Fatherpreneur.com

My journey of balancing small business and small kids


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Cliff Dives and a Sick Kid – Stressful Relaxtion

This post was started a week ago, so take yourself all the way back to last week (cue flash back harp music now)
At this very moment I am at the height of a personal paradox, a stress filled relaxing vacation. I’m sitting in a cabana chair with an amazing ocean view of the Caribbean, a full glass Johnny Walker Black and Coke light (as it’s called in Mexico), and an amazing wife, yet my mind and heart have been preoccupied with the stress of work and a sick child. Through her company, Thirty-One Gifts, my wife worked her tail off and earned a fabulous trip to the Hard Rock Resort at Riviera Maya. It’s absolutely amazing. All inclusive meaning all the food and beverage you can handle. I have brought some oversized and stretchy clothes for the occasion. For the first time since our honeymoon nine years ago we are taking a trip that doesn’t involve kids, family, real estate coaching or a life coaching conference. This is our chance to spend time together and take a relaxing break from both of our lives as parentpreneurs.
Relaxation and I have an odd relationship. I almost feel like it’s a long distance relationship in which we speak often yet spend little time together. In my world as a parentpreneur the ability to disconnect is one that doesn’t come easily. Amazing wifi and international cell phone service and an amazing resort quickly turns in to a real estate office south of the border. The real estate transactions can be dealt with fairly quickly these days. Over the past few years I have been able to grow a small team of very competent and reliable agents whom I’m blessed to be associated with. A few text and e-mails makes short work (a few hours) of the first few days. What I am really paying for is the true lack of preparation for integrating my team into the work prior to leaving versus just leaving notes. Future trips will include taking enough time to stop and perform a thorough briefing. That stress I can deal with.
The one I’m struggling with as is my wife who earned this amazing trip is what’s going on with our oldest daughter. The day before our scheduled flights she complained of tummy pain in the morning. Back in June she faced a bout of pancreatitis that involved 4 days of hospitalization for fasting. I told her teacher about pancreatitis and asked her to be sure to look out for her. At 9:30 I received a call to go pick her up from the school. We were able to get her into the doctor right away who then ordered a blood test. My wife and I swapped places and she took little Ayla to the phlembots at the local children’s hospital. Fortunately our trooper has become accustomed to the blood draws over the past several months. A blood tests is the only way to rule out or rule in pancreatitis. Early that evening the whole family somehow all converged together at our house. Oakley’s mom, my parents, the kids, and I all were there when Oakley came in to tell us that Ayla’s numbers were up and that she had to go to a specialists in the next few days. One problem, we are leaving for Mexico at 6 am the next day. We discussed the situation with all the family as the girls played. Our initial thought was to stay. We couldn’t possibly leave her there with the possibility of a hospital visit. We ran through a myriad of options and came to the decision that the family will help as planned. If the doctors said she needed to go to the hospital we could get back that night. Ultimately we asked Ayla and she said that we should go. I’m really glad she said yes because I’m not sure how this would have played out had she begged us to stay.
Once in Mexico I worked the first few mornings and we worried between Pina coladas and dodging monsoon style weather. The dark clouds that covered the resort represented the dark cloud of worry that were covering my heart. In addition to my wife dealing with this worry, her father is undergoing spinal surgery this week as well. It’s been a mind filled week.
Then one moment at the dinner hosted for all the 600 plus consultants in attendance changed the clouds of worry into sun rays. I have been reading a prayer book and trying to elevate my prayer life and belief. I read how our prayers effect the world well beyond our individual needs.
At the dinner Scott Monroe, husband of the Thirty-One founder, prayed for the meal. During the prayer he seemed to add one line that was just for us like a word of comfort from the Lord. Paraphrased he said “God let everyone here know that you are taking care of all our family and loved ones back home. Help us trust you in caring for them. Help their minds be at ease.” I’m not sure exactly what he said, but that’s what I heard and I began to cry. I wiped my eyes and had a sense of peace.
Today the rain poured down hard and our worry was still there. Ayla had an appointment with the doctor and my father-n-law had his surgery. I remembered what Scott had said the night before and the clouds began to lift. I prayed and asked God to care for them and we will respond how he needs us to. The clouds at the resorts lifted and we are seeing sunshine for the first time all week. I have struggled with worry most of my life. I learned to not let it consume me like I used to. I believe God is continually working on me.
Originally this post was to start concluding here. The next day after writing this my wife we on our way to a jungle excursion which included jumping off of 20 foot cliffs, zip lines, and swimming in caves. On the way there I saw a message from my mother-n-law that said Ayla was on her way the emergency room at the doctor’s request. I had noticed the message as the bus pulled away from the hotel and we lost internet service. Once we arrived at a true Mayan village I was able to begin texting with my dad. Ayla’s blood work confirmed pancreatitis. The day we left we asked Oakley’s mom to put Ayla on strict low-fat diet which is the only way to combat pancreatic attacks without complete fasting. We prayed as we trekked through the jungle. Ayla was in a waiting room at the ER as we jumped off cliffs. We prayed for safety of us and for her. It was complete chaos in our minds as we enjoyed moments and I ran to check my phone every few minutes. They did more blood work on her and a few hours later we received the news that she was being released and going home. The low fat diet had helped her enzyme levels drop enough for the doctors to feel comfortable with her not having to fast. Our trek from the Mayan village to the bus was one of joy and relief. We had to work to completely trust God and our families to take care of her. We had to work to have fun and not let the worry take away an incredible experience that my wife and I will always remember. Fighting the feelings of guilt because of the fun while our daughter was awaiting another test was tough. Feeling helpless as a parent is indescribable. I really feel God was using this experience to show us we can truly trust him. He showed us that our daughter is a strong person and I hoped it showed her the same.
As I finish the post the sky has a dual personality with rain and sunshine. In spite of the rain God is still there shining down on us. I will remain committed to trusting him. When I let the rain of worry shower down on me as it is sure to do I will hold fast in the truth that rain is momentary and that the God who created the sun will shine always.
The hybrid of parent and small business ownership is truly tested on vacations. Maybe this time I wasn’t be great about disconnecting fully, however I am the type of person who likes to learn and I look forward to my next lesson. Thank you Thirty-One for this trip and thank you to my wife for working so hard to earn it and thank you God for taking care of my little girls.
Cue harp music for the return to tonight. It really was a painfully enjoyable experience. My wife and I had the greatest time on the trip and made some great friends. We both learned to trust God more. I know worry may never leave me, but the level of which I let it steal my joy is going to be a lot less.

