453: Don’t Worry, Be Happy: How Success Looks Different For Everyone

When you worry about other people’s opinions (even if it’s family or friends), it could negatively impact your potential success.

Guest

Celena Singh, Book Projects Leader at HTYC

Celena worked in corporate America for many years before she decided to make a career switch to early retirement.

on this episode

As humans, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to one another. This is a bad idea, especially when it comes to measuring success. My measure of success may not be the same as yours. And that’s OK.

That’s because success looks different for everyone.

After working with thousands of people, we’ve observed that when you worry about other people’s opinions (even if it’s family or friends), it could negatively impact your potential success.

What you’ll learn

  • Why you need to define success for yourself
  • How outside opinions negatively impact your success
  • What you need to do to get out of your own way
  • How to finally stand up for yourself

Success Stories

"When I started I was afraid of making the wrong decision! My career was incredibly important to me and I didn't want to screw it up or waste time making a move I wouldn't enjoy! Scott helped me learn what my strengths are and what is most important to me… but more important than that I learned about what I can't stop doing that I have to have in my work to make me happy"

Rhushi Bhadkamkar, Senior Consultant, United States/Canada

Scott has been a tremendous help in bringing focus to my business. Scott enlightened my path towards concentrating on my strengths and doing what I love. I recommend Scott Anthony Barlow to anyone who wants clarity about what they should be doing, and the next step to make your business successful.

Jody Maberry, Began Copywriting & Marketing Business, United States/Canada

I greatly appreciate your help in bringing this along because I wouldn't have had the confidence to negotiate and to be where I am today without the help of a lot of other people. You played a really significant role in it. I'm not going to be that everyday person that hates my job, I'm going to stretch and I'm going to aspire to be better and I'm not going to make that everyday salary. Thank you Scott for putting this out there for all the people that are trying to do a little bit better and trying to go a little bit farther. This is awesome. I love this. This thing that you do, the whole HTYC thing, from the paperwork all the way down to the podcast and just helping people understand that there is success out there and it is attainable but you've got to work for it.

Jerrad Shivers, Market Manager, United States/Canada

Scott, and Lisa and the whole team it's been a pleasure to work with you. I’ve been talking to everyone about your program and think the best of the work you do and the tools you put out. It took me a few months to look for outside help. That was the thing I needed. Particularly as someone who has been successful it was hard for me to say I could not do this by myself. I’m a smart person I should be able to figure this out. As soon as I had my first career coaching experience it completely turned around my approach to find a new job. It completely gave me the power back and the tools I needed. If you know exactly what you want to do, you probably aren’t listening to this podcast, but if you don’t know there are a lot of tools, and resources, and people out there that can help you. For me that made all the difference.

Laura Morrison, Senior Product Manager, United States/Canada

Celena Singh 00:01
What if I won the lottery on Friday? And somebody in the meeting said, "Hell would freeze over, it would never happen." And a week later, I put in my resignation for work, and the subject line said, "I won the lottery." And the main line said, "Hell froze over and what that meant, and I will be resigning in two months."

Introduction 00:27
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:51
As humans, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to each other more than a little bit. Sometimes this can be a great thing. It fosters friendly competition, setting goals to achieve. But many times this is a terrible idea, especially when it comes to measuring success. My measure of success probably is not the same as yours. And that's okay, as it turns out, and that's because success looks different for everyone. Now, I think that we all know this, it doesn't necessarily make it any easier. And after working with thousands of people, we've observed that when you worry about other people's opinions, it can negatively impact your potential success. And this is true, even if it's your parents.

Celena Singh 01:34
And their advice was, you know, "Keep your head down. Do your job. Don't, you know, make any trouble and, you know, don't get yourself fired" because we are, you know, my parents migrated from another country over 50 years ago. And that was the mindset that they came here with. And I was like, "Okay, well. I have to do, you know, what my parents say, and, you know, do all the right things."

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:55
That's Celena Singh. As a child of immigrants, she had the privilege of growing up with two different cultures– the one her parents brought over from their old country and the one here in the United States. The difficult part of this is that she didn't want to disappoint her parents. So she ended up staying in her job way longer than what she wanted to. But spoiler alert, if we fast forward, Celena actually just recently joined the HTYC team as our book project leader, which is pretty awesome. So there's a great end to the story. But listen as my conversation with Celena begins, you'll hear what led her on this journey in the first place, how she transitioned and I want you to pay attention to some of the really what many people might look at and call "extreme decisions" that she had to make in order to get where she wanted to go. Let's first go back to over 25 years ago.

