My daughter, Charlotte Marie Burns, was born on August 16, 2012. Since that day, time has accelerated. Memories pile on top of one another in a glorious entanglement of chaos, humor, mistakes, and time-outs.
How is it possible that it’s already December? That my daughter is already four months old? That my son is now in preschool? That I have returned to work, and to blogging? If you please, I would like to hit “pause” for just a second so that I can fully absorb what’s gone on here.
It’s an interesting feeling, returning to something after an absence. You want to hit the ground running, but you’re not quite sure what road you’re on. You want to succeed at whatever you’re asked to do, but you don’t know what you’re going to be asked to do. You have to be prepared to adapt, change course, go with the flow. To accept that things won’t be quite as you left them, and that you will be doing many things for the first time.
Huh. That sounds a lot like what it means to be a mom.
Perhaps there’s more of a relationship between what you learn in your personal life and what you offer to your professional one than I had previously thought. It begs an interesting question: What have I learned from my two-year-old and my newborn that has any relevance in a professional context? Some thoughts:
It can be fun to do things for the first time. My two-year-old is never prouder than when he’s learned how to do something new and do it all by himself. There’s a good deal of courage that goes into that moment when you decide to try something you haven’t tried before, and a lot of joy awaits as the reward. I want to brave enough to do something I haven’t done before, and I don’t want to be scared of getting started.
Quiet is good. I don’t just mean that quiet times during the day are rare and precious (although of course they are). I also mean that oftentimes the best learning comes in the silence. We’re so quick to fill the gaps, to talk through them, to rush to help someone when sometimes the better path is to sit back and give the person some space to figure it out on his own. Sometimes it’s what you don’t say, or choosing not to say anything at all, that creates the “aha” moment.
Repetition is a really good idea. Practice makes perfect is an old saying, and a rather tired one, but really think about it – it’s fundamentally true. I think little kids intuitively understand this, because they enjoy doing the same thing again and again. But as we get older, repetition can often be boring. If you can push through, really dig deep and find that self-discipline, you’ll be so glad you did.
Walk the tightrope, but with a net. I think one of the most wonderful things about watching my kids grow is that I know, at least for now, that I can be there catch them when they fall. They can have the courage to do things for the first time, to sit quietly and figure something out, to do the same thing again and again, because they know that help is never far away. I think there’s a wonderful lesson in there: If we always functioned as a safety net for the people around us, how much more willing would we all be to take risks, to do things for the first time, to explore our potential? Sometimes all you need is a little net beneath you to make you feel that you can really fly.
And so I’m back to work, writing, researching, blogging, and editing. I’m going to work hard, and do lots of new things, and try to make it look easy. I look forward to sharing the journey with you, and until next time, Happy Holidays!
Katherine is the Director of Strategic Communications for Growth Team Membership, a premier best practices research group within Frost & Sullivan. You can follow her on Twitter: @KatherineSBurns.
Written by Katherine Burns
Katherine is the Director of Strategic Communications for Growth Team Membership, a premier best practices research group within Frost & Sullivan.