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Lifequakes: Navigating Pivotal Times with Bruce Feiler


How are you handling all the change happening in our world? Homeschooling, job changes, financial challenges, social upheaval? We are living in tumultuous times, but our guest today tells us that we are in a constant cycle of transitions, and we can use major life changes as catalysts for huge growth that will serve us in the future.

Bruce Feiler is the bestselling author of Life is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age. He talks about these lifequake moments and how we can navigate through times of massive change. He tells about how we, as fathers, can apply this fluidity to our family dynamics. He also reveals the cyclical nature of our experience.

Life rarely works out the way we expect it to. Get mentally prepared to reap the most from transitions.

“Life transitions are a lifelong sport that no one knows how to play.”—Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler

BRUCE FEILER is the author of seven New York Times bestsellers; the presenter of two primetime series on PBS; and the inspiration for the drama series COUNCIL OF DADS on NBC. Bruce’s two TED Talks have been viewed more than two million times.

Employing a firsthand approach to his work, Bruce is known for living the experiences he writes about. His work combines timeless wisdom with timely knowledge to allow people to live with more meaning, passion, and joy.

For more than a decade, Bruce has explored the intersection of families, relationships, and well-being. THE SECRETS OF HAPPY FAMILIES collects best practices from some of the country’s most creative minds. The book was featured on World News, GMA, and TODAY and excerpted in the Wall Street Journal and Parade. THE COUNCIL OF DADS describes how faced with one of life’s greatest challenges, he asked six friends to support his daughters. The book was profiled in PEOPLE, USA Today, and Time and was the subject of a CNN documentary.

A native of Savannah, Georgia, Bruce lives in Brooklyn with wife, Linda Rottenberg, and their identical twin daughters. For more information, please visit www.brucefeiler.com.

Life is in the Transitions

A pioneering and timely study of how to navigate life’s biggest transitions with meaning, purpose, and skill

Bruce Feiler, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Secrets of Happy Families and Council of Dads, has long explored the stories that give our lives meaning. Galvanized by a personal crisis, he spent the last few years crisscrossing the country, collecting hundreds of life stories in all fifty states from Americans who’d been through major life changes—from losing jobs to losing loved ones; from changing careers to changing relationships; from getting sober to getting healthy to simply looking for a fresh start. He then spent a year coding these stories, identifying patterns and takeaways that can help all of us survive and thrive in times of change.

What Feiler discovered was a world in which transitions are becoming more plentiful and mastering the skills to manage them is more urgent for all of us. The idea that we’ll have one job, one relationship, one source of happiness is hopelessly outdated. We all feel unnerved by this upheaval. We’re concerned that our lives are not what we expected, that we’ve veered off course, living life out of order. But we’re not alone.

Life Is in the Transitions introduces the fresh, illuminating vision of the nonlinear life, in which each of us faces dozens of disruptors. One in ten of those becomes what Feiler calls a lifequake, a massive change that leads to a life transition. The average length of these transitions is five years. The upshot: We all spend half our lives in this unsettled state. You or someone you know is going through one now.

The most exciting thing Feiler identified is a powerful new tool kit for navigating these pivotal times. Drawing on his extraordinary trove of insights, he lays out specific strategies each of us can use to reimagine and rebuild our lives, often stronger than before.

From a master storyteller with an essential message, Life Is in the Transitions can move readers of any age to think deeply about times of change and how to transform them into periods of creativity and growth.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why Bruce likes to switch up traditional gender roles in his household
  • What it means to have dads much more involved in parenting
  • Dads have a role that’s not right or wrong, just different.
  • The home is the safe space to air grievances.
  • Each day, ask your family:
    • What worked well in our family this week?
    • What didn’t work well?
    • What are we going to work on this week?
  • Tell your family that we are going to talk about our feeling no matter how painful it is.
  • Who should take the lead as the parent?
  • Moms and dads are fluid, and so are our roles.
  • A LIFEQUAKE is a huge change, voluntary or involuntary, but the transition is our choice and each individual’s transitions will differ.
  • In the ancient world, life was considered a cycle. Today we look at life as a linear path, but this is not accurate. Life is not linear. It’s not predictable.
  • We go through 3 dozen disruptors in our lifetime. One in ten is a massive life change that takes 5 years to get through.
  • Bruce talks about tools to navigate these periods when we feel scared, alone, frustrated, and helpless.
  • People who know more about family history do better in the world. Kids can better cope when they know to expect ups and downs.
  • The ascending narrative, the descending narrative, and the oscillating narrative.
  • Normalize transitions. They are not unexpected.
  • What can we ask ourselves and our kids to help them in the time of change?
  • Use rituals to be open to what’s to come.
  • Life is the story we tell ourself. Listen to the story in your head.
  • What happens when something goes wrong in our story? We have to rewrite our story on the fly. That’s what it’s all about. Add a new chapter about us going through this period and find what is constructive in it. Keep the story moving forward.
  • We each have a transition power and a transition kryptonite. What are yours?
  • We miss huge periods of growth if we turn away from transition. Don’t close your eyes when the scary parts start.

