I'm a father of two little champions, aged 5 and 2. I love parenting, and I love being a student of my children. I mean that honestly. I've learned a lot from them, and continue to learn from them. In fact, nearly every great tip and insight about living a great life as an adult, in business and in life, my kids seem to already instinctively know.
My job as their parent (that I've come to believe) is resist the opportunity to knock this instinct out of them so they have to go through the hard task of relearning them as an adult. Here's some of the the things my kids know, that I need to remember are not just good things, but the essence of life.
Why does it take 30 minutes to walk home from the playground with my kids, when it would take 3 minutes without them? Because my kids treat experiencing the journey with the same enthusiasm as reaching the destination. I try to remember, but often get stuck in the 'destination' focus.
There’s a power certain leaders have, a kind of magic, that is hard to quantify. Their staff are super achievers. Their businesses flourish and grow regardless of the economic climate. They have buy-in to their vision from not only their team, but the marketplace too.
I dare to say that more than anything else, it’s their habitual practice of gratitude.
Here’s three practical ways gratitude can build your business faster than defaulting to tracking tasks and crunching numbers.
As leaders, we naturally do a lot of thinking in business, but if all that thinking is about tasks, not people, we’ll always miss the forest for the trees. Task are important. They need to get done. But your team are human. They have a world of insights, passions, and abilities that stretch far beyond the tasks they may be responsible for.
Taking the time to think of them with...
What would happen if for the next five days you asked for more?
More of everything. More assistance. More business. More clarity. More patience. More help. More referrals.
Asking is the opposite of assuming. For some reason, we find it far easier to make assumptions, than to make requests. But there is power in asking. Jesus once gave a simple math talk on the topic, explaining how the equation works: “Ask, and you shall receive.”
It’s simple math, right? You don’t have to listen to Jesus to accept the logic of it. It’s common sense, and it’s been proven by every successful entrepreneur in the game of business. To increase your opportunities to exchange value in the marketplace and in your personal relationships, you have to get comfortable with asking for more, more often. (The flip side to this, is the more you ask, the more open you become to giving when others ask, too. It’s a win, win for everyone.)
So if the...
A whale, after getting some air at the surface, submerges back to the depths of the ocean. He passes by two fish and says, “Morning boys, how’s the water?” The two fish look at each other and say, “What the hell is water?”
In the story above (paraphrased version from David Foster Wallace’s speech) it is because the fish were always in water, and had nothing to contrast that reality, that, to them, there was no water. Because it was everywhere and inescapable, it ironically became invisible and unknown to them.
Just as fish don’t realise they are in water, because it’s all they have ever known. Humans don’t realise they are in a miracle.
Life, every element of it, is miraculous. Just because you are always immersed in it, to the point you don’t realise it, doesn’t change the reality.