In this introductory episode, Pete addresses basic questions such as:
- Who is this podcast for?
- What kinds of skills and jobs does it aid?
- What’s the format and timing of the show?
- Who is Pete Mockaitis and why should we listen to anything he says?
Welcome to the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast, the show where brilliant professionals share how to sharpen the universal skills required to flourish at work. Enjoy more career fun, wins, meaning and money with your host Pete Mockaitis.
Hello, and thanks so much for taking a look at the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast. My name is Pete Mockaitis. I’m the host and I am thrilled that you are considering potentially listening to this podcast.
I wanted to give you a little bit of an orientation as to what you’ll find here and where to start to not be intimidated because wow, we’ve got just about 400 episodes now and 5 million downloads, and 400 5-star ratings. Things have really been tremendous in terms of a ride. I don’t want you to get intimidated or overwhelmed by all this stuff and just want to orient you so you can get the goods all the faster.
A lot of people have gotten a lot of results in terms of real promotions or raises or ability to work from home or get home earlier because they’re more productive, so tremendous results happening for real listeners. I love hearing about those. It’s so exciting. My favorite piece of feedback I think I’ve heard so far is that, “I wake up early so I can listen to it twice.”
That’s the scoop. I’m going to share a little bit about what the show’s about, who it’s for, how it goes down, and who am I, and that sort of thing.
First of all, what the show is all about is sharpening the universal skills required to flourish at work. That started as a little bit of a tagline, but now it’s really become the guiding light. I prepare a guest with that in terms of what does this specifically mean and a four-slide detailed briefing, as well as I make all sorts of decisions in terms of no, that guest won’t work, this guest will, oh, this question will be good, that question won’t in terms of making it happen. We are about sharpening the universal skills required to flourish at work.
I’ll give a bit of detail for what I mean by some of these universal skills, but first I want to share who is this for. Really it’s for folks who are generally speaking between the ages of 23-ish and 63-ish who are employed. You have a job.
Generally, it’s not so much for the CEO or the owner of business or organization. There are other shows I think that do a good job of covering that. You’re somewhere in the middle. The median age, fun fact, of listeners is 34, but we absolutely have folks on the younger and more experienced sides of things as well.
But what really draws us together is that we’re into advancement, learning, growth, and development stuff. If I were to paint a picture, it would be like, hey, we’re lifelong learners who have this natural desire to strive for development, we dig learning and growing and always want to be developing skills so that we’re getting better every day because there’s kind of a thrill when you discover a cool new way to do something better, like, “Oh wow, I’ve never thought of it that way,” or “Oh, I can’t wait to try that.”
We believe that we spend too much of our lives at work to not enjoy it. What’s really cool is the better that we get, the more satisfaction we feel. One listener put it, “When I’m awesome at my job, I love my job.” I totally dig. Work just feels so much more satisfying when you’re pushing yourself to grow, to produce something excellent, to become the best you can be along the way.
As you get better, you not only get to further your own career with promotions, but you can also positively influence all the more others around you to make a greater and greater difference in the world. It’s like as you advance, you get to help more people and ultimately make a greater impact on the world.
If that little soliloquy sounds something like you, then you’re in the right place. You belong here and we’re delighted to have you.
I want to share a little bit about the format, but I think the best way is for you to check out some of the sampler episodes to simply experience them for yourself. These are at the very bottom of the feed. If you’re seeing episode 400, it would be like right where episode 0 is near this in your podcast playing app of choice. They’re labeled A, B, C, D, E, F. You’ll get a little bit of a sense for the kinds of things that we cover.
When I mentioned universal skills, they tend to fall into these kinds of clusters. First there’s presence, which would be just showing up great and feeling ready to rock each day at work. We cover things like mindfulness, energy, confidence, self-awareness, your mindset. For a starter sampler, check out episode A with renowned coach Tara Mohr, who’s talking about how you can manage self-doubt to tackle bigger challenges.
Another topic we talk about is career management, which is about advancing yourself with purpose to find success and fulfillment. We cover things like finding fit, leaning, advancement, promotions and raises, even a touch of personal finance. I recommend you get a sample from intro episode B with the Northwestern Business School professor Carter Cast. He’s got some warnings associated with five categories of career derailers.
