Some of my best memories with my dad involve late-night food runs, just the two of us. Having that one-on-one time with him, even if it was just over a little meal, was special. Sometimes it was just because he saw a taco bell commercial, and other times it was a chance for spontaneous father-daughter time.

Once in high school he brought me to Perkins at midnight, because he knew I was upset over a boy. And he gave me the best advice, reminding me that it was better to have a bunch of guy friends instead, because there’s no one to be jealous if you have other guy friends. Of course that advice simultaneously accomplished his fatherly duty of encouraging me not to date until I was at least 25 (sometimes it was 40). But through these late night talks and 18 years under his roof, I have learned so much from my dad.

Here are just a few of the many lessons I have learned from him:

1. Have confidence. 

Growing up I always envied my dad’s confidence. When he walked into a room, he walked in like he owned the place–and not in an arrogant overly-self assured way. He is the kind of person that can talk to anyone, no matter the situation, and 99% of the time he is making them laugh. I knew at a young age that I wanted to be like that, and I continually aspire to be as charismatic as he is.

2. Be outgoing. 

My dad taught me to have a firm handshake. He said first impressions mean a lot, and a handshake can say a lot about a person. This one goes hand-in-hand with having confidence, because if you think about it being outgoing is really showing others that you have the confidence to engage with them and really communicate. He also taught me leadership through this, which has taken me a long way already.

3. It’s okay to be silly.

As a kid I always thought it was embarrassing that my dad was so silly around my friends and when we were in public. But he always managed to make people laugh, and even friends that only met my dad one time would tell me how funny he was.

4. Do not care about what other people think.

Caring about other people think limits you. If you are constantly worried about what other people think, you aren’t being yourself. So if my dad wants to act like he’s five or talk in an accent that doesn’t actually exist for a while, I’m going to support him. What’s that one quote, the people that matter won’t mind, and the people that mind don’t matter? It’s true.

5. Find humor in every situation.

Sometimes it frustrates me when I feel like he isn’t taking something seriously or tries to make a joke out of everything. But one of my goals for this year has been to stop taking life so seriously. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and being able to find humor in any situation makes the hard times a little easier.

6. Hard work produces results. 

My dad has one of the best work ethics I have ever seen. He is one of the best in his field, and I can see why. Very few people have the dedication and commitment to work as hard as my dad does. It is part of what makes him the best. He knows what it takes to be a successful businessman, and he has the personality to make things happen. Every once in a while, I hope he remembers that it is okay to take a break, and not stress so much about how business is going.

7. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like so that you can do things you do like.

Whenever I am frustrated with a job or school, he reminds me that I am doing this now so that I don’t have to do it later. He taught me to be ambitious and have big dreams. But even at your dream job, you are not going to like every second of what you are doing. So he showed me how special the times you are doing what you enjoy can be when you put in the work to make those times possible.

Well, here I am a little teary eyed in a Starbucks by one of the most beautiful places in Madison, because I miss my dad. I needed to go away for college–it has been good for me. But sometimes I can’t help but stop and think about how much I miss our talks or when we watch movies together.

And Dad, I know you urged me to pursue a career in science, but don’t forget you sparked my love for movies and television. Maybe one day one of the many shows you DVR will be something I worked on. I promise to take everything you have taught me with me wherever I end up and in whatever I end up doing with my life. More than anything, I want you to know how grateful I am for everything you do, and how lucky I am to be your daughter. I love you, Padre.

Happy Father’s Day!