a movie we’re really connecting,” but the reality is she wasn’t feeling like we were connecting. I thought we were definitely connecting. We were hanging out, you know.
Hal Elrod: Men and women are different. What?
Justin Donald: Yeah, so different. So, now I’ve just learned the things that she loves. And we’re very intentional about a weekly date night, a quarterly overnight and annual trip just the two of us at a minimum. And if we can do more than that, we’ll do more than that.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. I love that. It’s intentional scheduled time. And I think that for all of us to up-level as in anything in life, right, like if you want to be more consistent with your health and your fitness or with your finances, right? It’s about having those repeatable, consistent rituals that are in your schedule to ensure that you’re investing energy, attention, and time into the areas that matter most. And then where do you struggle as a dad and/or as a husband?
Justin Donald: Well, my wife put it in a way that really just hit home with me where it resonated. So, I tend to love to do new things, meet new people, have new experiences. And there’s a lot that I often have the opportunity to do. And so, she said something that just has really stuck with me, which is this, “When you say yes to other opportunities, you’re by default saying no to your family.” And so, I have had to learn over the years and I still feel like I have to learn and continue to learn and continue to get better at saying no to different things because I always just looked at it as, well, I’m just saying yes to these different items. I want to go to this dinner. I want to go on this trip. But the reality is, if I’m there without them, then it’s by default, a no to my family. I’m not spending time with my family. And so, for me, I just need to balance that in a way that feels great to everyone in the family. And I feel like there are seasons where I’m really good at it and then I feel like there are seasons where I really struggle because maybe I just want to experience certain opportunities and they might come in a row more heavily in one quarter or in one month. And that definitely doesn’t feel well. It doesn’t feel good to my wife and my daughter.
Hal Elrod: So, say that again. How did she put it that when you say yes to something else, you’re saying no to the family or how did she say it?
Justin Donald: Yeah. When I say yes to another activity or another travel opportunity or something where they’re not with me or they’re just not getting the same type of quality time by default, I’m saying no to my family. I never really looked at it as like I was saying no to my family. I feel like I’m a family-first guy.
Hal Elrod: You’re just saying yes to everything, right?
Justin Donald: But if I’m not there in person then, yeah, they’re not getting that same experience. They’re not getting the same dad/husband that they would get if I were around, if I weren’t at that event, if I weren’t traveling.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. I heard Pat Flynn author, podcast host, and friend, Pat Flynn, said once that, “I get opportunities all the time that are exciting that’ll make me money, that will advance my career, that will grow my business.” And he said, “If it takes me away from my family, it’s an easy no.” And it’s that same mindset, which was just a game changer and I think that shifting that to realize that saying yes to anything, if it takes you away from your family, you’re now saying no to that time with your family. And that’s so limited, right? Like, how long are your kids going to be at home? I’m realizing now with my daughter, 13, it goes by so fast. I got five years until she’s possibly out of the house. We’re trying to convince her to move into our guest house, but I don’t know.
Justin Donald: Well, that’s something great that we learned also with Jon and with Front Row Dads is the countdown of how many summers we have with our kids and how palpable that is once you put a number on it and you have like a countdown of like, “Wow. I only have five years left. I only have seven years left. I only have two years left.” Two summers or seven summers, whatever that number is like, that just makes it real and I think creates some urgency for today.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. No, I agree. Jon, what about you, brother? Where do you feel like you excel as a husband and/or father? And what areas do you struggle in?
Jon Vroman: Yeah. And before I answer that real quick, I think it’s so interesting to see how the three of us and with Tim have been getting together now for almost four years, I think, right? Four years.
Hal Elrod: That long? Oh my God.
