#53. Navigating Culture, Developing Autonomy, and Making Good Choices – Andy Fossett

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Today’s guest is Andy Fossett.

We go deep talking about:

  • Overcoming feelings of failure and inadequacy as a father and husband
  • Mental reframes for dads
  • Raising a child abroad in a culturally diverse environment
  • Identifying your strengths and your partner’s strengths so you can each focus on what only you can uniquely give your child
  • Being able to navigate cultural expectations with your spouse
  • Allowing yourself some time off from work to reassess your priorities and figure out what your next move should be.
  • Understanding the difference between a day off and a vacation and changing our work attitudes
  • Personal autonomy, and how fitness plays a role, and
  • Allowing yourself the freedom of going with what feels right and what you know is necessary for your growth or authentic self-expression

A lifelong martial artist and former schoolteacher, Andy’s deeply concerned with autonomy and fitness education. As CEO of GMB Fitness, he’s dedicated to providing an open, accessible culture for both clients and staff to enjoy exploring more of what they’re truly capable of.

Find Andy online at:


Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. This is episode number 53, navigating culture, developing autonomy and making good choices with Andy Fossett. We go deep today talking about overcoming feelings of failure and inadequacy as a father and husband mental reframes for dads raising a child abroad in a culturally diverse environment, identifying your strengths and your partner strengths. So you can each focus on what only you can uniquely give your child being able to navigate cultural expectations with your spouse, allowing yourself some time off from work to reassess your priorities and figure out what your next move should be understanding the difference between a day off and a vacation and changing our work attitudes, personal autonomy and how fitness plays a role and allowing yourself the freedom of going with what feels right. And what you know is necessary for your growth and authentic self expression. A lifelong martial artist and former school teacher and he's deeply concerned with autonomy and fitness education, as CEO of GMB Fitness. He's dedicated to providing an open accessible culture for both clients and staff to enjoy exploring more of what they're truly capable of, you can find Andy online@gmb.io. This was a fun conversation because Eddie and I are both part of this community for entrepreneurs called the DC the Dynamite Circle. And he lives a much different life than most of us and most of the guests that I've had on this podcast, and you'll hear why in a moment. But I loved listening to his intentional thought behind each thing he does, and each decision he's making. And it was refreshing to be honest. And if this is not sort of how you think about things, I challenge you to ask the questions that Andy asked himself to figure out what the best way to live for you and your family are. And so before we get into it, I'm reminding you that we are actually starting one of our men's groups today. The other one starts tomorrow, this is going out on February 2 2022, there is still time for one or two of you to join the Wednesday or the Thursday group, you will miss today's meeting, obviously, because this is probably coming out while we are meeting. But you can still get in next week. If you hurry, go to dad dot work slash group and apply to join our men's group. We've got a Wednesday morning Pacific Time, a Thursday evening pacific time group. And I want you in there if it feels right for you. We go deep talking about all sorts of things in our life, we support each other through thick and thin. And for many men, this is the only place in their life where they can share everything and anything and get the support and the feedback of other men who have probably gone through something similar. And if they haven't, they can at least hold space to make sure that that man feel safe, seen secure in all of his interactions with the group. So this is the last chance we've already started. But we've got one or two spots left depending on the day, go to dad dot work slash group and apply now. Alright, with that being said, you probably won't hear about that for a little while because we are starting. So let's get into Episode 53 with Andy Fossett

Okay, I'm here with Andy fossett. Thank you so much for joining me another member of this amazing group, the Dynamite Circle that I am part of with you. And man, I'm so grateful that you said you wanted to chat because you've got an interesting sort of story as a father and how you raise your daughter. And so yeah, man, I'm excited to hear how this all turned out for you and maybe go into your business as well. So thank you very much for taking the time.

Andy Fossett 3:26

Yeah, thank you definitely. It's always nice to talk to anyone from the DC. It's an interesting group of people and always, always fun to talk about fatherhood, and that whole journey and challenge. You know, it's become something that has defined me I think for most of us, it becomes something that is a big part of who we think of ourselves being. So yeah, definitely. It's a big deal.

Curt Storring 3:53

Yeah, yeah. And I think that's actually probably better than defining ourselves as, you know, something to do with work, for example, there's a lot of identity wrapped up in that. And so if our identity becomes fatherhood, like, that's a pretty good identity. I think that's like the calling for a lot of men. What do you think about that? Is that like, yeah, a greater purpose?

Andy Fossett 4:12

We're already into the meaning of life.

Curt Storring 4:16

We go deep, we go deeper right away. Let's go. Yeah,

Andy Fossett 4:19

I mean, so yeah, identity, you, you call it right, identity is really hard. And we all have identities for ourselves. We all have multiple identities for ourselves, and they're all sort of hanging in a balance all the time. There's a lot of ways that you know, one identity can take up more of the pie, so to speak, and that can become, you know, pathological for people, if it's doing so in a way that causes stress or causes us to lose sight of our health or our relationships are something right. So I mean, I've had periods where my defining primary identity was as a business person, or as someone who's into Learning or someone who's into training his body, at different times, there was a few years where I primarily primarily identified as a musician, that was the thing that I was most into. And I don't think any of these are necessarily like meaning of life level better or worse than the other. But I think that, you know, identifying as a father is something that's a little less egocentric. For one thing. It's, it's putting you putting your identity firmly in on the side of being in relation to other people. And it also is inherently future looking, and legacy focused, because you're trying to think of how the things you do are going to contribute to someone who's hopefully going to be living longer than you. Right. And so I think that those do put it, you know, in in a more meaningful, sort of, you know, set set of parameters, you know, even if you're looking at it from a purely logical standpoint, but also, I would say, you know, emotionally my own experience of it is that it has probably been more fulfilling to identify as a father than any of the other things that I have.

