Why Talent Alone Isn't Enough for Success

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Why Talent Alone Isn’t Enough for Success

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Starting the conversation:

Leading your team requires a variation of the skills you’ve developed to lead yourself. Communication becomes exponentially important — not only to create expectations about how to do the work, but also to celebrate success and meet each person where they are at (i.e., so they understand how their goals align with the company’s). Tim Fortescue, Founder at 40 Watt Coaching, talks about knowing what you will do to achieve your goals — and helping your team do the same.

Reflection is often undervalued as a tool to move forward, and is essential to avoid backtracking or pivoting as new information and results become known. It is also necessary to celebrate wins along the way too — and reflection builds in the time and opportunity to identify wins. The small wins build momentum, reinforce the way you do work in your company, and deepen relationships through shared success.

In this program, you will hear how to discover and plan for your grandest ideas by planting seeds for the future, knowing your performance levers, and how to keep going when it gets difficult. Jess Dewell talks with Tim Fortescue, Founder at 40 Watt Coaching about taking the time to really know yourself and what you want to do.

Host: Jess Dewell

Guest: Tim Fortescue

What You Will Hear:

Reflection of the past can be a good prompt for personal and strategic business goals.

  • It is a catalyst to your next steps.

Performance Levers help you find the best ideas to plant seeds for the future.

  • First and foremost: communication.
  • Fuel to move the needle toward ROI.
  • How to identify performance levers: demeanor, depth, expression.

Celebrate and Plant seeds for the future.

  • Lock in your success.
  • What worked, and bring that forward.
  • What didn’t work, and choose adjustment to try again or to let it go.
  • Talent only will take us so far.

Keep going when it gets difficult.

  • Lean into what makes you … you!
  • When working with your team, take time to individualize.
  • Challenge the way work is done to make sure to find/remove assumptions.
  • Trust that you can pick yourself back up.

Keep going: What can you do next?

  • Reflect: journal, evaluate, talk to your business advisor.
  • Articulate: What do I want now?
  • Hands-on exercise: What I want to be true in 18 months.

Habits and operational goals need support.

  • Burnout prevention.
  • Strengthen your boundaries.
  • Own your time, know what you need to recharge yourself.
  • When to burn the candle at both ends.

Prioritization of tasks to move the needle toward goals.

  • Include: what you do to shut down the day.
  • Include: what are the criteria to insert something extra or new?

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Why Talent Alone Isn't Enough for Success - Tim Fortescue
Why Talent Alone Isn't Enough for Success - Jess Dewell



Tim Fortescue 00:00
It can be scary to spend that time with yourself on your own and not being distracted by all the things that right now are pulling us in all these other directions away from that connection to ourselves, the scariness, the vulnerability but also the creativity that comes the insight, the reflectiveness that stuff’s awesome, but definitely bold.

Wow, you are listening to the Bold Business Podcast, where you will hear firsthand experiences about what it really takes to ensure market relevance and your company’s future.

Jess Dewell 00:34
Tim Fortescue is an extraordinary Communication Coach. He is interested in transformation and driving success. His background actually came from basketball coaching, and a passion for helping individuals grow, the ability to connect what they needed to hear with what Tim wanted to make sure that they heard has been a journey. So from volunteer high school basketball coach, to founding 40, while coaching is built in those moments of connection and communication, the philosophy that Tim uses centers around coaching in the full human form, not just speech patterns or situations, he’s worked with renowned organizations like Nike, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. This expertise extends beyond coaching. He has done manager and leadership enablement programs for FinTech Giant Stripe. He’s also served as Managing Director and senior Communication Coach at Own the Room, where he empowered executives of other Fortune 500 companies in an open deep dialogue, where we’re looking at things in a new light, you’ll see the power of a willingness to communicate well, in action and in practice, and you’ll hear firsthand, he had a goal to do what he loved, without going bankrupt. And not only did he achieve that he achieved more than he could have dreamed of. And that’s what we’re talking about here. You were talking about it being the time of the year where you get to ease into things does that mean this is the time that you’re thinking and reflecting on what happened and where you’re going? Or is that more of a have you already done that and now you’re in the planting the seeds and doing the work and waiting because that can mean so many things.

Tim Fortescue 02:25
It’s both of those things where I wish I had more time over the holiday break to to reflect on what’s happened and where I want to go. But then I had this grand idea that I was going to spend carve out time and sit and think and go through my old notes. And then it just boom was gone. And that all of a sudden, I was wrapping Christmas presents and doing the fun stuff with my daughters and my family. And it’s over. So the reason I say that is because it’s staggered. I’m still I know January’s usually slow for my business as companies come back and get reoriented with their own stuff. And so I’m doing some reflection and also thinking about planning the seeds for what’s coming.

Jess Dewell 03:08
When you reflect. How does that work for you? What does your reflection process look like for that?

Tim Fortescue 03:15
This is the form it took this year I start?

Jess Dewell 03:18
Is that a great way I’m gonna stop you right there this year because it can change. That’s the best part.

Tim Fortescue 03:23
Okay. The purest form. Normally, it’s just I open up a journal, I open up a notebook of lots of them, and I just start writing. But what I find is that maybe the busier or the more full my brain gets, the harder it is for me to focus and just do that. So a shortcut I found this year was I put on a podcast of somebody that I really liked to listen to. And I started listening to what she was saying. And then I, all of a sudden, I started writing, I grabbed my notebook, and I started writing. This was all done on a plane. So it helps to because there were even less opportunities to be distracted, but it was like pretty solid few hours of listening to the podcast, taking it off writing down what was coming to me.

Jess Dewell 04:10
Okay, I love that. So are you naturally more responsive? In that way? You can find a prompt and then you get that or is that was that totally new in the framework with which you’re using?

