Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No Turning Back!

Well the year is in full swing and we’re getting back into working mode. I know it takes a while getting into that mode especially after many of us have enjoyed time off during the holiday season. But the cycle starts all over in January so it’s good to get back in the mode of trying to accomplish great things.
On yesterday’s post Announcing The Upbeat Dad Community Forum, I outlined a significant part of my vision for impacting families throughout the world. This forum is such a key component as I carry out this vision. As time goes on, I expect to do more public events – forums, seminars, workshops and conferences. This initial one is key, as it establishes an in-person interactive atmosphere.
One thing that I haven’t really highlighted on the blog is my career as a public speaker. I think I’m equally proficient as a speaker and as a writer. To me, there’s a message to be shared and I just seek to share it by making a connection through words. So whether those words are read or heard, the key is making that connection. I have traveled throughout the United States and overseas doing conferences and other such events for over 10 years. That experience is more fulfilling than you might imagine.
When I write, in many ways, it’s a lonely experience. I sit alone with my thoughts and type them. The wonderful thing however, is that when I’m alone and writing, the thoughts flow in a powerful way and I simply type what I hear. I believe that the words will impact the audience in a positive way. After I write each blog post, and submit it to be edited before it’s posted, it’s like a release of energy that I can’t explain. In a sense, it’s as if I’ve just given birth to something. Then later on after the post is made public, I begin getting feedback. At that point, I know that the message was delivered and I hope it was received as intended.

Rodrick greeting guests after an event
In a seminar or other public setting, the dynamics are totally different. There’s so much more interaction with the audience. There is verbal and non-verbal communication. And the energy level is so much different. If I inject humor into the presentation, then the laughter is echoed in the air and it becomes contagious. It’s just a different dynamic altogether.

I love speaking and writing equally because I think that they are both powerful tools of communication that can impact lives in a meaningful way. Most seminars and writings that I have done would be generally classified in the “self-help” or “motivational” category. My book Poems of Inspiration: A Daily Dose of Self-Motivation was on the best-seller list of Amazon and Barnes and Noble in the New Releases Self-Help category when it was published.
That’s an accomplishment that I’m proud of. But you know something? As wonderful as that may be, my greater passion is for our families, because it is the institution of the family that makes and molds the lives of our children. And children later become adults. And adults run the world as we know it.

I’m so fortunate to have grown up in a loving home. My parents have been married for over 45 years. In fact, today is my father’s birthday! “Happy birthday Daddy!” I have only known love and care from my parents - love for us and for each other. Sometimes their love for us has been demonstrated with a smile; other times, with discipline. But it’s always been with love. My 3 siblings and I have wonderful parents and in our own ways, we have become successful as a result of the labor of love that has been demonstrated by them.
So when I found myself in a failing marriage in the early 2000s, that just rocked my world. I wasn’t familiar with divorce and the whole family law system. What’s division of assets? What’s a visitation schedule? What’s child support? All of these were questions that I asked because though I’d heard of them, I really didn’t know what they were in actuality. It’s amazing to me that I lived for such a long time sheltered from this very dark and difficult life that so many have to endure.
When I saw my little 3 year old daughter caught in the middle of a broken relationship, that really broke my heart. And as much as I tried to shield her from it, there was only so much that I could do. The relationship ended and with it came the reality of divorce and its after-effects.
I vowed then, that with every fiber of my being, I would work to help keep as many families as possible from walking down that very unpleasant road. Fathers and mothers sometimes make decisions that will turn their children’s lives upside down. They never really think the entire process through. Marriages and other relationships that produce children fail every day. And unfortunately, the kids are the innocent victims in the midst of it all.
For me, this entire Upbeat Dad project is the cause of a lifetime. Every day since 2001, I have lived the life that I write about on this blog. I know of the emotions that parents and kids feel and express in their own unique ways. That’s why I write as much as I do – these emotions are very real so I try to encourage each person.  
With the forum and other future events, I just want to help give hope to those who need to hear the message. I want fathers and mothers to know that life goes on despite the difficulties that arise in our relationships. I want kids to know that they deserve to have loving parents. I want men to move beyond just being biological fathers and becoming dads to their kids. As I said, this is the cause of a lifetime and I’m ready to see lives impacted in a positive way.
Five years ago this week, I formally resigned from my job. I felt that it was time to pursue certain life goals. Being an entrepreneur is something that I realized a few years earlier was the necessary path for me to take to realize my dreams. The project that we now know as The Upbeat Dad was part of the vision but I knew it was still years away. I needed to prepare myself in other areas, relying on my skills as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and other things I had done professionally. I was entering uncharted territory but I knew this was a necessary road I had to take.

I wrote a powerful poem as I was about to resign from my job. The title is simply, “No Turning Back.” The poem is in my book that I referred to earlier in this post.
Before I share that poem with you, let me say this: We’re in early January. Many of you have made your new year’s resolutions. You know that if life continues as it has in recent years, you’ll become less fulfilled. You know that though others may observe you and think that all is well, deep within your true purpose is calling you to step out and make your visions become reality. I know that as many of you read this, I’ve struck a chord deep within you. And that’s a good thing. Your purpose will frustrate you until you’re actually walking the road that you were born to walk.
I want to challenge you with “No Turning Back.” I call it my personal Declaration of Independence. It’s been a source of liberation to many as they have contemplated their own life altering decisions. I encourage you to embrace the truth embodied in these words as you read:
No Turning Back

Can’t do it any longer; I keep lying to myself.
The yearning and the hunger won’t go anywhere else.
It’s time to feed my passion; it’s time to take control;
it’s time to take some action before I get too old.

How can I serve humanity by sitting on the fence?
How can I give the best of me, living with this pretense?
I’ve got so much inside of me that I’ve got to let it out.
It’s time to give the rest of me, and that’s without a doubt.

No more procrastination; I won’t die in a cocoon.
And no more contemplation; I’ve got to do it soon.
Can’t live with all the sorrow; can’t see my dreams decay;
the fool lives for tomorrow; the wise man for today.

There’s a fire on the inside— one that I can’t contain—
that’s yearning for the outside, where it can have free reign
to lead me to my destiny; to where I long to be;
to burn for me eternally; to make my life complete.

With one look in the mirror, I know I’m on my way;
with each step I get nearer, so I must start today.
The world out there is waiting; it’s time to get on track—
this time, no hesitating; there is no turning back.

I hope that not far from now, you will look back at this poem and see it as the catalyst that gave you the license to pursue your life’s calling. As you make this pursuit, just remind yourself that you cannot and will not turn back, no matter the cost.
Just know that you’re a champion and you were born to accomplish great things. Keep your focus and soon – very soon – you will realize your dreams!

Have yourself a wonderful day!
The Upbeat Dad


  1. Your relentless passion, dedication, and the role you play in this cause "THE UPBEAT DAD" inspire me.
    God bless you and your organization as you continue to "fight the good fight"

  2. Thanks so much for those kind words. We're just trying to make a difference in the lives of those who we are able to share the message with. God bless you and yours.