My friend and colleague, Eva Grazel, recently sent me an article about three questions that a couple asked their children every night before they put them to bed. It occurred to me that these questions were not just great for developing children but would be amazing for developing leaders and strengthening adult relationships as well. So, Tom and I have embarked on the nightly ritual over our dinner to answer the same questions for a while. Here’s what it’s taught us already:
1. How were you brave today?
Courage sometimes takes the form of a big, dramatic event like sky-diving and bungee-jumping. But, more often for most of us, courage shows up in small little decisions we make every day. Stepping onto the stage for the first time. Throwing your hat into the ring for a speaker’s competition. Asking for a raise. Deciding to speak up. Deciding to remain quiet. Staring down your excuses. Picking up the phone and making the call. Taking a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror.
Answering this question daily about ordinary moments of valor and bravery creates a foundation of little audacious moments where we stepped up and conquered… however small… so that when the big moments are upon us, we have some strong muscle memory to pull that trigger. It helps our courage become an old and familiar friend.
2. How were you kind today?
We’re all human. But, are we also developing our humanity? In a world where people can be downright mean and say and do the cruelest things to one another, it’s easy to lose sight of our own ability to be humane. Acts of kindness can be small, easy things and they always make us feel so good. But, they can also be hard things: Standing up for someone, including the outsider, or just making something right. Kindness is a strength and another muscle worth exercising regularly.
3. How did you fail today?
If you want to lead anything or anyone or if you just want to be and stay successful, you cannot be afraid of failure. Making decisions is essential to moving forward and leading yourself or a team, and sometimes we get it wrong which is infinitely better than playing it safe and never making decisions at all. At LionSpeak, we don’t want people to fear getting a low score on a mystery shopper call report. I don’t want my husband or my children hiding things from me because they fear my reproach for the mistakes which they are bound to make if they live a life that is moving forward. First-time mistakes mean we’re trying and learning, and there’s something so beautiful to me in that, isn’t there? Cheer for your first-time failures every day!
When we share these questions and answers with others in our sphere of influence, we also learn from the sharing. We discover new ways to be brave and kind and fail with grace and glory. This week, consider adding these three powerful questions to your daily routine with family and colleagues or maybe to your agenda for your monthly team meeting. We get more of what we focus on so focus on being brave, practicing kindness, and learning well from your mistakes.
“The only proper way to eliminate bad habits is to replace them with good ones.”