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Mom’s Gone Now What? Running Solo for A Week Part one

When my wife asked me if she could go to a conference for her company I said sure.  I go to two or three trainings a year and spend thousands of dollars a year on events to further my personal and professional education.  I love events where I can get surrounded by colleagues and superstars in my business.  My natural response was “yes”, because I want my wife to have the same opportunity I get.  What I didn’t fully realize at the time was that her being gone for 6 days meant I had to fly solo with two precious little girls during the summer in the midst of the busiest season of my work world with over a dozen real estate deals going and four construction projects on the ground.  I pulled up my daddy boots and put on my house husband apron and went to work. I am thankful that my parents were able to watch the girls during the days while I worked.  Without that I’m not sure I would have made it.

I’m fully capable of handling dinner and bedtime solo  and hanging with the girls for a night, as a HOTONE (Husband of Thirty-One) that’s no big deal. If you didn’t know my wife is a rockstar Thirty-One Gifts consultant. She really is amazing in her business, meaning I get to practice nighttime with the girls several times a month while she is hosting parties. Comes with the territory and I’m glad to do it. Supporting your spouse is key and should work both ways.   Doing nighttime and daytime for six days in a row was definitely a first.  Who knew kids ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus a snack and another snack and another snack. These kids eat like teenage boys. I was never told that growing girls eat like crazy as well.  Oh yeah did I mention that my six year old had just come out of the hospital for pancreatitus and was on a low fat diet. No easy out with McD’s and pizza every night. I actually had to come up with real meals and made a lot of salads. Thank God they ate them.  During lunch I crammed as much fattening food as I could find to ease the pain and fill my fat food cravings. 

We got so busy before my wife left that neither of us remembered to go grocery shopping.  Taking two little girls to the local grocery store at 5:30 pm in the middle of the week is like running into a hurricane. Don’t people shop on weekends? What was supposed to be a quick trip turned into an hour of “Daddy can I have this, daddy can I have that ….., daddy why are you buying so much wine?”  My kids are great when we go to a store about not crying over toys and other items. When it comes to telling them no about food it’s like I punched them in the gut and ran over their non-existent puppy. I was looking around to make sure no one called the police telling them I was depriving my girls of sweet tarts.  I could hear the sirens in my head and the “doink doink” sound from Law and Order.  Best thing to do is race to the check out and head home with boxes of non mom approved cereals (insert villianist laugh, hehehehe)

I did my best to keep up with dishes (paper plates), laundry (wear the same clothes for 6 day kids), and house work.  I did nothing but work, be dad, and house work. By ten o’clock each night I curled up in a little ball in my bed with a sippy cup of wine and watched Big Bang Theory reruns counting the days till my wife came home. 

