I was watching my 2 year old daughter play ‘princesses and dinosaurs’ with her 4 year old sister this morning (still not quite sure what the actual plot is) and was so impressed with their imagination and creativity, I realised that i had a lot to learn from them about being a great entrepreneur! Here are some of the lessons my toddler is teaching me every day.
Toddlers are incredibly playful and at the same time are constantly learning from their games. It’s exactly how they do learn - through playing. Isn’t this what we are told to do by Lean Startup - experiment and learn from our results? If you haven’t heard this before, then I suggest you read this book by Eric Ries on Lean Startup.
We can get so bogged down by being productive and trying to achieve results that we often forget to experiment with our products and test what works and doesn't. Next time you feel like work is getting a little too serious, go and watch your little ones play, maybe we can learn a thing or two from them!
As the ‘princess’ was being chased by the ‘dinosaur’, my two little ones came tearing around the corner and the little ‘princess’ tripped and fell into the wall. She hit her arm on the doorway and let out a huge cry! After about 20 seconds of complete meltdown and absolute drama, she got right up, wiped her tears with a giggle and got straight back into running at full speed after her sister.
When we hit a hard patch, as adults, we often forget to stop, have a moment of self-pity and get back up again. It’s the getting back up part that leads to successful entrepreneurs. Next time you hit a bad day or a big obstacle, don’t let it stop you completely. Make a change and get back up!
Have you ever just sat and watched toddlers playing in the park, without being the helicopter mum around them? It’s a scary thing, as it looks like my little one is constantly trying her hardest to actually kill herself! But in actual fact, she's testing her own boundaries over and over again.
It’s an incredible skill and one that we can learn a thing or two from. I often wish I had the courage and bravery to push myself as much as she does, and then i remember - I do! It’s only when we do things that terrify us that we grow as a person and as a business owner. And the beauty of it is that when we have pushed those boundaries, we can never go back, we are always just expanding ourselves with every scary, risky thing we do (this was great advice from Hannah Martin, Founder of Talented Ladies Club).
Its amazing how young children can create a game out of almost nothing. They have the ability to use only their imagination to create an entire kingdom of adventure around themselves. My girls were imagining a holiday trip overseas, with one being the ‘mummy’ and one being the ‘daddy’, and the next thing I see is all the dining room chairs and their little kiddy chairs and anything else that vaguely resembles a chair, all lined up and they’ve created a full aeroplane! It has imaginary wings made out of blankets and my tupperware boxes are the kiddies meal boxes!
I think the fact that they don’t have a real aeroplane and real wings and real plane food boxes makes it all the more fun for them. They are innovators who are blossoming under the constraints of their environment. And aren’t constraints the breeding ground for innovation?! If you already have everything you need (well, do we ever?) and there are no problems to solve in this world, then why would we bother creating any new products? The best entrepreneurs don't feel sorry for themselves when they don't have everything they need at their disposal, they innovate, they create!
Let me know what you've learned from your little ones, please share in the comments below!