In my personal life I often struggle ‘being in the moment’. It’s embarrassing to admit. I’m particularly bad when things at work are busy. And lately things have been pretty crazy with my work, for good reason… but regretfully I’ve been a mediocre father in recent weeks as a result.
Aside from the fact that I’ve been traveling and working long hours in recent weeks, which resulted in my absence at home some nights, many moments of late – Friday morning for example – when I have been spending time with my family, I’ve been distracted. My 2-year old son told me as much…
One of the favorite parts of my day is in the morning when I feed my son his breakfast. It’s just him and I. Mom has gone to work, and it is a luxury I don’t usually take for granted… usually, that is.
I’ve been working on three relatively large deals over the last month, two of which are about to close, resulting in a lot of effort on my end. Emails have been pouring in over the last week, at all hours of the day, in need of my input, signature, confirmation etc… It’s been pretty nuts. And it has me constantly checking my phone like an addict, just itching for the next email to respond to. Sadly, I’ve even brought my phone to the dinner table on more than one occasion this month, which is forbidden in the Hoddinott household. My behavior has been pretty pathetic now that I really think about it.
Friday morning I was feeding my son his breakfast, which is a time when we usually engage in some conversation (half baby babble, half english)… except on this particular morning, as I was scooping his Cheerios on a spoon in one hand I was responding to an email on my phone in the other. Basically, I was half present, or ‘not in the moment’ as they say.
After about 30 seconds of that balancing act, my son noticed what I was doing. He had enough sense to realize how ridiculous the whole thing was and blurted out “Daddy! no phone!” I kid you not. I have never heard him say those words before. It was a total wake up call for me.
Feeling like a deadbeat, I immediately put my phone on the counter and got back to what was important at that moment: being 100% present with my son during our special morning time together – a tradition we’ve had for over a year now, and one which I hope he will be able to share with his son one day.
My entire day was thrown off after my son called me out for not being present. It made me realize that I had probably been doing that sort of distracted thing for a few days without even knowing it, and my 2-year old finally had enough.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with working your ass off and being extremely ambitious. But, just like we give it our all when chasing our professional dreams, we need to dedicate ourselves to the people we love when we are in their company.
As an entrepreneur, if you give your business 50% of your attention when at the office or shop, you can pretty much guarantee a disappointing result. The same goes with our personal lives. If we aren’t fully present with our loved ones, our relationships will suffer.
Put your phone away.