Tim Fortescue 04:21
That was totally new. I didn’t even know that I would happen. I just thought I want to listen to what that’s the person I’m listening to is a woman named Francis Frey. And I was like, I want to see what she’s talking about. So I pulled up a couple episodes and was and then I read the reason I really like listening to her stuff is because it I connect with it. And it actually speaks to different parts of my background. And so as I was doing that, I just started getting right into reflective mode and that’s where the writing came.

Jess Dewell 04:50
That’s interesting. You say that because when I need to reflect, it is not something I can just sit down and wait, or I’m not inspired to reflect So I will block off probably half of the day, because I don’t know if it’ll take me 20 minutes or if it will take me all half of the day. And I will open a book, for example that I’m reading, or I will. There’s a book I have about quantum leaps that’s based off of quantum physics. And I’ll just randomly pick a page and read until something will jog. And then it’s like good. I’m reflecting this is what I was thinking about. That helped me make this connection. Off I go, I naturally am that way. And I’ve always looked for that. So now I’m going to have to check out this frets podcast so that I’m, because that’s a very cool, it’s a very cool way to do. What are some other ways you’ve prompted the reflection process?

Tim Fortescue 05:41
Poaching is a reflective process. You’re thinking inward, I’m reflecting on what’s important to me. And sometimes after a session, I’ll start writing,

Jess Dewell 05:50
Is it typing writing? Or is it handwriting?

Tim Fortescue 05:53
It’s handwriting,

Jess Dewell 05:54
What bigness comes out of your reflections? How’s that for a question?

Tim Fortescue 06:01
Good question thickness, I’m gonna start using bigness to thickness.

Jess Dewell 06:06
It’s great when you’re under 10. Can you tell mine’s just not? Well?

Tim Fortescue 06:12
It’s a feeling, it’s an answer. It’s hard to quantify. But there’s a feeling I get where I’m like, I’m onto something. And then if I look back on it, that’s something might have been pretty small in retrospect, or sometimes it’s like big. And I know that’s abstract. But the good thing about listening to Francis Fry’s stuff, and just reconnecting to past difficulties that I had, that I experienced, she talks a lot about trust and about belonging, and how teams can harness that, and as a performance lever, and I, which I totally agree with. And I started thinking back to not feeling that way. Like times in my life as a kid where I didn’t feel like I belonged, or didn’t have trust, and the feelings I the pain, maybe or like just the feeling like I didn’t fit in. And then later on in my life, thinking about when I was forming my own teams, the painstaking lengths, I went to try to do the opposite to try to create an environment where everybody wanted to be there. So for me, that was like, Whoa, I just heard it. And then my mind went back to this place. And I started going and writing.

Jess Dewell 07:19
Amazing what, and what do you do with your writing?

Tim Fortescue 07:24
You’d sometimes it just stays in the book. And then that’s, but other times, where ideally where it goes is it’s becoming either training content or coaching content that I’m working on with clients, companies, or sometimes it becomes an article or something I share on social media. But sometimes it also just stays in the notebook. And I forget about it. I know

Jess Dewell 07:47
in your work, you are also working with performance levers. And so when you when you are catalyzed in some way, and especially through reflection and the teams that you’ve been building and the things that you are doing, what are the performance levers that you’re looking for that you’re also helping others achieve? Or build even.

Tim Fortescue 08:11
Now, because of the my place in the coaching market, my niche, if you will, it’s communication coaching is the thing that I’m known for the people that do know of me. And so I’m usually looking at communication as the first lever, it’s how are people communicating? What’s the quality of their interactions? What are the blockers? How is their team responding to them? Are they responding to others? That kind of stuff? That’s usually the first lever. But if I’m coaching somebody long term, or if I’m working with a team long term, it could go down to it could go in a number of different directions.

Jess Dewell 08:47
Yeah, based off of their unique makeup, what their goals are things like that. That’s very interesting. Well, let’s stick with communication for a minute. Because that’s a biggie. And when you’re working with somebody around in a team, somebody or somebody’s in a team, how do how do you tie that back to the business lovers that that organizations are looking for? To understand the impact or the influence on moving the needle?

Tim Fortescue 09:15
Whew, good question. All you’re really saying is what’s the ROI like?

Jess Dewell 09:20
Actually, I’m not because what we’re doing doesn’t always which is why I said influence to move the needle. Because sometimes that’s what we as an organization need we’re looking for that outcome and that ROI but that’s really not what we need. What we need is the fuel to make the needle move so we can get the ROI that’s a whole it’s a whole different game, right?

Tim Fortescue 09:40
We’re, Yeah, we’re speaking the same language to is when you said the fuel that you gave me a word to describe something I was feeling in the moment, but I didn’t have a word. Yeah, if you’re listening right to the audio version of this, Jess was just doing a dance. constantly saying she gave me the word for tracking Yeah, but the other word fuel, I think it stay with me for a second on this. And let me see if I can process what process this because I don’t think I’ve articulated it this way before, say I’m working with a leader at a team at a company on their communication, that is what they have sought out or the company sought me out to work with them on this deliverable thing. But the secondary benefit, which is maybe he’s way better is a feeling the person starts to have about themselves, they start to have more fun, more joy, more connection to what matters to them, more connection to who they really are, and the amount that spreads to the people that report to them or like if they’re the head of a whole organization that spreads and cascades down because that person is now starting to feel a bit more joy, or just connection to who they really are. It’s really hard to quantify that. But I think that’s probably the bigger return than the tactical thing I’m helping this person with.

Jess Dewell 11:00
Oh, okay. So let’s say, I want to know from an experience you’ve had, what was an experience you had that you were doing this work? And consciously or unconsciously, you ended up in that place where that feeling appeared? What was that? What was the time? And the thing that you when that feeling appeared? And how did that actually create what was able to come next, regardless of the goal was achieved or not? Something got moved and shifted so that yesterday? Yeah.

