Episode 16 – Sequence of Nudges

If you look back on key moments in your life, it wasn’t just that moment that mattered. Take some time to reverse engineer some of the steps that led you there. You just might find a sequence of nudges. And, you can be sure that more nudge sequences are in your future.

Episode 16 Show Notes

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Episode 16 Script

This is Rebecca Clark. Episode 16 Sequence of nudges This’ll Podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your dust? Hello, my friend. It is a beautiful fall day in the Washington D. C area, and it’s a perfect day to be outside and to reflect on different moments in life. And today I’m thinking a lot about nudging. This has been something that I have cared about for five or six years, as I was figuring out a way to clarify in my mind how we made progress in life and one of the ways that I felt strongly about had to do with nudges. And if you look up the dictionary definition from any resource, it’s gonna include a few things like touch or push something gently or gradually Cokes, or gently encourage someone to do something approach like an age or figure or level very closely, or a light touch or push. And that’s as a noun. There was a popular book that came out in 2010 called Nudge, and this had to do with a lot of choice, architecture and behavioral economics and is very focused on government and institutions and helping them set up their frameworks to ensure that the employees made better decisions. So, for example, if they automatically enrolled you in a 401 K as a default when you’re hired, they found that employees are most likely to contribute, and if left to their own devices, they may or may not. And so in many ways, nudges are excellent ideas. From a choice architecture perspective. It helps people take action that they may find too difficult to take. At the same time, we have to be very careful with this nudge concept because you have to really trust that the people that are making those kinds of choice architecture decisions for you are doing so in your best interest. And so with the example of the 401 K on the surface, that may look like it’s someone’s best interests. At the same time, many of us have had friends or family that have completely lost for Owen case, right because of a company not being able to sustain it or they went bankrupt or whatever. And so some of these decisions are very much, you know, it helps us to have someone architect ing some choices. But at the end of the day, we have to use our own brains and know which nudges to follow in which not I can talk of lot of episodes about this. I wrote a book about it, called The Nudge Factor influencing in our precise human orbits, and this was a book for me to kind of bring together all of the ideas that I have had about nudging. But one of the ideas that I discovered along the way is that when you look at something that’s happened in your life that you felt was a pivotal moment or a special event or a key event that changed your direction, it can be really valuable toe. Look at what led up to that. If you kind of reverse engineer how you got there, and this is not going to be a thorough process like you’re not going to know every single thing that happened. But it is helpful to look back and look at that sequence of events or sequence of experiences, and I call this a sequence of nudges because as I have looked back in moments in my life, I’ve seen how it was a series of interactions with someone or an idea in a book, or someone made a comment to someone else and I heard it, and it meant something to me and all of those little resource is in people, and flashes of awareness and spiritually nudges all lead toward the outcome that I’m perceiving to be a key event in my life. I wanted to share one or two of those experiences with you right now to demonstrate what a sequence of nudges, maybe, And like I said, it won’t cover every little moment along the way. But a few key little stepping stones, I guess you could say along that path that led to something that I can clearly look back and go. Wow, it was in that moment that I changed my thought about this. It was in this moment that I realized there was a different way to do something, or this person made this comment and it led me to this point. So going way back in time, when I was a teenager, I lived in Michigan. But we were on this youth trip toe Washington D. C. There was always a day of travel on each end of the trip. And then there was one day where we did things related to religious activities in one day where we were out and about on the town of Washington, D. C. On the National Mall. And on the day that we were on the National Mall, I remember we were standing by the Washington Monument that things always closed. Even back then. I think it was closed that day. There’s something always broken, like an elevator or something’s cracked. It’s always being worked on. It’s rarely open, and we were standing outside of it, looking around the National Mall, and I just had this excitement in me, and that wasn’t the first time I’d been to D. C. My parents took us on trips and we would drive through D. C. But I remember looking around and saying out loud, I am going to live here someday, and I still remember the youth leader standing next to me, John Hoover, looking at being saying you’re crazy. Nobody lives here. You come here to visit and it was surprising that he responded that way. But yet I had a feeling that I was going to live in D. C someday. So fast forward, many years I’m in college and I’m a the end of college, really. I’m kind of done. I’m I’m finishing up this straggler course. I’m trying to figure out next steps. I’m working like a tte the jail. I’m working as a trainer and working as a substitute teacher. I’m just, you know, Jack of all trades worked night and day because I can’t figure out what to do next, because that’s a whole different nudge. I got to not pursue my degree at that time or pursue a career in the my degree at that time. So I had a couple friends that had never been to the East Coast, and they said, Hey, we’re going to take a trip. We’re going to go to Niagara Falls, New York City, Washington, D. C. And of course I’m amateur. But I say, Oh, I’ve