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Today’s guest is Zac Small.

We go deep today talking about:

  • The not-so common sense of being a good man, husband, and father
  • How to find out if you’ve based your identity on external validation or internal reality
  • What happens when you start aligning yourself with your core values and morals
  • How to discover who you truly are and then sustain your identity as an elite man
  • How to build a relationship with your children so they’ll want to be with you later in life
  • Why fatherhood is the apex of masculinity
  • The importance of doing the right thing versus the popular thing, and standing out from the crowd
  • Forgiving yourself and letting go of the past

Zachary Small is the quintessential comeback story.

After suffering several setbacks in childhood and being held back in High School, Zac went on to get his Master’s Degree and become a successful self-made motivational speaker, life coach, and author.

As a Veteran of 8 years on Active Duty with two deployments in the U.S. Navy, Zac took the lessons learned in the military and incorporated them into his message.

Zac now runs the blog TheFamilyAlpha.com along with a Newsletter TheDailyDraft.Substack.com and leads the men within his private Men Only community, theFraternityofExcellence.com

Find Will online at:

Instagram: @ZacSmall_

Resources mentioned:

Blog: The Family Alpha

Newsletter: The Daily Draft

Private Men-only Community: Fraternity of Excellence

Unknown Speaker 0:00

If you are the foundation of your family, you are the firm footing. They build their lives on. You carry a glorious burden and you never dream of laying it down. You carry it with joy and gratitude. You show up even when you don't feel like it. You lead, serve, love and protect. You are a father. This is the dead word podcast where men are forged into elite husbands and fathers by learning what it takes to become harder to kill, easier to love and equipped to lead. Get ready to start building the only legacy that truly matters. Your family

Curt Storring 0:59

welcome to another episode of the deadwood podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of dad work. I am joined today by Zachary small. This was an awesome combo guys because we vibe on so many levels here. Zachary small is the quintessential comeback story. Hey, after suffering several setbacks, childhood being held back in high school, Zach went on to get his master's degree and become a successful self made motivational speaker, life coach and author. As a veteran of eight years on active duty with two deployments in the US Navy, Zach took the lessons learned in the military and incorporated them into his message. Zach now runs the blog, the family alpha.com, along with the newsletter, and leaves the men within his private men's only community, the fraternity of excellence, we go deep today talking about the not so common sense of being a good man, husband and father, how to find out if you base your identity on external validation or internal reality. What happens when you start aligning yourself with your core values and morals, how to discover who you truly are and then sustain your identity as an elite man, how to build a relationship with your children, so they'll want to be with you later in life. Why fatherhood is the apex of masculinity, the importance of doing the right thing versus the popular thing and standing out from the crowd. And finally, forgiving yourself and letting go of the past. You can find Zach online at the family alpha.com Or his men's only community fraternity of excellence.com. You can find those in the show notes at Dad.Work slash podcast, we'll put everything in there, including resources mentioned in this show, you can check that out. But guys, this is great. You're gonna enjoy this conversation, make sure to listen up follow Zack, wherever you find him. He's got good stuff. I really enjoy what he's posting on social media as well. And I just wanna remind you that this little gentleman's agreement we instituted last time with the Jonathan Rios episode, I'm going to be out here doing all this hard work putting these conversations together for you to listen for free, and haven't asked anything in return. Sometimes ask for a review here and there. But listen, I can't make sure you're doing that. So let's just institute a little gentleman's agreement here, okay, I'm gonna keep doing my work. I'm gonna keep putting the show every single week, hopefully blessing you and your family. And guys, what I'm going to ask in return is, as I'm doing all this kind of stuff, would you just give me a little some some in return by subscribing to the podcast, wherever you're listening, and then leaving a review or rating, Spotify, Apple, wherever you're at, leave a quick review, leave a quick rating. That way, I know that you like this, and I'm going to keep doing it even better. And that way I learn a little bit more about where you're at how this has impacted you. I just got to review the other day that said it saved his family. Like dude, I can't even imagine the just the reach we're having right now. 1000s of guys who listen to this every single episode and is touching man touching families. It's really really impressive and amazing as not because I'm the best guy in the world is because we're just doing the work. We're bringing on men who are willing to share what worked for them, and willing to share their struggles and their failures so that you can learn from those. And it is because of you showing up listen to this podcast, I have sometimes asked my guys in my coaching group. I'm like, can you imagine if your dad showed up? And did this kind of work? Like what would the difference in your life be? And it's the same for you listening to this? Like would your father have ever listened to a fatherhood podcast or marriage podcast to get better the home? You guys are like an elite, separate breed of man. And I just want to honor you guys for that. So let's do this gentleman's agreement. I'm gonna keep doing my thing. Totally free putting up the podcast. Oh, good, hopefully blessing you. You just gotta leave a little review. Maybe hop on a subscription and we're good to go. We'll keep doing this. You'll keep doing that. You'll keep being blessed. And we're just gonna keep growing. Anyway. Enjoy this conversation with Zach small. Here we go. Dads, we are back for another episode. I'm joined by Zach small. Is that anything else that I'm missing? There? It is x small right? I'm not getting that wrong. million nailed it. Yes. Okay. I'm reading the name. I'm like, anything wrong? They're sweet. Sometimes I have to ask because you know, I get the names wrong with his awesome dude, I'm, I'm pumped to talk to you. Because even though like the five seconds we were just talking before this, I'm like, let's go I know we're gonna connect on this call. And I think like I just want to start dude with what I said before, which is when I read your stuff, I'm like, just be a man. This is so common sense is awesome. I'm so in agreement. I'm like nodding vigorously. And I'm looking around going like, wait a second, nobody's talking like this anymore. Why not? And so I'm kind of curious to get like just starting out with your worldview. You're like, what's going on in your life? Why you're even like this, what's important for men? And I just want to like dive into everything you talked about there because I got questions about your story parenting Mary. Reg, but let's just start from, like 30,000 foot view, what are you seeing of the world? What do we need to know? And do as good men?

Zac Small 5:06

No, that's a great question. And it's a great intro into this discussion. And I just wanted to point out man, the rate of speech that you have, I appreciate because I'm a quick speaking man, I love to deliver the message message and as efficient away as possible. And so I did it, you know, there's a synergy there. But looking at this man, Kurt, one of the things that I see, and I'm sure you've seen as well, and I'm going to go over the limit, assume that it's one of the reason that you create the content you create, is I looked around, and I see families that are not connected, I see homes, I see men that seem to be hollow, you know, and one of the greatest things I've learned in my life is to simplify the entire process, instead of you know, becoming the person that I was told I should be, instead of allowing others to dictate the life that I live, I chose to grab the steering wheel, I chose to decide who I'm going to be how I'm going to go about my life, what I'm going to do, and that doesn't mean more, it doesn't mean adding to the complexity, it meant unplugging from a lot of what we see out in the world. And so when people see that, and they see that I'm kind of pulling back and shrinking away from this, I'm actually getting much more attuned with who I am as a man, you know, I start to listen to that voice within. And I don't believe many individuals, not just men, I don't believe women as well. But I don't believe a lot of people who become mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, you know, they don't know who they are. And so they go into lifelong marriages, commitments without knowing what it is they want. They go into, they start to raise these lives, while they're no longer even living their own life, that kind of playing the role. And so that leaves children asking a lot of questions and finding themselves lost getting caught up in the chaos. And so one of the things that I wanted to do, you know, when I first started writing was actually on Reddit. And actually, you know, I'm not even sure if I should tell this. But it was on the red pill, which has gotten a horrible, you know, association with it. But that's where I started, because when I left the military 2014, you know, I realized, I'm losing my brotherhood, I'm losing that camaraderie. I don't have that sense of like fire and mission with men that were that weren't goal oriented. I found myself around men who wanted to just relax all the time. And that didn't work out for me. And so that wasn't my style, I refuse to go to that level. And so I just kept on talking. And I found some momentum, I built the blog, the family alpha, and just think about that name, the family alpha, it's not me saying I'm the alpha male, you must all work for me. It's saying all family men who's going to lead that family, who's the alpha, who's going to put themselves out there, who's going to be that man, so I wanted that, you know, that very masculine name, but I wanted to associate it with family. And so I put it right into the middle of it. And so that's kind of how I've gone about this. I'm unapologetically a family man, I'm a husband, I'm a father of two, you know, and I share that, and I do so in a manner that I hope inspires other men to be their absolute best selves with a family, instead of thinking it's time to take their foot off the gas. And again, that's just 30,000 feet, we can dive into the weeds if you want to.