Curt Storring 6:13

Yeah, and actually, that's a good. I mean, I don't know how we go deeper than that. But let's go into your your general experience as a father, emotionally emotional satisfaction as being a father is very interesting. But I'm generally interested in like, what this journey looked like for you, obviously, you've thought about it quite a lot. Obviously, you're very intentional about it. But was it an easy transition into fatherhood?

Andy Fossett 6:39

Yeah, it's, it's hard, because it's one of those things that you can't ever be ready for it. And, you know, I've heard and given this advice to people when they worry about, oh, I'm not ready to be a father. And, you know, many smarter older people told me that you're not ever going to be ready. So don't wait for that, which is something that I completely, fully believe, I don't think it's something that you can really be ready for. But I did think about it a lot before I became a father. And for a long time, I thought that it probably wasn't something that I was really interested in. But, you know, we, we develop and grow and change our, our perception of things as life goes on. And so into my early 30s, my wife, and I got married, and my wife and I, you know, after a couple of years started talking about, you know, having a kid and it just seemed like it would be the right thing. You know, I, I moved past the, the phase, I guess, or the the period where I was focused more on myself, I had gotten married, I had started a business. And it seemed like, you know, child would be another thing that was sort of continuing that kind of evolution, both for myself, and how I was interacting with other people. And so, yeah, I thought a whole lot about it before our daughter was born. Of course, everyone has ideas, fantasies, fears, you know, and, and most of these things, you know, just says, You can't be ready for it, none of these things can really actually reflect reality, they're there a lot of just anxieties and fantasies, and you don't know, if they're actually real or not, you can read all the books by the experts, but it doesn't really tell you anything, until the rubber hits the road. And so that's been, you know, my process for the past, you know, almost 10 years, is really just trying to put the rubber on the road, feel where that coefficient of friction is, and, you know, put into practice the best things that I can to the degree that I'm capable as, as a human person of doing, you know, so I mean, my experience is really just been trying to discover what really is actually possible for me to be able to be as good a father as I can, you know, with respect to the other parts of my identity that I also have to keep up as well, you know, it's it's always that challenge and balance. So yeah, I had a lot of ideas and thought about it. But at the end of the day, like, you can spend your whole life with people saying, Oh, you're so good with kids, you'll be a great dad. And then you know, you have your own kid and you're like, I am a horrible father, you feel right. I'm getting angry all the time. I don't know what to say, I can't calm her down. Like I don't know how to negotiate, you know, all these things that you thought you were good at. But then when it's your own child, you're not good at them anymore, because it's a whole different relationship. So there was a lot of that, you know, all those expectations. And, you know, like I said, just straight up fantasies turned to mostly be false, you know, a lot of things I knew I would absolutely do. You know, I would absolutely be every day I would be doing some form of physical exercise with my child, we would have stimulating conversations, right? No, not really. A lot of times we just watch some damn YouTube and eat chips. And I don't really think that that's a failure now, you know, but maybe 15 years ago, me would have looked at that and be like, No, man.

Curt Storring 10:33

Yeah, that's an interesting transition, there's, um, I think it was like the daily dad is this newsletter put out by Ryan Holiday. And he does some stuff about stoicism. But one of the things he talks about is garbage time. And it's like just being together, even if it's like you're watching YouTube, or you know, eating chips, that's, you know, that's great. That's connective. It's like just what you're doing in real daily life. But there's this level of presence I think you can bring to that. And is that something that you have tried to do rather than? Let's just veg out and watch YouTube and eat chips? Do you try to bring this like, really mindful attention to these things?

Andy Fossett 11:10

Yeah, what I've found, I mean, there's like nature and nurture, and all of these things. And there's a lot of stuff that's clearly genetic, and a lot of things that are clearly environmental, right. But what I've found is that, whatever my logical mind, tells me, I should be teaching my daughter that will never ever, ever outweigh the natural experience of being around me as many hours as she is every day, right? She's going to absorb who I am. And what I do a lot more strongly than what I say, and what I try to get her to do. So, yeah, Garbage Time is actually a good way to look at it. Sometimes we all as humans need some garbage time, right. And so being able to spend that with my daughter sometimes is nice. But mostly, yes, presence, and it doesn't have to be fully like focused presence, I, I can't give 100% of my attention to anything. I am, I grew up in the 80s. You know, like I my brain is not capable of 100% mindfulness on any particular thing. And, you know, apologies to my my business partners, and my wife and my daughter, but it's just reality. So I can give her some continuum between zero and 100%. Right, and it fluctuates, I can give her 90% of my attention, I can give her 10% of my attention. But spending time together, and trying to be as good a person as I can, in that moment, is probably, in my current opinion, the more realistic and the more honest approach to trying to influence her or teacher, or any of those things right, then then trying to decide on a thing and contrive an experience in which she will become whatever it may be somebody who's who's far more intelligent than me can pull that off. But I feel like just being the best version of me that I know how to be in that moment. And being able to be that with her with whatever amount of attention I'm able to muster for her at the time is probably as good as I can do. I feel like it's probably more than adequate.

Curt Storring 13:36

Right? And that's so that's such amazing self awareness. And it's like, it almost gives permission to hear you say this to guys who might otherwise think like, oh, I have to give the 100% attention all the time, or I need to be plugged in. I need to feel shameful. If I can't get my head to slow right. And I'm just hearing this like, really like, yeah, that's how it is. It's like, pull, like brutal acceptance. Is that something that like you've cultivated on purpose? Or like, how does this come around? Because you just seem like super easy with it? Well,

Andy Fossett 14:06

a lot of practice. A lot of practice forgiving myself for fucking things up. Um, you know, uh, yeah, shame, you mentioned is is a big one. And I think that, and not to downplay it, but we talk about women having, you know, a lot of shame from society and absolutely 100% But I think that it's, it's also we need to recognize that men and especially fathers feel a lot of shame to I actually haven't talked about this much. But I've done a little bit of therapy. And one of the the real standout moments to me was, I was just reflecting really strongly on my relationship with my daughter, and I don't remember exactly what triggered it, but just a ton of guilt just came out. And it was a hugely cathartic thing. And I realized how much guilt about just generalized guilt, not about any specific thing, but all of my failures as a father all the time. I didn't listen to her give her, you know, the love and protection that she felt she needed in the moment or whatever all of these things that I was holding on to, and I was able to let go of a chunk of that, which, you know, was was huge for me. And I don't know if it was necessarily that specific moment, or just a process of coming to terms with the fact that, yeah, I do feel a lot of shame and guilt around my failures as as a man and as a father and everything I think we all do, because we have all these expectations of, you know, what we're supposed to do what we're supposed to say what we're supposed to look like, all the things that we should never, ever, ever, you don't mess up. But we do because we're human. And that's life. And that's how things are. And I think I've been lucky that I have had some some role models, and some people that I've seen, make mistakes and be okay. And have actually, you know, shown me that they've forgiven me when I made mistakes, too. Yeah,

Curt Storring 15:57

now that this is shaping up to be like this weight release from the shoulders of man, I can just imagine like, there's this very clear permission almost from just what you're saying, to go there and feel those things and relieve yourself of the burden. And I tell you guys this all the time, like in my course, I have a couple of reframes, mental reframes to get guys like, oh, right, like, first of all, this is super hard, you're not gonna get it right all the time. Second of all, you've never done this before, even today, like my kids are almost nine, seven, and two, I will never have had a nine, seven and two year old, in fact, right Morrow, it'll be a new day, because I've never had an eight and you know, 11 months, whatever it is, and it's a new time. So like, give yourself a little bit of grace. And that's not an excuse, like not to get better. But it's just like this release. Because if you're so claustrophobic with this feeling of anxiety, I've experienced, at least personally, like, it's hard to actually get out there and do what you need to do.

Andy Fossett 16:58

Right? Yeah, so and that's a really good point, too. I mean, it's never gonna be the same even from day to day, as quickly as kids grow and develop as fast as their their brains are changing, and their bodies are changing and everything. There's very, you know, they've got to be almost adults before that even slows to a point where one day to the next you're having the same relationship with them, you know, let alone your own development, which you recognize it or not, is continuing. Yeah. So yeah, that's a really good point.

Curt Storring 17:32

Yeah. And I wanted to you mentioned, what was the wording, I think, was like expectations, or societal pressures or something like that. And, I mean, you don't fit the mold of the typical, you know, Western Father, you're, you don't even live in the West anymore. And you know, I being in the DC, have traveled myself, I spent two years in Thailand and Eastern Europe, and we traveled and my kids were there. And that was fan tastic. But you're raising a child in a completely different country from most of the listeners right now. And so I think it would be fun to get into that. What that looks like, like, what is raising a child internationally like, and is there a good starting off point there? Do you need a probe? Like how would you, how would you go about explaining this to us? Well,

Andy Fossett 18:14

I mean, the short story is I watched karate kid when I was when it came out when I was seven. And I knew I had to do karate, I did it for a long time. And I got to come here for some competitions and kept coming back and eventually moved to Japan. And during that time, I met the lady who would become my wife, and we got married. And so that is the the main reason why I have this connection to Japan. And so I say that because I think that, especially if we're talking about people in DC, there's a lot of people that are far more widely traveled than I am, and have been to many more countries speak like five or six languages. I've got like one and a half languages, you know. So I wouldn't put myself forward as an expert on internationalization or travel or any of those things. But I've been around a little bit and I've spent let's say, I've been in Japan off and on for like, more than 15 years. I guess I put it all together. I'd say my my in Japan time is a little over 10 years, right? Spread out in like two or three year chunks. This is the longest that I've spent in one in Japan. And it's where we're a little over three years right now. And so what happened was, when my wife and I got married, we're living in Osaka, which is a great city. It's awesome. But it's also not pretty. It's it's gritty, it's concrete. It's dirty. It's awesome. But after a few years there, we got to the place where we're like, well, now we're married. Where do we want to live? Where can we go? The business was starting but it was it was kind of Okay, it was, you know, it wasn't great. But like, well, let's live someplace pretty. So we moved to Hawaii, we thought we'd go for like a year, just check it out stayed for eight, you know, and we liked it, it was great. And while we're there, we had our daughter. So our daughter is, you know, mixed race, American and Japanese. And Hawaii is actually a really, really good place to grow up that way, a lot of people there are mixed from different cultures, Asian, Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, and, of course, Native Hawaiian population as well. So we felt really comfortable and at home there. But we also knew that our daughter wasn't going to get the real Japanese side of her identity, and mastered the language for another thing, without spending some real time in Japan during her formative years, right. So that's what it really came down to is that when our daughter, when we were looking at about time to start thinking about elementary school, we decided that that would be a great time to come here and for her to do elementary school in Japan. So that's why we moved here. And we moved specifically to Tokyo because, well, in Japan, it's the center of a lot of things. But it's also it's like the biggest city in the world, right? Any experience you could ever want to have. You could have in Tokyo, right? We have literally everything here. It's amazing. So there's also that, but yeah, that's the main thing is kind of how I came to be here and how my family is, like it is and why we're living the way we are right now. I think my wife and I talked about this quite a bit. And now the next step is that we also want her before she becomes an adult to spend at least another two or three years in America. And, and develop a little bit more of understanding of that culture and also communicating in English. But you know, that side of her identity as well, because spending the first six years in Hawaii, that's America, yes. But it's it's a pretty insulated and different part of America. And she was, you know, an infant until six years old. So very formative, but also different from experiencing that as somebody who is older, and you're more savvy about themselves and society and all of that too, right?

Curt Storring 22:30

Yeah, no, that's amazing, man. Like we actually we did the same sort of thing. We were in Thailand for a few years, the kids were our oldest was in like preschool, there are some like outdoor artsy preschool thing. And it's like, they we could get them into like the local Montessori, or this might be the time to sort of get back and start them in what we where we want to live. Right. And it's different for us. Because you know, there's only one sort of culture behind it. But are there things that are more challenging? Because like, I can just imagine logistically, like, does your daughter speak both Japanese and English?

