Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders

Intentionality, Awareness and a Positive Mental Attitude - Tom Boniface

June 11, 2020 Connection Builders Episode 2
Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders
Intentionality, Awareness and a Positive Mental Attitude - Tom Boniface
Chapters
Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders
Intentionality, Awareness and a Positive Mental Attitude - Tom Boniface
Jun 11, 2020 Episode 2
Connection Builders

Tom Boniface is the Vice President of Business Development at Hilco Global and someone who lives out the practices of intentionality, awareness, and a positive mental attitude in his daily life and career. We chat with Tom today about what these concepts mean to him and how he approaches them in a purposeful and specific manner each day. Tom is a firm believer in focussing on the smaller, controllable things in one's life, arguing that when we do what is in front of us, we can affect greater change and broader achievements over time. We chat about the idea of the 'R' factor and how reactions to the hurdles we encounter are such a big part of how things pan out. The conversation also covers the processes that allow intentionality and reflection; for Tom, drilling down and organizing his activities makes all the difference. From there, we get into the all-important aspects of reflection, self-awareness, and identifying weaknesses, key components to improvement for any professional. The last part of today's episode is spent on the topic of networking and how to navigate social and business events in the best possible way. This means aligning to your own, individual strengths and playing to those as much as possible in order to avoid exhaustion. Listeners can expect to learn a great deal about Tom's attitude and hear some really inspiring ideas for implementing these notions

Key Points From This Episode:

 

  • The power of intentionality and purpose and how this applies to goal setting for Tom.  
  • Small steps and reactions on a daily basis on the way to achieving important milestones. 
  • Examples of Tom's reactions to common scenarios that arise in his work. 
  • Processes and preparedness; making the most of the opportunities leading up to a goal. 
  • The small, controllable variables that can determine the results of bigger things. 
  • The conditions for effective reflection and how it can play a big part in your growth. 
  • How Tom has identified weaknesses in himself and the time it took to address these. 
  • The levels to growth and the inspiration Tom has taken from mentors and heroes.
  • Tom's struggles with balance and following what feels healthy for you    
  • Networking events and working within your strengths to avoid overwhelm. 
  • It all comes down to integration and prioritization — making the most of each day.
  • Tom's advice for embracing life's challenges!

Tom Boniface LinkedIn
Alex Drost LinkedIn
Connection Builders LinkedIn

Have thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. [email protected]

Show Notes Transcript

Tom Boniface is the Vice President of Business Development at Hilco Global and someone who lives out the practices of intentionality, awareness, and a positive mental attitude in his daily life and career. We chat with Tom today about what these concepts mean to him and how he approaches them in a purposeful and specific manner each day. Tom is a firm believer in focussing on the smaller, controllable things in one's life, arguing that when we do what is in front of us, we can affect greater change and broader achievements over time. We chat about the idea of the 'R' factor and how reactions to the hurdles we encounter are such a big part of how things pan out. The conversation also covers the processes that allow intentionality and reflection; for Tom, drilling down and organizing his activities makes all the difference. From there, we get into the all-important aspects of reflection, self-awareness, and identifying weaknesses, key components to improvement for any professional. The last part of today's episode is spent on the topic of networking and how to navigate social and business events in the best possible way. This means aligning to your own, individual strengths and playing to those as much as possible in order to avoid exhaustion. Listeners can expect to learn a great deal about Tom's attitude and hear some really inspiring ideas for implementing these notions

Key Points From This Episode:

 

  • The power of intentionality and purpose and how this applies to goal setting for Tom.  
  • Small steps and reactions on a daily basis on the way to achieving important milestones. 
  • Examples of Tom's reactions to common scenarios that arise in his work. 
  • Processes and preparedness; making the most of the opportunities leading up to a goal. 
  • The small, controllable variables that can determine the results of bigger things. 
  • The conditions for effective reflection and how it can play a big part in your growth. 
  • How Tom has identified weaknesses in himself and the time it took to address these. 
  • The levels to growth and the inspiration Tom has taken from mentors and heroes.
  • Tom's struggles with balance and following what feels healthy for you    
  • Networking events and working within your strengths to avoid overwhelm. 
  • It all comes down to integration and prioritization — making the most of each day.
  • Tom's advice for embracing life's challenges!

Tom Boniface LinkedIn
Alex Drost LinkedIn
Connection Builders LinkedIn

Have thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. [email protected]

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Branch Out, a Connection Builders podcast. Helping middle market professionals connect, grow and excel in their careers. Through a series of conversations with leading professionals, we share stories and insights to take your career to the next level. A successful career begins with meaningful connections. 

[00:00:21] AD: Hey everyone, welcome to Branch Out. I’m your host, Alex Drost. On today's episode we jump into a conversation with Tom Boniface. Tom is a Vice President of Business Development for Hillco Global and we spend some time talking about the power of intentionality, self-awareness and a positive mental attitude. Hope you enjoy.

[00:00:40] ANNOUNCER: Connect and grow your network. We are on LinkedIn. Search for Connection Builders.

[INTERVIEW] 

[00:00:48] AD: Tom, welcome to Branch Out.

[00:00:49] TB: Thanks for having me, Alex. Glad to be here.

[00:00:52] TB: Absolutely. So Tom, I want to jump into a conversation that you and I were having a few weeks back, and it's about this idea of being intentional in your goal setting. Can you share some of your thoughts for our listeners?

[00:01:02] TB: Yeah. Being intentional to me is just – I mean you go out in your life with anything and you just got to be purposeful about every action. I believe if you're not putting purpose behind any sort of action you do, what's the point of doing it? Right? It's nice to sit around lazy and sit on the couch and watch some Netflix and stuff, but when it comes to stuff in life and at work and really serious things, you got to be intentional about what you're doing, and that goes with goal setting, right? Everybody wants to be successful in life. You have a place an idea of where you want to go, right? So you set that goal. But I think a lot of what gets ignored along the way are those middle goals, the short-term things that are on a Tuesday, or on a Wednesday, or September, six months out, right? What do I need to do then to make sure I’m still thinking about my long-term goals? And what do I need to do in a day-in day-out basis to make sure that we're still working towards that?

[00:01:55] AD: When you say that, what are some steps that you've taken in your life to make sure that those stay front of mind so that you're not losing sight of those smaller goals that maybe lead to the larger success in accomplishing the larger goal ultimately?

[00:02:08] TB: Yeah, sure. I’m a little OCD about how my structure my stuff. I need to be really kind of written down and talk about purpose. I mean there's a lot of intentionality with every little thing I do even to the point where I schedule my calls and my outreach and this is my note-taking time, etc. I bought into this concept a few years ago, The R Factor. It's put out by Tim Kight and a guy named Urban Myer who's now very popular in your neck of the woods. Please don't hold that against me. 

The R factor is all about outcomes in life are dictated by your response to events that occur to you. And a lot of it can be big. Cancer diagnosis, God forbid, or even positive things like a job promotion. What is your reaction to that and what's the outcome, right? So in a day-in day-out basis, I try to think about how can I manage those little R's along the way on a Tuesday, on a Wednesday, on a Friday morning to make sure that I’m still working towards those goals, right? That's kind of the quick and dirty of it.

[00:03:04] AD: Yeah. And so to be clear for our listeners, this is the idea that events in your life plus your reactions ultimately dictates the outcome for you, right? If I’m hearing you right, for our listeners, you're talking about the idea of being very conscious and intentional about your reactions to those events that are occurring and making sure that you're keeping that right mindset. Now when it comes to accomplishing your goal, now you're a professional, and like all professionals I think we have this drive in us to succeed and want to accomplish the really big things in life. You understand it takes those small steps and that intentionality again to get there. When you're thinking about your reactions, can you share any examples of areas where you've had a look at something that might have been really challenging at the time and had to change and reframe your approach to have the right reaction that kept you on track towards accomplishing those bigger goals without getting derailed?

[00:03:58] TB: And work specifically, right? In our business, it's about booking appraisals. Helping companies you know monetize their assets and things. We have competitors, right? Competitors beat us for deals. We beat competitors for deals. When you lose out on that you can either get in what The R Factor calls BCD, blame, complain, defend. Push it out towards others, “Well, it's all everyone else's fault. I’m in no control here.” Or you can take ownership and responsibility. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the event. Move forward and apply those going forward, and that's kind of how I approach a lot of those things, and it's even as simple as if I’m reaching out to a new prospect to say, “Hey, let's get together, let's meet.” And you get the, “Hey, I’m not interested in doing that.” How do you respond? Can you respond positively or you’re just, “Oh, man!” You get down. It's about that above the line thinking that I apply to all these situations.

