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April 22, 2024 56 mins

When Grace was handed her layoff notice, she faced a crossroads that would redefine her entire career trajectory. Her story unfolds in our latest episode, where she shares how the seeds of entrepreneurship were sown in the aftermath of corporate upheaval. 

We explore how her journey from corporate castaway to thriving independent consultant is a beacon for anyone feeling the tremors of professional instability.

Stepping away from the corporate rat race, we engage in a heartfelt conversation about what success truly means. We break down the societal constructs that often confine us to a narrow view of achievement, discussing instead a life where personal joy and contentment are the true measures of a job well done. It's about crafting a career that doesn't overshadow our existence but enhances it, allowing space for those cherished midday walks and the freedom to be present for the ones we love.

As we wrap up our dialogue,  Grace and I share personal experiences of growth and the profound impact of choosing a path lined with purpose and passion. For anyone standing at a career crossroads or looking to infuse their work with deep-seated values, this episode is an empowering guide, offering a glimpse into the vibrant world of independent work and the joy it can bring.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
All right, everybody.
As you just heard, this isanother episode of the Modern
I'm your host, jan Olmacy, thehead of community here at Indie
Collective, and today I'msitting down with Grace.
As an accomplished strategicleader with over a decade of
experience, she has a provenrecord of maximizing returns on
investment in people by leadingstrategic initiatives in

learning and development,employee engagement, diversity,
equity and inclusion.
She has expertise in developingnew L&D departments, designing
learning-centric programs andleveraging data analytics to
engage, upskill and empowerexceptional talent.
I'm super excited for thisconversation today because, as

all of you listening know, thatis a large part of our mission
here at Indie Collective isempowering people, and so, grace
, I'm super, super grateful thatyou were willing to take the
time to sit down with me andwelcome to the Modern

Speaker 2 (00:55):
Yeah, I'm so glad that you allowed me to come and
join the podcast.
It's lovely to have a chance totalk with you again.
I always enjoy our conversation, thank, you.

Speaker 1 (01:05):
Thank you always enjoy our conversation.
Thank you, thank you so much.
Yeah, so just a general jumpingoff, point right A, you are a
fall of 23 graduate Yep Fall of23.

Speaker 2 (01:20):
What a day, what a time, what a cohort.

Speaker 1 (01:23):
That was a really, really fun cohort.
Not that if you're listening tothis and you were in other
cohorts secrets out.
Every cohort is my favoritecohort, but no, I really
genuinely think that that groupof people was super, super
special and seeing all of yourenergy as you kind of came
together was really, reallyawesome.
And, to your point, I love thefact that we were able to have

multiple office hours throughoutthe course of the session and
So I know a lot about yourbackstory.
But for those that arelistening, what was kind of your
entrance into independent workor what was that drive that told
you maybe I should start to domy own thing?

How did you end up there?

Speaker 2 (02:07):
Yeah, it's so funny.
Unlike many independent leadersand those that run their own
businesses, I was dragged intoindependence kicking and
For those that have heard Sam'sstory, I was in a very similar
boat, I would say.
One of the many casualties ofthe great startup layoff of 2023
seems to be continuing into2024.

I took it hard for many folks inthat space.
You had worked for ages and youdid all the things that
supposedly checked you off torun and build a career, and
suddenly it wasn't moving in theway that you wanted, and so I
had an opportunity to reflect.
I traveled, I thought aboutwhat I did and then I thought,
well, I could help people dothis myself.

I know enough now to do itmyself.
And so I started small.
Someone needed some help withHR and I said, oh well, I know
how to do that.
And then that went well, enoughthat they went cool.
So can we keep doing that?
And how do I pay you more often?
And I was like, oh well, thatfeels like a business now,
doesn't it?
And so here we are and I willsay five, six clients later,

after my very first kickoff,brand new business didn't have
an LLC from 2023 fall.
Maybe I made for this, eventhough I really, really for my
whole career, did not want to doit yeah, I love that.

Speaker 1 (03:30):
I remember that being one of the original
conversations that we had atlike the very beginning of the
indie cohort and stuff.
I think it was right after ourdesigning for independence week
um you know, and you had enteredthis headspace where you're
like, wow, I actually need todesign around this now.
Uh, whether I want to or not,I'm being almost pulled in that
direction, like I'm not havingto push, I'm being pulled, and

that's one thing I actuallywould love to.
Maybe, you know, just kind ofsit in that thought for a second
and have you elaborate on maybewhat that felt like, because I
think so many people believethat entrepreneurship has to be
this, you know calling from yoursoul.
I really empathize with thatjourney because you know I'm

coming from the nursing andclinical psych background.
Like I had a very stable careerat the hospital, you know, on
track to get promoted to nursemanager.
I was in the military and allthat other stuff and then, for
whatever reason, people wantedto keep buying websites off of
me and then it was ads and thenit was all this other kind of
I'm like shit, like I have tostart a company.

Speaker 2 (04:32):
It's basically it.

Speaker 1 (04:33):
Yeah, I had to take a choice one way or the other and
I ended up leaning in thatdirection.
So there's um I forget who toldme this, it was another indie
that said this phrase.
That has always really stuck inmy mind, and it's the balance
between seeking opportunity andseizing opportunity.
That's in front of you howsometimes, when we get so caught

up trying to seek opportunity,we have blinders on and we
refuse to kind of acknowledgewhat's right in front of us,
versus constantly trying to keepan open mind space.
And to your point, I think yousaid it really really well
acknowledging Ooh, I have enoughknowledge at this point that I
could seize this opportunity andthen really kind of lean into

So, what, let's talk about it.
Yeah, what, what I don't wantto say superpowers, cause maybe
that's kind of like a little bittoo deep, but you know, if you
were being drug into it kickingand screaming what?

