Just Do What Has to Be Done

Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

—Mark Twain

by Darren Hardy, April 9, 2013

My dad would have been 66 years old yesterday. I lost him to bone cancer seven months ago. In his eulogy I passed forward the half-dozen philosophies he taught me that shaped me into the man I am today, in the hope they might benefit those in attendance.

what has to be done

Darren Hardy in his father’s arms

In honor and celebration of his birthday I’d like to pass one of those philosophies forward to you. This one saved my life… and defined my life.

You might know that my parents divorced when I was only 18 months old. My mother never really wanted to be a mother (she got angry when she found out she was pregnant with me), so when they split up, she cheerfully handed me over to my dad.

My dad didn’t know what to do with me either. He was only 23 years old when I was born. He had just moved from his hometown, in the San Francisco Bay Area, to what seemed like the middle of nowhere in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

There we were, out there all alone.   

When this all came down, my dad’s mother (my grandmother) insisted that he ship me home to her. He said no. So she got on a plane and showed up on his front doorstep, further insisting. This was a dramatic act, because she was scared to death to fly, had never been on a plane before and probably never flew again thereafter.

He once again said no, which was hard for him because his mother ruled his world. He always did what she insisted. Not this time. He told her he was committed to do what he had to do.

We then moved to Hawaii, where my dad was the football coach for the University of Hawaii. A year later his mother died suddenly of a heart attack. His father was not dealing with it well and he feared for his life. My dad left his coaching position and moved us back to the Bay Area and in with my grandfather.

My dad now had to look for another job. There were not many coaching jobs to be had. Many months went by and the situation was getting dire. Finally a head-coaching job (a dream job for my dad) opened up at Olympic College in Washington. There were three guys in the running. The other two were more qualified than my dad, but he out-hustled and out-charmed them.

The day finally came for a decision, and the phone rang. It was the chancellor of the college and he had the entire board of 40 people in the room with him. With lots of hoopla they announced that my dad was being awarded the position as the new head football coach of Olympic College. My dad replied that he would need to call them back; he needed to talk with his father first. The chancellor said they would all stay in the room and wait while he did so.

By that time my grandfather was not doing well over the loss of my grandmother. He was drinking during the day, which he never did, and was going to bed with his clothes still on and showing up to work in them the next day.

When my dad told his father about the job offer in Washington, my grandfather’s eyes welled up with tears and he said,

“Just do what you have to do, son.”

My dad picked up the phone and called back the chancellor. He said,

“I have to decline your offer. I have to take care of my dad.”

There was dead silence for five seconds or more. Then one person in a distant part of the room clapped. Then the room erupted in applause. He hung the phone up and never looked back.

Today I applaud my dad one more time. Because when it came down to it, he just did what had to be done.

And because he did I have the life I have today. And because he did I hope that maybe today, yesterday or tomorrow I can have an impact on your life in some way. If that happens, then my dad lives on.

Happy birthday, Daddy.

Darren Hardy is Publisher & Founding Editor of Success Magazine. I met Darren last year through my friend, Harvey Mackay. Darren made a presentation to our group that was one of the best I’ve heard. I love the CD that comes packaged with Success Magazine each month…I listen while I’m working out. —Greg Hague

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