I had known for about 7 months that I would be attending SHRM’s WorkFlex 2012 Conference here in Chicago that commenced yesterday because they had asked me to be one of their session speakers. And I knew that they were having a roll-out of some fabulous speakers, but I had no idea how much it would change me personally.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a funk, especially when we’re trying to juggle (Work and Life) the very things we are preparing to discuss in some sort of public seminar or speaking engagement. This used to happen quite frequently when I traveled and spoke across our nation many years ago. I never thought it would happen to me this time.
I’ve been doing this juggling act with work and life now through so many life-changes; the loss of a job, the loss of my husband’s career and trying to help him navigate his next move, car issues, home issues, family issues. Add all this to your current work-load and starting a new business is sometimes very challenging. Who am I kidding? It’s sometimes overwhelming and keeps me up at night (and not in a good way).
I headed to the conference on Wednesday, not making Tuesday because of many of the issues I stated above. I had been up all night the night before heading in and was running on about 2 hours of sleep. I knew it was going to be a long day and I would need to somehow dig down deep for some kind of supernatural strength to be able to make it till the end of my session, not to mention blogging and sitting through numerous sessions and a few keynoters that I wanted to be in on.
I will admit that I have been on an emotional roller-coaster and a bucket of nerves for several weeks now. And I was starting to feel sorry for myself and I could sense myself chewing on a bitter weed of discontent. Even my close friends were kind enough to point it out. I had indeed become a Debbie Downer to be around. One of those very people I can’t stand to hang with, I had become.
And guess what? Something happened.
I had sat in on a couple of fabulous sessions back to back in the morning and was able to live-tweet several nuggets. And then I went in to hear JR Martinez speak.
As he began we found ourselves laughing at his humorous jabs at the audience and then so many of the things he shared began hitting very close to home and I kind of had an epiphany. Something started shifting inside me. A paradigm shift, for lack of a better explanation.
If you haven’t heard his story I highly recommend it. Having come through so many challenges (which seems like an inappropriate word) and finding the strength to go on is his mantra and was what I needed to hear to get me outta my funk.
Here are a few things he shared that struck me:
- Everybody has a story. (This is something to always keep in the back of our minds, especially when we’re dealing with people. It tends to make us more sympathetic).
- Being flexible is MUST! Plans change, either by our choices or the fact that life is unpredictable. But even the high rise buildings around us are created to be flexible to be able to stand the atmospheric conditions.
- Adapt and Overcome! No matter what comes your way.
- Every single person has strengths and weaknesses. When we find ourselves in a crossroads of life, we need to find our strengths. Dig deep!
- There comes a point in life when there’s nothing else you can do but simply throw your hands up and laugh! Even in the midst of difficulty.
- Your life can completely change in one moment. How are you going to respond to it? Are you going to quit or fight?
- In his darkest of times he made the decision to forget about his long-term plans he had created and focus on the short-term. How could he remain positive – today? Tomorrow will take care of itself.
In the end, he started talking of how he made it out of his “funky time” because he started thinking of how he could give back. He started volunteering his time, through his darkest of moments, and visiting others who had gone through horrible experiences of their own. This drew him out of himself and his own pity party, and once again, created purpose.
Sometimes we need reminders that cause us to think differently, whether it’s how to incorporate new ideas in the workplace, juggling our own work and life initiatives, or simply seeing that inside each and every one of us is a hidden strength that if found can pull us out of the deepest and darkest of places. They cause us to once again help us re-focus, re-group and find our purpose.
Thank you SHRM, for bringing this conference to my city and allowing me to have been a part of something life-changing.