Throughout my daughter’s life we will shower her with advice on everything. Whether she follows it or not, I feel it is important to share with her the lessons I have learned from my parents, friends, colleagues, and personal life experience. I had wonderful parents who loved and supported me no matter what career path in life I decided to pursue. They were immigrants. My father was a self-employed tailor and my mom perfected the art of home-making. Their beliefs were simple: hard work and compassion for others, yields reward. Despite their simple beliefs, they made us feel special and wanted nothing but the best for us. They always encouraged us to work to the best of our abilities and not let the little things get us down.
As I struggle (yes, I am not afraid to admit things are not perfect) to build a career and raise a family, I cling to the words my parents said, and the example they set for me. I also keep my spirits alive by reciting my own words of wisdom. But it helps even more to gather advice from those that love my daughter most (my husband and my parents), to write them all down, and to share them with her as we raise this beautiful soul who will one day enter the workforce. When that day comes, I want her to be prepared for the journey as much as possible. Most of all, I want her to know she is loved.
Here is my first installment of unsolicited, yet valuable advice to my daughter from those who love her:
*Do not be afraid to take risks.
*Take the road less traveled and enjoy the journey.
*If you find yourself on the wrong path, never hesitate to change course.
*Reach out to your network. There are people that know you, appreciate you, and value you – ask them for advice, help, and guidance.
*Do what makes you happy.
*Trust your gut. Money is not everything. But happiness is. No sense in being rich and miserable.
*Do not compare yourself to others. Look inward and stay focused on your goals, be happy with your gifts and talents. Besides, you do not know the struggles of others.
*You will make mistakes. Do not beat yourself up. Have the courage and vulnerability to get yourself back on the right path.
*Work diligently. Live patiently. Even if you go off and live on an artists’ colony somewhere in New Mexico.
*Don’t get too upset over all of the things you have yet to accomplish. There’s always plenty more to accomplish, it’s great to strive, but beware the trap of feeling that you’ve never done enough. This may diminish your well-earned satisfaction and confidence about what you’ve already accomplished.
*Observe and look for the Pareto principle at work in your career….it’s quite prevalent and may not be obvious to you, but 80 percent of your good results may come from 20 percent of your activities and efforts. This may apply to people, too….that 80percent of your growth and results seem to come from 20 percent of the people you interact with…pay attention to the 20 percent.
Nonno and Nonna
*”Who cares as long as they pay you?! ” This was Nonno’s response to me when I would complain about my first job in retail. I also need to let you know, dear daughter, he would take almost every single one of my paychecks (Some I would cash before he could get his hands on it). I used to think this was cruel. But he deposited them into a bank account. This money was used as a down payment on my first condo that I bought on my own years later.
*”Fai tutto bene.” Translation: Do everything well in terms of work, and in your relationship with others.
Cousin Joey, Age 9
*To his mom: “How much will you pay me if I finish my homework?”
Moral of this tactic: Never, ever hesitate to negotiate pay for any and all work.