Andy Fossett 23:02

Yeah. So when she was born, we spoke a little bit of both. But then, when we, when she started talking more, we focus a little bit more on Japanese because we figured living in America as we were at the time. And then when she started going to a preschool, all of her friends spoke English, and the teacher spoke English, so she would get English more naturally. But we wanted her to also learn Japanese, so we spoke Japanese to her a lot at home. So her spoken language was pretty good. But again, not being in Japan, not doing the same things that small Japanese children typically do. And having those same experiences, watching the same TV shows, etc. There were things that were missing, you know, gaps that she had, that you can't recognize, really, until you come here and are part of it. So even though everyone always said, Oh, she speaks fine, but there were words that she didn't know, there were cultural things that she was unaware of. And so the first two years of elementary school for her were challenging, actually, even though she, you know, quote, unquote, spoke Japanese. But she had to learn the letters and the basic phonetic reading and writing from scratch, which a lot of kids had had a bit of a head start on her for that. So the challenge really was technically linguistic, but not so much communication ability. It's, you know, catching up to parity with your native level of fluency and immersion in a culture is different from just being able to get by in something. And so that was definitely a challenge and it took like a good two years there's still things that she you know, probably lags behind some of her peers in in her class or age. range. But then there's other things where of course, he's got a lot more experience. She's been to like six or seven different countries. You know, she had four stamps in her passport before she turned a one year old. Yeah. So it was there's other things where she more than makes up for it and other things. But like, yeah, that was definitely a challenge is just getting to a kind of communicative and educational parody with her peers did take time. That's the thing that you can't, you can't neglect if if we move back to the States. And she's in junior high. And she takes what civics or social studies or whatever, she doesn't know who who she doesn't know, they were to President Adams, she doesn't know who Monroe was, she doesn't know anything about the Trail of Tears. Like she doesn't know any of the good or bad things about American history. Really? Yeah, that's all stuff that's going to be completely missing. She can speak English just fine. But she has none of these things that, you know, we would take for granted for a child of you know, like 10 to 12 to know about America and history, because she's learning the Japanese version of it here.

Curt Storring 26:09

Right. Okay. So the thing that I'm sort of picking up on here that I think we can sort of bring this back to for everyone listening is that there's this very intentional thought process that has to go behind because you're seeing what she's missing out on very clearly. Yeah, like for most people, they make a choice. That's just how most people do it. And you don't really see what you're missing and the blind spots. And I think this is probably both a blessing and a curse for you guys. Because it's like, Okay, we got to make some hard choices, she's not going to have the context, she's not going to be able to have like, the memes, for lack of a better term, like, she's not going to get the cultural significance of some things, right. And she's got passports, and she speaks two languages, and like, she's going to be able to see and choose, eventually, what lifestyle she prefers. Is it Japanese? Is it American? Is it somewhere in between? So like, what were some of these guiding principles or values that you use to make these trade offs?

Andy Fossett 27:01

Right. So I mean, I guess that's the thing is like, culture is invisible to us most of the time, right? If we're living in it, until we change to a different culture, and then we recognize it, it's like when when light changes medium, from air to solid, like when it goes through glass, it bends, your perception of things, bends when you shift cultures. And so we always knew that my wife and I being from different nations, different cultures, you know, speaking different languages, that we have different thought processes, different things. And one of the really great, I wouldn't call it an original insight. But one of the things that I think has been a guiding principle, for us as a family is that this is a terrific strength. We are, we have differences, there's challenges involved, there are different expectations of our roles in our cultures that we've had to, you know, discuss and confront, and figure out how to how to navigate, but it's also a strength, we have two nations that we can live in, you know, indefinitely, we have to two ways we can communicate, we have different, different cultures we can rely on, we have more more kind of vocabulary culturally than a typical family does. And that gives us a lot of opportunity for different perspectives or different solutions to problems. And it gives us a lot of optionality. And so this is the thing with our daughter is we recognize that this was a strength that we had as a couple, and as a family. And when we really started thinking about what do we want to give our child, one of the big things was, we want to give her the benefit of understanding both of these things, to at least a certain degree of proficiency, and being able to make the best decisions for ourselves for herself how to use that wider sort of that breadth of experience, and to develop the optionality there, but also know how to make those decisions on how she wants to choose where she wants to live, or where she wants to be, or what kind of career she wants to have, or what kind of relationships she wants to have. Right. So, and this, I guess, goes back to, you know, what I would say is probably a main theme of my life and myself as a person is, you know, freedom is great. But then we also have to balance that with making decisions about what we want, right? And I think that, in my mind, that's what autonomy means, right? It's, it's where we're optionality and decision making kind of meat. And that's what I really want to give my daughter is a high degree of autonomy over how she chooses to live her life and the experiences that she wants to have herself.

Curt Storring 29:44

Amazing. Yeah, that was very similar to like, part of the reason why we wanted to travel with the kids to give them that understanding that they now can see a lived experience that you don't have to just do the nine to five cubicle thing. Like oh, yeah, I lived in Thailand. Like as normal? Like, yeah, why not just do that again? Or like, let's do something crazy. We don't have to do the normal thing. It's giving them the options based on real lived experience, which is super powerful. And do you have like actual conversations with her about this? So she's like, Okay, here's what they're doing? Or is it just like osmosis?