Speaker 2 (05:31):
dragged you in.
What dragged you in?
You know what?

Speaker 1 (05:33):
what was that feeling that kept going like, oh, this
is super uncomfortable, but I'mgoing to keep doing it anyway.

Speaker 2 (05:38):
Yeah, yeah, and that's a really important thing.
I think of anything that Iwould love to impart to those
that are kind of thinking aboutthis and like, oh gosh, can I?
And I think maybe, but it'sonly been once.
Is it enough to do my wholelife around?
What I found was, in thatbalance of seek and be open to
because I was seeking so hardfor something full time I was

much more open to the process ofentrepreneurship, of having
good conversations, of havinghonest relationship building
conversations, of talking topeople about their problems, of
understanding where theirbusinesses are going, because
for them it was like well, I'mjust here to help.
I have things that I know I canbring.

You need things like templatesand a generalized plan and some
presentations that sing and amessage that matters for your
I know how to make that, so canI help you.
And people were so excited tohave me help that I found, even

as I was seeking so hard to findmy next climb, a corporate
ladder that wasn't, frankly,going nearly as well as just
having a conversation withsomebody and saying I think you
need this and I think I can giveit to you.
Can we work this out and I helpyou do it.
It solved so many problems forthe people I was talking with

that they just kept coming and Igot to a point where I quite
literally had too many clients.
And it is entirelynetwork-based,
conversation-based, and havingthese moments where I'm just
being open and honest and, infact, leaning more into my
authenticity than I ever did ina corporate space, and it seems

that the universe agrees with me.
So I'm going to keep doing it.
For the time being, I find itto be.
I have found a lot of joy in itwhen I thought it would be
impossible, which is such afunny thing to say for corporate
knowledge workers.
Right, like you really do.
You have had your system.

You finish your grades, you goto the military or to the
training program or to the gradprogram.
There is a set of things to doand it's important to remember.
All of those sets of things todo came out of somebody else's
head and you are just as capableof having a set of things to do
that people follow, that theyfind joy in, that.
They find careers and hope andopportunities to grow in as

anybody else.
They all started as businessessomehow, right, whether they're
northwestern or a taco shop.
They started as a business.
So, yeah, that process is notas inaccessible as you think it
is and I think if I could havepeople recognize that it doesn't

take tossing out all of yourlife and never sleeping again
and hustling and knocking ondoors.
When you gotta do a little bitof that, you gotta hustle, but
like you can have a great lifeand still do work that is
entirely fulfilling and it's thework that you want to do yeah,

yeah, that takes my headspacetwo different places and I, I
think, one of them.

Speaker 1 (09:06):
I want to say it's a Steve Jobs quote, I'm not 100%
sure, but that the moment thatyou gain freedom inside of
entrepreneurship is when youlook around the world and
realize that it was designed bysomebody no smarter than you,
and I forget where I read that.

It might have been in one ofthe biography books that I you
know, I'm obsessed with readingbiographies of people like that
and I remember hearing that andbeing like, oh shit, that's
You know, somebody started outas a kid and went to school and
did all this other stuff.
I had the privilege growing upof knowing Dr Forrest Byrd

personally, the gentleman thatinvented the ventilator, and I
remember, like sitting aroundour dinner table at our house as
a kid and he would always sayhe was like I am a victim and a
vessel of fate, time andcircumstance.
I didn't choose to be born intoa family where my father was an
engineer for the Ford MotorCompany and knew Henry Ford.

He's like I didn't, you know,choose to be drafted into World
War II and you know, yes, I gotput into that position and then
became a pilot and all thisother kind of stuff.
But like, sometimes there'sthings that life just imposes on
you and then you have to kindof navigate them.
And then the second half ofthat is more like an indie,
collective, specific thing,which is our three L's right the

living, lifestyle and lovingrelationships and you just kind
of hit on that there at the end,which I am.
It's one of the most passionatepoints that I have about coming
into the program, because Ifind that so many of us, myself
included before I entered theprogram was I don't know if
indoctrinated is a very strongword, but you know, maybe the

frame that I had in my mind hadbeen facilitated by school and
corporate America and you know,everything else that.
Here's the sandbox that you'reallowed to play in.
Here's your rule set.
Here's the sandbox that you'reallowed to play in.
Here's your rule set.
Here's the checklist Check toyours.
You just said earlier checkthese things off, you'll be good
Everything goes on.
And then you realize, oh,that's somebody else's checklist

is imposing on me.
And when I got into those threeL's I was like, oh wait, I can
actually build my life aroundactually having room for a
lifestyle and lovingrelationships in my life.
How did those three L's hit youwhen you initially came into
the program?

Speaker 2 (11:31):
It was a huge piece of the program in that, like,
I'm familiar with the idea ofjob crafting, right.
So this is kind of a new way ofreally, within the corporate
space, thinking through yourpurpose crafting the job with
just the things you want, thatyou're really really good at.
That stand out right.
People are starting to thinkabout that because you're often
asked in any sort of business towear like approximately 47

different hats at any given time, and so people are starting to
get with this idea of like oh, Icould craft within this
corporate structure the kind ofday-to-day like 70 to 80% of
your life is spent at work,day-to-day.
That would maybe make me alittle bit more pleased with my
The thing that was sorevolutionary about indie was

why did you impose walls withinthe things that would make your
day-to-day better?
It doesn't have to be withinthe corporate set of things, or
even the startup set of thingsor whatever hot new industry is
going to make you a whole bunchof money, but I swear it's not
going to be like working everyday because you were living your
dream, like there's always thatsell.

