Remember High School? Where the scent of Clearasil and BO mingled with raging Testosterone and Oestrogen to create a terrifying cocktail of angst.
Remember High School? Where mean girls roamed the corridor – scything down swathes of confidence with a single curl of the lip and a rolled eye. Where sporting heroes bathed in the adulation of an appreciative crowd. Where Nerds, Geeks and other outcasts refined their ability to hide from the rampaging herd and to find success in their own ways amongst their own kind.
Remember High School? Where you had moments chock-full of confidence – followed by moments of abject anguish (when you hid in the toilets for a quiet existential sob because the object of your desire ignored you).
Remember High School?
For most of us, the memory of High School is branded into our minds. We could hardly wait to get out of there – to get out and start our adult lives.
But somehow we had bought into an adult fairy tale – and we believed that somewhere between High School and adult life we would suddenly become certain.
That angst, fear and confusion would be a thing of the past. That we would know all the answers – with never a doubt in our minds about the best course of action in any situation.
We were wrong
As adults, we like to think we are all grown up. But given the preponderance of fart jokes and bunny-ears behind heads in photos – this veneer is seen to be very thin indeed.
What we didn’t know was that adults are just kids in bigger sized clothing. That in the adult world there are still Mean Girls, Sporting Jocks, in-crowds and Populars. There are still outcasts, and people who are bullied when no-one is looking.
We didn’t know that in the adult world, every person still faces moments of confusion and self-doubt. That adults still have moments when they try and keep it all together, stay in control and not lose it in front of people they value.
We didn’t know that any semblance of control is an illusion. Every facade of confidence is just that … a facade. And inside we still have moments where the teenage self takes over the wheel of the adult bus.
What does this have to do with business?
Take a look around you at your colleagues and friends. They are all just kids in bigger clothes. There will be days when something triggers a teenage response to an adult situation. They are not mad – just human.
Take a look at your clients. On days when the mean girls have become Queen Bees, and the Sporting Jocks have become Dictatorial Leaders – your clients intensely value goods and services that help them gain back some semblance of control, certainty and confidence.
No matter if you are a new teen or a nursing-home-aged teen – you are still a teen at heart. Remember to acknowledge and cater to the inner teenagers of people around you as well as deal with the grown-up exteriors in front of you.
And if you are the parent of a High School teen, remember to tell them the truth of life as an adult. This is one fairy tale that needs to be shown for what it is.