The Hardest Parts of Being Dad

When my wife first got pregnant over four years ago I knew I wasn’t ready to be a Dad. I hardly ever spent time with little kids and my patience for anything in life was a thin sheet of ice. There wasn’t one part of how to take care of a child that I knew. We went to the local Barnes and Noble one day and I bought several books on being a dad and on what to expect when my wife was pregnant. I probably read a chapter of one book and never picked it up again. Going in as a rookie was going to have to work.

Now, I stay home with my munchkins every day and bring them to the gym with me when I have to go workout and train classes. I can tackle any task involved with caring for my children. Each day is a new adventure and it’s surprising how much I learn from my children. Watching them is like sitting down to catch an old school Animal Planet show where the narrator gives a play by play of the lion stalking the gazelle. They certainly are interesting creatures.

But it’s not all fun and games. There are some hard things about being a dad that get to me and as is for any parent anywhere in the world, it’s exhausting. I feel I’m in the position of being home with them every day as a spiritual lesson on how to be a better human being. It’s part of my life experience to be there for them and teach them how to live. But often, I just want to escape.

It’s not easy being dad, or mom. One of the hardest parts is understanding the simple fact that my children are exactly that, children. They’re going to do crazy things. They’re going to destroy my rug, slime up my chairs, throw things, break things, climb things, and turn everything upside down. There will be long nights of screaming kids fighting to not go to sleep. There will be battles at the dinner table when my daughter doesn’t eat her carrots or when my son won’t keep his filthy feet off the table top. Keeping composure is tough. We want to scream and yell to release some of the tension their behavior creates, the hard part is being calm.

One of the toughest challenges of my life has without a doubt been the fight of exhaustion. As an introvert who thrives on alone time and regains mental clarity and energy during that time, being with kids every day drains me completely, by ten o’clock in the morning. It wouldn’t be fair to not say this, but without a quick nap when they nap, I’d probably operate like a Walking Dead zombie. When my kids drain my mental energy it’s easy for me to lose control of my work, my purpose, and my attitude. “I don’t give a fuck” has been a statement I’ve declared many times in the last three years, because quite frankly, when I’m exhausted I honestly do not give a flying fugazi.

Caring for them when they don’t feel well, finding them another option when they don’t want pork, trying to contain them in the play gate at the gym during class, and having an adult conversation in their presence sucks the life out of me. But before I know it, they’ll be in school and gone all the time. They’ll be going to wrestling practice or jiu jitsu class. They’ll be sleeping over friend’s houses and partyting until the sun comes up. They’ll be asking for gas money and looking at colleges.

The hardest part of being dad is that knowing one day, they won’t be hanging on my shoulders and spilling my water on my computer and paperwork. For now, I need to enjoy the moment.

Some of What I’ll Teach My Son

Refe_56c9fe5c8642b_QIV7VQGW7K

Becoming a father wasn’t always in my life plan and I felt like having children was not something I’d be able to do.. or deal with. In my early twenties I was a race car going two hundred miles, the wrong way on the track, head on towards danger. Kids and being married probably crossed my mind once or twice and I shrugged it off as “That life isn’t me” and went about being a wild man.

Then one day I met the woman who would change my life and through the power of nature, I got married.

Our first year of marriage was a crash course in how to NOT do being married. I had no idea what I was doing but through the ups and downs all marriages go through, I came out a better man. We decided it was time to have a child. Several months later we had a beautiful little girl and my life changed again and that first year, of being a dad (or parents), wasn’t pretty. But once again, I came out a better man.

As my daughter grew and I became a better father, my wife and I decided to have another child. This time, a little boy.

When my son was born I was going through a tough time again. I juggled business ownership with being a father, and a husband, and a full-time employee at a job. To say the least, I didn’t do the best I could. Things got crazy again and I failed to live up to my end of the bargain. It wasn’t until my son was four or five months old that I realized, I was f*&king up. Again.

There were a lot of painful growing experiences from the point of marriage to the point of realizing that I was not being a good man. The problem was, I felt like I had nowhere to go with my struggles and inner battles and I felt that I needed to tuck my chin down and keep moving forward. I felt pressure to perform. I felt pressure to live up to expectations and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing.

I’m not alone. There are men out there who experience the same problems. Work, wife, kids, commutes, societal expectations, down time, stress, and living up to what it’s meant to be a man. Many of those men are lost without a plan. No road map of how to navigate the pressures of life. Men get married, buy homes, and start a family when their skill in handling these responsibilities is not there. I was one of them. I believe a percentage of divorces happen because men fail to meet these responsibilities to the degree they should. Some may be so overwhelmed with their situations that they check out and become distant, caught in routine cycles of destruction. Men often emotionally and physically abandon their women trying to make ends meet, to get ahead in life, to enjoy their hobbies and free time, and often never realize they’re doing so.

What I’ll teach my son will be the building blocks of how to avoid this. How to avoid the trap of materialism and the problems of being a blindfolded go-getter. How to treat women, especially his mother and any of the future women he courts. How to make relationships thrive and if they don’t, how to grieve if needed.

My son will learn from me that it is okay to fail in life. We don’t always get it right. Failure is expected at points in life and we must remember that is safe to do so and we can’t be concerned with the opinions of others. We must stand back up and continue our journey with happiness while being grateful for the lessons life teaches us.

My son will learn that it is okay to ask other men for help and he MUST ask for help. We can’t do this alone and if you think so, you need to stop pretending. Men don’t like going to other men and expressing their emotions and feelings and hardships. But by doing so, we can understand that we learn from these experiences and have the strength, and courage, to move on.

My son will learn that when he is in a relationship the most important thing for him to do is to be present in the life of his woman. With millions of distractions around us all day in the forms of cell-phones, careers, sports, hobbies, friends, and entertainment, it’s easy for men to become distant from the woman in his life. Without a serious conscious effort to be aware, present, and understanding, he will run into problems. “Make her your queen and treat her as such.” will be the first advice I give him when things get serious with a woman. This means you give her your time and you give her your attention and never stop.

I will teach my son that his education never ends and that he should continue to learn new things each day. There are men (and women) who do not continue their education after formal schooling. Many people never read a book again. Some never read books about their careers, relationships, finances, and spirituality. Not doing so leaves you behind in the wake of life. To believe you know everything is foolish and to not educate yourself on all of the things you experience in life is a fast way to suffocate your growth. In the past year I have continued my education on many areas of life: Jiu-Jitsu, Fitness, Nutrition, Sex, Marriage, Manhood, Survival Skills, Finance, Politics, and more. It never ends.

If my son decides to one day become a father I want to teach him what it means to be a father, a dad, and not a child with a child. When I became a father the only thing I had to teach me what it meant to be a good dad was a book. I don’t want my son going into parenthood without knowledge of what makes a good man become a good father. I’ll teach him that the mother of his child will always be the most important person in his life and if that means making the child the most important person, you do it. You don’t get a second chance at being their for the mother of the child during the early years of a child’s life. Don’t make it harder than it should be. It’s teamwork. Never forget that. It’s also okay to fail at trying to be a good father, as long as you dust off your pants and try again. Nobody gets it right the first time. Not even Mom.

There is more to come on what I believe is important to teach my son, even my daughter, and I believe these things can help anyone in any stage of life. The journey is better when not alone and there is much to learn that we are unaware of. My son will learn many of the struggles I’ve been through and I can only hope the lessons help him become a better man than I will ever be.

Want to learn about being a better man, a better father, a better husband and lover? Check out the Free Online Group at The Activated Alliance to learn more and to join the conversation starting now!

What I’ve Learned About Being A Man

I don’t want to use that term lightly. Being a man is something beyond having a penis and some facial hair. It’s beyond construction boots and lifted trucks. It’s bigger than fishing and hunting or football or martial arts. All of these things, besides the penis, women can do as well. Being a man is more about what goes on within ourselves, then in appearances or hobbies.

Recently I’ve been reading some books recommended to me about men, manhood, masculinity, and other men topics. I’ve also listened to several podcasts and audiobooks, and as I cut through the facade, because there is a huge facade, of bullshit talk and the actual walk, I’ve come to learn quite a few things that ring bells. As I go into the list below, I want to make it known that in my life, I have probably gone against almost everything you’re going to read. It wasn’t until recently that I found my grip on things, on the real world, on why things happen the way they happen and more. For a long time in my life I’ve been the little boy, afraid of the big bad wolf, and the consequences of those actions have smacked me dead in the face and given me many wake up calls. The journey is individualistic in nature and everyone is different. What you experienced as a child has a lasting impact on who you are today and for many decades now, Moms and Dads have been getting it wrong. We’re in a situation now where our little boys are being turned into pussies, scaredy cats, and Momma Boys. It’s a hard truth that men and women both need to realize, so that this generation of boys can grow into Wild Men, real men, and their true self.

Here’s what I’ve learned about being a man:

- Men make decisions

You want to go out to dinner with your wife? Don’t ask her where, or IF, she wants to go. Just make the decision and do it. Men are decisive. When there is doubt, it’s unattractive and creates tension. As leaders men need to make fast decisions based on their values, their feelings, and their wants. What a man wants is important and when he’s decisive on his wants, his confidence shines and he stands with authority.

- Men need to be initiated into manhood

In aboriginal cultures, South American cultures, and many other countries around the world, especially in tribal communities, boys are initiated into manhood. This is something the American culture has forgotten and it creates many problems as the boy grows into an adult. An uninitiated man is indecisive, not confident, worrisome, and operates from a little boy perspective.

- Men help out around the house and are active with their children

A man in the house who doesn’t change diapers, feed a child, cook for the family, do the dishes and laundry, and clean the house is a man who doesn’t have his priorities straight. Men help out around the house to let their wives relax when needed and they play with their children. They read books to their children. They run around the house like a nut with their children. They punish when needed and coddle when needed. A man puts his family first in everything he does, and within that family, he puts his wife first.

