10 Lessons From You to My Daughter

05/07/2015 11:53 am ET | Updated May 07, 2016
Elliot Begoun

I am honored and amazed at the response to my latest article "6 Lessons From a Dad to his Daughter." My sincere hope was to leverage the collective wisdom of its readers to provide my daughter with the insight of many rather than just one. That wish was met with unbelievable generosity and kindness. To keep that only for her, I felt would be an injustice to all those that took the time to share freely their wonderful life lessons. Thank you for this gift and I offer in return a copy of what I will plan to share with my little girl.

To my dearest daughter,

I felt the depth of my shared insight in my first letter fell short of the wisdom I wished to impart to you. College may provide you with the specific career knowledge needed, but in my experience it does little to prepare you for life. I have learned a lot of lessons, most through my failures and my hope for you is to avoid following a similar path in the pursuit of greater understanding. I therefore reached out the broader community in a quest for additional learning and insight. What I offer to you below is some of the gifts entrusted to me to shepherd to you.

1. Always seek the collective intelligence. This was not a proffered piece of advice, but rather something that was affirmed through this process. I sought the help of many minds and the end product is a body of knowledge far in excess of what I could of offered on my own. Leverage this tool and you will avoid many unintended consequences that emanate from your blind spots.

2. Express gratitude. Be thankful for what you have and for all those that contribute to your life. Even if that contribution appears on the surface to be trivial. Say thank you and care. This applies as much to the CEO as it does the garage attendant. Look the people who offer you their assistance in the eye and say thank you. Most important, truly mean it!

3. Embrace teamwork. You may have had a few group projects in school, but work is one long group project and learning how to navigate and lead in a team environment is a skill that will serve you well.

4. Look for the good in others. There is little doubt that you will encounter difficult co-workers and challenging bosses. It is an easy trap to fall into, to villianize those individuals, but there is no benefit in doing so. Rather, look for the good and find the nugget of truth that is likely buried in even the harshest criticism.

5. Volunteer. Give back and make a difference in the lives of others. A community is only a rich as its residents. Too often people lament about where they live and the challenges that confront the area, yet few take ownership and action. Be part of the few, be an agent of change.

6. Travel and explore the world. I hope we have already given you this bug. Our reason for taking you and your siblings so many different places was so that you could see how big and diverse this world is and not be left with a myopic view of the space you hold within it. We are just tiny grains of sand in an expansive island of people and cultures; may you always acknowledge that and be tolerant and open.

7. Let Go. Don't hold on to anything to tightly, for everything is impermanent. This applies not only to material goods but also to ideals and beliefs. Things pass through your life, enjoy those that are pleasant and accept those that are not, for both will be fleeting.

8. Focus on lifting other up. Don't spend your time propping up yourself. Don't cling to your own self-worth. You will find far more personal fulfillment in a life led for the benefit of others than one focused on self-aggrandizement or ego enrichment.

9. Build a network. You need not look any further than this example as to the benefit of a rich and diverse network. If you focus on number eight and connect with many, it will amaze you as to the generosity of others. You will learn far more and find many more doors open. So reach out and connect, but do so with the mind set of adding value to them, not with the2015-04-30-1430405173-3990432-Graduate3.jpgexpectation that they do so for you.

10. Don't wait to give advice. A comment made by one of the respondents was an admonishment that I was waiting until your graduation to share these thoughts with you. I hope that none of what I have shared was absent from the lessons I taught and exhibited throughout you life. However, it did make me take pause. So, make sure to share early and often. Give the gift of wisdom to your children when the time comes. I am certain they will benefit greatly from your insight.

I know that there is much left to offer. Fortunately, I have a lifetime of opportunities to continue to share. I realize I can't provide you with every piece needed to ensure you will avoid struggle or pain, but I want to my best to reduce its occurrence. But when struggle or pain does raise its ugly head, know that the other thing I share freely will be there in response, which of course is my heart.

This article originally appeared on