Lessons from a 5 Year Old

October 12, 2016

My daughter bounces out of the house today exclaiming that ‘she can’t wait’ to go to school. It’s her 4th  week and that enthusiasm continues day by day, in spite of being exhausted and on the brink of emotional breakdown most evenings. It’s a scene that many parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents will be familiar with – there is a joy and excitement that goes hand in hand with learning.



Only 4 weeks in I can see her development, her approach to art and craft is less cautious, she wants to draw and write and colour. She will exchange TV to learn how to write her name, and she tells me the stories behind her drawings. She doesn’t even notice that she’s learning, it’s just one big adventure.




It’s inspiring to me and challenges me to think about how I am approaching the challenges I face. Do I spend too much time focusing on what may not happen rather than embracing the opportunity for learning? How long is it taking me to see past the obstacles and spring to action?


Sometimes a gentle reminder is all we need to embrace our inner child.




So what can you do today to embrace learning, enjoy taking risk and throw energy into your challenges – whatever they may be? Here’s some tips inspired by a 5 year old:


  • 1.    Seek fun and enjoyment. When you are enjoying what you do you are open minded and alert to new opportunities. Focusing solely on your challenge can narrow your view so find something engaging in your day and seek the fun in this.

  • 2.    Build your network: My daughter has made over 15 new friends in the last 4 weeks and I know they are influencing her creativity. What might new people do for you? What might they open your eyes to?

  • 3.    Get a mentor you admire and trust: In our house “Miss Jones” is amazing which fills me with joy as I know that she will inspire my daughter to read, write and embrace her education. What might a mentor do for you? What could you learn from them that could help you on your journey?

  • 4.    Play: it’s too easy to forget to have fun if you’re facing a challenging situation. Do something that you find invigorating then go back and approach your challenge with restored energy and enthusiasm.

  • 5.    Confide in others: My daughter will approach me to help her with things that are ‘tricky”, she doesn’t want me to do it for her, she wants to be shown and encouraged to do it herself. When did we get too self sufficient? When was it a sign of weakness to reach out for support? If you’re struggling with a challenge, ask for help, seek the experience of others to provide advice and guidance. It’s a natural behaviour and will enable you to grow. 

  • 6.    Set goals: At the tender age of 5 my daughter naturally sets goals. “I’m going to learn to write all these words mummy”, “When I’m six I’m going to be able to read like you Mummy”. Some small milestones, others bigger and more daring. Setting yourself goals along the way can help you to break down the impossible into manageable chunks.


So there you have it, from my little pocket motivator some tips on how to overcome your challenges. Good luck and may you find your source of inspiration!




Zoe Hawkins is a coach and mentor. She co-owns In Good Company, a Leadership Development and Coaching Training Business. Zoe is regularly engaged in 1:1 Executive Coaching, Team Development, Team Coaching and facilitation. With her Business Partner Joanne Wheatley she runs ILM Coaching and Mentoring Qualifications at Level 5. The next one starts on 12th November in Plymouth. If you are interested in developing your coaching skills or gaining some personal and professional development then please call on 0800 690 6798



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