Experts Unleashed

The Family Board Strategy: EU 101 with Jim Sheils

Tags: life, family, strategy, business, Success

I am over the moon and excited to have our guest for today.

We got fresh new content and a fellow resident in the St. Augustine beach area. 

He is the author of The Family Board Meeting. He is an entrepreneur that wanted to make sure he did not get lost at home. 

His name is Jim Sheils.

And we are going to talk about a completely new topic that we have never covered on podcast – business, life, and family and how all of that interconnects.

Find out here. 

You'll Discover:

  • We can be successful in business and successful at home. [7:41]

  • The one-to-one principle. [16:21]

  • The intermittent tech-fasting. [18:11]

  • Get fun activity with focus reflection with your family. [24:54]

  • Your spouse is the most important investor, team member, or client in your business. [30:56]

… and much more!

Watch Interview

Episode Transcript

EU 101 audio

[00:00:00] Jim Sheils:

If you really care about your family, you want to have stronger bonds, stronger connections. All the people that I know that are achieving that use the one-to-one principle. They’re making sure they schedule one on one time with the people they love, and they do it like a real calendar that, which we schedule gets done.

You schedule that one-on-one time.

[00:00:19] INTRO:

This is experts unleashed, revealing how professionals and entrepreneurs transform experience into income while positively impacting the world.

For years, Joel Erway has helped entrepreneurs develop and launch their expert based businesses growing them beyond six and even seven figures a year. Now a professional expert serves their community through paid training education or service. This podcast will help you design and execute your plan to become a six or seven figure expert without a massive team.

To get more information or apply now, visit theperfectexpert.com. Let’s get started.

[00:01:01] Joel Erway:

Hey, what’s going on, everybody. Joel Erway here and welcome to another very special episode of experts unleashed. You are in for an amazing treat. Today. I am over the moon, excited to have our guests on here today because we are talking about a completely new topic that we have never covered on the podcast here today.

I’m excited for a bunch of reasons. Number one. Fresh new content. We’ve never covered the angle. And number two, I’m speaking to a fellow resident in the St. Augustine beach area. And so, I’ve got Jim shields on, who is the author of the family board meeting. I was exposed to Jim’s book probably two or three years ago.

And it was, it was, I don’t even remember who introduced it, who gave us the book. I don’t even remember why we got the book, but it was, I. Like we got it. I actually bought two copies, my wife and I said, okay, this is important. This is an important topic. We both got it. And we sat in bed one night and we read it, cover to cover in this fan of like an hour, an hour and a half.

And so I’m really excited to kind of be like, dive into that. I’m excited to talk to Jim and we’re going to talk about business, about life and family, and how all of that interconnect. So, Jim, welcome to the show.

[00:02:10] Jim Sheils:

Awesome to be here, Joel. Glad to always help out a local. And obviously we have some mutual friends and the fact that you, the, you got something out of the book, I’m always thrilled to hear that.

[00:02:20] Joel Erway:

Yeah. So, our mutual friend is Daniel Marcos. Daniel was actually on the podcast a couple of months ago. And I was telling Daniel that, you know, Hey, you know, we have a place down in St. Augustine, and he’s like, oh, I love St. Augustine. In fact, I was there. I don’t know some somewhat recently to an event of yours, Jim.

And so that’s how that whole conversation started. That’s how we got introduced and I’m excited to kind of dive into it. So. Let me first kind of get people, a background of like how I got exposed to you. So, you know, as I said, we, we got the book, my wife and I read it and like, this is amazing. Like, this seems so simple.

We have always had a family-first focus with our business and as entrepreneurs and as business owners, it’s very easy to get sucked away from that. And so, when we read that book, we’re like, wow, this is a clear formula. An impactful formula because I think the big idea was you only have 18 summers with your children, with your kids.

Make the most out of it as you can. And so how we implemented it, we’ve done the family boardroom strategy, which is I’ll have you kind of explain it a little bit deeper, but we actually kind of like pivoted it a little bit and more so in the summers, what we do is I take Fridays off. I’ve taken Fridays off for about three years now and we dedicate Fridays to family fund Fridays.

And so, every Friday in the summer we do a small. The four of us, you know, my son, my daughter, and my wife, and we do these little mini trips all over the place and we film them and then we document them, I’ve got my video editor. She puts a collage together or a little montage together at the end of the summer.

And it’s just amazing. And that all stemmed from your book. And so rather than me kind of explain your theory of, you know, in your concept of, it’s not really theory, but your concept of the family board meeting, don’t you give us a little background about how it came about, and then we can.

[00:04:07] Jim Sheils:

Yeah, sure.

I’m not a family psychologist. I’m not a therapist. I’m not any of those things. I’m an entrepreneur that wanted to make sure he didn’t get lost at home. You know, I met a lot of people through the years, Joel, they were really successful in business and they were basically failing at home and I never wanted to be like that.

And I probably could have taken that direction, but I’ll tell you, there’s an interesting story. I know Daniel knows, but you probably don’t even know it yet. It was back in 2011. I was sent an. About this guy named Walter Isaacson. And his claim to fame is he was the biographer for Steve jobs. And it was a really interesting read because he was being interviewed a few days after Steve Jobs had passed away.

And the article said Steve jobs spent his final days surrounded by close family. And he used the opportunity for final interviews to explain to his wife and kids why he wasn’t there. In fact, jobs was quoted as saying, I wanted my family to know who I was. I wasn’t always there for them. And I wanted to explain why and for them to understand.

