One of the things I love about my work is the opportunity to collaborate with some wonderful people. In a phone call last week one of them commented on some significant changes she had noticed in my work. “The gloves are off” is how she described the change. “How did you do that?”
The short answer? I stopped caring. While parents, kids and families matter more now than ever, I quit bothering myself about things that other people tell me I should care about. Instead of obsessing about “traffic” and “reach” and “influence” and “metrics,” I’m back to being me: sharing good content as often as I can, trusting that it will reach someone who will benefit from it… when they need to connect with it.
It’s not that I don’t need or want feedback. I like to learn… but it was getting in the way.
So how did I learn to stop caring? The way I learn best: the hard way.
I worried and fretted. I checked and measured… and drove myself half insane. Then, as it sometimes does, life added some stresses of its own. For the privacy of those involved I will say only that some people I care deeply about faced some very difficult circumstances. To make matters worse, there was nothing I could do to help.
What’s that got to do with parenting? Or the Four Foundations? Quite a lot, actually.
Tough times can make us bitter or make us better. If we pay attention, illness, injury and error can reconnect us to what matters most. It’s similar to what happens when we realize we can’t smooth all the bumps in the road our kids will travel: we decide to teach them to navigate the bumps. And with that learning comes a level of fearlessness that frees us to give our best efforts and “let go” of the results.
When we share this attitude with our kids they often become too busy “taking care of business” to hear the warnings from the people who want to tell them they’re doomed to fail!