UPWORD Consulting - Week 1

Imposter Syndrome with Kris Kelso


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Hey, everyone, welcome to week one and module two. And I am really excited about these next two modules. These are all about dealing with that dreaded imposter syndrome. And it's something that I in the past have really struggled with. And to be perfectly honest, putting this course together, it really showed its ugly head. And it's something that I just think isn't just going to go away on its own. And it's something that I deal with. And I want to make sure that we deal with right away early on in this training, because the mindset and the psychology is so critical to the foundation of the results that you're after. So, I started looking into doing research when I heard about imposter syndrome and something around like 70% of people struggle with imposter syndrome. And once I saw that statistic, I knew first that I'm not alone. And that this had to be its own modules and multiple modules right out of the gate. So what's exciting about this one is that even through my imposter syndrome, I still reached out to the guy that wrote the actual book on overcoming imposter syndrome. And believe it or not, he said yes, and so we're gonna get into that in just a little bit.

But before I introduce him, I really quickly just want to share a little bit of my story when it comes to imposter syndrome, and really fear and insecurity and see if you can relate at all. Because if you ever had that feeling of I'm way in over my head, and somebody is going to find out, then this module is definitely for you. So for me, it really all started back in junior high. When all sudden I'll never forget this, I was at some event, I think it was like an eighth grade graduation or something dumb like that. And I remember I started just all sudden comparing myself to others. And I'd never really done that before, it was just kind of like this Weird, Gross light bulb went off in my head. And all of a sudden, just a flood of insecurity came rushing in. And I guess in a way, I've never really been the same. It really was, for me a lot of physical insecurity. I didn't like the way I looked. And obviously junior high, you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, you're super awkward. But for some reason that feeling just never left me. And really, I was a late bloomer. And to be honest, I, at the end of the day, I just didn't like myself.

And so as I started to grow and mature and started trying to work on the insecurity, for me, that really transformed into my business so that the physical insecurity kind of transformed into my career as imposter syndrome. So that insecurity, that voice became very, very loud for me. But the way that it showed itself was that I wasn't good enough in business, that I shouldn't be here, I shouldn't be teaching a course. And I shouldn't be creating a course. Even though I see the results that I get from my clients firsthand, there's still this nagging voice in the back of my head that is trying to knock me down. And that's pretty well, right. So I wanted to make sure that we spend a good amount of time in this training right up front, dealing with imposter syndrome, because chances are, you've experienced it, or you're still experiencing it with your business or just in life. So I want to give you as many tips, tools, tricks, and anything that we can do to help change your relationship with imposter syndrome.

Because what started to change my mind for me and the way I thought about it, and I think I mentioned this earlier was that as I was building this course, when it was just an idea. And I was just starting to kind of frame it out and take notes and slowly build it out. That voice came popping back into my head. And then I just remember going through kind of I was feeling insecure about myself, I shouldn't be creating a course I shouldn't be teaching anyone anything.

I kind of had this weird epiphany that kind of came out of left field for me. And it was one of those things where now I've got a new Guiding Light. And what I mean by that is when I hear that voice when I feel that fear, when I feel like an imposter, I then realize that I'm on the right track. And so really that's what I've decided, for me that when I'm outside of my comfort zone, when I'm doing something new and scary like building out this course I'm hearing my voice all the time and teaching people those feelings now and that fear and that feeling of being imposter means I'm on the right track. And what's crazy is once I was able to identify the kind of this fear this weird emotion that I didn't have a label for as imposter syndrome. I was able to start Talking with other entrepreneurs, people in my network. And funny enough speaking with people that are multimillionaires, Uber successful struggle with the very same thing that I was talking about. So I was able to find comfort in that. And it gave me a little bit of boost of confidence to keep going on in this course.

And in my agency. It didn't change that voice, right? It's still there. Even as I'm recording this training, I still feel it. And really, I end up procrastinating and putting things off. And at the time, I don't feel like it's imposter syndrome. But I just know that there's a wall, right? And there's this thing preventing me from actually taking action that I feel is scary here, I'm afraid. I think I put off this module for about two weeks. And now looking back and understanding imposter syndrome a bit more, I realized that because of imposter syndrome, it was preventing me from doing the things that I needed to do to get the results that I was truly after because of fear. And so this is just something that we as humans, we have the superpower, almost that we're able to believe that something is true, even when it's not. And what I've come to find is, I think the only difference between people who struggle with imposter syndrome consistently and those that don't, is they think different thoughts. And so I think there's obviously a whole lot to it, but I want to bring in the expert, the guy that video he wrote the book on overcoming imposter syndrome.

