Episode #1468 MASSE: How To Embark On Your Next Career Chapter

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Elizabeth Shaffer and Lizzy Brockhoff join Jenna to discuss how they made the decision to launch MASSE, the power of setting big goals and believing in the impossible, and how to create a plan to realize it. Elizabeth and Lizzy also share essential lessons they've learned on  maintaining perspective, remembering that everything is a phase and will pass, and the importance of acknowledging when you've done enough. 


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MASSE

https://masse.app/ View Full Profile

Highlights from the Transcript

  • On maintaining a fast pace: “Sometimes you have to make decisions before you have all of the information. We go by the rule: If you have 70% of the information it's the right time to make the decision. If you’re waiting longer, you’re moving too slowly. That’s not innately embedded in my personality so it's been a big learning and critical to our team moving quickly.” 
  • On presence: “When you have so much going on - you’re a parent and you have your own startup - making sure that you're present in all of those roles and are giving your full attention to them is really important to keeping the balance and ensuring that you’re your best you in each of them.” 
  • On knowing when you’ve done enough: “Startups are really hard because you can never go home at the end of the day and say you’re done. You can never fully complete your task list for the day. There is always more that you can be doing; More things you can be researching, emails you can be writing, more initiatives you can be taking on. One of the things I had to learn over the years is when to walk away at the end of the day and say: ‘It’s enough. I did enough for today.’ You have to be able to draw that line so you can maintain the balance. At the end of the day, we talk about high growth companies and moving fast but it is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to make sure you aren’t burning out.” 
  • On listening: “When you’re young, especially, you want to be heard, speak up in meetings, and make sure you get recognized. The older I’ve gotten the more I realize its often better to just be quiet, sit in the back and just listen to what everyone has to say…You can walk into a meeting with a point of view and after listening to everyone end up changing your mind and going down a different path than you would have if you were intending to state your own case…When you’re trying to get buy-in on your team, it very rarely works to try to convince them that what you think is right and they’re wrong. Instead, the best approach is to help them understand that you see their point of view. When people feel seen and heard they are much more open to other ideas. That’s the starting point to building consensus and trying to align a team around a point of view.” 
  • On believing in the impossible: “Marc Lore’s vision was massive at Jet. I thought some of the things on the roadmap were impossible. But we delivered on the impossible there. Seeing firsthand how a leader can motivate a team, give them the drive and vision and then assemble the right people to deliver was a turning point and mindset shift for me…We may not have hit all of our goals but we did far more than we thought we could going into it. When you can look around and think, ‘Wow we did that,’ it really builds your confidence and expands your mindset to start asking: ‘What else can we do?’” 
  • On setting bigger goals: “You don’t push yourself when you don’t think outside of your box. When you’re working towards a goal that you have no idea how to achieve, it prompts you to sit back and think really deeply about how you’re going to work towards it. We do ideation sessions where we start by saying: We know we need to solve this problem but we have no idea how. Then, we have a process where we spend a few hours creatively brainstorming. Our best ideas come from those sessions. Putting yourself in the position where you have to stretch yourself to achieve your goals is really important.” 
  • On mindset: “Its absolutely possible to shift your mindset. We are a lot more flexible than we give ourselves credit for.” 
  • On working backwards: “We had babies a day apart and used our maternity leave to get MASSE off the ground and start ideating on the concept. We worked on it as a side project for a few months after coming back to work. The period was a time of juggling infants, a budding business, our families and full-time jobs. There was a feeling of: Is this possible? We set the milestone and worked backwards setting and achieving small goals. Creating bite size milestones along the way helps you get to the big ones.” 
  • On turning points: “We decided to start MASSE together when we were at a place in our careers when we weren’t sure what was next. That’s not a coincidence. You create those impossible goals for yourself when you’re at those turning points and know: I need something new.” 
  • On avoiding complacency: “We are both happiest when we have big goals ahead of us and feel like we are working towards something really big. It’s really easy when you’re feeling complacent or bored in your profession to have that seep into the rest of your life.” 
  • On opportunity cost: “We both had the experience of working really hard at a startup to bring success to someone else’s dream and vision. For me, if I was going to do it again, I really had the sense that I wanted to do it for my own vision. That was the impetus that propelled me to go after building MASSE Becoming a parent also makes you set very lofty goals because your time is so important and who you are caring for is so important. It really makes you ask yourself: What do you want to achieve for yourself and for your family?…When you are saying goodbye to your kids in the morning, you want to be going somewhere and doing something that you truly love. The opportunity cost is really high. It only makes sense if you truly love it.”
  • On perspective: “Having my daughter and making sure she is happy helps me keep everything in perspective. I’ve been able to translate that into our jobs previously and the experience of launching this company. It helps you keep a sense of calm when things go a little haywire because they always do. It’s a sense of grounding…Being a parent gives you a sense of perspective because there is always something more important than what you are working on. Being able to take a step back and take the losses as well as you take the wins is so important to maintaining your sense of wellbeing and balance over time.” 
  • On acknowledging nothing lasts forever: “It’s okay to have difficult periods and to talk about them. When we were launching a company, working our full time jobs, and taking care of our families it was really helpful to remind ourselves: This is just a phase. It won’t last forever. You can take a lot more on when you remember that. It’s equally important to do when things are going well. Acknowledging that something isn’t going to last forever helps you stay in the moment, be grateful for it and take it in.” 
  • On peace through planning: “If you’re in limbo or things are swirling, it becomes very unmanageable. For me, it’s always about creating a plan. Whether it’s in your personal or professional life, realizing that not all problems need to be solved at once and prioritizing what needs to be solved now versus later helps me work through things…When you’re making a career move, for example, and it feels like such a huge problem and you don’t know how to execute it, make a plan: My next step is that I’m going to reach out to this person to have coffee and get advice. Doing something to work towards what you’re trying to achieve, even if its small, and focusing on that rather than on the larger shift you’re trying to execute for yourself is very helpful.”
  • On asking for help: “Rely on your friends and network. It’s guaranteed that someone you know has been through a similar situation, has the answer, or can help you…Picking up the phone, having a conversation with someone and checking in with them first minimizes your problems because you realize that everyone is going through stuff. At the same time, they’ll come at your problem with a fresh perspective which is always really helpful.”