Growing Up in the Shadow of the Bat
In honour of Father’s Day, a guest blog from Lewis Glassey, son of StratPad CEO Alex Glassey, that celebrates dad-entrepreneurs everywhere.
My father once told me something and it has always stuck in my head. He said, “When I was younger, I didn’t go out seeking anything but an interesting life.” Those words impressed me. He never said that he sought fame, riches, happiness or glory. He merely sought an interesting life. And, for better or for worse, he found it. I have had the pleasure of watching him for these last 24 years and sharing with him many of the highs, lows and in-betweens. To be an entrepreneur is to shed the norm and forge out on your own.
Unlike more conventional jobs, the entrepreneur has no job security, no pension, no health insurance and no guarantee of money coming in. The entrepreneur also has the grit and spirit to see these as not impossibilities or deal-breakers, but rather as challenges to overcome. The other side of the coin is, the entrepreneur also has opportunities for far greater achievements and successes than the ordinary man or woman, working at a 9 to 5 job, getting paid what the boss thinks they deserve. I have seen both sides. I remember eating Kraft Dinner one year, steak the next. I have watched my dad come home after selling his first business, beaming with well-deserved pride. I have also watched my dad come home, stress and failure written all over his face. I have never seen my dad give up.
Growing up, I sometimes had a hard time understanding why Dad didn’t just get a regular job like everyone else’s dad. I have asked him that on many occasions. It certainly would have made everyone’s lives, including his own, less stressful and more stable. Isn’t that what everyone wants? But the problem is, some people aren’t built that way. Some people are unable to work for others and need to create their own wealth and opportunity, whatever the cost. My Dad is one of them. He is too headstrong, too set in his ways and too determined to let somebody—anybody—make the decisions for him. I’ve seen it; it doesn’t work. All of these factors have, in turn, moulded me into the man I am today. I’ve learned the value of hard work, the value of a dollar. I’ve learned that in order to go my own way, sometimes life gets a little tougher. I’ve learned the value of an “interesting life,” and how rewarding it is to work towards and complete a goal.
I have tried to take my Dad’s words to heart; instead of going to university right after high school and being stuck as a corporate drone, I moved away from my hometown, took a cooking apprenticeship and spent five years traveling all across Canada and later the world, cooking and eating. I now live in Germany with my girlfriend, and am learning my third language. I can only speak from my own experience, but heading out on my own and doing my own thing was challenging and scary. Even more scary was the thought of never seeing the world, never listening to the voice in my head that says “what if.”
These traits were taught to me by my Dad, a man who is unable to let others dictate his path in life. The idea of obscurity and boredom is more terrifying to me than any fear of the unknown. I’ve watched this desire for new experiences and independence drive my father for the past 24 years, and I know that his actions have inspired me to live a life away from the norm. And I am a richer person for it. To all would-be or just-beginning entrepreneurs out there, know that it won’t be easy, but it will be a far more interesting life. You have my respect and admiration. Happy Father’s Day.