Ep 44 - How to Keep Going When You Want to Give Up with Robbie Swale
How to keep going when you want to give up. That’s what many of us want to know when we’re in the middle of a career pivot or just starting out in marketing or marketing ops.
Robbie Swale is the author the book by that exact name - “How to Keep Going When You Want to Give Up” as well as “How to Start When You’re Stuck”
- What’s more important than ‘what’ you want to do or become
- Why the internet and social media is a horrible place to seek out reassurance
- Why trying to predict the future is a lost cause
- The benefits we both have found from a non-linear career path and experience
Connect with Travis L Scott:
- Website: http://www.windingroadcareers.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/windingroadcareers/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/winding-road-careers/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/thewindingrd
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/travislscott1.0
Connect with this week’s guest Robbie Swale
Full (unedited) Interview Transcript:
[00:00:00] Travis: Robbie, welcome to the Winding Road Podcast. Great to have another conversation. We had such a great conversation several months ago for the Marketing Unbox podcast and are really looking forward to talking about your second book. Keep going.
[00:00:16] Robbie: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Travis. You as you said, we had a great conversation on the other show and have been looking forward to this one.
And also just looking forward to the slight, different angle. You know, I know what it's like, like. Podcasts, anything we make, just like businesses, just like things we might write, develop this like life of their own. And so I know that when I'm like on my podcast, I'm a bit different to when I'm on other people's podcasts; each podcast is extra.
So really looking forward to that. And I, and I love the, yeah, I love this topic too.
[00:00:43] Travis: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And in my audience, as we talked about before, we hopped on before I pressed record, is. Marketing professionals and and marketing professionals who have maybe had a non-linear path of getting there or who are starting down that non-linear path or making a career pivot, especially into the world, of ops and marketing ops.
That's kind of blowing up right now. And, you know, I think your books are written from, you know, I feel like, the viewpoint of someone. From a creative, someone who's innovative, creates, whether it's writing, art, or whatever. And we both have kind of been through that journey. I've written a book, and you know, I could see the parallels I read it, the things I felt while going through that process.
But I am, so think, with your book, keep going. In your first one, get, you know, just what was the title of your first one? Get started or
[00:01:44] Robbie: the for the full title. Yeah. Uh uh, the first one is how to start when you're stuck. And the second one is how to keep going when you want to give up.
[00:01:52] Travis: And I think both of them. Apply to people, people's careers, especially in making a career pivot because it is so, there are so many parallels to making a career pivot, pivot to, to doing creative work the same resistance, the same, just the that, that feeling of, of not being enough, that feeling, that imposter syndrome, because when you are creative, you're putting things out into the world.
You're vulnerable. And the same thing happens when you make a career pivot. You're putting yourself out there; It’s a lot more personal. Yeah. And you, the imposter syndrome.
[00:02:33] Robbie: is crazy. Sense of identity is on the line. In, in both those both those situations, your sense of identity is on the line. And, I agree entirely and, and I should say that you know, I've kind of, With them, so in the, on the subtype of the book, it's like how to start a, a book business or creative project when you're stuck and how to keep going with a book business or creative project.
And in that, I, you know, good like, marketing technique, is to be specific about who you are for and what you're for. But I found that quite hard because I knew that what you said is exactly true. That you know, really the, the same things. We go through the same things whenever we try and change something.
And that in, you know, so it could have been, I, I, you're right, and I use the word creativity a lot, but when I use that these days, I, I really think of it in a very broad sense. It's like anything that starts, that doesn't exist, and then we make into reality. So that could be a book. Yeah. And of, and I'm not a painter, but it, I'm sure it's applicable for painting, but for me, I've seen it.
I've seen it in organizations, it's like when we wanna make a change in an organization and the, the inertia of the organization makes it hard to make that change. And I, it, I, when I think of like some of the struggles that I've been through with, with writing, one of the places I really remember those as in is in shifts in my career when identity is like questionable.
When I'm really aware of, you know, I noticed when I think about the times when. Pivoted my career, of which there's probably been two. Both of them were full of kind of like a bit jealousy of other people as well. So there's all this weird stuff going on in those times, which, and the, my best days, I don't like to kind of, I don't want my life to be like that, but it's the same, There's lots of weird psychological stuff going on when I'm making something and definitely has been in those times of
[00:04:19] Travis: transition.
Yeah, and I, I think that's a great point. And whether it's creative work or a career pivot, , you, you're gonna see people who are doing it well and you try to emulate and, and they make it look so easy. And, and when you are just starting and, and getting into it, it can feel so tough, right? Like you can, it just, yeah.
You just, you, you want to be where they are now. And, and it's hard to remember just how long it took them and, and, and to remember that, hey, they were in the place. You were at one point feeling the same way you were, at some point. and, and I think you just have to really use that as an anchor to, to keep going, and push through, right?
[00:05:14] Robbie: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Like that was one of the things that I really remember about the last time I transitioned, which was from working in arts and culture in the UK into, into what is now coaching. And it took several years. It was like I really wished. That I had, I was one of these people who had gotten into it earlier or who had found the thing that they liked and stuck with it.
That thing of like, Oh, they've been doing it for so long, You know? But it, it was weird because when I think about it now, lots of people come to coaching as an example, as a profession, quite late in life. And I came to it about when I turned 30. So I, I was feeling that stress, but imagine what it must be like when you come.
Age 40, you make those pivots age 50 or even later. Mm-hmm. . So it's like even in that, I can kind of see looking back how I definitely felt that and thought. and it was kind of made no logical, rational sense, but that didn't mean it was easy.
[00:06:07] Travis: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Yeah. I don't think it's ever easy. No matter what stage you're in, there's always competing priorities, competing, things competing for your attention.
distractions, life is happening no matter what stage you're in. just different phases. The things that are coming across are, are just a little different, but still. Make it difficult. Right. and so, leads me to, to something that, you know, in, in imposter syndrome is, is real. I've talked about it a lot.
you, you mentioned mention it directly and indirectly in the book. and I think that's the reason a lot of people, stop. They give up. and they might be closer to the, you know, I saw a lot of Seth go in, in your book. Oh, I could, you know, we both went through many a Kimbo workshops and, and I could see the common threads,
[00:06:57] Robbie: right?
Oh, I'm heavily influenced by Seth. Yeah.
[00:06:59] Travis: Yeah. And, and, and you know, one of his books, The Dip, and it's something he talks about often. , You know, and one of the things about that, that, that really has stuck with me is that you're a lot closer to the other side than, than you think. And, and I've experienced that so many times.
So many times and, and most recently, You know when, when I made a pivot a year ago to start my own company and do something that I had a general understanding of, but not a lot of in depth experience, and that was be being a HubSpot solutions partner. Diving into that world with both feet, focusing on ops, getting away from the fluffy part of marketing and getting into the the tactical, strategic back end piece of it.
A and, and I had a goal of, you know, reaching gold partner status, and with HubSpot, and that's through managing clients selling the software. And it's a tough thing and a lot of, so many people, and, and I'm sure HubSpot has a stat for this, so many people quit before they get there. And, and I know that my channel account manager, at HubSpot has told me that people who hit gold, they're like, chances of success beyond that increased dramatically.
And, and so it, it's been about a year since I made that decision. And then just, you know, the beginning of July I started a new role. I accepted a full-time role within agency, Mojo Media, Labs now, Gravity Global. And, and, and I didn't think I was gonna hit gold. And then I had some random deals come through at the last minute.
The week I said yes to the offer, and I became a goal partner. The same week I accepted a role at another agency. And so I was just like, Yep. I was so much closer than I even thought, right. to just turn it around. And then at the same time, a lot of clients came back to me wanting to get into longer engagements, and I'm like, Man, like, where was this a month ago?
Two months ago? So, so yeah. I think that's a, a big thing. And I think. You know, in your book you had written quote, We look a lot more successful than we are, but we're a lot more successful than we feel in quote. And I think that is is such a, a true thing in, in something people feel a. Yeah. Yeah,
[00:09:38] Robbie: I love that.
I love that that story, Travis, have me thinking, Actually I'm working on the next book now. cuz basically for people who don't know these books, the interesting thing about them is they were written 12 minutes at a time via a by a habit, basically over a three year period. So I've. So now I'm turning what was already written into books and in one of that, the next one, which is gonna be called How to Create the Conditions for Great Work.
It's a kind of broader, broader look at some of the habits and mindsets and, and relationships and we, we can create to do good work. There's this piece which really speaks to that, which is that like, and then, and then I'll come back to the success thing cause I think that's important, but the, that basically, And so the example came from another big influence of mine, a coach called Rich Litvin.
And he used to say, You know, you can think of life's life is sometimes exponential and you can think of where you are on, on an exponential curve. And if people don't know what that looks like, google it. But basically it's, it's almost flat for a long time. And then there's a bit where it shoots up. And you, you know, what he would say is you never know where you are on the flat bit when it's flat and it feels like slogging, but you don't know where that exponential kick up to infinity is gonna come in and in, in, in that chapter, in, in the next book, one of the things I reflect on is if you live as though you are, you are near the time when it kicks up, you're.
It's not, you're not actually on it cuz you can like create the fact, you can create the kick up sooner if you imagine that you might be there. But, but it's absolutely really important to, to remember those two things. I remember, I kind of remember writing that chapter several years ago that, you know, we look more successful than we are and we are more successful than we feel.
And it can be so easy to give up, you know, the. Absolutely plays into this because everyone looks more successful than they is, be they are, because that's how the internet works. Basically, we all, filter what we put out there based on what we want to put out there. And for most of us, that means we, we post just on average more of the good things that have happened to us and less of the really difficult things.
And you know, that's just how most of the social media platforms. Now all of them really work and there's a natural human thing about that cuz it's, that is more vulnerable and scary to say, I had a terrible day. This program that I launched didn't work. This business thing that I've started is really struggling.
Like that's just a lot less fun. To post about and, and also humans love stories that end, that have a, a particular story arc. Mm-hmm. and the story arc, if it's got a struggle in it, it's a kind of hero's journey story arc, which is, I was here, I went through this struggle, it was really hard and I learned this, and now I'm here at the success.
So we love those stories. So probably we remember those stories more. Even if they, even if that they were posted equally with bad stories, we would remember those stories more and, and what that means. The flip of it is, of course, that seeing everyone else's success, so that's, we look more successful than we are, is is that piece, It's like we are doing that filtering mm-hmm.
but we are more successful than we feel is because we spend all our time looking at other people's projections of success without the messy things. Mm-hmm. , but we know about the messy things in our lives, including changing career, including the things that aren't going well. And so when we compare what's going on for them on their, on the internet or even in, in a.
With a colleague, right? With like, apart from, with our closest friends and family, and even then sometimes we tend not to talk about the messy stuff. if you're just having coffee with somebody at work, you're probably just talking about the smooth stuff and maybe the things that you both struggle with with some awkward colleague or, or boss or whatever it is.
So of course, when comparing what's going on for us on the messy inside, the reality of us with the. The non, not quite reality of others, you know, we have to be more successful than we do. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Yeah,
[00:13:29] Travis: absolutely. Yeah, and I think the internet really. Stacks the deck against people making change. Right.
because you only see the success, successful part. You only see where people are now, not where they've been and how they got there. so, so yeah, the, the internet, it's a lot of, a
[00:13:44] Robbie: lot of curation happens, doesn't it? On the internet. Yeah. And that's why, Yeah. It's why like in, in how to keep going when you want to give up.
There's several parts. It's only a short part, but there's a part. , which that chapters in about negotiating basically the online comparison trap, I think I call it. But it's basically the online comparison, you know, quagmire, I dunno what, what the best name for it is, but it's,
[00:14:06] Travis: it's tough. Yeah. Yeah. And I think you really have to take it with a grain of salt.
You have to really understand what it is, you know, And, and, and, and stop comparing yourself to other people. Okay. Because even if you end up being as successful as they are, your path is gonna look different than theirs. So it, it's not a, life isn't a franchise restaurant chain where you're handed instructions and say, Do these things even with all the books you wanna read.
Everyone's situation is different. Everyone's path like path to get there is different. You know, you're gonna work for different companies, you're gonna have a different network. You're gonna have different peers and friends and acquaintances, and that's gonna influence everything. And it's just not gonna work out the same.
You're not gonna get to the same end result the same way.
[00:14:56] Robbie: Right. Yeah. And, and I think, I think it's more than that, Travis. And it's actually the final part of that, of that chapter that you quoted from is just to remember that
no one can compete with you at being you. So actually, it's like, You know, you will never be the same as anyone else, and that should be your selling point, right?
That should be the thing about on which you build your personal brand on which you, judge yourself Success. Mm-hmm. . It's like, actually, and this is tough, this is really tough when you are in the middle of career transitions, for example. because it just feels like it would've been so much neater if I just, you know, wherever you end up at the end of a career transition.
Certainly my experience, it's like, why couldn't I have just started here? You. 10, 20, 30 years ago, wouldn't that have been better? And and the answer might be yes, it might have been better, but you didn't. And given that you didn't, the only choice if you ask me is to own what's happened to you to use that.
And it won't always be as neat as, as, as for me because not everyone will end up doing the work that I'm doing. But I gotta say, you know, in the first decade of my career, I think you could make an argument. I had three different, I tried three different things. And I gotta say, when I was coming to the end of the, the, the third one, and realizing it wasn't right, it was pretty stressful moment.
Cause it's like, how long is it gonna take me to find some work that energizes me and uses my strengths? . And then of course, looking back now, it's really useful that I'd dotted around spending time in the private sector and the, and the working for the government and working in charity sectors. And I'd done some finance and I'd done some marketing and I, you know, I'd done all these things because suddenly now when I'm creating new relationships with clients or I'm helping someone start their business or whatever it is, like I have, I have some personal experience of that.
And I wouldn't have as broader personal experience if I had. Had all those career, like a very winding first decade.
[00:16:52] Travis: Yeah, absolutely. And I've experienced the same thing. And you, you start to feel when you're doing different things, trying to figure it out. You know, you feel like you're, you know, the, the saying of that a rolling stone gathers no mos, right?