Andy Fossett 30:17

It's a little of both. I mean, to a degree, she does take it for granted somewhat, you know, but she also does know, and this is one of the benefits of her being in a regular Japanese public school is that she also sees her her friends. And she's able to, you know, she's she's noticed that there's differences right beyond my father doesn't look like all the other fathers. Beyond that, she's noticed that there are differences in the way we live and the decisions that we make, right? The way we think about travel or the way we think about how we want to spend money, you know, do we want to buy this? Or that? Or do we want to go do this thing? Or are we afraid to spend money on things? Or do we think of this as an investment in something that's going to give us a greater payoff? Right? And none of these things are right, or more right or wrong than other ways of looking at it? I'm not saying that I have it all figured out in terms of like the correct ethical stance on all things. But we do. She she's noticed that we make decisions differently is what I'm getting at. And so we have discussions about that. Sometimes. I mean, I try not to preach to her or tell her you know, this is why we're smarter than all your friends. Parents. Yeah, like that. Probably wouldn't make her any friends. That in our head. And I don't really believe that either. But yeah, we it's a thing that she notices. And she's she's nine, and she'll be from here becoming more and more socially aware and focused. Right. That's what happens at the next kind of stage for cognitive development, and especially for, for young women. It's something that's really important. So yeah, we do talk about it, she notices, but I try not to preach about it.

Curt Storring 32:04

Yeah, no, that's probably the smart move, no matter how, right, we think we are.

Andy Fossett 32:08

Right. You know, I would love to think that we're making all the right moves, but I don't know.

Curt Storring 32:14

Yeah, well, you're probably making them for yourself. And you also are aware enough to figure out you know, how to deal with them when they're not the right moves, which I think is all we can really ask for. Right? Speaking of conversations. So I'm wondering, like, how do you navigate these? Maybe not conflict as a too strong of a word, but these differences with the cultural expectations with your wife? Like, what are those conversations look like? Do you have a style of communication that seems to work? Well, can you walk us through something like that? Man, you know, I'll

Andy Fossett 32:42

be honest, it's not something that I really did. Probably very well. And definitely not something that we began with any kind of intentionality. It it's a thing that we, it seems obvious to us now. But it didn't until we experienced conflict around different expectations we had for each other. And, you know, like Japan, I would say in this is not completely accurate, and probably not fully flattering. But I would say Japan in some ways lags, like 10 to 15 years behind American culture in terms of, say gender equality, for example. Right. So the the gender relationships and expectations of the husband or the wife, for example, are well, you know, from American standpoint, you might say antiquated, right? And so it's the, the expectations of those roles would be you know, the woman stays home takes care of the kids, the man, you know, focuses on making money. And luckily, my wife, I don't really feel that way. So it wasn't anything, we had conflict there. But then as the business started to grow, and things like that happened, and then when we decided to have a child, well, my wife did stop working. And though for a couple of years, she actually felt really guilty about it, because she felt like she had to be contributing more. But as the business started doing, well, I was like, Well, look, actually, you don't need to wear okay. And honestly, if I have to take time away from running the company to do like, you know, shopping or cleaning or things like that, and not that I'm above them, I actually really like washing dishes for I don't know why. But, uh, you know, if I'm having to take time away from running the company to do these things, actually, that loses us more money than you have the potential to make in any kind of career. And this is, you know, for her being a Green Card resident in Hawaii at the time, you know, so her career options were very limited. So not that she's not capable of doing more but on balance, you know, we had to really look at it logically and it took us like a few months to really like work through this and figure out it's okay for her to be, you know, have the traditional role that we both thought we were so evolved past, you know, but it was okay for her to actually like, you know, backslide I don't know, I don't know what it is for her to take the traditional role and for me to take the traditional role in that. But then also, I'm not working outside of the home, either. I'm I'm working but now, or at least the past couple of years, I'm working primarily from home, which is also a really different thing. And like in Japanese culture, work means you go to a place and you put butts in seat, and you spend time there. Right, that is that is work. And then you you go out drinking with your co workers and stuff and come back really late. Like that's what you get paid for as a salary man in Japan. So my daughter, you know, how does she explained to her friends that oh, yeah, my dad just stays home all day and drinks a lot of coffee and reads books? Yeah. Which is accurate, but it's not that I'm not working. Why do these things? Right?

Curt Storring 36:01

Yeah. Okay, that's, um, again, it's like intentionality, right? Like you just bring this up, and don't be scared of it. Has that been sort of the driving force? Like, you just go there?

Andy Fossett 36:11

Yeah. I mean, like I said, a lot of things, you know, came up as conflict at first and not not like, we just had shouting matches about it. But we recognized over time, stress developed, and we would would avoid saying things each other and realize that we weren't really fully relating, and we had to figure out what the hell was going on, you know? And then, then when we talk about it, and we figure out what kind of the source of these things are, then, okay, we've learned a thing together now, right? But yeah, we do have to be intentional about it. Because just like culture can be invisible. I think our relationships with people can be invisible unless we notice that there's something that needs work. You know, it's like, you don't if your body feels fine, you don't think that you need to stretch or work out really, right? It's, it's when you develop knee pain that you're like, oh, shit, what do I do about this? You know, it's only when you have back pain, that you really start thinking about hip mobility. Most of the time, you don't really worry about spending too much time sitting down. But then when you have a problem, so this is this is a thing, it's like we don't recognize, we don't worry about pain, unless we have it. You can't, it's like you don't recognize an absence of a thing. And so that's, that's the same thing with conflict and with like, relationship problems, and like communication problems. And all of this is recognizing a lack of something is really hard until that tension builds to the point that now you're feeling a pain. And then you have to address it, right. And we've been really lucky that I think we have addressed many of the pains. But obviously, there's always going to be more, and it's always going to be a continuing thing that we have to return to again and again.

Curt Storring 37:58

Yeah, ya know, that's one of the thing that I love about this podcast is that it's a way for me to remind guys to look at parts of their lives like that, right? So that when the typical route is you get hit by a Mack truck, and then you make a change. And sometimes it's too late. Like we had a guy, Brandon Archer on episode two in here who had a heart attack in like his 40s. And then he was like, wow, there's some things need to change. And he got lucky that he survived. But like, there are things in your life, whether it's relationship, you know, relation to yourself, relationship with your child, how your parenting, your fitness, your health, like all of these things can be addressed now, without having to be hit with a two by four or the Mack truck or anything like that. And it's so hard to find them but this is just like a pattern interrupt for anyone listening to just like check in meditate a little bit. introspect journal about each section of your life, do a regular quarterly check in, like, do something to get in front of these issues. And I guess speaking of quarterly check ins Do you have any, like personal check ins that you do? Or like what is your planning? Yeah, I only asked because, like, you know, business owner DC, you might have something? Or you know, maybe maybe not.

