How To Find Your Mojo With Career Transformation Expert Laurel Rutledge
November 13, 2019
(upbeat music) – Hello, I’m Keri Murphy,
and welcome to Spotlight, where we showcase phenomenal entrepreneurs and their stories. You know, have you ever
been on the freeway on your way to work? And you’re sitting there asking yourself, why am I driving to this
location once again? Why am I going to this job I don’t like? What am I doing with my life? What is my purpose? Am I doing what I’m really called to do? Trust me, you’re not
alone with these thoughts. In fact, probably half of Americans have the same internal dialogue every day. But you know what the great news is? That there are people,
like my amazing host today, that can help you through it. I am sitting down with Laurel Rutledge, who is a career transformation expert and the host of the amazing podcast, The Rutledge Perspective. Laurel, welcome to Spotlight. – Yay! (Laurel clapping) Thank you Keri.
– I’m so excited to have you, because I know that
this conversation is one that over half of Americans have. And I wouldn’t even say Americans. – Yes, yeah.
– I think, you know, the average person, at some point in their
career life, will say, why am I doing this? – Why am I doing this?
– Why? – Why? – So tell me why you are doing this. Give us a little bit of your background, ’cause you have over 30 years of different positions in corporate, and you’ve had quite the
career transformation – Absolutely.
– journey yourself. – Yeah, it’s quite an interesting story. I left to start my own business,
because I just got tired. I just walked into the office one day, and thought, why am I here again? And why am I not feeling good? And why haven’t I slept on
a Sunday for five years. And I thought, that’s not
what life is supposed to be. And there’s so much more,
and I have a greater purpose to serve other people. And so let me just do that instead. – And I love that, because
again, you’re like, okay, there’s gotta be somethin’ else. I wanna help more people,
if I feel this way, there’s a lot more people
that feel this way. And your background is actually in HR. – Yes, I spent
– Yeah. So give me a little bit of that. – about 15 years in HR. And I call myself a little bit of a mutt, I mean, I have an undergrad in
accounting, I’ve got an MBA, and I’ve been very lucky
to do a lot of things. But it all comes full circle
when you have hindsight, I always wanted to be a therapist. That’s what I wanted to do. And it was not necessarily
about the therapy, but it was about understanding
where people were and what their stories were, and how to help them work through issues. And in HR, while there’s
the tactical stuff, what it really is, is
about helping companies really get the best out of
that human capital asset. And so it really seemed to work through this whole crazy career
trajectory to wind up in HR, and that being the thing
that catapulted me now to doing what I’m doing. – So from that perspective, – Yes. – all the pun intended, (Laurel laughing) what did you see from the HR perspective, working with so many different people within a corporation, within C-suite? – [Laurel] Sure. – When you found that dissociation or that lack of zest, what was it? Can you put your finger on? Was it a particular thing or climate? – Yeah, you know, it’s, and it’s different for everyone. So I would say for me, it
became a big disconnect between the values of the organization and my personal values. And you’re never going
to really have values that are completely 100% aligned with you until you have your own business. And that doesn’t mean you don’t feel it,
– Doesn’t mean it’s easier. – Not at all.
(Keri laughing) I’m a witness. But if you are feeling so much disconnect on a daily basis, we all have choices. And so what I found in HR and
being in HR for so long was, there are really great
people and great companies. But often, it’s not about the individual not being the right person or the company doing something wrong. It’s that it just doesn’t fit. And so I found myself
having lots of conversations that were developmental conversations that really turned around to, wait a minute, the person’s
just not in the right job, or this is really not the
right environment for them, as opposed to, they’re just not working out. They just don’t have this skill. And nine times out of
10, it was about fit. – Yeah, that is so great. Because it is often that
it’s not the person. – Right, yes.
– Right? It’s not the actual human
collateral that’s the problem. It’s where they are
within the organization. And I think that we get to
a certain place, Laurel, and you can attest this too, where you’re climbing up the ladder, and you feel like if I get
here, right, if I just get here, what was your personal experience with kind of like charting up that ladder, and then finding yourself
at the top going, this isn’t where I thought I was going? – You know, one of the things I’ve talked to some really good
friends of mine about is, we tend to do what we
say we’re supposed to do, but who gets to define
what we’re supposed to do. And so I was supposed to get a job and go to work and get a paycheck. I was supposed to do
better and climb the ladder and get the VP job. That’s what I was supposed to do. And nowhere in those supposed
tos and shouldas and couldas and betters is anything
related to what your gifts are. – What do I want? – And what do I want to do? And how do I want to serve? And so for me, it just got to the point where I thought no one
should be this exhausted. And I loved being an executive, right? But as I thought about it, it was really more about,
yes, I’m an executive, so people are gonna listen. It opens you up to possibilities, you get to know people that
you wouldn’t necessarily get to meet at lower levels
of the organization. And yet, it is very lonely at the top, and nobody tells you that. – Right, especially as a woman, – Yes.
