Are you doing good work? Are you contributing or criticizing? Are you leading by example? Learning from your mistakes? Growing from each moment in your life? I ask myself these questions every day. Every day. I’m not even kidding. These questions, this pressure, the events I’ve been blogging about, and this standard by which I live has brought me to where I am today. Part of where I am is a job in HR. HR. I don’t know if anyone dreams of a job in HR. It’s hard as fuck. It came to me because I refuse to turn down a challenge, and I continually choose a life of education. It is forcing me to grow in ways I did not even ask for.
I realize by writing down all the questions I truly ask myself every day that that is a lot of pressure. I admit I am really tough on myself. I have high standards. I hold the people in my life to those standards too. I often think, “Why would she do that?” “Why wouldn’t he do this?” “Isn’t that situation obvious?” It is even reflected in the amazing conversations I have with the friends I’ve aligned with when they say, “I realize it was a lesson in…” It is reflected in the strength I’ve learned to simply walk away from things that do not serve me as well. But what do you do when the things that don’t serve you are things you can’t walk away from? You evolve.
Ok. It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. That was perhaps the sloppiest intro I have yet to publish. A thought process unprocessed and just put out there. I’m just going to go with it.
My job in HR has required education through training, reading, experience, and challenge. One of those assignments was to read Brene Brown’s “Dare to Lead”. It took me 9 months into my job to realize I quoted her in a blog post before I even started looking for that second career. I quoted her famous words on vulnerability. “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of Courage.” I still love that quote. An important coworker who inspired me to stick with HR led me back to this quote, and I recently stumbled over another Brene Brown quote that is changing my life. “Are you criticizing or contributing?” This question has made it into my daily questions to myself. It is changing the way I see my staff at work. It is evolving my life in a way I am still articulating.
“Are you criticizing or contributing?”
I have thought about this quote over and over again since I read it. It has even crossed my mind at work while trying to understand people and behavior that is so foreign to me. I spoke it out loud for the first time last week. I sat down next to this woman at my neighborhood bar, and she immediately said, “Hey, you voted at the Caucus a couple weeks ago!” We started chatting intermittently as she finished some work on her laptop. We fell silent, and then she turned to me and asked, “Why did you vote?” What an honest, bold question, I thought to myself.
“I was asked to read Dare to Lead by Brene Brown at work, and something she said resonated with me.” I responded. “She said, ‘Are you criticizing or contributing?’ and that really stuck with me.” I continued. “I remember my dad saying, ‘If you don’t vote, how is your voice or your complaints valid if you didn’t speak when it mattered?’ The issues you and I voted for affect my life. I want to effect change. So maybe with my vote, I can do that. Maybe if my voting just encourages even one friend to vote, I suppose we can change the world a little.”
I still can’t believe that came out so poignantly to a stranger at a bar, but what I said is 100% true. I want to effect change. I want to contribute. A large part of why I started this blog was to do just that. With one reader, one friend, one stranger, I believe I can change the world. From sharing my pain, writing about real things, offering an escape or a funny story, I think even a change in me can change the outside world.
It’s amazing how the different faucets of my life, events of my days, two very different careers, and situations I arrive in have intertwined. I certainly did not seek out a job in HR, but I did seek growth. The challenge to grow came. I will continue to ask myself those questions each day no matter how tough they might be sometimes, and maybe, just maybe, along the way I will become the change I so deeply desire to effect.