Google defines Gratitude as:

“the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for kindness; and the act of returning kindness”

I practice gratitude each and every day…………..or so I thought.

With some dadly reflection, I have come to realize I haven’t done well in the act of returning kindness.

Being Thankful

Let me start with what I am grateful for through the first 6 months of 2016:

I am grateful that:

  • I have an amazing wife that I fall in love with more and more as time passes
  • I have three healthy, and happy daughters that make me laugh each and every day
  • I have been able to reconnect with some of my college and high school friends
  • Anyone can teach themselves how to create a website (I created three)
  • I have discovered a new found passion for writing and sharing my experiences with the world
  • I have started to re-connect to my colleagues from my last place of work (this means a lot to me)
  • My daughters have two sets of amazing grandparents that are happy and healthy (and they live close by)
  • My sister might be moving closer to me
  • I think I have finally figured out what my purpose is in life (more on that later)
  • I have more time with my family than I have ever had before
  • That we have become more financially responsible
  • We have a wonderful home and amazing neighbours
  • We were able to attend the marriage of two great friends in Mexico in April
  • I was introduced to a man by the name of Larry Hagner and am part of a group of humble, inspirational fathers
  • I have made some new connections with remarkable people through the Dads Edge Group (Gene, Jason, Larry, Dan, John, Lance, Anthony, Walter, Hogan………and it goes on and on)
  • I have articles published on fatherly.com
  • I contributed and may be in a new book called “DADLY Dads: Fathers of the 21st Century” (Hogan Hilling will release later this year)
  • We are going to see the Tragically Hip for our 5 year anniversary
  • Our oldest daughter survived, and then thrived in JK
  • Our middle daughter is excited about going to JK in the fall
  • Our youngest daughter is almost potty trained (no more diapers…yeah)
That is a lot to be grateful for.  It does not however address the second part of the definition in which we “return kindness”.  This reflection and realization came only recently, and is probably the thing I am most grateful for this year.
Let me elaborate – early in the New Year I had a dinner meeting with a colleague and friend, that pushed me into unchartered waters.
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For months I had been considering publishing a website and writing about my experiences as a leader and as a father.  But I hadn’t taken action.  I convinced myself that “trading my time for money” was where I added the most value, and I should just focus on my new job.
Maybe someday in the future I would re-consider the whole writing thing.

 

My meeting with Jason Mackenzie changed all that.  It was Jason that gave me the courage to take action and start impacting others in the positive ways he felt I could.  It was the “permission” I guess I needed all along………
Sometimes in life we all need a gentle push in the right direction;  a few subtle words of encouragement to help us move forward;  a vote of confidence in our abilities to do something we have been hesitant to do; some perspective on how the worst consequence maybe isn’t such a bad consequence after all.  Thanks Jason!
Returning Kindness

 

I have spent the past 6 months writing, creating websites, educating myself on online businesses, listening to podcasts on everything from fatherhood to blogging to membership sites to self improvement.  The list is long!

I am extremely grateful for what I have learned, but I realized that educating myself – was just another way of avoiding taking action.

A book I read a few weeks ago started to put things back in perspective for me, and a podcast I listened to sealed my fate.

Everything had become clear again. I was able to set my own true north, and was able to define the values in which I wanted to live.

I spent the last four months trying to “figure out” what I could do to help people, instead of just helping.

As Jason says:   “we have accountability to each other as humans first, and there is nothing more satisfying than supporting each other and acting with respect and kindness.”

By returning kindness I was able to stop searching for answers and discovered that those answers would instead find me.

Here are some examples:

  • I met with an old colleague who was frustrated in his work.  He was feeling under appreciated and the stress of his job was raising his blood pressure.  I believe I was able to restore his faith in himself and assure him that he can do anything he sets his mind on.  I told him how much value that he brings and reminded him that many companies would love to have him as a leader.

 

  • I met with someone had been doing some work on the side for over a year now, but was struggling to get the business off the ground.  Through the conversation it dawned on me that they have the customer service piece nailed, but struggle with technology and online marketing as ways of advancing their business.  I offered to help get their site up and running.

 

  • I had my sister call me to talk about a rental property they were looking at and was able to provide some additional financial insights that allowed her to make the right decision based on her own needs.  It wasn’t about me convincing her of what I thought, it was about helping her figure out what was right for her and her family.

 

My focus on helping others is showing me the value we all bring to the table.  And, it is these experiences that are steering my path.

Up for the Journey?

Canada day

As some of you may recall, early in January I published my first article on LinkedIn and declared that I was going to write a book.  At the time I had absolutely no idea what the book would be about, I only knew some of the key items I would share.

Last week I listened to one of Larry Hagners’ podcasts and it was on becoming mortgage free.  After listening to the concept of a Home Equity Line of Credit I decided to do some research, and that research reminded me of how messed up my financial thinking had become.  It reminded me of the journey I decided to take over a year ago.  It made me sit down and review our personal finances.

As part of the Dads Edge Group, I committed to share my research with the group and I create couple of short video’s to post there.  The most amazing thing was the feeling of gratitude I had for being able to post something, that may (or may not) help someone else, without expecting anything in return.  I simply did it because someone asked what the HELOC was about, and I had an answer.

That made me realize the story I needed to tell.  Where I think I can provide value.

I am so excited to announce that I have started the outline for my first book.  In that book I will share my personal finance story with all of you.  How I left the job I always wanted so that I could pursue financial freedom and be present for my family.  How planning and discipline helped us pay off all of our extra debt.  How we were able to maintain positive cash flow despite making less. How we have created a clear financial path to retirement (aka – stop trading time for money), and how we are now focused on shaving years off our retirement age.

This is my story, and my family’s story.  If we have been able to have success, I am hopeful that sharing our story can help others do the same.  Our goal is to find the freedom we seek, and have the appropriate amount of income to enjoy it!

That is our journey and anyone who wishes can join us for the ride!

Happy Canada Day!

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2 Responses

  1. Gene Villeneuve

    I’m curious to read your points on financial freedom and your cash flow perspective relative to time for money vs family and personal pursuits. Good luck with the writing. I’d be happy to review drafts if you’d like.

    • Admin

      Thanks Gene – you were part of the inspiration here as well. I would love your feedback and insights!