Be You First with Dr Benjamin Ritter

Dr. Benjamin Ritter is a globally renowned leadership and career coach. He’s a speaker, podcast host, author and founder of Live for Yourself [LFY] Consulting. In this great show find out about:

  • Ben’s eureka moment that sent him on a path from Healthcare into research and to follow his life’s passion.
  • Why leaders struggle with leading themselves.
  • The Three “C” of self-leadership.
  • If we are stuck how we can break free.

The Leadership Hacker News

Steve Rush: In the news today, we explore careers that are taking off in the post pandemic world. We’ve been contacted by a number of our listeners asking us to explore, what are the next best places to work? And what are the sectors that are rising stars in amongst the post pandemic era? When it comes to the future, uncertainty is the only certainty. Think about remote work way back in 2019, it was slowly gaining acceptance that most managers would allow people to maybe work from home on a Friday or a Monday. 2020 companies and their employees were forced to adapt. And today many workers have traded that long commute for a casual stroll to their home office or to their lounge or kitchen or wherever they work from.

So when it comes to predicting which careers will flourish in a post COVID world, that’s not easy, but there are some definite trends. Of course, if you’re already loving your career, I’m not suggesting any radical change or course of action here. However, if you are considering a change, here are the top five growing fields that perhaps could lead the way to a new future, maybe unsurprisingly, but healthcare leads their way. Those working in healthcare have really promoted, demonstrated the abilities that they have and the impact that they have across our communities. Perhaps weren’t visible before the pandemic and careers, such as nursing are getting huge amounts of interest. And of course now you’ll have to earn a bachelor’s degree or a science or associate degree in nursing. Then you’ll need to be like licensed in some countries. It’s truly proved that nursing is a professional and respected career.

And many people are attracted to that level of rigor and indeed impact on society. And with many responses being passed to the nursing community, introducing roles, such as nursing practitioners who are responsible to do as many things as many GPs do has elevated their reward and recognition that comes along with it. But despite this, many people still see this as a purpose driven role. One that people can make it impact on communities and society. Second on list is information technology. And of course IT has been a growth feel years. What’s different, of course, is the increased focus on remote work and smart technology has increased the demand for things like software development and app development. Organizations are pivoting their recruitment strategies to hire people who can code online and who can work remotely that tap into infrastructure. That office for national statistics in the UK seen this increased by 18%.

And the bureau of labor statistics in the U.S. has seen this grow by 22% this year. And with the average income over six figures, it’s definitely pulling people into this space. Supply chain management comes in at third, and you probably aren’t surprised to find that this is a growth field. The panic buying that began before last year’s lockdowns shifted the focus away from that just in time delivery methodology that many retail long relied on. Jobs in this field include things like purchase agents, logistic analysts, distribution managers, procurement, and although many start out with having to have a degree. Many top earners in this field are often coming from an engineering or a practical background where they understand the supply chain. So if you’re skilled with math’s and statistics and have good sound engineering principles, then supply chain management might be a career route for you.

Financial management is next. Careers in this field are expected to grow by over 15% in the next 10 years, financial advisors, financial managers are hired to examine a company’s spending and income, looking for ways to maximize profitability. Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies often seek candidates with an MBA. Although smaller organizations now are hiring managers with a simple degree or bachelor’s degree, or even offering modern day apprenticeships in the world of finance and accounting. This means there’s a really great pipeline with young talent growing world of the financial accounting space and the financial advising space. And remember apprenticeships in the UK are not about age. Many organizations are hiring senior people in their second or third career who are looking to apply their life skills with a new approach to work. And the last one that’s on the list is Actuaries and Statisticians. Now Actuaries enjoy enormous income relative to their peer groups in accounting. And it’s also expected that this is going to grow by another 20% in the next 10 years. And with the average income of way over six figures, what we’re seeing is quite an often stuffy and introverted role and job is now attracting great new talent. If you enjoy data and statistics, it could be the perfect high growth field for you. And of course, we’ve looked at some high paying and growing and trending careers. And the best job for you might not be about being highly paid nor the fastest growth. The key thing is it leveraging your skills, achieving the best possible outcome and finding your purpose within it. And besides how many of us would’ve guessed that the number one fastest occupation, according to the Office of National Statistics is Cinema Projectionist and in America, Motion Picture Projectionist. So it turns out, we are returning back to normal. We are getting out there and we are consuming more movies than ever before. That’s been The Leadership Hacker News. If you have any stories or you want us to talk about a certain topic on the show, please get in touch.

