What HR Can Learn from Oprah Winfrey

Paul Hebert Change, Good HR, HR, Paul Hebert, wellness

It’s tough being an HR pro.

You hear all the negatives. From the boss. From the C-Suite. From employees. From the parking lot attendant at the airport. Seems that anyone who has a beef in this world somehow can trace the cause back to poor HR practices, policies and people. At least that is what the blogosphere seems to say. I feel for ya. I only orbit HR, but I can see the rings of negativity building and swirling around you. And as the year closes out, the weight of all that negativity builds to a crescendo. You wonder why HR people don’t like alcohol at Christmas parties? It’s because they’re just a little too afraid of what might happen should they get a snoot-full and let all that pent up negativity loose in an enclosed space with lots of people around.

I feel ya.

Turn the Page

Rather than do the traditional non-accountable HR predictions for 2016, I’ll offer this simple idea to help you enter 2016 in the right frame of mind and help you keep that frame of mind for the entire year.

How? Simple.

Write a gratitude journal.

Some will scoff. Some will raise a cynical nose at the idea. This isn’t for you. Go on and continue to be a nattering nabob of negativity. This is for those of us who want to try something that can help us be a bit more upbeat and helpful in 2016. This is for those of us who want to be JLO.

Just. Like. Oprah.

In 2012, Oprah Winfrey felt something was wrong. In her own words she said she wasn’t feeling much of anything. She looked at what had changed to cause these feelings and she realized she had stopped recording the things she was grateful for. When she started to write about what she was grateful for, the positive feelings she was looking for returned.

And this isn’t just something the rich and famous can do. It pretty much works for anyone. As this blog post from a company called “I Done This” says, there are many studies that show benefits to simply writing down things we’re grateful for. According to their post you will sleep better, be healthier and happier. Who doesn’t want that?

Some suggestions for keeping your gratitude journal include:

  • Focus on people rather than things
  • Don’t just go through the motions.
  • Go for depth over breadth. More detail about fewer things for which you are grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
  • Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
  • Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
  • Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising.
  • Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling.

There you go. Easy peasy. Advice for 2016 that will help you be a better HR pro and a better person.

Now go get a nice little notebook – I hear hipsters like the MoleSkine (does anyone really know how to pronounce that? Shore “I” – Long “I?” And is that mole – like the Mexican sauce? Too much work.) I like whatever is available. But then again, I’m not hip.

Now, once you get your notebook open it up and write…

“I’m grateful Paul wrote his post on being grateful on Fistful of Talent.”

Awww… thanks.

Thanks for being a loyal FOT reader and have a safe and grateful holiday season!

Paul Hebert

Paul Hebert is Vice President of Individual Performance Strategy at Creative Group Inc, writer, speaker and consultant. Paul focuses on influencing behaviors and driving business results through employees, channel partners and consumers. He is dedicated to creating true emotional connections often overlooked in our automated, tech-enabled world. Using proven motivational theory, behavioral economics and social psychology he has driven extraordinary company performance for his clients. Paul is widely considered an expert on motivation, incentives, and engagement.