Why You SHOULD BE INTENTIONAL About Your Goals to Actually Change Your Life w/ Ryan Duffy

Feb 05, 2022

Welcome to episode 46 of the Mindful & Driven podcast! It’s all about how to not lose sight of what really matters whilst chasing your dreams.

Episode 46’s guest is Ryan Duffy. He’s the head of operations and creative partnerships for audio at Medium. He started his career as a Hollywood agent so he’s representing some of the top talents in the film and TV industry. Yet he found that it didn’t really align with his values and he turned to the tech start-up space where he’s found multiple companies. Now he really enjoys creating audio courses and he’s interviewed me for my own audio course and I can tell you he’s great at it but he’s always striving to do what matters to him and to make sure he is living his life aligned with his values. 

I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation! I’d love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review and follow me on social channels. 

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How to be more intentional about your goals. 
  • Why it’s important to be intentional about what you want from life. 
  • How intention can change your life. 
  • How to use your intentions to achieve your goals. 
  • Why your intention is more important than your goals.
  • How to be more intentional about your life. 
  • Intention is better than goals. 
  • Set intentions before taking action. 
  • The importance of intention in life. 
  • The importance of intention in your career. 
  • How intention helps you achieve your goals. 
  • How to be more intentional about your time. 
  • How to achieve balance through clear intentions. 
  • Why you should set clear intentions before pursuing a goal. 
  • How intentions work.

Keynotes:

  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Taking the plunge (1:46)
  • Emotions in the workplace (3:01) 
  • You can be doing really well and  be unhappy(15:49)
  • Identity (19:56)
  • When balance is still an issue  (24:49)
  • Delegation and letting it go (28:55)
  • Intentionality and deliberation in your life  (28:22)

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Intro Music:
“Himalayas” by Mona Wonderlick — bit.ly/youtube-monawonderlick
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free download: bit.ly/himalayas-download

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Transcript

 

[00:00:00] Ryan: Intentionality and deliberation in your life, no matter what you do. Not everything is a choice, but a lot of things are, I would argue most things are. If you’re working toward a goal, the goal is actually not the goal. The habit formation that gets you to that goal is the real goal. And the goal is the by-product of the habit formation to achieve your goals. You have to take action and taking action is fully within your control. Now, the goal itself,

[00:00:37] Amardeep: Welcome to the Mindful and Driven Podcast, where we help you to not lose sight of what’s really important whilst chasing your dreams. Today’s guest is Ryan Duffy. He’s the head of operations and creative partnerships for audio at Medium. He started his career as a Hollywood agent so he’s representing some of the top talents in the film and TV industry. Yet he found that it didn’t really align with his values and he turned to the tech start-up space where he’s found multiple companies. Now he really enjoys creating audio courses and he’s interviewed me for my own audio course and I can tell you he’s great at it but he’s always striving to do what matters to him and to make sure he is living his life aligned with his values. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

[00:01:21] Welcome to Mindful and Driven, Ryan. It’s a pleasure to have you here. 

[00:01:24] Ryan: Thank you. Good to be here. 

[00:01:25] Amardeep: So you’ve got a really interesting background because you start off as a Hollywood agent and then you went into startups and created your own startup later, and you’ve been through different transitions and coming up with new ideas and reinventing yourself. Along the way, was there any advice that you got, which you really disagreed with and you think it could have taken you down the wrong path? 

[00:01:43] Ryan: That’s an interesting question. Advice that I disagreed with, you know, I didn’t actually go about seeking a whole lot of advice when I made that transition, probably to my own detriment. I did a lot of reading online. I found some advice there, but for me, the process of transitioning from a very corporate job that I worked for in many years into the world of startups happened kind of by accident. I happened to be a user of a product that I was a big fan of that team happened to be based in LA. I reached out to that team on a whim, started a conversation and the dominoes fell from there. It gave me a good opportunity to get out of the situation I had been in for many years and one in which I was pretty unhappy. And to try something new, not entirely new, but move adjacently into a different business, and it’s not like I had created some playbook to switch careers. It’s sort of happened organically. It’s not like I was out there talking to a lot of companies or applying to jobs or having coffees with folks to try to open new doors for myself. This was one of the only companies that I had talked to and it seemed like a good fit. And I kind of held my nose and took the plunge. 

