Being a dad and entrepreneur is difficult enough in and of itself. During these historically volatile times, it is important to provide reassurance to your child that everything will be alright. We all know that we cannot control life (and certainly not the last 2 years of change and chaos), but you can manage and be intentional about your approach to business and parenting.
“Even though you cannot predict the future,” says Ryan Blair, entrepreneur, father and author. “I’ve learned that children need reassurance that you are there to guide them”. That means you should be present for yourself and them. “I’ve learned that through adding yoga and meditation to your life, you can be more present in the day to day chaos.”
So what does it mean to be present?
Being present is all about embracing the moment. Embracing the moment means turning off your smartphone and other electronics. The time you spend with your child is absolutely invaluable. This is your opportunity to make memories that last a lifetime. The time you spend with your little one, tween or teen is also necessary to establish a foundation that serves as a launching pad for his or her success moving forward. Resist the temptation to zone out with your smartphone, computing devices and TV.
We got a chance to sit down with Ryan and ask him some questions about fatherhood and what it has meant to him to be a high performing entrepreneur while showing up for his family.
Daddy’s Digest (DD): Can you tell us how becoming a father changed things for you at work? Did your lifestyle change?
Ryan Blair (RB): Being a father planted a seed within me that changed my trajectory in life. I love my son so much that I would change anything about myself to be a better Dad for him and I have just about changed everything. My son has been my greatest teacher. Teaching him and mentoring him gives me the opportunity to break the cycle of how I was raised and do my best to meet Reagan’s needs.
I’m not perfect by any means, but I am committed to growth as a father and to having a relationship with my son that he can count on and that he can model for his children to come. In short, everything changed and continues to change as he grows up and I grow wiser.
DD: What's one tip you'd like to give to dads who are feeling really stressed out right now?
RB: Take better care of yourself. You are the fuel of the family. Love yourself. Treat yourself and invest in yourself. The more you heal the more you grow. The more you grow, the more your family grows. That’s why I have started free meditation practices with my community – to pay it forward.
DD: What does being a 'provider' mean to you when it comes to your fatherhood journey?
RB: I seek to provide my son with the environment he needs to grow. Children grow constantly in the right environment, when their needs are met, when they feel safe and when they have access to the resources they need, they grow. If they aren’t growing in a healthy way we need to upgrade the environment around them. When a child is growing at a rate that parallels their capacity, they grow and are happy. Unfortunately the aforementioned can be expensive in today’s world so I do my best to grow my financial empire alongside my family empire.
DD: How do you connect with your child?
RB: I do my best to meet my son where he is at. I take a knee when we need to have a tough talk and I engage with him on the subjects he’s into. I also do my best to break from the seriousness of life and be silly with him. We play tag in the house, we wrestle, we take walks together and we make time where we put our phones down and talk through anything that we are holding onto. By no means am I the best Dad, I just try my best to give my boy the memories that matter
Here are some tips from Ryan so that you can do to show up for your family or build a stronger bond with your child:
Engage in a constructive dialogue with your child after school, while eating dinner and also during an after-dinner walk around the block.
Play with your child – whether it’s a tea party, arts and crafts, or doing an at-home science experiment, the act of play is a strong connector
Learn something new with your child – start learning a new language together (maybe French or maybe coding!) or learn how to bake bread from scratch. In times of uncertainty, learning something new can be very positive.
Practice mindfulness, by doing something like yoga or gratitude journaling, and teach those things to your child.
Pay close attention to your child’s tone and facial expressions during interactions. Ask open ended questions and give them space to work through thoughts and feelings. Though your child might not be comfortable opening up to you, opening the door can be a huge step to building a stronger relationship. Dedicate specific hours of the day to work and other hours to parenting your child. Get into the habit of working and parenting at these specific times and you will develop a routine.
Provide your child with ongoing guidance throughout their lives, and through hardships try to focus on expressing gratitude. Most importantly, be active. Ask your child if he or she would like to try any new activities. Participate in those activities and hobbies together and you will find it is that much easier to focus on the positive in life rather than dwelling on the world around us that seems to be crumbling a little bit more with each passing day.
Ryan Blair is an entrepreneur, father and author, most famously known for his health and wellness brands; his most recent is AlterCall. Ryan attracts a large following and helps high performance entrepreneurs find harmony in their mind, work and home.