3 Things a Father-to-be Needs: Preparation, Mindset, & Focus

The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl with preparation, mindset & focus – a great lesson for fathers-to-be.

It’s the day after Super Bowl XLV and congratulations to the Green Bay Packers on the win.  They came prepared, with a mindset that let them play mistake-free football. They were ready to take advantage of the opportunities their opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, gave them.  It was clear the Packers had better focus than the Steelers – the Pack didn’t turn the ball over once while the Steelers did it 3 times.  All of this added up to victory and an excellent object lesson for future dads.

There was another announcement last week that should really inspire fathers-to-be: the rookies of the year.

Every year there are players who come in, with no professional experience, and perform like seasoned veterans – just like a father can be at his first birth.  This year the awards went to Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams, offense) and Ndamukong Suh (Detroit Lions, defense).  They were the top two draft picks and far exceeded expectations, earning the trust of their teammates and helping their teams.

Wait – aren’t the players who succeed the ones with the most natural gifts – strength, speed, intuition?

This is not true!  Every position on a football team has physical skills that are benefits – speed for wide receivers, strength for defensive linemen, height for quarterbacks.  But these skills do not guarantee success.  There are plenty of tales of workout wonders – college players who had teams salivating based on their physical skills.  The vast majority of workout wonders go on to have non-descript, even mediocre careers because physical skills are not the most important part of playing.

What separates the good players from the great ones: preparation, mindset & focus.

There’s a saying in sports:

Great players are made in the off-season.

The off-season is when players get time off.  Some take it easy while others practice and hone their skills.  These are players that improve and make the leap from good to great.

Good players get by on their natural abilities – great players make themselves great through preparation.  So can YOU.

They understand that working at it is the only way to help themselves and their teams.  A perfect example is Jerry Rice, the former San Francisco 49er.  In his own words,

I wasn’t the biggest, I wasn’t the fastest, but I was going to outwork everybody else.

Outwork he did, to become arguably the best player in NFL history.  He wasn’t the biggest, the fastest or the strongest – just the best.  Outworking is something that any future dad can do.  Just keep in mind that there’s no competition with other dads – just yourself.

This is what every father-to-be should aspire to: to be the best they can be.

Get it in your mind that it’s going to take some work and that you are going to do it.  There’s not a huge amount of work needed to be the best birth partner one can be.  You won’t need to run sprints in 90° weather, and there’s no spandex involved. But it’s more than thinking about it for 30-40 minutes.  What it takes is

1. Preparation

Learn about birth and it’s possibilities.  Learn about your partner – what kind of support does she like?  Does she like to hear whispers of encouragement, loving touches or something else?  Learn about different techniques to manage pain.  Learn about the emotional ups and downs.  Be prepared with suggestions to help her through the stages.  It sounds like a lot but it’s really not.  Take the time and prepare bit by bit, just like a bird builds its nest.

2. Mindset

Preparation lays the foundation for mindset. Mindset is your mental attitude.  Your mindset defines how you will respond to a situation emotionally.  When it gets intense will you freak out or stay cool?  This will affect your partner. When she feels unsure, when she feels that she can’t – she will turn to you for support.  Your mindset will help her or not.  If you freak out, she’ll freak out.  If you stay cool, she’ll know things are good and that she can count on you.

3. Focus

Focus is concentration.  It’s staying in the moment with her, no matter where she is.  It’s putting her needs above everything else as she does one of the most amazing things in life.  It’s not dropping the ball when she needs you the most.  Birth is one chance for us guys to be truly, truly great.

Now take it upon yourself to be great – and do not settle for less!

There you go – the 3 things every father-to-be needs: preparation, mindset & focus.  Put in the time, build the foundation to be confident & keep your head in the ‘game’ – that is, labor & birth.

Now I’d like to hear from you moms & dads: what do you feel makes a great birth partner?