This week’s episode focuses on the topic of balancing work and family, discussing how to be a better father, and creating boundaries with the founder of a group dedicated to the idea of being more present, better dads – Jon Vroman, of Front Row Dads.
Jon is a husband, father and the Founder of Front Row Dads — a brotherhood created for “family men with businesses, not businessmen with families.” Over the last 5 years, Front Row Dads has become a diverse group of 230+ dads from 12 different countries who share a common bond of choosing to put family first as they grow their businesses.
The mission of Front Row Dads is to help men deepen their connection with their children and build a family legacy that they’re proud of.
I’m talking with Jon today, because he’s got a ton of insight to share around what it takes to become a better husband and father. Not only can he speak from his own experiences, but he’s surrounded himself with like minded men who are constantly pushing to uplevel their Dad game.
What I love about Jon is that he doesn’t claim to have all the answers… In fact, quite the opposite. He started the group because he wanted to uncover them. And he’s just as committed to learning as the rest of the men in his group.
He knows the power of collective wisdom and has built a brotherhood who are committed to figuring it out together and learning from each other’s experiences.
The Better Man Podcast is an exploration of our health and well-being outside of our physical fitness, exploring and redefining what it means to be better as a man; being the best version of ourselves we can be, while adopting a more comprehensive understanding of our total health and wellness. I hope it inspires you to be better!
Use the RSS link to find the Better Man Podcast on other apps: http://feeds.libsyn.com/404744/rss
Watch a Clip From Episode 006
Key Takeaways with Jon Vroman
- Starting Front Row Dads to win at home, not just at work.
- Establishing boundaries and protecting your calendar, so you have more time to spend on your family.
- One of the toughest decisions Jon made in order to become a better Dad.
- When you’ve got kids, how do you keep the intimacy alive with your spouse?
- Reconciling differences between you and your partner.
- How much family time is too much? Are you a bad Dad if you don’t want to play with your kids for hours on end? Hear Jon’s advice!
- Why boredom is so important to your kids’ development.
- Time for your kids, time for your partner, and time for yourself… How do you balance it all?
- Why trying to ‘feel better’ is a band-aid fix. Do this instead!
- Sauna time and breathwork = pure medicine 🙂
- Find out what Jon discovered after getting his blood work done that was completely draining his energy
- Why men need to block out the noise and listen to their inner voice.
Jon Vroman Notable Quotes
- “In the blink of an eye my son was six years old, and I realized I’m a businessman who happens to have a family on the side and I’m not an engaged father. I didn’t read all the books on fatherhood. I wasn’t having a lot of conversations around it. And there he was, six years old, a third of the way to 18. And that just was like, whoa, I’m going to miss the whole thing if I don’t get my act together.” – Jon Vroman
- “I wasn’t a terrible father, but I wasn’t the guy that I knew I wanted to be. There was a vision of something that existed, and to become a family man with a business took a lot of conversation and investigation into other people’s worlds, talking to other guys and going, ‘How do you do this?’” – Jon Vroman
- “Working hard is not my issue. I will crush it when it comes to working hard. I’ll wake up early, go to bed late, and work on weekends. The difficult thing is actually being a good husband, being a good dad. Like, when I want to go write a speech more than I want to play Legos with my son, that’s true.” – Jon Vroman
- “I was more of a moment maker for other people than I was for my family. I would spend countless hours making somebody, a total stranger’s dream come true, and yet I would sh*t the bed at every Christmas, every birthday. I was terrible.” – Jon Vroman
Dean Pohlman: Hello and welcome to the Man Flow Yoga Podcast. Today, I am joined by Jon Vroman: of Front Row Dads. Jon, thank you for joining me today.
Jon Vroman: Hey, man. Thanks for having me.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, I don’t think I’ve talked about this too much publicly but a few months ago, I was looking for a men’s wellness group in Austin that was really focused on emotional well-being. There’s plenty of networking groups, there’s plenty of small business meet-ups, but I wanted a group that was specifically men who were going to talk about stuff that I needed a better outlet to talk about, things like relationship struggles, adjusting to the new demands of being a dad, navigating that, sharing those experiences, finding camaraderie. And my Google search led me to Jon and Front Row Dads, and I eventually got on the phone with him. He talked with me for – we talked for about 30 minutes or something and you said, “Yep. That’s the group. You can sign up or not, whatever.” And I was like, “All right, I’ll sign up.” So, I signed up and I have been going to volleyball a few Saturdays every month and also participating in the online summits and conversations, slowly dipping my feet in. But, anyways, Jon, so you started Front Row Dads because you were a, I don’t know if you still do speaking but you’re a motivational speaker and you were crushing it, as you would describe but you were not crushing it at home with your family. And so, you started Front Row Dads because you wanted to be a better dad. And I love that. So, do you want to tell me just a little bit more about starting that and where you are today with that?
Jon Vroman: Yeah. Well, I love talking about this because it’s the thing that I feel was perhaps one of the most authentic discoveries of my life. You know, I always wanted to be a great dad, and I remember saying, “When I become a dad, I’m going to be the best like I’m going to read all the books and do all the stuff.” Then I quit my job just before becoming a father and getting married. I mean, I really had a good-paying, stable job and I decided I wanted to become an entrepreneur and build a speaking business, and it was way harder than I thought it was going to be. I mean, I went broke. They were foreclosing on my home. I had $100,000 in credit card debt. I mean, it was a rough time. So, this is all happening at the same time, new child, new marriage, starting a business, and what I found was I built the business. I did need to work on the business. I had to pay the bills. I mean, it was literally the difference of keeping my house or not. But what ended up happening was I ended up developing an addiction to work and I developed a habit and a routine of just working my ass off. And so, then when I was making a couple of $100,000 and I wasn’t getting my house foreclosed on, I was still working my ass off and I was like, “Well, I’ve been working so long and now I make $20,000 a speech, I should go make the money and do the thing.” But I also knew that my son was 6, and I remember…
Look, when you’re an entrepreneur and trying to build a business, it is an all-in thing many times, right? It occupies every waking moment and all the thoughts that you have. And when my son was a newborn, it didn’t seem like it was that big of a deal because it’s like if I was taking care of my wife and I could put food on the table and she was the mom breastfeeding, taking care of the child, and I could go to work and it didn’t feel like my kid was missing me and crying when I left because he didn’t even really, I didn’t think he knew I was even there, right? But what ended up happening was in the blink of an eye he’s six years old, and I realize I’m a businessman who happens to have a family on the side and I’m not an engaged father. I didn’t read all the books on fatherhood. I wasn’t having a lot of conversations around it. And there he was, six years old, a third of the way to 18. The whole thing, right? The third of the way at 18. And that just was like, “Whoa, I’m going to miss the whole thing if I don’t get my act together.”
Dean Pohlman: What were you feeling when you had that realization? What was coming up for you?
