Drink Like a Lady Podcast

BE LIMITLESS! with Laura Gassner Otting

July 05, 2022 Joya Dass/Laura Gassner Otting
Drink Like a Lady Podcast
BE LIMITLESS! with Laura Gassner Otting
Show Notes Transcript

"Don't you miss TV?"

I get this question often. For the first 15 years of my adult life, being a journalist was all I wanted. I got of bed somewhere between 2:30am and 3:45 am everyday to do morning TV. I had a fire in my belly for it. Passion.

In 2012, I launched a networking platform on the side. 8 women came. Then 30. Then 300. They were all coming to share that they were doing something outside of the Indian parent approved "Doctor, lawyer, engineer" professions.

In between my hourly updates on the markets, I began spending all my time working on events for my platform. I understood my purpose. A career on TV was no longer it.

Our speaker for this podcast is Laura Gassner Otting. She wrote a book called "LIMITLESS." In our conversation, we are going to talk about how YOU can find and live a life of purpose.

Calling

  • It's the pull to do something larger than yourself. 
  • What fuels you?
  • Why do you do the work that you do?

Connection.

  • What would happen if you didn't show up to work today?
  • How much of your work is related to your goals? 

Contribution

  • How the work you do gives you the lifestyle you want, making you 'limitless'
  • How do you want your work to contribute to the life you want to live?
  • Would you be okay making less money if the work you did was aligned with your values?

Control

  • Do you feel that your opinion matters at work
  • Do you know what you do well?
  • Do you have influence over how many hours you work or how much you earn?


Join me in conversation with Laura Gassner Otting. Learn how you can break free of the structure and limits that stifle you so that you can reach your full potential and calling.

Joya:

All right, folks. It is noon and I am very happy to welcome my guest Laura Gasner Otting who is the author of a book called, 'Limitless?' I put up a post earlier today, Laura, on my Instagram that I do not wish to live a life that is average. I don't know what it is that's inside of me, but I know that I don't wanna be average. And so I felt that that dovetails nicely into what we're gonna talk about today, which is how to be limitless. I'm gonna start with why this book and why this book now?

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yeah, so the book came about because I had spent 20 years in executive search. I was paid by my clients to find the most successful people in the world and recruit them away to work on their behalf. Awesome. Sounds like a little bit of a hard job, except it wasn't because I was calling all these people who were super successful, but they were all calling me back Joya because despite all this success they weren't very happy. And I became fascinated by this question of why doesn't success equal happiness. So the book is really based on my 20 year career in executive search and then my own career, dropping out of law school to join a presidential campaign, leaving the white house midway through the first administration. Going to a marque executive search firm that did the best work in the country and then leaving that to found my own firm. And then later selling that firm when I was at the top of my game, all things that nobody does, you're so successful. Why are you leaving? And the truth is I was super successful and for a while I was happy, but then I became a little bit less happy. And each time I wanted to do something else, I didn't wanna be average. Right? And so the book really reflects on what I learned during those 20 years in search about what makes people both successful and happy and what I had to find in my own life to do the same thing.

Joya:

And so much of our identities are locked into lawyer or doctor or whatever. Right? And then realizing that maybe that's not exactly the identity that gives us happiness is often a disconcerting moment. Isn't it?

Laura Gassner Otting:

Well yes, and our identities aren't even shaped by us. So what happens is when you're 15, 16, 17 years old, somebody's like, "Hey Joya, pick a trade, pick a major, pick a college, pick a job, pick a path, pick a career." And you're like, okay, but you know what you don't have when you're 15, 16, 17 years old. Frontal lobe. Yeah. Like the actual part of your brain that dictates good, solid sound decision making. So we're asked to make a decision that's going to impact the rest of our lives before we are literally capable of making a good one. And so we look back at 25 at 35 and at 45 and on, and we're like, "Is this it? Like, is this what my life is gonna be?" I did that. I got to the very top. I was sitting in my corner office, overlooking the park, and I was like, I got to the top. And I was like the top of what? Like I filled in all the check boxes on that big, long checklist. Our check boxes are full. Why am I empty?

Joya:

I love that you brought up the science piece of that because people often ask why can't I rent a car until I'm 25? It's because your prefrontal cortex is still developing until you're 25. That's what houses your impulsive thinking. And that's what houses your ability to do deep processing and logical thinking. So I love that you bring that up. And then, yeah, I, listen, I was raised in an Indian household and I don't think that any Indian parent in my generation has ever asked their kid if they were happy. They just, my dad was you're gonna be a gynecologist. Right? And I was like, no, yes. Since I was four years old that I wanted to be a TV anchor. And there came a moment after 20 years of doing that, that I realized that that identity isn't something I wanted anymore. This is what I wanted to do. I had more impact with women's leadership in the way that I do today. And I really love what we're gonna dig into today, which is how is it that you can continue to be happy? Because I wanna start asking that question now.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, here's the thing. Like at some point we're like, okay, I'm gonna do this thing. And then every seven years or so, like we change. I mean, what is it like all the cells in your body regenerate after seven years? Like you've got the same DNA, but you're a totally different human. Yeah. And so like, think about it. It's 2022. Are you the same person you were in 2015? I mean, I'm not, but even if either one of us were, the world is completely different. So everything changes around us. And the problem is, is that we're told to seek happiness, go seek happiness. And we think I'll be happy when. I'll be happy when I get married. I'll be happy when I have a child. I'll be happy when I get divorced. I'll be happy when I gain 10 pounds. When I lose 10 pounds. When I get the job, when I get the house, I'll be happy when, and the truth is. And if the last few years have taught us anything is that life is short. We shouldn't wait to be happy when we should be happy now. And so what I learned in my work is that it's not happiness, cuz happiness is ephemeral. You're happy if your best friend works the cubicle next to you, you're happy if it's take your dog to Workday. You're happy. If your office gives you free dry cleaning. you're happy, but happiness is not fulfillment, right? Happiness is not alignment. It's not flow. It's not what I call consonants. When, what you do matches who you are. So consonants is like, do you know those moments when the very best of what you do, right? You were saying right now, this is what you do. You have much bigger impact right now, the very best of what you do is being called upon to do this work. To solve a problem that you care about, right? Helping more women get into leadership positions and you're being rewarded for that work financially, karmically, emotionally, whatever the way is that you need in ways that actually matter to you. So, you know, we live in a society that says make more money. If you're making lots and lots and lots of money, but you're miserable, it doesn't matter how much money you have. So we have to be doing work that we love. Work that is like the very best of us is being called upon to solve a problem we care about. And we are being rewarded for in a way that is meaningful to us. That's when we are in consonants.

Joya:

There's four pieces to this word, consonants. And I wanna talk about them. The first one is calling. Yes. So what does that mean calling?

Laura Gassner Otting:

Calling is this gravitational force. It's the thing that you wanna get up to do in the morning. It's a business that you wanna build. It's a leader who inspires you. It's a cause that you wanna serve. Maybe it's a family that you wish to nurture, right? It is the thing that you actually care about. The problem with calling, we get it wrong is cuz we confuse calling for purpose. And we think purpose has to have the word higher or lofty in front of it. If you're not literally giving the shirt off your back to poor kids in need, you're just selling out. But the truth is like your purpose may be curing cancer. Awesome. Your purpose may be making tons of money so they can get out of debt so that your children get to make different decisions than you had to make. That's awesome too. Your calling, maybe buying a Maserati in a beach. I am not here to purpose, shame anybody. Your calling is simply your calling and we can't be insatiably hungry for someone else's goals for someone else's purpose and for someone else's calling. So we have to figure out what matters to us and just go after that unapologetically.

Joya:

Okay. Connection. So how does that dovetail out of calling?

Laura Gassner Otting:

So if you called in sick to work today, would anybody notice. Would anybody care? How connected is the work you were doing on a daily basis to that calling that you just identified that you wanna serve? We spend all of this time trying to get to inbox zero, unless your job is getting to inbox zero. That's not really connected. Right? So look at your to-do list. Look at your calendar. What's on there? Is that work connected to your calling? Is it getting you is going to this meeting is being on that task force is doing that report, getting you closer to get to that calling or is it taking you farther away from it? And we get this wrong because we confuse action for impact. We get so busy being busy. Saying yes to anything we get asked. Maybe because we're the most perfect person for the job, but probably because we're the most proximate person when they were looking for health. Right? So any of your moms who were listening, you're walking outta your kid's school one day and suddenly someone rushes up to you. There's like, "oh my God, the chair of the bake sale just got sick. You need to chair, would you please help?" And you're like, oh, okay. I guess one of the things that I care about is. Spending more time with my kids and they need me, so I should do it. The truth is you then spend the next 24 hours yelling at your kids because you're like stressed out about the report that you have that's due at work. And also now you're chairing the bake sale. So you're actually not spending quality time with your kids. And, you're not getting the report done. Right? So is the thing that you're doing connected to that? Are you busy or are you actually making an impact on what you care?

Joya:

I'm an engram seven. So I know what busy is, but the connection piece is something that I do a lot of work with my members of my mastermind, which is I ask them to identify their values. And this can be the very first time that they've ever done it, but I'm like, here's why this is important. This is an opportunity for you when you feel like you're out of alignment with your work. You're out of alignment with your to-do list, to look at your values and say, are those finding their way into your day and if not, how do you retroactively put that in? So I feel like it's another way of saying what you're saying about connection.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Absolutely. I have a friend, Brent mens memoir, who wrote a book called black sheep. And in it, he has people identify their values and then he takes it one step further and he goes, take your calendar out. He literally has people in his trainings take their calendar out and gives him a pen. And he's like, "I want you to write down next to every single thing on your calendar, which value of yours is represented." And it's amazing how many things don't have anything written next to them, because the truth is that if everything on your calendar is important to somebody else, there's not enough room on it for the stuff that's important to you.

Joya:

Yes. I remember interviewing Lisa Druckman, who's the founder of something called fit for mom. And when she makes her to-do list before she even makes her to-do list for the week, she looks at her values and builds her to-do list around that, which I always thought was fascinating way to strategize for the week. All right. Contribution. What does that mean?

Laura Gassner Otting:

So if connection is all about the work, right? Is this work connected to my calling? Contribution's really all about you. How does this work allow me to live the lifestyle that I want? To have the flexibility that I need? To have the career trajectory that I desire? Is it letting me manifest my values on a daily basis? How is this work contributing to the life that I'm looking to build?

Joya:

Why do women seek permission though, to be able to do that? Because that's where I feel like they get tripped up. They need someone else to grant them permission, to be able to take a day off and dedicate to self-care.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Because we have been told that ambition is a dirty word. Ambition in our careers. Ambition in our personal lives. Women have been told that ambition is not becoming oh, she's so ambitious. Okay. Have you ever heard anyone say, oh, he's so ambitious. No, they're like, he's a go getter, right? Like he's inspired. He's an achiever, like. Oh, but she's so ambitious now I'm not gonna get political, but there are studies that show that when Hillary Clinton was a secretary of state, she had one of the most popular opinion ratings in the world. She's one of the most respected women in the world, but the minute she decided she wanted more power. She was going to run for president suddenly plummeted, right? Because we don't like women who are ambitious, but here's the thing. The question I ask women who are uncomfortable with this idea of, 'I want more' I say, 'would having more money would having more time would having more freedom would having more power would having more leverage we're having more microphone we're having more platform would having more allow you to show up better for the people who you love and the causes you hold dear?' And every one of those women goes yeah. And I say fine. So it's not your ambition. It's your responsibility. As women, we feel very comfortable with responsibility. We don't like ambition, but we feel very comfortable with responsibility. So you are responsible for taking better care of yourself for taking that day off for asking for that raise for doing all of those things. Cuz it allows you to then do better for other people to. I have a friend, Alex Carter, I'm gonna hold up her book, cuz I just interviewed her on my podcast yesterday. It's book called ask for more. Yeah. And her book is on 10 questions to negotiate anything. She's the head of Columbia university's mediation clinic. And what Alex said to me was any woman who's ever uncomfortable negotiating. She reminds them that when they're in negotiating for themselves, they're actually negotiating for the entire sisterhood because the way that we teach people, how to treat us affects all of us.

Joya:

But one thing here, Laura, when people are seeking that permission, how do you short circuit that process where you're wanting somebody else to give you permission? How do you give yourself permission? Just a tactical piece right here.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yeah. I think that, look, you said it earlier, you said I don't wanna live an average. Right? I think we also have to surround ourselves with people like you. So there is a thing that says like that it's a well known, you're the average of the five people you CLE closest to you, but here's something that's super interesting. Those people don't actually have to be proximate to you. They could be the five people who you see most on social media. Maybe they're not even your friends. Maybe they're just five people who are demanding more of themselves all the time. Right? They are people like Alex Carter ask for more. My friend, Aaron Gargan king, who wrote the book, 'you're a big deal', right? They're people,' Sally crotch check, who wrote 'own it.' People who go out there and they're like, I am made for more and I'm worth more. And if you spend time, if you take five people who are constantly giving the permission and telling you to give yourself permission and you put them at the top of your feed and you get notifications when they post, you will automatically start feeling more empowered because we are the average of the five biggest inputs and influences we get all the time. Whether those people are proximate friends or whether they are complete strangers. So I think it's a matter of changing your inner circle to uplift you and provide that foundation. That you don't have to give yourself permission if you're living in a role where people are just permit.

Joya:

Yeah. Yeah. I love that, Laura. I love that. So I wanna recap for anybody who's just joining right now. I see the comments are starting to flood in that those five people you surround yourself with and you don't actually have to be physical people in your world, cuz I'm often doing that scan by the way. And I'm intentionally changing when I'm not happy with the five people I'm surrounded with.

Laura Gassner Otting:

And by the way, if the five people that you see all the time are complaining. If they're negative, if they're uncertain, if they're full of doubt, you're also gonna go that direction.

Joya:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think about the time that I was at my highest weight is because I was hanging around people that were at their highest weight.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Right. You know, that's interesting because the, this study that I got this from was actually a study that was published in a health journal. And I read the article in the New York times. And that was specifically the study that said that if you, the people who you surround yourself with are overweight, you are more likely to be overweight or is actually specifically about weight.

