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Dad’s Day Lessons: Grit, Passion & Determination Are Essence of Success

#FatherKnowsBest

My father was a determined and successful entrepreneur. I learned this first hand watching him invent new products, close big deals, and build multiple companies that customers and employees loved. I recall my father’s passion when talking about his business. He would light up. Growing up in an environment where an idea was turned into a product which was turned into happy customers surrounded by happy employees was exhilarating.

Although no one thing inspired me to become an entrepreneur, my father’s influence is certainly present. Most importantly, I have found that the exposure to entrepreneurship that he provided me greatly lessened the fear of starting a new business.

And while I may have taken it for granted in the day-to-day goings of the business, grit and determination were unmistakable parts of my father’s personality, and these were qualities that I learned to appreciate as I recall his success in the business world and in his personal life.  

One of Dad’s gifts was his musicianship. As a kid, I grew up listening to my dad play beautiful thought provoking Jazz piano. It hadn’t struck me that he had a disability and somehow had overcome it. You see, my dad was born with only six fingers. Hard to play 88 keys with six when most can’t play it with 10. In fact, when he first wanted to play piano, no one would teach him. So instead he learned trumpet.

Eventually though, he really wanted to play piano. So, for his 16th birthday he asked his parents for a piano and he taught himself in one summer. He spent countless hours at the piano that summer. So much that at times his fingers bled. It was his grit that enabled him to figure out how to make his disability an asset. That summer he created a new style of jazz that I have never heard repeated. He leveraged the pedals so he could use all 88 keys, and boy did he ever. When I listen to his music, every note counts and you hear it.

Piano

From my father playing the music for the family, I learned to love jazz. My dad appreciated the music for its creativity. Ultimately, jazz is all about structure supporting the creative process, which I learned is much like business.

In small and large ways, my father continues to influence my work. One way I remember him is through a gold pen of his from the early 70s. It was one of the first things my mother bought him when they started doing well. I use that pen to sign big deals and letters to my employees. It’s comforting to know that Dad used it for the same thing.

Whenever I doubt or question if I will be able to do what I need to do to make my business successful, I think of my dad and the lessons he taught me. I think of the importance of determination, persistence and grit in achieving great accomplishments. These were lessons he taught not with words, but actions and it is those lessons that remind me each and every day to make sure every note counts.

While my dad passed away nine years ago, his lessons keep on teaching, and I am SO grateful for him. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Rene & Dad

Bill.com wants to celebrate all the incredible dads out there. Tweet @billcom using the hashtag #FatherKnowsBest to share your stories with us!

June 15, 2018
René Lacerte
CEO and Founder, Bill.com
René founded Bill.com in 2006, bringing with him more than 20 years experience in the finance, software and payments industries. He is a fourth generation entrepreneur and holds a MS in Industrial Engineering and a BS in Quantitative Economics from Stanford University.