5 Life Lessons I've Learned From My Dad

I spend an incredible amount of time with my parents. We run a business together. And it would crash and burn without both of them. They have helped me through a lot of life's hurdles, and I can't thank them enough. Thanks Mom and Dad! But, my Dad likes to impart wisdom on all three of his kids. It's kind of what Dads do, right?

Today, I want to share some of that wisdom with you. These lessons are from road trips to Tennessee, changing my winter tires over to summer tires, and many more events when you don't expect a life lesson. Here we go:

1. Never let anyone struggle

This is my favorite lesson and honestly, it's had the most impact. I can apply it every day - the true measure of whether a lesson has stuck with you. Anyway, when I was a kid, I saw my Dad holding the door open for mothers with large strollers, picking up something someone dropped, or helping out someone in financial need. Helping people puts a smile on my face. It gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling you did the right thing. I look for opportunities to help people every day. Why? Because it's what humans should be doing. Don't be selfish. Be selfless.

2. Be cheap as hell - save every penny.

"I don't know how you're going to do it." My Dad says this weekly. We have chats about finances all of the time. How much should I be saving? What about rolling over your 401k? How about purchasing a new car - do I have enough money? Hell, do I even need a new car? My Dad has caused me to take a hard look at my finances. Where am I spending frivolously? What can I do without? If you're frugal, you save more money. Save more money, and you've got some semblance of retirement. Reminds me of this post I wrote a couple months ago.

3. Family comes first (Mom's lesson, too)

Shut off the TV. Put away your cell phone. And the game can wait. Never miss a chance to spend time with your family. From family dinner nights when I was a kid (which often meant shoveling oranges during half-time at soccer games) to going on road-trips to see distant siblings, family is a limited resource. Be thankful you were raised by two parents because many kids were not. Sure, you can have fights and arguments with your older brother, but make sure you shut off life's distractions and spend time with those you can only spend so much time with.

4. You are the only one who can make a decision

My Dad has always dished out advice to my siblings and I (and even my close friends). Some of it is even wise Buddha status. But, he's taught me it's just advice. Take it or leave it. You make your own decisions. Want to go a trip to Germany? No one is stopping you. Want to eat three whoopie pies for breakfast? Go for it! Want to move in with your significant other? Well, your parents can't make that decision for you. You're in control of your own life. Advice and recommendations from others influence your decision. So, choose your advice-givers wisely.

5. It's all in the details

This must be generational. My Grandfather worked for NASA and can measure things in microns. My Dad has a PhD in material science. Detail runs in their blood. And they matter. When my Dad and I built furniture for my apartment, I simply scribbled on a pad of graph paper what I wanted. Well, that's great if you're making a coloring book. But, it's not so great if you actually want to create something. You need to know the details. This is similar in everything I do for my companies. The details make the difference. In communicating with others, have you included the details? In other words, is more detail needed to clearly communicate? And what about building software. Every line of code is detailed. See, details are all over the place. It's just whether you choose to ignore them or not. I vote you pay attention to them.

These lessons are going to stick with me for the rest of my life. Thanks, Dad - and Happy Father's Day a couple of days early. (Mom, you're probably wondering where your life lessons are, right? I'm saving those for your birthday)

What has your Dad taught you?