I was with my 2 year-old son at the park the other day (technically 21 months old, actually), when I noticed something amazing. Actually, I noticed a LOT of amazing things that day.
DISCLAIMER: I'll do my best to shuffle my dadness aside for this article, which means I won't mention anything about his charisma and how he lights up the room when people see his smile - or how even those who don't typically like kids can't help but experience a little bit of joy when he is in the room.
Okay, that aside, let's talk about something that is engrained in us instinctually from the moments our little brains start wrinkling and becoming capable of free thought - something that happens as early as our first year on this planet, but that we tend to forget and push aside out of fear and our own insecurities.
But I don't think it's too late for us, and if my 21-month-old can figure these things out, so can the rest of us.
How to grow your business they way you already know
So, what was it that he did that was so impressive to this proud papa? Well, he had been watching the older kids on the playground for some time, and would often experiment and try to find ways to mimic them. Of course, he's a lot smaller than the 4 through 10 year-olds that he's always trying to emulate, and a lot of his restrictions are insurmountable physical restrictions, but that doesn't stop him from trying.
This is anything from inisting on the big kids swing, hanging from the monkey bars, and climbing the more complicated structures.
1: Play and work are one and the same
This is what's so amazing about kids... They know that they have a lot to learn still. They're hungry to learn, actually. And maybe it's not easy to see, because we're talking about playing, right? What does "playing" have to do with learning or working?
Well... everything, actually. We separate play from work, because we have been taught to think that they should be separated. We choose jobs that are often the safe bet over what we really want to do, and end up wasting away in careers that don't mean anything to us.
But if we could take a lesson from our kids, we'll see that they work really hard in a quest to being better than their existing selves, and that they love doing it. I remember the first time he was able to climb up the curved ladder, and make it to the landing without any help from me.
When he got there, he looked around him, then up at me, then threw his arms up in the air, and yelled, "Yay" with the biggest, brightest smile I've ever seen from him. He was SO proud.
And before I could congratulate him, he threw himself down the slide, and did it again.... and again, and again... each time sticking out his fist for a bump from his dad when he reached the top.
When we love what we do, we revel in our successes and use our failures as motivators to do better. We need to not be complacent (an easy trap to fall into) when things are going well, because there's always another goal in front of us, and if we're not improving, we're deteriorating.
2: Learn from others
Two minutes later he saw another kid jump off of one of the platforms, and made a b-line to the one that looked like he could handle.
I saw him watch the other kid do the same thing 2 or 3 times before he made his first attempt. Of course, when he walked to the edge of the platform he realized that it was a little higher up than it looked like from a distance, so his confidence was a little shaken.
But it wasn't enough to scare him off completely. He had been watching the other kids a long time, taking mental notes, and even practicing his jumping. He looked to me for support, and when I smiled at him and showed him one more time how to do it, he knew he could handle it.
The key to learning, however, is to have something there to teach you. Most of you really struggle in this department, because you're not sure what the lessons learned are supposed to be. You know where and how things went wrong, but beyond that, it's difficult to inform yourself of how to do things differently.
This challenge exists because you don't put enough energy into understanding sales outcomes at the GROUND FLOOR. At least, you're not approaching it in a manner that is objective or informed beyond countless hours of debate and supervisory meetings.
You can solve this problem with sales infrastructure, driven by a Modern CRM.
3: No goal is too scary when resourceful
Even though the platform was higher than he hoped, he was determined to take the leap, so he looked around to see what he could use to help. At first he reached for my hand, but I knew he didn't need me, so I didn't give it to him, and I stepped back, out of his reach. He growled at me, but I encouraged him, and he was quick to find a solution.
That's when he grabbed a pole on the side to make sure he didn't fall on his face when he jumped. Then he jumped! It was a little awkward, and not without its failed grace, but it was encouraging enough to know that he shouldn't be scared, and it was his resourcefulness that got him there.
I've talked to a lot of business owners with big plans for their companies, who try to hustle their way through their growth. One of the big issues they have is not having the proper tools to achieve their goals, and it's not until they put them in place that they are actually able to start making headway. For example, with my inbound marketing agency, we always recommend a software to execute their marketing strategy - like Hubspot...
But it's not just about technologies... it's also about leveraging other talents. Start-ups are tough because owners wear many hats. Growth periods are tough too, because our hats change, and we have to delegate and upgrade, so we aren't always behind.
4: Sometimes you just have to let go
So, he did it again... and again... and again. Each time it got a little better and more graceful, but what started off helping him (the pole) was now turning out to get in his way, and he could see that. When his feet would touch the ground, his grip on the pole would make it impossible to land without swinging around.
Sure, it made him feel confident that he wouldn't fall on his face, but it was also limiting the jump, and he could tell he wasn't having as much fun as the other kids who jumped off freely.
That's when something amazing happened. He stood at the top ready to launch, then looked over at his hand clutching the pole. He took a deep breath, let go, and jumped.
I think this metaphor speaks for itself. Let's just say that if he hadn't, he never would felt that pride in himself that caused him to squeal like an accomplished little boy... again.
When we see what we want, we should find ways and reasons to get it, not excuses. And if my 2 year-old (going on 20) can do what he does with his limitations as a toddler, then there really is no reason we can't have the same courage and deductive reasoning to do the same when it comes to growing our businesses.
If you're interested in learning about more ways to grow your business, check out this introductory guide to growth planning: