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Finding Fulfillment with Stephen Shedletzky

George Grombacher December 1, 2022

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Finding Fulfillment with Stephen Shedletzky

LifeBlood: We talked about finding fulfillment, how it’s an ongoing process, who to identify your strengths, how to put them to work, and how to get started, with Stephen “Shed” Shedletzky, leadership coach, author, and advisor.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Stephen Shedletzky

Episode Transcript

Unknown Speaker 0:00

Unknown Speaker 0:16
this is Georgie and the time is right welcome today’s guest struggle powerful. Stephen shed Lecky, Stephen, are you ready to do this? Let’s do it. Let’s go. Shed is a leadership coach and advisor. He’s the author of speak up culture, when leaders truly listen, people step up, he’s helping leaders listen and nurture the voices of others. Shed excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do. Oh, just an easy one to start delighted to George, delighted to be with you and your listeners. Everything I do is to engage with people in meaningful ways so that we connect with depth and live in a more fulfilled world. I care deeply about relationship, I care deeply about fulfillment, which is when we use our strengths, of which we all have strengths, every single human being has strengths. And when we use those strengths to contribute towards something bigger than ourselves, we feel fulfilled. And so I’ve devoted my entire life’s work to advance that cause in doing it with this book, speak up culture. So yeah, those are those are a few things, happy to share more, but just just off the top, it’s a few things that come to mind. I love it. Tell us a little bit about your personal life. Okay, my favorite color is green X. I married a speech pathologist, which was very smart, because I grew up with a stutter and a big, a big impetus, sort of the sort of the first piece of inspiration as to why I’ve written a book called Speak Up culture is I know what it feels like to be voiceless because I woke up, or I woke up, I grew up

Unknown Speaker 1:57
you know, as a as a young kid, and even teen, and even at times as an adult not wanting to speak up at all for fear of stuttering, for fear of fear, you know, so I’m married to my lovely wife, Julie, we’ll be celebrating our eighth year of marriage in two days. We have two kiddos, as we were discussing before, George, a six and a three year old just like you.

Unknown Speaker 2:21
And yeah, born and raised in Toronto, I come from on both sides of my family survivors of war Holocaust survivors on my dad’s side, on my wife’s side, Holocaust survivors and fascist Hungary survivors as well. So I feel very thankful and connected to my heritage as well. And it’s been a huge impetus and inspiration from my work. Oh, excellent. I appreciate you sharing that.

Unknown Speaker 2:48
I can’t remember. I don’t remember if it was,

Unknown Speaker 2:53
what the motivation was necessarily, but I Googled fulfillment, probably 5678 years ago. And all the results were talking about Amazon, and how they thought this is so incredibly perfect.

Unknown Speaker 3:09
Yeah, well, I mean, as a word fulfillment has multiple meanings. One could be, you know, getting a product to its finished place, you know, but it’s, it’s a, it’s a worthwhile analogy, because, you know, if you look at fulfillment from the sort of process standpoint, you know, something is procured something is fulfilled. And, you know, you wake up the next day, and then there’s another fulfillment, meaning, you know, it is like, fulfillment is infinite in its nature, like none of us wake up on a Tuesday morning, and we’re like being, like, fulfilled, no more work to do. It’s like, no, there’s Wednesday, like, we can literally feel fulfilled on our deathbed,

Unknown Speaker 3:53
which is quite a fun thought. And I think if we live enough days of fulfillment, we’ll actually live on past retirement past when we’re out of here, because we’ll be remembered, not necessarily by by millions like that, like Gandhi or Mother Teresa, but will be remembered by the people whose lives we influence for the better. Because again, fulfillment using strengths, the things that give us energy and that we’re naturally great at and can develop further and then contributing that to something bigger than ourselves. Those are the two pieces.

Unknown Speaker 4:30
I love it. I think it’s I think it’s really important. I think it’s a conversation that and thoughts that that we all

Unknown Speaker 4:39
would really serve us to be thinking about and having, because I don’t know that we’re just going to stumble upon it.

Unknown Speaker 4:47
Um, I think there’s a there’s a bit of both, I think some times we can stumble upon it, but the question is, do we pay attention and go, Ooh, that was fun. Ooh, I want more moments.

