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Today’s guest is Jon Vroman.
We go deep talking about:
- Being honest with yourself and managing emotions instead of numbing them,
- When and how to discipline a behavior without shaming anyone
- Being around other dads and why it’s important for you to join a community of men
- Being a family man with a business and not a business man with a family
- The importance of scheduling in creating the life you want to live
- Having the self-awareness to reflect on what is truly real for you at any given time and to make informed decisions
- Recognizing and accepting your ego for what it is while also realizing the useful role it can play and,
- How we can react less to things our kids do, and respond from a more grounded place.
Jon Vroman founded Front Row Dads because he wanted to win at home and not just at work.
Over the last 5 years, Front Row Dads has become a diverse group of 230 dads from 12 different countries who share a common bond of choosing to put family first as they grow their businesses.
The mission of Front Row Dads is to help men deepen their connection with their children and build a family legacy that they’re proud of.
Outside of the podcast, live events and online summits, FRD has a highly engaged membership that supports each dad in aligning with his family values and staying committed to the most important people in his life.
Mentioned on this episode:
The Happiness Advantage
Find Jon 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 56. How To Be A Front Row Dad with John Vroman, we go deep today talking about being honest with yourself and managing emotions instead of numbing them, when and how to discipline a behavior without shaming anyone being around other dads and why it's important for you to join a community of men. Being a family man with a business and not a businessman with a family. The importance of scheduling and creating the life you want to live. Having the self awareness to reflect on what is truly real for you at any given time and to make informed decisions. recognizing and accepting your ego for what it is while also realizing useful role it can play and how we can react less to things our kids do, and respond from a more grounded place. John Roman founded front row dads because he wanted to win at home and not just at work. Over the last five years front Row Dad's has become a diverse group of 230 dads from 12 Different countries who share a common bond of choosing to put family first as they grow their businesses. The mission of Front Row Dad's is to help men deepen their connection with their children and build a family legacy that they're proud of. Outside of the podcast, live events and online summits. Frd has a highly engaged membership that supports each dad in aligning with his family values, and staying committed to the most important people in his life. You can find John online at frontrowdads.com One of the best parts of doing this work and having a podcast is meeting other men doing amazing work. And that was definitely the case with John, I'm so glad that we got connected. And I am so pumped for the work that he's doing because I love the tagline of being a family man with a business and not a businessman with a family speaking as someone who's run a business for the last 10 years, it can be all too easy to switch those things around. And John gets real in this conversation. He pulls up his calendar and tells me exactly what he's been doing. Not just this ideal life that he wishes he was living but actually what it looks like, and the struggles he's got even as a leader of men in his group. So this was a really fun conversation, guys, if it resonates with you, I encourage you to join front row dads. And we've talked about this before. Like we're not competing here. I've got a community that we're building called the village which will be released and launched over the next coming months and grow over the next coming years. And he's got front row dads, and they're for different men. And as long as you find someone with whom you resonate, please go join a community of dads or men who can have your back because this shouldn't be done alone. So whether you join me whether you join John, please enjoy this episode. I'm very grateful that John was able to show up and be so real, I really, really appreciate the work he's doing. And just the man he is he's a great example of intentional fatherhood. If you've been enjoying this podcast, would you take two seconds to leave a review on Spotify or Apple, Spotify has got a rating system. Now Apple, of course has always had that. So please go to the DAD.WORK Podcast and rate or review. If you would like to join us in a weekly men's group, we might have a couple of spots left open at dad.work/group. That's our weekly men's group for fathers. You can check us out there. And that is it for now. I hope you enjoy this episode with John Roman, it was a lot of fun for me. And hopefully we'll be able to do more things together in the future because the energy is just fantastic. So all that being said, Here's episode number 56 with John Froman.
Welcome dads, I am here with John Roman a front row dad's I'm extremely excited to talk to you as one of the leaders that I look up to in this space, both as a business person as well as a father. So first of all, thank you for coming on, man. And I'm excited to go just be real with you.
Unknown Speaker 3:38
Yeah, appreciate that. Man. This is a fun conversation that was destined to be had. So God glad we're getting it done now,
Curt Storring 3:45
ya know, me too. And the first thing that I love to hear is mostly to connect personally, I want to know what becoming a father was like to you? Because and I say this every time so the guys listening are probably like, oh man, shut up. It was really hard for me. All of the things I didn't want to know about myself. Were just like, front and center the moment I became a dad, so maybe maybe yours was different. But what was it like in your journey to actually become dad?
Unknown Speaker 4:14
Wow, man, you know, there's so much there. Because on any given day, there would be a, you know, an emotion that could have been unpacked and explored and they were different. Some days, I felt like I was doing exactly what I should be doing as a dad and felt like I was killing it as a dad, you know, just my son ocean was born and I took off a lot of time from work. And I remember holding him and being like, I'm killing it. Like I'm off work. I'm doing the right thing. I'm in the right place. And there were other times when I was putting my kids to bed and I couldn't wait for them to just close their eyes so I could drink a beer. Right? And I was like, I hate being a dad. I want to be a guy on a couch drinking a beer right now. And having conflicting emotions around all that you know, like not like having my son be so annoying that I hated being in his presence. And yet thinking that is this me, right? Like if I, what's going on? Is a lot of it was a question I was asking a lot. And I was I was wrestling with my own failures, and I was celebrating some victories along the way. It was absolutely full spectrum of human emotions.
Curt Storring 5:23
i Okay, this is what's coming up for me. I was like, Oh, thank goodness, he went there. You know, like I, we talked about this in one of my recent men's groups with the dads that I run. It's like, what are the things you don't like about being a dad? And it was like, who are allowed to say that? And so you just saying like, Oh, man, it's so annoying, sometimes is permission, I think, for the guys listening to be like, oh, like, I don't have to repress this necessarily. But like, what is the process behind that? You're not going to be like, a jerk about it or anything like that. So you got your own feel? Or you are? Especially, I was mean, man. Yeah. Right. I didn't do well. So how did you navigate that? Knowing that, like, you got your own feelings, but you still gotta show up as dad?
