Do You Always Seem To Be Struggling With Life?

For many, life is one great struggle. We struggle with bosses who don’t respect us or our work. We struggle with trying to get more things done each day than are humanly possible. We struggle trying to get our kids to do their homework, get into bed, get into the car and stop bothering their siblings. Struggle, struggle, struggle.

Some people feel that they just aren’t alive unless they are locked head-to-head with something in life – people, events, beliefs. What if instead, we were more able to be in flow with life than to be struggling with life? What if the key to living our greatness and a happy life is actually to stop struggling and learn to be more okay with how life shows up?

Go for the ride

I am not saying you should not have goals, a focus or a plan. Set the direction you want for life by knowing yourself and knowing your world. Build your guardrails along your road in life to keep yourself on your path. Then as life comes at you, go for the ride. Stay on your road but don’t fight with what shows up on the road.

Struggling with life just makes us regret, resent or miss our lives. It turns into a battle of wills that fatigues us to a point where we don’t see its greatness, awesomeness or value. We see everything as a win/lose, us/them, good/bad.

What to do instead of struggling with life

What if instead, we changed our ideas, thoughts and beliefs to see that life just is.  Accepting what is then uses the energy you normally would use to fight and struggle to now respond in a new, healthier and more successful way. Here are some examples.

  • Let’s say you are in a job you don’t like. Your boss is like many bosses – he is not that supportive or interested in connecting with you to engage and inspire you. So you anguish over how awful work is. What if instead, you used all that energy to see which ways you could make work better for yourself – offer more ideas to bring your best to what you do. Or, what if you used your energy not to fight with the situation but rather to see it as the information that now is the time to go find something better – a workplace that openly wants and values you?
  • Let’s say you are always arguing with your teen. What if instead, you remind yourself that the best solutions come from a reasonable and sane conversation, something that can’t happen if you go directly into a conflict or struggle? What if you realized that your teen is actually a unique person trying to find his way, to live his own life –  not to be a replica of yours? What if you simply stopped arguing, started talking and shared something you love about your teen, or something he does well? Communication could change.
  • Let’s say you are driving on the highway and a car recklessly pulls in front of you – no blinker. You can of course return the reckless behavior and be aggravated by the event for the balance of your day. Or, you could quickly slow down, realize that you don’t know the motivation for their action, and not be locked in a mental struggle with a situation you don’t know about or have any control over. You could simply wish the driver well and keep on your way. You could. Or, you could struggle…

I heard a great line from the On Being podcast interview (host Krista Tippett) with social psychologist Ellen Langer – Dr. Langer said, “No worry before its time.” I’d like to offer, “no struggle before its time.” There are indeed times when struggling helps us grow. There are also times that struggling is just our go-to behavior that doesn’t serve us. We should know the difference. Save the struggle for the important things.

3 Powerful Fathering Skills To Be A Great Dad, With Keith Zafren – RFL027

The 3 Powerful Fathering Skills To Be A Great Dad – Episode Overview

What skills does it take to be a great dad? What if you had no role model – or didn’t like the way you were parented – how do you learn? Though we change in each generation there are still many things we do as dads that get carried along from the past. So back to the question – how do you become a modern dad – a present and involved dad – a supportive and guiding dad – a loving and engaging dad – even if you didn’t have that kind of dad? Who do you have to be to get your kids ready for life? This week we check in on the 3 powerful fathering skills of affirmation, acceptance and affection and how they can completely change the way dads can raise their dad games and be more successful with their kids.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on dads. And my intention is to share 3 ways to raise our dad games – to be more involved dads to build strong sustainable relationships with our kids, regardless of what you saw from your dad. And these skills works the same for moms.

Meet our guest Keith Zafren

Keith Zafren on how to be a great dadKeith Zafren is a coach, speaker, Jack Canfield certified Success Skills Trainer, founder of the Great Dad Project and the author of the award-winning book, How to Be a Great Dad-No Matter What Kind of Father You Had. He regularly coaches busy dads to not repeat the mistakes their fathers made, but instead, to create fantastic relationships with their kids. He is, through his years of pastoral work, a founding board member and fatherhood trainer for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program.

