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    We love a good opportunity to get involved in our community. This year Gravitate sponsored the Passages to Success 2022 Fall Conference, which allowed me and a few of my coworkers, to attend!
    Passages to Success is a group that helps small business owners and entrepreneurs become more successful. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I hoped to learn something along the way. I expected a lot of talk about networking, hiring, firing and number crunching. Instead, it dove into interpersonal relationships and how putting your employees first will help your business and the community.
    My name is Whit Maley, and this is the first in Gravitates new reaction style blog. Here’s my “Hot Take” on the Passages to Success NW Fall Conference. Let’s dive in.

    Invest In Mental Health

    Mike Nieto, Founder of Dig Deep and owner of Catworks Construction, kicked off the conference as the opening speaker. He shared a startling statistic that construction workers are four times more likely to take their own lives, which is the highest suicide rate of any industry. He began emphasizing mental health in his own company by providing resources for his employees to get help and cultivated a culture of being real about the hard stuff. He founded his nonprofit organization, Dig Deep, to help build “a revitalized workforce that holds emotional wellness as the foundation of hard work.”

    Mike thinks of providing mental health resources for his employees as an investment in his company. When working with a debilitated workforce, things get done poorly or just don’t get done at all. Even worse in his industry, employees struggling with depression are more dangerous around heavy equipment on a work site. Mike understands that leaders must make decisions to improve the business and demonstrates that improved mental health will impact their growth. Depression already interferes with physical tasks 20% of the time and cognitive tasks 35% of the time. More importantly, investing in mental health resources will help our teams thrive in our careers long-term and find fulfillment in life.

    Own Your Story

    Lindsey Charlet, CEO of HUB Collective, shared the value of being vulnerable. In the spirit of professionalism, we project an image of perfection to our co-workers and customers to build credibility. However, projecting perfection decreases our chances of real connection with the people we work with because they’re human. Even at work, owning your story and being vulnerable will foster trust in your working relationships. When you open up to others, not only will it let their guard down, but they will also trust you more. Be willing to acknowledge what you might see as a weakness in yourself or even a mistake, because the other person will view it as being human. Don’t we all prefer working with humans and people who just get it?

    The other part of owning your story is embracing that you don’t know everything. You won’t learn new skills if you refuse to ask questions or be the least knowledgeable person in a room. It takes humility to listen and courage to go in over your head, professionally or personally. When you open yourself to new ideas and take the time to listen, you unlock the potential to grow. If you want to own your story and propel it forward, don’t be content with what you know or where you’ve been.

    Don’t Make the Same Mistake Repeatedly

    Chris Hays’, President and COO of ZoomInfo, shared one of his keys to success with us: diagnosing failure. Throughout his career, he hit walls and even failed along the way. But, instead of letting mistakes derail his career or companies, he did the hard work to understand why he or his team didn’t reach their goal. Even when they weren’t 100% sure of what caused the problem, they experimented with a new approach to rule out a possibility. Through each iteration, he was able to learn more and redefine success altogether.

    No one intentionally repeats mistakes, but it’s counterintuitive to stare at the shortcoming. If you’re applying your learnings and testing new ideas, you won’t repeat the same old mistakes each day. Instead, you’re gaining new value for yourself and your company through experimentation.  If you take the time to diagnose failure, you will find the path to success.

    Although the conference offered more than three golden nuggets, I don’t want to give away all the secrets. So instead, go check out more of their great resources like the Business Over Beer podcast where the hosts of Passages to Success, Ben Surratt and Jonathan Kaylor, chat with business owners and entrepreneurs about their passions over some great beer. You can also become a member of Passages to Success which will help you get the tools you need to build your business.