Tim Fortescue 11:36
Every day, I’ll just give you a quick, it’s not every day. But it’s yesterday, I had one of those moments where I actually stopped and was like, this was really cool and special. This was an unlock yesterday, I was working with a senior leader at a tech company that’s an engineering leader, and working on communication. But when I’m coaching somebody, we’re working on all of the stuff, not just communication, and this person’s profile is on the serious side, very data-driven, but also realizes that in order to be more impactful at work, they need to be a better communicator, this person is identified that the great ones like great leaders that this person admires, they can tell a story better, they can move people, they can do more than just sharing numbers and details and strategy. And soy sauce. As strange as this might be. I’ve worked with this person now for about four different hour long sessions. And yesterday, the unlock was happiness and joy in the way the person spoke to me. Not to say the person is walking around unhappy and miserable all the time. Not that’s not the case, this is a happy person. But it was expressed, I finally saw it come out in the way the person spoke with me smiling, laughing a bit, not over the top. But as we talked about, what’s going on at work, I saw it come out. And I was like, we just saw something big here. And now that’s an unlock, that’s an unlock, because I feel like now imagine if this person goes into the next meeting with the 100 people that are in that part of the organization, and has that kind of energy compared to what it was before, which would might have just been less, no feeling less feeling dry. Now, everybody, the 100 people who just watched that Zoom, or was were in the meeting, maybe they leave. And they’re feeling a little better about the project, but about other stuff too. And it just can cascade.

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Jess Dewell 13:47
I was in my early 20s. And I needed to all of a sudden manage a team of there. I think there were 12 of us on site. And then quickly there was a team that was dispersed that was growing that I was also responsible for and here I am. I’m in my early 20s. And I didn’t know what I was doing. I actually just like I was just studying for chemistry tests. What is this book? I don’t understand. And so I decided what would I do? I would read a book. So I started to manage by self help book. And that was the worst thing and the best thing I think I could have ever done to him. And you look back, and I can’t remember when I realized that I was probably five years later because it was not working. I was trying all kinds of other things. I found a different way that worked. And so it kinda like went by the wayside. But I was doing a reflection process. And I was thinking me, why would those people actually want to read that book? What was I actually thinking? And then it was uh, oh, I was trying to manage myself help because if we were all focused on something together, we would move that needle together. So I had the right idea but I didn’t have a coach didn’t understand that was a concept at the time. And looking back, it was great. Those people probably still to this day think I’m crazy. Or they’re like man, she made me read or I don’t know, could be either one. But for me personally going, okay, so what it did help me quickly, I had to quickly figure out how do people respond to different situations. So even though I was trying to use the book as a tool to move the needle forward, that’s not what happened. I used the feedback from how what was coming out to understand the communication, so that I could do a better job and help remove those obstacles, and make them feel very empowered to do their job, whether I was in the office, or I was out at a remote site. Very astute.

Tim Fortescue 15:31
So rather, so you get you get gained from the feedback. Yeah, yeah.

Jess Dewell 15:36
And again, hindsight being 2020. That was like five years later, after most of those people had moved on, and some other crew had come in, and all of that wonderful goodness. But it’s interesting to think about in relationship to what you were saying of where those insights come and when they come. Do you think the senior leader that you were working with yesterday? Do you think they felt it? Did you point it out?

Tim Fortescue 15:58
I wish I did. But I thought it was one of those things where I caught it at the very end, I caught it at the very end of the session. And I was like, Oh, here it is. And then I didn’t actually name it. And I showed up and we ran out.

Jess Dewell 16:10
I know. And so there’s always that next to see how it shows up and reflect back. One of the companies I’m working with, they had a whole bunch of stuff happen all at once. And it’s all kinds of weird, messy craziness. And so we’re talking about some very necessary things of how what we have to do right now to just make the business run based off of all this structural work and things that were going on last year that they were implementing. And she throws up this spreadsheet, and it’s above her goal that she’s been working toward revenue-wise for a couple of years now. And she’s like, and blah, blah, blah. And I said, I know we talked about this you knew is coming, can we just stop and celebrate, you hit your number, we don’t celebrate enough. So let’s celebrate more 100%.

Tim Fortescue 16:55
And now I want to go send an email as soon as our recording is longer, and just be like, hey, yesterday, at the end of our session, this cool thing happened and it didn’t get a chance to say it. And I’ve been thinking about it. And here it is.

Jess Dewell 17:06
Well, if you do it awesome. If you do it in person, awesome. And if you never do it, because you have to wait for the right time. For it to show up to really impact there’s that too. Isn’t that cool that we have this awesome tool to really help people?

Tim Fortescue 17:19
I remember the first one I remember of this type was I wasn’t an executive coach, I was a basketball coach for high school for freshman high school boys in Detroit, the Detroit area. And I was doing a review of film of like a game. That’s what you do part of practice. Usually, sometimes coaches can look at the film and go through where we did well, where we a lot of times where we screwed up. And remember, I found this really small, detailed, nuanced thing that no one except a basketball coach would have really picked up on. But this 15-year-old, who was quiet and shy, and wasn’t like the star of the team did exactly the right rotation on defense, and then did exactly got right back to where he was supposed to be. And I was like, whoa, stop. His name is Bob and said stop and look at what Bob just did. And I rewound it like three times. And then the second time half the kids got what I meant. The third time they all were like, Okay, I see what you meant. And I was like I was just like, that’s exactly why we drill this. That’s exactly what we want to see. Great job, Bob. And so then I moved on. Well guess what happened after that. The best defensive rotation person on the team was no surprise. It was Bob for the rest of the year, it became like a point of pride that he did that part of our strategy really well. Because it like locked in that we stopped and celebrated it. I remember that. And the reason I remember that story is because that’s true with coaching senior leaders too, or like as a manager, leader, if you like stop and point something out that somebody did well. And I think that’s how you change behavior. You catch him doing it right. And then like, tell him about it. And it helps people lock in, they want to do it again,

Jess Dewell 19:03
The work that I do and the work that you do have some similarities. And so I would toss out, there’s always some sort of a framework, there’s always a set of tools to choose from yet, because each situation is unique. That means each implementation is also unique.

