by Shelley Mitchell
On the two-year anniversary of my teenage son having heart surgery (AT 16), I’m reflecting back over the crazy ride it’s been. Together, we have published five books and grew our businesses. Because of his first book “7 Days To Understanding Your Teen” selling over 1000 copies, he was asked to speak at conferences, fundraisers and even some big stages. That in turn got him a TV show at 17, but more importantly, it’s WHAT got him into COLLEGE!
In honor of this momentous occasion, I wanted to share some ways that we (parent entrepreneurs and business owners) are preventing our children from becoming leaders and how we are adding to their pile of crap that leads them to fail miserably. (and we probably don’t even know it!) So you can head them off at the pass…
Please read this before you decide to beat me up over this article. The last two years have been quite extreme. We have gone through a lot such as turning his grades around from failing in high school and getting arrested. Also, publishing 3 books (him, not me… I only published 2), speaking on stages at conferences and events to parents and other adults, having his own TV show, selling over 1000 copies of his book, and finally getting accepted to a real University!! Yippeeeee- that was the main goal. All after losing his dad…
During this time, I’ve coached over 150 business owners to make more money whether it was through my “Get Your IPA On!” program or my VIP Coaching program. Many of them were also struggling with the balance of their business, raising teens and having to sacrifice a lot just to grow their dreams… I’ve seen a lot in the last two years. My well-traveled road is really tired LOL. Either way, anyone could reasonably say that I have earned a little bit of a “right to speak” on this subject.
Being a Certified Business Coach and ADHD Coach along with also PERSONALLY making all of the mistakes I’m going to share with you, if I can help just ONE person guide their teen into becoming a leader, then I have accomplished my goal with writing this.
Mistake #1 – BEING A SCARE-DY CAT!
We don’t let them take RISKS. Most entrepreneurs and business owners have their businesses for a reason, and it is not because they have had an easy life handed to them on a silver platter. If you are a “successful” business owner, then you also know that you had to FAIL a lot more than you have had success. In turn, we also know “what’s out there” in the world, and we tend to try to protect our children from all the crap.
For many years, I tried to keep my son in private school to shelter him from any challenges I had to go through myself as a kid. We tend to go to extremes to prevent them from having to endure any stress, any challenges, any problems, and what could actually be opportunities for them to grow and to be able to think on their own. We know how to think on our own. We would take over the world if we could. We are the visionaries of the world. Then why don’t we want our children to be that as well? The only way we got this way is because we decided to take RISKS!
A simple example would be playing stock market. I lost a lot of money in the stock market over several years. When my son wanted to invest money in the stock market lately, I unknowingly did everything I could to sabotage that activity. Not because I didn’t want him to learn but because I didn’t want him to get hurt or lose anything. The problem is that HE DIDN’T LEARN ANYTHING… We didn’t lose any money, but nothing was gained because my behavior was that of “living in fear”. I was living in fear based on my beliefs and my experiences of what happened in the past. There is no way that I would have known what would have happened in the future but because of my issues and being a scaredy-cat, he didn’t learn anything about this process at all.
Mistake #2 – TRYING TO BE THE REPAIR MAN!
As entrepreneurs, we go into fix-it mode a lot… Sometimes at least 20 to 30 times a day. We are used to strategically thinking about problems and then fixing them quickly. Often, we have very little cash flow, and we just fix things with a Band-Aid without even giving thought to the long-term or the future “scalability” of our business.
How does this translate into our behavior with our teens that sets them up for failure? Well, just as we have, everyone has been given a set of gifts, strengths, and passions in which we were blessed. We usually take these for granted and focus on the things that we believe are “broken” in order to fix them. Rather than using our time and energy to grow our gifts and spend the majority of our time in our perfect moments which is when we are using our gift to share with the world, we try to spend useless energy and gobs of money fixing things that are broken.
If there are things with our kids that we think need to be fixed and we focus on that, then we take away their value, their focus on growing their gifts, passions and strengths, and they begin to doubt themselves and lose all of that confidence they had when they were very small children.
We are not broken dammit! I’m a great business coach! And I also don’t even attempt to teach cooking or cleaning because I know better. Sure, would I encourage myself from time to time to hang out with girlfriends and take a cooking class? That would be fun, but I am not going to do it because I think my skills are broken. I would much rather spend all my time focusing on growing my gifts so that I can be one of the greatest in the world. Our children need the same thing, especially our teens. all ready is such a crucial time for them to be in self-discovery and is where they do not typically reach out to us for help either. If we are continuously focused on, harping on, complaining to them, and pointing out regularly all the things we think need to be fixed, they miss out on the great opportunities of a growing their gifts, and finding their passions. And if they think that all we do is nag the shit out of them, they will run the other way.
You will lose your relationship with them that you spent the first 12 years trying to build. Focus on the good things and then the find support and services to help them function with the things that might not be there gifts. But please do not ever let them feel like they are broken. Otherwise, you prevent them from discovering their greatness.
