Episode 116

The Quest for Happiness;
How to Find Meaning in Our
Fast-Paced World
with Ashish Kothari

How do we find happiness in a world that seems to offer us everything we need, but leaves us feeling empty and dissatisfied? 

That’s the question that Ashish Kothari, the founder of The Happiness Squad, explores in this episode. He shares his insights on how to reconnect with our true selves and find joy and meaning in our lives, beyond the distractions and superficiality of our digital age. Join him as he reveals the secrets of unlocking your potential and living a happier life.

Available NOW wherever you get your podcast!

Listen Now

Connect with Ashish:

PodcastThe Happiness Squad Podcast

Book: “Hardwired for Happiness: 9 Proven Practices to Overcome Stress and Live Your Best Life” by Ashish Kothari

Happinesssquad.com

LinkedIn

Ashish’s Bio

I am the Founder and CEO of Happiness Squad, a boulder based company focused on helping individuals and organizations catalyze human flourishing to unlock their full potential.

Prior to this venture, I was Partner with McKinsey, based in Denver, focused on Leadership development at scale, Top team effectiveness and helping companies drive organizational change especially in context of transformations. I am a trained Ontological coach and have a passion for helping leaders build psychologically safe and human centric organizations to unleash the full potential of individuals, teams and organizations. I have helped companies across a range of industries, including Consumer packaged goods, High tech, and Financial services drive top-line growth and reduce costs.

Line of specialties: Adaptability and Resilience, Happiness, Well-being, Top team effectiveness, Leadership development, Coaching, Enterprise transformations, Growth Strategy, Innovation, Operational Excellence

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Transcript:

Angie 

Welcome to no more Mondays, the podcast that helps you navigate career challenges through the wisdom of professionals who have been at the same crossroads. I’m your host, Angie Callen, and I welcome you to join me each week as I chat with leaders, entrepreneurs, and employees who are here to share their practical, tactical advice and some inspiration on how they arrived at career and life satisfaction. From job searching and career changes to going out on your own. We are breaking down barriers and providing actionable takeaways to help you take charge of your Mondays and ditch those Sunday blues. Welcome to no more Mondays. Hello, everybody, and welcome to no more Mondays podcast. As always, I have your host Angie Callen. The lead into today’s episode is going to be just a little bit different because I’m going to start with a story on a cold, snowy powder day at Snowmass the winter before last Jim and I boarded the Alpine Springs lift along with a guy from the singles line. As locals do, we started chatting him up and figured out that we are actually both locals. And before I knew it, we were about seven chairs from the end when Dave Mayer, who was about to come online with me, and I figured out that we play on complementing ends of the same ballpark. That typical, what do you do exchange sounded a little bit something like this, Dave? Well, I’m an executive technical recruiter mouth agape. I’m a career coach who specializes in tech technology. And henceforth, these two worlds collided. Since then, I have really come to respect Dave, not only for the work he does matching technology professionals and executives with the right companies and cultures, but his focus on conscious entrepreneurship, is something we can all learn from as we leverage our careers and our businesses for greater impact for those both those who we serve and for the world. We’re going to chat business; we’re going to chat purpose. And if you’re a job seeker, don’t worry; we’re going to chat about executive recruitment. And I’m guessing we’re gonna get into a whole lot more. So I hope you will help me welcome to the show, Dave Mayer. Dave, welcome to no more Mondays.

 

Dave 

Thanks for having me. Good to be here.

 

Angie 

Yeah, I’m excited. I feel like this conversation is a long time coming. And it’s just funny when you live in a little mountain town to find somebody in this same ballpark, you know, right down the street. So let’s let now that we’re on air, and we follow are following up on this chance meeting. I’ve let someone to get into but let’s start with your work at technical integrity, your executive search firm. Tell everybody a little bit about what you’re up to there.

 

Dave 

Yeah, thanks. You know, obviously, there’s a lot of folks in the space, and one of the biggest differentiators for us is, is around community building. For since our inception in 2010, we have really built the gift-first ethos into our DNA as an organization. And what that means is really just give without expecting a get right, bring people together, and share your time, your energy, and sometimes your resources without any expectation of anything in return. You know, this idea came from our friends, Brad Feld and David Cohen, in their early days at TechStars. And just this, give to your community, help others out, lift others up. Don’t expect anything in return. Sure, it’ll eventually come back to you. And yes, it’s the long play, but it’s the right play. And that’s really been our DNA from the start.