Start of Podcast

Steve Rush: Dr. Benjamin Ritter is our guest on today’s show. He’s a globally renowned leadership and career coach. He’s the founder of Live for Yourself [LFY] Consulting. He’s a speaker, podcast and author. Ben, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: I am ready to get hacking. Let’s do it.

Steve Rush: Good stuff, and me too. So first hack then Ben, let’s get to explore what you do now, because I know there were lots of twists and turns on your path. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about it?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Yeah, there are a lot of twists and turns. I think most importantly, I was working as a healthcare executive and I was promoted into that role from a position that I really enjoyed, which tends to happen to high achievers. I felt my work was meaningful when I was initially working in healthcare as group systems analyst and my official title, but basically I was in process improvement. I was improving clinical outcomes for patients. I did such a good job. They made me manager of business operations, which basically was kind of the right hand of all the executives. I was on the executive team, but I was a doer and things done. And so I worked as a financial manager. I worked in business development. I mean, you name it. I did something for it. I worked with everyone on the team, but I didn’t do any of the stuff that I used to like before that. And so over time I started to resent my position and resent my organization because I didn’t feel it was giving me meaning anymore. I blamed it for not giving me direction. I mean, like there’s a certain positive aspect of having autonomy. But it becomes a negative when you don’t have clarity.

Steve Rush: Right.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: In terms of what you are actually supposed to achieve, what you’re supposed to do and why that matters to you. What’s meaningful about it? And so I got into this place in my life where I was bringing negativity home with me. And when I went into work, I wasn’t really trying to work. I was really trying to avoid doing anything because I didn’t see the point in it. I was like, why am I here? This is pointless. All these people, like, why should I invest in them? I was like digging my own grave, to be honest. And they still thought that I was a high achiever because I would do the work that they wanted me to do while I was just getting more spiteful and resentful as every day went on.

Steve Rush: And did you notice the parallel before? So you mentioned the fact that it didn’t give you that sense of purpose and it did from the work you did before. What was the kind of the moment when you recognized that was the case?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Well, luckily that came to me one day when I was walking to work, when I was kind of seething that I had to go back into work again, and I kind of had two feet out the front door and it wasn’t really that I knew what it was that brought me meaning. I didn’t have the sit down and reflective moment up to that point. I just knew that I didn’t feel the same way. And so luckily though I had this little epiphany moment when I was going into work and kind of looking around me and I sensed that everybody was feeling the exact same way that I was walking by. Like these zombies walking into a work that they hated and that was so dreadful to them. And I remember thinking, you know, I’m doing this, it’s not my employer.

I’m creating this for myself. I am the curator of my own environment, my own mindset. And that’s when I actually woke up. And I started asking myself the tough questions. Like, why do I feel this way? Why did I feel that my work was meaningful before? What is it that I really want to accomplish right now at this job? What skills do I want to learn? Who do I really enjoy working with? How do I invest more time in them? And that led to me finally, pivoting from what I was doing to having a little bit more direction. And I get it, we tend to be very reactive in our careers. And up to that point, I was very reactive, you know, I didn’t mean to work in healthcare. I fell into it because I was networking my butt off because it was the middle of a recession. I couldn’t get a full-time job or two and a half years. I’m out of grad school and I had two graduate degrees and experience in public health. And every job offer that I got during that time was actually canceled after I signed on a dotted line, this happened four times. And so I was just looking for something, anything, and you know, how you got to the job you were in today is very much reflective how you think about it and how you think about your career and how you think about work. And so as a leader, you know, if you’re working with employees, they all have their own backstory. And at that point in my time, my backstory was, you know, you didn’t do what you wanted to do. You took what you could get and the organization was the one responsible for creating your job.

