The Kids are Alright

Two and a half years ago, my divorce was final.  After more than 12 hours of mediation, we had a settlement.  Very simply, she got everything we had that wasn’t levered, the kids, and I got all the debt, and a 2 hour drive one way anytime I wanted to see my kids.  At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing, by buying her a house, not insisting on her and the kids coming back to Houston, etc.  I was the one who had been unfaithful, so I “deserved” to be left with nothing but debt, and limited access to my kids, right?  Since my divorce, I avoided bankruptcy, met an incredible woman, remarried, found peace, and in the process, discovered that I’m an incredible man, father, and friend.  Most recently though, I decided to start fighting for my children.

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Today, we are in court again.  This makes the second time since we were divorced, and of course, over money and kids.  It’s sad that two parents can’t compromise in order to avoid court intervention, but when two people truly believe that they are acting in the best interest of the child, it makes things quite difficult.  I keep telling myself that to make it easier to process.  It sucks.

Often, I want to sit down at my computer and write a blog that makes me look like a hero and my ex the villian, but honestly it would be a lie.  I hurt her, she hurt me, we couldn’t reconcile, we got divorced, and now we have two incredible kids in the middle of what has always been a challenged relationship.  Both of us are trying like hell to bring up our kids in a way that mitigates the deficiencies of our past and previous experiences.  I constantly remind myself that the kids are alright.

So many times, children are the only victims of divorce, and with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart, I say to you, all who will listen, my kids will not become victims.  We will surround them with lots of love, respect, and SHOW them how to forgive, demonstrate grace, even when it is not reciprocated.  Yes, I get angry, and frustrated, but when I see their sweet faces, full of innocence and curiousity, I want to be the man they need me to be.

For those of you from broken homes, I want to challenge you with a thought.  The only difference between broken homes and blended homes is love, and remember, the kids are alright.

Half the Woman

Half the Woman

Three daughters later,
A son was born.
Unexpected;
But just as planned.

She taught him to work,
Fear God and forgive,
Protected him;
Played catch, and held his hand.

Showed him how to love,
How to give,
To stand up for what is right,
To never give in.

Never wavering,
Never failing,
Never selfish,
Always there.

As the boy became a man,
I just hope,
I become, half the woman,
She’s always been.

I have always loved you,
And always will.

dlh

Google Me Bitch

Last week, I traveled to Phoenix with my EO forum to attend the Bondurant school of high performance driving.  It was an incredible experience, and I highly recommend the school to anyone interested in improving their driving skills.  We also got a chance to meet the founder, and former Gran Prix driver, Bob Bondurant, which was a huge bonus.

Although the driving school was most likely a once in a lifetime experience for me personally, it wasn’t what I’ll remember most about the trip.  I left Phoenix with a much more valuable nugget.  I learned that my personality, coupled with my insecurities and past experiences can make for a frustrating experience for strangers and friends alike.  This “quality” is a defense mechanism that I’ll explain later, and is one I share with the late Marylin Monroe.

If you Google Dan Henderson, you’ll most likely discover the UFC champion Dan Henderson, or Hendo.  However, if you Google Daniel Henderson, you might find me; a self-proclaimed blogger, entrepreneur, and truth seeker.  No, I don’t have my own Wikipedia page, but I have staked claim to my own little spot in cyberspace, where I can make up ridiculous tag lines, challenge people to think, and share my most recent experiences and discoveries.

Contrary to what some might say and/or believe about me, and like Marilyn Monroe, I’m an introvert.  I enjoy close friendships, recharge with time alone, and fittingly use sharp, self-deprecating humor as my primary defense mechanism.  It’s often raw and disruptive, and secretly in an attempt to cause a person to judge, and when they do, I’ve got them.  It’s gross when you think about it in that context, so I prefer to think about it as a way to guard my heart, however, thanks to a few friends, I’m now exposing it for what it is in an attempt to grow.

So to those that don’t know me and would like to, think you know me but don’t, or coudn’t care less to know me, but somehow stumbled upon this blog post because you’re a Marilyn Monroe fan, don’t bother Google with the query. There is little you will find, save this blog, that allows for a look inside my soul where hurt and hope share a room, and truth remains the hidden treasure.

accept you.