 

Angie 

Well, it’s interesting, you bring that up. And I want to get a little bit of a snapshot into the backstory and how you even came into this in a minute. But it’s, it’s interesting that as we talk to more and more people on this podcast, and I talk to just people in life, that have figured out how to work with purpose and work with satisfaction, it almost always comes back to two big things, values alignment and, and the service that you provide. And that idea that you know, if you do give and you give freely, it always ends up working out in the end and usually better than it would if you’ve got like the ulterior motives. So I really, I really appreciate that you built technical integrity kind of on that ethos, and what how did you and so how did it come to be? How did you get into this world? What’s the backstory? Yeah, thanks.

 

Dave 

In my past life, I grew up in DC, you know; I went to Virginia Tech, fell in love with the outdoors, and then moved back to DC after I graduated, and it was going pretty crazy. Because it was just like, you know, you can’t get away from The noise, right is just insanely loud, and it took an hour to get anywhere quiet. And, you know, a couple of years later, I guess, you know, mid, mid 97. So I graduated in 95, mid-97, I came out on a business trip to Colorado, fell in love with Colorado, but I didn’t get into recruiting until 2000. At that time, it was very much sort of, you know, consultancy, you know, butts and seats, we don’t care about culture fit. It was, you know, let’s go go go. Right. And that’s certainly one way to do business. But after a number of years of doing that with larger businesses, I knew there was a better way, right? And so after the oh eight recession, when the small business that I was part of crumbled, I had an opportunity to reflect and think about how to bring the soul back to recruiting and really start my own thing. And that’s really when this whole concept of a service business, an executive search and technical team building organization, in true service to the community, to the engineering community, and startup community in Boulder, in particular, came about, and so it was, that’s when the light went on. And that’s when I saw Dave and and Brad talking at the standing room, only Boulder, Denver, new tech meet up and just like, Okay, this is how this is gonna go.

 

Angie 

We’re onto something here. And you actually brought up something I would love to get your perspective on, is, you know, you really wanted to shift how you how you worked, and how people thought about, you know, pairing up culture and moving away from that, like the old school very much like, humans as commodities model. And I’m curious that over the last, you know, 15 or so years, you know, since the Great Recession, since the boom of tech, the last few months of another change in tech, I’m curious what you’ve seen as far as like a global shift in kind of corporate culture, and the methodologies behind it.

 

Dave 

Yeah. softball question.

 

Angie 

Probably a little bit of a loaded one, too.

 

Dave 

Yeah, of course. Yeah, I mean, it’s changed exponentially since I started right 23 years now in recruiting, which is a little mind-bending. You know, back in the day, and in the, you know, the.com explosion, of course, it was all about butts and seats and hurry up, go go go and raise as much money, and we don’t really care and burn them out and 80 hours a week. And, you know, that still exists in some areas but, but that’s not the world that we live in. And that’s not the world that that we want or need to focus in. And so we’re grateful to be a part of these conscious communities, these organizations that, as Keith Razi said at the conscious entrepreneurs Summit, that CO Elevate, right, lift one another up and hold one another accountable as well. But to answer your question, like, you know, back in the day, it was like, lf G, right, let’s fucking go really fast, really hard. And at all costs, right? And that’s a losing strategy over time, of course, right? This is especially in the startup realm, where we where we focus. Again, yes, that’s one way to do things, and you’re entitled to do that. But you’re also very likely to burn out more than half your workforce, they’re going to stick around for less than a year, you know, your opportunity costs are going to be high, your literal costs are going to be high. Because you’re gonna be constantly backfilling people. And so these days, you know, especially, let’s say, fast forward to 2020, right, where there were all sorts of layoffs, and then into 2021, where, you know, mankind doesn’t seem to have the ability to function in the middle of the pendulum. Right? It’s, it’s like, feast or famine. Right? So in 2020, it was famine, and 2021 OMG. We’re going to hire everybody, and we’re going to over-hire, and now to some extent in, you know, in 23, we’re still paying for it, right? There were all sorts of layoffs last year, you know, it’s a conversation for another day, on the ski slopes of, you know, why can’t mankind, you know, function somewhere in the middle, but, you know, I think it’s, it’s, it has created a little bit of a stasis, a little bit of a healthier place. Now, again, at least in my small world of Colorado. Startups mindfully created startups that understand that these are human beings that you’re working with, these are not commodities, they have families, they have lives. If you want them to stick around, you’re gonna have to listen to them when they tell you that they’re burning out, you’re gonna have to actually sit down and listen to what their feedback is about making more productive feedback loops, or whatever it is, you know, better team meetings, or it should have been an email and all that fun stuff. You know, and zoom fatigue and it’s all real. Right? And and, you know, every organization is different. And so, you know, there’s no one answer, I would say, but, you know, most of my clients still are currently, remote first organizations are primarily remote organizations, and working on asynchronous communications. But there’s also a handful, there was an AI startup in Boulder that was like, you know, what, we’re gonna turn this on its head, it’s been too much out of the office, you know, a bunch of former Twitter folks. And they’re just like, you know, four days in the office in Boulder. It’s a beautiful office. And, you know, let’s go, let’s work together, let’s collaborate. But, you know, one of the founders, my buddy, there is, you know, bikes home at 501 to go take care of his two-year-old, right? And, you know, so He leads by example in that regard.

 

Angie 

I love that you brought up the pendulum because that is exactly what we’ve, that’s exactly what the last three years have been. It’s like one extreme or the other. And, and a lot of this, I think, has been, you know, what we’re seeing on where the pendulum I feel like the pendulums, the arc of the swing is starting to kind of rein itself in so the extremes aren’t quite so polarizing. And to me, that is like a 15-year breakneck speed growth in technology finally, trying to figure out its long-term stasis. And I from what I’ve also seen is that the younger generations of workers have like really flooding flooding the professional world is kind of forcing that change because they are not necessarily as inclined as we, Gen Xers are to work in a high burnout, startup environment. And so I’m curious, here comes the next pitch in this game of softball, Dave, what is your recommendation to how candidates can? I’m gonna say leverage, but it doesn’t feel like the right word? How how do candidates use the shift that we’re seeing, and this move to, at least in some areas of more conscious culture and conscious work environment, to their advantage to find places that align?

 

Dave 

Yeah, thanks for that. So maybe in the show notes, we can share this audio blog that I created around finding your North Star. There’s a Japanese concept called Ikigai. And, you know, we have a graphic around it that will help folks find their north star as well as Simon cynics Start With Why, not necessarily from a business perspective, but from a personal perspective. And so I think, encouraging folks to really slow down, especially if they’ve just been laid off, and they’re sort of in Oh, shit mode. You know, I think it’s really just take a deep breath, right, especially those in the technology realm, you know, we’re, we’re fortunate enough, all of us are fortunate enough to be able to engineer our future, you know, yes, of course, we all have bills to pay. Yes, we have things to take care of, people to take care of bills to take care of, but let’s go about it mindfully, right? Let’s go about it with a great deal of intention. Versus OSHA, oh, shit, I am not gonna be able to pay my bills. You know, I’m working with my niece right now who’s, you know, 20 years younger than me. But she’s, she was working at Under Armour and got laid off in a high-paying job. And now she’s working a bar job, which is, which is good and fine. And I actually recommend it in my blog, as you know, if you absolutely need to pay the bills, buy yourself some time and go get a bar job, even though it’s, you know, a left turn from perhaps what you were doing, and some people don’t want to do that. And that’s fine. Where I’m headed is we have a great deal of opportunity to create and engineer the future that we want if we take the time to slow down and do this entirety of a search in with intention versus being done out of fear and lack.

 

Angie 

We have more ability in the professional world to create the path we want to create, but you have to do that work, right? You have to do the reflection. You have to figure it out. And sometimes that means I love this example that you just gave, because a lot of people like I would say, more seasoned, let’s not say older job seekers or professionals would be like, Oh my gosh, will she? What’s she going to put on her resume? It’s gonna say she had a bar job for seven months. And they’re gonna ask her all kinds of questions about that. Well, guess what? You can create a very intentional answer to why you did that, that will resonate because you it has a reason behind it. And sometimes, it’s so funny Dave; I was. I was recording a podcast on somebody else’s last week. It’s called the happiness squad, and it’s going to air sometime soon everybody. And literally, they were like, what do you do if you get laid off? And the first thing I said was, don’t react and breathe. Because that’s usually we just go into panic mode and roll ourselves into just the next thing, when really five months of a bar job and being able to explain that, you know, stop, on the train on your resume is much healthier, and will get you further in the long run than just falling into the next, you know, oh, my gosh, I have to pay the bills, professional opportunity that might not align with where you want to go.

 

Dave 

Yeah, 100%. And it’s going to create the space that you need to get clear to do this ikigai exercise to do the Start With Why and to just sit still. Right. I mean, there’s also, you know, you don’t have to put it on your resume at all, right? It’s like, there was a five-month break, and I got laid off. Tough shit. Let’s talk about reality land here. Right. So I think, you know, that’s one thing that I’ve also seen plenty of times, like people are on sabbatical. Other people are like, you know, decided to travel to Europe, because I always wanted to or Asia. And then, you know, other people were like, you know, I was taking care of my sick parent, right? And all of these things are totally legitimate. Right? You are talking to a fellow human. And so humanize the situations.