But the idea is and I thinkit's really been a bit of a
journey for me is that in thatpath there are markers of
success, and I started tointernalize those markers of
success as the ones that weremost important to me on my own
And they aren't.
I can't tell you how manyC-suites I've worked with and

how many leaders I've heard, orhow many even entrepreneurs I've
worked with, and some of thosepeople are just not my people.
I don't want to go fight andscrape for VC money by
backstabbing my folks to get mylatest product off the ground.
I want to go on trips with thepeople I love.
I want to be able to be therefor them when they have a

tragedy in their life.
I don't want to have to go oh,I'm sorry, it's work.
I can't be there for your babyor the death of your parent or
the whatever.
And I want to have enough moneyto be able to help them as I
And what that doesn't mean isthat I got a big C-suite and a
corner office and I'm on planesall the time and maybe I have a

Looking at you consultants Likethat doesn't mean that's not
That doesn't have to be whatsuccess has to be.
And as soon as I was in theposition where I had to free my
mind from the idea that successis only these things.
I'd actually think about whatdoes success feel like for me,
like if I don't have to compareit.

I mean, you know, most folk area little bit type A.
No one really loves losing.
If you're winning, who are youcompeting against?
If it's not yourself, likewhat's the point?
And so once you kind of havethat moment, you go actually, I
know I'm supposed to strive, Iknow I continue to want to learn

and grow, but is it money, isit power, is it prestige, or is
it the people and places andwork that I love?

Speaker 1 (14:41):
I don't even know what that profound.

Speaker 2 (14:43):
I love that I was going so many different
directions right now, as Ialways do when we have

Speaker 1 (14:48):
But I think what you're really tapping on for me
and what I've consistently heardfrom people, especially as they
get, you know, two years out,three years out from their indie
graduation period and theirbusinesses are humming and
they're not having to work ashard for referrals Because, to
your point, there is this phase.
You know, no matter what you door what you start, whenever

that there's initial part, thatis just a grind.
You know, it's yep, learningall the templates, it's making
sure all of your like you havelogistical stuff in place, legal
stuff's taken care of.
You know, you, maybe you haveto stay up and go time.
Taxes, yeah, there's all ofthis.
I was just I spent three hoursdoing taxes yesterday with my
Like there's just word, stuffthat happens right, um.

But I've also had conversationswith those people that are two,
three years out.
A lot of that stuff gets takenoff the plate and then they look
at their life and that nowthey're starting to get
questions from their friendswhere they're like why are you
working all the time?
And I will get into officehours and, you know, have
coaching sessions with peopleand say, well, do you feel like
you're working all the time?

And they're like no, I don'tfeel like I'm working all the
time and I'm like well then, whyare you allowing their
perception of your life to makeyou feel bad about working all
the time?
quote unquote when your life isso in alignment that it doesn't
feel like that.
Yes, you know.

Speaker 2 (16:14):
And for those people that are asking that to your
point, know um, and for thosepeople that are asking that to
your point, to your point, thosepeople are asking that it is a
reflection on their lives.
It is a reflection on theirlife and that is really hard
when you're first starting outon this thing that maybe not
even your family thinks is agreat idea.
Maybe not even your likesignificant other is like well,

at least one of us has a job.
Like you know, you might getthat kind of feedback.
But as you think about, do youwake up terrified of monday
Right, do you find yourself onfriday going, oh, just three
more hours and I'm done withthese people.
Or are you going, I'm going toget some stuff knocked out, I'm

really excited to get this thingdone.
And then on Monday we're goingto get this done and, man, when
I get a chance to talk to thisperson, I'm going to tell them
this thing that's going tochange their world.
If you're having that experience, then you're having better work
than you were doing before.
Yeah, yep, if that's happening,you're winning at work, if

there's winning to be had, likeyou're finding fulfillment in
the ways that you do and theother thing that I think is so
different is that, like,especially for those that are
making that transition from likea real, like I was dyed in the
wool deep in the corp, uh, deep,deep in the corp um, corporate
kind of experience you don'talways work a nine to five or an

eight to five or a eight toeight or whatever it is right.
You were gonna have those dayswhere you were like in it deep
and then you're gonna have arandom thursday where you're
like I'm gonna take a walk andsit outside and think about what
I want to say about myself onmy website.
Both of those are working, butin a formalized business they

would consider that just timeoff, and most people are
spending their time off doingthat work anyway, on top of
their nine to five.
Yep, think of the true timethat you actually spend working
and think of the time that youhave to now.
Think of ideas of of excitingchanges, of ways to grow that
you would not have had withinthe big machine system and, like

all of that counts as forwardprogress.

Speaker 1 (18:31):
I think jazz joseph does a really great job of
conveying this.
She's an indie collectivespeaker, kind of like a CRM
expert and sales enablementexpert, but she put out a
LinkedIn post a while ago thatreally hit home with me and it
was a picture of her and herfriend having brunch and she

said something along the linesof jazz I'm totally paraphrasing
this, so don't hold me to itbut something along the lines of
I can't believe this counts aswork, because she framed it in a
way where it's like meinvesting in my social health,
me investing in my balance as anindividual, me spending time

with friends who are also in theentrepreneurial space and
holding that space for eachother.
You know, on the back end ofthat, a lot of those
relationships are those.
You know we we call them ourarmy of advocates at Indie.
Collective but a lot of thosepeople make it onto your quote
unquote list of 200, right, theyare people now that you're

having these regular chats withand you get to count, like even
today, me and you getting thechance to dive into leadership
and development and you know allof these ideas around the pains
and positives of building intoyour business.
It's probably a conversationthat we would have gladly had
without being on the podcast,but now we get to count it as
work because we have mics turnedon.

Speaker 2 (19:55):
Nailed it way to get a gold star today, jan john god
I keep saying jan it's all good.
I'm one of these days I amliterally reading it off the
screen it's all right.

