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Episode #79: How to Reduce Anxiety and Overcome Obstacles

Reduce Anxiety, Overcome Obstacles, Move Your Life & Career Forward…

[00:00:03.530] - Teena Evert

You are listening to the Confident Careerist podcast, providing inspiration and guidance for career-minded professionals who want to break free from their limitations and step into a life of more personal power, positivity and, prosperity.

[00:00:29.790] - Teena Evert

Hey there. This is your host, Teena Evert. And I want to welcome you to the Confident Careerist podcast. Now, if you are a frequent listener, thank you for tuning in. And if this is your first time listening, I want to extend a warm welcome to you as well. Now, today's episode is going to be a bit different for two main reasons. The first reason is that I'm winding down doing a long stretch of solo episodes.

[00:00:59.700] - Teena Evert

And the second reason is that I have a very special guest on the show today. His name is Sam and I met him through networking or should I say, through the intention of meeting interesting people and building new and meaningful relationships. Hint, hint. This is an essential part of career management and development. When you listen to my conversation with Sam, I think you'll hear and feel the spark of our authentic connection. And I hope it inspires you to perhaps get past a rough spot in your life or accelerate forward if you've been gaining traction and just needed a nudge to move forward.

[00:01:41.760] - Teena Evert

Now, Sam shares powerful and relevant life lessons that you'll be able to relate to, whether your life's work is to be a custodian or a CEO. If there's something that you want to do, it will happen. If you don't add limitations, it all comes down to these three things. Number one, do the best job possible no matter what your job requires you to do. Number two, it doesn't matter who you are or what your position is.

[00:02:12.450] - Teena Evert

Everyone has something to contribute and deserves to be seen and heard. And number three, be open to opportunities to keep learning in life. Now, do you value the journey that you've been on? Have you ever worked in a job that just wasn't "you" - where you said yourself that you did not want to be doing this for the rest of your life? If so, how long did you end up doing this job? What did you do to change your situation?

[00:02:42.780] - Teena Evert

How do you gain clarity and move forward in your career? You can gain the most clarity by knowing who you are, because this will allow you to go in the direction that you need to go start focusing on what's most important to you and be comfortable with who you have become. Take the time to build long-standing, strong relationships with others to carry you forward. Let's dove in. OK, welcome back to the Confident Careerist podcast now my guest today, you are in for a treat.

[00:03:18.370] - Teena Evert

He is most passionate about supporting the success of individuals in life and in career.

[00:03:25.510] - Teena Evert

Sam is a professional who has created a personal journey as a speaker, storyteller, writer, educator, mentor, coach, entrepreneur and, community activator. His goal is to engage individuals, organizations, and communities. Presently, he teaches at the Is It The Beetles School of Business at Simon Fraser University and also the founder and chief motivating officer at Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting. He has authored two books and spoken at two different TED conferences, and he's currently the author of Lost and Found Seeking the Past and Finding Myself.

[00:04:11.410] - Teena Evert

It focuses on his journey to India to find his ancestral roots and with little else than a faded photograph and his determination. This book is also about realizing one's cultural identity because many people struggle with understanding who they are. And Sam's motto I like to say, or his tagline is "Everyone's Life is an autobiography. Make yours worth reading." I love that.

[00:04:41.710] - Teena Evert

Well, Sam, I'm really looking forward to our conversation today. Welcome to the Confident Careerist podcast.

[00:04:47.740] - Sam Thiara

Thank you for having me today. And I look forward to sharing with your audience and providing them some insights and some nuggets that may support and help them in life and career. Wonderful.

[00:04:58.330] - Teena Evert

Now, Sam, you and I agree that there is a need for us to share our life lessons with those who need to hear them. And I understand that you had a pretty rocky and bumpy start early in your career. Yeah. Can you share more about this? And what were the lessons that you learned?

[00:05:15.800] - Sam Thiara

Oh, sure. I mean, when I first started out, it was just like anybody else's. Here you are, a great university about to graduate, and you're sitting there going like, OK, what's the next step? And I mean, I had a background or my degree was in business and political science. And here I am sitting at the graduation ceremony thinking, who's lucky to get me? Because I've got this amazing combination. I went across the stage, shook the hands of the dignitaries.

[00:05:43.060] - Sam Thiara

And as I walked off the stage, this giant virtual door with no handle on it slammed behind me because everything familiar was behind that door. Everything that I was familiar with friends that the scheduling of classes, the processes of being in university was there left behind me now. And I said to myself, OK, after I sat down, I guess I have to look for work. And at that time there, you know, back in the day, there was no Internet and ways that you could Google anything.

