It’s funny how having a child causes you to look at life differently, or maybe getting older causes us to reflect more—I am 41 and I just celebrated my second Father’s Day. It caused me to reflect on becoming a father and what kind of impact I want to have on my daughter, so I have a few life lessons that I hope to pass along. Most of these lessons are things that have been passed down to me, and others I have learned myself. I want to help my daughter have a greater perspective on life, to find meaning and have more empathy for others. I love people and collectively we can do great things. We all go through challenges in life and I feel like at times we should be more open, empathetic and able to learn from one another to all find success.
My sweet daughter,
Life is not easy but hopefully these tips below will help you find happiness and understand what is truly important. Beyond being blessed with a wonderful family and a wife who I call my best friend, I feel lucky to have great friendships, mentors and parents who helped guide my path. You should know that these principles below have shaped our view of the world and we hope they help you find your path through life with less challenges than we had to face.
When I think about our lives, it’s apparent how lucky your mom and I have been. Where you were born, your family dynamics, and even some of your experiences are all out of your control.For instance, no one can control what they look like or the money they were born into. And yet so many people judge others based on these characteristics. Values and hard work are important and can even create luck but not all success comes from those two factors. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. But when luck does fall at your doorstep, have the courage to take a chance. Understanding the role luck can play encourages us to approach life with humility and empathy.
Being told “no” really stinks at times. It can make us feel frustrated or that we are not being heard.But that’s not why we tell you “no”—the purpose of doing so is for you to appreciate the importance that patience and hard work will play in life. Having to work and sacrifice to get what you want will teach you to value what you already have while also giving you an understanding of what it takes, and what you might have to give up, to reach your goals. Your mother is better at this than I am, but everything you have and see around you is because of the choices your mom and I have made to provide for you.
Financial security can feel like freedom. Having to wait for that next paycheck to pay your bills or buy food is something I hope you never have to experience. Regardless of how much money you make, you can avoid a lot of financial stress by spending less than you make and not building up debt. The person who makes $75k/year and spends$50k is a lot better off than the person who makes $1MM and spends $2MM. The path to financial security lies in several factors, but the two that will always steer you in the right direction are: “Pay yourself first” and “explore ways to add more value (or more of an expertise).”
This will be one of the most difficult concepts to learn, especially in this day and age of social media, cell phones and instant gratification. There are other things you should consider when choosing a career besides money. As you get older, you will better understand that true “wealth” has nothing to do with money. It has more to do with spending time with family or friends, life experiences, a short commute, flexible work hours, and pursuing a passion vs. earning a paycheck.Time is as much of a currency as money, so you should be just as thoughtful(and perhaps even more so) about how you spend your time as compared to how you spend your money.
Success can mean different things for different people. In life, we try to measure everything in order to determine whether or not it was successful. There are going to be many instances in life where you fall down, so be prepared! When you look back, you will realize that because you fell, it helped lead you to success in the future.In our opinion, success should be measured by the impact you have on those around you. Do you help make this world a better place? Do you have people who love and care for you as much as you love and care for them? No amount of money can compensate for a lack of character, honesty, compassion, and empathy towards others. Your character will bring you more happiness and fulfillment than money, I promise.
What I have learned over the years is that success often comes from embracing the journey and doing small things each day to improve. Being consistent and staying committed is more powerful than big actions. Try to do one thing each day to be better than you were the day before. Do not be afraid to look in the mirror and think about ways to turn your weaknesses and fears into strengths. Talent alone will only take you so far. Having passion, commitment, and the desire to be better will take you so much further in life than talent.
Your mom and I have changed paths a few times in life—I went from professional golf to finance, your mom went from modeling to event planning to acting. When I left golf, I felt like a failure because I did not meet the expectations I had for myself. Even though it was tough, I looked at what I wanted our future to be and I found a job in finance and jumped in headfirst! I get to help people and I am having just as much fun doing this as I ever did on the golf course. It’s okay to change; that does not mean that you failed. I accomplished a lot of great things when I played golf, and, more importantly, I met some of our closest friends. Being open and having a willingness to change will allow you to find your passion and in turn help you have a more meaningful life.
My daughter, if you ever read this, you will probably laugh because I am sure these lessons will be things you’ve heard before. Heck, there might even be more that you would like to add to this list. My hope is that you will find as much happiness in life as I do and have the perspective to understand that sometimes other people’s opinions aren’t worth stressing over. More importantly, I hope that you better understand these principles and why we think they are worth living by.
Your loving father,