Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms

Understanding Balance and Fulfilment with the Happy Engineer

December 27, 2023 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 4 Episode 186
Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
Understanding Balance and Fulfilment with the Happy Engineer
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What if work-life balance isn't a balancing act at all? Join us as we enter the enlightening world of Zach White, the brains behind Oasis of Courage and the Happy Engineer Podcast. Zach's personal journey from traditional engineering to a more fulfilled lifestyle as an entrepreneur is nothing short of inspiring. He confronted the harsh reality of work-life imbalance, navigating through burnout, a failed marriage, and eventual self-discovery. Through coaching and personal development, he found a new way to view life, which led him to create Oasis of Courage.

Want a recipe for true life balance? It's not about dividing your life into work and personal like two sides of a scale or slices of a pie. Instead, Zach urges us to view life in its entirety. Forget the common misconceptions about segmenting your life into parts. Instead, focus on living a life that's aligned with your core values and vision in each moment. Along with dissecting work-life balance, we also touch on the empowering concept of radical responsibility. It's all about seizing control of your life and finding your own source of joy.

Dive into the power of confidence with Zach as he shares his insights on how to harness this essential emotion. He uncovers the astonishing truth that our minds can't distinguish between real experiences and intensely imagined ones. This episode wraps up with a discussion on Zach's projects - Oasis of Courage and the Happy Engineer Podcast - and the profound impact they're making on people's perception of work-life balance and holistic fulfillment. This episode is a beautiful reminder that your journey to happiness in work and life requires courage, confidence, and a fresh perspective on balance. Join us and discover the keys to your balance and fulfilment.

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Speaker 1:

This is the Rebel HR Podcast, the podcast about all things innovation in the people's space. I'm Kyle Rode. Let's start the show. Welcome back, HR Rebels. This is going to be a fun show With us. We have the founder and CEO of Oasis of Courage, Zach White. He is also a fellow podcaster and host of the Happy Engineer Podcast. We're going to be talking all about how we can be happy at work today, Zach, welcome to the show.

Speaker 2:

Kyle, it's awesome to be here. I'm happy to be here. This is going to be amazing.

Speaker 1:

I am also happy to be here. I'm happy to meet a fellow podcaster. I really appreciate the opportunity to meet people who are working towards a similar mission and passion, which is how to help people thrive at work. Zach, I want to welcome you to the podcast. I'm curious if you can just take a moment to just give us a little bit of background on what prompted you to start the Happy Engineer Podcast.

Speaker 2:

You got to back up to my career days to understand why I'm a podcaster. Now I am an engineer. I have my mechanical engineering degree from Purdue University. I got my master's in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. So many engineers.

Speaker 2:

I got to work and I wanted to work hard, wanted to get promoted, wanted to be successful and managed to tackle that problem in all the wrong ways. That led to a really difficult burnout, a divorce, some period of depression and embarrassment in my career and really as a lone wolf hero mentality kind of person, I struggled to figure out a way to create that success at work that I wanted while actually experiencing fulfillment and happiness in my life. It just wasn't working. The journey of discovery like how do you solve this problem? How do you create success and fulfillment? How do you move up the career ladder without burning out and hating the process? That led me to hiring coaches, doing tons of personal development and things outside of the engineering disciplines to discover who I am and what I really want and how to live and not just how to work, and those things ultimately became a sounding board for so many of my mentees and other people. They asked me these questions, like Zach, we saw this huge turnaround in your life from A to B and you're so happy now what changed? And, as an engineer, I naturally started documenting all of this, creating the systems and the tools and the strategies and all the ways that it was working for me so I could share it.

Speaker 2:

And there was a point in 2019, kyle where my career was actually going really, really well, but I had this sense of calling in my life. There's so many engineers who are going down the road that I went down where I failed and I'd love the opportunity to give back and support these engineers and help them and coach them. So I quit my job. In the middle of a rising, successful career path started Oasis of Courage, my coaching organization aiming at that engineering and technical talent to say, look, I can help you get the thing we all wanted.

