Would it help to be childlike in the Workplace?

Sep 02, 2022

Months ago, I read a LinkedIn post by Amanda Scott. She asked a thought-provoking question, "what do you do to stay in gratitude? Positivity? I would love to hear your tips and tricks for staying positive!".

I felt an urgency to explore the answer. I sensed the answer could unlock a pivotal mystery to enlighten and propel us further. Secretly, I was hoping for a life hack that I could immediately apply.

The feeling continued during my summer vacation. I bumped into several people experiencing joy, sorrow, victory, defeat, hope, depression, love, and loss - you get the picture. Somewhere in there, I began to see the shape of an answer. We don't need a life hack; we need something more enduring. Something that we can draw on in a split second. We need a rock-solid belief system that permeates our entire physiology.

Quick tips, memes, Tik Tok short videos are valuable tools. They work well as reminders and triggers and help remember poignant thoughts and ideas. However, we live in constantly changing environments so a simple answer won't work every time. And our brain isn't yet able to sift through all our tips and tricks, find the appropriate one and deliver in the spur of the moment. However, if who we are, deep inside, is anchored in a belief that flows and applies to every situation, then our reaction can be consistent, even though circumstances vary. Our belief system should be robust; it must take us joyfully through conflicts at work, economic downturns, injustice, pandemics, illness, uncertainty, and unexpected losses.

So, if that's the case, perhaps we should focus on what we consciously and subconsciously believe, honestly believe

Focusing takes time and effort, but you're worth it!  

Embrace your belief

Your belief system may already be working for you. If so, continue to grow and mature in it. Do not stop. Please take it to the nth degree and confirm it is stable and gives you the joy, freedom, and capacity to handle life's ups and downs.

If your response is "maybe," you may need to learn more. Eliminate distractions and continue to lean in until you get to "Yes" or "No." You have limited time to decide, for sure you won't be around in another 100 years, and who knows how many difficulties and challenges you will face before then?

Suppose your answer is "no," ditch this belief and continue searching. Do this also if you don't know what you believe.

Be You

Perhaps you've identified people you admire; you like how they handle life and situations. You'd like to do what they do. How can you do what they do when you are you? No wonder we have imposter syndrome. You can only do you! If there are qualities about them you admire, then it might be instructive to understand THEIR BELIEF because that's what informs their actions. So, consider their belief in the context of embracing your own belief. You can believe the same thing they believe, but mimicking them would be disastrous - you will look fake and require a lot of energy. Plus, you won't know what to do in every situation since we are not glued to anyone to see and remember what they do in every case.

Live within the present moment.

We tend to get anxious about the present because of our knowledge of yesterday and the uncertainties of tomorrow. We draw on either of those paradigms when we experience something new or different. The feeling of anxiety and uncertainty adversely affects our creativity in the present. When we are calm, relaxed, and present, we thrive; we respond from our true selves. We enjoy the moment, consider it an adventure and not waste it by living in a period that is not now. If we receive negative feedback, we don't respond as if we are falling apart because we don't know the future and are satisfied with that. Use the past as a reference only.

 Be like a child

The characteristics of a healthy child we'd like to emulate are creativity and the ability to play and live joyfully. As adults, we are so busy trying to do "adulting" we have squashed the life out of ourselves. And where do we have the largest concentration of adults? In the workplace. No wonder the workplace can be so stressful.

Let's consider this quote:

"He who knows not, and knows not he knows not, is a fool; shun him.
He who knows not and knows he knows not is a child; teach him.
He who knows, and knows not he knows, is asleep; awaken him.
He who knows, and knows he knows, is wise; follow him."

Which of these would you choose to be? Me? I prefer to be childlike (not childish) and wise. 

 Interpretation of the child at work

You don't know everything and will never know everything. Be mindful that this is true for everyone. Therefore, be humble. Ask questions. Be open to learning and not be prejudiced by where who, and what is teaching you. Your belief system will help you sieve through what you should keep and what to toss.

 Interpretation of the wise at work

You have gifts, skills, experience, and knowledge at work and in life. Use them to accomplish good for the people immediately connected to you, then expand to others. Try not to use it to undermine or supplant others. As you are wise, you already know we are directly or indirectly dependent on everyone else. Sow what you'd like to reap.

As adults in the workplace, wisdom borne from our resources - gifts, skills, education, experience, and knowledge - should be in our heads. Our interactions should reflect from our hearts through childlike attitudes and responses, all connected by our beliefs.

When we receive that less-than-ideal response, all our faculties should react as a child, "Timmy sounds sad, I'd like to help him" and wise, "what can I say to diffuse this situation so Timothy and I end up feeling complete?" rather than matching the offensive tone or snarky remark. Or, when we receive bad news or undergo depressive situations, our perspective wouldn't be dependent on the news per se but on our life-giving belief, childlike attitude, and wisdom to act and make sound decisions.

Now, do that!

Would you like to explore this further? Are you stuck in the way of thinking that is not working for your life and work? Connect with me. 


Also posted on LinkedIn

Image from Time Magazine "The Law that Changed the American Workplace"