A Toolkit for a Better Working Life


Clint Murphy Beth Stallwood


Clint Murphy, Beth Stallwood

Clint Murphy  00:00

Good morning, Beth, welcome to the growth guide podcast. Before we dive into your book, Work Joy, what I’d love is if you can share with our audience a bit about yourself and your background, and we’ll have some fun with your book.


Beth Stallwood  00:16

Brilliant, thank you so much, Clint for inviting me to be part of the podcast. It’s really great to be here. Really happy to tell everyone a little bit about myself. So I’m Beth, I am a people consultant, people developer, coach, facilitator, and now author of WorkJoy, a toolkit for better working life. I spend most of my time and have done for the last 20 years, helping individuals to grow, to learn, to develop, to build the working lives that they really want, and to build their careers, and helping organizations to create the right environment, the right tools, the right resources, to help people to have really great careers to help them grow, to help them learn to help them develop, and to help them work in environments that just really help everybody to thrive and help the business as well. So both sides of things with the individuals and with the organizations, I’ve worked in lots of different industries, from retail to financial services to sport, and the public sector. And now as a consultant, I work with all kinds of tech startups, big corporates, and small sports, growing organizations. And it’s great to kind of experience all of those things, and to help people to get that work joy in their lives.


Clint Murphy  01:38

Love it. And so we’re gonna dive right into work joy. So where I’d love to start for the readers is with a couple of definitions, show and follow along the conversations. So the first one that jumps out at me is well, the first two would be work joy and its counterpart, work gloom. And for both of them, you have a noun and a verb, can we tackle those people can get up to speed as we talk through work joy, what we’re talking about?


Beth Stallwood  02:08

Yeah, of course we can. And I think it’s really interesting, when I first started thinking about this term work joy, it was quite a surprise to a lot of people, because we don’t often hear the word joy associated with work, we often hear things like striving or working really hard or kind of being burnt out or, you know, lots of non joyful words. So putting them together, for me was really important. And then when I started exploring it, I was thinking about what work joy is the noun version, which is kind of thinking about, you know, the amount of joy you get at work for things that happen to you. It’s quite passive when we look at it as a noun, but when we look at it as a verb, and I’m thinking about, what are the actions, what’s the mindset, what are we doing to create, and to cultivate more joy in our lives, it gives us that real sense of personal responsibility to be able to create the joy in our lives. Now, when I think about work, and I think about work joy, we do not get it 100% of the time, and it’s not offered to us on a plate, there’s always going to be things in our working lives. I was talking about, you know, organizations have policies that might annoy us, they might have leaders that don’t do exactly what we’re looking for them to do, they might have technology that, you know, doesn’t really work for us, we want to kind of throw our laptops out the window, sometimes. There are so many things that happen in our working life that we are actually not in control of. But the mindset we come to work with and the attitude that we bring in the behaviors we decide to display and to demonstrate and to really believe in, can help us to create a more joyful life. So the first thing about workjoy I always say to people is it’s not about toxic positivity. That’s way worse than any work, and I’ll talk about working in a minute, is we are not here trying to create it 100% of the time, because we work within our lives and real life has challenges within it. Real work has things that are not going to be perfect all the time. So it’s about accepting that but where we can, where we have the ability to take some personal responsibility, we can take action to make things better. Let’s actually do that stuff. Let’s make it active. Let’s change some things. That’s changing things about the way we think and what we do in our habits, to enable us to experience more joy more of the time. And I think the really important thing is to be able to understand what brings us joy so we can do more of it more often. And understand what brings us the gloom so that we can get out of it more quickly when it does happen. When I talk about work gloom, work gloom for me is that sad, frustrated, annoyed feeling we get about our work, we get when we’re working when we get when we’re at a workplace. So it could be a number of different things that come to us, as I’ve said, loads of factors kind of give us workgloom and for some people, it’s annoying colleagues, sometimes we have those mood hoovers. For some people, it’s actually just doing a job that doesn’t excite them when they could be doing something else, there are so many things and it can be work gloom can either be this mild level. And I don’t have a better word for it. But I don’t know if this translates well into us. But in the UK, we have this word that’s called like meh meh, I just feel a bit meh about stuff. Not a great word, I haven’t found a better one to describe it. So that’s kind of a love of working with a little bit more about work to that kind of level of chronic crushing, emotionally challenging work, you know, the Sunday night pit of the stomach dread, about going to work and the feeling that you can’t handle it. And you feel like you have no energy for it, and it drains you. So work gloom can range from little things that annoy you to actual proper this workplace isn’t right for me, this environment isn’t doing this job. Maybe I did love it. But I’ve grown out of it. And I now need to do something about it. But I think in both stages, whether it’s workjoy or workgloom, we need to think about the active stuff. So work glue, you may get it from other people, but you have a responsibility to do something about it. So staying in a job that you’ve outgrown for two years, rather than actually going looking for the next thing is the responsibility on you, not the people around you. So what are you going to do to be able to create that to get out of that workload. And sometimes, because I really think that work fits into this bigger thing we call life, not just work, like life is the big thing, work is a part of it. And sometimes these things obviously translate to each other. So if we get work gloom, that often brings home life gloom, if things aren’t going well at home, we often bring that to work. So it all fits in together. But I think there’s something here about if we look at the research on it, we spend more than a third of our entire lives working. It’s a massive amount of our time. Why on earth in a limited life that we all have? We know we’re all not getting out of here any other way? Why on earth would you want to spend a third of your life in that gloom state, in that miserable state, feeling out of control and uninspired and unenergized? So it’s around how do we cultivate more of the joy to counterbalance some of the gloom that’s gonna happen, and be able to really work in a way that makes us energized and engaged and want to do a really great job.


Clint Murphy  07:26

So much for us to tackle in there. And a couple things that really jumped out one is active versus passive. So this is our life, this is our workplace, we get to, number two, make choices on what we do along the way. So those seem like two big things we’re going to focus the rest of the conversation on is the different choices and active choices that we can make. The next definition that I think will really help people as we seek to cultivate work, joy and reduce the work gloom is the three E’s can you take people through that?


Beth Stallwood  08:09

I can and when I was exploring this, and we did a lot of research, and I worked with real people working through some of the real life challenges is that you don’t just have one thing, there’s not one thing that you bring to it, that will make a difference. It’s a real ability to kind of understand and to work through and know where you’re at. And when I talk about the three E’s, I talk about the idea that you need to bring some energy to this stuff, you are not actually going to change anything without some energy. So if you want things to be better, you’re going to have to dedicate some invest some time and energy into what you’re doing. So we need the energy, we also need the engagement with it, we need to be able to kind of mentally logically, practically process and understand some  of the things that are going on in our workplaces. And one of the things I always suggest to people as a starting point, for getting more work joy, is to understand what it is that actually is bringing you some work joy, what it is that’s bringing you some work gloom. So that kind of engagement in the understanding of it is so important, you have to want to be able to do this, you have to dedicate some energy to it, you need to be able to put in some time and efforts. Now people always there’s so much research on it’s really interesting. people overestimate the time you think you need to bring some joy into your life. You overestimated actually, if you did 10 minutes a day, over the next year, and everyone can find 10 minutes. Not everyone can find an hour but 10 minutes a day, you will make a massive difference. And then the third E, so engaging with it, and having that kind of energy brought to it. The third one is you have to be prepared to do some stuff. So it’s experimentation. It’s trying something and now there are lots of things you can do to bring your workjoy, that’s kind of routes to do it. But there’s no one combination of factors or things that works. Because we’re all individuals, right? We are human beings, we’re not nice, neat boxes, we are all different and different things work for different people. So for me, I would get loads of work joy as an example, I’m standing on stage and talking to people, I love that for somebody else. That is their idea of a worst nightmare. Do not put me anywhere near it, we’re all different people. Now for that person, they may love to spend a day looking at an Excel spreadsheet. And I would lose my mind if I had to spend a whole day doing it. These are very kind of extreme examples. But actually, that’s kind of the real life of what we’re at. So as an individual, we need to do some experimentation of what works for us and what doesn’t. And knowing that we can experiment and it doesn’t have to be a final, this is what I’m going to do forever. It’s I’m going to try this out, I’m going to have the mindset of if I try this out for a few days is it going to work for me, as an example, I worked with somebody who had loads of energy for wanting to make some change in their working life, they were really engaged with the idea about doing it. And what they found out through doing some tracking. So I was just do the tracking what’s working, what’s not, when is it happening, there’s big time factor involved in it, who said she always got her work gloom at like two o’clock in the afternoon. So 2pm, she felt awful, she never had good meetings, never did never felt like she was very good at two o’clock in the afternoon. So she went off and kind of did some experiments. And one of the experiments that she did, was to go for an afternoon walk to get outside of the office for 10 minutes, 10 minutes, she has now built that as a habit and half of her work gloom has disappeared. Because it was actually something to do with her well being. And she did it by tracking and understanding what time of day, what’s going on for her, where’s this going? Wasn’t the first experiment she did. The first experiment she did was swapping around what she did in the afternoon. But it was always the same thing. I always feel bad then. So actually working through some experiments and try some stuff out and going, You know what, it’s okay that I tried that out. And it didn’t work, because I’m just going to try another thing. But that’s where you need that energy. It’s not about once and I’m fixed, it’s about this is something we cultivate every day, it’s a choice we make every day, it’s where we head to, in where we’re trying to get to. So you need all three of those factors, it’s really hard to continue experimenting, if you haven’t got the energy for it, it’s really hard to know where to pay attention to if you haven’t engaged with what the subject is in the first place. So it’s bringing those three things together to be able to be more active in your pursuit of it. And I think you said about about kind of the active versus the passive as well, which I think is a really interesting one, you can and people definitely do get more work joy in a passive way you can do it, but it just won’t maximize the action. So in the passive formula for work, joy, do more of the stuff that you know already brings you joy, and do less of the stuff that brings you gloom, if you can, will bring you more work joy. But actually the experimentation allows you to understand more about what is it that brings you joy to find different things and to find different solutions. And when you increase your level of work joy, people have a more realistic view of what their work gloom looks like. So one of the things we all struggle with as humans is this thing called negativity bias, right? We have it in our minds. It’s actually a survival mechanism. It comes from, you know, the idea that if a bear walked into my office right now, I would either fight, flight or freeze I would go as we’re designed to look out for stuff that is negative. But often what that means is we’ve over focused. And you know, we have this saying in the UK that you’re making mountains out of molehills, I don’t know if that translates well here, we make mountains out of the bad stuff. And we often ignore the good stuff. So passively we can do more just by noticing the stuff that’s good. But if you really want to make a difference, if you want to have an exciting, interesting, joyful working life, the active stuff is where you’re going to make the real difference.


