“You are judged by the company you keep.” That’s a quote from my father, heard many times over the course of my life. The words became ingrained at a young age, as he attempted to steer me on the straight and narrow when concerns formed about my questionable talent recognition in friends and acquaintances in my early days.

My dad, Walter Carlson, was a child of the streets, tough upbringing. Phenomenal judge of character, both expedient and accurate. Laid back yet scrappy. Relaxed and calm under pressure. Focused.

He was a Parent, Mentor, Business Partner, Friend. Not necessarily in that order.

Walter Carlson had exceptional people skills. My wife, Colleen, and he were like peas in a pod from the time they first met right up until his passing in September of 2013. I knew I had chosen well with Colleen. With my dad I won the “ovarian lottery”, according to Warren Buffett.

#BestAdvice: “Solve the problem. What is the potential worst outcome of the proposed action? It is worth a try. If it doesn’t work, we learn and try again with a different, yet more educated mindset. Learn.”

” Manage risk. Confidence is not cockiness. Be not afraid. Make a difference.”

This is my lifetime of take-aways from my dad:

  • Aim high – Set the bar for achievement, not contentment.
  • Ship – Listening to the marketplace will help define your product.
  • Stay Positive – Mindset is everything; say no to negative influencers.
  • Mentors/Mentees – They come to you; be open to help, and be helped.
  • Friends vs. Acquaintances – There is a difference to be understood.
  • Work: Employment, Vendors, Clients, Staff – Periodically evaluate your “Company” kept, adjust as needed.
  • Discover your passion(s) – It is from passion that energy flows.
  • Redirect when necessary – Recharge.
  • Learn.

What does the company you are keeping look like – to you? To the rest of the world? To those that you are attempting to impress? To those that you love, and love you back?

Judge yourself, you are in control of the answers… Is your company keeping you?