Lessons I Learned From My Father

June 13, 2014

While this post is not focused on recruiting, it's a story I'd love to share with you before this Father's Day (this Sunday for those who forgot) .

First, let me set the stage and explain why I listened to my dad, and why you should too.

robert-beinbornTwo-time cancer survivor. Lived last 24 years of his life bound to a wheelchair. Mayor of my hometown in Wisconsin. Inductee into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Volunteer of the Year, according to USA Today. Man of the Year, awarded by Notre Dame. Loving husband of 40 years and wonderful father of 3 (dare I say) smart yet sassy children.

I could continue to gush but I think you get the idea. My father is a man who had lived through a lot and I’d like to celebrate him on this Father’s Day by sharing some of the most valuable lessons he taught me. While he passed 3 years ago, here are some of his words of wisdom that I apply to my job and personal life:

1. Don’t be a “knob.”

My dad always used the word “knob” to describe when I wasn’t thinking things through or just being stubborn.

Don’t be stubborn. Fight for what you want and believe in but don’t be too prideful or arrogant. Admit when you’re wrong and apologize if need be. Be open to others ideas and opinions. I’m in client services business and often work as part of a much larger team, so collaboration is key. I don’t have all the answers, nor should I presume to.

2. Remember that people are counting on you.

My dad had a lot of people counting on him at any given time because of all the roles he played in life. For him, it was hugely important to follow though with his commitments and be very respectful of other people’s time. He made me realize that everything I do affects others, and not let down people who are counting on me.

I know this sounds pretty straightforward, but often times at work or in daily life, it is easy to make an excuse and ignore a promise you made. Don’t be that person.

3. What’d you forget?

Every time I was about to leave the house my dad would ask “What’d you forget?” It became an ongoing joke between us and we’d always laugh, but the lesson is a good one. Think things through; always plan to the best of your ability. Be detail-oriented and give things one last look before you head out into the world.

4. Sharing is caring.

Dad was a giver. He was so generous of his time, attention, effort, and money. I think he always knew he would have a short time here on earth and so he always made the most of it.

Give back to others every chance you get. Share your wisdom and the lessons you’ve learned to hopefully benefit others.

5. Everything will be all right, Kimmy.

These are actually the last words dad ever said to me. They come to mind often when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed or even sad. At times, life or work can be too much but just pause, take a deep breath and focus on the end goal. This will help you put things in perspective and realize that in the end, everything will be okay. These words also help remind me that if I continue doing the right things, the right things will happen. Don’t be afraid to fail or take chances.

I’ll leave you with this quote from one of my dad’s favorites, Jimmy Valvano (aka Jimmy V):

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”

Thanks for the memories and life lessons dad. I carry you with me every day.

Who has influenced you in life? In your career?