October 18, 2019

People Change. And Then Give Us Hope.

if you’ve experienced the privilege of parenthood…
You’ll know exactly what I mean.

You’re fretting about your Little Darling, as you approach the primary school gates for their First Day.
You wonder if they’ll stand there, clinging and screaming, as other children file into their new classroom.
Your heart is about to break.

You let go of their hand.
You stop breathing for 10 seconds.

Then your Little Darling spots the Little Mate-down-the-street they played with during the Summer.
And they’re off like a rocket.
Tiny legs bouncing them along to meet their giggling Mate.

They don’t even look back.
Well, not into your eyes, like you hoped they would.

They barely glance over their shoulder, and wave “Bye! See Ya!”
And, before you can work out what’s happening…
They’re in through the doorway.
And they’re gone.
Forever changed.

Your Baby is All Growed Up.

The next time you receive this shock is when they bustle to The School Prom (or whatever they call it now)
The big event which now costs parents £Painful Hundreds… deeply influenced by American Culture (well, hardly Culture)

Your Little Princess is standing there, waiting for you to take her (as long as you don’t make yourself visible)
Then your mouth opens.
But stays open.

”You’re Kidding Me!” Runs through your head.
Together with the phrase “Touch my stunningly beautiful daughter, I’ll break yer… “ or whatever.

Your Little Princess is All Growed Up.

Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we see this happen in business.
The moment when a business founder… a technically brilliant professional… or a manager…
Transforms before your very eyes.

They become a Truly Effective Leader.
They grow up.

Not long ago, I saw this in a company meeting.

The young founder of the (really successful) business purposely opened himself up to criticism and ridicule.
In essence, he asked his team…
”What’s wrong with the business I’ve created?
And what should we do about it?”

So. They told him.
My word. They told him!
22 Things That Needed Fundamentally Changing.

He’s a superbly articulate speaker.
So, he could have countered each comment nimbly.
He could have made emotional mincemeat of them all.
He could have defended his amazing track record.
He could have parried and smirked and mocked and belittled.

He stayed absolutely motionless.
except for his right hand, which wrote steadily for two very, very long, painful hours.

When they had run out of breath…
What do you think he did?

Well, I’ll tell you.
He raised his head.
Looked slowly around him, to catch each eye.
And he thanked them.

He pointed out their astonishing insights.
Their piercing wisdom.
Their willingness to be open with each other.
Their willingness to bring Truth into the room.

They were stunned.
I was stunned.

Yes, I’ve mentioned this before.
But it bears mentioning again…

Stephen R Covey never finished his book “Primary Greatness”
Wherein he listed the character qualities that define Great People.
Not “Successful”.

The first two qualities were…
And Courage.

That day I witnessed a Financial Planner start to become All Growed Up as a Leader.

I feel privileged to have witnessed that scene in my life.