[00:04:49] TB: Well, and that's so powerful like you said. It's making sure that you're not letting little things get you down and get you off track of what you're trying to accomplish. So now I know you mentioned you're really big in a process, and I’m with you. I believe in the power process and the power of having a system to look to and know that, “Okay, if I do this, then I do that,” that's how you ultimately get there. Maybe share a little bit about some of where you've put process in your life or places where you say, “Okay, this has really helped me by having these predefined steps in place to reach the success you're striving for.”

[00:05:21] TB: Yeah, that's a great question. I'll start by going back a little bit. I was an athlete in college, a swimmer, and in swimming part of being successful in swimming is the end of the year meet where you're training all year for this one or two kind of things, right? You build up to that, you taper off, you shave your legs you do all that. I even shaved my head one year. That was not pretty for anyone. When you start out the season in September and you're looking forward to an event and a big meet in March, right that's a long time away, right? What are you doing on the day-in day-out basis to continually reach those goals?

I learned that on a Wednesday in October if there's a – I was an IMer. That's where you swim all the events. But we didn't have a specific IM practice where you solely worked on that. So in September and October and November I had to find opportunities of when to work on breaststroke. When to work on butterfly? When to work on these other strokes that weren't necessarily for the race? Keeping in mind that, “Okay, I got to do this in March. I got to know what this got to feel like.” In business it's a lot of the same stuff. It's, “I’ve got a market I need to cover. I’ve got places I need to be. I know there are people I need to meet.” How do you do that? You look at every opportunity, and we talked about this and how we met, was this TMA event in middle of February like last year. It was snowing outside. It was a crappy day. It was dark. I made a promise to myself to be at that event no matter how weird it sounded, “Oh, this could be a done.” It was like, “Look, I made a promise to grow this market to be good about being in this market.” That means going to those TMA events no matter how bad it is, no matter how weird you feel. You push through it. And what happened was I had a positive mindset going in. You meet some good people, and here we are sitting on a podcast talking about this kind of stuff.

[00:07:07] AD: Well, no. Absolutely. I think you hit it so strong there. If I’m hearing you right, you sit back and you – When you're intentional and say, “Okay, I need to be going to these events to accomplish the goals I want to accomplish. I have set out in my calendar that I’m going to attend this event.” And then when that time comes, when you may not be necessarily excited. And we've all been there, right? We've all get to the end of the day and it's like, “I’m done. I want to go home. Or I want to go back to the hotel,” or whatever it might be because you're just tired from a day. But you say, “Hey, I have to do this because I committed to it before.” And then the big key that I really think was important there, you went in with the right mental attitude. You went excited looking forward to something, right?

[00:07:46] TB: Right. And that harps on another point that I think is important to remember here is, and this is part of The R Factor. No matter how out of control things seem, events, there are still so many variables that you can control to dictate that outcome. One of this was attitude. Another one was effort, right? Am I putting a hundred percent effort into this thing? Is my attitude in the right place? And then apart from that, other controllable variables to your events are responsiveness, reaction and mindset. Mindset plays in a little bit with attitude and effort, but those are all very controllable variables on a day-in and day-out basis regularly come up. You control those little things. And this is something also kind of plays into this. You control the little things and the big things take care of themselves. It's very cliché, but I think it's very true. You control those little things like attitude, responsiveness, effort, reaction, mindset on a daily, even hourly basis. The big things, the reaching your sales quotas, meeting the right people, developing those strong relationships. Those kind of things just kind of take care of themselves. It's not a given, but it does just kind of happen. It's powerful the way that happens.

[00:08:54] AD: You're so right there, and I think you brought up the example of especially in your role in your business, you may be in a situation where you've been courting a client. You get down the road. You're trying to win the business and then you find out it went somewhere else, and that's always frustrating, right? No one likes that, but that is a reality. You can't control that you have zero control over the final decision they make, right? They make the decision independently on their own and the only thing you can personally control is the actions and steps you took leading up to that to build the positive relationship, positive environment, and then ultimately the positive reaction on the other side of that, right? Getting mad at the client or having a negative reaction to it is going to do nothing. Or worse yet, you let it bring you down and then you're deflated and you don't go on. You stop doing business development or you tone it back because you think it's just not worth the time, right? You have to control that.