And I give this guy Isaac in a lot of credit. I don’t know him, but he fired a question at Steve Jobs. He said, Steve, are you glad you had a family? Are you glad you had children? Powerful question, especially, you know, you’re there with quite arguably the most successful entrepreneur of all time, Steve fired right back.

And he said it’s 10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever. Hmm. And that really stuck with me. Joan, of course at first, I tried to, I like didn’t want to take the lesson that was being thrown in me. You know, I was crossing up my arms and saying, oh, well, Steve jobs, he had a reputation for being a jerk.

That’s not me. Right. But I thought about all the times I moved those benchmarks, those goal posts. That I was half in at home and pretending to be there and on my phone and how many times I just had made the promise yet once I get to this next one, then I’ll be available. And you know, I’ve been told people receive extreme clarity at the end of their life.

And if there’s any truth to that, Steve Jobs just left me some important clues. And you know, you go back, you know, whatever 12 years now, almost now, when this started, you know, at that time when I read that article, I had brought my real estate investment company back from near bankruptcy from the oh eight meltdowns at that time.

So, we were doing okay, but still licking our wounds. I was in the process of, of growing our family. You know, I now have five children, some adopted some biological, my wife and I were going through miscarriages at the time which is a pretty, you know, heavy time, if any of people out there have gone through that with their own spouses.

And then to top it all off, right at that time, I had just gotten the letter of approval a few days earlier to donate a kidney to my father. And that was a really big thing that we went through. And when you go through things like that all happening at once, Joel, I don’t know what happened to me that time, but I really did change as a person and my curiosity and my commitment towards family.

Really changed and it was never the same. And it led me to the work that I was doing today. And what I found was this one simple principle that I talk about the family board meeting, where, you know, Daniel got into it, then came to our retreats and then now you’re into it. It’s because it’s so important about the people we love at home and sometimes get lost in the shelf.

Yeah. And the whole point and premise of the work we got into with this book and then growing this family education company was because I wanted to see entrepreneurs need to start because we’re always our own product. Right? We’re a product. I needed these things. I needed these lessons. I was not where I wanted to be.

I wanted to see people be successful in business and successful at. And there was really no one offering that second side. You and I can go to incredible events of how to expand our marketing, how to tighten up our numbers, how to land better clients. These are all important things. But really there was nothing teaching us through the entrepreneur mindset of how to be more successful, more grounded, more connected at home.

And that’s what I wanted to create. And, and the family board meeting was really a product of just stories. As you read the book, it’s pretty personal. I didn’t want to talk about these things. They were very uncomfortable. You know, probably broke down on stage the first few times I had to speak on it more times than I want to admit.

But the more that I saw it taking hold, and this, this went to a best seller with about an $800. I mean, we, we didn’t put much towards it. I just shared the concept with some entrepreneur friends, and it spread like wildfire and it wasn’t because the book was greatly written. I’m not going to give myself that credit, but the subject, the subject is really important because as you talk, this is, this is a legacy thing that we’re living right now.

And I think the principles we have in these books can make a difference in the relationship you have with your spouse. Your children, your grandchildren, your own parents. I’ve seen that happen for me. The people that we truly care about, we work hard to spend this quality time with when we first went on this entrepreneurial adventure.

So, the book holds a few key principles when you put them together, they’re that peanut butter and jelly sandwich of family connection. Yeah.

[00:08:58] Joel Erway:

It’s so powerful, man, because I, I think you. You get this feeling like, and I’m sure everybody has gone through this feeling. If you’ve got a family, if you’ve got kids and you’re building a business, it’s like your business is a baby.

And you know, your business provides your financial lifeblood. I think it’s really, really easy to put your blinders on because that’s the bottom of, you know, Maslow’s hierarchy, security, stability, you know, financial security. And a lot of times we say we’ve got to make the money in order to build the family and keep the family secure.

And, so it’s very easy to put them secondary to the business and

[00:09:35] Jim Sheils:

Yeah. With great intentions, right? Yes. I mean, the intentions are exactly good. They’re not bad intentions, but I’ll tell you that the scary thing, Joel, especially for me, and now I’ve worked with thousands of entrepreneur families.

And when we start to climb an entrepreneurial mountain in a way that’s hard, fast frantic, you know, again with those good intentions, you can suddenly. Look around consciously years down the road, you know, five, 10 years down the road and your family is either gone or what I see happen way more often, Joel is your family’s still there.

But if you really, really have to be honest, they basically view you as a stranger. Yep. You’re like a part-time disciplinarian. You’re a roommate or you’re just an ATM machine. Yeah. And the bad part about that is when that happens, I’ve seen three dominating emotions take over and I’ve interviewed thousands of entrepreneurs on this, me included that would be guilt, depression, and bitterness.

And how can we be at our best Joel, if, if those three emotions are dominating personally or professionally?

[00:10:35] Joel Erway:

You know what. So as a marketer myself, I look at this through the lens of like, why aren’t more people paying attention to this? Like, why is this not top of mind in front of mind? And, you know, it’s just kind of funny to think about it because it’s one of those things where if you don’t get it taken care of, it’s a future problem.

And so, it’s not that like, you know, it’s, it’s, you have to be forward thinking and forward planning to kind of. Get your priorities straight and saying, okay, if I don’t get, take care of this now, like this is like, it’s going to lead to a lot of problems down the road and the problems are, you know, they won’t surface, they won’t materialize until really, you know, until years down the road, when your kids graduate from college and they become adults, it’s like, oh, they’re not calling you.

