Jon Vroman from Front Row Dads on Priorities in Life


Adam:

Welcome to another edition of the franchise consultant podcast. I’m so excited to have john Roman here from Front Row Dads Welcome to the show, john. What’s up, buddy? Hey. So just wanted to talk to the listeners about what you offer because I think it’s unique. And I think it’s very relevant to what people are going through right now. Could you talk a little bit about yourself in Front Row Dads?

Jon:

Yeah, I, created the program that I needed most. So I’ll tell you that. Four years ago now, you know, I’m a keynote speaker traveling and very happy with the career that I built. But being honest with myself, I wasn’t the best Dad and I wasn’t the best husband. And I knew that deep down inside. And so I needed help. And I thought I would try to find help the way I’d grown in every other area of my life that I wanted to improve upon. So if I wanted to become a better speaker or writer, whatever I would seek out the communities and the assistance and the stories And the strategies that didn’t exist for Dad’s and I thought, well, if we all say family first, but yet there are no programs out there teaching us how to engage in that. And I don’t think anyone of us is like born epic husbands and born epic dads. Why wouldn’t we put thought into that we put thought into our board meetings, but we don’t put time and thought into our dinner conversations at home, we just show up and eat? You know, what’s up. So, we started the group that I wanted to join. And since then, we you know, we now have a podcast Front Row Dad podcasts, we have a community of 140 men growing every week. We have entrepreneurs, mostly in our group, you know, our business owners, people that are entrepreneurial in their thinking, if they’re not technically an entrepreneur, if all different types of people and ultimately what we’re trying to do is have great conversation, hold each other accountable, so that we don’t do what it is easy to do, which is sometimes hiding at work. You know, like, I want to teach my kids to be passionate about what they do. Great. Yeah, I do, too. I love what I do. And but I don’t want to hide there, which is easy for a lot of men to do.

Adam:

Got it. Well, thank you for sharing that. What are you seeing now? I mean, we’re going through unprecedented times. It’s hard to if you have a job, right, it’s, it’s very hard right now. But what’s happening to be a dad right now? I mean, I don’t know about you. But I’ve had an amazing time with my kids in the past.

 

Jon:

I think it depends on where you are for sure. You know, if you’re in a position where you’re, you’re not sure how you’re going to pay the bills, cover the mortgage, put food on the table. And that’s one set of challenges you face. If you’re in a position where you happen to be fortunate in your business, and you’re financially stable, you have different challenges. You know, and I think you’re always faced with challenges or seeking out challenges or they’re finding you but what I find is From the guys that are, let’s say they’ve created some stability in their life. What’s happening in their businesses, though, is that they’re being challenged to pivot. So even if they have success, a lot of guys are still working harder than they’ve ever worked before because their businesses are evolving. They’re not necessarily worried about how they’re going to pay their mortgage this month, but they’re, they’re concerned about their business or the future or how to get ahead of the game, if you will, like what’s life look like? Three, Six, Twelve months down the road. What should we be thinking about and talking about now? I think another challenge that I see guys facing is that they have outsourced education and outsourced a lot of their, you know, the growth for their children, whether it be sports or a great school that they send them to, but still you’re just asking, you’re leaning on a lot of other people. And now dads are being in proximity of their kids more and more. Even if they are working from home. They just spend more time at home, they’re more I hear constantly like we’ve had more dinners than ever before. I’ve never spent more time with my family than I have right now. That presents a lot of opportunities, it presents a lot of challenges. So I see all different types of stories, but a little bit about what I’m hearing.

Adam:

You talk a little bit about your own story about your own experience and these tests to two and a half months.

