A Leadership Lesson From My Daughter

My youngest child is a beautiful 8-year old girl named Faith. She has repeatedly demonstrated that she is wise beyond her years. She recently did it again with what I consider a powerful leadership illustration.

Every Sunday night, we go swimming as a family. Because of our children’s ages, they have to pass a swim test to be away from us or to go in the deep end. Despite being the youngest, Faith was the first to ask to do the test. You don’t have to take the test if you are content to stay near mom and dad.

Faith took the test and failed.

Now many people, adults and children, would feel so disappointed that they would not want to try again for a long while. But instead, Faith received the instruction from me that was passed on from the life guard. She was willing to listen to what she had done wrong and what she needed to change.

The next Sunday, Faith showed me her new technique and then immediately asked to take the test again. This was with no prompting from me. She retook the test and passed with flying colours.

I’m proud of her for passing the swim test but this is more than just swimming. Faith approached her failure as a student and not a victim. She did not take things personally and was very interested in the necessary information to improve her performance. The result was not only Faith’s success but the inspiration for her older sister Emma to take (and pass!) the test for the first time.

Leaders are going to encounter failure and disappointment from time to time. It is inevitable. But it is our choice as to how we will react. We can embrace the identity of the victim, mourning how unfair the world is. Or we can approach it as a student, proactively seeking what we need to succeed in our next attempt.

Let my 8-year old daughter be your leader.


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