In the second life lessons post, we're talking all about the top 10 things I've learned from my dad. My mom and I may be identical but I'm a daddy's girl through and through. I'm so fortunate to have such an incredible relationship with both of my parents and I feel so blessed to have two parents who also happen to teach me some of the greatest lessons a girl could learn.
My dad is one of those people who just give the best advice. I'm serious, there are times where my friends will even call him just to get a pep talk or get his opinions on things, and there were so many times growing up where we would all pile in his truck and drive around town just so he would talk to us about life. To this day I still tell my friends to come over so we can call my dad if we're ever stuck and I'm out of advice or ideas.
With all of that being said, here are 10 things I've learned from my dad:
You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but no one should outwork you.
My dad is without a doubt the hardest worker I have ever seen. I think it's actually impossible for him to not do something for more than a day or two without having to tackle some sort of project. My dad is this way when it comes to business, life, etc. and he's taught my brother and I to do the same thing. As kids he always expected us to work hard in school and do our very best. To my dad, it didn't matter if we aced every test or knew every answer but if he found out that we didn't do as well as we could have because we didn't work that hard - that's what disappointed him. To my dad, working hard is the absolute best quality in someone. My dad will be the first to admit that he may not always be the smartest person in a meeting or the most qualified, but he will always, always, always be the hardest worker and that's something that is so inspiring to my brother and myself.
There’s always room for improvement.
If my brother or I came home and told my dad "I got a 99 on a test!" he would nearly always respond with "there's room for improvement.". Of course, in this case he was joking but it still quickly became one of the best lessons he ever taught me. I'd describe myself as a perfectionist, or at the very least someone who strives for nothing short of excellence and that's all thanks to my dad. Watching him work, whether it be in the business setting or at home, it was always clear to me that excellence and nothing less than that was the expectation. That being said, if something wasn't done exactly right or exactly the way he expected it to be done, he was the first one to try and improve whatever needed improvement. It didn't matter if that meant restarting or coming back to a project later on, and to him, it didn't matter how much time it took. What mattered is that the finished project was an improvement of what was there before. Now, I find myself wanting to improve things in my life every day because of that, and to me that's one of the best traits I could take from my dad.
Being independent is one of the greatest assets you can have.
One of my favorite qualities about myself is how independent I am. I thrive on doing things for myself and I am content being on my own. Whether it's moving across the country, knowing absolutely no one, or even being able to run errands without constantly needing someone to come with me, independence is something that I've just always had as a part of my personality. Growing up, both of my parents, but especially my dad, encouraged me to do things for myself and be independent even when I was living at home. My dad always made sure to teach me how to things on my own, and to this day I'll still Facetime him when I'm trying to do things so he can teach me to do it myself. My dad always impressed on me how important being independent was and how important it is to be able to do things for myself and now that I lived alone, hours away from my family I am so thankful for this lesson.
Having a good time doesn’t mean you need to lose control.
My dad has always been honest with my brother and I when it came to things like partying, drinking, you name it. We grew up hearing college stories about crazy nights with my parents' college friends and all about the funny things they did as young college kids. Something that my dad always taught us though, even while reminiscing on college days is that there is a huge difference between having a good time and being out of control. To my dad, there's absolutely no reason to lose control and become a total a**hole. When I left for college my dad told me over and over and over again "It's fine to go have one or two drinks with friends, but there's no reason to get blackout drunk and fall over yourself." (or some variation of that sentence). That was something that stuck with me all throughout college and still sticks with me now. Sure, there are nights where my friends and I stay in and have fun and act silly but there's never been a time where I've felt completely out of control - and that's all thanks to my dad.
Natural talent requires work.
Something about my parents is they're naturally talented at pretty much everything. Which was great for my brother and I...and also not so great. Growing up, I remember thinking since I was naturally "talented" at certain things I didn't have to work as hard at them - wrong answer. In a lot of ways, I think my natural abilities made my dad push my brother and me even harder. Going off of the first lesson on this list my dad always expected us to work hard even for the things we were naturally good at. My dad always told us that if we didn't work hard at those things we loved and we were good at then someone who worked harder would beat us every single time and given that I don't want to be outworked because of him, you can bet I worked my butt off even when I had a little natural talent behind me.
Loving someone means letting them make their own mistakes.
My parents would do absolutely anything for my brother and I. That being said, my dad always explained to us the difference between him and my mom jumping in to keep us safe and jumping in to keep us from making mistakes. Growing up, and even now that I'm 22 years old, my dad will let me make my own mistakes (as long as they aren't totally life-threatening). To my dad, making mistakes is a big part of growing up and becoming successful. My dad isn't afraid to let my brother and I make mistakes and it used to make us so mad. I remember thinking "If he knew this was going to be a mistake why the heck would he let us do it?" but now looking back I am so thankful he let us screw up so many times. Mistakes are life's best teachers because we learn so much about ourselves and about whatever situation we screwed up. Now that I've accepted that little fact, I know that my dad lets us make our own mistakes for this exact reason. My dad always raised us to be independent and to handle difficult decisions/situations. This is why I know he let us make our own mistakes because he loves us enough to give us the chance to learn from them.
Time spent in the woods is never time wasted.
My dad would spend time in the woods every day if he could. Whether it's deer or turkey hunting, or just hiking or snowshoeing or even setting up trail cameras to see what wildlife is behind our house he loves being in the woods. When I was little I used to think he was absolutely crazy. Why anyone would want to be outside in the cold completely baffled me. But as I got older I started loving the time I spent in the woods with him (even though I never really told him that). There's something so peaceful about being surrounded by nature and being in someplace that's so quiet. My dad taught me a lot about being in nature. From wildlife facts to survival skills and other life lessons that you can't really learn driving down the highway. The time I spent with my dad in the woods is also what helped foster my love of wildlife, conservation, and family. To me, the time I spent in the woods with my dad was some of the best quality time I could ask for and how can you look at time with loved ones as a waste?
Life isn’t about being right all the time.
Growing up I wanted to be the kid who knew every answer in class and got 100% on every quiz, test homework assignment you name it and that was great. But, life is very different. My dad always pushed us to study hard and get things right in school but he also made sure to teach us that life, unlike school, isn't about being right all the time. In fact, it's hardly ever about being right. My dad is the person that I call for everything. Whether it's how to hang a curtain rod or fix something in my car, or questions about finances and being an adult. Typically, he always knows the answer - or at least enough to fix whatever I've messed up. But every now and then I'm faced with the phrase "I don't know.". See, my dad isn't one of those people who will say something just to make it seem like he knows the answer. If he doesn't know something he'll tell me, and if he finds out, later on, he was wrong about something - he'll tell me that too. Growing up, watching him admit when he didn't know something or he was wrong about something, was so influential to me for the simple fact that my dad is my hero. Seriously, I never for a second think there's something my dad doesn't know or can't do. So, when he admits that he doesn't know something or he was wrong about something it sticks with me. Not because it ruins some picture of him I have in my head but because to me it means more to hear someone you admire so much admit to not having all the answers than to watch them conquer every task.
A good dog is worth everything.
My dad is a huge dog lover, just like me. Growing up our family dogs were always a little bit more into my dad than any of us and that was just something we all had to deal with. We had the best family dogs, first a chocolate lab named Molly and then a german shorthaired pointer named Oakley and now I have another amazing chocolate lab of my own, Wrigley. I always thought my love of dogs came from having them around all the time growing up. But now, I'm pretty sure it was my dad who taught me just how important dogs can be to us. My dad spent a lot on getting our pointer trained (mainly because she was a monster as a puppy and we were all pretty sick of chasing her through the neighborhood). But to this day he will tell you that he doesn't regret a penny of the money they spent on it. To my dad, there's nothing greater than a good dog. The kind of dog you enjoy having around the house, you know the kind that becomes a best friend faster than any human on the planet. I always admired just how much my dad loved our family dogs, and now it's clear to me because of how much my own dog has been there for me. A good dog is absolutely worth every single penny.
Spend the extra money on good alcohol.
If there's one thing my dad has taught me about partying and alcohol it's to spend the extra few bucks on something that won't make your hangover feel like you got hit by a freight train. My dad will absolutely spend the extra money and have fewer drinks if it means drinking better alcohol. I'm not going to lie, when I first started drinking I thought this was one of those things my dad just said so I wouldn't spend a bunch of money on a bunch of drinks but man oh man was I wrong. Now, I'm just like him and I'd much rather have 1 nice drink compared to multiple cheap ones. I'm not kidding, your hungover self really will thank you for this decision.
I hope these fun and serious life lessons help some of you! When I tell you my dad gives the best advice I really do mean that! Check out my podcast where I go even more in-depth with these life lessons!