238. Jennifer Moss: The Cure For Burnout Isn’t Self-Care

A healthy amount of stress is so important for personal growth, but chronic stress that demands our attention 24/7 can disconnect us from our work, colleagues, and purpose.

This is burnout, and Jennifer Moss observes that we are facing an epidemic. She's an award-winning journalist, columnist, and author of The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It.

But contrary to popular wisdom, making time for that bubble bath or movie night isn't the solution. Burnout is a “we” problem, and the root causes are at the organizational level.

Jennifer shares her surprising research on where burnout comes from, why it's worse than it's ever been, and why we need a system of preventative care.

We're conducting a quick, anonymous survey to understand our audience better! It takes less than 1 minute, and is enormously helpful. Take it here:

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237. Steve Bullock: What Golf Pioneers Teach Us About Taking Risks

Even if you don't play golf, there's a surprising amount to learn from pro golfers who broke with tradition to “swing their own swing.” That's what Steve Bullock learned when he analyzed tons of data for his book Out of the Box Golf. Think: Moneyball for the 9-iron crowd.

For instance, even holding a club the “traditional” way puts players at a huge disadvantage. Yet even when golfers find clear advantages through technology or alternate practices, most players ignore them (often for decades!) and fall behind their peers. “Humans tend toward conformity,” he explains. It's not hard to see how this applies to the business world as well.

Whitney and Steve discuss the extraordinary ways that experimenting with risk can pay off, in your professional life, and on the fairway. And Steve stresses that if you don't have the pioneer's stomach for risk, make certain that you're a fast follower when innovation comes knocking.

We're conducting a quick, anonymous survey to understand our audience better! It takes less than 1 minute, and is enormously helpful. Take it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DisruptYourselfPodcast2021

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236. Pamay Bassey: Make Learning Your Superpower

A 21st century career path can take many twists and turns. The skills you learn for one S Curve may not map perfectly to the next. That's why learning is the most important skill of all.

That's some wisdom from Ekpedeme “Pamay” Bassey, the Chief Learning and Chief Diversity Officer at Kraft Heinz. And she should know. Before earning her many prestigious titles in the corporate world, she came from a background in standup comedy and improv. Pamay is a first generation Nigerian-American, born in New York City. Her heritage has deeply informed her approach to diversity and inclusion, but her passion for comedy made her career path unconventional to say the least.

Pamay and Whitney discuss how to translate skills from one S Curve to another, especially when it comes to job interviews. And why it's so important to fill your eyes and ears with the stories of others who have accomplished great things. Pamay also explains how journaling regularly became a powerful self-reflection tool, especially during a difficult time of loss.

We're conducting a quick, anonymous survey to understand our audience better! It takes less than 1 minute, and is enormously helpful. Take it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DisruptYourselfPodcast2021

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235. Leena Nair: Raise Your Hand for the Hardest Job

We all have jobs to pay the bills, but what is your purpose? And what's your

Leena Nair asks these questions every day. She's the chief human resources officer at Unilever. She's also the first female, first Asian, and youngest CHRO in the company's history.

“Companies with purpose last. And people with purpose thrive,” Leena explains. And she has the data to back it up.

Ensuring the well-being of 150,000 employees is a monumental endeavor, but her success stems from spending time with people to understand their motivations. And she rejects outdated business models that only view employees as a cost, rather than a company's greatest asset.

Leena's made huge investments in purpose workshops and mental health programs. It's not only good for people — it's good for the bottom line, too. “For every $1 I invest in human well-being, we get $2.50 back.”

Whitney and Leena discuss why raising your hand for the most difficult jobs is one of the most important things you can do. “When was the last time you did something for the first time in your life? That's the last time you grew.”

We're conducting a quick, anonymous survey to understand our audience better! It takes less than 1 minute, and is enormously helpful. Take it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DisruptYourselfPodcast2021

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234. Harry Kraemer: Do You Have TRUE Self-Confidence?

Being a leader and teaching leadership are two very different things. Harry Kraemer found this out when he jumped S-curves later in life.

Harry is the former chairman and CEO of Baxter International, a $12 billion global healthcare company. But more importantly for this conversation, he now teaches leadership at Northwestern University.

Harry explains the importance of self-reflection and genuine humility, and identifies the nature of “true self-confidence.” It's not about taking risks or getting up in front of people. By contrast, true confidence is a leader's ability to say “I don't know.”

Harry and Whitney discuss the qualities that make leaders both effective and relatable, and why it's never OK to say, “I don't know where you're coming from.”

Harry's most recent bestselling book is titled: Your 168: Finding Purpose and Satisfaction in a Values-Based Life.

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233. Jacqueline Novogratz: When the Work Gets Hard, Look For Beauty

When we talk about starting a new S-curve, few exemplify this better than Jacqueline Novogratz. She upended her successful career in international banking to focus on addressing global poverty through the impact investment organization Acumen. Her journey is extraordinary, inspiring, and at times heartbreaking.

Jacqueline and Whitney talk about what it takes to have a “moral imagination,” the foundational work of building a better world. As she puts it, “the opposite of poverty isn't wealth, it's dignity.”

Jacqueline explains why top-down and bottom-up solutions lack the nuance to effect lasting change, and how she learned to leverage her privilege, rather than distance herself from it. And when extreme poverty and violence make everything feel futile, Jacqueline reminds us to look for beauty wherever we can find it. “Beauty reminds us why we're here to do the hard work.”

If Jacqueline’s work inspired you, learn more about how to be a changemaker at: https://acumenacademy.org/

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Jacqueline Novogratz's Books

232. Astrid Tuminez: Nobody Is “Self-Made”

Dr. Astrid Tuminez is the first female president of Utah Valley University, and her journey is incredibly inspiring.

Born in the Philippines and raised in extreme poverty, Tuminez made pivotal choices and gained important mentors which led her to the U.S. Her passion for international relations made her an influential voice of peace at the height of the Cold War.

In her conversation with Whitney, Astrid explains how she got comfortable with failure, and how the kindness of teachers completely changed her life. “No person in this world is self-made. Somebody along the way did something for you,” she says.

She shares the three most important decisions in her life, the benefits of getting fired, and a key lesson from martial arts: “Be a limp noodle.”

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231. Mike Rowe: Why I Chose Projects Doomed to Fail

TV host, author, and podcaster Mike Rowe would have been a construction worker if not for advice from his grandfather: “Find a different toolbox.”

Turns out, Mike wasn't great with his hands, but his grandfather and other mentors recognized different skills. They pushed him out of his comfort zone and in front of microphones and cameras.

Today, Mike's wildly popular “Dirty Jobs” TV series has shown millions of viewers what it takes to do extraordinary jobs that don’t get talked about on “Career Day,” but are critical to a well-functioning society. And Rowe credits a lot of his success to multiple failures. The show itself was born out of a TV news segment gone wrong.

In this episode, Mike and Whitney discuss the unusual mindset of his early career: He sought out bad ideas and was happy to get paid to work on projects that were doomed to fail. Removing the stakes freed him up to experiment and take risks, which led to much more interesting projects.

Mike also discusses the importance of music in his life, and how a conclave of war veterans singing sad barbershop songs changed his perspective. “It was so uncool I was fascinated by it.”

What did you learn from this conversation with Mike? What risks are you taking these days, and what are your fears about them? Email Whitney Johnson at wj@whitneyjohnson.com for a chance to receive a signed copy of Mike's book, “The Way I Heard It.”

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Key Takeaways From This Episode

1. Find a different toolbox: The advice Mike got from his grandfather was so important, but can sometimes be hard to hear. Convincing Mike to apply his skills elsewhere was a life-changing gift, and we can all thank his grandfather for that!

2. Get uncomfortable: When his music teacher assigned him a solo despite his speech impediment, Mike said he felt “threatened, frightened, and profoundly uncomfortable.” And yet that push was key to getting him out of his shell, and set him on the path to performing arts. Often, moments of extreme discomfort and uncertainty lead to great things.

3. It can be good to seek failure: Mike shared his unusual mindset: He looked for bad ideas and was happy to get paid to work on projects that were doomed to fail. This removed all the stakes and freed him up to experiment and take risks. And some of those dirty risks led to dirty jobs.

Ways to connect with Mike Rowe

230. Chris Dancy: Use Tech to Be More Human

Chris Dancy's life used to be a lot different. Back in 2008, he weighed more than 300 pounds, smoked two packs and drank 36 cans of Diet Coke a day. But he had one disruptive skill in his back pocket.

As a database engineer, he's obsessive about tracking information. And when he put the lens on himself, it changed everything. By tracking every aspect of his life (food, feelings, TV, social media posts, etc.) he collected “big data” on himself, the way a tech company would. Using a variety of sensors, apps, and home-brewed systems, Dancy harnessed his habits and completely disrupted his life.

Today, he's an author and speaker who warns against the dangerous discourse that technology is “breaking” people. Instead, he says “don't unplug,” and explains how the systems that suck our attention and data can be reverse-engineered to make our lives better, and ultimately make us more human. “Today's technology is engineered around reactions, not feelings,” he says, and shows us that it's within our power to change that.

In this extraordinary and emotional conversation, Dancy discusses how our culture weaponizes time, looking back at your own emotional data, his mother's gift that changed everything, and training yourself to schedule things like “kindness” and saying “I love you.” In his own words, “we need to stop valuing our schedule and schedule our values.”

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Key takeaways from this episode:

1. Screens aren't evil. There is nothing wrong with technology. It’s the way it is engineered. It sets us up not to feel but to react. If we harness tech properly, it can make us even more human.

2. “We need to stop valuing our schedule and schedule our values.” How are we finding ways to measure what we care about? Are the reminders on our phone not to go somewhere, but to tell someone that we love them, for example?

3. We don’t download apps, we download habits. Framing tech this way is powerful.

4. A procrastination lifehack: Put on music you’ve never heard. And since I’ve been procrastinating doing the final edits on my book, I’m about to listen to some new music!

Ways to connect with Chris Dancy

229. Sally Helgesen: How Women Can Harness the Language of Achievement

The proverbial “glass ceiling” is real, and can block women from reaching their full potential. There is a lot of work to be done here, but not all women are in a position to effect systemic change.

So what can women (and their allies) do in their daily lives and careers to close the gap? That's the subject of Sally Helgesen's book, How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job.

Helgesen's groundbreaking research with thousands of women and companies over 30+ years reveals the fascinating differences between genders in the workplace, and the reasons some women struggle to claim credit for their achievements and vocalize their career aspirations — habits that often come more naturally to men.

In a corporate culture where achievements are rarely valued unless you shout them from the rooftops, women constantly balance perceptions of being “too aggressive” and not advocating for themselves enough.

Helgesen says, “why not both?” And she shares practical advice for women navigating these tricky waters.

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Takeaways from this episode:

  • We can't deny systemic bias, but we have the tools to overcome it on a daily basis by advocating for ourselves.
  • Misplaced loyalty: Sometimes we don't want to jump to a new S Curve because we're worried about our team or manager. But often, growing into a position of authority can help the team you love working with.
  • Women and men tend to be different––women tend to perceive themselves differently on their own S Curves. Women, don't be shy about claiming mastery when you've earned it!
  • We have made progress: There's always more work to do, but Sally's research shows us how far we've come over the last 30 years.

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