How to Test for Grit in the Hiring Process 

with special guest Alyssa Clark

How are you faring in the war for talent? Is it a challenge to find the right people and afford them? How can you bring in great new hires and make sure that they stay? What are employees looking for in a job? How can you tell if your candidates are the right fit?

Listen as Alyssa Clark, Director of Recruiting and Talent of Eyemart Express, and Resilience Radio host Kim Ades answer these questions and more.

In this episode of Resilience Radio, we explore:

INSIGHT OF THE WEEK

“A new candidate coming in wants to understand, ‘What does my day look like here? What am I doing to add value? What does my long-term career look like?’”

-Alyssa Clark, Director of Recruiting and Talent of Eyemart Express

Take a Listen!

Transcription: How to Test for Grit in the Hiring Process

Ghosting in a Professional Context

Kim Ades: Welcome, this is Kim Ades from Frame of Mind Coaching™ and I am the host of Resilience Radio, where I interview guests who are professionals at crushing the tough stuff. It is my absolute pleasure to introduce my guest who I met a few weeks ago at an HR event. Her name is Alyssa Clark and she is the Director of Recruiting and Talent at Eyemart Express. Alyssa, welcome.

Alyssa Clark: You crushed it. Thanks, Kim. I’m so happy to be here.

Kim Ades: One of the questions we ask our guests before we interview them is, what’s a challenge you’re dealing with professionally? And you answered, ghosting. What does that mean?

Alyssa Clark: Most people are familiar with ghosting in a dating context. It’s when you make plans to go meet somebody and either they are a no show or you have a complete drop off in communication.

I see a parallel in today’s talent space. I’ve been ghosted professionally a couple times in terms of having a great rapport with the candidate, thinking that we sold the organization well and that there’s a culture fit, and then they ended up not showing up for their interview.

Recently, there was a candidate with whom we had already talked compensation and on-boarding, [then they dropped off the map]. So that war for talent is something that’s keeping me up at night and I’m particularly feeling like I’m getting stood up a bit in terms of getting someone to join our organization. That’s where we’re at today in terms of the ghosting epidemic.

Kim Ades: Okay. And you’re the Director of Recruiting and Talent at Eyemart Express. What does Eyemart Express do?

Alyssa Clark: Just think about it as your typical retail business and our product is glasses. We sell beautiful boutique eyewear. We have some of the best, trendy fashions that you’ve ever seen, plug intended, and we also have exceptional service and speed. We can often get your glasses out as quickly as 30 minutes or less. So it’s a pretty awesome company focused on customer experience, and I’m all about experience so it made sense for me to come home here.

Kim Ades: Okay. And you’re responsible for recruiting who? Frontline store staff and all the way up?

Alyssa Clark: Yes, my team is responsible for everything that has to do with employee experience. We focus on attraction. So what does our brand look like in the marketplace? What are we doing to actually get our name out there?

We then go to selection so we’re doing the actual interviewing, recruiting for everything from our retail associates and lab technicians in Dothan, Alabama to our senior vice-president of real estate and development here at the home office.

My team is so incredible. We have years of experience with our CPO, Gianna Venturi, who leads us fearlessly. My team executes on as many as 200 open requisitions at one time, trying to get all the best talent in here and making sure that they stay. The second half of my job is developing and keeping our people. So in a nutshell, that’s the kind of the space that we’re in and the types of roles, and overall, it’s such a fun challenge for us to tackle.

What Talented Millennials Look for From Their Employers

Kim Ades: Okay. Let’s talk about the idea of attraction. What attracts employees these days? What are the key elements that you are selling? For those listening who own a company big or small, what do they need to be considering in the war for talent?

Alyssa Clark: As a pseudo-successful millennial, what’s important to me today and what candidates that I’ve interacted with are looking for is intentionality. Now I don’t want that to be misconstrued as an over-emotional sense of purpose that we hear stereotypically associated with millennials, it’s more than that, and it’s actually something I coach many of my leaders at this organization about.

It’s not just a sense of purpose in terms of being environmentally responsible or socially connected or motivated, it’s more about being intentional with our time in an organization. A new candidate coming in wants to understand, “What does my day look like here? What am I doing to add value? What does my long-term career look like?”

