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Today’s guest is Patrick Pitman.
We go deep talking about:
- Patrick’s immediate transition from college into fatherhood
- Patrick’s deep wisdom on connecting with our kids at any age, which I sum up as “intentional indirectness”
- Involving ourselves with our children and passing on our work ethic to them
- The difficulty of raising teenagers when there is a rift between the two of you, and how Patrick used a 5000 mile road trip to repair a rupture
- The importance of collecting information before giving instructions
- Why we must gain the respect of our kids,
- How to start conversations that are tricky but necessary,
- Becoming aware of our children’s unique gifts and supporting them to the fullest extent possible,
- Trusting the process, not the outcome, and
- Creating and raising a generation of self-starters.
Patrick Pitman became a father some 25 years ago, and became an entreprenur soon thereafter. In the time since, he’s kept four children and assorted businesses alive through thick and thin. His wife gets some credit.
Patrick loves dogs, and has learned the difference between dog behavior training and being in loving relationship with human children; something that once confused him. Patrick also loves jiu jitsu. In that practice, he learned that almost any rough day at home or the office can be remedied with a good roll on the mat. Out of his head, and into his body!
Today he helps ecommerce companies get unkinked in their marketing and customer service operations – working alonside his daughters — in Austin Texas.
Mentioned on this episode:
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 55 The power of intentional indirectness and 5000 miles of relationship repair with Patrick Pittman. We go deep today talking about Patrick's immediate transition from college into fatherhood. Patrick's deep wisdom on connecting with our kids at any age, which I sum up is intentional indirectness involving ourselves with our children and passing on our work ethic to them. The difficulty of raising teenagers when there's a rift between the two of you and how Patrick used a 5000 mile road trip to repair a rupture the importance of collecting information before giving instructions, why we must gain the respect of our kids how to start conversations that are tricky but necessary, especially with teens, becoming aware of our children's unique gifts and supporting them to the fullest extent possible, trusting the process not the outcome, and creating and raising a generation of self starters. Patrick Pittman became a father some 25 years ago and became an entrepreneur soon thereafter, in the time since he's kept for children and sorted businesses alive through the thick and thin, his wife gets some credit. Patrick loves dogs and has learned the difference between dog behavior training and being in loving relationship with human children, something that once confused him. Patrick also loves jujitsu. In that practice, he learned that almost any rough day at home or the office can be remedied with a good roll in the mat, out of his head and into his body. Today, he helps ecommerce companies get unkempt in their marketing and customer service operations. Working alongside his daughters in Austin, Texas, you can find Patrick online at E business brands.com, the letter E and then business brands.com. As you'll hear in this episode, guys, all I wanted was for Patrick to keep talking, he just hits the nail on the head in so many ways. And he is very wise, I was very fortunate to be able to talk to him, because he has children who are now adults. And he has been very intentional and mindful about that process of how he wants to interact with them how he can maintain relationship, how he can stay being a father and not just have that be a part of his past when his kids were younger. And I just I mean, I asked him specifically can you just keep going? Because I wanted to listen. So this one is special. And I'm not sure exactly what it was other than simply Patrick himself, the way that he carries himself and brings them to this and be thoughtful, methodical nature of his thought and his ideas. Man, I just got so much out of this as a father preparing for the teenage years and adulthood because my oldest is only nine. And I'm going to need this training. This is the type of thing that I want more than anything is for Dad, some dad to share with me, what do I even do. And that's part of this project of Dad.Work. So I hope you get the same out of this. I was incredibly inspired by this conversation. I thank Patrick so much for delivering such an amazing interview. So please check him out. He business brands.com If you yourself have an E commerce company and could use some help, otherwise, listen to this episode. And, man, you'll get so much out of it like I did. So let's get into Episode number 55 with Patrick Pittman.
All right, Patrick, thank you so much for joining me, we are members of the DC community. And I have had a couple of guests on from the DC and it's just such fascinating conversations, because I know that we're all at a level that I trust what's happening on the other side. So I'm glad and grateful that you are here with me. So first of all, welcome.
Yeah, thank you for having me, Curt, the Dynamite Circle has been a good resource for me to talk with people about their business. And that inevitably spills over to the life, hard to separate, where your work ends and where your life begins. I just had a review of the 2021 year with some other guys in that group. And we were looking at what happened over the last year and where we're going to go in the new year. It's kind of a natural time to do this. But it was it was a bit of a surprise to me when the other guys wind and so much what they talked about was their life, the personal life, their kids, you know, someone had a new baby born in the last year. And of course, how could your life not be completely dominated by the fact of all the sudden having your first infant? And that's not surprised me? I guess it just struck me how I was kind of expecting a much more gung ho business conversation. And yeah,
Curt Storring 4:23
that's one of the things I've noticed as well, is that like, there's a there's a level of business and there's a level of success that is sort of assumed in the group. And then the deeper conversations are like, Okay, now that I know everyone sort of on my level of business wise, now I can go into what actually matters. And that's part of why I love groups and communities and Masterminds is because yes, you get to tap into the collective wisdom, but it's also a safe place, at least for me to be able to trust that I can go deep with these people. Is that sort of what you felt as well as part of the DC
Well, it's, it's certainly people do in real life together and their business is certainly the priority that connects But we do find commonalities and the ways that we relate to our families. Certainly, certainly wives are a big topic. Not everyone has children. But for those of us who do, it's certainly another point of common connection. I think that may also be the case that I'm probably further along that path. And in most other members, I had my first child at 22. And that was 25 years ago.
Curt Storring 5:30
Well, let's get into that. Because that's the first thing I want to chat about is, I would be interested just to hear how it was for you becoming a father. But I'm especially interested in how it's been going for you as your children get into adulthood as you raise teenagers. That's the part that I don't know anything about yet. And I'm interested in hearing how you navigated it. But would you start by just walking us through? I also had kids, I think, at 23. What was that like for you? Was it something you'd always wanted? Was it an easy transition? Or did you have a lot of work to do?
It's certainly a transition from being in college to all sudden being a father. And I have to say, it wasn't a smooth or easy transition. It was the sort of thing where I got home from graduation in college, and I got a phone call from my girlfriend a few days later saying that she was pregnant. So fatherhood began for me, right after I graduated, and with that announcement, found myself on the fatherhood path. Later that year, I had just this vivid dream of meeting a young girl who was about four years old with brown hair. And she, she walked up to me and introduced herself as Gabrielle and I, I just had this immediate sort of deep recognition, and I woke from asleep in the middle of the night. And I sat up, and I turned to my then wife, I said, we're having a girl, and her name is Gabrielle. And I just met her. And so that came up two months before she was born just after Christmas in 1996. And the sense that we had not had any testing of the sex of the child, it was going to be one of those reveal moments when she was born. And so I knew going into her birth that her name was Gabrielle and she was going to have brown hair. And sure enough, she does. And sure enough, she's named Gabrielle. So 25 years later, she is actually working in my company today. And she is my colleague, essentially, I'm working on a project with her this afternoon. And as recently as yesterday, we had an experience where, you know, a project has gotten particularly challenging in terms of the complexity of it, we're having a moment of asking ourselves, How do we make sure we really deliver on this? And can we do it? Are we going to be able to live up to our expectations we've set for one, and we had a pretty challenging conversation in our work about how we're going to make this work and how it's going to come together. So from that beginning, to where we are yesterday, we certainly have industry become a very important part of, of my life, and we're working closely together day.
Curt Storring 8:17
How do you navigate conversations like that with your adult children? Was there some? I don't know, formula that you go through? Do you use nonviolent communication? Is there some principle behind having hard talks like that as an adult now?
Well, I do respect, you know, the work of Marshall Rosenberg and nonviolent communication. And I was thinking about that just this morning, because my daughter had made a video for one of our clients that I was looking at today. And it was basically an update kind of video like, Hey, this is what's happening. This is the next thing that we're going to do. This is what we ask of you. And she phrased it. One of the things she made a request of our client was, and if you're willing, would you be go? Would you do this thing? Would you be willing to do this? And that phrase, by first encountered in nonviolent communication, what is someone willing to do? You know, would you be willing? It's harder when you have teenagers, it's like, Would you be willing to take out the garbage? You know, at some point, it's like, clean the kitchen. But the idea that she had picked up that from me, and I don't think we've explicitly had conversations together her and I about nonfat communication, but that's how she phrased it. And I think that his encouragement to me, you know, things do rub off, whether you supposedly talk about the sources of where things are inspired by but I think that we're what I would say is, we do have a common sense that we are going to be doing the best we can for our clients, and that she wants the best outcome reputation for our business. And she's grown up with it because I started this company 21 years ago, when she was four years old. So whatever she's seen of my work over the years has been in the context of being an entrepreneur. And the ups and downs that have come with that. There's been complete downs, and you know, kind of failure moments or times we had to move across the country, something changed, or, you know, time she had a chance to travel to a foreign country and work with one of my clients just, you know, in a kind of a amazing experience in London, for example. So it's very much color to experience of what it means to be what the world of work looks like, is through the lens of living with a veteran entrepreneur. And now she experiences it firsthand.
Curt Storring 10:54
What other things have you noticed that have rubbed off? I love that, you know, this just rubbed off that nonviolent communication way of speaking, that kind of stuff happens all the time. But I also noticed, there are more negative things that rub off as well, in my case, at least, with some of the things that your kids say, but are there other things and this is sort of leading into principles? Perhaps, are there other things that you've seen from yourself that have rubbed off on your children that you're proud of, or or just noticed recently?