And you know, just kind of that, that afterthought, you don’t have that relationship. And so, I think it’s really, really important for people like to spread this message.

So, it gets out in front of people and says, listen, you know, you might be at the top of the mountain, but. What really matters down the road and, you know, do you really want to go to your kids’ wedding and just be an afterthought? Or do you want your kids to, you know, when you’re giving your speech, like, do you want them to be crying as they’re looking at you and saying, thank you, dad, or thank you, mom?

Like, that’s what really made the impact for me. And you know, it’s. That’s why I love the message so much. It’s one of those things that’s hard to sell because there’s no present pain.

[00:12:07] Jim Sheils:

No, yeah, it’s you can push it off. And there’s also been that mindset out there and it’s starting to change where there was a lot of old coaching out there that would say, put your head down for the next five years.

You want to take this business to the. 10 X 20 X, or you got to put your head down next five years. Your family will understand. You’ll be able to get back to him, but then five turns into 10 and you go from a, a six-year-old to a 16-year-old. That’s a pretty big 10 years to me. Oh yes. And, and, and it was a friend of mine, David Bach.

He was actually at one of our retreats as well, you know, obviously a famous financial writer, but he said, Jim, this is incredible. Because let me tell you the years are not all. These are not all equal. I always talk about this. It was more for about you’re enjoying your retirement years. What the, you know, safari adventures you might go on at 60, you might not want to do at 85.

You know, that’s just, I’d like to think I’m going to be, you know, extra longevity, but that’s just the reality. And it’s the same way with our children, you know, I’m sorry, if you missed 10 years from your six-year-old to your 16 year old, I don’t see that 16 year old going to you for help and advice and, and quality time instead of their friends or the internet.

And that’s like every parent’s nightmare. Once you start to get to those real pivotal years, but it’s just, I think people have good intentions. There’s been bad coaching. And like you said, it’s not immediate. It’s not like, this is like, you have this giant cut on your arm that you got to get stitches in right away.

It’s like a slow burn on the inside that, you know, you won’t even notice for years. And then all of a sudden, it becomes acute.

[00:13:30] Joel Erway:

Well, explain your family board meeting concept. Right. So, you know, how do we. Get ahead of this now. And how do we build just such a deep relationship with our kids and get involved with their life, because this is not complicated and it’s not even, I don’t want to say it’s not a lot of work, because it always takes work to be involved with your kids, but like your structure and your system is so impactful.

So, explain what it is for listeners.

[00:13:57] Jim Sheils:

Yeah. So, it’s a simple rhythm. I got taught this. Actually, let’s go back to one of my biggest teachers was Verne Harish and Daniel Marcos, the Rockefeller principals. What was it? Data priority and rhythms. Right? Rhythms and business. There are some of these people who built the biggest business.

Certain business principles aren’t thinking can take home rhythms. You can rhythm. I mean, think about rhythm it’s that beat of the drum that keeps a whole great song that you like to go, you know, B B B B boom. This is a rhythm in our family life that keeps the beat that keeps us in harmony. You know, it’s that simple rhythm.

This one rhythm that I share has a couple of underlying principles. And I think what would be cool to do is just explain the three underlying principles. Yep. Because then the people we’re going to really buy. So, this is a simple rhythm that I do with my children. You’re going to be able to use it in other relationships, but you understand the three principles you can carry to other things.

And the first principle, which you know, well now Joel is something that is so overlooked. So, underused yet. So potent, it’s just shocking that in all the different therapies and, and experts out there, no one talks about it, but it’s the one-to-one principle. You got to separate the parts of strength in the.

You got to separate the parts to strengthen the whole, get one on one with your children. It was one on one time that helped convince my dad to take the kidney from me. It was one on one time that helped me be able to help. My oldest son overcome a night terror and a misdiagnosis of autism. It was, it was one on one time that with, with my wife.

So, like I said, this can carry to other things that the one on one time we consistently put on the calendar every week is what continue us to be dating and deep in our relationship. You know, I’ve come from an Irish Catholic family Joel. So that means I have like 4,000 cousins. Right. That’s great.

And these big, these big things are, are great. These big celebrations, but it’s really the magnifying glass of the one-on-one time that pulls your child out, that can, can lower the guard that you’re going to start to have those conversations. You never thought you were going to have. And it takes away all the distractions, sibling rivalry, no best friend, no spouse.

It’s just you. And. And if you separate the parts, you can strengthen the whole. So, the one-to-one principle is the absolute starting pipe. If you really care about your family, you want to have stronger bonds, stronger connections. All the people that I know that are achieving that use the one-to-one principle.

They’re making sure they schedule one-on-one time with the people they love, and they do it, and they do it like a real calendar that, which we schedule gets done. You schedule that one on. So that’s, that’s the first principle. And that carries over to time with my children, which the book is about, but also time with my wife time, with my parent’s times with some of the most important people in my business or that, but the one-to-one principle.

Potent as anything you put it to work, I’m sure. Did you see it with your children? It was a different dynamic.

[00:16:44] Joel Erway:

It is different, you know, so we, you know, we do family on Fridays in the summer and we did two or three family board meetings, and we haven’t, you know, full transparency. We’ve lost track of the rhythm.

