Making the Best of Professional Setbacks

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Stephanie Brown

If you have a career, chances are you’ve experienced failure. You’ve made mistakes, you’ve questioned your ability to do your job, you’ve wondered if maybe you shouldn’t just give it up all up and try something new. Today’s guest knows those feelings all too well.

We sit down with Stephanie Brown, a renowned coach, founder and former executive with companies like Nike and Apple. She discusses her own professional setbacks, and how the experience of being fired – twice – paved the way for the biggest successes of her career.

Key Points

  1. Firing as Opportunity: Stephanie turned two firings into chances for growth, finding jobs at Nike and Apple that were better suited to her.
  2. Happiness Redefined: For Stephanie, happiness now lies in life’s simple joys, freedom, and time with family.
  3. Career Pivots: Post-job loss, she advises a pause for reflection before seeking better-aligned work opportunities.
  4. Embracing Impostor Syndrome: She sees impostor syndrome as a positive, signaling growth and pushing one out of the comfort zone.

Learn more about Stephanie and connect with her on LinkedIn here

Buy Stephanie’s book, Fired: Why Losing Your job is the Best Thing That Can Happen to You, on Amazon.  

Happiness means different things to each of us. After doing extensive research, Management 3.0 founder Jurgen Appelo discovered a common thread: Happiness is something we create. It is not something to achieve. It is a path you choose, not a destination to arrive at.

So many of us spend our lives in pursuit of happiness. Instead of searching for it, we need to find ways to live it, embrace it, and implement it into our daily lives. That’s why we created the 12 Steps to Happiness at Management 3.0.

You can find more information and even download a free poster of the 12 steps here


*Please note that the transcript has been automatically generated and proofread for mistakes. But remains in spoken English, and some syntax and grammar mistakes might remain.

Elisa Tuijnder: [00:00:00] If you have a career, chances are that you’ve experienced failure. You’ve made mistakes, you’ve questioned your ability to do your job, you’ve wondered if maybe you shouldn’t just give it all up and try something new. Today we speak with a founder, coach and former executive for companies like Nike and Apple who knows those feelings all too well.[00:00:30]

We’ll discuss how she turned the experience of being fired Twice into a brand new start and a more rewarding, happier career.

Before we dive in, you are listening to the Happiness at Work podcast by Management 3. 0, where we are getting serious about happiness.[00:01:00]

I’m your host, Elisa Tander, happiness enthusiast and Management 3. 0 team member. In this podcast, we share insights from industry experts, influencers, and thought leaders about what it takes to be happy, motivated, and productive at work, so that loving your job becomes the norm, and not the exception. We will be publishing every fortnight on Friday, so be sure to tune in and subscribe.

Wherever you get your podcasts.[00:01:30]

Hello and welcome to Happiness at Work. Our guest today is Stephanie Brown, founder of Creative Career Level Up, a professional development program for the marketing, creative, and tech industries. And she’s also the author of the book Fired, why losing your job is the best thing that can happen to you. So thank you so much for joining us today, Stephanie.

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here. So am I. So yeah, I’m excited [00:02:00] to start talking about your fascinating story and journey. Uh, but here on the podcast, we always start with the same question and that is, what does happiness mean to you?

Stephanie Brown: Yeah, I think it’s a, it’s a subjective answer, isn’t it?

It’s usually based on, on so many different factors. And I think it also changes for people over time. I think when I was younger, it would have been very, a very different answer, but I think for me now, you know, I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by You know, the people I care about when I have freedom in my life to make decisions, which I’ve, I’ve, uh, [00:02:30] you know, left the corporate world recently, and it’s definitely freed up my decision making of how I spend my day.

Um, and I think when your expectations of, of life, uh, are lowered, uh, you know, you’re not expecting too much out of it. You’re just happy to wake up each day and have good people around you. And, um, you know, that for me is, is, is what happiness is. It’s, it’s just enjoying the simple things that maybe you took for granted a little bit when you were younger.

Elisa Tuijnder: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, it definitely changes over time, doesn’t it? Hey, so we always like to get to know the people [00:03:00] that are on the podcast a little bit because we feel like your story is very, very much linked to what you do most of the time, so can you tell us a little bit about your professional journey?

And you know, was it always your goal to get high up to the corporate ladder and work for people like Nike and Apple and like all these massive names?

Stephanie Brown: Yeah, I, I, I wouldn’t say that it was necessarily the plan, but I definitely knew I wanted to work in business. Um, my mom’s a school teacher and my father had his own business.

So I got to see two polar opposites of, of [00:03:30] what working life can look like. One person working for the government and another person working for themselves and a small business. And I definitely Felt like the business route was more the route that I wanted to go down. Um, I started working for my father in our restaurant when I was really young.

I was about eight or nine years old. Yeah. And, um, I think it’s probably illegal in, in some countries, but I used to work for him, but I was really young and I enjoyed it. I, I enjoyed seeing, you know, the behind the scenes of how a, a small family business ran. And, and you know, my [00:04:00] father worked very hard, but I, I definitely got to see the.

