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Your father's wisdom from an early age has become the helpful professional growth tips that may have helped you in your career.

Professional Growth: Tips from Your Father

Leadership Professional Growth

In honor of Father’s Day, here are some professional growth tips that many of our fathers have repeatedly shared with us as their sons and daughters.

Think back to the professional growth tips your father shared with you when you were younger. You may not have appreciated his wisdom at the time, or even recognized its value. Fortunately, because he repeated them so often, sometimes daily, these idioms may have shaped your belief system and positively affected your life.

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise.

If your dad was in the military, grew up during the Great Depression, or was an advocate for working hard, you were likely greeted with this declaration each morning before school. The statement can be interpreted many ways. Overall, it’s meant to encourage you to get enough sleep, get ahead of your competition and be alert and receptive. By following this mantra, you can stay healthy, observe more, learn more and earn more. Thus, this is a great professional growth tip because doing all the above can positively impact your career and your career longevity.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

This sage advice is a lesson in striving for higher goals and not settling for mediocrity. Your dad saw your potential and wanted you to aim higher than you believed was possible. By doing so, even if you didn’t reach your goal, you would achieve much more than if you had set a lower goal. For example, in high school, this statement may have meant pursuing straight A’s. If you didn’t make the dean’s list, your extra hard work may have earned you a spot on the honor roll. As an adult, you may strive to increase sales by 50 percent. At the end of the quarter, you have may only hit a 35 percent increase, but you’ll have achieved significantly more than you would have if you settled for a 10 percent increase goal.

Be nice to everyone because you never know how it’s going to turn out.

When your father said this, you were likely mad at a classmate or a friend, or perhaps he overheard you making fun of someone. Your dad wanted you to learn that the kid you exchanged harsh words with could one day turn out to be a bandmate or a fellow member of the school newspaper staff in the future.

According to Psychology Today, “There’s a big difference between being nice because you want to, versus being nice because you have to.” Choosing to be courteous and kind to everyone versus doing it out of an obligation to be good can provide a sense of empowerment. Choosing means that you elevate yourself while also elevating others.

Embracing this professional growth tip may have had an impact on your career by helping you avoid political landmines at work. Remember, that intern could be a rapidly rising star and become a key member of the management team. The lower-level accountant could leave and become an IRS auditor. By treating everyone with respect, you can establish good will that will serve you, if not now then certainly in the future.

Think before you act.

“Think before you act,” your father would say before you whacked a sibling or were winding up to throw a textbook at the wall. He said this to you to stop you from automatically reacting. Your dad wanted you to consider the consequences of your actions before you did something you would regret. According to the University of Chicago, an automatic response can sometimes lead us into trouble. By stopping to evaluate the situation, you interrupt your automatic response and often determine a more suitable course of action that has a neutral or even positive outcome.

Practicing “think before you act” may be critical for your professional growth. As a leader, you should assess situations in which all the information may not be apparent. By taking more time to observe, talk to others and think things through, you can make better decisions that impact not just you but your team.

Your father probably had his quirky sayings that he repeated throughout your childhood (and he may still repeat them to this day!). Some were funny. Some were annoying. However, in retrospect, many of his sayings were professional growth tips seasoned with everyday, loving wisdom.

Tiffany C. Wright
Tiffany C. Wright

Tiffany C. Wright is the author of The Funding Is Out There!, Access the Cash You Need to Impact Your Business and Solving the Capital Equation: Financing Solutions for Small Businesses. She is the founder of The Resourceful CEO, which helps owners of small/medium-sized businesses prepare their businesses for sale. Tiffany has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, sits on non-profit boards and serves as a business mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation.