My Father's Daughter: Life Lessons in becoming an Entrepreneur

Please accept this interruption in our regular style programming to bring you a personal post. The occasion: Starting tonight my Dad is transitioning from 30 years at Pepperdine University to a new position, a Center is being named in his honor, & on Friday night 5,000 are gathering for his "final speech".

I have always been my father's daughter {my mother & sister are two peas in a pod with things my dad & I will never understand like black coffee, vampire shows & fear of public speaking}. As I became an entrepreneur in the last year I became ever more aware of how similar we are as I sought to articulate what I want the rhythm of my life to look like, feel like, what my passions are. May this trigger musings on your own life rules & where those desires come from.

{Daddy & I hiking in Yosemite at age 5; at an Ole Miss v Georgia football game this fall}

Lessons from My Father

1. Become {what Hilary has coined} a peacock. Instead of one job title or vocation have a tail feather of things you do/are/are pursuing & throughout a day, month, lifetime you'll always be challenged & never be bored.

2. Take time for yourself each day. Create a ritual. Rarely invite anyone. Maybe knock out a couple hours of work first & then take your window of quite time. In other words, a Happy Meal every day of your life around 11am just might be the secret to sanity.

3. Read the paper & stay abreast of the headline news. Maintain a working knowledge of history, politics & sports.

4. Whenever possible buy used {books} or half-price {theatre tickets}.

5. Root for underdogs & give people of good character & heart your fan loyalty: rookie quarterbacks, heartfelt coaches, comeback stories.

6. Respect & empower the generation coming up behind you. Be a mentor.

7. Life is about good stories. Living them, revisiting them, planning, dreaming, choreographing, sharing them. Stories are timeless. Tell yours. Tell others'.

8. You can survive without ever learning how to cook. Keeping a Cracker Barrel map in the glove box is helpful in this.

9. As a leader, push the envelope without stomping on toes. Make progress in a way that people can follow along. People should feel you both challenge & respect them.

10. Be passionate. It's contagious.

11. It's the best friends you make in your 30's who will still be your best friends in your 70's.

{My parents at 30 with their best friends, The Smiths, just before the 2nd of these annual events. We'll be having champagne with them for the 30th time this Friday.}

12. Encourage & honor people. Do it publicly. Do it in writing.

13. Support the arts. See musicals, plays, dance companies. Have authors sign their books. Respect songwriters.

14. Sleep in sensible men's pajamas. They're suitable for all house-guests & middle-of-the-night emergencies.

15. You can thrive in an insanely busy life as long as you schedule around those things & people you love, such as dinner with your family & college football Saturdays.

16. Treat even "small" people with respect. Learn the names & stories of the people who serve you lunch every day. Clear your table so they can get home to their families sooner.

17. Marry someone you love to talk with, travel with, & who knows how to do things you don't, like sewing buttons & answering call waiting.

18. Multi-task. When you drive, listen to books on tape. When you work out, do it while the game is on.

19. The best dinners have no more than 6 people at a round table so everyone can share in conversation together.

20. Devote your life to work you can look back on & say "I'm glad this got my best effort & my heart; I have loved this work".

21. Pursue your passions even if at first you seem ill-equipped. You can be tone-deaf & become infamous for your musical knowledge. In other words, some gifts are invisible on the surface.

22. In order to be brilliant at some things, you have to disregard others. Rather than be a jack-of-all-trades, focus on becoming a master at your passions, and unabashedly forego the rest.

{Daddy & I in our favorite city, London, where I attend 1st grade, & most recently in May.}

I love you Daddy. I could not be any more proud of who you are, my last name, & the kind of community you have brought into our lives throughout the years. I am so blessed to be your daughter.

with grace & gumption,

The Duchess of Durham {yes, that's where Dapper & the Duchess comes from ...}


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