Why You Should Express Your Appreciation

posted in: Dares | 0

Each week, I’m challenging myself to complete a Dare of the Week. A weekly goal designed to live more intentionally and be a better man. And I’m inviting you to join me.

THIS WEEK: EXPRESS YOUR APPRECIATION

thankyou
Image courtesy: Jon Ashcroft

How often do you stop and appreciate what you have in life?

It’s easy to see what we don’t have, isn’t it? We all could use more of this and less of that. But what if we focused more on what we’ve been given than what we wish we had?

Showing your gratitude prevents taking people for granted, reminds you of how much you’re blessed, and just plain makes you a happier person.

I know that’s what I want for my life. How about you?

This week’s dare is to focus on what we have been given and be thankful for it.

1. As an exercise, list at least 20 things in your life you’re grateful for.

2. Once you’ve written your list, write down whoever’s responsible for it.

3. Go to those responsible and show your appreciation.

This is a simple dare, I know. But we might just be surprised how far a simple thank you can go.

Will you accept this week’s challenge?

 

 

 

Confessions of an Imperfect Parent (A Personal Note)

posted in: Coach | 1

A friend recently introduced me to another guy and said,

“This is Jason. He started a killer website for guys called GoodSirs. He’s a great writer, a good family man, and a professional parent.”

That was high praise, but far from the truth. A professional is someone who knows everything and rarely makes a mistake.

That ain’t me.

I love my family more than life itself, but I’ve made some wrong turns along the way. I’ve given too much time and attention to other passions, been inconsistent in my parenting, and have a tendency to be impatient. I could go on.

The point is, I’m not a professional parent. In fact, no one is.

When a child is born, so is a parent. Of course, for parents, no one is there to clean up your messes. We experience moments of profound joy one day and times of frustration and disappointment the next. And just when you think you have one child figured out, another comes along and teaches you that no two children are alike. Thus, the learning process begins all over again.

There’s no doubt about it. As parents, we learn and grow on the go.

But here’s something I have discovered:

Being a family man is the most heroic calling a guy can have.

With one in three kids growing up without their dads around, it’s something that’s sorely lacking in our culture yet is so desperately needed. Gentlemen, it’s on us to change that story.

While there is no such thing as a perfect family man, there is a big difference between a man who gives a damn and one who doesn’t.

I want to be a man who gives a damn.

That’s why I started GoodSirs. To challenge and encourage guys like me to step up and be the heroes we’re meant to be. We may never be perfect, but we will always try.

The Good Lord gave us the tremendous blessing of having a family. He also entrusted us with the tremendous responsibility to lead them well.

If that’s what you’re after, I invite you to join me on the journey to be a better man.

That’s what being a Good Sir is all about.

 

 

3 Ways to Show Her What She Means to You

posted in: Dares, Mate | 0

Each week, I’m challenging myself to complete a Dare of the Week. A weekly goal designed to live more intentionally and be a better man. And I’m inviting you to join me.

THIS WEEK: SHOW HER WHAT SHE MEANS TO YOU

loveyourwife

I love my wife! She’s not only beautiful, she’s smart, strong, and supportive. No doubt about it, like most men I know, I married out of my league.

We have a rock solid relationship, but like most couples, we can find ourselves going through the motions and assuming the other knows how we feel about them.

I don’t want to get caught in that trap. This is why I need to be intentional about expressing my love and adoration of her.

I imagine you do too.

This week’s dare is to show our ladies what they mean to us. Of course, this shouldn’t be contained to just this week, Valentine’s Day, or your wedding anniversary. In fact, if you only show your lady how you feel on special occasions, you’re doing it wrong. It needs to become a way of life.

To help, here’s a simple grid I use to make sure I keep the romantic fire stoked. Make it your goal to do the following three things this week (and every week) and show her what she means to you:

Something Practical - Whether it’s cooking dinner, rubbing her feet, or putting down the toilet seat, performing simple everyday actions can go a long way in expressing your love for her.

Remind her how thoughtful you can be.

Something Fun – Remember how much fun you had when you were dating? While you were building your relationship, you were also building a friendship. You enjoyed being together and hopefully, you still do. This week, plan a fun date. Make it enjoyable. Take it a step further and make it unexpected.

Remind her of the man she fell in love with in the beginning.

Something Romantic – We should woo our ladies as much AFTER marriage as did BEFORE marriage. Buy her chocolates or flowers, write her a love letter, and give her long kisses. Whatever she’s into. If you have children, get away from them for a bit. Sometimes we get so caught up in being mom and dad that we forget that we’re husband and wife.

Remind her how attractive you think she is.

Be practical, fun, and romantic. That’s our marching orders this week.

Will you accept this week’s challenge?

If so, let me know. Drop a comment, shoot me a tweet, or post a comment on the GoodSirs Facebook page. I would love to hear from you.

