When you think about your past and who played a large role in shaping your perspective on life, who do you think of? And as you dig a little deeper, can you also think of the person who not only encouraged you to be the best you could be as a kid but also continued to do so as you became an adult?
For me, it has always been my grandpa.
Today would’ve been his 90th birthday and even though he is no longer here, his legacy will live on through me because he has influenced me so much throughout my life. There isn’t an easy way to articulate what the loss of my grandpa feels like. I just know that he was absolutely one-of-a-kind and there will forever be a void in my heart that will never be filled without him.
As far back as I can remember, he has always been there. Being around him (and my grandma) always gave me a sense of comfort, safety, and great love. My grandpa was a man of few words, but anytime he had something to say, there was also something profound to be learned. He was incredibly patient, compassionate, hard-working, diligent, and thoughtful.
That said, in today’s blog post I wanted to highlight 10 of the life lessons I’ve learned from my grandpa.
1. Be Kind
As the saying goes, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” My grandpa had such a big role in helping to raise me and my siblings. The phrase “Be kind” was always something he wanted us to focus on and to bring into the world. There was never a question of when one should be kind, but that this should be a way in which we lived every single day.
2. Have Compassion
Being neutral and always willing to listen to understand, my grandpa showed me that having compassion for others would help give peace of mind. In situations where emotions can run high, it can be easy to say things you don’t mean or make rash decisions. However, he encouraged me to pause and to listen with an open heart so that I’m not looking to be right but to merely be understood, as well as understanding the other person.
3. Help Those in Need
“Help those in need, especially when they ask you.” He made sure I knew that no matter the situation or who the person was, if I saw someone less fortunate and especially if someone had approached me for help, I would help where I could.
4. Set Goals and Stay Focused
I would often have conversations with my grandpa about the things I wanted to do and accomplish in life. In fact, when I decided I wanted to take the leap into entrepreneurship, it quite honestly was terrifying for me. I was making good money in my career, but I wanted to run my own business. He encouraged me to go for it and told me I could achieve greater goals — so long as I stayed focused on why I was doing what I was doing.
5. Be Pragmatic
My grandpa seldom showed many emotions and was very pragmatic with decision making in life and in business. Watching and learning this aspect has influenced me tremendously because I am the same way when it comes to bigger life decisions that I make for myself, as well as my career.
6. Believe in Yourself
“You can do it!” I laugh when I think of that saying because all I can hear is Rob Schneider in Waterboy:
But on a more serious note, my grandpa taught me that setting goals and staying focused is one thing, but truly believing in myself would elevate my life even further. So in times of adversity, especially with my career, I remember those words and then give myself this pep talk:
7. Do What Makes You Happy
My grandpa would say, “Making great money is good, but if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing and doing what makes you happy, then you’ll soon live an unfulfilled life.” I was lucky enough that with hard work and perseverance, I discovered early on what I really wanted to do. My grandpa encouraged me to pursue the path that would make me the happiest.
8. Make Time for Self-Care
There’s isn’t much joy in life if all you do is work and don’t ever make time for yourself. He used to say, “Don’t overwork. Make time to rest.” I practice this as much as I can because I used to push myself to the point where I would burn out. Now, it’s more about being pragmatic with my work and knowing that the work itself will always be there, but I need to take care of my health too.
9. Enjoy Life
I tend to joke with friends that there aren’t a ton of things I’m good at, but somehow I ended up being really good and passionate about business. That said, my grandpa and I used to have conversations about how much I would work because I wanted a better life for myself. However, he would always say to me, “Don’t forget to enjoy life too. There’s no point in making good money if you can’t reap the rewards. Work is important, but not as important as making sure you are happy.”
I saved this one for last because it’s my favorite. My grandpa had a big heart and he showed me the importance of loving your spouse, family, friends, and children. His unconditional love will continue to be something that I show to my own children and husband.
Finally, I put together a short video that included a couple of voicemails my grandpa left me. This is something I will hold onto forever when I am thinking of him and missing him, especially on a day like today.