In my last blog, I introduced the idea of “babies” in an organization. These are the young people. As inspirational influencers, our proper response to the “babies” is to embrace, stretch, and nurture them. The focus of that blog was on embracing young people’s innocence, joy, and curiosity. In this post, I will focus on the concepts of stretch and nurture as we inspire people to grow.
Recently, I learned something about babies. I knew babies developed physically in the womb. This is obvious to all observers. I didn’t know babies learned multiple abilities before birth. According to Ger W. in a 2017 article, babies in the womb learn to breathe, recognize sounds (voices, language, songs), taste, sense touch, smile, move (toes and hands), and suck. There is even evidence that babies dream. Wow, from conception to birth and beyond, there is the opportunity to continually grow. This growth comes from being stretched and nurtured.
The definition of stretch is to expand or extend without breaking. As people influencing the growth of others, we have the responsibility to help stretch a person. Stretching takes people out of their comfort zone, expands thinking, and builds new skills. This is an uncomfortable and necessary process. If we go back to a baby growing in the womb, we can conclude that humans have an internal wiring to stretch ourselves in order to grow. However, we cannot forget the last part of the definition, “without breaking.” A broken person cannot grow. Additionally, stretch tolerance is different for each person within each growth area. Thus, as influencers of growth, we must accurately assess a person’s tolerance for being stretched within a given task and lead appropriately without breaking them.
Stretching people is only part of the growth equation. Nurturing is the other part. Nurture is the process of encouraging and caring for the growth of someone. Let’s go back to the womb as an image for nurturing. In the best-case scenario, the womb is a safe and healthy environment. It is a place the baby gets the proper nutrition and is not subjected to negative substances from the mother, like alcohol, drugs, and some medications. When the mother is healthy physically and emotionally, the baby is more likely to be healthy. As we inspire people to grow, it is necessary to be the nurturing voice by providing encouragement, listening well, praising, and creating an environment to practice new skills without negative repercussions.
As I close this blog, I implore you to love the “babies” in your scope of influence by helping them grow through thoughtfully stretching and nurturing them.
Reflection and Application
- What opportunities do you have to stretch and nurture the people around you?
- How will you do this?
- 15 Things You Had No Idea Babies Learn In The Womb, by Ger W – on Mar 23, 2017 in Pregnancy
- 27 Tips on How to Keep Your Unborn Baby Healthy Environmental factors and genetics can be responsible for birth defects, By Naveed Saleh, MD, MS, Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician, Updated May 17, 2018