Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders

Adapting to Change - Tom Boniface

June 14, 2021 Connection Builders Episode 46
Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders
Adapting to Change - Tom Boniface
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Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders
Adapting to Change - Tom Boniface
Jun 14, 2021 Episode 46
Connection Builders

As much as humans hate the unknown, the fact is that circumstances always change, so the better we get at adapting, the more chance we have of surviving and thriving. Tom Boniface is Vice President of Business Development with Hilco Global, and he joins us on the show to share the challenges the pandemic posed to his routines and the lessons he learned about adaptation. At the height of the pandemic and a time where social distancing was in full effect, Tom was assigned two new markets to develop and had to figure out how he was going to do this successfully in a remote capacity. Tom is a big subscriber to the E plus R equals O framework, or events plus response equals outcomes. So for him, it was all about changing his response to new events as a way of achieving the desired outcomes. Tom believes that we should not get hung up on a premise that states there is only one way of doing things, and he talks about how reflection, creativity, and believing that anything is possible can help us invent new methods for achieving our goals as our environments change. We also hear from Tom about the way he practiced authenticity with his professional connections, the lesson being that people are always willing to help if you just ask. For all this and more about the best attitude to employ in a constantly changing environment, be sure to tune in today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Changing responses to events to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Finding ways to meet the same goals even when circumstances change.
  • The story of host Alex starting a new business and adapting as COVID struck.
  • Changing your attitude toward shifting circumstances and not getting flustered.
  • Methods Tom used to still build relationships remotely.
  • Positive outcomes of Tom’s changed lifestyle as far as having extra time. 
  • Bearing in mind that change is inevitable and being ready to adapt.
  • Taking comfort in the things you can control in times of uncertainty.
  • Tom’s attitude to being assigned two new markets he had to develop remotely.
  • How helpful people can be; how Tom remembered to be vulnerable and ask for help.
  • Not getting hung up on a premise that there is only one way to do things.
  • Remembering to reflect on a new method and revise it.
  • Whether to lean into things you are not good at or work around them.
  • Creating zones for different focuses to deal with living and working at home.
  • Remembering not to give up because you can’t do things in the same way anymore.
  • The way that change encourages one to reshuffle their life in positive ways.
  • Learning to believe that there is always another way of doing something.


Tom Boniface on LinkedIn
Hilco Global
Tom's Previous Branch Out Episode
Alex Drost LinkedIn
Branch Out Podcast LinkedIn
Connection Builders LinkedIn

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

Show Notes Transcript

As much as humans hate the unknown, the fact is that circumstances always change, so the better we get at adapting, the more chance we have of surviving and thriving. Tom Boniface is Vice President of Business Development with Hilco Global, and he joins us on the show to share the challenges the pandemic posed to his routines and the lessons he learned about adaptation. At the height of the pandemic and a time where social distancing was in full effect, Tom was assigned two new markets to develop and had to figure out how he was going to do this successfully in a remote capacity. Tom is a big subscriber to the E plus R equals O framework, or events plus response equals outcomes. So for him, it was all about changing his response to new events as a way of achieving the desired outcomes. Tom believes that we should not get hung up on a premise that states there is only one way of doing things, and he talks about how reflection, creativity, and believing that anything is possible can help us invent new methods for achieving our goals as our environments change. We also hear from Tom about the way he practiced authenticity with his professional connections, the lesson being that people are always willing to help if you just ask. For all this and more about the best attitude to employ in a constantly changing environment, be sure to tune in today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Changing responses to events to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Finding ways to meet the same goals even when circumstances change.
  • The story of host Alex starting a new business and adapting as COVID struck.
  • Changing your attitude toward shifting circumstances and not getting flustered.
  • Methods Tom used to still build relationships remotely.
  • Positive outcomes of Tom’s changed lifestyle as far as having extra time. 
  • Bearing in mind that change is inevitable and being ready to adapt.
  • Taking comfort in the things you can control in times of uncertainty.
  • Tom’s attitude to being assigned two new markets he had to develop remotely.
  • How helpful people can be; how Tom remembered to be vulnerable and ask for help.
  • Not getting hung up on a premise that there is only one way to do things.
  • Remembering to reflect on a new method and revise it.
  • Whether to lean into things you are not good at or work around them.
  • Creating zones for different focuses to deal with living and working at home.
  • Remembering not to give up because you can’t do things in the same way anymore.
  • The way that change encourages one to reshuffle their life in positive ways.
  • Learning to believe that there is always another way of doing something.


