Dr. Benjamin Ritter addresses one of the biggest challenges that leaders face: getting started on a new idea.
Many of us have great ideas, but we may not know how to implement them. To overcome this challenge, the speaker suggests identifying what is holding you back and taking steps to overcome it.
It’s time to take action and pursue your ideas, no matter how big or small they may seem.
- 0:53 – What’s holding leaders back? How to overcome it.
- 3:25 – How do you define yourself as an executive? How do you perceive yourself?
- 7:22 – The three-c’s of self-leadership.
- 9:58 – Lack of memory is one of the key challenges in so much of our developmental journeys.
- 11:31 – Why you have to change how you see things.
- 13:27 – The comparison game can trip us up if we don’t take a more objective view.
- 17:03 – When one thing doesn’t work, find someone who does.
- 19:29 – What he wishes he knew at that point.
- 22:49 – Ben’s parting thoughts on taking action.
Notes from the Show: Episode 31
Dr. Benjamin Ritter shares the 3 C’s at 2:43:
- Clarity: knowing what you want to achieve
- Confidence: confidence in the things that you can do and confidence in yourself
- Control: taking control of what you actually have control over and showing up intentionally
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Connect with Dr. Benjamin Ritter
Dr. Benjamin Ritter, founder of Live for Yourself Consulting, is a leadership and career coach, Talent Development Executive, values geek, international speaker, and podcaster, who’s passionate about guiding leaders to be the leader of their own career and create a career they love.
Episode 31 – Full Transcript
Aaron Lee 0:00
If you’ve ever had a great idea, but you don’t know how to get started today’s conversation with Dr. Benjamin Ritter is going to give you a tip away a path forward to get off the starting blocks and actually make it happen. Dr. Benjamin Ritter is the founder of Live for yourself consulting is leadership and career coach, a talent development exec, a values geek, an international speaker and podcaster and is passionate about guiding leaders to be the leader of their own career, and to create a career they love. I think you’re going to enjoy this conversation with Ben, let’s dive in. Welcome to the new generation leader podcast, we’re giving you the tools you need to lead in the digital world ready to reach your true potential. This is the new generation leader podcast. What do you feel like is the greatest challenge that leaders are facing that’s holding them back right now.
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 0:53
My greatest challenge personally sort of leaders themselves are facing right now that’s holding them back is that they don’t feel accountable or empowered to do the things they need to do for their career for their success. So they stay within their bubble, where they’re comfortable, they wait for an opportunity to be presented to them. Maybe even this is where people think is taking control apply to jobs on job boards, which is not actually taking control where they sit in their current job. And they’re just going day by day hoping for an opportunity to come up because they’re working hard. And that is just not the case. Man,
Aaron Lee 1:26
you hit a couple of things right there. Definitely got my wheels spinning. There’s a reactiveness that, I think weaves through all of what you just said, reacting or sitting back, whether it’s a lack of accountability patients waiting for things to come. So what do you recommend to leaders? How do you take them on a path to overcome that?
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 1:50
Yeah, and this can even be specific to a skill. So for example, I have a client right now working on executive communication, before this person worked with me, they didn’t listen to any podcast did not read articles, they didn’t ask their manager for feedback, even though they receive feedback, the nastiness in involve them in the process of getting better than didn’t talk to a peer to help to try to get them to help themselves out. They didn’t try anything out for themselves. And in terms of recording themselves and listening. So there’s just this basically this status, that status, but stasis is homeostasis, just like I am stuck where I’m at, and I don’t know what to do. So this leads into the concept of self leadership, where we are empowered and we are accountable, to do the things we need to do to grow and to be the leaders of our own career and for ourselves, hence living for yourself, which is the name of the company that I founded back in 2016, then it’s the foundation of how I work with clients. And so the three main things, the three pillars that I’ve learned over time, that are responsible for self leadership are clarity, so knowing what you want to achieve, and that also entails knowing who you are confidence, so confidence in the things that you can do. So skills, and then confidence in yourself. So can be called self esteem and self efficacy, and then control, taking control of what you actually have control over and showing up intentionally, that can involve your relationships, your environment, the things that you choose to do on a day to day basis, how you hold yourself accountable personally, and how you create an environment that helps you hold yourself accountable. Those three things, happy to go into any of them tend to be at the core of us being able to wake up and do the things that we want to do and feel good about them. So for example, just to kind of use this executive communication, so just use a specific example around executive communication. So this person was clear and what they wanted to achieve. They wanted to become better at communication that is perceived as executive, if they want executive presence. Well, they didn’t have a clear idea of what that was. So understanding what the true outcome that you want to achieve is what those goals are, and taking the step back and saying, how do you need to perceive yourself when it comes to a leader to define yourself as an executive? And what are you trying to achieve in your career for this to be important? The reason why you spend time in the visioning piece is because that’s actually becomes the source of your motivation, moving forward for you to continue on this process. So then confidence and even learned skills. So what do you actually need to learn what parts of executive communication as you defined it relate to specific skills? What do you need to learn? How can we start learning them? And then do you believe this is even possible for you? Do you perceive yourself as an executive and as a leader? What beliefs are you telling yourself on a daily