EuGene Jordan

EuGene Jordan

Dinner dates, fancy restaurants, back row of the cinemas and hotels... surely there's more to dating then this? Turns out there is! I was talking with a brother of mine and he was telling me about this concept called "alphabet dating"! My first response was "What the heck is an alphabet date? Dating women in alphabetical order?" But soon after he explained I had wondered why I was only hearing about this for the first time now! So! I thought I'd introduce a few idea's of my own to help you... (ME!) keep it fresh when it comes to spending time with the one you love.

Here's how the alphabet dates work. This is a team effort so you and the Mrs can take it in turns to plan your dates. Simply work your way through the alphabet and let the letter inspire your activity. It's good fun because it allows you to always keep things fresh and you get to experience new things together. Win win!

So here goes! Alphabet Dating from A-Z:

 

A – Go to the Arcade. Book Archery lessons. Visit an Aquarium. Enjoy a afternoon at an Art Gallery

 

B – Go to a Bar. Jump on a Boat Ride. Go Bowling. Do Brunch. Make your own beer at a Brewery.

 

C – Go to a Concert. Watch a live Comedy performance. Camp out for the night. Visit a Circus. Book a short Cruise.

 

D – Go out for Dinner. Have you just Desserts. Go on a driving experience. Go dancing (salsa is fun).

 

E – Stay in or go to a gym and Exercise together. Treat each other to an Exotic night in. Go Exploring somewhere new. Get engaged?

 

F – Watch a Film. Visit your local Farm. Go to a festival. Try your hand at Fishing.

 

G – Host a Games Night. Go Glamping, Go Karting or crazy Golf.

 

H – Book a Helicopter tour. Go Hiking, Horseback Riding or try some Humanitarian work.

 

I – Go Ice Skating. Vist an Ice Cream bar. Get lost in Ikea.

 

J – Visit a Jazz venue. Work on a Jigsaw Puzzle. Go Jet skiing or dip into a jacuzzi.

 

K – Get involved a you local Karaoke night. Go Kite Flying or even Kayaking.

 

L – Take a Lunch break together. Get some Lessons (cooking, dancing painting).

 

M – Set up your own out door Movies (projector is required). Give a Massage. Find a Medieval themed Festival. Visit your local Museum or go to a Musical.

 

N – Go for a Night time walk. Chill out in Nando's. How about Netflix and chill?

 

O – Watch an Opera. Eat and talk Outdoors. Sit by the Ocean.

 

P – Have a Picnic. Watch a Play. Throw/host a Party (or crash one). Go to the Park or write each other poems.

 

Q – Go Quad biking. Have a Quickie. Arrange a couples Quiz night.

 

R – Go on a unplanned Road Trip. Start roller Skating. Random Act of Kindness. Go on a Roller coasters. Try indoor Rock Climbing.

 

S – Go to a Spa. Go on a Scavenger Hunt. Stargaze. Book a Staycation. Go to a Shooting Range. Wake up and get a good view Sunrise (or Sunset), Striptease. Ride away on some segways.

 

T – Play Trivia. Go for some Tacos. Go to the Theatre. Visit a Theme Park. Play a game of Tennis.

 

U – Go Underwater (that could just be in the bath). Underground tour. USA-themed dinner (All Stars, FIVE GUYS and TGI Friday's are all winners).

 

V – Go on a Vacation. Volunteer your time. Visit a Vineyard. Put out a Vlog.

 

W – Walking Tour, Wine Tasting, Whisky Tasting or visit the Woods.

 

X – Xtreme Sports... That's it..... That's all I got!!! lol!!!

 

Y – Hold a Yard Sale. Start a YouTube channel. Jump on a Yacht or just say Yes to everything for the day.

 

Z – Visit the Zoo. Try Zip-lining. Get scared by Zombies on a Walking Dead Tour.

 

Feel inspired by our suggestions or did we miss anything out? Feel free to share your own below the article.

The day is soon upon us. The day that most will have been walking on eggshells for the first 13 days of February, in the lead up to, in order to create the perfect atmosphere for; the 14th day celebration. That's right! Valentine's Day is soon upon us and the smell of freshly picked roses are in the air. If you're trying to think of little things you could be doing in the run up to Valentine's Day, then check out these 14 ways to make her Valentine's Day. If not then this post is not for you because the truth is that not everyone is interested in getting involved in this day of love, either because they are not into the commercialisation of the day or, in many cases, the sad truth is that the flame doesn't shine as brightly as it used to and is starting to flicker out. If the latter is the case then maybe this month is the time to dust off your gardening tools and start doing a bit of landscaping... relationship landscaping!

The truth is, just like a garden our relationships need to be fertilized, cultivated and nurtured in order to see true growth. There's soil to turn, seeds to sow, plants to water and many other tasks that are required in order to see a garden flourish to its full potential. The beauty of a garden is solely dependent on the gardener's investment of time, energy, resources and, more importantly, his commitment. There are a few pointers that we can learn from a seasoned gardener. Here are a few that could seriously benefit our relationships if we put on our gardening hat and apply them today. 

 

 


1. Design and Planning 

A gardener seldom starts planting in his garden without first drawing up a plan for where each plant should be situated. He looks around and thinks about each plant he has and says to himself "how much will this plant benefit from the sun if I plant it here?" He's methodical and intentional about what and where he plants. Our approach to our relationship should be no different. The bonus to planning is that you don't always have to actually be in a relationship in order to start developing a plan for one. Ultimately it's our responsibility to seriously think about what a meaningful, successful marriage or relationship looks like for us and then plan out everything we need to do to provide an environment that is tailored to our design. 

 

 

 


2. Foundations 

A good design is nothing without good foundations. If you have been planting but haven't seen anything flourish then maybe it's time to turn the ground over and create a new foundation. Have a think about what will be the foundation of your relationship. What will it look like and what does that require of you? For my wife and I, it is our faith, our trust in each other and our commitment to always strive to be better. That means that in our home we put God first and we are open, honest and truthful - no matter the outcome! We aim to develop ourselves to become better so that we can both benefit from each other's personal growth. 


What is your core foundation? Do you have one? It's a complete waste of time trying to sow on grounds that are not conducive foundation for growth. Be sure to get some good fertilizer on the foundations you lay. For the novice, who may not know, good fertilizer comes from taking manure and composting it. In other words, turn those bad, crappy examples of marriage that can sometimes alter our perspective and draw the positives from them and, most importantly, learn from them. Turn that... "manure" into something that provides a solid foundation for your relationship.

 

 

 


3. Sowing and planting 

Everything you've thought of, everything you've designed and planned over and over again in your head... now is the time! This is the part that requires putting our thoughts into action. A gardener carefully considers where he is going to place each plant and then carefully sows his seeds. As well as considering where each plant will get the best investment of light, he also considers its protection from the wild elements. A gardener will also scatter some of his seeds in larger quantities as he recognises that he will not be able to reap a harvest on everything that he sows. Similarly not everything you invest into your relationship will yield dividends. We can all make our marriages great if we are willing to invest and sow regularly in the right areas of our relationship. Great relationships/marriage depends on an investment of good communication, time, effort, and total commitment. It might mean that you are going to have to dig deep and get your hands rough and dirty but that's just a part of the process. Even a rose has to pass through a certain amount of dirt before it can display its vibrant blood red colour in full bloom.  

 

 

 


4. Water Wisely 

Most plants require watering little but often and one flood of water can potentially kill it. A plant needs to be afforded the time and space to be able to take in what it needs from the water. We humans are no different! We require 3 meals a day but we would never think of eating all three of them at one time. That would be insane! We need time in between each meal. Just like our meals and plants, it's important to give our partners their space to grow. Spending time with each other can sometimes provide us with quite a euphoric feeling, however, it's important to learn to back away every now and then to give space for growth and avoid running the risk of smothering her to the point of nausea. If you've ever experienced that kind of smothered love then you "get" exactly what I'm talking about. Don't misunderstand what I'm trying to say - there's great enjoyment in those moments of affection and affirmation but just don't take it too far! No one likes being smothered and there's a thin line between smothering and showing affection. Too much of one thing is never good. Balance is key.

 

 

 


5. Beware of pests and weeds 

If you're like me and only do your gardening in the summer, you'll know that if you take your eye off the ball weeds will overtake your garden and grow like crazy without much effort at all. They'll be everywhere! I seldom pay any attention to my garden in the winter and as a result every year is like Groundhog Day! I end up weeding religiously every summer just to avoid a mass take over. Any plants that I could have grown would have been choked to death by the weeds as a result of my winter neglect. Just like the garden, our relationships often suffer at the hand of our neglect. A relationship needs weeding regularly. If you let too many days pass without repelling those pests (people who involve themselves in your relationship and often give bad advice) or without pulling out those bad habits that keep on creeping in to your relationship, then you'll have a real mess on your hands. Nothing will ever be able to flourish in your relationship. Be aware that sometimes the "weed" we're looking for is looking right back at us in the mirror. Sometimes it's our very own thinking that betrays us and creates deadly weeds that become toxic relationship killers. 


There is a part in my garden where the same weed resurfaces every year no matter what I do, but by understanding that in our lives that there will be a few weeds that keep coming back (no matter how many times you yank it out!) it helps us to better prepare for our returning enemy. This allows us to be much more vigilant and far more proactive rather than reactive when that weed pokes its ugly head above surface.  


 

Conclusion 

So as you can see, our relationships, much like our garden, is a product of our labour of love. It takes a nurturing hand, love, protection, patience and a discipline to delay self-gratification. Take a look at your "garden"! Stand back, analyse and say to yourself "the garden I have is exactly the garden I deserve!". I can guarantee you will start looking at your relationship with a different perspective. You will start to challenge yourself and ask the question "what can I, the gardener, do to nurture any potential growth?" 


