Mike is joined by his wife Rachel share her perspective on the topic of core values and vision. They share the process they followed to created a vision and set of core values for themselves and their family, and they discuss how they came to their values as well as 10 handy tips for identifying and implementing them.
Episode originally published 06 Mar 2017.
Intro: [00:00:06] Welcome to the productivity show the Asian efficiency podcast dedicated to helping you make the most of your time attention energy and focus in this episode I invite my wife Rachel onto the podcast to talk about her perspective as we dive deeper on the topic of core values and vision. This episode was inspired by feedback from John who is a dojo member trying to apply what Thanh and I talked about in Episode 126 to develop his own family vision and core values and then apply those towards identifying intermediate goals as he’s doing his own 12 week year plan. We had a lot of feedback asking us for more specifics on the actual process, so my wife and I share a lot more in this episode about our own experiences and how we landed on our own family core values. But even if you don’t have a family you can learn a lot from our process and apply some of the takeaways to your own team or organization as well. You can find links to everything that we share in the show by going to the productivity show dot com slash 133. And now on with the show.
Mike: [00:01:16] So get a little bit of a different episode this week. This episode is inspired by John in the dojo who mentioned specifically that he was working on applying some of what he talked about in Episode 126 to implement a family vision and a set of core values so I thought what better way to get a fresh take and dive deep on this topic than to have my wife Rachel join me and talk about her perspective. So Rachel Schmitz Welcome to the productivity show.
Rachel: [00:01:44] Thanks so much for having me.
Mike: [00:01:47] All right so first what we’re going to do in this episode is we’re going to talk a little bit about how we decided on our own core values. We’ve had a few people ask me specifically I wish you would have gone deeper or what that process looked like. So I wanted to bring Rachel in because this is a collaborative process since we are a team and the process starts with having a vision. So Rachel why don’t you talk about first what you have here on the outline and I really like how you phrased this.
Rachel: [00:02:22] I guess the bottom line that I say a lot to people whether they offer a compliment on our children’s behavior when we’re out in public or other situations is I really just want my children to be people that others enjoy being around. That they just want to be with them they want to be in their company. You know the people that you most enjoy are those that are comfortable in their own skin. People that know who they are and they can just be themselves. And those are the type of people that I want to raise.
Mike: [00:02:58] Right. I just want people to like me.
Rachel: [00:03:02] Something like that.
Mike: [00:03:04] No but that’s true that people who are most confident in they don’t care about looking stupid. Those are the people that you can let your guard down around people who you feel just are confident and accept you for all your flaws and imperfections. That is definitely there’s something comforting about that sort of environment. So I definitely agree with that. I also put that I want our children to know and be secure in who they really are. So a little bit different way of saying this but essentially I want them to know their identity. I want them to know who they are and what they are created to do and not really be concerned about what other people think or what other people are going to tell them that they should do this or they should try this. I just want them to know what they’re going to go after and then go after it with everything they’ve got.
Rachel: [00:03:54] And with our children we just want them to feel comfortable in their own skin. And there’s so much comparison and labels and all of that that goes on in our society that I want them to be OK with who they are. The good and the bad and to be able to function in a way that their high performers.
Mike: [00:04:16] Yeah absolutely. I mean it’s kind of a common theme here but we want them to really click in with the thing that they are created to do. And the last thing I have here is to leave their dent in the universe and you can’t leave your own dent in the universe if you’re so concerned about what other people are saying that you should be doing. And that permeates a lot of the choices that we’ve made. For example we home school our children will get into that a little bit more later on but that was not a popular choice since some of the circles that we run in. But we just knew that this was the right thing for our family and for our kids. And they’ve kind of flourished under this atmosphere so that’s kind of the process that we went through as we first started with the vision of who we wanted our family to be what we wanted that to look like you could say you know what do you want to be in 20 years. Would you want to be in five years whatever. Really. Beginning with the end in mind where you want to end up then you kind of work backwards from there and identify the characteristics that will help you get to that point and that then influenced our core values. So we have five core values and we talked about these in Episode 126 I shared these I also shared the graphic that I had a graphic designer friend make for Rachel for Mother’s Day.
Rachel: [00:05:33] Best Mother’s Day gift ever.
Mike: [00:05:36] Yeah looks pretty cool. I’m glad that we have that. But that we’ll break these down one by one and kind of the thought process behind these and obviously core values are very personal. As we talked about in Episode 126 you have to define your own core values. But we want to do in this episode is kind of give you a glimpse as to how we went about this so that you can maybe glean some of the principles to land on your own core values. So our first core value is Love God with all your heart soul mind and strength. We are for lack of a better term, very religious. We take our faith very seriously. That kind of directs everything that we do all the decisions that we make. But you can’t force your belief system on your kids even if you try to do it and they go along with it. You know they’re along for the ride until they get out of the house. They need to have their own defining moment they need to land on what they decide for themselves. And so one of the things that I put here and I’ll say this and then I’ll let you chime in Rachel is that the best thing that you can do when it comes to communicating your faith to your kids in my opinion is to just let them see you live it let them see how seriously you take it. The fact that my kids see me reading my Bible in the morning for example that has more of an impact than me saying oh you should read your Bible because they see dad living it out.
Rachel: [00:06:55] Absolutely. There’s a saying I love from my pastor’s wife that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. And that definitely applies to parenting because if I don’t show them that I care for them if I don’t show them what’s important in my life with my actions and living it out then it’s just empty words and there’s way too much of that on in our culture. So we want to practice what we preach in a sense I guess is another way you could say it and they will follow suit. So the best thing we can do is be the best example possible.
