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Taking a Daniel Tiger Perspective on The Current State of Work


Any parent with young kids knows Daniel Tiger is the ultimate authority on every lesson you need in life. The PBS successor to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood features a young tiger (unsurprisingly named Daniel) and his family. He confronts life’s difficult challenges with emotional maturity, self-awareness, and singing.


But, unlike most children’s TV, you won’t end up hating it. In fact, you’ll end up loving it because the songs are so catchy and soothing that you can draw on Daniel Tiger’s extensive catalog of compositions to guide your child through basically any daily struggle.

Throughout the stay home orders Daniel Tiger has been a go-to in our household, which has kept that marketable little feline at the top of my mind. (Okay, I’ll admit that I frequently catch myself singing Daniel Tiger lessons even when the kids aren’t even around.) Now, I may be really losing it but I caught a recent episode out of the corner of my eye while working at my computer and it felt weirdly analogous to the anxiety I’ve felt over the last six months.

In Daniel Tiger’s episode about going on vacation he eases children’s fears by urging them to “Find what’s different and what’s the same.”

...and while the COVID shut down certainly hasn’t been a vacation, its complete upheaval of everything we’re used to has a lot of parallels to the way a child worries about the new experiences and feelings of going on a trip. By focusing on what’s the same, Daniel Tiger is able to stay grounded enough to be open to, and even appreciate, the new experiences available to him.

working-from-home-todayWhen we look at the current state of work, it’s pretty obvious what’s different. But what’s the same?

​Understanding what’s the same across today’s employment landscape compared to previous years can help us to succeed personally and allow our organizations thrive.

Performance Expectations

The switch to remote work has changed performance expectations, but it hasn’t eliminated them. There are still internal and external expectations that employees need to meet. The best employees will still set high expectations for themselves, taking pride in their work, meeting deadlines, and communicating at all levels effectively. Locations have changed but employee objectives have not. Organizational expectations will still place a focus on excellence, rewarding employees that go above and beyond to hit goals amidst new barriers.

The Desire for Authentic Connection

The need for authenticity in both personal and professional relationships is stronger than ever because stay home orders and continued social distancing measures have made people feel isolated. And while personal connections haven’t been hard to come by for most people, knowing how to make professional connections virtually has been a challenge. Joining online groups and attending virtual events can provide the introduction, but to forge a real connection you need to be genuine and adopt a service mindset.

A Need to Focus

There are so many distractions right now, but like always we still need to block them out to do great work (and stay sane). As if market uncertainty, supply chain disruptions, layoffs, and virtual school weren’t enough of a distraction, politics are also making it difficult to focus. Leading up to the election everyone is going to have more things shouting at them for attention than ever before. The key will be to hold onto what’s important and let everything else go – refusing to give any attention to the things that are out of your control.

The Importance of Balance

How do you balance work and life when the two are existing on top of each other and the future is uncertain? Finding rest and focusing on personal fulfillment are essential regardless of what your employment status looks like; however, these days they are even more important. Take the time to step away from work to find and pursue your passions. Balance will improve your mental health and fuel your work, allowing you to approach it with a clearer head and more positive attitude for better results.


Daniel Tiger implores us to remain optimistic when he says, “When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.”

Some good things have come out of the pandemic, and it’s okay to focus on them. I have to keep reminding myself of this because for me it feels wrong to even acknowledge these things. To be optimistic feels like trying to write over all the bad – people losing their lives, companies going out of business, rampant unemployment, and heightened political tensions.

The current unemployment rate in the US is 8.4% (up dramatically from February 2020, when it was 3.5%), and I don’t want to forget how many people and businesses were irreparably affected by policies that halted the economy.  

But the bad doesn’t have to consume us personally and define us as a society. We can remember these things while still trying to make the best of what we have in front of us. Focusing on the negative isn’t going to change anything, it will only create another distraction that makes it harder for us to do our best work and become the best versions of ourselves.

Perhaps the best thing that has come out of our current state of work is that families had to slow down and spend more time together.

  • In a recent survey, 66% of people felt the pandemic has brought them closer to their family,
  • 75% said it allowed them to experience a key moment in their child’s life that they would have missed otherwise,
  • and 79% reported they learned more about their children’s hobbies.
  • And, while some people have put on weight with gyms being closed and the fridge being much more accessible than it would be in the office, 70% of those surveyed said the pandemic helped them realize and address their unhealthy behaviors, and 36% started a new exercise routine.
  • Additionally, 25% and 20% were able to focus more on their family’s nutrition and sleep, respectively.

I think we can all agree that these are significant health and wellness wins. So, when it all feels heavy, remember those metrics and look for opportunities to turn around what seems bad.


Need some more encouragement? 

Check out this reminder of how great you are for a little bit of inspiration. It is meant for entrepreneurs, but I think we can all use to hear those words from time to time!


About the Author

kate-pierce-lionsharkKate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing. Her areas of expertise include Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging, and Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and two children and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family.

Like a true digital marketing geek, she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!

Topics: Networking Business Success Leadership Productivity Human Nature