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Your habits make or break you as a father and a businessman.

But you’re probably not doing as badly as you think.

Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday. I’ve always felt like the world shrugs off Father’s Day while making a huge deal out of Mother’s Day.

It’s nothing you’ve ever probably gotten upset about. But at the same time, you probably feel some pain on the topic.

Whether you are consciously aware or not.

Following are seven habits of highly effective fathers.

If you feel like a disrespected deadbeat dad, these should lift you up. If you feel like you’re mirroring all the bad things your father did, these habits will improve your life.

How well are you doing with these, Lions?

1. Setting boundaries with consistency for your children

Imagine this. Your kid has asked for something 13 times. You say “no” every single time, knowing it’s a bad idea.

But on the 14th time, you cave just because you feel like your relationship will suffer if you say “no” one more time.

Or maybe you’re just sick of being the “bad guy.”

Whatever the case, you’ve set up a variable reward for your child by caving. That’s why they ask so many times for the same thing.

They’re testing how hard the edge is on the boundary you set up.

But here’s the thing you need to know: variable rewards are the same things that keep gamblers coming back for more of a bad thing.

Think of it this way: You pull the arm on a slot machine 13 times and get nothing. Then, on the 14th time you hit a jackpot.

Are you going to stop pulling? It’s human nature to keep going for that intermittent reward.

If you always feel like a reward is just around the corner, you’re more likely to keep driving toward it. 

7 habits of highly effective fathers

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But how safe would you feel on a rope bridge with no railings?

If you don’t set boundaries for your kids, you’re giving them a bridge with no safety rails to hold on to.

2. Respecting your children

If children feel disrespected, they’re more likely to disrespect you.

Don’t be the guy who just says “no” to a request and walks away.

Instead, be the guy who takes a few more moments to relate the thinking behind it.

Saying you’re the ultimate authority won’t get you more respect.

But telling your kids you don’t want them to have a second bowl of ice cream because of the risk your family has for diabetes? That will show them you respect them and are looking out for their best interests.

Not only that, but respect your children enough to let them live their own life.

I remember talking to my son Mark on the back patio one evening. I was hammering on him to get better grades because that was the Watkins way.

What he told me has stayed in my memory, “Quit making me you, Dad! I’ve got it figured out.”

I didn’t respect him enough to believe him that night, but years later I understand he needed the space to live his own life.

And I respect that.

3. Leaning toward parent more than friend

New fathers, especially, can’t stand the thought of being anything other than their child’s best friend.

Don’t get me wrong.

You should be a friend to your kids, especially as they become adults. But as children they need a parent more than a friend.

Lean toward being a parent more than being a friend.

That means setting clear expectations, following through, giving boundaries and consequences that don’t vary.

You’re not doing yourself or your children and favors when you’re more lenient than you promised to be when you set expectations and ground rules.

This is the same kind of thing you already do in business. You’re a boss more than you are a friend, even though you’re friendly with your employees.

There has to be a dividing line if you want respect and you feel like a deadbeat dad.

4. Being intentional

Ever catch yourself doing something just like your father used to do it? Does that tick you off?

One of the things we coach business owners to do is be more intentional about their strategies.

Intentionality is committing internally and acting externally.

My intentional moment hit me like a lightning strike on the day my daughter joined my life.

A couple months before, my wife had nearly left me because I was working 80 hours per week. She told me she didn’t want an absentee father who was supposed to be present.

That, she said, would be worse than a father who just didn’t care enough to even pretend to be part of his daughter’s life.

I shot back that my work was all to give her and my daughter a better life down the road.

She didn’t care. My arguments were hollow if I didn’t plan to be home and present for my daughter instead of out working to support her.

And when I first held my daughter, I made an intentional commitment to be the best father that little girl could experience.

At the time, I wasn’t that kind of father. I had no idea what I was committing to.

But I was committed.

Committed to being a great businessman, a great husband and a great father.


5. Seeking support

Most men join the Pride because they want to be able to get more done in less time.

They want to grow their business quickly so they can have a better life.

But as we start working with men, fatherhood comes up so often!

For the men in the Pride, we watch as men support each other on everything from business deals to daddy-daughter dates.

Joining the Pride is one avenue for support that spans fatherhood, business, productivity and more. But it’s not for everyone. You’ll only get the most out of our programs if you’re a high achiever willing to work for progress.

You can also get a lot of support from books. Please let me know if you want any recommendations for parenting books in an email.

6. Leaving work at work

Remember how my wife almost walked out of my life just before we had our first child?

I wasn’t leaving work at work.

In fact, I was hardly coming home from work.

I had to intentionally cut back on my work to improve my marriage and fathering skills.

Now, I practice segment intending. For each segment of my day, I practice intending to be the best I can possibly be during that segment.

So during each transition during your day, take a few moments to decide to be better in the next segment.

This will help you better separate work and estate.

7. Competing against yourself

This is where the rubber hits the road. I know you look at some fathers and think you could never compete with what they do or how they do it.

You see them going camping every weekend. You see how they interact with their kids.

Whatever it is, you start comparing yourself.

And comparison is poison.

Unless you’re comparing you to yourself.

Then it’s just healthy competition.

So if you only did one daddy-daughter date last year, commit to doing one each quarter this year. Or one a month.

Find places where you can measurably improve over yourself, and do it.

The best fathers don’t compare themselves to others. They compare their past selves to their future selves.

Happy Father’s Day!

How are you doing with these seven habits, Lions? If you’re reading this, you’re probably a better father than you think.

Be your best cheerleader, not your loudest critic.

That’s something every high achiever could do just a little better.

You too, boss:

Effective parenting is similar to being an effective boss.

Anywhere you see the word "father" or "parent" in this article, you can usually swap in the word "boss" and get some actionable advice as an employer.

We've watched men in the Pride use tactics like this to double their revenue and more.

If you want to see how our systems could work for your business, let's have a free one-on-one.

We'll help you find your freedom breakthrough!

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