If that’s what you want to do…you can do it. No, that’s not the name of a new Dale Carnegie self-esteem workshop. They’re just the simple words told to me my entire life by my father. No matter what I wanted to do in life, big or small, if I was ever unsure of myself or thought I was going in the wrong direction he would always tell me that if it was something I really wanted to do to just do it. He didn’t say it in a permission kind of way, but rather he gave me the opportunity to make my own decisions. Of course, this did not include getting a new car at age 16, staying out past my curfew, wearing/buying certain clothes, ballet, singing or anything that required too much athleticism; I took after him – no coordination!
My father was a man of few words (something I obviously did not inherit!) so when he did offer words of wisdom or encouragement I really listened, and more often than not, took his sage advice. We all have those people in our lives that help guide our thoughts and he was the one for me. It’s not as if I have a huge sense of self-doubt or poor self-confidence, but for some reason my father always had a way of helping me to see more clarity in my decisions – good or bad. Trust me, I made some real bad ones along the way!
In one of my last real conversations with him we talked a lot about my thoughts of leaving my job and the company I had been with for 14 years, and starting something on my own. We talked about all of challenges and rewards of making such a move, and at the end of the conversation he simply looked in my eyes and said, “If that’s what you want to do…you can do it.” And so I did.
The importance of mentors in our lives is immeasurable. Whether that mentor is for our careers or personal life, we all need affirmation of our thoughts and decisions. It’s amazing how simple words and conversations with people you admire and trust can lead to new opportunities and new ways of seeing things.
And even if that “mentor” is no longer able to give you words of wisdom in person, because they held such an important place in your life, you somehow always know what they would say. I’m not sure if it’s on purpose or subconsciously, but lately I often hear myself saying similar words of encouragement my father said to me to my son. I know he would approve and also be very proud. Happy Birthday, Daddy…I love and miss you every day. xxoo