How To Excel In Your Career With More Confidence
Are you alive in your career? Are you thriving when you are doing your work in the world? Or do you want to be doing something else something else?
Maybe you want to grow further in your current career, or perhaps pursue something completely different?
In either case, making career moves requires confidence.
What if you had unstoppable courage to move towards what excites you in work and career?
Join Dr. Aziz as he interviews guest expert Elatia Abate about how to create that career you’ve always wanted.
Click below to hear this episode!
Elatia Abate is an entrepreneur who uncovers opportunities for businesses and individuals. She teaches organizations how to unlock the potential of innovation through experimentation and action. She teaches people how to take charge of their own life-changing career transformations and craft careers that don’t feel like work.
Her unique approach combines unbridled enthusiasm with years of innovation and recruiting experience to show her clients that they are capable of achieving far more than their current horizons envisage.
Prior to founding her practice, Ms. Abate was Vice President of HR Projects and Director of Recruitment for Dow Jones & Company. She served as Global Director Talent Acquisition at Anheuser-Busch InBev. She is a design thinking enthusiast, as well as a lover of improv comedy and storytelling.
To Contact Elatia directly, simply email her at: Elatia-at-ElatiaAbate.com
The Confidence To Create The Career You Want
Hey, welcome to today’s episode. Today is all about your work in the world, your career, your mission, whatever you want to call it. It’s what you spend the majority of your work week doing if you’re like the average person in this country. And what is it? Is it something that excites that you enjoy, that you feel is inspiring to you, has purpose for you, has an impact in the world and something that matters for you? Or is it just a day job, something to pass the time, something to earn money?
What is it for you? It’s really important to become aware of how do I hold this thing in my life called career and again to bring the same energy to that that you do to your social life, to your dating life, your romantic life. It’s like, “Wait a minute, I can shift this. I can alter this. I can influence this. I can create what I want in this area when and if I put in the time to get that confidence.” Because that’s what it comes down to, right? Confidence is the foundation of success especially career success. So, whether it’s advancing in your own career or shifting departments into a new department that excites you more or quitting your job, finding a new job that has a better work with a better environment, more autonomy, and more impact perhaps even changing careers entirely that all comes from confidence, doesn’t it?
So, what if you have the confidence to do that? Today we’re going to be jumping into an interview with an outstanding coach that actually helps people, find what it is they want to do and have the confidence to pursue it with fire and passion. So, let’s jump into that interview now. Today’s guest expert is a woman by the named of Elatia Abate and she’s a pretty incredible person. I met her recently at a coaching event that I went to and one of the things that first struck me about her was just how enthusiastic and energetic she was and then when I found out what she did which is help people pursue career confidence and being able to go after the careers and the life that they want with that same enthusiasm, I knew that that’s how she embody that because she herself live that and she actually has a business where she helps individuals and organizations unlock their potential and their innovation through experimentation and action in their lives which I’m a big believer in.
She also teaches people how to take charge of their own life-changing career transformations and craft careers that don’t feel like work to them and I think so many of us got the idea growing up that work is something you go to, to make money not because you like it but because you got to do it. And what I love about her is she really breaks that open and guess what stops most of us from stepping into that? it was the lack of confidence, the fear, who am I to do that? Can I make it?
And so, we’re going to have an awesome conversation with Elatia where she’s going to help us learn how to be more free in that way and her background is pretty fascinating. She, for a time, was a vice-president of HR Projects and a director of recruitment for Dow Jones and Company and she served as global director for talent acquisition at Anheuser-Busch, the massive beverage company that makes Budweiser among other beers.
So, she worked in recruiting. She knows all about interviews and how to make this career transitions. So, I think we’re going to get a lot of interesting insights about how to be more confident in your work, in your career and interviews. So, thank you so much for joining us, Elatia.
Elatia: Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
Dr. Aziz: Awesome. So, what I’d love to kick off with is this kind of immediately people hearing us might think do what you love. I mean really come on, come on. Yeah, yeah it sounds great. But really I mean, come on. So, what is your response to that kind of skepticism that people might have or that questioning if it’s – if we can really do what we enjoy for the majority of our work week.
