3 Life Lessons from my Dad

Our annual summer vacation Dad’s and daughters’ lunch is one of my favorite parts of the week. It’s just such a nice time to sit and have lunch with my sister, Dad and me because just the 3 of us isn’t a dynamic that happens often.

During these lunches he shares a life lesson of some kind (for example WIFM—what’s in it for me. The perspective that we’re all coming at things in life with that base question. Agree or disagree, it’s on point and at the base of all business and marketing 😉 ). 

One of my favorite things about these conversations is that no matter what my Dad shares (and this is true for him always) he’s never so attached to an idea that he’s unwilling to have a conversation or unwilling to consider different perspectives.

For him, curiosity and conversation wins out. 

What’s so powerful about this (and something we all need to remember) is that exploring different perspectives and having conversations from the space of curiosity does not mean you have to agree or change your mind—it just means you’re gathering and analyzing all of the data (my Dad’s a PhD in Physics so he values that). 

It means that you’re looking at things from all angles, and that you’re willing to consider more than just what your personal experience has been, and what you believe to be true. 

These are the conversations that can spark true growth and transformation.

I’m so grateful my Dad taught me that, and a few other things along the way.

Here are 3 more life lessons from my Dad:

1. Pay attention to detail.

He’s a guy that dots every i and crosses every t. And there have been plenty of times when this drove me bananas—especially ages like 12-22. 

We’d be going somewhere, everyone in the car waiting for him for a good 10 minutes. He’d walk out the door and I’d think FINALLY, let’s flipping go and just as he’d reach the car door (head down mentally reviewing his list) he’d pivot and go back inside.

Noooooooooooooo!!! 

But the details matter. They show you care enough to remember to send your niece a birthday card or that your best friend HATES mushrooms or that your sister loves the smell of vanilla.

These are little messages that say—hi, I see YOU and you matter. AND I’m going to give you the best I can. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to be perfect or exactly right. So if you forget the birthday card, order a pizza with mushrooms or send lavender lotion instead of vanilla…just do the next best thing.

2. Be yourself—all the time.

My dad is who he is 100% of the time. 

And I’m not going to lie, sometimes it’s a little bit awkward…like when he walks around the entire restaurant hawking every single person’s food. 

Who needs menus anyway?! 

But this is his innate curiosity which is a strength of his—even when it shows up in a not so “socially acceptable” way. And how great is this idea of being able to unapologetically be yourself 100% of the time?! 

That’s what so many of us struggle with (I have, I know friends & family have and I hear it from every single one of my clients). Being hyper aware of what’s “acceptable” and what’s not, people pleasing and a fear of being judged are all part of this.

What freedom in not giving a f*ck?! Just do you!

Dr. Suess says it best, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” 

And besides, he’s right, the actual food gives a way more accurate representation of the food vs. the words on the menu. Maybe this is something we all should start doing…in 2022 once we dine out without social distancing again. 

3. Show up. No matter what.

There was this one time in high school when I had a huge fight with my parents. I left for school with big plans to run away.

Later that morning I was called down to the office. My Dad had dropped off my softball uniform because I had a game that day. AND HE SHOWED UP FOR THAT GAME.

Even though I had been shitty. He still showed up.

And now, to this day, no matter what he shows up. That’s one thing I can count on for sure because that’s what he’s always done.

I’m not sure that there’s a greater gift you can give someone—that kind of steadfast consistency. That knowing that come hell or high water, you will always show up for them

That’s a gift I hope to give to my son—we might fight or disagree, know that I will ALWAYS show up for you 100% of the time. 

Like a north star, because that’s the kind of light that pulls us through.

Who have been the north stars in your life? And who are you a north star to? 

These lessons I learned from my Dad because he taught them to me through his actions, and now I get to witness him passing these same lessons (and more) onto my son. For this, I am so very grateful.

And I hope these lessons are a source of inspiration for you too!

In the comments below, please share some of the lessons you learned from your Dad.

Happy Father’s Day!

Emily

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