How to create “winning conditions” for your career
Have you had that moment you were watching a tv show or reading an article and said, “Wow! That would be so cool!”?
Maybe it was when you realized that someone has to go and visit all the exotic places on the travel channel to make the shows, or when you saw the cakes being made on “Cake Boss”, or when you read a job description of a role that sounded super fun.
Enter Christine Hofbeck.
Here’s the difference between her and the average person.
Back in 2000, when the TV reality series Survivor came out she watched it for the first time. Like so many other people at the time, she thought, “Wow! It would be amazing to be on Survivor.” However, unlike all of those other people, she relentlessly pursued for 16 years, even when her friends and coworkers thought she was crazy for putting in applications year after year. Then (*spoiler alert*), it finally happened.
You’ll hear about how that set of experiences and the pursuit of a dream completely changed her life and her work… and even how she had some incredible embarrassing moments in front of millions of people.
Listen to the podcast episode today to hear her full story.
Scott Anthony Barlow 01:07
Have you ever had that moment where you were watching a TV show or reading an article and said, “wow, that would be so cool.”? Maybe it was when you realize that someone has to go and visit all those exotic places on the Travel Channel to make the shows, or when you saw Cake Boss and realized, yeah, I could totally do that. Or when you read a job description of a role that sounded super fun.
Christine Hofbeck 01:32
I was five months pregnant at the time. So I was like, “ah, darn it. I can’t apply.” But as soon as that baby was born, I sent that application in. And of course, all my friends told me that I was crazy, that I’ve never get picked. And of course I didn’t. 16 years later, I was still sending an applications. And one day, I got a call and they invited me to play.
Scott Anthony Barlow 01:52
That’s Christine Hofbeck. Here’s the difference between her and the average person. Back in 2000, when the TV reality series survivor came out, she watched it for the first time. Like so many other people at the time, she thought, “wow, it would be amazing to be on survivor.” However, unlike all of those other people, she relentlessly pursued this for 16 years, even when her friends and coworkers thought she was crazy for putting in applications year after year. Then, spoiler alert, it finally happened. But if you happen to be a survivor fan, you already know she made it on the season 35 and almost won the whole thing. But in my conversation with her, you’ll get to hear how that set of experiences in the pursuit of a dream completely changed her life and her work, and even how she had some incredible embarrassing moments in front of millions of people. But first, here she is describing how she started out as a math major.
Christine Hofbeck 02:48
When I went off to college, I knew I wanted to do something in math. I always loved math. I don’t know, I was one of those people that got really excited about maths, like I decided I was gonna maybe try being an actuary. I really loved it. I got into, I became an actuary, right after. I was a math major in college, I went to the University of Pennsylvania. I was an actuary, right after I started taking my tests, and ended up working for a company that I absolutely loved. I was there for about a dozen years, really just learning a lot, you know, taking my test, doing as much as I possibly could. And I thought, this is the career for me. Somewhere along those lines, our company was sold, we went through a series of mergers and acquisitions. And at that point, I had three kids at home. And I thought, you know what, maybe I actually just want to be a stay at home mom, I ducked out of the workforce when I was at the, you know, I’ll say not the top of my career, but I was in a really, really good place.
Scott Anthony Barlow 03:42
That’s so interesting, because I think that that is such an intimidating place for people to be, my wife and I have talked a lot about this, and we’ve worked with a lot of people that have been through this type of transition in one way or another or are facing this type of transition. And it’s pretty challenging from many different levels, ranging from identity levels to, feels weird as you said, duck out at the top of, or the, you know, I can’t remember the word that you used, but at the top of your career. So what is that… what was that like for you personally?
