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SHRM Mega Session Speaker: Take Control of Your Life if You Want to Enjoy the Ride

SHRM Mega Session Speaker: Take Control of Your Life if You Want to Enjoy the Ride

Start a management degree at American Public University.

By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Program Director, Management, American Public University

Before the Society of Human Resource Management’s annual conference began last week in Chicago, I mapped out some of the SHRM sessions I wanted to attend. One of my goals this year was to strategically select the sessions to attend.

I always assumed that a mega session was one that attracts a large audience. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to present at SHRM with a colleague at a mega session, and it was a pleasant experience. I wanted to attend at least one mega session this year to see what the experience was like from the other side of the podium.

During the 10:45 slot, three mega sessions were scheduled. I was interested in all three topics.

  • “Detecting Lies and Deception: Practical Skills for HR Professionals,” facilitated by Paul Endress, founder and CEO of Maximum Advantage.
  • “HR’s Role in Creating a High-Trust Culture: Tips, Tools and Techniques to Increase Your Trust Factor.” The conversation was led by Richard Fagerlin, President of Peak Solutions, Inc.
  • “Enjoy the Ride” with Steve Gilliland from Steve Gilliland, Inc.

I chose to attend the last one. Why? At the beginning of the conference, I went to the SHRM bookstore where several books caught my eye.

Five of them were written by Steve Gilliland. I purchased three of them on the spot and wanted to hear this man whose works had aroused my curiosity in the store.

Gilliland turned out to be a terrific storyteller and performer. His 90-minutes presentation flew by. Although the presentation was entertaining, some of the primary points that Gilliland underscored were applicable to one’s personal as well as one’s professional life.

The foundation of his workshop was based on three key points:

1. Determine what your passion is. Stop focusing on what society has coined as your job or career. Would you do the work you do for free? What you do in life is your calling, which is fueled by your passion.

2. Cure your destination disease. Live in the present. Gilliland suggested that we don’t pay attention to one another anymore. We are easily distracted and tend to indulge in activities that are about ourselves.

Instead of enjoying the moment, sometimes we worry about the next task. That kind of thinking means we miss out on the crucial moments of life that occur in the present.

3. Refocus your attention on what is essential. Gilliland encouraged us to decide what is important and not take it for granted. We need to understand and remember the mission.

From a business perspective, employees should focus on their customers and not on the overall task of work itself. For example, we recognize that employees have a job to do, but a customer’s requests should always come first.

In presenting his views, Gilliland offered some special nuggets. The quotes and stories that left an impression on me were:

Let’s stop saying, “It is what it is.” I’m guilty of using this expression, especially when I don’t feel like being bothered and I believe that a situation is not worth the effort to change it. We need to take control of what happens in our lives if we want to enjoy the ride.

Gilliland suggested that we start by saying, “It is what you make it.”

Too Often, We Permit Others to Ruin Our Lives and We Don’t Prevent It

What does that mean? Too often, we permit others to ruin our lives. They may not do it intentionally, but something happens and we don’t intervene. We don’t enjoy the ride when we allow someone or something to derail that ride.

Instead of giving events or situations power to alter our destination, we should free ourselves of the mentality of getting even with people and turn the page by moving on. Stop allowing people to suck the life out of you! We have to take control of what happens in our lives if we want to enjoy the ride.

We should have the power to make decisions about our lives. It is up to you to assign the right values to the various situations that occur. What is important to you? How can you make positive events happen? Are there areas or activities in your life that you are giving too much time to?

The majority of the presentation was spent on explaining how we can adjust our mindset. That mindset affects how we view the world and the actions we take in response to challenges and the daily obstacles we may face in life.

We should adjust our response to be proactive, not reactive. When we react, we lose control of the situation and cede power over our lives to another individual. Don’t allow them to get your goat!

Before Gilliland closed the session, he shared a quote that stood out for me. It involved the workplace, especially how we treat employees. He said, “We hire people for where they have been and what they have done. We fire them for who they are.”

Some Critics Believe HR Professionals Hinder the Work and Goals of Line Managers

The talent acquisition function has come under fire for some issues. Some critics believe that these HR professionals hinder what line managers are attempting to accomplish. There is a concern that the right people aren’t being hired.

How does that happen? Many companies have an extended and extensive recruiting period with candidates meeting multiple interviewers and jumping through many hoops.

We spend time checking references to get feedback from previous employers to give weight to individuals we think have the “right” work experiences. We make decisions based on our perceptions and what we want to see.

However, when those candidates become employees, our expectations may not be realized. In some cases, we fault those employees, yet they are the same ones we interviewed. They just have not been able to match the perceptions that we created of them.

About the Author

Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Program Director of Management at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.

Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and influential leader, manifesting people skills, a methodical approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.