There are a lot of sources speaking into the lives of my two boys. I am careful about filtering out the junk as much as I can for as long as I can. But soon enough, my boys will need to learn to navigate life based on principles and not simply rely on parental discretion.
As any father does, I want nothing but the best for my children. I want to give them my confidence, my support, and my blessing so they can fly as high as they can dream.
I believe in the power of words to shape our present and our future. Here is some of the life wisdom I try to speak into their lives today—even if they are just eight and four:
- Be you. You’re not perfect, but you’ve got the best chance of getting ahead when you learn to be comfortable in your own skin.
- Nothing lasts forever. Your first job will not be glamourous. This is simply a rite of passage.
- Exceed expectations—all the time. Most people just want to do enough not to get fired.
- Ask great questions. It reveals you are a critical thinker. Good leaders, managers, and executives are thinkers.
- Read at least one new book a month. Too many people stop reading after college graduation.
- Success is not a straight line. You’ll fumble around for about a decade before you’ll start to get professional momentum.
- Get in the habit of saving money. You won’t always have it to save, but you’ll understand the value of margin. It will eventually give you opportunities others won’t have.
- Find mentors. Don’t try to navigate life without at least one. They’ll change over time, but that role will be essential to your continued success.
- Be committed to outcomes—not being busy. Define the goal and don’t stop until you get there.
- Do what no one else thinks is possible. Tackle the impossible challenges. It will earn you a reputation that will propel you forward.
- Don’t identify a problem without also identifying a solution. Many people can tell you what’s wrong. It’s the one who can tell you what to do next that will rise to the top.
- Take risks. It will remind you that you are not in complete control.
- Learn to love the tension between where you are today and where you want to be. It should always be a present reality. If not, you’re in trouble.
- Focus on the war, not the battle. You’ll lose a few battles along the way. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
- Find a woman you can love and never let go. You’re going to need someone in life that you can count on no matter what.
- Be slow to trust. Not everyone who wants to be your friend has your best interest in mind.
- Big projects are simply a series of small tasks. Establish a plan and take it one step at a time. It will amaze you what consistency and perseverance will allow you to accomplish in life.
- Don’t live by the expectations of others. It’s your life, not theirs.
- Get comfortable with chaos. What you will do in your professional life has yet to be invented and will likely change over time.
- Be generous. It is the currency of the universe and will always come back to you in multiples.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good start. Never underestimate the power of words to unlock a child’s potential.
What wisdom do you share with your children?
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