The Happy Engineer Podcast

170: Are You Feeling Bored or Burned Out Lately? with Erika Rothenberger

Do you feel like a little more grit, a lot more grace, and finally getting new results (the glitz!) would go a long way to loving your engineering career?

In this episode, meet a woman who gave up the idea of being bored and focused on changing into the leader she dreamed of becoming, Erika Rothenberger.

Discover her secret to growth when you feel like you have nothing else to give. As you’ll see, she makes most of us look flat out lazy.

She currently manages a full-time career as Director of Performance Systems for a big national utility contractor, Henkels & McCoy. She started two female empowerment networking groups in her community, and serves on multiple charity boards.

Erika is a mom, a published author, traveling keynote speaker, wellness entrepreneur, real estate investor, and oh yeah…host of the “Grit, Grace, & Glitz” podcast!

So press play and let’s chat… because you have the resilience inside of you for glitz without burnout!

Ready for more? Join us in a live workshop for deeper training, career coaching 1:1, and an amazing community!  HAPPY HOUR Workshop Live with Zach!


The Happy Engineer Podcast

WATCH EPISODE 170: Are You Feeling Bored or Burned Out Lately? 



LISTEN TO EPISODE 170: Are You Feeling Bored or Burned Out Lately? with Erika Rothenberger

Previous Episode 169: The 4 Keys to Selling Your Ideas to Upper Management


The Top 3 Principles for Joy and Growth in Engineering

Top Takeaways

In this episode of The Happy Engineer Podcast, I have an inspiring discussion with my fellow entrepreneur, Erika Rothenberger, about juggling roles, finding joy, and personal development.

Here are the top three insights:

1. Tenacity and grit are invaluable traits that can propel us towards success, no matter the challenges we face.

2. Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, remember to pause and celebrate your victories, finding joy in the small moments of daily abundance.

3. By identifying your passion and purpose, you can create a legacy that truly speaks to who you are and the impact you want to make on the world.

To go deeper and build an action plan around these points and why all this matters, listen to this entire conversation.


Erika Rothenberger manages a full-time career as Director of Performance Systems for a large national utility contractor, Henkels & McCoy. Erika is a LEED Accredited Professional and a certified Professional Project Manager (PMP). She has started two female empowerment networking groups in her community and contributes to charity boards and various networking groups, including serving as Chair for the Executive Roundtable with POWER. She is a leader in the Greater Philadelphia area, mentoring and lifting other women as she rises.

Erika graduated from Villanova University with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a master’s degree in Business Administration. She is a published author of “You’ve Got this, Boss Mama,” podcast host of “Grit, Grace & Glitz,” and a keynote speaker, captivating audiences on stages all over the United States in both her corporate and wellness roles. Her entrepreneurial ventures span real estate and wellness. Erika has received many awards, including a few notable ones: CREW Top 20 under 40, Rebuilding Together Volunteer of the Year, and Top Leader in Action with her wellness company. She is also a major advocate in creating assault and domestic violence awareness.

Erika currently lives in Harleysville, PA with her two children (Drew, age 9, and Adelyn, age 6) and husband, Andy. When not working on a passion project or career-driven endeavor, you can find Erika traveling the world, working out, and enjoying time with family and friends.



Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Happy engineer. You are going to be happy. You’re here today. Welcome back. And Erica, welcome to the podcast. So excited for our chat today. Thanks for being here. 

[00:00:09] Erika Rothenberger: So excited to be here. Engineer speaking to engineer.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:12] Zach White: Oh, come on. Uh, Erica, I had the incredible privilege of being on your podcast. Not too long ago.

[00:00:18] Grit. Grace and glitz. So an immediate shout out, everybody needs to go tune in and listen to that podcast. We’ll talk more about that later, but I’d love to start today in a completely different place than your current world and podcasts. Is that all right? 

[00:00:35] Erika Rothenberger: Perfect. Let’s dive in. 

[00:00:37] Zach White: Okay. Well, first of all, how are you doing Erica?

[00:00:41] Erika Rothenberger: I am so abundant, so full of so many things going on. I’m not telling you if they’re good or they’re bad. I’m just abundant with a lot of things. That’s my new motto. I’m not busy. I’m abundant. 

[00:00:53] Zach White: I love that. So before we hit record today, you told me that I said, well, I need to hear that again, but the reason that it stood out to me was because the first time today, somebody asked you that you had a different answer.

[00:01:04] What was that? Busy, busy, busy. Busy, busy, busy. I’m guilty, Erica. I’ve said that so many times. How you doing? I’m busy. I think it’s like a default in culture. Uh, maybe even something we’re proud of to be busy. What, what is your thought about why that’s not the answer you wanted? Why you rewrote the script today?

