On this episode, I interview Fiona Reith, a phenomenal career change coach I know from a certification training we completed last year together called Firework.
She recommended I read a book for career and life change called Designing Your Life by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett who are both professors at Stanford University that teach Design Thinking. This was and is an absolute game-changer for me and I’m now training with the authors Bill and Dave directly in becoming a certified Designing Your Life coach in April this year.
This conversation gives you a glimpse of why design thinking is so useful, practical and why we both love it so much!
In this episode, we discuss:
- The importance of prototyping your next career
- Using design thinking methodology for life and career design
- How to prototype through conversations and experiences
- My experience in prototyping interviews for becoming an employed podcast producer
- Scales of prototyping and your spectrum of possibilities
- Knowing when you have done enough prototyping to make a career decision
- Reframing problems with design thinking
- Networking to access the hidden job market
- What’s the one thing that’s made Fiona Reith burn from within?
- Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnnett & Dave Evans – this book in my opinion is a total game changer when it comes to career and life design and change. Get it now. I’m serious!
- Designing Your Work Life: How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work by Bill Burnnett & Dave Evans – this book is about making improvements in your existing career to become incrementally more fulfilled and happier, without necessarily doing anything drastic like a career change. Full of practical exercises.
- Designing Your Life video workshop online – this is a live class you can follow on-demand taught alongside other students with the authors of the book to help you really understand and go through the exercises of the book in groups. Definitely worth it.
- Fiona Reith’s coaching website and Linked profile – Fiona is a phenomenal career coach so go have a conversation with her to discuss if she is right for you (if you enjoyed her awesome insights in this episode, she might be a good fit to help you in your career or out of it into a new fulfilling path
- A directory of certified Designing Your Life coaches from around the world – Fiona is the first DYL coach from the UK and Matt will also be on this list in April!
- Bill Burnett’s 5 steps to designing the life you want Tedx Talk and Dave Evan’s separate Designing Your Life Ted Talk
Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:00:00] On this week’s episode, I have Fiona Reith. A phenomenal career change coach. I know from a certification training we completed last year together. Called firework. Now every time I met Fiona during the course and subsequent catch-ups. I was just so impressed. By how she thought about things, how she sold her own problems and her clients’ challenges.
[00:00:52] She shared so many useful ideas and so much practical advice that I asked her, where did all this come from? And she recommended a book for career and life change called designing your life by Dave Evans and bill Burnett. Who are both professors at Stanford university that teach design thinking. This was ad is an absolute game changer for me.
[00:01:19] And I’m now training with the author’s bill and Dave. Directly and becoming a certified designing your life coach in April this year. This conversation gives you a glimpse of why this way of thinking is so useful. Practical and why we both love it so much. In this episode, we discuss the importance of prototyping your next career.
[00:01:45] Using design thinking methodology for life and career design. How to prototype through conversations and experiences. My experience in prototyping interviews for becoming an employee podcast producer. Scales of prototyping and your spectrum of possibilities. Knowing when you’ve done enough prototyping to make a career decision.
[00:02:10] Reframing problems with design thinking. Networking to access the hidden job market. And what’s the one thing that’s made Fiona Reith burn from within. The full show notes and videos of other interviews. Are available. At burn from within.com forward slash interviews. So listen all the way through.
[00:02:32] And enjoy.
[00:02:33] you told me a little bit about some work you’ve been doing with a couple of guys from Stamford university. Dave Evans, and bill Burnett who wrote the book designing your life. Which I’ve read and I’ve read their subsequent book and now devoured all of their material and really jumped into this world and love it.
[00:02:52]Prototyping and design thinking [00:02:52]
[00:02:52]And one of the things in the book that, that really resonates with me and also Strategies for my coaching clients. And also just people looking for work in general are looking for what to do next in life is a concept called prototyping. Tell me a little bit about first of all design thinking and how significant the concept of prototyping from it is both for your life and your clients.
[00:03:19] Fiona Reith: [00:03:19] Yeah that’s a great question. Thank you. Design thinking or human centered design, I think was initially called, was, is a sort of concept from designers in California. Stanford university and ideal a big sort of design agency. An innovation hub in San Francisco many years ago, but the guys that you mentioned, bill and Dave took that concept and turned it into a class that could be taught at Stanford, really for graduates who were floundering a little bit to think okay, I’ve done all these studies, but what does that mean for the real world?
[00:03:55] What am I going to do next? So is they designed a class that you could take at Stanford and it became really popular. And as they were doing, it ended up that alumni wanted to come back and do it.
[00:04:06] And then they realized that there was a market for this and they wrote a book. And it’s really the same concept that designers use to design products. And maybe for those of us outside the design world, we maybe think that the way that designers make products is that they make something smart or they make something cool or they make something pretty.
[00:04:22] And then we buy it. But that’s not really the process or it’s certainly not what human centered design is. Human centered design is about. What’s the problem. If you think about that from a career point of view, it’s quite easy to answer that question. Usually what’s your career problem. We’ll maybe come back to those, some examples of those and then get some awareness and some empathy about what’s really going on with that problem.
[00:04:48]We all see the jokes about, somebody designing a solution that doesn’t really fit the problem because it doesn’t work very well. So you have to get a little bit of empathy and understanding of the person and the situation. Then come up with lots and lots of ideas for you for moving forward instead of in your career.
[00:05:06] I often do you hear people and they’ve got one idea and you think okay, how many jobs are that in that, or is that really accessible for you? Come up with lots and lots of ideas, and this is where prototyping comes in. How do you decide which ideas to take forward? You experiment, you test them out.
