Chris took the leap to start an independent consultancy in order to spend more time with his wife and his kids. His business was growing, his bank account getting bigger. Life was on track until it wasn’t…
A visit to the doctor revealed that his wife had Incurable Brain Tumour. She quickly lost her ability to speak or to do anything. He became her 24/7 caretaker, while still raising 2 kids and keeping his business going.
In this interview with Chris Gardener, you’ll learn the 5 ideas that has worked for him to raise happy children in the midst of all this tragedy (which he describes as a beautiful time).
During our conversation, Chris also mentions the one thing you absolutely must do if you want your children to grow up to be balanced and happy. If you happen to own a business, this is the one thing you must do if you have any hope of having one of your children take over your company. If you have values you want to pass on, this is the one thing you absolutely must do if you want to pass on those values.
1) FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS
In a heartbeat, Chris realized he was after all the wrong things. He was chasing success, money, etc. But it wasn’t until he realized that his wife had an incurable brain tumor that he realized what mattered in life.
During the remaining time he and his wife had together, he said it was a beautiful time. Even though his wife lost her ability to speak, and do, he saw just how much she loved him and she knew how much he loved her.
For Chris, that phase of his life was a beautiful time and such a connecting experience. Chris focused on what mattered.
Yet, this was not the single most important thing he needed to do for his children to grow up to be balanced, happy, and self-reliant
2) DON’T FOLLOW THE CROWD, FOLLOW YOUR DREAM
Chris told his kids that he didn’t want them to go to university, or to get a job. But he didn’t mean either of those things. What he meant was don’t just go follow the crowd.
Go to university not because it’s what other people are doing. Or what you think that’s that what “you’re supposed to do” after high school. Go because it’s what YOU want to do. Go because you think it’s going to lead you where you want to go.
After his son finishes high school, he’s going to be doing his dream “road trip”. Starting at Alaska, traveling by road and end up at the bottom end of Argentina. How long it’s going to take, how he’s going to do it, Chris has no idea. But his son is doing it.
What if you stopped following the crowd to follow your dream?
(By the way, this is related to the single thing you absolutely need to do for your children to grow up to be balanced, happy, and self-reliant. But it isn’t exactly it yet.)
3) REMEMBER THE THREE F’S
As a business coach, Chris works with and gets to see a lot of businesses. What he’s realized is that people think being “successful” means being “busy”.
Chris says success isn’t about being busy. People don’t start a business because they want to be “busy”. Instead, Chris says the 3 reasons people start a business is what he calls, the three F’s. Think about these when you’re starting a business or wondering how can you improve an existing one.
People say don’t chase money and while that’s good advice, you can’t do anything without it.
Chris had a job working for somebody else. Then he started his own business only to work for the worst boss (himself). Then one day he realized how he didn’t really have a business, but just a job. If he wasn’t on the job, his income would stop. So he decided to create a real business that would continue to generate income even if he didn’t “show up”.
How much freedom do you have to do what you want when you want, with who you want? How much freedom are you expressing in your life? (By the way, this just might be the one thing you need to teach your children in order to grow up to be balanced, happy, and self-reliant. Keep reading to see if it is.)
The most important of the “THREE F’s” is fulfillment. Living a life that is worth living. That means having a purpose, having a mission and pursuing it. Financial security without freedom or fulfillment is empty.
Chris encourages his kids to live by the THREE F’s.
4) MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION
As a parent, we want what’s best for our children. But that doesn’t mean we know what’s best for them. We’re not them, and they’re not you. Choosing for your children does not serve them, it hurts them. Let them choose. Give them the FREEDOM to decide.
This freedom to make decisions actually turns out to be the single most important thing that you need to give your children for them to become balanced, happy, and self-reliant. You can hear more about this in my interview with Chris.
5) CHALLENGE ASSUMPTIONS AND BELIEFS
There’s opportunity everywhere.
But there’s also no opportunities anywhere if that’s the lens you have on.
Chris says if you believe or assume the worst of everything and anything, then that’s what you’ll receive.
If you believe something is possible, google it, talk to people, check social media. Learn about it. And go after it. That’s how you grow.
But if you have a thinking habit that says “I can’t…”, “I won’t…”, “I mustn’t”… “It’s difficult…”, “It’s not real…” then that defines your life.
Chris says as parents this is where we can change that. “You can choose to believe that. But understand that is just a belief.”
As parents, we have great power to influence our children. With that power comes the responsibility. Yet a surprising number of parents are telling their kids things that don’t help them. Do this, don’t do that, do it like this, don’t do it like that. The worst part is they’re unconscious of it.
Here’s an alternative approach:
Let’s give our children the principles and values that’ll guide them in life. Teach them these principles. Then get out of their way so they have complete freedom to make their own choices.
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