My Dad's Daughter: Legacies & Coping
Sometimes I find the amount and variety of tasks and goals overwhelming as I build this new business from the ground up. I can't fully give up the writing/marketing consulting yet, it's still a good part of my income and then there's all the work and the new/changing mindset of being an Executive Coach. (top image credit)
Every now and then a weird line graph pops up in my head.
- One line is my Dad gradually descending into more health problems, frailty and forgetfulness/memory gaps as the Alzheimer's progresses.
- The other line is my coaching business gradually ascending as I finish my training, get certified, continue networking and building productive relationships, etc.
Dad's sense of self was deeply tied to his work as an entrepreneur. He was always starting a business, building the business, dealing with financing, creating new products, partnering with engineers, large customers and the government. He always pushed forward; working incredibly hard. He founded the first company when Mom was pregnant with me. He sold it (with his business partners) when I was 15 years old and he was just 40.
His example ran though the background of my life and now that continues. When I struggle, when I feel insecure, when I work to help and build relationships with someone in my (new) network and business career who sees me as an executive coach (vs. the copywriter/marketing consultant) I think of Dad.
About a year ago, I came up with one way to handle the challenges before me, from the guilt that I cannot move to Michigan to help Mom, to knowing that both of my parents want me to be doing exactly what I am doing, to the internal transition and stress of my new career path, to being the parent that my kids need me to be..
And that is the acronym "WWDD." This stands for "What Would Dad Do" (#WWDD).
It inspires me to continue pushing forward while acknowledging how I am feeling to those who care about me. It enables me to show up in a different way, to take on leadership roles at church and in my professional associations. To do things I have Never Done Before. To occasionally flail until I figure it out. To feel vulnerable and yet okay with it, when my partner supports me through every step, in whatever way I need because we are both vested in this change.
This journey is incredibly humbling, inspiring, unnerving and strangely renewing. Like Dad, my work plays a integral role in who I am and how I choose to show up. It's changing me for the better and that is both wonderful and scary as hell.
So yeah, #WWDD, is MY mantra for now.