19. Raising Your Standards + The Pain of Change

Episode 19: Raising Your Standards + The Pain of Change (Summary)

Today I’ll tell you why nearly everything at work improves when you take the risk of raising your standards. Plus, I’ll share a story about the perfect job that wasn’t. It’s coming up now, on Boss Better Now.

Links:
Learn more about Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
To learn more about Robert Sutton and his book, The No Asshole Rule visit bobsutton.net.
To learn more about Joe Mull, visit his website ​Joemull.com​.
To hear more from Joe Mull visit his YouTube channel​.
To learn how to invite Joe to speak at an event, visit ​Joemull.com/speaking​.
To check date availability or to get a quote for an event, email ​hello@joemull.com​.
To explore options for coaching from Alyssa Mullet, visit ​Joemull.com/coaching​.
For more information on the BossBetter Leadership Academy, visit Joemull.com/academy.
Email the show at bossbetternow@gmail.com.
To leave comments, ask questions, or to message us visit our Boss Better Now Podcast Facebook Page.
Connect with Joe on Instagram.
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Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

*Full transcript under the comments below.

 

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Transcript – Episode 19: Raising Your Standards + The Pain of Change

Joe:
Today, I’ll tell you why nearly everything at work improves when you take the risk of raising your standards. Plus, I’ll share a story about the perfect job that wasn’t. It’s coming up now on Boss Better Now.

Alyssa:
Hello. You’re listening to Boss Better Now. Please welcome speaker, author, and I N T J, Joe Mull.

Joe:
Hello, BossHeroes. And thank you for being here today. As you know, we’re on a mission to fill workplaces with better bosses, because bosses, trigger, commitment. That unique combination of care and try that results in great things happening at work and for your customers. Please welcome my co-host, professional coach, Alyssa Mullet. Hi Alyssa.

Alyssa:
Hey. Yeah, so I know that most of our leaders out there, most of our bosses would be acquainted with I N T J and what that references, but for the few folks –  that maybe are new to their jobs out there, can you explain what that references? And… I have to tell you a little story after you explain what it is.

Joe:
Okay. So, uh, INTJ is the four letters, uh, from the Myers-Briggs type indicator, which is an assessment that measures some naturally occurring differences in people. Um, it means that I’m an introvert — introverted, intuitive, thinking, judger, and those words bring a lot of baggage into the room, but they don’t mean what you think they mean. Um, but it helps me understand that where I get my energy from – how I take in information, how I make decisions and how I like to orient myself in the outside world. So, you know, simple stuff,

Alyssa:
You know, just neat and tidy like that. What I have to share about that is so, uh, you know, you and I used to work together, and you were in a training role in which you actually administered to me and other, uh, teams, the Myers-Briggs and I got my results back and I thought, Joe’s a dang liar, because there’s no way that I am an introvert — because I too am an “I”. And if based upon my role at the time and a very prominent, you know, very extroverted role, there was no comprehension for myself that I was in fact drawing constantly from this well of introversion that put me in a position where I had to be an extrovert and what that cost me personally, in order to do that professionally. And so, I thought for the longest time, it probably was not actually until I left my corporate job, uh, and, and probably like a year or so afterwards, I was like, oh my gosh, I am so much more me. And, and feeling like I don’t have to perform or take the necessary solitude for myself. Like there was just a lot of things that were so low energy that I got a lot of energy and motivation and replenishment from, and I thought, Hmm, maybe Joe was right.

Alyssa:
Fast-forward, I am now reading the most amazing book about introversion. It’s called Quiet, the power of introversion in an extroverted world, or a power of introversion in a world that won’t stop talking basic. And it is amazing. Yeah.