– I would think – Yes!
– and a minority. Like it was, how did that– Did you ever feel like, I’m
the only one in the room? – I was most of the time,
the only one in the room. The only one who looked like me, the only one who felt like me, the only one who had a
specific perspective of mine. And that doesn’t make it better or worse. That just makes it different. And what I found was if you’re always in that
cognitive dissonance, if you’re always in that code switch, that is really exhausting. – [Keri] Yeah, that’s a tough one. – It’s really exhausting, and
it’s not always intentional. There’s all kinds of bias,
and all of us have bias. When you’re in an environment where you cannot show
up authentically as you, where you cannot be who you are, you are not bringing all
your gifts to the table. – And you’re never truly happy. – Never.
– You’re never fulfilled, – No.
– because you’re always feeling like you have to leave part of you – Right.
– in the car. – Right, exactly, exactly.
– (laughs) Yeah, yeah. – And there’s a difference between that need to do what you gotta do ’til you can do what you wanna do. – Right.
– Right, we all get there. – (chuckles) I love that. And it doesn’t matter, in what sort of organization,
– Never! – even if it’s your own.
– Yes. – You gotta do what you gotta
do to get what you wanna do. – Exactly and so we all know, there’s a certain level of assimilation, a certain level of conforming
that we all have to do. – Sure. – And that’s okay.
– Yeah. – But when that is the
only way you’re existing, for me, it just got to the point where, when I’d spend time with family, I wasn’t present. I was tired. I didn’t get to see
friends that I really loved and wanted to connect with. And again, I just finally decided, it was Christmas of 2016, I said, what am I doing? What am I doing? And I had my dad’s voice
in my head that said, you know, you really,
if you have a good name, even when you have nothing,
you have everything. And I thought– – Okay, wait. When you have a good name,
(Laurel laughing) even when you have nothing,
you have everything. When you know who you are,
when you know what you bring, you know, you can recreate
reinvent at any time. – Absolutely.
– Right? And that is such a juicy takeaway. That as long as you know
you, and you’re good to you, right, then you can create
whatever it is that you want. – Absolutely, and we get caught up in making sure we’re
present for everyone else, and especially as women, making sure you’re
there for everyone else. And that’s great, and it’s
beautiful, and it’s wonderful. And there’s a reason on the airplane they tell you to put your mask on first. If you’re not taking care of you, you can’t take care of everyone else. And I just decided that I was
more important than the title. I was more important than the job. And even in some respects,
I was more important than the team that I built. And I loved this team. I worked really hard to get them there. And they’re fantastic, fantastic people. And I was trying to lead
them from completely empty. And it wasn’t fair to them. – [Keri] You can’t, right? – You can’t. – So when people come to you, where are they, most of the time, when you’re working with someone through this career transformation? Are they looking to navigate
through the corporate ladder? Are they looking to go out on their own. Is it a little bit of both? Share that person with me. – It tends to be a little bit of both. The person I’m working with
has been really successful. They have been along a path that they thought was
the path they wanted. And all of a sudden, something
just isn’t feeling right. And usually that’s not fair. It’s not usually all of a sudden. It usually is gradual. – Right, we’ve known for quite some time it hasn’t been feeling right. – But again, especially as women, we tend to think, eh, I’m just not feeling well. It’ll be okay. And so when they come to me, it’s really reached the
point where they’re like, this just isn’t working,
and I don’t understand. And the process for me
is not about judgment. I’m not gonna tell you
what your job should be. I’m not going to tell you
what company you should go to. This is all about you. What builds you up? What gives you strength? What is your foundation? What do you really wanna do? Whatever that is and then
how do we figure out? Does it work where you are? Maybe it’s just a different job. Is it time to do something different? Or is it time for you to, you know what, let me just stay here a minute,
because I’ve got a plan. And whatever that is, we
work through that process, so that you’re no longer
feeling overwhelmed, you’re no longer feeling frustrated. And, you know for a fact you’re not crazy. – Right. (laughs) I’m not crazy!
– You’re not crazy. (laughs) – You know, and what I love about what you bring to the table, Laurel, is that sometimes when you talk to family, or you talk to friends, there’s a loving bias that
comes with that, right? Like you just worked your way up. You just got your MBA, you
just did this, you did this. That’s not secure. Are you crazy, right?
– Absolutely. – And to be able to go to someone
like you, who is unbiased, who can look at the bigger picture, including like the values and
the role and the organization, because you do have that HR background, I have to say, I think
that you are so needed, because in my experience of working with hundreds of entrepreneurs, a lot of them have come from corporate or they just need permission. – Right.