Clint Murphy  14:10

And that something that seems important there is you say that is I noticed for myself as I’ve gone through my career is for the experimentation having a certain level of comfort, being quirky, if you will, because if I’m going to experiment, I’m going to try things that might not be normal in your everyday work place setting. Like those people that were setting up their standing desks before we had standing desks, or breaking out some stretches at your cubicle and maybe having a yoga pillow to do a midday meditation and not worrying about your colleagues giving you side eyes. And then five years later you find out hey, wait, you should meditate at work, you should be doing some stretches. Because you’re realizing, well wait, I’m here for some of us. And we’ll, we’ll talk about work life balance next. At times in my life. I’ve been here 12-14 hours a day, like, I can’t just sit here in a cubicle for 14 hours straight and expect that to be healthy. So how much do people need to have that, hey, this is my life. I’m going to experiment with what brings me joy. And if it’s a little quirky, if it’s a little out there, I’m going to be accepting of that, even if other people find me a little odd.


Beth Stallwood  15:40

Yeah. And I think it’s massively important to be able tohave the self care to accept that that’s where you’re at. And I would suggest that what you’re probably doing in all those situations as being a trailblazer, you’re being the one who does it an early adopter before everybody else. You know, I’ve got my standing work desk, I’ve got my foam roller, I’ve got this life going on. I’m the one, you know, 10 years ago that was saying, why don’t we do a walking one to one meeting, rather than, you know, sitting at a desk and doing it in front of each other that way? Why don’t we try some of these different things. And I think, I love that phrase, comfortable being quirky, I have spent my whole life feeling a little bit weird at work, like I’m slightly strange for doing all these things. Because what you’re doing is you’re moving beyond the current culture, beyond the current situation, beyond the current norms. And anytime we do that, we might feel a little bit like we’re on the outside. But actually, if you’re going to be a trailblazer, you need to kind of be able to do it loudly and do it openly and not try and hide the fact that you’re doing these things. Because what you’re actually being I think, is you’re being a role model for the future of how that organizational culture will empower everybody, because you’re taking that level of self empowerment. Now, you might be able to get some people on board with you. So there’s lots of ways of doing that. In my book, I suggest that you think about who’s in your squad. But if you’ve got some great comrades in work, and you kind of go, You know what, I’m going to try this like walking meeting thing, why don’t we all give it a try, or I’m going to try this standing desk thing, or I’m going to try whatever the next version is of the experiment for you. I think sometimes being open about it, if you’re in an environment where that’s a good thing, take it say what you’re doing, have those conversations. And so often, what you’ll find is people go, Oh, I really wanted to do that. I wasn’t brave enough to do it. So I think that comfort and being quirky, the ability to be a bit courageous and change and things about your own life at work. And the ability to actually encourage other people to do it, and have that experimental mindset. Knowing that what works for you might not work for everyone else. It’s not a one size fits all.


Clint Murphy  17:50

Absolutely. And that’s going to be massive as we talk through things today is the differences we’re all going to face. And I will emphasize what you just mentioned, power and beauty of walk and talks is one of the one of the greatest things ever. If you’re fortunate enough to be a leader, meeting new colleagues who joined the enterprise, your direct reports, and even a level down getting out for a walk and talk regularly, such a good way to get caught up. Understand what happened, what’s happening in that person’s life. You both get some fresh air in there. Oh, my favorite way to do it. So where we’ll shift to Beth is work life balance. I’ve always hated the term. I’ve always, always preferred to Yeah. You were preaching to the converted? I’ve always thought of life in a bit more holistic terms, what do I want? What’s it going to take? What am I willing to do? And you talk about the concept that I like of the balloon of life, inside the balloon of life are all of our life blooms, if you will, during this, but do you want to take people through how this approach works? So they can visualize their life?


Beth Stallwood  19:13

Yeah, I’ll definitely talk you through this. And I think we’re on the same page, definitely about the fact that work life balance as a term is, in my opinion, just wrong. Because why does work come first in that sentence, and the ordering of words makes a massive difference in what happens in our brain. Why are we aiming for balance between two things that are completely different? And actually, why are we not thinking about our life first, so my metaphor for it is having one of these big balloons you know, the ones that if you go to a fancy party shop, you can have a big balloon and then you can have other balloons blown up inside of it. I like to think of the kind of big balloon as your whole life and within that, you might have a work balloon and you might have a family balloon, you might have a hobbies balloon or a sports balloon or a purpose balloon or a volunteering balloon, whatever it is in your life that you want to put in there, you have other balloons, and you have to give all of those balloons some kind of time and some energy, so you have to give them some oxygen from you to be able to have them blown up. And sometimes what happens is our work balloon become so big that it squashes all the other balloons. And it kind of rubs up against when balloons rub together, you get that static that causes really uncomfortable things in your hair standing on end. And that’s the kind of stuff that leads to things like burnout, it leads to disengagement, leads to loads of work gloom, is to just really take some time to understand how does work fit into this big thing you call life. What are the boundaries you’re putting between the other things that you really want to have in your life? How are you going to make sure you manage some of those boundaries? And a really important one and one I think this modern world we live in, we’re engaged in it actually, if we don’t do something about it, it becomes our own problem is how do you leave some space between those balloons, some space for new things that come up, some space to be able to say yes to something you really want to say yes to some space for doing nothing. There’s loads of neuroscience research that said we actually need to be bored more often. We are a massively overstimulated population. Okay, some time to do nothing. I call it the space between those balloons. So whether you like the metaphor or not, I think it’s a way of thinking about how does work fit into our life right now? How do we want it to fit into our life so that we can actively be in pursuit of some of those things. And what works an interesting one as his home life, when you think about things are, simplify it because why life is so complicated. But sometimes, we all know, there are periods when work takes over. And it really does. And that’s okay, if it’s for a period of time. So examples could be when you get a new job, or you get promoted, work tends to take over because you’re learning whilst you’re delivering. If you have to learn a new job, whilst you’re actually trying to deliver the new job, or brain power and analogy has taken up that work can also take over if we’re doing things like studying, to be able to progress getting some qualifications, it kind of takes over. But it’s also brilliant for us. So humans love to learn. It’s a big part of the human experience. So learning is a source of joy. But it can also be a source of quite a lot of stress. If it’s added on to, you know, lots of time and development needs. Equally in our home lives. There are times when those things take over. You know, if you’ve ever moved house, if you’ve ever got married, if you’ve ever got divorced, if you’ve had kids, if you’ve had a big situation, we are caring for somebody, those things have a tendency to take over. So the idea isn’t that your balloons are fixed, they’re not made of glass, you can decide which ones you’re putting more energy into and which ones you’re not. And it’s about understanding what’s the minimum level, what’s the maximum level, and where do you really, really want to be. I think one of the challenges we face in our lives, I know I face it is we want to be able to be 100%, all of those things. But if you did that your balloon would burst. So sometimes we have to make some decisions, which is actually, I’m going to make some suggestions that I’m not going to do that. And that might be a bit of the work, it might be something about a promotion, it might be something about your home life, like I’m actually not going to do that anymore. Because I keep trying to do this, I cannot sustain where I’m at. And that’s where I think your choices really come into play as you are making choices every day, maybe not consciously right now about how you live and how you work. But you have to be able to own those choices. And one of the things that so many people do when we think about work life balance, if you take that term, I’m not I don’t I don’t believe in it. But when we think about how our work integrates with our life, one choice people sometimes make is they have one of those moments where work has been busy, crazy, busy, big projects to deliver big new client, whatever it is, and they’ve been working loads of hours. Sometimes the unconscious choice, then it’s just well, that’s just normal now. So we just work all these hours it can continues and continues and continues until we can no longer do it. And we have burnout, we have stress, we have the inability to be effective at work, our performance suffers. And we go from being a really high performer to being a really low performer because of the choices we’ve made. And actually a more sensible choice would be okay, while this project has been delivered, I’m going to work these hours. But when this project is finished, I need to make sure that I put some boundaries in place and go back to where it should be. Because we can’t be at high performance moments all the time. We can’t do that humans can’t do that. I always think about it. I used to work in sport. And one of the things you think about with things like the Olympics is they need the Olympians need to have the high performance moments, once every four years. And they build up to once every four years. Now, obviously, they do things in between like World Championships and all that kind of local competitions. But they’re building up over four years to have this moment. You need to be thinking about that maybe not over four years, but maybe over a four weeks cycle, maybe over a four month cycle, maybe over a four year cycle is in work, where are your moments where you need to really give to it? And where are the moments you need to take back from it, and to own and control some of those things.


Clint Murphy  25:31

And something something that’s jumping out at me is you’re saying that and and I’ve been reading a fair bit more on this, whether it’s online and in books recently, is this idea of seasonality, and us having different seasons of our life?


Beth Stallwood  25:49

Yeah, absolutely. And I, you know, think about it even from like my personal set, if you can stand back and take a helicopter view of what happens over the season. So in my world, in the consulting world, very few people want me to do stuff in December, because they’re all like rattling down for Christmas and New Year, etc. Very few people want me to do things in August, because loads of people take that time off for the school holiday. So I now rather than going, what am I going to do in August, go, I am going to recover and rest and think and not do crazy work in August. And so many of our lives are seasonal, there are things that happen. But we get sometimes the internal messaging is we’re so busy. We’re so busy. We’re so busy. I don’t know about you, but almost every person I talk to, I say how are you and they get really pissy, and then it becomes a busy off, like who is the busiest of us all. It’s like some kind of badge of honor when actually, if you were really, really cultivating some work, joy, you’d be going, do you know what, I’m in a busy season right now. And everything feels a little bit overwhelming. But I know I’ve got two weeks vacation coming up. And I’m just working towards making that happen. So I can really enjoy my time off. And it’s about really understanding what’s going on. And taking that view. And not being stuck in the weeds of it all. And stuck in the messaging about being busy is great. And working is great. And I think we’re moving past that. And I think we can thank so many of the conversations and the people who bring up stuff about our mental health and have started to really create better cultures in workplaces. But so much of our culture and workplace is defined by how much we’re prepared to really consider and look and reflect on our own working lives.


Clint Murphy  27:32

When it comes to the individual balloons in my life. One of the things that helps me with work joy, is making sure that I’m focused on now those areas at work that tie to my values and purpose as much as I’m able to, can you talk about the importance for our listeners of understanding what their values are and their purpose for creating their work joy, and also the importance of ensuring that their behaviors align with the values and purpose.


Beth Stallwood  28:13

Yeah, and that second part is so important. I’ll tackle the first part first. I think sometimes these words sound like they’re big and scary things, purpose and values and behaviors. And actually, when I think about it, if we can really consider that we don’t all have to have a massive purpose in our lives now. We are surrounded by lots of wealthy famous people telling us my purpose is this, I’m going to do this or I’m going to, you know, make this happen. Actually, in our individual lives, we have a choice to have big purposes. Love it. And if you have a big one, and you can connect to it, and you know and understand the why you do things the way you do them. Brilliant. Equally, I really advocate for us having micro purposes. It’s a bit like thinking around my purpose for today is, my intent for today. And some people’s purpose is very simple in their lives. I know people who have a purpose that is around their family and making sure that they’re all good. Some people have purpose around, you know, environmental needs. Some people have purpose around development and growth. And it doesn’t matter. And don’t be fooled by the idea you need a massive big and world changing purpose. A micro purpose is absolutely brilliant too. It just helps us understand why we do things. So when we are slogging it out on a 14 hour day at work because we’re trying to run a big project and make something happen. That might be because we want to make sure we maintain our job and our level of income so that we can support our family. That is okay as a purpose. And we need to remember that everybody’s purpose is slightly different. All of our whys are slightly different, I have a little sign just over here in my office that says, and it’s kind of jokey, but also kind of true. It says, I work hard, so my dog can have a better life. And for me, like, it actually is an interesting one, I love my dog, I’ll do anything for her. Right? We all have different purposes. Some people have that bigger, higher connection to something bigger than themselves. But it’s okay to have it for your own small world. So I think first of all, purpose doesn’t have to be massive, purpose can be micro, and it can be very much based on why you do things. What is your why? And if you can answer that question, brilliant, it’s actually quite a hard question to answer for a lot of people. But work through that and understand why do you do the stuff you do? Why do you go to work every day? Why do you do X, Y, and Z? Do that working out? And then your values for me are all about things like? What are the principles you want to live by? What are the things that are important to you? What are the things that kind of deeply set in your emotions, and some of these things are kind of head led, that’s more of your principles, stuff. Some of them, I say, your values are probably more emotional, they’re, they’re what makes you feel good about being yourself there. You know, if you’re, they’re not your values prove what makes you feel bad. And values don’t again, they don’t have to be complicated. They can be things like, actually, it’s the opposite of something I don’t like. So as an example, if you don’t like it, when other people are led by ego, you might say that one of your values is humility, you might be able to think about your values in terms of actually, what’s really important to me as being able to learn and grow. So development might be one of your values. You might also want to be one of the people who is kind in the world and kindness into it. And these things can be a whole house and you can think about the words and you can understand what those things mean to you. But where things go wrong, I often think with values is where you think you have a value, but you are acting not in line with your values. And sometimes we do you accidentally, right? Because life gets in the way. And you might say, Do you know what kindness is one of my values. But this morning, after I’d run late getting to work had a massive queue trying to get in, spilt my coffee down my top, I was not kind to the first person I saw. It doesn’t mean that kindness isn’t your values, it means that you’re you weren’t behaving in line with your values at that moment in time. So that’s a personal led one, equally, sometimes the organizations we work with, don’t allow us to fully align with our values, because they have a different set of values. So for example, if you’re a person who really believes in hard work, and in meritocracy around how you’re promoted and develop, but in your organization, the people that get on and move upwards through promotion are those that shout about themselves the most, you might find that hard. So the organization structure and culture makes you either have to say I’m going to live by my values, but I’m not going to get to where I want to go. So values not matching my goal. That’s interesting. Or you go if I want to get here I have to adapt my values. And that feels uncomfy, you know that icky feeling you get sometimes about what you’re doing. The ick is usually I reckon that 80% of time related to something that feels uncomfortable with your values, whether you’ve defined them or not, they’re inside you somewhere. And if you feel that don’t like it, it’s usually something coming up against your values. And I think the third part about values is actually so when our behaviors don’t match, when they don’t align when our organizations and ours don’t align is the understanding that our values are not set at a certain level. And our behaviors aren’t set to a certain level. So I think of this as and this like totally shows my age. But I think of it like a Oh god, what’s the thing, totally forgotten the thing now, on an old Hi Fi, back in the day, you had a it goes up and down. That’s it graphic equalizer totally went out of my head. I’ve written about it in my book, graphic equalizer. And I like to think about if you say how five values, there are some times when you’re going to have to dial up one of them and dial down something else. Yes. And we often think of them as set and the minute we think of them as set, you are not going to be able to live them. So sometimes, so as an example, let me give you on if you have an example around trust, and for you trust means things like confidentiality, as an example. And you may have to turn that really high up when you’re in a one to one conversation with somebody. But if somebody in your for example, if you’re a leader and there’s somebody in your team who’s really struggling with something and you need some help, to be able to help them because you as a leader, you are not a person who can do everything, you might need to get some advice around it, you may have to, at some point, go to somebody else and tell them a little bit of that story so that they can help you. That isn’t actually you saying, I no longer believe in trust and confidentiality, it’s you saying to do the best job for this person, that value has to go down a little bit, because my value of being able to be supportive, needs to go up. So it’s about being able to understand how you turn them up, and how you turn them down with a deep understanding of where your minimum level is, to where is the minimum level for you? Because you can’t live at maximum level all the time for all of them, because life doesn’t work like that.


