In this inspiring episode, Dr. Benjamin Ritter, Founder of Live for Yourself (LFY) Consulting, shares how he was shaken by a lack of purpose that inspired him to find his true identity and how he helps others do the same.
You will discover:
– Why you must understand the difference between purpose and identity
– The true cost of a job you hate
– Why you should identify your own personal values
Hello, hello and welcome. Welcome once again to the secrets of the high demand coach and I am here with yet another high demand coach. And that is the one and only Dr. Benjamin Ritter. Dr. Benjamin Ritter is the founder of Live for Yourself Consulting. He’s a leadership and career coach, a talent development expert of values geek, an international speaker and online instructor of the course. How to be the leader of your own career and create a career you love. And he’s also a podcaster. There’s two podcasts, actually the executive and the live yourself, live for yourself revolution. Now he’s passionate about guiding leaders to be the leaders of their own career and create a career that they love. Well, Ben, I’m so excited to have you here. I never quite know how to navigate someone who’s like as cool as you who’s definitely a Ben, but someone who just has, you know, has done the work, has done the research and has that doctor in front of their name. So Dr. Benjamin Ritter, Ben, it’s so great to have you here on the show. I’m excited to jump in and look at how you’re helping folks with their careers, and even a little bit of what that’s looked like for yourself. But before we get into all of that, I’d love for you to just share your story. What were you doing before career coaching? And why did you ultimately make the leap?
Thank you so much for having me, Scott. And your energy is contagious. But I also am a little monotone and chill. So I’m gonna like this is me really energized. I absolutely love your vibe, it’s bringing me up and says something that’s important about the people you surround yourself with, and the energies that they have, and they bring to the table. So for my background, and I appreciate that lead in, I pretty much experienced a lot of disappointment in my professional life. And honestly, that disappointment led to some disappointment in my personal life. Because Because I felt pretty much like anything I wanted, I couldn’t have. And that led to me really being unconfident with who I was as a person. And the first thing I ever wanted to do for my career, it’s kind of funny, when I think about it again, now that, you know, I have all these degrees, and I’ve done all these things professionally. I was really just be on a soccer field. And I really misunderstood the lessons of find your purpose and thought that meant pick the thing you really want to do and dedicate yourself to it and never looked back and never stopped to ask yourself, this is the thing that I still want to do. And that led me to really not care about friends, not do anything social or party, practice three times a day, watch only soccer on TV. So when I lost that thing, that thing that I wanted to do for my career, I lost my identity because it’s who I was. And because I didn’t succeed in it. And I was sourcing validation from it. I really did not believe in myself, not only did I not know who I was, but I didn’t have anything that believe in but I also was very critical of myself as a human being. And so luckily, I had a moment where I kind of dug myself out of that hole and made the decision to take all the energy I invested in the sport and to invest it into developing who I wasn’t exploring who I was. And that led to about four or five years of getting uncomfortable learning about social dynamics and psychology and persuasion and confidence and mental health. And so then all of a sudden, I was this human being that was on an adventure that was positive, that believed in who we was, because I was searching for who I was, but in a positive way of making progress the entire time. I’m just confident individual, but at the same time I keep experiencing disappoint into my career. So I you know, did soccer didn’t happen. I then was interested in nutrition and they canceled my major and then received four different job offers. After grad school over two and a half year period at all got canceled after signing on the dotted line. I eventually through networking, made a connection with someone who got me a job at an acute care hospital where then I spent the next seven years hating my job. Like there were some parts of the Honestly though, when when I look back on it, I wasted a potential opportunity to develop crew capital to develop relationships to learn new skills. And that hate right that you can’t it’s very hard to keep that sectioned off, it tends to bleed into other areas of your life. Again, luckily, I had a little bit of a eureka moment kind of like I had when I lost soccer and to develop my wasn’t an individual. And I realized that I was being a victim that I was blaming my organization for being happy. I was blaming my leaders for being happy when it in reality. I was making the choice each and every single day to go into work and not not make the most of it to not be happy to not figure out what I wanted to do what I wanted to work on who I wanted to talk to what