6 Things I’ve Learned Raising a Daughter
By Kate Williams, originally published in LinkedIn on August 15, 2014
Kate Williams is a seasoned senior consultant with expertise helping public and private sector clients achieve business goals by developing and implementing marketing communication, technology infrastructure and operational solutions. In her article, Kate shares how raising her daugther has led to insight into success in life and business.
I’ve read a lot of posts lately about things that we’d like to teach our kids and things that we should take time and do, and it’s gotten me thinking. If you’ve read any of my posts you know that I’m not a coddler so while most of the content made me feel warm and fuzzy, I struggled a little bit with it being unrealistic.
As I thought about the things that others have said and bumped that up against the daily conversations I have with my little girl, I ended up with a new list (which is much more me) of things that are critical to learn if you want to be successful in life.
Use your big girl voice and speak up for what you want. Tell me what you think and feel but don’t whine. Whining gives people an excuse to stop listening to you and undermines your position. The more clearly that you can express your thoughts, the greater the likelihood of someone else being able to really hear you.
Stated more bluntly: people ignore you when you whine, no matter how valid the cause.
Don’t Try To Be Anyone Else
I’m glad you like your friends and I expect them to influence you, but you need to be your own woman. Get comfortable with who you are, with your strengths and weaknesses, with your charms and flaws because they will never really go away. Be confident in your own judgment but also know that you will screw up. If you deal with it all gracefully, most other people will to.
Humility and authenticity will go a lot further than trying to present a perfect front of someone else.
It helps everything. Really. Go outside, run around, do the hula hoop even though it keeps falling down. Do a craft. Try painting. The ‘working’ world will value logic and analytical thinking, but you have to keep your creative side moving, don’t let it atrophy. This part of your brain will keep you interested and interesting; it will let you come up with awesome, wild, out-of-the-box solutions to those logically problems.
And it just plain makes you a more fun person.
Things Will Be Better Tomorrow
When things go bad and you want to rail and cry, I promise you that things look better in the morning. Sleep on it and you’ll have a whole new emotional reserve to address the situation.
You may find that you see new ideas and solutions, but often a little time and space lets you get some perspective and see that it doesn’t actually need a response.
Learn to Enjoy Being Bored
This will not last. It doesn’t last in life, it won’t last at work, it’s a transient, fleeting thing. Bask in it. Revel in it. Enjoy the down time because this afternoon/tomorrow/next week will be hair-on-fire crazy again, and you’ll have to give it everything you’ve got. So use this time when things are slow and lazy to recharge. Get a hobby. Read. Go for a hike. Watch cute kitten videos. Whatever your thing is, fully immerse yourself in it without any guilt.
Constant productivity isn’t good for anyone – and it’s highly overrated in our society.
Do It Even Though You Don’t Want To
Contrary to everyone who tells you that life is too short to do things you don’t like, you must do them. The toilet won’t scrub itself, no matter how much I might wish that to be the case.
There will be a lot of things like that in life that fall into the ‘responsible’ category. So at a high level, yes, I don’t want you wasting time with a career that makes you miserable, you also need to see that even great careers have periods of pure drudgery and grunt work.
Accept that work will usually look a lot like work and you can drive to whatever you aspire to.
What things have you learned by being a parent? Have you gained insights into yourself or others that have shaped how you live and do business? I’d love to hear about in the comments below.