Andy Fossett 39:11

So it's funny because like, I always think I should be much more rigorous about this than I am and you know, I've taken I've taken courses on things, you know, like, I've bought the the planning journals and whatnot. And I follow through these things somewhat for a while, and sometimes I'll be able to follow through them long enough to get something out of them. Other times, I just can't make it stick. Um, I do. Try to have periodically like every month to six weeks, I try to have a couple days blocked out on my calendar for just kind of thinking about things right. I don't really tend to get too hung up on the process of it because I find that the things I need change I have I have done some exercises and tried to come up with sort of a longer range vision of what's really important to me. And I do review that sometimes who I want to be in like, you think like 20 years from now? Well, when you're 20, you know, 20 years from now you're gonna be in your prime, I'm 4420 years from now, I'm going to be dead, alright, probably not. not that old yet. But you know, the timelines, significant changes to as you as you age. And so, you know, I don't really know what the right process is. But I do try to take time. And sometimes I'll review, like where I want to be in the future, sometimes I'll find that I am in a place where I feel like I need to look back, or, and, you know, over the last like, quarter, or year or something, and sometimes I just know, like, I really need to address this area, like, I really need to think about my health now. Or the last, the last six months, I've actually done really well at improving my health, I feel stronger and more flexible than I have. In years, I've actually done some endurance training, which I've avoided for like 15 years, because I've hated it. And so I'm doing really well in that. And so I know that I need to probably spend a little bit more time focused on what I can do to, you know, improve my relationship with my wife or something, right. Like, sometimes it'd be really obvious, I need to focus on a specific area, but I don't really have a process is what I'm getting at. But I do make time to, you know, introspect and plan and think on that stuff. And I think that what happens is just having that time allows me to use it for whatever, whatever I specifically need at that time, you know,

Curt Storring 41:50

yeah, no, that makes sense. Just based on sort of what I'm picking up is that you're, you seem to be like forward moving. And like sort of, in the flow of the business and whatever needs to get done. And like maybe that's all it takes, you know, sometimes for me, I like a little bit more like rigid structure a little bit more planning. And, and maybe that's bad, maybe it's like my controlling nature, you know, so what I've been doing in December of this year, and what I've tried to do each December, is I take some structured time to like set my goals, do the 10 year vision thing, and my values align. And then I'll just like, putter around for a couple of weeks. And I'll just think, and I'll just have this like, at times, it will feel extremely unproductive and almost get like low grade anger, like, Oh, why aren't I doing something? But it's like, I know, I just need to sit with it. And days will go by and then it's suddenly like a week goes past? And it's like, oh, now I've downloaded everything I need to move forward. So I guess I don't know if there's a question attached to this other than, like, how did how have you cultivated this sense of sort of ease? Because you just seem like, you're on top of things, you know, like, you've you've you're living your life? You're the author of your life? And, and maybe not, but you tell me like you seem very on top of things.

Andy Fossett 43:00

Don't Don't say that to my team, they will have very different perspective. And probably, I think it depends on on what you're talking about. Like, I feel like I am doing well enough at most things right now that I don't really have to push too hard on stuff. Now that seasonal, though, and I don't mean a yearly. I mean, it's, it's a it's a temporal thing. It's a phase, it'll change. I had periods where, you know, I worked 20 hour days, like, that's kind of part of the thing. I've had periods where I got obsessed about this or that. And right now, everything is well going well enough, that I'm trying to really focus on not being really too, not pushing too hard and not being very driven by anything. That's kind of kind of my personal yoga right now, I guess. But I'm sure there will be a period in the future where I do, like, want to focus on something very specific. And I don't know, it might be business, it might be something else. And I'll probably devote a few years to that again. So I think it's probably just this is the time I'm at right now, where I am in a pretty pretty easygoing phase. And it's not like I have ascended to the peak of Maslow's pyramid hierarchy or anything like that. But my basic needs are met. My family is basically happy and healthy. We're very satisfied with where we're at living and the way that our days are going right now. So I feel like I can be a little bit relaxed about it. But you know, like, like you're saying, you need some of that time sometimes to sort of stew and let things marinate and see where you need to go next. Right? Like I know people that have sold businesses for life changing amounts of money, and then they don't know what to do next. And they try to jump into this project or that project and sometimes you need to take 235 years off, just messing around to just know what is important to you what you want to do next, if anything, right, you know, you go on vacation, and you go somewhere for like one night, and then you check out at 10am. And you leave, you haven't relaxed. You need a certain amount of days to really be actually having recreation. You know, we have this remote work culture, my company, and people are all over the world, we've been remote since 2010. You know, and one of the things that's really hard for people to get that takes years for people to really get to change their work habits is the difference between taking a day off, and actually taking a vacation. You know, people after a couple of years will still apologize, like, oh, I have to take a day off. But I don't notice days that you're on or off. I could not care less. I don't even know what day of the week it is most of the time. I you know, I mean, I rely on my calendar to tell me if there's anything I'm supposed to do. But you have to when you think about like really resting, you need like two weekends book ending a period of not working, you can't work Monday and then take Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday off and say that you rested. It just doesn't work. I you know, the concept of time and weekends and all these things are you know that this is some culture, this is an industrial revolution thing. You know, it's it's antiquated, it's not real. Yes, it's completely social construct. I get that. But we live in that social construct. So we do need to actually take time off within that social construct, right? You need to take nine continuous days off work for it to be a vacation.

