How to Feed Your Courage and Starve Your Fear

COURAGE is something every dad needs more of…the question becomes:  “How do we develop more of it?”

We can’t out run stress. It’s simply a fact of our daily lives. The idea that we “eliminate” stress from our life sounds great, but that means cutting out the parts that are most meaningful. Think about it: the parts of our lives that make us who we really are come from areas that bring stress: our work, our kids, our significant others. These aren’t “bad” stressors, but they are part of our lives. It’s not a matter of cutting these areas out, but a matter of how we handle them.


Always Darkest Before the Dawn


Truth. All too often, we get caught up in the negativity of our circumstances and fail to see what good might actually come out of them. Our mind will take us where we lead it. If we choose to ask questions like “why did this happen to me?” or “what did I do to deserve this?” we certainly will find ourselves at the end of a self-destructive spiral of pity and self-loathing. Yuck, we’ve all been there. But, if we choose instead to view a circumstance from a state of abundance instead of scarcity, we just might see that our “negative” circumstances have a lot to teach us.


What are You Feeding?


Our attitude about stress is all about what we choose to feed: fear or courage. We’ve talked about feeding the Fear or the Courage Wolf before and this is exactly what we have been encouraging. Choosing to nurture the Courage Wolf through affirmation statements gives us the strength to get through the circumstance and persevere. Whereas feeding the Fear Wolf only strengthens our stress, making us anxious and eventually paralyzing us from taking any positive action.


Choosing the Statement


It doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple phrase like, “I’ve got this” in moments of even the greatest doubts will trigger our minds to think in a state of positive action. Navy Seals even use these statements to get through their most difficult moments in training and the field (see the Mark Divine episode for more!). Like anything in life, how we confront stress is how our mind and body will respond. What it boils down to is the fact that we simply don’t give our minds enough credit for what they are really capable of.


It’s About the Questions


And what it also comes down to are the questions we ask ourselves. Really, how positive is it to ask ourselves, “what did I do to get here?”. After this question, your mind will tell you EXACTLY what you did to get “here”. Because our minds go where we ask them to go, we tend to lead them down a negative path with this line of questioning. A better, more positive question might be, “what can I learn from this event?”. Through this type of questioning we will find ourselves better poised to handle whatever the stressor might be and learn from it for the next time around.


We’ve just touched the surface here. Knowing that we, as men, face the societal challenge to be strong and unbending, we tend to shy away from anything that others might perceive as “weak”. But instead of suffering in silence from these stressors, learning to reprogram how we deal with them will only strengthen our relationships and better our lives.



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Five Ways to Control our Temper as Dads

Ah, Clark Griswold; the preeminent example of a father and husband with the best of intentions, but reaction challenged when it comes to dealing with life’s hurdles and controlling his temper. Of course he wants the best for his family: from great vacations to Wally World to finding the biggest Christmas tree. Unfortunately, on his quest to be the “perfect father”, he tends to respond in anger and frustration when things don’t go the way he plans. Sound typical? Ok, so maybe Griswold is a bit extreme (or maybe not), but you have more than likely had a moment or two when frustration has gotten the best of you. Larry and Shawn provide 5 easy ways to keep your anger and frustration at bay.

Your Temper and the “Perfect Father Myth”

Before we go any further, let’s dispel the “perfect father” myth; there is no perfect father, doesn’t exist. We’re human, have emotions and sometimes, those emotions get the better of us and that’s okay. As Larry says, “great fathers have bad moments”, it’s what you do in those moments that build your character and provide a positive example for those around you, specifically your children.

Controlling our Temper Means Knowing our Triggers

So, what’s a guy to do when it seems like the world is pushing all of your buttons? Know your triggers. Maybe it’s repeating yourself to get your kids to pick up after themselves or you’ve just come home from a full day of work and you are barraged with requests to help with homework and the kids. Whatever your triggers, identify them so that you can do what you need to do to prepare yourself ahead of time and following these 5 ideas might just help diffuse your response:

Temper Tip #1:  Breathe

Be able to take a breath. Not just that little hyperventilating breath, either. This breath needs to be a nice, long, drawn breath, enough to calm you and bring you back to a state of peace. It should allow you to reset yourself and prepare you to deal with the situation at hand in a rational manner.

