Keeping Things Simple Isn’t Always The Case In Business…the bill always comes due

By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional

Our love of technology has given professionals, such as myself, the option of working our own way…what ever that may be. For me, it is from where ever I happen to be, at any hour of the day. There is no need to see clients face to face when we have FaceTime and real time collaboration apps and tools.

Recently I learned a very hard lesson. That no matter how hard you work, nor what you may achieve…the bill always comes due. For the past year I have been working, quite diligently I might add, on building and launching a new brand in a consumer space that I was not an expert in when I began. The Food and Lifestyle space, while I have lived it well, I didn’t understand the inner workings, until now.

While I am extremely good at my job, and have launched and helped build some of Americas biggest brands over the years, I have to ask myself if I can still do it. Everyone says 40 is the new 30 and when I look in the mirror, I forget at times that I am almost 50 years. Like a woman told me yesterday, I wear my age well, but actions still wear a person down.

For the past few months I have literally been working 60-80 hours a week. And it finally caught up with me. I have heard of people being hospitalized for exhaustion and kinda of wondered how it was even possible for a person to get to that point. Now I know. It hits your like a house being dropped on you. I was down for an entire week and couldn’t even eat, let alone work or take care of my family. The bill came due.

As the person that has been preaching balance, I failed to live by my own words. Take time for yourself. Be good to yourself…whatever that means to you. Make sure you are getting rest. The human body cant keep going on 2-3 hours of sleep a day. It will always protect itself by shutting down and going into a hibernation type mode.

Lesson learned, I am back to work and keeping things balanced. Which for me, means shifting set deadlines, asking for help and being proud of the way our brand has evolved. It is not the company I envisioned 10 years ago, but what has emerged is a brand that I honestly, can’t believe I built. Once the revenue streams are in place, our family will be set for a long time to come. It is becoming a true family business and I had nothing to do with it. They asked to be involved. I couldn’t be more proud.

I am working on our companies first real commercial and mapping out the media outlets to place it on. One of the interesting things I have found is my target audience has chosen me. While. I was working towards millennials, it is actually Gen X that has showed initial support. And I’m talking across all platforms. Isn’t it amazing the information you can find with out paying an outside firm? The analytics provided by social media, Google and WordPress are indispensable.

My point with telling you all of this and being so transparent, is that many of you are friends and peers that I would not want to see this happen to. Learn from my mistake. Keep the balance in your life or you will pay the price. For me it was exhaustion but just as easily could have been a major heart attack. I have already had one, when I was 20 and it runs in the family.

My All American Kids And The Language Of The LAUGH

By Michael Harris-Arzon, Dadologist

As a professional, Dadologist and all around good guy…… I would say that if I have learned anything over the past decade, it is that the most important lesson a father could ever learn is to simply PAY ATTENTION, at all times ( which is easier than you think) to YOUR KIDS!

This is particularly so for the times you aren’t actually engaging the kids throughout the day. Paying strictly, focused attention will eventually help you develop that eye in the back of your head. Or your kids will think so anyway. It all comes down to the sounds they make. In particular the laugh. While we all like to hear our kids laugh, because let’s face it, it means they are happy and hopefully well adjusted kids. But as you pay attention, you will notice that kids have different laughs and you can tell quite a bit from the differences in those laughs.

I know, you think I must be nuts, there isn’t any hidden meaning behind a kid’s laugh. Do a quick run down in your head of the differing styles of laughter in your household. You will realize that each has its own meaning, that isn’t necessarily universal and pertains to your unique children. Below is a simple list of the laughs my three kids make and what each typically means. By being able to distinguish between them has saved me a lot of trips across the house to see what is going on.

  1. The giggle means they are being sneaky and I had better go see what is up.
  2. The hysterical, nonstop laughter usually means they are watching a movie or TV and all is good.
  3. The high pitched, long laugh means they are jumping on the bed and intervention is needed.
  4. The super loud, almost a scream laugh means they are playing by hand and it’s punishment time around our house.
  5. The normal toned, yet slightly subdued laugh means they are playing a game or something innocent.
  6. The nonstop, begging laugh more often than not means that Other Daddy is playing in tickle mode.
  7. The short, snorting laugh probably means that kids just read something amusing.

Now, I imagine there are a few others I haven’t mentioned, but you get the idea. A laugh an speak volumes when it comes to your kids and their behavior. It may take a few months to figure them all out but once you have……your life becomes a lot easier.

Fathers, Daughters And That Special Bond

By Michael Harris-Arzon, Dadologist


There is nothing more special in this world than the individual relationship you have with your child.  We are lucky and have a boy and two girls, so we get the best of both worlds.  And while my son and I have that “favorite child bond”, the relationship I have with my eldest daughter is so special that it defies explaining.    She surprised me today by asking if she could keep the money she was getting for a field trip with her class, and take me to lunch and spend the day together instead…..just she and I.  

To think that my tween daughter still enjoys daddy time makes my heart soar.  As a Dadologist, I know that the time will come when they crave independence and want nothing to do with me.  Hell, I still get a kiss from all three of the kids when I drop them off to school in the morning and they’d don’t care if their friends see or not.

I honestly hope the day never comes were she doesn’t want that one on one time with dad.  Granted, our relationship is quite different than other families.  That’s because of the fact that the kids have two dads and live in an untraditional family unit.  One that I have to say I don’t think any of the kids would change for the world.  As for the difference in my relationship with my daughters is because I have had to be a father and mother figure for them.  

Most fathers don’t take their daughters shopping for bras (Onyx was given the choice of going with me or one of her aunts that was here visiting).  

My eldest daughter gets so excited about our planned “father, daughter time” that you would think she was going to Disney World for the first time.  We’re taking about not being able to sleep the night before because she is so excited.  And it’s not like we don’t do things together on a regular basis.  I try to make time for each of the kids every couple of months or so and each time we do something different.

I think this time, I’ll surprise her with going out for High Tea at one of the luxury hotels we have in town.  I want to her to remember that daddy did more with her than just a shopping trip or going to the movies.  I want her to have “EXPERIENCES” that leave lasting memories.  One trick I think I shall try is to tell her a certain day and then surprise her by taking her out of school after role call a few days prior to that which was agreed upon.  This way she will be rested and not up all night because of looming excitement.

Anyway, fathers and daughters have a special bond that is vastly different than the one fathers have with their sons.  Neither is better than the other, but the feelings and memories that are created with a daughter is a little more special.  What can I say, I love having daughters.