Happy Father’s Day! I know it’s a tad early, but by the time Poppa’s Day rolls around I’ll be recovering from a 22 hour nonstop flight to Bangkok and dodging raindrops in Phuket. So Happy Father’s Day and here’s a shout out to the role that fathers play; for there’s no doubt that fathers play a major role in the development of their daughters and I’d say hands-down my dad had the most influence on me regarding motivation, ethics, and leadership.
Some dads are great. Some dads aren’t. Some just do the best they can with what they’ve been dealt. Hey dads are human; and positive or otherwise, all of them have had some influence on us… and I am so grateful for the positive influence my father had on me.
A former rock-band guitarist turned jet-engine mechanic my dad served his country in the Air Force during the Viet Nam war. Later in life he held the number one sales position (for 11 years) with a major retailer and was acknowledged for his expertise with both intrinsic and external rewards. My dad taught me everything I know about motivation, sacrifice, excellence, and ethics. And this is no slight to my mother who taught me everything I need to know about asserting my rights, standing up for myself, and getting my voice heard (did I mention she earned a black belt in karate at the fabulous age of 56? I digress…) Dad also taught me if I want something badly enough and have some capacity to do it- then I better work my arse off to get it.
I grew up overhearing the Jack Canfield success tapes (cassettes! ahaha love those 80s!) that dad would bring home from the conventions his company would send him to. After dinner we’d listen to them together and discuss how the same principles applied not only to his endeavors but also to my 13-year-old world of angst.
Phrases like “Oh what the heck, go for it anyway” and “Fear is fake experiences appearing real” and “I am enough” were the mantras of my childhood. He would stick post-it notes on my mirror that said things like: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a HABIT.” and “Focus on PROGRESS not Perfection.”
Now imagine spouting THAT stuff off to your friends when you’re in ninth grade. Hilarious. But it worked. I, like many adolescents, had a rough go at it during those teenage years. I found a lot of strength in the words my father gave me to reflect upon…
Dad also taught me about love and sacrifice by the way he cared for my mom, my brother, and me. My dad is the one who set the bar for the kind of person I wanted to be… and for the kind of person I would eventually share my life with.
My dad, (like most dads I’m sure) is an extraordinary man. He’s not perfect but he continuously strives to do better. To be better. And isn’t that what life really is about? It’s not about power, money, the accumulation of things, and keeping up with the Jones’s. It’s about evolution. It’s aboutbecoming. It’s about transcending the shallow needs and wants that we are brainwashed to believe will fulfill us and make us whole. Life is about who you become, it’s not about what you have, or what you do. Or to eloquently quote the author Matthew Kelly, “Who you become, is infinitely more important than what you do or what you have.”
My dad is a man of faith. He’s a man of his word. He taught me there is no alternative but to be hopeful in hopeless situations and he taught me to follow through on what I say I’m going to do. It’s hard to sum up in a short post why and how my dad had so much influence on me regarding leadership, motivation and ethics – but suffice it to say- he did… in a major way. So yes, for better or worse, love em or leave em… there’s no getting away from the influence fathers have on their daughters.
Here’s to my amazing dad and here’s to my wonderfully loving dad-in-law. And here’s to my stalwart brother and my brilliant husband- no, they’re not dads (yet) but both have the great potential to be.
Here’s to our troops and our servicemen and our President. Here’s to men of integrity, men of faith, men with hearts of courage who honor their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters everywhere- because even on the days when nobody is looking, these men are protectors, nurturers, and providers of so many things to so many people. Do you know a man like this? A brother, a father, a friend? Let him know today how much you value him. Because Father’s day isn’t just about being a father…It’s about what being a father stands for. Happy Father’s Day to you!