My dad always works hard. And not just at his job. If he takes an interest in something – from caving to playing Santa Claus – he works hard at it. He doesn’t just go diving, he pushes himself to become an instructor. He doesn’t just fix up the house, he replaces all the windows and siding. It seems like there is nothing my dad can’t do – and to the nth degree – if he decides to. I’m pretty sure I can thank my dad for my quiet determination and work ethic. (And for not being able to sit still through a whole TV show – the commercials are there so you can keep getting stuff done, right?)
Other things my dad taught me:
- Be prepared to accept the consequences of your decisions and actions. This started with “You want to swear? Fine, but if you do it in my house, be prepared for me to wash out your mouth.” Later, it became, “You want to become the best at [fill in the blank]? You have to be prepared to work hard for it.” And I find myself echoing this exchange today in my own head, “You want a family and a career? Be prepared for a crazy rollercoaster ride.”
- Just get it done. It doesn’t matter how inelegant your approach is, or how crazy you make yourself, if you agree to do something, do it. No excuses. This bit of advice is closely tied to item #1. If I chose this path, if I made this decision, I must figure out how to make it work. (Hi Tim Gunn!)
- Learn from your mistakes. Remember the definition of insanity? If I find that I have indeed driven myself crazy, tripping over myself trying to fulfill the obligations that I have chosen to take on, then I should at least make it worthwhile by taking a moment for some self-reflection and adjustment so it doesn’t happen again.
- Don’t Panic! (Thanks Douglas Adams) I used to get worked up about little things and I know it drove my dad crazy. Having kids shocked that character trait right out of me, as did starting my own freelance business. In the end, panicking is a waste of energy – better to just take a deep breath, assess the situation, and move on. I find myself channeling my dad’s calm (at least outwardly) demeanor when I am faced with overlapping deadlines and trying to juggle too many things at once.
This is probably the most personal post I have put on my professional blog, but in honor of Father’s Day, I just wanted to acknowledge how much my dad has shaped my professional decisions and my approach to work and life. Thanks Dad!!