Steve Rush: Right, so what you’re really talking about is, you were asking yourself a series of questions. And for me, that sounds a bit like coaching? Did you recognize that, that’s actually, perhaps what you were doing at the time, was coaching yourself?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: That’s why I pivoted towards this industry. So at the time I was side hustling as a coach in a different area, more like life, dating and relationships. I was an avid passionate kind of personal, you know, thought leader in terms of personal development and professional development. I lost who I was when I was younger and we can touch on this, but I became interested in the field of personal professional development because of it. And so at the time I’d spent a lot of my free time on reading, studying, and learning. Now I’m doing it as a side hustle, but then I also was selected for 16 months of leadership training. So I had my own coach per se in the organization. Director of people, we met like once a month, maybe less, but it was something, it helped me become aware of the fact that this existed.

And so very much though when I was going through this transition, I think mentally, you know, when I was waking up, I knew that I had to coach myself and I coached myself in every other area of my life. From confidence, to interpersonal dynamics, to dating. I mean, I studied business, how to be persuasive and what worked in terms of marketing and sales in just how to walk into a room and create friendships. But I kind of forgot that we needed to do the same for our career. And I think we’re taught that, you know, throughout our lives, we’re taught that you don’t choose what you do or how you do it. You find some place to do it and you do it there. I kind of had to wake up and change my mindset and relationship to work.

Steve Rush: I had a really interesting conversation just this week, actually with a guy I was coaching who was a senior executive for a firm. And what he was describing to me is, his challenge of that work and life balance. And for me, that’s where the problem was. Because he was trying to segregate activities and behaviors at work and at home, and actually they’re interconnected, that’s just life. But he was giving himself these completely different set of rules to how to behave at home and how to behave at work. And then he was neither genuine in either position. What’s your take on that?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Well, it sounds like such a separation. I was two faced for the majority of my career. You know, when I was working in public health, I was going to school full time and I was bartending full time and working odd jobs and like promotions, like as a brand ambassador to pay for it all, even though I was still working for the school as well. And then when I was working in healthcare, I was side hustling as a, you know, as a coach trying to get a business off the ground and also of having other income streams, still working in hospitality and bartending. And I never brought my full self to work. And, you know, I had experiences that I think created. When I first interviewed for the job in healthcare, I got to the final round. I got the interview by networking as a bartender.

Like I met someone across the bar and he got one of my friends, a job as an RN, and then ended up getting me an interview. I found out that the CEO didn’t select, well not the CEO, the VP at the time didn’t select me because he found out that I was a bartender. And, you know, they brought me back a year later. Exactly a year later when that person transitioned to a different site, a different hospital to get trained, to be the CEO, by the way, for the current hospital. They brought me back and hired me and, you know, there are certain experiences that I’ve had that kind of taught me not to bring my full self to work, which I think is very detrimental to our own health. Because I tell you today I am who I am. I am my full self and it is so freeing and I don’t want to work for an organization that doesn’t allow me to bring my full self to work.

Steve Rush: So, really interesting perspective. And I just want to explore it a little more for you. So in bringing your full self to work, how do you know that you’re not hanging onto some of that baggage of the past?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Well, we’re in a day and age and I think directly answer your question indirectly. We’re working in a day and age where a lot of us are remote and virtual. And so now there are cameras into our homes and into our lives. And we’re also forcing connection because without having connection within the workplace, we need to create the opportunities to connect. So we’re doing icebreakers hopefully, and we’re doing happy hours.