Celena Singh 02:55
I started my career at Hydro One around 1997. Prior to starting at Hydro One, I really wanted to become a sports broadcaster, and I went to school for about a year. And then I had an opportunity to purchase a house at a very young age. And I purchased the house with my parents' help and sports broadcasting was like a dream after that. So I had to find a job where I felt that I could make some money and my parents would be proud of me. And I was able to, from a resource, I was able to find out about this project that where this company was hiring and long story short, I was able to secure a job with Hydro One and I thought "life is made" my parents were like, "Okay, you've won the lottery. You've got up for life." Yeah, exactly. Woohoo. You know, like, "Hey, little old me, I found this great job." And their advice was, you know, "Keep your head down. Do your job. Don't, you know, make any trouble and you know, don't get yourself fired" because we are, you know, my parents migrated from another country over 50 years ago. And that was the mindset that they came here with. And I was like, "Okay, well, I have to do, you know, what my parents say and, you know, do all the right things." And I started 23 years old at the company that I worked at for 24 years, and I made a lot of changes in the company, meaning changes in roles. I truly never felt like I belonged in any role. I started at the very bottom as a call center agent, and I moved into billing, I moved into metering, I moved into supervising, I moved into managing teams that I had no idea, I wasn't an engineer or any of those careers where people were normally managers, but I had something and I didn't really quite know at the time what it was because I just did whatever I was told and shifted where I thought, you know, where people told me I needed to go. And COVID, I will say, and you know, beginning of COVID, something shifted for me. I think it shifted actually a couple years before for that, but I really wasn't listening to my inner mentor, so to speak, my inner... myself, like, what I really truly wanted, I was doing what everybody else wanted me to do.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:09
When you say something shifted several years before COVID, what do you feel like it was at the time that you were not listening to that shifted, or what prompted that shift?

Celena Singh 05:20
Experiencing some not so great employees at work. And because I worked in a unionized environment, I was being kind of told to do, you know, my job, which I was trying to do, and then was kind of getting in trouble, which I was not used to ever getting in trouble my entire life. I was getting in trouble for doing my job. And I started to better understand, it took quite a few years to understand what a unionized environment meant, because I grew up on a farm, you know, my parents have had a farm for a very long time, and you did everything on the farm, and you didn't complain, everybody worked together. So I went from that environment to doing what I was told, and then getting in trouble for doing my job. I had, you know, grievances, like everybody gets these things. So it's, like, but I took them very personally. And it just kept happening. And I think it was 2018, the shift actually happened when I was sitting in a meeting in another mediation meeting with guarding an employee and just something that happened. And the mediator brought me into a room, and it was just her and I and she said, "I probably can get fired for saying this. But I'm going to say this to you." And she said, "This is going to continue to happen to you if you don't make a change." She said, "I would highly recommend you either find a different company that is not unionized to work at or start your own business" because she said "you are a badass, and you need to do that. And this is not the place for you." And she said that I was clinically cold, but not in a bad way. Like she said, it's not a bad thing. She says, "You hold your composure." At first, I was like, "What did she say?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:01
"What do you mean?"

Celena Singh 07:02
Yeah. And she said, I was clinically cold. And she said, "You've held your composure for all of these years." And she goes, "I don't know where you've put all that stuff, but you need to do something else and deal with that." And I went, "Okay..." and then I'm like, "Am I gonna get fired?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:19
What happens next?

Celena Singh 07:20
Yeah, so anyways, it actually made a huge shift in my thinking, I thought, "Oh, my gosh, nobody has ever said something like that to me." And I thought, you know, I was doing all the right things, I was working hard and working overtime and changing jobs, and, you know, sacrificing my health and my marriage, and who knows what else and all of a sudden, it's like, you need to run as fast as you can from here. And it wasn't the company, it was, what my limiting beliefs, my beliefs that I was programmed into, all kinds of things. My parents are amazing, and they have taught me a lot of things. But some of the things I feel for myself and for the next generation is important to shift that thinking. And that's kind of where my thinking shifted.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:04
I think that's always a really fascinating and also difficult time for many people where we start to realize that what we grew up with, maybe has served us well, or certainly potentially served our parents well, but is no longer serving us well. And I'll only speak for myself personally, however, that was definitely and continues to be very, very challenging to even, one, recognize where it's happening, and two, to be able to change those pieces. So kudos to you for beginning to recognize at that point in time that that was happening, because many people will go through their entire lives without recognizing that that's at play. What were some of the biggest takeaways that you began to realize, or what were some of the biggest areas where you realized that type of thinking was no longer serving you?