Tim Fortescue 19:20
Totally true. And also probably why I paused on the question is because it is a little different or a lot different with each person, each individual I work with. And it comes down to discovery like me listening at the beginning and thinking, Okay, what’s going on? What’s the status quo? Where do we want to go? And what’s getting in the way of it? And sometimes, by the way, sometimes the client isn’t 100% sure what’s getting in the way of it?

You’re listening to the Bold Business Podcast hosted by Jess Dewell, a nationally recognized Strategic Growth consultant. She works with business owners and execs kids lives to integrate just two elements that guide business through the ups and downs of growth. Number one, know what work is necessary. Number two, do all the work possible. schedule a complimentary consultation to find out more at Reddirection.com.

Jess Dewell 20:19
We all hit difficult times with or within with within our control and outside of our control. What is it time that you’ve had to face? And maybe it’s your one, one of the most difficult things that you faced in your life in your career? And how did the tools that you’re working with today help you through? And what was the outcome if you’re willing to share those?

Tim Fortescue 20:41
Sure. The most recent that comes to mind is in 2020, I was working for a company I was actually went to work for one of my clients, and unexpectedly lost my job. And wasn’t alone. Few of us lost our jobs on my team, most of my team all at once. And but it was sudden, and I my wife and I had just had our second daughter. So we had a newborn at home. And we live in San Francisco and it ain’t cheap. So I’d never experienced that before. It just felt like the floor fell out from underneath me. And I was in the middle of my career, I felt pretty confident about myself at that point. And I felt like I lost a lot of that confidence. And thankfully, I was working with my own coach at the time, who is someone that certified in the same methodology as me. So we worked on things that I was able to, like, take what I experienced through that coaching. And in some cases, I can apply similar things with my clients. But yeah, I’ll pause there and we can we can take that in any direction you want.

Jess Dewell 21:48
I want to talk about your confidence. When did you realize all confidence was lost and you needed help? Was it right away? Was it after talking with your wife? Was it several days later when the grief hit? Or the reality of the situation?

Tim Fortescue 22:09
Yeah, you’re getting through the phases. I was because my first reaction was it was like faith, different phases. It was shock. And then it was rejection of the idea, I got this wrong. And then it was eventually it got to wow, I lost my confidence. I might not be as good as I thought I was at what I do. Or maybe they realized I was never right for this. And I’m no good. That kind of stuff started hitting me. And it got really heavy feeling. But it didn’t happen all at once. It was like this wave all of a sudden, remember, I was at the playground with my kids out of work. And this was maybe 10 days after it happened. And I thought okay, I got I got this under control, I did not have it under control the feeling of it. And it just a wave of emotion just hit me away from my kids, I start crying. And I’m like what is happening right now to me. And I just realized you gotta let this out. I feel serious pain and tension that I gotta let out. And I just let it happen. My kids were off playing. They didn’t see it. Not that I wouldn’t cry. I do cry in front of them. But I remember that moment.

Jess Dewell 23:16
Well, I’m willing to cry in front of my family also, but not when it’s about things that might impact them. Right. I mean, there’s there’s depending on the situation only because I have a I have a worrier child and I have a worrier husband. So that’s a thing where it’s like, Okay, I gotta go cry myself by myself first. And then I can go from there. That’s an interesting thing about that confidence piece. So did you ever lose trust in yourself?

Tim Fortescue 23:41
I don’t know. I don’t like I’m struggling to think my gut reaction is heck yes, I did. Like, heck yes, I did. I don’t know how long exactly that feeling stayed. Fortunately, I had people like my coach, and then I have some really some very close friends that I could talk to, and that I wasn’t feeling like I was doing this completely on my own. Like I was able to pick myself back up. And remember, I do have value and like I am good at some things. And that was part of the process of like picking myself back up.

Jess Dewell 24:14
I don’t know if I could do that. You I think it’s I think it’s awesome for your situation, looking back that you’d be okay crying in front of your family. I can’t get over that. Because I can’t I don’t think I could do that. Just be honest. I also want to honor that in you. I think that is a level of vulnerability. I don’t have. And I’d like to be able to say just wow, Tim, that’s amazing. And then to know that so you’ve got all these other things happening. You have all of this happen. You recognize you probably did lose trust in yourself. Did you ever feel like you didn’t belong anywhere? Or was it like, just there or in that profession? Or was it at all? Yeah,

Tim Fortescue 24:46
I felt I felt particularly in that profession. I was in tech. And that was the first job I had. I’ve worked with tech for years. So that was the first time I went and worked for a tech company. And I just remember feeling Yeah, I don’t belong. And by the way, I really don’t think I belong and not in a bad negative way. I just actually think I’m better suited doing what I’m doing now. Which is the that’s where the story goes when we ready to get there. But But yeah, I did feel on the negative side, I was like, I don’t belong I maybe not good enough even are the things I was telling myself.

Jess Dewell 25:18
Wow. Shit, we all feel that, Tim, I gotta tell you, and I appreciate you sharing this and being so open about it because it does mean sometimes our work happens when we least expect it. But the work that we’ve been doing along the way could help us. And so now my question would shift into a little bit of so knowing that you were going through all of that, knowing that this was a huge shift, it was going to require a reset of a lot of things, and a recommitment to yourself, trust and awareness and confidence was that able to allow you to create a baseline for you to figure out Manny tech isn’t my world?