Jon Vroman: Dude, some guilt. You know, some sadness that I had not been a better dad early on, that I didn’t have my sh*t together, that I didn’t make the money earlier, that I was maybe selfish in chasing my dreams and I went through all sorts of different emotions. But in the end, I was happy that I built a business as an entrepreneur. I’m a little sad that it took me longer than expected and I missed out on some family memories but I’m glad I caught it when I did too because when we got the group together, the first initial Front Row Dads meeting in 2016, there were 30 guys who got together in Philadelphia and the whole goal was like, “Let’s not talk about business,” because all of us talked about business all the time. That’s all we talked about. You know, we went on runs and hikes and whatever we did together. It was always like, “How’s business? What are you doing? What are we going to do next?” And we loved it, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The only thing that was wrong is that we just had our priorities inverted. And so, the event was like the first one of its kind where we didn’t even really know what to talk about. You’re like, “I don’t know what to talk about with marriage.” It’s like what’s okay to say? Can I ask how often you have sex? Am I allowed to ask that?” I mean, “Am I allowed to tell you where I’m screwing up as a dad? I mean, I yelled at my kids the other day. I mean, really yelled at my kids like I’m embarrassed to say it. You all think I’m this amazing motivational speaker but offstage, I’m a total assh*le to my kids. So, am I allowed to tell you that?”
Like there was a lot of just being real with each other and finding our way in that conversation but it worked out so well that it became my full-time job. That’s what I do now, and we have a couple of hundred people in the group and it’s my all-in. I don’t do any speaking, I don’t do anything else. I just run the dads group and it’s amazing. I love it but I built the thing I needed. That’s the thing is like I’m not coming at this from a place of like, “Hey, guys, I figured out fatherhood, so everybody come and learn from me.” It’s like, no, I’m just cultivating a community of guys who are the real deal, like honest guys. They happen to be many successful business guys but they want to just have real conversations about family and do other fun things together too like just do life together, like the volleyball you mentioned.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, exactly. And what I really like about and you just said about what I really like about this group, what I like about you is that you are the curator of the knowledge. You’re not like the guy who’s in front saying, “I know that you should do this and you should do this.” You’re not claiming to have expertise in all these different areas. You are curating the experts and bringing them. And then your job is to wrap it up and say, “Isn’t that so inspiring? Like, aren’t you inspired right now? Isn’t that awesome? Isn’t that such a good thing that we can take home and practice with our families?” So, I think that’s really cool because you don’t have to, you know, you’re not so actively shaping the culture. You’re bringing it all together and the culture is evolving organically and just happens to be like this. It happens to be exactly what totally you wanted it to be. So, as a new observer…
Jon Vroman: There are things that we’ve shaped by like we’ve agreed as a community on our values. We’ve agreed on our ethos of engagement. We have agreed on some things that this is how we want to operate. And then once that momentum starts building, you do tend to attract and repel people based on that existing culture, which is co-created for sure.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And I’ve definitely noticed that you’re like, “This is what we’re about. This is not we’re about.” So, those conversations where we focus on what’s important to the community, those are present and those are highly visible and there’s a ton of engagement there. And then on things where it’s not the point of the community, those are kind of few and far between and I don’t see those as much. So, it’s great that you’ve continued to stick to your mission. I’ve had a lot of conversations with some of the dads and I don’t even know what they do. And normally the conversation would be like, in the past, it would be whatever but I’ve…
Jon Vroman: “What do you do?” is like such a common…
Dean Pohlman: What do you do?
Jon Vroman: What do you do? Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: Right. Now, the conversation starts, “Oh, hey. I’m Dean. How many kids do you have?” You know, it’s like…
Jon Vroman: Right, exactly.
Dean Pohlman: Personally, I’ve kind of gotten away from the place where I meet somebody and my first question is, “What do you do and how can you help me grow my audience?” You know, that’s what it was for a while and I think I have a pretty cool job but anymore I don’t go so deep into – I’m not so excited to tell everybody like my whole story when I meet them. I’m just like, “Oh, I teach yoga online. Yeah, it’s like on-demand. It’s like yoga for Netflix.” You know, I try to make it as succinct as possible and just talk about other stuff because that’s what we’re living every day. So, the Front Row Dads has a few areas that we focus on, business evolution, emotional intelligence, wealth, passive income. How did you decide on those or how did that, you know?
Jon Vroman: Dude, almost everything in the group has been co-created, and I give props to my amazing friend, Jon Berghoff, who runs a company called XCHANGE. And what they do is they teach a facilitation method. So, people who want to facilitate group conversations go and get trained by his company. He’s worked with, I mean, he gets paid a couple of hundred grand to go work with Google and BMW and like the biggest companies in the world bring him in and he co-creates conversations where his methodology is like, “This is how we put people together.” And there’s a science to all of it like how you structure the room and what questions are given and how much time you have to journal. A lot of it is just it’s structuring an environment which allows people to both figure out what are the strengths of the individual and the community and then how do you bring all the voices together? How do you vote on things in a sense, right? Because a lot of meetings are like you come in and you sit down and you listen to somebody and the company go, “This is what we’re doing.” And it was usually voted on by some tiny committee and then rolled out to the rest of the group versus like having a bunch of different stakeholders involved in the conversation. Like, could you have one of the vendors involved and the customers involved and the executive involved, and then an entry-level employee involved. You get all these voices to the table and you co-create something, particularly like your company’s values.
Well, at one of our retreats, we did the exact same thing. We got people into small groups. We had them talk about – we ran them through an exercise that Jon created where we had them basically put all their values together and vote up the best ones, the highest-rated ones. Then they brought all the small groups back into one large group and we co-created our values together. We did the same thing at one of our retreats to come up with our six pillars that all the men got together in groups of like six or eight. They talked about what was important to them, what did they want to measure, how did we want to gauge our success as a community. And then we gathered that intel from the group and then, of course, I do some polishing myself because somebody has to be the final editor to it just to get it to the finish line. But that’s how this was all of it was made that way. Very little was like me saying, “This is what it’s going to be.”
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, that’s awesome. So, it’s a super organic and collaborative process.
Jon Vroman: Very much so.
Dean Pohlman: That’s great. So, I’m going to just consider you. For the point of this conversation or for the goals of this conversation, I’m going to consider you an expert on the struggles that dads go through, so let’s just…
Jon Vroman: I can speak a lot from experience.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Personal experience.
Jon Vroman: I’m an expert on my internal experience.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, hey, I wouldn’t have started what I’m doing now if I hadn’t had all sorts of injuries that I had to deal with and fix on my own. So, that’s a great way to learn. Before we move on, I do want to talk about this one quote that you kept on mentioning and it’s like the ethos of the group, “Family men with businesses, not businessmen with families.” And I was kind of really pleased to hear that because my goal with what I do has always been to, “Okay. Look, I’m going to have to grind this for a while but after a while, I’m going to be able to have a work schedule that actually allows me to be present for my kids, for my family.” And so, I wasn’t coming into this maybe like a lot of other dads are with a work schedule that’s like 7:00 to 6:00, which is that was the schedule that I grew up. My dad went to work at like…
Jon Vroman: Same here.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, at like 6:00 and he was home at 6:30 and it’s dark by the time he got home. Yeah. So, I deliberately created my work so that I’d be able to start work at nine-ish or something, enjoy the morning with my family, and then finish up by like 4:00. I’m not working until like 6:00, 7:00 anymore but I’d love to hear a little bit more about family men with businesses and not businessmen with families from you.
