David Foster, master coach, has dedicated his life to being a present💖 parent. In this episode David shares his journey balancing being a professional and father willing engaged in those shared moments of heart-heart connection.
David Foster, Master Coach, has dedicated his life to being a present parent. In this episode, David shares his journey balancing being a professional and a father willing to engage in those shared moments of heart-heart connection.
About the Guest
David Foster is a Master Coach, author, and inspirational speaker. He coaches clients throughout the world on how to create more balance, clarity, and freedom, and live inspired lives they love leading. He specializes in helping ambitious coaches grow independent practices full of great clients without sacrificing balance.
About the Show
Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey with Michelle St Jane
A podcast for Global and Re-Emerging Leadership creating community/tribe, a circle of influence, transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world and wider universe. A unique destination for learning about Leadership + Conscious Stewardship + Legacy.
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Michelle St Jane: [00:00:00] We've really moved on from Where’s Dad to Here’s Dad.
Dad has moved from the hierarchy of the office to the wirearchy of working from home, being in the same space, no longer separate, 24/7. Dad's here, more present, hopefully than ever. Dads are upskilling in their home life as navigators and cultivators.
David Foster shares his secret dreams and some great stories around his journey as a parent. He is facing his inner resistance, upskilling, and having heart-to-heart present connections with his children and family. Come join us on a journey through life and leadership with David Foster,
David, I celebrate your presence in the world as a master coach, who's dedicated his life, to quote you, “being a present parent, creating a loving family unit”, two thumbs up, and inspiring people all over the world to connect with themselves and their families. That is so important, this definitely aligns with my values.
David Foster: [00:01:41] Before I chose to get into coaching professionally, I decided to create a suite of businesses with another guy, what's called an entrepreneurial seizure.
And I was chasing what I now call conventional success. Being seen as someone who is successful and being seen as a millionaire. With that, then hopefully, in my world with my thinking at a time, give me approval from other people and make me feel special, and get pats on the head from mum and dad and siblings.
An on that journey, there was always something missing for me. What happened over the course of many, many years, I had success and in failure, success, failure, and at my lowest ebb, two weeks before my first son was born and bear in mind we'd had four miscarriage over the previous two or three years, which I think we're actually linked to the stress and anxiety in the household because our main business was kind of tanking off the back of the recession. We were just so undercooked, so underprepared, and didn't really know what we were doing
Our first son was born. I was sitting in a hotel, The Radisson hotel at Jose airport with my business partner, with a liquidation lawyer. Basically, liquidating the company, the main company, with a view to starting it again, with what's called a rebirth of a company and you buy the assets back and start again and give it a lick of paint and see what you can do.
And I sat there because houses were on the line, both our houses were security against these loans. And I sat and thought, well, this, I could be literally signing my house away here. And I've got a baby due in two weeks and I just didn't know what to do and where to turn. Once again, when my first son came along, it was just like such a waking-up experience.
I was like, you know what? I'm kinda done with this. This isn't working for me this whole life of chasing this thing that I think is going to make me feel better on the inside, this conventional success. I wanted to live a life where I was doing things that I loved, and would be able to come home and not put the baggage that I was carrying onto my son?
Because as a child, I felt the impact of what wasn't being said in the household, with all the stress and anxiety from the Dad, the business, and the Mom. And I didn't want to play that game. I didn't know what I wanted to do yet, but I didn’t want to play the game
So that was a particularly difficult time. And then the enduring 11 months where I was handing over the reins to the business and gently easing myself out with a view to getting a payday by someone who was coming in to buy the shares, that didn't materialize.
I ended up walking around with nothing and lots, lots of debts, but I knew I was on the right path. So those times were particularly difficult professionally for me, but they gave me a real insight into what it's like to be a business owner and a Dad, right, and to be under pressure, no matter how bad you think things are? There's always a tomorrow.
I had a really poignant moment really was where my first son was born and that was in 2011. My wife and I have been married since 2007 and trying for a family for several, several years and experienced several miscarriages and lots of heartbreak in that particular area. And my first son was born at a time when I was under serious pressure professionally with my business.
And there was no balance in life. It was all work, work, work, and he came along and I have this kind of an epiphany. Oh. There's more to life than this business. And I said there and then I said, as I was kind of holding him, skin to skin in the first moments of him arriving, I said to myself, this is the change then.
Now you're not going to be the guy who comes home, grumpy and stressed. You, you've got a child now.