Mistake #3 The TOWEL Boy!
As in all relationships, there will be times that we all struggle in our relationships and aren’t always equally connected as we are at other times. This happens with our teens as well. But what happens when we feel that we have tried everything or we have done everything in our power to motivate them, connect with them, or communicate with them, and we can’t seem to get though? We throw in the towel! We give up; we quit; we stop showing that we care or maybe we just become numb because we think it’s hopeless or worse, we believe they have given up on us….
Don’t do it! Pick up that towel and wave it as a white flag. Call a truce, open your ears and shut your mouth. Start asking questions and listen… listen to the answers whether you like them or not. They may even give you answers to shocking you – just for the effect. They’re testing you to see if you are listening. This is a new thing for them because they aren’t used to someone listening. Once they realize that you truly are listening and you’re not trying to lower a cage or drop a rope or net over their heads, they will start opening up and talking to you about what’s really going on.
Mistake #4 – THE SPANISH INQUISITION!
BUSINESS OWNERS! You can use this process with prospects too. When you get objections or when people become distant from you, you need to simply ASK QUESTIONS. Typically the first objection is just what naturally comes out of people’s mouths. Our teens may say that nothing is wrong, or that everything is fine. Our prospects will say I can’t afford it, or my husband won’t allow me or I need to think about it or whatever BS answer people come up with these days. Ask more questions…
The second response is given a little bit of thought as they realize that they have to give you something with a little bit more backbone on it or you’re not going to go away. You can translate this into your prospects behavior as well because it’s something they don’t really want to think about but they see that you are really thinking about it and they don’t know what the real objection is.
Ask more questions… If they see that they are being asked questions in a way that you care and truly want to know regardless of what the answers are, they will start opening up to you. This may take a while. For our prospects, the third objection is typically the real objection to a sales conversation. Like I said, the first one is what they could come up with a small amount of thought. So I will say it again, ask more questions.
Start asking and stop telling/selling. Stop troubleshooting problems and start asking questions to empower your teen to begin making their OWN decisions and finding answers inside of them. Do the same thing with your prospects, and they will trust you, respect you, and love you more than they already do.
Mistake #5 – Believing That We Have MAGICAL Powers!
You are not a magician! The best parents who have the best relationships with their teens and provide them with a clear path to becoming leaders as adults have a deeper level of awareness and consciousness and they also KNOW that they DO NOT have magical powers but in turn, that there are resources and help out there. They know they are NOT ALONE. It was not until I started taking my son to personal development workshops (because I simply wanted to go and I didn’t have any other way to spend time with him) was it that we started becoming closer.
Was it because he wanted to go to personal development events? Hell no! He tells the story today that he was literally dragged to this event… but by the end of the weekend being surrounded by people who positively affirmed him, he had decided to write his first book.
My response to him was “you are going to do what? I can’t even get you to take the trash out…” When I realize what had just come out of my mouth, I smacked myself in the head and then I said “that’s great honey, I will support you in anything you want to do.” I also secretly thought to myself that I was hoping you would forget about this stupid idea by Monday.
Well, thankfully, he was smarter than I was, and he didn’t forget. He pre-sold books that didn’t even exist and so he had to honor his commitment.. hopefully a skill I taught him. He then wrote and published his first book within 2 1/2 months. So what was different? Well, he was around people who were positive and attended a personal development event, so they believed in him. Of course, I always did too but I was his mother and that was my job. I also thought he was handsome and sweet but unless someone else told him that, there’s no way it could have been true. I also joke from this journey that he has 40 other moms because he has had so many people telling him that he could do whatever he wanted to do, encouraged and supported him while he was discovering and implementing his passion.
Thank God I let go and allowed other people to influence him in a positive way. Otherwise, we would have forgotten about writing his book by Monday, and he would either be in a junior college right now if any college at all.
Mistake #6 – The Village is Just Hype!
I was speaking with a friend tonight who did the passion test for herself and also for all of her children. She is very aware of what her strengths and gifts are and also very aware of what they are not. I am the same way. I know what I’m good at, and I know what I’m not good! At and I’m perfectly alright with stopping and asking for directions and also asking for help or support in raising a child. It does take a village. That’s not a joke or a cliché. I’m not a magician, I don’t have a magic wand, I don’t have all of the answers, and I certainly don’t have a rabbit or whatever the hell else I’m supposed to have up my sleeve on what we lead ourselves to believe that were supposed to be as parents. We hold ourselves to standards that Martha Stewart can’t even meet outside of jail.
Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Use the resources you have and let them all be available to encourage your children to step into the role of leadership and become successful in the world as it is today. It takes a Village! So use it!
Mistake #7 – What’s Good for the Goose is NOT Good For the Gander!
As recent as the last few months, my feelings have been hurt by my son. That doesn’t mean he did it. But my feelings were hurt. I am super Duper passionate about my business and about the event that we have created called the DESTINED entrepreneur at the end of March. CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN FREE TICKETS or get More INFORMATION!
It has been my dream, my fantasy, my vision, my whatever you want to call it to put on these events WITH MY SON, for entrepreneurs who are smart driven and creative in order for them to find the simple solutions they need to go out and be the creative geniuses that they are. My vision was that we would put this on together, hand in hand… WELL, we aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto! While he will still work together on this project, he has informed me that HIS VISION is different, so the direction had to change.
Business owners and entrepreneurs, listen up! Just because you love your business or just because it’s been part of your family for years and decades and generations… That does NOT mean that they love it, want to do it, have it in their passion, or will even be successful at it… We can’t shovel our businesses down the throats of our teens in hopes that they are going to take over the empire that we have created whether it’s an empire or not.
I recently worked with a client who is around my age. Her parents inherited a business and brought her in to work it with them. She is now tied to this business working six days a week to grow it. She especially feels the pressure to grow the area that is her main responsibility. The problem is, is that she does not “love” this business. She is fine with it, but it is not her passion. She is also working a position or role that is not her gift. Again, she is fine with it, and she will do just fine. She’s a smart chick, for real… She’s done lots of great things in her life, and she won’t be unsuccessful in this role. But because her parent’s depend on her to do this and they are passionate about it, they just ASSUMED that she’s going to take over this business after they are gone, which as of the looks of things will not be anytime soon. She is TIED to this business, and the sad thing is that no one has ever bothered to ask her what she wants or doesn’t want. They are very lucky to have such an amazing daughter but why didn’t they just ask? Really parents…??
Last year, I met a kid who was brilliant. He was going to school for chemical engineering but when he graduated, he was having to go back home to Georgia to work at his mother’s small grocery store because she was alone and has not been able to hire sufficient help. Really parents??
Why the hell did you even bother sending your kid to college if you’re too freaking scared to hire help? HIRE A COACH and let your kid go be a Chemical Engineer, which was clearly his gift. Why would you debilitate such a child to make him come back and work in the grocery store? It would be different if it were his idea or that this was something that he wanted to do. In addition, this was a struggling business, not even a profitable one or something that was going to be at Empire anytime soon.
Why do we do this to our children? Why do we take their ability away to be leaders after we spend their whole childhood trying to build them up?
We get scared, and we put our fears off on them. We tell them how they are broken and then constantly try to fix it. Then we throw in the towel and quit and throw our hands up in the air when we can’t take it anymore. And then if they listen for a few minutes, we try to shove our dreams, passions and vision down their throats and never once ask them what they want. Seriously?! It’s more surprising to me that there aren’t more screwed up kids than they already are.
Oh wait, there is me…:-) Someone told me that our parents were given to us for a reason… Well that’s what I was being told all of the time so I’m still trying to figure that reason out but for the time being, I’m going to try really hard to listen more, to support him and what he is excited about, to constantly remind him what he did right so he will focus on doing more of it rather than me trying to fix the things that I might think are broken or other people might continue to tell me that are broken.
It’s so much easier to grow our strengths and our passions versus doing it the other way, the hard way. And if we can find something that we can do together where his passions meet mine and I meet his, then I’m going to jump up for joy yet again which will be about 2 million times over the last two years.
I’m super proud of him and the man that he is becoming. Nope, he’s still not doing well in math, even in college… but damn if he can’t do revenue projections when he sells things and has recently learned a LOT about trip wires and digital marketing funnels and communicating regularly with his list.. And how many kids do you know who have masterminded with some of the top digital marketers, business owners, CEO’s and multimillionaires in this country? He’s even had an hour-long conversation with one of the top speaking trainers in the world. I don’t know many 18-year-olds that can just have those types of conversations and get along with people and be even more inspired to serve others.
So if he can’t seem to remember to take the trash out, then I think we are going to be just fine.
About Shelley: Motivational Speaker, Author, Business Coach, Single Mom
From COMBAT to COSMO to CORPORATE to COACH, Shelley Mitchell, a master at IMPLEMENTATION, is an expert at helping Smart, Driven Entrepreneurs, Business Owners and Professionals determine their VISION, create a PLAN, FOCUS and PRIORITIZE, take ACTION and MAKE MORE MONEY to reach their Dreams and Goals!
As the President/CEO of My Personal Business Coach LLC and My Personal ADHD Coach and creator of her wildly popular Signature Program “Get Your IPA On! Stop Making Noise and Start Making Money”, Shelley is also a certified Business and Entrepreneurial Coach, an ADHD Coach, a Nationally-recognized Motivational Speaker and Teacher, and Author of several books such as “Build My List! Build My Business! Build My Bank Account”, “More Ways to Success with ADHD” and the upcoming books “God Didn’t Put Your Here To Be BROKE!” and “How to Get and Keep What You Really, Really Want”
Shelley Mitchell and her coaching company, My Personal Business Coach, offer a variety of ways you can work with them to CATAPULT your business, career and life, from Speaking, Training, Products, Programs, Intensive VIP Days, to her exclusive Gold and Platinum Coaching programs.
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