Flexible side of having your own business. And, you know, he could sort of arrange his day to be able to come to school and watch us in sports and come on school camps and things like that. And, and that was wonderful. And I always thought that was something that I wanted. And so when I went to university, it was very much to study business, to get into the business world.

I always thought that I would run my own business. And I thought I would do that probably a lot sooner than I did. But [00:04:30] when I came to London, I. Was very fortunate to end up getting this opportunity to work for Nike. And as a sports fan, um, it was, you know, it was incredible. You can’t, you can’t possibly have a better job if you work in marketing and you love sports.

It was such a wonderful company to work for. It was also a wonderful company who looked after you well. So it was a great place where you could stay for a while, progress your career. You were challenged really regularly. And so. I [00:05:00] don’t necessarily know that I planned to, to have this corporate life, but it’s certainly when I ended up at Nike, I opened my eyes to how wonderful, you know, that experience could be.

Um, and, and, you know, Apple was a continuation of that in terms of working for a brand that I really cared about and being in that big sort of American corporate environment.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, you’re obviously very talented. I’ve seen a lot of things. And so you’ve, you’ve had this incredible career, you had your own company at one point, and also you talk a lot about, you know, getting [00:05:30] fired.

So how did that happen even once, let alone twice, since you seem to have this all figured out, et cetera. So like, what can you enlighten us a little bit there?

Stephanie Brown: Yeah, absolutely. I think that that’s probably the biggest misconception when people lose their jobs is that it’s about the person. I would say 90 percent of the time it’s about the company.

Yeah. It’s not about you. And. Sure, there’s definitely instances where people might do something wrong or broke a rule or something like that, and they get let go for negative reasons. But for most people, what I’ve [00:06:00] found is that they leave jobs or they get let go from jobs where there’s a mismatch of how they perform and what they’re good at versus the culture of the company or the environment that they’re in.

And so, Something I feel really passionately about in the work that I do is helping people find the places where they fit, where they are able to do their best work, where the environment facilitates them doing their best work. Because I have been in two situations where I was let go, and I look back on those situations and [00:06:30] I totally understand that both of those environments were the wrong place for me.

They weren’t, They weren’t set up for success for me as an individual, which is nothing, not to say that there was anything wrong with those places for someone else. It wasn’t the right place. And because of that, I wasn’t necessarily doing the best work that I could do either. And, you know, two, three months later, when I’m in a completely different environment and Nike was the first job I got after being fired the first time and Apple was the job I got after being fired the second time, When I turned up at Apple and [00:07:00] Nike, they were the perfect environment for me.

And I was able to do my best work, even though two months or six months earlier, someone had let me go from their company. So it’s not about you as an individual. It’s about you finding the place where you will do well.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. I could totally see that. I think back on my career as well, like there were just places where I was so creative and doing the most amazing things.

And there was others where I basically turned up, uh, and, and, and just set out my time. Really. I wonder, Joe, is that Was that at the time also your reaction? Like, okay, maybe this is a really good thing. I mean, [00:07:30] probably some part of it, but I’m guessing it was also a very stressful experience. It was absolutely not my reaction at the time.

No, anyone that,

Stephanie Brown: anyone that says to you, I got fired and my reaction was, Oh, this could be a good thing, I think is lying. I mean, there might be some people that react that way. Uh, certainly the second time I got fired, I was a little bit more pragmatic about it because I had been fired and I got my job at Nike from that.

So I was a little bit like, Hey, this has happened before. There could be something really good in the [00:08:00] future. And there was, I got my job at Apple, but certainly in the moment, that’s not the situation at all. And in my early twenties, when I lost my job, I was 23 years old. I’d only been in London for a year.

All my family was on the other side of the world. Yeah, it was hard. I had a support network, I had friends, I had a partner, but it was really difficult and it really hit my confidence. I hadn’t, back then people didn’t really get let go as often as they do now. People definitely did, but not. Like they do now, like now [00:08:30] it’s difficult to find someone that hasn’t been laid off at some point, whether it’s redundancy or being let go from a role.

But back then I don’t know anyone. Certainly none of my friends had lost their jobs and it was scary. I can’t believe this has happened to me. I’ve come to the UK, I’ve been here a year and I’ve been fired from my job. It was really, really, really, really affected my confidence a lot.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. So how did you, okay, was it the first time or at the second time that you really thought about maybe I should write a book about this?

[00:09:00] And how did you really turn that experience? How did you go from this, you know, whoa, this is intense, how do I do something to actually, this was all really good. And how did you bridge that gap?

Stephanie Brown: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think. The thing to remember about things that scare us or challenging times that happen to us is that when we’re scared of doing something, when we go outside our comfort zone and when we get pushed outside of our comfort zone, like being fired from a job, one of two things happens, you know, you, [00:09:30] you either see the positive in it and move forward, or you struggle with it and then you learn the lesson and then you move forward.