Because in a world of options, they can go out to a hundred startups and get another position, so we need to ask ourselves what we’re doing that makes us different. And I think the beautiful sell about Eyemart is that we are so intentional in the sense that our product enables healthcare, it enables sight and that is a critical part of the human experience.

That is something about our brand that stands out to me and it’s why I spend 40 plus hours a week at this organization. I help enable people to help others see. So what are you actually doing from a business and a product perspective every day?

Kim Ades: So in other words, the attraction when I think about joining a company is, what am I going to be a part of?

Alyssa Clark: Yeah. And from our conversations, Kim, you know that the biggest thing for me is that I don’t ever want someone to participate in their own career. You should not be participating in your own life and you should not be participating in your own career, you should be driving it. You’re in the driver’s seat, and if there’s ever a point in time when you feel like you’re a passenger, something needs to change. Something I coach my sisters on all the time when thinking about their future is, you don’t want to participate in your own life.

Kim Ades: You mentioned that you’re a millennial and you’re an executive in a pretty formidable company. How many people are there at Eyemart?

Alyssa Clark: We’re currently sitting at about 1,700 employees, so we’re still in that small to mid-size range, but we are growing like crazy. We’re opening 25 stores this year and we’re on track to open more.

Kim Ades: So how does a 27-year-old get a job like this? I’m asking for two reasons. The first reason is that there are other 27-year-olds listening and wondering, how do I get to a position like that?

The other reason is, as an employer, should I be looking for a 27-year-old to take on a senior position? Can I feel comfortable with that? Are you an unusual 27-year-old or are there other 27-year-olds like you?

Alyssa Clark: I think it’s a great question, Kim. Something I’m very proud of myself for is that I have a ton of grit. I don’t think there is anyone who could say that I don’t roll up my sleeves, get scrappy when I need to or that my grit wavers. If I commit to something, my word is everything and I will lose sleep over not fulfilling it, whether it’s sending you a birthday card or making sure we get results on a $2 million proposal. So, for me, my grit is everything and it translates into my integrity, and that’s just something that I refuse to compromise on.

Kim Ades: Do you think that’s a millennial trait or is that an Alyssa Clark trait?

Alyssa Clark: I think it’s an Alyssa Clark trait. But coming into the workforce now are a group of people who are hungry and desperate for meaning, connection and feeling because due to the way we were socialized and brought up as a generation, we lost touch with the human to human interaction and with how our words make someone feel. We lost touch with how saying something to someone’s face and watching them sit with that hurt feeling can make us feel in return.

I think Simon Sinek said that the burden of helping groom and bring on that next generation of leaders is falling on corporate America and it’s falling on organizations to help wake people up and shake them a bit. The millenials are there.

They are faster, they are hungry and they have access to technology and ways of doing things that used to take years and processes that used to take multiple touch points, but we have more of a human problem where it’s about teaching these very capable workers how to actually have meaning in what they do and to understand that impact is more than free food in a break room or ergonomic seating in an office. It’s really about understanding.

How to Test for Grit in the Hiring Process

Kim Ades: Let’s talk about grit for a minute. As a recruiter, how do you evaluate whether or not someone has grit?

Alyssa Clark: It’s about the small stuff, like them not letting an email go without an acknowledgment. Whether it’s just a simple thank you or I’ve received this or thank you so much for your time. Those little indicators, just like a handshake or eye contact in an in-person interaction, make or break it for me. Those are the indicators of larger behaviors that I can pick up on pretty quickly.

Kim Ades: But is that grit or is that EQ, like social intelligence?

Alyssa Clark: No, because I think it’s discipline, Kim. Those people have the endurance to keep up in today’s world while not compromising on those little things. They don’t let speed and volume compromise the quality of that interaction.

For example, in recruiting, I’m the front line or the first impression, right? So my personal mantra is that I want everyone to be better after interacting with me. Whether that means I help coach you to a new career path, whether I just gave you a smile and a warm handshake and said good morning to you, whatever that looks like, I want your experience with me to always be positive and to help you be better.

So I think that maintaining grit also means not losing those little things. Even though you’ve got big projects, big stress, big responsibility; you don’t lose sight of the details.

