Ep. 8: Jeff Zaugg on Why Intentional Fatherhood is Critical for Kids
In this episode, David sits down with Jeff Zaugg, founder and lead cheerleader at dadAWESOME & FATHERS FOR THE FATHERLESS, to discuss why intentional fatherhood is critical for kids and how dads can be more intentional and dadAWESOME.
Jeff and Michelle Zaugg will celebrate 15 years of marriage this year. They live in New Brighton, MN with their 3 young daughters and they’re expecting their 4th baby girl in Spring 2021. After 10-years of entrepreneurial non-profit ministry leadership, Jeff served as a pastor at Substance Church in the Twin Cities for the past 7 years. In Fall 2020 Jeff took the leap and went full-time fatherhood ministry. He is the founder and lead cheerleader at dadAWESOME & FATHERS FOR THE FATHERLESS. When he’s not wrestling or playing hide and seek with his daughters, you might find Jeff out for a bike ride, making a pour over coffee, sitting by a fire with his wife or challenging some friends to a game of Spikeball.
Jeff’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeffzaugg/
dadAWESOME Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dadawesome/
1. “We all need a dad.”
2. “I want to help dads be great dads.”
3. “Love the role that you’ve been given.”
4. “What we look for we find more of.”
5. “Everyone is a better person if they play more often.”
6. “If we know that we are loved, we are going to pass more love along.”
7. “If you want to change the world, go home and change your kids lives. And they’ll change the world.” Mother Theresa
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David Horsager: Welcome to the trusted leader show it’s David Horsager. We have special guests today we’re going to look at a really special aspect of trusted leadership. Thank you for being on the show Jeff’s Zaugg.
Jeff Zaugg: Glad to be here. Thanks for the invitation and I love what you’re doing with this podcast.
David Horsager: Well, thank you, it’s, it’s, you know, we’re basically I just get free advice. I get to get to be and become I hope get better all the time with with free advice. I’m sure I’d have to pay
David Horsager: Thousands and thousands of dollars for so I’m glad you’re on because everybody is going to benefit from you. You’re a father of four. You are right, when’s when’s your fourth on the
Jeff Zaugg: Right, yeah.
Jeff Zaugg: Do in April. Our fourth baby girl. So I say, Father, for now, but yeah, we gotta wait till April to meet her.
David Horsager: Right. Awesome. So you’ve been a pastor. And today, I just want to, it’s really exciting. You are the founder of dad awesome and father for the fatherless, give us a few things, you know, three things maybe about Jeff that everybody should know
Jeff Zaugg: Oh, man. Yeah, so I’m grateful again to be on and grateful. I’m continuing to learn in this theme of trust. How do I be a leader who’s trustworthy how my dad that’s trustworthy.
Jeff Zaugg: A few things maybe that some, some of your listeners don’t know i i was a pastor, as you mentioned, for seven years have felt for a long time. Then I. What if I could go full time and help dads be better dads.
Jeff Zaugg: I need to be a better dad every single day. So maybe something your listeners don’t know, Dad. Awesome. I have given myself full time to this mission of helping dads have shiny eyes, and love their role of being a dad.
Jeff Zaugg: So that they might not know another thing I love making rope swing. So turning a normal tree into an epic moment with my little girl, so I’ll give me a rope in any tree and I can make a
Jeff Zaugg: Decent rope swing and then barefoot water skiing is one of my passions. So I love getting out in the lake and I have size 15 feet so it’s it’s cheating.
Jeff Zaugg: They say it’s the same as other people, skiing, but I enjoy getting out in the water.
David Horsager: That is awesome. Speaking of data. Awesome. You know that the funny thing. I’ll tell you really quickly. Last person. I had the opportunity to go barefoot water skiing with bell
David Horsager: Blasted his ear drum
David Horsager: Know, and when they pull him out of the water. He had blood just running out of his ear. So there’s the other side of it, not, not to, you know, that was just that was a visual experience for me because
David Horsager: They were asking me the whole day. Do you want to go barefoot and because we love to water ski here in Minnesota. Right. As you can imagine, but I was like, I don’t think I want to do that. That looks like you fall, really hard.
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah, avoid that type of an injury. It doesn’t have to be that way.
David Horsager: Well, I think this is really interesting for our leaders, you know, we have
David Horsager: CEOs and SVP and of course we have women and men, but we can learn something here because you know we want to become more and more trusted leaders and the truth is I sit next
David Horsager: To I’ve sat next to presidents of countries and presidents of companies that have imposter syndrome. They don’t want to be found out maybe on their leadership at work, but also the leadership, like I’m able to do this. Okay. But man, my home front is falling apart.
David Horsager: So today we’re going to talk about, you know, you’ve got this this organization that helps dad’s be awesome. Dad awesome and fathers
David Horsager: To the fatherless or fathers for the fatherless I you know I was thinking of something I was had the opportunity to go visit and goal of the, the State Penitentiary of Louisiana.
David Horsager: You know, just invited to
Jeff Zaugg: Visit
David Horsager: Is just get the whole story here. But I remember talking to the warden and and one thing came up. This is years ago I might get the statistic barely wrong but if I’m off I’m off by less than 2%
David Horsager: I said, of all you know these folks, what, what’s the. Is there a commonality right what what’s common to these death row inmates. The these, you know,
David Horsager: It is it is it that you know they’re on drugs are born in a certain place or a certain color of skin. He said, there is a commonality and it beats everything else, by far, in if my memory serves me, he said that, you know, you might have 50% this 60% that he said 96.8 or 98.6
David Horsager: Of these that are in here had no relationship or a bad relationship with their father.
David Horsager: What say you,
Jeff Zaugg: Oh man, I mean, it’s heartbreaking for all of us. There’s no one listening to that does there’s not heartbreak attached to kids not having a dad.
