The Career Refresh with Jill Griffin

Navigating Evolving Career Landscapes with Google's Kristen Leone

December 19, 2023 Season 5 Episode 148
The Career Refresh with Jill Griffin
Navigating Evolving Career Landscapes with Google's Kristen Leone
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Kristen Leone, a leading authority in Digital Transformation and Strategy at Google, empowers the company's major clients with innovative insights, enhancing consumer experiences through strategic digital approaches. Kristen is a strategic leader celebrated for her entrepreneurial growth mindset. I was delighted to interview her, and in this podcast, we delve into:

  • The divergence of purpose and work
  • Evolving job fit and the Fit Delta
  • Changing desires and organizational needs 
  • Career decision framework

Mentioned on the Show:
Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman
Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
The Extended Mind, Annie Murphy Paul

Show Guest

Kristen Leone is a Digital Transformation and Strategy expert at Google.  She concurrently serves as Head of Industry for the Home and Consumer Services category, partnering with advertisers in the automotive, real estate, and home security industries to drive transformative impact for their businesses. Before Google, Kristen led Sales Strategy teams at The Weather Company/An IBM Business and WebMD. She co-founded the venture-backed startup Joor, the premier digital platform for wholesale management in contemporary fashion. And she honed her skills as a classically trained brand manager at General Mills. Kristen holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Princeton University. Follow her on LinkedIn 

Support the show

Jill Griffin is committed to making workplaces more successful for everyone through leadership training and development, team dynamics workshops, and employee well-being programs. Her executive coaching, workshop facilitation, and innovative thinking have driven multi-million-dollar revenues for top agencies, startups, and renowned brands. Collaborating with individuals, teams, and organizations, Jill fosters high-performance and inclusive cultures while facilitating organizational growth.

Visit JillGriffinCoaching.com for more details on:

  • Book a 1:1 Career Strategy and Executive Coaching HERE
  • Gallup CliftonStrengths Corporate Workshops to build a strengths-based culture
  • Team Dynamics training to increase retention, communication, goal setting, and effective decision-making
  • Keynote Speaking
  • Grab a personal Resume Refresh with Jill Griffin HERE

Follow @JillGriffinOffical on Instagram for daily inspiration
Connect with and follow Jill on LinkedIn

Speaker 1:

Hey there, I'm Jill Griffin and this is the Career Refresh. Today I'm introducing you to Kristin Leone. She is a digital transformation and strategy expert at Google. Kristin is a strategic leader who combines the growth mindset of an entrepreneur with the creative discipline of a brand owner. She works with Google's largest customers, sharing insights on innovation and consumer experiences to help transform their businesses, with digital as the primary driver. She concurrently serves as head of industry for home and consumer services category, where she partners with advertisers in the automotive, real estate and home securities industries. Before Google, kristin led sales strategy teams at the Weather Company, an IBM business and WebMD. She co-founded the venture-backed startup Jor, the digital platform for wholesale management in contemporary fashion, and she honed her skills as a classically trained brand manager at General Mills. Kristin holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Princeton University.

Speaker 1:

In this episode, we discuss how your fit for your job may change over time and really thinking about the delta between your needs and the company's ever-changing needs and how that might shift. We also share some real examples about how that shifting desire and what you might do about it and it doesn't always mean leaving your company. We talk about how very often, people confuse purpose and think that your job and your purpose is the same thing, and it may be for some, but it's often not for most of us. And then, lastly, we talk about a framework for discernment around career decisions. Kristin is the leader, seriously, that you wish you worked for. I wish I worked for her. She is super strategic, with a very high emotional IQ, and leaders everywhere at all levels can learn from Kristin. I know you are going to enjoy this thoughtful conversation and, as always, if you have questions, email us at hello at jillgriffincoachingcom. Have a great week, dig in and I'll see you next time. Hey, kristin.

Speaker 2:

Hey, jill, it's nice to see you. It's good to see you too.

