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Career Crossroads: Former HGTV Executive Traci Barrett's Insights

Published by Summit Marketing Team on Mar 22, 2024 6:00:00 AM


The Young CPA Success Show: Episode 15

Joey and Hannah catch up with personal mentor and friend, Traci Barrett, one of the founding team members of HGTV and current President and Co-Founder of Navigate the Journey, who shares her wisdom on career longevity, embracing discomfort for growth, and the importance of mentorship. She advises on setting clear goals, balancing future aspirations with present contentment, and the power of gratitude and routine. Traci discusses navigating life's major decisions with mentor guidance and self-compassion amidst uncertainty.



Intro (00:00:00) - Welcome to the Young CPA Success Show. If you're a young accounting professional, this podcast is your ultimate guide to navigating your early career. Join us as we share valuable insights, expert advice, and practical tips to help you kickstart your path to success and excel in the accounting industry. Let's embark on this exciting accounting journey together.

Hannah (00:00:23) - All right, Joey, So, we're going to talk about plans. So, yeah, I want to hear from you. Have you ever made plans for yourself that, ended up going a completely different direction or. All wrong? Tell me about it. 

Joey (00:00:36) - Oh, yeah. Okay. So, in the summer of 2008. I was two years into college and I decided to move to Manhattan, Kansas to go to school because I was going to UNM. And it was not that there's anything wrong with UNM here in Albuquerque, but I just needed a different challenge. So, I was like, okay, I am going to go to a different school and just go and do something completely different from my life.

Joey (00:01:00) - And at that point I kind of, you know, I kind of, you know, I looked around and I was like, you know, I'm probably never coming back to Albuquerque ever again. I'm going to go to this, I'm going to go to K-State. I'm going to kind of figure it out from there. And then, like, I don't know, maybe I moved to San Diego or maybe I moved to Dallas, or maybe I move, you know, somewhere else, kind of cool in my 20s and do all these types of things. And, you know, I did some of those things. And then here comes life, and life happens, and I get an opportunity to move back to Albuquerque in the summer of 2018. So, a whole decade this plan worked. And then here I am five years later after that move, sitting in a house about a half a mile from where I grew up. So, I did the full boomerang and I had lost. I would have lost So, much money saying like, I am never going back to Albuquerque ever again.

Joey (00:01:49) - This is the Taylor Swift we are never, ever getting back together, ever. And then we did.

Hannah (00:01:54) - It's funny how plans work like that. Sometimes.

Joey (00:01:56) - It's exactly how that works. What about you? Yeah.

Hannah (00:02:00) - So, I, midway through my career, decided I was burnt out on accounting. It was all it was ever going to be for me. I did not want anything to do with it anymore. I was ready to walk away and I did in fact walk away. And I said I was never, ever coming back, I was done. This was not for me. And then three years later, I was back, back in accounting. I just it was a great experience.

Joey (00:02:27) - And look at you now.

Hannah (00:02:29) - And here I am still back in the industry. And granted, I learned So, much from that opportunity. But whenever I set my sight on not coming back and walking away like I was dead set in, that like that was the plan. And I meant that I was sticking to it.

Hannah (00:02:43) - And I think all of us probably listening to this have probably have moments like that in our lives where we've ended up pivoting in a way that, like, we didn't think we were gonna pivot. And we all probably still will have moments like that in our life.

Joey (00:02:59) - And that's a good segue to talk a little bit about our conversation today with, Traci Barrett, a woman that you and I both know. We've heard her talk a number of times. We have a number of folks here in our office who work with her and her life partner and business partner, Tom Barrett, with their company, Navigate the Journey again, a group that we've been working with for a number of years. and we talked to her today about. Choices and, you know, career pathing and regrets and also creating structures and all sorts of things that you can do to kind of help create a mindset or a framework for figuring out what your next pivot is going to be, which I think is a really it's something I really wish I had learned a lot about when I was.

Joey (00:03:45) - I wish I knew more of this in my 20s because I think, you know, I was just sort of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what stuck.

Hannah (00:03:52) - Mhm. And a lot of ways I was choosing and visualizing what the next five years of my life looked like, based on what other people said my life should look like, I would. I was focusing on it for all the wrong reasons. And I think that we talk we do talk about this with Traci, but if I'd have taken a step back and just broke it down into smaller pieces and said, what is that? What do I want the next year of my life to look like? And I need to focus on things and not focus on the things that don't serve me, and also develop more of a longevity mindset. That was something really early on in my 20s that I did not have. I just being flat out like I just did not have a longevity mindset. Like I bounced around a little bit until I figured out some good places for me.

Hannah (00:04:33) - And there's a lot to be learned in that in that journey. However, if I had heard some of the things that we talk about with Traci today in my 20s, oh my goodness, how different my life potentially could have been, or at least the things that I could have learned in those scenarios could have been. So, I hope that there's something for everybody in this conversation, even no matter where you're at in your career, but especially for our young CPA, young accountants, people are thinking about coming into the industry can gain from this conversation with Traci.

