Not All of the Most Important Lessons Come from Struggle

We learned so much about ourselves and our relationship on that adventure. Our resourcefulness, silly senses of humor, and resilience was on full display.

True Leaders Know They Always Have Something to Learn

Stories of Learning and Growth as a Leader

Just like many bosses before him, Rich Gassen was offered a management position without having ever been a manager, and without any training. Fortunate for his employees, he knew what he didn’t know, and took it upon himself to find the resources he needed to learn to do his job and do it well.

In my experience, the worst managers are the ones who think they have nothing to learn, and who don’t see themselves as their employees see them. Many take on the management style of someone they worked for, even if they disliked that manager, and complained often about their poor management and the disconnect with their staff.

But not Rich. Not only did he take advantage of the training opportunities and other resources available to him from his organization, he joined a group of managers that met regularly to share what they knew - and to complain. The dynamic changed in that group when they realized there were many other managers there who didn’t know what resources were available to them, and they decided to open up their informal group to create a more formal, active agency to help all managers improve.

 Rich Gassen, bottom left, an unplanned, unexpected rock star.

Rich Gassen, bottom left, an unplanned, unexpected rock star.

In our conversation, we had a chance to talk about music, one of my favorite topics, of course. Here’s the link Rich promised to share, a song recorded in his time as a vocalist in a rock band called Madcity.

Connect with Rich on LinkedIn, and check out the website he created and manages for the Campus Supervisors Network at UW-Madison.

When Your Heart is In It, You Bring Great Value

Stories of Understanding the Value of Your Work

Going into the resume and job search business, John Sattler underestimated the impact he could have on the lives of others. His interest in starting this business had more to do with using the knowledge and skills he had developed as a recruiter to make his income, and less to do with the “why” behind it.

His “ah ha” moments came when he opened his mind and heart to really get to know a few of his clients. John realized that each client had a completely different and interesting story to tell, they just didn’t know how to tell it.

He’s not a soft-skills guy, in terms of how he approaches his work. John isn’t the guy you go to cry on his shoulder; he’s the guy who will tell you exactly what he thinks, and will not sugar coat his advice and suggestions. That’s why he won’t take on every client that knocks on his door. If he gets the impression that the client isn’t going to put in the work and effort it will take to get a job, and if he gets the impression that the client won’t choose to be self-reflective about his or her past challenges, he will refer that client to someone else. And that’s what makes him such an asset to the clients who retain him.

It’s magical when you realize that your skills and competence can make a real difference in a person’s life, and that they realize your value and will invest in themselves to benefit from those skills and competence.



Help Appears When You Least Expect It

He was driving a new, fancy car, living in a beautiful apartment, wearing expensive clothes, and living a life he considered pretty luxurious. So why was he sinking?

Disruption Through Distraction: Adventures in Fighting Boredom

When Disruption Takes the Form of Self-Sabotage

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Tara Bradford had everything going for her business, and the majority of her clients came directly from the video marketing she had been doing for a year. Suddenly, she decided to stop doing the videos. She was bored. And instead of finding ways to change her videos, and exploring other options in addition to the successful video activity, she. Just. Stopped.

This is just one example we spoke about in terms of the choices we’ve made out of boredom and being too comfortable, that ended up taking us in completely different directions - and not always in a good way.

Some of us just don’t recognize when we’re bored early enough to change direction with intention, rather than as impulse. Eventually, though, with enough self-reflection, we can start to see the symptoms before they become overwhelming. That’s the first step. The next step must be to consider our own roles in the scenario. And then? We must make the decision to take small steps toward digging us out of the situation, rather than rushing off into something we’re not really sure will take us where we want to go. Tara’s brilliant strategy was to put herself into situations that a) made her uncomfortable, and b) had her interacting with people and industries she would never have otherwise experienced.

How many times have you made a rash decision because you were dissatisfied, bored, or simply in maintenance mode in your life and/or business? What lessons did you learn from those experiences, and how do you choose to tell the stories so you’re learning from them, rather than being a victim of circumstances?


Tara Bradford helps individuals gain clarity on their goals and objectives, communicate confidently about themselves and their businesses, feel more understood in their professional relationships, and reach a global audience with their message so they can become Best Selling Authors, TEDx Speakers and, if we dream even bigger, Nobel Peace Price recipients.

Visit her website to learn more about what she can do to help you move forward - without those lateral distractions! And connect with her on LinkedIn to keep up with her extraordinary contributions to our global community.