This weekend I spent a lot of time with kids under the age of 4. They were a great reminder of why we are a “just the dog- no kids” family. Kids are great and you can learn a lot from them, especially about business. Here’s 5 things I noticed this weekend:
1. Take Time to Warm Up to Scary Stuff. The 22 month old girl at our house yesterday was SO EXCITED to see Hank. Unless he stood up, looked in her general direction, or was within 10 feet of her. She was SO excited to see the doggy, but he’s big and kind of scary to a toddler. The other kids were playing and crawling on him, but she wasn’t ready. By the end of the day, she was petting him, and able to be right next to him without freaking out. Sometimes, we need to give our
self time to warm up to the scary stuff in our business. Having friends show you the way is always helpful.
2. Sharing Sucks. My toys, my mom, my spoon, MINE. I was reminded yesterday that this doesn’t change as adults, especially in business. My trade secret, my idea, I want credit, I want the sales, it’s MINE. But we have to share. Collaborate, share ideas, be an adult and not always get our way. It sucks, but it’s part of life. You know this, we all learned it when we were 3.
3. Take a Timeout. One of my favorite 3 year olds (I have 2 favorites for the next 4 months) puts himself in time out. “I think I need to go upstairs” he likes to say. A kid who knows when he’s having a bad day and can be self aware enough to leave the situation to regroup is pretty amazing. We should do this more. Take a walk around the block. Walk away from the computer. Go to the bathroom in the middle of a meeting. MOVE the annoying email out of our inbox. Take a timeout and walk away from the drama.
4. Be Comfortable. Saturday night we had dinner at a friends house and their kid (3 1/2) likes to watch a TV show before bed. As the adults sat outside visiting on the patio, he showed up at the screen door a minute later in his underwear. Smart kid. This was HIS time to do what HE wanted to. no clothes necessary. I’m not suggesting you take your pants off at work, but find ways to be comfortable. Is it wearing jeans or sweats while working on a project? Leaving the house or office to work somewhere without distractions? Reward yourself for making it through the day with a glass of wine (or no pants?) Be comfortable.
5. Listening will never get easier. When there are a lot of people around and a lot of distractions (and toys and TV and food, and a dog around) it’s easy NOT to listen to mom or dad. Usually it gets you in trouble. This doesn’t change as we get older. We need to be better at listening, to the boss, to our clients, to our colleagues, to the speaker at an event we’re attending. Listen, it’s amazing how much time it’ll save you!