Tom Boniface on LinkedIn
Hilco Global
Tom's Previous Branch Out Episode
Alex Drost LinkedIn
Branch Out Podcast LinkedIn
Connection Builders LinkedIn

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

[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:04.5] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Branch Out, a connection builder’s 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.

[0:00:20.7] AD: Hey everyone, welcome to Branch Out Podcast. I’m your host Alex Drost. Today’s guest is Tom Boniface. Vice president of Business Development with Hilco Global. Tom and I drive into the challenges associated with change and how to best adjust and adapt to changes in your environment. I hope you all enjoy.

[0:00:40.4] ANNOUNCER: Connect and grow your network. We are on LinkedIn, search for Connection Builders.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:00:47.3] AD: Tom, welcome to The Branch Out Podcast, excited to have you back on here again.

[0:00:51.9] TB: I’m excited to be back Alex, it’s good to see you once again.

[0:00:56.0] AD: We’re here for a really fun topic today, we’re here to talk about change. I think everyone’s favorite topic but also everyone’s least favorite topic in the same way. We’re going to talk about what change really means and how to really adapt to that and I think really interesting about this today is we sit here recording this and it’ll be a little bit before this podcast comes out for our listeners but we’re a little bit over a year into the pandemic right now. 

If you want to talk about change, and having everything in life change in one way or another, 2020 taught us that. As we sit here Tom in thinking a year into this and talking about change. Let me just ask you, what does change mean to you?

[0:01:44.3] TB: Change means a lot of things, people say change is constant. I think in the last year, I think of more the word of adjustment, right? What’s really – you talk about what’s changed around us, right? You and I have talked about this. I subscribe to the R factor, the E plus R equals O, events plus response is equal outcomes.

There’s a whole bunch of different ways to slicing it but really to me, what’s changed in the last year is the events around you. What do you do? Right? I personally, you have to change the R, you change the response to the events to equal the same outcomes because really, again, we talk about the last year, right? The events have changed but the outcomes haven’t. How do you adapt and how do you change your R to meet those same outcomes given that the events and everything around you has a change or maybe the better word is adjustment, right?

[0:02:42.5] AD: No, I like that, right? I think again, when we talk easy, I say change, whether we say change, we say adjustment. What we’re really talking about here is the world is evolving. Things around you, dynamics, your life is changing or you personally want to bring change to yourself, right? At some level, I think at least for myself, I feel an innate drive to want to improve my life, improve my life for myself and for those around me, right?

I constantly seek ways to grow and to improve and what that really means is adapting change. At the same time, if I just look at my life in general, the world changes around me. Things that maybe I got comfortable doing are all of a sudden going to change. You and I, when we were talking about this last week, we had said our gym habits, fitness habits, right? Say, “Okay, well pre-COVID, you could have a great fitness habit but COVID has changed that.” 

Well, now, we’re in COVID, we’ve been in it for a year, everyone’s got a little bit of a fitness habit built up but what happens when things start to shift back to whatever life looks like post-COVID, right? That’s change again. Finding ways to, I like what you said around that. It’s really looking for ways to adapt to the surroundings around you, right? Adapt to those changes and your outcomes, you still want to be the same but you're looking for ways to adapt to that, right?

[0:04:00.1] TB: Right, yeah. I guess the way I’ve always thought about it is, you’re always at a constant phase of adjustment, there are always things moving around you that you can’t change but your goals and you kind of hit on it, right? Your goal to always do better and give back and better yourself for the betterment of others, you know? That goal doesn’t change.

How do you continue to try to meet that goal given that you can’t get together in person or you can’t go to the DAC and do your workout, right? You’ve got knocked out which is good. I’m still using TRX straps in my home that fall off the door once in a while.

It’s things like that, I still have my fitness goals and I can’t go in a gym and use kettle bells and stuff but okay, how can I still shift, right? How can I still go to meet those goals, right? Business, it’s – your whole business is built around building relationships, right? I’m interested, I want to hear you about how you’ve tried to grow your business in the last year. Going into that thinking, “Hey, we’ll be able to bring people in the office and do all this” and then quickly, it shifted to all virtual. I mean, how has that been for you?

[0:05:08.4] AD: Well, As Tom takes over as the host of the show, I’m going to switch into guest in there. No, obviously, you and I didn’t talk about this before we jumped on here but I think it’s something I’d love to talk a little bit about. You're right. I started a business and for those of you that don’t know, I left a career in investment banking, started a business that I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to do but something that had to do with professional development, professional growth and networking.

Some intersection of that and I left my previous career to start this in October of 2019 and really started getting a good footing around February or early March of 2020 is when I kind of started having some clarity of “Okay, here is how I can make this business work.”

Well, I will tell you that literally everything I thought, everything I have planned, every bit of thoughts that I had put together became absolutely moot in the middle of March last year when COVID hit.

What’s interesting and this is kind of our whole change topic and conversation. When that first hit, I think for all of us, it was well, this is going to be four weeks and then maybe it’s eight weeks, then it was going to be like 12 weeks. “Okay, by fall, it would be normal”. Well, as spring started coming last year, we got to May and June and it became pretty evident that this wasn’t going anywhere and this was going to be here for a while.

I started really realizing, you’re right, my goals, my objectives, what I wanted to accomplish as a business hadn’t really changed from the beginning at all. The only thing that changed was how it was going to be done. How you were going to approach the marketplace and that’s hard. That’s really hard for anyone and it was hard for me in this business and it still remains to be a challenge in learning in adapting and changing the thought process behind things, right?

I think that’s a notable for everyone. Thinking in my example or anyone’s example where you step back and say, “Okay, you have a real change of circumstances, a change of dynamics around you.” Most of the time, those are out of your control. 

The biggest thing and this is my own life lesson through all of this is you can be as frustrated as you want, about the circumstances around you and blame those as being the barriers for achieving what your end objective is or you can just say, “Yeah, that changed, let’s figure it out.” It sucks like yeah, it made things harder for me for my business, it made things a lot harder. There’s no doubt, it changed the trajectory of the path or the object – I wouldn’t say the objective but the steps I had to take to get there.

At the end of the day, you said, the objective hasn’t changed, the goal, what I wanted to do is the same thing I wanted to do a year and a half ago, it just looks different today. That all was forced to change the plans.

Again, it wasn’t, “Oh my gosh, I can’t do what I originally thought I would do because of COVID” it was, “Oh my gosh, I can still do what I thought I was going to do but it’s going to have to look different.” You’re going to have to do this differently, right?

[0:08:07.4] TB: Right, yeah, you had your goals going in and it’s like, you could either let the emotion kind of take over as you kind of hit on, right? Being very early in the business, I can only imagine what that feels like to have your plans not totally scrapped but be able to make that big pivot.

For me, it was so much of my day to day is building relationships and what we talk about, right? You have to – the previous thought was you had to be face-to-face to do that. Well, you can ‘t be face-to-face, what do you do? The goals don’t change, right? I took over two new markets last year, how do you build relationships and new markets when you can’t get face-to-face. Well, you got this medium where you can connect via video or you just pickup the phone and you know, you can still do that. In some ways, you could be more efficient with it.

Something I found was that you just stack stuff on top of one another and you can get a lot more done, you have a lot more free time to dedicate to other things, you know, you and I were talking about how you found the ability to slow down, right? I take two days a week where I just sleep in. Typically, I’m a morning person, up super early, I sleep-in two days a week and just like, “Okay, let’s do this, let’s take a walk in the morning” right?

The day still starts at the same time but you got this extra time, how are you using that, right? Those are all ours to the event, you know, they’re still helping you dictate the same outcomes, right?

[0:09:25.4] AD: Yeah, Tom, I think what you hit on there is, you want the same outcome, you have to change the way you adapt and your example around networking and video and face to face, this is a really important one again. Obviously, it has a lot to do with my work today and I’ve spent a lot of time doing this, networking over the last year here and have certainly talked to hundreds of people at this point about networking and what do they think about, what was interesting is early on, I encountered individuals that very much told me, in this business, you just can’t sell over the Internet.

You just can’t build a relationship over a virtual call, you have to be face to face, it’s just how it has to be. In those, I think a lot of us thought that early on and I think a lot of us as you said, pre-COVID, we thought the only way to build relationships was face to face.

Now, I’m not at all discounting the value of face to face and I believe very much that we will return to some level of face to face and that will be a component of what you do because there is inherently value and there’s part of human interaction and relationships, rapport that is absolutely built when you’re sitting in a face-to-face environment.

All of that said, virtual still works. If it really didn’t work, then this last year has been super hard for you. You’re gone at this point, right? When it was 12 weeks, maybe you were able to just kind of hold out and make it last. The world has changed, the world has fundamentally changed.

[0:10:51.5] TB: Or you just – you accept the premise of what you just talked about, which I refuse to accept is that there’s only one way to do things and that’s a good way to box yourself in and just kind of, what I call BCD blame, complain, defend, right? I’m not doing, okay, the event has changed and therefore I can’t reach the same outcome. It’s like, no, that’s not true, you can always change your R to reach the same outcome. You just got to get creative with how to do it, right? “I don’t like video”, okay, pick up the phone and call someone, right?