Unknown Speaker 5:00
For days like that, and then the question is do we then meaningfully cultivate them? Both as individuals and as communities? You know, we, we kind of live a paradox as human beings, which is, at any given moment, we’re always an individual and always part of a group, always, you know, and it’s part of what makes us strong as a species, because there are some animals who are more solo. And then there’s us, we’re a social animal. Our survival and thrival, actually depends on us forming bonds of trust and cooperation, you know, us walking alone, in the woods, or the, or the Saharan desert, not going to go so well for us. But if we have each other, where we’re far stronger, you know, we’re a social animal. So

Unknown Speaker 5:47
yeah, well, what makes us strong as a species are the are the social bonds that we create, and foster? Yeah, there’s no doubt about that.

Unknown Speaker 5:57
So back to the, I don’t want to call it serendipity. Even though that’s what I sort of wrote down when we, when we do find ourselves doing something that we really, really enjoy. It’s like, wow, I am, I’m awesome at this. And some of the greatest stories that I get to hear about and learn about are when people discover what they’re really, really good at. And then they’re able to put their full time and attention into that and make that their vocation or their work or whatever term that they want to use. And that’s when we do recognize, I’m good at this, other people come to me for it. Maybe I should work to develop that strength.

Unknown Speaker 6:35
Totally. I mean, there’s, there’s a couple of things that that come to mind.

Unknown Speaker 6:40
I mean, one, we can be blind to our own strengths. Because, you know, it’s very hard to read the label on the jar when you’re stuck inside the jar. So, so you’re you’re so right, George, that when people say, Hey, you’re really good at that, hey, can you help me with this? And you’re like, Sure, I’d love to, you know, comes easy to me, I enjoy it. You know, it’s flow theory. So the things that are, are that we’re strengths in, we typically don’t get bored by them. Because we’re both challenged and skilled. If we’re just skilled but not challenged, then we get bored. But if we’re both challenged, and skilled, then it’s flow, you know, you lose yourself, you lose track of, of time, that that’s a strength.

Unknown Speaker 7:21
But oftentimes, we’re so blind to it, because the only perception we have is our own. And so we’re often world class at something that we think everyone is I’ll give you an example. I draft emails and social media posts in the shower. I can’t help it. I can’t turn it off.

Unknown Speaker 7:40
And when I come across people and share that with them, they’re like you do? And I’m like, yeah, like, don’t you? They’re like, No, now there’s a percentage of the population that does, you know, what my top strength and strengths finders is communication, like, I love finding ways to articulate ideas and feelings into relatable, inspiring actionable terms, like I just I love doing that.

Unknown Speaker 8:09
But not everyone does that. So, you know, what’s the thing that you just naturally always are thinking and doing? Chances are that strength. And I love the point that you made that when people point them out? Hey, you’re really good at that. Can you help me with this? You know, I love that. The other thing that’s interesting that you made me think of is, I believe it’s Michael Gerber, who wrote the book entrepreneurial myth. And in it, it’s that triangle, which is, you know, so often it goes like, like this, that the bottom of the triangle is hobby or vocation, then there’s operation, then there’s vision. And so often, you know, entrepreneurs will go, I love flowers, I’ll open up a flower shop. But just because you’re really good at making bouquets doesn’t necessarily mean you have the same skill and strength to operate a business, or to have vision for where it can go in 510 15 years. You know, I like fixing cars, I’ll open up an auto mechanic shop. It’s like, well, hold on. So this isn’t to say good or bad. I think oftentimes, people who have a hobby, how cool would it be to make part of or a lot of what you do that hobby, but realize that it’s those three things, its vision, its operations, and it’s doing the craft, you know, as I’m more meaningfully building my own business now. I’m getting better at my craft, but I’m also flexing and doing more things on the operation side, which are not my strength set. So I hired a head of operations. Who’s better at that, you know, so, so yeah, just just just a couple more thoughts there that it’s just because you’re good at the thing.

Unknown Speaker 10:00
doesn’t mean you’re good at all of the things around it for a period of time, you’re going to have to, you know, pull your weight and carry your weight and do more, until you can afford to bring on more help. But yeah, just a few thoughts that come in, I think that that’s great.

