An Unexpected #DaughtersAndSonsToWork Day Lesson: Listen Up!

Happy Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, all!  As a mostly solo-preneur who splits my time  between on-site client projects, a home office, and  noun_624290_50B4FFHatch Innovation,  the notion of bringing my daughters” “to work” with me doesn’t quite have the power it once did in my full-time office days.  But,  it does inspire me to  reflect on the many lessons  I’m learning with, and from, my own daughters, who recently turned 10, including one from earlier this week, which was a powerful reminder for me not only as a parent, but for the work we do each day with our clients. The lesson is a simple one– but one that’s all too easy to forget.

It all began last week, when one of my daughters came to me for help with an ongoing issue she’s been facing with some friends at school.  While we typically  have pretty  open noun_132879_50B4FFcommunication, this conversation was tougher than most.  Despite our many attempts to talk about it, I felt like every question I asked made it harder for her to explain it, and harder for me to help. As luck would have it, I ran into a friend and her daughter, who is 12, the next day, and asked her advice on how I might approach the subject differently. The advice she gave me was simple, but powerful: “Just stop talking, and don’t ask any more questions. You just need to start listening more.”

And so, I did. I made a commitment to de-clutter our next conversation, and make more space for silence. Boom! The very next day, as I drove home from soccer practice, I kept my mouth shut and simply listened. From the back seat,  a conversation unfolded that helped me learn more about my daughter, and the struggle she’d been trying to explain, than I ever would have by asking her more questions.  Of course, she knew I was there, but in noun_565395_colorthat moment I’m not even sure it mattered. She talked it out, without the distraction of being questioned or having to find the exact words for the ‘right’ response.. And, I finally heard what was on her mind. Later on, we talked about it more together. And, most importantly, we figured out a way to work through the problem together. I’m forever grateful for this unexpected lesson.

As a research-rooted marketer, I’m lucky that I get to flex my listening muscles during my work day; this was a powerful reminder to continue doing so in other areas of my life as well. I encourage you all to look for these lessons today, and well beyond. They are around us, for sure!

KEEP THE CONVERSATIONS GOING….

Whether you have plans to officially celebrate the holiday today or not, I hope it inspires you to consider what lessons you, too, can learn from the kids in your lives– and, how you can engage them in the learning process about the work you do each day. There are some great resources available too, including tips for Parents, office Activity Guides, and Planning Tips for Kids before they visit a workplace or meet with a professional mentor, and more. You can learn more from the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation and by reading the history here.  And, check out some other tips in articles such as How to Rock Taking Our Kids to Work and The Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Your Kids to Work. I’d love to hear from your experiences, too; drop me a line anytime!

And, if you need a boost in the business-listening arena, check out Research, Demystified: 4 Simple Steps for Better Insights Ahead and 6 Simple Steps to Understanding Your Audience Through Research for a good place to start.

To a lot more listening ahead…on all fronts!

 

 

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