Joya:

Yeah, but I love that you can reverse engineer that starting today. If anybody's listening right now. Change who's on your feed when it comes to Instagram. Absolutely. On Twitter or even Facebook and start to eliminate the people that are spewing the negativity. Cuz you're not doing yourself any favors.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yeah. Just mute 'em for 30 days and see if things feel better. And I promise you the minute that they get unmuted and they pop back up, you'll be like, oh yeah. Oh, you'll know exactly who they're.

Joya:

All right, let's talk about control. So for those of you that are just joining, we're talking about this concept of consonants. And consonants is a couple of things it's calling it's connection. It's contribution, it's control, but what are we really talking about? Laura here? We're talking about defining your own version of what success and lifestyle is.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yes. So control is an interesting one. Control really says how much personal agency do I have over how much my work connects to that calling and how much it contributes to my life? So how much control do you have over the projects you're assigned at work? The team members that are given to you, the potential clients that you have? Where and when, and how you get to do your work? And here's what I think is so interesting about control is that I have this assessment online@limitlessassessment.com. And it's been online since January of 2019. There are like 67 questions on it. So it takes 20 minutes to do. It's pretty intense, but you know, it's your life. You should take it pretty intensely. And @limitlessassessment.com, I've had almost 6,000 people have taken this assessment since before, during, and now as we're coming outta the pandemic and of the three areas of calling connection, contribution and control. The only one that has gone up during the pandemic is actually control. And here's why. Because at the beginning of the pandemic, when bosses were freaked out about, oh my God, how is this company gonna stay in business? They basically got rid of anything that wasn't mission critical. And people suddenly were able to do work from home. They had to balance homeschooling and laundry and all the things that, everything was coming at them, but they got to decide when they wanted. How they wanted to work. They suddenly had control over just doing the work that actually matters. And control is something that's really important to us. And in fact, control is so important. Autonomy matters that there are studies that show that people are more likely to take work that gives them more control than work. That gives them more power because we wanna feel like we have some personal agency. Mm, I love

Joya:

that. I love that. One of the things that was always a deal breaker for me for all the years that I did television, is that I wanted to write my own things. I didn't wanna read somebody else's script and I did business news and the markets were moving so fast. I had the ability to do that. But that was by design and buy intention. Cuz I wanted to be more than anything in the world. Writing the bonus was that I gotta deliver what I wrote.

Laura Gassner Otting:

But I think that that's really important because what you did is you figured out what part of the work you really liked and how you could do more of that work while doing less of the other stuff. And I think that's the thing, because at every agent at every stage, the way that we approach our work, what we like to do in our work, what gives us joy from our work really changes.

Joya:

Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. We are having a conversation today with Laura. Gasner auditing about the topic of how to be limitless. Laura, I'm in front of my membership of women leaders every single day. And so I picked four things of all the collateral. And you're quite prolific with the things that you post, but I picked four things that I wanted to talk about that I hear again and again, when people are asking me questions. Which is one is find what fuels you. How does one even drill down on this?

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yeah. Finding what fuels you is a really great way to get closer into finding your calling, right? It's like thinking about what are the things that you do when you can choose to do anything. What fuels me, the answer clarifies that purpose. It gives you greater alignment with your working life. It's really thinking about. When you are in that zone, when you're really enjoying the work that you're doing, when you feel like you're firing at all cylinders, right? It's a sort of this fundamental state of leadership. You are doing work, you're leaping over tall buildings, you are walking through fire, you're crushing it. You're selling the deal. You're closing that big presentation. This is the moment when you're like, yes, I love it. I'm like all in and there's this, you know, you feel a different kind of energy. And so it's thinking about those times when you're just really in that, this is fueling me. This is actually energizing me. You know, I'm a raging introvert by nature. Which is funny because I spend my living as a professional speaker. It's sort of a funny thing. And there was a time when I'd be on stage and I was like talking like a Ted talker. Right. I was like imitating everybody else being on stage and I'd get off stage and all I'd wanna do was go back to my hotel room and curl up in fetal position and order in room service and not even watch Netflix, cuz I just couldn't take any additional input. And then I learned how to just be me on stage my like spastic Moxy driven, you know, just I'm who I am and I get on stage and I do my thing and I get off and suddenly I loved talking to people afterwards. Right? I figured out how to do the work in a way that it energized me and because it fueled me, it actually became not a chore. It became like a really exciting adventure. I love that.

Joya:

Find what fuels you. Number two is make deposits in the future bank of you. Now I'll be honest. I, every day at 2:30 have an accountability partner. And for five minutes we write what our lives look like. 12:21 PM. On June 22nd, 2024. Who are we sitting with? Who are we? What kind of money sits in the bank? What kind of house are we living in and writing that in a great deal of specificity. And I learned this by following Ryan Serhant. I don't know if that name means anything he's on million dollar listing and it's something I learned from reading his book, but like that becomes your future boss. That vision of who you are two years from now is who you work for. So is that in alignment with what you mean by making deposits in the future bank of you?

