It’s been a tough few days.
As I write this my father is laying in the hospital taking the last breaths of his life. It’s too soon to even fully comprehend the experience of watching it unfold or to pull out my thoughts and feelings around losing a parent.
[UPDATE: Dad peacefully passed away Oct 14th, a few hours after I posted this.]
Dad, This is how I remember you. I’ll miss you.
But today it only felt right to share previous thoughts I have written about my father and the lessons he has given me. The below post was written years ago on the day of his wedding and hope they give a bit of inspiration to you.
This is a special day in my life as my father is getting (re)married. In fact I am extremely honored to stand by his side as his best man to celebrate and witness this great commitment. Recently I have had the opportunity to think a little deeper about what my father, Jim Hughes, has taught me. Many things graced my thoughts, but 3 things stick out and continue to be huge influences in my life each day.
If you are an entrepreneur maybe they will help you as well.
Devotion – Live What You Love
As long as I can remember my father has lived his passion and his work has been his life. Amazingly, his faith is part of his work as well – he is the the Director of Stewardship & Development for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, ID. He lives, breathes and speaks faith. He does not try to convert one who may not be aligned with his way of seeing the world, but anyone who meets him can sense the calmness his faith brings to his life. He is the most dedicated and devoted person I have ever met. His faith is his life and his work is his faith. You will not meet anyone doubting my father’s devotion and commitment to his cause.
Basically my father raises money to support the expansion of the Diocese just as a CEO would raise money to extend the life of his company. Say what you want about religion, faith or “believers”, this post is not a sermon; it is a lesson on how to fully devote yourself to a cause or purpose. If my father was not fully devoted, it would be unlikely people would feel empowered to give money towards an important cause. When spotted, an entrepreneur needs to take note of someone who is fully devoted because they are rare in this world but the best of examples. How are investors supposed to put their faith and money in you when you aren’t fully devoted you your cause? Show me a devoted person and I will show you someone who is making things happen. Life just does not work any other way.
Appreciation – Life is a Gift
If you have met my father you would know exactly what I am talking about here, his appreciation for life and people is like a potent fragrance that can fill an entire room. You know it when you shake his hand and look him in the eyes. It’s piercing. You sense a respect that falls like a warm blanket on the connection between the two of you. He appreciates you for just being… you. When you talk with him he looks right at you, transfixed on experiencing all of you and the conversation at the moment. It is this endearing respect for all people I intuitively picked up on as a young boy watching his father, and I cannot thank him enough for the unspoken lesson which has helped me navigate through life possibly lighter than others.
As an entrepreneur I think the principles of appreciation is often overlooked, which can be a big mistake. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own situation and look out for number 1 first and foremost. But here a few thoughts to ponder: When you meet people, what do you think you look like – from their point of view? Do you look them straight in the eyes? Do you give them all your attention? Do you let them know – without saying anything – they are the most important person in the room at that given moment? I guarantee you will attract better talent with this approach. Even if you are talking to your newest hire or old janitor, not understanding this principle will be an Achilles heel in your life as people will come to learn deep down you might not think so highly of them. Success can only be found in respect and appreciation for others.
Patience – Good Things Come in Time
After my parents were divorced my father remained single for roughly 25 years and we all were wondering if it would ever happen again! He took his (sweet) time to find the woman he felt he could commit to for the rest of his life. But I never doubted he would end up happily with another person. As everyone started asking him what he was thinking, who would he end up with and when it would happen.. he quietly understood the principles of patience. Patience (knowing the right thing will eventually present itself) is what brought him to today – the right time, the right person and the right perspective.
[Note: This picture was taken at a Founders Live Seattle event a few years ago. Little did I know writing the original post for his wedding day – FOUR YEARS before the very first Founders Live event and 8 years before today – how the lesson of patience has allowed me to grow myself and Founders Live into a global phenomenon. Amazingly precedent. Again, thanks Dad.]
All too often we rush into something too quickly, forcing our will onto the situation thinking that if we just force the square peg in the round hole, it will fit. Ironically this is the exact trait for which makes for an entrepreneur – sheer will. The will of an entrepreneur can at times be a positive force, working to help us overcome challenges and move forward. Yet many times sheer will clashes horns with a silent, but stronger patience. Sometimes it just isn’t the right time for your vision to come together and you must pull back a bit and take a different route. Indeed this is tough. But smart entrepreneurs understand heeding patience and know good things always come with time.
These principles my father taught me have been life changing, I hope they may have the same impact on you.