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.
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.