Remember how much fun it was in our tender years during school when the bell rang and it meant RECESS? Believe it or not, all of those fruitless (yet fun) activities we did actually teach us how to become successful in business! It is amazing how the little things we did as children can transfer over to become helpful metaphors to build your business. These are a few that I hope you can use as guidelines to help structure how your business can succeed — from playground to proficiency.
Reaching for the Sky: Swings
How do we get ideas for startups or brainstorm potential career paths? By reaching for the sky. And how do we do this as children? By playing on the swings! Though it seemed effortless at the time, you were actually learning that you could achieve new heights with a bit of effort and determination — even if you start out slow and steady. As long as you keep the momentum, you can reach for the sky!
Working Well with Others: See-Saws
How do we learn to ask for help when we need it and perfect the art of teamwork? We work together on the seesaw (or teeter-totter, if you prefer). We all know starting a business is daunting and overwhelming, but with cooperation and coordination you can keep that business going. Without any help, you might find yourself stuck. However, as you teeter tottered with others, you were not only having fun but you were also learning how to work with others, harmonize incentives, and get motivated! I am no business guru, but I do know that cooperation plays a huge role in success…
Thinking Outside the Box: Hide and Seek
Hide and seek may have only seemed like child’s play, but we actually learned quite a bit from it. Our adult “business brain” finds those hidden, untapped customer bases that we need to succeed by using creative strategies. If I remember correctly, there were always the children who hid in obvious places and were easy to find, but there were also those kids who excelled at staying out of sight. In turn, the “seekers” used their motivation and determination to win, and you learned quickly how to acquire critical thinking like those clever kids. Your customer bases are no different! Your business will not survive if you expect them to find you. Use those critical thinking skills to get creative and look for customers in places you would not normally think to look.
Hanging on to Your Success: Monkey Bars
Once you have steadily and quickly learned how to attain new customers, you need to hang on to them. We look now at that what seemed an impractical and pointless activity, but is now actually a useful analogy for keeping your business: the monkey bars! They represent clear effort, frustration (in doing the task), and even accomplishment when we are able to achieve the distance. They also represent the importance of holding on to what you have (your customers). Without exerting effort to hold on to them, like you on the monkey bars, your business is going to fall quickly and not without pain. So, form a firm grasp on your customer base and carry them with you to success…one reach at a time.
Keeping Your Eye on the Prize: Merry-Go-Round
Round and round we go, where it stops no one knows, on to the merry-go-round (or carousel). This is a very important analogy for staying focused in all you accomplish. It is easy to get lost in the hustle and whirlwind that is starting a business. Therefore, it is very important to keep your eye on a something steady or surely you will lose focus, lose control, and become disoriented and unable to concentrate on the ultimate goal: success.
Networking Like a Pro: Tag
And last but not least: TAG, YOU’RE IT! This little lesson shows us now, as adults, how to really observe the importance of networking your business. Though it seems overwhelming and chaotic, you can easily find success and master your strength and skill in networking — online as well as offline. For example: when you begin to use social networking, you gain access to an immeasurable amount of power. Sure, you can try and find success by standing there and observing the competition, but YOU hold the power until you get out there, take control, and realize when you are “it.” In turn, it’s also beneficial to be tagged in a social network setting because it means you’re getting noticed. “Remember, it’s not always about who you know…but about who knows YOU!”
When you reflect on a time of youth and frivolity, realize that these were also times you were learning important values that would carry through to adulthood. And what seemed silly now has become the stuff of wisdom. So the next time you think that your child is wasting time using school hours for recess, think again as they may be the next Larry Page or Arianna Huffington!
What else did you learn about business from burning energy on the playground? Any key terms you’d like to add?