Virtual Hired Hand

Lessons I Learned From My Daddy

The reason for my go for it attitude, the reason I write the way I do, the reason I want to see you do things you’re afraid to do, the reason I’m driven each morning to logon my computer and go for it — My family

My dad worked very hard his entire life. At one point he had three jobs working full-time at the post office, in the army reserves, and also running a funeral home business full-time.

We rarely took family vacations growing up, however my mom was able to convince him to start going out of town more once I left for college. He was the kind of person that really didn’t know what to do with himself if he wasn’t working or doing something around the house.

I can remember dragging myself to get to work by 8 and thinking about how my dad used to be on cloud 9 and have way too much energy first thing in the morning. He was living his dream. He’d built a business from the ground up in an industry that most get into because of family connection. He’d built a business with no money and lots of faith. He’d made a mark that I’ll always remember each time I drive by the white brick building where the old funeral home building still stands.

It’s because of him that I even believed that I could also run a business. It’s because of him that I push very hard past my comfort zone. My dad expected to come home in 3 days following surgery last summer. However, he went on to a different home.

At the time of my dad’s passing he was the happiest. He had just purchased a new home three months prior and was joking because the doctor said he couldn’t go on the cruise with his classmates for a reunion because he’d still be in recovery. The doctor was nearly in tears the next morning after they took my dad off of life support. He didn’t understand what had happened.

My dad lived a full life and at his funeral I remember speaking before everyone and sharing that I couldn’t think of anything he wanted to do that he hadn’t done.

I learned many lessons from my dad both spoken and unspoken. However, this Father’s Day, I reflected on what I’d learned from him by watching him in business.

I learned:

You don’t need money to start a business. You need determination, persistence, and a passion for what it is you’re trying to do. With this, others who do have the resources will be more than willing to invest in your dream. My dad had several other partners with experience, wisdom, and finances for them to form a corporation that would last over 25 years. In the end my dad was the last living partner and was able to change the name from Metrolina Funeral Service to Johnson Funeral Service. I was living in Dallas, TX when he told me the news. He was so happy and I was so proud of my dad.

If you don’t know, find someone else who does. He was not ashamed to get help or surround himself with people who were smarter than him.

This also taught me:

You have the power to make your dreams come true, the choice is up to you. When you realize you’re the one that’s holding things up, you start to make larger leaps and start getting over your own stuff. I still get nervous each time I host a teleclass or meet someone new, but that doesn’t stop me. It’s fuel. In fact, if I don’t get nervous I wonder if it’s even what I’m supposed to be doing in the first place.

Watching my dad I learned:

If you fail you can always start again. This is exactly what he had to do during the latter years of his business. He had to sell the building that he built from the ground up, however it didn’t stop him. He found another building and continued his business. He was determined to make it work. Michael Jordan said it best “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

I also learned to make friends with those who do the same thing as you. In the funeral home business forming alliances with your competitors is important. If there were a large funeral often times they’d lend each other cars or even directors to assist. This is important for service providers as well in case of emergency or overflow of projects. You just never know.

I still struggle with the fact that he’s no longer with us. It’s hard to believe really. However, I know for sure my dad is proud of me and loves me. He bragged about me everywhere he went.

I asked my Facebook friends to name something they’ve been wanting to do, but are too afraid to do it. They said marriage, swimming, flying, and jumping out of an airplane. These all take big guts and so does living out your passion.

Each day in business we have a choice. We can either sit back and wait for tomorrow or get up, get out and do something with the passion that burns inside.

Now it’s your turn. Share what lessons you learned growing up that have shaped you or your business.