Everybody survives these. In terms of losing your job, everybody survives and moves forward. What that looks like for people is always different. But the first time it happens, it happens to you. And for me, it was a 23. You learn so much from that experience and I did get through it. I actually went to another job between there and Nike, which also didn’t work out, so I’d sort of been [00:10:00] fired and then I went to another job and that one didn’t work out and that point my confidence was really, really low.

But I remember getting the job at Nike my first day in the Nike office. I was like, this is where I’m meant to be. And my confidence came back like within days, you know, I’d spent three or four months, you know, mildly depressed. And all of a sudden I was in this environment where everything just clicked and it felt right and the people were speaking my language and I was excited about the work they were doing.

And I just, I came back to life overnight. And so [00:10:30] because that had happened at 23, you learn the lesson from that. And that’s, what’s great about. You know, quote unquote failure is that when you fail at something, you learn the lesson and the lesson is usually that you’ll work it out and you’ll move through it and you’ll be okay.

And so when it happened again at 32, Even though it was upsetting and scary and you’re a little bit older, so it’s, there’s probably a little bit more riding on it. I did have this story from 23 when the same thing happened. And I was like, okay, well, last [00:11:00] time you ended up with this amazing job at Nike that you stayed in for eight years.

So there is a lesson from 10 years ago that says, This could also be an incredible opportunity. And when you’ve had that experience before, it’s a lot easier to rationalize and say, Hey, we can look at this as an opportunity. That is not to say that I didn’t find it hard. I found it way harder the second time I was fired than the first time.

I struggled to find work. I was more senior. So there’s just less jobs at that senior level. It takes longer. Decisions take longer to be made when you’re hiring senior people. [00:11:30] Um, I got let go. Um, The week before Christmas, literally the week before Christmas. So that was scary. I couldn’t dive straight into a job hunt like you’d hope to.

So it was really difficult. So everybody’s being jolly and especially in the UK, they love their Christmas. So, yeah, exactly. I actually went to Germany for Christmas that year, which was really nice to get out. We went to Berlin, a friend of mine, just got away. It was really nice. But I remember coming back on the 2nd of January.

So, And, and I’d sort of got [00:12:00] through Christmas, we’d had a really nice time in Germany. And then I got back on the 2nd of January and I was like, Oh God, like this is it. Now you don’t have a job. January is a really tough month to be job hunting. And. What are you going to do? It really, really hit me really hard, but I did have this, this historical experience of, Hey, it worked out last time, you know, you’ve got to make the most of this, but it was difficult.

It took me eight months to find my job at Apple. Uh, and it was by no means an easy eight months at all. No,

Elisa Tuijnder: I can imagine. When you were talking as well, it also made me think of almost like [00:12:30] the first breakup you ever have, like, you know, is it me? Is it like, you know, but actually over time, if you’ve broken up with multiple partners or.

didn’t find the one straight away, then you also kind of change your narratives around this. Okay, I’ve been through this before, or, you know, we just didn’t work out. It’s not something to do about me or the other person necessarily. It’s just a combination of it doesn’t work. So that, that really flopped in my head as well.

Yeah, absolutely. So, Recently, we’ve seen actually, you know, the pandemic [00:13:00] saw a lot of layoffs and then obviously the economic turbulence afterwards. Now, especially with the cost of living crisis and people tending to kind of protect their, their profits. We see people often unexpectedly losing their job and often to no fault of their own, right?

So as someone who’s gone through that experience and as a coach, what advice do you kind of offer those people and how do you make the most out of this situation when they come to you?

Stephanie Brown: All the advice I will give here will be caveated [00:13:30] by the fact that everyone’s financial situation is different. So don’t want to ignore that.

Um, it is very real and it is a big part of what is challenging. When you do lose your job, you immediately think about the practical stuff, like how am I going to pay rent? Putting that aside for a moment, because everyone’s situation will be different. If we look at how you cope with it mentally, which I think is actually really, really difficult and people don’t fully appreciate how hard that side of things can be.

I think if you are able to, you [00:14:00] shouldn’t dive straight into job hunting. I think if you’ve been let go, whether it was through mass redundancies or whether it was you as an individual that was let go, I think you really have to sit with it for a little bit and let it process because anyone that’s been through that situation will tell you that there is a whole range of emotions that you go through.

It’s shock is embarrassment, which is a weird one to feel. You haven’t necessarily done anything wrong yourself. There’s, there’s embarrassment. There’s a bit of shame. Uh, there’s sometimes anger, uh, you know, [00:14:30] there’s just a lot of emotions that you go through and I think you need to sit with them for a few weeks and just let those, those rest.

Yeah. Again, if you can afford to financially, I think it’s a great opportunity to really do some introspective work and understand who you are and what it is that you want from this next stage of your career, because everybody’s. Career looks different based on who they are, their values, their motivations, the stage of life they’re at.