Fathers Raising Fathers

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This past weekend, I spanked my son, which is one of only a few times over the course of his young life.  It broke his heart, and mine even more.  I lost sleep over it that night, woke up with it on my mind, and have thought about it many times since.  I desperately wish I could have taken it back.  He was over it a few minutes later, which adds to the many lessons I have learned being my son’s first time father.  He didn’t hold a grudge, and later that night told me how much he loved me.  He still smiles when I tell him he’s my hero; he is.

Like so many Dads, I only see my kids every other weekend, alternating holidays, and during the summer.  I’m very sensitive to the time we have together being quality time, free of distractions, or worse, constant entertainment.  We play outside, ride our bikes, go to the park, watch movies at home, and whatever else that allows us to engage as a family.  However, I’m likely more lenient than I would be if the kids lived with us full time.  I know how important discipline is, but don’t want our entire weekend to be full of timeouts, which wouldn’t be hard.  We try to be as consistent as possible, but avoid spankings nearly altogether.  I never want my children to be afraid of me.  I was on the receiving end of a few spankings growing up, one of which still haunts me.  I don’t harbor resentment, but wish I could have been there as an adult to protect the younger version of me.  When I have spanked either of my kids, I’m reminded of how I felt at five years old.

Parenting is the most difficult responsibility I have experienced thus far, and the most rewarding. As my journey continues, I am hopeful that I become the man my son wants to be.  Strong, meak, humble, loving, generous, and kind.  I often feel as if none of those words describe me, but I’m thankful for a child’s grace.

I’m thankful to be part of a generation of fathers who desire to be more than bread winners, but instead, available, interested, engaged, and who most of all put family first.  We are raising more than men; we are raising fathers.

Significance vs Success

It’s been more than a month since my last post, and it certainly hasn’t been because I haven’t had anything to say.  I settled a lawsuit with my previous employer, am back in court with my ex over money and custody issues (why wouldn’t I be,) and got into a bad business deal with my brother, which has caused further strain on our already fragile relationship.  However, in spite of what certainly could be considered a bad set of circumstances, I have been able to stay excited about some of the things I’ve been working on, particularly with acceptance, and my new found love for connecting people and accelerating businesses.  I’m having fun, and that’s ok with me.

However, what I am most excited about is the evolution that is taking place in my heart and mind around significance versus success.  For most of my life, I have pursued success as my ultimate goal, however, I’ve realized that significance is a far more rewarding prize.  There have been many successful men and women that have lived and died, most, you’ve never heard of, however, those that were most significant, who changed the world in some way, were mostly common people with extraordinary dreams and ideas.  I want to be one of those people.  I want to change the world.

When tomorrow never comes, my hope is that I gave more than I took, and led a life of significance in my home, community, and ultimately the world.  I don’t think this is an unachievable feat, as it has been done many times before.  It takes awareness, passion, and action.  Steve Jobs said, “Those that are crazy enough to think they can change the world, usually do.”  He was right.

I’m on to something, and the journey is just beginning.  Keep Calm & Carry On!

Will Lie for Food

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At twenty years old, I had three or four employees and was running out of cash quickly.  I had borrowed a total of $45,000 from my Dad to start a company earlier the same year.  I had highly underestimated what it was going to cost me to be in business the first year, and thought my entrepreneurial career was coming to an end as quickly as it had began.  However, just a few weeks before Christmas, my only salesman stumbled upon an opportunity that resulted in us merging with another company.  Over the course of the following two years, my income skyrocketed, as did my standard of living.  I bought a big house, several cars, and thought I had made it.  Turns out, most of the money I earned, was not from the work we were producing, but rather from investors.  Our intentions were pure, but clearly within a couple of years, we had created a cash eating monster, and we couldn’t generate enough revenue by selling our products and services, so much of our time was spent in front of investors.  Over the course of the time I spent with the company, there had been multiple times that I chose to look the other way, because frankly, doing the right thing would have cost me everything.  A few months later it did.

Shortly after I moved back to Corpus Christi to work along side my Dad, I witnessed him pay off one of our vendors.  I remember our conversation on the way back home like it was yesterday.  I confronted him calmly, but he immediately became defensive.  He explained to me that it was not possible to be successful in the oilfield by being honest.  I was crushed.  A year prior, I lost it all to do the right thing, and here my Dad was telling me that honesty didn’t belong in business. I wrestled with how I was going to continue to work for someone that didn’t share the same values as I, and what made it even more difficult was the fact that my boss was my Father.  Knowing him was more important to me than convincing him there was another way, however, we did discuss boundaries regarding our differences, and he respected them until his death.  I came to realize that my Dad was a Darwinist.  With a second grade education, he figured out how he would put food on the table for his family, even if it meant he had to lie, cheat, or steal.  