Speaker 1 (20:08):
I still calls me jan every now and then in his
presentations, and I've knownthat dude for like four years

Speaker 2 (20:12):
So All right.
Well, I feel like I got a minipass.
But, yes, no, I hear you.
You know this process has been.
It is transformative, and Ithink that's something also to
not get rid of in this.
A lot of folks think, okay, I'mgoing to start a business and
the business is going to runjust like Microsoft.
Nah, man, that's not.

I'm going gonna start abusiness, we're gonna be home
depot in two years.
No, like, what are you talkingabout?
You wouldn't.
You wouldn't even hold yourselfto that standard, right like
you, you wouldn't hold your bestfriend to that standard.
So why are you out here going?
Oh well, I don't have a threelayered career page for the

virtual assistant.
I need to have that does like.
Yes, there's some core thingsfor your business, but I think
one of the things that was sotransformative for me was to
realize that, like, a businesscan run on a heck of a lot less
than you think that it needs.

Speaker 1 (21:12):
It's actually wild how little you need once you
actually get something.
You got some basic Google sheetknowledge and you can figure
out how to write some stuff.
I think getting past theimposter syndrome and the
willingness to actually engagewith people is one of the
biggest obstacles.
The tech and the writing orcontent and other stuff like

that Learnable not like crazy,crazy high cost or anything like
that, but just getting yourselfto a point where you're willing
to put yourself out.
There is such a huge block Ithink.

Speaker 2 (21:45):
Yeah, and I think too , with it as well is like you
also don't have to be thehottest content creator on the
block that runs your wholeindustry.
There's a lot of people thatwant that.
There are a whole bunch offolks that are like I am going
to climb that mountain.
It is really important, I think, for folks to recognize and I'm
happy to share my own storyhere.

I posted once about openingthis idea of doing this podcast.
I've been on a couple otherpodcasts, but I focused on
having meaningful conversationswith folks that I knew needed
help, which has made it so.
Now I feel like I havesomething that is worthwhile to
say, or not worthwhile, but atleast that I feel comfortable
posting or talking about orsharing.

Where it isn't.
I need to hit my content numberfor this month, like you do
have to do a little bit of that,but once you're at a point
where you have settled in theidea that this is a part that is
important to me, this work isimportant to me and I have
something meaningful to sayabout it, that's what flows.
It really does flow because youhave something to say and often

, at least in the indie process,you have a lot of people like
but I don't have a contentmachine or a website or a
branded set of powerpoints, orlike a cool logo.
Man ford didn't.
For how long right it was acursive word in a bubble like
lower your ideas and standardsto get started, because doing,

going to do is going to teachyou so much from actually trying
it rather than to continuing totalk about it for years and
years and years at brunch and atthe bar and at restaurants or
in the water cooler with yourfriends, but hating your job
every day and waiting for fiveo'clock to roll around.

Speaker 1 (23:37):
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I actually I think that it'salmost addicting to keep
yourself in that phase becauseit's so easy to get massive
amounts of positivereinforcement from people If
you're like, oh, like I'm goingto do this and like this is the
thing that I have and I havethis idea for this, and people
are like, wow, you're such anout of the box thinker, like

you're really doing this, allthis other kind of stuff, and
you know, if you don't start it,you can continue to go back to
those people and have aconversation about the next
thing that you're thinking ofand probably continue to get
some of that positivereinforcement back.
But there's nothing quite likegoing out and just kind of
starting stuff and gettingthings moving, getting the ball
rolling To your point.
Experience is such an amazingteacher, which actually makes me

want to open a can of wormswith you, because you know,
being inside of the leadershipand development space and then
myself, coming from the like,that's what I did in the
military the last three years ofmy career was leadership and
development trainings and allthat other type of stuff.
So we've had conversationsaround that in the past about

you know what it means toactually set up a structure that
empowers people over a periodof time right, and it keeps them
with the right types of stuffas an entrepreneur, right.
One thing that I consistentlyhear is I left corporate to your
They, I, they had thischecklist.
I joined this company becauseof the values that they had.

They had all this other stuff.
I'm going to go independent.
What would you say to somebodythat doesn't think that they
need to do the same type of workwith themselves as an
independent as that company didto set up their values and stuff
like that?
Like, do you think that you didto set up their values and
stuff like that?
Like, do you think that youhave to set up your own values?

Speaker 2 (25:18):
okay, absolutely.
Um, I think if you're a soloentrepreneur, you should have
some guiding lights.
It might not be like your,perfect for like beautiful
formulated these are 17 tenants.
Don't ever have 17 tenantsthere's too many tenants but
like like you should have a-.

Speaker 1 (25:36):
That just made me choke on my Gatorade.

Speaker 2 (25:37):
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to murder.

Speaker 1 (25:39):
There's no way.

Speaker 2 (25:42):
You should have some guiding lights that talk about
your experience, and I think oneof the big pieces of that are
things like they're reallysimple and so bear with me on
them, but like, when I am off,I'm off, like that.
That's a guiding tenet for me.
It's a part of my life, one tohold you, it's a part of my life

, but like, when I'm here, I amhere, and when I'm off, I'm off,
and then, um, work shouldn'tsuck like the idea that you
should find joy, you should likethe people you work with, and
while things are hard, itshouldn't be like going to a
torturous experience everymoment of every day.
You, as an adult in the world,can change where you work.

