Episode 20 - Brandon Blahnik - Raising Emotional Health

Brandon Blahnik (00:00):
I think the biggest thing that we try and prioritize for our kids is like raising emotionally healthy kids. So many of the problems that we see, like people can't disagree. Like people don't know how to have differing opinions. People don't know how to communicate what they want or what they need or what they feel. If we can develop those skills in them early on, we feel like we're setting them up for long term success

Young Han (00:26):
Meetings. Nice. I love, Hey guys, I'm young, a full-time dad and a full-time professional with the goal to become the best parent possible. The girl dad show is my journey interviewing fellow working parents aspiring to be both good at work and parenting. I'm gonna do this by gathering and sharing unfiltered perspectives from my guest. So join me as I research parenthood one interview at a time. Today's episode of the grilled ad show is sponsored by something I'm very passionate about coffee, blue Jean coffee, bring sophisticated coffee brewing straight into your home. Delivering an elevated coffee experience all without having to make a trip to a cafe. They source their specialty beans directly from farmers all around the world and roast them in small batches. Just for your order. Are you ready to upgrade your home brewing experience? Blue Jean coffee is offering a special deal just for my listeners. Really get visit blue Jean coffee.com for slash TGDS to get 10% off your first order of blue Jean coffee. Oh Yeah, that's a good coffee. Awesome. Love it.

Young Han (01:42):
Brandon what's going on, man? Welcome to my show.

Brandon Blahnik (01:45):
Thanks Young. I appreciate it. Looking forward to chatting.

Young Han (01:48):
Yeah, thanks for taking the time. I'm really glad you're here. So let's jump right into it. So tell the listeners what do you do for a living?

Brandon Blahnik (01:55):
Yeah, so I am currently the director of customer experience for a company called made-in, we sell premium cookware outfit, some of the world's best chefs, kitchens we're in dozens and dozens of Michelin star restaurants and work with a lot of really, really well known chefs around the world. Tomio and Nancy Silverton, a bunch of names that I'm sure a lot of your listeners would, would know. So we outfit the professional kitchens, but our core business is selling direct to consumer online. So I manage all of our service staff and make sure that anyone interacting with the brand has a really, really great experience, which is a lot of fun year of rapid growth for the company. So lots of exciting things ahead for us.

Young Han (02:39):
That's awesome. Yeah. Can you share any of the big projects that you're currently working on?

Brandon Blahnik (02:44):
Yeah, we're actually outgrew a lot of our vendors in the last year. Just with COVID and everyone spending a lot more time at home cooking three meals a day and not being able to go up to, you know, the year William Sonoma or bed bath and beyond to replace cookware. That's 2020 was a crazy year for us. I be, which is great. So we outgrew our existing three PL and just replaced them a week ago tomorrow. So we're in the midst of a huge change in picking up and moving all of our business to different provide that's much more much more well equipped to deal with the, the volume that we're gonna see which would be great, but of course is a massive project. And then we're really, really busy in Q4 as we go into holiday season, big gifting products. So trying to ramp up hiring and staffing efforts for Q4 spikes that that we'll see is as well. So in the middle of, of that process right now.

Young Han (03:43):
Oh, wow. That's exciting. Yeah. Cause it is, even though it is a high level kind of restaurant, like quality grade cookware, you are going direct to consumer, so you're kind of fall prey to all the consumer season, like oh, absolutely. C shopping and all those things. That's cool.

Brandon Blahnik (03:59):
Yeah. And the level of urgency that people have around the holidays, if you order, you know, normally you don't care if it, of course, it's nice when stuff is to you, you know, immediately in today's day of, of Amazon next day delivery expectations for most everything, but particularly around the holidays, it's like, Hey, I like I'm, I'm going to mom and dad's house. Cause I can finally travel again. Yeah. And I need to have a, a gift for, for them. And so the level of urgency that our team faces is a lot higher around that time. So just making sure we're well prepared. I had joined the team the week after black Friday and cyber Monday, last year and we weren't staffed up appropriately. And so kind of jumped right into the deep end end of kind of the, the chaos, yeah. To working really hard now to make sure that it's a much more relaxed experience for all of our staff and our customers this, this year.

Young Han (04:50):
Yeah. That's really, really cool, man. And then do you have restaurant clients as well, as well as B2C? So is it B2B and B2C? 

Brandon Blahnik (04:59):
Yeah, so we sell B2B. That was a big part of, of our growth strategy last year was on the B2B side, but then COVID hit. And of course the restaurant industry is hit really, really hard so quickly. We had to pivot and saw crazy volume on the B2C side. Now that stuff, and I say now is we are back in stage five, I think here in, in Austin as we speak right now. But's right. So certainly restaurants back open you know, this year with, with vaccine availability. And so I had saw a lot of those folks we had been reaching out to for the previous year and a half or so really starting to reopen and you know, new concepts opening up. So that side of the business is definitely growing in a huge opportunity for us. But also means product line changes as well. Cause what a commercial kitchen needs varies from what, you know, you, you need at home as a, as a, as a cook, as a chef.

