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My Father’s “Why” – Integrity, business and fathers

Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

This is the story of a passionate man. Passionate about work, family and life. What drove this passion? His clear purpose to avenge his father and be a great dad.

This is the story of my father and the events that made him the man he was and me the person that I am.

Born in 1918, he would have been 100 years old this November.

My father was a protector. Probably because of what was once taken from his family. You see, he was very close with his own father, Henri, who tragically passed away when my father

was just 17.

Henri was an entrepreneur with integrity and passion. Peladeau Lumber was his business.

In the 1920’s, when hardly anyone was travelling abroad, Henri imported the latest technology – a machine to make his business run faster and better. He was very avant-garde, always staying one step ahead. Nothing could stop him. At a time when business was monopolized by the English, my French-Canadian grandfather stormed the gates of entrepreneurship in Quebec.

And he made his mark. He went to mass every night, had a golden tongue, lived with integrity and suffered one fatal flaw – that he believed everyone else was honorable, like him.

My grandmother tried to warn him with the wise words, “There are no friends in business.” Sadly, she was right.

My grandfather did business with two people he believed to be friends. People he believed lived with integrity, spoke the truth and were honorable. They were not. And he lost everything as a result.

Shortly after that devastating loss, he died of throat cancer.

My father suffered greatly from the loss of his father, a man he admired, respected and considered his “buddy”.

Henri was generous to a fault, happy to treat the neighborhood children to ice cream while his wife waited anxiously at home for the groceries he had been sent out to buy. In the eyes of my father, Henri was everything he wanted to be. A good person, a good father and a good businessman

When Henri died, many of his so-called “friends” disappeared. When my grandfather had been a rich and healthy man, the family was very popular. When he lost his company and was diagnosed with cancer, it was as if people thought his downfall was contagious. A whole community disappeared.

Sadly, cancer and poverty bring the best and the worst in people.

That experience became the foundation of my father’s character. He became very careful about who he associated with and never granted time to superficial people.

He once said to me, “The most beautiful inheritance is to receive nothing because it gives you the motivation to want to get back what you lost.”

The house in Outremont, the cottage on the waterfront in St-Eustache, the business, his name. My grandfather lost everything except for the love and admiration of his son.

My father started his revenge plan young and followed in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps. He went to war and, during his stay in England, studied to be an accountant in order to understand figures and ensure nobody ever played him. Then he took a long distance course to learn everything about lumber (this was long before the internet!).

He started work at a leading lumber company, working his way up the ladder to become vice president. Working almost day and night, he ended up in the hospital after suffering a heart attack. When the doctors ordered him to rest, he decided it was the perfect time to open his own business. Against, of course, the advice of the doctor and my mother!

My father’s priority was to put his plan into action; to build his new company from scratch and reclaim his father’s honor. He made a name for himself in the lumber industry and his business thrived because it was built on solid values.

When he turned 86 years old, after living a good life and achieving his purpose, my father left to join his father. But his company continues after more than 60 years, thriving on the same values of commitment and, above all, integrity.

My father’s “why” was to build a company and a life that would have filled his father with pride, as much in family, as in business, as in life.

He wanted more than anything in the world to finish his father’s work of being a great dad and building a great business, both based on solid grounds.

100 years after his birth, the legacy lives on. His why, his purpose, is in Bois Peladeau and in my family’s household. His business partner is now 88 years old and still goes to work everyday because he enjoys what he built with my father so much and now continues to build the future with his son.

In my own business, I keep the legacy strong as well, surrounding myself with people like him and searching out only clients, partners, suppliers and friends with integrity and authenticity. My father was often described as the lion of the family, and I have even infused that into my business. Lions resonate with courage and integrity – the cornerstones of Lionzest. To live with integrity is my grandfather’s inheritance and it is the best inheritance!

Aside from always living with integrity, the greatest lesson my father and grandfather taught me is that a successful business starts with understanding your “why”. Your passion, your purpose is what drives you forward and empowers you to connect with your audience.

This is why, before each video (since the camera does not lie) I ask my clients to be fiercely authentic. That authenticity is what I find most attractive in business and in life, and it’s what resonates with your customers.

What is your “why”? Don’t worry if you’re not clear on it. That’s where I come in. Contact me today. Together, we’ll uncover your “why” and make you shine!

Thank you, Dad. Thank you, Grandfather. Happy Father’s Day, wherever you are!


 

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