[00:01:25] Erika Rothenberger: Well, I think Part of it as I was coming out of yoga, which I don’t do often. And I was like, I should be in the most Zen place. I should be in just, a really good mindset and abundancy and not scarcity. And I feel like when we say busy, you’re right. There’s two connotations. One, it’s like, Oh, we’ve so much on our plate or, Oh, Oh, we’re so important.

[00:01:46] There’s so many things going on. Like, I think people can read that word so many different ways or it can just seem really heavy. Like, Oh, I’m so busy. As I said it, I reversed the script and I said, hold on, can you ask me that question again? And she asked me it again. And I said, I’m so abundant.

[00:02:04] And I just said it in a different tone, a different mindset. And it just blowed off my tongue so much easier. 

[00:02:11] Zach White: just the consciousness to catch yourself in that moment saying, wait, That’s not how I want this interaction to go.

[00:02:18] That’s the wrong energy for this conversation. And to literally ask somebody, Hey, can we back like pretend that didn’t happen. Ask me the question again. I’d like another go. Not many people will do that in life. So Erica, I, I just love that about you and how you really invest care and intention into your energy and how you impact others moment to moment.

[00:02:40] And so if I take that thread, let’s wind the clock back then. I want to go all the way back to March of 2012, March of 2012. And at the time you’re the North American director of construction in energy conversion devices for USO, right? United Solar Oveonic. And I just was curious what was your favorite part about that gig?

[00:03:02] Erika Rothenberger: Oh my goodness. You’re really like now, now, now, now I’m starting to show my age a little bit here, but I will say as crazy as this sounds, it was learning something new, right? I didn’t know the solar market and it was really understanding it. But part of it was a, every Monday morning, I would get on a plane.

[00:03:23] And I would fly to Toronto, which is from, you know, Philadelphia. Oh, 

[00:03:28] Zach White: literally Toronto, eh, . 

[00:03:30] Erika Rothenberger: Hey, hey. And I would stop at a to, uh, was it a Tim Horton’s, 

[00:03:35] grab a cup of coffee, get off that plane and drive to the job site. And. The temperature was obviously a lot lower.

[00:03:41] There was the middle of the winter. We were installing these solar panels, but you know, it was just this this appeal of being like I’m learning something new. I’m flying to another country every Monday morning and I did that for 12 weeks in a row. It became a little laborious. Believe me when they start to know your name and you know what room you want when you check in every Monday.

[00:04:01] Um, and at the same time, was something that was just so cool about it. I love to travel. I love learning things new. Wow. Just being in another country. 

[00:04:10] Zach White: Canadians love their Timmies. Shout out to Tim Hortons and all my Canadian friends. So you’re learning something new. It’s energizing you.

[00:04:19] You’ve got this amazing project for you. What is it about learning that, that sense of a new adventure, a new challenge? That’s so important. Is that always been important to you? And like, why do you love that so much? 

[00:04:33] Erika Rothenberger: Always, always. Cause I really feel if we’re not changing, we die. just innovating and thinking differently and looking outside the box.

[00:04:43] And I think about companies that have done that, right? Like you think about companies like. Blockbuster or Radio Shack and that because they didn’t evolve because they didn’t change because they weren’t learning something new They weren’t thinking three years ahead of them. They really died on the grapevine And I always challenge even my team now to do that, right?

[00:05:01] Like, how can we be innovative? How can we think outside the box? How can we, ruffle the cages a little. And, for me, that’s always been really an important part of who I am, not only what I’m representing professionally, but also what I’m representing personally to my kids, that we got to try new things.

[00:05:17] I love coming up with new :ideas. once we got them rolling, I want three new ideas to come up and to start doing that. 

[00:05:24] Zach White: Now you might be wondering Erica, like why in the world did Zach go back to March, 2012, but here’s what actually. Pulled me into that moment for you. There was a recommendation on LinkedIn from Peter who worked for you at that time. And when I was immersing myself in your life and all the things you’ve done, which it is an incredibly long resume of accomplishments, I saw this little note and I’m going to read it because I thought it was really powerful and it stands out.

[00:05:51] Who you have become. And I want to see like where it began. It says, Erica proved herself as a hardworking and organized project manager and director with her involvement. USO had several successful bid and project cycles on many occasions. Erica showed her dedication to the company, sacrificed her own schedule and her determination to bring projects to a successful completion.

[00:06:16] I highly recommend her. And I saw those two words, dedication and sacrifice. And then I look at your podcast, grit, grace, and glitz. I look at your TEDx audacity and resilience. It’s like, okay, all the way back in 2012, everybody was seeing it. And what I wanted to get curious about with you is, where did that begin for you, this sense of dedication and sacrifice and grit?