Young Han (05:52):
Yeah. And then do you, I mean, this is like kind of a random question cuz it has nothing to do with parenting, but do you cook? Well, I guess it does actually.

Brandon Blahnik (06:00):
Yeah. I do cook. Yeah. Not so much. I'm I'm the, I'm the dish guy. So my wife handles the, the cooking and, and I like something about the organizing chaos afterwards of like, I need everything back in its in its place afterwards. I love the grill I'm also, so I, maybe I'm just a guy and like I love playing with fire. So any excuse to go light up a grill or set up a, a campfire or something like that, I'm I'm all about. So I really do enjoy that piece of it and I'm allowed to do that and I'll rotate through every once in a while, but certainly learned a lot. And I think it's actually driven my wife absolutely crazy since kitty the job cuz as a director of customer experience, like we do a lot of educating our customers. Like we produced high performance kitchen tools and there's a lot of, Hey, it's not the product that's you or like we need to educate you on how to properly use this tool. So of course I I'm learning as much as I can. And so me being kind of the, the backseat driver for my wife as she cooks, I'm like, Hey, you should really let that preheat a little more and then add the oil and then add the ingredient. And like I'm kind of coaching from the side, which I think has driven her absolutely nuts. Your back. I know it has, but it's like, this is my job. I promise. And she's like, I've been cooking for us for the 10 years. We've been married stuff always turns out great. And she is, she is really, really great, but me and, and my control freak wanting, I mean I just wanna help. I wanna help. But yeah. I don't know how much she actually appreciates my, my input in the kitchen.

Young Han (07:33):
That's too fun. And so tell me about your kids. How old are your kid or how many kids do you have? How old are they and yeah.

Brandon Blahnik (07:40):
Yeah, we've got two kids. Both daughters, one just turned five, two weeks ago and then Ellie is six and she will be seven at the end of the month. So almost two years apart. My wife and I had been married, it'll be 11 years in December. So I've been married for a handful of years before having the kids. Yeah. And it's been great. I've just been an adventure as, you know, as a dad, like you think, you know what to expect in a lot of ways and then you have 'em and you realize like how ignorant and ill prepared I was and so many ways. And, but it's so fun, like, and, and gets more and more fun as they get older and more independent and they're able to entertain themselves more. And yeah.

Young Han (08:20):
You're a few years ahead of me. It's fun. You're definitely a few years ahead of me. Cause I think I have two girls four and two. And so I think you're a couple years ahead of me, but I have the same kind of the same kind of age gap. Hey, this is like a totally random question. But have you noticed that you're kind of lonely as a guy at a house full of girls?

Brandon Blahnik (08:35):
I would've expected more of that if I'm honest. I'm. I, I like my independent time, like my time to just kind of like check out and I love for them that they're their best buddies and like they've got so many of the same interests. Like that's been really, really great. And we had this conversation a lot when we were pregnant with our second pregnant with Emma of like boy or girl, do we want a boy? Cause then we've got one of each and that'd be cool. Or, you know, we've already got everything for having a girl, so it'd be nice that's to like, not have to cost efficiency, They, they would be able to, to really be buddies. And my wife has a sister that's, you know, three years younger than her. And they were always best friends. I've got a brother that's two years older than me. Like we were best buddies. So we also wanted like, Hey, if they're both girls, like, that's great for them as well. Cause I feel like there's just a little different bond than having the same gender siblings that are relatively close in age. So I actually don't mind it as much as I probably would've expected prior to having it. Like I've, I've really enjoyed being the, the girl dad and, and they're both incredible kids, which is, which is great.

Young Han (09:45):
Yeah. I, I love being a girl, dad too. I mean obviously like the whole show is even called the girl dad show. So you obviously know I'm totally like in love with the moniker here. But I was talking to my wife a like if we did have a third, would we want boy or girl and I, and she like, she's like, well, we're not having a third, but hypothetically speaking, if we were to have a third, she'd rather have a girl just simply because everything is already set up for them. Like it's just so much easier. Cause it's so much work having kids, you know, and, and then just at least that level be easier to do. And so that's pretty funny. Yeah. Are you planning on having a third?

Brandon Blahnik (10:19):
No, we're, we're done. I, I took care of that before, so we're yeah. We're, we're good there too. It was a great balance. And, and originally, like we had said, you know, but yeah, maybe we'll have like four or five kids and yeah, like you get into having one it's like, oh wow, there's a lot to this. And we like the man to man where like, I can go take Emma for some time, just the two of us and you know, Kelsey that's right. Can go do that with that's with El, like we, we like the balance and feel like we can give them, you know, enough of our time and energy and attention that it's a good balance for us. And as much as we love being around other baby is now like the thought of going back into that stage of, you know, being up diapers all hours of the night and diapers and potty, like all of the stuff early on. Like I just feel like as I get older and more capable and more independent, that the thought of going back and starting all over again is not appealing. Although I love holding family members, newborn babies, like that's great and really fun. And then yeah, I go back and sleep through the night and my kids make themselves breakfast in the morning. And like, I can roll out of bed a bit before work. Yeah. And be good to go. Yeah.