Joey (00:05:07) - Yeah, we've had a couple of things that we've had, as we've done more of these and talked to more people, and none of them are connected by the way it's people in different industries. There's been several through lines, and one of the ones that Traci talked a lot about is mentorship. And I think that's, you know, we've done a couple of shows now and where we've talked a lot about mentorship, and that hopefully shows everybody just how important it is to like find that good mentor.

Joey (00:05:33) - And I should mention mentorship is different than coaching. We actually did an exercise on that here in the office this week where we looked at the difference between coaching and mentorship. And the number one difference between the two is that mentorship is driven by the mentee. The person who is seeking the mentor has to drive that relationship. You have to push that forward. Whereas coaching tends to be from the coach down to the coach. I suppose if keeping the nomenclature mentorship goes the other ways, if you're looking to get some mentorship, you're looking to talk to someone. It is your responsibility to go out there and identify people who are going to talk to you and really invest in that relationship. You can't wait around for a mentor to come to you. You've got to go find that mentor. So, that's my challenge for the audience today is to talk a little bit and maybe try to figure out who your mentor is and how you're going to go approach that individual to try to learn from their experiences, not get advice from them.

Hannah (00:06:31) - I love that. So, I hope that you'll all enjoy this episode with Traci. And like Joey said, go find your mentor.

Joey (00:06:39) - Well, I'd love to start with your time at HDTV because that is, you know, I remember that HDTV has been around for most of my television watching life. It's been a thing in my life for the whole, for pretty much the whole time. Yeah. And it's there's a lot of Saturday and Sunday mornings in my house that are spent kind of watching HDTV and dreaming and manifesting and kind of trying to figure out what we want our lives to look like. How did that kind of start for you? Like, what about that kind of piqued your interest in terms of where you were professionally at the time?

Traci (00:07:16) - Yeah. So, I, I don't know what it was, but when I was in high school, I just felt like I was I wanted to be in the television world. I was just kind of drawn to that. And I don't know if it's because I, you know, performed on stage.

Traci (00:07:30) - And I just sort of felt like that was a natural progression. So, when I graduated from college, I was like, I'm just going to get a job and in the television world. And So, I was in the broadcast world, you know, your typical ABC, NBC, CBS and then cable was much like what we know the digital universe to be today. So, cable television was like the wild frontier. And I really just wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be in that world. And So, I just started interviewing at different cable networks and, heard about other cable networks starting up. And so, somebody gave my name to another person that was trying to hire for what was going to be called HDTV was going to be a home and garden, network. And I interviewed and got the job, and I was one I think I was the 25th hire. And, you know, just a small group of us, you could fit us all in one room, launch the network at the end of 1994, and it was, not guaranteed to be a success by any means.

Traci (00:08:39) - I mean, there were cable networks all around us that were failing. And, you know, just like, as you guys know, in the digital universe, tons of companies start and just don't make it. And So, the same was true for cable television. And So, we were just a scrappy group of entrepreneurs wondering if we could get this thing on television and get programming. And So, I actually started with the network before it even existed on air. And it was it was super fun. It was the best entrepreneurial training ground I could have ever had.

Hannah (00:09:13) - And leaving that role, and obviously it found success. So, that is a well-known TV network that we are all, we can all recognize. And So, obviously it found success. But leaving that role, I'm sure. What was the moment where you started to feel the need to pivot like the urge to do something different? Because obviously, I'm sure you probably could have stayed and, and had a lot more, to your journey there at HDTV, but what was it that made you think that you might want to do something different? 

Traci (00:09:47) - Yeah. You know, I was there for I was in the television industry for over 20 years, and I was there for almost 20 years. So, the vast majority of my career was at HGTV. And I think, you know, when you think about longevity in one company, I don't know if a lot of people think about that today because it seems like there's a lot of jumping around and you might stay in the same industry, but you might switch companies, or maybe you switch industries. And in some regards, that trajectory is great to have all those options and to feel like you don't have a lot of fear with jumping around. But I think, you know, one of the pluses of staying someplace for a very long period of time is that you are really able to grow and learn and grow yourself, learn about an industry, learn about the dynamics of a team, learn how to build a company. And So, sometimes I think that and hopefully for your listeners who, you know, many are just starting out in their career can appreciate staying where you are for a while and, and sort of resting there and when the going gets tough not to just jump ship because, you know, oh, I don't like it.

Traci (00:10:58) - I don't like how I feel. I don't like the feedback or whatever it might be. And then you leave. I think there's plenty of good reasons to leave a company, but I think just not feeling comfortable is not one of them. We need to feel levels of discomfort. We need to feel the growing pains of a company and the growing pains of our own journey. And I think that, I really somehow, someway just realized I was with a great company and I was going to be willing to flex and learn as it grew. And so, we grew from having zero revenue to becoming $1 billion media company before I ever left. And so, I got to see every single stage of that. And the value in that was tremendous. But then also, I always was seeking out mentors. So, I always wanted to be learning from somebody that was just a little bit further down the road. And so, you know, and getting to climb the corporate ladder and getting a lot of responsibility. And then of course, there was the glamour of HDTV and the fun of it, and all of that was great.

