Lessons and Advice from Dad

Chris Lewis and Mike Spears, co-managing principals of Lee & Associates – Houston, shared lessons from their dad and advice for their children this Father’s Day.


Chris Lewis: 

Q: What was your dad’s profession and for how many years?

A: My dad has been in commercial real estate for more than 50 years.

Q: Best piece of advice your father ever gave you?

A: Never give up; show up early and overprepare.

Q: Was there a saying from your dad that sticks with you today?

A: You'll never get a group to agree on anything on the forefront of the problem. Resolve the problem yourself and then take them the solution. Then, they'll agree.

Q: Funniest business story?

A: There are many... and most about growing a brokerage company. One that sticks out is the story of 'perception' in building a brokerage company. That is, when you are small, you want to look big... Or having the janitorial company come vacuum so it looks like you are working late. Or driving a suburban on top of the future Beltway 8 to look like you building it.

Q: What is the one thing you hope your kids take away from you as a business professional?

A: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals that believe in the same end goal, and anything is possible.

Q: What's the best piece of advice you could give your son/daughter?

A: Find your purpose and make a difference. Make sure what you do each day is worthwhile.


Mike Spears:

Q: What was your dad’s profession and for how many years?

A: My dad was an electrical engineer.

Q: What memory with your dad do you think about often?

A: My dad taught me the value of preparation. In high school, I was working on a speech I was going to give and it was, at that time, terrible (I was fine with it being bad, I just wanted to get it over with). My dad made me practice it over and over until I got it right. I ultimately won the speech competition. The moral of the story is, if you’re going to do something, prepare and do your best.

Also, it is always better to do it right the first time. Your reputation is a fragile thing and can be harmed by a simple mistake (despite however many success stories you have). He used to say that “one ‘awe shoot’ can wipe out a thousand ‘attaboys,’” meaning that it only takes a single mistake to ruin all the good things you did. I have always taken that one to heart.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice for Luke and Emily?

A: I try to instill the same principles my dad did with me, but I have boy/girl twin teenagers which means I’m constantly throwing unsolicited advice their way. For my son, Luke, I encourage him to always get out of his comfort zone and take on tasks or jobs you normally wouldn’t. There could be something to learn. For my daughter, Emily, I always tell her to never let anyone tell you you’re not capable. No one is allowed to dictate your success, and more importantly, your own happiness, but you.

Q: What is the one thing you hope your kids take away from you as a business professional?

A: The importance of keeping your commitments to your family. There have been many times I’ve had to get to work early or stay up late to handle business, in order to ensure that I was able to spend time with them and/or attend their various activities. I hope they see that we don’t have to make sacrifices if you are willing/able to adjust your schedule. As a family, it is critically important for all of us to support each other at all times.


What lessons or advice has your dad given you? As we celebrate Father's Day, take a few moments to reflect and celebrate those father figures in your life. 


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