Every Martin Luther King Day makes me think of my dad. He loved underdogs, loved people who were striving to change things and be more. He championed everyone who wanted to tell their story.
Here are 10 Simple Things my dad did that helped influence me in a positive day:
1. Coaching Me - Even when I would roll my eyes I always loved it when my dad coached me. He wanted me to perform better so he always had an opinion. He would pass notes to me in hockey while I was sitting on the bench. Only once a coach intercepted the note.
2. Showing Me How to Fight - Perhaps it’s not the best idea to take on a bully. The biggest and toughest dude around my block was my good friend Mike Lasher. If we disagreed in a sandlot baseball game it turned into a fight. Dad showed me how to punch straight ahead when Mike would throw his roundhouses. The day I sent him home with a bloody nose was the last day he bullied me.
3. Nodding His Approval - How powerful are you as a dad? I notice this with my kids. You don’t need to do much of anything to register your thoughts and feelings with your kids. Just a nod, a look. I got it. When my dad would look at me with that “I am proud of you” look I could run through a wall and often did when it came to sports. But his approval mattered and his advice mattered.
4. Not Doing Everything For Me - A lot of times my dad would not help me with some project he knew I could do myself. As frustrating as this was he let me make mistakes, get frustrated and then work my way out of a problem. It’s hard for me to let my kids make mistakes but as a father you need to know when to let them suffer a bit.
5. Looking at People as Real Characters - Just about everyone my dad met had a story to tell. If he spent enough time with you he would pull out your story. I feel it’s one of my gifts, to really be sincerely interested in the story a client has to tell as a professional. But more broadly, knowing and trying to elicit the passion or story from someone else mattered to him. And for my dad it did not matter what you did, your title, your income or your status.