Curt Storring 7:48

Dude, that is so good. And I am so aligned with that. And I see the same thing to where guys think they get married. And that's the finish line. And then they let off the gas and they become just nothing's, and there's so much inertia that goes into it. And yet, like you said, you've got these other lives. And for me, I'm like, Dude, my wife gave me her life. There's so much risk in that I can't be anything but dialed in. And the biggest piece that I took away, the first piece I took away, I should say, is this piece of identity. And I talked to my guys in our programs about this all the time, it's like until you know who you are, you won't do things for the right reason. You'll do things looking for external validation. And your wife is going to hate it, your kids are going to hate it because they want you to be the rock they want you to lead. So like when you're talking about this identity stuff, have you had to gon go through this yourself in terms of figuring out who you actually are at your core? And if so, like, how do you do that? Because it's a big process, right?

Zac Small 8:43

Yeah, absolutely. It is. And I'm sure for anybody that has gone through it, they can relate and they understand you know how how heavy of a question that is because Oh, it's heavy. No, no, it's heavy. Like there's a different type of way. One of the things you pointed out though, I wanted to circle back on, you're talking about your wife giving you her life, she invested in you for life. Very few people understand the weight of those words. She She said, I'm going to give you all of me for ever, for the end of my days, dude, that is such a commitment that I don't think people understand the weight that goes into it, again, back to you know, heavy and heavy. That's a very heavy commitment. And she does so not because of who you are then thinking, Oh, well, now he's at this point, and he can relax and close down. It's because she sees you now and she's like, this man is gonna be on that trajectory. He's gonna go so far in his life. And I see it with the message that you're spreading a see with what you're doing. And I do so as well in my own life. She married me at this. And I brought it so much further. And she knows that's why I married that man, because I knew what was inside of him. But let's let's go back to that, because I wasn't always this man. You know, and in fact, I was almost the antithesis to who I am now. And so a lot of my reading a lot of my content, especially early on, I was figuring myself out. I was writing In two younger Zack, I was telling me like, Hey, this is why you are the way you were. But if you do this, you can change, you know, and I did it. And I proved these methods. And it wasn't theory, man, I went through these reps, I went through very difficult struggles, I had many challenges placed before me a lot of obstacles there. But with each one, I built momentum to the next one. And so to give a quick snapshot of what I'm talking about, when I was six years old, I lost my mother to suicide. And so it's not one of those things. Okay, Mom's gone, you don't remember, I woke up in the middle of the night, the lights flashing, I walked out and I saw her wheeled by do that, that does something to a child. And then I went over in my father, he was a Navy man. And so he brought me we lived with my grandmother, we didn't have much money, but my brother and sister we had each other. And so I built a very strong family bond there. And, and to go back a second, I'm adopted. And so my father fully adopted me when my mother passed away. And so I became a small my last name was Wallace, but I'm almost small. And to me, that meant the world. I have a family, I have a brother, a sister, I have a dad, I have a grandma, you know, and we are a family, that that core value there. It never left me. You know, obviously, I mean, look what I'm doing now. But that never left. And so from that, though, from losing a mother, you know, a boy doesn't get the other half of the equation. And so my grandma, she's not a mom, you know, she was 7080. She's very old. And my dad, he was in the military. So he was in and out, in and out. But he was a very, you know, dominant man. You know, he was he was a Navy guy, nuclear engineer, wicked smart. He's one of the best men I know. But he was a military man. You know, there are certain ways to do things. And you did things those way. If you didn't do it that way. You were wrong. No questions, do it my way or the highway. And so I developed a certain sense of grits and discipline. But it was based not out of understanding the world or having confidence. I just knew how to follow rules. You know, and I started watching all the rules society gave me when it came to women, be nice, be kind, share your feelings. I started following all the rules that were laid about how to succeed, go to college, get married, do all this stuff. That didn't work out for me because I was very insecure. And college is not the books meant to stay back in high school man. But I joined the Navy. And that changed everything. And this is one of the key points that I really wanted to share with you and your audience. When I was sitting on that bus, for the first time in my life, I realized I was going somewhere that was going to change my life forever. And I thought to myself, none of these people know me. None of these people are aware of who I am. And I'm so tired of being stupid, Zach, insecure, Zach, lack of confidence, EQ, I'm not going to be him anymore. And the moment I got off that bus, dude, I became the man you see today, I just changed, I flipped a switch. And it's possible. And I know that people say no, that's not possible. But I've proven it in multiple areas of my life. If you just choose to stop being a victim, if you just make the choice to live differently tomorrow than you did today, you will be able to get to the places you've always wanted to go, but have never been able to attain. And it's killer, man, I don't want to keep running on those. So we can go more out of those.

Curt Storring 13:08

That's why That's why I'm here. That's what I'm here to do. That's so good. And there's a couple of things in there, like I relate to, after my dad left us when I was like three, my mom, you know, suffer with eating disorder for a long time, it was gone from my life in my adolescence, and probably same sort of thing happened where I didn't learn to deal with feminine human beings. I didn't know what to do with women other than what my dad did, which is, you know, have four wives along the way sort of thing and not have any of them work. And so I bet there's some interesting similarities there. Obviously, nowhere near the tragedy and man that like just, that was a real sort of side because it can't even imagine. But the choice, the choice to be something different. And this is, let's just riff on this for a bit because I see guys stuck in inertia, when they could use like intention to choose who they want to be. And a quick example of this in my life, is we went back to the drawing board, and we went back to first principles. And I do this every single year now multiple times a year. I call it the self audit. But one of the things we found out a number of years ago was like, why are we even living where we live? It's like, oh, that's just where we're from. And we just grew up here. And that's what you do. And you just have kids and you just like what you were saying all the rules. And we're like, well, we could travel. And so like two months later, we were gone. And we're in Thailand. And we spent two years traveling with our kids. And everyone's like, Are you crazy, but we just chose to be different because it was what we wanted, not what the world wanted. And so I think there's a lot of like external validation that most people are after, and they don't even know it. Did that come up at all in what you saw in your life or what you're seeing with men who like aren't willing to be themselves because they're so needy for other people to validate them.

