Being Dad: 7 Learnings From Fatherhood That Can Boost Your Work
Sounds inspirational, does it? Well, being a dad can actually help you relate better to your profession as you undergo a significant transformation in your personal life. Parenthood has never been easy and what you learn as ‘dad’ is bound to lead you towards a better understanding of work, life and other human beings. Here are 7 learnings from ‘fatherhood’ that will keep you going in the outside world.
1. It inspires you to innovate
Now that there’s a baby looking up to you, nothing remains the same – be it your old life or your old routine. You have shaken off lethargy and indifference because you want to do the best for your child and just like our ‘dad’ above, would not stop thinking of new ideas until you have achieved success. So chances are you would like to do the same for your work/company/business. After all, you have ownership of them. Don’t stop innovating or looking for success till you reach the goal and go beyond it. There’s no limit to what you can do for those whom you love and for things that you care about.
2. Responsibility is no longer a lip service
How many times did you call in sick just because you felt too sleepy or too tired? But all that changes when there is a child in your life. Can you even imagine skipping the vaccination days or any doctor’s appointment, for that matter? As the kid grows up, you will find umpteen occasions when you must be there in his/her life. Now that you know the value of your support, can you treat your co-workers or employees in the same way? Are you there when they need your help and do you work together as a family? If you are a business owner, would you think twice before firing someone or putting up a closure notice? Being dad teaches you that you have to shoulder the burden of responsibility and look after the well-being of your family. The same goes for your professional life. So think and act responsibly at workplace to make sure that your work becomes as fulfilling as your personal life; your organisation gets as much care and attention that you want to give your child and your co-workers value your decisions/contribution as much as your family does.
3. Nothing can drive you nutsYups, all new and old hands who have experienced ‘fatherhood’ heartily agree to it. Being a dad 24x7 and 365 days a year means you can now handle all sorts of crises and not turn a hair. While managing a child, you need to introduce logic and balance where there is none. You need to lay down the ground rules and see they are being followed without setting up a domestic Auschwitz. You need to be prepared for crises that would put Wall Street breakdown to shame. And finally, you need to make sure that this project succeeds, no matter what. You can’t possibly jeopardise your child’s life by letting things become dysfunctional. Tall order, isn’t it? But most dads are achieving them without batting an eyelid. If you can do so much for your kid, you can easily spare some of that enthusiasm, energy and dedication to put your work at top gear. If you can take so much in your stride and nurture a lifetime project, you definitely have the strength to go out and tackle a handful of colleagues, employees, customers and investors.
4. You know how to stretch and dream
All dads learn it, sooner than later. I still remember my father walking a long stretch to the nearest metro station every workday – so that we could hold a weekend ice cream party. A friend’s dad would keep the driver engaged in small talk as his disabled daughter made her way slowly to the bus stop. As for vacations, most of our gang felt miserable until our dads walked in, brandishing atlases and telling us how we would plan a grand trip this time and go on a voyage next summer. Dads never stop pushing the limits – so that their children don’t limit themselves and their dreams don’t die. Could there be a better USP for your work or business? Whether you are in the start-up space or work for the big league, stretching every bit of your resources to challenge your limits and go after bigger dreams is the best success mantra to reach amazing heights.
5. Mentoring becomes easy
You have been doing it at home all the time and coping with the tantrums, too. But doing it at workplace has its own rewards – you handhold and groom newbies to give them the right kind of push for their career progression. And they will always remember you for that. I remember all my mentors who kept my nose to the grindstone, handed out praises in a way that mattered to us youngsters and threw in a surprise treat or two to keep us further engaged. But I will never forget that mentor who once told me, “Making news sensational is easy. Getting down to the real picture through hard facts is where character comes in.” As a father, you must have been mentoring your kids in the same way – giving them the gift of character, a sense of right and wrong, an unflinching value system that will see them through. Walk your young colleagues through the same path of ethics and efficiency, and mentoring at work will be a cakewalk for you.
6. Work-life balance gains more importance
When was the last time you allowed your team-member a day off just because he/she wanted to take the kid to the movie and a pizza treat? All that can happen at weekend, you must have grumbled a million times. But what if there is no other feasible timeframe? A scribe I know travel too frequently to hazardous destinations as he mostly covers armed conflicts and internal disturbances. And he makes it a point to take his kid out for a treat before going on a new assignment. That usually means spending some time with his kid on a workday before he takes off for days or even weeks. Another time, a manager refused to grant a weekday leave due to ‘tight deadline’ without knowing that the employee’s kid had been diagnosed with cancer and it’s the last day ‘out’ before the child got admitted to hospital. When you are a father, you surely understand how difficult it is to juggle work and life, meet obligations all around and cope with crisis. So the next time you get such a request, show more empathy and together, you can work out a solution.
7. You allow people more ‘freedom’ at work
Even the worst of control freaks has to back off when his teenager tells him flat out that he/she needs ‘space.’ Of course, you have to lay down the basic rules, but you can’t possibly micromanage the ‘young rebellious’ as much as you would like to. In case you are doing the same to your subordinates, why don’t you consider changing your style? Share your organisation’s vision and goal, and leave the rest to capable hands. The more they work independently, the more efficient and self-reliant they will become. Let your people try out new solutions and strategies; also, allow them to take calculated risks and see how it works out. That’s one sure-fire way of ushering in positive change and developing new leaders.
Images: Thinkstock/Getty Images
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