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Episode 89:

89. Love as an Inspiration Strategy with Tony Martignetti

This week we are joined by Tony Martignetti, Chief Inspiration Officer of Inspired Purpose Coaching to talk about (you guessed it) inspiration! How do we stay inspired in our careers and how do we inspire others? Check it out now!


Feel the love! We aren't experts - we're practitioners. With a passion that's a mix of equal parts strategy and love, we explore the human (and fun) side of work and business every week together.


Jeff Ma     

Host, Director at Softway


Tony Martignetti

Chief Inspiration Officer of Inspired Purpose Coaching


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Tony Martignetti
I've been often quoted as saying like, it's not just honest conversations, it's courageous conversations. And that is the antidote to what are you tolerating? You know, it's really, it's time sometimes for people to step up and say, Look, maybe that courageous conversation that you need to have is to say, I'm not going to tolerate this any longer. And it's time for me to say the things that needs to be said. And be okay with the consequences of that.

Jeff Ma
Hello, and welcome to Love as a Business Strategy, a podcast that brings humanity to the workplace. We're here to talk about business. But we want to tackle topics that most business leaders often shy away from. We believe that humanity and love should be at the center of every successful business. We're here to have conversations and hear stories about how real people and real businesses operate. And I'm your host, Jeff Ma, hope you're having a great day. My guest today is the Chief Inspiration Officer of Inspired Purpose Coaching, he spends his time as an advisor, a coach, speaker and author, podcast host all that good stuff to elevate leaders and unlock their true potential. So I'd like to welcome to the show, Tony Martingnetti

Hey, Tony, how's it going?

Tony Martignetti
It's going great. Thank you so much for having me on.

Absolutely. You know, I don't often just jump right into it. But I need to know, what is like, just give me the high level what is inspired leadership, I hear that term with some of the stuff I read around you. And it's like, inspired leadership. I love it. I love how it sounds. But I want to know, I'm the kind of person who wants to know, what does that practically what is inspired leadership?

Yeah, well, inspired leadership really comes from the this idea that, you know, we want to make sure people aren't just showing up to work and, you know, doing their job based on, you know, what is commanded to them, or, you know, directed towards them. But it's really motivating people connecting with people on a level that is much deeper than just, you know, hey, here's the job, go do it. It's more about getting them connected to what is inspiring them to move forward, moving them through a vision, a purpose that is deeper than just on the surface. Here's the job, go do it. So there's a lot to it. But inspiration is really connecting to that deeper purpose, the motivation that's going to drive them forward.

Got it? What is your, what is your inspiration? What is driving you forward?

Yeah, that's a great question. I love that. So for me, my inspiration has always been really seeing what's inside people and getting them to unearth it, I often talk about how there's a painting that is a piece of art waiting inside of each person, and it needs to be created. But oftentimes, we don't know how to make that happen. And so it takes time for us to unearth it, almost like Michelangelo chipping away at the stone. And so for me, my inspiration is working with people who are starting to see that come to life in those moments, that there's more to life than the what they're experiencing and it's just about chipping away and seeing the masterpiece come to life.

I love that. I always find that people who really work in like coaching spaces and like helping people spaces we have our own origin stories of how we even got here, what is your origin story of the road that brought you to this type of work?

Well, I was born on this other planet now getting now I was born here. My My story is really one of being an artist. So that's why I talk a lot about art. I as a child painted and Drew and created a lot of things that had to do with environments and rooms and, and places that elicited feelings and emotions. Seems really strange for a child to say that that's what they did. But I didn't draw stick figures. I didn't do things that most children did as an artist. But that's what really drove me as a child is art. And eventually, I got to this place where as I was getting into high school and beyond, well, I should say high school I was going to go into become an architect. Then I started having these conversations with advisors and you know, adults in my life, they said, Well, you got to do something a little more meaningful that's going to make a living for yourself. And that's what led me to this path of going to pre med and becoming a doctor was the was my initial calling to, to think about doing that path that then pivoted me into this world of business. You know, again, from art to science to business, you know of this, just continuing to find where I ended up, I was going to be. And when I finally entered the workforce as a, you know, full time professional, I was a finance professional working in companies like, you know, Gillette and in in high tech companies eventually. And I landed, eventually in the biotech industry, which was nice, because it was able to marry up certain parts of who I was, which is the lover of the science piece, but also doing business. So, here I am, someone who is a lover of the arts, lands in business, spent most of my career almost 25 years of my career was spent in biotech. And on the surface is fantastic. I was serving, you know, patients who are mostly in the rare disease space, doing finance and strategy. So did a lot of deals, did a lot of work around helping to enable the science, which was awesome. But the reality is, I realized that I was trying to be someone who I wasn't really. And it starts to show up, and more and more you ventured on your path? Sure. So

I was I was working with, with with a leader recently having a one on one with this person. And they were asking me while I was asking them, what, you know, what we're working towards some goals that we've been working towards together, just discussing them. And one of them is like, what kind of leader do you want to be in on this person's list was always I want to be inspiring to others, I want to inspire others to be inspirational. And, but they came to me and they said, you know, that's it's my struggle is trying to figure out what kind of commitments and things that I can do to be inspirational. And it was kind of a stumping kind of thing, because, and what I said at the time was, you know, let's talk about all these other things that we want to be as a leader, because there's so many of the things because we talk a lot about behaviors, and mindsets and things like that in our work. And I said, you know, to me, when you get all these things, right, and you do it consistently, that itself will be inspirational to others, is one way I looked at it, but I was really interested in your in getting your take on that because you very much target that inspiration in people and you're looking for, you know, your title chief inspiration officers, like, can you help me put some tangibility around inspiration? Like how do you quantify it? How do you find it? How do you draw it out?

Yeah, there's one thing about this, which is you can't fake you can't fake it, you have to have to be real for people to really experience it. There's the way that I often think about finding inspiration and being inspiring is you have to be inspired first. If you're not inspired, if you're not lit up inside, if you haven't done the work internally, to find your inspiration, then you can't radiate that outside. So that's the starting point, it starts from within. And what I often say is you have to make sure that you're looking for those clues throughout your life. What are the things that are inspiring to me? And am I Are they in my work, if I'm trying to do work, that doesn't inspire me, then it's hard for me to be an inspiring leader. If you're doing work that inspires you and you're not and you're not talking about it, you're not communicating it, then that's something that can be broken through. Because that's easier. It's like almost like you're bottling up something that you just need to let go. But if you're doing if you're not connected with who you really want to be, then it's time to start doing that exploration work. And saying like, what is it that truly lights me up? What is it that gives me joy? What gives me that feeling of connection to something that is bigger than myself? And when you do find that, then you need to start looking at the you know, the ways you can bring that to life.

Very cool. Can you give me an example, I guess of Yeah, of what that looks like, in a leader?

Oh, absolutely. So first and foremost. I mean, one of the biggest things that I, you know, that I've seen in people is this idea that like you, I see people who are accomplished, they've done a lot of great things in their lives, and they come to me and they're often stuck. They feel like gosh, like, I don't feel like I feel like something's missing. So I've had leaders come to me. I don't want to use the finance example because I think that's pretty, you know, not stale, but it's pretty common. But I've had people come to me who were working in the space of like, doing Sales, you know, and sales inside of the biotech space. And they've realized that like, God, this has been great in terms of, you know, it's been rewarding. It's been a great, great field for me. But I feel like this is not what I want to do any longer. And I need to figure out the next path for me, especially because there's been a lot of changes in the industry. So when I talk with someone like that, they, the first thing I get to realize is what had been the things that in your past, that have really given you joy that I've really kind of you've connected with, as they go in the past, I start to uncover who they are really understanding what it is that made them who they are. And then I get them to think about their future. So it's kind of like a time traveling exercise of really looking into the future and saying, Okay, well know your past career has been in this biotech sales. What would you do if you could just start from right now, based on what you already learned about your past? What would you do if you could just start right now and you know, don't worry about the the potential hurdles in the way. And this person started dreaming about this next endeavor that didn't include necessarily being in biotech at all, it actually was more along the lines of working in an innovative space, and being more of a strategy person who's working in innovation. Initially, though, the thoughts are, I can't do that, I don't have the knowledge base, I can't do that. But if you start there, you're never going to make that process work. You have to get you have to dream first. And then the next step that I did with this person is really get them to concrete steps to the now, what can we do now, to make those steps to bridge the gap from where you are doing biotech sales? To? Who can you talk to? What can you learn? What are the things you can do to pivot into that next field, and make that move into that career that you really want? Now, keep in mind, this is just an example of a person who was able to really connect with a different field and make that move, and it was successful. But ultimately, this can just be a small shift, like doesn't have to be like leaving your job or even leaving your field, it might just mean simply looking at your job from a different angle. And realizing that you're missing certain parts of your job, that could be even better. By connecting to that, that inspiration, connecting that thing you've been missing.

Yeah, I think a lot of what I'm often talking about is that I personally believe that if you tie too much of your motivation, passion, inspiration to just solely the work itself, I think you're bound to get a little burnt out are bound to get a little jaded, or disappointed at times. So much of what we often talk about is being able to find the passion inspiration in the people around you, as well. And the people you get to work with and the people you build connections with, whether it's team members, or even customers and other things, because then you're able to be inspired kind of, to me a more sustainable way, right, you're more sustainably inspired consistently. Because your job is unfortunately often going to be like at its very core, kind of functionally the same thing over and over in a lot of ways. And it's easy to lose that inspiration and passion. Do you feel that way at all? In what you what you teach and what you work with?

Yeah, I mean, I'm a strong believer in our environment, shaping us and in good ways and bad. So it's important to make sure we're checking in to say, gosh, like how, how have I let this environment like keep me in place. And now I feel like stagnant because it's just, it's become almost unrecognizable, that it's it's holding me in place and and keep me almost feeling unfulfilled. But if I just make one small change, then I can start to move in a different way I can start to see things a different way. One of my favorite things I tell people during coaching sessions is, you know, expand your vision, narrow your focus, which is really all about, you know, stepping away, like zooming out. From your situation, see what else is possible, so that you don't feel that myopic view of this is the way it is this is how my world is is is meant to be so that I can see possibilities. And then once you've seen possibilities, then narrowing your focus down so that you can then operate in a way that says this next step is going to be based on this. You know what I've seen as my next one Mmm, focus area, even if it's wrong, it's my what I've decided to be focused on. Anything else that's outside of that periphery is, at this point, not part of my focus.

That makes a lot of sense. Expand your vision, narrow your focus I love that makes a whole lot of sense. Let me ask about love for a little bit, you came on a show called love as a business strategy. What is what is your? How does that fit into your algorithm? What is What does love mean to you? In the context of business and, and work?

Yeah, I, I'm gonna say I love the fact that you're bringing this up, because I think it's important that we talk about this love, not as an, you know, more kind of, you know, the the sexual love, if you will, that we often think about, but we have to love the people around us, we have to love the work it kind of fall in love with the idea of what we're doing. Because when we create that connection with the work, you know, you're willing to kind of put your efforts into it and see things through, you know, and you have this, this feeling of compassion for the people around you. So that's the part of love that I really see often for me is important, especially in times when things are challenging. You know, there's a challenging part of it, just sometimes people say like, Oh, my company's like a family. Well, that's not necessarily the way we should be looking at this. It's about treating your people with absolute compassion that you care about them, that you want the best for them. But you want to make sure that you are also keeping that distance, just enough distance to say, I'm okay to let go of people when they need to. You're okay. Because that's going to serve them.

Yeah. I've, we, in times past, we, myself, and organization also fell into the trap of we're family. Because we were all we've always believed in this, but like the words matter, and I think we talked about family, but when you really think about family, you have like that crazy uncle that nobody wants to talk about. We have that Bruno in our lives, if you will. And you have family, that's just that you just really don't like but you put up with because they're family. And that's not really what you want for the workplace. So 100% love that you went there, because I think that's even a red flag, I think when you when you look at cultures that kind of frame themselves that way. Because it's it's it's different. It's definitely meant to be different. And I think that kind of love is often misconstrued. I think we get that a lot with Love as a Business Strategy be like, Oh, are we just all talking about holding hands and Kumbaya and everything's happy and are actually the literal opposite, it's actually more about accountability, and more about raw and uncomfortable conversations. Because if you look at your own life, the people you truly love, are the ones that you're going to kind of do the hard thing and tell them, hey, you need help. You need, you know, you need to hear something that you don't want to hear. And I'm gonna be the one to tell you because I love you so. So yeah, I think that I'm curious to get to that point in in those that you work with that you coach or advise? What are the tangible changes you're trying to bring about? And people I think I've seen it approach in so many different ways. I think we're all trying to get to the same result. But a lot of what I've heard from you so far is like really finding that passion, finding your place. And sometimes, you know, if you're just looking at a high level, it's just been doing the wrong job, or you're you change companies, and what about the people that are kind of, you know, the realists in the audience right now that are kind of like, well, no, like, you know, there's things I like, there's things I don't like, but, you know, how do I how do you help them find, you know, get started down that path?

Yeah, and I love that you mentioned this, first of all, I'm going to start by saying, one of the, the, the best way to describe the coaching process, and the best way of leading in my mind, that's, you know, personal because every person's way of leading is different, but I like to think of it as compassionate accountability. And it's a it's two ends of a spectrum. You know, you you care deeply for people but you also hold them accountable to actions and results that are going to move them to their edge to learn and grow. So when I'm coaching people I really want To make sure that when people are coming into my world, that they understand that I'm going to care about them, I'm going to get their brilliance out of them. But I also want to make sure that they're going to, they're going to lean into that discomfort that they're going to realize that sometimes I'm going to hold them accountable because it's in service of them. So that's part of the process. But for the people who come into the, into the conversation, and I say, into the conversation, because they may not be a coach, you know, part of the maybe a client yet the first start of this is to really understand, you know, where are they? What are they tolerating their lives, that is not really helping them to move forward, or to be more productive, or be more effective. And I say that in the language that sometimes people can understand tolerating, we tolerate a lot of things from the people who work for us, and work with us. We tolerate toxic, toxic behavior, we tolerate people, you know, taking advantage of us. So if you're tolerating all of that, it's really on you to make sure you stand up and say, and I don't want that anymore. I don't want to tolerate things that are not serving me not, not for my betterment. So part of that is to say, well, how can we change that? How can we change that in the coaching process? How we can we create something different for you, that allows you to take control of your situation? So hopefully, that answered your question, but I think that's what I heard you is, I really want to make sure people see that the power of this is to say that you tolerate things, then you get more of it.

Yeah, yeah. And I love that. I think I love the way you frame that the concept of this tolerating is so key from what from what you're saying, because what I tie that directly to and what I'm hearing is that people aren't being authentic, right? When they come into their workplace and all they're doing, like, the more you have to tolerate, the more you have to be something you're not because, you know, the very definition of tolerating is like, you don't like it. But you're going to put up with it. So you have to literally be someone else to handle that. And I feel like so much of what we come across with in toxic workplaces, isn't this over? I mean, yes, there are places where people just yell, and scream and create that that malice. But I find more often that the the modern day toxic workplace is very nice. It's very, very, very, very nice. And everybody's like, just in harmony with everybody just smiling and waving and best friend's getting drinks after work. And it's easy to be like, oh, one of the best places to work and 2000 Whatever, like, great. Yeah. And then when you really just dig under the layer, nobody's being themselves because everyone has just built up this entire, they're just really good at tolerating. They're really good at being someone else, that they just create this ecosystem of people being super fake, all the time. And there's this unseen side of toxicity that I think is in the workplace that people don't realize, like people are just sitting needy and toxic cultures. And when you point it out to them, they're finally like, oh, yeah, yeah, it really sucks.

