In this parenting profile I am super excited and humbled to introduce our first dad in the series — Brad Fennell. Brad is a Queensland based professional acupuncturist, father, family man, husband, rock climbing, podcasting, YouTubing adventurer that is not short of energy. Brad is co-host of the 3 Wise Monkez podcast which is available on apple and soundcloud, the man behind the camera on his self titled YouTube channel and one very self-aware guy that has really taken the time to appreciate self, others, family and what life really means.
This interview is truly full of gems. Reading back on it I was struck time and time again with so much wisdom that can only come from Brad’s experience. You really need to read it to appreciate its depth.
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Tell us a little about yourself, who is Brad Fennell, what do you do and what’s family life like?
Okay, I’m Brad Fennell. My day job is that of an acupuncturist running, with my wife Tabitha, our Gold Coast acupuncture practice, Studio Qi. We have three boys together, fourteen, twelve, five, and our day to day life is probably like most, pretty hectic being full of work, school, kids sports and activities. But to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way, in fact if it wasn’t busy I’m sure I’d go and find something to add to the e-course, blogs, vlog, podcast, rock climbing, family adventures and eternal growth.
“I realised that if I didn’t want a busy life then I probably shouldn’t have had three kids, and that it was in fact exactly what I wanted and needed.”
What does a typical day look like for you during the week?
I nearly always start my day at five in the morning. I awaken and grab a cup of tea. Occasionally I’ll sleep in, if that’s what I need, but usually it’s a five start. I always start my day, review my dreams and awakening mood and notice what’s calling me, what areas of my life I feel drawn to. I exercise or dance or breathe or stretch or meditate or a blend of them all .
“The chaos of the day quickly descends and the early start allows me to go within and find me before the day tries to submit its will and tell me who I should be.”
From here it’s the morning rush of kids to school, and off to work at Studio Qi for either Tabitha or myself. If I’m doing the school drop off I add some exercise in and make it a run/ride followed by a little more exercise then into the home office to get into whatever needs to be done.
A little cooking is always necessary through the day as there is no time at the end of the day. The arvo is always either work or school pickup, and then before I know it I’m home at 7.30 for a little family chill time often followed by a little early evening work.
Can you share one big challenge you have faced and overcome in the last 12 months?
Letting go. I had an interesting experience with my 14 year old son. He wanted to go to the beach and hangout with his mates. It was interesting because up till then most of our adventures included me, suddenly I was out. So I worked on it and realise that he was growing up, that I had done a big part of my job, he is an amazing young man and that it was time to let go a little. He definitely still needs me but I can take a small step back and bring in a little more time for me. This time for me has encouraged me to stay on my side, not always do what is right for others, as I move a little more into a new phase and follow more of what is truely right for me. Growing older can become introspective as I unravel a more authentic me.
Looking back at the past year, what’s the biggest thing that you feel you’ve achieved?
On a business level completing our acupressure in labour e-course, “Supporting Nature Birth” that we’re releasing in September. It has been a huge project with a massive learning curve, so it’s pretty rewarding for it to finally come together. Becoming more comfortable in being more public has also been really exciting to me. I’ve spent most of my adult life learning, self employed and working with people to help improve their lives so it’s been really exciting to share some of the knowledge and see how it has impacted on their lives and encourage them to make the changes that they are wanting to make.
How do you share yourself between your family and your passions? Do you have any tools or tips you can share for busy parents?
Giving to my family is easy for me, I just tend to be there for them, it’s my nature, time for me has been a bit more tricky but Tabitha and I are committed to supporting each others passion as we know that it is crucial to everyone in our family.
“If we value our passions and are fulfilled passionate individuals then that influences the family culture.”
Rock climbing has always played a big part in my life, so Friday nights after work are a few hours for me. I also try to get outdoors into nature from time to time, sometimes with the boys sometime as a family and sometimes just me and mates. I also ensure I grab some exercise time 3 to 4 times a week, even if that’s only 30 minutes, because life is better when you’re moving. Work, business and personal growth are also big passions so early mornings are a real opportunity to focus on these areas, and I do love a quick read before it’s time to sleep.
“My number one tool for busy parents would be know yourself, who you are, your strengths and weaknesses.”
My weakness is time for self so I consistently give it value and ensure I slot it in. We are all creating a life, hopefully this one is one that is most interesting to you.
Looking at the relationship between you and your wife, you can really see a strong spiritual and chemical bond in your eyes. What’s your secret for a strong relationship and how do you balance it with kids?
Tabitha and I have always had an amazing bond, I was always so drawn to her, but we have also always worked on our relationship, like crazy. We continue to grow together because it feels so much better. But while we have grown together we have also grown as individuals, always expanding who it is that we are.
“I think one of the secrets to a relationship is to have similar interests while also having individual pursuits. Relationships grow with similarity but excitement grows with difference, you can have both.”
We both have an interest in developing our relationship and I can tell you that we are as attracted to each other as when we first met. Bringing kids into the mix has brought an exciting new dynamic. We both feel that the best thing we can do for our kids is to grow as individuals while also support their natural gifts and talents. While we love doing things with them we also love having time as a couple to connect, that connection is like taking a deep breath before we dive again into the deep blue.
“…that connection is like taking a deep breath before we dive again into the deep blue.”
Lately I’ve heard you talk a lot about the concept of ‘dreaming’. Can you tell us a bit about that and how it fits into life and how you live it?
I love the concept of dreaming, it has immensely impacted and added to my life. It includes our night time dreams but also things in our everyday life that catch our attention, things that flirt with us in the background, the shadows that we may try to avoid. The things and people that we’re drawn to, the things and people that we try to avoid. It’s a rhythm that you can follow through your day. So for me I like to spend time everyday noticing the subtle signals, my moods.
“Everyday there is something that we can learn, there’s something inside ourselves that we need to do battle with or make love to.”
Connecting to something other than the ordinary means that we can create a life that is extraordinary, to us. I love having a relationship with another part of me and dreaming is the quickest way I know to access it.
What do you think is the most important part of parenting?
To grow, with all the stages. To hold them close and let them go. To become the best us that we possibly can. To give them stability so they can break all our rules and tread their own unique path. Love the crazy busy of being a parent. Give them unstructured time where they get to play and set all the rules. Support them through their weaknesses but mostly focus on their strengths, and ensure they leave school feeling great about themselves, whether they’re academic or not. Our kids are incredibly gifted and talented at something, fertilise that. But mostly grow, grow within yourself, never stop growing and discovering how interesting you are, the 20 year old you was great but the 30, 40, 50, 80 year old you is best.
“I became better for becoming a parent. Strive to become wise and have an awesome adventure.”
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The Parenting Profile Series – This series puts hardworking parents under the spotlight. I interview ultra-busy mums and dads alike. I go on a journey to pick their brains to bring you engaging interviews, giving insights into how they juggle a busy work schedule with parenting life — and manage to survive the day while they are at it.
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