Well, I think that the idea that you can accredit yourself is an important one that would be certainly had been embraced by my daughter, Gabrielle. And I should say, you know, I have four children. So whatever has rubbed off on one child is not necessarily true for any others. And I can't speak to them in any way being a like, they're related, but they're not alike. But certainly, in Gabrielle's case, she took up the idea of accrediting yourself as compared to being accredited by an institution. So if you go to college, you go to a college that's been accredited to grant you know, a four year degree and it has a reputation behind it. And your ability to enter that college is dependent upon you passing someone else's criteria, and being accepted. And then conceivably, you put follow through for several years do all the things they asked you to do. And then they accredit you with a degree. And I, I did that I grew up in a small town in Montana. And from high school, you know, a few 100 people. And I went off to the best university that I could get into, which was in Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. And that's a school that has, over the years developed the reputation for excellence. And I was around students who came there for that sense stamp of approval, they imagined going to law school after that, or go into medical school. You know, I have a friend who graduated with me there. And then he went off to Duke for his medical degree and very much in the past of being accredited. So over time, though, as an entrepreneur, I think you find yourself having to invent what gives you credibility to what you can create. And as an entrepreneur, over the years, I have, you know, one point in time, early in the 2000s, I was trying to create a software product that as I look back on it, now, I wouldn't have had the words for it, then. But as I look back on it, now, that software product was essentially trying to create Shopify, plus MailChimp, plus WordPress. And that's a lot ambitious, I didn't, you know, what the world needed that in 2002, and none of those things existed. So, my create my qualifications for for being able to do that, in 2002, I didn't have an engineering degree, let alone you know, software development, accreditation. But we created it or attempted to do so anyways. And when you start your own business, there is this idea, you're not waiting for someone's permission to give you the job. Now, you are always incense auditioning. And you're learning to persuade people that you can be trusted. But there is this kind of, nonetheless, kind of fake it till you make it potential when you're getting started. And I would say even that phrase, fake it until you make it is a bit of a trap. And I, I wouldn't be as Cavalier with the use of that phrase today, as I maybe I was 20 years ago. So I say that with that qualification, but I think that what my children have have taken, for better or worse is, there's nothing that you can't get into and start doing. If you're not waiting around for someone else's permission.
Curt Storring 14:57
That's huge. Yeah, I'm trying to get Then into my children as well. And for me, it's been a little bit of a challenge because I personally have this perfectionist tendency where I want my children to live up to that. And that's not fair to them. I've done a lot of work around that. And it's now about allowing them to fail, and allowing them to do hard things and take risks without me getting in the way. And I would love to come back to this as a specific topic, just how to raise entrepreneurial minded children. And it could just be, you know, being so close to you through your own life and sharing this journey with them. But I'm particularly curious about what it was like for you as a father transitioning into having teenage and then adult children because obviously, I'm not there yet. My oldest is just about nine. And I wonder if there's a difference. I wonder if there's something that changes in your that, you know, perceptibly changes in you, when your children become more independent, more autonomous, outside completely of your control, if they wish to be. So was there anything that came up for you over the last? I don't know, whatever, it's been now seven, eight years, into adulthood for your for your children?
Yes, I can certainly speak to even how I've changed or grown up in that last eight years, 10 years of moving from teenagers and beyond. I would foreshadowed, I want to come back to in a few minutes discussion about how to deal with teenagers when there's a rift in the relationship. And it also goes back to my observation about whether a young person seeking accreditation going into college, you know, all the issues that come up at that time as a parent, because it comes back to what has happened here with Gabrielle, for example. But I would say that there is a a period, where you have to ask yourself, what you are wanting the relationship to be like over the long term as compared to the short term behavior that you're wanting to see from your children. And my wife is a very thoughtful and earnest writer. And she writes at a website called growing human kindness, which sort of speaks to her intention. But she's often reminded me that the relationship is more important than the circumstances of the day, as to whether that garbage was ever emptied, or kitchen was ever cleaned, or, you know, we was ever smoked. It's those moments that are incidental to the larger relationship. And I think a lot of times, I had the sense that if there was something that went wrong from a behavior standpoint, but there needed to be a correction. So that'll be immediately. And I've learned largely through my wife that humans are much more adaptable and much more intelligent and can come back and can see something which might feel a bit like like a redirecting of someone's behavior. But they can do so days or hours after the fact, weeks after the fact. So a lot of times, I think what had happened is I had young children growing into teenage years. And I would want to correct what I saw as the wrong choice. And that it's been something that I've learned is not actually so important, at least not in the moment. And that what's more important in the moment is to preserve the relationship. And then, over time, whether it's hours or days or weeks, there can be a coming together again, in the context of a safe, trusting relationship where those redirect moments or observations about what might be done differently, can be handled. And so I think that's not thing not feeling the urgency of pointing out what's wrong, is part of the most basic lesson for me.