Jon Vroman: Well, there’s a lot of ways to talk about the priority shift there. One of them could be like, do you build a business and then figure out how to fit your family into it? Or do you figure out what you want your calendar to look like for your family and then build a business around it? Now, if you’ve already got a business, then next time you go to do a planning session, you can bring that to the table. If let’s say you’re the owner of the business and you’re planning what you want this to look like, if you’re like me where I have a smaller business, I have a couple of employees, but it’s mainly like me wondering, “What business do I want to create that doesn’t end up owning me?” I want to be the owner of a business. I don’t want it to own me. So, part of it is just sitting from the intentional planning standpoint and saying, “What do I want?” Then it’s really getting clear about boundaries. I mean, what I’ve learned from other men and I’ve now implemented in my own life is really clear strict boundaries. An example of that would be like I don’t schedule anything on Mondays and Fridays, typically, and they’re just clear days. Because what ended up happening in the past was that I would pack on Friday thinking I’m going to grind so that I can enjoy the weekend with my family, but what ended up happening was I had all this momentum Friday until 5:00 and there’s a ramping down period.
There’s a getting out of work mode that I was trying to go right from 5:00 in the family mode after killing it all day and I was exhausted. You know, my work got the best of me and my family got the rest of me. That was how it went. And sometimes I would even have so much work on Friday because I didn’t have any clean-up day. I didn’t have any like, what day do I close the loop? I was constantly busy opening projects all week long, opening conversations, opening commitments, and I had no closed downtime to close the loops. And so, Friday became my follow-up Friday day. When I cleared that day, I went into the weekends feeling so much better so people can only – I only do calls like this one falls into the category, right? I only do calls one-to-ones, podcast interviews, all those things Tuesday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That’s it. If it doesn’t fit in there, it just doesn’t fit into the calendar. I got to figure out some other way to build a business, right? Because it’s not going to be the way of just – I always used to be like, “Well, I got to say yes to this opportunity,” and I’m like, no, now I believe there’s another way. There’s another way to get this done. So, my weekends are better.
Monday, by the way, I don’t schedule anything on Monday because Monday became my Map It Out Monday. Monday was like my day to plan and think and make sure that all my decisions that were Tuesday through Thursday were really strategic. That was the day that I got clear. I communicated with the team. So much of why I was running so hard was that I wasn’t delegating anything, I wasn’t building a team, I wasn’t building any systems. I was just doing the sh*t I love to do. And I was saying yes to things in conversation, creating, build like this idea and that idea and I would hire somebody and bring them on but I wouldn’t train them. I wouldn’t give any type of system. There was no structure to the business.
Dean Pohlman: What do you mean you don’t know how to do what I’m asking you to do?
Jon Vroman: Right. “I want you to do this and do this better than I could have imagined. Like, what do you mean? I have to train people. I’m hiring you to do it. I don’t want to train you to do it.” Right? But I wasn’t a leader. I wasn’t a CEO. I wasn’t. So, I was stuck in this like just grinding loop. And Monday gave me this chance to really be a thinker and make sure that I was sharpening the ax if you will, or any of the old analogies of like really getting smart with my time, measuring twice, cutting once. So, that simple change to my schedule, man, was like such a great way to become a family man with a business, not a businessman with a family. You know, I think about my friend, Jay Papasan, who wrote a book called The One Thing, and he would put his family vacation on the calendar first and then build around that. There’s all these little activities, habits, rituals, decisions that we make that ultimately land this in a place where we own our lives again and that is a beautiful place to be. And I’m happy to say that I’m there right now in the place that I’ve been working to get to but I’m not joking when I tell you that this has been a 12-year journey and now it’s been six years with Front Row Dads, 315 podcast interviews, 12 retreats. This is, I think, we’re on our tenth or something, eighth summit maybe or something like that.
Anyway, it’s so much work, right? I finally moved into a house this year that I am fired up about like I’m looking around at my life right now, Dean, and I’m like, dude, it really is going well but if somebody could see the disaster that existed for the last 12 years to get me to the point where I’m having my best year ever right now with a 12-year-old and a seven-year-old like, dude, we could spend the next five hours talking about how much of a sh*t show my life had been for years. And I’m happy to tell people that because I don’t want to present that I have somehow had this figured out when my kid was turning three. There are things I did when my kids were one and two and three that I’m proud of, and I’m very happy I did these things. I wasn’t a terrible father but, dude, I wasn’t the guy that I knew I wanted to be. There was a vision of something that existed, and to become a family man with the business took a lot of like conversation and an investigation into other people’s worlds, talking to other guys and going, “How do you do this?” And seeing their possibilities like I’ll give you a good example and you know him because you play volleyball with him. Tim Nikolaev, right? Tim retired from work when he was 30 something like retired, didn’t need to work ever again for the rest of his life. Now, he wanted to do that. He set his mission. He knew he wanted to do that.
And dude, he basically was at home with his kids as a stay-at-home dad. His wife was a stay-at-home mom. He had passive income and for five years he just was like, “I’m raising kids.” He’s got five kids right now and he did go back to work. He’s like, “Now’s the time I’m going to go back to work because this actually fuels my soul.” But he’s still a family man with a business even though he chooses to have a business. There’s nothing wrong with working and working hard and loving your mission but, dude, watching his life like he takes two months off every year and travels internationally. I mean, this year he went to Greece and he went to France, and he took his whole family. I mean, I’m talking like five kids, a nanny, like you traveled with a squad, a whole team.
Dean Pohlman: Wow. Goals.
Jon Vroman: But watching guys like that, Dean, who are doing it, man, that’s so inspiring to me. I crave that because I don’t have a problem working hard. Working hard is not my issue. I will crush it when it comes to working hard. I’ll wake up early, go to bed late, work on weekends. The difficult thing is actually being a good husband, being a good dad. Like when I want to go write a speech more than I want to play Legos with my son, that’s true.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. There’s actually a Facebook post that I picked out from you that says exactly what you said, which is I rarely have a hard time getting to work. I’m a driven entrepreneur. I’ve conditioned myself for the last two years prior to having kids to wake up and kick ass and learning to slow down has been my struggle. And that’s a quote from you. So, I’m wondering what were some of the, I don’t know, what were some of the big changes you had to make in order to start practicing slowing down?
Jon Vroman: All right. So, one is just saying no to some big projects. So, I co-founded with some other great people a charity back in 2006. It was 2006 Front Row Foundation. So, it’s like Make-A-Wish, right? We put people in the front row of their favorite live event and we had so much fun. We threw fundraisers and we did marathons and we were raising money and doing good work and it was awesome. I mean, I have the charity logo tattooed on my arm. It is a huge part of my heart. I wrote a book about it called The Front Row Factor. I mean, for 15 years, Dean, this was a huge part of my life. And what I realized was that I was a speaker, I was making money as a speaker, I was running the charity or serving as the chairman of the board, and then I was doing this dads thing and I was trying to be a family man and I was trying to be fit and I was trying, right, like all the things. And finally, I just was about to break. And I remember having a conversation with my friend, John Cain, and I’m like, “This is my baby, this is my child, this Front Row Foundation. I can’t imagine not being involved but I also can’t see how I’m going to be a great dad and keep pouring all this time and energy into this charity the way that I’ve been doing it.” And every cell of my body, dude, wanted to figure out how to do that. I so badly wanted to be the guy who was telling the story at the end of his life, how I was great dad and I ran a charity, and I did this and I had this vision of how I wanted to be all things to all people and for people to really what it is, is just to be enough, to feel like I was a good human.
Like, I used this body bag well when I was here and this soul that was given to me in a proper way. But, dude, I was more of a moment maker for other people than I was for my family. I would spend countless hours making somebody, a total stranger’s dream come true, and yet I would sh*t the bed at every Christmas, every birthday. I was terrible. And that was a reality that I had to figure out, and that has to do with your ego, right? So, I had to understand my ego and I had to understand what I was doing with the charity, why I was really doing it. But I said no to the charity. Toughest decision of my life, one of the toughest decision of my life to step away completely from the charity.