Celena Singh 08:55
I started seeing the people I was hanging around with, you know, it made a difference to me, like I would be talking to some friends like on the side of my corporate role, I studied to become a yoga teacher, as well as I studied to become a holistic nutritionist because of my health issues that I was, not struggling with, but I was noticing so many things. And so when I was hanging around with people in yoga and hanging around people from a nutrition side, not everybody, because that has its challenges, too. I was seeing like I was a different person and I didn't know what imposter syndrome was, but I felt like that's what it was. I mean now I know that's exactly what it was is, I can be myself and my, you know, the areas that I really enjoyed and then I have this more than one mask at work and it was like "okay, this is not right" like all of these things that people are telling me is not right and as I was kind of changing like standing up or, like, standing up for myself and others for different things, all of a sudden, I could see people... I don't know if they felt threatened or maybe they felt intimidated because I always just used to do whatever I was told and then it was like, "I don't like myself like this" like, it's now it's like time for me to look in the mirror and say like, "what were my actions in some of these things that happened?" And it's hard to do that because it's like doing, like, a 360 interview on yourself, or something like that on yourself, right? And asking other people, and I was asking people in environments like, you know, in my yoga environment and my nutrition environment, because I felt like people would be honest, but not mean to me. And it didn't have to be mean, like being honest. It was great. Like, I love the honesty. And I started taking courses on emotional intelligence. And we actually had to do exercise as part of our emotional intelligence program to ask eight people some questions about how do you manage your emotions? How do you react? Do you respond? How are you in different things? And I was terrified to do that. And I did it. And then I was pleasantly surprised of how, well... I was pleasantly surprised about the feedback. And then again, I was like, "Celena, you're so hard on yourself all the time. Of course, everybody thinks you're amazing. Like, why don't you?" And that's where I had to start down on bit of a journey of really getting to know myself better, and what I like and what I don't like, and really what I want to do in life.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:11
Do you remember one of the first times where you began standing up for yourself? I heard you say earlier that, "I had always just done whatever people had asked me to do or told me to do and that began to change" it sounded like as you started getting more comfortable with what you wanted, and yourself. Do you remember one of those first times? And what happened?

Celena Singh 11:33
The first time that I can, I mean, there's many but the one that really, as soon as you asked me that question, it was last year on... I can remember the date, it was last year on around March the 6th, and I was in a meeting with a few people. And it was only have like, say, less than 10 people. And I was asking for some support on some, it was actually COVID protocols that I was working on which, you know, pandemic happen all the time so I must know how to do this work. And I was asking for some support, and I wasn't receiving the support that I was asking for. And I felt... because I asked a couple of people before the meeting, does this feel like a reasonable ask? And then all of a sudden, I ask, and it was like crickets. And so in the meeting, I asked a question, because someone was like, "Oh, you can do this" so I'm like, but there's 10 other people I can think of like right away that could help with this. They have the skills, they want to do some of this work. So why not, you know, give them the opportunity? And they kept saying no, kept saying no. And so I made a comment, and I said, "What if I won..." it was on Wednesday, let's say and I said, "What if I won the lottery on Friday?" And nobody said anything. And they said, "What do you mean?" And I said, "What if I won the lottery on Friday? What would you guys do? Like, I know all... I have every COVID protocol in my head. I've documented some of them. And what if I won the lottery on Friday?" And I said, "Okay, what would you do?" And somebody in the meeting said, "Hell would freeze over it would never happen." And I said, "Oh, you don't think that could happen?" And a week later, and it wasn't because it was I had any bitter feelings, I just did some work. And I put in my resignation for work, and the subject line said, "I won the lottery." And the main line said, "Hell froze over and what that meant." And I said that "After 24 years, I've decided to do heart centered work, and I will be resigning in two months." And that was probably the first time I ever felt like I was my true self. Because I felt, like, so good about it. I have no, absolutely no regrets. And I will add that I had actually signed up with Happen To Your Career on the day that I made that or week before I made that decision. And I knew that Happen To Your Career would help me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:49
I don't think I entirely realized that those were so closely intertwined. So tell me about that decision, because that is, by no circumstances, a small decision. It is by no circumstances, a lightweight decision. And also, I had just heard you say that in making that decision to leave this organization in which, it sounds like for 24 years never really found a fit in any way whatsoever. I believe that's what I heard you said earlier.

Celena Singh 14:19
Yeah, that's correct. I never felt like I belonged.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:22
Yeah. In doing so, it also sounds like that was the first time that you ever really felt like yourself. So what led... take me through what it took to make that type of decision?

