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Jan. 11, 2022

141. Why Results & Self Awareness are More Important than Experience with John Tarnoff

Learn how to combine self-awareness with your experience to create greater results and a more productive career.

Learn how to combine self-awareness with your experience to create greater results and a more productive career.



John is an executive and career transition coach, speaker, and author who supports mid and late-career professionals in defining, planning, and achieving more meaningful and sustainable careers. 


Fired 39 times during his 35 years as a film producer, studio executive, and tech entrepreneur, he learned how to turn setbacks into successes in a volatile business. He reinvented his own career at 50, earning a master’s degree in counseling psychology to share his career lessons with others going through similar challenges. 


He is the author of the best-selling Boomer Reinvention: How to Create your Dream Career Over 50.










In a fast changing market. Our experience is actually very valuable, but it is overrated in the sense that we can't lead with our experience and expect people to say, because of your experience you're hired or because of your experience, I believe you, right? So we have to use our experience, but we have to put it in the background a little bit. We have to lead with what's present, and we have to lead with solutions. Welcome, everybody.


I'm excited today to have John Tarnoff with us to talk about how your experience is overrated and how you can create a sustainable career. There's a lot going on in the world today and a lot of shifts that people aren't used to, and John is going to help us navigate those. Thank you so much for joining me today John.


It's great to be here. Wade excited to get into this conversation.


Awesome. So John is an executive and career transition coach, speaker and author who supports mid and late career professionals in defining planning and achieving more meaningful and sustainable careers. He's been fired 39 times during his 35 years to the film producer.


39%, 39%?


I looked at that. What's, 39%? I didn't get that. What's, 39% of the time?


That's seven out of 18 jobs over 35 years. Okay.


I saw the percent. I thought it was a typo. I'm going to redo this. I'm going to start from scratch here. That's me. Okay. Perfect. Okay. Got it. I should have known better than to ask. I was like, okay, I thought maybe I transcribed it wrong or copy and paste.


That would be a lot of jobs. It's kind of a fun slug if you want to leave it in.


Oh, no, it's okay. We'll start over here.


Welcome, everybody.


I'm excited today to have John Tarnoff with us to talk about how your experience is overrated and how if you understand that you can set yourself up for a more sustainable career, there's a lot of changes going on right now in the marketplace, regardless of your age. And John is going to help us navigate that. Thank you so much for joining us today, John.


It's a pleasure. Wade. Great to be here.


So John is an executive and career transition coach, speaker and author. He supports mid and late career professionals in defining planning and achieving more meaningful and sustainable careers. He's fired in 39% of his jobs during his 35 years as a film producer, studio executive and tech entrepreneur. He learned how to turn setbacks into successes in volatile business. He reinvented his own career at 50, earning a master's degree in counseling psychology to share his career lessons with others going through similar challenges. And he's the author of the best selling book Boomer Reinvention, how to Create Your Dream career over 50.


So there you go, John. What's happened to experience? We used to talk about that.


And that was always such a big deal and shifted the basic deal on this is that in a more steady state world that we used to live in, experience mattered because past performance was an indicator of future results. But as they say in the financial markets, that is not the case. And you can't really predict the future based on the past anymore. And that extends to employment and to people's jobs. So if you have a set of skills that worked for you in the past, that's great.


But you have to demonstrate that you are able to build on those skills and make those skills and that experience relevant to today.


That's something that we talk about, whether it be sports or business, the whole what have you done for me lately? And it brings about kind of a mindset that almost seems very selfish or cold or heartless. But I think a lot of people, we tend to forget that the marketplace is not a human. It doesn't have a heart per se. It has a certain way of doing things that doesn't mean it's good or it's bad. It acknowledges what's great. And when we're perhaps younger and stronger and have a lot of energy, we're like, yes, this is awesome.


Everything goes for me because I'm in that group as we perhaps become part of that group that we maybe watched our parents go through said, oh, they're old. They don't know anything. And we start realizing that things are changing. And at least for me, I'm 49. I hear myself saying things like those kids, those crazy kids, the stuff you hear in scuba do and whatnot and you start realizing, oh, gosh, I'm becoming part of that group, right? How can somebody look to make sure that they're becoming useful or they're being useful to others without losing sight of who they are?