[00:09:46] TB: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's about putting the best foot forward at all times. I don't want to say you kind of let the chips fall where they may, but I mean there are variables like we just said that are uncontrollable. In swimming it was you could swim your absolute fastest in a race faster than you've ever gone, but if the guy next to you goes a little bit faster, you can't control that. You can't jump over the lane or anything like that. It's different than other sports, but the principle is you can only control so many things.

[00:10:13] AD: Again, tying it back to the idea of being intentional. In some ways it's sitting down and being intentional about what you're going to focus on knowing that you're only going to focus on those things that you have control over. And if it's a variable that you can't control, stop focusing on it. Stop wasting mental energy because it's never going to get you anywhere.

[00:10:31] TB: Right. Or even dig down deeper and say how can I get some sort of locus of control around this? I’m trying to meet this person. They won't reply to me. Where else do I go? Where's another avenue?

[00:10:41] AD: Absolutely, right? And now where I want to tie in on that, I know you and I have talked a lot about this idea of reflection and the power of reflection. And in some ways for people to really understand their own strengths and in their own areas of influence and areas that they can control, that does require some reflection and being able to step back and really assess the situation. Share a little bit about your thoughts and reflection and how you've used it in your career.

[00:11:05] TB: Yeah. I think reflection is a tool that aids growth, but it requires brutal honesty and self-responsibility to truly be effective, right? Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. But in order for reflection to be an effective tool, you must, must, must identify, accept your weaknesses and your flaws as opportunities for growth and change and be totally honest about it. It's not a negative thing. It's a positive thing. Again, speaking the mindset and the control you have, right? Use those things as opportunities for growth. Identify them. See how to improve and then execute. 

[00:11:41] AD: You’re so right there. If you don't know your weaknesses, your flaws, then how are you going to know where you have opportunities to grow? How are you going to really understand that? And a good question I have to you is how do you identify those? What are things you've done to really help yourself see the weaknesses, right? Because I have this big belief that nobody wakes up in the morning trying to have big flaws and weaknesses, right? We're all trying to do our best, but we all have them, right? I’m just as guilty as the next person on it. And it's very difficult at times to see it and it sometimes takes reflection, but also maybe influence from other people in other ways. And I just love to get some of your thoughts about what you've done to help yourself identify those weaknesses and then ultimately adapt to them.

[00:12:22] TB: Yeah. I mean it took a long time. A lot of it was you know my own self-reflection. Realizing that I wasn't being away that I wanted to be the way that I knew I was inherently built, right? All of us are human. So inherently we're built with flaws, just like you said. You don't wake up every day and say, “How can I do better?” but I think a lot of that was. Harking back to swimming it was, “Where am I weak in this race and how do I improve that?” And then apply it on a day-in day-out basis, right? I wasn't good at underwater kicking. So every day for a month it was 400 bar dolphin kicks off every wall no matter the set. And it was torture. But in business it's a lot tougher, right? You need coaches. You need people around. You need to surround yourself with people that are going to be brutally honest with you that care about you and your success, whether that's a mentor, whether that's my wife. My wife is extremely honest with me, has always been. And luckily for me I’ve been able to grow from that and our relationship has been a lot taken a many steps forward because of how brutally honest she is with me.

In the workplace it's the same thing. We at Hillco, amazing organization, but for the longest time we never really had a performance improvement kind of thing. So we've taken a lot of steps towards improving that as an organization. But something I’ve done every year since being there is have a yearly discussion with my boss and the guy that runs our group about where am I at. What do you see as my weaknesses? And how do I move forward? How can I improve? And it's not just those two. Even it's the four other people that I work with on a day-in day-out basis, “Hey, where do you see I’m weak? What can I do better?” 

These are people you're talking to all the time. They see this kind of stuff. They've been in the business a long time. They have a lot more tenure than I do even in life. For them to kind of give that input and see things from a different light and then apply that for me, nothing to do but grow from there.

[00:14:09] AD: Well, and if I’m hearing you right there, I think that the big key takeaway is when you're looking for that honest feedback to identify weaknesses and flaws, it's having a level of vulnerability and ultimately a level of honesty with yourself of, “Hey, I’m not perfect.” And I’m a big believer that feedback is good and it doesn't mean all feedback is always constructive and good, that we're always going to run into people in our lives that say things that maybe aren't that helpful for us. So you can't get hung up on that, but you have to be open enough to at least hear what's being said and really internally process that.

