Disclaimer: OK, I’m not a big sports fan. But having watched the final three games of the Seattle Seahawks’ best-ever season, I learned quite a bit – not really about football but about parenting, as well as the work we do here at LNWM.
It has to do with quarterback Russell Wilson’s “why not me?” statement. Evidently, as Wilson was growing up, his dad would say to him, “Why not you Russell?” The senior Mr. Wilson died before Russell started playing pro football, but the statement lives on as the Seahawks’ “why not us?” slogan.
Why Not You, Applied to Parenting
As parent to a teenager, I realize a big issue with us parents today is too much praise. “Wow!” “Awesome!” “That’s amazing!” “Super!” “Gadzooks!” “No way you did THAT!”
After years of hearing over-the-top praise, who wouldn’t think: “It’s gonna be me.” And when the kids come up short, as inevitably we all do, there’s a danger they’ll will lose their way.
Below are three reasons why I think a “why not you” approach can counteract the “too-much praise” syndrome.
#1: Grounded in humility. As the parent or the child, you’re asking a question, not making a statement.
#2. Realistic. To answer the question, you need to address (however quickly) the “not” part. So you consider shortcomings as well as strengths, and that’s more balanced.
#3. Combines ambition with underdog status – as in, you’re clearly the David, not the Goliath. This is a powerful combination, it seems to me. Don’t we want our kids to pursue whatever endeavor as underdogs, always striving to do better?
Why Not You, Applied to Life Planning
At LNWM, we ask clients a lot of questions. But an underlying question when it comes to helping people attain their life goals often is: “why not you?”
- Why not you living overseas for part of the year?
- Why not you kick-starting a non-profit program?
- Why not you launching a foundation?
- Why not you starting that new business venture?
I asked a few LNWM advisors what they thought of “why not you” as an enabler. It can be powerful, they said. But this is something a trusted outsider who knows you well has to ask — and keep asking. It doesn’t resonate coming from the do-er, the person who wants to accomplish whatever goal or dream it is.
So why not you? Fill in the blank here.
And a big thanks to the late Harrison Wilson, Russell’s dad.