They called him Big Chief

There was a knock on the back door.  The knock turned into a pounding.

Everyone inside was quiet and finally someone said, “Who is it”.

The reply was Chief, this is the Big Chief.

Everyone inside the house responded by laughing.  Finally the door open and Big Chief walked in.  To his amazement, the Chief of Police whom he thought he was imitating was sitting at the table having the time of his life laughing.

The imposter was my father, who nickname stuck with him throughout his life.  Daniel Shepherd Thomas who would always be called affectionately “Big Chief”

My career has Big Chief written all over it.

He did not finish college but he had dreams of his children finishing college.  He did not have a formal career but he ended up a very successful businessman in a small town in the South.

I always idolized my father and I was not alone.  I had numerous friends tell me that they wanted to be like and live like him.

He passed so much wisdom down to all of us through the years.  I sometimes wish that I would have captured all of them for posterity.

He always told us that they most important trait that you can teach your kids is how to take care of business.  Every real estate transaction, I would be sitting in the lawyer’s office with him.  Every car that he bought, I was there in the next chair.  While it did not seem like a learning moment at that time, I can’t believe the number of times that scenarios played out in my life that caused me to go back to those episodes.

One of his favorite saying was that you always ask for what you want.  All they can say is no or maybe.

You can never gauge  a person by what you see

  • Don’t over think a situation
  • Depend on your gut instinct
  • Always be a listener, you learn more that way
  • In negotiating, lay out what you want and stop talking
  • Everything in life has a price and it is not measured in $Dollars
  • You can’t blame a man for being down but you can blame him for staying down
  • Always be on the lookout for new opportunities.
  • Be independent and always think for your self
  • Always treat people with respect cause you never know when you may need them

His legend grew in our town to a point that everyone was always coming by the house just to talk with him.  Everyone kind of wanted to get his take.  He mentored so many people and always took time to listen.  He always stressed that listening is one of the most important traits in life.

He did not like talkers, the one who monopolize each and every conversation. The ones that know everything and want everyone to know they know it.  “ Know it alls” was the term that he would use to describe them.  His advice, “stay as far away as possible.”

Today as we are all faced with career issues; give a listen sometimes to someone close to you.  Always offer your time.  Never be selfish with your space.  Always give without looking for the get back.  Become a mentor, become an advisor to someone.  Have that someone to pass it on.

On Sunday, June 19, 1994 (Father’s Day),   my father passed away.  I was so proud and happy that every year this time, I will always remember him as opposed to just an ordinary date.  He exemplified to me what a father and husband should act like.  He was my best career advisor, my personal  “Consigliere.”

My father gave me the thirst of success and how to go about achieving it.  He did not have a master plan in knowledge transfer, but he did know how to pass his learnings on.

Are you passing your knowledge on?

Happy Fathers Day!

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