I had a brief conversation with my Father back in 1976, upon the occurrence of the morning after I graduated from high school. My father, who was a man of very few words was in a talkative mood for him. He said to me something along the lines of this, best as I can remember.
“Son, you have graduated from high school, and you accomplished a lot in the time you were there, congratulations. I want you to realize that you are now a man, in my book. You need to act like a man. You need to expect to be treated like a man. You’ve done a lot to earn a reputation during your time as an athlete and a student in this town. Your reputation started as a part of this family and then you began to build your own reputation over the last several years. That process is going to continue over the coming years of your life. Remember this, always, son. You only get one reputation in your life. It takes a lifetime to earn a good reputation, and about a tenth of a second to destroy it. If you want to continue to have a good reputation then you’re going to need to live your life so that you bring honor to your name.”
That was about it. Not a very big speech. Not followed by a series of speeches. Not followed by much conversation at all really, because this was indeed a man of few words, who was not given to being blabby or sentimental. But an extraordinary speech nevertheless, don’t you think? Brief and to the point. He was very clear about his message to me, and the advice he was working so hard to convey.
1. You’ve accomplished something good.
2. You’re now responsible for everything that happens in your life, so think about it and be responsible.
3. This process will continue and you should be careful to cultivate a good reputation over time, and not destroy it.
With that, my adult life began, and I started to learn how to try to follow his sage advice. I hope over the years, I’ve made him proud. He lived a long, good life, but was taken from us too soon when he became a casualty of dementia a few years back. Let us know if you received any sage advice from your parents, your coaches, or your mentors, please. We’d love to get a conversation started about elders helping the young and inexperienced to a better experience.
Michael is a member of the Professional Business Coaches Alliance and works as a Master Professional Business Coach and Consultant. Michael’s company, Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting works closely with the leadership teams of fast-growth companies all over the United States, helping them to focus on clearly sharpening their skills and business acumen, and developing leadership excellence at all levels of their organizations. Michael is an engaging public speaker, and a thought leader about Leadership and People Management, and if you’re looking for someone to deliver a thought-provoking talk to your audience, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.