Balancing Personal Growth and Family Obligations

Episode #642

How’s your relationship with your family?

Are you focusing on your own personal growth so that you can be a leader and a lighthouse for your family? 

Make sure you take some time to figure out what’s more important for you and show up for your family so you can let go of unnecessary things that are not aligned with your priorities.

In this episode, we’re sharing how to set your priorities straight and what you can do to help you balance your personal growth and your family life.

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Doug Holt  00:01

Hey guys, welcome to The Powerful Man Show where we help married businessmen save their marriages without having to talk about it, get unstuck and gain clarity in their lives. As I like to say, life is too short for average. I’m your host, Doug Holt with my co-host, Tim, The Powerful Man, Matthews. Now let’s get this started.

I’ve seen it a thousand times, guys. History is repeating itself. Guys that go through the program save their marriage or some guys that don’t. Some guys end up getting divorced. They say it too late, but they’ve saved themselves and have a great relationship with their kids. And when you do that, the contract says, okay, if I focus on my relationships, then my business has the potential of growing, that’s a contract most men would sign, so to speak. But you wouldn’t give up your family for business, so why are you doing it now?

Guys, welcome back to another episode of The Powerful Man Show. Tim, great to see you, brother.

Tim Matthews  00:54

Great to be here with you, brother. How are you?

Doug Holt  00:58

I’m doing excellent. Thank you. Excellent. As you know, we did close on our retreat center, which I affectionately call the ranch. This is going to allow us to serve more men all over the world. So, I’m super excited about that. Get the keys today to head over there. Guys, we went ahead, we decided, Hey, how can we go all in to serve the men in the movement. As you can know, as this movement grows, what we want to offer are more opportunities to help men like you transition, not only in your marriage, but also other areas of your life.

We have an expert field of coaches and a diversity of offerings past just the activation method. We have two versions of that. Most people are only aware of the relationship one. We also have the Brotherhood, the inner circle, and so much more that’s going through. So, very excited to get that up and running and allow men again, from all over the world to have a home base where this movement that we call the powerful man can really take off from.

Tim Matthews  01:55

I was overjoyed this morning when I got that news. I didn’t realize how excited I was. I think I’d remained kind of detached from it in case it didn’t happen. And then once I got the news through that it had been done, oh my God, tears of joy. I’m so excited for the opportunities for the men. Just everything, everything.It’s been a journey, and it’s going to be incredible.

Doug Holt  02:23

Awesome. Which makes me reminded of that today’s topic is we think about how do we balance personal growth as we’re going through and the family obligations. And when I say that, the reason I say it ties in, because obviously if you guys have done real estate deals, it takes a lot out of you. And so how do you balance that but also your personal growth and your family? Before we get into exactly how you can balance your personal growth, right, not just personal development, but growth as a man with your family obligations. Like, a lot of you guys have kids, you have soccer practice, baseball practice, school drop offs, music lessons, swim lessons, and much, much more.

Here’s something that I want to dig out just to share with you guys. And if you guys liked this, I’ll keep doing this each episode from our Clients Win section. And I’m going to try to do this the best I can because this person does name a lot of their families names as well as theirs. So, I’ll put that out. But they posted this and it says I realized while sharing names of our kids with X that I haven’t really shared much about my family. This is my crew, and he lists out his family and his kids. And now you guys can imagine he’s got a picture of his family. It’s a beautiful picture. He said, “I used to take pictures like this and feel sad because in pictures, everything looked perfect. But in real life, it felt so miserable.” Man, I can relate to that.

“Our shared love for these kids felt like it was the only thing keeping my wife and I together. Over the past years, I was really worried what would happen to us once they grew up and moved out. I couldn’t see a future for us because our personal relationship with each other had been lost along the way. I’m so glad I took the step to join The Powerful Man and start the activation method. I put my all into learning and applying the trainings. Sometimes it felt like I was just acting at first, playing the recommended role, stepping up into my masculine role to realign the polarity when needed, changing the way I listened and responded, practicing and engaged in difference, even using suggested strategies and text messages, etc.

The more I practiced and applied, the more natural it started to feel. In some ways, I started to feel more like a new man. But at the same time, I actually started feeling more like my old self.” The, his name, that existed before I met his wife, his name, it’s getting hard to take out names. “The man that she was attracted to in the first place just with a lot more life experience. I can honestly say that I now feel more excited about our future because I feel so good in the present. I feel like I have a plan and a growing vision for myself and for our relationship.