Because I know you and I talked in the pre interview. There's so much this is not about just selling your soul and say, okay, I'll be whatever the marketplace tells me to be, and I've forgotten who I am. How can people balance that? Right.


Well, I think it's interesting that you say that because that's just the point. You don't want to be what the market tells you. You have to be as you get older. I believe that each of us has so much to give, Ironically, based on our experience, right. Because that experience has made us unique. We may do the same job as the guy in the next office of the next cubicle or the next desk, but we do it our way, right? We do it based on the experiences that we've accumulated, the lessons that we've learned, the mistakes that we've made and the personality that we are, the values that we hold as individuals.


So I think the challenge really is to start by looking inward at who we are and not being afraid to apply who we are to what we do and to really deepen in that and offer that as an advantage to our current employer as a way of growing beyond the simple role and to be more strategic and to provide more insight, but also in terms of jobs that we may be going up for.


It's so interesting when I think of what I've been taught over my lifetime. My father's an entrepreneur. My mother is a house mom who did a lot of reading and does a lot of reading on spirituality, psychology, a lot of different things. And I just even look at the evolution I've witnessed as just somebody who's been mentored by people. So first, when I was younger, it was don't brag a lot about what you do. People aren't going to like you. Nobody likes a Bragger. And then as you get older, you're told, okay, but no, you're about to go up for a job.


Now you have to say the old question. At least when I say, what do you have that nobody else has. Why are you useful? Why do we care? Basically? And then you almost especially when I grew up in the late 80s, as far as entering the job for us, because then it was the absolute opposite, the complete braggadocious. Well, I did this this and I cured cancer and I did this and did that. And so I'd like to apply for your position to work the cash register.


And there's nothing wrong working cash register, but this over inflated self defense or sense of self or hyping yourself up. And now we're in this in between place. And I think that there's something interesting you said there just because your experience doesn't matter, at least on the surface, who you are. Gosh, I think of character. I think of what I'm recruiting people and how important simple things. Dan Sullivan, the gentleman who has a company called Strategic Coach, talks about being referable. He says you arrive on time, you finish what you start, you say, please, and thank you.


And you do what you say you're going to do. And those four things sound. Come on, Wade, is it really that simple? And you think about any challenges you say, well, think about how many people you know that have three of those qualities. They're brilliant, but they don't show up on time or they say they're going to do something, and maybe they don't. What are the other things that have experiences, perhaps a much weaker indicator. Of course, it's not completely irrelevant, but it's not what it used to be.


What are some of those things then when somebody's communicating and let's say right now, with all that's going on, is people are shifting jobs. Or I think of my neighbor who just moved here. He originally was living in New York. He now lives in Florida. Tell me what happened. He said, Well, he's working for company. A company. A does a certain type of business. I had a territory in New York, and I said, I want to live in Florida. And they said, you can't do that.


So I found Company B. Company B is based out of Texas, and I'm working out of Florida, still managing the Northeast, and I'm still traveling there. But I live in Florida. And so he had some sort of skill to communicate. And he's roughly my age, he's in his I don't know, either late 40s or early 50s. So he was able to communicate that he was able to do that successfully. What do you advise people to do as far as what can they take stock in and say, this is what I have to offer that perhaps others don't have.


Right. Well, first of all, I want to be really clear about this definition of experience or the use of experience. When I say experience is overrated. As you're hinting, I'm not saying experience is over or experience is not useful. I think it's really about I say this to be provocative and to get us to think about this idea of, well, really, what is our experience and how can we best use our experience? And my point is that in a fast changing market, our experience is actually very valuable, but it is overrated in the sense that we can't lead with our experience and expect people to say, oh, well, because of your experience you're hired or because of your experience, I believe you right.


So we have to use our experience, but we have to put it in the background a little bit. We have to lead with what's present and we have to lead with solutions. And absolutely, by the way, all of those Dan Sullivan four criteria are essential because this is about showing up in every way. And as the much maligned justifiably probably. Woody Allen once said, success is 90% showing up. And I would say that the difference between mediocre performance and excellent performance is often about 5% effort.


Right. The difference between 90 and 95, 100 and 105, whatever that is. It's a very small difference between being perceived as an average worker and a top performer. A lot of that is about just showing up, being consistent. You're the person who always returns a phone call or an email message within ten minutes. That kind of thing. Separate conversation, right. When it comes to experience, it gets back to this question of being present in the moment, not searching for the reference of your experience to bring to the game, which sounds like, well, when I was at such and such company and we had the situation, this is what I did, right?


