Zoe Fragou – Stop starting. Start finishing

Zoe Fragou
Zoe Fragou is an organizational Psychologist and explains why” everything is a negotiation”, why you should “focus on your strengths”, how “pettiness stalls your career” and much more. Hosted by Siebe Van Der Zee.

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About Zoe Fragou

Zoe Fragou is an Organisational Psychologist with an MSc in Human Resources Management, a clinical psychologist license, a diploma in Business Coaching & Mentorship and a Certificate in Agile Leadership.

At the moment, she is a PhD Candidate at Panteion University and her research is mainly focused on the psychometrics of the corporate culture.

Alongside her academic interests, she is operating professionally in the full spectrum of her science, taking over projects of culture transformation, employee training and development, business coaching, personal branding, public speaking, and writing, for both private and corporate clients globally.

She is a mentor for Women on Top, a feministic organization trying to bring equality in the workspace, a senior member of the Hellenic Institute of Coaching, and was voted best career coach in the Global Coaching Conference of 2021.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Everything is a negotiation. 04:37
Lesson 2: Everyone is a mess; some people hide it better. 06:45
Lesson 3: Focus on your strengths. 09:52
Lesson 4: Don’t swipe it under the carpet. 14:23
Lesson 5: Pettiness stalls your career. 17:45
Lesson 6: Be the person you needed when you were younger. 20:19
Lesson 7: All we have is the connections that we make. 26:05
Lesson 8: Stop starting, start finishing. 27:53
Lesson 9: Consistency is about showing up. 30:33
Lesson 10: Always be the last one to speak. 31:42

Zoe Fragou – Stop starting, start finishing.

[00:00:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello and welcome to our program, 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to business people, journalists, authors, professors, ambassadors, leaders, and luminaries from all over the world. My name is Siebe Van Der Zee, and I’m your host. I’m originally from the Netherlands, happily residing in the beautiful Grand Canyon state of Arizona in the United States.

[00:00:31] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m also known as the Dutchman in the desert. Our guest today is Zoe Fragou from Athens in Greece. Zoe is an organizational psychologist by profession, an agile leadership developer by expertise, a data driven organizational change and culture transformer by passion. A model by Hobby, an author by the Force of Nature and a keynote speaker and podcast host because she loves sharing and spreading inspiration and building momentum.

[00:01:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: Maybe no surprise her first name, Zoe. In the Greek language means life. So besides actually being from Greece, Zoe describes herself. Full of life. Zoe is currently a PhD candidate at the Panteion University in Athens. She is a mentor for women on top, an organization that brings equality to the workplace.

[00:01:28] Siebe Van Der Zee: She’s also a senior member of the Hellenic Institute of Coaching, and Zoe was voted best career coach in the global coaching conference of 2021. You can learn more about Zoe Fragou on our website. 10lessonslearned.com.

[00:01:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello Zoe Yassa. Thank you for joining us.

[00:01:51] Zoe Fragou: Yasu Siebe. Thank you very much for having me over.

[00:01:54] Zoe Fragou: What introduction now everything you’re going to do, no matter how hard to try, I will fall short for sure, thank you for that.

[00:02:01] Siebe Van Der Zee: I doubt it. I doubt it. I have the feeling there’s a lot of energy that you bring, to the table, and I’m kind of curious, what inspired you to become a coach, a career coach, a performance coach?

[00:02:13] Siebe Van Der Zee: What, what brought that to you? .

[00:02:15] Zoe Fragou: Well actually I do have, a clinical license as well. as well, I was actually working in the psychiatric hospital of Athens. I was doing, alcoholic rehabilitation, but it was very soon that I realized that I’m very business oriented and I think that, you know, in the emotional intelligence suite, there is a particular variable that we call organizational awareness.

[00:02:35] Zoe Fragou: And it has to do with how fast and easy it’s for a person to understand the inner dynamics. In the environment that they’ve never found themselves again. So, I think that I score a bit high there cause it’s kind of easy for me to join an organization and approach it like a puzzle. Understand which piece fits and why this piece doesn’t fit, and how to mix and match them so that they can give out the best.

[00:03:00] Zoe Fragou: So I can say that it’s a, it’s an outcome that came really, really naturally to me.

[00:03:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: Now, do you coach typically groups of people or are you coaching one particular individual in an organization or both?

[00:03:14] Zoe Fragou: Hmm, well, I would say that 50% of my clients are corporate and I, my specialty there is culture change.

[00:03:20] Zoe Fragou: So they usually might come to me after a merger or buyout or succession differences, or are they just. Might want to change their culture into a more professional way or a more diversity, diversity and equality oriented one. So that’s when I go and I do team building activities, group coaching, trainings as well.

[00:03:41] Zoe Fragou: And everything that falls under this umbrella. But at the same time, I also have private clients that come to me globally from all over the world. And their issues are usually leadership development or soft skills development. Sometimes it can be burnout, recovery, or they might be being mobbed in the workspace.

[00:04:00] Zoe Fragou: So, they need some help in order to know how to put more boundaries. So basically a little bit of both, I would say.

[00:04:06] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. And you seem to enjoy it, right? You, you like it?

[00:04:09] Zoe Fragou: Well, yes. I really, really like it. I, it’s not just something that I do as a work. I really believe that our work is a big and important part of our identity.

[00:04:19] Zoe Fragou: Therefore, it’s our responsibility to find a way to make it healthier and more enjoyable, so we can’t have such an important piece of our identity being associated with negative emotion.

[00:04:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: Makes sense. Well, let’s take a look at the 10 lessons. There’s a lot of wisdom in there.

[00:04:37] Lesson 1: Everything is a negotiation.

[00:04:37] lesson number one, everything is a negotiation.

[00:04:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: What are your thoughts about that?

[00:04:44] Zoe Fragou: Well, my thoughts are that, for many people this isn’t very clear and they think that if they are polite enough or kind enough or patient enough, they’re going to get something. And it’s true. There is this, you know, public wisdom that says nice things come to those who wait, but only the things that are left behind by the ones that were running.

[00:05:06] Zoe Fragou: And no one tells you the second part. So, this is something that everyone needs to understand when resources are limited and in general, resources are limited in the world we live because many people end up wanting the same things. Therefore, if you don’t fight for what you want, how are you supposed to get it?

[00:05:25] Zoe Fragou: And why should you expect that you’re going to get it? The others are going to fight. So when you don’t realize that everything is a negotiation, that means that you are the only one, not negotiating. how do you determine what is worth fighting for? Because when you go through life, there are challenges, and sometimes perhaps it’s to say, look, don’t worry about this.

[00:05:44] Siebe Van Der Zee: Don’t worry about that. How do you determine that something is worth fighting for?

[00:05:50] Zoe Fragou: That’s a very good question actually, because I also think that many people. Struggle with that. They both struggle because they don’t know what they, they should be fighting for, but at the same time, it seems like they struggle even more because they don’t know what they should be letting go.

[00:06:03] Zoe Fragou: Yeah. And move forward. So, I would say that deep down, we all know what’s worth fighting for and the instincts are always there. It’s just that we are trained from a very, very young and early age not to listen to these instincts. Think of a child that you give, you give it a broccoli and it spits it out, and then we tell it, no, it’s good for you, and we shove it up their neck.

[00:06:26] Zoe Fragou: There is a reason why the child doesn’t want the broccoli. Maybe it’s intolerant or maybe it causes as a travel in their stomach. So these instincts, not only should we as adults go back to listening more to our guts, but at the same time, we shouldn’t train our children to not listen to their guts anymore

[00:06:43] Siebe Van Der Zee: Makes sense.

[00:06:44] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like it.

[00:06:45] Lesson 2: Everyone is a mess. Some hide it better.

[00:06:45] let’s, let’s move on. Lesson number two. Everyone is a mess. Some people hide it better. Hmm. Some thoughts come to my mind, but please, what are your thoughts on that?

[00:06:57] Zoe Fragou: Well, the thing is that if you, if you are a person who is into self-loathing an entire life can pass like that and always thinking that you’re doing something wrong and everyone else gathered together and, but at the end, pretty much no one’s gathered together.

[00:07:12] Zoe Fragou: We all have to suffer. And we all have to suffer because life is so hard. If you think about it. Everything that brings us pleasure is connected with great pain in this life. Like think of giving birth. At the same moment when you’re doing something so important to you, you can’t even mentally, physically connect to this thing because you’re such an amazing pain.

[00:07:32] Zoe Fragou: And then the suffering that you might feel from losing someone, for example, it can never be compared to any sort of joy that you can feel. But at the same time, we need to wake up every day and somehow decide actively that one more day we’re going to make it one more day. We’re going to be mentally healthy; we’re going to go out there.

[00:07:52] Zoe Fragou: And we all go through that. So to think that you’re the only one that’s going through that, and you’re the only who changes your mind or change everything, and sometimes you want this one thing and then you don’t want that, then that’s futile. Most of the people are like that. It’s just that not everybody is exposing themselves.

