Professional parents face the classic dilemma of choosing either an inspiring career or the nobility of bringing up the children. What if there was a third option? A sweet spot where each parent gets to both fulfil a higher calling at work and savour the joys of parenting.
We often make lose-lose situations where one parent takes on the noble role of full-time carer of the children in exchange for a once-fulfilling career, while the other parent with the better economic prospects takes on a well-paying job at the expense of pursuing his/her true passion.
What if we garner courage to stand up for what is meaningful for us where each parent collaborates to support one another grow intentional fulfilling lives together? What if in role modelling this as conscious leaders, we ultimately transform the future of our children that they may in turn live more purposefully, love more powerfully, and leave more progressively what they stand for as a legacy long after they are gone? Conscious leaders essentially care about people and the purpose in their lives, ahead of their ego and personal enrichment. An intentional and conscious parent elevates humanity through power with instead of power over others - starting with one another.
How can we be an intentional parent and a conscious leader? This is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Every intentional parent has a higher purpose or calling in their own life. Our hero’s journey where crisis hits time and again directs to us to grow in ways that put us in line with our purpose. Have you ever considered that parenting may be one of these milestones in our personal evolution to transform into who we truly need to become in our lives? Based on the final chapter in my book Intentional Parenting, I contemplated this metaphor in an article for a professional magazine Are You a Hero?
Think of your greatest challenge currently as a parent, and take ownership on how YOU can choose to let some old ways of yours fall away, and engage your unrealised potential to develop new gifts and capabilities to transform your world.
Let us now consider the 7Rs of Parenting so we can work out how to anticipate the change(s) we need on our Hero’s Journey 2.0. (A suggestion: Read through all these 7Rs today. Then spend some quiet moments daily with each one of these 7Rs over 7 days, and journal your thoughts.)
- Role modelling - Begin with what sort of a ‘hero’ you wish to be remembered for? What values would you as this hero represent? When you are long gone, what songs wil be sung about what you stand for? Why is this important? What is an inspiring Life Vision that will energise you to be at your best when you bring it to mind?
- Respect - What do you love to do? What do you want to change in the world? How will you show love and respect of your self by defining what is meaningful to you and what excites you in your aspirations? What will you not compromise on? How will you behave to respect you, and then your family, and your community? What is your first step right now to leading a great life? How will you respect your co-parent by discussing it with them? How will you support your co-parent in theirs?
- Rules - What are the mindsets and beliefs that currently support you in leading a meaningful life? Are there some old limiting rules that you need to now re-negotiate with yourself, and your family? What new charter or boundaries congruent with living an intentional life will empower your commitments?
- Routines - They are not there to hem you in. Instead they help you get efficient so you are free to be spontaneous and creative. They help you live purposefully with more ease and grace. So what routines do you now need to put in place? How about getting your family’s input in these? What is your compelling Life Plan that will inspire these routines?
- Review & reflect (R&R) - every leader needs to pause to get a breather on the balcony so they can see what is working, and what isn’t. Then they can re-think a new way to progress. Could it be new routines? Or can we re-tweak some rules that no longer apply? How am I respecting myself but not others? How can I work to achieve both at a higher level? Am I walking my talk (not only to others as role model, but also to me!)? If something is not working, it is time to review and reflect. Why wait until it is not working? Can we pre-empt challenges and come in early with continuous improvements? How can you involve your family in this?
- Reorganise - In our fast changing VUCA world, it is important that we prioritise. Make changes to the things that have highest impact with least energy. What are the things from your regular R&R stocktake that shows up requiring important attention? Take the first steps to rectify this.
- Response-ability - consider the six R’s above, and notice how flexible you can be in focusing on each to be able to keep you on track towards living more purposefully, loving more powerfully, learning more progressively over your life, and leading you and your family more tenderly.
Take a deep breath - and celebrate your new direction. Your Hero’s Journey 2.0.
In summary ….Why wait for a crisis to hit? What if you could journey consciously by anticipating change as an evolutionary impulse to grow? What if the only way to get out of this evolutionary crisis is to go inside ourselves? What if this change is precisely what you need to engage that hidden genius that lies within you? What if this is the exact trigger to dissolve the old way(s) of doing things to transform you to being who you really ought to become to resolve whatever is holding your back?
So if you are experiencing challenges in your life as a parent, perhaps you are being nudged to resolve these issues as a call to adventure in a new direction. What if parents lead, not rule ?
I am in process of starting an online interview series (not sure whether it is going to be a podcast, vblog or simply a blog) based on this conversation I have just had with you.
These Intentional Parenting Dialogues, as I am hoping to call them, aim to inspire, illuminate and ignite ideas through shared conversations online, where professionals around the world explore the parenting possibilities of finding their sweet spot of conscious leadership: living more, loving more and leaving more for their children.
I would love your comments on how useful you think this may be for healthier families, and better wellness in organisations and communities.
Dr Yvonne Sum CSP is a published international author and speaker on leadership across home and work tribes by integrating their leadership lessons at home successfully back into work. As co-founder of 5Echo, a global leadership consultancy focusing on C-level executives, she facilitates senior executives through their 4G (Gender, Generational, Generosity, Global) challenges by disruptive thinking and hyper-drive coaching.
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