Celena Singh 14:33
It was really sitting down and when I read through, okay, I'll just say this, that when we read through what the Career Change Bootcamp would do, I was like, "Okay, you know what? This is what I want. Like, I need to go through this to find myself, to understand..." You hear companies and I'm not just talking about the company I work for, I'm just in general, about core values and know what matters to you and my core values or my personal values have never lined up with corporate. And so I feel like no matter where I went in corporate because of this, you know, the corporate I was used to, the corporate that when my parents came to this country, that's what corporate meant, was I wouldn't belong there, because I just didn't line up with a lot of those things. So if someone's going to say, you know, for example, "We're one company." Okay, what does that mean? That means something to me would mean something different to you. So how do we... I want to work, I think that for me, I want to work somewhere where I feel like, when someone says, a core value, we're not using it as a, "well, that's a core value" it's just blended into your everyday, right, what your values are. And I feel like after 24 years, and looking at what the company, you know, this company gave me opportunities, and that they gave me the opportunities, or did I create opportunities based on working, you know, and the roles that I was at, I mean, it was just... I was thinking about how my parents get, like, "what my parents gonna think if I decide to do this?" And my husband was extremely supportive, and we had been talking about it, you know, on and off. And I feel like he knew how loyal I was to the company. I think he just kind of thought, "Well, we'll have a plan" as we normally do. I'm a planner, and it may not happen. And I, you know, was seeing, like a therapist, and just some, you know, just some help, just trying to just talk to some people that were not, you know, close to my life, like they would be, you know, unbiased. And so there was, again, my emotional intelligence coach, and just a few people and they weren't making this, like, I wasn't looking for someone to make the decision for me, which was amazing, because they were not, like, they were not there that says, "Hey, I'm here to talk to you, and let's, you know, do our thing." And it came down to, I want to do better for the next generation, I want the next generation to do better and how... I felt like a hypocrite, you know, if I didn't do this. Like, I'm like, okay, I have this cushy job, and I can do it for the next seven years, retire with this amazing pension. And then I have, you know, five nephews and three nieces who I love, and some of them already doing some of these things that I want to do, you know, at my age, and I'm like, "I have to do this." And it's like, okay, so when I talked to the pension coordinator, and when they gave me all the information, it was like, it really didn't matter about the money, it was the person... the pension coordinator said, "I cannot believe that you're doing this, because it's just nobody does this." He goes, "I have so many people who have these conversations" I think you were in HR, Scott, people talked to you about it in the past is that, you know, "I want to do this, this and this, and this." And then he goes, "99% of people don't do it." And I said, "Oh, I'm gonna do it." Yep. After you... since we just talked, I said, "I'm good. You send me the paperwork of what we just talked about." And within an hour, my husband had half an hour notice, and I sent out the email. Because I knew it was the right thing to do. Everything was lined up, I had a plan to, you know, look at my career going forward. I didn't have to really worry about, you know, money, which you know, how many people can say that, I didn't have to worry about money. I'm not rich, but I have enough that I can do what I'd like to do in life. So that's kind of where I have a long way of saying how I got there.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:14
You know, I think that there's so much in here that you just mentioned. If we're peeling apart the layers, first of all, let's acknowledge that you are a planner. I think you've done a really nice job creating a situation for yourself to where you could make this type of decision. Because you've done a nice job with planning and with money and other things like that to where that decision becomes possible. And you've built a foundation for yourself to make different types of decisions for your life, which I think is amazing. And a lot of people don't realize that that has to, in many ways, come first. And the second thing is, two, and I'm not just talking about money, but I'm talking about prioritizing what is most important to create a foundation for other things, too. And another example of that is something else that I think you did really, really well here. At some point, you started practicing prioritizing what was more important to you. And it sounds like you've done such a great job practicing that in small ways as you began, you know, attending yoga and other things like that. You were bringing those tiny pieces into your life in much smaller ways that then added up to you be able to make larger, more declarative prioritizations. And that's something that is not easy to do. And also on the outside, I think everybody else on the outside when you hear that type of story, it's like "Okay, well, just one day we decided to just like do the thing" but there was so much leading up to that that'll allow you to do the thing and I just want to say first of all, congratulations because that's super cool that you've made that type of decision for yourself. And second of all, I just wanted to unpack for a moment, like all that you said up till now that led up to you being able to do, like, do the thing, which is amazing.

Celena Singh 19:57
I think the way that you just do and the other people say it too is, "I don't think I, you know, I give myself, and I think others, we don't give ourselves enough credit for saving our money." I mean, I started saving money when I was 10. And, you know, working on the farm and my little envelopes. And like I said, it's not just about money, it's just about, you know, so many other things like, you know, so then what are you going to do? And how do you want to be? And, who do you want to be around? How do you want to spend your time? You know, all of those things and not, you know, setting some boundaries because it's really about, what is it that I want to do, and not, again, what does everybody else want me to do with this stage of my life now.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:34
Yeah. And I think that what's not obvious to so many people, especially as we talk about stories like yours on the podcast, and how people made one type of change from one to another, or left a role, or in your case, a whole series of roles that were not a fit over a period of time, it's not always obvious what are all those parts and pieces that lead up to it. And I really look at career change of any kind, or defining and developing and finding each of our ideal careers as a continuous process, as a continuous refinement process, where you're just building the stage to the next level of refinement to allow you to thrive. And I think that, on one hand, as I think about your story, there's little tiny elements of that there. But on the other hand, too, I am really very curious about when you look back, what do you feel like was most difficult for you to get to the point where you made that decision? As you think about everything that led up to it, you know, 24 years of career as you look back, what were some of the most difficult pieces?