Joe:
And it’s funny when, when I do that work with groups, I get shocked faces when I tell the groups that I am an introvert, people argue and they say, but you know, at the front of the room, as a speaker, as a facilitator, you have so much energy. And, and you have to tell people that is, uh, not what introversion extroversion is. People think it’s social comfort. That’s not what it is. It’s where do you get your energy from energy from and how do you prefer to, uh, process information? And so, I am an introvert, which means that yes, up in the front of the room, I’m very verbal. I could be very dynamic, but that is expensive for me. It drains my gas tank. I used to tell folks in workshops, the difference between you and me is that when I’m up at the front of the room, you all are sucking the life out of me.

Joe:
I need to go be by myself for a while when we’re all done. Uh, and you know, it gets a good laugh, but it’s true, it’s it, it, you know, I have to manage that. When I used to do, I used to do a lot of full day training work with organizations. And if I didn’t build in some lunchtime alone, I would not be as good for that group in the second half of the day, uh, as I would have otherwise been. So, um, uh, one, Hey Alyssa, one of my favorite things in the world is being right. Just ask my family. So anytime you want to come on the podcast and say, I know I thought you were wrong, but you’re right. We will make time for that here, my friend.

Alyssa:
I have … Mull family,  I apologize for feeding the beast. 

Joe:
Well today, we want to talk a little bit about raising our standards. We alluded to that, uh, in the opening. And, uh, I decided to talk about that this week, because I got a comment recently on our Boss Better YouTube channel, and I’m not going to share the name of the person who shared it cause she didn’t volunteer to be on a podcast. But she left a long comment underneath one of the videos we have there about how bosses demoralized teams, where she described, uh, working at a clinic with two doctors who were consistently treating their people really poorly. Uh, she said that they would constantly yell and curse and demoralize people. Uh, she said, anytime we would hire a good person, they would leave quickly. Uh, they were disrespectful to patients, uh, whenever there was any kind of problem or hiccup or issue, uh, these doctors would just yell, you know, just fix it and never really accept that maybe some things couldn’t be fixed. Uh, they never got thanks. They never got raises, just a pretty lousy place to work. And she asked me, what should I do? And she said, I’ve been here eight years and I’m, I’m 51 years old. And I don’t, I don’t know what to do. And I am loath to tell people what to do to give people advice about their professional circumstances. I learned a long time ago, the best thing that I can do is to answer by talking about what I might do in that situation. Uh, and so what I shared with her is that, um, this isn’t something she can fix that, that nothing is going to change there. And that in all likelihood, the only thing ahead of her is more continued suffering. And so, I said, if this was me, I would polish my resume and start looking for my next opportunity.

Joe:
And, and I would feel confident that I would end up being happier. Um, this is a conversation I’ve had a lot when it comes to people who are suffering at the hands of a bad boss and for one reason or another leaving a bad boss or leaving a job where you’re not being treated well for some folks, it’s a huge hill to climb. And you know, some of that is about income and stability and fear. But, there are a lot of folks who feel trapped, and they are trapped in what is really an abusive relationship. And I wonder what it will take for some folks to eventually decide I am worthy of more than this, and I need to take the scary step to leave or to move on. And I know that some of this ties into your own story and experiences Alyssa. And so, I thought this might be an interesting thing for us to talk about today.

Joe:
And, and, and let me say one other thing about this before I hand the reins over to you. Raising those standards around working for a boss, bad boss goes  the other way too. Because I have the exact same conversation with folks who tell me, I’ve got this awful employee who treats everybody like crap, and, but they won’t pull the trigger on getting rid of him or her. And so there there’s things change when we set boundaries for how we are going to allow others to treat us and how, and for how we are going to allow others to treat others. How do folks raise those standards and pull the trigger on some things that might be hard but clearly necessary?

