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Gradually, Then Suddenly

May 7, 2024

I recently launched a podcast called “Legacy Makers: A Conversation for Dads” with my friend Eric Blumenthal.

The idea behind the podcast is that being a dad is probably more stressful than we’d like to admit, and we need some encouragement to be intentional and to do it well. Guys don’t naturally initiate or have these kinds of conversations with one another, so we are providing a space to share and get the conversation going.

The opening episode of Legacy Makers is all about building a lasting legacy as a dad—why it’s important and where to start. In it, Eric used an Ernest Hemingway quote to emphasize why we’re starting this conversation. In his book The Sun Also Rises, one character asks, “How did you go bankrupt?” The other responds, “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

This principle applies far beyond fatherhood (and bankruptcy). A  person’s life doesn’t typically go off the rails in an instant. It’s usually a long, slippery slope. Sometimes it’s so gradual that we don’t even notice.

The Casting Crowns song “Slow Fade” depicts this truth well. The chorus goes:

It’s a slow fade
When you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade
When black and white have turned to gray
And thoughts invade, choices made
A price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade

Small things matter because they will gradually build up into big things.

This truth impacts our choices as fathers, but it should also influence every aspect of our lives.

This is why consistency is key in being the kind of father, husband, friend, and leader that I want to be over the course of my life.

Consistency is doing the small things daily.
Consistency is not just saying you care but showing you care.
Consistency is creating an environment where individuals are encouraged to be their best.
Consistency is a culture where people hold each other accountable.
Consistency matters.

Whatever you do, be intentional in small but important ways.

You don’t wake up one day and realize you have a strained relationship with your child. Start asking good questions today.

You don’t wake up one day and randomly decide you want a divorce. Pursue your spouse and choose to love daily.

You don’t wake up and realize your business has no revenue. Pick back up your outbound sales efforts.

You don’t walk into your office and are shocked to find a dysfunctional culture. Work to set the temperature of a better environment for your team.

You don’t look around and feel shocked to find that you have no friends. Pick up the phone and reconnect.

Focus on the little things you need to do now, so you don’t have regrets in these important personal and professional pursuits in the future.


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