I’m not an affirmation gal. The closest I get is coaching my daughter to tell me to “Buck up, Mommy!” whenever I start to get emotional. It works because she’s so damn cute, and any reason for tears quickly turns into laughter hearing her say those words to me.
However, there are times I need confirmation I’m on the right track and doing the right thing.
And my go-to Cartman soundbite of “Screw you guys, I’m going home” isn’t always appropriate.
Given I really don’t get into the affirmation thing, I was surprised at how much this Inc.com article resonated with me and the work I do in the HR/People world. Here are a couple of my favorites:
“I will always maintain perspective.”
This hit home recently. I’ve been told bad things come in threes – other than copperheads; those come in twos. It’s a Texas thing.
In a short period of time I had three significantly crappy things happen to those I care about and myself. I cried. I got really pissed. I lost sleep.
Then I remembered something my graduate school accounting professor asked me as I was in his office sobbing over a bad test score.
Him: “Kathy, do you have a boyfriend?” (yeah – initial creep factor was 7 out of 10, but stay with me)
Me: (snot sob) “Yeesss”
Him: “Does he support you?”
Him: “Does your mom love you?”
Me: “Of course” (thinking…what the F does this have to do with me bombing this test??!!)
Him: “Then I won’t worry about you. You have someone who supports you and a mother who loves you. This is just a stupid test. You will be alright”.
Bam. Like that, I realized things I hold dear will never be diminished by a test or crappy things that I can’t control.
In HR, sometimes we think we CAN and SHOULD control everything. Or that when bad stuff happens we have to somehow fix it. Or we have an immediate response of “I’m sorry” for crap that is purely business and we really shouldn’t be apologizing for it.
Put it in perspective. Do you have a support system? Does someone love you? Do you find meaning in your work/life?
If yes, then chances are you’ll survive whatever just made you freak out.
“In one way, I will always be last.”
As a competitive person, this was a hard one to digest. But here’s the take-away:
“Everyone likes to be first. But often it’s better to be last: the last to give up, the last to leave, the last to keep trying, the last to hold on to principles and values.
The world is full of people who quit. The world is full of people who pivot (pivot is sometimes just a fancy word for “give up”).
Always be the last to give up on yourself.”
Our HR professional lives are not a sprint to the finish. Our work lives are an endurance challenge. Can you withstand the highs along with the lows? Can you get yourself up to have the same conversation over and over again? Can you see beyond today and lead through uncertainty and elements you can’t control? Can you weather the bad and celebrate the good?
If yes, then it’s alright to be last as long as you cross the finish line.
Kathy Rapp is the CEO of hrQ where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent for permanent or project roles across the country. Prior to joining hrQ Kathy booked more than 15 years of diverse HR leadership experience working in F500s and start-up organizations. A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent insights can be gleamed from the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen and AC/DC.