Do you know the difference between happiness and joy?
Would you say you have a joy-filled life personally and professionally?
Today we’re digging into building a life that sparks joy.
We’ll discuss how to cultivate it, how to recognize it, and how to empower others to find the things that spark joy for them.
Hi, this is Audrea Fink, here with Julie Holton and our special guest Seannon Jones. We are your Think Tank of Three.
Today we’re going to be talking about the importance of understanding what sparks joy in your life. But first, let’s get to know Seannon a little.
Seannon is a graduate of Fresno state with a degree in business and over 20 years of experience in business development and relationship marketing. She has worked in commercial insurance, pharmaceutical sales, and most recently higher education.
As a proven top performer. She has demonstrated her ability to successfully establish and maintain strong customer relationships. She’s launched new products and grows market share. She’s also worked with nonprofits and small businesses managing social media and creating content. Seannon, welcome.
Hi. Thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to this. Let’s talk about some joy.
Yes. So I am especially excited and very joyful to have Seannon on this. Seannon is my cousin, so full disclosure, we know each other.
I’ve known Audrea a long time.
Like maybe my whole life.
Let the family squabbles begin.
Yes and they probably will. We have a joke in our family. You don’t want to be the wounded gazelle. So you may hear some of that teasing come through. You might not.
There’s no squabble. I’m the oldest. I’m the big man in charge.
Let the games begin!
Alright, let’s talk joy and happiness. So one of the things you and I talked about when we discussed what we would talk about here on the podcast is that there’s a difference between joy and happiness. And that difference is kind of important. Talk to us about what the differences are.
I think the difference between joy and happiness – and it’s something I was actually just recently looking at, so it was interesting that this came up – was that happiness is external and joy is internal.
So you don’t have control over, you know, circumstances. You know, you get in a car accident or something crazy happens or what’s going on right now, right? You don’t have control over those things. And you know, if you get a car in the accident, somebody says, Hey, how’s your day going? Honestly, like not great, right? Your car just got jacked up. But joy is internal. Joy is attitude. Joy is how you choose to react to things.
And it’s fascinating to see somebody with first world problems complaining because they’re like, Oh, they’re not carrying my variety of almond milk right now, and I don’t know how I’m going to get through my day.
And then you’ll see somebody come out of, you know, somebody with cancer that just has like such a great attitude.And even though they’re struggling right now, like they’re out. Donating their time or doing whatever they can do or comforting the people that are in their lives.
Or you’ll see somebody coming out of a war torn situation or whatever, and somehow they seem to have this great attitude and it’s like, where is that coming from?
And obviously, it’s not external, but it’s something that’s inside of them and it’s how they’re choosing to deal with their current situation and how they’re choosing to look for the good, or they’re choosing to make the best of every situation. They haven’t find reasons to be thankful and have gratitude so they’re still able to have joy, and it doesn’t mean that they’re having the best day.
It doesn’t mean that. Everything’s okay. It just means that they’re still making a choice. So I would say also that joy is a choice. I read something that said that joy is the ability. To experience peace and contentment in spite of our circumstances. So I love that.
I love that. I think that’s especially touching right now. You touched on, you know, what’s going on right now and what’s going on right now at the time of this recording is we’re all dealing with the Coronavirus and you know, COVID-19. And I think that’s a perfect example of how we’re dealing with something that we have absolutely no control over. And so when you’re talking about the difference between joy and happiness, why does this difference matter so much? Why and why does this matter so much for professional women?
We’re not always going to have good days. Maybe you get a late start. There’s a variety of reasons, personally and professionally, why you may have some challenges, or you may not have a good day, but you can still choose how you’re gonna approach your work.
And the people that you work with, your customers, both externally and internally. So I referred anybody that you work with, with as your internal customers, right? Coworkers, your boss, other departments, that type of thing. And you can choose how you approach that.
And we’ve all seen those people again, who, You find out like months later that somebody died in their family or there was cancer or something horrific happened and you’re like, Oh my gosh, we didn’t even know. And not that it’s not okay to, to share, but they chose to come in and still approach their work professionally, bring joy, look for the best in this situation, do the best they could do, why they were there.
Maybe it was a saving grace to come in and have some normalcy at work. Right. Versus the person who likes stubs their toe and takes the office down with them. I mean, we have all seen those people who if they’re having a bad day, you’re having a bad day.
Everybody in their sphere of influence is having a bad day. That’s a big part of why it matters and also because it makes it harder to be productive, get things done and breathe and do your best work. When you’re bringing all that and with you, and you have people who do that under the guise that keeping it real well, you know, I’m just keeping it real.
Well, I think to some extent that’s a cop out. I’m all about real. I’m big on that and being authentic, your authentic self. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be ugly. It doesn’t mean you have to put your problems on everybody else. It doesn’t mean that, again, why does it matter professionally? Because it’s how we can approach things and it affects your work and it affects everybody else’s work and we all need to elevate our game and bring our best self and help everybody else do the same.
I think I really needed to hear that today. So I work at a law firm and it’s very busy time right now for lawyers. They’re trying to get out. Updates and information to their clients to help their clients with their business. Right now cause it’s, it’s, it’s hard on businesses. We have been just slammed.
My team and I have been slammed and it has been so stressful and I was joking with someone the other day that even though I’m working from home, right, even though I’m fully remote at this point, and so I have more hours in my day to work, I feel like there’s so much madness and chaos that I’m not being productive and I’m buying into it. Part of. What is hard about that is feeling like that buying into it and being frazzled and stressed is really not being grateful for some of the things that I have. Right. Not acknowledging the fact that, yeah, it’s crazy right now, but like, I can approach this differently. So I love that you talk about that because I.
Well, I don’t think I’m the person who makes everyone else be in pain cause I’m in pain. I definitely think I am the person who lets everybody know this is where I’m at to enter at your own risk. And I’m really sorry if I raise my voice because you asked me how I was doing.
And there’s a balance. So you know, some of that’s going to be just communication, which I think is good.I think it’s okay to share that. But you know, then some of it is just, I’m using that as an excuse to like dump on everybody. And so you have to find that balance. Doesn’t mean you can’t share like you just did, but at the same time, like then there’s that person at the other, you know, on the other end of the pendulum, um, where they’re just like, well, I’m having a bad day. So, you know, just understand. And then like, they just dump on everybody. And I, I think that’s the difference.
I was talking this week to another of our podcast guests, Joyce Marter and two words stood out to me that I think are really, um, really, they really apply in this situation that we’re talking about here with joy and happiness. And they also applied to COVID-19. And it’s gratitude and grace because Seannon, and I’ve heard you saying find things that you’re grateful for. Find those things that are bringing you joy, but also Audrea. To your point. Give yourself some grace. We’re only human. And at the end of the day, as Seannon said, we are real.
We are authentic. And we, yes, we have to re reach down inside of ourselves and still find that joy. But give yourself some grace because this is truly something that none of us have ever gone through before. And not only do we have to give grace to the people around us, between ourselves as well. I would say I give grace cause I get a lot of grace.
So I give a lot. I give a lot of grace and just kind of that, no drama. We hear that as women a lot, right? Which I kind of hate that word, but those are words that are associated with women that are never associated with men. So drama, hysterical. You know, there’s just like certain words that never get associated with men.
I had a boss who, there were two of us on her team that had multiple kids. So I have four kids and my, uh. My counterpart in Vegas had has three and she was like, you guys are just like no drama. And I’m like, she’s like, women have multiple children. Like, yeah, there’s the, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Like I don’t, I don’t, I don’t have that. I don’t have time for that. Like stuff just has to get done. I don’t have time for drama, and it’s kind of trooped. It’s a luxury. I can’t, especially at that time, my kids are big people now, but it’s a luxury to get all dramatic that I didn’t, I simply didn’t have. I got too many things going on in my day, and that’s another thing, right?
Nobody likes to see that in the workplace. That quote unquote. Work. Drama. Men have it too. They, I don’t know what they call it. They call it something different. I don’t, I don’t know. It’s not like there aren’t, you know, high maintenance men, they, they just, they just get away with it. Yes, there are. Yeah.
So there is this, I think it’s a, it’s a book, but then it’s also an online program called the no complaining rule and it’s, it was a pastor, I believe, of a church. Oh, I’m going to screw this up. But in the show notes, we’ll put the actual information. So he had this idea of that he explored about complaining and how it affects you, right mentally, how it affects you. One of the things we know about the brain is that your subconscious does not have the ability to decipher between what is true and what isn’t true.
Your consciousness dots, right? So if you tell yourself, I’m having such a bad day, you’re having a bad day and your subconscious, it doesn’t know. So the messaging that you put out in the world is the messaging that your brain believes. And so if you are constantly complaining, you are constantly reinforcing in your head the life’s hard and difficult.
