In this episode, discover how Zander Fryer went from dream job and engineering leader at Cisco, to walking away from a (big) steady paycheck and starting his own company around his passion and purpose. This is one leader you want engineering career growth AND entrepreneurial advice from!
He went from zero to 7-figures in less than a year with no external funding, while penetrating a market saturated with competition.
Zander understands peak performance in engineering and life, and will help you break through barriers to your own success.
…Because the truth is that nothing and nobody else is responsible for holding you back but YOU, my fellow engineer.
The Happy Engineer Podcast
WATCH EPISODE 1: HOW AN UNHAPPY ENGINEERING CAREER LED TO SUCCESS IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND LIFE WITH ZANDER FRYER
LISTEN TO EPISODE 1: HOW AN UNHAPPY ENGINEERING CAREER LED TO SUCCESS IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND LIFE INTERVIEW WITH ZACH’S DEBRIEF
ENGINEERING CAREER GROWTH INSIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE
Have you been job hopping seeking engineering career growth? Unable to find a path you love? Is your left-brain bias creating barriers to emotional intelligence? Stick around to find out Zander and Zach’s answers, advice and genius surrounding these questions. In this interview with the one and only Zander Fryer, it’s safe to say minds were blown. Starting off in the typical engineer career path, successful but not fulfilled, Zander found a calling in coaching and entrepreneurship and is now CEO of Sh*t You Don’t Learn In College (SYDLIC) and High Impact Coaching.
“We don’t have any promise of how many days, how many hours, how many moments we’ll be on this planet. And you know, what do you do with that? How are you going to act and be in reflection of that reality?” – Zach White (episode 1 debrief)
In this episode we dig deep into questions like these. Maybe you can relate to having made a bad decision recently, the kind of decision that erases a big part of your dream. The kind of decision that leads to significant pain or struggle in your journey. Zander shares his story in this interview, a situation that most call a game changer for the negative. But in Zander’s case, he took the skills, the leadership training, everything that the air force taught him and leveraged it into a whole new chapter of his life. He knows that the past is not his future.
While we tackle the topic of growing from bad decisions, we also discuss a damaging norm in the world of engineering career growth — the sole focus on the left brain in training for the next level. Skill development without emotional intelligence. It’s common to rely on that one mode of operation — your logic and analytical thinking. But, you’re only operating as half a person. Unbelievable. Operating as a whole person is key to your success.
But how? I don’t know if you feel the same way, but I still take a lot of pride in my intelligence and left brain as an engineer. As a coach, and as much work as I’ve done to balance that out in my right brain, it was really convicting to hear that from Zander.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about why operating as a whole person is so important. This is why OACO helps engineers like you connect to your whole brain, your whole person. Check out the full episode and let us know what you think. And thanks again to Zander Fryer for joining me!
ABOUT ZANDER FRYER:
Zander Fryer, best-selling author, internationally renowned speaker, and host of a top podcast – Sh*t You Don’t Learn In College – is more than just a corporate dropout. After quitting his successful corporate career at age 27, Zander launched his company, High Impact Coaching, to inspire and empower entrepreneurs to build successful businesses while adding value to the world.
From ZERO to 6 figures in 3 months and 7 figures in 12, HIC is now a $4 Million company and his trainings impact over 50,000 people in 27 different countries and at more than 600 organizations.
A mentor to millionaires, Grammy-winning artists, and bestselling authors alike, he is praised as “the next generation leader” by #1 best-selling author Jack Canfield and his passion to shake this world up is creating a movement. His engineering career growth was impressive. His impact in world today is even more so.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Follow Zander Fryer on Instagram
- SYDLIC Podcast (on Apple Podcasts)
- Zander Fryer and High Impact Coaching Home Page
- Zach White interviewed by HIC Success Coach Hannah Hermanson
- Zach White interviewed by Zander Fryer
- Need help with HOW to take action for your own engineering career growth after listening to this episode? Book a FREE call and let’s get clarity on your next steps!
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.
[00:00:00] Zach: [00:00:00] All right. Welcome back, Zach white here and I am with one of my best friends. One of my coaches. And an all around rockstar, Mr. Zander Fryer. And if I was forced to summarize all of the amazing things that I can say about Zander into one statement, I wouldn’t try. It’s just not possible to do that. I met Zander over a year ago.
[00:00:26] I’ve had the privilege of actually being under his coaching and a lot of the success of the Oasis of Courage, OACO, is credited to this man. And just to tell you a little bit about his pages of bio that we could talk about, Zander started, right where we’re at in engineering, in the life of the engineer, corporate life and found awesome success.
Expand to Read Full Transcript
And now is CEO of Sh*t You Don’t Learn in College and High Impact Coaching, which is such an incredible organization that I’m privileged to have been a part of and has now. Coached hundreds of engineers to, you know, six figure multiple six figure seven figure success and beyond. And this guy guy’s an all around sensation when it comes to motivational thinking the mindset of success.
