Momentum Podcast: 531
Brilliant Kids, It's Time to Be Heard
by Alex Charfen
I’ve been coaching entrepreneurs with kids for over 20 years. Over time, I’ve noticed there are some visible patterns with entrepreneurs and our children. A pattern I’ve seen over and over again in entrepreneurial children is that they need time to connect. They need time to be heard and have someone engage with them.
Society is quick to label children with all types of behavioral disorders. I firmly believe that many of these symptoms are actually a diagnosis of children being brilliant. But here’s the thing, brilliant children need more guidance, help, and time than other children out there. They need to be able to offload when there uncomfortable and have time set aside to be heard.
If you have a brilliant kid, set aside at least 20 minutes a day for them. During this time, go for a walk, or just simply talk to them. They need time to feel like they can trust and be heard. Soon your 20 minutes a day will become routine, and they will start to ask you questions and let you in on what’s going on with them.
Brilliant children are going to change the world. The future is a revolution, and you are raising a revolutionary. Get up every morning, talk to your child, connect with them, and you will see everything change.
Full Audio Transcript
This is a topic that's really important to me and absolutely has application in business, but it's going to be a little different. This is actually about brilliant kids and how children, especially those who are intelligent and driven and motivated, need time to be heard. And if you work this into your daily routine, it can change your relationship with your kids. And if you do this with your team members, it may change your entire relationship with your company.
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will.
We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be.
I've been coaching entrepreneurs with kids for over 20 years and there are some clear, visible patterns with people like us and with our children. And one of the patterns that I've seen over and over again in entrepreneurial children is that they need time to connect, they need time to be heard, they need time to be able to reflect with somebody, to have someone talk to them, to engage with them. And when you look at national averages of how much time families spend with their children today, it's 34 minutes together in "undistracted time", which is like eating dinner or doing something like that, but 34 minutes as a family, not individually with children. And that's just not enough. It's not enough for kids who are intelligent and driven and motivated and may show the signs of what we call behavioral disorders like attention deficit disorder or ADHD, or they move around too much, or they're restless. All of those things are symptoms or indications that your child is brilliant.
Brilliant children are restless to show their brilliance. Brilliant children have a hard time sitting still because there's too much going on in their heads. Brilliant children want to do more. They want to be able to put more out there. They want to be able to understand more. Brilliant children absolutely need more guidance and help and time than average children, than other children out there. That's my belief. I think every kid needs a ton of time, but when a child is different, when a child is a small evolutionary hunter, they need even more time.
Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine, that's why I'm doing this podcast, so a friend of mine who's been having some challenges with one of his kids. She's been seemingly depressed, aloof, has pulled away from the family, doesn't want to participate in things, is having a challenge with pretty much anything that she's asked to do. And we were talking on Saturday night and I said, "Let me ask you a question. Where does your daughter have time to offload where she's uncomfortable and be heard? Where's her one-on-one time?" And he looked at me and I could tell he was thinking.
After probably 20 or 30 seconds, kind of a dramatic pause, he said, "You know, I don't think she has that time. In fact, I can't remember the last time she had one-on-one time where she was able to offload." And then he said, "well, no, you know what? We took a walk in the last couple of days, and I remember we went on that walk, she was like the happiest kid in the world." And I said to him, "That's because she was getting your attention and she was having that connected time where she can get clear on what's going on." And I shared with my friend the story from my kid.
So I've been taking my kids on a morning walk for 20 minutes every day since they were little. This is a tactic that I share with entrepreneurs around the world, 20-minute walk with your kid. And here's what you really need, it's 20 minutes with your kid a day where it's focused, where it's for them, where they can speak, where they can get their questions answered, and if you can get up and do it while you're moving on a morning walk, it is game changing.
Years ago, and if you've listened to the podcast, you've probably heard this story, but years ago, Reagan, Kennedy and I were on a walk and we were walking towards the end of our street and Kennedy said, "Hey, dad. When my grandfather died, did he cut his ear off?" That was like right out of the blue first thing she said that morning and I said, "What, Kennedy? What are you talking about?" Her grandfather had died a few months before and she went on to explain to me that in the Montessori school she was attending, they had just done a unit on art and they had talked about Vincent van Gogh and how he had cut off his ear and died, or at least that's what she heard. And so she was curious to see if every time somebody died, do they have to cut off their ear? And she told me, she said, "Daddy, I don't want to cut off my ear and I don't really want granddaddy to have cut off his ear. It's terrible.".
And so I had to explain to her the Vincent van Gogh story and who he was and what happened and how really he cut off his ear because there was a lot going on in his life, and that's just not something that everybody does, and I helped her clear up the confusion to the point where she felt okay and she understood.
Now, I remember walking back home that day and thinking, had we not been on this walk, how long would Kennedy have carried around this belief in her head that when people die, they cut off their ears? And how long would that have created confusion and frustration and weird feelings for her? And how long would that have been her reality? And at what age would she had finally figured out that she was wrong? And what type of loss of trust would that have caused in the world?
See, here's the epiphany that I came to after walking with my kids, is that kids and team members as well, I told you I'd bring this back to business, that your team members as well, but kids need a time where they can trust they will be heard. It's not just time individually with you, it's time where they will trust they can be heard, where they know that they're going to have your audience, that they know that they're going to have your attention, that they know there's not going to be electronics, you're not going to be talking about something other than them, you're not going to be distracted, you're not going to be reactive with them. They need time where they know that they have your attention and they can get questions answered.
Here's why. For children, number one, ask yourself, you have this tiny little evolutionary hunter, and let's carry out this theory of the evolutionary hunter. This is a small, highly sensitive child that has a fraction of the awareness and understanding of the world that you and I do, but is put into a situation if they're going to school on a daily basis that is unnatural and confusing, and this small child that has a fraction of the awareness and understanding that you and I do, encounters frustration and irritation and confusion on it and fear on a daily basis. And when you set aside time every day where it's in a routine, where it's in a schedule, where the child knows it's coming, they will trust that they can be heard, and that allows them to offload where they're uncomfortable. They will start telling you whether they're uncomfortable. You can discuss it with them and help them the same way that it works with a team member.
Now, with a team member, I don't think you need every day. We have a daily huddle where all of our team is together. So if anybody has something that's a critical issue that will stop them from working, they can offload it in that huddle. But every week, every person on our team has a one-on-one where they can go through the same process of offloading discomfort.
Another reason why this is so important is every morning when you go for a walk with your kids or when you spend 20 minutes uninterrupted with your kids, you clear up confusion. It's not just where are they uncomfortable, but where are they confused? What's going on for them that they're not really understanding?
And then the last thing why this is so important is if you walk every day with your kids, if you set aside that uninterrupted time, you will connect with them in a way that may surprise you and I know it will improve the relationship that you have, because I've made this suggestion now to hundreds of people and the feedback that I've gotten on what happens once you take this time for your children is extraordinary. I'll share some of that in just a minute.
So this is important because your children will be able to offload discomfort, clear up confusion, connect with you and share with you and tell you what they're excited about and tell you what's going on for them, and you'll get to know them better. I love my morning walks with my girls. I know them well. I know what they're thinking about. I know what they're excited about during the day because we have this time where we connect every day.
So here's what you need to know. If you have a brilliant kid and if you're listening to my podcast, just assume that you do, it takes 20 minutes a day, at least 20 minutes a day for them to start feeling like they will trust and be heard. And if you can do it moving, it's better. So what I always tell people is if you can get up, get your kids out for a walk, get them into some functional shoes or take their shoes off, walk around with them, talk to them, let them share with you.
Now, for some of us schedules don't permit 20 minutes a day. But if you're in the car with your child, if you're taking them to school, turn the radio off, talk to them, have them start a dialogue with you. Where can you find that time consistently where your children can offload to you, can relate to you, can talk to you? Are you driving somewhere where you could walk instead? Can you set aside time in the morning? Can you set aside time when they get back from school? Can you go pick them up from the bus stop? Whatever it is, where can you give them that time to offload discomfort, clear up confusion, connect with you.
And then here's the important part about this time, especially if you've never done it before. At first, when you start, let your child drive. Don't ask too many questions. Just make the time available to them. If you ask too many questions, it feels like an interrogation. If you try and guide it too much, then this is your time, not theirs. Walk with them and let them open up. And if you have never done this with your kid, here's what might happen. It might take a few days for them to finally open up and trust this time. It might take a week or two before they finally open up and trust this time, but what I can tell you is in the entire history that I've been sharing this strategy with entrepreneurs, I've never had anybody come back to me and tell me it didn't work. In fact, I said earlier, I would share some of the results. The results for this strategy had been nothing short of extraordinary and shocking.