Curt Storring 46:43

Yeah, no, I, I love that. Because in sort of a meta point, this is where we talk about a lot in doing sort of the healing work and the growth work that sort of that is required to become a better man, partner and father, which is sort of the point of, of Dad.Work. And I learned this the hard way. Like I was doing all the things in my time off because I, I sold a part of my portfolio a year and a bit ago. And I took some time off. But I didn't actually take any time off like I didn't actually do I didn't I was never in time off. I was doing so much like meditating so that I could stretch so that I could work out so that I could journal like doo doo doo doo doo. And even in the time when I wasn't working, I was like scheming. And I didn't get any time off until I got to this breaking point where I'm like months into my like so called sabbatical where I've done nothing restful. And I've like, started this other business, which ended up being a terrible idea. And then I like ended up quitting that, and I failed at that. And then like, my life blew up for a while. And then it was like, Oh, you're supposed to rest. Oh, now I get it. So like, it took me forever to find it. Rather than doing and integrating all the stuff that had happened to me. Cool,

Andy Fossett 47:59

yeah, it's integrating, that's a really good way to look at it. And you can't rush that you can't force it, there's no process for it. You you can't meditate from six to 9am Every morning, then do 45 minutes of hot yoga, eat a breakfast with 28 grams of protein that's not going to take you to enlightenment, you have to do you have to let time and space, let your brain do the things it needs to do. You know, and I say brain to also mean heart gut all of the nervous system things that are working on us all the time, right? Yeah, it that experience that you're talking about is I think very, very common for people. And especially those of us who happen to be entrepreneurs, or you're driven to make things. We talk about taking a sabbatical. And we're like, what am I going to do? How am I going to use this sabbatical time effectively? The idea?

Curt Storring 48:57

Yeah, the next thing that I want to talk about just before we get to our time at the top of the hour here is this, this idea that you sent to me, which was how we look at fitness and physical autonomy as a component of overall personal autonomy. And I've like I've looked at your site, I've tried to like identify exactly what you guys do. And I was really interested because you're very cheeky on your bio and like just, you know, funny online like that. And I was like, okay, autonomy. I love this idea. I love fitness and like being able to, like, I think I heard it on Tim Ferriss podcast, maybe it was one of the doctors the add on, this guy has the idea of the centenarian Olympics where you can like pick up his grandchildren from a dead squat or, you know, lift groceries off the ground, you want to be able to do these things functionally, but I'm interested in your take on like this idea of autonomy and how we relate fitness to the rest of our life.

Andy Fossett 49:48

Right. So, I mean, on the broad level, of course, like, we have this idea of fitness that I think culturally you know, these days comes to us like by way of life the lineage of the Jane Fonda VHS right, or Arnold Schwarzenegger pumping iron, like one of those two schools really is what most fitness things are. And then there's CrossFit, which is literally the cross the hybrid of those things, which it's not new. Like in the 80s, we had cross training, it was literally the same thing. But this idea that fitness means doing a thing, fitness is a branded activity. Fitness is a set of approved movements that you do in a place dedicated to fitness wearing fitness clothes, and then you go have a fitness and drink, right? This is an I run a business, I am a capitalist pig. But this is this is not what this is not necessary. This is people selling you an idea of what you should be doing with your recreational time. You don't need special spandex to lift heavy things. You don't it's not necessary. It's not do

Curt Storring 51:00

I have to give away my collection, then.

Andy Fossett 51:02

I mean, if you like them, you know, I have three pairs of Lululemon shorts that are excellent. And they discontinued the damn things. I love to them. And so actually the third pair I had to find on eBay, like it, I searched for a year for these shorts, because they don't make them anymore. I was so happy to have them. So I mean, I love my spandex as much as the next guy, what I'm saying, but it's not necessary, you know. And so we have this idea of fitness as being this thing. But really what is fitness is being fit, being capable to do the things we need to do. Right? The fitness level that is required for me or you, I don't know you very well, but probably is not the same as the fitness level that is required for a professional athlete, or for someone doing physical labor for somebody who is you know, throwing boxes for UPS, these are different levels of fitness are required for different things. And, you know, fitness is only one sort of continuum of life, there's other things that we have to be good at. So if we measure our fitness, if we like, let's say, your white collar, working class people, measure our fitness against people who are professional athletes, we're not going to measure up, right. But if you take Serena Williams, and ask her to, I don't know, SEO optimize a blog post, she could probably learn it, but she's not going to be able to do some of the things that we take for granted to write. And I think this is really important to recognize is that fitness is not like, there's there's one definition of fitness, there's one pinnacle of fitness, and we should all be striving to reach that exact single definition every time. autonomy means you decide what is right for you, and you go after it, right? It's that intersection of freedom and decision, right? So physical autonomy is being able to do that with your body, it means that your body isn't limiting you, and restricting your options for the way you want to live your life. I would love to go hang out with you at the lake this weekend. But my back hurts, and I don't want to embarrass myself and I don't want to be the guy sitting on the sideline, because it'll make everyone uncomfortable. Right? You don't have the physical autonomy to do the thing you really want to do with your friends. Right? Yeah, you can't pick up your grandkids or you can't weed the garden, we have a lot of our clients in our company that tell us that they they are better, they enjoy gardening more because their knees don't hurt when they squat down all the time. I that was not something that I thought of when we started this company. But it's something I hear a lot and I totally get. And I think that is what we made this for without realizing it. So that's physical autonomy, that's kind of like where these things are going. And so we try to teach people how to develop the right level of the fitness they need. And part of that is for them deciding what kind of movements are important to them what kind of things they need, and also letting go of the expectation that they're going to be Steph Curry, you know, or that they're going to be they're going to look like a bodybuilder or something like that. You're not unless you make that your thing.

