There are no substitutes for hard work

As a tribute to both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I wanted to share this valuable experience and one of my earliest memories.

“There are no substitutes for hard work.”

A terribly overused cliché but nevertheless more true today. Why then are we constantly seeking the quick fix; in life and in business, it’s all the same.

My first memories of work and first memories outside of the context and normalcy of school for a little boy was the day I was caught off guard, as was my father, by the fact that we had rolled past my preschool to his place of business before he realized that I was still in the car. Oops.

See, when you are not the boss there is no option to turn around and go back to drop your son off at preschool; you have to push forward, you have to continue on.

There was quite a lot of commotion when we arrived inside his work. The secretary was all smiles; my dad was a little embarrassed.  I remember testing equipment, beakers, and the friends that my dad had coming to see his son. In general, I remember the general excitement of the workplace. Now, I also got quite a number of treats that day from a magical vending that came in the form of candy bars and potato chips.

I think the most important lessons learned in this story were that:

1. We all report to someone and have responsibilities to them. Whether that is to show up on time and satisfy the boss or to make sure the company you own and run delivers to its customers.

2. Business is personal. Despite the saying, “this is just business” it is never true because there are always people that make a business. Some would have expected a boss to be furious at an employee’s mistake to bring his son to work unannounced. However, what would have that done besides create a bad experience from an already awkward one? Despite a tough decision or action we need to make, we always have a choice to be human and personal in the delivery or our manner.

3. Having an early appreciation for what it means to work hard every day from your parents is priceless. You learn that nothing worth having comes easy — a great marriage, good kids, or a successful career. It is all work and work is in every way worth it. You are not expecting to get by because you have no reference for that. You actually are skeptical of things that are handed to you or the luck you have along the way, realizing not that it was deserved but rather hoping it doesn’t make you forget the work needed to get to the next achievement.

Thanks Mom and Dad! 

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