It’s tough being human.

Posted: August 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Before those of you less in touch with empathy, emotions and endearing thoughts about your fellow human beings click away from this blog, I’d urge you to just stick with me for the next few hundred words.

Life throws a lot at us and we make of it what we can, what we will and what we want.  And yet there are times when we don’t really stop and think about what makes us human.  I’m not about to go all existential, unnecessarily spiritual or emo-blogging on you.  Yet there’s some amazing things we really really must try and absorb, understand and revel in.

I’m going to talk very personally here – not to attract comment for me as a human being but to highlight how much things mean to me and therefore might mean to you and perhaps more importantly other people.

Before I start though, it’s tough isn’t it?  Being a nice, gentle, generous, thoughtful, calm, patient, considerate, helpful, wise, approachable, warm, comforting, real human being isn’t as easy as it could or should be.

Guessing what people’s agendas are.  Worried you’re being taken for a fool.  Anxious you’re not appreciated.  Concerned people might think your intentions aren’t good.  Lacking confidence in your decisions because others frown or roll their eyes.  Feeling marginalised because of whatever reason appears in your mind.  Having to explain yourself why you’re being gentle and not shouting the odds.  Getting the cold shoulder because what someone wants from you, you’re not able to give them.

However 5 times over the past week I’ve had cause to feel overwhelmed by human kindness.

Before the 5 it reminded me of a voicemail from a friend, collaborator and all round good person who left me a voicemail just saying how much he appreciated me, what I do and what I stand for.  I can hear those words now.  It was unprompted, appreciated and so gently powerful.  That person knows who they are and what that meant.  I hope it made them feel as good as it made me feel.

On a professional note, I’ve had the pleasure to talk to many of the amazing organisations part of the WorldBlu freedom centred workplace approach.  Rich, Bruce, Garry, Amy, Linda, Michael, Carrie, Trip and of course Traci Fenton as CEO of WorldBlu, all say the same thing: Being democratic, freedom-centred and alternative is hard.  It takes a lot of effort to humanise the workplace.  It goes against the orthodoxies we currently have – no matter how toxic, fear-inducing and boring the current ways may be.

So onto the 5 things.

A trusted friend and collaborator thrilled at a new opportunity that’s coming my way and shared their view on me. It choked me.  I had a few tears.  Sat in a coffee shop in London.  I held them back.  It was lovely to hear such genuine words about what you hoped you were but you’re never really sure.  I reciprocated – not out of duty but because I genuinely admire, regard and care about this person.  It inspired me to draft this piece.

An email (oh how I don’t like those generally) from a health care worker.  I don’t know them.  We talked about an area we’re both interested in.  We found kinship.  I read 3 sentences and realised how lucky we are that people like this woman care deeply about human beings and want to devote their professional career to the care of others.  And THEN want to make sure it’s not overtaken by bureaucracy and crazy regulations and can be improved, humanised.

A text message from someone who’s got engaged.  So lovely to hear of their happiness.  That’s a normal thing though isn’t it?  Not when they put all the words of support for me on a new venture of mine BEFORE sharing their massive life event.  They wanted to share their excitement for my thing before they told me theirs.  I was humbled.  It made me feel that person’s warmth, realness and genuine support for what matters to others.  Lovely moment.

And the fourth one isn’t even a response – it’s a hope.  I have offered free help to an Interim HR Director in a Children’s Hospice.  I am constantly reminded that you can do all you want for clients, teams and colleagues in any field you like but when people are working in the care of people – especially those tiny people – who face certain death that has to be something we should all want to do.  I might need some help with this and it’s not even something defined in terms of what that help might be but I hold onto this as something I desperately want to do – not to gain plaudits but to do the right thing by another human being who I’ve not even met.

Lastly and most significantly someone’s put their trust, hope and business aspirations in me.  And been as human, honest, trusting, open, generous, excited, warm, sincere and welcoming.  I am going with this based on every ounce of my soul saying “this is right; not for mistrust but for appreciation, professionalism and belief”.  It’s such a show of human instinct, faith and soul that I’m still a little bit “out of body experience” on it but I am loving every moment of that feeling.  Now to deliver but lets just say that the perfect starts bodes well for a continuance of applied effort, energy and outcome.

So is it really tough being human?  If we’re all so human and “nice” won’t we just accept more poor treatment from others and those manipulative, devious, miserable others just take advantage?

I’m not advocating we all go naively into our days and having expectations shattered.

I am saying that the emotion in us all is a guide.  It’s an indicator of what’s right, what gives us humanity and what saves our souls.

Yes our guile might get us the job over that other guy from the other team.  Yes our cleverness might dismiss those foolhardy bandwagoners jumping on the latest management fad.  Yes our commercial acumen means we have that bulging bank balance and the title and the corner office.

But that doesn’t make you a successful human.  Maybe a successful job holder.  Those things are admittedly tough to achieve but won’t move people to tears in a coffee shop on a Tuesday morning.  They’ll probably make people sneer, shake their heads or worse pity you if you success is at the expense of your fellow humans.

I’m proud to work in a profession that starts with the word Human.  Yes it’s partner word is Resources but I can see past that.

Being human is tough.  The right kind of tough.  The toughness we need a lot more of.  Thanks to Meg, Rachel, Clare, Phil, Siobhan, Gaylin, Miranda, Ada, Lisa, Gareth, Becky and countless others who remind me of the humanity in us all, in the world and in my soul.

I’ll leave you with the fabulous Brene Brown and her TED talk on Vulnerability.

Please be human and proud of it folks.

Screenshot 2015-08-04 at 10.13.25

  1. foxhumanresources says:

    Reblogged this on foxhumanresources.

  2. Miranda Ash says:

    Perry, I continue to be in awe of the great depth of humanity that you are bringing to your work….and to the world. The world needs more humans like you! Glad to count you amongst friends and collaborators!

  3. gwhite409 says:

    LOVELY…….enough said

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