So, thank you, Tim and Doug and The Powerful Man who started this movement. Thank you for Mo and Sophia, who are our advisors, for listening to me and encouraging me on my first calls. Thank you to Franco and Aaron, coaches of ours, for your excellent coaching and support. And thank you to the men, the men in my wolf pack.” And he names all the men in his pack which I won’t do for their own privacy. “It’s been a great beginning, this journey with you all.

I have really appreciated everyone’s openness and vulnerability. I love hearing the wins and being there with you throughout the struggles and lessons. We have a few more weeks together in the activation method, but I have a feeling it’s just the beginning of a bond that we’ll build with each other. Haha, I originally planned to just post a picture with the name of my kids, then this all started pouring out. Feeling so much gratitude and love in my heart right now.” And he has again a beautiful picture of his family sitting there.

And Tim, I can remember this, you know, personal development has always been something that’s been in my plate, personal and business development. Even since I was in high school. I was the guy who would listen to my dad, Brian Tracy cassette tapes, believe it or not. I don’t think you had cassette tapes when you were there. But for my age, we had cassette tapes, and you have a Walkman or something. I would listen to them in high school. I would go to the library and check out personal and business development books. And so yeah, I grew up there. I grew up listening to fast track business tapes in the car with my dad. My parents split up when I was four, divorced when I was five.

And I remember as I got older and I got married and I remember looking at pictures sometime when my wife and I would pose and it looked so happy. Like we look like the perfect couple. And we’ve been called all kinds of names by people, right? Because we both have, at the time, light hair, blue eyes. So do my wife. So, we looked like this almost Aryan Nation perfect couple and it looks like a postcard, people used to joke about it all the time. And I remember looking at some of these photos and going, wow, we were miserable. We were miserable in that photo. We just faked it.

And so you know, people post them on Facebook and Instagram now or wherever else it is. So, I can relate to what this guy is saying. I really can. And at the same time, now I look at the photos like he’s doing and you’re like that’s pure joy. That’s love. I see a future here. This is exciting. And it all comes out to, you know, part of it is balancing, right? How do you balance your own growth with those family obligations as you’re being the lighthouse and the leader in your family?

Tim Matthews  07:04

Just looking at the post here in the Slack channel. It’s incredible. It really is. I mean, wow. Yeah, something you’ve spoken about a lot that you’ve used and I know that we use with the men is the importance of explaining why it’s important to you. Right? Hey, I need to go to the gym tomorrow morning because X, Y, Z. It makes me a better father, it makes me a better husband, whatever it may be, if you’re getting pushback, obviously. But explaining the context, and what it provides you with and how you can then bring that back to the family to be a better father, husband, man is important.

Doug Holt  07:49

It is important. I raised my hand because what happens a lot guys is when you ask for that, what Tim is talking about a lot of times, what you guys are going to get is pushback in the sense of your wife’s going to say, well, I want to do something that morning. And we don’t talk about that part a lot, Tim. I get that from my wife. So, I’m like hey, I’m going to start going to CrossFit again, and it’s 05:00 in the morning, I’m going to go. And immediately my wife responds with, well, I want to go. I want to do my workouts in the morning, right? And that’s the knee jerk response I get every time I do this.

And the reason I raise my hand to you, Tim, is we don’t talk about that very much on the podcast. But it’s a reality for me, and with kids that’s something I need to juggle because now if my wife wants to be away, we have kids so we both can’t do it. So, only one of us can do it at any given time. So, again, this is part of the balancing act with family obligations and with growth. And that’s where compromising teamwork comes in. And to your point, Tim, explaining why you want to do this is a great way of doing it.

And then if you do get that pushback, which a lot of our guys will get, then it’s like, okay, great. How can we make this work together? Because a lot of the men listening to this are in such a place right now in their marriage and in their relationship, that their wife’s going to push back or give him a shit test on anything, anything and everything they choose to do, because they haven’t shown up, they haven’t shown up as the leader of the family. And so she has rights to do this, until the guys actually go through the activation method are able to make that shift. Just simply saying, in my experience anyway, simply saying, hey, look, I’m going to the gym in the morning because I want to be a better father doesn’t cut the mustard for people with a family. It just doesn’t work as easily as — Well, it might for some people.

In my experience, at least for me, it doesn’t work as easily as that. I love the idea of it. I think it’s great. I wish it worked that easily. But for me, it doesn’t. So, my practical experience is more so that you’re going to get pushback, guys and therefore prep for it. And then find out a way of how we make it work in that conversation of cooperative. And if for some reason it doesn’t work out for your family, you get to make a choice. Right? You’re not a victim to whatever your wife says yes or no to. You’re a sovereign individual, you’re a sovereign person, do it with respect. And also do it with the idea of you’re taking care of your kids, you’re the father of your children, you’re the leader of your family. What’s the best for your family? And you get to make a choice on that.

