Jim Miller

Jim Miller: Living life without regret

Jim Miller is so much more than just an elite athlete in the UFC.

A piece of paper. Not much to it. Just a piece of paper. It’s one-dimensional and not very exciting. We don’t judge it; it has no feelings or emotions (ok, I know at one point it was a tree and it had a life, etc.). Paper is great for writing on, drawing on, making paper air planes, but there’s really nothing more to it. Sometimes, though, this is how we look at other people.

We don’t necessarily see what’s behind their decisions or life; many times we only look at the surface. Think of a fighter in the MMA cage: we see the fight, we witness the blows, but we don’t know what else is behind that fighter.

UFC Fighter, Jim Miller, is much more than the piece of paper or just a fighter in the cage. He’s a man of integrity with a strong sense of family, trying to balance work and life just like everyone else. However, he has a unique vision for how he approaches his life:

“I’d rather come out with a broken arm than come out completely unscathed.” TWEET THAT

Jim Miller lives everyday putting all of himself into it. He would prefer to suffer injury or pain (emotional or physical) if it meant that he left everything on the mat. After all, he says, the only thing you can control is the effort you put into life. This same philosophy is what he brings to parenting. As the father of four kids, Jim wants to teach his children that every day matters and, because of this, they should do what they love.

Jim Miller talks about his childhood

This method of thinking stems from his own parents. Growing up, Jim’s parents didn’t pressure him into wrestling. However, if he or his siblings wanted to do something there was one stipulation-give it their all. Like the other fighters Larry and Shawn have interviewed, one message is constant and clear: support your kids in what they want to do, but make sure they want to do it. This is their life; let them do what they love.

Family is everything

It’s obvious this characteristic is ingrained in Jim. When he’s in the cage, he clearly brings everything to the match (hence his success) and he loves his sport. Balancing this with supporting his kids and being there for his wife as well as growing his own business is not easy. However, Jim says, he does all of this for one thing: his family. Unlike the piece of paper, we are all multi-dimensional; we juggle many different responsibilities. The key, though, in this life, is to focus on our values, remember what is important, and bring our full effort each and every day.

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larry hagner

Larry Hagner: The Man Behind the Good Dad Project

“Absorb what is useful; discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.”
-Bruce Lee

The surface doesn’t always reflect what is really deep underneath. Truth: we don’t know what experiences someone brings to the table when we meet them. Nothing more real can be said about Larry Hagner’s story than that. To meet Larry, one would not know, first hand, his tumultuous childhood.

The Childhood

Raised by a single mom, Larry’s father left the picture when he was nine months old. After this, Larry recalls his adopted father entering his life at the age of 4, hence the name Hagner, as a good person who drank a lot. This same scenario would continue with the other men Larry would know as significant male figures as a child. Struggling internally with the fact that he did not really know his biological father, Larry finally had the chance at the age of 12. Unfortunately, this exchange did not have the positive result Larry had hoped for.

Hitting rock bottom at the young age of twelve

Larry’s experience meeting his biological father sent him into a tail-spin: he failed 8th grade (straight F’s-that’s hard to do!) and continued to gain weight. In another life scenario that could have gone completely wrong, Larry had the fortitude to turn it around. This time, one of his mom’s husbands, a former bodybuilder, businessman and abusive alcoholic, asked him if “he was sick and tired of being a fat ***” (sorry, it’s a family show). With that, Larry started working out early in the mornings and eating better. Losing weight and becoming more fit in high school, Larry’s self-esteem sky-rocketed. This confidence echoed and continued into college. Again, Larry took the positive he could find in a truly negative situation.

Behind every great man, there is a wonderful, amazing, strong women shaking their head and laughing

After meeting his beautiful wife, Jessica, at college (you’ve got to listen to the podcast for this story-it’s a riot), Larry ventured on to begin a family of his own. Only, it terrified him. Larry was so afraid that because of his own tumultuous experiences with father figures, that he had no clue how to be a father himself. He entered his first foray into fatherhood with trepidation: he became distant from his new son. After a heart-to-heart with Jess, Larry knew things had to change. He had to learn to get past his past. (Of course, three kids later, he’s got this dad thing down!)

The creation of the Good Dad Project came from hitting the bottom

It was this, as well as one final incident in which he lost his temper with his then 3-year-old son, that The Good Dad Project was born. Larry wanted a way to connect with other dads who felt the struggle between being a good man and being a great dad. This project spread like wildfire; delivering listeners and readers from all walks of life a place to share their struggles and their triumphs. Lesson: our experiences do not have to define us. We choose what we want to keep from our past and what we wish to discard.