Laura Gassner Otting:

Absolutely. Years ago, Matthew McConaughy gave an Oscar acceptance speech. And so he was like, "People ask me who my hero is." And he's like, "My hero?" He's like, "That's me two years from now. Yeah. And when two years from now, it'll be me two years from then, and two years from then it'll be two years from then." And he's like, "I always want to be trying to impress my future self." Right? And I was like, yeah, that's pretty cool. So when we think about our identity, you were talking in the beginning, like I am a lawyer. I am an accountant. I'm a gynecologist. I'm a newscaster. That's a very finite destination mentality. And when we're in this finite destination mentality, that all that says that there's a finite limit to our growth. And I don't wanna be in that place. I don't wanna live that average life. So if you hold on too tightly to that one identity with this uncertainty, about whether or not you're gonna lose it, the only thing that's certain. Is that you're gonna lose the growth. And so being able to make deposits in that future bank of view, what I mean by that is to stop and to think about where you wanna be in the future. Who do you wanna be? Two years from now and five years from now and 10 years from now. And if you are in that place, what will you have had to learn? What experiences will you have had to have? What knowledge do you need to collect? What kind of network do you need to build? And to start doing some of those things? The only jobs I've ever wanted have been jobs for which I've had absolutely no obvious qualifications. That's what has made them interesting. Right? So the space in between what you're qualified to do and what you want to do, that's the credit advance that you need to give yourself. We are told all the time, follow your passion. I think follow your passion's the world's worst advice because follow your passion says as soon as you find your passion, all you need to do is follow it. And everything's gonna be wonderful. But here's the thing. If you follow your passion, the minute something gets hard, the minute you get told no, the minute you're rejected, you're gonna go, oh, I guess that wasn't my passion. I should find something else and follow that because then that's all gonna be rainbows and skills. But the truth is we can't follow our passion. We have to invest in our passion. We need to join groups like yours. We need to watch shows like this. We need to watch TEDxes and read books and go to networking events. We have to invest in our passion. It has to be uncomfortable because the falling down and getting up and falling down and getting up is where the magic happens. That's where we learn and we iterate and we innovate and we change. So the future, those deposits that we're making are the deposits that allow us to get from what we're qualified to do today, to the thing that's really interesting that we wanna do tomorrow.

Joya:

Yeah. A woman approached me this last week and she wrote me saying she wanted to start a mentorship platform. I'm looking at the data, I'm looking at the data and here are my conclusions. I'm like, yeah. But have you piloted this idea? Have you implemented it? Have you matched 10 mentors with their mentees? Because I'm telling you, you're gonna learn a lot more from the execution of that idea than sitting here telling me about this data that you're like luxuriating and bathing in about how women need mentorship. You haven't implemented shit. Yes. So until you've implemented it, you were doing yourself a disservice and frankly, I think it's idealistic.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Exactly exactly. Taking the all the best laid plans, right? What was that? Mike Tyson quote, that everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the face.

Joya:

Yeah, absolutely.

Laura Gassner Otting:

You kinda take it out in the road.

Joya:

I wanna remind some of the folks Amy has joined us. We've got a few other folks who have joined us. I want you to put your questions in the chat, Laura and I are gonna keep chatting for a little bit longer. And then we're gonna take your questions. So Amy, go ahead and put that in the chat. And now I know you have a ton of questions for this conversation that we're having here today. All right. The next one is to go smaller to get bigger, smaller to get bigger.

Laura Gassner Otting:

This one seems a little counterintuitive, right? Like we are told get the biggest job. You can get the fanciest title you can get, but here's the thing. If you are early in your career being the head of a division where you are like the head of one of 12 divisions, that's 14 layers down. That seems like a bigger title. You're the head of the division. But if you were in a more junior role at a higher office. So say like you're working in some sort of assistant level position, but you're in the CEO's office. You're gonna be in the meetings. You're going to hear the calls. You're gonna be meeting all the people you're gonna be building that Rolodex. And sometimes earlier on in your career, you are able to actually grow by putting yourself in the deal flow, putting yourself in the room where it happens. If you will. And so that's a great way to be able to leapfrog, right? Cause you can go from there, say you're that bigger office, even if you're in a smaller role, you can still do incredible work. You can still do deep work. You can still volunteer for projects. You are gonna know how all those projects get assigned. So you'll be to be like, actually, that's an interesting thing I'd like to do more of that. And suddenly you get to leap frog above all the other people who have to who you know, are toiling, even with the big fancy title you in the quiet.