Young Han (11:29):
That's fun. So what was your childhood like? How did you grow up?

Brandon Blahnik (11:33):
Yeah, so I grew up, I had older brother, younger sister really a great upbringing. I mean, my parents were really great and provided well for us that, you know, middle class upbringing felt like we were always outside playing me and my brother were the two most competitive kids you'll ever meet. And like, I'd say we were a family where like, expectations were just really high and I don't feel like we were ever, ever like forced into stuff. I just feel like part of our family is like, oh no, like you just get good grades. Like you don't like CS an expectations. Definitely aren't okay. Like if you get a B like, Hey, like not really. Okay. So it, it was just kind of the expectation. My parents weren't interesting, really harsh. Like that was just kind of the standard. Like we're active in the church and like we follow the rules and like we respect our parents and our elders and my parents had a great marriage, like never fighting. Like it was a really calm, peaceful upbringing. And things came fairly easy for us. I felt like, because we had this baseline expectation of performance that that's like, all I knew, like, so it was just fairly normal for us, which is, which is great and, and really enjoyed it. And yeah, overall was, was good, but there's also stuff that when things are like easy and smooth, like there's a lot of skills I didn't develop too around, like how do I deal with conflict? And, you know, I, I didn't have like these traumas as a kid. And like, it's trying to figure out how to, how to disagree and like how to work on some of these emotional skill that I didn't really need to develop, cuz things were great and smooth as a kid for me that, and I'm, I'd say this and I'm married to a counselor social worker now who is very emotional, emotionally intelligent and brings very different skillsets for me. It's very logical, very even keeled to she, she has this different range and, and skill set than I do. So it's been really interesting as married couple looking at her childhood and mine and realizing like, Hey, here's some stuff I do really, really well. And some areas where like, man, I, I need to develop some skills and you know, no fault of, of anyone in particular, but just recognizing that well, I'm having to figure out of those emotional regulation and, and these skills now as an adult that I didn't need to develop or, or didn't develop when I was younger, that as we think about what does it mean to be a parent together and how do we wanna raise our kids? There's stuff that we pull from my family that is great, that I love. And we there's stuff that we pull from her skill setting experience that you love and, and try and kind of merge these things together. And then what do we feel like is the best for, for our family? 

Young Han (14:27):
Which Brandon continues to change and evolve Brandon? Like what, like what kind of stuff?

Brandon Blahnik (14:29):
Yeah. I mean, I think the biggest thing that we try and prioritize for our kids is like raising emotionally healthy kids. Like if we feel like if we can equip them with the skills to understand what they're feeling, what they're wanting, what they're needing and communicate and problem solve and troubleshoot, like at a young age that that's going to, that's gonna pay dividends, you know, in their personal life, in their family life and their work life. Like you're having to deal with other human beings every day in a million different ways. And I think so many of the problems that we see, like people can't disagree. Like people don't know how to have differing opinion. People don't know how to communicate what they want or what they need or what they feel. And if we can develop those skills in them early on, like we feel like we're setting them up for long term success and whatever success looks like for them, whether that's, you know, in the traditional business context that is really important to at me, whether it's as a counselor or a social worker, just a emotionally healthy human being that enjoys their life. Like those skills we feel like are so transferable and so important that it will take care of a lot of the other types of discipline and education that I think become a big focus for a lot of folks. Yeah. And I think

Young Han (15:55):
That, I think moving forward, that's actually gonna be a much more critical skill, right. Because as we start to like automate more things and we digitize more things, it, it seems like, yeah, the logical technical tactical stuff can be trained and taught and if possibly even automator digitized. Right. And so sure skill that may, may or may not, I mean, this is kind of like what all the pundits are saying, right. Is that like the skill that's gonna be lacking moving forward is the ability to like connect with people, right. That EQ and that ability to adapt to people. But I'm actually kind of curious, based on your your, your upbringing, like when was the first moment at work where you're just like, oh crap. I don't know how to deal with this. When did you, that was a, that was a deficit from that, you know, that very awesome classic, you know, you know? Yeah, for

