My story is more about where I came from than where I am now. I don’t for a minute believe that I’d be who I am had my dad not been the oldest child of poor Russian immigrants, with the responsibility of supporting his mother and siblings at fourteen.
The last time I saw him, shortly before he died, my dad gave me a cherished gift. He told me that if he could live his life over as someone who hadn’t had those hardships, had he been given the opportunity to become a physician, attorney and other professional, he’d want to live exactly as he had. I believe the greatest legacy a parent can leave is having no regrets in the end.
My dad told me once that he only played golf because his doctor told him to do something to relax, that he didn’t particularly enjoy the game and that his favorite past time was business. I thought that was a little odd, but now I get it. I see now that if work is a product of your own creation, nurturing it is fulfilling and rewarding. And every bit as much a game as golf.
While it was typical of my parents generation to pressure their kids into going toward “practical” professions and land solid corporate careers after college, my sisters and I were encouraged to embrace our creativity. My sister, Pam, wrote her first song at nine and although she didn’t have her first big hit until forty, our parents never discouraged her or suggested she just give up and pursue a more stable career. And when I announced I was going to major in art, my dad only mentioned that I might want to learn some commercial art also. It’s my belief that he was able to let us be our artsy selves because he knew something that those parents with steady paychecks didn’t. He knew that the only real job security was the job you create for yourself.
He knew decades ago what high level executives are only now realizing: that entrepreneurs possess the creative problem solving abilities to make it through tough times. My dad left us a gift so much more valuable than cash. He showed us that our most valuable asset is our own resourcefulness.
How are you exercising your problem solving muscles? Were you encouraged to embrace your creativity? If not, how can you tone your resourcefulness? If you’ve been an employee for years, you may need to dig a bit deeper to connect with the part of you that knows the answers. If you are not an entrepreneur now, whether you are working toward self employment or only dreaming of it, now is the time to get in shape. You may need to call on that creative strength sooner than you thought.