Elatia: Yeah. Well, skepticism is wide spread and the data will tell you why. Many of the big consulting firms do employee engagement type surveys and some of them indicate that it is as high as 70 to 80% of workers are at best “satisfied” and at worst very, very disengaged with their work. So, most of us are living a career life that is at best satisfied and at worst very miserable. So, our reality or experience of work is not one that is positive or fun or engaging just in general. But the truth of the matter is, is that you can create the kind of professional life that doesn’t feel like work, that’s financially sustainable and personally fulfilling.
If basically as you stated as we got kicked off here, you step out of your own way. A lot of it has to do with confidence. A lot of it has to do with pre-conceived notions about what works and what doesn’t but all of it is completely surmountable. All of those obstacles are completely surmountable and it’s absolutely possible.
Dr. Aziz: That is interesting what you said there the pre-conceived notions about what works and what doesn’t. Can you say a little more about what some of those might be?
Elatia: Yeah absolutely. So, many of us as we think about what we’re doing with our professional lives or the kinds of careers that we choose we’ll say to ourselves or we’ll believe what others tell us when they say things like, “I shouldn’t quit my job at the law firm because I spent three years and $180,000 on law school and I’ve been here for two years and I need a couple more to have a solid experience. I shouldn’t throw that opportunity away.” Or, “I should pursue the medical degree because my father never could be a doctor and he always wanted this so I’m going to pursue it even though what I really love is the musical arts.” All of these kinds of should and shouldn’t stories, we’ve all heard millions of them. We all believe millions of them but those shoulds and shouldn’ts are only actually relevant in relation to what you really want to create.
So, if you actually don’t want to be an attorney but would rather start your own coaching business let’s say then you shouldn’t stay at that legal job for any longer than you need to because that is indirect – it is essentially blocking you from getting where you really want to go.
Dr. Aziz: Wait. So, you’re saying that the path to confidence and happiness is not doing what everyone told me I should do?
Elatia: That’s exactly what I’m telling you. That’s exactly what I’m telling you. Unless what people are telling you, you should do is what you feel like you want to do.
Dr. Aziz: But what about – I mean it’s so interesting when you said that because it reminds me of people sometimes they’re in – I think we’ve all been there in a relationship which is not, maybe not the best fit somewhere along the way you realized that maybe you settled and did what you – waiting for some underneath that. Well, this is as good as I deserve and all of a sudden maybe at some point you’ll realize, maybe this isn’t the best fit for me and then a common resistance people have is, “Yeah, but I have invested X years in this relationship, two years or four years or whatever, so I don’t want to start all over again” and the question is so does that mean you want to spend the rest of your life with that person? And so, it’s really interesting how it’s a similar resistance in a career and I think a change is universally we tend to kind of shy away from it and something especially as big as a career change.
So, let’s take that law example. This guy who is invested three years of his life and tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and he decides that he wants to do something else and people in his life might say, “Well, jeez that seems foolish. That seems – you shouldn’t do that.” and then maybe even in his own mind he’s thinking, “This is crazy. This is foolish.” How do you help someone work with that inner resistance or fear about change?
Elatia: Yeah. Well, often times what I’ll do is I will work with clients on a couple of different exercises that really wind up to the same thing. So, what we’ll do is we’ll have a look at what people want their optimal future to be, their optimal life and I use the word optimal even though it’s a little bit kind of wonky and MBA-ish, and yeah, I say that as a proud owner of an MBA so. I say optimal because there is no such thing as an ideal and once you create whatever is optimal for today, unless God forbid, you kick the bucket tomorrow morning, once you’ve reached that you’re going to want to evolve again and create something else. So, I always say optimal for right now.
So, we’ll look at whatever optimal life is and that’s in terms of the kind of career you want to have, the independence, the freedom, the financial stability exactly how you might want that to look. And even if you don’t know the details, exploring the values around, the kind of impact that you want to have are often great indicators for what you’ll create so people will design this amazing optimal future and then we’ll have a look at what people’s default future is. For those of you who aren’t familiar with a default future, essentially all of us if we make zero changes in our life from today going forward, something is going to unfold.
So, if you’re in a job that you’re just kind of mildly satisfied with but you’re commuting to, you know, you’ve got a two-hour commute every day and you’re missing all of your kids’ sporting events and things like that. It may not seem so bad over the short-term but compound it over an entire lifetime can be a significant negative. So, we explore the optimal life. So, what can your peak be? We look at the default future which is kind of sort of what happens if we don’t move forward and only 100% of the case is the default future less exciting than the optimal future. And then we look at what blocks us from getting from today that default future to where we really want to go and what those things are, are all of these assumptions that we’re talking about.
So, I’m too young, I’m too old. I don’t have enough experience. I don’t have enough money. I’ve spent so much money on my law degree. I’ve already invested so much time. And so all of a sudden here you are with this weight of all of these assumptions on you about how you can’t achieve your default future so it just seems easier or excuse me how you can’t achieve your optimal future so you just stay down here in your default future because it just kind of seems easier. And so, how I work with people to break through those assumptions is we actively got into the world and test them. I often will tell my clients that I don’t need them to believe me that they don’t need experience or that they don’t need all of the things that they have on their list of assumptions.
I ask them to go out into the world and test that. And what they find only 100% of the time is that their assumptions were just that assumptions.
Dr. Aziz: Interesting. I mean I love what you’re saying there about the assumptions and the limiting beliefs and ideas that we tell ourselves that really just keep us in the same old pattern, in the same comfort zone, the same identity which is as frustrating as it might be. It’s also safe. It’s familiar. And so, you’re encouraging people to like really think about what you absolutely want and then let’s go test things out. Let’s have some courage to see what really happens out there. We’re going to take a quick break and then we’re going to jump right back into our interview with Elatia.
What I’m curious about though is let’s say someone makes that shift from where they have that career capital that they’ve developed a skill set and that lawyer says, “You know what I’m really passionate about is, is art and working with metal. I remember I took a metal work in class at the community college and I loved it. That excites me more than anything in the world.” And then maybe he’s got some assumptions about “But I don’t – you know I’m not good in business or I don’t” maybe let’s say, let’s make it a real tough case for you. Let’s say he says, “I don’t really want to do business and all the selling of it. I just want to make this metal art. That’s the most exciting thing to me.” And he’s done it a little bit but he’s not that awesome at it. He needs practice to get become exceptional at it. What is the path for someone like that where they don’t have the same level of skill and the thing they’re passionate about than the thing they’ve invested all that training in?
Elatia: Sure, sure. Well, not everybody needs to call up their boss and quit today and go off on an adventure and live in a tent until they achieve the job of their dreams. There are a million and one different ways to do it. And so, a big chunk of what I do with people who want to make what they perceived to be a big leap from where they are, being a lawyer to being this metal worker person is first being absolutely ruthless and really honest with yourself about how you’re spending your time outside of work and how you’re utilizing the time that you have. So, let’s say for whatever reason financially you aren’t able to quit your job today or maybe don’t even want to yet to focus on whatever your new endeavor is. Then the object is to create and begin to carve out more and more time for you to focus on what your future endeavor is, to spend time on that future endeavor already today.
So, how are you spending your time on your weekends? Do you really need to watch six hours of television every night when you come home or would it behoove you to go to a metal working class and begin to incorporate these kinds of things into your life? So, you can make an easy smooth kind of a transition by inviting, by being ruthless about how you’re spending time and inviting your future into your day to day today.
Dr. Aziz: Uh-hmm. And what I’m curious about is when someone – and so, I love what you’re saying as you – sometimes people tell themselves “Well either it has to be this way or it’s not going to work at all” and so a common objection is “Well, you know I couldn’t make money at that so I guess I can’t do it at all.” And what I love what you’re saying is well actually you can do kind of what I call the cross fade which comes from – everyone has iTunes or something, you fade one song out as the other one comes in that’s the extent of my DJ capabilities.
Elatia: I love it.