A true gardener doesn't expect his garden to just simply flourish without first putting in any work and our relationships are no different. A relationship can only flourish once we first put our time and effort into designing, planting and nurturing it to make things happen. Just as with a garden, your relationship or marriage will only thrive to the extent that you tend to it so cultivate the relationship/marriage that you want. 
Remember, the beauty of a garden is simply a by-product of a gardeners invested time, patience and love. 

How's your garden? What are your go-to-tools or methods that help you to cultivate the relationship you want?

Before making my way on a long road trip I decided to download the new TomTom app to my phone. I paid a small fee as it boasted of it's GPS navigation rather than using data, saving me a bit of money and it was working great. It had user-friendly functions and it was quick and easy to use whilst in transit. It was working great, however, my appreciation for the app took a sudden turn for the worse when I found myself being lead to drive up and down the motorway as a result of the app not being able to pinpoint the correct destination. I ended up having to revert back to the Google Maps app I had used previously. Google Maps allowed me to see my full journey very clearly and it even gave me a step by step written plan accompanied with a narration that told me what to do at each step of the journey. I've not gone back to use the Tom Tom app since as it left me in a vulnerable position and was about as useful as a chocolate teapot! All trust had gone and I could no longer rely on it.

Once I finally got to my destination this experience made me reflect on how I can sometimes be just like that Tom Tom app. Promising to lead my family to a certain destination but not quite landing us in the right place. I've made a plan to lead my wife and my family in a certain direction but often neglect to share the bigger picture, narrate the step by step journey to them, and fill them with a confidence that when I say "I'll get us to a certain destination in life" they can rely on me to take them there. I was relying on the navigation system to lead me to a destination and a man's position of leadership within his home can draw some great parallels and perhaps learn a thing or two from Google Maps. Here are a few things Google maps made me think about when leading my family with clear vision!

 


Write the vision

I learned that I needed to figure out where I wanted to go in life and write it down. What's the goal? What does the journey look like from where I'm am today to where I want myself and my family to be? What's the ETA?

A study carried out in the Harvard MBA Program concluded that, those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not. Science proves the benefits of writing your visions down... even the Great Good book itself tells us that we should write our plans and visions down to so that it is clear for all who read it and then wait for it to happen. The truth is, however, writing a vision can be hard If you don't have a destination in mind. If you don’t know what you want and where you want to go in life, you'll never know what you need to do to achieve reaching that destination. Pursuing a personal journey of discovery can often help reveal what your purpose is as a family. Think about what contribution your family will make to this world? This journey of discovery is the fun part as it requires you to get creative and dream. So dream BIG! Dream about what you really want to create for yourself and your family? Don’t be afraid to write down grand, impressive goals. Then start to think about what your ideal life look like? Take note of all the details. What does your day look like? Where are you living?

My father use to tell me that "In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king" Tweet this! so in essence, even if your capacity to dream is small at the moment that’s fine because, big or small, a little vision is better than none. Try to see beyond the now to increase your vision and once you have that lightbulb moment... put pen to paper or write out an email and send it to yourself.

You may have a great vision but no solid plan of action to execute that vision successfully and that's ok because the truth is that plans and routes change all the time but as long as you have a clear vision then you have the most important element. My brother lives in a house far from the City of London and when he stares out of his window, first thing in the morning he overlooks the Shard which stands at an impressive 1,016 ft tall in the City. He can see the building towering over London's skyline but the truth is that he could not tell you how to get there. As long as he could see the building, he would manage to somehow find his way to this destination, however, anyone following him would be following blindly. When you are following someone blindly you will naturally have a low sense of confidence in reaching the end destination and this is one of the benefits of writing things down also. I've found that planning is sometimes (when I say sometimes I really mean ALWAYS!) best done with my co-captain, my Head of Operations... my wife. Most of our wives are great at planning (a woman's trait possibly?) and will often support us by helping to shape and form the life map for our family in a way that compliments the visions that we (as men) bring to the table. This co-partnership could not happen unless the vision was first made plain and clear through written explanation for complete clarity and understanding.

 


Create a mission statement

Have you every noticed that before Google Maps starts giving you any directions it will present you with a brief synopsis that states your destination (mission), how long the journey will take, it will give you the option to tailor the route should you need to make a slight diversion, and it will also inform you whether your route is clear or not. It provides us with this information in just a few short lines which afford us a moment to think before we make a commitment to hitting the drive button! This is what a mission statement will do for a family. It will reinforce to yourself and tell those on this journey with you where you are going and whether the roads along the way will be clear or not. Being armed with this information allows those that are under our care to fully understand what they are subscribing to. Everyone can then use this to remind them of why they do what they do and that it's all a part of building towards the bigger vision. A family mission statement helps gain an individuals buy-in and commitment to ride this journey until we reach the final destination or until it's time for a new mission to start!