Free Resources:

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

The Dads Edge Book

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If you enjoyed this episode Larry Hagner: The Man Behind the Good Dad Project . Leave your comments below as we would love to hear your thoughts so we can continue to provide you with content you enjoy.


The Difference Between a Dad and a Father by Brendan Hufford

A Dad teaches.

A Dad hugs.

A Dad is present.

A Dad forgives.

A Dad empowers.

A Dad educates.

A Dad entertains.

A Dad models his words in action.

A Dad lives his dreams so his kids can live theirs.

A Dad priorities his faith and family above all else.

A Dad reads bedtime stories.

A Dad wrestles.

A Dad plays and inspires imagination and creativity.

A Dad does not belittle his children or his wife.

A Dad does not obliterate all independence and resilience in his sons.

A Dad does not force his sons to love what he loves and do what he does.

A Dad does not expect his children to be carbon copies of himself; powered by the narcissistic notion that they could not possibly come to better conclusions on their own.

A Dad is not selfish.

A Dad does not abandon his sons.

A Dad does not miss birthdays.

A Dad does not move away.

A Dad does not make promises and break them.

A Dad does not treat his son like he is an inconvenience.

A Dad supports his sons financially, emotionally, and physically.

A Dad is there to help you move into your first place.

A Dad is there not only at your graduations, but for every conference, game, event, etc.

A Dad is there for 3AM meltdowns and phone calls.

A Dad is there to advise when you want and need it.

A Dad is there to advise when you DON’T want it or need it.

A Dad flies across the country every other weekend to see his kid.

A Dad puts the brakes on his business to give his son the time he needs.

A Dad wants other people to ask his son,

“What the heck does your dad do for a living? How is it that he can be at every single game and practice? How can he drop you off and pick you up from school every day. Doesn’t he work?”

He does.

A Dad wants his sons to know he’s going to be there for them, not because he promises to do so, but because he’s been there so many times before. His body of work that precedes him means that he’ll never have to make a promise that his sons are unsure of whether or not he’ll keep. It means that he can tacitly support his sons and daughters and they’ll never question how (or whether) their father loves them.

Being a Dad is work.  It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding work.

It’s hard work.

It’s hard work over time.

It’s hard work over a long period of time.

It’s consistent hard work over a long period of time.

Just because you’ve had a kid, it doesn’t make you a Dad. And if you can’t have kids, or can’t right now, remember that even in this moment, you’re much more of a Dad already than most men are even decades years after they’ve had kids.

The article that follows is written by Brendan Hufford.  He writes articles and thinks thoughts on how to create a business that matters, without ruining your family and hosts a free mastermind for Entrepreneur Dads.

Free Resources:

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

The Dads Edge Book

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


jason mackenzie

Drunk to Monk by Jason MacKenzie

Jason MackenzieJason Mackenzie drank  for a long time. He drank to cope with his wife’s battle with bipolar disorder. He drank to cope with her suicide. He drank for years afterwards so he didn’t have to grieve her death. And he drank so he didn’t have to try to be the man his heart knew he could be.  Jason Mackenzie submitted this article to the Good Dad Project from his own blog, The Book of Open.  I have to tell you, he really opens up his world with this article.  It’s incredibly impactful.  Sit back, hold on tight…this article is a game changer.

The Decision to Quit Drinking

Quitting drinking was one of the greatest choices I have made in my life so far. It’s changed everything for me in ways that still amaze me every day. The interesting thing is, I don’t regret drinking. It would be pointless to waste time mired in regret. The benefit of freeing myself and knowing what I am capable of far outweighs the costs I incurred.

The Lessons Learned

The lessons I have learned have made me a much better father than I would have been otherwise. There is so much wisdom to be gained from picking ourselves up off the floor and moving forward.   When our character is tested and we overcome, we are changed forever.
I created a persona that I projected to the world for a long time. I was living someone else’s life because I thought I was supposed to. That person is long gone and will never return. I did it out of fear that the real me wasn’t good enough. Far too many of us still live our lives this way.


One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the power of vulnerability. I define vulnerability as loving yourself enough to have the courage to share your story. It means loving yourself as you are and not as how you think people want you to be. When you put yourself out there you create a place of safety that will draw people to you. You’ll build connections with people that are deep and meaningful. And real.

What did this have to do with parenting?

You’re wondering at this point what this has to do with parenting. My oldest daughter is twelve years old. She is an athlete to her core. She is always moving her body and expresses herself through her athletics. She always, always brings her A game whether its to practice or competition. She inspires me to push harder and be better.

She does not like reading. In fact we’ve realized that she is a bit behind in her reading ability and it is starting to affect her at school. It’s not a crisis by any means but something we need to work together to improve. She was very upset about it so I needed to handle it with care.