Speaker 2:

Let's go get the promotions and the paychecks and the titles and the success and the significance and yep, that's all good, but let's learn how to do it in a way where you can enjoy the process, you can love your life and be happy now, not one day when and I would do it again in a heartbeat Hardest thing I've ever done, way harder than engineering. For me, engineering came naturally. This was very difficult, but there's so many people who need it and it's been amazing. So the happy engineer podcast was born out of that conversation, and here we are today.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. So I'm taking notes here and I'm like, oh okay, and I'm checking the boxes, I'm like, yep, I had that in my life.

Speaker 2:

Yep, I had that in my section.

Speaker 1:

And then a Boilermaker, a Wolverine you're talking to a Hawkeye, so we've also got a little bit of a Big 10 thing going on here for anybody outside the US Could be worse.

Speaker 2:

At least you're a Hawkeye, you're not an Ohio State buck.

Speaker 1:

I am not a buck. I am not a buck If anybody that's totally lost. Right now. These are NCAA conference rivals, so anyway, we're like friendly rivals. The reality is especially Boilermakers and Hawkeyes.

Speaker 2:

It's kind of like common enemies is what we have. Yeah, common enemies.

Speaker 1:

I got a location in Crawfordsville, indiana.

Speaker 1:

We'll high five on the way.

Speaker 1:

That's all good, but I do think your story really resonated with me and I think as an individual who was wired very similarly, where it's like you know what I was always raised you just buck up, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you muscle through it and you just power through until you achieve your goal. And the reality is that is a perfect recipe for burnout and you really can't do it alone. The reality is, if you try, you're going to be real lonely and probably pretty miserable by the time you reach your destination, and isn't that not the goal? So I hear you, man, and I'm kind of right here in the foxhole with you. So, first of all, I think, recognition for recognizing that and for making that really difficult decision in 2019 to step out and really pursue that truly. As you jumped into that and as you were kind of working through the realization and the evolution of your career, what were some of the things that you didn't expect that really surprised you as you started down a different path than you had always assumed you should walk down.

Speaker 2:

The first and most humbling surprise, frankly, Kyle, was that, being in small business entrepreneurship, going out on my own, the idea that sales and marketing would be so freaking hard was a huge shock. I was an engineer and I worked inside of a Fortune 200 organization. I had lots of reasons to believe that the work that I was moving into had huge demand, that there were tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of engineers around the world who would resonate with the message that should be easy to find these people and help them. The truth is, helping them once they understand and commit to the process, is actually pretty easy. Being someone to that point of recognizing they have a huge problem being open to possible solutions that are, frankly, especially for engineers, hard to measure, hard to quantify, no real proof that it's going to work, no guarantee at the beginning that you're going to get an outcome.

Speaker 2:

Coaching and training and personal development. It's a promise of a better future with no guarantee. That's a tough sell for an engineer. There's no y equals f of x when it comes to coaching.

Speaker 1:

Where's the proof? Point Right Exactly.

Speaker 2:

You can show them one testimonial or 100 testimonials, and at the end of the day, they still have to answer for themselves. Will this work? For me, that was the biggest surprise was you could look an engineer in the eye. They could tell you out of their own mouth that they're unhappy, lost, confused, out of crossroads, don't know what to do with their career, passed over for promotion multiple times, want to make a change. You have a solution for them, and they will still look right back at you and say I need to think about it. I'm not sure this is for me.

Speaker 2:

That was a huge challenge for me to overcome Learning how to get somebody to cross that threshold. And, kyle, there's no small reason why I named my business Oasis of Courage, because development, coaching, moving towards your vision for a better future takes courage. It is not a trivial feat to wake up one morning and say I'm going to make my life different and better. Change is scary, change is hard. It takes courage to do that. So that was the first thing that surprised me. The second thing, though, that really was amazing, kyle, is how quickly someone can create a massive shift in their life if they do have the courage to get out of their comfort zone. When you step out of your comfort zone and you're in this new space and you come alive with this energy to try new things and be willing to fail and step into the unknown boldly and supported by a community and a coach around you, I see clients absolutely radically change their life in 90 days or less, in ways that most organizations would kill to be able to create that level of engagement and transformation in their teams.

