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How to Live a Life That Counts

How to Live a Life that Counts with John Williams

John Williams is the founder of a non-profit organization called Life That Counts. Today on The Good Dad Project, he shares his story of childhood adversity and talks about how he is raising his two boys, how he keeps his marriage on point, and what amazing things he is doing in the world.

 

John Williams

John Williams grew up in Alabama in a dysfunctional household. He never knew his father. He lived with his mom, his little brother, and his cousin. The man of the house was his tyrannical alcoholic uncle. Daily life was plagued by profanity and poverty. John Williams remembers that he always felt the huge void of his dad’s absence in his life.The man in their lives, his uncle, was not really a man. He never held down a job or kept a relationship. he was a terrorist in the home. There was no discipline, no encouragement, no one to witness his mistakes and to show him how to take ownership of them. He also felt for his mom, who had no one to share the burden of hard times with.

As John grew older, he experience frustration and rage. He watched himself do terrible things. He became violent in front of his mom. One time, he frightened her so badly that she took his little brother and fled the home.

He knew this wasn’t who he wanted to be, but he lived that way into his twenties. He was defensive and always fighting against the world. Eventually a mentor show up in his life who told him that he had to quit living for what he was against and figure out how to live for what he was for. Today he is determined to stop the echoes of his volatile childhood.

My wife is going to know her husband, and my kids are going to know their father.

On Marriage

John Williams and his wife just celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. She was his high school sweetheart, and the one thing they agreed on before they got married was to eliminate the ‘D’ word from their vocabulary. Divorce was not an option. They pledged themselves wholeheartedly to on another. They keep in mind that they are both human and are prone to screw up. John knows that he isn’t the same man he was ten years ago, or even a month or a day ago. He recognizes the change and growth in his wife as well. They give each other the latitude to grow, change, and adapt over time.

If you want a relationship like the one you had when you first fell in love, you have to do those things you did when you first fell in love.

Life That Counts

John Williams believes in consciously approaching life instead of reacting to our fight or flight instincts. Now he is helping his kids and children everywhere to develop decision-making skills that lead to healthy outcomes. John believes that higher expectations lead to increased performance. When more is expected of students from teachers and parents, they will go further. But he has noticed that when more is expected from students by their peers, the results can not only change their lives, but the culture of the entire school. Peer-to-peer mentoring removes the spotlight from kids’ negative behaviors and puts the focus on behavior that generates positive outcomes. That is why Life That Counts is offering this program to schools at no cost. John Williams wants to show kids how to be the hero of their own stories.

We have to remember that we hold influence and we do have sway, and whatever we want to do in life, we can.


Resources

==>NEW!!<== Grab a copy of The Dad’s Edge AUDIOBOOK on iTunes or Audible

GRAB A COPY OF THE DAD’S EDGE HERE

Join our Dad Edge Group on Facebook Request Entry Here

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

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Download this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS

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John William’s Links

 

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no barriers

How to Live Life with No Barriers with Erik Weihenmayer

Defying the odds, overcoming adversity and summiting the top of Mount Everest as a blind person – you do not want to miss today’s episode on how to live life with No Barriers with Erik Weihenmayer.

Erik Weihenmayer is an American athlete, adventurer, author, activist and motivational speaker, and the only blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Erik was affected by a rare genetic disease called retinoschisis. He went completely blind a week before his Freshman year in high school, a difficult age even for sighted kids. He remembers having to be lead into school as a newly blind person. It was a sad time. He sat by himself in the cafeteria and heard all the excitement and joy of kids around him. He knew he didn’t want to be sitting at a table by himself listening to life go by. He wanted to be in the action.

But Erik’s first reaction to going blind was anger, frustration, blaming, and lashing out. He fell off docks and slammed into walls. With support from his family and friends, he got got through it. He realized he needed to find his own way and had to decide what he feared most – fear of living inside a prison vs. fear of getting out.

Erik chose to take the road that had potential to lead him out of the darkness. He found blind friends who went rock climbing. He learned to use his hands and feet as his eyes. He learned to read Braille and use a cane, and this led him back to the world. Through his struggles, Erik realized that the fun of life is discovering your own way forward.

 

You’re not going to do it like the next person. Challenges bring new discoveries.

 

Erik found his own way of doing things as a blind man, and achieved his dream of climbing Mount Everest. It’s unbelievable that eighteen years before, he couldn’t even find the bathroom by himself.

 

What within us is stronger than what’s in our way.

 

Having a Rope Team

One of the most important elements of mountaineering is having a rope team. Erik says men also need to have a rope team for daily life. We all need help to do the great things we need to do.

Erik says life for men without rope team is lonely and brutal. He tells the tragic story of his brother who died from complications due to alcoholism. His brother was a great person, but he wouldn’t let anyone in. Not accepting help from others leads to a short and unhappy life. We’re all in the same boat, reaching to overcome obstacles, and having a support system is crucial.

On Fatherhood

Erik has two teenagers and admits that climbing Everest doesn’t make him a cooler dad in their eyes. In his family, they try to get back to the basics. When his kids were little, he always got down on the floor and played with them. Now that his kids are teenagers, they sit at the table together. Erik makes sure they’re not just talking at each other, but being open and listening. I’m here for you always, he tells his kids a lot, and tries to demonstrate that same message through his actions.

The family also gets away as much as they can. They do summer trips together in the wilderness and on the white water. Erik says they each push themselves in different ways and experience the learning process together.

During breaks, they talk about their adventures, the ups and downs, and the triumphs. Erik believes that the outdoors is the richest laboratory for parenting his kids. They get a chance to step away from all the high-tech stuff and immerse themselves in the creative process.

Live Life with No Barriers

It’s in our nature to avoid failure, to shy away from risk and fear. Sitting around, watching TV, and eating pizza is much easier. It’s safe. It’s comfortable, but it’s not living life to the fullest.

Erik says as parents, we must sweep our children out into the world. They will get broken, and it will be hard. They’ll get bombarded. Sometimes a blow or setback makes a direct strike. At this point, Erik tries to get his kids to stretch their barriers. They will have to decide if they are going to shrink in retreat, or use the challenge to get bigger and better. They practice taking adversity, using it as fuel, and converting into light.

Erik Weihenmayer’s Dad Wisdom

Erik keeps an open heart policy in his household. He had to figure out how to make himself vulnerable and lean into bad experiences. He teaches his kids to do the same.

He also makes sure his kids understand that their dreams are credible and that their thoughts matter. Let them know they have inside what it takes to blaze into the world.

Erik’s last piece of dad advice is to send kids over the fence and into the wilderness. Give them unsupervised, unstructured time outdoors. The creativity they develop will lead to pioneering spirit that will take them through the adventure of life.

 

Referenced Episode: How to Teach Our Kids to Win at Losing with Sam Weinman

 


Resources

==>NEW!!<== Grab a copy of The Dad’s Edge AUDIOBOOK on iTunes or Audible

GRAB A COPY OF THE DAD’S EDGE HERE

Join our Dad Edge Group on Facebook Request Entry Here

We have new Dad Edge T-Shirts!  Grab one HERE

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

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Download this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS

Links


Erik Weihenmayer’s Links

NoBarriers

Website

Amazon

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