Steve Rush: Right.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: We’re basically prompting questions that we normally might not have even have answered in the normal in person environment. And there’s this desire and need or movement towards bringing your whole self to work. And there are a lot of individuals that are afraid of this, especially new leaders on, am I really acting like a leader. If I share a certain issue that’s happening in my life or I share how I feel about something in my life. And I think there’s a fine balance between people who know who you are and what you care about and what you enjoy and what you’re dealing with and what your story is to I’m really emotionally respond to this situation that I’m going to feel different about tomorrow. And I think there’s a strong distinction there between, you know, who I am. So we build a relationship to, you know how I feel when I want to complain.

Steve Rush: Right.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Which I think is some people don’t fully understand that separation.

Steve Rush: Yeah, one of the things I think is prevalent amongst most entrepreneurs and most successful leaders that I’ve spoken to on the podcast and indeed coached and worked with is this real focus around making sure that they are steadfast. They are well physically and mentally before they start thinking about what else is on their journey. And lots of great leaders attribute self-leadership as a real key tenant of their behaviors, as well as their approach to how they lead their businesses. And you developed something similar to that along the lines of self-leadership and you call it your three Cs. I wonder if you could tell us the story about how that came about and maybe spin us through the three Cs themselves.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Yeah, and just to, because I don’t want to overlook your last question. I think they’re interrelated. If there’s something that you want to accomplish or feel like you want to say or do in your place of employment and you are not doing it, then it’s probably due to a story or expectation or previous experience that you’ve had related to work. And so if you ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish? What do I really want? What am I of goals? Which people tend not to actually define, which is the first C of self-leadership. And you find that you’re not taking action there. And there usually is something that you need to identify from your beliefs about work, about leadership, about organizations that you need to then challenge. And so the, the three Cs of self-leadership came about because I was working with clients initially with the live system, the live framework, and this was goals, intentions, values, and expectations. It was like a decision making process that I would take clients through for them to be able to feel more comfortable and more fulfilled about what they were trying to achieve. And I realized that some clients had a much easier way of doing it than others. And this is when I was also completing my dissertation. I was researching a bunch about leadership and about job satisfaction about motivation. And I started just really trying to analyze what was it about these specific clients? What traits did they have that led to greater success? And I discovered that there were three main pillars and components that led them to be able to take action. That led them to be able to lead themselves. And I coined this, the three Cs of self-leadership and there’s a lot of three Cs out there. I luckily I don’t think I’ve seen these Cs together, but a lot of models you’ll tend to see.

And I think this is a Testament to the fact that it works. A lot of similarities between different models out there. After I created them, I was like, I really hope nobody has these because I’m going to copyright I, so luckily nobody did. The first C is clarity and this is clarity of, you know, what you care about? But really mainly why you care about it. So what is the motivation, the attachment? I think we’ve all heard the why is more important than anything, but then that why tends to also create, so you have your values, your motivations. You have, you know, the heart of what you’re trying to achieve, but then you have the what, so what am I actually trying to achieve long term and short term?

And can I break that down to daily tasks? So I know what my priorities are on a daily basis. The, the second C is confidence. So when you have clarity in something, that is the foundation of confidence, if you know why you’re trying to achieve something and what you stand for and what you’re trying to work on, that tends to create a personal sense of belief in your, and what you’re showing up as, so that you tend to actually have like, your inner critic has less of a voice because you’re so adamant. And so sure of what you’re trying to achieve in yourself. It doesn’t change the fact that you need to go study and learn and get educated. So there’s confidence is self-efficacy and self-esteem, so it’s not just the belief and what you’re trying to achieve in yourself will the belief in the skills that you have.

So that requires you to listen to this, you know, listen to this podcast, go sign up for journal articles. You go talk to people that are in the field that have already achieved what you want to achieve. And then, so when you have clarity and now you’re confident in what you’re doing and you have the skills for it, you more likely to take action, and so that’s control. This is I am intentionally acting in a way that is in alignment with the why and what I’m actually looking to achieve in my life. And that control stays constant despite any sort of emotions or situations that you’re going in through life. And also allows you to build a community around yourself that supports what you’re interested in, the other two Cs.

Steve Rush: And it seems to me that they’re absolutely interrelated as well, aren’t they?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Very much so. So for example, let’s say you know what you need to do, but you don’t know why you’re doing it. And don’t feel confident in it. A lot of people tend to be in jobs where they don’t know why they’re doing something and they don’t feel like they act actually can accomplish it. That is so distressful. That is a situation for burnout that is going to cause people and to leave your organization. Now, let’s say you’re very confident in something, but you don’t actually take any action towards it. So again, you know, like these all need each other to be able to work. You need to have all three.

Steve Rush: What do you think the reason is that we struggle with the whole notion of self-leadership as a population? and I’m clearly generalizing, but most of the execs, I speak to do a great job of the leading teams and organizations, but often put themselves further down that pack in order.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Oh, there are so many reasons, but I’d say the main one is that no one’s ever given us permission. No one’s ever told us that we are more important than anyone else. Our health and our desires and our goals can only be define by ourselves. And if we don’t take care of ourselves, then other people aren’t going to be taken care of.

Steve Rush: Yeah, there’s almost this perspective, isn’t there? That if you do put yourself first, then that’s somewhat selfish or even extreme narcissistic, but actually it’s critical for the benefit of the people that work with you, isn’t it?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: I love when people hear live for yourself and they go, that sounds selfish.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Because it is a magnifying glass into how they define self-care, how they define really trying to understand what they want to achieve. Because if you don’t feel that you’re important, you’re never going to spend time figuring out what you want to do. And so if you don’t figure out, you want to do, then can you imagine all of your actions are going to be based on other people’s desires, where does that then leave you?

Steve Rush: So how do you get permission? How do you end up giving yourself permission and feel secure and safe in the knowledge it’s okay to focus on you?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Well, I go out on a limb here and say that we both give all the listeners permission.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: To pause and figure out what is it that they really care about. And what’s at the core of their attitudes and beliefs and how that translates to goals. It’s the great resignation, everyone’s leaving their jobs because they feel the solution isn’t in the organization that they’re at. When I first started in this field, my message was fix where you’re at, craft the job you have to become a job you love because most of the time the solution is not somewhere else, the solution’s inside. And then as being able to feel empowered and to have the permission to alter where you’re currently at to be best fit for you. You see this a lot with leaders.

Steve Rush: That’s where the adage, the grass isn’t always greener comes from, isn’t it? Because people have this perception that, oh, going to work for another organization, but actually the root cause often is ourselves.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: You go somewhere, you work for six months and you don’t really have the opportunity to sit and think because it’s a new job and everything’s new and novel and you’re learning. And so after six months you start noticing the issues. This isn’t really what I wanted. This isn’t the work that I thought I signed up for. These aren’t the people that I really wanted to be around. I don’t really understand why we’re doing this, the impact. And so then you wait, you kind of coast around for another six months, you see maybe it will change. And then you spend the next year looking for another job and then you leave.

Steve Rush: It’s so ironic, isn’t it? And it repeats itself. I suspect.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: I’d love to see a career ladder within organizations. And I think there’s a lot of people that are discussing it now, how do you career map, right? How do you retain your talent by giving them opportunities in the organization itself? Well, you can’t do that unless the people in your organization actually feel like they have permission to do that. And you can’t make that happen if the leaders aren’t aware that they need to start looking for opportunities to develop and grow their talent, instead of just have them meet their expectations at their job.

