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Mindset & Money | You Already Know What To Do

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Hosted by
Mike Ayala

On this episode of Investing for Freedom, Mike talks about a recent event that he went to, where he heard Jon Vroman of Front Row Dads speak. Mike reflects on what he learned from Jon and encourages us to get rid of our egos and excuses and build a better environment for ourselves.

“Eliminating excuse, eliminate the ego, and make sure that you’re in the proper environment.”


0:00 – Intro
0:57 – Mike heard Jon Vroman talk at a GoBundance event and loved it
1:52 – Mike’s been going through a transition, is planning the next phase of his life, and is beginning to feel like being a dad is coming to an end
4:57 – Here are the three E’s to being able to do what you already know how to do; eliminate excuses, eliminate the ego, and put yourself in the proper environment
5:41 – We create excuses, the majority of which are nothing more than excuses
6:20 – If your business is not helping you achieve your personal goals, then it’s just a job
7:00 – The ego keeps us from saying what we know we need to say
9:10 – Who do we have to become to have our kids and family want to be around us
11:46 – If you don’t know what to do, there are resources like Front Row Dads for you to use
13:01 – John made a group Mike was in answer 5 questions; What does it mean to be a good Dad? How have you succeeded? How have you failed? What’s the one thing that if you experienced and found solutions to by the end of it would be worth it? How are you willing to show up and how do you want others to show up during this retreat?
15:10 – When it comes to being a dad, where have you used excuses because you were tired or didn’t want to show up or know what to say?
18:07 – Your kids won’t care when they’re older that they had extra nice sneakers because you were working so much, doing it “for the kids” is not an excuse!


Front Row Dads


Thank you for joining me on the Investing for Freedom podcast. Today, I’m going to talk to you about some revelations or some insights that I gained on a recent trip to Austin with a group called Front Row Dads. That’s ran by a guy named Jon Vroman, and a little bit of background, so I heard Jon Vroman speak at a GoBundance event in Austin of 2019 in the summer. And it was just so inspiring his story around Front Row Dads and how it got started. And it’s basically just a group of guys that get together and they just work on being better dads. It’s a tribe of guys, a community. There’s a Facebook community, a couple events every year. And there’s different levels too. So, for those of you that are interested, we’ll put a link in the show notes that you can find it, but it’s just such a great organization.

There was about 20 guys there and again, there’s different levels. So, I was at a VIP event, like I said in Austin. There is a lower level though that just does like zoom calls, and a Facebook community and that kind of stuff. So, I would highly encourage you if you’re a dad or even not a dad and an aspiring dad. There’s several dads in the group that don’t even, they’re going to be dads, so they don’t even have children yet. And they’re just there, you know, trying to learn early. And one of the things that I realized while I was there, I’ve been going through this transition, mine and Kara’s children are 20,18 and 16. We have Dylan, Tim and Kate. And as you know, I’m getting to this point of transition, Kara and I have been planning kind of the next phase of our life, which is really exciting. Kara and I’ve been married for 21 years and just had an amazing, you know, marriage and experience. And even before that, we dated for quite a few years and just excited about the next season. We’ve worked really hard on, you know, dreaming around what we wanted our life to look like traveling, spending time together with our kids, making sure that the businesses don’t overtake that, working really hard to not miss games, to be supportive of our kids, not miss dance competitions. And again, you know, being business owners from an early age at 24 basically when we started our business, all three of our children were born.

So, growing up with young kids and working through that business, that’s one thing that we’ve just done really well. You know, just carving out time and making sure that we keep our family a priority and we’re super proud of that. But as our kids have gotten older and we’re transitioning to this next phase of life and again, just, you know, talking through what that looks like Kara and I have really been designing the next 20 years of our marriage, if you will. But one thing crept in that I didn’t realize was creeping in. And that was like, I started getting feeling like I was no longer going to be a dad like my dad time was over, and that’s just simply not true. The one thing that I realized through a conversation with several guys in GoBundance and Experience I had a few weeks ago, and then, just ultimately signing up for Front Row Dads, your kids need you at every phase. And that might be just as important if not more important that you show up as a strong father in their young adult phases and as they move into having their own families and children. And so that was a revelation that I had.