Kim Ades: Okay. So let me ask you a tactical question. If someone comes in for an interview with you, is it their job to send you an email to say, thank you for the interview, or is it your job to say, thank you for coming in for an interview?

Alyssa Clark: That’s a great question, Kim. The best case scenario is you have one of those beautiful jinx moments and you’ve sent it at the same time. That’s a match made in heaven for your inboxes to line up like that. But as an employer, I want to be the one reaching out first, setting that expectation and showing what kind of integrity we have first and foremost. Now, do I expect someone who might work for my organization to make that small effort too? Absolutely.  And if they don’t, 9 times out of 10, that’s a deal breaker.

Kim Ades: Wow. Okay. And what if this candidate is clearly not a good fit for your organization; do you still send it out?

Alyssa Clark: Absolutely. Because, again, it goes back to intentionality, right? I am intentional with my time every day.

For example, I wanted to go back and teach some classes this fall and my CEO, Michael Bender, said, “If you choose to teach, great. If you choose not to, what are you going to do with that time that you would have spent educating others?” That really stuck with me.

Being intentional, coming in for an interview and spending your time with me means a lot to me and I do think I need to acknowledge that. That’s why I have such a problem with ghosting.

Kim Ades: Why do you think ghosting happens in this day and age?

Alyssa Clark: I think it goes back to this zombie-like epidemic we’re in where we just go through the motions and we don’t have the real-life experiences to understand how our actions affect others. For example, the candidate who didn’t show up for their interview has no idea that I had already started talking about them with my larger business partner team and I had already started making plans for office relocation.

And not that I wouldn’t have had to do those things anyway, but there are other impacts from that absence. It could have caused me to be more jaded, hardened or cynical. But there was also time, money and resources that went into trying to bring this person in.

So I think it’s just gross neglect from not understanding that impact you’re having. It can also cause a longer-term detriment to your career because your brand and your name are everything. If this person came to interview with me again or with a friend of mine (I’m very fortunate to have connections all over), we would think twice about engaging with this person.

Kim Ades: You also mentioned that you teach on top of having this executive role. What do you teach and where do you teach it?

Alyssa Clark: I started teaching at San Diego State. I was super fortunate in my master’s program to be awarded an opportunity to teach as an instructor of record for about four or five classes. I taught Intro to Literature, which is my favorite. I’m a huge Gothic novel junkie and a Jane Austen scholar; two very disparate worlds.

The Gothic novel really lends itself to a lot of sensibilities, thoughts and feelings that I bring to the corporate space; that sense of enlightening people, awakening them and wanting to almost scare them sometimes into thinking for themselves and thinking critically. Both Austen and the Gothic novel force the reader to actually wake up and be present to what’s happening, not just in the plot line, but around themselves.

And one of my favorite parts is suburban Gothic literature. Particularly because I grew up behind the Orange Curtain, so to speak, in Orange County, California and sometimes the scariest stuff was happening right behind the pearl gates, right next door to us. Sometimes in those beautiful suburban houses, worse things were happening than out walking home at dark after work one day.

So that’s where my love of teaching came in. I started at college level. I was 21 and teaching my first class as an instructor of record with Iraq war vets in my class and a beautiful, 60-year-old woman who was coming back to finish her degree because she wanted to show her granddaughter what it’s like to finish something. And I thought, “Who am I to be standing up here and be responsible for imparting knowledge on these people?”

Kim Ades: What was it like teaching at 21? How did your students react to this person standing in front of them?

Alyssa Clark: I remember it so well and it will always be one of my favorite moments. The room smelled like chalk with an old school chalkboard, and the door was at the back of the room. I was late from trying to find my keys − one of those first day jitter things − and when I walked into the room, it was mostly full. As I continued to make my way from the back of the room towards the front, their eyes started getting a little heavier on me. They were looking for me to sit down rather than continue walking to the front of the room.

I got to the front of the room and I turned around and saw everyone staring at me. I loved the feeling that these people were shocked that I was qualified to stand there. I couldn’t wait to push them and challenge them and at the end of the semester, have them be like, “Wow, I so misjudged this first day.” I had no idea what was in store for me and I thrived on that.