Right. You know, that’s always gets, it always gets not always, but it’s very easy to get pushed under the rug. Right. And just miss those quarterly meetings. So, we did a couple of. And it is different. I did a hike with my son, you know, one on one, he was five years old. We go down to the Gorge, like the Niagara river that’s, you know, connected to the Niagara Falls.

The gorges are beautiful. Yeah. Went for a hike down the Gorge and we’re sitting there and we’re on this giant rock. And just the connection that we had. He’s like, dad, I want to climb this big rock. Like, okay, cool. Let’s climb the big rock. Like it’s whatever he wants to do. It’s whatever the child wants to do.

It’s like, there’s no agenda. It’s like, Dominic lead the way. And so, then you just start conversations and you just start, you know, you build a deeper connection and there’s no two ways around it. It’s just you and him.

[00:17:43] Jim Sheils:

And I can imagine on that rock, one of the reasons why that you said, Dominic?
You and you and Dominic were having so much fun is again, there was, you were also missing another distraction, which is principle number two. And it’s something that we coined a few years ago and I’m really proud of. And Intermittent tech fasting. intermittent tech fasting. Now we all know, you know, about intermittent fasting.

You know, if you’ve read about it for the health benefits, it’s great for organ regenerating muscle redevelopment, you know, weight maintenance, you know, you’re not giving up eating Joel, right? But you’re, you’re deliberately eating between this time and this. And those are the benefits that come.

I believe we have to look at technology the same way. I don’t want to move to a survival ranch in Montana. Love Montana, but I don’t want to give up all my electronics. I wouldn’t be able to talk to you right now. Yeah. But you have to have periods of complete and total unavailability for the people most important in your life.

So, when I, when I have these days, or you were with Dominic on the rock, the phone is on either or on airplane mode. Because I might snap a few pictures. Yeah. Like you said, you like to commemorate the events and I think that’s important, man, when I’m looking back now, I mean, remember I started doing these when my oldest son was 17.

He’s 19. Now it’s like, it is a year booking of our relationship. So, you snap a few of these pictures. That’s great. But no one’s emailing. no, one’s calling me even with, I’ve done this now, you know, to our full team sons right now, their phone’s not invited because what I’ve found is we are interrupted so much.

Joel. We’re just interrupted all the time by that text, by that email, by that useless fake book thread that we don’t even need to pay attention to. And it really is a disrespect and it’s an unconscious statement that this whatever is on it, whatever we’re taking is more important than. We don’t want to admit that, but that’s really the, the unconscious message that we’re sending.

And no, every parent tells me, well, I want them to be able to lean on me. I want to be able to support them better. I want them to open up to me if you’re always doing this, you know, it’s how terrible is that? And, another thing too of emotion with intermittent tech fasting, and there’s a story I’d tell.

So, a couple years ago, when I come home from work. For at least an hour, normally two. Now my phone’s off, you know, there’s no electronics, five 30 to seven 30. We call it the dinnertime challenge. My phone’s off, you know, I want that break, but one day, Joel, again, like you said, Hey, I fell out of rhythm. That’s okay.

Get back into rhythm. I fall out of rhythm and I teach these rhythms. I mean, this, this happens to get out of the car instead of leaving my phone in the car, in my computer bag. What do I do? I leave it in my pocket. And there’s my five-year-old Maggie, and she says, daddy, let’s get on the trampoline. You know? So, we get on the trampoline.

We love the trampoline at our house. It’s a lot easier nowadays. Because if you grew up like me in the eighties, we didn’t have these nets on the side. You know, you’re getting Rick to ricochet off at 120 miles an hour and

[00:20:38] Joel Erway:

We’ve got one of those, you know, incredibly dangerous. Yeah. Incredibly dangerous.

[00:20:45] Jim Sheils:

And so, the dangers of parenting and kid, but so we get on the trampoline, Joel and that dreaded noise.

And I’m like, Ugh. So, I broke my own rule right now. I don’t even have to look at it. Right. But my head goes in the six different directions. What is this? Why do I solve, what am I going to fix? Pull it out. And there’s a CLO, a real estate closing that I was doing for our business. And someone dropped the ball on some simple, easy little thing.

So, what happens there? So, I’m starting to swear under my breath. I’m in my head. I’m not in the last place I am. Joel is right there on the trampoline. And something happened that just cut me like a knife right there is I all of a sudden looked down at Maggie and I’ve probably been on there longer than I think on the trampoline.

She goes, daddy, why are you so mad at? And I’m like, oh geez. Oh my gosh. And here’s the problem. We get pulled into work things and we believe we have this ability to multitask. We believe we have this ability to split emotions and be emotional on the inside, not showing it or, or expressing it to the other things in front of us.

And, and there, I was sending this message to my daughter. She didn’t understand what a real estate closing was, what was happening. She just saw me, ah, this, and I’m on there with her. So she took that on and ma’am was that just a, just a, a punch to the gut, but also a wake up of saying I’m not as good as I think about, you know, we all do this where we think we’re, we can be half in and working and having a conversation.

We can’t, we’re not that good. So, when I have these, these one-on-one days, you know, a half day, every quarter with my kids, when I go on date night every week with my wife, every Wednesday, five 30 to eight 30, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, same rhythm, same rhythm every week. My phone is not invited anymore, Joel.

It is the fastest way. To kill the potency of these strategies that I’m talking about because it gets in the way something else is more important. And you’re not truly there. You’re not, you’re not able to talk if you’re also working on business problems or mundane other detail issues with your spouse or, or a friend or that.

And you’re not fully there with them.

[00:22:55] Joel Erway:

You know, it was something happens when you have that one-on-one dynamic. Like for example like when we do our, our, our group family trips, like there’s four of us. Your attention is split between three other people, right? And so, when you have that one-on-one time, like it is a completely different focus that you have with that one person like that, that relationship that you can.

And that, that moment, however long it is, could be an hour, could be four hours, whatever, a full day when you cut everything else off and you truly isolate your attention. I found this personally, so, and I’m speaking just from experience. When I’m able to give my son or my daughter one on one intention with absolutely nothing else.

Not even any other family members. It’s like, there’s nothing like it. That bond. Yeah. You can feel it. You can feel the bond get tighter because you’re having different conversations. You’re forced to be looking at each other. You’re forced to be having deeper conversations. And that’s what happens that when you, when you build deeper relationships and so It’s amazing.

So, you know, the, the first two, let, let me just kind of reiterate to help bring this back full circles. The first step is one on one time, right? Yes, sir. And the second step is repeat the second step. It’s without electronics.

[00:24:12] Jim Sheils:

I call it intermit text fasting now. So, you’re, you’re not giving up your electronics and your teens aren’t forever, but there’s going to be times where you’re completely and totally unavailable.

Yeah. So, when I set these days with my kids scheduled one on one. My phone’s not coming with the exception of, of maybe airplane mode to snap a few photos. Yep. And then the third principle of that is just a fun activity with focus reflection. And so, this is basically the small shortest definition in the world for experiential education.

Now experiential education, I’m kind of an alternative education. I just, I’m always looking for, for new ways to learn for me, for my children because I want, I want effectiveness and I’m not going to talk down the traditional school, but I think a lot of it’s ineffective. And one of the reasons why it’s non experiential education is by far to have its shows to have the most retention, the most depth, the most just overall effectiveness.

And so that’s basically what you’re doing here. So, you know, with Dominic, with any of my kids, they get to plan the. I’m going all in as entrepreneurs, a lot of out there listening we’re problem solvers and we’re pushy. So, we’re like, oh, well, Hey, I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to set up this day, which is great.

Hey, look, you, you get one on one, you turn off your phone, you set a day more power to you, high fives, but it gets even better if you give them ownership. Yep. Let their creativity shine. Let them pick the day. Otherwise, you know, I might say, oh, I, you know, I’m here in St. Dog state. I’m going to go to a Jaguars game with my son.

And yeah, we did that. That’s great. But Hey, what if my son doesn’t like football? Yeah. You know what if he’s like, yeah, it’s all right. I, but I’d want to go let them design the day. Like my oldest son now, 19 years old, we still do these he for several years, guess what he wanted to do. Joel. He wanted to go fishing.

So, we went fishing in different spots. What is he now? He just graduated high school and got his boat captain’s license. At the same time, he started his own charter fishing business. So, you want to talk about how these things can actually work to do incredible Heights? That’s a big one, but let them play in the day.

I’ve had princess parties that I probably wouldn’t want to post on the internet with my daughter. You know, I’ve, I’ve gone to the alligator. I’m in alligator museum, alligator farm. And you’ll appreciate this with Sammy the last four out of five board meetings, he’s in alligator zone. So, you know, been there twice.

You’ve been there twice. Yeah. I I’ve been there twice in probably the last two, six months. So, you know, but that’s what he wants to do. He picks the day. I go all in with all every time too. Joel. I’m. Buddy, if that’s what you want to do, we’re going back to the alligator farm and he is going to move on to something, but I let them pick the day I let them go in.

They plan it. You people go, I want to know what my kids’ passions and interests are. Let them plan a day. You’re going to start to see things uncover and they’re going to actually buy in more. So, I let them pick the day we go all in. We usually have a meal and focus reflection is just spending time at the end of this, you know, event this day, having some conversation.

Hey, what was your favorite part of the. And why you start with that. That’s the opening question of experience education. What was your favorite part of the day? Why? And you’ll see what opens up and the conversation sometimes here might last two minutes. It might go an hour and a half, and I’ve had them go both ways.

This is the most important time. This is like crossing the goal line right here for me because it’s at these moments, Joel, this focus reflection, they’ve shared things with me and it’s given me the opportunity to do two things. And this is really important for our parents out there. It’s given me the opportunity to give in sincere apology or a genuine compliment mm-hmm because I’m usually running behind on both of those.

Because I’m going so fast. I’m doing my businesses. I’m that? We all think we’ve oh, no. I’ve told my son that, or I’ve told my wife that we don’t. That’s. I mean, if I had to, of all the groups, entrepreneur groups I’ve taught with and learned and gotten feedback on this, we think we’ve given more apologies or more genuine compliments than we actually have.

And, and for my son or my, Hey, you know what, I’ve been really a little bit on high tension and unavailable recently. Cause I’m working on something. I just want to say, I’m sorry. I really like spending time with you. This means a lot, you know, or it might be with one of the oldest, you know, we have arranged Joel.

Of six months. To 19 in our house, five kids, right. We just adopted a girl at birth six months ago. She’s six months as of last week. Hmm. That’s a big range and there has to be some patients there. So, with one of my teens, son, I’m like, I’ve watched you go all in with your new adopted sister, you know how supportive that is to my wife.

