Summer is officially here. The kids are trading in their backpacks for pool towels and their sneakers for flip flops and here I am, still running a global business. So what’s a father to do when the kids are free but the man still has a job to do? F****** figure it out people, and make the best of it.
The truth is that summer is one of my favorite times of the year because I travel less and my wife Courtney and I haul the kids up to our farm in Vermont. But business at Spartan never stops, so it can be a juggling act to navigate work and family life. Here are three ways that I navigate my way through it.
Put the Kids to Work
Everyone knows that I have no problem with putting my kids to work. They shovel snow, mow the lawn, make their beds, and help Courtney and I with whatever needs to be done around the house. Summer work looks a little different.
They’re free most of the day, so many days become take your kid to work days. I know that they aren’t always thrilled to head into the office with me — they’d rather be messing around with friends — but once they’re there, it’s a win. I get to benefit from time spent with them and they get to benefit from seeing a business in action. When I was a kid, I watched my own father make business deals and hit the daily grind with gusto. The lessons that I took from watching him execute have stuck with me and helped me in my own business. I want my kids to have that same experience.
It’s also important to me that all of my four children see what I really do each day — not just the tasks and responsibilities, but the values that I’m working hard to promote, such as grit and commitment. One of the best ways to teach your kid is to show your kid. Hard work is contagious. When they see me work hard, it’s impossible for them not to feel the urge to do the same. I want them to know that there is something bigger that I’m working towards here. It’s not just putting on races, it’s helping change lives.
Make the Family Tag Along
Even though I travel a little less during the summer months, I’m still on the go. Business meetings, sponsorship fulfillments, speaking engagements — they can pull me away at any moment. So what’s the solution? Make the family tag along. They’re happy to do it and I’m happy to have them. It’s best when we make it a road trip. All six of us stuffed in a van can be an adventure, but the best part about it is that I get to reconnect with the kids. I get to hear all the stories that I might have missed during the school year and get up to speed on their life adventures.
Related: How to Balance Family With Spartan
The family tagalong also has an additional benefit: It gets the kids out of their comfort zone. Wherever we go, whatever we do, there is always something new — new food, new scenery, new climate. I’m big on exposing the kids to different perspectives, and a road trip is the perfect answer.
Find a Way to Make Your Business About the Kids
Last summer we put on our first Spartan Kids Camp and Kids Death Race. The idea popped into my head as I watched our kids and others around the farm during lockdown, complaining about their circumstances. I thought, Let’s take advantage of this moment and build some grit. The results were incredible. The wimps became warriors. The complainers became courageous. And the resistant became resilient. I realized that we had killed two birds with one stone — built an incredible event that could be recycled each year, and found a way to weave my kids into my work.
I realize that I’m lucky to have the ability to carve out specific events that my kids can be a part of, and I know that not everyone has this ability. But here’s the thing: If you can’t weave your kids into your work at the office, weave them into your work at home. Do you mow the lawn? Do it with your kid. Let them take a row and you do the next one. Do things need fixing around the house? Do it with your kid. Let them screw in the screw or hammer the nail. Do you make meals? Do it with your kid. Let them add the spices or cut up the veggies. There is always a way — sometimes you just have to get creative.
Take advantage of the months that your kids are out of school. I do my best to integrate my kids into Spartan wherever and whenever I can. Sometimes you’ll see me delegate a little more so that I can spend an extra hour on the mountain with the girls or 30 more minutes at the fishing pond with the boys, but — generally speaking — there is no balance. I just blend them together, and the result is awesome.