During lunch a couple of days ago, a friend asked how I came to be a coach. As I recounted my winding career path since graduating from college, I realized there was one critical milestone in the journey: the birth of my first daughter. Her coming into this world wasn’t quite planned and it forced some replanning of my proposed future, as well as my wife’s future. Yet, in this period of reconsidering what I was all about as an individual and a professional, I asked myself one deeply soulful question that has continued to guide my life: What kind of father do I want to be?
The answers have provided a foundation not only for my personal life, but my professional life. I remember the first week of knowing that I was going to be a dad; I was terrified by all the changes that were going to need to take place…getting a solid job with health insurance (I was in graduate school at the time), finding a good place to live, etc. Then, this experience was further deepened when I started to consider all the changes that I would need to make as a person. At one point, the anxiety of it all was just too much and I started to run (physically) as hard as I could. I ran out of my basement apartment and kept running along street after street, through park after park, until I couldn’t go any farther and fell into the grass. From this exhausted state, I asked myself what kind of father do I want to be and then the answers started to appear.
I wanted my child to know love, to know integrity, to know playfulness, to know commitment, to know that this world is a good place filled with good people, to know that we can love our work. And the way for her to know these things are to see them modeled.
The process of asking myself this question did not end prior to her birth, but continues to guide me today. As my children grow, so do I as a father. Being a dad has provided another powerful layer of purpose to my life.