Life lessons I learned from my Dad that are Helping my Career

I was 6 years old, and we were visiting my grandparents. Naturally, I was excited. All my cousins had already arrived, we had big plans for the day. When we reached my grandparent’s farmhouse, my excitement was through the roof. Greetings were said, and hugs were exchanged, as soon as the adults were done with the pleasantries, the kids made to escape.

Wait a minute now, I heard my dad say, I groaned. Every day at 6 pm, my dad would take me aside and help me prepare for a spelling bee contest. Apparently, today was going to be no different. I looked pleadingly at my dad, but found no sympathy and off to the study we went.

My cousins did not want to play without me, so they dutifully crowded around the study. Now my dad had a unique teaching style; whenever I got a word wrong, he would simply grunt in negation, and he kept doing it until I got the word right. He didn’t care whether it took 5 minutes for me to figure it out or 50, I had to get it right myself.

His philosophy was that when I would work so hard to figure it out, I would never forget it. Although the logic was sound, it was very frustrating to me that day. There I was stuck on ‘steer’ with my cheeks flaming in embarrassment as my cousins tittered at my incompetency. My dad did not budge; the clock ticked by, I must have spelled the word 30 times, and every time my dad grunted in negation.

I absolutely hated my dad at that moment. As strongly as a 6-year-old child can hate. I remember this moment vividly even now because the embarrassment is imprinted in my mind. When I finally got the spelling right after 45 minutes, my dad simply said a good job and started packing up the books. I felt deflated and dejected but scampered out to play nonetheless.

Although I did not realize it at that time, that quality of perseverance and self-dependency has been instrumental in my personal and professional life even today.  My dad taught me quite a few lessons that day; the value of hard work, the value of perseverance, the value of prioritizing, and the value of relying on your own skills to overcome challenges.

I work at a software development company, and I must tell you, all of these life lessons have come in handy, more than once:

1.      Hard Work

All of us know the value of hard work, yet a few of us actually work hard. Often, we think that just because we got the work done, our job is done. My dad taught me that to actually achieve something, you have put in the extra effort. This rewards me at my job and my personal life, instead of just being mediocre, I work hard and put in the effort required to complete my goals. 

2.     Perseverance

My dad taught me that no matter how difficult the challenge appears, never give up. He taught me that if we try hard enough, I have the ability to overcome any obstacle in my path. We all know how important this advice is for a professional. At our jobs, we often feel like we are fighting a losing fight, and nothing seems to be working out. May we are not getting the job we want, the promotion we deserve, or the recognition we crave. But in all these times, I have remembered what my dad ingrained in me and kept working hard until I achieved my goal.

3.     Prioritizing

How often are we tempted to watch just one more episode, play on more games, or sleep for just ten more extra minutes instead of doing our work? Telework has made this choice even harder; while we are at home, we are more inclined to relax and take it easy instead of getting the work done on time.

However, whenever I think about doing this, my dad’s work now, play later advice comes to the forefront of the mind. I have found this immensely useful as well; because of my dad, I always do my work first, and this has helped me advance my career. 

Dads are our superheroes in more ways than we realize; they pick us up, dust us off, and let us try again so we can be complete adults tomorrow. What lessons have you learned from your dad? We would love to hear them!