And, and you just feel like you're not building momentum, you're not getting that deep expertise. And you see your peers who. Or starting to shoot up and take on more responsibility and, and do more things in the field you were in and, and then you see the people in the field you want to be in, who are way ahead and you can just, it really starts, it started to affect me that I thought, man, like.
Am I gonna find that thing? Like you mentioned, and, and then the same thing actually happened a couple years ago about the time I, I wrote my book Think Differently that, you know, I was, I was trying to decide like, how should I view my past experience? Cuz it was very diverse. It was. Sales account management, you know, it was like business development and account management and recruitment and marketing.
and I also worked as a government contractor early on in, in the environmental space. I had all these diverse things that I, I was thinking, you know, how should I even. Consider, like can it even be helpful or should I just consider a recruitment, a sun cost, stop engaging in that world and move on. And then I end up writing a book about recruitment and recruitment and marketing
[00:18:28] Travis: And then so when I started to realize like, Hey, this experience actually can be. Beneficial combined because it is kind of unique how many people in in marketing have recruitment and sales experience. How many people in recruitment have sales and marketing experience and can pull it all together and see the different things.
And now with, with ops becoming a, a bigger component and, and focal point in businesses, , you know, the, this whole area of revenue operations, which now I'm a revenue operations consultant, I, it wasn't even a thing a few years ago, but revenue Operations is the culmination of sales, marketing, and customer success.
With the, the pillars blown up in one of my recruitment roles was hiring customer success, customer service people for booking.com, . So I really got to understand how that world worked. And so now, I'm in this role I'm in now because I understand all of it and know what ne, you know, needs to happen to be successful and to break down those silos.
And, and I'm also a kind of a tech geek and technology is something I'm really interested in. So now I get to leverage the technology pieces. To help facilitate those three areas. so it all does come full circle and, and there's something to be said for getting diverse experience.
[00:19:56] Robbie: Yeah. And what I love about that story, Travis, is you could never, like you said two years ago, like it was, it wasn't even a thing. Yeah. You know, so it's like we can, we, the world moves so fast now workplaces, businesses are changing so much. Like that's almost always gonna be true. That there's gonna be a whole load of fields and ways that businesses are reorganizing into five years that are completely different to how they're run now.
And of course there'll be some that, you know, it's not as simple. that, but it's like those things are appearing. And so it reminds me, it's one of those things that's like impossible, literally impossible to predict. so really in the face of that, it's, that doesn't make it easy, right? When we're thinking about the whining road of a career, but it, it, it does bring me back to that idea that really then all we can do is kind of make, is keep going really is make the best choices we can.
In the moment and come back to that thing. No one can compete with you at being you each time we are moving and you know, it is about what's the best way I can, I can tell the story of who I am and take as much of who I am with me. when I go. It feels like that's especially important when, you know, like we can't be sure even what our departments will look like in an organization in five years time.
[00:21:10] Travis: exactly. I mean, it moves so fast and. And it's impossible to predict. And I think that's another piece of this whole keep going thing, right? is that we try, we, I think we, we want control, we want stability so much that, that we try to predict the future. And when those things don't happen, we get discouraged or it might just be unrealistic or we're predicting bad things that.
Right. We're not confident enough to predict the good things that could happen. And when you start going down that road of trying to predict the future, it just, I mean, that's almost as bad as, As the internet
[00:21:55] Robbie: Yeah. Yeah, it is. And you know, it's interesting to think about keeping going and in the context of that, like. I . It's like often, you know, cuz cuz the question might be, what do I, in the face of all that, what do I keep going with? Like what's the thing? what's the thing that I hold onto in the midst of all of this chaos of not knowing what the world of work will look like.
Any, any of, of that kind of thing. And we do want stability. And, and, and I think what's interesting about. The story of the 12 minute method story. So for, again, for people who, who don't know it, essentially I started a writing practice because, and I tell this story slightly differently, but one way of thinking about it is I, I found that I was really, how can I put this?
I was kind of anxious and scared of sharing myself with the world on, on the. So, so in a way the, the story was I want to become somebody who doesn't feel like that. And there's various reasons why I wanted that. Partly it's useful for business, my business, if I can be present online without everything I post feeling like hell to press the post button.
[00:23:07] Robbie: Right? But, but there were, there were other reasons as well, and. I didn't know this at the start, but what happened was I, I ended up with this rising practice where to get on my own way, I would write in just 12 minutes. In the end, it started on the train, then it was 12 minutes, and then I kept that going for now, six years.
Six years. As we record this almost to the day was the first, the first post. But what's interesting about that, given everything we've been talking about is. Because sometimes people think it, it can did that. It was about me wanting to write, but it wasn't really like when I thought about how can I help people get some of the benefits that I got from my practice.
