Empowerment Series: Jerrad Burford
Jerrad Burford is the definition of perseverance. Growing up in Modesto, my dad developed his incredible work ethic by working on his family’s farm. His childhood was filled with picking up leftover almonds that the almond machine would not collect, delivering wood to neighbors, taking care of the ranch’s animals, helping open valves at 3am for the irrigation water to successfully pass through, and many other farm related tasks. When my dad got older, he started to work at the Hershey’s plant near his home. Here, my dad became highly determined to get a college education so he would not have to be reliant on factory work his whole life. With his goals in mind, my dad moved to Santa Barbara after graduating college and became the youngest person working at his Merrill Lynch office.
Fast forward 25 years later, my dad has become one of the most successful and trusted financial advisors in his business, writes screenplays full-time, exercises avidly and volunteers by feeding the homeless. He is hands down the best father anyone could have. This man has shown the world time and time again that hard work truly does pay off.
When I asked my dad how he has stayed motivated his whole life he responded with goal setting. Since a very young age, my dad has always been extremely goal oriented. As soon as he wakes up, he assesses where he is and how he can move the needle forward to be able to accomplish all the things he aspires to do. I think having that “self check-in” each day is crucial to being successful in life. It keeps you on track and in tune with what you want to do.
On top of being the hardest worker I know, my dad holds one of the best outlooks on life that you could have. He is an optimist at heart and believes that life is about how you react to the circumstances that come your way, not by what happens to you. When I asked my dad how he developed this train of thought, he said it was due to growing up on a farm where you had to be an optimist. With so many uncontrollable factors that determined whether or not a crop would be good each year, you really had to look on the brighter side in order to be successful. In life, there are only so many things that you personally have control over. Having a positive outlook reduces the amount of negative thinking and worries that may come your way by the things you can’t control.
Lastly, my dad has demonstrated that it is never too late to follow your dreams. My dad has always loved storytelling and writing. While he was establishing his success at Morgan Stanley, my dad began to write full-time as soon as he got home. What started out as him writing novels, turned into him creating over 10 screenplays, having countless short stories published and being a semifinalist (in the top 20 scripts of 8,000) in the Austin Film Festival. AND HE IS STILL GOING! He continues to write everyday because he will never stop chasing his dreams.
Like my mom, my dad is my biggest supporter. Seeing him live out his dreams everyday makes me want to continue to improve myself and never stop doing what I love. Thank you dad for being the most inspiring individual I know and showing me that hard work does pay off. Thank you for encouraging me to create my blog and to always reach past the stars. I think we can all agree that Jerrad Burford is truly an incredible person. If we can all learn to incorporate his work ethic into our daily lives and to constantly pursue our dreams, I know the world would be a more productive, creative, and cheerful place to live in.