[00:05:24]And that’s what prototyping is. It’s essentially a career experiment, a really safe, low key career experiment that gives you a little bit more data experience, evidence, emotions about your choice before you make it.
[00:05:40]A prototype experience [00:05:40]
[00:05:40]Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:05:40] That really makes sense to me. And I think back to when I was 16 and I was working lot of people in the UK, they do work experience.
[00:05:50] A lot of people do it for a week. And that’s a taster into basically into the general world of work. It might be a taster into. 16 year olds, future career, who knows? Yeah.
[00:06:01]Fiona Reith: [00:06:01] That’s a brilliant example of a prototype experiment and the thing is, so when we’re young, we do them, right? So we do these work expediences we do these internships and they do teach us things about the world of work and things about ourselves.
[00:06:17] And the thing is we stopped doing them almost immediately. We get into a job. And then we run out of options. So yeah, I think work experiences is a brilliant example that are two type of prototype experiences in the book and that we use in the program.
[00:06:32]Prototype conversations or informational interviews [00:06:32]
[00:06:32]One of them is called prototype conversations, or you might call them informational interviews or career conversations.
[00:06:40] There’s not interviews. So the word interviews like a little bit misleading, but opposed to take the conversation. And then the other type is a prototype experience and you would classify work expedience as a prototype experience. Prototype conversations are the conversations that we have with people to find out more about the thing that they do, that you might be interested in doing is listening to their career story.
[00:07:04] It’s something that Clients shy away from, but I would see, and I think that’s why we’re talking about it today. You and I think it’s probably the knob of the process Its probably the thing that makes the difference. Why is that? Because we make our decisions, not just based on facts, career decisions can’t really be made on cause and effect or pros and cons.
[00:07:30] Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:07:30] Theory
[00:07:31] Fiona Reith: [00:07:31] essentially
[00:07:32] Theory Yes. I know I went for, the kind of classic theoretical career advice at times in my career and it didn’t really move me forward. That’s why I love this process so much because I’ve had the theoretical advice as to what it looks like. I might be good at doing based on my personality, based on my education.
[00:07:53]Feeling your way forward through experience [00:07:53]
[00:07:53] But this process is about feeling your way forward felt experience. And if that sounds a bit fluffy to some people, you and I both know that in positive psychology and the book is written really based on really strong evidence of positive psychology, how humans make decisions. And we make decisions based on our gut instinct on our evidence on experience.
[00:08:16] You don’t take a job without talking to somebody. And it trying to work out if it’s gonna work for you. So why would you change career without talking to quite a lot of people in the area that you’re thinking of moving into and getting a cross section of kind of emotional data to see whether it’s the right thing for you.
[00:08:36] And then as you’ve discovered a little bit more than maybe designing a small experiment or prototype experience, when you get more chance to try that out,
[00:08:46]Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:08:46] With informational interviews, that’s a one type of prototyping. How did they work? How do you set them up? And w what is it like in practice and what would be the end result from an informational interview?
[00:09:01] Fiona Reith: [00:09:01] Yeah, that’s a really great question because I do think the idea almost scares people a little bit. But what you’re looking for is to learn their story. You want to talk to a cross section of people. And again, referring back to the book the authors would see, pick a good number of people.
[00:09:19] If you think that you want to work in. Is there any area of tech or a certain area of marketing, you really want to pick five or six people that work in that area. So that, here’s the thing that scares people because I don’t know those people. No, because that’s not your world yet. So you’re going to have to, and that’s actually good because talking to the people around you there’s a lot written on this.
[00:09:41] And in, in career theory, isn’t there about weak ties are better than close ties. People who knew you really well, they just know what you know, and they know what you do. And that’s how they see you. People who knew you a little bit less well are going to be more open to you, changing and have access to different pieces of information.
[00:10:03] So within your wider group of friends, I bet you know, somebody who works in tech or I bet, somebody who works in marketing, do you think your friend would introduce you to the person who works in this other field? So you could have a career conversation with them? Yes. That’s the first step. I think that could work.
[00:10:19] So usually through referral you get introduced to somebody and you only ask for half an hour of their time, and you’re really looking to understand how they got where they are to do. So people like talking about themselves, people like telling their stories, it helps them with their own self-reflection.
[00:10:36]And so a 30 minute interview is probably enough, but you do need it. The biggest mistake people make is to not do enough of them because you do need to really do five or six. And then you will realize, is there something in that conversation that resonated with me? Something I would like doing, because you’re asking them, what do you do every day?
[00:10:52] What do you like about your job? How did you get there? And what’s next for you and industry? What’s next for you? Who else might I speak to? Who works in this industry and that sort of conversation. If you just use your own curiosity and don’t try and script it too much, be yourself, find out what it is you want to find out about what it’s like to work there.
[00:11:12] A really obvious one, often clients come to me, you maybe get this too. And they’ve worked at a really small company, or they’ve worked at a really big company and they want a complete change, but they want to stay in a really small company or stay in a really big company because that’s all they know.
[00:11:28] Because they think that they won’t like working in a small company or big company, wherever the opposite is, but the point is they’ve never spoken to anybody who works in the opposite, so they don’t actually know whether they would like it. They just think that they don’t like it.
[00:11:42] And that is what bill Burnett and Dave Evans would say that the difference really between simulation and surrogation. So simulation is when you look at somebody and you look at the peak of their life, the outside bits of their life that you think, I don’t know. I’ve got friends, who’s a journalist or I was talking to a client the other day about, about this and you look at that and you think would, I would like to do that, or I wouldn’t like to do that.