Having a family mission statement may sound bazaar, however, think about it like this; most thriving business have a clear and simple mission statement that explains why they even exist. Look at Steve Jobs. His mission was "To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind." Tweet this! This accurately reflected his ethos which had a huge effect on everything that came out to the public under his brand and leadership. There's a reason why multi-million dollar companies pay millions for consultancies to create a mission statement that sums up their core belief's and its very reason for existing. I don't believe there's a person in the world that can honestly say that they wouldn't want to see more families thriving as some of these successful business' do. So just as a business understands the importance of encapsulating a standard and a sense of value within a mission statement, I've come to realise that a family mission statement should be no different. Its purpose is to embody your family’s purpose, goals, and moral standards. Creating a family mission statement provides a shared sense of values, purpose and bonds parents and children together. Tweet this! Using a family mission statement as a daily mantra helps to evaluate and be accountable for each other’s behaviour, provide a sense of meaning, value, identity and provides everyone involved with the sense of being connected to something far bigger than themselves that has a positive impact on our world.

 


Hold regular family meetings

Google maps don't host regular meetings with me however It connects with me at certain touch point to make sure I'm on the right track. If I make a wrong turn then it is able to get me back on track without haven't to divert off course too much . When I've lead teams within the professional capacity it's always been vitally important for me to touch base with those under my care and leadership. This gives you the opportunity to tell them any new developments within the business but more importantly, you have an even bigger opportunity to get their insight and thoughts on the company. The key to these meeting is to reinforce the vision, listen to what their individual goals are and get your family to "buy into" and connect with the vision by making it relevant to each individual. Find out where they see themselves in 1 year, 5 years or even 10 years down the line. By finding out where your team players want to be you can then start thinking of ways to link that development and strength back to the business or in this case back to the family home! Don't shy away from using some your skills that you would use in a professional capacity to get your team at home to connect with the plans and visions you have for your family. Put some targets for your family to reach for on an excel sheet and get everyone excited about striving for the things that they want to personally achieve. Ask the questions and get to understand where your wife sees herself and where your kids see themselves. What are their individual aspirations and goals? Do you know? The likelihood is that if you are anything like me then most of the time our understanding of what others want can sometimes be vague, however, by holding family meetings or even connecting on a one on one basis with your wife, your kids, your TEAM... you'll gain their attention, their trust and they will soon discover that you plan to lead and direct them to help them achieve what they want out of life Tweet this! by linking their personal goals into the big picture of the families goals.

 


Lead them to the promise land

Google deliver every time!!! I don't even use the other app anymore because Google Maps does what it says it will do! We must do the things we say we'll do and lead our loved ones to the destination we said we would! The very reason I lost trust in my Tom Tom app was because it said that it was going to take me to my destination but then had me wasting time driving back and forth. It never really had the end destination in sight. When Google maps says it will get me to my destination I completely trust that it will do what it say's it will do. If there's a bit of traffic on the road or there has been a road accident that it may need to reroute away from then it simply lets me know and advises that there may be other routes for me to take and adjust the time accordingly. Google maps have a great line of communication with me and keep me updated all the way. Nothing is ever a guaranty in life however when you put a step by step plan together and have others who buy into your vision and plan, you increase your chances of successfully reaching the promise land.


Conclusion

There's a proverb that says "Where there is no vision, people perish." Having vision is a key attribute to leading a growing family and having it written down is equally as important as it forces you to clarify exactly what you want and it will motivate you and your family to take action. So... write them down! Statistics have proven that people who write down their plans, goals and visions have 80% higher success rate of achieving them. Tweet this! Lead with a clear focus and vision that allows you to look ahead, to act with foresight. Without vision there is no action and if there is no action you can not lead or direct your key players. You can't steer a parked car and your vision is the engine that will fuel and power your wife and kids to progress and move onwards and upwards.


Question for our female readers: What leadership qualities do you most look for in a man and in what ways can we (as men) display and demonstrate those qualities?

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What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below!

There are so many things that I've wanted to do in life however, be it because of time, money or other commitments I always seem to allow my ambitions, goals and my very purpose for living to be put to one side. My feet seek comfort on the starting block or I just never quite get around finishing the tasks that I've started. "I'll do it tomorrow!" That's something that we can often say however, something always seems to come up that prevents those words from ever materialise into actions. 


It's time to face the facts! My words alone will not get things done and as much as I may sometimes believe I've momentarily acquired God like qualities, truth is... I am but a mere mortal and It's actually going to take quite a bit of good ol'fasion elbow grease to become a man of action. 


Check out these 7 ways that will help both you and I to proactively sculpt out the man within us all who's defined by his actions and not his words. 

