I spend a lot of time harping on the difference between being childlike and childish (and of course, anyone with a husband knows the difference.) We here are all about being childlike. (We’re all good with arranging a few action figures on your desk; being 40 years-old with no job and still living with your mom so you can spend more time building your Lego town…not so much.)
My buddy Scott Ginsberg (see our interview with him in our new magazine) has done a fabulous job of breaking it all down. Besides the great work showing the real-world business benefits of being childlike, here’s my favorite part:
One person’s playful spirit brings out the same in another. So, by acting child-LIKE, you subconsciously give other people PERMISSION to the same.
Why does this passage resonate with me so much? For years, I’ve wondered what business I’m in. It’s not as obvious as you might think. I’m not really in the comic strip business. Or the greeting card business. Or even the speaking business. It’s bigger than that. After all, if the big railroad companies had realized that they weren’t in the railroad business but rather the transportation business, maybe they would have embraced airplanes and they’d still be in business today.
Lately I’ve started to understand that maybe more than anything, I’m in the permission business. As I heard Lou Heckler once say, “People are aching for a little silliness.” They want to lighten up. They want to laugh. They want to stress less. But I’ve noticed that sometimes people need permission to do it. And as Scott points out, one of the best ways to encourage others to be childlike, is to be playfully childlike yourself.
So that’s what Kim and I strive for in all that we do. But the business we’re in is certainly not a monopoly. We’re counting on people like you to enter the permission marketplace and help us out.
Let your childlike spirit be contagious and we’ll all be better off.
[tags]Scott Ginsberg, childish, childlike, permission, business, railroads[/tags]