[00:06:44] And is it the same now in career and in life and the way that manifests as it was then? Or has Your beliefs or your, your way of being shifted and evolved in that time. I just want to unpack sort of the origin and how that’s evolved through your journey, because it’s clearly something people have seen and known about you for a long time.

[00:07:07] so first, where did it start? How did you become this? I 

[00:07:10] Erika Rothenberger: didn’t think we were going to go back to 2012 and not the lace like Peter on LinkedIn. I mean, man, I’m going to have to go back and look at like, go, go get Peter and tap on the back, uh, you know, in our high, high five. I mean. And I love that you’re bringing this up, but it’s, I even want to go back further.

[00:07:26] You know, I want to go back 10 years prior to that, or even 10 years prior to that, because 

[00:07:30] Zach White: you can’t be in my forties now. 

[00:07:32] Erika Rothenberger: I know you’d never think so, but I will tell you that the craziest part is I remember this. Even as a young child. And I, you know, just, I remember really trying to be, get my first job.

[00:07:45] And, um, I was too young to technically work at the time and yet I wanted to work. So I started two businesses and one was going around the neighborhood. I made flyers and went to every house, even if they only had gerbils, but especially the ones that had kids and told them that it was going to be a dollar an hour, a kid to babysit.

[00:08:07] And that they wanted me because, and I put all the accolades because I was going to do arts and crafts. I was going to bake cookies. I was going to play tag. Like I had to, you know, add the value add that they were getting from me. How old were you at this 

[00:08:19] Zach White: time? 

[00:08:20] Erika Rothenberger: At this time I was probably 12. 

[00:08:21] Zach White: That’s amazing.

[00:08:23] So this was your idea. Nobody came along and said, here’s what you should do. Wow. 

[00:08:27] Erika Rothenberger: Exactly. And then my family had a pool and I had gotten my, all my swimming certifications and everything. So this next summer, I decided that babysitting at 3 an hour was not necessarily exactly as aggressive as I wanted to get because when parents went out for 12 hours and I got paid 36, you know, it seemed like a lot of work for a little, a little reward.

[00:08:50] So the next summer, I went to my parents and asked them if I could go get my. Certificate in swimming lessons. And I opened my, when we opened our pool, I let parents know that I had my WSI, which is my certification in swimming. And I taught all summer long, private lessons, a few kids in the pool at a time, and that was 10 an hour per kid.

[00:09:14] So we were, you know, really up in our game there. And from, you know, just really from the get go. And I always say, listen, you know, there’s certain things that are ingrained in you. I think from like, just who you are. And I think I’ve carried that throughout, that I’ve always had that grid. I’ve always had that tenacity.

[00:09:31] I’ve failed many, many, many times. but I will say that every time that I’ve scraped my knee, the recovery, the next time has been a little bit easier, right? Like just because you learn to tackle that adversity and tackle those challenges and say, okay, listen, what did I learn from it? How did I grow from it?

[00:09:50] And it’s something that I really try to do still to this day, four decades later. 

[00:09:55] Zach White: Yeah. Okay. So. Do you believe that this is a pure DNA thing, like it’s just hardwired, that tenacity, or did somebody in your life model it for you and you saw it and kind of latched on to this is the way to be in the world?

[00:10:11] is it pure nature or is there some nurture involved? 

[00:10:14] Erika Rothenberger: No, I, I believe a lot in like how you’re brought up and what you’ve seen. So who 

[00:10:19] Zach White: modeled the way? Who showed you what tenacity looked like first? Okay. 

[00:10:23] Erika Rothenberger: really just seeing even my, grandparents, you know, just working so hard.

[00:10:27] My grandfather, Joji, which is grandfather in Polish, he opened his own, Little diner and he was getting up at 3 in the morning the deliveries got there and everything. And, you know, just watching my grandparents just have certain tenacity and grit, um, including my grandmother on my maternal side, she would get up every morning.

[00:10:48] She would get in the Atlantic ocean and she would swim a half a mile. And, you know, this woman in her sixties, you know, still doing that, going after it, playing tennis, doing this. And, you know, I just saw a lot of that, hard work ethic then with both my parents were, both just really hard workers, you know?

[00:11:06] Zach White: There’s an entrepreneurial bend to that. Grandparent interaction. And I’m curious then what drew you into engineering? And I know you are an entrepreneur and engineer today, but why go into civil engineering? Was there something about that that really sparked your interest?

[00:11:22] Because it doesn’t feel as entrepreneurial of a path for most people. Typically more of a corporate career kind of route. So what, what was the impetus to go into civil engineering? 

[00:11:31] Erika Rothenberger: Okay. Two things. One, my grandfather on my maternal side, was a mechanical engineer. He worked for PNH cranes, big crane company.

[00:11:40] It was just, I just always saw him and just the way that he was working. And he would talk about these work sites and I just brought up with that. And then my uncle, who was also his son. Was also a mechanical engineer. He worked for Exxon and he would travel, he traveled to the Hague and he traveled to South Africa.

[00:11:59] And he was just living this life of like traveling and being this engineer. And there was just something that was just so appealing to me in that space. But I will tell you the. The pinnacle of it was in seventh grade, it was take your daughter to work day. And most people went to work with their parents, right?

[00:12:15] They went to work with their mom or dad or, you know, regardless of what they did, it was a way. And that year in seventh grade, I actually went to my parents and asked if I could go to work. My mom was a school teacher and asked if I could go to work with one of her students parents, who was a civil engineer at the EPA in Boston.

[00:12:37] And I spent the entire day with her, just learning about her job and just seeing what she was doing and the fancy meeting she was going into and the work she was doing. I came back, I built a recycling plant in my house and, or what I thought was a recycling plant. And it just, from that point on, there was just something that was

[00:12:58] Zach White: I remember, take your kid to work day, going with my dad into the AT& T Bell labs facility in Indianapolis and, seeing their laboratories and sitting in a cubicle and he got me graph paper. And I remember that very well, super impactful experience. So, okay. You go into civil, this pinnacle moment in seventh grade, you follow the passion towards becoming an engineer, build a really successful career.

[00:13:26] We talked about 2012. It continued to grow and do more and more. Erica, at some point along the way, You became this powerhouse woman who’s doing all the things. And just to recap, like, if we look at your life right now, you’re still leading an incredible engineering career and a team at a high, high level.

[00:13:46] You are a wellness entrepreneur. You have a massive Instagram following. You have incredible content podcast. You’ve been a TEDx speaker, you’re a published author. Um, like where do we go from here? So you’re a mom, you’re a wife. It’s like each one of these. Could probably be a full time job in its own right.

[00:14:05] And you are making it look relatively smooth and easy. So what I want to know is how did that happen? Was it brick by brick? You added one piece at a time. Did one day you just say, you know what? Open the floodgates. I want to do it all. how did you balance your engineering career throughout all of this?

[00:14:22] Because it seems like, Whoa, this, then how does she do it? so where did it begin that you’re doing engineering and then something else sparked? What was that first? Piece you added in. 

[00:14:35] Erika Rothenberger: I love this question. And I think you forgot to add in Zach. And we were talking about this before the show that I’m also the photographer for the lip sync tonight for my kids elementary school.

[00:14:45] So we can add, I might add that to my profile. That’s such a great question. And, you know, I’m thinking back to that period, I really think when that gusto came about was actually when I had really young kids, daughter was not even one and my son was about to turn three 

[00:15:07] Zach White: and it 

[00:15:07] Erika Rothenberger: was something that just, I felt like, Stella needs her groove back.

[00:15:14] I felt like Erica needed her groove back. I just felt like I was missing a spark. I was missing something. I felt that there was so much more and whether it was those four beautiful eyes that were looking at me each day, I just felt like I needed to build a bigger legacy and not even for myself, but for them.

[00:15:33] And if I was going to tell them to go and do the things that Made them happy and showed them passion and purpose. I was like, am I living that true passion and purpose? And that’s when I, started building that other path. And it really happened fast. Cause my son’s just 10 now. So in the last 10 years, I feel like, you know, probably one of the busiest times in my life being a new mom, but I also felt this burn in this passion to continue to build it.

[00:15:59] And it was a little bit like a layered cake, right? The layers happened quickly, but you know, I started with, you know, building my wellness business. And prior to that, I even owned my own gym and I was teaching fitness classes. Right. And so that kind of started it. I remember being pregnant and getting this gym ready and all of this, these things.

[00:16:17] And so it just, it really was just this, this spark in me. And I really believe it was my children who inspired me, even though it seemed like it would be the time where you’d be like, Oh, time out. Like, I don’t have time to add one more thing to my plate. I got to make sure I can keep two kids alive.

[00:16:33] Zach White: That’s amazing. That is amazing. So, so the spark is lit I like this build a bigger legacy concept. And I think a lot of people, Erica, have that little flame inside them, but it never really ignited. It doesn’t burn. It doesn’t burn bright. I mean, when I’m around you, you see the fire. It’s like Erica still has her groove.

[00:16:54] Like it’s there. I think a lot of people, there’s just this little pilot light of a desire for, For a bigger legacy and they never really stoke the flame or step into it. I’m not sure if it’s just the fear of failure. If it’s, I don’t know how to fit all this in. Like there’s something that holds them back.

[00:17:12] What would you say to that person? What made it possible for you to actually let that idea that there’s a bigger legacy for me, burn brightly. what would you say is the key that allowed you to get there? 