And if you are shutting that down. And this isn’t about mental thoughts, right? Cause everyone has thoughts. They run through, they move out. It’s, it’s about actually using your voice and out loud saying what is wrong? And so he has this, I think it’s a 30 day challenge where you wear a bracelet and every time you complain you move the bracelet over to the other sides.
You’re constantly conscious of. How you’re talking and how you’re showing up in the world. And I tried it with one of my coworkers and Holy moly, did we complain just a ridiculous amount. And we found ways we were complaining where we didn’t even think we were complaining. It’s amazing what happens when you start to measure anything.
Yeah. And the idea that I took away from it and it was really valuable. I now don’t wear that bracelet because. It made me feel bad. But one of the, one of the big takeaways was you can talk about problems. You can talk about heart issues, and you can talk when you have conflict with someone, you can talk to about it, but you have to talk to the person you have the conflict with.
Don’t complain to your coworker. Don’t complain to your mom if you’re. Talking about things that are going wrong because you’re looking for a solution. It’s okay and it’s great and it’s positive. If you’re just talking to talk and you’re reinforcing some real negativity in your head, and I wonder how much that pertains to people who are joyful.
If you open up your eyes in the morning and your day is . Already set to be negative, but happiness is fleeting. So you feel it when you feel it, and then you’re sad when it’s gone. If you open up your eyes in the morning and you start from a place of joy, you’re probably not sitting there bitching about other people.
There’s a great quote. Most people are familiar with it. They’re just only familiar with the very end. So the very end says, I’m convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And that’s all they ever see. It’s actually called attitude. It’s by Charles swindle. That might be why the name doesn’t come up.
That might be why you don’t see the whole quote. But I printed it out for today. It says, the longer I live and the more I realize the impact of attitude on life, and it’s a little long, but it’s going to be worth it. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It’s more important than the past than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act. In a certain way, we cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have. And that is our attitude. I’m convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitude. That’s so powerful and it’s a lot more than that little 90 10 that everybody. Post cause it’s an easy sound bite.
Very powerful. And you know what stands out to me too is all of these quotes and means and things that we see, especially on social media, or they get passed around through text messages. People like to complain about others who have a bad attitude. But all we’re doing is complaining. What do you recommend?
Like how do we start to turn our attitude around?
I have a sports background. My dad’s been a football coach my whole life, and so I’ve had, I’ve been blessed, honestly. He’s a great motivator and he is pretty much at work the way he is at home. I didn’t get like the guy who’s amazing with his players, but not with his kids.
He’s amazing all the time. And then I played sports growing up and so. You hear this all the time, but a lot of what you’re talking about and what you were just talking about, Adria, you see this with athletes and then it gets, you’ll see this with great leaders, with like a Tony Robbins that’s working with people, right?
And it’s that preparation. Athletes, they practice. So there’s a saying, you play how you practice. You practice so much that it’s muscle memory. That’s the whole point is that when you get into the game, whatever it is, football, basketball, baseball, take your pick, right? That no matter what’s going on, if it’s raining, if you twist your ankle, you don’t even have to think about it.
It’s just part of your makeup. It’s part of your DNA. You’re able to just get out there and do. That’s the difference that you see with people who are able to flex that positivity muscle, that attitude of gratitude. It’s something that they do. Every day. And so it’s a part of their makeup. Now, it doesn’t mean that if you don’t have it, just like emotional intelligence and some of the other things, it doesn’t mean that if you don’t have it, you can’t get it.
But you have to put in the effort. And it’s something that you have to consciously practice every day. If it’s not part of your makeup or it’s not part of who you are, just like a board organized, right, which I’m not. But some people are just, they just naturally get up in the morning and they make their bed and their closet is organized and they take stuff off and they don’t put it on the floor. Right? They put it in the hamper and you’re like, I can’t ever be like that because I’m not born organized. But you can. It just, you have to make the effort. Anything that are good habits that you don’t currently have and nobody’s perfect. Everybody has something that they should be working on. It’s a whole reason why you have your show, right?
Everybody, there’s always room for improvement, so it’s the same thing. With this attitude of joy. If you recognize that’s a weak area for you and you’re bringing down the house every time you walk in it, then make that something conscious to practice 30 days to make a habit. Start always looking for the good thing, looking for gratitude, giving people some grace, and find specific ways to do that.
And if when you don’t, it doesn’t mean you can’t backtrack, right? So. You know, if you’re down and you bring everybody down with you, then reevaluate that. What did I do? Okay, let me, let me run that back in and figure out a way to go talk to people and pump people up. Or you have to make it a conscious habit and then when you don’t to correct behavior or reflect, what could I have done better every day.