Speaker 1:

All right, let's get at it. So tell our friends and listeners here the question that you know I ask everyone, and it is what did you want to be when you grew up?

Speaker 2:

Well, I've been listening to your podcast and so I've been thinking about that question actually, and two stories came to mind. So I think if you were to ask my family members, they might have said that I would have been a performer. I was remembering that my aunt and uncle, when I was really young, gave me a Muppet's little Miss Piggy microphone. There was a talking Miss Piggy and a microphone attached to it with a little wire and when you sang or talked into it it would move the Muppet and I was obsessed with that. It's amazing. So that was something they would always tell me you're such a ham and you're going to be a performer.

Speaker 2:

But really what I wanted to be was I actually wanted to be a business owner. I kind of knew the concept of an entrepreneur because my dad had to take over the family business when my grandfather had passed away suddenly, and so I watched him establish the culture for the business and be a leader. And when I was a little kid I was trying to think of business ideas. I actually had a little toy assembly business for a while. I went around the neighborhood and passed out flyers saying that I would assemble toys, because I knew parents hated to do that. So those were kind of my journey when I wanted to grow up.

Speaker 1:

What do you think you learned from seeing your dad step into that role?

Speaker 2:

I think work ethic I think that's a thing universally for a lot of my family members was just work ethic, but I also saw a lot of caring and concern for the employees and also some of the complications of managing a family business.

Speaker 1:

I would imagine. And also, was the family all working for the business? It was primarily your dad and then employees that weren't related to the family.

Speaker 2:

Yes, several of his siblings. So he had to. His father had a partnership with some of his in-laws and other cousins, and so then my dad stepped into that role, but then some of my dad's siblings wound up working for the business as well.

Speaker 1:

That sounds like it could be a podcast in and of itself.

Speaker 2:

I'm sure it could be. I remember there used to be books around the house of managing a family business and things like that.

Speaker 1:

I saw a book recently called Cain and Abel at Work and I was like, oh, and for anyone not sure that's a biblical reference from Cain and Abel. They were both. They didn't get along so well. One could say, anyway, yeah, no, I've heard that a lot about running the family businesses and the nuances of the beauty of really creating a shared value-based business and also of creating legacy. So I love hearing that. That your family. Do they still have the business or do they ultimately sell it at some point?

Speaker 2:

They do. There's been different iterations, they've sold different components of it and they've bought other things and reconfigured it, so yeah, Me, me All right.

Speaker 1:

I'd love for you to take us through a high level touch point of your career journey, so then we can get into where you are today, sure.

Speaker 2:

I'll share a little bit. When I was thinking about your earlier question, I'll share a little bit of where I started. I actually went to college and majored in cognitive psychology and I mentioned that because I think that's informed my approach to careers and decision making, because I studied how we make decisions, how the brain works. I had the good fortune of having Daniel Kahneman as one of my advisors, and one of the alumni of my school was Martin Seligman, who's kind of the father of positive psychology, and so I got to read about and learn about, learned optimism, optimistic bias and decision making all those things in my formative years, and I know that really shaped how I interact with the world and how I've made decisions about my career. So I graduated in 2000.

Speaker 2:

It was the tech bubble and I actually joined a startup at that time. But over the years I was always looking to learn about ways to run a business and so I later worked in client side like marketing roles a lot of sales and marketing roles places like Pfizer, places like General Mills, running brands like Nature Valley, granola Bars and Trick Serial. We also got to play with the Pillsbury Doughboy, which was really fun, and then I eventually found myself in sales back in the New York area working on big sales teams, and I currently run a sales team at Google and sometimes people ask what do you sell at Google and it's ads? The primary revenue driver for Google is the advertisements that you see in our search properties or on YouTube or on different websites or on the internet, and so I run a team of people the partners with some of our largest clients to help grow their business.

Speaker 1:

But I mean what an amazing experience. And then also having the background of marketing, I would have to imagine I taught you more about going into the sales role. I mean you had your basics in cognitive psychology but then learning the application of marketing and then going into a sales role. Was it a conscious choice to then move into sales, or did it sort of just naturally happen?

Speaker 2:

I think it naturally happened over time. I chose the marketing role when I was at business school. I really got an understanding of what brand marketing was and what I loved about it was that you had P&L ownership right. You got to manage the full perspective of the business. And for me, wanting to be an entrepreneur which I ultimately have done at different points in my career I should say that too Like I've stepped out of corporate and co-founded businesses, so I thought that would be a great holistic learning of the business but also be able to get to stay close to creativity and connecting with consumers and understanding how to deliver a message.

Speaker 2:

And the way I came to sales was I had transitioned to a strategy team inside of a company called WebMD, which was the largest health information platform in the US at the time, and the head of sales said Kristin, you realize you're going to a lot of these client meetings and you're helping us close these deals.

Speaker 2:

You could actually earn commission if you were to take on a sales team, which I thought was a great idea. And that was my entree into the sales side. And you're absolutely right, it helped me to have that marketing foundation in two ways. I could really empathize with the clients and understand how they're trying to run their business, and formulate my proposals in a way that would what I always tell my team is do the work for them. How can I deliver you a proposed solution that is going to be easy for you to fit it right into what your business planning is and not make you have to rethink or rejigger what you're doing? And then it also helped, frankly, from a network standpoint. Right, I knew a lot of the people that had been my contemporaries, particularly in the CPG world, but also across healthcare and in some cases in automotive companies too, and I was able to reach back out to them. So I was selling.

Speaker 1:

Oh nice. And then again, a theme we talk a lot about on this podcast is to not have transactional relationships and to actually have relationships that build over years. So there's more evidence, folks, of when you're building those relationships throughout your years. You're then going back to them and continuing to grow those when you think about making that switch from marketing into sales. What is something you liked more than you thought you would.

Speaker 2:

I think I liked the ownership and having a quota actually and having responsibility for your business. I think that can be a fearful thing for some folks to have that scoreboard that you're always moving towards of. Am I going to hit my numbers? But I think more than I thought I would, I embraced it and see the opportunity of, well, how high is up and can we exceed our targets and then have some ownership over that. I feel like I'm a little bit more in control.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I feel like for anyone out there who runs their own business, what you just tapped on is even something that I deal with as a business owner that there are definitely things that are out of my control but there's so much that's in my control to be able to figure out the way of. I love how you say how high is up, to figure out a way to actually meet your quota or deliver against it, or I like to also think about it. It's like can I turn the faucet on and off and I control that, based on what's going on in the marketplace. When you think about the idea of then applying the business unit and the sales unit that you're running to owning a business, what sort of positive psychology or cognitive psychology tools did you use to keep yourself and your team focused on the end goal?

Speaker 2:

The first tool that I would say comes to mind and I think it's ubiquitous when it comes to sales or, frankly, just communicating in the business world with one another is clear communication and thinking about how we perceive. I spent a lot of time studying perception and understanding visual hierarchy of things and in the sales world, we find ourselves making a lot of decks whether they're Google Slides or PowerPoint or Keynote and really making sure that things are clear. What is the main point that you want to communicate? Is that hopping? Is that visually the largest thing on the slide, and is that popping off the slide for clients to understand? And finding ways to simplify and chunk information? There's this concept of how our brains process information around chunking and how much can you hold in your memory at a given period of time. Some of those basic things were really critical for me. When it comes to another concept, I think about learned optimism. That was something that was really fundamental for me, coming from Martin Seligman, I try to infuse that with my teams.