Temper Tip #2:  Walk Away

Walk away. In the heat of the moment, our adrenaline may make us want to stay in the situation and argue. But cooler heads do prevail, walking away when we feel our blood boiling will keep us from saying things we may later regret. Not only that, walking away gives us a chance to get perspective on the situation. Adrenaline only muddies the waters.

Temper Tip #3:  Stay Active

Stay active. If there’s one concept that is driven home on a regular basis on the GDP, it’s the benefits of exercise and overall health. In the case of anger and frustration, physical activity can also help us to channel this aggression into something more positive. So, there’s really a dual benefit: your anger remains at bay and you stay fit!

Temper Tip #4:  Surround Yourself with the RIGHT People

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Enough said. You need a sounding board that has been through similar experiences and can give you either advice or a simple listening ear.

Temper Tip #5:  When you do Lose your Cool, Apologize

Finally, when you do lose your cool, apologize. Even if it goes against everything you feel like doing, an apology goes a long way in repairing a bridge that may be a little singed. Apologies disarm people and pave the way to build a relationship into a stronger force.

Forget about Perfection

Forget the “perfect father” myth. Let it remain just that: a myth. We are human, prone to the same emotions of all other humans; it’s what we do with those emotions that make us who we truly are.


Check out our Dad Edge Group on Facebook Request Entry Here

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

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

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Thanks for checking out this week’s podcast on Five Ways to Control Our Temper as Dads.

Drew Manning On Health and Fitness

How Your Health and Fitness Impacts Your Kids and Relationships with Drew Manning – GDP022

Episode Overview

We had the pleasure of interviewing New York Times Best Seller, Personal Trainer, and all-around amazing dad, Drew Manning.

In this episode, Drew teaches us how our health can have a direct impact on every aspect of our life.  Drew went on an incredible twelve-month journey from being incredibly fit at 190 pounds,  low body fat, and peak physique state to gaining 70 pounds and completely out of shape in six months.  He then took the ladder six months in his twelve-month journey and got back into shape at a lean 190 pounds once again.


In his bestselling book, “Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit” he explains his journey in detail and how getting completely out of shape impacted every aspect of his life.  By going on this journey, it has made Drew a better trainer and life coach for his clients.  He has been a fit athlete his whole life.  When he took six months to walk in the shoes of the typical American diet and lifestyle, he quickly learned how devastating it can be.

Key Takeaways:

  • You will discover what the typical American diet did to Drew’s health and well-being
  • How this journey impacted his Dad journey
  • How he got himself back into shape after gaining 70 pounds and not stepping into a gym for six months.
  • Drew gives essential strategies of how you can balance parenthood and self-care
  • Why taking care of your health is one of the best investments you can make as a parent

“I have always been a guy who loved sports growing up.  I was a football player and a wrestler during most of my years growing up.  I have always had a passion for health and fitness.  When I became a personal trainer, I noticed there was a “disconnect” from time to time with my clients.  Since I have eaten healthy most of my life, I have never really understood how addictive processed foods could be.  It wasn’t until I decided to go on my six-month journey of eating unhealthy and not working out did I fully understand what my clients were going through.” – Drew Manning

Drew ManningDrew Manning purposively decided to take six months and become an unhealthy individual.  He didn’t really eat fast food, but he did stop eating veggies, stopped going to the gym, and simply ate the typical American diet for six months straight.  He simply ate things like chips, soda, cereal, mac and cheese, pizza, burgers, etc.  He completely got away from his healthy lifestyle.

The impact of gaining 70 pounds in six months

Drew explains how gaining 70 pounds impacted his enjoyment of being a father and husband.  He admitted that he had a much harder time playing with his two-year-old daughter.  He got tired a lot faster than usual.  He also noticed that when he would need to take breaks from playing and that his daughter would get her feelings hurt.  He also noticed he argued with his wife a bit more than usual.  Finally, he really noticed his self-esteem really took a beating as well.

Drew’s journey back to being fit:

After Drew Manning gained 70 pounds within the first six months, it was now time to get back to his healthy lifestyle.  He started eating healthy again, but didn’t set foot in the gym for the first thirty days.  He lost nearly twenty pounds within the first thirty days.  The fact that he lost twenty pounds in the first thirty days demonstrates how proper nutrition can truly make a huge impact.

