Podcast

Episode: 416 |
Jonas Altman:
Reinvent Your Work:
Episode
416

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Jonas Altman

Reinvent Your Work

Show Notes

Jonas Altman is a speaker, writer, and entrepreneur who creates transformational learning experiences to elevate and grow leaders around the world. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and he has recently published the book, Shapers: Reinvent the way you work and change the future. On this episode, Jonas talks about his book, his work, the power of harnessing creative energy, and how it helps motivate his clients.

Key points include:

  • 03:35: How the future of work may evolve
  • 13:16: The need to expand the learning mindset
  • 23:16: Coaching style and client types
  • 27:10: Two case studies on achieving aspirational targets

You can learn more about Jonas at Jonas Altman.com, you can learn more about the work he does at social fabric.com, and find the book at shapers.life.

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:02
Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host Will Bachman and I’m here today with Jonas Altman, who is a founder, he’s a facilitator. He’s a coach. He’s the author of shapers reinvent the way you work and change the future. And he is also like I mentioned a coach with his firm called Sphere. Jonas, welcome to the show.

Jonas Altman 00:31
Oh, thanks so much for having me. Will, pleasure to be here.

Will Bachman 00:34
So let’s talk about your book Shapers first, so came out last year, right in the middle of the pandemic. There’s just for listeners, what why don’t you give listeners just a little overview of the book, there’s three parts to it, the meaning of nature of work, part one, part two, the better ways of working and part three, principle for the future of work. Tell me give us a little bit of an overview of the book.

Jonas Altman 01:00
Sure. Well, funnily enough, you, staggered, or you said 2020, which for a lot of people, it was like a blip year. So it came out last year, and last year, in many ways changed how people perceive or experience time, some people felt more time scarcity, and like, all of a sudden, they had no time to get anything done, whether it was homeschooling, working from home, etc. Or that time slowed, and they had lots of time. And so, you know, never in a million years did I anticipate that the book would come out during a global pandemic. And the book touches on three parts as you as you as you offered. The first is looking at how we got to the place that we’re at, and the changing nature of work very quickly, work as a one way ticket to heaven, something that was often dirty or demeaning, or dangerous. And fast forward to today’s a knowledge economy or innovation economy, where work is the principal place for many people where they find their sense of joy, and meaning. So it kind of it tells that story rather quickly. And then it jumps into where we are, and focuses on the individual and how to design your days and weeks and work life. teams and fluid teams at organizations that can come together, do great work, collaborate and then disband, much like a jazz band or sports team. And then organizations moving to either more autonomy and more self management, or more hierarchy and more commanding control. And then the last part is my attempt to predict the future, which I think is a fruitless or futile undertaking, but it awesome principles that might help navigate to a preferable future. So that’s the overview. Yeah.

Will Bachman 03:15
Tell me about some of those principles of navigating to the future. So there’s five chapters on this learning, feeling leading becoming and futuring. So start anywhere in there, tell us some of your thinking about how work may evolve.