Jeff Zaugg: Who’s showing them love who’s showing them how to do these basic things like we we all need a dad and all of us.
Jeff Zaugg: All of us are waiting for someone to be our guide to help us navigate different seasons, especially those first 18 years so yeah the the statistics around fatherlessness the epidemic that exists.
Jeff Zaugg: Is the reason that I’ve given you know my entire life. Now to saying I want to help dads be great dads.
Jeff Zaugg: It also, though, is the reason to focus on not just intentional fatherhood, but the other side, which is the father list because odds are that whatever you experience you’re going to pass on to your kids someday. So the
Jeff Zaugg: These, these kids in our case, we help out with orphanages around the on the other side of the globe, and we help out with women’s shelters here in Minneapolis like
Jeff Zaugg: These kids are likely going to do this, go the same path statistics show that as well.
Jeff Zaugg: So yeah, the heartbreak is real and the it’s easy for a dad to think I’m doing okay I’ll survive this season. I’m not, I’m not breaking my kids hearts. I’m not causing direct paint them, but in under the theme of trust.
Jeff Zaugg: A trustworthy father that just says, instead of surviving the dad life instead of making it through. If they turn the calibrates and dials and say, no, I’m going to, I’m going to prioritize this area of my life because it ripples the home life.
Jeff Zaugg: Ripples into again, whatever the thing is. You’re chasing the other passions, the business, the enterprise, whatever the thing is. So, so my
Jeff Zaugg: My, my passion is to help remind dads be a cheerleader of this is central and everyone that I interview because I get to host a podcast as well. Everyone in the grandparents season in the 60s.
Jeff Zaugg: Or 70s, all of them say, no matter how intentionally. Where’s the dad. I wish I could go back in my 30s and 40s and turn those dials of intentionality up so so yeah it’s heartbreaking. But it’s also very possible for for all of us. Dads to step in to way more intentionality.
David Horsager: On that front. Well, I think we named the podcast will put it in the show notes.
Jeff Zaugg: At her. Yeah, it’s called dead. Awesome.
David Horsager: So perfectly fine. Yeah.
David Horsager: Yeah, and I’ve had the privilege of being on it. But you’ll see that in the show notes dead awesome is easy to find on its own but trusted leader show.com
David Horsager: You know I I brought you on today because you know we have we have all these leaders, people are, you know, entrepreneurs and business leaders and you know moms, dads influencers and I think there’s a reminder here for everybody.
David Horsager: Some on this show listening will feel like, Yeah, I didn’t have a dad. I didn’t have someone fathering me
David Horsager: But others have a great opportunity. Mom or Dad. They have an incredible opportunity and they’re running a great business and they’re leading an organization, they might be governor’s senators presence.
David Horsager: But, but they are missing it at home. And so I want to just positive. What do you tell people what’s the first step you got these you want people to be dad awesome or dads to be data. So, what, what’s the step they can start to take to to be more intentional.
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah, because it is just one step at a time. And there’s a path we talked about
Jeff Zaugg: The down this path of becoming dead awesome, right, because no one has arrived. And there are no people are like, I’ve got this all figured out. But we we think in from again the guests. I’ve interviewed from research.
Jeff Zaugg: That the first step of being dad. Awesome. Or again, you got moms listening. You got aunts and uncles that like just being an awesome influence on these on these kids is to love the role that you’ve been given. So every dad.
Jeff Zaugg: Has been given a role of being a dad and they love that role. Even if a man is hard is overwhelming. It is, I have
Jeff Zaugg: Multiple times today not shown that, I love that role. But if we love being a dad our kids experience a dad who
Jeff Zaugg: His eyes are shining who he’s been president. If you love the role, then you’re going to be a way better dad. So that’s where it actually starts is is loving
Jeff Zaugg: The fact that you are a data it because what we look for. We find more of, if any, anytime we’re focused on this thing. It’s like, you know, you get a car that
Jeff Zaugg: I’m a Jeep Wrangler guy someday I’ll have a Jeep Wrangler again and it when I’m shopping
Jeff Zaugg: Shopping some day for my for Dodge, Jeep Wrangler which is tough with four kids. Now I heard there is a conversion kit, though, that you can turn
Jeff Zaugg: Into a third row. So that’s the side you’ll spot them though right you’ll spot them all over on the roads.
Jeff Zaugg: Shopping for when you see him everywhere. I didn’t know there’s that many Jeep wranglers and Minnesota. So in the same way. If you’re looking for opportunities to really find that joy. Find the shiny eyes, to engage because you love being a dad so that’s that’s one side of a first step.
David Horsager: So let’s jump, let’s take a step back from it because I know I know leaders. I walk with leaders I consult with and coach privately leaders that share with me. You know, they love their job. They love their work, they’re passionate about their work.
David Horsager: They actually in their heart. Want to be a good dad.
David Horsager: But they don’t love it. Right. So how do you say, oh, just love it. Come on, just just just love that role when they actually don’t love that role.
David Horsager: Especially in certain periods of time. Some would say when they’re, you know, six months old. Some might say teenagers, but they want to do a good job. They want to leave a great legacy, but they just do not love it. How can they start to love it. How can
David Horsager: Definitely
Jeff Zaugg: Part of why I think parents sometimes don’t love the role the season there in is because there’s no immediate results, especially for guys.
Jeff Zaugg: You’re looking for quantifiable Q1 this year. What a god. What am I going to accomplish and and i have
Jeff Zaugg: I’ve had long period, six months 12 months 18 months with with some of my daughters that I’m like I’m not seeing the breakthrough in any tangible way like oh
Jeff Zaugg: I’ve clicked a few notches better. I’m more dead awesome today that I was I’m enjoying it more so because of that deferred
Jeff Zaugg: Different outcomes or deferred like I hit a goal or I’m moving forward that you get on the business front you get in the workplace.
