Bob Moesta a father of five and married for 26 years and thought leader in the Jobs To Be Done framework., joins the podcast. Some might call him and OG, and someone that has definielty been around the block. I mean 5 kids and 26 years of marriage, he can teach us a thing or two. The interesting angle he comes at the topic with is from a product development stand point. He has developed thousands of products and brings that journey to how we approach parenting. Struggling moments is a big theme that he mentions and it is worth a listen.
Could you do an introduction to yourself?
– I was born premature and have had 3 closed brain injuries.
– I am dyslexic, but my mom was a teacher and she knew that if I was labeled as dyslexic or special needs that I would be dependent on the system. My mom taught me workarounds so that I could get my Bs and Cs and pass my classes.
– From that I learned how to ask questions and be curious and ask why.
– I’ve been taking things apart and putting them together since I was four.
– That started me on the path to where I am now.
– It’s asking what’s the problem and what’s the opportunity.
Would you say your dyslexia played a role in that?
– My mom helped me figure out how I learn.
– I can’t sit still and learn because I won’t remember a thing. If I take notes, I can’t read the notes but the imagery of doing that reminds me of what I was doing and so I have full recall as long as I’m moving.
– In my office I have tools to keep moving because that’s how my mind works.
– I can see words that are seven letters or longer, but I can’t see what it is. I have to look at the context. The way my mom taught me to read was to circle the 7 largest words on a page and guess. I’ve been doing that since I was six years old.
I’m a hell of a guesser. I can read, but it’s not the linear way.
So that weakness has led to a unique way of learning for you and given a unique advantage.
– This relates back to your children. They come from the union of you and your wife, but each one is so unique.
– The struggling moment is the seed for all innovation.
– Our job isn’t to protect them, our job is to prepare them for the world.
Why do you think that people want to protect their kids so much?
– We talk about the social, emotional, and functional things that are going on. There’s a level of fear where you think you’re not going to be a parent, and social fear that people aren’t going to think you’re a good parent. But there’s no handbook. So you think if you can control everything then that makes you a good parent.
– If you reflect on the kids in high school you knew whose parents were so controlling, those were the wildest kids in college. It’s a paradox.
It’s almost a generational thing. You have control, and rebellious child, and you don’t want to make the mistakes of your parents…how do you break those patterns?
– You have to acknowledge the pattern.
– My parents were strict. But now I see that they weren’t there to be my friend. So what are the outcome are you seeking?
– You want to be the best for your kid and you want to be the best for you.
You’re not there to be your child’s friend. Which might be great for you, but it’s not what’s best for them.
– Yeah, as we’re blessed with their presence until they move out. But I have to help them learn how to make decisions. Then I have to help them figure out what they love to do.
– My life turned for the better when at 35 I stopped trying to learn how to do the things I wasn’t good at, and I built a team around me who can do those things.
So self awareness…
– I think part of it is teaching our kids the self awareness. When they’re not good at something do you step up and try to get better at it, or do you move on?
– The moment that the kid appreciates practice as much as the game, life got better. Winning will come by being self aware.
So what was another guard rail that you guys use?
– The desire of a kid is to look good or be good at something.
– All four of our kids played hockey. It’s like if they’re not good at it right away they don’t want to do it. But we told them to go out and try. When they see progress, then they learn to like it.
– If they don’t go out and try then they end up doing nothing.
– Why is a big question. We always ask why the like something or why they’re doing something.
– They have to figure out stuff. Like how to buy a mattress when they’re in school.
– Sometimes as a parent you feel like it would just be easier if you did it for them. But that’s not helping them.
Go online and talk to Google. Bringing back the resourcefulness and curiosity.
– You’ll be surprised how smart they are when you give them that latitude to fail.
Starting as early as riding a bike
– We’ll get a new bike, and I’ll say to my kids hey let’s go take that bike apart.
– They have so much free time and there’s so much sensory stuff. Schools have gotten rid of metal shop and stuff, and so we’ve got to teach them all of these hands skills and common sense stuff.
– My job isn’t to be their friend, it’s how to make decisions, find their passions, and how to respect others.
I was talking to a guy who said you reap what you sow by about middle school
– Yeah, I had a guy I worked with at Ford who said you can spend time with your kids on the front end or back end, but the back end is way more expensive.
– There’s no meeting too important not to carve out time, and we can’t be there every time, but when we’re there we’re there.
You said you had that shift at 35. How old were your kids?
– They would have been 5, 3, 1, and a newborn. It was like, I can’t figure out all of this and trying to spell “of”.
– I did Strengths Finders, which helped me understand what I should be focusing on. The next book was On Purpose Person, by Kevin McCarthy. He talks about that you need to seek out what unique thing you have inside you that you’ve had inside you all along. So I exist to make the abstract concrete. So if I’m doing something to do that, then I’m living on purpose.
So how do you not put your kids in a box before they can discover what their strengths are?
– I think it’s much more than that. If they’re not it then they’re not it. My kid went in for engineering, but he loves math and he’s a math major now. We have to know when to guide, but not be too rigid. You have to trust them.
– I think sports or a team thing is very important. We live in a world where learning discipline and rules, you can tell working with someone if they played team sports or not. There isn’t one right answer, there are 15 ways to score. Sports are a great way to get your kids to see beyond things as a parent.
I agree, but I’ve seen a negative thing where it becomes all about the sports and not the outcome, like team building.
– Yeah I had kids who were all in these programs, and doing well, but then realized eventually that she didn’t want to do these things anymore. It was the difference between “I want to go to school and play hockey, I don’t want to play hockey and go to school.”
– I think it’s just balance. The businesses will come and go. There will be people who judge you as a parent, but you need to come to terms to how you’re going to act as a parent. You’re born with your family and you die with your family, and you have to be prepared for that time of reflection for what you did as a parent.