Think back to the day of your high school graduation.
Remember the heat. Remember the squirming. Remember the excitement to get out of that place, and move on to something better.
But, for a second think back to the speeches that day. Whether it was your Principal or your Valedictorian (or maybe you!), they all had one thing in common. Each person imparted a piece of wisdom (or warnings) to you and your fellow 18-year-old graduates.
They told you: “Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination.”
If you’re anything like me, that phrase went in one ear and out the other. You just finished the longest journey of your life: high school. And now, you were jumping out of your seat, although a bit nervous about the unknown, for whatever was to come next.
But then…you got there.
You arrived at that place–any adult milestone really (college, first job, moving to a new city), and this fearful, uneasy thought might have crept into your mind. You try to push it away, but it always comes back: “There must be something else out there.”
So, you continue to search. New job, new city. New friends, new relationships.
But it somehow, each step you take still ends up feeling the same.
Are you constantly searching for fulfillment?
If we are always looking for external milestones, like a new job title or pay increase, without first addressing the internal stuff, we’ll always be on the hunt.
We’ll constantly be looking for that feeling, and asking ourselves that question: “Is this it?”
During this week’s podcast episode, I dug deep with Olivia Heditsian, a Career Change Bootcamp graduate and a woman who went through a radical mindset shift a couple of months ago.
Olivia was in the same exact place. She had all of the external things: a great job at Linkedin, an awesome apartment in New York City, a savings account that most of us could only imagine…but she still wasn’t happy. From the outside, it looked like she had everything.
But on the inside, she was struggling to answer those big life questions: What does it mean to lead a meaningful, purposeful life?
Sometimes it takes a burn out to realize you need a radical mindset shift
Olivia didn’t begin looking for those answers until she changed her life completely.
After working at as a sales manager at Linkedin for about two years, she realized that her vision of success became skewed…and she wasn’t actually enjoying the journey.
“ I was in a role that wasn’t natural to me. I was doing tasks and activities that didn’t come naturally and I think that is where the burn out came. It’s because I was exhausted. When you force yourself it’s like fitting a square peg in a round hole. You can’t maintain that.”
Even though Olivia had worked in sales before her role at LinkedIn, and loved her clients she was constantly chasing these external validators of success. Her life at the time was determined by how many deals she could close, and what her bonus would be at the end of the year.
So, she pasted on that fake smile and kept pushing herself to reach her goals…until one day she just couldn’t.
She walked into work and told her boss she was quitting that day.
She didn’t have a plan, but she knew that she needed to do some soul-searching before she could begin to figure it out.
“I needed to create a life for myself, not just find a job”
“ The perfectionism in my life drove me to success and to crumble. I lacked basic self love. That was a huge part of my life as crazy as it sounds that I never developed.”
In the next phase of Olivia’s life, she focused on understanding her life’s purpose.
But, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Because for a long time, Olivia had this sense that her “purpose” would just “fall from the sky.”
…Ever feel that way?
Over time, Olivia realized that finding your purpose in life really comes back to this idea of self-love. She needed respect herself enough to challenge those ideas of what she was “supposed” to be. Upon that assessment, Olivia realized that she went into sales after college because that’s all she had known: her father was a successful salesman, and those surrounding her told her that she would be really good at it, too.
Once Olivia began to challenge those ideas of “success” she was able to assess what was most important to her in life–relationships with family and friends, where she lived, what she was doing each day, the people she worked with–or all of the above?
Asking herself these tough questions, and working through the answers with her career coach, Lisa Lewis, ultimately landed her in a role, a company, and a city that enabled her to build a life.
The 10 questions about your past that will lead to your future
At certain points in our lives, it’s important to take stock of our past in order to inform our future.
During Olivia’s “soul-searching” process, she assessed the major aspects of her life so that she could get insight into what she wanted in this next phase. We often think that “you can’t change the past,” but time and time again we’ve seen that looking backwards helps us make better decisions for our future.
If you’re at the beginning stages of assessing what it means to create a purposeful life, take some time to answer the following 10 questions. We’ve also created a handy worksheet so that you can always refer back to these answers.
How will you create a purposeful, meaningful life?
Olivia’s journey was just that: a journey. And one that is still evolving, still growing, still shifting.