Jeff Zaugg: I think we have to commit to increasing the hours that we’re connecting with our hearts that were present with them.
Jeff Zaugg: That we’re playing with them. I didn’t play is huge. I think everyone is a better person if they play more often. So no matter what your profession is what industry you lead within if you play more if you have an area that you play you laugh that you’re, again, you’re
Jeff Zaugg: Something about playing. There’s a lot of research around this topic I’m still researching more on
Jeff Zaugg: If we if we commit as dads to play twice as much as we did last year, this coming year with our kids that that might only mean
Jeff Zaugg: That you increase a little look for a few more moments to play with your kids if you play more you’ll love
Jeff Zaugg: It. You’ll love being a dad more like if you just play with your kids more so there’s a little bit of we have to choose before we see the outcomes.
Jeff Zaugg: The, the inputs and in this case it’s time. And if you double up as a dad. We talked about doubling down double down and your dad life if you double down and you go from a two hour per day dad to a four hour per day, Dad.
Jeff Zaugg: And their stats that most ads are less than both those. But if you went from two hours to four hours over the course of 18 years you gain 13,000 more hours of time inputting
Jeff Zaugg: You know, you’re, you’re all that you have as far as your wisdom, your connection your guidance. So that’s, that’s our hope is that dad’s Double Down gets the exercise 13 hours.
Jeff Zaugg: 13,000 hours.
Jeff Zaugg: And then they will love it more if they if they
David Horsager: So let’s get, let’s get real for the folks listening to and I know I, you know,
David Horsager: Some people say, I’m very pretty intentional. I was intentional about some things I do with my kids growing up and I
David Horsager: am so grateful for these these four kiddos and an amazing wife, which has helped me be a better dad, at least, and there’s certainly challenges. I can tell you a conversation I had with
David Horsager: A teenager last night that I don’t think I did did actually very well. So I’m not perfect, any of this stuff. But what about someone like me that, you know, and tell code you’re flying 200 flights a year or
David Horsager: 190 flights a year round, round trip. Maybe 100 flights a year and you feel called to THIS WORK FOR ME. INCREASING trust around the world from corruption issues to
David Horsager: pro sports teams to presidents of companies and if you’ll call to that you’re not there certainly have some regrets early on.
David Horsager: I changed some things. So I start flying kids with me. So they see how do you treat the flight attendant. How do you do this, I started doing something where I i
David Horsager: Video my kid send a video encouragement, a little Bible verse in the encouragement to my kids every morning when I was on the road.
David Horsager: And they would open it be excited about it.
David Horsager: You know, and something’s lasted for a time like that, that kind of thing wants some of more older teens.
David Horsager: I had to do some different things but but what do you do like I could say, well, I’m just going to not have my job. I’m not have this call. I’m not gonna do this thing, but
David Horsager: You have to be traveling, you have to do these things. How do you be intentional in the midst of for some listening, the very high demand.
David Horsager: Roles that they have. You think of a senator listening that has to be in DC, however many days a year. And yet we’re grateful that we have some good senators. Some might argue with me here, but some good congress and then women you know in office, pushing
David Horsager: For good in the world. You know what, what are we going to do
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah, so, and I believe you know Greg McEwen wrote the book essential ism and thinking around what are the things that are truly essential
Jeff Zaugg: And within the scope of life. So you could say again, as we talked with people that are two decades three decades older than me. They would say, yep. Dad, life is essential. It was an area that if I put inputs there.
Jeff Zaugg: They ripple effect out into making me more effective and these other areas. Now back to your travel question, taking the essential list approach to dad life.
Jeff Zaugg: I do believe you can you can while traveling like some of the examples, you’ve shared you can you can maximize heart connection with your kids maximize moments of encouragement and affirmation words.
Jeff Zaugg: Spoken over them. That really guide them in the right way, using FaceTime using zoom using a notes, text messaging, but also when you’re home.
Jeff Zaugg: Really if we believe that this is one of the most important roles that we have. If we believe it. And if we believe it actually affects our
Jeff Zaugg: Our life in our 60s, 70s, 80s, I didn’t. I do believe this that by the focuses the deposits that I’m making today.
Jeff Zaugg: The joy level that I’m an experienced and walk in, in my 60s, 70s, 80s versus so many of you here. Somebody heartbreaking stories people in their 60s, 70s, 80s, with so much regret so much heartbreak and pain and and conflict between kids and grandkids.
Jeff Zaugg: So that’s what I would say fight not not don’t cheat the job to be a great dad. I don’t think being dead also means you have to fail in the in the other. In fact, I think awesome dads thrive, because they’ve done. What’s essential
Jeff Zaugg: And that has spilled into Greg McEwen talks about protects the asset or physical body it because this. If this fails.
Jeff Zaugg: All the other things fail. I think almost in the same way, your family on the home front if you don’t protect that by carving the time
Jeff Zaugg: It will ripple into and other areas will become toxic because you’ve got that going on in the hole and you care so deeply for these kids and the kids are
Jeff Zaugg: Not again. Not that if you do the right inputs. You don’t still have pain or struggle or your perfect on the home front but that would be me like talking back around the travel side.
David Horsager: I love it. And of course it was, you know, it’s something I’ve changed. I’ve changed how I’ve done, I’ve changed how much I’ve done it and not just you know we had frameworks.
David Horsager: In place even when I was traveling more in those last several years, but I remember early on.
David Horsager: You know when I started my first business in 1999 I came back from being Director of an organization and we poured everything we had into it.
David Horsager: Let you know for two years. I lived in the basement of 86 year old Clara Miller’s black mold. No windows bathroom or kitchen.
David Horsager: And illegal. We didn’t even know was illegal lease and I lived there we figured, you know, we basically we’re down to $1 40 to our name.