Steve Rush: So you talked a little earlier around this kind of, almost epiphany that you had, which led you on this path now. Tell us a little bit about the work that you are doing with Live For Yourself and maybe some of the key areas of focus that you are helping others with now.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: It’s kind of split into two main areas. I’ll work with organizations, I’ll host, you know, ad-hoc corporate workshop, I’ll create performance development programs, new manager training, go in and redo communication structures and Desi organizations, to coach one on one with leaders, group coaching and individual. But then it’s also working just one on one with senior leaders, the senior managers up to the executive level on how to develop them else, right. How to feel confident in their role, how to show up, how to define their executive presence, how to lead manage teams in a way that leads to the specific outcomes that they want, but also how to find another job if it’s not right for you. Like if, where you’re at really isn’t right for you, how to find the place to that, it can be right, because there is so much, you can do it in an organization.

Steve Rush: Right?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: And if one day you wake up and realize that what you want to do, isn’t where you’re at. Or you find meaning from different things and where you’re at. Because you haven’t thought about it before. It’s okay to leave. It’s okay to make that pivot.

Steve Rush: And how much of the great resignation that you spoke about that’s happening and it’s not just in north America and Europe, it’s happening in pockets all over the world. How much of that do you put down to the global pandemic versus it’s just the opportunity to cause people to spend more time being intro focused?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Yeah, think about the times that you’ve had major have change in your life like graduation from uni, moving, maybe to a new area, the end of a relationship, the start of a new relationship, the end of someone close to you, the end of hearing a certain story, right? That also highlighted the fact that life is short potentially, an injury you know, an injury potentially to yourself as well. Anytime that we remember right. Have reasons to that what we were doing was comfortable and that there are other options. Anytime there’s disruption leads to growth and the world has been heavily disrupted heavily.

Steve Rush: Yes.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: And so, no matter what that’s going to cause you to start reflecting on what you’ve been doing, why you’ve been doing it and what you want to do next. And at the same time, I think we’ve shown that there are more opportunities and options in the world than maybe we previously thought.

Steve Rush: Right, yeah.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Put those things together, and all of a sudden, now you have what we call the great resignation. What I would be careful of is, if we don’t spread this message. And I think of what we’re talking about today, that it’s not where you are that matters more so than how you show up where you are, then this is going to keep happen.

Steve Rush: Yeah, and for many people, then not in the position to leave a role, leave a job, leave an organization, and go find another. And many of our listeners who are listening to this podcast from different jurisdictions and countries around the world, haven’t got the luxuries of being able to just walk and find another gig. So re-engineering themselves is a fantastic way of creating a new job in the same organization almost isn’t it?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: And you can’t do that without self-leadership. I tell people often when I work with them as clients and not as clients. Where you are, is not as bad as you think, and it might be. It might, it might eventually be, but have you done the work to figure that out and have you actually put the effort in to change where you’re at, to be more suited to you. Now, sometimes you don’t have a leader that actually allows that to happen. They block you, but have you tried, have you tried to have the conversation with them? And often, especially when I first start working with the clients, those conversations haven’t happened, I don’t know about you, someone comes on as a client and they go, I really want this to happen in my organization. I really want to do this type of work and great, what have you done so far for it?

Steve Rush: Exactly, it’s the first question, isn’t it? And you often find the responses. I’ve thought about it.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Yeah, and maybe, they’ve mentioned it once.

Steve Rush: And that knowing, doing gap, isn’t it?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: The biggest thing that I’ve been seeing lately is that people get the courage, like leaders that I’ve spoken with, employees of all levels. If get the courage to say what they want one time. And the leader says, okay, but it’s not the leader’s responsibility to follow up. So reliability is a huge part of executive presence. If I was to list off those four keys to executive presence and reliability is one. A real executive would follow up, but that doesn’t always happen. So we need to take responsibility for what we want. And so how are you following up on the things that you mentioned? You have to be that tripping faucet. That’s what self-leadership is. It’s I’m going to keep going until I get what I want.