And it will be different from what you were looking for last time you were job hunting. So it’s [00:15:00] good to check back in with yourself, take that time to check back on with yourself and really understand who you are and what you’re looking for. And by doing that work upfront, you will End up with a better job than if you don’t do it, because most people where they get the next job wrong is they rush into it.

They haven’t done the thinking, they haven’t done the internal work to understand what they’re looking for. Sometimes they’ll end up in the kind of job that they wanted five years ago. Exactly the same one, but just a different one. Exactly the same one. Or, you know, so you’ve really got to take that time to reflect.

Um, the other thing I think is really important just from [00:15:30] a practical standpoint is it’s really important to keep a structure to your day. So, I was guilty of this when I got back on the 2nd of January from my trip to Germany and all of a sudden you have these open days that don’t have anything in them because you’re not working and it’s very easy to let your days slip away and what that does to you mentally is that You feel like you’ve lost control of your day because you wake up at eight, nine, whatever time you get up next thing, three, four o’clock in the afternoon.

And you’re thinking, God, I haven’t done [00:16:00] anything today. And that makes you feel worse because you’ve already had a situation where you’ve lost control of your career because somebody made a decision to let you go. So you already feel out of control there. And then now you’re feeling like I’ve lost control of my days and it can very quickly slip into, you know, quite challenging mental times.

And so. You can control your day. You can structure your day. You can put some guideposts around it. And I absolutely think you should. And if that means for me, it was, I used to go to the gym. [00:16:30] There was a 7am class that I used to go to, which I obviously didn’t need to go to 7am anymore because I wasn’t going to work.

But I still got up and went to 7am class because it got me out of bed every day. It’s, it started the day off. I would come home after that instead of going to work, but it did start the first structure of my day. And then the rest of the day, I structured it with chunks of time for job hunting, chunks of time for networking, and even chunks of time for just watching Netflix, which you have time to do that when you’re unemployed, you know, so [00:17:00] do it, but just structure it, say to yourself, I’m going to give myself three hours today, this afternoon, we’re just going to Netflix and chill.

Structure it, schedule it into your day so you feel like you have control of that as opposed to feeling like you, you know, overate on Netflix, watched too much of it and then felt bad. Yeah, and then

Elisa Tuijnder: everything becomes a panic and a blob at the end of the day, like, Oh God, I haven’t done anything. And then spend two hours frantically doing something that actually isn’t as productive at that point, I’m guessing.

Hey, so I was also wondering, everyone’s speaking about this whole AI revolution and how we [00:17:30] actually didn’t sort of see it coming at all for a lot of middle management, for a lot of knowledge workers, this would significantly impact their potential jobs or the jobs that they are currently in. So would you feel that, um, Would it be different if you’re just getting replaced by an AI or does it almost feel better?

Because it’s like, okay, yeah, I can’t compete with the AI. And how do we deal with this kind of thinking around it when you’re going for your next job? I wondered your thoughts around this.

Stephanie Brown: Yeah, I think [00:18:00] that AI is so broad in terms of what it actually is that it’s really hard to provide a black and white answer to that.

I think like any jobs that have been replaced over time, it’s not necessarily that all of a sudden every job in marketing, for example, is going to be, you know, transferred to, to some AI tool. I think it’s something that We’ll start off as something that makes jobs easier and more efficient. And then maybe over time, companies may stop hiring certain roles when they become available, because they don’t feel they [00:18:30] need them anymore.

I don’t know what the future holds in terms of that sort of stuff. I’m certainly not an expert. It will replace jobs I’m sure in some capacity, but what that looks like is really, really difficult to know. Uh, I think there’s definitely been a lot of technologies through history where we’ve thought, Oh, that’ll completely replace jobs.

Take over a certain industry, but maybe it just evolved the industry instead. So I, I think it’s a really hard one to answer. I think there’s definitely going to be a change in the types of jobs that are out there based on technology like [00:19:00] AI, but AI can be applied in so many different ways that I don’t necessarily think it’s going to be a case of like, We’ve totally taken your job.

It will, I would imagine be more of a, a slow process where over time you see things infiltrate into a business and make jobs look different, but how they look different, you know, I’m not an expert. I couldn’t tell you, and I don’t think anyone else does it either. I think a lot of people are speculating, but we, you know, we just don’t know.

So it’s, it’s probably just a watch and watch and learn and see what happens. [00:19:30]

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It’s always, yeah, it’s, it’s just so now, and it’s always, it’s, it’s change is inevitable anyways. So might as well embrace it and see where it heads. Hey, let’s take it back a little bit to your story now.

Um, you retired from the corporate world in 2019. So just before the pandemic, maybe not the most ideal time, but, and you launched your company career creative level up. So what was the trigger for it and yeah, how, how did it [00:20:00] start? How did it evolve? And, and I can imagine also the pandemic straight the year after would have been a little hard.

The opposite, actually.

Stephanie Brown: The pandemic was, was fantastic for me. Um, so I’ll give you a bit of detail on this. Cause I think it’s. I really planned this move. And I think when people see the moves that people make, they often think like, Oh, that was just random, or that they just decided that the year before. I planned this probably about 10 years earlier.

