Making Authentic Career Choices with Misha Rubin

May 9, 2023

Making Authentic Career Choices with Misha Rubin

May 9, 2023

About This Episode

In the latest episode of the Brilliant Thoughts podcast with Tristan Ahumada, he sits down with guest Misha Rubin as they discuss the importance of making intentional career choices to live a more fulfilling life. 

When Tristan asked Misha about the biggest challenges with the companies and people he talked to about how to live a more intentional life, he explained that they may not have made authentic career choices in their lives. He believes that many people lack intention when it comes to their careers, and he encourages listeners to reflect on their own career choices to see if they resonate as authentic choices. Misha's focus is on career education and helping people become more deliberate in their chosen career paths.

Three Factors That Influence Our Careers: 

Misha Rubin highlights three common factors that influence our career choices - other people's opinions, circumstances, and inertia - and emphasizes the importance of being aware of them to make intentional career decisions that align with our interests, values, and goals.

Other people's opinions: This refers to the influence that family, friends, mentors, or society has on our career decisions. People frequently select professions that meet their parents' expectations or pursue positions because they are viewed as prestigious.

Circumstances: This refers to external factors such as job availability, location, or financial needs that influence our career choices. Sometimes individuals may choose a job solely because it is available or pays well, rather than because it aligns with their interests or values.

Inertia: This refers to the tendency to remain in a job or career out of habit or fear of change, even if it is no longer fulfilling or aligned with personal goals. People may fear the unknown or lack the motivation to explore new opportunities.

Misha Rubin highlights that being conscious of these aspects can assist people in making deliberate professional decisions that are in line with their interests, values, and objectives. People might discover more happiness and fulfillment at work by actively participating in their career decisions.

Misha’s Epiphany:

Misha shared his personal experience to shed light on why many professionals and people don't feel fulfilled or satisfied with their jobs. He revealed that he chose to study computer science, which was a common path for immigrants in the 1990s in New York, and then worked on Wall Street, as was the norm. He admitted that many of the job choices he made were circumstantial, and he ended up working at the same company for 15 years, becoming a partner in one of the world's largest management consulting firms. Despite his success and recognition, he knew that something was missing, and he didn't feel fulfilled.

He explained that he stayed because he didn't know what he really wanted to do, and the advice to "follow your passion" didn't help because he didn't know what that was. One day, during a business meeting, he had a moment of truth when he heard a voice telling him that what he was doing was not aligned with who he was. This prompted him to explore tools for people to help them make intentional career choices without taking huge risks, sacrificing their financial future, or staying in a status quo that isn't fulfilling.

Misha recognized that there is a lack of career education that teaches people how to craft their careers, find the right industry and role, and know when to make a change. So he developed the “Career Leap Method”, which he now uses to facilitate meaningful and intentional changes at work and in life. The method provides a systematic way to explore career options without taking huge risks, allowing people to find fulfilling careers that align with their values and aspirations.

The Spillover Effect: 

Tristan asked whether being intentional at work spills over into being intentional at home, and vice versa. Misha believes that since people spend most of their time at work, being intentional in their career can spill over into the rest of their lives. When clients work with Misha, he encourages them to think about what they want in their career and where they want it to go.

Misha shared how he worked with a woman who had made a career twist to accommodate her family's needs. The woman had a great idea but had not discussed it with her husband because she believed he would not understand. Misha notes that this belief was disempowering and that it is challenging to make changes without spousal support, especially in a close marriage that is both emotionally and financially intertwined. Having a conversation with her client's husband not only resulted in his support for her career change but also brought the couple closer. Misha further explains that our actions and beliefs in one area of life can spill over into others, and it is important to be intentional and proactive in all areas to achieve our desired outcomes.

The Death Bed Test:

Misha shared his personal motivation for taking risks and making career changes. He described the "Death Bed Test," which is a way of thinking about what you would regret not having done when you're lying on your deathbed. For Misha, living with the regret of not trying something new is much scarier than taking a leap and making a change.

The Career Blueprint:

Misha shared how he works with clients to develop a career blueprint. This is a deep understanding of who they are and what they want from their career. Misha compared the process to building a dream house, where you start with a design and then use building blocks (Career Design Criteria) to create the blueprint. 

He provided an example of how he helped a client, Rebecca, discover her career blueprint. Rebecca had been working as a nurse for 30 years and wanted to make a change but didn't know what to do. Through the career blueprint process, Rebecca gained clarity and discovered that she wanted to be a holistic health practitioner. She made the leap and now has her own practice, including registered yoga.

The Three Career Design Criteria: 

Misha describes three types of criteria for career design. The first is innate criteria, which relate to what motivates and fulfills an individual in their work. If innate criteria are not met, they will not feel fulfilled in their job. 

Misha emphasized that innate criteria, such as vocational values, can be hard to negotiate on but, once understood, can provide clarity and answers to questions about career fulfillment. Understanding these innate criteria can provide language and a framework for making career decisions.

The second type is aspirational criteria, which are related to what an individual wants in terms of growth, learning, finances, or other factors. If their aspirational criteria are not met, they may become bored with their job. 

The third type of criteria is integrational, which is the balance between work and non-work life and how they integrate. This is especially important for people who have demanding jobs because their work may take up so much time and energy that they neglect other important areas of their lives. If they continue to neglect these areas, it can eventually backfire. 

Therefore, it is important to consider all aspects of life and have intentions or a vision for the future to guide present choices. Misha emphasizes that having a vision helps guide decisions and makes it easier to prioritize aspects of life to achieve the desired balance between work and non-work life.

Misha helps his clients understand their career blueprint by focusing on these three types of criteria so they can better understand themselves and what they want in their careers.

Misha devoted 20 years to developing this career blueprint, and Tristan praised the fact that someone like Misha could simplify a complex concept so easily.

The Life Leap and Its Three Principles:

Misha explained his program, The Life Leap Method, which is based on three principles. The first principle is that we are always in a state of change, whether we acknowledge it or not. This means that life is a continuous leap, and we must be prepared to adapt to new circumstances. The second principle is that most people live their lives as they happen, reacting to circumstances that come their way. This approach can make life seem boring or overwhelming.

The third principle is that we can design our own destination, meaning we can always think through what we want out of our business, life, and health. Once we have a clear vision of our destination, we can use it as a compass to guide us in every moment. This principle is especially important for entrepreneurs, who can easily get carried away with their work and lose sight of other aspects of life.

Misha emphasizes that the principles of The Life Leap method are similar to those of designing a career blueprint. Just as we have innate and aspirational criteria for our careers, we also have these criteria for our lives. And just as we must consider how different aspects of our careers integrate, we must also consider how different aspects of our lives integrate. We can design a fulfilling and meaningful life by understanding and applying these principles.

Articulating One’s Vision

Misha emphasizes the importance of articulating one's vision and desired outcomes in life. He explains that if we do not plan ahead and decide how we will respond to various situations, we will always be at the mercy of everything that happens to us. He acknowledges that we cannot plan for every eventuality, but having a clear vision of what we want out of life can help us make more intentional choices and respond to unexpected situations more effectively.

Misha notes that many people do not have what they want in life because they have not articulated their goals and desires. For example, he mentions an attorney who has a successful business but struggles to find time for her health and family. Misha believes that part of the problem is that this attorney has not clearly defined what kind of life she wants to live, including her career aspirations and her personal goals.

Misha stresses that life is never perfect, but having a clear vision of what we want is an essential first step in achieving our desired outcomes. By articulating our goals and aspirations, we gain clarity and direction, which can help guide our choices and actions.

