January 13, 2017
“Why not me?” It’s the question that changes a dreamer into a leader. The problem is that many dreamers get stuck at “I don’t know how.” And from there, it’s just a short step to “...so I can’t.” We can empower our kids to push past their doubts and take the steps toward becoming leaders by encouraging them to cultivate some habits that all leaders need.
Get a little arrogant…. Leaders tend to harbor optimism bordering on arrogance. It’s not just a healthy can-do spirit - it pushes the boundaries of possibility. And leaders need it, because otherwise they’d give up in despair facing all the setbacks and obstacles they encounter on the way. There are two things we can do to help our kids develop this kind of near-crazy confidence.
First, we can model optimism. It sounds corny but learning to appreciate the positive, long-term progression toward a goal bolsters a leader’s interior motivation. We can be realistic or even pessimistic about details, but encouraging kids to see the big picture in a positive light is crucial if they are to become leaders. It also inspires others to follow and stay committed to the leader’s vision.
Second, we have to help them develop grit. Don’t let them give up easily. When something is difficult, we should encourage them to try a little longer, push a little harder. Set a time frame if they say they absolutely hate it (sometimes they don't - they like the activity but not how hard they have to work) and then let them quit, but don’t let them stop right away. Learning to push through difficult moments is essential in becoming a leader.
….and a little humble…. We should help our little leaders understand that not knowing how to do everything will always be present. We should encourage them to get comfortable asking questions - and asking for help. At Princess Awesome, we usually don’t know how to do many of the things we have to do, because neither of us have run a business or worked in fashion before. So we usually have to ask others for help. Sometimes we even have to ask which person we should be asking!
...and really excited about the journey. Leaders experience a constant influx of problems. In fact, that’s what makes being a leader interesting. We should teach our kids to take pride in learning how to do new things, and even to enjoy facing unknown challenges. The thrill of novelty is never absent from a leader’s life - love it, and change from a dreamer into a leader.