And I’ve learned more than I can ever say from Sandra fires. And I’m so happy to have you here, man. Thanks for making time.
Zander Fryer: Yeah, dude. Thanks for having me.
Zach: This is awesome. So I alluded to the fact that you started as an engineer. Now you’re a multiple seven figure who [00:02:00] knows maybe by now doing eight or nine figures.
This guy’s a wild man by the time you listen
Zander Fryer: not quite there yet, but we’re getting there. We’re getting there.
Zach: Whenever somebody hears this recording, you’re probably gonna already know who Zander is from.
Zander Fryer: Yeah. It depends on how delayed you are to getting this episode out. Yeah, that’s right.
Zach: But I want you to share with us first, what was the first moment?
Where you actually realized leaving corporate life is my next step. Take us to that point. What happened there?
Zander Fryer: Um, so I want to break that question itself down. Um, the moment that I realized that leaving the corporate world was the next thing was actually the moment I joined the corporate world. Wow. And I think that’s something I kind of knew deep down and maybe I didn’t want to admit it.
Right. So I think, you know, I was, I was in the corporate world for about six years. I was at Cisco systems for six years. You know, like you mentioned, I made great money. I made a quarter of a million dollars as a kid in his mid twenties, like working with companies like Disney, Facebook , uh, LinkedIn, Sony, Verizon, Comcast, [00:03:00] like the whole gambit.
Um, but I think somewhere deep down. I always knew that what I was doing was not it like that, that knit thing. I didn’t know what it was, but I think deep down, I knew that it wasn’t it. Um, the moment that I actually like admitted to myself that leaving the corporate world was the next step was a very different thing.
Um, so, so I think deep down, I maybe always knew. and I kind of like, you know, I was always good at math and sciences. So that proverbial, what are you going to do when you grow up? I was like, I’m going to be an engineer. Right? Like , um, you know, my mom’s Pakistani, so I’m half, half Pakistani. And like, you know, if you’re Pakistani, you’re either going to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, like that’s, that’s all you get.
Right. So, you know, it was kind of ingrained into me. Um, But , uh, I think deep down, I knew that it wasn’t necessarily who I was. And then the moment that I actually, the moment that I actually like admitted that the next thing was not the corporate world , uh, was, I actually had a mentor of [00:04:00] mine. Um, asked me, what would you do if you couldn’t fail?
Right. And this, at this point, at this point I had. Ah, let’s see. I was, I was making about 240 K a year. I had a great, like , uh, this was not a dead end job. Like I wasn’t overworked. I did a really good job of like, like balancing my life and my work. Like I was probably working about 35 hours a week. I had complete autonomy.
Um, I like, I was leading my own schedule. Like I had the, the quote unquote dream job as an engineer. Um, but one of my mentors actually asked me, and this was an entrepreneur who made seven figures in his health and wellness business. Um, and he asked me, what would you do if you couldn’t fail? And that was the, the, the question that really got the gears turning.
Um, and you know, and I told him, I said , um, you know, honestly, I, I mentor people. Like I love mentoring people. I used to be in air force ROTC when I was in college. Uh, I was actually going to be a fighter pilot in the air force. And till I got a DUI my senior year and. Basically got thrown out and threw away the next 20 years of my [00:05:00] life.
And so I told them, I was like, honestly, I’d I’d mentor people. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how that would work, but like I love mentoring people and ever since I got kicked out of the air force , uh, I like, that’s the one thing that I feel like has been missing in my life. Um, and he kind of told me, he said, you know, just because you’re on a path, does that mean you should walk it.
And, and just because you’re good at something, does that mean you should do it? You know, in, in the end you have to make sure that whatever you’re doing, we have one life, right? In the end, you have to make sure that that life is aligned with you, who you want to be and what you want to accomplish in this one life.
Otherwise, it’s a life that’s wasted. That’s
Zach: amazing. Now we got to go back. To the air force ROTC thing for a moment we can go wherever you want. And what’s really amazing about this to me. And I did not know this about your story is Zander. Most people when the dream gets crushed from something like that, right?
A decision that you made that led to losing access to, to going down the path, you thought you were going to go down [00:06:00] to then say the very next chapter of your life. Was six years of incredible success at Cisco systems that doesn’t connect for a lot of people. Tell us about that.
Zander Fryer: Um, so I think, you know, when, when I got kicked out of the air force, I, I had, I learned a ton obviously like going through four, you know, four years of leadership, air force, ROTC training.