Celena Singh 21:45
I think getting out of... number one is getting out of my own way. And that self doubt and the fear, because I really didn't talk to a lot of people about it beforehand, which in the past, I would have probably talked to so many people, and again, that just introduces so many layers of okay, well, this person said this, and this. And again, I think COVID helped with this by working from home as I was home, like, all of the time and I had meetings, but it did kind of take away from the environment where you had to make small talk with people. So it was more like you could focus on, like, other things like, oh, "You know what? I really like, you know, not getting... I like getting up early, but I really liked fitting in my workout in the morning, instead of working out, you know, later on in the day." And so I think it's getting out of my own way, not thinking about what everybody else would think, thinking about wow, like, if I do this, like I would be the first person in my family to do something like this. And you know, in my family, it's like, you know, my father started working very young, my mother started working very young, and they still work in their 70s, which is okay, it's good for them. And there is a balance, and we didn't have that. And that's where I was thinking, "Well, they're not gonna understand, like, they're gonna be like, what do you do? What are you going to do all day?" And I think it was just kind of going, but that's okay, that they can feel that way and other people can feel that way. And it really was, "What do you do? What do I think? And how do I want to live? And, what examples do I want to set?" You know, and again, going back to the next generation of... and even just like, what does Happen To Your Career talk about is meaningful work and really embodying that, right, is doing things like... in order to do things that mean something, it doesn't mean that you have to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it's actually probably you're working less and gaining so much more. And so it was just kind of a shift in mindset and really all the things I was learning, whether it was yoga, meditation, all types of things that I was learning, it was really embodying that and not just going, "Oh, I have all the knowledge. Now I know what to do." It's actually embodying and practicing all of these things consistently. And that's what really led up to the decision.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:52
When you think about what helped you along the way, I heard you say earlier, getting out of your own way, but also I heard you say, try not to worry about or try not to think about what other people are thinking. And certainly that has influenced a lot of your choices in the past and a variety of ways, both good and maybe potentially less good for you. However, in this case, you were able to move past that and focus more on what you wanted and being okay with the situation if someone else thought, "Hey, that's not the right thing for you." So what helped you move past that? It's really what I would be interested in understanding because it's one thing to say it, it's another thing to do it.

Celena Singh 24:35
Setting boundaries was one thing with a lot of people. My parents thought I was crazy. They said, "Can you go back? Like, can you retract that email?" And I was like, I don't want to. And I said, "I can, actually" and I gave myself actually two months, not just because I was going to retract, it was more I wanted to make sure I felt like I owed the company that two months to, you know, transition all of that good stuff. And it was like, I had to set some boundaries with my parents, I had to have some really hard conversations with them because I live right beside them too. So it's like, you know, they're like, "You can't do this, like, you know, this, this and this." And I went, and we there was all like, they're amazing people, it's just that was what they believed, now you just keep working. And, you know, what about your pension? You're not going to get all of this. And I'm like, "I know. I know that I've worked all of these years. And those things, they, you know, money, you know, when we have to live and all that good stuff. And I want to enjoy life." I said both my parents started working very... have been working since... my dad was six when he started working, my mom was like, 12. And I said, "I want you to be proud of my career, and all of the other things you don't even know that I can do that I want to improve on." And they're like, "But what do you mean?" And I'm like, "Did you know that I'm going to start, like, I would like to start a podcast?" And they're like, "what is that?" You know, they're like, "How much money is that going to pay you?" I'm like, "Well, that's the thing. Like I've set my life up to..." so I explained them "I set my life up. So I don't have to worry about that. And that I can shift. I don't need to you know, all of these things that I used to think that made me happy, I don't need those things anymore. I want you both to see that the hard work that you've put in and sacrifices, now that I don't have to work as hard. And then the next generation doesn't have to work as hard." It definitely helped having that conversation. At first they were looking at me like I had three heads. And I said "Yeah, I mean, I don't think you can be in a normal mindset to do it. I mean, you definitely need to be in a mindset where it's okay what everybody else thinks. But you don't have to do what they say. It's okay. Thank you for your feedback. And be very conscientious of who you're asking for feedback from" because, yep, some people in my life would have talked to me for hours about why this was the wrong decision. So my circle of friends really changed after I made the decision. I had many, many people sending me emails, asking me what lottery I won.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:08
I didn't see anything on the news.

Celena Singh 27:10
Yeah, exactly. Saying I won the lottery of life made no sense to most of the people I worked with, because that's what I felt like, I felt like I won the lottery of life. So that I heard on a podcast, I think it was just on Monday that you had with Liz, and she was talking about the book, the second mountain, I was like, "Oh my gosh, that's a book that I read in 2019." That it was such a major book in my shift, as well as that book. And there's a book called "A Choice" and the "Gift", like all of these books, there's a little piece of it that helped me to make, you know, that change and going okay, leaving, I felt like it was in that valley. And now I'm coming up that second mountain and now I'm, like, just like, "Hey, you know what, the sky's the limit." I didn't think there was any other company or any other place I could go, you know, with my age. And just because I spent so many years in a company and the culture that, frankly, it's just very difficult to break that mindset that you may not fit in anywhere else. I didn't fit in there anyway. So it's okay, I will fit in somewhere.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:15
I think that that is definitely something that I've heard many times over in conversations with people that, you know, what if I don't, and then whether it's fit in, or any number of other things after that, like fill in the blank here. And it's that line of thinking that is really normal for us as humans, it is built into how we're hardwired. And it is a big component of human psychology. And I think the studies that I've seen on how we evaluate loss, and much, much greater and we give so much more weight to that potentially, even loss that isn't even a real thing, like you said, you know, "I didn't fit in there anyway." So the fact that you are perceiving that you might lose something that you didn't even have, is still getting time and attention. And that's normal for us as humans, however, being able to move through that is very, very difficult, and being able to understand that that's what's at play, and again, I just want to say congratulations on that one, you began to recognize that and we're doing something about it the entire time. And also it leads me to the next question of you afterwards, after you left, began experimenting, it sounds like with a variety of different areas. And I'm curious, would you be willing to share some of those experiments? I know you did start a podcast and we'd love to hear more about that. But also what other ways have you experimented and also what have you learned about what creates a much more fulfilling career for you?