Brandon Blahnik (16:38):
Sure. Yeah. That's a good question. I think it was probably in the kind, so I spent my first seven years of my career working in pro sports. I worked for the early, no magic on the service and retention side for like our premium high spend awesome season to go olders there. So very white glove people spending six figures annually to watch what unfortunately is a lifelong magic fan with some pretty terrible basketball at the time. But we worked long hours, like high pressure, high expectations. And like I remember sitting in a meeting there with my, you know, senior at the time and a coworker and the coworker ended up in tears over some sort of issue that was going on, like the stress pressure of renewals and, you know, specific issue problem had popped up. And like, I just remember like a, being so uncomfortable by that. And not really knowing what to do with that to try and help support, especially in that that context was, was a bit of a challenge. And I, the way I always justified in my head is like, well, I'm able to take the, like, I viewed it for a long time as a superpower of, well, I can avoid the emotion and just look at the facts, just logically process and think, and decision make from that state of mind, which I viewed as a really, really healthy thing. And, and I think to a certain extent it is and can be, but there's also the human element of like, I need to be able to empathize and understand and feel and port, and it's true in, in business and being a leader and having a staff, especially in, in my world where like we're dealing with the 1% of people that are having problems and issues, the vast majority of the time, we're not dealing with the 99% where they're super happy and everything blew. Exactly. So like we're getting a lot of stuff kind of thrown at us. That's not our fault still problem. And how do we dig into the human element of, of being there to support our customers or for me to support my staff and team. And I think it translates directly as a parent too, of being able to support and direct and you know, be there for, for your kids as well. But trying to balance the logical side with all also being able to connect and meet folks at an emotional level is also a really important skill. And I just recognize, I, I could do the logical piece, but like, I didn't know what to do with the big emotional piece at that time. And certainly something I've worked on over the years,

Young Han (19:06):
Which is really interesting because if you're talking about like the essence of your role, and if, if I could even go so far as to say what you would say is your purpose in your role, I'd say a huge part of it is keeping your employees happy. Right. Absolutely are dealing with they're dealing with the upside customers. Right. And so that requires a lot of EQ much more EQ than logic in a lot of senses. Right. Because now you're dealing with people's emotions that are basically just beat up for a little, for lack of better words for a living <laugh> oh yeah. A lot ways. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So how do you circumvent that? Or would you, or would you do first off, do you agree with that? And then two, how do you do that?

Brandon Blahnik (19:40):

No, I would, I would definitely agree with that. And I think that's all about kind of building a, a culture amongst your staff where people feel supported and heard. And like, I don't expect them to be robots. I don't expect them to be logical and realizing that, Hey, this customer's being a little ridiculous in this, like, forget about it. Don't worry about it. Like move on. Like there's times you're gonna deal with someone that's really difficult and pushes your buttons. And like, it's totally fine. Like if you feel really frustrated and need to step a way, and like, we need to support you and give you some, some space and time and to tell you like that you did a really great job and handled what was a really difficult situation. Well, like being able to provide that support and encouragement for them is really, really big. And also being able Toran people like we're not talking life and death, like no one's sleeping on the streets. Like, because we didn't take care of a specific issue, my wife was working with chronic, like placing housing for chronically homeless EDS. So that used to always be kind of the running joke in our house of like, I'd complain about customer issues. And she'd be like, well, like, no one's sleeping on the streets tonight. Cuz someone didn't get something done's. So that always helps keep things in contexts. And I try and remind team as well. Cause when you're living in these types of issues and questions day in and day out it can feel like it's everything. And so to help remind people, Hey, we're, we're talking pots and pans and knives and glassware, like, you know, that's right. It's, it's not. And, and trying to keep perspective, I think is also helpful not to minimize what they're doing, cuz the work is really important. And we take a lot of pride in the brands that we're building and the products that we sell, but also don't wanna take ourselves too serious and thinks that. And I think that helps with finding that balance of support for, for them as well.

Young Han (21:27):
Yeah. I, that that's very reticent to some of my experiences in coffee. I was in coffee quite a bit. And we'd always say that joke where like when things got really stressful and you'd just be like guys at the end of the day, it's just coffee <laugh> right. Like it's just coffee, you know what I mean? Like we gotta make sure we're having fun and, and incorporate, you know, some perspective here because you know, we're not like, know we're not like doing anything that's gonna be that impactful. You could always just brew another cup. It's like, you know, sure.

Brandon Blahnik (21:53):
Move on. But in building, in building anything, you know, as a, as a businessman, like you take a ton of pride in that and that is your everything that sometimes it is easy to lose that, that context as well. Which I think is, is really important for being able to enjoy what you're doing and not completely stress yourself out and, you know, kinda burn yourself from both ends

Young Han (22:15):
Totally from both ends. So I know we kind of dabbled on it, but how do you qualify success in parenting?

Brandon Blahnik (22:24):
I mean, for us, I, I think we, we try and come at it from the developing most healthy kids and I think it's a moving target. And I, I think like in anything, the more we learn, the more we realize, like we don't know and, and you start digging in and learning and you realize there's, there's just a lot there that I don't do well. And I, I think it's a balance of being able to rise areas where man, I didn't do a really great job in this situation earlier today and not beating yourselves up over it, but also paying attention and recognizing, and learning and being better kind of the next day. So I, I think as I look at kind of day to day, I said's, Hey, am I doing a better job today than I was yesterday or last week or last month? And some of that is just an awareness and an ability to pay attention to what you're doing and not just go through the motions. But I think a lot of it comes down to are my kids developing those skills where they're more and more capable day in out. I think oftentimes we've expect our kids to just be little mini adults. Like they should know better, but they don't they're kids. Like if, if we're not teaching and modeling what a healthy human like adult looks like for our kids, like they don't know what they don't know. And I think it's, it's easy to get frustrated, expecting our kids to just know better, but they don't and like in, unless we're teaching them those things and modeling those things for them that's the only way they're gonna learn and where those expectations come into play.