[00:08:11] Zoe Fragou: Not everybody feels comfortable sharing. Everybody goes through their own journey.

[00:08:17] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m curious, because I, I like what you’re saying here. Everyone is a mess, but is it also that you’re saying no one is perfect? Is that, is that the same, but maybe, you know, it sounds friendly.

[00:08:32] Zoe Fragou: Yeah, it does sound friendlier and because it sounds so much friendlier, people don’t get the point of it.

[00:08:38] Zoe Fragou: They know, they do know that no one is perfect, and it hasn’t really helped them, but they need to understand that everyone is actually a mess. Some messes are cleaner and some messes are different, and for, for, for me, for example, maybe your mess is not a mess, but also for you, maybe my mess is not a mess.

[00:08:56] Zoe Fragou: That’s why it’s so important to understand that it’s almost never personal. It’s only personal. If it’s about you, you thinking about yourself. That’s the only personal that we have. Everything else, you know, people have so many, many things in their minds that, yeah,

[00:09:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think that’s such an important point that you’re making and that’s why I asked you.

[00:09:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. No one is perfect. That sounds. very friendly. you know, we all understand, but when you talk about everyone is a mess, that perhaps turns on the light a little bit quicker that people say, Hmm. Yeah, as a matter of fact, you know, and we can all think about ourselves. I am a mess.

[00:09:34] Zoe Fragou: And I guess that even you there, there must have been many.

[00:09:37] Zoe Fragou: That’s why we say never meet your heroes, because we always think that this person is so amazing. They’ve got everything together and then we meet them and we come close and we say, okay, they don’t have everything together. They just seem like they’re having everything.

[00:09:50] Siebe Van Der Zee: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, that’s a good point.

[00:09:52] Lesson 3: Focus on your strength.

[00:09:52] Siebe Van Der Zee: And it kind of links perhaps to lesson number three, focus on your strength.

[00:09:59] Zoe Fragou: Yeah. This is a very important lesson for me because I think that the entire educational system is not promoting that. The entire educational system, what they’re doing is they’re trying to convince you that it’s very important to improve your weaknesses.

[00:10:15] Zoe Fragou: And that’s also important, but to try to make a career and a successful career out of your weaknesses. For me, that’s paranoia. Because you can spend your entire, for example, let’s say that I’m very good at listening to people very good, but it’s very stressful for me to speak. Why become a speaker when I can become a very successful therapist?

[00:10:37] Zoe Fragou: Right. And then you think about students at school, what’s happening there? Someone is good, let’s say at math and weak at English language, and then parents, they find them a professional tutor to help them with language. Then what happens is that this child actually loses their confidence. So basically all the new research when it comes to self-work and self-confidence says that you should actually put the child into more math classes.

[00:11:03] Zoe Fragou: Because all these extra confidence that they’re going to win from that are going to give them the emotional support they need to get better in English as well.

[00:11:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: You are well educated, PhD candidate. obviously your focus is on, on these, issues. but how and when did you learn about your own strength and weaknesses and, and was there a moment that you realized.

[00:11:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: I am not perfect or to use your previous lesson, I’m a mess. And, how, how did that come about in your own experience?

[00:11:35] Zoe Fragou: Personally me, I have a crisis like that once every four years. Ok. Are you kidding Every four years at least. I have one big, huge existential crisis where I’m like, okay, this is not working.

[00:11:45] Zoe Fragou: I’m changing everything. I’m trying something new and that’s okay because it means I’m growing and it’s totally normal. But the things that work four years ago are not working this year. Last year in particular, I had this, professional journey in, bologna in Italy where I met this, artist from Portugal.

[00:12:03] Zoe Fragou: And I asked him a little bit about his art and he explained to me, he did a, a very interesting project about, racism. And he explained to me that, you know what Zoe, he said for the last. Three years I’ve been dived so much into this project. I couldn’t think of anything else. I gave it my soul, and this is my first international exhibition and Okay, so he was 16 years old.

[00:12:25] Siebe Van Der Zee: Wow. Wow.

[00:12:27] Zoe Fragou: Yes. When I came back to Greece, I was like, oh my God, what am I doing? Like, what am I? And that’s how I was doing well. But I realized then something very important for me. I realized that this child, this other, this teenager, that’s something that I didn’t have until that point. It was very difficult for me to expose myself.

[00:12:48] Zoe Fragou: I was always thinking, you know, maybe I should keep it more, be more humble and keep it down and I don’t have to speak so much about what I know. And then I saw this child putting it all out there and I was like, you know what? Yeah. That’s the only way we can share a message by putting everything we got out there.

[00:13:04] Zoe Fragou: And that’s what. Inspired me to become a podcast guest and to try to, you know, share my knowledge with more people.

[00:13:13] Siebe Van Der Zee: I see it, you know, as you know, I’m a recruiter and when, people are looking for a job and they go through the interview process and the client company likes them and they go to the next interview, and then ultimately the company hires someone else that can be a big setback for an individual and many times they start doubting their qualifications and they say, well, I’m probably not good enough and I’m probably because you know, they like me until they hired someone else. Do you deal with that in your coaching as well as a career coach that you have people that are basically, underestimating who they are and do not focus on their strength?

[00:13:56] Zoe Fragou: Very, very often. Yeah. And the, the thing that they’re doing wrong is that they’re focusing so much on understanding other people’s motivations instead of focusing on what’s happening inside of them. And the problem with that is that it’s the biggest trap. You will never know other people’s motivation.

[00:14:14] Zoe Fragou: You ask other people about their motivation, and sometimes they have no idea. They tell you, ha, I’m, I’m crazy. I do crazy things.

[00:14:22] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah.

[00:14:23] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, good point. Thank you.

[00:14:23] Lesson 4: Don’t sweep it under the carpet.

[00:14:23] Lesson number four, don’t swipe it under the carpet. I like that one.

[00:14:29] Zoe Fragou: Yes. I also like that, I meet all these people in business, and they always come to me and they tell me I’m amazing at, conflict management. Amazing. At conflict management. Well, that’s not a medal to wear because conflict management is not the same as conflict resolution.

[00:14:45] Zoe Fragou: Absolutely. The conflict management is actually knowing how to swipe it under the carpet to the. The time comes, you need to walk above this carpet and you fall down because it’s such a big mountain of things that you left and managed actually. So no, don’t try to be diplomatic when it comes to your needs and when it comes to staff that are, are creating an issue for you, we need to be able to

[00:15:09] erase the subjects and solve them the moment they appear, because only when we do it, the moment they appear, we have the dignity and self-control to deal with them with appropriate amount of intensity. While it will let them and then they grow, then they build up, then they escalate and must probably we’re going to overreact.

[00:15:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, I, I’m, I’m thinking about a question that, I was asked during a seminar and there were several participants on the panel. I was one of them, so they asked me the question, but everybody else was asked to answer it. And I’m just going to throw it out to you. what do you do when you see something that you believe is unethical?

[00:15:48] Siebe Van Der Zee: So, you work for an organization, and you observe something that you believe Maybe it’s not unethical. Maybe other people can explain why that happened or, or, but how would you respond to that simple question? It can be challenging, but how would you respond to something to say, I think this is unethical.

[00:16:10] Siebe Van Der Zee: Would you speak out, would you stay quiet? Would you say, hey, I, I don’t want to lose my job. If I complain about, for example, my boss, I’m going to get myself in trouble. Or are you principal to say, I have to mention that

[00:16:25] Zoe Fragou: Well personally, I’ve been having vigilante fantasies all my life, , so I would be what? What do you call?

[00:16:31] Zoe Fragou: Social justice warrior. I’ve been speaking up since school, like I, I was always the one, but why did you say this? The professor? To my classmate, I don’t think that that’s a correct comment. I was always speaking up and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing today because it’s very important for me to be employees biggest advocate.

[00:16:48] Zoe Fragou: So that I can transfer their point of view to the management and then we can solve together and we can find a way that works for both sides. But at the same time, I do realize that there are many people that are afraid and they’re scared. Having said that, sometimes doing the right thing means that you need to do it scared.

[00:17:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: Thank you for saying that because it has gotten me in trouble over time, by speaking out. And I have to admit, of course, I can be wrong. but I felt it was necessary to speak up because in my mind it was, for example, unethical or wrong, whatever it was. But, I, I’m glad to hear that from you as well, because it is important to speak out if you can quote unquote, afford to do so.

[00:17:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: I can also see people who. Very dependent on their job just to pay the bills and to get food on the table. I would not expect them to speak up and put their job at risk, depending on the issue, of course. But that’s a little bit different. Yeah. yeah, good point. Thank you.

[00:17:45] Lesson 5: Pettiness stalls your career.

[00:17:45] lesson number five, pettiness stalls your career.

