I was sitting at a table at ONYX Coffee Lab in Springdale with my mentor early one morning in April last year. The focus of our conversation was how to better invest in our family. We had been meeting once a month for the last four months. I had his trust and he had mine.
There was a moment where the conversation paused and he asked a question that I will never forget, “Nick, where is your finish line?” He continued, “I know for me, I am running a multi-million dollar business, leading 40+ employees who rely on me for direction and leadership, and if I am honest, most days my finish line is once I close my computer down and walk out of the office.”
Does that sound familiar to you? I know it definitely resonated with me. I began to think of what a typical day looks like for me: coming alongside people who are hurting or dealing with challenging circumstances, visiting the sick in the hospital or hospice, caring for families as the grieve the loss of a loved one. I don’t have an 8-5 schedule – last week I was home by 5:30p one night, then 9p or later the rest. Not every week is like this, but some are.
Even on the “normal” days, oftentimes my finish line was once I was done with work. I’m not a runner (and it shows), but I have seen other people run races before. There is a dynamic shift in energy output once they cross that finish line. Runners strategically run the race in such a way that they have just enough gas in the tank to finish strong and run through the tape.
I asked my mentor what I needed to change in order to move my finish line to better invest in my family the way I wanted to. My family was getting what was left of me, because by the time I came home to them, in my mind, I had already finished the day and run through the tape. His advice was to mentally move my finish line back. Where before I would come home, grab a quick dinner and then turn on the television to finish out the night, his encouragement was to find ways to spend quality time with my kids and my wife. To communicate to them that while the work I do is important, my role as their father and Valerie’s husband is as well.
My pants are on fire if I told you I do this well every day. You’ll have to ask my wife for the truth, but I think I’ve improved in this area over the last year – but I still have opportunities to grow. It has required a changed mindset as I place my finish line much later in the evening. The investment has absolutely brought a return as my kids know that I love them through the time/energy I am investing in them. My relationship with my wife continues to improve as we grow closer together as well.