You still got a job to do, you still got goals to hit, right? Like folks in Detroit saying, “The electric car will never happen”. “Are you kidding me?” It is happening, it is. You either get onboard, you accept the premise, right? That the world is changing and figure out a way to adapt or you don’t and you’re a dinosaur, you’re dead.

[SPONSOR MESSAGE]

[0:11:39.9] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, a connection builder’s podcast.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[0:11:50.1] AD: I was always told as a child, never say never. I think there’s a lot of merit to that, right? You can obviously take that to extremes in many ways but I do believe that when you find yourself in a fixed way of thinking, when you're saying, “Well this is just how it has to be. That will never work, we can never do it that way, this is how it is,” and you said, don’t accept the premise and I like that, I think that’s a good mantra to have and knowing that I think the difficult part and this is just me kind of thinking aloud a little bit here but the difficult part with that is I like certainty. I hate uncertainty, I hate unknowns.

[0:12:23.3] TB: Everyone does, yeah.

[0:12:24.7] AD: Right? Exactly, but it forces you to think, it forces you to expel mental energy to be concerned about that so I’d rather just have certainty and concrete ways of going about things and I understand that and I want those and where I can build those into my life, I’m going to seek to have those but even when I have that stability, doesn’t mean I believe that stability is inevitable to never change or to never have any disruptions or – and accepting that, right?

Tom, let’s talk on adaptability for a minute here. As we look at this idea that we can’t assume that the way we think or what we have will always be here, that we have to know that change is going to be inevitable, something, in some circumstance, out of our control is going to happen and what’s really important for us is to be able to adapt.

Again, human mind and at least for me, I certainly, I like stability, I like to know something, I like to have predictability and know what’s going to happen, I don’t like the uncertainty, right? I have to adapt.

[0:13:22.5] TB: Yeah, and uncertainty is something that’s pervasive in life, it’s like change, it’s like adapting, right? The environments are always changing around you. When uncertainty is met, right? People tend to scramble and try to grasp on anything they can. I’ve learned and I hope this message can get conveyed the right way is that when there’s a lot of uncertainty, you have to find the things that are controllable and certain, right?

What can you control in your life, what’s actually controllable and not – what can you hope to control. What’s actually controllable, what can you hang on to, right? How do you lean on those in the uncertain times to create the own certainty for yourself if that makes sense?

There’s certain things you can’t control, that are certain that you can make certain, right? That will help eliminate a lot of the negative emotion around uncertainty because humans as you pointed out, humans don’t like uncertainty, nobody does.

[0:14:16.1] AD: No.

[0:14:16.6] TB: Right?

[0:14:17.1] AD: I hate uncertainty. I’m a control freak but – let’s talk through this. I think we all are in our own ways, right? Let’s talk through this for a minute and we’re going to use the networking example because it’s a really easy one. Tom, as you shared, you were right before COVID hit, you were assigned two new markets to cover, your based up Chicago.

[0:14:36.1] TB: Midway through COVID.

[0:14:37.6] AD: Midway through COVID, sorry. You’re based in Chicago and the markets that you were assigned to cover were what?

[0:14:44.4] TB: Toronto and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is near where I grew up so that was a little, at least you have a reference point then, you can – sports guy, I talk Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins and whatever else happens there, the Insers, right? That’s what Pittsburgheans call themselves.

Yeah, they other one was Toronto which we can’t even get into Canada as US citizens, right? They don’t want us and maybe for good reason but yeah.

[0:15:09.5] AD: There’s more to that. Let me ask you this, you’re assigned to a new market and historically, pre COVID, how would you have handled that? 

[0:15:17.1] TB: Get out into the market and start meeting people face-to-face.

[0:15:20.1] AD: Jump on a plane.

[0:15:20.7] TB: It’s the easy way to – yeah, exactly.

[0:15:22.9] AD: Right? You’d go and meet them, you fly into time, just actually just like you and I met, right? You were covering Detroit market, you were here, I think we met at a poker event. Just crossed paths and this is years ago now but you would come to market and you’d go to events and ultimately make those connections, right? Face-to-face and build some of that out and then do the follow-up afterwards and that’s how you start building that.

Well, today you can’t do any of that. You can only do it over video and if I would have said to you a year and a half ago that you’re going to be covering Pittsburgh and Toronto as a new market and you're not allowed to fly there, you’re not allowed to go in person. What would you have said to me? You would have looked at me like I was crazy. It’s impossible. It’s totally impossible, right?