Dr. Aziz: So, you don’t quit that one unless you want to be adventurous as you said but you can start to build the other one. And this is where it gets into something, what do you found about people are saying, “Yeah but I’m – that’s a lot of work. Maybe I’m kind of lazy. I don’t know if I feel like that” in a way they’re sort of drained by their job and their coping is to watch that TV or to have those drinks or whatever they do, they kind of let go of their stressful or dissatisfying work experience then now you’re saying, “Okay.” But when you get home or on the weekend, do some other stuff. How do you help people with that motivation that is required to do that?
Elatia: Yeah, big time. I love that you brought that up and I actually have a client right now who is working on a similar kind of a challenge. She’s in a job that’s extremely draining to her but the career that she wants is one that is requiring her to learn a whole breadth of different skills, designing, programming, other kinds of things that until now she hasn’t had to learn. And so, what we’ve done together is create a series of games for her to play and I really encourage the creation of games of any kind as you’re beginning to do something new that even can seemed daunting. If you’re excited about it but you’re still kind of scared, a game can help you get over all of that fear. So, instead of her workday being eight hours of drudgery that she has to get through before she can go home in the evening and work on some really fun projects, first what we’ve done is actually structured her day.
I’ve helped her structure her day so she gets up earlier in the morning and does some of the fun stuff that she loves before she even goes to work. So, she already walks in a lot more inspired. Then you can turn the workday into a game that you’re moving through various phases, tasks, as if it were a video game of some kind and your reward at the end is to come home and work again on something that really feeds your soul. So, whatever form or shape that game takes that’s a really interesting and fun way to remove the drudgery, the fear and all of that stuff from the entire process.
Dr. Aziz: I love that. I mean the games are just a tremendous way to learn and want to do sort of a social experiment with people to develop that social confidence. If we frame it as a game, we approach it entirely differently and our creativity comes out and we take it a little less seriously and that early morning time I think is hands down one of the most overlooked and valuable things that we can do. If there’s any passion project that you want to start working your training on, I just really want to highlight what you’re saying there because that’s how I’ve been able to do so much more so quickly is just getting up early, having a couple of hours that’s focused the first thing you do and you can create so much during that time.
And usually what we’re doing kind of later at night anyway is just — I don’t know, its distractions, TV, thinking around on the game on your phone and you can just cut that out and go to bed an hour early or two hours earlier and just have an entirely different optimal future before too long.
Elatia: Yeah that’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. It’s about rejiggering and rethinking your day to make it more fun and to turn the stuff that’s a little bit of drudgery into a vehicle for the outcome that you want.
Dr. Aziz: That’s fantastic. So, you have so many different skill sets that I want to make sure that we tap into a number of them. So, one of them is let’s say – it’s one last question on this topic though because I know someone listening right now, this is going in their mind. They say, “Yeah, easy for the metal worker guy who wants to do the work.” But I have no idea what I’d want. I have no idea. And I know that’s what you would obviously help them with it. But just to give someone listening a sense of how they can even start to think about what it is that they want to do if they weren’t working in their job? Are they going to make a change?
Elatia: Yeah, I love that. So, for those folks who were kind of getting that soft calling in their ear that kind of says, “Is this really it? Is this the best of my life is going to be?” but they don’t really know what the next step is that they should take or even where they want to take themselves. Again, I encourage people to turn it into a game and often times we think about career and the jobs that we get as a success or failure as “I have to have the one right next perfect job now. Otherwise, my professional life is going to be over.” And what that does is essentially creates enormous opportunity for fear, for failure, for parallelization, for all kinds of things that aren’t going to serve us.
And if you can look at your career and each of your professional steps instead of something that you get right or wrong but rather as it stops along a treasure hunt or stops along an expedition of some kind where agnostic as far as what the outcome is other than you’re there to learn something, all of a sudden it just become this fantastic game of discovery. And so, for people who have no clue what they want to do next, I would say turn it into a game of exploration and if you don’t know that what you want to be doing is practicing metal working on Saturday mornings then use your Saturday mornings to try the things that you used to love when you were a kid. Figure out what you like and don’t like about that, talk to people who are in the fields that may interest you and just go out into the world and gather information but create these experiences for yourself so you can begin to wheedle all of that massive information down to something that you can build a next career out of.
