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How to Build a Life Around Your Strengths with Gary Bolles (Episode #71)

Gary Bolles is a master at understanding and managing disruption. As the Chair for the Future of Work for Singularity University, he helps others understand the impact of exponential change and how to navigate it.

Episode Highlights

About Our Guest

Gary writes and lectures worldwide on the future of work, learning, and organizations. He also helps organizations, educators, and governments understand the needs of tomorrow’s workers and learners. He has 9 courses on LinkedIn with over a million students joining in!

In this episode, we really hone in on the changing times, especially around work culture and the shift towards a life full of purpose built around an individual’s strength. We’ll reference Gary’s new and most compelling book, The Next Rules of Work, where he masterfully guides people on how to navigate the most disruptive times!

Dive in and empower yourself by learning how to build a life around your strengths.

Resources Mentioned:



Podcasts Episodes: 


Connect with Gary on LinkedIn. Be sure to reach out on https://www.gbolles.com/ and get all the tools you need to build a better future.

Show Notes

[00:01 – 6:07] Opening Segment
  • I introduce Gary Bolles
    • Bio 
  • Gary gives a bit of background around his life and work
    • Growing up as a son to a recovering minister 
    • Gary’s father is the author of What Color is Your Parachute
    • Gary’s revelation that you should do what you love
    • Moving to Silicon Valley 
    • How Gary pivoted into future innovations
    • Becoming the Chair for Future 
[06:08 – 24:28] 3 Steps to Pivot into New Work
  • How his dad impacted the world with his legacy
    • Helping people navigate massive changes in their life
    • 11 million copies printed 
    • You can have agency over your future
  • 3 steps to pivot when changing work
    • What: Take inventory of your skills – treat it like you going on a trip
      • What makes you, YOU? 
      • Take stock of your accomplishments
    • Where: where can you apply these skills 
    • How: the mechanics behind finding the job
  • Where our hardwiring comes into play
    • Understanding ourselves physiologically, mentally, and socially
      • This will help you understand how you make decisions 
  • Gary talks about “filter failure”
    • Insights from Clay Shirky
      • You can plot the exponential growth of information in our lives 
    • We missed the technology that helps us filter the mass of info
    • Our brains become overloaded with negative information
  • Facing the algorithm monster
    • We can change our algorithms to serve us 
    • Think of it as a information diet
      • You need to be intentional about your consumption
      • Take a break and get yourself into nature 
    • What you give your attention to expands
  • Bring out the best in humanity and amplify our future on The Goodness Exchange
  • More information on how you can join in below
[24:29 –  33:22] The Great Opportunity
  • Gary gives his thoughts on on The Great Reset
    • 3 phases to the process
      • Falling off the cliff – uncertainty 
      • Getting to the bottom – uncomfortable middle
      • Rebuilding phase – building back better
    • This is our “new abnormal”
  • How this can be a new opportunity
    • We are co-creating the next set of rules for work
    • The Great Resignation frames it towards the employer
    • A more positive perspective, this is The Great Opportunity
  • We’re breaking the seals on the old rules of work
    • It’s time to ask the 6 W’s – The Aristotle Canvas
      • Who?
      • What?
      • When?
      • Where?
      • How?
      • Why?
    • This is an opportunity to find work that is built on your unique skills
  • Gary reiterates the 3 phases of change
    • Uncertainty, the fog is too thick to see ahead 
    • The middle period – the fog scatters and comes back
      • “Same storm, different boats” we have different lived experiences
    • Navigating new territory 
[33:23 – 48:43] How to Build a Life Around Your Strengths 
  • Gary gives the insights around the new rules of work
  • 1. We are rewriting the rules
  • 2. You need a growth mindset to effectively navigate change
    • Mindset 
    • Skillset 
    • Toolset
    • All three work together to solve problems 
  • The analogy of climbing a mountain
    • You need to have the mindset first to climb the mountain
      • Solving problems step by step
    • You develop a new skillset as you climb along and learn
    • Sometime you encounter problems that need real toolsets to be solved
      • Toolset is the supporting set of techniques and technologies 
  • Gary talks about the changes in roles in organizations
    • We naturally want to return to the old rules 
    • Going back to the way things were is a missed opportunity
    • You don’t need to be the “sage on the stage”
      • Be the “The guid on the side,” the one with all the best questions
    • We have looked below the waterline, we can’t go back
  • Breaking out of the fixed mindset
    • We need a growth mindset
    • Work doesn’t have to be drudgery anymore 
    • We need to develop a new skillset 
  • The venn diagram of old rules meets new rules
    • Get paid well
    • Do it well
    • Do what you love
      • When people do what they love they do better work 
    • Do what the world needs
      • Ikigai – a reason for living, a sense of deep, compelling purpose
      • (47:43 – 48:21)People want to know how you are showing up for the world 
[48:44 – 52:04] Closing Segment
  • The old strategies won’t work anymore
    • In this era, people need to know their work/life has value 
  • Let’s share this and spread positivity around the world
  • How to connect with Gary and his work
    • Links below 
  • Give a review and rating, and share this episode with others
  • Final announcements 

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