Kids can be some of the best teachers.
My son, Jackson, has been no exception to that rule…despite the fact that he has a learning disability. He’s taught me more in less than 2 years, than any other person alive.
I wanted to share a few of the lessons he taught me about running a business (I’ll share more of these lessons from time to time).
1. If Plan “A” Doesn’t Work, Don’t Worry. There are 25 Other Letters
Kids with Down syndrome tend to have delays in verbal communication.
At almost 2 years old, the only word he says is “DaDa” and sometimes he even manages a spot on perfect “Dad”.
While I love being his one and only word, as a parent I know that he needs to be able to tell us when he’s hungry, thirsty, sleepy or wants to play. And even though we would love for him to speak like a typical child, the end result of why we want our kids to speak is so that they can let us know what they want, right? It’s not so we can hear an audible sound…its simply that we want them to be able to communicate.
Since speaking wasn’t happening, we had to find a different route.
Enter sign language (specifically, the Signing Times DVD’s).
Now, Jackson can let us know just about anything he wants using American Sign Language (ASL). He has over 15 signs he uses on an almost daily basis with us, other family members, his teachers and therapists.
LESSON LEARNED FOR BUSINESS: If you aren’t hitting your goals on your current path, find a different path to get there.
There are near unlimited ways to solve a problem. We tend to get fixated on the task at hand, and not what is advancing us towards the real goal.
When you are having issues, step back, reassess what you are really trying to accomplish, and see if there is a different path to the end result.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Admit You Need Help
Just like speech, children with Down syndrome often have other delays too.
Jackson was having problems with crawling, feeding himself, stacking blocks, etc. Many of these things we didn’t even notice (he is our first child) at first. But as we spoke with other parents and doctors, we realized that he was getting further and further behind typical kids his age.
We took action, and hired several therapists and specialists to work with him. We have a Speech Therapist, Play Therapist, Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist. At his school they also provide, Dance Therapy and Music Therapy.
These 6 (yes, SIX) specialists work with Jackson up to several times a week, on very specific things that they are an expert at individually.
We’ve seen a dramatic improvement since we got serious with Jackson’s therapy (almost walking, feeding himself with a spoon, stacking blocks, working with puzzles, etc)
LESSON LEARNED FOR BUSINESS: If you are having problems in an area of your business, hire a coach (or coaches) to help you. Get as specialized as possible. I’m not a big proponent of Life Coaches, or Business Coaches. I recommend going as niche as possible.
If you are having problems with your marketing, get a marketing coach. If you are having employee issues, hire an employee relationship coach.
Recently, I was having operational issues, and hired Beth Schneider to coach my team on setting up our processes.
But go even deeper than just coaches. Maybe you can’t get your site to rank and you really need traffic to your website. You would be better off using something like Instant Linkerati to do if for you, rather than learning SEO yourself. Same thing with graphic design and programming. Just pass it off to the experts.
3. Don’t Constantly Compare Yourself to Others
If I compared Jackson’s milestones to other kids of his age, I’d be a hurting’ Daddy all the time.
Every year, I am reminded of how far behind he is when we visit the Down Syndrome Clinic of Houston. They assess and rank him on many different areas of development. As you can imagine, its tough to see your little boy falling behind kids even half his age.
But that feeling washes away when he hits the tiniest of goals. Recently, he was able to finally get the star-shaped block through the hole. His eyes got big, smiled the biggest grin and screamed at the top of his lungs.
He worked hard figuring out how to get that star block through the hole, and deserved to be that happy.
LESSON LEARNED FOR BUSINESS: I always compare my success to others…specifically to others at a higher level where I’m at currently.
For example, both Masterminds I’m in have several people earning 7-figures a month. Some have massive lists, systematized businesses that run like clockwork, etc. When I compare my success to one of these guys, I want to jump out a window. :)
But when I step back, and look at the facts…I make more in a month than most households make in 2 years…I work from home…get to wake up every day and do a job I love…I got a damn good life.
Do the same with yourself. Don’t measure yourself up against the boss, or your friends.
Now, I’m not saying to be “happy where you’re at” either. We should push ourselves to improve and be better…but not beat ourselves down because we aren’t doing as good as someone else.
If you enjoyed these 3 tips, give this a “Like” to share Jackson’s lessons with others..and leave a comment below.