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my advice for soon-to-be dads

As soon as you announce to the world that you are going to be a father, everyone starts giving you advice – solicited or not. “Better get your sleep now!”, “Enjoy your hobbies now, because as soon as that kid is here, you can kiss them good bye!” and my personal favorite, “Just wait until you get a mini-van – you’ll love it!”

As exciting as all this advice is, I didn’t pay too much thought to it until one of my friends told me he and his wife were expecting. Immediately, my brain was trying to think of some sage advice to offer him—I’m more than qualified, right? I mean, I’ve been a father for five months. But I was tongue tied. All I could think about was the lame things people told me. This got me thinking: What can I offer to my fellow fathers that’s actually helpful? That’s when it struck me. Why not approach it the same way I craft messaging for my clients at work? Revolutionary, right?

Whenever I put together content for a client, I focus on two things: Pain points and outcomes. Every client comes to me with a product or service that’s been created to solve a problem. So, first, I research the pain points that the client is trying to solve, and then, how their solution or product addresses it. Sounds simple, but it is so easy to fall into the trap of using fear as a vehicle for your messaging, for example:

While this is funny, it doesn’t tell me about the product and it isn’t a firm foundation to build upon. That’s why I focus specifically on the positive outcomes a product or service can provide.

For example, let’s take that nugget, “Better get your sleep now!” We’ll just ignore the absurdity of banking sleep now to draw from later.

Pain point: It’s a week before Christmas, your wife is 9 and a half months pregnant, and you’ve been exiled to the living room hide-a-bed. Between being pinched awake by a spring and getting folded into a taco (curse you, Ikea), you think to yourself, “Son of a nutcracker! What’s going on!? My friends told me this was going to happen…no!!!”

Solution: You see an advert for a posh pillow sold by a startup that promises instant REM sleep. You think to yourself, hey, if I can increase my quality of sleep, maybe, just maybe, it’ll make up for the lack of quantity. With this pain point/solution in mind let’s craft a better piece of advice, “Hey, (insert soon to be sleepless friend’s name), my wife and I bought these great pillows before our little bundle arrived, and it made all the difference!” Isn’t that advice so much better? By focusing on the solution and not the pain, you tell a completely different story. A story built on hope, not fear.

“You’ll never enjoy your hobbies again.” There is no way around it, your life changes when you become a parent, however this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the things you love to do! Instead of focusing about the things you must stop doing, think of how you now have someone to share them with.

Pain point: You won’t be able to do the things you like to do.

Solution: Focus on how you can share your hobbies with your kid. With this in mind, let’s reframe the advice: “You think your hiking days are numbered, but when I saw how much my kid loved being outside, it was like I was hiking for the first time all over again!” Life might be different, but that doesn’t mean you must abandon your passions. Just look at them in a new way!

So now we face the min-van, there’s little that can redeem that. The mini-van will bring you down a notch. So spring for the dark tint and keep in mind that when the kid’s a little older, you can tear out the back seats and turn the Dodge Caravan into a sweet little camper van to get to those trails. So there you go. When you offer advice, whether to clients or friends, try to:

  1. Make sure you understand the pain point you’re trying to address
  1. Think of a positive way to position yourself
  1. Embrace the mini-van

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

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