My wife and I recently became parents for the first time and boy, have we already learned a lot from tiny baby Baumann! Someone once said that “normal is just a setting on the washing machine” and as new parents, we’re realizing how true that really is. Life will never be the same. As we adjust to the “new normal,” I’ve learned a few lessons from our very wise (and very beautiful) baby girl. It’s good advice across the board, not just for those seeking career insights.
What career advice can we learn from babies?
Get enough sleep. Sleep is important – both for the baby and for the parent. Get it when you can. A well-rested baby is a happy baby. A well-rested parent is less likely to resemble the walking dead…which means you’ll be happy too. Most adults don’t actually get enough sleep and their productivity, relationships and overall happiness suffers. Now, there are trade-offs – you’ll need to make some sacrifices, but in the long run, they’re totally worth it. (TIP: 20-30 minute power naps can save your life. I’m still getting the hang of this concept.)
Smile, even if it is just gas. Nobody likes a grumpy Gus. A fussy baby can make you want tear your hair out and scream. Attitudes are contagious. On the other side, a smiling baby can make your entire day, week, month or even year. Smile – it does matter. Even if that smile isn’t 100% natural, a little effort goes a long way. Smile when you’re talking on the phone. Smile when you see someone in the hallway, in the elevator, etc. Smile and spread your happiness. (Editor’s note: Our baby girl’s favorite song? Happy by Pharrell. Coincidence? I think not.)
Cry for help. Babies are pretty dang good at this. They’re completely helpless, yet they have many ways of telling you what they need: a diaper change, food, or a good burping. They have distinct cries (or asks), whimpers or squeals to let you know how to respond. It’s a guessing game at first, but in the end, we learn how to identify their cues and respond appropriately. As a professional, when was the last time you asked for help? Do you ask for want you want?
Have a sense of wonder. Everything is new, bright and shiny. Babies see the world unbiased. I like to think that they see the good in everything. Babies don’t have preconceived notions about anything because they have no experience. For the most part, this is a good thing. As a professional, keeping a sense of wonder and a healthy curiosity about things will help you see the bigger picture. You won’t be held back by the “what-if’s” or “that won’t work because” thinking. As you tackle situations at the office, step back and act as if you’re seeing the issue from an unbiased, new perspective. You might surprise yourself!
PARENTS – what have YOU learned from your children? Please share! Leave a comment below. Thank you!
Now, off to the next diaper change…