No, don't do it that way. Be in the moment. Be focused as a servant leader. How can I help this person sitting in front of me, back to being in person, perhaps, or on the screen? How can I help them? My colleague solve the problem that they're on. Answer the question that they have be in today's moment. Provide that solution. Let them come back to you and say, oh, that's interesting. Where did you get that? Tell me more about that solution. And even in that answering that question, I would try to stay in the present and say, Well, here's how things work.


You're in this situation. Here's the problem you're facing. Here are three ways to look about it. Look at it. Here's why I think my solution works because connect the dots for them, and they'll say, wow, this is amazing. So you've been around a long time. You've really thought these things through. It's like, oh, yeah. I've had this problem many times before, and I've solved it a number of different ways. This is the best way. Eventually they may get to asking you. So tell me about that.


Tell me about your experience. And at that moment, talk about it, right? Don't kind of humble brag and go, oh, well, I just picked up a few things along the way. No, they want to know at this point they want to know what you did. They want to hear about it. But you see the sequence.


Yeah, it reminds me so much of talking to my children. So my daughter is starting to get into skateboarding, and I still have my skis twelve. Now I have my skateboard from when I was twelve. Right. And it looks different. The parts are named the same thing I grew up in the generation that knows who Tony Hawk is. And, of course, everybody, for the most part, if even really knows who Tony Hawk is. People that was a household name for us. We already knew who that was.


And a lot of the times I'll come in, and maybe this is also where the experience does not serve me. I'll come in thinking, I already know the answer. And I'm not present to the moment. I'm given the answer from 30 years ago of what it was when I was her age and saying, Well, here's how you do and what I realized. Specifically, I was smart enough to at least watch a couple of videos. He had a master class, Tonia, I could teach him some things, and some of the fundamentals are the same.


But, like, 90% of it is stuff that I didn't know that's either new or at least it was new to me. And so I didn't have to back pedal and said, Well, you do this. I said, hey, here's what I know. And eventually she reached a point after she stood on my board a few times said, oh, tell me about your board. Tell me about how do you make that? Oh, you guys built a ramp. You didn't buy a ramp. It wasn't like half pipes already made.


No, we built a ramp out of wood from Home Depot because half pipes in mass were not mass produced. Yet you had to make them cool.


Dad, my dad is so cool. He makes exactly.


And so it's a very different experience. But I think to your point, I had to learn to become more present to what she was doing, as opposed to assuming. And I think that's what you're saying here a lot of this is that danger of being out of touch, whether it's saying that Elvis, he's too bad because he's shaking his hips or something, we run the risk of sounding like, okay, now you've dated yourself.


You've defined the difference between a teacher and a mentor, and I think that's something which also comes up as we get older and people talk about mentoring a lot. It's like, oh, mentoring is really good. It's really important. We need to foster a culture of mentoring here in this company. Well, the key difference is right there about this experience question. As you get older and you accumulate that experience, the temptation is to teach here's how to do it. But the value is in mentoring, which is helping someone else figure out how to do it without you telling them how to do it.


You provide the support and the reflection and the feedback and the answers so that they can figure it out, which is obviously a much better way for them to learn, because then they can own that lesson as opposed to, oh, well, this guy told me to do it this way, and I guess he knows something about it because he's done it a lot. But I still don't get it right. And as we get older, we have the capacity to be mentors earlier on, as younger people, we're learning the ropes, we're learning the skill sets we can teach it because this is how we're wired at this point, because we don't have that experience to be able to see all the angles, right.


And we don't have the perspective to be able to understand, as you discovered with your daughter that the value isn't letting them figure it out. Exactly. It's so huge. And I think if you've been mentored in your life, you're going to understand that thread as you grow and become capable of mentoring. And by the way, mentoring is not just about older, experienced people mentoring to younger people. We have this thing called reverse mentoring, which is about younger people mentoring older people in the same way for experiences that they have accumulated even as young people and awareness knowledge that is intrinsic to the way they think as new thinkers in a new age that is invaluable for older people.