Curt Storring 18:57
Hmm, and how are you creating the safety for that? Is it just that you're not jumping in and telling them like, Hey, you screwed up here? And now like, you're gonna be shamed? Or like, how else do you connect deeply with them so that that base level of trust is always there? Sure. I
mean, I think you mentioned being near Vancouver, and I think near Vancouver, there's something called the Neufeld Institute, which is put together by a guy named Neufeld who's studied child development. And he became somewhat famous and writing a book with Gabor Matej on holding on to your kids. And so some of the ideas of on parenting have certainly been influenced by him and a larger sort of attachment theory of parenting. But I think that one of the phrases that I've stuck with me from him was to collect before you direct, which is to say, how do you not walk into a situation and start giving directions or in my case corrections before I've collected And that means to collect? Well, for one, the eyes, how do you collect someone's eyes? You know, and you try and do that it's a simple statement to say out loud, but in other words, the collection process is a larger parenting kind of idea that encompasses not just eye contact, but, but physically, you know, in a small child's gaze, you can collect them into your lap, when they're 15, not so much. So then there's a little more nuance to what it means to collect someone. And we can get into that. But I think that's been what I would say is the idea of collecting before you direct stems from a bigger realization that I have, which is embarrassing to say out loud. But I honestly treated a lot of my early childhood parenting not much differently than I did training my dogs. And I was, I am a dog person. And in my child, my children's years, we had German Shepherds and big German shepherds that needed direction, you know it for a dog that has that kind of predator drive or sense of guard mentality, they need clear and strong direction. And they need to know what is expected of them and how they are going to be part of the family. It's just as a matter of safety, you know, the mistake I made was drawing too many analogies between trying to have young children be somehow back to the example of instant correction, it's safe to say that dogs need to be corrected sooner rather than later. And dogs don't quite have the capacity to come back a few days later and say, You know that thing about, you know, biting the mailman that can happen again. Yeah, so that's not going to work. And yet with children, adults, with humans, I say, it actually absolutely does, they can come back a few days later and have a different conversation, even maybe it's like later on that night in bed when you're asleep. That's the time for a few subtle and short observations, which of course, they feel deeply, and they know and, you know, they're not stupid. You're not really
Curt Storring 22:10
thank goodness, I resonate with that a lot. I was, I talked to a synergetic play therapist once and she was explaining to me this almost arc, and then downfall of dysregulation in the moment when something happens. And often parents will try to jump in, right at the height when the kids are absolutely incapable of hearing or feeling or processing the lesson that you're trying to impart. And only after they come back down, usually through co regulation, which is something that we as fathers can help with our children, can they then understand. So I think it's almost essential, in many cases, to do this later, and to find that safe space. So I'm extremely excited, to be honest, that you're talking about this. And I would actually like to go into collection with teenagers and even adults, he said, we might be able to come back to that. And I would like to come back to that. So how have you rather than you know, scooping them up on your lap? You know, like a sort of Santa Claus character, when they're 15. Like, what what do you do, to collect them and to earn that trust from them get their attention,
I think an important principle of maintaining the relationship and collection, there's another word, maybe two types of those two that I would put on it. But it has to do with them feeling comfortable enough to talk, I have all kinds of words, I want to say I have all kinds of things that they should know. I'm just, you know, just give me a chance, boy, I'll just let them all know all about it. And so the best spaces that I've found, are where we are doing something else. And we're not as focused on the particular issue at hand, or the thing that I want to give some direction to. I had a wonderful conversation about one o'clock in the morning, today, when my one of my dogs escaped. And I was driving around the neighborhood with my 15 year old who's just learning to drive. And we're not looking at each other. Because we're looking straight ahead down the road. Or we're looking off to the right to the left for our missing dog. And it's remarkable how we had a poignant conversation about the drugs in his work environment where he works as a part time job seems to be filled with users and or sellers of all kinds of drugs. And so the fact that we weren't looking I'd I we weren't sitting at the table. You know, we weren't we could be in the context of looking out and seek seeking out this dog but remarkable the things he said out loud, and by not me not talking as much made space for him to sort of fill up and come back and talk about this kind of open issue between us. How is he responding to all the pressures of drugs in his work environment? And it wasn't a direct question I asked him, but it just sort of came out by us being together. And I have to say I kind of set him up, because I invited him to come out with me in the middle of the night. And I knew that going into it when he was 15, that that would be a good place to have a conversation about that thing. And I wouldn't have nearly taken that approach 10 years earlier, when his older sister Gabrielle was 15, I wouldn't have recognized that opportunity, so much better when you're doing things indirectly, like driving a car together.
Curt Storring 25:38
That's the second time I've heard the driving in the car approach. To be honest, I think I think that's just it. This is something about driving to a place together, side by side not being challenging, not being confrontational. And yeah, I've put that in my back pocket 100%. Now that it's the second time I've come up with parents of teenagers, so thank you for that. When it comes to actually, where do you want to go with this? Do you want to go into the relationship? Or do you want to talk about entrepreneurship?
