Jeff Wickersham



The Importance of Fathers and Family with Jeff Wickersham - The Warrior Dad

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The Importance of Fathers and Family with Jeff Wickersham - The Warrior Dad

Let’s talk about something more important than winning bids for jobs.

Winning your kids' bids for attention.

By 12, 75% of your time with them is gone.

By 18? 95%.

You can't get back missed chats, laughter, stories, and games.

So let me introduce Jeff Wickersham and share his insights.

He's the real deal when it comes to understanding fatherhood. Jeff's journey to launching his podcast “The Warrior Dad” started with the loss of his mom to breast cancer over nine years ago. He then realized that family is everything.

After that, he dove into personal development and won over alcohol, and gambling addiction. Until other dads made a note and started asking how he made the shift.  That’s the powerful story behind the Warrior Dad project and why Jeff is now on a mission to help lead 1,000,000 dads to change their family tree forever.

Why Fatherhood Matters

It feels like being a dad is taking some hits lately, doesn't it?

On TV fathers are portrayed as bumbling fools. The butt of every joke.

This whole "dads are dummies" thing started back in the '90s, with a TV show you might remember – "Married with Children."

Al Bundy was the original dad who never got any respect.

His own kids didn't listen to him, and they even made fun of him.

But let's face it, it's not just on TV.

It's easy to look around and see dads who aren't quite stepping up to the plate.

They're not in shape.

They're not doing the right things.

And they're just kinda coasting through fatherhood.

And kids pick up on that stuff like sponges.

One of my clients had a daughter and a son who had both gone to college.

During one of our business coaching sessions, he shared something that really stuck with me.

His son had gotten into some serious trouble during his first year of studies.

He got kicked out of college and was headed back home with some behavioral issues in tow.

And then my client told me something that hit me like a ton of bricks.

He said, "Dom, my daughter watches me to figure out the kind of man she should meet and accept in her life. And my son watches me to see what kind of man he should become. I gotta figure out where maybe I showed him wrong."

That moment has stuck with me ever since, giving me goosebumps every time I think about it.

It's a powerful reminder of the impact we have on our kids and the importance of leading by example.

The world is full of challenges from peer pressure to social media craziness.

It's tough out there, no doubt about it.

So there is real power in a dad leading his family, being the driving force of positivity, encouragement, and hard work.

How Fathers Influence Their Kids' Lives

I asked Jeff if he had ever noticed a difference in his kids' social circles when he leaned in more.

So, Jeff shared a story that illustrates the power of leading by example.

He made a big decision to give up alcohol a couple of years back.

Jeff had seen some dark times in his past when he was under the influence, and he didn't want his kids to go down that road.

So he told them:

"If you see the herd going one way, have the courage to go the other."

His eldest son took that to heart.

He was at a party where alcohol, chewing tobacco, vaping – you name it – were all on the menu.

But he didn't fall into the peer pressure trap.

He had the courage to say, "That's not for me."

That's just one example of how Jeff's self-improvement and presence influenced his kids for the better.

But it’s not just the actions that make an impact.

Language matters too.

It shapes our mindset, our behavior, and ultimately, our lives.

One of the phrases Jeff stays conscious of is saying “I have to” vs “I get to”.

Many people might say, "I have to get my kids off the bus," or "I have to go to the gym," or "I have to go to the grocery store."

But do you realize how many wish they could do those things?

So instead Jeff says “I get to do these things” because it is a privilege.  

Similarly, in your contracting business, you might think, "I have this problem."

But when you reframe it as "I've got this challenge," suddenly, it ignites a fire within you.

It makes you ask, "Can I rise to this challenge?"

It almost becomes exciting.

Language has that transformative power.

So, Jeff’s sons know that if they say, "I can't do that," he'll give them a little side-eye and remind them:

"Oh yeah? There's no 'can't.' It's just that you haven't done it yet."

It's all about future pacing and believing in their ability to overcome.

On this note, my wife and I had a pivotal conversation when our kids were born.

Both of them arrived late in the year.

This meant that when they started getting into sports, they were among the youngest in their age group.

We made a pact right then and there never to use that as an excuse.

We vowed never to say, "Oh, they can't do it because they're younger." No way.

Whenever I hear people saying that, I'm like, "That's just making excuses."

Instead, we decided to approach it differently.

Being younger meant they had their own advantages.

Maybe they were smaller, but that could mean they were more nimble, faster, or had a better understanding of the game.

We made it clear to them.

In our family, we focus on being a well-rounded combination of all those things, because that's what makes you exceptional.

How To Bond With Your Kids

Let's get into the practical details on how to level up your “dad game” and be more present.

Jeff's got this awesome approach to getting quality time with his kids.

