My father, Richard Law, has died, but we celebrate his life! Those of us who recently gathered at the hospital for many days and then the funeral home represent a ‘blended family’ of lineal descendants, adopted children, and step-family. It has been amazing to experience the common expression of love and care from each one for each other. My father gave each of us the treasure of unconditional love. When Dad smiled at you, you knew that he loved you just the way that you were, and he never thought about how to “fix” you. There were many times during Dad’s chemotherapy-induced illness that I marveled at his great and caring attitude. I would often say to myself, “Rick, try to be more like Dad!” My dad taught me how to live as a caring—and thus successful—person. He lived out many of the rules of success that have come to be my life standards. Richard Law lived and died loving others and being loved right back. That is a successful life! Seven Rules for Life:
- Dad Law made sure that I learned this one: the Golden Rule, here quoted from The Message Bible— “Jesus said, ‘Here is a simple rule of behavior. Think about what you want from other people, then, grab the initiative and do that for them! All of the Law and the Prophets hang on that.’”
- Dad Law taught me, “Don’t do anything that you would not like to see on the front page of the Chicago Tribune.”
- Dad Law showed me that “Integrity is doing what you promised to do, even when the circumstances have changed and you really don’t want to do it anymore.”
- Ignore whatever comes before the ‘but’ in a sentence. It does not matter how many words precede the ‘but”; what someone really believes and will act upon follows the ‘but’.
- Hire people who have demonstrated a success-pattern—e.g., when they got their first job at McDonald’s, did they rise to “Fry Chief”? How people behaved in the past is an imperfect but helpful guide to how they will act in the future. I cannot train people to have either initiative or integrity; they either have it or they don’t. (My dear friend Jessica Bannister is a living example of this rule. She is a model of initiative and integrity!)
- Give winners a mission-goal, then get out of their way. Nonetheless, you cannot expect what you don’t inspect! (I also learned this one from my capable brother-in-law, Inno Okoye.)
- You get the behavior that you reward. When you experience negative behavior with your spouse, kids, and/or employees, check to see if you are actually the cause. Many times, our leadership flaws create rewards that lead others to act badly to get our attention.