And when I [00:20:30] say that I had this plan where I love the UK, you know, I’m a British citizen, it’s my home, but my Childhood home is in New Zealand, which is obviously on the other side of the world. And so I started having this thought around sort of 2011. I was like, I don’t think I’m ever going to want to fully leave the UK, but I also have parents who are getting older.

I have brothers in New Zealand and I don’t want to Miss out on being with them as well. So I sort of said to myself, I’m going to find a way to split my time between the two countries. And you’ve got to think 2011, there was no [00:21:00] online working. There wasn’t even sort of online businesses, the way we have them now.

So the idea of setting up an online business and using that as a way to go between the two, that wasn’t even in my head at all, all there was, was this overarching idea that I would like to split my time between the UK and New Zealand. And because I had this, this, um, Sort of filter of like, that’s where I want to be saying 10 years time.

I was always looking for opportunities to make that happen. And so when I got my job at Apple, I decided, you know, this, this will hopefully be [00:21:30] my last corporate job and I’m gonna, you know, really ramp up how to, how to make that happen. And the first thing I, I did. Got into, and we don’t need to go into this in great detail because you’re a down rabbit hole, but I got into property investing.

I built a small property portfolio in the UK, which was my first business. Um, and I was able to live off the money from that property. And that was what allowed me to retire from working at Apple. The second stage was, okay, I’ve got a little bit of money coming in from this property business. What can I do now to, uh, [00:22:00] One fulfill me in terms of the work that I’m doing, but also, you know, uh, create a second income stream outside of property.

And I had already written my book back in 2016. And a lot of people had been coming to me and I was coaching people and I decided that I wanted to set this up as a, an online program, really support people through this experience. And, and. It’s not necessarily people that come to me that have lost their job, although I do have clients like that as well, but it’s also people that just want to plan out their career and get ahead of the game.

So I wrote the [00:22:30] program in 2016, knowing that when I left Apple, that’s what I would put most of my time into full time. Yeah. Be my full time because property is not full time at all once you, once you get it set up. Um, so yeah, so this, so this was always the plan. I always intended to leave Apple in the back end of 2019.

And the reason I said the pandemic was great for me, you know,

Elisa Tuijnder: You had so many people doing

Stephanie Brown: change. Yeah, it had its downsides as well. I’m not going to pretend like the whole thing was roses. I don’t think anyone would say that. I think everyone’s experience of the pandemic [00:23:00] was there was pros and cons, of course.

But because I’d left my job at Apple, I ended up back in New Zealand in 2020. When the borders in New Zealand shut and you weren’t able to get in and out of the country. And so because I had left Apple, I was able to be in New Zealand during the pandemic with my parents who were in their seventies. And obviously the pandemic was a challenge for old people.

Yeah. So I was so happy that I had this freedom and flexibility to be in New Zealand. [00:23:30] during the pandemic to be close to my parents, to be close to my brothers. And had I still been at Apple, that wouldn’t have been an option, obviously, because I would have been in the UK. So in terms of the timing, I look back and I’m like, that was phenomenal timing as far as I’m concerned.

Yeah, it

Elisa Tuijnder: was brilliant. Yeah, your planning skills, your planning skills, unknowingly even extended to world events. And yeah, absolutely. And the

Stephanie Brown: other, the flip side of that is that I left Apple and. October 2019. And I, I started trying to set the business up. But if anyone who lives in London will know that [00:24:00] any big city, it’s busy, there’s stuff to do, there’s nights out with friends, there’s catching up with people.

So I spent the back end of 2019 trying to set my business up, but getting distracted by all these other things. So when the pandemic happened. So yeah, you had that in there as well. I was great. I can go back to New Zealand, be locked down and just put everything into starting this business. And that, and that’s what happened.

Yeah. The pandemic was a blessing in terms of, of that side of things, in terms of my family, in terms of setting the business up, it was, it was great timing for me.

Elisa Tuijnder: [00:24:30] Yeah. Sometimes I do think. I made good use of my lockdowns, but also sometimes I feel like I squandered a lot of the lockdown, like I would have, when am I ever going to have that much time to, I don’t know, focus on this one thing or focus on this thing or learn something new.

And, but it did also give me a lot of perspective on things. And it, I think for all of us who went through that, it made, it did something in our heads that we weren’t even very well aware of, I guess at the time.

Stephanie Brown: 100%. And I think, you know, sometimes when I tell people, I set my business up during the lockdown, they’re like, Oh, you’re one of those people that, [00:25:00] Did lots of stuff with their time.

I was like, no, because I wasn’t working. I didn’t have a job anymore. This was my job. My job was to set this up. And I think you forget about that time that it was for most people, it was a little bit of a siege mentality in the sense of like, we just need to get through this day by day, and so you have to be really kind to yourself and say, Hey, I’m I, I forgot what it felt like, but actually you woke up every morning and like, Hey, it’s another day of this.