David Horsager: After paying are urgent bills that first October, and we thought it was a thing of, we will take anything we can get for work, right.
David Horsager: And of course, things changed over time. And over the years, but we kind of lost everything a couple different times and so
David Horsager: I then I started being more what you could say, in a way, successful and you’re traveling more but but she had kind of had this fear thing of like
David Horsager: Oh, I better do that to provide for the family. And I think people can get in this trap of they’re gone to provide without providing the emotional and leadership support and spiritual support that needs to happen. And once you know that’s a big wake up call for some of us that, you know,
David Horsager: Those are just as important as physical needs.
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah, and I think most of our dads. Most of our parents and grandparents, the provider side was the primary like that was you’re rocking it as a dad. If you can do to provide inside and we’re just, I think we’re just realizing cultures even embracing
Jeff Zaugg: That present dad’s dads that are conducting gets dads are doing one on ones with their sons or daughters like it to the playground like those are
Jeff Zaugg: It’s generally applauded by our culture today, which is so good, but we didn’t have any example to follow. Because right likely we didn’t see that from our parents.
David Horsager: Alright, let’s jump over the producer Kent, what question do you have today for Jeff ZOG
David Horsager: So I was wondering if there’s maybe a leader you were talking about like there’s a lot of people that maybe didn’t have a good
David Horsager: father figure in their life. Now they’re a father. How can they like who can they turn to, like, Who are people that how can they find like maybe other people that are great dads that could help.
David Horsager: Kind of show them how to be a good dad when they haven’t really had that example before in their life. Yeah.
Jeff Zaugg: Great question, because I mean if we’re trying to figure this out from scratch, we’re in. We’re in huge trouble. So I love your question, Kent and
Jeff Zaugg: The, the hope is through mentoring, but through peer mentors for me it’s pure mentors and as mentors that are a couple a decade, two decades ahead of me, or even just older kids, I’d be peer mentors, with just a little older kids, but I think
Jeff Zaugg: So brotherhood friendships, if we don’t have. And I have this in my neighborhood. I have a dad right over the fence that I’m like he’s
Jeff Zaugg: In so many ways I’ve learned so much just by watching these interaction moments. So I think if we have a lens on
Jeff Zaugg: Of we’re gathering and we’re, we’re trying to gather the best of what we’re seeing again from these mentors. You can do it from books from podcasts as well but
Jeff Zaugg: intentionality. I found myself with a four year old daughter. I had listened to zero podcast on fatherhood and being a better dad read zero books had met with zero mentors on the topic specifically a fatherhood. I was chasing
Jeff Zaugg: Growth Nerium entrepreneurship and leadership and management and personal finance and I was
Jeff Zaugg: Fitness all these other areas, but I wasn’t in my dad life. And I think that’s the case for a lot of a lot of us, we could forget on the parenting side to put intentionality.
Jeff Zaugg: Of taking that person out to coffee or setting up a zoom call or reading a book like there’s ways to pursue both peer mentors around the topic of fatherhood.
Jeff Zaugg: And mentors down the road, but we have to carve the time and we have to pursue that. So that’s probably the biggest thing. I’m a cheerleader for. I’m like, man, if you have a friend circle you can learn from and you’re learning from people a step ahead. I mean, you’re
Jeff Zaugg: You’re going to be just fine. Okay.
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah dads that say I’m going after it are going to are going to really calibrate in a positive way.
David Horsager: Having a band of brothers or sisters in life.
David Horsager: For for for guys probably a band of brothers, but I’m going to come back to that in a moment. But this reminds me of something, somebody said to me, a long time ago and and parenting and marriage are similar.
David Horsager: A mentor of mine said if people would spend as much on their marriage in the first five years as they do on the wedding day. Their marriage would be better. They go into this. They don’t learn. They haven’t really
David Horsager: Done a deep study on marriage, and yet that’s going to be a huge massive most important relationship and their life. And by the same token, on parenting people go to lamaze class and they spend time on this, you know,
David Horsager: The birth, like we got a birth plan. We got that baby’s coming out. A lot of times, either way. Right, that’s going to happen, whether it’s perfect or not. I’m not. I’m not. I mean, I should, you know,
David Horsager: With with gratitude to my wife for the for the for the huge massive effort and pain, but I mean I’m just saying that’s going to happen. The bigger pain is the next, you know, 18 or more or hundred years, right. So,
David Horsager: If we, I think he said if you would spend as much time on your parenting as you do on the birth, you will have a chance at winning at parenting right
Jeff Zaugg: Yes, yes, the compounded interest analogy for me is massive because I I was given a gift. About three quarters of my college education by my grandpa amazing generous gift and that amount of money though.
Jeff Zaugg: If I would have instead of paying for college. If I would have put that money into Apple stock in 2001
Jeff Zaugg: Here we are 819 years later that money would be. It’s like $17 million. The $60,000 right so I if I would have known that. In hindsight, the compounded impact of that financial decision of just take the loans out and work them off and invest here, right.
Jeff Zaugg: But we know this in parenting. We know that as parents, the compounded impact of investing the time and the heart and the education and the learning and the online course or whatever the things are
Jeff Zaugg: We know the compounded impact is like an apple stack it ripples into our kids and our kids, kids. And we just, we just know it. And anyone we talked to in their 70s.
Jeff Zaugg: Will say that is the Apple stock. It’s putting our time there versus other pursuits other areas, but again, because
Jeff Zaugg: Because most of us think we’re not doing a good job as a dad, I feel that way all the time we we kind of just try to survive. It’s and that’s, again, just me cheering on that it’s, it is the compounded impact. It is the it’s the goldmine it’s the apple stack.
