Have your children taught you anything you could be using in your work lately? As an entrepreneur with two boys aged 13 and 10, I have had to teach my kids many things. They have learned to walk and talk and the list goes on. Having time to balance client work and the lessons inside the Radical Joy Seeking Women’s Club with the two boys being home for the summer is a blessing.
My kids have strong personalities, and despite the fact that I wish their listening skills would improve. I can recognize that some of the character traits that cause me the most difficulty will serve them well in life. In all honesty, I’ve probably learned as much from them as they have learned from me. So let’s all take a page from their book.
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”
Can lessons learned from kids help us in the workplace?
One of the first things I’ve learned is that kids are stubborn! If you’ve ever tried to tell a teenager they are ready for bed, you know what I’m talking about. They can barely keep their eyes open but they are fighting tooth and nail to stay awake. When they are learning something new, kids will fall down hundreds of times undeterred.
Certain professions deal with rejection on a daily basis, you need to have that dogged level of determination to get the job done. Could you imagine a salesperson that gave up every time someone said no? Entrepreneurs often speak of how they had numerous failed ventures prior to finding success. Persistence is key. As adults we tend to quit or give up on things because we find them too difficult. Perhaps if we followed the example of young kids we could get more accomplished in our personal and professional lives.
One of my favourite things about my sons is their confidence. My oldest son went to a friends cottage a few weeks ago and was determined to swim on his own from the island back to the cottage. I was told that he said he was an “olympic swimmer” and could do it no problem. The funny thing is a warned the parent before hand that he can be an overly confident swimmer, so when she told me that is what he said, I just smiled.
Could you imagine having that level of self-confidence? Think of what you could accomplish. Presentations would be a breeze and you would ace job interviews time and again. Too often we stymie ourselves with negative thoughts and crippling self-doubt. Have you heard of Imposter Syndrome? I teach a workshop called 5 Consequences for Self Doubt and the Strategies to Overcome them provides. A great solution for:
• Self-Handicapping your Leadership Development
• Identifying your Impostor Syndrome and when it shows up
• Reducing your procrastination
• Learning about defensive pessimism and subjective over achievement
• Increasing your strategies to overcome your self-doubt
As a result of attending the workshop participants will gain the information they need and learn how to:
✓ Embrace failure and look for positive outcomes
✓ Identify when ruminating shows up and implement strategies to overcome this tendency
✓ Improve their ability to practice self-compassion and bring this to others.
Remember your inner child; it’s OK to look foolish sometimes. Taking yourself too seriously tends to add to our stress and make things worse. Just hold your head high and go for it! Remember if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect people to believe in you?
I am offering a free resource for female entrepreneurs and leaders looking to unleash strengths and maximize performance; an email series on Avoiding the Mistakes in the Whirlwind of Your Business.
The truthful nature of children is another attribute that we should look to emulate. Often times a child’s honesty can produce funny and sometimes uncomfortable results. While being honest to a fault might not always be the way to go. There is something to be said about telling the truth. Too many of us spend the day dealing in half-truths and white lies. When asked a question answer truthfully and respectfully. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion, the world doesn’t need another yes man. The truth of the matter is, honesty is the best policy and people will respect you for it.
When it comes to people, kids and adults alike can appreciate a little creativity. I remember in past years, an empty cardboard box can be magically transformed into a race car. Children love to use their imagination and having fun doing it. Creativity in the workplace can be a valuable asset. Often problems can be solved by thinking outside of the box. This type of creativity is something that we lose sight of as adults. Professionalism in the workplace is a great thing, but sometimes it’s nice to liven things up. I once worked in a home office environment that would hold contests and decorate the office for every holiday and come around with candy grams. The employees had fun and it helped increase their performance and morale.
Another fantastic thing about kids is their capacity for forgiveness. They never hold grudges, they fight, kick and bite but in the end they are still friends. You’ll never see two kids refuse to play with one another, over a minor infraction. Unfortunately in the adult world, bitterness and animosity in the office are all too common. Learn to let things go, everyone has had a bad day. This doesn’t make them a bad person, it only makes them human. When my kids fight I make them apologize and hug one another. While I wouldn’t necessarily suggest hugging your co-workers, I do recommend forgiving the person and moving on.
So you see, despite our age difference and life experience, adults could stand to learn a thing or two from kids; moreover these traits and lessons can definitely help us advance in our careers if we put our minds into it.
Jennifer Jimbere is the President of Jimbere Coaching and Consulting. You can follow her on Twitter at @jenniferjimbere or @radjoyseeking.
Maintain momentum and make it a great day!
Image credit and artist: LA artist and old friend Jennifer Verge
Inspired by: My email sign off:)