Leading with Purpose: 6 Tips for Men in 21st Century

When it comes to talking about AI, LinkedIn, or marketing, you can expect my tone of voice to be punchier than usual. But when it comes to talking about fatherhood, marriage, and my career, I tend to speak a little bit more serious, as these topics really hit close to home.

I sat down with my friend Mark de Grasse on his podcast, and our conversation turned into something more profound and personal than I anticipated. It’s not every day that men—particularly entrepreneurs who are also fathers at the same time—get to peel back the layers of our journey in such an open forum.

Here’s 6 tips that have helped me through my journey as a 21st century man.

1. Cultivate a Growth Mindset for Personal Transformation

Personal development plays a crucial role in your transformation, not only in your professional success, but in living a fulfilling life. I’ve come to learn that embracing my past—the good, the bad, and the downright ugly—has been instrumental to my growth.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 20 years, and while you may see my success now, there were a lot of bumps along the way. When I started out, I was driven by money. It was the benchmark of success for me and those around me.

…and then, life threw me a curveball. ⚾

After a bad bet that lost me millions, a divorce, and the liquidation of 10 companies I found myself with $1,000 in my pocket and moving back in with my parents. I was forced to make a BIG RESET.

While this may have appeared as a low according to my bank account, it provided the time I needed to slow down and rebuild my life with a vision.

I’m grateful for these bumps, my “failures” – they helped me find purpose. I turned my attention from “How can I make money” to “How can I provide value?

Joshua B. Lee circa 2016

Me circa 2016, my mindset regarding business and family was very different back then.

Developing a growth mindset will help you recognize your failures and challenges as opportunities to grow. Keep an open mind; learn from your mistakes and listen to the wisdom of others. It’s about more than just climbing the career ladder; it’s about finding a deeper satisfaction in life and creating meaningful connections with those around you.

I transformed; and I chose to start all over again. And it’s the reason I can talk to you today, not from a place of regret, but from a place of pride.

2. Reimagine Fatherhood: Nurturing Bonds and Emotional Connection

Fatherhood has been an incredible journey of its own. In my first marriage, Jayden and Skylar were born and I became a first-time dad. I would’ve laughed if you had told me I’d be married for a 2nd time and a first-time dad again in my 40’s.

Joshua B. Lee and kids circa 2015

Fatherhood with Jayden and Skylar Circa 2015

From the struggles that Rachel B. Lee and I had with IVF to then welcoming in a new chapter of life with our baby girl Ava, it’s changed my understanding of what it means to be a dad in today’s world.

I grew up with the old stereotype of dads simply being dads—fulfilling their financial obligations to their families, and that ended up being their definition of success.

This time around, I’m choosing to redefine what it means to be a dad: I’ve committed to being present, emotionally available, and genuinely engaged in all 3 of my children’s lives. I can honestly say that’s where the true joy of fatherhood lies.

Joshua B. Lee and his father

Growing up my father did not tell me how to live, he lived a life he was proud of; and let me watch him do it. This picture is of my father and I doing exactly that!

3. Challenge Stereotypes: Dismantling Barriers to Progress

Challenging the traditional notions of masculinity doesn’t come easy in 2024, but it’s easier to talk about compared to the 1950’s and 1960’s.

I can relate to the suffocating feeling of conforming to societal expectations and the pressure to fit into a specific mold, especially in business. It’s undeniable that we often find ourselves suppressing our true emotions and putting on a façade of having everything under control.

I read a statistic that opened my eyes to the reality of men’s mental health: Over 6 million men suffer from depression per year, but male depression often goes underdiagnosed, and more than 3 million men in the US have panic disorder, agoraphobia, or any other phobia.

I’ve learned that it’s okay not to be okay and that opening up about our struggles is a strength, not a weakness.

4. Materialism Transcendence: True Fulfillment Beyond Possessions

The concept of success is often misconstrued in society. There was a time when I measured my worth by my professional achievements and bank account.

B. Lee Family

My wife Rachel, my 3 children Skylar, Jayden, and Ava, and of course Frankie, our dog.

But over time, I’ve realized that true success isn’t about how much you have—materially speaking—but about the impact you make on the lives of others. It’s about being a good dad, a supportive husband, a present boss, a compassionate friend, and contributing positively to the community.

Take time to appreciate what you have every single day. The picture above is my success. My wife Rachel, my 3 children Skylar, Jayden, and Ava, and of course Frankie, our dog.

5. Cultivate Personal Growth: The Power of Vulnerability

Joshua B. Lee Book Launch 2017

2017 when my book launched.

Sharing my journey, especially the tough parts, has been incredibly freeing.

Writing my book, Balance is Bullsh*t, was a chance to give a no-BS account of the experiences I once thought I had to hide. This vulnerability has not only helped me heal but has also given others permission to share their own stories. It’s a reminder that we’re all navigating this complex life together, and there’s strength in our shared experiences.

6. Prioritize Purpose: Aligning Work with Meaning

My professional life has undergone a HUGE transformation. Moving away from solely focusing on the money to making a meaningful impact has brought a sense of purpose I didn’t know I was missing. Whether it’s through my work on LinkedIn or other platforms, I’m committed to empowering others and making a real difference.

Kavi Group 2023

Teaching and empowering the Kavi Group 2023

I’m reminded of the importance of living authentically and embracing every part of our journey. It’s about constant learning, growing through our challenges, and most importantly, being true to ourselves.

I hope that by sharing my story, I’ve inspired you, and that you’ll take the time to reflect on your path and find your own definition of success and fulfillment. Let’s continue to support each other and make this world a better place, one honest conversation at a time.

Here’s to more open, real discussions about the things that truly matter in life. Be sure to check out the full podcast episode I had with Mark.

The Authentic Path Podcast

Join branding ladyboss and LinkedIn Top Voice Rachel B. Lee and me, your Dopamine Dealer and LinkedIn Top Digital Marketing Voice, for a LIVE event on Wednesday March 20th .

During this LIVE event, we’ll share insights on how to craft compelling content that resonates with your target audience on a deep emotional level including:

🔵 How to create a unique voice that doesn’t sound like a robot

🔵 Tips to generate endless content ideas and posts using ChatGPT

🔵 Ways to customize your posts for maximum impact

Plus, we’re giving you access to Rachel’s personal brand guide, and my AI for events cheat sheet.  Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to use ChatGPT to create LinkedIn content that will help you grow your business and reach your target audience. 🔥 Register here!

Live Event: Elevate Your Content

LIVE Event: Elevate Your Content Strategy – March 20th 10am CST