So recently I’ve been seeing a therapist and we have been working on some of the things I want to work on. And making that change in your behavior can be really difficult in the beginning. And so he recommended that I use this tool called behavioral activation. And behavioral activation is when you set yourself up ahead of time to succeed.
So one of the things I really want to do is to stop eating out as often. Which Corona virus for the win on that one. I also wanted to cultivate a workout habit and a meditation habit, and I was having these starts and stops and starts and stops and he had said, why don’t you try behavioral activation? I put my cell phone.
By the coffee maker so that I have to get up when my alarm goes off to make a cup of coffee and drink my coffee. And then I go for a run or walk in the morning. And then when I come back, I sit down on my couch and I have a meditation, and then I have another cup of coffee or breakfast or whatever, and then I start my day.
My workout clothes are on the couch, so once I get up, there’s no excuses. There’s no wiggle room for not doing this thing that I have decided it is important for me to do. There are probably ways in which we could use this behavioral activation for joy. And looking at, could you write a message on your mirror every morning that reminds you to be joyful or grateful?
Are there ways in which you can leave notes in your car on your way to work? I like this idea of practice and being prepared and creating that muscle memory for joy and also setting yourself up so that you don’t have the, the option of going the other way.
And you can absolutely retrain your brain. I worked for awhile with a gentleman who helped people get in shape, so he was fitness and diet and that type of thing, but he was all about total transformation because he said, you can lose the weight, but the reason that people put it back on is because it’s temporary and they’re just changing that one aspect in their life, but they’re not changing their whole mindset.
So his big thing when he worked with people is long before you start walking or you hit the weight room. Or you change what you eat is you have to change your mental state. And he would have people write five things down that they wanted to accomplish on a card as like, it’s already done. I have great energy.
I have energy to play with my grandkids. I feel healthy. The outcomes and that he would have them read that. Three times a day. So in the morning, sometime during the day and then at night before you go to bed. So he would recommend posted on your bathroom mirror, keep a card next to your bed, so you read it at night, and then have one posted somewhere else, like in your car or something so that you see it during the day.
And kind of like what you were talking about earlier, that your mind, your subconscious versus your conscious. In reality, he was like, you start by creating this new reality in your brain and you’re training your brain that that is what your reality should be. If your brain believes that, then it’s going to try and get there.
So it’s a status quo thing with weight. One of the challenges of losing weight is that your body likes status quo. It wants that. Normalcy. You’re one 50 and you’re trying to drop to one 30 your body is going to work to stay at the one 50 or it’s the reason that people will lose 30 pounds or 50 pounds or whatever, and then they’ll plateau and they can’t lose anymore because your body is fighting to stay at an equilibrium.
It’s fighting to stay at a status quo likes that. But you can retrain your brain. There’s so many studies behind that, and this is one of the ways you do it, and again, you see this with athletes. You see this with top executives. You see this in the Tony Robbins training. That kind of thing is changing your mental picture to where.
You want to be, and it was fascinating at the time I was hosting webinars with him and he does this example all the time of having a picture of a lemon, and when you see it, not just the mental picture, but he said, don’t just write about what you want, where you want to be, but be really descriptive. Live with it.
He’s like, so if we’re talking about a lemon, you’re going to talk about that it’s yellow and you’re going to cut it in half and you can see how juicy it is and you bite into it and you can taste it every time he would do that because he’s really good at it. My whole mouth would water even though I would know it was coming, and it’s like, that’s crazy, but that’s how strong a mental picture is, that your mouth’s watering and the Lemon’s not even there, and that’s how powerful words are, and creating those images for yourself.
And that’s why it works. And so those people that you see reach that high level. When I’m talking about athletes, you know, I’m talking about like Olympians and people playing in the pros, it’s because they’re creating those strong mental images for so way before they’re there on the track. Running or they’re stretching or they’re in the weight room or they’re doing any of that.
They’re visualizing, I’m going to be at the Olympics, I’m going to be on the podium. I’m going to have the metal lawn. They’re going to have the flag. I’m going to hear the national Anthem. I’m going to be a top executive. I’m going to have my own business. Those kinds of things. Those people who have those strong mental pictures and it’s like, man, how did you get there from nothing cause they, they already saw themselves there.
Right. He’s already saw themselves there. Yeah. And again, if that’s not who you are right now, you can get there. You can create those habits for yourself. You can, and you can do that with what we originally talked about with joy. Women, I think, tend to be pretty good at putting others first, but. If for whatever reason that is not in your DNA, try every day to find somebody to help, and this is such a good time to do that.
You think, well, how can we do that when we’re staying indoors? I don’t know. Get on grub hub and send somebody a meal or just call somebody, check in with an older person, send a card. I’m a big card. Person. I love to send cards. I’ve sent a lot of cards out recently. My, it was just talking to my dad. He’s like, auntie, you got your card.
Thanks so much, because she doesn’t go out. This is her norm. Anyways, she’s older. I’ve been sending cards to older people, so every day try and bring the sunshine. Figure out somebody that you could help. Just call somebody, Hey, I was thinking of you. How are you doing? You’ll bring that joy and when you bring joy, the others you bring unit, bringing joy to yourself too.
There’s an episode of friends where Joey was telling Phoebe that no act is actually truly selfless. Because it makes you happy, and so Phoebe spins the rest of the episode trying to do a truly selfless act that doesn’t make her happy, but makes the other person happy. It’s okay. It can be a win win. It’s okay if you’re bringing joy to others that it brings joy to you too. I think that’s really how it’s supposed to work, so that’s okay.
What’s so interesting as I listened to you talk, is that you’re talking about things that take work. You’re talking about preparation. You’re talking about really working towards finding this joy and creating this joy. I think for so many people, we have this misconception that we deserve to be happy, that everything in life should be making us happy, rather than actually working at, you know, it. It’s work to text someone. It’s worked to reach out. It’s work to, to find the joy in the little things, even right now, just really stands out to me.
It’s really interesting that I hope no one’s listening and wants just like the easy button because there’s not an easy way to just add joy and sunshine into your life. You really have to work at it. But the good news is that if you work at it, you can have it.
One of the things I told all my kids as they were, because again, my kids are big people as they were graduating from high school and said, look, when you’re in school, friendship is geography. Generally speaking, you’re friends with the people that you live next door to, that you go to school with, that you’re in class with, and it’s very easy. You know, you ever see like five-year-olds day one in the sandbox? Hi, want to be friends? Okay, this is my new friend. Done. So easy. Right? And then even as you get into junior high and high school, maybe even college, maybe that person that you’re friends with, it was your roommate for a year or two years, or four years.
So you see each other every day. As an adult, friendship is intentional. I’m in California, I have a girlfriend, and that’s in Virginia. If we’re lucky, we see each other every two years. That friendship is very intentional. We have to, you have to make the effort. When I used to work in pharmaceutical sales, I would go into the offices every day and I would talk to everybody there that I could like, Hey, how you doing?
How’s everybody doing? Everybody good? If I had a bad day, if one of the kids was sick or I got out late, you would never know cause I’m coming in like what can I do for you? And that’s what I would always tell people. You know, again, over 20 years in business development, and you get a lot of sales people who are like, well, I need this. I need this sale. And I just could never approach it like that. I’m here for you. And the really the best people that are in business development, they’re problem solvers. It’s all about solutions. And it’s how can I help you? And so that’s always been my approach, is how can I help you with the resources that I have?
Right? So my products, my services, but how can, how can I help you? That’s always the attitude.
I love that. We’ve actually talked about that. I think in a prior blog post, this idea of the helpers are actually some of the best sales people. Zig Ziglar has a book where he talks about. And he’s like the ultimate salesman, but he talks about how he doesn’t walk into an office thinking, I have a product to sell you. He walks in thinking, how do I find out what your pain points are and figure out a solution for them? And I think people can tell the difference too, right? You’re not getting sold to.
Well part of being privileged enough for people to share that with you. Is they have to know you and you have to know them. So your first thing honestly, is not walking in and saying, Hey, I have this thing. It’s, Hey, I’m Seannon. And Oh, okay. Audrea. Nice to meet you and take a minute. Get to know people. I knew all kinds of things about people because I just took the time. I had a doctor that was into astronomy and he had his own telescope. But I had a doctor who was very interested in fossils and he displayed them in different places, and I knew those things because I took the time to get to know them and find out what was important to them and because I actually care.
You know, people can tell if you don’t care. And it’s, you know, I like people and I do that now in higher education and upskilling employees and that type of thing is I take the time to understand like who people are and what they’re companies are and what’s important legitimately. Okay, how can I help you? And if I can’t, I say that because that’s not, that doesn’t mean I’m never going to get somebody’s business. They’re going to respect that I don’t have something for them right now, but when they do need what I have, they’re going to call me or they’re going to refer me to somebody else. Either way. That’s keeping it real. Okay.