Dean Pohlman: So, it sounds like…
Jon Vroman: This thing that I had built.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. That’s so tough to step away from something that you’re spending so much time on. I mean, I can relate. Like, I think a few years ago, the thought of me like, “You mean, I’m not going to write my own post all the time? What? No way.” Or like, “I’m not going to write everything that comes out of my voice?” And then I realized like, well, I mean, I’m not going to be able to do all of this as much as I’d love to be like Dean is the point of contact for everybody. Like, there’s no way that I’ll be able to create the things that I want to create and also like have time for my family, have time for myself. So, it sounds like there’s a lot of stuff to deal with. There’s establishing boundaries, which I think what it sounds like, which you may have been leading to. So, establishing boundaries for yourself, choosing to say no to certain things. And those are so difficult because you’re not just saying no to something that you enjoy but you’re saying no to something in a way that is going to change your identity or your self-perception. And that’s really hard to do. Like, I’m thinking right now of I want to be able to keep playing lacrosse and lacrosse is a tough game. You can’t just like you get to show up on Saturday, having not worked out, not train, and expect to go play and stay healthy. But I have not given that up yet. Like, I still want to be able to go out there, play hard, make awesome plays with you guys, you know? But eventually, if I’m going to want to have all these other things going on in my life, I’m going to have to let go of that identity. But that’s really tough to do.
Jon Vroman: Maybe. You’re right. And that’s why family man with a business is an identity. And it’s been said differently by different people but I remember Tony Robbins saying it years ago when I was a young entrepreneur and following his work was that the strongest desire of any human is to remain consistent with their identity. And so, I needed to reshape my identity. It’s why you might have seen we have these leather wristbands. I was looking around to see if I have one here but we have these leather wristbands that we gave out at our retreat last year and it said, “Family man, et cetera.” That’s what the wristband just has printed on there, “Family man, et cetera.” And that comes from a story of David Packard. Let me make sure I get the story right. By the way, don’t anybody write a book about this story based on how I’m about to tell it because I could be missing some details but you’ll get the spirit of it just fine. The story was David Packard of Hewlett-Packard was a very wealthy man but he was also a very humble man. He lived in a very modest place and he really just loved building things. He was just a good soul who wanted to make things great. And at his funeral, he had a picture of him sitting on a tractor and it just said, “Rancher, et cetera,” right? And I thought that was just so beautiful because for a guy who could have a gigantic bio and that’s what a lot of us crave is like I want somebody to read the bio that’s like he wrote 6 books and ran 18 marathons, and he’s got the biggest Johnson around, whatever it is that makes us feel like we’re amazing men, right?
And I’ve been a victim of that. Like, I’ve been the type of guy who wanted – I was offended when somebody didn’t read the bio correctly because I’m like, “They need to know how great I am.” And it’s like, “Oh man, how out of control is my ego in those moments?” And the truth is, could I feel content being a family man, et cetera? Is my identity more wrapped up in my work accomplishments and what I did in the world and the fact that I ran this marathon over here or did this thing over here or donated X amount of dollars to charity, like all these things we want to be known for? And really, what we’re saying is, “I want you to know I’m a good person. I want you to know I tried.” But really, there’s this little kid inside all of us that’s like, “Please just recognize me. Tell me I’m enough. Tell me I’m loved, right? Tell me I’m okay.” That’s what we want in that bio but the truth is that could it be enough for you as a man to say, “Look, dude, I was a family man, and then I did some other sh*t?” And if that’s the case, then that’s the world I wanted to build.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And I think it really takes a lot of effort to, it takes conscious effort or a conscious action to practice that feeling of gratitude that, hey, like what I’m doing is enough because our default biology is to say, “Oh, keep going, keep going, keep pushing. No, it’s never enough.” So, you have to practice being grateful for what there is. People say it’s so important to be grateful for everything but that’s not a feeling that you just automatically get and it doesn’t go away. You actually have to practice gratitude. You’re not going to like it’s not going to make all your problems go away but spending five minutes writing about something you’re grateful for or talking about it to someone, making Facebook posts about it. Here’s a really cool idea. Instead of making a Facebook post about how much you like somebody, go and like look at them in the face and say it and see how that feels. But yeah, those are all awesome points. So, I want to get a little bit more about your experience with all the dads that you’ve interacted with. And I want to get an idea of some of the biggest challenges that they face. So, some of these could be timeless themes like adjusting to the demands of fatherhood, the evolving relationship with your wife. That was one that like really, really surprised me that you’re giving your what, not like that she’s mine, but giving up her to and she’s caring for something else now. And you’re like, “Wait, what about me?” But also, things that are not timeless. So, our current situation with COVID-19 and lockdowns and all the measures that we’re taking to prevent spread. So, can you talk to just a few of those challenges?
Jon Vroman: Sure. Yeah. Well, I think the most common challenge that I hear about usually it’s around time. How do you get it all done, right? That’s a challenge. I think for most people is just how do I build a business, date my wife, raise the kids, take care of my health, monitor the finances, do all the things. It’s just there’s a ton that needs to be attended to. And juggling all that is a constant reassessing of what’s real and what do you want, and then what does the calendar look like? So, calendar management is probably the primary thing because that is where you live your life. I mean, that is where you’re allocating your time and what could be more important than where you are putting your time and your energy. So, knowing your yeses and your nos and who gets what time where is really important, which how that plays out, practically speaking, is that – and we talk about it all the time. Our first ever Front Row Dads retreat, my friend, Jim Sheils, came in and he talked about his book that he wrote called the Family Board Meeting, and it was this simple concept of like getting one-to-one time with each child, and his formula was like one time per quarter for each child, you get four hours, go create this epic what he calls a board meeting. And he was a surfer from Florida. He was a real estate guy so the board meeting had a double meaning there of just being on the board, if you will.
Dean Pohlman: I see.
Jon Vroman: But the board meeting became this whatever you want to call it, an activity, a habit, a ritual for our men, a rhythm as often men have called it that it really serves them and their families. From there, I took that and I created now my current program and I say current program because, by the way, these are always evolving. You have to constantly evaluate where you’re at and what is available. And this would, of course, change how many kids you have, right? Like if you have seven kids, it might be different for you than it is for somebody who’s got one. But for me, I do a rotating breakfast with Tiger and Ocean every other week. So, I take Tiger for breakfast one week and then I take Ocean the other week, and I do that on Friday. That’s the way I kick off my Fridays. I wake up on Fridays and I’m thrilled, man. I know that I’m going to get a killer coffee and we’re going to sit down at a shop and have some food together, and we’re going to talk about life and that’s going to be a ritual that’s going to really work. So, I see that as being a real challenge that men face. And there’s a practical solution of how they address that, which is you talk about board meetings with kids or one-to-one time or whatever you call it, like my buddy, Grant Baldwin, calls it 3D dates. 3D daughter dates, I think is what he calls it. He has two girls. Whatever you call it, it doesn’t matter. You can come up with your rhythm and your routine. Same goes for your wife.
