Hindsight is truly amazing.
Like most of us – I never recognised this insight as a child. But with age comes perspective and I can now see how the family I was born into was the perfect training ground for my relationships in life.
No matter what your family dynamic was, my belief is the family you were born into were also the perfect training ground for you and the relationships in your life.
Unfortunately, we are so busy, in many cases, just wanting to leave the nest that we fail to see the lessons life is wanting to teach us there. With our brothers and sisters we are being given the opportunity to learn how to understand the dynamics between the same and opposite sex. With our parents we are being given the opportunity to learn how to understand those with “natural” authority over us.
As a young adult, I certainly didn’t recognise the benefit to me of the family I grew up in. These days, I recognise they were doing the very best for me they could with the knowledge they had. Today I can see clearly how I benefited from our dynamics, but it wasn’t obvious at the time.
Being a great believer in the concept of ‘better late than never’, today I invite you to use the safety of your current family to learn the greatest lesson of all time – leadership.
The underpinning message of today’s blog is reflected in the quote “Leadership is not about being the best. Leadership is about making everyone else better”. What better opportunity could we being given than to facilitate the people we love the most to become the best version of themselves?
How can I assist each and every member of my family to be their quintessential self?
How can I honour each and every member of my family’s complete uniqueness?
In my opinion this is one of our greatest legacies.
Unfortunately, in the vast majority of families, the typical experience is not one of unequivocal support to become the best version of yourself. There are many parents who are hell bent on destroying their children or partner, forcing them to believe what they believe, wanting them to take a path that they deem is the best path for them to take. These people are attached to an ideal and fail to recognise that there is no roadmap or ideal outcome in life. Everyone’s path is theirs and theirs alone.
Then, there are so many children who are determined to get even or even one up on their parents. Families are imploding and there is so much unnecessary pain and despair because the vast majority of families are not committing themselves to a journey of true leadership.
First and foremost – and this is IMPORTANT – for each and every suggestion I’m about to put forward… start with yourself. If you’re unwilling to do it, why would anyone around you do it? Leadership is about leading from the front. I will only know, understand, love, lead others as much as I know, understand, love and lead myself.
What are their unique values, life priorities, interests and passions that define who they are in life and the world? What do they truly enjoy doing? Allow them to be honest in their answers. Don’t try to influence their answers. Encourage them to follow their heart in these areas.
Just like you they probably have the tendency to feel not good enough. They are not broken, they are masterpieces (link to previous blog). Maybe you’ve been guilty of throwing extra paint and glue at them yourself. Own it. Remember, as it is yours, peeling away that excess glue is their journey.
Rather than picking at their faults, praise their strengths. When you encourage and give feedback to someone in areas they’re strong in, they’ll get even stronger in those areas. It’s counter-intuitive, but if you constantly pick on the areas they don’t do well, and ignore the areas they are strong in, you’ll find they become, at best, mediocre in their areas of weakness, and their strengths will stagnate also. Invite them to surround themselves with others who are their complement.
Your family have pain points which require attention to become the best version of themselves. Remind them that the journey to being the best version of themselves is a lifelong journey. They will get messages when they are ready, the right “teachers” will turn up in their life when they are ready. They cannot climb a ladder by stepping on every third rung.
Likewise, they cannot short cut this journey. Remember also that this is their journey and there will many things they need to experience to grow. Sometimes it is painful for us to watch them go through certain experiences but have faith that these are exactly the experiences they need for them to become the very best they can be.
Their emotions will rob them of the courage they need on their journey and distract them from the present moment. The tips in my recent blog are powerful tools that need on this journey.
In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear uses the phrase “1% better every day” to show them how they can make small incremental improvements to master a habit and achieve their goals.
Enable them to set their own expectations of themselves. Don’t weigh them with what you see is best for them, help them to uncover what they see is best for them. Their vision for who they want to be is theirs – not yours.
This will show them to stop comparing themselves to others and that everyone else – their siblings, friends etc – is on a different path. Teach them to recognise the learnings in every situation, even their “mistakes”. Eliminate self-blame and judgment.
Teach them to be the owners of their own ship (or shit). Blame and excuses won’t cut it. They can make excuses or make money – they can’t do both!
The journey of life is not all rainbows and unicorns. Without life’s inevitable roadblocks and obstacles none of us can uncover our best selves. Allow those you love to find their strength and let them weather their own storms. Be their lighthouse – not their rescuer. Teach them to stop labelling things as “good” and “bad”. Teach them to uncover the equal amounts of “good” in the “bad” as well as the “bad” in the “good”.
Your family may not be blown apart, but perhaps you can see you’re not providing as supportive and loving environment as you’d like. Maybe you would like to be empowering your family more than you are.
Whatever it may be, I invite you to reach out for a confidential conversation. Rob and I are here to work alongside you and your partner to create the lifestyle and relationship you’ve always wanted for you, and your family.
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