Mike: [00:07:35] Yep. We want to be the best version of ourselves and that’s really what kind of attracted me to Asian efficiency was their core values and I mentioned this episode 126 but glowing green becoming the best version of yourself. So that number two you can pull others up it’s easier to pull others up when you are flourishing and thriving as well. Second core value that we have as a family is give selflessly by finding the need and meeting it. We want to start with this one.
Rachel: [00:08:02] Sure. The last thing I want to do is raise self-centered children because by nature everyone starts off as completely self-centered. She changed me and put me to bed. And as they get older their capacity grows to see others to put others before themselves. And that’s really when people grow and they can change the atmosphere around them. So what we like to do is give them as many opportunities as possible to open their eyes to those around them. And that really starts in our house. They are required to do chores. They are required to clean up after themselves because it’s not fair for one family member to do all of the work when we are all part of the same family unit.
Mike: [00:08:51] Right even though they’re still young you know they’re not teenagers but they still have chores there at the moment. 9 7 5 and then 3 roughly.
Rachel: [00:09:00] Yes. And this started when they were toddlers. If you can make a huge mess of toys. Well I can teach you to take your little chubby hand and take that toy and put it in that bin one item at a time. We just sit down on the floor and do it together and it’s really incredible because now I can send my nine and seven year old down to our basement which is their domain that’s for 90 percent of the toys are in her house and say your chores today are cleaning up the basement and I can go down there and I would say 90 to 95 percent of it is cleaned up. There’s not toys scattered on the floor and it’s actually put away where it should be. But that’s come with years and years and years of practice. So giving selflessly is seeing the need and then doing something about it not just being that person that is like oh look at all those people they look like they’re sad or looks like they don’t have food or whatever but giving them the opportunity to do something about it and knowing that they can be proactive they can influence those around them.
Mike: [00:09:57] Yep. So part of this is responsibility. You have to clean up your own mess. Part of it also is stewardship and what are you doing with what you have. Part of it also is getting your eyes off of your own problems what you feel like what you want to do. There’s a saying that says the world of the generous grows larger and larger and as an example of that. One of the things that we do in association with our church is we go to the nursing home once a month not because we have a relative there but just because we know that there are a lot of people there who are missing their family. They’ve kind of lost hope and they don’t think that anybody cares so having our kids walk in and sing happy birthday because you can find the list of the people who have birthdays usually from the central office or something like that or we’ve done you know homemade Christmas cards and Easter cards and things like that we just go hand them out and you sometimes you are meant to say anything. I remember Jonathan I think he was three at the time I gave an old lady a Christmas card and she instantly just started bawling. He didn’t even say anything but you could tell it just really touched her. And it’s really good for anybody just to experience that. But especially kids because kids like you said they’re so focused on their own problems and that’s not fair. That was my toy. Yeah. So it’s kind of changing their their focus.
Rachel: [00:11:28] Yeah it makes their world so much bigger. And a nursing home in particular I believe has really helped shape them in that there’s a lot of odd smells. There’s a lot of people that look really strange maybe hunched over in their wheelchair. It’s it’s very it’s very heart wrenching at times but to expose them to that it gives them such a heart of compassion for people and not to just like be scared or to avoid people because they look different or smell different or look scary but actually to be able to approach them and touch them and help them. It’s just it’s just such an amazing thing.
Mike: [00:12:06] Yeah anytime you can get your kids out of their comfort zone. It’s good for them. Absolutely. It grows them that stretches and that’s that’s good. Number three is lead courageously and always stand for the truth. So you put here that it’s easy to follow. We want our family to be bold and do the right thing you want to expound on that a little bit.
Rachel: [00:12:25] Yeah. I guess the biggest thing we can do to impact our world is to live out what we believe is true what we believe is right and leadership leading courageously is not something you force on people you don’t know you don’t make people do it. They just see the fruit of your life and they naturally want to follow. They naturally are curious because they want to find out. OK. How do you get your kids do that or how do you guys have this or how do you guys live this way. And that’s leading courageously it’s not hiding behind or being ashamed of the choices you’ve made even if they’re drastically different than most of the people around you. But just knowing for you as a family what’s right and just doing that boldly and not apologizing for it.
Mike: [00:13:19] Yeah it’s having convictions and not compromising them. Being willing to stay to say no this is this is super important for us and we’re not going to bend on this particular thing. And obviously you need to identify for yourself what those things are. But we want to do what’s right not once easy. And that’s why we go to the nursing home once a month that’s why we do a lot of the things that we do. It’s not easy it’s not convenient on the days that we go to the nursing home we are literally gone all day from 8:00 a.m. until roughly 9:00 p.m. on those Sundays. And with a couple of kids who take naps normally in the afternoon they get a little bit cranky. But you just deal with it because you do what’s right, not what’s easy. Number four is to impact the culture and leave your own legacy. Now I really like this one. But really the point here is that we don’t want to settle for the status quo. We don’t want to just do what everyone else is doing. We want to question why are people doing those things. And is there a better way and that kind of lead us to home schooling now. I know when I first when I first offered the idea of home schooling you were not so much a fan.
Rachel: [00:14:36] I guess you could say I had a bad experience. I had some family members or some people I had experienced growing up that were home schooled but it didn’t really seem like they actually did anything and they didn’t really follow through career wise after quote unquote graduating high school. So it just left a bad taste in my mouth and I didn’t think home schoolers– I don’t know. I didn’t see a good example. But over the course of time when I really started considering it I really believed OK we need need to do this for our kids. And looking back that is one of the absolute best decisions that we’ve made as a family for our children. And each year it gets better and better and I enjoy it more and more and the more I loosened my grip and just enjoy the process and enjoy teaching them and those teachable moments. It’s just it’s just a blast really. I just feel really blessed to be able to go on field trips as a family during the week or to be able to do school in like two a half hours and not handling card in the first in the morning then go pick them up and play carpool mom constantly and be able to do more extracurriculars than ever thought was possible. So there’s so many components of it that are pretty amazing.
Mike: [00:15:54] And I know at first part of it was you didn’t feel qualified you weren’t sure you were going to be able to teach our kids but I think speaking for you know what you’ve discovered is that you don’t need to have X amount of hours in terms of seat time. That if you are able to engage them in a way where they will actually learn as opposed to them being one of 30 in a classroom with one adult who’s trying to get everybody’s attention at the exact same moment you can get things done a lot quicker and a lot more efficiently. And I know this is something that was part of our family vision was like going on the field trips and things like that that’s actually one of the things that led to me taking the position with Asian efficiency is that I wanted that flexibility in our schedule and it’s great. We can do that you know when we have our family meetings we can say all we want to go to the Children’s Museum we want to go to the train and we want to do these things together as a family this week and then we can manufacture the time to do that because we’re determining to be different. We’re leaving our own legacy and we aren’t a slave to the 9 to 5 but it wasn’t just me saying one day hey I want something different either. It was a process and that’s where the core values come in you have to have these core values in place you have to have that vision in place and they have to walk this out over time. But you have to constantly be reminding yourself of the vision of where you want to end up or you’ll never get there because you have to do these little things every single day that will lead you to that position.
Mike: [00:17:25] And I’ve shared my story about how I ended up with Asian efficiency and how it started with a writing habit of me getting up at 5 in the morning. But a lot of people won’t make that particular sacrifice because their vision and their Why isn’t strong enough they haven’t really connected with those core values and where where they’re going. And we really want in addition to the home schooling thing really what we want is our children not to have a degree not to learn specific skills but to learn to learn. We want them to be lifelong learners. The things that I am applying every single day at is an efficiency I’m figuring out on the fly. I did not go to school for this. In fact podcasting and stuff like that that was pretty pretty new and probably don’t even have that in a school quote unquote program yet. But these are things that if you develop the ability to learn how that is going to pay big dividends because you could figure these things out on the fly and then you can apply them one specific area that we’re doing that as our kids do the reading the writing the arithmetic things like that but we actually have something called Bitsbox which is a monthly subscription and it’s all these activities that they’re using to learn to code which I think is is awesome because all of the research shows that the most sought after skills today are coding skills and they’re learning this not because they’re in a school program and they have to pass the test because they’re just figuring this stuff out. They see a problem, they engage with it and they figure out the solution.
Rachel: [00:18:56] Yeah it’s amazing to see how well they can focus for long periods of time copying lines of code and then the patience they have to figure out what the errors are and to go back line by line and problem solve and then it evolves into them creating their own apps and their own little programs and having an idea and just trying to figure it out. It just has so many skills that they’re developing just through this one simple tool. And that also goes along with our vision for it. Like Michael said about giving them a love and a passion to learn and then teaching them how to do that.
Mike: [00:19:36] Right. And these are the same kids that if you put them in a room with 30 other people and said OK let’s read pages 12 through 15 in our workbooks -are going to disconnect in about 30 seconds but they’ll sit down and they’ll problem solve and develop the ability to think critically for an hour at a time because they’re applying it to something that they’re interested in. And there’s a link we’ll put in the show notes here to a TED talk by a home school kid which I know was a big part of you being OK with home schooling this kid is giving a TED talk. He’s very articulate very smart and he’s talking about his experience and how every time he has a question like well what about this what about that is his parents feel like will figure it out and he’s really into snowboarding so he’s applied some of the stuff to that arena that he’s interested in and he runs his own clothing line of snowboarding apparel. That’s the kind of thing I want to teach our kids to do.
Rachel: [00:20:32] Did you say he was only 13 years old at the time of the TED talk that it was recorded. So seeing that it was like wow that just gave me a different picture as to the potential of children. They really are little sponges It’s incredible what they can learn at such a young age. Their brains are just constantly developing.
Mike: [00:20:55] Yep. And so specifically one of the things that we decided was that we want to be the loudest voice in the lives of our kids while they are that impressionable and not everybody is going to be able to make that particular choice. But it was something that we balanced against all of the pros and cons the positives and the negatives when we said this is something that is really important to us. This is a core value. How do we make this happen. And we were able to construct the reality that we now have where we can make that happen.
Mike: [00:21:30] The fifth core value here is to determine to be different and don’t settle for average kind of touched on this a little bit. But this is a different way of saying that the status quo is not good enough. Really the take away from this one is that just because everybody else is doing it does not mean that you should be doing in fact if everybody else is doing it that’s probably an indication that you should look for an alternative. Developing a different way to think like that little bit of a tangent here but that’s really important. A lot of people just get caught up in the things that they’re supposed to do and they never take the time to take a step back and question why are we doing this. And I guess I’ve kind of done that from a young age. Maybe call me rebellious maybe call me self-righteous as other people have. But I’ve never been one to just accept that well this is the way things have to be. And that’s I think a big component of us getting to where we are today is just that that constant questioning like it’s not always this thing or that thing. Sometimes it’s both. And you don’t get presented that option you have to figure out how to make that work.
