Leadership Lessons from a Newborn Baby

Leadership Lessons from a Newborn Baby, by Haley Hansen

Just a few short weeks ago, our family got a little bit bigger as we welcomed Mackenzie Hansen into the world. We were blessed with a healthy, happy little girl who has brought great joy to our home. Two months later, it amazes me how much this tiny little human can teach me. Here are just a few leadership principles Mackenzie has helped me realize in her first few weeks on the job:

1. Rest is Refueling

Any parent can relate to this. If you have ever cared for an over-tired child, you know how they can reach new levels of emotional distress. And the more upset they become, the more they resist the call of sleep. This cycle can be hard to break, and an absolute nightmare for anyone around when it is happening. While it's easier to spot in an infant, I found that the same principle holds true for me. Even though I don't always need to be sleeping to get some rest, taking time for myself can offer similar relief. Already, I have learned that I need to give my "momma muscles" a break every day. If I can get out of the house for just 20 minutes every day - even if it's just a quick grocery trip or a walk through the neighborhood - I am in a much better mood.

The same is true for life at work. Sometimes you just need a quick break to recharge and refocus. Stop and grab a cup of coffee, go for a quick run, even take a nap! Let your brain rest and recharge to help you make clearn decisions and support the people around you.

2. Progress Takes Persistence

Little Miss Mackenzie taught me this one sooner than I expected. As adults, we understand - perhaps reluctantly - that we cannot expect anything to be perfect on the first try. No one is truly an "overnight success," but we rarely see the dedication and the struggle that accompanies triumph. Right now, our little Baby Mack is only two months old, but she wants to MOVE!! She has a love/hate relationship with her tummy time sessions, and every day she works as hard as she can to move her body to change positions. She struggles, and she gets frustrated, and she yells about it (unintelligibly, for the time being).

Even though Mackenzie has yet to achieve her goals of rolling and scooting, one day she will finally succeed and that success will be predicated on her continued determination to give it her all and to keep on failing until it works. As Henry Ford said, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, and this time more intelligently."

Think of one big goal you have. Got it? Now, go do something to try to get there! Will you fail? Maybe. Probably, even. Will you learn from it? I suppose that's up to you!

3. If You Want Something, Ask For It

This last one might seem obvious, but it's easy to forget. Many of us get caught up in our own worlds and assume that others will notice our hard work or our extra efforts. Often, the people we expect to notice are so busy with their own priorities that they don't see it right away. More often than not, the surest path toward success is direct action. For Mackenzie, this means screaming. Don't worry, we pick her up even when she's being quiet. But when she starts screaming, she has my full attention. Furthermore, she is much more likely to get what she wants. The same applies to us (except for the screaming part - we don't generally recommend it). If, for example, there is a new project coming up at work and you want to be assigned to the team, ask for it! Let someone know that you are interested, and the odds of success will increase dramatically.

These are just a few of the lessons I have picked up after two months of parenthood. I am excited for the lessons to come, and I look forward to sharing them with our little girl. I hope these lessons offer a fresh perspective on your own goals - both at work and at home. Take the time to rest. Be persistent. Grab the attention of the people around you. Some life lessons come early and don't ever change.


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