Why it is critical that parents take care of themselves first

Drew openly talks about why parents need to take care of themselves first.  Most parents feel a sense of guilt and shame at the very thought of taking time away from family to take care of their health.  In reality, taking time to take care of your health is the most unselfish thing you can do for your family.  When you put your health as a top priority, you are setting your parenting journey up for ultimate success.

When you feel better, you will show up better for your kids.  When you have optimal health, your relationships will improve tremendously.  Don’t use your kids as a reason to not take care of yourself.  When it comes to being an amazing mom or dad, quality is better than quantity.  Its better to have thirty minutes of high quality time with your kids versus sixty minutes of low quality time.  If you really want to improve the quality of life with the whole family, include the kids in your healthy lifestyle.  Stay active and eat healthy as a whole family.


Books Mentioned In This Episode

Thank You!

Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Good Dad Project. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute to subscribe and leave a quick rating and review of the show on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!

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.

Free Resources:

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

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Thank You!

Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Good Dad Project. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute to subscribe and leave a quick rating and review of the show on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!

finding balance

Finding Balance as a Dad and Being a Learning Leader with Ryan Hawk – GDP019

Finding Balance and Being a Leader

Shawn and I had an opportunity to interview Ryan Hawk, from the Learning Leader Show.  Ryan is a father of five daughters (yes 5!), a leader in his corporate position, a former college and arena football quarterback, and now has a very successful podcast called “The Learning Leader Show.”  Ryan was a perfect guest to have on the show.  Not only is he a busy father of five, but he has become a student of leadership and fatherhood.  Ryan shares what he has learned over the past several years being a successful athlete, corporate leader, successful podcaster, and finding balance in the journey of fatherhood.

Key Takeaways from Episode

  • How to lead our kids by example
  • How to positively build everyone up in the family
  • Why being a student of leadership will make you a better dad
  • Why being a passionate learner will make you a better man and have a more enjoyable life
  • Finding balance in life despite being a busy dad burning the candle at both ends


Tip #1:  Encourage Your Kids to Compliment Each Other

During our interview, Ryan shared a game changing tip that is so simple, yet so effective.  At times, we all struggle with what to talk about at the dinner table that can get everyone involved.  Ryan tells us that one of their family dinner traditions is to go around the table and each person shares one great thing about everyone else in the family.  It can be something positive that they did that day or even something they just truly appreciate about the other person.  I thought this was an epic tip because it not only teaches the whole family to reflect on gratitude, but also a reflection with a personal compliment about each member of the family.

Tip #2: How Being a “Student of Fatherhood” Will Make You a Better Dad

Finding balance in life means being a student of life.  Being a student of life will always keep you curious and uncomfortable.  I realize that sounds like an odd combination, but it’s actually a recipe for success.  When we are always open to learning new ways to sharpen our craft, we will become better in every aspect of life.  Learning to be a better corporate leader/employee, athlete, or entrepreneur can easily translate to us being better fathers.


Because “learners” are always searching for ways to become better.  Our natural curiosity as learners opens our minds to new and better solutions to everyday obstacles.  Fatherhood, just like anything else, is a learned skill.  There is truly no manual for fatherhood.  However, always being open to how we can do it better will empower us as Dads.

Tip #3: Finding Balance While Balancing Everything

How can we manage our day, demands, priorities, work/life balance, and the day to day grind instead of our day managing us?
In this episode, Ryan gives some great tips that help him balance it all.

  • Marriage and the relationship with our wives/significant is a first priority
  • The kids and all of their activities are just as important as the marriage
  • Ryan prioritizes his days and maps out exactly what needs to be done and when he will do everything
  • He also has drastically cut down his time watching TV and other unproductive activities.  Moreover, he has replaced those activities with more self development projects, such as his podcast and business.


Tip #4:  Finding Balance Means Taking Action and Remaining Uncomfortable

The most successful people in the world are the ones that simply take action and live outside of their comfort zone.  Successful people are always striving to push harder and grow in every area of their lives.  Teaching our kids to take action, step out of their comfort zones, and to always remain curious are some of the best life lessons we can pass down.

Free Resources:

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

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Books mentioned in this episode:  

Thank You!

Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Good Dad Project. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute to subscribe and leave a quick rating and review of the show on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!