Don’t close your eyes when the scary parts start.—Bruce Feiler

RELATED EPISODES:

Transform Your Pain into Explosive Inner Growth

Weird & Wonderful Ways to Build Mental Resilience with Ben Aldridge

How to Lead Your Family Through Crisis

 


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Strategies to Keep Calm Through the Chaos

4 Strategies to Keep Calm Through the Chaos

Sometimes, life throws us a curveball. We might be cruising along, meeting all our goals, right on track for the future. Our family is thriving. Life is good, then suddenly we are launched into chaos.

That is what happened to our guest today, Gene Villeneuve. Gene is a Canadian who moved with his wife and kids to work in Paris, France. They were living the dream until two years ago when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Gene was on The Dad Edge previously to talk about how to love a spouse with cancer. He did the best he could to be a good husband and dad as his wife went through grueling treatments and surgeries. But just when his wife was recovering from her last surgery, Gene found out that his status with his job in France had changed and he would have 6 weeks to move his family back to Canada.

Gene tells us about how coped with this huge upheaval in his life and four of his personal strategies to keep calm through the chaos.

'I’ve learned that it’s not worth adding more drama into chaos. The more drama you add to an existing chaotic situation, the more drama you’ll beget.'—@genevilleneuve #dads #men #fathers #change #adversity Click To Tweet

What You’ll Learn

Keep Calm Through the Chaos

  1. Make a short list of things that need to be done, persevere, and check them off. Focus on the long-term objective.
  2. Believe in yourself. Know that whatever is going on around you, you can figure it out.
  3. Take care of yourself—relaxation, fitness, sleep, nutrition.
  4. Spend quality time with family in any little way you can.

 

 

MENTIONED EPISODE:

How to Love a Spouse with Cancer with Gene Villeneuve

 


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Embracing Change as a Man

Embracing Change as a Man


Most of us are resistant to change. It can cause feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and overwhelm. As men, we automatically internalize our stress, shutting our spouses out. We’re afraid of appearing weak to those who look up to us. But, this is a destructive habit that damages our mental and physical health. It also creates a rift in the family that can lead to permanent consequences.

Today we talk to Dad Edge Alliance member Joe Rico about embracing change as a man. He tells us how a major shift in his life almost brought him to his knees and where he discovered sources of strength to empower himself in the face of uncertainty.

'A lot of men have a hard time asking for help because that’s considered a weakness.' — Joe Rico #dads #men #fathers #brotherhood #mastermind Click To Tweet

'Vulnerability is strength. There is a strength in being honest.' —Joe Rico #vulnerability #manhood #stress #overwhelm #depression #anxiety #menshealth Click To Tweet


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change your perspective

How To Change Your Perception As A Parent To Have Less Stress And More Happiness – GDP021

How you can change your perception and change your life

Are you a “the glass is half full” or “the glass is half empty” type of Dad?  If you are half full, then you further ahead than most of us when it comes to perspective.

Perspective is the secret sauce to a happy life and a fulfilled journey as a Dad.  Our perspectives can make us or break us.  The right perspective can allow us to soar and the wrong perspective can make us crash and burn.  If our perspective is off, that is ok.  It’s being aware and knowing how to change your perspective that is critical.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why your perspective is your reality
  • How your reality is the world you live in
  • Learn how to change your world by changing your perception
  • Discover how to make a few simple tweaks to your everyday life that will help you to thrive instead of simply survive.
  • In this episode, Shawn and I really put ourselves out there with some drastic mistakes we were making on a daily basis.  These mistakes were destroying the enjoyment of fatherhood.
  • Shawn and I talk about some of the consequences we experienced just by not having the right perspective

 

Change your perception after a long day

I was a pain in the rear when I came home from work in the evening because I focused on all the wrong things.

Let me give you an example of how “pleasant” I used to be when I came home from work.  I am shocked to this day that Jessica take my head off for years.

I would come home on a daily basis (nearly every day) from work in a foul and defeated mood.  The days were long, I raced against deadlines, I had people needing something from me every minute of every day.  Eight to ten hours of this chaos wore my patience down to nothing.

I would come home expecting to walk into a sanctuary of peace and happiness.  For some crazy reason, I would expect that dinner might be done, laundry would be folded, and the house would be clean.  Let me make one thing clear,  I knew these expectations were lofty.  My wife is a busy stay at home mom who is doing an amazing job of raising three boys (9,7, and 2) during the day.  (Any of you with around this age reading this are probably laughing at how naive my expectations were.)   In a perfect world, I desired to have all these things (dinner, clean home, folded laundry, and the kids quiet) because I wanted to come home to peace after a long day.  However, with a busy family and three boys, this isn’t a possibility for the most part.  Moreover, shame on me for even expecting that it was.

This type of perspective was all wrong.  Not only was my perspective completely wrong, but it was caused me to look at all those things in a really negative way.  I saw crumbs on the floor, which meant I should probably clean them up.  I saw laundry that needed to be folded which meant more to do.  I saw dinner wasn’t done, which meant now I should help.  I saw toys everywhere which meant there was more to pick up.

I had it all wrong.

The Result:  When I would walk in after a long day, I would be more stressed than when I walked in.  I would immediately be cold and unwelcoming to my kids who greeted me at the door.  I would look past their smiles and see only a mess.  I would look past a wife that was happy to see me and see only a mess.

I had it all wrong.  I needed to change my perspective.

I finally learned that there was only one person that was making me miserable, and that was ME.  I decided to change my perspective.  Perspective is all about choice.  I had to ask myself, “are you going to see the negative or the positive?”

So, here is how I began to reframe it all.

When I saw crumbs under the table:  instead of seeing a mess, I now see that my job provided food for us to eat.

When I saw clothes that needed to be folded:  instead of being more stressed, I am now reminded our family has clothes to wear.

When I am greeted by my kids with smiling faces:  I now decide to see that, receive it, and enjoy it.

When I am greeted by my wife:  I am reminded that my job provides enough means for her to stay home and that our kids have a wonderful mom that can be there for them during the day.

How Shawn Changed His Perspective:

Shawn went through a similar learning process as a new husband when he first got married.  When he first got married, he was in the middle of the launch of his brand and business.  Shawn’s focus has always been on helping people become their best by optimizing their health.  Over the years, he has worked extremely hard to get where he is at today.  Shawn is a true entrepreneur through and through.  He thrives on living his passion.  He thrives on the uncertainty of being an entrepreneur.  Most of us are not wired like this.  Most of us really enjoy a financial life of certainty.  Not Shawn…he would rather risk certainty and help people.

In the beginning of his marriage to his lovely wife, Anne, he explains how he had his perspective all wrong.  When Anne and Shawn first met, it was love right from the start.  There was no wrong that either of them could do.  However, right after they got married, things started to change a bit.  Shawn started going in one direction with his career and Anne was going in another.  Shawn’s perspective was he would be very successful if Anne was on board with his mission of owning his own business.  Like so many of us, one of Anne’s needs is to feel safe and certain.  As we all know, the world of entrepreneurship can be anything but safe and certain.   As a result, it was difficult for her to be on board with his vision in the beginning.

Since Anne didn’t really seem on board with Shawn’s vision, he began to see her as more of an “anchor” holding him back.  Their relationship became strained and tensions were high from time to time.  It wasn’t until Shawn realized that his lifestyle of entrepreneurship and uncertainty made Anne pretty uncomfortable.  Once he realized one of her basic needs was to feel secure and certain, Shawn began to make a change in his perspective.

He learned he had to give first before expecting to receive support.  He noticed the more he paid attention to her need of certainty, the more supportive she became.  Presently, Anne is Shawn’s biggest fan and number one supporter.  Not only does she support him, but she pushes him to grow even further.

Shawn made one big change that many of us miss.  He decided give Anne what she needed instead of falling into a trap of resentment.

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