I’ll get through this, you know? And so it wasn’t really for most people in an environment in which you were going to be feeling [00:25:30] hugely motivated. Uh, and even for, on my part, my business, I was only really doing a couple of hours a day. I wasn’t doing 10 hours a day because like everybody else, I was struggling for motivation as well.

Elisa Tuijnder: What leads to a happy life? What are the various ways to be happy? Happiness means different things to each of us. Yet after doing extensive research, Management 3point0 [00:26:00] founder Juergen Appelow discovered the common thread. Happiness is something we create. It is not something to achieve. It is a path you choose, not a destination to arrive at.

So many of us spend our times in pursuit of happiness. Yet instead of searching for it, we need to find ways to live it, embrace it, and implement it into our daily lives. We created the 12 Steps to Happiness at Management 3point0. [00:26:30] You can find more information and even download a free poster of the 12 Steps and Management 3o.

So I wondered, because obviously you get to speak to a lot of people and a lot of people are looking for change and you’re predominantly working in a marketing, creative and tech fields, but Are you seeing any big challenges or concerns that are kind of running throughout these? Is there any trend that you feel like you’re identifying at the moment?[00:27:00]

Stephanie Brown: I think in terms of the market right now, there’s been a huge number of layoffs and I think We know that because you see the headlines in the media, but you really feel it when you work in the role that I do. So I speak to people all day long who are either interested in my program or commenting on my LinkedIn posts or on my TikTok channel.

And so I have conversations with people and I’m really seeing, you know, the impact of this on people. So the market’s really tough right now. Lots of businesses. [00:27:30] And the result of that is that, you know, a lot of people have lost their jobs. And so it’s really tough for people at the moment. And a lot of people are experiencing quite long term unemployment.

So I think people really underestimate how long it takes to get a job. It’s definitely, it’s definitely tough. Feels like it’s taking longer at the moment. It took me three times longer than I thought it would back in 2014 when the market was absolutely fine. And so I always say to people, however long you think it’s going to take you to get a job, triple that, [00:28:00] at least.

If it’s quicker, you’ll be really happy because you know, you exceeded your expectations, but it is taking people way longer to get jobs. And I think that’s really challenging. There’s a lot of people I speak to who are coming up on 12 months, not working. And that’s really, really tough for people mentally, financially.

That’s a lot,

Elisa Tuijnder: yeah.

Stephanie Brown: Yeah, it affects families. Um, and then when they do get the job, get a job, it’s hard to get back into work as well. You know, after you’ve been out for, for a long period of time. So if you have friends or anyone in those kinds of situations, like be really kind to [00:28:30] them, cause it’s a, it’s a tough, tough situation to be in.

And, and a lot of people, particularly in tech, and I know every industry is suffering from, from layoffs, but tech has been hit particularly hard.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, that’s interesting. Um, and, and, and again, if you want to kind of adhere to this principle of it’s sort of a marriage, make sure that it’s also right for you and right for them.

Yeah. Then you have to be picky as well, or pickier where you go, where you direct your attention and. Which offer you eventually go for, otherwise you’re back in the [00:29:00] same position.

Stephanie Brown: Absolutely. And that, that’s one of the hardest things I think when you have lost your job is the idea that the next one might be another failure or you might go to the wrong place.

So you’re coming out of this quite emotional time of having lost your job. You know, you’ve lost your confidence. You’re, you’re trying to get back into work and then you’ve got this thing in the back of your head where you’re like, but I need to make sure this next job is the right one. What if I go there and I, I fail again?

Gosh, then I’ve had. Two back to back failures. It’s a lot of pressure to get that next move [00:29:30] right. And so I think it is really important to do the work to really understand what environment you need to go into next so that you don’t get that next move wrong.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, absolutely. You just said the fail again, and that made me think of, you know, imposter syndrome, something that, uh, you’ve talked about a lot, uh, the feeling that you just made it there and that, that it was all by accident and that you’re actually not that good and, uh, women tend to struggle from it a little bit more than others.

But yeah, what is the, is it a big concern for modern workers? Do you hear it [00:30:00] more? Do you hear it less? Um, yeah, your, your thoughts about this one.

Stephanie Brown: It’s definitely a hot topic. I think everybody talks about imposter syndrome more now than they used to. And I definitely, I hate to say this. It’s, it’s not just a gender thing, but I think women do particularly suffer from it more than men do.

And. You know, it’s something I’ve, I’ve, I’ve had challenged with myself. I remember when I started working at Nike in London in my early twenties, I was 23 years old. I was working at, you know, one of the coolest brands in [00:30:30] the city. I’d come from New Zealand. I remember the girls at Nike were so cool. They were, were really cool trainers.

They dressed really cool. And I remember thinking like, how am I here? This is crazy. Um, yeah, but I think in those situations you often. You have to remember that it’s, it’s way more in your head than it is in other people’s. So we think about ourselves way more than we think about other people. And remembering that is really humbling and a great way to get through a lot of things that you find [00:31:00] challenging in the day, particularly imposter syndrome.

