Do We Have a Curious Mindset?

Do We Have a Curious Mindset?

Stephen Carter
January 15, 2024
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Last Friday I was invited to a men’s small group to meet Darrin Murriner, the CEO and co-founder of Cloverleaf. Now, talk about a cool company—Cloverleaf’s mission is to help transform teams through automated coaching, and they operate by helping people understand how to improve collaboration and empathy.

Needless to say, I was excited to meet Darrin and wanted to hear all about the founding of his company, the way in which he has navigated investor meetings, and his secrets for building a successful start-up. And yet, Darrin talked little about any of this.

Instead, he talked about his family—he talked about meeting his wife years ago, and about the excitements and challenges of parenthood (he has three teenagers by the way). He became vulnerable and talked about the "pressure cooker" of maintaining a marriage, raising kids, doing life, and running a business.

In other words, he was human. And in the midst of that humanity, it became clear that the idea of coaching has infiltrated every aspect of his life. He views himself as a coach not only with his business but with his family as well. When I asked him what makes a parent become an “effective coach,” he responded without missing a beat.

“We need to have a curious mindset,” he said. “We need to learn to ask the right questions to our kids.” He went on to explain that if we ask, “how was your day?” we can expect the standard response of “fine, I guess.” If this is all we get, why do we keep asking the same question? He suggests we ask, “Who did you sit by at lunch?” or “What’s something that made you laugh today?” These questions will provoke an entire discussion born out of meaningful connection.

“But,” he cautioned, “You can’t just ask that same question over and over. You need to vary it. You need to remain interested in them and in their lives.” This reminded me of the principle that the quality of your conversation never exceeds the quality of your questions.

So why do I include this encounter in this newsletter? Here’s why—I went to this meeting with Darrin to learn more about his business and instead I left inspired about life. He reminded me (and I need regular reminding) that business must come after family and that we must cherish our time in the role of parent and spouse. He reminded me what really matters.


Me with Darrin Murriner, CEO of Cloverleaf



Whether you are a teacher, administrator, parent, coach, or business executive, it’s worth checking out my newest book, Teaching the Entrepreneurial Mindset.

Over the last ten years, my team and I have explored how to meaningfully engage students through growth mindset, grit, redefining failure, and opportunity seeking, and these attributes are thoroughly explained alongside real-world examples of the life-changing methodology of this style of education.

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Imagine your culture infused with growth mindset, grit, redefining failure, and opportunity seeking. Imagine your team acting and thinking like entrepreneurs.

Stephen Carter

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