Some of you know that my firstborn is six years old and in kindergarten. He’s learning all the basics – how to add, how to read, how to tie his shoes. But he’s also mastering some great lessons that it would behoove all of us to remember as we slog through the work week and attempt to advance our careers. Here they are: in my son’s words:
“Always try to do it yourself before you ask the teacher.”
The kids in my son’s class, especially the boys, have challenges putting their coats on and getting out the door at the end of the day. Yet, they are required to work their zippers themselves or ask a classmate before going to the teacher. Similarly, at work you should exhaust all avenues for resolving an issue on your own before taking it to your boss.
“You have to show what you know.”
There is a lot going on in the head of a kindergartener. It’s difficult, though, for them to translate what they’re thinking to what they’re writing – and if they don’t learn this skill quickly, they will score lower on assessments than they should. It’s the same thing in the professional world. You will not get ahead unless your stellar work is visible to the right people.
“You can only get good at something if you practice hard.”
At the beginning of the year, my son could barely hold a pencil correctly. He despaired, thinking he’d never be able to write. But after months of drilling sentences every day at school, his handwriting is fantastic. He has learned that practice makes great (if not perfect). The next time you expect yourself to be an instant pro at a new work skill, remember Malcolm Gladwell and the 10,000 hours of practice required for proficiency.
For the rest of my son's kindergarten lessons that apply to us at work, have a look at the full post at Intuit's Fast Track blog.