Young Han (24:08):
But Brandon, I guess this is the dilemma then. Right. So then are you projecting your logical side more? Are you projecting your emotional side more that you're kind of developing or are you letting your wife kind of parlay her emotional side more like what's that strategy then?

Brandon Blahnik (24:20):
Yeah, I, I would say my wife is absolutely the leader in the family from parenting perspective. She she's just so much more well UCA. She's the one that like is in the books and like she's writing a, a book now on like peace making and parenting and like just pulling all of these resources that she's gathered from all over the place. And like she just constantly choose and develops and is a result brings me long in a lot of these areas. But I, I think my natural is absolutely the logical, which is a parent, especially of really young kids. Like they're not logical, like there's no reason you should be acting this way because of this like logically doesn't compute. And I think that's where a lot of my learnings of the parent early on is like, I've gotta have a different level of, of patience and grace with kids than I would have, cuz like there's no reason you should be acting like that. Stop it. And, and just going into like shutdown mode versus why are you feeling this way let's identify or you feel like, and what we, what we need to do, like let's, let's play this. Okay. So you're feeling very scared right now. What's the worst that can happen. Like let's go there, like let's talk through it and, you know, let them kind of figure out and develop

Young Han (25:38):
Some of how, how successful are you at this at employing this tactic?

Brandon Blahnik (25:42):
I I'd say it's one where my wife does a really great job of helping call out when I don't. And I think some of it is like, we've gotta be able to model what we want for them. And so sometimes that's Kelsey saying, Hey, like, it seems like you are getting very worked up over this to me, you know, take a second to, to kind of figure out what's what's going on there. Like it's is it really about what she's doing right now? Yeah. So I I'd say it's a, it's a work in progress and you know, as the kids develop and grow there's new challenges and things that they raise that I have to figure out how to deal with and that Kelsey and I have to figure out how to deal with together and trying to stay aligned on that as important as well. But yeah, it's, it's certainly an ongoing process.

Young Han (26:32):
I struggle with it a lot. Yeah. I I'm constantly being, not reprimanded, but definitely coached by my wife about like, Hey, like you can't just like say this then that, or like these consequences, right. It doesn't work like that. They don't understand. And they can't process it in that kind of linear fashion. And so I've been really, really like struggling with it?

Brandon Blahnik (26:51):
Yeah. I'm curious. How, how do you and your wife vary on, on those things in terms of, of approach and naturally, are you guys pretty similar in a lot of those ways? Or how do you balance out?

Young Han (27:04):
No, we're polar opposites. We're polar opposites. Like in every, every aspect you can possibly imagine from polar opposites. We, we like different foods. We like different movies. I mean, we don't even watch movies cuz we can't agree on a movie that we both wanna watch. Right. Like we literally just don't watch stuff together cause it's just like pointless. Yeah. We're like polar opposites and we're one of those, we unique situations where almost everything is completely separated by our, our, you know, interest our personalities and all those things, but that's what makes us great. Yeah. And so it's really fun when it comes into parenting because she is definitely much more nurturing and thoughtful. Yeah. And and she reads up on it, listens to, you know, podcast and, and, and research and all those things. And I'm a lot more linear.

Young Han (27:48):
Right. I'm a lot more like I just kind of, I end up, I end up seeing a lot of my parents in the way that I raise my kids, which is, I don't know if it's a good thing or not, but I can't stop until she points it out. And then she's like, like how would she, how would your kid even know how to respond to that? Right. Like you got understand that they're not even able to put context into that. So I was just curious because like I struggle with the big time. Cause I'm very logical as well too, you know, I'm like, yeah, like this, this is what makes me successful at work.

Brandon Blahnik (28:15):

Young Han (28:17):
Yeah. And so it's like a skill that I've honed for years and years and years. And now all of a sudden, like that skill is basically the, for lack of better words, useless, you know? And you're like, oh, it doesn't even matter. You know? And so you're like crap. So you have to like scramble to find new skills or hone this new thing that you've never really exercised,

Brandon Blahnik (28:35):
You know, now as a, have you not. And I realized that it too is probably a little bit early, but for your four year old, do you notice her kind of taking one disposition over the other? Is she, she much more emotional and, and, you know, kinda leaning more towards your wife in those ways or kind of more along the, the even ke logical nature that, that you've got.

