262 Know Your Signature Strength – Scott Barlow

Scott Barlow's Career Change Story and What You Can Learn:

  • Finding What You Love to Do
  • Avoid Common Mistakes While Seeking Career Transition
  • Finding Your Signature Strength
  • Common Pitfalls of Career Seekers
  • Mistakes College Grads Make
  • Career and Business Transition Tips

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More about our featured guest Scott Barlow

Scott Anthony Barlow is the Founder of Happen to Your Career, a company that helps you stop doing work that doesn’t fit, figuring out what does and then teaching you to make it happen! He has been helping people develop their careers and businesses for over 10 years as a Human Resources Leader, Business Development Expert, and Career Coach. With over 2000 interviews experience from his HR career, Scott interviews others telling their story of finding work they love on the Happen to Your Career Podcast . Scott and his wife Alyssa have 3 children and live in Moses Lake, Washington.

Full Transcript

[00:01] Joel: Welcome to Relaunch, your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas, practical steps and solutions. You can think of this show as being your prescription for relaunching into the life and business that you love. If you are a daily listener, welcome back and thank you for tuning in. And thank you for being involved in the before and the after show online conversations. And if you are new here, well just know that you are among friends. And as we're recording this show, it is the beginning of a brand new year. And one of the things that I'm committed to doing in this year, is to grow our business and our income in an exponential way. And since I know that my income will only grow to the extent that I do, I am on a journey to become a stronger, wiser and more confident version of myself. And I have always been a voracious reader, and this year is no exception to that. And I am currently re-reading T. Harv Eker's book, you might be familiar with it, it's a great book, it's called “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.” And while it's a re-read for me, since… Well, I like to think I've grown a little bit since the first time that I've read it.


[01:27] Joel: Hey, don't laugh at me Pei.

[01:28] Pei: I'm laughing with you.

[01:30] Joel: Oh, is that what it is, wonderful. Well, since I have grown a little bit since I've read it the first time, I guess it was one or two years ago, it's kind of like I'm experiencing it again for the first time. It's a great book, I highly recommend it, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.” And if you need to read it, or to re-read it as part of your own personal growth program, of course you can pick up the book at pretty much any bookstore, but if you prefer to listen to it during your commute, your workout, your chores around the house, or just when you kick back and relax, you can get the audio version by visiting Relaunchshow.com/audible. Relaunchshow.com/audible, and then you can listen to it at your leisure right there on your phone. We have an awesome no strings attached 30 day trial membership, where you can search through their titles, choose your favorites and even download an ebook for free, just to see if Audible is for you, give it a try. Alright, here we go, joining us on today's show, the hosts of “Happen to Your Career”, Scott Barlow. If you haven't heard his show yet, it is the go-to podcast for finding work that fits you. And as a career coach, Scott has been helping people develop their careers and businesses for more than 10 years as a human resources leader, and as a business development expert, welcome to the Relaunch Show, happy new year to you Scott.

[03:08] Scott Barlow: Happy new year, happy 2015, thank you so much for having me.

[03:11] Joel: And thank you for being on the show, and thank you for listening to the show as well, we really appreciate that. Gosh, in the show's short life, in the 2014 period, gosh, we passed… I don't know if you knew this Scott, but we passed 300,000 plays, just in the less than eight months that we've been around, and we are just so excited about the possibilities and opportunities in 2015. So again, thank you for your listening ears.

[03:44] Scott Barlow: Absolutely. Congratulations, 300,000, that's nothing to scoff at, way to go.

[03:48] Joel: I'm telling you, we're excited about the number, and thank you for that. And Scott as you know, this show is all about the relaunch. And while we've all experienced numerous launches and relaunches throughout our life, I generally ask our guests to zero in on the relaunch that has been the most significant for them, or that has been the most transformational and then just unfold the story from there. And we'll do that with you here in just a few minutes, if that's okay? But first of all let me ask you this, now you're an experienced HR guy. And you have been through, gosh, more than 2,000 career and job related interviews, as the interviewer, so I'm just curious, have a little bit of fun with me here, Scott.

[04:36] Scott Barlow: Yeah, absolutely.

[04:38] Joel: What has been the craziest, the most outlandish, or maybe the most bizarre story, or analogy, how about that, that someone has used in their responses to your interview questions, what do you think?

[04:51] Scott Barlow: Oh my goodness, let's see, the craziest one. You'd think I'd just have a ready answer, but there have been so many. But I'll tell you one that jumps into my mind, that's not so much an outlandish story, but one that was just… It just cracked me up, and I'm remembering it off the top of my head. So, we were hiring for… It was a management type position, and this was at a company people might be familiar with, I worked a number of years for the retailer Target, doing HR for them. And we were hiring for this management type of position, and this person came in and dropped off 8×10 glossy photos with her signature for the management position. And it was a… And she dropped off a resume too. And you would've thought she was applying for a model position, or something along those lines. Or had maybe a modeling background, 8×10 glossy, full fledged photos. And it wasn't, she had a diesel mechanic background. So, that was probably the weirdest application for the type of role. We didn't interview per say, but…

[06:04] Joel: Oh she didn't get to the interview part.

[06:05] Scott Barlow: She didn't make it to the interview, I know that's a shocker but, yeah. So I've had lots of stuff like that.

[06:12] Joel: You know, has anyone ever said something just off the cuff that quickly ended the interview process just right then and there? Has there been those situations?

[06:25] Scott Barlow: [chuckle] I had one guy that started the interview, and he thought he was being funny but it didn't go over very well for the panel that was there. He started the interview answering with the stories like, “So, I killed a man once”.


[06:40] Pei: Oh!

[06:40] Scott Barlow: And it quickly degraded from there. It was not as entertaining as you'd think. Funny afterwards but yeah.

[06:48] Joel: Okay, so the take away here is don't start, don't try to be cute and funny with a murder reference, basically.

[06:57] Scott Barlow: Yes.

[06:57] Joel: Is kind of what you're saying?

[06:59] Scott Barlow: Leave out the murder references in most, you know most companies.

[07:03] Joel: Hey you know what, and here's a free relaunch tip, “don't tweet that out either.”


[07:08] Pei: Yeah, don't put that on your social media platform.

[07:11] Joel: Right, right because it will follow you I'm telling you.

[07:15] Scott Barlow: It will.

[07:16] Joel: And thanks for having fun with me on that. Okay so we're talking about relaunch and really it's the relaunch that has really been transformational for you in your personal and in your professional life. And you like many entrepreneurs have had numerous relaunches and continue to experience relaunches in your growth and development. So how do we want to talk about Scott's relaunch and get into today's show?

[07:43] Scott Barlow: Well you know, I'll give you a little bit of back story.

[07:45] Joel: Okay.

[07:45] Scott Barlow: That will lead us up to probably the most impactful relaunch I guess in my life. I feel like I'm continuously relaunching, almost daily sometimes. But you know, I started out in college and I was one of those types of people that similar to everybody else that really quite frankly didn't have a clue what they wanted to do, right?

[08:10] Joel: We call them college students.

[08:12] Scott Barlow: Yes we do call them college students. So I was a particularly uninformed breed of college student where you know I changed major six or seven or eight times. I don't even remember how many times it was. So I ended up coming out of college and taking the first job that was really available to me. Actually I owned a small business through college and ended up selling that off. Took the first job that I thought I should go to. It seemed like a good job, you know so on and so fourth. And that was, it was terrible. I you know about a year into it finally convinced myself that you know I had been I guess you could say living a charade. And you know really got to the point where I hated going in on… And Sunday nights would roll around and I would stay up till like two or three in the morning because I thought that I could somehow procrastinate not going in the next day, you know. Very logical right?

[09:12] Joel: Sure.

[09:13] Scott Barlow: So obviously that didn't work. You know I've got all of those feelings telling me that I shouldn't be there so I ended up being honest with my boss. And that was, I think it led to a good thing but I told him that I really, really don't think that this is a good idea and I know that I've been here for a year now and I know that you guys have probably been having apprehensions too because I don't feel very good about my performance. And apparently he felt the same way because he fired me three weeks later and that ended up taking me to a forced relaunch, which at that point in time I decided hey I never again wanna do work that doesn't fit me, that I can't be great at, that I don't actually enjoy doing. So that was what set me on an initial journey to try and figure that out. Like I said I was backed into a corner, I had to make a transition and had to do it quickly. And did so over six weeks and started to figure out very, very quickly what worked and what didn't work when making career transitions.

[10:15] Scott Barlow: And then also figuring out “Hey what do I wanna do that actually matches up with me so I don't find myself in this role again?” But part of the reason that I had to do that was because I was in such debt. You know, I had a mortgage and my wife and I had for some reason decided that we needed to own better cars than our parents, and all these others things that we really didn't need. And that continued even into the next job and that's really where my major relaunch started.

[10:46] Joel: Oh you know, you learn from that experience and one thing that I did catch that you talked about is you actually recognized that this wasn't going to be a good fit for you. You actually talked to who was at that time your boss and that kind of set the stage for you to move forward. I've got a question about what you said earlier.