Jonas Altman 03:35
Yeah, it’s funny, you know, I’ve done lots of podcasts. And that question in that shape hasn’t come up. And I think learning is a great place to start, which is, forget about organizations just talk about how we dealt with uncertainty and how we deal with change. And the first thing is, we have to acknowledge that we need to mourn or grieve our identities, or the way of working or the way of living that was, and then get excited and or adapt to what is or what is coming. And for a lot of people that is disorientating and jarring and not really that enjoyable. So learning is actually moving from Mr. or Mrs. No at all. And moving towards a Mr. or Mrs. Learn at all. And this is like showed up at some great companies. So you could look at the CEO of Google, who would ask questions like How can I best serve you? What do we know? What don’t we know? What are some other alternatives or possibilities? Instead of do this, we need to do this we need to fire 30% of our staff. So learning is really a value that you value I know which is curiosity. So that would be that. The second one is this whole revolution. We’re seeing at work, whether it’s Bernie brown or Esther parral, championing taking off your professional mask and your armor, and being more of a human, having more empathy, more collaboration, more openness. And we’re seeing that, whether we like it or not through the zoom culture that has become the norm. And then leading, which is going through a major transformation has been for some time, where now the leader is much more of a shaper, a facilitator, and even a coach, and wears multiple hats, and is not just a manager or a boss. And that’s both my opinion, but it’s more and more becoming accepted. I don’t say policy, but accepted sort of a truth that there are different ways of showing up. Becoming is moving beyond our individual little egos and looking at like, what are we becoming as a species who has the ability to project into the future, reflect into the past, and really create resilient communities, and a world that is a world that we would want to inhabit. And that’s a whole kettle of fish. When we look at universal basic income. If we look at what’s happening in the Middle East, if we look at what’s happening in India, or how different countries have reacted to COVID, I didn’t anticipate all that, but it kind of scratches on, we don’t have a world where enough people have quality work if they have work at all. And futuring is falling off on that of what are some alternative ways to not default to a future that isn’t one we’d want to enhance. It means we actually need to course correct or change and the where the where to start, which is the subtitle of the book is with ourselves, if we change our operating system, or our mindset at the individual level, to have more civic engagement, more trust and transparency in the workplace, that we might have some bandwidth to start addressing these problems.

Will Bachman 07:08
Let’s talk about learning for a little bit. What do you believe, is true about learning in the future? that not everyone would agree with? Or that is maybe different from conventional wisdom?

Jonas Altman 07:24
Yes, well, as you asked that question, I stood up because I am more kinesthetic in style. I like to move to think and learn. I love

Will Bachman 07:32
that. I love that you shared that. That’s so awesome.

Jonas Altman 07:35
Yeah. And you know, I have a nephew who’s extremely gifted, he learns playing YouTube learns piano by listening to, you know, Stevie Wonder on YouTube, and then just playing the song and feeling it. He’s a feeler, he’s not so much of a thinker, although he is a thinker too. And I think the first place to start, which would be the start of some of the great work from Ken Robinson, that schools historically have batched us and hammered out a few principles that everyone is creative, that failure is okay. And this idea of interpersonal communication, that if someone isn’t feeling good, or if someone is in a difficult situation, that you have an opportunity as a child, or as a young youngster, to avoid, or to lean in, and we’re not, at least I wasn’t taught that I was just sort of thrown into scenarios, and based on my parenting or on my personality, but I think there’s a whole world of knowledge and lived experiences that that children in their formative years could, especially now could, could be supported to say, you know, it’s okay, if you’re sad, and not to hammer out, you know, your drawing isn’t as good as her drawing or his drawing. I think the print the first principle or myth to debunk is that there’s a creative person, not a creative person, or that you can’t fail your way to success or experiment as a child or as a youngster. Because if you ask anyone under the age of five or six, to run, to dance to draw, they typically do but if you ask someone in their 30s, they might say, No, you know, I just I don’t dance. Like, that’s not my thing. So that may be, you know, unpacking that a little bit is maybe our systems were designed in the image of a machine and only with, like, Montessori schools or situated learning, are we getting more about the different types of intelligences that we have way beyond IQ and academic rigor?

Will Bachman 09:42
Yeah. I want to share something on that which, which you probably get a kick out of join us, which is I just took this survey for the one of the local theatre companies here in New York City. It was they’re trying to figure out You know, how they should plan for reopening up? So they’re asking, you know, past audience members about about their plans? Right. And so long survey and question 40, towards the end here was do you earn a portion of your income from performing, teaching or creating art of any kind? So I just, I just thought that was such an interesting question for me. I mean, you’re, I’m a management consultant, right? But I answered yes to that question, because I consider the work that I do art, which Seth Godin, I think defines as any emotional labor that seeks to cause change in another person. Ah, So art is not in my view about, you know, painting or, or sculpting, but it’s about, you know, emotional labor. But, you know, to your point about how some, you know, art so much has been driven out of us, or we’ve, we’re taught to believe that, Oh, just there’s select few people are creative and others are not, is, is profoundly sad that some people have that view.

Jonas Altman 11:12
I love that, what a great share. And it reminds me as you’re talking something else that is very present for me, which is if learning and or the banking system of depositing information in the students mind for, you know, regurgitation on an exam was one way that the learning of today and perhaps always should be active, and direct. So into your point, to be able to take a podcast or book a lecture, translate it and synthesize it, and then teach it to someone else, and learn with the knowledge that that’s what you’re going to do. I’m going to read this book, that I’m going to share it with my colleagues or my kid, not because I was assigned a book, book report, and maybe even gift it to someone, and reading and consuming and learning with the knowledge that you’re actually doing it not as someone who’s hoarding, but who is whose duty is it to, is to share that knowledge. And so I don’t know whose quote it was, but it you know, it’s sort of sacrilegious to try and hoard and maintain the things you know, back to our mister missus no at all. But instead, to add your own sort of will, perspective or maybe even opinion. And and that way, it’s much more alive. And I think that that’s something that maybe was neglected or isn’t as pronounced in certainly in our schools.

Will Bachman 12:49
Yeah. So outside of this context of schools and formal education, let’s talk about learning as an adult, what is your thinking about, you know, in terms of the principles for the future of work, and kind of just ongoing adult learning? What are some of your thoughts about what people should be doing to take responsibility for their own ongoing, ongoing education and learning?

Jonas Altman 13:16
The first one is to actually never think that it’s done. And I think there’s a few people who I’ve encountered in my career, that somehow for whatever reason, I don’t know, maybe it’s conditioning, or they’re just so bright, that they’re like, I’m good. Like, I don’t need to learn about behavioral psychology, or I’m not interested in meditation. So we’re back again to like, his curiosity, a gene, is it something you can cultivate, but to think that adult learning stops and when you finish college or your, your graduate degree that you’re done is is, you know, to me is archaic. The second thing would be like the modalities of how you learn, everyone learns differently. People have a preference for certain styles, some people have blended learning, most of us are becoming more and more visual learners, just out of necessity. So catering to how you learn, like understanding how you best learn, and being okay with that is important as an adult, a lot of people that I’ve been working with, like the drip, so instead of being bombarded with too much, you know, suggested articles, links, lectures, videos, podcasts, but not dumping it. So for example, if I were to give you some music that I love, I could give you one gigabyte or 10 gigabytes on a USB drive, or I could say, well, I know you like jazz. Here’s my five favorite jazz tracks, have a go, you know, dance with them. So that that kind of thing has been helpful. And then there’s another woman that wrote a book. I don’t know her name of The top of my head, but it’s about systems thinking. And it talks about awareness. And as as we self author our lives individually, it becomes more increasingly interesting to look at, you know, collectives and interdependence. So thinking about how you might learn in a book group in a book club, or how this conversation, or as we were talking about before, with maybe three or four people can be much more rich, much more memorable, and become tacit knowledge and lives in us since simply because we got to lean and depend on others to support us in our learning journey.

Will Bachman 15:44
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, your point about ongoing learning, and not relying on what you learned in school, I have this I mean, I was a nuclear trained submarine officer before I became a consultant. Wow. So I, I approach some of this with kind of this nuclear mindset of thinking about learning about is that there’s like a HalfLife, to the knowledge and the skills that you’ve learned, and that, that it has maybe a half life of something like two to five years, which means that, that half life is that length of time it takes for for half the material to to be gone. So for uranium 235, it’s I forget, I don’t know, 35,000 years or something crazy, I don’t remember. But I think of it for for like your, your, your education, I think of it as maybe like two to five years. So you get a degree, you know, five years later, maybe you have half of that value. And then another five years later, you have like only a quarter of it left. So if you want to really keep succeeding, professionally, you have to keep replenishing that well over time.

