Stepping Out of Our Fathers Shadow is a Key to Seizing Agency Over Our Lives

Craig Stanland
2 min readMar 14

All men stand in the shadow of their father/father figure.

It doesn’t matter if the father was massively successful, a degenerate, or absent.

The shadow they cast is long, dark, and, without doing some work — inescapable.

The examples below don’t even cut the skin; they merely illustrate the point.

The son with a degenerate father wants to prove they’re not.

The son with a massively successful father desperately wants to keep up.

The son with an absent father desperately wants to know what’s wrong with them.

It runs much deeper; there are many more nuances to the father/son dynamic.

The point is to focus on the shadow and how it impacts one’s decisions, choices, and, ultimately, life.

Men crave agency and autonomy.

We crave freedom.

When we live in the shadow of our fathers, the shadow is steering the ship.

We’re living the antithesis of freedom.

Have you ever wondered why that title matters so much to you?

Why the next rung on the corporate ladder is so important?

The status-seeking materialism?

Are these your choices?

Or are they answers to the whispers running in the background?

Are they a product of a blueprint that’s not yours?

When we understand our motivation, and its roots, we can choose whether this is the motivation we want to follow.

We seize command over our choices, our time and our lives.


I’m a Reinvention Architect & Mindset Coach and I work 1:1 with my clients to unleash their full potential and connect with their life’s calling so they can live the lives they’ve always imagined.

My book, “Blank Canvas, How I Reinvented My Life After Prison” is available on Amazon.

“Blank Canvas” is for anyone trapped in prison cells of unworthiness, inadequacy, shame, regret, and fear who want to free themselves so they can reinvent their lives with courage, purpose, meaning, freedom and peace.

James Altucher, best-selling author of Skip the Line, Choose Yourself and Reinvent Yourself had this to say about “Blank Canvas.”

“Craig has lived a story NOBODY would ever want to live. I was riveted to each page because I kept asking myself, “How would I handle this?” and I didn’t know the answers. Craig takes us into hell, and then we ride with him on the journey back. Great story, great writing, great human being.”

Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.