By: Dustin Paschal
I recently attended our state’s annual conference, The HR Southwest Conference, in fantastic Fort Worth. It was the second year back in-person since Covid and only the first year back as a fully in-person conference. The energy at the conference and amongst the attendees cemented what I already believe – fun is important!
HR Southwest embodies the tenants of one of my favorite books, Do It Well. Make It Fun. As author Ron Culberson said about the concept of the book, “Do things well, make them fun, and you’ll find more success in your life.” I have always tried to live my life using this concept but had never seen it boiled down until Ron’s book.
I believed in the book so much that when I became President of my local chapter, DallasHR, I bought copies for each of my board members. I encouraged them to read the book and I committed that as a board, we would attempt to live out its principles during my presidential term. We had quarterly board-only happy hours that were about nothing more than fellowship. We celebrated the birthdays of every one of our board members and chapter staff. We incorporated jokes into our monthly luncheons amid all the announcements. We added a “Good News” portion to our board meetings and monthly luncheons. Plain and simple…we just had fun!
I believe that it’s such an easy concept but it’s also one that we often forget or that is too easily disregarded as unprofessional. We become so focused on executing the tasks or looking polished or doing the right thing, that we forget to have fun in the process.
Let me give you a very basic and simple example that brings us back to HR Southwest. In my day job, I am an employment lawyer. I have also presented annually at the conference. When I’m not presenting, you can find me in shorts and flip flops if the weather is nice. For years, it was an ongoing joke with regular attendees that you could spot my business partner and me around conference that way – the “lawyers in flip flops.” That is such a basic example, but I believe it exemplifies the concept. I could be professional and put energy and effort into an effective and informative legal presentation, but I could also cut loose and have fun at conference with my fellow attendees. The two are not mutually exclusive.
One of the most admired companies in the world knows that the concepts of fun and good work are not mutually exclusive. Southwest Airlines has been living this mantra from its first day. My cousin is the Senior Director of Employee Experience for Southwest Airlines and I see firsthand how much time, energy, and though Southwest Airlines puts into having fun while not sacrificing good work. Consider this quote from Herb Kelleher that Ron highlighted in his book: “If work was more fun, it would feel less like work.”
I am lucky to have a business partner that understands the value of fun as much as I do. And I have been incredibly blessed to serve alongside volunteers that understand it as well.
Life is tough and life is hard. Work sometimes can be an absolute beating and volunteering often brings additional stress. You can tackle all of that, though, if you just remember to have some fun along the way!