Traci (00:12:02) - I think that, you know, almost two decades into that. I felt like, was there something else out there for me? You know, there was nothing particularly bad going on. I mean, it was a high stress job. I was traveling a lot. I had young kids at home. I felt really stretched then as just a business executive, as a working mom, as a wife. It just was a lot. And so, I think that coupled with feeling a little bit of restlessness like, hmm, I wonder if there's something else I can do. Is television it for me? You know, what would it feel like to try something new and be known for something else? You know, everybody knew me as HDTV. And so, I think, you know, I just kind of hit that crossroads and wondered, like, you know, as my book is called What If There's More? And so, there was no, I wasn't pushed out, I wasn't laid off, I wasn't, you know, there was nothing pushing me out.

Traci (00:12:59) - But there was a pull. There was like this curiosity, this what if. And I think I just kind of gave into that pull. Not right away. It took me a couple of years. I kept saying, this is going to be the year that I make the leap. This will be, you know, and then a whole year would go by and I'd be like, all right, this is going to be the year that I'm going to, you know. So, it wasn't like, you know, I just it wasn't this big spontaneous thing, but I just finally hit the moment where I was like, all right, I feel like the moons have aligned, I feel ready, I'm going to go ahead and pivot and see what happens on the other side.

Joey (00:13:34) - I think that's something that resonates a lot with my generation kind of here in our mid 30s right now, sort of maybe not too far removed from where you were when you started getting those feelings of maybe there is a little bit more.

Joey (00:13:48) - I've talked with friends, I've talked with my wife about this too, where it's I think the biggest fear that we have at 35 is waking up one day and realizing that the last five years have just gone by in a blink, and we haven't made any progress on these other things that we've got going on. Like that was where my mind was going was like, man, if you've been with somewhere for a while and I think it's good to, you know, there are good reasons to leave. I think I've also learned a lot more when I've stayed, in certain places, like being very careful about when to leave and, you know, making sure that I'm doing it. You know, if I am leaving, it's because I'm going to learn something new, not because I'm running away from something bad. But yeah, that just really resonated with me as part of that story, which was it was something that took you a little while to, like, really get comfortable with.

Joey (00:14:42) - And it took a it's a couple year process to sit there and say, I am really going to pivot on this. Like it's not something that just you snap your fingers and it goes.

Traci (00:14:50) - Yeah, yeah. And I think that's one of the things I love wrestling through with clients now is, really that, okay, let's look at the whole picture of your life, you know, and not just work. You know, let's look at everything holistically before we make any changes or decide what we want to do. Or even if you've already made the change where you want to go next. So, let's look at the whole picture and decide, okay, what are the changes we need to make? What do we really want for our future? What do we feel is missing? Or where are the voids and really pieced together what you want to do next, as opposed to kind of that? I feel like I'm discontent event, So, it must just be work or I feel like I'm discontent.

Traci (00:15:38) - So, it must just be this relationship I'm in or I feel like I'm discontent. So, that means I need to buy a new house or whatever it is to say, okay, no, let's hit pause. Let's really look at everything that's going on, because it could be a simple change. It could be that maybe you're in the right industry, but you're at the wrong company. Maybe you're at the right company, but you're in the wrong role. Maybe you're in the right role, but you're looking at it completely wrong, you know? And so, So, really taking the time out to process through those feelings and go deep, even if going deep might not feel comfortable. I think that people that are most self-aware are the ones that are willing to one look at themselves and willing to get a little uncomfortable and ask themselves some hard questions about priorities and fit. And you know what really should I be doing? And where should I be leaning in and where should I be leaning out? Those are the people that are really are going to have, just a more meaningful and purpose driven experience, you know, especially at work.

Hannah (00:16:44) - Joey and I have had this conversation multiple times about how early on in our careers, we bounced around a lot. Like, I mean, it's not something that I'm necessarily proud of looking back, that I'm like, man, I really should have stuck that out to see what I could have learned through that situation. Granted, all of that has gotten me to where I am now, and it's all good. There's all been things that I did learn in those situations, but if I could go back and tell my younger self something, it would be just like you said, get uncomfortable being or get comfortable being uncomfortable and really evaluate why behind. If I was feeling that antsy urge to leave, like what was it? Was there something more I could have learned and something more that I could have worked through in that position? Which, like I told you in terms of prior to the show, your talk that you had with us on longevity mindset, a lot of that is where I wish I would have had more of a longevity mindset early on in my career versus being now in my mid 30s and developing that that longevity mindset like, man, what did I miss out on? early on in my career that I could have learned more from? and like I said, it all worked out.

Hannah (00:17:50) - I'm very, very thankful. But it is something that I am now more comfortable being uncomfortable in my feelings and really working through what's at the root of of how I'm feeling. So, I guess in that speaking to somebody who's early on in their career and is not comfortable being uncomfortable, how what advice would you give them in that stage of their career?

Traci (00:18:15) - Yeah, I think I mean, I love everything you just said, and it's so, true of the generation we're living in now, not particularly a generation of age group of people, but really just a whole generation. We're all experiencing this digital universe, this instinct gratification this you know, we don't want to feel uncomfortable. We want everybody to be a bit coddled, you know, and it's a really hard place to navigate. Right. Because we should be concerned about our mental health, and we should be concerned about burnout and stress and all of those things. We are an overstressed, you know, group of people, especially in America.

Traci (00:19:01) - But at the same time, we need to be uncomfortable to grow, and we need to be uncomfortable to push through things. Right. So, if we're constantly trying to escape uncomfortableness or we're constantly trying to feel instantly gratified or we want to be, you know, reach the level we need to reach as quickly as possible to feel like we've achieved something right, then, you know, we are missing out on really living life the way it should be lived. And that's where the whole hustle culture mentality, right, has come in is that we're on a I feel like we're on a race, you know, like it's a sprint. It's not. You know, we were talking about the name of my company, navigated journey. It's like, I want this to be a journey for people. Life is supposed to be a journey, but I don't know of any journey that is whipping by it 100 miles an hour, right? But that's often what we feel like our life is doing.

Traci (00:20:00) - It's whipping by and. And so, to slow things down, we really need to have a life where we're just focused on the things we're supposed to be focused on, and we're really doing the work on ourselves that can feel uncomfortable. you know, and not just trying to get comfortable all the time, trying to, you know, as I was saying, kind of coddle each other. And it is a nuanced sort of it takes a lot of emotional intelligence to be able to say, okay, these emotions we're feeling either individually or collectively are okay. They're good. They're going to get us to the place we need to go. And so, we might have to sit in the messy middle for a little bit. And instead of, you know, avoiding or what's happening in our world is a lot of people are just going to an extreme side. They're joining a tribe and they're just that's it. You know, we're not going to go back in the middle and work things out where they need to be worked out.

Traci (00:21:03) - And so, you know, I really encourage people, you know, that are just starting out in the working world to really think about their motives, you know, like, why am I making this decision or why am I running away from this or am I running away from it, you know, and then what can I what can I do to grow and to persevere and to really meet people in the middle, you know, and some of that. This is why I So, believe in mentorship and finding somebody further down the road that has just a little bit more perspective than you do. You know, because I, I know being in the business world for 30 years, I can look at somebody who's in their 30s and be like, oh, yeah, I know exactly how you feel. And then like, and let me just tell you, hold on, hang in, slow down. Don't worry. You know, it feels like you have to get this done in five minutes, but you don't.

Traci (00:21:58) - And how else are you going to learn that unless you go and seek somebody out further down the road, that's going to be able to speak into your life that way? And even now in my 50s, I have people in their 60s that are mentoring me, and I will always do that because I know that those people that I see as wise, I if I rely on them and I check in with them every month, they're going to get my perspective back where it needs to be, and then I can go back into the weeds of my life and my work.

Joey (00:22:30) - It's what you're saying reminds me a lot of conversations I have with the high school kids that I work with here in town, where we were working on a project at the school that I, that I work with where, you know, we were trying to figure out the vision of the school for the next 10 to 15 years. And the number one thing that the students said was like, we want immediate impact. And I was like, yes, I love the energy, but also your 17 and 18 years old, it's okay to be 17 and 18 years old and just kind of figure it out and not have to wear the burdens and feel like you have to carry the burdens of the world on your shoulder and solve all these problems now, like, just be 18.

Joey (00:23:07) - That's cool too. And it's, it's that's part of that holistic thing that I think a lot of times accountants tend to struggle with. You know, we tend to throw ourselves, into our work. And it's a lot of work sometimes. And it's, you know, one of the things that I lacked a lot when I was younger was that that balance or the synergy of like, what was going on. And I used to wear, struggles at work personally, like it was it was not a good situation. And I think there's the piece that I was missing was I did not have a good mentor to say, like, hey, you know, as Adam Hale, our, our boss loves to tell us, dude, you'll get it done tomorrow. It's cool. You don't have to do it tonight. You can do it tomorrow. It's just accounting. The world's not going to end. It's fine. So, I really like, again, not to harp on the name of your company too much.

Joey (00:23:58) - But I do love that that idea of, like, we're all just kind of navigating this because I've got a client now who's going through the ten year, it's their ten year anniversary of their company. And one of the questions I asked him was. Look at today and look at what you thought today would be at, you know, ten years ago, how different is it? And his response was like, oh man, it's so, different. He's like, in one sense it's the same, but in the other it's exactly different. And that's the thing I love about. Kind of life and plans. As a planner, it's tough to kind of understand how to move and fluctuate. But I'm sure when you look back on your career, even look back at HDTV as you were there for 20 years, how different was that at year 20 versus what it was at year zero, and where you thought you'd be at year 20?

Traci (00:24:44) - Yeah, exactly. I mean, it's when you're working for a company that's just starting out, you know, everything seems So, uncertain and scary and unknown, and you don't even know what you're going to look like.