Speaker 2:

And it can happen. Even it shocks me sometimes. I am the coach, so it's kind of funny. It's like it takes me back to my baseball days. I remember the first time I hit a home run and I started sprinting around the bases and my coach was laughing. He's like Zach, slow down, act like you've been here before. You know you don't have to sprint. That's what I'm coaching. A client will have these massive breakthroughs and I feel like that, sprinting around the bases, like, oh my goodness, I can't believe this. It's like, okay, relax, relax, act like you've been here before, you know act like this is the level.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's good. I love that. Actually, I love that. That's a great analogy for it. It's like you know, yeah, having that presence of like you expect first of all, you expect these good things to happen, you expect to hit the home run right, like there's some power in that.

Speaker 1:

But then there's also the. I think the other thing that I'm kind of like I'm hearing and I'm kind of and I'm thinking through is, like you talk about, you make this transformational change and 90 days or less, and it's like, once the mindset shifts, once the lifestyle changes, once the approach changes, things start to shift. But it's not about sprinting around the bases and storing a home run Now it's more about. It's about like making that the permanent change, and then you're not sprinting, you're jogging, because you got to keep this going, the rest of your you know, the rest of your career, the rest of your life right, it's a lifestyle change. It's not just like a goal where I hit a home run once, now I'm done you know, mission accomplished, it seems exactly right, let's go home and you know, never do it again.

Speaker 1:

That's not what works.

Speaker 2:

It's the same for the engineers that I'm working with. When they experience the transformation for themselves, they'll often have that sprinting moment, like, oh, this feels so good. I'm this awareness or this change or this action that I took that got this amazing result. I'm so excited. And for them it's the same thing too, like, hey, that's not a one and done, that's not a flash in the pan for you. This is now who you are, this is how you operate, this is an identity. So that jogging, calm, grounded, I got this and I will do this again is a shift they need to make as well, and so for me, as the coach part of why it's important for me to exhibit that energy of like Kyla, of course you got that result, of course it feels that good and you're that happy at work right now. That's exactly what we expected to happen and it's exactly what you're going to do again tomorrow and the next day and the next day, and so I set the tone for that as their coach.

Speaker 2:

And then there on that, you know, of course we want to celebrate with them. Don't get me wrong. We love to celebrate the wins. But you don't come off that mountaintop back to the valley. You want to come off that to this idea of hey, that's your new normal, that's who you are.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And that's an important shift.

Speaker 1:

That's expected, right, and yeah, I have I don't know that. I bought that earlier in my career. Like to me, like I kind of like you, like I'm wired to think like a little bit skeptically, like, yeah, this sounds like some psycho cat babble, blah, blah, blah, blah, but you know, the quirk. Words matter, well, yeah, but really what matters is the outcome, kind of thinking as opposed to actually realizing that. You know the mindset and the words that you use with yourself can matter so much as it relates to your own individual happiness and how you approach it.

Speaker 1:

I do want to ask you about something that I know that you talk about and kind of focus on, and that's a lot of times we talk about these types of programs, these approaches like how are you happy, how do you find fulfillment and purpose and passion and all that, and it never really leads into a discussion about work-life balance. And you know it's like the most at this point it's like, well, naturally we're going to talk about work-life balance and all this. You know how do you fill your cup and you've got all these. But you take a little bit of a different approach and it's, you know, one of the points that you actually talk about is forget work-life balance. So walk us through how we can get here without thinking about work-life balance.

Speaker 2:

Let me be a nerd for just a moment. Kyle, I love it.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to nerd safe podcasting, because we're all nerds here.