basis? So I’m not good enough? I don’t want that type of lifestyle. To be an executive, I have to look like this or dress like this. Those are important beliefs to understand is to reconstruct and reframe and then affirm. So how are you going to actually remember what this new belief is for you? How can you reinforce it? And then the control piece, which is okay, how much time do you think you need to spend? When do you want to achieve this goal? What’s your current environment? Does it reinforce these new beliefs? Or does it actually hurt these new beliefs? Are you surrounded with critics or people that are going to help you on your journey? And in terms of the workplace that you’re in? Do the executives within your workplace align with what you perceive an executive to be so is it even possible With where you’re currently at, do you have the opportunities to do it, and that creates new actions that help this person be more in control of what they’re trying to achieve for themselves. That was just a simple example of learning a skill that we can apply throughout our daily life. And usually that when I’m working with clients, it’s more so like, I don’t know what I want to do with my career. And I don’t know how to take action on that. I don’t believe that I’m capable of doing it. But I do know that I’m unfulfilled. I’m unhappy. And I dread waking up each and every single day when it comes to my job. And so that’s it seems to be bigger, but you could actually use the same steps within that process.
Aaron Lee 5:35
So do you think when you have clients come to you, are they more in that big picture? Where is my life headed? Or is there more of a episodic crisis? What’s that first step that you most often see with clients?
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 5:50
Great question. So what are people that I work with tend to be struggling with, and tends to be two main areas, it’s, I don’t feel like I’m a leader, and I want to grow as a leader where I’m currently at, I like the organization that I’m in, but I don’t believe in myself. Okay. The other one is, I don’t like the organization, I want to do something different. I don’t know what that is usually with an undercurrent of I don’t believe in myself. So there are two main categories there, especially in the right now you see this uptake in the recession times where people want to leave an employer to create something new. So I also work with individuals to define what that is, and to make that to lead themselves forwards to create that for themselves. So it’s all these have the same foundation of self leadership. It’s just the application of it. And we’re depending on what the client’s goals are.
Aaron Lee 6:33
So a big challenge when we’re faced with an opportunity, but how do we take those steps? How do we even understand why we’re reacting, why we’re responding in the way that we are to the situation that we’re in and being able to move forward? I think your three pillars, I typed them up here on the screen. And so as you’re walking through those two scenarios of why clients come to you, I’m looking back at those three thinking, Oh, yes, I see each of those three in both scenarios. So these universal growth frameworks of how we can grow and get better, it’s so important that we don’t stop this development, the personal development, personal growth process.
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 7:18
So depending on when this is posted, we’re kind of in like, the new year time right now. And a lot of people set goals for themselves. It’s time for reflection, also, because a lot of people are telling you that they’re doing it to say what am I unhappy with and what I want to create. And so all these people are these people tend to have these ideas of, oh, I want to sign up for this class, I want to learn this language, I want to start doing these things, I want to go travel to these places, I want to change as part of my career and have these ideas. And that makes them feel good to have the idea, then they don’t do anything with the idea. So they forget about it. So it feels good to forget about it. Because you don’t want to think about the fact you didn’t do something that’s not fun. You know, it changes an idea into an action is the three C’s of self leadership. So for example, I want to learn Spanish. And I said that for about a couple months. And I downloaded Duolingo. And I did some other things on Duolingo. And I learned a little bit. And then I was like, Okay, this isn’t enough, I found a Spanish lesson program on Spotify, sort of listening to that. It’s a great still not enough, I’m not doing it enough. I’m going to sign up for real classes, I’m going to take a challenge. I’m going to do a 30 classes in two months challenge with virtual group classes. So I sign up for that. And all I started learning was great. So this class has ended and I went to a different program, I bought Babel. And so now I’m on Babel. And I’m like, Okay, I’m back to this issue again, where I’m not learning the way that I want to learn. So I needed to go more all in. So I just signed up for a community college class three hours, once a week, Spanish, conversational Spanish, I had clarity of vision, I want to learn Spanish, I want to be conversational on it. I know why it matters to me, I traveled to South America and Central America a ton. I work with a lot of people that speak Spanish, I play soccer. So that would be wonderful. I had confidence that I could learn because I have been learning the language. And recently, I just went to Costa Rica and was said that my Spanish is surprisingly okay being some of those and a lot of Spanish. But I didn’t have the control piece, I kept trying to figure out how I can control my environment enough so that I continue learning. And so again, this framework can be used for literally anything it’s used for, I want to change my entire career, or I want to grow into an executive or I want to launch a business. We do this all the time. So if you look at your life right now, and you have a habit, and you do something pretty regularly and you’ve gotten really good at it, you have implemented this framework for yourself, but we tend to forget that so we lack the confidence and we lack the belief that we’re able to take something like this and implement it for something that we think is out of our reach. So I’d say one of the first things we need to do, especially with new year when people are setting goals is to believe the thing that you want to accomplish is within your reach and you have done something like this before, so that you can start breaking it down into little steps and actions and figure out personally what you need to make it real.
Aaron Lee 9:58
I think that lack of memory is One of the key challenges in so much of our developmental journeys, and it’s that gap when we look at somebody else who seemingly has arrived with where we want to be, and we compare that with where we are now, and that question of where have you done something like that? How have you grown flourish developed yourself? Is such a powerful reflection to look back and figure out, Where have we been? What have we done? And how can we lay down those same habits and build that within ourselves to be stronger? I think your example of learning Spanish is the tenacity that you had to keep coming back and say, Okay, the first thing is not good enough. So many people would hang it up right there. But you’ve gone, I don’t know how many of you listed off four or five different iterations of making sure that this grew into something and turning ideas into action. It’s certainly a downfall that many of us have lots of ideas. But again, back to our earlier conversation, we want to take the easy approach. So we wait for things to come to us, rather than looking at what’s the hard work that we have to put in to make something come to life. Yeah, like you said, someone
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 11:14
does something one time, and then they don’t go back to it because they think they failed. And it feels bad, it’s painful, to have to identify as someone that failed. And so if you see something like not succeeding to whatever expectations you have of yourself as failure, and this can be really difficult to try new things. If you see it instead, as Oh, I tried this way of doing it. That didn’t work out for me, now I have more information, I’m going to try this other way of doing it. You see this a lot with business owners and entrepreneurs, I work with individuals or launching new service based businesses. But one of the first things I ever say to them is, this is not going to be your only business, it probably isn’t. Because if you have the right mentality, it’s not how you’re doing it. It’s why you’re doing it and what you’re trying to achieve because of it. And so the How can always change because the how this one guy that succeeded doing it this way, or this one woman who succeeded at doing this way may not work for you may not be aligned with your skills and your values. And well, it just maybe also isn’t the right time. So we have to find our own way of doing things. And that takes trial and error.
Aaron Lee 12:20
One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen is how we compare ourselves to other people, and trying to do something not just in the way that someone else is doing it who might be in the same industry as us might be in the same geographic region. We look at it we compare ourselves to someone else without knowing all of the influences, and factors, not only external factors, but internal factors and perspectives. And one of the tools, two of the tools actually, that I use with teams, that’s one of my favorite Insights is helping teams recognize your way is not the only way. There are other ways. And it’s the power of doing this together that unlocks the team potential to be able to accomplish more, but you can’t be the person down the hall, you also probably can’t be the person on the cover of the business or leadership magazine, you can’t be the person. People can’t be Dr. Ben Ritter either, because of who you are, and your story, your education, your background, and your own internal wiring. And so that comparison game can really trip us up, if we’re not careful if we don’t take a more objective view to understand, who are we and how are we wired? And how do we bring out our best as we’re coming to the table,
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 13:40
and we see the outcome, not the path. And you see that a lot within an organization as well, where they want to be promoted. They want to make more money now, or they want to work on certain types of projects. And one of the greatest mistakes a leader will make is just saying no, one of the best things a leader can do in that situation is plot out the path, Join the journey, show them get help them have clarity around it, help them understand what they went through themselves. You said it’s I’m comparing myself to where I want to be to the people that already have it without fully understanding the steps I need to take to get there. And so if I understand the steps, not only do I believe it’s possible, but I can feel comfortable that I’m on the right path. And so often a lot of our discouragement and our dissatisfaction is because we don’t feel that we’re on the right path. We don’t fully realize that we are and that little steps forward can actually help us get there. But nope, you just see the big gap. We say I’m not there yet, so everything must be bad.