Whatever you’re thinking about yourself, other people are not even thinking a fraction of what you’re thinking. So if you remember that for starters, the other thing that you have to remember is that imposter syndrome, in my opinion, or feeling like an imposter, that is a blessing. It’s an absolute blessing because it means that you are being put into situations where you’re out of your comfort zone and you get to grow and learn.

If you never feel like an imposter anywhere, you’re never going to grow. You’re never going to be able to move your [00:31:30] career forward. You’re never going to be able to learn new skills. You, if you always feel comfortable, then that for me is the bad thing. So I like to think of imposter syndrome as the trigger that tells me that, Hey, we’re having a big growth here.

So embrace it, lean into it. And I actually, it’s an interesting topic to be talking about today because one of my clients had an interview for a job yesterday, and we had a call the day before, and she was really struggling with the task that I had given her. And she was having a bit of a breakdown about it.

She’d [00:32:00] put together some thoughts on the task and she was really struggling with it. And she, she went through the task with me. She went through her and I said to her, look, I think you’re answering the task. It was quite a technical side of performance marketing that I don’t know as well as other parts, other areas of marketing, but I said, so look, I can’t comment on the technical side, but this looks okay to me.

I don’t know. I think, I think you’re going to do okay. She was really winding herself up. She was so scared and what she was scared of was that she was going to go in there and make a fool of herself. [00:32:30] And I said, and then what happens? If you go in there and make a fool of yourself, what happens? She said, I’ll be really embarrassed.

I said, and then what? You know, like what is the worst that happens? You go in there and you get it completely wrong. You embarrass yourself. You walk out, you never see these people again. And she’d wound herself up to the point where she was saying to me she didn’t want to go to the interview. And I just, I said to her like, you, if you actually have got yourself an interview for a job that you are not able to do, as in [00:33:00] she was struggling with a task, so she felt like maybe I won’t be able to do this job.

I said, if you have got yourself into this position, that’s phenomenal. You convince, this is a third round interview, you’ve convinced these people that you are making a fool

Elisa Tuijnder: of yourself. Yeah.

Stephanie Brown: I was like, that’s amazing. Like, so if you do get in there and make a fool of yourself, you’ve, you’ve gone through two rounds with them already and you have You’re up for the task and they want to give you a chance.

And that’s awesome. So if you do go in there and make a fool of yourself, take the positives. You’ve got, got to the stage. Anyway, I had a message from her [00:33:30] this morning. Uh, they clapped at the end of the interview. They were so impressed. They got up and they were, they clapped and they told her it was phenomenal.

And they told her you’re one of our top candidates. If you don’t get the job. There will have been nothing more that you could have done is what they told it. And she sent me a message this morning and she was, she was so happy and she said it was such a great learning for me. I think we just, we, imposter syndrome, we often eliminate ourselves, exactly.

Especially, [00:34:00] especially women. And I just can’t believe that her solution to feeling scared of the growth that she was having in this interview was to say, maybe I just won’t go. That’s crazy to me.

Elisa Tuijnder: I really liked that story. And I also liked what you said before there, like using it as a trigger, like reframing it, actually making sure like when you feel imposter syndrome, actually that means you’re in the right place.

That means you’re growing. So that’s pretty good.

Stephanie Brown: Yeah. If you don’t want to ever grow, then, then you should pull back if you start to feel like an imposter. But most [00:34:30] people that I work with are like, I want to grow and learn. And the imposter syndrome is the trigger to say, Hey, this is, you’re about to have growth here.

This is awesome. Let’s go for it.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. I’m really going to try and keep that up as well. Just saying, Hey, feeling, feeling imposter syndrome. That’s great. Hey, so here on the podcast, we’re really big fans of tangible practices and we always like to end, or our last question is always something tangible we can leave our listeners with is that they can start implementing tomorrow without big buy in or just something practical.

So is there anything that you [00:35:00] can think of at the moment, any smaller, simpler steps that we can take to better deal with disappointment or uncertainty in our careers and maybe also from an organizational level? Do leaders deal with that or how do leaders deal? I mean, it’s a whole kind of world sort of like, but how can we get them a little bit better out the door then as well?

Stephanie Brown: Well, in terms of how you as an employee can kind of help your career along, deal with disappointment, deal with, you know, Sort of developing yourself. There is one thing that I used to do in my career, which is so [00:35:30] simple and it’s kind of nerdy. I think back to the fact that I used to do this, but it’s really, really helpful.

And, and it’s that I used to recap my week on a Friday. So I’d find a place in the office on a Friday afternoon. It’s always quiet on Friday afternoon, find sort of half an hour. And I would keep a journal, a written journal of. Things that happened that week and I would go through and I would write down stuff that had happened.

I would write down things that I’ve been working on that had gone well. I would write down conversations that I had with senior leaders that maybe didn’t go well that I could have improved on. [00:36:00] I would look really objectively at things and be like, okay, I didn’t do that very well. Good, good reminder for next time.