Rachel: [00:22:46] Very true.
Mike: [00:22:48] All right. So those are our five family core values. Now I want to talk a little bit about why even implement family values in the first place other than maybe it sounds good on a podcast. Well the number one reason is that as a family unit you need to be moving in the same direction. There is an African proverb that goes if you want to go fast go alone if you want to go far go together. And so we do not want to constantly be adjusting in repairing as a family. We want to make sure that we are moving in the same direction we are in alignment and there’s a principle called the two horse rule and I forget the exact numbers so I’m probably going to mess up the math. But it goes something like this if you have one horse that can pull 300 pounds and another horse I can pull 450 pounds if you add those up together it’s only seven hundred and fifty pounds. But it’s actually a force multiplier when they’re pulling in the same direction. So if you have a significant other family you need to be pulling in the same direction because what happens is that you can’t just pull 750 pounds you can pull something like 15 hundred pounds. And again the math can be debated but the principle definitely applies if you’re working together instead of against each other. You can do a lot more.
Rachel: [00:24:12] Yeah. The weeks where we’re in alignment and we’re communicating and we’re on the same page. Things go really well. There’s still bumps there’s still problems that come up but we’re able to handle them and jump back and do things well really easily compared to the weeks where there’s not communication. We’re not on the same page. Those weeks are like train wrecks. And by the weekend we’re both just exhausted and just drained.
Mike: [00:24:40] Yeah in fact almost every time that something major goes wrong we can stop and say OK where did we start pulling in opposite directions. And you trace it back a day or two sometimes a week but there was some sort of decision where we weren’t on the same page and most of the time it was because like you said we hadn’t communicated enough or well enough and that just causes causes friction and causes everything to be way harder than it needs to be.
Rachel: [00:25:12] Yeah there’s a quote I came across regarding communication recently that basically opened my eyes to how poorly I communicate often. So it’s basically the biggest mistake people make in communicating is thinking they have communicated. You think you’ve communicated to your husband or your children or whoever and then you hear back what they thought you said. And it’s always so surprising. Oh man I didn’t say that. But it’s really comes down to how clearly you’re communicating repeating repeating and repeating repetition is your best friend not just for teachers but in any relationship. So another quote is by Lewis Carroll if you don’t know where you’re going Any road will get you there. And it’s so true. But if you know where you’re going there is a clear path that will get you there. And that’s what these core values come in.
Mike: [00:26:11] Yeah that was a really good point you made about just because you think you communicate it doesn’t mean you actually communicate it. I heard it said recently something along the lines of it is on you to communicate your vision. It is not the responsibility of the people that you are trying to communicate to. To understand your message you are the one that is responsible for making sure that it comes across clear so that the people that are listening to you can actually run with the vision that you’re trying to communicate. So obviously there are some difficulties with that when you’re trying to communicate to children. You mean you can make it clear and they don’t understand it you have to speak it in a language they will understand it. You can’t use a lot of high level imagery in words like big words because they’re just not going to get it but that is very very important. You can’t just say I told you to do this like you have to really make sure that they know what they are supposed to do and I guess a practical way to say this. You know some people might say like you can’t yell at your kids for not putting away their toys if you don’t show them where they go in the toy box first. So not just telling them hey put your toys in the toy box because the kid’s not going to ask well what do you mean like where’s the toy box what do I have to do here. They’re not going to ask all those clarifying questions they’re just not going to do it. So you have to physically sometimes take them by the hand and show them this is where this toy goes and sometimes you have to do it 25 times in one day. And they still don’t get it. But that’s again that’s not their responsibility to get that that’s on you as the communicator of the vision.
Mike: [00:27:57] All right so let’s talk about some practical tips and these are 10 tips that we put together.
Rachel: [00:28:03] These are what I’m most excited for.
Mike: [00:28:07] That can help you kind of identify and then also implement your family vision and your core values. Alright. So number one is play to each other’s strengths specifically as husband and wife the leaders of the family unit. One of the things that we’ve done and this is thanks to Asian efficiency. I had it I’d taken the Kolbe test because that was part of part of some staff development that we had done at Asian efficiency. We wanted to know everybody’s Kolbe scores so we could identify who’s got a high factfinder who’s got a high quick start and then identify like where the potential sources of friction as we’re all working together and then how do we alleviate those. It was a really great exercise. And so I made my wife do it.
Rachel: [00:28:55] Yes yes he did.
Mike: [00:28:57] So Rachel you took it and then we compared the results so we talked a little bit about them but then actually when we were down in Austin Thanh kind of gave us a little mini counseling session and broke it down for us and he’s explaining Rachel Mike is hard headed and he does this this and this and you’re like yes he is and he’s based on Rachel’s results. Mike Rachel does this this and this. I’m like yes yes she does. So recognizing that not as a potential source of friction although it it can be a potential source of friction when you have conflicting styles like for us personally. I’m the high factfinder your the high QuickStart.
Rachel: [00:29:33] Let’s do this thing.