been to all those places I would love to go, and I can help navigate, you know, not realizing that half the time growing up I was taking a nap is My parents kept driving through the boring places, you know, to the nice places. So anyway, I go on this trip with, um and it was in August. And so it’s, you know, toward the end of summer and we go and we see Niagara Falls and we drive across the state of New York and we see New York City and, you know, Philadelphia, Baltimore and D. C. And when we hit D. C. I remember my dream from when I was a teenager and I had that feeling rise up in me again that I’m I need to get to D. C. And we get back from our trip. And within those next three weeks, I proceed to quit all of my jobs and drive with a friend from Utah to Chicago. She lived in Chicago, so I dropped her off in Chicago. And then, at that point, my parents lived in Indianapolis. So I drove from Chicago to Indianapolis, was just a few hours, three or four hours and started new life. I started substitute teaching and emptying a Cole’s truck in the middle of the night. You know, the Cole’s department store and I did that for about eight months got completely out of debt from college and saved 500 bucks and was starting to think maybe I would stay put in Indianapolis for a little while longer. You know, I’m staying free rent and food except for little contributions I’d make. I’m getting out of debt. I’m staying busy. I started to make some friends. It comes up to that spring break. I don’t know April, March, whatever of that next year. So it’s been seven months or so since I arrived in Indianapolis. My parents say, Rebecca, we’ve bought you a plane ticket for spring break and it’s to Washington, D. C. I was excited but scared, like Wait a second. That’s right. My whole purpose in coming home was just to prepare to go to D. C. And then I was getting comfortable there, and in some cases that may have been correct, Right? Maybe you have felt to go somewhere, but you go take the interim step and then realized the interim step is correct. But in my case, I think we all knew I wasn’t supposed to be there for that long. So they buy me this plane ticket during spring break, and that’s important because I was substitute teaching. So spring break meant I didn’t have to take any time off of work at that point. So I fly to D. C. And I end up staying with a friend that I know had moved there before me from college. She gave me the number to this employment center and I rented a car and I drove around the Beltway. I drove the wrong way at the wrong time. It was a Friday afternoon and everyone wants to leave work early on Friday afternoons And the traffic isn’t good. And I get to this employment center 15 minutes before it closes, and the man is just about to leave, and he’s like, Okay, you know what? What do you need? What’s the help you need? And I explained that I was thinking of moving to D. C. I had a teaching degree, but I wasn’t gonna follow it. And so he looked at my resume and me and said, OK, let me call a recruiter. They call the recruiter that recruited administrative assistance, and that recruiter said, Well, I’ve got a couple little openings, you know, send her in on Monday. I have two or three jobs that will take a look at. She has to take a math test in English test first, but other than that, I think we’ve got some temp work before she finds a regular job. And so I’m just amazed by that and I get on the road, I’m going the wrong way, and I end up in Southeast D. C in the darkness, and I don’t know where I am all confused and I pull into this apartment complex and you know, when it’s kind of dusk and you’ve never been in a part of town before, and you’re kind of assessing the neighborhood like this is a good neighborhood. Is this not a good neighborhood? I can’t tell from the cars or whatever, so I rolled down my window to this man in his fifties or sixties at the time, and I say, Hey, I’m lost. I need to get over to Pentagon City. I don’t know where I am and he says, Young lady, you are not in the right part of town. Then he proceeded to tell me how to get home. So I looked back and I like, actually, I was in the right part of town. I met the right guy who told me the right word. Way to go. So I get back to Pentagon City in that weekend. I spend time with friends and get to know more people in the area that these friends knew. And that Monday morning I go on the metro into Washington, D. C. And have an interview with this recruiter. I did very well on the math test in the English test, which is surprising. But I will tell you I have been studying that little Brown handbook for a few months to get my grammar right. So I need to go back and visit that because it’s been a while. But at the end of the day, the recruiter calls me and says, Well, this one positions, not even interested in you because you have this teaching background. You’re not really assistant material, but I’ve got this two week temporary position for you, a dime lor Chrysler. They just need an assistant for, like, two weeks. And then there’s this other organization that I want you to go interview with because for some reason they’re interested in you, even though your experience doesn’t match what they want. And that organization was Ernst and Young, and at that time I think it was one of the Big Five accounting firms or six. I don’t really, you know, they’ve slowly dwindled off, but it was the Ernst and Young, and they were looking for a floating administrative assistant that could go sit in for partners assistance when they were out of the office. So before I fly home, I go and interview at Ernst and Young. I didn’t have to interview for the two week temp position that would be coming up, but I had interviewed, for instance, Young and I interviewed for them. And then I flew home, and a week later I got a job offer from Ernst and Young to be this floating administrative assistant. And so that action my parents took to get me to D. C immediately landed me a temporary position for two weeks. And then right after that two weeks, my new role, Ernst and Young would begin. So I flew out to D. C with five very packed bags of luggage to start my new life in Washington, D. C. In the 1st 2 weeks that I was a dime lor Chrysler. I got a rare opportunity to help coordinate with the German army in the U. S. Army and DaimlerChrysler to bring a piece of the Berlin Wall over that if you go in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D. C. You will see that piece of wall because it was donated by, I believe, the president of DaimlerChrysler at the time. And I got to orchestrate that very clunk Aly while I was there in that two weeks, I had this great experience and got exposed to the life of people that work in the city. And then I started working at Ernst and Young, and the person who trained me at Ernst and Young was a young woman who had been a kindergarten teacher and had wanted to change over to human. Resource is, and somehow Ernst and Young gave her a chance as an assistant. She said, Give me a chance and they gave her a chance and she did an amazing job and like, wow, thes school teachers know how to multitask. They know how to get stuff done, and they gained a lot of trust and her capabilities. And so when my resume came through, when she was considered and was accepted into a job as a benefits analyst or administrator, they had an opening for her role, and when they saw my resume, there were two things that stood out to them. First of all, my undergrad was from Brigham Young University, and if you know the Big Five accounting firms, they always recruit from that university. It’s one of the top three consistently and then I had teaching on my resume. So something that another organization had completely disregarded as something that would not be valuable to them. This organization, Ernst and Young, found me valuable because I was from the college that they normally recruited from and because I had the teaching background. And the only reason they like that teaching background is because Amy Shelton, before me, had done such a great job in her role, and I followed in her footsteps. A few months later, I moved into recruiting, which is what I loved, and I wasn’t campus recruiting or anything. It was for the experience tires, the managers and the senior managers and the partners, and I enjoyed working with those recruiters. And then I started giving leads Thio, other friends and other people that moved the D C area to work with the recruiter that had gotten me Ernst and Young. And it was interesting to me that when I moved on from Ernst and Young to an Internet start up at the height of the Internet boom in the year 2000 I was hired because I had a teaching background and because I was from Ernst and Young because my boss highly valued the work. His wife, that is a teacher and I just happen to have a little bit of HR experience because I was hired to be benefits, even though I had experience in recruiting. But he highly valued Ernst in young and teaching, and that’s how I got there and then every job. Since then, Ernst and Young has looked valuable. And then over the years, of course, the experiences and the skills have taken over toe. Hopefully add that value. But for me this was a sequence of nudges, and some of these air spiritually nudges like that thought that I should be in D. C someday and then you get some friends who need to go to D. C. And you go and then you are reminded of that original thought and you take action. And then as you get into a pattern, all of a sudden, someone else comes in and nudges, and for me, that was an airplane ticket. And then you have a friend telling you where unemployment center is, and then person employment center telling you where recruiter is. And then a man in Southeast D. C saying, Young lady, you’re in the wrong part of town but I’ll help you get to where you need to go and then seeing two companies who value the same resume differently after having viewed it in the exact same hour on the exact same day and coming to different conclusions and then having one company make a choice because of a person that they already gave a chance to, and not working out so well that they gave a chance to another person with a background that normally would not fit what they were looking for. These air sequences of nudges, and if anything, I wanted to share this because one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from going back and looking at the sequences is that when I’m in a moment at work or in trying to start something new with my work and I get discouraged and think, there’s no possible way that it’s going to work out or think that, Ah, no one’s gonna value this or the right person or jobs not gonna come along looking at these nudge sequences are great reminders that it’s not in your control, but things that you least expect will come in your path if you’re open to it and continually moving forward, taking some kind of action that somehow you will run into a person, you will scroll on a blogger and see something someone will make a comment on a post online or something will happen. Little change your thought or introduce you to a new contact and put you right where you need to be. To take that next step and encourage you to take a few moments, you know, is you’re driving tour from work. Or as you are reflecting, however you reflect to say, Hey, what are the sequences of nudges that led to this job that led to me moving here? that led to me purchasing that particular car that I love and see that it’s often a combination of different experiences and in that combination of experiences are mind often shifts to think about something differently or to accept something we hadn’t accepted before. And it’s very fascinating, and we will talk in other episodes about the mind and how we think and how that impacts everything. We d’oh. I am hopeful that this episode it was an alert to you. If you are someone that doesn’t happen to think about these things, some of us think about these things a lot. Some don’t at all, but it’s worth taking a few moments to think through that. I believe it gives a lot of hope for what can happen in your future. Keep doing great work and talk to you soon. Thank you for listening to another episode of the move, nor best show if you enjoyed listening, I would love if you would take the time to give a five star review and share the podcast with friends that are seeking, defined and do their best work

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