Unknown Speaker 10:16
Because I was reading some of Steven Pressfield work, and he talks about how so many of us have the shadow career of this is what I do for a living, I’ve been doing this thing for a living for a long time. But over here is really what I’m passionate about. And really what would fulfill me if I were able to do those things have the vision, the operation, and then the craft and whatever other variables might might be there. So it’s probably beyond the scope, I would probably get a run on a time, but how do I recognize what those strengths are? And how could How can I just start cultivating them? Maybe I can’t just start going 100% at it, but maybe I can just get started?

Unknown Speaker 10:56
Well, I mean, one, there are great assessments out there already. I mean, this isn’t new work. So take a Strengths finders assessment. There’s one that Jonathan fields from Good Life project just came up with called spark type, there’s insights, there’s disc, I’ve done a lot of work with, with Simon Sinek. Over the years, you can go and do your purpose, discover your why discovery. So there’s tons of tools out there, that if a you’re not sure what your strengths are, there is tons of stuff out there, that you can do very easily, to get a sense of things that you’re naturally talented at, and are motivated to keep getting better at.

Unknown Speaker 11:36
And it’s a it’s a diverse, broad spectrum, which is great. So I think first and foremost, you know, if you don’t know what your strengths are, go on the journey to find them if you want to, and there’s tons of resources to to help, I’d say strengths finders is a great one to start. Then once you do know your strengths, and the question is how can you cultivate them further. And I think one of the things that a lot of people make make up a story, where they go, oh, here are my strengths, or here are the things that I love doing. But I can apply them here. And I’m like, well says who? Could you have a meaningful conversation with your boss or find someone who share similar strengths as you do and follow their career path. Like I think oftentimes we find excuses or blocks, as opposed to you know, good old love, love the one year you’re with and see if there are ways to intrapreneur it to find opportunities to cultivate your strengths, internal too. I’m also a big fan of, of, of hybrid, like you don’t necessarily need to, you know, if I’m going to start a business on the side, I have to quit my full time job. And it’s like, Well, do you like, can you say, Hey, I’d like to work three days a week now or I’d like to reduce my hours or moonlight it and work on the thing on the side and weekends on nights, early mornings, or whatever. Until the choice becomes so obvious that like, all right, it’s it’s it’s go time. So

Unknown Speaker 13:09
the other thing that you made me think of Georgia is, you know,

Unknown Speaker 13:13
I’ve had a chance to meet some really amazing people and develop friendships with some really amazing people when you look back at their careers, like wow, one of which is Amy Edmondson, I had a chance to sit down with Amy Edmondson who’s a Harvard prof she has been like, number one on thinker’s 50 list for a bunch of years. I admire her I admire her work. She’s a thought leader on psychological safety, which I care deeply about. And I asked her, you know, early on in your career, like Did you know, that trajectory? Did you know you wanted to become an author and become a Harvard prof and all these things? And she’s like, No, I just want it to be useful. And I think you know, so often, we make up the story that people who have achieved amazing great things had it all figured out. And they they didn’t like, this is the big, the big secret is, no one knows what they’re doing. Like no one. And it’s just take the next right step, you know, maybe look a few steps ahead as well. But I love this notion of she’s like, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just want it to be useful, which I think when we’re useful, we’re more likely to feel fulfilled, because we’re using our strengths to fulfill something we’re using our strengths to contribute to something bigger than us. So just a few thoughts that sort of come up from that. Yeah, I think that that sort of comments there. I think that that’s a really important thing, because we’ve been spending so much time talking about our why or purpose. And I think that that’s valuable and good. But I don’t know that I can succinctly tell you what mine is. And I think that there’s a lot of people out there that sort of struggle with that struggle with the idea of

Unknown Speaker 14:51
a human being or am I a human doing and more towards the side of I do things that’s sort of what I do versus I am

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Something that’s sort of where my thinking is that but it’s a constant thing. And he talked at the beginning, it’s, it’s its fulfillment is it’s an ongoing thing. It’s not like I arrived a non stop pursuing it. Totally. And again, like, just because you figure out, these are my strengths, this is my purpose, this is what fulfills me, you have to then go do it. You know, like, I’m quite clear on what my purpose is, I have language for it, I’ve done a lot of work, you know, around that, I can articulate it. And even if I tell you, George and I opened with this, my purpose is to engage with people in meaningful ways, which is what we’re doing right now. So that we connect with depth and live in a more fulfilled world. And connect with depth for me is relationship with self relationship with others and relationship with the world world around us. Now, if I articulate that, and then I do absolutely nothing to live it, or I just say it.