- Men need to be a part of a Men’s Group

There are a lot of men who don’t have quality male mentors in their lives. Some men feel they don’t have anyone to talk to you about important topics or men who will hold them accountable and push them to develop their skills to become the best man they can be. Men’s Groups are critical for the livelihood of men and their positive mental attitudes. There are thousands of men’s groups across the country that are helping men grow, give, perform, and continue to be happy. Men need a sacred circle of guys they trust who will not bullshit them, who will help them, guide them, and listen to them. Men also need men’s groups for outings such as camping, fishing, beer drinking, poker games, fitness events, and more. Here is an online Men’s Group you can join Free: Your Life Alpha

- Men need to channel their Warrior Spirit

There is warrior energy in every man. In today’s society we think of those in the Armed Forces as Warriors, or movie stars and Mixed Martial Art Champions, or National Football League All-Pros. But the truth is, we all have a warrior spirit and many men are uncomfortable with it. Ever since the industrial revolution the warrior energy has been suppressed in men all over the world. The warrior energy inside of every man is the energy that pushes them to fight for their lives, their successes, their families, their finances, and their health. Many people fear the warrior because they feel men will use it to be abusive and angry. Men have been afraid of channeling the warrior within because they want to be Mr. Nice Guy. But the warrior energy channeled properly will help men become confident, purposeful, aggressive in a sense of action not violence, and able to survive the obstacles that life throws our way. Channel this energy through physical action such as martial arts, exercise, hiking, boxing, and also self-improvement.

- Men have boundaries and Defend Them

Sometimes men need to be the bad guy and stand up to their beliefs and values. An example of boundaries might be at work when you are already working overtime and your boss pushes more onto your desk. You have an event to go to that your kid is in and if you stay you’ll miss it again, but this time you say no and tell the boss that your family comes first and that you must go. Worrying about getting fired is weakness. Standing up to your values is strength. Men do not let others take advantage of them. They control their lives and act accordingly to what they believe in and value. Men don’t accept boundary pushers and do not allow them in their lives or space.

- Men are leaders

A man must be a leader. Whether it’s leading at home with his family, at work in his department, or in a group of friends, a man needs to be a good leader. What makes a good leader? They’re honest, dependable, smart, decisive, ambitious, and able to control situations. Many men are afraid of being the leader in their home or career. They don’t want the awesome responsibility of making decisions and being honest with their feelings. Men that are good leaders are not lazy. They handle their business effectively and create a positive atmosphere. Being a good leader, men are not manipulated by their wives, co-workers, friends, and other family members. Men that are leaders initiate and act on their feelings without asking for permission and they do so out of love. Men can’t be good leaders if they are not leading by example either. Men must lead by backing up the talk with walking the walk.

- Men have discipline, confidence, and are dependable

Men are not babies and don’t make excuses. They have discipline. With their fitness men are disciplined to make it to the gym and get the work done. They have discipline to eat healthy foods more than they eat like shit. In their work they are disciplined to do the tasks needed to get the job done. They are disciplined in how they treat their vehicles and their home. As they use discipline to help them succeed in life, they do so with confidence. A man has confidence in his appearance, his thoughts, his work, his ability to be a leader in his home, career, and community, and they are dependable. A man doesn’t say they will be there, wherever that is, and not show up. They get there early.

- Men have a purpose driven life

Men don’t go to work and come home to sit their asses on the couch and sink into the pollution of television. Men have a purpose and they follow it with confidence. Men work hard and have a plan for that work. They know where they want to go and they work hard to get there. Thomas Carlyle once said “A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.” If you don’t have a purpose, or know it, all you need to do is ask yourself “What do I want from life?” And then go fucking get it.

- Men are life learners

Men spend more time learning new things then they do wasting their time in Facebook and through television. I heard Tony Robbins once say “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Men who have no growth game in their life are dying and wasting away. If you want to make more money, you need to learn how to do it. If you want to lose twenty pounds, you need to learn how to do it. Men who know what they want in life are learning about how to get it right now while the little boys are playing xBox, watching mindless television crap, or down at the bar drinking for the third night in a row.

- Men avoid Domestication

Domestication is a hard word for people to hear, especially little boys. They don’t believe they’re being domesticated by being told what to do and what to think and what to buy, but it happens everywhere. Not only does corporate America try to domesticate men, but women do as well. When a man gets married it’s not uncommon to hear his wife’s lady friends or mothers, aunts, and other female relatives say something like “So you’ve got him domesticated now!” Like it is something special and noteworthy. Women can begin to “domesticate” their men after marriage by playing with their emotions, their decisiveness, their ability to lead, and their hobbies. A woman can begin to “not accept” that her husband stays out on Friday playing poker with the boys, and when he does, she gets “angry and upset” and shows those emotions through tears and refusal of sex. Men don’t allow them to do this. They call out their childish behavior and stand up to them. Little boys try to “make it up” to them or beg for forgiveness. Men also don’t allow anyone to tell them what to think, buy, say, and feel.

Today I continue my learning on becoming a better man, a better husband, better at everything. I have learned much through my failures as both a business owner and a husband, as well as a father. The thing is, I see much of what I did wrong happening in the lives of other men and I see a great need to help them and others become their best self. That is why I created the free Facebook group found here: Your Life Alpha. Check it out and let me know what you’ve learned about being a man.