Because, through this soul searching process, Olivia found meaning in that age-old phrase, “Enjoy the journey, not the destination.”
So, no matter where you are in life right now–whether you’re sitting in those high school graduation seats or sitting behind a desk at a job that you despise…just know that this is part of your journey, too.
Understanding your life’s purpose takes work, and a whole lot of self-love. And, maybe an extra eye or two. Coaches, friends and family are able to connect dots that sometimes you just can’t see in your own life.
So, like Olivia says–don’t take yourself too seriously. And, begin to allow yourself to see life for what it is: a journey that changes and evolves with each passing day!
“Don’t take yourself too seriously: “One thing I could have a conversation about is I think for a lot of people having a job and figuring out your life is very serious business that affects you day to day but one thing that helped me was I reframed and restructured what I thought about life. I think of it now as one big game. Everything was life and death to me and so pressure on myself. I’m sure listeners can relate. Make life a game. Few things are life and death. Have fun with it. If you have a crappy interview laugh about it and ask what could I have done. Stay in learning.”
Transcript from Episode
If you’re ready to create and live a life that is unapologetically you check out our Ultimate Guide to Using Your Strengths to Get Hired. Find your signature strengths to do what you love, do what you are good at, and bring value to your clients, customers, and/or organization. happentoyourcareer.com/strengthsguide
Scott Barlow: Welcome back to Happen to Your Career. I’m particularly excited this December morning because we get to talk to someone with an incredible story who has let us tag along for the ride and journey. You are going to enjoy the changes she has made and how the journey has transpired. It hasn’t been easy and there have been ups and downs but has ended particularly well for her. I’m excited to welcome Olivia to the HTYC podcast. Good morning.
Olivia Heditsian: Good morning Scott. Thank you so much.
Scott Barlow: Absolutely, before we get too far along tell people what you get to do now. You’ve recently made a job change.
Olivia Heditsian: Yes I’ve only been in the role about 9 days now. Very new but I have a strong sense of what I will be doing and I’ve hit the ground running. I’m a leadership recruiter at Indeed in Austin. I’m responsible for helping source and bring on executive leadership for the organization internally.
Scott Barlow: That is super cool. I’ve been able to do some of that in the past and it’s a lot of fun for a bunch of reasons. Not for everyone but I loved a lot of the parts of it. I love Austin, what took you there?
Olivia Heditsian: I’ve had this inkling to move south for a while. I was in New York for 3 years. I wanted to move south and got called there for a different job but texas has a soft place in my heart. I was looking in Dallas and didn’t expect Austin but this opportunity came up. I’m glad I went to Austin because it has a different vibe and I had lived in Dallas so I knew that experience. I’m loving it so far and can’t wait to get back after the new year. It’s beautiful, the people are wonderful, and there is so much action. I’m a huge music fan.
Scott Barlow: That is amazing. You are now in Austin you get to work with this new organization and bring on highly talented executives in leadership and you are 9 days in and having fun but you clearly haven’t always been in this role? Where did your career start in the first place?
Olivia Heditsian: Back down memory lane. I graduated college in 2010, American University in Washington DC and like most grads didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated. My father was a successful sales guy and I displayed the attributes to be successful in sales. I was a college soccer player and had some military training. I was very much in tune with the type of person I am. Very type A and love working with people. I was recruited out of college at a job fair for WW Grainger in the supplies space. They were having a new pilot program for college grads getting people in outside field sales. I was an outside sales rep for them. It lasted three months, not a successful program. Didn’t care for it but learned a lot. It was the first step in recognizing what I didn’t want in my career which was outside sales. I didn’t enjoy being in a vehicle driving to different prospects. I wanted to be in an office and felt like i was wasting a lot of time. I left that job as did many others because they closed the program down. I took a couple months and went into technical recruiting working for a small boutique, IT staffing consulting firm in the DC area and doing tech recruiting and learning what that was about and moved into an account manager role which was my entry back into sales acquiring clients to help staff roles. I worked there a number of years moved up in the company and was successful. It was small enough I had great mentorship. Having that small company experience. I learned a lot but outgrew it and had no place to move up in the company. We had adopted LinkedIn as a recruiting tool and I fell in love with it and it changed how I did business and recruited. I sent LinkedIn emails via LinkedIn.