Love my wife, respect her. She’s very smart and intelligent, but sometimes I don’t agree with her. And because I don’t agree with her, sometimes I do what I feel is best for me and against what she wants and vice versa. And sometimes she’s just right, and I’m wrong and I accept that too. But I come into it with an optic of, okay, how can we make this work together? So, a perfect example of that is I want to — I was going to CrossFit. My wife says, well, I want to get my workouts in too. Great. Well, as soon as I get home, you can — I’m happy to take the kids, it’s fun for me anyway. Or we can have you do it Tuesday, Thursday. Oh, well, I don’t want to do it at those days.

Okay, well, right now, I’m going to be going Mondays and Fridays and Wednesdays, I’m working at home, what else is possible for you? And now she gets in, I’m leading this, right. I’m not bending to her. I’m leading the conversation of how we get to do it. But I’m also putting this rock or this pillar in place, that I have this time, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, that I will be working out, how can we make this work, and working with her. Now having her know that, oh, it’s totally important to me that you get what you want out of this too, now she’s on my team. Because before naturally, she’s starting to think, well, I’m getting all these things, she’s stuck at home, she’s got some story in her head.

And that’s a big difference, guys. When you’re looking at balancing personal growth, or whatever you want to do and making a shift. Like we talked about transitions and mindsets in the previous podcast, go back and listen to that if you haven’t. But really what you want to do is really set the tone or the frame for how this can be a cooperative thing. How does this work best for your family? And to Tim’s point, Tim said it very eloquently, is you want to say, hey, here’s the reason why I want to do this. And you’re going to get pushback. Nine out of 10 of you are going to get pushback, right? And pushback is a good thing. It shows she’s still interested in the relationship. She’s still got some charge there. So, don’t take it as a negative thing. But it also gives you a really good chance to practice your hidden motives technique.

Tim Matthews  12:15

Yeah, it reminds me a lot of the conversations Amelia and I have had, man, over the past 12 months really, preparing to have a family. Just hey, well, what are you — Do you plan on going on Brotherhood trips? Do you plan on doing this? Do you plan and doing all these different things coming up as we go to — as we navigate them, understanding why each other needs and wants, when kids are here and what each other’s concerns are going to be. A little bit different to the personal growth element. But the point I’m making here is compromise, right, understanding what’s important to each other. And why? Because she wants different things to me.

For me, it’s around working out. For me, if for some reason, if I’m getting up with the kids during the night, then yeah, I’m going to want to be able to go and work out in the morning, it clears my head, I want to get out the house, it’s the energy, there’s so many benefits to it, right, and explaining that to her. The compromise we reached was, spoken about this on different podcasts having her mother, she’s going to be like the house manager. You’re going to employ her so she’ll be able to balance between coming to the house at 09:00 AM, making sure a lot of the stuff around the house is taken care of, the chores, basically. Because that’s the thing that Amelia was worried about. Hey, if I’m looking after the baby, if I’m tired, if I’m this and I’m that, then it’s going to stress me out if all of the housework is piling up. So, if I could get that off my plate, that’d be helpful.

Same with me, if she arrived at 09:00 and I wanted to go out to the gym, and she can look after the baby for an hour or two, fantastic. I can get out of the house. So, yeah, you raised a great point, whether that’s going to work or not, we’ll see. But point being is the idea of compromise, right? It’s the idea of holding the frame, refusing to back down on what I need and want for me, not being crazy with what I need and want. And leading the conversation to a place where there’s compromise to come up with an idea and a solution, because the idea and solution obviously just wasn’t on her radar. I threw it out there, encouraged her to speak to her mom to see if she’d be interested. And she is. So, again, we’ll see if it works. But to your point, yeah, the compromise part is key and you leading the conversation and leading the frame and holding the frame and the container for that is huge.

Doug Holt  14:38

Yeah, it really is. And so when you guys are looking at your growth, right, I think what a lot of guys can do and I’ve done this Tim is swing the pendulum too far in one direction. And then there’s some good to that. But you don’t have to go from doing no personal development to doing a four-hour morning routine. You don’t have to do that. That’s not what this is about. What this is about is really figuring out what it is you want and how do you get there. What’s the roadmap? Now we do this for all the guys that join our programs. We do regular visioning exercises with a coach who’s professional at doing this, and helping you reverse engineer how to get there.

But short of having that available to you, what you want to look at us, first of all, what are your family obligations? What are the rocks? That’s the first thing I would look at. Okay, I got kids swim. My son’s swim lessons, my daughter’s. I like to be there. They’re flailing around the water, but they love to see me there. It fills my kids’ souls, does for me as well. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass, right? We all get that. But when I see my kids just glance over to see if daddy’s there, I know that means a lot to them. right? I’m planting the seeds for my future. It’s my investment. It’s like planting an acorn and waiting for the tree to grow 10 years from now.

So, those kinds of things, put those in your calendar first, right? Add those rocks, these are things that I’m going to do most of the time, all the time, it’s up to you. For me, it’s most of the time, not every time. And then look at your other obligations. Are they things that require you? This is the same thing you should be doing in business, guys. Are they requiring you or not? If they’re requiring you and if it’s something you really need to be there, then make sure you get those. If they aren’t, then maybe you don’t need to be in those family obligations.

Now, if you’re in a great place with you and your partner, sit down and have a conversation with her about this. What are those things? And then also make a list of things that you want to grow in. So, for example, what I do is I’ll pick a new theme, usually I set it for the year, but every quarter. This is a subject matter that I want to master. And I give myself a little leeway that I can pivot as my interest peaks, drive down things. But then I’ll set aside the time, an hour a day of learning. It’s not a lot really, when I think about it, but an hour a day of learning on a subject until I actually achieve mastery around that subject or get really good. And so I’ll factor that. And then of course, we have Alpha Rise and shine, right.

In fact, if you want a copy of the Alpha Rise and Shine, go over to thepowerfulman.com/rise, R-I-S-E. Go over to thepowerfulman.com/rise, and you can get a copy of the Alpha Rise and Shine and make that your personal development anchor, make that your rock that does not get moved in the mornings. utilize that. And so now what you have here is a balance of activities. Now I know some guys will say Doug, you don’t understand my life. I got so much going on. I got five kids, I got to work full-time. I’m running a business, I’m the basketball coach, the soccer coach, the volleyball coach. I get it, man, and you do got a lot. You know, every season is different for all of us.

And I would encourage you to grab your cell phone and look at how much time you’re spending on your phone. How much time are you spending on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, whatever it is? You’re doing a lot. I know because I do too. Right? And when you look at it, and you exchange that time for something else, or you do what Tony Robbins calls, NET time, No Extra Time. I love that concept. It actually comes similar to a book I read in high school, Tim called The 90-Minute Hour. I’ve always used that. And people ask how do I get so much stuff done?

Well, an example, the 90-minute hour is if I’m going to clean my house, like do the things to keep it clean that I want to do outside of what my wife does. I throw headphones on and I listen to an audiobook while I’m cleaning. Sometimes I jam out to music, but most of the time I’m listening to an audiobook, or I’m listening to something around the subject that I want to learn. You guys could be listening to this podcast. You might say, hey, look, the area that I want to develop is my relationships. We’re not taught how to do relationships in school, we’re not taught by our parents, right. We’re probably mimicking the things our dad did, or what have you, or things we’ve seen, which probably weren’t the healthiest, right?

So, put those in your ear buds. You can listen to Tim and I and you could spend time with us every time you are doing something that doesn’t require your full attention. So, manual labor, walking, whatever it may be. But this allows you to fit in your personal development with those family obligations. I know you want to be a great father, I know it. You know, all of you guys, you wouldn’t be listening to a podcast like this, if you didn’t want to, you probably are a great father, not a good one, but a great one. And you probably want to be a great husband, and a great businessman. All of those things are available to you, but you have to have that outside your comfort zone. And that’s where growth happens.

And gentlemen, we’re husbands and fathers, and businessmen. Those are three big rocks. Those are three things to take care of, three areas of growth right there that you can choose. Now sometimes it’s best to focus on your business and make that grow. But I asked you, why are you having your business if you can’t have your family? No man wants a thriving business if he’s going to lose his family. If I say hey, look you’re going to double your business this year, but you’re going to lose your relationship with your kids and you’re going to lose your wife. No guy is signing that contract. So, then focus on home base first, the relationship. Do something like the activation method. Focus on home base first.

Because what if I told you hey, look, if you focus on getting your marriage from bad to good to great and have a good relationship with your kids, that contract I can almost guarantee you is going to have your business growing, right? Because of your energy going into it, it’s going to be better. I’ve seen it a thousand times, guys. History is repeating itself. Guys that go through the program save their marriage or some guys that don’t. Some guys end up getting divorced. They say it too late, but they’ve saved themselves and have a great relationship with their kids. And when you do that, the contract says, okay, if I focus on my relationships, then my business has the potential of growing, that’s a contract most men would sign, so to speak. But you wouldn’t give up your family for business, so why are you doing it now?