A third topic we cover is productivity, just using your resources, be it time, be it money, be it energy, be it attention, wisely to maximize your output and results. We discuss things like prioritization, delegation, automation. I recommend you get a taste with the intro sampler episode C with Laura Vanderkam. She’s a productivity author and she has got some cool research insights on how you can just feel less busy, what makes the difference who feel like they’ve got all the time in the world and how can you be more like them.
My fourth topic we cover a lot is about communication, doing the speaking, the writing, the presenting with power, as well as talk about how to have some gravitas or executive presence and engage in effective persuasion, conversations and negotiations. I recommend you check out our starter sampler intro episode D.
We have got the former lead hostage negotiator for the FBI, Chris Voss. He is sharing some cool tips on how to be persuasive and some counterintuitive stuff that really works when lives are on the line that you can apply in some less high-stakes situations at work.
A fifth topic we cover often is relationships, how to develop great networks and collaborations. We talk about how to have difficult conversations, how to engage in good management to shape leadership and culture in an organization and those sorts of things.
I recommend you check out episode E there, where we are chatting with Mary Abbajay on how to go about managing up, managing your manager effectively and the thing that fewer than 1% of employees do but that makes a huge difference on there trajectories for their career. Cool stuff from Mary there.
The final topic we tend to talk about is thinking, generating and selecting optimal ideas, whether that’s sort of creativity topics or doing decision making, tools, frameworks, rubrics to make sure that you are getting the best thoughts generated and then selected. There we start with professor and radio host Charlie Harary on the subtle shifts in our thinking and responding things that really keep us resilient and creative in the midst of career challenges.
There’s six little sampler episodes to get you started and get a feel for what does this show really look, sound, feel like in practice or you can listen onward as I share a little bit more about the format and who I am.
The format is guest driven. We come out three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But don’t freak out, you don’t have to listen to every episode. Most listeners, in fact, don’t, I’d love for you to, but they sort of pick and choose their very favorite. Maybe it’s one a week or two a week or maybe just go on a bender during a road trip or a plane ride. That’s cool. Pick the one that is most applicable and helpful and relevant for you.
We strive to be not just interesting, but useful and actionable. With each guest conversation, it kind of unfolds like so. First I’ll share a little bit about what’s the episode about and what are some of the cool takeaways and learning you’re going to grab there. Then we jump into the actual guest conversation.
We start by kind of getting a fun fact or interesting tidbit about their life to reinforce this is a real person and have a little bit of fun there. Then we dig into their actionable wisdom. I always say, “Hey, give me another example,” “Show me what are the best tips for putting that into practice,” “What’s a mistake people make when they’re trying to do that kind of thing?” We gather that wisdom.
Then the final part of each guest episode I talk about their fast faves. This is real quick, rapid fire stuff in which I get a one-ish minute response to things like, “Hey, tell me about a favorite quote, a favorite experiment, study, piece of research, a favorite book, a favorite habit, a favorite tool you like to use,” etcetera.
Then I conclude the episode with a reminder for where you can go for more information in terms of the links, the transcript, the show notes as well as one of my favorite takeaways from the conversation and tease hey, what’s the next episode coming. That’s kind of how an episode goes down.
They last somewhere between 20 minutes or 59 minutes, never an hour, deliberately. That varies much based on how much time the guest had to chat, how much fun we were having, how many interesting, worthwhile things they said that I kept away from the editor’s hand. I wouldn’t infer anything about an episode being good or bad based on it being short or long, but there is some variability and I recommend that you listen on the commute toward work.
A lot of people have mentioned that they weren’t feeling so great about the workday, but then they listened to the show and they’re like, “Oh yeah, I’m fired up. Let’s do this.” That’s a great way to make it happen. You might consider accelerating the playback on your podcast if it’s too long for your commute, an option there.
That’s the show format. Here’s a little bit about me. I guess I can share with you my professional bio, which I do for each of our guests. It would go like this.
Pete Mockaitis is an award winning trainer and coach who helps brilliant professionals get even better. His work has been recognized in the New York Times, Forbes, Inc., and Spotify. He’s coached clients from over 50 countries and organizations including Apple, Google, Amazon, FedEx, Anheuser Busch, McKinsey, Goldman, Stanford, The United Nations, and every Ivy League university.
He previously consulted at Bain & Company and currently hosts the podcast How to be Awesome at Your Job. The show’s been downloaded nearly five million times and consistently ranks as a top business show in Apple podcasts. Anyway, that’s the professional bio.
