Leaders Stories

My Dad as my Teacher, Mentor, and the Leader model

We were always very close and connected, my dad and I. Sometimes not really talking much, just enjoying the company, sharing moments, sometimes sharing stories, insights and thoughts. Humour was one of our favourite ways to communicate and bond through. And when some people, who knew us both or worked with both, tell that I sometimes look a person in the same way as he did, I just smile. It warms my heart. I know it is true.

I have learned a lot about leadership, personal power, systems, society and people in general from him. Some lessons were more a father – daughter thing, and some were more from our sort of mentor – mentee relationship, since we have been working in a similar environment for about 10 years. The way he lived his life, values he believed in, like solidarity, humanity, integrity, contribution, self-discipline, taking responsibility, and hard work, and how he was all his working period in service to the country, nation, people, community, and his colleagues, was always very present in my life, and affected me significantly.

He used to recite a verse from a poem of a Slovene poet Oton Zupancic, “Domovina je ena”, paraphrased in English, ‘Homeland is One, Belongs to As All, and One Life, and One Death’, when I or anybody else would criticise or complain about how things are and should be. And when he passed away four and a half years ago, and one of speakers at his funeral recited this poem, I have realized the other part of the verse, which goes, ‘To Our Freedom devoted, we are gathered here for a Fight, and What is a Life, and What is a Death. The Future is the Hope. Who dies for It, rises up into the Life when falls into the Death.”. And the deeper meaning of this verse to my Dad’s life unfolded crystal clear.

His sudden death was a shock and at the same time a profound experience for me. It was like life truths and wisdoms which you can usually read in quotes of some famous philosophers and thinkers, or hear from wise people, were reflecting as a mirror back to me. There were so many insights when facing this experience and afterwards. Insights, such as, that you can not demand from life more than it is; you can not demand another minute, it ends when you have done your service here on Earth; we are so fragile, yet so powerful; we develop as individuals to be able to contribute to something bigger than we are; we are all connected and as individuals playing just a small but important part in contributing to a bigger purpose which reveals as a whole when we complete our mission; and that after you pass away, you/your energy lives on with people, within the environment, and in nature.

As the well known saying goes, you get one life to live and if you live it well this is enough. ‘One life, and One death’, as my dad recited. His was definitely a powerful one. One that influenced (still does) the lives of others. One that made (still makes) a difference. For us here, the connection and love stayed, the energy transformed. Life goes on. It’s our turn to live it well and with the purpose.

Power(ful) statement:

“One life to live. Live it well. Live it with a purpose.” 

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