 

Think About The Now

Think About The Now 

I've learned that when planning, it's always best to give yourself time and plan in advance. Try planning your day from the night before. Sit in bed and simply jot down a few bullet points that outline what you hope to accomplish the following day. If like me, home life can be quite intense at times why not stay a few minutes longer at work and make a few notes on what you can do to make the next day more productive. Whether you're the perfectionist, procrastinator or even the kind of guy who's always burdened with brilliant ideas (but no time to execute them), by taking a few moments ahead of time to plan and prep your day it allows you to avoid playing catch up and start gaining the freedom you need to take action in the now. 
Remember that Action builds momentum. So... Keep asking yourself "What needs to be done NOW?" Use your plan as your to-do list. Knowing that you have achieved something you set out to do simply means that you are making progress and that's a great place to keep your focus. There are some great apps out there to make this more manageable. 

 

Don't Let Doubt Distract

Don't Let Doubt Distract 

I once had a really bad habit of over thinking, doubting myself and ultimately talking myself out of taking action. My over thinking would lead to procrastination and create a self-made handicap. The truth is that sometime a little doubt every now and then can prevent us from making some really bad decisions however, too much doubt can often stop us from living our lives to the max because it distracts us from being decisive. I've found that when doubt creeps in and we're not quite sure about what decisions to make, it can leave us living in permanent limbo and distracts us from taking that final decisive step. 
Don't let your doubt distract you from the things you know you need to do. Get some momentum and doubt your doubt!! Sounds like adding more doubt but trust me on this one. By doubting your doubts, you help dispel the original doubt you had in the first place and it then allows you to focus on taking action. It's the power of double negatives. 

 

Be A Contender

Be A Contender 

"Hey! At least I started! That's got to count for something right?" I used to say this all the time but the truth is that it's easy to celebrate that fact that we've achieved a small win and taken that first step of action but it's just as important to win the race and not just start it. Be in this to win!! Think of yourself as a real contender and don't just take part in the race. Deliver the results and win. If we aim to get a job done at 'some point' in the day, we automatically leave so much space for distractions and allow other peoples agendas to take priority and throw us off course. Adding your own constraints to a task can turn a mundane job into an athletic competition. Try racing the clock, beating your personal best or challenging a family member, friend or colleague! Taking action doesn't have to be a cold, ruthless, decision. Get the results you want but have fun doing it too. 



Lead From The Front

Lead From The Front 

We're all leaders. Fact! What I've learnt is that the "HOW" is the most important factor in our leadership. There is always someone watching us and using our actions as an example of how to (or how not to) do a good job. Being a leader is less about telling people what to do and more about leaving a path for others to follow. So if you don't like talking to grumpy people in your house or even your colleagues when you get to work in the morning, be the first to put a smile on their face. When everyone else is overwhelmed with the days challenge, be the first to have the attitude of a problem solver and find the positives. Be the first to congratulate and acknowledge the progress of others and show your team how to look for the best in people. It all helps and builds towards creating a better atmosphere for everyone. 

 

Make New Mistakes

Make New Mistakes 

The fear of getting things wrong has always had a way of stopping me from leaping forward in the past. Truth is, you and I WILL make mistakes. It's inevitable! In fact you should asked yourself on a daily basis "what mistakes have I made today?" There are lessons to be learned through our mistakes. Don't be over cautious! Make mistakes but make sure that they are always new ones. Mistakes are filled with tons of learning opportunities for us to get stuck into. Dealing with mistakes in a positive way makes us more dynamic, experienced and more confident about taking on new challenges. Remember that it's better to make mistakes than to have never tried. 

 

Speak To Your Emotions

Speak To Your Emotions 

On the days when you wake up feeling ready to take on the world, these suggestions are going to seem so easy to follow. In reality these tips are probably a lot more effective when used to overcome those moments when we don't feel like being an active participant of our own life. For many of us, a large proportion of our week is quite repetitive and the significance in each day largely depends on how we feel about it. How we feel about our day can change everything and can be the difference between progress and quitting. Our emotions can be like free spirits that seem to bubble over if we don't control the settings. So, it's important that we take charge of this ship and steer our emotions in the right direction. Make bold declarations, especially when you don't feel like it. "Today WILL be a great day!!!" Make sure your declarations are loud, clear and always verbal. Be positive and tell yourself what you're going to achieve today and lastly, practice smiling and laughing. You'll feel a bit crazy at first, but it really works! Be proactive and shift your emotions in the right direction. 

 

Actions Don't Lie

Actions don't lie 

We become what we repeatedly do. I'm currently in the process of trying to shed a bit of unwanted weight but the fact is that no one will truly be able to tell until the results start to show however, the results will only show if I exercise regularly. You can just tell when someone's been putting the work in because it just shows. You couldn't hide it even if you tried. A friend of mine once said "we all have a six pack but some of us just haven't put the work in to get rid of the fat to reveal it." The same could be said of us as men. We all have the potential to be great in our relationships, in the work we do and in our parenting however, it require us to action some things repeatedly in order to strip back that layer of "fat" that's hiding our true strength. When you do something repeatedly your results will speak for themselves. 