Aaron Lee 14:36
So let’s take a trip down memory lane. We’ve been talking about where you are today. But what’s the journey that got you to where you are today? How did you take the first step on launching a career doing what you’re doing now? Yeah,
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 14:51
so for everyone. I work in the field of talent and organizational leadership. I help individuals mainly leaders create career Is that they can love. So be the owner of their own career be proactive instead of reactive. I also help organizations become places they can do that. So I do some talent and organizational development work within organizations, as well as work with leaders to help them kind of do that for themselves now was not always in this industry did not think I was going to be in this industry, I was actually a healthcare executive back in 2000, and started in 2012, and left in 2018. And I was pretty unhappy at work, I started out and performance improvement or working on improving clinical outcomes for patients, which is really cool. And then I did good at my job. And when someone is good at their job, usually, you know, they’re given more work and they get promoted. And so all of a sudden the things that they loved about their job disappear. And I ended up being becoming someone that went into work trying not to work, I dreaded the day to day, I tried not to work, I tried to distance myself from people there because I didn’t see the point in being there. And when you get in that state of disengagement, it actually becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, because you’re not doing any of the things that actually can bring you joy, and help you feel good about your job and help pave a career path forward. And so you don’t see a future there. Again, it’s just this like, spiraling cycle that happens. So luckily, one day when I was going into work Now, mind you, after six years of being at this organization, and dreading going in, I started looking around, or the people around me and realized, like, Okay, everyone seems to feel the same way I do. Like, they seem like they’re just walking zombies, it’s going through the day, hoping for the end of it. And that woke me up that’s made me start asking myself, okay, so this is within my control. I feel this way, because I choose to feel this way. I’m allowing this to continue by my actions, what might I be able to do to fix this? So I became empowered, and I became accountable. And that led me to start examining what I enjoyed about my job. And at the time, I was in a Emerging Leaders Program, it was 16 months of training to be a leader I had my own coach I was working with the director of people did not know that was actually a job didn’t know we had a talent development department need for that time, talent development departments weren’t that prominent in organization, especially in healthcare. And I was like, Wow, this guy’s job is really great. I connect with him. How do I do work like he’s doing negative leadership than I’m experiencing on a day to day basis, I could fix that, like the the employees that are high achievers that are just wasting their days away. I could fix that. Because it also at the same time, I was coaching him in a different space, I had assigned business, the business partner, and I was very into the realm of personal development and saw the opportunity to merge the two. At the same time, I had a coach that was doing it for me. So I went to him. And I went to my boss, and I said, this is the type of work I want to do, how do I do it? And they said, You know what, let’s get you on some projects. And so I started working on some projects, lo and behold, that could have been the end of the story. It could have just grown from there internally, and then started my own business. But no, we got acquired for the second time, everything I was working on, got shut down, it all got centralized. And I saw that path close. And so when one thing doesn’t work, just like with Spanish, find someone that does. So I started applying for jobs in the space, had no experience, so did not get hired, started networking as much as I could. And everywhere that I could, and was getting different pieces of information about where I wanted to focus in the field, did not end up getting a job there. Because I didn’t know the tricks that I do now. And ended up making a decision to go back to get my doctorate in organizational leadership, I said, I’m going to go be someone that individuals want to open the door for in this space, I’m going to become credible. And at the same time, I’m going to start creating a personal brand in the space as well, because I didn’t feel aligned with the business that I was currently working on at the time either that was also a place of dread. So I shut that business down, and ended up staying in healthcare and crafting my environment to be more energizing. So I didn’t just waste away my time and day, and then got into a program for a doctorate of organizational leadership. And on the first flight out there actually for the program. After I was doing a bunch of my due diligence and learning about the space, I created live for yourself consulting on the back of a napkin, and decided that I wanted to work with individuals to create more fulfilling careers in life. And that’s evolved over time because I became an expert in job satisfaction and motivation, leadership development, because of that program because of the research that I did. And so that really brought me to where I am today. And honestly, once I was in that program, had the experience and was published places organization started bringing me in to started working in the field of learning to now being the head of talent and organizational development at a life sciences manufacturing organization, as well as having a thriving coaching organization as well.
Aaron Lee 19:25
So this is usually the question that I asked at the very end. But I’m going to ask you now at this juncture. So you’ve looked at that path that you are on what you’ve learned and what you know. Now, if you could go back to that original version of you working in that healthcare company, what have you learned that you wish you knew at that point?