Unknown Speaker 6:04
Yeah. Well, look at part of why I started front row. Dad's is I launched the group I needed to join. That's the deal, right? Like, I didn't start this because I was winning in all areas. I started it because I looked at it go, I'm really struggling here. I'm really struggling to get all this done. And I looked at other people and thought, man, you're doing this, you're doing that I really admire and respect that and could see that I had, I had work. So the process, I mean, part of it is just acknowledging, you're going to hear that in almost anything, right? It's just being honest with yourself, finally. So I, I don't know how much you talk about the Enneagram or have studied the Enneagram in your world, but this personality profile for anybody who doesn't know what it is? It makes me a seven. So what the hell does it mean to be a seven right on the Enneagram of nine options. It means I'm an enthusiastic person who loves to, like always see the bright side of things. And what I like to do is I don't like to feel bad. So I'll find a way to feel better as well. I love the personal growth space, you need me to reframe something, you need me to find the gift in the challenge. I'm your man. But that means I don't feel any of my real feelings. I tried to bury them. And I tried to bury them by going becoming an ultra marathoner. At one point in my life, I tried to then bury them with alcohol. At another point in my life, I tried to bury them through it by sleeping with a bunch of women at another point in my life. And then I tried to bury them by being a disciplined, good human in other areas of my life. But the point was, I was trying to feel better not feel more, as my friend Charles clay says, right, like, that's my, that's, that was my challenges. I wasn't feeling all my feelings. So part of what had to happen is I just needed some honesty. and I both was able to come to some of that on my own, but some of them by watching other men say, I don't really like that. I don't really want to play army men for 30 minutes, when my son keeps changing all the rules, and I'm losing every battle. Or I don't want to play Chutes and Ladders, another time. And you hear other people say that and you're like, yeah, it's okay that I don't love to play chutes and ladders for 30 minutes. I love my child, I you know, and we sometimes have these visions of being a dad where it's like, we tell our kids something, and they're like, Thank you Dad, without that. And there's all these, like, we're throwing the ball, or we're doing this thing. And there's all these visions of what being a great father is like, I'm gonna write them a letter and it's gonna change. But a lot of being a father is like learning how to not lose your shit. And you know how to manage your own emotions in very difficult situations when your child is doesn't want to listen. And how do you learn to hold a standard or punish the behavior perhaps, but not a person? How do you learn to be firm in your boundaries, but not be shaming somebody and so much of the work like as you know, is just ourselves. You know, it's the work on ourselves. And I came in very arrogant to fatherhood in some way because I'm like, I've been to all the Tony Robbins stuff. I've read all the books. I'm a coach, I'm super enlightened, you know? And yeah, yeah, no, not so much. Nothing
Curt Storring 9:06
quite like when you back down to how little enlightened you are. Yeah, triggers. There's so much in what you just said actually, that I want to dive into. One of them is the honesty. And I think like being around men, as I'm sure you know, running in this community, like that's one of the best ways to actually do that is to hear reflected back at you all these things that you're doing and it's like, oh, man, like I didn't even notice that. And I'm sure that's a big part of like, why the community or your community works is because being around men you call each other out on your shin that's sometimes right and the the sort of the the hard feelings you're talking about not wanting to feel them. This is such a common thing that I hear is guys are just like, let's go ahead and let's be happy let's like not dwell on the negative. And you know, I don't I've heard recently, I don't want you know, my family to feel sad or cry at my funeral. And it's like, hold on. Why not like what is so bad about feeling bad? And I've experienced this a lot like the point of meditation for me was like, Oh, I could just feel great all the time. It's actually not it's actually feeling more, like you said, and so like, what does that journey look like? For you? I know, you said, there's a lot of stuff that you used to numb. What was it underneath all of that? Like, what were you actually trying to numb? And have you now allowed yourself to feel those things?
Unknown Speaker 10:24
Yeah, there's a lot there. Right? There's a lot there, like, what am I trying to numb, you know, if you took it categorically, or you looked at what I was doing in any given moment, like so I started, as an example, I started Front Row Foundation. And that was a charity that helps kids and adults who have a life threatening illness, to go to the event of their dreams from the front row. And man, I love that it was really coming from, in many ways, a good place. It was also coming from a place of, of like, not feeling like I was significant enough, I wasn't enough for the world. So I needed to give in order to be a good human. And I ran myself into the ground being a giver, I was numbing, real pain of not feeling like I was enough by giving relentlessly to other human beings. So I was trying to fill that cup by giving away so much that I would find joy. And, look, there is some wins in there, where you're like, Oh, it's great to not be so totally focused on myself to do something great for another human there that of course, there's victory in that, of course, there's beauty in that, of course, there's a part of our humans soul that wants to, you know, be there for another person that's pure, that was pure for me. In addition to that, it's a yes. And situation, I was also numbing out the real feelings of not addressing why was I at the core, not enough as a human being to just be on this planet and be worthy of love, or worthy, right of just, you know, going to bed at night, putting my head on the pillow and just resting easy, but going to bed at night and feeling like I just I wasn't living up to my full potential. And the personal growth space has a dark side to write like all this work about who we want to be and what we can achieve. And what we can do, there's a dark side to that, if you're not willing to acknowledge and look at what's truly going on. And you just use all of that achievement and accomplishment and giving or whatever channel you're doing it through to avoid show like looking at what's actually underneath the surface. And that becomes a whole journey. And so you go what is underneath the surface, you know, like, oh, all sorts of shit. You know? I mean, dude, how much time do we have? How many days? Do you want to record this podcast?