So let me tell you a little bit more about Chris Kelso. So a little bit about Chris is Chris started in the music industry similar to myself in his teenage years. And then he transitioned over to technology as a software developer. He started his first business at 31 years old with no formal business training and never even went to college. After building a seven figure IT consulting firm, he made a conscious decision to move from technology expertise to leadership and strategy and to move from working with IT departments to working with CEOs and business owners. It took them about seven years to make this transition. And here are just a few highlights. He's a two time entrepreneur. He's founded both a professional services firm that was completely bootstrapped to seven figures in revenue with no debt and a tech startup that involves cloud computing. That was investor backed. He's also been a consultant to fortune 50 companies and has led turnaround efforts for some of those companies. He's been an advisor to investors, venture capital, private equity and Angel groups. He is now an executive coach for CEOs of small businesses, mostly between the 1,000,020 5 million in revenue companies. He's also a guest lecturer at universities across the US. He's an advisor slash instructor at the Nashville entrepreneur center. He's a contributing writer for Fast Company magazine, Yahoo Finance, authority magazine, worth magazine, the National Business Journal, and others. He's the best selling author of overcoming the imposter silence your inner critic and lead with confidence. I'm super excited to have Chris Kelso on board. He is going to give us a keynote presentation on the imposter syndrome, what it is what he's learned from it, talk a little bit more about his book, and then we're going to get into a live coaching session that he did with me. And some of this is going to be me getting very personal and raw. At the end of it. I hope that you have exactly what you need to start changing your relationship with imposter syndrome. Without further ado, here is Chris Kelso.

