This Father's day, I am reminded of of my own Father. His passing in 2006 makes each passing Father's Day more surreal. "I cannot believe my dad is not here," I will say to myself. However, in his absence, I am prompted to think of the legacy he left me and the dozens of others who called him friend. My father, by no means was perfect, BUT what he lacked in perfection, he made up for in hard work, passion, a love for others, and most importantly... a love for his family. Looking back, this poor high school graduate would not be viewed by many (or perhaps even by himself) as a leader. However, as the second oldest of five children, I can confidently say he was. If he were here today, I would look him in the eye and say two simple words... "thank you." Thanks dad for leading me, encouraging the value of education, selflessly putting your family's desires above your own, relentlessly valuing family over fame or fortune or a 401k. I would go on to tell him that what he lacked in financial prowess he more than made up for in family focus, faithful provisions, and a feverish pursuit of a better life for his children compared to his own upbringing. His constant encouragement for his children to attend college and get a degree was paramount for me to see and hear. And, you know what... I am not so sure he was really saying quite literally "get a degree" as much as he was saying, "push yourself," "challenge yourself," better yourself," "the possibilities are endless," "you can do anything you set your mind to!" What a leader! He was a motivator and he probably did not even know it. However, it was not just his words... It was his actions. You see, my dad was present. He was there for me and the rest of my family. Look, I get it... We live very busy lives. We are at the office late, we have to deal with crises that take up our time, others NEED us, we trick ourselves into thinking others NEED us when they really don't. The list goes on and on. What if my father had chosen to believe these excuses? I am not so sure I would have been given the great life lessons of hard work, passion, and persistence he so eloquently communicated to his loved ones. I am not saying he did not work, but I am saying that after looooonnnnnggg days of working (at times up to four jobs), he still found time to BE with his family. I am grateful for that. You see, my father did not have the chance to take me on vacation for a bike ride on the beach as the picture above depicts. I get it... I am privileged to be able to take that ride with my son. However, when the going gets tough, the pressure starts to mount, the deadlines begin to come into sight; I need to remember what my own father did for me: he put all of the work minutia aside and spent time investing into family. This is perhaps what my father did best! Therefore, this next year, I encourage you to lead: to lead others, and to lead your family. And, in order to lead, you have to be present. I encourage you to leave work early some days. I encourage you to take a risk from time to time and let your boss know why: the reason being to spend more time with family. Who knows? Perhaps you will speak into the lives of the workaholics you work alongside. You could change a work culture by living a life bigger than yourself. So... next time you have a conflict between work and family, choose family. Put down the cellphone, turn off your computer, delay your plans and just BE.