Curt Storring 12:50
Yeah, man, I feel that hard. Because there was the same way for me. Like I felt extremely unworthy. And like, if I wasn't perfect, then everyone would see under the veneer of perfection, which I really tried hard to put off. And underneath that was someone who wasn't worthy of love. And so if there's a crack in that I would spiral because now I had to face all that crap. And if you just try harder and accomplish more sounds like sort of same situation. And people just be like, Oh, wow, he's crushing it. He's amazing. And then they'll give you that validation. But it's this empty validation, or at least it was for me. I'm curious, like, what finally got you over the hump? Like, when did you start doing the work to like, find your worthiness and feel like the works
Unknown Speaker 13:32
been going? It's, you know, life's been working on me since day one. You know, it's been, it's been unfolding the way it needed to unfold. It's hard to identify specific moments, but you can and to simplify a story, I think it is important to try to find those. So like, one of them would be a time when my wife said, you know, you're more of a moment maker for other people than you are for our family that cut to the heart. By the way, she's right. She's right. I wrote a book on how to be a moment maker I built I built a charity where we raised millions of dollars and help tons of people and we're doing all sorts of crazy stuff. And I was putting more energy into an event for a total stranger than I was into any person in my family's birthday, Christmas, anything. I was more of a moment maker for the world. Right? I was more interested in being famous outside of my house, and I was to be famous in my home. So that was a moment. I remember a moment when I was at a party and somebody asked me what I did. And I realized my identity was speaker, coach, author, right charity person. That was the moment I realized I wanted to be a family man with a business not a businessman with a family. That was a turning point for me. That was me looking at my computer one day and finally admitting to the fact that I had core values for my business and I had a finance plan for our gala coming up for the fundraiser and I had all this stuff I mapped out, you know, all sorts of things for my business and charity, where I got a lot of my significance. But I had not I did not done that for my family. I would, I would, I would plan all this out, put a time into a weekly staff meeting with my team, but then just show up to dinner. Like my job was just to eat and be like, how was your day with no intention with no structure with no strategy with no thoughtfulness around it? Yeah, those were all wake up moments for me.
Curt Storring 15:31
That's, that's where I wanted to go next, actually, is this idea of family men with businesses rather than businessman with families like that is? That's just like the best tagline, right? Like, whoever came up with that, if it was you, or someone else like, man, that's so onpoint. And I love that. And I just want to caveat for the men listening who are not business owners. This applies whether or not you own a business, because it's all about where you put your priorities where you choose to make meaning. I'll just give you like a very quick example of meaning creation. I've read this book recently called 4000 weeks by Oliver Berkman. Fantastic, it just like it changed my week, in the next couple of weeks in my life, and it's still changing me. And it's about placing your finite time on Earth, where it matters most. And then a night I was like, I could go to sleep, and wake up so that I could go for a run. That's what I wanted to do. Or I could have stayed awake a little bit longer kids would have gone to bed, and I'd be able to connect with my wife. That's like, I don't really want to stay awake. And instead I was like, What am I priority? What am I optimizing for here? For like being able to run slightly faster tomorrow morning, or deepening my relationship with my wife? It's like, oh, da. So I just stayed awake a little bit longer felt tired the next day, and I dealt with it. And so could you walk us through, like the transition? And you just sort of allude to it. But what did it look like for you making that when you realize that? How did you actually do any of it because like, it's hard it was for me to like start putting more intentional effort into my family.
Unknown Speaker 16:57
Yet, to me, this feels a little bit like anything else. That's a practice that requires constant attention. You can't just lift weights once and then reap the rewards of that. You can't just meditate once and reap the rewards of that. You need to be in a place where you're like this is ongoing work of recalibration. It's not like enlightenment happens. And then the light never goes out. It's a it's a constant lighting of the torch. And then you know, and relighting of the torch. That's what it's been like for me. So honestly, dude, it's a lot of what I've been experiencing has been a practice of staying in alignment. And most of the time, I'm kind of, you know, I am out of alignment, and I need to find ways to get back into gear so or back into presence with what's important back into priority. So a number of ways that I figured out how to do that. Well, one I started the group that I needed to be in conversation with so when you change that conversation, you're going to change your focus and now I meet monthly with my guys my my three bandmates. We call them bands in front row dad's the small groups, and so I have three bandmates, Justin, Donald, how Elrod and Tim, Nick alive are my guys. And we've met every month for two hours for three years now. And we literally I walked in this morning, and my wife said, how was your band meet up? And I was like, it was great. And she goes was everybody there? She goes with everybody. There I go. Was everybody there I go. Always, everybody's there. Like we literally I think one person missed one meeting in three years. We're always there. And it felt great to say that because this morning, we talked about our Congress, we talked about our parents and our relationship with our mother and father. And what was where was the pain and where, where did we learn and, and talk about just ignoring things. Like I've ignored so much of the pain of the past, kind of justifying that everything's like, hey, my mom and dad, arguably are great people. And on paper, this is what it looks like. And I should be grateful for a mom and dad like that. But in many ways, just sweeping under the rug, any type of trauma or pain that I that still shows up to this day, because I don't think I've really dealt with it. That's something I'm working on right now. But the question about how do we stay in priority is like, it's through conversation, I believe. I believe that's how we do it. Why in our business, we have a weekly huddle. Right, we run Eos, we have an L 10. Meeting. It's a system, it's a structure, what are your issues? What are your rocks? What are your KPIs? What does the scorecard say? Why would we not do that in other areas of our life? So in front row dads, we have six pillars, we focus on health, emotional intelligence, we focus on parenting and marriage. And these are the six categories that we've identified and said, Look, we're gonna throughout the year, check in on these categories and say, How are we doing? So we have every eight weeks we have a summit that we focus on that we you know, we constantly bring these back into conversations so that we can say, How's it going? What results are you getting? Let's be honest here, right? Let's take a moment and just breathe into this and say, you know, but you Hey, how's it going? You can't do it for everything all at once. You can't have all your focus on having an epic sex life and having an end be an epic parent, and have your health at a level 10 And have your business at a level. That's a lot of balls to be juggling. Can you set up the systems? Sure, can you? Can you put a lot of things into autopilot? Sure. But you need to just take one at a time and just check in how am I doing? It's like the body scan, right? How let go to my head, go to my heart, go to my body, go to my legs, how just checking all these places, and then giving space. So on my calendar, the last thing I'll say, is the best thing I ever did as a business to go from a family man to a business. A family man with a business, not a businessman with a family is not schedule anything on Mondays and Fridays. So I don't schedule anything on Monday. I don't schedule anything on Friday. Because what used to happen is that I would go I would work my ass off until Friday night. And then I would go into the weekend exhausted. And then I would be on Sunday, like I got to hit the ground running Monday morning. So I would start to check out late Sunday. And and and I would so literally I was definitely a businessman all week long. But the minute that I gave myself some breathing room in my schedule, the minute I started with some serious boundaries, nothing before 10am nothing after 4pm. So the only time literally people can be on my calendar is Tuesday through Thursday between 10 and four. Hence this podcasts look, I mean, there is no other option for this show. And if I will literally pass on things and have passed on things that don't fit into that calendar. And that feels great. By the way. I love saying no to somebody big to write, hey, I, I just can't do that. If we can't find anything that fits in here. Dude, I'm sad and I'm bummed but I I've made that commitment to my family and, and dude, I definitely puff my chest out a little more when I do that.
