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September 26, 2019

Shifting Focus

by Paden Hughes

I was listening to a podcast and the host asked, “If you were offered a $10 million check, but the price of receiving it was that you couldn’t experience real love in your life or have close connections with your kids… would you take it?“ 

My instant reaction was no doubt similar to yours… NO WAY!  

Money and success are fine and good, but not at the cost of love and true connection with the people I care the most about.  

I love questions like this because it jars me just enough to remind me of WHY I dream, and why I work and strive for more impact.  

The truth is, as leaders and entrepreneurs, we so easily get tunnel vision with our success and goals.  

You may not know this about me, but I’ve always struggled with defining my value by how much I’ve accomplished. It’s been a big point of growth for me over the last two years to realize that there is far more to me than being a high achiever. 

I’ve recently returned to work, and Michael and I went out on our first date night out since  Jackson was born (still cheering for this feat). We talked about how we each have perceived the last couple years in our lives and careers. Both of us have gotten used to double-digit growth in our business, year after year. We let it define us and drive us.  

But the last three years have required more consistency, determination and grit than riding the wave of start up energy and early adopters.  

We started to share, back and forth, all the reasons we feel we may have lost our high growth in the last three years.  

Then it hit me.  

We haven’t stopped building the dream. We haven’t gotten complacent or lazy.  We are still building the dream with just as much intensity, the same long hours, the same high highs and low lows, BUT we have shifted our focus from the business to our growing family.  

We’ve had two kids in 2.5 years, and our lives are dramatically different.  

Those of you who are parents know this and some of you even tried to prepare me for what  it would mean. But let’s just say that it’s one thing to hear it and another thing to experience and live it.  

We have been intensely investing in our dream to have a thriving, loving family.

We’ve had the dream to achieve much with Gymnazo, but right alongside our quantifiable business goals have been these goals:   

  • Stay married.
  • Still be in love.
  • Take time to enjoy our kids daily.
  • Invest in our kids’ lives and our relationships with them. 
  • Take time to pursue our individual growth and self-care so we serve from a place of abundance not scarcity.

It was honestly one of the more refreshing conversations we’ve had in a long time.  

Dreams don’t just happen on their own. You have to take action. It’s one thing to be a dreamer, but the worst thing I can imagine is being a dreamer who never actually did anything with that dream.  

It’s so easy to focus on the professional goals we have set for ourselves. We get praised more for them and they are quantifiable. They are more evident to those we seek approval from.  

But at the end of the day, NO ONE can write me a check big enough to make me settle for a life without love, connection and belonging.  

So I don’t know where you are today when you think about your dreams. I don’t know if, in the pursuit of your dreams, you’ve sacrificed others. I don’t know if  you have big audacious dreams that you’re pursuing in the dark, unsure if anyone will take you seriously. I don’t know if you feel like you’ve had to shelve one to focus on another and you’re critical of that. 

BUT what I hope is that you feel inspired to rethink about dreams as a reflection of your whole self and whole life.  

“The grass grows greener where you water it.”  

I’m so thankful for the last three years of slowing down with the business-side to make sure we give parenthood and our new roles the attention they deserve. I may not have consciously given myself permission to pivot my focus, but it is what happened and I wouldn’t change a thing.  

Cheers to all the dreamers and doers making life beautiful, whatever version of that speaks to you. The world is a better place with you all in it!

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