– Right? To do what it is that they know,
they’re already here to do. – Right.
– Right? – And the reality is, there
are so many things to do. And no one can define you’re
supposed tos except you. – You know how much I love that. – No one. (Laurel laughs) – No one can do that. And we get caught up in what we know. And especially, you know, when I grew up, you go to work, you get a
job, you get a paycheck. That’s just how that works. – Right, and usually you
get married, have a baby. – Have a baby, whoa.
– Right, yeah. – All of that cultures.
– All of that, yeah. (laughs) And I actually find, it’s funny, you said that, ’cause I do find women who
are also struggling with, well, I’m a single with no kids. And so they expect me to be
there all the time, every day, like I don’t have a life.
– I don’t get a life? – And then, you know,
the women who have kids, and they have a husband and aging parents, there’s just so much stuff and the noise. And as my trainers said the head trash. And we get caught up
in our own head trash. And the reality is,
there’s so many options. There’s so many options. And for someone to be able to dig into what their purpose
is, and really tap into, you know, this really does
work for me right now, because these things are
in my life right now. And I’m okay with that. Or (smacks) this doesn’t work for me, and I’m gonna make a plan. And I can make that
plan and feel confident, so I can actually sit in the
space that I’m in right now, because I know what’s on the other side. – Yeah, and sometimes it’s not about necessarily leaving the
job or leaving the career. It could just be a pivot
within the organization – Exactly!
– that says this role is not, like you thought you
wanted to be in management, but let’s face it, you
don’t like running team. – Right, right. (laughs) – So let’s take you back to
a place where you thrive. It’s just that because we
feel like we need to get here. And when we get here, there’s a new level of
value and compensation, – Absolutely.
– and sometimes we get there, and we’re like, you know, it’s not what I thought it was gonna be. – It’s not, and if you– – And then I think there’s
some guilt involved there. – Yes, ugh! – ‘Cause you’re like, oh,
but I’ve worked this hard, – Yes.
– and now I don’t want it. – I’m a witness.
– Right. – I mean, this was a big leap.
(Keri laughing) It was a big leap to do this. And I had those same experiences. I had probably 5% of the people
that really knew me said, “Oh, my gosh, this is so great. “This is really the thing you should do.” 95% of the people are like, “Are you crazy?”
– Right. (laughs) “Do you know how much money you’re making? “Do you know what power you have?” And it’s because we’re
trained to go get a job and go get a paycheck. And there’s absolutely
nothing wrong with that. And companies are great, and
there’s great experience there. And there are other options. – Yeah, I love that you’ve
been through it all. And when you look back at your career and all the things that
you’ve done and accomplished, I feel like you really come to the table with this breadth of knowledge and understanding and empathy, right? Of really getting, you
know, where they’re at and helping them
– I try. – get out of the rut. – Absolutely. And I talk.
– And off that ledge. – Back off that ledge!
– Back off the ledge, honey! (Laurel laughing) I mean your name could
not be more perfect. And we’ll talk about
The Rutledge Perspective here in a minute. But how do you work with people? And what’s interesting is
that when we were talking, you were also saying that millennials are really struggling right now. Like you thought that
you were gonna be working with this demographic,
– Right! – but let’s face it, like they come out of school, they feel like everything is
easy and open and available. And then you’re like, oh, my gosh, I didn’t realize. – Right.
– Right, I didn’t know me. And I don’t know what I want. – Absolutely.
– So how do people work with you? What is that experience like? – So, for me, I always like to start with, give yourself grace, give yourself grace, because we put so much more pressure on ourselves than is necessary. And so my process is to take someone through what I call The
Rutledge Perspective tree. So my logo is a tree. And it’s a tree for a reason. And if you look at it,
there’s a woman in the tree. Because for me, if you think
about the way trees work, there’s a great root system,
your root ball, right? Where all of your energy comes from. What are those things that nourish you? For me, it’s faith,
family and friends, right? And some other stuff.
(Keri laughing) And then that kind of goes
up through your trunk, right? How you get really strong. And then you’re able to
put out into the world and get back from the world
those things that really matter. – Yeah.
– Right? And so I take people through
that to really get centered in what’s important to them. – So you figure out the roots? – Figure out the roots. – ‘Cause if don’t know
– What’s really important. The roots, it’s hard to grow. – And if you don’t know, then
everything’s a possibility. – Right, or nourish or all
those other things, right? – Absolutely. – We could do one tree cliche after another, but I like it.
– After another. Right.
(Keri laughing) And it makes sense, right? – Yeah, totally. – The whole thing, are you a
redwood, are you a palm tree? Because there’s
characteristics in all of that. – Ooh.
– Right. That play out in how you interact. And so then the next piece is I ask someone to think about
what you ideally want to do. Not what job you want. What do you want to do? And there’s a difference
– There is a difference. – We talk about that in HR a lot. Don’t tell me I wanna be a
director, I wanna be a VP. Okay, but what do you want to do, right? So then they take you through that, and then the last thing I have people do is for the next five days, and it’s really important
they take five days, is I want you to ask yourself,
why one time each day. So if this is my ideal job,
why is that my ideal job? And answer that question
and sit with that. And then the next day ask, okay, why that answer is the answer. Because what happens is, while it’s a manufacturing
process, the Toyota process, it gets to your root cause. Why are you wanting what you want? Why do you feel the way you feel. – The deeper level
– The deeper level. And so especially the millennials that I’ve been talking to lately, they also have all this pressure about Move, move, move,
don’t stay too long. But they’re moving just to move. And there’s something to be
said for forward momentum. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re not really
thinking about why I’m moving. – Right, what’s causing the trajectory? – What’s causing that?
– Or am I doing it just because I feel like I have to? – Exactly, and for me,
it’s all about no judgment. And even in that trajectory, if you saw my career, I
couldn’t have planned it. – Right. (laughs)
– ‘Cause I just said yes, ’cause this didn’t feel right. And somebody asked me
to do something else. So I said yeah. That’s why I wound up in Detroit. (Keri laughing) Don’t do snow. But it’s an ability to actually
work all the way through to your root cause and
your deeper purpose. And from there, the
possibilities are endless. – Yes, uh, I love it so much. And I think everyone needs a
little Rutledge Perspective in their life, and they
can get it, actually. – They can get it!
– They can get it on your podcast, – Yes.
– which again, I love. So tell us a little bit about what The Rutledge Perspective is and what we can expect on the show. – So, The Rutledge
Perspective is a podcast that is weekly. And so I put a little
piece out every week. And it really gets to
those little short tidbits about how to maneuver through
what’s going on today. So there’ll be things about
knowing who are the people that are really on your
team that you’ve hired. And who’s on your team, the
people who have your back. And those are the people who will tell you good, bad and ugly.
– That’s a different team. Right? (laughs)
– That’s a different team. Right. It’s about that you always have a choice, because companies will
often make employees think they don’t have a choice. Are you kidding me? You can’t want to leave! What do you mean you wanna leave? – And leave all this? – (scoffs) Are you serious?
(Keri laughing) And so it’s little pieces like that to give you some strength,
to give you some perspective on all of the things that are occurring, because nothing is black and white. They are always shades of gray. And you get to pick your
shade of gray for that day. And so the whole purpose
of The Rutledge Perspective is to truly give you a
different perspective about something you may be experiencing, that may just take the
temperature down a little bit, get you out of that rut of that hamster wheel that you’re turnin’, or talk you back off that ledge where you’re ready to
just not be real kind. – [Keri] Right. (laughs) – For lack of a better word. – Like something’s gonna go down. – Something, yeah.
– Real serious. – Yes, yes.
– Yeah, yeah. (laughing) – So contact Laurel before
you’re on the ledge. – Please.
– Right. (laughing) And how do they do that? – So you can contact me
through laurelrutledge.com. And you can also go through The Rutledge Perspective podcast, and it’s on iTunes,
– iTunes. – Google Play and Stitcher. So wherever you get your
podcasts, you can do that. And I really, I enjoy helping people
get to their purpose. And whatever that is, because
it’s different for everyone. So come see me, laurelrutledge.com. – And you could tell, it lights you up. And this is just such a great example of how you can be lit up every day. Because when you’re doing something that you truly love, you’re excited about, it doesn’t mean it’s easy, right? But it means that you’re
truly in your life genius work and you know where you’re going, and you’re not moving just to move. – Absolutely, absolutely.
– Right? – Like you’re moving with
precision and purpose. And that creates fun, right?
– Yes, yes! – And I just see it in you. And I’m so excited people get to hear you and work with you.
– I’m excited too. – So go check out Laurel
– Please! – And wherever you download your podcasts, The Rutledge Perspective, and again, remember we got to get you out of the rut. – And off of that ledge
– and backed off the ledge. So perfect Laurel. Love you. Thank you so much
– Thank you. – for joining us today.
– Love you too. – Thank you Keri.
– Love you. Love what you’re doing in the world.
– Thank you. – And thank you for watching
the Spotlight Interview. I hope you are inspired. If so, please make sure to subscribe and post your comments below. Because when you are
inspired, you inspire others. We wanna hear from you and be a part of this really
important conversation. And make sure to share this
with someone that you care about and download The Rutledge
Perspective podcast so you don’t miss an episode. As always remember, that
really at the end of the day, the choice is yours to be and create whatever it is that you truly desire. All you have to do is dream
it, live it and be it. Until next time. (upbeat music)