Leadership Lessons from my Father – Lesson #2

For as long as I can remember, the Fourth of July holiday weekend was a celebration filled with family, friends, patriotic parades, killer cookouts, raucous bocce matches, and magnificent fireworks over the harbor. 

This year was so strange. 

Instead of enjoying my Mom’s strawberry rhubarb pie and decorating our home in red, white, and blue, we spent the day inside a storage unit combing through a mountain of furniture and cardboard boxes. Earlier in the week, a sudden flash flood brought about 8 inches of storm runoff into the rented space where we kept treasures from our family home after recently downsizing. The plan was to buy a summer place which would be furnished and decorated with everything we had collected over the years. 

As we picked through what remained after the flood, I came across a box of photographs. Some were damaged, others were not. So many images of happy faces filled with joy. Birthdays, graduations, vacations, and simple goofy moments. Friends, family, my three cherished sons and four stepchildren, my Mom – and my Dad.


Lesson # 2: Go Make Memories. 

Back in college, one of my friends came to my childhood home for a weekend visit. He was weighing whether he should pursue a romantic relationship with a woman who was one of our friends.

My dad listened as my friend struggled with the decision. After a period of time, he said simply:  “Go make memories.”  Dad recognized there was no value in sitting on the sidelines forever wondering: “What if?” He believed that we grow as leaders by having human experiences and making memories – whether they be happy or sad. To this day, my college friend says it was the best advice he ever got: “I’m still taking your dad’s advice and I’m making memories.” In case you are wondering – his college relationship was short-lived!

One of my past clients came into coaching stressed and totally burned-out personally and professionally. Despite his success as a senior executive, he was very unhappy. In our coaching, we discovered he was so focused on work that he had lost sight of what was important to him. He loved being outdoors and he longed for endless walks in the woods with his dog. About a month after working to incorporate more of those moments into his life, he came into a coaching session with a beautiful photo of himself sitting on a dock at sunset with his dog. It is a memory and a visual reminder of who he is.

As leaders, we must not lose sight of who we are. Memories can change how we look at ourselves, how we see others, and how we shape the world around us.

Nothing, not even a flood, can erase the moments that make us who we are. Go make some memories!


Originally published at MarinellaHall.Com on July 8, 2020.

*Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay 


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