In this week’s episode, we had the pleasure to chat with Andy Storch about the Joy Superpower of self-direction. Andy is an author, speaker, consultant, coach, and facilitator, as well as host of two podcasts, the Talent Development Hot Seat and Own Your Career. He’s the author of the book Own Your Career, Own Your Life: Stop Drifting and Take Control of Your Future and the founder and host of the Talent Development Think Tank Community. Here are the key points Andy shared with us.
Andy´s catalyst for realizing the importance of self-direction in his own life was Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning because it helped him become more intentional with his day. Being intentional, he said, means being aware of how we’re spending our time and writing down goals in every area of our lives. Not just work or business goals, but also relationships, health, spirituality, and family. We should be asking ourselves these questions: “What am I happy with? What am I not happy with? What do I want to improve?” Being intentional and self-directed means making a plan and taking action. For example, every week dedicating a certain number of hours to studying so you can accomplish a goal.
“If there are things you want to accomplish, it’s up to you to take control of that.”
Take Control Where You Can
Andy pointed out that there are very few things in life that are actually in our control. We can’t control politics, the world economy, our boss, our kids, our spouse, or other people around us. However, we can control how we show up in the world, how we react, and how we interact with other people. He advises us to spend more energy focusing on the things we can control.
“It requires an ownership mindset, which means you avoid being a victim. Life doesn’t happen to you. Life happens for you.”
Be Your Own Advocate in the Workplace
We discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people who suddenly found themselves working from home. Andy pointed out the downside of autonomy. People have more autonomy and flexibility than before, but many are facing burnout and mental health challenges due to the lack of traditional work boundaries. If everyone else around you is working more often, you’re getting more requests and more things are coming your way. As a result, many people are defaulting to reaction mode rather than being intentional.
Here’s the good news: “It’s an employee’s market,” Andy pointed out. “You can lay out your demands and figure out what you want to do. Many people are leaving their jobs, moving around, and have power and flexibility.”
“There has never been a better opportunity to get self-directed and be intentional with your career to really figure out what you want to do, and then go find a way to do that.”
Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Andy emphasized the importance of choosing your inner circle wisely. “Be intentional about the people you surround yourself with”. Ask yourself the following questions: Are the friends in your circle self-directed? Are they taking action regularly towards living the life they want? How are they spending their time? Are they creating joy in their lives and also being kind and generous and creating joy for others? Or are they negative and cynical? We have the power to choose who we spend our time with much of the time.
“I only surround myself with really happy, ambitious, supportive people and my life is so much better as a result.”
Andy’s Top Tips
We asked Andy for his favorite tips, and here’s what he gave us:
- Mindset is key. Choose to believe that everything in life is happening for you, that everything is an opportunity, that life is a blessing and a gift, and focus most of your energy on things you can control.
- Be curious. Curiosity is one of the most underrated skills for leaders for any type of success. Lead with curiosity whether it’s at work or in relationships.
- Be collaborative rather than competitive. Rooting for others and supporting them is not only beneficial for others, it helps us as well.
- Set very specific goals. Consider SMART goals: specific, measurable, actionable, relative, and timebound. Think about what you want to achieve, write it down, get specific about it, and consider how you’re going to measure your progress. And find an accountability partner who can hold you accountable, push you, and support you throughout the process.
Books to Inspire
In addition to Andy’s own book, he gave us a list of books that were instrumental in helping him shift his mindset and cultivate more intention and joy. We encourage you to check them out!
- Own Your Career, Own Your Life: Stop Drifting and Take Control of Your Future
- The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) (Hal Elrod)
- Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career (Laurie Ruettimann)
- Stop Living on Autopilot: Take Responsibility for Your Life and Rediscover a Bolder, Happier You. (Antonio Neves)
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Carol Dweck)
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
(Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman)
written by Kelly Knowles