 

Angie 

Yes. And I would also encourage those of you on the other side to humanize the situation because there’s plenty of people who still don’t, you know if you’re hiring and you’re going to hold these things over people’s head, what I’ll say is, then you’re, then they don’t jive with your wiki guy is what I would say if you I tell people all the time, if you walk into an interview, and they start grilling you about a gap on your resume, that was six months long, seven years ago, you don’t want to work for them, right? Because they probably don’t see you as a human and have that that kitschy term work-life balance. And as we talk about this whole concept of intentionality engineering your future, I really do think we’ve moved into a phase where there’s, there’s so many more options, right? There are more career tracks than there were when I was figuring out what to go to college for, which is why I went to be an engineer, even though you know why there are so many more options now, that we, I think that we have the space to kind of carve that path out. So we owe it to ourselves to do the due diligence.

 

Dave 

Yeah, and let’s just define the key guy for a minute just for those that don’t have the graphic in front of them. And like we said, We’ll include it, but it’s it’s four concentric circles. And Niki guy means a reason for being or a reason for being, in this case, in the work world. So the four circles are, what you love, what the world needs, what you can be paid for, and what you’re good at. And in the middle of those four concentric circles is your EQ guy. And so, you know, obviously, there could be some overlap, let’s just say you’re an engineer, with your engineering skills. But you know, I talked to plenty of folks who are just completely burnt out on the engineering trade and really want to chase their dream to do whatever it is XYZ. And they go do that. And they also know that they can make money doing it. And so, you know, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but you’ll never get to the truth if you don’t take the time to breathe, take a step back, go for a walk, talk to your best friends, you know, do some of these writing exercises, and just pause.

 

Angie 

You have to give yourself space and tune out. I bet I bet we could record an entire episode Dave on the value of living in your near Great nature and the benefits of taking advantage of it. And I want to kind of use all this as a segue to, to linger on the topic just for a second that I want to, you know, make space for, which is the idea that entrepreneurship in my mind has become one of those, let’s call it career tracks. That’s that is a lot more viable now than it was 20 plus years ago, whether it’s because technology supports it or society is, you know, more accepting of that as a career track. People are more innovative, whatever it is. So I want to talk a little bit about the work you do with the conscious entrepreneur Summit, which you’ve mentioned a couple of times, and kind of how it fits into this overall little ecosystem of creating, you know, more mindful businesses and workplaces. So tell me more about it.

 

Dave 

Yeah, so my friend Alex Raman is really the Creator. He came to me a couple of years ago and said, hey, you know, I’ve got this, this summit, but I need your help and bringing on some sponsors to make it a reality. And so we just finished year two, it’s really, you know, a little bit like what it sounds like. Obviously, this concept of conscious leadership has been around for a while. Conscious entrepreneurship is a little bit newer, you know, effectively; it’s just taking a bit slower, more intentional approach to entrepreneurship. And really, this year, we had, as noted, Keith Ferrazzi, come speak, who was who was amazing, you made everybody cry. We had, you’ve likely if if anybody is on LinkedIn, you’ve definitely seen Liz FOSS liens, illustrations around emotions at work. She was one of our speakers, and she’s pretty amazing. You know, last year, we had Jerry Kelowna, CEO whisperer, right? And, you know, been on Tim Ferriss a handful of times. You know, it’s just these amazing world-class speakers that come and talk about sort of a better way to work, a better way to function at work, a better way to be a healthier entrepreneur. I’ve long been an advocate for mental health and entrepreneurship, right? There’s this, as mentioned, sort of bullshit, hustle, hustle at any cost, approach to entrepreneurship, and in particular startups, and you know, out of the Bay Area and hustle till you drop, right, it’s a flawed model. And I’ve known that for many, many years because I did drop in 2010. While starting technical integrity, I also was a founder of a software startup and ended up in the hospital from exhaustion, stress, and, you know, co-founder fallouts and all the fun things. And, you know, after that, and after hearing a number of other leaders in the community just talk openly about their struggles with stress and depression and all the things right, that are that are truly human. But nobody really was talking about and in the mid-2000s. It gave me permission to be vulnerable, gave me permission to be open about my struggles. And then I decided to really dig in and just say, hey, you know, there is another way to be an entrepreneur, you don’t have to burn out, you can do this intelligently, you can approach us, you know, as as a true leader and show your team’s what it means to be a conscious leader and to co Elevate, right, and to lift one another up. And you don’t have to have this burnout culture.

 

Angie 

It’s, I think that’s a really good message for all of those, really, for anybody. Because I think we all come from a professional, let’s say, pass that perpetuated that like burnout, the time that, you know, you have to overwork, you’re not valuable unless you’re in the office 60 hours a week, and all those kinds of things. And I think the irony of it, when we apply that to the entrepreneurial world, is that most of us want to have the freedom and flexibility of owning our own business, even if it’s also as a function of putting our purpose or that, you know, conjoining of the ikigai buckets out into the world. But then we also end up creating our own little prison; we’ve all seen that mean that I’d rather work 100 hours for myself than 40 for somebody else. And that’s, that is completely bass backward way to do entrepreneurship, but I experienced it myself as well. And in 2020, I was I started working like 70 hours a week because people’s careers blew up. And they were like, Oh, my gosh, please be my therapist, and my coach and people’s jobs were churches were taken forever. And I was like a shell of a human after four or five, six months of that and realized that wasn’t necessarily the way to do it. And in that, I was allowed to create a different, you know, schedule, a different cadence, and a different pace for myself. And that didn’t mean I was any less successful. And I think that it’s amazing to perpetuate that message not only within entrepreneurs but within a group of entrepreneurs who are also, you know, employing people as well.

 

Dave 

Yeah, nobody’s saying they don’t work hard. I think it’s a little bit of, you know, work smarter. And, you know, put yourself and your family and your health first. And, you are not your job, right, you know, whether you’re an entrepreneur or otherwise.

 

Angie 

Oh, so, I think that, yeah, that old adage. work smarter, not harder, harder is 100% applicable now because working hard does not necessarily mean more. Right. And in fact, a lot of times, it translates to more as less because you’re, you’re less effective. And for those of you, for those of you out there, you couldn’t see my eyes get really big when Dave said, You are not your job. And I bet you and I have found similar, you know, I’m also east coaster got bit by the nature bug came out here and was like holy cow, why am I not? Why am I driving I 95. to ski in Maine, I can live in Colorado, right? But I find that also, as you move west, we tend to detach from that your job or your profession is your identity thing, because we have, you know, and whatnot, dog and on on New York City Lights here, but out here, we tend to tend to have more hobbies that define us. And I think it’s a way healthier way to identify with yourself so that when you get laid off, you don’t go into crisis mode because you just lost your whole identity. So I’m curious if you’ve seen that too.

 

Dave 

Yeah, I mean, when you spend, you know, fill in the blank amount of hours, at a at a professional opportunity, of course, you know, I was just I’m actually in the middle of writing a blog, that, you know, you spend a third of your life at work, right? I mean, of course, you’re going to have some portion of your identity wrapped up in what you do. No question. I mean, it’s, it’s inevitable. And, you know, hopefully, you’re doing meaningful work, and you’re, you’re doing something that you care about; it’s not just another widget, right? So, so yeah, of course, there’s going to be a sense of loss, there’s going to be, if you’re caught up in a, in a layoff, you’re gonna, you’re gonna sort of feel like a part of you was torn away, or is no longer part of you. And that’s, that’s sort of further illustration on why you should slow down rather than go into panic mode. Because it’s, it’s an opportunity, it might be a challenge, but it’s a massive opportunity to think about who you want to be next, and how you, as I like to say, what you want to be when you grow up, right? And, you know, some people sort of look at me sideways when I ask that, but in most people laugh, and it’s because it, you know, evokes a thought of, you know when you were six, right, you know, I’d be a doctor, I want to be a DJ, or whatever, right? But you get to call the shots, it is an opportunity, and let’s just say it was a, whatever, a dead-end job or something that you weren’t happy in, and you got laid off because, you know, whatever the company ran out of funding, and or it was evident, you weren’t happy in the role anyway, doesn’t matter, the the sort of Buddhist philosophy of begin again, right, you get an opportunity every moment of every day, to begin again. And that includes if you’re caught in a layoff.

 

Angie 

Yeah, and a lot of times, those instances end up becoming blessings. And you’re you needed to be pushed off, pushed off that precipice. And, you know, when it comes to, you know, just to kind of wrap up that concept about, you know, job not defining you, it’s, it’s not that your job is not your does not define you, it’s only a part of your definition. And your overall your overall self and value and satisfaction have more components than just your vocation. And I think, you know, kind of our message and what everything else, everything here trickles into is this idea of it being intentional and identifying all of those components because that’s where fulfillment comes from. Right? If you try to find all of your meaning, or you or you attach all of your meaning to your job, you’re missing out on other aspects of life. And you’re also putting too much pressure on the professional aspect of your overall existence. And I think that’s where this idea of being mindful not only about the workplaces we’re creating, but the workplaces that you’re in, is kind of a recurring theme here. Which brings us perfectly to our next segment. So shall we continue the game of softball that we’re playing on and off throughout this conversation, please? Okay, cool. So applying everything we’ve talked about so far, how can job seekers bring this concept of integrity and mindfulness to their job searches and to how they show up in the workplace?