The place I came to was to, to start from who do you want to become? because I wanted to become someone who could share things online without feeling like it was hell and ideally feeling like it was quite fun and mostly. Six years later, I've become that person by essentially doing, it's like the questions are who you want to be, what does a person like that do?
And then how you can, you do that on a repeating basis and, and the repeating basis is important because confidence comes gradually. So you have to keep going with the practice so that you gradually become the person who does the. That the person you want to be does, and then you become that person. So in the end, once you've, Once I've shared enough things online, I become more gradually more confident.
And I do feel like the kind of person you can share things. And the reason this matters, of course, is one of the things that won't change is you're never gonna not be you in the future of a chaotic workplace that you can't predict. You are gonna be the stability in your career in the future, even. You know, and I know anyone who's pivoting now and thinks they've got it, you know, really doesn't wanna hear this.
But even if you end up pivoting again in five or 10 years, cuz everyone always wants, I feel like on some level most people want their pivots to be the last one at least. I I did. It's like you'll still take you with you. So like a good question in the midst of, of, of transition especially is like, what do I want to learn from all this and how can I actively do that?
Or who do I want to be? In five years, and how can I make sure that even through this transition, I'm working towards that. And those aren't easy questions to answer, but I guess I've not sure I've ever seen this before, this conversation, but that we, we are the stability in our, in the complexity of our lives.
[00:25:25] Travis: Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's interesting. And you know, as you were mentioning that, it made me think that, you know, that there's a focus on, on the, the, the. What you wanted to become. what, what was the why behind that? Why did you wanna become, become that?
[00:25:48] Robbie: I think I kind of two parts to it. maybe three. So one is, like I said, there's like a. Strategic reason. It's like I'm, I'm setting out, I'm starting a coaching business. It was around the same time. I've been coaching for about a year. I think this business is gonna last for me strategically, it's really useful if I can be someone who can share the things I've made and make things and, and be present on the internet without it feeling stressful all the time.
It doesn't feel sustainable for me to be in that state of. And it was this high state of stress. It was like even if posting a comment on this was like 2016, so the world was a bit weird in 2016 in, in both your country and mine. And so there was the internet and Facebook particularly was a very odd place.
Even more odd than it was before and since I think so. But even like a joke on Facebook, I would like agonize over at the time and that didn't feel sustainable. Second, why was that? I had got interested partly through the kind. , the transition that had led me to coaching and my life, getting a bit, getting quite opened up and you know, it's like I'd got interested in, I'd kind of seen the possibility for me in that my life could feel different.
So if I changed how I was, my life wouldn't, didn't have to be as stressful as it sometimes. and there was some personal transformation for one of a less cliched phrase available to me. So then I was starting to see the possibility, why am feeling really anxious in this place? What if there's a way that I can transform in that place so that I don't feel like this?
So it's not just that it'll be useful to be able to post, it's also like life would be better if I didn't feel this uncomfortable some of the time. How can I change in that way? And then the third reason was, was because of the War of Art by Steven Press. And in the War of Art by Stephen Pressfield, he talks about resistance and he says, which is like the force against which, you know, which tries to stop us from doing all the things that really matter.
and we can talk more about that, you know, and, and I know that you, you like that as well and it's been important for you. But,the key bit in that, one of the key moments in that for me is he says there's a rule of. The, something like the more resistance we feel about something, the more important that thing is to our soul's evolution.
[00:27:58] Robbie: That's a pretty big set of words, . But like I had this sense that it was right and I felt a lot of resistance to posting on the internet, to making things in, posting them. And so I, as well as the practical reason and the kind of, I want my life to feel a bit nicer than it feels reason. I also had this, like, this is probably an important thing for me to work on.
[00:28:21] Travis: Yeah. Yeah. And I think the, the why is what keeps, keeps you going, right? If you have a solid why, yeah. Which I think, look, you know, going back to the internet and why it's a trap is sometimes that why is misleading and misguided and it's not the right. meaning that you want to do, you don't wanna make this, you wanna make this pivot into ops, for example, because a lot of people are doing it.
Or it might, you know, it might look good when you're talking to people, right? But if you don't enjoy it and it doesn't really align with, with kind of what you really wanna do, and you're doing it because you. , it's the way to go. It's gonna be really tough to keep going when things get tough. Right. And, and, and last December, Yeah.
You know, I was kind of in a pivotal place with my business that when I first left my director of marketing role full-time role, and, and went out on my own, I had. Like four to six projects lined up, ready to go and just dove right in. But a lot of 'em were short-term projects. And by December, you know, I had been so focused on doing the work in and working with the, on those projects that I hadn't done any sales or business development and didn't really have anything in the pipeline at the beginning of the.