[00:17:29] Erika Rothenberger: And I wish I could say it was just one key, but you know what I would really ask you, and if you’re listening to this right now and you feel that fire, you feel that that churning of your belly of saying, I wish I was doing X, I was just like, go back and find out what that X or Y is like, what is really going to give you that passion and purpose?

[00:17:47] And, but don’t put so much pressure on yourself. I think people try to find the pinnacle of what’s going to give them that, that flaming fire. And I’m still figuring that out, that it’s an evolution. So I say, start small, start with something. Maybe it’s starting a podcast, right? Maybe it’s running the marathon.

[00:18:05] Maybe it’s whatever those little things are is just start doing it. And, but I think a confused mind does nothing. And I think when we try to think so broadly or so bigly or big, or we think that there’s, it’s such an audacious goal, I That we’re like, we’re, we’re not going to do this. Right.

[00:18:25] So I just started small and I just kept layering on and going back to the why, like what keeps me motivated? What makes me want to get up at three 45 in the morning and jump out of bed. And when you have, when you start to really start to peel back that onion and figure out what the, the, the root is in the middle, that’s keeping you doing what you’re doing, even on the hard.

[00:18:49] challenging, abundant days. We continue to keep going. And at the end of the day, it goes back to my, my kids. I may not be the mom that breaks the brownies and I may not be the one that always gets them off the bus. Very rarely you get them off the bus, but I know I’m teaching them other things.

[00:19:08] And I know I’m showing them other things. And when I see certain traits that I have some of the good and bad, but especially the good traits being. resonating through my kids and watching them. I know I’m doing a good job, right? Maybe not a great job, but I’m doing a good job. And that’s at the end of the day, I think we always want to serve.

[00:19:28] Zach White: Yeah. Erica, what’s an example of a bad trait? 

[00:19:35] Erika Rothenberger: Well, I would say that I’m missing a strand of DNA for patients. I’m not the most patient person. Luckily, I married someone who is extremely patient, extremely patient with me and our kids. but I would say that that’s a area that I try to concentrate on.

[00:19:50] And, you know, I’ve learned different techniques. Like, you know,trying to breathe, going on that walk, taking three minutes to sit in the car and listen to a song before I walk in the house, right? Like, it’s inherent in me. I’m fiery. I’m an Aries.

[00:20:03] I’m a firstborn. Yeah, you want to go get 

[00:20:05] Zach White: it done. 

[00:20:05] Erika Rothenberger: Right? And so sometimes I’m not as Patient as I would like to be. And, you know, I ended up regretting that. And I can see that like sometimes with my son, um, who’s also a firstborn and, and a mini entrepreneur himself. And I can see certain things in him and that he, and he’s not patient.

[00:20:21] And then I think about it and I would say, Oh, that must be from your dad. And I say it sarcastically, cause I know it’s directly from me. 

[00:20:28] Zach White: So these seven years of layering and building and going after really audacious Goals beyond being a senior leader in an engineering organization. Have you ever experienced a burnout in that time?

[00:20:45] Erika Rothenberger: I can’t say there’s been like a period of burnout, but I like to look at it more than a burnout of energy drain. When my energy is not at the capacity that I know it can be. And sometimes it’s not that anything else has changed. It’s just, I can’t give anymore.

[00:21:02] Yeah. And. I’ve definitely gone through bouts and periods of that. Sure. What do you do when 

[00:21:09] Zach White: you catch yourself in that state? What’s, what’s your recovery strategy? 

[00:21:13] Erika Rothenberger: A couple things. Um, one, you know, just something that I just do daily in my practice is every day writing down, waking up and writing down what I’m grateful for.

[00:21:23] Right. Just putting it on paper every single day. It’s become a habit. it feels like I don’t brush my teeth when I don’t do it. I feel like my day is not complete. Right. So just starting to think about like the abundance and like all the good things that are in your life, because it’s really easy to feel that drain.

[00:21:38] Um, I think also reminding myself sometimes to slow down and to take those pauses And it’s okay. It makes, we talked about this, I think, before the podcast started that sometimes busy is almost like a, a title or a badge of honor. And I wear it very proudly. I’m guilty of it, just like the next. And sometimes I have to recognize that.

[00:22:07] Say no to certain things. Like I had to say no last week to a big event that I really wanted to be at, but my family was at a ski trip and I, in my head, I struggled with it. I was like, I can be in both places. I can leave the ski trip and I’ll pack an extra bag and they can drop me off in an airport on the way back from Vermont and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

[00:22:23] And I ended up saying no. And I had FOMO missing out on it. At the same time, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. And I realized like that was work. And I was actually really proud of myself because I was like, that took work to be, to say no, just as much as it takes work for some people to say yes.

[00:22:42] If that makes sense. 

[00:22:43] Zach White: 100%. What I like about this, and I’ve learned a couple of things in my own journey around these simple daily disciplines that we take, you know, almost. Like we don’t want to believe them because they’re too easy, you know, a gratitude journal. It can’t really be that simple You know Some of these things are actually that simple and have a profound impact over time in the quality of our lives but on the busy side Erica the thing that has changed for me because I really Took a level of pride in having a lot going on and being able to get a lot done.

[00:23:17] I don’t know that I ever was proud of being busy. I was proud of being productive, proud of the volume of output that I thought I could create in the world. someone came along. I don’t remember who it was that showed me this. I think it was a guy named Chris Saka. And he said, busy is a successful person’s word for out of control.

[00:23:38] I thought, Ooh, that’s a really good way to frame that. the energy of busyness when it’s negative, the kind of busy, you don’t want the kind of busy that doesn’t lead to a good life. It’s just a word we use to cover up for being out of control. You’re not actually making intentional decisions.

[00:23:58] You’re not planning a life around the things that you value most deeply. You’re, you know, you’re not making the decision to say no to the thing, you know, you need to say no to, but you’re. unwilling to, for whatever reason, you get to a state where you’re no longer at choice. You’re not an agent of influence in your own life.

[00:24:20] And you start to fall into that victim mentality subconsciously. And then you kind of get out of control. You’re just drifting. You’re on autopilot. I’m curious, does that resonate for you, that idea of out of control? And then if it does, what do you do to get back in control in your own life? 

[00:24:36] Erika Rothenberger: Such a good question.

[00:24:37] And now I feel like we’re like digging into like, you know, therapy session. Um, but yes, I do. And you know what, and I’m okay with it and I’m okay admitting it. And I think it’s being able to admit it and to tell you guys, Hey, listen, I had this, I still had that FOMO last week, but I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

[00:24:55] And I think, The busy of like out of control and sometimes almost it’s like a frantic. And if you’re so busy, what I’ve also recognized, um, just through some traumatic events and just really digging back, speaking of therapy is that I use busy personally to sometimes avoid other things, right?

[00:25:16] Like sometimes it’s a excuse. Like if I so busy. If you stay running on the treadmill, you’re not going to know like that your calves are sore. You’re not going to, you know what I mean? Like, it’s just, you just keep going. Sometimes it’s actually the beauty in the pause and the silence and being alone. And I’ve really tried to work on that time with myself.

[00:25:38] Um, whether it’s the quiet mornings or it’s before I go to bed, or it’s some spiritual work, making sure I’m making church a priority in my life. Like whatever that is in your life is finding that alone time and not being afraid to be in that quiet time. 

[00:25:56] Zach White: That’s good. So you’re a rockstar engineer.

[00:26:01] We keep. brushing that off. Like it’s not that big a deal. It’s a big deal, but you also, Erica have really focused in your life on balancing the head, the intellect and your intelligence with the heart and mastery of your whole person in that way. Can you tell me a little bit, you know, one of the many things you do with speaking and being an author and the incredible work outside of engineering.

[00:26:26] What have you discovered about head and heart and what, what do engineers I just really need to hear from you about that. I know you have a lot to say, but what’s the thing that you’re like, this is what’s changed my life the most about understanding the head versus the heart. 

[00:26:42] Erika Rothenberger: I think so many of us as engineers, we’re so structured and so programmed and a plus B is C and the fastest way from, 0.

[00:26:50] 1 to 0. 2 is a straight line. all the theorems and the, science, right? And we want everything to almost be an equation or be so logical, but it’s sometimes I think it’s taking some of that logic out of it. I did a keynote the other day, and we talked about the power of our heart and emotion.

[00:27:11] And if we aren’t in tune with, like, our, as much as our IQ is our EQ, our emotional intelligence, we’re really struggling, to be. The best leader and show up in the best aspects of our life. And I think so much, we, sometimes we miss that side of it. And there’s actually a lot of studies that have been said that regardless of what role you’re in, but especially in the engineering world is they’d rather take someone with a higher.

[00:27:38] Emotional intelligence than even an IQ, because empathy is really one of the number one leadership traits, right? And when we want to show up, we need to be able to have the. Empathy towards other people. And so I, what I’ve recognized is that if I want to be a leader, whether it’s in engineering or it’s in wellness, or it’s as a mom, like I have to have both sides of it, I can’t forget about the logical side, right?

[00:28:04] Like there’s just some things that you have to do a plus B a C, but then there’s the, also there’s the heart side and the heart is 5, 000 times more powerful than the mind. And we have to make sure. So if we look at it, even if we want to go back to equations or you’re really thinking, just that stat alone should make you say, Hey, listen, I got to put some more focus there, And it’s helped me a lot. 

[00:28:29] Zach White: As you say that the thing that stands out to me, I’ve worked with hundreds of engineering leaders now. In their career development and not a single time, zero times has the number one barrier to their future success been, you’re not smart enough. It’s never happened. these are managers, senior managers, directors looking to get that next promotion.

[00:28:51] And the thing that’s blocking them from promotion has never been. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re, you’re not smart enough. Like that’s never happened. That’s not to say that in intellect and continuous learning and technology and keeping up with the rapid pace of development of technology and engineering is not important, but that’s never been the problem.

[00:29:12] It’s actually the easiest part for them to solve because they’re quite good at learning new things about engineering. It’s always related to the heart, the EQ, the courage to take, to take And action out of their comfort zone, all of those things. So your podcast, grit, grace, and glitz, and we started, you know, our conversation going back to 2012 and said, you’re here, you are as dedicated, self sacrificing, gusto person.

[00:29:45] Would you define those words for me? What, why grit, grace, and glitz, how do they fit together? What do they mean to you? Take it a little deeper. Cause I love it. And I was. I really enjoyed being on the show, but I just want you to explain your heart behind those three words. 

[00:30:03] Erika Rothenberger: And, you know, I, I don’t know if I’ve shared this with you that, but like this project actually when I call it a project, right.

[00:30:11] Typical engineer came out of COVID and it was a way that I could connect with people. So it really started very innocently. I was just, I wasn’t thinking big podcast. I wasn’t thinking a hundred episodes. I wasn’t thinking this would be a three year long project. I was thinking, Hey, this is going to be a great way to connect with people.

[00:30:27] And now I look back. Three years later, just about hit ready to hit my hundredth episode and just, in a really good place there and what a gift it’s been to me. But when I was thinking about titles and coming up with, Hey, what is, what do I, what represents me? I actually went and asked people that knew me best.

[00:30:47] And I came up with a couple of different titles and that was one of them. And the reason I chose it wasn’t just because there was a, overwhelming response that people felt that that represented me, that was part of the equation, but it was the reason I. I was so drawn to it and I originally started it as I was like, those are the type of people that I want to magnetize, that I want to attract, that I want to draw into my life.

[00:31:11] People that are ready, that are willing to get up, the scraped knees, the pain, the busy, the this, the that, and keep going. Those are the type of people I want to be surrounded by. And that’s the type of person I want to be known as, right? I don’t want to be as the quitter or someone that just gave up after, you know, the first sales call.

[00:31:31] Secondly, with grace, it’s in the middle of the two words, and that was very intentional of giving ourselves the grace when we hit the grid, right? Because when we get gritty, we got to sometimes give ourselves that quiet time, sometimes back off to speed up. We have to make sure that we’re giving ourselves that space to make mistakes.

[00:31:56] And you can’t be truly gritty unless you give yourself grace, in my opinion. And then lastly, I feel the last pillar of that, and it’s so important. And again, it’s the reason that it’s at the end is when all the glitz and the good stuff starts happening. And I don’t mean it has to be a Louis Vuitton bag, or it needs to be a Land Rover, or it needs to be the biggest speaking gig you’ve ever done.

[00:32:19] I’m just talking about the glitz and just day to day and celebrating. 

[00:32:24] Zach White: Yeah. 

[00:32:24] Erika Rothenberger: The abundance that you have in just that day, being grateful. Hey, I have a roof over my head. I had dinner. I have, my kids are happy and healthy and it can just be the little things, but celebrating the glitz that happen every day in your life.

[00:32:38] So that was kind of how it, how it all started. 

[00:32:41] Zach White: Grace is the space between the grit and the glitz. I really love that. I really love that. And it reminds me just earlier today, I had a chat with an amazing client of mine named Andy. He’s started his own business, made a huge, courageous leap to exit his W2 job, started his company.

[00:33:02] This was, you know, while working with us and now he’s hired some team and it’s expanding and he closed a PO this week, got a new client and I asked him, say, how are you going to celebrate that? And. It’s like, uh, you know, there wasn’t really an answer to say, Oh, you need to make this a big deal. Like, this is awesome.

[00:33:20] Make, make the glitz something that you focus on more, that you allow yourself to experience the joy of it longer and expand inside that emotion of the win. Don’t just, Oh, got another PO awesome onto the next hard gritty thing. It’s like, well, hold on. Like there’s some glitz in your life right now. Let’s go celebrate that grace being in between the two.

[00:33:41] So beautiful. It’s like, 

[00:33:43] Erika Rothenberger: And just going back to the glitz too, it is, it’s the things. Sometimes we don’t pause long enough, right. Before we put the period in that, you know, grace before we got to take time to, to be there and to be present there and to remind ourselves we need to celebrate that. and I know I’m guilty of not doing that sometimes, right.