Scott Barlow: That seems appropriate doesn’t it.
Olivia Heditsian: It does I was very strategic about how I did everything. I was very passionate about the product and I think that was where my mindset was and would love to share my experience and help other small businesses and clients do the same. I made that call and got the interview, got the job and moved to New York for a sales role working with small to medium size businesses to build out branding and use the network. Back end solutions like an account manager role. I was there for three years and everything came together to propel me where I am now. That role was fulfilling for me and it was difficult to get into a role like that moving from an unstructured organization to a much broader structured place and I had trouble adjusting.
Scott Barlow: Help people understand that. We get a lot of questions about the differences between those. What was one like compared to the other?
Olivia Heditsian: The biggest glaring difference was the first organization I worked for, and it wasn’t a negative connotation of the company, but it wasn’t a professional environment with a lot of processes in place. It was shoot from the hip and nothing was defined. It was difficult to do business. I didn’t have basic resources. We had constant management changes and a lot of turnover which is completely normal but going to LinkedIn it was more sophisticated and a reputable company. Which helped a lot. It always does in sales when people know who you are.
Scott Barlow: Linkedin, I’ve heard of you and use you.
Olivia Heditsian: There are positives and negatives to that too. I had a lot of clients that didn’t have positive experiences with LinkedIn. Going into that environment the people and the quality of them was top tier. I worked with some of the smartest, diverse, good human beings in that organization than anywhere else. Having a structured sales organization, it was difficult for me to adapt because I hadn’t been in that before. My first year was a huge growing year. I didn’t do well meeting quotas and struggled a lot. Second year I got a new manager and we sat down and did a roadmap to make sure I was successful because I had the hang of things. That adjustment is challenging but I worked through it. You need to give yourself time and utilize resources to go through that process because there isn’t a magic answer for that.
Scott Barlow: I wish there were a magic answer, it would be a lot easier but there is a lot of growth and learning that comes from that if you can call that a silver lining. For some people they thrive in those situations other people don’t and I don’t think either way is good or bad but understand what you mean. What happened from there?
Olivia Heditsian: Going into my second sales year in January 2015 I got a new manager and things were shifting in the organization. Changes with how sales people were working with customers. I had a gentleman who helped me doing the other things that allowed me to just work with my clients. I was so determined to be successful I set benchmarks and goals. I don’t know how to explain it but I had a newfound confidence because I made sure to let my manager know what I wanted to accomplish and other people in my organization and I sprung for it and said I will do the very best I can do and by the second, third, fourth quarters I was the top salesperson in that office winning awards and selling products and deals I never thought I would close. It was the most successful year of my career and made more money than I ever thought I could make. All across the board it was successful working with clients and finding new ways. I came out of that year very satisfied but honestly I think that success got to my head and almost became my identity. I almost turned into a workaholic because I so badly wanted to be successful and it consumed me. I realized that even though I got my goals and met what I wanted financially I still had an aha moment for everything to change.
Scott Barlow: I’m curious what that aha moment is but before that, what was causing you to want all of those things in terms of how you were measuring success for that year for yourself looking back?
Olivia Heditsian: That is a great question and to be frank I think my idea of success was skewed and this idea of what I thought it should look like wasn’t what was making me happy. I was looking at financials, accolades and recognitions and what society places as a successful business person. I couldn’t have felt less successful in my own mind despite all the success I had.
Scott Barlow: Interesting. What was that aha moment. Describe that and what did you feel was missing out of the societal definition of success?
Olivia Heditsian: I’ll never forget late in December after hitting my annual target quota I came back to my New York apartment in my bedroom, it was the end of the year, and it was all over, I did it. I remember receiving my final paycheck and I can’t tell you night and day the amount of previous money I was making to then it’s a big step in your career when you see the numbers. I wanted to be financially sound at the time and it was big for me. I looked at that paycheck and said is this it? Is that all there is? I knew something wasn’t right. I should be happy and fulfilled. I was going for the end result and didn’t enjoy the process. I did enjoy working with my clients but was only driven by that end result. That end of the year and I couldn’t wait until it was all over as opposed to enjoying the day to day and embracing the role. I enjoyed the role but focused on the wrong things. If this is all there is something is missing. I need to figure this out I should feel happy and rejoice and look back on my achievements fulfilled and it wasn’t the case.