Traci (00:25:00) - And, you know, and then you fast forward 20 years and you've been, you know, merged with other companies. You started other, you know, you're this massive entity and it's really hard to even hold on to who you once were, you know? So, this is why I think the power of having a mission and a vision and core values and all these things that we help companies do, they seem like, oh, I guess I'm just supposed to do that. But they're really what they are their filters and their compasses to really keep your company on track. So, no matter how big you get, you can remember why you existed in the first place, why you came together as a team to begin with. What are your boundaries? What are your thresholds? You know, how are we going to behave and act towards each other? And then always asking yourself, why are we doing this right? What's the purpose behind this? And then what is the part that people play? It doesn't matter if we're a team of five or we're a team of 5000.

Traci (00:26:00) - Like what are what's the part that the team plays in achieving this mission? And then where do we want to go? Like, you know, like you were saying, who do you want to be ten years from now? Who do you want to be five years from now? Okay, well, then what do we need to do in the next year to get there? And just keep whittling it down and, you know, does that mean we're controlling our universe? No. You know, things are always going to happen. Economies are going to change. People are going to leave. They're going to come and go, all of those things. But when you have a plan and you have a guidebook, you feel like you can kind of let go a little bit. You feel like that you can say, okay, we know where we're going. We know what our intentions are, we know what our purpose is, and we're going to stay focused on these things. And the filter is what we're not going to work on, right? So, if things happen and things change, that's okay because we know where we want to go and we can pivot.

Traci (00:26:56) - But what we want to do is not work on the things we're not supposed to be working on, the things that aren't going to serve us, the things that are distractions. Right? Or you know, what's really good, I think, for individuals and for teams, is to not get tripped up by what the competition is doing. Right. Let's stay true to what we want to accomplish and not to get fear fearful and let those fears, you know, dictate what we're going to do. So, like when we were starting out at HDTV, one of the fears was that just a bigger company that was already in existence, like a Discovery Channel or something, was going to just come out with their own version of HDTV and squash us, right? Somebody with more money and more distribution and more clout was just going to squash us. And we kept saying, geez, it's kind of weird that nobody's come out with a competitor yet. Like there was no nobody ever came out with another home and garden cable network, which could have happened.

Traci (00:27:54) - And I remember our CEO saying, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. Like, stop. We don't need to worry about that. Just keep doing what we're doing. We have a clear mission. We have a clear vision of who we want to be and whoever comes out, or it's not going to be the same as ours. So, we just need to stay true to who we want to be. And I say that even to individuals, when I'm working with individuals that are and we're talking about planning their life, it's like, don't worry about other people. It's almost impossible not to because of social media, but let's try and get those images out of our mind and only focus on who you want to become. What do you want to accomplish? And let's get rid of all the other things that don't matter what matters to you? And let's focus on that. Because the second you open Instagram or Facebook, you are going to be twisted. So, hold true to what you know you want so that those images and those messages don't derail you.

Hannah (00:28:51) - I love that you brought that up. I love setting goals for myself personally and lots of facets of my life. I love the idea of career path. Thing like that is very important to me. And Joey, like I said, we've had lots of conversations about that. One thing though, that I found that I personally struggle with whenever I do set goals or try to set my sight on what the next five years might look like, is also balancing the goal setting with contentment of where I'm at right now, and versus always feeling like I'm trying to strive for the next thing which. It's like I said, that is So, important to me and I want to always be working towards that goal. Do you find that that's a common struggle, or am I kind of on an allegory here? No.

Traci (00:29:38) - No. And I can completely relate to you, right? Yeah, yeah. Stand up. yeah. Because it's, you know, the achiever in us, right? You know, we, we want to achieve, we want to reach our goals.

Traci (00:29:50) - And those are good things, right? Because we want to, to always be working to become that better version of ourselves are always working to optimize our life. Right? We believe like there's only one go around here. So, let's, you know, really lean in and lead a life that's purpose driven and meaningful and, and living to our full potential. But you're right at the same time, right? You have to balance future with present and even balance present with past, you know? So, that's why when I'm taking people through my process, you know, we look at the past and say, okay, how are we going to reframe that in the present So, that it serves us well, as opposed to so, many people don't even want to look at their past or are consciously or subconsciously being pulled back, you know, into those old patterns and those limiting beliefs. And then when we look to the future and we look to the things we want to accomplish, we keep that as sort of a, a North Star of where we want to go.

Traci (00:30:51) - But then on in our day to day, we're feeling gratitude for where we are. And I think, you know, practicing gratitude and practicing mindfulness is really the key to keeping yourself from, you know, discontent. Right? And knowing that life's going to have its ups and downs, you know, and, I write about this in the book, is that if we don't leave space for the for the hard times and the good times and look at our life, you know, as one experience, then we're going to have trouble because we're on the bad days. We're going to be like, oh, you know, see, it's not working out. I don't, I shouldn't keep going for that. I need to, you know, readjust everything. And so, our goals keep us from, you know, giving up or wavering or pivoting every five minutes. But at the same time, you know, we really want to be taking, doing a daily exercise. And I try to do this in the morning, at night, having different routines where in the morning I, you know, even if I just can do like a daily calm meditation for five minutes, it's amazing how different my entire day is or if I'm able at night to just write in my gratitude journal just three things.