People's budgets. They've already talked about those. Close those, just, just to
[00:29:56] Robbie: say, Travis, I , I hope you know this, but, this is like, I, I wrote an article literally this week about the cycles of an entrepreneur and the first thing I started writing about was boom Bust, and how, like that's been one of my experiences in seven years of having my own business.
and I've seen it with other people. It's like, you've gotta know, you got, Unfortunately, that happens. And the way you describe that is just like so classic for all of us that we, I think it happens. It, it happens to me several times over seven years of like, Oh yeah, everything's gone quiet. And why is that?
[00:30:25] Robbie: Well, it's probably because I've been so focused on doing the work and I haven't, and my calendar had any of, The exploratory conversations that
[00:30:32] Travis: start with Yeah. Yeah. And it's, and I knew it going in, you know, I, I'd done this before. I'd worked for myself before, and I, I knew what to expect. And even if, you know, and even if you think you're prepared, it's still tough.
It's still a challenge. And, and it knocks you back down to, you know, a few rungs on Maslow's hierarchy of needs down to safety and security. Right. And, And, and I remember thinking, Okay, you know what? I'm not going to be hard on myself. I'm, I'm not gonna stress about it because I know I expected this to happen, but I need to get very clear on why I'm doing this.
Why did I take the risk? Why did I leave? A very pretty secure, as secure as probably expect role, well paying role. Why, why take the risk at this stage in my life? Right? and I needed to get really clear on that why. And at the end of the day, and, and I read, I went through Donald Miller's, hero, I think it was, what is it?
Hero on a, I forget what it is. but several of his things and, and part of. an exercise and, and part of that was, I think it's hero on a mission or something like that. I had to write my own obituary and that put things in perspective. Like I had never really thought about that and thought about the end, right?
And, and as I started to dive deeper, my real reason became very, It was to be able to have a, a life, the means financially. Time and time was, you know, almost more important to me than money to create memories and, and experiences with my kids. And that became my sole reason for every decision that I was making.
Is this going to allow me to have the. And time resources to create those things. Cuz at the end of the day, that's all that really matters. It's not what we do, it's not our jobs. It's memories and experiences, whether it's for us or with others. Right. And once that became very clear on that, that became my compass.
Yeah. And it put everything in perspective. And when I. Get the opportunity when, when this, this new role came up with, with Mojo MediaLab slash Gravity Global, that was the criteria I used to make that decision. Will this allow me to, to ha to do those things? And the biggest selling point was the fact that there are results only workplace and unlimited vacation time off.
That if you get done what you need to get done. , it doesn't matter. You know, when you work how you work, really, you have to be there for core hours and available. Right. But wow, it, that was a huge point that if, if that wasn't the environment that I was going into, I would've said no and I wouldn't have had to think about anything.
Right. it would've been an easy decision and. Part of that. Also, as I started this, before I started this new role, I was also trying to find ways so I'm not the bottleneck in my business. And so I started reading Jenny Blake's new book called Free Time about leveraging systems and delegation and other people.
building a tiny team to start allowing you to focus on the things that you're really good at and need to focus on. Right. So I started reading that and even though I transitioned into working for someone else, I still started implementing a a lot of the things she talked about and I went into my Asana account and like revamped it and got super organized and became better at planning.
got to a point where I was super, super busy, but I really knew what I needed to get done each week, each day, and I was able to accomplish. And I also understood realistically, how much time do I actually have to get this done and, and how much time is required of these things so I could really make sure that I could get it done.
And a few weeks ago, I got to the point where it was like, Noon on a Friday and I was all caught up. I had gotten everything done, nothing else was there to do. And at lunch, while I was sitting there with my kids, I just made the decision, like asked my son who's a four year old if he wanted to go to his first movie in a theater.
And he said, Yeah, you didn't know what to expect. I told my wife, I'm like, Hey, I'm gonna, He and I are gonna go to, to a movie. And we're gonna go do that, right? So by focusing on that and that being my, my why, my reason, and then putting in the systems to ensure that I could have the time and I'm not working crazy hours.
He and I went and saw, his very first movie in a theater and had a great time. Created a hell of a memory. And it was basically because I was really focused on my why and everything I do every day comes back to that. How can I free up time, make more money to create these opportunities for memories?
Right? So, So I think having a why is so important. Yeah,
[00:36:11] Robbie: it's so important. And I love so much of what you said, Travis. I just wanna kind of catch a few of them. Cause I just think there's. Such great, The way you're talking about it, I just think it's such great leadership. We don't, I don't want people to miss some of the stuff you've just been talking about.
So the first piece, just having the why at all. It's like, I learned this from a, an author called Fred Kaufman. He calls it Success Beyond Success. So he like, there's often a, a success that we kind of think we want, but the key thing is actually maybe this is. Yeah, there, Well, there, actually, there are a few ways of looking at this.