You know, what I learned with Tatiana and I’ve seen this with other men is they do struggle to connect with their wives when they get caught up in being roommates and co-parents versus lovers. And look, dude, I love to have sex. I love my wife. I want to see her naked. I want to be with her. And, dude, when you have kids that can walk into the room at any moment. There were things that immediately threw wrenches into our pattern that we had had before. We’re having sex every single day and then all of a sudden, we’re going weeks without having sex. And that was an important part of our time to connect. There’s a lot of science behind that too. There’s a lot of chemicals that are released that she needs in her body that come through that act of engaging with me and that physical touch that we both need. So, dude, overnight dates was a great one for us. Booking a hotel and going somewhere overnight was like, I mean, I’m talking for a couple of hundred bucks. You get out of the house and you break the pattern. Buying a lock for our bedroom door sounds like a simple one but I got to tell you it’s a game-changer when not a lock that your kids can pick either but like a real lock for the inside of your door, that she would then feel comfortable to be intimate with me. These are like little things that just you go how big of a deal could that really be? In my situation, it was a huge deal but you stack together ten of those things, and you start to really impact your relationship in a very positive way.
I could talk for hours about any of these things and I have explored this for years now on the Front Row Dads podcast because it’s a never-ending learning opportunity for me. And even right now, I’m figuring out how do we improve our sex life. But that’s something that I see with guys is that what happens is they think it’s supposed to be like it was in the past. And it’s not. You’re not supposed to go back to the way it was. There’s nothing wrong with looking at what worked and then repeating that. There’s nothing along with seeing a bright spot and asking how I might be able to replicate that. But you’re not single with no kids anymore so it’s not going to be the same and you’re going to have to be creative and innovative but there’s ways to improve all these things if you talk about it. And arguably the biggest thing, Dean, and I’ll say this is the last thing here as my rant is conversations because where all these come from is what we’re doing right now. And what you’re doing with your world and my world and like we’re having conversations and talking about this sh*t because that’s how we make changes.
Dean Pohlman: That’s exactly what I wanted to ask you, actually. So, I’m really intrigued by this idea of examining your life in the same way that you would have conversations to monitor quarterly performance at work. Now, I don’t actually do these with work because I’m like I just don’t. I didn’t grow up in corporate world and I remember them sometimes every now and then I’ll be like, “Oh yeah, we’re a business. We should have a meeting.” But I’m wondering, like, how important is it? And that’s a relative question but how helpful can it be or do you have to have regular conversations, set conversations with structure with your spouse or family meetings in order to make sure that you’re affirming your values that you’re moving in the same direction or moving in a direction where you want to go? Setting guidelines. You know, my mom sent me like this marriage agreement that was, I don’t know if you remember this, but a few years ago there was a marriage or relationship agreement that was really popular, and I think it was in the New York Times. But the idea was to sit down and go through all these things like, who’s going to do the laundry? How often are we going to cook per week? How often are we going to have sex? Like just going through all of these things that some people just wouldn’t want to quantify? And I’m wondering, how important is it to actually to do all of that?
Jon Vroman: The answer is how important is it to the individual? Geez, to some it’s really important and to other people, it’s not. And the challenge could be that it’s important to one spouse and not the other, which often happens.
Dean Pohlman: So, like what if it’s important to one person but not to the other person? How do you…
Jon Vroman: Then I think that both – there is a dance there. It’s how do you reconcile the fact that one person eats meat and the other one doesn’t? How do you reconcile any difference in a relationship and you have to get creative and what that ultimately looks like. Oftentimes, it means, hey, a little for you and a little for me, and let’s try to help each other. The 100/100 principle is like not 50/50. You do it half, I’ll do half, but we both give 100 of who we are. I love that philosophy of like you show up as 100% of the best version of yourself in the way that you were born to live and I do the same, then that’s what we can work with. It’s not like 50/50 is like keeping score. It’s said by many, many relationship people in many different ways. So, I think it’s not easy, by the way. I’m really clean and organized, and Tatiana is super messy, right? We do fall in line on certain things, which is great. I love it when we just line up but other things we don’t line up on like how we talk to the kids. Like, I have much more of a coaching background. And well, if you say it this way, it comes across. And if you ask more questions, da, na, na, na, na, na. And you know, she’s like, “F*ck you and all your coaching bullsh*t,” and she’s Russian and just says it like it is type of deal. So, I think it’s okay to be very different.
Look, dude, we have my best friend, Mike McCarthy, wrote the Miracle Morning for Parents and Families with my other best friend, Hal Elrod, and these two guys, by the way, the way they work their family is very different than mine. Mike does a family meeting every single week, and he really does it like they are routine with it. It works for them. They’re on board. It happens. Dude, if I ever told Tatiana, we’re going to have a weekly family meeting, she’d punch me in my face but if I want to go for a walk with her, we’re good.
Dean Pohlman: I think our wives would get along really well.
Jon Vroman: Yeah. That’s just not her jam, man, and it’s okay. Like, who am I to say that’s the right way to live? I have tried to say that in the past. I have tried to control the situation and say, “This is how it’s supposed to be done because I read a book on it and that makes me smart.” And it’s like, “The fact that you think you read a book on it and that’s the way it’s done makes you an idiot.” So, there’s lots of ways to do life and be a human.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. There’s a lot of things that I’ve read where I’m like, “Marissa, you should really read this,” and, “No.” Or, “Hey, what do you think about doing…?” “No.”
Jon Vroman: Yeah. There’s lots of ways to do life. There’s lots of ways to do life. And I think the best thing of all is if we can help the other person to be fully expressed when we’re not in fear. A lot of times we want to control things is because we’re scared. We’re scared if we don’t do it this way, it’s going to all fall apart. But the world has a wonderful way of organizing itself and also has a great way of giving you what you need. And sometimes what you need is the person that’s going to challenge you the most. So, look, I just think that it’s you got to figure out what works for your family. And in order to do that, you need a bunch of different examples like, look, there’s lots of beautiful homes to live in and they all have different blueprints. I don’t know, do you need two bathrooms? Do you need three? Like, there’s benefits to a smaller house and a bigger house. Where is the house? Is it in the country? Is it near the city? All these things are figuring out what you care about and then figuring out how the art, all is put together.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. That’s a good analogy. Something that stuck out to me as you were responding there, I recently read, I think upon your recommendation probably, 7 Principles of a Healthy Marriage or 7 Principles of a Successful Marriage. I’m butchering that somehow but one of the points it made was some arguments don’t have a conclusion like, “Oh, okay, so some of these conversations are just going to go on forever. Okay. That’s interesting. I didn’t think of it like that.” You know, I always thought of, “Okay. We’ve got to solve this. We’ve got to get to the bottom of this.” And some of those arguments are what’s called in discussion. Some of those discussions don’t have a, they’re not going to have a conclusion. It’s the never-ending story.
Jon Vroman: It’s exactly right, and I think a big one in that and I’ll give credit to Jim Dethmer for this in his work with the Conscious Leadership Group is he was a guest for one of our summits on emotional intelligence.
Dean Pohlman: That was one the one that just happened, right?