We sat down and talked. The first thing I told her was that we’re both responsible for right now and for what we do about it. We’re a team. I explained that I felt like I let her down by not paying more attention to how her reading was progressing. I assumed everything was fine and that was a mistake on my part. It was a chance to talk about how we can learn from mistakes and make course corrections.

Reaching Out for Help

I asked why she didn’t ask for help when she fell behind. Her response was, “The other kids didn’t need help and I wanted to be like them. I wanted to do it on my own.” I understand that feeling completely.

“I drank too much for a long time. I needed help but I was too afraid to ask for it. I was worried about what people would think about me if I asked. I was worried about asking for help and still failing.  So, I pretended everything was OK and I kept struggling for a lot longer than I needed to. Mommy was right there wanting to help me and I wouldn’t let her.

The Lesson Learned

“You know what I learned from that? I learned that when you try your best and then ask for help, people will help you. They will want you to succeed. I ask for help all the time now. I’m not afraid to say when I don’t know something. People respect me more because of it. I learned that lesson at forty-one. I’m so happy we have a chance to talk about it when you’re twelve. You’re almost thirty years ahead of me!”

I could tell by her facial expression and body language that my words resonated with her. They made me human and helped her realize that we’re not so different. I created a safe harbor for her to take refuge in when seas are stormy. Will she use it? Time will tell, but I am optimistic. She’s a great kid.

The Power of Our Own Story and Struggle

The fact that I own my story is what allowed me to tell it to her. I’m not afraid of her thinking less of me. I know she’ll think more of me because I am willing to take what I have learned and use it to help her. Regardless of how I’ve learned it. Loving yourself enough to be vulnerable is a game changer folks.

She came to me later and said, “Daddy, I have some solutions on how I can get better at reading.” A girl after my own heart 🙂

Please visit Jason Mackenzie at The Book of Open to read amazing stores of courage and overcoming.

jason mackenzie

Free Resources:

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

The Dads Edge Book

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Carlos Condit on Grit, Gratitude, and Fatherhood

Carlos Condit on Developing a Mindset of Grit and Gratitude

About Carlos Condit

Carlos Condit (born April 26, 1984) is an American mixed martial artist, competing in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Condit is a former WEC Welterweight Champion. As of May 31, 2015, he is #4 in official UFC welterweight rankings.  28 of Condit’s 30 wins have come by way of knockout or submission. He has never been knocked out or stopped due to strikes; Condit’s only TKO loss was by injury.

Carlos Condit’s background

In this knock-out interview with MMA fighter Carlos Condit, Larry and Shawn take you through this man’s incredible career along with his tips for being a champion spouse and father. Condit’s details of his illustrious fighting career along with his passion for his family will inspire you to be a champion in your own life.

In the ring, one direct hit can take a fighter down. But it’s not the takedown that’s the issue; it’s what the fighter does in response to the takedown that defines them. Sometimes as a father, those takedowns in life can be difficult to come back from. If we take a step back from the situation, however, maybe we can see that getting back up isn’t as daunting as we thought.

Carlos Condit on Grit

When facing large challenges, don’t look at the big picture. Take it in smaller pieces. Look at what is right in front of you instead of the mountains up ahead. Condit says this is how he tackles balancing his life in the ring and being a good husband and father. It is, he says, through perseverance, grit and determination that he gets through struggles in life.

Carlos Condit on Fatherhood and Life Lessons

Teaching kids these lessons can be challenging, but demonstrating how to rebound from failure teaches them a critical life skill. Giving kids goals that are a little bit out of their reach can teach them what they are actually capable of and help them reach the next level of growth. Of course, they will not always succeed the first time, but teaching them to rebound from failure will be an invaluable lesson.

Carlos Condit on Gratitude

This is easy to say, especially when we hit bumps in the road in our careers or personal life. Maybe, though, we need to look at these bumps differently. Take this scenario for instance: you didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for and now your financial picture has changed. Instead of being depressed about the situation, be grateful. Yep, grateful. That job may not have been the best fit for you and maybe not getting this job allows you to research other opportunities for career growth.

Of course, all of this is not done in a vacuum; we need a good support system. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and are like-minded and challenge you. Condit says “yes” men don’t help you; find people who support you but also give you a dose of reality. Next time you find yourself down, seek your support system, learn from your situation and find the gratitude in your fight.


Free Resources:

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

The Dads Edge Book

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Carlos Condit Links:

If you enjoyed this episode Carlos Condit on Grit, Gratitude, and Fatherhood let us know. Leave your comments below as we would love to hear your thoughts so we can continue to provide you with content you enjoy.