Celena Singh 29:39
One interesting thing when I was working with Alistair is we did the design experiments and I really love doing that. So, you know, I started doing informational interviews, I reached out to a few people that, you know, through other contacts and I really enjoy talking to people about you know, their career, not just to careers, but just getting to kind of know them and what they're doing now and so I really enjoy doing that, the informational interviews and I apply for a job, a role actually, with my favorite sports team and which is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:13
Wait, hold on. How have we not had this conversation? Have we had this conversation?

Celena Singh 30:17
I don't know why.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:18
You're a Leafs fan?

Celena Singh 30:19
I am a Leafs fan.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:21
Ah, very cool. We are huge hockey fans here. Seattle has given us the Kraken which personally are having a mediocre first year ever, but we'll get over it. Either way.

Celena Singh 30:33
I'm a Leafs fan. They haven't won in 54 years.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:35
Oh my goodness. Yes. Yeah. Who's like the Boston Red Sox of the NHL? Yes. Pull off the curse. Okay. All right. So you're a Leafs fan. I like you even more now. And also, at the same time, you accepted a... or you applied for a role.

Celena Singh 30:52
I applied for a role, which was a... it actually posted, like shortly after I retired from my job and it was at almost like an apprenticeship to work with a team and they had a coaching apprenticeship and a management. It was like mentorship or apprenticeship geared towards diversity and inclusion, that was part of their diversity inclusion and one of their initiatives was to hire two people either, who are African-American or indigenous or part of a marginalized group. And my husband actually sent me the posting, and he said, "You totally need to apply." And I read it. And I talked to Alistair about it. And, you know, I actually ended up saying this on my podcast, I talked about it, it didn't work out. I mean, but going through the process of applying, they asked to do, not just send your resume, they actually also asked you to do a video, or a cover letter or a slide deck on who you were, like, personally. And so I did a slide deck. And I had no idea what Fiverr was until Alistair told me what Fiverr was, and...

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:58
Context, Fiverr is a place where you can go and like... I've used Fiverr many times, you know, when we needed to get some graphic design done, when we need to get a project created. It's a place where people with different skill sets can post jobs or what they call gigs to be able to have people that have those needs meet up with the people who have the skills to be able to do them, kind of, like an Upwork or similar.

Celena Singh 32:23
Kind of like to go for Bolton boards, right, like they used to put stuff on job boards. So now it's like this. So I actually hired, you know, worked with somebody on Fiverr to put my... I actually did a slide deck and I put pictures in it of my, like, who am I and how I connected with the Maple Leafs, like when I was three years old. So like around 1977, because of my dad. My dad started watching hockey, my dad, you know, came to Canada, as we're from in 1970. My parents originally from Guyana, and my dad wanted to, you know, be the best Canadian ever. So he you know, loves hockey, loves, you know, we have a baseball team. And I will always, you know, wanted to be like dad, and connect a lot very closely with my dad. So I wanted to know everything about hockey. And so I put a lot of that in my presentation about me and you know, my connection with my dad and the team. And also where I grew up, I was the only, well, everybody in my class was white in first eight years of my life. And so knowing about hockey was everybody talks about hockey. So I mean, I was pretty popular because I knew all the stats, and I was really great at sports. So then people stop teasing you or bullying you because you're like everybody else. And I was actually better because I was really great at sports, like I was amazing at sports. And still am, like I still love sports. And so I applied for the job. And I was not the successful applicant. And I was okay with that, because I received a really amazing letter from the General Manager. And it was you know, they basically just said that they really liked my presentation. And basically, there was a better fit, and I was okay, because I really enjoyed the process more than anything. Like, I would have done that job for free, or what I would have learned there. And I think I feel like I had something also to offer, not just what they would have given me, I had something to offer. So I think it would just been a great thing to, you know, tell my, you know, my nieces and nephews, kids when I get older, you know, another thing that I did, which is pretty cool.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:31
That's amazing. What do you feel like you learned out of that experience?

Celena Singh 34:35
I learned that there were just so many opportunities out there that I was not aware of, and that I have a lot of transferable skills, I have a lot of life experience that it means something and it didn't feel like it ever meant something before so and I feel like every, you know, whether it's roll on my podcast or whatever I'm doing, I feel like I'm worthy of it and I belong with, you know, with the things that I'm doing now.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:00
Why do you feel, from your perspective, because you've lived this a little bit, but what do you feel makes it so difficult when you are in the same organization or same role or same anything for a long period of time to be able to see what else is out there? Because I just heard you say two things that I believe some of the biggest challenges. One, I heard you say that it was difficult to just flat out didn't know all the things that could be out there. And you're right, there's so much out there, and even things that aren't actually out there can be created too. And then the other thing I heard you say, too, is that, well, it sounded like it was difficult to understand what the skills actually transferred outside of the environment that you'd been in so long. So on one hand, what do you think that makes it especially challenging? Why? Where did you see that for yourself? And then on the other hand, I'm curious what helped you begin to see that.

