Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm not Done Yet!

What do you do when life gives you lemons?  Do you feel sorry for yourself, drown yourself in pity and give up?  Do you accept the lemons as they were thrown your way, or focus your attention on turning something sour into something more bearable? 

Let's be honest, life is not fair at all.  Whether good or bad, you can automatically be placed in a certain position without much choice.  For example, some people are automatically wealthy just through association, whereas others enter into economic conditions that makes them less likely to succeed.  Children are born into the world every day with diseases, life threatening illnesses, and some are abused and neglected.  There are victims of crime, war, and unexpected accidents that happen constantly.  All of these things have the potential to change people lives in a dramatic way. 
Let’s face it.  Terrible things happened to people on a daily bases that are not due to any fault of their own.  Bad things can and often do happen to good people.  It may be totally unfair but it is a part of our reality.  At any point, life can throw you a lemon.  If you can see them coming, you may be able to get out of the way, but others may take you completely by surprise.  It's the unexpected lemons which catches you off guard and creates the temporary imbalance in your life.  It is up to you to bring back the balance.
The sooner you get past the "why me." and "what have I done to deserve this," the transitional process begins.  Believe me, it will be a transition.  In other words, stop crying over spilled milk.  It happened, so get over it, make the necessary adjustments and move forward.  Now, this sounds simple but I would be remised to say that it wouldn't require a strong sense of belief, faith, hard work and persistence.  It may not come easy but it will come. 

I was recently hit with a lemon, but I'm far from being done.  Not only am I not done yet but I am just beginning to manifest.  My life has truly been a journey without any specific destination.  It's never been about the destination but purely focused on the journey itself.  My measurement of success is not by education attainment, position, status, income or power.  My definition of success is geared outwards and about the ability to elevate, uplift and touch peoples lives in a meaningful way throughout my journey.   

I have always strived for excellence and do not believe in mediocrity or status quo as a standard.  I push myself extremely hard and challenge others around me as well.  I listen to every complaint and every criticism.  I consider them feedback and a possible opportunity to continuously improve or do it differently the next time.  I believe that it is the ability to adapt and adjust that elevates your game and your relevance.  I make every person feel they are important and how each role is valued and how it contributes to the overall team.  I am highly respectful of every person I encounter and allow people the space to grow and excel.  I lead by example and believe in holding people accountable.  Not through dominance or being overbearing but through guidance and redirection.  I make mistakes but try to learn from my mistakes as to not repeat them.  I will continue to push the envelope, try new things, change and evolve. Change is the only constant thing in our lives.  I will succeed sometimes. Hopefully more than I fail, but yes,  I will fail.  I believe that failure is a part of perfecting the improvement process.  There are so many things to achieve and more work to be done and I am truly committed to the challenge.     

“The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”       Martin Luther King Jr 

Elbert Hubbard first coined the expression “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ in 1915.  Other authors have used the phrase since that time, but for most people, the phrase means very little until you are face with some sort of adversity or possibly life changing event.  When this happens, the meaning becomes extremely relevant and personal.  It is a phrase to create a "can do" attitude and to encourage optimism in the face of adversity.  
If life has hit you with a lemon, it could create change but it’s not the end.  You have two choices.  Brush it off, make the necessary adjustments, and continue your personal journey or create a brand new beginning.  Giving up and retreating is not an option.  It's totally up to you!

Joseph Conrod Sr. SPHR

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A "Role Model" can Automatically be Assigned

A few years ago, I received an email from an employee when I worked at a previous employer.  The email resonated in me, even to this day.  I had received several emails from well-wishers due to leaving the organization.  One particular email stood out more than all the others.  The email was from an employee that I did not remember ever meeting.  The email stated that they wished me well but most importantly wanted me to know before I left that they had watched me over the years, was present at some of my presentations, saw me host the employee recognition ceremonies and other work related events.  The email went on to say that I had inspired them to return to school to continue their education and that I was their role model.  I felt a sense of pride and also disbelief.  I did not know this particular employee or could even guess that I could have impact on someone's life.  Of all the things that have happened over the years, these words were the most gratifying.  The employee actually inspired me a lot more than I could have ever inspired them.
I read the email repeatedly thinking that the email was mistakenly intended for someone else.  I was humbled that someone thought of me this way but I had never imagined myself being a role model at all.  I had not sought this role, nor would I have chosen it.  In reality, the role was automatically assigned.  After thinking about the email, it wasn't so shocking afterall.  Someone had inspired me the same way.  I took my current career path because I was inspired by a gentleman by the name of Ray Kendrick.  Years ago, he was the Vice President of Human Resources at a previous employer.  I had actually watched and admired him the same way.  He more than likely would not remember the conversation but he actually suggested that I consider HR as a career path, as I was headed in another direction and considering law school.  To this day, he does not know that he was my role model and inspiration to achieve greater heights.   

Is being a role model a choice or a responsibility?  Is it automatically assigned when you place yourself in certain positions?  I am implying positions of authority, power, influence or high visibility.  These positions could be athletes, movie stars, politicians, religious and other leaders, executives, managers, service members and of course mom and dad.
Whether we choose to be a role model or it was automatically assigned to you due to your role, it places you in a glass bubble and you become both visible and vulnerable.  When you are in certain positions, your interactions, demeanor, how you conduct yourself, your responses and your reactions are all visible to others.  Anyone in a position of authority, power, influence or high visibility may be a role model whether they choose to or not.  When we are in these roles, there is a high probability that someone may be emulating and aspiring to be who they see or believe we are.  We can either accept our role or reject it.  Either way, it may have an effect on someone who may looking up to us. In either case, I believe we really have the responsibility to behave as such.   