 

The Best Way to Grow As a Leader

posted in: Leader | 0

What is the best way to grow as a leader?

The answer might surprise you. It’s a duty many of us have, but few recognize as the ultimate leadership development program of all—becoming a parent.

The Best Way to Grow As a Leader
Flickr image courtesy of drinksmachine

I used to believe only a select few had the potential to be a leader, but having a child taught me that’s not completely true.

Every parent is a leader. Some are just better than others. Of course, you don’t need to be a parent to be a leader, but it does prove that leaders aren’t just born that way—they’re also developed along the way.

Here’s a handful of reasons why parenting is the best way to grow as a leader.

When you teach your child right from wrong, you’re leading.
When you motivate your child to reach their potential, you’re leading
When you discipline your child for testing boundaries, you’re leading.
When you sacrifice for your child’s needs, you’re leading.
When you nudge your child out of their comfort zones, you’re leading.
When you nurture your child when they’re hurt, you’re leading.
When you inspire your child to overcome obstacles, you’re leading.
When you invest in your child’s future, you’re leading.
When you give your child an example to follow, you’re leading.

I can think of no other leadership program on earth that can teach us about being a leader more than being a parent does.

As we grow as parents, we grow as leaders. Sadly, many parents (especially fathers) don’t fully accept their responsibility to lead their families well.  It’s as if they’re given a sword of leadership but refuse to learn how to use it.

But when you answer the sacred calling to lead your family, you step into the life you’re meant to live.

You find a purpose beyond your own existence.
You unlock talents and gifts you didn’t know you had.
You grow in confidence and courage.
You discover why you are here.
You make a difference.

The best way to grow as a leader is to be a parent. And it all begins at home.

Go figure.

 

Why You Should Speak Less and Listen More

posted in: Dares, Leader | 0

Each week, I’m challenging myself to complete a Dare of the Week. A weekly goal designed to live more intentionally and be a better man. And I’m inviting you to join me.

THIS WEEK: SPEAK LESS AND LISTEN MORE

shhh
Speak Less. Listen More.

He had the rare opportunity to learn from some of the most influential people in his field. As he made his way through the convention hall, he introduced himself to various thought leaders and presenters at the event.

As the guy made his rounds, he shared with others his visions and plans for the future. He offered opinions on various trends and topics of the day. He even told a funny joke to break the ice with a speaker who looked like he needed it.

When the event was over, and he sat in the silence of his hotel room, it occurred to him: “I had the collective wisdom of some of the best thinkers around, but somehow, I did most of the talking.”

After beating myself up over my foolishness, I made a vow for the second day of the conference: speak less and listen more.

Sure enough, I found myself in position to visit with some brilliant people, but this time, I took a genuine interest in others, asked open-ended questions, and learned as much as I could.

Day Two was better than Day One.

Have you ever been in conversations, meetings, and other social situations and ended up doing most of the talking?

I know there’s a place for people like us. Others can be shy and we feel we must be the ones to get the communication flowing. But I would argue that effective communication is like playing catch—tossing back and forth to each other. Otherwise, you’re just playing catch with yourself.

If you want to be a better communicator (and human being) you must speak less and listen more.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • It conveys an interest in others. When you allow others to speak about themselves and their interests, it shows you place value on them. You tell them they are worth your time. When you open yourself up to others, you will discover remarkable people and stories you never would have known otherwise.
  • Listening is a synonym for learning. It’s true. The less you say the smarter you seem. And when you finally do add your two cents, your words pack more power and impact. Beyond the appearance of intelligence, you can actually grow in intelligence, too. Listening is learning.
  • It keeps you from being a tool. Have you ever met someone who babbles endlessly? Have you ever found yourself saying something stupid only to make it worse by trying to dig yourself out of the mess you made? I know I have. By listening intently and choosing our words wisely, we appear more thoughtful and mature. Two words commonly not associated with tools, but two words that should be associated with gentlemen.

This week’s dare is to work on speaking less and listening more. When you are in conversations at work, at home, or elsewhere, practice playing catch with others, not just with yourself. Be genuinely interested in other people, ask open ended questions, and seek to learn as much as you can.

Not only will you glean from the wisdom of others, but you may also make some existing relationships even better. That’s what good communication does.

That’s what I’m shooting for. How about you?

Will you accept this week’s challenge?

If so, let me know. Either drop a comment, shoot me a tweet, or post a comment on the GoodSirs Facebook page. I would love to hear from you.

 

What Movies Should I Let My Children Watch?

posted in: Coach | 4

rating-card

“The ratings system exists for one purpose: to inform parents about the content of films. Our ratings reflect how we believe a majority of American parents, not just from large cities on the coasts but everywhere in between, would rate a film. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously.”

Joan Graves, Chairwoman of the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Administration

What Movies Should I Let My Children Watch?

