For the last month, I’ve divided my time between an intensive online course for entrepreneurs and gazing at my beautiful newborn daughter. I’ve been challenged and inspired by the course, but it’s also made me appreciate Aviva’s achievements in her first month of life. While I’ve been frantically gathering information, she experienced an impressive 36% growth rate… without doing much. She has a lot to teach all of us about productivity. For example:
- Sleep. A lot. When we adults want to increase our productivity this is usually the first place we skimp. But it’s no accident that the most rapid growth and cognitive development coincides with the period when we sleep the most. Whether you’re looking to build muscle, boost creativity, or start a business, follow Aviva’s lead and get some sleep.
- Cry. Don’t hold back. Babies certainly don’t. Stifling your emotions takes so much energy- energy that you need to do more important things. Let it out so you can move on.
- Eat the best quality food. Again, when we’re focused on an important project, it’s easy to eat for convenience and not for optimal nourishment. But Aviva has been so successful in her first month on the job largely because she is eating only the most superior human food, and eating often throughout the day to keep her energy up.
- Hydrate. Hydration is critical for performance in every area of life. Ironically, when we adults want to be productive, we usually turn to caffeinated beverages that actually dehydrate us. Aviva devotes a lot of energy to staying hydrated, and again, only the best will do.
- Get some skin in the game. Infants leverage the power of touch to boost their learning and growth potential. Babies can literally die from lack of skin to skin contact (and lets’ face it, we’re just big babies). Never underestimate the power of touch.
- Observe Intently. As adults we talk to demonstrate our intelligence, and act to prove our worth. Babies learn so much in such a short time because their energy is focused on watching and listening. Keen observation is especially potent when coupled with rest, which boosts assimilation of new information. What could you learn if you talked less and listened more?
- Assume Delight. Babies delight simply by showing up for life. They don’t try to please or impress. Without spending a cent on branding or marketing, they never fail to captivate. They aren’t wasting any energy on expectations. I have to admit, this has been the hardest lesson for me to absorb. Over the last few weeks I’ve been consumed with getting my message just right, yet Aviva fascinates everyone with no effort, no artifice. It makes me wonder…what if I really showed up? What if I was fully myself, and assumed that I was delightful? (try it, I dare you)
How about you? Which of these secrets will you put to work in your life? How can you “show up” more fully and more authentically?