My Two Direct Reports
by Sebastien Debarge, IP1
Winning speech for BVTMC Chapter Meeting on Monday, 17 Feb 2020
Innovative Planning, Level 2 Project 2: Connect With Your Audience
The last time I was standing here giving a speech at Toastmasters was more than 1 year ago!
So what happened to me during all this time?
Well, I have some good excuses, I have been busy. I got a new job.
This is actually the toughest, most demanding but also the most rewarding job I ever had.
In my new job, I got 2 direct reports. This might not seem much to some of you, but these 2 direct reports are completely new to their role with absolutely no previous experience. And I’m in charge of nurturing, developing and teaching them everything. On top of that, I get late calls every single night several times by these 2 reports.
Good evening Club President, Toastmaster of the Day and fellow toastmasters.
My 2 direct reports are Alyssa, 3 years old and Amandine, 21 months old and my job is dad!
Today I will give you 3 examples of how becoming a dad changed my life:
Who has babies or young kids?
For those of you who have, you might relate to some of this. And for those of you who don’t, this will give you a warning: Don’t do it! 😉
My 1st example on how becoming a dad changed my life is sleep:
The biggest challenge so far has definitely been the lack of sleep. Since the last 3 years, me and my wife never had a full night’s sleep. Before I always thought naps were a waste of time, but now, I’m looking forward to naps on weekends. They are the highlight of my week!
As a new dad, I had to learn how to comfort my girls to sleep through their different stages from newborn to toddler. This evolved from spending countless hours in the middle of the night walking in the room while patting them on my shoulder up to squeezing myself in a cot bed until they fell asleep.
I learned with babies that every night that doesn’t involve any bodily fluid projection, fever, coughing or other sickness is a great night, even if we have to wake up 10 times for milk or nappy changes.
Before, I never changed a nappy in my life. Now, I am an expert. I can even change them in the middle of the night, in the semi dark, half asleep.
My second example on how becoming a dad changed my life is going out:
Before, for me, going out and socializing was going to some pubs and nightclubs with some copious amounts of alcohol involved. And then I used to wake up in the morning with a hangover, not remembering everything from the night before. This was a sign of a good night! Now, waking up with a hangover with 2 toddlers is a sign of a terrible day ahead! So now going out and socializing is going to some playgrounds or organizing playdates with other parents.
I have to say, being a dad is definitely the best thing that happened to my liver!
Going out with young kids is always a challenge. Just leaving the house is a challenge! When you have no kids, leaving the house goes something like this: “Ok, are we ready?” “Yes”. “Great, let’s go downstairs, taxi is coming soon” and then you just leave the house. When you have kids, leaving the house goes something like this “Alyssa, where are your shoes? Amandine, no keep you nappy on! Ok, who wants to sit in the stroller” “No I don’t want! I want to pee in the toilet!” The taxi is trying to call me several times but I’m too busy to answer my phone, just trying to leave the house! By the time we finally reached downstairs, the taxi already left!
When we go out, my wife always prepares the bag with milk, water, biscuits, nappies, books, toys, etc… Sometimes when we’re just going to the park next door, it looks like we’re going on a big expedition like climbing Mount Everest!
And my 3rd example on how becoming a dad changed my life is eating:
Taking two toddlers to a restaurant is such a disaster that you can’t enjoy the food. There is some flying pasta sauce, water spilled everywhere, crayons tend to be potential missiles and toys keep getting dropped on the floor.
And by the time we leave the restaurant, the place looks like a warzone! But we got some tricks.
This is where our smartphones comes in… And yes, we were totally those people who judge other parents for letting their kids watch videos at a restaurant, but here we are, we’re doing it too! This gives us about 30 minutes to eat our food and share a few grown-up sentences with each other.
But with all these challenges and with my freedom now gone, I love my new job and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My 2 direct reports are amazing to watch evolve. They teach me some life lessons too. They teach me to never give up. When they learned to walk, no matter how much they fall, got bruised and scratched, they never gave up. They kept standing up and tried again and again one step at a time until one day, walking become natural. Through persistence, they overcame something that seemed impossible at the start. Watching this as a father made me feel very proud and inspired. Like public speaking, for most of us, it seems like an impossible task to do but if we apply the same persistence to improve in our public speaking despite some ups and downs then one day it will become natural.
This is why despite my long absence at Toastmasters since last year, I am not back as I don’t want my fear of public speaking to be a limitation in my life and I don’t want to show my girls that daddy doesn’t do anything to conquer his fears and limitations one step at a time.
I would also like my girls to be proud of their daddy as they make me so proud!
And as every new parents is proud to do so, I cannot resist to show you a picture of my 2 direct reports!
Impressed by this? Want to find out more about Sebastien?
Join us at our next Chapter Meeting!