Christine Hofbeck 04:18
Yeah, I was really lucky because when I was thinking about being a stay at home mom, now I don’t know if the rules are the same, so I’m not offering this up unless the legal rules allow this, but my company allowed me to take Family Medical Leave Act, which meant that they gave me 12 months to leave my position and they kept it for me. And that actually worked well because by not quitting entirely, but going out on family medical leave, it allowed me to basically spend a year and say, “hey, is this something that’s right for me? Is this something that’s right for my family?” Right? So that was really great. So I left and, you know what, I loved it as much as I love to being an actuary, I also just love to being a stay at home mom, I see the value in both of them, and I really love being home with my kids when my youngest child who was my daughter was starting, I can’t remember kindergarten or first grade. At that point, I thought, all right, I got to get back into it, wasn’t quite ready yet. But I thought if I don’t get back into the workforce soon, I’m going to lose my window. And I was very lucky that a very large global insurance company, basically I’ll say, rolled the dice on me. I had been out of the workforce for a number of years. And they said, “hey, you know, come work for us.” I remember going on an interview and I’m an actuary, right? So I went on an interview to be an actuary. And they said to me, “you know, actually we want someone to build an analytics department. Do you think you can do that?” And I said, “I absolutely can do that.” And then I drove home and I said to my husband, “they want me to build an analytics department. What’s analytics?” I had absolutely no idea. I think I looked it up on, you know, the internet. So anyway, I ended up going to this company to build this analytics department and I just learned so, so much and ended up building them not only an analytics department, but a predictive analytics department that really took that entire business to the next level. That ended up being a huge success for my career, they ended up moving me to a different place in the company to sort of do it again. And that was big, then… Let me ask you about that, or just say, let’s back up for just a second. I’m super curious about the analytics department piece. Only because, I think so many people in that same situation might have said, “well, I don’t have any experience to that.” “Like I could do that, but…” And in this case, you’re like, “yeah, I can totally.” Yeah. So…
Scott Anthony Barlow 06:40
What led… what caused you to say that or do that at the time? What led up then?
Christine Hofbeck 06:46
Okay, so what I’ll say is that throughout my entire career, I always sort of lean on this thing that I don’t know everything, and that I can always continue to learn. So when I went to this company, yeah, I mean, I guess I just really thought I can open my ears, I can make good relationships with people, I can pick things up really quickly, anything I don’t know, I can look up, I can read about, I can ask people’s opinions about. My plan wasn’t to go in and steamroll through an organization, but really to kind of create advocates along the way and learn this stuff together. Now, I ended up, I’ll say a little bit lucky in that when I started working there, they were in the middle of this, I’ll say it was pretty massive problem for them. And that this company had hired an external consultant to build them this thing that was called a predictive model. And the external consultant did it and it wasn’t quite working out. But nobody internally knew what this thing was. And I was only there maybe a few weeks, and I raised my hand and said, “I am… I’ll go figure it out, like send me to them and I will learn what this predictive modeling thing is, and come back and fix it.” And that’s exactly what I did. I think they were very grateful that somebody raised their hands, somebody roasts the cation, somebody said, “hey, I don’t know what that is right now. But I am happy to learn and learn it fast.” It ended up being a big success story for the organization. And for me, it was, you know, a great door opener.
Scott Anthony Barlow 08:10
I think that’s such a more useful mindset or approach to look at it, though, where I heard you say, “yeah, I don’t know everything but I can learn” and essentially saying, hey, we’ll figure it out one way or another, versus looking at it in very narrow terms of, can I do this or not? And that doesn’t serve us very well a lot of the time.
Christine Hofbeck 08:30
I think that I have a whole kind of philosophy on life, which is that, we are all human beings, we are all doing our best. Human beings don’t always make rational decisions. So anytime you go into an organization, you know, sometimes things can be amazing, sometimes things can be frustrating, but we can always try to do better, learn more, you know, kind of point things in the right direction. So anyway, yeah, I guess I just have always sort of just kind of gone after things, which is interesting, I’ll say because I actually am an introvert. So if you have listeners that are introverts, I actually am an introvert. It’s not easy for me to always get myself out there.
Scott Anthony Barlow 09:08
What do you think have been the hardest challenges for you as an introvert? I very much identify as an introvert too, I get my energy and recovery, you know, after I’ve been doing things like this or, you know, interacting with people a lot, I have to have recovery time, if you will.
Christine Hofbeck 09:26
Yes, that’s right. And we should clarify, right for listeners. Introvert does not mean socially awkward. Introvert means, you get your energy by being alone, which is different from getting your energy from being with people. And for a lot of us that are introverts when we go to work and we work on teams and we put ourselves out there and we put ourselves out there on social media and all these other places, we need to get back and sort of do our energy and kind of be by ourselves. But I’ll say it is possible to get yourself out there, you know, if you’re doing things in your work that are things like standing up in front of large groups of people to give presentations, it’s hard, but you can do it, you know, you can do it. I know we’ll probably get to my reality TV stint. I played season 35 of survivor. And I’ll say that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done as an introvert because there literally is no downtime or no alone time.
Scott Anthony Barlow 10:14
So let’s talk about that for just a minute, though. As an introvert, first of all, what was the hardest thing about that? Actually, hold on. Don’t answer that yet. I want to know that but first, let’s talk about how that happened. How did survivor come about?
Christine Hofbeck 10:29
So okay, well, we could rewind about 20 years when I was sitting on the couch, well, actually, I was driving to work. And I heard that there was going to be this great new show on TV called Survivor that was made by Mark Burnett. Mark Burnett was the creator of the Ego Challenge, which I loved to be Eco challenge. My husband and I watched the Ego Challenge every year on Discovery Channel. And I thought that, that would be the coolest thing that I could ever do. But I knew that I couldn’t do it. I’m not that physical. And so then I heard there was gonna be this new show called Survivor. And I remember we’re watching from the very first episode and I thought this is just the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. So if anybody has never heard of survivor 16, 18, 20 strangers marooned on an island somewhere in the world, and they vote each other out of the game one by one over 39 days until there is just one sole survivor left and that person wins a million dollars. Anyway, the whole adventure looked really, really great to me. I was five months pregnant at the time. So I was like, “Oh, darn it, I can’t apply.” But as soon as that baby was born, I sent that application in. And of course, all my friends told me that I was crazy, that I’d never get picked. And of course I didn’t. So the next year, I sent another application in and I still didn’t get picked. And the year after that I sent another application in and I still didn’t get picked. And 16 years later, I was still sending an applications. And one day, I got a call from CBS survivor. And they invited, you know, there was a casting process, but they invited me to play. So that something out there.
Scott Anthony Barlow 11:59
I’m super serious about that call, only because you’ve been essentially repeating this process for 16 years. And obviously an adamant fan. What was that call like for you?
Christine Hofbeck 12:13
That call was a call, I’ll say that changed my life in many ways. The biggest way is it made me realize that, that dreams can actually be your to do list, like you can actually achieve your dreams, even the big crazy ones, as long as you keep sort of working towards them. The reality is when I got the call, you know, I kept thinking like this can’t possibly happen, like something’s going to happen. I went through the whole casting process, and I kept thinking, Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe this is still happening. Then I got invited to go out and play. The invitation comes only about three to four weeks before you actually fly out onto location, which by the way, you have no idea where in the world you’re flying, you get a one way ticket to LA. And then once you’re in LA, you have to hand your phone off and then they send you to wherever you’re going, so my family had no idea where I was, I was in Fiji. But, even before the game started, so you’re out there for a few days before the game starts while they just do another medical check, they do a swimming check, things like that. I remember thinking the whole time, I hope I’m not an alternate. I hope they don’t send me home. And then, you know, then Jeff Probst, who’s the host, you know, the whole thing kicked off, and he said, welcome to season 35. And it’s exactly what you see on your TV, it’s a real show. And that’s why I thought, Oh my gosh, like, I can’t believe, you know, that this actually happened. So that was crazy. And then that though, was the second I got out there. And I was now on the show, the reality is, I felt like a total fraud. I had this fraud syndrome, like.
Scott Anthony Barlow 13:41
In what way?