Mike: [00:29:34] Yeah. And I’m like no no no no. I don’t know anything. You need to give me details. And so recognizing that can help us alleviate some of the pain and friction that comes from that. But also there are strengths associated with these different character traits as well. And there’s another assessment that we took the Strengths Finder which I really liked doing this one because what we did is we took the strengths finder and we each had our five top strengths and then we sat down to talk about them what we did is we read each other’s strengths and then talked about and then actually wrote down five sentences one for each of the strengths and said basically how we were going to utilize the other person’s strengths. And so I know yours was empathy for one of the top ones. And specifically I remember what that definition meant was that you have all these different angles you can see what other people are feeling when it comes to making these decisions and you can balance all of these things very well. But you don’t really like making the decision. I on the other hand like to just make the decision. OK. This is the plan let’s just work the plan. So the takeaway for me then was to utilize your strength and ask for your input when making the decisions not just saying OK you make this decision because that’s actually more stressful for you based on your strengths finder assessment. So understanding that you want to contribute to the process but you don’t necessarily want to be responsible quote unquote for the bottom line. And then you using your strengths to add color and story and context to the decision and then me using my strengths to make the decision and then execute on it.
Rachel: [00:31:16] Absolutely yeah. It brought so much clarity to how we function and how we can better work together on those action steps I’ve referred to several times since taking it just a month ago. I feel like it’s just given us such momentum and it just helped us communicate more clearly and understand when Mike’s feeling stressed Well he doesn’t know about what I’m presenting because I didn’t give them any facts. So he’s kind of floundering here like a fish out of water like what do you want me to do here. So if I just give him the facts and the why and all of that then it’s much easier for him to make that decision. So our strengths are very different. But it’s amazing how well they compliment each other when we work together. That goes back to that two horse rule. We are pulling together we’re very much opposite. So but that’s a great thing because we see different perspectives.
Mike: [00:32:13] Yeah that’s common for a lot of couples I believe is that opposites attract but you can either let those the fact that you’re opposites make things harder or you can understand what’s going on and use it to move in alignment and move together. So that was a big thing playing to each other’s strengths identifying each other’s strengths. And so the Kolbe, Strengths Finder. Those are two assessments that we use. And then number two. We have a weekly family meeting. This is actually an idea I stole from my brother. I started doing a mastermind with them every couple of weeks quote unquote mastermind. Really what we do is we just talk about ideas and what’s working what’s not working getting each other’s perspective. I really appreciate his perspective on a lot of different things especially business related. He’s he’s working with a startup in San Francisco right now. And so he’s been able to do a lot of different things. And if you listen to this Chris I’m proud of you. But one of the things that he shared with me was the family meetings that he was doing with his wife. And I’m like that is a great idea. We need to do that. So we started implementing this. And we do the weekly family meetings on Sunday nights. So after the kids go to bed and the process isn’t very very complicated we’ve got a list of things that we want to talk over and we compare schedules so we know where each other are going to be what we’re doing the rest of the week. No surprises. And then the other piece to this is gratitude. But we’ll talk about that in a little bit. Was there anything else you wanted to mention specifically on the family meeting.
Rachel: [00:33:52] I think we have it as part of another point later on but it just brought such great communication and alignment. I guess it’s so simple and a lot of times it doesn’t even take more than 15 minutes but it basically creates that space forces that clear communication. And we now are in the habit of it where we know it’s coming. And so we can anticipate things we want to bring up. And so it’s just we’re on the same page and we’re open to that communication more open to being challenged and we’re opening to maybe being asked the hard questions and facing some more difficult issues. But it’s a common ground. It’s like when you go to if you go to a counseling session like you know what you’re there for. That’s what it’s like. We know what we’re there for we have clear objectives. And it sounds very business-y but in a sense your family is a business in a sense and if you run it really well you know it’s fun and it’s enjoyable you can enjoy all those moments because things are running clearly all the parts are moving properly.
Mike: [00:35:00] Yeah. And I’ll say that a lot of the principles that we’re talking about here you could use these not specifically in a family context you could apply this to an organization you could view your employees as your kids if you wanted to do that. But the third practical tip we want to share is to establish rituals and routines. This is something that was kind of transformative. I’ve shared a picture when I’ve done different webinars and presentations for Asian efficiency of the morning midday and evening routines that you had printed out and put on the refrigerator and they are basically our checklists of things that our kids need to do to get ready for the day or get ready for bed. And our second Joshua who is now 7. He specifically really latched on to this where when it was time for bed he was almost excited because he would run to the refrigerator put his finger on the page and find the next thing he’s got to do and then he would run and go do that thing and then he would come back and put his finger on the next thing. Like these routines and these are rituals. I don’t even really know how to describe it but I will say that rituals and routines do give kids a sense of security a sense of normalcy they know what to expect and that allows them to thrive.
Rachel: [00:36:28] And most children and they behave much better when they know what to expect. They’re not much different than a lot of adults where if you are thrown into a situation unaware of how to handle themselves. They’re very uncomfortable.
Mike: [00:36:42] Josh has probably got a high factfinder.
Rachel: [00:36:44] Yes definitely. But it’s basically enabling them to thrive and giving them the benefit of the doubt and giving him the x y and z. The ABC, the one two threes of this is what I expect and this is what you need to do not follow through on it. Yeah that’s how we can clearly communicate them.
Mike: [00:37:04] So one one area where this is really important we limit the amount of screen time that our kids have. But we do allow them to use the iPad for a set amount of time and it goes much better when we tell them OK five more minutes then you’re done as opposed to we let you play for an extra 20 minutes. Now turn it off and give it to me like they don’t understand that that doesn’t click for them. They want to know what’s coming up. Number four I put pay attention to teachable moments. Teachable moments is a term that I heard you say I think you’ve gotten from your mom so maybe people don’t know what that is but essentially what it means is that if you pay attention to what is going on there are a lot of opportunities in your day to day life for you to communicate your vision and your core values and all you need to do is recognize those opportunities when they are there and take them.
