The vital skill you can learn from your toddler that they don’t teach anywhere else
This year I chose not to fly to Melbourne for the Australian Open. I wanted to spend more money and time with my family. But of course I couldn’t resist glimpsing at some of the action and following the highlights on TV- and like everyone I was both shocked and surprised but also excited and happy to see the two legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal make it into the final.
But what is it that makes these two individuals so popular?
Well for a start, both Roger and Rafa have been extremely successful- that always helps. But results alone don’t guarantee tennis players to become global icons. Instead, I would argue it is who they are off the tennis court that has really allowed them both to become the kind of superstars we have rarely witnessed in men’s tennis.
Take Roger–he is extremely articulate, well dressed and understands how to interact with media, fans and sponsors better than anyone else I know. It is a skill he crafted throughout his career.
Or, Rafa–while being a fierce competitor on the court, he is one of the nicest, most humble, warm and down to earth personalities I have ever met. For example, I remember the year when he played my event in Thailand, and he was obviously the big attraction. Nevertheless, he showed so much appreciation and respect to our sponsors and fans that they would do anything to see him again. No wonder my son is called Rafael.
But what both these athletes have in common is they love what they do and they are committed to inspiring and connecting with their fans. This is what makes them so uniquely special.
What is the skill that will accelerate your success?
To be successful in business, we all need to strive to be great at something. Like an athlete, we are obliged to keep learning and growing in order to stay competitive. However, in this time and age that is not enough. We need additional weapons in our arsenal to enjoy consistent results.
A tennis player becomes a global icon by winning the hearts of fans around the world and connecting with the media and sponsors, and this is how he can multiply his income through lucrative sponsorship deals.
A business owner must find win the hearts of his prospects and customers. To achieve this, we need to follow what Jay Abraham calls the Law of Preeminence whereby we need to fall in love with the people we do business with and develop the kind of care that we would share with any family member.
Only then can we build a relationship of mutual respect and trust, fully understand their dreams, desires, and fears, and offer them valuable solutions that will make a difference in their lives.
This process takes time as people don’t express their thoughts so clearly:
When we buy a drill, we actually don’t even want a hole. We want to build something that improves our life, like for example a closet that will create more space at home to hang out with our loved ones.
In other words, what people say is not what they truly want. Just think about the last fight with your wife, and you may realize that she never really said what it is that truly makes her feel upset. Maybe she feels lonely, overwhelmed, undesired, or even afraid.
How can we develop this deep sense of understanding of human nature?
I am convinced one of the most overlooked yet important skills for anyone– whether business owner, parent, or both, is the ability to understand human nature, and dig deeper than the initial cues we get from our casual interactions.
You can try mastering this skill by taking courses or reading books related to the psychology of people. Or you can spend more time with the best coach in the world, and become super good at learning to read cues of the people around you.
Can you guess who I am speaking about?
Your toddler of course!
Our kids constantly try and communicate to us what they are thinking or feeling. However, they miss the words to express themselves the way they would like to. Moms do a great job at hearing their pleas. We dads though often struggle with guessing what our little ones mean when they shout, throws tantrums or jump like crazy and seek our attention.
But here is the secret recipe to better relationships at home and in business- the more time you spend with your kid, the better you will become at understanding those cues, and the more you can also develop the skills of reading between the lines when adults communicate. And being understood is one of the big human drives, meaning that you will start improving all your key relationships, which will help you in business as well as in your private life. This is why I believe that hanging out with your toddler is the best business investment you can do!
Your goal must be to become super curious as to what your little one is trying to tell you. Although little toddlers can’t express themselves the way they would like to, we can pick up so much of what it is they are trying to say, if we practice.
This is how I propose you do this:
Begin slowly, but be consistent. For example, if you haven’t spent much time with your kid yet one on one, commit to even just 5 minutes of quality one on one time a day with your toddler, at least initially.
Try and schedule your quality time as part of your daily schedule, so it becomes an easy to follow a routine. For example, you could dedicate 5 minutes just before you guys have dinner together.
During this time, eliminate any distractions. This means switching off your phones and trying to be fully present with your little one.
Make an effort to communicate with your little one, watching for any clues and making an effort to listen, understand and empathize with what your kid is experiencing.
If your kid throws a tantrum, try to find out what caused it. I often go on my knees so I am on eye level with my boy, and give him a hug first, and acknowledge whatever he is feeling. Only once he calms down, do I think about whether I want to educate him about his behavior.
You will see how in no time you will enjoy a stronger bond with your little one once you commit time to really bonding and understanding your child. The more you practice, the more attentive you will also become with the people in your environment, including for example when interacting with your wife, friends, and even customers. And ultimately, it is an invaluable business skill to deeply appreciate what your clients desire.
As with your toddler, the key is to connect to people by really appreciating them for who they are, and by always having their best interest in mind. You can do this by becoming super curious about how they think and feel, by asking questions that go beyond casual small talk. Only then are you in the position to serve them in such a superior manner that you become the only viable solution to the products or services you are offering.
There you go. Now you have one vital skill you can learn from your toddler, that will help you improve your relationships wherever you go. This will not only improve the quality of your life, but it will also result in bigger business results.
However, if you are really serious about optimizing the way you work, so you can get so much more time in the limited time you have, finish work daily by latest 4 pm every day, and enjoy guilt-free afternoons with your family, get your free copy of the Business-Dad Productivity guide.
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