Kids and entrepreneurs have a lot in common. Sounds crazy right?
They both look at the world differently. They see so many possibilities and seem to revel in the constant change. This is quite different from most people who seem to dislike change, especially big change. Me, I love it and am always looking for new ways to approach old ideas.
It’s hard to believe that I’m just a few short months away from the big 4-0.
Am I really that old?
I don’t feel it. In fact, I feel in better shape than I have in years, but the numbers don’t lie.
My metabolism might not be what it used to be. Nor is my body’s ability to heal itself. What little hair I have left diminishes more each year. Yes, I suppose I have to face the fact that I am getting older.
Thankfully, I’m still young. Maybe not physically, but I’m definitely young at heart.
The other day my wife held up a flyer about a seminar for fathers and how to relate to their children. We both chuckled over it, because we feel I should be the one GIVING the seminar.
Yes, I’m that good when it comes to being with kids.
Why? Cuz I’m really just a big kid myself.
I love cartoons, I love games, I love messing around and doing silly things, I love gadgets, playing slap…I love it all.
Over the X-Mas break I got the ultimate compliment from two of my wife’s friend’s kids. “Adrian’s different. He isn’t like other adults.”
That’s right…I’m not…and I never will be. I’m both deadly serious and a goof-ball rolled into one. One minute I’m talking finance with executives of banks, the next I’m talking about “How to Train Your Dragon” and how I cry every time I watch it.
Surprisingly though, being able to relate to kids isn’t something that comes easy for most adults.
People seem to forget just what life is like as a kid. I remember feeling left out or bored talking to many adults and made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be like that. So far, I’ve succeeded.
So how do I win kids over? Easy, I use my 7 secrets.
- I ask questions (lots of ‘em)
- I listen (really, I do)
- I play games (hide n’ seek rocks)
- I tell funny stories (we have tons of them)
- I watch cartoons (with my son)
- I get in the trenches (get my hands dirty)
- I act silly (enjoy yourself)
What’s interesting about these though is they not only apply to playing with kids on the playground, but also in dealing with executives in the boardroom.
Let me elaborate. Asking critical questions is a skill that shows a clear understanding of the material presented, and how it can be used. Listening is a skill that few of us take the time to study, but it’s the most effective way to establish rapport with clients and coworkers alike.
To find out more about how to be a better listener, I recommend checking out Stephen Covey’s classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Games, funny stories and cartoons are all simply part of associating with the other person. Tony Robbins was right when he said that we have passed through the information age and are now in the entertainment age. Today it’s not enough to tell people about information, but for it to be done in a such a way that it stimulates us. Stimulation allows for interaction, enjoyment and creates lasting memories.
Getting in the trenches means you’re willing to get your hands dirty. It’s one thing to say you can, and another to actually do something. We want to deal with people who are willing to go the extra mile.
And finally, be different.
Kids love doing silly stuff, so just be silly. I make goofy faces, make up silly songs, pretend I’m a quarterback, crawl around the room like a spider, use chopsticks to make myself look like Wolverine, anything and everything goes. They just love it.
Well, guess what? Entrepreneurs today like dealing with high energy people who are both caring and innovative. Entrepreneurs today have no interest in recreating what is already out there, but in creating new ideas that break all the rules. They love out of the box thinking, and it’s something I specialize in.
The world is changing fast, so going with the flow simply means falling further behind. You’ve got to think differently in today’s high speed world. And it’s something I challenge all my clients to do.
All I know is that it’s amazing how much we can learn from playing with kids.
Not only do they teach us how much fun the simple things in life can be, but also how to be a better entrepreneur.
See you on the playground.