Ten Things I Learned
From My Dad

My Dad was a winner in every sense of the word. He lived life to the fullest. He was the most productive individual I’ve ever known. There were no wasted days. He lived his life with intention. He may have lived 80 years, but I don’t know of anyone that’s lived more.
 

He was a world-class attorney. I often heard from other attorneys and clients how brilliant and remarkable he was. This didn’t happen by accident. His success was built by doing things in a certain way.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The Law of Cause and Effect is the law of laws.” My Dad understood this law well. He knew that results just don’t happen. We cause our own results. 

I would like to share with you 10 principles he taught me by observing his actions throughout his career. 

  1. Pay the Price – From a young age, I always heard my Dad say, “You have to pay the price!” If you aren’t willing to pay the price, you don’t deserve the reward.
     

  2. Be Disciplined – Success rewards consistency. To be consistent, you must have discipline. I marveled at my Dad’s ability to do hard things. He was the most disciplined person I knew.
     

  3. Take Responsibility – Unlike many individuals, My Dad took full responsibility for his life and results. He never blamed outside circumstances, conditions or other people. He never made excuses. 
     

  4. Be Confident – My Dad was confident but not conceited. Confidence comes from knowing why you’re good. It comes from knowledge. It comes from being prepared. He would often tell prospective clients, “You can go somewhere else but if you want the best and you want it done right then you should work with me.”
     

  5. Be Willing to Learn – My Dad was always studying and learning continuously. He always strived to be better. He wanted to be a master at his craft. You accomplished that Dad.
     

  6. Give Back – My Dad loved mentoring less experienced attorneys who worked for him. He also loved helping other attorneys who sought his advice and opinions in the law community. It was important to him to give back.
     

  7. Have A Positive Mental Attitude - My Dad always focused on the good in every situation. He didn’t waste his time and energy focusing on problems but rather how to solve them. 
     

  8. Be Committed – My Dad had an intense belief in himself and what he was doing. He was decisive and stood by his decisions. If you ever needed something done whether in business, church or in the community, he was the guy you would call.
     

  9. Know Where You Are Going - My Dad had the “it factor” the “fire in the belly” the “burning desire”. He was laser focused on what he wanted to accomplish and nothing was going to stop him.
     

  10. Work Hard – My Dad’s work ethic was legendary. He had a run of 40 years without ever missing a day of work. He loved what he was doing.


 

My Dad sent the following email to his family one month before he died. It perfectly demonstrates his winning attitude.

This month, I have brought in more revenue from new clients than in any other month in my almost 50 years of practice. Not too shabby for someone who only goes to the office two times a week, has dialysis for 4 hours 3 times a week, has a heart that only functions at 25% of the norm, has wounds on one leg and both feet that require professional treatment three times a week and is recovering from a fractured hip. I have lost a lot, am very ugly, but can still kick butt.

I will miss my Dad, but he gave me a lifetime of principles to work on through his example.

©2019 Brian Matsen

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