When you have a house of rambunctious kids running all over, it doesn't leave room for you to get any peace. If you can ask a stay at home mom what her biggest wish was, she would no doubt say having a moment to rest. The fact is, kids are a handful. I’m speaking as one who has gotten three kids ready for countless daycare visits, school drop offs and church. So I know all too well the responsibility. I even got so bold as to take a position as an enrollment director for a start up day care. There I was exposed to an army of toddlers every single day. Sometimes I loved it and other days I feared for my life.
Toddlers are such interesting creatures. They have a perception, language and outlook all their own. No two are identical, not even twins. You haven't heard the truth until you've heard it through the lens of a three year old. To say their honesty is brutal is an understatement. They have unbelievable resilience and ability to live in the moment. But what I have noticed as a person recently transitioned into full time entrepreneurship, I am beginning to see some striking similarities.
I want to share four funny ways entrepreneurs are just like toddlers:
(1) Just like toddlers we are having the most fun when all of our toys are on the floor: Have you ever seen a toddler in their room playing? They are masterful at taking different pieces and making them a part of the same adventure. They are somewhat connectors. They are having the best time when they can 'see' all of what they have. When they are playing, they are creating.
(2) Just like toddlers we never meet strangers: There's a reason we tell our children not to talk to strangers. That reason is first, strangers can potentially be dangerous. And next because they will literally talk to any and every stranger they meet! Kids don't have inhibitors like adults. They haven't been taught to fear everything. So they exist in a sort of free-ness that true entrepreneurs experience every day.
(3) Just like toddlers we are eager to learn new things: Kids are like sponges. Whatever you pour into them will be retained and accessible later. They are hungry to sink their minds into new and exciting projects. Books, kits, models or puzzles not only occupy their hands but their minds as well. Entrepreneurs, like toddlers are always reaching, climbing and exploring for new 'toys' to play with.
(4) Just like toddlers we don't like sitting around in crap: There's only a few real reasons why babies cry. First, of course, is hunger. Next on their list is what I call comfort issues. If a baby is too cold or too hot, everyone in the house is going to hear it. But let them have a messy diaper and its going to another level! A stinky bottom drives every toddler crazy, not to mention weighs them down. If you were to see an unhappy entrepreneur stuck sitting in a crappy job or at a meeting; the same look you get from a toddler is plastered onto their face.
My days of changing diapers and wiping runny noses are long gone. I made a few other career stops along my journey. Presently I look at every stage of my journey as a valuable lesson used to make me a better business person today. The daycare sticks out because of the little lives I became connected to. But more than that, I have come away with some great principles to help me coach the super creative mind of the entrepreneur.