Lessons Learned: What My Dad Taught Me About Business and Life

A friendly reminder to those of you who may have forgotten, but Father’s day is this Sunday!

With that, I decided that nothing else would be more appropriate for my now regular ‘Lessons Learned’ postings than to speak about what my dad taught me about business and well… life in general.

Follow your dreams

When I was born, my dad was working for a large mining company working in the business department. The commute was long (one hour each way) and while he did not hate his job, he was ready to do something different with himself.

He knew he had a passion for sports, so he went to the Athletic Director at the University of Arizona and asked him for a position. Any position. He didn’t care. He wanted his foot in the door because he knew that is where he and his career heart belonged. So he got an internship. Fast forward about 25 years and he is now an Associate Athletic Director. He proved his passion to the employer and he is still living out his dream working for a job he loves.

Not only is he continuing with his job at the athletics department, but he has also taken on another significant role. While growing up, I would stay up late to watch TV with my dad. Nothing was on of interest to him except for his political shows he had recorded. So I stayed up late to hear him talking to the heads on the TV. I always knew he was going to be a politician. Then, three years ago he called me and asked if I would be ok with him running for city council. I said not only would I be ok with it, but I had always seen him doing something in the political arena. So, he ran, was elected and now serves as the councilman to Ward 6 living out his other dream of helping the city of Tucson grow.

Push yourself and you can do anything

In addition to being successful professionally and following his dream to work in the world of athletics, my dad has always had a passion for being athletic himself. He runs every day. Growing up he would track his mileage and part of my extra homework each weekend was to add up how many miles he had run that week.

The numbers were impressive.But what was more impressive was the fact that when I was 2, he was hit while riding his bike. Some doctors gave the devastating prognosis that he may never be able to walk again. After breaking free from the hospital (who needs to be discharged when you’re ready to leave, you leave!) he went home and began to push himself to regain his strength.

For him to walk around the block took 45 minutes. But he kept pushing himself, and eventually about 10 years later he set the record for a 24 hour race in which he ran 107.5 miles. He never shrugged his shoulders and gave up on his abilities. He pushed himself to his limits and ultimately became stronger for it.

Lighten up

While it sounds like my dad is a hard ass (and he kind of is), he has frequently told my over-sensitive self to lighten up about life.He knows how to take a joke and when something ridiculous was getting me down he’d tell me to lighten up.

I’m still learning this at times, but I can hear his voice in my head telling me ‘Kimberly, it’s not that big of a deal, lighten up, it’ll be ok’.And he’s right. If you never lighten up and learn to laugh at things when they go wrong, think of how miserable you will be.

Keep your dignity

One of the most important lessons my dad taught me is to keep my dignity. Throughout my high school years I must have tormented my dad with how emotional I could be at times. But whenever he saw that excitement in my eyes when a boy would call me on the phone, he would remind me to keep my dignity.

I have taken that lesson with me to this day. Now, I have more confidence to stick up for myself when I know someone is not treating me right. And when I am about to do something that may cause me to regret my actions later, I remember that lesson and again his voice pops into my head as a friendly reminder.

Happy father’s day dad! Much love and appreciation for all you have done and for what you have taught me over the years.

What has your father taught you?

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