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  • Sarah Smith Warren

The Most Powerful Investment

by Dan Tinquist founder of ConfiDAD

I met Dan Tinquist kind of by accident. Actually, he's sort of a distant cousin double in-law and when I heard about his work in mindful parenting, I was very intrigued. Growing up in the middle of the plains with a very traditional and hard core ranch dad, hearing men speak about how to have better relationships with their kids is not something I was accustomed to coming across. Our Dads have such an impact and it certainly follows us into adulthood and beyond. I get so pumped up with excitement when I see men breaking some of these cycles and pouring heart, soul and mindfulness into their kids and parenting (my incredible partner is included in this category) {not so humble brag!} I got to meet with Dan and hear about his work and his passion for helping parents connect and cultivate meaningful relationships with their kids (something I think about and feel like I'm failing at daily!). Welcome Dan and thank you for influencing and investing in us parents.

- Sarah Smith Warren is the owner of Soul Space Work, a coaching, consulting and facilitation space dedicated to helping humans make space for their souls in their work and life. Connect with Sarah @soulspacework or 

The Most Powerful Investment

by Dan Tinquist

Influencer Culture

Everyone wants influence; especially our kids. In the world today when you ask young children,  “What do you want to do when you grow up?”  the answer is very often, “I want to be an influencer! A YouTuber!” Chances are, you haven’t even heard of some of them (like PewDiePie, for instance). The fad of influence is everywhere. Yet, investment, not influence alone, is exactly what your kids need from your parenting.

The title of “Influencer” means a lot, and it carries a lot of weight as a word. Usually, it's a positive thing. Influencers often teach a specific way of living, pitch a product, teach habits, or whatever is going to lead to the “good life.” How often though, do we think about pursuing the “good life” in parenting? Many parents settle for influence in their kids’ life, but the “good life” is on the other side of the harder, and more rewarding, path of Investment.

Settling for Influence is Dangerous

Every adult you see walking in the world was once a child who today is carrying the results of their parents’ influence on them, both positive and negative. I challenge you to think about that for yourself. What are you carrying today that was the influence of your parents? So take a moment to find one positive thing and one negative thing. Jot those two down.

You see how influence is inevitable in your own journey? It's actually accidental. The default in parenting. You can try really hard not to, and you'll still influence your kids. You can try really hard, to, and you'll influence your kids. Effort doesn't matter. It’s simply a given that you will influence your kids. The end result of your influence certainly has to do with how you spend your time with them, and how you treat them, but all that I’m helping you to understand here is this: Influence is just true. Moving forward, I want to challenge our assumptions that influence is enough.

Choosing to Bend the Trajectory

Bending the trajectory of our influence on our kids toward a legacy that's worth leaving is a choice that requires an investment. You see investment and influence are not mutually exclusive. But if you want to improve the influence that you have on your kids, if you want to make sure it's the best influence possible, you must choose to invest yourself in your kids’ lives.

This will not happen perfectly, but perfection should never be the goal. Growth, improvement and learning from mistakes should always be a part of your process.

In order to realize any type vision or goal that includes leaving a legacy that you will be proud of will require you to choose investing over settling for influence. You must take the time to learn the skills to become emotionally healthy, physically healthy, and mentally healthy, in order that you're able to deposit health into your kid's life.

Justin Whitmel Earley says it this way in his book Habits of the Household, “We become our habits, and our kids become us. Which means who our children are becoming is tightly connected to who we are becoming—personally and communally.”

Trajectories in life are not easily bent without conscious effort and habits, so resolve to put in the effort investment requires.

“Bending the trajectory of our influence on our kids toward a legacy that's worth leaving is a choice that requires an investment.”

Contrasting Influence and Investment

Let's spend a few moments contrasting the two.

Influence is easy. Investment is hard

Influence is accidental. Investment is intentional.

Influence can be damaging. Investment is always healing. (Even if it is uncomfortable i.e. discipline.)

Influence is cyclical, automatic. Investment is established.

Influence is the baseline. Investment is limitless.

It is easy to intuit then, that investment does come with a higher cost. Which is true on the front end, but in the long run there is a better ROI.

Counting the Cost of Investment

The investment will require time. Mostly quality of time. As in, how you're spending your time with your kids, not necessarily quantity. Quantity does matter, but only to a certain level.

It will require money. It will require energy.

And yet, is there any better investment than pouring time, money, and energy into long-term relationships with your kids?

I’ll wait...

No Guarantees...the hard truth.

No outcome in parenting is guaranteed. You are not promised tomorrow. Tragic things happen every day where parents lose kids, and kids lose parents. We do not control that, so we can't guarantee the outcome. However, choosing to proactively invest in our relationships with our kids and our family will equip us in the process to better navigate the future, no matter what it throws at us.

Looking forward

When thinking about your own family, how do you hope your children will answer this question when they become adults? (Jot down your answers.):

  • What influence did my parents have on me?

Next question:

  • What barrier is standing in the way of my kids being able to say that as adults?


  • What will it cost if you allow this barrier to remain?

  • Who will end up paying that price, you, or your kids?

In other words, if you don't do the work, and just settle for influence, you are letting the barriers remain. Without taking down the barriers, the barrier wins, and you lose.

You are at a crossroads

I hope upon reading this you've been challenged. You've been encouraged. And you've been driven deeper to ask hard questions. How are you doing when you look forward to the adults that you are raising?

We don’t have to settle for making it up as we go along, which many parents do.

We can lean on each other, and grow together.

Let’s commit to becoming the parents that we wish we already were.

Conclusion...Which road will you choose?

Remember, influence does not equal investment.

Everyone wants to be an influencer, but what about you? Do you want to be an investor in your family's future so that you can bend the trajectory toward a legacy worth leaving?

I do, and I am. Come join.

-Dan Tinquist

Find more information about Dan, ConfiDAD, events and upcoming co-hort at

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