Joya:

What I'm hearing you say is what is it that you're doing outside of your regular job, that there might be something that you can develop? Maybe you're a fantastic event planner, even though you're a risk in compliance. How do I take that nugget, that pearl, that idea, and further that? How let's talk tactical here for a second.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yeah. Some of it is taking an attention inventory, right? It's like, what are the things that you enjoy doing outside of your paid work? There may be things that you do in your place of worship in your community for your family. And you're like, I actually like to do that. And those are skills that you're still gain. Right? So if you're still gaining those skills, we can look past our resume and we can bring those to bear. Sometimes you need to take those skills and actually have a project at work that then shows them, or you can also of course list them on your resume. But it's really thinking about how do you, get yourself into that sort of highest possible position. Or sorry, you get yourself into a position in the highest possible office, right? So how do you figure out how you get there? And then once you're there, you know, the job descriptions there, there are very few linear careers. And actually in 20 years of doing executive search, I very rarely interviewed an interesting person. In fact, I don't know if I ever interviewed an interesting person who had a linear career path. It was always the right turns and the left turns and the U-turns that's what made people interesting. So it's not following, like here's the job and I do everything, the job description, and then I get to the next job. And then here's the job. I do everything in the job description. Then I get to the next job. That's not how it works. Right? It's networking and it's projects and it's volunteers and it's getting noticed. And the only way to do that is to make sure that you're actually getting noticed by the eyes that make the decision.

Joya:

I remember listening to Michelle Obama speak twice once you're at the Barclay center and once in Washington, DC. And she said that Barack taught her the art of the swerve. Cuz she was very much a box checker. She's like, yes, you do this, you do this. And she's and he really taught her that there's many different swerves to getting to where you need to go.

Laura Gassner Otting:

I think that I think S swerves are super interesting. Think about people that you enjoy talking to at dinner parties, even. Yeah. They're not people who are like 25 years in the gold watch, you know, like the people who are interesting are the ones who are outside of the label.

Joya:

And have led in non-traditional lives. Yes. You referenced this already, but I wanna wind it up here and then start to get to everyone's questions. When you say, get, go smaller to get bigger, you reference that you should also make your resume work for you. What does that mean?

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yeah, so you know, it like it's all well and good for me to tell people like, go ahead and find your calling, but not everybody can do that. Right? There's bills to pay their children's to raise or classes to take. Whatever it is that's getting in the way of living out your dreams. I hear you. I get you like I've got kids, I've got a husband with a super inflexible job. We've had a pandemic, like we're all limited by a lot of things. So how do we live a limitless life? Some of that is to figure out how to increase our optionality. Years and years ago, I was driving one of my kids to work. I think he was like 13 at the time. And I was complaining about how I didn't get a good night's sleep. And I had a chapter due to my publisher and I wasn't gonna get any writing done. And I just, I wasn't getting anything done today. And I was just bemoaning my lot in life. And he looked at me and he was like, "well, just go on a side quest." I was like, "What's a side quest?" Now any of you play video games are like, yeah. Side quests. That makes sense. But I was like, I had no idea what a side quest was, cuz I haven't played a video game since like pong on the Atari in 1986. And he was like, mom. Okay. If you're playing a video game and the goal of the video game is to go and slay the dragon. But you're playing like a, multi-level like a multi-player game. So you're waiting for your friends to finish doing the dishes so that they can get online and help you slay the dragon. How do you do it? Well, in order to slay the dragon, you need a horse to get to the dragon. You need armor so that you don't get hurt along the way you need a sword, you need some potions. There are things that you're gonna need, right? Oh, also you're gonna need money. So that you can buy all the things. So you're a farmer, till your wheat. You, till your wheat, you get your money, you trade that money for potions and swords and horses and all the things. And he was like, so till your wheat. And I was like, oh, he's like, there are things that you can do today that will make you better at the things that you wanna do tomorrow. He's like, so fill your time. He's like, if you can't do the thing that you wanna do, you can't do the class. You can't go for the promotion. You're like waiting for your kids to be a little bit older and in school so you can be back and work full time, whatever the thing might be. You can do all these side quests. So you can reframe that current problem as an opportunity. It's not how are you limited, but it's how can you increase your future optionality by collecting those people, the networks, the knowledge, the resources that you're going to need later.

Joya:

I love that you brought that up, because there is someone who's on this call right now who has made her living really cut her teeth in the health and wellness space. And then life gets a hold of you. Right? And so it was kids' colleges and financial responsibilities. It took her away from that. And now she's working in the insurance industry. Kids are about to leave. And she's thinking about how she pay an active pivot back to her first love, which is wellness and health. And so we are having avid conversations about what that transition is gonna look like? What is that financial transition gonna look like? Can she afford to make that financial transition? The golden handcuffs are so compelling. To that end, what could she be doing while she's in this holding pattern and transitioning out?

Laura Gassner Otting:

I think that there's several things. The first thing I would say is she's gotta come up with two numbers. There's the want to make number and the need to make number so the need to make number is like, what's your nut? What's the mortgage? What's the college? What's the college tuition? What is your life cost? And then the second number is the want to make number. And that's like, what would the life you'd love to have cost you? Right? So what is the life you currently have cost you the need to make number and what is the life you want to. Right? The want to make number and somewhere in between the need to make and the want to make number is where she should land. Right? We'd all love to land here, but landing there demands a lot of sacrifices that she's probably not gonna wanna make. At least I know in my life I don't make the sacrifices that I would need to make to maximize my profitability. I instead think about, am I maximizing my personal freedom and flexability? And am I maximizing my impact on the world? And I know that the profits will come later, right? I'm making enough money. I don't need to make all the money. By the way, if you're a business owner, I think that those are the three variables, maximizing profit, maximizing impact, and maximizing flexibility. I think it's very hard to make decisions across all three at the same time, but you can make decisions across one and even two. You should make decisions across the same one or two for a while, and then you can switch to something else. If your kids are grown or as you're as the world changes and your situation changes. But I think having that as sort of a, I think that's a good framework to, to make those decisions. So, number one, she can think about those two numbers, the need to make, and the one to make number. And then number two, she can spend time putting together her offering, right? She can build her website. She can put together her collateral materials. She can record some videos. She can create a course. There's tons of things that she can do now, the health and wellness space. How are you a healthy human, right? You eat better food, you drink more water, you move your body more. You surround yourself with positive people. You take the right supplements and like vitamin. The science is changing, but it's not changing that fast. There's things that she can put some of that collateral material together. And then the third thing is to start building out her network. Right? So my friend Dory Clark has this great mastermind called the recognized expert group. And it talks all about how to be a recognized expert. Number one, you need a big idea. What's your idea? The health and wellness space, and how do you approach it? Number two, do you have credibility, right? What's your social proof? Has she given any talks? Does she have any recordings? Does she have any articles and then number three, what's your network? So how broadly can you spread that idea? So she can be working on all those things right now, even before she jumps into doing this fulltime.

Joya:

Laura so powerful I have for that person who, you know, I know is on this line right now and is listening. I hope that that is just an armor full of things that you can walk away and start doing. Here's the next question? I have a demanding day job. I'm tired. How do I devote time to my side hustle? So here's somebody that has found their calling, they've zeroed in on it, but their day job just isn't allowing them to dedicate to their passion and to even think about following it. So what would you recommend to this person?

Laura Gassner Otting:

It's hard to say without knowing all the details, but, and I'm gonna be a little pushy here. I believe that a lot of times we say that we're really busy and that we can't get to something when the truth is we don't necessarily want that thing. It may be that you want the side hustle and I believe that you want the side hustle, but it may be that you haven't determined yet exactly what the side hustle's gonna do for you. Or you completely fleshed out how much money it will make and what the pathway is to get from here to being doing that full time. So until it becomes real enough and until you believe in it enough, and until you understand enough, what it can do for you. It's very hard to want something. That's not a certain thing. Right? So I say to people all the time, you're not making time for something, it's probably because it's not that important to you. So I'm not saying that your side, hustle's not that important to you. I'm saying that the understanding of how the side hustle will live in your life does not feel real enough to you that that vision isn't important enough. So I think the step that you need to take is not working on the side hustle, but it's thinking about what that side hustle can actually represent. Spend some time not working in the business of it, but working on the business of how do I put together the budget, the P and L. What's the nut that I need to make and make sure that you understand what it'll be. And I think once you then see the potential fully, like really fleshed out in black and white numbers, that'll make it really real for you. And then if you can't make time for it then, maybe you don't want it. But I'm guessing that you'll be able to make time for it then, because it'll feel really real and it'll get you excited.

Joya:

I did a talk yesterday on turning your wish into your lived reality. And I say that it stays a wish until you put a plan around it. Like until you put dedicate a little bit of time to what this is going to look like, step one, two, and three bare minimum. It's just gonna stay a wish and to your point, maybe you didn't really actually want it. If you don't even gonna put a plan around how it's gonna realize itself.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yeah. I hear from people all the time. They're like, I wish I could go back to school. I wish I could train for a race. I wish I could do this. I wish I could do that, but I'm too busy and I'm like, busy's bullshit. You're not too busy. You just don't understand your dream well enough or somebody else handed you that dream. So it's really one or the other. And I'm guessing that this isn't somebody else's dream. This just isn't a fully fleshed out plan. So it does, there's nothing to run toward.

Joya:

And the other thing that I ask people do is to really track your habits. I had a woman in my mastermind do that for a week, and she's like, I watch an alarming amount of Netflix. She's like, that is time that I could spend writing, but it wasn't until you forced me to look at how I spend my week, that I realized that there's actual time, I pockets of time I could be spending doing creative writing, but guess what I'm doing? I'm mindlessly flipping through Netflix cuz the TV's in the bedroom and it's just easy to fall asleep to that.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yes. I tell people that all the time, they're like, how do you do so much? I'm like, how do you do so little? What are you doing with your time? But it's funny, we're all told like Beyonce has the same 24 hours as you do. Right? It's all this like productivity hustle porn that's nonsense. And I do think that we're all busy. I think there are a lot of demands on our time, but I think the real question is, is this your goal? And do you understand the plan to get there? Because you know, you can't be insatiably hungry for someone else's dream. You just can't.