Jon:

Yeah, it’s, you know, it’s, and I don’t know how detailed we want to get here. I’ll try to stay a little, little 30,000-foot view and then we can drill down wherever you want. But, I mean, in short, my business is, I work with men online, our retreat was postponed, you know, so there was a hiccup there. I had a big keynote speech that got bumped that was you know, a hit, you know, there’s been a hit to the income and, and no doubt like we had to make some adjustments and we did. So from a business perspective, though, it provided this opportunity for me to go all-in on Front Row Dads, you know it, it kind of forced what I was ultimately looking for, which was to devote all of my time and attention to this brotherhood. And that’s happened. So that’s kind of a cool thing. I tripled down on the business, I went all in, we created new programs we got super clear and have the word atom that has been ringing true for me is this has been an opportunity for me to define things in my life, like to define my role as a father to define education at home to define what it means to be, you know, to protect my family, what does that mean to define human rights and where have they been violated? Or what do I think about government overreach? And, you know, there’s been a lot of opportunities for me to define things in the last eight weeks, and that’s been a theme for me, I’ve talked a lot about that word of taking time to define what this means. And I would, I would also say that, though it’s been challenging in the end, in my experience, and I say this, with all due respect to all the people that have faced true tragedy, right like and I know that exists. We have been very fortunate in the situation. So we have, we have spent a great deal of time together as a family. We went camping for the first time, we did a thing where we hiked 21 trails and 21 days, we found all sorts of new stuff around our house. My son is drawing he’s never drawn before like he’s drawing right now. My kids created a business in the home. And they were selling us artwork that they made throughout the day after dinner like we’ve had the coolest experience through this process. And for that, I’m truly grateful. And I could spend hours talking about all the nuances of that and but in general man, this has been a great experience for us. Fortunately, because we had a couple of things lined up and again, I say that with all due respect to somebody out there who has faced a far more tragic situation than we have As a result of this

Adam:

So I’m going to switch gears here for a second. So you deal a lot with people that you said are too involved in work and not enough involved in their house from their perspective. Right. So what do you say to someone that ties too much of their self worth to their job? How does someone how someone able to couple that if they can at all?

Jon:

Yeah, I don’t really, I wouldn’t say anything. But what I would do is ask questions and listen. And what I think that’s what’s important in these situations is to have somebody challenging you, right? We need somebody to hold us accountable. We need somebody to say the things to us that other people might not be willing to say. I’ll give you an example of what I mean. So a couple of years ago, there are several progressions through my involvement with Front Row Dads. So the first one happened four years ago when I’m his keynote speaker and I have this realization when I’m at a party and somebody says, what do you do? And I start to answer the speaker, author, etc. And I cut myself off. And I’m like, actually, I’m a father and a husband. And when I’m not doing that I do some other stuff. And when I said it, I was like that felt great like that felt who I wanted to be in my life. But that’s the moment I realized that that wasn’t true. And that’s the moment that we started. You know, the dad’s retreat. That was October 2016, we got 30 of my friends together, the only rule was no business talk because we just talked about business all the time. It’s kind of like, hey, how’s your family? Good, how’s your family? Good? What’s going on with your business? And then the next hour goes by right? Like, I’m talking about our businesses. And, and I think what happens is, in the beginning, you are trying to pay your bills you are trying to like make it you’re just trying to make it. But what happens is you develop a habit of talking about your business. So then what happens over time is that that becomes more clear, and you start to make a pivot, you start to give more time to your family. And so then I had this second pattern interrupt in my life, where my buddy Tim Nicola who’s very close to me lives here in Austin. We have small groups in our brotherhood we call bands. So for people to a band, typically in a local band, and my band is one of my best friends how Elrod Tim Nikolayev and Justin Donald. So the four of us get together every month for two hours and we talk about what’s going on, we get deep, we get real. And then we all have one to ones with each other to so we’ll go for bike rides and runs and walks and hikes and all that stuff to talk. While I was out with Tim and I was we were having this really deep conversation, which is typically how it goes. It’s very rarely ever topical. And he is one of the things that happened this two years ago, he said, You’ve made tremendous progress with your family because I can see that you’ve shifted priorities. You’ve reallocated your time. And he goes, but I still think there’s another level for you. Like I still think they’re right. Like it was cool to have somebody challenged me in that way. Where he would say, I know you still say you say family first And you’ve made progress. But I don’t think you’re truly putting your family first. And when he said that I had to take Well, I choose to take an honest look at myself and say, All right, let me evaluate this truly. And I think that’s the benefit of a great friend, to tell you the thing that other people won’t tell you. I remember looking at my morning calendar, here’s a practical example of what I’m talking about. And I’m sure you guys can relate to this. So all through my 20s all the learning all the growing all the Tony Robbins, all the books, all the productivity led me to the point where I was like, What are my most productive hours of the day? And how do I do my most difficult tasks? And I remember having a conversation with my wife, it sounded like this, baby, you know because I’m the breadwinner. After all, I cover all the bills. I need to get my business done first. I’m best in the morning, right? And I need you to take care of the kids and I would wake up and I would leave the house by 6:15 in the morning, go to a coffee shop and just start the day and I was right in it. And I would work like that because those were my best hours. And I would tell her, because I’m you know, ’cause I make the money for the family, I need that time to work on the business. But then I started questioning that and I started saying, why is it that it feels like to me that even though that’s what I’ve been taught to do, what if I re-evaluated what that means if my most important work is giving to my kids? And why am I not putting that first? Why does it feel like my business gets the best hours of me all day, and my family gets this like, beat up worn down? Like, residual dad after work where it’s like, I’m like, I’m tired. They’re like, let’s play tickle monster. I’m exhausted. Like, I couldn’t get to my beer fast enough. I couldn’t get to the wine fast enough. I dreamt about putting them to bed so that I could turn on Netflix and chill, right? Like it was. That was my life.