Jon Vroman: Yeah. And that still both of you and Tim influenced my decisions constantly. And this idea, which I learned six years ago at Front Row Dads with Jim Sheils, about 18 summers and all of that and the countdown and we constantly talk about it, you just saying that right now, Justin, I made a note to plan summer 2023 just now. Like, that’s the power of getting together and huddling up and having these types of conversations is that I’ve now added to my list to plan summer of 2023 because you just reminded me that Tiger being 13. By the time he’s 16, he might have his license. He’s like, “I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to go on a family trip. I want to stay here with my friends. I’ve got these other opportunities.” I might have two summers left with him to take these big adventures if I want. And maybe not, but maybe so.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Jon Vroman: And so, just now recording this show, you changed my thinking in just a sharing of a story. And that’s what I think is the most important is if we can get together and share stories and we open up and we have powerful conversations, that’s where we shift our lives. So, I credit so many of my decisions to you guys and the way you’re living and the things you’re doing. And I’m like, “I got to do that too.” And then it shifts our family, which is great. So, alright, here’s what’s good. What’s good right now, where I think I’m winning as a dad and as a husband, as a family man in general, is that I’ve increased my range of what’s possible. And what I mean by that is that if you have, let’s say, silly on the left and serious on the right, and you have this spectrum of like, can you be playful and can you be stern? And can you play within those two places and bounce back and forth with agility? And can you find your edges even more within that space of yourself? Can you learn to hold more space for yourself and your family and then just be stronger in what you’re able to facilitate within your family? To me, that’s been it.
So, the examples and practical example of what I mean is like putting my boys to bed, laying down with the kids talking. It’s very quiet. It’s very intimate. I’m tickling their backs. I’m asking them about their day. I’m telling them they’re great kids. I say things like all the time I’m putting them to bed like, “I’m so grateful to be your dad and I love it when I go, I love being your dad,” and then they respond, “I love being your kid.” It’s like one of my favorite moments of being a dad but that’s also like very quiet and chill. And on the other side of that spectrum would be adventure and doing something crazy and taking them on a big adventure, hiking into the forest. And Tiger right now is in Nepal and oceans in Siberia right now as we record this.
Hal Elrod: So, your win is sending your family across the world and getting alone time. Okay. I noted. I just learned something new. I’m planning my summer for 2023.
Jon Vroman: There is beauty in distancing yourself as well. Like, the beauty of life is that you come close together with people but then you also create distance. And I think we have to value both of those that I want my family to miss me and I want to miss my family. I actually think that guys will hide at home under the banner of being a great dad, and that’s not always really healthy either. Like, it’s good for your family to miss you. It’s good for you to miss them, and you need to create space between you and your family at times, even if it’s tough because it’s not like every difficult thing is a bad thing, it’s how it truly plays out in the grand scheme of things in life. Like, kids will complain to go to camp and then they’ll come back and say, “It was the best experience of my life.” Tiger goes, “I don’t want to go do basketball,” and I encourage him to go do it and he fights me and he’s screaming and crying and he comes out and goes, “I love basketball. I want to do it for the rest of my life.”
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Now, would you say that’s equally important, Jon, as husbands to create that for our wives? Like, watching the kids and pushing our wife out the door to go spend time with her friends?
Jon Vroman: Absolutely. Yeah, 100%. And I think that, yeah, you can smother each other. You can be overly committed to one another and you benefit from other friends and other experiences. And so, the more we can encourage each other to expand our range, to expand our awareness, to expand our views of the world, the more that we can all step into that space, as uncomfortable as it might be from time to time, the better. You know, one last example on that is like going from dancing with my kids, having a dance party, and being playful and fun like that to having like a sit down at the kitchen table saying, “Things aren’t going well. The way you’re talking to your mom is not okay.” Having like this really fatherly conversation about, “These are the boundaries. You overstep them. I love you. You’re not a bad person, but this is bad behavior,” and then being able to be totally silly, dance party, let them pick the music. Totally let go of control. So, it’s like playing with control as well, which is actually the thing I would tell you as the negative.
The thing that I’m struggling with is always and I’ve realized recently and this came up at the Front Row Dads retreat, how much I do to try to control my family. I like to control my children, to control the outcome of their lives, to control my wife. And it’s not through this dictatorship vibe, like you’re not allowed to go out. Although boundaries are important, and as a father, you need to have them sometimes, but it’s actually not having to control my child. You have to become this type of person to be a good person, to be careful of how much of my blueprint I project onto them.
So, becoming more aware of how much I want to control or that I’m unconsciously trying to control or subtly trying to control where I ask my wife, “Well, what time are you going to be back?” Sometimes I do that because I’m scared, sometimes because I’m needy. Sometimes I want to control her schedule and her behavior. And so, I try to be careful and considerate, but really what I’m trying to do is control the outcome. And so, how much do I want to influence and how much do I just want to let go and surrender to what is?
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I love that. I’ll go, I’ll share where I’m excelling and where I’m struggling. I think where I’m excelling, and I have for a long time in terms of, it’s the constant never-ending improvement focus, which all of you could have answered the same way because I know that you all are the same. I’m always learning. I’m actively learning, growing, engaging with Front Row Dads, surrounding myself with other dads. I’m always being proactive in trying to be the best husband that I can possibly be, whether that’s reading a book or going to our band meeting, being the best father I can be. For example, last night, I felt disconnected from my daughter. She’s kind of pushing away, “And dad, I just want to be in my room by myself.” She’s 13, going on 17, and I’m trying to engage with her and she’s like, “Dad, you’re so annoying.”
And I literally called my sister, who’s a very wise gal. She’s a year and a half younger than me. And I said, “Hey, when you were a teenager, do you remember what your relationship like was with Dad?” And like, “Did you want to just be in your room all the time? Were you annoyed by him?” And she’s like, “Well, Dad,” she goes, “You know, Dad, he’s annoying. He’s always trying to get attention.” And so, that was funny. And she said– but Dad, if you’re listening to this, we love you so much. And she said, “Yeah, I like to be in my room, I want to be out by myself reading and this and that.” And she asked, “Why are you asking?” And I said, “Oh, just because I’m trying to connect with Sophia.”
And anyway, and then after that conversation, I was like, I’m just going to go get in her space in a friendly way, which I forgot. Hold on to your kids taught me that. And I went in there and I, like you mentioned, like what do you want? Like just to spend a few minutes with my daughter and I didn’t ask for permission, which in the past, I might have and she might– but I just laid on the bed and I asked her a question like, “What are you looking at? What are you working on? What are you reading right now?” And engaged and then spending about 30 minutes with me just sitting on the bed talking to her.
And it’s just amazing how I went from feeling disconnected and she didn’t want to be around me to us feeling totally connected. And then she came out and gave me a big hug good night and said “I love you so much, dad.” And again, it was me proactively reaching out to my sister, it was me always not accepting mediocrity in my relationships with my family, but either picking up a book, calling one of you guys, going on the Front Row Dads website, going to the Front Row Dads live event next month, like calling my sibling– whatever it is, always proactively going, okay, what can I learn? How can I shift my perspective so that I have a new way of looking at my relationship with my daughter or my son or my wife or myself so I can be better for them and better for me, right?
So, that proactive, putting myself in those situations, and then where I struggle is it’s probably the other side of that coin, which is feeling like if it’s not perfect, it’s not good, right? Like, oh, my gosh, my daughter doesn’t want to hang out with me, so I’m losing her, like our relationship is going to fall apart. I think I’m such a perfectionist that I put too much pressure on me and the relationship that if it’s not a 10 out of 10, it’s like a 1, right? It’s like. for me, I got to find that middle and just realize that, dude, when I was a teenager, I didn’t want to be around my parents all the time. Doesn’t mean I didn’t love them, doesn’t mean we don’t have an amazing relationship now, as a grown adult. Just means that we go through phases.
And the last thing I’ll say on that is I’m reading a book right now called Untangled, and I think it’s the seven stages that a girl goes through to adulthood. And I read that this morning and got an idea, implement it with my daughter this morning, saw a great result. So, just that proactive.
Jon Vroman: What was the idea?
Hal Elrod: Oh, you put me on the– shoot, what was the idea? Oh, it was what you said earlier, which it was just stop trying to set the agenda and figure out what they want to do. And you mentioned it, Jon, like we need these interactions with other Front Row Dads, people that are dads that are committed to improving and sharing and being vulnerable and being open because we just need the reminders. Almost anything that you learn, you’re like, oh yeah, I used to know that, but I totally forgot. And what I learned was just the reminder of stop trying to set the agenda.