Steve Rush: Yeah, I love it. So next part of our show. So this is where I get to hack into your leadership thinking, your leadership brain and keen to try and take all of that knowledge and get it down to your top three leadership hacks. What would they be Ben?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: So leadership hack number one would be communication. Maybe not so secretive to a lot of people, but weekly one-on-ones conversations with individuals. And so I’d say one-on-one communication. I can’t tell you how many leaders I’ve worked with that say, I talk to my employees all the time. We have group meetings once a week, we talk about projects. Okay, you need to make space. You need to create a safe space to build trust, and get to know your employees, to be able to ask questions such as, how’s work going? What are your priorities? How can I help with that? Where do you want to go in the organization? You need that information to be able to retain and develop talent.

So I’d say that would be number one. The second piece is that nothing is concrete when it comes to a job role. So let’s drop this idea that the job description is everything. If you want to retain talent or also want to be happier at work for yourself, understand that there is flexibility in what you do each and every single day. And if it’s not in the actual work where that flexibility is, the flexibility is in how you do it. So for example, if there’s something that you really don’t like doing, then can you buffer that with something that you really like doing? Or can you do it while you are at home if you are in the office or can you do it while you’re listening to your favorite podcast, such as this, or in your favorite, you know, cafe. So even not even just not changing the work, but flexibility in how you do the work. So look into job wrapped.

Steve Rush: That comes back down to the control C as well that you talked about earlier because there is this fake notion of if you high levels of control, you haven’t got space, but actually it’s the control that gives you the space and flexibility, isn’t it?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Very true.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: The third piece would be engage, engage, and engage. Can’t tell you how often I work with individuals that want to move up and get promoted in the organization. And they think if they do their work, that is enough. People will know that they’re doing good work. And I’d say that, you know, it doesn’t matter how good you are at your work, if nobody knows about it. And if no one knows who you are, for any level of leader. And if you’re a leader that has employees that have intentions for growth, then you should also be ping them in meetings and having them start speaking up. People need to know who you are. You need to develop a professional brand and the day where you will just automatically get promoted and move up in an organization without any knowledge or awareness of you, your work, you know, just even your personality. Those are gone.

Steve Rush: That last one particularly is so important for folk, but actually it comes back down to how I give myself permission. And am I feeling confident in order to be able to do that and put myself out there and be vulnerable?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: It’s so scary for some people, and I understand that. One of the top three things that I’ve worked with clients on are fear with presenting and fear with speaking up in meetings, fear with even just asking for a skip level meeting for someone, you know, above your boss, someone outside of the organization, this is required. There’s some pretty staggering statistics on people aren’t promoted if they’re not in office, right? If you’re a virtual, if you’re a hybrid workforce and that’s because the FaceTime is missing. So this is even more important now than ever before. If you are working an organization, have plans to move up or want even opportunities to move up, you need to be dedicating a portion of your week to connecting, to engaging. I mean, I even say one more thing, make yourself a rule. And I do this with clients. Every meeting, you have to ask a question and make a comment period, no matter what.

Steve Rush: So tell us how that might go.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: You’re in a meeting and any topic whatsoever. You have to ask a question to a leader or to a coworker. So you’re obviously paying attention and you’re engaged. And then you also have to make a comment on something that is being said throughout the meeting, no matter what. It’s a pretty simple rule, I’d say. If you’re only doing that, you probably will, at least, people will be aware of you. From now on, take a look at your meetings and see if you attend the meetings or you don’t say anything. If you’re attending a meeting where you never say anything, you shouldn’t be in that meeting. So make it a point to be engaged in those meetings or don’t attend them.

Steve Rush: It’s a great hack because it simply just forces dialogue. It forces not only does it force you to listen and pay attention, because you’re going to have to ask a question, but it forces that sense of connectivity across a team, really simple, but very effective, I would imagine.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Yeah, and those are the little things that matter.

