Our Family Startup
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Our Family Startup

Our Missing Strategy for Life’s Most Important Goal

For those of you who have read our recent post Family: The Light in the Darkness (and if you haven’t, we recommend you do, as the post provides “The Why” behind the next series of posts), you will know that in the midst of political, social, economic and environmental crises surrounding us on all fronts, Marena (my wife) and I have committed to refocusing and realigning our lives around the most important aspect of our life: Our Family.

This commitment does not stem from a difficult time in our relationship — far from it — but rather we have discovered a newfound appreciation for the fundamental importance the role our family plays in our life after enduring worldwide upheaval inside our home together.

So, how do we “refocus and realign our lives around family?” To be honest, that’s a question we do not have an exact answer to. We certainly have some ideas, but an understanding of the most effective path forward to building and strengthening our family from the ground up? We’re not there yet, but we are committed to finding out. Our inability to immediately answer that question led us down a road of thought-provoking (and slightly terrifying) soul-searching questions:

“How do we intentionally build a family culture of love and respect and happiness? How do we avoid complacency? “How do we ensure each day we fall more in love with one another rather than keeping the status quo?

How do we know we’re taking steps forward and not steps back? Steps forward toward…what? What is the goal? Where are we going? What is our purpose?

Have we ever discussed the purpose for our family? Is that written down? What is our plan to get there? Has that plan ever been updated to account for the new homes, new jobs, new children? Are we just on autopilot, hoping/assuming the current settings get us to the right place at the end?”

In our countless conversations about family and what it means to us, we noticed a glaring difference between the way we approach our most important goals — those revolving around our family — and all other goals in life. At work, in the gym, in school — you name it — when you have a goal, you usually sit down and put together a plan on how to get from point A to point B. You have daily to-dos you need to tackle to get one step closer to that goal. You block time on your calendar. You have weekly progress updates to see how you’re doing, analyzing what’s working and what isn’t. Then you refine the plan, you adopt a new strategy. You keep what works and you discard what doesn’t — never losing sight of the end goal. This all makes complete sense and has proven to be an effective strategy to obtain personal and professional goals.

But with our family — and perhaps yours as well — there is no plan. There is no goal setting. There are no weekly touch points or progress updates. There is no strategy.

We all know our commitment to our family should and must be prioritized above all else. We all know our relationship with our partner is a glass ball that we’re juggling, and if it drops, our life will shatter to pieces along with it. Yet, even with that knowledge, understanding full well the consequences of failing to live up to this commitment, we fail — we fail to adopt even the most basic plan, to write down our strategy to uphold this commitment, or, an even crazier idea, to routinely and intentionally implement new and creative ways to fall deeper in love with one another.

Turning to our individual role within our family, we desperately want to be the best partner/husband/wife/father/mother we can be. But, how often do we stop and say “My goal, my purpose in life is to be the best partner and parent I can be,” and then take the time to write down concrete ways to reach that goal and implement that plan? We don’t, and this inaction doesn’t make sense to us.

Why? Why don’t we take a more proactive, goal-oriented approach to family life? The likely answer is, at least in our family, because we’re so busy with raising our children, changing diapers, bath times, bedtimes, paying bills, cleaning, cooking, managing our own professional and personal aspirations, trying to eat healthy and stay fit, supporting and protesting presidents, and on and on and on, that we are simply too distracted and utterly exhausted by our overflowing daily to-do list. And, the thought of adding one more aspirational goal to improve our relationship (which is working fine) just doesn’t make the priority list.

A reasonable, defensible response… or so we thought. But then we took a step back and thought about this for a moment. We have 100 things on our daily to-do list, but taking intentional time out of our day to think through how to improve our relationship and family doesn’t make the priority list. Why isn’t our most important goal, our life purpose, a priority? THE priority? Why aren’t we using every available resource, strategy, principle to accomplish this one, fundamental life goal?

Do you see the problem? None of this makes sense.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When it comes to family, we ignore the proven strategies we use in all other aspects of our lives and simply hope — or worse — assume we’ll reach our goal of creating an enduring and loving family in the end.

Making this assumption, taking this chance, on the most important objective of your life should terrify you. It certainly terrifies us.

And you don’t need the reminder, but for most of us, we get one chance. One chance to be the best possible parent to our children and best possible partner to our significant other. One chance to ensure we fall more in love with each other each and every day. One chance to raise children with love, respect and kindness. One chance to build a family culture of laughter, love and curiosity. One chance to achieve not only your dreams but be a key player supporting your partner and children achieving theirs.

Let’s not let this chance pass us by. Let’s take ownership of this incredible opportunity that we have before us. An opportunity to build a family of love and laughter. A family that stands the test of time. A family that lives and breathes its core values each and everyday. A family that never grows complacent and is always changing, always pushing each other, always reaching for the next step, the next milestone and never losing sight of our goal. Prioritizing our family above all else.

That is the chance we have.

That is the opportunity we’re going after with everything we have.

Want to join us?

With Love,

The Woods

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M. Wood

M. Wood

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Husband. Father. Lawyer. Founder at heart. Writes about family, faith, country, and finding purpose in this life.