Every week, I stare at my screen, and I think about what to write on my blog. I usually find myself writing about technology, networking, business practices or music. These subjects don’t seemingly relate, but they do. And anyways, it’s my blog. I can write what I want to.
I stare at my screen now, and I am thinking about my father Ron Glickman, and the many ways he has informed how I blog. In so many ways, my blog is a reflection of my father’s encouragement, support, interests and passions.
My father died recently. His death was unexpected, and I should note, had nothing to do with COVID-19. He was 79 years old. Though he had a few health issues, Dad was in generally good shape (he was very proud of the fact that he did his age in push-ups every day), and his death caught all of his family and friends by surprise. We didn’t know it was coming, and we are left with our grief as we console and support each other, and as we remember the role Dad played in each of our lives.
I stare at my screen. It is time once again to write my blog, and I sit here thinking about what to write. I think about my father. I realize that, in so many ways, whatever it is I write, I write because of him.
When I was just a kid, from as early as I can remember, Dad instilled in me a love of music. He and Mom bought me my very first stereo, along with the Beatles 1962-1966 Greatest Hits album, which I listened to endlessly every day after school. I still have that very album today. Throughout the years, he let me talk his ear off about everything from “Eight Days a Week” to The Violent Femmes to Johnny Cash. He enjoyed watching Bruce Springsteen sing Glory Days with me on MTV, and he eagerly anticipated the mix tapes and CD’s I would send him, never with the frequency he generously claimed to have preferred.
I explore the music that has become so important to me on this blog, and I think Dad has always been my biggest fan. If there are any “Likes” on any of my blog articles, chances are good at least one of them is from him. He didn’t always care for the music I wrote about, he just cared that I wrote.
“Larry, your blog is so well written” he would say.
“Larry, when are you going to write a book?” he would ask.
I thanked him for his flowery, fatherly praise, and I took it with the appropriate grain of salt I should have, but his pride and appreciation sure felt good.
I will never be the businessman my father was, but I learned so much from him through the years. I remember the time he let me review the home checking account when I studied finances in junior high school. “This information is private to the family, Larry, but here you go. Take a look.”
Dad worked in the financial services industry throughout his entire career. He loved talking about spreadsheet intricacies with me, and trying to help me understand accounting best practices, which elude me to this day. As responsibilities in my work grew, we would talk about leadership lessons and governance best practices. I would share with him what I learned about technology (he was amazed to learn you could now take a picture of a spreadsheet with your phone, and the picture would become a real, working Excel file!), and he would share with me stories of deals he closed and people he helped. So many of those things we discussed, so much of what I learned from Dad, can be found in right here in my blog.
Dad taught me how to lead, and how to thoughtfully consider a situation. He taught me that people should always be treated with respect and kindness, and how to evaluate problems in a way so that solutions would eventually reveal themselves. It was okay to challenge people and situations. It was good to be curious, because that curiosity would enable us to learn, to grow, and to be closer to the people around us.
Often the most satisfying aspect of any success I had in my work was when I could tell Dad about it. “How about that?” he would say through a big smile I could hear through the phone, and then pepper me with questions about every aspect of the story I had just told him.
In a way, I think it is that curiosity which leads me to explore different aspects of my work through my blog, and how all us of can work better together through more transparency, generosity, and yes…curiosity.
My father was a stutterer, and so am I. He never allowed me to use my stuttering as a crutch, or a reason not to warmly embrace the challenges that life presents. But still I found a fluency in writing that escaped me in my day to day life. In writing I could share loquacious, flowery language without the persistent concern of getting stuck on a word, or needing to study the faces of those around me as I struggle to express myself.
And then I would look my father. My father who regularly closed multi-million dollar business deals and spoke in front of groups large and small. My father who had friends throughout the country who trusted him, who listened to him, who laughed with him. My father who worked in Fortune 500 companies, owned his own companies, led non-profit boards, and even taught English to recent immigrants.
My father taught me how to live my life by his example. He taught me that I don’t need to be defined by whatever challenges I may face. I can let challenges can inform who I am, but the way I conduct myself, the person I decide to be is less about circumstance and more about choice, determination and attitude.
Because of Dad, I like to write, and I like to speak in public. I love my work. I teach, I regularly lead webinars and I speak in front of groups of people both large and small. I do not need to make a choice between writing in the comfort of my quiet office or speaking in front of a large conference gathering. It does not need to be one or the other. My speaking connects to my writing. My writing connects to my speaking. This is me.
Every now and then, I would talk to Dad’s friends and business associates, and they would say “Your dad shared your blog article with me.” I would cringe a bit, imagining Dad bugging all his friends to read yet another blog from his son Larry…just as he bragged endlessly about my brothers Jimmy and Mark and all of their amazing accomplishments, and just as he bragged about his grandkids. He would brag with generosity, with transparency, and even a little curiosity, because he knew that everyone else had something to brag about as well.
I will continue to write, and I hope you continue to read. I am going to imagine Dad is reading too, and I am going to do my best to remember all the important things he shared with me and taught me, either by purpose or just by example.
Keep reading. Maybe Dad still has something to teach us all.