Cultivate Curiosity About You

Ah! The battle of wills! Why is it that we dig in to defend our own decisions that aren’t good for us?

My son has a massive project due tomorrow and he’s been procrastinating. My husband is now embroiled in an argument with him to take his work seriously and my son is determined to fight him every step of the way. While our teenager is typically very responsible when it comes to his homework, usually beginning his projects long in advance, he’s loosened his own expectations of himself and is now paying the consequences. But what strikes me as fascinating is how fiercely he’s fighting to defend his right to do it on his own terms, even if it’s clearly to his own detriment. Needless to say, there’s not a lot of zen in my house this morning.

Now we can write this off as a teenage thing, but let’s get real, we take our battle of the wills into our adult lives, we’re just typically more savvy in our expression. We will defend our right to be right no matter how much it hurts us.

Standing on the outside looking in, it’s easy for me to see how he’s hurting himself. How, if he allows choices like these to become habits, it can hurt him in the long run. He can’t see what I can see.

Today I’m getting curious about what I may not be seeing in my own decisions. Where in my life am I more committed to being right than being healthy, successful, and happy? How might my own will be blinding me to better choices?

The battle in the back room has calmed and my husband, the committed dad that he is, having lovingly stayed the course, is now in a rich conversation with our son about President James Monroe (the topic of the project). My son has shifted from defense-mode to engagement. The project is moving forward.

I haven’t come to any major ah-ha’s about myself in this exploration, but I’ve certainly become more curious.

What I know to be true is that if I’m committed to being my best, most authentic, and powerful—brave—self, then that is the most important thing that I can do.

Cultivate a curiosity about how you might be getting in your own way. While your grades might not be at stake, your best self, your results—your life—is.

©OnStage Leadership


Kimberly Davis
Kimberly Davis
An expert on authentic leadership, Kimberly Davis shares her inspirational message of personal power, responsibility, and impact with organizations across the country and teaches leadership programs world-wide; most notably, her program “OnStage Leadership” which runs in NYC and Dallas, TX. Additionally, Kimberly teaches for Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Cox School of Business’s Executive Education Program's Transformational Leadership Program and their Latino Leadership Initiative. She is also privileged to teach for the Bush Institute’s WE Lead Program (empowering female leaders from the Middle East). Kimberly is a TEDx speaker and her book, Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Authentic, and Powerful Self to Get the Results You Need, is the 2019 winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Business and Career; an Amazon Bestseller in Business Leadership, Business Motivation, and Self-Improvement, and Motivational Business Management; and was named as the number one book to read in Inc. Magazine’s “The 12 Most Impactful Books to Read in 2018,” with a cover-endorsement by best-selling author Daniel Pink.

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  1. Kimberly, you really do ‘hit the nail on the head’ ( I trust that typically English phrase is also know in the USA!). Personal authenticity, belief in oneself and ability to discuss in an open manner another subject (as with your son and your husband) in order to create a neutral platform for further discussion.

    The temptation to be totally convinced that what is in fact a wrong decision or posture is not the easiest thing to present to a teenager!

    This is a most enlightening article. To learn from one’s mistakes and admit them, takes strength.
    Be Strong Gently and win they day with positivity.

    Really super, Kimberly.

  2. Kimberly — SO timely! It’s so easy for us to stick to our guns at this time with debates that are – and sadly aren’t – raging. The challenging thing to do is to pause, as you and our dear friend Melissa Hughes suggests and ask ourselves what we’re missing and how we might be getting in our own way. The key word here is “pause.” Most of us are on auto-pilot and hit “Send” without stepping away from the keyboard for just a moment.

    Great message AS ALWAYS!

  3. I remember being on both sides of that argument and I did not learn how to self motivate until I was much older. Is it possible, Kim, that some people are wired that way and the rest of us have to learn from our mistakes?