Clint Murphy  35:44

No, no, and Beth, when I look at your personal values and corporate values, I’ve been at a company where there was complete misalignment, and I lasted less than eight months, they said I have to leave, this is not okay. And at the time, I was having conversations with a different company that I’ve now been with for almost 10 years. And when I went there, the value alignment was so high that the work Joy automatically went up. And it was well I can be here for a long time. Yeah, how important is it for people because I don’t think we you know, when, when people tell you what to look for in a job, one of the things they don’t often tell you is understand the values of the company you want to go to, and make sure there’s alignment between your values and their values. How important is that to increase our work Joy,


Beth Stallwood  36:50

I think it’s really important. And I would add a bit there’s a middle ground as well. So the complexity of values is an organization can state that they have these values, but the behaviors might not match the values. Equally, when you think of an organization and organization isn’t actually a sentient being. It’s a combination of people together. So you can have an organization values, the leaders of the organization could have completely different values, everyone in your team will have completely different values, because we’re all human. And we all bring our own things. So often, I say, you know, if you can get alignment with your values, and an organization’s values, big tick, even more importantly, if you can get in alignment with your values and the values of the person that leads you because that employee to boss relationship is fundamental in having good workjoy, absolutely. And they always say don’t think people leave their managers, they don’t leave organizations, because the manager is the person that interprets the organizational culture and makes it applicable locally. So there’s something for me about I would be rude, it’d be great if the organization’s dead. But if you can align your values with your boss, if that is different with your team, that will make the most immediate difference. And the thing I would also suggest is an organization could be made up of 100 people, it can be made up of 10,000 people, there is no way that 10,000 People have aligned values. That’s an impossible ask. 10,000 human beings, people who work in finance, people who work in marketing, people who work in HR, people who work in product development, people who work in IT, they all come with different styles, they all come with different values, they all come with different priorities and different experiences, you will never have 10,000 people with the same values. So what I like to think of is rather than necessarily just alignment, alignment, great is complementary values, where they can work together and become greater than the sum of their parts. So you come with a set of behaviors that are this is what’s acceptable here. But actually your values add to it versus being if you’re in your right, if you’re in an organization or with a boss or with a team, whichever version of the relationship of employment you want to go for where it completely misaligned, it is a straight down the tube to work gloom situation, always will be. But if you’re in one where maybe you and I have different values, but we are holding each other accountable to to a set of behaviors, that is what is acceptable around here, but actually, maybe one of my values is really complementary to one of yours. And by bringing those together, we create something better than what we had. That is where the magic happens.


Clint Murphy  39:35

Beautiful, and we’re going to talk about that when we put together when we talk about putting together your squad. The next thing I want to dive into with you Beth is Friday, we were having a social at work. And one of the young women on my team was asking me how do you balance? Being a CFO, a father, content creator, podcast host newsletter writer. And the simple answer I gave her was, well, that’s what I choose to do. I don’t do other things. So to say yes to this, I say no to almost everything else. partying with friends. In part, it was COVID taught me, hey, I kind of like being isolated a little, I don’t need to go visit mom and dad, every weekend, I can do that less frequently. I can FaceTime them here and there. And then I can enjoy reading, writing, creating. But part of that was recognizing these are my boundaries. Why do so many people who are listening to you and me right now have a challenge with boundaries? And how can they use you have this idea of our non negotiables, are bouncy and are free flex boundaries? So how can they use some of these tools to start to put the boundaries in their life so that they can live the balloons that they want to live?


Beth Stallwood  41:06

Yeah, I think the first step is that you need to know what you actually want. You need to know what’s important to you. But boundaries are difficult. Unless just accept that fact, boundaries are hard, because we are all social beings, whether we want slightly less of it. And I agree with you COVID taught me that time on my own is actually quite good for me. But actually, what is it we really want? And how are we going to take ownership for that. And I think so often, we give up our sense of control and influence over these things. And it happens a lot at work. But it also happens a lot in our personal family lives where we feel like we should be doing stuff. So my first thing about any kind of boundary is if you have said the word I should do that, versus I want to or I’m excited about or I can’t wait to do that I can’t wait to see that person I’m so excited about going to see my friends, I’m so excited about seeing my family, I’m really looking forward to doing this piece of work, I’m looking forward to this extra project I’m going to do on the site, whatever it is, if you are shoulding all over yourself, you probably have a problem with your boundaries. And so often is because we put other people’s needs before our own. And we are not selfish enough. Now I have been saying for the last few years, I want the English language to have a new word for selfish, which isn’t automatically assumed as negative. So there is an assumption that selfishness is negative in our culture. But actually, there’s so many people who say things like you know, the airplanes tell you to put your own oxygen mask on. First, if we look after ourselves, we are better in service of other people. And you will know this as a leader, the better you are at your own boundaries, the more you can help other people, the more you say no to the stuff you don’t want to do, the more you can say yes, the stuff that makes a difference. So I talked about actually we don’t we shouldn’t think about boundaries, there’s just one thing I’ve got a boundary here, but to really understand what’s important to us and then to allocate kind of where they’re at. So as an example, a non negotiable boundary, you know, lots of people you know, you’ve got young kids, you’ve got things that go on for you are non negotiable boundary might be, I will always take my kids to school, because that’s our precious time. So whatever happens, I’m taking my kids to school, full stop, that is a non negotiable boundary that I am putting in place that I am in control of, and nothing will break that boundary. Right, but also be a non negotiable is that I will always finish my work by x time because the time after that is time for my own personal development or my own personal stuff. So there could be a time based boundary. And so often these things are about how much time and effort and energy do these things take. So you might have some non negotiables. My recommendation is always that you don’t have 100 non negotiable boundaries, because it’s probably unmanageable. And you might end up being that person that really annoys everybody else, because they’re all working really hard. And you seem like you’re not doing anything. So there’s something around understanding that we don’t exist in our own vacuum, we exist with other people. But having a few non negotiable boundaries that are out there that you say out loud that you do are really important. And I had a boss who always said this, and I love this bit of advice for any leader is leave loudly. So whether you’re working online, or whether you’re working in an office or in a factory, or wherever it is you work, if you’re a leader and you are leaving before the designated close time of business, and you’re being assessed to go because you’re going to your kids school play, or you’re going to go and see a physiotherapist because you’ve got a sore thing is to go, I’m leaving to go and do this now and to role model the fact that you have some boundaries in place. So I think there’s something about those non negotiables. The bouncy boundaries for me are most of life. So this would be like 70 80% of your boundaries probably slightly different for everybody but probably around that zone is things are situationally specific and things Is are not as simple as is this a yes or no here. So these could be things like there might be certain people who you are more likely to say yes to and certain people you’re more likely to say no to. It might be if there’s a an additional project at work, you might have usually said no to that additional project. But actually, this particular project is one that is something that’s heading towards your career development. And you think you know what, I’ve said no to three other things, taking on additional responsibilities to work, but this one is going to help me do X, it’s got some kind of future thing. And this is where your boundaries are bouncy, they’re not fixed, but they are based on a carefully thought out decision about whether you say yes or no what whether you dedicate the time and energy to do it. Because you have considered the situation, the environment, what it’s about what it’s going to offer you whether you want to do it, whether it’s important. And also some of them might fit into there, saying no, here might be a career limiting move for me because my boss really wants to. So might have to say yes, so there’s like, what do you say yes to. What do you say no to? And which things might you have to say yes to that, actually, you would like to say no to. But if you decide to say yes, for all of those reasons, whatever those reasons are for you, is to then fully engage yourself in it and not moan about it. Because the moaning about it isn’t actually you managing your boundary, moaning about as you make your choice, and then not liking your choice. But you’ve already made the choice that you have to get on with it. And then at the other end of stuff, and very, I think this is the smallest category is your free flex boundaries, which are the things you will always say yes to, or that you will leave yourself open to, or they’re the people that you would stand in front of a bus coming at you for and you would do anything for them at any moment in time. The problem we have is, so often we think that there should be 100 people in that free flex, I’ll do anything for you, when probably there should be three or four.


Clint Murphy  46:57

Yeah, three to five. Yeah, that’s what jumped into my head.


Beth Stallwood  47:01

One of those might well be your boss, one of them might be your boss, because that might be an issue in that career development season of your life. One of them might be your boss, one of them might be your partner, one of them might be your kids, or your parents or your brother or your sister, or a brilliant friend, or a really cool member of your score. But keep it small. And let those be the person that no matter what happens, you drop everything and you do them do it for them. And so they’re the free flex should be, it should be a small amount of people, it should be a small amount of things. But leaving yourself open to it is where that free flex comes in.


Clint Murphy  47:36

Yeah, if we go back to the idea we talked about earlier, because because a lot of this there’s a level of intentionality. And earlier we were talking about seasons of your career and there’s this concept that I’ve been exploring more and more lately is early in our career. So in the season of career growth, the idea of saying yes frequently to and even using Richard Branson’s say yes, even if you don’t know the answer, then go figure the answer out. Yeah. So I’ve always thought put yourself in is the way I’ve looked at it, put yourself in as many sink or swim situations as possible. And then swim baby is as we evolve our career, though. And the level of strategy and thinking changes. So it’s less doing more brain power, the ability to say no more later, to really move forward, the things that are on our plate becomes more and more important. So it feels to me as my career has evolved through the seasons. I’ve moved from a yes, yes, yes to well, if I say yes to that, I’m saying no to this. Is that what you want? Is that resonating for you?


Beth Stallwood  49:02

Yeah. And I do think it does make a difference which season of your career you’re in, and also like, what else was going on in your life and all of that. So it’s not just about your career. But I feel like as you get more experienced as you become more senior, you have a greater responsibility to be more intentional about what you’re saying yes to, to be more focused. And obviously, when we’re kind of early on in our careers, often it’s like, actually, let’s try all these different routes until we find our niche until we know exactly where we’re going to be until we can get to that place. Once you found that unless you’re going to career change, which is brilliant. If once you found that if you’re working your way through you have your niche now you know what’s going to be needed for you. And I think it’s a case of really considering if I am everything. Take a pause. Take a moment do not say yes or no. So there’s a gut feel decision to say yes, because you’re like excited about it. But actually you haven’t considered all the aspects What that’s actually really going to say, don’t say no to because you think you should say no, because you don’t want to do it when actually you could think, actually, I might not enjoy that so much. But it’s going to be good for X, Y, and Z. Yes. Is to be really intentional. And when you like, what, really consider if I say yes to this. What else am I going to have to say no to? And am I prepared to say no to those things? Because we cannot keep adding yeses on. And if I say no to this, one of the brilliant questions is, if I say no to this thing, what does that allow me to say yes to? So it’s looking at both of those sides.