[0:16:06.7] TB: Got points coming out your head or something, yeah.

[0:16:09.7] AD: Right? Okay, well now it’s happened, we’re in COVID obviously now and you’ve actually proven this out. What have you learned from that, what have you seen in that process and then really what I’m trying to identify or what are some of the thoughts? Less so about the specifics behind in person versus virtual but where maybe some of the thought pattens or things that you said to yourself, hey, this just won’t work and all of a sudden you’ve proven, well, actually yeah, it can.

[0:16:34.0] TB: Yeah, to be honest, I don’t even think I entertained the notion of this is impossible. It was I have a goal I need to do this, what’s a way to do it, right? At the time it was, we were getting to the point where Zoomed out became a thing. People were sick of doing the videos back-to-back, just go on that. You say, “Okay, how do I… Is someone trying to build relationships and make accommodations for other people?” I try to let other people tell me what to they prefer.

Let’s do a phone call, let’s just talk on the phone, right? If you want to do video, I’m happy to do it but let’s talk about it on the phone and just kind of go block and tack on execute, right? As you would if you were going out there in person but now you're just sitting behind the desk which isn’t you know, you can argue it’s better or worse but at the end of the day, you have a job to do and you have the means, however you feel about those means specifically, the medium in which you use to do it, a plane or a video. 

You still have a job to do. It’s about the execution, can you execute or can you not? I like to think I did but that’s for others to decide.

[0:17:38.4] AD: Here’s my question, do you feel like what you’re doing is getting some traction? Are you sitting back and saying, right – you’ve developed business in both a pre-COVID and now post-COVID world and they’re wildly different ways, wildly different approaches, right? You feel like what you’re doing is actually working.

[0:17:54.6] TB: Absolutely. 

[0:17:56.9] AD: It’s proven that it can work and again, we all know and I – maybe just you and I think this but I would ask all of our listeners to really think to yourself, if you were in Tom’s situation, thinking okay, you have to go develop two new markets that you don’t really have much context in and don’t have an established network in necessarily and you were told you were going to go develop them without every being able to go in person pre-COVID.

I think most of us would have said that that doesn’t work. The best way to do this is you just need to go show up, you just need to get out there, I just need to be face to face with them, right?

[0:18:28.5] TB: Yeah, there’s another way and you know, you do have to lean on other things. I can’t – I think I painted myself in a light that I’ve just done this all myself which is not true, right? We have long distance relationships within our firm and you know, it is just about leaning on the right people and saying, “Hey, can you help me out here? Can you give me some insight here? Who do we talk to up here? What’s the market like?” Then you get a few contacts, right? You get talking to a few people then they say, you know, you just be honest with them. You talk about authenticity on a bunch of your podcast, which I love, right? 

You know, you approach people with being authentic and say, “Look, I’m new to the market, I am trying to get out there,” and people are willing to help other people and I’ve had a lot of help in specifically the Toronto market, getting introduced to other people to say, “Hey, you know you should know this person. I’m happy to introduce you.” “You know, you should get to know these guys. We see a lot of deals from there but maybe they don’t return my calls. Maybe you have some other?” 

You know, here is some contact info, here is this, right? Those sorts of things have just been really helpful and again, it just goes back to blocking and tackling and executing. Not getting held up in premises that are historically just outdated, right? I say dinosaurs think that this is impossible, right? The thought of X is impossible, that’s a dinosaur level thinking, right? There is always another way. 

[0:19:48.3] AD: I wholeheartedly agree with you. I also, I think as many of us do, time to time find myself in those limiting thoughts, in that, “Well, I just can’t do that” or “That’s just not going to work,” or “This is how it has to be done,” right? I think the back to kind of our core theme around changing is you have to one, spend some time thinking about what your thoughts are, right? Bring some of that awareness to yourself but more importantly, I think well, once you have some awareness, as you catch some of those thoughts, you have to recognize them and then rethink that. 

Re-approach what you’re doing and you said it well earlier again, don’t get stuck in the premise. Don’t accept the premise, don’t get hung-up on it and when change happens, when circumstances around you change, they are out of your control, you do have to step back and accept, “Okay, I can’t change that. It is what it is,” right? I say that, that is a saying that I say to myself quite a bit and stuff like, “it is what it is,” like, “Okay, cool. I don’t like it but it is like what else am I going to do about it?” 