The scoop there is that my income comes entirely from my business. I’m fully self-employed. My business is entirely about people development, so speaking, coaching, training, online courses, royalties from books and other intellectual property pieces is how I am paying the bills.
On a personal note, that’s really pretty exciting because this has long been my childhood fascination in terms of I would often manage to persuade my dad when I wanted to get out of the house, “Hey dad, can we go to the library?” Growing up in Danville, Illinois, we’d go to the Danville Public Library and I would just read all these books about success, goal setting, leadership, teamwork, all this stuff.
I would get the audio cassette tapes and put it in a little boom box because I didn’t have a tape player in the car I drove later on in high school. I put these batteries in there and the seat belt and I’m listening to like Tony Robbins, or Stephen Covey, or John C. Maxwell, or David Allen, or a number of people who are these guests actually you’ll hear from later, which is pretty cool.
I had a favorite Dewey Decimal number at the Danville Public Library. It was 158.1, which corresponds to Success (Psychological Aspects).
Sometimes I’ve been asked or criticized, or questioned like, “Are you like for real?” because maybe I’m a little bit too enthusiastic about something. The story is, yes, I am for real. I am that fascinated and interested in what my guests are saying. One because I’m a total dork for this stuff and two because we reject over 90% of the pitches and perspective guests who want to be on the show and we only kind of grab the ones that I think will be super valuable and interesting. By the time they get to me, I am fired up to talk to them.
I’ve also been told that I have a different sort of style or word choice than some. My mom seems to think it’s very charming and laughs a lot at the way I phrase things. One college student referred to me as, “Deliciously awkward,” in terms of style. I don’t even know what that means. I think that phrase is a little awkward. Delicious, what do we mean by that?
Anyway, that will hopefully be a fun differentiator for the podcast. That’s how I like to think about it as a speaker, that’s a fun differentiator, the fact that I talk weird. That’s that story.
Also, on the personal side I’ve got a wife and a lovely son. We live in Chicago, where we have a little multi-family property with tenants, so I’m also a landlord in the midst. I’ve gotten a lot handier lately because I did not at all grow up handy.
I enjoy playing games, whether they’re board games, like Monopoly or Pandemic are some of my all-time favorites. In my childhood I played this computer game, which really shaped me called Master of Orion about conquering a galaxy and using a lot of resource management. I think it planted the seeds of me being a consultant and strategic kind of a guy.
I am a practicing Catholic Christian. I’m 35 years old. Well, you’ll learn all sorts of little things about me as we progress through the series.
I recommend you check out the companion website. It’s AwesomeAtYourJob.com. There you will find a bunch of cool stuff, including a transcript, humans read about twice as fast as they listen. You can also crank up the speed on the podcast player, that works too. We’ve got gold nugget summaries to get your email the wisdom of each guest in two to five minutes. You can just read it quickly.
But it also has some tools to help discover the perfect episode that speaks to your current situation, so you can search the full text transcripts of all hundreds of the episodes, you can check out episodes that are tagged by the high-level six topics I mentioned as well as the subtopic as well as the competency covered.
For this we are using the Korn Ferry numbering and terminology, formally Lominger, that is the 38 competencies mentioned in the book For Your Improvement, 6th Edition, the magenta one. I know some of you learning and development professionals have one on your desk right now. … course on saving time, other products and services, good stuff.
Please reach out anytime at the contact page AwesomeAtYourJob.com or email me, Pete@AwesomeAtYourJob.com. I welcome you. I hope you’ll love the show and listen to hundreds of episodes and please give me your feedback. The feedback has been key for shaping the show to make it so helpful for people.
Well that’s that. Check out the intro sample episodes, A, B, C, D, E, F and I hope to hear from you. Have a good one.
Thanks for listening. To get the most out of the show, we recommend two key things. First, check out the extra resources at AwesomeAtYourJob.com. You can find this episode’s transcript and links as well as the perfect episode for your situation. You can search the full text transcripts of hundreds of episodes or explore episodes tagged by topic and competency covered.
Second, subscribe to the podcast and get future episodes automatically. You can subscribe by telling Siri and several other smartphones and speakers, “Subscribe to the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast,” or by tapping ‘Subscribe’ in your podcast player of choice. If you’d like some extra help figuring out podcasts and how subscriptions work, visit AwesomeAtYourJob.com/Subscribe for guidance.
Hope to catch you on the next episode of How to be Awesome at Your Job.