Scott Barlow: That is super interesting in breaking apart the pieces that creates that fulfillment and enjoying the journey. Everyone has heard that saying and most of us don’t fully understand what it means and to be fair it’s only in the last five years I’ve started feeling comfortable in enjoying the journey. From your perspective what does that look like for you to enjoy the journey as you’ve realized it and become aware and going forward what will that be like? Define that from your perspective because it’s hard to wrap your head around.
Olivia Heditsian: It’s a difficult process. Everything is performance and results oriented especially in a sales role which is why I think I got so lost. As I’ve taken a step back from that and evaluated everything I think one thing I’ve realized is we spend so much time in process. Most of life is process and little is the end result. If you aren’t enjoying the process you won’t be fulfilled and you will struggle. Moving forward in every area of my life, I do this in other areas too like relationships and goals. I realized take a step back and what do you enjoy doing? I extrapolated everything, with a job or where do I like to spend my time. What do I think about when I day dream? What would I do if I didn’t have to work another day in my life and then you hone on the natural things that come to me as opposed to forcing yourself. I was doing that. I was in a role that wasn’t natural to me. I was doing tasks and activities that didn’t come naturally and I think that is where the burn out came. It’s because I was exhausted. When you force yourself it’s like fitting a square peg in a round hole. You can’t maintain that.
Scott Barlow: What were some of those things for you, the small things you paid attention to that you wanted to spend more time on rather than forcing yourself?
Olivia Heditsian: One of the key things was I realized in the sales role I loved working with people and I’m naturally an INFJ if that means anything to anyone. I’m naturally introverted but can turn it on for small amounts of time. I’m a sprinter more than a marathoner. I can talk to someone and have a great, deep conversation but then sit back and think about it. As a sales person at LinkedIn I was constantly pounding the phones all day and giving presentations. That wasn’t the right type of role for me. I’d love to be in a role where I’m talking to people and meeting with people and people focused as opposed to product focused. I would want to solve people problems. That is where the difference between sales and recruiting came in. I was talking to people about real life things as opposed to proposals for a product or service I was trying to sale.
Scott Barlow: That’s really interesting because of that people component. When it comes to what creates meaningful work for each or us there is a different definition. We all want to help people in some way but there can be completely different ways we perceive we are helping. For you it seems to need to be more direct than the next person.
Olivia Heditsian: Absolutely. This element within me that I’ve got to have deep conversation. I was managing 200 -250 clients at LinkedIn and I couldn’t get deep with them. I enjoy having deeper conversations with clients. I had developed a few. That is something I’m looking forward to more in a recruitment role because you are diving into their life and career on an individual basis and not just managing all of the accounts.
Scott Barlow: I completely sympathize with that. I love having these types of conversations because I have to have in my life ongoing deeper conversations. I’m not incredibly excited about small talk and get bored quickly. That may seem selfish to some people but it’s the way I’m wired and think. I can identify with that. You had this realization and you got that paycheck moment, process versus end result. There was a whole year of process and one paycheck moment. You had the aha moment and started thinking in a different way. Something was missing. At what point did you take action and how did that look for you?
Olivia Heditsian: I honestly could feel that this moment in all honesty about half of the year I could feel something coming on because I knew in my heart that I just could not wait to get to the end of the year. The first quarter went by and in April, 4 months later I had another moment. I’m not a rash person but when I makeup my mind I do something and don’t play around. I struggled in the first quarter. After staying on top in 2015 that first quarter 2016 was the worst of my career. I was burnt out and couldn’t do it. I was in a client meeting in Boston late April early May, looking out the window and was just done. I said this isn’t fair to my client or me. I should be interested in solving problems for them and I was just over it. I was dramatic. I can’t do this another day. I was working with a performance coach telling him everything that was going on. This was a Thursday, I flew back to NY on Thursday night and put time on my manager’s calendar and by noon that next day I was putting in my resignation and done. I don’t know where I’m going from here but I don’t care, I know this isn’t the place for me and it isn’t fair to anyone. I wanted to do right by the company and myself. I was about to be jobless in New York with high rent and didn’t know where I was going. I think thats the risk you have to take. Am I saying that everyone should quit their job with nothing else lined up? No. I really needed to take a massive breather and financially could do it. I needed to get out of my current situation and realign myself. The role was pulling too much energy and time.