Alyssa:
That’s what I want to do is go, Oh, I so identify with the, with, um, and I think what, I’m, what that h what’s behind that noise is really a lot of, for my own self, what I’ll name as shame and guilt for not being strong enough, not being, uh, whatever enough to leave. Um, and I, to this day, you know, I don’t think I left. I think that I only allowed myself out because I couldn’t do to myself…. I couldn’t do to my son, my child, what I had done to myself in that, what that job did to me. And so, when it became about somebody else, then it became worth it for me to leave. And there’s a lot of, um, like what the heck is wrong with you? Like that goes in my brain and, and has continually, uh, you know, tried to tackle the beast that is hindsight and wondering why I spent all those years feeling that way when it was just a stinking job. And they, you know, when somebody shows you who they are — listen, right? And I just kept not listening. I didn’t listen to them and I didn’t listen to me. And that is my biggest regret is that I didn’t listen to me. My body told me, my brain told me all of the, I mean, my husband told me a thousand different times — leave. This is not, this is not good for you. Yeah.

Alyssa:
I don’t have the answer to what it takes to leave because for me it was, it took another human because I knew that I could not be the mom that I wanted to be and still have that job. And so it took somebody else to make it real for me. And I’m not sure, I think that that’s where the work of what I do with values has really gained a lot of clarity in my mind and in my heart about why I will never allow that to happen to me. And then again, it’s not just, you know, uh, the sacrifices and the abuses that you take in life. Aren’t just obviously, and, you know, from this one person, you know, um, that kind of thing, but I will never replicate, or even delve a little bit into the shallow end of losing myself again and being in conflict with my values and who I am. And so, the only heartening thing that I can take away from that is that because of that circumstance, I am now stronger. I now know who I am deeply and earnestly, and I will never allow that to happen to myself again for me and only me.

Joe:
I th I think the analogy of an abusive relationship is appropriate. And it’s, maybe it’s not an analogy. It’s a, it’s a parallel. And I, I’m not an expert in those circumstances by any means. And so, I’m not going to pretend to be one, I’m not going to play one on a podcast. Um, I’m sure there are parallels between the, the cycles and the ups and downs that people go through and all of the things that have to happen in someone’s psyche before they decide that I need to make a change. Uh, I’m a big fan of an old saying in psychology that a change only occurs when the pain of staying the same finally outweighs the pain of the change. And so, I think there’s a long time where maybe you work for a, a difficult boss or in a difficult circumstance, or you’ve got a really difficult employee.

Joe:
And what it would take to move away from that is more painful in some folks’ mind than just continuing to endure it and work around it and try to survive it. Um, and only when folks decide I can’t take this anymore. It is now the pain of the change going to be less than the pain I’m enduring. I should also acknowledge that there’s a certain amount of privilege that I have in terms of sitting here saying, well, just get another job, right. That’s a really easy thing for me to lob out there into the world. Uh, and I know that that is not always possible. I know that’s not always an option for some folks for a variety of reasons. And so let, let me speak that plainly, because that’s an important thing to say. But I also think that sorry, non… non-sequitur this second expression is not tied to the one I just made, but yeah.

Joe:
And, um, I do think there are different levels of tolerance for some of that suffering though. I’m reminded of a story that, um, I picked up when I was interviewing folks for my first book and this, this was shared by a manager. Um, interestingly enough, also a clinical manager in a, in a healthcare setting, um, in the book we named her Juanita that wasn’t her real name. We, we changed her name as we do with all the names in the books to protect the, uh, the innocent and the awful. Um, and Juanita told me a story about, um, stepping into a manager role. She had been in a manager role previously in some other sites, but they added a site for her to take over. And she started working in this site, uh, and the, uh, one of the physicians there was known to be very difficult.

Joe:
And one day very early on in her career, um, she handed him a folder. This was back when they had paper medical records, uh, and he took it from her. And as he looked at it, he immediately threw it right back at her and it smacked her in the face. And apparently, she had used the little paperclips when his preference was for the jumbo paperclips, and he yelled at her for this. And she said, what happened next, wasn’t a conscious choice. It wasn’t thoughtful. It just erupted out of me. She said, as soon as that folder hit me in the face and he was yelling, I threw it right back at him and it smacked him in the face. And I said, “Who the “F” do you think you are? That will never happen again.” She said … and I walked away. She said, uh, nobody else in the place could believe that I had done that to him.