Kim Ades: So it didn’t freak you out that people were thinking like, “Who is this young kid standing in front of me?”

Alyssa Clark: No, I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I love that ability to be the person to make someone better, to make them rethink their own stereotype, assumption or judgment that they placed on me before I opened my mouth or before they saw my passion for what I do. I love that experience and I’m addicted to it, quite honestly.

How to Deal with Parental Rejection

Kim Ades: Wow. Okay. So clearly, listeners, you’re listening to a conversation with an extraordinary human being who looks at the world just a little bit differently. Let’s take a sharp right turn now. Looking back on your life, what would you say was your greatest adversity?

Alyssa Clark: Oh, man. I was so fortunate at 11 years old to be brought to a new family. I had lived my first 11 years with my two biological parents and no siblings, and it was not a healthy or happy space at all. It was incredibly difficult, incredibly challenging and was the lowest point of my experience so far.

Kim Ades: What was going on that made it hard?

Alyssa Clark: We had two addicts in the house. Addiction is a terrible, filthy, awful, ugly beast and it took both of them away from me. There really wasn’t an opportunity for a relationship because they had a relationship with something that was much bigger than me. It took me a long time to understand, but as a kid, it was pretty crushing to feel completely displaced and less important than an inanimate bottle or a vial of some substance.

Kim Ades: So at 10 years old, what was life like? Did you come home and your parents were totally gone? Did you need to make your own dinner?

Alyssa Clark: Yeah, it was pretty brutal. My father was a very successful businessman. He was an executive for a pretty big brand and he was traveling quite often. He was probably home a week out of the month. My biological mother was around. She was a stay-at-home mom and was very good at staying at home and doing anything she could to not be a mom.

It was a lot of me walking to school, having sports practice, staying for academic decathlon and doing every club and every volunteer thing so I could stay at school as long as I possibly could. It was also super lonely and it was very hard for me to make friends. They’d want to come to my house and that couldn’t happen, right? So there was a lot of lying, making up stories and covering up bruises. Thank God I played sports, that made it easier, but it was rough.

Kim Ades: Bruises because the alcohol caused violence?

Alyssa Clark: Yeah, there was physical violence that no child should have to go through. And also emotional and psychological stuff. I’d come home from school, for example, and there’d be food in the fridge, a stocked pantry, the house would be clean and I’d go up to my room and there’d be hundreds of dollars clothes from Nordstrom.

I’d be like, “Wow, we’re having a good day today.” So I’d cut all the tags off and put them in color order in my closet. Then my mother would confront me that evening, saying “You’re so selfish. You’re so entitled thinking these clothes are for you. And why did you cut the tags off? I was going to return them!” It would then be an excuse for a much larger, violent episode.

And it was those types of things for a long time that really messed with my sense of love, showing love and languages of love. Is it gifts? Is it touch? Is it quality time? Is it words of affirmation? What is it because I’m not getting any of that. So books really became my salvation and taught me what real morals, values and feelings were. But it was a pretty lonely experience, those first 11 years.

Kim Ades: So then what happened?

Alyssa Clark: Literally, I walked up my driveway. It’s as simple as that. I was walking up my driveway after school and our new neighbors to the left-hand side of us were moving in. A beautiful woman, Rena, two young girls and a husband who was about to be deployed to Iraq. Rena and I made eye contact and then we made small talk.

After about a week of small talk, she asked if I’d like to come over and help with the dinner/bedtime routine of her two little ones. She offered me like 10 bucks an hour and the entrepreneur in me was like, “Oh, hell yeah, I’ll do that.”

I think she picked up on what was going on at my house and was trying to get me to spend as much time away from it. So I did that every night for a year. Rena would say, “Hey, why don’t you stay and we’ll watch America’s Next Top Model or American Idol together.” Or “Do you want to hang out and do some homework? I have some work I can do.”

We really became best friends. I would spend my holidays with them, we went on family trips together and I was in family pictures. When I was 13, Rena said, “I love you. I feel like you’re the piece of our family and my heart that was missing. How do you feel?” I was like, “That’s amazing. You’re asking me if I feel it’s mutual? Of course.”

It felt like home. I had fallen in love with my sisters, we all had a beautiful connection and that home felt safe.

Rena basically said, “I’m ready for a fight if you are.” And I said, “Hell yeah, let’s do it.” We approached my biological parents and we entered into an agreement that I was going to be full-time with Rena, that chapter of my life living with my biological parents was over and that it was non-negotiable.

My biological dad actually left for rehab about six months after that conversation. He relocated my biological mother to Las Vegas, Nevada, and that’s the last update that I’ve had on her in terms of where she is.

Kim Ades: When you approached your biological parents and said, “I want to go live with Rena full-time,” how did they react? Did they say, “Yeah, sure. See you later.” Or did they say, “Are you crazy?” Or did they say, “Hold on a minute, we want a million dollars for this.” What was it like?

Alyssa Clark: I love that you think I’m worth a million dollars. It sure would save me a lot of money in therapy and if I could have that perspective of my biological mother and understand what she was thinking because it’s heartbreaking, but it was an easy choice for her. It seemed like she was very clear and satisfied with her other priorities, so that was a pretty easy moment for her, at least from my perspective as a very emotional 13-year-old who was trying to just survive and rebuild herself.

For my biological dad, I think it was much deeper. I think he does really love me and really care for me, but I think that he doesn’t understand what that means and he doesn’t know how to cope with that responsibility. And that’s why I think he’s turned to other coping mechanisms that haven’t been healthy for him. But I do think it hit him because, like I said, six months later, he was in rehab and he worked that program. Up until about six months ago, he had been sober for 10 years.

If he was on your show, Kim, and you asked him that question, it would give me so much joy to know that that moment meant something to him. For me, I was sweaty-palms nervous. I was holding Rena’s hand and ready for her to fight. I think she was disappointed there wasn’t a fight because clearly, she was willing to do so. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, but the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

Kim Ades: Have you spoken to your mother since then? Have you tried to contact her? Has she tried to contact you? She was living next door, didn’t she see you?

Alyssa Clark: No. My biological dad had her out of there pretty quickly, so it wasn’t terribly awkward. She was local for a bit, so yeah, it was awkward at times, but Rena was very protective and made it very easy to feel safe.

Kim Ades: Have you seen your biological mom since? Have you tried to contact her?

Alyssa Clark: When I was in my bachelor’s program, I was in a pretty intensive therapy session and my therapist recommended a reconnection with her so that I could close the loop and get everything off my chest. So my boyfriend at the time (who ended up becoming my first husband) and I arranged a trip to Las Vegas to confront her. We drove out there for five hours from San Diego. When we got there, my biological grandparents could not produce her.

We waited and waited and waited and she could not be produced. And then my biological grandmother said that it was too much for my biological mother, that it caused her to have a breakdown and that she wasn’t going to be able to meet that day.

That was when I realized that not only had I given 11 years of my life to this, now I was giving my adult life to this too. I was done. That was my last attempt at initiating any conversation with either of them, my biological grandparents or my biological mother. We drove back to San Diego and never looked back. As cinematic as you can imagine that looking, that’s literally how I felt.

Kim Ades: Did she know that you were coming?

Alyssa Clark: My biological grandmother coordinated it with her. She had been copied in on emails and I could hear her in the background during a phone call, so I’m sure she was aware.

Kim Ades: Okay. So, and as you left there and you said, I’m done, was that a relieving or a heartbreaking experience?

Alyssa Clark: I think both. I’ve always struggled with rejection and abandonment, which is why I love being an achiever. I had that last rejection from her that I needed to know that I had exhausted everything. And this goes back to my grit − I exhaust every option before I give up on someone, and that’s a pro but it’s also a con. And it’s funny because I work in talent, so performance management wise, it takes a lot for me to give up on someone.

So when I was driving home from Las Vegas, I felt like I needed that last rejection, that last bit of my heart to break and fall so I could heal, be stronger and more resilient, and it served me well. I think it gave the closure that I needed.

Kim Ades: And you were in touch with your dad? If I remember correctly, you invited him to live with you for a few years.

Alyssa Clark: Yeah, I did.

Kim Ades: So what happened?