If there is nothing you can directly do to change it today, stop worrying about it. Stop spending time on it. Stop like just move on to what you can change and adapt and lean into that because that’s really what’s going to allow you to move forward, right? 

[0:21:03.1] TB: Yeah and we touched on this a little bit on the last podcast, talking about reflection and the power of that. I think that is another part of this, right? Circumstances have changed so you got to try different things too, right? One method isn’t going to work right off the bat, so you got to try something, maybe try something else, reflect on it and see how it worked and then go back and you know revise it, right? 

Almost like putting a proposal out there, working on a project, right? You know, a lot of the listeners I’m sure will be staffed on a project let’s say and you know the outcome didn’t go the way you expected it to or there were some kind of team hanging up here. The ball was dropped somewhere, right? Going back and reflecting on the process you employed and the way you went about doing things is I also think important especially in an environment of change and when things are constantly moving around you and you need to continually adapt, right? 

You needed to go back and say, “I tried this, here’s what worked. Here’s maybe what didn’t. How do I make it work so it better constantly improve” and we talked about improvement of yourself to kick this off, right? You got to also constantly be improving when things are changing around you. 

[0:22:10.0] AD: That’s hard, that’s really hard because again, you are constantly having to as you said, try something and try again and this is – I mean sometimes, we talk about perfectionism I think is a challenge that many of us have. I know it is certainly something I have, right? If I want to do something and especially knowing our listeners and as a professional service provider, if you are excelling in this career for you, you are likely a driven motivated type-A type of person, right? 

There is a level of motivation grit and drive that you want to excel, you want to push yourself, you want to be better that’s why you’re here and knowing that about myself, knowing that about you, knowing that about our listeners at the same time, I know that my tendency is to want to do things right and to do them well. If I am going to do this and I get asked a lot do I golf like networking and business development is something I do for a living. 

Should I golf? Yes. Do I golf? No. Why don’t I golf? Because I’m not good at it and that’s a really bad answer to be honest because what I have learned with myself, I don’t do things I am not good at and that’s my tendency. That’s my, “I don’t lean into things that I’m not good at” and take golf is something that I have other hobbies that I enjoy but the reason I point that out and I bring that up in this discussion is my tendency is to just purely stir away from stuff I’m not good at and to only want to do things that I really excel at. 

Well, if I really want to adapt and change and to learn and to grow and to improve my life, inevitably at some point, I am going to have to do something I am not good at and the only way you get good at something is by doing it, by trying it, by putting time into it. As you said, try something and try again. 

[0:23:54.1] TB: Sure but I flipped the golf premise back on you and say, “Do you have to golf to be successful as a developing business or you know, can you try something else?” You’re a mountain biker, right? 

[0:24:05.4] AD: I mountain bike. 

[0:24:06.7] TB: Take people out on a bike about it, like go out and mountain biking. Let’s go ride – I keep trying to get people to ride the lake front trail with me here in Chicago and nobody wants to probably because it’s too early so I need to change there on my times but you know, you find stuff you like to do and bring people along with that. You know, I am not good at golf either. I try, you know I don’t mind being outside for a couple of hours but at the same time, it’s like if I had my preference I’d rather spend an hour and a half on the pool with other people or on a bike somewhere than on a golf course, right? 

[0:24:38.4] AD: No, your points are great there Tom and you’re totally right and that is it is something I’ve actually I’ve been successful and I golf. Again, it is something I don’t do and what I think the point that I want to make is I don’t do it for the wrong reasons. I don’t do it because it is something I’m not good at, so I just tell myself, “Well, I’m just not going to do it. I am not good at it,” and I know that about myself. That is and I know that my tendency isn’t to steer away from things I’m not good at. 

I am not saying that everyone you have to go do things that you are not good at but what I do fundamentally I believe is that if you want to improve or you want to learn to adapt change and to get better at things, you have to do things you’re not good at. It is the only way you’ll get better and that is really – but you are right on the golf and it actually ties in the same thing and change instead of thinking, “Well, I have to golf to be able to be successful.” I have absolutely found ways around not golfing to still be successful at this career. 

[0:25:31.5] TB: Yeah, sorry. I took the point you are making in the wrong direction there, you’re right it is.

[0:25:36.0] AD: You know, both directions were good. 