Celena Singh 35:53
I think you get very comfortable when you're in an environment where you can stay in your job, you can, you know, go in other jobs in the company, and you just, "Oh okay, so I've got all these things in place, you know, I've got the pension, yay. My parents are gonna be happy, I've got this, I've got that." And then this comfort, you feel comfortable. And the thing is, when I thought I was comfortable, actually, that's when my health would bother me more, because it was inside was going, "no, you're not comfortable." That's not what comfortable means. Like, that's not the only thing that you need to be comfortable later in life. And that's where I was like, "I really need to start paying attention to what is my body telling me. I mean, I love to exercise and I listen to my body that way. But I wasn't listening to my body when it came to these messages that you know, these signs that were coming to me through my health going, no, that is not what being comfortable feels like." And that's where the shift happened is when I was talking to people outside of my corporation, who I was friends, working with Alistair and I think with all the coaches, you know, you have your accountability team know what happens when things get hard. And not one person on my accountability team was somebody that I worked with, like, and because I wanted it to be... because I knew this was going to be something different, so I already knew I wanted to leave that environment, that corporate environment, and I thought, "Well, I don't need somebody saying no, you need to stay here." So the accountability team members that I had were either people who were self employed, or who had done something, maybe a different story, obviously different story than mine, maybe didn't wait as long as I did. So that really helped me to kind of see like, "Okay, so these feelings that I'm feeling they're actually true, like other people are saying, like, yep, you need to listen to those things." And I learned some skills on how to do that, whether it was meditating, or understanding better what is fear, like fear was a big thing, self doubt was a big thing. Who's gonna want to hire me after spending 24 years in the company? You know, I had to work hard for those roles and interview for them. But I knew exactly what I needed to do, where, you know, it was getting out of my comfort zone and doing things that, you know, getting into the areas that I really wanted to and going, "Yeah, I can totally do this if I want to. And I can learn things. I have transferable skills, and I'm really good at learning things quickly, adopting really well, I love... I didn't realize how much I like change until I left my company" because we talked about change all the time and I think it's that fine line that people want change. But then when it happens, it's the... it's like, "oh, my gosh, all this change", right? So I got into that kind of, you know, habit of going, yeah, we want all these changes, and then when they would happen, people wouldn't like them. And it was be, like, "No, but this is amazing." And how do you sell that if people like around you are just so used to change happening take so long? And I was just like, "Oh, we can change this really quickly. Let's do this and this and this." Like, oh, this is how people spend 25 years in the company, and walk away with a pension and then go, "I really don't know what I did", like, that should make a difference. You know.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:53
I think that's fascinating that once you remove yourself from that environment, that you realize that "Oh, I actually love change in so many different ways" it sounds like you didn't fully know about when you were there. That's really interesting.

Celena Singh 39:09
I was afraid of change.

Scott Anthony Barlow 39:10
Yeah. When you think back, I want you to go and put yourself in the shoes that you were in three, four years ago, when you started getting inklings of, "hey, this is really not right for me. And it's not been right for a long period of time." And you started... just were starting considering, "Hey, maybe there could be or should be, or might be something different" because I think that's where a lot of people are at in one way or another where they're just considering "Hey, should I make a change?" And you know, quite frankly, a lot of people would consider this type of change a pretty, pretty large change, right? So what advice would you give to those people that are considering "should I make this change? Should I prioritize something different in my life?"

Celena Singh 39:52
The advice that I would give is, I think it's really hard to do this and I really feel like people sat for 5 or 10 minutes and thought about, you know, instead of looking at, like you're looking at a menu and think like, there's so many things on the menu and go, "Okay, I've only picked the same thing every day or every year for how long." And there's so many things on there and think about, like, "What other things do you want on that menu?" And you don't have the solution it, it's really like, "What are your values? And what is it that you want? And do those things actually match up?" And it's good, and knowing that and surrounding yourself with people who... a very small group of people, who will be very unbiased with whatever you want to, you can talk to people, but I think having that conversation with yourself and saying, "This is what I want. This is what I don't want. How am I living my life right now?" And then, you know, looking at solutions, like possible solutions, I think, but doing those exercise, like that exercise, it seems like it's easy, it's not simple, or simple, it's not easy in doing it, I feel like it will make that shift, of course, this makes sense. I need to do this. And it'll help to take away the fear and the self doubt. And like you said, it doesn't happen overnight but it's taking that one step towards, you know, what you really want.

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:15
That's amazing. I love the idea of thinking about it as a menu and then asking, "Hey, am I okay with what's on the menu right here? Or do I want there to be more on the menu? Or do I need to go into an entirely different restaurant? I don't know."

Celena Singh 41:27
Exactly.

