Have you struggled to feel successful (enough)?
Have you struggled in relationship when you were professionally unfulfilled?
Did you know that a dad’s essential gift to a child is to instill both the drive to succeed, and the understanding that you’re already (always) successful?
My father’s in town.
Now I love my dad, but like most men, particularly those who grew up with their father mostly not present, and even many who grew up WITH their father present, we have a complicated relationship as adults.
As I said, I love the man, but I also harbor a deep-seated resentment, even rage, that really I know now just covers over a profound sadness that may never be healed. In fact, I believe the way I have lived my entire life, particularly as an adult, has been shaped by my roller coaster relationship with my overwhelmingly absent father, and in some ways that surely have served me well, such as my endless drive to accomplish whatever I set my mind to because I know no one else is gonna step in and do it for me, and yet in other ways that have been just utterly debilitating, such as my endless pursuit of some measure of success that has eluded me, and I know will continue to elude me, forever.
Today I’m diving into one of my recent popular blogs, A Man Without A Father’s Praise (Never Feels Successful Enough)
My dad is a brilliant man, a man who’s spent the last 40 years of his life working alongside my step-mother to make energy medicine technologies into real and viable products we can use today to help the human body heal. These technologies aren’t too far off from the kind of thing you’d see in a sci-fi TV show like Star Trek. I worked with them back in 2003 to help grow one of their signature products into a 50 million dollar company.
Oprah Winfrey loved that product, and featured it twice on her famous favorite-things audience giveaway shows in both 2003 and 2005. She even invited us on her show to talk about this technology, and when our Public Relations spokesperson completely miffed on one of Oprah’s questions in front of a live audience, I immediately stepped in and spent the next few minutes talking to Oprah about mind-body energy science, how our thoughts and feelings can affect the rhythm and beat of the hearts in our chests, and how we are all connected to our environments, and to each other, through invisible electromagnetic fields that have real impact on us – and I know this all may sound a bit woo-woo to you, and to some degree the science of it all still is, but I’ll tell you, in the words of our vice president who was sitting next to me that day on the Oprah Show, and whose primary character trait was shrewd observer of everything … I had Oprah enraptured.
After the show, I spent another few minutes back stage talking with Oprah – you can see the picture of us taken that day on my website on my story page. On our way back to the hotel that cold day in Chicago, our Vice President told me she was going to make me the International Spokesperson for our company.
Something I had no training for, because up until that point I’d mostly spent working on other aspects of the business. As the technology research the director for the company, I worked with the Miami Dolphins football team for a year. They had agreed to let us study how our product impacted the performance of their players.
I also served as the head of customer service, building up our customer service department essentially from nothing. Oprah featured our product just 6 months after we launched it. Especially in those days, when Oprah featured your product on her show before you were ready for big sales numbers, and before you had a customer service department, well, it was too late to get ready. Building that customer service department even as Oprah promoted it was like trying to build a house in the middle of a hurricane. I would work 16 hour days at the office for months to ensure our exploding customer base had the care and concern they deserved.
Then, when our VP made me International Spokesperson after the Oprah Show, I would spend the next few years jet-setting all over the world doing magazine and TV interviews in dozens of countries and multiple languages – I once set foot on 4 continents in 7 days teaching people about our product.
Who knows how many of our product I helped sell, and I know I helped turn thousands of potentially frustrated customers into happy ones. Yet despite my basically heroic contributions to the company, as well as other roles I played in helping make that small family business into a $50 million dollar success in less than 5 years, I have no recollection of my dad, one of the principle owners and therefore benefactors of the company’s success, ever acknowledge my contributions to the experience. Maybe he did a time or two – surely he must have – but I have no memory of it.
What I do have is more memory of his criticisms and his unasked for directions about how I should be doing things.
Now, this isn’t a podcast in which I’m just gonna hate on my dad.
No. That’s definitely not the point, and I have no intention of hating on my dad. He’s a good man, with a good heart.
You’ll also notice I’m not mentioning what the product was. I don’t want to get into that because shortly before I left the company in 2008, my dad one day suddenly fired my then-girlfriend who worked for us. It was an act of betrayal like none I’d ever experienced. On that day, my father’s action awoke in me an anger I’d never imagined possible. When I angrily confronted him at his home the next day, my step-mother on the other side of the house said the whole world shook.
He and I weren’t able to see eye to eye that day. I left the company not long after, and not long after that, their business partners essentially stole the company from them. It was a heartbreaking ordeal that took my dad and my step-mom years to get over. Me and my dad are, ourselves, still healing from that painful time.
My dad does have a very good heart. He genuinely wants to be of service to humanity, and even at 75 he’s nowhere near quitting on his mission to bring energy medicine technologies to humanity.
My dad also never got much praise and acknowledgement from his own dad. If anything, his own dad, and definitely his brothers, were more critical than supportive of his own efforts to live a good life, and do good work, and I know that hurt my dad deeply, and affected the way he oriented towards me, his one son, and how his overwhelming absence of acknowledgment towards me has affected my own orientation towards myself, and towards everything else in life.
That’s what today’s episode is really about.
So, take a deep breath, and stay present with me, all the way through to my 3 Key Takeaway’s at the end of this episode of Men, This Way …
Let’s dive …
Read the original blog here: