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Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., the CEO of SHRM, wants to strengthen the relationship between education and employers. He accepted a volunteer advisory appointment from President Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos to the White House Initiative on HBCUs.

You might say, “That’s not much of a story, Laurie. Slow down if you’re about to go off on the CEO of SHRM for being an advocate for education. We have to rise above partisanship. Also, SHRM’s in DC and can’t just ignore the current administration. The world works on relationships. Be where the conversation is happening if you want to change the world. Don’t pick on SHRM.”

Before I talk what’s happening at SHRM, here’s my theory about HR leadership. There are three dominant archetypal characters in HR:

1. The guardian-ally embraces her role as protector of the organization. She wants all workers to feel engaged and have a great experience at work. The guardian-ally is the staunch defender of a company’s culture. She believes you can achieve your personal and professional goals. However, if you violate her trust by slacking off or violating company policy, she will fire you. The guardian-ally has a warrior’s heart and a best friend’s warm touch.

2. The hero-mentor is the seasoned HR leader with no agenda. My friend Kris Dunn has described this person as the Oprah of HR. I also think the character is like Ellen DeGeneres. She’s an influential figure and here to help the organization grow. She’ll manage executive egos to shield her team from the political drama. Before you even think about crossing the hero-mentor, you’re gone. She can see what you’re doing about six months before you do it, and she’ll make all problems go away.

3. The trickster-shapeshifter is right on paper and has excellent bona fides, and you feel inspired when you hear her speak. But every operational experience with her is blurry. Is she here to help? Is real work getting done? Why are factions popping up around the office? The trickster-shapeshifter has a tremendous personal brand she’d like to leverage for your organization to make it great, again. Cross her, and you’re gone. Thankfully, the tenure is short, and the board will oust her in 24 months.

SHRM members and the rank-and-file SHRM staff are guardian-allies. They’re passionate and committed to the cause. While they’re not naïve, they bleed the brand. They believe human resources can change the world.

I think executive HR leaders are hero-mentors, and they are too busy doing good HR work to join SHRM. The association doesn’t offer a product or service to meet their personal or professional needs.

You know where this is going, right?

Throughout the years, the leaders of SHRM have been trickster-shifters. Like most political associations that deny they’re political, they’ll seize an opportunity to show power and influence — and words come out of their mouths — but their actions don’t benefit the members and staff.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. could be the hero-mentor the membership deserves. I believed in him. He could move the industry towards sensible and pragmatic positions on gun violence in the workplace, immigration, and healthcare. It’s possible to leverage his brand and talk to employers and educational institutions about the workforce of the future.

But his appointment to the Trump advisory board so early in his tenure at SHRM makes me feel like it’s déjà vu all over again. I’m not here to disparage this gentleman’s good character, but I think there’s a valid critique of his decision to partner with the Trump administration. Sitting on that advisory board doesn’t benefit anyone within the field of human resources. Furthermore, it normalizes a turbulent administration that hasn’t yet proven itself worthy of HR’s seal of approval.

Also, the hero-mentor doesn’t need an appointment from any political figure to make an impact. The choice between being on an advisory board and having no seat at the table is a false choice. In fact, politicians need hero-mentors because they are inherently trickster-shapeshifters. And hero-mentors don’t play that game.

SHRM’s leadership doesn’t listen to me, but you listen to me. If there’s ever a time in your life when someone offers you a promotion or an appointment to assist a high-profile committee, you should question why you’re being asked to help. Don’t do the political calculus; do the human calculation. Channel your inner Oprah and try to understand what purpose your appointment serves.

You should know that the hero-mentor can see beyond her immediate self-interests and think about how her actions impact future generations. When she leverages her brand, it’s for the good of the entire community. And she does it without fanfare. Other people sing her praises because it deserves to be sung.

SHRM and its members deserve a hero-mentor. Someone who is naturally charismatic and does good work without feeling the need to play ball with hackneyed politicians who don’t have the best interest of anybody at heart. Yesterday, I was pretty excited about the new leadership at SHRM; however, with the appointment of Johnny Taylor to the White House Initiative on HBCUs, we got a glimpse of something else.

Time will tell what we saw, but I’m no longer personally or professionally optimistic about the next 24 months.

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I believe in healthy, soothing rituals. I’m talking about behaviors and practices meant to achieve physical, spiritual or emotional comfort.

For example, my husband and I try to have dinner on Friday night and then see a movie. Then there’s my grandmother, who had a cup of hot English breakfast tea daily and savored the moment when her cold hands came into contact with the warm mug. Or my friend who wakes up before dawn every weekday and laces up his sneaker to run.

Small and healthy rituals are important. They anchor our minds to the present and provide a modest level of comfort when other aspects of our lives aren’t going so well. If work sucks and your kids are monsters, it feels good to take an evening bath or have that one piece of Dove dark chocolate every day.

That’s why it’s so hard for people to quit smoking and drinking. The self-soothing ritual of the morning cigarette? The glass of champagne at the end of the day? Replacing it with a goddamn cup of tea is dissatisfying, and, honestly, depressing.

But finding a wholesome, daily ritual is worth a look. Whether it’s five minutes in a dark closet where nobody talks to you — or your favorite Starbucks drink on the way to work — there is something out there for everybody. 

You deserve one moment every day that feels great and requires no apologies. I think you can find something special that doesn’t harm your body and soul. One good thing you do for yourself that nobody else can do for you.

That’s my wish for you, today.

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Things I like on the internet.

– Myself
– My retweets
– Mentions of me
– Photos of my good side
– When you share my blog posts
– Looking at your followers
– Loud bands that shred
– Baby animal videos
– TSA’s Instagram
– Yo mama jokes
– Travel snaps

I need to smash my phone. You probably need to smash yours, too!

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Middle-aged HR ladies are something else. Being middle-aged myself, I know we fall in one of two categories: Oprah Winfrey or Joan Collins from Dynasty.

I recently met the Joan Collins of HR at a networking event, which sucks because I’m Joan Collins. Here’s the story as I test my new microphone.

It’s a Shure SM58. I need a pop filter, but it sounds okay!

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Email marketing works. It might not apply to every segment of the marketplace. But, if you want middle-aged people to buy your goods or services, send them an email. Here’s why.

I’m trying to add more fun back into my marriage, which is going about as well as “forced fun” always goes. I can’t shake my inner HR lady and ask my husband to do random excursions I find on the internet. Weekend trip to a civil rights monument and a cat cafe? Dinner at the art museum? He goes along for the ride. I think it might be helping. At the very least, we’re watching less TV.

Earlier in January, I received an email from my local blow-dry bar. They offered a last-minute discounted appointment for hair, make-up, and a portrait snapped by a local photographer. The combined price alone was less than a day at the spa. I thought, “I’ll look nice, and we can go to dinner on a weekday night.”

The bar for mid-week fun is low. 

I ran over and made myself look pretty for dinner. My hair appointment was great, but the make-up artist did a massive upsell for her services outside of the salon. I don’t blame her — email marketing is a form of business development for local retailers — and I swear she made me look like a forty-five-year-old anchorwoman on purpose. 

The photo captures the essence of wearing your kid’s birthday cake as a primer and foundation. My husband took one look at me and was like, whoa, what’s going on here? Did I miss something?

I’m like, nevermind, let’s get Chinese.

So, while parts of this experience weren’t super-awesome, I’m telling you that email still works. Your agency isn’t lying to you when they recommend list-building and segmenting exercises as best practices. It’s an essential component of a plan to separate your buyers from their money. 

Email works beyond the B2B and B2C realm, too. If you’re a content creator like me, email offers you an opportunity to say hello to your fans and champions. People who believe in your artistry and creativity want to hear from you. Email is the best way to do it.

And if this blow-dry bar emails me with another blow-out deal minus the make-up and photo, I’ll still buy it. Do you know how difficult it is to dry your hair when it’s long? It’s not worth it. I mostly walk around with towel-dried hair in a bun. 

But I’ll skip the makeup. When I received my photo, my husband had no recollection of the random weekday night we ate Chinese food. 

“Did I take that photo of you? What’s up with the makeup?”

Dammit, not every experience on the internet is a winner. But I’m still opening email messages with discount codes and catchy titles. Even if you’re lamenting over a spammy in-box, you are, too.

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Today is the Carnival of HR, a glorious celebration of writers and thinkers who create fabulous HR and recruiting content. It’s an excellent list of reading, but it’s long. My advice? Bookmark this page. Come back when you catch yourself mindlessly scrolling on Facebook.

Joey Price interviewed Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM President and CEO. jumpstart-hr.com/129-are-todays-hr-leaders-living-in-la-la-land-ft-johnny-c-taylor-jr-shrm-president-and-ceo/

Legendary blogger Sabrina Baker offers three questions to ask all candidates when you’re hiring for your small business. www.acaciahrsolutions.com/interview-questions-to-ask-a-potential-employee-when-finding-recruiting-and-hiring-good-prospective-staff-employees-for-your-small-business/

Wendy Berry is back from paid family leave. Look at her boys. They melt my heart. wendyberry.com/back-from-paidfamilyleave/

My partner-in-crime Sarah Brennan recommends the top 20 HR conferences to attend in 2018. www.hrtechblog.com/top-20-hr-conferences-to-attend-in-2018/

Longtime buddy Charlie Judy implores you to reconsider the soul-crushing activity of performance management. www.workxo.com/blog/post/239-performance-management-soul-crusher

My friend and #HustleUpTheHancock supporter Brad Galin is screaming at his HR technology! www.rollercoasterhr.com/screaming-at-my-technology/

Raj Singh and I met during my trip to New Zealand. He’s fabulous and wants you to be anyone you want to be. employmentinnewzealand.blogspot.co.nz/2017/11/be-anyone-you-want.html?m=1

Here is Cheryl Nelson’s first blog post ever. Congratulate her for taking the plunge! kolormehr.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/jumping-in/

Wally Bock is famous for his #FF recommendations. In this piece, he writes about leadership’s dirty little secret. www.threestarleadership.com/leadership/leaderships-dirty-little-secret

Melissa Fairman is a compassionate leader and tells you why she meets once a week with every single person on her HR team. hrremix.com/2018/02/06/meet-week-team/

My awesome friend and elected SHRM board member Steve Browne wants you to flourish. Yes, he’s talking to you. sbrownehr.com/just-flourish/

Kate Bischoff asks and answers why you’d help employees. Really, you should help them. thrivelawconsulting.com/2018/01/29/why-help-an-employee/

Tamara Rasberry is a critical thinker and asks you to consider the everyday black history makers and moments. tamaramrasberry.com/2018/02/10/everyday-black-history-makers-moments/

Meet Mark Souter, an HR leader who needs you to say yes. Do it! medium.com/@MarkSouterLive/just-say-yes-7205a3463fc3

Yvonne LaRose is tackling tough subjects: office drama and betrayal. careercoachcorner.wordpress.com/2018/02/17/betrayal/

Mike Haberman offers ten human resources steps that will save you. omegahrsolutions.com/2018/02/ten-human-resources-steps-that-will-save-you.html

Here’s Julie Winkle Giulioni. She’s writing about challenges facing leaders and managers. www.juliewinklegiulioni.com/blog/leadership-matters/whoa-what-are-todays-most-common-leadership-mistakes/

Katrina Collier is the most fun and entertaining woman in our industry. She’s talking about women and the workplace. www.crowdcast.io/e/the-socialrecruiting-26/register?session=1

Renée Robson is a strong writer and asks you to invest in yourself. reneerobson.com/2018/02/20/investing-in-yourself/

Kelly Marinelli writes about combating sexual harassment and offers a game plan for HR. www.solvehrinc.com/the-solve-hr-blog/2018/1/10/combating-sexual-harassment-a-game-plan-for-hr

John Hollon explores what a great candidate experience means. recruitingdaily.com/organizations-great-candidate-experience-others-dont-john-hollon/

Have a look at John Baldino on employer branding and the idea of family in the workplace. humareso.com/2018/02/07/please-mr-postman/

Jennifer Juo is writing on Udemy about L&D’s role in the reskilling revolution. business.udemy.com/blog/lds-role-in-the-reskilling-revolution/

Jazmine Wilkes wants you to know that black blogs matter. hrjazzy.blog/2018/02/01/we-are-here-and-we-matter-blackblogsmatter-challenge-week1/

Heather Bussing of HR Examiner agrees with Jazmine and also believes that black blogs matter. www.hrexaminer.com/why-black-blogs-matter/

John Sumser wonders why HR is fiddling while Rome burns. www.hrexaminer.com/fiddling-while-rome-burns/

Helo Tamme has a strong post about the role of people in workplace happiness. workplace-happiness.com/2018/01/22/role-of-people-in-workplace-happiness/

The #MeToo movement has made an impact on HR. Jane Watson writes about organizational culture and harassment. talentvanguard.com/2018/02/18/its-a-sign-org-culture-harassment/

Maren Hogan of Red Branch Media wants you to follow the 15 steps to hire the right remote worker every time. redbranchmedia.com/blog/15-steps-remote-hire/

What do you know about predictive analytics? Gemma Toth is here to teach you how it applies to HR. allinhr.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/predictive-analytics-in-hr-do-you-have-the-data-needed-to-back-that-up

Ben Eubanks is writing about the hidden battle for SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. I had no idea there was a battle. upstarthr.com/the-hidden-battle-for-shrm-and-hrci-recertification-credits/

An important message from Mark Fogel: Don’t believe everything you read or watch, including HR websites. fistfuloftalent.com/2018/02/dont-believe-everything-read-watch-even-hr-websites.html

The talented Wendy Daily is trying to escape procrastination like all of us. mydaileyjourney.com/2018/01/20/escaping-procrastination/

Anne Tomkinson asks a good question. “How solid is that career ladder?” hrunderground.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/how-solid-is-that-career-ladder/

Are you sick of buzzword bingo? Katrina Kibben riffs on the trendiest buzzword: employee engagement. katrinakibben.com/2018/02/07/employee-engagement-2018/

Brent Skinner is principal analyst covering HCM at Nucleus Research. Read about the state of the HCM market here. nucleusresearch.com/research/single/state-hcm-market-2018/

Voice of HR is back. Founded by Mark Stelzner, his colleague Kimberly Carroll writes about three big changes in talent acquisition software. ia-hr.com/3-big-changes-in-talent-acquisition-software-i-hope-we-see-in-2018/

Matt Stollak wonders what HR would be like in an organized crime family because he’s creative like that! truefaithhr.blogspot.com/2018/02/what-would-hr-be-like-in-organized.html

Check out Judy Lindenberger on maximizing the benefits of executive coaching. www.lindenbergergroup.com/7-step-guide-maximizing-benefits-executive-coaching/

See why Tim Sackett is jealous of pretty people. timsackett.com/2018/01/19/the-one-big-problem-with-being-pretty/

John Hunter writes about the new age of robots and what it means for jobs. management.curiouscatblog.net/2018/01/23/the-new-age-of-robots-and-what-it-means-for-jobs/

Sharlyn Lauby outlines the ten strategies for every human resources team on the HR Bartender website. www.hrbartender.com/2018/strategy-planning/future-hr-10-strategies-human-resources/

Tony Schwartz talks to Globoforce about how to effectively manage energy, rather than time. www.globoforce.com/gfblog/2018/employees-energy-schwartz/

Claire Petrie writes about transferable job skills and finding your path. clairepetriehr.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/transferable-skills-and-finding-your-path/

Do you know what Occam’s Razor is? Paul Hebert wrote an explanation and how it applies to HR. fistfuloftalent.com/2018/02/hr-needs-shave-occams-razor.html

Antoine Ray asks you to consider going global to combat your talent shortage. www.unleashgroup.io/news/going-global-talent-shortage/

Visit Dorothy Dalton’s blog and learn about the concept of “diversity of thought” and the talent pipeline. dorothydalton.com/2018/02/13/diversity-of-thought-and-the-talent-pipeline/

Is HR on the employee’s side? Dave Ryan has some thoughts. www.performanceicreate.com/hr-theyre-not-on-the-employees-side/

Ben Martinez wants you to embrace a goal mindset. fistfuloftalent.com/2018/01/simple-not-easy-goal-mindset.html

Read Kris Dunn’s take on VPs and leaders who print things out from the internet and make decisions using irrational data points. www.hrcapitalist.com/2018/01/when-your-boss-acts-like-a-dinosaur-and-you-just-serve-up-the-brontosaurus.html

In the #MeToo era, Dawn Burke asks if white men should be called privileged. fistfuloftalent.com/2018/02/metoo-era-white-men-called-privileged-yes-thats-ok.html

Lee Price tells us why you need to build a people stack before a marketing stack. managingeditor.com/jeff-perkins-focuses-building-people-stack-marketing-stack/

The team at TalentCulture, a website founded by Meghan M. Biro, would like you to get your email under control. talentculture.com/get-email-control/

As a bystander with power, if you see or hear harassing behavior, you must respond to it. But how? Jonathan Segal has answers. blog.shrm.org/blog/bystander-interventions-without-paternalism-or-re-victimization

Jesse Lyn Stoner believes if your organizational culture is not working, look to its polarities for clues on what needs to be changed. seapointcenter.com/organizational-culture-polarities/

Mary Faulkner wants you to learn leadership lessons from Frank Oz and The Muppets: survivingleadership.blog/2018/01/21/life-and-leadership-lessons-from-frank-oz/

Dan Cross writes about ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. It’s a bill that will make it more difficult for people with disabilities to have equal opportunity to employment, access consumer goods and services, and participate in State and Local government. medium.com/crossover-hr/an-education-and-reform-act-that-doesnt-educate-or-reform-333cbeab9970

My friend and champion Jennifer McClure is thrilled for the new year, but she would like a vacation right now. I keep inviting her places. She’s too busy for me. jennifermcclure.net/2018/01/02/welcome-new-year-now-when-can-i-take-a-vacation/

Keynote speaker Ryan Estis lays out the four ways to help your small business grow. ryanestis.com/performance/4-keys-to-grow-your-small-business-in-2018/

The amazing Carlos Escobar asks you to put some good into the world. Please? cescobar.com/2018/02/14/put-some-good-into-the-world/

Over at HR Books, I wrote about why self-help books don’t always help HR. hrbooks.com/self-help-books-HR

Finally, one of my favourites is from Doug Shaw. He thinks angels punish us by answering our prayers. Reminds me of a quote from Truman Capote. “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.” artsensorium.com/2018/02/13/sometimes-the-angels-punish-us-by-answering-our-prayers/

Hope you enjoyed Carnival of HR for February. Want to participate in March? Want to be a host? Check out Robin Schooling’s blog for more information. And email me with late additions, revisions, or just to say hello.

I’ve missed you, HR friends!

 

 

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I’ve been trying to write a follow-up on the #MeToo movement for Vox. It’s been a struggle to write about what’s next because I don’t know what will happen.

I’m not optimistic.

In my original article on Vox, I called out Uber’s HR department for its mistreatment of Susan Fowler. It’s a year old. We updated the piece when the #MeToo movement gained traction in late 2017 and doubled-down on the notion that HR fails employees across America.

Since my piece in Vox appeared, I’ve been all over the media talking about sexual harassment. Recently, I’ve been warned to stop writing about specific HR leaders and companies. When I call out people and companies, I’m jeopardizing my career and my finances.

I might risk my safety, too.

Influential people hate bloggers who meddle in the affairs of billion-dollar companies, which is intimidating and scary. I’m not Norma Rae, and, while I’d like to pretend that my blogging matters, it doesn’t. No post is worth more than my life.

Safety concerns aside, I’m struggling to write a follow-up article on the #MeToo movement because it doesn’t feel like much has changed. For starters, there’s a lot of talk about workplace harassment and zero tolerance policies; however, I don’t know a single executive who’s been fired from a major corporation for sexual harassment since Harvey Weinstein was outed as a monster.

Do you?

I know some lower-level dudes who have been put on notice for inappropriate conduct. Unfortunately, they wonder why they’re targeted while other leaders get to keep their jobs. HR picks off the rotten, low-hanging fruit but fails to cut down the diseased tree.

Also, I know zero women who have been promoted to positions of power or received wage adjustments because executives woke up and tackled institutional sexism. Sure, some woman took Al Franken’s spot in the U.S. Senate; however, did you get a promotion? How many women were on your board of directors before Weinstein was outed? How many are on there, today?

I’m also hesitant to write about what’s next for #MeToo because we need about 40 years to understand what just happened. We barely understand the lessons and the cost of the Vietnam War, and most of the experiences are tragic in retrospect.

What’s next for #MeToo? I have no idea. 

My editor is waiting for my next piece, but I’m not rushing to publish another article in my name. I don’t have any answers. Also, I’m trying to avoid drawing the ire of powerful men. So, because of my self-preservationist instincts, I’m not rushing to publish. And I know one thing: I’m not the spokesperson this movement deserves.

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I met a woman who’s in recovery from working too much. She attends a twelve-step program called Workaholics Anonymous.

At first, I was incredulous. Workaholics Anonymous? Come on, give me a break. I’m sure these meetings are filled with people who say things like, “I can’t help it, I care too much.”

Her story is a doozy. She’s a hard-charging primary care physician with additional degrees in public health. She’s a mom, a volunteer at a local health clinic, and a yoga teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys doing research and running. But mostly she feared being quiet, staying still, and having intimate relationships.

Her addiction — work — was a mechanism to avoid confronting feelings and situations that brought about pain and anxiety.

I was like, whoa, that’s serious stuff. Hadn’t considered work as an addiction. Makes me wonder how many of you invest yourselves in your careers because you’re avoiding other areas of your life that are uncomfortable.

My first instinct was to judge the woman who admitted her work addiction, and I was wrong. Addiction takes many forms: the internet, tech, phones, alcohol, drugs, hobbies, social media, work. If you’re struggling with an addiction, my heart aches for you. Work is an important component of our lives, but it shouldn’t be the only aspect of our lives that matter. 

The clinical threshold for “work addiction” varies. I’d love to diagnose you, but that’s not my job. If you want to stop working but can’t, you may appreciate the Workaholics Anonymous website

If you’re not addicted to work but looking for more balance, you’re not alone. Find a mentor or a coach to help you explore other avenues of interest in your life.

I’m rooting for you.

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Have you been reading the #HRBookClub books of the month? The selections are “Year of Yes” and “A Chance in the World.” You can read both books, one book, or something else. Who cares? Just read something.

I’ve been banging the drum about reading because people still pick on HR professionals — women and minorities — and say we’re not critical thinkers. Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t tell me that the future of HR is about “people analytics” or “machine learning” as if I’ve never cracked open a book and can’t understand the newfangled technology and how it will make work better.

I’m old enough to remember when Y2K, telecommuting, and MBOs were the future of work. Dammit, I’m old enough to remember when fax machines were the promise of a more efficient workplace. 

The funny thing is that books tell us that the future of human resources. And the future could be one of many scenarios: 

1. A dystopian nightmare where robots enslave human beings 

2. A utopian landscape where we no longer work for money, but rather, we’re given access to capital to think and create

3. A bifurcated society where both are happening and our communities must deal with income inequality, human rights abuses, and extreme poverty

When people talk about the future of human resources, they’re not pulling big ideas from books. They are parroting press releases from technology firms that explain the “how” and obfuscate the “why.” 

Payroll and human resources software will continue to evolve and merge into business-focused platforms that allow us greater visibility into productivity and revenue metrics; it’s happening because businesses are in a race to the bottom to reduce labor costs. 

History books show us that powerful people do abhorrent things in the name of progress. And if you’re not reading, you can’t identify patterns and see the warning signals of a human resources technology industry gone drunk on itself. 

So, I’m not asking you to read a massive textbook and create a technology-driven HR model for the future. I’m not even asking you to read a book about human resources. The #HRBookClub wants to help you develop a habit of curating better content in your life. We want you to invest your time and attention in better stories.

I hope you’ve been reading our #HRBookClub selections. We’ll be talking about both books on February 28th at 2 PM ET on Facebook and making more announcements about the book club. Hope you can join us! 

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My favorite trend on the internet is a wannabe guru telling you to beware the rise of gurus. There’s a special place in hell for someone who thinks his mediocre story inspires you to action; however, there’s another special place in hell for the guy who suffers from imposter syndrome, writes how much gurus suck, and wants to be one.

TL;DR Internet sucks.

I’m impressed with people who get shit done. It’s hard to write and publish a book that’s read by over 125 people. It’s difficult to launch a blog, produce a podcast, manage an email list, develop your speaking skills, and communicate quirky ideas to a hostile world that prefers to make fun of you.

Throw in some exercise and diet advice, and the peanut gallery will eat you alive. Sure, the peanut gallery is chocked full of slow and chubby motherfuckers scared of their shadows. But they’re brave and loud on the internet. They’re also your target market if you’re a guru. Oh, the irony. Takes a lot to filter out the noise from people incapable of changing their lives, and, also, need your message. 

Funny enough, exercise helps.

I’m not here to write a love letter in praise of gurus and self-help authors who turn tricks at conferences and make a healthy living on your insecurities. But I am here to tell you I see your collective shame and vulnerability bubbling up to the surface of your social media accounts. It’s unproductive and unappealing to watch you criticize people who stand at the plate and take a swing.

The motivational speaking market is full of Amway-like products and services that benefit marketers at the bottom of the pyramid. Criticize how we got here in our society because people always get to a place where some huckster gives us a golden ticket or sells us a potion to cure our ails. That’s the American narrative.

You can also share your pertinent thoughts on the trend in self-help books that everybody is empowered and can change from the inside by rethinking X to get to Y. It’s the hero who emerges as a better version of himself through incremental change, but it overlooks systemic racism, sexism, and ableism. Assumes everybody is white, middle-class, and faces the same ingroup set of challenges.

A robust critique is long overdue. Start there.

But nothing worse than someone who is so sure of himself in the shadows but can’t stand his ground in the spotlight. Guard against taking to the internet and criticizing icons and celebrities who get under your skin for no good reason other than that you don’t measure up. 

Maybe you’re good enough, and maybe you’re not. Just don’t be one of those decent church-going women — with their mean, pinched, bitter faces — who sit in fear and judgment of something they don’t understand, something that’s created for them to save them. We see you for what you are, and we want to send you one of those self-help books. You need it.

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