[00:06:14.950] - Sam Thiara

So you had to search out you had to, typewrite a letter, pop it in the mail or hand deliver it the traditional way.

[00:06:23.230] - Sam Thiara

And I remember I did about nine letters and then sent them off. And I'm like, OK, now on to my next career because who's lucky to get me? I would say two weeks later, a letter arrived. And I opened it up, it was from one of the companies I sent a note to said, sorry, we don't have a job for you, but good luck. And then I thought, well, that's OK. I'll send out three more letters to random organizations.

[00:06:48.290] - Sam Thiara

And then the more letters I wrote and sent out, slowly, more letters came back. And my realization is, wait, something's not right here because a business and political science degree wait. That's a great combination. Well, over a period of one year, I accumulated eighty six rejection letters and I still have those rejection letters with me. These are companies who basically said we don't have a job for you. We don't know what you're looking for.

[00:07:20.810] - Sam Thiara

Good luck. I really wish you luck. Thanks. Thanks. Or the other one I love is where they say and we will keep your resume on file for six months. And if a suitable position comes up, we will let you know. And you know what the file is? It's that rubbish bin next to them.

[00:07:38.070] - Sam Thiara

If you really think they have a file and it's a file, but it's cleaned out every day.

[00:07:44.270] - Sam Thiara

Well, I wound up finally getting my first job and my first job was actually being a janitor in a hospital, mopping floors, emptying rubbish bins. Now, here's where I had to make some decisions and choices because it's easy to slip into wait - I have a degree in business and political science, and it wasn't a matter of my lucky to get a job. Sorry if you know who's lucky to get me, it became am I lucky to get a job?

[00:08:14.990] - Sam Thiara

So when I was a janitor, there were three valuable life lessons I learned that actually still carries me to who I am today. My first life lesson is my father said, I don't care what you do for a living, you better do the best job possible. I put enthusiasm and I put my heart and soul into being the best janitor I could be. There was no floor left cleaner than at the end of my shift, and there was no rubbish bin left full.

[00:08:45.200] - Sam Thiara

The lesson is, no matter what you're required to do, you have to pour your heart and soul into it, even if you like it or don't like it. The second valuable lesson is I would get on the elevator at times, not every time, but there were times I would get on the elevator with nurses, doctors and administrators and I would be ignored because I'm just a janitor.

[00:09:09.450] - Sam Thiara

I know what this feels like, the lesson I learned from that is I will never treat people like that. It doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what my position is. I will spark a conversation with anybody and everybody because everybody has a story. Everybody has something to contribute. And this is where I make myself available and why to date, I've had about five thousand conversations because I never want a single person to ever feel I'm not approachable or that they can't share with me or I'm going to ignore them.

[00:09:42.300] - Sam Thiara

The third valuable lesson is I have a degree on my wall and I'm mopping floors and emptying rubbish bins in a hospital and people saying, you wasted your time. My realization is I have an opportunity here to gain some valuable life lessons, but I had to be open to these opportunities that it's a life lesson as opposed to I have a degree on the wall. Why am I here? And taking a look at it from a negative. And it taught me that anything that I undertake in life, there is something to be learned from it.

[00:10:17.050] - Sam Thiara

Those three valuable life lessons have actually carried me to who I am today, and I still hold those 86 rejection letters and I don't even know why I kept them when they came in, but I kept them. And I look at them right now and I always say, if one of those letters would have materialized, I wouldn't be here with you today. I'd be in a different trajectory, different direction. And I actually am thankful for those rejections because I really value the journey that I've been on and what I've gained as experience and where I am today.

[00:10:54.550] - Sam Thiara

So I'm thankful for all those rejections. And the second part is many of those companies no longer exist. I out lasted these companies and so will your audience. It's like they have to be resilient. You are going to outlast these companies as well. But the persistence has to be there, learning those valuable life lessons, pouring your heart and soul into whatever you do, and talk to whoever to gain the experiences and the stories and appreciating the journey of other people as well.

[00:11:27.770] - Teena Evert

Wonderful. That's that's powerful. Sam, I'm wondering, when you were looking for work and you had to be really persistent and you are experiencing all these letters of rejection.

[00:11:40.150] - Teena Evert

What was it that gave you strength to keep - keep going and to not give up?

[00:11:45.140] - Sam Thiara

Yeah, I'm, you know, not going to lie. I mean, every single letter became a nail in my coffin of self-confidence, but at a certain tipping point, the realization was that I wasn't prepared and society hadn't prepared me for the journey. And all of a sudden it also became this understanding that I was actually doing this all wrong. It was all about how we are programed to think about what we're going to do in the future. So I have a degree in business and political science.

[00:12:19.480] - Sam Thiara

Naturally, my first job would be an entry level government work type of position. But I realized that society had had structured it in a way that we were so focused on. What am I going to do? I really missed the huge marker that was standing in front of me, which was this realization. I need to know who I am by only then realizing that by knowing who I am, it's going to allow me to go in the direction that I need to go.

[00:12:49.450] - Sam Thiara

And I reflect back on that time when I was a janitor, that it started providing me those lessons that I needed to move forward. But it was only after I was in a corporate job that it actually activated where I started really looking at who I was. And it just offered so much clarity. And I started embarking on those career opportunities that all of a sudden resonated and it never felt like a job anymore. Hmm.

[00:13:18.610] - Teena Evert

That's a great feeling for sure, to be doing something that's aligned more with a deeper purpose and aligned with who you are. So what did you do after you were a janitor? What was your next position?

[00:13:31.630] - Sam Thiara

And this is where you fumble around. I mean, then I got into retail. I did that for a year. And again, I could do it, but it's not me. And then I got into a corporate job where, again, I could do the job, but it wasn't me. It was a claims adjuster. But while I was there and after while I was there and realizing I can do this job, but it's not me, I started thinking to myself, and this is where the who started imagining emerging.

[00:13:58.450] - Sam Thiara

I started saying, OK, but if it's not this because I don't want to do this for the rest of my life, this claims corporate job. What is it? And then there were two places that I thought I would really like to explore, one is human resources, because that's what my degree was in and the other one was road safety, in other words, being involved in the community. And what was interesting is I contacted both areas and the human resources said, well, you know, having your background, yeah, we might have something in the future and we'll keep you apprized.

[00:14:30.630] - Sam Thiara

And, you know, they were really good people and I knew that they were keeping my best interest there. But the other part with road safety was interesting because I had no idea anything about road safety. This is where you start activating. And I told myself, OK, you know what? I'm going to call my road safety guy in my community and see what he does. And I contacted him and he said, well, you know what?

[00:14:55.380] - Sam Thiara

I have an event on Tuesday. I don't have any help. Why don't you come? It's in a park. And I'd love to be able to share with you what I do. So I went out to the park and I stood behind a table, interacted with this person, interacted with the public. And I thought, huh, I'm I'm sort of enjoying this. He said, look, at the end of it. He said, I have another event in a couple of weeks.

[00:15:17.050] - Sam Thiara

You know, I actually really like having you around here and helping. And if you don't mind, would you like to be there? And I thought, sure, if I'm giving up an evening. But, hey, this is fun, huh? Two weeks later, I was at the event and I did this a few times and all of a sudden there is some noise. People said, Sam, he's just using you. You know, you're not going to get into road safety because you know what?

[00:15:40.500] - Sam Thiara

They hire specialized technical people from outside only. I thought, well, yeah, but I'm having fun.

[00:15:47.070] - Sam Thiara

And a couple of weeks later, he approached me and said, look, Sam, I'm so sorry, but I actually have this campaign. I have two places I have to be at the same time, but I can't. I've seen your work. Do you want to take one of them? And I said, yeah, I'll take it. And he set me up with all the materials and I was in a community. And next thing you know, I'm working in this community and talking to the public by myself.

[00:16:09.690] - Sam Thiara

And I really enjoyed it. And he gave me that that the tools to support it. But again, people said he's using you and I was doing this in the community over a period of time.

[00:16:22.500] - Sam Thiara

And I guess after doing this a few times, my center manager came up and he tapped me on the shoulder. He said, look, Sam, I see that you're doing this community stuff. We're looking to build a community program for our center here so that we can welcome people in in a better way than just accidents. Do you want to lead this? I said sure. So I took that on. And now, apart from my regular job here, I'm doing this community development piece and people telling me now he's using you, you're wasting your time.

[00:16:52.410] - Sam Thiara

And I was doing this for about eight months. A job came up. I applied for it. You know what? I didn't get the job. And everybody came down hard on me saying, we told you. So you're you're just saying yes. And they're using you and you're never going to get in and that. And I said, but I'm enjoying it. So I carried on and some people actually stopped helping because they said good work never gets recognized.

[00:17:15.480] - Sam Thiara

Well, about 14 months later, a job came up and I applied. And I got it, I got into road safety and everybody around me was like, look, how did you do that? No one ever gets in. See, the thing is, they never saw the work in the trenches. They never saw the extra time I put in and how I was gaining the relationships, gaining the experience. And I did. And I saw I got in and now everybody was like, wow, OK.

[00:17:46.120] - Sam Thiara

And it really made me aware that if there's something you want to accomplish in life, as long as you never put limitations and barriers, it's going to happen. It's on a crash course now. It's not today or tomorrow. It might be 5 years and maybe 10 years. But if there's something you want to do, it's going to happen until you throw a limitation. But you have to gain the champions and enablers, the people who are there to support you along the way.

[00:18:15.100] - Sam Thiara

All the experiences that you can get - get you where you need to go. There's a lot of heavy lifting, but if it's important to you, you'll get there. It's inevitable.

[00:18:25.720] - Teena Evert

And what I also hear is you are very consistent and persistent and you enjoyed yourself and you are continuing to develop the skills necessary and build those relationships. And I think that's really important because I know the younger generations that I work with, they have this idea that they're going to become masters overnight and it's not comfortable to not feel competent or confident in certain areas of your life. But when you have that growth mindset and you know that you have to fail forward or you need to keep showing up, you need to keep reaching for the support, you need to keep growing and expanding, and you will reach your goal if you're aware of what it is you're going for.

[00:19:12.340] - Teena Evert

And I love that it kind of comes back to who do you want to be and then what do you want to do? It's like who before what is often what I say and I don't know about you, but it took me many years to probably still to this day, you know, the self discovery work, the the clarity around who is it that I want to be, how do I want to show up every day? And I'm sure there's a theme that's been with you for many, many years.

[00:19:42.760] - Teena Evert

But, boy, when I was first starting out in my career, I. I didn't I was not connected with that really at all, I was yeah, I don't know, I was just more influenced by what was immediately happening in front of me and how I was going to react and respond. But I didn't really have a vision or goal very far out ahead of me.

[00:20:04.060] - Sam Thiara

Oh, totally. And that's everybody, including myself. And, you know, the lessons that I've learned along the way is the reason I've been given an opportunity and the need for me to give back and share. So if I can reduce someone's anxiety or challenges, I mean, that's what I'm really supposed to be doing. That's my purpose, is to help as many people as possible try to find that journey. And it really does help because teaching at the Beedie school of business in an entry level organizational behavior course, I get them to start thinking about who they are.

[00:20:43.060] - Sam Thiara

And I make every single student write a personal statement. And they said it twice, actually beginning of the semester and at the end to see if it's changed. And oftentimes they say it's one of the hardest things they've had to do, even though it's only a paragraph because nobody's ever asked them to tell me who are you? So it's like if you you know, if you were to introduce yourself to me, how would you describe yourself? And this is for any of the audience members, because oftentimes how we define ourselves is it's almost like a running resume.

[00:21:10.210] - Sam Thiara

My name is Sam. I teach at the Beetie School of Business. I'm an entrepreneur and I've done this and I've taught this and I do this and that. But instead, the way I would introduce myself in a personal statement is to say my name, Sam. There are five things that guide and direct me in life. These are things that I will not compromise and are critical for my success. They are servant leadership, story sharing, activator ignitor, champion enabler, and community do gooder.

[00:21:38.800] - Sam Thiara

These tools have enabled me to to help other individuals, teams and organizations to strive to be the best. Let me explain how each of them applies and then I go into details how each of those five areas become my foundation. And it's interesting because this is an exercise, I call it the five core elements piece, and I hope it's really helpful for your audience members.

[00:22:04.640] - Sam Thiara

I always say when I mentor and coach and I do about 3-8 per week, I say, OK, what are the five things in life that you are not willing to compromise? And I don't want you to think of it from career, but I want you to think of it from life and career, because I think sometimes we do it as a separation. And I think you have to combine both. And if you know what's important to you in life, it's going to be reflected in your career as well.

[00:22:32.420] - Sam Thiara

And these 5 things you're not willing to compromise. What happens, though, is that once you nail down the five things that make up your foundation, anything that comes as an opportunity, you now compare it against as opposed to the other way of just doing a job and trying to see if it fits or not. The way I look at it is I've got 12 projects I'm working on simultaneously, and they're not separate and distinct in such a way that, you know, how can anyone conceivably do 12 things at the same time they layer into each other?

[00:23:05.420] - Sam Thiara

So my teaching layers into my storytelling, which which layers into my speaking, which layers into my writing so that they're related, but they are still segmented away. But those five things I'm not willing to compromise. And as an opportunity emerges, 7 years ago when writing emerged, I compared it to my to my five core elements. And all of a sudden it was like, well, I have to do this because it hits five out of five.

[00:23:34.010] - Sam Thiara

Now, the way that I would say how you come up with those 5 things, because people are like, well, that's great. Well, what I say is look at the things that you've done. If you're in university, what courses did you do that you really liked and didn't like? But ask why you like it or don't like if you're working, what are you doing that you like about your job? Not like about your job and why?

[00:24:00.050] - Sam Thiara

What do you do on your social life and spare time? Why do you do that? And you start pulling words and you know, sometimes people say, well, family is important. I said, OK, now let's take the word family. Then I say, OK, why is family important to you? They say, well, you know, it's it's something that I find it really grounds me and the relationships I have with my family members of my extended family is really important.

[00:24:25.490] - Sam Thiara

It provides me a level of comfort and connection. So, OK, let's take a step back instead of family. Can we replace that with relationship or connections or both? And they're like, oh, because now if you just talk family, you're really segmenting. But by saying connections and relationships, it's broader and it enables you to say, OK, the job I'm doing, does it enable me to have relationships and build connections? So that's an example of how you build it and you're going to change this at any time.

[00:25:00.170] - Sam Thiara

It's not like you're stuck with the 5 for the rest of your life. As you grow and mature, you're going to be changing them as we've all changed and I've changed mine as well. But that's the way that I would I would suggest is a great way to start building your personal foundation and understanding who you are.

[00:25:17.990] - Sam Thiara

I love that. And another question I like to ask is, what do you want to learn more about wherever you're at? You know, is this have you learned everything you need to learn or where is your curiosity? What is it that you'd like to learn more about given the situation that you're in? And also, when people even when I used to do a lot of marriage counseling, there was always a conversation around your requirements. You're not negotiables.

[00:25:45.410] - Sam Thiara

And if you compromised on those, they often led to unsolvable problems. And I never really thought they were ever unsolvable problems. But there are. And in your career, you'll know because you'll feel really out of alignment. You'll have all those symptoms of not being satisfied, trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, you know, just sort of you'll feel the grind and it just won't feel quite right. And that, to me, is a sign and an opportunity to just pause, slow down, go inward and really reflect on, you know, who are you?

[00:26:15.890] - Sam Thiara

What is it that you want to build? Ask those powerful questions of yourself to be able to pivot or theft or whatever, whatever it is. Yeah.

[00:26:26.180] - Sam Thiara

And the realization, though, is I use this exercise even with high school students, university students, all the way to senior executives. The five core elements piece. And I always told my students the first job out of university corporate culture, pay benefits. None of this is going to matter. You just need a job. But once you get into that job, compare it to the five core elements. Does it hit one out of five? Two out of five.

[00:26:52.890] - Sam Thiara

So I'm asking them to build. Before they graduate as a as a platform. Because then you can decide, well, actually, you know, I'm working as a teller in a bank, and you know what? It hits two of the five. But what's missing is and then that allows you the next iteration of yourself within the company, or even if you go out to say, OK, what do I need to secure the third piece, the fourth piece or even the fifth?

[00:27:18.400] - Sam Thiara

And what I'll share with your audience is for anybody that I've shared this with who have done it and even for myself, when you hit 5 out of 5, you don't have a job or career. You had fulfillment. And that's a sweet spot to be in. But again, you need to establish this before you can move out so you know what you're looking for. Mhm. Yeah.

[00:27:42.040] - Sam Thiara

Yeah. Well that's really great guidance. I wish I had that when I was in school, you know, I wish I had me when I was in school.

[00:27:51.510] - Teena Evert

Oh my gosh. That's why I love what I do and I'm sure you do too. It's so rewarding. Yeah. So I'm curious if we can talk about this pandemic for a moment. I'm curious what you may have learned from covid, maybe both personally and professionally. How do you think it's perhaps changed the landscape of the work that you do with your students?

[00:28:12.670] - Sam Thiara

Sure. And it's because being an educator, I love being in the classroom and engaging with the students and then on a literally on a dime in week 10 in the spring semester last year, we were told, nope, now you have to go online. And for me, it wasn't a huge transition because.

[00:28:30.550] - Sam Thiara

It allowed me and I've spoken at other conferences about this on the workplace and in schools, and I said I came up with an acronym and I said there is a need for us to care right now. And care is the important piece that has enabled me to move forward. Care basically stands for collaboration, adaptability, resilience and empathy. These are 4 things that we need in order to succeed. Collaboration is this need to say, I can't do this myself.

[00:29:02.770] - Sam Thiara

So I when it came to going online education, I had to reach out to some of the technical people saying, OK, so can we can we get some support here and how can I use this tool? So I wasn't afraid to ask and collaboration, but it also means people can lean into me. We need to collaborate with each other. Adaptability means if you are stagnant, you're not going to go far and adaptability means, OK, I have to suddenly go online education.