[00:14:44] TB: That's where reflection comes in. It's about weeding through the fluff, the air, the weeds to see the truth. And anything anyone says there's always some sort of truth, right? You just got to find it, right? There're piles and piles of other things that will distract you and send you other places, but there's always truth there. And to find that truth is difficult. But when you find it and can apply it, it can be extremely powerful.

[00:15:09] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, a Connection Builders podcast.

[00:15:18] AD: I like that. Now one of the things I heard you saying there is when you're doing your reflection, when you're really sitting back and thinking, you're comparing your actions and the outcomes you're having with who you really want to be. Now the key there though is you must actually know who you want to be, right? And I think so many of us go through life on autopilot to tie this back to intentionality in some ways and really being able to know who you are and what you're trying to achieve to make sure that what you are doing falls in line with that. Can you share a little bit about what you've done to make sure you're clear to yourself and who you want to be and make sure you're staying on that track?

[00:15:58] TB: So for me I’ve constantly picked out mentors and people that are older than me, people that have had successes and say, “Okay, what are they doing right in their life? What can I pick up from that? How do I apply that?” And once you kind of hit a level and say, “Okay, I think I figured out a lot of this. What's next? How can I continue to grow? What else can I learn from these people around me in order to continually push myself forward?” Does that make sense?

[00:16:22] AD: Absolutely. Now we've talked a few times. You're a former student athlete. You have a lot of the endurance athlete built into your personality. You're also a professional. So you're very go-go-go I assume. You've got a very driven-determined personality. Have you struggled with balance at all? Have you struggled with the idea of I think so many professionals struggle with that area. Any thoughts you can share around that?

[00:16:46] TB: Yeah, I think everybody struggles with balance. I started doing business development three years ago, and right off the bat it was a struggle. It was trying to find balance. And at the time know my wife and I were planning a wedding. My brother was getting married the same year. So there was all that too. I lost my grandfather that year. It was a whole bunch of stuff. But to answer your question, yeah, I’ve struggled with balance. But through the kind of process of reflection, learn, apply, you figure out, you get into a rhythm, you identify, “Okay. Well, I missed out on that opportunity. Make sure I won't do that again,” right? Learn how to identify those opportunities so you don't miss out on them. It's about applying it. I think that's probably the most important part about trying to achieve balance is looking at being brutally honest about where am I at my best. What am I really good at? I’m a morning person. SO from the moment the sun rises, I’m going, right? It’s go, go, go, go, go. 

But in the evenings, later on, around 9:00, 9:30PM, I start to fall off because I’m tired. I’m like, “All right, I’m a morning person though.” So knowing that I say, “Okay, well do I want to do late afternoon meetings? Maybe. What am I most productive? Well, it's the morning. So I need to make sure that, hey, I’m exercising in the morning.” Another important thing for me is I need my exercise almost on a daily basis. So if I need to get that in the morning, okay, I need to work that in. Better in my meetings in the morning. So I’m going to do more of those in the morning. If I need to do something in the evening, I’m going to make sure I’m well-rested for it. Build in that time.

[00:18:16] AD: Well, the two big themes that I’m hearing you say right there is awareness and back to intentionality, right? An awareness of yourself and how you function best and realizing we're all different. I’m like you. I’m like a 4:30, 5 o'clock guy every morning. And with you like, after 9:00PM is a really tough time of day for me. So I get up early like you and knock things out. But for everyone, they have to step back and say, “Okay, what works for me both from a time and energy management standpoint?” So that's the awareness side. But then it's the intentionality behind that. It's saying, “Okay, I know this about myself. So therefore I can plan my day best to accomplish things knowing those variables about myself.”

[00:18:55] TB: Exactly. And you just hit on what we were talking about earlier, right? Reflection as a tool to help you move forward and do the best job you can, right? Reflecting where am I at my best, right? When am I aware? When am I best set up as an energy standpoint and putting my best foot forward? Is it a morning thing? Is it an evening thing? Am I best at one-on-one? Am I better in group settings? All those sorts of things are important to recognize for yourself especially in, I mean, our kind of role, right? Are you better in big conferences, right? 