5 Things Men Should Do Daily

man

Last year I started getting on track with daily rituals. Meditation, exercise, writing, and more. Then I decided to stay at home with the kids and leave my job to focus on raising my children and avoid spending my paychecks on daycare while trying to grow my business. Well things changed pretty fast. My daily rituals were thrown out the door fast as I was left scrambling trying to stay on my feet. It’s hard to say this because I used to be homeless and things were pretty tough, but last year was one of the hardest years of my life. Between running the business and maintaining order in the household and keeping my kids safe until mom got home, I nearly lost my mind. Rituals? I had to laugh. Every day I would read a Facebook post or watch a video about establishing daily morning rituals and thought “What the fuck goes on their life that they could do that?” and realized the only way I could set morning rituals and do them was if I woke up at three in the morning everyday. Yeah, right on it.

I understand life is crazy and our schedules flop around so much that setting and sticking to rituals is very hard, if not unrealistic. Especially when there are kids in the picture. But that doesn’t mean we can’t create daily goals and unalterable terms we live by. Below is a list of five things I think all men should do daily. In daily, I don’t mean seven days a week. I mean daily like in “The kids are behaving and allowing me the opportunity to sit down and eat”.

1. Exercise

It’s well known that exercise releases a cocktail of feel good hormones that help people live happier, healthier lives. It’s also well known that the need for exercise (movement) is something that is part of our DNA. More importantly, men should exercise daily to help their production of testosterone. Test is linked to many qualities of men’s lives. Testosterone plays critical roles in men’s sex drive, bone mass, body fat, muscle tissue, and physical energy. A man lacking in testosterone is risking problems such as erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, low energy, weakness in muscle and bone, growth of breast tissue, and depression. Along with a proper diet, exercise can help combat these potential issues for years to come.

If you don’t exercise now, you should start and be smart about it. That could be a ten minute walk or a half hour in a swimming pool. The point is to start slow so that you can enjoy the process and make it a part of your daily life.

2. Self-Discovery

If you’re like most men you grew up with other men and family members teaching you how to do life. Every step of the way through being a young child until after you bought your first home (or still to this day) we have other men and even women, and now social media, telling us what to think, how to act, how to dress, how to treat women, where to go to school and work, why you should buy a home, what you should do with your money, and more. Nearly everything we do has been either a mirror reflection of the people surrounding our lives or the exact opposite.

Self-discovery is something we should work on each day through the means of learning about who we really are. Whether that is meditation, exercise, reading, listening to podcasts, attending seminars, or simply being, self-discovery is important to your happiness and livelihood. How many men do you know, and it could be you, that are angry at their current life situation? Maybe they followed the advice of their fathers, mothers, or best friends and when it boils down to self, they realize it’s not who they are. With all the input surrounding our lives on a constant basis, the most important information we can use for the best of our life comes from within.

3. Learn Something New

This could be considered part of number two and self-discovery but for this it’s beyond learning about who you are. In a world of abundance there is so much for us to get our hands on and things we can get into that learning should be a part of our daily life. This could be learning how to repair drywall, change the oil in a car, or who Teddy Roosevelt was. Maybe it’s learning how to keep a house plant alive, how to raise chickens on your property for eggs, or how to do a rear naked choke on a Jiu Jitsu mat or in self-defense. Learning something new everyday takes things into a new world and improves our lives in many ways. One of the best results of the continued practice of learning is the increase in self-confidence. In a world where many men are lacking confidence, there is great power in being someone who exudes confidence. By learning and practicing new things we add to power within.

4. Play

You have kids? Cool, get on the floor and play cowboys and robbers or hide and go seek. Have a wife or girlfriend? Get playful with her by flirting, dancing, doing silly shit that makes her laugh. Have a hobby? Make sure you do it daily or as much as you can each week.

For many men nowadays, especially those with kids and those who grew up in the Nintendo era, play means Xbox or Playstation. Call of Duty or whatever other game is popular right now. That’s cool. Don’t ever listen to someone who says you play too much unless you play more than an hour a day. Playing is important because it crushes the fucker called stress.

Stress will kill you, it’s probably killing you right now- unless you have a way to unload and release the day’s burdens. Hanging out with the family playing games, shooting gamers around the world in your Call of Duty world, or painting your model cars are all forms of stress relief disguised as hobbies. Do it more often.

5. Be Alone

Man, if there is one thing I miss in my life before I started staying home with the kids it’s alone time. When I was at my job I had a half hour commute each way. That was perfect for my alone time. Luckily there was never traffic unless a farmer was driving his tractor down the road, so it was smooth sailing the whole way and the perfect atmosphere for learning something new everyday by listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Besides the commute, I worked from home some days while the kids were in daycare. I was alone and it was quiet and it was joyous.

Extroverts might not understand but I think all men enjoy a bit of quiet and privacy. Nowadays we’re so plugged in with society that nearly every waking hour we’re getting input from millions of directions and sources. We have burdens with finances, job responsibilities, family responsibilities, and society expectations. The phone rings, the emails dings, the kids scream, the wife asks for help, your mother calls, your buddy texts, and the game is on. All of this information overload can drive you bananas if you don’t control it and the best way to handle it…

Alone time in stillness and solitude.

10 Minutes. 20 Minutes. 1 Hour. Whatever it is, find it and learn how to enjoy sitting alone in solitude. Here’s a quote about the importance and power of solitude: “In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.” -Laurence Sterne

It’s easy to say that all men should do these things daily, what’s hard is actually doing them yourself. I truly believe in walking the walk and practicing what I preach and I genuinely try to make all of these a part of my daily life. I have found the harder I work on learning who I am, about the world, the more I try to play and enjoy hobbies, the harder I try to consistently exercise, and the making an effort for a glimpse of momentary solitude, the more I enjoy life and the people I surround myself with. There are absolutely days where all of these things are thrown out the door, but more so than not, they’re a part of who you see when I smile and what you read when I write. Find your daily things to do and help allow them to activate your life.

5 Books All Men Should Read

men

 

One of my favorite things in life is reading. I enjoy reading almost anything and find great pleasure in continuing to learn something new. In fact, I believe we all strive to continue to learn something new every single day. There is so much out there in the world that we’ve never noticed, heard about, or considered. We are also all fucked up. Me included. One of the best things we can do about that issue is to educate ourselves about life, women, beer, fitness, culture, depression, psychology, and more, including how to be a better man.

Over the past few years I have read a great number of books about being a better man. I really believe that there is much for each of us to discover about who we are, why we act the way we do, and why we experience certain issues. Self-discovery is one of the drives that pushes me forward every day and I think that might be the same for you and other people you know.

I’ve read books about being a father, a husband, a business owner, a lover, a man, a writer, an athlete, a martial artist and much more. With every book that gets read and put down another is quickly picked up and started. Below are a list of five of the best books I think all men should read. I am going to gift them to men I know. I am going to have my son read them when he’s old enough. I want my friends and brothers and other men in my life to read them.

There is much to find out about how we operate as men and these five books are where we should all start. I also highly suggest that women read these books as well. Especially number three. You will learn a lot about your sons, your husbands, your brothers, fathers, or boyfriends.

1. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

This book was written by Meg Meeker, a woman, and she opened my eyes to just how important the men in a woman’s life are. Whether it’s her father or the man she loves, men are important to women, but none more important than her Father. In fact, Meeker suggests that a girl’s father is the most important person in her life. More so than Mom. Although the book does have some religious factors, the principle is what matters. So if you’re offended by God talk, suck it up chump.

Through the course of the book Meeker goes through ten “secrets” all fathers should know. If you’re not a father or are a father but don’t have a daughter, I still suggest you read this book. It will help you understand more about the women in your life. One of the ideas in the book that stuck with me the most is probably one of the greatest tools we can have to living our lives activated and being the best man we can be, the idea that Fathers should be the man they would want their daughter to marry. This is a great self-development tool and when taken seriously, can make the world of change in our lives.

(By the way, Meg Meeker also wrote a book called Strong Mothers, Strong Sons. I’ve yet to read it but it’s on the list. Ladies, get to work.)

2. The Way Of The Superior Man

There is only one book I have ever read twice. This is it. If you read one book from this list, make it this book written by David Deida. The way of the superior man is one of the best books I have ever picked up. It’s full of short chapters that are useful for just about anything in life. The book discusses thoughts about our purpose in life, being a man of purpose, sexual energy and techniques, how to be a great lover, and the difference between masculine energy and feminine energy. One thing he wrote about is how when a man lacks in masculine energy, the woman will increase her masculine energy and this creates problems. A woman with masculine energy trying to bridge the gap between the yin and yang of the relationship is a woman who can’t relax. A not relaxed woman is a not sexual woman. It is the man’s responsibility to polarize the energy and keep it that way. Ladies, I’d definitely read this book as well, buy it today for your husband or boyfriend.

This book will push you out of your comfort zone and give you several aha moments.

3. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

Probably the best-selling relationship book of all-time. Dr. John Gray writes about the difference between Men and Women and why we need to know and accept and embrace these differences. If you ever thought to yourself “I have no idea what goes through her head or why she acts the way she acts when I do this or that”, read this book.

As men, we have “caves” as Gray calls them that we retreat to. After a long day of work and being super stressed out, we retreat to our caves. We want to sit down and unwind with a beer, a book, or a game on the television. Women on the other hand want to talk about their day. When men have problems, they retreat to their cave. When women have problems, they want to talk about them. Most people don’t understand this and when they do, tensions and useless arguments can be avoided.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus helps us understand the differences between the “rubber band” energy that men have the “wave” energy that women have. It also discusses meeting emotional needs, avoiding arguments, communicating difficult feelings, scoring points with the opposite sex, and keeping the magic in the relationship alive.

Men need this book because, honestly, when was the last time you were taught how to be in a good relationship? Women as well.

4. No More Mr. Nice Guy

Nice guys finish last. We’ve heard it before, we’ve shaken it off as nonsense, we’ve been friend zoned, we’ve experienced it, the truth is Nice Guys finish last. Dr. Robert Glover, author of No More Mr. Nice Guy, started support groups for men and was a nice guy. He was going through all the problems Nice Guys experience in relationships and as we was recovering from being a Nice Guy, he wrote this book. Are you a nice guy who always appears to be nice and do you avoid conflicts at all costs? This book is for you.

If not, this book is for you too.

Glover writes about men being conditioned by our childhoods and society to believe that in order to have a great relationship, good things in life, and a happy life, we need to be nice, make everyone else happy, and avoid any problems at all costs. Men don’t need approval. Nice Guys try to find it. This creates self-loathing and frustration.

