July 22, 2017 – 100%

I had a surprise visit today from an previous colleague who gave me the wonderful news that he’s going to be a father. This was a surprise to him and his wife as they weren’t really planning to have kids anytime soon. He’s not taking the surprise very well and I could see it on his face. When I asked him if he was happy, the response was muted at best. As a guy who always wanted to be a dad and who enjoys every minute with my kids, I had a difficult time understanding his reaction. We talked a little longer and then he asked me how to be a good dad. With Father’s Day occurring last weekend, the topic was timely, but I couldn’t come up with any immediate pearls of wisdom for him. And he looked really worried. You see this guy has the grandest of aspirations and this surprise is putting those aspirations at significant risk. He talked about that a little and told me he’s worried that he won’t be able to give his best to all the different roles and relationships. Finally, he gave me a the opening I needed. I used to have the same concern; always trying to be everything to everybody and failing miserably, in my humble opinion, at all of my roles and relationships. But somehow, I came to realize that I can’t give 100% as a boss, 100% as an employee, 100% as a husband, 100% as a dad, 100% as a friend, 100% as a coach, etc, etc, etc.  That comes out to 600% and even I know that math doesn’t work. We talked about this and I told him he just needs to be 100% in the moment. We’ll always fall short of our own expectations, but if we follow one of my coauthors advice to be fully present in the present, we’ll have a positive influence on whoever we’re with at the time. We only have 100% of ourselves to give and it just can’t be divvied up no matter how hard we try.

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