Christine Hofbeck 13:41
So my whole life, my whole career, I’ll say, my career really, I had been very successful. I knew what I was doing. I knew I was really, you know, really good in my field. I was good at my work. And I got out there and I stepped foot on the beach and I looked around and I thought oh my gosh, like they made a mistake with me. I actually felt like I fooled them. And that they gave me a spot that should have gone to someone more worthy. I felt like I was going to do terrible in the game, I was going to let everyone down I was going to be a total disaster. So that began what I call the waiting game. Like I just was waiting for tomorrow, you know, this, I had this whole feeling of today is not my day, I have to just wait for tomorrow. And that’s a really sad way to live a dream, right? I live 16 years waiting for this opportunity. And now I got it and I feel like a total fraud and I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow or the next day just to get through it.
Scott Anthony Barlow 14:35
Did you recognize that as it was happening?
Christine Hofbeck 14:39
I did. And in fact, it’s interesting on these reality TV shows, you know, survivor included where they take you, they separate you from the group and give you these confessionals which then is spliced into the episodes, right? And I remember sitting in the confessionals and actually say, so, my season was called “Heroes versus Healers versus Hustlers.” It’s a total mouthful but they divided us into teams on survivor. The teams are called “Tribes” they divided us based into what they called positive characteristics as described by others. So this is how others see you. And I was put on this “Heroes Tribe” and like, I’m an actuary, right? So I’m looking around and I’m on this Heroes tribe with, get this, a Marine, an NFL player, an Olympic athlete, a firefighter, and ocean rescue a lifeguard, and I had no idea I was there, but I remember going to the confessionals and feeling like such a fraud and not wanting to tell them that I had pulled a fast one on them, you know, that’s how I felt. And so I was saying what I thought they wanted me to say, Oh, I feel like a hero. Oh, I’m so confident. And yeah, it was really bad. We had a challenge and I think my body finally physically, like let down this terror that I was feeling and I threw up. They actually… they aired that. So I threw up in front of 10 million people. That’s a really great part of my life.
Scott Anthony Barlow 16:01
I believe I have seen that.
Christine Hofbeck 16:03
Okay, you’re a survivor fan. Yes. Okay, so that was me revolting from, I’m pretending that I feel confident, but in the end, but I really don’t. And, you know, it was interesting to me about the survivor experience. And I think that and I really take this away to real life is that sometimes other people see things in ourselves that we don’t see in ourselves. And they think that the producers saw that I could do it. I didn’t see it at that time. It took me a few more weeks to get my feet under me. Eventually, I found that confidence. When I finally, truthfully, when I finally felt like enough, then I was and then I started winning, and I started winning more and more stuff. And obviously I went all the way to the end of the game. Now I didn’t get the million dollars, but in my mind, how I did, you know, I didn’t win the game, but it was a win to me. It was a win to get cast, it was a win to play. It was a win to make it that far. So yeah, I mean, that was one of the best experience with my entire life.
Scott Anthony Barlow 17:01
What you just said about, you know, when I finally felt like I was enough, then it was, you know, think that it was. Well, a comment than a question. Right before we pressed record, we were having a short conversation on authenticity. I think that’s something that so many people struggle with. And it seems like that’s part of what you’re talking about when you say that. So I’m curious, what’s behind that statement? When I finally felt like I was enough than I was. Tell me more about that first.