Steve Rush: Yeah, totally. Definitely, so. So, next part of the show we call it hack to attack. This is where something in your work or your life hasn’t worked as you planned, but as a result of the experience, it’s now serving you well. So what would be your Hack to Attack Ben?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: I have so many twists and turns in my career. I just have to focus for a second. I wanted to be a professional soccer player growing up. I dedicated my life to it, I played D1 Athletics. I went overseas, actually played in the UK for a little bit, but not professionally, kind of like a feeder team. And when I gave that up, I lost who I was. I had no idea who Ben was, because I didn’t do anything else. I didn’t watch really anything on TV. I didn’t have friends that were outside soccer and it was a very low moment in my life, but it brought me the realm of personal professional development. I took all of my energy that I dedicated to the sport and I said, let’s go define who I am. Let’s go build confidence. Let’s go study, you know, social psychology, behavioral psychology. And without those moments, without that moment, I wouldn’t have had all the others serendipitous like moments that came after that, but led me to today.

Steve Rush: Still play soccer? I do. I actually ended up hurting my knee about two months ago. So it’s healing right now, but I’ll be back at it.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Awesome, good for you.

Steve Rush: So the very last thing we’re going to take you on is a little bit of time travel. Now we get you to have the opportunity to give yourself some advice when you are 21. And if you were now toe to toe, face to face with Ben at 21, what advice would you give him?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Nobody’s opinion matters.

Steve Rush: Nice.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: My mind was my worst enemy as a kid, my lack of confidence in my myself, the fact that I’d hit the hit the field in doubt, every single touch I’d have on a ball. The fact that I would not give myself confidence to have a conversation with a stranger. The fact that I would wonder if people were laughing at me when I was walking down the sidewalk, like my mind held me back from so much in my life that when I finally grabbed, when I got hold of it, I was able to be the confident person that I am today. To be so sure of myself, to have the clarity that led the confidence and then be able to take actions that were matter. It was life changing. So if anyone doubts themselves today and you know that you doubt yourself when you go into a room and you say something and you look for people’s reactions to see what they think about what you said, spend some time really figuring out what you care about.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Because then you’ll be a little bit more confident in yourself.

Steve Rush: Awesome advice. Particularly if anybody’s listening to this now who is experiencing that, that’s going to be a real game changer for them. Question, bit of a side hack I guess. How do you keep on track? How do you keep focus? How do you keep that mind serving you in the way that you do today?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: You show up as the person that you know that you want to be. I know what my top values are and I show up each and every day in alignment with those values. When I don’t, that’s when I get off track.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: So what are the things that you truly care about and how are you doing them on a daily basis? So health is a big one for me, from nutrition to fitness. And then, you know, I care about talent development and personal, leadership development, career development. So if I get to show up each and every day, I’m blessed to the point that I’ve crafted a life where I can do the things that I truly care about. And that allows me to stay on track. Because that’s what motivates me.

Steve Rush: Great advice. So Ben, if folk listening to this, want to fight a little bit more about the work you do with Live For Yourself and indeed tap into some of your broadcasts, some of your writing and maybe listen to you speak. Where’s the best place for us to send them?

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Go check out,, just You can also connect with me on LinkedIn, So if you reach out to me on LinkedIn, tell me that you heard this conversation and say, what’s on your mind. I’m happy to connect and continue the conversation.

Steve Rush: Great stuff. We’ll also put those links in our show notes as well. It’s important for us to keep that conversation going. And I just want to say, thank you, Ben. It was amazing talking to you. It’s absolutely because of your work that you do today and your focus and dedication, and you can just hear the passion and energy you have for that self-centered approach to leading yourself. So I want to say thank you for being on that show, being part of our community.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Thank you so much for having me. And it’s just so important and critical to how I live my life. The most important leader that you’re ever going to meet in your life is the one that lives inside you. No one else is responsible or accountable for your own wellbeing and let’s go live that way.

Steve Rush: Powerful words. Thanks for being here, Ben.

Dr. Benjamin Ritter: Thanks for having me.


Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.

Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler there: @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.

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