Updated: Aug 1
How important is a father’s role in a woman’s success?
From the time I was a child, before I had to go to a new class, school, or job, I have always talked to my father the morning of. As a kid, he was usually the one I saw before I went to school and therefore he would reassure me that I would be fine, that I was smart, and that it was ok if kids didn’t like me—(Yes, I was a dork in middle school! haha).
As an adult, I can remember that on the first day of every job I had, I would call him on my way there. Each time he would comfort me, tell me I was strong and smart, and that I would be fine and it was just first day jitters. He would assure me that it was normal to be nervous. Then he would tell me a story about him at a new job or what he had going on that day. For 30 some years this has gone on...
I recently read a study that stated that a father’s involvement in his daughter’s life directly affects both her emotional and personal development. Now, that seems like a pretty simple truth. But what exactly, does that mean for a female entrepreneur? How important is the fatherly influence on a woman’s success? And if you’re a dad, how can you help your daughter, TODAY, to start down a path of success?
Emotionally, he made us tough
Don’t get me wrong, Daddies are always more gentle with their girls than their boys. BUT, they still aren’t the mama. Dads tend to be direct, to the point, and less emotional. This is key to a successful woman: She knows HOW to communicate, WHEN to communicate, and WHAT to communicate. She knows when she should be direct and when she should maybe use a little buffer (tact). Also, since her Dad has always been a little more direct, she tends to use less emotion and more logic. This is a skill that is not only useful, but is absolutely necessary. It will help with building her career, yes. But it is also something that is highly-sought after, since the balance of emotion and logic make for the perfect storm, from entry level jobs to upper level (executive) business positions.
But he also taught us to love ourselves
He was the first example we had about how we should be loved and how we should be treated. If you were fortunate enough to have both parents together, he showed you by how he treated your mother. Ideally, he was kind and loving and giving and gentle – depending on the situation. He showed her respect and decency. And as his daughter, he spoiled you with attention and love. Even in the teenage years, when you as a girl felt lost and sometimes sad and awkward, he acted as if you were the prettiest girl in the room. He took the anguish out of teenage years by literally just acting like everything was normal.
These early lessons of love will teach a successful woman how to love herself and to not allow any man or woman in her circle (personal or professional), that does not show her respect, love, or kindness. Ultimately, when there is peace at home, then a woman can focus her attention upon her business at hand. Additionally, she will take the time to take care of herself and she will pour everything in to her job, her purpose. But, she will also know it’s just as important to take the time to recharge and relax, so as to be a better leader to her team.
Just call us Practical Patty!
I was 14 when I learned how to hang drywall. I was 16 when I learned how to change a tire. At 17 he taught me how to change the oil in my car. At 19 he taught me how to drive stick. Those are the great things about Dads—they made us capable of not needing anyone, no matter the situation. They taught us to problem solve and work through a problem in a practical manner.
That skill helps in the boardroom when you're asked a question and you have no idea what to answer, but you are capable of working through the problem and answering with the confidence that you don’t sound like an idiot. It works when you are in a think tank and need to come up with fresh ideas. It gives you a different perspective to add to a business meeting. Those practical lessons also help you with teamwork and as you learn to work with others, even if you don’t necessarily need or want them. That practicality helps you to remove emotion from staffing issues and see only the path that must be taken to be successful. Practicality makes it possible for a woman to focus and to work efficiently and effectively. That practicality has proven time and time again to her, that discipline really is the key to her success.
My Dad taught me the value of a dollar when I was seven years old by letting me work in the family business. Back then, customers thought it was cute that a bright seven year old would answer their phone calls, make appointments and screen her dad’s calls. Today, it would probably be frowned upon and deemed unprofessional, but those early years taught me a lot about the dollar. I will admit that I still have that first dollar, by the way.
A successful woman, most likely, had a dad that taught her about budgets, credit, and why it was important to maintain good credit. (Disclaimer: your daughter may NOT listen to this conversation at all, and still go blow her credit at, oh I don’t know, let’s say 21 (haha)….. but she will get it back on track because of those little talks, so don’t kill her!)
It will also be because of her dad, that she learns one of the most important lessons of life: Do not rely upon ANYONE to pay for your life. You, as a boss woman, are solely responsible for your money, your lifestyle, and your finances. And that Dad, is probably the only man you should ever borrow money from, if needed.
Integrity: the lost art
Integrity (doing the right thing, even when no one is watching) is one of the most important lessons a dad can teach a woman when she is little. It is this moral compass that will lead her to do what’s right, both in the workforce and in her personal life. This aspect of her personality won’t make her a favorite among peers. At work they will know, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, who’s side she SHOULD be on, or if her job depends on it: SHE WILL DO THE RIGHT THING. And ultimately, that will earn her the one thing so many covet at work: Respect. And let’s be honest—in a world that is still quite slanted towards men, that respect is everything. That comes from you, Dads. Because of your example, she will do what’s right, even when it costs her so much. She will be that friend people can rely on to do the right thing. She will be the boss that you can go to when you have a serious life problem and need a fair and listening ear. She will be the one that will slowly (because as a woman, it WILL be slowly), rises amongst the ranks because everyone who comes in contact with her will learn she holds integrity as high as she does loyalty, honesty, and success.
Take Away Annie
Are you a dad with a little girl? You need to start TODAY! You’re not going to be perfect at it, and you probably will barely even be good at it at first. But the point is you start. You have to try to give your little girl every tool to help her grow and prosper in a world that is slanted against her. YOU have to provide those life lessons, skill, and personality traits to make her the most powerful and successful woman she can be. Teach her to love her skin, her hair, her crooked little nose. Make her say: “I am beautiful. I am strong. I am smart. I can do anything I put my mind to” EVERYDAY!
Teach her, by your actions, to do the right thing (even if it’s REALLY, REALLY hard). Teach her only cowards lie, and it takes true strength of character to control your emotions; not responding out of anger, fear or sadness. But instead, with a sound mind and with logic.
Show her how to build, or fix, or grow in practical things, so she never has to rely on anyone when she needs to get something done.
Prepare her financially for a world where money comes and goes— (this is even a lesson you can teach her) and so it isn’t important how much she has, but that she always knows how to make it and how to cover her lifestyle BY HERSELF.
Teach her ambition and drive are things to be proud of and that hard work is not glamorous all of the time, but it will all be worth it. Work towards your goals and outwork anyone who tries to compete. Hard work will beat natural talent any day!
Most of all, show her all of that love. Let her be great. Love every quirky thing about her. Your love, attention, and guidance will be the roadmap to what she will accept and how she will allow others to treat, love, and respect her.
My success can never be called my own; I am well aware of that. It came from the teamwork of my parents, and it came from their hard work when I was a little, precocious, smart-mouthed child. My Dad dealt with my teenage years, my brat years, and the years I wore those really ugly Steve Madden clunky shoes. He dealt (and rolled his eyes) with me changing career paths three times—(only to go on and weave them all together and have THREE successful careers. Joke is on him!). He handled me destroying my credit (at 21), but also showed me how to plan credit recovery. It was my Dad who showed me who I wanted to be, and then gave me the building blocks and the plan to get there. I am very fortunate, I know this.
“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” Anonymous