Recently, I’ve been forced into a tight spot, and have once again wrestled with the fine line between protecting my family or doing what’s right; maintaining my integrity, even when no one is looking.  Cautiously, I have searched my soul, and have come to the conclusion that I must remain true to my core values.  I tell the truth, because I have lied.  I don’t cheat, because I have cheated.  I don’t steal, because I have stolen.  It certainly would be much easier to stand on the corner with a sign that said, “Will Lie for Food,” but for now, I’m sticking to my guns.  Hopefully, we don’t starve.

Change Junkies

change-the-world.jpgI’ve joked about entrepreneurialism being a disease, a curse, and possibly even an addiction.  It’s no joke.  It is involuntary, and wreaks havoc on your body and mind.  At times, being an entrepreneur makes it difficult to be in the moment, or maintain a healthy work-life balance.  It requires that you take risks, which often times include those closest to you taking the same risks, whether they agreed to or not.  Entrepreneurs are innovators, problem solvers, have a high need for achievement, but most of all…are change junkies.  I absolutely love challenging the status quo, and exposing complacency.  I love to disrupt rhythms to find a rhyme or riddle for that matter.  Change is the catalyst to solving any problem, no matter the size, scope, or genre.  But change has a price, and it’s too high for most to consider.  For me, fear remains a constant reminder of my past and potential failures, but my disease is what drives me to change, grow, and repeat.  Life is collection of experiences, not things.  Without change, your collection will remain small.

Recently, I’ve been quite discouraged.  My income is hemorrhaging, I’m lacking in creativity, I’ve got writers block (fun to say that,) and many of my most recent deals have gone South.  But…I feel alive, and as crazy as it sounds, it’s times like these that require a tremendous amount of focus, determination, and work.  And I don’t mean mental masturbation…I mean get on the phone, get in front of the right people, ask for the order kind of work.  With cash reserves diminishing, that time is here for me and my house.

As I prepare to change my situation, I challenge you to do the same.  Let’s be change junkies together!  I promise, we’ll live to tell about it.

Also, if you want to help change the way the world looks at you and others, visitacceptance.org or facebook.com/acceptanceisbeautiful.

It’s Nothing Personal, It’s Just Business…Right!

From the time we are young, most of us are taught to be kind, considerate, respectful of others, and above all honest. In school, we learn to be punctual, responsible, and that there is a direct link between application and results.  Sport teaches us the value of working together as a team. College attempts to prepare us for adulthood by introducing accounting, ethics, psychology, sociology, and politics.  For a lot of us, our first job teaches us something much different.

My first “real” job was with a shipping company; I was 18.  For two weeks I received on the job training.  I learned how to operate the computer systems, drive a forklift, dock safety, and the company history.  My first day on the dock however, I learned about unions.  Over the next two months, I quickly became one of the most efficient workers on my shift.  The union workers hated me, and gave me hell.  I was cursed, threatened, forced to pay dues, and bullied.  I quit not long after a friend of mine was forced to defend himself in a fist fight.  He was unharmed.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be as lucky.

Since that first “real world” experience, I’ve had many more, and have learned that business is mostly a dog eat dog world, driven by the fear of many, and the greed of few.  Where secrecy, silos, and perception reign; and the arrogance and ego of men is celebrated and glamorized.  Where nothing is personal, just business.

Imagine this year’s best selling books with the following titles:

  • The Top Rung: How to Deceive your Way to the Top Through Bribery and Manipulation
  • Bankruptcy as a Business Plan: How to Make and Keep Millions you Don’t Deserve
  • Lawsuits for Hire: Let’s Hope they Settle
Do you think people would buy these books?  Maybe, maybe not, but I can tell you that this is exactly what happens every day in business all over the world.  I wish I was exaggerating, but this is the world we live in.  Thankfully, there are those who still believe in doing the right thing, and that Winners Never Cheat.  I am one of those people, and also one who believes that everything is personal.  We have a personal responsibility to be kind, considerate, and respectful of others.  To do the right thing, even when no one is looking.  To speak up when something isn’t right, and above all be honest.  I’m not sure when and where all of what we are taught as children and young adults gets scrapped for an entirely different set of ideals, but I’m confident if more people refused to compromise their core values, we’d have a lot less corruption, bankruptcies, and bailouts.
I lost quite a bit of sleep last night due to a recent lawsuit that was filed against me and a company I own.  It certainly comes as no surprise, but serves as a reminder of some of the things I’ve pointed out above.  I’ve already experienced a roller coaster of emotions, but must remain calm, and remember that “it’s not personal, it’s just business.” Right.

