Some days, life serves you lemons. And after a long, lemon-filled day, I head home pretty wiped out. But when I get home, I’m greeted by my 10-year-old, who still has energy and excitement. Does he know something I don’t?
You’ll often hear parents say one of the joys of parenting is seeing the world through the eyes of their child, and it’s true. Every day, our son offers me an extra dose of inspiration to do things a bit differently.
Here are the 10 business lessons I’ve learned from my 10-year-old:
1. Have a “growth mindset”
At school, our son consistently hears that everyone thrives on challenges. He and his classmates learn to see failure not as evidence of a lack of intelligence, but as a springboard for growth — and for stretching their abilities.
2. Be curious
Our son is always asking questions. He wants to know more: “Why is it like that?” “How does that work?” His inquisitiveness reminds me that adults need explanations too. We need to expand our knowledge to be good at what we do.
3. Dream big
What did you want to be when you were a kid? A rock star? A baseball player? An underwater fire fighter? As fleeting as these career dreams probably were, the excitement I see in our 10-year-old’s eyes when he pictures the future reminds me not to let the stress of life dull the sparkle of dreaming big.
4. Be your own champion
Kids are their own best PR representatives. They will tell you all about their awesomeness, all the time. They are not shy letting you know about their recent sports win, how they aced their math test, or how they made their friend laugh so hard during lunch that milk came out of their nose. Adults forget how to toot their own horn. Be humble, but let them know about your win!
5. Take recess
Our son is at the age where when he’s asked what his favorite subject is, he happily responds “recess!” Like many kids, he needs time to run with wild abandon so when it’s time to focus in language arts, he’ll be able to pay attention. I try to make a point of walking during lunch hour so that I, too, focus later. Walking with a coworker, laughing, and talking over big ideas helps me get ready for the second half of my work day.
6. Follow your passion
Have you ever noticed how enthusiastic a kid gets when they’re telling you about the latest video game? That enthusiasm is what we all need at work. If you find yourself dragging when you talk about your latest project, it’s time to recalibrate and see if you can take on projects or roles that make you feel excited.
7. Good morning, sunshine
Our son can whiz through his morning routine like he’s the Tasmanian devil. After dinner, he’s more like a sleepy zombie. The best time to get something done is when you’re at your peak performance time. If I have a meeting where I’m pitching an idea, I schedule it in the morning after my second cup of coffee. At this point in the day, my zest and passion for my business is not clouded by my lack of latte.
8. Know your audience
If you have serious clients, be serious with them. If you have hip, fun-loving clients, bring your sense of humor. You have to find your niche and build your content to suit them. Our 10-year-old knows who most enjoys his silly jokes, and already knows how to tailor his message depending on the audience.
9. Save up!
Our son’s natural tendency is to save everything he earns for that one big purchase. While we encourage donating a portion to charity, he is a relentless saver otherwise. In business, you can operate until you run out of cash. And you can only do that once.
10. You don’t have to like everyone
…but you still have to get along with them. Our son learned at a very early grade that throughout the year, he will have to work on projects with each and every one of his classmates — whether he likes them or not. Projects are completed quicker and with a lot less frustration when everyone checks their egos by the front door and the jungle gym. Some life lessons truly never change. This is one of them.
Check out more of Marcy Kawadler’s reflections on business, technology, and generational differences: Really, We’re All Millennials >>