And the other night, I was like, “Hey, sweetie, let’s watch Top Gun 2. It’s an awesome movie. You’ll love it.” And we start watching it like 10 minutes, and she’s like, “I’m not into these kind of movies.” I’m like, “No, no, no, just give it a chance.” And I was reminded, I’m like, “Wait, why am I not watching a movie that she wants to watch? Why am I having her watch the movie that I want her to watch?” So, that’s what I was reminded of, a really simple reminder.
And Justin, you said it, too, right? Which is like find out what your daughter wants to do and then do that versus suggesting what you want to do, and then pleasantly pressuring her to do it. Yeah, all right, guys, where should we go from here?
Jon Vroman: I just want to say something about the theme I’m feeling and I’m noticing is that a lot of our change happens because we had a conversation. Justin had a conversation with Jennifer, and she gave him the idea, if you’re yes to somebody else, you’re a no by default to your family. That came through a conversation. You’re reading a book, Hal, which is a form of conversation.
Hal Elrod: When I called my sister.
Jon Vroman: Right. Yeah, you called your sister. There are all forms of conversation, and listening to this podcast, listening to other people have conversations, that’s what we’re doing whenever we listen to a podcast, you’re just eavesdropping in on a conversation.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Jon Vroman: And I think that what I have felt in my own life is that there are degrees of impact through conversation. So, you have impact when you listen to a book or a podcast, but when you are FaceTiming somebody, it feels different than when you’re just on a phone call. And when you are in person with somebody, it feels different than– and by the way, if you just go for a dinner and you have an hour-long dinner, you can get so deep at that dinner within an hour. But if you spent half a day with somebody or a weekend with somebody, the level of depth just keeps improving. And that’s why when we take trips with our families, when we do vacations that– I remember my dad and I talking about this at one point, which is like we go on vacation to Shell Lake, Wisconsin, which is our family lake house. And we would go there and we would both say, it took us a day or two to just calm down and settle into a vacation.
Hal Elrod: Get out of our own heads.
Jon Vroman: Get out of our heads and get into this new environment, it took a little time. And we see that at our events, too. It happens every time. Night one, there’s a certain level of connection. By the first morning, there’s a deeper level of connection. Later that evening, people are really opening up and really sharing and exchanging great stories. And by the last day, people are completely transformed because you give enough time for something to happen.
And that same principle applies in your business, in your family, with your friends. So, every one of those areas deserves levels of attention. And it’s why you look at EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, which I know many entrepreneurs run that business, Gino Wickman’s program. Well, there’s a reason why you have weekly 90-minute meetings. There’s a reason that you have monthly huddles, and then longer quarterlies, and then an annual ritual. It’s everywhere.
And so, we just have to make sure that in the areas of life that matter most to us, we give ourselves the appropriate amount of time throughout the year, whether it’s the monthly board meeting or gathering with Savannah, with Justin, or all those things, the camping trips that you and your family take, Hal, and all that stuff. They just have varying degrees of impact.
Hal Elrod: Well, yeah, I love it. Oh, Justin, go ahead.
Justin Donald: I was just going to say there’s a lot of research around the whole idea of immersion when it comes to learning relationships. And so, there’s so much that you get from a routine. And I think a routine over a long period of time is great. But when you can go deep into a topic, if you can go deep into topics with people where you can expose some vulnerability, some intimacy, and emotionally, what happens, it’s just this whole new world opens up. You develop a relationship that in that one moment becomes a safe place, a place that you want to dive even deeper in, but then because you’ve had that moment of immersion, it’s easier to connect thereafter, with whatever frequency you want.
And so, from an education standpoint, I found that the things that I retain, that I’ve learned the most are the things that I have gone to a two or three or four-day course or session or retreat or conference. And so, part of my routine for my own personal growth is to do this because I know I learn best this way. And I also, I think, develop relationships really fast with people that have aligned values in that type of an environment.
