20 Jun Lessons My Dad Taught Me
This past Sunday was Father’s Day, the first Father’s Day since I lost my dad to a brief illness on June 9th. The shock and pain of losing my dad is still fresh. This week he will be laid to rest in the DFW National Cemetery, having served his country during the Vietnam War.
So much of who I am as a man started with lessons my dad taught me as a boy. In his honor, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of those lessons in my weekly blog.
CA Miller spent his career in the grocery business, having worked for several major chains and a few smaller mom-and-pop stores. Dad briefly co-owned his own grocery store, before a regional chain announced they were building next door.
When I think of my dad, I see a man who was not afraid of hard work.
When I think of my dad, I see a man who was not afraid of hard work. Even well into his 60s, before retiring, dad would always roll up his sleeves and work alongside his staff. He once told me, “Son, as a manager you never ask your team to do anything you are not willing to do with them.” That lesson was driven home the summer before I started college. I was working at an H-E-B in Waco when the Unit Manager asked me to fill in on the night stocking crew for one week. As an 18-year-old kid who weighed about 145 pounds, I struggled to keep up with the men on the crew. On my second night on the job, one of the guys stopped and looked me straight in the eye. “Are you CA Miller’s son?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied. He continued, “I used to work with your dad at Sack N’ Save and your dad was the only manager who would get down on his knees and help us stock the shelves.” Dad didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk.
Dad also had a contagious smile when he worked. People loved to come into his store and visit with dad before shopping for groceries. That taught me the importance of making people feel special.
I have blogged before about a lesson dad gave me when I was applying for a radio job in college. My previous radio gig had let me go and I was prepared to speak negatively about my former employer. Dad called me that morning and told me that as a manager, he never hired anyone who talked badly about the competition, knowing that person would do the same to his store if they ever left. I took dad’s advice and I got the job.
Dad also taught me the importance of paying attention to the details. My first job was working for Dad at the store he owned. Dad wanted the produce to look perfect and would make us go up and down the isles, making sure the product was pushed to the front of the shelves. His stores always looked clean and polished.
This past Christmas, Dad told me stories of how he learned the art of the grocery business. How to reduce cost and increase sales. I knew then I would treasure that conversation. I just didn’t know it would be our last Christmas together.
I could fill pages with other life lessons from my dad, including his advice to never get in the grocery business. But I leave you with one final lesson from my dad. Be an encourager. Dad was not perfect, but he always took the time to encourage others.
Scott Miller is the CEO of Centerpost Media, host of the Create. Build. Manage. show (seen on BizTV, heard on BizTalkRadio, and available wherever you listen to podcasts,) and a member of the Forbes Agency Council, Entrepreneur Leadership Network, and Dallas Business Journal Leadership Trust. You can find Scott on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via “@scottmillerceo” or on LinkedIn via “@scottmillermedia.” Centerpost Media is a content marketing agency with a vision to help every business they encounter with their media needs by providing outstanding quality, service and value. Centerpost Media is the parent company to BizTV, BizTalkRadio, BizTalkPodcasts and Bizvod.