Maybe actually more what I'm thinking about is Robert Holden's idea. So he's another, he's been a mentor of mine and it's, so he, he would say, What is success? And then he would ask, Yeah, but what is real success once you've told him that? And the first one he says often feels a bit like a shopping list.
It's like, I want a car, or I want, you know, the, the, the particular promotion or whatever it is, or I want, you know, And then the second. And you can even go and, and what's, and really what's real success after that one. And at that point you're getting into. Then, you know, like, this is what I actually want.
And you can make different decisions. And like the obituary exercise, I, I have some coaching engagements now if I'm gonna, gonna like, so I have to sometimes do long term work with people six months a year when I'm gonna do shorter work than that because I know that it, it's, it's really important to me that my work has a longer term impact with people.
It's sustainable. It's, it's a, it's a requirement of doing that work with me to consider the end of your life and what you want that to be like to do the short term engagement. Cause that's how I know the work I will do with someone will have a long reaching impact for them. Cuz we'll get really clear on the why.
And actually in my next book, the first chapter, it's a chapter inspired by Fred Kaufman and, and work he does in his workshops about really helping people to think about that. There's an obituary exercise, but he also says that in his workshops he will ask people. , you know, if you only had three minutes left to live, who would you call?
And what would you say? And then he has them slow down and he says that in the breaks after that. There's always people having these incredibly meaningful conversations, and I did that once. I thought, after I'd written the ask, I thought I'd better do this, and I called my, I dunno if we were married, then my now wife, and had this bizarre conversation with her where I had like tears coming down my cheeks because I knew even the mind trick of what we were doing.
and sh I didn't, but I didn't tell her and it felt like I was, you know, like in a movie where someone's like gonna fly their plane into the sun to save the world or something, and they call their kids and they don't tell 'em what's happening. And I didn't tell her cuz she was on the way to yoga at work that I was calling her because I just thought about what would happen if I only had three minutes to live.
[00:38:53] Robbie: But the, the reason that I, the reason that that story is important alongside the obituary piece is once you've seen that there's also a freedom, like we know our mortality. . It's like people would think that would be morbid, but actually it's like, well then I'm gonna take action on what actually matters to me.
So it's why the, why the obituary piece is so good. And, and then the last thing, Travis, I just wanna catch in what you said. Whenever I run a time management workshop these days, the first thing I do is essentially ask people the why question. I often do it. I often say, If you had an eighth day in the week from now forever, what would you do on that day?
Trying to get to, Why do you want to manage your. because you don't wanna manage, Most people don't wanna manage their time so they can reply to 50 more emails, right? When they've already replied to 3000 emails this week. So, Let's get really clear on why you're doing that. And that story with your son is so amazing because it's like that's gonna be a memory.
He's, we know he's gonna have that forever because we remember our first movies in a Yeah. In a, Yeah, exactly.
[00:39:52] Travis: And it's funny that you mentioned as your example of flying to the, into the sun to save the world because that's actually kind of what happened in, in this movie, DC Super League of. no, probably just spoiler alert, but, that actually happened in this movie, , so that's wild.
but yeah, I mean, I think it's so, so important and, And having that anchor right in that why. and, and you mentioned something of also interesting about being aware of our mortality and, and it reminded me of, of this app I have on my phone, I think it's called We Croak. and it's based on the science of if you are reminded five times a day that you're gonna die at some point.
[00:40:29] Travis: You start to look at life differently. And so what will happen is five times a day it pushes a notification and I think it says you're gonna die . And, and if you click on it, it goes to their app.
people who are listening to this. They're gonna think was so weird, Travis, but let me tell you, Oh actually, why hasn't it come up?
[00:40:48] Robbie: I'm gonna have to change it. I haven't got that out, but I've, I, I've, I dunno where it's gone. Actually. Usually when I open a new tab on, on Chrome, it tells me to the minute, obviously it's a guest, how long I've got left to live and it's counting down. You can get a Oh wow. Like a death clock. And there's all sounds so kind of weird to some people who are listening to this, but it has.
Very important for me in helping me get what I want, understand what I want. Yeah. And then get what I want to be aware of.
[00:41:17] Travis: Yeah. And I think it, these things, what it's done for me, It forced me to stop predicting the future and stop looking too far ahead and be fo focused in the now. And it actually just happened this week that, it was yesterday actually, because Wednesday, was my birthday and we had.
We were recovering from our trip and I took the day off day for my birthday and b to just recover a little bit. And my son was making some things. He wanted to make a pinata for my birthday. And, and, and, at, at the end of, you know, I put him to bed that night and he said, Hey dad, tomorrow. Can you help me make the pinata?
