This past weekend we were caught off guard. Our winter in West Chester (just north of Cincinnati) has been unseasonably mild. There have been a few cold days sprinkled in through December and January with far more rain than frost or snow. People were getting comfortable with the higher temperatures, and it lulled us to sleep.
We received a notice of a winter storm warning, but we were skeptical. Many, many times our meteorologists make predictions of doom and destruction while a dusting of snow barely covers the tips of the grass. We had 3 to 4 inches fall between Friday and Saturday which is a nuisance, but it didn’t shut things down (as the local news outlets had hoped). Overnight we were supposed to get 1 to 2 more inches. Not really something to fret over.
Waking up this morning, we were truly surprised. We didn’t get 1 to 2 inches we got 8 inches !! THAT shut things down to start the day. I was planning to head to church and my son was planning on leaving to return for his final semester of college. I did get out on the road, but it was very tentative. I grew up in a part of Ohio that was used to many inches of snow. So, I’m pretty comfortable driving in snowy and icy conditions. Many, however, aren’t. Whenever snow hits here, you’ll see several cars spin out, swerve off the road or get crinkled by running into something or someone.
The experience I had this weekend is typical of most situations we face personally and in our organizations. We hear warnings and we may, or may not, heed what’s predicted. The signs of a challenge are all around us, but we don’t think things will be “that” bad. We take the chance that we can get through whatever comes, and many times we can.
However, there are storms that do hit very hard. These usually are unpredictable and the circumstances and situations can seem insurmountable. Whenever storms do hit, you have some choices you can make.
It’s an option most choose. There is safety in making this choice because you’re in the surroundings where you’re most comfortable. You also probably stocked up and have all of the supplies you need. There’s nothing wrong with staying warm and cozy.
I hate to be negative, but storms can bury you. That’s a reality. If a storm presents itself to be so large as to overwhelm you, make sure you have a lifeline to get help. Trying to tackle life on your own is reckless. There’s no value in being a martyr who has every burden stack on them time after time. I realize that people are more isolated than ever these days. Change that and reach out to connect with folks who will be there when the storms hit.
You can grab a shovel and take on the conditions that attempt to keep you stymied. It’s not easy to dig out, and it will wear you out. It’s hard to face challenging conditions. At times though, we need to go through the storm in order to get to the other side which will be even brighter than anything the storms throws at us.
Storms happen. We don’t look forward to them, but that doesn’t stop them from coming. As an HR professional, remember this because you are surrounded by people that are either in the midst of storms, or one is on the horizon. You have the chance to help them with their choice when it hits. You can help them hunker down and stay safe. You can offer empathy and support to help them not to get overwhelmed. You can also encourage them and stand with them as they venture out to face the storm swirling around them.
I don’t think there’s an option to avoid and let people just slog through storms. We need to respect how much a person is willing to let us assist them, but just leaving them alone isn’t acceptable in my opinion. You may be the ONE person who makes a difference because you chose to care.
I think HR folks should venture out !! This week take a look at those you work with and assess the weather. You need to be ready because a storm is sure to be on its way . . .