Alyssa Clark: We reconnected when I was in San Diego for college and he was there after his rehab program living sober with my grandfather. Then I moved to Dallas with my then husband, Dan. After about a year, my dad was kind of transient. He was looking for what was next for him and Dallas was way more cost effective than San Diego.

He also had all these health problems − he had aortic aneurysm that really scared us. He got diagnosed with COPD. He had some pretty bad cirrhosis of the liver. I just felt so helpless with him in California and I still felt the sense of responsibility for him.

So Dan and I made the decision to bring him out and he lived with us for about two and a half years. He was there while I got a divorce from Dan. He was there for four months into me having a new relationship with someone else and then that ending. And then he was there for the holidays with me.

Then this past October, he had a relapse in my home and I had to ask myself, “Is this a situation that I feel safe in? Is this something that I can live with?” And the answer was no. So I told him that he had to go back to rehab or he couldn’t live with me anymore.

I came home from work after that tough conversation and he had packed up everything left with no note, no forwarding address, no text. That’s the last time that I spoke to him since October.

Kim Ades: So it feels like you have to deal with this over and over and over again.

Alyssa Clark: Oh, yeah. And I think that’s maybe what endurance and grit is. At what point is it your own fault? That’s something I struggle with. You allow certain people to keep disappointing you, but what if one day they actually show up for you? And I don’t have the answer to that. That’s something that I’m still exploring every day.

Kim Ades: Well, from a coaching standpoint, the word “disappointing” is interesting.

Alyssa Clark: Mm-hmm.

Kim Ades: People disappoint you because you have a certain expectation of them, right?

Alyssa Clark: Right.

Kim Ades: And so, what would it be like to be in a relationship without any expectation? It’s tough to do that.

Alyssa Clark: Sure.

Kim Ades: You reunited, you reconnected and you had a good relationship for a while. And because you care for him and love him and stand for his health, you made a decision, and now it’s in his hands and you don’t have control over that.

Part of what we teach many of our clients is, what do we actually have control over?

Alyssa Clark: Right.

Kim Ades: Many people want to have control over the behavior of others, but it’s impossible to do.

Alyssa Clark: Yeah, that makes sense. Maybe that’s why I have the purest love for and feel the most positive source of motivation from my two younger sisters and my younger brother. I think you’re onto something there, Kim, because I don’t have set expectations for them, I have infinite expectations and that makes it so much easier for me just to love and support them unconditionally.

I know they’re capable of so much, but I don’t have a fixed idea of what that looks like. Of course, I expect them to be respectful and kind and have integrity, but if they came to me tomorrow and said, “I want to move to Zimbabwe and be an archaeologist and I don’t have any plan, but I’m going and I’ll call you every Tuesday,” I would love them and make sure they got all their immunizations and send them on their way.

So maybe there’s something there to sit with.

Kim Ades: The idea of having expectations of someone else means that their job is to do something for you, right?

Alyssa Clark: Mm-hmm.

Kim Ades: So it’s a bit of a trap we fall into, and the trap is that we hand over our emotional state to someone else’s behaviors. So truly, the reason that your dad struggled is because he was struggling. It has nothing to do with you. And he probably couldn’t deal with the idea of disappointing you, so he ran away, right?

Alyssa Clark: Right.

Kim Ades: And I don’t know your dad, so I’m guessing, but his actions were really about him.

Alyssa Clark: Right.

Kim Ades: Right? It’s hard not to take it personally. It’s hard to do that.

Alyssa Clark: Absolutely.

How to Turn Your Frustration into an Advantage

Kim Ades: As we’re rounding the corner for this interview, you have a coach on the line. Think about what your greatest challenge is now and what question do you have for this coach?

Alyssa Clark: What is a pitfall that you see young, fearless female leaders take that could be avoided?

Kim Ades: Well, the word “fearless” is interesting because I don’t see a lot of young, fearless females, right?

Alyssa Clark: Right.

Kim Ades: So the fact that there is a young, fearless female in front of me is very interesting. I saw you in person and I saw your presentation. Your presentation was really interesting because it was a two-woman presentation with you, the millennial, and the Chief People Officer, who is not a millennial. It was a conversation about hiring, keeping and nurturing millennials. And so in front of me, I saw this powerhouse, meaning you, this super intelligent, well-spoken, extremely driven, unbelievable woman. But I also saw a little bit of frustration. “I’m frustrated with the way the world is.”

