By Yigal Adato
Almost two months ago, my daughter Taly was born. I have never been so nervous and excited at the same time for anything. The feeling of being responsible for and raising a child and being a good father was overwhelming. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been in leadership roles throughout my life, but none as important as being a father. Being a leader means setting a good example, you lead with passion and emotional intelligence, but this is different. My daughter will look up to me and learn from my actions; she will be molded by the way I treat her and the things I do. In the short time I have been a father, along with sleepless nights and learning how to raise a baby, I have learned 3 important lessons.
Leadership is about listening. You get so many clues when you stop and listen carefully. My daughter cries when she is hungry, tired or has a dirty diaper and even though it is hard to tell, there are slight differences in the way she cries to let us know what she needs. There are times she just cries to be held, and in those times I dance with her and even sing to her so she calms down.
When you truly listen to what the other person is saying, you dance and flow together as opposed to fighting and making things difficult. With adults, we have language, words and even expressions to draw from in communications; with a newborn there is nothing and as a parent you must listen carefully and search for what is needed in the situation. Listening is key and if you just stop and relax you can communicate with anybody, even your newborn.
We all grow up fantasizing about what job we will have, what kind of house we will live in, or even what type of person we will marry. The hardest thing is to consider that your plans may not go as envisioned. It takes a true leader to be able to roll with the punches and be flexible when it comes to situations that are out of our control. Having a baby is a huge shift for my wife and me. We have planned many times to leave the house, only to find that it is impossible to have things go the way you plan. That is the beauty of a baby; they teach us that sometimes we aren’t in control and that sometimes plans change. We must adapt to that shift in order to not stress and live happy lives. This is what patience is all about: Being able to adapt and sometimes just sit still as your daughter still needs to feed or isn’t ready to get into the carseat with a smile.
Never did I envision that a person who projectile vomits and poops all over me would still have me so in love. Never did I imagine that whatever happens, I would still love to the degree that I do with my daughter. I smile every time she makes a noise, moves differently, or smiles even though I know it’s only a reflex. Leadership is just the same. It isn’t about just enjoying the goal but every step of the process and finding joy in the little moments and celebrating the small accomplishments. If you love at every moment there isn’t space for anger or hate.
These three lessons I have known to be a cornerstone to leadership but it wasn’t until now, when I have a beautiful baby to take care of and smile with every day that these lessons have been deeply engrained in me. My goal is to listen more than ever, to be more patient then I have ever needed to be and to love unconditionally (even with puke on my shirt).
These High Holidays, I wont ask for me but for her and for my wife, who has been incredible and amazing during this whole process. I will ask for her safety, her health and for us to have more patience and love. I wish you all a Shana Tova and thank you for reading!