Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
I attended and participated in the 6th Annual Dad 2.0 Summit. Ironically, it's the first time I've been able to go, yet I can't believe I've never made it before this year. I should have attended the first one and every one ever since. I intend to be there from here on out.
A lot of the dads who attended have already written about the camaraderie and the spirit we all shared over the course of the Summit. I too was overwhelmed by it all. Nothing like I've ever experienced before.
But I was also overwhelmed by the depth of discussions. We dads tackled it all, above and beyond changing diapers and negotiating with teenagers. We confronted racism, politics, sex, homophobia, fake news, societal portrayals of fatherhood, marketing to dads, and yes, even how it's okay to be vulnerable. The display of vulnerability was so inspiring...this coming from a man who considers himself to be very vulnerable (perhaps ironically to many).
There was one keynote speech that will stick with me forever, with messaging that I simply must pass along from NFL superstar Charles Tillman, aka Peanut Tillman. Like all of us, he's faced many struggles in his life as a professional and as a father. Like all of us, he puts his family first despite having a successful career. Like all of us, he's a dad.
He talked a lot about getting comfortable being uncomfortable. I can relate. As a divorced, single, gay dad back from a time when none of that was acknowledged, discussed, or accepted, I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable. At school, at work, and in social settings I was alone. I was constantly, if not always, in uncomfortable situations often being the only dad around and certainly the only gay dad around.
I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
I had to push through the discomfort and stay focused on my family and career. I had to smile though my heart was aching, knowing what those around me were thinking and saying. I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Charles Tillman also talked about being your best on command. I can relate. As fathers, we've all been called to task in the moment. Medical emergencies, emotional crises, upheavals at work. It's how we behave in those moments that show our true character as a man, and as a father. When it counts, as dads, we perform. We come through. We protect our children. We'll do anything for our family, especially when the demands call for it.
These aren't just inspiring words from one dad. This is a way of life for so many of us. For all of us. The key is to thrive in those moments. It's important to hold your head up high when you're uncomfortable and to shine in those moments when you're needed most.
That's what it's like to be a dad.
Thanks to all the dads who do what they do, day in and day out.
What's your experience? JIM