One main thing repeated in the book is how men have needs and wants and often they brush them off to please other people first and create a conflict free environment. This is what Glover calls “Nice Guy Syndrome”. The book goes into great detail about how men must embrace, develop, understand, and grow their masculine traits instead of being afraid of them and suppressing them.

This is the book I just read. I wish I read this when I was a teenager and I will definitely have my son read this book. This will become only the second book I have ever read over. There are issues all Nice Guys have that relate back to our childhood that are important to work through. Glover states that Nice Guys are givers, fixers, caretakers, approval seekers, repressors of feelings, and conflict avoiders. Operating out of these states can bring disaster to relationships, work, and happiness. This book has the steps to take to work through them and become the best man we’re meant to be.

Next to The Way of The Superior Man, this is the most brilliant book for all men to read in their life. Better now than later.

5. The War of Art

Steven Pressfield wrote a gem, a best-selling, no-nonsense book about crushing resistance and doing the work we should all be doing. There are many fears we have about action. Whether that is starting a workout routine, creating a new business, improving a relationship, starting a new hobby, or sitting down to read these five books. We have a resistance that makes us lazy and afraid. Afraid of what to do next, the unexpected, the unknown, and being too lazy to get up a little earlier to workout, too lazy to cook good healthy food and too lazy to romance the woman in your life.

While the book is a lot about the creative process and starting something new that we’re scared to start, there are many principles in the book that we can use and put into work in our lives that will help us become better men and people. We have the talent, the ability, and the desire to do what we choose to do and want to do, but we allow things to stand in our way of ACTION.

Pressfield writes about overcoming that resistance from a writer and writing perspective, but you’re smart enough to understand the principle.

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” ― Albert Einstein

Now you have a list of five books I believe all men should read in their life. It’s close to being a should read, but that choice is yours. Only you can decide what to do with your life but in my opinion, these books will make you a better man, a better lover, a better husband or boyfriend, a better worker, and a happier person who lives their life activated.

 

My Life Changed Overnight and Here’s What I Learned

There’s nothing that can put life into perspective faster than an emergency situation. As we walk around our daily lives we consciously forget how fragile our lives are and how things can drastically change in the blink of an eye. One moment you’re enjoying smiles and fun and the next you’re in the ER scared to death. For all I have taken for granted, I am sorry. Stop time and feel your heart sink to the bottom of your stressed ocean and you will see the reality of this one life we get. Often we forget how delicate we are and how important it is to enjoy each moment. We bitch on Facebook about a white woman pretending she’s black while our kids are playing in the other room just waiting for Mommy or Daddy. We fight with our spouses or loved ones over miniscule matters when the big picture is pure love and beauty. We get caught up in fashion, NBA Finals, Instagram, Crossfit, and we forget about our dreams and the deeper reasons of why we matter and what we do daily life for.

There’s nothing that can change your life faster than thinking it’s about to be turned over, or having it turned over. Recently, I haven’t been the best husband or father and I regret every instance that I acted out of character or forgot the reality of what I’ve been given. Stop for a moment and look around at the very things you’ve attracted into your life and realize that those things can drift away faster then tomorrow comes.

Forget about the job or the asshole next door or the clothes left on the floor, the dishes in the sink, the careless accident that could have been prevented and focus on the truth of what really matters. You and I are all people who matter and what we’ve been given is beyond precious. Enjoy it and embrace it. Be grateful.

Fitness Classes, Home in Bed, and Other Random Thoughts

After classes this morning at the gym I came home and was able to spend some time in bed with the whole family. My son, six months and a tank, was bouncing back and forth in excitement to see our sleepy, but smiling faces. My daughter, still getting over a nasty cold that crushed our sleep time over the weekend, was kind of happy. The boogers and cough have got her upset. She’ll be fine. My wife, gorgeous as ever, took the day to take care of our daughter’s cold. She’s an amazing person. Great mother, great wife, and awesome therapist. It’s perfect to be able to come home and have that moment before our day gets crazy. Even if it was only for five minutes, it felt like forever and I could hold it until the end of time.

Recently at the gym we’ve been having a fat loss challenge. Thirty days. Winner takes all. The person who loses the highest percentage of their starting weight will take the prize. I’m in this challenge as well. It’s a beat the trainer event and if I lose, fifty dollars is coming out of my pocket. The other challengers, they put in twenty and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they’ve been making. Watching men and women both work hard at achieving success, to possibly get a hold of the fat cash jackpot, fills me with gratitude, happiness, and appreciation.

After another morning class I stopped to pick up my buddy, Cooper, from my brother’s apartment and headed into the office. The ride over was nothing fancy. A quick trip through farm country and the quiet America that still exists if you look for it. There was a farm with several horses outside eating the grass. They each had on one of those blankets that keep their backs and most of the torso warm. A calming sight as I sped into work.

Cooper is a fine young man of a black lab. He’s mixed with something. “Whatever jumped over the fence that day” said the man at the farm where we adopted him. He’s four now, going on five and has started to get more white on his chin, just below his mouth. He comes to the office almost everyday, with either my brother or myself. He’s like our mascot. During the day while we work away on our computer machines, he sits on a chair and dreams about dog world and chasing deer.

