Last night I remembered a valuable lesson my dad taught me many years ago. This lesson has stuck with me throughout my life to date and become a foundational part of me.
During his career, Dad was the top guy in a big organization. He ran the show. Lots of people looked to him for leadership. He was responsible for the South African division of the international company he ran.
I remember one day, one of his employees saying to me, “Your dad is amazing! He makes time for everyone. He treats the lady who makes the tea the same way he treats his CFO”. This image became part of who I aspired to be – someone who has time for everyone no matter their position or status or any other thing we use to put people into classes that determine whether they are worthy of our time and attention.
This lesson profoundly impacted me. When faced with people that might otherwise intimidate me because of position, education, social standing or achievement, I would think of my dad. In these moments, I would remind myself no matter who it was, what greatness this person had achieved, how many they were responsible for, underneath it all, the one in front of me was just a person, just like me. I would square my shoulders, look them in the eye and have a conversation, person to person. Equals.
When faced with people who have tempted me to feel superior, the lesson impacted me in a different but equally profound way. I learned not to be too quick to dismiss others. My dad taught me that social standing, skin colour, economic status, political or religious beliefs do not determine worth. He taught me to give my time and attention, to look for the part of the person in front of me that is human, just like me. Equal.
Next week we are celebrating my dad’s 80th birthday. The pandemic stops me from being there in person. Perhaps this memory can be part of the celebration.
I hope you know, dad, this is part of your legacy. Thank you.
This Week’s Photos
This week’s photos honour seeing and capturing what is really there instead of believing I already know without looking.
I’m excited about the six-week Mental Fitness program starting on November 2nd. You still have time to register. 2020 has been full of unexpected challenges. To help us navigate the months ahead, we can all benefit from developing our mental fitness.
“If you’re physically fit, you can climb steep hills without physical stress. If you’re mentally fit, you can handle life’s great challenges without mental stress or other negative emotions.”Shirzad Charmin
If you’d like to talk about coaching or mental fitness, please connect with me.