Speaker 2:

This is a safe place to be a nerd. Okay, so one of the things as an engineer that I'm in love with is the idea of models, and we have models for everything. We have mental models. We have, you know, program models, you know calculations and mathematical models. But we model things and your subconscious mind uses models and frameworks and pattern recognition to help make life easy for you. You know, I've recognized this before, I've seen a model, this before, and I'm gonna use that again to make my decision faster, easier, et cetera. And so models are great. But here's the kicker. You know, every model is wrong. Some are useful. That's a mantra of engineering, right? It's very difficult to create a perfect model. There's always an exception. There's always some other way. It could be different. Right, there's variances. So models are useful. They're not always perfect. But when you say work-life balance, your mind subconsciously creates a model. And what is it, kyle, like? When you hear work-life balance, what's the first picture that comes into your mind?

Speaker 1:

For me, it's like I see like a pie chart and I see, like you know, like segments, right. So like that's how I envision it. So it's like there's a pie chart there's work, and then there's this home, and then there's this like dad, and then there's this, like you know what, you know friends and you know relationships, and like that's kind of what I envision Totally totally Super common answer.

Speaker 2:

There's two places people generally go Some kind of chart where I'm allocating all my time pie chart's a perfect example and the other one is a scale, like the old fashioned scale, where it's like on one side is work and on the other side is life. And what is the goal? Am I trying to make them the same? Am I trying to make work heavier than life and make life heavier than work, like? So? In both of those examples we create this framework subconsciously of the goal. And the goal is what exactly it's like?

Speaker 2:

Somehow I need to get this to equal some right answer of work and life balanced at the right level, like the scale should be balanced. But here's the thing, kyle I've never met a single human who has a single answer for what allocation of time or what balance of work and life is the right answer all the time in every situation that makes them happy. And it just works Like if you hit this static point of your perfect calendar, then you'll never have a problem with work life balance again. Guess what You're gonna get it to that point you think is perfect and then next week your boss is gonna walk in and say we've got a huge emergency. I need you to go to the factory and you gotta travel.

Speaker 2:

It's not a choice. Like, you gotta go. What? Okay? Does that mean you just totally blew up work life balance and you need to be unhappy all week? Well, that's a really bad rule. Like, if you set up those kind of conditions of success around what work life balance means, you're never going to find this magical, mythical unicorn place called balance. So I say, forget that. Like forget the whole notion that 40 hours at work is what will make your life perfect, or working from home is what will make your work life balance perfect, or whatever the thing is. Let's instead focus on the idea of balance as an active value. It's not a point, it's a process. It's not a single answer, it's selecting the right answer right now, and because we need to call it something, I just tell my clients forget work life balance. Let's focus on whole life balance.

Speaker 2:

You know, the whole idea of balance. I don't even think the word is useful. Like I said, it conjures up the wrong model. But we need to pay attention to your whole life and be actively in the present, making decisions that are aligned with your values and your vision. So today it might make most sense for you, with your values and your vision of success, to put in some extra time at work. Let's do it, let's enjoy it, let's make the most of it, let's be 100% in and go get the results.

Speaker 2:

Tomorrow you might need to tell your boss no to staying late to go home and honor your family, that you committed to be at your daughter's dance recital and you're gonna be on time and you're gonna be present there fully, 100%, not on your cell phone, actually taking pictures and letting your daughter know she's the most important person in the world tonight. There isn't a single right answer, and the sooner we just scrap the notion that I need to create this thing called work-life balance and recognize that I am fully responsible in every moment to choose what's aligned with my values and vision, the more we can find freedom to just love the journey. Now, kyle, there's principles that are probably true Don't work 80 hours a week. Don't neglect people you loved. Yes, there are things we can all learn from, and I think people who talk about work-life balance mean well. The intention is really really good and there's lots of great content under the banner of work-life balance, but I just have found that, if I strive for that, I keep looking for this point that does not exist.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and I think it's. I appreciate the way that you approach that question because I do think a lot of times, if you tie something to this external stimulus, so like, yeah, your boss asking you to work a little bit longer, or in our world it's something like, oh, now I have this employee relations issue that's gonna keep me here later on a Friday and well, now I can't go to happy hour or I have to miss, those things will happen. I mean, it's not a question of if, it's a question of when and if. Every time those things happen. Now you've got this binary like, well, this is bad or this is good, this is out of balance. Now my day is bad. That's not the best way to live, and I think a lot of it.

Speaker 1:

You use some words that I wrote down and I highlighted and you talked about. First of all, you talked about being present and being focused on the things that matter to you, making sure it hits your values and your vision, and you use the word responsible, as in being personally responsible, and I wanna talk about that a little bit, because we've talked about work-life balance. We've talked a little bit about the words you use and the mindset that you have as you look at finding happiness or joy in your day to day. What are the things that we need to be thinking about, as it relates to your mindset that you have found make people successful with this goal?

Speaker 2:

I remember my coach way back, probably 2015, 2016. So this was after my burnout, after my divorce. I was working with a coach on career development and he said to me Zach, you have either created or allowed everything in your life today. And I sat there in silence thinking there was going to be something else coming, like there's more to that story. And he was leaving out the accept this or that, or like where's all the? But he just stopped. I thought to myself, well, hold on, I don't know if I agree with that. I didn't. I didn't ask for this divorce. I didn't create this burnout. I didn't want any of these things that are, you know, so hard that I'm working to overcome right now. Like I didn't create this crap. What are you kidding me? Like, yeah, this, this just had. Like I wanted nothing to do with being associated as the creator of these things that I was so unhappy with.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And Kyle, I can say now I 100% believe that that is true. I am fully, radically responsible for everything that is in my life today. It doesn't matter how it got here, it really doesn't. If somebody dumps their garbage into your backyard, it doesn't matter that it wasn't your fault in the sense of you asked for it or you desired it. I know a lot of your coaches might even go so far as to say there is some subconscious part of you that wanted that problem to learn something, whatever. Okay, we won't even have to go there. Forget that part. The fact is, there's garbage in your backyard. It's there. As of this moment, it is yours to deal with. You get to choose. You can clean it up, you can complain about it, you can let it get nastier and smell even worse day over day over day, or you can just get out there with a garbage bag and clean up the mess and deal with it. You know like it. What's in your life is yours. You are responsible.

Speaker 2:

And so you ask what qualities create happiness and fulfillment and success? Absolutely, I believe, a radical responsibility for your own life experience and what's in it is a mandatory. It's mandatory. People who are happy are not victims. People who are happy at work don't rely on their boss or the company culture or some you know big bonus at the end of the year to be the thing that makes them happy. They don't leave it to chance or to someone else to fill that in for them. They take full responsibility for it themselves. And it's not to say certain things are not harder than others to experience positive emotions. There are hard things in life and it can be tough, but that's an absolute precursor.

Speaker 2:

So to fill out the list then, there's really three things that I start with with all of my clients that I think are foundational. If we don't have them, we're going to have a very difficult time creating the results that they desire. Radical responsibility is one. A growth mindset is number two, in the spirit of the work from Carol Dweck, who wrote the book Mindset and if you're not familiar it's a must read.

Speaker 2:

The growth mindset is essential. And then number three is confidence, and there's a lot we can unpack around what all is related to that. There's a lot of other words you might use, tangential, but just that ability, that courage, that confidence to step out of the comfort zone and act, an esteem, you might even call it a high level of self esteem that's required in order to face those risks and failures and keep moving forward. So radical responsibility, a growth mindset and confidence or courage, those three things to me wow. If you can get those right, you become unstoppable in the workplace, in your personal life, in relationships. It's pretty awesome the mountains you can move with those three things.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and I think this is one of those areas that it makes sense, and I think everybody listening to this is probably like oh yeah, okay, I get it, although One, because you pushed over how much you could do.

