Michael J Fox’s Perspective on Co-Workers #WorkHuman

Michael J. Fox was one of the closing day keynotes at the WorkHuman conference this year, and he killed it like you expect. One of the key takeaways I took from his talk was in regards to all those people you work with on a day to day basis.

Mike Fox laid out two things you should think about when you think about how you interact with your co-workers:

1. Enjoy the people you work with for what they can positively contribute to you and your organization.  This is all about focusing on the strengths of those around you. If you constantly focus on what someone can’t do, you make them miserable and you stress yourself out as well.  People perform better when you allow them to do what they’re good at. When you recognize them for what they bring to the organization, not what they don’t bring.

2. If you can’t enjoy the person you work with, be thankful you’re not them. We are all going to have people in our life that we have to work with that we frankly just don’t like. Could be personality, or skills, or attitude, etc. Mike Fox said you can still find a positive out of this by focusing on the fact you’re grateful that you don’t have their challenges, and by helping those people be the best version of themselves.

I love this philosophy!

Mike Fox was very big on this concept that judging others will get you nowhere. It’s such a big part of culture. I know I do some this myself, and it’s not something I’m ever proud of. The reality is judging others says more about your inadequacies than it does about the persons you are judging. It was a great reminder.

It was a great reminder. In HR and TA we tend to believe ‘judging’ is part of our job description, but it’s not. The best HR and TA Pros I know don’t judge candidates or employees but find what is most useful of those individuals and try and put those people in positions to be successful.

Finally, Mike spoke about fear. Fear others have when they look at him. They look at him expecting to find fear in him and instead see their own fear in his eyes. That statement made me pause. He’s not fearful of his situation. He’s happy life gave him this enormous platform to change lives.

Perspective. We shouldn’t assume we know others based on our own beliefs and fears. Here’s a guy who is facing an uncertain future, but he’s embraced the joy of living one day at a time. The real secret, he didn’t share, is we all are facing life one day at time, he’s just figured it out way before us!


7 thoughts on “Michael J Fox’s Perspective on Co-Workers #WorkHuman

  1. Tim,

    Thanks for this excellent summary. Michael J. Fox is definitely (in the words of the conference organizers) a “real human.” Such a powerful keynote.

    Side note – “hi” to Rick Harris, who commented in this thread earlier today. We met during WorkHuman.

  2. Completely with you on your thoughts, Tim and thanks for publishing, especially for those that could not attend.

    To that end, I would add one headline takeaway that really resonated with me, particularly in my work with chronically ill patients.
    Mike said: “Keep a positive outlook – if you imagine the worst case scenario every day, when it happens you’ve lived it twice.”

    No doubt Mike has had the benefit of some of the best healthcare counselling in the US – something most chronic and incurable patients cannot access.

    But that should not detract from the inspiration he personally gives others, both thru’ his Foundation, and those he connects with.

    And he sure did connect with the #WorkHuman audience this week. Blessed to be there.

  3. I thought about his talk this morning, when I easily made it to the bathroom sink without face planting. Such a simple thing to take for granted. If I am capable of something so small that on some days, seems insurmountable for some, I have nothing to be afraid of.

  4. Tim, thanks again for an insightful article.

    “People perform better when you allow them to do what they’re good at.”

    I could not agree more but then again that is the point of hiring for job talent. Employers know before the job offer is made which jobs are best suited to each candidate. Sometimes the best candidates are not suited for the job.

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