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Gifts From My Dad

by Evolving Stacey on December 21, 2008

staceydad.gif

My parents are a source of radiant light in my life. They provide me with love, support, humor, and stability. As we celebrated my dad’s birthday this month, I asked him a few questions about how he has practiced the art of life balance throughout his life and how he has been able to keep such a positive outlook on life.

Here are the gifts I have learned from my dad…

1. Read The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
This book, which was written in 1952, made my dad realize that life is more enjoyable when you think positive. Therefore, he has made a conscious choice throughout his life to think positive.

2. Utilize the Power of Brainstorming
Many years ago my dad took a valuable brainstorming class. Since then, he has used brainstorming techniques to review all of his choices when making a decision. My dad was a pioneer of choice management and he continues to teach me how to make decisions and take actions that will allow me to live my best life.  

When he thinks about a life question, he writes down all of his options. Through this process his options always lead to additional possibilities and his list continues to grow. He has taught me that one of the greatest things about brainstorming is the process of new ideas and options growing exponentially because one thought will lead to another thought, which will lead to another thought, etc…

3. Identify and Remember Your Values
After my dad creates his brainstorming list, he reviews his options using a values filter. When he was deciding on a career choice, over 40 years ago, he sat down and brainstormed what he was capable of doing for a living. 

First he wrote down many ideas and came up with many options. Then he filtered his list based on his core values. He did not want to work weekends, he wanted to be home every night to have dinner with his family, and he wanted to work shorter hours.

My dad was also a pioneer of creating a balanced life. He knew he wanted to make a good living without working too many hours.

4. Take Time to Refuel
For my dad, life balance means taking a break every once in awhile. Every six months he takes a vacation – time to remove himself from the regular routine to completely unwind.

He encourages everyone to take a two-week vacation. He believes one week is not enough time to completely unwind because the secret is in the second week when you are truly able to relax. 

5. Live Consciously
My dad’s career choice was consciously in sync with his values and his passion to travel. Success, opportunities, and life events don’t just happen for my dad. He thinks about life and makes choices that he knows will make him happy.

6. Be Bold
When my dad was considering a career change, from accounting to sales, he wanted to prove to himself that he could be successful in sales. He made a bold move and took a door-to-door sales job selling dishes for $50. For each set of dishes he sold, he made $10.

One day, with confidence and determination, he sold 10 sets of dishes. Not only was he a successful salesman, he also enjoyed the sales process. Although he never sold door-to-door again, this bold experiment led him to his new career in sales. 

7. Enjoy Life
My dad’s bottom line philosophy is that life is more enjoyable if you think positive…so just think positive. I asked him how he can think positive when the burden of the world is too much to handle or when loved ones pass away.

I wanted to know how I can think positive when I am not feeling positive. He told me that I have to choose to think positive. He encourages me to go on with my best life, to keep going, and to hope for the best.

8. Accept the Things You Cannot Change
My dad was a pioneer of the serenity prayer and believes we need to let go of things we cannot control. He believes this is a great attitude to live by each and every day.

The Serenity Prayer
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

9. Perfectionism is Overrated
My dad was a pioneer in rejecting the notion of perfectionism. Some people excel in one or two things. They are experts and masters. My dad enjoys being a jack-of-all-trades and a master in none. He does what he loves and doesn’t focus on being the best.

When my dad plays tennis and golf, he enjoys each moment regardless of the outcome. He loves playing a good game, but having fun during the game will trump victory every time.   

10. Laugh
It is guaranteed that every time I see my dad I eventually laugh so hard that it brings tears to my eyes. He gifts the world with his humor, his puns, and his silliness. He has taught me the power of laughter and of being silly. He believes life is too short to take life too seriously.

Today I share the gifts from my dad with the world and honor the gift I have to be my dad’s daughter.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Vered - MomGrind December 21, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Your dad sounds a lot like mine! My dad is the most positive person I have ever met. He finds the silver lining in everything. He is amazing and I just wish I could be more like him (although I’m getting better).

Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..Last-Minute Holiday Shopping? May I Suggest The Perfect Gift

Stacey / Create a Balance December 21, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Vered – It’s great to know there are more amazing dads out there. I’m very blessed to have mine.

