This Father’s Day, Give Me Something I Really Want

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I’m a dad. It’s the title I am most proud of. Being a dad is both an honor and a responsibility. I’ve often said that marriage gave my life meaning; fatherhood gave it purpose.

I’m not sure how I feel about Father’s Day, though. Father’s Day is a cool idea, but I think we’re doing it wrong.

It’s Father’s Day. It’s not my birthday. I don’t want a cake. No candles, please. I don’t want another shirt, or a tie, or a pair of socks.

If we are able to get together, it’s not because I think I deserve a party.

If you want to wrap a present because it’s important to you, make the present meaningful. Like an art project from school, or a handmade card, or a framed picture of you that I can hang in my office, or a memento of something special we did together. Maybe it’s a ticket stub, or photograph, or a drawing, or postcard, or a trinket.

I will love anything you give me. Really. But it’s the things money can’t buy that I will cherish.

So, please, don’t spend your money on me. Spend your time with me.

Kids have this amazing ability to create a birthday wish list that somehow makes its way into the hands of parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and really anyone willing to take it. I’d like to give my kids a wish list for a change.

Here’s what I really want (this year, next year, and forever):

  • I want to know that I’m doing a decent job as your dad. Just a little recognition and perhaps an admission that I’m not the worst dad in the world.
  • I want to know that I’m setting a good example for you. Maybe you could write a little story about something you learned from me that’s helped you in your life.
  • I want you to spend the day with me. Heck, the whole weekend if you can. I value every minute we have together, and I’d like as many as I can get with you.
  • I want a hug. And a kiss. And an “I love you, Dad.” I’d take a hundred of each. More is better.
  • I want to see you happy.
  • I want to know that I’ve done everything I can to give you the opportunity to chase your dreams, from sending you to the best school Mom and I can afford, to encouraging you to try new things, to cheering for you as you perform or compete in sports or dance or music.
  • I want to feel close to you. Like we share the same bond we had when you were six months old and you could only fall asleep if you were lying on my chest.
  • I want to know that you feel my love. I love you more than anything in the world, and want to be sure you believe it.
  • I want to know that you see me for what I am. That you take the best of me and emulate it, and the worst of me and eschew it. Learn from my life. Sometimes you should do what I do, and sometimes you should do the opposite. I hope you develop the wisdom to know when.
  • I want “I love you,” more than I want “Thank you.”
  • I want the sound of a baseball game in the background, the smell of the grill in the air, and the warmth of being surrounded by family for the day. And, I want it to last forever.
  • I want to play catch with you.
  • I want to play a board game or cards with you.
  • I want to tell stories from our past and laugh about them.
  • I want to talk about your life and how I can help you the most.
  • I want to talk about your future and what you’re most excited about.
  • But above all else, I just want to spend time with you.

Yes, it’s a long list. But it would mean everything to me.

What’s on your list?

What do you want from your kids?

What are you giving your dad?

What do you wish you would have given him?

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You Don’t Have to Die to Leave a Legacy

You don’t have to die to leave a legacy.

My friend, David Hoffman, is the president of the Charlotte Chapter of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. David is one of the best realtors in the Carolinas (not just because I say so – David is consistently ranked in the top 10 of 8,000 realtors by actual sales volume). And, David happens to work for one of the best real estate companies in the country – Allen Tate Realtors (not just because I say so – Allen Tate Real Estate consistently ranks in the top ten independent agencies in the United States). David often talks about his relationship with his mentor, Allen Tate. The things David shares with me are remarkable, so when David called to invite me to a Junior Chamber meeting at which Allen Tate would be speaking, he didn’t have to say anything other than, “Noah — Mr. Tate is speaking tomorrow at our meeting. You have to come!”  I found it a bit strange that David always refers to Allen Tate as, “Mr. Tate,” but I was sure it was a southern thing.

I’ve met Allen a few times. In fact, he attended one of my sales seminars several months ago. He’s nothing but a gentleman. His stories are engaging and he always seems interested in helping anyone and everyone he encounters. But that’s another article. This article is about what I experienced last night at the Junior Chamber meeting.

Allen presented to a room of 100 young professionals and he did it sitting down! Allen does not have to stand…he doesn’t have to move. He doesn’t use slides or graphs or charts. He simply speaks from his heart. Allen spoke without a microphone – at times in a whisper – and the audience leaned in to hear his every word.

What Allen shared with the audience were some of the most powerful and inspirational words I have ever heard.

Allen did not spend a single minute discussing the dozens of awards he’s won over the years. He didn’t brag about his accomplishments. He hardly spoke about the past; rather, he spoke about the future. Allen shared his goals and plans for the future (did I mention Allen is 80 years old?). And it’s specifically how he spoke about the future that hit me.

As Allen spoke, I looked in his eyes and I saw a man convinced that the best is yet to come. Both his best and ours. He spoke about things he’d like to accomplish in his life, projects he plans to launch and complete, opportunities to impact the City of Charlotte and its citizens. In short, Allen Tate is still fired up. And, he’s still a comedian.

I laughed, I learned, and I longed for hours more of his wisdom. But, alas, the hour grew late and Allen grew tired. Not tired enough, however, to prevent Allen from sharing one final, pithy statement: “If you’re not getting what you want out of your life, you’re not asking for it.”

Here’s what I came to appreciate about Allen Tate the other night, and what we can all learn from his example:

  • It’s not over until you say so. Forget about the fat lady – you’re in charge of your days. Allen chooses to work five days each week. He gets in early, he stays late. And he can outsell his team of 1,600 realtors any day of the week.
  • Passion and enthusiasm trump age. Allen discovered that secret many years ago. He says, “It’s all about enthusiasm. Do what you love and love what you do.” He’s got the spark and zest of a 25-year -old…and it’s contagious.
  • Age really is mind over matter. While he may not be in the best physical shape of his life, Allen is as sharp as ever and he refuses to second guess his ability to continue to contribute to his business, his family, and the community. Make no mistake, it’s not Allen’s monetary contributions that impress me – it’s his work ethic, his business ethic, and his impactful message.
  • Perseverance provokes prosperity. It boils down to hard work, and relentless pursuit of passion in your vocation. It takes guts, a willingness to risk, and an impenetrable belief system. But, you can do it IF you’re willing to work your tail off. Allen was not an overnight success; he became a success as a result of years working both day and night.
  • You don’t have to die to leave a legacy. Legacy is the culmination of your work, your impact, your message, and the feeling you create in others. Allen is very much alive, and yet his legacy is well-established. Every new accomplishment, every new meeting, every new project simply adds to the tremendously memorable legacy Allen has already crafted. His words, his actions, his deeds, his philosophies, his contributions…will forever live within me and the many thousands of others he has inspired over the years.

That’s a lot for an hour presentation, no? I think I’ve begun to understand why Allen’s top realtors and closest colleagues call him “Mr. Tate.”

What’s your legacy?

Allen taught me that it’s never too soon to begin to think about how you can impact your world. You don’t have to change THE world, but you might want to think about improving YOUR world. You might want to think about how you can inspire the people in your world to do the same.

I’ve been thinking hard since the other night. I’ve been thinking about my legacy. Not the one that I’ll leave, perhaps, when I eventually die; but about the one that I can leave now after every interaction I share with others.

Thank you, Mr. Tate. Really. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day

I took the day off yesterday. I mean, really off. No email. No cell phone. No thinking about business. No nothing except taking my girls to the pool and relaxing as a family. Then a family barbecue. Yes, I did the grilling.

It was a great day.Memorial Day at Cemetery

I find that Memorial Day means different things to different people:

  • A reminder to celebrate the lives of fallen soldiers.
  • Parades.
  • The unofficial first day of summer.
  • The pool is open for the season.
  • The Indy 500.
  • A day off of work.
  • Holiday pay, perhaps, for those that do work.
  • The Coca-Cola 600.
  • PGA’s Memorial Tournament.
  • And, in my case, it’s always the first family BBQ of the year.

 

Think!

Take a moment to think about those who gave their lives for our freedom, for our safety, for our protection, and for causes our government deemed worthy of fighting for.

Think about the Americans who were willing to die for their beliefs.

What are you willing to die for?

For what are you willing to risk everything?

Maybe I’m selfish, but I think holidays like Memorial Day are as much about you and me as they are about those who have passed. If you spend the day thinking about your life, about your family, about your present challenges and your blessings, imagine the impact you can make when you return to the real world the next day.

 

On a day like Memorial Day, we remember those who came before us.

 

One day your descendants (or others you knew in life) will remember YOU.

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

What would you like to be remembered as?

In other words, what’s your legacy?

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