5 Lessons Dad Taught Me About Business, Family and Life

Dad and Business

Today is Father's Day and what better day to tribute this blog post to one of the most important men in my life... my Dad!


Background:  My Dad was born in Chicago and moved to Oakland as a toddler.  He attended Oakland Unified School's from K-12 and then became a Coach, Teacher, VP, and Principal in the very same school district he was raised in. Currently he is retired.  This man has taught me, my brother, and many students in Oakland some key lessons about life, family, and business that I'd like to share with you!


1)  Go Big, or Go Home:  My dad is the king of doing things big.  Whether it be Christmas decorations (he is know for constructing a life size toy soldier!), dogs (we had a standard size poodle growing up!), or sports (taking Skyline High School to the OAL championships in 1985) he goes big on everything.  In my soap business he was the one to come up with the idea of building my soap studio, rebuilding my soap molds to increase production, and creating a schedule of soap making that increases not only soap production, but also increases time with my family.  He is always thinking 3-12 months out, which is why he goes big.  Leave an impression for yourself and others, think where you'll be in the future and figure out in the moment what you can do now to make that happen.  To explain this better, see point 2.


2) Set a Goal, Focus on it, then Actualize it:  When my dad gets an idea, there is nothing to distract him from it until it is complete.  This could take the form of a home project or setting up work projects with local companies for his students to give them real life experiences and a better understanding of the importance of staying in school. My dad has always been a great leader in motivating people to follow their dreams.  He often uses a target metaphor to call people to action, "Think of your dream/goal as a three ring target.  The inner circle (the bulls eye) is your goal; you are the only one that can affect that.  The second outer circle is the area that you can affect with others, but you can't do it alone. Either you may need help or you may need to help others.  Then there is the third ring.  In this ring, you can't do jack about.  Whether it's opinions of others, the weather, whatever...  there's no reason to worry about it because you can't do anything about it! If you spend time in the third ring, you won't get much done.  So, spend 80% of the time in the center circle and 20% in the second circle.  The inner circle will take you to where you want to go, the 20% is to better the community around you to help those that need the support you got.  Always give back."


3) Perseverance:  Sometimes your goals are harder to reach than you thought. Things don't always go the way you planned.  Actually most of the time they don't.  My dad never said, don’t give up.... But he taught that through his actions. If he got a "No!" to an idea, he'd take it to someone else or try another strategy.   He also taught us to identify when it was time to walk away from something with integrity when a "wall" maybe to strong or high to get through.  For example, if you are in a position to create positive change but a boss or higher up makes decisions that actual go against this change.  If it's affecting your health, your family, take a break...  let someone else lead the fight or do it a different way, but on your own terms. This leads to point 4.


4) Innovation/ Entrepreneurial Mind:  In the past, he and my mom owned a couple local / indie businesses.  Not only having full-time jobs, they also owned a fish store and their own woodwork business on the side. Why?  Sometimes the rug may be pulled out from underneath you and you need to have a back-up plan.  He believed that it is important to carve out a little something for yourself, that's yours, to have options.  And for him, his greatest motivation for an entrepreneurial mind was to support his family, which brings us to point number 5.


5) Sacrifice:  To follow you dreams you have to sacrifice and work hard.  What you define as success is not going to happen over night.  Over night successes really take years and decades to come to fruition.  My dad's goal was to make sure his family (including his students) thrived and leaves a legacy for others to follow. He worked multiple jobs to support the family. He coached basketball, skiing, and swim team (I know I'm forgetting something!) to motivate students to be their best.  Now he is a grandfather of 5, and he is family to many of his players that have gone on to play in the NBA and National Baseball League.  And I see the pride in his eyes when we are all together.


These are just a few lessons that my Dad has taught me!  I am grateful for him and wish him a fabulous Father's Day!


Love You DAD!!!


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