Playing Favorites By Marshall Goldsmith There’s a reason I devote...
We need to do this not only at work, we also need to do this at home. Ask how can I be a better husband, a better wife, a better friend, a better partner? How can I be a better parent? When my daughter, Kelly, was 11 and my son, Bryan, was nine, I began asking my children, “what can I do to be a better father?” The problem with asking a question is you get the answer.
My daughter said, “Daddy, you travel a lot. That’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is the way you act when you come home. You talk on the telephone. You watch sports. You don’t spend much time with me.” She said, “One time it was Saturday and I wanted to go to a party at my friend’s house, and mommy didn’t let me go to that party. I had to stay home and spend time with you, and then you spent no time with me and that wasn’t right.”
What could I say? Thank you. Daddy, must do better. I said, “Daddy’s going to improve.” I said, “I’m gonna keep track of how many days I can spend four hours with my family.” 1991, 92 days. 1992, 110 days. 1993, 131 days. 1994, 135 days. I made more money the year I spend 135 days four hours with my family than when I spent 20 days. What did I learn? The San Diego Chargers, American football team, really do not care about me. I learned something two years ago that the San Diego Chargers, American football team, really do not care about San Diego! They’re the Los Angeles Chargers.
Now, it was January 1, 1995. Both kids were teenagers. Daddy was proud. I’ve got my charts. I said, “Kids, look. 135 days four hours with daddy. What goal this year? How about 150?” They both said, “No, daddy, no. You have overachieved. Overachieved.” My son said, “50 is a better number to go for.” They both voted for a massive cutback with daddy.
I learned a good lesson. When they’re little, it’s good to do this. Why? They need us. They get older, it’s important for a different reason. We need them.
Chester: That’s a great life lesson Marshall. Thank you!