THE BLOG
12/02/2014 09:32 am ET Updated Jan 31, 2015

5 Screwed Up Lessons I Learned From My Dad

I'm just like my father: committed to whatever I take on. I have an amazing work ethic. I'm strong-minded and a little hard-headed. I even look like him.

I learned a lot of amazing lessons from this man. And even though we butt heads, I love him with all my heart.

But the truth is I don't love everything about him.

From when I was a young girl, I saw my dad hustle to give his family everything. We grew up never wanting for anything, went out to dinner three times a week and vacationed at least once a year.

Family parties, huge birthday celebrations, wonderful Christmas holidays. We had it all.

As the years went on, I found there was a lot about his character that was degrading to women and to my generation. Maybe I noticed more because I was wiser, forming my own opinions about life and stepping into my own power.

He would go on tangents about anything and everything. Money, relationships, career, politics. He had such strong opinions and pushed them on anyone who would listen. These lectures led to fights. The fights led to tears. And in those moments, we hated each other.

He had a lot to say when he was going through these phases. So much that I began to write it down. I have enough material for a book of my own.

Some things made sense, like investing your cash and preparing for retirement. Some were funny. But some were downright terrifying, like men don't want children and women should keep their legs closed if they don't want to take on the responsibility of a child alone.

What's more horrific is that I believed these lies.

Here are the top five screwed up lessons I learned from my dad.

You have to work hard to make money.
This seems to be a universal misconception, not just something from my dad, but definitely from his generation. As an entrepreneur myself, I believe this to some degree, but not to the same level as he does. No, you don't have to work your butt off, 80 hours a week, doing physical labor or even stuck in a cubicle. In fact, doing that will rarely take you to success and wealth. And it will definitely never make you happy.

Insane work ethic doesn't mean wasting your life on the physical demands of a job. It's about working smarter -- not harder. Hire proper help to pick up tasks that aren't in your zone of genius. Develop relationships that will take you to the next level.

Which brings me to the next screwed up life lesson I hear regularly from my dad.

The Internet f*cked us all.
The Internet extinguished the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. Huge corporations wiped out mom and pop shops and machines will leave millions unemployed.

Technology and the Internet have had a profound effect on our lives. I still can't believe that every day I reach a limitless amount of people, from countries all over the world through the Internet.

There's good and bad when it comes to pretty much anything in life. My father's lessons taught me to focus on the bad.


You can't follow your dreams unless you're already rich.

This one threw me. "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer," my dad said. His argument is your dreams can only become reality if you already have the money to make them happen.

I have to admit that after thirty years, deciding to follow my dreams, escape the 9 to 5 and start my own business has led to tough times financially. But it doesn't and will never mean I have a quitting bone in my body. The struggle is real, but it's so worth it.

The idea that only those who come from money can follow their dreams is ludicrous and offensive. I believe anyone -- no, everyone -- can and should go after what they want. It's a lesson I had to learn on my own and one I will teach my son. Happiness doesn't come from money -- my father is an excellent example of that. Happiness comes from doing what you love, with the people you love.

Marry a rich man so he can take care of you.
This has to be one of the most destructive things I heard from my dad growing up and as an adult woman. Marry for money, not love. Never mind any other messed up qualities the man may have, as long as he can take care of you financially, then hold onto him. Way to teach self-reliance and independence, Dad. I understand that may have been the way of older generations, but it doesn't work now.

As someone who is a hardcore advocate of self-reliance and teaching women confidence and independence, this is something I avidly oppose. My advice: Find someone who understands you, who loves you unconditionally and with whom you can build with a life. Know you can take care of yourself first, before relying on anyone to do it for you.

Stay in a situation, even when you're unhappy. 'Cuz that's life.
With a second divorce on my record by age 32, I get bashed on a regular basis about the choices I've made in my relationships. Fortunately, I was able to finally break free and start thinking for myself, and making decisions based on my own happiness and well-being.

My dad constantly reminds me I should have stayed in my marriage, no matter how unhappy or unfulfilled I was, and that every struggle presented since then comes from my separation -- and is my fault.

And though I have endured some struggles, I have also experienced an insane amount of growth and understanding. It took me some time, but finally making the decision to leave an unhappy partnership has made me a better person. And in turn, I am now able to help others do the same.

I love my father and I am grateful for the life he gave me and the lessons he taught me.

But I also made a conscious choice that even though he was the parent, I am now an adult.
I can do what I want, when I want and how I want. I am allowed to have opinions that conflict with his. I am allowed to live my own life, and I don't have to feel guilty about it.

I found a way to turn off the noise and listen to my true desires to become the person I was meant to be.