Conclusion 

The reality is that it's very easy to allow ourselves to be dictated to by the every day hustle and bustle of life however, this can and will have a knock on effect and postpone or even negatively impact any future plans and milestones. By compartmentalising your tasks in to manageable bite size goals, affording yourself room to make mistakes and leading from the front, you'll find that with a bit of smart planning and a commitment to achieving results, you'll become a man of action who has a greater impact his life and those around him. Assume it's your job and your moment. Lead, initiate and be a man of ACTION!!!

 

What life hacks have you discovered that have helped get you out of a rut and get things done?

 

Have you ever seen those annoying drivers who can't make up their mind on which lane they’re in? Those drivers who drive slow and take forever just to simply change up a gear when they come into the fast lane? They do 40 when they know full well it's a 50mph zone! "What on Earth are they playing at?” They are so incompetent on the road that their passenger always has to give them clear instructions on which way to turn. They're such "special" drivers that they need to have a special cone on the top of their car with the big red "L". You know who I'm talking about... Learners!

 

I found myself getting frustrated as I was stuck behind two learner drivers once. In fact, it was that very experience that brought me to write this article. As much as I was frustrated by these learner drivers, I was quietly reminded, by a simple thought: “that was once me!” In fact, that was once all of us! At some point, most of us will need to pass the theory of driving, then bite the bullet and just get on the road. The thing about driving is that you can’t truly learn how to drive unless you actually drive, and there are no separate lanes dedicated to the less experienced. We all have to use the same road!

 

Today, Men and Marriage and I share a special occasion. That’s right, it’s our birthday! And as I reflect on the last three years of Men and Marriage, and of my life so far, I am reminded

about

my journey into manhood. I am reminded of the successes and the (very many) mistakes and failures along the way. I also took a moment to remember the input of the many instructors I have had (and still have) that have been helping me navigate along this road called manhood.

 

As I hit this next milestone in my life I wanted to share 5 key lessons that I've learned (and still learning) in becoming the man I am today.

 

  

A man's duty is to mentor

Just like the learner driver, I found myself stuck behind, I too was under the guidance of a few instructors/mentors/men in my life, who have been helping me learn how to become a man. Some people may be under the illusion you become a man as you blow out those candles on your 16th, 18th or even 21st birthday, however, the facts would suggest that age is not what determines manhood.

 

Becoming a man is a learned behaviour and takes effort and multiple attempts at getting it right before you can even getting close to mastering manhood (if you can actually ever master it). I was once shown the way by men like my father, brothers, granddad, teachers and other close friends of the family. So many people have been there for me and play a part in supporting my growth from boy to man. They have been there teaching and giving me opportunities to sink or swim whilst putting these skills to the test in my attempt to become a man. They invested time, not because they were obligated to do so but because they saw it as their honourable duty to be that village that raised a child and added value to another man's life.

 

Think about the people that have invested time into your life! If someone once had the time to invest into me then it is my duty to pass that on to someone else. I must also take accountability for those that I chose not to invest in. The truth is that some guys have honestly never had anyone to invest time into them and they have had to make it on their own. To those guys, I would encourage even more so to be accountable for those young boys who are facing a very familiar situation to that which you were once in. Make sure that they do not have to face the same neglect and absence of the support of a positive male role model.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that if a man would invest his time in positively impacting his family, neighbourhood and community, then a great change would take place, presenting a solution to many of the global problems we currently face. This can only be done if we step up as men and invest time in mentoring someone.    

 

 

Find your lane

I spent a large chunk of my life trying to run in other people's lanes, always getting frustrated that I was not the best or not acknowledged as even being a front runner in that lane. (Very egotistical but hey!) The problem with not being in your own lane is that you are forever chasing someone else, playing catch up and sometimes even imitating the actions of others in an attempt to do what they do, speak like they speak and ultimately become them.When you understand your purpose and learn to (say it with you best Kevin Hart voice) "just do you", then you can truly start to run your own race. You have the space to be a front runner because no one else can do what you do, how you do it, better than you! When it comes to my relationship with my wife, I have sometimes had opinions regarding our relationship based on how others are in their relationships. I have learned that this is pointless and foolish because there really is no comparison because my wife is not the same as those that I would or could compare her to (not that I would or could. I'm just illustrating a point here!). With that in the forefront of my mind, I can never expect her to act or think more like someone else and she could not expect that of me as we are in our own lanes, and imitation of anyone or anything else takes us out of the lane we should be front runners in. I have learned to find my lane and run like Forrest Gump.

 

When you understand your purpose and learn to (say it with you best Kevin Hart voice) "just do you", then you can truly start to run your own race. You have the space to be a front runner because no one else can do what you do, how you do it, better than you! When it comes to my relationship with my wife, I have sometimes had opinions regarding our relationship based on how others are in their relationships. I have learned that this is pointless and foolish because there really is no comparison because my wife is not the same as those that I would or could compare her to (not that I would or could. I'm just illustrating a point here!). With that in the forefront of my mind, I can never expect her to act or think more like someone else and she could not expect that of me as we are in our own lanes, and imitation of anyone or anything else takes us out of the lane we should be front runners in. I have learned to find my lane and run like Forrest Gump.

 

 

Make New Mistakes

Mistakes teach you valuable life lessons and help you discover who you truly are as a man. I used to fear to take that next step and to some extent still do in certain areas of life. I saw mistakes as proof of failure rather than looking at it as the evidence of an attempt. I had an unhealthy fear of making a mistake because I would then doubt my abilities and it would eventually highlight my inability to accomplish a task

 

In reality, I wish I made more mistakes when I was younger as now I see that not taking many risks in my younger more pliable years was probably the biggest mistake of all! The Wright brothers invented the first successful aeroplane but I can bet my house that they fell on their face or even came near to death before that plane eventually took flight. I've spent a lot of time playing it safe because making mistakes means that you have to remove the safety net. It's sink or swim. Soar or fall flat on your face. If you dare to remove the safety net it can sometimes increase our awareness for every little move we make and then helps to build a level of self-confidence in your abilities as you strive to avoid making the same mistake.

 

I watched a documentary on the self-made billionaire, founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely and she shared that when she was young her father would ask everyone around the dinner table "What did you fail at today?" I think this question is so powerful because it embraces the fact that it's ok to fail because it is proof that you are trying something that is out of your comfort zone. This process of making new mistakes is an evolving process that is forever shaping, moulding and carving out who we are. So I advocate making new mistakes as they play a massive part of our personal growth.

 

 

Protect and Serve

Although physical protection is a part of this, it is much bigger than just the physical. I have learned that it is a man's duty to protect what is right and honourable. It is important to stand up and be heard speaking out about what is wrong. Most of all, I've learned that it is important for these values to start within my home first. I have learned this the hard way as there was a point in my life that I felt helpless as I was made redundant from my job and did not know where a meal was coming from. This was an extremely low and hard part of my life but it has taught me some valuable lessons and I now value more than ever that the provision provides protection for my family. When I do not make provisions for my family, a little bit of that protection is stripped back.

 

I will strive to further protect the ones I love by passing down the tools that I found late in life to make sure that no one has to make the same mistakes that I had previously made. I live to serve my family, not only because I love them but because it was me who invited my wife to come aboard my "ship" to be my co-captain as we ride the waves of life and raise a family. (I know what you're thinking... "he can't make up his mind if he wants to reference ships or cars" - well it's all transportation so get over it!)

 

Where was I? Ah! The point I'm trying to make is that I now understand that my protection must be for here for the present but must also extend to the future. My presence, provision and physical strength provide protection and service in the present however my advice, values, and teachings will serve and protect my children and hopefully their children in the absence of my presence long after I'm gone.

 

 

Vision over Method

I have grown up wanting to do and be better than my dad. This was not birthed out of competitiveness; rather, I have always seen it as a father’s duty and a son’s responsibility to build on top of the shoulders of his father. You can't build on top of someone if your goal is to just match their achievements or be half the man that they were.

 

I shared with my father at a young age that I want to achieve greater than his highest pinnacle. It was this desire in me that made me copy some of his characteristics and mimic patterns of speech and actions; however, not everything that brought him success as a husband, father and business owner was done in a way that is transferable to this day and age. In fact, most methods he used in the 80's and 90's are almost completely extinct or not relevant in this day and age. It has taken a while but now I understand to look at the purpose; the WHY behind the methods he used, rather than simply copying my father’s actions like for like.

 

Coming from a black cultured family, I grew up where "physical encouragement" was a well-used method of disciplining an unruly child, however, the purpose of that action was not simply to inflict pain but it was to deter a child from repeating bad behaviour.

 

Times have change and believe it or not, parents actually have more leverage now when teaching discipline to their children. Because I understand the reason why I was disciplined, it makes it easier to apply different methods to gain the same outcome.

 

There are so many other examples I could share but I think you get the point and can make your own connections to other areas in life where this "holding stubbornly to the vision - loosely to the method" would apply.

 

Conclusion

Those were a select few out of the many things I've learned over the last 30 years of my life that have helped shaped and define who I am as a man. I have learned so much from so many great men (my father being my MVP in the lineup!) and this road of discovery is a journey that I hope never ends.

 

I want to take this time to thank everyone who has subscribed to the Men and Marriage site, liked our facebook page, shared any of our content (either on social networks and word of mouth) or have taken part in our Fatherhood documentary. I look forward to continuing to share my journey and some of my experiences, along with a few others, in order to help someone else navigate through some of the life's obstacles on their journey.

