I usually write about sales, how to make improve performance etc. Today I’m going to take a slight departure from that, to my personal experiences and a lesson I would like to share.
I’m sitting here writing this blog, whilst listening to “in the living years” – quite possibly the saddest song ever written, for me. See, I lost my father 11 years ago. This was a very painful experience for me, and listening to this song, always re opens that gaping wound. Mike and the mechanics have it right, it is too late when we die, to admit we don’t see eye to eye.
My Dad did not beat me, did not drink- he did cuss a lot, but come on, who didn’t do that in the region. The problem I had with my father, like every spoiled child, was that he didn’t give me all the attention; I so rightly felt I deserved. I can say this with some tongue in cheek because my dad did give me attention, as much as he could as a divorced father. He spent time with me and went to see me play sports (My father couldn’t point out a football from a baseball). So then what was it that hurt me? What was it that I felt my father didn’t do?
There was always, is always, this lingering feeling that he could have done better. For all the good things my father was, he was also notoriously cheap (tight as you would say in the UK). He would not separate himself from a nickel, not even to help out with his youngest sons third year of college. See that’s the rub, its money isn’t it….
Am I upset that my father invested in me with his time, but when it came to money he didn’t find the need to give much at all?
I grew into an adult who has gone on to own three businesses and by most definitions successful. But, no matter how successful you are, you will always feel you could have done better. No matter how great your parents/parent were, you will probably feel jilted in some way. I can’t emphasize how important it is to get past that. It took me 5 years after my father died. I analyzed my feelings, my behavior, everything to the nth degree. I’m still not sure how I feel, but what I am sure of, is my dad did care about me.
What does this have to do with you, the bit I’d like you to take away. Well, life comes with its ups and downs, it’s how we process and react to them that define us. All our wins will have come on back of many losses. We need to look at all of it, understand, and smile sometimes. Know that in life it won’t always be the desired outcome, but you can always learn and have fun with it if you choose to.
I took a call the other day, an opportunity I knew we were destined to lose. No, we’re not desperate, but I felt it would be an opportunity to educate myself, and give something to the prospective customer. We did lose, but we came out of it a little more polished, a little more knowledgeable. Perhaps, had I gone into my relationship with my dad, and discussed as an adult our differences, and why he did the things he did, I would have been better off. In the living years. Now I can only wonder.
William A Erb. 2005.. I still miss you pop.
I need to call my mom more often…