Hi, I'm Kris Kelso. And I want to talk to you today about this thing that we call imposter syndrome. And if you're not familiar with that term, imposter syndrome is a psychological term that was coined in the 1970s actually, and it refers to the tendency of many people, it turns out to overvalue the accomplishments of others, and to undervalue or even doubt the reality of their own accomplishments and their own success. What happens when you have imposter syndrome is you'll look at other people, maybe people in your field other entrepreneurs, people that you admire, and, and you'll say, well, their success is obviously the result of smart being smart and savvy and making good decisions. And they, they have a plan, and they execute it well, and they really seem to have it all together and know what they're doing. Whereas my journey, my career has involved a lot of luck, and timing. And there have been a lot of times that I didn't know what I was doing, but I just fumbled my way through it, I, I made some mistakes, but managed to recover and figure it out. But I don't know that I really deserve to be where I'm at, maybe it's an accident that I've gotten here. And the underlying fear of imposter syndrome is that sooner or later, someone or everyone is going to figure out that, that you really don't know what you're doing, that you just been making this up as you go and that if that happens, you're going to be exposed as a fraud and, and it's all going to come crumbling down around you at that point. I've experienced that in my 14 years as an entrepreneur, and even prior to that in previous jobs and things that I've done, and turns out, I'm not alone. One study suggests that up to 70% of the population experiences imposter syndrome at some point in their career. And the really interesting thing is that it tends to be more prevalent among high achievers. So if you're the type of person that's taking risks, that's pushing the boundaries, that's stretching yourself, that's enrolling in a course to learn a new skill to develop something and, and better your situation, you're more likely to feel at times, like you're in over your head, like you're maybe a fraud. So you should feel good about being a good company. When that happens. It's not the it's not the content. It's not the people who are just satisfied with the status quo. It's, it's the risk takers of the world, it's the people that are driving and pushing and achieving that run into this issue of feeling like, maybe I don't measure up, maybe I'm not what everyone thinks that I am. entrepreneurs in particular, really wrestle with imposter syndrome. It's very prevalent. I work with hundreds of entrepreneurs. And I've seen this over and over again, that entrepreneurs struggle with the feeling that maybe they're just making it up as they go, and everybody else seems to really know what they're doing. But I'm falling behind, or I don't have what it takes. And I think there's three reasons why entrepreneurs in particular, are really susceptible to imposter syndrome. The first one is that they're pushing the boundaries, they're taking risks, they're doing new things. They're, they're, they're putting themselves out there. And the chances of failure are high. And the the learning curve is steep. And they're, in some cases creating things that didn't exist before. So there's a lot of trial and error involved in that. And let's face it, sometimes the errors and the failures outweigh the successes, you make a lot of mistakes on your way to figuring something out. The second reason that entrepreneurs can struggle with this is that they're almost always in sales mode. entrepreneurs, by definition have to be salespeople. If they're not doing the obvious thing of selling customers on their products or their services or whatever it is that they offer to the market. They may be selling potential employees to join their team. They may be selling potential partners or vendors or people that they want to come alongside. them and be a part of the vision of what they're building. A small number of entrepreneurs will pitch investors, which is selling equity in their company. And that's one of the hardest sales jobs I've ever done in my life. And it can really, really take a beating on your, on your ego and your confidence when you have to sell. And what happens is, with all of that selling, is you've got your game face on, you're, you're putting your very best foot forward, and you're showing the best version of yourself, your business, your product, your service, your ideas. But you know, you know, deep down inside that there's a lot of cracks under the surface, that there's flaws in the plan, that it's that it's maybe only half baked, if that much that, that you're offering a service that you're still figuring out how to deliver, that you're selling a product that isn't perfect yet, and it's got some kinks to be worked out. And all that selling and all that presenting. While you know that there's more to the story than what you tell in a sales presentation that can wear on you. And that can cause you to feel like maybe I don't measure up, especially when you're around other entrepreneurs who are also selling, but you believe their sales pitch and you think they have it all figured out when they're in the same boat. The third reason that entrepreneurs as a group are more susceptible to imposter syndrome as that society puts us on a little bit of a pedestal. entrepreneurships become really popular really in vogue and people admire entrepreneurs and a CEO named Toby Thomas used an illustration that has become my go to description of entrepreneurship. He said that an entrepreneur is like a man riding on a lion. Now, the people around him look at the man and say, Wow, that's amazing. That's so brave. It's so bold. I wish I had the guts to do what he's doing. But all the while the man on the lion is thinking, How in the world that I get on a lion? And and how do I keep from being eaten by it. And that that contrast that difference in perspective is remarkably accurate. I can't tell you how many times I have been admired and given verbal high fives and accolades, and maybe even awards for the things that I've done as an entrepreneur and the risks that I've taken. But I'm not always celebrating. I'm not always excited in those moments, because sometimes I'm, I'm even freaking out a little bit. Because what looks to others, like, boldness and courage and strength feels to me like a series of near catastrophes. It's one lesson after another in what doesn't work in order to get to what does work. And so those three things, breaking new ground and being a risk taker being in sales mode, almost all the time, and being admired and respected by others. When you know, you're, you're writing a terrifying lion. Those three things together can make it really easy for entrepreneurs to fall into the trap of imposter syndrome. I wrote a book on this topic recently overcoming the imposter. And as I was going through the process of writing that book and doing the research and the study, I looked back at my career. And I had this really interesting moment where I realized a pattern that changed the way I think about success and failure. And that pattern that I noticed in my storyline is that the moments of my career where I felt the most insecure the most in over