But here’s the three things that I really want to share with you. First off, most of the work that I did this last week, it really came back to one thing and that’s, you know what to do. You could make so much progress and this applies to being a dad or being a husband or a good boss or a business owner or anything really in life. But we’ll just talk specifically around being a dad and a good husband, back to, you know, just what I learned at Front Row Dads. You know what to do, you could make a hundred percent increase in almost every area of your life, 10 X it. You could make 10 X increase in every area of your life, if you just did what you already know what to do. And there’s really three things that came up for me. There was a bunch of revelations and ideas and stuff that came about just through interaction with the guys, but I narrowed it down to three things and they all start with E’s. So, here’s basically the three E’s and I didn’t design it that way. As I was looking back through my notes, these just came up at different points in time, but it’s number one, eliminating excuses, number two, eliminating the ego, and number three, making sure that you’re in the proper environment that you’ve got your environment set up properly.

And so when it comes to, again, this could relate to any area of your life, but when it comes to being a better dad and a better husband, a lot of the things that I worked through were really just, came back to excuses that I’ve made. And I hear this so many times from other people and I’ve made it myself too well. I don’t have time for that. Or you know, I can’t get home by dinner time or I can’t, you know, take every Saturday and Sunday off. I can’t leave my phone off in the evenings. There are all these excuses that we create. And they’re just that, they’re excuses. And the reality is with the exception of, you know, certain jobs where you have to be on call, I get it. But for the most part, the majority of things that we say that we can’t do this, or we can’t do that, or I can’t show up this time, or they’re just excuses. They’re really just excuses. And if you worked hard enough, in fact, if a job’s getting in your way of doing what you know you need to do as a father or what, you know you need to do as a husband, then you probably should find a different job. And I’ve said this so many times before, but one of the early coaches that I worked with said that if your job or your business is not specifically, your business is not helping you achieve your personal goals, then you just own a job. And, you know, kind of changing that a little bit. If your job is keeping you away from your, and I’m going to argue your most important job, which is being a husband and a father, then you probably need to get away from that job. And so there’s a bunch of excuses and I’m not going to go into mine at this point in time, but there really is a bunch of excuses that keep us from becoming the best version of ourselves when it comes to being a father or a husband.

The second thing is ego. It keeps us from saying what we know we need to say. And it’s so weird because I know everybody’s experienced this in meetings or in conferences, or, you know, even in a you know, just working with your team, even if it’s just a group of people that you work together with every day, this isn’t just a boss-subordinate type of conversation. Our ego actually keeps us from giving input that we know we have that’s valuable, sharing our gifts and sharing our ideas because we’re scared. We live in fear around what people are going to say or think, and really that’s ego. Anytime that shows up, it’s ego, Oh, and there’s a great book called The Ego is The Enemy. And that really helped me get to thinking about this before. But as I was looking at this, the crazy thing is, that shows up as a husband. And it shows up as a father as well, literally us taking the lead in our families, or even I’ll get into this at the end. So, stick with me. If you don’t know what to do, then there’s a line of questioning it’s called positive inquiry that John Berghoff teaches quite a bit through a company called Exchange. But usually, it’s the ego that keeps us from saying what we need to say. And so just even thinking about how to have better conversations around dinner, if your kids don’t want to hang out with you and your kids don’t want to, you know, they just get right up from the dinner table and go off running. Then we really should look internally, quit making excuses and really check our ego. What are we not doing a lot of times, by the way, that’s an excuse. Cause we just want to get done with dinner and get back to work or get back to watching TV or whatever it is. So a lot of times it’s excuses, but the reality is if we just set the ego aside and we started thinking about positive inquiry and the fact that if our kids don’t want to hang out with us, maybe we need to check our ego and say, okay, well, how can we make this more fun for them? How can we make this more engaging for them? How can we bring it back, create an environment where they actually want to be with us? I talk a lot about this, but who do I have to become to get around You know, people that are smarter than me, that think bigger than me and that kind of stuff. Well, what about with our kids and our wives, who do we have to become in order for them to want to hang out at the dinner table and spend more time with us, who do we have to become in order for our wives to actually want to go on a date night and vice versa too. Like Kara and I go on a night, every Thursday. And if you don’t do that and it doesn’t have to be every Thursday, obviously, but if you don’t go on a date night with your wife, then really you got to just ask some of these things. Like what excuses are you making to not make that a priority? And then if it’s not a time issue, then I really have to ask like, you know, where have you guys gotten to that you don’t actually want to go on date night.

