Go ask your mom!

Go ask your mom!

I am certain I do not need to ask but going out on a limb here and saying,  that nearly all of us have played the game of asking one parent and getting the obligatory response “go ask your ….”.  Instead of “asking” the other parent, we as kids learned quickly to frame the response as follows: “Can I go to….. Mom said it was OK?”

For those of you who always tell me that you could never be a salesperson – I hate to break this to you but you kind of have been your whole life! Fact of the matter is, many if not all of us as kids, learn the bartering system and typically we use it to our advantage. Some of my friends were better at this than others. In fact, some of my co-workers and adult friends STILL struggle with this concept. I will not call anyone out as I would hate to embarrass Dr. Heim.

Fact is, I too am a parent. I too have played the game as a child and had the game played on me by my kids. It does not make you a failure as a parent in any stretch. As many do, the older I get, the more perspective I have on my time as a child, as well as my time as a parent. Even with something as trivial as child games pitting both parents against the other, truth is, both the parents and the child had a purpose.

The parent’s role in this game was simply two-fold, to not get in trouble with the other spouse by making the wrong decision; or they did not want to disappoint the child with their gut answer and were putting off that enjoyment on the other parent. The child’s role in this game was simple; finding the right answer to insure they got to do what they wanted to do. Both roles have purpose. Both roles are not wrong.

Use that same parenting perspective overall purpose to protect their children from themselves on occasion. That purpose is sprinkled throughout my time as a child, as well as my time as a parent. In my house as a youngster as well as my house as a parent, I keenly remember the following rule: Just because you’re my kid does not make you right. My parents were my biggest advocate for success, they were my biggest champion inside and outside the classroom. That did not come without high expectations. They were in my corner, but needed validation first from that teacher, coach, boss etc., that those expectations were met. They would gladly take heat for us… AFTER that validation of course. I believe I was as successful as I was all through school for two reasons:

  1. My parents had my back and loved me unconditionally
  2. They set high, but attainable expectations, and yet my failure was mine. It was not their fault or someone else’s.

My wife and I have tried to parent within this same model. I believe without that model I would not have made it through college. I believe that without those expectations, I would have taken an easier path along the journey. I believe that being a child today is hard. Harder now than it was “back in the day”. I believe that teachers then and teachers today are highly skilled at their craft.  Ironically the most successful ones set similar high expectations for their students as well as connect with them on a personal level to encourage them along.

I view my work in the insurance space very similar. My clients set high and attainable expectations of me, and my or my carrier’s failures are mine to own. Otherwise my game is: “Go Ask My Competitor!” I believe that being a salesperson is easy, and in fact we all are salespersons at some level. I go about my work with a purpose of service to others first. I am certain that in my industry I am held to high expectations. That is where success happens for not only me, but most importantly my clients.

So, what did we learn today:

  1. The simple game of “go ask your mom” can be a form of protection and guidance from parents.
  2. The key to success in life is high but attainable expectations at home, in the classroom and at work.
  3. As a parent, in the classroom or professionally, removing obstacles is not ideal: giving them encouragement, strategies and love to overcome them is a better strategy.
  4. If you are reading this, thank a/your parent and a teacher for setting those high attainable expectations for you.
  5. Can you take the rest of the day off…. GO ASK YOUR MOM!