Our dads have given us a lot of advice over the years: Wear a helmet. Get good grades. Don’t drive too fast. Get a good job.
And while we did follow (most of) that advice, it’s not necessarily the wisdom that stands out to us. What we really remember are the bigger lessons—the stuff that we still think about and use in our lives and careers today. The advice that maybe our dads didn’t even realize they gave us.
So today, on Father’s Day, we’re sharing that advice with our dads, and with you, too. Thanks, Dad, for everything you’ve taught us.
When I was younger and feeling panicked about a big exam or huge swim meet, my dad would always suggest that I say to myself, “I’m the best, the best, the best” before I sat down to take the test or get up on the starting block before the race. “It’s very important to say this, not once, not twice, but three times,” he’d say.
And you know what? It actually works! In that moment beforehand, where doubt and worries can creep back into your head, taking this small amount of time to bring out your own inner cheerleader to the forefront of your mind can make a big difference in your mentality. I’ve used it loads of times over the course of my life—before interviews or presentations, or any time when I’m feeling a bit nervous about whatever situation lies ahead—and always feel 100 times better after I’ve given myself this boost of positive vibes. Thanks Dad!
Niki Lowry, Director of Company Relations and Partnerships
and her Dad, David Lowry
My father has been such an inspiration to me growing up. I’m very much like him in many ways—in the way I process information, deal with stress (mainly by not getting stressed, thanks for those genes, Daddy) and approach solving problems. He has always worked very hard, not only at being the best in his role, but also at being an expert in his field, voraciously reading everything and anything he gets his hands on.
The biggest thing I have learned from him, though, is to be true to your values. Do what you think is right, no matter how much external pressure there may be to go with another answer. That means hiring the best person for the job, no matter who they know, and staying away from answers that feel like they’re “in the grey zone.” Thank you for passing on your moral compass, Daddy—it has never led me down the wrong path.
Alex Cavoulacos, Founder and COO
and her Dad, Panos Cavoulacos
My dad has taught me a lot of lessons that (I hope) he knows about: how to write, how to think about the bigger picture, how to not take myself too seriously. But one set of lessons came from my father’s 18-year-old self, and he doesn’t even know he gave them to me.
Several years ago I was browsing the bookshelf in my dad’s study when I discovered a ragged journal—an assignment he had written for his senior year English class—which I (obviously) proceeded to read. Not only did the journal give me a fascinating insight into what my dad was like around my age (I am most definitely my father’s daughter), it contained a short poem that I have carried with me to this day. Just like my dad, it has given me inspiration and motivation to get through whatever life throws at me.
In the face of routine, let us find new joys.
When one feels forgotten, let us recall love’s needs.
When each of us feels alone, may we be open enough to share.
When we feel nothing at all, let us rekindle our love.
Erin Greenawald, Associate Editor
and her Dad, Mark Greenawald
The best advice my dad ever shared was meant as driving advice when I was about to get my license: “Always leave yourself an out.” While those are wise words for avoiding collisions on the highway, they’re great career advice too—especially in this economy.
To build your own business (as I watched my dad do when I was young) or be a valuable and sought-after employee, you need to be continually building your skill set. Have a plan B; don’t get so focused on what’s up ahead that your tunnel vision blocks out other options that might just be what you’re really looking for.
Emily Sicard, Associate Editor
and her Dad, Walt Sicard
In my teens and early 20s, when I was trying out different college majors, career paths, goals (and—let’s be honest—boyfriends), I often found myself down paths that didn’t necessarily turn out as I had hoped. And any time I would get frustrated, my dad would give me the same piece of advice: “It’s just as important to figure out what you don’t want as it is to figure out what you do.” And then, he’d smile and reassured me, “You’ll figure it out.”
I didn’t always believe I’d figure things out, but I don’t think he ever doubted it. Thanks, Dad, for always knowing I’d find the way.
Adrian Granzella Larssen, Managing Editor
and her Dad, Tom Granzella
From the time I was young, my dad stressed to me the importance of treating others well—both in life and in business. For him, taking care of his clients and customers, and doing right by them, was of the utmost importance. “If you go around taking advantage of people at every turn, you won’t build lasting relationships. And whether or not you get ahead today, that is far less important than who you are and who your clients know you as,” he told me.
I learned from him, too, to always approach others with open-mindedness and with acceptance. Not everyone you meet or who you work with will be just like you, or will make the same decisions you would make in their shoes—but that’s OK. And it shouldn’t change your respect for them.
Melissa McCreery, Founder & Editor-in-Chief
and her Dad, Ken McCreery
My Dad is one of the most friendly, outgoing people I know; I remember being so embarrassed as a child when he would spontaneously introduce himself to nearby diners at a restaurant by asking what they’d ordered and how they liked it.
But despite his genial demeanor, my Dad has an iron core when it comes to standing up for what’s right. One of my earliest memories is watching him stand up for a friend, in the face of a powerful, wealthy, and well-connected organization. “If you let a bully push you around,” he told me, “they’ll never stop pushing. You have to draw the line somewhere.” I’ve learned a lot about determination (and not giving up in the face of setbacks) from him.
Kathryn Minshew, Founder & CEO
and her Dad, Stephen V. Minshew