[0:25:37.8] TB: Right, you still have goals you need to hit and you know there’s a variety of mediums of which to do, some you’re good at and some that you’re not. You got to do the self-analysis I guess then and say, “Hey, this is…” like getting on a Zoom meeting, right? Hey, none of us we really good at it come this time last year but we all had to become good at it eventually, right? I guess have to is a strong word but we all had to get some level of competence in order to – 

People want to do it, you have to do it and it is part of that, you know, at least for you and I to reach our goals, we had to become at least competent in this, competent in other sort of mediums, right? Competent working from home all day as opposed to moving around all the time. I am somebody that needs to go a lot of different places, so at least in my house it was create different zones, right? Living room is very much leisure time, right? 

Sitting on the couch, reading a book, watching Netflix. Bedroom is like bedtime, it’s sleep, it’s an oasis. You know, we’re lucky enough to have two extra rooms. One is an exercise room and one is a workroom. You get the zones so that when you enter that zone, that’s the focus, right? Things don’t get confusing, which I know not everybody has the luxury I have. You need to craft your environment around what the new E is, right? 

What the new event is? What’s changed so that you still create the same kind of environments, you’re still like going into an office per se even if it’s in a room next door to the room where you sleep so that that’s your focus area. 

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[0:27:12.2] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, bringing you candid conversations with leading middle-market professionals. 

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[0:27:20.2] AD: You bring up a really good point Tom. I want to touch on the environment for a minute here because I think we’re very much – I find for myself at least I am highly influenced by the environment that I am in, right? I think there’s a lot of value in the transition time between one, you know, from work to home or from doing one task to another or what mental state you’re in, what are you focused on and I do believe that for many of us and I know myself especially when COVID first hit, one of the greatest challenges was losing that transition time, right? 

I had transition time on the way to work, I had transition time on the way home and all of a sudden that became one jumbled mixed up mess that had no distinction between them, right? 

[0:27:58.7] TB: Same, yeah. 

[0:27:59.3] AD: That’s hard. That’s really and so this you said the self-analysis and you know, being aware of your environment what I think is important in this is knowing that part of embracing change and to really be resilient through change and overcome some of those challenges that change can bring into your life, it is recognizing what’s important for you to function at your best and knowing that you may not always get to design the most optimized perfect environment, right? 

There is always going to be some limitation or something different that you wish you could change in your environment but understanding what you do have control over, what you can change and what is – what the harsh realities of your environment are, still being aware of the importance of structuring your day, structuring your time and building a way of living for yourself that allows you to still do your job, work towards your goals, whatever it may be without just getting totally thrown off simply because you’re external environment around you changed. 

[0:28:55.7] TB: Right, you hit on something interesting for you there, right? You like the transition time, right? That was a nice kind of foray into things. Transition time is eliminated for me too. I like that too, it’s go somewhere, do something else, refocus, you know use those transitions to refocus. When you are walking 100 feet from your bedroom to your office, that’s not much transition time, right? Okay, if you value transition time, how do you create that in your day? 

Well, okay, I am going to go on a walk first thing in the morning and walk for 30 minutes. You are telling me last week that you meditate every morning now, right? That’s part of your transition time. You know, accepting the premise that “I can no longer do this because of factors outside of my control, therefore I am giving up on it,” you can’t think that way. It is not a healthy way of thinking. You can’t limit yourself to think that way. There are other avenues to achieve the same, to still achieve your best self is I guess probably the right way to say it, right? 

We had our best selves pre-COVID, right? I do this, I do this, I do this, right? Okay, COVID hits, I can’t do three of those things. Well, how do I do some semblance of those three things, right? Or I have more time on my hands, how can I fill that time, right? What more things can I take on? I’ve always wanted to get and do more reading. Now that I don’t commute an hour each way or I’m on the plane all the time, it’s reading time. 

[0:30:15.0] AD: One of the things that I think changed us that’s really important and reading is a great example that spurred this thought for me, at times when you have external changes and COVID being the overarching example we’ve used here, it is opening up and opportunity to reshuffle the deck in some ways to give you a – I’ve got a fresh slate. I’ve got a clean way of looking at things and whether in COVID’s example it was most of your life got reshuffled. 

You know, there may be other external events, other change that happens in your life that forces you to reshuffle certain aspects of your life and what that does is it lets you say, “Okay. Well hey, no. I wish that this didn’t change everything for me and I wish that I liked what I had before. This is going to be harder. However now that I’m here, how can I make the most of that?”

“How can I continue to move towards what those end objectives are, what my big picture goals are, my personal growth, my improvement, my career growth, my life satisfaction, all of those things that are important, how do I still work towards those despite the new realities in the best way possible and rebuilding something that is better than what it was before?”

