Reflecting after this Father’s Day, a few of the staff at Cerini & Associates have collated some of their favorite and inspirational quotes, lessons, and tidbits from their fathers. As the old adage goes, “Father knows best.” Or perhaps “the apple does not fall far from the tree.” Either way, our fathers are, for many of us, our first and best male role model; someone who is there to teach us from his mistakes and to help us when we make our own.
“It’s nice to be important, but it is important to be nice.”
When I was 17 and got my first supervisory role at a restaurant, my dad told me this, and it has always stuck with me. My dad worked for 20+ years as a Detective Sergeant in the NYPD, so he clearly knew a thing or two about how to be an effective supervisor. He was also spoken of in such high esteem and regard by his co-workers. Even though I was only working at a restaurant at the time, I knew that in the end, being respected by co-workers is very important. When I asked him how he did it, he gave me the above quote about treating everyone “nice,” not trying to run them into the ground, and taking the time to care about their personal problems that could affect their work.
“Don’t say it unless you plan on following through with it.”
People often promise the world but deliver on very little. In the past, a promise and a handshake were enough … my word is my bond. My dad wasn’t perfect, not sure anyone’s is, but you always knew, good or bad, that if the words came out of his mouth that it was happening. That was the case at home and at work, where he was a production manager, responsible for all the output for the company he worked for. That has stuck with me throughout my whole life, and I believe in honesty and following through on what I say. This is important in life and at work. Without trust and the ability to rely on the people you work with, you’ve got nothing.
“Don’t be afraid of hard work and don’t be afraid to work hard.”
My dad is almost 95 years old and is still an amazing, artistic, self-reflective person. He had his own graphic design business, which often required him to work late and on the weekends. When I was 12, he landed a huge account, and we all had to go to the office to help. When things got tough, like when clients were difficult and demanding, he would tell us, “time to go and get some ice cream!” He always knew how to correct the mood. When I started working at one of the big accounting firms in 1985, he would call me in the morning to talk to me, calm me down, and would ask me “Are you breathing?” Kind of a funny thing to ask but he was way ahead of the “Keep Calm” phrase.
“Be your own advocate.”
My Dad will always give credit to those who helped him throughout his career, but I also give him tremendous recognition for his drive, boundless energy, and ultimate success. He taught me that I should define my own success, create specific goals and find ways to achieve them. It’s important to have the support of others and the valuable guidance of mentors, but in the end, you are your best advocate. I continue to organize my priorities, ask questions and find ways to overcome any obstacles. It requires courage, persistence and a voice!
It never ceases to amaze us how much great information and advice we could get from our dads, and how much smarter they got, the older we got. Sure, at times it seemed like they were just either making lame dad jokes or trying to ruin our teenage lives, but behind all of this were men who just had our best interests at heart. Learning to take great advice is something that separates the best leaders and businesses from the pack; and sometimes that advice is from the guy who we often take for granted.
Edward McWilliams, CPA