[00:29:35.050] - Sam Thiara

And then it was like, OK, how what is this going to look like? And then facing it as opposed to fearing it enabled me to be adaptable, where my students have said that they've really enjoyed the lectures and they've enjoyed the class and I haven't had a huge drop in my attendance. And actually what was really interesting is I'm getting far more engagement online than I was in person and I can be pretty engaging in class to resilience. Is this understanding that we're in a marathon?

[00:30:04.390] - Sam Thiara

This isn't over next week or 2 weeks from now. This is going to be a long haul. So you build this resilience in to basically say, how am I going to cope with what's ahead of me? And it goes back to collaboration, adaptability. And the last piece is empathy. We need to show care and compassion to each other in order to get through this. And I incorporate care into my class because by some of my students may be struggling or I've got somebody who's been 10 years in industry who's just lost their job and OK.

[00:30:36.190] - Sam Thiara

So let's talk about the 5 core elements. Let's talk about care. How can we collaborate and be adaptable and be resilient and show empathy to each other? That's how I've been able to cope with this current situation. And it's also opened up some opportunities that I didn't realize as a result of being adaptable. So I think that's a way to to look at things.

[00:31:01.720] - Teena Evert

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.And I imagine you are an excellent role model, you know, for care. I think for me, resiliency or resiliency for sure. But adaptability has been something that has carried me through a lot of my years when I have been faced with external circumstances that are really challenging. Being able to be flexible and adaptable, I think, is what grows that resiliency. And then, of course, caring for yourself, seeking care for others and having empathy. We just never know what someone is going through.

[00:31:38.260] - Teena Evert

Yeah, that's a really good reminder, especially if you're having a bad day. We start to take things personally. Oh, yeah. Oh, everybody's on edge and.

[00:31:49.770] - Teena Evert

It's just a really great reminder, I think, to add

[00:31:53.790] - Sam Thiara

A simple reminder, collaboration.

[00:31:57.060] - Sam Thiara

Yeah, collaboration, adaptability, resilience and empathy and then just let us care.

[00:32:02.020] - Teena Evert

Yeah. Yeah. So, Sam, imagine you were your younger self.

[00:32:09.840] - Teena Evert

If you could have received one piece of critical advice or maybe even inspiration when you were just starting your education or your career journey, what would it be?

[00:32:22.610] - Sam Thiara

I would say start focusing on who you are and if you focus on who you are, you know what? Things will be fine. Beautiful, powerful and simple. Now, in order to gain confidence and build a meaningful career, what would be the one thing that you would recommend listeners to do?

[00:32:44.840] - Sam Thiara

Yeah, it would be actually they're related to each other, is build out strong relationships with individuals. Don't go networking, networking to me is transactional. Relationship building is transformational. Take time to build those long standing and strong relationships - that's going to carry you forward, because when you build a relationship, there are people around you that aren't going to let you fall.

[00:33:16.610] - Sam Thiara

And but then it also means that if you're building that relationship and I know we keep going back to this who piece, it's about, you know, knowing and being comfortable with who you are, self reflecting and understanding who you are because that enables you to start building out those relationships. And I always tell people like LinkedIn is a great tool. And I tell my students, go into LinkedIn or even people that are 5, 10, 15 years in the industry.

[00:33:44.270] - Sam Thiara

I say go into LinkedIn, find 30 to 50 people that you would like to connect to and don't limit it within your industry or even in geographic centers. Don't make it regional, go national, go international. But what are 30 to 50 people you want to like you want to connect to, but you send them a personal message, not the generic. Hey, Sam, can we connect? I get about one to five LinkedIn requests per day and majority of them are the generic.

[00:34:12.460] - Sam Thiara

Hi, Sam, can we connect? And maybe one day I will if I go in and do a cleanup. But as soon as I see somebody who sends me a personal message, I reply back to them and I accept it depending on as long as it's not a sales pitch. Yeah, and it's interesting because if one or two and I tell my students if and even these 10, 15 years into the industry, if one or two of these people connect with you, that's huge because now they've opened the door for you.

[00:34:42.080] - Sam Thiara

But now you have to follow up and say, I appreciate you connecting and can we meet I'll just share a very brief story with you that, you know, again, I get all these LinkedIn requests and there was one and this happens often, but there is one that came in. It was a very nice note. It said, look, I've just moved in, moved to Vancouver, doing a scope of the people here. And I found your LinkedIn profile.

[00:35:06.620] - Sam Thiara

I see that you've done a fair bit, you know people. And I was wondering, can we please connect? I think I would really enjoy getting to know you. And I thought, well, you know, he sounds like a really nice person and whatnot. So, I clicked on it within 30 minutes. I got a reply back. Thank you so much for accepting my my connection. And I know that you must be really busy. But if you happen to be downtown, could you please just let me know?

