Beyond the Hard Stuff

  • Dad wisdom: How we talk about hard things
  • Focus: Not every signal needs a response
  • Fitness: How to perform everything exercises
  • Retreat update
  • The Dad Strength Podcast: The Wholesome Episode with Mattie Leon
  • Bonus stuff

Beyond the hard stuff

We know that hard work is important. We tell our kids just as much. That practice is the road to perfection. That It’s important not to give up. That it’s normal to not be good at something when you’re just starting out. Of all the beautiful things that parents do for their kids, this is one of the most universal. We know that life can be hard. We know that our kids need to be resilient enough to work through frustration and fear. And yet…

How do you talk to your kids about making things easy? About how to lean into their unique strengths? About finding a way to make skill development less like a grind and more like a game?

These thoughts are based on our most recent weekly call.

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Not every signal needs a response

Somewhere, sometime, someone will demand a response from you. But they won’t demand it explicitly—we tend to push back on direct commands, after all. This type of demand is trickier. It will come in the form of an unconscious prompt designed to immediately send you into action. It will trigger a sense of urgency. Of outrage. Perhaps a wrong needs to be righted. I’m not going to tell you what to do in that moment (see above) but I’m reminding you that you have the ability to pause here—and that not responding in that moment can be a powerful action.

Total-body exercises

One of the most efficient things you can do for general fitness is integrate total-body exercises into your primary strength work. This isn’t the only part of the program, of course. You’ll do smaller things to manage injury risk and inevitably pump those guns. However, total-body exercises allow us to take the gains we’ve made elsewhere and maintain them. We also reinforce universal mechanics including stabilizing strength.

Here are three of my favourite total body exercises:

* Double kettlebell front squat

* Viking push-press

* Heavy carry (sandbag, farmer’s carry, your kid, you name it)

Clockwise from top left, heavy carry, double kettlebell front squat, Viking press

Retreat update

Nosara, Costa Rica is still the destination. The question, however, is one of timing. Our initial plan to head over in late April carries a risk. The rainy season will just be starting and will be tough to walk among the mangroves if the water is up to our ankles. I’m working on two new potential dates—pushing back to November of 2024 or possibly sprinting ahead to the beginning of next year (Jan 29 to Feb 4, 2024)—less than three months away. If you have a preference—especially if you’re biasing toward fast action—get in touch.

You want more details? Alright, pal. We’ll be looking at health through a systems lens—and how to build a unique health blueprint that fits your life, demands, and unique strengths (mental and physical). The location is gorgeous and includes healthy meals, daily activities, and surfing access via a private beach.

The Dad Strength Podcast: The Wholesome Episode with Mattie Leon

I’ve never had an episode begin quite like this—with me in tears. That’s how it goes sometimes. A friend shared a song that he’d collaborated on—something unabashedly sweet and wholesome. This led to an interview with singer/songwriter Mattie Leon. I tried to pry out his deep dark secrets but got an entirely different conversation instead. You can listen here—although you might want to step out of public view when the closing track comes on.

Check it out here


“…Children who are praised for “being smart” often believe that every encounter is a test of whether they really are. So to avoid looking dumb, they resist new challenges and choose the easiest path. By contrast, kids who understand that effort and hard work lead to mastery and growth are more willing to take on new, difficult tasks.”

―Daniel Pink

Dad joke

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?

A carrot.

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