Jon Vroman: Yeah. He talks about facts versus stories. And so many times our arguments are because we’re talking in stories, not in facts. And a lot of what happens is we make up these stories about who we are and who they are and what really happened. And if you can speak unarguably is the way to say is that if you can speak unarguably and if you can stay in a place of curiosity both for yourself and for others, you typically end up in a better spot, a more creative spot with, I would say, more stable conclusions because you’ve considered it from a lot of different angles. But when you go in rigid and strong and like this is the way it’s going to happen and people just start arguing for their own side. I mean, we see a lot of that right now is a lot of confirmation bias, a lot of opinions being shouted as if they’re facts. But the truth is that we should stay within our families and within ourselves very open. That’s my belief. I’m not even saying that, like, that’s a fact for the world but my conclusion. Through all of this Front Row Dads stuff, there’s a million, a trillion ways to run your family. And most of what’s going to happen in the future as a father, as a husband and in this world, within your family is like you’re not even going to know what’s coming your way. You think you can predict the future. You can’t. The problems that you’re going to face a year from now aren’t even on your radar.
So, if you can stay in a place of just being flexible in the moment, grounded in who you are, knowing what you value, what you care about and most importantly, having a community of people around you to support you, community is the greatest survival tool ever. And so, we need that in our world. So, the number one habit people need is community and time to connect with them. That’s the number one habit we need.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, speaking of unpredictable events. Pandemic, wow, lots of new struggles there. So, you decided that you would get an RV and hang out with your family for three months straight and you almost strangled everybody.
Jon Vroman: That’s right.
Dean Pohlman: And just talking about that, spending increased time with your family and just, in general, spending time with your family, there is a point at which that becomes too much. And I think it’s really hard for – I won’t say it’s hard for me to understand. It’s hard for, I think, a lot of people to understand that there is too much of a good thing in that sense of their needs. I can give X amount of hours and I can be fully present and I can really enjoy it but beyond a certain point, I am not going to enjoy it and I’m not going to want to do it. And there’s guilt that comes with that and there’s the conversation with my wife where I say, “Yeah, I know I don’t want to hang out with Declan all day.” And it’s like, “Why would you not want to hang out with your son all day?” How do you deal with that?
Jon Vroman: Well, one is just being able to express it probably relieves some pressure because when we hold on to that and we don’t have somebody to sit with us in that discomfort, that’s tough. So, number one is just being able to express it or having other people express it. I remember somebody saying, “Dude, I hate playing army men with my kids,” and I’m like, “I’m not the only one? You do too? Like, it’s so challenging.” Right? So, I understand like I would see some other dad like we played catch out back for hours and I’m like, “I played catch for seven minutes and felt done. Like, am I broken as a human? Am I a terrible human father?” You know, like no. I mean, I do believe that we all have different amounts of time that we can spend with our family before we need to recharge. You could talk about whether you’re introverted or extroverted. These activities are particularly more draining for one guy than they are another. And what do you do when you have three kids and one of them loves to play baseball and so do you but the other one loves to play Dungeons and Dragons, and you hate that? So, now you’re in this conflict of like, “Well, I love to spend time with this one kid but I hate to spend time with my other kid because I can’t get into the activity.” Like, the mixture of how all this happens in people’s lives is endless. But I think to acknowledge the fact that it is okay, you don’t have to love playing army men.
There’s a wonderful TED talk by a woman named Shonda Rhimes, and I think it was titled like the Year of Yes. And she talked about how she’s a titan, and she writes for all these incredible TV shows, and she’s busy and she’s a mom. But what I took away from that was that she had this year where if her child said, “Would you like to play _____?” She would say yes. And even if it was for five minutes or 10 minutes, she would just say yes, and she would do it for five or 10 minutes. I remember talking to Hal about this in one of our band meetups where he was like, “Whenever my kids would ask me, ‘Do you want to play this game?’ I go, ‘Yes. I have ten minutes to play it right now.'” And he would say yes, and he would say, “I have ten minutes to play,” and he would play for ten minutes and then he would go back to what he was doing. But it didn’t have to be, “Yes, I’d like to play for the next two hours.” It was, “Yes, I’d love to play for five minutes. Let’s go do that.” And I find myself I learned this philosophy, Dean, years ago and I still use it to this day. The other day, I’ve got a ton of stuff I’ve got to address but Ocean was around and he’s like, “Can we shoot the B.B. gun?” and, dude, my internal reaction was, “No, I do not want to shoot the B.B. gun right now.” I just didn’t want to do it but I said, “Yes, let’s go shoot the B.B. gun.” Dude, we got the B.B. gun. We set it up. It took me three minutes to set up a target.
We shot the B.B. gun for like seven minutes and I’m like, “Dude, you’re amazing,” and I high fived him and he’s like, “Wait a minute, I want to shoot more B.B. guns,” and I’m like, “Buddy, we will. And I’m so glad I was able to shoot with you now, and we will shoot again very soon.” And that was it but I did it and I was there and I got the activity started and I was present but I didn’t have to pretend and I didn’t have to play it out for hours and hours. Like, if I tell myself, that’s what a good dad would do, well, that’s arguable.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I like that. When Declan starts learning how to do things, I’m going to have to make sure I do that. Probably with Marissa, too. I can do that now. Yeah.
Jon Vroman: And it’s okay if kids are bored like it’s okay. The other conclusion that I came to, Dean, through this was it’s fine if your kids are bored. They’re like, “I’m so bored.” I’m like, “Great. That’s where things are born.” If you just turn on another movie because your kids are bored, if you just put them in front of a screen because they’re bored, they’re never going to develop the muscle of creating something from nothing. They have to get so bored, Dean, that they can’t wait to go do something else. So, they got to suffer through all that pain and you’re like, “I can see that you’re really bored. I’ve been bored, too.” And oftentimes there’s some cool stuff that’s born of boredom so I’m actually happy that you’re bored right now. “You’re happy that I’m miserable, dad?” “No, I’m happy that you’re going through what is necessary to become a creator. And sometimes that’s painful. So, I’m okay that you’re in pain because you’ll make it. You’ll be fine. I get in pain, too. You get in pain. I get in pain. Sometimes I’m having real pain but I know that on the other side of that is usually something good. If you were being harmed, I would save you. If somebody was hurting you, I would save you. But in this case, you’re going to be just fine and I’m happy that it’s okay. I’m happy that you’re struggling because from that, you’re going to get stronger.”
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, I completely agree with the boredom statement. And I also cannot remember the last time that I was bored because I have zero free time. Well, I mean, I won’t say that but I cannot remember the last time that I was bored and I would love to feel that again. So, I’m – I won’t say fascinated. I guess I’m interested in the idea that everybody needs time. So, dad needs one-on-one time with mom. Dad needs one-on-one time with kids. And probably he needs some time, one-on-self time, just him. So, what is the, I don’t know, what’s the starting point for that?
Jon Vroman: For getting time for yourself?
Dean Pohlman: For yourself, time for your wife. Time for…
Jon Vroman: The answer’s always going to be whatever works for your family, and it’s likely going to change. How much time you’re allowed to take for yourself might be different in the spring than it is in the summer. So, it’s constantly varying. Like, if your wife’s going through something really difficult in life, you have less time perhaps for yourself in those moments. Somebody in your house might be battling a life-threatening illness, and all of a sudden your personal time is now redirected. Seasons come and go for sure in this category but the point is that you need to be honest with yourself and your family about what you need. So, I go to the gym every single day or I get some type of workout in nearly every day. Look, nothing is every day but most days I am getting that time. One of the ways that I ensure that Tatiana supports my personal time is I ensure she gets her personal time. So, if you’re ever feeling like your wife’s not supporting your personal time, it might be because she’s not feeling like she’s getting enough of her own. So, I work very hard to make sure she gets that time, right? This weekend, she’s gone all day Saturday, all day Sunday at a permaculture course. I got the boys both days all day long, and I’m glad that she’s doing that because I will also have other events, retreats for Front Row Dads or whatever. And I’ve got my time, which is usually volleyball on Saturdays, and that’s really important stuff. So, I think you need to figure out what works for you.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I’ve fallen into two traps. So, the first is I tend to think of it like, “Oh, I’ll do this for you so then you’ll do this for me later.” Like, I think of it as like tit for tat kind of. And the other thing that I’ve been terrible with at is just like built up a ton of probably is a huge source of just my overall anger and frustration is just not expressing myself like, “You know what, I’m upset that I have to be here for…” Or, “I’m upset that I have to be here or I’m upset that you’re doing this. But you know, I’m a good husband, so I’m just not going to say anything and I’m going to do it.”.
Jon Vroman: Dude, let’s do a whole show on that subject right there.
Dean Pohlman: That’s like, yeah, I don’t know how that developed. I mean, I can make assumptions. I could go back and make assumptions. But that is just a huge – that one of my New Year’s resolutions is or I don’t know if I call it a New Year’s resolution but it is, “Hey, look, people are not going to be happy when you tell everybody how you feel but you need to do it because…”
Jon Vroman: Be fully revealed, be fully expressed. Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: Not just for them, not just for me, because it hurts to like keep it all in but also because eventually, it blows up and then I get mad over something that’s like seemingly insignificant. And I’m screaming all of a sudden and people are like, “What are you? Whoa, why?” And by people, I mean, Marissa. So, yeah, it’s tough but you got to let it out. So, I have one dad-specific question and I want to ask you a few more kind of rapid-fire questions. So, what is one thing a dad needs to do? I know we talked about a ton of things but what’s one thing, in particular, a dad needs to do to take care of his mental well-being?
Jon Vroman: Well, my answer to this is always going to be whatever he needs. You know, it’s like that’s the thing about these prescriptions is you listen to a podcast or whatever and, “It worked for that dad. Shouldn’t it work for me?” And the answer is maybe not. So, if you look back on your life, what has helped you to take care of your mental health? When has your health been at its best and what can you learn from that and then model that or replicate that? Can you experiment with different things? Because for some guys, they need more time in silence, more time in the woods. I have a buddy who, man, if he’s not on the trail running at least an hour a day, he’s not okay. That is like therapy for his soul. I’ve had other people who’ve had tremendous success with these alternative medicinal ceremonies, whether it be an ayahuasca ceremony or an MDMA therapy, I’ve heard tremendous benefits of those types of resources that can be available nowadays. I think that for some men, it’s when they get in conversation that what they need for their mental health is to be heard, to be seen, to be witnessed, to not be alone. There are so many different ways but I think you’ve got to try anything. And if it doesn’t work, try something else. I mean, dude, I’m constantly experimenting. I saw a therapist three times in the last three weeks because I’m like I just want to try something new. I know that I need to get better. I know that I might be.
People might look at my world and go, “Damn, dude, he’s got a lot going well for him,” and they would be right. They would be totally right. And I’m constantly looking to improve, level up, see where my blind spots are. So, I need that in my life. But you and I both know that some of the basics are diet. You know, if you’re drinking a lot, if you’re eating a lot of sugar, man, that’s messing with your mind. If you’re not exercising, that’s definitely messing with your mind. And if you’re not getting time to think, that’s messing with your mind. So, we need to be doing activities that are joyful for us, that are healthy for us, and for each person that’s going to be very different.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I find that getting time to think is I think that’s something that’s really challenging because it’s so easy to not think, right? It’s so easy to not be bored because we have this thing. We have this thing. And that kills the time that we would normally have had to let things process and just ruminate on things. So, that…
Jon Vroman: A big one for me right now that’s showing up, Dean, is don’t always try to feel better, just try to feel more. Like a lot of us try to feel better. But what many of us need is to just feel more.
Dean Pohlman: Are you saying lean more into whatever you’re feeling?
Jon Vroman: Yeah, exactly. That I think a lot of mental health problems come by not addressing it like you were just saying.
Dean Pohlman: Just not allowing yourself.
Jon Vroman: You’re just saying, “I don’t like to feel bad so I’m going to have a beer. I don’t like to feel bad so I’m going to go work out. I don’t like to feel bad so I’m going to go…” Right? Like whatever it is, pick your poison or your remedy, right? You can, “I feel bad, so I’m going to go work.” But a lot of that is just burying feelings. A lot of that’s just like it’s a Band-Aid fix.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. That makes total sense. All right, cool. So, I’m going to ask you more questions. And I think just based on your response so far, you’re going to say, “Well, there’s no one thing and it’s not going to work for everybody,” but…
Jon Vroman: Probably.
Dean Pohlman: But I want you to just even if it’s not – like no one’s ever going to do everything that everyone ever says. Like, I doubt there’s anybody who has listened to every one of my videos and says, “Oh, I do everything that you say,” or someone who’s listening to the entire FRD podcast series and has said, “Well, I do everything that you have ever said and it’s really difficult because a lot of those things contradict one another because you’ve had 300 episodes.” Anyways, so what do you think’s one thing, one habit, one belief, one mindset that has helped you the most in terms of your overall happiness?
Jon Vroman: Habit, belief, or mindset that’s helped me with my overall happiness?
Dean Pohlman: Just any regular practice.
Jon Vroman: Yeah. I really appreciate that. This is going to sound funny but I want to give you something that is real and that is right now. Going to the sauna.
Dean Pohlman: Okay. Yeah.
Jon Vroman: I really believe that like sauna for me is pure medicine, that chance to sweat. We just bought a barrel sauna for our backyard but we’ve been going to the gym and doing the sauna, and I do that probably five days a week. And there is something very therapeutic for me about sitting in the heat and stretching and thinking that, to me, is pure medicine.
Dean Pohlman: I actually just got a – it’s like a sleeping bag sauna so you don’t have to have a sauna but you just zip.
Jon Vroman: Yeah. I know what those are. Yeah, sure. I’ve seen this.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I’m trying to think of the company, HigherDOSE. It’s called HigherDOSE. But yeah, you just turn it on, you zip it up, and you just sit there and sweat. It’s great for a number of reasons because it feels like you’re in a body bag, so you get to work on your breathing to monitor your anxiety and your response to that situation. But anyways, I think it’s pretty cool. And if I do have a little bit more space, I would plan on getting a sauna. All right. What’s a powerful, transformative tool, practice, or service, anything that you’ve used that you would recommend to other men as well?
Jon Vroman: Well, again, particularly on shows like this, I like to speak in what’s happening right now in my life because then it doesn’t get stale and old. And I did a breathwork class here in Austin two weeks ago, and whoa, like I was blown away. I’ve done breathing exercises with Wim Hof and all these different things but like this rocked my world. So, I would say breathwork is the thing I’m really excited about right now. I feel like it’s been instantly transformative. I don’t think there is any one silver bullet but I think there’s these really cool things that exist that at 46 years old I’m still finding cool sh*t like that, and I’m thrilled that that’s the way life is unfolding for me.
Dean Pohlman: Cool. What’s one thing that you do for your health that you think is overlooked or undervalued by others?
