How a Terrible Two Can Help You at Your Job

My son turned two years old last August. Since he’s about 18 months, we’ve been experiencing tough periods of his “terrible two” mind. The last couple days have been the hardest though. Being pregnant with a high peak of hormones made it even harder for me. Still, my terrible two has taught me a lot of things that can very much be applied to your attitude towards though days at work.

Your boss has the bad habit of yelling? One of your colleagues gets on your nerve daily? You heartily worked on a project for months and have trouble getting it approved by the direction? You’re simply tired of the negative surrounding at work? You must read this!

Or you know of anyone struggling with these? Feel free to share!

The Power of Whispering

Responding to someone’s yelling by yelling just doesn’t go anywhere. In despair, I tried with my son. Mistake. It just got worse. What has proven to work majority of time is to do the contrary. The louder he gets, the lower I keep my voice. It is so much harder to yell at someone with a soft voice!

Your superior has the tendency to yell? Keep calm, look in the eyes and talk as low as possible.

A Well-Deserved Time Out

For unacceptable behaviors – hitting, biting, etc. – we put our son in a time-out. This is also a couple minutes allowed to us in order to breathe and take the proper action afterwards. These minutes really can make a difference in the way you’ll reply, act, look, etc. When a situation at work is about to make you lose control, allow yourself a time-out. You might pretend an important call, task to finish or you might as well say the truth: “I need a couple minutes to think about what’s going on. Can we talk about this in half an hour?”

Deep Breathing

Take advantage of your “time-out” to do some deep breathing. This is something that helped my hormonal-impatient self lately! 😉 It doesn’t have to be long, but it will surely help you taking negative thoughts out. You’ll be more disposed to battle the smart way.

Keep it Simple

Using small sentences with only a couple words is what works the best for a terrible two. Adding words is adding noises to your message. You don’t want that. Of course, an adult can handle bigger sentences than 3-4 words, but keep it as simple as possible. Don’t get yourself into long explanations. Resume your point into a 2-3 small sentences.

This is also a good strategy to use when pitching your latest project.

Stimulate Positive Actions

When the terrible two gets really bad, it becomes easy to put too much emphasis on the bad attitudes or actions. As if all we see is the hitting, yelling, biting, etc. One of the best ways to shift the atmosphere is to instead encourage positive actions that come. With my terrible two, I mostly reward him with nice words and hugs when he does something good.

The exact same thing can be applied with a negative colleague that surrounds you. Ever noticed how kids live high fives? You might be surprised of the huge impact it can have on adults as well. “High five” closer colleagues, listen carefully to positive stories brought; tell your pride about a project that went well and smile at everyone, especially the persons that tend to be negative.

Learn to Let Go

In other words, choose your battles. Because we are in a tough period with our toddler, we have to choose what really matters at the moment and focus on it. For example, we think it’s not the moment to take away his dummy while we have more important challenges.

There’s no need to change everything at once. Set-up your priorities at work and focus on them. It can be daily, weekly or monthly goals.

Did you ever apply a lesson learned by a kid to your job? Did you try these tips?

Image credit: Terrible two, Super Nanny, Obama High Five

About the Author