Joe:
She said, but he spoke to me differently every day after that. And it never did happen again with me. And so, I w uh, so again, this idea that the boundaries that we set for, how we allow people to talk to us and how we allow others to talk to others at times, they have to be set and installed and enforced by us individually. And if we’re leaders in an environment, we have to enforce those in an environment. If we’re going to protect our people. And isn’t that our number one job is to keep people safe. But it’s that boundary setting that I think can be really difficult sometimes.

Alyssa:
I think that that is a great illustration of the cycle of what I experienced, you know, not obviously with that specific scenario, by any means. But the thought pattern around setting boundaries, right? And so sometimes you’re, you’re not able to set boundaries for other people. You can set them for yourself, right. And, and in her, in that situation, she was able to set a boundary both ways because it clearly, he, he knew he could no longer do that with her. Right. Um, what I think I got caught up in too often in the cycle of setting boundaries, because there was a many, a cycle I put myself through of setting those boundaries for myself, was that when I attempted to set boundaries for that other person, for that leader, no one else, it felt like it would set boundaries. And so, then it was just my problem and not an actual, and I’m using air quotes an “actual problem”, because it was my inability, it was my inability to manage that behavior, the behavior of demeaning and gaslighting and demoralizing, and just utter nonsense. And I stayed because I wanted to keep other people safe. I thought I could, those longer, the longer I was there, the, the more I was able to be the filter —  we’ve talked about the role of, of being the filter, being the buffer, right as the leader. And I took that seriously. I wanted to try to protect and insulate my teams from those kinds of behaviors, but it sucked the life out of me quite literally.

Joe:
And you know what, Alyssa, that, that is something that I hear from a lot of leaders too, is if I leave, there’s nobody there to protect my people. I’m the only thing standing between them and this, you know, awful force of nature. Um, and I get that and it’s noble to a point, you know, the reality is losing good people is a consequence of the bad behavior. And sometimes the bad behavior will never, never end until you leave. And then the other people leave. And, and, you know, and of course, sometimes the bad behavior will never end. Some people are just going to keep showing up that way and just keep, uh, treating people poorly. But that doesn’t mean that you have to stay in suffer just because you’re fearful that other people will suffer. Um, you eventually will become so worn down, uh, or so psychologically beat up by it that now you’re no good for the folks you’re trying to protect. Uh, and you know, your, your story sort of proves the hypothesis though, right? That only when we set those boundaries for ourselves, and we do not accept that we are going to be treated a certain way, even it means leaving, only then does, does our life get better. Do our circumstances get better. I’m thinking about a book. Um, are you familiar with Robert Sutton’s book, The No Asshole Rule?

Alyssa:
No, but I like the title already.

Joe:
Yeah. It was, uh, uh, a bestseller a couple of years ago. One of the real big business books here, maybe about 10 years ago. Uh, and he, he writes about this and it’s not a tongue in cheek kind of way. He actually uses “asshole” as a technical term. Um, my apologies for anyone listening, who doesn’t appreciate the colorful language. I am quoting a book title. But he says, you know, you have an asshole on your team… And he talks about, assholes cannot be overcome. They do too much harm. They cannot stay. You know, you have an asshole on your team when two things are happening, one, do others feel worse after interacting with this person? And two, does this person target the less powerful?

Joe:
I’m a small business owner. There is no amount of money that is worth having somebody like that on my team. You couldn’t pay me to have somebody on my team. They do too much harm. They sabotage, they spread suffering wherever they go. And it is not, you know, if I have that person on my team, it is not my job to fix them. It’s my job to get people away from them. It’s my job to keep my team safe and to try to get them out of there. And if that can’t happen, then the only option I have left is to go to a safer place. And that might be a different job.