Zac Small 14:47

You're absolutely you're hitting the nail on the head right there. And so one of the things that there really is a lot of overlap between our stories here because you know, pop and smoke right now in North Carolina. We just up and left a year and a half ago from Rhode Island because we wanted to Go do something new. Oh, you're crazy. You don't know where you wanted to go and do something as a family. But looking at that, and looking at the men who are caught in that, that the I call it redundancy without progress. So I run the fraternity of excellence and similar you have community focus, very community focused, I built that because it needed that brotherhood, like I said, after the military. And so we operate within there. And it's funny, I saw you had this 70 Was it 75? Dad? Yeah. All right. So I saw that you had dropped that? Well, we do. I ran a program called 31 days tough to masculinity. And so again, back to that overlap, love putting those challenges out there to be a better person, I created a program to address this specifically, because of how many men who are stuck in that loop of redundancy without progress. They're doing things for no other reason than somebody at some point told them. That's what right looks like. And they ignore the fact that they're sad that they have no mission in life, that there's no energy, their sex life is not what they want it to be their children, they aren't happy and have a good relationship, their wife, they're walking on eggshells. People can't see the video right now. But I can put all my fingers up and all these things going wrong. And they're like, Yeah, but I'm totally doing the right thing. And it's like, man, what is making you think you're on the right path right now? You're not happy? Like you hate everything going on? You're miserable? Why not try something else. And so when I created that program, 31 days to masculinity, it goes through checkpoints, to snap the men out of this simple things. Why do you wear the clothes that you wear? Oh, because a woman highschool? Dude, you're 47 years old? Why do you have the hobbies that you have? I don't have any hobbies? Exactly. Why aren't you doing things anymore? You know, and just it goes through everything for the 31 days. But to your point, people think that if I'm smiling on Facebook, and I've got the big house, and I've got the new cars, and I've got the new phones, then I am a happy successful person to the whole world will see that and they will reward me and the red carpet will roll out. And I'm finally successful. And I'm looking at it from a different lens. I want to be able to give my kids more presents with the CEE at the end than it's yes, I want to be in their life. I want to sit down and have the hard conversations, I saw that you ran your weekly planning with your family. Do we sit at that dinner table, we just before this call, we sat around you want to talk about I talked about you? I said, Hey guys, I'm going on a call tonight to this guy, Kurt. He's another dad who's going out putting on a great message for the world. They're like, Oh, that's awesome. I was like, I know I'm looking. I talked to my kids, as if they're adults, obviously keep it age appropriate. But dude, the way I speak to my kids, the engagement that I have with them, it is so far from what society has told me I should do, which is I'm the authoritarian kids are for the mom, you know, just to the kids these days, and all those ramblings, I don't do any of that. And the result has been kids who love me, and I love them and a family that is just working together, and we have each other's backs. And guess what? We're happy. And so when I have these arguments with people about oh, well, why do you think you're right? Because you're the one that's miserable, and I'm the one that's happy. And I think that if you were just to align yourself, if you were to align yourself a little bit closer to your true values and morals as a person, you would start to live differently to and then you would find your happiness. I don't laugh at these men. You know, I don't like how I look at me. It's like, I wish you were as happy as me. I wish you had the connection I have. Yeah, I love what I have. And I wish the whole world could experience it.

Curt Storring 18:13

Dude, that is so good on so many levels. And like, we're I feel like we're just gonna need to become friends. So we can talk about this kind of stuff. Because it's like the the parenting thing, the marriage thing. And the values thing. This is like all of the stuff that we're talking about right now is like you're got a program on it. I'm realizing like, this is part of my program, like we're on to something here. And the values piece is super important. Because I don't think a lot of people know who they are. But for me, the thing that I want my guys to get is like, what are the things that you value? Not just because like, oh yeah, I know my values. I've written them down. And now I'm good to go. Like, dude, I personally use my values as a decision making matrix. So there was a time when I didn't do this. And when I made decisions that were big, and they felt terrible. I was like, I wonder why this sucks so bad. I'm just going to keep pushing through because I'm hardcore. And then it became crippled. I had like panic attacks. And I suddenly realized that these decisions that I was making, particularly one on mine, and guys have heard this on the podcast as business decision. Like do everything is against not just like kind of in line with like, really against my values. And so I think the importance of that is that you can actually make decisions like, does this follow value? 12345? Yes, or No? Black and white? If not, don't bloody do it. And nobody thinks like that. Because like you're saying, it's all about like, Oh, am I gonna get accolades? Are people gonna see how good I am like my white picket fence? Have you gone through processes like that, where guys can actually figure out what's important to them? Because it should be so easy. It's like, if you're listening to this, think about what you want. Think about who you are, what makes you feel good. Ask why a whole bunch of times, and you'll get it. But like, is there more to that? How does a guy actually sit down and find why he isn't like how he's gonna get somewhere?

Zac Small 19:52

No, that's a really good question. And it makes me think of how many men are motionless and visionless. And so meaning they don't have a vision to who they want to Be are the type of not what do they want to own. Everybody has that I want this big house, I want to retire with a yacht like whatever it is. But I'm saying, What's your vision to the life you want to be living my vision, I'm a jacked grandfather, my children want to come and visit me, my wife and I, we downsize the house because the kids are out of there. And we can just have like an apartment near both of the kids. So it's like our home apartment, our way apartment, and that we can just travel and do our thing. And so I've got a vision as to where I want to go, Well, how do I do that? Well, I bring that back. How do you maintain a relationship with your children to where they want to be with you later in life? You've built a good bond, you live as a good person, you be a man worth visiting? How do I do that? You're kind, you're courteous you connect, you're honest. You're a virtuous man. And so like I just peeled back, I'm like, Alright, it's very easy to get there, I've got to do these things. Well, guess what these things are, it's being a good person overall, that being a good and we actually spoke about this before recorded, you know, you and I are in agreement that the foundation is man, you know what, above that is your lover, but the apex of that, that's fatherhood. So you go, but all of it is built upon the foundation of a men, I have to be good at being a man, if I can do that, then I can be a good lover, I can be good to my wife, I can be a good example of what a man acts like around the opposite sex, you know, and then above that, well, the father the very tipping point, people love and you've experienced the same people hate that you will say fatherhood is the apex of masculinity. Why? Well, one reason maybe they don't have kids. Oh, are you saying I can't be the best man. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying the apex of the challenge you will face will come with all the things you're doing single man, you know, being strong, working out making money, all these things, you do all of that, while leading a woman and children lives that you brought into the world, you still have to do everything those single men do, except you are with a woman. And for most of us, it's with our wives, and children who are watching and copying every single move. There is no off day for a father, we do not get zero days, nor should we want them. You know, and so to bring that back, there's also the mission side of this. Well, how does a man stay motivated? You know, how does a man keep that fire going in his heart, you have to find what you're passionate about. You've got to find that thing that keeps you going for me, it's fatherhood. But primarily, for me, it's family, you know, because it like fatherhood is a huge one. It motivates me. Like I said, After this, I'm gonna go play with my kids. Like, it's what I do, man, it's my thing, and I love it. But the family at large, I speak a lot about marriage as well. You know what, I speak a lot about men being their best selves in that marriage. And so that's somewhat directly to a man and not his family. But to me, if we help the man, we're helping the family, because remember what that foundation is built upon. And so that's my mission in life to spread that good word. And how do I do that I volunteer, I coach, my kids, you know, I coach their sports, I volunteer at their community events, I volunteer at school events, I put myself in a position where I can show my values and I can show what I'm doing. And I help the other dads, I help the other kids, we have a great time, and the impacts of the larger scale. And the very last thing you got to ask me is, you know, do I run it through a decision like that similar to you, with you with your business decision? It kind of like, if it goes against your values? Don't do it. For me, I call it the cornerstone. Family is my cornerstone. Does this go against me? And the mission and vision I've set for myself? My family? Yes, it does that I will not do it. There is notice you'll make $100,000. And overnight, I won't do it. If it's going to split my family up or if it's going to keep me from pushing the mission of fatherhood and family, I will not do it. That's my Cornerstone everything runs through that it's like the final thing in my decision tree. Does it hurt the family? Does it go against the mission and vision? Yes, get out? I don't want to. And so that's kind of how I've lived my decision making choices.

