I realize things like ‘Motivation Monday’ are usually reserved for self-help protocols and fitness websites, but I believe they also belong in parenting circles, marriage conversations, faith pursuits, and life in general. I drone on relentlessly about my family on this blog, but I ultimately refer to ParentalGrit as a life blog. And this life blog loves motivation. I find that parenting and family life are no different than fitness or career aspirations; everyone needs goals, focus, and a few boosts along the way. Parenting is a demanding journey that challenges us in every facet of our lives, so why not treat it like all those other life subsets?
Tony Robbins says that “what you focus on is what you get.” As I’ve described, where do we usually place our goals and thus our focus? Lose 15 pounds? Get a promotion? Get the side hustle going? How many times do we take inventory of our lives and say “I’d like to be more patient with my children,” or “I’d like to stop transferring the stress of parenting onto the relationship with my spouse,”? This is not to say that we cannot have multiple goals or that we can’t progress professionally alongside our personal development; my hope is simply that we recognize that the best type of parenting we can provide is intentional parenting.
I personally fail regularly as a parent, but I fail spectacularly as a husband. When I’m in a bad mood, I’ll randomly assume my toddler doing some bad is my wife’s fault: ‘she’s let her get away with this before I bet’ or ‘she probably saw her mother doing this’. Thankfully, I’m just barely intelligent enough to not speak every little thing that works its way into my low functioning brain. But regardless, showing grace to my children just seems to come more naturally to me. Of course I still lose patience with them from time to time, but typically much more seldom and it rarely lingers. Yet I fail my wife much more regularly. We have a fantastic marriage and I think (hope) she would agree that we treat each other both very well, but we’re still only 2.5 years into having these little tax credits in between us, taking our alone time, sleep, and money. We’re still learning!
So where you place your focus is where you see results. If I place my focus on mastering my 1990s Super Nintendo games, that’s what I’ll get. If I focus on building up my processed mystery meat tolerance, then I’ll put myself in good position for the summer hot dog eating challenge. Or, if my aforementioned low-functioning brain has any sense, I’ll put my focus towards my weaknesses. I have a three part process for self improvement (plus about 18,000 half-steps we can discuss at a later time) and it’s not rocket science. Step 1: what am I terrible at? Step 2: what do I want to actually have happen? Step 3: what actionable steps can I take every day?
So here’s what it looks like. Step 1: I’ve been short with my wife…bad daddy. Step 2: I want to rewind our relationship to pre-kids. Step 3: I can set aside one-on-one time after the kids go to bed before I begin working again. I can give my wife positive affirmations when she first wakes in the morning. I can do more laundry to try to lower her stress level. What you focus on is what you get, but focus is only part of the equation. We must first correctly identify what needs focus. I could just as easily have said “Being bad at golf is my problem” and worked down the list with that premise, but I don’t know if that moves the needle in my life. Once we can identify a legitimate area to focus on, it really just becomes about envisioning what success would like and seeing how we can approach the situation each day with small actions.
What you focus on is what you get…now go focus on what you need most!