[00:12:06] And you’re basing it on just what you can see. But if you have a conversation with them, you’ll get more information about what’s the day. What skills do they use? What’s the environment? Like how much do they get paid? Lots of people stop themselves from doing career change because they believe that the pay scale will be different from what they’re currently on, but they don’t know.
[00:12:27] So one way to find that information is through one of these experimental career conversations. ,
[00:12:33]My experience in prototyping interviews for collecting data about becoming an employed podcast host or producer [00:12:33]
[00:12:33] Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:12:33] I completely resonate with that. I’ve done these informational interviews myself, I have a portfolio career.
[00:12:39] I do, freelance copywriting and sales. And I, I love podcasts. I love doing this podcast and I thought, Oh, you know what, maybe I could do. Maybe I could get into the podcasting world and actually be paid like professionally as a freelance podcast host or getting into that kind of area and going, and actually speaking to podcasts, hosts, podcast, producers like recognized ones that, that I thought I’d made it.
[00:13:06]Some of the people I spoke to. Set, they love their job and it was interesting and got to speak with amazing people. And I, when I asked some of them what are the cons? And yeah. Some of them said, actually it really barely pays the bills. Like when you’re paid, when you’re not running as your own business, but you’re paid as a podcast host or producer.
[00:13:26]And that kind of, that shifted my perspective. And I was so excited about that as a potential career. And now I think. Okay. That’s interesting. That’s changed my feeling. Yeah. New data. Exactly. Really. And I think the point of jumping in so many people just jump into a career and they’re not sure, but they just go for it.
[00:13:47] It’s like all their friends say, what are you try this. And then maybe they apply, they might get in and then they spend, they might spend five years or 10 years in a career that they absolutely hate. Because I hadn’t tested it. And one example of that, we have a guest on the show a few weeks ago, a dentist, Tom Youngs, he spent, Almost 10 years training to be a dentist.
[00:14:11] As soon as he got into the dentists practice that he wanted a really respected private practice. He was he had a moment of just being in the room and realizing he was going to be doing this for the next 30 years. And he thought, what the hell am I doing? And very shortly after he quit.
[00:14:27]And had that horrible, painful transition out. So I, the importance of this is not to be understated and the power of information interviews is, it can save years of heartache in your life
[00:14:40]Fiona Reith: [00:14:40] People come to you and they think, Oh, it’s gonna, this is going to take a long time because they just want to quick fix.
[00:14:47] And you’re like, yes. But the reason you’re in this situation is because you’ve not done this sort of prior research. So let’s just slow it down. A tiny little bit thing. What do you think you want to do next? Let’s speak to five or six people who do that. What also happens. So it’s not an interview.
[00:15:03] You mustn’t be asking about openings or jobs because that shifts the focus of the conversation. They maybe don’t have a job. And then you feel that they feel like that spoke word and they won’t take your call. Or, you feel that you’re having to impress them. There’s there should be none of that.
[00:15:21] You need to be yourself and be led by your curiosity. So it’s not an interview, but what happens once you do a bunch of these is you get connections. Serendipity happens. Yeah. People come up with opera offers and opportunities that you would never have had the vantage point to see because you weren’t talking to people.
[00:15:41] So the biggest mistake I think that people make is to not talk. Now, people don’t talk because they feel vulnerable and they feel shy. So what we do before they do this piece is we make sure they’re really straight on their story. Why am I interested in this? What’s my motivation here.
[00:15:56] What am I going to do with this? This information that you give me. And and that’s a really simple formula and people get really quite confident, but you’re right, that the pitfalls of not doing this, you make a choice that you dislike. And as you see, you hear people seeing it is two months or two years, once you start in something, you’re not going to get out easily because as humans we think there’s a sort of sunk cost.
[00:16:18] I can’t leave now. What will people think. The other thing that happens is people get really stuck because in their head, there are lots and lots of scenarios. I could do this. I might do that. So I have a friend who’s always thought about being a teacher. Is that nostalgic or is it actually something she could do?
[00:16:35] It’s really easy to find out. I certainly have worked in education so I can introduce her to a lot of teachers. And she actually knows lots of lectures, herself, so many teaching at a different M Institute type of institution. Have those conversations. Also spend some time with young people, see how that goes for you.
[00:16:55] That would be the next type of of prototype is actually where you have the, you actually have the experience you actually go and try something really small, that would you would imagine, would be what your life might be like if you were doing this all the time.
[00:17:09] So example, I was working with somebody who fancied really good at yoga, finds him maybe being a yoga instructor, but had never led a group to do anything. Asked her yoga teacher to let her, at the beginning, just be at the front of the class and then to maybe demonstrate a move and then maybe take a bit of the class that would be a prototype experience because all the time that person’s good.
[00:17:35] I love this, or I hate this and this isn’t for me. Maybe I’ll go and write books about yoga because I don’t want still love yoga, but I don’t like demonstrating it. To other people, there’s almost this assumption that we can all do everything and we’ll all enjoy doing everything. And actually that’s not true.
[00:17:51] That’s so personal about what’s meaningful to us and what matters to us and what makes us, and gives us joy at work and flue and enjoyment at work. Yeah,
[00:18:03]Scales of prototyping and your spectrum of possibilities [00:18:03]
[00:18:03] Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:18:03] I love that example. Like that’s really dipping your toe into a profession, leading one yoga class and you’re familiar with the teacher and it’s just seeing how teaching is for you, for example.
[00:18:14]So what are the kinds of things scales, from the other side of prototyping, not information interviews, but actually the experience is getting the actual experiences. What are the kind of scales that people can take in order to test things out, experientially Yeah.