I think we could actually stay with a car situation because yeah, let's do it. When I say that, I found myself, you know, intentionally putting me in my 15 year old in the car this morning at one o'clock. And I wouldn't have done so 10 years earlier, what I learned some years ago, this is going back, I would say to 2017. At that time, my oldest child was 20 years old. And there is sort of a peak at which my stupidity peaked in fart in her mind, that age, it seems to be correlating my peak stupidity around her turning 18. So in the years leading up to 18, I was just about the dumbest person on the planet. As you moved into 19, my my stupidity started to wane a little bit, having waxed 18. By the time she was 20, she was willing to listen to a few things that I had to say. But at that time, what was happening, and when she was 20 years old, was still just gently probing around the edges of a pretty big rift that developed when she was 15 1617. And so the difficulties of that time, and being apparent. And my attitudes at that time being very much direct, very much about correction inevitably led to a riff that I won't get into the details of it, but a big one, and really kind of a falling apart of a relationship there. So one of the things that, that I said earlier about, nonetheless, you know, kids notice what you're doing and what your values are, how suppose that you are talking about them or not, she had chosen not to go to college. And in part, she had been inspired to be a musician, and had a talent since she was young, writing songs, playing songs on the guitar. And this had been a real bonding moment for us from the time she was, I don't know, 11 or so probably that time, I had been taking her to bars to play in open mics and taking her to bluegrass jams, you know, and we wouldn't, we wouldn't have a beer, we'd have a piece of cheesecake. And we get a chance to, you know, enjoy the evening. This is also in a small Montana environment where bars have a lot more family feel to them, perhaps and what you might be imagining in your mind, but that that connection we had over music was definitely frayed as the teenage years peaked. And the rift develops in a big way. So I had all that time still encouraged her music as an idea for a career. But to be a songwriter, you don't just get a degree from somewhere, right? And how do you persuade the world that you're worthy to listen to. And of course, course is probably just what you create, right? Write a song, let's all hear it. And then we'll decide if we like it. And if you want to buy one, or buy your CD, you know back in those days, so she was struggling with that process, because it's hard to break out as a songwriter. And it's hard to find a way of paying for your life before you're famous. So in 2017, I found myself in conversations with her as she was reflecting upon what it would mean to try and sustain her interest in music and start to pay for her own life because at 20 She had moved out of the house and was starting to face the pressures of day to day living. So the idea came that she wanted to create an album, her first and she wanted a chance to kind of try out her songs and and she wanted some ways to kind of go out on the road and promote this and make it a thing you know, how do you you're grappling to justify your existence as a singer songwriter. Sometimes just moving getting out, Exploring the country would be exciting idea. So I'd only started to kind of think about being more indirect, and learn more about collection as a parent. And so I suggested Why don't we drive together? Why don't we drive around the country together, and I can make it a business trip, and I can pay for hotel rooms. And as a struggling singer, songwriter, that's probably a good deal for you, you can ride for free. So we happened to set upon this plan where we would drive from Austin, Texas, and somewhat following my own business contacts and reasons that I could, you know, string together. We drove from Austin, West, through New Mexico and Arizona, into Los Angeles, Los Angeles, we headed north, all the way up to Seattle.
And that was as far west and north as we got from Texas. So from the Seattle we turned around and made a circuitous kind of roundabout way back to Texas, through Montana, down to Denver, Kansas City and beyond. So that trip, over many weeks, was something that was an opportunity for us to just stare down the highway, driving across West Texas, it's amazing what people will say when, when the road gets long and straight. And when you're driving up to the California coast on a beautiful highway, one, you know, and blue an afternoon with the sunshine right there on the ocean. It's amazing how you have some insight about what it meant to be a father, or what kind of listenership you want to have as a daughter. And that's a process that I would never have imagined being sort of a great way of indirectly repairing a relationship, but absolutely did that.
Curt Storring 31:56
Wow, that's fantastic. That is just such a phenomenal story and just a way of doing things naturally. What were some of those things that you came to realize about how you wanted to have a relationship with her? What were some of those learnings along the way along the highways?
Well, I think that there's a principle that again, pie comes back from Neufeld, who speaks a lot about hierarchy, and being being in a relationship where there's someone who can take direction. And so we often think about adults being those who can give the direction to their younger, but particularly for adolescents, and there's a wonderful opportunity to switch that role. And when you can put yourself in the dependent position as an adult, and give the child an opportunity to show their mastery of something, or to assert their independence and care for someone else that just to me, magic happens there. So, you know, Neufeld tells a story of he often worked in juvenile detention facilities. And he would go to these places and you know, try and help them with whatever problems his kids were having. And he found it a wonderful icebreaker. When he told the kids when he got there, he said, Oh, I locked my car, my keys in my car. I'm stuck. I can't get I can't get back into my car. But I'm locked in, of course, the kids in the juvie facility were like, Oh, I could help you with that. And they jumped in there popped open the lock on the door, you know, immediately and we're like, celebrated for their skill. And he's like, Oh, thank you. I mean, I would never would have could have done it without you. And and so how does that relate to my story? I think one of the things we did in this trip was she wanted to perform her music. She knows all about recording sound, I thought I'd also want to use this chance to meet people that I would be wanting to for business reason. And I set it up as an interview. So essentially, the construct was I was interviewing people for a book that I intend to write. And she was my sound engineer. She organized all the equipment, she made choices about what microphone, and then to 2017 this was not, you know, groundbreaking thing. But we've come a long way since 2017. How we think record podcasts, you know, and equipment. And the common sort of things we take for granted today about recording audio, certainly wasn't as clear to me in 2017. And yet she handled all of that. So she set up the sound. And she did all the recording. She managed our data files as we collected media over the course of the trip. And I relied upon her to organize that with people who were important and had a precious window of time for a live in person interview. We went to someone's office in San Francisco and they had a very tight schedule and she had to make the sound work in a space that didn't really work very well for sound, a lot of echoes and so forth. So I think I depended on her and it recognized I think that process she recognized, she does have this capacity inside her. There are real skills that she's bringing to bear whether Spotify is making her a hit songwriter or not, she's still be able to say I have worth. I'm needed. I know something of value. My dad respects that. In fact, my dad needs that. And so that's one example.
