5 Steps To Kicking A Twinkie Habit

Rerun Friday – adapted from a post originally ran on The Project in December 2011. Enjoy.

I was reminded last night that success doesn’t just come to you, and it might not necessarily be about hard work and attitude – like your Dad would always say.  To often we (the collective lot of us!) want to believe success is like the lotto – at least to often we hope to get success that way – one day you don’t have success, then the next day success somehow miraculously finds you!

Sorry. Doesn’t usually work that way.

But one thing we over look is how important success is to finding success.  Here’s what I mean:

Directions for Being Successful

Step 1: Find a little success

Step 2: Find another little success

Step 3: Find another little success

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 each day

Step 5: You are successful

I know, directions are hard to follow for some people, so let me give you an example.  You feel like a failure at everything – job is going well (or you don’t have one), relationships suck, you’re a little soft around the middle (i.e., fat) – basically you feel like a failure, nothing is going in the right direction.  Guess what? When you wake up tomorrow you won’t magically be successful – no matter how hard you wish it, pray it, want it.  You have to find some sort of success, no matter how small.  Maybe that success is eating one less Twinkie than you did the day before – yesterday I ate 8 Twinkies – today I only ate 7!  Don’t let someone tell you that’s not a success, because tomorrow I’m only going to eat 6 and before you know it I’m going to kick this Twinkie habit!

I works with everything.  Not recruiting enough candidates for your organization, can’t get anyone to pick up the phone and talk to you – today make one more call than you did yesterday – only 1 – that is a success, because tomorrow you’re going to do that again, 1 more than the day before – small success steps until you’re just one big giant bag full of success!

People who are successful and throw it in your face suck!  They suck because they act like they’ve always been successful, but they haven’t.  It came to them a little at a time, until they could no longer feel what failure felt like.  You see success is like a drug – you need a little to want another hit, it’s addictive.  That’s why you need to feed your mind a little everyday – we can all find those little successes each day – the key is to find them every single day – don’t miss.

12 Things Happy HR People Do Differently

I always like to surround myself with happy, positive people – I have enough pragmatism for us all! – you should see the people I work with – it’s like one big happy convention everyday at work.  Which is great for pick-me-ups, not so great if you’re just having a bad day and need to punch someone!  It’s not say everyone is happy, every second, but I think when you search out happy people, for the most part – they are usually happy.  I going to list 12 things that Happy HR People do more than non-Happy HR People – see if you see yourself in any of these –

1. Express Gratitude – When I let someone know how truly thankful I am for what they do, or did, it makes me feel happy, and I’m sure it makes them feel happy.

2. Cultivate Optimism – I start everyday truly believing I can accomplish anything I set out to today.  Not in a naive way, but in a way where I don’t feel anyone is going to put up a roadblock in front of me – except myself.

3. Avoid over-thinking and Social comparisons – I know so many people that struggle with this one.  I’m truly one of those people who feel so happy and excited for others when they find success.  I always think that they finding success will have a positive impact to me finding success – so let’s just all be successful together! To many people think the opposite.

4. Practice Acts of Kindness – Just yesterday I almost let someone cut in front of me in traffic! Oh wait, that probably doesn’t meet this criteria!  So, I struggle with this – I like to think I’m a kind person, but I see so many people who are so much more kind than I am – I know I can do better!

5. Nurture Social Relationships – This is why I love HR!  We are put into a position within our organizations where this is/should be the majority of our job description.  We get to build relationships everyday, and we are getting paid to do it – isn’t that wonderful?!

6. Develop a Strategy for Coping – I’m a move forward person – this isn’t to say I’m going to forget about what just happened – I learn from it – but I move forward.  My organization needs me to do this – you take a step back on a Monday – it’s my job on Tuesday to take a step forward – not stand around and laminate about Monday. That’s how I cope.

7. Learn To Forgive – I think my wife would say this is by far my greatest strength – I Forgive – don’t hold grudges. It’s just not something I want to carry around – there is too much great stuff in my life not to forgive and move on.  Again, I don’t want to confuse forgiving someone vs. forgetting what someone did – I can move forward, but it just not might be as it was before – that life.  But I won’t be carrying around your issues anymore!

8. Increase Flow Experiences – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.  Watching my sons play sports, listening to my son read aloud to me, laughing with my wife as we sleep in on a Sunday morning, hearing my sons laugh as they tickle each other.  In the end of life – you will never feel like you had too many of these experiences – you will definitely feel like you had to many “work” experiences.

9. Savor Life’s Joys – I love lying in bed, with the windows open and listening to it rain.  Sitting on a perfectly still, calm lake and seeing the ripples of the water.  Watching my sons concentrate when they are writing or doing art and seeing their tongue move around in their mouth, without them knowing they are doing it.  And Diet Mt. Dew – that’s pretty good to!

10. Commit to Your Goals – Have you talked to someone recently who set out to run a marathon or lose so much weight – and they did it!?  Talk about happy!  Committing to, and reaching your goals drives happiness beyond that which you can imagine.

11. Practice Spirituality –  I’m not a church goer, but I know there are forces in life bigger than myself.  Being able to understand we are just one small little piece of what’s really going on, helps put life into perspective.