Jonas Altman 16:56
Yes, yes. I totally agree with that. And, you know, I was on a workshop this morning. And the fellow is a founder. And he’s become a meditation coach, he went to Indonesia and studied Vedic meditation for four months. And in many ways, our minds are so busy, and our attention is so fractured, that to get back to a point where the well is either empty, or has things of currency in our, in our world, back to your comment about theater is becoming like a real chore, or even something is very intimidating for people because of our always on world of the inputs that never seem to be ending. And so to get back to a mindset, or to an environment that is conducive to learning, is also a challenge. So, you know, there’s a whole maybe aspect to acknowledge of that, what are the fertile conditions for you to you know, as you rightly said, like, put turn information into knowledge?

Will Bachman 18:14
Yeah. Maybe three of the things I’d say on this topic, it’s one, it’s one principle, I think, in terms of continuing ongoing learning is having an attitude that you want to get bad at something. So that’s number one. So which I mean by like, if you have never played just before, right, if you just have never even picked up a piece, you don’t know the rules, then you’re not you’re not even bad at chess, right? You’re not even bad. Whereas in one weekend, you could learn the rules. You could have someone play 10 games with you, you get the hang of it, you have the idea. Okay, there’s King pawn cetera. Now you’re bad at chess. But that is that is like infinitely more knowledge of chess than before the weekend, right. So there’s this massive gap to go from that level one to becoming the Grandmaster beaming, you know, Magnus Carlsen. Okay, so that’s another, that’s another 30 years of effort. But you know, just to go from zero to one, it’s a small step, but you have to have this mindset, it’s okay, I just want to get bad at a lot of things. And then the next thing would be to have some kind of routine or ongoing habit that you integrate into your ongoing routine. So it’s not just like, oh, occasionally you get all motivated, you sign up for a massively online course or some Udacity thing and, you know, and then just lose steam, but you need to embed it somehow in your ongoing practice. Whether that’s like, every morning, you get up and you write for an hour, or maybe you do a podcast once a week, or you write a blog post and you’ve kind of committed publicly to some sort of schedule would be another another thing, so Hmm. Those are those are a couple of thoughts. And or it may be it’s or you made some commitments to other people, maybe you get together as a group and you commit to, you know, like a reading book club or something. So, I love I love your thoughts around this about about the, you know, kind of thinking about the future of work. Let’s talk a little bit about your, your, your coaching practice, I’d really love to hear kind of your approach of, you know, what types of folks you primarily work with you in terms of your clients and, and what you what you work on with him.

Jonas Altman 20:37
Yeah. So there’s this idea that certain people are in transition. And the footnote is like, who’s not going through some sort of resurfacing reemergence reinvention. But when people feel in terms of their own story, their own narrative, that their Crossroads that the point they’re at, whether it’s in a relationship, whether it’s in their work, whether it’s in the city they live in, something in them is stirring. And so usually, they show up, or I’m attracted to them, at the point where it’s become very acute, of like an acute state of acute case of transition, of transition. And that often has the lens of work. Yet, it’s not really work. That is the thing, it’s a dissatisfaction, or a yearning to finally do what is, you know, basically a creative itch or a form of expression back to your Seth Godin. And so, you know, it tip, if I had to batch it with like, categories, you have founders, so people who are running their own show in our own business, with lots of autonomy, but also a lot of pressure. It’s career changers, who people who are imminently hitting inject out of one organization into something new. Or job crafters, people who are in a work environment, that is okay. But they believe either through their relationships, or colleagues or boss, or possibly the actual tasks, maybe the department, or the kind of work they’re doing, that there’s a way to reshape their job. So it’s one they love. And that tends to be my, my, my client base. Interesting, okay.

