Years ago I fought a battle between the “Work Me” and the “Home Me” – What I thought was two people vying for the same space in my head and heart.  It took the right combination of a new direction at work, my kids at home and extreme circumstances to break this mold.

My daughter had just been born, my mom needed me to provide care morning, noon, and night, meanwhile work was in “ludicrous” speed and I was working 70+ hours a week.  Yep, “Red Cape” will be a future post, but in the meantime, I discovered something from work that I helped me become a better husband and father.

My team was working 5 hours required overtime every day, average tenure on the team was 1.5 months for more than 40 people and our newbies were training our newbies.  We didn’t have time for the piddly stuff that happens between coworkers when stress is at an all-time high.  So instead of me trying to mediate every little conflict, I created “The 3 Rules” where the team would have to answer (hopefully to themselves) the ideas before getting worked up.

No Assumptions – Old adages aside, this really encapsulated the idea that before you go pointing a finger, you step back and try to believe the person had the right intentions.  It means, you ask questions before you suddenly jump down someone’s throat.  “He called me stupid in that email!” – Did he really use that word or were you reading between the lines? And before you reply…

No Reactions – Reactions are emotion-based, kind of difficult to have dialogue when one person is feeling slighted.  Respond, it allows you to think first before a quick reply, “We’ll you’re a big, stupid, poopy-head!”  Reactions typically do not resolve situations, they aggravate them.

No Excuses – At the end of the day your coworker, your customer, and your company really don’t care that you’re having a bad day, they care about each process, each policy, every time, being produced with accuracy and efficiency.

Those sound great right?  But how did those rules suddenly change the Irish temperament of a guy struggling to find enough coffee in the world just to stay awake and have the energy to be a dad, husband, and son-aide?

A glass falls and shatters on the floor. I could assume the Teen was not paying attention and start yelling at him to get his head out of wherever.


I could ask what happened and maybe discover he was just nearby when the vibrations from the dishwasher knocked the glass off of the counter (the glass that I probably set too close to the edge).

So that covers the first two rules – but how does No Excuses work?

My kids don’t care that I have a bad day at work, they still need me to be a great dad.  My wife wants me to be a good husband.  No matter what is going on my life, I choose to not allow any alibis or excuses on why I can’t be.  Sure there are days I’m less than stellar and days that I get the coffee mug and t-shirt of greatness! None of us are perfect every day, we just try to be better.

No Assumptions

No Reactions

No Excuses