Do Something Meaningful !!

A few weeks ago as I was leaving for some activity or another, my wife grabbed my hand as I was heading out the door and said, “Do something meaningful today !!”

I stopped for a second and asked her what she just said. “You heard me,” she said. And, then I headed out to my activity with this thought guiding my way. I’ll be honest it threw me. I was in such a rush to go that I wasn’t even thinking about why I was doing it. I had fallen into a pattern of just going to participate, that I hadn’t even remembered what motivated me to do this in the first place. Now, fast forward a few weeks . . .

I was fortunate to speak this year at the SHRM Annual Conference. I enjoy speaking to my peers at HR events. You could say I get Geeked about it !! I never quite shake the nerves you get before a presentation starts, and this was no different. Before anyone came to the 7:00am session, I stared at a vast room filled with 1,200 empty seats. The thought of, “I wonder if anyone will come?,” crossed my mind once or twice. Slowly the room began to fill, and I felt less anxious.

SHRM Speaker PicThe next hour and fifteen minutes flew by !! We laughed together and talked about how to make your company’s culture rock. I’ve always been someone who thinks HR is simply the best field ever to work in, and I shared that with the group. This message was one of encouragement. I believe in what HR folks do for organizations and for employees individually.

During the presentation, I pulled out my favorite HR tool available – my Magic 8 Ball. Yes, this is the toy from the 1970’s where you ask it a question and then turn it over for it’s response. I usually ask, “Are you going to keep your job?” Shake the 8 Ball, turn it over and see “Doesn’t look good.” It’s fun because you get to mess with your employees and there’s nothing that says you can’t do this !! At the end of the presentation, I make sure to give out a Magic 8 Ball to make sure that someone has a new tool to take on HR in a different way.

The same anxious feeling you get before you give your presentation you have after it’s over. You don’t know if what you covered mattered or not. Was it meaningful?

The reality of this is that it isn’t in your control and it’s a humbling factor of speaking. I’m good with this though because doing something meaningful shouldn’t be self-serving, it should help others. This runs contrary to most everyone today because we still keep focusing on the “what’s in it for me” approach. We build entire systems to make sure that we cover the WIIFM factor.

Is practicing HR meaningful for you? Are you focused on others? What happens when you practice every day and you’re not sure it matters to others. You honestly may not hear if what you do every makes an impact. It’s hard to keep going, but I want to encourage you to not give in.

Since the presentation, I’ve heard from several people who say they’re Geeked about HR again. Two people told me they bought Magic 8 Balls and they’re already “using” them at work. I also was humbled when two young HR pros from Utah called me to talk about their ideas on benchmarking HR to improve their culture !! There were many others that talked to me and I loved meeting each one of them.

As you start the week, I want to leave you with the encouragement my wife gave me – Do something meaningful today !!

9 thoughts on “Do Something Meaningful !!”

  1. Steve your presentation was great. All of the rock and roll references were spot on. I heard more than one person say afterwards, “I wish I could be like him!!” I don’t think there is much more of an endorsement than that.

  2. And you absolutely rocked it! So great finally meeting you in person and hanging out with you! Can’t wait to see you again next year! I love your energy and spirit !! You certainly provided some meaningful motivation that morning to everyone present !!

  3. Agree that your SHRM conf session was exactly what was needed at 7 AM! It was great to see you at the SHRM luncheon too! I cannot wait for you to come be our HR Tampa Conf & Expo closing keynote speaker in Oct! Whoo-hoo!

  4. Thank you, Steve. I try to de-emphasize what I’m hoping to get, and meditate on two simple things: (1) what I’m absolutely grateful for, and (2) a service reminder of what I bring to the table.

  5. I always get something out of your presentations Steve. And now I know where your inspiration comes from. I love your wife’s advice.

  6. I need to buy a magic eight ball. I loved those! And I love to mess with employees to keep it fun…professionally of course!

  7. For those of you who don’t know Steve, ripples from his stone’s splash reach far, far into the pond.

    In 2006, I sat at a table at an HR conference in Ohio that had eight seats and enjoyed Steve’s presentation. When it concluded, I was amazed to hear personal stories from five of my fellow tablemates describing how Steve had assisted them or encouraged them directly on their individual HR paths. I should mention that I can include myself in this group as well.

    Steve, thank you for making the commitment to your growth, the growth of our trade and the growth of others: you accomplish something meaningful each day, no eight ball necessary!

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