Father, First

When I read Max Schireson’s blog post on why he was stepping back from the CEO role of MongoDB I was really impressed by not only his perspective but his transparency.

Sure, he may have disqualified himself from many opportunities but I think that level of transparency disqualifies him from the wrong type of organizations and ventures so he has not lost anything in being honest and forthcoming.

I have often put my business first and my family second. This goes for not just my beloved bride but also my two wonderful kids. They have often gotten the short end of the stick.

Making commitments to your business is hard. Making commitments to your family is even harder (and keeping them). Strange, isn’t it as you would think that it should be reversed.

I suppose the internal challenge that I face is the fact that any commitment that I make to my family will have irreversible results and that scares me to death. Consequently, being “decision-light” on that end saves me from committing to something that I might regret.

In contrast, a business is somewhat of an inorganic collection of mass that can pivot, change, and be reworked consistently as commitments are made or ignored. It’s not that I necessarily look to do this but the somewhat “impersonal” nature of the organization provides just enough distance to lessen the blow of failure.

I will admit, though, that I do take everything really personally. Whether this is right or wrong is for someone else to decide.

But this year, with the help of my spouse, I’ve made some big commitments to the family and girls that I’ve never done historically. For instance, coaching my oldest’ soccer team (2 practices a week and one weekend game) has been critical for our growing family dynamic and has helped regulate my commitments professionally.

I cannot tell you how rewarding and freeing this commitment has been because it’s more than just showing up 3 times a week for an hour to watch kids run around and kick a ball – it has been a commitment to my daughter and our family. I have intentionally decided to be a father, first.

More than 5 years ago I wrote a post about how I need to fight for my family – took a while, didn’t it? Heck, if I keep doing this I might even get used to it…

Update:

Unbelievable video.

Have you come to the end of yourself?

A question worth asking. Thanks Ian for the vid.