[00:35:33.110] - Sam Thiara

And I would be more than happy to buy you a cup of coffee and just to have a chance to sit down. And I sent him a note saying, yeah, no, actually, I happen to be downtown on a Tuesday on this time. And yeah, I've got time. Would you like to meet up?

[00:35:47.240] - Sam Thiara

We met up years later. It turns out that the person who just moved to Vancouver now, years later ran one of the most successful incubators in Vancouver, Canada. Got to know so many people in industry in Vancouver and people will know him by name. And yet, if I need him as a speaker or if I we are actually collaborating on a book together. He just said, anything you ever need, I'm going to be there for you. But I also reciprocate and said anything you need, I'm here for you.

[00:36:19.760] - Sam Thiara

He said, because you connected with me when I needed somebody and you extended a hand and it wasn't a handout, it was a hand up. And he just said, I am so ever grateful for that. You never know where these relationships will take you.

[00:36:34.880] - Teena Evert

That's really valuable. Thanks for sharing. That can be a rare moment sometimes on LinkedIn these days, especially when so many people are trying to connect, but not in a very authentic way. Yeah, and you and I connected on LinkedIn, I think, because I sent you a very personal note, which is always my intention, to invite you on to the podcast and have a conversation prior to see what we can collaborate on and obviously we have a lot in common and a lot to talk about.

[00:37:04.520] - Sam Thiara

And who knows, like the future as it goes forward. It's not going to end with this.

[00:37:09.710] - Teena Evert

No, it's just the beginning, I love that. Yeah. And so one more question for you, Sam. Yeah, I get this a lot. So people I work with are stuck often - they feel stuck in their career or maybe even in a job search process. What would be the one tip or perhaps strategy for them to get unstuck?

[00:37:29.450]

Sure, what I actually, call it the burning tree syndrome and what I mean, yeah, what I mean by that is think of it as a person is on a tree and the tree that they're on, which is their career, has caught on fire down below. And now you're panicking. You don't, you know you have to escape much like you want to escape the job. And what do you do when a tree is on fire and you're on the tree? You grab the closest vine, you swing to the next tree and you're safe now because that first tree has caught fire.

[00:37:59.020] - Sam Thiara

Well, and think of that second tree again is your new job and what not. But the thing is, you don't really like that job anymore, either in maybe first 3 or 4 months it was great. But does it change? But now it's just not that great anymore. That tree that was first on fire has now caused the other tree to catch on fire that you're on. And what you're doing is you're not happy there. What do you do?

[00:38:21.100] - Sam Thiara

You grab a vine and you jump over to the next tree.

[00:38:24.700] - Sam Thiara

So the reason I call it the burning tree syndrome is - instead of jumping from tree to tree to get away from the fire, let's put the fire out.

[00:38:35.140] - Sam Thiara

Let's instead build the 5 core elements, build a personal statement journal, you know, jobs that you've had, experiences you had. So those are all captured as memories. Do the free personality test, which is the Myers Briggs test to learn about your strengths and weaknesses. Talk to your friends and find out what their thoughts are of your qualities and do as much of this as you can. Take up some coursework, if need be, to gain a skill and ability.

[00:39:09.370] - Sam Thiara

But the more clarity you come up with and a direction, let's say, if you want to go in a totally different direction and you have no experience in that space, now's the time to then say, OK, let's put our boots on the ground, let's start walking towards that goal post and it's a far way away. But what do I need to do now? And the people I need to bring along to try to solve to get where I need to go?

[00:39:36.100] - Sam Thiara

And I'll just share one other quick analogy. And I talk about it as the puzzle analogy in the sense that if I came and dropped a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle on your table, but I left with the cover, what are you building? The cover is your completed life and the completed puzzle and the puzzle is your life. And if I've taken the cover away, you don't know what the puzzle is. And what people want to do is they want to take the 5,000 pieces and throw it up in the air in the hopes that when it lands, it all bounces into place and her life is there before us.

[00:40:09.250] - Sam Thiara

What puzzles don't work like that? Neither does our life. You're going to have to build it piece by piece, section by section. So now you sift through 5,000 pieces because you don't know what the cover holds and maybe you find pieces of a chimney during a window and you're like, maybe there's a house here. Now you start finding pieces of a house throughout as you sift and you start building this house halfway through building the house, you turn a piece over and you're like, oh, wait, that's the mast of a ship.

[00:40:35.530] - Sam Thiara

Well, then you start looking and saying, well, I think that's the porthole and I think that's part of the bow. So the house isn't finished. Now you're building a ship and halfway through building the ship, maybe you find pieces of a car. Now you're building a car. Your life is in segments and sections, but there's no assemblance of order. And instead of trying to solve your life puzzle, what I always say is instead try to find that single piece that connects the sections together.

