Have you ever been knocked down so hard, that it actually became a stepping stone to your success? Antonia Bowring, executive coach and author, opens up about a time in her life when being fired was that hard knock, but now she sees it as the greatest gift she ever received. Join us as we navigate the often daunting journey of mid-career transitions and explore the crucial role our personal values play in achieving our career goals.
We also delve deep into the concept of self-coaching, and how empathizing with oneself can make a significant difference. Discover how to intentionally use your time and understand how your environment influences you. We'll even explore the power of the phrase "I am enough". Then, Antonia shares valuable insights into building a successful career by networking effectively, fostering relationships with colleagues and mentors, and how to leverage your unique strengths to stand out in the job market. Tune in for a transformative conversation that promises to equip and inspire you to confidently navigate your career transitions.
Connect with Antonia Bowring
Website | LinkedIn | Instagram | TikTok - @antoniabowring963
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If you're ready to find your dream job, nothing is worse than feeling overwhelmed about what you think you should be doing. It's why I created a new checklist for you called your mid-career job seekers checklist. This checklist will help you get organized, strategize a plan and help you execute that plan. To start building your mid-career GPS right now you can get it for free on my website at johnnarallcom. You can also check the show notes or the featured section on my LinkedIn. But if you're ready to start building your mid-career GPS, let me help you get started. Download this free checklist and, strategically, let's start figuring out whatever is next for you and your career. Aristotle said knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. In the last episode, I shared how trusting my gut was instrumental in helping me address an unexpected health situation. Perhaps you can relate when you think about your career. How well do you know yourself? You know the good, bad and the yes, the ugly about what you do well and what you need to work on. Or how well do you know your values and how they determine how you show up each day for yourself, your team, clients and your organization? Today you will meet Antonia Bowring, a highly credentialed executive coach and strategic facilitator whose candid nature helps her clients be more pragmatic and be held accountable to achieve what they desire most. In this episode, you will learn what self-coaching is and why it's a powerful tool for your personal and career development. Plus, you'll learn why knowing your values is vital to building the career you desire and the one thought you need to believe to help you optimize your results, whether in your life or career. Let's get started. Hello, my friends, this is episode 194 of the Mid-Career GPS Podcast. I'm your host, john Narrell. I help mid-career professionals who feel stuck, undervalued and underutilized show up to find a job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four-step formula. My guest today is Antonia Bowring, the author of Coach Yourself, increase Awareness, change Behavior and Thrive. I hope you'll be open to how increasing your awareness will help you navigate your mid-career GPS to whatever is next for you and your career. As I went back and listened to our conversation, I'm grateful for the powerful moments and insights we shared to help you along your leadership and executive journey, and I want you to pay close attention to how Antonia introduces herself. Do you have something like that to grab someone's attention? Remember the goal when networking or interviewing, is to be memorable, and Antonia certainly is. So get ready for this conversation. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Antonia Bowring.Speaker 2:
Antonia Bowring, executive coach. That means I'm a professional reframer, cheerleader and hard-ass partner in honesty.Speaker 1:
Oh, I so love the way you introduced yourself there and I think for everybody who's listening today as we get into this conversation, you are going to know exactly why those three things ring true. Antonia, everybody has a mid-career moment, that thing that helped change or reframe their career path or their perspective on things. I'm wondering if you can share with us what your mid-career moment was.Speaker 2:
Oh, it's too early to cry in the podcast, but I will tell you it was being fired. Being fired, yeah, I was. I can't remember how old I was, but I took on a big new job. I wasn't totally prepared, I think. They were muddled and confused and it was a very bad fit and it was soul-destroying, until I realized that it was the greatest gift I ever got.Speaker 1:
Like you, I got fired as well. I got fired early on in my career. I'm wondering as you've processed those events. While there's a lot of perspective on the other side of it, how do you think people actually get there to be grateful for being fired?Speaker 2:
Well, I think you have to look at it inside a bigger arc. In the moment, I think you just got to get through it and you need a support system, and a coach would be great, john. Yes, yes, yes, and it comes with perspective. But the sense of empathy I developed was, I think, life-changing. And also, I have to say I remember thinking wait a second, I'm a winner, I'm a superstar, I don't get fired, other people get fired, and so it was very humbling.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. In the world of education, as we know, we don't get fired, our contract is not renewed. It's such a more gentler way of saying we don't want you to come back. And it is absolutely one of those things that for many people who listen to this show have experienced in some way, shape or form. Aristotle said quote knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Unquote. And, antonia, that quote anchors one of your book chapters in your brand new book called Coach Yourself, increase awareness, change behavior and thrive. And you talk in your book about knowing your values and what's important to you as a critical first step in determining your next career move. What values do you see most common in the people you coach that they emulate or do their best to emulate every day?Speaker 2:
Yeah, I thought you were going to ask me my values, because that's easy, I can. I can list those off. Honestly, john, I'm going to tell you it's not that easy to find common ones, and I think that's a very good thing. There is often something around teamwork, being part of a team I'm paraphrasing right, because I'm very strict about I want one word when you give me the value. There's usually something around culture, like I can have an impact, and there is. I think the most common is going to be something around learning. Yeah, learning, curiosity, that type of thing.Speaker 1:
Well, you've piqued my curiosity what are your values?Speaker 2:
Well, I thought you'd never ask. So one is possibility. It used to be positivity, but I changed it after TED 2023. Possibility, curiosity, slash, learning, mindset in service of and I can explain that a bit more gratitude and productivity.Speaker 1:
And you pick one of those values for us and explain it to us as why it is so powerful and important to you.Speaker 2:
One, one, one, well, maybe one that's most sort of linked to career. I guess I started out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, wanting to change the world and went into microfinance and worked around the world with women helping them access financial services poor women and that was in service of very big, lofty goals I am still in service of. But the way that value is activated and I want to come back to what activated is really important here is activated through my coaching and workshops and speaking, which is more about in service of helping others develop their potential.Speaker 1:
Can you tell us more about what you mean by how it's activated?Speaker 2:
Yeah, so when I'm working with a client and I start every single coaching engagement with a values exercise because for me, forget about a North Star if you don't know your values, like that's the basic building block. Right, and I talk about it in I want you to tell me what your value is. You know when we go through an exercise, but I also want to know how are you activating them every single day? Give me examples. And if someone is going through career transition, for any career coaches listening, this is a beautiful, beautiful coaching tool to say how do you want to activate that value in your next role or how will you activate that in your next role, and it can unlock a lot of questions.Speaker 1:
As I'm listening to you, I am having this internal battle between as a coach and how I help people as well, but also my time when I was hiring talent and I was developing talent within various organizations. One of the things that I often find is so difficult for people in career transition is to clearly and communicate what they want or what they want to do, and the word that always gets me. Well, there's a bunch of words that always get me, but the one word that tends to stand out and I see this a lot, especially on LinkedIn is I want to make a better impact.Speaker 2:
Okay, and I have this kind of visceral reaction where I almost want to kind of like like just don't know what that means and whoever posting about it, they haven't shared exactly what that means. Antonia, how do you take people from putting that out there to really owning and activating on that value?Speaker 2:
Yeah, we do tend to talk a lot in generalities and you make an excellent point that what makes someone differentiate themselves or show their value add is by being specific, right, yeah, so there's a lot of different ways into this and some of it is just hard work, right, writing and writing and saying it out loud and dictating it into your phone and running it through chat. Gpt I'm a big fan, but keep like getting more specific, you know. And also, look, here's a beautiful, beautiful way, look back right, like I'll give you an example Teamwork. Oh yeah, one of my values is teamwork, okay, I mean, and one of my values is apple pie and motherhood, right, okay, but this person, when we dug down she had been. She rode crew in college and she learned so much about being part of a team, about what she got from it, about what her role was, and she had so much language and imagery, you know, like sensory images from it that she could draw upon when she could tap into that and talk about. Well, I would love to be part of this team at XYZ. That's one of my core values from my crew days and this is what I mean by X. This is what I learned, this is what I bring. So that was a long-winded answer. Looking back at flow stories is one way and hello, do your research on the job, look at your value and then go how do I apply that value in a very specific way?Speaker 1:
I didn't think you were being long-winded at all, because we needed that context to really kind of understand and the example of that person you worked with, where they shared why being on crew was so important for them in terms of teamwork. It's a follow-up question. Can you share with us a little more about what a flow story is?Speaker 2:
Well, yes, I would imagine that, John, are you in flow when you do these interviews.Speaker 1:
Yeah, yeah, I'm feeling in flow and just the questions you asked me before we started. So flow is you know there's a lot of blah blah about it in social media and all over, but it's really when are you focused on something in kind of something that you're really interested in? You're challenged enough, but not challenged that it creates anxiety, but in an energetic way. You're humming, but in a very energetic way. I'm in flow right now with you. Absolutely I'm in flow when yesterday, one of my clients tells me I made the best decision that we discussed by going to that meeting in England, not that meeting somewhere else. And here's what came out of it. So I'm in flow too when I'm writing and it's moving.Speaker 1:
Well, and how powerful would it be for somebody who is actively job seeking and they go into an interview and they can get into that flow state where they are completely detached from the outcome and solely focused on telling their story from a place of value and service and building that relationship with a hiring manager.Speaker 2:
And I love the way you said that Like letting go of the outcome. This is the basis of mindfulness, right, Letting go of the outcome and focusing on the present and the process. And I would add one word, Well, maybe two, Go in curious. If you tap into your curiosity, it will lower your cortisol, it will lower the anxiety. It will lower the anxiety. Tap into your curiosity.Speaker 1:
That is so powerful. One of the things I want the listeners to know is that you and I particularly spent about 10 or 15 minutes before we actually started recording talking about things about your book and sharing some stories and things like that. And we do that as a way to just kind of get acclimated with each other a little bit more after our initial conversation and kind of see where this conversation is going to go and everything. But I do that because I think it's so important we take time and it's one of those things that I absolutely appreciated in reading your book was this notion of slowing down, taking time, be introspective, be reflective, and a huge component of your book is about self-coaching and how somebody can coach themselves when they're adding on to their work with a coach, or what that specifically may look like. And where I want to go with you here is in your experience, how does somebody coach themselves quote unquote well enough that they're quote unquote doing it right. What's that look like to you?Speaker 2:
Well, the short answer to that is that's a lifelong journey. That is just a lifelong journey and ideally we're always coaching ourselves, because think of any kind of athlete I actually was just watching the tennis breakpoint on Netflix you coach through this tournament, then there's the next one, then there's the next season, and we have seasons in our lives and careers and how we coach ourselves is going to look different. I would say the through line on that is it's not just time. Time is again like the building block. You've got to set aside a little bit of time, but it's the focus and the space inside that time. I can sit down for half an hour and not get through or accomplish much. I can sit down for 15 minutes and if I have intention and focus, I can move a lot further. So it's time plus intentionality I recommend. I just finished with a coaching client yesterday and I said to her what are you going to do to continue the coaching wins? And we talked about her calendaring once a week Time to dig into a topic that she's curious about, but alternating that every other week with going through our notes and picking something out that she wanted to focus on. So time and intention.Speaker 1:
I love how you phrase that, because this is a lifelong journey. I think sometimes we judge ourselves so quickly about if I don't do it right the first time, there's no point doing it. We get so critical about ourselves in this. And that intentionality piece she brought up is key as well, because we know in the research shows it as well that with greater intention and focus, greater results happen. When you have somebody or you're working with somebody who is getting better at intentionality, what do you see as the results of that?Speaker 2:
Well, the easy one is, I actually think, two things. What popped in my mind first was consistency, so definitely. But you know what I also see? More self-empathy, definitely, sort of more kindness, because when you apply an intentionality, you know that you are focusing on something important, and I find that that also helps develop more grace towards yourself. Yeah, can I say one thing?Speaker 1:
Yes, please.Speaker 2:
So when I say intention focus, you know that's not always easy. I am also a big, big, big, big believer that we want the environment we're in to support us right? So simple, simple example gratitude, one of my core values, something I do. The tons of research on gratitude practice and how that raises your happiness or self-fulfillment, whatever words you want to use, your positive outlook on the world. It's a great intention. I also have my journal right beside my bed with a pen, so environmentally, I make it easier to do it at the end of the day. So how you set up your world is also. I don't want to negate how important that is, because we can't depend on willpower.Speaker 1:
Oh, willpower is a limited resource.Speaker 2:
Very, very limited yeah.Speaker 1:
You bring up this idea about self-empathy and more kindness and somebody who is, without question, a repeat offender and is continually working on his own journey about being a little more self-empathetic and kinder and everything less judgmental, all those kinds of things, this whole concept about self-empathy. Before you and I started recording, we talked about three words I am enough, and I remember working with a bowling coach one of the top bowling coaches in the world to, after spending a weekend with her at a camp with about 20 people and then getting a private one-on-one lesson, her note to me right at the top of the page said you are enough. And it changed the way I thought about myself as an athlete, as a person, as an individual, and to this day, I still hold on to that. In our conversation before we started recording, we talked a little bit about how that's a hard thing for people to embrace and a hard thing for people to grasp and believe insistently and repeatedly. I'd love for you to share your thoughts on I am or I am enough, and where that phrase impacts and connects to the people you help and you work with each and every day.Speaker 2:
Yeah, so I actually have a tattoo on my arm that says ahum, which is Sanskrit, for I am. I couldn't fit it all on my arm, but that is in reference to I am enough. And you know I hope this isn't a tangent but for me, first of all, being a coach, john, like you, I, we don't do research. Well, we do research and we do research right. Yes, that is one of the beautiful things of this work, one of the beautiful gifts is all this research and I got an adult diagnosis of ADHD and that was a total game changer for me in being able to say I am enough and that was its own journey. And you know, that's maybe that's another podcast, but that was really important. The other thing I would say is I so wish that. What I would like, I wish we could bottle, is that I am so much more confident now than I ever was in my 20s, 30s, 40s. I don't want to say too much about my age, but I know everyone you and I know this has to go through their own journey right Of kind of developing confidence, figuring out they're enough. But what we do as coaches is we can shorten that pathway right. We can say, well, it doesn't have to take you 25 years, maybe it's just 10. But that's a lot of work, both with a coach, with others and your own personal development. And that, to me, is what the essence of coaching is how do we give them tools, strategies, love, empathy, reassurance to take that journey and shorten it?Speaker 1:
Yeah, that's so well said. It's so at the crux of what we get to do every single day is help people optimize their potential and their results, whether it be in their life, career, relationships, whatever it might be. It's one of the things. Like you, I absolutely appreciate Adam Grateful for it. About coaching.Speaker 2:
Yeah, can I say one more thing there? Absolutely, I also think I am enough. You and I know it might be an urban myth you have to hear something seven times to actually hear it, but I like that urban myth. We need to hear that a lot of times in our life. We need to hear that as athletes, we need to hear that as students, we need to hear that as friends, we need to hear that at work. That is something that is a gift, john. If people take one thing away from today, I challenge any of your listeners to go out to their family or friends or co-worker and say you know you are enough and give them that gift.Speaker 1:
Oh, absolutely. And additionally, if someone who's listening is in a leadership role, they're managing people, they're developing talent. To take that moment especially whether it's at a check-in meeting or a performance appraisal meeting and you're working with somebody who feels like their results are never good enough or they're not valued enough to reinforce that message of they are enough, they're doing great work. Here's what you appreciate about them. Slow the conversation down and be intentional to focus in on what it is you appreciate about them and their work, so they can hear it. We can't control whether they receive it, but so they can hear it. And, just like the urban myth, seven times, figure out how often you can do that. It's a very powerful gift to give to your team as well.Speaker 2:
Can I add on to that? Yes, please. So I recently did a leadership retreat day two of it and I started it with a kind of what do you call that? A dating circle, speed dating, speed dating, that's it. But it was speed dating for appreciation and there were about 10 people and you paired off and you just kept rotating and take 30 seconds each. What do you appreciate about so and so? And then you know, change roles and it went really well, went a bit longer, great start to the day from a neuroscience perspective. We just aligned everything for collaboration and positivity. I was shocked by how powerful this was At the end of the day. Folks, you know how was the day. What did you take from it? Expecting some kudos for all the great material I delivered. What did they love the most about the day? The appreciation moments. At the beginning they said I don't hear that. People said it to me in a way that I hadn't heard before. We don't do enough of that. So all the leaders out there listening appreciation moments, just do it. It pays in multiple ways.Speaker 1:
Antonia, as we start wrapping up here, what advice would you give someone who's listening to help them build their mid-career GPS?Speaker 2:
I want to give two, and I'll be brief, Just as you need three people at different times, in different quantities, but keep track of this A career coach at various points, mentors, and mentorship goes both ways. Mentors are so important and sponsors, the people who are making decisions about your career when you're not in the room. Make decisions about what you stand for and that they can talk about you for you. That's one piece of advice, and the second is I'm going to say it community, community, community. You are always looking for the next opportunity. You are always building not I don't like the word network a community that you are giving to and getting from always, and keep it in some kind of database, please.Speaker 1:
Well said, I want to thank you for our time here today and I want to turn the mic over to you now, so anyone who is listening can find ways to connect you, follow you, learn more about your book. The mic is yours.Speaker 2:
Oh, that's kind. So a few different ways to buy the book. Go to amazoncom and just search up coach yourself and my name, Antonia Bowring, and you can find me on LinkedIn very easily my name Antonia Bowring, and on Instagram it's Antonia underscore AB Strategies. My website is hyphen strategies and finally, for the folks with ADHD, on TikTok it's Antonia Bowring, 963.Speaker 1:
I will make sure all of that is in the show notes. Antonia Bowring, thank you so very much for being an incredible guest today on the mid career GPS podcast.Speaker 2:
I'm a fan, john, you are awesome. I already sent your podcast to my son, who's at university in England.Speaker 1:
Thank you so very much. That warms my heart and right back at you, my friends. I hope today you have picked up a couple of things about building your mid career GPS to whatever is next. But here are a few takeaways I want you to hone in on. The first is intentionality. We get our results by being more intentional, and that means taking time to dig into your own thoughts and feelings, but also finding ways to make greater and deeper connections with the people you work with each and every day. Additionally, we also talked about what self empathy looks like and the idea about you are enough, and how you can give appreciation and spread that to the people in your lives and also the people you work with. I highly encourage you to go ahead and get Antonia's book Again. It is called Coach Yourself, increase Awareness, change Behavior and Thrive, and my friends remember this. We'll build our mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how we show up matters. Make it a great rest of your day. Thank you for listening to the Mid-Career GPS podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform and, if you have a moment, I'd love to hear your comments on Apple podcasts. Visit JohnNarrowcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you and your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event. And don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at JohnNarrowCoaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters.