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Snoring Dad

Snores On A Plane

I don’t get out much. In fact, I generally take one trip a year to wherever the Dad 2.0 Summit happens to be. I’m not a huge fan of flying but I tolerate it because it sure beats driving 4 days to get from point A to point B. That said, something happened on my latest flight that I feel I need to talk about, even though it is potentially embarrassing. I mean, transparency is the deal I made to you all when I started this blog, right?

Let me set it up by saying that I have been battling illness since Christmas and going into my trip to New Orleans for the conference, I was feeling pretty drained. I got through the first couple days with no issues but the night before I was set to leave, I was up all night, even having to find a pharmacy at 2am to grab some meds to help me sleep.

Some other things you need to know about me. I am incapable of napping. It’s true that while most people, especially parents, can lie down and pass out in seconds, I have never been able to have a nap regardless of how tired I might be. Oh, and this is important, I’ve been told by multiple sources that I snore, even though I have firmly denied this claim as fake news.

I was all set to come home on Sunday afternoon when we hit a bit of a snag. Our already delayed Delta flight out of Detroit had landing gear issues after taking off and had to return to the airport. This was stressful enough and then we found out that we wouldn’t be able to leave again until around 3:00am. For someone who was not feeling the greatest, this was not the news I wanted to hear. As much as I tried to get comfortable in the terminal, it just wasn’t happening.

When we finally boarded the plane again, I must have passed out right away in my seat because I was woken up by the gentleman in the seat next to me. He mentioned that I was snoring VERY loudly and just wanted to make sure I was aware. I looked around, stunned, and saw the smirks on a couple passengers faces. Instead of being mortified, as you might imagine, I laughed it off and made sure to keep my eyes wide open the rest of the flight.

I only wish I was able to channel whatever it was that allowed me to nap on this occasion so I could use that for future nap attempts… I’m sure it had nothing to do with it being 3am and having been awake almost 24 hours.

Dad 2.0 Summit

A Brief History of the 2016 Dad 2.0 Summit (Now With 10% More Canadians!)

I spent this past week in Washington, DC taking part in the 5th Dad 2.0 Summit. This being the first Dad 2.0 that I wasn’t speaking at, the first thing I noticed is that my anxiety level had dropped dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, I love speaking at this conference but I get myself so worked up for imminent failure that I can’t let myself relax until I am off the stage, so it was nice to have that calm feeling the whole time. Of note, imminent failure has yet to happen…

The hotel for this year’s event, Mandarin Oriental, was the classiest one to date and this fact became evident to me after my first night there. I drew the short straw on night one and slept on the floor, however the Mandarin provided me with a ton of pillows and comforters to make a bed with. When I entered the room after the cleaners had been by, I noticed that they had remade my makeshift floor bed for me, left me some slippers and folded my previously worn clothes for me. The only thing missing was the towel swan! On top of that, they had what can only be described as the “greatest promo video ever” playing on the television sets in each room. Check the link and I promise you’ll be amazed.

Oddly, one of the highlights of the Dad 2.0 Summit over the years for me has been the unrelated karaoke night that usually happens. Last year in San Francisco was a very light, yet extremely fun, group of people and so I expected this year to be about the same. Imagine my surprise after a couple of us planned the outing to find about 40 people waiting in the lobby, all excited to join us for a night of fun. We laughed, sang and danced, and I’m thankful to everyone who showed up!

There were also a record number of Canadians at the event this year and it was great to see so many of my countrymen and women representing what they do. If you are looking for great Canadian content, here are some links to these fine people! Mike & Andrea Reynolds, Mike Vardy, Justin Connors (also my roommate extraordinaire), Buzz Bishop, Dai “the Moose” Manuel, Andrea Nair, Mike Granek, Matt Clarke, Stewart Reynolds! I’m still buzzing and apologize if I’ve missed anyone. I promise you will be added!

Dad 2 Canadians

Just a few of the Canadians in attendance at Dad 2.0!

Finally, it isn’t lost on me that the reason I get to attend Dad 2.0 every year is because of the sponsors. I am now going to take a minute to show them some deserved love in the hopes that they continue to want to support fathers from around the globe by sponsoring future conferences. I can’t mention everyone but there were a few that really stood out to me so I’ll give you the bullet points on them.

