Expertise Levels the Playing Field
We have a built in advantage we have a built in advantage and our advantage is our creativity sze our creativity we have insights that others don't have and our expertise gives us all the advantage that we need it in fact levels the playing field it actually can put us in the power position well used creativity gives us the position of power that we need to actually knock it out of the park and when you see people who are really doing it and think of somebody famous famous photographer a famous illustrator of famous designer uh that's what they're doing they're just people just like us and we tend to forget that so it gives us powerful leverage at the bargaining table and every place else training plus talent plus skills plus the work that we do that's where the expertise comes from it's altogether training talent skills work equals expertise they can't get it from anyone else I'm going to say that over and over again they can't get it from anyone else our recognition starts at age fiv...
e or age seven and we're actually in training then for what we've become now so even if we were in our twenties we could well have twenty years of practicing our expertise we are experienced but confidence is required so we're going to talk a little bit this morning about where we get the confidence and there's been a lot written about that lately that I think is really exciting, and I'm going to give you some tips and techniques that I've used through my life to gain confidence always a problem. How many of you have heard of impostor syndrome imposter syndrome? All right, have you ever felt that you weren't worthy and you wondered why you were even there? Yes, yes, it seems to be almost universal amongst creatives back to me. Hi, I think it's comes a little bit from the humbleness that he talks about, you know, we're both very excited about what we do, and we're proud of what we do, but we're also kind of automatically humble about it, and so imposter syndrome can be can be really extreme and really bad. I don't know a philip seymour hoffman had imposter syndrome, but I do know that he was at the top of his game, that he had a huge career and he was extremely successful and much admired by all of us for his work as an actor and yet went back to drugs and alcohol. Ultimately gone didn't believe somehow in his strengths, so imposter syndrome very, very dangerous. Here's some quotes from actors actually, who have imposter cem syndrome and actor said, I think, what are you doing here? What do you think you're doing? You're going to be found out the whole idea of being found out is very common with imposter syndrome I'd wake up in the real quick for those folks who don't know what imposter syndrome is could you kind of get a little bit of ah ah background well it the word imposter tells you everything everything you need to know you think you're not worthy you think that you are an imposter you think that the skills and experience that you have it is not enough for some reason you don't believe it you don't believe in yourself that's imposter syndrome and so these quotes I thought just really resonated with me I'd wake up in the morning before going off to a gig and think I can't do this I'm a fraud thinking one self is a fraud is classic and impostor syndrome all I can see is everything I'm doing wrong all I can see is everything I'm doing wrong I've told you I filmed a bunch of videos for this for this class in advance and when I look at the videos what I see or all the things I wished I'd been able to accomplish that I couldn't accomplish when other people look at him they say pop those great amazing they're very professional remarkable how did you do that I'm like whoa oh I'm a sham and a fraud that's another quote I'm a sham and a fraud creative high achievers are extremely subset pta ble to imposter syndrome creative high achievers are extremely subsector ble to imposter syndrome we fear we're not as smart as we think we are we fear were not as we're not as smart as other people think we are so people tell us for smart people tell us were accomplished people tell us that we're really good at something but for some reason we don't believe it we don't trust compliments we don't trust compliments that's a classic uh symptom of impostor sent somebody gives us a compliment and we don't believe it we discounted for some reason it's a classic symptom of impostors syndrome we're getting a lot of people we've got top tomato who says I remember the sense of relief I felt when I learned that impostor syndrome is universal a few and then t w f says I'm almost sixty and I still feel like an impostor sometimes exactly is something that I personally struggled with a lot especially my last career a zoo video game center it was something where I was convinced that every day someone was going to figure out a way he doesn't know what he's doing he's just figuring this out as he goes and that's it everything would go would start crumbling around me it's it's painful yeah really it's really hard for people to deal with so the key and this particular in this ticket or slide is that we tend to compare our insecurities to others outer projections of themselves okay, so here I am the condition really nice black shirt all carefully iron this morning very early and in my cool shoes and uh projecting as much strength as I know how to project and but inside of course I'm full of insecurities and childhood dramas and trials and tribulations that we're all there were all full of but when people look at me and if I hadn't confessed they might think wow this guy's really poised he's really got it together you know look at him he's got the cool glasses got the cool shirt you know he's what a dude so they would compared therein in her insecurities to my projection of strength and power and that's what we tend to do so it's a really weird little situation that we find ourselves in where we know how we feel not particularly strong we look att someone else who looks really strong and capable we immediately assumed that were inferior and and therefore an impostor so very strange little trick it's a game we're playing ourselves it's not good it's not good it's very, very bad here's a little story I'm going to tell you it's a very sad story um went to a very successful presentation myself and a writer that I teamed up with this is years ago when I was doing creative work myself and very successful presentation and in fact she had carried most of the ball she was smart as hell and had written the concepts and I'd done the layouts of the design or whatever I'd contributed and it did and it had been completely accepted by the client and you know, as far as I was concerned we knocked it out of the park and we've got, you know, maintained the business and the revenue would keep coming and we'll get to do the cool work and all that stuff and I was extremely happy and we're walking back from this presentation and she said to me was I okay in there? Did I help? It was good right? And I realized I was like first I was like what kind you were fantastic you were fantastic and then I realized that she really believed that she wasn't good that she really believed that she wasn't good and yet here's what's this writer I'd relied on for years sadly, I mean she was a real star through school she was a straight a student she was beautiful, she was a cheerleader she had all these accomplishments she drank and she drank heavily she gained a ton of weight she died in her forties of alcoholism imposter syndrome she couldn't believe in the strengths that she obviously have and when I wrote the story when I thought about telling the story here I was like I wished I'd known enough to help or get her some help I didn't know you know, I didn't know I know now it's bad so we have to develop coping skills we have to develop adult coping skills so the coping skills from my childhood running off with the gang that was a coping skill you know I want to be in with the gang so I ran off with them joined the gang that's not a good coping skill for an adult have two adult develop adult coping saw feels so you have to recognize your successes and so a little bit revealing there I you know, I had lots of presentations that caused lots of nerves and lots of anxieties, and one of the techniques I developed was I would go to the men's room and I'd get a have a little piece of paper that would fold up that would fit in my jacket pocket and I would write down my accomplishments on the piece of paper. I did the annual report for someone so we did the brand identity program for these guys. We want an award for this. We were just announced a cz the fastest growing whatever you know, whatever was something current that I thought of as an accomplishment that others would recognize is an accomplishment and then I would carefully put it in my coat pocket never referred to it but it would like, you know, somehow there would be some strength drawn from the very act of forcing into my frontal lobe that's really what I was doing I was forcing my frontal lobe to engage and remember all the cool things that we've done that got us where we work so some of the things that we should try and find it's like ways to ground ourselves like toe pull us away from like those negative thoughts exactly that's what the coping skill it's yeah it's a coping skills were looking for coping skills so this is a really specific one write down something you know you accomplished I finished the assignment for bob and I did it in a week and a half but it was remarkable not only did I hit the creative goals but I hit this ridiculous time thing you know or way got noticed by the blawg for the work that we did for this team write it down make a little note put it in close to you you you don't need you might even refer to I suppose I never referred to it simply the writing it down was enough to put it in my frontal lobe so that I would read reduce those anxieties then I would go into the conference room and be powerful so it's a coping skill basically it was reminding me that I was a long ways from the little teddy lenhart from beacon hill that's what it was doing I wasn't forgetting little teddy lenhart is still inside but I was saying to myself, yes, I'm him, but I'm also me a grown up man with lots of accomplishments, so recognize your successes, understand, and acknowledge those vulnerabilities focus on the value that you bring. So on that note, I would be thinking about what are we going to do for charles schwab? That's gonna work for them? What will we do on their annual report that will make their stock rice? How can we help that would be on that note, too? What is the key thing we're going to bring that no one else will bring that would be on that note, get help from others? Build a team. One of the other coping skills that I used to use when I was extremely anxious was I would gather the team for the assignment or the pitch or whatever it was would be like three or four of us on a team, and I would gather the team around me, so I'd say we have a team meeting and I wasn't really trying to like, say what we need to do this by friday and that by tuesday and the budgets this or whatever, what I was really doing was just talking with them, so I would remind me of how good they were, I would say, sally, talking about the naming process, and I would go yeah sally you know and I would see bob you know, thinking about the design and how he was going to interpret it and I would go yeah bob so what I was doing with the team because I wasn't checking on them what I was doing was reminding myself of how good a group we were and how powerful we were when we were together that was a coping skill for relieving the anxieties of being competing with land or or colonel anderson or whoever the competition happened to be coping skill yeah we've got a bunch of questions about imposter syndrome would you like tio fire away fantastic so first of all just read on topic here a coping mechanism that alaia williams is showing is sharing she says I did that for a while I wasn't giving myself credit for what I was achieving so I just started writing things down actually having a list of accomplishments those things that yeah as you do them yes it's easy to forget it's easy to look back and not remember those things but if you can look at a list and say I did all these things it's harder to doubt yourself I think what you think about that it's right back to our creative list we are we are focused on what's next not on past achievements and it's also focused on you know they're these vulnerabilities were a little discounting of our past achievements so writing them down is exactly the right thing to do because I think of what it does is it forces him into the frontal lobe, you know, forces us to process yeah, I did that yeah, yeah, you know I'd love it if you guys have any questions feel free to jump in and got a couple more from folks online we have ryan brazil who says how is imposter syndrome different from just not being happy with your work? Because you're a perfectionist sport? Is that perfectionism a part of impostor syndrome? Uh uh separate but equal I'd say ah, a little bit of both on and then we had a couple different people who mentioned the idea of faking it till you make it. So where does that where do you think that fits in with imposter syndrome, where you I need to establish yourself a cz more confident than you are when you first start out because you just don't have anything to look back on? But my message is you always have somethingto look back on and I don't like the term faking it, I never faked it I am riel I am genuine, I am what I am I'm strong, I'm weak, I'm in between I I know that phrase I've heard people say it, I just doesn't feel it never felt right to me like we've got another one from command shift who says I'll bet creative high achievers are susceptible to imposter syndrome because artists no creative output is not constant and linear I might be brilliant a week from now but I might suck tomorrow exactly do you think that that plays into it and do you have any ideas for how to combat those lulls in your creativity uh know that you need time to rest be respectful of your veer needs for time out enjoy your burst of creativity and and relax when you're between gigs you know have a beer I think that's you all got permission so go ahead um yeah, this is probably one thing that I definitely do like suffer from is like that that little part of it where it's just after a gig yet super stoked and then you fall into that okay like that rest mode like is this is this the time when you're in that rest moto also look back and be like, wow, I knocked that out of the park or sure or if something doesn't go right let's say you know something you know, for some reason it goes badly you know how it is something were some ways that we can help combat that like negative fought flowing in during these rest well I think it's important to self examine and to kind of measure yourself I mean I think that's part of being creative is that we always want to be better, so, you know, there's, nothing wrong with me, looking at the videos and finding things that I wished I'd done differently, because the next time I'm eager to get started and do some or so this this three days is over, I'm gonna be shooting cem video where the team, you know and thinking and doing about it in a, you know, in a little bit different way, but I'm thrilled with what I've got him frilled with the response, so, you know, I think it's entirely, I mean, I think it's important for us to be reflective about, you know, the quality of what we've done and try and be better, I mean, what's the point, if you're not doing that, this is boring, you know? Yeah, we're not drones were creative. Ah, comment here from many p who says a great way to combat imposter syndrome is to stay involved in creative meetups, present your work to others who are creative, understand what it takes to be so, but also be honest with constructive criticism and praise, absolutely honest with constructive criticism and praise criticisms, great, because criticism gets get gets you to be better, um, and then one more, I think. Before we move on from mario closer, and this is something that might lead into kind of what we're talking about the rest of segment, possibly later. But he says there's also the problem of looking at achievements as if they are just some usual thing that everybody could have done. Oh yeah, we do that, but that's the other thing? Wait a minute, we've mastered something the minute we master something we think it's easy and anybody can do it if it even felt that way raise your hands. I felt that way and and in fact, in my consulting practice, one of the things I learned, you know, ten years of consulting and helping creative businesses improve and deal with issues and so on, one of the things I learned was just because I had accomplished something I didn't mean it was easy for them to dio so to think that somehow what was wrong here, they couldn't do this. Wait a minute, it was really hard for me to learn how to do it too is only after I learned it seemed easy, it wasn't easy, it was hard I had to work really hard at it toe over commenter get better at something or see something in a different light so so self improvement and improving your skills is difficult but we tend to discount it afterwards it's kind of like I see it visually as a little hill climbing climbing you climb and climb and you get up there and you get really good at something you feel I can't handle this situation and then you go should it's easy from then on it is for you thie other person has to climb the hill so coping skills I'd like to get coping skills from people online something they've done that helps them cope with these difficult situations okay here's where my career started right here second grade back to the second grade and probably seven years old for columbus day we are asked to draw pictures of columbus's ships the nina the pinta and the santa maria and mine got picked out by the teacher I hadn't stolen the lunch money yet so I was probably still in her good graces and she praised me to the sky in front of the whole class for my excellent drawing of the need of the penta in the santa maria and I just felt bursting with pride and it was the beginning of my career it started at that moment so I had talent I had talent and then training and I got some skills and I then begin working a little bit innit and altogether I had expertise altogether I had expertise so where does that talent starts? It starts with that very early recognition very early recognition and then from the recognition we get uh from the recognition we get some professional help we get some training we go to school, we get mentors we get insights etcetera and then we developed some skills and practically we have practical experience is that lead to those skills and on top of that we accumulate a bunch of insights from applying all of that to our work and theirs are expertise now that's not easy to do it's a lifetime wherever you are you've spent your entire life up to this moment preparing for this moment you should always think of it that way and you've got accumulated skills from that whole lifetime that you are using right now and that's true of all of us no matter what age we are and it doesn't matter whether we're twenty five or seventy five we have significant value we have significant value really important to remember that twenty five or seventy five significant value but always a little bit of doubt remains are we worth it are we worth it so let's go back to uh to me high for a moment humble and proud point number six were both humble and we're proud this is part of our negotiation problem sometimes our humbleness overwhelms us and we fall into self doubts and their inter posture imposter syndrome khun can result and of course we have also it compounds it because we're always interested in what's next we're more interested in what's next than what we accomplished in the past so we tend to discount the achievements from the past it's a default that we fall into so we tend to forget we do know at the same time as me I points out that we have accomplished a lot we know that intellectually we look at our own websites we look at our own stuff we know that we've accomplished things, but somehow somehow we kind of discounted a little bit and I think it's the impostor sim is a little bit too much of the humble side of point number six and not enough of the pride side of point number six that we seem to fall into so we have to find ways to know our strengths I'm not little teddy lenhart anymore, so I want you to use the coping skills that I just shared with you if they seem to fit you and develop skills of your own and I'm very interested if there are any skills if anybody has listed any any coping skills love to hear any from here in the room first while I'm pulling those out any ideas for ways to know your strength coping skills for all of this you have you have you done this? Yeah yeah yeah I have the one thing that I really love to do is like especially like for I'm a photographer and cinematographer I love going backto like when I first started started taking photos and then comparing to the ones now and just seeing that a difference and be like, wow you do that as well absolutely yeah it's it's milestones different yeah yeah yeah so you can sell it oh yeah right I did that I haven't proved yeah I haven't proved yeah it's like looking back like oh the white balance is wrong in this but it's like oh now I like oh I realized I didn't do it now now it's like automatic and my you know my expertise my my skills I need to hit these steps and it's like wow, this is easy for me now but back then I was like, so a great coping skill is comparing what you're doing how you've advanced compare knowhow you've advanced knowhow you've advanced yesterday I didn't like this today I do it like that knowing that that's a coping skill, anything else that's a great when I like that well this is technically a coping skill but I definitely go back teo even if it's even if something's a complete bomb or it's a really successful I just go back to the fact I'm similar to you in the sense that I picked up but I mean I started being creative out, like, five, six seven, sure, and so I just go back to feeling like this is this is who I am, and this is how I have functioned my whole life, right? And so whether I succeed or fail, I know that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, some sort of, like a a sense of value and identity, but just that this is it's flowing from a place of authenticity. And so if it's, if it's, um kind of not looking even at the outcome, but just knowing I'm doing the right thing and I'm heading in the right direction and I've been doing this for a long time. You have confidence in that history? Yeah, you've tapped into that already, knowing that it's accurate like it's on the right pulse or something, right? Right. It feels right in your direction feels right creatively, it's all about feelings. It's really amazing. Yeah, yeah. And that's what? We have to sell the feelings that's the connection they want from us. So we had a suggestion from our houghton who says that he has a things I know to be true. List that or she here she keeps private right now. But is potentially going to block about it at some point but these are all the little things that they just know that they are good at and they just keep adding to that list and these things that they just know are true. I am good at this that I am really good at this yes yeah and then we have along the same lines of what you were saying casey days lee says coping skill number one take a nap when I feel like I'm in a creative rut in the middle of a project I take a nap for an hour or cook something simple or watch an episode of family guy just stop working very good change of pace change of space I didn't mention it, but mine is go for a run go for a run is huge. Yeah, uh kind of connect with the earth a little bit yeah, get out of this kind of intellectual activity that just just so all consuming get a break from it. Breathe? Yeah, yeah. Coping skill. Yes, I find it it's helpful to remember why you were hired in the first place. The fact that yes, you know your client was is able to trust you right gives this whole project where all these things could be, like counting on you right and the fact that they saw something in you compared to like you know diamond doesn't for like creatives yes, but you were the one that like I don't want you says a lot now that is a great compliment, you know when somebody hires you they hire you for a specific reason that's a compliment it's like you know and, uh, specific compliments are what? Breakthrough uh, imposter syndrome so for it's hard to break through to us because of generalized compliment we distrusted immediately but a specific compliment like the way you engaged the talent in that shot got them to come alive. Okay, so that's a very specific compliment that you could trust, you know? And uh and those do break through so I try to remember compliments is one of the techniques it's a coping skill remember a compliment I can still remember a compliment given to me by lori can't who was a researcher and then an account person in our office years ago and she said after a presentation that I'd made she said when you talked about that volkswagen that old both white and campaign those guys just lit up they got it I still remember that I mean it's probably twenty years ago, you know, but it was a compliment that broke through the imposter syndrome, so remember the compliments because it says I was good, you know, I hoped got a great one from mark our who says the coping skill is knowing that your thoughts affect your emotions which affect your behavior, which affects your thoughts, et cetera, et cetera. This helped me to realize by putting those positive thoughts of my accomplishments and achievements in my head that will directly affect my emotions and then my behavior so just making a conscious effort to think positive yeah, put it up in the frontal lobe where everybody can see it or you can't yourself, I guess yeah, great comment. Yeah, this is a great there's a great discussion, liz emma says over time I learned to recognize when I start talking negative things to myself and just stop it from there to stop and just cut it off drug talk tv says coping skills from me for stress will be boxing and hot yoga. I know in the gym I can't compare myself to others only to myself and where I was six months or a year ago, and when I do that comparison, I feel happy and not stress. Yeah, very good. Uh, time of day um, afternoons I feel less competent afternoons. I feel less competent. Um now this is just something that I thought about is now what's one way we can combat this into becoming like, like a massive ego wait don't want to have that like I mean like a bit of an ego is good but we don't want to be like you know cocky I was walking in thinking that you know like nothing can go wrong I think we also need that humility that cow is something that we can prevent that for well free britain if we if we believe me hi it's built in the humility is built into us and I find that people regularly take me down a peg or two you know caroline and that is uh that you know that that helps I mean you know so yeah we definitely don't want to have the ego out of control but the other side of the problem seems to be more of the problem that frankly one more and this is kind of a question that one of the guests asked when given a compliment alex says would it be an idea to ask the reason for choosing you like a client if they've decided you're a bid and they pick you absolutely why did you choose may yes exactly yes that's a great great suggestion andi I have done that and it works and it's a it's a great it's a it's a great suggestion so ask why you were selected because it reinforces your expertise doesn't it also it makes you feel good which is great but also by asking and having the client actually say why it it it reinforces with them why they why they chose you all good and that's behavior that reinforces your expertise yes alison any value in asking when you were passed over uh yeah they don't like to tell you you know they they my experiences is you can ask and sometimes it's good to ask sometimes it feels like the right thing to do to ask why you didn't get the assignment absolutely nothing wrong with it but I find people default to things like you were too expensive which is you I never believe I never believe and but it's a default okay thing to say hey you were too expensive it's an okay thing to say so people default to that and the other thing they will default to is the fit just wasn't right so it's this generalization that you have no idea what it means except you probably can infer from it that somehow you didn't make a connection with that other person and if you really want the assignment and you didn't make that connection you might want to reflect on why you didn't make that connection and studio eighty two ten is wondering whether you have any suggestions for actual language to use to ask why you've been selected and still seem confident so you don't shake their confidence by saying so but why did you pick me oh well tone of voice I think the questions perfectly it's a perfectly neutral question and neutral neutral questions are the way to ask so could you uh could you help me understand why you selected me? I'm thrilled to get the assignment we're really pleased to be doing the work now just for my information why did you pick us? Yeah now here's a bad coping skill this hit my in basket from steven heller a few days ago and I just had to put it in the show because because it related to me immediately even though I wasn't alive when this ad rod ran it's even older than I am and uh basically it's it's saying that cigarettes calm your nerves and that was a coping skill and I use that coping skill early in my life and thankfully did give it up but I have to say that when when I saw the ad I wanted a cigarette and I haven't smoked in oh god thirty years but when I saw the ad I want a cigarette so that coping skill kind of sticks with you but it's not a good one uh so here's before sarah's going to join us in just a minute I'm just gonna walk walk through this list of accomplishments so send us is coping skill everybody's done that I really appreciate that and I'm hoping we can capture those and put him in the notes because I think it would be really helpful coping skills that came in uh, listen, to make a list of your accomplishments, remember that I wasn't little teddy anymore. I am a grown up, and I do have accomplishments. Remember a specific compliment, so specific compliments, and I would gather the team so I could see just how good they really were. And me, too. And me, too. So those were my coping skills.