Show #432: Fire your boss! But keep your job – with Aaron McHugh

Show #432: Fire your boss! But keep your job – with Aaron McHugh

Aaron McHugh takes us on a journey from cultural self-preservation and conforming, to true, epic self-preservation. But it doesn’t mean quitting your job. His message frees you to have the control and joy in your work that you’ve always dreamed of. Or, possibly, never dreamed was possible! Thanks to Harry’s Razors, Salesforce, and Kabbage for their support of this episode.

In this interview, we meet with the author Aaron McHugh who just released his book: Fire Your Boss – A Minifesto to Rethink How You Think About Work.

“We’re all self-employed. This book is a whack of the truth on the side of your career.” – Seth Godin

Here's some backstory on Aaron:

Work Life Play

My blog and podcast are Work Life Play. I help people recover balance. It deconstructs the art of making adjustments in your approach, your thinking, your beliefs and habits. The rewards are doing work you love and living your life with more joy, connection, and adventure.

In Work, I’ve covered the spectrum from ringing in the Opening Day trading bell at the London Stock Exchange to humble beginnings of selling office supplies door-to-door.

In Life, my wife Leith and I are celebrating 23 years of marriage. We have three children and we live in the Colorado Springs area. My family and marriage have survived the death of our middle daughter in 2011.

In Play, I am an adventurer. I’m an Ironman triathlete, mountaineer, and beginning surfer. I recently accomplished a Life List dream of mountain biking the entire Colorado Trail from Durango to Denver.

Zig’s influence

I started an accidental sales career in 1994. Zig's material was a part of our sales training. I had the privilege of seeing Zig speak live a handful of times. I always walked away feeling empowered that I could actually chart a new course for my future.

My favorite quote from Zig is, "You can have success. You just need to help enough other people be successful." [You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.]

Ziglar friends, I want you to know that you can have the life you want, do meaningful work, enjoy connection with the people you love, and experience more joy and adventure. It starts with the life you already have, regardless of your past. Everybody has the power to chart a new future and it begins with us.

So, Aaron, I’ve been so blessed to sit with many world-changers. Truly incredible people. Their glory is not diminished by the reality that many of them I would not care to hang out and commune with. But you, my friend…are the latter. It’s been a gift to know you, and now a gift to bring your inspiration, insight, and story to the Ziglar Show!

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

So, begin a story for us. “Once upon a time I was a guy who ________, and now I come to you ________.”

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

You start off the book, page one, the intro, defining who a heretic is, “A person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted.”

In all reality, I think the vast majority of The Ziglar Show listeners would, if being honest, have to admit they are heretics. The show focus itself, of inspiration and encouragement and faith and believing in more, is a beacon of hope in a lost world. It IS at odds with what is generally accepted and the culture. But it’s one thing to think and relate to heresy and another to step forward in it in your life. It’s scary, it often causes relational pain, it can leave you feeling alone. So, before we pawn you off as superhuman, have you always lived a heretical life? So different from the norm of our culture?

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

Your overriding theme, and the title of your growing podcast, is “Work – Life – Play.” Define this theme for us.

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

Do you define your trajectory now as passion, burden, calling, addiction, a comedy, tragedy…?!

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

In writing your book; in hosting your podcast; in speaking to large groups…I love to ask about your target market. This is a good exercise for anyone trying to spread a message to others. If you are on-stage in front of 1,000 people, and you have only five minutes to speak, and afterward you can only speak further with 10 people, you don’t have time to get people to understand your message. You must speak directly to those who will get it and be attracted and desiring of what you have to say…immediately.

Who is that person? Where are they in life, what are they dealing with?

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

In Fire Your Boss …you say the manifesto is for those who…and you list five things. Number two says, for those who

feel confident that your career is too important to approach with apathy.

My question is…can that reality even exist unless they believe they themselves and their very lives are too important to approach with apathy?

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

OK, I’m going to read directly from your book, page 10. Yeah, folks, we’re this far into the show and the content thus far has only gotten us through page 10. No, we won’t get through the whole book. Go buy it at Amazon, Fire Your Boss… Aaron McHugh.

Page 10, Aaron, please read that last statement, how will we choose to respond to this tension between self-preservation and being true to ourselves?

I understand that quandary. That tension.

My question, though, and an admitted soapbox, is…ok, I’ve first got to call out to our friend Gary Barkalow, author of It’s Your Call, who I’ll have on the show at some point. He has my favorite commentary on “being true to ourselves,” in the form of trusting the true desires God puts in our hearts. A desire for a donut is not a true desire implanted in me by God. But desires to influence the world and others for good, to soar high and do legacy work, and be the fullness of who we were created to be…do pursue a calling that will be the hardest work we’ve ever done…all my paraphrasing, but you get the point.

So, back to your tension. Is there not a debate in asking…isn’t being true to ourselves the best bet for true self-preservation? True self. Not false, mediocre self??

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

Page 15, please read what you wrote that I circled:

This is a big deal. As I have devoted my life’s work thus far, and will for the entirety of my life on Planet Earth…striving to accept the truth and majesty of life and not the flow, I’m ever more aware that the greatest battle is against just that…the flow! The norm! We all want to trust. It’s so wearisome to fight the current. Can’t we just trust that the FDA and the food they qualify is actually good for us? Can’t we trust that the government health directives are truly in our best interests? Can’t we trust that the rhythm of the society we live in is actually good and true and right and ok? It’s exhausting and despairing to live counterculturally.

But I feel the battle, the enemy, is…the flow of the culture. The norm. That sounds bad, but for those of you of Biblical belief, it’s undeniable. WE are to find peace and love and grace in this world and successfully live within it. But…not be OF it.

I can’t help but think of one of my favorite movies and a scene…Matrix, and I paraphrase a tad:

Cypher: If I had to choose between reality and the Matrix, I'd choose the Matrix.

Trinity: The Matrix isn't real.

Cypher: I disagree, Trinity. I think that the Matrix can be more real than this world.

And a scent later, in the Matrix with the enemy, the agents, as he sits in a fictitious restaurant, he says:

Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?

[Takes a bite of steak]

Cypher: Ignorance is bliss.

We never watch epic movies about comfort, but about battle and truth and glorious, epic truth and glory.

Back to what you read, to jeopardize what is deemed by our family, friends, and culture as…irresponsible. Foolish. Selfish. It’s a hard row to hoe.

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

Let’s continue and get bloodier in this topic. Aaron, please read what you wrote that I’ve circled, starting on page 26 of your book:

Holy smacks, dude! This is supposed to be an inspirational show and we’ve just taken everybody’s clothes off and exposed them. And we’re all just standing naked and exposed and ashamed and despairing. This is the worst show ever. But page 29, “Part 5” in your book, you start off with, “Our compliance is not their fault.”

In your relatively short book, there is more meat and paradigm-shifting, exhilarating truth than we could cover in three shows. So, I’m skipping ahead. All the good news, folks, starts after that dismal commentary Aaron shared with us.

But I’m jumping ahead to page 49. Again, Aaron, read what I’ve circled:

Then I’m jumping to, and we’ll end on page 55, Learning to Act Like a Pro. Give us a synopsis of this:

-->Hear Aaron's response in the show.

Aaron, my favorite part of the book is the second page in the book, under the dedication to your wife Leith, where you wrote, “Kevin, let’s keep going.” That’s my favorite. I want that t-shirt. That mantra. That charge. Maybe the loftiest, most honorable charge. Better than Winston Churchill’s “Never Give Up” speech. How much more encouraging… ”Let’s, you and I, supporting and believing in each other, keep going.”

Thank you, my friend.