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Setting Yourself Up For Failure, Juggling Balls and Diluting Focus

I do this thing. It’s where I do something well with great success. So, I will do it again. Only, the second time around, there’s a spot of hubris. A forgetfulness of all the things I did right the first time around that made it what it was.

A smidge of arrogance and a slight loosening of control, and of the details. And, predictably, the return engagement doesn’t deliver in the same way.


Last year, coming back from a party with my wife, I decided to take the kids to the rugby sevens. We had a great time, just the three of us. The taxi ride on the way back was challenging, as the kids were hopped up on sweets and ice cream, but I remember the experience fondly. 


So, this year, I decided to do it again. Only, I did it off a challenging weekend. Instead of a return from a chill night away with my wife (who was in Kenya this time round), we came back from a camping weekend with my mom and the boys. Our tent broke, my mom and AJ got sick, the mattress deflated, and it rained a lot. It wasn’t our best camping weekend, and by the time we loaded for the sevens, I was starting to feel the strain of being a super dad.  

I also had gotten an extra ticket for a buddy to come with us – but, as any parent will tell you, it’s kind of hard to have a conversation when the boys are all over the place. So, my diluted focus also had a consequence, and the boys were borderline unpleasant by the time we went home.

At this point, I made a crucial mistake. I let them get into the Uber with ice creams. Picture it: Two tired but sugared-up boys with messy ice creams gunning each other in an Uber stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. It was messy, to say the least. And I was at the end of my tether by the time I got home.

But it was all on me, hey. I didn’t have to try to load the rugby onto the back of a whole weekend with them. I didn’t need to invite a buddy along, I didn’t need to give them ice cream before getting in the car, and I could have had them finish the ice cream before getting in the car. But I made all the above decisions, and there were consequences.


Not that I will learn them anytime soon, but here they are:

  1. If you try to do too much, you’re gonna drop some balls.

  2. Don’t get overconfident. There were conditions for success the first time around – make sure you repeat them.

  3. Remember the primary goal – and make sure your decisions support that.

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