A Toddler, a Red Chair, and a Message Every Entrepreneur Needs to Hear

Taking a much needed break from all things entrepreneurial, I sat on the floor watching my daughter play. It was the day after Christmas, and like all good 11 month olds, while her siblings were playing with their newest toys, she was occupied with random daily objects we’d owned for years.

That day’s attention grabber was a little red chair we keep in the living room. She had just learned how to climb onto it, and each time she did, she would smile from ear to ear and get so excited she’d start bobbing up in down in her version of a victory dance.

Since my daughter was dancing on a chair, I thought it best to be within arm’s reach. It was a good thing, too, because her feet slipped and she fell through the opening in the back of the chair, bumping her head and scaring the stuffing out of her.

Of course she started crying, and immediately looked to me to save the day, which I did. After pulling her out, I gave her a hug and put her back on the floor. Immediately she started for the chair. And that’s when it happened.

My instinct was to pull her away and tell her she couldn’t go back to the chair. I didn’t want her to get hurt again. I was trying to protect her, just like any dad would do. But she would have none of it. And she was right.

I was afraid of what would happen when she failed to stay on her feet. She had no such fear. In her mind, a positive outcome was the only possible outcome. Failing once didn’t mean she was going to fail this time. And it didn’t mean she shouldn’t try again. My fear would have stopped her from trying again. Her lack of fear spurred her on.

It was a simple but profound lesson.

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