Traci (00:32:07) - How different the whole next day is that the night before actually prepares us for the next day. And so, it sounds So, cliche and like people talk about it all the time. But if we don't practice these things, it's hard for us to see the power in it because, you know, it's really easy to get derailed again by our past or our future if we're not doing the practices we need to do in our present every day to make sure that we're staying content and, you know, contentment, too. So, wrapped around all that comparison as well. We just have to let go of that, because none of that is real. I mean, I have two teenage daughters, and so, my world is like, you know, between conversations with them, they're showing me, oh, but this person on TikTok or this person did this, or what about her or wearing that? And can I have these shoes? You know, it's like nonstop and you have to kind of and its good practice for me to be having these conversations with them to say, okay, let's put this all-in proper perspective, gals.

Traci (00:33:13) - You know, like what's going on here? I just cannot believe the amount of messages that they are inundated with every single day. And, you know, it's just hard to see how this generation coming up where, where it's going to land because even they are sick of all the messages coming at them when they went to camp and they took their phones away over the summer, they said it was the best week of their life. You know, and I mean, what does that say? You know, so, you know, we're always wrestling with this, this contentment struggle. But yet I think down deep inside we know what the answer is. But it's just going to mean letting go of certain things in our life.

Joey (00:33:58) - I love that idea of routine. And I try not to harp on sports, but I always go back to sports because it's what I know. But I used to tell people all the time in sports you have routines because under pressure, execution just becomes the last step of the routine.

Joey (00:34:11) - And that reminds me a lot of like some of the things you're saying about coming up with good habits. You know, we were really diligent here about going out and going for a walk in the morning in the summertime. And then life got busy and we stopped doing it. And it's like, we feel the difference now because we are not as committed to it as we was as we were earlier this summer. The other thing too, that I think is interesting and it's it goes back to how we measure results. Hannah, when you were talking about growth and measuring things, I thought back to my time as a financial planner when we used to talk about financial goals and humans were just really bad at understanding, like how exponential growth works. So, like we'll sit there and say, well, I got to go from here to here, and I expect that we're going to do it in a straight line. And what we really do is we make a little bit of progress, and then the very end of it is where we get like the last 80%, like the last 2 to 3 years of a goal.

Joey (00:35:04) - And I think life is the same. You know, if you look at you can call it the snowball effect, you can call it whatever you want. But as you learn and grow, you're building those tools and you're building the toolkit to allow your life to have that exponential growth. But you don't see it for the first 3 or 4 years. It isn't until afterwards that you look back and realize, oh, I did have the big piece of growth. I just was so, stuck in the middle that I didn't see it. And that's how I've been trying to frame a lot of my personal goals is like, you know, I'm probably not going to see the benefit of this until much later, but I know that I'm focusing on the work. I'm focusing on the routine. I'm building the base to allow myself to go. So, we're going to get there.

Traci (00:35:47) - Yeah, that was a really great reminder too. And I mean, you guys know Tom, who's my business partner and my life partner.

Traci (00:35:55) - And he is always big on execution because it's, you know, we can set goals. We can dream a vision all the time, but they just stay dreams. Unless we are executing and holding ourselves and each other accountable. And so, that's the hard part for people. It's like everybody loves to target. Like even I will call myself out because it's like for years I talked about how fabulous meditation, you know, the research on meditation and all that. You would have thought that I was a meditation guru, you know, and then I was like, hmm, I think I should probably do meditation. Like maybe I should actually sit down and give this a whirl. Seeing I've read all this research and I keep quoting all the research, and then you do it and you're like, wow, that actually works. And I think it's the same. You could apply that to anything. Business, you know, goals you set yourself, life goals you set yourself. They're fun to set.

Traci (00:36:50) - It's fun to dream about where you want to go. It's fun to put pen to paper and say, these are the five goals. It's not So, fun to execute upon them, right? And so, that's where we're really going to see the traction that we want. You know, that's that snowball effect or that climb or whatever the directory it is, it could be quick, it could be slow, it could be somewhere in between. But we're never going to realize it unless we're actually disciplined and executing. And I think, you know, that's just the part that people, you know, they bristle at, they get uncomfortable in their chairs because they know it's true and it's just hard. And that's why I say, don't set 500 goals. We're not talking about a million things you have to do. Just pick the three things that you want to change for 2024. Just pick three things. Do the work, sketch it out. What are the things that you know you really want? Are the priorities, and how are you going to either optimize them, change things you need to change, or add the things you need to add, and then narrow it down and stick to those and let everything else be secondary, you know? And I think if people do that, they'll be able to see some of the traction.

