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Workhuman–Sugar Plums

Workhuman is just a little less than 24 hours away, and I’m so excited that I can hardly contain myself.  Tonight I will have visions of #sugarplums.

That I am so excited, in spite of the fact that I’m terribly distracted with other things right now, surprises me.  But it shouldn’t be surprised.  Workhuman is an absolutely awesome conference and I’m sure everyone who has been to Workhuman is looking forward to it.

Let me put this into perspective.  My life has been the epitome of upheaval these past six months.  I’m exhausted.  It has been a whirlwind of hiking, moving to a new locale, and more work than I should’ve taken on.  If you’ve wondered why I haven’t been blogging much, this is why.

But I wouldn’t miss Workhuman for anything, exhaustion and all.

This year the conference is taking on a slightly different theme.  It feels more timely than ever.  Sure, Workhuman is about great people practices, but it takes on more urgency this year than in the past.  I can’t hardly wait to hear from the speakers, many who are actively involved in #metoo.  I am especially interested in hearing from companies that have chosen the high road on things like pay transparency and pay equity.  These are lofty and important ideals, but in a world of supply and demand not always so easy to hold to.  How did they implement?  What had to change?  How did they/will they get past the notion of it being compliance and more importantly good business?  How did it/will it become a part of their culture?

Workhuman is also a reminder to me that life does sometimes go in odd twists and turns but it is important to get back to the things that matter.  While there I will be with people I love, try to get enough sleep, get around on my feet, eat well, experience new things, and learn.  I am reminded that I learn best when the other aspects of life are in balance.

For those that are attending, I’d like you to write down how you feel right now.  Identify your general mood, and the personal goals that are closest to your chest.  In addition, identify what at your workplace has to change for you to feel like you’re making a difference.  Then, when the next four days are over, look back on what you’ve written and determine what you have gained by attending and what you’ll do next.

I can hardly wait to see what we all come up with.  Here’s to Workhuman.

The Optimist

I know where I was the first time I heard about the Optimist Club. I was in an assembly in the gymnasium at Clarence Olsen Junior High School in Woodstock, IL and some local members had come to speak to us about optimism.

I thought they were ridiculous.  The subject was too light for a bunch of kids in puberty. Too smiley.  Too positive. In my 12 year old ways, too much optimism was, in a word, stupid. I’m pretty sure I made fun of them.

But they did leave me with a gift, and that was to consider optimism in life. And in times of darkness, I have.

The Optmists have a Creed.    When I started writing this blog post, I decided to look it up.  It is the following:

Cool, eh?

 

Mind Mapping Optimism

Lately, I’ve been using mind mapping more often in meetings to be sure that the flow of ideas that are coming get captured in a more organic way.  With that in mind, I decided to take the idea of optimism and map it out to see where it goes and it turned out to look like this:

What do you see?

  • There is obviously a wheel, suggesting that optimism is a process.
  • There are also two sides, showing that there are at least two facets to optimism.
  • There are also many paths to optimism, showing activities, or the lack thereof. There is a suggestion that optimism takes practice.
  • Sleep is a consideration.

From a workplace perspective, there’s also benefit to optimism, from both the improved state of mind of the HR professional and the workforces impacted by HR.

Since I write to HR, for HR, I want you to think about that for a moment—being selfish for you for the benefit of others. Infectiousness.

Let me leave this right here.  What goes around, comes around.  If you want a more optimistic workforce, you have a responsibility to be more optimistic yourself. While it is still resolution season, give yourself this gift this year.

Looking for Inspiration?

For about two years, I’ve been a member of a LinkedIn group called HRPositive!  The members are a bit like an optimist club for HR.  In their words, “This is a place to feel good about your profession and the people in it!”  You can find the group at:  https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8355569.

 

Moving on to other things

Photo Credit: Bonni Titgemeyer #Brucetrail

Photo Credit: Bonni Titgemeyer #Brucetrail

Today is the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks, and it is a tradition for me to write a blog post as a sort of memorial.

I mean no disrespect when I write that this year you will not find me deeply immersed in replays of that terrible day.

There were years where I was.  Deeply immersed that is. In all the sadness that surrounds a day when with perfect precision thousands of innocent people died and millions more lost some measure of their personal freedom.

In years past, I’ve written down everything I can remember about that day.  Where I was, who I was with, what was said, who was on the radio, how vulnerable I felt being so far from home, what I did in the hours afterward.  I’ve written it all down, even though I wasn’t at ground zero, nor did I have any family or friends there.  But I was affected.  If you were alive and living in North America that day, chances are you were too.

In response to what happened, over the years I have vowed some things, like to not let people with bad intentions interfere with my pursuit of happiness, and to promote an environment of peace.

This year however, I’ve decided that I am moving on to other things.  What that means exactly, I don’t know.  But, it’s time for that.

There is significant literature out there from experts and others on how to move on after experiencing a loss.  Much of it is about mindset.  Allowing yourself to get through the stages of grief.  Choosing to be happy.  Faking it until you feel it.  Getting busy.  Building new memories.  Closing the chapter.

On one of my Bruce Trail hikes recently, I came upon a beautiful sight.  It was a field of blackberries, thousands of ripe ones.  There were so many that our walk took twice as long that day because we had to stop and sample them.  They were so sweet they tasted like cotton candy, free for the taking.  As I sat on a stump with my hands full of them, stains on my shirt and with purple teeth, I started thinking about what got me to that point at this point in time.  I felt good, almost giddy.  Certainly there are many things, but one of them was the decision to return to Canada after 9/11 and to experience all of what Canada offers.  For that, I am very thankful.