5 Ways Parenting is Excellent Preparation for Executive Leadership
"How do you do it?"
A question I often receive when others learn the various hats I wear and flip amongst throughout the day: wife, mom, life strategist, and serial entrepreneur.
My secret? My kids. Seriously. Being a parent has been, hands down, the best preparation for any kind of leadership, coaching, and interpersonal development. There's no doubt I'm a better human today than I was before becoming a mom, and not just because I'm obsessed with neuroscience and have watched every Tony Robbins video that exists on the internet. Admittedly, parenting does not instantly make one an enlightened being, but it certainly opens us up to a wealth of experiences that can skyrocket our personal growth, if we approach it with the right mindset. Here are five ways (good) parenting can make you stellar at executive leadership.
1. We get really good at dealing with crap. Literally.
That's not to say we're just sitting around taking everyone's crap. Rather, we become phenomenally skilled at sniffing it out and cleaning it up, and likely have a system in place for doing so. Every time you encounter the poo, it doesn't shock and derail you, and if you happen to get some on the carpet, you learn to keep your cool and handle the situation at hand with grace.
2. We get a steady stream of opportunities to master our emotional state.
Colicky baby? Teething toddler? Whiny kid? Hormonal teen? Oh, yes. There's certainly no shortage of opportunities to activate your higher, rational thinking. Parenting is truly the ultimate opportunity to uncover and face our deepest unresolved issues. Our relationship dynamics and quality of emotions can be deconstructed to a series of patterns and programmed beliefs. Parenting gives us seemingly endless moments to practice creating new patterns of engagement. If you completely screwed up the last interaction, great news: you will likely have a chance to redeem yourself before the day is over!
3. We develop mad negotiating skills.
If you've ever been involved in a stand-off with a two-year-old, you know what I'm talking about. You quickly learn that just because you're the authority figure and are significantly larger in size, you cannot simply overpower your tot or super-impose your will...unless you want to be the power-hungry, heartless monster (ahem, no thanks). You practice empathy and develop a desire to discover what is motivating your toddler, so it can be a win-win as much as possible...unless she insists on playing with toilet water. In addition, let's not forget the many mediations conducted between siblings. We learn to find the facts and look at things more objectively without take sides (hopefully!).
4. We learn the value of flexibility and adaptation.
Let's face it; parenting keeps us on our toes. Just as one routine falls into place, another tooth begins to cut through the baby's gums or your kid decides he doesn't like eating meat, and everything changes. You learn early on that it does you no good to resist change, so you accept and adapt instead.
5. We become more resourceful.
Not only with money, but with time and energy, too--especially the latter! Since there's only so much mental and physical energy any of us can produce, it becomes more critical than ever to spend it only on commitments and activities that contribute to a greater purpose or vision. This helps us get laser-focused on priority actions that need to be taken, and allows us to do more with less. No spare time to drift off into la-la land unknowingly. We do what truly matters, and the rest falls by the wayside.
[Related: 3 Lessons from Parenthood for Life and Work]
High-integrity leadership and good parenting have so many parallels, which is why I find coaching moms in leadership positions so inspiring and rewarding. I invite you to share your comments on how you integrate similar skills into your work and home life!
Now, please excuse me as I frolic around the park with my toddlers.
This article previously appeared on LinkedIn.
Luci Lampe is the Author of ACHIEVING SEXY and the Founder of Sexy Mama Movement, empowering every mom to live a life she loves in a body she loves.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Join Ellevate Now
In our community of experts, you’ll meet professional women committed to helping you succeed. We use the power of community to help you take the next step in your career.
Already a Member?