I graduated top gun from my , um, uh, field training course, which is like air force version of bootcamp. Um, and then obviously getting kicked out. You know, I was lost. I was, I was a kid in his mid twenties who was absolutely lost. So really, you know, I was just following the herd. Right. I was just following the herd and you know, what is, what does every loss 20 year old kid do?
They. They go to recruiting events. They go to the corporate job fairs and I happened to connect with the Cisco recruiter who gave me an opportunity to interview. And I ended up landing this really amazing job because I was an engineer that, you know, not only could engineer, but could actually communicate, like I could actually talk to people.
Right. And that was just such a crucial skill [00:07:00] set that most engineers don’t have yet. I had built that ability in the air force and leading , um, you know, and I look at the next 60 years of my life. And, and you, you said something there, you know, you talked about like going on to have, you know, this amazing success.
And the reality was like, sure, on the outside it looked like success. Right. Like, I was making great money. Like if you asked any one of my friends, like Zander had it, like Zander had it all, he had the, he had the title, he had the money. He had, you know, he had the life like I have, I was driving around Venice and my BMW living on the beach age.
Like, you know, I had all of that stuff, but like, I didn’t feel successful. I was chasing something that. I was, I did not feel. And I think that that’s a really important lesson that I want to share with people is like success isn’t necessarily the number on your paycheck or the title that you have, or the client that you work with.
If none of that makes you truly fucking happy. Pardon my French. Um, but like that’s not success, right. And the second that I started to chase the [00:08:00] feeling, the feeling of success. All those other things started to come, right? The money, the title of the paycheck, all the, all that other stuff started to come.
But I also felt full at the same time. So that’s six years in the corporate world looked like success on the outside, but inside it was a little bit of torment, to be honest, it was, I was, I was chasing it, you know, this it, you know, that like waiting for Godot, like chasing this thing, that would just never come.
Right. And I think a lot of people do that in life.
Zach: Described feeling lost for a period of time. They’re short, you know, for the engineer listening, if they feel lost right now with what you’ve come through, what would you say to that person right
Zander Fryer: now? The first thing is like, take the, take the intentional time to get clear. Like you have to work on it. I think so many people like, you know, being lost is a lack of clarity.
Right. Like, if you don’t [00:09:00] know what you want or where you want to go, how can you ever get somewhere? That’s going to be fun and fulfilling and, and make you happy. Like if you don’t have that clarity, don’t expect it to just come by continuing to move forward. I always talk about clarity, like , uh, like a jigsaw puzzle, right?
So like Claire, you never get full clarity, but you find these little jigsaw puzzle pieces and you put them together and you get more and more clarity as you adventure through life. Now, the problem is most people think that. They’re going to find these little jigsaw puzzle pieces, like while they’re writing emails at work, or like taking the trash out at home.
And it’s like, that’s not the way this works. Like you have to have, and, and you get this right? Like you have to have the deep, intentional conversations with people that. Well, not bullshit you, right? Like coaches and mentors, you’ll have to, you have to do exercises that like really make you think differently about the way that you see the world and what really brings you joy and what really makes you successful.
And you have to like intentionally put time and effort into getting clarity. [00:10:00] Otherwise you end up one year, two years, three years down the line in the exact same position, right? This is, this is probably one of the things… this is probably one of the things that I hate the most about seeing a lot of my friends who are still in the corporate world- is three years ago, they may have been in a different company, may have been in a technically a different role. Maybe they made a little bit less, you know? So, so they moved, they moved companies, they had a different role, some new things, maybe free sushi lunches, maybe a little bit better work-life balance or something like that.
But three years later, like mentally, emotionally fulfillment wise they’re in the exact same spot. And they don’t want to admit it, but they just spent the last three years, you know, thinking they were building a little bit more happiness and fulfillment, but the reality was they never got clear on what they wanted.
So they just jumped from LinkedIn to Google, or Google to Cisco, or Cisco to Facebook, to, you know, from Oracle to whatever, right? The new hot startup or something like that. But they’re still not fulfilled [00:11:00] because they never got clear at the very beginning of what they really wanted. Like when you’re clear on that, it’s so easy to find something that fulfills you. And everybody else just kind of jumps from thing to thing, hoping that it’s going to be better.
Zach: This pattern is one I see all the times entered for the engineer seeking engineering career growth, listening. They might be in this exact spot. They’re on their third. Well, Cisco,
Zander Fryer: Cisco, Cisco paid me to come back and do a half-day talk at Cisco around this. Wow. That’s not like that. This is how like, like, even like the big, Cisco’s see this problem in the engineering world.
And I got paid to come back and speak at, you know, the, the old organization I used to be a part of to talk about.
Zach: So if, if they’re caught in this pattern of thinking that leads to job hopping company hopping, just seeking that little bit bigger paycheck, that next title on the career ladder, whatever it is.
But you’re going nowhere or even backwards. And the things that really [00:12:00] matter, you mentioned think differently. What is it about engineers and our thinking in, in your estimation that keeps us caught in that loop.
Zander Fryer: So I think one of the things that engineers do really, really well is focus. Right like this, this is my gift.
And my curse, like I can hone in on something and I am locked on target. Like the world disappears around me. Right. Because I get so into this one little problem or whatever it is that I need to solve, that everything else disappears. Right. And that is a gift as an engineer. Like most people can’t do that.
Right. That is why people pay us good money to go solve problems, whether it’s tech problems or, or, you know, civil engineering problems or whatever it might be. Right. It’s our ability to hone in laser in and focus and solve a problem. The one problem with that is you never take the time to pull your head up and look around to see what you’re [00:13:00] actually doing and where you’re actually at.
Like, if you’re. Think about it. Like if you’re swimming and you’re heads down in the water and you’re just swimming and you’re at, let’s say you’re trying, like in the very beginning, even let’s say you jump off a boat and you’re trying to swim to shore and you just put your head down and you start swimming.
Right. And you never take the time to look up. Well, what if you know, every 10 paddles or so you start to turn about five degrees, right? All of a sudden you’re either swimming in circles or you’re swimming back out to sea. And if you do not get your head above water to take a look at where the hell you’re at.
You’re not going to end up at shore. Like you’re not going to make it there. And I think, I think that’s one of the biggest problems is like our gift is engineers is focused. It’s also our core, our curse. Like if we can not pull ourselves up to get into that right. Brain, more creative thinking and like take a bigger, you know, look around, visualize the world as a whole, right.
Because. That’s really what it takes,
Zach: you know, with focus. The other thing I see all the time with engineers vendors, we get trained to constantly focus [00:14:00] on what can go wrong. Yeah. FMA, right? Failure, modes, and effects. Like we’re always looking for what can break. We’re always focused on the thing that’s going to fail and that in our engineering career growth.
Honing in on negativity in design is a strength at work. And then we take that and we do it at home and in our personal life and in personal development, we’re constantly focused on where I’m not getting results in the things that are not working and what’s frustrating and what’s broken. And it’s another place where that gift.
Becomes a curse in the way that you move through life. Is that something you could relate to or are you a
Zander Fryer: hundred percent? And I think it’s, I think it’s, I don’t know if it’s society or I don’t know if it’s like nature or nurture or whatever it might be. Right. But like I was, I was very much that way and I, I.
I talk about that person is a very left brain type person, right? Like we are especially engineers, but society as a whole is very left brain, to be honest, right. It’s very left brain friendly, left brain supportive. Um, you know, that logical, that [00:15:00] rational, everything like that. But engineers are incredibly left brain.
I was incredibly left brain. Um, I had one of my mentors once kind of basically revealed to me that she, she basically said like, you know, as a, as a proud left brain person, you’re half a person. And I was like, Ooh, oh, that actually really hurt. Right. Because I had developed an inability to, to flex the right brain muscle.
If you think of it like a muscle, right? Like, could you imagine like having your left arm, like, like juiced and yoked and having huge biceps and then your right arm is like this flabby skinny little thing. No. Right. But like, that’s what we like as engineers, we do that. We flex our left brain all the time and we completely neglect our right brain.
We’re like we’re half a person that’s terrifying. Right. But when you learn to kind of flex that creative muscle, the visualization muscle, the, the emotional muscle emotions are scary as shit until you start to get into them. Right. But then once you start to like, learn to leverage [00:16:00] both parts of your brain, You start to accomplish crazy amounts of amazing stuff.
Um, I’m in a, I’m in a mastermind with Walter O’Brien, who’s the clinically tested smartest person alive 197 IQ. Right? Wow. So 179 IQ or a hundred, 197 IQ. He hacked NASA when he was like 14 years old or something like that. Um, just to give anybody perspective, like Einstein was a 1 62 or something like that.
Um, So I had this conversation with Walter because I was teaching Walter emotions because he’s a completely left brain person. And so, you know, Walter, like Lee, it’s amazing talking to him because he can actually he’s his left brain is so powerful, right. That he can actually fake emotion in real time.
But he has no emotional intelligence. He literally it’s like a computer program. It’s like AI that he can like, you know, fake emotion, real time. But the reality was like he was, he was [00:17:00] jealous. If he could feel jealous. If he was jealous of me, being able to understand like deeply understand people’s emotions and feelings.
And, and be on that creative side. And like you mentioned, rather than just being a negative thinker and avoiding the, the, you know, all the faults and the security. Cause that’s what he does as a left-brain person. Like you mentioned, he’s like, I want to be more of a dreamer. I want to be more of a creative thinker.
