Which Tools of Your Trade Should Be Used at Home?
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In this post I need to speak to an issue that is primarily faced by men. As a husband and father, I want to encourage other husbands and fathers to be their best at work AND at home. This means we need to address an issue that is typically male-oriented.
You’re a master in your chosen profession. You have the respect of your colleagues and superiors. You get things done.
You’re winning at work. What about at home?
Many men who experience this type of mastery in their career feel a certain frustration that this mastery eludes them at home. I’m sure there are many possibilities to explore as to why this happens, but I’m focusing in on one that I am acutely aware of in my life.
I’m talking about the way us men tend to mentally divide up areas of our lives into compartments or boxes. Each box may hold different resources associated with the specific demands of that area of our life. Work and home are commonly two very different boxes for men.
Since many men treat home as their respite from the demands work, our home box may be filled with resources associated with comfort and relaxation.
Our work box likely resembles a tool box. It contains the unique set of tools that we employ for ensuring our success as employees, e.g. negotiation, critical problem solving, analytical skills, specific tools for how to deal with a difficult boss or coworker, etc. These tools are vital in our ability to provide for our families.
A problem occurs when our work is finished. When the clock strikes 5:00 in the evening, men tend to place those work tools back into their box, and put that box away. Those tools tend to be left alone until the next day or until the weekend/vacation is over.
This is something I am changing in my life. I encourage you to consider the following idea with me:
Bring your tools home with you.
I’m not suggesting that you start to treat your wife as a colleague or your children as subordinates. I’m talking about using some of you best work place tools to evaluate and address issues at home. Let’s look at some common tools and determine where they could be applied to serve your wife and children.
- Time management
- Project management
- Written communication skills
- Creative problem solving
- Management of personnel
Where can you take initiative in your home? Does your wife have an untouched honey-do list? Are there disciplinary issues with your children?
I’ll share a personal example. As a father of seven, I am often concerned about spending enough one-on-one time with each kid. As a business development manager by profession, I intentionally spend lots of time with my clients. I am skilled at getting clients to agree to meet with me. This involves a few tools that I’ve developed in my professional career like time management, written/verbal communication skills, persuasion, identifying the needs of a client, consulting, etc.
I am using these tools to schedule regular meetings with each one of my kiddos. I’m going to get them to commit to a date on the calendar. Through good questions and active listening, I’m going to determine specific needs that they have. I am going to then tailor a solution to “sell” to them. In the end, I will have met the needs of each kid and I will have used my work tools to accomplish it. And they’re excited about it!
Another area where this has worked wonders is in our finances. My wife and I have regular, scheduled, intentional financial meeting to discuss our goals, progress, trouble areas, and more. There are tools needed here that I used to leave in my work box. Now these tools help my wife and I stay focused and connected. It’s been tremendously fruitful in our marriage.
You may conclude through this process that your home life is starting to resemble work life. I wouldn’t let this discourage you. Building a family and building a career are both very difficult jobs. If you want either of them to be successful, they both need to be successful. This means they are both going to need a certain level of effort. Your calling as a husband, a father, and an expert in your field depends on it.
I want to hear from you if you’re trying this out this week. Please leave a comment or connect with me here. I’m eager to hear about your wins!
To your adventure,