[00:03:01] Amardeep: Now that you’re, obviously in a position where people often will come to you for advice, or you often see that your business [unintelligible], you hear those sort of advice because see if you’re giving out on your platform. And like, one thing you mentioned to me in the past is how you don’t like it when people say not to bring their emotions into the workplace, because you feel that that can be beneficial. Can you talk a bit about that? 

[00:03:22] Ryan: Yeah, that was a piece of advice that I got from one of our investors at Knowable and she is sort of a different type of VC. She goes against the grain as far as a lot of the stereotypes in that industry go, which is a good thing, almost, almost in every case. And she comes from a human resources background and she’s transitioned to a career to become a very successful venture capitalist. And she started in the world of HR and transitioned her career to become a very successful venture capitalist, and that’s sort of her area of expertise when it comes to evaluating companies and advising portfolio companies. And she kind of walked, myself and one of my teammates through a deck that she was putting together, something that she was going to use on a lot of her portfolio companies eventually, but we were sort of the test subjects for this, and there was one slide in that deck where she talked about emotions in the workplace. Now we’ve been trained, I think at least here in the states to kind of ignore human emotion in the workplace and the point that she was making is that’s kind of crazy because human emotion is fundamental part of human existence. Emotions are impossible to ignore. And when work is taking up more than half of your life for a lot of people, for me at a certain time, it was probably three quarters of my life working 60, 65 hour weeks, you can’t disregard your emotions, and if you try to, you’re only going to hurt yourself. So what she was trying to do, a new way of thinking that she was trying to introduce or enforce, is a workplace that welcomes emotions, that embraces emotions, that at the very least acknowledges them. And I think in a workplace where emotion is something that’s not taboo, you’re going to establish a level of psychological safety in the team that might not exist elsewhere. You know, the common conception of work, again, at least here in The States, and I think this is probably true in in the UK is that you go to work, you answer to a boss, you don’t have a whole lot of autonomy in your day, you certainly don’t have a lot of autonomy over your emotions while you’re at work, and I think ultimately that’s a net negative for individual’s psychological health. And if your psychological health isn’t there, you’re not going to perform. So it’s almost counterproductive from a management point of view to not introduce some level of emotional intelligence into the workplace, and one thing that’s heartening to see, it’s not just this investor colleague of mine, who introduced this to me. Over the ensuing couple of years since she first planted the seed in my head, and when she planted that seed, it really hit me like a hammer. It was like, yeah, that makes so much sense. It’s almost crazy to think we’re not already operating this way. As I was saying in the ensuing couple of years, I’ve started to see the trend line shift. And I’ve started to see an embrace of EQ, of emotional intelligence in the workplace, especially for managers, for leaders as a, as something that’s newly important and newly prized. So hopefully that trend continues and we can see. More embrace of emotion in the workplace. 

[00:06:47] Amardeep: Yeah. I completely agree as well because my background is more of the professional services industry. So in London, it’s obviously us investment banking, it’s consulting, and all these industries, it’s as you said, where people are trained or encouraged to hide their emotions, so they work long hours every day and what tends to happen is that they then need a release valve and that leads to kind of the binge drinking culture and things like that in the evenings, because they’ve had all their emotions bottled up all day long, and that leads them to that boiling point. And I think in terms of burnout, in terms of all of those kind of negative effects you can have from work, one of the worst things you can do is to let the problems build up inside without telling anybody or without people understanding around you, because then it makes the problem worse and worse and worse. Whereas if you have somebody or a manager, you can talk to and confide in, then everything doesn’t feel as much pressure anymore and you might still have to work long hours, might still have to have some tasks that you don’t want to do, but knowing that at least people appreciate that that’s what you think and that’s what you’re feeling, I think can go a long way to alleviating some of the stress. 

[00:07:55] Ryan: I think that’s a really important point. People need a release valve. Everybody does whether they want to admit it or not. Some people are probably too proud to admit that, but it’s true. The heart of driving a performance culture that exists in the industry that you previously worked in that existed in the, or still exists in the industry I previously worked in and really exists across most white collar high stakes industries and probably many blue collar industries as well. It has its benefits. There’s a reason that the workplace environment has evolved in that way because a performance culture is about results and that’s a good thing, but a performance only culture leaves behind a lot of important things with regards to the individual psychological wellness of the employees, and like I said before, if the team is not in a good place mentally, they’re not going to perform at their best. Now they might in over a short period of time, but if they’re not able to have that release and if they choose to sort of mask the release or, or use drinking or drugs or hard partying or some other kind of vice as a proxy for that release, ultimately it’s going to lead to burnout. It’s going to lead to degrading performance over time, it’s going to lead to bad feelings or resentment against the company, that’s really driving the individual so hard that they’re not enjoying what they do anymore, if they ever enjoyed it at all. So there’s a balance between, from a management or leadership perspective as someone who is now managing people and has been on the founding team of multiple companies, you want to think deeply about the long-term versus the short-term with regards to company culture and team member lifestyle. I’m not someone who believes strongly in that extremely high pressure, performance, only environment. And that’s probably a rejection of my previous experience working in one of those environments and seeing firsthand how kind of destructive they can be. Luckily that wasn’t necessarily the case for myself. Destructive is probably too strong, a word for the feelings that I felt during that time, but many of my peers did end up burning out, taking on nonproductive habits, dangerous habits, drinking too much, whatever, and ultimately probably inhibiting the success of their own careers over the longterm because they weren’t in an environment that was conducive to their mental health at the time. 

[00:11:09] Amardeep: Yeah. I think that’s a really important point where sometimes people say, oh, I just need to work hard for this. And a common, I guess, joke amongst the investment banking community because I studied economics and a lot of people went into investment banking is, oh, I’m going to do this for two years. Work really hard for two years, and then I’m going to get out. Most of those people that I went to university with are still doing the same hours, 

[00:11:31] Ryan: a hundred percent. 

[00:11:32] Amardeep: Doing that same grind. It’s so hard to leave once you got there. 

[00:11:35] Ryan: Same thing in my former industry working in the Hollywood agency world. 100% true for at least half the people entering the fray, and it’s sort of a proving ground for young people right out of college. You go work at an agency to get your feet wet in Hollywood, and then ideally you go matriculate elsewhere into the Hollywood ecosystem. But so many people get locked in to that job and into that lifestyle. And you know, it’s for some people, but it’s not for everyone. But there’s kind of this mental sunk cost fallacy that comes into play. Okay, I’ve been here for two years. Maybe I’ve made a little bit of progress and now that I’m inside these walls, I kind of get how things are working, and you sort of build a bubble around yourself to when you’re working 60 hour weeks. That work, that professional environment becomes your life to a certain extent, it’s hard to see outside of that bubble and it becomes the only thing that’s important. So I know so many people just like you, who came in with the idea that they’d worked there for one year, 18 months, two years at most, then quote, unquote, graduate onto something else that they really wanted. Or so they thought. Then they get stuck there and they’re on this treadmill doing something that might not actually be what they want, but it’s hard to see the forest for the trees when you’re so deep inside. And you think it’s what you want. And that was totally the case for myself. I had been there for so long, just trying to make it happen that I did not want to even consider the idea of changing course. I’ve come this far, I’m not going to relinquish what I’ve earned to go try something new. And that was wrong of me because by changing course you know, whether you’re staying in the same industry, moving into an adjacent industry and technically, you know, switching careers which, you know, you could say I did. You’re not losing anything by making that change. You are bringing the experience that you have with you. It’s not lost. And I think that’s the most common mental error that people in that situation are making is that they think everything they’ve done is going to be for nothing. It’s time wasted. It’s sunk cost, yada, yada, it’s not true. Especially if you’re moving into an adjacent industry. You had the opportunity to bring a new perspective, to bring a, a new way of doing things into a new business environment. If you’re moving within your industry, of course, your time has not been wasted. You have a network now. You have experience under your belt. There’s something to say about just knowing the kind of vocabulary of an industry and by vocabulary. I don’t mean the words or the jargon people use, but more just how to navigate it. Every business is a little bit different. There’s just a cadence to the communication and the way things work and the way people do things that you only really learn when you get inside. I know the consulting world world is like that. I know the investment banking world is like that. It’s very true of Hollywood. And that’s valuable in and of itself. If you can enter a new job and hit the ground running, just because you know how to swim in that environment, that’s valuable. When you have your network, that’s valuable when you have institutional knowledge of the business, that’s valuable whether you’re staying within your specific vertical, or moving into an adjacent one. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that time is lost or work has been wasted just because you’re switching gears or changing lanes, 

[00:15:16] Amardeep: Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the episode so far. I want to take a quick break to ask you to check in with yourself. There’s many people struggling with balance and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s tips that my guests might share can hopefully help you along the way, but if you already feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it’s probably best that you ask somebody for help too. For some, this might be a friend or family member, while others might feel like they have nobody they can talk to. If you’re one of these people, check out the link in the show notes, it’s for United for Global Mental Health. They’ve got health plans all across the world, with people willing to listen on the other side. It’s important to let somebody know how you’re feeling. Now, back to the show.

[00:15:51] What I’d be really interested to hear as well from the listeners is that if you’re in this position right now, where you’re working long hours or your doing something. which you’re not happy in, email me and tell me why you’re still doing that because it would really be interesting to know what’s the blocker for you. And right, as you mentioned there, that you actually changed industries as well. And I think sometimes what happens is that some people might change their jobs regularly, but they just go into a similar job in another place and get a raise, but they’re still doing the same thing, which they don’t really enjoy and it’s still trying to break out that cycle too, because I think there’s almost two different people. Some people stay at the same company forever, and the other people will keep changing jobs, but more or less doing the same thing, even though they say, oh, I’m going to get out of this industry. 

[00:16:34] Ryan: Totally common to see. There’s kind of two paths you can take when you leave a company and leaving a company, even if you’re not changing industries, that’s still a huge deal. It’s like transferring colleges, you know, no one likes to be the new kid in school. It’s kind of daunting. It’s kind of overwhelming. Even if you’re more senior and you’re already doing really well, it still kind of sucks to be new, at least for me. There’s something exciting about it, but mostly, you know, it’s not comfortable. I see this very commonly where folks are not happy, but they might be doing well. Which, you know, those things seem to be intentioned with each other, but that happens all the time. You can be doing really well and be really unhappy. You can have, you know, a goal that you set for yourself years ago. Not knowing that that goal, isn’t what you really wanted, and here you are having met that goal totally unhappy. You may have an opportunity to move to a different company doing more or less the same thing. Maybe you get a little bump in your title. You’re probably going to be getting more money, which, you know, anytime you switch companies, you should probably be working toward a raise. So, it’s that idea of golden handcuffs. If you’re doing pretty well already, and you’ve already carved out new opportunities for you in a certain space, even if you’re not happy, it’s hard to turn down those opportunities. It’s the the opportunity cost of the known versus the unknown to switch to a new industry. You might not always have the opportunity to make as much as, or more than you were making before in another industry, and that’s different on a case by case basis, but it really comes down to a high level of intellectual honesty and self-awareness, and that’s not easy for everybody to ask themselves the hard questions, even if they’re okay asking others hard questions. You have to think deeply about is what I’m doing, what I want to be doing one year from now three years from now, five years from now, is it going to set me up for success? Not financially because if you’re not happy and it’s not getting you there financially, you got to make a change. 

[00:18:50] Amardeep: Again there is that’s the point you made there about working for promotion that you don’t even want. That’s one of the questions I asked myself before I left my job, because if I stayed around for another year, I would have got a major promotion and quite a major salary increase with that, but I looked at it as well, if I don’t want to stay in this industry anyway, what’s the point of getting that promotion? So why would I stick around for another year to get a pay rise and a promotion to stay in an industry which long term, I knew I didn’t want to be in. But it was tempting. I still thought in my head, I thought maybe I should just stay for another year just to get that. And I think this is a trap, many people fall into because when you’re looking at promotions, when you’re looking at responsibility, there’s almost no point working for a promotion, if that’s not the industry you’re going to stay in anyway. You might as well start working or going towards the direction that you want to work in. Right now for you, like you’ve been through a lot of change, you’ve had the acquisitions now you’re working as part of Medium. How do you find your balance is now? Because it’s a very different, I guess, perspective that you have than you did before. 

[00:19:54] Ryan: You hit on something that’s really meaningful, important to me, and resident, and that’s identity. So, we talked about money. We talked about lifestyle. We talked about personal goals. We didn’t talk about identity and that’s really important here too. It’s become so common. And I think this is a consequence of sort of really our generation. This wasn’t so true for previous generations. Personal identity is inextricably tied to your job, your professional success. There’s sort of among millennials, and I think this is true of gen Zers too, by my observation. There’s a pressure to always be thriving, to always be performing at your peak, to just be successful, and to be crushing it or whatever. And there’s nothing wrong with being successful, but this kind of cultural pressure to perform that productivity or to perform that success is kind of changing the way we think about work and work is now so closely tied with personal identity, and I felt this myself, you get into a business. All of your friends work in that business. Especially for me, I started at 22 or 23, right out of college. You know, with a few hundred or maybe a thousand other people across the business who were, you know, in my class so to speak coming into Hollywood and trying to make their way. They become your social network. They become all of your friends. And your identity as a consequence, becomes very closely tied with what you do, the environment that you’re working in, who you know, and if you want to make a change, uh, are you quitting? Are you a quitter? Are people going to look down on you and be like, oh, he couldn’t cut it. He wasn’t good enough. He’s not right for this. He’s not one of us anymore. That was a fear I had. Am I going to be a little bit of an outcast, if I leave this business where all of my friends work every day? Are we going to have anything to talk about anymore? Now, of course, you’re not going to be an outcast. No one is going to, you know, escort you out of the city walls or whatever. You’re going to be fine. But yeah, there is a real chance that you might have less in common over time as you start doing one thing and you know, other people are doing another thing and that’s okay. That’s part of life, but your identity should not be your job. It’s just, that’s a bad route to go down, because your job, ultimately, if you’re working for someone else, doesn’t care about you and you know, that’s a hard truth to swallow, but look, if the business turns down, you might be laid off and the business is not going to feel much regret about that, even if they love you. It’s just a part of, that’s a part of work and to tether your self conception, your identity to a job that is ultimately not your own and not 100% in your control is a dangerous thing to do. You need to find identity outside of your job. Extremely important. For me, moving into to answer your question, having our last company Knowable, our still current company Knowable, recently acquired by Medium, it’s changed, not a whole lot for me. I’m still working as if I’m in startup mode, because when you come into a new company, you want to prove yourself. You want to make things happen. You want to deliver on promises. You want to show your value. So the pressure to do well, it’s still there. It’s a little bit different. Your audience is a little bit different, or I guess we have two audiences now. We have our customers and our recent acquirers or new colleagues at Medium. And you know, I always impose a high level of pressure on myself to do well and to perform well at my job. I always have, and you know, I think that’s a good thing, hopefully. But yeah, it’s just working hard in a new environment with kind of even higher stakes now, in many ways. 

[00:24:10] Amardeep: Do you have the balance right, do you think?

[00:24:11] Ryan: Yeah, here I am dispensing lots of sage wisdom, but yeah, honestly I don’t have the balance right. You know, I’m engaged. I don’t have any kids. And I think about that sometimes, man, if I had kids right now, I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing and I work a lot. I get up early and you know, a big part of my job is what, like for you it’s creating content. And then I’m managing other people creating content, then I’m doing administrative stuff and operational stuff for the business, doing a lot of graphic design, not a graphic designer, but it’s just become part of my workflow. Anyway yeah, I have a lot on my plate. You know, we’re still a small team inside of a bigger company, and it’s, I’m honestly not there yet in terms of work-life balance. I want to be. It’s a goal I’ve set for myself this year. And I think my problem as someone who’s, you know, in a leadership position, I like to do things a certain way and I know I can get things done right. I would say one of my biggest struggles at work in the position I’m in is delegation and trusting people to do things on their own, to be more autonomous, to get things done in the right way. I’m getting better at that. You know, I’m not a micromanager, but I’m more of a, I’ll just do it myself person and not like I’m a martyr, but I kind of lie to myself and say, okay, if I just do everything myself, I know it’s going to get done the way I want the first time. And therefore it will get done faster, but it actually won’t get done faster. I’ll just work longer hours. My fiance will get madder and madder at me for, you know, not being around. So. I’m still figuring that one out. I would say one positive consequence of everyone moving to a work from home environment, or at least most people in my business. Not everyone obviously. I do get to be with my fiance more often, with my family more often, so that’s kind of hacked the problem sort of this new thing that happened that had one positive consequence, at least where it’s given me more time with the people I want to be around. I’m not in an office all day, totally isolated away from them. So, but the downside of that is when you’re working from home and you know, this is not news to anyone. It’s just harder to switch off and I’m sort of an always on working type of person anyway, who has trouble switching off. And that’s a result of, you know, I think the formative experience of working such long hours in the early part of my career, just like became ingrained in me. And that’s something that I should probably solve. But it’s difficult, you know, when you feel a lot of personal pressure as someone who is in charge and has something to prove. You want to do everything you can to prove yourself, and in my case, prove the value of Knowable at Medium. But yeah, you know, I’ve come to points where, man I’m feeling burnt out and I’ve worked really hard at different points in my career and have never, or have rarely gotten to that point, but there have been times semi-recently where, I felt that way. So it’s important to recognize that and to act on it when you’re able to. To slow down. 