Curt Storring 21:57
That was actually one of the questions I wanted to ask you about is like, what about FOMO? You know, like, come up like, how do you how do you handle that? Like now? It's pretty easy for you. You've got all this stuff. You're pretty Oh,
Jon Vroman 22:08
hold on. No, it's not easy.
Curt Storring 22:09
It's not easy. Okay. Okay, well, let's go there. Not easy. It's hard to deal with it.
Unknown Speaker 22:13
Well, I have that for sure. I have it all the time. I regularly add and then delete Instagram and Facebook from my phone regularly. Dude, it is not on my phone right now. It is deleted as of this morning. Seriously, this is a real real talk here. Why? Because as much as I love to like reach out and see what's going on in the world and check in with my friends and see what other thought leaders are up to and I will get trapped in that space and be like oh shit, that guy's got it all figured out with cryptocurrency I don't know shit about cryptocurrency, I need to figure that out. Oh, damn, that guy went to some sex, do retreat with his wife and learned about tantric. You know, whatever. I'm like, I don't know about that. I thought it was do good in that department, you know? And then all these things. Oh, you don't know about this type of education for your kids? Nah, man. My kids are just a Waldorf. I don't know about that kind of education. And dude, if I'm not careful, I will let I seriously last night. This is what happened. I was going to bed and I'm like, I feel like such a loser. I feel like such a loser. This is last night, Curt. I'm 46 years old. By the way, I live in a beautiful home. Right? I live in Austin, Texas. I've got a gorgeous wife, two kids. Everybody right now is healthy. My mother in law lives with us. On paper dude. People would look at, they're like, Are you kidding me? John, like what is wrong with you, you have every reason to just be ecstatic. 24/7. And last night, I'm going to bed feeling like a total loser. Because I don't I can point out 12 things that aren't going well. Right or that I could be better. And then do just this morning. True story. How Elrod you guys don't know him author of The Miracle Morning, dude, he looks at me and he goes, Are you in the gap of the game. And we just had Dan Sullivan on for our summit. And Dan taught the concept. Unhappy entrepreneurs measure themselves with the gap, where they are and where they want to be. And they see what's missing. And happy entrepreneurs measure the gain. Where were they where are they now? Where did they win? And it's like, man, that's such an easy concept. It's so easy to intellectually go I get it again. I don't need to read the book. I don't need you to tell me and you're probably right. You don't need me to tell you the concept. But sure as fuck you need to practice it. Right? And so do I and I get miserable when I don't. So I can tell people all day long that I get the gap in the game concept but unless I'm doing it unless I'm actually ritualizing the practice of like journaling or by the way that's how we shame our kids. We just talk about what they're not versus their wins. And we see kids for you know oftentimes what they haven't achieved what the homework they didn't do how much they didn't create their guitar or violin or what they, versus where are the gains? And so that needs to somehow be ritualized and celebrated.
Curt Storring 25:07
Yeah, man that is all so real and so good and a resonate with everything you're saying. Feeling like it's never quite good enough? What are some of the ways that you ritualize these things? And like, let's say journaling? You said you do like body scans? Can you give us a few more tactics? Before we get sort of any deeper on that? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 25:25
yeah, here's a good one. So I know we're using only audio on this. But if if people were watching, and I'll show it, because you're right there, this photo book sits on my desk. And what I'm holding up for everybody just listening is a, I mean, it's a cheap like, $2 plastic photo book, but in it is just, it's just picture after picture after picture of my, my son, in this case, it's my son ocean. And all I do is once a week or so, and I say once a week or so intentionally because I think a lot of times you're shit on podcast like this, and like every single week I blank, blank blank, and you're like, there's a part of me that's like, every time I hear that, I'm like bullshit. Like, every, like, look at some people are really, really, really consistent. I give it to you, okay, some people are consistent, not me. But I attempt every week. And I you can see I've got a bunch of them here. So I actually do it. But I print a picture and I write a note on the back. And this picture right here that I just showed you was ocean doing Kung Fu for the first time. And it said, ocean, this was your first kung fu lesson and you were awesome. During meditation, you sat quietly and focused, tiger said to me oceans doing such a great job. I agreed. You're playful, strong and ready to learn. I love watching you grow. You're proud papa. And then I date it. And I put it in this photo album. And then the other thing I started doing recently was my buddy, Ken Wimberly, who's a part of our front row dad crew, he created an app called legacy of love. And he did he did this really cool thing where for his daughter Grace their entire her entire life, he journaled, and he wrote about her life, and literally surprised her on her 18th birthday, with a with a hard copy, like printout of all of his journal entries and everything about like her life, what he saw her accomplishing and achieving and what he just what he saw, from his viewpoint, right as a father. And now he put it into an app where you can go in and you can make these entries and put videos or pictures, and then you can protect it, and you can export it for your family. And you can give it to them either along the way or at a certain milestone in their life. But I think that's one of the best ways to do it, because and there's an intention to these letters to, or the way that you write the notes. They don't have to be complicated. They don't have to be big letters, they're just short notes, like this one to Tatsiana. So I started doing it for the boys curve. But then I started doing it for Tatiana. And I wrote, sweetie, your desire to dance lights me up, I love seeing you smile, when we learn a new move. I'm looking forward to practicing more. So I can lead like a pro. Thanks for being my dance partner in life. I love you. Right. And it's just do it's just on and on. And I can give you different examples. But the point is, I try to embody in the in the writing, I try to hold myself to the writing to being what I see in them. That's like a strength. And I love to say things to my kids. Like, I love how hard you tried. I love watching you work at something that you're excited about. I love seeing you overcome obstacles. So like you'll hear this from other parenting experts too. And I think it's good advice like you when they paint something you're not like, man, that's so beautiful. But I love seeing you create art, or I love seeing the beauty inside you come out on paper, right? So it's just acknowledges more of the creative process and the being that's in there, not the result. Like I'm so proud of you for winning the game. I'm so proud of you for just putting it all out on the field, doing your best supporting your teammates stepping up, you know, and just right that the effort is get what gets recognized. So I try to do that in all of the the notes.