Christine Hofbeck 17:34
Yeah, I mean, this specific to survivor that I learned it was there was a challenge. Okay, so in survivor, you compete in challenges. And there was this one particular challenge where I had to swim against a Marine who was almost 15 years younger than me. I had to like swim, we were in like the middle of the ocean and I had to swim to a dock and climb up the ladder and jump off and get some, you know, dive underwater and get some keys and I was this freaking out. And I thought, I’m never going to do this, I can’t swim, I can’t do this. Actually, it was to win a feast on a yacht, we hadn’t eaten in like three weeks, I’m going to lose the feast, I’m going to lose the feast for my team. And one of the guys that I was playing with, and none of this, by the way, is on the episode because guess it wasn’t important to anyone else, even though it’s hugely important to me. One of the guys I was playing with was a firefighter, he looked me in the eye and he just said, “Chrissy just dive in and swim your little heart out.” And that was a life changing moment for me because I realized it didn’t matter whether I won or not, I just really had to dive in and swim my little heart out. And so when I changed my mindset to stop worrying what everybody else was thinking about me and just say, I’m going to dive in and swim my little heart out, that’s what I did. And Jeff Probst said, you know, “survivors, ready, go.” And I dove in and I swim my little heart out and I remember coming up for air and the doctor was yelling, “Chrissy you’re winning. Chrissy you’re winning.” And from that moment on, I thought, you know what, from now on, all I got to do is dive in and swim my little heart out. I went on to win enough individually immunity challenges to tie the record for women in survivor history and I was 46 years old and the next oldest person and do that was 29. You know if you want to take that, really to the career aspect, I really brought that home with me. I will say that before I left to play survivor, I had a job that I loved, loved as an actuary at a company that I loved. And it was a big job. And I had asked for the time off, on paid time off to play the game, and they let me go, no hard feelings on either side. I understand why, right? There were some legal implications with me playing a reality TV game and you know, whatever, probably being in my underwear on national TV, I’m guessing. But in any case, I came home from the game with no job. And all of a sudden I felt like I gave myself permission to stop worrying what other people thought about me and just dive in and swim my little heart out. And so there were things that I had always wanted to do that I thought now I have the time to do them. One is I wanted to be a volunteer for my professional society, I wanted to join the board of directors of the Society of Actuaries. And guess what? I did that. One is that I wanted to do start doing a lot more public speaking. I had started doing it before I left for survivor, but now I had time and I started doing that. Someone said to me, “gee, you should write a book” and I was like, “you know what, I’m writing a book.” And I did that. And the other thing that I did is, I did a lot of volunteerism in my community, I went to every single one of my kids events, I didn’t care how much money I made anymore. All of a sudden, I felt that I gave myself the grace to, again, just just dive in and swim my little heart out. It was great, it was life changing.
Scott Anthony Barlow 20:41
I think that is so important. I have gone.. have spent the last probably 18, 19 years-ish, wondering and trying to figure out whether or not people have to go through that type of experience that you’re describing. And I had a similar experience where I, essentially I was not in a role that I loved, I was not in a job or companies that I loved. And I had, you know, essentia3lly gained close to 50 pounds and all kinds of other things like that. And I said, hey, look, I can’t do this anymore. And I went and had a really open and honest conversation with my boss, it really kind of put myself out there. And then I was fired. And that led me through to realize have some of those same realizations that you did that, you know what, I just need to do the things that are important to me now. But I’ve wondered, and I’m curious about your opinion on this, do you have to go through that type of situation? Or is it possible to, you know, learn from like, our stories and be able to avoid some of the sheer pain that can go along with that sometimes to leading up to it?
Christine Hofbeck 21:50
Yeah, you know, what’s interesting is that both you and me were let go from our positions, and it kind of forced our hand and I wonder if that’s part of it, also having to do with your family situation, right. So do you need to go through it? Or can you just be working one day and say, “look, I’m not happy doing this, I want to make a complete life change.” I think making an active decision like that could be harder, you know, depending on what your family situation and where you are financially and all of that. You know, it takes a lot of courage. I think you probably can. I think there are people who are very courageous. I was not one of them, at the time. I was not, well, hold on. I’m selling myself short, because I did do that when I walked away, and became a stay at home mom, so I just told myself, “sure. I’m not doing that again.”
Scott Anthony Barlow 22:34
I think that’s very true, though. I think that there was a pattern of building up to that for you just in what we’ve covered for, just what I know about you and your story right now. There is a pattern of leading up to that before it happened. And I think that, here’s what I have come to the conclusion of and I’m still trying to figure this out because we help people with this literally every day. I think that it can be a process of both engineering some of those experiences for yourself. And then leading up to the point where then it allows that type of breakthrough that you were describing from, well, I’m going to use the word authenticity standpoint, again, to where you are less worried about, you know, what everybody else thinks and what you should do and everything that goes along with it and more focused on like, how can I show up in a way that’s really right for me?
Christine Hofbeck 23:31
Yeah, you know, I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the money aspect of it as well though.
Scott Anthony Barlow 23:37
Let’s talk about it.
Christine Hofbeck 23:37
Right. So one of the things that I struggled with, was that, I had a good career and I made a decent buck. And I remember saying to my husband, “just because I can, does that mean that I have to?” and that was something that I struggled with, right? For me, I gotta be honest. I don’t care if I drive an old car. My car right now has almost 200,000 miles on it, I will admit to you that my family room sofa has holes in it that are held together with duct tape. And you know what, I don’t care, because I’d rather be happy, I’d rather go on vacation with my kids, pay as much as I can towards their college tuition. So, you know, I think some of that for people who are considering walking away from a big career to do a startup. Now there could be other people who feel that they want to move to something because there’s something they’re moving to is where they want to make all of their money, right? That’s the opposite. So I do think that the amount of money that you’re making and your happiness level at each somehow contributes. I don’t know whether that’s a plus or minus. That’s part of the equation.
Scott Anthony Barlow 24:44
Well, I think it… I mean, we were talking about earlier, you know, mindsets that help that are more helpful versus less helpful mindset, I suppose. But I think around money, so many of those things pop up like what you just described. And it almost seems like it’s much more helpful to look at money as a tool to get you… to support your other goals and the things that you would want. And if you start to say, “hey, yes, I can earn this amount of money, but what does that really do for me in terms of the other areas that I really want?” And if, you know, a car is actually not super important to me, too. We buy used cars for years, not because we can’t afford something different, but because we choose to use our money in a different way. And we just don’t really care that much about vehicle. So I totally understand what you’re saying there. But I’m wondering, what have you found as a more helpful way to look at the money side of it too, because that is very real.
Christine Hofbeck 25:49
I don’t know if I can offer up a helpful way to look at it because I think that’s such a personal thing, you know, I’m curious to see now that the pandemic has hit and so many people are out of work, how is that going to affect what people do? Right? Are some people going to find themselves unemployed and now be able to explore the other things that they always wanted to do? Or are they going to find themselves unemployed and say, “hey, my job is actually more valuable to me than I realized in the first place.” I don’t know, you know, I don’t know if there is a way to look at it. But it certainly is part of the equation with what you’re leaving and what you’re going to but you know, I’m a person who’s not motivated by money. I’m motivated by money to the extent of I want it so that I can do this. To me, experiences are more important than stuff. That’s I guess, the easiest way to put it. So the money to me is the ends to getting the experiences.
Scott Anthony Barlow 26:39
What do you feel like was your biggest takeaway that you carried over from survivor into, you know, all the parts? We’ve been talking a lot about career, but what is the biggest takeaway, regardless of whether it’s career or otherwise, from what you learned about yourself on survivor?
Christine Hofbeck 26:57
Yeah, I mean, so what I learned about myself really again, was this whole idea of, I am enough. I went into the experience feeling a little bit like my entire life, I had been underestimated. I felt like no matter how hard I worked, I was just always kind of underestimated. And what I realized when I was playing the game is that I was under estimating myself. And I think that’s a really important lesson for whatever it is that you feel about yourself. Like, and I’ll say that and other people, they don’t automatically know, of course your family does, but other people don’t automatically know the greatness that is you or the value that you bring or the great things that you have to offer. And I think that we tend to project how we feel about ourselves onto other people. You know, this is how you should feel about me. And so I think that I found that when I had been under estimating myself, perhaps I was maybe projecting that onto other people, I don’t know. But I came home and I really decided that I could do anything that I wanted, you know, dreams can become a reality. And that was why I did things like when someone said to me, “you should write a book.” I was like, you know what, I’m gonna write a book. It’s gonna be awesome, you know. And I just went after it. So, yeah, I think that I’m just trying to not underestimate myself, which I just did, you know, 15 minutes ago, but I’m a work in progress.
Scott Anthony Barlow 28:17
I think we all are, as it turns out. The book, first of all, the tell us the title of the book and tell us a little bit more about what prompted you to write. I’ve written one book and also did a children’s travel journal with my wife and now we’re working on another book and know that it’s not a small process. So… You can work once you decide that you’re going to do it. It’s still, it’s not a small effort and it takes a lot to go from deciding that you’re doing it to a finished product. So tell us a little bit about both the book itself as well as what prompted you to say, look, this is happening.