Tim Fortescue 25:57
What started happening was one of the first responses I had was, I’m gonna get another job right away, I’m not even going to stop and think about this or deal with this emotionally. Just gonna go. And I got into interviewing quickly for similar types of jobs. And, and I just wasn’t feeling excited about I felt like I was kind of, you know, faking it almost in the conversations. And I had to be honest with myself like this, do I really want to go and do this again? And the answer was clear, no. But then it was like, Okay, well, what do I do? I, you know, I have to figure something out relative, there was a pressure of the need to find income. You know, maybe three weeks after I lost the job, maybe even less. I had a night where I opened a notebook. And I just started writing it, my kids are in bed and think my wife probably went to bed early. And it just sat on my couch. And it started coming out. And like super clear, and it wasn’t ready for this initially, and probably wrote in other ways before, but I was at a place where that just I felt clear. And I started writing down what I want. And the things were coming out, I kept that page, I wrote down, I don’t know a handful of things, maybe like a list of 12 things. And 12 Wasn’t the target it was just keep going until I run out of things, ideas. And it was things like, Do what I enjoy for a living, find a job or figure something out where I’m leaning into my strengths. And now my weaknesses. And I at the time, I remember thinking I don’t want to have a boss again, I don’t want to I don’t want to deal with that. Okay, this is making my choice to go on my own a little bit more clear. So I went through this list, and I just shut the notebook and was like, I’m thinking I’m gonna go start my own thing now.

Jess Dewell 27:48
So coming full circle all the way back to the beginning of our conversation about reflection. So this was a huge catalyst of a reflection journaling.

Tim Fortescue 27:55
HUGE. At the beginning of it, I wrote what I want to be true 18 months from now, oh, listener, okay, I started with stuff like, my daughter is going to be this age, I have a newborn. So she’s going to be a year and a half. At the time, I had a two-and-a-half-year-old, she’s going to be four. So when they’re this age, here’s my I’ll be this age. This is what I want to be true by this point. And then I went back 18 months later and pulled it out. And was like, wow, I 11 of the 12. What had happened in the 18 months?

Jess Dewell 28:28
Celebration, you even celebrated Look at that. Yeah. Oh, okay. Because you saw him completed you acknowledge that work? Did you consciously work on them? Or did you just be like, Oh, it’s time for me to look at this again.

Tim Fortescue 28:43
I didn’t really look at it. But those things were so clear to me that I generally knew. It wasn’t like things I wrote down in forgot they were there.

Jess Dewell 28:52
How do you set goals, then? Do you do them in 18-month increments like that, like these big ones? And then you’re just doing the work? And you’re seeing how they have? Are they are they like very specific time-based. I’m all about smart goals. But I’m also all about the big ones. So I’m curious which realm you’re falling into. In the spectrum? Yeah.

Tim Fortescue 29:13
I’m usually more in the camp of behaviors, instead of goals. I want to try to do certain habits and repeat them and get really good at sticking with them. And so that’s more where I spend my time is like, how do I want to operate every day consistently. But in when I do you set goals? These are no, sometimes you just have this clarity that comes to you. And I think you totally get it. It’s not there all the time. There’s sometimes I want it to come and it’s just I procrastinate, but that day, it just came it was like the pen was moving itself. And 18 months was the timeline for those goals. I think part of the reason 18 months was clear is because I thought that’s if this stuff if these ideas aren’t working in 18 months. I know that’s enough. time I’ve given it where, okay, I need to go figure something else out. I think that’s where the time limit came in for that.

Jess Dewell 30:06
That was based off of your runway. How much cash do I have? How much time do I have to actually build this to replenish and keep going? And

Tim Fortescue 30:14
I definitely did not have 18 months of runway either. I set a lot of goals early when I started my business. Yeah, almost that list of 12, or whatever it was, yeah, cuz you got to do that. But the initial, I think it was more like, I think I gave myself like eight months to prove the concept was going to work. And one of the goals I remember was, like, do what I like, do what I love to do for a living and don’t bankrupt myself.

Jess Dewell 30:35
There are a lot of businesses that are fairly large, still considered small businesses, but that are very large revenue based, where the founders or the managing team doesn’t take a salary. And every time I experienced that, I’m like, How long have you been in business? I’m curious where else you are. All but we’re all about this, or we’re all about that. Or it’s all about the community. And it’s all about lifting everybody up. And I’ll say something like, how often is that reciprocated? Back to you? Oh, not very often. Well, okay, so how about if the boundary is reciprocate? As much as you know, you’d be receiving back? How would that look, because that’s a mindset I have so much I want to give is fantastic. Reciprocity is amazing. My whole business, Tim is based off of reciprocity, in a lot of different ways. But at the same point in time, I have a salary. same point of time, I get paid for my work. And there’s something to be said for that. Because it’s great to bring, it’s great to bring that one side of it. But without the part and the way the world works. Also built in, we forget, it’s amazing how big of a business that can be built. And we forget something like that. And we find out our boundaries aren’t as strong as they need to be to have a company that has longevity, which comes back to a lot of the communication things that you specialize in.

Tim Fortescue 32:02
Good tight, you tie that right back in.

Jess Dewell 32:07
And so I’m curious what you were thinking, as I was just saying that, it’s an interesting concept to think about how all of that works, and the trickle-down effect that we get when we’re leading an organization and people, we’re paying people, and we’re getting money in. And we’re actually not truly fully leveraging what our boundaries are to the benefit of our everybody. Because we think we’re doing it for the good of the good.