[00:34:04] And where we are, we’re so big on like getting the next thing. You can’t have more abundance. You can’t have greater or bigger things come in. If you can’t celebrate the small things, if we’re not celebrating the small things, how are you going to track the bigger things?

[00:34:20] Zach White: Yeah, I love that. Erica, you’re already changing the world in so many ways, but what’s the next layer? We talked about you layering all these pieces into your journey. What’s the next layer for you? 

[00:34:36] Erika Rothenberger: Love this question. So I always say, you know, Erica 1. 0 is engineer. 40 hours a week. I can’t wait for the corner office and you know, to retire with this company, Erica 2.

[00:34:47] 0. I introduced the kids and the entrepreneur spirit and started kind of exploring like what really makes me happy. What does give me that passion and purpose? And now I feel like I’m at that 3. 0 and it really is the three decades. You know, I started my twenties with 1. 0 2. 0 is, the kids and figuring also I’m now in my forties and it’s saying, okay, this is the time that I get to really start defining it, right?

[00:35:10] Like And massaging it, and I’m not taking anything away, but I’m just recognizing where do I want to focus my attention, you know what I mean? And part of that is where I found so much passion. and really had a pivotal moment in my life a year and a half ago that made me recognize like, Hey, listen, I have to go after this.

[00:35:31] you know, and part of it, part of my recovery, um, has been talking about it and I recognize that I have such a passion. I feel so alive when I’m speaking and when I’m serving and when I’m inspiring and I was like, I can’t. Quiet that voice. It wouldn’t quiet for me. And I was like, I have to go after it.

[00:35:52] So it’s speaking on more stages, getting in front of more people, serving more, and just showing up and being even a brighter light. 

[00:36:00] Zach White: And will you be on stage in April in Dallas with our mutual friend Amberly, is that right? 

[00:36:06] Erika Rothenberger: I will. I will. I cannot wait. 

[00:36:08] Zach White: Amazing. We’ll have to. see if I can hustle this episode to go live before that.

[00:36:13] I’m not sure if it will or not, but either way, uh, I’m so excited to see, the content from that. And I might, might, might be there live. We’ll see. yeah, we’ll see if I can get down there. Well, Erica, this has been tremendous and thank you so much for your, you’re sharing your wisdom and your story.

[00:36:30] And if someone who’s in an engineering path, maybe they’re hitting, hitting their 2. 0 phase and they want to tap your wisdom and that maybe they need some guidance and want to learn more about your podcast or your wellness business, how can people connect with you? Where can they find out more about Erica?

[00:36:46] Erika Rothenberger: Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, we have over a billion people on LinkedIn and it’s such a great way for business professionals to connect, to motivate, to inspire each other. So Erica Rothenberger on LinkedIn would love to connect with you. That’s Erica with a K and, uh, would love to see how I can serve you.

[00:37:06] Zach White: Amazing. We’ll make sure that’s in the show notes. Happy engineer. Go check out Erica on LinkedIn and all the amazing work she’s doing. Erica, as we wrap today, you know, this extremely well, both in your engineering world, in the coaching and the speaking and writing that you’ve done in our lives, questions lead.

[00:37:25] The answers follow and we all want better answers. We’re looking for that next level of abundance, that 3. 0 version of ourselves. So what would be the question? That you would lead the happy engineer with coming out of this conversation. 

[00:37:40] Erika Rothenberger: You know, it would be, what does your 3. 0 look like? And, you know, asking questions, but if you could, you could just draw that out, read it, literally put it on a blueprint and figure that out.

[00:37:54] What would 3. 0 look like? no strings attached. what do you want that to look like? And, I think to your point, asking questions is one of the most powerful gifts we have. Be so eager to learn about people and peel back that onion. It’s amazing. You know, Dale Carnegie says, right, you can spend two years making people interested in you and it will take.

[00:38:19] only two months if you become more interested in them. And I probably butchered that quote a little, but I think you guys get that. 

[00:38:28] Zach White: Dale forgives you. It’s Dale. Forgives me. I mean, him and I are buddies. He’s 

[00:38:32] Erika Rothenberger: coming over for dinner, but what I’ll say is like, we just have to remember, just be so hungry to learn about people because so many of us want to show up and, Oh, what am I doing?

[00:38:42] What am I doing? Blah, blah, blah. And I think if you just start reversing that script, the power that you can make with connection that way. 

[00:38:48] Zach White: So good. What does your 2. 0, 3. 0, 4. 0, whatever iteration you’re on, What does that version of you really look like? Happy engineer. Chew on that, Erica. Thank you again for being here.

[00:39:04] This has been awesome.