[0:31:25.7] TB: Yeah, short answer is you find other avenues. We talk about exercise, we talk about in the business side of things, it’s you pick up the phone whereas you know, you met someone in person. You do Zoom, you know you send a gift to a house versus dropping off in person and some people are comfortable with that as I learned and others aren’t, which is fine you know? But the fact of the matter is, you still have a way of making people feel valued and that’s a goal of mine is you want to make sure your clients are giving you love back. You know, how you do that, how do we do our holiday gifts. It was all – 

[0:32:03.8] AD: All right, so let me do a little bit of a quick recap here. Starting from the top, when we jumped in here today Tom, we’re really here to talk about change and you know we let off with you said change really is adjustment, right? It is embracing that and our whole premise behind this was, “Okay, life, we all have goals that we want to accomplish,” and you know I said for myself that it is really about how do I become the best version of me and how do I help those around me become the best versions of themselves and how do I constantly move forward in life. 

How do I constantly look for ways to improve my life and the life of those around me? If that’s my end goal, anytime I have a change or a change of circumstances or a change of environment around me, that’s going to be difficult but the key is, I have to learn to really embrace that adjustment and at the end of the day, my goals didn’t change and what I was trying to accomplish didn’t change. What changed was my environment, my circumstances and some things that maybe out of my control. 

The key behind success here is really not letting your emotions get in the way. I don’t want to accept the premise. I don’t want to get stuck in a limiting way of thinking and knowing that the challenge behind some of this is when that new change comes in and some of the part that really at least in me riles up the emotion is some of the uncertainty and not knowing where to go with things or not knowing how things are going to be but once I start accepting for myself that uncertainly is inevitable and really again, not letting those emotions get in the way. 

Looking and saying, “Okay, what is the other way? There has to be another way of accomplishing what I am trying to accomplish.” When I start thinking that way, it allows me to really overcome some of those challenging thoughts or those limiting thoughts that might come in there and when I do that though, what I have to always remember is when I try something new, I am going to mess up and I am going to fail and I am going to have to try again and learn and that’s becoming comfortable with that. 

Not getting scared by that, knowing that I am going to constantly do that and then the self-analysis, knowing that to really be successful in rebuilding and adapting to change and pivoting with change, you have to do some self-analysis of yourself. You have to be aware of our self, you have to look at your environment and you have to know what’s effective for you and how do you say, “Okay, well my circumstances have changed. Well, I need to rebuild,” whatever it might be into my life because that was really important to me and then you have to find time for that or else you’ll never going to really be able to. 

The example we used was transition time for myself but ultimately, you have to look and say, “Well, what’s important to me and how do I design a life and a routine in my new environment that allows me to be successful with that?” and underlying all of this is really just finding other avenues to accomplish the same goal, right? 

[0:34:44.7] TB: Yeah and the other thing you touched on very early there was belief, right? I think belief is one of those – we’re talking about kind of putting emotions about events aside to still achieve outcomes but there is an emotion or something that you have to have in an element or when an environment is adapting and changing around you is belief that A, there is another way, B, that you can make it happen, right? That others, other people have figured out a way to do this, therefore you can too. 

That is almost the line of thinking that you have to coach yourself up to do with every little thing, right? There is – 

[0:35:20.8] AD: Tom, I was going to jump to a call to action that I had created off the top of my head but you just gave me a much better call to action right there. I want to dig in that for a minute. The call to action for our listeners this week, so in the next seven days, I want you to find 30 minutes of time and what I want you to sit down is really think about what is something that you think is out of reach. What is something that you really think that you can accomplish or that you said, “Hey, I want to do that but it’s just not possible right now,” and ask yourself what thought is not allowing you to get there and what’s getting in the way of that and what are you thinking that is saying, “I can’t do that,” and really just ask yourself, “How can you change that way of thinking?” and coach yourself up to recognize that there are other ways of doing things. You have to rethink your way through that. 

[0:36:10.5] TB: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. That’s the power here is believing that there is another way because it is almost engrained to me and I imagine you too, there is another way, you just find it, right? And it’s about our time. 

[0:36:24.4] AD: I could not agree more. Tom for our listeners that want to get in touch with you after they figure out what their limiting thought was and they want to reach out to you share it with you and have a conversation with you, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you? 

[0:36:38.3] TB: I would love to have that conversation. I am on LinkedIn, you could also find my email on LinkedIn, feel free to reach out to me via email. I am basically available 24/7.

[0:36:49.9] AD: Awesome. Well Tom as always, thank you for coming on. I appreciate your contribution to the show and loved the conversation today. I hope our listeners find value in it. 

[0:36:58.5] TB: I hope so too, good to see you Alex. 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

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