Tim Matthews  20:38

Yeah, When I was thinking about this topic that’s the thing that came up for me, the no extra time. And I just think about how much time the guys realize they’re wasting. It reminds me of the lecture a famous professor gave when he had some big rocks, pebbles and sand on his desk. And he had a student come up and say, hey, fit all this into that jar. And when you look at all the different things in the desk, that’s never going to fit in the jar, right? And everyone had put the sand in first and the pebbles and the rocks wouldn’t fit and so on. And eventually, the professor stepped in and just said, hey, look. And he put the big rocks in first. Then he put the pebbles in, then he poured the sand in last. And the sand just fitted around all of the different big rocks and the pebbles.

And the point he was making is the trouble with most people is they don’t put the big rocks in first. Instead, they put the sand in. They fill their day with all the unnecessary things that waste time. Whether it’s on social media, whether it’s doing things they don’t need to do, whether it’s just being busy and swooping in and trying to save situations and taking on other people’s problems as their own just out of a sense of significance from being the guy that can fix it.

But to your point, Doug, when you actually focus on putting the big rocks in first and then the pebbles and the sand, you get a hell of a lot more done. And as we always say, show me your calendar, I’ll show you your priorities, and you often don’t have a time management problem, you have a priority’s problem. When you fix that along with everything, you gave some great advice in this episode, you’ll be surprised at how much more growth you can experience and satisfaction from being able to do everything you want to do.

Doug Holt  22:30

Yeah, it’s so true. And you get to look at this. And so balance is in some ways a misconception. You never have perfect balance always. Things are ebbing and flowing. Last night I have a sick kid, I have a sick three-year-old and my son’s scared of the dark. So, was I able to get up at 04:00 in the morning like I normally do? No. And I frigging popped out of bed at 12:00 midnight wide awake. I’m laying next to my son in his bed. Right?

Things change. Things change and you got to ebb and flow with it. This is real life, guys. But I find time. I moved things around. I was able to get a workout in, a little bit shorter than I wanted, but hey, get it in. You make it work. While I was working I was on a peloton bike, if you’ve been on a peloton bike is a perfect example of what we’re talking about today, actually. So, on your peloton bike you have an instructor, there’s music playing and everything.

What I did guys, simply is I bought a silicone clear plastic cover that holds books. I put my phone in there, I had the video already loaded that I wanted to watch that was on my learning curriculum. Muted the guy, set the resistance going through, and then I kept moving. I watched the video as I did this 30 minute workout, got my education and my workout in together, have my resistance set. It wasn’t a hard workout, didn’t have the music, but I got both of those things done. It wasn’t planned. Again, 90-minute hour, or NET time, No Extra Time. And you find ways to do this. You get creative. You’re business leaders, you guys will get creative. And that’s how you balance these things. That’s how you balance things within your relationship and how you find it. Sometimes it ebbs and flows. But you need to focus on home base first, gentleman.

So, we talked about this act of balancing your personal growth and family obligations. What I want you guys to do is go ahead and list out on a piece of paper, all of the requirements of your family for you. Things that you need to be there for, times events, things of that way that are obligations. Not good to haves but actual obligations. Then I invite you to sit down with your partner and go over those and make sure that you guys are on the same page.

Third, I want you to open your calendar and look at your calendar and see if those reflect. How do you fit your time? If there’s no time for you for your morning routine, your Alpha Rise and Shine, or your Alpha Decompression, if they’re not in your calendar, they’re not priorities. If your kids’ swim lessons you say are a priority but they’re not in your calendar, it’s not really a priority, right? You’re going to have to get these in there as rocks that are unmovable. You have to.

And then how do you balance? Well, sometimes you have things you got to let go. Sometimes you let go of having cocktails at night, sometimes you let go of watching The Last of Us, or whatever show you’re watching on Netflix or what have you. Or you have to decide that, hey, look, what I really want is to save my marriage. What I really want is to get healthy. What I really want is to grow my business. And then you turn that direction, you find somebody who’s been down that path, who’s a few steps ahead of you, and you get help and you move in that direction.

Gentlemen, as always, we say in the moment of insight, take massive action. Tim, great job. Love hearing your insights as always. I hope it works out for you and Amelia, the plan that you have. It sounds amazing. I wish I could get on board with that, as well. But until then, gentlemen, take action. We’ll see you next time on The Powerful Man Show.