Rachel: [00:38:05] Yeah. The best example I can give I think it right now is our oldest son Toby who’s a natural leader and very comfortable in his own skin.
Mike: [00:38:14] Very opinionated.
Rachel: [00:38:15] Very opinionated. He’s like someone I know. I don’t know. But basically one of the routines do with them in the morning is we read the Bible. We say one person we’re grateful for and why we say what our goal is for the day. And then we each take a turn and pray everyone does it all the kids and mommy participates lead by example. But it is interesting because one day Toby says I want to be a good leader for my brothers. Here was a teachable moment. Toby what does being a good leader look like. How can you be a good leader. And he says I don’t know. I go. You can do the right thing. You can show them the right thing to do and they will follow that example. So be a good example. And that really clicked with him and it changed from him being bossy as just like the first born very dominant personality to like I’m going to just really be compassionate and help my brothers and be the best version of me. And that really just clicked in him. So it’s just being fully present in the moment so that you can recognize those times and the car is one of my favorite times because I have a captive audience they’re all buckled in a lot of them in carseats still or booster seats and I can shut off the music and I can just talk to them and it’s incredible because sometimes they can’t make eye contact. Especially boys. So just being able to have more intense conversation sometimes the car is just amazing for that.
Mike: [00:39:59] I want to go back because you mentioned the story of how you challenged Toby and said What is that. What does that look like. I think that if you do not recognize these teachable moments quote unquote It’s very easy to hear oh he’s getting it. He wants to be a leader and just completely gloss over it. And the moment is gone and now he’s being ingrained to respond this way because oh look mom and dad like this response.
Rachel: [00:40:26] Yes. And that’s how he’s wired, he totally would have gone that way too and just been bossy and just been opinionated and saying well I’m a leader but you’re not a leader because you say you’re a leader. You are a leader because you are a leader. And people will follow you.
Mike: [00:40:40] You’re a leader when you act like a leader. Yes. And that’s that the ability to deconstruct things and ask the why questions that’s really really important. A lot of adults need to learn that as well.
Rachel: [00:40:53] That’s the difference between a leader and a boss. He was trying to be a boss to his brothers. Well we don’t need a boss we have two bosses we have a mommy and a daddy. We lead. So you can be a leader and he really honestly is. He’s like a professional Big Brother.
Mike: [00:41:08] It’s been cool to see him really embrace that role almost to the point where sometimes I want to tell him you know you don’t have to do that.
Rachel: [00:41:16] Yes. He can go do your own thing it’s really OK.
Mike: [00:41:20] Yep. All right. So number five is capture ideas or issues that you need to discuss with your spouse in the shared list or task manager.
Rachel: [00:41:27] This is one of my favorite points.
Mike: [00:41:30] Now a little bit of a back story to this. I’ve been trying to get you to use OmniFocus for a long time and it has not been working which is OK because we have stumbled on something that you really really like. That is Asana. Asana is an online test management system which is a lot simpler and easier to use and eliminating the additional friction means that you actually use it. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Rachel: [00:42:01] A tool is useless unless you actually use it. So yeah. Yeah this this has been a game changer basically in our marriage. It sounds really silly but when you just bring up issues in the spur of the moment when you think of them and they’re not the right timing that adds so much stress and friction when it doesn’t need to be there. Most ideas or issues even are not urgent or important enough to disrupt to your time and your husband’s time throughout the week just to try and solve it.
Mike: [00:42:40] Especially if you’re QuickStart and he’s a factfinder.
Rachel: [00:42:42] Exactly I’m like I was just talking about this, what about this, Oo shiny! I can jump from topic to topic and he was like wait hold up I’m still stuck back here and you’re on ten more points. So having And again this to some couples they may be thinking like oh my gosh it sounds so like boring and business-y. No trust me. It is a game changer. So we have a family Asana project called Team Schmitz and I can just when I think of stuff that has been the back of my mind it is throw it on there. And that is saved for our family meeting time. And I can just we can go through point to point. Not that we resolve all those but just to be able to have that time set aside more. OK now I can bring this up and now I can actually have this conversation. I know his mind is here my mind is here and we can really engage.
Mike: [00:43:38] Yep, and really all you’re doing is you’re capturing that information when you have it. So you’re applying GTD whether you realize it or not.
Rachel: [00:43:44] Oh I know. I know. I just. Yes.
Mike: [00:43:47] But one of the things that people get hung up on when we talk about task management at Asian efficiency is the fact they don’t want to have a whole bunch of different tools. And I understand that you don’t want to have 15 different places where you store your task because then you can’t really know where something is. But I will tell you that the reason for productivity is people and most the time you’re not working in a vacuum so you have to be willing to be flexible and adapt your tools to tools that other people will actually embrace and use rather than trying to get them to conform to the tools that you think are necessarily the best. And when you do that when you use something like we’ve been using Asana for family meetings even though it’s another task manager it makes what we actually have to do. Much more simple. And again I have to say that I have to give my brother credit for this as well because he mentioned that he uses Asana for his family meetings. And I was like I bet the bet that could work. And sure enough has been a game changer for Team Schmitz.
