There are certain pictures of your children that make you pause as they truly capture your little one in a moment of pure JOY. There is nothing like the feeling as a parent knowing that your child is genuinely happy. Not just smiling because you told them to as you snapped a picture…but that unscripted moment where they do not have a care in the world other than what is making them smile.
That is this picture of our daughter Maddie opening a present on the morning of her 7th birthday!
Since I was the cameraman, we feel quite fortunate that we actually captured that moment. And in full disclosure, I look at it about ten times a day because she is glowing.
Maddie knew that the Nintendo Switch inside that bag was a reward for being such an incredible little girl who tries her hardest to make good choices, is kind to people, and says please and thank you.
Oh, if life could stay so simple for our kids.
I am excited about what the future holds for Maddie and her brother EJ. Of course, you hope and pray they don’t make the same mistakes you made yet you know they need to make some to learn. The one mistake I hope to help them avoid making is to identify who they are by what they do.
I see it all the time with my clients, whether it be executive coaching clients or corporate clients.
Think about it though….isn’t how we are programmed by society at a young age?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Shouldn’t we be asking them, “What type of person do you want to be?!”
For some reason, I woke up quite early the Sunday before Maddie’s birthday and retreated to my office to write. What I found myself writing was a journal entry on what I wanted for my daughter in life.
I wrote quick and what came to mind immediately. I wrote from the heart and was actually moved to laughter and tears as I pictured her one day reading this and both giving me a hard time and a thank you hug.
Here is the entry!
In three days, Maddie will be seven years old….whoa! She is growing up to be such a free-spirited, fun-loving, and adventurous girl. I find myself “wanting” certain things for her.
A strong circle of friends who contribute to her growth, make positive choices, love her for who she is and who she wants to be. Friends who support her and lift her up for her good and not theirs. In other words, they are genuine, authentic, and consistent.
And I want her to do the same.
I want for her to love, care, and support her friends and family — not to make her look good but to help them grow while pursuing their dreams and navigating their journey.
I want Maddie to never feel the need to wait for others permission to be great or to worry about others acceptance of her ‘Why.’
To understand at the right age that life can be short and not in a negative way. Because life can be glorious and it is full of opportunity…to do more and be more.
To do more good while serving others and to be more curious, adventurous, and knowledgeable.
I want her to understand…all kidding aside…that she is, in fact, a mass of energy, one that is either expanding or contracting…..that we simply do not remain the same.
With that, I want for her to operate every day with a growth mindset and to realize the importance of grit.
With grit all things are possible and without it…well, greatness will always just be out of reach.
I want for her to be kind, caring, loving, and compassionate not just to others, but to herself as well!
I want for her to get 1% better every day by accumulating positive habits and making the right choices.
That starts with the first choice she gets to make every day…her attitude.
I want for her to choose a positive attitude and to exude positive energy.
Speaking of positive energy…I want for her to confidently choose where to direct her attention and to understand what she focuses her mind on will drive her beliefs and those beliefs will dictate her behavior…a behavior that will empower her to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
I want for her to find joy in competing and to realize that sometimes you win and sometimes you learn.
I want for her to see opportunity in adversity…lessons in what may seem like failure…humility in her success.
I want for her to be happy, to find her ‘Why’, passion and purpose on her terms and not the terms dictated by society, social media, and her peers.
I want for her to be a great teammate.
I want for her to know that the best path to being whatever she wants to be is to first decide what type of person she wants to be.
I want her to know that an unsatisfied heart cannot be changed by an outward accomplishment or material possessions.
I want her to learn at an early age that being this type of person is both rewarding and fulfilling.
I want her to know that people may not remember the jobs and titles that you have but they will always remember how you made them feel.
And at the end of the day…I want for her to have learned all this by having a Father who consistently modeled this behavior to the best of his ability…every single day!
Never would I have ever imagined I would share a journal entry. As I wrote though, it dawned on me that the words going down on paper and the emotions being stirred were so applicable to what I work on with my clients.
Think about it…
From a leadership perspective, how powerful would it be if this were the things you wanted from your people?
How powerful would it be if you consistently modeled it for your people?
Let me answer that for you…POWERFUL!
I have always said that a team is a direct reflection of their head coach. Imagine the level of authenticity you can reach by focusing on your inner circle, responding to adversity, learning through failure, having a positive attitude, accumulating positive habits, having grit, showing care/compassion/love for your team and operating in that sweet spot where your passion, purpose, and skill intersect.
Most importantly, doing it all consistently.
Your culture would thrive, your sales would go up, retention would increase, recruiting would improve, and all these things would be sustainable.
I encourage you to take some time to write out what you want for your people and then communicate that to them whether it be in a 1-on-1 or in a group setting. This is just one step into helping them realize that their job does have meaning, their work is important, and that they are valued.