[00:27:32] Amardeep: Thank you for honesty there. Like a lot of people might say that they’re okay at the moment, or they’ve got to some position of success and they won’t admit that the balance is still a problem for them, and it was really refreshing to hear your thoughts there. And when you talked about the graphic design, you said you’re not a graphic designer, but you do a lot of graphic design. The first thing that comes to my head is like, why haven’t you got somebody to do that for you? And then you talked about how it’s letting it go is the difficult part for you. 

[00:27:55] Ryan: It’s just, for me, it’s a, like, I guess just efficiency, you know. I know I can get this asset for social media or the email newsletter designed, you know, pretty well and pretty fast. Right. And, you know, email design, a social media post, they’re relatively fleeting. They don’t have to be pixel perfect every time you want them to be nice, of course, but you know, I’m good enough to get it 90% of the way there. If I have to delegate to someone else, I don’t know what their stream is like, when they’ll be able to deliver it to me. I just want to get this thing off my plate. And that’s a big problem that I struggle with. It’s probably the biggest thing that I deal with at work and in life. It’s just mental overhead. When I have things on my checklist, I’m I just can’t, I just won’t feel comfortable until they’re off. It’s like a, I only half know what I’m talking about when I make this comparison. There’s a feng shui, it’s like this Eastern design philosophy kind of based on pragmatic minimalism. Right. And one of the things that they recommend against is having a lot of stuff under your bed or stuffed away in your closet, even if you can’t see it effecting the space that you’re in, and a lot of, a lot of people probably think that sounds crazy. It’s like, you can’t see it. Why do you care? But literally my entire life, I felt that way. It’s I, oh, like I need to have this closet organized. I need to not have all this junk under the bed. Like it would give me anxiety, which is really weird, but what I learned about these feng shui, which I hope I’m pronouncing right, design principles. I was like, oh my gosh! That’s me and that applies to work too. I have all of these to-do lists, you know, for operations, for email marketing, for social, for user acquisition, whatever, all these million different things that I have to do. And as long as they’re on that list, if I can see them, I’m just thinking about them and that’s a problem. I don’t know how to solve that one. If I could, I’d probably, you know, be a lot happier and have a better work-life balance that I do. I am happy, but it would, it would make things go more smoothly for me, I’m guessing. 

[00:30:16] Amardeep: I have the exact same problem with the, that I have, so we’ve got two podcasts. We’ve got my writing, we’ve got my ghostwriting, we’ve got my freelancing clients, we’ve got coaching, we’ve got, there’s all these different things, like my social media, my newsletter, and one of the things I think people often don’t realize is that, none of those tasks in particular take particularly long, but when they all have to somehow stack like Tetris into one day, that’s what gets to me, because I’m doing one task and it in my head and think, oh, I need to do that later. And that creates that sense of pressure, which I guess you feel as well where you’re doing one thing, and while you’re doing that thing, also think about things that are coming later on in the day. And it’s, oh, actually I need to do that too. I need to do that too. And I often find myself adding to my to-do list in the middle of doing something which I’m not supposed to because I’m focused on working. And for me, it’s like you say, I’m biting the bullet with the delegation where I’m now bringing on people to do some of those tasks for me, and it’s tough at the beginning because I have the urge to just do it myself because I know I can get it done the way I wanted to. But when you’re training them, like, I’ve just found like they’re reacting so well to what I’m saying, and like, sometimes I make assumptions and I don’t share these assumptions, and that’s the thing that I think is really changed that being able to drive a process, because once I’ve been able to write that down and give them the instructions correctly, they’ve been amazing. And it’s just making that jump, which is just so hard. But I think it’s the right thing for me, and I think you notice the right thing for you too many ways. It’s just taking that step. 