Christine Hofbeck 28:42
Yeah, I know that… Sure. And PS, I’m totally impressed that you did it at three times.
Scott Anthony Barlow 29:03
Third times not done yet, just beginning the third time. So but it will be.
Christine Hofbeck 29:08
The name of my book is called “Winning Conditions” with a subtitle of “How To Achieve The Professional Success You Deserve by Managing the Details That Matter.” So I will say what, well, let me just start with what motivated me to write the… not to write the book, but to get excited about this subject matter. So even from many years ago, I’ve always been incredibly interested in human behavior, how people view each other, how people make decisions. I had this weird situation in high school, where I ran for, you know, student body president, and I was absolutely the most capable person and I should have won that election. And of course, somebody else beat me and I was like, well, that really stinks. And then I go off to college, and I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, but I decided to run for student body government, student government again, and I was running against somebody who was far more qualified than me. And all of a sudden, I win this election. I’m kind of like, “Okay, what the heck just happened here? Like, why did I lose the first one and when the second one?” And it started this sort of quest towards what I called “winning conditions”. And this idea of the amount of success that you have in your life, or in your job, in your profession, is not only based on the work that you do. It is actually also based on the way that you deliver the work or how other people feel about your work and about you. And we can actually set up the conditions what I call “winning conditions” that will really kind of encourage other people to want to celebrate us, recognize us, trust us, giving us a seat at the table, you know, winning conditions isn’t going to make everybody the CEO but it is going to make you a little better than you were yesterday. Anyway, so as I went through my career, I just started noticing, okay, like why is this person getting recognition? Why did that person get promoted? I noticed my own times like, oh, why did that just happen to me? Read tons and tons of books, went back to graduate school, studied behavioral economics and organizational processes. At grad school, lots of research. And then I started speaking about this topic, which I thought was interesting. And the response to it was huge. I would always have like this long line of people afterwards, people would be sending me emails afterwards, they just wanted to keep this conversation going, tell me more about these winning conditions. And then somebody finally said, you know, you should write a book about this. So that was when I thought, Oh, I’m going to put this together into a book, then anybody can, you know, sort of read them. And PS, they’re great for in work, or you can use them in your personal life, too, if you want.
Scott Anthony Barlow 31:39
So let’s talk about that for just a second. What can people do or what advice would you give to our listeners, especially people who are looking to make a move into the next part of their life in many different ways? Now, what can they do to create their own winning conditions?
Christine Hofbeck 31:58
Yeah. So the book is really jam packed with ideas. So what we’ll just sort of scratch the surface right now. But I think the most important thing to, well, there are two important things to remember. One is that other people don’t automatically know the value that you are bringing, you really need to remember to share your value, you are more than your profession. So for example, if I meet someone, I don’t want to say, “Hi, I’m Christine. And I’m an actuary.” Like, that’s my job but that’s not the value that I bring. So you need to find a way to share your value or the value that you bring to your role or whatever you like to do, not in a braggy way. But the other thing is that you also need to realize that people don’t always make decisions based on accurate strategy. They don’t always make decisions that are rational. So if you can have an understanding of how other people make decisions, then you know, you can sort of recognize that you need to speak to other people. I’ll give you an example. When other people make decisions, it’s not always in a decision of what’s going to be the best thing for the organization, but sometimes they actually think of, what’s in it for me, right? People don’t want their current positioning to be eroded, they don’t want to lose power. They don’t want to lose their own influence. They sometimes, they don’t want their habits to change. So when you come in and say, “Oh, I have this great idea” they’re going to look at you and they’re gonna say, “Well, how does that relate to me? Is that going to be good for me or bad for me?” So you need to find a way to share your value that is going to improve other people’s positioning as well.