Curt Storring 23:42

That's so good, man. Thank you for sharing that. And I think like everyone can and probably should adopt some version of that. And I realized, I've got a question that I asked myself, and that is what am I optimizing for here. And it always comes back to like, I can do all the things but if it takes me away from being man, husband, father, in that family role, then like you say, it's a hard no. And I think like, Dude, this is so interesting, because as I build everything I'm building and talking about, it's like exactly the same understanding that man becomes a good man, I should say, a good man can be a good husband. And it takes a good man and a good husband, a good father. And that is so fundamental. And I don't know if this is like too broad or if there's any anything here, but have you thought about the values or the virtues or the things that it takes to be elite in each one of these tears? Like as a man I know you're into like fitness and making sure that you're disciplined and all that kind of stuff. And then it's like, okay, with marriage, are you the emotional safety person for your wife? And then with the with the kids like, are there things that you're able to almost go through not like a list because we don't want to be too listed here. Although I do love lists. What are some of the things that in each level of that triangle, that pyramid that guys can optimize for that you've seen sort of be like generally useful? Is there anything that comes up on that? You're

Zac Small 24:59

absolutely One is, you know, there has to be an authentic delivery of this. I don't do this to be more like you, or Ryan McClure, or Dave Hollis, I know you had him on. Like, I don't do anything that I do to be like other men, I have to do this my way. Now I'll take notes from you, we'll swap notes exchange it, oh, that's really cool. But I'll take what you do. And I'll apply my way. And so it's critical that the person understands, like, don't change one act for another. You know, don't be like Tom Cruise going from like, Mission Impossible to Top Gun, you know, be Tom Cruise. He's the man, he plays roles, though. Don't play that role in your life. And so what I mean by that is, if you have certain hobbies, or preferences, be open and honest with your spouse about that, like, tell your wife like, I'm the kind of guy who likes this. Don't be like, Oh, well, Zack legs that so I'm gonna be like that, man. If you don't like lifting weights, don't go out and start lifting weights because of me, or any other dads saying like, you know, I do recommend you lift weights. But the point is, you get into your way, maybe that you're more of like a Tough Mudder guy, maybe you want to go to obstacle courses, and that's your jam, go do that. I don't do that. But you can, you know, I read a lot of books. And it's, it's enjoyable for me. Now what I say that reading similar to lifting is universal. Yeah, it's good for your mind. You know, it's there are universal elements to this, in the same way that we could both agree, if you ate Snickers every day, you know, you're probably gonna vomit, you're not gonna be living a healthy life. So there is there's a way to balance your meal works for you for eating healthy, is different for me, you're going to take it and make those foods work your macro plan, work, your timing plan, your family plan, I'm going to do the same, but my own way. And so it's important for men to understand that authenticity is the single most critical element because that's what leads to sustainability. If you're trying to keep the ACT UP, at some point, you're gonna break because you can't be exact anymore, or can't be current more, you can't be Mickler anymore. But if you're you do, you can be that every single day. And that's going to allow you to reach the longer levels, like there's certain growth and insights and just moments you can have, after six months of effort, you're not going to get on the first week. So you've got to be able to last long term. My son is 13 years old, are, you know, a lot of men talk about rite of passage and all these things. Since he was out of the barn. I have been raising him to be a man, there is no special Spartan fake thing, because I'm not trying to be the Spartans, I'm being a good man to that child. You know, and the same thing with my daughter. And so I don't follow any script like that, you know, another part, you know, that can be crucial to this is that you have to be able to be, you must be willing to break away from the crowd. That's a very difficult one for a lot of men. But just think about what we're saying here. To be authentic. You can't fit in, you have to be comfortable being different, because you're as unique as your fingerprint. You know, and there's so many people with their head down, afraid to speak up about fatherhood, the fact that you do this man, I'm 100% on board with your program. I love it. Because for a long time, I felt like I was the only man doing it. Thanks for I thought I was the only dude who cared about this. I thought it was important. But nobody else was like, Oh, you're talking and Lambos and yachts, and girls and pickup artists and all these and I'm like, I don't fit in with any of that. And I don't want to, you know, and so I had to let certain men go and be like, Oh, dude, you got to come up with us. So we can go and we're gonna get chicks. I'm like, Nah, I'm not you, we can't hang out anymore. Pretty much. You want to do things I'm not a part of they go against my morals values again. And so I would just say keep it keeping that in mind that there might actually be somewhat of a loss of connection, there might be a loss of the group for you to find your best self. While that occurs, and you can grieve that like it sucks. When you lose friends you did care about you had things in common. But when you come out of it, man, you you meet people I met you, you come across certain individuals on life that you're like, That guy gets it. He's more aligned with me. And I would rather 10 friends that get it than 100. Who don't?

Curt Storring 28:52

Yeah, dude, that is exactly what I've experienced when I had that fear. Which is like, well, if I am my, like, if I'm me, then I'm gonna lose all these people I know. And it's like, Well, do you want to hang out with these people? It's like, I guess not. But they're kind of like here. And that's scary to be alone. And yet, the more I put me out there, the more people that I want to hang out with find me. And it's like, oh, there's actually nothing to be scared of, except for like that little gap between when you make the decision. And it's that fear point. I think that stops guys from doing anything with anything. It's like, I don't want to be uncomfortable. I can't handle that. And maybe that's another thing we can talk about too, is like the discipline to be uncomfortable. And I do hard things specifically so that when it matters, I can be in the pain, and I can suffer longer to serve longer. And there's just like, it's so easy and so comfortable nowadays it nobody does that. And I hear like there's a lot of guys online now we're all like rah, rah. But what kind of things are you doing in your life to do that? Because it doesn't matter if I'm jacked, like, Dude, it doesn't matter except that I respect myself and I can take the discipline that it took to get jacked to my family so that I don't yell at them when I'm upset. I can hold this space for my wife when she's emoting me, that I can like sit in a really challenging part of parenting with my kids. And be like, Hey guys, it's okay I forgive you. I'm here for you. We're going to talk about this but I'm not going to scream at you. Is this like a major part of what you're doing as well to discipline? body mind, spirit, soul, all that kind of stuff so that it doesn't get out of hand where it matters most?