Unknown Speaker 15:54
But then I live counter to it, guess what, not fulfilled, you know, having these tools like articulations for strength and purpose. They’re just that a tool, but I could give you a hammer. And you could put that hammer on that shelf behind you, and it will collect dust, we have been packed with the hammer if we pick it up and do something with it. And so I mean, one of the ways and this is how we can find purpose and strengths is to think back on our life and career as early as our childhood, through our school aged years, through, you know, experiences with mentors, and favorite teachers, and least favorite teachers, and favorite says subjects and least favorite, favorite bosses, and least favorite, favorite projects, and least favorite. And we reflect through those peak and valley moments, not just career, not just school life, right. And you think about those specific moments that you either loved and fulfilled you and were joyful, or specific moments that were really hard. But if you’re honest, you came out the other end better or learn something or whatever it might be. And as you sort of reflect on those peaks and valleys of your life and, and career, there are some moments that will stand out. Now go and share those moments with an objective listener wouldn’t recommend the spouse wouldn’t recommend a best friend or a parent or a sibling, especially if they’re if they were also a part of the story. They’re like, No, George, that’s not what happened. And it’s like, it’s my story. Like, that’s what happened to me. So you can share it with it with an objective listener, very hard to do this on your own. Because again, you cannot be objective with yourself. You can’t read the label on the jar when you’re stuck inside the jar yourself. So as you share, you know, these peak and valley moments, there are some themes that will come up, you know, you are a high performer, you’re curious, you know, you’re never set settled with the, with the status quo. Like there are some things that will come up as common patterns and themes.

Unknown Speaker 17:54
Which you’ll be like, yeah, that is me, you know. So that’s the trick on on how to find it.

Unknown Speaker 18:00
Another is to phone up really close friends, people who choose to be friends with you and say, Why are you friends with me? They’re like, really in there like, Yeah, I’m trying to learn more about about myself. This is a Simon Sinek craft says he has a tool for it called the friends exercise. But you you get your your friends, people who choose to be in relationship with you to reflect on on the qualities about you, that have them, choose to be friends with you. Now, the fun thing is, is they’ll begin to describe rational stuff, we have so much fun, I can tell you anything blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then there’s a switch and they’ll stop describing you. And they’ll begin to describe the impact that you have on them.

Unknown Speaker 18:40
Right? I don’t know what it is, I don’t even need to be in the same room as you I can think about you and more as possible. You know, and you’ll be and you’ll get emotional. You’ll get goosebumps. They’re literally describing the difference that you make in their life, which is likely your you know, relationship purpose. I love it.

Unknown Speaker 18:59
I love it. That’s super powerful. Some good, some good practical steps. I wrote down a wrote down pick up the hammer. You got to you got to pick the thing up, start swinging it start using it. So yes, maybe maybe not figuratively, but or maybe not literally, but but figuratively. Yeah, exactly. Right. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you and how can they engage with you? Yeah, thanks, George. Very active on LinkedIn. I believe for the moment I’m the only Steven Chu Gretzky in the world. So all you dozens of should let’s get out there in the world. Don’t name anyone Stephen.

Unknown Speaker 19:36
You know, unless you really want to, and shed inspires is the website sh Edie Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed this as much as I did show, shed your appreciation and share today share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Follow shed on LinkedIn under Stephen shed Lecky, I’ll link that in the notes as well as go to shed in

Unknown Speaker 20:00 and check out everything that he is working on and figure out how you can get in touch and

Unknown Speaker 20:09
and work together. Thanks. Gotcha.

Unknown Speaker 20:12
Thanks, Joe shares and until next time remember, do your part by doing your best

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