Niki Brown’s lecture was the perfect kick-off to this year’s Tri-State HRMA annual conference. Brown is a therapist, motivational speaker, minister, author, and life coach. With her engaging, thought-provoking lecture, Brown provided the room of HR professionals the opportunity to really focus and reflect on themselves. HR discussions tend to be heavily sociological, including workplace best practices, compliance laws, and other employee-focused topics. Brown’s lecture, however, honed in on the fact that we as individuals dictate the situations we are in through the energy we bring to the table. This HR discussion touched on employee relations, of course, but it mostly focused on the importance of a healthy mindset. In her informative and inspiring 60 minutes, 4 quotes stood out in particular.
1. “We make it to the finish line without knowing how we got there. We spend so much time averting failure, building tools to avoid failure, that sometimes we forget to build tools that go towards our goal.”
There’s so many interviews with very successful people who discuss their “secret sauce”. While there are common denominators, no single recipe ever applies to everyone, nor can the throne-holder recall his or her exact steps in many cases. This is in part because we are so fear-driven. We trudge towards that finish line unintentionally on auto-pilot, spending our energy worrying about what NOT to do instead of focusing on what TO do. While learning what NOT to do is important for figuring out what TO do, I think there is value in making a conscious effort to put the fear of failure aside and focus on steps to getting to that goal of yours. The journey is a very important aspect to take note of, and it supplies valuable knowledge to take with us on our next goal quest.
2. “Leadership is not a position, it’s a place. You lead from who you are.”
We’ve all read a book or article titled something like Mark Sanborn’s, “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader.” Well, guess what? It’s true. A title does not make you a leader. Leadership is a skill developed over time, a characteristic that you must work on in order to properly mentor your employees. When you are in a “place" of leadership, your mind, aura, and overall demeanor display it. Leadership becomes a quality of who you are, and it will inspire your employees.
3. "We bring all of who we are to work.”
Now, this goes along perfectly with the Work Life Blend concept, that our CMO, Terra Vicario, lives every day. Yes, we all experience it, but her career-mom anecdote paints the definition perfectly. We have different modes we turn on and off, sure, such as “work mode,” “parent mode,” and so on. But in reality, our lives are our lives. We may play different roles in various situations, but at our core, we are the sum of life’s experiences. Our morals, values, and traits don’t just disappear when we swipe our badges and enter the workplace.
4. “Your In-vironment creates your Environment”
What you bring in to a situation creates the environment that unfolds around you. Your attitude and mindset determine your relationships with others, which then passes through to the situation itself. Don’t let shadow beliefs take over. Brown defines shadow beliefs as unconscious beliefs about ourselves that come out in relationships or engagements that ultimately hold us back. These are the, “I’m not good enough,” or the “I have to work twice as hard” thoughts.
So, after 60 minutes, the room was reminded of how important it is to work on yourself if you want to grow in your career and as a leader. We all have access to plenty of resources that motivate us and help us grow, but there’s something special about hearing these powerful messages in person. They are important, equally as important as learning the most recent compliance laws. Success begins with you. Situations and environments are created by a salad of different psyches. There is a saying I once heard, “happy healthy parents make happy healthy children.” This same message applies to leadership. Being a happy healthy leader will help you be more sympathetic, understanding, and you’ll relate to your employees on a deeper level.
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