Get up, dress up, show up…
Our family holds Sunday Night Dinner every week. Being Italian and Catholic, this ritual is one that can be found in many families across the country. We have been lucky enough to have an Irish neighbor join our family in this custom for over a decade. We lost the patriarch, Judge Timothy O’Leary, a little over a year ago at the age of 91. Judge O’Leary lived an amazing life. He served in Korea, was married for 58 years and raised six children. He became a lawyer by attending night school, served 20 years as a judge in the Sixteenth Circuit Court and finished his career in private practice for another 30 years.
Judge had much to say about how to live the good life. My favorite prescription from Judge remains, “Get up, dress up and show up.” This man always rose early, looked like a million dollars and was there for his friends, family, and clients. As we start the New Year and become resolute on making change for the better, I thought I’d expand on how these three suggestions can help each of us live a life like the Judge.
An early rise routine is a signal to your ego that it isn’t in charge of your day. If this isn’t the most significant micro-conflict in the universe, I’m not sure what is. Did you answer the bell that you set for yourself the night before? Or did you smash the snooze button because… [insert one of the innumerable excuses available to one as a human]? This will sound judgmental…and it is. If we had good data on alarm snoozers, the correlation between snoozing and achievement would be severely negative. Have you ever said to yourself at the end of a productive day, “I’m so glad I hit snooze this morning?” Me neither. Get up and….
Judge was the best-dressed man I’ve ever met. He looked like he could be headed to court or mass anytime I ran into him. I’ve noticed (more judgments) that men in every generation are paying less attention to their dress. Some industries seemingly ignore traditional dress codes on purpose. Belts for men appear to be headed the way of the do-do bird while there is an entire brand of shirts manufactured to ensure this occurs. I had a virtual meeting with a vendor recently where a gentleman wore a robe. That’s correct, a robe.
One of my favorite quotes from the late Karl Lagerfeld is, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants.” I bet Judge and Karl have plenty to talk about upstairs. My ignorance of dress customs for women has wisely kept my remarks pointed toward the male gender. In either case, consider keeping things a little tighter in the new year. Pay attention to how it makes you feel when you…
There are two important aspects to showing up. The first is arriving where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to arrive. In our family, this is referred to as the “no-flake” rule. We have become a society where it is acceptable to cancel plans at the last minute or to arrive at a time convenient for the guest. Not if you are going to be my guest again (final judgment). More importantly, the second aspect of showing up is to be present when you do arrive on time. Judge never missed the smallest nuance of our Sunday Dinner conversations. While this could have been a result of his legal training, it felt more like he was locked in on the present moment. Don’t bother being a host or a guest if you can’t focus on the company gathered. Sunday dinner, business meeting, happy hour, funeral. Show up.
I have truly missed our Sunday Dinners with Judge O’Leary over the last year. While many of his philosophies might be considered conservative by today’s standards, I know he died a very accomplished and happy man . Heraclitus once said, “Character is destiny.” Judge was destined to be successful as his character was unmatched; developed by the simple worldview outlined above. May you be so lucky to find a Judge O’Leary in 2022.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.