Thursday, November 10, 2011

Heart In A Box

I am fascinated by stories of individuals struggling and succeeding as they seek to achieve their true goals in life. Everyone has their personal definition of authentic success, the picture in their mind's eye of how things should turn out and what it would feel like to be in that state of success. I particularly enjoy reading stories of female role models beating the odds and smashing the glass ceiling, because one glass pane at a time, women will bust through the roof one day and put an end to professional inequities. 

I find both amusement and inspiration in fictional stories as well. My favourite t.v. shows are pretty much all workplace related, from "Mob Wives" and their illegal sources of income, "Tabatha's Take-over" overhauling failing hair salons, and "Pan Am" and "Mad Men" are totally cool sociological studies. The love-hate work relationships in "Ghost Hunters" and amazing collaboration in "Rescue Mediums" are also time well-wasted for me. 

A long-running favourite is "Grey's Anatomy", where the banter, friendly competition, emotional support, and workplace relationships (of the non-sexual kind!) are just the kind of vibe I relate to and try to cultivate in the workplace. Unfortunately, I don't work with Dr. Derek Sheppard but who needs that kind of hot distraction in the workplace anyhow?! Although fictional, the characters on "Grey's" are real. They're brutally honest, open, funny as all hell, and care enough about each other, their patients, and themselves to speak their own truths and to pursue excellence. Oftentimes the pursuit of excellence is at a cost, but still, they relentlessly pursue their personal definitions of success. 

In last week's episode of "Grey's", a living, beating "heart in a box" became the symbolic measuring stick against which workplace goals were weighed. The heart was something positive and miraculous, arising from loss. As career-goal-confused Christina struggled to make a list of the really cool surgeries she wanted to perform, she asked herself, "Is this as amazing as the heart in a box?" The heart in a box became symbolic of authentic success for her and her colleagues. 

For me, my heart in a box tells me that my definition of professional success is stopping and pausing to really listen and consider not only my own career wish lists, but that of others. I want to know what others' hearts in boxes tell them. My heart in a box tells me my wish for my authentic success is to get real and to inspire others to go after the really cool things on their wish lists, and to achieve their professional goals and successes. I know this doesn't sound like the words of a typical "HR person", but I am not your typical HR person. Maybe I want to transform it from HR to HeaRt. I don't know exactly, but I would be honoured if you would join me on this personal journey and let's Get Real together. 

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