8 Things I Learned From My Dad
It’s been over 20 years since my father passed away. Not only can I still hear his voice and the sound of his laughter, but a week doesn’t go by without me being reminded of one of the many lessons he passed on.
Here are eight things I learned from my dad that continue to guide me at home and in business.
1. Measure twice, saw once.
I learned this while helping him build my parent’s house. The metaphor for getting things right the first time extends far beyond construction.
2. Anything can be a hammer
Another metaphor – this one about resilience and innovation. Don’t get hung up on tools you don’t have. Focus on the problem that needs to be solved and how you can use the tools you do have to solve it.
3. Listen. Pay attention. You’re not going to live long enough to make all the same mistakes I made plus all the new ones you’re going to make.
I heard this one a lot. Eventually I listened.
4. Be interested in everything and everyone. That’s how you learn. That’s how you gain wisdom. That’s how you build relationships.
Best. Advice. Ever.
5. You can’t drive forward if you’re staring at the rear-view mirror.
In one of the few actual “lectures” he gave me, he told me that, if something was wrong in my life, I needed to figure out why it happened, how to fix it and keep it from happening again. The one thing that wasn’t an option was wallowing, dwelling or continually rehashing the past.
6. Laugh. Laugh loudly and often. If you can’t find something that brings you joy each day, you’re not trying hard enough. It’s there - you just have to look for it.
It’s not always easy, but he was right.
7. Don’t fall in love with your own opinions.
He encouraged me to continually examine my perspectives and have the courage to scrutinize my personal beliefs. “If you can’t be honest with yourself,” he used to say, “why should anyone else trust you?”
8. Give more than you take. Be there when people need you.
He never actually said this to me. It’s just the way he was, and I’ve never forgotten.
Father’s Day is a great time to reflect on how much of a difference we can make in the lives of those around us. Whether you are a parent, a friend, a teacher, a leader, a service provider or just a casual acquaintance, you have the opportunity every day to make a difference in someone’s life.