Curt Storring 35:25
Wow, that is beautiful, man. I'm feeling that in my body right now. I just, I almost longed for that myself because of how good that feels. And I'm just, I'm already getting so much. So thank you for sharing all this. What else? I just want to hear your talk, man. Because I'm so inspired by the way that you are thinking about this and doing this? Are there other things on this topic that comes up? Because we can obviously go into entrepreneurship, I would love to know, sort of what your goals are now with your children and your relationship with them. But was there anything that came up on that story or connecting or collecting before we move on? Because I'm just a sponge right now? Yeah. Well,
I think that one of the things that that trip showed us, I think about this word indirect as a co parenting principle, again, I was repairing a relationship with her. But it's so happened are these coincidences, you know, we can't, who's to say, what is meant for us, versus what we stumbled our way into. But one of the things that happened off that drive up the California coast is that I was born in California, and I have family there that have become estranged from me in ways that feel unfair, or like I never wanted it to be. And so one of the meetings that we set up was with an uncle that I haven't seen for years. And because we're largely a strained, estranged, he has never met my kids, really, but I can remember. So we had an opportunity to meet up with my uncle at a cafe in little coastal town, California. And I brought my daughter, and she witnessed my uncle and myself, repairing the relationship. We had after lunch went well enough, you know, not knowing how that would go, that he invited us to go visit the grave of my grandmother, his mother. And that was, how that happened, and so forth was was one of the inciting moments for the rift so many years ago. So we, we literally stood over my grandmother's grave, and we had a chance to look down, not looking eye to eye, not looking at each other. But looking down at her grave. We're able to talk about what had happened so many years ago, and how we wished it would have been different. How we would have done things differently today, him and I both, and how we wanted to repair. And my daughter was standing off to the side kind of you know, not looking at Steve here, but listening, right listening for that. That chance where we basically as best as two kind of grumpy adult men can say to each other. I'm sorry, I love you. I want a relationship with you. indirectly we see, that was the gist. Yeah. And I think that my daughter was able to witness that in a way that saw you no deep rift being repaired? Did she make all the connections to her? And my own risk at that moment? I mean, undoubtedly, there's something that came out of that, where she was able to witness and draw her own thoughts about what she might want to say to me if we had that kind of moment together as well. So that's just one example. I think of how, looking at where you're going through and dealing with other stuff. And yet, as you're doing it together. There's all kinds of observations and insights that could come in healing just from experiencing things together, even if it's not directly on the relationship you're trying to prepare. And I was I was directly trying to repair the lesson with my uncle. So yes, that was intentional. But the outcome of that was my daughter's witnessing of it, no doubt, really informed our own repair.
Curt Storring 39:30
Yeah, well, to be honest, I wouldn't be the worst podcast so just say continue. But I'm actually interested when you said the repair there and doing some of your own healing. What has that looked like in your life? Have you engaged consciously in healing work or in just you know, I might call it growth work, if you'd prefer. But what has that looked like for you have there been things over the last number of years, whether that's when your kids were born because that's when a lot of my stuff came up if you will? I was triggered very much by my kids. And that led me to this entire journey, which is now culminating in Dad.Work. But what has that journey looked like for you, and have there been spaces along that, that particular things have done to really help. And the point of this is to both hear your story, and be able to have men see themselves in you, but also to share tools or practices that worked, Does anything come up in your own healing journey that might be useful to dive into?
Well, I think that there's been a gradual reflection on my part as to where I have been pushing for a certain outcome. And we can talk about that in the context of behavior of teenagers, or we can talk about it in the responsiveness of dogs, or we can say, the success in business, and where my, my lessons have come, no matter where the avenue whatever the situation has been, how much I can force myself to accomplish, has been a continual place I've ran up against. And for me, the lesson, so much was coming to a point of futility, with what I didn't want and couldn't change. Because if you imagine yourself as having such capacity, and even as a dad, you are the provider, you know, what can a dad not solve? It's hard to make a real list and feel good about it. Like, why can I solve everything? Or why can I at least I, I fixed the problems before me with as much effort as I can muster. And so there is, you know, an idea about when, when the brain reaches a point of futility, finally, it can relax, and then have this magical quality of saying, Okay, I'm gonna step back, there's a, there's another way that I have to adapt to the situation, rather than forcing my will to try and get done what I am not able to get done. And as long as the mind or the brain is convinced of the solutions working on, it almost keeps banging its head against the wall. Like, I'm just gonna keep trying to make it this way. And you think about that in terms of having, well, they have children, because it meant that in terms of like, a more successful business, more customers or more profit. And when, whatever it is you're working on, or trying to do, the way you're trying to do it anyways. Finally, you can be recognized as not working in a place where you feel a level of futility, the brain adapts and comes and looks at it from a new perspective, in a new way. And so I'd say that, that has been my hardest lesson, because I feel so capable. And I have such a strong sense of my will, you know, my creative, imaginative driving forward, it's a lot of you know, it's a very masculine sort of sensibility. And so that has been manifest in all kinds of ways. And one of the things that really made that clear to me was, I've been very active, athletic in my experience, and I had a moment, the year after this long, you know, 5000 mile drive with my daughter. A year later, I found myself in the intensive care unit of hospital, essentially had a stroke, or a brain aneurysm, I was bleeding from the inside of my brain. And in that case, I had no capacity. Right? I couldn't sit up my couldn't. I was completely at the mercy of all those around me. And it's another story unto itself. But I ended up having conversations with my daughter, passing on sort of instructions as if I was going to be, you know, if I was dead, how to carry on or try and recover things in the business. Because one of the things that's happened after that long road trip was my daughter came back and said, Hey, Dad, I really think, you know, if there's a way that I could work for you, or help you in your business, I think that would be great. Because at the time, she was working at a pizza restaurant, in the evenings. And if you're trying to be a singer, songwriter, you really kind of want your evenings free, right? You want to go to the open mic in Austin, Texas, you want to go to the concert, and yet you're working as a waitress trying to be stranded, get enough money for your next recording session. So the healing that came with that long trip