And so the pitfall is that frustration. The pitfall is, “I want to be seen and treated differently than I currently am,” and that can create friction.

Alyssa Clark: Mm-hmm.

Kim Ades: All of your passion, vigor, determination and drive creates anger for you sometimes.

Alyssa Clark: Mm-hmm. That’s fair.

Kim Ades: Because the world doesn’t see things the way you do, but that anger doesn’t necessarily move the needle to where you want it to.

Alyssa Clark: Absolutely. No, I think that’s spot on because I am frustrated with the state of the world. I’m frustrated at the passivity that seems to be plaguing all of us, and I think that’s really fair feedback.

Kim Ades: If you were a coaching client of mine, I would say that your anger can be useful as long as you don’t sit in an angry spot for a long time, but rather identify what it is that you want as a result of feeling anger and move in that direction. Move towards what you want instead of staying in the place where you’re focused on all the things that are wrong with the world.

Alyssa Clark: Yeah. That’s powerful.

Kim Ades: It’s literally turning yourself around, pivoting and saying, “Okay, I’m clear about what frustrates me, so that clarity serves as contrast and allows me to get really clear about what I would rather have. And I need to almost physically turn myself towards that and head in that direction. And if I don’t, then I stay in a place of frustration and friction and I start clashing with the world.” And I don’t think that clashing with the world is what you want.

Alyssa Clark: No, not at all. It’s the question of, what are you going to do about it?

Kim Ades: Before I ask you what are you going to do about it, I’m going to ask you what are you going to think about it? Because first we think, then we do. And right now, the thinking is things are wrong, bad, complacent, passive, etc. and that thinking doesn’t get you to where you want to go. So how are you going to think about this in order to be able to take a healthy, useful action that gets you where you want to go?

Alyssa Clark: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s focusing on what’s in your span of control, like you said before.

Kim Ades: Right. So I have one last question for you, one that I don’t usually ask, but what’s next for you? What’s on your agenda? Where are you going? What do you want to achieve? What change do you want to make in the world?

Alyssa Clark: Man, that is a huge question. On a personal note, I am in this amazing, new relationship and I am focusing on my personal life for a change and really making a commitment to that. I have this wonderful guy now. His name is Richard. He’s a contrarian like me, he is smart like me, he is driven like me, he’s hardworking. He’s got a story and substance to him, and not to mention, he’s really good-looking. So overall, I’m just really pleased with where that’s going. So hopefully, you’ll get an update on that, Kim, and maybe a cute holiday card coming up pretty soon.

Also personally, spending tons of time with family. My sisters are both up in North Cal, my mom is in Palm Springs, so making time for them and then see my little brother go off to college. Just knowing that all three of them are off doing incredible things will be so fulfilling.

Professionally, what’s next for me is an even broader role into the technology space. I’m really interested in the way that technology enables learning and enables our customer and employee experience, and I’m really thinking that there’s a way there to leverage some of these disparate technologies that are out there a little bit more comprehensively to really help with process and things that we’re having to do from a siloed perspective from HR, to IT, to learning and development.

I really think there’s a sweet spot there and I want to explore that and kind of pioneer bringing people, process and tech all together. That’s something that I’m interested in exploring, so I’ll keep you posted.

Kim Ades: I have no doubt that your work is going to affect a lot of companies, not just the one you’re in. Alyssa, thank you so much for being with me, for sharing your story, for being so open and candid and for being such an incredible millennial − an example to all. It was an honor and a pleasure to have you on Resilience Radio today.

As a leader, there are many challenges that you may be confronted with…

1 – Recruiting and hiring the right people for your team

2 – Working effectively with millennials

3 – Screening for grit and resilience

4 – Understanding what highly talented individuals look for in an employer

5 – Dealing with people who ghost you or disappoint you

6 – Managing your professional drive with your drive for personal balance

7 – Building healthy relationships with ALL the people in your life

If you are grappling with any of these items, talk to us! Schedule a complimentary one hour call and give yourself the opportunity to explore the challenges you are facing.


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