Creating Your Board of Supporters and How to Find Them

Tristan and Misha also discussed the concept of a "board of supporters," which refers to a group of people that an individual intentionally surrounds themselves with to support and encourage them in their goals and personal growth. Misha explains that there are four categories of people that can make up a board of supporters:

Life partners: These are typically spouses or significant others, but they can also include parents, children, or close family members. Misha emphasizes the importance of turning one's spouse or partner into a supporter rather than expecting them to naturally fulfill that role.

Partners in crime: These are people who share similar goals or interests, such as colleagues or friends who are also focused on career growth or business development.

Mentors/advisors: These are people who have experience or expertise in areas where an individual wants to grow or improve, such as a mentor in a new industry or a business advisor.

Cheerleaders: These are people who offer unwavering support and encouragement, such as close friends or family members who always believe in an individual's abilities.

Misha also emphasizes the importance of regular communication and intentional relationship-building with members of one's board of supporters, whether it be through one-on-one meetings or group gatherings like their Jubilee group. The goal is to intentionally surround oneself with people who offer support, guidance, and encouragement on the journey of personal growth and development.

To find your board of supporters, you first need to identify what's important to your life and seek out people who share your interests or professional/personal pursuits. Create a consistent space for conversation, whether through joining a group or meeting one-on-one. It may take time to find the right fit, but it's okay to experiment. There's no clear answer as to whether people need to do things unintentionally to discover an intention. Some may need exploration, while others may have a clearer sense of their goals from a young age. Stay open to new things and always strive to live intentionally.

Aligning Your Life with Your Value System

Misha explains that discovering your vocational value system, which includes values such as making a difference, clarity, and creating, can guide your life. Once you have uncovered your value system, you can organize your whole life around it and be intentional on a whole new level.

Misha uses his own vocational value system to guide his work with clients, his involvement in organizations, and even his family life. By living within the whole paradigm of his value system, he experiences a certain integrity and sense of purpose.

Misha acknowledges that aligning your life with your value system does not eliminate all problems and frustrations, but it does give a certain sense of coherence and makes every piece of life make sense. In summary, aligning your life with your value system can provide a strong foundation for intentional living and a sense of purpose and coherence.

The Quiet Voice

Misha talked about the importance of listening to one's quiet voice or intuition when it comes to making important decisions in life. He explained that he always listened to his quiet voice and never ignored it, but he didn't always have the tools to figure out how to build his career. He felt like all other areas of his life were created, but work was one of the pieces that he didn't know how to create.

However, when he started facilitating meaningful, intentional life changes, he realized that he had to go through all the experiences he did in order to understand how it feels to go through all those levels. He could then teach people and help them move from stuckness to fulfillment, balance, or misalignment. This realization led him to develop his vocational values concept, which explains much of his life and career.

Misha said that he instantly got his first three clients after getting the concept of vocational values, and the more he worked with people, the more he saw what was missing and what he needed to add to develop the career method. So, his process of developing his career method was iterative and built upon his experiences with clients.

About Misha

Misha Rubin, CEO of The Career Leap, is passionate about assisting professionals in discovering their ideal career paths, achieving their full potential, and flourishing in their jobs. He has extensive experience advising Wall Street executives and managing large projects during his 15-year tenure at Ernst & Young, where he was also promoted to Partner. Despite his worldly success, Misha recognizes the importance of finding meaning and fulfillment in one's career and has dedicated his life to helping others do the same. Additionally, he is an adoptive parent of three, the founder of Children of Ukraine, a board member at Worldwide Orphans, and a recording artist under the name Misha Lyuve.Misha is focused on working with executives in transition and is currently in the process of building his digital program called Career Boost. He is also busy with his one-on-one clients and managing his organization in Ukraine. To find out more about Misha and his programs, interested individuals can visit his website at

DISCLAIMER: The people interviewed are well-trained experts and highly skilled in their areas of practice. They take many safety precautions prior to attempting the activities described. The activities or research discussed in these podcasts should not be attempted without qualified supervision and training with professionals.

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