He made a promise early on that whenever his boys wanted his attention, the answer was always yes.

Whether it's throwing a football or shooting hoops, Jeff's there, no questions asked.

Now his boys know their time together is valued, and they're not shy about asking for it even as they get older.

Now, what if your kids are a bit older, like in their late teens or early twenties?

Jeff's got another story that hits home.

He worked with a dad whose stepdaughter was 17 and about to head off to college.

This dad wanted to build a closer bond, and guess what?

Within three weeks of being intentional about it, they were hitting up concerts together.

It just goes to show, it's never too late to start building that connection.

Taking extreme ownership is key here.

Lean in even if it feels like your efforts aren't being met with enthusiasm right away.

Pour into your kids, and eventually, that bond will form.

I also asked Jeff how to strengthen bonds with your kids, even if you're not big on talking about feelings or verbally showing affection.

In this case a simple hug can work wonders.

Jeff and his family make it a habit to exchange hugs before anyone heads out the door.

It's a small gesture, but it speaks volumes.

But what if physical affection isn't your thing either?

Jeff's got this awesome tradition of writing notes to his family every day.

I’ve also sneaked a surprise note into my son's notebook saying he is the best.

Everyone's style is different, so don't be afraid to get creative and find what works for you.

This creates somewhat of a boomerang effect.

Jeff shared how he received a heartfelt note from his son out of the blue.

It was a reminder of why he does what he does as a dad, and it still fuels him to keep showing up every day.

So, whether it's a hug, a note, or a surprise gesture, the important thing is to reach out.

Because as Jeff said, what you give will come back to you in unexpected ways.

And trust me, those moments of connection are worth their weight in gold.

Now what if you're in the same business as your child?

It's a tricky situation, but there are ways to navigate it.

So, imagine you're running a family business with your daughter, and it feels like your relationship is all work and no play.

Jeff had some great advice on this.

He suggested committing to each other that you won't talk about work during certain activities.

For example, instead of hashing out business plans, plan experiences together.

You know, things like catching a basketball game or going on a hiking trip.

These experiences create lasting memories and help rekindle the bond that might have taken a backseat to business.

Ultimately, it's about taking that leadership role as a dad and making an effort to prioritize your relationship with your child, even when work tries to take over.

The Mindset of A Great Father

When we were kids and we didn't feel well, our parents told us to take it easy and sit on the couch.

That wired us to base our actions on our feelings.

So oftentimes we may not feel good, so we don’t show up as our best selves to our kids.

So, Jeff recommends acting from identity rather than feelings.

He defines himself as "dad and husband of the year" and acts accordingly.

For example, one time Jeff’s son asked him to rebound a basketball in the scorching heat.

Jeff didn't feel like it, but he asked himself, "Would a dad of the year say no?"

And that's all it took for him to step up and be there for his son.

And that’s where physical fitness comes into play as well.

Jeff's story about pushing himself shows how important it is to stay in shape.

Because fitness isn't just about looking good.

It also unlocks mental strength and resilience.

Studies now emphasize the mental benefits of exercise, likening it to a natural mood and focus enhancer.

It's like a dose of Prozac and Ritalin combined.

And the resilience you gain from it definitely helps with showing up as a great dad even when you don’t feel like it.

So, as we wrap up the mindset of a great father, remember:

Fatherhood is about showing up, not just physically or financially, but emotionally and mentally, for the ones we love.

Because in the end, they are the ones that truly matter.

For more insights on the importance of fatherhood and family listen in to the full Profit Toolbelt episode with Jeff Wickersham.

Show Notes:

Jeff Wickersham, founder of The Warrior DadJeff Wickersham, founder of Warrior Dad, knows firsthand the ups and downs of navigating fatherhood.

His journey started with a personal tragedy – Jeff lost his mother to breast cancer. The pain drove him to realize just how important family is. Through his battles with addiction, vices, and personal growth, Jeff found his calling: helping dads become the best version of themselves.

Key Points:

Why Fatherhood Matters:

  • Is fatherhood under attack?
  • How little time do we REALLY have with our kids.
  • How leaning into your kid's lives changes the kind of crowd they fall in with.

The Impact Fathers Have On Their Kids' Lives:

  • How language shapes our children's outcomes in life.
  • How to turn their challenges and limitations into advantages.

Connecting Better with Your Kids:

  • How to get your kids to want to hang out with you.
  • How to reconnect with the older children who are already “halfway out the door”.
  • How to strengthen your bond if you’re in the same business as your kids.
  • How to show love in a way that feels authentic to you.

Why Being A Great Dad Is A Mindset Thing:

  • Acting from IDENTITY vs FEELINGS
  • How physical fitness helps with mental resilience and great parenting.

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