His boots are big. I would have never fully filled them. But for the past 10 years in my former career, I tried to follow my dad’s footsteps and fill his big boots. Then, my path changed. Before making that decision, I had long talks with my dad about my career. Long talks with my mom. Long talks with my husband. It was a big decision to make a change. The decision seems daunting at times.
My dad had led a successful career in advertising and marketing before becoming a full-time farmer. Prior to this year, I was following his marketing career in agriculture and was on the hard and fast road he had once lived.
But I had seen those hard and fast years on my dad. They weren’t easy. My situation was different. My path changed and I learned I needed to wear my own boots, forging my own path.
Yesterday and every time I give a presentation, I am reminded of the boots my dad gave me, the path and opportunities he led me down throughout my life. He never told me I had to fill his boots. The only time I remember him suggesting an advertising related career was when I handed him a stack of 17 letters I had hand written to new friends I had met at Bible Camp when I was about 11 years old. I asked him to please send the letters for me. He smiled and said, “Who are they to?” I explained I had collected addresses from my new friends at Bible Camp and was simply writing them to keep in touch. My dad smiled and said, “You better work in advertising someday, Katie.” Of course, I didn’t listen at that age.
Actually I worked against most everything my dad suggested for over a decade of my life. I am cut from the same cloth as my dad. Strong personalities collided and I didn’t want to grow up to be like him. I did learn along the way I loved communications. I loved marketing. I loved advertising. But I didn’t want to be like my dad.
But I was wrong. I did want to grow up to be like him and like my mom, a combination of both of my strong parents. It took me becoming a parent to recognize it along with plenty of life lessons through my 20’s. Yesterday I was standing in front of a group of 35 small business owners from across our state, presenting about online marketing when I looked up at that screen to see a picture of my dad and girls that I always use. Looking at that picture I was grateful for all the opportunities, direction, wisdom and guidance I was given by my dad and mom. While my career may be different now and my path has changed, the foundation was laid for me by the boots I have always tried to fill.