Over all I really handled it well.  I actually managed to get a bunch of work done with the kids which I will detail in my next post. Nothing like showing your most expensive property of the year with the little ones in tow. 

The day before my wife came home the girls and I put it into high gear to have the house as clean as possible. The goal, let mom come home to a house with no dishes, laundry to be done and no toys in the living room.  I accomplished this with Disney Princess and Tinkerbell movie marathons and lollipops. 

I have the utmost respect for single parents everywhere.  If you’re a single parent and running a business you have the absolute toughest job in the world.  As a dad I’m equipped to handle a lot of things, spiders, bills, changing light bulbs, checking for the boogie monster and scaring off boys. However I’m not equipped for a week of dressing, feeding, and attempting to do the hair of  little girls. I tried and had some epic hair fails, so much so that my oldest just looked at me and said, “Lita (grandma) will do it when you drop us off.”

Amidst of all the chores and girly things I had some of the best quality time I could ever imagine with my kids. We danced and played games, watched movies and stayed up late a few times because it takes me forever to get through their nighttime routine while taking calls, sending out contracts and doing dishes.  I also developed an amazing appreciation for my wife.  The one thing I made sure of was to do my absolute best not to complain to my wife about the extra stress.

I wanted her to enjoy her time and get the most out her trip. Making your spouse feel guilty over work trips is not going to help your marriage at all. I must say my wife has been really good about this over the years. I never felt more guilt than my self imposed guilt. After a few trips I gave myself permission to enjoy my time and really focus on my trips. The great thing is once a year we now take a trip together to attend a personal growth event.

I made it through the 6 days unscathed and the kids had a good time, but we were all super excited to see mom.


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“KNOW THYSELF” – Plato

There is one common element in the journey to grow a strong family and business, it’s you.  That’s right, you are with yourself 24 hours a day.  From the boardroom to the bedroom you are there with you.  The interesting thing is that many people don’t  really know who they truly are. We have all heard the stories of people taking trips and time to go “find themselves.”  If it was only as easy as looking up “ME” on EBAY. I was curious what would turn up. The search resulted in pictures and post cards about Maine. I can tell you I am definitely not there (I don’t do cold well).  On Amazon the results were a bit more interesting. A face aging app, some odd novels, and a book by Ricky Martin titled “ME”.  Not on my short list to read no matter loca my vida gets.

So where does one go to “Know Thyself?” The answer, IN.  That’s right you must venture into the most scary place of all mankind, your inner thoughts. Without going “nuts” on the psychological and self-help ideologies I truly believe there are three areas in which you must know yourself that will feed into your family, business and all spaces in between.

1. You must know what you BELIEVE

Belief systems are the basis of all decisions we make and actions we take.  How we view the world, ourselves, religion, our children, the industry we work in is key to our success in life. The belief that success is possible is the start.  Next week I will go into more detail about how belief systems as a parent and business owner need to line up and work together. When we have contradictory beliefs we create friction in our life.  To “Know Thyself” you must understand what you believe and why.  Where did it come from and why do I really believe this? Challenge yourself and strengthen your beliefs or change them.

2. You must know HOW YOU RELATE TO PEOPLE, your personality and communication styles

Do you know your personality style?  There are bunch of great tests out there. Have you ever taken one?  Everyone in the entire world should take one. I have done several. The coaching company I employee has a very detailed program that my wife and I took together. It truly helped us understand how we operate and communicate. Patience is one of the greatest expressions of love we can show. When you understand how you relate to people and how your loved ones, co-workers relate you can be patient with each other. I recently had DISC profile done and went through a great class to learn how the styles interact. I had one done for my 5 year old as well in order to better understand her (if understanding a 5 year old tween wannabe is possible).  I will get into detail on this in a future posts as well. In the meantime consider that the way you see the world is not the same as the way those around you see it. People don’t even hear words the same. Some people hear tone more than verbage and many people are the opposite. Knowing these differences make the world and it’s people easier to deal with. You can’t change others, however you can change how you relate to them.

3. You must know WHAT YOU WANT!

Having a vision of what you want your life to look like is crucial. You must have a vision for your business and for your family.  It’s not just numerical goals or resolutions. Think about how you want your life to be day to day. The type of people you want in your business. Think about how your kids behave and treat others. We all want well educated kids, but what does that mean. More importantly we want children who have great character and influence. I recently heard Andy Andrews say that we should not focus on having great kids, instead we should focus on raising on kids who become great adults. That is the truth. Greatness is a journey that can only be achieved with vision. If you don’t know where you are driving you’ll find yourself in a place you never wanted to go. One of the best exercises I have ever done is writing a letter to myself from the future. On the top of the page write the date January 8, 2019.  Then tell your current self how your life is in 2019. This is a best case scenario future. It’s your ideal life so dream big. Explain what your day looks like. How does your family begin it’s day. Where are your kids, what are their ages, how do they interact with you and your spouse. How is your relationship with your spouse. What does your company look like?  Do this for all areas of your life. Ask and answer great questions of yourself. Take 15 minutes to just free write. It’s an amazing experience and you’ll find yourself taking a lot more time.

Knowing your vision, your personality, and your beliefs will be the first steps on truly unlocking who you are and aiding your journey as a parentpreneur.

Go forth and learn thyself.


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Fatherpreneurship

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Hello World,

I am Joseph Cortez (the man in the picture above) and I am a Fatherpreneur. I can see you trying to figure out just what that is. A “Fatherpreneur” is a guy who is a father and entrepreneur. My goal with fatherpreneur.com is to archive my journey, struggles, and insights with raising two small children and two small businesses.  The girls are 5 and 3 and the businesses are also 5 and 3. My life can be a little crazy from time to time, meaning second to second. One minute I’m on the phone discussing a real estate deal and the next I am dancing as a Prince in my daughter’s Barbie the Nutcracker meets Barbie Princess Charm School imaginary ballet.

Everyday millions of men and women struggle to balance family and business.  The big question is how do family and business intertwine into a joy filled and successful life. There is a constant balancing act that is difficult to manage. In fact as I write this my three year old has run into my room to greet the day by sitting on my lap to help me type. “I want to play ABCMouse.com when you are done, Pleaseeeeee”  Hard to say no to that face. She won the computer and I am now at the office.

Parentrpreneurs world-wide are the backbone of most economies and we all encounter them daily. From the dry cleaner with his daughter at the front counter to the brain surgeon who’s clinic is performing a life saving operation and all in between. There is a delicate balance of family and business. On one hand business is there to support the family, thus it must succeed. On the other hand the family must succeed because there is really no back up plan for the family.

This constant tug-of-war can be the cause of great stress, frustration, satisfaction and unparalled joy.  Do I have it figured out 100%, well no.  What I have figured out is to be aware that the potential for failure is possible and so is success. With this awareness I am constantly seeking out knowledge and wisdom in the areas of personal development, business, family dynamics and stress relief.

My hope is that with each weekly blog post I can give you some insight that may help you along in your Parentpreneurial journey and most of all to let you know that you are not alone. I have come to realize that people who don’t own a business can really never understand how hard it truly is. Thrown a child or six and the task it even greater.

I was researching the main reasons businesses fail the other day and was not surprised to see family dynamics on the list.  After all small business is family business. Trying to truly separate the two is a myth and almost dangerous. The right idea is that they work together.

Please join me on my journey towards growing a successful family and a successful enterprise.  It really is possible to have both and the journey itself is the greatest success of all.

It’s a blessed life,
Joseph Cortez


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Protect Their Eternity

Millions of parents probably did the same  thing as I did on Friday afternoon, gave a giant hug to their kids. A hug that lasted longer than normal and had a few tears involved. My wife and I locked eyes while I was embracing my kids, as if to say I know how you’re feeling.

I arrived home early on Friday afternoon to an empty house to start packing for a weekend trip to Sea World to see “Shampu” the whale, as my 2 year calls him.  Being a politically junkie I turned on the news as normal. What I saw being reported was not what I had anticipated. The news of the school shooting was being reported. With each detail my heart began to break and for the first time in years I wept.  My heart broke for the parents, the community, and even the shooter. I pondered how bad someone’s life would have to be to perform such an atrocity.