 

What top 3 lessons have you learned that you wish a younger you knew ten years ago? Leave a comment below.

 

 

Special thanks to:

Dad, Clint Jordan - You are hands down THE BEST dad and role model in the world. Anything that anyone else added to my life was reinforcing characteristics that you had already shown me! Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do in my life.

 

The friendly Giant - Grandad didn't wait for us to come to him. He always made his presence known and it was always welcomed. He also didn't take crap from anyone! #Legend

 

Clinton Jordan, big bro + mentor - Thank you for taking me under your wing and for being a much-needed friend.

 

Léon Jordan, big bro + mentor - Thank you for teaching me how to stand up for myself and to be a worthy fighter in life. You never give up no matter how many time you get knocked back. #Courage

 

James McKinley, mentor - You always pushed me and treated me as if I was your biological brother! You showed that tough love and I appreciated that!

 

Winston Dubidad, mentor - You won't remember but, you taught me about being open and sharing solutions to problems in a very relaxed style. How you interact with you mum, sister, wife and 3 beautiful girls reinforced what it looks like to treat a lady with the care and respect she deserves.

 

Anthony Williams, mentor - You helped me to put perspective on some of the transition periods of my life and role modelled true leadership.

 

Mike Miller, Friend - You are my lifetime brother from another mother! You taught me a great lesson in selflessness. Your actions many years back always encourage me to put others first even when there is nothing in it for me!

 

Mike Bugembe, Friend - You either know (and just seriously play it down) or you honestly have no idea of how much of a super cool dude you are. Hanging out with you and your family continues to teach me many lessons in humility. You are hands down the most humble guy I've met. Thanks for setting the bar bro!

 

Jerry Brown, Friend - You've always been one of the best drummers I've ever known. My interest in the craft led me to pay attention to you as a youngster. Your example has helped me to understand the a man must put the time and practices into his craft to become a true contender. This lesson was way bigger than just drums for me. You're Such fun, down to earth guy to be around!

 

Simon Lee, Friend - You're a true man of few words, however, your actions are a testament to your values! Nothing but love for you and your family bro.

 

Denzil Greaves, Friend - You're such a dude and you always remind me the importance of being balanced in responsibility but also having the freedom to be a bit silly every now and then! Life should be fun!

 

Leondre Douglas, Cousin - You taught me that age has nothing to do with it! Your ambition makes me proud to be your cousin and inspires me to just get on with it!

 

Andrew Cherrie, Friend - Your infectious attitude to life is awesome to be around. You take huge steps of faith and that's inspiring to watch and to be a part of!

 

Julian Brown, Friend - You display so much integrity and it's just as well because I copied a lot of what you did as a kid! I value the time you spent with me and my family as I was growing up.

 

Garth Lawrence, Friend + mentor - Till this very day you still inspire me to be even more dedicated to my own self-development and taking care of my own family. You put your faith and your family above all and that has been a great source of inspiration to witness.

 

James Thompson, Cousin – Sometimes we can take our families for granted but you go out of your way to make family a number one priority! So glad to have you as my big cuz!

 

Daniel Holder, Friend - From hanging out with you in our teens to seeing the man you have become is a great display how finding your lane can really pay off!

 

Kevin German, Friend - I've never known of a man who is more willing to serve others without any personal gain! I love that brother!

 

Julian Folscher, Friend - My warrior brother! Your commitment to your wife and your dedication to your kids inspires me every time I see you guys!

 

Noel Robinson, Mentor - You always made me feel apart of the family when I use to hang out at your home with Kai with his plethora of PlayStation games!

 

Bazil Mead, Mentor - I spent a large bulk of my childhood spending time with you and your family and I learnt a lot about teamwork in those early years of my life. Thank you, Uncle B!

 

Bryan Van Slyke, Friend & Mentor - Sharing the same passion in the ministry of family, marriage and men. You extend your selfless support when many wouldn't! A true Gent!

 

Dwayne Tryumf, Friend - I learnt a lot about not reducing yourself to fit in with other. You displayed an abundance of passion even when those around you do not. You can't help but pay attention to someone who does something with passion!

 

Jon Escott, Mentor - I remember you praying for me in the middle of the college entrance and I left that day feeling blown away because you showed me the importance of sharing your faith anywhere you go.

 

Simeon Predie, Friend - We learnt a lot from each other about what not to do but we got there in the end! Proud of who you have become! #Brothers

 

Alec Whitfield, Friend - My longest serving friend of around 26 years! Thanks for sticking around even though I was horrible to you when we were kids! You're my brother! #TrueFriendship

 

 

YOUR THOUGHTS

If you could go back ten years in time what No.1 lesson would you teach a younger you? Share your thoughts in the comments box below and let's talk!

 
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