This first month of the year has been a collective treat of life’s finest moments. So much has happened in 28 days, that I can’t help but wonder: what could this year possibly have in store for me?
Inspired by Holstee (and that amazing community of supportive growth I am now a member of) I proclaimed January as the month of “Intention”. Deeply convinced through this life’s journey that it’s our thoughts that lead to action, our actions that shape our experiences, and our experiences that define our character forging who we become in each moment, I kicked-off the year with that concept in mind. Intention. To be present. To be wholehearted. To express my creative side in revisiting and depicting the purpose of Project Mamager. To show up in life as my best self, confident in my own skin, unapologetic about my much needed personal space and setting new emotional boundaries. And as soon as I set out on that journey of deliberation, feeling the powerful vibes of this newly found plateau in life… Boom! An unexpected turn of events. Something extra to spice up the recipe. That nasty ingredient missing from everyone’s shopping list. An opportunity to test those newly acquired fragility levels, and seek new routes to grow. “Are you really that intentional about your deliberation, Mom? [says Universe] Neat! Let’s put that deliberation to the test now, shall we?”
Out of the blue, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. That’s the third time in a row for our family, but since we hadn’t had such an event for a decade, it wasn’t actively in our radar. In a week’s time, though, everyday life as we knew it took the boldest of turns. Notable amounts of Change were called in, to make room for crucial things like medical test arrangements, doctor appointments and immediate surgical procedures. All this during a pandemic lock-down, and a toddler seeking a support caregiver while the remote-working parents were juggling hectic schedules packed with deadlines. Hardly sounds like that “treat” I mentioned early on, right?
Well… in retrospect, this first month of 2021 became a turning point: this family got to revisit its core values, and play to its strengths. The Mom Framework of working through unknown unknowns, and relying on what are made of to move from Chaotic to Obvious, resurfaced to save the day. I know it may sound counter-intuitive, but this situation wasn’t all bad. Sure, it was extremely tough and demanding, stressful and exhausting, yet there were notable uncontested silver linings:
- The entire family was brought even more closely together. Deeply. Meaningfully. Deliberately.
- We worked as a team to plan out our approach and effectively manage our collective levels of energy.
- We took turns in providing for both our grandma and our toddler, calm and determined.
- We opened up to our ecosystem (friends, colleagues, managers) and proved to be extremely resourceful in drawing additional support from our extended network.
- In terms of tips and tricks, we practically did it all: took days off from work, delegated work-tasks to trusted peers, did schedule adjustments on -conflicting yet mission-critical- deliverables, sought out additional caregivers, received words of kindness and support, prayers and packaged home-cooked meals!
Bottom line: we pulled many rabbits out of our hats, and we were rewarded: we made it back home for recovery, deeply grateful that everyone is still around to tell the story of how we got lucky to stumble upon yet another Stage 1 cancer at the dentist’s and managed to treat it asap before it turned nastier!
So, all in all, the month of January for me was a bold reminder of how ordinary people can join to made extraordinary things happen, when an opportunity arises to navigate change. That message, so loudly reflected in the most recent series of events, was the synchronicity I was looking for so as to bring to you this month’s How He Does It interviewee. An acute thinker and inspired everyday philosopher. A Dad of two, and Editor in Chief. A Chess and Coaching enthusiast. A poet, and a Friend, indeed. The extraordinary Mr. Vassilis Kafiris.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an ordinary person striving for extraordinary accomplishments; my mission is to create social circumstances that encourage executives advance the business landscape in Greece. At the same time, I’m an extraordinary person with ordinary aspirations; I enjoy playing chess, reading books and spending time with my family –my wife Letta and our two kids, Apostolis 12yrs and Eleftheria 9yrs, traveling and witnessing the miracles of the world.
Stemming from your personal experience, what is the toughest part of being a Dad, and how do you manage it?
Anxiety for their safety and their well-being in the future is most probably my biggest concern. Now that they walk their way to school, they go to the bakery and the corner shop, they play with friends outside, all by themselves, sometimes I catch myself making unwanted thoughts, hard to cope with and quite distressing. I banish those thoughts by sharing them with my wife, as sharing is caring and vice versa.
Who is (are) your go-to person(s) when you need support as a Father? What type of support are you mostly in need of?
My wife Letta is always there for me, whenever I seek for assurance and comfort. Also my own –late- Dad is a source of inspiration; “what would my dad do?” sometimes I ponder, and the answer just reveals itself before my eyes.
What’s the No1 Skill (or Ability, or Knowledge) you have found handy in your role as a Father?
Leaving your Ego out of the equation; being an active listener is an ability that will save you and your beloved ones from a lot of trouble and anxiety. Quoting Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown” series: “To do nothing is often the best course of action, but I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be.” In connotation, being an active and constant listener for your children without judging or expressing personal opinion is the hardest, yet most important task.
What advice do you have for a new Dad?
Listen to your sweet-hearts, never judge them, always be emotionally available to them, and then maybe you will learn something new about yourself.