Right. So part of the answer to your earlier question about what do we do if we have all this experience, how do we apply it is to get into this dialogue around mentoring, both our ability as older people to mentor what we can mentor, but also to receive the mentorship from younger people who have a wealth of value to share with us. And that is what helps us stay relevant and actionable in this job market.


Yeah. That is so huge. I listen to so many people talk about at least what's kind of one of these sort of classic where you can pick aside the whole Boomer Millennial thing conversation right now and the jokes about the ads about it. Of course, a lot of them are funny, but you look at some of it. And I'm 49, I'm mid Gen X or whatever. Right. But long story short, when I look at this, what I see is it's just interesting place. I'm not a millennial.


I'm close to definitely not a Gen Z, not a Boomer. But I'm watching this sort of this Ping pong match going back and forth sometimes.




And first of all, want to say to both of them as a gentleman, both of you are out of touch like you're both on one extreme.




I guess, because again, chronologically, I'm in between. So I have more of a perspective of both.




And realizing also, though, just the reality whether the baby Boomer generation likes it or not, the Millennials are now at least United States, the bigger buying market.


So guess what?


You can malign them. You can talk about them all you want, but they pay your bills unless you're fully retired and have the money set aside where you don't have to deal with that. That's your clientele. That's a huge part of your clientele. And just also the idea to me, it's similar to the politics when one side just dismisses another side. And I've just said to some of my friends, because I tend to be more of different ideas on different sides. Say, look, just a simple idea that 45% roughly of the people of your country are idiots.


It's a really kind of interesting observation any more than to say if I'm a Boomer, millennials or Millennial or Boomer or whatever it is.


Right. Exactly. This gets into the whole multigenerational workforce territory, which I talk about a lot. And I actually have three to be four courses on LinkedIn about multigenerational workforce and one about how to manage an older report if you're a younger boss with an older person working for you. And similarly, if you're an older person working for a younger boss, how do you deal with that? And I think that that is a situation which perhaps it's more expected from the younger person to say, well, I'm going to have a diverse group of people, and I've got some older people on the team.


But I think in many cases not. I think in many cases, in a lot of Millennial companies, the assumption is everyone's going to be like me, right. And for the older worker, the assumption is my boss is always going to be older than I am, right, because they've got more experience. But at some point it flips around and you walk into the job. And there's some guy who's 35 who's running the Department and you're 50. And how do you deal with that. So these are, I think, great problems that we have to solve as the economy continues to shift, become more fluid, become more skills based because it's two skills based.


I think there's not enough nuance and context appreciated in this market. Perhaps now that employees seem to be a little bit more in the upper hand now, as in this current recovery economy will change. But the point, I guess, is that this is a conversation that we all need to be a little bit more used to having around, experience, around reporting around the real things that matter in business relationships within the workforce. Yeah.


And I think that's so much of it so often, whether it's politics or anything, things can be dismissed if it can be dismissed with a one liner. Chances are you didn't address the issue. He's younger than me. He doesn't know who Magic Johnson or Crema. Bill Gibbard knows nothing about basketball, right. Or they traveled today in the NBA. So there's no value to any of their skills. It's like, okay, so maybe they do travel. And that's a whole different conversation. But to then say that therefore they have no skill set or is a very big jump.


And as you've said, the changing marketplace for so many reasons. And it's so interesting because I live in Naples, Florida. There's a generation of people who just made that cut off where they were born, baby boomers. They worked for one company their whole life. They got a defined benefit retirement plan, which means the company guarantees what they're going to get. And they're retired. And literally, it's a very small window, as you know, because there's the little group, eight to ten years older than them, younger than them that didn't get that.


And so what's so interesting to me is some of that group is so used to that everything worked out the way they were told. I'm not saying everything was easy, but it worked out the way they were told. They were presented at 20, work for a company, work hard, everything's going to work out. And it played out that way. And even the people that are five to seven years older than them, it didn't work out that way. So there's a lot of skepticism or there's even the simple fact of, well, hey, put aside a million dollars, right?


I've got a million dollars in my account, but I can't make 6% or 7% guaranteed on it like I used to 15 years ago. So now 2% of a million is only 20,000 a year. What are you finding people are running into as far as that reality, because to me, it almost feels like there must be some grieving going on, like, wait, I thought I was done, and I think it's just a normal grieving process. And now I'm looking at possibly working for this 35 year old kid who's got a big earring in all the stereotypes.


I think it's panic. It's not grieving. The panic is, oh, I hope I can get a job working for that 35 year old kid with the earring because I need the job because that million dollars isn't going to do what I thought I was going to do. And inflation and health care costs and all sorts of unpredictable stuff and the economy going whipsawing back and forth. If that million dollars is in equities and we have a 30% correction, what's going to happen right now? In 20, 08, 20, 09, this generation was younger.


The generation started turning 65, and I think 2011. So now 1012 years later, the situation is far more dire for baby boomers who will continue to turn 65 until the end of the decade. So here's the way I look at it. In terms of this model, this three act model that you talk about of you get a good education, you work for 40 years, you get to retire. And as you point out, there's a cut off there between the people who have made it into that and the rest of us who don't, who aren't.


And by the way, the retirement savings rate is abysmal. Right. Compared to what the money people are going to need. So I think we're in a different three stage model here. And this applies to people who are getting older. It applies to you. It applies to younger people all the way down to Jenzie, which is that, first of all, education is lifelong, so you can no longer rely on your credential on your degree. Look at all the destruction going on in higher education. I'm involved in this a lot.


And universities are looking at the fact that companies are now reevaluating the requirement of a BA for knowledge work. A lot of major companies are saying, Well, do we really need everybody to have a BA coming into this company? Now, for centuries, it seems that was the compact you get to work in corporate America. You need a BA. Wonderful cooperation between colleges and universities and the workplace, right. Keeps colleges in business. There's disruption going on there. Right. Whether you're younger or older, you're going to have to think about continuing to educate yourself, build new awareness, get new skills, contribute to the diversity of value that you provide in the workplace.


And this could be something as kind of random as getting some kind of healthcare related certification, which may peripherally impact the work that you do. But it sends the signal to your employer that you are an inquiring mind, right? You're being strategic. You're learning new skills, you're continuing to grow and stay engaged. So that's number one in that world. The first stage of your career is not education. I believe it's self awareness. You need to learn early on and keep working on who you are and why you do what you do and capture the essence of that in your profile.


Right. I believe that's what the about section is for in your LinkedIn. It's not a recitation, it's not a bio. It's not a transposition of your resume in prose form. This is your kind of core branding statement, and you want to start that off when you're in your 20s, because that's going to help you make the right decision about the career you're going after and the value you're providing. And that gets into the second stage, which is this term generativity. And this was a term that the psychologist Eric Erickson used to apply to people actually, later in their life stages who had come to a certain sense of self awareness about what they could contribute, and then they focus their career on generating value based on that.


So I believe that now we have all of us at any age, have the opportunity and actually the obligation to be generative, which is to say, who am I? What can I best offer? Where can I be most useful? How can I grow? How can I be Proactive in contributing to the value of the organization I'm working for? To myself, to the people around me takes every sort of form. That's what your career is today. Being generative, constantly growing, constantly questioning, constantly adding on to it.


And then the third stage of your life is not retirement, because who wants to disengage from life and kind of go and stop waiting to die? That's going to kill you faster than anything. It's to stop. It's like we're all Sharks on some level. If we stop, we die. Give back. That is. The final stage is to take everything that you've learned and become as an engaged human being and give it back, pay it forward. And that's the new life.


That is. First of all, I love the three steps to that and how you've outlined that. I think of how things have evolved in a very short time since the arrival of the microchip and even just something as simple as a concept of how the stereotypical male. So I think back I remember years ago I read Ben Franklin stuff. He talked about the Renaissance Man and had all these different dimensions to him. And maybe that wasn't as much so post World War Two and just trying to get stuff done, it was more of a getter done kind of a thing.


I even think of just the basic topic of either yoga or meditation, specifically meditation. That is something that 25, 30 years ago, other than the Beatles bringing it over in the six late 60s. But if you were to say that most people say, well, I'm in the business world, I don't meditate. I focus. And now if you read almost any book by any person, Russell Simmons, name a person, whatever it is, whatever genre somewhere in there. And if they don't use the word meditation, it's actually because they're trying not to turn off their audience.


If you talk to them. Usually they'll say, oh, yeah. They'll describe meditation. Mindfulness, mind. Exactly. Mindfulness. Yeah, it's not meditation. It's mindfulness. And that is something that if you're still white knuckling on to what used to be. And you say, I'm not going to do that. I'm Archie Bunker. Damn it. I'm not going to change. The world's still going to evolve. And perhaps one of the things that's been most interesting, I think that's going on is as the world market is changing. And as you can find people that can do a job for anywhere from a fifth to a 10th of the cost in different parts of the world.


The Philippines, India, a lot of these places are not so behind as they used to be socially, culturally, language wise and so on. And I'm listening to friends of mine that are thinking, this is editorial. This is my ideal. But I'm hearing people say, Well, wait, this political candidate is going to change it. Forget whichever side they're from.


Bring the jobs back.


This is like protectionism back 30, 40 years ago. You don't get to stop what's going on in the world. And so if that's the case, nobody is doing it to you there's. No, they it's just what's happening. And the question is going to be, what's your response to it? And oh, by the way, if you really are, you say, Wait, I'm a capitalist at heart. A lot of Americans say I'm a capitalist at heart. Okay, great. Well, if they if somebody outside of our country is doing capitalism in some ways, and some people are, of course, better than we are.


Do we try to put up the walls like we all said, you don't do we all learn this in high school, you learn to compete. And I think that's the part that I'm hearing you say is even the whole retirement conversation of this sense of or I'm entitled to retire because somewhere somebody told me that if I worked for X amount of time, it turned out this way. And yet we all know life doesn't always turn out the way somebody told you.


And by the way, when I meet people who say, Well, I'm retired or I just retired and they have a defined benefits plan, I say, this is great. Congratulations. You kind of got in under the wire. Be very careful, because your defined benefits pension plan may go belly up in this market, and you need to be very diligent about tracking how that fund is being managed, where it's invested, how it's getting its returns, because they may come to you in a year or so and say, Sorry, we're cutting your benefit, and they either go a little bit white or they get huffy about it and they go, Well, no, it's all set.


It's done. I'm going nothing is done, right? You don't understand.


Well, that's the whole concept. Even when people say passive income, there's very few forms of truly passive income unless you've actually literally inherited in somebody's giving right income. Well, no.


I mean, there's plenty of passive income based on intellectual property, for example, based on royalties and real value. But that passive income, like any income, is subject to the real world. Right. Things change.


Yeah. Maybe guaranteed passive income.




Because you still have to mind it. You have to keep an eye on it. Yeah, right.


I've got this annuity with Fidelity, and it's making me expert. It's like, well, okay. Fingers crossed. What percentage? What dividend rate are they guaranteeing you on that annuity?


And that's the thing coming from the insurance background. We're from Florida. We have Hurricanes come through, and people would get all upset about the insurance prices. And there are some extremely crooked insurance companies. And there are some great ones, like, guess what? Like any other professional business. And you hear people get all upset. And I say, think about this because there was a time in Florida, we had literally a Hurricane every other year. I said, look, your house is worth. Let's say $300,000. So you're going to give me $1,000 today?


I'm the insurance company. You're going to be $1,000 next year and $1,000 in three years. Even so, in three years, you've given me $3,000 and a Hurricane knocks down your house. How am I turning that into $300,000? And by the way, if I knew that what I put up with your problems or what? I just don't compound the money. There are certain realities to it. So as people are looking at this, what would you say? And I think you hit on one part of it. What does continuous learning look like?


Because we hear a lot of people say this. And so some people go extreme and say, okay, I've got to sign up for 20 courses and each one of those courses $1,000 a pop. And so great. John, you just told me to spend a bunch of money, right? What's a simple version of what's up? Getting started version. Even if, like you said, you might think, hey, I've got my stuff in order. I did my planning. What can that look like for people to at least start staying in touch with what's going on with the world?




Well, I'll give you a personal example of this. I have a master's degree in counseling psychology, and I use that as a real knowledge base for the career coaching that I do. And I synthesize that with my business experience of being tossed around a lot. And that 39% fired. So I've built up a certain amount of resilience based skills and combining these two together, I've developed a methodology. So my question has been, do I go out and get a dedicated coaching credential? On top of that? And what I did was I pulled my audience, right?