Curt Storring 29:01
Amazing. Yeah. Okay, so that's like, that's one thing. What else? Do you have to like? Keep that in mind? Because like, like I said before, you mentioned everything from like journaling to body scans like meditation, like, what does what keeps you level grounded? If you're like scattered in your brain?
Unknown Speaker 29:19
Yeah. Well, let me just how about this? So I like talking about what's actually happening. So let me let me tell you about the schedule so far this year, right? Like if I literally look at January 1 through now I'm just going to do a quick scan. So here's one is that I think that the way to stay in alignment is community. So I just did a podcast with a guy named Seth Daly, who he had a one word party at his house. So this one word concept is very simply put you pick a word for the year. My word this year is roots. Right? And John Gordon and a few other people wrote a book about it. And then Seth decided to he's been doing this with Stan only for like seven years now as their tradition where they do the one word round the first of the year. But he brought everybody in from the community. And we all had a painting party at his house. So we all painted these canvases. And you know, the kids were doing it, the wives are doing it, the dads are doing it. It's a lot of front row dads that were there. But we had the all these great conversations around what are your words, right, and then we have a painting for it. Now we have imagery behind it. Now we remember it more. And we remember other people's words, because we remember their images. So now we can check in with them. And we can be accountable to each other for our words throughout the year. Beautiful concept, right? But but that helps me to just be in and around great people. And in fact, arguably the reason you and I both believe so heavily in the communities and why you're doing such a great job with your work and why I think it's just awesome what you're up to. I mean, I reached out to you, right? Because you're, you made a post Whoa, I gotta tell you, I gotta tell your listeners this. You made a post on your Instagram that I read. And I was like, fuck, that's good. And then I shared it with my group. And a lot of guys in my group were like, Damn, that's amazing. Like, your words are so powerful for me, I needed to hear them. Right. And I needed that in that moment. And then I shared it with our community. And dude, I'm not afraid to like learn from other dad leaders also, by the way, like, it's why we're talking you and I had a chat about that. Like, I don't view like, first of all, if we are in competition, great. I view that like, you and I are playing volleyball on a Saturday. And I'm like, I'm gonna kick your ass, Curt. And you're like, bring it baby. Let's go. And like, that's I welcome not all day long, because that's fun. And everybody's getting better. And we're laughing. And we're joking along the way. But you and I both believe that like, listen, hundreds of millions of men out there need support, I have 258 of them in my group. I'm not afraid to have honest conversation with other thought leaders and share their work with my group too. And so that's what I did. I shared your work with our group, and it made a huge impact. So you want to talk about how to stay in alignment, what habits my habits are people you know, I think that I think community is the greatest survival tool. So I have a habit of putting great people in my world and in my, in my ecosystem and in my atmosphere. And like that's what I want because that's also the the juice. That's the variety, I would get bored if it were just me and my calendar. But other people add variety to that other people shake that up. Other people are like sess, the one that brought the party to the table. And then I luckily just had to show up, bring my best. But I look at all these conversations right now I'm looking at a lot of group conversations within front road ads. I'm looking at podcast interviews, I'm looking at one to ones I'm looking at lunches. I'm looking at volleyball on Saturday, which I love with our with our local group, looking at time with my kids, I'm looking at, you know, theater and tonight I've got my buddy Mike Chu coming over for dinner with his wife, Kayla. I'm doing jujitsu with ocean at 430. Right? I look at all this talking with one of our front row dad members about leaving a new member orientation tomorrow. But my calendar, when I'm in my best Curt, it's I have the habit of being in conversation with great people. That is the habit that's changed everything for me. And then of course there's, I mean, we could get into the micro habits of like, what supplements do you take in the morning? And when do you, you know, like, I mean, there's always that type of stuff, which is fascinating, by the way, it really is. And there are some things that definitely like are lead dominoes in my life that when I tip that everything else works like you know, working out is one of them. So I do here's the interesting that you said earlier, like what's a priority, sometimes going to bed, ignoring my wife and going up for that run is is the priority, and she will benefit if I do that. And there are other times when I've stayed up late knowing that I gotta get up early. We had amazing sex. And I was like, well, the timing wasn't convenient. But the result was amazing. And so I'll take that all the time. But unless you're dialed in, unless you're tuned in to yourself, and hold on Curt, sorry, man, this is a little bit of a rant. I'm a little I'm on a soapbox here a little bit, but I gotta say this real quick man, where we are in the world right now. Literally, I think when I look around and see what's happening globally, what I think is needed more than anything is for myself, let me just speak for me. But I do project that into the world and think I think other people would benefit from this too, is more decisiveness of my own discernment, being able to like, make decisions that are good for you how to source content filter content. And the truth is, I don't really want to debate what somebody a 2000 miles away is telling me I need to do with my life and debate whether they're telling me the truth or not to be honest. Right? I realized that there's yes, that person might play a role but it's like, so much conversation around the President or so much conversation around these individuals versus like how much of our time and attention is turned inward what, what is your inner guidance system? Say? What is your God say whoever that is? Who do you answer to? Right? That, to me is like, that is the work that is the biggest work of all right now in our world is for people to get dialed into themselves. And to be very aware of the programming that's coming from external sources, wherever that's coming from, but to really be aware, self aware, and the more that we get of that self awareness, I think the more you know, the closer we get to leading lives. We were born to live,