Kara and I actually, this isn’t something that we have to, and I’m not saying we never did have to schedule it or make sure that it was a priority, but I actually really look forward to date night now. This is like one of my highlights. And so, I really have to ask the question, like, if you’re not dating your spouse, and if you’re not spending time with your children, then what’s the environment that you’ve created. And that’s the third E, the environment. What’s the environment that you’ve created to where your kids don’t want to hang out with you, or your wife doesn’t want to go on a date with you. Is it ego, ego from a bad way? Like, you know, maybe you’re always battling? Or is it ego from, I guess it’s still a bad way, but it’s ego in the sense that you don’t lay your ego at the door and really come ready to give. So, it’s just, you know, there’s just a bunch of excuses and ego and environment. And so back to the environment, I want to finish my thought on that. If your kids don’t want to hang out with you, I would have to really ask the question and I have asked this question, what environment am I creating to where they don’t want to be with me?

Now here’s the thing, I completely understand. Well, Mike, you know what? I have teenagers and you know; young preteens and my kids are young adults, and their lives are busy. I get all that. I’m right there. Like I said, mine are 20, 18, and 16. And do they want to be with us all the time? No. Do they want to spend time with their friends? Absolutely. But that’s where we have to be intentional about making sure that we get quality time with each other. And back to that environment, we have to create an environment of fun and it’s got to be entertaining. It’s got to be intriguing. It’s got to be mentally, emotionally challenging. And so that being said, we’re the adult here. We’re the men in our families. And if we’re not stepping up and getting past this, we know what to do. That’s what I said to begin with. You know what to do. And if you’ve gotten to the point where you just don’t know what to do, then the good news is there’s rooms full of people like Front Row Dads, and you don’t even have to leave your, you don’t even have to leave your living room. You can sign in via zoom and get in amazing rooms full of amazing dads and get ideas around how to become a better father and a better husband. So, if you’ve exhausted, like you’ve already become the highest version of yourself and you don’t know what to do, meaning you’ve eliminated all excuses. You’ve checked your ego at the door, and you’ve created an environment where your wife and your kids want to with you. Then the good news is, like I said, there’s other things. And check the show notes. I think it’s just I should’ve looked at that ahead of time, but it will be in the show notes, check out Front Row Dads. It’s great. You know, I mentioned GoBundance all the time.

There’s so many ways out there to grow as an individual, but here’s the thing. You know, before you even have to do that, there’s a thing, as I mentioned earlier, called positive inquiry that John Berghoff through exchange does, and these are some of the questions that just the first night, when we sat around the dinner table with you know, a group of new guys that we had never met. John asked the question like actually sorry, I’m on the wrong page here.

What does it take? So, we had to answer, we had to have conversations around these five questions. So, what does it mean to you to be a good dad, or you could shift this to a husband if you’re not a father yet. Question number two was how have I succeeded? Question number three was how have I failed? Question number four is what’s the one thing that if I experienced it and found solutions to by the end of the retreat would be worth it. And number five was how are you willing to show up and how do you want others to show up during this retreat? That’s positive inquiry. So, it’s asking questions around, the thing that I loved about, I still love about. Every time I hear John Berghoff, he’s flipping the question. So, it’s not really, if you notice those questions are not focused on problems, they’re focused on positive solutions. And even when there is a negative, like, what’s the one thing that if it happened or even how have I failed at being a good dad, that’s not necessarily focused on the negative. It’s there to bring that out so that you can work through those problems.

And so again, if you’ve exhausted you know, everything that you know what to do, and you can tell me, honestly, that you’ve eliminated all excuses, you’re checking your ego at the door. And you’ve created an environment where you’re not the problem. Then maybe the title is wrong, and you don’t know what to do. And again, the thing is, there’s environments where you can grow to that next level. But I can almost guarantee you that even if you didn’t sign up for a Front Row Dads or commit to being a better version of you by getting yourself in a bigger room. Again, one of my mentors always says, if you’re the smartest guy in the room, find a bigger room, but if you’ve exhausted all of that, there is options. But I can almost guarantee you, like I said, that you have not eliminated all excuses, checked your ego at the door and created an environment. And so just along the lines of positive inquiry, just ask yourself questions around each one of these. And they could sound like, I didn’t even write these down ahead of time just thinking about it right now, but this is so you know, okay when it comes to being a dad, where have I used excuses, because I was tired or because I didn’t want to show up or because I didn’t know exactly what to say. Just start thinking through those things in your own life, ego.

When have I known that I should be asking a certain question and I don’t because of what my wife or kids would think of me. And I know a lot of you would probably say, well, that’s silly, I would never be concerned that they would think of me. Well, okay. Why aren’t you asking better questions around the dinner table and you know what our favorite question as dads? Hey how was school today, that’s not enough. So, what was the most challenging thing that happened to you at school today? And how did you work through it? If you could make one thing better about school, what would it be? That’s the thing kind of questions that we’ve got to begin challenging our children around and not be surface. And again, that’s ego because we don’t want to, we don’t really want to go deep with our kids. We think we want to, but we don’t know how to emotionally go deep with our kids. So those are the line of questionings that we should be taking ourselves through. And then just, even around environment, what areas, when I think about the fact that my kids don’t want to spend time with me doing X, why is that? Is it because we’re trying to get them to go golfing with us? Because that’s what we love to do. I was having a conversation this week and this’ll kind of bring this together for you on environment. I remember when my daughter Katelyn was younger and she would spend like literally hours creating shows, you know, she always loved dance and performance and all that stuff. And she would spend hours putting these shows together and she would make tickets and come get us. And I literally remember several times just being like, Oh, I was tired. You know, just got home from work and I didn’t want to do this. And I look back at that Now, that falls into all of these ego, excuses, the environment I wasn’t in an environment at that point in time where I was encouraging her to grow and achieve. You know, our kids, they can tell when we’re not showing up excited. And so, I fell into all that of those, but those are even around environment. How, just like the example that I just gave you being vulnerable, how am I not showing up and creating an environment of challenge and happiness and encouragement for my children. Those are the kinds of questions that we should be asking ourselves.

So, here’s the thing. I’m going to leave you with this. You already know what to do, and it probably the things that are holding you back from what you already know, you need to do, It’s excuses, it is ego, and it’s environment. I’m too tired. You know, I work so hard all day and here’s, I got to make sure I say this. Here’s one of my favorite, well, I’m doing this for the kids. I’m working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for my kids. So, they can have a better life. Your kids are not going to care when they’re 25 or 35 or 45 or 55 that they got extra nice sneakers. You might think that they care. But a lot of times we just use that as an excuse and we actually use it against them. So anyway, I’m going to quit beating you guys up. But you already know what to do. Just eliminate the excuses, eliminate the ego, and just ask yourself the question. You know, what kind of environment am I not creating to stimulate a tight family unit to become a better father and to become a better husband. So, hope that helps.

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