Zac Small 30:19

You know? Absolutely. And in the context of that you stole one of my points I wanted to go to in that the delayed sorry it's in the best way I mean, we're like like I said, that synergies rolling, man, but definitely when you when you delay that gratification, so you break yourself from instant gratification, like lifting weights, like training yourself, like financial investments and things like that. You find yourself less emotionally unregulated. You learn to regulate that emotion like I don't need it right now. I can control myself right now. I control that one or that desire. And so you look at yourself and you find that that carries over to parenting that carries over to all these other areas. You know, when I look so just going off health, wealth relationships, one of the best fathers I know the man who's impacted me the absolute most as a father. His name is Anthony Miglia, Reno, he runs peaceful father's dot com. I was a peaceful parents before I met Anthony. But Anthony. So this shelf actually can't really see it up here. But there's a shelf behind me. When Anthony first met me, we were talking he said, So Zach, you run the family alpha, you've written millions of words about fatherhood, how many books have you read about about parenting though? Zero. I had not read a single book. And I was so I now have a full shelf. I've read half that shelf. I immediately went and bought the books and did that thing. And so I started not only delaying that are increasing my emotional control. But I also started to learn the whys in the house. And so I slowed things down. So when things come up with my son with my daughter with myself, I'm better prepared to meet these things. I treat fatherhood like an art now, you know, so it's, I got to train it. I've got to develop the skill set of being a dad and the mind you. I had been doing a running the family alpha for years at this point, when I met Anthony, and he came up with that one little thing. So this is back to the surrounding yourself with those good people that great men make you great. You know, Anthony is a great man highly recommended on this show. He's a good one. He's one of the best dads I know. But another dad, nice guy, his name is Phil Foster. He's my trainer. He has taught me the lesson. And actually, he's the single man who helped me get sober. And so you want to talk about being uncomfortable. I'm the guy who won't drink but I'll be at the bar with you. I'm the guy who's not drinking any alcohol. But I'll go anywhere that you guys are going, I'll go to any party. And they're like, Oh, why aren't you drinking because I don't want to. I don't like alcohol. I think it's not good for you like, so I list all these reasons. That's a very uncomfortable thing for many people to do. Because if you stop drinking, you lose your drinking buddies. You're not fun anymore. You can't relax. So I had to do that because it wasn't good for me. But again, my buddy Phil Foster. He's also my trainer. He taught me how to slow down and focus on the weights be intentional with the weightlifting. You know, and with I used to fast all the time. You gotta fast you don't want to eat, it's gonna eat the fat away. It's really good for you. He's like, dude, how about you just find what works best for you. He's like, you say that fasting is best for you. But you're still chubby. And I'm like, dude, one I love you for being friend enough to call me chubby. But to You're an asshole. Like, you just call me Chevy. He was doing it. And to prove the point that we've kind of proven on here. If something's not working, why do you keep doing it? You know. And so I learned that. And then when it comes to finances, another friend of mine, Jeff Higgins, and I let him just like name dropping these guys. Like I love the men that I roll with, like these dudes impact my life almost every day. They're an inspiration. But think about what I'm doing here. You know, it's we're talking fatherhood, how many men don't have any friends to name drop? How many men don't have friends that they can call on their phone and talk about something besides the sports that are going on that day, or like what's happening that we can do and I talk to these men about my body, my marriage, my parenting, Jeff Higgins my money, then like, hey, you know, like we're talking investing ways to get things rolling. And one of the things he taught there too, is like, be smart. And take your time. And don't rush in anything. Don't let your emotions control any of this. And so just looking at this to bring this full circle. When you do all of these things. You find yourself in a position that I was in about four years ago, where my son fell off a cliff, and I had to throw myself down there because he was getting sucked out to the ocean. And literally, he almost died. And I was there mentally and physically prepared to run down that jump out, swim out, grab him, come back, climb out. We're both swallowing saltwater. We get to this is a very rapid story. It was a lot crazier than this. But we get to the top. And instead of yelling at him for doing a thing I had said not to do because he'd fallen and he did it and fell in. I said, Hey bud, you know, of course because the fish weren't biting. You'd want to go in there and fight Poseidon. I made a joke. My heart was pounding. I was out of breath. This past Christmas. My son again. I'm realizing my son's bringing a lot of chaos in my life. He thought a fire was out. It wasn't the wind blew it onto the lawn. In my house. I'm like it smells like smoke or look in the backyard. My entire lawn is on fire. It's about to burn my house down. Yeah, dude. Like for real? It was really bad. Guess what happens? I run out there. My kids run out there. My wife goes out there. They run up to get the fire extinguisher. Put it out on put it out, the kids are fine, nobody's panicking. When you live a life that is focused on doing the hard things in the peacetime, When war comes around, and those dark clouds show up, you're ready. So all those things like, it's not just your health, it's not just the lifting, it's not just your money. It's not just your parent, it's all of it, brother, it is everything. When you focus on being the best, and just improving at everything, you find that when one thing happens, you're ready, you're gonna be ready. And here's my biggest fear and what drives me the most, I don't want my family to experience any pain that is preventable, because I chose to live a comfortable life. And that that fear, if I had to boil it down to one thought, that thought is what pushes me, that's why I lift. That's why I read. That's why I focus on the cash and the body in the mind that mindset. That's why I got sober man.

Curt Storring 35:51

Dude, that I'm just as you're going through him, like, I can pull that for post, that for post like this is going all of what you just said, is going to be clipped on Instagram when this goes live, because that was insane, dude, that is exactly it. And as you're saying this, the thing that comes to mind is like you have to be. So all in that anything less than exceptional, is unacceptable. Like for me that my role is the importance of my role as a husband and father to my wife and my kids. Nothing. But elite will do it. Because of everything you just said. And that takes all the preparation, it takes all the weight. And I tell the guys that are in their programs that are in my men's groups, it's like guys, we carry a burden. And unless you're dead, you don't get it. But what a glorious burden. That is I carry it joyfully and with gratitude every day, because I can, and they can't. And I will be damned if I let go for a second because it would crush them and what you just said about like med stopping them from any pain that doesn't have to be there. Who man like I'm getting goosebumps thinking about that, because that is the gut punch that we all need as dads. And if you're not there, what are you doing? And this is why it's so hard for me sometimes on Instagram, I'm like, I'm calling you out. Yes. And you hate me and you're calling me names. You're in my DMs telling me that you can't do this. But it's because if you don't do this now 20 years from now, you're gonna wake up and be way more triggered than some guy calling you out on Instagram. So wake up dads and do the work to be exceptional, because your family's life depends on it. Like, dude, I don't know how else to get this into people's minds. Are you doing anything other than like, you know, God punches to guys were like, get a hold of this. Why did this work in your life, man, because you're a dad for a while, but you weren't sober? And it's like there must have been some pain in there maybe can walk us through that process? What was the point where you're like, Shit, I got to do something about this now?