Scott Barlow: That makes sense. I’ve been working on a theory as we’ve encountered and worked with different personalities. There is a particular type it seems, and I fall into this group which is maybe why I’m selfishly interested in it. Once you reach that moment, whatever it is, maybe not even associated with burn out you can’t almost force yourself to something. Once you have that realization you almost can’t force yourself to keep going or the work just degrades drastically or other desirable things don’t happen. I’m curious your thoughts on that and if that is what you have seen for yourself? In other places too or just then?
Olivia Heditsian: I think in a lot of areas that is how it is. I agree with your theory in terms of that. Everyone handles it differently and its dependent of the personality of the person and other elements. I was a single person with no constraints. If you have family, or married, or have kids it’s a difficult thing to do and you don’t necessarily have the freedom or luxury to do it. I’m blessed I wasn’t in that situation. For people that are you have to be careful and consider other things which can make it more complicated and is a lot of reasons people stay in roles that they aren’t right for. I absolutely agree and think its dependent on other factors as well.
Scott Barlow: Absolutely, okay you had this realization and you ended up leaving the role, now you are jobless in New York and fortunately you have from all that work and burn out some money to show for it. It wasn’t what you wanted but enabled you to take the step which was right for you. What happened?
Olivia Heditsian: To be completely honest with you it was tough. I stayed in New York for six months. My lease didn’t end until November so I was stuck there. I didn’t do a single thing job related thing in that six months. The next couple weeks after LinkedIn I went out and had fun and started to date a new guy that was a great distraction. Coming from that crash and burn I don’t want to make it sound like it was peace I’m out and excited about my life drop the mic. It was a struggle. There was some depression and a lot of doubt. I basically self sabotaged and walked myself out of that role because I knew if my performance continued to decrease I was going to be let go which scared me so I gave myself an out. I struggled with and had a lot of inner work to work on and a lot of self doubt. I beat myself up constantly. The perfectionism in my life drove me to success and to crumble. I lacked basic self love. That was a huge part of my life as crazy as it sounds that I never developed. I saw my results and that determined my self worth and value. In a high performing role that is easy to happen. After leaving LinkedIn I felt like I was nothing. You think I’m a piece of crap, no one will hire me again, I’ll get fired, all the work in 2015 was a fluke, I had imposter syndrome going on. You start to doubt. I knew as long as I was in that mindset I wasn’t going anywhere fast and as quickly as it would be to go out and get a new job I knew the problem would follow me. I spent the next 6 months working on this. I was still talking to my performance coach everyday. To be honest I was still struggling hard for six months. When my lease was up I said goodbye to New York and was not spending another year of this rent and moved back to St Louis for a couple months which turned into a year.
Scott Barlow: You moved back to St. Louis which money wise sounds amazing. Your parents are there right?
Olivia Heditsian: I ended up coming back and living in my parents house which was interesting. I was blessed that they let me. I think it was originally because I was only going to be here a couple months and it didn’t make sense to get an apartment. It ended up being a year long which was crazy. I was that 30 year old still living with mom and dad. It was hard for me. Coming back and this whole year it still took a lot of time and to be honest in that year it wasn’t until the last three months that I started looking for a job. The majority of my time was doing personal development stuff and getting over the hurdles. People would always ask if I had a job and in my mind I wasn’t even looking for one. I could go get one tomorrow that’s not the problem. The work I was doing was going to propel me into the right next job. I was looking at it holistically in terms of creating a lifeplan. Thats where Lisa came in and was helpful. When you talk about getting a job it doesn’t sound fulfilling but what about creating a life. I needed a compelling enough reason to create this life for myself. Like location, relationships, what I’d be doing on a daily basis, personal goals. It was a much broader plan than going on job boards and selecting jobs.
Scott Barlow: For a little background, you found us through The Muse if I recall and ended up joining our Career Change Bootcamp and got to work with Lisa one of our coaches back in episode 147 you can hear her story. You started working with her and creating a lifeplan and ultimately creating the life you were interested in. It occurs to me when you are getting all those questions of whether you have your next job yet and the things people ask I’m curious what that was like and it’s interesting that thinking about it holistically and creating a lifeplan its abnormal enough that it seems a lot of people don’t understand. I’m curious what that was like because people get similar questions going through this?