David Horsager: I love it. So a couple things I, you know, think about is I want to get better as a dad. I want to get better as a husband. I want to get better as a leader, all the time. So we started right our second year of marriage. We started going to marriage conferences and it’s been a good little
David Horsager: You know, kind of jolt every, every time we do to help us be better. We’ve gone to things as far as parenting from connected families to others. I think you have something and not to put an advertisement in here. We didn’t talk about that but but
David Horsager: What, what, what do you do to help dads, you know, get better.
Jeff Zaugg: Yes, we have. I mean, a couple opportunities on the dead awesome side of of just resourcing we created a framework for part framework for fatherhood.
Jeff Zaugg: And it’s a it’s called the adding life to the dad life framework just spells life so I I am loved just that, hey, we have to start with just knowing if we love our
Jeff Zaugg: There’s all kinds of research on this, if we if we know that we are loved. We’re going to pass more love along so so I’m loved. I am intentional. I am free. So, free from just past
Jeff Zaugg: Man past struggles things that hold us back the other direction. And then I am engaged. So we have a four part framework again to helping invite dads into our goal is at the end of that four step framework, you can find us at dad awesome.org is to
Jeff Zaugg: See a dad who truly enjoys being a dad, which is where we started the first question. So I yeah that framework. And then, and then we have a bike ride 100 mile bike ride that we invite people into a dad’s into
David Horsager: I’m committed to going right next this coming one I made the commitment, so
Jeff Zaugg: We’re thinking. Let me we’re in Washington, DC. We’re in Philadelphia, New York, Cocoa Beach, Florida, Minneapolis Denver. We’re all over the place. Now these rides, but you’re doing the Minneapolis one
Jeff Zaugg: Where we’re mobilizing dads to ride their bikes 100 miles for kids that don’t have a dad fathers for the fatherless, and we’re our prayer. Our goal is to raise a million dollars this year for the fatherless.
David Horsager: So we were going to help you do that. And so I hope gonna blow it away, but I’d love to.
David Horsager: Bike along and side anybody would like to do that next. August 28 I believe it is so you can find that on the site and I made that commitment.
David Horsager: Also, so let’s jump back to something I think it’s important no matter who you are as a leader.
David Horsager: No matter if you’re a mother or a father, but this is critical to being a great leader or a great father and that’s mentorship or kind of finding this group of guys and I think you know I shared it on your podcast.
David Horsager: A massive part of any success that I enjoy is because of four guys we started, I think it was 27 or 28 years ago in college junior year
David Horsager: You know meeting together every Thursday night and asking questions spring each other on how are you
David Horsager: How are you treating that in those days that Girlfriend Are you are you being the gentleman you want to be. How are you doing with that leadership and now we’re all running companies or organizations and
David Horsager: And but we still meet every single year for five days.
David Horsager: We sharpen each other. It’s not just to go have fun up at a cabin in northern Minnesota is go up to have Kevin and northern Minnesota, but we
David Horsager: We. How are you doing, is that we kind of have these it changed a little bit. But we have had about 54 questions that each dat each guy answers.
David Horsager: For about three or four hours each day. I think of all that time get through a guy a day or whatever it is. And we do some fun stuff too, but that time has been monumental for us, staying the course.
David Horsager: Both what we would say onstage and offstage in our business for me. I often have a literal stage, but whatever your stages as a leader.
David Horsager: It’s, it’s kind of how how we how we staying the course onstage and offstage at home with our kids, I’m not perfect at all. But I can tell you the best of me is
David Horsager: Largely because of that group of guys that have helped me stay the course. So I can’t kind of encourage enough that point of having a group
David Horsager: A team and accountability group and of course for business. I have a different kind of mastermind group and for, you know, there’s some of these other groups. We can be a part of that help us sharpen each other. But that’s been monumental to me.
David Horsager: What can you say to encourage people to find a group like that if they don’t have one, where they can be authentic and open and where it can be valuable.
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah, cuz I mean that just like you know you hear about people.
Jeff Zaugg: The it can feel like you’re almost back to like a dating really like it can feel intimidating to go make a deeper friendship. I know a lot of people that said, I tried the softball team. I tried that thing and
Jeff Zaugg: It’s awkward because you put yourself in a spot where you want to pursue a friendship, let’s get together and play disc golf. Let’s do this thing.
Jeff Zaugg: And it’s not reciprocated. It’s like, oh, man, I guess I’m not a good friend. I
Jeff Zaugg: Encourage when it comes to forming deep friendships, the most easy low pressure way to find some, you know, another another dad another guy another
Jeff Zaugg: Friend is to pursue peer mentors. So when you find someone that you’re like hey, it’s a
Jeff Zaugg: It’s a neighbor down the road or it’s a colleague that you want to just get to know a little more to see, hey, can we be mutually encouraging each other to become better dads better leaders more trustworthy.
Jeff Zaugg: I encourage find something about their life. You want to learn from. So it’s their parenting. It’s there.
Jeff Zaugg: Hey, they’re good at doing home projects construction skills, their carpentry. It’s there. They do triathlons and you you’re interested in doing triathlon.
Jeff Zaugg: You ask that person to sit in your camp fire or to have a phone call or to grab a cup of coffee.
Jeff Zaugg: A one time ask for a small amount of time around one specific topic takes all the pressure down because now they’ve already they feel honored
Jeff Zaugg: And like you respect them and you think they’re a good dad or you think, hey, they’re good on the personal finance side or whatever the area of life. You want to learn
Jeff Zaugg: State. It’s ask him for that time. And then after you’ve had that conversation, come back around. And so this is almost it feels like I’m getting dating advice. Right.
