Noel Carroll, CEO, Biofriedndly
Noel Carroll, CEO of the green technology company, Biofriendly
Firstly, can you give us a little bit of background about your business journey?
Noel Carroll is the CEO of Biofriendly Corporation. Biofriendly, known as the world leader in green fuel solutions, produces Green Plus®, a breakthrough technology that is Eco-labeled by the United Nations for reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Under his leadership, Biofriendly has more than doubled in size and directly removed more than 8 million tons of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Thanks to his reorganization strategy, and reinvestment in new, green tech, Biofriendly now has a bevy of revolutionary environmental technologies in the pipeline. As part of this process, Noel also founded and launched Biofriendly Planet Network, which has grown into one of the largest environmentally based news and entertainment sources in the world. He is also the co-host of the Biofriendly Podcast, one of the most popular Earth Science radio shows on the Apple Podcast and Spotify listings. Biofriendly now looks to the future of green technology and aims to be an innovator in the sustainable space.
What role has self-belief played in your journey as a business leader? How has it influenced your decision-making and overall success?
It’s difficult to run a business without having some belief in yourself. You’re in a position where you have to ask your team to do things, form the direction of a company, and push it forward. If you don't believe you yourself can do those things, then you probably shouldn't be leading the way.
Self-belief is synonymous with being confident in your ability to do something, which is intrinsically linked to experience. Becoming an expert in your field, trying and succeeding–and sometimes failing–is how you boil a pot of self-belief and get to a point where you know you’re making good decisions and leading the teams who trust you in the right direction.
Can you share a specific moment or challenge in your journey where your self-belief was tested? How did you overcome it and what did you learn from that experience?
When you are running a business, there isn’t a day that goes by without a challenge or obstacle you have to navigate to continue pushing the company’s mission forward. This is especially true in Biofriendly’s case as we address global issues impacting the future of our planet, by trying to reduce carbon emissions and increase accessibility to sustainable education through Biofriendly Planet.
If you're trying to push the limits of what you can do—which as business leaders, we should be pushing limits, breaking down barriers, and questioning how things have been done before to make things better in the future—your self-belief will be tested. From my experience, each time I have had to push the limits of what’s been done before me, my self-belief was tested.
When I took over this company, there was a lot to get done. We had a lot of exciting things in motion, several things we could move forward with, but at the same time, there were a lot of challenges that were problematic and needed to be sorted as soon as possible. There were times during that process when I wasn’t certain everything we tried would work. But, with perseverance and a focus on solutions, it usually works out. If it doesn’t, you pick up and try again until it does.
Before my time at Biofriendly, every single time I've made a film project, my self-belief was tested because we kept trying to do bigger, better, and more difficult things.
How do you cultivate and maintain a mindset of self-belief amidst the inevitable ups and downs of life?
Consistent habits. Trying to start your day the same way, trying to have just a steady, reliable pattern of when you're doing things, how you're doing things, and why you're doing them. To just establish that the day is going to go a certain way.
That kind of keeps you flowing through the inevitable curve balls that slide in. You find a way to hit 'em.
Surrounding yourself with a team who shares your vision reaffirms your own self-belief in what you are doing and working towards. Two minds are better than one and collaborating with colleagues who you trust and are equally invested in doing better for the next generation’s world makes a difference.
Are there any specific strategies or practices you follow to boost your self-confidence when facing uncertainties or setbacks in your business?
Honestly, I don't find that's the issue when it comes to the difficulties or setbacks, because you have a choice to make at that moment. Will I succumb to what this thing is and have it ruin everything? Or will I pull up my socks? Because that's what I always do. I pull up my socks and get stuck into turning setbacks into opportunities.
It's important to have experience and some confidence that you know what you're doing. But in the end, that isn't what stops or starts me. When it comes to dealing with the garbage that gets thrown at you when things are difficult, what gets me through is managing one thing at a time. Moving from task to task while keeping the biggest picture in the back of your mind can make uncertainties seem less daunting and problems can be solved with greater confidence.
How do you handle self-doubt or negative self-talk that may arise as a business leader? Do you have any specific techniques for reframing negative thoughts?
It’s inevitable that you aren’t going to make everybody happy all of the time, and that some decisions are going to be helpful for one group and maybe not as helpful for another. Trying to make everyone happy is near impossible.
If you make a concerted effort to come up with the best solution for any given situation, you do your best to be honest about it, and you think about the big picture, more often than not it works out in the end.
If you stay committed and true to what your business does and what its mission is about, the people who are unhappy can see where you are going and hopefully in the future, something that they come up with can be the solution.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle with self-belief? How can they start building a stronger sense of confidence and belief in themselves?
Life is about action and I’m a firm believer in taking action to move things forward. That would be my advice. In the end, if you're getting after it, if you are actively pursuing something or doing something, the confidence will come as you’re in the midst of it.
Confidence doesn't come from taking a step back, analysis paralysis, or weighing up the pros and cons of something for an excessive period of time. It also doesn’t come from doing special breathing techniques, although that can help, but it’s not the core of it.
The core of confidence is experience. It's having done the thing before and knowing that you can do it. The only way that you can have that confidence is to do things. So, start doing the thing. Whatever it is that you need to get done, get after it and see what happens. It’s better than sitting in a stalemate.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to fail, because you will. Every person you look at and think “That person is so confident and has it so together” has a lineup of a million failures in their past that led them to the point.
Have you ever encountered external skepticism or negativity regarding your business ideas or decisions? How do you stay grounded in your self-belief despite external influences?
Anything interesting is going to get pushback because if it's interesting, then some aspect of it hasn't been done before, or some part of it is unique enough that people haven't done it yet. If something hasn’t been done before it’s usually disagreeable or hard – both of which are a recipe for interrogation.
For example, Biofriendly is fundamentally about saving the planet. You would think something as straightforward as reducing air pollution, cutting back on carbon emissions, and helping the environment are what everybody wants. To live on a good planet. But yet it gets a ton of pushback because people are saying “You're wasting your time. Why are you bothering? What's the point? There's nothing wrong. You don't have to do this.”
I think that everything worth doing gets pushback. If you go into what you're interested in, you have to learn that this is not a world where everybody agrees. If you think it's important and you have belief in what you're doing, time will tell whether or not you're right. You may as well go find out and get the experience.
Are there any books, podcasts, or people you'd recommend checking out for anyone who wants to change to a more self-confident and belief-rich mindset?
I am going to do the most shameless plug in all history and say that you should check out the Biofriendly Podcast, because when it comes to the environment, it's a place where you can gain a real understanding of what the actual problems are.
My co-host and colleague Jacob Givens, Biofriendly’s Director of Promotion and Marketing, and I tackle topics that help differentiate between what is greenwashing or maybe supports an agenda next to verifiable data about our environmental challenges ahead. We get to the bottom of what legitimately is an issue and make it accessible and approachable to the everyday person.
In the process of bridging the gap to increase accessibility to eco-friendly education, we also try and make it a light-hearted listen with a few jokes thrown into the mix. There are a myriad of relatable, fun, and interesting topics that come up. Check it out at biofriendlyplanet.com/podcast.
Finally, what are some practical tips or exercises you can recommend for entrepreneurs to strengthen their self-belief and mindset on a regular basis?
Find a routine that is productive and gets your day continually moving in the direction that you want it to go. Don’t just set it, be stringent about following that routine as best you can. With that routine will come action that will eventually lead to what you're trying to do, and from that comes self-belief.