Speaker 2:

How do we create a space of psychological safety? How do we build trust with one another? Look at the reality of a situation but try to focus on hey, we can take a positive outcome here. There are some things that are out of our control. In any major corporate environment, there are some things that are out of your control. How do we look more broadly at what we might be encountering, find something that we can control? Maybe it's our culture within our team. Maybe there are some things that have changed. Maybe the accounts that we're covering have changed. We can control how we approach things in a given quarter. As a team, can we create an environment that feels supportive and engaged, so that people want to come to work and that we want to interact with our clients in a positive and thoughtful way?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's really a testament to your leadership style. I feel lucky that there's more people like you out there that are leading teams and really helping people. Yeah, we can take on hard things, but we can also have a place where there's some level of trust and safety, because we're going to fail, we're going to mess up People are messy but that we're looking at that and figuring out how to evaluate and move forward. I think that's a tremendous thing to have within your department, within an organization. That makes me think when we're in a hybrid situation, some of us are in the office, some of us are working remotely or somewhere in between how did you potentially pivot to keep that level of trust with your team moving into a completely new environment?

Speaker 2:

I will tell you about some of the things I did, but I think it's an ongoing experiment. I think that's the case for all of us. This probably harkens back to the cognitive psychology thing, but I consider myself a lifelong learner. I'm constantly seeking new ways of doing things or consuming information, reading a lot of books and then trying to share that back and process it and make it active.

Speaker 2:

We tried a lot of things In the hybrid environment. At the outset we had a team that had spent a lot of time together physically. Already we had established relationships that we could trade on. We had established client relationships that we could trade on, but we had established that trust. It was easier to interact with one another. In the early days we did daily stand-up meetings to just check in. We put time on calendar to have informal connections as opposed to just formal connections. I tried to encourage people to think if you would have turned your head to the person at the desk next to you to ask something, we'll then ping them via chat, reach out to them via Google Meet, grab the phone and call them. Do some other ways if you would have done that, not do it just because you have the distance.

Speaker 1:

Try to have that, because you're sitting at your kitchen table and you're not necessarily in that space.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it became a little more challenging when the pandemic went on for a longer period of time and I started to hire people on my team that I hadn't met physically in the real world. So then we tried to be even more discerning about pre-hybrid. I had had a thing with my team that we called we Come To you and once a month each team member hosts the thing, and the idea was we want to see you enter your element and that at work you may not be your core element, and so what do you like to do? We'll all come to you to get to see that and experience that and that could be.

Speaker 2:

You know, one person was super into workout classes and so we all went to a workout class with her. One person really missed their comfort food from South Carolina, so we did a tour of some of their favorite restaurants in New York that served that food right. One person was into stand-up comedy and so we went to a comedy club and it was a really great way that we rotated around and so we turned that into a hybrid thing and someone hosted each time One person. We did kind of pasta cooking online with one another. We built a terrarium because somebody was interested in biospheres and things, and so I think just trying different types of things to stay connected in both formal and informal ways during this hybrid experience, I think is more important than ever, oh gosh.

Speaker 1:

I want to work for you. That's really beautiful and it helps. You know, again, I sit in this place where I'm going into organizations and helping them with team dynamics and obviously I work with people one-on-one through executive coaching. And you know, it's these little things that we're not talking about the ping pong table. People were talking about creating relationships and it's these little things that make people feel less lonely, makes them feel that they are a part of team, makes them feel that they can put their ideas out there and they're not going to be frowned upon or poo pooed upon.

Speaker 1:

It increases the work. It's diversity of thought, of people, of ideas. It's all of these things that really make such a difference in the workplace that I know, you know, some companies are really embracing it and knowing that they're going to fumble along the way. Other companies are sort of in this holding pounder where they're afraid to do anything because they don't want to upset people. So in the meantime you're upsetting people because you're not doing anything and it's sort of all in between. So I just love hearing another example of what you share, that everyone could take a piece of that and implement it in their own organization.

