Join us on the Bullpen this week as we hear Career Insights from Chief Talent Officer and Author Tony Bridwell
From The Great Resignation to Quiet Quitting, many are looking for more out of their careers. To help us understand how to find that sweet spot, Mentoro sat down with a gentleman who can help us get the most out of life, Tony Bridwell. Tony has numerous titles including author, international speaker, consultant and coach. In addition, he is currently the Chief Talent Officer for Encompass Group – an international people HR organization that provides solutions for organizations to meet all their people. In this role, Tony leads the workplace transformation division.
Many of us have career trajectories we did not plan. In fact, Tony shared that he studied architecture in college and started off his career in that field. Even though he had no idea he would become a chief talent officer he noted, “If you look back at everything I have done up to this point, it’s absolutely prepared me to do what I’m doing. But I never set out to say ‘ok I am going to do this or do that’ – it just kind of evolved along the way.” In fact, changing your major in college is perfectly normal as the average college student changes majors 2.4 times!
Tony offered us some advice on finding a fulfilling job. First off, he noted that too often we try to put components of life into separate buckets – financial, personal, etc. Instead, we should focus on our overall well-being and view these components working together as a system. In addition, when searching for a job, you need to, “Look at the culture of the place you are going. If the people you are interviewing with can’t answer a simple question ‘Tell me about your culture?’ it might a little bit of a red flag.” On the flipside, “If they can tell you aspects of the culture that fulfill every area of well-being, now you are on track to a place that is probably going to be more healthy than not.” To conclude our talk about finding a job, Tony pointed out the differences between purpose and passion. Purpose is your why – the underling motivation behind what you are doing. Passion is the energy you have when working on a goal. Your sweet spot is finding a career that enables you to do both!
Tony then explained the following stories we tell ourselves:
- Sync Up Story – The sync up story is anything that runs in the background. It is constantly telling a story even when we may not be looking. This story ultimately drives what we do. The most common one we share is an agenda since everyone has one. An example is a calendar. This is usually in the background but lists the actions we must meet to achieve our agenda.
- Show Up Story – Tony expressed that we are constantly telling this story by our presence. This can be made more difficult in today’s Zoom world. Many now attend meetings virtually and the simple act of turning your camera on so other attendees can see you shows you are “being present when you are present.”
- Speak Up Story – Words are a secondary character – it is the emotion of the words that matter. Tony described this type of story by stating, “It is not by accident that our phones have over 3,000 options for emojis. There is a reason why. Because I can send you a text message with two words – thank you and a heart emoji – and instantly you know the sincerity of those two words. I can send you the same two words – thank you and the poop emoji – and it changes everything. Everything changes. Same two words but the tone and emotion behind those words.”
Tony then addressed those who are struggling with burnout. While it is great on paper, the work/life balance is a myth since balance means equal. Tony believes this should be reframed to work/life boundaries. He pointed out that Covid stripped away many boundaries. Our homes became a gym, our place of work, school for our kids, etc. To combat this, you need to be deliberate about the boundaries you set. For instance, don’t work in your bedroom since this is a place that should be for rest. If you work from home, have a dedicated place to do so and leave your work there so it doesn’t ooze into all elements of your life. In addition, if you are experiencing burnout and considering looking for a new job, the grass may not be greener on the other side. Tony noted, “Even weeds are sometimes green.” He explained if we don’t look at the full picture, we could jump into a toxic culture.
To sum up our interview with Tony, we asked him to tell us one action we could take today to create more meaning in our careers. He suggested we get a personal Board of Directors. This board should be comprised of three people. The first is someone who is ahead of you and has “been there, done that.” This individual knows the blind spots you will encounter and asks questions to help guide your journey. The next person is someone in the same season as you. This board member gets what you are going through and can help you in this season of life. The third is someone you are bringing along. You are this person’s mentor. You will be required to listen as this individual will ask you a lot of questions and be a set of fresh eyes for you. Thus, you will have to give more thought to your actions which will provide more clarity on what you are doing.
Tony concluded our interview with some great insight. Far too often we focus on our weaknesses and look to improve in that area. Tony said we should do the opposite and work on our strengths! In fact, we should, “Develop strengths and manage weaknesses.” Valuable parting wisdom!
No matter what season of life you are in, we are here to help. As a Mentoro member, you have access to a variety of career resources and tools that can help you become wealthy in more ways than a bank account alone will depict. Visit your profile today to learn more.