When my husband, Greg, and I started our family, he was so sure we would have a boy first. All the way up to the moment he was handed Isabelle’s tiny delicate form after her birth. He looked at me and said, “It’s a girl?”
He truly was not prepared.
Fast forward 15 years when my daughter came to me one day and said, “Hey Mom, I have a special Mother’s Day gift for you.” Mother’s Day was two weeks away, and if you know me, you know I HATE to wait for anything. I finally got her to share early.
“I’m bi-sexual” she said.
This wasn’t really unexpected. I figured she was most likely gay and had suspected this for a couple of years, but I knew she would tell me in her own time. We have a nephew who is gay and I spent 19 years living in San Francisco, so this wasn’t earth shattering news — but what she shared with me later took me completely by surprise.
“Mom, I’m transgender and I want to become a boy” she texted me.
Wait, what? What does that mean? How do you know? The floodgates opened and an endless stream of questions poured out of me. When she got home, I knew I had to put away all my preconceived notions, my anxiety, my panic.
I needed to be open and just listen.
Thus began a year’s journey of my son coming into his own story; our family adjusting and embracing his new identity as a boy; and all the lessons that come with a life changing event.
While many of these lessons were very personal, I was surprised and intrigued by how many business lessons I learned along the way as well. I’d love to share two with you here.
Learning by listening
The biggest thing I’ve learned over the last year is that our children have so many important lessons to teach us. When we are able to be humble enough to stop doing all the teaching and learn from them, our lives will be enriched beyond belief.
Dr. Shefali, author of The Conscious Parent says it best: “Imposing your ego (i.e. your baggage) on your children forces them to give up their authentic self to please us as parents. It’s when we allow them to be their true self can we learn how truly amazing they are and what a gift they are to us.”
Allowing ourselves as business owners to share our inner voice is just the same. As Tara Gentile says, it’s about finding and harnessing our Quiet Power within.
Finding your Quiet Power doesn’t mean doing what everyone else is doing. Or worse — doing what everyone else tells you that you “should” be doing. I think finding your Quiet Power is about listening to your inner voice and trusting your gut in business. It means trusting yourself enough to know that you have a choice in how your run your business and that “doing you” means winning — every time. CLICK TO TWEET
Doing you takes courage
I shared my family’s journey in an interview with James Richman on the On Humans podcast recently. My biggest takeaway from this conversation was that it takes courage to share what’s important to you but that’s when the real gifts flood your life and when people surprise you and lift you up.
We’re told that we are supposed to be gladiators. As entrepreneurs, we’re supposed to make self preservation our primary concern and personal victory our primary ambition. But when you go into survival mode in business, referrals stop, trust wanes and you actually lose more ground than you gain.
In the words of Brene Brown: “Vulnerability is our greatest measure of courage.”
In business, I’m always in awe of people who are courageous enough to be vulnerable FIRST. They don’t wait for their team or their vendors or their clients to go first. They have enough inner confidence to own their vulnerability — and they earn the trust and respect of the people they work with because of it.
My son taught me that being vulnerable is courageous. And courage is powerful.
And who couldn’t use a little more of that in their business?
Over to you
I know I’m not the only one who has learned great lessons from my children. I want to hear your stories. What important lesson have your kids taught you?