In a Fortune Magazine article titled “The Best Advice I Ever Got”, 19 accomplished people shared the advice that most influenced their lives. Before I read the article I assumed all of these people would reference their former college professors or friends. Interestingly enough, almost half of these people said it was their parents who gave them the best advice.
Thomas S. Murphy, former CEO, Capital Cities/ABC said his father gave him the best advice about ethics: “Doing the wrong thing is not worth the loss of one night’s good sleep.”
Chris Garner, who the hit movie The Pursuit of Happyness was based on, said in an interview that the reason he believed that he would go from living in the slums to one day being a millionaire was because “my mother told me if I believed I could be a millionaire, then I would be a millionaire.” Garner later told his own son “Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”
Bob Iger, President and CEO of Walt Disney said his father wrote in his sixth-grade yearbook quoting Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.”
And Joanna Shields, President of Bebo.com said the advice her father gave her was: “Your career is long and the business world is small. Always act with integrity.”
My mother recently had a carpet cleaner named Derris Gardner come to her house who had no arms. She was so intrigued by this man she asked him his whole life story. Derris was raised by his father and two uncles who told him, “Don’t ever think you can’t do anything.” He diapers his children, coaches his children’s football games and drives his kids to school…with his feet…because he was always told by his parents to never use the words “I can’t”.
What advice are you giving your children they can carry into life, love and business?