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Lessons Learned From Being Rejected By My Dad


It was a cold, wintry night in mid-December 1983.  I’d just spent the evening with my biological father.  He pulled his truck into the driveway at my house in Princeton to drop me off.

Knowing I wouldn’t see him again before Christmas (because my parents had divorced earlier that year), I proudly handed him a crudely wrapped present – the best an eight-year-old could do.

It was a picture holder made of glass shaped in the letters spelling “DAD.”

But when I tried to give it to him, he refused to take it.  “It’s not Christmas yet,” he said.

Devastated, I ran into the house bawling.

That night marked the last time my dad ever contacted me for ten years.  No phone calls, no visits, no birthday cards, no Christmas presents.  Nothing. 

I never realized how that one moment of rejection would greatly affect many areas of life throughout the years.  Yes, even still today.

I’ve recently given more consideration to the events of that night thirty-three years ago.  As I’ve thought about it, I see how my biological dad’s rejection has helped shape the way I operate my business, Calibre Computer Solutions.

The biggest positive effect I believe it has had is that it has strengthened my desire to provide top-notch service.  I strive for all our work to be the best we can possibly do. 

It really bothers me when I encounter issues during a repair or have to provide not-so-great news to a client.

I suppose you could say my dad’s rejection has turned me into a “people-pleaser” of sorts.  But if that means truly caring and doing my best, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I frequently make sacrifices for my clients.  Many of those are behind the scenes that no one realizes.  Sometimes it’s not charging for a remote support session when a client calls with a quick computer question.  

More often it’s my getting to the office really early or working late into the night to finish up a repair so the client can get their computer back before it was promised it would be ready.

I took the rejection and transformed it into a hard (maybe at times unhealthy) work ethic.

Rejection, though, also has negative effects.  For me, it’s caused me to take things too personally many times. 

I always try to provide advice, service and recommendations I know would be in the best interest for each of my clients.  I refuse to provide a band-aid solution just to get a quick fix or make a quick buck.

But when someone ignores my guidance, it really bothers me.  I know everyone must make their own decisions, but I can’t help but feel rejected when I know my suggestion would solve their problem yet they don’t follow it.

This is an area I continue to work on.  To follow the advice of the song from the Disney film Frozen, “Let it go!”

Personal development guru Tony Robbins sums it up perfectly, “Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.”

I’ve chosen to do the latter.