Alyssa:
Yeah. I appreciate so much the conversation around boundaries and being able to raise those standards. Um, I often in sessions with clients have the opportunity to help them draw up some boundaries for themselves. And, um, I’m not sure exactly of the context in which this first came to me, but, um, I, once remarked that boundaries are the ultimate expression of self-compassion. And so, I know it’s tough to set boundaries. I’ve lived it I’ve breathed it, it almost almost killed me folks. I mean, I couldn’t walk for three months. So I deeply feel and understand those depths of being unaligned and, uh, crippled in your values by people in the workplace. But take heart, take stock of yourself and make some boundaries because you deserve it.

Joe:
It’s a, it’s a great point to end on. And I, I want to acknowledge the folks out there for whom maybe they’re wrestling with this right now. And they are in a circumstance, whether with an abrasive boss or an abrasive member of their team, or it feels impossible to escape. And we want to tell you that it’s not, um, sometimes it takes a leap of faith. Sometimes it takes a big, scary decision. Um, and sometimes it’s just important to acknowledge that you probably didn’t get here because some single thing happened, right? We all have boundaries and it’s easier in some ways for the vi…, if a violation is going to occur for it to be a, a big, giant, obvious violation, it would almost be easier for somebody to act out in a … in a so obviously inappropriate way that we have no choice, but to say, “Whoa, that is not okay. That’s never happening again.” But I think for most of the folks listening, it’s death by a thousand cuts, it’s the, the, the encroachment on those boundaries is minuscule. It’s just a little bit over the line. And then just a little bit over the line. And Ooh, I didn’t like that. And that was uncomfortable. And I don’t like the way that person talked to me, but, oh, they were having a bad day and we dismiss it, and we dismiss it. And then all of a sudden, the, the there’s been a shift in what is okay. And so, if you are in such a circumstance, whether it was a big, giant violation or has been a bunch of little things over and over again, you are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect wherever you work. And by everyone who comes into contact with you.

Joe:
Let’s lighten the mood here a little bit, Alyssa, uh, as you know, we, every episode of our podcast give our BossHeroes a Camaraderie Question of the Week. Bosses build camaraderie by helping the members of their teams find things in common with each other. When members of teams find things in common with each other, especially things that have nothing to do with work, they access each other’s humanity and that can cut down on team drama. It’s a big reason why camaraderie is just so darn important. Our question today, I completely pirated from a friend of mine. Um, uh, a friend of mine, uh, named Ron Tite, who is a brilliant marketing and branding guy in Canada. He’s also written a fantastic book called Think. Do. Say. which is great for leadership. Great for branding, uh, great for really learning, understanding how to get your message across. And he posted on LinkedIn recently that the best question he’d ever been asked on a podcast was this question. What’s the most important thing you’ve ever changed your mind about? And so that’s our question for this week. What say you, my friend?

Alyssa:
Oh, well, so to me, this isn’t a light question. I mean, that’s a, that’s a pretty heavy duty one. So, you know, BossHeroes out there be mindful of your introverts on your team. Being able to have that free pass that we’ve talked about available that if they would choose not to answer this question, that’s fine and dandy. You just keep on a going and I keep on a rolling with it, right?

Joe:
This is a retreat question, right? This is not like the question in the huddle in the morning on a busy Wednesday. This is right. This is a question where if you’ve created a safe place and you’re doing a little bit of deeper work as a team, and maybe you want to have a richer conversation. I don’t know that this is a hallway question.

Alyssa:
Yeah. Yeah. I don’t think it’s a hallway question either. That’s a good, good point. So, it actually goes along with, uh, my answers or my stories from, uh, earlier in the episode. And for me, the biggest thing that I have ever changed my mind on is being a stay-at-home parent primarily. Um, so for the first, a year and a half, almost two years, um, I did not work outside of the home when, after I had my son and I never thought, um, that I would be a stay-at-home mom. Um, I just was, I so identified with who I was with what I did in the professional space that I, I couldn’t think of myself in any other way. And, um, you know, through those circumstances of trying to have to set those boundaries, and in my case, it wasn’t setting the boundaries for myself.

