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Leadership Tip:   The ‘Practice What you Preach Test’ — Delivered by my two sons.

For many years my wife Nancy and I have tried to teach our two young sons, that they can always do more than they think they can. Understanding that “most of our limits are self-imposed limits” is a critical concepts for children and adults alike.

We have disapproved of the phrase “I can’t” and tried to get them to replace it with “I’ll try.” (Although I’m sure Yoda and Star Wars fans will disagree with me, it has had a positive effect.) This approach has helped them build the confidence to try new things and explore new ways of doing things.

One day, with both boys in the car (5 and 7 years old at the time), we were headed back from baseball practice when our youngest son asked if we could stop at the candy store. It was just before dinner, so I gave them the typical “Dad” response, which ended with; “Sorry we can’t.” Immediately, and in unison, both boys blurted out: “Dad, don’t say ‘can’t,’ say, ‘I’ll try.’” They delivered the test. I had gotten caught, and now had the chance to practice what I preach. We stopped and bought. I passed the test. And by the way, it was one of the most rewarding and tasty desserts we ever had