Jeff Zaugg: That it works because then a month later, or six weeks later, you reach out again. Hey, we just grab a cup of coffee. Again, you want to
Jeff Zaugg: go shoot some hoops talk again, I’d love to learn more from you, what you find, though, is
Jeff Zaugg: As you pursue learning and you reciprocate back. They see you’re taking action and areas are encouraging. They actually feel great about themselves, because they’re like I’m helping someone
Jeff Zaugg: And I did that with my closest circle of friends over the course of a year five buddies and then I brought the group together and we started cooking breakfast together at 530 in the morning and we formed a group and
Jeff Zaugg: That didn’t cost much one guy brought a dozen eggs each week and we made eggs and we talked about life, just like the group you have, but it took a year of me intentionally
Jeff Zaugg: Pursuing those guys. And those are the guys
Jeff Zaugg: That put their arm around me and cried with me this last year, my, my dad went home to heaven. So he died. This last year and this group of guys carried me they brought food for my family while I was up in northern Wisconsin driving back and forth in the last month.
Jeff Zaugg: It was it changed everything about the trajectory of how I went through hardship, because of this group of guys, but it did not happen accidentally
David Horsager: Yeah, I just can’t emphasize this enough that this we so often see people thinking independence, especially guys I’m doing it on my own. I’m
David Horsager: I’m self made nobody self made the research shows, by the way, and this whole idea this ego that we do it on our own. It’s, it’s not the way forward. And so I love that. I love that, by the way.
David Horsager: Another thing is what you just said about mentorship programs like I think
David Horsager: The reason most mentorship programs fail in companies is because there’s this massive commitment ahead of time. Like, am I even gonna like that person. I’ve got a sign up for 12 sessions or whatever. It’s like
David Horsager: I love this idea of just, hey, go out once you can be mentored in a moment, one time and then have it leads to something else. Great, and might be an ongoing thing but take the pressure off and I love that idea. What are you, what are you doing right now to learn and grow yourself.
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah, I, I would say in a few categories I audible has been a game changer. So my listening to books has been a game changer. The last few years.
Jeff Zaugg: But I’ve tried to go about one for one reading and listening reading a paper book and listening. So I would say
Jeff Zaugg: On the learning side, it’s been in that category of books and and then on the other side is just growing I think jumping in an area that I’m over my head and learning as I go my podcast is
Jeff Zaugg: Is an example of that. I mean, starting a new nonprofit organization isn’t it so
Jeff Zaugg: Just putting myself always at the edge of what’s comfortable or actually I take leaps past were comfortable
Jeff Zaugg: Because I just know that I’m gonna get I’m gonna learn so much by doing that, and I’ll be desperate for mentorship. I mean, every shout to you what two months ago, I was like, I just need an hour of your time to talk about this and this and this.
Jeff Zaugg: So I would say, I’m in that place of often I’m in over my head and I need help from others. And then I tried it on a consistent side of the reading learning. So probably those two sides, maybe the last one. I’d mentioned is I try to get alone.
Jeff Zaugg: To a cabin in the woods about once a quarter to just take long walks and to take time to I slept 13 hours this last one I just went up a week ago to a place called wilderness
Jeff Zaugg: Fellowship and in Wisconsin, the idea of just Silent Retreat time slow it down maybe bring a book, maybe just a journal and take that long hike sometimes fall through a hole in the ice and a bog which may have happened. It was a little
Jeff Zaugg: Cold, but the slowing that’s just very countercultural right now.
David Horsager: To get
Jeff Zaugg: To take time away from the hustle. But I think that’s the investments that multiplies into effectiveness and clarity in so many other areas of life on the home front and on the work side. So, so, yeah, that that would be another encouragement.
David Horsager: You know that makes me think of something just for the first time popped up in my head a mentor of mine Sherm Svensson through college. So
David Horsager: You know the pre many don’t know this, they think target just came out of nowhere but target corporation used to be Dayton Hudson Corporation. Okay.
David Horsager: And those of us in Minneapolis know the Dayton’s downtown and Dayton’s was the big, you know, the Big Store. It was it was it was a massive company seven different business units. The, the big
David Horsager: Their CEO of Dayton Hudson jewelers and Dayton Hudson this date hands of that. And so Sherm at the time he got asked to be CEO of just one of those seven
David Horsager: At the end, he was dating hutch and jewelers he was a CEO now and the, the, you know, he’s like, I gotta make my I gotta do my stuff and the overall CEO said to him after one year at the Job said
David Horsager: How many days. Have you taken off its terms Sherm said none like I’m here, I’m all in. And the CEO said, do you think I’m doing a bad job, the overall CEO said, No, no, sir.
David Horsager: You think I’m not doing everything I need to do. No. You think I’m not present. No, he said. Then how is it that I’m able to take every single day of my seven days of vacation I seven weeks seven weeks of vacation.
David Horsager: And you couldn’t take a single location and you call yourself a CEO. And from that day.
David Horsager: Sherm served by the way later became the CEO of Dayton Hudson corporation overall right before it became target.
David Horsager: He was an amazing CEO, he gave his time at the university, then I’m on the board of now, but I’m in his later years to be the CFO.
David Horsager: Basically voluntarily. And that’s where I was very fortunate to be one of very few students to be mentored by him, but I remember later as when he became by the time he he became CEO.
David Horsager: Of all of Dayton Hudson. He said, every spring and every fall. He takes two weeks now. Not everybody can do this right at his home on the beach in Florida.
David Horsager: And he said that I take and I have the same rhythm of those four weeks I get up in the morning I get up an hour later than normal five in the morning, instead of four in the morning.
David Horsager: I go for a walk on the beach always with my notebook.
David Horsager: And then I read all morning. And then in the afternoon I spend with my wife and we golf and go out for dinner. I go to bed early I come in. I read I
David Horsager: Get up in the morning, an hour late I walk on the beach. I read all morning.