Will Bachman 22:45
When you’re working with any of these groups, but maybe we think about founders, do you have some kind of like, what’s, what’s your, what’s your rhythm with them? Do you? Do you kind of is there some periodicity where you meet, check in? And is there a template for that meeting that you like to follow of looking at their calendar reviewing, you know, their commitments, talking about what’s working? Well, like, how do you? How do you engage?

Jonas Altman 23:16
Yeah, I mean, every coach has a different style. There’s, there’s a great analogy would be a concept that’s offered by Alan Watts, about certain types of people. So some people typically are a bit more gooey, and okay with uncertainty, and condense in the unknown. And some people are a little bit more prickly on love systems, and structure. And I have all sorts of different people in my life that fit into those categories. But the caveat is that sometimes the gooey people need to become more prickly, and actually do and other times the people who are more prickly, become a little bit more gooey. So my coaching style is really dancing with the client in a way that resembles like jazz. So they come with the agenda back to what we had spoken about. My agenda is to help them get out of their own way and to flourish as a as a grand agenda, but I put it aside. And so we jump in where they want to, which usually is, sometimes it’s a trigger, sometimes as I’m just talking and expressing stuff that’s going on, and I can deduce that there’s an irritation, or there’s an invitation of where to start. And then we typically Converse for 45 to 50 minutes. My coach that coaches me, we go for two, two and a half hours but he’s a philosopher. So that’s a whole other kettle of fish. And within the last 10 minutes, instead of the conversation, just sort of ending we move into what coactive trained coaches would call the challenge phase, where it’s about a request or a challenge that is going to match your point create some form of accountability, not necessarily to the coach, not necessarily to that person’s wife or husband or, or colleagues, but to that person to themselves. Like, I’m going to do this, I’m going to write every day, I’m going to launch my podcast by next next week. So that that can follow the growth, the grow model, which is a very popular model of goals, reality opportunities, and a rap. I don’t necessarily follow that model. So clearly, however, I’d say, the idea that you could check in with someone, every other week, two, every four to six weeks seems the right rhythm in terms of frequency. And the duration seems to be a half an hour on short and up to say two hours on the long end. And the idea, obviously, is to create not dependability, and nothing against management consultants, because I know you are one. But there is a history of creating dependency with some of the big firms versus reliability and creating inner resources and internal capabilities within that individual to solve their own problems.

Will Bachman 26:32
What do you I’m curious about, obviously, keeping everything sanitized, if you could share a story of one of your clients that set, you know, an ambitious goal and achieved it, whether it was you know, launching some creative endeavor, or not, and then maybe another person that like has not, you know, maybe made progress on what they were hoping to do. And and if you see some themes that are common around people that, you know, that are able to achieve these aspirational targets?

