Business lessons from a four week old child
Last month our household was gifted with the arrival of equal parts cuteness and equal parts chaotic bedlam with the arrival of our first child. Knowing nothing about being parents, we ad-libbed our way through the first four weeks with our number one priority being not to stuff anything up too badly. Having survived the first 28 days, we made seven observations that revealed uncanny parallels to being new business owners:
Within a few days of getting him home, he cried loudly and frequently, and we didn’t know why or how to stop it. Someone suggested we throw him in the bath, so we gave it a go and it worked a treat.
Business observation: no one is born a good business owner (or parent), but those who end up becoming good ones are the ones who are open to advice and guidance, and can then pick and choose what advice is best for their situation to help them evolve and grow.
At one point he was laying down on a pillow, and having turned my back for a split second, he managed to ninja flip himself onto his stomach, face down. Having crapped my pants, I picked up my heavily stressed child and nursed him to a happier state.
Business Observation: when you least expect it, things will go sideways and at that moment, you will feel like a deadbeat and that things can’t get any worse. But your ability to respond and recover will not only allow you to learn from the episode, but ensure you won’t make the same mistake again.
Whilst changing his nappy one evening, he did a devil-possessed explosive crap that redecorated the bedroom.
Business Observation: when we least expect it, things can and will go to shit. But with a plan, some care, and some composure, most things can be cleaned up and moved on from with minor ongoing repercussions.
One minute he is smiling and making cute baby noises, the next minute he is crying uncontrollably like a banshee on acid.
Business Observation: in business, things are usually either great, or awful. They are rarely neutral. Our prerogative as business owners (or parents) is to make sure the great times significantly outweigh the awful times.
Both sets of grandparents have visited in the last few weeks, as have our friends, which has allowed the wife and I to go out for a coffee or a quick meal, or even just a walk, which has allowed us to reset our brains and refocus on what we are doing.
Business Observation: great leaders don’t become great leaders on their own. They do so with the help, guidance, support, and feedback from those around them, and can occasionally remove themselves from the battlefield to refocus on what they are trying to achieve.
We only officially named him a few weeks ago which was about three weeks after he was born. This drove our parents mad and frustrated them no end.
Business Observation: some things aren’t as urgent as we like to think they are or that those around us think they are. Being busy is exciting but in a lot of cases, we intentionally make ourselves busy unnecessarily. Just because those around us are frantic doesn’t mean we need to accommodate them.
We kept being told that we have to be careful with the name we choose because the wrong name will result in our child being bullied at school. But as we all know, some kids are assholes and don’t need a reason to be bullies.
Business Observation: you might have the greatest business, or be the greatest leader (or parent) in the history of the world, but there is always going to be some asshole out there who wants to bring you down. This isn’t about you, it’s about them, and everyone who is prepared to be noticed will have to deal with these people at some stage.
(Neo was born on May 23 at six pounds neat. Everything went according to plan apart from the fact that he was born in Maroons territory. I tried to convince the wife to whip across to Tweed Heads for the birth but I was advised matter-of-factly that I needed to shut up.)