Speaker 2:

You know, beautiful. One thing that I will mention as you say that, jill is that I came up with that idea only because someone on my team said I don't think we are really seeing each other in our best element and I don't feel like I know the other people. This was many years ago, before we were all hybrid, and so I would really encourage people to advocate on behalf of what you think the needs are and try to come with your own solutions. No one's stopping you.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I sort of operate with a motto of I'd rather ask for forgiveness than permission, and particularly when it comes to these cultural touch points inside an organization, I would say if you have the idea, try to just do it and, if necessary, raise it to your leadership and see if you can find somebody who will enable you to do it. I would suggest, I would guess, that even if the first person doesn't say yes, you're going to find someone who will do it. But I think there's something to be said for everyone taking ownership, and not just people with titles as leaders in organizations to help to shape that, because some of the best ideas come from my team members. I just help enable them to do it, and my goal is to create an environment where they're comfortable sharing their ideas.

Speaker 2:

I'm always trying to hire people that are smarter than me and that no Lauren can do better, and so I consider it an active facilitation rather than not. So if you are one of those people that feels like I wish there was more, try to just take action on that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, really great point for people to take away. I love that it's an active facilitation. You don't necessarily have to have the idea, you just need to create the capacity to have the idea come to fruition for people. So it really. That makes me think of a conversation that you and I have had over the last few months, because it around fit and fit for a job. This idea that being in a job and the fit that this is the right job for you isn't constant. It evolves, and I would love for you to just share with our listeners what your take is on fit and how you navigate that, both for yourself and others.

Speaker 2:

Sure, too bad. This is not video. I usually draw this messy hand drawn chart with the X-axis's time and there's two lines, and one line is you and one is the company, and at the point in time when you're interviewing and you secure a job with the company, the fit is pretty close. I would say that let's think of two lines going on a chart. The distance between them it's not touching necessarily, but it's pretty close. There's probably a small delta between those two things, and that's great.

Speaker 2:

But the reality is, over time, we're human beings, we're going to change and we're not going to be exactly the same, and so you're going to change at some rate, and the company is an organization and that's going to change too, and so the delta between where you are and the company is at any given point in time might change. What are some of those changes? For an individual, they could be life changes. I'm starting a family, I have a health issue, I learned a new skill and I'm eager to move forward in a different direction than what my current role is. What are the changes that the company may have? They may have made an acquisition. They may have made a divestiture.

Speaker 2:

They may have strategically tried to go in a different direction, they may have shrunk teams, they may have had to have layoffs in some way, shape or form. And so when those deltas between where you are and where the company is get to a certain threshold, check in with yourself and say, hey, maybe this is the time to make a move. Maybe there's a time. At big companies like Google, there's usually lots of opportunities in and around the organization and so you can pick your head up and look across functions, look across roles, look across locations. But it may be the time to move on and look for something else. And then for people that experience layoffs or downsizing or things like that, it's not a comment on, or, frankly, I think back to my startup, I think back to a lot of organizations I've been in as a leader. You sometimes have to let people go, and it's usually not the quality of the human as an individual or their capabilities. It is the circumstances and the match of their skill set and what they're looking for to that particular role at that time.

Speaker 2:

Even if you were to stay the same over a long period of time, there's a likelihood that the company is not going to stay exactly the same and have changed at that exact pace. So I've just found that that's how I approach things. When I feel like this is not a close fit what I want to be doing, am I challenged enough? Do I want to go seek a new challenge? Then I go look for those opportunities, first inside the organization and then beyond, or if I find myself in circumstances where the company's really changed and this doesn't work. It's not a commentary on you and your ability and your capacity to have a fantastic career. It's just the circumstances of fit and we're all evolving, ever-changing organisms. So take that as an opportunity and think about okay, what do I want to do? It's a big world out there. What do I want to do next? Don't take it as an assessment as to you or your abilities.

Speaker 1:

So that brings up two questions that I'll ask you at the time. So what strategies would you recommend for proactively managing and adapting one's career to fit over time?

Speaker 2:

There's two that come to mind. So one is really check in with yourself, like, really be clear I think I've heard you talk about this too, joe, right, like, what are your values? What are your career goals? Do you have a vision for what you want your life to look like? And you know? For me, I would encourage you to say, like, think about your career in the context of your whole life, and it's not just about your job. Think about what you need at any given point in time and do you need more work, more challenge at work, more of this? Or do you need more outside of work with your community, with your family, etc.