Mike: [00:44:50] Number six is practice gratitude. Now this is something that we try to do in our weekly meetings as well. Sometimes we forget about it but also we try to do this outside of those specific timeframes as well. In fact just the other night I was not having a real great day and I just felt like I needed to express gratitude to you because I knew that you were working really hard to help me get through a really tough week and I needed to let you know that I saw that and I appreciated that. So I was laying in bed you were about ready to fall asleep. And I’m like Hey I just need to tell you that I really appreciate everything that you’ve done for me this week. I wouldn’t be able to do this stuff if it wasn’t for your help and that I’m sure made you feel good because I was noticing it but when I tweeted about this the other day like it’s amazing what that does to you internally when you express that it almost doesn’t even matter if the other person receives it because it is instantly gets your focus off of yourself and your own problems it breaks your focus and you start counting your blessings so to speak and it can completely change the atmosphere in your attitude.
Rachel: [00:46:06] Absolutely. I mean it’s it’s super easy to focus on the negative. It’s super easy to focus on flaws you see in yourself and other people. So gratitude shifts your focus so you are more focused on what is good and what is gone well then what is not. So I’m naturally a positive thinker. So this is a little bit easier for me to practice. But like I mentioned one of the routines I do with our children most mornings is practicing gratitude and then naming a person and why. So when Michael expresses to me that he thinks well for something I know first of all it’s not just empty words. He doesn’t really do that. Like he says what he means and he means what he says. So it really it really deeply impacts me and I don’t know that he realizes how much it means to me and yeah it just shifts your focus. Gratitude is so important.
Mike: [00:47:06] Well now the productivity world knows how much I …. guess I better better do a better job.
Rachel: [00:47:11] You better say thanks more. No just kidding.
Mike: [00:47:13] But one thing I want to touch on here is that the reason that it’s so easy to focus on the negative like you said is that we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions but we judge other people by their actions especially the people that you are close to and that you love. It is easy to focus on the things that they’ve done wrong and attribute the fact that like they did this to hurt me because they know me they know that this drives me crazy. But that’s not the truth at all. So that’s something that you have to get over. I’ve had to get over that will that will keep you in the negative if you continue to approach people that way.
Rachel: [00:47:51] And gratitude will help you not be familiar with people because how familiar Can you get with the person you lived with for us almost 12 years you’ve been married. So gratitude keeping all things in mind that you’re most grateful for about that person helps you not be familiar and take them for granted. Which is extremely important.
Mike: [00:48:11] Definitely. So number seven this kind of is a natural extension of number six but put each other first. Gratitude will definitely help you do that but you need to make sure that the kids know their place so to speak. Our kids know that mommy is number one to Daddy and vice versa. In fact as we’re recording this this is on a Tuesday night which is our regular day we try to every month have an overnight or we’ll go to a hotel a different town and just get away for a day and really you need to make sure that it’s not just lip service but that your actions back this up. One of the quotes that I really like by an author that I really respect his name is Ed Cole he said the best thing a man can do for his children is love their mother. So I really do believe that. And I can tell you from our own experience that when our kids see me treating you well that they are much more well-behaved they’re much more well-adjusted they’re just happier.
Rachel: [00:49:23] Yeah absolutely.
Mike: [00:49:24] Because things are in order.
Rachel: [00:49:25] And I guess my big point here was a little message the moms out there the quote unquote mom guilt is actually a real thing. And I had. See I was either pregnant or nursing or whatever for eight years straight. We had for our four kids two years apart. Right. So in all of that you still need to put your husband first because if it wasn’t for you two first those kids would not even be here. And it’s so easy to get wrapped up in your kids lives for the 18 years or whatever amount of time they’re in your house that you totally forget about each other and you don’t grow together. And that’s why you see people have been married 20 plus years and once her kids are out of the house they actually get a divorce and you look at it going whoa wait a second. Well they didn’t fall back in love so to speak or they didn’t grow together. So yeah they didn’t know each other after 20 25 plus years. So that’s been a huge thing for me is just yes the kids are crying or they’re needing a diaper change or they’re getting up in the night. But when it comes down to it you still need to put each other first.
Mike: [00:50:43] Yep definitely. And I think the regular date nights the month we get away all of those things those are just tactics that we use to make sure that that the space for that to happen.
Rachel: [00:50:52] And I know there’s a lot of people who when this comes up because it’s not like something I just go around and tell people that if it comes up in conversation. Most married couples that I come across are really surprised. Like oh my gosh if you do that every we have a date night every week. We’ve been married for 10 years and we’ve had like six total dates and I’m going it. Looking at them going. What?It’s just you have to make it a priority.
Mike: [00:51:18] It comes down to what is the most important thing for you. And the vision our vision the thing that is important to us is our marriage and our family so we’re going to make sure that we’re going backwards from that we do the things to maintain that. But if you don’t feel intentional about that if you don’t know where you want to end up you don’t have a picture in your mind of a great marriage. You’re not going to get there.
Rachel: [00:51:43] Yeah. That’s very true.
Mike: [00:51:45] All right. Number eight is meal planning this kind of could go under the rituals routines. But I think it’s big enough that it should be its own point and pretty much everybody that I know has had to deal with a picky eater at some point. That was Joshua for us he would not eat dinner like ever until we started writing out what we were going to have for dinner and then just like the checklist he would run over to the board see that oh we’re having chicken tonight and I’m not going to complain that I don’t want this. He would just eat it. It was magical.