I want to be in that area. So like we were talking about like how to intellectually understand that right. Brain stuff. So he could actually start, it was really interest, but
Zach: Zander is, so this is twice. Now you mentioned earlier with the Cisco. You know, getting the job that you’re balanced between left and right.
Creative and logic is what got you there. And now here it is again. So like, Odds are really good. The engineer listening is, is right where I was and where a lot engineers are that they’re heavy on the left brain. What’s the first action. What’s the first step. Like where do you go to just take one step [00:18:00] forward in putting what you just described into practice in our lives?
Like, what are you
Zander Fryer: do I, so, so I mean, there’s a lot, there’s a lot that you can do. I think the first step is actually just accepting that it’s important. Yeah. Right. I think there’s a lot of engineers out. Number one, accepting that it’s important. And number two, accepting that you can do it. Yes. Right? Like, just like you, just, like you just mentioned like, like I was in high school, I was the nerdy kid that had no friends.
Right. Like you mentioned you were, you were, you were that engineer that didn’t have that emotional side. I’m sure a lot of this is due to your wife, like twisting you into pretzels and yoga and stuff. Right? Like, but like the reality is like we started there like you and I started there. I was a completely left-brained person.
Right. Like when I was in high school, I, I. Was taking when I was in junior high, I had to go to high school to take math. And when I got to high school, I was going to the local college to do , uh, to do all my math courses. So like I was the nerdy kid that was picked on. I was that guy. I didn’t have [00:19:00] friends.
Right. And so I made a conscious decision. Like I want to learn that skill. Like, I want to take my ability to learn and problem solve and apply it to the soft skill, apply it to the right brain stuff, the emotions, the communication, the creativity, because that’s going to be what really makes the balance like in the end.
Like, even if we’re just talking about getting a raise or a promotion, right. People, I think a lot of, a lot of engineers forget this. People don’t get, let go for not completing a job. People get, let go because people don’t like you. That’s the truth, right? Like if you’re, if you’re a likable person, you could be 60 or 70% as productive as somebody who’s unlikeable and they would get fired.
Right. If you want the raise or the promotion, it’s because the team sees value in you and enjoys working with you.
Zach: Yes. People love working with people who they love. They like working with people who they [00:20:00] know
Zander Fryer: business. Business is not a machine business is a industry of people. So if you don’t have the people skills here, me in trouble.
Zach: So I want to come back and point out what Zander just did here. That’s for me even it’s convicting and it’s important. I asked the question. From the left brain. What’s the first thing we should do to work on our right brain. The classic engineering approach, hundred percent Xander’s answers. So on point, I just want you to hear this listening.
The first step had nothing to do with do. It was simply to be. Aware of the importance. It’s a being shift. And I talked to hundreds of engineers a year around developing in their careers and in their life. And I could tell you, it is extremely common that an engineer does not believe that emotional intelligence and this entire right side of the brain actually matters [00:21:00] for creating the career in life that they desire.
Right. They think they can get they’re just in the left brain and yep. You can’t, that’s not going to take you to the ultimate fulfillment and happiness and success in even external measures to where you want to get to a hundred percent.
Zander Fryer: So actually you’re functioning is half of a person.
Zach: That’s, that’s a really powerful picture.
This limping around with one side of my body just completely atrophied week and other side. Yeah. Wow. What a powerful picture. So, all right. You said there were two points of awareness, day one in corporate, you knew it wasn’t for you. And then there was a day where you kind of allowed yourself to see it.
What is it that shifted that you actually got honest with yourself because I see this with engineers all the time. You, you know, I’m using air quotes for people. Can’t see, like, you know, something, but you haven’t allowed yourself to know it and really then take action on it. What, what changed,
[00:22:00] Zander Fryer: um, death.
Death changed. I think, I think there’s a very, I think there’s a very real and rude awakening when somebody truly accepts death. Right. Like I bet, I bet everybody listening to it. Like, we all know we’re going to die. Right. Everybody listening to this knows that you are going to die at some point, but you don’t really believe it.
Right. Like, if you truly believed that you were going to die at some point, you’d be a little bit more intentional around the decisions that you made in life. Right. There’s like, I there’s some study that was done that I could be completely making up right now, which every engineer hates when you do this, but I’m going to do it anyways.
So there was a study that was done that I might be making up right now that, you know, they surveyed we’ll call it a thousand, you know, elderly people and of the thousand elderly people. They basically told them, you know, what is, you know, what are your biggest regrets in life? Right. And they basically [00:23:00] had two answers.
Number one, it was like, Focusing more on the relationships that mattered. And number two was not making more like taking more risks and making more decisions. Right. It’s because, you know, as, as somebody who is inevitably facing their own death, they start to look back on their life and they start to think, wow, I should’ve made decisions different.