Maybe I could have done it this way. Maybe that conversation I had with the senior person, I could have done this better. Maybe the meeting I was in, I could have presented this better. I should have maybe tried this or I did this really well. That worked. Everybody loved it. So it was almost like a, just a recap of the week and a really objective look at like what went well and what didn’t.

I used to do this every Friday, probably missed a few Fridays here and there, but it was a practice that I really [00:36:30] got into it and I still do it now with my business and where it works really well. It sort of works well in three areas. One, it’s really good to sort of objectively look at what you’re achieving in your career and what you’re achieving each week, because I think it’s really easy to just see, Hey, that meeting didn’t go well without considering everything else that did go well that week.

You focus on that one. Yeah, a hundred percent. And even with my business now, sometimes I. I get down on myself about my business and then I go back to the journal. I look at everything I’ve done this year and I’m like, God, wow, back in January, I was nowhere near where I am today. [00:37:00] So I should be really happy about that.

So it definitely helps with that. It helps with, uh, you know, when you’re applying for jobs in the future. So you have everything written down. You’ve got the statistics from campaigns you worked on. You’ve got examples that you can then use and, and interview. It’s got like your career recap in a journal, all the big things and important things.

Because if someone asks you on the spot, like, tell us about a time you had a conflict with someone. You’ve got a whole diary of, um. Conversation you have with the senior leader, a meeting that didn’t go well, so you can go back and use it [00:37:30] as a review. And then the third way you can use it as well as in yearly reviews when you’re coming up for your review, you can go in there with the receipts and be like, hey, this is what I’ve done.

I’ve done this, I’ve done this, I’ve achieved this. Yeah, and so it can help you in that yearly review as well. So it’s an amazing tool that I probably underestimated when I was in my career and because I, I did it so regularly and I now look back and I’m like, yeah, I did used to use it for a lot of things.

I now highly recommend it to all my clients. Uh, it can just help in so many different ways. I’m sure there’s other ways that people use it to help them as well. [00:38:00] And you mentioned leaders. I think it’s a great tool. And leadership to be really self reflective and to understand, you know, to be self aware.

So if you were to do this every week and, and sort of look at it through the lens of like, how, how’s my team doing? How are conversations that I’ve had with them going? Someone seems to be struggling. What could I have done better this week to help them? It can also be a tool that can, can help leaders to just be more empathetic and lead with a lot more awareness as well.

Elisa Tuijnder: Channeling is an incredibly powerful tool [00:38:30] for a lot of reasons and some of them you’ve mentioned just there now. And it’s funny, I can remember the first time I heard somebody talk about channeling and I was always like, well, it’s just writing it down a bit. Like, I mean, I didn’t seriously see the thing, but then when you start doing it yourself, um, Don’t get me wrong.

I have these periods where I do it diligently for weeks and then I stop and then I let it lie there for four months again and then I pick it back up. But then I’m always like, this thing is actually so good. So yes, very good practical tip. No, [00:39:00] thank you, Stephanie. If people want to get in contact with you, people who are in the UK or who want some career advice, etc.

How do they do that? Where’s the best way they can find you?

Stephanie Brown: So I’m, I’m on LinkedIn. If you just put Stephanie Brown and something like Nike or Apple at the end of it, I’m sure it’ll come up. I think it’s career coach on LinkedIn. So I, I, I post daily on LinkedIn. I have a newsletter as well, uh, which you can find on my website, which is creativecareerlab.

com. Uh, so you can join my, my newsletter. It goes out every week and I provide a lot of [00:39:30] practical. Advice on job hunting and building your careers within there. I also have a TikTok channel, uh, it’s at Kiwi, London Girl, KIWI, London Girl , uh, which is my, my social media handle on a lot of, a lot of, uh, social media channels, but, cool.

So at Kiwi London, girl on TikTok. Uh, and I post videos from my coaching calls with my clients on there. So whenever I work with clients, I film my side of the call. You don’t, you don’t hear my clients, but you see the advice that I give to them. And I know that people who follow me on there find a lot of the stuff I post really, really helpful.

So if you [00:40:00] want to hear more of that stuff, TikTok’s the place. If you want to connect, send me a message on LinkedIn. I always love connecting with people there.

Elisa Tuijnder: Fantastic. Yeah. We’ll link your website as well on the show notes and then can branch out from there or from LinkedIn. Right, Stephanie, thank you so much for coming on the show.

That was really interesting and I, I’m walking away with some practical things in my head and things I need to continue, especially the imposter syndrome. It’s a good thing. Love that. So thank you very much again, Stephanie.

Stephanie Brown: Thank you so much for [00:40:30] having me.

Elisa Tuijnder: You’ve been listening to the Happiness at Work podcast by Management 3point0, where we are getting serious about happiness. Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And if you enjoy our shows, don’t be shy. Write us a review, share the happiness with your colleagues, family, or friends. Follow us on [00:41:00] Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn under Management 3point0.

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