Olivia Heditsian: Yes and I think there is a lot of pressure. You have pressure from parents, family and people that have good intentions and want you to do well but are in the mindset and old fashioned about being secure and having a job. For me I didn’t get a lot of that and was lucky. A few people did and my parents were concerned and wanted me to have employment. I think, and I’m forgetting the question you asked.
Scott Barlow: I’m just curious what that was like as interacting with different people and how you handled that because of those pressures.
Olivia Heditsian: In having those people come to me I really stood firm. I knew that what I was doing was the right path and didn’t let that interfere. I’d say I’m not looking for a job right now but doing personal development. Well what’s personal development it’s a whole other conversation. Doing inner work. Some people don’t even know what that means. Essentially I was looking myself in the mirror and taking apart all the elements of myself that I didn’t like and looking to improve and change them and restructure. I got into this neuro linguistic programming. Another thing. I’m a huge Tony Robbins fan and Jim Rome fan. I was working with this other coach who told me about it. I was trying to rewire my operating system and restructure how I was thinking about everything and asking myself different questions. It’s the day to day and a lot is at a subconscious level and most people don’t pay attention to it. I was having a different level of awareness. No wonder I’m walking around miserable and feeling no good, it’s because the thoughts running through my mind are so negative and I’m telling myself I can’t do anything what if I ask myself better questions. Lisa and I worked toward that. To get back to your question I didn’t have too though of a time. I didn’t shut people out of my life but it was time for me to focus on myself. I didn’t have a lot of connections here so it was a good time of solitude and doing my own thing.
Scott Barlow: After you started working with Lisa what started making a difference as you were interacting and Career Change Bootcamp what was that like and how did you move forward?
Olivia Heditsian: Lisa was instrumental in helping me slow down the process because I’m very impatient.
Scott Barlow: I would have never guessed.
Olivia Heditsian: You have this time when you want everything now. I was still going through this personal development but still in the back of my mind hoping for a miracle. I struggle with purpose and this thing I was supposed to do with my life this job and calling. As crazy as it sounds I thought it would fall down from the sky and just come to me. I was very wrong about that. It doesn’t work like that. Lisa helped me take a step back and reframe everything for day to day and the process. Living in the moment and really being aware. I was working through a lot of the strengthsfinder tests and a lot of things in the first modules of Happen To Your Career. Those were helpful because it let me break things down and I didn’t realize I was like that and started to discover things I hadn’t taken the time to be aware of in the past.
When I think of college and propelling into a sales career I always felt like I was supposed to be something or this type of person because everyone thought of me like this. That is difficult. I think a lot of people and hopefully the listeners can relate you have this idea of what you parents think you should be and the expectations and the life you are supposed to live. I realized that I could break those rules I had for myself. I could recreate myself and I didn’t have to stick with what other people wanted. That is not to say they didn’t have good intentions but I started to go in and say I do have a soft sensitive side and am a loving empathic person and I never let those things come out in a rigorous hardcore sales career I had.
Lisa helped me go back and recognize those things. One of the most key things we talked about was feeling instead of thinking, I would think all the time, about this and that, I would just take time to feel. I’d sit on a daily basis, and whatever happened or the conversation I was having with someone I wasn’t thinking but trying to see how it made me feel and if it struck a chord and if I had goosebumps. That is the key for really understanding where you are supposed to be and what you love. If you could have more of those feel moments throughout the day I think it would make your life more fulfilling. Those are signals you can’t ignore but have to take time to feel instead of think yourself to success.
Scott Barlow: That completely makes sense but is also a skill that takes a bit of practice. It took me years of practice to stop paying attention to what is in my head and what was instead in my heart or gut. Those feelings. I wish I could say that for anyone we could flip the switch but like anything else it takes a ton of practice and work to do it well. It’s worth it. Most people I’ve talked to that have taken time to pay attention to that have said it’s totally worth it much like anything else that is difficult. Until you can start to untangle that thinking versus feeling it makes it difficult to untangle the other pieces like my parents perceptions versus how I want to perceive myself or how I want to show up in the world. I love the way you put that.
This at some point turned to the role you have been in for 9 days. How did you get from where we just described paying attention to what you wanted and felt and breaking it down to where you could identify what you wanted actually and with some measure of confidence saying this is what I truly want and not a repeat?
Olivia Heditsian: Exactly. At this point I want to make note, I had no idea when I mentioned reaching out to people in the last three months of my transition I had no idea what I wanted to do. People tend to think they need to have it all figured out for the type of company and I had all these puzzle pieces and having difficulty connecting them. I took everything I knew and looked back at my entire career and took a piece of paper and put what I loved and had to have, what I liked, and what I could not tolerate and broke it down for myself. One thing I didn’t know was I wanted to be part of a people centric and values driven organization. I had worked at one, LinkedIn. I loved working in the technology company scene because they are progressive in that way. I started targeting similar companies. In terms of the area I was still looking at business development roles for the heck of it but don’t think I would have taken one. Where can I go work with people? I love to learn about them and could do research and look on Wikipedia and started to have a people obsession which sounds weird.
Scott Barlow: It’s fantastic.
Olivia Heditsian: If I could interview people all day I would. I started going back to this recruiting area. I thought my sales skills would be good here too. Recruiting at an executive level is very sales driven. You have to sell the company hard. I reached out to a bunch of companies. One of them was Indeed. I did it through LinkedIn. I reached out to a couple members of the talent attraction organization which is their entire recruitment organization and I said I’d love to have an open conversation with you. I never looked at a specific role or go about my searches like that, I like to talk to people and have open conversations about what is going on in the organization. I had a reply within 30 minutes and she asked if I would pass her my resume. She loved my background and asked what I was looking for. I said I don’t honestly know but I’d love to have a conversation with you. That started the process.
Scott Barlow: I was going to pause because that is a thing a lot of people are afraid of based on what you said earlier. I have to have it all figured out and all my ducks in a row before I go out and look. The reality is you probably won’t make a change if you pursue it that way. What you said is key and I wanted to call that out because you went and did what a lot of people are afraid of so awesome and way to have courage in that particularly scary situation. You said I don’t know what I’m looking for but I’d love to have a conversation. What happened?
Olivia Heditsian: I will say it’s important to note this idea of having to have everything figure out is a farce. I was struggling in the process. I don’t know how I overcame that. I think I changed my thought process. As I was doing this with conversations I worked on being vulnerable with them. It sounds crazy in the job process but I noticed if I went to the interview and was honest about my story with my year and a half gap on my resume I used the story to craft a better story to my advantage to show people its bigger than a job. I’ve done the work to communicate into an organization. That is key. If you take the time and do it don’t be afraid to use that story to your advantage. I learned when I went to those interviews when I came out the people I interviewed with got more out of the process than I did. When I shared they could relate to it like I know I’m 60 years old and I’ve never switched but I can relate. When you get that level of kinship that was so fulfilling. I think that was probably the turning point. It’s okay to say you don’t have to have it all figured out because who does. We all think everyone else has it figured out but us. That is what I constantly thought about.
Scott Barlow: We all have a tendency to have those shields up and everyone thinks everyone else has it figured out. It’s so relatable when someone else says that they don’t and they share and people can identify with it. It sounds like it created closer relationships for you.
Olivia Heditsian: Yes. I went into these interviews and the psychology part of me was to break down that social shield and I knew once I got them talking about their own story in the interview it wasn’t just about me. I don’t want to use the term narcissistic, but very self focused, because it is about you when you are looking for a job but when you make it about other people that is what it’s all about and I learned that about myself which was great.
