Oh the lessons
Today is Riley’s 7th birthday. He’s our middle child and he’s been counting down the days to his birthday for at least two months. Birthday’s for kids come with so much excitement and joy and I love watching them celebrate each year.
But this year, sadly, I’m in Sydney, 685km’s away for work. And while it helps that I’m doing work I love and fulfilling my passion of helping others to grow, I’m feeling really annoyed and guilty at myself for missing a day that is so special for him and also for me.
When I realised I had booked training on Riley’s birthday I told him straight away. I was open and honest and full of remorse. I said “sweetheart, I’ve stupidly booked training in Sydney on your birthday, so I’m going to miss it”.
I was waiting for a negative response of “why” or “that’s not fair” or “you don’t love me” but what I received was forgiveness and compassion. He said “that’s ok Mum, we’ll just celebrate my birthday when you get back”, then he gave me a tight squeeze and ran back outside to play, without giving it another thought.
So…while I’m marinating over a really bad parenting moment he is celebrating the reality of his extended birthday celebrations! So much I still have to learn!
Parenting, in a lot of ways is similar to leadership. We often take on way too much guilt and responsibility for things that don’t matter that much to the people impacted. And we overcompensate, doing more than we need to make things right instead of just accepting what it.
What we should be doing is simply learning the lesson and moving on. As Oprah says:
“Failure is a great teacher, and, if you are open to it, every mistake has a lesson to offer”
What I’ve learnt in both parenting and leadership is that sometimes you get it wrong. That doesn’t make you bad at your role, it just makes you human. So my lessons for today are:
- Trust that we’ve given our children access to all the resources they need to overcome bad news and set backs.
- Always be open and honest and take responsibility for the choices I make.
- And finally, block out important dates in my calendar so I’m not missing the events that are most important to me and my family.
Remember, no one has all the answers, sometimes we just have to make it up as we go. And sometimes we need to let the occasional birthday run over a few days!
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Shelley Flett is a passionate leader with a keen focus on creating efficient and dynamic team environments through adaptable leadership.She is a Leadership Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Mentor and Speaker who ignites vision and purpose in those she works with.
If you’d like to know more about how she can support you and your business drop her an email email@example.com.