“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” In my consultations with business owners, I’ve had the privilege to witness many great ideas, processes, products and services. Some CEOS are stoic and resistant to change, tied to doing things in a “proven” way, while others embrace the new, always looking for ways to grow and improve.
Life Lessons from a 7-Year-Old
I remember a daddy/daughter date one summer day when my daughter Caroline (now 13) was 7 years old. One of her favorite places was the campus of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Southwestern is said to be the oldest university in the state, and it has a breathtakingly beautiful campus with large, lush lawns and enormous oak trees to shade you on a sunny day. Countless times we’d walk over to the campus and just hang out.
One day we were lying on the lawn there, just relaxing. I thought it was amazing. Then she said, “Daddy, I’m sorry, but this is boring.”
“What do you mean, sweetie? You love it here…that’s why we came,” I quickly blurted.
“Well, every single weekend we come here, run around, play, hang out, and I love it but there has to be more to do here, right?”
I didn’t know the answer to her question. For as long as we had been going there together, we had stayed in a very small section of the campus. The campus is sprawling, so we had only taken in a tiny portion of the entirety of the private school’s campus.
“Daddy, the problem is, after a while I get bored and tired of this patch of grass. I used to love coming here because it was new and different and I got to enjoy it with you. Now, I still LOVE you Daddy, but it’s not new and different anymore.”
At this point I was scrambling. Does she not want to hang out with me any longer? Is this what other parents have warned me about for years? Was this the start of my 7-year-old kiddo not wanting to be around me as much? Was she now going to start refusing to hold my hand in public? Was she going to start flirting with boys? Was she about to get a boyfriend and tell me to get lost, only to eventually need my help sometime later when she is older and realizes I was right all along…only to find out now that I’m so old that it is too late? Will “Cat’s in the Cradle” start playing loudly for no apparent reason?
“Well sweetie, would you like to go explore a little to see what else is around?” This was my last ditch effort…surely she wouldn’t agree to it.
“YES!!! Let’s go!” So we went. We discovered an enormous library with every book imaginable (she is, and always has been, an avid reader). We found a yard that led to the entryway of a very old church building. The ornate exterior, the stained glass, and the reverence of the place still touches me to this day. As we walked deeper into the campus we came across this amazingly well-kept and manicured baseball diamond…and there was a game!
So, we sat there, ate hotdogs, and watched a baseball game. Just the two of us. I’m not kidding when I say it was like something out of a movie. As we walked home, she hugged me and said “Daddy, that was magical. Thank you. It was like throwing a rock into the water and watching the ripples…no, it was like flying!”
Challenge Your Ideas
To this day, I’ve kept myself open to new and challenging ideas. When someone says “Well, we’ve always done it that way,” it’s almost as though I can see and hear my 7-year-old daughter telling me to change it up for them.
When we open up and allow ourselves to hear new and fresh ideas, when we are willing to look for solutions that are different, and when we are willing to throw a pebble into still water and create a small ripple, as my daughter would say, it can create magic.
The other day, Caroline, who is now 13, asked me what exactly I did for work.
“I help companies get rid of the noise that keeps them from creating ripples. I help people and businesses, after being stagnant for years, spread their wings and fly,” I said. It’s true. I’m a business consultant, not a sales rep, and I have no interest in selling. However, I am on fire to help business owners grow their companies through partnership with a Professional Employer Organization. It’s one of the best ideas since the internal combustion engine, and both statistics and happy clients prove it.
If you’d like to learn more about PEOs, Staff One HR, or how a little change can make a big difference, contact the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.