If that's working for yourself,if that's working for someone
else, if it's some sort ofblended combination for the two,
you can do that.
And then, I guess, finally, bekind and be courageous, and
those are my three kind ofthings.
If I start off being kind andthen I also act with courage,
then I'm going to do things thatalign with my own personal

I don't ever want to leave aconversation where I regret that
I didn't say the thing that Ithink needed to be said because
I thought that that's whatsomebody thinks they need to
That's not helpful as abusiness as you're growing.
If you have those, then whenyou're continuing to build your
vision, build your mission, youcan stay aligned to the work,

because what can happen is andI'll be give myself as a
transparent example.
I started having theseconversations Can you do this HR
How about this HR thing?
You know there's some other HRthings Benefits, comp, dei,
money, manuals, parties, poniesI don't do ponies, guys or
benefits and comp in real lifebut you get offered every number

of things because people arebuying you, they're buying your
personality, they're buying yourlevel of competence and they're
buying the feeling that you arenot going to treat them poorly.
That's tied to your ownpersonal values.
However, there are things thatyou used to have to put up
within corporate or put upwithin a company or even put up

as a part of someone else'sindependent startup that you
didn't like doing.
One of the biggest benefits inthe indie experience and any
sort of independent businessexperiences you can either
outsource or not do stuff youdon't like doing because you run
the business and it seems likesuch a base level thing, but

without a mission and vision,you can lose that because money
is real hard to say no to,especially if it's coming in,
especially if you're looking atthe backup of your year and
you're like how could I not sayyes to this $100,000 contract?
Doing the thing that I hatedwhen I was at corporate.
I do know how to do it, but Ihated every second of it and I
maybe ruined my marriage.

Don't do it, and the only waythat will stop you in that
moment from doing it is keepingan eye on your values, on what
is important to your mission, onwhat is driving you moving
Otherwise, you say yes tothings that might burn you out
from something that could beamazing for the way that you
grow as a person.

And yeah, have your coreguiding lights.
It doesn't have to be 17 points, but they will serve you well
when you choose, because youwill get to a point where you
can choose what you want to workon.

Speaker 1 (29:08):
Have you heard of the book theParadox of Choice?
I forget.

Speaker 2 (29:15):
No, I've heard the title, I thinkadox of Choice, or
I forget.
No, I've heard the title, Ithink, but I haven't read it.

Speaker 1 (29:20):
So basic, like super summarized, you know idea that's
present inside of that book isbasically an exploration of
different thresholds of choice,Like, if somebody feels like
they have no choices, what doesthat feel like?
How do you navigate it?
What is the optimum range offreedom, I guess, or you know,

he kind of debates the topic ofwhat freedom actually means.
Is it freedom from something oris it freedom to do something,
which is a bucket?
But the last piece is reallywhat's hitting home for me is,
you know, if you don't havethose values in place and let's
say you know, for sake of theIndie Collective Conversation,
we're using the three L's as ouroutline, right, so you have a

vision for your living, you havea vision for the lifestyle you
want that living to generate andyou have a vision for the space
that your loving relationshipsneed to hold.
Those are, and you have subcategories underneath of each of
those right, you define thatout and you paint that picture
What that allows you to do isto not cross this threshold in
the paradox of choice, which ispeople believe that having

limitless options or limitlessopportunity is where you
actually want to live, andthat's false when you get to a
place where you have limitlessoptions and limitless
possibility, it becomesexponentially stressful.
It's so stressful you have noidea what to say yes to, what to
say no to.
You know, do I have to say yesto this?

Because it came through thedoor and, like all of the things
that you just talked about, tothe point where he even
simplifies it down to where,let's say, you know, 30 years
ago, you think about where youwanted to have dinner, you maybe
had five options.
If you lived in a big city, 15within walking distance.
Right, you can pull up yourphone now and DoorDash or Google

or whatever, and immediatelyyou're hit with 50 different
options of where you could go.
And he was like so, multiplythat throughout all the
decisions we have to make in aday.
Instead of having to process 40things a day just to eat,
you're processing hundreds, andso I'm super a big advocate for

setting those values to act aslike a filter.

Speaker 2 (31:31):
Yeah, A set of guidelines A set of guidelines.

Speaker 1 (31:34):
A set of guidelines.
It doesn't't need to be to yourpoint, it doesn't need to be
crazy narrow, especially whenyou're first starting out.
Sometimes you do have to takethe job, you know, to close out
the back half of the yearbecause you need to meet and
But independence in in my mind,um, I'd be curious.
Maybe this is like the nextbucket we can explore, like what
it being independent actuallymeans, or what independence

actually is.
Yeah, but it's not just beingan entrepreneur.
I've seen this over and overagain in indie that being
independent is the ability tomake the choice without being
under duress.
Right, if I want to go fulltime, because that's what makes
sense in my life right now, I'mgoing to go full time at this
job because I can't pass it up,but I have the skill set and the

infrastructure set up that, ifI want to go independent, I can
also do that.
If I am fully independent and Iwant to make more that year, I
can be more aggressive on thesales.
And I can choose to do that, ifI don't want to because I want
to travel or spend time withfamily more, or friends, or
wherever I wanted to go, I canchoose to not pursue those

additional deals and stuff.

Speaker 2 (32:45):
So what does that kind of line up?
I see you nodding your head.
Oh, yes, there's a lot ofnodding happening here.
I would say to kind of speaking, kind of connecting those ideas
, that idea of too many choicesright, that's often part of the
reason people don't start.
It's like, well, I'm good atthis, I'm good at this and I had
all these business ideas and Iwas going to go be a voice actor
and then I was going to start atravel agency and I also do
great at yoga and maybe I shouldlearn Pilates and also maybe I

should be a data analyst Likeyou've got 75,000 things that
one could be.
It's a very kid draw on a pagesituation.
Remind yourself of how folks inyour current boring corporate
worlds in my own current boringcorporate worlds, like you, love
a good corporate world.
How did leaders make decisions?
It's almost always threes andfives.

You do something over fivethings, too many things.
We're not going to decideAnything in this meeting.
You know that meeting that yousat in you're like cool.
So we're only on object two andit's been 75 minutes and I
don't know if anything's goingto come out of this.
Make your own life like that.
Narrow your options a littlebit to at least three to five

big buckets and then try themand even with that, make it at
the end of the year thing.
Use that as a learningexperience.
If it is like I got to takethis job because I need this
cash, great, take the job forthe cash, but then go.
Okay, what was good out of this?
So in case this job comes again,I know which part I'm okay with

and I know which part I couldangle into something new.
Then also with the idea ofchoices, that was a huge part of
this indie collectiveexperience for me.
I have a vision in my brainabout 2024, 2025, grace, as you
do, you spend the time to thinkof your vision.
Who does that?
You do it for companies all thetime.
You rarely do it for you.
So I spent some time to thinkabout it and I'm very much a

make a plan and go andeventually get there.
I don't know always how it'sgoing to happen, but I'm going
to get there.
My goal was, by the end of 2024,to clear a pretty sizable
amount of cash and my other goalwas to have three different
sources of income.
Now I will honestly go aheadand put forward.
I'm a very much a glass isshattered on the ground and

water's leaking kind of not halffull person, like some people
have glasses half full.
Mine is shattered.
You're stepping on the glass.
There's definitely waterrolling down into your basement,
like generally a fairlypessimistic person.
But with that being said, Ithought okay, how do I keep
myself open to abundance whilekeeping myself safe Safe

personally safe, socially, safe,financially and give myself the
opportunity to grow in a waythat makes me uncomfortable?
That is a little bit weird thatI don't know.
No one's giving me an A.
Am I doing well?
Like, where's my A?
Whether that's mental,emotional, physical, whatever it

is right, like I don't.
There's, no, there's no medalsfor like turn it on your
computer in the morning, crankit out some emails.
Resident independent consultant.
Like you don't.
You don't get anything for thatother than the satisfaction of
starting relationships.
So one of the things that wasimportant to me in this process
was thinking about how do I keepmyself safe and think that

through, and that was how do Idiversify my income?
I am certainly not opposed tomoving into another full-time
role, but I want that full-timerole to not take all of myself.
I had put all of the eggs I'veever had in the income world
into the corporate ladderstartup, chase down, be on the

rocket ship bucket, and what Ifound is that that was leading
to a life that you see on moviesand TV for folks that have a
midlife crisis and they hateeverything because they put
everything in one basket andsomething changed to certainly

earn income, but also to meetpeople, to grow, to learn new
That is only going to beavailable to me if I stop
centering my entire life on workand if you're a good business
person and you are climbingladders and you are moving
In any of these systems, one ofthe biggest things that you're
asked to do every day is tocenter your life on work.
I'm working.

I'm not great at it yet, butI'm working to make my idea of
what my life's work is moreexpansive than a job description
, and that takes time, but Ireally think you can do it if
you open your mind to thepossibility that you have
something to offer something to,that that's valuable, that

people really want to hear about, and that you can help others
do better work and make it notsuck through the things that you
do I'm gonna get really nerdyfor a split second.

Speaker 1 (37:49):
But there's a part of your brain called the anterior
mid-singular cortex.
It's like right above thebrainstem, kind of smashed
instead of like the centerportion of your brain, and this
is I buy it.
Yeah, I'm dead ass.
You can Google it.
But that portion of the brainright is being studied heavily

right now and what they'refinding is it is a piece of the
brain that actually can growwithin like a 14-day period.
Right, it's very, veryneuroplastic is the term?
Right, that's going aroundeverywhere.
But at the base level, all thatterm means for those of you

that maybe have never heard thatis that your brain has the
capability of growing andrewiring itself, whereas in the
past, you know, we believe thatthe brain was kind of static
after the age of 25, and it justkind of degraded.
But at this point we realizedthat it actually continues to
It's continuing to try tooptimize for the easiest and
most efficient use of energy.

That's what it's there for,because it uses like 20% or 30%
of your body's total energy,which is crazy for that tiny
little organ.
But I mean so this piece of thebrain right to your point, like
when you're pushing yourself andyou're, you know doing these
things and you're saying, youknow, sometimes it feels really
uncomfortable to have to do thatfor yourself for the first time
It feels weird to recenteryourself around something else

in life literally within twoweeks, like if you can start
focusing on.
Hey, I know that this feelingis entering my head right now
Cause I'm like it's five o'clockand I'm not quite done with
work, but one of my values is,when I'm off, I'm off.
I'm going to be fully presentin this thing.

It the first couple of timesyou try to do that much, like
somebody that tries meditationfor the first time, you might
only be able to last two and ahalf minutes, 10 minutes before
you check your email.
You know it, cause you'reworking on rewiring it, but if
you can stick with it, and fightthrough that feeling, your
brain will literally restructureitself around this new state of

being that you're trying topursue.
So it's not just, you know,values based, or like
manifestation, or like stickingwith the plan, and law yeah, and
like all of these kind of, youknow, ethereal types of ideas
that are hard to pin down, it'srooted in biology.
All of those things are kind ofnow we're finding out are

actually rooted in the way thatyour brain functions and rewires
itself, and I just think that'sthe coolest thing ever that,
like our bodies, will actuallyphysically change shape.
Yes to fit to fit the thingthat you're trying to bring into
existence in the world.

Speaker 2 (40:44):
It's I I mean you obviously know firsthand, you
were in the, You've done work inmedical spaces People literally
shift their days and nights tophysically reorient their entire
life around a new set of tasksthat are coming from somebody

else who made up a business, andI think it's important for
folks to like that seems like asilly thing to say out loud, but
, like you, have to have thatminute of internalizing.
Oh wait, I'm the one that hasan opportunity to choose how I
shift my patterns of behavior,my thought processes, the way

that I engage with the world, tobe happier, to be more
fulfilled, to do work.
That is exciting.
I'll tell you my partner heregularly is like now, like you
come home and you are so excitedto talk about the thing that is
like girl, we talk about HR allthe time.