Yeah, I kind of want to, I want to take this to one step further, because this is one of the things that is really important to me. I, my tagline for my business is "Inspiration through honest conversation" and, you know, honest conversations, not just ones you have with other people, but sometimes the one that's most important is the one you have with yourself. But I, I've been often quoted as saying, like, it's not just honest conversations, it's courageous conversations. And that is the antidote to what are you tolerating? You know, it's really, it's time sometimes for people to step up and say, Look, maybe that courageous conversation that you need to have is to say, I'm not going to tolerate this any longer. And it's time for me to say the things that needs to be said. And be okay with the consequences of that.

Absolutely. Yeah. Our tagline for that exact same thought is honesty over harmony. Which is, which is we in any given situation, we're just every human is driven to try to find harmony. So you say something I don't like I'll be like, okay, and I'll just push it deep down and be like, Okay, moving on to the next thing. The agenda just gotta get to this meeting. And I've just built up real resentment for you, but let's stay harmonious and not bring it up. And it's the heart, I love it. Your courageous conversation is absolutely 100% on board with that. I think that's absolutely key. I love it. I love it. I wanted to talk a little bit about you and your work as well. I know you you wrote a book. You have have podcasts? Can you talk a little bit about how people can hear more from you?

Sure. So I'll start with the book, I guess is a good starting point. My book is called climbing the right mountain. And it is a book I published in 2020. Last year, feels like an eternity ago, yes. But the book really came from this idea of, you know, the conversations I was having a lot of people I talked to were, you know, gosh, I don't know if I'm the right path like, and then when I got to this, this place in my career, and it sounds very familiar for my story is that, you know, you get to this place where you've worked really hard. And then you're like, do I like, who I become. And so as I heard these stories, and I, you know, reflected on my own stories, I think it's time for you to write this book, to help other people to check in with themselves to say, gosh, if I want to feel fulfilled, if I want to make sure that I'm doing the things the right reasons, maybe it's time for me to check what path I'm on to ensure that I'm climbing the right mountain for me. And it's never too late. And it's never it's not a call to you know, have everyone leave their jobs. It's again, a chance for us to really check to see if our definition of success is defined by us and not by somebody else. So that was an important part of this. And it does, it does help that I love mountains. I'm in fact, I'm climbing Kilimanjaro in in August. So

my Yes, well, good luck.

Thank you.

That's awesome. Yeah. What about the podcast?

Yeah, and the podcast. It's called the Virtual Campfire. And you can find it on any podcasting channels, you listen to whatever you wherever you find podcasts, also available on my website. The Virtual Campfire came from this idea that I wanted to share people's stories of transformation. You know, oftentimes, you see these amazing people who are knocking you out of the park in life. But their journey to getting there is filled with so many ups and downs and transition points. And I actually help them share their story so that others can hear that, you know, what were the what I call flash points, the points in your journey that have ignited your gifts into the world, so that others who are going down that same path or in their own path can understand what were the things that they had to do to really shift themselves along that journey. I've been witness to some amazing stories, and I'm honored and really blessed to be part of that, you know, to be able to be witness to that, let's put it that way.

I love that. I mean, that's that's one of the missions for this show itself is sharing stories is so important that we live in a world where it's so easy to see just the small percentage of people who are on top, just seeing the results that have been successful. And and we don't enough, see like the real work struggle, change transformation that it requires, along the way to achieve the middle milestones and all those things. I think that's such an amazing opportunity that I'm jealous of all the stories that I'm sure you've already heard, I'm gonna go check it out, for sure. But also, on that note, I want to thank you for being here today and sharing your story. And sharing your inspiration has been a really good conversation around just how people should be thinking about kind of reframing their environment a little bit looking at how they look at what drives them. And if they're finding that inspiration in themselves, yes. So I really appreciate you taking the time today.

Of course, it's been my pleasure, truly enjoyed the conversation. And you know, everything has been really it's been a great journey for me, and I've loved watching the show here. So

Jeff Ma
thank you so much. And thank you to our listeners. As always we are releasing on time every week for you. If you like it, let us know if you don't, we'll also take it please let us know. But check out the book, Love as a Business Strategy still available everywhere. And if you haven't subscribed and rated us please, we would love that. And with that, Tony, thank you again, have had a really good conversation and we'll see everyone else next week.

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