Jonas Altman 27:10
Yeah. Okay, well, let’s start with someone who didn’t, or hasn’t yet, kind of got to where they want to get to, or at least start that journey, okay, then we can end with or we can move on to the person who has and is just like a rock star. So this person is highly creative. And not that people aren’t, but in terms of like, actually is creating art, like visual art, and so forth. And for whatever reason, found themselves in a job. And in a career that ticks only a few boxes, for what it is that excites them or lights them up. So they, they come, they come into my world from either seeing that I’m doing what it is I love or believing that somehow I can help unlock that part of them that they haven’t Unleashed. Or maybe it’s a little bit dormant, just waiting to be activated. And so we start the process. And the themes, typically, at least in the last couple years, or certainly in the last year have been time scarcity, I don’t have the time, that’s creating some sort of dis ease in me anxiety, and therefore I’m stressed. And so like, without getting too detailed, like removing that or at least addressing that, then you’re kind of stacking more on that by saying, Well, actually, in addition to all the things you’re doing, including parenting and your job, now you need to find time for this whole new activity, which in many ways is a whole other full time job, like is that really going to happen? So we look at alternatives, we look at how to create some space, we look at tiny habits, and what ends up happening. And actually, it’s funny enough, because I don’t know if this is true or not because I haven’t spoken to them, but I will be speaking to them very soon. They in many ways have the picture in their mind, they have the roadmap, maybe even written out. Yet, there is still a resistance. And it can be either I would say it could be a lot of things, but it can either be responsibilities to others, and or resistance being caught in their own shadow or in their own being in their own way. And it might just take more time. So instead of taking you know three months, six months, one year, it might be a sort of three year kind of change management project, to get that person to acknowledge that they have a lot of work to do to get to a point of feeling time abundance, and that they are being their most creative self or at least giving life to that parts of themselves. So I’d say that that one is one that maybe maybe it’s, you know, a combination of a bunch of things, I didn’t necessarily see the change or transformation that I would have liked if that’s if that’s one way to look at it. The other scenario is someone who is in a job studying part time, family COVID hits and things change drastically, and you know, work in life become basically one. And turns out that long story short, he quits his job, goes back to an old job with new energy, and ends up running for public office, and becomes a more present parent, and fun finds time for running and for golfing. And in some ways, his operating system seems completely different, like it was night and now it’s day or day in this night, from what it was when he started. And the transformation was really because when you say people are coachable, he was dead serious about making progress about doing the work about addressing what, what he was really looking to do when he came into my stratosphere. And I’m just floored by it. Like, in some ways, the relationship ended amicably in terms of we became friends. And now I just sort of sit on the sidelines and off and we do like, you know, every other month, or every three months, we’ll do a coaching call or check in. So that would be you know, a success story in terms of just needing a sounding board, or needing to expose blind spots, or just having an accountability partner, and the coach can be all of those things. Yeah.

Will Bachman 31:56
You know, just beyond the purely professional, how do you work with a client that says, I mean, is beyond purely professional, you know, sit at your desk type things, someone says, you know, look, I really feel that I need to improve my diet and improve my sleep habits and you know, wake up earlier, stop wasting time on XYZ on social media. To what degree would you get involved in those in those sorts of habit changes?

Jonas Altman 32:26
Yeah. So if we look at designing our support systems, so that we have people in our lives, regardless of their denomination of their title, so your wife might play a role as your emotional co regulator, and your therapist might help unpack the past, and your coach might poke you and provoke you to step into a higher self. And your best friend might challenge you challenge you on the basketball court. Each of those people could show up in a way that you kind of expect them to, or at least give them permission to to be to show up that way, because that’s how they shine. So for me, I’m not really interested in helping people shape their diet. I’m interested in them being healthy and perceiving that they’re mentally fit and physically fit. But if their goal is to get abs, then they got to go to some Instagram or some fitness Pro, who, you know, specializes in washboard stomachs. But when it comes to like, healthy habits, like morning rituals, meditation, walking, running, and things that we know are necessary for knowledge workers to unwind and even to be creative. Then I just offer suggestions, and I go, Okay, so do you have a current practice? So yesterday, that fella was like, I haven’t really been doing anything. I just work all around the clock. And when I’m not working, I’m thinking about my company. I was like, Okay, well, we know what’s going on there. Like, you’re a workaholic, you are doing this to prove something to some people or to yourself. What habits do you have? He’s like, well, I used to run, but now I’m walking. So now we start with the walking, okay, how often you’re walking? He’s like, two or three times a week, I was like, Okay, what would it look like to make that a daily practice? You know, or what would it look like to jump that out to five days, or longer walks when you go for those two or three walks, and just meet them where they’re at. And then obviously, the today’s world you know, coaching is one of the fastest growing professions which is why in many ways, there is a perception as well as some snake oil sales. People. There’s, there’s a side of it as like life coach, performance coach, mindset coach, relationship coach, and you know, those titles to me are somewhat arbitrary, in that I’m going to show up as the person I am with the energy. I have I’m going to not solve your problems, but take it that you’re naturally creative and resourceful and whole. And if that doesn’t work for you, then I’m not your coach. And I will highly happily recommend you to someone else, or tell you to go on your merry way. That’s taken me a long time to get to because my default programming is a people pleaser. So I want to please every client and make everyone happy. And that’s futile. That’s actually, you know, very dangerous. So we start there a lot. When I look at the seven tours that show up for people, the the saboteurs tend to be the inner critic, the procrastinator, the perfectionist, the imposter, they’re usually the same version of a shadow self. And that person is doing the work to kind of say, Hey, what are you? How are you serving me? are you pushing me to do more? and be more? Or are you getting in my way, and hindering me? And that part of the work in addition to understanding what what’s important to someone, but values are, how they can show up and make a contribution? Those two kind of go hand in hand. One is your vision and your life purpose? And the other? Is the stuff in the muck that’s holding you back.

