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Parenting Rad Dads

“Rad Dad Feature: Todd Carmichael”

I found Todd when I was looking for the person to thank for making some of the best coffee I have had in my life.  When I found his page I found out that he was an extremely active Dad and through viewing his page I could tell he was one of the good guys.  His coffee company La Colombe impressed me by making some really good canned coffee, but his openness and eagerness to participate in this feature when asked impressed me the most.  It is my honor to share this feature, and if you see any La Colombe when you are out and about, pick it up!

1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?

I am the founder and CEO of La Colombe, a leading coffee roasting company in the US. Also, I’m a World Record holding ultra distance trekker, an inventor (most notably the draft latte) and TV host. Mostly, I’m a Dad.

I don’t pretend to have balance in my life, to do it all something has to give, and for me that means sleep. I am an engaged CEO, 40+ hours a week at the office, and ton more in the early am and late at night. Yet I drop all the kids to school and have dinner and do homework at night, and wall to wall play time on the weekends. I manage this by not sleeping more than 5 hours a night, which isn’t balanced, but I figure I can sleep when they are all in college.      

2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?

The modern day Dad to me is a man engaged, curious and perfectly aware that these years are the key years in the arc of his life. His source of energy is the possibilities inherent in his children and the world they will live in. His main skill – absolute mastery of endurance and the will to be the last man standing.

3. How did becoming a father change your life?

Becoming a Father inspired me in ways that will shape my life forever. Over night I found another level of inspiration that took me, my company and my approach to life to a whole new level.

4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?

The dynamic sense of purpose, and that every moment is made better with them in it.

5. Can you share a memorable story about being a father?

As an adoptive Dad of four the memorable moments are countless, even mundane moments are moving, like chorus, or sports or just reading together. Each of my children has a previous story, and a transitional story from heart ache and loss  to who they are today, and so to see them through that lens, each a vision of beauty, improbability and strength – every moment is a moment. Like with Bek,  my youngest, he was adopted after my three girls, at a time when entering the US had become very difficult. With this we spent our first month or more together hunkered down in a small room in Addis-Ababa – hanging out, waiting for his Visa. Needless to say it was a crash course in caring for a baby, often without electricity or hot water, and certainly without a complete skill set on my part. A few days into our stay I thought I was beginning to hallucinate. At night, with the lights out or off, I could clearly hear my son say “DAD?” loud and perfectly pronounced. It was both exciting and troubling, since there was little probability that a 8 month old could say that word so perfectly, but exciting because I loved the word so much. How could this be?  Nearly every night I would listen for my hallucination – and it would come. “DAD?”

Over the weeks, I shared this with my wife and fiends, and we chalked it up to fatigue. It wasn’t until the flight home, somewhere over the Atlantic, with him in my arms, and a witness to my right, that I would see my sons lips form as he slept and say out loud that word “DAD?” clear and perfectly accented. With the surprised passenger next to us, wide eyed, I looked into my beautiful sons face and finally answered. “Yes son?”

6. What advice can you give any new father out there?

Being a Father is much like a start up, in fact, it’s best to think of it as a human start up, and like start ups they are both the most exhausting thing you will ever do, but the most valuable and rewarding too. My advice, approach the whole thing like a start-up Entrepreneur, and develop yourself as the family grows. from founding entrepreneur into a CEO, and eventually, into Chairman and finally board member, making sure to optimize yourself and skills each step of the way.

Thank you so much for being a part of our site.  Your coffee keeps me awake, but you can trust that the inspiration you have shared in this feature will keep me going strong as well.

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