New life, new mindsets
I have two little kids: a three years old daughter and a one-year-old son. As you can imagine, my beloved munchkins often jump around asking for my attention so there is not much of a down time and lying on the couch after work. Parenting is like a second long-term work, from which you can’t be fired but it’s the most satisfying one.
Before becoming a parent I was as free as a bird, quite job-focused, hustling, making things done and expecting the same from others. Without a pressure but with a strong sense of discipline. Becoming a father has seriously changed my life. Suddenly I was no longer in charge of my time and space.
This very different perspective gave me a new point of view which I would love to share. If you don’t have kids don’t get me wrong – I won’t be explaining occasional lack of productivity at work or coming to work after a sleepless night- I will rather tell you how to look at parents differently at work as well as how my perception of people who don’t have kids has changed.
Discover your superpowers
So let’s assume that you just became a parent- there are various moving and important moments ahead of you but on top of that you will need to acquire some superpowers:
- Dealing with sleep deprivation
- Singing songs (Christmas carols are the best)
- Drawing an elephant that looks like an ink dot (works both ways)
- Turning into a horse for 2 hours (they say when it’s over)
- Answering “WHY” 6 times in a row (finally you get to the core)
- And many others depending on your kid’s needs.
Moreover, you gain knowledge about emotions and behaviours. In modern society, there are hundreds of schools that teach how to raise kids. I’ve learned about self-regulation, NVC (Non-Violent Communication), and various concepts that were somehow new to me. Some of them really blew my mind.
I didn’t have proper awareness and understanding when it was my 1 or 5 years old and causing some troubles. Parenthood is like a magnifying glass for one’s flaws. It shows you how much more compassion and awareness a person can gain. Understanding it had changed my life for the better.
I’ve decided to give you a piece of advice on how to adapt kids’ knowledge to the coworkers’ environment.
Lessons from raising kids that help at work
#1 – Be patient – how often do we get angry in the workplace? Usually, we look for the victim – someone to blame. In the kids’ world, the worst thing you can do is to be impatient and blow out small failures out of proportion. Doing that creates a situation where you raise a kid that is not confident and not willing to take a risk. Transferring it to the workplace you should understand that people make mistakes… and it’s fine. You are there to give them feedback and make sure they improve next time. It requires goodwill and patience.
#2 – Create borders and agreements – in general kids do whatever they want until someone stops them. In my household, we create rules and agreements for cooperation like “Only one cookie after the lunch”. It introduces a sense of discipline but moreover creates a strong relationship between me and my kid as we agreed on something together and we follow it. It makes our relationship stronger. At work, you can do the same – put your expectations upfront, agree with the 2nd party and build trust on top of that. It will make your life way easier.
#3 Have empathy – in the adult world, it’s easy to judge and criticize. Without knowing the context you aren’t able to fully understand the unfulfilled need so you won’t react properly. Example: you see that someone is in a bad mood so you try to avoid such a person instead of helping. With kids is different. You can’t ignore them – they will cry, scream or even stay silent but somehow they will express their emotions. You simply ask about their feelings, you name their emotions and try to understand what’s wrong. You hug them and make them feel important so they understand that someone cares. It’s sensitive and the world is missing that at workplaces a lot nowadays.
Next time you see that someone in the office is upset, try to jump into that person’s shoes, be super kind and obsessive about the needs. By showing a great amount of empathy we not only build a higher sense of our humanity but also loyalty, together with driving motivation to work as a strong team. For many people (both adults and kids) empathy means that you care and they are important for you.
(BONUS) #4 Tell me about your (real) needs- kids are perfect at lying. What I’ve noticed is that when my daughter doesn’t like my behaviour or I ignore her while scrolling something on my phone, she interrupts me by telling me that she needs attention. People at work aren’t that brave – they usually are afraid of the boss and if so, feedback quite often never pops up. Moreover, when they change the job, they do not tell what are the real reasons behind their decision. What is more, we live in an environment of political correctness instead of transparency and honest communication (honesty improves the quality of cooperation a lot). I know that in some cases telling the truth is hard and some people prefer to live in kind of illusions but trust me – honesty prevents from causing a great number of problems. If you like this concept then I recommend you to read a chapter of “12 rules of Life” by Jordan Peterson – he goes deeper into this topic.
Of course, there are far more valuable lessons from raising kids like “not everything goes according to the plan”. This topic is quite rich, but when it comes to me, the above-mentioned concepts are the most useful as are crucial for improvements in our work and the way we deal with people around us on a daily basis.
P.S. Being a Dad is like having start-up you can’t fail. Parenthood has its ups and downs but it’s worth it. Children are the best mirror we can have in life.
Plus in many cases, it’s easy to grab the attention of the investors as grandparents are the ones who love to spoil their grandchildren.
What about you? What did you learn from your kids than can be applied in your the workplace?