Ellen's Blog

Lessons from Dad

My father has been gone for 10 years now, and I miss him more every year. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if he ever knew how much I learned from him and how much he influenced my life.

What I do know is when I am at my best, I am my father’s daughter. He taught me early on about discipline, like doing chores every Saturday morning before any activities. We all had chores; mine were dusting the furniture and mopping the kitchen floor.

He taught me about commitment. Once you started something, he said, you had to finish it in a timely manner. Thanks Dad, it’s you I credit with helping me build the skill of relentless focus.

Of all the lessons I learned from my dad, the best lesson he taught me is that everyone has the option of being mediocre or exceptional. I still remember the conversation when he said most people will select mediocre – it’s easier. One Saturday morning I was washing the kitchen floor – a chore I hated – and doing a very mediocre job.  My dad took the mop from me and showed me what exceptional would look like. Then, he explained that no matter how menial the task – and the task should not matter – you should always perform at an exceptional level.

Performing exceptionally, he said, builds pride. It’s not as important to be exceptional for others as it is to be exceptional for yourself, he added – because when you become exceptional for yourself, you live a life that is exceptional. Dad had already mopped half the floor when he was done explaining – and WOW, the floor looked very different from my mediocre job.

I got it! I saw the pride in him simply from washing the floor.

Thanks DAD, we couldn’t afford many material gifts growing up, but you gave me gifts that money cannot buy.

To this day I try to exceed expectations. Oh, and I mop a mean kitchen floor!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad……love you, and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

Talk Soon,


Leave a Reply