I should have made decisions with this moment in mind. Like at the end of my life, do I, am I going to feel like I’ve got regrets? From earlier, or am I going to look back and be like, take me, I’m good. Like, I fucking lived, like I did it and I did it the right way. I have no regrets take me. I’m done. Right.
And I think that’s something that’s something that really shifted for me is like when I started to get comfortable with death and it sounds a little bit more too morbid, but it’s the truth. Like, we’re all good. Gonna die. Like you’re going to die at some point. Some of you are going to die sooner than you think.
Right. [00:24:00] And that’s a little bit scary for people, but if you really start to accept that, like at some point I’m going to die and our time on this earth is limited. You start to make more intentional decisions. And that was basically my mentor really kind of ingrained that in me about. I want to say maybe maybe six to eight months earlier.
I lost my uncle at , uh, he was 56 and he was an engineer. He was a chemical engineer and he like, he passed away like, like no known, cause like they couldn’t figure out what it was. He was, he was a very calm guy. He had a great job, made great money. His wife just woke up next to him one morning and he was gone.
He wasn’t like he was, he wasn’t there at 56. Right. And that was, that was the first time in everybody. Everybody always, you know, growing up, always used to tell me like, like Zander, you, you remind me so much of Mukmood you remind me of moody, right? Like you’re going to be a mini moody and, and you know, like to hear that moody died at 56, you start to [00:25:00] question your own mortality a lot.
And then in that conversation with my mentor, he basically told me he’s like sander. When you get to my age, there’s one thing that you’ll realize, you’ll realize that we actually don’t have a lot of time on this earth. And every moment is either on purpose or off purpose. And every moment off purpose is a moment wasted.
And that was the belief. That was the belief that really changed it for me. I was, I was in Cisco waiting for my moment. I was in Cisco waiting for that, that sign, you know, God to come down from the heavens and be like, my child come this way. Right. Like not gonna happen. Right. Like, so, you know, I realized for the first time that it was on me to make a decision and start to do the courageous things sooner, because every moment that I spent not doing something that felt purposeful and fulfilling and right to me, let’s not mistake this with like easy, right.
Life is not easy. Life is not meant to be easy. Life is meant to be hard, but. It’s also meant to be purposeful and fulfilling. I worked my ass off, [00:26:00] right. I work my ass off soft, harder in my entrepreneurial job than I did as, as an engineer, love every single minute of it. Like it lights me up. I love it.
Even when it sucks and I hate it. Like, I love that I have the opportunity to do all the things that I get to do right now, because it’s purposeful for me. I know that by the end of this life, I’m going to look back and I’m going to say I did it. Like I have no regrets.
Zach: I know for me, it’s, if I was listening to this as like, let’s get away from this mortality topic for a second, but for the sake of the person listening, like do not let this moment pass you by.
I mean, if you need to pause or stop listening to this, to sit with the reality of what Sandra just shared with you, I mean, I really appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable about that. The question would I at the finish line, whether that’s a day from now a year from now, or, you know, 50 years from now, Or beyond.
Is the path that I’m on one that I’m going to [00:27:00] look back and say, yeah, that was, yeah. The journey, the journey of my highest calling in this life. And if you don’t know how to answer that question, it goes back, puts Anderson earlier with clarity. It has to get clear. Yeah. Got to get clear. So, all right. Ears are notoriously stereotyped.
As risk averse, safety, security driven, take the comfort zone path kind of people. Yeah. And I just heard you describe a relationship between purposeful living and this life that you’re experiencing now. That’s so fulfilling and risk. Yep. Talk to me about that.
Zander Fryer: That’s that’s a great point. Um, in all actuality, it’s perceived risk, right?
And in today’s in today’s society, it’s probably more risky to be a part of a company than it is to be able to make your own income. Right. Like when I, when I first, when I first went to Cisco [00:28:00] and, and to be honest, like it’s also a shame, right? It’s a shame that engineers who, in my opinion, are the most creative people in the world.
Like the most intelligent and creative people in the world. Like your job is literally to creatively solve problems. Like that is what engineering career growth do yet. We, we pigeonhole ourselves into thinking that we can’t solve problems that really pertain to our life or anything like that. Right. But the reality is like, I still remember when I first joined Cisco.
Right out of college and swear to God the first month that I was in Cisco, Cisco, a company of at that point 75,000 people or whatever, let go 14,000 people. The high majority had been there for between 10 to 20 years and they were now out on their ass. When I left Cisco three months later. Can you guess what [00:29:00] happened?
Cisco let go. 8,000 people. I made the decision to leave and everyone’s like, oh my God, who’s this crazy guy choosing to leave Cisco. And three months later, 8,000 people were told to leave. So the reality is like, It can happen and it will happen to you. The riskier thing is to trust in my opinion, trust in somebody else that, that you’re always going to be taken care of, rather than like working on yourself, creating, making yourself be indispensable.
