Lessons I learned from my dad

My dad died much too young (he was only 47, I was 22 when he died). But he managed to pack a lot of dad wisdom into those years. In honor of Father's Day, here are a few of my favorite takeaways:
  1. Pursue the things that bring you joy with focus and determination
    My dad wasn't much of a dabbler. When he got into something, he REALLY got into it, and gave it his all. Golf, archery, writing - he devoted time and energy to be as good as he could be at the things that he was passionate about.
  2. Education is valuable, but you also need practical skills
    Right before I moved into my first apartment in college, my dad showed me how to fix three common issues with a toilet: shut off the valve to keep it from overflowing; use a plunger to unclog it; and adjust the chain to stop it from running. I've used all three, but especially the last one. I fixed a lot of people's running toilets in college!
  3. Don't settle, hold out for what you really want
    And its corollary: that guy is a loser, you can do better
  4. Don't take yourself too seriously
    Be serious and committed to your work and passions, but keep your sense of humor and always be able to laugh at yourself
  5. Live with integrity
    He had no patience for people who didn't follow through on commitments or live what they claimed to believe
  6. Invest in go-getters
    I used to think my dad kind-of overvalued a particular type of hard-working ambition and was blind to other good qualities. Once I became a manager, however, I could see his point...I'd rather have an employee I have to rein in on occasion than one I have to light a fire under.