Until I realized that. I was like, I’m gonna start giving my best hours to my kids. So now it was about, yes, I get a little bit of time for me before they even wake up, right where I could do whatever I want. And then but then when they wake up, it’s like I started cooking breakfast, I started taking them to school, I started setting up their schedule with them, I started asking them what they were going to create. Today, I started doing all of what I did for myself with my kids. I scheduled nothing before 10 am ever, just nothing’s available before 10 am. And the business did not suffer. Business continued to grow. I felt like a rock star because I was like I knew deep down inside that I was a family man with a business and not a businessman with a family. That was the big aha. And so it just looks, we love our businesses. I’m not trying to tell somebody Don’t be a business guy or don’t love your business or don’t work your ass off in your business. Like sometimes I’m up till two at night in the morning or I’m literally up at two in the morning. Like I can’t sleep and I’m Working, and I love what I do. But the hardest thing for me has been turning off all that and doing the things that are hard like playing a game with my five-year-old where he wants to build armies and he and his army annihilates my army and no matter what I say, or do his bazookas huge and killed 30 of my guys, and there are no rules, there’s no game, it’s just I have to sit there for 20 minutes and take a beating for my five years old. Right? And it’s like That’s hard. Right? It’s hard it’s not like a mountain biking and testing my mettle with my five year old through the trails like that’s what I’m talking about. Where that’s been my journey and I think a lot of other men so I’ve been learning can relate to a lot of that. I mean when I say a family man with a business not a businessman with a family. I can’t tell you how many guys are like, That’s it. That’s it. Both are important, but it’s just which I am I truly putting in front of the other. You know, my buddy Jay Pappas Zan who wrote the book, the one He always talks about like, putting your vacation time on your calendar first, right? And then building your life around that. Or asking yourself what type of dad do you want to be? What type of family man Do you want to be? And then building a business that supports that. Now, you may be in a situation where you’re like, John, I can’t do that right now. And I go, okay, maybe not right now. Maybe you’re in process of building the life you want. And unlikely it’s a piece of work that will never be done. You’ll always be crafting that. But it’s intentional. It’s very clear. And it’s very family-focused first. So we talk about business in Front Row Dad’s, we just don’t make it our primary discussion. Or while we’re less obsessed with going from 1.5 million to 1.7 million. We’re more obsessed with how does our business integrates with our family? What’s the evolution of all of it? anyway? That’s it.

Adam:

Why is it important in your opinion, to be a good debt?

Jon:

I think okay, well

It’s funny because every answer I want to be like an hour-long as you can tell, I have no problem sharing. I’m passionate about this stuff. But let me tell you what I think it is. In short, this is always my challenge. I saw Jay Pappas and we call it keynoting when you get into like a rant on a podcast called keynoting. But here’s the thing. I believe that Adam, that I genuinely believe in my heart that if we don’t make big changes as a human race, that this is not gonna end well. And I’m, I’m in Look, I’m just doing basic math. I’m looking at how fast are we fishing the oceans? What’s our soil look like? What’s happening? How much land is there? How fast is the population growing? What rate are we burning through supply? Like it’s just basic math. So I look at it and go, this isn’t gonna go well, unless we make big changes. And then I think well, where does the change happen?

Jon:

We can go lobby and vote and do those things. And perhaps we should Right, we should have a voice and we should work with our colleagues. And we should talk to the guys that are 40,50,60,70 years old men and women who are making policies and creating change and shaping the world. We all we also should not forget that if every dad were to raise children who are conscious, awake, aware of the world of nature of the planet of human beings of, you know, having the values that ultimately will then lead to the politicians, and the leaders of companies and the human citizens that are dictating the future of the planet, I think we have to go home. Because how we do this microcosm of life in our family is going to create a macro movement, three, four, or five decades from now. So we either like to try to save the planet now, which I’m not saying we shouldn’t. But there has to be attention given to the future of our planet, which starts right in your home. If everybody builds a garden out back, if everybody takes care of their neighbor, if everybody picks up the trash around them if everybody builds an ecosystem that is regenerative in their immediate surroundings, then ultimately, if we’re all doing that, we are then setting up and that’s truly thinking ahead. So I think good dads like to go to work, pay their bills. That’s a good dad, love your kids love your wife. You’re a good dad, right? But what’s next, what’s an amazing dad, an amazing dad just doesn’t care about their kids and their home. And amazing dad also cares about the impact that has on the world, and three or four generations out and other people’s kids. That’s why the work that we’re doing is so important. That’s why fatherhood is so important. Now, it’s not as good for the ego sometimes when if you’re a massively popular standing on stage getting a standing ovation from 10,000 people, and everybody tells you you’re a god when you get off stage and wants you to sign the book and all that stuff. That’s great.

Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. That’s alluring, right. But also being at home doing the difficult work, engaging with your kids, listening, where nobody’s liking your posts, 1000 times and checking you’re eating, you know, building up your ego, right or supporting your ego. You’ve got to do that hard work behind the scenes with little to no recognition.

Adam:

How has been being a good dad affected your relationship? If you feel comfortable just in general, what you see about how it affects with mom if someone’s a good dad,

Jon:

