What we gain through loss . . .

This past week I lost a large part of my past. The church I grew up in, Ada 1st United Methodist, burned to the ground.

NOTE: Now, please know that I’m well aware that the “church” is not the building.  I hope you read on to see what I’d like to talk about . . .

Many memories happened at this church.  Weddings of my cousins and friends.  Funerals of dear people from Ada including grandparents.  Making pumpkin pies and hard tack candy for our youth group fundraisers.  Holding hands with my first girlfriend while I was supposed to pay attention to the service.  And most of all, tons of experiences that shaped me as a young man and helped define my faith.

Also, this past week, I learned of a friend’s, Dawn Hrdlica-Burke, loss of her father.  Three others facing serious, if not life threatening, health situations.  A continued group of people who remain jobless, and several folks near me recovering from the devastation of recent tornadoes.

Now, if you read my blog with any regularity, you know that I’m generally an extremely positive person !!  It’s not a facade or on-line persona, it’s who I really am.  So, when significant things hit home they really hit home.  It made me think . . .

You see, when I posted on Twitter and Facebook that my hometown church had been destroyed, I received messages of empathy and encouragements from literally around the globe.  That floored me !!  I was so thankful that I had people that cared enough to reach out and give a kind word.  And then I thought again . . .

Every day in the workplace the people around me are going through “stuff” just like this or worse.  Do I take the time to see if they’re truly okay?  Or, do I do the obligatory “Hi, how are you?” waiting for their inevitable answer of “Fine.”  We continue to be polite with each other because that next e-mail or task is really what we’re focused on vs. taking the time to see how someone truly is.

The fact of the workplace is that we want people to focus on the “stuff” we think is truly important like processes, projects and time frames.  We don’t want to deal with people’s “stuff” because that takes too much time, and what if they truly want me to care?

As I mentioned before, I was floored at the responses I received and am thankful that I have people who feel close enough to share their thoughts.  However, I truly feel that many people walk through the doors at work every day with life’s struggles in front of them, and they may have few, if any, people supporting them through what they’re facing.

It’s time for HR to be the model and break this distant approach with people.  People DO matter and it SHOULD matter to us how they’re doing.  It may get messy and you may have to act, but isn’t that great?  We need to be the ones taking the time to see how people really are.  It may be the ONE thing they’re looking for – a genuine connection at work.

This week, break the mold.  Be the Human that others need.  Take the time to get involved with their “stuff.”  It will change the world !!

6 thoughts on “What we gain through loss . . .”

  1. Thanks for your encouragement, Steve, and for reminding us about what’s really important (and why we’ve chosen to do the job that we do!). Thanks!

    Got to go, now. I’ve got a mold to break! 🙂

  2. When you are a positive person, you can see the glass as half full, and this set back is just that; a set back. Life gives to the giver and so it does not surprise me that so many people gave you words of encouragement and support.

    Praying for you and your church family. You are awesome sir!

  3. Steve, great post – happy to retweet to my corner of the world! I, too, believe that basic maintenance recognition and sincerity is SOOOOO needed in today’s workplace. I can’t tell you how many times I see people ask, “how are you doing” but then don’t even slow their steps to hear the darn answer! We all need maintenance recognition to survive and as HR professionals, we should be modeling this for others!

    Finally, I’m sorry for your loss – indeed, this must have been very hard to watch. I didn’t stay more than a few years in any place growing up but now that I’m firmly planted in Anchorage, I know my heart would break if my own church was destroyed as it’s a part of my heart, my schedule, and my life!

  4. Hey Steve – I’m catching up on a few blogs and just wanted to say wow! This is great stuff, and as far as stuff goes it’s the stuff that matters to people that matters. Stuff like this blog post. Great stuff Steve, great stuff!

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