Our son, just this week, embarked on a trip of a lifetime. HIS trip! Not mine, nor his Dad’s. And as parents, we needed to be very careful we didn’t overlay our beliefs in a way that told him what we thought he should do.
I mean having only turned 21, still on P’s, buying a cheap car in the USA and immediately needing to know how to drive on the opposite side of the road, wanting to cover all 52 states over a 90 day period because that’s when his one way ticket would expire!
Were we thinking of better ways he could approach this project? Did we think there were safer, more economical and less stressing ways to enjoy a trip? Of course we did.
But we’ve all been 21 year olds and the last thing we want is for our innovative ideas and exciting dreams to be squashed by nay-sayers and for those nay-sayers to be our parents, let alone our peers.
So how do you help someone see that there are other options available to them without them thinking you are negating their grand plans?
How do you prevent them feeling like they have made a huge mistake or failed if they decide to change their mind?
The answer in my case was course corrections and drinking money!
- On a leadership level it is all about growth
- On an operational level it is all about awareness
- On an individual level it is all about being present
And so before we left the house for the airport, and after he had diligently stood with me to have the one hundred obligatory mother and son farewell photos taken, I called him into the bedroom to explain the workings of a plane on a long distance flight – to which he began to give me that ‘C’mon Mum, I’m in a hurry look’.
So I reached into my draw, took out two US $50 notes and held them up long enough to get his attention knowing he would never be more immediately or totally present to one of my messages than that moment!!
‘A plane will never fly in a straight line and neither will yours tomorrow. If it did it would never end up at its destination in LAX because it will be off course more times than not, due to the variations of wind and in the case of a ship, the tides. And those individual variations will be all of a tiny 1mm shift that you will never notice. Based on those variations, the pilot, or instruments in use, must always be assessing and making those course corrections at all times.’
‘This $100.00’, I continued, ‘is to be used for course corrections! I want you to make sure that when you sit down to plot the different legs of your life changing trip, you stay open to other people’s ideas and call yourself on the fact that Plan A might not work. When you feel something is not going to plan, go and find a pub or a bar, buy yourself a beer on me, and plot Plan B, C, D to Z. I want you to spend it all. I don’t expect you to have any change!”
He got it! Without me having to ‘tell’ him what to do, or for me to make him feel his parents didn’t think he knew what he was doing.
SO… now over to the rest of us!
Where else do we think that it’s OK to tell people our ideas, judge them and overlay our beliefs on others, instead of allowing them the opportunity to try things on their own, to make their mistakes, to provide a platform for them to grow, to allow them to strengthen their own street cred, business acumen and general awareness?
How do we communicate all of that by creating an environment of initial and ongoing presence?
As leaders we have teams, as business owners we have staff, as salespeople we have clients and as parents we have children.
Not making course corrections is a sign of ego, it is a sign of lack, it is a sign of fear.
Twenty one year olds straight out of school and home are not expected to have learned that yet, but for those of us who have passed through that growing up stage and are in positions where we are making change happen in business, in politics, in families, then that is what we are expected to know and practice.
Results will be different with more behavioral flexibility, relationships will be changed with more humility, and lives could be saved with more compassion.
All course corrections.
If you were given an opportunity to sit quietly over a cold beverage of choice and collect your thoughts on where you could begin to make more of those shifts, those changes, those 1mm course corrections … in what area might you start to close those GAPs?
To Growth, Awareness and Presence…and wonderful sons!
Be Bold, Brave and Brilliant
EVENT ORGANIZERS (Video below) - As a speaker, my programs help CEOs of future-focussed sales organizations, who are concerned as to how to help their sales teams stand out more in a heavily competitive environment, gain the lead by securing more profitable and purposeful sales.
Image courtesy of milena mihaylova