Next month would have been my Grandad’s 95th Birthday. It is safe to say he was an incredible man. I knew him for 32 years and I was fortunate enough to spend most days with him for the last few months before he passed. Our chats were endless (even if some of them were over Bingo or listening to ‘Hello Dolly’). He came from such a different era to the one we are in now and he taught me a lot of things (including how to shoot peanuts out of my nose as a kid – gross right!). Looking back, here are the top 6 things I learnt from him.

#1 Work hard, always

My grandad was the longest standing employee to have worked for the same organisation. He was recognised for it in the Courier Mail as he worked for the company from 13 years of age until he was 86. That’s 75 years working for one employer. He was an extremely hard worker and never retired until his health forced him too. In his eyes, being employed and having stable income was a privilege. His mantra was ‘A hard days work never killed anyone” and if you are going to do something do it well not ‘half arsed’ as he would call it.

#2 Family first and love your partner

In life, nothing else mattered or was ever more important than family. This was his golden rule and he was the epitome of a family man. He held our family together through some of the toughest times. He loved his wife, even though things weren’t always perfect. They were together since they were 17 and married from 21 – 77 years together.

#3 Travel and travel often

See the world he used to say to all of us. Save your pennies and go and experience all the countries you can. Every year he would take his wife and kids overseas even when they all grew up. A family cruise and a trip to Vanuatu or Fiji was a ritual and something he would always look forward to.

#4 Be kind and stay modest

Grandad had zero ego. He was extremely humble even though he was a successful business man. He would always tell us; be kind, say please and thank you. Show respect and treat others how you would like to be treated. Think before you speak (This took me a bit to learn!). And he always used to tell us all to respect our teachers.

#5 Live Simply

One thing he never quite understood was how complicated life can be these days. I often find myself overcomplicating things and I often get bored when things feel status quo or when I’m not hustling towards a goal. He had such a perplexed look on his face when one night we were discussing things like social media, uber eats and online dating apps. In his eyes, the simple life was a good life. He was about waking up every morning to weetbix and stewed apple with his wife, taking his lunch in a brown paper bag and working all day, to come home to a home cooked meal of steak and veggies and a cold can of XXXX Gold.

#6 Be Independent

I’ve always said that my independence has come from my mum, who learnt it from Grandad. He raised all his children to see independence as important. Pay your own bills, learn to fend for yourself and see importance of being your own person.

Grandparents come from a great generation and there is a lot to be learned from them. They are a goldmine of insight and knowledge. Listen to their stories and appreciate them always.

Mikahla Smith
Executive Consultant – Group Solutions

Mikahla’s role as Executive Consultant, Group Solutions encompasses three main avenues of Optimum Consulting’s business including Talent Acquisition and Advisory, HR Consulting and Employee Engagement and End to End Recruitment including Key Account Management. She provides these services to a broad range of industry sectors and clients (From large publicly listed businesses to numerous SME’S) and works closely with our specialist team to help her clients not only attract the right staff, but also retain, engage and develop those staff.

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