Will Bachman 36:21
Wow, yeah. And I’m curious, like, what sorts of aspirations Do you see people? Are there themes across that? About what? What is everybody really trying to do the same thing? I want to get more fit? I want to, you know, have more time or just what, what sorts of changes? Are you see people trying to make?

Jonas Altman 36:46
Um, you know, it’s a great, it’s a great question. I think. I mean, personally, I think the themes are the same themes that have historically been there, at least in the sort of, you know, post industrial era, which is, people want a sense of freedom, they want to feel autonomy and have agency. And whether they do or they don’t, is a big issue. So that’s about their cognitive framing of, am I free to work from home? Am I free to work on what I want to where I want to. So that’s a huge theme, coupled with freedom is responsibility, responsibility to yourself, to your family, to your colleagues. So that’s a big theme. Another theme is like creative expression, which is part of shapers, this idea that you had rightly said like, if everyone is creative, and you believe that and there’s different forms of creativity, how often do you get to flex those muscles? And we know that, you know, if you say, I want to be an artist, like I’m, you could look throughout history, and there was very few poets, like, I’m not sure Sally had ever said, I want to be a poet he just was. So you kind of feel compelled to and I feel like a lot of people are being called to, or being seduced, to express themselves in whatever way that could be magnified by social media, and the internet. So that’s another theme. And then, yeah, I guess I guess the other one is the darkness, which is people, including myself, just don’t give themselves permission to fail, either at all, or to fail publicly. And that’s a shame in some ways, but it also is something to acknowledge of what is it about our culture that has reinforced that you just have to all of a sudden, be an expert or be a professional, and that to get to be a professional at some point, you have to be an amateur. And we go back to my nephew, he’s an incredible tennis player. I mean, he can, nine years old, he can shove it down my throat, topspin, all of that. But when it comes to other sports, a couple he’s just not interested in because he’s not good at them. And I’m like, that’s okay. You don’t have to be good. You can be bad like it, like you said, and it’s easy for me to say that as the uncle. But I’m wondering where else that shows up, whether it’s the workplace, or even in family life around like, Oh, I just don’t you know, I’m not good at cards, I can’t play or I’m not good at chess. So that to me is another thing of like, how would you know if you weren’t willing to prototype that version of yourself? And see, try it on?

Will Bachman 39:32
Yeah. What’s your thought about side projects?

Jonas Altman 39:38
What elaborate are just like what I think about them?

Will Bachman 39:40
Yeah, just like, I mean, I guess. I always it just warms my heart. It does get excited when I see people doing side projects. I just think it’s so awesome, too. Rather than trying to Oh, I’m going to quit my job or I’m going to go back to school. It’s like, just try something in a relatively low risk way. You don’t have to quit your job, like, you want to be a writer, okay? Well, you know, write a short story, you want to be a filmmaker, we’ll start making some short videos or you want to be a, you know, just start a podcast, write, write a blog, you know, start start programming on the side, do it, you don’t have to, like, switch careers first, just test it out, you know, do some kind of experiment.

