The following is an excerpt from the book, What Color Is Your Imagination?
We all know that old definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I posit that when it comes to our personal and professional lives, another definition would include knowing that all the world is changing around you and continuing to act like it is not.
There are people who will counter the need for change with the mantra, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But I would counter their counter argument with, “Just because something isn’t broken, doesn’t mean it won’t soon be obsolete.”
For my fellow parents out there, think about your child and his or her relationship to their car seat. Over the years, it was more like car seats. When you brought your infant home from the hospital, you had the rear facing car seat, probably with the detachable infant carrier that you could unclick from the cradle that stayed secured to the seat of the car and allowed you to transport your child without removing them from the carrier. As the child got bigger and her feet began contacting the back of the vehicle seat, you upgraded to the front facing car seat, so her feet could dangle unobstructed. Perhaps it was the same seat, but you had to turn it around and make other adjustments to ensure it was effective and compatible with your growing child.
As your child grew even more, you upgraded to the high back booster chair. Then, you advanced to using the car’s own seat-belt restraints with a booster cushion to ensure the child was raised up enough for the seat belt to do its job and not actually cause more harm than good. And don’t get me started on what you had to do if your car had second or third row air bags! The ultimate goal of the various car seats was the same: to ensure the safe transport of your child.
As your child got older, and bigger, and longer, the mechanisms for achieving this goal had to change based on the new parameters. No one in their right mind would say the rearward facing infant seat was “good enough” for the now three-foot-tall toddler who would have to sit cross legged to fit in the seat. The seat may have been still good, unbroken, serviceable. Perhaps it could have been used by the next infant in your family or re-used by another family. However, if the goal is to keep your child safe and free from injury, in the event of a car accident, one car seat was certainly not “good enough” for your son or daughter’s entire childhood.
As soon as you bring your child home from the hospital, you are in a continuous state of parental fear. Fear you are going to make a mistake. Fear that you won’t know how to be a good parent. Fear of how the outside world is going to treat your most precious gift. Fear you will mess them up so badly they will be in therapy most of their life or will write a tell-all book about your parenting failures. For most of us, that fear manifests itself in a good way. Like in the car seat example, our fear of getting into a car accident that causes harm to our precious cargo means we take the steps to ensure their safety. We don’t say, “when I was growing up, I didn’t ride in a car seat at age five.” You realize that times change. What we know and accept as right changes. We pay attention to how our child is growing and fitting, or not fitting, into their environment. When they outgrow a situation, we adjust to maintain their safety.
The same is true in the various aspects of our personal and professional lives. We must be aware of changes and adjust to our surroundings. We must not let our fear or complacency keep us from being the best we can be today and even better tomorrow.
The above is an excerpt from the “Yellow Imagination” chapter of the book What Color Is Your Imagination? © It is the first of three books based on my proprietary quality improvement themes.
What Color Is Your Imagination? © is available at Amazon, Bookbaby, Barnes and Noble and other booksellers. The next in the series will be The Power of CARE™ followed by The Promising Professional™.