Then all the normal questions flooded my head, “How could this have been prevented, Why did this happen,” etc.  Logically I deep down understand that we will never really know. I also understand that evil is present and cannot be stopped with human means. I believe the only way this could have been prevented is if the this man-child knew Jesus. Not the superficial going to church every now and then, but actually knowing Christ personally.  There are a million conjectures that can be made and I will leave trying to figure this out there.

The question has been raised about what we can do to truly protect our children. More laws, locks, and police may help, but things will happen in a world with free will. Evil exists and we cannot protect ourselves and children from everything on Earth.   What we can do is protect their eternity.  This temporary life has many dangers, but none greater than not sharing the love of Jesus with them.  The biggest act of protection you can do is to raise them in a way that shows them God’s love. Teach them about Jesus and what salvation really means in this life and in the next. They will then have an opportunity to accept or reject him as they grow older. No act of parenting is more important. No other act has eternal impact.

I recently met the wife of one of my mentors. We spoke about how great her children are and I asked her what’s the number one piece of advice she could give me as a parent of young girls, she simply said, “Protect their hearts and show them God’s love.”

That about says it all. As parents we will do our best to protect our children’s physical lives and put our lives ahead of theirs. What we mustn’t forget is to protect their hearts, minds and souls. Protect their eternity.

Til next time make the hugs a little longer,
JC

She Believed, She Delcared, It Is

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She Believed, She Delcared, It Is

Last year we found out my youngest was allergic to strawberries, oranges, soy, wheat and egg whites. The biggest reactions were strawberries and oranges so we completely removed those from her diet and did the best to limit the others. The bad thing for her is that she loves strawberries and oranges.
Over the past several months she would come up to her mom and I and say “When I get bigger I eat strawberries, when I get bigger I eat oranges.” Everyday she would say this several times. We knew there was a chance she would grow out of it based on what the doctor had said. We just never knew when. To us it was a possibility and I think she believed it was fact.

I half expected her to raise a bible in one hand and pull out a Joel Osteen accent and smile while declaring favor over her allergies.

On Friday she was retested. She has outgrown her allergies. We are now reintroducing her favorite foods. She was so good about telling people she couldn’t eat this food and now she is telling everyone she can. She tells them with a big smile, “I can have strawberries.”

I’m a big believer in speaking words of greatness and declaring things. I honestly probably haven’t been as committed as my little girl. Perhaps my faith hasn’t been child like enough. My brain may be getting in the way of my heart.

Is their something in your life that you want to change? Maybe if you are a little more committed  and child like in declaring it with full belief you may see change. “When I get bigger I will lose weight, when I get bigger I will have that new business, when I get bigger I will no longer be addicted, etc.

Till next time go out with belief, declare it, and it could be.


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Slow Down Your Experience

Four years ago last week I became a father for the first time. It’s been an amazing journey that has taught me many lessons. One of which is  to embrace the little things more. In a world that is chasing the next big idea at a rapid pace, the little things are the most amazing things we have. I love the little laughs and the “aha” moments in my daughters eyes as they discover something new.  The “aha” and “awe” moments seem to be less frequent as we age. I am trying to rekindle my “awe” moments.  The world is full of amazing things we take for granted.  The fact that I can be typing in Texas and someone in India and Thailand will read this later still amazes me.

Watching my children grown is one great “awe” moment. Many things get lost in the day-to-day struggle to keep things in order in a fast paced world. I often hear “they grow up so fast.” The truth is they all grow up a the same pace. The speed we experience their growth is up to the parent.  By focusing on the little things each day one can actually slow down the experience they are having.  I know there are times my twenty-minute car ride with my four-year old seems to go by in a flash and other times it’s seems like a whole day. When we are engaged in conversation and talking of thing we see on the road it’s a period of true connection. When two people are connected in a relationship wether it be parent-child, husband-wife, or best friend to best friend the little things create an engaging experience that seems to slow down time.

Each day I try to remember that this day with my kids will be the only one of its kind we will ever have. Even just a simple hug held for a second longer or an extra “I love you” can make the day that much better. The last four years have flown by and also seem to have always been. My existence as a dad may have been short to this point in days, however my experience as a father seems to have outlived my previous 28 years.  Every day we have a chance to experience life to its fullest with the simplest of choices – embrace the little things or chase the big moments. If you catch a big moment you have a few great memories in your life. If you embrace the little ones you have thousands along with the big moments.

Till next time – embrace the little things and the little ones.

Joseph Cortez

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