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Living your Big, Honkin’ Dream with a Family in Tow

Every time I’ve expanded my family or deepened my responsibilities as a Dad, I get advice on how to “place my dreams on the back burner”. I don’t know about your Dream Stove, but mine only has front burners.

When I moved back from L.A. to get married in 1999, fellow musicians mourned the tunes I’d never get to write. When we had our first daughter, some coworkers and extended family prepared me to shuffle off into the sunset in some pleated khakis. They would read from their Book of Unsolicited Cliches: “It’s not just about YOU, anymore KC.”

“Oh. It’s not? I have to feed, and clothe this thing? Noted!”

By the time we delivered daughter #2 in 2008 followed by our son last year, we finally had a healthy mix of believers who said “you got this”, balanced by some realists: “3 kids is where dreams go to die”.

All of these well-meaning souls are here to protect us. They are the direct reflection of our inner alignment with our Life Mission. I believe that in carrying out our dreams and grand schemes, we actually cue up our own adversaries to test us. The world needs to know how bad we really want it.

The problem is, too many of us end up agreeing with the first wave of resistance. “Yeah, Mom is right. I need a back-up plan and a 401K. A writing career is a long-shot at best. It won’t feed my kid.”

So on one side, we have, let’s call them the
Family Over Dreams
But who’s on the other side of the aisle?


I call them the Dreams Over Family Crowd: a lot of lifestyle design bloggers and marketers, telling us our dreams, freedom, and financial independence only happen once we quit working for The Man. The idea of creating a family is seldom discussed, because there’s no way to drag children around the world you’re trying to save. It just doesn’t fit into the model.

But what about those of us who actually dig our jobs, and couldn’t imagine navigating this crazy world without our family tribes?

My family is my ultimate creation, accountability, and legacy. They force me to upgrade my game on levels I wouldn’t have had to as a single entity.

I’m going to gently turn now to both The Family Over Dreams, and The Dreams Over Family crowds and make some suggestions.

Save your advice for yourself. Reconcile, and honor your own path. Keep us aware of the alternatives, but also know that your model doesn’t account for everyone. You could actually be missing out on something profound and magical.

I’m not saying we should all have kids. In fact, I am grateful for anyone who abstains if their heart and soul isn’t in it. But if it’s part of your Life’s Mission… Rock it the hell out. Have 50.

Recently I had the honor of interviewing a hero of mine, songwriter & activist Ani DiFranco (I’m releasing the 30 minute podcast interview on Tuesday, 11/20). When I asked her if she always knew that she wanted to have kids, she said: “No. My songs are my kids, my job is my life. I was totally happy, totally fulfilled. But becoming a parent exposes parts of yourself you had no idea were in there.”

Our world improves in direct proportion to our ability to influence, and nurture capable humans.

Align your Big, Honkin’ Dreamz alongside your familial obligations. Demonstrate daily how to live your dreams to your partner and kids. Let them ask questions. Show them what’s working, and what’s not. Invite them into your inner world. Let them know it’s cool to think you’re crazy, because you do too!

Build a home of possibility and wonder. Try to do the silliest shit on your street before any other houses wake up. Thank them for keeping you young.

Realize that your family and your goals never needed to be mutually exclusive. In tandem, they are actually a force-multiplier. Get them properly aligned to create an immediate feedback loop that clarifies, amplifies, and fuels each profound mission.

Families power dreams. Dreams power families. There, I said it. And I don’t care how corny The Truth sounds. <CLICK TO TWEET>

I wanted to finish with an excerpt of The Framework Manifesto, which launches next Tuesday November 20th. This is from a section on Art & Music being one of my longest standing, and sacred life ingredients (I call these our Non-Negotiables).

– – –

Shortly after we moved to Chicago, I booked a little show just to remind myself I could play. The only people we knew in the city were coworkers, and a few actually showed up.

One brought her fluffy-haired, drunk and jaded roommate from college. This woman now had kids and a giant house, and just seemed really bored with all of it. After my first set she complimented me, and followed it with: “Your wife must really be a saint, to stay home with the baby and let you keep doing your hobbies… so late on a work night.”

I laughed, and said, “Fortunately, you don’t know me, or my wife.”

– – –


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7 Responses

  1. Great post. It’s a struggle to balance all the “titles” we have as we get older. What really defines it all is our soul & who we are. How do you remain true to that while balancing all the other responsibilities? It’s something I think about often. Meditation? Checking in with ourselves?

    1. Yeah, Issa. You nailed it… Taking it beyond the level of roles, or titles or expectations… Straight to Soul. Leading with soul connection and flowing from one segment to the next, transcending the titles that too many of us get stuck in. Not sure if you've checked out the manifesto yet, but it's all in there, in Chapter 08: SOUL. Meditation is key. Much love, thanks for all the support over the past year. Really appreciate it. -kc

    1. Thanks a lot for swinging by, Clay. Really appreciate the comment. If you haven't, definitely peep the Manifesto… Just launched yesterday. Lots more to say on balancing family with big honkin' dreams. hahahah. https://epicleadership.org/manifesto (it's free). You can read reviews, and peep a preview at that link. Thanks a lot bro. -kc

  2. Well, we proudly fall into the ‘drag your children around the world’ crowd. Although our path was not pre-planned, somehow, our allowance of the events in our lives and our desires made it happen for us.

    The orthodox beliefs surrounding what grounds a family is being challenged and, in many instances, overcome with beautiful success. Often, people trade in their vision of a great life for a sense of security within a culture, numbing themselves of that constant mental tug of “there’s something more you want to do”.

    “You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.” -The Matrix

    3 cheers for your saintly wife 😉

    1. Wow S, loved your comment and really love your site & story. What you're doing is something I've definitely dreamed about with our own 3 kids. Takes a TON of bravery and CREATIVITY to pull off what you are, so CONGRATS.

      Many thanks for discovering the site and I'll be sure to sign up for updates from my new heroes The Incredibles. I mean The Kings. Much love,


  3. Hi KC 🙂 Love this post. I was wondering if you had any good resources on how to “Build a home of possibility and wonder. Try to do the silliest shit on your street before any other houses wake up.” if silliness and building wonder homes isn’t something that comes naturally for you? I know deep down all it requires is that I set the intention to be silly and build wonder, and then do my best to be present in each moment so I can see when these moments naturally present themselves (like yesterday when I got inspired to have my kids help me throw a Disney themed surprise birthday party for daddy, in honor of our disney trip next week, and in honor of him being the most badass daddy in the world)… but you know, always looking for a few good shortcuts 🙂 Thanks KC!

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