Write Your Own Damn Book

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Since writing my NTH post, there have been a number of responses; some of which were expected, and others more surprising.  There have been fleeting moments of regret, but I remain steadfast in my mission.  I met with my editor a couple of weeks ago for the first time.  He interviewed me for a couple of hours, and took several pages of notes.  Although we haven’t defined a core message for the book, we have some concepts to begin with, which I think will shape up nicely and be something worth reading.  What’s particularly interesting is that when I decided to write the memoir, I had no intentions of selling the book, or at least marketing it to sell, but I’ve been very encouraged by my supporters, and now feel a higher sense of accountability to ensure that whatever I write will be interesting and worthy of the couple dozen dollars someone may shell out to get a copy.  Nevertheless, I have my first assignment, which is to identify a core message, and write a 10 page introduction for the book.  The non-conformist in me would argue that it would be possible to have more than one main theme, however, I must defer to the experts I have asked to assist me, and wrestle with my conscious to identify the most urgent and important message I want to communicate, considering this may be my first and last book.  Instead of doing this on my own, I thought it might be interesting to request feedback from my supporters by inquiring what you would be most interested in reading about.  Here are my top three potential core messages for the book.  Have a look, and leave a comment below this post should you feel compelled to do so.

  • Importance of self-worth and self-acceptance – Arguably, my low self esteem has been the primary driver to become an over-achiever in anything and everything I have done.  I’ve never been the smartest, or most talented, but my need for approval manufactured a grit-like quality that allowed me to achieve success in many ways, or alternatively blow mounds of money to gain acceptance and/or approval.  Go big or go home is an understatement when fumbling to find the write words to describe my over-the-top style.  However, once I was able to expose this deficiency, it has allowed me to grow in many ways, and redefine what is most important to me while I’m here on earth, and what I want to leave behind when I leave it.
  • Transparency – For the majority of my life, I’ve always been very forward and direct.  I don’t like small talk, and have never been afraid to speak my mind, however, I didn’t come to know the value of transparency until early adulthood.  When you expose your own fears, weaknesses, and sin, it can create a sense of intimacy only described by experience.  Unfortunately, the flip-side is that transparency can get you cut out of deal, betrayed, judged, and worst of all, killed.  Telling the truth can get you hurt, but living a lie is much worse.
  • Doing the right thing – Anyone who knows me well, knows that doing the right thing is extremely important to me.  At times, I have chosen not to do the right thing, but when possible, I’ve made things right.  A person might think that doing the right thing will result in good things happening, but in my experience, it’s been quite the opposite, especially from an outward perspective.  We have opportunities to do the right thing every day, and more often than not, people choose to do what’s best for them.  Yes, we are selfish creatures, but I plan to spend the rest of my life attempting to prove up that doing the right thing is what matters most.

No matter the core message, my life stories will be interwoven throughout the book, as to draw reflection and perspective to the main theme. I also need to identify who my main audience is.  This is particularly tough for me, because I think my story has potential to appeal to many demographics, and especially young adults, as well as men and women alike.  However, it would be interesting to hear from those that do find what I have to say appealing and why.  Thanks in advance for your help, and for being part of the journey.

The Gift of Giving

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Tomorrow is Christmas.  It’s a day of giving and receiving.  In addition to the presents under the tree, perhaps we could give…

  • The forgiveness we’ve been witholding
  • Another chance to a loved one who deserves it
  • A hot meal to someone who is hungry
  • A random act of kindness to a stranger
  • Our kids some quality time
  • Our family a break
  • Our feelings a vacation
  • Ourselves some quiet time

Take a moment this Christmas to remember what matters most.  Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Daniel, Ashley, Kyson, & Sariah…oh and Sadie (our dog) and Kikki Reece (our new cat)