This is a question for those of you with children: have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my kids were a little more _______” (fill in the blank). Okay, of course you have. They are such darlings in so many ways, and yet I wish they would just be a little more ______.  And yet for every mom who wishes her child was more outgoing, you know there is a mom who wishes her child would stop talking for a minute and listen. Children are amazingly, beautifully, exhaustingly different.

Of course, children grow into adults, and then we have to get along with them at work.

It takes discipline, in parenting and in leadership, to maintain a focus on what is positive and beautiful about the people around you. Difference can be leveraged into a creative process, or it can remain as an undercurrent of tension.

I sometimes think that life would be easier if everyone was just like me. We’d enjoy a cup of coffee together, sitting on the porch during a rain storm, and talk about the last book we read. Or we would pack a picnic, jump in the car, roll down the windows and turn up the music as we take off on adventure. No tension.

Of course, at other times I am really thankful that everyone is NOT like me, because then the world would be technically challenged and perpetually lost driving downtown. We need the balance of each other. I think it only seems difficult to leverage differences if you aren’t in the habit of doing it. Not that it’s always easy, but it’s doable.

Focusing on what is positive about other people is a choice I need to make every day. A choice to pay attention to what they do well, even if I don’t truly appreciate it. A choice to be supportive of their interests even when I don’t really understand. A choice to applaud their efforts even if no one else will join me. If you need inspiration to appreciate people who do things that you would never dream of doing, invest one minute watching this video here on encouragement. I promise you’ll like it.