Why Being A Father Will Make Me A Better Entrepreneur
“Your Life is Going to Change.”
A piece of advice I heard over and over before our son was born, it became an amazing reality when I held his fragile body in my arms. An experience you can never prepare yourself for, his arrival instantly put life into perspective.
The past few days have been more incredible, emotional, and inspiring than I ever imagined. Watching the woman I love, give everything she had to our family, is something I can never pay back. The complete vulnerability of a new born is the purest form of honesty. While the undeniable connection the three of us feel, is like we were meant to be together.
One of the greatest experiences in my life, I am quickly realizing how being a father is going to make me a much better entrepreneur.
I have never been very good at empathy. I understand it, I have read lots about it, and I have consciously worked at it. But it wasn’t until Tiago was born that I fully started living it.
Because a new born relies on you for everything, it leaves you with no choice but to put their needs first, everything else second. Even more important than taking care of their needs is predicting them. Trying to be one step in front I’m realizing how much energy it takes to constantly think about their needs before my own.
What has always made empathizing so hard is it goes against our natural intuition, which is to think about ourselves first. Especially as an entrepreneur we spend so many hours defending our companies, that we often fail at accepting another perspective. A bad habit I hope fatherhood helps me break.
Learning to surrender myself is an important requirement to creating amazing customers experiences and a thoughtful culture.
Unlimited time is an approach I took at Contour. Believing I could out work everyone, my actions told the company that I believed in quantity over quality. While not having kids of my own I had no understanding as to why people had to go home at 5pm, turn off their phones, and take care of their kids.
Now I understand.
Arriving with no set schedule, a new born is the ultimate priority reminder. Creating an unmovable time constraint, his existence is forcing me to be incredibly selective about what is important.
No longer able to approach entrepreneurship with an “unlimited” view, I will have to get very good at delivering high quality work in short bursts of time.
Not Taking it For Granted
Watching a new born learn the world is unforgettable. Experiencing sights and sounds for the first time, they quickly try to register what they mean and how to react. While their naked vulnerability reminds you just how precious these moments are.
It’s easy to take life for granted.
Focused on the end result, we forget that entrepreneurship is a choice. Not forced upon us by anyone, we are choosing to spend time on our company, to travel ridiculous hours, and to accept investor expectations. A choice that requires us to create our own existence in place of taking a regular job.
I made a lot of these choices at Contour. Prioritizing the company over everything else, I spent my twenties behind a laptop. Working six days a week I didn’t realize, until it was over, that I missed most of the ride. A mistake that fatherhood won’t let me repeat.
No comparison to the importance of family, I look forward to fatherhood making me a better entrepreneur.