The Pen and Pencil Lesson from My Kids

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The Pen and Pencil Lesson from My Kids

A Metaphor for Growth in Life and Business

Today, I want to share an interesting lesson I picked up from my kids a couple of months ago. Kids are really interesting to be with and if we pay attention to them, we will pick lots of teachable moments. Here’s one.

You see, there are tools for every stage of development in life and business. The tools a preschooler uses at that early stage of development are different from those a senior high school student uses. This principle applies to every profession as well. There are basic tools and advanced tools for each level. Until one becomes conversant with and masters one level, the next level will not be granted. Even if you have advanced tools but are not prepared or practiced with them, you are likely to mess up yourself or your assignment. Today, let me take you back to some of these lessons from our preschoolers at home.

My wife had returned home from work with some used notepads and a couple of new pens. Naturally, our young daughters were excited to use the new pads and pens. They eagerly picked up the pens and began scribbling and writing sentences and numbers. We were impressed to see their enthusiasm and enjoyment as they engaged in this simple activity.

Interestingly, what happened next was quite revealing.

As they continued writing happily with their newfound tool, one of them misspelled a word. When I asked her to correct it, she looked up at me with a puzzled expression and said, “But I can’t erase it.” This is where the real lesson began. I explained to her that, unlike pencils, pens cannot be erased easily, so she would need to rewrite the entire sentence. She looked down, clearly frustrated by this revelation. Initially, it didn’t sit well with her, but she nodded quietly, and off she went. You will be sure that she will be more careful in her next steps, knowing that if she makes mistakes, it won’t be easy to erase them. Thereby learning to build confidence while balancing it with care.

This simple scenario took me back to some lessons about growth and development. Just like my daughters, we all go through stages in life where certain tools and methods are more appropriate than others. For young children learning to write, pencils are the ideal tool because they allow for mistakes to be corrected easily. They enable the learning process through trial and error without the fear of permanent marks.

However, when we are handed more advanced tools like pens, which are designed for precision and permanence, we must be adequately prepared to use them. If we skip the foundational stages of learning and development, we may find ourselves making irreversible mistakes that could lead to frustration and setbacks.

This lesson extends beyond childhood learning into the landscape of personal development, business, and branding. In business, just as in life, there are no shortcuts to success. Each stage of growth is crucial and builds the foundation for the next. Trying to rush through these stages or skipping essential steps can lead to difficulties when more advanced challenges arise.

To build a successful brand or business, it’s essential to respect and fully engage in each stage of development. This means understanding the current level of your skills, knowledge, and capacity, and ensuring they align with the tools and platforms you are using. For instance, a new entrepreneur should focus on mastering the basics of their trade before attempting to scale their business or adopt advanced strategies used by seasoned professionals.

The experience with my daughters and their pens and pencils is a practical reminder that growth is a process. Each stage, from the initial scribbles with a pencil to the polished writing with a pen, is valuable and necessary. As we develop personally and professionally, we must be patient and diligent, embracing the learning and growth that each stage offers.

Here are some branding-building lessons:

Building Your Brand: Don’t Rush the Process

As we saw with my daughters and their newfound pens, there’s a vital lesson for building a strong brand: respect the process. Just like children need pencils to learn and experiment without fear of permanence, new businesses need a foundation built on mastering the basics. This might not feel glamorous, but it’s essential.

Mastery before Magic. Think of it this way: a new entrepreneur wouldn’t hand their child a calligraphy pen before they’ve learned to hold a crayon, right? The same goes for branding. Don’t try to implement advanced strategies used by seasoned professionals before you’ve mastered the fundamentals of your trade.

This is where the concept of a solid foundation comes in. A strong brand is built on a base of knowledge, skill, and the capacity to handle the tools you choose. It’s about ensuring there’s a good fit between your brand and the platforms you’re using.

Finally, remember that gradual development is key. Just like our daughters progressed from scribbles to polished writing, brands need time to develop. Each stage of growth is valuable, from those initial shaky brand messages to the refined communication that comes later. Go through the learning process at every step.

Take the time to develop your skills, choose the right tools for the stage you’re in, and enjoy the journey of growth!

In conclusion, the pen and pencil lesson teaches us that preparation and gradual development are key to handling more advanced tools and responsibilities effectively. Know that, we equip ourselves to move to the next level with confidence and competence by mastering each stage of growth, ensuring that our brand or business is built on a solid foundation. So, today as you reflect on your journey, consider whether you are adequately prepared for the next level and take the necessary steps to grow through each stage fully.

I’m your personal branding and publishing consultant, talk to me.

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