[00:18:31] Yeah. From, from teaching a yoga class to does it go to just getting a full-time job? What is that really
[00:18:38] Fiona Reith: [00:18:38] great question? Because it takes me back to the course that we did together, the spectrum of possibilities tool, which is really good way to see to somebody.
[00:18:46] Okay. At the top end, you’re planning to come out off. I don’t know the art world. To go into the tech world or, being in quality management to be in marketing. Okay. So that’s quite a big jump. So we’ll put that at the top end, you’re doing this new thing that you want to do. What are all the little things all the way down and chunk it right down to what’s the smallest way that you could get involved in that new world.
[00:19:10]Often with clients. You are looking at maybe doing an into remove you’re maybe looking at doing a move where you move from the company that you work for, where you’re the specialist in something else where you change sector. So you’re closer to the thing that’s interesting to you rather than just doing it.
[00:19:26]But yeah. In terms of experiences, obviously we mentioned the obvious things like interning. Once you’re in the page, all of that might be shadowing. It might be offering to do a project. It might be doing some pro bono work. We certainly both done that to learn how to coach you end up doing pro bono coaching to get your experience, but once you’ve got your experience, You know what it feels like to be a coach and you go from there.
[00:19:51]Other examples are things like volunteering. Volunteering is probably my favorite. I think it’s the thing that if I look back on my own career, I have never a volunteering expedience has never gone without some thing coming out of it. It’s just, you get so much from doing it, but you access a world temporarily very few commitments that you wouldn’t normally have access to, but you bring your skills and your energy and you give something.
[00:20:19] And in return you meet a new bunch of people and you often get new opportunities. And I think people don’t realize volunteering and talk about scale can go all the way from, being the marshal at the park run. Up to, sitting on a voluntary board and an almost everything in between
[00:20:35] Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:20:35] following up on that point about volunteering, I had a one of my guests, Luke Mickelson, he worked in sales and he started building beds for kids, for his local community.
[00:20:45] It was volunteering to do that. And because, and he just realized he got so much enjoyment from doing that. Spare time. And w I think he led his boy scout group to help him out. And then his community started helping him out. Then it got bigger and bigger, and it got to this kind of huge organization that then the national, and he had to make a decision of, should I just do this charity or should I quit my six-figure sales job?
[00:21:10] And. He realized that actually that’s what he wanted to do. And he, in a way it was a transition of prototyping and it gradually got bigger and bigger until he just knew that was the decision he had to make.
[00:21:22]Getting into the rhythm of design thinking for the rest of your life [00:21:22]
[00:21:22] Fiona Reith: [00:21:22] I think that’s the point. I’m really good point that you make designing your life is once you’ve got into the rhythm of it.
[00:21:29] You actually, for me, I looked back and I thought, look, there’s all the times when I did design my life, I made intentional decisions based on what mattered to me on really strong evidence. And they worked out and there are other decisions that didn’t work highly that because probably I didn’t think of it.
[00:21:43] So then as you go forward, it’s it. The whole idea is that it’s building your way forward. It’s not necessarily the solution to two. It could be, you could come to it in crisis. But it would actually become a way of doing things and that’s definitely what it is for me. And then I think it’s about people can then they they might take an interim job.
[00:22:02] So if I think about, clients that I’ve been working with, we might decide that taking an interim job whilst they retreat or vice, they volunteer for the longer term goal, because you’ve got to, you’ve got to build up experience, particularly if you’re making a complete career shift. It’s that actual, really the, not one of the nubs of career coaching and people come to you and they really want to do some things very different, and they believe they have the transferable skills, but they haven’t tested out in any way.
[00:22:33] And therefore testing it out also. Adds evidence to your portfolio. So instead of saying, I think I could transfer it into this. You can say, I can show you that I can transfer it into this because I interned, they shadowed, I volunteered, whatever it was you did. It can go right up to that scale of taking a secondment or a, or an interim job, or, even taking time out to travel or to layer and can be part of the prototyping.
[00:23:06]Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:23:06] What I find quite interesting as well is the kind of whole concept of actually when you’re prototyping, when you’re doing these interviews or when you’re doing volunteering or interning you are building relationships and, from the informational interview stage you’re networking.
[00:23:21] And although. And the informational interview is the purpose is not to have an interview and not to ask for a job actually. By building those relationships, you are potentially able to access a hidden job market where someone can contact you in the future and say, Hey, I remember that conversation where you’re interested in this career.
[00:23:43] What, we actually have a. An opening now it’s not advertised, I really liked your our conversation. And what would you say to maybe applying for the job? How have you found this access to a hidden job market later on after this networking for you and for your clients?
[00:24:00] Fiona Reith: [00:24:00] That definitely happens, but it’s definitely happened to me. My story was that I was in sales for many years and I always knew that there was something missing. And then I have to, I had my kids, I went into education, but it’s really interesting because the volunteering that I did both as a student and when I alongside my educational job, they both led to other jobs because people know that you’ve done this before.
[00:24:24]I just had a call today from somebody seeing, I know you’ve done this. Do you want to think about doing it again? So I think, that sort of piece about networking. And it’s really funny because I was thinking about a lot of my clients. Quite often, clients come to me and. They keep coming, even after they’ve had the offer and the job.
[00:24:45] So the act of opening up prototyping, networking, whatever you want to call it, connecting with other human beings, telling your career story, being a little bit more open about what it is you’re actually looking for. Means that people know what you’re looking for, what you’re looking for. So when it comes up, you grab it.
[00:25:06] Other people know what you’re looking for. And so they’re thinking of you. So I have a number of clients who are working with me and I think. The opportunities have come up and they’ve grabbed those and we’re still working together because they’re not done designing their life. And I think the thing would be, we talking very much,about prototyping today but, designing your life can become a kind of ongoing way of thinking about your life and you can use it in other aspects of your life to improve your health, to improve your relationships to decide, whether to move or to stay or to scale up or retired early. People, once they’ve had that experience I think the, they want to keep thinking like that.
