All the Verts !!

This past week has been an interesting week of interactions. They ranged from conversations in my office to various connections on-line in social media forums. I tend to take in as much as possible on a regular basis because I enjoy all of the contact. Yes, I am an extrovert. In fact, when I’ve taken assessments that measure this, I’m off the chart. That isn’t always a good thing.

I only mention that because my extroversion is only one small facet of who I am. We tend to take our “vert” and use it to lead in describing us as people. This is solid because it’s a fact. However, we often use it as a label to explain what we’re not instead of highlighting who we are. Knowing who we are is essential because self-awareness, in my opinion, is the baseline of healthy relationships, interactions and even leadership !!

One of the unexpected interactions this week was from my friend Paul LaLonde. He just started a new blog called the HR Philosopher and he described how we met each other in person at last year’s SHRM Annual Conference. I love that he described me as “a giant man with a booming voice and a tie-dye shirt” because it makes me smile. He also shared how he stepped out of his comfort zone to be intentional that we met. I love this because I’m the opposite. If I see you in a room, I want to meet you.

The reality of your “vert” is that it drives how you process thought, how you tend to communicate and how you approach meeting others and the relationships you develop. Your vert is your lead in. That is spectacular and not a hindrance. Respecting that people land all across the scale of extroversion and introversion is imperative because we start interactions based on who we are and regardless of who the other person is. I would challenge you to not charge, or creep, into interactions. Feel things out. See if there is receptivity in initiating contact. It’s safer for all the verts to do this.

The other unexpected connection I made this week was listening to a podcast. I love listening to the HR Social Hour 1/2 Hour Podcast because it features fellow HR practitioners. You get to learn about them more as people including how they arrived in the field of HR, their varied experiences and some personal faves in movies, TV and music. This week’s episode featured Natasha Desjardins, an HR pro in the non-profit sector in Washington, D.C. She lit up the microphone with excitement and passion which was an instant draw for me personally.

She shared an incredibly profound statement which she stated is a personal philosophy that she has adopted which is an African proverb – “I am because WE are.” She described it so well stating that who she is as a person is because of all of the great variety of people in her life that are connected to her. She never said, “Because I’m an ______vert . . . We are __________verts.” Her joy about how she is intentionally connected to others was spectacular to hear. Honestly, I clapped in my car when the episode ended.

This week enjoy the interactions with everyone you encounter because of who they are and not because of some label !! We are far more than our “verts”, but we are also who we are because of them. Connect on purpose my friends. Show others how amazing the whole you really is !!

(P.S. – Start by connecting with Paul and subscribing to his blog and listen to Natasha on the podcast. You’ll be glad you did !!)

Spoons !!

You may not have know this, but I grew up in small town Ohio. My extended family started out primarily as farmers. A few of my cousins still farm, but the majority of us have ventured into different occupations. We gather every other year for either “Big Thanksgiving” or “Big Christmas.” We do our best to bring together our remaining parents, aunts, uncles and cousins with their children. We’ve been doing this long enough that we’re starting to see great grandchildren !!

It’s a great time because we meet around an incredible potluck meal (always too much food) and activities. One unique thing to note in this day and age is no television, tablets or phones. We put technology away because we enjoy being with each other !! (Odd, I know.) There are many things to do that you can choose from such as a craft project or two, board games and especially card games !!

Spoons Card GameMy son LIVES to play Spoons with his cousins. It is a full contact sport in my family and he recruits as many of the crowd as he can to participate. I’ve played once or twice, but you better be dedicated because it’s raucous and energetic. For those of us who want something more sedate there’s the game of Euchre. We play 4-handed, 5-handed and even 6-handed games !!

If you don’t want to play games or make a Christmas ornament (this year’s craft), you are sure to find a thoughtful conversation about life, work, family, faith or politics. The key to all of these activities is that NO ONE is left out. Not one person. It would be unheard of for someone to be isolated. I honestly don’t know what my family would do if someone wanted to be alone.

When I get together with this incredible group of people, I am re-energized and fulfilled. You never leave with empty batteries. What if this was a model for our workplaces?

I find that people leave work each day more exhausted than rejuvenated. They either drag themselves out to their cars, or they can’t wait to leave and get to their lives. It can be disheartening. However, it doesn’t have to be what we experience.

If HR would be geeked about what they do and who they work with, we’d have a start in the right direction. My son doesn’t care about the card game. He wants to be with his cousins and share an experience that is sure to be uplifting and memorable. I want to be like him and get people to have their work also be significant and meaningful. Even the most “simple” interaction could be fun !!

Also, making sure everyone is connected where they can contribute is key to a viable organization. Allowing someone to be isolated while at work only hurts you. Step in and find out why they are disconnected. See if you can get them plugged in. Have many avenues for this to occur. Try not to be set in your ways and be willing to explore new ways for people to latch on.

This week step back and see what you can do personally to make sure work is fun. You never know, that game of Spoons may be right in front of you !! Just take the time to invite people to play !!