12. Take Care of Your Body – It’s crucial to your well being – and I know most of us can do much better than we do – but don’t ever underestimate how important this is to the over scheme of your happiness.  Energy is such a critical part of maintaining long-term happiness, and picking yourself up when we hit rough patches.  It’s just that they keep making these stupid restaurants that prepare such wonderful food! 😉

(adapted from 12 Things Happy People Do Differently – by Jacob Soko)



My Favorite HR Mistake

I’ve made more mistakes in my HR career than I care to even remember – I could probably write a book!

It’s funny to think about your mistakes, because I think invariably every person takes those mistakes and tries to turn them into some type of “learning”.   It’s a classic interview question – so, Mr. Sackett, tell me about your biggest mistake in career and what did you learn from it?   I even have asked it myself when interviewing others.   Just once I want someone to answer: “well, besides coming to this lame interview, I’d have to say drinking my way through college, getting average grades, and having to take positions within HR probably is my biggest.  What I’ve learned is that all those kids in band, in high school, on the debate team, really were smarter than me, and my ability to be third team all-conference point guard, in hindsight, probably didn’t get me into the career I was hoping for.”

But it never happens – no one is really honest about their mistakes – because in making most mistakes you do something stupid – something so stupid, you’d would rather not share it with anyone.  So, we come up with answers like – “my biggest mistake was working to hard on a project with my last employer, and not getting others involved, and I’ve learned while you can get the project done and on time by yourself, you really need to include everyone.” Vomit. And somehow has HR pros we accept this answer and move onto the next question, almost like that question was just a test – a test to see if you were stupid enough to actually tell us, and brighten up our day!

But, I’ve got one – I do have a favorite and two friends of mind recently made me think about it.  My favorite HR mistake – Telling someone to go after a promotion and  more money, leaving a position they truly enjoyed.  When I started my career right out of college, I gave myself 12 years to become a Vice President.  Seemed like a logical goal at the time – but in hindsight seems obviously stupid now.  It took me 16 years, and only after I realized it no longer mattered did I reach that level.  My two friends both recently had opportunities to leave organizations and positions they really liked – I gave them both the same advice – you can’t even come close to measuring the value of truly liking the job you have – you just can’t.  So, answer me this one question: Do you love what you are doing, and who you are doing it for? If it’s yes, stay put.  It’s that simple, that was my learning.  I’ve left two positions in my life where I loved what I was doing, and loved the organizations – both to take promotional opportunities with other companies.  Both times I made the wrong decision. Tough mistake to make twice

I use to give out this advice to people – go ahead and leave – you’re going to have 10+ jobs in your life, might as well move up as fast as you can.  I don’t do that any longer – in fact I spend time now trying to talk people out of taking new jobs – which I know is ironic since at my core I’m a recruiter! I think we all hope we learn over time from our mistakes.  Once in a while I actually do!

7 Hard Truths That HR Must Learn To Accept

In a perfect world we all get a seat at the table,  all of our employees go online and fill out their open enrollment forms on time, and all of our hiring manager give us immediate feedback on each candidate resume we send them.  Unfortunately, none of us live in a perfect world, there are some hard and fast truths in our profession that we have to accept, and by accepting those truths, it allows us to let go and move on with trying to better our organizations each day.

Accepting these truths doesn’t mean we are giving up, and not trying to change our profession, our organizations and ourselves for the better.  Accepting these truths gives us permission to accept our reality, and it allows us to work towards, little-by-little, making the HR profession better.

Here are the 7 Hard Truths HR Must Learn To Accept:

#1 – Focusing on compliance, will never allow you to become strategic.  Operations in our organizations have long known this, and this alone allows them to control most of the decision making power in your organization.  A compliance focused department, will never be innovative, it will never creative, it will never be Strategic.

#2 – Your Performance Management system, will not fix everything.  In fact no system or process will fix everything – we drive a people business – thus we deal with a very nebulous product – people.  As soon as you create a process or implement a system, some hiring manager or employee will find a way to find a flaw in it. It’s OK not to be perfect.

#3 – You’ll never get all the resources you need to do the job you want to do.  People are your most important asset, but shareholders/stakeholders need a return on investment.  Thus, resources are always going to first go to where that return is highest, and sorry but HR isn’t first on the list.

#4 – Your companies Deepest Secrets are only a Tweet away. And your social media policy and lock down of social media sites isn’t going to stop these secrets from getting out, if you have a rogue employee who wants to get them out.  This is similar to the reality of you will probably more likely die on your way to work in a traffic accident, then in a plane crash on your way to vacation – but we tend to worry more about the plane crash.

#5 – Your employees and managers will never fully support themselves on Self-Service Modules. It’s a dream, sold to you by software vendors, and you buy into it because you hate dealing with the daily administration of HR.  No matter what, we’ll always have some of this to do – it also, is OK, it’s not what we do all day, every day – no job is perfect.  Pull up your big boy pants and help them out – you’ll live.

#6 –Fraternization will always happen.  We manage adults (even if they don’t act like adults), and until the end of time adults, put in close proximity of each other, will eventually be attracted – blame G*d, blame laws of the universe, blame your parents – I don’t care.  It’s a fact – deal with it.

#7 – You’ll Never get the full respect you deserve.  This is a function of organizational dynamics.  HR doesn’t make the money, operations makes the money – respect will be given to those who actually keep the doors open and the lights on.  If you got into HR for your deep need for respect, sorry, you picked the wrong career.  On the plus side, we get a lot of conference room cookie leftovers!