It’s True, Father Knows Best

As I think back to the words of my Dad, he always seems to be providing me with timely words of encouragement and sound advice just when I need it.

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As I was organizing my desk the other day, I heard the words of my Dad telling me, “Keep a clean work area.” And even though I still see my Father on a regular basis, many of his words of wisdom stick in my head and continue to serve me over the years.

Sometimes parents are just our “parents,” but I’ve been fortunate enough to develop deep and meaningful friendships with both my parents. We decided at an early juncture—after I’d gone off to college—to take the time get to know one another as individuals and create friendships that continue to add to our lives today.

Not only are my parents good friends, they’re also my co-creators and cheerleaders. We work together on new projects and we enjoy our differences as much as the things we have in common. Whether it’s creating a new presentation or editing my latest manuscript, Tom and Yvonne are right by my side—eager to help me to polish and perfect my newest creation.

On Mother’s Day, I’ve taken the time to appreciate the support that my Mom has given to me over the years. Now, as I think back to the words of my Dad, he always seems to be providing me with timely words of encouragement and sound advice just when I need it.

So, in honor of Father’s Day, here are some favorite tips and phrases uttered by my Dad over the years—many of which I still say to this day:

  • If it’s not one thing, it’s one thing anyway.
  • You can’t argue with success.
  • An hour of sleep at night is worth two in the morning.
  • Never quit seeing the world through the eyes of a kid.
  • We are to share what we’ve been given—it doesn’t belong to us because we are just the caretakers.
  • It is about as good as it can be for how bad it is [the ability to “sift the good” out of an unexpected situation].
  • A little bit of encouragement will go a long way.
  • Put it back where you found it.
  • Keep a clean work area.
  • If you can do it now, do it now.
  • Well, it just goes to show you… [Insert the lesson or cliché here].
  • Well, when you’ve been around the circus as long as I have…
  • If you’re going to do something, do it right the first time.
  • If there’s a rock in your shoe, take the time to get it out.
  • In life we do the best we can with what we know at the time.

These are all simple phrases and sentences, but they are powerful nonetheless.

Thank you, Tom, for providing me with gentle reminders and sound advice over the years—advice that has served me well. These nuggets of wisdom have reinforced the fact that many times, Father does, indeed, know best.

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is a career coach, author, and founder of The White Box Club™—live coaching sessions and resources for people in career transition. Learn more at


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