Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
I am an avid sports fan and we have spent an exciting summer with our 15-year-old son trekking across the nation watching him play basketball. The thing about competitive basketball is that you see it mirror both the best and worst of society. You see the excitement of youth, the thrill of competition, and the bonding of friends and family. But you also see ego, politics, and some of the moral dilemmas we are facing today. It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity, so sometimes you need to refresh your outlook.
Overall, there is so much more positive about the experience and that is where we need to focus and celebrate. We need to foster, share, and inspire positive outlooks so that our light will shine on others.
I love learning; especially when it comes at unexpected times from unexpected people. It is even more special when you have the opportunity to learn from one of your children. Because of our youngest son, I felt the need to share a couple of reminders on how you can refresh your own outlook on life.
SOAK IT IN
Recently, we accompanied our son on an unofficial college visit to Iowa State. It was an amazing visit as the coaching staff showed us their impressive facilities and spent time sharing their culture and philosophy of the program.
When my son was asked what he enjoyed most about the visit, he responded with a smile on his face, “walking onto the court at Hilton Coliseum.” With all that we saw during the tour - the impressive facilities, the Stark Performance Center, Jack Trice Stadium, reviewing film with the coaching staff - it was the simple act of walking onto the floor of an empty stadium.
The power of the moment was lost on me until we saw the photos taken by their photographer. It was then that the impact was on full display in the child-like smile on my son’s face. He stood there with the familiar feel of the hardwood under his feet like he had felt thousands of times before in gyms all across the U.S., but the size, the tradition, the echoes of past celebrations, culminated to captivate his thoughts and his dreams. The picture of him soaking it all in was an incredible reminder that in the fast pace of life, we need to take the time to soak it all in.
DARE TO DREAM
As we continued to look through the pictures and reflect on the events of the weekend, I was brought back to a previous blog I wrote called Little Wonders, Big Impact. But our son isn’t a little kid. He is a 6’3” 15-year-old who is still growing, who has felt pressures and challenges that a teenager shouldn’t have to face. The stress that puts butterflies in the stomachs of the parents, but somehow fosters excitement and hope in him.
He is enjoying the moment. Besides soaking in the experience, he also has the audacity to double down on his dream. The focus in his eyes as he watched the Cyclone hype video on the Hilton Magic. It made me wonder what was going through his head at that moment. I reflected on watching him as 4-year-old shooting baskets on the hoops hanging on the door in the hallway. He would keep score using an app on our iPad. Watching him run up and down the court in our backyard, talking to himself, announcing the game he was playing in his head. The 15-year-old boy, who is becoming a man, has found the secret power that so many of us have forgotten… Dare to Dream.
In 2010, I wrote about Not Losing Site of the AHA Moments. Of course, it was written for us, the adults, because somehow as we get wiser, we also seem to regress. It was an incredible gift that my son gave to me unknowingly; to not forget the importance of soaking it all in and to not lose the “dare to dream” mindset of your childhood. It is the innocence of youth and the potential for the future that takes you to your dreams, Beyond Today.
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.