I want you to help me, not mom . And, and I, I told my wife that. cause I thought it was kind of, kind of funny. and so I usually try to be at my desk at eight o'clock in the morning and, and, you know, starting my, my, my work, I, and I was thinking that morning earlier as I was up doing creative things and, and other things that, you know, I was, I was kind of.
disappointed that I wasn't gonna be able to help him until like after I finished my day and I thought, you know what? I don't have anything on my calendar. From eight to eight 30 when he wakes up, I'm gonna tell him that we can work on his pinata right after breakfast, and I'm gonna take from eight to eight 30 and sit down and help him with his pinata.
[00:42:41] Travis: And I, and that's what I did, and it didn't affect my day negatively in any way. In fact, it, it got it going off on a great, great start. Right? So, So I. Realizing that, Hey, man, these moments aren't gonna happen. You also were doing this great thing. These moments aren't gonna be there forever. He's only gonna be four one time.
Yeah, sorry. Right. Like, take advantage of it. In three years, he's not gonna ask me to help him with much, let alone build a pinata for my birthday. So take advantage of it. Yeah.
[00:43:16] Robbie: Yeah. And it's, it's also like, I, I love what you're saying. And, and this is tough in any career journey as well, but it's, it's true of life as a whole.
It's like, it's the, the why is so important because we can get really wrapped up in, I'll be happy when, or I'll be successful when, or, this is all for the future. But if you really know what you want and that, that definition for you, creating those memories of your family is such a good one because you can live into that every day, right?
Like, you know, that's a great example. It's like 30 minutes here is gonna have no notable effect. on, you know, your business success, Anything really? I think that's, again, if, you know, if we can find an amount of time like that, which we can do, you know, you could do that any, almost any day. Not quite, cuz it would add up, but it's like, that's available to you and, and you know what to, And the reason that it makes, it seems so obvious when you're saying it that you did that.
Is because you knew what was important to you and you, therefore the decision making exactly easier.
[00:44:17] Travis: Absolutely. Cool. Well, I know that we're coming up on, on time and really appreciate you hopping on today to have this conversation and, and I really enjoyed your book and,I, I would really advise anyone out there who is a creative.
and is going through something, some kind of change in their life. read, read both of of Robbie's books, how to get started when you're stuck and, and, keep going. and because it's so important to get started and keep going.
[00:44:48] Robbie: Yeah. absolutely. But, and I would say actually Travis, for some reason, you kept, you kept mentioning things in this conversation, and maybe it's because it's of the topic that are actually, people should look out for the next one as well. Because in the create the conditions for Great workbook, obviously the first most important condition for great workers that you started, and the second most important condition is that you keep going and don't give up.
But in that book is a load of ideas. Are really helpful. And some of them we've mentioned, the, the, the exponential curve is in there, the exercises to consider our mortality is in there. So, yeah, people could check that out. if, if and when that's out, which will be related. Nice. Yeah. I was gonna ask when, when
[00:45:26] Travis: that's coming out.
[00:45:27] Robbie: So, And, and just to say it's been an absolute pleasure to have the, have, have a conversation
[00:45:32] Travis: too. Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. Love our conversations and, when, when your next book comes out, we'll get some more time, on our calendars to, to have another conversation like this. ,
I I'd love that, Travis. It does.
[00:45:42] Robbie: Like I love that we've got a, I I'm really appreciating that I've, that I've met you and I love that we've got as part of like an excuse to hang out. Basically the podcasts and the books are giving us an excuse to hang out, but also yeah, let's, we, we can also hang out in other times. But yeah, I love being in conversation with you.
I love the way you think and, and I love
[00:46:00] Travis: the way you've helped and, and likewise this conversation. And likewise. And now that I work for a company that's based in London, I'm sure I'll be out there. And we will get together and yeah. And meet in person finally. Awesome. Yeah, that's definitely, So tell, tell people how, how can they connect with you?
Where can they find your book?
[00:46:15] Robbie: So, yeah, the books, they're all on Amazon and various other places. If you're in the US for example, you can get it on, you can get them on Barn and Noble website, and, and various other places in different countries in the world. I'm at robbie swale.com. That's where it's easiest to find that, you know, all your way to all the various.
I always think my work is getting a little out of control. Now for a human, I probably need that, that book about getting a small team around me and, and systemizing it a bit more. But you can find all my stuff there. You can find the 12 minute method stuff. You can find other writing, you can find stuff about coaching.
if there's, if there happens to be any coaches listening, there's also some other stuff aimed specifically at coaches app, the coaches journey.com. and I'm on all the social media, but I'm most active on LinkedIn. And, love to, would love to connect on LinkedIn with anyone who's listened to this show.
[00:46:55] Travis: Awesome. And I'll put all those links in the, the show notes so people can easily get there. so, so yeah, really appreciate it. Thanks a lot for coming on and, and look forward already to our, our next conversation.
[00:47:05] Robbie: Yeah. Thanks Travis. Thanks so much.