Speaker 2:

And I think, if you are clear on what those values are, what those skills that you might want to be building, what those goals that you have, then check in with yourself. You know, often, once a quarter, once a month, you know, I would say more than once a year in some cases to say, hey, is this right? Am I actually spending my time and spending my days in line with what my values are? So that's one thing and that can help you say, well, wait a second, I'm spending more of my day doing all these operational charts and forecasting, my time used to be spent out and about with clients. I really was thriving when I was spending more time with clients. Can I make that shift, or is this role becoming something that's more operational and then I may need to find another role?

Speaker 2:

The other thing that I would think about that I've been spending a lot more time with than the last I don't know four or five years is get an outside perspective. Talk to a friend, talk to a colleague, get a coach. I read this book Trillion Dollar Coach, which is the story of Bill Campbell, who was a guy who coached Steve Jobs, eric Schmidt at Google, all these prominent leaders in Silicon Valley coached Charles Sandberg. And when I read this, I thought, wow, all these people have a good. They're not doing it on their own, they have a coach helping to reflect back to them. And then I got to thinking, as a sports fan, you know also as a coach, all the greatest athletes of all time, exactly Ron James as a coach, serena Williams as a coach, roger Federer as a coach. So it made me want to get coaches. So I promptly went out and hired Good good.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, but I think that, like it's important to know that, that all the best have that, because you can't see yourself and having that somebody else reflect back to you what they're seeing can help you process and I found that incredibly useful in assessing fit over time and what might come next.

Speaker 1:

I love it. So, to recap, it's the self check in with values, which also sounds also like checking in with your strengths, because if you find yourself previously in a role that is more relationship driven and now this is more operational driven, that might be a values misalignment and then also not necessarily using your strengths. The second thing I'm hearing is that outside perspective whether it's a mentor if you can find an unbiased friend or family member or actually going forth and hiring a coach that exact as you said. Like all the best athletes have coaches, and they don't just have coaches for how to strengthen their physical body, it's also how to strengthen their mind. Lebron James has talked a lot about mindset and how he and the team have prepared over the years for getting on the court and the challenge of getting on the court. So, yeah, right, right up my alley with that on on what you said.

Speaker 1:

And the other thing that you said that kind of feeds into the next question you said before about how you may even be consistent but maybe your company is taking a different position is this idea that when you're, when you tie your value and your own self worth so connected to your job, I get it.

Speaker 1:

It's what brings us in money. It brings us purpose. It makes us potentially make a difference in our lives. I understand why jobs are so important and they do connect in with our identity, but when you know when you're in a marketplace, especially as tech and marketing have taken a bit of a hit over this year again, unemployment is still low, wages are still high, but we're talking about two sectors have had that have been reorged out or they already have been reorged. From your experience on laying, laying off and reorganization, I find a lot of people especially if their job search is going on for a while they really take it about their self worth and that they are maybe not sure or they already have been reorged. From your experience, how would individuals disconnect their self worth from the company's strategic decisions so that they can maintain their own confidence?

Speaker 2:

I think it's important to establish connections and community outside the company. I think that and I understand that it's really hard, particularly in the modern world we have these major organizations who have you've referenced the ping-pong tables before at Jail right who have created all these facilities and a lot of people have food in their offices, all the things to try to keep you there as much as possible and take on as much of your time as possible so that you're fueling all of your energy towards the organization. But I think it's so important to have other communities that you interact with. If you love to play sports, join, write the Urban Professionals Basketball League in the city, or play tennis or pickleball or whatever your thing is, I find an outlet for service, whether that is via religious affiliation. There's so many different nonprofits and community organizations because you can bet like they will value any and all of your skills. You can find a way to really do some good in the world and feel that reciprocation that comes with giving and then giving back. I would say stay connected to other networks, whether you have an alumni network. I'm close to some of my alumni networks in a major way, but there are all kinds of professional networks, or even the little. I don't want to say little things, but do you love you love to read? Do you have a book club? Do you have a dinner club? You could have a group of people that you go to dinners with.

Speaker 2:

There's a former colleague of mine in Chicago who had created this concept called Table for 12. He would book a reservation at a cool or hard to get restaurant for 12 people and he would send an email out to his whole network. It would include some of his colleagues and his clients and his friends and his neighbors. The first 12 people to respond would get to go that month. He would keep it very much to the first 12 people and it would create this eclectic group. But then they all formed relationships and connections with one another and it became the Table for 12 group on and on.

Speaker 2:

I thought that was genius. It doesn't even have to be a specific affiliation. It can be the restaurants that you like to go to, but find community connections and then find ways to, with the people that you trust among them that are deserving of it, be vulnerable with. Hey, here's what I'm feeling and they will reflect back to you. It's not about your human values. There are some circumstances going on in the market and they may have ideas for help to direct you in a way that can be fulfilling.

Speaker 1:

I think again, I think it's just a beautiful response and so true from what I've seen with many of my clients too. So myself, there's been times where I've been unemployed. I always joke that my career was a signing bonus in a severance package, because when you work in tech and marketing it's like there you go. It's easy to joke when I'm not necessarily in it, but finding that way to find your value. I think the other thing that you didn't say, but it's reading between the lines, is what I heard is that your, I think in the United States especially it happens elsewhere in Western philosophy, but I think especially here we so often confuse our purpose with what we do to make money. And you can make money and maybe it is your purpose and you know what. Go with God man. If you can figure that out and that works for you, have at it.

Speaker 1:

But for many of us we're doing something for income and from work that we like enough, but maybe isn't our quote purpose and finding a way to the two of them can be held differently. Right, you can have something that you do for work and then you can have things that, as you mentioned, you know sports, your alumni group, potentially a religious or a belief-based organization, your family. There's lots of other things that may align to your purpose. You know, one of my personal desires is to be inspired and to inspire others. That may or may not happen at work I mean, I hope it continues to happen within workplaces and work environments but when you're clear in something like that, you can find all the different ways in which that can help, and that is what that the seamal ball acts and building that self-worth is really what will help you get through some of the challenges and pivots that will happen, you know, in your career.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, and I think it's even more important than ever, because in the modern workplace, you don't have examples of people that have a 40, 50 year career at one place and then get a pension. It doesn't work like that. We don't have pensions anymore, really, we have 401ks, and so you have to be more of a free agent about your career and think about what are the skills that I'm building? How am I bringing value here? Maybe this role I'm taking because I need to earn a living and this is how I need to support things, but I have these other. That's what we talk about, I think decoupling your purpose from your job and your career and think about your whole life. It's important.

Speaker 2:

And think about look, life is fragile too. A lot of some of my perspective on life has been shaved by losses, and I keep that in mind. Thinking about what if there wasn't a 10 year, right? What if I only had one year? What would I do? And that can seem troubling to some people, but I don't mean it in that way. I mean it in like it can be very clarifying If you were to think in that way, like how does that clarify things for you? Does that help you discern what you might want to do next or what your values actually are and what you care about, and help to sort of push away the distractions that are so easy. Yeah, I mean, I get on LinkedIn and it's hard not to get into that mindset of comparison and then comparisons, the thief of joy and I'm, what am I doing?

Speaker 2:

But when you can put yourself into that different mindset, not forever, but just to help guide you and to help get you in better touch with what are those values. What do you think your purpose is? If you don't have a clearly defined purpose, that's okay, right?

Speaker 1:

it's okay. It's definitely okay. So you touched on decisions and discernment, and I know something that you and I have talked about before is you know both of our belief systems and a lot that we do around mindset, and I love your perspective on this and I was hoping that you would share with our listeners how you approach, you know, discernment for career decisions.

