My dad, who would be mortified if he knew I was doing this, has been my greatest inspiration in business. Thanks to his disdain for any sort of self-aggrandizement, I'm doing this behind his back (sorry, dad).
If I've had any success in business, it's because my dad lived his life according to the doctrine of entrepreneurship and I got to watch from the sidelines. He was living proof that you're not confined to the hand you've been dealt and you can determine your own outcomes in this life.
Over the years, my dad's shared countless bits of wisdom with me that we endearingly refer to as, "The Marty Lecture Series." Today, in honor of Father's Day, I'd like to share some of my personal favorite "Lecture Series" quotes with you.
When You Lose, Don't Lose The Lesson
My dad never took "no" as no. "No" was always a starting point for negotiation. Where others saw obstacles or setbacks, my dad saw (and still sees) opportunity.
Every time I came home with a perceived failure, he'd reframe it with how it taught me something or made me stronger.
It was infuriating as a 14-year-old who relished in self-pity and just wanted a "normal parent" who would indulge her, but it's been invaluable as an entrepreneur. It's impossible to be derailed by failure when you're forced to find a lesson.
Sometimes You Gotta Be Ok With "Good 'Nuff"
I was complaining about a mediocre grade on something when my dad spit this quote at me for the first time. Irate, I thought he meant you should settle for less than you deserve or are capable. It took me years before I realized what he meant was "done is better than perfect."
He was teaching me how to ship.
Patience and Shuffle the Cards
In a world where my contemporaries are obsessed with quick Instagram-worthy wins, my dad always shared this quote from Cervantes. He was never impressed with status, fame, or fancy things. Perhaps it was the Texan in him, but he was never influenced by those who projected the illusion of success.
He was impressed with people who had passion, determination, and (most importantly) the wherewithal to endure the setbacks that come at you as you go down the road less traveled. People who played the long game.
Any day I felt like everything was over, the world was collapsing, and I should quit (aka: every other day in business), he'd remind me today was one of many.
This is a long game. You gotta have patience and shuffle the cards.
Some Days Just Need to Be Over
This one is a crowd favorite, especially in a culture obsessed with self-improvement and maximizing everything. Some days, you gotta accept that you can't win.
Don't dwell on it. Accept your losses, go for a run, do something else productive, but don't waste your time beating yourself up over a crap day.
Some days just need to be over.
You Gotta Fight Em In The Streets
This one is my favorite.
To my dad, there's nothing more respectable than someone who is "fightin' em in the streets." In other words, there is no substitute for doing the work. The tireless work that no one sees, the stuff people won't thank you for, the things no one will recognize or know you did. All the "not sexy" parts of entrepreneurship.
This mentality also inspired the name of my virtual co-working space, The Arena. The Arena is a metaphor for "fighting in the streets." It's where you show up and do your best. Win, lose, or draw, you show up. You fight. You do your best.
My dad always said he'd never judge me for losing. He'd judge me for not having tried.
To my dad and all the other entrepreneurial father's out there, Happy Father's Day.