Let’s apply this to a difficult situation, a toxic work environment. We’ve all had at least one. How do you hold onto joy when you feel that you’re in a toxic space?
I’ve been remote for many, many years, but once upon a time I worked in an office and clocked in every day. And without going into a lot of detail, I worked with a woman that didn’t have a good understanding of boundaries, and she made people very uncomfortable.
And she said things that were inappropriate for the workplace. She would walk up and comment on conversations that she was not a part of, to the point where people would walk by my office and they would kind of side glance. If she was in there, they kept going really, really fast, and then when I would see people in a one off, they’d be like, Ugh.
How are you doing? Mm. Must be tough. And it wasn’t. It just wasn’t. Everybody would be like, how are you not losing your mind? Cause she and I, I’m sorry, let me clarify. She and I worked in an office. They put two of us in one office. So she and I were literally in an individual office together. Like if you shut the door, it was just the two of us in there.
And so very, very close quarters. I can honestly say it wasn’t hard for me. Now, I did change some things. I’m not a big take your business to work person, obviously, but occasionally your husband calls, my mom would call whatever. At work you have, you know, shut your door, have a private conversation. Right. Didn’t have any private conversations at work. Somebody would call and they got a lot of Oh, she must be in your office right now. Sure is. All right. Talk to you later. So there was a lot of that. But again, it was just that choice. If she said something that I felt was inappropriate, I came up with a polite way to be like, yeah, we’re not going to talk about that.
It was very focused, really stayed on task, really stayed productive, so there just wasn’t a lot of time for chit chat, inappropriate or otherwise. I did my work and went on about my business and that was that, and consequently also she’s, she said, fewer things to me that were inappropriate because I just didn’t create that kind of opportunity and space with her.
I was in an office with her for like a year. I had the least amount of problems with her, anybody in that office, and I was the one that was with her the most and was in the closest quarters with her. So, but it was a choice. It was a very conscious choice. Always professional, always polite, always courteous. If she legitimately had a question or needed help with something. If she had a question, I answered it. If she needed help, I helped her, but if she brought up something that was not related to work, we were not having that conversation.
I am going to try practicing that because I always bring personal crap. Let’s talk a little bit about your mentors.
Who made the biggest impact in your approach to joy and maybe what were some of the life lessons that they imparted?
Two always come to mind. I’ve had a lot of people who’ve helped me, but my dad. I’ve already mentioned and I feel very fortunate. I mean, I would say both my parents are mentors in different ways, but um, a lot of my professional career has been modeled after my dad and he’s always a teacher first and that’s a big part of how his coaching makeup is. He’s big on this thing. Mental toughness is something that he talks about a lot. He’s really big on that and that is just, again, irrespective of your circumstances, it’s not going to stop you from what you want to do. The goals and the goals you’re trying to reach.
He was big on setting goals. I heard that from him before I ever heard it from anybody else and writing it down, and that goes hearkens back to what we were talking about earlier and making those things happen. So he was big on figuring out, if you don’t know where you want to go, you can’t get there. So you’ve got to figure that out. You’ve got to write it down. You got to look at it every day. You’ve got to have a plan, having a great attitude, being mentally tough, goal setting. I mean, and I’m not talking about, you know, high school and college, I’m talking about maybe I grew up with that in grade school.
He had me reading, think and grow rich in the eighth grade, no lie. So yeah, it started real early. And then my dad is a no excuses guy. Yeah. Yup. Zero. He’s huge on accountability. It doesn’t, it doesn’t matter why. If you weren’t supposed to do it or if you were supposed to do it, you know, if you’re supposed to take out the trash and you didn’t, there’s no, there’s just, there’s no excuses. You didn’t do it. You should’ve got up earlier. You should, it doesn’t matter what I did, the sky could have fallen. Well, you should have done it before the sky fell and we wouldn’t be worried about it. Right. He is a zero excuses guy and so I take that in the work, right? I mean, there’s, there’s just, there’s no excuses.
You don’t get to talk about this person and that person and what’s going on in the world right now and this and that and no it’s, it’s like you’re responsible for it. Right. Own it. Figure out a way to get it done or raise your hand and say, my bad, my foul. Hey, you know what? I didn’t, I didn’t get it done.
And so those things have served me well in the workplace.
What I really love about the no excuses part is that it sort of forces you to be a problem solver, right? Like if you, if you can’t say, Oh, I couldn’t get so-and-so to call me back. What did you do to really exhaust that?
