RSS An Ode to Growing Up

I’m going to depart a bit from my normal leadership musings and provide some personal thoughts about growing up. I’m not writing about my own experiences, but rather about my perceptions of my youngest daughter, with whom I recently spent a long weekend celebrating her 21st birthday.

I had the privilege of raising three daughters, the youngest of which finally reached the age of majority. I couldn’t be more proud of each of them, not because of anything specific they accomplished, but rather for the individuals they became through their own hard work and tough lessons learned. I probably sound like every dad who brags about his children; however, with my youngest now a “card-carrying” adult, I pause to reflect on how my perceptions of her have changed.

My daughter learned much outside of my direct purview, especially as it pertains to dealing with difficult people and circumstances. How is it that she put a young man in his place as he was vying for her attention right in front of me, and in the most mature way I could imagine? When did she become so comfortable in her skin that she confidently looks other adults in the eye – even strangers – and openly speaks her mind? Where did she cultivate her strong sense of perseverance to overcome obstacles such as job losses, lapses in her educational pursuits and the ebbs and flows of personal relationships? Frankly, how did she grow up right in front of me and in a way that I couldn’t see or acknowledge while it was happening?

Such is life, I guess. People around us are “growing up” all the time and, it’s possible – even likely – that we can’t see it right away. For me to see my daughter in this new light required some extended personal time together. We had an opportunity to communicate openly and interact in ways that we hadn’t in the past.

I might suggest reflecting on those we value in our lives, both at home and at work, in order to grasp how they have been growing and developing on their own. To find out how each of us has changed, we have to invest the time and energy in shared experiences, observe each other through different filters, and seek to understand rather than to judge.

As a parent, I can tell you that I am much more confident about my daughter’s ability to handle whatever the world throws her way. Like all of us, she will no doubt continue to stumble, and even fall at times. However, she has learned a very important lesson on her own: life is going to be what she makes of it, not what her parents, friends or others think that it should be.

As leaders, we must realize the talented individuals we work with every day are growing and evolving themselves. It is our job to stay engaged with them so we ever remain aware of their potential.

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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