David Horsager: And he said that time is what gave him some of the best ideas to deal with the big challenges so that that time of getting away. I think is critical. And you know I
David Horsager: I practiced that to some degree. I’m always learning the practice things more, but I’ve had some amazing times away that have
David Horsager: led to great things. And I’ve certainly needed and even have helped me solve things. So it’s this is kind of fun because getting away as important, our community. It’s important. They seem like opposites, but they’re not you kind of need both. Yeah, yeah.
Jeff Zaugg: I I’m such a fan of George Washington Carver is another example just legendary example of taking walks in the woods and all of his breakthroughs came from the walks. Yeah, so
David Horsager: I think
David Horsager: Right, Prime Minister Churchill. I think he was known for
David Horsager: What did they, what did he called it learning by walking around. Yeah, he got something like that so
David Horsager: Interesting. Well, let’s uh, let’s move into here. I want to talk about your is the nonprofit father for the fatherless.
Jeff Zaugg: Yes, right now, both we’re not sure if it’ll be two organizations or one but two fathers for the fatherless is the, yeah. Is this mission of activating dads.
Jeff Zaugg: To raise money and awareness for kids without dad so fathers for the files around bike rides and runs will do a run this year as well.
Jeff Zaugg: In fact, I think it could become more than that, but just dads need something to do versus let’s process our thoughts and our feelings so so that’s where we’re just like, Let’s engage dad’s help them plug into that mission.
Jeff Zaugg: When, when a dad is plugged into a mission and doing something hard their kids. Notice, something’s different about my dad, he’s not just
Jeff Zaugg: Going to work and coming home and surviving so so that’s the whole point is to kind of stoke up a fire of being on mission as a dad and accomplish something potentially the hardest thing that dad has done.
Jeff Zaugg: Since they became a Dad could be 200 miles and the kids get to cheer mind see him see him suffer see him sweat and they know that, hey, it’s not just because they had wants to be in good shape, but he’s doing it for kids that don’t have a dad.
David Horsager: I love it. And speaking of shape. You’re in great shape and you know my story. I lost 52 pounds and five and a half months at one point and
David Horsager: It made a huge difference in my life I was an athlete in college and before. And then, you know, start writing books and leading in some ways in some things change. And I said, I gotta change something, but how do you stay fit.
Jeff Zaugg: Oh, man. Well, I mentioned rope swings, right, the
Jeff Zaugg: Right. The good rope swing. Sometimes you have to throw that rope and over like 50 times
Jeff Zaugg: Branch know it’s i i do think
Jeff Zaugg: Activity with the family is part of it. So, so by taking the girls out, putting all three and a sled and towing them around the block a few times.
Jeff Zaugg: Now I do early morning walks. I try to get out five get out for a two mile walk in the morning. So just fresh here first before screens is a principle that I learned from a mentor.
Jeff Zaugg: The, the stain and shape those not a gym membership that you can see the bike behind me. I do have a bike on a little trainer, so I can in the wintertime cycle.
Jeff Zaugg: Overall though, I would not say health and fitness is like a central passion of mine, but I love being active and playing. So if I can make it play versus make it grind it out.
Jeff Zaugg: Then I stay active and stay in shape, so that’s that’s the key for me or the other principle is find something that I don’t know much about to put myself in the edge of scary. And then I have to like
Jeff Zaugg: I have to train enough to stay healthy doing it. So if I commit myself to something with some other brothers that that nudges me forward. So those
David Horsager: Commit commitments, huge, like when I commit to a triathlon.
David Horsager: I got. Oh man, I gotta get ready for it, even though I don’t like to really I don’t really like love to swim run or bike, but for some reason you know that commitment.
David Horsager: That was funny one that brings back to, for me, one of the motivations for the weight loss and of course I had to figure out a way to do this ongoing now. It’s been a decade.
David Horsager: So that’s good. But I am I said to my staff at the time. I shook hands in front of people. If I don’t lose this weight. I’ll give you each of you. What was 20 $500 you remember this.
David Horsager: Yes, it says, and my and I that was I didn’t have much money at the time. This is like, I’m like, you know, in my wife’s like, what are you doing
David Horsager: But I knew if I set it out loud, and I made a commitment I would figure out a way because I knew I couldn’t be paying this 20 $500 you know to people.
David Horsager: For not making that commitment and basically I to make that commitment. I had to lose 40 pounds which, you know, then I kept going a little bit because I learned it would be healthier to have a little more off. But, but, um, I made it my three pounds.
Jeff Zaugg: Yes, that money.
Jeff Zaugg: When you were gonna follow through, because it’s a big dollar amount. You can’t afford it. You got to find through
Jeff Zaugg: But also I mean the investment of our health. I mean, that ripples into what energy it ripples in our marriage is gonna be healthier. Our kids are like we just know that that side of stay active stay fit.
Jeff Zaugg: Do not let that area go because that area will ripple into every, every other area. So that’s huge.
David Horsager: That’s you’ve inspired me though I don’t love to run. I’ll do certain things. There’s something but bringing it into something I like, like I just want to think about, you know, is there a way I could get back to playing basketball with people that are, you know, an older group.
David Horsager: That would do that because I just love that and I haven’t played for a decade, but doing something I’d love that would get me up that would get me excited about it and
David Horsager: You know, like some people like to play golf. I love to fly fish or whatever, you know, finding some I love with it would be fun to do more. So find something you love
David Horsager: To do, or something that can be playful and seemed like it sticks a lot better. And that makes sense.
David Horsager: All right. Hey. This has been great. There’s so much more we could ask, but let’s get to the lightning round because it’s time so quick questions quick answers. What’s your favorite book or resource right now, or one of them.
Jeff Zaugg: So I’m reading and I know he’s another guest of yours, but I’m reading when the day by Mark Patterson and it’s it’s it’s messing with me and it’s messing in some of the themes of grief.
