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10 Ways To Make You Closer To Your Family

10 Ways To Make You Closer To Your Family

How close is your family?

One of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge, facing the U.S. today is the breakdown of the traditional family unit. AllProDad.com states that:

“Today nearly 4 out of 10 first marriages end in divorce, 60% of divorcing couples have children, and over one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.”

I’m no relationship expert, but my belief is that if more couples agreed on and lived by a set of meaningful family values, and those values were alive in their homes, the above divorce statistic would go down and families would be closer.

As a man who takes my role as a father and leader of my family seriously, it is my responsibility to create a culture that inspires respect, love, trust, togetherness, and fun. If you want your family to be close, you must make it your responsibility as well. Here are 10 ways to make your family closer:

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1. Be the leader of your family!

If you have a family, whether you recognize it or not, you are a leader. It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or man, mother or father, you are a leader. If you have a partner, you are co-leading, and if you are a single parent, you are the sole leader. When I was a business coach, we would frequently remind our clients that leaders have three things: Vision, Action, and Spirit. In other words: you know where you’re going and why you are going there; you are committed to taking the appropriate action to get there; and you are doing it with a spirit that inspires others to be and do their best.

Your first step in leading your family might be to take a good look at yourself in the mirror and honestly acknowledge what kind of leader your family deserves. What kind of partner does your significant other deserve? What kind of parent do your children deserve? What type of life do you deserve? As the leader of your family, you cannot leave the future up to chance. You must lead. The people around you are depending on you to do so.

2. Establish family values

As stated above, I think one of the biggest challenges facing our culture today is the lack of individuals understanding personal values, which results in a lack of family values. Part of the “good look at yourself in the mirror” that I talked about above is admitting to yourself what is truly important and meaningful to you. What type of person do you want to be and what type of person do you need to be to have the life you deserve to have? As an example, here are my personal values that I try to live by every single day:

  • Live with meaning, by knowing what is important and letting that direct my life
  • Provide value to the people around me
  • Live with integrity by walking my talk
  • Good health is the foundation of everything—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually

In relation to your own family: what is truly important to you all? What type of family do you want to be? What type of family do you need to be to live the lives everyone in your family deserves to live? As an example, here are the values or “rules” of my family, in order of priority:

  • Respect: self-respect and respect for others
  • Family first
  • For myself, my career; for my children, school
  • Other commitments
  • Being social and fun

My personal values are the rules that I live by, and my family values are the rules my family lives by. In a demanding, distracting, and over-stimulating world, our personal and family values help us keep focused on things that are truly important and meaningful to us. The more you are able to focus on things that are truly important to you, the more meaningful and fulfilling your lives will be. As the leader, you have power to make this happen.

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3. Create the culture of your home

As the leader of your family, when you establish your family values you have just taken the first step in creating the culture of your home. Your home culture is the spirit that lives in your home and it is felt by everyone who walks through your door. Most importantly, it is the spirit that lives within your family.

For me, above everything else, the spirit I try to be most intentional about in my home is the spirit of respect, love, and togetherness. It’s critical that we respect each other, are loving toward one another, and make a conscious effort to spend time together. As the leader of your family, you can make that happen. How awesome is that?

4. Be present

Your role as the leader of your home is an active role, not a passive role. The only way to create and sustain a home culture based in meaningful family values is for you, as the leader, to make sure they are living. The only way to ensure they are living is for you to be present and active: mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you, as the leader of your home, don’t act like your values and culture are important, why will anyone else? As the leader of your home, it all starts with you.

5. Live by example

In the spirit of “it all starts with you,” you must not only be present, but you must set the example. For crying out loud, you are leading the most important group of people in the world to you to greatness! If respect is important to my family, I had better have self-respect and show respect to those around me. If love is important to my family, I had better be loving to those around me. If togetherness is important to my family, I had better be making an effort to not only spend time with my family, but also encourage them to spend time with each other. As the leader of your family, you must be the example!

6. Control your schedule

As the leader of your family, you must control your schedule or it will control you. A lot of people seem to be really, really busy. When they are too busy and stressed, it’s like a badge they want to present to the world that makes people know they are really busy.

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The concept of being really busy seems to be a crutch for a lot of people. They don’t focus on their health, plan their finances, give time to people they say are important to them, or do the things they really want to do, because they are too darn busy. Well, that is flawed thinking and a bunch of baloney!

People are too busy because they don’t control their schedule and they allow less important people and things distract them from what is really important. If you want your family to be close, you must plan for them to be close. You must be intentional with your schedule and make time for the important things. You need to communicate to your partner and children so they can control their schedule as well.

7. Plan with purpose

A few years ago, a mentor of mine said to me, “You can tell a lot about what is important to a person by looking at their checkbook and calendar.”

If you know what your personal and family values are, it is easy to plan with purpose because you know what is purposeful. Are you intentional about where you are spending your energy, time, and money? Plan with purpose so you can do the things you want to do as a family and spend your resources on things that will give the greatest meaningful return. You are in control, my friend! As the leader of your family, you must plan with purpose.

8. Hold accountable

What I don’t want to get lost in this is that life gets busy. I have a full-time career, own an events business, commit an hour and a half per week to mentoring young men, and above everything else, have a family that is important to me. I am constantly checking myself to make sure my decisions are aligning with the right things.

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As the leader of your family, you must first hold yourself accountable that you are focused on the right things. Next, if other members of your family are allowing the rest of the world to push and pull them in other directions, you need to lovingly hold them accountable. If you are a parent, sometimes you flat out have to make the decision for your children.

If I see my daughter being spread too thin and not focusing on the right things, I will step in and say, “No, you are not doing that, because of this, this, and that.” Because our family values are alive in our home, she gets it. She doesn’t always like it, but she gets it. Holding others accountable is not always asked for or popular at times, but there is a difference between what is popular and what is right. As the leader of the family, you must do what is right!

9. Remind often

If the spirit of your home embodies your family values, reminders will happen automatically. Now, reminders might feel a little like accountability, but they are two different things. Accountability is more of a reaction to a situation and reminding often is simply being proactive. I often talk to my children about how important it is that we spend time together and how lucky we are to have each other. When giving reminders you don’t have to “lay it on thick,” but little reminders of your family values and the spirit you want your house to embody will keep everyone connected and be top of mind as they are making decisions. As the leader of your family, if you are living with Vision, Action, and Spirit, the example you set may be all the reminder your family needs.

10. Have fun

Imagine a world where everything you do is meaningful and fulfilling. As the leader of your family, can you think of anything more fulfilling than your family being closer, both emotionally and physically? I don’t know about you, but I want to have as much fun with my family as possible. When we aren’t together, I want to be able to feel proud that I am doing everything I can to ensure my family is having fun and is happy and healthy. When we are together, our fun and enjoyment will be maximized because respect, love, and togetherness are important to everyone and are the foundation of our home.

Your family being close is a decision that you, the leader, has to make. It doesn’t just happen. The world will eat you up and spit you out if you let it—and a lot of people let it happen. Be different and make the decision for your family to be close and take action to make that happen. If it is important to you, I promise it will be the most important, meaningful, and fulfilling decision you ever make. Be the leader your family needs and deserves!

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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