[11:09] Scott Barlow: Yeah.

[11:09] Joel: You talked about being great at something.

[11:13] Scott Barlow: Yes.

[11:13] Joel: Kind of fast forward a little bit and let's talk about being great and what exactly do you mean by that? And when did you discover within yourself what you can be great at?

[11:27] Scott Barlow: So you know there's a… Probably, I know we only have a half an hour for this show but I could probably go on for days and days on this topic, it's a fun one for me. But we talk a lot about on our show something called “signature strengths.” And I didn't invent the term, we've kind of coined our own definition of it. But we really believe that your signature strengths are the things that cause you to have any measure of success. Those are the things that not only you enjoy doing and not only you do extremely well, but those are the things that you have the potential when developed and mastered over time to be the best in the world at. Or one of the best in the world at. And most people, what I've found, is don't ever, 1] understand what their signature strengths are or, 2] really take the time to have focus development in these areas and start to eliminate the stuff that they don't get to do that doesn't align with their strengths and take on more of these things that allow you to practice in your areas of your signature strengths.

[12:32] Joel: Well said.

[12:34] Pei: Very true. So, Scott, I wanna know how you went through that process, finding yours.

[12:39] Scott Barlow: Yeah, you personally. Yeah.

[12:40] Joel: But yeah. Before that…

[12:41] Scott Barlow: Very poorly.

[12:43] Pei: Before that, I have my suspicions. I want you to share why, it's kinda common these days that people lose in touch with that.

[12:56] Scott Barlow: Well, I think it's different for different people. But I think the commonalities that I've observed are that people do something very similar to what I did. They take opportunities that are available to them, not going about it a different way. And I would almost say it's a backwards way compared to what conventional society does. What we really coach people to do is take a look at, “What do you want to be doing, and what are those things that really line up with what you want?” Whether it be around finances, whether it be around health, whether it be around the type of people that you hang out with. And those aren't new concepts at all, but I find that most people are not looking at it that way. Most people are looking at it through the lens of, “Here's what I perceive is available to me.” And that's how people end up going through sometimes their entire careers. And here's the thing that compounds that. People get into a job or sometimes even into a business and they start to look at all the things that they don't like. It's real easy to look at the things you don't like, right?

[14:00] Joel: Right.

[14:00] Scott Barlow: You can say that, “Well, I don't like my boss or I don't like my schedule. I don't like the size of my cubicle.” Whatever it is, right? All of these different things. Or “I don't like that I can't attend my daughter's soccer games.” Whatever it is, it's very, very easy as a human being to see those things that you don't like. It's much more difficult to say, “Well, here's what it is that I actually do like and do want,” and then to go and seek that out.

[14:28] Joel: Okay. So let me get in right here. I appreciate you sharing that with us.

[14:32] Scott Barlow: Yeah.

[14:33] Joel: Okay, talking about self-discovery, and discovering of your own strengths and really getting real with yourself, understanding what you really wanted, and uncovering those layers that other people may with good intentions may have kinda laid on you over time, what did you learn or re-learn about yourself as you're moving forward with this entrepreneurial idea that you have for yourself, for your business, for your family? Learn or re-learn about your own potential, possibilities, signature strengths, if you will.

[15:12] Scott Barlow: Yeah. There's a couple of different things that I love to do and have found over the years that I'm pretty good at and I would call my signature strengths. And I didn't always think that that was the case. Sometimes because it came easy to me, and this is a struggle people have all the time. They don't realize that sometimes those things that come very, very naturally to you that you might take for granted, don't come naturally to everybody else.

[15:39] Joel: Well, you use the word “people” but I mean, let's be real. You have it, I have it. Yeah, we have it. So what came naturally to you that finally you realized that, “Oh my gosh, I can harness this, not just to bring me personal fulfillment but also put money in my bank account”?

[15:55] Pei: Yeah, and you ignored at first.

[15:58] Joel: Yeah.

[15:58] Scott Barlow: Yeah. It was the fact that I was willing to be blatantly honest with people when most other people aren't. And that's something I found again and again and again and again. You know, that business that I had in college, that put me through college and everything, it was a painting business. And that was the very, very first thing that really put me through the wringer of outside my comfort zone is what I would say. ‘Cause in order to learn about yourself, where the really good learning happens is not inside your comfort zone. It's stuff that stretches you. It's stuff that causes you to grow, right?

[16:38] Joel: That's true.