 

Dave 

So how do they show up in the workplace or in their search?

 

Angie 

I kind of want to get both. So can we make this a two-part question?

 

Dave 

Sure. So let’s presume, still currently employed? I think there’s a lot of folks who are averse to having difficult conversations at work, especially with somebody in a position of power, whether it’s CEO or they’re just they’re sort of in-line boss. I would encourage folks to really invite a deep dive conversation, perhaps outside of the office, whether it’s coffee or breakfast or something that’s not normal for you and your boss or you in the decision-makers in the organizations. So you know, a change of setting. And perhaps you can or will have taken some initiative prior on something that’s important to you, you know, within the organization that you want to bring to their attention or think could be an opportunity for the organization, or you can make their life easier, whatever it is, and or, you know, the other way is like you you’re sort of uncomfortable with something that’s being the way something has been done, or you feel like you’re not being heard, or your team isn’t being heard than, you know, being willing to have difficult conversations in a respectful manner, but also, obviously, coming with solutions. I think, you know, obviously, these are very different kinds of conversations in large organizations, and they are within small startups. You know, hopefully, by and large, management has open-door policies. But I think really taking it upon yourself to engage in constructive heart hard conversations will always result in positive things, no matter how uncomfortable they are in the short run.

 

Angie 

Yeah, and I’ll jump in, and then we’re going to keep you accountable to answering this from a job search perspective, too. But I think there’s this concept that you’re just this, a lot of people fall into that, like, I’m just one person, I’m not going to change anything. But we all know one person who’s changed a whole lot of things about this world. And so, you know, in the snapshot of what Dave just said, it’s basically grow some Coronas to go approach those the powers that be to have the conversation, change up the environment, so that everybody can get into that headspace. But you have to come to it; you have to come at these with solutions so that you’re not just the town crier, right? And I think that’s where a lot of people are good at complaining, but they don’t ever necessarily sit down and say, Hey, maybe I could be part of a solution to that, let alone then taking that proactive step to go and suggest it to the powers that be you might get by, and you may not get buy-in. But you’ll know you at least did your small part in attempting to fix whatever x is.

 

Dave 

Yep. And you know, show your work as well. Right, you know, show that you’ve taken some initiative, show that you have some ideas, and or how other organizations have implemented some of these things that you might be concerned about. But yeah, at the end of the day, it needs to be a glass half full sort of 51%, you know, opportunity versus just complaining. Absolutely.

 

Angie 

Exactly. So then, so let’s say that you’re, whether you’re in a job or you’ve been laid off, whatever, you are seeking a new position; how do candidates go about looking for or vetting that mindfulness in an employer? How do they find good matches?

 

Dave 

Yeah. So a couple of things that I talked about regularly. Best Companies to Work For lists are a good place to start. In particular, recurring appearances on a multitude of those and cross-referencing with Glassdoor, so let’s just say Colorado, Best Companies to Work For Colorado biz magazine, then there’s Outside Magazine as the best companies to work for, and Glassdoor and so you see that x company appears, you know, three out of three years on each of those lists, and has a four out of five-star rating or five out of five on Glassdoor. That’s a pretty good indicator, right? You know, obviously, at the same time, the opposite side of that is, be careful, a little bit. Buyer beware. If you saw one organization appears one year on one of those lists and not on any others, because it is possible, not often, but it is possible to game those systems, you know, where a company-wide memo goes out and says, everybody tells everybody how, you know, tell the world how awesome it is to work here. And everybody writes a letter, and then you know, all hell breaks loose, and then it becomes not a great place to work. I’m just saying, obviously, do your homework, right, and cross reference. So so that’s the first part of it. The second part is build community, right? Just like we do, just like, you know, go to meetups. And really, this is these go hand in hand, right? You have done your homework, and you’ve identified your top five based on the cultural attributes that are important to you based on their leadership. You’ve really dug in and done your homework; you see that they’re on these lists, you see that they’re active in the community. And then you go out and act. We engage with them, right? You see that the CEO or the CTO is speaking at a local meetup or that they’re at Boulder, Denver Startup Week, or Westslope Startup Week, coming up here in August. And you just go introduce yourself, right and, and just bring up what’s important to you straight up, like, hey, you know, and I don’t know that I would start with, Hey, I’m looking for a job, it’s, Hey, I’m really enamored with how you have, you know, spent a lot of time and building your, your core values as an organization. And here’s one that resonates with me. You know, I’d love to hear about why you chose that. And put it in your top three things as an organization to really help everybody strive for right, and here’s how I strive for that on a daily basis in my daily life as well. Right. And so, you’re, you’re fostering a relationship, you’re creating opportunities for for human conversation and human connection. And then eventually, it’ll come around to, you know, what do you do or what’s what’s going on? Or, you know, and double bonus points, extra credit points, if you’re helping the organizer of this meetup, bring in speakers sponsors, you’re actually building community, you’re playing the long game, you are a genuine part of the community, everybody goes to one meetup and never comes back. Right? Be the person that actually sticks around, you know, is consistent. And yes, you know, you have full permission to go to three different meetups and decide which one resonates with you. But commit yourself to it, and help them grow the community; whether you’re in rural Colorado, or Iowa doesn’t matter. But be consistent.

