Honoring My Dad
My Dad was a lively, funny person who probably would have made a great comedian, or an actor, but instead he worked in human resources for General Motors.
Sadly, he passed away in 2001 on Father’s Day. He was always one to be a bit dramatic!
His death was sudden and a surprise to my family and myself. I continue to miss him, and with Father’s Day weekend upon us, I always seem to reflect back on my Dad and our time together in this life form.
His job at General Motors was not always fulfilling. I can remember many a night when he’d arrive home frustrated and upset with what transpired in his day. Back then it wasn’t the norm to jump from job to job, so he fought the good fight and headed back to his job each morning. He had a family to support and my Mom would ever so gently remind him of this. There were many frustrations for him, but he was at least driven by the promise of a comfortable retirement.
But that didn’t happen. A few years before his retirement date, the pension package was changed such that he received not nearly what he’d planned on. My father was disappointed in the way things turned out.
In his later years, he often told my brothers and me that we should design our lives around doing something we loved, something with a compelling purpose. He helped us realize that the focus of our lives shouldn’t be making it to retirement age; what counted were the experiences along the way, the fulfillment found in the journey itself.
“At the end of your life, you want to look back and say, ‘That was a great ride,’ rather than, ‘I wish I’d done something else,'” he’d tell us.
I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Dad to admit that he was somewhat disappointed in the way his life turned out, but I admire and appreciate that he wanted something better for his sons.
Dad didn’t want us to make the same mistake he made. He was deeply proud of being a great provider, and boy was he an inspiring father to his three sons, perhaps without even knowing it. He instilled in us a hunger to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
My Dad worked in the human resources department, and I guess when I really think about it, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I love working with individuals, groups, and organizations, big and small, to help them realize their true potential.
Thank you, Dad. The work I do in the world is because of you. Your life lesson has stayed with me, and has become my own compelling purpose.
More to come!
Good morning, Rick,
I loved your rememberances of you Dad. My husband, Larry, also died suddenly on Father’s Day,
2 years ago. His cheerfulness and spontaneity and warmth we all remember – sounds a little bit
like your father……cheerful remembering, Conner
Matt Naskrent, PCC, CPCC
Dearest Rick, the story of your father, and his impact on you, touches my heart.
We share a common experience in this realm. My father worked for 30 years in the brutally stressful position of Finance & Insurance Manager at auto dealerships. He regularly performed at a level that resulted in winning contests, bonuses and awards.
“So what?” That’s how I feel, as I remember the lifestyle he provided for the family and sit with the fact that he just completed another painfully suffering visit to the hospital. He left the auto industry 5 years ago after almost dying from a mini-stroke. He currently works as a sales rep for a chair lift company.
In his mid-60’s now, his stressful, unhealthy and overweight lifestyle has lead to a couple scary visits per year to the hospital for significant issues. I fret that one of these visits will be his completion. What a way to go.
My father is a naturally talented musician, comedian, story teller and counselor. But the world will never know it. His gifts, deep fulfillment, meaning and health have all been sacrificed for the idea of earning money doing what he’s good at in order to provide for his family. I’m grateful for that, and I wish he chose otherwise.
My dad’s fear-based orientation regarding vocation has profoundly impacted me and my life purpose.
I humbly implore anyone reading this, who is not doing what they most love for a living, to give yourself that gift, and take the next intuitive step now. People like Rick and I are living proof that everything will work out… and you’ll be fulfilled beyond belief. Invaluable joy and inner peace await you.
And of course, for those of us who are living our passionate purpose, let’s take care of our health and our relationships, so we can live long and prosper, eh?
“I hope everybody could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of, so they know that it’s not the answer.” ~Jim Carrey
I’m going to find some tissue now.
Your post reminds me of my dad who passed away in 1974 when I was 19 years old. As a general labourer and reader of the encyclopedia, he would always asked me “What did you learn today?”. Curiosity and continuous learning has always been key to expanding my dreams. Today, as a father, a grand-father, a friend, a member of various tribes, and a coach, I am compelled to partner with people (my niche is gay men) to help them life their live authentically, creatively, fearlessly and playfully! AND, I have personally taken several bold jumps in my life.
You are so right in saying that life is a game. As a Certified Professional Co-active Coach (CPCC) and a recent “graduate” of the CTI Leadership program, your name and program has crossed my path several times. I just finished reading “Play Your Bigger Game” and grateful for the glimpse that it is giving me into the incredible, talented, insightful and open-hearted man that you are and VERY successful (dare I say jealous – that emotion that triggers what it is that one truly wants in their own life).
In reading your book, I realized that I am currently in the “assess” and “hunger” square on the board. In a blog I recently wrote titled “Pause, Surrender & Play”, I noted that this space is where new opportunities will emerge for me to continue playing the game of life and create a remarkable life. And THAT is what I learned today!
Thanks for sharing and I hope our paths cross some day soon!
Thanks all for your beautiful responses!
Best- Rick T.