[16:38] Scott Barlow: So this was my first, first time where I really had done that in my life where I have all of these different clients and you know, $3,000 or $4,000 or $5,000 or $6,000 paint jobs when you're in the painting industry. And I had all of these different crews that were all over Spokane, Washington, and they're painting houses, they're screwing stuff up. I'm responsible for it and I've got homeowners that are yelling at me and in those types of situations, I've found that, “Hey, I'm willing to say things that other… How I actually feel or how the situation actually is, that other people are not.” And that's carried through into my HR career over the last number of years.

[17:18] Joel: Absolutely.

[17:19] Scott Barlow: And that's served me really well 'cause I've found that a lot of people are quite frankly really afraid to have really uncomfortable conversations. Not just in an HR format where it's like a people-conflict type situation, but in most situations. So this has served me well in sales. This has served me well in HR. This has served me well in career coaching. And I just got off the phone today with a client. It was maybe three hours ago. And they said to me that, “I've made a conscious effort to not volunteer. Not volunteer because I wanna spend more time with my kids.” And what he didn't realize at the time was that he'd been taking on all of these other different things that were volunteering that he wasn't getting paid for that were taken away time from his kids.

[18:15] Scott Barlow: But weren't associated with volunteering for a board, or volunteering for another organization, it was just volunteering for a specific people, essentially and doing favors for people. And they weren't necessary leading back to income within his business. And that's what I had to tell him and I was more than willing to tell him. And I find again, and again, and again, that every time I do that, that's me being genuine, that's me living inside what I have the potential to be great at. And I get a different response from people that… And you get to a different level of conversation that you just wouldn't ever have, I would say.

[18:48] Joel: Absolutely, let me jump in here 'cause…

[18:51] Scott Barlow: Yeah, please.

[18:52] Joel: You're touching on a great point, Scott. So your personal qualities and characteristics are transferable from the business that you hustled with in college, to your first couple of jobs outside of college and now in your own business once again your best qualities, your enduring features are transferable. And like you when I'm career coaching clients either one-on-one or speaking to a stadium full of people, okay at this level it might not be a stadium but a meeting room [laughter] full of people. Just thinking big over here. But it's helping people understand that, gosh the things that you do are carried over. That's the term that you use “carried over”, and it will serve you well if you harness those things. And harness is the key word that I use with all my clients.

[19:53] Scott Barlow: I love that word.

[19:53] Joel: Yeah, yeah well you know…

[19:55] Scott Barlow: Thanks for listening.

[19:55] Joel: You know what a cowboy does they, when they want to ride their horse, they throw a harness over the horses head and it does two things. It channels the explosive power that a horse has and then it also guides it, it directs it from point A to point B, harnessing those enduring features, qualities, talent.

[20:19] Scott Barlow: That's a great analogy, I might borrow that if that's okay.

[20:21] Joel: Absolutely, please do that, people get that quickly. Okay, so talk about, I've got a few minutes left here but I want to talk about just a couple of other things. Talk about the internal push back that you had when you were thinking about, “Okay I can be upfront, I can be honest, I can be true to people.” You've realized that within yourself, that's great, awareness is definitely key, but how you got pass the doubt, the fear, the hesitation of “Gosh can I do this again?” How did you do it?


[20:56] Scott Barlow: I know we're running out of time but I'll share a quick story that goes along with that. Completely different than the relaunch I was gonna talk about when we got on here, but in deciding to start this business “Happen to Your Career” LLC. I knew that I was gonna start another business. I had so much fun and so much growth with my first business that I knew I was gonna come back and do that. But I didn't plan on doing it for probably three or four more years from now, and what I realized was happening was my wife and I, as I was developing my corporate career and getting opportunities there and having fun with it. As we started to really go through our own processes of evaluating, and putting on paper what it was that we wanted, and the type of lifestyle, and where we wanted to live, and how much money we wanted to earn, and of these other different things. As we went through that process we realized that it didn't line up with the corporate career. And it didn't line up with the organization that I was currently with. And still do some work with to this day. And that's the point in time where we also realized that it was holding us back drastically.

[22:07] Scott Barlow: Till a point that we found ourselves even… Because we knew that we were going to move away and we were gonna to move to Omaha, where this company's based out of and all these other different things, because I was just part of a plan. So we kept progressing down that path and again and again part of the plan. We were even not doing stuff with friends, locally and saying, “Oh oh we're just gonna move why do we need to go and meet new people? And you know, Why do we need to invest time in these types of relationships? And why do we… ” We found ourselves completely changing our lives for something that was just part of the plan as opposed to what we really actually wanted. So it really came down to it, it wasn't one massive event but over a series of really kind of emotional conversations between my wife and I. We finally got to that, “We're just going the wrong direction, isn't that all lining up with these things that we put on paper?” And we realized that “hey we wanna live in Moses, little tiny Moses Lake, Washington where we're from, and where we've got family” and realized that “wow! That's… We need to figure out how to make that happen.”

