I continue to be fascinated and in awe of my daughter as I watch her grow, learn, and evolve as a conscious human being in our world. I’m not just your typical Father gushing about his kin, oh no…this one is for real (well, of course I’m gushing a little…). Nonetheless, my daughter (and I bet yours too) is one of my best teachers in life.
Children live in what I call, kid Logic… Their minds aren’t dumbed down by an adult life of info-jam, distractions, and general b.s. (yet). It is simple, focused, and in the present. Quick story to demonstrate:
On a trip to Hawaii years ago, our resort hosted evening Mai Tai parties. On the beach one day, we talked about going; and Ty, my then 5 year old nephew became particularly excited. That evening, with Hawaiian shirts on and Mai Tai’s in hand, we noticed Ty going from happy to quiet and getting increasingly upset. As we asked our little man what was wrong, his response was: “I thought this was a my Ty party?!” It took us a minute to connect those dots… And bam, kid logic at its finest!
In the same vein of kid logic, a notable life and leadership lesson was taught to me by my daughter in kindergarten. One day after school she came home eager to share how she learned to cross the street. Curious and excited with her, I asked her to share. In that perfectly innocent child voice and with a poetic song bird tone, she very intently taught me that before crossing any street, to ALWAYS, “stop…look…and listen…” She continued to repeat her new credo with her bottom sticking out, head to the side and forward with hand cupping ear for focus. She explained what each word meant and why. It was cute, funny, simple, memorable…and applicable!
Now, think metaphorically, as a leader, how do you cross the street; or rather approach your crossroads in decision making, conflict, or reactions?
Just “stop.” This will quickly center you to pay attention. “Look” at, and into the situation; know your audience and try and understand why. Now, “listen,” authentically. As I mention in Be a Voracious Listener, one of the best responses when faced with conflict or a decision point is to just shut up and listen… Or perhaps more eloquently put by my daughter: “Stop, look, and listen”
Stop, look, and listen will quickly deescalate your emotional auto response and facilitate objectivity to act and respond appropriately, be it in the moment or sometimes as a better follow up strategy (“let me think about it and get back to you”).
As a Father growing with my daughter, I try and pay attention to her (and our) life moments. My daughter is authentic, curious, and compassionate. Critical traits of great leaders and good people. These traits in her are real and amazing. I strive to learn from her and embody these traits as her Father, a human, and a leader.
Go Forth and Succeed!