Got a problem? In a jam? On overwhelm?


This week’s quote comes from a lesson from my Dad – one I have shared far and wide with clients and readers. And one I have reminded myself of often – as recently as today.

Problems, like the hill in front of you, keep getting smaller the more you advance on them.

Here’s the story behind the quote. It happened close to twenty years ago.

There was a lot going on for me – personally and professionally. I can’t remember exactly what I said to Dad on the phone one night but a few days later, an envelope came in the mail. In it was a page from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, folded three times to show an article that took up 1/6 of the page – snippets put together by Burton Hillis. There was a yellow sticky note on it with a simple message that read, “Thought this might help. Love, Dad”.

He had drawn an arrow pointing to the last paragraph. Here is the article:

Rosemary called from school a couple of weeks ago, grumpy and tired. Exams were piling up and the manager at her part-time job wanted her to work more hours. On top of that, her field hockey team was practicing daily for a tournament.

I wanted to reach through the phone line, give Rosemary a hug, and reassure her all would be OK. Instead, I told her what I do when my plate is full.

Whenever I have too many jobs to tackle, I line them up in some kind of order and knock them off one at a time. Before I know it, the last one is behind me,” I said.

A few days ago she called to say exams were over, not with perfect scores, but good enough. Her manager is letting her work extra hours on weekends, and her team made it to the finals. Rosemary thanked me for the advice, but I told her she deserved the credit. She had learned another life lesson: Problems, like the hill in front of you, keep getting smaller the more you advance on them.

The content of this article was of course very helpful. Even more meaningful was the fact that my Dad saw it, thought of me and sent it. A gentle gesture of support. And certainly a boost to morale and productivity. Not just for me but for many. And not just then but for years and years.


We’ll share more lessons next week. Would love to include yours. Will you share them?

What lessons did you learn from your Dad? Lessons that have helped you in your career?

Please share them by email or in Comments section below?

Then come back next week for Lessons from Dad.


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