July 30, 2020

Beth Ridley: Founder & CEO of The Brimful Life

What do you do? (title and company)

leadership expert and workplace culture consultant

Founder and CEO, The Brimful Life

What was your first job?

First part-time job: I worked the jewelry counter at TJ Maxx. First real job: High school English teacher in Japan.

Favorite Hoan event?

The train trip to Chicago.

Book/podcast you’re listening to right now?

Listening to If I Had Your Face on audiobook.

What's your favorite board/card game?

Uno with the kids.

What's your biggest pet peeve?

My kids cracking their knuckles.

What skill would you like to master?

Not worrying.

What’s the best way to start the day?

A walk with husband to get coffee and bagel.

What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?

If you want something done right, do it yourself. That mindset was instilled in me growing up, but over the years I’ve appreciated that there are so many things I’m just not good at. Since recognizing that, I’ve never been disappointed when I ask for help versus try to do it alone.

What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

Where did I go to High School? Why, why, why???? Only in Milwaukee.

What drew you to join Hoan?

The opportunity to meet and be inspired by people who are finding creative ways to earn a living pursuing their passions and who define success on their own terms.

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

How to build resilience to be your best without burning out.

What do you wish your brain was better at doing?

Remembering names and not overthinking things.

What are your hobbies, and how did you get into them?

Speed skating. I challenged myself to do one new thing a week for a year 6 years ago and speed skating was one of the things. I took a class at Petit and then joined a league.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Best advice from Amy Poehler: treat your career like a bad boyfriend. Have fun while you are in it and expect to be disappointed at times along the way. Best advice from my mom: stay connected with your spouse because your kids will eventually grow up and leave you. When it’s just you and him alone, be sure you still like each other.

What was the last show you binge-watched?

Mrs. America on Hulu (about ERA movement).

What originally got you interested in your current field of work?

I experienced too many people too stressed out or not happy at work (myself included). We spend so much time at work, I was determined to put into practice different ways of leading that brought out the best in myself and others by fostering positivity, joy and meaning in the workplace.

What career advice would you give to your younger self?

When it comes to career (or anything in life): You don’t have to know, you just have to do. I used to think I had to have everything figured out before taking action. Now I know taking action (any action) is how you figure things out.

If you could do it all over again, would you pursue the same career? Why or why not?

Yes. I’ve so many careers in my life. I’m on my 6th or 7th career.  I’ve opted to be good at a lot of things vs an expert in any one thing. I could never decide one career to have so I decided early on to have them all!

What do you regret not doing in the last year?

As a philosophy, I choose to embrace living with fear over living with regret. Given that, I cannot think of anything I regret not doing. I try to do most things I want to despite being afraid.

How are you handling COVID/how has it affected you?

COVID has pushed me to be open to new ideas. Im embracing the opportunity to think about and consider options and opportunities I would never have considered pre-pandemic. In these crazy times, no idea is too crazy. Embracing this mindset has been liberating and fun. I hope I maintain it post-pandemic.

When will you know you've "made it"?

Knowing me, I’ll never feel like I’ve “made it”.  Secretly, I’m never satisfied and always striving to be better/for more. Maybe one day if my kids say, “Mom, I appreciated all you did for us” may make me feel like I’ve made it. Ha! I can dream!

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