I went to work for a pharmaceutical company with probably, I had experienced, but a lot less than a lot of my counterparts when we were launching a new medication, and so I was reaching out to my network. I was reaching out to doctors that I knew before my job actually started to make sure that I was going to be able to get in and see them.
I was making a schedule for myself so that I was just maximizing my time, maximizing my effort, so that I knew I was going to be able to be productive every day in some way. So I was able to, it’s not uncommon. Most people know in pharmaceutical, a lot of times you’ll do a lunch and learn or you do a breakfast and learn.
And so I was looking at my calendar and trying to make sure I was scheduled for things all the time. And that was part of my, what they call it, total office call, getting to know everybody in the office again, to maximize that opportunity. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking doctors, the most important person, man, gatekeepers will mess you up in every industry.
You better get to know that secretary, administrative assistant, executive assistant, they will make your life miserable. You better kiss the ring or whatever, but you better get to know people. People matter. Everybody matters. You never know what role somebody truly plays. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the CEO or the business owner is like the only person that matters up in there.
You better get to know everybody. And then my other mentor is a woman named Peronia Candidate. Most people call her PC, or what’s really funny is they’ll call her PC candidate when really the C is for –
It’s like ATM machine.
A whole other podcast here.
Yeah, so PC candidate, she worked in government, she was a manager, and she is one of the best people I know at developing a team, mentoring people, building the bench, right? Succession. Creating that safe space. She is not the emperor with the new clothes. If she’s naked, she wants to know like, don’t tell her the suit looks good. Okay. I don’t know if you guys know that book, but yeah. Don’t tell her the suit looks good when she’s standing there with her butt hanging out. No, no, no. But she created a safe space with her staff where they would be honest with her and tell her what was really going on and then they would, you know, she would use that to solve problems. She was just absolutely amazing at bringing people together, at getting the most out of people, and the fact is that they did that because of her.
They would put in extra hours or they would put an extra effort or they would go the extra mile because they so respected her and appreciated her. And she is the kind of person who, if somebody on her team got a job somewhere else, she was the first one congratulating them right in the letter of recommendation, whatever.
Hey, sorry to lose you, but man, I am so happy for you. And she developed a lot of people and her career, and she was just really all about helping people. She would find out one of the things that she did so well, what do you want to do? Way before people were saying, where do you want to be in five years? If you don’t know that, figuring out what people’s strengths were, what their skill sets were and then putting them in that place.
It’s terrible to be the round peg in the square hole and feel like you’re not good at something simply because you’re not where your strengths are. So she would literally move people. What you mean you can do that, girl, why didn’t you tell me? Well, you should be doing this over here. You don’t need to be in this thing over here where you are struggling. You need to be in this thing over here where you can bloom and succeed and help everybody else. She was amazing at that. I have not been in a position where I manage people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from that and just take that into your job, whatever it is.
I’ve been in a lot of trainings. If you’ve been in BizDev, you’ve been in so many trainings, and every time you go into those, people just have the worst attitude, right? They’re like, Oh, we’re not gonna learn anything today. I’m at least we’re getting a snack. Oh, we got a snack. The snack is terrible. The breakfast is awful.
I mean, it’s crazy, right? Anytime I get a training, anytime I’ve sat in other people’s workshops in higher education., I’ve been there talking about education at workshops for nurses, and I’ve learned things there and I’m not even a nurse. And again, it’s that attitude, right?
Anytime I go to any kind of conference, training, sales training. I don’t care what it is. I’m like, well, I’m not wasting my time. I’m learning something up in here. You know, I’m not leaving without learning something. And so I do. So people go, I didn’t learn anything today. I’d be like, well, I did. I got a written down right here. I got this, this, and if you didn’t learn anything, that’s your fault. That’s not anybody’s fault, but yours.
Back to accountability.
Yeah. You made a choice. You, you came in, you came in with that bad attitude of, I’m not going to learn anything, so you know what? You didn’t. I came in with the attitude of, I am learning something up in here. You better teach me. And so I do.
And you mentioned that you’re not in a position right now where you’re managing other people, but you’ve managed a household with four children. And so as you talk about your mentors and just these incredible things that you’ve learned, and I hear you, and I can tell you now are just an incredible mentor to others. And so I’d love to know, what do you think was the biggest piece of advice that you tried to pass onto your children? What was the most important thing that you wanted them to know as they went out into the working world?