Thank you. Like, I just want to make sure I’m saying that, and you can see just the pride and the appreciation where I’m like, how have I waited weeks to tell him that? But we’re finally in this moment where I’m decompressed. We’re one on one, my phone’s off my guards down. We’ve had a good time. And those two things, if I’ve had to see anything, help.

Protect family life, bring it forward, or even salvage it is those two things, a sincere apology and a genuine compliment. You put those fun activities and that focus reflection together. It really does tie the bow.

[00:29:19] Joel Erway:

Yep. And this is something that you do quarterly, you, you advocate to do quarterly, like that’s, that’s the cadence, right?

So, it’s doing that every single quarter with every single child. Right.

[00:29:30] Jim Sheils:

And yeah, every kid, every kid, every kid, half a day, one on one without electronics, fun activity with focus, reflection, that’s it. That’s the whole book right there. Yep. Now there are great examples and things that can help you with a little bit of the parts.

But that is the whole framework. That’s why this thing is taken off. It’s easy to understand, easy to put, to use you see real results and you’ll want to keep doing them. That’s it.

[00:29:51] Joel Erway:

One thing that I noticed that you talked about is, you know, you’ve got the quarterly cadence with your children, but you do a weekly date night with your wife.

[00:30:04] Jim Sheils:

Yes. So, I’ll go into a big room of entrepreneurs, successful people. I mean, real movers and shakers. And I’ll say to them, Hey, when, when do, can you name the times? Cause we’re talking about rhythms. Can you name the day and time you meet with your CFO? Oh yeah. Blah, blah. Can you name when you do your sales meeting?

Yes. Okay. What’s the day and time every week you have a date with your, your spouse. Less than 10% of the hands go up in the room and I’m like, gosh, this is your most important investor team member, client, whatever you want to call it through business terms, your spouse. And what I found is you keep that rhythm.

This can be one of the easiest ways to strengthen a marriage, you know, without the excuse. And again, what I do, Joel, because I mess things up. I mean the secret of why my book is so short. Well, I’m an add entrepreneur. I had to write something that I knew that I would read. Right. I mess things up, because I’m not great at details.

You know, I’m, I’m better on the, the, the creativity. Yeah, the, the relationships. So, what did we do date night? I, I can’t mix it up. It’s every Wednesday, five 30 to eight 30, every Wednesday, 5 30, 8 30. It’s easy to get the babysitter. She knows it’s Wednesday five 30 to eight 30. It’s not interrupting with busier activities on the weekend.

It’s hump day. And just setting that one thing. Has been a game changer absolute game changer. And I do that every week because when me and my wife are strong it’s a trickle down, at least in my opinion.

[00:31:24] Joel Erway:

Yeah. I’ve heard other people mention that too. Of, you know, you love your kids to death, and you know, it it’s, I don’t know how to say it without saying it incorrectly, but I, you know, Obviously your kids are very, very important, but your spouse is like, that’s your, that’s your ride or die?

Like that’s everything you know. And so, it’s funny that you are not funny, but it was just, no, I ironic. Yeah, it was ironic. And, and just curious to me, when I heard you say it, I do weekly meetings, board meetings, you know, weekly date nights with my, with my spouse, my wife. And quarterly with, with my children.

And so, I just want to get your, your input on that. I would love to do weekly date nights with my wife. I’ve tried to, not that I’ve tried to advocate for it, but you know, I, I don’t set a cadence for like, Hey, we need to go on a date night. It’s like, okay, well, three weeks later, we still haven’t even planned it.

You know, it’s like, oh, we’re so busy. And we, we put ourselves. To the side. And it’s really, really important. I mean, like, you know, we’re the rock of the family. Like we drive everything, you know, we have to be on the same page, you know?

[00:32:22] Jim Sheils:

Yeah. It’s and that, and that one, those three hours, I mean, no one’s and you know, I can joke about no one’s throwing up on you.

There’s no team grumpiness storming around you or what what’s that smell? What did the dog just eat? Like you’re out of the house and. and it’s just such a nice time and, and I’ll give you, there’s something. We actually teach a class called date night. We’ve been doing this for entrepreneurs where we bring them in and, and we say how we’re all about simple rhythms.

As you know, the date night, I think is just as important as the family board meeting doing that with your kids. But our thing is same bad time, same bad channel. The intermittent tech fasting goes with it, because God did I mess that up in the beginning, Joel, trying to bring my phone on the date. But what we found is we call it actually, our class is called date night with a.

Because we would, you know, once we got through set in the day, getting my phone off, you get there, and it’s well, how is the kids’ day at school? Well, what errands do we have to run on Saturday? My, how was the weather today? It’s like, Ooh, the romance is just bubbling. Right? It’s you know, and so what we did is we started to, to look up questions.

For what he asked, you know, how to deepen a relationship, you know, love questions to ask your spouse. And we just started to compile these or create our own, and we made a deck of cards. And then, so we go out and we’d ask one question, maybe two on each date, but there there’re questions that get you below the surface.

It’s not how the weather its name, the moment you remember falling in love with me, you know, what are the top three vacations we ever took in, in our lives and why, what was so great about them? You know, who was your favorite teacher? That had the most impact on you as a child. And what did they do for you?

These are like questions that, you know, or, or it could be deeper, like name a time that, that you, that I, you felt I didn’t show up for you and what could I have done differently? So, these are the things that bring us below the surface, better questions, better life. I mean, so I forget which mentor said that.