[00:41:03.430] - Sam Thiara

If you've ever built a jigsaw puzzle, sometimes you find that one piece that connects two large sections and that small piece that I'm talking about, an individual who becomes a champion for you or it could be an experience, a course you do something that starts making sense and connecting and eventually it starts to make more sense. I hope that's helpful.

[00:41:25.690] - Teena Evert

Yeah, that's really helpful. And I think that there's a natural progression of being confused before you're clear, but really knowing what you're going after that. That's a really great analogy. I love thinking about that connector piece - that's very powerful. I think anyone who's done a jigsaw puzzle knows how exciting it is to find that piece and how it brings it all together. And, you know, sometimes I'll be up to something and it'll be many years later that I realize how that connected to the last thing.

[00:41:56.650] - Teena Evert

And now that I'm getting into my older years, I have a lot of those connecter pieces that if I only look at one, I really don't see the theme or the thread. But just like you, I think, Sam, I've always been naturally drawn to creating more meaning and purpose and that attitude of, you know, what can I learn here? Maybe this isn't exactly where I want to be, but there's something here for me. There's something to experience and to learn.

[00:42:26.260] - Teena Evert

And if I'm open to that to receive that, then that's going to lead me to - whether it's creating the ship, the car, the chimney or the connector, so that, so beautiful. So, Sam, I'm really grateful to have you here and have this conversation and to have our audience learn from you, from your wisdom. Is there a way that our listeners can continue to learn from you or learn more about you?

[00:42:53.960] - Sam Thiara

Oh, sure. I mean, you can always pop into my website, and I've got about 170 blog posts of things I've written about these life and career experiences. Any social media channel, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, I'm active on those places as well. So you can always find me there. What I'm up to and the directions I go and the things I talk about, they're all available.

[00:43:20.420] - Teena Evert

OK, wonderful. And I will be sure to provide all those links in our show notes. Now, before I let you go. Sam, is there one more golden nugget you'd like to share?

[00:43:30.650] - Sam Thiara

Oh, just what I'd like to share is that it goes back to my signature tag line. Actually, there's two that I would like to share. The first one is, "Obstacles are the necessary bricks on our road to success". You must embrace and not fear the obstacles. They are all part of the process and it makes you stronger because once you hit an obstacle, you get back up, dust yourself off, learn from it and move on even stronger.

[00:44:02.180] - Sam Thiara

So obstacles are your necessary bricks on your road to success. And then the last one, "Everyone's life is an autobiography, make yours worth reading". It's one that I've lived. It's been quoted at 10 of the 34 graduation ceremonies I've been by my students who are valedictorians who just know that that's what I live by. Everybody has an autobiography and it doesn't mean you have to do dangerous things. It just means what are you doing to capture your stories and how you're capturing your stories, because these are yours and you want to have an amazing autobiography and we all do.

[00:44:42.380] - Teena Evert

Wow. Well, thank you, Sam. This has been such a pleasure. I know my audience is going to love learning from you. So thanks again for being on the Confident Careerist podcast.

[00:44:53.990] - Sam Thiara

Thank you, Teena. And I look forward to more conversations with you.

[00:44:57.950] - Teena Evert

In this episode, Sam shared powerful and relevant life lessons to help you reduce anxiety and overcome obstacles to find your way forward on your life and career journey. Now, he reminded us that if there is something that you want to do, something you really want to do, believe and trust, it will happen. If you don't add limitations. It all comes down to these three things, which were powerful lessons that he learned early in his career as a janitor.

[00:45:31.190] - Teena Evert

Number one is do the best job possible no matter what your job requires you to do. How do you want to show up each day and how do you want to feel? And number two, it doesn't matter who you are and what your position is, whether you're a janitor or a surgeon.

[00:45:46.880] - Teena Evert

Everyone has something to contribute and deserves to be seen and heard. And number three, be open to all of the opportunities that come your way and keep learning in life, value the journey that you have been on and be persistent, stay open and keep learning. Sam says that obstacles are your necessary bricks on your road to success. He also says that everyone's life is an autobiography. Make yours worth reading.

[00:46:24.250] - Teena Evert

This episode of the Confident Careers Podcast has ended, but be sure to share, subscribe, rate and review so that we can continue to bring you the best content and head over to TeenaEvert.com for additional information and resource.


Sam Thaira

Sam Thiara is a professional who has created a personal journey as a speaker, storyteller, writer, educator, mentor, coach, entrepreneur, and community activator.

His goal is to engage individuals, organizations, and communities. He has authored two books and spoken at 2 different TEDx conferences.