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:29
Yeah, that is a fantastic way to think about it. I know I said this earlier, but I just wanted to say again, really, really nice work here is always very difficult. Because when I get to have these conversations with people like you, Celena, who have done such a great job prioritizing different things than they were prioritizing in their life, and continuing to prioritize those pieces and parts that are most important to them going forward, we can never represent all the things that had to happen and all the work that had to be done in order to get there. It just seems as if it can be so easy and it is not easy, and I know that. So really, really wonderful job. And congratulations again. I appreciate it. I was super curious about when you said sports broadcasting earlier, was that tied into some of the reasons that you love the Leafs and hockey, and so many sports, what caused you to be interested in sports broadcasting?

Celena Singh 42:22
I watched sports from, you know, the time I was three years old, until when I started, I did sports broadcasting for a year, I always saw men doing it. And I thought I can do that. I know the stats. I know all this stuff. I never played, unfortunately, my parents couldn't afford, you know, for me to play. And I just... I was so good at the stats. And I just loved just when I would watch, like, there's a lot of great broadcasters out there that I would like to listen to, and I would like, "I would love to do that." Just to, maybe get more females interested in sports, right? Because they're, you know, my mother could care less to watch hockey. And the reason that you know, when I said I wanted to be a sports broadcaster, originally, she got it, because I used to drag her to the, you know, the local drugstore to buy like a... I don't care about my age, because at the time I was like, I don't know, 9 or 10 years old, it was like 25 cents for like the Saturday paper. And I love to cut the pages out, like, the pictures out and make scrapbooks. And then I would write little things about what I would say if I was a broadcaster. And that's really why. And I think that's why I started my podcast because I can do that now. And you know, I don't talk about sports all the time. And I love being in front of, like, watching you on the mic there is just... or just hearing you on the mic, you know, on your podcast, I was like, "I want to do that. I think it's so cool." And it's a lot of work. And it's a lot of fun work because whatever I put out there I put, you know, use a sports, you know, I put 110% into it and more. I put my heart and soul into that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:51
That's amazing. And I think it's so fun to see how little tidbits of the... like once you start paying attention to what you want, again, a little tidbits of the past start to pop up these little indications. So that's really fun to see that happen in that way for you. That's awesome. Anything else that we didn't already talk about or cover that you think would be useful for our audience to know? And if there's not anything that's totally okay, but open mic time, Celena.

Celena Singh 44:18
I just want to thank, you know, have you read the book "Playing big"?

Scott Anthony Barlow 44:22
I have had it quoted to me so many times that I feel like I've read it but I have not actually read it.

Celena Singh 44:28
I just started reading it two weeks ago and the person who told me to read this was... I was saying to her that "I was feeling some self doubt about where to take my podcast next. I want to start interviewing people." And she's like, "But you're so good. Like you sounds pretty good. And you know, when you're speaking yourself. So what's going on?" And I'm like, "I just found this self doubt that I'm not going to be good at it" and she goes, "Who's good at it?" Llike she goes, "Have you heard some of those?" And I said "No, that's true." And in "Playing Big" they talk about how fear is defined in two ways and how this actually helped me even with this podcast today, you know, this interview is there's two types of fear– one is the what if, worst case scenarios. And the other is what happens when you're in a place where you know, it's bigger than you expected. So expansion happens or energy gets better, or you actually connect to with your true self. That's a different type of fear. And I was like, "Oh my gosh, I was totally feeling the other type of fear. And I had no idea. I thought it was the what if that, oh my gosh, what if this happens, you know?" And I don't know, it's something about me that I've learned. And I think that, you know, it's important for people to really look at both of those types of fear and know that there's different ways to navigate them. It's not a one stop, you know, oh, just get over the fear, go get some, you know, hypnosis or something. No, it's more of, like, allow that fear. So sometimes when I meditate, it's like, there's some fear that will creep up. And that's why I listen to the music that I listened to after because it really helps to, it really, truly grounds me to go like, "No, I can do this." like, ground. And then yeah, I can do this. And it's the inner critic versus the inner mentor, they call it, which is amazing.

Scott Anthony Barlow 46:11
I love that.

Celena Singh 46:11
I love it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 46:19
Most of our episodes on Happen To Your Career often showcase stories of people that have identified and found and taken the steps to get to work that they are absolutely enamored with, that matches their strengths, and is really what they want in their lives. And if that's something that you're ready to begin taking steps towards, that is awesome, you can actually get on the phone with us and our team and we can have a conversation to find the very best way that we can help. It's super informal. And we try to understand what your goals are, where you want to go, and what specifically you need our help with. And then we figure out the very best type of help for you, whatever that looks like, and sometimes even customize that type of help. And then we make it happen. The really easy way to schedule a conversation with our team is just go to scheduleaconversation.com, that scheduleaconversation.com, and find a time that works best for you. We'll ask you a few questions, as well. And then we'll get you on the phone to figure out how we can get you going to work that you really want to be doing that fits your strengths, that you love, and you're enamored with, Hey, I can't wait to hear from you. Until next week, adios. I'm out.

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