“Are you mobile?”
“Are you mobile?”
“Are you mobile?”
It was a question I heard over-and-over. It tore through me like a knife. My back would tense up, and my stomach would turn. I hated the question because it put my career and family against each other.
Early on in my career, the answer to that question was always “yes,” as long as it made sense. Though I never relocated I was open to the idea. As I moved on in my career, my answer slowly went from “yes” to “maybe” to a defiant “NO!”
In large organizations where being mobile is the norm and if you want to move your career forward, you need to be willing to uproot your family. It was something I would find not to be worth the impact it would have on my life and family.
So many dads are faced with this decision every day: career vs. family. For some, choosing our career is a no-brainer since our life revolves around our career. For others, choosing our family is the only choice because we have a spouse with a great job and kids who love their school, friends, and the life they have created.
Whatever the choice we do end up making there always seems to be a part of us that second guesses our decision. What if I’m missing out on an amazing career opportunity? What if I’m missing out on creating a fun and loving family? We start to beat the crap out of ourselves. It is a mental beat down that impacts us internally and externally.
For the longest time, I struggled with this dilemma. It was a constant battle inside of me that was destroying the person my wife fell in love with, my kids ran to when I walked in the door, and my friends called to hang out with.
Eventually, the two sides would sign a peace treaty, and the battle would stop inside of me. The battle stopped when I took a moment and rediscovered my VALUES. It started out with some straightforward questions…What do I value? What do I value as a dad? What do I value as a husband?
As I started to reflect on these questions, I also began to think about the times when I was the happiest, proudest and fulfilled. What was I doing? Who was with me? What was fulfilled? Why was I proud?
Everdad Hack #5 - Values
What would your life look like if you discovered, explored, understood, and followed your values?
During my journey on discovering my values, I would come across two types of values with the help of a coach. The first type is fear-based which are values we have because we believe we “have to” do something “or else.” The second type is conscious-based, which are values that drive positive action because they are a “want to.”
Reflecting on these two types of values, I found my value for work and my career was coming from a fear-based value. I have to stay in this position and with this organization or else my family won’t be able to eat. Now, a lot of our values are instilled in us at a young age. For myself, the value I had around work and career was created when my dad lost his job which impacted our family financially and had us moving out of my mom’s dream home. Through this experience, known or unknown, I decided it was better to be miserable in a job then it was to put undue stress on my family.
It wasn’t until one night after a date night with Anna when this value would get rocked. As we pulled up into the driveway and parked the truck, she stopped me from getting out of the truck and told me she could see how miserable I was with my current job. She explained that no job is more important than my happiness and well-being. She explained that though I might think I’m helping our family, I’m in fact hurting our family. It was an amazing conversation, one that I will never forget. One that showed me that I had lost what I truly valued. I was disconnected from myself and my life.
We may not think our values mean anything as we fill up our calendars. Heck, we may not even honestly know what we value. The thing is that what we value means everything. They guide us in our work and life. They help us determine what is important and measure where we are in our life.
Our values are who we are and what we believe. It is important than for us to discover, explorer, and understand our values. Additionally, our values can change over time, giving even more importance to us exploring our values. By living our values, we can take positive action in our life.
My top five values
- Personal Growth (Continuous Learning)
- Service (Helping Others)
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Donnie Boroff, M.A., CPC, ELI-MP, C-IQ is a father of four boys and husband with a passion for dads. A Dad Coach and founder of Everdad. With a Master’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology along with being a Certified Professional Coach, Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, and Certified in Conversational Intelligence, he assists dads in exploring and discovering how they are showing up in their children’s lives.