Zac Small 37:40

No, that's that is the question. What will it take for men to wake up before they hit that rock bottom where they lose everything? Why can't their rock bottom? See before the rocks? Just pull up? You don't have to crash to wake up? That's the main question, man. Inside the fraternity of excellence, men will join our community. It's a paid membership group, they will pay to be there. So those men have already shown bridging that gap of I want in. But that's not the men we need to reach. What about all those men who are saying I don't need a membership group. I don't need to be a part of dad work. I don't need that. I got it figured out. But then 10 years from now, their kid falls off the cliff. And they they're not physically prepared to get him or their wife is going through things. And they're not emotionally controlled enough to meet her there. And now she slips away in the marriage dissolves. These things are split. And now we look at this and why is my family shattered? Why don't I have anything that I wanted to have? Why am I so sad and broken, I've got nothing to live for. Because 10 years ago, you did not have enough of a way to put yourself in motion to prevent this from happening. So those are the men we need to reach my story, man. So from 13 to 30 again, right I'm pretty sure my mom's death played a role in like my, my leaning towards wanting to numb things. And so I can remember getting suspended from school in middle school. And I think that's around 13. So I would say I was definitely drinking by then I got sent a scared straight I was on a good kid. Like, I can't stress that enough. I go and I don't say that I don't take pride and like sell flagellate or whatever that that is like I'm not trying to be self deprecating. I just want people to hear like how crystal clear because they meet me now. And they paint this picture of I had a silver spoon and life has always been good. And it's been actually very, very difficult. And that's why I'm so happy. I refused to have a bad day because I had enough bad days. So no more for me. But we go forward. So from 13 to 33. I was binge drinking. Middle school is drinking my family was a bunch of drinkers, you know, we associate it with parties and happiness. And then I joined the Navy huge drinking culture. And so it was just always there, man. But on July 7, of 2020, actually July 6 of 2020. I was sitting there with my wife. I was overweight. I was tired. On the fourth of July, someone had taken a photo of me and for the first time in my life I realize it's actually when Phil called me chubby. It's the first time in my life I looked at myself and I was like, I'm fat. I was like when did that happen? Like how do they get soft? Dude up to this point. So I just told you that was 2020. I launched the family alpha in 2015. I started fraternity of excellence in 2018. And I've been keynote speakers and speaking across conventions and all sorts of things from then till present day. And here I was overweight and alcoholic, tired and stressed out. How am I falling victim to all the things that I'm telling other dads they need to get away from? Because I was trying to outwork my worst habit. And this is the part where I think other men will be able to relate and maybe fix themselves. I thought I could outwork it. Because I was out working it. I was making the money. I was getting the followers, I was getting the views, I was inspiring men across the world. I was doing that. I was leading a community, we were doing live meetups, we still do live meetups, you know, but we were doing the men. And nobody knew what was going on. Nobody knew the suffering. Nobody knew the pain behind the smile. And so I did felt that every day. And at some point, and I think a lot of men can relate to this, especially the men who are high performers. You know, you're doing well at the job, you're crushing it in the office, you're doing all those things. But when you come home, you're just like, there's a void. There's something missing inside of you. And so for me, I sat there, I was staring at a glass of wine. And I was just spinning in my hand. And I told my wife, I was like, I'm done. I can't keep this up. I'm tired of being tired. And dude, it just stopped at that moment. And later on, I learned is actually very recently, I watched a video by Steve o of all people, Steve o brought clarity to my life. But I was then recently able to understand what happened to that moment. I look in the mirror and I'm like I'm Zachary small, I do not quit. I do not run, I fight and face and beat whatever's in front of me if I get knocked down and get back up. But what happened in that moment where I was staring at that glass of wine, I gave up, man, I stopped the fight. I stopped trying to fight to prove that everything was okay. I stopped trying to fight saying I can moderate is not going to happen again. I'm not going to get crazy anymore. I quit. First time in my life that I quit at anything. I quit fighting to try to keep alcohol in my life. And in that moment, it just stopped. I've had no cravings. I've had no relapse, I've had no desire. Within a week, I was able to go to a bar, buy shots, bring those shots to my friends, pass them out, and then drink my Seltzer and my cranberry. It just changed. And for all the impact what I was saying before about oh, you can't just flip a switch. You know, it's not that easy. If you have a strong enough why it is that easy. Because as I was staring at that wine and that quit, I was also thinking, How many times have I been too intoxicated to where if there was a fire, one of my children was sick, or somebody tried to break in, I was not going to be prepared. I was a liability, I'd be asleep, they would need me in the the worst of moments and dad would not be there. That thought realization killed me. And so alcohol died to me that day. And that was two and a half years ago, over two and a half years ago. I wish I could tell people like it's a great story. And it's nice story. But I actually had to face a lot of pain. I had to face you know a lot of those things that was haunting me, I had to face my failures. But in doing so the pain went away, and therefore the desire to numb the pain and the drinking went away. It happened simultaneously. It's like I gave myself the grace of forgiving myself for the mistakes. And now it's time to move on. Dude, I wish I could give that to every man who's struggling in that situation.

Curt Storring 43:30

Bro, that is so powerful. That is so hardcore and difficult. And what I heard from that, and this is what I wanted to ask you about anyway, was like the pain underneath that man. And it's so interesting, guys will run from it forever. And they won't even know that it's why they're doing in the first place while they're working so much weather disconnected weather numbing weather Doom scrolling all the time, while they're drinking while they're watching porn. And it's like, Dude, you're hurting underneath them in. And if you just shine a light on that, and you speak about it. For me in my life. When I started doing this, I felt like there was this wet black blanket over my soul, my heart. And it started just lifting off, the more I talked about it. And dude, that blanket had some hooks in it that brought up a lot of painful stuff. And I did not want to go through there. But the more I did, the more I persevered for the same reason I was like, I'm not going to kill myself because I'm so bad for my family. Or I'm gonna go all in. And thank God, I had some grace to go all in because all of that pain was on earth. And I think you said this word before did I grieved? I grieve the loss of what I would never get. for me. Similar thing was like a childhood that I never get. And then I felt like a boy and well who am I now if I don't have all this pain and I didn't like be a victim. I wanted someone to say I'm sorry. And I was the one who needed to forgive regardless. So that's intense dude. Can you talk more about like, the pain and the processing and the forgiveness because that's hard for guys to get

Zac Small 45:00

You know, it is very hard. But I think about what you just said, like, people who get it, get it. And one of the things I try to stress is like, nobody understands an addict like an addict. And what you just said, man, like I was there with you, like I've been to that abyss, I've been to that point where it's just blacker than the blackest thing you could think of. And it's inside of you. It's an intense thing. You know what you said something there that I think would tie in quite well with that question, you know, you're talking about who are you without the pain, and people attach their identity to the thing that happened to them. So I'm the child of a parent who committed suicide. I'm the child who grew up in a house without money. You know, I'm the kid who is insecure. I'm the one who has to overcome. I'm the guy who this and I had all these labels on me as to who I was. And I had to go through every single one of them and face them. These things happen to me. I didn't do them. I wasn't the bad person. The thing that happened to me the person did it. They had their issues, and their monsters they had to face. But I took that on as my personal burden, because it's my fault, right? No, that's not how that works. And so you go through it, and you start to think, well, I use that pain as fuel. And so I'm going to prove them wrong, I'm going to prove that they can't hold me down. But then you make them almost even more of an integral part of your story. Because now your success is predicated upon your ability to, to call up those feelings, and so they're very alive and fresh. And instead of like being buried deep, they're like, right there, you can tap into that anger and that rage, but do that's not a healthy way to grow. But it's not any way for again, back to sustainability is not sustainable. Because at some point, you're just gonna hate yours, you're gonna turn into the monster, because you keep on pulling it up. It's like Venom when it gets on like spider man, like, you want to be Spider Man, you wanna be venom, you know. And so looking at it, you can't go from like orange to nerd out even more, you got the the light side of the forest, the dark side of the forest, like you can't go back and forth. I'm going to do it sometimes when it was some time now you become a bad person. If all you think are the bad things, it finds a way out and all of a sudden, well, that's not mean. Yes, it is. That is you. And people say it, especially with drinking. When you drink, you turn into somebody I don't like, you know, or when you get angry, you turn into somebody else. And it's a literal thing, you become that thing, you become the monster. So how do you get rid of the monster, you face all of the fuel that brings that thing to life, the pain, you have to go back to your childhood, to quote my friend Anthony, everything is rooted in childhood trauma, all the issues that parents have adults have it goes back to childhood. And again, that's one of the reasons that fuels me to be the data him is because I want my kids know, my features. And they know my flaws. I want them to know the man, I don't want them to have a picture perfect image of me because when they grow up, then they will think that they're bad for not being perfect. And so I tell them my broken parts, I talked to them about my sobriety. They know about what happened to my mom, I've told my my kids are 13 and 10, just for understanding, but I think I told them years ago, so let's say maybe 10 and seven is when we started having these little bit more adult like discussions. And I let them into my world to see that your father's a flawed man. But I do my absolute best to be better every single day. And so when you guys have struggles, whether it's a spelling test, or issues with your friends, you do your absolute best to be the best person you can be. And sometimes you're going to fail. Sometimes you're going to do the wrong thing. Sometimes you're going to be in the wrong, and that's okay. I will always love you and we will work to get better. Just like I love myself and I work to get better. And just to say that dude, see how quickly rolled off my tongue. For a long time. I couldn't say that I loved me. I hated me due to for being very blunt here. And I did not like that thing. Because I was ashamed. I was ashamed of myself so much. All the mistakes. I've made all the failures, where I came from my history, all that I hated it all, and which meant I hated me. But again, you strip that pain away by addressing it. It's like you're taking the skeletons out of your closet, and you're holding them up into the light of the truth. And it's like, let the world see him. And dude, I started sharing on my blog, my story. I started sharing everywhere, like my true story of what happened my podcast like I was, I was airing it out. And again, when I was talking about therapy, like, I would sit and be like, hey, like, here's where I was. And here's where I'm going. And here's how I got there. And like live, I'm learning that. I'm telling you how I did it, but I'm like, oh shit, that's so that's how I did that. You know, it's kind of like I'm finding it out with the audience. And so you just you stop being ashamed of it, you stop hiding it, you air it out, you know, for fathers that are struggling. They join your community. And for the first time they say, Hey, guys, I had a really shitty father. And I'm acting just like him because that's the only example that I had. What do I do, Kurt? You know, that's a very difficult thing for a man to do. But I'm sure you've seen it. And when they do it when they finally do that, boom. It's like the weights off their shoulders. They finally said that thing they were hiding the weight goes away like alright, Judge me like oh, no, brother. Good. Now the healing can begin. And then there then they can become the dad. They always wanted to be.