Curt Storring 35:36
dude, I'm just going to take that clip and play it to everyone I ever made. Because that's exactly what I believe as well. And it all like the question was for me, like, do I spend time with my wife? Or do I go running? You made the same decision? Sometimes Sometimes it's flipped. But it all depends on exactly what you're saying, which is your own awareness? Do you have the awareness to question What's real for you in that moment, and then make your own choice and deal with the consequences positively or negatively? I love what you said about keeping your own focus inward. Because man, I'm in Canada, things are like even crazier than the states in terms of like restrictions. Yes, I feel a little bit squirrely to be quite honest. Yeah. And when you're in the fear mode, you get like, you just go everywhere for information and like, oh, it's gonna happen. And then you just like, put blinders on. And so we have been practicing, like you say, all your practices kind of come with other people and just randomly in your calendar, but my practice recently has just been like, how do I stay grounded amidst the chaos that I'm witnessing. And that like, having kids for me has been the iron upon which my own iron gets sharpened. And I'm grateful for it, to be honest, like I've done more drawing over the last couple years, then anytime before that. And it's all because I need to figure out like, why does this feel bad for me, and then make my own choices and live with it? So let's just like, yeah, shout that from the mountaintops. And if you don't feel authentically aligned with who you truly are listening to this, then go meditate, go journal, go do something that brings you closer to who you truly are. Give any last thoughts on like becoming more authentic? Because for me, that's like, number one priority with creating community relationships. How does that land with you anything? Just authenticity
Unknown Speaker 37:17
being authentic? Yeah, it's a really good question. Man. I, I think there's a lot of ways to get there. I really do. I think that there's many paths to finding out chipping away, right, kind of chipping away at the the constructed self, right, the ego, recognizing your ego, and understanding that it's there, and that it serves a purpose, I think is really important part about being authentic. If there were one thing that I think really helped me it was, I got to give credit to Kelly Flanagan, a guy who wrote a book called lovable. And Kelly is an amazing guy, we actually brought him into a front row dad retreat as a guest. And he ended up joining now he's a front row dad, and it's great man. He's just a powerful dude. He has a concept called the ego castle. And here's, here's what it is, I can explain it very quickly. And it's a good one also to teach kids. He said when you're born, so first of all, everybody creates an ego, Nobody escapes it. If you're a human, you have an ego. And if we can agree that the ego is the false self, it's the created self. Right? We create. There's a there's his metaphor is this ego castle. So when you're younger, and I see there's a there's almost a castle looking building behind you, right as you build a wall. And the wall is easily described as like, when you figure out name brand clothing, I grew up in Virginia Beach. And in Virginia Beach, it was cool to wear gotcha, and Billabong and Quicksilver. And I learned that if I put on a gotcha sweatshirt, or a gotcha t shirt, people are like, you're cool. So that's the wall. It is a projection, right of something, I want you to think some way about me, doesn't matter who I really am at my heart, but I'm going to project this wall. And I'll be I'll defend myself against your attacks by wearing this cool piece of clothing. So we learned that early on, and everybody has a wall. And you have a wall in different ways. If yours wasn't named blant brand clothing, it was something else. The second phase that you go through is typically junior high and you, you will eventually figure out that the best defense is a good offense. And so what you'll do is you'll put cannons and archers on your wall on your castle wall. So you're like, oh, I don't need to just kick back and defend myself. I can actually cut that guy down. I can attack that person with my words. I can bully this person. I can shame that person. I can be a sarcastic asshole to this guy. But I can like, I can build some credibility by being cutting with my words and my attacks and like, we learned that that's, that's why Junior High is so tough, right? You know. And then in high school, we find out that our castle can have a throne. And this is your Throne of Righteousness. And what you do is you sit on your throne and you're like I'm a jock. I'm a writer, I'm a nerd. I'm a I'm a whatever you Are you labeled yourself and kind of found your identity but in that from that place you are you are of a place of righteousness, you're an outcast. You're but everybody has a label and everybody has a group and everybody found their throne, that they get to sit on and say, I'm right about this. And then at some point in our lives, we realize that the castle's there, that we've constructed this whole thing. And we should have, by the way, because it is a survival tool, it's a mechanism we use, and just sometimes we are, it's an unconscious tool that is using us. Do you see what I'm doing here? I'm using your your, your word, right? Yeah. With intention, you are the master and your phone is the tool. But without intention. Your phone is the master and you are the tool. Man I'm quoting. So that's what was in that post that I shared with the guys. But that's really what happens, right? This ego Castle, when without intention uses us. But with intention, we can use it and be very productive in this world and understand our kids and ourselves. And I think understanding that about myself, was a big part of me becoming a more authentic version, knowing when I was using the walls, and the cannons and and the throne, and what it's like a role that I was playing. And I became aware of that. And then I was like, Oh, I'm no longer hijacked by it.
