Crippled CEO Blog #073:
Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of my dad passing away and three days after that will be his birthday.
I’ve talked about him here before. If you’ve been reading these for minute, then you know that my dad grew up in rough circumstances in an abusive home, he volunteered to go to Vietnam at age 17, he led a reconnaissance team that saw lots of combat, death, and killing, he became addicted to heroin, he brought his heroin addiction back to the US, and remained addicted to opiates (which included prescribed methadone replacement therapy) until the early 80’s, shortly after my younger brother was born.
He was a phenomenal dad to my brother and I, and from what I could tell, a pretty awesome husband, as well. He and my mom started the company that would become Life Saver Pool Fence Systems, Inc. in their garage in 1987. When I took it over in 2003, it was doing over $1 million in revenue with dealers in most major cities throughout the US and occupied a 6,000 sq ft facility.
By all accounts, when he passed away, Robert Lupton was successful, respected, and looked up to by everyone who knew him.
So, what are some things that we can learn from my dad‘s life?
- It’s never too late to start. My dad started Life Saver at roughly the age I am now. He also had my brother and I at about the same time. Everything I saw him accomplish, which was a lot, happened when he was older than I am now. I feel so far along in my track, so deep into my life, that the idea of starting from scratch at this point seems crazy. But that’s exactly what he did. And the second half of his life was great for it.
- Your past doesn’t dictate your future. My dad‘s teenage years were highlighted by abuse. The next 20 years were war and drug addiction. And then he was a great dad and a successful entrepreneur for 30 years. No one who knew him at 55 would have known who he was at 25. And no one who knew him at 25 would have predicted who he’d become at 55. Radical change is possible.
- Know your weaknesses and adapt to them, without shame or embarrassment. He would tell me to remind him to get gas at the gas station less than a mile up the road, just moments away, because as crazy as it sounds, he knew there was a good chance he would forget. So, he said something. Other people might have been too embarrassed, but he wasn’t. Also because he knew he couldn’t trust his memory, he had a system for everything. The same things went in the same pocket in the same way every time. He systemized his life to counterbalance his deficits.
- He was reliable. If he said he would do something, he would do it. He paid his bills on time. He was punctual. He kept his promises. He answered the phone when you needed him. All of this sounds so simple, but you have to get a lot of things right in order to be the kind of reliable that you can set your clock to. It’s a good thing to strive towards. Do the people you know trust you when they need something? Do they think you’ll show up when you say you will? If not, why?
There are a ton more we could get into ranging from business to credit scores to not having an ego to the selfless way he cared for his disabled son (me) and his dying wife (my mom). There are many lessons I learned from Dad and the example that he set. But I think that’s enough for now.
If your dad is still alive, give him a call. Tell him a couple things that you have learned from his life. He’ll appreciate it. I know mine would have liked to read this. I bet yours would like to hear the same from you, as well.
(Do you know who else was a big fan of my dad? Your mom was. She also shares this blog with her friends, which makes her super cool, AND signed up to get the link to the newest blog each week by sending a text with the word CRIP to the number 484848. Be more like your mom.)