Joya:

And is this a priority, which is also the other big question to ask.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yes.

Joya:

Laura and I are gonna be wrapping up here in a few minutes. And if you have some questions, please put them in the chat and I'll make sure I ask them. This next question, Laura is about overwhelm. This person has four separate ideas that they're equally juiced up about, but all four ideas can't transpire in the next six months. So how does one cut through the overwhelm and prioritize which one to do first?

Laura Gassner Otting:

I guess my first question would be, are any of them time sensitive? Right? I'm working on my next book. At the same time I put together a 30 page white paper on the great resignation, based on the 6,000 responses I had from the limitless assessment survey. And I'm not that excited about the 30 page white paper. It's like I spent 20 years talking about what inspires people at work and what's causing the great resignation and how you recruit people. And I left that search firm cause I didn't really wanna do it anymore. At the same time, it's a hugely topical issue, right? That I could get paid a lot of money to speak on and I can get published in Harvard business review and places like that. And so I put down the book, the next book that I'm writing, which is a little bit evergreen. And I was like, I really should work on that now. So I would say, think about the four areas is one of them. Topical will one of them not be relevant a little while from now. If it matters to you and it's interesting, then do it. But I also think you might also say like, it's actually not that interesting. It's topical, but I don't wanna do it. And it's not gonna be relevant six months from now. And that's okay. Right? So I think, does it fuel you? Does it excite you? Is it something that's gonna help you get from here to wherever you wanna get to? So taking that rubric of connection of calling connection, contribution and control, number one, will this thing help me will this thing, this idea, help me get closer to the calling? Or further from it? Number two, will this thing help someone else? If it's not gonna help you, but it's gonna help someone else, and you're excited about that idea, then do it. Right? Awesome. Number three, will it cause me joy? So it's not gonna help you and it's not gonna cause help someone else, but you're gonna love every minute of it. Amazing. Go for it. You'll figure out the rest later. And then number four, is there somebody who's better suited to do it. So looking at all four of these ideas, are you the person? Is there somebody who is better, who is smarter, who is faster, who is more networked, should they be doing it instead? And maybe that's not the one you do because you're gonna spend more time competing than actually scaling. So thinking about those things may help you get to a better yes around one versus the other three.

Joya:

I love it. I love that Laura. Let's wind it down here. What you're working on your next book? What is that called?

Laura Gassner Otting:

The next book's gonna be called 'Wonder Hell.'

Joya:

And what is 'Wonder Hell?"

Laura Gassner Otting:

So, you know, those moments where you've done something you've actually accomplished something you were successful. You didn't actually know if you could pull it off, but you did it. And it's amazing. It's exciting. It's humbling. It's wonderful. But also you've never been so exhausted and full of stress and anxiety and dread and uncertainty and doubt in your entire life. It's kind of wonderful, but it's also kind of hell. That's wonder hell, and wonder hell is the moment that the burden of your potential walks into your psyche and is like, Hey Joya, what you got for me? Are you gonna live into this newfound you this person that you just saw you could be in this moment of success. Are you gonna live into this newfound you that you didn't know existed last week, last month or last year? Are you gonna let her pass you by? And it's in that moment of wonder how that we realize just how much ego we have and just how much we want in our lives. And we go, oh, I think I want more, this is amazing. How am I gonna survive it? Right? I'm exhausted. I don't know. And so my next book is about finding myself in this moment of wonder hell. And just basically interviewing a hundred different people to figure out my way out of it. And what I realized is that it's not a breakdown, it's a breakthrough. So how do we embrace our ambition? How do we get comfortable with all the mixed emotions that surround this uncertain moment? And how do we learn to live with the fact that on the other side of this wonder hell is the next one and the next one? And if we're lucky, the next one after that.

Joya:

Laura great interview today. We're gonna leave it there. If anyone wants to work with you, have you come speak to them? What's the best way for them to get in touch with you?

Laura Gassner Otting:

Yeah. So my name is Laura Gasner Otting. All my good friends call me LGO so you can find me on all the socials at Hey LGO and Heylgo.com is a shortcut to tons of resources and my website. My book 'Limitless', how to ignore everybody, carve your own path and live your best life, is available on Amazon Barnes and noble and anywhere fine books are sold. And yeah, you can find the limitless assessment @limitlessassessment.com and I hope to hear from you soon.

Joya:

Amazing. Laura, and I referenced this a couple of times, but I have something called the Samita Lab Mastermind. Samita in my language means summit. And I'm now open. I have opened enrollment for this cohort. We're gonna be talking about turning that wish into a reality. I referenced that too. And so if you would like to apply for that cohort that kicks up in October. You can always get in touch with me at joya@joydass.com. Laura, great conversation. Good to see you today.

Laura Gassner Otting:

Thank you, Joya.