[00:31:53] Ryan: Totally. You, you said it’s a jump and it’s a jump. It’s a leap. It’s a leap of faith to put your trust in someone else to do the job right. And, you know, truly you can’t be successful as a manager, a leader, a founder, an entrepreneur, unless you’re comfortable delegating, I would say it’s potentially my biggest weakness. You know, as you scale up your business as you start to grow your portfolio of work, you know, your definitionally going to be limited unless you learn to delegate and manage and more of your job eventually should be about managing and delegating and kind of putting the pieces together at a higher level, then, you know, in my case, doing the graphic design for the email, you know so I’m getting better at that. Everything is a process. The idea of that mental overhead kind of interfering with just personal wellbeing really, and kind of just like mental calmness. It also is part of my non-work life, you know. I had to get a key copy the other day and, all right, the key making place was kind of far away and I put it off for a couple of days and it was just sitting there on my to-do list, and like, I was really over-indexing on it. I don’t know why I became like really just annoyed that this wasn’t getting done. And it’s just one small example of, you know, if you have that kind of mindset naturally, like I do, like, it sounds like, you need to, you probably need to let it go, but if you can’t you, you need to make it work. And you talked about that kind of idea of task switching. You might be working on something deeply, and then this other thing pops into your mind. You need to get your key made and it’s like, oh, let me, I have to go over here and put it on my to-do list. And even that five or ten second distraction of, you know, switching screens on your laptop, typing it in and your to do list app or whatever you use. Like that’s working against you in a more impactful way than you might realize in those five or 10 seconds. Task switching is something that I was really guilty of early in my career. And you kind of had to be a constant task switcher in my early jobs because you have a phone ringing over here, you have 10 emails coming in over here, literally every five minutes, and you have people walking up to your desk over here, and you’ve got to go to this meeting down the hall over here, and that job, it was really kind of haphazard. And if I won’t digress by, you know, making my recommendations for how they can improve efficiency, improve efficiency in those workplaces, but you know, over time I learned that in order to do my best work, I needed to have deep focus. And I think that’s probably more or less true for almost everyone batching tasks into certain buckets. You know, that’s Tim Ferris’s whole thing about batching work. And you know, I’m lucky just through my work at Knowable, I talked to experts in personal and professional productivity, literally like all the time. So, you know, I’m not necessarily the expert, but I’m one degree of separation away from a bunch of them. And I’ve learned so much. You know, I mentioned before, I’ve always been a little cynical about, you know, writing things down or journaling or whatever. I was always kind of cynical about a lot of this, like productivity advice that’s out there and, you know, not for no reason, cause there was a lot of bad advice and there’s a lot of people you probably shouldn’t listen to around these things, but there’s also a lot of good advice and a lot of really well-researched or good natured information that you can find out there that can actually help you, you know, in a way that’s approachable and pragmatic. And that’s what I always look for when I’m reading about some new technique or method or a theory around personal productivity performance in the workplace, you know, these are ideas are kind of, what we do at Knowable. So I’m always learning about them just through my job. But I’ve come to become personally fascinated by them as well. And what always strikes me is, is this information evidence-based? Is it authoritative? Is this person trustworthy? Are they trying to upsell me to some, you know like grifty course or something? Or, you know, buy some product? Or is it about the information? Pragmatic authoritative and and evidence-based. Those are my three criteria for who I listen to, what I listen to and what I don’t.

[00:36:38] Amardeep: You’ve had so much advice now and you’ve talked to these experts, what’s the one mindset shift you think people listening right now could make in their lives that would make a positive difference to them?

[00:36:48] Ryan: The one thing that comes to mind when you ask that question is really about intentionality and deliberation in your life, no matter what you do. Not everything is a choice, but a lot of things are, I would argue most things are, if you’re working toward a goal, the goal is actually not the goal, the habit formation that gets you to that goal, is the real goal. And the goal is the by-product of the habit formation. You can make a decision today, whether or not you’re going to eat a donut for breakfast or eat a yogurt parfait with granola on top. You can make a decision today, whether you’re going to watch five episodes of that new Netflix show, or maybe you’ll just watch one or two and then go for a walk or run around the block. To achieve your goals, you have to take action and taking action is fully within your control. Now the goal itself might not be totally in your control. You might not be able to lose a hundred pounds that might not be possible for you, you know, and I don’t mean to, you know, use exercise or weight references, but I think they’re just like the most relatable universal applications of this idea. Whatever it is getting that job, getting that promotion, that’s not entirely in your control, but you can make the choices to put yourself in the position to get that job or get that promotion. And it comes down to every part of your day. It starts when you wake up, are you going to hit the snooze button? Or are you going to plant your feet on the ground immediately and stand up and walk to the bathroom and wash your face and start the day really proactively and really deliberately. And again, this might sound a little bit, I fear it sounds trite or obvious to some people who are cynical about these things, like I used to be, but this relatively small shift in awareness about what is, and isn’t in my control about what I can decide on and what I can be deliberate about has changed my life really. It’s changed the way I tackle every single day. Now, when my alarm goes off, I’m up, I put my feet on the ground and that’s one of the most important things you can do. And I make my bed. There’s a whole book called make your bed. That’s like kind of, it’s seminal in this space. I’ve always made my bed cause my mom made me when I was growing up. Now I can’t, you know, not wake up without making my bed, but it actually does set a tone for your day. It’s these small decisions that you make, none of them are necessarily great or impressive, you know in a vacuum, but in aggregate, they start to be great and they start to make you great. You wake up, you put your feet on the ground, you make your bed, you start your day with a healthy meal, you drink a lot of water, you know, everyone knows these things, but not everyone does them, but you can do them. But for the most part, most people are able to do these things, hopefully. So, and then when it comes to your work life, you know, you can choose to half-ass it. Or you can choose to bust your ass and work hard. And you can choose to let your personal relationships slip away because you’re working too hard or you can choose to be mindful about your work-life balance so that you’re not letting the important things in life slip away from you. Now, there are things in life that are outside of our control, you know, a lot of sad things, family things, relationship things. That doesn’t apply here and those things will affect you. But if you can understand what you are able to decide on what you are able to put yourself in the position to make happen and take action on those, to be deliberate, it’s one of my favorite words, deliberate. It can change the way you live, change the way you work, and it will get you further. If you know, for example, that writing online, developing a reputation, as, you know, a thought leader in your domain is going to open up opportunities and it will, by the way, it’s one of the best things you can do to create inbound opportunities for yourself, as you know, and if you know that you can do that. If you know that that’s going to help open doors for you and you’re not doing it, why aren’t you doing it? Carve out 30 minutes. Literally put it on your calendar, work 30 minutes a day to write that blog post and then share that blog post and do it over and over and over again. It’s about consistent inputs leading to expected outputs, and those inputs are in your control. The outputs aren’t always but usually they’re going to get you close to where you want to be.

[00:42:20] Amardeep: That was great Ryan and so many good insights there. For the people listening back home, and they want to hear more about you and about Knowable, where should they go to? 

[00:42:29] Ryan: You can find Knowable @knowable.fyi or at Knowable FYI on Twitter or Instagram. You can find me on Twitter @Duffy,Ryan kind of all spelled out, obviously. 

[00:42:41] Amardeep: Then the final thing I ask every guest is, what’s one small thing that’s what you joy recently? 

[00:42:46] Ryan: You know, this holiday, I wasn’t able to travel home to see my parents for the second Christmas in a row because of COVID. I typically don’t get to spend Christmas with my fiance because she stays back here in LA. My parents live in Miami. She likes to be with her parents on Christmas day. Then we meet up after. This year, I got to be with her. I got to be with her family. And have a new type of Christmas experience, and that was special to me. That brought me joy.

[00:43:14] Amardeep: If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, I’d love it If you could leave me a five star review, it really helps get the message out further. Wherever you’re listening, it would be awesome If you could subscribe and share in your social media channels. If you want to see more of my work and advice, you can find all of the links in the show notes. 

 

Thank you again for listening and I hope you have a lovely day.

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