Labels are transient and limiting, yet we throw them around so freely. Labeling a person or a thing, prevents us from seeing the entirety of a person or a thing. We label for comfort, but it creates consistent conundrums. #TakeTheLabelOffTheTable
I had the pleasure of interviewing Monica Cost, the CEO and founder of The Core Value Company. As a professional leadership coach, pathfinder and motivational leader, Monica has spent the past 17+ years guiding business executives (including Fortune 500), policy-makers, and individuals to new heights of performance, entrepreneurship and leadership. Utilizing her trademarked Value Identification Processä; Monica has successfully helped individuals identify, define and live their core values.
Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory” as it relates to your current profession/status?
Throughout my childhood, I was known as the “voice of reason”. My friends would often come to me to gain perspective, talk through tough situations and to vent. Over time, I became used to helping people find solutions to their problems.
Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?
When I began my professional career in corporate America, I continued to be the “voice of reason” — the person that could assist in working through a variety of situations and finding adequate solutions. Eventually, I created workshops around the questions and conversations that I had with others. What began as a personal brand company, grew into the pathfinding company I run today.
Can you tell us a bit more about what your day-to-day schedule looks like? One of the things I love about my work, is that no two days are the same.
My days consist of creating new content, delivering workshops, consulting with corporations on culture, client development and creating new opportunities to expand my business. In addition, I’m raising two teenaged boys, practicing self-care and I make time to spend with family and friends.
Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience, can you flesh out how not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?
There are many things that happen in a short time span for young people. From day to day, there are pressures that arise, new opportunities to excel, conversations that require adult insight and many other things. I believe not spending time with our children leaves them susceptible to the many pressures of this world, without the security of knowing they have a place to discuss life and fending for themselves. Children can greatly benefit from having an ear to listen and experience to keep them from making the same mistakes we made.
On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?
It’s important to make time with your children so that you can provide guidance to them in order to help them when form decision-making strategies. Additionally, time provides the opportunity to develop tools to use when navigating tough situations and security in knowing they have love and support.
According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a couple examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?
My mother actually taught me this lesson early on when I had to go back to work after having my first child. When I spend quality time with my children, I make an effort to stay off of my phone, do something that they enjoy and not to judge what they tell me. In addition, having open lines of communication has created an environment where my children can, and will, freely tell me when and if they need more time.
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?
1. Set expectations for clients/company around how you will be available and what your boundaries are.
2. Let your children know your efforts to spend quality time and give them permission to hold you accountable if you don’t.
3. Be present. It’s better to be fully present in order to build “credit” with your children so that when you are away, your children feel secure.
4. Learn about your children and who they are, in order to create meaningful moments that include them.
5. Develop technology boundaries.
How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?
In my work, I often discuss being liberated from labels. To that end, I don’t believe anyone is qualified to absolutely define a “good parent”. It depends on the child(ren) you are parenting. However, I do believe there are a few common characteristics that assist children in being happy and well-adjusted human beings. These things include, communication, self-reflection, ability to say, “I’m sorry”, being present with your children, practicing what you preach and allowing for their own humanity over your own beliefs.
How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?
Tone setting is something my mother taught me from a young age. Sometimes, it’s difficult to balance dreams and reality. I ask lots of questions of my children around their wants, dreams and willingness to sacrifice. I believe dreaming big has to be tempered with effort and know how. My children have spoken of creating clothing lines and having their items become household brands. However, they’ve not always followed through on what they say they want. Inspiring my children to dream big consists of me asking questions when they speak their dreams, providing support both mentally and in resources (when they show me they are serious), and not giving them false praise when their dreams don’t match their efforts.
How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?
Success to me is living according to my core values, allowing others to live out their core values without labeling, finding balance in how I spend my time and keeping promises to myself.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?
“The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Raising Self-Reliant Children and The Blessing of a B Minus” by Wendy Mogel. I enjoy teachings that affirm the notion of perfection not being a human goal, as well as the offering of letting children experience and learn how to recover from failure and less than perfection.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Failure is no indication of your ability, just a need to adjust your strategy.” — Dr. Jeff Howard, The Efficacy Institute. So many expectations are placed upon us from the time we’re born. Those expectations end up setting the plan for our lives. In our pursuit of these expectations we fall short. While people encourage risk taking, they also judge failures and use them as an indicator of our ability. This can be debilitating. This lesson has allowed me the opportunity to use failure as data and nothing else. It was a life changing lesson that has allowed me to take risks and live according to my own personal values.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Take the label off the table. Labels are transient and limiting, yet we throw them around so freely. Labeling a person or a thing, prevents us from seeing the entirety of a person or a thing. We label for comfort, but it creates consistent conundrums. #TakeTheLabelOffTheTable
Thank you for all of these great insights!