There are few things that stand out in my mind from year to year.  Normally these phrases are short, incomplete sentences that pack a powerful punch behind them.  There are 3 words that have just about always stuck with me, “Child like faith.”  I’m not going to go in too deep on the philosophy or origin of this simple phrase, but lately it has been on my mind as I’ve been thinking of successful people.

Learn from Everyone
Recently there was a young child, only 8 years old, that was highlighted on TV, newspapers, the radio and internet.  Tanner Leuellen calls himself an “Apprentice Creator”, and was published as the next Donald Trump.  As an Apprentice Creator, he is learning to create anything, and looking for anyone that will give him an opportunity to learn from them.

Listen_to_your_Lego,_while_taking_pics_with_your_Lego_Large2 We should all strive to have a child like faith.  Success comes from trying endlessly, without giving up.  Children feed off of the knowledge around them, trying endlessly to make themselves better, celebrating every step of the way.

Listen to Learn
Children are constantly listening to learn.  If you watch their faces as as they listen, they are not thinking about anything else, just listening intently.  Over time, as we grow up, we start to loose that.  When listening to people, we all too often find our thoughts wandering to other things.  Or even when our minds are focused on the conversation at hand, we are not listening to learn something, we are looking to interject.  Typically we are either defending, looking to contribute, or looking for how we can show our superiority.  This defensive, self-centered listening will inhibit success because it stunts our ability to learn and grow.

aladdin-dream-carpet Believe
Children have no difficulty in accepting the truth of things.  They trust their parents, grandparents, older siblings, etc… to guide them and teach them.  As they begin to interact with other children, they are looking to learn from their friends.  Yet, as we get older we begin to see more and more with a doubting eye – only trusting our own thoughts as dependable.  Yet – is it not wiser to trust a more experienced source than ourselves when it is available?  Success comes not from our sole ability to improve our lot in life – it comes from our ability to learn from and have faith in the knowledge of those who went before us.

Children have the most amazing self-confidence.  Every accomplishment, even if it is something they’ve already done, is celebrated joyfully.  Watch a young child as they learn to jump, dance, and throw.  Every time that they jump or throw, they celebrate this advancement, and celebrate that they are able to repeat these results.  They never discourage themselves with negative critiques of their skill level – children are happy to be where they are at and excited about where they will be next. 

peekaboo-megan As adults we start to loose that joy.  Children are focused on enjoying life and bettering themselves.  They are constantly at everything and everyone to discover new ways to have fun and new skills to learn.  Many top level executives are recognizing that success doesn’t just happen.  They are hiring executive coaches and learning how to  listen to learn.  Success is more likely when those in charge value the individuals they’ve collected around themselves – and in turn listen with the purpose of learning from those valued people.

We must not forget to remember that we are continually learning and growing – and that celebrating the small things we do does not mean we do not aspire to bigger things.  Don’t discourage yourself – or your team – by only dwelling on what you can not yet do.  And be humble enough to recognize that we can, and should try to, learn from anyone and everyone.

This morning, someone I admire told me that frequently people don’t commit to fixing tough issues.    Often people will give up.  Though he was speaking in reference to the rising divorce rate, there is a connection to be made to employees.  Many employers think that their employees owe them a debt of servitude.  They don’t praise the successes of their employees and over time their employees loose the joy of the job.  Commitment slowly dries up, and rather than fixing the problem, they leave.  Children, on the other hand, have a completely different attitude.  They commit completely and figure that since they will be staying, issues need to be resolved, so that they can go back to having fun.

If you’re losing good people, look to their immediate boss. The immediate boss is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he’s the reason why people leave. When people leave they take knowledge, experience and contacts with them, straight to the competition.

Managers can stress out employees in different ways – by being too controlling (micro-managing), too suspicious, too pushy (unrealistic demands), too critical, or even too absent.  These managers forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents. When this goes on too long, an employee will quit – often over a trivial issue. 

DL-N-10 Parade Your Achievements
Children are happy and parade in their accomplishments, admiring those around them, celebrating their successes as well – without jealousy or false praise.  In order to complete the long race to full success, we need to fortify ourselves with each achievement – enjoy each step as it comes.  Let each achievement contribute to the successful person you desire yourself to become.  No success is too small to smile about!

Like children, we will always need help from others to grow.  We must treat others as the valuable assets they are – to encourage them to stay close and continue to be of help.  The best way to encourage the loyalty of our employees is to inject fun into the workplace.  People who enjoy what they are doing, will go a lot further. 

Child Like Success
All of our potential success is anything but assured.  It can be easy to ruin and difficult to realize.  Yet, children give us such a clear example of achieving success.  We must have faith in those around us – namely our employees, colleagues, and advisors.  Trust that they have something to teach you – and listen intently for those lessons.  When accomplishments are made – celebrate like a child!  Resist your self-critical tendencies and do a Happy Dance!  Laugh out loud!  Smile with pride!  And remember that this is just the tip of your iceberg.  Let the people around you see your glee at the work of their hands.  Get excited at each step – it will encourage the next one.  Commit to those around you.  Treat them well to encourage their loyalty.  Loyal and happy employees will offer you much – but an unappreciated one will never seek your approval (and will not hesitate to leave you in a lurch).  Believe in your staff (and let them know that you do) and they will work harder for you.  Put your full heart into every task (great or small) you begin – make it worth your time.  You can not ace a project if you don’t believe in it’s importance. 

In short – you are not likely to succeed as a negative, isolated, & arrogant island…  Take a page from a toddler – Listen to Learn, Commit to Your People, and Have Fun!


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