Jeff Zaugg: And how we take what’s happened in the past of hardships and we activate that towards something good that we actually don’t have to let it hold us back. There’s a new beautiful path forward even if there’s loss. So when the day, it’s about daily disciplines, Mark Patterson.
David Horsager: He’s got several great books and we’re excited to have him on. He’s booked and going to be on before along, but that’s a
David Horsager: Phenomena. It’s not just a guy that writes books and cranks out books he’s a guy that writes books that has something to say. And every one of them something different, something inspiring and something valuable so super excited about that. What’s something you can’t live without.
Jeff Zaugg: Got it right here, a good cup of coffee. I mean, I do the poor over
David Horsager: It’s kind of late here in the day. For this, we’re recording. I mean, you’re just you’re, you’re, is it an all day long thing.
Jeff Zaugg: Well, and it’s it’s it’s drink some really good coffee fragment COFFEE IN THE NORTH LOOP I brewed it up by pour over 10 x. And yes, so coffee is is pretty high on the list of can’t live without.
David Horsager: Best advice or quote
Jeff Zaugg: Man, if you want to change the world go home and change your kids lives and they’ll change the world. Mother Teresa yeah that quote
David Horsager: What they love it want to change your world. We got to say that say that real clear again.
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah. Do you want to change the world go home and change the lives of
Jeff Zaugg: Go home and change the lives of your family like your kids and your wife, you have
Jeff Zaugg: To change the world.
David Horsager: I love it.
David Horsager: The
David Horsager: Change the lives of your family. There you go.
David Horsager: One thing left on your bucket list.
Jeff Zaugg: I have not spoken this publicly
David Horsager: It’s time.
Jeff Zaugg: I want to do I want to accomplish an Iron Man Yeah, so I wanna, I want to knock off the Iron Man, I think it’s my daughter’s gonna be a little older, but it’s on the bucket list and i’m not i’m not
David Horsager: Saying go out there and man is you taught this is it’s a time. It is a commitment I know several people
David Horsager: And, you know, even when my wife doing marathons. It’s like that’s a ton of time. So you try, you put these things together, running a company or an organization doing IT doing a
David Horsager: 20 hours a week of training for a triathlon and trying to be a good dad this mix gets challenging, but that’s that’s the mix, right.
Jeff Zaugg: I think it’s older when they’re in high school, junior high, so they can bike, along with me when I think there’s some participation. Well, I run their biking or their kayaking next to me swim. And I think that’s the way it’s going to happen.
David Horsager: Right, put one on your back while you swim those two miles.
David Horsager: Well, I have a gold mine is due to do the half in Kona
Jeff Zaugg: Together.
David Horsager: Just a half try half right. I think I
David Horsager: Get there but
Jeff Zaugg: Alright, half Iron Man, you said
David Horsager: I mean half fire.
Jeff Zaugg: Oh yeah, that’s a bigger step.
David Horsager: Yeah, yeah, much, much bigger. Yeah. So I got a little bit to do but that’s something I’d be motivated by so hey where. Can everybody hear about learn more about you will put it in the show notes trusted leader show.com where, where can we find out about you and connect
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah. The easiest way is dad awesome.org so stat awesome.org and I would love to. Yeah, just welcome any of your amazing audience to engage in more the intentional fatherhood resources that we create. That’d be amazing.
David Horsager: And we don’t promote many other you know things on this, on this podcast but I’m so passionate about fatherhood, too, I think. And I just think what you’re doing is so amazing and tremendous and I think
David Horsager: We often think of how we’re going to change the world with our mission and our case of developing trusted leaders and organizations around the world or or in in in whatever it is we’re called to do but
David Horsager: If we if we’re a dad a father or a mother and not doing that role. Well, we are doing a disservice to the world and our greatest legacy is in those at home and so
David Horsager: I’m just, I’m grateful for the work you’re doing. And I’m so happy to share it with the world because I believe this is really the way to trusted leadership ongoing So hey, it’s the trusted leader show. So it’s the last question for you, who is a leader you trust and why
Jeff Zaugg: Yeah, so my he was my youth pastor Mel Allenwood is now running a church planting organization in Eastern Europe, and he
Jeff Zaugg: He showed this is why I trust him. Is he said he saw something in me and said,
Jeff Zaugg: I want to invite you into in this case it was playing the acoustic guitar and leading songs leading worship, but he saw something in me and made my eye shine by welcoming me into that place.
Jeff Zaugg: And I will forever trust him because he showed that he believed in me and he’s never, you know, he hasn’t let me down in the side of broken trust but I
Jeff Zaugg: I often have people say, who’s that leader that really affected the trajectory of my life. Mel Ellen would
Jeff Zaugg: Josiah ventures is the organization. He runs and it’s because again. And we can do this. So people in our lives, we can find someone see something’s the glimmer of something in them and we can speak way more life over them, we can
Jeff Zaugg: We can give them opportunities lift them up and it will send them on a different trajectory and that’s so that’s why I trust and appreciate him.
David Horsager: I love it. My wife has a saying it’s affected me a lot in it’s affected our, our parenting and I wish I would be better at it consistently, but she says, see the good say the good share the good
David Horsager: So if you see a kid doing something good. See a friend up an employee see say that you know you can speak life and and i think
David Horsager: Bernie Brown said what if they have people have to feel like they belong before they believe differently before they’ll behave differently. And it’s like, See that good share that good and you have a chance. I have a chance at changing the trajectory of others and so
David Horsager: You know what, Jeff. You’ve made me better. You may be a better dad a better person and I just thank you for that. And I thank you for our relatively new, but growing friendship and so
Jeff Zaugg: Thank you so much for having me on. Honor to join you and love everything you’re doing I’m cheering for you.
David Horsager: Well, thank you. Likewise. It’s been the trusted leader show. Thanks for joining us. Until next time, stay trusted.