How Thinking Like a Baby Can Lead to Business Success
Reveling in your small victories rather than focusing on failures can help you achieve your vision.
Have you ever wondered why some aspect of your business success isn't where you want it to be? You bust your back every day and spend countless hours trying to accomplish everything on your to-do list. The more mountains you climb and hurdles you leap across, the more you think that elusive and milestone marking your success will appear.
You study, you practice, you strategize and you plan. Your vision is rock solid. Your mission is honorable and achievable. Your strategies make logical sense. But something just isn't working as well as you want.
I'm here to tell you it might be because you're so focused on your big vision that you forgot something basic. That's where the baby comes in.
Babies have nothing but joy and wonder as they forge their path into the world. Watch some social media videos of babies squealing with laughter at the simplest things. It's a sight to behold. As I watch — even if I'm in a bad mood — I can't control the spontaneous smile that crosses my face when I see the bewilderment of a baby eating something sour. The wiggle and a squirm when the beat of a Beyonce song comes on the car stereo. It's magical. Why do you think baby videos do so well? Baby videos hit our core sense of reality.
My younger brother sent a video to me two days ago featuring his first grandchild learning to crawl. That sweet little thing pulled her head up off the ground, set her sight on the destination, and then wiggled around inch by inch in more of a worm dance than a crawl. But darn it, she kept at it with a smile on her face and determination in her soul.
That's why you need to stop, ponder, and focus on for a minute. Find your inner child deep within you while still 100% focusing on your end goal and remember how baby steps are the foundation of advancement as we know it.
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The focus, perseverance, and, more importantly, the incremental movement of babies despite the difficulty they face is something to examine. We all forget how hard it was to learn to crawl. At least I have! Yet when I stop to think about the babies on TikTok and my great-niece, some crucial revelations take hold in terms of the best way to achieve business success. They're serving me well and will help you if you're willing to take a step back and "act like a baby" (you can bypass the crying temper tantrums, however).
It would help if you remembered that a crawl can be a monumental struggle for everyone, just as is starting a business, getting a project of significance off the ground, or growing at an accelerated pace. The battle is more about accepting how vital small successes are in the grand scheme of your overall, larger goal than it is about the difficulty of learning something new. There’s an element of the unknown about a new task in front of us, just like a baby has no clue what to do at first. But somehow, they start moving — just as you do and will continue to do.
They kick their little squishy legs and flutter their uncoordinated arms in the air until something takes hold. Until a bit of forward movement occurs. Then, it's pure joy. They revel in the elation of understanding.
We all need to accept that small, sometimes awkward or seemingly insignificant movements are the cornerstone of what we accomplish daily in business. This can include writing a new article, launching a new product into the marketplace, or starting Facebook ads. The idea is we need to accept that baby steps get us where we need to go.
We start by examining our unfamiliar surroundings and the task at hand. While we may not know how to start, we figure it out. Maybe that knowledge and progress comes quickly, and perhaps it takes time. It doesn't matter. What's important is that we find it because what happens next is the more significant achievement and advancement.
A baby's crawl becomes a quick scuttle around the room which becomes a wobbly walk which becomes a sturdy walk. That, in turn, becomes a run. A solid, firm and confident run. There are plenty of stumbles and falls along that journey, but a baby doesn't get caught up by internalizing these as failures that prevent further action. Their initial goal was to crawl, but now that baby can run. And yes, you may have to chase him/her/them around the room, but they did it. They surpassed their first innocent-driven goal.
Crazy as it may seem, that's how our business success works as well. Yes, it's that simple when you get down to the basics. We mess around until the first successful step is taken, and then the next and the next. Before you realize what's happened, the sky is the limit. But we get there step-by-step, starting with a crawl. And, in the end, it's our own capable legs that get us to our destination. If we only stare at the bigger goal, we get frustrated at not being there fast enough. While knowing our end point is critical for guidance, the truth is that we can only run after we've learned to crawl.
Babies also could care less who is watching when they stumble. They don't care about the room's reaction — their focus is 100% pure and targeted. Your targets and goals should carry the same primal power. We all fall along the journey. There’s no shame in it; a baby doesn’t have shame at their uncoordinated attempts at crawling. They still get where they’re going, and that’s all anyone remembers in the long run.
Instead of solely focusing on the higher-order thinking and strategizing — and the disappointment that comes from success not happening quickly enough — take a seat. Remember that we can only get where we want to be with a wiggle on the floor with our arms and legs spastically flailing about first. If we concentrate on getting that bit right, the rest will follow. It's pure destiny, a truth of life, and a core of your potential business success.
Take one small step at a time and then another. Eventually, you've crossed a lot of territory and reached your destination or goal. However long it takes, make sure you have a smile on your face, just as a baby does. A goofy and unadulterated smile that reaches the center of your being. Enjoy the ride, and don't pressure yourself to get anywhere faster than the process is meant to take.
Patience is a virtue. One that pays off if you keep at it. Act like a baby right now in your business. Go back to the untainted, innocent joy of learning to crawl. You'll be amazed at how quickly you arrive at your long-term vision.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor