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HR from the Top of the Mind

October 20, 2011

I’m pleased to host a post from guest blogger Sarah Upchurch.  Sarah is a junior at McNeese State University with a double major in Human Resource Management and Marketing (excellent!)  She’s involved in 2 business organizations: Delta Sigma Pi and SHRM.  Sarah says that SHRM has played a big role in her life lately; she’s vice president of the student chapter and had the privilege of going to the Las Vegas Conference (#shrm11).   When she graduates she hopes to have a job at Disney World and as she says “I love business and I hope someday it will take me far!”


I attended the 25th Annual Acadiana SHRM chapter (ASHRM) Seminar on September 28, in Cajun Country (Lafayette, LA). The first session was by Dr. Bill Crawford called “HR from the TOP of the MIND Strategic Impact through Critical HR Skills.” He is a licensed psychologist, author of 4 books, and an organized consultant and speaker. PBS has featured him on many occasions (they even recorded our seminar!) He referred to one book during the session called, “Life from the Top of the Mind.” With his humorous and entertaining style, Dr. Crawford was able to take everyone down a scientific path for dealing with stress.

Let’s take a road trip.

First destination: the brain. Dr. Crawford said there are 3 parts of the brain. The lower part of the brain, called the brainstem, makes up 20%. When using just the lower percentage of the brain, we find ourselves in fight or flight situations. We use stress and frustration to deal with deadlines and difficult people. If you are only using the lower 20%, then you are headed down a dead end road and may become trapped! The upper 80% of the brain has two parts, the neocortex and the limbic system.  If you use the upper 80%, your judgment and decision making will be much stronger and negative stress will decrease.

Next stop: stress land. Think back on a situation you were a part of. Did it “stress you out, pull your chain, or rattle your cage?” Were you stressed because of traffic? Or a deadline at work? Speaking from my perspective, I reacted in a negative way! Dr. Bill Crawford challenged the audience to name reactions to these stressors and here is our list: depression, anger, frustration, and simply going crazy were just a few of the possible reactions.   Stress doesn’t always have to be negative. When used properly, it can help with production!  However, if you have too much stress it could cause you to produce less or become burned out!

On our road trip, Dr. Crawford gave us the “how to” user manual for stress! Most importantly, have a purpose for stressing. Would you teach children the negative ways you reacted to stress? Probably not. So, we should act calmly, rationally, and patiently for any problems we shall face! Reactions are “learned” responses. Ask yourself, how can I shift from negative to “on purpose” reactions. When you have a purpose to your actions, then you won’t have negative consequences.

Final destination: serenity garden. “Negative people in our life have the power to define us.” Dr. Crawford demonstrated that we shouldn’t let burdens from the past dictate our lives. By the end of the demonstration, he had 3 chairs over his shoulders that represented how people and stress weighed him down. Don’t let people take you down “depressed boulevard” or “angry avenue.” Don’t let your actions be negative. And don’t react to a person based on what you expect to happen. Create your own pathway! We should follow the serenity prayer “God, grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Love when necessary, forgive people, and strive for success. Live by the serenity prayer and you will be able to find your path to excellence.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lynn permalink
    October 24, 2011 8:23 am

    Both Blogs are great. Really makes you want to stop and challenge yourself to become more positive and achieve any and all unfinished goals.
    Great writing!

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