I asked a friend. I did a little bit of digging, and I talked to a bunch of other coaches in the space who were credentialed and recruiters and corporate people? And I said, Will this make me more marketable as a coach if I have this credential? And overwhelmingly, the answer was not really, do you want to be part of corporate training programs where you're kind of considered to be a credentialed coach who can come in and train people for a company? I'm going, That's not really what I do.


They said, Well, and forget it. So I think the process that we all have to go through about getting more education is making sure that it is useful, relevant and actually sought after. Is it going to help move the needle in what we do? And so I think there is that triangle here. One is, again, the inner process starting inside and going, what am I yearning for? What is it that I really want? What am I missing here that I'm not able to do that I want to do, to really make my life more fun, more enjoyable, more impactful, greater connections with people, all of those personal questions.


And then the second is, what does that impact on the bottom line out there? Who needs this value? Who else is providing this value? What's their background? What do they have that I don't have that I could get to do that work that I want to do. And then the third component, again, is the feedback you've got to ask the market. You've got to understand who your targets are, what they need and whether they're going to view you differently with this credential or course, whatever the education is you're doing.


So I think that's kind of the process. And you're always in this research mode of looking for ways to have more fun, make better connections if you're feeling like you're isolated and no one understands you and you don't like the people that you're working with and all of these lists of questions. And you do your pros and your cons list on your sheet will look for ways to change those things and progress to a new level where you can feel more engaged, more connected, more useful.


Yeah. I think of how often I'll hear people think that like you said, some credentials can help them, and then they'll say, What's the market price? Let's go to the customer. What problem are you solving for the customer? What's the cost of that problem to that customer? If it's a $5 problem, you're not going to be adding a lot to them. There's got to be something that you're adding where they say, wow, because you can, as you said, do this, not just say you do this and doesn't really lead where you'd like to go.


So as people are thinking of this, you've said a couple of times, do what you like or do what inspires you or do what you move towards your interest. A lot of the time we hear this, do what you love, the money will follow. And you and I both know that can be really dangerous advice. So then for that person who's trying to balance being realistic paying bills and still making a change towards the direction or the way they would like to go, are there dangers or is it just that you slowly move in that direction at a pace that you can afford?


I think so. I think it's kind of simple as that. There's no magic bullet here. The fundamental rules apply as time goes by. It's what you were saying. We were saying at the top of the talk about showing up very simple, basic consistency and having a plan. I think it really goes down to starting on the inside, understanding who you are, what your value is looking for, more opportunities to realize that again, love Joseph Campbell, but follow your bliss. The money is not going to follow, right?


It's got to be useful. You've got to check out your market and we can demonize advertising and marketing in this country. All we want. The fact is there's a lot of reality and value in engaging with your audience. However, you perceive your audience to be whether your audience is your boss or your audience, are your clients or whomever that might be awesome.


Thank you so much, John. I think this has really helped me. Definitely. Especially that distinction, teachering and mentoring. I guess that's what I've been learning with my kids.


So I guess they are the best teachers and mentors.


Yes, they are. Where can people learn more about your work?


Yes. So you can email me at JT at johntornoff. Com. My website is johntarnoff. Com. And if you are interested in learning more about this methodology that I talk about here, I have a free ebook that's available at the following URL. It's go. Johntarnoff. Com threesteps the number three steps that's go johntarnoff. Comthreesteps and that will get you started.


Awesome. Thank you so much. And we'll make sure to put that in the show notes. If you're listing, the podcast will be in the show notes. If you're watching it on YouTube or somewhere else, we'll have it there. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom with us today, John. And for those y'all listing, as always, look forward to helping you help more people and make more money in less time. Doing what you do best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends and your life. Thanks so much for listening.


John Tarnoff MA/MSPProfile Photo

John Tarnoff MA/MSP

Career Transition Coach, Strategist, & Spiritual Psychologist | Supporting Mid-Late Career Professionals, C-Level Leaders

John is an executive and career transition coach, speaker, and author who supports mid and late-career professionals in defining, planning, and achieving more meaningful and sustainable careers.

Fired 39 times during his 35 years as a film producer, studio executive, and tech entrepreneur, he learned how to turn setbacks into successes in a volatile business. He reinvented his own career at 50, earning a master’s degree in counseling psychology to share his career lessons with others going through similar challenges.

He is the author of the best-selling Boomer Reinvention: How to Create your Dream Career Over 50.