Curt Storring 41:22
Yeah, man. It's finding that the awareness that contains the ego and the true self, because typically, like you said, we're operating in the ego, completely blinded by and actually, I wrote something on my blog a while ago called The loving Carpenter, why ego creation is the first act of self love, and how to access that. So that's like, a very similar to what you were saying in terms of like, the castle, I thought about it like a carpenter who's in the dark, who makes these things out of like, plywood or something that look like us, but that he projects to the world in front of us so that there's this like, six foot gap, nothing's actually going to hurt us. But at the same time, we can't feel the joy and the vitality of actual life, because we're behind the walls of the castle, or we're behind the walls of this like facade of self. So I love that you just described that. So thank you for that. And it just and hits home, because this has been on my mind as well. I would love your thoughts on parenting, we probably got another 10 minutes here. And like you come across to me, it's just like, so going so easy to like. So just like a lovable sort of guy who also projects that to his kids. And I know that I think we talked and I also heard one of your podcasts, you're saying what went well, last year, you're talking about like, one on one time, and it's like, this guy is such a good dad. You know, and I know we've talked about the parts that don't feel so good. But could you give us maybe just start with principles? Like do you have any parenting principles? How do you show up the way you show up? Because from an outside perspective, you're crushing it like you're being such an amazing dad, for your kids from what I see. I don't even know you that well. And it comes across clearly. So what can you impart on me? And the men listening? Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 43:09
And I really appreciate the question and the kind words, and I think it needs to be said that there are a lot of things I'm doing right now, by the way that I am crushing it. But I've been in front row dad's for six years now I like broke down and said I need help six years ago. And I would have to be sleepwalking through life to not have gathered after now hundreds of podcast interviews, hundreds of group calls, a dozen retreats, three day retreats that I've been to where I've been a student been listening, I've been paying attention like I've been implementing ideas like I'll learn something, I'll go do it. And I'm like, that worked. That was great. You know, and so there is a lot going well, I also want to tell you that I continually mess up and continually and typically what that is for me is my anger for me. That's my emotions. And my because I am an emotional person. And dude, I'll quickly get into like, the look I give my son is like, you are a disappointment. Like, I'm so frustrated, like I don't you know, like, I know, I give the look and I'm trying to be nice, but I'm like I get sarcastic and I'm like, I slow my words down and I'm like, here's what I want from you. And he's like, You don't have to talk to me like I'm an asshole and I'm like, you're probably right but I don't know any other way cuz I'm out of tools right now. Um, I don't know what else to do as a dad and I hit that all the time where I don't know what to do. So I just need to be human with everybody to and let you know that while I am very proud of myself for the work that I've done and I am definitely a way better dad now than I was in the beginning. That I'm still working. Alright, that said, you just nailed it with showing up and engaging, would you you said this right. It's like and I said this to my dad. Okay. Side note, Curt. My dad said to me three days ago he wants to Join our dad's group. He's 77 Oh, man, that is power. He sent me a text. And he said, after you were here for the holidays, he goes, I just want to let you know that I want to be a better father and grandfather. And I want you to teach me how this my 77 year old dad, and he said, I'm joining front row dad's. He said, Do you sit by the way? He said, Do you think it's okay that I joined front row dads? Do you think it would work for me? And I'm like, Dad, you're 77 Let's imagine you live to be 100 you have 23 years to impact me and are in your grandkids and build a relationship and do things and like, dude, that dad we're not talking about it's this isn't a group about how to change a diaper. This is a group about like, how to like how to talk about wealth with your kids, no matter how old they are, how to take care of your health and how to collaborate and you know, adventure and converse, like, Dude, you belong in this as long as you're comfortable with hearing everything I have to say. You should join it. But here's what I told him, dude, I just got it. I said, engage. The most important thing you can do as a dad is just engage the reason men are business men with families, right? Not what we talk about being family man with the businesses because it's easy to hide at work. The truth is, work. It can be really fun. You're the boss, you make shit happen. You're like, you're just moving pieces around all day. It's like your king at work. But you go you go to your family, you walk downstairs, you get out of your office, you drive home, whatever it is, and it's like, Dude, you're you're not the you're not always the king, you got people to talk back to you, you got people that are frustrated with you, you got people that are ungrateful for whatever, right. Like, there's all this stuff. And you know, you you know how to push their buttons and they know how to push your so you got to show up, you got to stand in the fire and do the work. So one of the things practically speaking, practically speaking, you mentioned it is like every Friday I do a meal with my children, but I alternate. So one Friday is Tiger and one is ocean, and I do one to one time with them every single week.