Young Han (28:58):
I, I think that it's a mixture of both in some ways. I definitely think that she is very quick to understand things and she's very, like, she sharp in the sense of like you explain something to her and then she'll put it kind of in the ecosystem of the world, which, you know, you don't really expect a four year old to do. And so I'm like, oh, that's pretty clever. So yeah, you gotta keep doing this cuz I mean, she might be clever. We gotta keep exercising that muscle for her cuz you know, what, if she has the potential to be clever and we're not, we're not exercising it. Right. But then there's also like right now, like this week has been very emotional for her. Like she's been acting out quite a bit specifically towards me this week and, and really looking for more one-on-one dad time. Cuz I think she's getting, I don't know. Maybe you could tell me, I mean you're, you're kind of like a couple years my senior in this, but she's getting a little jealous of my time with grace. Yep. And so she wants more of my time you know, singularly focused on her, which is kind of an interesting thing and I haven't seen her vocalize it, so expressly, but that's hap that's what's happening this week is like her just kind of like saying, Hey, I really want more time with dad.

Brandon Blahnik (29:59):
Yeah. Yeah.

Young Han (30:00):
Which is pretty emotionally intelligent. Wouldn't you say? I mean, yeah. Your so she's leaning more towards my wife in that sense. Yeah. Yeah. Have you, have you ever had an experience like that with your girls? Were they?

Brandon Blahnik (30:10):
Yeah. And, and I think it's more been the other way with, you know, my wife is there with them predominantly full-time and she, she works some but does from, from home when she's seeing her clients counseling, you know, via telehealth. But there was so much of the time early on where my wife's pouring into them, like so much. And then all they want is dad, you know, at times, especially with me when I was in the office and gone, and especially in the early days of magic where like the work hours were ridiculous that the, they just wanted dad, which was so hard for her at times mm-hmm <affirmative> when they would kind of pull away or, or treat her with less respect than we would want or expect out of them where they would kinda walk over her in some areas that, and we had to be able to share how that, how that feels for my wife and, you know, your intentions may not have been to hurt my feelings here, but you know, this is the way I'm, I'm feeling and wanna make sure that they're aware that their actions impact other people in different ways and being able to help talk through and, and educate them on some of that stuff there. But yeah, I think it's, it's natural for kids to have this pull back and forth at times and to go through phases where either I just want mom and you know, or a little harsh to, to dad or standoffish or, or vice versa as well. And again, trying to focus on the fact that it's about the kids and helping them understand those feelings and thoughts and wants and how to communicate that in a way that's healthy. Cuz it's okay to want mom and like be really attached to mom. Yeah, totally. Is it okay to be a total jerk to your dad? Or like no. Like, so how do you help them identify, Hey, this is really, I'm really like, I need help from like just want time with just mom for a little bit and to be able to communicate that is important.

Young Han (32:13):
Yeah, totally. I think that that's really great. And then have you always been going into the office predominantly and then more recently now you're just working from home.

Brandon Blahnik (32:22):
Yeah. I mean prior to COVID where in the office full time and first seven years of the magic. I mean, you're living at the arena it's game nights, it's event nights, you know, I'm traveling with the team some and taking clients and for my clients that, you know, are in pretty important positions within their companies that just have the financial ability to spend what they were spending on. Their tickets are typically like running businesses during the week. And they're not thinking about basketball during normal business hours. So, you know, I was the guy getting text messages from clients at 5:00 AM on a Saturday and Thanksgiving at afternoon. So even when I wasn't at the office, I was always on or felt like I needed to have my phone in my hand available to these folks at kind of all hours of the, the day and night. So I had moved two different roles so that I had more time to be home with them and have a little bit more normal schedule. When I left there and spent a handful of years more on the growth stage side of business, it, it been established enough that I was kind of outside the initial ridiculous hours of, of a startup. It was established enough. But allowed me a more regular schedule. But thanks to, COVID had a job chain joined made in, in December of, of last year and it's been fully remote, although we're working through a transition back in the office right now. I mean this week was supposed to be our first required. Full-Time back in the office, you know, normal nine to five ish, but within spiking again here in Austin, given us the flexibility, if we still need to continue to work remote that we can, but we'll be going back in the office. I'll be really curious to see what that looks like and how that impacts family balance. Totally. Cause it's been so nice that right now, if you know, I need to keep an ear out for the girls while my wife has a client or runs to do something they're old enough that they do that and I can still work and be super productive and get my stuff done that yeah. And I flex going back to flex to school. So they've been homeschooled even prior to, to COVID. Oh wow. We've had them in and out of a few kind of drop off programs for Spanish or you know, a couple hours, a couple days a week. So for right now, well will continue to, to homeschool, but we're really just taking it year by year. We never really expected or planned on doing that. It's just worked out well for us so far. Ellie would technically be in or sorry, my youngest would technically be starting kindergarten this upcoming year. And then Ellie would is like right in that first to second grade cutoff. So we'll see. I mean it's a year by year thing right now, but we'd love to find some sort of structured couple of day, a week program to, to have them in.