And I’m not necessarily saying that you need to become an entrepreneur, right. But you need to learn how to become indispensable so that you can always generate your own. Income and your own livelihood. Right. And that could be as an entrepreneur, it could be making sure that you are at the top of the chain as an engineer within your company, or if your company were to let you go, eight other companies would scoop you up in a heartbeat, right?
Like that is incredibly important for you and really learning those skill sets is actually the unrisky thing. Right. But the, you know, kind of to your question. [00:30:00] Yeah. Becoming an entrepreneur is quote unquote risky until I realized that first of all, it’s actually riskier for me to stay somewhere and let somebody else dictate my life.
And then number two, if I was, if I was any form of engineer worth my own salt and engineering, what is my profession? I’m a professional problem solver. Yes. So even if I don’t know what I’m going to do as an entrepreneur, I had to have confidence in my resolve and skills to go figure it out. And that was, that’s not risky to me.
I’m not going to die going in trying this thing. And if I know that eventually I’ll figure it out and I’ll be better off for it. It’s not really a risk.
Zach: This is a great example. And I’m going to, I’m going to bring it down smaller Zander for, for the engineer listening. Who’s like, Hey , uh, entrepreneurship isn’t even on the radar for me.
I don’t know what you’re talking about. This is crazy. Well, I am a little bit crazy for most of these crazy good. I’ll tell you [00:31:00] that the behaviors of seeking safety and security and the comfort zone seem like. They’re going to prevent bad things from happening because I’m not taking these risks. And the reality is even for those of you who are just seeking growth within your organization right now, the opposite is true.
You know, that that’s scary thing to speak up in a meeting when the VP is in the room and you don’t want to say something dumb that you could be perceived. Like, you know, when you don’t speak up. That’s actually, what’s holding you back. That’s the risk.
Zander Fryer: Yeah. That’s the thing that’s causing problems. That was the reason why I used to get promoted was because I was not afraid to speak up even to like the CIO of Disney.
Right. Like, cause I was just a naive kid that didn’t know any better. Like everybody else was like, oh my God, that’s Susan O’Day and I was just talking my mind. I was like, oh it is, you mean, Susie?
Zach: Exactly. I love that. So it doesn’t matter where you’re at in where you see your career going, or if you’re an entrepreneur or you’re a corporate guy or gal, doesn’t matter, the [00:32:00] mindset of being willing to get out of your comfort zone and take the risk is critical to creating the outcomes that you actually want.
Zander Fryer: And so, sorry, sorry to interrupt, but like, no, I just, I think this’ll be really helpful for everybody because as an engineer, like, we love to understand. What’s going on. Right? Like if I can understand it, it makes me, makes me a little bit happier and I’ll, I’ll play along totally. Um, for all the engineers out there, like, I don’t know if you know, what percent of your brain is the subconscious, but it’s somewhere between 95 to 98%, somewhere between 95 to 98% of your brain is unconscious.
And it’s like a super computer. It’s constantly programmed. You as a person are only two to 5% of a real person. Like that person you think is so damn intelligent is actually only two to 5% of a, of a conscious thinking person. The other 95% is been programmed. It’s been programmed by society, culture, media, all these other things.
And it’s your responsibility. As an intelligent [00:33:00] person to start to unprogrammed the negative crap and reprogram the positive stuff, because it’s things like you mentioned speaking up in the meeting, right? Like this is a human created fear. This is a personal society. Created fear, fear of being outcast by saying something stupid.
When you’re first born, you have two fears, the fear of loud noises and the fear of Heights. Makes sense, right? Like as a baby, as a, as a prehistoric baby, like, you don’t want to accidentally wander off a cliff. And if like a saber tooth tiger were a growl, you don’t want to crawl towards it. Right. Keeps you alive, everything else, every other fear is self-created or society created.
So glossophobia the fear of public speaking, right? That’s what glossophobia is by the way, has a higher percentage fear than death itself. Why? Because like I mentioned, people do not accept that they’re going to die, right? So people are more afraid of speaking in public than they are of dying, but we all know that we’re not going to die.
[00:34:00] If we stand up in the middle of a conference and speak or say our motto, say, speak our mind or something like that. But what happens your body? Same has the, has the same physiological response. Like you were just about to be eaten by a saber tooth tiger. Right. Like your, your blood starts to pump adrenaline spikes just in case you need to like run or fight a short nose bear or a saber tooth tiger blood goes to your legs and your arms in case you need to run your eyes , uh, you know, get focused so that you can find the saber tooth tiger.
Your Neff’s next stiffen. So you can spot the tiger. Uh, literally like. Your bowels start to evacuate so you can become lighter and escape the tiger. These are all the things that happen. You sweat this like weird smelly sweat. So you taste bad to the saber tooth tiger. But you’re not going to die. You’re all you’re doing is putting up tiger.
