As I think about Father’s Day, I realize I have been a very lucky person. My dad is a person of influence. He has all 10 tenets as listed in John Maxwell’s book, “Becoming a person of influence”. As I write this, my dad is 93 years old. He is still doing well and he still has a positive outlook on life. I’d like to share with you the story of my dad and how his influence has had a profound impact on my life and the lives of many other people.
If my dad has one trait that stands out, it is a positive attitude. He instilled that in me as a young boy, always encouraging me with positive affirmations and telling me that nothing was impossible. The following is a list of ten influential traits that are the key tenets in Maxwell’s book and how my dad modeled these in his life. This is the story of Bill Richardson
1. Integrity with people: Whatever the situation, my dad always believed in telling the truth. I always knew that I could trust my dad. He never lied to me or led me astray. He faced some tough times in his life that he could have taken the easy way out. He never did. His actions always spoke louder than words. My eyes were always open and he led the way. I have had to learn some hard lessons in life about integrity. I am lucky to have a great mentor.
2. Nurtures other people: My dad’s greatest trait is his unwavering positive attitude. This is so contagious and so uplifting that it has changed the lives of many people who have worked with him. Whenever I would get depressed as a kid, my dad always seemed to find a cloud with a silver lining. One of my dads secrets for staying positive was exercise. He would get up every morning at 4:30 and go for a 10-15 mile bike ride. He would always come home energized and ready to face the day.
3. Faith in people: My dad believes in people. He always has a vision of something better. My dad was an artist and a photographer in his working life. He could somehow always paint a picture of a better place. His favorite person was Ronald Reagan and I think my dad always had a vision, like Reagan, of a shining city on a hill.
4. Listens to people: Sometimes we think of great people as being the loud orators in life, the difference makers with words and speeches. My dad was the opposite. He was always quiet, easy going and had a knack of listening to what you would say. He was genuinely interested in what was going on in your life. The one thing I miss the most now, is the long conversations we used to have. Age has taken some of this away.
5. Understands people: Being the listener that he was, dad would have a way of understanding people. As I grew up, he helped me see through phony facades and schemes. He had an uncanny sense about others. He could tell what was true and what wasn’t. He really modeled Covey’s tenet, “seek first to understand, then be understood.”
6. Enlarges people: Anyone who has worked with my dad, even for a short while, would always comment on how positive and easy going he was. He never took himself too seriously. He always gave me the tools to be successful. Many times this was holding back on my wants and then providing my needs.
7. Navigates for other people: My dad’s attitude has always been a beacon. When I would go off on some wild tangent and get in trouble he was always there with a kind, forgiving word. Instead of telling me how stupid I was he’d change the subject and usually teach me something. I think I only saw him really mad once in his life.
8. Connects with people: With a endearing sense of humor, my dad always won people over with laughter. From unquenchable puns to one liners and funny stories, he never took himself too seriously. This broke down many walls. Even at 93 his sense of humor is still paramount. He is still as quick with a joke as he was when I was a kid.
9. Empowers people: Needs over wants. I’ll never forget Christmas when I was a kid. My dad would wrap all of our presents in brown wrapping paper and draw pictures and colorfully write our names on them. Every package was a personalized piece of artwork. One year I wanted a Mini bike like my friends had. They were awful expensive. Under the tree was a large box with my name on it. I just knew it was a mini bike. It was the last package. When I opened it and found it was a blanket I went ballistic. I threw a huge tantrum and made a rather large fool of myself. I ended up on the floor crying and only when I looked up did I notice a huge package under the couch. I made a rather quick recovery and opened the package. It was a large reflector telescope. One that would lead me to a love of astronomy. Father knew best.
10. Reproduces other Influencers: My dad has influenced many lives. I think he has influenced me the most of all. If I can give back any of the things he taught me, I’d like to share them on this site.
Dad I love you, Happy Fathers Day!