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As my eldest daughter sets off for her first travel camp in the Bay Area, I’m reminded by all the wonderful and scary elements in trying something new. In her, I have seen anxiety, anticipation, and gratitude for the journey ahead. It’s been fun to watch the silliness that comes in response to all of those emotions (and the emotions mirrored in those around her). The experience has given me a greater appreciation for the energy it takes for our team, clients, and all those around us cast off to try new things every day. Here are a few lessons that have been reinforced through watching my daughter over the past week:
Importance of Goal-Setting:
While our family had considered this camp for several months, she would have been one of the youngest attendees. We hesitated. Would she be overwhelmed if she was suddenly surrounded by kids 4-5 years older than her? However, at the beginning of the year my daughter had set several goals for herself in 2017. Of her 5 goals, this camp was going to help her achieve 3 of them. That led us to reconsider what our own goals were for her experience. Before, we would have wanted her to have a “fun”, “learn”, or some other positive outcome. Now, we realized the very act of trying would represent success. Pass or fail, she would have a story to tell her friends, lessons to last a lifetime, and opportunities to build new relationships with other motivated kids. No matter what, that would be valuable.
Clarifying our true goals made the decision whether to attend easy. What action(s) would you take if you were able to define your worst-case scenario as “not so bad”?
Having a Support Network:
Perhaps the most re-assuring aspect of this trip was the strong support we got from friends. Within hours of reaching out, we had offers of places to stay and meals to share. In fact, as excited as I am about my daughter learning 3D printing, I’m more excited by the amazing clients and partners we’re going to spend time with. From clients transforming education to pursuing passions for outer space, she will see multiple versions of what her 25-year old self could look like. I am eternally grateful for that community.
These opportunities have reinforced the power of support networks for everything we do. Take five minutes, and write about a goal you’re trying to achieve, such as hiring a key employee, or eating healthier, or finding funding for your new business. Then, start writing names of people who could help you. How many people could you list in 5 minutes? How long would it take for you to message each person on that list asking for help? Even one response represents success.
Technology is a Blessing…and a Curse
Full disclosure: my daughter doesn’t have a smartphone. In fact, we have no plans to get her one (we’re trying to apply Bill Gates rules). It turns out, she was the only one at camp without one.
So, what happened when over 30 smart, motivated girls from all over the country took a break from learning technology at picturesque Stanford? On the first day, they pulled out their phones and stared at their screens. Talk to each other? Not so much. Share ideas? Not really. They did what they could have done at home. It was a lost opportunity.
While technology improves our lives in many ways (she is at a STEM camp after all), her experience reminded me of the importance of making sure we’re building relationships with real people around us. Take 5 minutes and write down the names of 3 people you haven’t seen in a while, yet live near you. Message them inviting them to lunch, and I bet you get a response. Who knows? They might end up funding, joining, or buying from your next business.
As our team looks to tackle goals in the months ahead, we’ll be inspired by the courage of the many young people around us and will look to be as fearless as they are!