As I sit here and write, I’m listening to some Tibetan bowl meditation music that is keeping my mind centered. Normally I’d be distracted within the first paragraph and stop to think about baseball or rap music or the growth of my gym business. When the music centers me, I feel more in flow with my creative nature and I keep the cursor moving. Practice filling up the screen with stories and let the truth be set free.

Don’t judge the work while the fingers are moving. You have plenty of time afterwards to stop and check for mistakes or to be critical of the words coming from within. Normally, I write with a timer. Ten minutes and then post it up. I don’t care about mistakes. What people say is what they’ll say. I have no control over it and maybe nobody will even read it, but here it is.

The other day I decided to let go of the thought about what others think and I began a novel. I hand wrote in a notebook three pages. The story begins. I’m not in a rush to get it done either. This will be good and will have the finest quality of my writing and may take years. Through that time I’m sure I’ll learn a few things or maybe many. For sure this will influence the outcome. At least it’s started now.

Staying Home With The Kids and Other Random Thoughts

The last few weeks have been quite interesting. I’ve stayed home more with my kids than I have before, and I love it. My daughter is crazy and is so intrigued by everything. She has a passion for her toys, smiling, and getting tickled. When I try to read, she sits on my shoulders or jumps on my sternum. It hurts, but she laughs so it’s all good. My son is small but getting big. He’s trying to sit up and can roll over now. He laughs at everything and talks to the television if he catches it on. He also enjoys being tickled.

During this time, I haven’t done much of anything but be a father and read a few pages of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I’ve coached my sessions at Activate Fitness and have worked slightly on growing my business but I’ve thrown it all on the side for my kids. With the time I’ve spent home, I guess you can call me a part-time stay at home dad. I’ve spent more hours changing diapers, making lunches and breakfast, cleaning up toys, and rolling around on the floor than I have behind a computer or at the gym.

When I was getting started in the fitness industry I would listen to guys like Jim “Smitty” Smith, Zach Even Esh, and Jim Wendler talk about being home with your kids and to enjoy it, because it goes fast and I’ll never get it back. I’ve accepted the fact my time is needed at home, and the gym can wait. Besides, it’s doing great. Right now, I’m Dad.

This change came out of nowhere. Like a meteor slamming into the farm on a clear summer night. Before this shift of heart, I was glued to the computer, to my books, to writing, to training, to seminars, and more, trying to grow my business and make more money. I was unconscious to my surroundings and unaware of the distance I was creating in my life. I’m happier now that I get to hang out with two little kids. They say you’re the average of the five people I spend the most time with. Well, one is a two-year old girl who hides in the corner to poop while staring at the ceiling. The other is a four-month old buddy of mine who sleeps most of the day. Then there’s my wife who is a kick ass occupational therapist, and for the other two, that’s really it. Some days I go to the office and I work next to my brother who has his shit straight finally and he’s working hard to make an awesome life. Other than that, there’s my imaginary friend Fred who is a pot smoking cat that brings me inspiration to write. So, take the average of those five people and everything looks well. My roundtable time sitting with the sharks can wait.

Just the other day I had to bring my kids to the gym with me and we had a blast, at least my daughter did. My son slept the whole time even though Disturbed and AC/DC were blasting for an hour. My daughter was pretending to load atlas stones with a six pound medicine ball and even though it was relatively heavy, she still tried. Can’t ask for more, even from my clients. All I ask of them is to try their best. Do one burpee and if the next one doesn’t happen, at least you tried.

One of the greatest lessons I will teach my kids as they grow up is to always try. For many years, I never tried at nothing. The only thing I tried to do was hide from people. The more recluse I became, the better I felt. That got me nothing special, in fact it got me only the clothes I wore and the title of “homeless bum”. It will be important to teach my children the responsibility of trying. You can’t write your name in cursive? Try again. You can’t lift the 20 pound kettlebell? Try again.

They’ll also learn that reading is one of the most powerful things we can do. Half the time, I fall asleep or read the same line over and over. Some days it doesn’t happen and reading fifty pages can be saved for tomorrow. Try though, read what you love. Don’t read Essentialism just because ten other people you know said it was a good book. If you can’t get through the first few pages effortlessly, dump it or come back to it another time. Read fiction. Read romance. Read drama or conspiracy theory. Read religion or atheism books. Read Hunter Thompson for sure. He’ll make you smile. He’ll make you think. Read Stephen King’s On Writing even if you have no desire to write. The story of his life is fascinating. Read the four books your Daddy wrote. Critique him. Bring him to show and tell and say “My Daddy is an author.” Even though he hasn’t sold a bunch of books like Glenn Beck or Robert Greene, at least he sat down and did the work. Read Steven Pressfield books and use the things he teaches in whatever you’re passionate about. Read A.A. Milne books and then read The Tao of Pooh. Just read. Even though it’s boring and not a fancy thing like dancing, it will take you further than you ever imagined.

Being at home with my kids is something I am extremely grateful for. I feel bad as well. Their mommy is out busting her ass in her therapy sessions and I’m sitting home watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or playing “tea” with my daughter. I go train a few people in the mornings and evenings. She helps people all day. My kids and I have fun, we color and make hearts and paper cards for Mommy while she’s dealing with people who need a lot of help.

Staying home with two children under two and a half has also taught me more about my self. About my ego, my desire to write, my passion for fitness, my mindfulness, my anger, my love for my wife, and more. Stay tuned as those stories come, another day. Right now, it’s time to play.

Being A Strong Dad

Fitness should be an important part to everybody’s life. The more we participate in fitness activities, the better we’ll feel, the less fat we carry, the more energy we walk around with, the more testosterone men produce (and some lucky ladies will enjoy that) and the better our minds work. As a father, it’s important for me to be a strong man. Wanting to set an example for my children is one thing, but there is more to being a strong dad. Much of the writing on my blogs has shifted from nutrition and exercise over to our mindsets. The mindset we approach life with has a great effect on our realities.

For a father, our mindset will make or break our relationships with our wives and kids. Walk around with a negative attitude, some laziness, and no mindful approaches to healthy nutrition, and we can be sure to have problems in many areas of our life. Being a strong dad is hard work. We have work obligations, family obligations, and social obligations. The last thing we want to do with our free time is exercise. Eating healthy is hard for some men as well. Depending on where you’re located in the country and what your family history is, eating a proper nutritional diet can be a living nightmare. Some guys are used to burgers and fries or pasta and meatballs as everyday dinners. As busy Dads, we often forget to pack a lunch or just don’t want another damn salad, so we stop at the most convenient place for lunch.

At my gym, I train mostly women. From these women, I’ve heard numerous stories about how hard it is to get their husbands to eat a good meal and exercise. The women are exhausted by the end of the day and instead of eating a good meal themselves, they make whatever the house wants. This usually happens because their husband doesn’t want grilled chicken and salad with a side of asparagus. They just won’t eat it. Instead, they turn to quicker, and most likely processed, meals. Making three separate meals is out of the question. As a Strong Dad, we need to help these women and work on an agreement for better dinners.

Training is one of the greatest things we can do for our wellbeing and happiness. Finding the time to squeeze a workout in is hard. We have diapers to change, lunches to prep, and jobs we can’t be late for. Usually at the end of the day we have to get right back to those priorities and that is why exercise comes last. But it doesn’t have to and there are ways to make it happen. Lately, I’ve been fitting my workouts in between my evening or morning classes. Sometimes that means I have ten or twenty minutes. That’s okay. When we’re confined for time there are still ways to make a workout happen. Even if you can’t get to the gym.

At home, you can do something like this:

Squats for 20 Reps
Push Ups for 15 Reps
Lunges for 10 Reps each leg
Plank for 1 minute

And go a few rounds.

I’ve done that workout in the living room while watching my daughter enjoy a cartoon. You can also run through that quick bodyweight circuit in ten minutes- as soon as you wake up, right next to your bed. And, who cares if you’re sucking wind? Just do it and the next time, it’ll feel better.

Being mindful about our health and fitness can go a long way for the betterment of our lives. We’ll feel happier, more alive, motivated, in control, more confident, and the example we set for our wives and kids will have a huge impact on the choices they make. Exercise is hard and sometimes eating greens and dried meat sucks, but in the long run, the pros far outweigh the cons. Start slow. You don’t have to grab a Flex Magazine and get right into a five day workout routine. You can start with the small circuit above one day and then go from there. For nutrition, just try eliminating some sugar first and add a little more water. That one step will have a huge impact and it isn’t hard at all. Once you see and feel progress, make another change.

Remember, people follow leaders and in your home, you are a leader. A few easy to do steps and you’ll have your family on your back following your decisions while enjoying your new found happiness and confidence, and most importantly- your better health.

The New Adventures of Coach Dad

I’ve had a recent shift in consciousness. Before, my days were filled with learning how to be better at everything. How to make more money in business, how to be a better marketer and salesman, and many other things, except how to be a better dad, and husband. This sort of awakening has forced me to think deeper about my purpose in life and what I’m meant to do. For a long time, I battled myself over what I’d write about. Some days, it was floatation. Other days it was self improvement through goal setting or meditation. I wrote about fitness routines, diets, and how to get into the best shape of your life. I’d write about the gym I own and how awesome everyone was doing.

Then, it became boring and I’d lacked a passion for posting anything on here. I’d practice writing about a fat cat named Fred and poems about my inner made up misery and deepest dreams. What I hardly ever wrote about was how awesome it is to be a father. How great my kids are and why my wife is truly an amazing person. Everything that mattered to me, the most important parts of my life, never saw the attention they deserve.

This shift in consciousness as led me to the new journey. The Adventures of Coach Dad. While I am a coach, both in fitness and life topics, my biggest role as “coach” is “dad”.  As I move forward with this blog, the adventures of coach dad will bring you stories of shitty diapers, being a business owner with two young kids, training for stay at home moms and dads (because I stay home a few days with the kids and I know workouts can get done), and my journey through self development.

Here are a few posts I previously wrote about my life with kids:

http://michaelcorona.com/to-my-son-and-daughter/

http://michaelcorona.com/10-things-i-will-teach-my-daughter/

http://michaelcorona.com/daddy-daughter-day/

Keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times and buckle up for the ride!