So, we actually go prepared with one or two questions that keep us dating that keep us romanced and that keep us getting to know each other. And it’s man, we can be having a hard week, but one like last night, it’s Thursday when we’re filming this, it was, it was hump day. We had a phenomenal date. So, I come into the second half a week, like, let’s go, baby.

Like we got this, you know, I’m, I’m in line at home. Let’s do this. So, it cannot be, I can’t overstate it enough that a simple weekly date night, get your spouse on board. It’s so worth it.

[00:34:47] Joel Erway:

And it makes so much sense too, because like, you, you talk about a, like a one week gap, you know, how much can happen in one week that can just knock you off your yeah.

You know, knock you off your rhythm and, and get you going from one mood to the next mood. It’s good to reset. It’s good to have that cadence to help you reset and ground yourself. Like, Hey, life is okay. No matter what we’re going through, we’ll get through it together. Like we’re in this together. It’s all about doing it together.

That means. That’s it, it, it just makes so much sense in it and, and hopefully, people recognize it and they, they start to adopt it because it’s simple. Yeah. Powerful. Do you guys ask the same question? So, like, are you prepared with the same question and, and you go back and forth or

[00:35:28] Jim Sheils:

We do. We share the same question. Okay. And again, cool. Another is an entrepreneurial warning. Okay. Back to the kids’ board meetings, these things, when you spend these days with your son, I’m sure you did this with Dominic. This is not a chance for you to plan your next 50 lectures on all the ways they need to improve their lives and clean their room.

It’s not what it’s about. Keep the lectures totally off this day. It’s not what this day is about. Secondly, for the questions. I want to make sure we’re both answering them together. so, and, and when we answer them, this is not a race, you know, the entrepreneurial, you know, the spirit in us goes, I’m going to ask them 15 questions, you know?

No, like savor it a little bit, like really chew on the questions. So, one or two questions, and we like to do the same questions. Like the one that I just said, that’s one of my favorites of all time. Who was your favorite teacher as a child? And why were they so impactful for you? The two in our life, mine and my wife’s teacher had profound effects in ours.

And we learn and I basically said, how can I be more like, Mrs. K? How can she be more like Mr. Malanga? Like, I know the names it’s, you know, so it’s we ask the same questions though.

[00:36:35] Joel Erway:

That’s awesome. So out of curiosity, when you had one of these board meetings, like when was the first indication that like this was working. This was making a big impact. Like, do you remember that time where like, maybe you’re in the middle of a board meeting or at the end of a board meeting, or maybe you were reflecting. You’re like, wow. You know, this this is powerful, and this is clearly working.

[00:36:57] Jim Sheils:

So, and the answer is absolutely.

So, I talk about my family story in there. You know, we are, we’re a blended family. When, when my, my wife was married straight out of college to a high school boyfriend ended up being a very bad situation. Alcohol abuse. She stood up for herself, got out and got custody of their two sons. I met her short time later, a few years later and adopted them at seven and five.

So, and we got along famously right away, Joel, but the boys had trust issues for, for rightful reasons. The thing they went through and, and it was especially hard on, on my oldest. You know when I first met him, he was a terrible student, close to failing. He was put on the spectrum and I can’t stand that word at school for autism.

And he suffered every night from night terrors. And if you don’t know what those are, they’re terrible. So, your child wakes up in a half-conscious state screaming, terrified it. Can take hours to get them back to sleep. We started to have these, these now what they’re known as family board meetings called them gym days at the time, they didn’t even call me dad at this time, I hadn’t adopted them and adopted them short time later, they asked me to but we started to have these gym days, which is the exact principles I ended up sharing here.

And man, the breakthroughs we had in the conversations and those genuine compliments where I’m like, Hey, you know what? I know you went through some tough stuff, but I want to let you know that’ll never happen again. It’s done. It’s never going to happen again. I’ll always be here now. You never have anything to worry about.

And the. The relaxation, if you’ve ever dealt with something like this that I created, and my son tells me now he’s 19. He can, he can express that seven-year old’s boy to me now was so important to him. And I could see in these little conversations, this focus reflection, moving through that first year, how he started to ground and feel comfort.

Well, and I talk about this in, in the book, but you know, within a year, Joel We were, we went, he went from almost failing to, he got this award at the end, the most improved student of the third grade. You know, he was beaming. He they retracted the diagnosis of autism and within a year, his night terrors were completely gone.

So, you want to talk about results. Those are the biggest ones. And like, I would’ve given up my entire real estate portfolio for that, but I didn’t have to. And I don’t think other people do have to make major breakthroughs. And that’s why I wrote the book. When those changes started to happen, I started to gently share like, Hey, I had, I started spending these one-on-one days with my kids, my, my, my new adopted sons.

And they’ve gone through tough things. And all of a sudden, within a year I had these things. That’s where people were like, you need to write a book on this. And I was like, that’s, I, I don’t know. I’m not comfortable talking about this. I don’t want to do it now. No, no, this is emotional enough. So anyway, but those are the results I got in the first year.

So that’s why I believe in this so much.

[00:39:43] Joel Erway:

Was that just a result of all the stress and the trauma that he had gone through with his fathers. Yeah. Right. It, it was getting released.

[00:39:50] Jim Sheils:

Yeah. It was, it was just getting released, you know, it, it is very important for a child to feel safe and appreciated. Yes. A hundred percent.