Traci (00:38:05) - And it doesn't matter what age you are, you could be very, you know, in your 20s, you can be a teenager, or you can be, you know, post-career and be in retirement. But you should have some idea of what you want the coming year to look like. And then don't treat it like a New Year's resolution. Treat it like I want an entire year goal. Who do I want to be? What do I want my life to look like this time next year? And just write three things on.

Hannah (00:38:35) - And I love that you're breaking that down into something small, because I know for me, I can sometimes get overwhelmed with trying to think about what the next five years should look like, what those goals should be. And even right now for myself, like, I'm like, I don't know. I don't know what the next five years should look like. So, I get a little overwhelmed when I start trying to sit down and think about that. But realistically, like you just said, like I could break that down into what do I want the next year to look like? What are these three small things that I really want to work on and focus on instead of getting So, overwhelmed with the next five? And I think that that also would have been So, great for me to have known in my 20s and have thought of in that way in my 20s of like I should be.

Hannah (00:39:12) - I was thinking of like what I should be and like what everybody else in my career field says that I should be. You know, at this point in my career when I was in my 20s. And realistically, I'm not that now in my mid 30s. So, it has definitely changed. But that would have been a huge perspective shift for me had I known that in my 20s.

Traci (00:39:34) - Yeah, yeah. And I think too, like I love that, that, you know. Wanting what's worth wanting, I think, is a very big question. Everybody should ask themselves, like starting with like, what do I want? What do I want for 2024? Okay, write that down. Are the things that I want, the things I should want and the things that I want? Are they worth wanting? Is it really going to help me be the person I want to be, or help me have the life I really want? And when I do that with my clients, sometimes for them it's shocking because they'll throw out things like, well, I want to grow my company x percent, or I want to become an influencer and have this many followers or I want to.

Traci (00:40:22) - They're just throwing out things that they think are the things that they should do. You know, are the things that they see people, other people doing. And then when we start to push on it and say, okay, well, why do you want that? You know, why do you want to start that line? Why do you want to reach this type of platform? Why do you that when they have good reasons behind it, then it's like, okay, all right, let's start building goals. But when they're like, well, well that's what so-and-so did. And it, they seem like this is working for them. And it's like, no, like, okay, let's really boil this down to like, what do you want out of your life, right? And is this job you're sitting in or this business you're building going to give you that life? Is it going to give you that satisfaction? Right. Because in the end, the only person living your life is you.

Traci (00:41:14) - So, it's not that person you're looking at, you know. So, if that life is not going to make you happy, don't do it. You know, do the life that's going to make you look happy. It might feel or look smaller to everybody else, but who cares? You know you don't. You can have a big life. You can have a little life. You can be going somewhere in between. But if you are finding contentment and connection and purpose and meaning in that life, then you know that is what you should be doing. And don't worry about everybody else.

Joey (00:41:48) - I think that's the hardest part of that process. And we go through the same thing with our clients and business owners too. It's a lot like implementing an entrepreneurial operating system, right? Where if your goal is to find 2 or 3 goals that you're going to do, that probably means you're going to have to say no to about 5 or 6 good ideas in order to find those 2 or 3 great ones.

Joey (00:42:11) - And that kind of leads me to something that I think about a lot, which is regret. You know, unless you're a Kardashian and you're just so, independently wealthy that money doesn't matter, you're probably going to have a have to make a decision where you're going to have to choose one versus the other. And it's something my wife and I are paralyzed by because we think about things like, well, we're in our mid 30s, we've got about three more years left to have a kid. Is this something we're going to want? And we try to play that game with ourselves and say like, well, what are we going to regret more down the line? And the answer is, we don't know. We have no idea what we're going to regret more. We're going to regret something. We're going to either change the life we love or not change and mourn the life we could have had. And that's a really interesting place to live from that perspective. And it's, I think, the message that I wanted to get across to our audiences, like it's okay to have some regrets back in life because I've got I've got plenty.

Joey (00:43:09) - But I've also known that each one of those things was had I not done it, I'd be regretting something different. Either the life I didn't live or the life I did live. And that's just part of pivoting and part of growing and part of being a human is is, you know, again, unless you unless choices don't matter. But for most of us, choices matter.

Traci (00:43:29) - Yeah. And I think when I the, the one thing that kept popping up in my mind when I was listening to you talk is mentors, it's really hard to make those decisions in a vacuum of your own mind or even within, you know, a couple. It's really hard. I just can't tell you how what I've experienced in my life, any success I've experienced in my life, how much I credit to the mentors in my life and the people in my life that are further down the road. And I have mentors. I have mom mentors, I have wife mentors, I have business partner mentors. I have people that I am able to go to.

Traci (00:44:09) - And when you're deciding a big thing like having children, you know you need to find somebody that's in their 50s or 60s that has kids who have gone the entire journey and just say, these are the things we're wrestling with. These are the these are all the pros we're thinking about. These are all the cons. You tell us what your journey was like, your experience. Don't tell us what to do, but tell us what your experience has been. And I think, you know, therein lies the difference, because everybody's going to tell you, you know, wants to tell you what to do. But good mentors don't tell you what to do. They tell you their experience and, you know, good business mentors. They don't say, oh, you should quit or stay. They say, here's my experience. Here's what I've seen in all my decades of being in business. Here's what I've seen as my decades of being a parent and watching other parents and having parent friends. This is my experience.