Tim Fortescue 32:34
Most people who do what we do for a living, that would resonate with them, it does with me, 21 was the first year I started and I, I, I think I almost burned out six months into it. I felt like I was working nonstop, I was taking on clients that were in all different time zones, I was some international companies where I would meet with a team or individual in Singapore, virtually. And then the next morning in London, and I’m in San Francisco. So I’ve just been all through the day would be as many meetings as I could load up with. And I just stopped in the six months into it and had to have a full reset, because I was going to I was going to burn out or worse, felt like I was going to have a heart attack, or something bad was going to happen. And, and I that was what I had had to stop and evaluate what you’re talking about was I’m doing this because I love it. I want to help people. But I also want to take care of myself. And so what does that mean? How do I quantify it? And how do I want to change?

Jess Dewell 33:39
And do you do it from energy management? Do you do it from time management or something else?

Tim Fortescue 33:45
It was calendar management. Initially, it was I had to create some rules at the beginning. And again, thankful that I had a coach at the time a coach is still my mentor in many ways. She challenged me she said, I want you to clear the rest of your week. I think it was like a Wednesday and I was like no way. I hadn’t canceled the meeting in six months. I don’t typically cancel a meeting anyway. But it was she was like the world is gonna go on and you have to prove you have to show yourself that the world will continue to move if you take two days off, and you need to and so I I said no way. And then I thought about it a lot after our coaching session ended and then I I slowly started doing canceled the rest of Thursday and Friday. And when I saw that, she was right, like people were okay. They were okay with moving their Friday meeting to like next Tuesday. It wasn’t the end of the world in any way. Then I started then we took it the next step and it was like okay, these are the hours actually want to work. If I need to meet with somebody that that’s in a Asia Pacific Time Zone. I’ll do that. But it’s a one-off. And if I’m going to do something early in the you’re in the EMEA timezone, like I’ll do that but it’s a one off and generally here are my working window. And so I redesigned everything that way and And I still doing it to this day. So it was really impactful.

You’re listening to the Bold Business Podcast hosted by Jess Dewell, a nationally recognized Strategic Growth consultant/. She works with business owners and executives to integrate just two elements that guide business through the ups and downs of growth. Number one, know what work is necessary. Number two, do all the work possible. Schedule a complimentary consultation to find out more at Reddirection.com. Hey.

Jess Dewell 35:34
I have to work with my energy more than my calendar in the sense that whatever those non-negotiables are, that are present, I am actually working from an energy place. So for example, when I wake up, typically the hustle and bustle of the morning is when I am the most focused. So a couple days of week, I am out of the hustle and bustle of getting up getting around doing all of those things, and I am closed off, and I’m doing my deepest creative work, thought work my time out from the world, if you will, to really understand that reflection, do that assessment, make that prioritization piece. And then the rest of the day can go on. And the later in the day I get, the more task-oriented it is. So people are expecting emails from me during the day? Well, they’ve learned most people learn real quick that I answer the email emails in at lunchtime, and at the end of the day, if it’s on the same day. But that’s one of those things where I was at block of time where it’s What can I do? How can I show up and its energy management to make sure I know the necessary work to be done? Am I going to commit to the necessary work and give it the space it needs when I can actually do the work? And so I’ve gone into the calendaring backwards in that sense of so when is that time? How do I structure it so I can carve out that time and breakfast, kids to school, morning meditations? Those are things that are really exciting to me. But I don’t need to do them every day. Or it’s in my best interest to say no, every day is actually detrimental to my overall well-being because it’s also the time I’m not putting to something else that will help me achieve my next goal. Move that necessary work. I’m, I understand the necessary work, but am I going to actually do it am I going to commit to that. And that’s an interesting trade-off when everything is under the in that same box of stuff I love. And we have to that’s the hardest place to make choices, Tim. For me, I’ll speak for me, that’s the hardest place for me to make.

Tim Fortescue 37:36
Yeah, a lot of what you said, rings true for me too. And I one of the things I was neglecting was my own physical health in the first those first six months when I felt close to burnout. And so one of the things I built in is I’m going to I’m going to exercise during my work day. And what I thought Yeah, because I’m a parent of a couple young kids. And if I did it every day, when they got home, after school after preschool or kindergarten, I probably have three hours until it’s bedtime. So if I’m working out for 90 minutes, you know, and then it’s dinnertime, I’m not going to see them. And I don’t want that. And I can see a much at least. So and I actually found you’re talking about managing energy, I found that I have a second wind when I’m exercising, and I have like a home gym. And I will sometimes during rest periods, I’ll go in and work on purpose. Like I’ll do something and then there’s like a two-minute rest. And I’ll go in and like write something down or answer a quick email or like and have a list of to-do things of like tactical quick things that I’m doing. While I exercise.

Jess Dewell 38:42
I like that my, my gym is in the same building I’m in but it’s not in my same unit. But I like this, I could do this, I may take that idea and work on it. Because it would be nice to be able to check things off. It could be I could run stairs and chop the vegetables for dinner, and then go back down and do the next piece. Or you’re right. How many emails can I get out? What can I do because we forget and then those are the things that actually feel overwhelming. I don’t, I get overwhelmed by the small tasks because it takes away from my ability to do that important work. And I am wired for that deep work and our world today is not set up to support that at all. And so that is something that I know I am appreciative of my mentors and my coaches and my advisors over, over the course of many years that have helped me figure that out to know Okay, cool. I can do this and I love how you put I hope I was positive about Yeah, I don’t do the whole, whole morning thing not even for myself. Crazy. I know. And you’re like I exercise at lunch. Oh, that’s a great I do too. I’ll walk around exercise, I’ll go do a workout and I love that idea of being able to mix it in if we can’t, or we want to do the other things can’t do it any other time or we want to do them at the same time. Are you? Do you ever do the stents where you burn the candle at both ends?

