Tonje lives in Vinterbro, near Drøbak in Norway with her man and her two daughters.She is the founder of Growthitude AS and has worked as an Executive and Industry Manager in companies like Microsoft and Google with clients from all types of industries. Her first book became an Amazon bestseller in USA, Australia and Canada within 24 hours, you can find and grab your copy here.

A decisive turning point in her career and life journey came in December 2014 when she attended ‘Date With Destiny’ in Boca Raton, Florida. She went to see life coach Tony Robbins, along with 2500 other people. That event crystallized her strength, her faith in the idea of constant growth and the self-discovery of who she is and what humans are capable of:  they are capable of making their lives a masterpiece.

She started Growthitude

hrchitects: How did you leave Google?

I had often in my career fearlessly taken leaps of faith; leaps in to seemingly empty air – and I failed often, but they always took me to the next level and got me where I wanted to go. And so on my return from Date with Destiny, I took a new leap of faith; I met with my manager at Google and told her I was resigning. I wanted to go from being an employee to starting my own business.

hrchitects: So why did you start Growthitude?

I had my ‘why’ for starting Growthitude.

All children growing up today will move on to workplaces that take good care of them, inspire them and understand how to play to their strengths. Their workplaces will be free of bullying, their workplaces will enrich and enlighten their souls and make hearts thrive and shine.

hrchitects: How did it go?

I had no entrepreneurial experience though and the time since March 2015, when I left Google, life has been filled with massive personal and professional growth, deep, dark valleys of frustration and many sleepless nights, as well as peaks of joy, small and big victories and heart felt laughter.

One step at a time. One building block at a time.

Back then, I knew I had been through tougher times. What do you do when you lose it all? Who do you turn to when you’re going through a break up, you no longer have a home or you realize your job is not right for you? I found myself in a foreign country, confronting all of these circumstances at once. This is my story, and I will share the main 3 traits that got me through some of my toughest times, the traits that landed me the job in Google in a year when 2 million people applied for a job there and the traits that made me start my own business. We all have these traits. It is only a question of how often we use them.

hrchitects: Were you not afraid?

When change happen willingly or unwillingly in our lives, we may feel fear. Our brain is wired for a ‘fight or flight’ response when we feel fear. Since change and transformation creates fear, our natural reaction to change is the fight or flight response. Therefore, we need to actively engage ourselves to overcome the fear and the fight or flight response, every day, every moment we experience it.

Day-by-day the demands of adapting to the evolution of society increase. We must raise the bar on what we deliver and accomplish every single day of our lives.

hrchitects: It was a big change, was it worth while?

If you cannot adapt to an ever-changing environment, you will find your original skills are no longer adequate. Are you coping with the changes and the fast paced environment you’re in? Are you happy with your life? What are your goals? Are you living the life of your dreams? When achieving your goals, do you manage to maintain your enthusiasm and set your next goal? Are you motivated in what you do? What’s getting you up in the morning, what’s driving you? How is your work-life balance? How much do you feel in control of your work environment – or does it control you?

All too often, rather than enjoying life, we feel we are being dragged along in its wake. If you wish to learn how to confidently adapt to new and unexpected situations, you must master the 3 traits I will be sharing shortly.

hrchitects: So you’re enjoying yourself. But are you making money?

The entrepreneurial journey is still unfolding and entrepreneurship is by no means an easy road to travel. I have gone from having clients sporadically to having recurring corporate clients and growing the business. What I have learned, and that most successful entrepreneurs also say; patience – it will take longer time than you think (multiply the time you have planned with 3 or 4 at least). Micro speed and macro patience is an expression shared by Gary Vaynerchuk and I have found it to be 100% true. Do everything you do, every day, as fast as you can. Don’t dwell and try to perfect things, the market cares more for speed than 120% perfection. Then have patience for the next 10 years.

hrchitects: What do you offer you customers?

Let me give 3 examples of how we deliver value:

The first example digital change and automation. For small and medium sized businesses we deliver leadership development and business growth trainings as well as trainings on how to start digitization and automatisation of processes today and how to create an engaging company culture while going through digital changes.

The second example is about change
We cooperate our business partner that delivers G-Suite (Google Apps for Work + other programs) and we help the clients engage their people in the new technology while going through a change management project.

The third example is about culture. We measure employee engagement in real time and deliver consulting, coaching and workshops to help the company strengthen their company culture.

hrchitects: What’s your advice for others who would start?

My message to you who wants to up level your career, get THAT promotion or start your OWN business is this:

You can follow your dreams if you keep building on these 3 traits:

  1. Love and have passion for what you do (if you don’t love what you do, someone else who does love what they do and is in the same industry, will out do you)
  2. Tenacity, tenacity, tenacity
  3. Resilience to bounce back after failures (they will happen, often)

Keep the focus, have the right mindset and continue giving outstanding value to your clients and the people around you and online, whether you are an employee or your own boss.

“Change happens when you change”

This is my motto

  • If you reclaim your courage and boldness,
  • Work on having the right mindset,
  • Become conscious about who you are and your strengths and weaknesses,
  • Make the jump,
  • Take massive action,
  • Apply leveraged mentoring,
  • Stay engaged and persistent,
  • You will succeed.

You are worthy of living life on your terms. Everything you ever desire is ready waiting for you to find the right key to open the vault of infinite abundance. Commitment starts when the fun stops. Being a leader means you have to do stuff you sometimes don’t feel like doing. You have to work to be able to live life on your terms, both internally and externally — every day. Now go create life as you want it! And enjoy the road to your destination – enjoy the entire journey. Don’t wait for your destination to feel alive and happy!

hrchitects: Thank you, Tonje.






Tonje Elisabeth Aarøe

Tonje Elisabeth Aarøe

Founder and CEO of Growthitude. Expertise in digitization and transformation, employee performance and company culture

Ignite the Inner Game Changer In Your Work (Interview)

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