Curt Storring 49:51

Yeah, dude, it's magic. This is so in line and like a couple of things that came up. I always tell guys, it's not your fault. But it's your responsibility. Yeah, like all the things he's done. gotten the like you were saying the fault of Auckland. And then there was like this forgiveness process where it's like, okay, I still need to be responsible, I don't need to take the fault. So like that judgment in that shame goes away a little bit with that. And then this forgiveness of realizing like your parents, something must have happened to them to be the men and the women that they are today. And maybe that's not all their fault either. And if you can just find that like 1% of innocence in their lives, I found you can start that forgiveness process and release their grip on who you are. Now, one thing that I've heard a lot of guys talk about, which is like, well, if I lose that fire, if I lose that anger, I'm going to be nothing. Like that's how I'm so successful. And it's like, I actually felt that too. And so I resisted a little bit, losing that, because I'm like, Dude, I'm crushing it. And yeah, I feel terrible most of the time. But at least I've got like the business and all the rest that kind of stuff from the outside. And yet, when I dove in, and I lost this fire, like, personally, dude, I'm like, even more effective now. Because I'm not going into shame spirals, and I'm not hating myself, and I'm not in these dark places all the time. I can just operate. And I'm like, I'm assuming the same happen for you. And you see this as well. But anything on that, like, is this how it happened for guys were like, Yeah, but I'm successful. I want to lose that edge. Dude,

Zac Small 51:11

I really dig what we're doing here, man. Because it's like, yeah, dude, like exactly what you're saying. That's what I experienced as well. And so I'm sitting here like, just smiling because like, you get it, you know, you don't fully understand I'm rocket fuel now, like I was on, like, you know what, 87 ethanol, like, now I'm gonna like whatever NASA uses to send those rockets to space, or like Tesla or Elon Musk is using. And so here's a quick way to describe it. People say that they're going to be happier, when they drink, things will be funnier, they'll relax when they drink. I'm more relaxed and happier than I've ever been. And so I told myself, I needed this thing to be a good person, you know what I needed, I needed to learn how to be a good person, I needed to develop those muscles. And I kept using alcohol as a crutch. I don't need to learn how to be a relaxed individual and quiet my mind, I need to just use this and make it happen fast. How is that any different than taking a pill to get in shape, I was looking for the fast route, like this fake thing that was magic. It's not real. You know what I've learned. I've learned how to just go for a walk without my phone or anything on me and just stare at the sky, walk around in nature and be happy as hell. More recently, I've actually really taken a photography. And so I'm actually picking up new hobbies that I'm getting pretty good at. And I'm enjoying the art of them for nothing more like I'm not starting, I might start business doing this is my nature, but not yet. And so I just walk around, I just take pictures, I just go and do my thing. I'm just happy to be alive. I'm happy to go play catch with my son, and go do cheerleading with my daughter, my wife and I we are happy just every single night. And again, after my kids go to bed, it'll happen tonight, my wife and I are going to sit on that couch. Maybe the TV's on maybe it's background noise, maybe it's off, and we're going to talk about our day, we're gonna have a great time, we're gonna have an awesome discussion. No alcohol is needed. Nothing is needed to make my life better. I am happy with my life. I don't need more things in it. And you talk about the motivation and like, oh, I need that edge, bro. Look at the content I'm putting out looking at like the work ethic that I'm putting into this man. You don't need any of that. That stuff slowed me down. Like I thought I was at level 10. You know what I was like, down here with the booze. I got rid of that and focus on just my internal inner workings. And I fixed them and do now it's like I can't even see, like where I was, that guy can't even see where I'm at. Now, I could never have reached this point. If I was still doing that because it stunted my spirit. It stunted my vision, you know, it killed my energy. And so for anybody that's listening, when you give up the negative things in your life that you think are the positives for fuel, you go on a freaking journey that brings you to places you did not even know existed, you will perform at the apex level of whatever it is you're doing, because you don't have anything holding you back. I cannot be more clear about that.

Curt Storring 53:49

100% and I completely agree. And yeah, like I felt that myself, where it just an even the thing that's coming up for me right now is like, even when you're not explicitly in an addiction or something like that, but you think you're mostly good. And this is the thing that I see a lot of guys are like, Oh, I'm fine. Like things are mostly good. And for me, I judged people a lot because I was like, I'm in the 80/90 percentile of everything. You know, more successful in business. I'm more fit. I'm more better at you know, being a husband and a father. That's good enough, right? And I was challenged by a coach. He's like, Well, have you ever gone 100% Anything? That's like, well, like, why would I do that? I'm pretty good. And he's like, no, just like, pick one thing you'll 100% And I did and the same sort of thing happened. I was like, Dude, my 80th 90th percentile was like 10% I have so much more to give when I just do more. And the thing that like I call this the do more paradox because I was like, I'm gonna be tired though, because I do a lot already. And the strange thing was, I wake up with more fire after doing so much more than I have ever done. And it's like I get more energy to do more stuff by doing more stuff. If it's for the right reason we go All the way back to our conversation about identity and who you are and your values. And if that's tied in, dude, I don't need motivation. I don't care if I feel like getting up in the morning. I'm like, I can't miss now because it's so tied in. To me being the man, I need to be for my family, for my wife, my kids, for their self respect, to look myself in the mirror, like you're saying, it rolls off the tongue to say like, yeah, of course, I love myself, da. But dude, that for me, also was never the case. And especially that self respect piece, which is important for men. I was talking to my friend Ryan King about this, he's like, Dude, we need to be respected and to feel the self respect in order to be effective men. And that just changed everything for me. And so that tied into integrity, at least in my life, like, Am I doing everything I say, I'm gonna do and am I being a man of my word? And can I trust myself. And that leads to respect. And that leads to doing way more like you said, rocket fuel, not you know, 87, whatever it is. And it just, it's so everything's so tied in to just doing the right thing, because it's the right thing. Like, I serve my wife and love her sacrificially. Not because I'm gonna get anything out of it. But because it's the right thing to do, when you operate of this place of like, true authenticity, where everything is just done, because it's right, you stop worrying about anything else, and you're so freed up. And the thing about that is, I'm talking a lot now it's supposed to be you know, you end up getting did you end up getting everything you need, when you start giving everyone else what they need. And I just don't have any needs anymore. I'm like, Dude, I got desires. I'll communicate those reasonably and respectfully, but don't need anything because I am good. And I think that's what this whole conversation probably comes down to. I did want to ask, and you can jump on that if you want. But I want to make sure I touched like some parenting and some relational aspect in your marriage, because I love that thing. You're gonna go talk to your wife about your day. Nobody does that. And like, it's most obvious simple thing. But are there frameworks or ideas about parenting and marriage that have served you? Well? Because I think guys will probably take a lot because this whole conversation has been probably framework breaking for a lot of guys. So marriage parenting in the next six minutes? Are there frameworks that we can use that you've seen success with?