my head, the most inadequate or unworthy, where I had the most stress and anxiety. Those were the moments that something great was happening. Those were the most pivotal moments of my career. Usually when I'm feeling that anxious when I'm feeling like an imposter, it means that either I'm around people that intimidate me, but from whom I can learn a lot. Or I'm in a situation where I'm outside my comfort zone and I'm stretching and really growing and that pain is part of the building process of developing new skills and new knowledge. Or maybe I'm taking a risk and the chances of failure are high. But so are the chances of learning a lot. And big risks eventually bring big rewards. So I've realized that those moments that I felt the most anxiety that I wanted to pull back That if I push through amazing things happen on the other side of that anxiety. And so I've learned to actually lean into that to turn anxiety into anticipation. And when I start to feel that stress of oh my goodness, I don't know what I'm doing, I'm in over my head, this may not work out. I see that as a sign that something great is on the horizon. And I've got to double my efforts and work hard and push through that stress to get to the reward on the other side. If you're going to do this, if you're going to change your mindset about imposter syndrome, if you're going to identify that voice of the inner critic, and begin to counteract it, there's, there's a couple of things that you need to do. The first is, you've got to change your perspective on success and failure. Success, the change that you need to make and how you think about success is to stop measuring success against other people. Stop measuring success by comparing yourself to someone else, because the reality is, you don't know another person's entire story. And you don't know the cracks and flaws behind their story. Like you do your own. Anytime you compare yourself to another person or you compare your business to another business. You are comparing the reality of your own life against a polished and filtered curated version of someone else's. It's not reality. It's not true. It's, it's not real, it's a trap. So you've got to learn to measure success, by your own definition, measure your progress against your goals. And don't worry about how you compare to someone else. Now, that doesn't mean we don't learn from other people. It doesn't mean we can't benefit from following the careers and the track records and studying what other people and other businesses have done. But But when you compare yourself and use that as your benchmark, it's a flawed measuring system. And it's going to leave you feeling inadequate, almost every time. And you've got to change your definition of failure. I have a mantra that failure is only failure. If you learn nothing. You see, failure is a great teacher, failure is a great way to learn. And if you fear failure, that fear is going to keep you from learning the lessons you need to learn in order to succeed. Failure is not the opposite of success, failure is part of success. It's a step in the process, you look at any great success story. And if you really dig deep, you'll find a lot of failures and mistakes along the way. Those are the lessons, they're the building blocks of success are small failures that lead to big successes. So you've got to look for opportunities, not that you intentionally want to fail, but that you look for a chance to learn something, you look for an opportunity to take a risk, knowing that you'll either succeed or you'll learn. Those are the two options. The only way you really and truly fail is this, you just walk away with no lesson learned. So when you change that perspective, and you you no longer fear failure, but you look at risk and trial and error differently. You're disarming, that voice of the inner critic, that imposter, you're, you're taking away the fear of failure as a tool that holds you back. That keeps you down that that prevents you from leaning in and stepping up to the plate and taking the big swing and doing the things you need to do. So first, the first recommendation I have for you is change your definitions of success and failure. Think about those things differently. The second thing that you need to do to combat the imposter to battle that inner critic is you need to be part of a healthy community. Community is where you reset your perspective. When you're when you're connected to other people in a real and genuine way. They can see things in you you can't see in yourself. They can see the potential in you that that you don't realize is there they also can see the flaws in you that you're ignoring that are holding you back. And, and so community is where you get a right perspective on your And you get a right perspective on your circumstances, you see that the challenges you face, the things you're struggling with, are the same challenges that 1000s of other people have faced before you and that many people are facing alongside of you. And they're not insurmountable. And there are multiple ways around those mountains and through those obstacles. But you miss out on that if you're if you withdraw, and that the insidious part of imposter syndrome, the thing that that that drives me the most crazy about it, when I see it at work in people's lives, is it, it causes us to want to withdraw from others out of that fear, out of that insecurity out of that worry that they're going to, if they get if they get in and really figure out who we are, they're going to lose respect for us they're going to, they're going to realize that we're not what they think we are. And that fear will cause us to pull away from people when we need to be connecting to people. So you've got to connect with others. And there's a key ingredient, there's a key factor that makes the difference as to whether community works for you or against you. It's really the differentiator between a healthy community and an unhealthy community. And that key is vulnerability. If you're in a group of people that are unwilling to be vulnerable, then effectively they're all in sales mode, they're all presenting the best version of themselves. They're all posturing and trying to one up one another. And they're everyone's trying to look good for everybody else. That community is going to work against you. That community is going to feed your imposter the feed your inner critic. But if you get into a community where people are willing to open up, are willing to be real and genuine, are willing to be honest with one another. If you're in a community where you can build trust, and where you can just let it all out. And acknowledge both your confidence and your fears and insecurities, your strengths and your weaknesses when you can lay all of that out there. And then people still support and respect you. It takes away that fear. The fear of vulnerability melts away when you're a part of a safe community. So change your thinking about success and failure. Be part of a community and make sure that that community is one that emphasizes and appreciates and rewards vulnerability doesn't punish it. And if you do those two things, you'll be well on your way to battling the imposter, to overcoming those self doubts those those voices of inner critic in your head and you'll go a lot further a lot faster with a lot more fun.