Oh, well, it’s all intertwined, right? Because I’ll give you an example. I’m going to give guys a practical thing by the way that they should that I want to invite people to start doing right away because This is my opinion, my story. It doesn’t have to be everybody else’s truth but it’s mine. I realized that I did a lot of catching my kids doing the wrong thing. I realized that it was like, don’t do that, stop that stop hitting your brother, right pick that up what organize that like it’s a lot of like where you’re wrong. And I was also doing that with a mom like here’s what’s broken, here’s what’s wrong like we’re and we’re Oh and I was always under the banner of like, we got to be honest and we got to improve. But it’s kind of lazy because they just keep pointing out what’s wrong. And we know that in teams we know in we know we have enough science to understand the three to one ratio. It’s called the Lozado line, right? And it’s three positive complements to one criticism if you will, that’s the ratio that it needs to be john Gottman and his relationship work was he’s able to predict a divorce was 90% some accuracy based on how two people interact with each other and how many of those are complimentary vibes and words and, you know, encouraging and how many of them are critical, he can predict this divorce rate with amazing accuracy. So I was I, one of the things I decided to do is every week, Adam, I take a photograph from my, you know, I’m taking pictures all week long, right with them just taking pictures, I print it. And I write a note on the back for my kids. And the whole goal is to catch them doing the right thing. It’s a strength exercise. So here’s a strength that I see in you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? I saw you fishing and you’re extremely persistent. And you were very patient. I just want to acknowledge that strength that lives within you. Okay, so I started doing it for my kids. Then I started handing them to him one to one. And I was like, I’m gonna do this in front of everybody. Because if I hand Tiger a picture in front of mom, now mom’s gonna see that strength and tiger and that’s gonna elevate their relationship as much as it elevates mine or his right his belief in himself. Then I said, Why am I not doing this for my wife? So then I said, I’m going to start taking a picture of my wife every week doing something great as a mom as a human on this planet, and I’m going to start handing her a photograph every week. So every Sunday at breakfast, nine out of 10 times, I hand out these photographs. And what’s cool is now that I’m doing this in front of the kids, where I’m building up, Mom, I’m like, here’s why you’re amazing. You know, it’s whatever that photograph is right? Like she might be preparing this amazing meal. And I’m like, Tatiana, watching you prepare these amazingly healthy meals for our family makes me so appreciative of the sacrifices that you make like you’re able to take any food from our refrigerator and turn it into like a master meal. You know, it’s like this incredible world-class meal. Thank you so much. love you forever. You’re Johnny. I write that note and I hand it out. So how this is all interacting is that I realize as a dad That I have a major role in setting the tone and the tempo for my family. Now, I could argue that so does everybody else. Everybody has a role in setting tone and tempo. But if everybody accepts that responsibility 100% then we get to show up big. And I did a lot of blaming for a lot of years. I did a lot of blaming, I did, I was a victim a lot. I was a victim of my wife, I was a victim of my kids, you know, and until I was able to like, just stop doing that and say, This is on me. Right? If I don’t like the way something’s working, I’m going to change me. I’m gonna change my approach. Right.

Adam:

So tell me a little bit more about how someone potentially joins Front Row Dads he talked about an in-person thing. He also talks about a community of people, how does someone potentially become a member of Front Row Dads?

Jon:

Yeah, but becoming a member is easy. Being an awesome member takes work, but all they’d have to do is go to frontrowdads.com, click the join the Brotherhood button on the page and follow a couple prompts and you could be a member of Front Row Dads. That’s technically how it works. Now, I think a natural process of getting to that point would be, look, if you’ve heard enough in this conversation and you’re like, Hey, I don’t know John fully, but you know, I, I like what I hear so far. I feel like the guy’s authentic. He’s not blowing a lot of smoke here, right? He’s admitting to his failures. He’s talking about some of his wins. Great. Roll the dice jump in, let’s give it a shot. We are looking for guys that want to give more than they take. We are looking for guys who want to hold people accountable, be held accountable, engage in honest conversation, and grow. That’s what we want. We want action and growth in our brotherhood, and so guys can join and they can all be virtual, virtual calls virtual conversations. There’s also the in-person elements. So once a guy is a member, Adam, then they get an invite to possibly come to a retreat. But our retreats are invite-only. We have it, we reserve it for members that are active and engaged. And you know, we were going to hang out with you, we want you to be the type of guy that we want to spend three days with, right?

So no big egos, no big self-promoters, none of that just like guys that are, you know, successful, but they’re also humble. That’s what we want. And so that’s what we have. We have a bunch of guys that are like that in our group. But we have a Front Row Dad podcast. So it’s a great place to start. We have these you know, webinars and masterclasses we do or we invite people to join conversations for free and see if it feels like a good fit. I’ve got one coming up with how very shortly we’re running them every other week we call a candid conversation. So frontrowdads.com will get you to where you want to be or Front Row Dads podcast.

Adam:

That’s wonderful. Well, it’s been great talking to you, John, and I love the wisdom and really appreciate all your insight today.

Jon:

Hey, thanks, brother. appreciate you having me, man.

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