Jon Vroman: Oh, sh*t, this is going to be a great one. So, I was having some anemia problems the last couple of years and bloodwork came back was like I take a look at this. And my great friend, Sachin Patel, who is incredibly bright was also a guest at a Front Row Dads retreat, just blew everybody away. He’s like, “Dude, you should look into parasites. You might have a parasite problem.” And I had never even heard of this but this company, Cellcore Biosciences, I think is the name of the company and he ran me through this parasite protocol. And wow, dude, I couldn’t believe it but like I definitely had parasites. Yeah, and 100% I had parasites and I’m feeling way better right now, more energy. I didn’t know this was even a possibility.
Dean Pohlman: Did you feel anything in particular that would have like hinted at it?
Jon Vroman: Well, I felt tired. The blood work indicated anemia. He said this is a common problem based on what they see with your numbers and whatnot. I’m guessing this is what it is. Take this cleanse and you’ll see. I mean, dude, I don’t know how graphic you want to get on the show but when I say like the results are the sh*t, there you go.
Dean Pohlman: All right. Well, that’s good to know. What’s the most stressful part of your life?
Jon Vroman: Probably fighting with my wife. Any time we’re not getting along brings me great stress.
Dean Pohlman: What do you feel? I mean stress, obviously. But what are you feeling in those situations?
Jon Vroman: Dude, I get so triggered, I feel like I want to punch it. It’s in my hands, my anger is in my hands. I have. I broke my knuckle before, punching sh*t that I shouldn’t have punched.
Dean Pohlman: I did that when I was 15.
Jon Vroman: I did that when I was in my 40s a couple of times. So, I’ve been working on this for years and years and years. This has been my biggest trigger and I think that I just love her so much and I care so much about her, and I care so much about our family that I feel like if it’s not working, I don’t know what to do with all that energy and it’s debilitating for me. I can’t focus on anything it feels like. And so, my work is figuring that out, how to deal with that. And I’m working on it all the time.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Well, I can offer some sympathy to that situation. Definitely, it does feel like if she’s not happy with you, then like it’s so hard to focus on other things. It’s so hard to… And sometimes I don’t know about your situation but sometimes she just needs time and there’s no like, you can’t just go up to her and say like, “Hey, let’s work this out.” Like, she’s not ready. You’re going to need a few hours. So, I can offer some empathy to that situation. So, I feel you, man. All right. Last question, I think this is a great one for you. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing men and their overall well-being right now?
Jon Vroman: Oh, man. Yeah. Well, this is interesting. I mean, I think that ultimately what it needs to be, I’m going big picture here, I’m going broad is that men need to trust themselves. Men need to listen to their inner voice. They need to be. They need to understand their position in the world and the power they possess. And they need to, in many ways, they need to stop. This is interesting because I’m going to say something, and it’ll sound contradictory to what I’ve said earlier is like stop listening to so much sh*t around you, whatever’s on the news or on the radio or whatever. There is an unhealthy level of like everybody else tells me what to do with my life. There is also a very healthy level of like looking out and getting samples of what’s possible. But what I’m getting at is that the thing that men need to do for their overall well-being is ultimately that you can open up the tune, that you open up the channels to tune in to other sources but you need to close those down and then know what you think. What do you know is right for you? What do you know is right for your family? What do you want to do? What do you want from your marriage? What do you want for your kids? Like, at some point, turn off the podcast. Turn off the radio. Step away from the community. Sit with yourself and figure out who the f*ck you are and what you want for your life and then step into that role and own that, not in an abusive way. Don’t become a dictator but just a powerfully present, purposeful father and husband and man who’s like, “I know who I am. I don’t have to dominate you and dominate you but it’s like I am standing in this power that I know is within me because I am a unique soul and I have something to offer.”
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I love that. And I think if you’ve never done anything like that before, go into nature or go to your porch, your backyard. Just go somewhere that there aren’t any distractions. Bring a notebook and a pen with you and then write, “What do you want?” And then answer it and just see what comes up. And so, many people don’t ever do that or examine like what they want or what they’re trying to get out of life, what their vision is. And I’ve found that to be really difficult but also very powerful.
Jon Vroman: For sure.
Dean Pohlman: Man, okay, that was an awesome conversation. So, I want to tell people where they can if you’re looking to, as Jon said, he spent hundreds of hours talking about this kind of stuff and so much more. So, what’s the best way to hear all that?
Jon Vroman: Well, I think if somebody is listening to this, they’d probably dig the podcast, so Front Row Dads podcast. Go search the headlines and see what calls to you and just cherry-pick from there is a great place to start. It’s free. It’s easy. You can take it as you wish. And if you want to take the step further, FrontRowDads.com. You can learn about what the brotherhood is. That’s the place where you make the bigger commitment and jump in, and it’s for the guys who are ready to level up and join a community. So, there’s lots of great communities out there. I’m very proud of ours and it’s not going to be for everybody but it is going to be for somebody. And that’s it. Those are the two places I would say.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And I want to say something about the community. By the way, there is no affiliate relationship. There’s no kickback of any sort. Jon does not pay anybody to talk about Front Row Dads. It is a completely if you want to join, join. That’s it. There’s no nothing. So, you knowing that, I will say what I really like about it in addition to the kind of stuff that we cover, is that you actually facilitate one-on-one conversations. I was a little concerned that coming into it there would be just like, “Oh, we get to listen to this guy talk on a podcast,” or, “Oh, we get to listen to this guy talk on a live summit.” But what you do is really cool. You break people off in one-on-one conversations in these summits. And you actually get to have one-on-one conversations with other guys who are in this position in a certain situation where they’re ready to be vulnerable and ready to talk about stuff that’s real. And I haven’t been able to do as many as I want but I’ve had a few conversations and I can remember everything that we said in those conversations. So, it’s just really cool. So, Front Row Dads, really cool organization. Definitely check Jon out.
Jon Vroman: Thanks, Dean. Appreciate that.
Dean Pohlman: All right. Well, I think that’s it. Thank you again, Jon, so much for joining me. Hopefully, we can interact a lot more and wishing you the best.
Jon Vroman: Thank you so much for having me, man. Love what you’re up to and your name just got plugged in the group, by the way. I don’t know if you saw it.
Dean Pohlman: Oh, really?
Jon Vroman: Yeah. You just got brought up, which is really cool. So, people are paying attention to your work too.
Dean Pohlman: Sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens there. All right, guys. Thanks so much for listening to the Man Flow Yoga Podcast. I hope you like it. I don’t know how you help but Jon will know a lot more about this. I think you download it. Downloading it is helpful, correct? Yeah? To other stuff?
Jon Vroman: Yeah, sure. Download it and also write a review.
Dean Pohlman: Write a review. Yes, that’d be helpful. Sweet. All right, guys. I’ll see you on the next show or the next video. Have a good one.[END]
- Front Row Dads
- Front Row Dads Podcast
- Front Row Dad Brotherhood
- The Front Row Factor: Transform Your Life with the Art of Moment Making
- Jay Papasan
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results
- The Family Board Meeting: You Have 18 Summers to Create Lasting Connection with Your Children
- Grant Baldwin
- The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families: How to Bring Out the Best in Your KIDS and Your SELF
- Mike McCarthy
- Hal Elrod
- Jim Dethmer
- The Conscious Leadership Group
- My Year Of Saying Yes To Everything (TED Talk)
- Wim Hof
- Sachin Patel
- How Every Dad Can Decrease Stress & Live Longer with Sachin Patel
- Cellcore Biosciences
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