The only limiting factor we have in our growth and ongoing development is the six inches (15 centimeters) between our ears.
We are a work in progress. And, we are each personally responsible for our ongoing growth and development – no one else is going to do it for you. Those of you that know me or follow my writings, know that I am always saying that we should ALWAYS be reading something, watching TED Talks, working with a mentor or coach and hanging out with people that push you.
As a parent though, I discovered sources of learning, growth and development that few people recognize… our children. Here’s what I have learned from my two amazing kids (now equally amazing adults), over the years:
I learned focus. Babies are very focused. They are 100% consumed by eating, pooping and sleeping. My kids taught me that life is bigger than myself and that their needs took precedence over mine. I also learned how to multi-task on very little sleep.
I learned about purpose. A two-year old will ask, on average, 27 questions per hour. Most of those 27 questions will start with the word “Why?” Our brains all think and respond the same way. We all think through anything in the following steps… ‘Why, What and How’ in that order. As we grow older, we start to think higher level thoughts and then communicate with ‘What and How’; however, we leave out ‘Why.’ That’s not your fault as the part of your brain that controls your ‘What’ thinking is also your language center. The learning here though is that your audience thinks ‘Why, What, and How.’ In order to connect better and more clearly with others that you are leading, force yourself to start with ‘Why.’
I learned about acceptance, curiosity and play. Kindergarten aged children have not learned to judge others. They don’t care about the color of your skin, your religion, whether you’re tall, short, handicapped, skinny or overweight. They just don’t care. They have no ego. They see everyone as someone to connect with. You are part of their tribe. Unconditionally. As we grow older, our egos develop in order to protect us from others that could impact our psychological safety or status. It is our ego that becomes scared of people that are different, so we surround ourselves with people like us. Our tribe becomes very limited and so does our thinking.
I learned to listen. Teenagers are bombarded with information through easy access to information via technology. As a result, they are growing up in a world that is more confusing and complicated than ever before. They start to view their parents more as a source of finance than guidance. They stop sharing with their parents. Occasionally though, they will come to you and start talking. Leadership response… shut-up and listen. The number one leadership to learn and the hardest for most to master is to just listen.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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