I'll share just one. I, about probably two or three years ago, talked to a parent who had a six-year-old boy that... I get so frustrated when I even talk about this, that had been diagnosed by an armchair school psychologist with bipolar. Now, just so you know, anyone who reads the DSM-IV or the DSM-V, which is the diagnostic manual for all of the disorders that human beings have, it's basically this book that a bunch of psychologists got together and voted on. Well, if you read that, there is no bipolar until at least age 18. So it was a misdiagnosis, it was an irresponsible diagnosis in my opinion and the parent was completely panicked that their child was having such behavioral issues in school that they've now been given this label of potentially being bipolar.
So we talked through this strategy. For me, I remember thinking like, "Man, this is really serious. I wonder if this will work." And I also remember thinking, "Well, it's certainly not going to hurt anything." So we went through the strategy; 20 minutes a day, get out for a walk, let them drive. And after I talked to the parent after they had done this with their child who had been, and it wasn't just bipolar, it was bipolar and microaggressions and some other garbage, which really, let's be honest, all of those diagnoses were, you have an entrepreneurial personality type, evolutionary hunter child that is feeling massive constraint and doesn't know how to deal with it, and they're acting out and you're seeing the behaviors as symptoms.
And so they started walking with their child in the mornings because... And here's the deal. With them, they couldn't take the kid out of school, they couldn't homeschool. There wasn't a lot of big changes they could make. They were pretty desperate for a solution, and the next thing the school wanted was major medications. They had hinted around it, anti-psychotics, which is basically like a chemical straight jacket, which in my opinion and the opinion of many doctors, severely limits childhood development.
So after two weeks of walking with this child, everything had changed. Now, when I talked to the parent, they told me that first week, there wasn't a lot of activity there. They started walking, there was some complaints, some frustration with even wanting to go on the walk and not understanding why, but after a couple of days, child started opening up, talking, sharing what was going on in class, sharing the frustrations they were feeling, sharing the confusion they were feeling. The parent was able to talk it through with them, and within just a couple of weeks, there was a massive behavioral change, so much so that the school reached out and asked what was going on. That is what time to connect with the parent will do with a child, for a child.
When your children are born, they are biologically conditioned to listen to you. Your DNA, their DNA connect when you walk into a room. They are energetically indelibly connected to you permanently for the rest of your life. And when you connect with them, when you are the person who helps them offload, when you help them reduce confusion, it changes their entire perspective of the world. And in the story that I just shared, nothing changed in that kid's school, nothing changed with the people around him, nothing changed with the bullying that had been happening before, nothing changed with the situation he was in. Only this child's perspective completely and totally shifted just because they had a parent that was all in for them and listening to them 20 minutes a day, just 20 minutes a day. Complete and total shift from bipolar and microaggressions to, "We're not having any challenges with your son anymore.".
Now, the same principle, the same strategy applies in business. If you have weekly check ins with your team where your team members can offload where they're uncomfortable, clear up confusion, connect and be heard, you're going to see the same type of momentum with team members, and you will see that same connection and that same energy give them the confidence and the clarity and the commitment to move forward and do more for you and your business. And if you have a child that is brilliant, if you have a child who is restless, if you have a child who you can clearly tell is going to do something extraordinary, if you have a child who has sensitivities, diagnoses, disorders, any of those things, get them out on a 20-minute walk every day and you will see a massive change in the connection you feel with your child, the way that they behave in the world, and the confidence with which they walk around. It will change everything for them.
Brilliant children are going to change the world and the future is a revolution. You should raise revolutionaries. Get up every morning, talk to your child, connect with them, and you will see everything change. If you're interested in understanding more about the evolutionary hunter or the entrepreneurial personality type, many parents have told me that our book, The Entrepreneurial Personality Type, has given them information and clarity around their children's personality that they never have had before, and many have said it has completely changed the relationship that they have with their kids.
Honestly, that's some of the most exciting feedback that I've ever gotten because I wrote The Entrepreneurial Personality Type book so that people like you and I would have the clarity we need and the understanding of who we are that we need to go out and build businesses, assemble teams, create empires and change the world. But the fact that that same book is helping tiny evolutionary hunters that are combined to a classroom or frustrated or confused, and helping their parents understand them better, that means more to me than the fact that it works for business people, because I was that tiny evolutionary hunter. I was the behavioral disorder. I was bullied for most of my life. I went through all of that stuff. And if I can help just one kid get through it a little bit easier and find some light at the end of the tunnel, that means the world to me. Go to freemomentumbook.com and order a copy of The Entrepreneurial Personality Type today.