I am now a grandfather many times over; looking back I now realize that when I was a father to my five children --- I was too busy.
I was busy working, and helping in the home. I could teach my children about manners, money, or how to run a home or small business. But I could not learn from my children because --- I was too busy.
In 2011, I had a stroke which turned my world upside down. I started again --- to speak, and write with a keyboard. After awhile, I even began learning to use sign language.
In April 2015, my tenth grandchild was born, and he is beautiful. All children are beautiful, but grandchildren are special. I knew my tenth grandchild would teach me about learning to communicate (again). Before his tongue could form the word for "Papa," he was teaching me; teaching me to communicate with his three baby languages:
Smiling with the eyes
(Spanish word meaning “abilities/skills” anything learned)
Here’s what I’ve learned from my grand baby and how to use it in business.
Smiling with the eyes
Before babies move their mouths to smile, they start smiling with their eyes. Marty, my wife, tells about the birth of her son. When she got through the labor, the doctor picked up the baby and put him on her stomach. But the baby would not open his eyes because the lights were too strong. So she pulled a sheet up over his head, and peeked at him. He looked up at her, his eyes met hers --- smiling eyes --- that was 35 years ago.
How can smiling baby eyes help your business?
Perhaps you have looked at your face in a mirror --- more than a thousand times. But have you ever really looked into your eyes in a mirror? Go get a mirror. Observe your eyes, without thinking about your face, your smile, your nose, your ears, etc. Just see your eyes. Just think about your eyes and you will see what you’ve never noticed before.
Now try this. While looking into your eyes, think about your boss, or the policeman who gave you a ticket while your car was parked in the driveway of your house (I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was ten years ago) or a similar event or experience that you recall intensely. Did your eyes change; did they become filled with anger and look mean?
Again, while looking in the mirror, think about your eyes while holding a baby, or playing ball with a five-year-old, or blowing bubbles for your neighbor’s adorable toddler. How did your eyes change, are they very soft now?
One more time, were not quite finished, so keep looking in that mirror. Now think about your eyes when you’re at work. What do your employees see in your eyes? Do your eyes show disappointment, frustration, or are your eyes showing a loving, compassionate, living person? Are your eyes ‘smiling’ at your employees? Which would you rather work with/for, a glower-eyed frump, or a person that makes your soul glow every time they look at you?
Powerful stuff, those smiling eyes.
Habilidades (a Spanish word meaning abilities, skills- anything learned.)
Babies initially learn habilidades by listening to their families. Babies are highly attuned to the rhythm and tones from singing, humming, whistling, and the flow of any spoken language. The first sounds a baby learns to make, like cooing, and sing-songy gibberish, create the foundation for language, communication, and the ability to learn new skills (habilidades).
I was born in California, and lived in Nevada. My mother and father gave me the language of the Western States, with some Spanish expressions thrown in for flavor. My wife was born in South Carolina, her mother and father taught her the Southern language with all of its nuances. When my wife moved to California she could have learned the Western habilidades, choosing to keep only her Southern drawl. She didn’t want to. She wanted to show her parents that her familia habilidades (family skills) like Southern hospitality and a deep devotion to family were still who she was.
How can this help you do better business?
Your business is your baby. Listen to your baby. Listen for the sing-songy gibberish, the rhythms and tones that form the language of your business, your habilidade. Ford Corporation has a habilidade, "Quality means doing it right when no one is looking." Apple Corporation has a habilidade, "The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."
What is the habilidade for your business?
When you were only months old, your mother could probably tell when you were over tired, or even bored. Many babies have languages that only the baby’s mama can understand. For example, a little hand gently cradling an ear, or both arms casually raised over the head mean “I’m tired.” (We intend to teach actual sign language to our tenth grand baby.)
You use sign language in your business whether you’re aware of it or not. Every business has a sign language. Here are some ancient sign languages for business.
In the old days, when a gladiator was going to kill the competitor, the crowd would give a "thumbs up" to let the competitor live.
If the crowd did not like the competitor, the crowd would give a "thumbs down" to kill the competitor.
We still use thumbs up and thumbs down in business, and in some businesses, the number of thumbs up or down can mean the life or death of an idea, product, or even an entire business entity.
Here are some common hand signals. Would these be used in your business? Are there other signs that may communicate your habilidade better?
At TED, Chris Lonsdale shows how to become a master of foreign language --- in six
months --- start with the habilidade.
Be happy, healthy, wise, and abundance,
Tom Van Drielen
Alena Van Drielen (My daughter who helps me with my newsletters. (She is a great writer, but she does not believe her habilidades.)
1175 Branham Lane #18907
San Jose, Ca. 95118