Tim Fortescue 40:03
I do. If it’s necessary, it’ll be like a short burst or something. And I and now I’m, I think I’m at a good enough balance where I understand sometimes that’s got to happen. If it’s happening, where that’s becoming normal, then I’ve got to reassess things. And that hasn’t happened in quite a while where I’ve had to be like, Oh, wow, this is taking way too much space.

Jess Dewell 40:25
Yeah, that’s interesting. And I know that I like endings, I force endings. Everything has an end. And the reason is because then I can re up or I can assess, or I can celebrate, because if I never end, I never know what good I did. If I never end I never truly understand. So I can’t take a thing on one thing and apply it and compare it to another, or overlay it to see things and that’s something that I always have done. And how about you? Is there something that you really rely on that helps keep you going, or does just that natural progression of the when the journaling arises, or when you’re intentionally seeking out an opportunity to reflect from prompts, is that where you’re getting that?

Tim Fortescue 41:11
My day-to-day structure relies a lot on a paper to-do list. And I’m, sometimes I’m really great at, I always have it, but sometimes I’m good at using it to be way more impactful and intentional about things. Sometimes it’s just a tactical list of things that I’ve got to do. But when I’m really doing it well, to my standard it is there’s times where I have things like stop and reflect on this. And that’s at the top of the priority list. And then other times, I’m overloaded with the small things like you said, and those there’s less time to stop and celebrate the wins, and it’ll happen. If I’m on an airplane or set take where there’s nothing else going on. It’d be like, Wow, this happened.

Jess Dewell 41:55
It has. And that’s good. We take it when it shows up. That’s a big, that’s a really big thing. How do you prioritize?

Tim Fortescue 42:04
I have a process that actually learned from one of my clients that I’ve been following for three years, one of my clients that was that is really organized in that way. And I have a to-do list and a shutdown process. So at the end of the day, I look back at to-do list and re-inventory for either later today or the night. I’m sorry, like the night, if I’m going to do any work at night, I’m like, this is the one thing I’m going to do instead of opening my inbox and just doing it all. But generally, like I’ve got it at a place where I’m not doing much of that anymore. That was me when I was a little overloaded. So that inventory, like taking stock of the prioritization is the end of the day I look at okay, when I do start working next time, based on what’s here, and what I know is coming, what are the priorities tomorrow? So it’s not just moving the priority list over exactly as it is or the to-do list. It’s reprioritizing daily. That’s what helps me

Jess Dewell 42:54
and then how do you know if the priorities are aligned with your bigger goals? Your habit changes your larger stated goals in whatever form they take, as you have them?

Tim Fortescue 43:05
I don’t know that’s a good question. Sometimes what I’ll do is right at the top of the goal of the to-do list, what the theme is the point of emphasis that’s on my mind, it’ll be like, be bold, or Yeah, people, because you’re going to be on the Bold Business Podcast. You know, it’ll be a theme of a mindset thing I want to have or like a habit that I want to remember. If it’s something like we’ve talked about exercise, so getting an exercise a certain amount of time per week is important enough that it’s on my daily to-do list on the days, and I want to try to get it and here’s what I want to do. So yeah, I try to keep the important themes written down too.

Jess Dewell 43:46
That’s cool. I’ve a word of the day. I’ve been you. I’ve had a word of the day forever. And actually, you said when you said theme, I’m like, That’s my word of the day. So I went back and I’m looking at my week, this week and last week, and I’m like, oh, yeah, yeah, they actually align to what my current goals are, for this three month period, I do bigger goals on three month period for check-in points. So there’s always either a milestone or a completion or something that’s going on. I’m like, oh, and today’s word. This is funny. Today’s word is acknowledge. How’s that?

Tim Fortescue 44:13
You’ve got today’s word? How does that work? Impact your debts?

Jess Dewell 44:16
A good question. I usually I pick a few ahead of time, just because I want them so I can wake up right? So I’ll do a couple weeks at a time. When I am inspired with my when I am actually creating my priorities. And I’m understanding what works I am really good at saying yes to a lot of things. I’m really good at helping out everywhere I can I’m really good at not saying no. And so one of the things that the word of the day actually turned out to be helpful with inadvertently was the ability to understand what was I doing for this period of time and I do everything in quarters. What are those biggest goals which I never have more than 10? And I like the concept of how does it feel? How does it look and how Got a sound. And so by the end of the day and my, my shutdown process, my end of the day is that I get the things done. How did acknowledge, show up? And what is my word for tomorrow. So I’m like, preceding what comes the next day, because I already know what’s going to happen the next day, right for the most part, and go from there. So it’s my prompt, it’s like, my, it’s like my prompt.

Tim Fortescue 45:22
Like that I might, I’m gonna try that.

Jess Dewell 45:25
I’ve been doing this for years. And I started because I was in a group, I had one of the coaches, I had decided that they were going to put together a group and I’m like, Okay, fine, I’ll come to this group. And it was we get together in the mornings. And they were, she says, everybody bring your own word of the day. Nobody did except for me. And my word became the group’s word for the day. And then when I was done with that group, I just kept doing it. And that was how it went. And it’s been happening ever since. So do you know when you’re doing work that’s outside of when you? What is your lever with which you use to measure okay, I’ve prioritize these things. But I’m out of alignment with my goals. Do you have a way to check day-to-day week to have the sense of I’m doing the I’m doing the necessary work? Versus I’m doing work?

Tim Fortescue 46:19
Such a good question. And in my mind, I’m thinking, Well, how do I actually do this? Because for sure, I think what the honest truth on it, I’d like to say something better. But I have these two periods in the year, January and July, where my work gets slow. Because companies slow down, there’s people come back from the holidays, and then people taking summer holiday or vacation. And I’ve built in that that’s going to be my time to reflect and examine how things are going. Of course, if things are steering way off, like I’m working too much, or it feels like I’m getting pulled into the wrong, I’m using my energy in the wrong kind of ways. In between those periods. I’ll reevaluate. But I’m in at least in the last 12 months, I think this process has worked well for me where it’s I know that there are these periods, where it’s reflection time. And then in between them. It’s go time, I feel like there’s got to be more like, I feel like you have an answer to this that I want to learn to like how do you do it?

