Parenting is Contagious

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When it comes to parenting, your example isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing. As a professional speaker and author who studies and writes about what the best do better than the rest, I was blown away by what was possibly the most amazing audience I’ve ever spoken to.

I recently spoke at the Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association annual convention. Those folks are leadership personified. The biggest, fastest, strongest, healthiest group of people you’ll ever meet.

What they do in their daily work with the people they lead (college athletes) applies to each and every one of us in the work we do leading our children at home and our employees in the workplace. As I thought about the phenomenal impression they all made on me it got me thinking about precisely what leadership is at its core. Even more so, it made me take a long hard look in the mirror.

You’ve probably hear the expression he or she “just gets it”. Well, when it comes to leadership these coaches ALL “get it”. I didn’t see any negative, lazy, disengaged, unhappy, overweight or unhealthy looking people sitting in that audience anywhere. ZERO… not a single one. I also didn’t see them drinking at the bar late into the night which is a common occurrence at most conventions. These folks were the epitome of high performance. They didn’t live vicariously through the success of their athletes either. They were too busy creating their own success. They were the epitome of mental toughness and simply walked their talk.

The entire experience was a great reminder that when it comes to parenting, your example isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing. Think about it… How do these coaches convince world-class athletes they are capable of being bigger, faster and stronger? Quite simply they do it by being bigger, faster and stronger themselves.

“Our lives are a mirror, what we give out gets reflected back to us by others.”

Whatever you’re doing is contagious. We are all living proof of that statement. I know from experience:

  • Balance is contagious. I found that when I wasn’t modeling balance for my team, they weren’t balanced.
  • Conversely, when they were nervous during a big game or a key timeout, if I was calm their nerves would settle and they’d become calm. Calm is contagious.

Think again before criticizing your child, their coach, or the officials. Bite your tongue instead of yelling at your child to run faster or work harder. Besides, yelling is a poor excuse for coaching and for parenting.

I recently had an executive coaching client complain to me that most of his employees were “negative and low effort” (his words not mine). I encouraged him to stop keeping “banker’s hours” and be more positive and kind to them. Which, to his credit he did, it’s no small surprise that they just posted their best quarter since 2006.

We need to be the change we wish to see in others. Kids need a model to see not just a motto to say. They crave authenticity and can sniff out B.S. a mile away.  Their B.S. meter is calibrated with even more sensitivity and is more accurate than the adults you lead.

I share this with you because being at the CSCCa convention was an important reminder that I need to heed this advice as much as anyone. I have a 9 year old who is ADHD. If I want her to be less impulsive and more mindful, I need to practice mindfulness and emulate it better for her. I also have an 11 year old child who is entering a very emotional stage and prone to drama and outbursts. If I want her to be calm and patient, guess what I have to get better at.

About John Brubaker | Performance Consultant
John is the author of two award-winning books:


John_Brubaker_high_resJohn Brubaker is a nationally renowned performance consultant, speaker and award-winning author. More importantly he’s a husband and a father. John teaches audiences how to obtain better results in business with straightforward tools that turbo charge performance. Using a multidisciplinary approach, “Coach Bru” helps organizations and individuals develop their competitive edge.

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