Speaker 1:

You got the ability to lock it properly. You know they're the, the, the radical responsibility component. I think it's really easy for us to like directionally, agree right. So it's like, yeah, absolutely, I'm gonna take. You know, this is my life, my life is happening exactly on my terms. I'm, you know, I am in control of my reaction to the environment that I'm in and that's it, nothing else. And Then you get into it and it's just like, oh shit, you know, like nice, now this happened and that happened. That guy cut me off in traffic. So I'm gonna flip them the middle finger and scream at them and, and you know, it's Actually practicing this.

Speaker 1:

That is the, you know, really the game changer and and having having the actual mindset Set shift is that it's the beginning, right, and then it's the continued behavioral, you know, actions within that, the kind of that frequency, that that, that really that really matter.

Speaker 1:

And so I want to talk a little bit about I want to talk a little bit about confidence, because you talked about confidence and I think it's one of those areas where it's like, you know, especially in in in our listeners Day, you know it's it's easy to To kind of lose sight of that self-confidence because we're dealing with so many things that don't have a clear answer. Sometimes we second-guess ourselves. You know we're dealing with human behavior. It's messy and sometimes it's ugly and and you know we're just trying to do the best with with what we've got. So, as it relates to that self-confidence and really really being aware and present and and being in control of our own Happiness, as opposed to letting others happiness or lack thereof kind of trickle in, what are those, those key components of confidence that you work with your clients on to ensure that that sets them up for success Foundationally, so that they can continue to have the sustained happiness?

Speaker 2:

in their lives. It's tough to pick a single thread to pull because and I'm sure anyone listening you you think about confidence and how we created. If there was an Easy button for confidence, I would be way way wealthier than I am.

Speaker 2:

I mean you could very bottle and sell confidence. You'd be the richest person on the planet. But here's the thing first. First thing, for engineers in particular, is we begin by addressing well, what? What is confidence? What is it? And a lot of times you ask that question and someone will start describing what it looks like. What is confidence? Well, confidence is when you go into the presentation Knowing that you're gonna do well and you show up with a better executive presence and your voice is more clear and loud. And you know they describe the outcome of confidence. But what confidence is is An emotion.

Speaker 2:

It's an emotion, it's an energy in your body, and I mean that literally. Emotion, e motion, energy in motion. Emotion is a physical experience, it's a, it's something present in your physiology, not just in your mind. And so when we talk about that and recognize what is it that I'm craving here, what is it that I'm seeking to create? It's an emotion, it's an experience and how I show up to a situation, not about my intellect, not about you know the outcome of the situation. It's none of those things Right.

Speaker 2:

So so when you start there, it creates a different set of questions. It's not about how do I get smarter. It's not about how do I get better results. It's about how do I tap into, into the energy that I call confidence. How do I get to that place that I use the word confidence to describe the feeling that I'm having? I Need to practice getting to that place, and so it's sometimes fun to do a little exercise to people to say well, you know, are you familiar with what it feels like to be angry? People say, yes, I've been angry before. Okay, cool. Well, if I was to ask you to practice getting angry today, what would you do to practice that? How would you practice anger? And it's kind of yeah, you're chocolate. It's like I have a weird question, right. Well, I'm like, how would I?

Speaker 1:

do that, I'd like, I'd probably hold my breath and like get my, you know like, like trying to get my face, you know like and I love that.

Speaker 2:

I love that what you're doing, exactly everything. I would change my physiology right, I do some things right, and maybe I would pull up a picture of a person in the opposing political party to mind, or I would do something like I'd start thinking about these things that make me angry and I would get into that headspace. It's like, okay, exactly. So now, when was the last time you felt really confident? I want you to do the same things and let's practice getting to a place of confidence. What's something that every time you do it, you can do it with total confidence. Okay, let's go there. Let's practice feeling it and get familiar with what confidence feels like. Like you need to be at home in the energy of confidence, right. And then what we'll start to do is some really fun tools where we'll just say, all right, now what we're going to do is take it one step further. I'm going to ask you to go to a place of confidence and then we're going to link that to a future experience in our visualization.

Speaker 2:

So you've got a big presentation coming up. Rather than rehearsing your presentation a hundred more times and thinking that that's going to make you more confident, let's just practice being confident in the presentation. But to do that, we need to first create the energy of confidence and then immediately transition our vision of our mind's eye to the place where I'm going to need it. And you see, what's so cool about the mind is it doesn't actually know the difference between a real experience and a vividly imagined one, and emotions are conditioned patterns of response to thoughts and environmental stimuli. That's all it is. And when I conditioned myself to go to a place that I call confidence, every time I'm in this place where I need it. It's no different than practicing free throws or practicing writing the letter A when you're a child. You build the repetition and suddenly your subconscious mind says, oh Kyle, I remember this. This is the place where you show up with confidence. I've done this before, right.

Speaker 1:

Now you've got a neural pathway, and now I?

Speaker 2:

got the pathway Exactly, and so this is the thing you know. It's like wait, what is that talking about? This is crazy. The whole idea of confidence that I tell my clients is you already have it inside you. You already have the confidence within you. It's not about becoming some new person. It's about learning how to be who you are in the way you need to be, in the right moment.

Speaker 2:

And so we start with that kind of foundation, you know. And then there's other things. We link together and the three principles we mentioned earlier. These all feed each other. When you have a growth mindset, you're not so worried about winning or losing, success or failure, because winning is winning and losing is learning, and learning is winning. So I always win. It's like now you start to have less fear. And then, if you take radical responsibility, you know that it doesn't matter what the outcome is, I will step up and do the next right thing. And so there's this upward spiral where it gets easier to be confident because I'm practicing it. Oh, and, by the way, it doesn't matter if I fail. Oh, and, by the way, this is my life and I'm going to take full responsibility for it. I don't care what you think Like, let's go. Those all shift and the tide rises. It's pretty fun to watch. It creates this virtuous loop where confidence starts to become your default state. I love it.

Speaker 1:

I love it All right. Well, we are coming to the end of our time together here and I'm fascinated to hear the response. I'm going to be honest with you, this is not exactly where I expected to end the conversation with a former engineer from a Fortune 500 company. I'm pumped because this is like. I think this is a really interesting context to think about this type of thing, and I also think that thinking about this in a way where there's a systematic approach, there's a model to this, there's actually a method here, is helpful for those of us that are trying to find our way. So, with that being said, we're going to shift gears. We're going to go into the Rebel HR Flash Round, retention number one. Where does HR need to rebel?

Speaker 2:

Rebellion. Okay, here's the place. I got the place. Kyle HR needs to rebel on the idea of retention. I'll explain. Retention is a big deal, I totally get it. Turnover is expensive. Retention is a good indication of engagement and if people are loving their jobs and all these things, when you focus on retention, you put yourself into an energy of seeking to. I mean literally. Think about the word retain, Retain. When was the last time you wanted to be retained in any other context? Do you want to be retained at the airport next time you travel?

Speaker 2:

We usually call that detained, but still it's a similar kind of energy. It's like I don't want you to be able to leave, I want to retain you here. Well, it's the same kind of thing like in sales If you're chasing people, they run away, and if you try to put them in a cage, all they want to do is get out. If all you're focused on is retaining people, you're subconsciously creating an energy around that objective that actually creates the opposite response in the employee. Every time you say, how can I retain you, how can I retain you? That person is thinking get me out of here, run away. I don't want to be in a cage. Nobody wants the golden handcuffs, nobody wants to be stuck.

Speaker 2:

So here's what I would encourage you, kind of like we said forget work-life balance, forget retention and focus on actualization. Now that's the big fancy coachy. You know psychology word for helping people to realize their own goals and dreams, to become the version of themselves they want to become. If you will just help people to actualize what they want in life, you will win, because either A they're going to do it in your company and they're going to love it, and they will be the best employees you've ever had and they'll stick around. You'll win at retention as well, or they'll leave because this isn't the place that they see themselves living their best life, and you open the seat up for somebody who does want to live their best life at your company.

