24 years and 364 days ago, my dad was turning 28 and getting ready to welcome his first child (me!) into the world in just a few short hours. And today I’m celebrating his birthday with the four most important lessons that he’s taught me in my (almost) 25 years. I am so incredibly blessed to have had the most incredible parents in my life who I’ve learned so much from and continue to learn more from every single day. Without further ado, let’s celebrate Phil Don!
Get outside your comfort zone.
My dad is so adventurous and spontaneous. Impromptu vacation next weekend? He’s in. Getting our scuba-diving certification? Heck yes! Business ideas? He’ll be the first to invest. He challenges me and encourages me to get outside of my comfort zone, and it always leads to things that I never could have imagined. Whenever I was considering joining Rodan + Fields, I talked with my parents about the idea and what it would entail, explaining the business and my hesitations to them. Eventually I joined, and my dad was completely supportive of the entire process, encouraging me all the way. After joining I found out that my dad had called my sponsor to talk through the business and get all the facts for himself so he could better help me make my decision and help wherever he could. This is pushing me outside my comfort zone, and it’s been such an incredible opportunity for personal and financial growth. I will say that pushing me into scuba school didn’t end well for either of us (he lost out on the money he paid for me to go and I had a crying panic attack in the scuba swimming pool and never went back), but you win some, you lose some.
Love others well.
My dad has consistently been the most generous, caring person I know for all of my life. He is the type of man who will drop a full Christmas spread – presents, food, and all – on a family’s doorstep – anonymously. He is the type of man who will secretly ask the waitress at a restaurant to bring him a stranger’s check so he can cover it – anonymously. I give those examples because they’ve both truly happened on numerous occasions. My dad wants to love and serve others. He looks for the need around him and he finds a way to fill that need with no expectation of recognition or praise whatsoever, and it has taught me to (try to) do the same. If I can be just half as kind and generous and selfless as he is, I will be on the right track. This lesson probably sounds like I’m just bragging on my dad, and I guess in a way I am, but I believe that every now and then, you deserve some recognition for the things that you’ve done for others.
Less talk, more action.
I have definitely done my fair share of complaining around my house growing up. The “less talk, more action” lesson usually shows up when the venting starts. My dad is such a helper and a fixer, and he wants the people that he loves to be happy. So if I come home and complain about something that happened during my day, he usually comes up with a solution rather quickly (even when I’m just looking for a few sympathetic nods and affirmations LOL). He is constantly urging us to stand up for ourselves and work through difficulties head on. I love this about him, and I also hate it at times when it brings up an impending confrontation or difficult conversation that I’m having to face. But he’s right, of course, and it has led to becoming more confident in myself overall.
“How do you eat an elephant?”
“… one bite at a time.” To eat an elephant, you just have to take it one bite at a time. This is something I’ve been told often over the years, as I tend to fall into dramatic episodes of panic or anxiety over sometimes trivial occurrences. I also listed this lesson when sharing about my mom, but I titled it “Just take it one step at a time” and it’s essentially the same. I have so many goals and dreams and things I want to accomplish that it can become overwhelming, but all I have to do is take the first bite. Then another. Then another. And before you know it, I’m achieving the goal I’ve been dreaming about because I just took it one bite at a time. My dad still says this one all the time, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop needing the advice.
So thank you, Dad, for loving me and encouraging me, and being such a Christ-like example of a servant’s heart to all of us. Thanks for teaching me how I go about getting an oil change and how to reset the wifi and for all of the other millions of random, practical questions I will ask you along the way. Happy birthday – I love you!