My Dad Died 25 Years Ago (9 lessons he taught me that got me to where I am).

Irving Rosen

Where did the time go? It’s been 25 years since his death. He missed my kids growing up. They are now adults and have their own kids. He missed the ups and downs of my career. He missed the businesses I’ve started, sold, closed, left and worked for. And I’ve missed him. He was a great influence on me. So it got me thinking if there is been any connection between the lessons he taught me and what I am doing now.

Where am I now and how did my Dad help me get here?

My company, Collaberex, creates and facilitates relationship focused, professional development / peer advisory groups. We use group learning on essential topics for professional service providers, to build impactful relationships between members. So I’ve reflected on some of the lessons my Dad taught me to see if there’s any connection and surprisingly I think there are. This is what I came up with:

  1. He never believed in if it’s not broken don’t fix it. He always taught me to try to make things better. These days they call that “pivoting.” This lesson has made me relentlessly annoying in asking my group participants what I can do better to bring more value to every meeting.
  2. He was so much a glass is half full kind of guy. I’m the same way and attract people who also have this belief.
  3. Meet luck halfway. That is an expression I still hear him saying. I hope I’ve passed this along to my kids. Work hard, have a plan, execute on that plan and do your best to leave things less to chance. I actually believe my Dad really felt you should never rely on luck or chance circumstances.
  4. You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. What can I say? I think my business model is based on honey. It’s all about people finding mutual benefits – lots of honey, no vinegar.
  5. Turn metal into gold. Make the best of things. This applies to vendors and to relationships. In my “relationship business” it’s essential to look for the best in people and determine how I can help them build relationships with the right people that turn into gold.
  6. Challenge yourself and try new things. When I was 8 years old he encouraged me to try out to be the pitcher on my little league baseball team. I turned out to be a decent little league pitcher, which in turn gave me the confidence to always challenge myself and try new business models and encourage my group participants to do the same.
  7. Always better to spend more on quality products versus save a little in the short term on things that won’t last. Make an investment in things for long term goals vs. short term benefits. This is exactly what I do in my efforts to get all group members to build long term relationships of trust. It’s a long term investment in everyone’s time. Not cheap, but it pays off resulting in a lifetime client referral source.
  8. Pay attention to detail. I remember him showing me how to use a flathead screw driver (he was in the furniture business) and showing me you should leave the slot in the screws at a consistent angle to the other screws. Now that’s detail. This characteristic may be genetic but I do like to dot every “i” and cross every “t.” I keep detailed records of all meetings, transactions, communications and promises.
  9. Don’t veer to the right when making a left turn. This he taught me when I was learning how to drive. When I decide what direction I’m going I always take the most direct route. This lesson I apply to executing my business plan.

On the anniversary of his death all these life lessons came back to me. It’s nice to reflect on them and think of him. He also taught me other lessons that have absolutely no relation to my business such as a love of mallomars, black & white cookies & egg creams…hmmm, maybe sweets, chocolate and vanilla together do relate to my business ….nahhh.

Jonathan Rosen is Founder of Collaberex, where he leads a professional development, peer advisory community, where all participants share their influences and life experiences.