I was very fortunate from the start to dive into being a Dad. Then I realized there are so many benefits of investing time and attention into that sacred relationship with your children. Not without challenge, because it's bloody hard as well. No. it's not all roses. The gains were huge really. Then I realized that, through my own experiences, and I’m paraphrasing, that there are loads of parents, moms, and dads, that when children come along they see it in such a way that it's actually taking things away from their life, not adding things in.
I wanted to try and give people a different perspective. That having children can be a really enriching experience if you surrender to it and have the goal of leaning into being a present parent.
When my first son came along, I had this epiphany. The model I had for dads was that you go out. Work really long hours. You're out early, go and work long hours. You come home late. You don't really get involved with the kids.
You might take them to football or soccer at the weekends and do a few things and you'll have a holiday now and again, but that's women's work. So when my first son was born, my wife is an amazing lady, full-blood Italian, very passionate, very emotional, very expressive. And she said to me when it's time for the first bath time, and this is about 10 days in, that we were advised by a midwife, you know, don't bath for those, for the first week or two, that they just settle down.
And she said, “right, it's bath time and you're doing the bath.” I said, “no, no, no, I think you've got this wrong. That's not man's work. That's woman's work.” She went, “no, I think you've got this wrong.” We had this back and forth and eventually, I went, “Oh, I'll do it tonight.” I had so much inner resistance because of the model I'd grown up with that wasn't a man's work. I did the first bath time under duress and mentally thinking “I can’t wait for this to be over.” I've got things to do.
Then, I have these little moments of connection where eyes would lock and there'd be a little, kind of a knowingness between the two of us. I'm thinking “this is really interesting. It's great. I'm bonding with my son here.” That tradition continues today and they’re 9 and 7. I still do bath time with. I could have so easily missed that.
I'm sure that those little simple moments of heart-to-heart present connection make a huge amount of difference when you're bonding with your children. Creating a model for them to enter into the world with guidance. I think a lot of people skim over this sort of thing. Then have remorse and regret when they look back.
The point is that I didn't suddenly have this epiphany in time to be the perfect Dad and I'm still not today. I had to surrender and put myself through different experiences that I wasn't really used to giving them what I had. And that was brilliant for personal growth and development.
I used to be incredibly disorganized. And had very few boundaries and would work long hours into the night, early hours of the morning, early into email straight away and I worked with a brilliant coach, a guy called Josef Shapiro. Josef was an amazing coach, spiritually, mentally, physically, and self-organization was one of these blokes.
So I gave him the breast. I need to get my shit together. It was many years ago and I learned a lot from him and the books I read. And things I learned was and from other teachers too, that if you don't prioritize your time and put healthy boundaries in place and lead your area of life in that respect, including your calendar, then life will present you with low priority items that are going to be distracting you from what's most meaningful to you.
So I intentionally set out a schedule for me that was going to serve my life. And that goes down to, you know, finishing at a certain time for the children, so I can be there for dinner and for bath time and for reading the books and those sorts of things, and also for me, for my own health and wellness for exercise time, for getting up early for my morning routine, when the house is silent, for my coaching calls from our clients and my creation calls for writing those sort of things.
I schedule everything. That's not for everyone, but for me, I have found that structure to be eminently useful and just allowing me to be more present and focused on the job at hand, versus having boundaries that are just all over the place. It wasn't without resistance.
I don't think you can ever be like a Jedi when it comes to self-organization. I think it's like a lifelong journey of just tweaking and nudging and final work. So even though I log off from the office around five, five 30. When the kids are in bed, if I have some things I've agreed to deliver that day, rather than let them encroach in the children's time and my wife's time, I would then happily log on for half an hour now at night, cause I love my profession of what I do if I've made an agreement. So that's a system, a routine that tends to work for me. Everyone's different. But the point is if you don't structure your day and prioritize that, you'll be swamped by things that just knock you off your center and you'll end up being a bit of a busy, busy fool, which I was for many, many years.
David Foster is a Dad, Master Coach, author and inspirational speaker. Since 2012 he has helped business owners and coaches throughout the world create more balance, clarity and freedom so they can live inspired lives they love leading. He specializes in helping ambitious coaches grow independent practices full of great clients without sacrificing balance so they have a growing business, better relationships with their family and enjoy all that life has to offer.
David has dedicated his life to being a present parent, creating a loving family unit and inspiring people all over the world connect with themselves and their families before it’s too late. He lives in Essex with his wife, Trix and their two sons, Rocco and Enzo.