A lot of what I do and a lot of what I think a lot of people listen to this podcast do go to these big conferences, big room. There are people – I have a colleague who's total opposite of me. He'll meet everybody there and have a conversation. Get a business card. My goals are a little different and they're going to meet as many people as I can and have really meaningful conversations. And if I don't see everyone, hey, that's okay. But I’m also better in a one-on-one setting than he is. So it's a give and take and you just got to be real with yourself.

[00:19:53] AD: And that is such a strong point there. So I’m like your colleague you're mentioning. I’m the guy that runs around an event and shakes 50 hands and comes home with a stack of business cards. The honest reality is I can do fine in one-on-one. I’ve had hundreds of one-on-one meetings in my life, but I do feel less comfortable and it is definitely more taxing on me than being in a large environment setting. And everyone is different. And once you identify that, you need to lean into that. And what I’ve seen all too often are people that you look up and the senior partner in the organization probably aligns more with me in many cases where they are the guy running around and knowing a thousand people. And if that's not the way that your personality works, trying to do that is your primary focus, that's a silly approach. That's leaning into your weaknesses. 

Now it doesn't mean that you never go to a networking event. It doesn't mean you hide from those things. It doesn't mean you can't strengthen skills and areas of weakness, but why would you try to become someone you're not just because someone else is doing it, right? There are a million different ways to accomplish the same goal.

[00:20:53] TB: I couldn't agree more. You said that perfectly. What works for somebody might now work for them. And I'll kind of preface the whole conversation with this is just what works for me. My colleagues do things differently and it's worked great for them. Lucky for me moving into this kind of role, Hillco’s a big organization, so I’ve had a lot of people I’ve learned from. A lot of different ways to fillet a fish. And I figured out my kind of way of doing things and not to say that I’ve totally figured it out either. It's constantly evolving. I think people need to be open to those kind of conversations. Be open to change. Be open to learning more, because the only thing that comes out of it is positive growth. It may not seem like it in the moment because there are a lot of small things, but there is positive growth that comes out of tough conversations and tough self-reflection and self-responsibility reflection.

[00:21:41] AD: No. 100%. And you said it well there. I think that the word I heard you use there is evolve, right? And we all continuously evolve in our thinking. That's part of being human, right? And that's the great thing about being human, is you can constantly change if you're open to it. If you're open to having that mindset of growth and of evolution and to remember that things are going to change. And as you spend more and more time being open to that evolution, you're going to continue to grow in both your professional career, but also in your personal life.

[00:22:08] TB: Right. And I think the professional – I mean harken back to what we talked about, little things, big things. Take care of the little things in your personal life, right? Those kind of self-reflection, brutal, honest conversations to make yourself the best person. It comes forward in the work life. It comes forward when you go to a networking event. If you take care of the Maslow's hierarchy of needs. I’m sure everybody studied that in Psyc 101, right? You take care of those base things, your roof over your head, food to feed your family, income coming in, you can start to take care of some of the bigger things. Same thing on this front. If you can take care and be your best self day-in and day-out and you don't have to think about it and it's a process, the big things. When you go to those big conferences, it's just going to shine. It's just going to happen.

[00:22:53] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, bringing you candid conversations with leading middle market professionals.

[00:23:01] AD: Absolutely. And you've said a few times, lead with your best foot forward and bringing your best self. And one thing I see all too often are people that go into some kind of a networking event, whether that be a one-on-one or a large networking event, and they're overwhelmed. They've got 5000 emails on their phone. They're trying to keep up with their head's spinning. They're thinking about the client work and they're not really present. They're not in a good mood. That can have really negative impacts to people.

Now my question to you is, is there anything you've done personally to make sure that when you're going into networking situations, you're going in with a smile on your face, that you are bringing the right mental attitude there?

[00:23:37] TB: That's a great question. I haven't done all of them. I haven't seen every scenario, but I feel like I’ve done enough of them to be able to know like how to set myself up for success. Let's use the TMA event that we met at as a perfect example, right? Day full of meetings. End of the day, poker. I’m not a poker player, but I kind of know how this is going to go. It's going to be a small venue, small group. I remember the day pretty vividly actually. I was feeling tired. I had a quick break. I was like, “All right, I’m going to nap 20 minutes, right? Answer some emails for 30 and then I’m going to head over there.” 