Clint Murphy  50:36

I had never look at it that way. That’s beautiful.


Beth Stallwood  50:40

And so often we look at the other side, if I say yes to this, what do I have to say no to? But if I say no to this, what does what space? Does it leave me to say yes to other things, even if I don’t know what those things are yet. So it’s that we don’t know all the answers all the time, but allowing space to say yes to something that you don’t know what that yes, is yet.


Clint Murphy  51:00

So if I say no to this, what space does that create for my yes’s that I’ve already committed to?


Beth Stallwood  51:07

. And our brains find that way really hard, because it’s something we don’t yet know about. But if it’s something you’re not quite hmmm, and you kind of oh, should I say yesterday, say no. And saying no, isn’t going to be career damaging is going to give you some space, etc. I’d be like, Okay, this allows me to say yes to something else.


Clint Murphy  51:30

It was beautiful. You’re reminding me I was having a call with a woman that I’ve met online, through Twitter, and she’s an executive coach, runs a few businesses. And at one point, she was bemoaning a little how much time goes into the coaching component of all the various things in her balloon. And then I started laughing, and she was laughing. And we said, I love the fact that the amount of time that that consumes out of your avenue of things you do is what’s bothering you. Because it’s six hours a week.


Beth Stallwood  52:14

Like a reality check. Right?


Clint Murphy  52:15

Yeah. Because that was, you know, financially, it was very good for her. And it was six hours. But I think what she was doing was she was saying, but those six hours? What could I do if I had two more of them? What would that extra space open up? And so she’s very intentional about well, I’m only going to consume 30 hours, or I’m only going to consume 20 hours, because the rest of the time, yes, there’s other at this stage of my life. There are other things I’m doing. And I might see an opportunity for new business, I want to start I might see an opportunity for A, B, C, and I want to leave the space that I can pursue those things.


Beth Stallwood  53:00

Yeah. And that’s, I think those yes, no questions, I always suggest that people take a pause. We have in our brains, this thing that we think people need an immediate answer. So we want to give an answer really quickly. But actually, if you do some pausing, and then go ponder it for a little while. And actually kind of really think about this and this and what does that give me what does it take away? What’s the Yes? What’s the no? What’s the implication, etc. And you can always say to somebody, like, if you’re offering me something, then I can go, Clint, that sounds like a really amazing opportunity. I’m really big at the moment, I’m making sure the things I say yes to I can properly commit to you. Can I come back to you tomorrow? You don’t feel bad about me waiting 24 hours, because I’ve said it’s an amazing opportunity. And I want if I’m going to do it, I want to commit to it properly. Let me see if I can do it. That type of conversation is a conversation we need to have more often. And if it’s your boss asking you to do stuff, and your plate is already overflowing, that conversation could be something like this. Hey, Clint. Yeah, I get that you really want to do that I understand where it is in the business plan. I know it’s important. At the moment, here are these 12 other things I’ve got on my plate, which one of these should we deprioritize or pause so that I can get on this one? Yes, that kind of grown up conversation around the reality is we cannot keep adding more more and more. We have to be able to prioritize to say no to put something on pause, to move something to the next season, to move something to the next year, to move on to the next week if it’s something you know, urgent that needs to happen. So I think all of these boundaries, whether they’re in that kind of tiny moment of your boss asking you to do a new task, or a big thing and an opportunity you’re looking at, all of those require a little bit more thought and a bit more reflection that we may be currently give them.


Clint Murphy  54:51

And there’s a way I think it’s important to because what you just did right there was wonderful. There’s a way to structure the answer, because I often find, you know, I don’t like to say there’s two types of people because there’s myriads, but at the same time, we all tend to have those maybe a behavior where, where people will when you structure an ask, you get the improv. Yes, and. In the end, maybe here’s the problem. Here’s what we have to deprioritize. But it starts with a yes, yes, I’m agreeing that what you’re saying is important. Let’s look in that felt how you were delivering that. And then there’s the opposite. When it starts with a no, but yeah, it’s for every ask. And as a leader, I can only handle so many No buts. Before I say I don’t want you in my squad. This is painful. Every time I say something, I get no’ed. And it’s so what’s the, maybe this goes to we jump to the squad? And and what are the different roles and people that we want in our squad? And then we can contrast that with the what are those people that were it? Is this one of those behaviors? We’re looking for that we don’t want in the squad?


Beth Stallwood  56:13

Yeah, and it’s really interesting sometimes because as when I’ve been in organizations as a leader, one of the really annoying things is when everyone when somebody in particular always says no. And you always have someone else who always says yes. And you know, you’re leading them down a path of not being sustainable in their performance, because you give the 100%


Clint Murphy  56:32

Ah, 100%


Beth Stallwood  56:33

Oh, this is why this trouble is the good people get more and more and more on their plate until they become not good at it. Yeah, so just performers? Absolutely. So if you’re a person who wants to have a good career being a yes, person and being the Yes, and let’s work out how we do this is a good way to think about it. Equally a strong No, doesn’t always have to be a no, a no can be. Do you know what, Clint, I don’t think I’m the best person to do this because of A, B and C. But it this is where you can advocate for other people. But did you know so and so over there is really amazing at that particular thing. And they’re looking for a way to develop their career, could we bring them into this conversation? So that’s where you support your squad. And we’ll talk about obviously, we’ll talk about the squads etc. You support people by advocating for them. You’re not just going, Oh, someone else can do it. You’re saying, Do you know what I’ve actually thought about this, and I’m not the best person to do it. Or I’ve thought about it. And I actually don’t have the time, that’s where we’re going to discuss the priorities. I’ve thought about it, and it’s not going to be something that excites me. But if you really need me to do it, of course, I will get it done for you. Sometimes it’s just set and you might go to you know what, actually, there is someone else who wants to do it. Or you might go, that’s what I really need. I just need you to get on with it. And we all in our lives and in our work have to do some tasks that we are not particularly excited about. But be okay with that just deal with that that is part of life and part of growth and part of careers just exists in that way. Should we talk about squads for a little bit, let’s do it. So I see what I call a squad as your inner network, your inner circle of trust, the people who are in your world and in your life and in your career that enable, support you and work through things. And I have, I call it six different roles. And these roles can be filled by people who fill more than one role. So it could be that Clint, you fill a couple of roles for me. Or you could just fill one of them. And they can unlike a normal team, which if you’re a work based team, your personal squad might know each other. They also might be from really different areas, different businesses, different things. So some of them might be mentors you’ve worked with some of them, might be people who’ve reported into before but really give you loads of inspiration, there could be from lots of different places. And I call them the six C’s. So the first one, which I think is really important, I think all of us need it. And hopefully we can all find them as some cheerleaders. So some people who love your work, love what you do think you’re amazing. Talk about you promote you advocate for you do all this stuff. It’s like yeah, you’re brilliant. We love what you do. And they really see the good in you and they see your strengths. And they’re really able to understand the value that you add. If you don’t have a cheerleader in your life, I can imagine things would be quite difficult. But we can probably all think of some people sometimes it might be bosses, sometimes it might be people we work with it could be somebody externally who we’ve worked with before who cheerleaders you. And they can do that in a one to one conversation. They’re kind of cheerleading you picking you up on, they could do it in terms of advocating publicly for you. They do it in many, many different ways, but they’re a really important person to have in your life. And often we actually have multiple cheerleaders from different angles, brilliant. Build them. The second one sometimes see people see this as the opposite of a cheerleader. I don’t I see it as an extra opportunity for cheerleading is really help you. But actually, it’s a challenger. These are sometimes really hard to get in your life. And especially like you might experience this clip, the more senior you get in an organization, the less people will challenge you directly. That is just a fact, we’ve come with the hippo effect, which is that the highest paid person’s opinion in the room, it’s usually the one that people agree with, because it’s just easier that way. And people don’t often challenge you. And so I always think a challenger is really important. They’re the people who will give you in the eye, like, I’m looking at you clean, and I’m gonna give you some direct feedback about how your behaviors were today. They’re the people who go, have you really explored that properly? Have you really thought about this? Are you going to take that big step you’re going to do and they really hold you accountable for your growth, your development for being the person you said, you’re going to be? They are quite difficult to find. But actually, sometimes they’re already in your squad performing a different role, and you haven’t given them permission to challenge you. So they think you want a cheerleader when actually you’re like, can you stop cheerleading me for a minute and just tell me what it is that I need to work on? Could you tell me what I’m doing wrong?


