Your Secret Weapon For Staying Inspired & Motivated in HR During COVID-19 (Part 2 or 2)

By Alan Collins 

In Part 1 of this article, I mentioned that giving yourself a MISSION THAT MATTERS is your secret weapon for staying inspired as an HR Pro as we emerge from this Great Pandemic.  

Now in part 2, we pick up on this secret weapon idea and cover:

That said, let’s get started.


This can be daunting. Before starting, I’d suggest making this a project for an afternoon.

You’ll want to find a quiet spot alone where you can think and work uninterrupted. This is a perfect time for this, while we’re all in pandemic mode.

Bring a blank page where you can jot down your thoughts…either a couple of pieces of paper or use a blank notes page on one of your devices. I like going old school on this particular exercise, so I use lined paper and a pencil. You decide.

Once you’ve done all this, it’s time to get started with…

Step 1:
Create four lists.

Your goal in this step is to brainstorm and generate lots of ideas.  At this stage, wild ideas are fine and no idea is a bad idea.  Get everything down. Jotting these down so you can visualize them is critical part of this step.

List 1: What are you good at doing?

We all have strengths, experiences and skills that are assets.  This list is designed to get at these areas.

List 2: What do you love doing?

What excites you may be different than what you’re good at doing. Use these questions to help you identify or rediscover what you love and enjoy about your work or career.

List 3: Who do you enjoy serving? 

This is the secret finding your true mission and staying inspired: finding people who are hurting or desire your services the most.  And then helping them with what you do best and love doing.  In the world of HR we call this “adding value.”

There are unlimited ways to add value. If you can take action on even a tiny portion of this endless supply of opportunity to help and serve others, you’ll give yourself the ability to stay energized continually throughout your career.   

List 4: How do you want to be remembered?

These are the deepest and most significant questions you can ask yourself.

Digging into this area can feel a little creepy, but it’s immensely powerful.  Thinking about how you want to be remembered at the time of your death will give you tons of ideas about what you’ll want your mission to be now.

Once you’ve captured your answers to these four questions, don’t be surprised if you have 30-50 items or more.

There are no bad ideas at this stage.

When you’re finished, it means you’re ready to move on to…

Step 2:
Create a fifth list:
What are you good at
and love doing?

Here you’re scanning your first two lists looking for overlaps between them to create List #5. This enables you to chunk down all your ideas into a manageable number of the best possibilities.

For example if you love giving presentations (List 2) and you’re good at it (List 1), this goes on List 5.  Likewise if developing HR strategy and thinking strategically appears on both lists 1 and 2, put this on list 5 as well.

If you still have an enormous list, even after reducing the items to just the overlaps, then try this.  Rate how much each overlapped item inspire or excite you on a 10-point scale (1=low, 10=high). Then drop any item rated below 8 or 9.

Your aim here is to leave this step with 3-5 of the most inspiring possibilities from the two lists as your fifth list.   Then, for now, you can set aside Lists 1 and 2.

Once you’ve completing this narrowing process, it’s time for…

Step 3:
Develop a good first draft
of your mission.  

One terrific way to do this is to use the WHY model created by Simon Sinek.  He talks extensively about it in his books, Start with Why and Find Your Why,

Simply put it, this model requires you to frame your Mission (he calls it your “Why”) as follows:

To ______ so that ______.

The first blank captures the contribution that you make. The second captures the impact that your contribution has on other people. 

Sample ones that Sinek shares in his books include:

With those in mind, take a look at the HR examples below.  Like the previous examples provided in Part 1, all of them utilize the WHY framework.

Manager, Labor & Employee Relations 
To utilize and share my expertise in positive labor relations so that others (my team, my leaders) can to achieve breakthrough successes in working with unions that they never thought they could.

Director, Diversity & Inclusion
enable women and minority leaders to confidently unleash their talents so that they can excel, gain more respect and have a stronger impact on all of our locations around the world.   

VP, People Operations, Culture & Communications
be a trusted partner with our business leaders in providing competitive edge people programs so that we can inspire, empower and positively affect the lives of thousands of our employees and their families. 

Use these examples as a guide as you develop your own. 

Also, this is time to look closely for common themes between:

For example if the legacy you want to leave involves empowering women leaders (List 4) and you enjoy working with them (List 3) and you’re good at it and it excites you (List 5), then that’s an obvious common theme. Look for both the obvious and the less obvious connections between the items on your these three lists as well.

This is the trickiest and most time-consuming part of this exercise. Experiment with coming up with different statements. Try them on for size. See how they resonate with you.  Chances are you won’t create your 100% finished statement the first time you try this. But keep at it. It’s worth it.

Your first draft doesn’t have to be pitch perfect, just good enough to make it emotionally resonant.  

Sure, you can keep tweaking and iterating on it over time so that it grabs your heart even more. But perfection isn’t required initially. Go back and look at mine. I’ve been working on it and refining it for over a year and a half. For me, I’d say it’s 90% there.

Nevertheless, it’s what drives my work priorities, my life, my relationships and how I spend my time. It’s what makes and it gives me the level of fulfillment that I didn’t know how to get to before.

Your own mission can do the same for you.

Once you’ve good draft, it’s time to make it work for you. So let’s finally look at…

How To Use Your Mission To Keep You Inspired 

Review it every morning. 

By reviewing your most important mission every single morning, you ensure you keep your BIG thing top of mind.

After reviewing it for many weeks in a row, it starts to become part of your automatic thinking. After enough repetition, your mind will automatically look for the people, events, actions, and opportunities that could bring you closer to passion.

When you feel uninspired, read it.

Had a bad meeting with your boss?  A heated conflict with a client?  A unexpectedly negative reaction to an idea you’ve proposed?

Stop in those down moments and reflect back on your mission. Use that as fuel to keep you going.

Surround yourself with it.

Capture your mission on your phone so that you can periodically refer to it often.

If you’re a creative, make a dream board. This is a collection of quotes and pictures that remind you of your MISSION. These could be places you want to go, things you want to accomplish or feelings you want to experience more of.

Make it your laptop background or wallpaper. With one of my HR clients, her mission involves working with marketing leaders on HR issues around the world which requires that she travel extensively.  So she has set her background to rotate through a set of photographs of places she’s been and would like to go. Each time she sees it, it reminds her of mission and spurs her toward action.

Share it with others.

Speak about it. Write about it. Give presentations on it.  Conduct webinars about it. Set goals and look for new ways you can take the actions that help you fulfill your mission.

Since this is a mission that matters, all these actions should charge you up and deepen your connection to it in a more meaningful way.

Finally, change it if it doesn’t make your pulse race.  

Just updating or shifting your mission just a bit can light your fire again. That’s another value of reviewing it often.

All that said, let’s…

Recap, Because You’ve Just Read…A Lot.

Are you still alive? Do you need smelling salts, a defibrillator? Don’t worry — I got you.

If you’re like, what did I just read? Let’s summarize both Parts 1 and 2, shall we?

  • As we go through this COVID crisis, giving yourself a BIG MISSION THAT MATTERS is your secret weapon for staying inspired as an HR Pro.
  • What is it?  It’s simply a cause, a driving purpose or simply the big reason that inspires you to get up in the morning.  Consider it your WHY.
  • Your mission can take just about any shape or form, don’t get hung up on how it sounds to others. The key is does it emotionally resonate with you? Does it inspire you?
  • To craft your own, set aside an afternoon, to go through the four key questions. Don’t aim for perfection, instead shoot for a statement that resonates with you on an emotional level.
  • When you have yours, use it. Review it every morning, surround yourself with it, share it with others…and especially eyeball it when you feel uninspired.

That’s it.


Now it’s your turn.

Have you given yourself a big MISSION that matters?  Are you using it?  How is it working? What are your insights and thoughts about this concept?  Please share them in the comments below.


Want more BIG ideas for staying inspired, motivated and energized in your current role in HR? Then check out:

WINNING BIG IN HR: 100+ Powerful Strategies For Accomplishing Great Results Faster & Getting Your Clients To Rave About You As A Human Resources Professional!

For more detailed information about this book, go HERE.


If you are an aspiring HR leader or anticipate moving into a new HR leadership role soon, then check out.

THE NEW HR LEADER’S FIRST 100 DAYS:  How To Start Strong, Hit The Ground Running & ACHIEVE SUCCESS FASTER As A New Human Resources Manager, Director or VP.

For more information about this book, go HERE.

About the author: Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of a variety of best selling books for HR professionals including WINNING BIG IN HR. and THE NEW HR LEADER’S FIRST 100 DAYS.  He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.

Feed your network — If you like this article, feel free to share it with your contacts by clicking the buttons below…



2 Responses to “Your Secret Weapon For Staying Inspired & Motivated in HR During COVID-19 (Part 2 or 2)”

  1. Diana Says:

    Thank you, Alan. Quite clear and precious ideas for deep insights and reflection. I would say, it provides a thinking mode serving anyone aiming to stay inspired and motivated during Covid 19, and beyond. Very encoraging to grap a pen and start brainstorming, following your steps. Sounds promising to bear desired results.

  2. Alan Says:

    Thanks, Diana! Always great hearing from you. You are correct, it is a thinking and reflective exercise. It does require time also. However, the results are well worth it and will pay off for months if not years. Be well and stay safe.