9 Professional Tips from my 1 year old niece
1. Time to Rest and Time to Work
She gets up at 9AM and she needs to start lazing and winding down by 10PM. She cannot read a clock but she is tuned to the messages of her body. It does not matter how the day went or what she had to deal with, it’s difficult to mess with her work-rest cycle.
In the midst of the rigor of work and life, we fail to honor the cycle of night and day. Our bodies tell us when to rest and we need to pay heed, not ignore it on the pretext of the busyness of life.
We seem to take work pretty seriously while resting the body seems like an afterthought. Create a ritual of honoring the time around sleep – whether it means switching off all devices a few hours before or reading your favorite book.
2. Not enough rest can make you Cranky
If for some reason her sleep needs are not met, everyone in the house and the neighbor knows. She is cranky and although she wants to play and be merry, the uneasiness in her body and mind gets the better of her.
It’s uncanny that we find it so easy to attribute lack of good rest to a cranky baby but we fail to acknowledge the same within us. Our thinking gets cloudy, the pressure on the head, the achiness of the joints, an overall sense of imbalance – these conditions are not conducive to a person making critical decisions at a workplace.
Let’s prioritize resting the body, not just through sleep but through any activity that puts our body at rest – meditation, light yoga, sipping a cup of tea or sometimes just doing nothing.
3. When you Fall down, don’t focus on the Falling
When she falls down, which happens rather often, she can swap out of it pretty easy as long as the focus is not on the falling. She quickly moves her attention to the next toy or utensil in the pipeline. On the other hand, if she ends up dwelling on the falling in the critical window, then the crying ensues.
When we fall in our professional settings, there is a lot of critique involved, most of it from ourselves.“How could I?”,“I always do this”,“I will never improve.” The trick is to catch ourselves in that powerful critical window and swap out of the critic mode and look for solutions. Let’s move on to the next adventure before the downward spiral hits.
4. Be Authentic at Work
My niece has this unadulterated quality about her. She has no masks, authenticity oozing from every cell in her. I like to say that she is “pure love”. That’s a manifestation of authenticity.
She reminded me that as I tread through my professional life, I value authenticity in my colleagues and business partners above everythingelse; may be because it’s quite an exotic quality.We become programmed to wear different masks at work, hiding behind a fake persona of confidence, ego and power.Nothing excites me more than working with people who are what they are without a hidden agenda or motive.
They bring their ‘whole’ self to work which could mean quirky, eccentric, somber, or a whole gamut of things. But I would take that any day over the other alternative. In return, I constantly strive to bring forth my authenticity in all professional and personal interactions, irrespective of the situation.
5. Focus on your Joy
She is her favorite person. Her joys mean the world to her and she puts that above everything else. If a place, food or person does not give her joy, she has her ways of letting you know.
But as an adult, we give our joys away. Our joys go into the background while stability, security and in some cases fear takes center stage in our professional lives. It’s not uncommon to hear young professionals endlessly searching for joy in their jobs.
Sometime between being a toddler and a working professional, joy lost all of its esteem and value. It’s time we start focusing on activities in our jobs that give us joy or look for alternate solutions if nothing does. This was our primal setting. We just have to press the RESET.
6. Stand up for yourself if your needs are not met
If she doesn’t like a toy, she doesn’t like to lay with it. If the milk is not the right temperature or the food is missing her favorite spice (yeah, she likes her spices!), she would protest.
So many times at our workplaces, we feel like we got the short end of the stick, whether it is getting passed over for a promotion or a raise or an exciting new opportunity. Or see something happening that does not jive with our principles.
More often than not, our fear of losing the job gets the better of us. But we would never know if we have no reaction to them at the first place. Wonder what would happen if we, politely but sternly, stood up for ourselves. How bad could it be?
7. You Deserve the World, Never sell yourself short
She deserves attention like she is the Queen. There are no self-esteem issues there. I guess the concept has not germinated yet. She knows she is special and she deserves the goodness of everything that life has to offer. It is not determined by her appearance or stature. She is a living being and thus she is special.
We lose this feeling of being special and start associating esteem ranking to our self based on the skills or talents we have or how we look or the multiple such parameters. The world reflects back opportunities that we think that we deserve. Let’s know that we deserve the world even in our professional life, nothing less.
8. Trust your Instincts on People
Apart from her parents, there is a selective group of people she feels comfortable with. I am certain she feels the person’s energy and then decides if she wants to hang out with them or not. She just knows and she trusts her knowing.
Very often at workplaces, we feel a tinge of distrust or an underlying sense of inhibition about sharing or working with a person. But we ignore the intuitive signs only to be bitten much later. Not everyone is out there to look out for your best interest. Learn to trust the signs you get. And once you get that nudge, figure out tactful ways of staying away from that crowd.
9. Keep your attention on the present, that’s where life is Happening
She has no concept of past or future. She is progressively learning from her past but she is never dwelling there. Whatever is happening in the now is what gets her complete attention.
As adults, our focus moves outside the range of NOW. Its either dwelling in the past struggles we have had at work or future uncertainties about where we will be. In focusing on two opposite ends of the spectrum, we forget to enjoy the learnings and interactions from the present assignment.
Can we stay completely present with the project in hand or in the internal morning meeting tomorrow? It’s difficult as we have forgotten it to be our default setting but it’s an experience on its own and one that has the potential to revive our work experiences miraculously.