Can we talk about anything else?
Like anything, like anythingelse I'm like but it's so cool,
people are learning things andthis guy got it and they I took
the light bulb moment go off andthey like came to the vision.
They wrote it down, they figuredout their culture.
They're completely keyed in.
That's glorious, yeah, and Ihave a chance to do that for

How could I not enjoy it?
And the thing is, much of mycareer has been spent slowly
kind of weeding out the stuffthat doesn't do that within the
frame that I thought I had tostay in.
The thing that's so excitingabout an independent is you
don't have as much of a frame.
Frames pretty wide.

You can actually continue tospread that boy out or tighten
it in as you need I was justgonna say that, yep, you can
expand it and contract it.
That's the beautiful piece andbecause you get a chance to do
that, you have to be verycentered on you and I know it
feels a little bit navel gazey.
You gotta do a little bit ofthat, because one of the things

that is very different and, asyou've heard me talk about gold,
stars and medals and everythingyour motivation has to be truly
from within you.
In a lot of ways, it has tospeak to something in the way
that you like to move in theworld.
Maybe not all of you, maybe notat all times.
There's definitely sweatpantsgrace.
That's like please let me watchsome anime and don't call me.

But there's also like put me infront of a crowd of 500 people.
I want to teach them somethingthat is going to get them
through an incredibly difficulttime in their lives can exist,

but that core, there's somethingthere about both rest and
growth, about connection and notconnecting.
That is the reward of the work,not a performance winner.
For that you could printyourself some certificates.
Maybe I should start doing that, jan.
Print myself my owncertificates of achievement,
nailing it Best Wednesday everfrom Grace posted on LinkedIn.
Right, because you see this,people are actively sharing

their validations all over thetime, all over the place all the
time I'm speaking here, I'm onthis panel and it's really easy
to be like well, I don't haveany of those validations, I'm
not doing.
Well, if you think about yourcore and you think about what is
important, that is, getting youwhere you need to go, then the
patterns and the work and thetransformation you're taking are
reward enough.

Speaker 1 (44:22):
In itself.

Speaker 2 (44:23):
Yes, I love that so much it's in itself and, more
importantly, as that becomesreward in and of itself.
And, more importantly, as thatbecomes reward in and of itself.
Weirdly enough, other rewardscome out of the blue from
nowhere and you're like what,Huh, how?
All I did was say you gave me acall because you knew I worked

in HR and you had a problem.
You just wanted to chat with meabout it and that results in a
contract and an experience or aconversation that changes
somebody's life yeah and ifyou're in a position to change
somebody's life, you are doingsomething that is worthwhile,
whether that's your life orsomeone else's.

Speaker 1 (45:04):
Externally, yeah, I find that, um, it's almost like
you have these moments oflucidity in a journey, right,
yeah, and lucidity, right, justlike very, very much so coming
into awareness.
Like you know, we sometimeswill call it a light bulb moment
or war.
You know, um, if a greatexample is, if you've ever been

like sitting around a table witha group of friends and then,
all of a sudden, like you lookup and everybody else is eating,
but you just take a look aroundthe table and you're like whoa,
you know, you appreciate thesituation for what it is.

Speaker 2 (45:34):
That's an example of one of those.
Exactly so, that's an exampleof one of those moments, but I
love that you pointed it I.

Speaker 1 (45:40):
I'm going to tie it back to something you said at
the very beginning of theconversation, cause I think this
is a great way to maybe, youknow, kind of let you have the
floor and wrap up this episode.
But you said something at thebeginning that really stuck with
me throughout this entireconversation, which was when I
can wake up, or when I can gointo the weekend on a Friday,
not dreading my Monday, and Ican wake up on Monday excited to

face the challenges that I'mgoing to have to face that week.
You didn't say I'm excited towake up on Monday to have an
easy week ahead of me, right?
No, you're like, I'm excited towake up on Monday to solve
these problems that I'mpassionate about solving.
And now you know, we ended upin this conversation at the end
where, when the reward is thework itself, right, you can say

it's another way that this issaid is, you know, it's not the
finish line, it's the raceitself.
It's not the end of the journey, it's the journey Um that's a
tough thing to say to a sprinteryeah Right.
So you, you, you end up in thatheadspace where you have I find
and this is where I'm curious ifthis was it has also been your
The further you go down thatroad, the more moments of

lucidity start to happen.
Like for me very recently it'sbeen.
My dad is in his seventies and,holy crap, I can't believe that
I have a life, that I can goget lunch with him at 11 AM on a
Yeah, you know and.
I just sit there at that lunch.

Speaker 2 (47:01):
I'm like there's no way, but I would never have
never been able to do it withthe life that you were living

Speaker 1 (47:09):
Exactly, I would have been at the hospital or I would
have been.
You know, there's a whole bunchof other stuff, so I don't know
exactly where that takes yourheadspace, but I know it's going
to be, you know, a great placeand that is exactly what kind of
happened, right.

Speaker 2 (47:23):
So, like I said, I had this layoff, I took some
time and then what I found was,as I was starting to build this
business and it was good to doit because I'll be also
transparent Lucidity comes andgoes.
There are many a day where I'mlike, oh my God, what am I doing
I got all these degrees, I didall the things.
How did I get off the path ofthe thing?
That was the path, because yousee the path, it's always right

over there.
You can look at it and be like,but that looks so easy.
But was I happy doing it?
And I think, as you have thosemoments, you do have those
affirming moments.
The moment of my friend ishaving a tough time.
I can just go over for lunch.
She needs help cleaning out acloset, I'm going to go do that,
or so-and-so is going through akiller breakup in a different

I got the cash money.
Get on this plane and come helpout.
Right, and not just like, hey,I'm going to swoop in and help.
It's also.
I took a blanket out to a parkin the summer and read a book
for an afternoon in the sunshine.
There was nothing in that bookother than things to help me

start to think through how Iwant to approach leadership, how
I want to approach these sortsof conversations, but I was
interested in it.
It was a beautiful day and Iwould have never been able to
just pick up my laptop, sitthere and type, do in that stuff
and be in calls all day long,no matter how remote my work was

, calls all day long, no matterhow remote my work was.
That kind of moment gives youthose pieces and you should take
pictures of it.
When they do happen, goodness,if you can do it, you'll look
back at them and be like, oh wow, I actually be out here living
a life.
But when those moments happen,they're valuable.
They're little stars, almost inthe constellation of your

experience, and the more ofthose stars you see, the
brighter the sky is.
To your point, you start offwith pretty narrow face downward
pathing, and as you look upthere's a lot more out there.
Someone is tilting me like apig slowly to see the sky.