  • Not to play favourites but I look forward to the Lee Jeans booth every year and they certainly didn’t disappoint. More than just being able to walk out of the room in a brand new pair of jeans, Lee creates an amazing experience by offering couches, beer, basketball and an amazing staff who take the time to connect with the attendees. Relaxing in the Lee Lounge has become a Dad 2.0 staple.
  • A new sponsor to the event this year was photo app company, Memory Web. They were so new in fact, that they launched their business just before the summit began. We deal with a lot of PR firms, which is great, but I really thought it was great that the actual owners of the company were there running the booth and their pride in their company shone through in my discussions with them.
  • I couldn’t talk about Dad 2.0 Summit without giving a great deal of credit to the people at Dove Men+Care. These guys have been title sponsor of the event as long as I’ve been attending and they bring it to a new level each and every year! Outside of the amazing barbershop they set up each year, they sponsor meals, speakers and create a mad rush for the tons of product they bring each year. On top of all that, they truly respect and understand the importance of good fathers and that is evident not just at the conference but also in the work they do with the dad community throughout the year.
  • Best Buy took us out on a wicked drone experience in the Virginia countryside and the laughs on the bus ride alone would have been worth the trip.
  • The LEGO night out at the Smithsonian was outstanding and the interactive games they had planned at the event made it a night to remember! You are looking at one third of the LEGO Duplo Bridge Building Competition champions, baby! Getting the whole room to belt out “Oh Canada” was a career highlight for me, too! They also have some great stuff coming down the pipe for dads so keep your eye out for that!
  • KIA added a new wrinkle to their test drives this year by offering professional headshots and the lineup was 6-7 deep at all times, proving that we all want to be made to look pretty!
  • Meta Wellness brought Michael Strahan to the event. Enough said! (They also had an awesome snack bar that I frequented on a “regular” basis. Get it??)
  • In the “memorable moments” category, the folks at Kidde Fire Safety had one of the more interactive displays as they allowed us to compete in a firefighter challenge to see who could get geared up from head to toe the fastest. If you want to see me struggle with this challenge you can head over to the HowToBeADad Facebook video

There were so many more great sponsors, which you can find on the Dad 2.0 Sponsor Page, but these are the moments that stuck with me.

KIA Headshots

My Professional Shots from KIA

I’ve decided to split my recap into two posts so that I can talk about my personal takeaways, and there were many, separately. For those of you reading this who were or are on the fence about attending the Dad 2.0 Summit, not only is it excellent for meeting the people in the dad community and also for personal growth and development, but the connections you make here are invaluable.

Thank you to Doug French, John Pacini and the rest of the Dad 2.0 team for another excellent event!

Canadian Dad Podcast - Dai Manuel

Canadian Dad Podcast – Ep. 3 – Fitness Coach, Dai Manuel

This week on the podcast, I spoke to fitness coach, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and father, Dai Manuel, from the website The Moose is Loose. Dai shares tips for parents who want to start making some changes in their lives. 

We discuss Dai’s battle with childhood obesity that led him to start taking care of his body at a young age, and I share my struggles with weight and general laziness. We also spend some time talking about the importance of setting a good example for our kids and ways to get them involved in the fun of exercising.  

Overall, Dai shares some amazing tips on how to get started and if you sign up for his mailing list, you get a very cool ebook that has 99 workouts that you can do with no extra equipment required. 

Enjoy the show!

The Measure of a Man

We have a lot of definitions and ideas about manliness and what it means to be a “real” man, but the truth is that there is no one characteristic that defines “manliness”. Some think you need tattoos and a pickup truck to be a true man, while others prefer courage or humour as shining examples. We all look at life through a different lens and none of us are right or wrong in our feelings about it.

This past weekend, at the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans, I had the incredible fortune of meeting over 200 other fathers who are each doing their part to redefine what it means to be a dad and also proving that every man is different but also equal. This conference is a place where egos are checked at the door and real emotion is not only allowed to be shared but very much encouraged.

Up until my father passed away a few years ago, I didn’t deal with my emotions very well. Even after his passing, I had trouble showing my emotions visibly and a lot of that had to do with the perception of weakness and the threat of being labeled as someone who was less of a man for it. Those days have since passed and the Dad 2.0 Summit has been a major influence on my ability to express myself without the fear of judgement. Last year, in Houston, I read one of my stories about the anxiety I went through after my father passed away. I can remember all the emotion that was rushing through my veins as I stood up in front of the 250 attendees and poured my soul out onto the stage for everyone to see. They were incredibly supportive and that single event has helped my confidence level more than I can describe.

This year, I was privileged to be in the audience when spotlight reader and brilliant writer, Lorne Jaffe, took to the stage to read his post, “Do I Really Like What I Like?“. While watching Lorne deliver his emotional story about his struggles with mental illness, I witnessed exactly what it means to be a man. Public speaking is uncomfortable enough and when you add in the topic he was discussing, I have never been more proud or inspired by someone that I had just met hours before. I’ve watched it back a few times now and well up each and every time. Lorne, if you are reading this, every single one of those people who stood for you after your reading were mesmerized by what you did and I hope someday you will be able to take pride in that personal achievement.

I have included the video of Lorne’s presentation below. From now on, any time I feel guilty for having emotions or like I can’t do something, I will look at this video and remember that sometimes the best things in life come from stepping outside of my comfort zone.

Life Is Short; Do All Of The Scary Things!

The photo above is a shot of me reading an emotional post about the death of my father for about 150 people at the Dad 2.0 Summit in Houston last year. It took all of my strength not to cry while doing it and I’m proud that I not only got through it, but that I even got up there and did it in the first place. Doing the things that scare me has kind of become the motto of my life these days and the rewards for doing that have been endless.

Throughout my school years, and I’m talking ALL of them, I was the shy kid who didn’t do anything that would draw attention to himself. I would purposefully take a failing grade on assignments where we had to present in front of the class, because my anxiety was so high that I would get sick just thinking about standing up there in front of everybody. In my Grade 11 music recital, I pretended to play my trumpet because I was afraid that I would be the one to blow it for everybody. I played fastball and hockey, I had my small group of friends and that was it. I thought I was happy.

When my father passed away, I went through a terrible bout of anxiety that basically robbed me of a year of my life. Towards the end of that time, I took a long hard look at my life and decided that I wasn’t living it to the fullest. My unhappiness had nothing to do with my wife or newborn child, though, it was all about me and the lack of effort I was putting into this one, short opportunity we get to spend on this earth. I made a decision to stop feeling sorry for myself and to make the most of the time I had left on this earth.

I’m no doctor but I can tell you that since the day I made that decision, my anxiety has ‘almost’ disappeared and I have never been happier. Instead of shying away from the things that would normally scare me into submission, I am tackling everything head on and worrying about the results after I have finished. Because of this, I have had so many amazing and life changing opportunities that have helped me become a better person, husband and father to my family. Here are just a few of the cool things I have been able to do in my short time as a Fear Hunter:

* Interviewing and Skating with the cast of Disney on Ice
* Speaking at the Dad 2.0 Summit
* Interviewing and making a crazy video with Buckets Blakes of the Harlem Globetrotters
* Ziplining for the first time
* Regular appearances on the CTV Morning Live TV Show (Scariest of the scary)
* Monthly parenting segment on CJAD 800 Montreal radio
* Will act as Community Leader at the upcoming Blissdom Canada conference in October

Every single one of these things is something that scared the crap out of me and every one of them is something that I am proud I accomplished. There are many more as well and each has been as rewarding as the last. My point is, life is short, so if you want to make the most of it, you have to start going after the things that scare you. Now look, I’m not ready to go jumping out of a plane or anything…yet. I’m saying that even small victories are still victories that will lead you to something bigger. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight but it most certainly doesn’t happen if you don’t go after it.

I’ve fallen a few times while chasing down fear but I’m not going to let it beat me anymore. My father always went after his dreams and while it took me a little while to catch on, this is definitely something I want my kids to remember about me. So let’s hear it. What are the scary things that are holding you back?

Texas Here I Come! #Dad2Summit

DAD-Dove-logo-options2

You may notice the blog is going to be a little quiet over the next few days. That’s because I am leaving this cold, snowy home I call Canada, for the warm, sunny land known as Houston, Texas! I’m headed to Houston to attend the Dad 2.0 Summit, which is an annual conference where marketers, social media leaders, and blogging parents connect to discuss the changing voice and perception of modern fatherhood.

I thought I had shaken off the conference jitters when I attended Blissdom Canada last year but I am finding that I am way more nervous this time around. The funny thing is that the nerves have nothing to do with meeting the other Dads. It has to do with the fact that I don’t travel. Like, ever. The thought of having to figure out checking in at an airport and transferring planes makes me sick to my stomach. Then there’s the actual flying part of the trip… I am not the cling to the seat kind of flyer but that’s how I’ll feel inside for the entire trip.

All I can do to not think about the traveling is to think about what it’s going to be like when I get there. I have a seemingly cool roommate in Andy Herald from How To Be A Dad. Of course, he’s traveling with Honda on a 31 hour road trip, so he may not be the best smelling roommate upon arrival but I’m sure we’ll work it out. I’ve also heard that there may be some karaoke at some point and anyone who knows me, knows that I may have a slight case of weekend rockstar!

The other cool thing about this conference is that it will be my first opportunity to be featured as a speaker. No, seriously, it’s true. I’ve been asked to take part in the Dad 2.0 Blogger Spotlight feature, along with Whit Honea, Kevin McKeever, Black Hockey Jesus & Carter Gaddis. I know it sounds cliche but I am truly honoured to be included in a group with these guys and just to be speaking in general.

I also want to say a big Thank You to my friends at Parent Tested, Parent Approved for helping to sponsor my way to this conference. I wouldn’t have been able to go without their help and I will be forever grateful. This isn’t the last you’ll hear of them on this blog and I look forward to whatever the future has in store for us.

I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m anxious to meet the great people I interact with every day. I can’t wait to get there and I know it’s going to be a blast! So, although I may be quiet for the next few days, I am hoping to bring home a wealth of knowledge and connections that will keep me going for years to come! Here’s a cool Dad 2.0 video that was put together by Clay Nichols from the site, Dad Labs. If you are interested in following along on Twitter, I will be tweeting with the hashtag #Dad2Summit throughout the weekend. Cheers!