[23:14] Joel: Okay, so who came to that “Ah-ha” or how did that happen? Did you just both kind of look at each other and nod going “Honey, we're going in the wrong direction” or how does… Yeah, quickly how did you come to that because that must have been… That was a game changer in your family.

[23:36] Scott Barlow: You know the harness concept? [chuckle] Well, it was more like she'd been… She'd wanted to do that for a long period of time but she felt like she needed to support me in my career in the direction that I was already on. And it was more me coming around saying, “Wait a minute. Hold on. You don't wanna go to Omaha, you don't wanna do this. I don't really actually have any particular love for that, and here's what I'll really wanna be doing over here. Here's all of these things that I don't get to do currently as much of that I absolutely loved doing. So how do I get more of that?” And then the floodgates opened and then we started figuring out that “hey, well the only way that that's gonna happen is if I start a business again. And okay, well what type of business do I wanna start?”

[24:24] Scott Barlow: “Well, I'm already going to… People are already asking me to go to coffee and coach them on careers and I'm getting gift cards and people volunteering to pay for all of these different types of things and help them figure out what they want to do. Why don't I continue to do that and make a business out of that?” So it was one event that led to another. It was almost a continuous conversation over the course… I wish I could say that there's just this one thing, this one pivotal moment, but it really wasn't. And I really think that that's how careers work over time, is you continually refine it. You continually figure out more and more as you learn about yourself. It's not… It's typically not this magical moment that you decide, “Hey, here's what you're gonna do for the rest of your life,” and you ride away into the sunset and rainbows and unicorns and whatever else.

[25:13] Joel: It's a great point, and I think you're absolutely right. The process of relaunch, or you might even call it relearning, about yourself and then tweaking and refining your plan, it's an ongoing process. And boy, it takes a lot of pressure off when you realize that, “You know what? I'm going to learn more about my skills, my talents, my qualities as I confidently move forward with what I do know already about myself.”

[25:45] Scott Barlow: Yes.

[25:46] Joel: Really appreciate you sharing. Talking with us, Scott Barlow today, host of a wonderful podcast. Definitely need to check this out, it's called “Happen to Your Career.” Got about two minutes left. Scott, I really appreciate your time once again. Tell us about the podcast. Tell us what we can expect to get when we listen to it, and of course, we'll include all of your social media hot spots in our show notes. But go ahead, “Happen to Your Career.”

[26:16] Scott Barlow: Yeah, absolutely. So the “Happen to Your Career” podcast really revolves all around helping get you to the work that you love. So really what we spend a lot of time focusing on is how do you actually figure out what it is that you want to do, because that then enables you to be able to make a decision and then start to happen to it, whatever that is. So that's part of where our company name comes from. We want you to be able to take control of your career versus just taking what's available, like I did so many years ago, right?

[26:50] Joel: Mm-hmm.

[26:50] Scott Barlow: Now for anybody interested in that, you can connect up with us at happentoyourcareer.com. Everything that we do is centered around that, and we've got a variety of free resources there that will help you do exactly that.

[27:08] Joel: Awesome. Free resources on your page. We'll have all of the go-to places in our broadcast show notes. And gosh! Scott, thank you for your time today. I really appreciate it. This is the first time we had ever connected over the phone or in any way.

[27:25] Scott Barlow: It is. I really appreciate you two having me on here. It's been fun. It's gone a totally different direction than what I thought it was going to when we started, and I had a ton of fun doing it, so thank you so much.

[27:34] Joel: That happens to so many people. And by the way, we wanna thank our mutual friend Doc Kennedy, for making this virtual introduction happen, so thank you Doc.

[27:46] Scott Barlow: Thanks, Doc.

[27:46] Joel: Yeah, all the best to you. Scott, you're welcome back here on ReLaunch, anytime. You just let us know how we can serve you, and we are on your team. Thanks so much.

[27:58] Pei: Thank you, Scott.

[27:59] Scott Barlow: Thanks.

Connect with Scott on Facebook, Twitter and his website.

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Joel Boggess

Keynote Speaker | Corporate Trainer | Award-winning podcaster I help teams ignite their courage, take bolder steps, and get greater results. Together, we create possibilities that bring empowerment, meaning, and financial impact.

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