You know, a lot of things come to mind, but network is one of them. And I know that kind of sounds funny, but your network is so important in this world. You hear a lot of people like your skill set is how you keep the job, but your network is how you get that job. So I have my kids on LinkedIn early and did they appreciate it?
No. No, they didn’t. No. And then my daughter was in some kind of a training. They had a speaker and she was in college, and he’s telling everybody to get on LinkedIn and then she gets a chance to talk to the speaker afterwards and he’s like, Oh, you’re already on LinkedIn? And she’s like, yeah. And I’m thinking to myself, internally, you’re welcome.
Yeah. Your network is so important. Again, everybody’s important. If you, if you really believe that, I mean, I really believe that. You never know when somebody is going to come back into play in your life. There’s a kid, I say that, I mean, he’s a grown married man with three children, the long hair pastor’s son who was doing the music at our wedding when I got married, years ago. I won’t, I won’t say, I won’t say what his current title is right now, but, um, he did me a solid the other day connecting me with some people because he’s in a very prominent position, so you never know. But I kept in touch with him over the years and you know, we’re on LinkedIn together and which is how I happened to reach out to him the other day.
I didn’t keep in touch with him because I knew 27 years later he was going to do me a solid. I just keep in touch because got married at his dad’s church and I went to high school and play basketball with his sister and I legitimately care about people. So your network, your network is huge.
I love that we talk about network and tribe a lot. I wholeheartedly agree. Obviously I’m biased, but I think your kids have turned into pretty amazing humans. Thank you so much for joining us today and hearing your thoughts.
Thanks for having me.
Before we go though, we are collecting advice from successful women in our communities and sharing it out with the think tank of three. I have three rapid fire questions for you. Is there a lesson that you’ve recently learned that you wish you would’ve learned earlier in your career?
Say yes more. I said no a lot when I was in my twenties. I should have said yes more. And don’t worry, you put an article out that I read about women only apply for jobs that they think they meet 90% of the specifications, but men will apply if they meet like eh 60. Tell people you can do it. Figure out how to do it later. That’s what everybody else is doing. You just don’t realize it. Say yes more.
What advice would you offer to your younger self 10 years ago?
Be willing to fail. I was in college, Oh my God. I would do that so differently. I was, I’m, I’m by nature, I’m like a compliant person. I’m a rule follower, and so I was just trying to do everything I was supposed to do and graduate in four years and get out of there and get in the real world, and I just, I didn’t want to make any mistakes and I, that’s still an area I struggle with. I just, I don’t want to let anybody down.
I don’t want to make mistakes. You hear a lot of that about fail, fail forward. Fail often. Fail fast. Yeah. It helps when you’re in an environment where you feel like you can do that, but the fact is that. That’s how people learn. Everything about science tells you that’s the learning process is you’re learning from the failures.
There’s so many examples of that, so don’t be scared to fail. Just learn from it and learn the lesson and move forward.
What do you think the most important skill for a woman to hone in today’s professional setting is?
I’m going to put these two together and I think it’ll make sense is communication and confidence. Again, we see that now a lot, man, they just step out. Oh yeah, I can do that. And they’re talking and you’re like, looking to the side. You’re like, that’s that BS right there. You know? But it does. I mean, they just bring that with like the most darn confidence. They will just put some stuff out there and keep it moving. And women are like, well, you know, like they want to have all their facts together, or they’ll say something they know, but then they’ll backtrack. Well, 90% of this is dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. But I mean, there’s the 10% chance that – it’s no girl. Just communicate and communicate with confidence. It’s, it’s big. If that means do whatever you need to do to communicate with confidence. If that means you need to be extra prepared, know your staff, whatever it is you need to do, it’s, it’s so important to be able to communicate your ideas. Men do that so well. That’s where the promotion comes from or you know, their ideas get taken and that ability to communicate your present, your ideas hit Toastmaster., I don’t know, whatever you need to do to feel confident. Speaking, presenting, but communication and communicate with confidence.
I love that.
Seannon, thank you so much. Can you share the best way for our audience to connect with you if they have questions or business interests?
I always respond to messages, DMS. So I’m on LinkedIn and you’ll see my name on there. There’s, there’s only me, there’s no other S E A N N O N, Seannon. So I’m pretty easy to find. Again, Twitter and Instagram, which is Jones style. And I know you guys are gonna put that down there. And all those messages are, my DMs are open cause I respond to people’s questions and answer questions with small businesses and with businesses that I’m helping to upskill. And LinkedIn, twitter, Instagram, messaged me. I will respond.
Thank you so much for joining us today. That’s all for this Think Tank of Three.