led to her asking, Hey, could you help me? Can I help you can help each other. Right, can we work together? And it's not crystal clear to me whether I explicitly made that offer at first she'd dead, but doesn't really matter. Because together, you know, driving down the road, it came to be that we had this idea we could work together and help each other out, I had some extra work, I didn't care about her absence of a college degree. I know, her work ethic, she got to know my business from that long trip. And she over the course of the next year, had found herself working part time for my company, rather than some restaurant. And I enabled the flexibility to work on a music career on the side and encouraged it. So a year later, when I found myself in the hospital completely at the mercy of God, as the doctors of my bodies limitations, she was the one that I was passing off instructions to, like, okay, let's make sure this invoice, you know, this is important. Like, I literally had my four children parade before me like saying goodbye, four o'clock in the morning for and had to go fetch them from home and bring them to the intensive care unit. So my daughter in that context was like, I was passing off business instructions and not, you know, able to, like carry on. So I think, out of that moment, I ended up leaving the hospital a week later, without any symptoms. And without even any intervention. They never had to perform brain surgery on me like they thought they might have to. And that's a, maybe a longer story. But out of that process, I think I realized that there's so much that we try and make happen, try and force our way to seeing through that we have to just really reach a point of, of not feeling so responsible for every outcome that we hope for imagine. And that's probably even to this day, I still try and learn that lesson remind myself of it.
Curt Storring 46:51
Yeah. Wow. Thank you for sharing all that. Have you read 4000 weeks by Oliver Berkman?
No, I haven't. The last.
Curt Storring 47:02
It's just like, exactly what you're talking about is that when you finally realize it's impossible for you to do all the things that your to do list or your will things as possible, you're able to shed this basically anxiety and worry that you should be able to do an impossible task. And so that just brought that up that if anyone is is sort of really hitting on this point that you're bringing up, I strongly recommend. I just finished it a few days ago and took copious notes. And it just really relieved me of the burden of being able to do everything that my productivity brain and my desire, because I'm the same way just push harder, and everything will come into play. Yeah, just it's it's relieving, and allows you to live more in the moment, which it sounds like this did for you. But please continue. Well, certainly,
yeah. You know, I haven't read that book. But the last book I read just a few days ago, myself was memos from the head office, by a guy named Perry Marshall, who came to fame, about the time that I was trying to build like Shopify Plus MailChimp, plus WordPress, that seemed like 2003, he wrote a book on Google AdWords. And that catapulted him to be sort of the king of the internet advertising world. And over the years, he's developed a big following and sort of business strategy. But one thing he found last year is how much there was uncertainty in the business world uncertain, and everyone's world with, what's what's changed, you know, in 2020, and now and now in 2022. So it's still all mixed up was people's in his, his business, I can group seeking guidance from God, which is what he calls the head office. And there's a story about why they called memos from the head office. But he saw an extraordinary explosion in interest among his very business minded community, in people seeking guidance, and not having all the answers themselves, but turning, you know, to higher power or the head office, as he says, so it was so popular in his business congruent, they wrote a book about insured experiences. And I had that opportunity. Earlier today, I have now a second daughter helping me in my business. And in she and I were discussing about as we think about this idea of memos from the head office, how do we turn over some of our own agency or strategy and master plan of how we're going to go forward in our business to a higher power, and that's something that I think resonates with a lot of people who are trying to make sense of the world today. Whether it's in their business, you know, or how they, how they raise their kids up, how they educate them, right? So it makes I think, for in an uncertain world, where do we put our trust in and for me, it's only been a chance to kind of remind myself and then also just share that with, with now two daughters who work in my company, that there's always a place to look beyond ourselves. For guidance,
Curt Storring 50:01
yeah, and that is a beautiful reminder is this idea of surrender, at least for me, this is the first, I'm about a year into my own journey of being able to surrender, and not to push and not to have to know the outcome before it happens. And to trust that, you know, if I am operating out of my own values, that things will work out, however they work out, they're going to come and I can't force that. And like you say, to trust, that whatever the higher power is that you believe in universe, God, whatever, for me, releasing myself to whatever comes of that has been both relieving. But also I feel more in my own authorship. Now, for some reason, in giving some of that up, I feel more myself. And I just love that this is a thing that more people are realizing now, which I'm seeing every day in my communities, and you're talking about in the business community is being able to just go like, I don't know. But I'm going to ask for help. And I'm going to trust. And I'm just going to see what happens here. So that's a fantastic reminder. And I appreciate that. And I'm going to add the book that you just mentioned to the show notes, is there anything else on that topic or books, perhaps that you've read lately, that are worth passing on, because I still would like to know, a couple of things, if you have them on raising entrepreneurial children, because this is so hard to get out of our own way and let them do things and entrepreneurs require like taking risk. So I'll leave those two sort of angles for you, just to see if anything comes up.