Unknown Speaker 47:03
And do we do family dinners not all the time, but we attempt to it can be chaos at times. There are things I'm trying constantly to do. Like, I take all of what I have ever learned about marketing and sales and personal growth and try to ask myself, how does this show up at home? Right? So for example, remember the book I remember Sean a core, he was a Harvard professor and he wrote a book on happiness years ago. And it was really wildly popular. And he wrote about in that book, one of the things he learned was he called it the 22nd rule. And what how it changed his behavior if he would like put a guitar in the middle of the room on a stand versus being in a case in a closet. And he measured how many times he would play guitar in that scenario. Well, there's an outcome to this. There's a reason I'm sharing this, my son, I've been beating him down for not playing the violin, basically right shaming him, because he's in a Waldorf school, and they're supposed to play violin, and he doesn't want to play it. And I'm just struggling. And I'm like, What have you learned, like, stop being angry stop, like being reactive, like, take a minute, take a beat here and think about this. I thought about the Shawn acre, you know, concept. And then I bought him a violin stand, where the violin hangs on this music stand. And just because I got it out of the case and put it up like as a dad, I shaped the environment. He's now playing the violin every day without me asking. Not because I'm trying to control him. But because I'm trying to create a fertile environment. I'm now tending to the soil. Right, I'm tending I'm putting the plant in the right spot, if you will, so that it can become it's what it was born to be. And that's what I've been trying to do. So like right now we're in wealth and legacy In our group, talking about wealth and legacy. And I got seven finance books that I had laying around the house, and I set them on the kitchen table. And now at dinner. I'm like, Guys, you ever hear this book? Do you know who wrote this book? Do you know who gave me this book? Do you know pick a number between one and 200? I'll read you from the book, I'll spark a conversation will tell stories at bedtime. Like Alright guys, let's tell a story about money. Alright, there's once a guy named and then they fill in the blanks. Right? I say he was from the town of and they pick the name of the town. And then I'll steer the story. I'm like he had so much money. In fact, he had this much money and they would fill in the blank of how much money he had. And here's what he wanted to do with his money, and all co create with the kids. But you know what's interesting is a lot of this just comes by way of first of all failing, sitting around with my kids going I don't know what to do. I'm bored. They're bored. And so we turn to screens and TV. Do we do No, we don't do screens. I sounds radical. But like I used to be a dad who put my screen my kids in front of screens constantly. But my kids now get one movie a week. And you know what? They hated it in the beginning but now they're creators. We play chess they build they do art. They do fun things they play with friends before they were just zombies. All they wanted was screaming So I think that here's in short, I'm trying to give you practical examples. But my answer to the question is, the tip is how to be a better dad. And what I've seen in the group, and what's worked for me is you need to show up, you need to be there. And you need to be somebody that's cultivating an environment where they can grow. And that might mean managing your own emotions. That might mean how you demonstrate love to your wife. That might mean the time that you spend with your kids and where you take them, what coaches you surround them with, what events you either host, or go and attend, like Seth Daly is one word of that. Right? It might be how you've set up your house, what's sitting on your kitchen table? What's being advertised to your children? Are you co Are you helping co create a healthy culture of what's being advertised? Or are you like submitting them to the world and the internet and social media and other toxic environments, those are, many of those are so destructive, unbelievably destructive. But unless you're really dialed in as a dad, unless you're there, you're not going to really know you can tune out, you can go numb yourself, and you can just like, Shut up your kids by handing them something and getting them out of your hair. But like, my challenge is step up and do the work. And by the way, it's not going to be easy. And you're going to want to put the TV on and you probably will, and then you should forgive yourself and then you should learn and you should talk about it with your buddies and make a better plan and then change something.
Curt Storring 51:22
And you should probably keep yourself on track by joining a community right, John?
Unknown Speaker 51:26
Yeah, of course. And no, I really mean that dude, like I'm not bullshitting delamination, joiner brewers, they should join mine. Or they should start their own. I really don't care. Yeah, right. I'd really don't care. I don't want guys to join front row dads that aren't the right fit for for dads, i don't i There's no sales pitch. Because the minute I start selling people in the front row, Dad's it shouldn't be there. The whole groups ruined. Somebody, like has to really want to be part of front row dads to make it worth it. And ultimately, they'll know and your group too, right? Like you don't want guys that their wives bought them a membership to your group. And they don't really want to be there. That's a member ever. Yeah, yeah. But they have to want to do it. And they have to. And so I really do think though men, like, don't do this alone, right? Like you get in community with somebody go for a walk, get a buddy together and like, go get a workout partner and just start having some honest conversation. Like there's a starting place for this. Yeah, no matter how you do it.
Curt Storring 52:20
Yeah. And and I'm glad you said that, because this is obviously a bit of a setup, because I want you to talk about it. Because I think it's awesome what you're doing, but literally joining a men's group. And like I don't even say what men's group anymore because like just join one. Just sit in. That's right. Yeah, it's been one of the most
Unknown Speaker 52:37
nothing's changed my life more. Yeah, nothing's changed my life more than great conversation with other incredible people. Nothing. Yeah, show up. It's been a game changer.
Curt Storring 52:47
Be authentic. Man, there has been so much good at this. And now that I've got like a million more questions coming up as we're at the end. But I want to respect the time, we're at the top of our call now. So could you you know, against your will, it seems plug where people can find you. Even a podcast if that's a better way to start. But wherever people can learn more about John and all the amazing things you're doing.
Jon Vroman 53:10
Yeah, man, I really appreciate it. And thanks for having me as a guest, I loved our conversation, I really do hope it's valuable. I just, I'm just trying to share what's real. That's it like my challenge always to myself, when I get on a conversation like this, it just be real John, like, just tell him actually what's happening. Don't pitch the program you wish were happening pitch, the one that's actually happening, and all the good and all the bad with it, because there is all of it there. And that's true for our group, too. It's not a perfect group. But it's a fucking awesome group. And so is yours. And so are other people's we know mutual mutual friends who are in this space, and I'm just so grateful for the work that you're doing and that they're doing our work. Is it frontrowdads.com like that's it, somebody wants to go check it out for dads.com. Take a peek. You'll know just trust your gut. If it makes sense. Read a little bit, check it out a little bit. And if it feels good, go a little deeper. And the podcast is always great, because it's just a it's an easy way to just start tuning into a community. Right? And if somebody resonates with the vibe, then maybe take the step like I mean, I always say whether it's your group or anybody's group, it's what do you have to lose? Honestly, like, like, what's the what's the cost of joining? Yeah, that's a question you should ask. And then you should ask, what's the cost of not joining? Right? Like, and how do you really know unless you roll the dice and just give it a try. And I think that's the biggest piece is you just got to sometimes do something uncomfortable, be the newbie like and here's what's great about joining a group and being new, is you'll actually be able to relate to your kids a lot, especially if you have young kids like going to school because you should feel a little bit about what they're feeling like when you're jumping into a new environment with other people there's establish relationships and like that's good be a white belt right get get be a white belt sometimes. And if you aren't, and you're a black belt, and you've been in a community say you're listening to this and you're in your community or my community or whatever it's like then sir because one of my buddies Aaron mooches do he says look if you're getting your ass kicked, show up and ask for help, but if you're kicking us show up and give it
Curt Storring 55:09
beautiful yeah man i Let's just Let's just end there then. I can't I can't I can't want up that So, John, thank you so much. This was beautiful man. I really appreciate the authenticity that you showed up with as you yourself said like what's real? This was so real and I very much appreciate you Thank you. Thanks Curt
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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