Dr. Aziz: I love that because you take it and you make it a manageable chunk. I think sometimes you’re like, “I have no idea what I would do.” And it’s kind of overwhelming and vague and we say, “Well, then I guess there’s nothing there” versus like “Well, let me take three hours on a Saturday” and devote it to a playful way of just exploring and that will put us into action which takes us out of that kind of vague overwhelm sense. So, I think that’s incredibly valuable for anyone who is looking to – they’re feeling like their career, maybe often times talking about confidence which is what we’re going to move into now, we choose a career from a lack of confidence.
There is that thing that we originally were really excited about and like oh — then I personally notice I was fascinated with 3D modeling and 3D art when I was in high school and the reason I did not pursue it in college was because I thought to myself I’m not as good as other people at this. Who am I to do this? And thankfully I ended up where I am because I don’t know but I have a fear that I would have ended up as like render number 47 on the Pacific Rim. That’s like, “Yeah, you see his visor? You could see the clouds on his visor? I did that.” and I don’t know if that would be satisfying to me. So, we choose it from a place of lack of confidence and what – so, if you’re in that place and you’re thinking, “Well, maybe there’s something else.” I love it. So, that soft whisper then there’s a huge potential to change the course of your career which has such a big effect on our life confidence.
Now, that is all the time that we have for today for the interview with Elatia. We’re going to pick back up with that interview next week and we’re going to get – I pick her brand. I go deep on a topic that she knows a lot about which is interviews, job interviews, how to show up in a different way, how to show up in an impactful way and really make an impression on the people that are interviewing you and she knows her stuff. She’s been on both sides. She’s excelled in the corporate world and interviewed people for jobs as well. So, she has a wealth of information. Stay tune on how to do that. And it’s not just the nuts and bolts of the interview which are valuable it’s also the mindset, the confidence, how to approach it because that’s what we’re all about here on the show, right? It is helping you get that internal confidence. So, stay tune for next week for the rest of that interview and now, it’s time for your action step.
Your action step this week is to just take stop of where you are in your career, really look out. Honestly, sometimes were scared to do that, right? “Oh, man it felt like – I can’t question this. I got to do this. I got a mortgage to pay. I got kids to feed. I got, whatever it is, I got a car to pay for, life, medical bills. I got to earn this money. I got to do this job. I have to do this.” And when we’re in that place, we don’t want to question anything. And let me just make it a little easier for you and say look you don’t have to change your job or you know what Elatia said live in a tent while you make some dramatic shift, but just get curious. How do I feel on Monday morning on my way to work? How do I feel during the workday? How do I feel at the end of the workday or the things that excite me and juice me about my work?
Maybe it’s not such a dramatic shift or changing your whole job. Maybe it’s just “Hey, when I do more of this kind of work at my job, I’m excited and when I do more that kind of work, I’m bored and irritated and dissatisfied.” Great. How can I do more of A and less of B? Can I work something out? Can I elevate myself to a different position in the company where I do more of A and less of B and so on and so forth? So, it doesn’t have to be dramatic but you got to start looking at: Is this what I want? How can I create more of what I want in my work life, in my career and then creating that confidence in yourself; listening to other episodes of the show that specifically help you with the things that you need, public speaking, rejection, overcoming embarrassment, whatever it is or go deeper, check out a program of mine.
Confidence Unleashed, new versions are out or coming out now. They’re amazing. They’re way more in-depth than the previous versions or if you’re really into it, check out group coaching or you can do a coaching with me but find a way to get to that next level so you can really create the life that you want and when you do that and when your career starts to become more fun, more enjoyable, more exciting, more in line with your passions then it’s awesome. I mean I love it. For me, the blur between work and play is there’s this – it’s hard to make a distinction. When I have some free time, I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to work on that project, yeah.” And there’s this excitement, this joy, this energy because it’s so in line and that’s possible for you, too. It’s just a matter of creating that in your life, stirring yourself and having the confidence to go after what you want. So, thank you so much for listening. Next week, we’re going to go way deep into interviews, how to master the interview process. Until we speak again. May you have the courage to be who you are and to know that you’re awesome.
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