Young Han (35:14):
What was the, what was the impetus for doing the homeschooling?

Brandon Blahnik (35:19):
I think is we were doing a lot of the research early on for the younger ages. Having more opportunity for them to learn by doing and playing and exploring was really important to us and something we felt like having them in a full six hours a day, five days a week where it's, it's much more structured and about what they're learning specifically versus kind of the self exploration in a lot of the self-directed I think in a lot of ways it felt like we, you could cover what we needed to cover. And when I say we, I mean my wife, cuz she's really been the one taking the lead in this area, help educate and, and walk them through what they need to be learning from a reading and math and you know, the actual actual work itself without having to do that in such a formal structure for so many hours a day at that age, as they get older, like having that structure and that additional time to pour into the actual content yeah. Is absolutely great and important. And we'll certainly have them in a full-time school at some point. Just what that time. So just like,

Young Han (36:38):
Got it. So you, based on your guys' research, you guys found that this is what you want to do in the earlier stages, but eventually you want that structure for them as their child, as

Brandon Blahnik (36:45):
A child development, kinda. And we looked into some of the Montessori schools and some of those things that were much more aligned with the, the style and approach that we felt would be best for them in an earlier age. And didn't find something that just fit us from kind of a lifestyle perspective from a cost perspective. Like it was, we felt like we could provide for them what would be best for them early on doing it ourselves. And you know, my wife took a lot of resources and wrote a curriculum for them and, and did kind of a homeschool co-op with a few other families and kids for a handful of years when they we're younger. And now that they're a little bit older, you know, have a little different structure for them and aren't doing it with other kids. And we're in a, a new city as well. Again, we just moved in in January here. So don't quite have that same level of community and network here that we had back home. But we keep exploring other school options and if we find something that works well, then we're totally open to, to doing something more formal. Did you guys sooner or in the next couple years, we'll we'll just see, did you

Young Han (37:52):
Guys move here? Did you guys move here for your job

Brandon Blahnik (37:56):
Dominantly? Yeah, so I mean my previous job COVID hit the business pretty hard and they cut like for 40% of the company. So was kind of looking for the next right step. And my wife's parents had made the move to Austin in the middle of last year and we were really close to them. They had lived in Orlando as well. Which is where all my family was. So we looked really hard at roles in Orlando and we loved the city of Austin since they were here as well was the only other place we really considered because we loved being by family there and would have that option here in Austin as well. And Austin job wise is just booming and was lots of great opportunity for the types of roles I was looking at. So although I was applying in both just kept getting interviews in Austin. So we actually ended up going under contract on a place here even before finalizing a job, just, you know, we had the flexibility to do so. And it seemed like this is where the doors were opening. So ended up landing a role before actually making the move and, and worked out really, really well timing wise for, for everybody. That's

Young Han (39:02):
Awesome, man. Yeah. It's great. And Brandon, I do, I do wanna make sure that we take some time to do my rapid fire questions. I, I want to ask the five questions for every guest. So I do wanna start doing that right now. If you don't mind, we switching gears a little bit. All right, here we go. So what advice do you have for other parents and soon to be parents?

Brandon Blahnik (39:21):
I mean, I think for, I I'd say that what you model matters more than what you're saying or teaching. So it's so easy for us to say like, you need to clean your room, you need to make your bed, you need to brush your teeth. You need to, you know, treat your sister with respect. You need to, you know, be kind, you need to be generous. But if my room's a mess, the kitchen's chaos, if I'm getting short and snapping at my kids, because they're being too loud or came in during a work call, but yet we're telling them, you need to do these things, but modeling something D sprint, like they're watching us all the time and we need to be very intentional about modeling the things that we're saying are important to, to us, and that should be important to them and that we need them to be doing. And I think that's easy when you're sleep deprived and frustrated to not do. And so I think it's a very intentional choice to try and model what you're trying to train and teach your kids. But is not always the most intuitive thing either.

Young Han (40:31):
Nice. If you can go back and tell yourself one thing before having kids, what would it be?

Brandon Blahnik (40:37):
You're not as busy as you think. Would certainly be one of 'em. Like, I felt like we were so busy and had no time. And now as a parent, you're like seeing other people before kids and it's like, you have no idea how much freedom and flexibility you have. So I mean, I, I would tell myself to enjoy that extra freedom and be spun and adventurous and take advantage of that and enjoy it and lean into that time with your spouse, cuz that your time gets squeezed and going from being single, to being married, like your personal time just gets squeezed and squeezed and squeezed. And as a couple, when you have kids you're running different and directions all the time that it's really important to lean into that time together and enjoy that extra space and freedom.

Young Han (41:29):
It's so true. I love that. What is the most surprising thing that you learned about yourself after you became a parent?