Traci (00:45:05) - And then you take that information and you decide, you know, because it's really, you know, you don't you can't avoid regrets. We're all going to have regrets. But you can avoid certain regrets. Oh, for sure you can, you know, and that is by going and really seeking advice. And sometimes people really are scared to do that because they're scared what they're going to hear. And they're scared that people are going to judge them if they don't follow whatever they say. That's why you've got to find the right mentors, people you admire, people you trust, people that you feel like I'm looking at. You know how you're doing this sector of your life, and I like it. And So, I want you to tell me, you know, what was your experience to get there?

Joey (00:45:50) - I think the other thing too, for us, is just giving ourselves the grace to to remind ourselves that we're all just doing the best we can. Like really, even you can get the best mentors and all those things, and something happens down the line that no one saw coming, and you just got to give yourself the grace to say, hey, you know what? I made the best decision I could.

Joey (00:46:07) - Yeah. Here's where we go from here.

Traci (00:46:09) - Exactly the best. You're never going to be able to figure out what the right decision is, but you're going to make the best decision you can with the information you have. Yep. That's it. That's all you want to do. And So, make sure you have all the information that you possibly can have. And then just make the best decision you can based on that. That's it. That's all you can do. And then you won't. That will lessen your regrets. Because when if it doesn't work out, you can say, I did all my due diligence. I did all the due diligence, due diligence I could have done. And I made the best decision I could have. So, what's there to regret? It just if it didn't work out, it didn't work out. Maybe I was supposed to experience it for another reason, and I don't know that yet.

Hannah (00:46:51) - Well, Traci, I don't know if you knew you were signing up for 40 minutes of therapy. Me, and Joey would have been like, that's what this was.

Hannah (00:47:00) - It was so, great to talk through all of these things. I just I get So, much from you every time I hear you speak. And to our listeners, if you've not read Traci's book, what if there's more? Finding significance beyond success? You and I both literally.

Hannah (00:47:15) - Have it right beside us. I highly suggest that you do that. I feel like this is So, beneficial for anybody at any point in their career, literally from start to, to finish and beyond. I've gotten So, much from this book, So, I highly recommend to our readers to do that. or our readers, our listeners, to be a reader of Traci. but if our listeners do want to connect with you outside of the podcast, what's the best way for them to do that?

Traci (00:47:43) - Yeah, they can go to navigatethejourney.com and you'll find us there and you can reach out. There's plenty of little call to action buttons.

Traci (00:47:51) - You can click, or you can just find me at traci@navigatethejourney.com. If you want to shoot me off an email, I'll respond to you as well.

Hannah (00:48:00) - Awesome. And we also like to end on a little bit of a different note. We want to hear a little bit more from you. This is something we've started with our guest on the podcast, but we want to know, Traci, what is your and we know that you're an author and what else? Tell us a little bit about how you would describe yourself.

Traci (00:48:19) - Oh wow. Well, right now I feel like I am a wife and a mom, a very, very busy, family life right now. which it's been sweet moments. I have a junior and a senior in high school, So, you can imagine we are in the midst of college visits, college essays, college applications, SATs, ACTs. And it's a every time you feel like you've gotten one phase of parenting down, a new one comes along.

Traci (00:48:52) - And this phase has been, you know, it's somewhat bittersweet because it's the almost the end of under our roof type of, you know, 24/7, trajectory. And now we're getting ready to launch our first bird out of the nest, and the next year the second. So, that is the first thing that pops to my mind is like, wow, I'm in the midst of these last two years of high school loving every second of it. I mean, the conversations, the relationship. I mean, it's just a beautiful, beautiful phase, and lovely. But it's also a lot of work doing I feel like it's a full work and then it's, you know, but exciting, too. I'm super even talking to you guys on this show and thinking about your listeners and the beginning of, like, starting a whole new work life and just, I mean, just how wonderful and exciting it is to, to launch into the world. And it's, that's why I love our conversation about just slowing down and enjoying.

Traci (00:49:56) - It's such life is such a beautiful, amazing thing. So, just kind of rest in these moments as you're kind of, you know, there's no rush, there's no rush. So...

Joey (00:50:09) - Well, Traci, thank you so much for joining us today. We're excited to learn and talk with you more and read your next book. I don't know if there's another book down the road, but I'm sure there will be. So, thank you so much for joining us. And, we can't wait for everyone to take a listen.

Traci (00:50:26) - Well, thank you guys. This has been so fun. Thanks for having me.

Outro (00:50:29) - If you're a young CPA looking to develop in their careers, we're always looking for great people. Visit our website for remote work opportunities with Summit Virtual CFO, or find all our open positions at Anders CPAs and advisors.


Navigating Career Crossroads: Insights from Former HGTV Executive Traci Barrett

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