Speaker 2:

Now that'll hurt in the short term, but you will win in the long run, and so focus on actualization instead of retention. I think you'll win. I love it.

Speaker 1:

You know, yeah, I heard that in that context. It's like, yeah, you're not supposed to retain water, why do you want to retain employees? You know what I mean. It's not, that's good. Now I'm just trying to figure out what KPI can I put on that Actualization KPI? I'm just trying to figure that one out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Question number two who should we be listening to?

Speaker 2:

I would listen to the people that your employees turn to when they're unhappy. And who is that? You know, right now, in the world we live in today, it's just two people that come to mind. It's therapists and coaches. The coaching industry has absolutely exploded in the last decade, and the number of Americans in particular I've seen the stats, I don't know worldwide, but I have to imagine it's similar who are in some form of psychotherapy right now is higher than ever. And yeah, we can blame COVID or we can blame whatever we want, but the fact is everybody's turning to somebody for help and they're having the conversations that HR wishes. They could have to understand what's really going on, but nobody's going to have that conversation with HR. And so if you want to know what's really happening in the hearts and minds of your employees, go listen to the people who are on the receiving end of those truthful conversations.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think it's an important thing. Maybe a comment too HIPAA notwithstanding, you should be offering this to your employees as well. If this isn't a component of your benefits plan, like honestly offering them that outlet. If it's not, you give them An opportunity or an option to go find somebody else, because some of this is them figuring this out on their own too, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, some of this is out of our scope, Absolutely and just in case somebody's hearing this the wrong way, I'm not saying go ask your employees therapist what you talked about in the session. That's not the point.

Speaker 1:

They're either some compliance, compliance. People are like, oh, I can't do that because I hit this guy is out of control.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm not saying get, get the real details on the people. What I'm saying is these people have a lens on the themes right, the trends and the types of problems and how they approach solving them and Ways that you could integrate that into the workplace. Absolutely, and there's people.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, there's a lot of research out there too, from from these professionals that I think can can be, you know, illuminating. I think there's. You know he listen up and I think you know, you know if you're not, you know, currently, you know getting help or or making sure that you have that outlet, whether that's a coach or a therapist, or or, or your, your, your friend group, you know what have you? You know just listen, right, listen and learn. Alright, last, last question here opportunity To to give everybody a handoff. How can our listeners reach out, connect with you and and how can they find the podcast and your services?

Speaker 2:

Kyle, thanks for the opportunity and the easiest way. If anyone wants to know more about you know my view on how to create career success and avoid burnout. Create this balance we talked about in the right way. The podcast is the easiest place. Wherever you're tuned in to the rebel HR Podcast, just jump over, search the happy engineer. You'll find me there. Give it a follow and a listen. I really appreciate that. All the show notes and links to find me in depth can be found around the podcast. Or If you want to jump out and connect with me directly, the website is the happy engineer podcast Dot-com and you can find ways to connect with me directly there.

Speaker 1:

Perfect. We'll have all that information, of course, in the show notes so you can pop open the podcast player. Just click right in the link there. You know, strongly, strongly encourage you to check it out. Zach, it's been an absolute pleasure. Appreciate all the work that you're doing. I thought I thought some really great content and some things for us to be be thinking about, and I can't wait to stay connected here and and now. You're going forward, so thank you.

Speaker 2:

You're welcome, kyle. Thanks for having me love the work you're doing. Keep it up, man.

Speaker 1:

All right, that does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big Thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, twitter at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources Dot-com. Views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast.

Speaker 2:

Maybe,

The Happy Engineer Podcast
Work-Life Balance and Radical Responsibility
Confidence and Shifting Focus
Appreciation and Future Connection