6 Business Lessons From Losing My Father

I know what you are thinking… “What does death have to be about business?” The two don’t go together, but every one of us has lost someone in our lives: a parent; a partner, a friend… And what did you learn from that?

I still remember the day my father died like it was yesterday, and its insane to realize that it’s already been 6 years since my daddy passed away. If you told  me at 7am on July 4th 2007    that anything good  would come out of this, I would’ve  thought you were crazy. How can losing someone be good for you?

But looking back at these six years, strangely enough I am now thankful. I am grateful that even though my father is no longer with me, he has still been able to leave me with so many lessons. So today, I dedicate this blog  to the man who helped put me on this earth, shaped my life and had a prominent role in shaping the woman I am today.

These are the lessons Daddy taught me:

1. Give it your all: When we found out my dad had  stage 4 cancer (a disease where 50% of patients pass on within 8 months) I asked him what would he like to do with  his life. I  still remember the way he looked at me when he said with such conviction “I 6940188584_6bb586975ehave done it all”.  There was nothing left he wanted.

It didn’t occur to me then but looking back at both my professional career and now in  my business; I think about his words and realize the importance of giving it your all whether it means you giving your customer the best experience; constantly over delivering on service. Even if it’s just the fact that you feel satisfied when you put your head on the pillow at night knowing you did the best you could, that you give it all you’ve got.

Think about this: : Are you giving your business your very best? Are you passionate about what you do? Are you doing all you can to hit your financial targets? Are you  investing time and effort into learning how to make your business grow as much you would like it to? Are you  conscious of your friends and family who make up your life outside the business?

2.    Trust Your Gut: Part of the treatment, my father had to endure was chemo therapy, which is one of those  grueling treatments where you need to go from sick, to sicker before you get better.images

My father aged a decade after just a few treatments  before he decided to consciously trust his gut and listen to his body. His cancer had spread to the lungs and the kidneys.

He had a chance to pick more quantity of time versus quality and he picked quality. He went with his gut.  While this strategy is not scientifically proven, it is one of the most powerful tools that you can use in your business – your intuition!

Here are some questions to get you thinking: : Do you trust your gut when you meet a potential client or partner? Do you trust your gut when you get a job offer? Do you trust your gut when you’re getting into a new relationship?

3.    Customer Experience:

The customer experience with this doctor was terrible. He didn’t respect timing for appointments and often made us wait long imageshours. When he spoke to us, he wanted to end the appointments as quickly as he could to rather deal with people who have a better prognosis.

I learned that you need to respect every customer and treat them with care and respect whether they are interested in buying or engaging with you or not. You need to ensure everyone who reaches out matters. I often get clients who come back to me six months to one year later because they like their experience with me and my commitment to making their businesses work.

Here are some questions to get you thinking: How do you treat your customers? Do you treat them with respect? Do you make them feel like they matter?

 4. People Matter: Being young, naïve and very stubborn, I was convinced life needs to be a basket of quantifiable experiences. As I watched my father in his last months, I realized that nothing replaces the human relationship.

family matters

Nothing beats just sitting with someone you love and letting them know you are there. Nothing beats having a wonderful meal with family and friends.

Nothing beats having loved ones around when you are low. Nothing beats a phone call or a message from someone letting you know that they care.

It doesn’t end here, but having a good relationship with vendor, a good supplier, a good partner, means being good to the people in your tribe. Just like my dad reminded us that we mattered to him and there was no other place he would rather be.

Here are some questions to get you thinking:  How do you treat the people in your team? How do you treat your customers? How do you treat your partners and vendors? Are you making one-off deals or are you forming long term partnerships? Work makes up the bulk of your life – are you enjoying the people round you?

 5.    Power of the Mindset: I am sure you have heard this  a thousand times but are your mindset determines what you can and cannot do. I saw this first hand when my father was first diagnosed he was told he had 8 months to live.

mind-powerDuring his first week my aunt introduced him to their friend who was told the same thing and had been living for 11 years. My father had hope, he wanted to  fight to be there with us. And nine months later he was still with us, and that was when he found out his cancer had spread.

The shock and the anger was enough for him to choose to give up. We could  see it in his eyes: there was nothing we could tell him; he had decided that it was over for him and that it was just a matter of time. I can’t be angry at him because it was not my fight and in the end I respect his decision.

Here are some questions to get you thinking: How many times have you thought you were not going to get a deal and you didn’t? How many times have you decided to give up before the battle was over? How many times have you decided you wanted to get something and eventually you did? You have the choice to get what you want!

 6.    Everything is a Cycle: Life and business  are very alike – it’s all about cycles. Sometimes there are good days and cyclesometimes there are bad days. But that’s part of what the whole experience is all about.

Some products/services need to leave the markets and others have to replace them. And that’s what happened to us. When I was a little girl I was obsessed with quotes and there was one that I never forgot, it was that “A baby is God’s way of saying that life should go on”.

The moment my cousin came over and told us she was pregnant with a boy and they planned on calling him Youssef, I knew that when the baby was born my dad would go. I held off seeing my baby nephew for two weeks My dad left 3 days after I went to see baby Youssef.

It’s life and it’s part of the growth process.

Here are some questions to get you thinking:  Do you accept the fact that life is about cycles? How do you want the overall experience to be like? What do you want to take away from each cycle?

Thank you for sharing this special day and these precious lessons with me. I would love to hear your thoughts about how these lessons can help you. What  lessons  would you like to share with us?

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