Twenty-six years ago, my Dad passed away suddenly.
At 48, my mom became a widow with six children, the youngest was 8.
This month my Dad would have been 81 years old. On his birthday, I was a little sad thinking about all he could have taught me if he were still alive.
My Dad was a businessman that people looked up to. He was honest, hard-working, wise, gentle, and had a trusting smile.
He gave me my first “real” job at 14, working in a medical office. He owned his own company as a builder and land developer. He built custom homes and hotels, but on the side, he invested in many different businesses throughout my childhood.
When I was nine, he bought me my first pair of work gloves (they were pink and had flowers), and on Saturdays, he took me and my sister to his construction sites to clean up the wood piles and roof tiles. We got paid in big gulps back then. Looking back, I really got paid by learning the value of working hard (by us) and working smarter (by him).
There are so many things about being an entrepreneur that I wish I could ask him. I sometimes feel sad that this amazing example in my life had created multiple successful businesses, and he’s no longer here to tell me how he did it.
It being his 81st birthday this month, I reflected on what I learned from him about business in the short 18 years I had the opportunity to be influenced by him.
- Work hard
- Take risks and trust your gut
- Be creative and keep an open mind
- Honestly is the best policy
- Organization looks different for everyone, do what works for you
- Say please and thank you, and put people first.
- Do what you can do yourself until it keeps you from doing what you do best
Those are things courses, and books, have a hard time teaching because they are best taught by observing others lead in that way and then emulating the parts that resonate with you.
Find yourself a business mentor, friend, coach, someone who grows their business in a way that highlights the values you desire and, through their observable actions, runs a balanced business without sacrificing the things they value most.
As I created the list of what my Dad taught me, a subtle thought came to mind
“It’s easy to recognize those things in him because those things are important to you too.”
Decide what’s important to you to DO and BE as you create your business, and focus on those things until your actions speak to others what’s most important to you.