Welcome back to our series on bringing your #wholeself to work. Read part 1 (on athletes) over here. Stay tuned for parts 3 and 4, coming up.
Let’s be honest: I could write a book on this (and actually I’m working on something like that… PS if you’re not getting our emails where we share everything we’re working on, what are you waiting for?).
Parents, parents, parents. Parenting is the ultimate paradox. Here you are, reliving your childhood while needing to be in charge, and the stakes are IMPOSSIBLY high. You are simultaneously acting out as the worst and best parent you know, usually multiple times a day. You are simultaneously wishing your own parents had not messed you up so badly, while being in total awe of how much they got right.
Seriously, it can’t just be me.
Here are three parenting superpowers that are highly applicable at work. I strongly encourage you to start your own list.
Parents have stamina
Don’t we? Parenting never ends. Sure, you might drop your kid off at school every day, but guess what happens if they sneeze or fall off the monkey bars while they’re there? You know what happens. You get a phone call, and you pick them right back up again.
Parenting is a marathon, where the milestones go on forever and ever and disappear just beyond the horizon, only to keep going around the planet until they come back again (they call that grandchildren). You may reach for these milestones, or you may patiently and contentedly sail past them. Things like:
When they sleep through the night
When their teeth break through
When they can feed themselves
When they can pump their legs on the swing
When they can get themselves a snack
When they can read
When they can get themselves to school
When they can be trusted with a cell phone
Of course, everyone’s list is different. But holy moly. Stamina.
Your stamina is a superpower. Where could you apply it, in healthy ways, to your work? Where could you practice patience, consistent effort, and play the long game? THAT, my parenting friend, is a superpower.
Parents constantly analyze
I didn’t expect this. Honestly, I’ve literally held the job title of “analyst” – and my work as a parent has sharpened my analytical skills considerably.
We are constantly analyzing decisions. We analyze the future implications of in-the-moment decisions (like letting your kid climb that tree). We analyze the safety of current and potential activities (like how far can they actually get, and, do I want them to do this every day all summer long, and will they want to jump out of the tree, once they’ve climbed as far as they can?). We analyze broader risks as well (like will all the neighbours start climbing all the trees?). We analyze, and we sit with the knowledge that many of these decisions – despite feeling like boring minutiae – actually do matter.
That analysis and future consideration makes you smarter. Where else could you apply it? How can you make room for those skills in your work?
Parents have empathy
Maybe you’re the toughest cookie on the block. But I’m pretty sure that when your kid hurts themselves, and is crying, or scared from a nightmare, or worried about something that happened at school – you show empathy. Are you a hugger? A listener? A water-fetcher? A treat-wielder? A playful distracter?
Whatever you do to show empathy, it helps your kid. But empathy is not just for kids, is it?
We all need empathy. And empathy, at work, is… wait for it… really, really deficient. If you see otherwise, please tell me. Because where I sit, I see more workplaces than not with empathy simply lacking OR – sadder still – empathy hiding.
Empathy brings people together. Sure, some people are robotic meanies. Most are not. Most have a semi-soft, not totally calcified, human heart under there. They’re going to absolutely love when you let your empathy out at work. And most importantly, so are you.
How can you do that? How can you bring your empathy superpower into your work?
What will you do?
That’s it. Let your parenting light shine! And remember: this is not about learning new skills, it’s about integrating the skills you already have. It’s about expanding how you show up at work, and integrating your unique talents into more aspects of your life.
So, what can you do just a little bit differently to bring your whole “parent” self to work? Comment below or DM me over here
I’m cheering you on.
Coaching in your inbox? Subscribe to The Check-In and get inspiring content to evolve and nurture your working life. I would love to share it with you.