Curt Storring 54:23

Yeah, man, this is actually very timely for me because as I was planning out my own fitness goals for this year, I was going like I'm really tired a lot of the time. I'm up really early. I am at the gym for five days a week and like, I'm not getting the exact results that I was hoping for. And like if I want those, I'm going to have to go even harder. I'm trying to build this new business now. I'm trying to connect with my wife and kids. I'm trying to like be chill and actually like recover. And so like in terms of seasons you were saying like this ain't my season to get jacked. You know, like I'm fit right I'm I'm really thinking Actually, but like, I really want to be jacked. I want to have like, you know, three inches on my shoulders. I want to have three more inches on my chest. Want to see my abs a little bit more? And am I willing to make the trade off in everything else? Or is like good enough? Good enough? And is that sort of the idea of what you're getting out here?

Andy Fossett 55:17

Yeah, I mean, there's, there's good enough, which is an important sort of thing that every person needs to find for themselves all the time. There's also just the fact that I don't care what cord on blue school you went to man, you cannot cook on six burners at a time. No, chef is that good. So we all have goals, we have things we want to do, but you can't really be pursuing all these different things. At the same time, with more than 100 divided by that many things percent of focus, it's just reality. And I say that sometimes you're like, oh, but you should always strive for more, you know, give it 110%. That sounds nice. But there is literally only 100% percent means out of 100, you can't have more than that. There's 24 hours. And yeah, we can all decide how to use these things. But you take away your sleep, and it's going to come back to bite you it's going to hurt, you know, these things are important. And again, like not to not to be too on the nose. But as a father, I have to be sure that I'm unliving The best example that I can to right. It's not something that I can I can put off and I can say, well, I'm going to make this sacrifice for this time. And then later on, I'll explain to her why I did it. That's that's not the way it works. She's living through this with me. And if she sees me sacrificing my health for some external green survival tickets or or status symbols or something, she's gonna know where my values truly lie, right? Yeah. And so that's really important for me to know that. One, I just realistically can't be the best at all these things you can't, you know, sorry, man. But you know that you're you're having to make choices. Oh, and that's the thing is making choices. A lot of this, you can do it all just go harder. This is not actually good advice. And not in the fact that hustle is bad. Hustle is great. But the reason it's bad advice is because it's trying to sell you this BS idea that you can avoid making tough decisions in life. Having it All, this isn't about having it all. Having it All is avoiding giving up anything. And we can't do that we have to give things up. I gave up having a six pack. I feel fine about it.

Curt Storring 57:46

Yeah, especially as Desmond like this is this is just it. And I love this idea. And part of what I've been looking at, and we're gonna finish up in just a sec, is like balancing on this pendulum of healing and softness and gentleness. And then like, You got to get shit done. You got to be in the trenches, feet on the ground with your kids, like leading them. So how do you balance these things? And you know, I think there's a very mindful, intentional way to do that, so that you can then go to these places, but it's very hard to like use balance as a motivating factor. So it's like, the last question I'll ask you is like, how are you motivated to make these changes? Because I love what I hear. And it's also like, well, if I'm just doing I know, I said good enough before, but if I'm just doing good enough to someone who hasn't actually done the work, and I say, good enough, because like, I do the work every day, right? But if you're just like, well, I guess it's just getting honest with yourself, like, how do you motivate people who come to you?

Andy Fossett 58:44

I? Well, I mean, honestly, I try to avoid motivating people. I think motivated? Yeah, I think that you have to you have to come to a place where you're intrinsically motivated. And maybe there are people that can can guide people to that, or can can give them experiences that will help them find that faster. I don't really know what those are, I'll just be really honest. I feel that the things that I'm able to do work best for people that have that motivation, or at least are getting close to it. But I really think it has to come from yourself. And again, like you've mentioned several times introspection, really looking at what's important. I think that is absolutely key. You have to give yourself some time to make space and whatever vague New Agey things I can say here, I don't know. But you need to you need to look at yourself and really make some hard decisions about what's important to you. And give yourself permission to let them change. Give yourself permission to make them be temporary. If I'm going to decide that this is a key factor in my life, I can decide it is right now in it I don't have the pressure that I'm I'm dedicating the rest you know the next 60 years to a singular idea. idea of reaching the pinnacle of absolute BS, you know, that's, you can, you can have a goal for a year or a couple of months, and you can pursue it. And then you can get to a level where you've got an 80% proven to yourself that you can do it and that you can be satisfied with that. And you can either go the other 20% or you can be like, cool. You know, so like giving yourself permission to make make your motivations be temporary, I think is completely Great.

Curt Storring 1:00:28

That's so so good. Let's leave it on that one. Because, like, when when I was thinking about, like, making the hard choice to move to Thailand, for example, the first time I had to go like, Oh, well, if this doesn't work, I could just make another choice. And it's like, well, we often make these choices as though it's the only chance we'll ever get when someone is changing, like fundamentally making a shift in their life. It's like, Oh, my goodness, vital, get this, right. But like, if you make the one change, then you can make another change and other change, like, just keep going with what feels right, combined with what you know, is really necessary for you to grow or to feel authentic. So, so that's a great one. There's a lot of little lessons in here, man, thank you for spending the time and thanks for just riffing really, this was awesome.

Andy Fossett 1:01:09

Yeah, I mean, we got that I think about this stuff a lot. So it's fun to talk about. And you know, I enjoy you know, sharing any anything that I have learned from it.

Curt Storring 1:01:18

And where can people find more about you? I know you've got a business, you've also got a niche martial arts blog, which I thought was very interesting. Or maybe you're on Twitter, who knows? Where can people find you.

Andy Fossett 1:01:30

I mean, I'm on Twitter, but I don't really post very much the best the best way to see the the thing that I'm actually putting most of my energy into is g gmb.io That's, that's our company, our business. We talk about fitness, but it's fitness as part of a path to all these things I've been talking about. It's a part of an integrated idea of what autonomy really is. And we develop the physical side of that so it can get out of the way of the other sides of it for you.

Curt Storring 1:02:01

Beautiful Okay, man, I really appreciate the time. Thank you

that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod That's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL, dad.work/pod To find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening, and we'll see you next time.

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