When the MPAA slapped an R-rating on the documentary, “Bully” there was instant backlash. Why? Because the story is one that many feel teens need to see and experience. Especially since over 13 million children will be bullied this year. The rating is a result of the subject matter and some language (F-bombs) that are tossed around by bullies in the film.

Since the public outcry, the film was released as unrated, leaving it up to theater owners to determine if they will allow children or teens in to view the film. Some say this goes too far while others say it’s not far enough.

No doubt about it, when it comes to film ratings, controversy abounds. But the question remains: how should parents decide what movies their children can watch?

Here are some thoughts:

As a parent, I appreciate the spirit behind MPAA

Proof that clowns are evil.

It helps give some general direction as to the content of a film. I don’t want my kids exposed to things like soft porn or the clown from Stephen Kings “It” (which still gives me the shivers). In general, film ratings are helpful.

But the MPAA isn’t perfect and I’m uncomfortable letting any organization be the ultimate deciding factor on whether a film is suitable for my children. That’s my job.  I am okay, however, with them providing guidance to make informed decisions.

That said…

Your movie rating trumps all others

There are websites devoted to telling parents if they should let their child see a film or not. If that works for you, great. But as a parent, I want the facts about the movie so I can use my own judgment on whether it’s suitable for my children.

This is why I use imdb.com.

They have a Parental Advisory page for each film that tells me the content which informs me on whether or not it’s appropriate for my children. Here’s their philosophy:

Since the beliefs that parents want to instill in their children can vary greatly, we ask that, instead of adding your personal opinions about what is right or wrong in a film, you use this feature to help parents make informed viewing decisions by describing the facts of relevant scenes in the title for each one of the different categories: Sex and NudityViolence and GoreProfanity,Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking, and Frightening/Intense Scenes.

Parents need to be in the drivers seat when it comes to which movies or television programs their children should watch.  The fact is, stories are powerful. They teach, inspire, and move us. They also serve as cautionary tales.

Real life is real life

Boyz in the Hood

Frankly, most older kids (and many younger ones, too) have heard the “bad words.”  Parents have a responsibility to not simply shelter our children, but to train them to operate in the real world.

When I was 13, my parents took me to see “Boyz N the Hood” (rated-R). It was littered with violence, language, and even sexual situations. But the story had a profound impact on me and solidified in me the value of each and every human life. A lesson embedded in me when Ricky got shot in the back.

They could have given me a speech about that value of life, but they intentionally took me to see film that said it better than they ever could.

But at the end of the day…

Let kids be kids

Children are growing up way too quickly these days. And as a parent, we have a responsibility to preserve their childhood. I encourage us all to use wisdom and discernment when deciding what our kids should be exposed to. Let the kids be kids.

When the time is right, strategically introduce them to more serious topics. Be there along the way to explain things and coach them on the way the world is AND the way it should be.

Every film or television show is a teaching opportunity. Use it to your advantage.

 

What advice would you add to parents who are wrestling with this topic?

When do you think it’s suitable for children to watch PG-13 or R movies?

 

Stop Doing Good Things and Start Doing the Right Things

posted in: Dares, Healer, Producer | 3

Each week, I’m challenging myself to complete a Dare of the Week. A weekly goal designed to live more intentionally and be a better man. And I’m inviting you to join me.

THIS WEEK: STOP DOING GOOD THINGS AND START DOING THE RIGHT THINGS

stopimage
Flickr image courtesy: iMarlon

This week’s dare runs counter to how many of us are programmed. After all, shouldn’t we do as much good as humanly possible? Yes, we should. But I’ve got news for you:

You are not infinite.

You don’t have unlimited time, money, or energy to do all you wish you could. Your heart may tell you to help everyone, but it’s not possible. We’re not the Good Lord.

I’m learning that I need to stop doing good things and start doing the right things. 

While we can’t be everything to everyone, we can be something to someone. Our challenge is to wisely choose what/who to pour ourselves into because when we say yes to one thing, we say no to another.

If you’re up for the dare, join me in doing the following:

  • Examine your goals, passions, interests, strengths, and sphere of influence.
  • Take a hard look at your current commitments. Where do you devote your time, money, and energy?
  • Do they align?
  • If not, you need to make some hard decisions.
  • Make plans to gracefully bow out of good things and free up yourself to pursue the right things.
  • But please don’t use this as an excuse to do nothing at all. You are better than that.
  • Instead, be strategic and invest yourself in things that matter.

This dare is easier said than done. Trust me, it won’t be popular and not everyone will agree with or understand your decisions. But when you’re operating out of your passions, and your effort points in that direction, you better steward what you’ve been given.

And you will make a bigger impact than you ever thought possible.

I know that’s what I’m shooting for. How about you?

Will you accept this week’s challenge?

If so, let me know. Either drop a comment, shoot me a tweet, or post a comment on the GoodSirs Facebook page. I would love to hear from you.

