Listen. Observe. What do you see?
Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth, but you knew no-one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have, your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500 dollars. What would you do in the next 7 days?
This was a question on the interview notes for the Entrepreneur On Fire podcast I was a guest on a few months ago. Although we didn’t have time to address it on the air, I have pondered on this question since then. I was excited about answering this…and in light of our current political climate, I decided to share this with you.
So often we come in as visionary entrepreneurs, guns a blazin, full of ideas and ready to throw them to the world. As our family walked the Freedom Trail in Boston, and as we discussed the battles fought that both united and divided us, this got very real. We saw the irony of immigrants coming to the US who turned around and said “WE can be here but you – you from Ireland – you’re not welcome. And you – your skin is black – you’re not welcome. And women? Ha. You have your place.” And then we walked further through the freedom trail and saw how those same people – the ones beaten down and rejected by fellow immigrants over differences as simple as an accent, gender or skin tone – were the ones that kept this country going while the fighters went off to war elsewhere. For our “freedom”.
We’ve learned about the history of the indigenous people on this land. And we’ve walked through the Museum of Natural History and seen evidence of the evolution of our own homo sapien species…and how our DNA as a species is so, so similar, that a difference in a nose structure or skin tone is so inconsequential that it’s barely a blip on our DNA connection. (The DNA of modern humans is 99.9% identical.)
Too many times we see dreams crash and burn because we never took the time to learn beyond our own heads. We see vision. Have lofty goals. Dream big. We act.
Yet before that, we must observe and learn. Come with humility on what the world can teach you, and then harness your gifts to give back in a way that resonates. Observe. Listen. And find common ground. As we plow forward without regarding others, we divide. And that is how we fall and fail.
What is your vision for your children? How do you guide instead of simply forcing them to your will? Chances are, at some point, they are going to buck that system and forge their own path. We connect when we observe…and we go there in our own hearts to a place of empathy and compassion. In a time of extreme hate and hurt in our country, I seek the opposite. Force will break. But love can bind. So hug your families closer, and see them as they are: beautiful individuals with their own perspectives. Get down and look through theirs.
Start with your home. Stop the hatred and division. Teach your children love and compassion. Namaste.