For me it's about building time into the day to do those kinds of things to make sure that you're not overwhelmed. My wife hates this. When I go on vacation, it's important for me to stay connected, right? I don't need to be answering everything, but I need to know what's going on so that on the backend when that vacation ends I’m not totally behind. That's something that I know I hate about myself. If I’m behind by a week on answering stuff and getting back to people or even taking care of simple things like around the house and stuff, I’m not a pleasant person to be around. So doing the little things day-in day-out, right? Checking the email, “Okay, is this covered? Is this taken care of?” goes a long way from my own mental health and I can be better on vacation. I can be more present on a vacation if I’m checking my email constantly. I swear to you, it's so backwards, but honestly I could be a better person to be around if I’m doing that if I build that time in.

[00:24:59] AD: Well, and you hit on something that I think is really important. Everyone is different. And just because some people approach life one way doesn't mean that approach works for you. You said it very clearly there. You know for yourself if you feel out of the loop and behind on things, it's going to bother you more than if you were to just take that time totally away from stuff. Everyone's different in that area, right? And so you've made the right steps in your life to make sure that you're building your life around a way that you don't fall behind, that you don't find yourself in those situations.

[00:25:29] TB: And as a result it's going to negatively impact our business, which is I mean talk about little things, right? It's affecting me on a day-to-day business, but if it affects this, that's really bad. So taking that all into consideration is important.

[00:25:41] AD: Absolutely. And that ties into the conversation that I was having with someone else earlier, this idea of work-life balance versus work-life integration, right? In some ways the world we live in today, it's more integration than it is balance especially as a professional, right?

[00:25:55] TB: I couldn't agree more. I think that's the perfect way to put it. It's about integration. You've got so many variables. You've got tasks. Talk about goal setting, right? You've got long-term goals. You've got short-term goals. Some of those short-term goals are I need to get this done today. I need to have this done. There are things I need to do for work. There are things I need to do for life, right? Whether it's pleasure like working out. Or what I did recently, re-staining my porch. I got to fit that in, but I also got to fit in all my work stuff, and work stuff has its own list. And all those variables, control of all those variables is really important. And being able to kind of love and just accept all of it is I think also important to recognize. 

So many people are, I just think, unhappy in what they're doing and it's tough. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. Yeah, it's not as simple as just saying change the conversation, which I agree with. If you have more control over these kind of things, t hen I think people perceive they can't be that exists. Being able to control those are and take those variables that we talked about earlier. It was attitude, responsiveness, effort, reaction, mindset. Being able to control those things and see what I need to do on a day-to-day basis and fit all that in, it is possible.

[00:27:05] AD: Absolutely. The one thing I’m a huge believer, and we all have the same 24 hours in the day. No matter who you are, we all get 24 of them, and it's a prioritization thing. When it really comes down to it, it's prioritization, right? Because you, me and everyone listening to this show has more things to do than we'll ever be able to accomplish in a day. And the number of times I said, “Well, if I just have four more hours in a day, I'd be great.” Well, of course, so the whole world. But that's not how it works, right? It comes down to really setting yourself up for success through the intentionality, through knowing yourself, the awareness and controlling your reactions and you tie that all together and it's going to put you on the right path.

Now I think my final questions here for you is you think about your journey through this, any advice to someone who is sitting back and saying, “Yeah, I like what you're saying. That all makes a lot of sense. But, man, life's just tough.” We've all been there. We've all been in ruts. We've all been in struggles before. Anything that you can share to help people think through that?

[00:28:00] TB: I echo what you say, life is tough. And the sooner you accept that, the sooner you can kind of move forward. I’m not a journaler, but I’m a big list maker, and everything on my list is actionable, controllable, things that I can directly just check off. For example, make 20 calls a day. That's not on my list, but something a lot of people have, right? You have direct control over that. Am I going to get promoted? Something very uncontrollable, but what you can do is you can fall back on, “I can't do this, but what else can I do?” You look for the opening. You look for – Like a running back running into an offensive line, right?  You got to look for the opening to gain those yards. And life, I'd say to people, look for those openings. Look for those opportunities to move the ball forward towards your goals or just to continually do things that are controllable. 

[00:28:46] AD: No. Absolutely. I think that's so well said. So, Tom, I really appreciate you coming on today. I really appreciate your time. I think you've had some really great insights to share here. And just to really recap, it comes down to being intentional, having the right attitude and building that awareness. And if you do those things, I think you're going to be successful.

[00:29:04] TB: Couldn't agree more. Thanks for having me, Alex. This was fun.

[00:29:07] AD: Absolutely.

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