Picking up the Nails

drawing of a parking space with a nail

I remember walking through the parking lot at my dad’s business when I was a kid. We were walking from one building to the other when he bent down and picked up a nail. He said whenever you see a nail or a screw in the parking lot, you pick it up because that just might save us or an employee from getting a flat tire.

As life lessons go, it wasn’t anything that would seem particularly memorable. Simply a spur of the moment narration from my dad of what he was doing and why. But it stuck with me and as an adult, every time I’ve seen a nail in the parking lot of my business, I’ve picked it up.

My dad died a year ago. At the time, he knew I was ready to sell my business, but I hadn’t begun the process yet. He would have enjoyed hearing about it. He and my mom kept their business in the family by passing it along to my sister, so selling a company wasn’t an experience they had gone through.

Last month I sold my business in two transactions with two buyers. We closed on the sale of the e-commerce portion of our business on December 16th and closed on the wholesale side of the business on December 30th.

Both days, after closing conditions were met and it was official, I went for a walk. Both days I happened to find a nail in the parking lot. Of course, I picked it up, thinking about my dad and the many things I’ve learned from him, big and small.

He wasn’t here in person to share the experience of selling my business, but he was along for the ride in spirit.

It makes me wonder what little interactions Ava and I are having that she’ll be thinking about after I’m gone.

- Matt

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