Clint Murphy  1:01:04

Can we focus on that element for a second? Yeah, I think as we climb the ladder, it’s very important that we empower the people on our team to step in, in those situations. And I know some of my colleagues, listen to the show. And for those that do, they absolutely know that they are willing to do this. And they know that there’s the times where they say, yes, and and there’s the times where they say, Clint, I’m not sure that we should be doing that. Here’s why. And there’s that, to get it. It’s to cultivate it over time. Yeah, part of it is as we climb the leadership ladder, a lot of us learn to speak with a level of confidence that may not actually align with how confident we are. So I’ll say it, right. I say things with 98% confidence, even when I’m 60% Confident. So please, please, if you think I’m wrong, tell me, let’s have a conversation. Just because I’m saying it confidently, doesn’t mean it’s always the answer.


Beth Stallwood  1:02:19

Yeah. And I think it’s so important, I put two factors in there, culturally, knowledge is an important one. But actually trust and psychological safety for that individual who is challenging somebody more senior them is a really important factor. So if you’re in that kind of hierarchical structure, which is you are responsible for that person’s compensation benefits, career growth, promotion, etc? If I’m going to challenge you can I need to know that my job and my career is safe. And that’s about the relationship and the trust that you develop. And being explicit about the fact that, you know, you say that I might come across as 90% confidence, probably about 60%. So please challenge me here, or by going with things that aren’t fully baked idea. So you say, I’ve got this idea? Is it a goer? Is it rubbish, I did it with my team. The other day, I sent a whole list of like ideas about things I wanted to do over the next three years, and my business sent out to them. And at the bottom, I said, some of these ideas are obviously going straight in the bin. But we need to work out which ones go in the bin and which ones we deal with. And I need you to help me work out which ones go in the bin. I’m being really explicit about the ability to challenge and about proving because trust isn’t built in one thing proving over time that you are trustworthy. And that then being able to do that isn’t going to have you responding emotionally, isn’t going to have you reacting, it’s going to have you reflecting and considering and it’s going to have you saying and being grateful for their challenge, not negative about their challenge


Clint Murphy  1:03:45

And something I’ve tried being on the other end lately, Beth, as the Junior, let’s say is when someone says something with absolute conviction, and you look around the room, and there’s some eyeballs that that maybe dissent is to say, I hear you, is this one where we can offer some challenge or dawn? Yeah. And when you get back a firm know that you say, all right, fair enough. Yeah, fair enough. We’re aligned. You leave the room a lot. And if they say, that’s what we’re gonna do, you know, if they take a deep breath, and they say, let’s hear it, then you have that, that free space to say, Okay, well, here, here’s a different way to maybe look at that. But just asking that question. Can I offer some debate on this one? I’m okay with no.


Beth Stallwood  1:04:37

Yeah, Can I have some debate? I often ask people are you looking for agreement? Are you looking for challenge? Are you looking for questions? What are you actually looking for when you tell me that bit of information? Because then I can act in the way in the squatdthat you need me to. So sometimes people just need you to be a cheerleader. They need you to go yes, this is what sometimes people need you to challenge but you often don’t know, because we’re not explicit about what we need.


Clint Murphy  1:05:03

Yes. What are you looking for?


Beth Stallwood  1:05:06

Yeah, what are you searching for? When you present this new thing to me? What is it? I’m happy to adapt. Yeah. Okay. So cheerleaders and challenges the next one. And I think we’ve all experienced these in our life, they’re wonderful. As your comrades and I, these are often the people who are in the weeds with you, or the people who you might sit next to, you might work with every day, they’re the people who you go to a meeting with, and discuss it beforehand. And after, and they’re the people who are really in it in the same situation, they understand deeply what you are experiencing, and they’re able to support you through it. I have loads of examples in my career. And one of them I always giggle about because she’s now one of my best friends. And we used to go, we’re very different style wise, very different. I’m very direct, and come across as very confident. And I give the 90% confident feeling to people all the time. And I know I do. She’s very much a data and detail person. And it was when we all worked in offices, pre COVID, it was actually quite a long time ago. And we used to go into our management team meetings. And I would go with nothing apart from the ideas in my head, and she would come with like four folders full of backup. But together, we were able to make stuff happen. So it’s like having those people who are really complementary and skills to you, and you come together, and you’re able to influence the kind of stuff you want to get to, because you’re in it, and you’re so deeply aligned with what’s going on there. They’re really important people in your comrades, they are there for you all the time. The next one is around creatives. And I mean this in terms of kind of thinking creativity, not necessarily, oh, that they’re really good at art, or music or etc. Is that kind of creative innovation thinking. They’re the people who you would phone up and I know, Clint, I’ve got this challenge. And I’m thinking about it in this way. Can you tell me a different way? I could think about it, could you give me some different thought they might come from a different perspective, different backgrounds, different experience brings some diversity into thinking enable you to step out of your river of thinking and more into a more innovative space. So they often have that able to kind of pull you out and make you look broader, wider, etc. And so often actually, your creatives aren’t in it with you. They’re often external, either an external team or an external thing, because they are able to step back and go, hang on a minute. That’s just how you’ve always done it. What about if, what if you did it this way? What if you considered this what if you considered your clients what if you considered different perspectives? So again, really important if you’re trying to do anything, you’re trying to change? And if you’re trying to innovate anything, you need some people who are not in that circle with you. They can look at it in a different way. The next one, and what have we done through done our cheerleaders, challengers? Comrades creators, the next one is the connectors. And these the people who don’t actually have the answer very often, but what they do is they go, ah, do you know what Beth, you need to talk to Clint about that? Or you need to talk to this person. And they’ve like, got this corporate business related, little black book, they seem to know everybody, if you do work in it, some more you work together, every time you walk past someone, they’re like, Oh, how are you how’s your kids what’s going on for you, they’ve got this kind of connection thing. They have met everybody at the coffee machine, they always have somebody that they know, whether it’s in your organization, or externally, they’re able to find somebody who can help you with your challenge. They are amazing. If you find one, never let them go. You need some connective?


Clint Murphy  1:08:48

Some some of them, I find when they’re a good connector, they don’t only maintain the relationship while you’re in the workplace, they seem to still have a relationship with 80% of people that have left that company. And in the ability to do that. That’s just a sheer volume of meetings and lunches and coffees. That overwhelms me to even think about but having someone who has that network, who you’re tight with is just a beautiful way to stay connected indirectly to the entire network.


Beth Stallwood  1:09:26

Absolutely. Now, it makes you scared. But actually, when I think about the roles I often play a connector is a role I often play because I work with lots of different organizations. I know lots of people who I used to work with, I have a big network and I really invest in the time and the coffees and the catch ups with all of that network. So people often come to me to be connected, but the connector role gives me joy. So I’m really happy to be that person for people. Yes. The final one and then I’m gonna come back to talk a little bit about like your role in this as well as the conjurers. Now, these are rarer than all the others. But some times, and they appear, as if by magic is what I call it. And you know the old idea, the fairy story thing of like, a fairy godmother comes along and waste a magic wand and kind of fixes a problem. And as quickly as they’ve kind of flown in and done that, they kind of flow up, fly out, and you don’t see them again, for a couple of years. There are some people who just bring a little bit of magic into your life at a time when you need it. You talked about seasonality, sometimes there’s a moment and a season where you’re like, I just need somebody and that bit of magic could be very different. It could be some resources that come along for you, it could be actually a connection, but one you’d never make through your normal connectors, it could be an injection of bravery and positivity, etc. So they are rarer, the conscious a little bit of magic, but they do exist. And again, if you find one, don’t expect them to be around all the time, but connect with them when you need them. Because that’s the kind of little bit of magic that you might need. I said to say that’s the six different roles. And I think we need to think about in our lives and in our work. And then beyond that, who are the people that we have already? And what most people do I get people to do a little sense of like, Who have you got, when I talk through them, it’s possible that the audience is sitting there thinking, Oh, you kind of think of people that are already there. What you will probably already also notice is that usually two or three of your boxes are not very well filled. Yes. So that’s where you might need to go on a hunt and develop your network and start thinking about who could fill those roles. And you don’t really want to be going Hi, Clint, I need you to fill a congenial role for me in my network. That would be weird. But you could think about what it says. But actually, you’ve probably got some people in your wider network that might be able to fill it. And you might need to develop some deeper relationships with some of those people and ask them to help you in different ways. But then we also need to look at it from the other angle. I think this is probably what you were talking about here about that idea of being a connector isn’t the one for you. Maybe you’re a cheerleader, maybe you’re a challenger, maybe you’re a creative for other people, it’s really good to know where your personal strengths are and how you can use that. Because I call it reciprocal squatting. It’s like, level work joy. Yeah, if you can be that person that somebody needs as well. We shouldn’t be thinking of this a one way thing, this isn’t I’ve got six people, and they’re all giving to me. It’s these six people exist in this kind of ecosystem within my world, but I exist in their world. And actually, I might be a squaddy for someone who isn’t in my squat. That’s right. They’re not in mind. But I’m in there’s. And it’s very, you know, it’d be a massive web of things to map it all out, it’d be impossible. But actually, if you might think, Oh, you’ve got a particular skill and pick the strike? Are you using it well enough? Are you offering your services to your network? Because you we all know like, the more you give, the more you get, right? The more you give out, some more will come back to you.