 

Angie 

I feel like you just said 12 things I said 12 times yesterday, Dave, and it’s like it’s thank God, but somebody validates the like, the strategies that because you what you just did was confirm why I always recommend anybody out there who’s worked with me for career coaching. I am a huge proponent of the hit list, right a shortlist of companies that you have investigated and, let’s say pre-vetted as validation and the fact that networking and prospecting that hitlist is a community-building exercise that does not produce a result overnight, but produces a much stronger and better, intentional result, over the period of time it takes to you know, to manifest into something tangible. And that three, the approach to networking has to be authentic so that it does not feel and does not appear self-serving, i.e., don’t lead with the head, like a job at your company foot, at least not have a good front and say I’d like to build a relationship with you so that I can get a job at your company.

 

Dave 

Yeah, networking is about giving. Alright, and this is all about the good first ethos; it’s how, you know, tell me what’s keeping you up at night? You know, these are conversation starters. You know, anything but the, hey, I’m looking for a job. I saw you guys are hiring. Don’t do that ever. Right? That’s, you know, sure, if they’re running out the door, and you you have a business card, you want to hand them, you know, please don’t hand them a resume at a networking event. Like that’s a no-no. It lift one another up, right? How can you be of assistance to them? How can you make their life easier? Don’t walk into a room and say I’m looking for work? Right? It’s, you know, what are the challenges you’re facing? What’s keeping you up at night? How can I be of assistance to you? This is the good first ethos.

 

Angie 

Yep, I love that you just brought that kind of all full, full circle with the idea of, you know, giving first and and the results will come. And again, if you are not in panic mode, you have a little bit of space to be able to kind of leverage these types of types of strategies. I once told a candidate I was like, do you go on a first date with a ring in your pocket? Know?

 

Dave 

If you do it, stop it.

 

Angie 

Yeah, exactly. So this is the part where David and I begin giving relationship advice. But there are so many hilarious correlations between dating and job searching. And sometimes you just have to give that really ridiculous example to say, you know, not only do you not go to a first date with the ring in your pocket, you sure as hell don’t pop that question at the end of the first date, either. So don’t you know, don’t go too hard and fast in networking? ,This I think, brings us to the other question and another just piece of advice that I would get yelled at for not asking you. I get asked the following question a lot. And so I’m gonna use the captive audience that I have to get an answer from the horse’s mouth, and that is, how do people that are actively job searching engage with somebody like you, who’s on the sourcing recruitment and company side of the coin?

 

Dave 

Yeah. So you know, we get tons and tons of inbound referrals every day just because of how we conduct business in the community. And we’re grateful for that. You know, for us, I think it’s it’s a Simple outreach. And anybody can reach out to Dave at technical integrity.com or technical integrity.com. Just to read more about us. I think it’s just be clear, right? It’s like, I have read your blog, ideally, right, the audio blog that I mentioned at the top, and I have a sense for, you know, where I’m headed, I’ve identified my top targets list. I’ve done my start with why exercise, at least sort of, you know, I’m not in panic mode. Right? I think that’s, that’s a number one. It’s like, I’m interested in conducting an intentional job search; I’ve identified the folks that I’m most excited about. And I’d love to increase the size of my network and my reach, you know, are you open to being of assistance to us, to me, and, you know, how might we work together? I think it’s as simple as that.

 

Angie 

It all goes back to approach it with authenticity, and in earnest, and it will, it will go well. And also, you have realistic expectations and a healthy dose of patience on how these types of engagements work for you in the long run, if I would like to just extend my time on my career coach soapbox, which is why you build a network from the start of your career and you nurture it, engage it and treat it like a community, because net, then you don’t have to start from zero anytime you want to leverage it. They’re there for you kind of, you know, pumps are primed.

 

Dave 

Yep, lift one another up, you know, in lean times and in good times, and it will all come together when you need to leverage your own network.