[00:25:46] Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:25:47] One question that I have about prototyping is how do you know when you’ve done enough prototyping, but that you can just make that decision that, Hey, this actually now I think about it, maybe this is the right career for me, and I’ll give you an example from my own life.
[00:26:03] And this is early on. I did some work experience. I think it was when I was at school at high school. Doing, I think it was, I was working for Cisco doing some kind of it CA computer type work. And then I was like, I didn’t know what to do. University. I ended up, I said, okay, I did this work experience for a few weeks in the computer industry.
[00:26:26] I’m going to do a computing degree at Imperial college. And maybe I’m gonna, I’m gonna do a career in computing. Turns out that I really did not like computing at all. And I tried to imagine myself doing that as a career, into my undergraduate degree. And I just hated it. And I ended up dropping out of that university.
[00:26:46] And so that’s an example of maybe not prototyping enough to know that potential career could be for you. And it was a co it was a costly mistake for me. I had to change universities. Wasted. We’re not wasted, but I had a year in a course that and a university that I probably shouldn’t have done.
[00:27:03]What can people, how can people know that they’ve done enough testing and practice?
[00:27:08] Fiona Reith: [00:27:08] Yeah, that’s a really great question. And what you said is really common in the, the book opens up with people talking about that, studying the wrong thing. Our system is very much set up on, study a subject.
[00:27:19]Instead of study yourself. So the answer to your question is in two parts, one the prior parts of designing your life is you have to know yourself really well. You have to know what’s missing. You have to know what brings you energy. You have to know what it is that you like doing every day and where your strengths are.
[00:27:39]And yeah. Yeah. There’s a piece of work to do there and that we don’t often do before we make a decision. And I think, yeah, it’s quite funny. Cause I’ve got a story about, how much is too much. I have some clients who I’ve got clients in the crease of sectors who may be journalists or researchers and they do too many interviews because they’re fascinated by the story.
[00:28:01] And then, and I have to bring them back to. Yeah. W what about for you? What does that mean for you? Yeah, there’s that questioning of oneself, which is what does it mean for me? What’s that tool to me, I would like more of that, or I wouldn’t like more of that. What does it mean for me? And I think that’s probably where the coaching, I think benefit comes in.
[00:28:23]And when they run the course at Stanford, everybody’s doing it. And, while you remember your uni days, there’s lots of people around and everybody wants to chat and you can do it in big radical collaboration groups. There’s always somebody in the same situation to talk to, but yeah. Once you’re into your career.
[00:28:38] There isn’t really anybody to talk to you and maybe, and your partner and your friends are a little bit fed up, hearing you talk about your career. And so that’s where the coach, I think element and or the collaboration, if you can get a small group together and to help you a support group together, or a mentor or somebody else to bounce your thinking off, and then you get that support, the accountability, the reframing.
[00:29:04] And just helping you consider what it is you took out of those conversations and experiences. In my experience, the conversations tend to bring up, recurring themes and then we design an experience. Or two that he backs that up and then momentum really takes over. At that point.
[00:29:25] At that point, there’s waving at me over their shoulder. I’m off, I’m going to try this. And then after that I have a roadmap I’m going to try this and that all the time I’m going to be working at that or improving this. And once people get that sort of confidence in themselves, say openness to the world and a bit of momentum it tends to move on.
[00:29:44]I’ve done this with the boat and. I’ve done this for two years. I trained two years ago and we are going to do the course, which is really exciting. And I’ve done over two dozen people, so like a person a month for the last two years. And the, describe it as organic intuitive transformational.
[00:30:02]So yeah, I think you do need outside support. Otherwise you would get lost in your own thoughts and you might interview too much or, just get. And what do they call it? Paralysis analysis paralysis.
[00:30:16]Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:30:16] Yeah, I think, the more information you collect about yourself and finding out about careers that you’re, that you might be interested in, there’s a level that you need to unpack.
[00:30:27]She can, you can do some of that with journaling, but actually talking through ideas with. With a coach, like someone that’s actually trained in being able to listen, being able to and getting to know you over a number of weeks or months to actually make suggestions based on the relationship you have and highlighting your blind spots.
[00:30:49] As you landholders information
[00:30:51] Fiona Reith: [00:30:51] yeah, there’s another, they want a second book and the bill and Dave talk about best theoretical option and your best doable option. And so that clients don’t fall back into the trap of in theory, this time’s perfect on paper. This is I’ve designed my life.
[00:31:11] That’s the really important bit about design thinking. That’s why I love it. You have to take action. The action can be tiny. It can be to talk some more or to think some more or to try something, but you have to take action and move forward. Just thinking in theory, that would really be really good for me.
[00:31:31] Isn’t enough and it’s really training people to see how do I get more of that into my life easily in a way that suits my life or my personality and not They’re trying to be some kind of unattainable person. But just be you moving towards that goal.
[00:31:48]Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:31:48] Yeah. And I think that’s why I love this, the method of design thinking, because it is a way to, first of all, identify problems.
[00:31:57] Reframe problems in a way that you can actually take action on that took, let’s talk a little bit about, how, some people might be stuck in a problem for a long time, but actually there are methods in order to create movement with design thinking like reframing Can you talk a little bit about that and how people can actually use that to get unstuck?
[00:32:21] Fiona Reith: [00:32:21] Yeah, I think it was you were leading up to that before and that whole thing about. It’s asking yourself good questions. That really is the key to, to, to all of this, but it is quite difficult to reframe things by yourself. What do you mean by reframe is to look at them from a different perspective.
[00:32:38] You’ve just explained really eloquently how you now have a different perspective on successful podcasters. And it’s getting perspective or vantage points for yourself that are different from the one that you have. There are lots and lots of examples eat new. And this would overlaps with coaching.
[00:32:57] So in the book, they talk about dysfunctional beliefs, which is a little bit harsh. And, but, and we talk about limiting beliefs in coaching all the time. People like me don’t do that. Really what’s that about? So it’s about really saying what is it you’re stuck on? And often we come back to design thinking is it’s the idea that people have this one idea about themselves rather than a broader idea of all the ways that they could get involved.
[00:33:25] So if people come to me and they want to do something, that’s really quite, Unique. The example I always think about is I think I’m gonna be talking to you about this one, just like the Edinburgh book festival. Everybody wants to work for the Edinburgh book festival. The team’s tiny.
[00:33:39] I actually know someone that works on the team. It’s a really small, tight team and people work there for a very long time. And what you want to do with somebody is really design thinking is brilliant. You zoom out and you think what are all the other things that would feel like that.
[00:33:55] And they could be as diverse as actually, what is it you really like about it? If you really dig into what you do you really like about it? It’s this aspect of her, of it’s that well, where else won’t we find that and it’s going through and just seeing. Going back to your point, but the problem is their perspective is that’s the only thing that they really want to do.
[00:34:17] They don’t like the hate what they do now. And the only thing that’s going to make them happier is to have that job. They don’t know. They just think that is a self limiting belief. That’s what bill and Dave would call an anchor problem. You’ve decided that the solution to your problem. Is one thing and one thing alone.
[00:34:36]And so you can unpick that really by zooming right out and working out, how do you get more of what it is you imagine that should be in your actual life now? And so that, that’s the kind of way that we do it on the design thinking. The other type of problem that they talk about is a gravity problem.
[00:34:56] So that’s the thing where people the gravity problem we have right now is I wish there was no COVID right. Okay. But there’s nothing we can do about that. That’s it. So we have to design it. The classic one, I wish this company was more entrepreneurial. I wish this local authority was more entrepreneurial to work for.
[00:35:12] No, you’re in the wrong place. If the culture is not entrepreneurial, if you’ve got a gravity problem, you need to take your entrepreneurial. And mindset somewhere else where a, where else might that be? So it’s trying to give a different perspective. And cause we all can get very one, particularly once you’re in a job or in a sector, in a profession you’re busy.
[00:35:35] And so your world becomes quite narrow and it’s broadening out again before you use the zooming out and then obviously then you have to make some decisions to move forward. But certainly zooming out before you zoom in.
[00:35:46]Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:35:46] Yeah, and you can apply this kind of thinking, not just for career change, but actually if you’re unhappy in your job.
[00:35:53] And if, for example you feel like your boss is not listening to you or doesn’t, take your opinions into account and so designing how would you deal with something like that? Like a work issue that you want to overcome it, would that be a an anchor problem or gravity problem?
[00:36:14] Could you reframe those kinds of issues?
[00:36:17]Fiona Reith: [00:36:17] Yeah, I think reframing is the way to go there. As bill and Dave wrote a second book called designing your work life because actually what happens with designing your life? You don’t, people don’t necessarily rip everything up and change. They just, what they learned through that process, that people just do more of what they love and that’s where things get better and easier for them.
[00:36:35]And they recognize that you don’t always have the kind of choice to leave. And I’ve worked with people particularly in. And vocations like teaching or medicine where they really is their true purpose. It’s just that factors around them are not working for them. So they aren’t prepared to leave.
[00:36:55] They have to find a way to reframe or to move sideways, to look at a different way to. And whether they decide to, they say reframe and re-enlist, so think again about why you do this, really focus on your values and why you do it another way is to assist slightly. If you have a little bit of control over the type of work that you do more of the stuff that energizes you and see if there’s a way to delegate the, some of the things that don’t, you might be able to get on a project or a condiment.
[00:37:25] I think a lot of that, again, it’s just about. As you say, it’s just about perspective and coming from an outside perspective as well. What about all these other things? Because staying where you are, you could just see where you are, but you’re really not happy where you are. What are the other things that you can do?
[00:37:40] And I’ve had really great success with as I say, both education and medicine where people it’s very stressful work, but they’ve really passionate about it. And when they dialogue the stuff that really matters to them, Some of the things that have been burning them out or causing them difficulty feed a little bit, it’s being really intentional about what you focus on and why it’s so quite nuanced.
[00:38:09] And it is it’s quite personal, but it’s definitely doable.
[00:38:12] Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:38:12] Yeah. I think, especially when people are thinking about changing their careers it might be that they just, they have a feeling that they just hate this industry or they hate their boss or they work, but actually defining what the actual specific problem is of why they don’t like their job often that can unlock.
[00:38:31]Solutions where they actually love their job. And it might be that they have better communication with their boss. I remember, I think in the book it said someone was, they weren’t getting any appreciation from their boss. I can’t remember the exact case study, but.
[00:38:48] They re they, they just weren’t getting any kind of good feedback and they thought, I just want to quit. I can’t stand this. And they actually asked their boss am I doing anything wrong? Am I doing anything wrong? And that boss shared that what actually It’s not, you it’s me. I’ve been going through some personal problems.
[00:39:04] Like I’ve got some issues with my marriage and I’ve actually been taking it out on you. And actually I really liked your work and I want you to take more ownership of it. And it was that it’s these kinds of stories that there are ways around just chucking in your career or your job.
[00:39:20]A lot of it’s to do with communication and a lot of it’s to do with identifying specifically what the problem is and what actions can you take to move forward with that problem. And it might be that it might be the boss says. No, I just don’t like you, in which case, maybe then you’ve validated your hypothesis and maybe it is time to move on but it’s this way of thinking that it can lead into many different routes, like moving across to different functions from accountancy to marketing.
[00:39:49] For example, if you’re looking to. Go into more creative side or con as you said, like delegating tasks to other people to, so that you do more things that energize you and that totally changes your whole experience in your day. , so obviously you’re coaching people on design thinking. How has designed thinking helped your own life in terms of how you approach life now, after coming across it.
[00:40:15]Fiona Reith: [00:40:15] Yeah. It was, that’s why I’m so passionate about it because I think I was looking for it.
[00:40:19]And I I had huge benefits to me in my life. So I, I think I said before I worked in sales, I thought I wanted to do something for me. More meaningful when the children came along, I worked in education and it was super, rewarding work. So I’d shifted there.
[00:40:37]And then, but then I fell into the trap of doing the same thing as I’d done in sales and climbing the ladder and not paying so much attention to my own needs. And I was lucky enough to be working with a coach. And we were such a, I guess we were quitting my motivation. And then I have this book.
[00:40:57] I had two copies of the book cause I bought two copies, one for me and one for my husband. And that’s what happens when people discover it, don’t let it become a bit of unrealistic and start buying the book can sending it to people. And I, yeah, I worked through the book and for me, I take a bit of I think I would say both times I’ve pivoted in my career.
[00:41:15] I think burnout inhales issues where we’re underlying. And I did. I’ve got my copy of the book here. I got it out before we talked. And I’ve got my, literally my notes written and say, as to the scores, I gave myself as a little dashboard that you do at the front and you have to score yourself.
[00:41:34]Don’t they’re still on health, love, play and work. And it was pretty devastating. And this is the first chapter of the book. And health was really low play was non-negotiable. It was negligible and work was killing me, but I was full of love for my family, which is quite similar to, I think, and the example that they give in the book.
[00:41:55]And I decided to put as much emphasis on my health as I put on other things and see what happened. And that was through reading the book. And I started to do the kind of micro improvements of my health and everything else fell into place after that. I think for me reading the book, I then decided to do the course and I went to California and I met bill and Dave and the community of coaches who are all using this in their practice. And that was a sort of life changing thing for me. So I sat in that room and I thought, Oh, I’m going to have to change my life. And I, I literally swollen with the boot call and I did, I came back to my husband and said, I’m going to leave my job.
[00:42:36] I’m going to start coaching full-time. And he’s hang on and say, and they don’t advise you do, he didn’t know that it was coming. So I left a little bit and eventually finished the work that I was doing and set up my own coaching practice. So what I’d been doing before, I do still do innovation and education.
[00:42:55]But I do like you have a portfolio career, so I do a few different things and I did designed all of that. Through reading the book and being and having a coach, as well or not that the coach was, we knew about the book, but it was helping us both with that process. And then I’ve taken that kind of step further we’ve Sold up, downsized changed our lifestyle.
[00:43:19] So all to do with the things that matter most health family, meaningful work. And so yeah, it for me, it’s, I literally it changed my life.
[00:43:29] Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:43:30] Wow. What a great answer. I wasn’t expecting all of that. Literally did change your life. And yeah. That’s what I love about about this way of thinking about it.
[00:43:38] Design thinking designing your life mentality is that it doesn’t just apply to work. It doesn’t just apply to your career. It actually, you can use the, this, these principles and these, this structured thinking to solve all. Problems in your life. So you move forward in small ways, in actionable ways that that are doable.
[00:43:59] And actually, if you continue to do that, you can make improvements in many different areas of your life. And that is that’s freeing and that’s liberating. And
[00:44:09] Fiona Reith: [00:44:09] that’s different from sitting stuck thinking I’d really like to do that big thing over there and never do it. The reframe is what about doing lots of little things?
[00:44:19] That might not take you to, that. They might take you somewhere else, but if what’s guiding you and I think that’s what the book at the basis of it, they really don’t. They decry this idea of work life balance. They talk about coherence. And the fact that your work in life need to be coherent.
[00:44:36] So there are times in your life like you did. And like I did where you have to get out, get a job and earn some money and get some experience. And that’s the right thing to do with that stage of your life. But then there are these pivot points, which seem to come quite naturally in an adult’s life, that kind of group in certain ways where you have to, your life stage changes and you need something else.
[00:44:57] And this gives you a really I would say it’s easy because I’ve done it, but it wasn’t necessarily easy going through it, but it reduces your feed and your risk. It breaks it down into small bite size chunks. And it’s always coming back about what really matters to you and gives you some confidence and some momentum.
[00:45:14] And it’s informed by what’s actually happening in the real world, rather than getting stuck in these sort of swirling thoughts of what, whatever, what FinTech and a different path. What if I, what five was like, then what if I could be better at this? Would it change anything and sooner? I think it really is an amazing book.
[00:45:34] And And, process and, that’s why I’m really glad that you invited me on talk about it. And not just that, that, you’ve actually read the book and taken your own sort of steps forward. And I think, one of the next things is certainly the I’m really keen to do and always have been, is to bring this philosophy or way of thinking about careers.
[00:45:54] That’s more human centered. To more people, particularly in the UK who may not have hair. Do you know? Because if you’re not a designer, you’re not necessarily of haired of this. And even if you are a designer, you’ve, I’ve worked with designers and they think it’s brilliant because they’ve tried to consult on themselves.
[00:46:12] The process that they use for work, that doesn’t work, they need outside inputs. They need those career conversations, the experiences, the support group of mentor coach or your, or your own designing your life team. Yeah, it’s I’m really excited. Friends and I are also working on a mighty community for later in the year to help more people.
[00:46:35]To use this philosophy really to design their careers. I love
[00:46:40] Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:46:40] it. I love it. Before I asked my last question, Fiona how can people get in touch with you? Who do you normally work with? And how can you help them?
[00:46:51] Fiona Reith: [00:46:51] Okay. I have a website, if you f onareithcoaching.co.uk I’m on LinkedIn, really active on LinkedIn.
[00:47:00]Also there’s the designing your life website, which is great, and it profiles all the coaches. So there’s not just me. There’s lots of coaches now across the world. And literally you could work with any of those coaches, whichever one. And had the right chemistry for you. So there’s the designing your life website is definitely worth the loop because there’s some downloadable free resources on there as well.
[00:47:20] Upcoming events, people can learn more about the process for me. I tend to work with. People tend to come to me at two such of critical life stages and kind of late twenties, early thirties, late forties. And those are the two stages where they’ve either maybe go into something that they realize isn’t working, or they’ve been doing something for a long time and they know that for the next phase of their career, they would really like a redesign.
[00:47:47] And so those are my kind of two types of clients. My clients come from. All different sectors. As I see, I have worked with designers, but I’ve also worked with teachers and people in medicine and education. Lots of people in tech because they just get it because they use design thinking processes all the time, but equally people in finance.
[00:48:07]So it doesn’t really matter. It’s more about your mindset and just taking a slightly more human centered creative. Probably because the theoretical approach hasn’t worked for you like you and I were both seeing, we’ve both fallen fatal of. Reading the book and thinking the book’s going to give you the answer or speaking to a counselor and thinking, they’re going to tell you what to do.
[00:48:30]And this gives you a kind of a tool set to to sort it out for yourself.
[00:48:35]Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:48:35] I love it. I love it. Fiona, my last question, I see you as someone that’s burning from within you’re living with. With passion. You certainly have purpose in terms of the work that you do.
[00:48:46]And you have balance you, you have a portfolio career. You’ve raised a lovely family and have a lovely husband as well. What’s the one thing that’s made the biggest difference for you to live with passion, purpose, and balance and burn from within.
[00:49:03]Fiona Reith: [00:49:03] Wow. That’s your biggie.
[00:49:04] I should have practice my answer to this one. . I just came off a call with a school I’m working with and we’re looking at this. Because I think my real passions are things like, that sort of confluence of creativity and innovation, but also skills for work.
[00:49:18] Cause I really think that everybody should enjoy. What they do every day and and the everybody’s got the potential, everybody’s got a super strength. And so I just, I’ve always believed that I’ve always had that confidence in that. So I think the thing that’s made the biggest difference for me, And it was something, one of my coaches, a couple of coachings, probably the thing, actually, if you think about it, because if I think about my coaches that I’ve had, and I’ve been really lucky and I, you said it about, making a wrong decision.
[00:49:49] I don’t think there is a wrong decision. Young people come to me and say one word, a moment. There isn’t a wrong decision. You always learn everything you do and everything builds and everything. Some of the things I’ve done that know inform what, I’m going to do in future. There’s no such thing as a wrong decision, but coaching really I was really lucky in my corporate career to experience really high quality coaching.
[00:50:10] And that probably inspired me. And then the questions of people saying to me what are you doing now? Why are you doing it? And my coach who taught me to coach and is there my supervisor saying people see what you do if you want to. But they don’t see who you are. So I was really focused on doing, achieving succeeding, outward success, if I’m honest, because that’s just what I thought.
[00:50:37] I’d absorbed that idea and he saw something different and I shifted from being, very it’s funny. I wrote these things down before we, we did come on and it was about, it was all about budgets and projects and yeah. Things going quicker and faster and higher. And he saw that actually those same skills, the listening skills, the supporting skills, the belief in other people were actually the things I should be leading with.
[00:51:02]Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:51:02] I love it. Getting that outside perspective , you don’t necessarily know it yourself, but they though those are the things that really shine in you and that’s super important to do it. And I’ve benefited from that myself from coaches, from going on retreats lots of different exercises and continue to do so awesome. I love that one. Thank you so much, Fiona, for an amazing interview. Everyone that the show notes we’ll have all the links to contact Fiona, the designing your life book and website for you to check all of that out. And thank you once again for an amazing conversation.
[00:51:39]Fiona Reith: [00:51:39] Thank you.
[00:51:41]Matt Garrow-Fisher: [00:51:41] I loved how Fiona’s life completely transformed. As a result of discovering design thinking, she changed careers and went full time into coaching downsized our house. Transformed her health and changed her lifestyle. In such a positive way. I totally encourage all of you. Burned from within is listening to this to go check out the book.
[00:52:04] Designing your life by bill Burnett and Dave Evans. They also have another book called designing your work life, which is not so much about career change, but how to make changes within your career or job to feel happier and more fulfilled. Both are full of practical exercises that have been tried and tested on.
[00:52:24] Thousands of people around the world, as you would expect from Stanford university professors, all the details of these resources are in this episode, show notes. So make sure you check them out. If you enjoy this episode. Go right ahead and leave a review for this podcast. By going to rate this podcast.com forward slash burn from within that’s rate, this podcast.com forward slash burn from within and stay updated with more inspiring interviews by hitting the subscribe button now on your player for this podcast.
[00:52:57] Until next time. Live with passion, purpose, and balance and burn from within.