I mean, it is, it’s the fuel, it it’s the fuel or the air out of the tires really. And he was able to feel both right away. And he has said that once I came on the scene, even though it, it. His whole psyche started to change, which I’m totally honored about. And he’s, you know, he’s, he’s thanked me several times now and I said, are you kidding?

That’s the best thing I’ve ever done. You know, that’s what real men do. That’s, you know, we provide, and we protect, and we love, I did that. You’re my son now you’re you asked me to adopt you. I’m all in. So, there’s an honor there for sure. And, but it was stress related and that’s where..

I think there’s another important caveat here. We got these results, Joel, without medication or therapy. Yeah. And I’m not saying look, and both can be important in certain times. I, I totally get that, but that’s not what my son needed. He just, he needed a male figure. He needed to feel safe and appreciated.

So, I don’t think he was going to get that from a pill or from a counselor. He got it. He got it from where he needed to get it. And he’s, he’s worked through those things and he is a stronger, better man. You know, sometimes you’re, you can grow your biggest strength out of your biggest wound. And I’ve seen, I’ve seen my son do that.

So, I’m the proudest punch of that. And it’s been really empowering to hear other family stories of things they’ve overcome, you know, the power of quality one-on-one time. Yeah. I don’t know how to quite measure it. I don’t know the science behind it, but I’ve seen some incredible, incredible results.

[00:41:30] Joel Erway:

You know I’m curious, I’m not anti-medicine or anti-pills either, but I’m curious if, because of the fact that you are so present and like you saw your son and you saw what he was going through, like, I’m wondering if parental instincts are so powerful. Like, I don’t want to speak for you, but this is just my analysis.

Like, I’m wondering if you, if you saw how he was acting like he doesn’t need medicine, like there’s, there’s something else that. Like, like he, there’s nothing that, you know, that’s the parental instinct that kicks in and that’s also part of being present and being aware of really seeing your son or your daughter really knowing their personality, really seeing symptoms and saying, okay, is there something deeper here or like, is there a way to help resolve this or.

Maybe they’re under stress and, and I think that’s it’s so again, going back to being present and just being aware and, and, and understanding how your son or daughter operates and

[00:42:32] Jim Sheils:

Exactly. And it all made sense to me when, you know, if a, of a medical professional, again, I’m not shooting that down time and a place or a pill.

It all made sense to me. I mean, not doing well in school. Signs of autism that were, they weren’t autism, it was stress related. And then night terrors. It’s like, it was pretty easy for me to figure out it was pretty easy for my wife. Do you know what I mean? But when families have been through a hard time and we’ve really started to open up, my wife is actually writing a book of, of, I mean, just an incredible story of, of what she overcame.

It’s not easy to talk about though, you know, and even with a doctor or someone like that, that’s the problem where it’s these kinds of underlying things where you really need human connection, because you’re not going to go to a doctor and say, oh, well he is showing signs of autism. Let’s put him on this.

Or his night terrors maybe just need to go on this thing. We don’t get to the root issue. And it’s not easy to talk about these things. Remember it wasn’t like that, our opening conversations on our first date nights with my wife, she had to open up and say, you know, it took some time to, I went through a really tough thing, you know, and it’s just not a first conversation type thing.

So, you can imagine for a child, it was even harder. So, you have to step in. And if I hadn’t been taking this time, this observation, this, how would it have happened? You know what I mean? If I didn’t set aside the quality time, I would’ve stayed surfaced.

I think it wouldn’t have been these moments of real vulnerability.

[00:43:55] Joel Erway:

Yeah. Well, Jim, we’re wrapping up on our time. This has been a fantastic conversation. I was really looking forward to this. It was a really deep conversation. It’s something that doesn’t get talked about enough and the book that you wrote that I read is called The Family Board Meeting.

I grabbed it on Amazon. Is there anywhere else that people can go check out your information, go follow up with you. Let’s drop some links and send some people your way.

[00:44:15] Jim Sheils:

You can, you can look us up on @18summerstribe on Instagram. My wife posts for us there all the time. And then we’re also on 18summers.com that just has our website.

More things that we’re up to a couple of free downloads. If you’re looking for more family rhythms and support, you can go to see us there as.

[00:44:31] Joel Erway:

Are you still doing retreats by the way? I meant to ask you that when because Daniel was talking about one of the retreats that he did with you.

[00:44:36] Jim Sheils:

Yeah. Yeah. Daniel, I think has been to either two or three of our retreats and the answer is we’re going to put him back on the calendar, going into the pandemic. We had like 15 talks, workshops, retreats, like a combo of them all planned, all got canceled. And honestly, Joel, I’ve been enjoying St. Augustine so much with the family.

I haven’t put much back on the books, but we are going to, so we’ll be updating on the website as that, but we will be doing more retreats because again, for, for selfish reasons, a good selfish, my oldest sons now are 17 and 19, and we started doing those retreats over 10 years ago and they still. The interaction, the lessons and the comradery they got at those was a total game changer for them.

Mm-hmm so I got to do the same thing for my next round of kids, you know, ranging 7, 5, 5, 6 months, you know, so I want my family to be a part of that with more families like yours and bandit.

[00:45:25] Joel Erway:

Awesome. So, we’ll drop those links in the show notes. Jim it was great connect to man and fellow St. Augustine beach you know, right down the road, right up the road, I should say.

So, it’s been a great conversation. Thank you so much, Jim. And for everyone else, we’ll talk soon.

[00:45:41] OUTRO:

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