 

Angie 

That is a perfect way to kind of segue into, you know, we’re gonna wrap things up, even though I’m like, I have so many other little like, ooh, Dave could give candidates so much advice. So I have a feeling there’s a 2.0 of this episode. But as we kind of wind things down, I would love for you to mention the resources that you have. So we mentioned there’s an icky guy she is if there’s anything else you want to throw out there that you’ve got for candidates or entrepreneurs or people on the hiring side. Give it a shout-out.

 

Dave 

Yeah, I think just shoot us a note, technical integrity.com. You know, if there are community events, the, you know, you’re looking for some assistance in bringing to life, whether it’s in rural Colorado are in the Front Range, we’re always interested in hearing about those, especially if they’re, you know, intentionally built. And, you know, just in general, we always want to talk to super smart engineers and executives who are thinking about a transition. And likewise, two organizations that are trying to build their teams. But just not exactly sure how to attract the top talent that meet their cultural and technical attributes.

 

Angie 

Yeah. And how does everybody follow along with you and your journey in conscious entrepreneurship and executive search?

 

Dave 

Yeah, thanks. So I tweet, you know, think and say what you will about the owner of Twitter these days, I No comment. But integrity with a tee in front of it is my handle. So 10 Tegrity, on Twitter, talks a lot about conscious entrepreneurship, startups, and all of these kinds of things. Obviously, we’ll link to the show they’re here. Obviously, LinkedIn, of course, everybody lives there, for better or for worse. And then conscious. entrepreneur.us is our website, but our LinkedIn group is growing and active so just find a conscious entrepreneurs summit on LinkedIn. And we’ll be posting about upcoming events there. We’ll be doing some a few one-offs, like there was even like a handful of people going out paddleboarding, who are, you know, all want to talk about conscious entrepreneurship, and we’ll be doing likely some dinners and these kinds of things there as well.

 

Angie 

Geez, even I got some resources to tune into Dave, this has been great. And if we’re just, let’s just continue the baseball-softball analogy all the way to the end of the game, the bottom of the ninth. I’m gonna throw you one more pitch to get your number one piece of advice on what everybody out there can do to get one step closer to career and life satisfaction.

 

Dave 

I think, you know, we tapped into it a little bit. But truly, your intuition is never wrong. But most people don’t sit still long enough. Or create the space to really listen to what’s coming up for them. And so, slow down, breathe, get outside, even if you live in the city, put your headphones on, and go for a walk. Hang out with friends that know you will bounce ideas, do some writing, do some reading, You know, watch your favorite movies, see what comes up for you about, and especially if you’ve got perhaps even three offers, you know? Listen, you know, do your pros and cons list, but really listen to what your intuition is telling you. Because it’s always right.

 

Angie 

Give yourself time to be the human that you are, right, versus the robot that I think we sometimes become as we just methodically and mechanically go through life. Because I think you’ll be surprised what you find out about yourself if you give it the awareness and the space. So I think that’s an amazing piece of advice and an excellent pearl of wisdom that will help both your life and your career, so you, you knocked it out of the park. Ah, Dr. Mike, drop on the sports analogies for this episode, everybody.

 

Dave 

I like it. Maybe the Grand Slam is if you’re choosing between two opportunities, and one is more money, and one is more meaningful work. There’s no discussion; take the more meaningful work every time.

 

Angie 

You hit it out of the park, Dave Mayer, thank you so much for joining me on this episode of no more Mondays, there is some great advice. And just I would say great inspiration at the same time, right? So we definitely melded, kind of aspirational and tactical at the same time. And I appreciate you being here and taking your time to share all of that. With everybody out there.

 

Dave 

Thanks so much for the opportunity. And we’ll see you on the slopes.

 

Angie 

Oh yeah. Even though it’s like 90 degrees here. But hey, we always love talking to people who have successfully navigated their own career crossroads, and it’s even better when they’re helping others do the same. So I hope you will check out Dave and the important work he’s doing through technical integrity and his contributions to the conscious entrepreneur summit show notes. All these links, there are some name drops here; we’re going to link to some books I think we’re probably going to link to, so there’s a ton of resources coming your way. If you head on over to no more Monday’s dot info. You can grab those. Leave us comments, feedback, and drop a guest suggestion. And in the meantime, I will see you next week for another episode of no more Mondays podcast. Thanks for joining us for another episode of no more Mondays. Tune in next week as we bring you more insights and actions to help you improve your life and career. Don’t forget to visit us online at no more Mondays that info to get all the details show notes and recommendations from this episode. No more Mondays, we drop new episodes every Wednesday. No more. Monday’s is brought to you by career benders, Inc, in partnership with executive producer Jane Durkee. For more information about career coaching, resume writing, personal branding, recruiting, and entrepreneurship coaching services, visit us online at career benders.com