Scott Anthony Barlow 33:24
I think that’s really, honestly, that’s a big part of what I’ve personally found success with, back before I had this organization and as I was progressing through different stages of my career and working for another organization, being able to think about it from other people’s perspectives.
Christine Hofbeck 33:44
Scott Anthony Barlow 33:45
Share essentially that what’s in it for them, and lead with that in many different ways has been so helpful for me and I can directly attribute, you know, many of the opportunities that I got, many of the people that I made friends with, many of the things I feel really proud about, many of the…
Christine Hofbeck 34:04
Scott Anthony Barlow 34:04
All kinds of things like to being able to go and approach it first of all from what’s their perspective and then figure out, hey, how can I help them look at it in a way that’s also useful for what I’m trying to accomplish or achieve for, you know, move forward?
Christine Hofbeck 34:21
Yeah, that’s exactly right. Even something as simple as reaching out to someone on LinkedIn, or an email or a cold call, you know, and sometimes you don’t know this and it’s just a crapshoot. And you just cross your fingers and hope you got it, right. But there’s some people like to, when you start an email with “Hi, how are you doing? Is your family safe during this time?” You know, other people, they want you to just get right to the point, give me five words, and then end it because I don’t have time for anything else. Right? And you’ll find that if you can sort of figure it out, obviously, it’s impossible if you’re reaching out to a stranger, but if you can reach out to someone in the method that they like to be reached out to, you’re gonna have a much bigger, much greater chance of success.
Scott Anthony Barlow 35:01
Very cool. I really appreciate you taking the time and making the time and coming on the show and sharing your story, your experiences and much of what you’re working on or have been working on too. And I have about two questions left for you. One is, since you, you’ve gone through many changes yourself through your career, we’ve talked about a lot of them, maybe not even all of them but, what advice would you give to somebody who is in that position now where they’re going through a change, a big change in their career and their life? What advice would you have for them?
Christine Hofbeck 35:39
I hope this is good advice. But I always try to remember that most decisions that you make now are not decisions that you have to live with for the rest of your life. So sometimes it’s okay to make a change and try things out for a few months or a few years, a few decades. And then if it doesn’t work out for you, or you prefer something different, then you can, you know, make a different change, right? Perhaps you studied something in college and went off and had a job because that was great for you then and now you’re a couple decades older and you want to do something that’s better for you now, I think that’s okay. If it’s possible to make these changes and recognize that they’re not, you know, they don’t need to be forever, I think it’s a little bit easier to kind of make the jump.
Scott Anthony Barlow 36:21
That is fantastic. And where can people learn more about you or get the book or how can they connect with you?
Christine Hofbeck 36:29
Yeah, sure. So I do have a website, it’s called christinehofbeck.com you can also find me on Twitter where I will be tweeting about a lot of reality TV nonsense. That’s @TheRealChrissyH, I know it’s like the stupidest name ever. Let me just telling you the quick story why of when I got home from playing survivor, my name and my image had already gotten scooped up by all the social media people and so there was absolutely no way that no form of Christine Hofbeck that was still around. But that’s why I’m therealChrissyH. My book is called “Winning Conditions, Christine Hofbeck” And that of course, you can buy anywhere that books are sold. Your favorite little indie bookstore, you can go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, any of those are great, you know where you can find links on my website as well. And I’m on LinkedIn, you can find me on LinkedIn. Christine Hofbeck, I’d be so happy to connect. Yeah.
Scott Anthony Barlow 37:19
One of the best ways that we support people is through our signature coaching and custom coaching programs. And if that’s something you want to know more about, and figure out whether it’s right for you, I would give you a really simple invite, simplest way to get started on taking the opportunity to your next version of your life so that you’re no longer missing out on what might be if you move forward. Just pause this and email me directly, email me email@example.com and just put ‘Conversation’ in the subject line and I will connect you up with my team to figure out whether our signature coaching programs and custom coaching is right for you. And we’ll figure out the very best way that we can support you, whatever that looks like in your situation. firstname.lastname@example.org just put ‘Conversation’ in the subject line. I’ll connect you up and we’re gonna figure out. Hey, talk to you later. Adios. I’m out.