Clint Murphy  1:12:47

Yeah, and our role, or that we take in those squads can evolve based on what the people that are in our squad need at the time. So times I might be a cheerleader. At other times, I might be your challenger. Maybe you’re creative, depending on where what you need, how can I slot in and fill that need if you need that from me?


Beth Stallwood  1:13:11

Yeah. And it’s not a set thing. It’s not like you’re in my squad you’re in my squad for like, now you may have some lifers in your squad. But I also think that there’s kind of reason there’s seasons as well. So there could be a specific reason. So you might have a squad assembled somehow, because you’re aiming to get a promotion and you need this type of squad right now, when you’ve got it, you might need a different type of squad. Equally there could be a season in your life we’ll talk about seasonality is where your squad, you might need multiple squads. So you might need a squad for home life and a squad for work life. So it’s not one set thing. It’s flexible, it changes with you, it changes through your life. And those people may never leave your your wider network, they may be people who kind of come in and out of your squad over time. And you might need new people because you need a different level of thinking or use a different type of mentor. Whatever it is, it’s a flexible thing.


Clint Murphy  1:14:07

And so when when we contrast that, Beth, what are some of those people in behaviors that can really drain our energy in feel free to only throw a couple at us but what are some of the ones that we really want to avoid?


Beth Stallwood  1:14:24

I call them the mood Hoover’s because they suck all the positivity out of you like they are the joy suckers of life. I didn’t invent that term, but I have taken it because I love it. And I think there’s a few types of them. The ones that really get me and that wind me up are probably the biggest one is the moaners. You know the people when nothing is ever good enough. Nothing is ever right. Everything is never there. So it’s always a problem. And moaning for me personally, is a completely unproductive thing. Now it’s fine, sometimes we all need to get something off our chest right? We all have this. Yeah, I call that a moan and move on that fine. But if you never do the moving on bit of the moaning you’re actually a moaner and a moaner, who repeatedly moans about stuff, but takes zero responsibility for doing anything about it, for me is one of the hardest people to work with. So I actually have now because I, you know, worked on my boundaries, and I’ve done this stuff as well. I have a one moan rule. So Clint, you could I would very happily have you come and moan at me about something once. I would, because I’m a coach, I’d put my coach hat on and we’d work out what’s the action you need to take to be able to deal with that moan. If you then came back to me the next week and moaned about the same thing, but had taken zero action on it. I will say to you, we actually already had this discussion. Clint, you were going to do this. Have you done that? No. Okay, well, I’m not gonna I’m not prepared to listen to you until you’ve taken some action on it. Nice because it’s not you. The trouble is, the more negativity we listen to and take on. That person can destroy your work joy in one conversation, where it can suck the life out of you. But you do not have to listen to somebody’s moan and moan and moan, you can set your own boundaries around it. However, if you came back to me, Clint and had another moan and said, The I did these three things, and it didn’t work. I will very happily sit with you and go Clint. Okay. So with this problem, we haven’t fixed it yet. What’s the experiment we need to try next to try and okay, it’s supportive, but it’s a boundary level of support. That is, I am not here to be the vessel with which you moan to.


Clint Murphy  1:16:39

Yes, and some people I’ve heard call this one energy vampires. And it’s just, it will drain all of your energy because it people issues and being empathic is very draining. And so if someone’s calling on that constantly for something that they’ve done, no work to resolve that can be very challenging. 100% aligned on this? Yes. Yeah.


Beth Stallwood  1:17:06

So the other ones I would think about, so that’s, that’s a big one for me. And it’s one of the ones that is real sucker for me of my energy, things like the one up men. So you know, the people who’ve always done it better or had it worse than you. So you might be going, Oh, Beth, I just had the best thing. I’ve launched this new project. And it’s going really, really well. We’ve had this new product, we’ve got a new client, etc. And they go, oh, yeah, well, I’ve done this, I’ve done that. Or that you go, Oh, I’ve had a really hard weekend because my kids been sick as Oh, well, Mike, you’ve never had a kid as sick as my kids, you’ve never had this experience you’re like, it becomes all about them and their experience, and not about you and your experience. So they are ones there’s also the manipulators, I find these people really hard to deal with, especially the ones that are like secret manipulators where they kind of drag you in with love and kindness, and then get you doing their bidding. And they’re don’t particularly the manipulators. And then there’s the people and often this actually comes in kind of leadership terms, is that it’s my way or the highway. So this is the opposite of being able to be open to be challenged. It’s the constant, but I actually don’t mind it. If 50% of the time you want to be you want to do it this way, I’m gonna go and get on do it. But it’s the knowing which bits are open to be, yes, accessible, which bits you can contribute to. And not just my way is the best way always. Because that is so disempowering for people, if they think they’re very is the best way always, and that people can’t use their strengths. So those are four that I really identify with in terms of my wild in terms of, but you can probably imagine, now you’re thinking there’s some people who fit into that category for me.


Clint Murphy  1:18:42

Or there’s people that fit into every category, but that’s okay, that’s life, it’s, it’s really worth it. Because and I probably fit into those categories. Often, I’ll often hear people say, Well, you’re inflexible in how you want X, Y or Z, and in some cases, absolutely, I’m inflexible, almost anytime I get out a piece of paper and draw how I want something to look. That’s exactly how I want it to look. Yeah, not really. It’s not for interpretation. That’s like I’ve drawn it because that’s what I want to see. That’s the information I need and some of my teammates have overtime gone through seven iterations to get to that end result that was on the page and other of my teammates have said don’t think realize when you draw it on the paper that’s the end result you want.


Beth Stallwood  1:19:37

We are all these mood Hoover’s as well. Individual mood hoovers lots of other versions so there’s lots of style type mood Hoover’s so you know, I am a positive perky person. Stat drives some people insane. Like it’s literally the worst thing you could be for some people, they want you to get in the mode with them and I’m like, I’m not doing it and just don’t go there. You will be a person says sometimes this is just what you’ve got to go and do. But it’s understanding where we were like and being able to communicate that and being able to say like this one is a, it’s going to be this way. So let’s just make that happen. But giving enough freedom and other things and in other projects that allows people to do their own best work.


Clint Murphy  1:20:16

And then also, being that multi-dimensional person. So at times, I may be this at times, I may be that sometimes I may be a mood Hoover? Sometimes I’m someone that makes your life easier and more joyful. And there are probably reasons that I’m doing the ones I’m doing at the time I’m doing in Yes, having that thought of the person on the other side, well, wait a second, why are they doing what they’re doing instead of just automatically attribute ing a behavior to them, which, which ties a little to the idea of the stories we tell ourselves about other people?


Beth Stallwood  1:20:56

Yeah. And it could be that, you know, we all demonstrate certain behaviors when we’re at our best and when we’re our worst. And we probably don’t like the ones when we’re at our worst. But sometimes these things sneak out because we’re humans, and we’re fallible, and we are not perfect. And so often I talk about it in the, in the chapter around bosses is so often we expect our managers and our leaders to be perfect, but we expect them to be able to understand that we are imperfect, and we need to realign our expectations around our bosses and around other people around how we expect them to be and behave. Now we all have good days, we all have bad days. And I think if we could get to a world where if your boss is obviously having a bad day, rather than saying my boss is rubbish, I’d go Clint. You know, in that meeting, you seemed a bit stressed out? Is there anything I can do to help with that? So we can actually have a more human conversation with our managers. And I talk about like, you know, hero, bosses and hellish bosses, we’ve all had experiences both of them. But what we’re really looking for, I think, in the wild as we move forward, I think the type of leadership we need is a more human type of leadership. It’s an understanding that we aren’t one dimensional, it’s an understanding that we have lives outside of work as well. It’s an understanding that we cannot be 100% for you all the time. It’s an understanding that if you’re managing 10 people, you’re trying to balance 10 per 10, different people, priorities and needs. And sometimes you are not going to be the person that gets first place. It’s understanding that this job of management and leadership is really, really tough. And there really no, you can do all the leadership development in the world. But every single time and every person you manage is different, is going to come up with different challenges, there is no one formula for this stuff. So for me, I’d be advocating for a greater level of empathy about what is going on in other people’s lives and remembering it’s like the iceberg effect, we see the tip of the iceberg, but what’s going on underneath. Things like family travel, trauma from past situations, we have things like pressure, and stress, and health, and well being and impostor syndrome, and egos and all of these things happen underneath. And we only see this tiny part, the top of the pyramid, which is the behaviors to display that day. But I think what we need to have for everybody is more empathy. And I talked about the stories in the book, we have stories about everybody in our head, we make very, very swift decisions about what we think about people. And we attribute behaviors to people’s values. So we will say things like, oh, Clint, obviously doesn’t care about people, because he said this in the meeting, you could be the most deeply caring person in the world. But we’ve made a snap decision about what’s going on inside you from what you said on the outside. Yes. And we we attribute a deeper level of thought from you than just, he just wanted to get the meeting done. So we just got on with it. It doesn’t mean doesn’t care. So there’s so many different things that go on inside our head, I think the more conversations, the more we build trust, and the more we understand each other and what normal looks like for us, because normal will be different for everybody. So that we can be caring and kind when people aren’t behaving at their normal level, and have empathy for that rather than judgment for it.


Clint Murphy  1:24:15

I forget what the saying is, but something along the lines of when we look at the behaviors of others, we attribute it to their personality. And when we look at our own behaviors, we attribute it to the situation that’s happening something along the lines, right.