Going into Indeed as I said I told them I didn’t know what I wanted but wanted to learn about talent attraction. I went in and had a conversation with an initial person. Basically the roles that were open were recruiter roles. I said okay and stayed open in the process and tried not to cut things off too soon. I think people have a tendency to do that but I think you have to stay open. I interviewed with four different teams that handled recruitment in different departments and went through all these batch interviews on a skype call for 2 1/2 hours. I met with all these hiring managers and managers and after that first process nothing was really clicking with me. It wasn’t there and I got feedback saying so and so would love to have you on their team. I basically was honest and said what else do you have? You have to have something else. The recruiter I was working with said we have this and this and this actual leadership recruitment role that is a new role. Would you be interested. I said yes. There is something about that. I had been working with executives on LinkedIn and I like working on a high level sophisticated and impactful roles. The impact of these executives coming into an organization is key for me, not to say people not in those roles aren’t but at this time I had spoken in 8 different interviews with them and it was a long process but I spoke with the manager of leadership recruitment who is now my boss. We had a call and hit it off and she had this role open for months and was so swamped because she had other responsibilities that she didn’t have time to recruit so me saying I was interested was like a gift on her lap that I had reached out which is funny.
Scott Barlow: That is everything that we have a tendency to teach putting yourself in that situation where it is the right time and place. What you did was walking through the back door because no one else is competing. She didn’t have time to interview for it. It’s worthwhile to point out that had you not done the work on yourself to be able to understand what you wanted or had a good idea of what you didn’t want versus what you did you wouldn’t have been able to say no to those other roles and behind the scenes when we work with people that is a measure of success we use. Do the people have the ability to say no because they know enough of what they want? That led to the weird psychological factor that when you do that in a way that builds the relationship it makes organizations and people want you more. I think your story is evidence of that and more importantly it lead you to a role where you could say yes I’m interested let’s hear more. That is super cool and meant to be a big compliment and what you did is an effective way to go about it. Awesome job by the way.
Olivia Heditsian: Thank you. I’m so blessed things worked out and it’s a lesson to me to keep an open mind and not cut things off. I was down in the process and after that initial interview a lot of people would have shut the door and I would have too but I asked what else do you have because I knew I loved the organization and that was a starting off point.
Scott Barlow: That is amazing. You’ve gone through all of this and it’s not been a short journey. And I think there is lot out there about careers and a variety of different ways to get your perfect dream job in 37 days or something like that and for a lot of people especially when focused on work that fits with the life they want to create it doesn’t happen in that way. It’s more of a roller coaster and a couple steps forward and back and things in between. After going through that I’m super curious what advice would you offer to other people thinking about the change or way back on the side where they had the paycheck moment and realized this can’t be all there is. What advice would you give?
Olivia Heditsian: Again I want to tell people go take a year off but I don’t know that everyone has that luxury or capacity but no matter what it is as cliche as it sounds if you have a moment like that recognize it. It takes longer for other people to take action after having that moment but recognize it and do something. As Tony Robbins says take massive action and do something. Take time again to feel what it is in your career and decipher. Be bold and be brave because fear and uncertainty come in.
One thing I could have a conversation about is I think for a lot of people having a job and figuring out your life is very serious business that affects you day to day but one thing that helped me was I reframed and restructured what I thought about life. I think of it now as one big game. Everything was life and death to me and so pressure on myself. I’m sure listeners can relate. Make life a game. Few things are life and death. Have fun with it. If you have a crappy interview laugh about it and ask what could I have done. Stay in learning. As opposed to evaluating and continue to learn and everything that happens it’s how you look at it and keep moving forward. Not being afraid to take action. If you don’t know what the next action is take time and do something and if it doesn’t work fine then do something else but soon enough you will get closer to what you want to do.
The only thing that ensures that nothing changes is doing nothing. I was paralyzed because I was afraid to make the wrong move but make some type of move. Even if its the wrong one you will learn from it and be that much closer to your goal. That is my biggest piece of advice and don’t take everything so seriously. Have fun with it. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task. People love to have fun. It can be a lot of fun. Going into interviews, laughing with people. It’s what you bring to it. If you bring a standard of enjoyment other people will hop on and get on board.
Scott Barlow: I really appreciate that and I know that will hit with a number of people out there. Thank you for taking the time this morning. 9 days into your new role. This will actually air later. We are approaching the holiday break when we are recording behind the scenes information. I appreciate you taking the time and making the time and sharing this with so many people out there this is amazing. Nicely done.
Olivia Heditsian: Thank you Scott. Thank you for having me on and I’m happy to share my experiences. I don’t know if you provide contact information but if anyone wants to talk to me personally about anything else I’d be more than happy to help in any way I can. I’m passionate about personal transformation and living a compelling life.
Scott Barlow: Very cool.
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