I'll never forget being much younger than I am now and getting to go to work with dad for the first time. For me, like most of you, at first it was very much all fun. Running in and out of the different offices and seeing all the different staff and utterly annoying my dad. Quite frankly, I'm not sure how he got anything done with me around.
I think we oftentimes forget that some of the best learning opportunities are around our parents. Dad has a successful IT solutions company and his family built a successful trucking company over the years. I think this mentality of entrepreneurship has fueled my drive and commitment for everything I do and desire to do.
Whenever I'd go to work with dad, he'd let me sit in with the IT guys and listen to how they would troubleshoot issues and even asked my opinion on different things. This was really where my phone app was born. Dad had given me the freedom to be creative and take a risk by trying to create a phone app while at the same time giving me some structure and discipline of working with some of his employees on the app. It was a raging success.
I look forward every year to the option of being at dad's office and to be honest, I actually go to his office quite often to even work on my schoolwork and some of my racing work. I think we as kids can learn a lot from our parents and our parents can even learn a lot from us. We can bring a fresh perspective or a different look at something and perhaps it was an angle they haven't thought of. This sort of interaction doesn't necessarily just happen. It's about the right balance between allowing for freedom to be creative and take risks while at the same time have structure and discipline.
For all these years of going to work with my dad, I thought this year Dad should come to work with me. Dad is actually at work with me quite often at the racetrack. In autoracing, we are continually visiting a new racetrack each weekend and needing to master the dynamics of reaching the finish line first with differing tracks, elevation changes, number of corners, etc. We have to be as efficient and detailed as possible. Dad has even told me that being at the racetrack and seeing how we work and do things have enabled him to go back to his office and find the devil in his details in his business industry.
So take this year to shadow your parents -- at the office, in the gym, at home. Encourage your parents to do the same while working on a homework presentation, in the garage tuning your car or explaining why you do something a certain way.
As Larry King once said, "I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening."
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