[00:17:49] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m curious, please explain and perhaps you have an example

[00:17:54] Zoe Fragou: pettiness. Well, people don’t understand that, but holding grudges Is such a negative factor for someone’s career because at the end of the day, there is this theory that’s called the sunflower effect, and that has to do with how people are basically trained to be attracted by positive people towards the light.

[00:18:15] Zoe Fragou: Like the sunflowers are always turning towards the sun. Therefore, if you are the kind of petty person in your mind, you think that you’re achieving something by holding to what’s important, but at the end, you’re losing network opportunities. You’re destroying relationships, and you create a, negative vibe at your working space, and people don’t like that.

[00:18:36] Zoe Fragou: So only you have to lose something at that particular moment you might be feeling. holding to your grudge is more important and the other person has to suffer, but do they really have to suffer? And does this really worth it so much as to even stall your career or affect your career in a negative manner?

[00:18:56] Zoe Fragou: Knowing when to give up is such a trait, it’s, it’s basically, for me, the definition of wisdom.

[00:19:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: I had not heard of the sunflower concept, but I, I can definitely understand the way you say the sunflower will direct itself towards the sunshine no matter what. That’s a very interesting.

[00:19:14] Zoe Fragou: point. Yeah, and the same applies to human beings.

[00:19:18] Zoe Fragou: That’s why you see some people that are so popular and so chill and so cool. Generally cool what we say, and people always like them. And then there are other people. They have this darkness. And what do you think darkness is? Basically, it’s the public term for resentment.

[00:19:34] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Yeah, good point. Good point.

[00:19:37] Zoe, we’re talking today to, Zoe Fragou, a successful organizational psychologist and a full of life dynamic performance coach sharing her 10 lessons learned.

[00:19:49] Affiliate Break.

[00:19:49] Siebe Van Der Zee: I want to thank our affiliate partner Audible. Audible is an amazing way to experience our program. 10 lessons. But also books and other podcasts, and it allows you to build a library of knowledge all in one place.

[00:20:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: You can start your free 30 day trial by going to audible trial.com/ten. Lessons learned. Again, that is audible trial.com. One zero lessons learned all lowercase to get your free 30 day trial.

[00:20:19] Lesson 6: Be the person you needed when you were younger.

[00:20:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, let’s move along. Lesson number six. Be the person you needed when you were younger.

[00:20:26] Zoe Fragou: Oh, this one’s. Personal

[00:20:29] Zoe Fragou: This one is personal, and I’ve written very recently an article about that and it’s personal because what led me to wrote write this article is thinking about all these things that would have saved me so much time and would have helped me so much through my career if somebody has told me. And then all these people knew about all these things, and then no one told.

[00:20:54] Zoe Fragou: So basically I realized that this pathogenic cycle of futile competition needs to end with us. And when I say with us, it’s my generation, we need to do better. We need to be able to mentor the younger and the newer people, even if we are younger selves, and provide them with every little piece of information that if we had it on time, it would’ve been helpful for

[00:21:21] Siebe Van Der Zee: There a lesson, and I, I don’t mean to put you on the spots, but you can, I’m sure you can handle this. Is there a lesson that you would teach yourself if you would be, can I say 20 years old, right? Doesn’t matter the age, but lessons that you have learned that you wish you would’ve picked up earlier in life.

[00:21:40] Siebe Van Der Zee: Is there maybe an example?

[00:21:42] Zoe Fragou: I can give you a very, very nice example to negotiate harder. Have you ever heard of the pay gap between women and men? Oh, yes. Have you heard about it? Of course. Oh, yes. Course. Why do you think exactly happens? It’s not like the employers see you and they interview and say, okay, you’re a woman.

[00:21:58] Zoe Fragou: I’m going to give you 30% less. It’s just that women accept 30% less because they, we are trained socially to accept less. And nobody helped me understand that I had to figure it out on my own. Do you know it’s going to be; I don’t know if we have time, but it’s a very fun story. Some years ago, I was listening to, Jennifer Lawrence, and that year she was the most successful actress and she had gained something like 50 million that year.

[00:22:26] Zoe Fragou: And then the most successful actor was Robert Downey Jr. Who had gained 80 million. So she said in an interview that, you know what? I also blame myself because I realize now that I could have negotiated harder and I could have gained 80 million. So when I heard that, I said, you know what Zoe? You know about pay gap.

[00:22:45] Zoe Fragou: And you know that this happens, and you know about the stigma, so there’s no way I’m not being affected by everything that I hear. So I took out a proposal that I was preparing for a client, and in this proposal, let’s say I had given an X amount and I raised it by 25%, just to see what happens. So I’ll go there to them, I present the proposal and they tell me, okay, okay, but the money is a bit too much.

[00:23:08] Zoe Fragou: We will accept this number, which was already 20% more from what I would have been. Okay with

[00:23:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: It, it is such an important point, obviously, and for me as a, you know, sometimes I say as a, a tall white guy, it’s easy to talk about these things, right? But I, I can assure you that from the very start of my career in the 1980s, and I’ll keep it short here, but I worked with a colleague, female, and.

[00:23:36] Siebe Van Der Zee: We guys, we thought, how did she get that job, because, you know, it was different. it turned out very quickly within the first six months that she did better business than I did. She was a great person to work with, and it was a lesson that I learned early, early on about the equality. And I am still today.

[00:23:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: Frustrated when I encounter the inequality when it comes to the, the pay gap or you know, it’s a female qualified for this position, can we really do this? I feel very strongly about that, and I have seen in my recruiting career so many impressive women and where even clients said, well, it’s hard to find a female for maybe hard but not impossible.

[00:24:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: And gradually it takes time. And of course, you and I both know that there are certain countries where women are still very much restricted. We can say that’s not right.

[00:24:34] Zoe Fragou: Most of the countries. To be fair, most of the countries, not some countries,

[00:24:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: well, yeah, and, and you know, and then the definition of what is restricted, you can say they don’t have full access.

[00:24:46] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yes. That is restricted. Or in some cases they’re not allowed to work in certain positions. And that is, you know, even more extreme. But do you believe that there is change happening and gradually, you know, give a time that we’re on that road to equality or do you have any doubts? Yeah, tough question.

[00:25:07] Zoe Fragou: Yeah. We didn’t come so far to only come this far, but at the same time it’s not enough. I will tell you something that you won’t believe, but up to this day, there is an entire part of Greece where women are not allowed to enter. Because the church has dedicated this part to Holy Mother, and according to that, it would be an insult to her for other women to enter an entire part of Greece.

[00:25:33] Zoe Fragou: And when I say a part, don’t imagine a small village or a small even town. It’s an entire part of Greece where women are not allowed. So no, it’s not enough. We should do more.

[00:25:46] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. And I, I appreciate you saying that. And of course, our podcast 10 Lessons Learned goes global. we have listeners truly all over the world, and that’s part of our, our mission.

[00:25:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: And, I’m very grateful for you sharing these, experiences and, they need to be heard all over the world.

[00:26:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: So, thank you. Thank you for that. I really appreciate it.

[00:26:05] Lesson 7: All we have is the connections that we make.

[00:26:05] moving along, lesson number seven, all we have is the connections that we make. I have some thoughts about that, but please explain your, your side of the story.

[00:26:16] Zoe Fragou: Well, it’s a very lonely word, and the only way to fight this existential loneliness is through connecting with other people, and we should never neglect that sometime career, job, daily life, they come in the way. But at the end, all we have is the connections we make, not only in the networking sense, which of course is helpful, but also are we anything without our support group?

[00:26:40] Zoe Fragou: Whatever support group means to anyone, but relationships need to be taken care of, and we should never, never forget that. Don’t take for granted your friends, spend time with them. It’s not just about quality, it’s also about quantity. If you don’t have experiences about a person, then there is no relationship.

[00:27:00] Zoe Fragou: It will fade away.

[00:27:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, it’s a very good point. Do you have a specific example that comes to mind?

[00:27:07] Zoe Fragou: Have you noticed that the more the older people get? For example, they tend to let stuff. Family and kids and daily life and occupation get in the way of meeting their friends. And then after a while they don’t have friends anymore.

[00:27:19] Zoe Fragou: They call their friends and it’s; they don’t even know what’s going on in their lives. And then when you’re younger, there are traditions, there are things that you’re always doing together, and then things are getting in the way and you don’t do them together. Well, what I’m trying to say is that don’t allow these things to get in the way, because most of the times they’re just excuses, You feel tired, don’t cancel the coffee with your friend because you feel tired.

[00:27:43] Zoe Fragou: It’s going to be rewarding. I swear it’s going to be rewarding in the long run.

[00:27:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: I can hear the coaching you. Thank you. That’s a good point.

[00:27:50] and, and it, it kind of connects perhaps to your

[00:27:53] Lesson 8: Stop starting and start finishing.

[00:27:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: lesson number eight. stop starting, start finishing. I thought about that and I like it a lot. but, but please, your thoughts on that?

[00:28:00] Zoe Fragou: Oh my gosh, that makes me a bit mad. I, okay. I will tell about my sister and I hope she does. She’s very, very young. I hope she won’t listen to this podcast and get mad at me. She’s very young. She’s like 10 years younger than me, and every year she comes to me and is like, this year I’m going to start Italian and I’m going to start French, and I’m going to start another year.

[00:28:18] Zoe Fragou: Didn’t you start last year? I don’t know yoga? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I am moved over that. Okay. Maybe it’s important to get deep into something in order to learn how to love it and become, let it become more complex and understand its depth. When you constantly switch through activities and switch through people and switch through professions, you never go deep into anything. Never. Yeah. So, you never really learn anything, and it’s very easy to do the first steps of something when you pick up a language. So, I pick up French the first year. It’s very easy. You can, everyone can learn how to say Bonjour , how are you doing, et cetera. But then if you actually want to get into that and be able to communicate deep with a person, it takes time.

[00:29:00] Zoe Fragou: So at this point, maybe it’s more about quality. Maybe it’s the opposite of what we said before, and maybe it’s more important to start finishing things instead of constantly starting new things.

[00:29:13] Zoe Fragou: How

[00:29:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: do you see the future of your career? I mean, you are highly successful. is there a moment perhaps, that you are thinking of and say, well, if I reach this point in my career, or perhaps even an age bracket that you say, if I turn, you know, this age, I’m going to change things, I’m going to take it easy, or do you see yourself.

[00:29:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: You’re going to keep going. You’re going to continue, continue, continue.

[00:29:42] Zoe Fragou: Well, I don’t approach it as a career as much as I approach it, as a lifestyle, because I’m a scientist. So, it’s not like if I didn’t read psychology, I would read, I don’t know, astrology. I really, really, really, I’m committed to what I’m doing.

[00:29:54] Zoe Fragou: It’s my interest. It has always been my interest. I’ve been reading about psychology since I was a kid, basically. Yeah, it’s a, it’s more of a lifestyle for me. It’s what I’m doing and handling my life.

[00:30:06] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s internal, it’s, it’s the way you are wired that it, it comes from within.

[00:30:10] yeah, maybe if I was doing a different kind of job that was not connected to my inner passions, I would have this need that you described.

[00:30:17] Zoe Fragou: But at the moment, I, I feel it more like my interests are switching more. Like, for example, this period in my life. I’m more connected with my speaking, but I do also know that maybe later in life I would like to write even more. So yeah,

[00:30:33] Lesson 9: Consistency is about showing up.

[00:30:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: makes sense. I like it.

[00:30:34] lesson number nine. We’re almost at lesson number 10, but lesson number nine, consistency is about showing up.

[00:30:42] Zoe Fragou: Oh, yes. This, I will connect with a previous example. of learning a new language. So, it’s not about always giving you 100%. This is also a very nice excuse that people are using in order to not show up and not do the job. I’m not feeling it today, or I won’t give my best self, so since I’m a little tired, I won’t go to the gym or since I’m a little tired, I will cancel my French class.

[00:31:06] Zoe Fragou: It’s not about that. It’s about showing up. Even if you give 10%, it’s about showing up even if you. 20%. Some very few times you might give 100, but if you only show up when you have 100 to give, there’s no way you will reach any outcome. So we need to break this pattern of believing that consistency is about always being a 100.

[00:31:28] Zoe Fragou: Because even if you just go to the gym and run for 10 minutes, it’s better than not going to the gym at all. It’s a fact.

[00:31:36] Siebe Van Der Zee: I fully 100% agree with you. It is so important Interesting.

[00:31:42] Lesson 10: Always be the last one to speak.

[00:31:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, lesson number 10, always be the last one to speak. Wow. I like to hear your thoughts on that.

[00:31:51] Zoe Fragou: Well, I think that especially for people that are very dynamic personalities and they tend to occupy a lot of space in the room or maybe in, they’re in a leadership position, this one is even more important to understand because when you’re the last one to speak, not only do you gain yourself extra time, but you can learn from the wisdom of other people.

[00:32:11] Zoe Fragou: So you won’t repeat yourself, you won’t say the obvious, and you can fix a thought. So, it’s very, very important lesson in my opinion. One that for me it took a lot of time to learn because I’m very, you know, passionate usually and very spontaneous.

[00:32:26] Zoe Fragou: So it’s the kind of lesson that it required maturity for me to learn

[00:32:31] Siebe Van Der Zee: The concept of active learning, is that something that you apply in your, in your work, in your coaching?

[00:32:37] Zoe Fragou: Yeah, of course, very much. And, not only in, in and in a very passive sense as well, I’m trying to learn from every single conversation that I have.

[00:32:46] Zoe Fragou: I’m learning from my clients. I might be learning from my clients more than the learning from me.

[00:32:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, I hear you. I hear you. I mean that, that’s a very good way of looking at me.

[00:32:55] Zoe Fragou: Which makes sense because by the way, my clients are brilliant. They’re like super successful, amazing individual from all over the world, from, so I would be stupid not to learn from them.

[00:33:06] Siebe Van Der Zee: But you can help them, you can guide them, you can point out certain elements of.

[00:33:12] Siebe Van Der Zee: Whatever, behavior, performance, et cetera.

[00:33:14] Zoe Fragou: I’m just, you know what, I’m just their critique partner. I’m just there to raise a different perspective, but they’re doing all the job themselves. I won’t take any credit for their own transformation.

[00:33:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: You’re, you’re very humble when you say that because I know you have a great reputation.

[00:33:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m, I’m also curious, I want to ask you another question here. Are there any lessons in life in your life that you have learned that perhaps you would say you have unlearned, in other words, lessons that you have unlearned in your life that you decided to do it different differently? Go a different direction.

[00:33:50] Zoe Fragou: Okay. Yes. That’s interesting. And it actually connects a lot with, the last thing we said, younger in life. I really thought that being patient and waiting for things to happen and waiting for other people to think about my needs was key, and that if I waited enough, then the other person is going to understand what I need.

[00:34:11] Zoe Fragou: They’re going to give it to me. Thankfully I unlearned that and now I do know and I say to everyone that if you don’t speak up about your needs, you will never get what you want. Never speaking up is key. And when I say speaking up, I make verbally with actual words say it. Don’t assume they will understand.

[00:34:32] Zoe Fragou: Don’t show it with body language. Don’t show it with a silent treatment or a passive aggressive way. Very, very clearly. Even when it comes to crazy stuff that you might want. Some years ago, when I was a student, I was watching Hugh Jackman presenting the Tonys, the Emmys something, and I really liked him and I said, oh my God, I love what he’s doing.

[00:34:52] Zoe Fragou: I think I would be so good at that. On my own. I thought of that. Okay, so then I made a video, a video myself, and I sent it to many event companies and. I think that I would be a very good mc. Try me out if you have, and I ended up working as a master of ceremony for two years. I’ve presented while a student, I’ve presented awards, I’ve presented events, and it was the funniest period of my life.

[00:35:17] Zoe Fragou: I think this would never have, how were, would these people know that I can do that if I didn’t send the demo of myself on my

[00:35:25] Siebe Van Der Zee: Fascinating. You make me think of a management guru in the United States. he is a little bit older these days. Jack Welch, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him. He was with, General Electric, very successful.

[00:35:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: He has written several books on management and, at some point he talks about what he explains as the four E’s words that start with the letter E and number one, Energy, you, Zoe, you beam out a lot of energy. The second E is the ability to energize other people. And again, in your work and, and in what you’re sharing, you seem to be very much someone that can energize other people.

[00:36:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Good for you. The third E is everyone. Every person has a certain edge, something that makes them unique and clearly. we could probably talk for another, let’s say 10 lessons because, there are a lot of things that you do and it’s obvious. And the fourth E that Jack Welch is using is the ability to execute.

[00:36:28] Siebe Van Der Zee: That’s slightly different, but to be able to have measurable results and that’s something that we haven’t touched on today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you cover that E as well. So very interesting. And, I thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with our audience. And, with that I’ll make some closing comments.

[00:36:48] first of all, Zoe, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for sharing your wisdoms with our global audience. you have been listening. To the international program. 10 Lessons Learned. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, and as always, we are supported by the Professional Development Forum.

[00:37:07] Siebe Van Der Zee: Our guest today, Zoe Fragou, a successful organizational psychologist and a full of life dynamic performance coach. Sharing her 10 lessons learned.

[00:37:18] Siebe Van Der Zee: And to our audience. Don’t forget to leave us a review or a comment. You can also email us at podcast 10 lessons learned.com. That is podcast number 10 10 lessons learned.com.

[00:37:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: I hope you will subscribe and, in that way, you don’t miss any future episodes, And remember, this is a podcast that makes the world wiser and wiser. Lesson by lesson. Thank you and stay safe.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 
Zoe Fragou

Zoe Fragou – Stop starting. Start finishing

Zoe Fragou is an organizational Psychologist and explains why” everything is a negotiation”, why you should “focus on your strengths”, how “pettiness stalls your career” and much more. Hosted by Siebe Van Der Zee.

About Zoe Fragou

Zoe Fragou is an Organisational Psychologist with an MSc in Human Resources Management, a clinical psychologist license, a diploma in Business Coaching & Mentorship and a Certificate in Agile Leadership.

At the moment, she is a PhD Candidate at Panteion University and her research is mainly focused on the psychometrics of the corporate culture.

Alongside her academic interests, she is operating professionally in the full spectrum of her science, taking over projects of culture transformation, employee training and development, business coaching, personal branding, public speaking, and writing, for both private and corporate clients globally.

She is a mentor for Women on Top, a feministic organization trying to bring equality in the workspace, a senior member of the Hellenic Institute of Coaching, and was voted best career coach in the Global Coaching Conference of 2021.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Everything is a negotiation. 04:37
Lesson 2: Everyone is a mess; some people hide it better. 06:45
Lesson 3: Focus on your strengths. 09:52
Lesson 4: Don’t swipe it under the carpet. 14:23
Lesson 5: Pettiness stalls your career. 17:45
Lesson 6: Be the person you needed when you were younger. 20:19
Lesson 7: All we have is the connections that we make. 26:05
Lesson 8: Stop starting, start finishing. 27:53
Lesson 9: Consistency is about showing up. 30:33
Lesson 10: Always be the last one to speak. 31:42

Zoe Fragou – Stop starting, start finishing.

[00:00:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello and welcome to our program, 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to business people, journalists, authors, professors, ambassadors, leaders, and luminaries from all over the world. My name is Siebe Van Der Zee, and I’m your host. I’m originally from the Netherlands, happily residing in the beautiful Grand Canyon state of Arizona in the United States.

[00:00:31] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m also known as the Dutchman in the desert. Our guest today is Zoe Fragou from Athens in Greece. Zoe is an organizational psychologist by profession, an agile leadership developer by expertise, a data driven organizational change and culture transformer by passion. A model by Hobby, an author by the Force of Nature and a keynote speaker and podcast host because she loves sharing and spreading inspiration and building momentum.

[00:01:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: Maybe no surprise her first name, Zoe. In the Greek language means life. So besides actually being from Greece, Zoe describes herself. Full of life. Zoe is currently a PhD candidate at the Panteion University in Athens. She is a mentor for women on top, an organization that brings equality to the workplace.

[00:01:28] Siebe Van Der Zee: She’s also a senior member of the Hellenic Institute of Coaching, and Zoe was voted best career coach in the global coaching conference of 2021. You can learn more about Zoe Fragou on our website. 10lessonslearned.com.

[00:01:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello Zoe Yassa. Thank you for joining us.

[00:01:51] Zoe Fragou: Yasu Siebe. Thank you very much for having me over.

[00:01:54] Zoe Fragou: What introduction now everything you’re going to do, no matter how hard to try, I will fall short for sure, thank you for that.

[00:02:01] Siebe Van Der Zee: I doubt it. I doubt it. I have the feeling there’s a lot of energy that you bring, to the table, and I’m kind of curious, what inspired you to become a coach, a career coach, a performance coach?

[00:02:13] Siebe Van Der Zee: What, what brought that to you? .

[00:02:15] Zoe Fragou: Well actually I do have, a clinical license as well. as well, I was actually working in the psychiatric hospital of Athens. I was doing, alcoholic rehabilitation, but it was very soon that I realized that I’m very business oriented and I think that, you know, in the emotional intelligence suite, there is a particular variable that we call organizational awareness.

[00:02:35] Zoe Fragou: And it has to do with how fast and easy it’s for a person to understand the inner dynamics. In the environment that they’ve never found themselves again. So, I think that I score a bit high there cause it’s kind of easy for me to join an organization and approach it like a puzzle. Understand which piece fits and why this piece doesn’t fit, and how to mix and match them so that they can give out the best.

[00:03:00] Zoe Fragou: So I can say that it’s a, it’s an outcome that came really, really naturally to me.

[00:03:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: Now, do you coach typically groups of people or are you coaching one particular individual in an organization or both?

[00:03:14] Zoe Fragou: Hmm, well, I would say that 50% of my clients are corporate and I, my specialty there is culture change.

[00:03:20] Zoe Fragou: So they usually might come to me after a merger or buyout or succession differences, or are they just. Might want to change their culture into a more professional way or a more diversity, diversity and equality oriented one. So that’s when I go and I do team building activities, group coaching, trainings as well.

[00:03:41] Zoe Fragou: And everything that falls under this umbrella. But at the same time, I also have private clients that come to me globally from all over the world. And their issues are usually leadership development or soft skills development. Sometimes it can be burnout, recovery, or they might be being mobbed in the workspace.

[00:04:00] Zoe Fragou: So, they need some help in order to know how to put more boundaries. So basically a little bit of both, I would say.

[00:04:06] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. And you seem to enjoy it, right? You, you like it?

[00:04:09] Zoe Fragou: Well, yes. I really, really like it. I, it’s not just something that I do as a work. I really believe that our work is a big and important part of our identity.

[00:04:19] Zoe Fragou: Therefore, it’s our responsibility to find a way to make it healthier and more enjoyable, so we can’t have such an important piece of our identity being associated with negative emotion.

[00:04:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: Makes sense. Well, let’s take a look at the 10 lessons. There’s a lot of wisdom in there.

[00:04:37] Lesson 1: Everything is a negotiation.

[00:04:37] lesson number one, everything is a negotiation.

[00:04:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: What are your thoughts about that?

[00:04:44] Zoe Fragou: Well, my thoughts are that, for many people this isn’t very clear and they think that if they are polite enough or kind enough or patient enough, they’re going to get something. And it’s true. There is this, you know, public wisdom that says nice things come to those who wait, but only the things that are left behind by the ones that were running.

[00:05:06] Zoe Fragou: And no one tells you the second part. So, this is something that everyone needs to understand when resources are limited and in general, resources are limited in the world we live because many people end up wanting the same things. Therefore, if you don’t fight for what you want, how are you supposed to get it?

[00:05:25] Zoe Fragou: And why should you expect that you’re going to get it? The others are going to fight. So when you don’t realize that everything is a negotiation, that means that you are the only one, not negotiating. how do you determine what is worth fighting for? Because when you go through life, there are challenges, and sometimes perhaps it’s to say, look, don’t worry about this.

[00:05:44] Siebe Van Der Zee: Don’t worry about that. How do you determine that something is worth fighting for?

[00:05:50] Zoe Fragou: That’s a very good question actually, because I also think that many people. Struggle with that. They both struggle because they don’t know what they, they should be fighting for, but at the same time, it seems like they struggle even more because they don’t know what they should be letting go.

[00:06:03] Zoe Fragou: Yeah. And move forward. So, I would say that deep down, we all know what’s worth fighting for and the instincts are always there. It’s just that we are trained from a very, very young and early age not to listen to these instincts. Think of a child that you give, you give it a broccoli and it spits it out, and then we tell it, no, it’s good for you, and we shove it up their neck.

[00:06:26] Zoe Fragou: There is a reason why the child doesn’t want the broccoli. Maybe it’s intolerant or maybe it causes as a travel in their stomach. So these instincts, not only should we as adults go back to listening more to our guts, but at the same time, we shouldn’t train our children to not listen to their guts anymore

[00:06:43] Siebe Van Der Zee: Makes sense.

[00:06:44] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like it.

[00:06:45] Lesson 2: Everyone is a mess. Some hide it better.

[00:06:45] let’s, let’s move on. Lesson number two. Everyone is a mess. Some people hide it better. Hmm. Some thoughts come to my mind, but please, what are your thoughts on that?

[00:06:57] Zoe Fragou: Well, the thing is that if you, if you are a person who is into self-loathing an entire life can pass like that and always thinking that you’re doing something wrong and everyone else gathered together and, but at the end, pretty much no one’s gathered together.

[00:07:12] Zoe Fragou: We all have to suffer. And we all have to suffer because life is so hard. If you think about it. Everything that brings us pleasure is connected with great pain in this life. Like think of giving birth. At the same moment when you’re doing something so important to you, you can’t even mentally, physically connect to this thing because you’re such an amazing pain.

[00:07:32] Zoe Fragou: And then the suffering that you might feel from losing someone, for example, it can never be compared to any sort of joy that you can feel. But at the same time, we need to wake up every day and somehow decide actively that one more day we’re going to make it one more day. We’re going to be mentally healthy; we’re going to go out there.

[00:07:52] Zoe Fragou: And we all go through that. So to think that you’re the only one that’s going through that, and you’re the only who changes your mind or change everything, and sometimes you want this one thing and then you don’t want that, then that’s futile. Most of the people are like that. It’s just that not everybody is exposing themselves.

[00:08:11] Zoe Fragou: Not everybody feels comfortable sharing. Everybody goes through their own journey.

[00:08:17] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m curious, because I, I like what you’re saying here. Everyone is a mess, but is it also that you’re saying no one is perfect? Is that, is that the same, but maybe, you know, it sounds friendly.

[00:08:32] Zoe Fragou: Yeah, it does sound friendlier and because it sounds so much friendlier, people don’t get the point of it.

[00:08:38] Zoe Fragou: They know, they do know that no one is perfect, and it hasn’t really helped them, but they need to understand that everyone is actually a mess. Some messes are cleaner and some messes are different, and for, for, for me, for example, maybe your mess is not a mess, but also for you, maybe my mess is not a mess.

[00:08:56] Zoe Fragou: That’s why it’s so important to understand that it’s almost never personal. It’s only personal. If it’s about you, you thinking about yourself. That’s the only personal that we have. Everything else, you know, people have so many, many things in their minds that, yeah,

[00:09:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think that’s such an important point that you’re making and that’s why I asked you.

[00:09:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. No one is perfect. That sounds. very friendly. you know, we all understand, but when you talk about everyone is a mess, that perhaps turns on the light a little bit quicker that people say, Hmm. Yeah, as a matter of fact, you know, and we can all think about ourselves. I am a mess.

[00:09:34] Zoe Fragou: And I guess that even you there, there must have been many.

[00:09:37] Zoe Fragou: That’s why we say never meet your heroes, because we always think that this person is so amazing. They’ve got everything together and then we meet them and we come close and we say, okay, they don’t have everything together. They just seem like they’re having everything.

[00:09:50] Siebe Van Der Zee: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, that’s a good point.

[00:09:52] Lesson 3: Focus on your strength.

[00:09:52] Siebe Van Der Zee: And it kind of links perhaps to lesson number three, focus on your strength.

[00:09:59] Zoe Fragou: Yeah. This is a very important lesson for me because I think that the entire educational system is not promoting that. The entire educational system, what they’re doing is they’re trying to convince you that it’s very important to improve your weaknesses.

[00:10:15] Zoe Fragou: And that’s also important, but to try to make a career and a successful career out of your weaknesses. For me, that’s paranoia. Because you can spend your entire, for example, let’s say that I’m very good at listening to people very good, but it’s very stressful for me to speak. Why become a speaker when I can become a very successful therapist?

[00:10:37] Zoe Fragou: Right. And then you think about students at school, what’s happening there? Someone is good, let’s say at math and weak at English language, and then parents, they find them a professional tutor to help them with language. Then what happens is that this child actually loses their confidence. So basically all the new research when it comes to self-work and self-confidence says that you should actually put the child into more math classes.

[00:11:03] Zoe Fragou: Because all these extra confidence that they’re going to win from that are going to give them the emotional support they need to get better in English as well.

[00:11:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: You are well educated, PhD candidate. obviously your focus is on, on these, issues. but how and when did you learn about your own strength and weaknesses and, and was there a moment that you realized.

[00:11:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: I am not perfect or to use your previous lesson, I’m a mess. And, how, how did that come about in your own experience?

[00:11:35] Zoe Fragou: Personally me, I have a crisis like that once every four years. Ok. Are you kidding Every four years at least. I have one big, huge existential crisis where I’m like, okay, this is not working.

[00:11:45] Zoe Fragou: I’m changing everything. I’m trying something new and that’s okay because it means I’m growing and it’s totally normal. But the things that work four years ago are not working this year. Last year in particular, I had this, professional journey in, bologna in Italy where I met this, artist from Portugal.

[00:12:03] Zoe Fragou: And I asked him a little bit about his art and he explained to me, he did a, a very interesting project about, racism. And he explained to me that, you know what Zoe, he said for the last. Three years I’ve been dived so much into this project. I couldn’t think of anything else. I gave it my soul, and this is my first international exhibition and Okay, so he was 16 years old.

[00:12:25] Siebe Van Der Zee: Wow. Wow.

[00:12:27] Zoe Fragou: Yes. When I came back to Greece, I was like, oh my God, what am I doing? Like, what am I? And that’s how I was doing well. But I realized then something very important for me. I realized that this child, this other, this teenager, that’s something that I didn’t have until that point. It was very difficult for me to expose myself.

[00:12:48] Zoe Fragou: I was always thinking, you know, maybe I should keep it more, be more humble and keep it down and I don’t have to speak so much about what I know. And then I saw this child putting it all out there and I was like, you know what? Yeah. That’s the only way we can share a message by putting everything we got out there.

[00:13:04] Zoe Fragou: And that’s what. Inspired me to become a podcast guest and to try to, you know, share my knowledge with more people.

[00:13:13] Siebe Van Der Zee: I see it, you know, as you know, I’m a recruiter and when, people are looking for a job and they go through the interview process and the client company likes them and they go to the next interview, and then ultimately the company hires someone else that can be a big setback for an individual and many times they start doubting their qualifications and they say, well, I’m probably not good enough and I’m probably because you know, they like me until they hired someone else. Do you deal with that in your coaching as well as a career coach that you have people that are basically, underestimating who they are and do not focus on their strength?

[00:13:56] Zoe Fragou: Very, very often. Yeah. And the, the thing that they’re doing wrong is that they’re focusing so much on understanding other people’s motivations instead of focusing on what’s happening inside of them. And the problem with that is that it’s the biggest trap. You will never know other people’s motivation.

[00:14:14] Zoe Fragou: You ask other people about their motivation, and sometimes they have no idea. They tell you, ha, I’m, I’m crazy. I do crazy things.

[00:14:22] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah.

[00:14:23] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, good point. Thank you.

[00:14:23] Lesson 4: Don’t sweep it under the carpet.

[00:14:23] Lesson number four, don’t swipe it under the carpet. I like that one.

[00:14:29] Zoe Fragou: Yes. I also like that, I meet all these people in business, and they always come to me and they tell me I’m amazing at, conflict management. Amazing. At conflict management. Well, that’s not a medal to wear because conflict management is not the same as conflict resolution.

[00:14:45] Zoe Fragou: Absolutely. The conflict management is actually knowing how to swipe it under the carpet to the. The time comes, you need to walk above this carpet and you fall down because it’s such a big mountain of things that you left and managed actually. So no, don’t try to be diplomatic when it comes to your needs and when it comes to staff that are, are creating an issue for you, we need to be able to

[00:15:09] erase the subjects and solve them the moment they appear, because only when we do it, the moment they appear, we have the dignity and self-control to deal with them with appropriate amount of intensity. While it will let them and then they grow, then they build up, then they escalate and must probably we’re going to overreact.

[00:15:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, I, I’m, I’m thinking about a question that, I was asked during a seminar and there were several participants on the panel. I was one of them, so they asked me the question, but everybody else was asked to answer it. And I’m just going to throw it out to you. what do you do when you see something that you believe is unethical?

[00:15:48] Siebe Van Der Zee: So, you work for an organization, and you observe something that you believe Maybe it’s not unethical. Maybe other people can explain why that happened or, or, but how would you respond to that simple question? It can be challenging, but how would you respond to something to say, I think this is unethical.

[00:16:10] Siebe Van Der Zee: Would you speak out, would you stay quiet? Would you say, hey, I, I don’t want to lose my job. If I complain about, for example, my boss, I’m going to get myself in trouble. Or are you principal to say, I have to mention that

[00:16:25] Zoe Fragou: Well personally, I’ve been having vigilante fantasies all my life, , so I would be what? What do you call?

[00:16:31] Zoe Fragou: Social justice warrior. I’ve been speaking up since school, like I, I was always the one, but why did you say this? The professor? To my classmate, I don’t think that that’s a correct comment. I was always speaking up and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing today because it’s very important for me to be employees biggest advocate.

[00:16:48] Zoe Fragou: So that I can transfer their point of view to the management and then we can solve together and we can find a way that works for both sides. But at the same time, I do realize that there are many people that are afraid and they’re scared. Having said that, sometimes doing the right thing means that you need to do it scared.

[00:17:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: Thank you for saying that because it has gotten me in trouble over time, by speaking out. And I have to admit, of course, I can be wrong. but I felt it was necessary to speak up because in my mind it was, for example, unethical or wrong, whatever it was. But, I, I’m glad to hear that from you as well, because it is important to speak out if you can quote unquote, afford to do so.

[00:17:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: I can also see people who. Very dependent on their job just to pay the bills and to get food on the table. I would not expect them to speak up and put their job at risk, depending on the issue, of course. But that’s a little bit different. Yeah. yeah, good point. Thank you.

[00:17:45] Lesson 5: Pettiness stalls your career.

[00:17:45] lesson number five, pettiness stalls your career.

[00:17:49] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m curious, please explain and perhaps you have an example

[00:17:54] Zoe Fragou: pettiness. Well, people don’t understand that, but holding grudges Is such a negative factor for someone’s career because at the end of the day, there is this theory that’s called the sunflower effect, and that has to do with how people are basically trained to be attracted by positive people towards the light.

[00:18:15] Zoe Fragou: Like the sunflowers are always turning towards the sun. Therefore, if you are the kind of petty person in your mind, you think that you’re achieving something by holding to what’s important, but at the end, you’re losing network opportunities. You’re destroying relationships, and you create a, negative vibe at your working space, and people don’t like that.

[00:18:36] Zoe Fragou: So only you have to lose something at that particular moment you might be feeling. holding to your grudge is more important and the other person has to suffer, but do they really have to suffer? And does this really worth it so much as to even stall your career or affect your career in a negative manner?

[00:18:56] Zoe Fragou: Knowing when to give up is such a trait, it’s, it’s basically, for me, the definition of wisdom.

[00:19:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: I had not heard of the sunflower concept, but I, I can definitely understand the way you say the sunflower will direct itself towards the sunshine no matter what. That’s a very interesting.

[00:19:14] Zoe Fragou: point. Yeah, and the same applies to human beings.

[00:19:18] Zoe Fragou: That’s why you see some people that are so popular and so chill and so cool. Generally cool what we say, and people always like them. And then there are other people. They have this darkness. And what do you think darkness is? Basically, it’s the public term for resentment.

[00:19:34] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Yeah, good point. Good point.

[00:19:37] Zoe, we’re talking today to, Zoe Fragou, a successful organizational psychologist and a full of life dynamic performance coach sharing her 10 lessons learned.

[00:19:49] Affiliate Break.

[00:19:49] Siebe Van Der Zee: I want to thank our affiliate partner Audible. Audible is an amazing way to experience our program. 10 lessons. But also books and other podcasts, and it allows you to build a library of knowledge all in one place.

[00:20:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: You can start your free 30 day trial by going to audible trial.com/ten. Lessons learned. Again, that is audible trial.com. One zero lessons learned all lowercase to get your free 30 day trial.

[00:20:19] Lesson 6: Be the person you needed when you were younger.

[00:20:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, let’s move along. Lesson number six. Be the person you needed when you were younger.

[00:20:26] Zoe Fragou: Oh, this one’s. Personal

[00:20:29] Zoe Fragou: This one is personal, and I’ve written very recently an article about that and it’s personal because what led me to wrote write this article is thinking about all these things that would have saved me so much time and would have helped me so much through my career if somebody has told me. And then all these people knew about all these things, and then no one told.

[00:20:54] Zoe Fragou: So basically I realized that this pathogenic cycle of futile competition needs to end with us. And when I say with us, it’s my generation, we need to do better. We need to be able to mentor the younger and the newer people, even if we are younger selves, and provide them with every little piece of information that if we had it on time, it would’ve been helpful for

[00:21:21] Siebe Van Der Zee: There a lesson, and I, I don’t mean to put you on the spots, but you can, I’m sure you can handle this. Is there a lesson that you would teach yourself if you would be, can I say 20 years old, right? Doesn’t matter the age, but lessons that you have learned that you wish you would’ve picked up earlier in life.

[00:21:40] Siebe Van Der Zee: Is there maybe an example?

[00:21:42] Zoe Fragou: I can give you a very, very nice example to negotiate harder. Have you ever heard of the pay gap between women and men? Oh, yes. Have you heard about it? Of course. Oh, yes. Course. Why do you think exactly happens? It’s not like the employers see you and they interview and say, okay, you’re a woman.

[00:21:58] Zoe Fragou: I’m going to give you 30% less. It’s just that women accept 30% less because they, we are trained socially to accept less. And nobody helped me understand that I had to figure it out on my own. Do you know it’s going to be; I don’t know if we have time, but it’s a very fun story. Some years ago, I was listening to, Jennifer Lawrence, and that year she was the most successful actress and she had gained something like 50 million that year.

[00:22:26] Zoe Fragou: And then the most successful actor was Robert Downey Jr. Who had gained 80 million. So she said in an interview that, you know what? I also blame myself because I realize now that I could have negotiated harder and I could have gained 80 million. So when I heard that, I said, you know what Zoe? You know about pay gap.

[00:22:45] Zoe Fragou: And you know that this happens, and you know about the stigma, so there’s no way I’m not being affected by everything that I hear. So I took out a proposal that I was preparing for a client, and in this proposal, let’s say I had given an X amount and I raised it by 25%, just to see what happens. So I’ll go there to them, I present the proposal and they tell me, okay, okay, but the money is a bit too much.

[00:23:08] Zoe Fragou: We will accept this number, which was already 20% more from what I would have been. Okay with

[00:23:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: It, it is such an important point, obviously, and for me as a, you know, sometimes I say as a, a tall white guy, it’s easy to talk about these things, right? But I, I can assure you that from the very start of my career in the 1980s, and I’ll keep it short here, but I worked with a colleague, female, and.

[00:23:36] Siebe Van Der Zee: We guys, we thought, how did she get that job, because, you know, it was different. it turned out very quickly within the first six months that she did better business than I did. She was a great person to work with, and it was a lesson that I learned early, early on about the equality. And I am still today.

[00:23:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: Frustrated when I encounter the inequality when it comes to the, the pay gap or you know, it’s a female qualified for this position, can we really do this? I feel very strongly about that, and I have seen in my recruiting career so many impressive women and where even clients said, well, it’s hard to find a female for maybe hard but not impossible.

[00:24:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: And gradually it takes time. And of course, you and I both know that there are certain countries where women are still very much restricted. We can say that’s not right.

[00:24:34] Zoe Fragou: Most of the countries. To be fair, most of the countries, not some countries,

[00:24:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: well, yeah, and, and you know, and then the definition of what is restricted, you can say they don’t have full access.

[00:24:46] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yes. That is restricted. Or in some cases they’re not allowed to work in certain positions. And that is, you know, even more extreme. But do you believe that there is change happening and gradually, you know, give a time that we’re on that road to equality or do you have any doubts? Yeah, tough question.

[00:25:07] Zoe Fragou: Yeah. We didn’t come so far to only come this far, but at the same time it’s not enough. I will tell you something that you won’t believe, but up to this day, there is an entire part of Greece where women are not allowed to enter. Because the church has dedicated this part to Holy Mother, and according to that, it would be an insult to her for other women to enter an entire part of Greece.

[00:25:33] Zoe Fragou: And when I say a part, don’t imagine a small village or a small even town. It’s an entire part of Greece where women are not allowed. So no, it’s not enough. We should do more.

[00:25:46] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. And I, I appreciate you saying that. And of course, our podcast 10 Lessons Learned goes global. we have listeners truly all over the world, and that’s part of our, our mission.

[00:25:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: And, I’m very grateful for you sharing these, experiences and, they need to be heard all over the world.

[00:26:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: So, thank you. Thank you for that. I really appreciate it.

[00:26:05] Lesson 7: All we have is the connections that we make.

[00:26:05] moving along, lesson number seven, all we have is the connections that we make. I have some thoughts about that, but please explain your, your side of the story.

[00:26:16] Zoe Fragou: Well, it’s a very lonely word, and the only way to fight this existential loneliness is through connecting with other people, and we should never neglect that sometime career, job, daily life, they come in the way. But at the end, all we have is the connections we make, not only in the networking sense, which of course is helpful, but also are we anything without our support group?

[00:26:40] Zoe Fragou: Whatever support group means to anyone, but relationships need to be taken care of, and we should never, never forget that. Don’t take for granted your friends, spend time with them. It’s not just about quality, it’s also about quantity. If you don’t have experiences about a person, then there is no relationship.

[00:27:00] Zoe Fragou: It will fade away.

[00:27:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, it’s a very good point. Do you have a specific example that comes to mind?

[00:27:07] Zoe Fragou: Have you noticed that the more the older people get? For example, they tend to let stuff. Family and kids and daily life and occupation get in the way of meeting their friends. And then after a while they don’t have friends anymore.

[00:27:19] Zoe Fragou: They call their friends and it’s; they don’t even know what’s going on in their lives. And then when you’re younger, there are traditions, there are things that you’re always doing together, and then things are getting in the way and you don’t do them together. Well, what I’m trying to say is that don’t allow these things to get in the way, because most of the times they’re just excuses, You feel tired, don’t cancel the coffee with your friend because you feel tired.

[00:27:43] Zoe Fragou: It’s going to be rewarding. I swear it’s going to be rewarding in the long run.

[00:27:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: I can hear the coaching you. Thank you. That’s a good point.

[00:27:50] and, and it, it kind of connects perhaps to your

[00:27:53] Lesson 8: Stop starting and start finishing.

[00:27:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: lesson number eight. stop starting, start finishing. I thought about that and I like it a lot. but, but please, your thoughts on that?