Jonas Altman 40:26
Yeah, I mean, my thought on side projects are, first of all, are they? Are you acknowledging that your desire for it is to be something else? So what’s your point, if you want to start writing as a, as a side project, or do a screenplay and your hope is to be a filmmaker or be an author, then you have to acknowledge that and your side project is actually not just a side project, it’s, in many ways, the embryonic beginning of your new career, and your and your new identity that you’re going to step into, that’s a totally different aspect than my friend who is an incredible painter, and has no delusions or inspirate aspiration to be a painter, he just paints when he comes home from work. And he’s, you know, he does it for for the love, and sometimes he sells some paintings. And sometimes he can, you know, I asked him to make one for me, and I’ll give him some money, or, you know, we’ll do a mate deal. And so that, to me, is a different energy or intention that is coming with making or doing something as a side project. So my first point, there would be side projects are awesome, as long as you’re clear on like, you know, your intention. And then the other one is like, what, what’s what do you stand to lose by not doing it? So whether it is the podcast, where there is meat, pottery, maybe it’s just the cathartic process of doing that. So someone I spoke to yesterday, is enjoying burning wood and making cabinets with this sort of Japanese technique. I was like, Oh, you’re gonna make start making cabinets and sell them? He’s like, No, I’m just enjoying doing it. It’s, it’s, it’s like I’m a child again, innocent. So I love that, because that’s a break from running his company. Right? So yeah, so I’m totally a fan of side projects. I’ve had several of them, several them have died, some have become mini businesses, some become projects. I think getting started and getting going is usually a good, a good tactic. So I’m a proponent of the side project.

Will Bachman 42:46
Do you have some kind of process that you work with your clients on? For, like an annual planning or annual review or quarterly review or some sort of period? You can tell them maybe more of the prickly side? Is there some sort of periodic self assessment that’s maybe helped guided by you? And if so, tell me what that what that looks like?

Jonas Altman 43:12
Yeah, well, you know, acknowledge it, that’s probably not my strong suit, when it comes to, you know, quarterly reports and KPIs. And, and, and, you know, in academic land, like a threshold concept of, we wanted you to get to this level of learning. And here’s how we reverse engineered it. And we can reflect back. So there’s a, there’s work to do that, to do that in coaching land for me to level up. But what I do currently, I do a coaching program with many people all at once. And we, we do, right, so we’ve just started it, and so the program will be done on July 1. And so we track that we kept we capture it in a repository online, and then we revisit it, you know, periodically, every three to four weeks. So we’ll do it sort of halfway through. And then we’ll do it at the at the end. I do a version of that with my clients because I take notes and have a pretty good memory. So for a recent client, we should just stepped into a new job. We did. How do you want to feel in one month? How do you want to feel in three months? And how do you want to feel in six months. And the first sort of pillar is to be seen as or perceived as the expert. So that’s an aspiration. The second pillar was to think make a contribution or start a project and the third one was to sprout. And so these were her words, so they’re a little bit more gooey, but there are at least words of like for example, she said, I want to feel psychologically safe at my new company by month three, then we would I would make a note of that we’d revisit that. But it wouldn’t be something like I want a job 150k plus benefits by November like that, that typically isn’t happening in my coaching practice. But yeah, so there’s always something being held, and something being shared. And it’s usually captured in writing, and, and reflected back and brought back to review whether we got to where where you had said you wanted to get to.

Will Bachman 45:38
Awesome. Jonas, this has been great. If folks wanted to follow up with you, where would you point them online?

Jonas Altman 45:46
Yeah, so funnily enough, I have multiple identities. So Jonas altman.com, is where you’ll find me. Like not physically, but digitally, shapers dot life is where you’ll find everything about the book and group coaching. And social fabric.com is where you will find more about the work I do with organizations.

Will Bachman 46:11
So we’ll include those links in the show notes. That perfect. So Jonas, thanks so much for joining. It was really fabulous. Talking about you talking about your book shapers. We will include a link to that in the show notes as well. Really appreciate the discussion.

Jonas Altman 46:27
Well, I’ve really enjoyed your question. So thanks for an engaging conversation.

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