What I’ve Learned From HR, Pancakes, and Running

I’m almost 2 months and 20 posts into this whole blogging experience and I’m still trying to figure it all out. It’s kind of like my life. When I fired this thing up, I was thinking of possible themes. My creativity bones have yet to develop so I looked to my other social media profiles to get some inspiration. For Instagram, my profile reads, “HR • Pancakes • Running”, so why create the wheel, right? That’s where it all began in mid-February. It seems just like yesterday.

I went into this whole thing with no real purpose on the topics. Sure, most would be about my HR professional career because that’s what pays the bills and it’s something I’m actually a certified professional. Thanks, SHRM and HRCI. Running and pancakes are  just hobbies and interests that don’t pay the bills, but keep my sanity from those terrible days in the HR trenches!

I never really gave any thought into how each of these topics were related, but if I’m ever going to take myself, or have anyone take me seriously as a blogger, I need to be able to find some correlation. How else am I supposed to develop those great comparison stories if I can’t do it for my own brand? You know those stories I’m talking about. Something like, “The 3 leadership lessons we can all learn from opening a bottle of wine.”

So to add instant street cred to this blog, sit back and watch me weave this beautiful tapestry of what HR Pancakes and Running all have in common. They all have variety and require practice and patience.


There’s so much variety in HR. You can be a generalist or a specialist. You can work in compensation, benefits, payroll, learning and development, talent management, talent acquisition, (yes, recruiters, you’re a part of HR. Don’t worry, you can still partner with Marketing, as you should partner with all areas of the business) and HRIS. You have a background or want to work in IT, Finance or Marketing? C’mon over. We could use you in many of the areas I just listed. Want to be CEO? Take a few laps in HR. Just ask GM’s current CEO. I’ve been fortunate to dig deep, and mess up, almost all areas of HR, and it’s made me a better professional.

And if you can’t find variety in pancakes, you’ve never Googled “pancakes.” I dabble in the sweet variety, but, in my best Bubba voice, there’s all kinds of pancakes. There’s sweet, savory, buttermilk, chocolate chip, banana, apple, lemon ricotta, red velvet, hummingbird, cinnamon roll, cherry, and a whole lot more. And I haven’t even explored pancake’s cousins, the crepe and the waffle.

In running, you can be a sprinter, miler, run 5ks, 8ks, 10ks, be a half or full marathoner, and if you’re completely insane, be a ultra marathoner. My brother is an ultra-marathoner. He’s got that gene. You can run inside or outside. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, races and genders, and from all socioeconomic backgrounds. There’s a race and a pace for everyone. I’m a half-marathoner, but there’s a full marathon in my not-so-distant future.

Each of these provide me with so many choices that I’ll never be bored.


To make Allen Iverson proud, we’re going to talk about practice. Everyday, I practice HR. Every interaction I have with an employee or team is an opportunity for me to practice my listening, problem solving, or change management capabilities. Even though I have my HR certifications, and have had them for a long time, I still need to practice my craft. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed at my job, but each of those failures has made me a better HR person because I’ve learned from the experiences. Every time I have the chance to train or facilitate is a chance for me to practice and prepare for several speaking engagements I have, this year.

For pancakes, every concoction is a practice run. I’ve had some doozies, but I wouldn’t have been able to have some great tasting ones like my cinnamon roll pancakes. Through practice, I’ve made my own ricotta, learned how to make buttermilk when I didn’t have any, and know that 2 caps full of vanilla equals 1 teaspoon. If I ever want to open Huddy’s Hotcakes, I need to practice serving big groups. So, if you need someone to speak at your next HR event, and also need breakfast options, call me and we can work something out. I have some great content and even better recipes.

Just like every interaction of my day is a practice in HR, every time I lace up the shoes, I’m practicing my running. I’m always working on my form, cadence, or arm swing. I’m trying out new equipment or fuel strategies or taking different routes and different surface types. I’m practicing for the different race distances I have on my calendar. All of these are making me a better runner and keep me injury free.

Regardless of your passions or craft, you have to practice. You need to create space to fail, mess up, and start over. This is the only way you’ll get better and be satisfied with your work.


Last, and most importantly, patience is the key to great HR, pancakes, and running.

Most HR interactions take time. Sure, you can answer that benefits question in 2 minutes, but if you’re dealing with a difficult employee relations issue or leading a team through an organizational redesign, you will need to be patient. After all, you’re dealing with humans, for now. I’m not so sure about those robots, but let me know when they are ready because I have a few parts of my job they can have. And you must be patient with your career growth. In my first real HR job, I was an IT recruiter for a large staffing firm in Charlotte, NC. After six months on the job, I thought I should be promoted and I got a little pouty and vocal. I still haven’t overcome my poutiness, by the way, but I’m working on it. Anyway, one of the sales managers, who is still a good friend to this day, pulled me into his office. He drew a 12 inch ruler on a piece of paper and said, “Hudson, this ruler is your career. Retirement is at 12 inches. You’re currently at one-sixteenth of an inch. Slow down and learn the business. You have plenty of time to get to where you want to be, but you have a lot to learn. Don’t worry, I’m here to show you how to get there and you have a whole office of support. Now, quit being an idiot and get back on the phones!”

For pancakes, you can’t flip them too early or you will have a runny middle. You can’t rush the steps in making a glaze or it will not gel right. Nobody likes a raw runny pancake with a grainy glaze. Just ask my kids.

As with HR, running is the ultimate test in patience. You can’t expect to complete a 5k if you’re just starting to run. You need to be patient with the process. You’re going to be sore and slow and tired. You will be frustrated because you’re not seeing the results after 3 runs. Don’t worry. This is normal. In fact, it can take a year or so for your body to fully adjust to the rigors of running. But all of the patience pays off. So stick with it. Enjoy the scenery. Run with friends or make new ones. Discover some new music.

HR, pancakes, and running have taught me so many things beyond the actual activity. Each has made me a better partner, parent, friend and colleague. How, you may ask? You’ll just have to wait and see in a future post!


4 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned From HR, Pancakes, and Running

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