“My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland
Throughout my life, I have often recalled, applied and treasured the lessons my father taught me. He always led by example, and I am eternally grateful for the wisdom and habits he passed down. This Father’s Day, and always, I am remembering him and the positive impact he left on my life.
In his honor, I’ve rounded up some of his greatest lessons:
- Routines Work: One of my earliest memories of my dad was how he seamlessly showered five kids, in a neat and orderly fashion. He had all the necessary supplies on-hand, explained what he was going to do and then went about it with military precision. One by one, we jumped in the shower and were lathered, rinsed, dried-off and dressed. I suspect he moved faster on date nights – trying to get us all in our pajamas before the babysitter arrived. His motivation aside, he wrestled all five kiddos in record time, and everyone was happy! Think about your everyday routines… is there something that could be made easier by planning, organizing and using time efficiently? Gather all your supplies (and troops) and go for it!
- Stay Calm and Carry On: While it’s sometimes easier said than done, my dad was a superstar when there was a crisis. In true emergencies, he taught us how to be problem solvers by taking charge and calmly articulating how we could move forward. Now, thanks to my dad’s example, I encourage clients to choose their battles and focus their time and attention on potentially life-changing opportunities in life – like getting and staying organized.
- Don’t Judge, Period: Long before Guy Fieri’s realty show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” my dad had mastered the fine art of picking the craziest, hole-in-the-wall places that dished out delightful meals and generously sized adult beverages. Whether taking in an afternoon football game or grabbing Sunday brunch, you were always in for a treat with him by your side. Just ask his five sons-in-law, who knew this was a rite of passage into the family. My dad’s openness taught us the age-old lesson – never judge a book by its cover. A non-judgmental approach is a core value of my company. By taking the time to listen to and understand someone without judgement, you can uncover amazing things.
- Know Their Name: My dad was a bit of a maverick in the business world – leading in his chosen field and reinventing himself with career changes throughout the years. I think what made him so successful was his willingness to really get to know those around him. It never ceased to amaze my family how many people he knew… and knew well. My dad always dug deeper than basic info, like names and job titles. He asked people to share their stories, dreams and challenges. He had a great talent for treating people as individuals and calling them by their names. He valued hard work and, in turn, was deeply loved by all who knew him. Luckily, I inherited my work ethic from my dad and my client and community relationships are undoubtedly stronger because of it.
- Integrity – First and Foremost: My dad taught us time and time again to live a life with integrity, always. He was famous for making a plan and sticking to it. He was hardworking, kind, knowledgeable and honest – a man of honor. These traits served him well and, following in his footsteps, I built my business with a commitment to leading with integrity in all that I do for my clients.
- Have Faith: If you read my Mother’s Day newsletter, this next story may sound familiar. My father-in-law, John, was widowed at a young age and took a leap of faith to fall in love again. He married and blended families with another young widow and, together, they formed a Brady-like bunch – supporting one another through life’s ups and downs. Thanks to his willingness to give love another chance, I won the in-law lottery. If you take anything from this story, let it be this: have faith in yourself and be open to change. As it relates to organizing – if you struggle with overwhelm and disorganization on the home front, there is hope. Getting and staying organized can be learned and achieved. Sometimes you just need to have a little faith.
These lessons, and so many more, make up the fabric of my life and business. My loving parents gave my siblings and me more than they will ever know. While the gifts of their love, time and examples can never truly be repaid, I will leave you with a lesson I taught my dad later in his life:
Embrace New Adventures: After helping my dad clear out his childhood home, he was much more agreeable to finding a new, more appropriately sized space for him and my mom. It was the best choice for them at that point in their lives, and they made many happy memories (and friends) in their new right-sized home sweet townhome.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing dads and father figures out there. Thank you for the lessons and love!