The month of June means more to me than just Father’s Day. Of course, my dad is, and always will be, the special man in my life. But, in addition to dad, there were two other significant men who helped me become a man, a husband, a father, and a mentor to other young people. Just as dad was the one who taught me right from wrong and what it was to be a man, my college wrestling coach, Kerry Volkman, and Bob Troop, the CEO of Shamrock, also helped shape me and the way I conduct business on a daily basis.
In fact, each June, I get together with dad, Kerry and Bob for our annual golf outing and dinner. It brings all these important mentors in my life together for one helluva’ day. It’s not really a Father’s Day celebration (that is reserved for dad) but more a celebration of the respect each of us has for one another — a recognition of our passages through life together.
Without a doubt, I learned my core values from dad. And these values still carry me through the roughest and the finest spots in life.
But it was coach Volkman who taught a tough group of college wrestlers about teamwork, camaraderie and resilience despite the odds against winning. When you’re young, you think you know everything. And coach knew this. He let us experiment, fail, and learn from our failure. It was through coach Volkman that I learned I didn’t know it all, and I had to rely on others to accomplish my life goals.
My finest business mentor of all has, and will always be Bob Troop. Bob has been with me throughout my career. Like coach Volkman, he allowed me to experiment — and sometimes fail — but he also taught me how to succeed. Bob would often say, “it’s OK to fail, but you’re measured by how you overcome that failure in order to succeed the next time.” (Another one of Bob’s sayings is, “Figure it out!” I’d guess at least half the people at Shamrock have heard that remark from him at least a thousand times.) Often I learned about success just by watching Bob, who always makes it look so easy.
From each of these men I’ve taken away one important lesson: Realize your strengths and weaknesses and always try to surround yourself with people who can minimize your weaknesses. But the most important thing they’ve taught me is that if you work hard and work smart you will always be head and shoulders above the competition!
I hope Father’s Day 2013 has been good to each of you.