Why Can’t I be Successful as a Father and Husband, and at my Job?.
A million people saw the apple fall from the tree. Only Newton asked Why did it fall? And only he, actively sought the answer.
All great quests begin with great questions. And if asking questions is the genesis of growth, seeking answers is the route.
The genesis of Papa Alpha began with this question: why is it so damn hard to be great as a husband, and as a father, and in my career — and to be great in all of those areas, at the same time?
Why does it seem that the truly great amongst us, from a professional standpoint, seem to have a home life that does not match career success. This is a generalization and not an absolute, of course. But ask yourself, how many men or women do you know that have achieved phenomenal success at work whilst being equally successful as a spouse and as as a parent. I would challenge you to name ten people you personally know who meet those qualifications. One out of three is good. Two is remarkable. Three is near impossible.
Add in to the equation a person who is also healthy and fit and financially sound and prudent, and your list of people gets even smaller.
I was deeply troubled by this.
My personal journey into fatherhood was not a delicate one. At 25, I was a two-sport varsity athlete while in law school; independent and productive. My time was my own.
At 30, I was working as a lawyer in one of the country’s largest firms, unmarried, with no children. My time, my space and my finances were all my own and I enjoyed them all.
Within five short years however – by the time I was 35 – I had met and married the woman of my dreams and we’d just had fourth baby. Yes, you read that correctly (and yes, I know how babies are made — sharing toothbrushes right?). In five years, I went from being a single guy, working hard in a career I loved, to being a married, father of four, very young children.
I understood, instantly, the challenges found in family life. Being a husband and a father have single-handedly provided me both the most rewarding moments of my life; and the most difficult.
Early into my journey as a father, I found myself working hard, trying to be a good husband, father and professional. It was really tough. Maintaining that pace at home and at work seemed hard. I wanted to look down the line to find out how others were doing it. And I learned something: other’s weren’t.
Something became obvious to me: People at the top of their professional game seemed to have family lives that did not match their career success. Some were on round 2 or 3; living in pseudo marriages; or had no family life at all. Conversely, I also noticed that those senior professionals, who seemed to have a more stable home life appeared to have given up the ghost at work. They’d checked out, so to speak. They’d learned to accept less of themselves. I instinctively knew I did not want either of those fates.
As I looked ahead to the finish line of life, it seemed nearly everyone either had a great career, and unmatched home life; or the reverse.
I asked, Why?
Why does it seem that the truly great amongst us, from a professional standpoint, seem to have a home life that does not match their career success. This is a generalization and not an absolute, of course. But ask yourself, how many men or women do you know that have achieved phenomenal success at work whilst being equally successful as spouse and as a parent. I would challenge you to name ten people you personally know who meet those qualifications.
One out of three is good. Two is remarkable. Three is near impossible. Add in to the equation a person who is also healthy and fit and financially sound and prudent, and your list of people gets even smaller.
Now, ask yourself, Why?
The Genesis of Papa Alpha
It’s not in my nature to sit idly by. Working on a solution is better than not working at all. It seems wrong to me to complain about something in life, without actively working to affect change in that area.
So, to that end, following my entry into the arena of marriage and parenthood – and the accompanying realization of how tough it was to achieve success as a husband, father, and in work, I set out to work in that area — not because I felt possessed of the answers, but rather because I was asking the questions and I was prepared to look for the answers.
I founded a group for young fathers. These were other men who were motivated, sincere and keen on being great as husbands, fathers and in their respective jobs. We began meeting or speaking, on a consistent basis, in a confidential setting. We shared our challenges, our goals and our ideas. The net result was transformative, in each of our lives, in each of those areas.
The name was easy to arrive at. We are all trying to be “Alphas” in our work life. And, we are all dads, a.k.a. “Papas” The Papa Alpha group was born