There is no check the bathroom. There is no tiger. Right? So all these fears that we create in our mind, especially because we’re engineers and we like to think the stories are insane, like the amount [00:35:00] of overthinking and the stories that we create in our head around, like you mentioned all the worst case scenarios.
Cause that’s what we’re taught, leads us to perfection paralysis over analyzing and becoming immobile. And that is what kills you.
Zach: Over analysis to immobility. Yeah. I feel like that, that right there, if there was a theme of engineers that I talk to it’s it’s everywhere. It’s constant. Yeah. So man, Zander, there’s a thousand directions.
I would love to go, but we need to land the plane here and I want to. Ask you, I’m curious, you know, with all that has shifted and grown and the ways that you’ve discovered yourself and built an incredible business with where you’re at. If you were to go back into the engineering life, what’s something that you would do differently now, knowing what you know, from the journey you’ve gone on.
Zander Fryer: Um, to be honest, I think it’s, it’s all the same things that we just talked about. It’s get clear on what you really want. [00:36:00] And I think that was something. If I had been super clear on what I really wanted and Cisco had given it to me, I would not be an engineer. I would be a very happy, a very happy person in the corporate world.
And I would have had that life. Right.
Zach: Wouldn’t be an entrepreneur. You’d still be
Zander Fryer: sorry. Wouldn’t have been an entrepreneur. Yeah. I would have been in it. I would have stayed as an engineer. Right. Um, you know, when I went back, when I went back and spoke at Cisco, you know, one of the things that I told them, I said, you know, th their big question was like, why are, why are all the high performing millennials leaving Cisco after three years?
And I basically told them exactly what we just talked about. Like, You know, they’re looking for, for alignment, they’re looking for purpose, right? Yes. And if you don’t find it. You think you’re going to go find it somewhere else with a slightly better pay, some free lunch, a little bit better work-life balance.
And then they go there and they don’t find it. So they go to the next place and the next place. And I literally, like I pointed out to Cisco, all of the engineers that stayed. For 5, 10, 15 [00:37:00] years, they found some form of alignment with what they do. And they were so happy and what they did, they didn’t need to go anywhere else.
Right. And so, you know, my first piece of advice to myself is get crystal clear on like what it is that you really want. Number one, and then number two, take the courageous actions to make that happen sooner rather than later. Whatever it might be, you know, and I think, you know, we kind of talked about like, don’t overthink it.
Don’t overanalyze, trust your skills. And, and just remember that, like in the end, the only resources that you can’t get back is time. So what’s, it hurt
Zach: clarity and courage. You couldn’t have picked two better words for the heartbeat of OACO the Oasis of courage man so Z thank you so much. You know, this as an engineer, you know this as a.
Well, one of the best coaches I’ve ever met in our lives, the questions that we ask matter a lot questions, lead answers, follow that subconscious, that [00:38:00] 95% is going to crank hard on whatever questions we give it to work on. So for the engineer, listening to this, if they want more of what you just talked about, they want the happiness, the fulfillment, they want the income and the impact, all of these things.
What is the best question? To lead them with,
Zander Fryer: I think, I think I would just go back to the same question that my mentor asked me that one day, like, be honest with yourself, what would you do if you couldn’t fail? Like what would you do if fear was non-existent right. And be honest with yourself about what that is, because the reality is most fear is self created.
So fear is pretty much nonexistent. If you really start to think about it.
Zach: Fear is pretty much non exists. That’s so powerful. So there you go. Go spend some time chewing on that question. Zander. This has been amazing. I know if I was listening and I will be, I would want more [00:39:00] Zander in my life. Tell me, where can people go?
How can we get connected to what you’re doing? And the incredible work that that’s going on in your world?
Zander Fryer: Yeah. Um, so you can go to at Zander fryer on Instagram, if you want to, you want to keep up with everything that’s going on in my life there. Um, I would, I would subscribe to the shit you don’t learn in college podcast.
We just launched it about a. Uh, a month and a half ago and we’re growing pretty rapidly. So check that out. And then , um, for anybody who wants to dig into the, what would you do if you couldn’t fail, go check out my TEDx. So you just go to YouTube and search Zander Fryer TEDx and check that out. Um, but yeah, happy to help, man.
Zach: Yeah, I, I will testify. Zander’s podcast is fantastic. His talks. Fantastic. And if you are one of the engineers listening to this and going out on your own and entrepreneurship is something that interests you then definitely connect with Zander and his team because they have. One of the best systems you’re ever going to find for turning that, that desire into something that can go places.
So check that out. Zander. I can’t thank you enough, man. It’s awesome to see you we’ll have to do this.
Zander Fryer: Absolutely brother. [00:40:00] Thanks for having me.