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 19:46
You’re always in control even when you don’t feel that you are and never waste an opportunity. And I wasted many years at that organization to where I don’t think I could go back and paying any of those relationships or was not added with myself, even though I was considered a high achiever. There’s no career capital, it’s like that part of my career didn’t even exist other than for stories. And so I wasted those opportunities. I didn’t exactly burn a bridge, but I didn’t really make sure that they were strong and reinforced. And I waited way too long take action. So I mean, it led me to where I am today, no complaints. But I would say, Never forget that you’re in control.
Aaron Lee 20:21
Let’s get though, when you launch work in engagement with an individual or a team, how does that process get started in what you’re doing today,
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 20:30
it’s pretty nice as people that come to me are pretty vetted, because to reach out to a coach probably know about their background, you found them online, you went through some of their media, maybe you downloaded the free guide, I have my website or sign up for my course. So when someone starts, they have an idea of what they want me to work on them with, or at least the fact that they know they need to work on something. So we go through about a 45 minute colleges of discovery to understand what’s going on to see if I’d be a good coach for them. Because the coaching is a pretty big investment for myself with them as well as for themselves with me, we build this pretty strong relationship. It’s pretty personal, it’s pretty high touch. And so we decide if we want to work together. And during that call, and there’s some follow up that may happen after that if we decide we want to work together if they have some more questions. Then to get started, we take that first session in a little bit before that, to define what the goals and objectives are for our program, which get more defined over time, as well as to go over some of the general how tos of having a coach because for a lot of people, I am the first coach they’ve had some people have other types of coaches, but it’s a unique relationship doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it’s just different. So I’m trying to help people understand how to utilize me to help them reach their goals. And honestly, it’s very similar for an organization. Now my organizational work is paused because of the work that I’m doing as the head of talent development building this department at this organization out in California. So that takes up all my time for organizational work. But prior to that, it’s very much similar except when it comes to those types of contracts, they usually are more than just one call, because it’s they’re usually a larger investment. So we do our discovery. During that time I’m listening, I’m coaching, but more so an exploratory way, not being judgmental, just trying to get all the information possible and trying to see if I can solve their pain points.
Aaron Lee 22:10
That’s great. So we’ll link to that free resource, what’s your free resource called,
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 22:15
it’s a manual for creating a career that you love. So it goes over two main areas, job crafting, so how to become more energized, where you’re currently at. So you can start trying to find that next step in your career. And we do some reflection Activities called the career basically finding your career sweet spot. And with that information, you should get some greater clarity and have some action steps to take moving forward to help you feel better about where you’re at and help you get to where you want to go. It’s also a good lead in for the course, on how to be a leader of your own career and create a career that you love without getting burnt out overwhelmed or taking a pay cut. And so it’s good pre work for much larger work.
Aaron Lee 22:49
Awesome. We’ll link to that free resource and the course in our show notes at New Generation leader.com/ 31. So then any last parting thoughts that you would share based on our conversation, and maybe what we haven’t touched on, I just
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 23:09
want to reiterate, and I think this is probably a theme, you need to take action to get information. A lot of times we don’t do certain things because we don’t know how they’re going to turn out. Or we don’t feel that we’re ready. When in reality, if we did something small, had a conversation, tested something out, just put on our walking shoes and got onto a path any path, then we’ll learn where to go as we’re going there. And so if you’re very confused about what to do, you probably know what you don’t want to do. Do you everything that isn’t what you don’t want to do in terms of like where you want to focus, and you’ll make progress because you’ll learn and in terms of our career, it’s called a career because it’s a combination of jobs and experiences. So when you learn something, you’re technically moving forwards in your career,
Aaron Lee 24:00
our careers are lifelong journeys, our personal lives, our lifelong journeys of growth, development of learning. And if we ever stopped learning, then I’m not quite sure what comes next. And so great conversation today, Ben, thanks for coming on the show and talking through what it means to take action. And I think the three pillars that we started off with the idea of taking action of creating movement and getting off the starting blocks. It’s so important. It can hold any of us back from advancing or moving to what we truly want to do need to do and really what the world needs us to do. So thanks for sharing your insights with us today. We’ll link to Ben’s resources on the show notes at NewGenerationLeader.com/31 so you can reach out and connect with Ben on social media connect with his free resource and his course. And then, thanks so much for being on the show today.
Dr. Benjamin Ritter 25:00
Thank you so much for having me.
Aaron Lee 25:01
It’s a pleasure.