Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Leadership Paradigms and Potty Training

I was talking to a friend recently who was lamenting another friend's difficulty with getting her child out of diapers. The child was well into his fourth year, and asking his mom to change his diapers. The ultimate customer for pull-ups and extra extra large diapers.

I was wondering why on earth this mother would want to spend so many extra years buying and changing diapers. But that's not my problem; according to her leadership paradigm, changing a toddler's diapers is fine. When and only when the mom decides that she will not change another diaper, the child will learn to use the toilet.

For me, the appropriate age for that change is 2 years old. I went through that with three different children with wildly varying temperaments. I have known moms who potty train their children earlier: their paradigm is different from mine. It's not the potty training technique; it is the mother's decision (or that of the child's primary caretaker.)

It's the same with other goals. You lose weight when you decide that you will no longer put up with a certain level of overweight - the technique or diet is immaterial. It's that inner determination that gets you to pick yourself up every time you fall.

You start improving your finances when you determine that you will either create additional sources of income, increase your savings, or both. It's your decision, not the technique.

It boils down to a question of what you are willing to put up with. If you're lucky enough to have a baby, dirty diapers is part of the picture, but after two years of that, it's your call to end it.