Episode’s Key TakeAWays

  1. Stop and notice about what you believe to be true about being a dad. Freeze time and assess whether how you are acting as a dad supports, guides and helps your kids be who they really are. All dads have a profound impact on their kids.
  2. How much of your parenting do you notice comes from your parents? What of it should you keep because it is wise and brilliant – and what do you want to get rid of because it doesn’t serve you, your relationship or your kids?
  3. As a dad, can you ask yourself (and be honest) these questions – who am I and how do I be great in the moments in my life? Being open to see who you are, what you believe and if it serves you is the first step to becoming a mindful dad – or a modern dad.
  4. From his book (see suggested resource below), Keith shares the 3 powerful fathering skills – these are what kids need from their dads (parents) to be whole, to grow up happy, to discover who they are and to be free to live what is greatest in them:
  5. Affirmation – positive reinforcement – provide regular communication that they are wonderful and loved – for who they are not for what they do. Praise only for achievement leads our kids to think they must continue to achieve in order to win our praise and affirmation. Affirming our kids helps them see that they are right as they are – that they are loved for who they are – they see their inner value. This creates self-esteem and confidence to be who they are, live their greatness no matter what pushback they get from their world.
  6. Acceptance is built around the term “no matter what.” This means that “no matter what” happens in their lives, we love and accept them. Approval and acceptance are not the same. Acceptance is who you are. Approval is about what you do. You can accept your child though you may disapprove of his or her particular behavior. Kids have to feel fully accepted at home or they will go out of the home to search for it – acceptance is that powerful for all of us.
  7. Affection is our ability to share that we love our kids. Be confident in physical affection – be a dad that is in touch with his feelings and is comfortable in sharing how he feels with each kid. Our “dad” stories can sometimes hold us back from being affectionate – from openly hugging and sharing how much we love our kids. Loving our kids is not a mom’s job – it is a parent’s job.
  8. Use these tools to be a modern dad – to show up in this moment, with this kid, supporting, loving, guiding, affirming and accepting. Think of what this creates in each kid – of being loved and valued all the time. This doesn’t mean we don’t correct, punish or let our kids get away with things. It just says to our kids, “No matter what you do, I will always accept and love you.” How would it feel for you to hear this from your father? How will you start to be more of this kind of father – and raise your dad game.

Be a great dad: Keith Zafren and his kidsSome question for parents:

  1. How can you get past whatever parenting you had to create the version of it you want?
  2. In what ways do you regularly affirm your kids?
  3. In what ways do you regularly accept your kids – for who they are, not for what they do?
  4. In what ways do you show affection to your kids?
  5. How are you creating the parent you want to be?
  6. Moms – how are you affirming your husbands to be great dads?

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Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  1. Stop and Notice what kind of father you had. What of it do you want to continue? What is outdated and needs changing?
  2. Stop and Notice how you affirm your kids. How do you remind them daily they are loved for who they are, not just for what they achieve?
  3. Stop and Notice how you accept your kids. How do you help them see that who they are – in all of their differentness – is just right and good?
  4. Stop and Notice how affectionate you are with you kids. Do they feel that you love them and can you challenge some of the stories that play in your head about how dads show affection? Have you read The 5 Love Languages Of Children by Dr Gary Chapman? It can help you define how your kids best process feeling loved so you help them feel loved in a way they understand and appreciate.

You can be a great dad, no matter what kind of dad you had. You choose how to show up to your kids to help them feel affirmed, accepted and loved – at every moment in their lives. This is how to raise kids who are whole, happy and ready to be in the world and will someday become great dads themselves.


Suggested Resource:

How To Be A Great DadHow to Be A Great Dad- No Matter What Kind of Father You Had By Keith Zafren

“Most men spend very little time pondering the question, Am I doing the right things to become a great dad? This book addresses this most important question in a profound way. It’s filled with personal stories, focused on powerful principles, and is written for real people.

We all know how easy it is, biologically, to become a father. What we often don’t realize is that it takes work, dedication, and learned skills to become a dad, especially a great dad.” ~ Jack Canfield

You will learn: • The 15-day Great Dad Challenge that transforms fathers into dads. • Why dads matter way more than you may think. • The lifelong impact fathers have on their children. • The three simple and strategic skills to great dad success that all dads can master. • Why bad or absent dads can land kids in prison. • How to become the father you wish you’d had. • Why “father nurture” is as important as “mother nurture.” • Why saying “I’m proud of you” makes all the difference. • Why “I’ll love you no matter what” means so much to your kids. • Why a hug is not “just a hug” when it comes from Dad. • How to build your kids’ self-esteem. • How to give what you may not have received. •


I Think It Is Time To Get Rid of Holidays…

With Thanksgiving just ahead of us, I am reminded of our tradition to take a day and celebrate a special theme. We celebrate mothers, fathers, pilgrims, veterans, workers, religions traditions, famous people and presidents. Maybe this concept has run its course…

Well, what has run its course is the holi“day” (emphasis on “day.”) If these are really important events, why do we limit the celebration to just one day? Shouldn’t we celebrate their meaning every day?

Rethinking holidays

Holi “days” aren’t cutting it. A day’s celebration is too small – too limited – to inspire the celebrated behavior for an entire year. In a world that is increasingly unkind, selfish and confrontational, couldn’t we make an improvement if we were to extend the meaning of these celebrations? Couldn’t we stay more focused on being kind, considerate, passionate, loving and respectful if we acted the way we do on those special days? No need to buy gifts. Just concentrate on the messages of the holidays and live them more often. I think this could really make a difference in life.

So my suggestion is to replace holi”days” with an “everydays” approach – a new DAILY focus on celebrating what matters most in life.

Celebrate “Everydays” by:

  • Telling (and showing) the people you love how much you love them and what they mean to you.
  • Sharing a story about your life’s successes and failures to teach someone else and make their road easier.
  • Making someone else feel important, even if you did most of the work.
  • Showing your tolerance for and acceptance of someone who does not look like you, act like you do or believe what you do.
  • Appreciating a flower, a tree, the wind, a star, rock formation or any other part of nature.
  • Saying thank you, holding a door open, letting another person or car pass ahead of you, or being kind to someone you don’t know.
  • Giving away some of your “extras” to someone who has few or no “extras.”
  • Making the phone call even when it is the other person’s turn.
  • Sharing a call, thought, card or gift with someone you love or who needs to hear from you – just because.
  • Allowing another to have an opinion different than yours, allowing them to share it and still respecting them.
  • Keeping your planet safe and healthy for those who will need it after you.
  • Smiling at someone you don’t know.
  • Being more grateful – particularly for the small stuff.

How will you regularly celebrate the very special people in your life, and those who do so much to help you have your life? What would you add to this list? Never miss the opportunity to celebrate something everyday – and let these celebrations change you from the inside out.

(Be sure to talk about this with your kids and to share it with someone who can benefit from it.)


How to Talk To Your Kids About Being Proud Of Who They Are, With Rick Clemons, RFL019

How To Talk To Your Kids About Being Proud of Who They Are – Episode Overview

You were born awesome. This isn’t just some feel-good talk. This is a fact. You were born with unique talents, strengths and passions – your identity is yours – and whatever you got is just right. On a planet of over 7 billion people, your uniqueness is your built-in performance and competitive advantage – the way to find your way in life. You are unique on purpose. But to tap into what is great about you first have to discover it, then develop the courage to embrace it.

As the saying goes, “be an amazing original, not an average copy”. Our world constantly tells us who to be – to look, act and think like others – it wants us to be copies. What if, instead, we were able to be who we truly are, and were able to help our kids do the same? Imagine how it would feel to bring to today’s world that thing or things that only you can deliver?

Being proud of who you are means you must discover who you are, then accept and embrace it – whatever it is. In this acceptance, you allow yourself  to then start to sort through life for the places that really fit you – not the ones that other say you should connect with. It’s your life – you must own it and act as its leader – this comes only after you know who you, accept it and be proud, regardless of what others say.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on discovering who we are – down deep. And my intention is to help parents learn to be true to who they are so they then can guide support and coach their kids to do the same. You can’t live a great and amazing life pretending to be someone else.

Rick Clemons being proudMeet our guest Rick Clemons

Rick Clemons is a talented life and identity coach, speaker, podcaster, author and blogger. He is the host of the Coming Out Lounge podcast, author the soon to be released book, Frankly My Dear, I’m Gay – A Late Bloomers Guide to Coming Out and of 2 other upcoming books, is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Your Tango and Healthy Gay He is the creator of the .1 Project, an awareness that we are 99% alike and 1% different – and that we should embrace this difference. As an openly gay coach and dad, Rick coaches others in self-acceptance, getting past limitations, authenticity and embracing our uniqueness and differentness. See the links for more on Rick.

Guest Links:

Episode’s Key TakeAways

  1. You have to do your own work to discover who you are. Once you discover what makes you different, unique and amazing, it is then up to you to live it. This is where parents are tremendous help to kids – to help them discover and embrace who they are, so that they show up right, big and interested in their lives.
  2. One-size-fits-all parenting doesn’t work. Modify how you parent with each child to help them connect with and find their own uniqueness.
  3. You already have everything you need – the right talents, passions and strengths – for you to have your great life.  Can you be open enough to see what you have, and courageous enough to live it? This is for both parents and kids.
  4. The greatest negative voices about us come from ourselves. We let the outside world influence what we think of ourselves. What if we were able to give ourselves and our kids permission to be who they are – with no other requirement? How might this change how you approach your life – and how you help your kids approach theirs?
  5. Give your kids permission to create their own blueprint, roadmap for life. Watch when you successfully guide them and when you are pulling or pushing them in your direction.
  6. Celebrate your kids’ differentness whenever possible. Honoring it creates a safe space for your kids to be who they really are.
  7. Security and stability are not key in your kids minds (these are in our minds as parents); what is in their minds is curiosity, adventure and exploration. This is how they discover who they are and start to find their place in their world.
  8. Millennials are most fearful of not having the freedom to be who they really are – they are most afraid of needing to blend and be like others.
  9. Ask more than tell with your kids – it creates the ability to get your kids minds to sort through information, to share their perspective and to create the safe space to discuss things. In the absence of this, they may not deal with what they feel makes them different until it becomes urgent or a problem. A high number of teen and young adult suicides come from kids being unable to discuss and deal with their uniqueness and differentness.

Some question for parents:

  1. Do you embrace your “differentness?”  How can you encourage and support your kids’ “differentness?”
  2. How can you be okay with allowing your kids to be who they really?
  3. How is your fear of our world stopping your kids from being who they really are?
  4. Could you ask your kids these questions:
  5. If there were no judgments who would you really be?
  6. If you knew the impact you could have could change the world, how would you act?
  7. How can I help you be courageous enough to think your own way?
  8. How can you see that what makes you different is what makes you great?
  9. How can I create a safe space for you to discover, understand and accept who you really are?
  10. Can you allow and support your kids to be different than what society tells you – could you accept them as gay, wanting to follow a different (or no) faith, move to another country, think about a career that isn’t in line with your thinking?
  11. What needs to change in you as a parent to be able to accept and support your kids as they are, not as you need them to be?

Tweet this:

Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  1.    Stop and Notice one thing that is different and unique about each of your kids. What are you doing to help them see, develop, accept and embrace it?
  2.    Stop and Notice when your fear of the world is holding your kids back from discovering and living who they are. What can you do to address this fear?
  3.    Stop and Notice the change in your kids when they are encouraged, supported and accepted to be who they are. How does this make you feel as a parent? How does this make your kids feel?
  4.    Stop and Notice how the world constantly tells you who and what you should be – and that it does it to your kids. How will all of you trust your own voices more than the loud voices of others?

We are each born just right – we get what we get – and what we get is enough to be amazing in life. To access this, we have to get better at accepting and being proud of who we are, then to create the safe space for our kids to do the same.

Suggested Resource  – Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley


This is a masterwork from teacher, author, and featured speaker Mike Dooley. As the next step beyond his immensely popular Notes from the Universe trilogy, and his follow up, Choose them Wisely, this book contains even more enriching wisdom for living an abundant, joyous life.

Mike Dooley knows that we create our own reality, our own fate, and our own luck. We’re beings filled with infinite possibility—just ready to explore how powerful we truly are. Manifesting the magnificence of our dreams isn’t about hard work, but rather about belief and expectation. These principles transcend belief, realizing the truth about our human nature.

Your dreams are not accidental, nor inconsequential. And if someone were tell the truth about life, reality, and the powers we all possessed, would it be recognized? Our lives are full of adventures—and not exactly the sky-diving, mountain-climbing variety—but something better. Readers will laugh, applaud, and be inspired by Mike Dooley’s wit and wisdom.

This is a great book for parents to remind them that they and their kids are filled with infinite possibilities – if they just discover, accept and live who they really are.