At the IoD Young leaders conference last Friday, I was privileged to listen to the inspirational Richard McCann who finished his presentation with a video of his 8 year old son. Ellis McCann wants to be a motivational speaker when he grows up, but at only 8 he has already presented to a room of 3,000 delegates. As I watched this video, it reminded me of the Voice Kids final and how amazing these kids were as well. So it got me thinking, had we lost some of our inner child, and what lessons could we learn from these amazing kids?
1. Never underestimate the potential that lies within you
Eliis McCann told his teachers he wanted to be a motivational speaker when he grew up, and they sniggered at him. In his first presentation he only managed one word. He went on to present to 29 people, 140 people, 400 people, 1500 people and finished off with a venue of 3,000 attendees. In his own words he kept practising and kept stepping outside his comfort zone, getting bigger and bigger and bigger. The question he asked is if that is what he could do at only 8, what are we all capable of doing?
2. Don’t be scared to take risks even at the most crucial time
Would you change the pitch just before you’re most important sales meeting or alter your tactics during the biggest business deal? I think most of us would really struggle to take such a huge risk at the most crucial time in business. But 14 year old Harry did just that in the final of the Voice Kids. The week of the final, he agreed to rap having never rapped before in his life. Yes, at the most important time , he wasn’t scared to risk something completely new. Will.I.Am told him, “You’ve faced something that you’ve never had to do before, most people would stay in their comfort zone, you faced your fears, tried something new, experimented and delivered at the most important time.” So remember, when it really matters think of Harry who is only 14 and take the leap.
3. It’s not a no, it’s just not yet
Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest American football coaches of all time wrote, “it’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” 11 year old Yaroslav from Russia is a true testament to this, when he was rejected from The Voice Kids Russia at only 10 years old, but decided to audition in the UK anyway. Will.I.Am told him, “the fact that you came here after experiencing no turns in Russia, you decided I’m going to get in this door no matter what. You have an energy and determination like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.” A focused and determined young man, who took his first major knock back as an opportunity to grow and achieve his goal. A lesson for all of us.
4. Listen carefully when shy people speak
We’ve all been in meetings where extroverts and confident people talk the most and great ideas are lost because shy people don’t feel they can speak up. 14 year old Sienna-Leigh, commands the stage during her performance and oozes confidence. But that’s a very different persona during her interview, where she looks scared, shy and bashful. As Will.I.Am told her “I know a lot of singers who are shy but when they step on stage and sing the world listens. That’s magic, that’s a gift that you have.” So remember to listen carefully when the shy people speak as they have a gift that will truly create magic.
5. Humble yourself or life will do it for you
Have you ever noticed the most successful people in life are often the most humble, and genuinely don’t see themselves the way the rest of the world see them. This is true of the winner 13 year old Daniel when Will.I.Am told him, “I wish everybody in the music industry was like you. You just commanded the stage like adults can’t, and then you step back real humbly and modest.” The most inspirational people I’ve ever met display so much humility, as they continue to grow and learn and never believe they have achieved everything yet.
6. A little encouragement goes along way
We all have around 70 to 80 thousand thoughts per day, and on average 85% of these are negative. In my experience, a little encouragement has a phenomenal impact on others. 13 year old singer Daniel, the overall winner is a testament to this. Pixie told him, “in your first audition you were hiding behind the piano, apologising for your performance. Throughout I’ve told you, you are incredible and breath taking. Look at you now, singing loud and proud, owning the stage. For me that is the most beautiful thing possible.”
7. Be a purple cow
Best-selling author, Seth Good urges us all to put a Purple Cow into everything we do, to create something truly noticeable. He says, you’re either a Purple Cow or not, which makes you remarkable or invisible. What is great about 14 year old singer Drew is that she is so unique and different, and stays true to her own style as an artist. Danny told her, “Drew not only are you an amazing singer, you dare to be different and try new things. You’re a ready-made star.” So take inspiration from Drew and shine like a star.
8. Confidence is the best outfit – Rock it and own it
10 year Lilia, the first singer on the Voice Kids, a tiny blond firecracker who oozes confidence and charisma, commands the stage during her performance even with eight adult dancers around her. Pixie told her, “Lilia, you are amazing. You came onto the show at 10 as the youngest and the littlest, but yet you blow everyone away. You light the stage up, your voice is incredible, yet you’ve got all this charisma. It doesn’t phase you at all and you don’t get nervous.” So if 10 year old Lilia can rock the stage, remember you can too.
9. Enjoy yourself and shine
But most importantly enjoy yourself, and you will shine. Every one of these inspirational children enjoyed every moment of The Voice Kids, and this was infectious with the audience. Will.I.Am told them, “you were up there really enjoying it and it was totally awesome.” When you really enjoy what you do, it will shine out, and everyone else will love your performance.
Take inspiration from these amazing kids, and find your inner child. If you get a free moment go back and watch them. You really will be blown away.