Zac Small 57:05

So to start with parenting, you know, I like I said, I felt peaceful parenting, I don't yell at my kids. I don't hit my kids in any way. It's very peaceful. Now, people confuse that with, you know, them being little psychos. And they all they have no control, they have all this. But then you look at the kids or the parents who are getting hit. And they're the little psychos. And so the kids who are screaming for attention and energy are those who are being neglected, not those who are being loved kids who are loved and kids who are hurting kids who are seeing they don't really act up because they're getting that level of respect in the home. And so that's what we do, I speak to my children the same way. Like I said, I have a military background, I was brought up in a very discipline home. And I use the word discipline in the sense of it was very rule oriented discipline actually means to teach. I do discipline my kids, I teach them, I teach them a lot. I teach them about a lot of things a lot of the kids don't know. And the result has been them loving each other, loving me loving my wife with all that they are and they love themselves. They're very confident, happy children who do very well for themselves, in their respective sports and school and all that. And so I just love to watch them grow. But as a parent, Jackie, my wife is Jackie, she, she's 100%. On board with that. We are all about our kids, I coach, my son in baseball, my wife, coaches, my daughter and cheer. We asked them all the time to come join us. We don't try to put the kids away and let us do our thing. We're always with them. They're always invited. Now there are times where we'll say, Hey, Mom and I are having a discussion. You know, we'll come talk to you after, but we need some alone time. And they respect that. Because we're not always telling them to go go away and play in your phone or go away in color or go away and just do anything else be away from me. When we do ask for privacy, we get it? Because they're like, No, I can respect that. Just like when I go in their room. They go dad, you know, I'm busy right now. Could you come back later? Yeah, no problem. I don't do the whole I'm the dad, you must obey me. Like that's, that's not my style, that's not going to be ever be my style. And my wife is the same. We're very much on board. We're very much focused on the family and each other. And so, as far as parenting goes, you know, that's our approach, man. Like, we give these kids a voice, we treat them with adult level of respect. And we allow them to be themselves. My children, since they could speak, have ordered their own food. They've selected their own haircuts. They speak to adults, they shake hands, if you're going to my house right now, I'd introduce you, they would shake your hand, they would say, Hey, how you doing? You know, I heard you, you're into this you what? What do you think about taxes? You know, all right, hey, how are you monetizing your business? Like they will they will pick your brain dude at 13 and 10 years old, because I talked about everything that I do, because I want them to know and then replicate in their own, but their own way. You know, I don't have any expectations where they go in life. I just go to you. And then for Jackie and I do we never stopped dating. I've been with her since I was 16. And I'm 35 right now, and we're still together. We're still rocking and rolling it funny. You said that you you lead your wife, or or you serve your wife, but you don't do it to get something out of it. That's how you get things out of it. And people don't get that when you actually commit yourself to being a good person for the sake of being a good person because that's who you are. You will get the rewards. If you're a reward see Looking, you're never going to reach them because now you're like a kid looking for the gold star. I don't do anything around the house because I want recognition. I do it because needs to be done. Guess what my wife used me as a man who gets the job done. And so her and I, I date her. I like you can see me right now like I've got like a form fitting hoodie. My My hair is a little messed up because I showered a little bit ago. But I keep myself looking good and smelling good. And I only bring that up. It sounds like such a weird thing to say on a podcast. And I'm sure a lot of the men listening to you are squared away men that are either in your group, whether they're on the program, you don't mean. And so for them to like, yeah, obviously. Do you know how many men don't do those basic things. How many men won't shower, brush their teeth, they don't get regular haircuts, their clothes are stained, or they're like screen prints of like Family Guy, do I dress to attract, like I dress to be and not to go and get other women but like my wife. So when her feet touch the ground in the morning, I call it day two, we're on our second date. And my goal is to get a third date. Now the first day you're just getting to know each other. So this has to be day two. So what would you do to get a second or third date? On your second date? Would you sit in farther and do all this crap stuff? Would you be weak and be crying about having to like do the dishes or bring trash out? Or like whatever you have to do? Would you be sitting there complaining about how hard the world is? Or would you be telling this woman in the second day like I'm the man, I've got it if you're with me, I'm the dude who has it all. I'm locked and loaded. Even if you're overweight, you're the guy with a plan to get in shape. Even if you're broke, you're the guy with the plan to get the finances on track. You're never not the man, you are the man, you're Maverick of Top Gun, you're the guy and you're the guy of her life. And so for me, my approach to Jackie is to be myself authentically, she never knows what I'm gonna do. She doesn't know tomorrow from starting a business. If I'm going to be going on a trip if we're going to be speaking to somebody if I've got a podcast, what I'm going to do next. And I love that because it keeps her in this kind of like guessing game where she gets to be her best self to. My wife is a very feminine traditional woman. And I don't mean that in the sense that she's walking around with the bonnet. And she like doesn't make eye contact with people. What I mean is like she just believes that life should be simple. She doesn't really have social media. She doesn't get involved in like all the mom drama. She just does her thing, man and she's happy. Very low key. She's a great mom, great woman. She's in school right now for cosmetology because her whole life she her dream has been to do hair. And we were fortunate to be in a position with where we live now that the school offered it. And so she's 3636 years old. She's still chasing dreams, Man, That Woman inspires the hell out of me to be my best self and I inspire her because I'm doing the same. So together you have two adults to individuals chasing life, doing their best learning how to be better people. And that together is what makes the marriage work. It's dinner today. We both had something to talk about. Tonight. I'm going to tell her about this conversation where we sit chit chat about how she'll ask me questions about fatherhood her. When I spoke to you about and what we're going to see for the future like she's inside my world. She's not going to scroll her phone and like complain about our friends and drink wine. Dude, she's she's sober, too. She joined me the night I quit actually. So that's actually a pretty funny point. I didn't ask her to. She's like if you quit, I quit. So we're Bolsover. But I mean, that's how I lead to marriage. That's the approach I take. Again, if it all boils down anything that's authenticity. I'm me through and through, and that's given permission to my wife, my children do the same.

Curt Storring 1:03:27

Dude, let's go. Yeah. Go This is so good, man. Incredible. Yeah. I love that. And that's so good for so many guys to hear. And I think this is going to be a massive blessing for you guys. I know I gotta let you go. I also gotta get up myself. Go tell the guys where they can find you. Because I'm sure they're gonna want to listen more social media, podcast groups, whatever your whatever you got going on, man.

Zac Small 1:03:47

So I've got the family alpha.com That's where I'm writing. That's the blog. It's also the podcast, the family Alpha. My community is the fraternity of excellence. And as of recently this coming October, I'm going to be launching a new summit slash convention. It's a speaking it's called the mission of excellence Summit. So stay by or standby for us. We dropping stuff about that. I'm really excited to be bringing that one to the table.

Curt Storring 1:04:10

Nice dude. Okay, well, I'm gonna link all those in the shownotes Dad.Work slash podcast if you guys want to check any of that out. Do this one. Awesome. Thank you for joining me.

Zac Small 1:04:17

Thank you for having me.

Curt Storring 1:04:20

Thank you for listening to the Dad.Work podcast that's it for this episode. But if you would like to stay in touch between weekly episodes, why don't you go over to Instagram and follow me there because I draw up a number of things throughout the week that are related to what we talked about on this podcast but usually go a little bit deeper provide some tips you can find me on Instagram at dad work dot Kurt that's da di W O RK dot c u r t. And please if you have been getting something out of this podcast if it has touched you if it has improved your marriage or parenting or your life, would you please leave a quick review on Apple or Spotify. leave a rating if you have a few extra seconds leave a quick review. That's the The best way that we can get this work in the hands of more fathers. And I truly believe that we change the world, one father at a time, because each father that parents better that loves better raises children who do the same. And in just a couple of generations, I feel like we could be living in a world much better than the one we live in today. Your review will help along that path. And I thank you so much for being here to listen. Until next week. We'll see you then.

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