When parents raise professionals

Within the space of only 1 week, I found three different pieces of content discussing the importance and the role of parents in the upbringing of professionals.

Without diminishing  the other 2 (an HR VP from a Chinese company and the Chairman and CEO of the WD-40 Company, who are fiercely devoting respect and reverence to their respective mothers and everything they did  – and still do for them) I’d like to focus on  the interview of former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi at Adam Grant’s podcast  

During the show, she described a very peculiar habit: writing letters to parents of her senior executives, as a way to show gratitude for their participation in everything their child offers to the company they work for. 

The idea originated from a personal experience: when she first became CEO, she went to visit her family  in India and saw an influx of  visitors complimenting her mother… “you did such a good job with your daughter.”

That led Indra to realize parents deserve as much acknowledgment and praise as their achiever kids.

That’s an idea and a concept that seems too obvious after it’s said and heard/read but on a daily basis we tend to forget about that, or at least not pay proper attention.

The impact of parents on their kids as they become professionals is pretty visible:  rooted values, ethics, respect, learning, and growth opportunities, and a list of benefits that goes on and on but …

… what does it means from a parenthood perspective?

For a start, it requires intentionality in your actions, even the small and seemingly unimportant ones as they carry messages and examples just like any major behavior.

It also demands a positive approach to the natural challenge of raising another human being. It can be seen as a curse or a blessing I recommend the latter one, of course 

What else?

There’s no cookie-cutter recipe but another characteristic that must be present is courage. Courage to stand up for their kids, courage to defend unpopular ideas that only parents can anticipate will have future benefits.

So, the essential elements of this parent-of-great-professional starter kit are intentionality + raising up to the challenges of being a parent + courage.

Of course, you can (and should) sprinkle this fine mix with so many other things to spice it up as much as you can.

I’ll leave you with a quick yet powerful exercise.

Think for a moment:  if you were to get such a letter, what would it say?

About the Author: AlexJ

Digital Media Professional & Coach | Human Transformation in the Digital Transformation Era | Unlock Your Full Potential

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