Brandon Blahnik (41:36):
I always thought I was super go with the flow and like even keeled. But I realized that I do not do well with like chaos and messes and everything that comes with having young kids. And like, again, especially with my wife who is all about the Montessori stuff, where you you've got your kids that are really getting in and making messes and learning by doing that stuff like to be, just for whatever reason kind of stresses me out. And I've realized that I'm not as even keeled. As I thought I was in a lot of ways and have certain had to, to get comfortable with, you know, the, the chaos, it sometimes

Young Han (42:19):
It's funny because like the more I interview you and learn about you, I'm like, I actually think we're gonna be really good friends because I like everything you say. I'm like, oh my gosh, that's exactly me. I feel

Brandon Blahnik (42:31):
Wanna go playroom upstairs. That's your space, Kelsey. Like once it's in a decent spot, like let me know. And the kids help. 

Young Han (42:38):
I mean they're yeah, Instant anxiety. The moment I go out there and I'm just like, wait, what is going on? Why there's so many things opened right now. Right.

Brandon Blahnik (42:46):
Which was clean yesterday. How did it's like a hurricane?

Young Han (42:49):
Yeah. But it's, it's pretty magical. Right. Cause I mean, there's a lot of like development that goes into like letting them explore more freely and mess things up and try things. And I get that. Yeah. But it's just like the anxiety level. I can't emotionally stop it from like going, everything should have a spot. Everything should have a place, you know?

Brandon Blahnik (43:04):
Right. Well, and now it's so nice that at five and six years old and really from when our youngest was probably three and a half or four, like they'll get up in the morning and like make themselves breakfast. And like they know how to work the toaster and like heat up the kettle and like make their instant oatmeal and that stuff there early on, like she's four, like why are you letting her like that's 350 degrees and we're telling her to go put her like bread in there and get it out without setting something on fire or, you know, a trip to the ER, but man it's so cuz they learn those things so early and now like I can sleep and like they'll take care of breakfast for themselves in the morning. And like that's, that's really nice and is worth it now that we're on the back end of it. But on the front end.

Young Han (43:50):
Yeah. Nerve wracking. Right. Yeah. That's amazing. I gotta try, I gotta start training my kids for that. That's amazing actually. Never even about doing that. That's awesome. Yeah.

Brandon Blahnik (43:58):
It's yeah, definitely worth the effort if you can deal with the anxiety of it. Yeah.

Young Han (44:03):
Yeah. That's the problem, but yeah. So what's your all time favorite business book?

Brandon Blahnik (44:09):
There's two that I really love. One is essentialism. I think it's by Greg McEwen. It's really, really good. I think especially in growth stage companies, there's always 50 different hats, your balancing and way too many urgent priorities. And for me it's just a really good tangible book of how do you prioritize the right things to have the greatest impact? So that's one that I, I probably revisit once a year and I'm not a guy that likes to reread books and then the other one is called creativity, Inc. It's by ed Kael, who's one of the founders of like Pixar and is an incredible book about innovation, creativity and building a team and a culture of innovation where it's okay to go and try and explore and fail and how to do that in the context of like Pixar, like we all know the Pixar movies and stories. So being in the context of these stories that, you know, the end result of, but to see the process behind the development is just a really fun, interesting read. And there's so many good nuggets in there that I've been able to take into non-creative roles at all. That I think is highly worth the read and really enjoyable to that's

Young Han (45:32):
Awesome. Yeah. I've never heard of those books, so I'll definitely have to check those out. That's great. Yep. And then my final question to bring us home here. Brandon, what does Brandon do when he's not being an awesome dad and an awesome executive?

Brandon Blahnik (45:45):
So I'm, we love to travel and have even with the kids from nearly age, so love to get out and travel, which has been tough the last year and a half. Not really being able to do that, but then for me I love golf and that's like my happy place to go clear my head as a lifelong athlete. Like I can scratch that competitive itch of you always leave a few shots out there where you feel like you, you know, could have scored a little bit better. Being outside, getting a little sweat on cuz I'm from Florida and living in Texas now is, is always good for me. So much harder to go find six hours on a Saturday or a Sunday as a parent. So I certainly don't get out near as much as I would like. But that's definitely what I would love to do with a free day if, if I had the choice to do anything.

Young Han (46:36):
That's awesome. Yeah. Thanks for sharing that didn't know that about you. Yeah. I feel like I learned so much more than I was expecting. This is so fun. Yeah. Brandon. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time outta your busy day to talk to me about my, you know, parenting and work. And I know that it's I know it's a really crazy time with COVID and your ramping up for a lot of new projects, but I appreciate it.

Brandon Blahnik (46:56):
Yeah. It's been great young. I appreciate it.

Young Han (46:59):
Yeah. I'll talk to you soon. Okay. Rather, maybe we'll hit some balls together.

Brandon Blahnik (47:02):
Let's do it. Sounds good. Take care

Young Han (47:04):
Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the girl dad show, we really hope you enjoyed that interview. And as always, please take a moment to review Ray and subscribe. We'll see you next time.

Leave a comment