The the big idea that I think comes out of a lot of the things you've been talking about, is being able to listen and not talk quite so much. So as a parent of four children over the last 25 years, there's probably a lot more regret I have for the time is when I didn't just listen. And, you know, we're talking about this book, about business owners listening for business advice from the head office, so to speak. It's hard when you feel like so much is on your shoulders, and you have to decide you have to drive things forward. So whether it's with, you know, my 15 year old in the car, you know, early this morning, the middle of the night, I actually have a lot to say about this work environment that's filled with lots of drug users and drug sellers. And I just like had to, like just sit on my hands, but cover my mouth, like just listen, like it's amazing the things that came out on his own, he already observes. And, you know, for me to trust that as a 15 year old. It's, it's like the tension of while he he's old enough to like have observations, is he old enough to like, see what he should be seeing. Now, if you have a five year old, it's amazing the things five year olds have told me too, I wish I would have listened more to five year olds. And of course, now I have a 25 year old. And to be listening to her experience, what she's observing as the world sort of changes here, I think that's the main main idea that I would encourage any parent, if they're thinking about what they can do more of it's, it's probably listen, and then let go, that sense of urgency to add your part, whether it's a correction, or encouragement, there's time for that, you know, come around later. And it's amazing how receptive kids can be when they feel that spaciousness both to speak on their own. And the spacious not just not to feel the kind of quick correction and how much they may come back, you know, before you have a chance to circle back to that topic, and, and they'll make some observation themselves about what they've noticed. And it's like, it's what you wanted to say to them. And they've already kind of come around to it, but it might have taken a day or two and you didn't rush in. So that's, I think that's where it stands for me.
Curt Storring 54:06
Amazing. Yeah, that almost, I'm going to get here. I know, I keep saying, Oh, well, entrepreneurship. Do you have any last thoughts on that, because that actually brings to mind the idea that if you allow a child, the space and the freedom to make things of them of their own volition, or their own brain, their own power of thought, I think that in itself is probably a great way to set children up to have a more entrepreneurial spirit, whether or not they become entrepreneurs. Because at the end of the day, you as an entrepreneur, me as an entrepreneur, were completely responsible for our output and sort of what decisions we make and it requires no one telling us what to do. And being able to make decisions without that outside input from a parent or a boss I think is important. So can we close on just a few thoughts that you have observed in raising entrepreneurial children
Yes, I would say that what I'm hoping for is a child that is ultimately moving into an adult who's self directed, and directed from their own sense of self kind of with a capital S. And I would hope that they would feel the being drawn towards where they feel called to contribute to their society. And I hope that my younger you know, like, my aspiring singer songwriter, who, who is a, you know, working today, full time in my business as an E commerce marketer, professional, still has this real story to tell through words and song and music. And I think that that seed of entrepreneurship will manifest in her Sunday in a way that is well beyond my ecommerce business and like consulting firm. So she's going to be able to draw what lessons she can working with me and encouragement from the very young age to sort of credit herself and to create something and not wait for someone's permission to record a song or an album. In that, that will manifest I think, in in ways, whether it's explicitly her own boss, and being entrepreneurial, or, nonetheless, creatively going out in the world and not waiting for someone to give her permission to create the things she wants to create. That's the bigger I think idea. So whether you put the word entrepreneurship on it, it's how do you bring children out where they can be the creators that they were intended to be? And start to fulfill their own vision of what they can contribute. So much of what jobs give us is that, you know, as an entrepreneur, I know the work needs to be done, I write the job description, have the standard operating procedures, I want to just fill someone in that role like this is the work I need to be done, come sit down, and do it in this way, I'll pay you this place for that. But for me, I would hope my own children have a capacity to be more imaginative. And think that's really what we're looking to need more of in the world today is imagination. And that's something that I see now, my youngest child is a 15 year old, he's asking questions about business models, and profitability. He works in a bike shop. And there's lots of opportunities in the bike world and last year, so if you don't know, bicycling is perhaps the biggest, you know, hobby or sport and bicycles are springing shortages, if people buy so many of them because you can do it outdoors, it's safe, you know, whatever the case may be. And his this whole inspired dialogue we're having about the profitability of a bike business. And what he's taking by sweeping the floor and working in the service shop is translated into a larger conversation about how the supply chains and bicycles has affected the resale price of used bikes and the profit that comes from that. And he's thinking about different ideas. And that's, I see the seeds of entrepreneurialism in him there. And I think that's where that leads to who knows, but as long as we don't force our own will, upon our own template upon what our children hope them to be, you know, what they can create on their own is, is the best we can do. And I guess that comes back to giving some space, listening to them. Not rushing in so quickly with what we all the things we have to say for them and to them.
Curt Storring 58:25
And being indirect. Yeah, yeah. Patrick, this is truly been a pleasure. I have no idea what to expect to be honest, we hadn't talked before this. We had a couple of talking points and I am so grateful and very excited by what we're about to share when this goes live. Would you like to give people a way to contact you or find out more about you? Sure.
You can find out more about me at Patrick Pittman Pei t ma N comm also e business brands, B ra n ds.com.
Curt Storring 58:55
Amazing well thank you for spending the time and sharing so much of your wisdom with me. Yeah,
thank you for having me Curt
Curt Storring 59:08
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 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.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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