To explain what Fit2Thrive means I need to start by explaining the challenge that I want Fit2Thrive to help me with. That challenge is raising my children. For now it is about raising my son.
I’ve always felt that nurturing a human from a dependent baby to a free thinking adult is both the best and the toughest thing you can ever do because I’ve always noticed how open ended the task is. There is literally no limit to your responsibility and what may be asked of you.
Unlike work for example where there are limits because at work contracts and law define the limits of what you can be asked to do and there is plenty of training to help you get there. The education system itself is primarily focused on preparing you for your work life. Your private and personal life is left up to you.[contextly_sidebar id=”I8hOXBXus7GzEBYzIXyfksd6jlfbqvGS”]Even running a company, being a CEO may sound like raising a child but there are still limits to your liability. That can literally be because when you founded your company your chose to limit your liability but also because the law again limits your liablity, even as CEO. I do think that such a responsible position is the closest in work that you can come to the challenges of being a parent because you literally have to live and breath the role but it really comes down to nature or nurture. As a parent it’s your fault either way. Either your genes are at fault or your parenting skills. There is no middle line. Of course it could be your partners fault but as a parent that is the only way of limiting your liability. At the same time it means you never have complete control.
As a CEO if things go wrong your have all sorts of help to call on and a legal system that is very used to dealing with your problems. It’s not perfect by any means but there is plenty of training out there. I completed a degree in management and boy did I learn a lot about all sorts of aspects of running a company. I still felt I had all sorts to learn and I have yet to found a company. Yet when I actually had a child I always felt I had less knowledge of how to bring up a child than I had to raise a company. I feel I am not alone. Everyone I talk to pretty much agrees. Some were raised in large families or have wide social groups and thus a good network to ground them in the baby basics but most mums and dads I know felt they knew so little about the most important aspect of their lives.
The thing is that I’ve always wanted a family. I have really looked forward to it and so I have prepared for it in the way most people prepare for a career. Since I felt that having a family was actually the point of much of my life. It’s where all the fun really starts. Not everyone thinks like that but I do and so far it’s been true.
This is part of the reason I trained in Physical Education, Sports Science and Recreation Management. It’s not clear from the title but in fact it’s a series of lessons all based on aspects of normal human life. In practical terms I learnt how to teach through movement, how to overcome challenges through sport and how to make fun part of life and part of business.
Of course everyone thinks I’m a bit crazy because my dream is to run around a tennis court all day and somehow pay the bills but in fact that’s where we started. Tennis is basically glorified hunting where you compete for the prize. That’s why it is a lesson for life because you must learn to overcome the challenge in front of you. Like any other species our job is simple to obtain what we need regardless of the pressures we face. That is what my training has been about and why I think it is the best preparation for being a parent and father.
I see the truth in the parable “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he will eat forever” I also believe that “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. Both of these analogies are about education, lessons and knowledge. They are why I don’t want my sons inheritance to be money, I want it to be knowledge and skills. I want to teach him how to pay for the life he wants to live, teach him how to figure out the right life for him and along the way how to accept the life he is living and own the life he is making.
I want him to be in control of his life which for me means using life itself as a teacher. I base it on three principles
- Read: Read the situation. What do you already know. What can you learn. Everything you face can teach you something. What do you have that you can risk?
- Risk: Without risk you learn little. Too much risk and you can lose everything. Knowing the best balance is a life long quest. The risk you take is the cost. Do you really understand the costs of the risk you take?
- Recover: All risks have a cost. This is a debt. To recover you must pay the debt. The debt must be paid What did you learn. What could you do better next time. How will you do it. When will you recover your balance.
The guiding principle is that most real failures in life come from risking too much for too long. That means not recovering properly. Often because you either don’t know how to recover or don’t realise how important it is that your should.
This is a critical principal with humans because, believe it or not, we are incredibly resilient. Don’t believe me then consider this. Our hearts beat without fail on average 60 times a minute, every minute, every day every year of our lives. We know this because when they stop beating we die. Man has yet to invent something so reliable yet all mammals, not just humans have this amazing hardware and infact it is so advanced that it can heal itself. Ah, you healing is recovery. The heart can recover though of course it needs space and help to do so.
So, given the three principles I have outlined, it is that my path in life simply to teach my son
- how he works so that he can read what he is capable of
- how to overcome lifes challenges given his abilities and the situation
- how to recover given the risks he takes. He must be able to figure out the cost of his risk, how to pay for it and when that debt has been paid.
This is a lot to learn and a lot to teach and why I have spread the load. I’ve spent over a decade since I graduated university building my knowledge of real life. I find too many advisors who preach too soon so I wanted to evolve my views in the hard light of day and put into practice what I preach. With over 15 years behind me I now have the confidence to share and promote what I have found. In truth I share now because as my son grows I must prepare for his coming needs. I learn so much from others who have shared their experiences raising their children I feel it may help to share mine.
So I have provided a blog for each of the three princples
- Read is covered by create (also known as cellyoursole). The ethos is to understand yourself and your situation
- Risk is considered by the compete (competitiveurge). Life is a challenge. Every day you must compete and risk losing. You win or you learn. Never stop learning
- Recover is the focus of life as play: Stress creates a debt and stops you recovering, when you play and smile you cannot be stressed. Play for long enough each day and your stress will disappear
So this is my journey. The great thing is that every year it is getting more and more fun, particularly as I meet more and more parents to give me ideas. Thanks to everyone who has made suggestions. Here is to the future fun 🙂