Alyssa:
It was now I’m going to have this other human I got to take care of, and I will not allow this to affect that, uh, that other person, um, who has no choice in the matter. Um, and so in my, you know, ultimately, I believed, I believed I’d set the boundaries for myself. There wasn’t another choice. This was the choice I needed to make. This was the boundary that I had to choose, um, because I couldn’t exist in that role and be the kind of mom that I wanted to be. So, um, that kind of made my decision for me. Um, and moving forward with being a primarily stay-at-home parent. Um, now I think that it was, you know, like I’ve talked about how the, you know, hindsight, you know, and I have all these regrets and things, but the biggest thing I think now that I can take solace in is, is being able to say, but it got me to make that choice. And I, I am profoundly shaped by the fact that I now have the self-awareness. I know how the values cemented that make me who I am and how I am able to operate in the world. And I can make sure on a daily basis that I know, and I live the fact that I am not what I do, and my worth is not wrapped up in that.

Joe:
And how interesting that everything we just talked about at the front of this episode about all the things that you endured in a not great circumstance, that’s maybe underselling it a little bit. Um, it’d be interesting to know whether or not, if you had been in a professional environment that really supported you and where you were thriving and where you felt respected and where your dignity was preserved, would you have ever stayed home after having your son? The it’s just, you know, when you think about the dominoes that fall in our lives, and that’s sort of related to the question, my, my answer to this question, the dominoes that fall in our lives, it’s amazing how sometimes the painful things were a necessary component of getting to the right place.

Alyssa:
Absolutely, absolutely. And look what I get to do now. I mean, all the awesome coaching that I get to do, there’s some other projects that are going on, I get to be on this amazing podcast with you. And so, you know, as much as it literally almost killed me, I am here because of it. And so, I am worthy of this experience.

Joe:
Awesome. Great.

Alyssa:
I wanna know… I got it. What’s your answer? This is going to be, it’s not light and fluffy. You got to go deep on this. I want to hear it.

Joe:
The most important thing I ever changed my mind on, um, trail mix. Yeah. Trail mix. It that, although I did change my mind on trail mix, I used to be like, yeah, I don’t get it. Uh, and then a friend of mine, this is a true story really quick. Um, and then, uh, my, uh, longtime friend, uh, Bethany, her husband, Joe, we were hanging out playing cards once and they saw me trying to eat trail mix. And they were like, well, you’re eating the wrong way because I would eat like a peanut, and then I would eat like a M&M, and then I would eat like a pretzel. And they were like, you gotta put it all together. It only works when it’s all together, you got to take a handful. And then, and, and then I did that and listen, my world was changed after that moment. And so, I’m a little bit more of a trail mix guy because of it.

Alyssa:
I appreciate the fact that you actually learned how to eat the mix since it’s in the name trail mix, you eat it together, thus experience it in the mix of your mouth. But I think there’s something else, right?

Joe:
So, when this question came up for the Camaraderie Question of the Week, it actually reminded me … my answer to this question is a story that I have shared from the stage. So, what I thought we would do is do a two for one special here, where we take the Camaraderie Question of the Week and we would use my answer for one of our Storytime segments. So, we’re going to wrap up this segment with the music, and then I’m going to share my answer to this question right after this.

