Yesterday marked the 5th year anniversary of my father’s death. He was 58 when he died which was way too young and saddens me to this day. Today, I am going to stray from my business as usual blog posts to share some personal things that I learned from my father about business and life. In social media we often stress being authentic and real, yet it can be a challenge to really share what is in our hearts, our minds and, of course, our past. I have built my practice on the key business principles of a strong work ethic, relationship building, and finding balance in this crazy world. And, for the many companies out there wanting to incorporate social media into their already hectic lives, this post seems fitting to share. I write this post in memory of my father, Stephen Samuel Boardman. First a little about my dad… My father was a great man, serving two tours as a marine in Vietnam as a young man of only 19 years old. He returned after his second tour to my mother and sister who was already 18 months old and whom he had not seen since she was a tiny baby. He came back to a country that was torn apart by war and instead of being the hero he was, he had to change out of his military clothes in the airplane bathroom so as not to be spit on and yelled at when he arrived in the U.S. airports. When he returned home, he was to simply put the horrors of war behind him and move on without any support or guidance. He was to pick up where he left off. Even though where he left off was as a boy, and when he returned he was a man. He had no real marketable skills – ‘natural born killer’ was not a great resume builder – but he did not let that set him back. He took a job as a car salesman and quickly rose to be a manager of the large car dealership in my hometown. He worked for 28 years in the auto industry and was an expert at what he did. Hard work goes a long way… My father was simply the best at what he did. Fortunately, he landed that gig as a car salesman back in the 70’s, during a recession, and he rose quickly into management – because he was the best. The best salesman, the best employee and the best worker. What made him so great? He took ownership of his job, he loved it. And, he made sure his customers were happy. He worked hard, long hours and became the go to man in town for buying cars. His strong work ethic was admirable and, as a child watching him, I learned the value of showing up to work, being the best I could be, and working in a job that I truly loved. The work ethic he instilled in my sisters and me is evident to this day in all that we do. On making people feel special… The not-so-great balancing act… Although my father understood the power of relationships in business, he did not however know how to transfer this into his personal life. He was a miserable failure at balancing work and personal life and his personal relationships suffered because of that. Work always came first. He worked six days each week with many days running longer than 12 hours. My father’s identity was wrapped up in his success at work. When my parents divorced, I saw him every Sunday, his one day off. He devoted Sunday’s to his children and spent that time with us. I loved that time and I loved that he made me feel like the center of the world on that day. Yet, I often longed to see him during different times of the week. He rarely made it to any type of special event and was missed greatly. This has long been a sadness of mine and one I share with you because it exemplifies the importance of finding balance. I learned from my father what not to do in this case. It is a constant struggle for me, as I also learned to strive to be the best and give it my all. I have to remind myself daily to step away from work and focus on my personal life. Making time for my family, friends and most importantly, making time for me. It is an important lesson and one I am thankful to have learned. And for that, I share it with you. There are so many other things I could write about that I learned from my dad. But I believe having a strong work ethic, being able to build strong relationships and finding balance daily are the key things I learned to being successful both in my career and my personal life. I believe that finding work you love means never working a day in your life, but still requires you to have the common sense to create balance every single day. I am so thankful for the time I had with my dad growing up. I wish I could change some things and certainly wish I had a stronger relationship with him before he died. My final thought is if your parents are still alive, thank them for everything they have done for you and try to spend more time with them. Remembering every day is a gift and we never know when someone we love may pass on.
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