Turning Back Time: How Childlike Qualities Help You in Work Situations

Would things I used to do when I was young apply in my career path today? I think so, as long as I remember this career advice: Stop – Reflect – Simplify – Respond. Learn how this strategy might benefit you, too.

I remember my days as a carefree child. During the summer, I met up with friends, went on family road trips, ate ice cream almost every day, and lazily passed the time away reading, drawing or just doing nothing. It was such a happy-go-lucky time of my life that I sometimes reminisce about it when my days get hectic and stressful.

Thinking back to my childhood, I realize I miss the things I did then but can’t do now as an adult.

Everyone wonders if they can go back in time, what would they change; what career advice would they tell their younger self to help make life different and better? I don’t think about that because, in my opinion, the past is past. What I do think about is, are there things I used to do when I was young that I can actually do now? And, are there things I probably should leave right where they belong – in my past?

The Wonder of a Child

In general, there is a state of mind that children live by to enjoy life while learning lessons along the way. It’s a view of the world that is simple, free and spirited. Once upon a time, we all possessed this mindset, but have since outgrown it. Today, it may seem absurd to think that we could turn back the clock to relive life with childhood wonder, however it’s really not that far-fetched of an idea.

Recalling when you were young, you were likely a few or all of the following:

1. Curious and observant – For all things you found fascinating, you gave them your absolute attention.

2. Persistent – When you put your mind to accomplishing something, you wouldn’t give up.

3. Playful and imaginative – Without any preconceived notions, you allowed yourself to be free and uninhibited in action and thought.

4. Joyful – You genuinely enjoyed life and laughed without reservation.

5. Spontaneous – You behaved and reacted in ways that were natural and unstructured as you lived in the moment.

6. Authentic – As a child, your honesty was natural and transparent.

How Can Childlike Qualities Help You as an Administrative Professional?

Think of the acronym SRSR when times become stressful and hectic – Stop what you are doing, Reflect back to a time when, as a child, life was uncomplicated, Simplify your plan of action and Respond accordingly. Here are tips to help you SRSR:

Imagine Playing

Recollect a time when you played with abandon – running, jumping rope, skipping, swinging on a swing, bouncing a ball or sliding down a slide. Remember the feeling of happiness and apply it to where you are at this very moment. If this evokes feelings of bliss, go ahead and smile. This should help melt away any stress you may be experiencing in your day – at least for a short time.

Work With Childlike Ambition

In school, children are given homework rules to follow. At work, we are assigned tasks. However, we have a little more leverage to affect innovation in what we do.  Therefore, when given an assignment, ask questions to determine the parameters of the task and if applicable, think outside the box to incite ideas. Don’t be limited by what people expect and what you’re used to. With innovative thinking, you could gain attention and recognition.

Live in The Moment

Each morning after creating or reviewing your to-do list, take a minute to breathe and then get started on the first item on your list. Forget for a time about all you have to do, forget about what happened yesterday or interactions you’ve had. Forget about that call you have to make, meeting that’s coming up or those deadlines. Just put effort on the task at hand and when it’s completed, place your complete focus on the next task.

Adopt a New Perspective

In situations where others may have been difficult to work with or the outcome was not as ideal as you had hoped, learn from it and change your outlook to improve future results. Taking on a new perspective helps you to strive for continuous improvement by further developing work relationships, business processes and your career.

Be Credible and Trustworthy

There are times when you’ll need to speak up and make yourself heard. First, think through what’s working and what’s not, and then be truthful about it to your manager or peers. Give concrete reasons why something has become a dilemma and then offer a solution or steps to correct the issue. As you explain or document your reasons, remember to keep your communications simple and direct.

Think of this as a form of reverse mentoring … going back in time to recall your own childlike qualities to help advise you in your present career.

Have you ever had to draw from your childhood memories to handle a current situation? Do tell …

Related Articles: