The quest to help our kids be successful is never ending, and can be exhausting. That's why it's important to pay attention to advice from the most qualified advice givers--there's just too much info available and too much opportunity to feel overwhelmed.
When I learned of Esther Wojcicki's story, I knew immediately that what she had to say should make the cut. After all, Wojcicki and her husband have raised three superstar daughters: Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe; and Janet Wojcicki, a Fulbright-winning pediatrics professor and researcher. She's also given a TEDx talk on her story and written a book about it, which she recently discussed on CNBC's Make It, and has taught for 35 years in a Palo Alto, California high school.
So yeah, I'd say Esther knows a thing or two about raising super successful, well-grounded children. Here's her TEDx talk.
One thing in particular that Wojcicki preaches and teaches really stood out to me, as it's especially in line with my experience.
Instilling a mindset of service and purpose serves everyone.
There's double meaning here.
First, this is a strong value for my wife and I, and we've seen our efforts in teaching a mindset of service and purpose have a direct impact on our daughter, even a ripple effect. She's now interested in career paths that would positively impact others, and is quite driven to achieve those career aspirations. She has engaged in activities with a service mindset in school, and we can see her worldview broadening before our eyes. She cares about climate change, animals, the homeless, and being kind and caring in general. I'd say by anyone's standards those are signs of success.
But there's another side to the coin of success here, something I've discovered as I've tried to do some role-modeling for my daughter. I left a corporate career to expand my platform for making a difference with the spoken and written word (as a speaker and writer), to live a life of servitude, driven by a deep sense of purpose and meaning. Wojcicki role-modeled living a life of service and purpose by volunteering in her community and getting her daughters involved in doing so as well.
I'd say her daughters have turned out alright, and my post-corporate move is turning out pretty darn successful as well. For me, as it turns out, being passionate about servitude and purpose has directly translated into a successful business. For Wojcicki's daughters, it has directly translated to success as well (one's in a purpose-driven field as a doctor) or success has been a by-product of a well-rounded, admirable, the-world-is-bigger-than-me upbringing (two CEO daughters).
The point here is that acting from a mindset of service and purpose not only serves others, it can serve the person doing the serving.
Success can come directly from a service mindset because it's deeply fulfilling work and because it might lead to a business or line of work that people are willing to pay handsomely for. But success can also be a byproduct of living a life of service and purpose because it's a highly admired quality in a leader that helps frame a powerful and effective leadership approach in general.
So be purposeful about instilling a mindset of purpose and service in your child--everyone wins.