Over my years as a parent (learning on the job), I began to realize the experiences I was trying to provide for my sons weren’t the same things I looked for in prospective employees’ résumés. Those curated experiences that look like my idea of a perfect childhood weren’t the things I knew had built my best staffers’ skill sets. Meanwhile school life was all about planning everything to the tiniest degree, when I knew work life was about making long-range plans, but surfing the chaos as each day unfolded. When I flipped the whole scenario and focused on the great clients, employees, and contractors I’d worked with over the years, I started to formulate a theory.
We film a lot of patient stories in our work at LYON, and inevitably the parents who have dealt with serious or chronic illness in their family, carry the extra weight of feeling they have failed to provide a perfect childhood for their children. And yet, consistently, those families with pre-teens and teens that are around when we film have some of the most engaging, accomplished young adults we meet. So I started to wonder—maybe those kids are great because they’ve had imperfect childhoods. Maybe that extra bit of effort, fending for themselves a little more, thinking about serious things at a younger age, is what is making them a little more skilled with people, projects, and time management. I can’t prove my theory, but I hope it sparks some conversations to hear me talk from the TEDx Solana Beach stage.