Rachel: [00:52:26] Yes. It really was. It was he saw written there. And so he was prepared for what was coming. And he just was like OK let’s do this. And that probably comes back to being a fact finder. And just a disclaimer we never gave him the alternative for or what he wanted. It was this or. Sorry you’re not eating. I know that may sound really harsh to some people but I’m not a short order cook nor do I want to be. And so this meal planning is really great because you can pick meals that you know everyone enjoys and just switch it up because you want to expose them to a variety.
Mike: [00:53:09] And just to clarify it wasn’t like you’re going to have a vegetable lasagna tonight even though you never tried it before and you’re going to like it. Like this was stuff that he liked but it wasn’t his preference at that given moment. So he was like I’m not going to eat it. All right. But as soon as we started writing it down as soon as he had that familiarity he knew what to expect. You know going back to the routines and just the comfort that is that is in those especially for kids into meal planning is really important. Number nine and this kind of goes along with putting each other first. But actually you wrote this one down I’ll let you talk about this one.
Rachel: [00:53:53] So parents should not disagree in front of their children. Disclaimer unless it’s something that will cause harm or danger that you need to step in. Obviously that needs to happen but most scenarios are not like that.
Mike: [00:54:07] Just avoid this when possible.
Rachel: [00:54:08] Yeah just avoid whenever possible if you disagree with how your spouse is handling something. Talk to them about it later after the kids are in bed or not around because it’s very true that united we stand and divided we fall in our family unit. If mom and dad are on the same page they can’t divide us. Children are very smart.
Mike: [00:54:31] Oh they totally get this.
Rachel: [00:54:32] They are very discerning. They know what buttons to push. And so if you hear about kids or maybe you are one of those kids that would go to dad.
Mike: [00:54:40] I was one of those kids.
Rachel: [00:54:42] Well there you go. And then you go to mom because Dad said no. It’s just not a good situation to be in. And you just want to be united in that.
Mike: [00:54:55] Yeah. And I would even say it like a lot of the time speaking from my own personal experience. You know you go asked Dad can I do this. They say no then you go to mom and mom says well what did Dad say. That’s not necessarily unity either because the kids are going to say oh yeah Dad said it was fine. When you get away in a lot of stuff that way. But we try to make decisions together. Like when we are together. So if our kids try that we’ll be like oh I’ll go ask Dad find out.
Rachel: [00:55:27] Because that has happened.
Mike: [00:55:28] And then they’ll be like oh well…
Rachel: [00:55:32] They’re back pedaling really quick.
Mike: [00:55:35] But kids are kids are smart. They can definitely sense that division and when it’s there. So yeah. Again you know try not to disagree in front of your kids try to present a united front. Try to make those decisions together. And then if you do disagree or you make a mistake. Number ten is to be transparent. Be real be genuine because you’re not going to be perfect. You need to apologize quickly so that your children can see you and adjust and repair when you fail. One particular story about about this is we were on our way home from church one night of all places and we were having a fight about something in the front seat and I Toby inside who is maybe two or three years old. And he calls me out he’s like why are you being so mean to the mommy. And I instantly you know was arrested and had to apologize in front of like you’re right. You know I’m not treating mommy the way that she deserves to be treated I’m sorry I shouldn’t be doing that. I apologize to you and you and you came in. But that is a lot more effective than pretending that you never make mistakes that mom and dad are always right that what they say goes. Your kids love to see things when they are in order. And so when I’ll just pick on myself you know when Dad makes a mistake and he apologizes and things are being restored and put back in the proper order that gets them excited. They get happy when they see that happening.
Rachel: [00:57:13] Yeah absolutely being transparent is so important. The other day two of the children were making very bad choices. They’re crabby and being mean to each other. And I was getting really impatient with them and wasn’t yelling at them but I was just I was getting really crabby about it and instead of just being calm and collected and dealing with it I was just getting fed up. So they were wrong but I was wrong too. So once you got in the car and everyone was actually buckled because it took 10 minutes. And I said you know you guys weren’t making good choices you should have just been in your seat 10 minutes ago like I asked. But I want to apologize to you for being crabby because I did not handle that well and everyone apologized like yeah we forgive you mommy and we’re sorry and it’s just again leading by example how can we expect them to apologize when they are behaving wrongly. If we don’t apologize because they know when we’re not doing the right thing or talking the right way.
Mike: [00:58:21] Yes absolutely. And this one is strategically placed at the end. I know you put this one here on purpose because you are going to mess up. You are going to fail. And we really just want to share from our own experience that there is still hope.
Rachel: [00:58:36] Absolutely.
Mike: [00:58:38] Everybody falls. It’s how you react to that. And so hopefully these 10 tips that we’ve shared with you today in our process for how we developed our family core values and our vision have helped you out. But like I mentioned at the beginning this is actually a topic that comes from the dojo. The dojo is our online productivity community so if you wanted to join the conversation if you wanted to contribute to these podcast episodes and we would love to have you join the dojo actually as closed to the public right now. But if you’re listening to this you actually do have access to a special offer only for podcast listeners. You can go to the productivity show dot com slash dojo and you can not only join the dojo but you can actually try it out for an entire month for only one dollar. So you will get access to the community, the private Slack channel where a lot of the stuff happens. Access to the Asian efficiency coaches, you get access to the library of video courses that we have available. There’s a new video course has released every month. Once again the address to do that is the productivity show dot com slash dojo. You can also find links to everything we discussed in the show notes by going to the productivity’s show dot com slash 133. Thanks for joining us and we’ll see you next productive Monday.
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