[00:28:00] Zoe Fragou: Oh my gosh, that makes me a bit mad. I, okay. I will tell about my sister and I hope she does. She’s very, very young. I hope she won’t listen to this podcast and get mad at me. She’s very young. She’s like 10 years younger than me, and every year she comes to me and is like, this year I’m going to start Italian and I’m going to start French, and I’m going to start another year.

[00:28:18] Zoe Fragou: Didn’t you start last year? I don’t know yoga? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I am moved over that. Okay. Maybe it’s important to get deep into something in order to learn how to love it and become, let it become more complex and understand its depth. When you constantly switch through activities and switch through people and switch through professions, you never go deep into anything. Never. Yeah. So, you never really learn anything, and it’s very easy to do the first steps of something when you pick up a language. So, I pick up French the first year. It’s very easy. You can, everyone can learn how to say Bonjour , how are you doing, et cetera. But then if you actually want to get into that and be able to communicate deep with a person, it takes time.

[00:29:00] Zoe Fragou: So at this point, maybe it’s more about quality. Maybe it’s the opposite of what we said before, and maybe it’s more important to start finishing things instead of constantly starting new things.

[00:29:13] Zoe Fragou: How

[00:29:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: do you see the future of your career? I mean, you are highly successful. is there a moment perhaps, that you are thinking of and say, well, if I reach this point in my career, or perhaps even an age bracket that you say, if I turn, you know, this age, I’m going to change things, I’m going to take it easy, or do you see yourself.

[00:29:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: You’re going to keep going. You’re going to continue, continue, continue.

[00:29:42] Zoe Fragou: Well, I don’t approach it as a career as much as I approach it, as a lifestyle, because I’m a scientist. So, it’s not like if I didn’t read psychology, I would read, I don’t know, astrology. I really, really, really, I’m committed to what I’m doing.

[00:29:54] Zoe Fragou: It’s my interest. It has always been my interest. I’ve been reading about psychology since I was a kid, basically. Yeah, it’s a, it’s more of a lifestyle for me. It’s what I’m doing and handling my life.

[00:30:06] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s internal, it’s, it’s the way you are wired that it, it comes from within.

[00:30:10] yeah, maybe if I was doing a different kind of job that was not connected to my inner passions, I would have this need that you described.

[00:30:17] Zoe Fragou: But at the moment, I, I feel it more like my interests are switching more. Like, for example, this period in my life. I’m more connected with my speaking, but I do also know that maybe later in life I would like to write even more. So yeah,

[00:30:33] Lesson 9: Consistency is about showing up.

[00:30:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: makes sense. I like it.

[00:30:34] lesson number nine. We’re almost at lesson number 10, but lesson number nine, consistency is about showing up.

[00:30:42] Zoe Fragou: Oh, yes. This, I will connect with a previous example. of learning a new language. So, it’s not about always giving you 100%. This is also a very nice excuse that people are using in order to not show up and not do the job. I’m not feeling it today, or I won’t give my best self, so since I’m a little tired, I won’t go to the gym or since I’m a little tired, I will cancel my French class.

[00:31:06] Zoe Fragou: It’s not about that. It’s about showing up. Even if you give 10%, it’s about showing up even if you. 20%. Some very few times you might give 100, but if you only show up when you have 100 to give, there’s no way you will reach any outcome. So we need to break this pattern of believing that consistency is about always being a 100.

[00:31:28] Zoe Fragou: Because even if you just go to the gym and run for 10 minutes, it’s better than not going to the gym at all. It’s a fact.

[00:31:36] Siebe Van Der Zee: I fully 100% agree with you. It is so important Interesting.

[00:31:42] Lesson 10: Always be the last one to speak.

[00:31:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, lesson number 10, always be the last one to speak. Wow. I like to hear your thoughts on that.

[00:31:51] Zoe Fragou: Well, I think that especially for people that are very dynamic personalities and they tend to occupy a lot of space in the room or maybe in, they’re in a leadership position, this one is even more important to understand because when you’re the last one to speak, not only do you gain yourself extra time, but you can learn from the wisdom of other people.

[00:32:11] Zoe Fragou: So you won’t repeat yourself, you won’t say the obvious, and you can fix a thought. So, it’s very, very important lesson in my opinion. One that for me it took a lot of time to learn because I’m very, you know, passionate usually and very spontaneous.

[00:32:26] Zoe Fragou: So it’s the kind of lesson that it required maturity for me to learn

[00:32:31] Siebe Van Der Zee: The concept of active learning, is that something that you apply in your, in your work, in your coaching?

[00:32:37] Zoe Fragou: Yeah, of course, very much. And, not only in, in and in a very passive sense as well, I’m trying to learn from every single conversation that I have.

[00:32:46] Zoe Fragou: I’m learning from my clients. I might be learning from my clients more than the learning from me.

[00:32:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, I hear you. I hear you. I mean that, that’s a very good way of looking at me.

[00:32:55] Zoe Fragou: Which makes sense because by the way, my clients are brilliant. They’re like super successful, amazing individual from all over the world, from, so I would be stupid not to learn from them.

[00:33:06] Siebe Van Der Zee: But you can help them, you can guide them, you can point out certain elements of.

[00:33:12] Siebe Van Der Zee: Whatever, behavior, performance, et cetera.

[00:33:14] Zoe Fragou: I’m just, you know what, I’m just their critique partner. I’m just there to raise a different perspective, but they’re doing all the job themselves. I won’t take any credit for their own transformation.

[00:33:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: You’re, you’re very humble when you say that because I know you have a great reputation.

[00:33:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m, I’m also curious, I want to ask you another question here. Are there any lessons in life in your life that you have learned that perhaps you would say you have unlearned, in other words, lessons that you have unlearned in your life that you decided to do it different differently? Go a different direction.

[00:33:50] Zoe Fragou: Okay. Yes. That’s interesting. And it actually connects a lot with, the last thing we said, younger in life. I really thought that being patient and waiting for things to happen and waiting for other people to think about my needs was key, and that if I waited enough, then the other person is going to understand what I need.

[00:34:11] Zoe Fragou: They’re going to give it to me. Thankfully I unlearned that and now I do know and I say to everyone that if you don’t speak up about your needs, you will never get what you want. Never speaking up is key. And when I say speaking up, I make verbally with actual words say it. Don’t assume they will understand.

[00:34:32] Zoe Fragou: Don’t show it with body language. Don’t show it with a silent treatment or a passive aggressive way. Very, very clearly. Even when it comes to crazy stuff that you might want. Some years ago, when I was a student, I was watching Hugh Jackman presenting the Tonys, the Emmys something, and I really liked him and I said, oh my God, I love what he’s doing.

[00:34:52] Zoe Fragou: I think I would be so good at that. On my own. I thought of that. Okay, so then I made a video, a video myself, and I sent it to many event companies and. I think that I would be a very good mc. Try me out if you have, and I ended up working as a master of ceremony for two years. I’ve presented while a student, I’ve presented awards, I’ve presented events, and it was the funniest period of my life.

[00:35:17] Zoe Fragou: I think this would never have, how were, would these people know that I can do that if I didn’t send the demo of myself on my

[00:35:25] Siebe Van Der Zee: Fascinating. You make me think of a management guru in the United States. he is a little bit older these days. Jack Welch, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him. He was with, General Electric, very successful.

[00:35:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: He has written several books on management and, at some point he talks about what he explains as the four E’s words that start with the letter E and number one, Energy, you, Zoe, you beam out a lot of energy. The second E is the ability to energize other people. And again, in your work and, and in what you’re sharing, you seem to be very much someone that can energize other people.

[00:36:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Good for you. The third E is everyone. Every person has a certain edge, something that makes them unique and clearly. we could probably talk for another, let’s say 10 lessons because, there are a lot of things that you do and it’s obvious. And the fourth E that Jack Welch is using is the ability to execute.

[00:36:28] Siebe Van Der Zee: That’s slightly different, but to be able to have measurable results and that’s something that we haven’t touched on today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you cover that E as well. So very interesting. And, I thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with our audience. And, with that I’ll make some closing comments.

[00:36:48] first of all, Zoe, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for sharing your wisdoms with our global audience. you have been listening. To the international program. 10 Lessons Learned. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, and as always, we are supported by the Professional Development Forum.

[00:37:07] Siebe Van Der Zee: Our guest today, Zoe Fragou, a successful organizational psychologist and a full of life dynamic performance coach. Sharing her 10 lessons learned.

[00:37:18] Siebe Van Der Zee: And to our audience. Don’t forget to leave us a review or a comment. You can also email us at podcast 10 lessons learned.com. That is podcast number 10 10 lessons learned.com.

[00:37:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: I hope you will subscribe and, in that way, you don’t miss any future episodes, And remember, this is a podcast that makes the world wiser and wiser. Lesson by lesson. Thank you and stay safe.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 

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