Beth Stallwood  1:24:33

There’s another one I really like that kind of fits into that which is and when I first heard this, I was like, oh, yeah, oh, yeah. Is that we judge most harshly and others the things we dislike about ourselves.


Clint Murphy  1:24:45

Yes, the shadow shadow. So Beth, I’m conscious of your time. So do you have time for a final four rapid fire questions?


Beth Stallwood  1:24:54

I totally can. Fire me.


Clint Murphy  1:24:57

What is one book that’s had a massive impact on your life.


Beth Stallwood  1:25:02

Oh, I am like a total nerd for books. I love them. So it’s really hard to pick one. But the one I’m going to pick for you today is a book called Range by David Epstein. I don’t know if you’ve experienced it before. I spent quite a lot of my career and I am now I do lots of different things in my career, I don’t I not a focus on one particular thing. I am not a specialist in one area, I’m not that person. I like the fact that I do consulting and it facilitation. I do coaching and I do thinking and I do, you know, I love all the different parts that I play. But for a long time, I felt that specialization was the thing you were supposed to have. So I felt like I wasn’t good enough, because I didn’t specialize. Actually, this book Range by David Epstein. I read it. And I suddenly felt like really validated about the kind of choices I’ve made versus what the general, you know, wisdom of the world had been saying. And it’s not I don’t believe in specialization, it’s just it’s not the thing that works for me. And there are so many different ways we can think about these things. And that book just really looked at people who had broader specialities that were able to have that broader perspective on stuff because of the range of stuff that they do. So things like I did a music degree, my music degree has, in theory, nothing to do with what I do now. But actually, I studied things like the psychology of performance, I studied things like how do ensembles work, which just seemed, so you can relate everything that you do into where you get to, and actually it brings and adds a different type of value to that specialization. So that book for me, I mean, there’s so many I could pick with that one for me, I think is a really, for me was a really big game changer.


Clint Murphy  1:26:44

I love it. And I feel very aligned with that type of thinking. So I need to look it up.


Beth Stallwood  1:26:50

Give it a go.


Clint Murphy  1:26:51

What’s on your bookshelf right now that you’re enjoying?


Beth Stallwood  1:26:54

Oh, at the moment, I am reading a couple of books. Let me look up so I can tell you what them are. And one of them is a book caught by Deb Mashek It’s a new one out it’s called Collabor(h)ate? Yes. And it’s all about how do we get better at collaboration. And I actually know, Deb, and she’s a really wonderful thinker around this stuff. And actually, this thing, I think collabor(h)ate has loads to do with work. So it’s how do we work together and not get into that space where we get really annoyed by each other. So for me, it’s deeply aligned to what I’m thinking about. And the other one that I am spending a bit of time with at the moment is Lucy Werner, and Hype Hourself.  It’s all about kind of about personal branding, and how do you kind of PR yourself and what you get out there. And it’s really super practical, which for me, it’s so great to have that kind of step by step guide. So they’re very different. But there are a couple of things on my bookshelf right now, which if you can see in the background, there’s a lot of them. But those are two that are currently


Clint Murphy  1:27:52

Color coded bookshelf, which I love. And I had that for a photoshoot of my office. But now it’s gone back to by category. And I may change it back because it looks so fabulous in your background


Beth Stallwood  1:28:05

It looks fabulous. But it is the worst library system in the world because you have to remember the color of the spine. And the other day I was looking for a very specific book. And I was like it’s yellow. I know it’s yellow. Why isn’t it here? It’s yellow. But the front was yellow and the spine was green. Oh, it’s not the best. But it does look lovely. It’s actually very pleasing.


Clint Murphy  1:28:24

And I think Deb may have been the person who introduced the two of us. Probably there. Yeah. Wonderful conversation with Deb a few weeks ago on collaboration. What is one thing that Beth has spent less than $1,000 on in the last 12 to 18 months that you’ve thought wow, I ought to have bought that sooner.


Beth Stallwood  1:28:50

My headphones. Ah, so you can see them here. I have a problem with my ears and I can’t wear in ear earphones. Okay. And I have probably spent more than 1000 pounds overall on trying and trying and trying and trying different types of head likewise. And I do like 80% of my work online so I’m always doing it. I find it really hard to concentrate on conversations if I’m if there’s noises around me, so I don’t like not having headphones in but finding out what these are. I’m not paid by Apple by the way. But these are Apple air pod maxes. They go over they have this amazing noise canceling thing that enables amazing focus. And it actually has this directional thing. So if you look at people and they speak to you, it can help you hear it better. So they have been a real real game changer for me. And if you ask me for the previous year, it would have be three years ago would be getting my standup desk. Oh beautiful. Every penny


Clint Murphy  1:29:50

And do those headphones do they get too hot or with your glasses. They don’t start to hurt. They’re very comfortable.


Beth Stallwood  1:29:57

I wear them probably eight hours a day and they don’t ever annoy me. And then battery lasts for about three days, I may have to try this. So they were an environment, they weren’t cheap. They were less than $1,000. But they were, and they come in lovely colors. So you don’t feel like you’re with


Clint Murphy  1:30:13

You match the full outfit today. This is very important. The most coordinated guests I’ve ever seen it and then to finish it up this show is about growth. So for you, what’s one of the biggest, whether it’s a mindset shift, a behavior change, or a habit adoption, that has had an oversized impact on your life.


Beth Stallwood  1:30:37

So when I think about growth, and there’s actually a whole chapter in the book about learning, because I think learning is fundamental to our work joy, is we often think about learning as being this big thing that we have to invest in a huge amount of time in. And we have to go and do a five day course or a six month course, or a something and all of those things are fantastic. And if you can do them, and you can make them happen, and you can, you know, do it, do it. But we all can do better at our growth by investing in everyday learning. So micro learning, I mean, we’ve talked a lot about this recipe micro macro, we can do both of these things. It’s that what can you do in 10 minutes a day, and what can you habits stack together to make your learning happen. So as an example, I take the dog for a walk in the morning, while I’m taking the dog for morning. In the morning, I listen to a podcast. By doing that thing together. It is not I have not had to find an extra hour to listen to podcasts, the hour was there, I’ve just stacked it onto something that was already in my kind of habit. I’m always going to take the dog for a walk, it’s easy to listen to a podcast reading, you could read 20 minutes a day, we could do it if you you know travel, you could do it. Before you go to bed you can find 10 or 20 minutes to read something even if you do it a couple of times week. Things like watching a TED talk often I just asked people what’s the best learning thing you’ve done so far? What’s the you know, you asked about what’s the books you’re reading? Anything that you can do find 10 minutes a day and just do it and build up that habit that will help you grow. And I think the other thing is gonna come right back to I know you asked for one thing, can I just share with it? Okay. I’m going to come right back to the beginning of our conversation, you said something to me, which was, be comfortable being quirky was one of the questions here. And I think the biggest thing about growth, and it was a it’s a lesson that I had to learn over and over again until I actually believed it. But I know in my career, if I think about career growth, the times when I decided to be fully myself, however weird that came across, were the times the opportunities came to me. So the more I would say, be more you and the more you you are, the better your growth will be.


Clint Murphy  1:32:43

Awesome. It’s such a phenomenal way to wrap it up. And we went pretty deep. Although I still I could have talked to you for another hour or two. Is there anything that we missed that you want to make sure we get across to the listener,


Beth Stallwood  1:32:58

I don’t think we missed loads. I mean, obviously, there’s a whole book out there. So please feel free to go read so many different chapters about things like organizations and managers and all kinds of different things that you can think about. My big message with this is and you’ve probably got it already, but I’m going to repeat it because we need to hear things like 15 or 20 times before we actually believe them is you have as an individual the ability to feel more joyful at work. You have the ability to make the choices that will make that happen. Nobody is going to do it for you. You need to go and do it if you want it, seek it out search it it is not actually that complicated. But go and make it happen for yourself. And I think there’s something about making sure you feel worthy enough to have that you do not have to be miserable at work, you can do stuff about it, but you have to do it


Clint Murphy  1:33:44

Radical responsibility for your life –  one of my the most important things that and I think almost all of us when we write one of the when we write one of these books is a common theme is taking responsibility and owning the choices that drive it while recognizing we’re all in different lived experiences. Yeah, different different passes current challenges. And where can people find you Beth?


Beth Stallwood  1:34:10

So lots of ways to find me. My website is Bethstallwood.com or Createworkjoy.com We have two of them so one is more about me and kind of myself so I offered the other one is all about the work Joy stuff. And actually on the work Joy website createworkjoy.com There is a freebie to download a work joy, where do you get yours which is a great start for your relationship and tone of getting more work choice. I’d always recommend you go there. And on all the social channels we’re @createworkjoy.,  So whether you’re on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, we’re there. And also if you’re in business in LinkedIn, come and linkedin with me at Beth Stallwood, I’m quite easy to find because it’s not a particularly common name.


Clint Murphy  1:34:48

Excellent. And we will have all of that in the show notes. Thanks for joining me today, Beth.


Beth Stallwood  1:34:53

Thanks so much for having me, Clint. It’s been wonderful.

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