Speaker 2:

Sure and for background for people. I was introduced to this concept of discernment. I think it's originally a Jesuit concept, but you do not have to take this as religious in any way, shape or form. I had gone to a retreat years ago where it was literally about discernment for career decisions and that had a religious meant to it. But I've since kind of modified this series of questions that they had walked us through in the retreat and shared it with lots of friends and colleagues over the years and many have found it useful.

Speaker 2:

And it's really about a process of can you get in touch with your gut? For some of us, I think, it's harder to really get in touch with what our gut sensibility is, and so, to simplify it, take an example of the decision that you're making and it's really helpful if you can structure it as a you know, one option or another option. So you have that in mind. Then step back and think about a time when you made a decision that you think was less optimal and just visualize yourself what did you feel, what did you think, what came up for you? Then think about a time you made a good decision that you were really happy with and had a really positive impact on your life Again. What were you feeling? What was the environment like? What were you thinking? And then come back to this decision that is currently you're presented with and take the least attractive option right, the option that you think is not the attractive one for you now and picture yourself a couple years out Maybe it's two years out. You've made that decision. What does life look like now? Where are you? What are you thinking about? What are you doing? How do you feel?

Speaker 2:

And really let that sink in, and sometimes it can be very surprising what comes up for you and then take the alternative, say, okay, well, that seemed like the least attractive option. What did that feel like? Let's take the most attractive option. That seems like the thing that I should be going with. What does that feel like? And then you know you step back from all of that and, I think, work through those responses, because things will come up for you, whether it's sensations and some folks find that it's sensations in their body For me it's things that kind of pop into my head unexpectedly and inevitably it helps you identify something you get a sense of oh, I didn't realize this, or maybe I was trying to convince myself of something, but deep down, somehow, I think this is what's pulling me, or you realize what was the least attractive option?

Speaker 2:

Actually, it's not so bad Like that could be great, and I actually prefer it more. So it's really a framework to help you get in touch with the sensibility of your gut, which, candidly, like as we're learning right, like I stare at my bookshelf, there's another book called the Extended Mind, by Annie Murphy-Paul that's. You know, we as humans take in information In so many different ways through all of our senses, and it's important to tap into that as we're making decisions. And you can activate those parts of your brain, activate all of those systems, by going through a process like this, whether it's this one or another one. But I would just encourage you to like take that time out to do that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, it's really, really dead on, and I love the simplicity of just. You know, there's no fancy tools, there's you, your brain, okay, maybe a notebook and a pen or a notes app. But just really thinking through and thinking through those various options Reminds me of a client who recently decided to leave a job that she knew she could have for life, meaning the benefits, the, what she was doing, how it was showing up, the way she was integrated into it. She easily could have stayed there for the rest of her life for as long as she started wanting to work, and so there was a lot of discernment in there and then realizing that there were things that were missing and making the choice. And the choice next I mean it's not jumping off a cliff, but the choice.

Speaker 1:

Now there's a lot of unknowns, but it filled the if I filled the area that she was finding that she was missing in what she was doing, for like we do, you know, hopefully 40 hours, but something about 60 hours a week, right. So that just that simplicity of tapping into your gut, thinking through two options and really thinking about your future self, like what was your future self want and how this could play out. I love it, kristen, this has been so. I love it. Just so simple, so helpful. Really great nuggets throughout this, and more people would be really fortunate if they had you as their supervisor or leader. So thank you for sharing honestly about your work, the work that you do and really also an inspiration for other leaders and what some of the things that they could follow. So I appreciate that.

Speaker 2:

That's very kind of you to say, Jill. I always love engaging in conversation with you. I always learn new things and it sparks creative ideas. So thanks for having me. It's been a delight.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. All right everyone. So thank you again for being here. If you have any questions, you can email them to hello at JillGriffinCoachingcom. We can get those questions to Kristen and we can maybe even have her come back if that's what all of you want to hear more of. So thanks for listening. Have a great week and I will see you next time.

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