 

What Would Be in Your Dream Man Room?

posted in: Producer, Provider | 1

Here’s a look inside my man room/work space.

Sure, it’s not a sweet billiard room full of leather furniture, mahogany walls, and a stone fireplace with a bear rug, but it’s mine. This small, spare bedroom is where I do my best thinking, writing, and creating. In fact, GoodSirs was conceived in this very room.

Whether it’s a man cave, garage, shop, studio, or home office, every guy needs a space to create, play, tinker, and retreat. It’s even been said to improve relationships. Go figure.

Do you have a space in your home to call your own?

If you could build your dream man room, what would it consist of?

homeoffice

Further reading on man rooms:

 

5 Practical Ways to Support Our Troops

posted in: Warrior | 0

militarymember

As a four-year military veteran, my heart broke when I read this report in a recently published AP story:

“Suicides are surging among America’s troops, averaging nearly one a day this year…The military also is struggling with increased sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other misbehavior.”

According to the Wounded Warrior Project, “an estimated 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war including combat-related stress, major depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment”. Add to that the 48,000 servicemen and women who’ve been physically injured, and it’s easy to see how this could affect soldiers.

American troops are heroic, but they are also human.  And they need our help.

Most citizens want to express our appreciation in real and tangible ways, but what can we do?

Here are five practical ways to support our troops:

1. Give honor

It’s almost become cliché to thank the troops for their sacrifice. But knowing that your country stands with you reminds you that you’re working for something bigger than yourself. Whether we’re in conflict or not, never, ever stop giving honor where honor is due.

2. Befriend them

The best support comes from relationships. This is also true of the men and women in our armed forces. By building friendships with those who serve, you not only gain a solid friend, you help improve the morale of our military.  Trust me, that gives those who serve a much-needed boost of encouragement.

3. Love their families

Military families need our love and support, too. Think about it. Who pays the heaviest price when our troops are deployed? Their loved ones. Who has their lives disrupted frequently when a military member is relocated? Their loved ones. Who does it affect the most when a soldier, airman, marine, or sailor returns from conflict with injury, stress, depression, or death? Their loved ones. Some of the best ways to show your care for our military is to love on their families.

4. Donate to them

Serving your country comes at a price. Sometimes, the cost is your well-being. And since you don’t enter the military to be rich, sometimes the cost is financial. For a number of veterans, sometimes the cost is a scar that hasn’t quite healed. Thankfully, there are a handful of great organizations doing good work to help and support active-duty military and veterans. In your generosity, consider giving to a reputable military organization.

5. Pray for them

As we read in the report, we need to keep our troops and their families in our prayers. A suicide a day is heartbreaking. Not to mention the divorce rates, increased abuse, injury, depression, and other struggles. For people of faith, we believe that prayer can reach places no person ever could. We trust God to know where it hurts and where healing needs to take place. Never discount the power of a heartfelt prayer.

Every time you meet a member of the military or veteran, know you are standing in the presence of greatness. These warriors deserve our support, love, friendship, and sincere appreciation.

I, for one, am very proud of those who have the courage to serve. You all are my heroes.


How will you help support our troops?
For those of you who’ve served, what other suggestions do you have?

 

Give Yourself Permission to Pause

posted in: Dares, Producer | 1

Each week, I’m challenging myself to complete a Dare of the Week. A weekly goal designed to live more intentionally and be a better man. And I’m inviting you to join me.

THIS WEEK: GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO PAUSE

Give Yourself Permission to Pause

I’ve been told I may have a slight addiction to being productive. I take pride and pleasure in creating, learning, and doing things that matter. For me, this drive is rooted in the strong work ethic of my American Heartland upbringing, a natural bent toward progress, and the constant sense I have something to prove.

Whether that’s healthy or not is up for debate, but the fact remains: I must produce.

People like me tend to get so hyper-focused on where we’re going we forget to take in the landscape of where we are. Which is what makes this week’s challenge so daring. A productive person pressing the pause button is like a coffee junkie functioning without their caffeine fix. But no one needs it more.

Rest and relaxation has been known to rejuvenate both body and mind, improve memory retention, and better our moods. On the flip side, someone who never slows down tends to be more stressed, more sick, and more irritable than we should be.

It turns out a little R & R is a monster productivity strategy. Go figure.

If you’re up for the dare, join me in doing the following:

  • Take a day off this week and simply relax, play, party, and enjoy life.
  • Take an hour off each day and do something mindless and fun. Chilling out is good for us.
  • Take a few minutes each hour and deeply breathe in and out. Use that small window to recharge, recalibrate, and refocus.

Will you accept this week’s challenge?

If so, let me know. Either drop a comment, shoot me a tweet, or post a comment on the GoodSirs Facebook page. I would love to hear from you.

 

1 2 3 11