Jess Dewell 47:18
Ten years in the right direction. And many more years before that, that I was out in the working world, I didn’t have a concept of what working on business meant. What does Strategic Growth look like? What does growth in general look like? How do you communicate that growth, and how important that communication is, and what I feel people are going to take away? And so it doesn’t matter the words I say, it’s what I feel and how they’re actually conveyed, not the words themselves that actually carry the meaning, which means we get success, or we don’t get success, or we move the needle or we don’t we get momentum and build on it. Or we slow down and are at risk of stall, whatever that is. And people have been talking about this thing of taking, you got to have cod and I’m like, Oh no, what that means? What are you talking about? I’ve been doing lots of things I’ve been buying and selling businesses. I’ve never taken a CEO day, what are you talking about? Turns out I was like, Maybe I just didn’t like the name. I’ll be real with you. I don’t need a CEO day. What does that yeah, I’m gonna go do the things I’m gonna do anyway. And so it actually turns out for me working on the business, I started calling it a present retreat. And so I have one of my five days of working, is dedicated to on the I don’t take calls. I don’t have meetings. I don’t there, it’s it, my doors are shut, my access is off. And it has turned out to it started out two hours. And it turned out that present peace getting present really mattered. It turned out that the retreat really mattered because retreat is also you know, people think of like ooh, spa take time, whatever it is stop, backtrack. What do we have? So we know where to go?

Tim Fortescue 48:57
Yeah, where do you go?

Jess Dewell 48:58
Where do I go to here? Right? It could be here my office, I do try and take a longer outside time. My exercise on those days could be a hike for a couple of hours in the morning or the afternoon. It could be headphones on and meditation for a long meditation or two shorter meditations. And then I’m in the lists, I’m in the obstacles, I’m in the opportunities. And it just, it’s almost like if you could see like a cartoon, it’s literally stuff is flying everywhere. And at the end of the day, I piece it back together and go, we’ve been working on that wrong, that’s gone. And it could have and this is happening week to week, I will totally change the rest of the quarter based off of what is showing up to make sure it’s necessary. Are we doing the necessary work?

Tim Fortescue 49:41
I was thinking when you first mentioned earlier in our conversation when you said you’ll carve out a few hours and do this I was thinking that will be so hard for me to do because I think I would just pull up my phone or I start doing something else or start reading a book. So hard to stay on task.

Jess Dewell 49:57
It took me, it took me 12 weeks to actually have a real one And it was just a Q&A one. It took me years to get to a whole day. But it’s true. It’s great. What happens? What do you do? When you first have this time? You don’t know what to do with it. And there’s all this hit, I’m going to call it head trash. Got to answer those emails. For me, I even got to the point where I was in my office, I was going through my books, what could I donate of my business books. And I’m like, really. And it turns out, I had just had to relearn that time was available, I had to commit to the time first. And then what I did with it evolved, because I could rely and trust in myself that I was going to keep that time.

Tim Fortescue 50:37
I like it, I think you’ve given me a goal to work on, there are a couple of goals to work on. That’s another one I’ll add to I was also just thinking airplane time is usually when I’m able to do this, how often do you travel more often now in the last six to seven months, because companies are more doing more in-person stuff, before barely at all, during the pandemic. So now, now fairly often, and the, if it’s a long trip, like if it’s a cross country trip, I actually am now looking forward to that part of it. Because I’ll bring a book that I want to read that’s going to help me think about an idea that I’m into right now. Or I bring my notebook, or I sometimes I’ll just open my computer, and it’ll be time to write about what I want to write about. And so I’m getting it that’s the about the only place I consistently get it is a plane where there’s literally no other distraction. It’s challenging now that some of the air, the airlines have free Wi-Fi. So you’re my phone is on it, and I’m still getting texts, or like I’m texting people. But you can put that away. And then your choice is do you want to watch a movie? Or do you want to take a nap or do this? And I think it’s pretty fun. It’s an it’s fulfilling to get worked on this kind of work.

Jess Dewell 51:48
One of my clients, their past clients, they were my very first client and they were my longest client is great for 17 years, we work together and he would be like, the first part of my annual meeting was always me getting on a plane and going to some other city across. He’s here in Seattle, he’d go to the east coast somewhere and have dinner and then get back on a plane and come back here that was so he would get out of the to your point get out of the foray do and he would do all of this work to prepare for his company’s meeting on a plane. I think it’s, I love being reminded of that, Tim, because yes, I also travel. And I don’t necessarily think I use the I don’t know how I use my playing time. So I will not judge it yet. But I’m gonna look a little closer. Well, I want to know what makes it bold, what makes it bold, to take time to really know yourself, and to do the work that we’ve been talking about or other work that we make up for ourselves so that we can do what we want to do and get to where we want to go.

Tim Fortescue 52:47
What makes it bold is that it is vulnerable and can be scary to spend that time with yourself on your own and not being distracted by all the things that right now are pulling us in all these other directions away from that connection to ourselves. I think that’s what makes it bold and it’s the scariness the vulnerability but also the creativity that comes the insight, the reflectiveness that stuff’s awesome, but definitely bold.

Jess hosts the Bold Business Podcast to provide insights for building a resilient, profitable business by deeply understanding your growth strategy, ensuring market relevance and your company’s future. It is bold to deeply understand your growth strategy with your host, Jess Dewell. Get more information about how to drive solutions and reset your growth mindset at Reddirection.com. Thank you for joining us and special thanks to our post-production team at The Scott Treatment.