Alyssa:
Hello BossHeroes, are you planning a conference, meeting, or event? Why not invite our own Joe Mull to be your keynote speaker? Joe speaks and writes about commitment in the workplace in a way that is funny, powerful, and captivating. He knows that your attendees want rich content that is relevant to them and delivered in a way that is fun, compelling, and useful. Joe’s keynote programs, help leaders say and do new things so they can get better results. If you’re planning a remote event, Joe can beam in from a fully equipped virtual broadcast studio with multiple cameras, professional audio, and lighting, and tons of interactive ways to engage participants. He will leave your audience raving about their experience. Oh, and Joe is a Certified Speaking Professional. That’s the highest earned designation in professional speaking that is held by less than 20% of speakers worldwide. The CSP is only awarded to speakers with a proven track record of experience, expertise, education, outstanding client service, and ethical behavior. Whether your event is in-person or virtual, your audience doesn’t want another boring 60-minute lecture. They deserve to learn and be inspired by a world-class program from a professional speaker, they simply cannot turn away from. That’s what you get guaranteed from Joe Mull. For more information, visit joemull.com/speaking to check date availability, or to get a quote, email jamie@joemull.com. That’s J-A-M-I-E@joemull.com.

Joe:
When my wife answered the phone, I said, it’s getting real. And we probably need to have that conversation tonight. It had been about a month since they announced the layoffs, and I was still reeling this job that I loved and that I was really good at would no longer exist in just a few weeks. My entire department had been eliminated. At the time, they said all the right things. “Joe, everyone loves your work.” “You’re an asset.” “We want you to stay.” “We’re going to try to pay you the same. We’re just going to move you over here.” For me, though, this new world order, it was a bad moon rising. It just wasn’t the right fit for me.

Joe:
The first thing you do when you get laid off is you eat whatever the hell you want. I mean, that’s what I did. A hoagie and fries are powerful coping tools. The second thing you do is you run to the internet and start looking for a job. That’s where I found what my wife and I came to call the Atlanta job. In my life, I’ve never encountered a job posting that looked more like it had been written for me. They wanted a master’s degree, 10 years of experience in HR and training at least five years in a healthcare leadership role, preferably in an academic system, coordinating training in both inpatient and outpatient environments. And they wanted certification in at least two HR assessments. One of which had to be the MBTI. I mean, come on. I swear at the bottom of the posting, it said the ideal candidate will be tall, (but not really) drive a Toyota Camry Hybrid and be able to sing the Musical Rent from start to finish. It was uncanny in its perfectness for me. Oh, and the money. Well, it was almost twice what I was making.

Joe:
The first thing you do when you completely match a job posting for a life-changing position is you eat whatever the hell you want. No, I’m just kidding. The first thing you do is you try to figure out, oh my goodness, who do I call? Who do I call right now? You’re sitting there and you’re thinking, you found me I’m right here. Stop the search. What time do you want me to fly down? And then the second thing you do is you show the job to your spouse. My wife was surprised. “Did you say Atlanta?” Don’t worry about that, babe. I just threw a resume at it. If it gets real, of course, we’ll talk about it. After my third interview with the headhunter, I knew the job was mine. If I wanted it, he told me as much, this company is really excited about you, Joe. I shouldn’t tell you this, but no one else they’re looking at comes close to your background or has performed as well in our process. You are the only candidate they want for an on-site visit. When my wife answered the phone, I said, it’s getting real, and we probably need to have that conversation tonight.

Joe:
The first thing you do, when you have to have an important involved conversation with your partner about a life changing decision is you put down the hoagie. Actually, if you’re me, you make lists. I like to make decisions with logic and analysis. I like to step back and view things dispassionately from afar. So, I list the pros and cons. By the time my wife and I sat down that evening, I had it all worked out. In fact, I opened the conversation by saying, ” Now I’ve looked at this from all sides. And if it’s offered to me, I think we should go. And if you just let me show you how I arrived at that decision, I think you’ll agree.” By the way, I’d like to announce my new book, Stupid Things Husbands Say … a series. After gamely enduring my mini presentation complete with handouts –true story, I literally made her copies of my lists. The look on her face told me everything I needed to know. She hated the idea, but I had made my lists and I had weighed all the options. And so, I kept going …” Listen, honey, at the very least, let’s go visit the place. Let’s give them a chance to knock our socks off. We might love it there. It’ll be an adventure.”