relationships I wanted to build. And I wasn’t working towards anything because I felt so defeated in my professional life. So I have this false story. The things I really want I can’t have when it comes to work. But I solved that for myself personally. Like, the fact that like who I was, I wasn’t this individual that had any competence that didn’t have any friends, like I solved that I figured out how to grow in that regard. But for some reason, I didn’t take that same learning and put it to my career. And that’s because not a lot of us are ever taught, we have to be proactive, instead of reactive in our career, we’re not taught how to do that as well. We’re taught get a job, good job war, hit apply, talk to your friends, take the job go on, all of a sudden, now you’re in this group, have you ever actually chose. And so I decided at that point in time to choose. And lo and behold, we ended up here, right? We’re not I mean, that was almost, I’d say, almost 10 years ago, when I went back, got my doctorate, men in talent development, have been hired by big companies like Amazon and Google and DoorDash, you know, and spoken internationally. And so I’ve been able to make this pivot just by choosing my choice and a commitment. And I think that that’s a pretty powerful lesson, hopefully, that even if anyone was takes one thing away, it’s what am I choosing? And am I giving my decision deciding power away. And even if something happens to you, you still decide how you react to it. So what do you want to work towards and what you want to achieve?
Wow, there’s so much to unpack in there. And there’s this thread that’s kind of coming through. And it’s almost a tension, because one of the things you kind of jumped out of the gate was, you picked the one thing, and you disregarded everything else, right? That was kind of how you started the story. And then you end the story by saying, Hey, you commit to the thing. And that can sound almost contradictory, but it isn’t. So how to walk that line with us. First, let’s pick apart the this identity and purpose issue, right. So my purpose is soccer, whatever it is, fill in the blank for anyone listening. What’s a better kind of mindset or reference point for going after your purpose as an individual.
So when it comes to purpose, the mistake there was at least in my story, was that I picked the thing that I wanted to achieve and made that my identity. The difference today is I I understand my values. And I figured out a way to align with those on a daily basis. But that thing can change, my values stay the same. And I’ll explain that a little bit more after I talk about the purpose piece, because I don’t want to skip over that. My mistake with purpose was that I thought that my purpose was greater than me. And purpose is something that you choose. It’s something that you define. It’s something that you discover. And if you’re the one that is able to then create it, to choose it to discover it, it can never actually be greater than you. It was made by you, was chosen by you. But I was allowing it to make decisions that impacted areas of my life that it shouldn’t have been impacting, such as friendships, such as what I decided to watch on TV for fun, I kind of was falling on the sword for my purpose. But in actuality, that’s like falling on the sword for your job. It’s not greater than who you are as a person. The other piece is that purpose is supposed to be, in my mind, a way that you find fulfillment and enjoyment from life. That’s it. And it’s hopefully a way that you’re giving back while doing that, but not for everybody. But if then your purpose is causing you not to enjoy life more, and struggle can be enjoyment. So I’m not saying that you don’t work hard or anything like that. If if it is causing you an unbelievable amount of stress, you have to take a look and ask yourself, Is this really the thing that matters to me? Yeah. And so at that time, I didn’t even question. My purpose, I didn’t have this understanding that it’s supposed to be a never ending source of enjoyment and fulfillment, that it wasn’t greater than me. And then I shouldn’t be becoming unhealthy because of it. But that it should have been something that mattered to me, and brought me joy, and positively impacted the world and myself.
Yeah, there’s, there’s just so much in there to kind of go after the next thing though, that kind of jumped out to me. So purpose is it’s not a thing, right? It’s something that we create something that we go after the the next statement each other is really fascinating and your story and we’ll kind of get to how this applies to the work that you do here in a moment. But was you were going after everything and anything right? And you were making. Forget how you said that you’re making ground toward your purpose, right? You’re moving toward your purpose. So talk to us a little bit about that. Because there’s folks out there saying, I don’t really know what my purpose is right? Or they’ve come face to face that there’s a reality that thing I thought was my purpose isn’t so in that process of trying everything and then finally recognizing I’ve done a lot of things but I’m actually making ground toward my purpose. How do you how do you? How do you know that that’s the case how Can you sense that or feel it or understand it?
When I lost myself, the first time, I made the decision to never give anything that level of seriousness again, and to explore before I made a commitment. And so I went, and I just got curious. And what’s so cool about doing that is that fear goes away. Because when you realize that you’re just going to try things out, and to see what something is, or to learn about something, all of a sudden, there is no failure. There’s no competitiveness, and you get, you get the chance to actually to learn about the world, but mainly to learn about yourself, because we’ve learned about ourselves through doing things not by reading a book, or listening to a podcast. I mean, you you get interested in things from that. But you really learn by doing things. And when I made the decision to kind of analyze my career, do a career audit, and say, What are my strengths? What are my interests? What am I passionate about? What impact I want to have on the world and people around me? What are the things I want to learn? Who do I want to work with? What type of work life do I want? When I did that type of career audit, I had an idea. Like I had the industry, talent development, leadership development. And that came about because I had a bunch of moments in my life that related to coaching, I’m happy to share, but it’s like a longer story that made me realize that I wanted to merge these issues I had within the organization, these issues I had within my corporate in the corporate world, and my leaders, and then this coaching aspect of this development piece. And I realized that there is a whole industry for talent development, leadership development, organizational development, and that I had to get involved in it. I didn’t know what I was going to do. And I went, I did not initially actually go to get my doctorate in the space, that was not my first decision, my first decision was go to my boss and say, hey, I want to do this work. Is that okay? And she said, Yes. And so I started working on those projects in the organization, to see if I was going to like it, I didn’t make you know, a six figure decision to get a new degree, you know, in a in a three year commitment, without first going to taste the flavors right of what I was interested in. Now we got acquired. Again, I didn’t mention that part of my story. But every organization I’ve worked for has been acquired, at least once. This one was acquired twice, at multiple different CEOs, multiple different bosses, I’ve worked to kind of in this professional world of ambiguity and change. And so that happened, where we got acquired, and I lost every all the products I was working on, everyone was working with that fired and I had to make a decision. What do I do? How do I stay in this space. And I didn’t have a lot of background, I had zero background, actually, in the industry. I did not know how to frame your story to pivot like I do now when I work with my clients and their own career development. And so my idea was, well, maybe go get educated in it go become an expert. And so that’s where I went and got my dog went to go get my doctorate. And then while I was traveling back and forth, because the program was actually on the West Coast, and I was based in Chicago, while I was working full time, I came up with the concept deliver yourself consulting, but it was not the first decision. And then also, I still got recruited to go work as a learning development director for multiple places, the head of talent development, most recently for a life sciences manufacturing company. And this goes back to what I said about it’s not the one thing anymore, when you know your values, and you know how you want to show up. It’s many things. Like as being the head of talent development for an organization feeds my values for professional development in the space, working internally or being a coach, right does the same thing. Being contractor does the same thing. Being a facilitator does the same thing. And so now I get to choose, instead of saying, this is the one thing I have to do I get to choose, this is how I want to show up today, in alignment with my values. And it’s so freeing and empowering.
Yeah, yeah, I love that. And it’s something that I see a lot and and it would seem like it wouldn’t be this way. But even with the founders, and you know, people at the top of the org chart, if you will, that I spend most of my time working with, one of the things that is a regular pattern that we have to come back to is are you making a choice in this? Or are you being a victim of circumstance, like are you and you even brought up of being proactive with your career instead of being reactive with your career? And I want to use that as kind of a jumping off point, shift gears a little bit and ask what would you say some of the most important work that you’re doing for your clients right now.
So all of my clients have a goal that they’re not able to achieve. Some of them want to grow as an executive in their current organization, and they want to become better leaders. Some of them want to get a new job. And it’s all about career fulfillment. And they tend to all suffer from the same foundational issues, and this is why I created the system. On the three C’s of self leadership, so they have an issue with vision. So clarity, they’re not sure what they actually want to achieve. They’re not sure how to actually get their goals, objectives, broader vision, then they have an issue with confidence. So they don’t actually believe in themselves as leaders, and believe in their skills as leaders. And then they have an issue with control. They’re not showing up each and every single day in a way that leads them towards their goals. And they’re in an environment with people that are maybe negative, or demotivating, or not in alignment with where they want to go in their career. And the one main thing that’s kind of at the core of all this, which is part of clarity, and so when we start with our clients, is identifying what their values are. And if they’re a leader, they need to know what their leadership values are not this personal values. If you’re trying to find greater career satisfaction, and be happy at your job, you need to identify what those values are. Because that is then that becomes the conduit, the assessment of is this the right organization for me, these right people to work with? Is the work that is going to matter to me, and how do I want to tell my story? Like what are the main pillars of my story that I want to share that are going to appropriately convey who I am as a professional human?
And this idea of values, I think, is a big one, because a lot of times in in the corporate work world, we will talk about values as organizational values, right? And do you align with our values? It’s kind of it’s a corporate thing, where you’re talking about those different you’re talking about your own individual values, and identifying those. So how do you help someone, especially someone who maybe was part of the process of setting values for their organization? How do you help them start separating kind of their values from those of the organization and culture that they work in?
And so as a leader, one of your jobs for your team is to communicate the organizational values in a way that is in alignment with your own your kind of the role model of the organization? Now, if you’re wondering, how do I separate my values and the organizational values, so I can make decisions for myself potentially, for moving forward in my career, because I’ve been so embedded in this organization, I’m confused, and only know what I care about. One of the best ways that you can do that is to start looking at memories, and memories where you were the happiest and most dissatisfied. So you want to get at least three to five, each of those categories. And because we’re looking at organizational fulfillment, or satisfaction, you want them to be professional and personal. You get a mixture of them. So our memories where we are the most satisfied or happiest, which I have had clients where I’ve asked like, Have you ever been fulfilled at work? And they said, No. Well, and that’s why I don’t That’s why I don’t ask the question fulfillment when you’ve been fulfilled at work. And when you’ve been happy, when have you felt motivation, when have you felt the spark is the project working with someone specific was it at you know, even if it was only one day, like, what was happening, what was going on? And when we can look at those memories, we tend to be able to find themes. And those themes tend to represent what’s important to us. And our values are, honestly just who we are at our core, which is what is important to us. And then we can build a list of keywords from that. And this is usually when people stop because then I get a list of keywords, I have like maybe five to 10 keywords, maybe they gotten rambunctious and then 20 or 30 of them, but you really only need like your top five, to be honest, even top three, they just stopped there, what we really need to do is two extra steps, all three kinds of you have to define them, is how I define a word is very different than how you would define a word Scott and how I would define a word for the work environment very different than how I define the word for my personal life. And so we have to define our values for what it means for us at work and what it means for us in our personal life. Then once we get that information, we can prioritize our values, you know, if I had this value, would that be okay? If I didn’t have all the others, and they will, you will be able to do that it takes some work. But then when you have your top, top 12345 values, you’re then able to create a ton of a ton of assessments and greater understanding on why you’ve succeeded in certain organizations and not in others. And why maybe certain relationships have worked out but others haven’t as well. Because then you can literally just make a calculator and say, How much does this organization align with this value one to 1010 being the most? Okay, if it doesn’t, what’s one thing I can do potentially right now, I’m not leaving to make this value more aligned. And then you kind of just work on your scores. And I’d say don’t don’t stay in an organization that’s under 80. Yeah, and don’t be in a relationship that’s under 80. And don’t say don’t blame the organization, by the way, because a lot of times when it comes to living true to our values, it’s our decision to live true to our values less than it is the environment that we’re in that’s holding us back.
That’s so good. That’s fantastic. All right. So here’s a question I like to ask all of my guests. Is this, what’s the biggest secret that you wish was not a secret at all? What’s that one thing that you wish everybody listening today knew?
You don’t need permission to do anything. To expand on that, I care about, you know, being empowered and feeling accountable for your own career. And too often I work with clients, like I can’t send a message to that CEO, I can’t apply to that job, I don’t meet all the requirements, I, I can’t do XYZ and you can literally do everything, you do not need permission. Very often we limit ourselves. And that limitations limits our success. And it’s, please, if I could go back in time, I’ll go tell my younger younger self, this. Stop waiting for permission.
Yeah, so good, so good. It’s, it’s fascinating how there’s not necessarily a right answers. It’s not this or that it’s not between choosing the options, it’s actually exercising the power to choose, because even if you choose the wrong option, if you maintain the power to choose, you can change it again later. Dave Ramsey is a popular voice for a very different message. But one of the things he says, You know, I don’t mind making a choice, because if I don’t like it, I can always make another. And and I think for a lot of us, that’s just a helpful reminder. So I love that. I love that point. There’s so much power in it. I want to shift gears one more time here and have you take off your coach hat for a moment and have you put on your CEO hat, jumped down into the ring with the rest of us and talk to us about what the next stage of growth looks like for you, for your organization and as a leader, and what challenges do you think you’ll have to overcome to get there?
So I’ve been putting off reading a book for a while again, I wrote like a workbook when I first started live for yourself consulting, and just haven’t been like, there’s something I really want to share with the world. And I have decided that there is and so hopefully this year, we can get that book out to the public and help people become a little bit more fearless, and hopefully live a little bit more for themselves. And then it’s expanding into some specific industries. So right now I work with clients, and pretty much across all industries and all levels of company. And I have a personal passion for better for you CPG products, so like better for you food products, as well as the psychedelic industry. So right now, I’m just solidifying some equity opportunities, like a mentoring and some certain, you know, incubators and having conversations with certain CEOs to see what that might look like. And this is a great example of you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you know, what the where you want to focus. And if you just start having conversations and providing value, and living, like showing up with your strengths as a coach or talent development and leadership, and opportunities arise, like in the CPG space, I already you know, I’m part of this mentor track, I have an equity stake in a bunch of companies now. And I think I want to continue pursuing those two different paths, and leverage my strengths to to highlight the importance of those worlds, better for you food products and alternatives. That means a lot to me, because I care deeply about nutrition and providing different types of foods that are better going to serve the people in the psychedelic industry, I mean, has so many, so many potential benefits and already benefits for the mental health industry, which I struggled greatly with when I was younger, as well as just, I think just in general, some of the rampid anxiety and issues that we’re seeing as as a human race at the moment.
Excellent. Excellent. Thank you so much for sharing. I know that there’s some folks listening and they’ve they’re hearing themselves and in your story and the stories of those that you help and they’re just saying hey, like there’s there’s something on this I’ve got to know more so how can someone find more? Find out more about your work and and how you could help them.
Please add me on LinkedIn first and super active there. But if you want to stay up to date, and we’re going to maybe explore some coaching, informations coaching sessions, look at kind of I’ll put this guest guest spot there to put on my actual website liveforyourselfconsulting.com When you get there, you’ll actually actually have an option to to download a free ebook on the five secrets to creating a fulfilling career.
Yeah, so head on over and grab that I had a chance to look over Dr. Benjamin’s website, just a fantastic resource. The podcasts are amazing. And get your copy of five secrets to creating a fulfilling career you will not regret it Well, again, Dr. Benjamin Ritter, it was such a pleasure and honor having you here and for all of you listening today. Your time and attention means the world to us. I appreciate you being here. I hope you got as much out of this conversation as I did, and I cannot wait to see you next time. Take care.
Contact Benjamin Ritter
Dr. Benjamin Ritter, founder of Live for Yourself Consulting, is a leadership and career coach, Talent Development Executive, values geek, international speaker, online instructor of the course How to Be the Leader of Your Own Career and Create a Career You Love, and podcaster (The Executive, and The Live for Yourself Revolution), who’s passionate about guiding leaders to be the leader of their own career and create a career they love.
Want to learn more about Dr. Benjamin Ritter’s work at Live for Yourself (LFY) Consulting? Check out his website at https://www.liveforyourselfconsulting.com/
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