Lance December 21, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Hi Stacey, Your dad sounds like a really awesome guy (I guess you knew that already, though!!). The idea of brainstorming – that’s something I want to do more of, so hearing it here is good for prodding me along to go down that road. And, the idea of a two-week vacation. Something I haven’t thought about before – the two best family vacations we’ve had – Yellowstone and the Pacific Northwest – were the two vacations we’ve taken that were about two weeks long. Coincidence? After reading this, I don’t think so! I could go on, and this would get really long – the end result would be the same – you’re father is a very smart man (just look at the daughter he raised…). What great gifts he has passed on to you Stacey! And you’re sharing them with the world…

Lances last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

Ryan December 21, 2008 at 11:16 pm

I wish I could be positive like your dad. Even more (and maybe it goes along with it) I wish I could find a career I was happy with. It’s inspirational to read about those who found what I’m looking for.

Stacey / Create a Balance December 21, 2008 at 11:37 pm

Lance – Yes, my dad is awesome. Just think about the amazing things your children will have to say about you once they grow up and see the wisdom their father has passed on to them.

Ryan – It took my dad some time to find the right career. Keep focused and I know you will find a career you are happy with too.

Davina December 22, 2008 at 12:48 am

Hi Stacey. You are very lucky to be so close to your dad. These are wise words you have shared. I agree, 2-week vacations are much better than 1. Now that I’m self-employed I find it more difficult to take any time off. But that’s because my business is my “baby” and I find I’m thinking about it even when I’m not working :-)

Davinas last blog post..A Positively Dysfunctional Christmas

J.D. Meier December 22, 2008 at 1:43 am

Great lessons learned.

Go on with your best life – I like that.

I really like the point that positivity is a choice. Some people seem wired to see the bright side by default, while others find the flaws. The beauty is that either can be a conscious choice. Personally, I like to wear both hats. I find the upsides and the downsides. I’m a fan of Six Thinking Hats, so I like to cycle through perspectives.

The “hope for the best” part reminded me of “The grand essentials of happiness in this life are something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.” – Joseph Addison

I’m currently reading Edward De Bono’s Tactices – the Art and Science of Success and it echoes a lot of your father’s lessons.

Your Dad’s a wise man and you’re wise for your attitude of gratitude. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned.

J.D. Meiers last blog post..My Favorite Personal Development Books

Stacey / Create a Balance December 22, 2008 at 6:29 am

Davina – I’m slowly moving towards a 2-week vacation. Right now my vacations are approximately 10-days long. If you are thinking about work during the first week of vacation, perhaps you do need that second week to completely forget about your worries.

J.D. – Learning that being positive is a choice puts the responsibility to be positive onto yourself instead of looking externally for happiness. Thanks for reading and reflecting on my dad’s lessons.

Betsy December 22, 2008 at 7:05 am

Hi Stacey – This was a lovely tribute. You are so lucky to have your dad. Mine passed away 25 years ago and I miss him every day. Thank you for sharing his wisdom with us. I think your dad and my dad would have really enjoyed each other.

Betsys last blog post..EVERY VALLEY SHALL BE EXALTED . . .

Stacey / Create a Balance December 22, 2008 at 8:40 am

Betsy – From your comment, I can feel how much you miss your dad. I am grateful every day to have my dad in my life.

Tess The Bold Life December 22, 2008 at 9:02 am

I married someone like your dad. Happy, successful in all areas and he passed his values on to all four daughters. Tell your dad he should be proud!

Stacey / Create a Balance December 22, 2008 at 9:36 am

Tess – Lucky you!

rummuser December 22, 2008 at 9:50 am

You are very lucky to have your parents with you. My mother is no more and my father, now 91, after having lived his life his way for over forty years has just come to spend the rest of his life with us. There is a lot that he, I and my son, three generations under one roof for the first time, have a lot to learn from each other and learn a lot about each other as well. It is a completely new experience and both my son and I are thoroughly enjoying it under the benign eyes of my much amused wife!

Stacey / Create a Balance December 22, 2008 at 10:13 am

Rummuser – I know how blessed I am to have my amazing parents. It sounds like there are endless gifts available to you during this unique time in your life (3 generations living under the same roof).

Org Junkie December 22, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Hello! I just have to delurk today to tell you how much I enjoyed this post. Such a wise man your father is and how smart you are to not keep that knowledge for yourself but to share it with others. Thank you!!

Org Junkies last blog post..MPM ~ Dec 22nd Christmas Menu!

Jennifer December 22, 2008 at 8:55 pm

I am very inspired by your dad’s commitment to brainstorming. I have created mental brainstorming lists before, but never with an overwhelming amount of effort to see anything other than obvious ideas. I think part of that is that I have never actually written anything down. I really see the value of having the ideas down on paper, staring back at you, and I can picture a few occasions when I know new (and better) ideas would have naturally come forth. Wonderful information from a very inspiring man.

Stacey / Create a Balance December 22, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Org Junkie – I’m so happy you decided to delurk today! It gave me a wonderful opportunity to visit your site. I hope you choose to delurk more often!

Jennifer – Brainstorming has been a prominent tool in my dad’s life. It builds clarify and provides data to help you make decisions.

Robin December 22, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Hi Stacey – lovely reading about your Dad. Mine wasn’t the type to think about these sorts of things – he did love us, and enjoy life, though (he died a year and a bit ago).

Happy holidays! see you R x

Robins last blog post..Bloggers’ Recording Project Has Arrived!

Hip Mom's Guide December 22, 2008 at 10:40 pm

Stacey, I absolutely love this post. It’s a beautiful tribute, but also a shining example of how we, as parents, can positively affect our kids through our own attitudes, actions, and choices. Bravo to your dad, and bravo to you, for recognizing his gifts. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Hip Mom’s Guides last blog post..To friendship, and Kelly Corrigan, who said it for all of us

Stacey / Create a Balance December 22, 2008 at 11:20 pm

Robin – I wonder why my dad has the ability to choose to have positive attitude when for others this is a very difficult task (it is not always so easy for me to simply choose to be positive).

Hip Mom’s Guide – Yes! After I wrote this post, I started to wonder what type of post my children would write about me 30 years from now. What lessons am I already instilling into my children?

Lance December 23, 2008 at 9:56 am

Stacey…what your kids will write about you…30 years from now – from what I know, from what I’ve read, from the goodness you exude – what they will write will be beautiful, inspiring, touching…

Enjoy the holiday season and all the joys it brings to you and your family, Stacey.

Lances last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

Stacey / Create a Balance December 23, 2008 at 10:42 am

Lance – Thanks for seeing the best in me. Sometimes I wonder what my boys are learning on the days that I’m exuding more of my grumpiness and less of my goodness.

Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..Gifts From My Dad

Stacey Shipman December 24, 2008 at 7:37 am

Great list, Stacey! We can learn so much from out parents. Brainstorming – I wish more people knew how to brainstorm. All too often ideas get knocked down before a discussion occurs! I love brainstorming.

Vacations – After spending 5 days in Jamaica I agree – 2 weeks minimum! Just as we were getting ready to leave I was finally relaxing!

Positivity – media makes it very hard to stay positive…my husband and I had this discussion on our vacation. Staying positive doesn’t mean forgetting any turmoil, it simply means seeing the other side and figuring out how to get there!

Happy Holidays!!!

Stacey Shipmans last blog post..Get Back to Your Senses: Take a (mini) Vacation

Stacey / Create a Balance December 24, 2008 at 10:43 am

Stacey Shipman – Staying positive is hard to do in this world. I even find guilt creeping in when I’m feeling positive…knowing so many people are suffering in this world. I have to remember that if we stay positive we can bring light to the darkness.

Carla December 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm

You are so lucky to have your dad and its great that you appreciate that! My dad is still with us in the flesh, but drug and alcohol took over decades ago. I get my knowledge from books, support groups and great people such as yourself. I guess I am always surprised to hear that some people actually have good relationships with their parents – is that weird?

Carlas last blog post..Green and Chic Blog | What is it?

Cricket/Tammy December 26, 2008 at 3:20 pm

This is so wonderful to read. You have a wonderful father. The best part is that you aware enough to know what you have right before you. Absorb the days and keep learning from him.

Merry Christmas to you!

Cricket/Tammys last blog post..Hear me sing

Cricket/Tammy January 1, 2009 at 12:59 am

Happy New Year!

Cricket/Tammys last blog post..Stand by me and I will stand by you…Happy New Year!

Stacey / Create a Balance January 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Cricket/Tammy – Thanks! Happy New Year to you too!

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