Some of the greatest lessons in life don’t come from books, they come from experience and when we transition into whole new roles in life. Being a parent opened a world of education for me and taught me things none of the best sellers in the business category would have ever taught me.
In this article, I’m going to share the top ten lessons my kids have taught me about business. They’ve been eye openers for me and enhanced my maturity and forward thinking more than textbooks ever would have.
1. Nip it in the Bud.
- It is easier to call things out calmly and early.
- It is not kind to yourself or others to let things build and explode. They catch you off-guard, hurt you and make you look crazy.
- Tell the truth early and often. It builds courage in the truth teller, trustworthiness in the listener, and stronger connections in the long run.
2. When they are six, worry about six…not sixteen.
You’ll be mostly ready by the time they are sixteen, because you would have already had a 15, 14, 13, 12 year old and all the other ages in between. Attend to the things you need to attend to now. Take one step at a time every day. Don’t try to solve problems that don’t yet exist.
3. Be a Guide and Support, not a Problem Solver
It is not my job to solve their problems, but instead to guide them and support them. The greatest role as a parent I must play is to empower them and nurture their confidence in solving their own problems.
Apply this to your team members, peers, clients, friends, parents, and spouses too.
4. Always smile when they enter the room.
Teach people that you are glad they exist and that they are a wonderful addition to your life. Create a smiling habit to express your joy and the joy of others. Never stop being an encourager and especially never let your own concern for yourself importance or appearance prevent you from smiling and encouraging others.
5. Don’t confuse outcomes with identity
Bad behavior is simply a behavior problem but it does not determine the worth of a person. Poor results are lagging indicators of actions and efforts—not an indication that someone is not good enough. Address behavior problems if you must, but do not fail to celebrate their value.
6. Mistakes are great teachers.
You steal growth, understanding, strength, experience and resilience from people when you prevent mistakes or prevent the consequences of mistakes. A three-year-old may keep reaching for the stove despite your scolding, but they won’t ever do it again after they give themselves a burn.
A seventeen-year-old will learn a lot of lessons after dealing with the embarrassment and having to work to pay for damaging someone’s car; unless one doesn’t ask them to be a part of the resolution. The same goes for adults.
7. Be present
Everything you want and everything you will someday regret is right in front of you. Engage, listen, give, pay attention, notice your surroundings, feel your senses, feel your emotions, and love other people through your gift of attention. This gift will save your life and help you realize your own potential.
8. You can’t want something for someone else
Even if your high school junior is an outstanding ballplayer and is getting private tryout invitations to colleges, nothing can make him want it if he doesn’t. You can’t teach someone to be hungry or motivate them to want something that isn’t aligned with the strengths they value in themselves.
9. Training takes time, repetition, encouragement, and accountability
You wouldn’t give up on a potty training toddler, because eventually, you’ll have a pants-wetting twenty-year-old on your hands. You wouldn’t hand the keys to a fifteen-year-old after just telling him to steer straight and push the left pedal to stop. Why are we doing this to our team members? Teach, write it down, explain what good looks like, show them what done looks like, give deadlines, check in, train again, course correct, and give feedback until they’ve got it.
10. Enjoy the journey
There is no hero without a battle. There is no happy ending without a saga. We don’t go to the movies and skip to the last five boring minutes. Why are we trying to hit fast-forward on our lives?
11. You can’t learn lessons before you learn them
Give grace to yourself and others; find the patience necessary to allow for the journey of improvement, growth, and epiphanies.
12. LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT FOR YOUR KIDS!!!
What are the things you are doing and allowing in your life that would break your heart if your kids had to deal with them?
13. Start now
Just like when we ask our kids to do their chores, we mean right now, not someday. So, what are you waiting for?