- It turns out, kids can teach us a lot about being successful in business, and in life.
- Kids have no fear, an emotion that tends to hold a lot of adults back from going after what they want. The fear of failure shouldn’t stop you from taking risks in your career.
- Kids have mastered the art of not taking themselves too seriously, and adults should too.
Just over two years ago, not long before my baby girl was born, I made one of the most impactful decisions in my life – to set up my own business. It’s been my dream for a while, but I always doubted myself, thinking I didn’t know enough, wasn’t good enough and it terrified me that I would fail miserably.
As a parent, you realise how quickly time goes and as they say – the days are long, but the years are short. And seeing your kids grow up makes you value the time you have with them, making you question whether you are prepared to give up the precious time seeing them growing up working for someone you don’t care enough about so you can cover the cost of childcare and miss all those little moments that matter. This has been the strongest motivation for me – knowing I didn’t want to miss out as well as keeping a balance in my life, wanting to be successful and intellectually stimulated. By setting up my own business, I’ve been able to do both.
During this short period, I’ve been able to learn a lot about business, often by making my own mistakes, but more importantly I realised how much our own kids can teach us about being successful in business, as well as our personal lives:
1. Kids have no fear
Not making a first step is one of the most common reasons why people remain unhappy and frustrated. We are too hesitant to do things that are outside of our comfort zones and because we fear failure. Kids don’t think that way – they are so enthusiastic about everything new, they take the leap without any hesitation. That’s why they need us, grown-ups, to watch out for them. There is something fascinating about how they take risks and learn from them – both if they get hurt or if they love the experience.
In business, so many of us are stuck at the wrong job just because we are so afraid of the unknown. You don’t need to know it all before you take a step towards what you want to do. Of course, kids need to be developmentally ready for certain tasks, but if they are interested in and want something, they will go for it. And, so should we – whether it’s big changes, or small, fear of failure should not stop us from new experiences. You will either succeed or learn something new, either way it’s worth taking the risk.
2. Kids are driven by curiosity
We learn by being curious. Kids, especially are so curious it drives them to learn and discover all things new every day. They are like a sponge absorbing new experiences, taking them on and exercising their new skills and knowledge where possible. They know very little when they are born, but within the first few months and years of their lives they transform into real people mainly as a result of being curious and exploring the world around them.
In our professional and personal lives, it’s common that we settle in our ways, doing the same thing in a same way just because we have always done it that way, losing our sense of curiosity. Curiosity is what drives new experiences and takes us to new places, constantly keeping us on the move towards our future plans and goals, just like it is making our kids grow into the amazing people they are.
3. Kids don’t take themselves too seriously
With the little experience, skills and knowledge in this world, you never see kids worry about things. They laugh and enjoy the little moments of everyday life, without losing their sense of humour. There is nothing purer than a happy, smiling face of your child after discovering a new activity, making a new friend or experiencing something enjoyable. They embarrass themselves (and you!) in public regularly and they often have a bad day – and do they care? No. They move on. And go back to what makes them happy!
I’ve done this many times – worried about what other people would think or do and overanalysing situations. When in fact relaxing and keeping my sense of humour would have been a much better option. My lesson learnt – don’t take yourself too seriously, you will achieve absolutely nothing.
4. Kids show emotions and communicate
Happy, or miserable, you will know about your kids’ emotions even before they are able to communicate verbally. Yes, often they take it too far, but what they are very good at is letting us know how they feel. Communication, even without words makes us understand them better, help them in the best way possible and show them that we care.
We often forget to communicate and show emotions when we are stuck in our everyday life. This doesn’t mean to throw a tantrum every time a frustrating situation arises, but it’s more about showing empathy and communicating regularly and properly with friends and stakeholders. They will only be able to understand and trust us if we are open and keep them updated.
5. Kids don’t stop learning
Kids learn every moment of the day, every day. They don’t look at learning as we do, instead they learn through play and interaction with other kids. They don’t feel intimidated by older kids, they are inspired by them and want to know and do what they do. They don’t just give up when they can’t do something at the first go – instead they will keep going until they master their new skill. They don’t just stand up and start running – it takes more than a few goes to stand up, take a first step and it takes time to gain the confidence, but they are eager and will keep going until they become a pro.
As with most things in life, all things new take time to learn. Everything we do – successfully or unsuccessfully is about learning. So instead of worrying about things, it makes so much more sense to look at it as a learning experience and make the most out of it.
Kids also need breaks to re-energise and so do we – it’s so easy to forget about ourselves and about taking breaks so next time you are juggling lots of things as a working mum, take a step back and enjoy some time on your own. Whatever it is that makes you relax, make sure you do that at least once a day.