The older I get, the more I recognize the influence that my father has had on me and how many things I’ve learned from him that have translated into the type of person I am today. Take work ethic, for example. I don’t think I know anyone that’s used to working as many hours as my dad does. From rotating shifts during his Kodak days to alarmingly consistent 14 hour days as a driver and dispatcher for an oil distributor, he’s never really benefited from a typical sleep schedule.
It clearly had an effect on me and my siblings. My brother and I both started working when we were 15 and excited to take as many hours as we could. And I think my sister has four different jobs right now… It’s hard to keep track of them all.
Here are a few other lessons from Phil:
- “Nothing good happens after midnight”
Due to his early bedtime, my dad’s attempts at setting a curfew for us kids was probably never as effective as he would have hoped. But he always told us that nothing good happens after midnight, and that logic is pretty difficult to argue with (though I’m sure I’ve tried, on plenty of occasions).
- “Just stay in bed – try again tomorrow”
Sleeping in, as far as my dad is concerned, means waking up by 7 am. On those Saturday mornings in high school when I would stroll out of my bedroom after he had already eaten lunch, he would ask, “why did you get out of bed at all? You should have just tried again tomorrow morning!”
It annoyed me at the time, but Phil has a point once again. In fact, many of the world’s highest paid and most successful executives are in the habit of waking up before the roosters. As noted in this Business Insider article, “It means being awake during a part of the day when there are few distractions. It means reacting to the biggest news of the day while others are dreaming. And in the evening you have the option to work late too — or to get to sleep early while others are partying and watching TV. ”
- Take pride in your work
This is the most important lesson my dad ever taught me. I was never a big fan of doing chores around the house, and the results of my efforts reflected that negative attitude. Raking leaves in my back yard every fall was one of the things I most dreaded doing, and dad was never impressed after I claimed to be “finished.” I can’t count the number of times he told me to take pride in my work, no matter what kind of work it was.
I’ve taken the same mindset into my professional work. As an intern, I do a lot of research that is often the first step of building a media list, pitching a new business or drafting a byline article. Even though the client might not see my work, it’s still an important part of the process and crucial to any PR agency’s operations. I try to never put my name on something that I wouldn’t be proud enough of to show a supervisor, client or parent.
So thanks for being the best role model a kid could have asked for, Dad. Our lines of work might not be very similar, but you have more to do with any success I might enjoy than you probably realize.
What lessons did you take into your professional career from your father?