Joe:
“Love is patient love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud.” These words read at my wedding and at many others must have been remembered by my wife that day. She did not get angry. She did not throw up her hands or ask, “Hey, do you think that maybe I might have something to say about this?” No. She took a breath, looked down at my lists and then asked quietly, can I ask a few questions? “What’s it going to be like to be in a place where we don’t know anyone?” “What’s it going to be like to have no family at all nearby? No help with the kids.” “What about my business? Which I’ve spent years building. I’m going to have to close it all down.” “What’s it going to be like that? Because we’re so far away, the kids aren’t really going to know their grandparents.” “Do we want to go from being with your family or mine almost every weekend to seeing them all just once or twice a year?”

Joe:
Some people like to make decisions by stepping back from situations. Some people though, like my wife, prefer to make decisions by stepping fully into them to understand how it will feel, how it will impact relationships. And whether that decision aligns with their values and beliefs. We talked for a long time that night looking at things from every angle. And as much as I was open to changing everything and giving it a shot, she wasn’t. And after we talked, I really understood why. And we agreed that if we weren’t both enthusiastic about the adventure, then neither of us could be. The most important thing I ever changed my mind about was to say no to a perfect job — that wasn’t. It was only after I passed on this opportunity that I realized the only way I would get to continue doing the work I love to do on my terms was to do it on my terms — to start my own business. And so, I did, and that was eight years, two books, one podcast, and thousands of bosses ago. Thank God we didn’t take that perfect job. Thank God I married someone who is smarter than me. Saying “no” to that job was the first domino to fall in a long dynamic sequence that brought me to where I am today. Brought me into your ears on this podcast. And that’s my story.

Joe:
So, did you ever have to turn down something that was hard to turn down?

Alyssa:
Probably, but I can’t remember right now because I get so emotionally attached in your stories that I can’t think for myself for a minute. Cause all I’m feeling is just empathy and you’re such a great storyteller. And I just, you know, it’s like waving the magic threads through the whole entire episode. Just brought it full circle. It’s exactly where we both should be. And that’s amazing. It’s amazing. I’m so grateful that you didn’t take that job, that you’ve built the business that you have. And there are thousands of other people out there that can say the same because they’ve been impacted by the work that you do. And that is just an amazing, an amazing story. I appreciate it so much.

Joe:
Well, thank you so much. What I hope folks take away from the story is that in one way or another, everything we’ve been through and endured informs where we end up next. 
And we started this episode talking about raising our standards and talking about how hard it can be sometimes to enforce those standards. And I think that, you know, that that was probably a really hard thing for my wife to do was to sit across from me and say, “Hey, listen, this clearly checks every box for you professionally, but it doesn’t check all the boxes for us personally. And so, I think we have to reject it.” Like that takes a ton of courage and, but, but she was completely right. And if she hadn’t demonstrated that courage, w w w I wouldn’t be, uh, you know, in the position I’m at right now, which is so much better and more fulfilling than anything else I could imagine. And so, bringing it back full circle to those folks who maybe are in a situation that is not ideal for them, sometimes it, it takes courage to reject it and to say, there’s something better for me on the other side of this man.

Joe:
And that’s what I’m reaching for. (Alyssa: Yeah. Be your own storyteller. Fix the ending. It’s not too late.) Oh, perfect. Bow on that.

Joe:
All right, folks, that’s our show today. Can we ask you for a small favor? Would you take a moment sometime today to either review our podcast on Apple podcasts or post on LinkedIn or Facebook, encouraging others to check out our show. This is a small way you can contribute to our movement to fill workplaces with better bosses. Plus, if you tell someone about our show and they like it, you are totally getting some credit for that, which we are fine with. So spread the word. Until next time, BossHeroes. Thank you for listening and thank you for all that you do to care for so many.

Alyssa:
This show is sponsored by Joe Mull and Associates. Remember commitment comes from better bosses. Visit joemull.com today.

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