Having served in the military has had a profound impact on my life.  It has pretty much shaped me into who I am today.  It has taught me a sense of pride, hard work, endurance, and discipline, well beyond the norm.  I have always based my life on certain principles.  Over the years, these principles have remained the same.  The main principle is humility.  If you ask me for a list of my accomplishments, the page will always be blank.  Any accomplishments or achievements have never been my own.  I have been surrounded by talented and supportive individuals that have contributed to every gain, success or accomplishment. These are the people that perform the work with a sense of passion and dedication and the credit goes to each and every one of them.   The principle of teamwork is heavily engrained in everything I am a part of and much stronger than any individual person.  Success is always relative and failure is only a process.  For every door closed, there are more and for every mistake or error made, try it differently the next time.  I do not take things too seriously and often laugh at myself.  I concentrate my efforts only on the things I can change, such as the small reality vs. the larger perception.  Most importantly, it is about loving what you do, having fun and not forgetting to smile.  It takes less energy.
I was never able to identify this employee but I can truly say that if we ever had the chance to meet, I would say, “thank you for inspiring me.” 
I graciously accept any role if it is a conduit to inspire others to reach new heights.  I am truly humbled but am never worthy of such an honor.

Joseph Conrod Sr. SPHR

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Taking a Hiatus

After a long hiatus, I am back!  My last blog was back in January 2013 and it feels like it has been forever.  Over the last several months so many things have happened.  The time went by quickly, yet it feels like things are well over due.  Taking a long hiatus reminds me of what many people have experienced at some point in their lives or may be currently experiencing.  For some people like myself, the hiatus may have been by choice, yet others, the hiatus may have not been to their preference.  It may have been due to a job change, a lay-off, a move to a different area, sickness, and so on.  The fact remains that we took a long hiatus from what we love or were during previously.  If it was by choice or if we were forced to do so, we still face the same uncertainty of being accepted when we are ready to return, or frankly, being able to return to our previous status at all.

The transitional period that comes during or trying to return from the hiatus can surely test your confidence level and can create stress.  Taking a hiatus comes with risks.  Will I be able to make it to the level and status I once had?  Will someone be willing to invest in me, even though I have been out of the game for a while?  Will I be able to bounce back or recover?  We ask ourselves these questions and many more.  When we are not able to return as quickly as we like, it increases the stress level.  Frustration and thoughts of the “f” word (failure) takes over.  We panic and then begin contemplating why.  We may also be willing to take a lesser role and look for temporary solutions.  It may seem as though we have taken a step backwards and just looking for that one opportunity to put us back on the map again.  The recovery period could be short if you are lucky, or it could be extremely long.

The bottom line focuses on our ability to endure this period of uncertainty and unrest.  If we are able to sustain the strong belief that every action whether good or bad creates some sort of change and accept the change, it can help alleviate and reduce the uncertainty period.  We have to be able to accept change, eschew fear and be willing to take risks and try new things.  It is the ability to adapt and re-emerge, that separates sucess from failure.  By the way, don't be afraid to fail.  It's ok.  Failure is only a learning process.  We learn from failures and it enables us to find the right path.       

Are you able to endure this period of uncertainty and overcome obstacles?  I believe in you and this concept.  If you believe this as well, I can foresee a brighter path in pursuing your future goals.  Shake it off and continue the journey.  Success is really a journey.  Do what it took to get you there in the first place and don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things.  It starts and ends with you!  I wish you luck in your journey.

I am extremely excited to be back joining my fellow bloggers.

Joseph Conrod Sr. SPHR

Monday, January 14, 2013

I can change the world!

Have you ever felt that there was a higher calling for you?  That you were born for a particular purpose, but not sure what that purpose was.  If you currently feel this way or have felt this way at some point in your life, it’s ok. Others may have shared similar feelings and have made a significant impact and broad contribution that benefits the world today.  I'm speaking of people like Bill Gates, Mohandas Ghandi, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King Jr., whom we celebrate his national holiday on January 21st.  This also includes many others who are not well known, such as the anonymous man who stood in front of a line of Chinese battle tanks the morning after the Chinese military forcibly removed protesters in and around Tiananmen Square in June of 1989. 

Whether the impact was a creation of a product or service, a contribution to society, or a stance on social justice, their impact was both powerful and lasting.  Their strong will to create change resulted in a lasting impact that forever embellishes us and inspires others to excel. 

Every great accomplishment possibly started with someone believing they could change the world.  It may have started with one thought, one belief, or one stance.  Changing the world is a big task.  It requires something significantly different than most of us can imagine or yet comprehend. I believe it requires at least these key ingredients;

§         A Strong will to achieve the desired outcome
§         Unwavering belief in the ability to achieve the desired outcome.
§         A high level of passion for the cause
§         Strength to overcome obstacles
§         Endurance to sustain resistance
§         Willingness to sacrifice, even if it requires the ultimate sacrifice
§         Belief that the cause is much greater than any individual and that the world would benefit in the future for the current struggle.

If someone believes they can change the world, I encourage them to go for it, because I believe they can too.  The world is in need of change yet we fall short of people willing to take extraordinary efforts to lead the change effort.  One person can be bold, daring and extremely powerful.  One person can lead the change the world needs.  It has happened before and sure to happen again.

Joseph Conrod Sr. SPHR


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