Start small, but start now!

The man of substance does not wait for the right moment to begin something, he starts where he is and when he is!  Things may not be perfect to act, but he can prepare.  He may not be aware of everything that needs to be prepared, but he can gather information and plan.  It may take time, but he will not miss the opportunity to do something worthwhile over time because he cannot do it all right now.

I threw out a challenge to my children today.  I challenged them to bring their change home and gather it together for the next 18 months in preparation for some fine dining experiences on our next trip to Disneyland.   It will take time,  and we are starting small, but a man of substance understands that small actions repeated over time are what build a legacy.

Start small, if you must, but start now!

Pick something scary

Over the past few weeks I have been getting hints from the universe, little messages that seem to be pointing me I the direction of accepting challenging, sometimes even scary things.  Whether it has been a project so critical that I am afraid of messing it up or of allowing one of my children to make mistakes so they can learn their own critical lessons, these scary things sometimes paralyze me. 

Not surprising, really.  A man of substance wants to always be doing things effectively, so confronting situations where the outcome is doubtful and sometimes completely outside of control can be unnerving.  But a man of substance also knows that the frightening things, the challenging things, those are the things that toughen and harden us for the ever increasing challenges of life.  And doing it with style can only happen if we are willing to do it poorly first.

The next few posts will be devoted to challenging scary things.  Hopefully you will enjoy this experiment; personally, it is a little scary to me.  And that is why I am doing it.

Creating style

Style doesn’t just mean fashionable or couture.  Style is about the way life is approached.  While it can be avant garde, it can also be classic.  Fashion forward or subtle, trendy or timeless, style.os as much about the way that a man lives as about the way that he dresses.

One thing that a man of style and substance would be wise to consider is how clothing choices reinforce a personal brand.  This doesn’t mean that every choice has to be in line with every previous choice ever made, but it does mean that purchasing an entire wardrobe each and every season may send unintentional messages. 

Recognize imitation

It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  No, I don’t know who said it, and I’m not sure I completely agree, but I am sure of one thing: a man of style and substance is well advised to avoid imitations. 

By this, I’m not talking about products that draw their inspiration from time tested standards, I’m talking about those products that pretend to be something that they clearly are not. 

Wearing a genuine Seiko vs a fake Rolex?  No question, the fake broadcasts you as a person desperate for style without substance.  The result is that both are lost.

Find a new way

Attending a professional development seminar, I had the opportunity to participate in a round table conversation.  As part of a group of professional and adjunct instructors at a local college, I shared and listened.  We all do things differently, and each if the ideas were powerful.  I contributed my fair share, and I came away with new ideas.

A man of substance should be unafraid to share ideas.  He should also be willing to entertain new ideas and new techniques.  And while.a man of substance should keep to his convictions, the methods used in pursuing them should always be open for evaluation.

Making time

Whatever the day brings, we all make choices.  We make choices for things mundane and, sometimes, momentous.  We make choices regarding what we eat, whom we associate with and what activities we choose to pursue. We make choices for how we will spend out time, and while the choices themselves may not be critical, acknowledging the fact that we make choices is.

The man of substance takes responsibility for choices, and not just the choices themselves but the overall act of choosing.  He recognizes that he will sometimes make poor choices, th at he will try to learn from them, and that he will endeavor to make more wise choices than unwise ones.  But, regardless if the rest, he will take responsibility for the act of choosing.

Seeing my sons

I have two adult sons, twins, who in many ways are as different as can be.  From their tastes in music to their academic interests to their haircuts and grooming, they continually find ways to be different.  And as funny as that is, there are several ways in which they are very similar.  And that is in the kind of men they are becoming.

They both have a strong work ethic.  They both go out of their way to do good and be helpful to others.  They are both gentle with those who are feeble or struggling physically.  They look for chances to have fun, they laugh, and they look out for each other.

All in all, while they have radically different styles, they have both become men of substance.

And that is perhaps the best gift I can give them.