Hal Elrod: It’s a really good point and it’s the difference between exposing yourself to information and immersing yourself in an experience. And one example of that is in terms of reading a blog post on a topic or a book. If you read a blog post on a topic, you spend maybe 15 minutes with that information, and then you go back into your regular way of thinking. If you read a book on a topic, you spend arguably three weeks, being a fast read, a week, two weeks, three weeks on a topic, immersing yourself in it. And then we go to a Front Row Dads live event, you spend days fully immersed, and then, Jon, to your point, the importance of conversations. I feel like when I went to my first Front Row Dads event, I didn’t know what to expect. And I was used to going to events where I just sat in the audience and took notes for three days and then went home and usually filed the notes away, like it was just pages of notes.
And what I loved about my first Front Row Dads event and every single one since then, it’s just your style of doing it is that you create, like there will be somebody teaching sometimes, but then, I mean, you’re trained in facilitating this interactive experience where then you turn to another dad and you go outside of the room or you sit together or whatever, or a couple of dads. And then you have a conversation about what you just learned, how it applies to you, what came up for you, what resonated with you, what you’re going to do with this information, how you’re going to implement it.
And now, Justin, to your point of how we learn, now, it’s like, wow, I just took that topic. I didn’t read it for 60 seconds and move on for the rest of my life. I took that topic and I made it personal to my situation. And then whenever I leave a Front Row Dads event, I always have, like I’ve gone through this two or three-day experience, but then I have not my three or four or five pages of notes, I’ve got my half page of committed changes. When I get home, here’s what I’m going to do, and then I’ll always have with my wife, number one, number two, number three. These are the top three things I’m going to do differently to up-level my marriage and my role as a husband.
And then I always have my to-do list with my daughter, here’s what I’m going to do. Sometimes, there’s overlap between both of my kids, but often, I try to take them separately. Okay, here are the top three things I’m doing to improve my relationship with my daughter and then onto my son, and then there might be something with myself or whatever to be a better overall family man. Yeah, but just both of what you said, the importance of how we learn and the importance of conversations to immerse ourselves, really cool.
So, let’s do this. The Front Row Dads live event is coming up. I know, Jon, you’ve got a few minutes for you got to run. Front Row Dads live event is coming up December 2nd through 4th. I’ll be speaking there. Jon, you’re leading it. Justin, I know you’re usually a speaker. Yeah, you are?
Justin Donald: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: You’re speaking as well. Justin, what are you talking about this time?
Justin Donald: We’re getting into some financial mastery, just talking about investing and anything and everything that deals with building wealth, creating wealth, making sure your estate is in great shape. We’re going to have some fun.
Hal Elrod: And for anybody listening that’s not aware, I’ll probably mention this in the introduction, but Justin is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book, The Lifestyle Investor, founder of the Lifestyle Investor Mastermind and LifestyleInvestor.com. So, that is your bread and butter, brother.
And Jon, for anybody listening, let’s just close it out with who should be at this event and why should they be at this event. Like what are they going to gain from being at the Front Row Dads annual live event?
Jon Vroman: Yeah, well, we’re going to have about 100 guys. The common denominator is that many of them will have seen and resonated with the statement, family men with businesses, not businessmen with families. So, you don’t have to be a business owner or an entrepreneur to be there, but you do need to have an owner’s mentality or an entrepreneurial spirit to really feel the vibe of this room. These men are creators, they’re builders. They want to absolutely create massive success in their businesses, but not at the expense of their family. They’re highly aware they could get to the end of their life and have built something epic with finances and with work and left their family to figure things out on their own.
And so, these are men who want to put family first truly and win in all these other areas of life from the wealth and legacy category to business evolution, emotional intelligence, not just parenting and marriage but to make sure all parts of their life are working in harmony. So, it’s men who want more, who want to excel, who want to learn. They have confidence and humility. I would say the Front Row Dad is a man who has built some success in his life, and yet, he wants to know more. They have wisdom and they’re wise enough to know that there is more to learn from being around other men.
And we have a statement in Front Row Dads that it’s not always about learning something new, it’s about remembering something true. So, it’s staying in the practice and the discipline of constantly saying, hey, oh, I had a guy over at the house the other day, a Front Row Dad, and he sat on the couch and he goes, “You know what, Jon? You taught me years ago.” And then he said something, and I was like, “I taught you that? I can’t remember that.” But thank you for telling me what I taught you because I needed to hear that. It’s a great example of how much we forget and we need to be reminded.
One of our members, a very successful guy, this is a guy who’s built a seven-figure business and has traveled to 50 different countries with his family. And arguably, one of the most epic humans sent me a text message, said, “Jon, can’t thank you enough for the powerful group that you’ve assembled. I came in with my tank empty and I’m leaving overflowing.” And it’s like that’s how I want people to feel.
And there’s also something that one of our members said, which is that if you’re in a place where you’re kicking ass in life, this is the event to be at because you can help so many other people and you may also have a blind spot you’re unaware of. And this is the place to learn about that. And then the other one is you’re getting your butt kicked and you’re in a really tough place in life. And like this is a place to come and get filled up and to learn and be surrounded by people who will– one of our values, the rising tide, that’s communal drive, what it’s like to be around other epic men.
There has never been an event in history like this. There have been business networking events. There have been other dad events, but there has never been an event specifically like this that has targeted the family men with businesses. Very unique, very interesting crowd.
And the last thing I’ll say is that another member sent me a message the other day and he said, “Jon, I’ve been to dozens of networking events, mastermind events, personal growth events, all these just all my whole life.” This is a person in his 40s. And he goes, “The thing is that I was always trying to find the needle in the haystack. I was always trying to find the diamond in the rough.” It was the guy who really wanted to put family first, who wanted to win in business but truly had their priorities in order.
And what I always found were people that were willing to sacrifice their family’s hustle, burn the candle at both ends, morning, noon, and night, whatever it takes, hustle, hustle, hustle to build their business. And I never found the person who created harmony and balance and health across their personal ecosystem. And he goes, when I came into Front Row Dads, I could not find that person. Every single guy I talked with was that guy. I didn’t have to search the crowd high and low to find the person with their priorities in order. And that’s what we hope to create.
So, while this event is not for everybody, it is for somebody very specific. And if you’re listening to this and you’re like, that’s me, then you should check it out and all of it’s at FrontRowDads.com, the info’s there, the speakers are there, the agenda is there. You’ll get a feel for what it is, and we hope to see you there. It’s probably going to sell out in the next 7 to 10 days. We’re three-quarters of the way sold out right now as we record this. And I’d imagine that it’ll be filled up here very quickly. So, if you hear this, this is your calling, this is your message. You might have picked up your phone, turn on this podcast for a reason to hear this invite right now.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, FrontRowDads.com/live, I just checked the event page. And then, Jon, I know you set up a code for– since I’m one of the speakers, if anybody uses the code HAL, H-A-L, you get 10% off of your ticket. Just don’t use the code JUSTIN, make sure you use the code…
Justin Donald: It’s funny that you did that because I was about to jump in and say, if you use the code JUSTIN, then you’re going to get something better.
Hal Elrod: I’ll give you a special bonus. Oh, you guys are funny. And I know Preston Smiles is speaking at the event in addition to all of us, Tucker Max, and I will tell you, I invited Tucker, and Tucker is the biggest skeptic. And he came to an event in Florida last year, and he came up to me afterward. In fact, I think he said it to you, Jon, and I was with him, and he said, “I’ve gone to every high-level event and mastermind out there.” He said, “This is the best event I’ve ever been to,” period. And he was the last one in Austin.
So, anyway, well, FrontRowDads.com/live, if you’re listening to this and you are a dad, and like Jon said, if it resonates with you, go check it out and join us. It’s going to be awesome. And I’ll be there the whole time. I’m not just speaking and leaving. I am a Front Row Dad, I will be in the audience, in the group talking to all my fellow Front Row Dads, as well, Jon and Justin. And I love you guys. Thanks for doing this. I really appreciate it.
Jon Vroman: This is awesome.
Justin Donald: This is a great chat.
Hal Elrod: Awesome. And goal achievers, members of the Miracle Morning Community, future Front Row Dads, I love you. I appreciate you. I hope to see you in December in Austin, Texas. FrontRowDads.com/live, and use the code HAL at checkout to get a discount on your ticket, and I will see you then.
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