Speaker 1 (49:29):
Yeah, I've had it conveyed to me there's another
indie member named Miles AnthonySmith that was in my original
A-team group.
Fantastic guy, he's been agreat mentor to me over.
I mean, he's talked me off oflike quitting the quitting ledge
multiple times, right, like Icall him morose, like fresh
sobbing in my truck Like what amI doing?
We just lost this deal, I'm notgonna be able to make payroll,

like why did I decide to hirepeople?
This shit's crazy, um and and heand he kind of said you know,
and I've always thought this isso beautiful that the start of
the journey is like staring upat the, at the ceiling, and it's
just a black piece ofconstruction paper, right, and
that's the night sky at thatpoint, and the more you continue
to go, the somebody is pokingholes in that construction paper

and light starts to shinethrough and before you know it
you have an entire sky full ofstars, because all of those
moments kind of collect andyou're able to then look up and
be like whoa this is wild, butwhen, when you're looking up and
at first all you see is thedark sky, it could be super

Speaker 2 (50:36):
It's okay for it to be terrifying.
You got to lean into that and Iguess we kind of got a little
philosophical as we kind of wrapthis conversation up.
But I would say this it's okaynot to know, it's okay not to
know, and I think, as you becomea professional, it's really
hard for people to sit in thenot knowing.
The best ideas came from peoplenot knowing the thing.

Yep, you name it Jazz, theelectric light Cars.
I don't know, but we need to dosomething and I don't know what
it is, but I think we'll figureit out, bits and pieces and
places and it comes together.
So, if you have planned yourown safety, if you have planned

your own finances, if you planwhat you're going to hope to do,
at least in terms of keepingthe lights on, keeping fed and
making sure that you, you knowyou're not out on the streets
take the human, the human timeto think through what would
bring you joy and what the starscould be, because you only have

so many hours in this life.

Speaker 1 (51:47):
I love it.
I love it, man.
Oh, I'm so upset that we're atthe hour.
Do you want to hang out againnext month?
I'd love for people to be ableto connect with you.
You know, if they're listeningto this and they resonate with

your approach to life and, youknow, think, hey, we're
struggling with HR, we'restruggling with you know.
Well, actually, like you said,there's things that you do and
don't do.
So what are the things thatyou're actively looking to help
people with?
And then, how can people get intouch with you?

Speaker 2 (52:26):
Absolutely so.
My little business is calledZiegler Consulting Super jazzy,
and by that I mean my last nameand consulting.
Like I said, better to start, Iprimarily focus on learning,
development, hr strategy, orgdevelopment and culture.
That's really where my sweetstart is.
So everything underneath thatumbrella of talent management,

everything underneath thatumbrella of talent management,
what is not really my specialty?
I know enough to be dangerous,but not enough to love it
Benefits, compensation andreally that deep like tactical
finance work that is a part ofthe HR experience Survey work.
I love sentiment work.
I love determining how muchyour people get paid.

Maybe not.
Please do feel free to reachout to me.
I'm on LinkedIn.
I do have a page there.
That's the other thing.
You always have to have awebpage to start off with.
You could just make a businesspage.
You can reach out to me thereor connect with me on LinkedIn.
I'm Grace Ziegler.
I've got a big smile, yon.
This has been so much fun.

Speaker 1 (53:29):
Thank for having me.
You're super welcome.
Yeah, thanks for taking thetime on a friday afternoon, you
know to come and hang out overlunch.

Speaker 2 (53:35):
So why not?
I think it's been a blast and,like I said, just I I hope that
people take from this that theytry, because the worst that
happens is you might stumble abit and frankly, you're doing
that every day at work might aswell make it on your own terms
right, and with that, um, I'vegot.

Speaker 1 (53:53):
I mean, there's so many things that I could add,
but I won't add anything to thiswe, we'll be out here.

Speaker 2 (53:59):
Philosophically, I'll just be.

Speaker 1 (54:00):
I'll call kia up, be like brad oh my god, maybe you
should do that, that would havea.

Speaker 2 (54:07):
You should have a panel for all, all of us, we, we
, we lay down some hard truth.

Speaker 1 (54:11):
Oh my gosh.
You just gave me an idea for anin-between cohort event that we
might have to pull that off.
That would be sick.
If I could moderate that panel,I would be so down.

Speaker 2 (54:22):
We would have so much fun.

Speaker 1 (54:24):
All right pay attention to the Indy.
If you haven't subscribed tothe Indy Collective newsletter
and that of an event like thatsounds like something that you
would be interested in make surethat you subscribe to the Indie
Collective newsletter.
And if you also have notclicked the little bell or
subscribe to the podcast, makesure that you do that as well.
I consistently see ourlistening numbers going up, but
not as much so on the subscriberside, so I know that there's

there's some of you out therethat are listening on a regular
basis and have not clicked thatlittle button.
What that does for us is ithelps boost our podcast inside
of the algorithm and everythinglike that.
So rate it, follow it,subscribe to it.
It really helps us out as faras getting the message out to
the broader audience.
So until next time.
This has been another episodeof the Modern Independent.
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