Reflecting on Father’s Day: Lessons learned from Dad

I thought this Father’s Day I’d talk a little bit about some of the things that I learned from my dad. Things that have translated over, or at least things that I like to keep in mind, as I go about my daily business. I want to talk about the things that I see that he’s done that make him successful that I try to emulate. My dad is a small rancher farmer out in South Dakota and when I think of successful it’s a combination of having found something you love to spend your life doing that makes you enough money to enable you to continue spending your life doing it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the richest guy in the world or the biggest but I think that the combination of being prosperous enough at something to continue doing it because you love it is pretty successful in my eyes. Here are few of the most important things that I have learned from my father over the years:

  1. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing. Over the years I’ve watched my dad have a couple different businesses from solar energy business to farming. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that he’s always been passionate about what he’s doing. He now owns a grass-fed beef business and I’m always amazed at the depth of his knowledge on the subject. I’ll call and talk to him and he’ll, for example, have just gotten back from a butchers course because he wants to learn more about what the cuts mean to the quality of the meat or the different tastes and palates. He’s constantly learning. He’s got a grass grown beef newsletter that you can get to on homegrownbeef.com and he’s always got something in there about what kind of micronutrients or macronutrients are out there that come from a particular type of grass. So I think there’s that desire to really understand and know everything about what you’re doing which comes with that passion. That passion also nurtures you through those times when maybe things aren’t going as well or things don’t look like they’re going to work out; passion carries you through.
  2. The second thing he taught me was that you have to be willing to work hard at things you want. I always am amazed at the type of man hours my dad puts in, even though he probably doesn’t have to at this point in his life. He’s out there working 15 to 16 hour days in the spring because that’s what it takes to do what he loves to do. It just shows you what you can do when you’re passionate about something and you believe in it. That hard work and the level of effort that you put into something is what drives you forward when other people might fail at something. The fact that you push on and push through may be the difference between success and failure.
  3. I think the last thing I want to talk about is how taught me that if you want to try new things and take a different perspective from the conventional, it’s ok. It’s something that my dad has always done, he has been his own guy and learned things for himself. He didn’t necessarily focus in on trying to be different but if different made sense to him or what he believed in, he always stuck to it. He didn’t let the way that everyone else was doing things constrain his thinking and that may be the biggest lesson that I’ve ever learned from him. Just because everyone else is doing it one way doesn’t make it the right thing to do for you. I’ve had many conversations with him regarding this. Whatever everyone else is doing may not be sustainable because once everyone else starts doing it, in a strictly commercial sense, it begins to constrain your revenues. There’s a whole bunch of reasons why trying to something a little bit differently might make sense but the biggest thing is just not allowing yourself to fall into that group thinking trap. It’s important to figure out for yourself what is the right approach for you and what is the best way to do something. That is something that he has always done no matter what everyone else is doing and that’s incredibly impressive to me.

I’m curious to hear from other folks what lessons you’ve learned from your father that have stuck with you to this day? What are things that you think about when times gets tough at work or at home?

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Henry Brown

Didn’t have a father/family that I could credit/blame for my approach to life and the work place. One of the first mentors that I had, while in the service was able to impress on me in a very short time (less than 18 months) a couple of things that drove the rest of my career for 50+ years.

1. Sometimes we have to do things that we don’t want to do or could care less about and if you don’t dedicate yourself to those tasks it will be much harder to work with “passion” for those things that you believe in

2. There is a cost for doing things differently and one must pay those costs for one to be successful at them. One of the costs is convincing other people that your way is better than the other way. Another cost is, in some cases, you will not be able to convince other people of the different way and lose friendship(s) and co-workers in the process.

David B. Grinberg

In addition to what you’ve stated above, Joshua:

Be true to your word.

Be consistent.

Be punctual.

Be humble, show humility.

Think of family and others first, put them above yourself.

Show grace under pressure, be a “cool customer”.

“Keep your powder dry” until you really need it.

A sure thing is better than nothing.