We need to get hurt in business
“Hey Dad!, I fell off my skateboard and I bruised my knee and elbow, look here…” (blood dripping from his knee and elbow). Kegan, my son came to me one afternoon after work and nonchalantly told me this. The first thoughts through a parent’s mind is “How can I stop this from happening?”, how can I stop him from ever getting hurt?”
“Maybe I could build a protective box around him that I can bolt onto the top of the skateboard….”
But here-in lies the folly of parenthood without a manual. Professor Jordan Peterson, the author of 12 rules for life talks about this in rule 11 in the book. He refers to a situation in Canada where for a while all the jungle gyms were removed from school playgrounds because the schools were scared of being held liable for injuries to the kids. The side-effect of this was that kids started running on the roof of the school and playing in dangerous areas.
It turned out that the playground had to be safe, but not too safe. There needed to be just enough danger involved for kids to actually explore and use the facilities. If it was too safe, kids would get bored. Its how kids want to learn. They want risk.
According to Prof Peterson, as humans, we need to be in an unsafe space to tap into the supernatural ability that we all have. People inherently do not minimise risk. We need it to function. We need it to grow. We need to live on the edge. It is here that we can be both confident in our experience and be able to confront the chaos. This ability we have is what allows us to grow.
Are you going through a tough time in business? Have you made some decisions that have put you in a position where you feel you have to walk on the water or drown? Don’t be alarmed! This is exactly where you need to be. This is how we learn.
It’s much like the slides at a water park. When you first get to a water park as a child, you take the smallest slide. You don’t have the courage yet for “Tornado” which is a 6 story high slide which is basically a free fall down to a tiny swimming pool with little water and many overweight men who have just seen their lives flash past them.
As you master the little slide, you move onto an even bigger one, until you eventually have the courage to take on the Tornado.
David, in the Bible, first slew the lion, then the bear and then it was Goliath. Every time he built enough experience and courage for the next phase of his life.
So if you find yourself on the water, you can’t see land and your ship is sinking, remember this, you’re going to be fine and you’re going to walk away from this better than before. You might walk away with a bruised knee and elbow (and a blue eye), but you have learned and lived life.
Nothing has changed from the time you came across your first playground. You were subconsciously seeking risk and you’re constantly seeking it now.
Embrace your storm today (its what you chose!) and see it as an adventure of the unknown where you’re sure of one thing: I will learn and I will be better and stronger than before.
Have an amazing weekend!