(Step) Father's Day - What Are Your Results?
I like results!
If you're anything like me, you probably like results too. You could be a sports guy or a gamer. Maybe you work in an office or a factory. You might seek adventure or relaxation. Whatever you're into…guys tend to like results. We like to know that our effort is paying off!
Father's Day is an indicator of results for those of us who are Step-Dads. (It can be for Bio-Dads too!). It's a day when we get to observe the results of how well we're connecting with our step-kids.
- How are they responding to us?
- How are they engaging with us?
- What are they saying...or not saying?
- Is the hard work I'm putting into being Step-Dad paying off?
One of my favorite experiences as a Step-Dad was spent riding 4-Wheeler's on the Oregon Coast. It was the first time my step-daughter, Annika had ridden an off road vehicle and we had a blast!
I also learned some things about results that day.
Annika has never called me "Dad"…I've always been "Mike". But her trust in me came clearly into focus on our trip. Her willingness to depend on me was evident and her gratitude toward me was at an all-time high.
By the time our trip was over, I knew that the work I had put into our relationship over the previous 12 years was yielding results!
How do I measure my results?
Results have to be measured. But, how do we measure results in something so complicated as relating to our step-kids?!
There is no perfect formula for this when it comes to step-parenting; however, the authors of The 4 Disciplines of Execution offer a little insight. They identify the difference between a Lag Measure and a Lead Measure.
The way step-kids respond to their step-dad on a day like Father's Day is a Lag Measure.
A Lag Measure is the actual goal or result we are looking for. With Annika, I want to know we're building trust and connection. Our trip to Oregon revealed that these results were being achieved
BUT…not every experience in life is like that with our step-kids! I've invested a ton of energy and effort into our relationship. Days like Father's Day have come and gone with little to no acknowledgement, hurt feelings and frustrations. I've been left thinking, "Now what? Will connection ever be a reality with her?". There's been lots of times I've felt like throwing in the towel.
Focus on Lead Measures
If you've ever wondered how you can get results in your relationship with your step-kids, that's when you may need to focus on Lead Measures. Lead Measures are both predictive and influenceable. Predictive because they measure something that leads to the result we're looking for. Influenceable because we can do something about it!
Once you hit Father's Day, your work has already been done. Your step-child is going to respond based on all the days they've spent with you leading up to that day…it's a Lag Measure that you can't change before the day concludes.
If you are getting the results you want, then great…you're probably already acting on several Lead Measures.
If not, then it's time to shift your focus. You may need to set your sights to next Father's Day and build some Lead Measures to get you there. Here's some ideas:
- If you want to build trust:
- How often will you engage your step-child in a conversation about your real life challenges?
- How often will you let them teach you about something they're in to, but you don't know anything about?
- If you want to build connection:
- How often are you initiating conversations about their interests?
- Are you staying out of the "discipline role" to let their bio-parent take the lead so that you can build greater connection?
This doesn't even scratch the surface. Remember to look for actions you can take every day, week or month that are predictive (they'll lead you to the result you're looking for) and influenceable (you can do something about it).
Annika is in her young adult years now. Her connection with me and trust in me is clearly evident as she faces new challenges and seeks my support. I know that my focus on the Lead Measures of intentional regular connection, openness about my own challenges and purposeful parenting & discipline strategies has led to the results I was looking for.
Stay focused on those Lead Measures and next (Step) Father's Day might just show you the results your looking for!
Happy (Step) Father's Day!
QUESTION: What results are you looking for with your step-child and what Lead Measures can you focus on to achieve them? Leave a comment below…