So this is part of a conversation I had with Kathryn, about a week ago. And at first, I was super critical of all the ways in which it was really — well, not that perfect. That audio is not so great (although I did what I could to make it better). But then, when I listened back to it, I realized it was the kind of thing _I_ would really want to hear, as a creator. And therefore, I realized it might just be the kind of thing you would want to hear, as a creator.
At the beginning it jumps around a bit. Kathryn begins by talking about the Spotlight Your Brilliance workshops she’s been doing on her own brand, and bringing them into our company. And at one point she mentions one of our possible clients, and I edited her name out, to sort of, protect that person’s privacy.
But, we are really getting to something here, is what I keep feeling — and I feel that it’s very exciting. I share some of my own insights about the ego, and how the ego part of us, really doesn’t want to be seen as too special, or ready, or anything. Because we can feel just as vulnerable to be seen then, as anything else, and that can be scary too. So, this was a bit of a revelation to me.
I hope you enjoy it.
Kathryn Gorges: Okay. What I’m working on. Let me give you a debrief on what I did for my spotlight classes. The reason I’m telling you this is because I’m creating a version of this for businesses. So it’s not for solo preneurs. It’s like, how do you… how do you figure out what’s awesome? What your genius, the business’, genius is, cause there’s this slightly different process. So I started to lay out it’s different format, but it’s still is experiential. And I’m thinking this is the kind of thing I could go back and invite, what’s her name?
I could invite other people to anybody that’s got a business, that’s a passion business, where they are offering products and services and it’s just… and people aren’t buying just them. They’re buying them to do something.
Chris Burbridge: I think is almost the perfect person for this, like she’s the prototypical perfect person, because she really has the passion. She loves to think about it. She doesn’t know how to think about it very well though. And she’s hired these designers in the past, that have made some pretty pictures, but haven’t really helped her. And so still the problem persists, which is that she needs to internalize it. So it’s two major problems, right? One is, the branding company probably doesn’t really have a clue to begin with. And the other problem is even if the branding company had it, it wouldn’t necessarily matter, if she didn’t have a clue herself. I think it’s so great because… of course this is a hard problem, and of course it’s the kind of problem we want to solve, is that we want people to actually feel more of their own relevance. It’s interesting that was the first that just came to me, was their own relevance. Their specific relevance. And it’s not to say that overnight she’s going to become this person that’s completely confident, but if we can help her to start seeing that and coming from that place.
And then part of what’s cool about what we do, being both inner and outer, is that on the inner we can help people start to get that glimmer of who they really are , but then because we’re professionals, we can also help them represent that. In other words, when you first start out trying to find your voice, it’s like a little bit shaky and still maybe people aren’t going to exactly hear you. But if you have a strong person standing by holding your hand and helping to shout out your voice, which is what we can do with marketing tools and messaging and things, then it’s a strong partnership. It’s like you help the person find their own feet and then you help them….
Kathryn Gorges: I want to craft it, put a presentation together, delivered under our new name, whatever that’s going to be and line them up for once a month, because they are fun for me to do. The work that they do that they never find time to do, and they don’t have the sophistication to do, around really knowing and building their genius. Like for individuals, there’s the individual genius, right? That you are born within, that you developed through your experience and time. But for a business, the genius comes in how you put together your employees, who are you choosing for employees? What processes do you have in place? How quickly do you turn around support requests? What does it feel like to use your product or service?
Chris Burbridge: We all have confidence issues. Almost everyone has confidence issues, but I think you and I both know how much bigger those are for most people than most people think about. And I think there’s a lot of ways of helping people with that. You’re always going to be going up against a certain amount of the inner voice that someone, if they hear someone say that they’re wonderful at organizing things, or they’re wonderful at saying things a certain way, and that’s, what’s so special about them, it’s easy for that person to discount that praise. The perfectionist in us that doesn’t want to hear it, it doesn’t want to hear what’s good about us or it doesn’t want to give it credit. Or the perfectionist in me will say, ” Yeah, that’s okay. But I need more of that, those very things that we think we’re big at, but then we feel need to be 10 times more… and then we try to do everything else…. and one of the skills you can learn through the kind of process that you’re doing is to shut up and listen to what people are saying, that’s good about you. And like a friend of mine said the other day that I had been inspiring, very inspiring to her for years, because I never give up on what I think is really important, and working hard to learn how to do it and make it work. And it was hard for me to hear that, because I feel like, “what results have I had so far?” on the one hand. But on the other hand, I knew it was true, but I had to put myself in her shoes and go, “Wow. Am I only inspired by people who I think are perfect, and have everything figured out?” No, I’m not inspired only by people like that. I’m inspired by people that wake up a spark in me that speak to something I really need. So I can just see that part of the process is getting people outside of their own head, their own self-stories. To hear the voices of what other people say good about them, and then actually get them to listen. And it’s to quiet their own inner voice for long enough to hear someone else’s voice.
Kathryn Gorges: Yeah. And it’s not just, it’s not just someone else’s, it’s being it’s a little of what I ended up doing, is teaching them how to see beyond the doing, their doing manifestation in the world. The manifestation of their actions in the world is not who they are. There are their values. There is personal experiences, and the choices they make. And it pretty much it grows over time, but it doesn’t shift wholeheartedly.
And so how do you see that? And so what I do is I demonstrate how to see beyond the doing. Tell me who you are. What are your strengths? What’s your personality? All those things. People want to talk about what they do. And I’m like, Okay, but it’s more than that. What is that strength of yours, that is behind being able to do that? Why do you do that? Do you find that thing easy? What’s the thing you find the easiest to do in your life? And I talk about flow. And people start to get, even just a little bit, that they are not what they do. And your business is not what it does. There’s a culture there that exists. And you can train people on processes, but you cannot train people on personalities and personal motivations and values. You have to hire people that align with your culture.
Chris Burbridge: My acupuncture client I have had now for eight or nine years. And there were times, maybe five years ago, where she started to get very upset with me and wanted to throw me out, because I would not jump at her email, and she felt abandoned. And I’ve created that experience for people before, where they felt abandoned, because I’m a little bit ADD or whatever. Like… You don’t get this level of sensitivity without potentially becoming overwhelmed by something like an inbox sometimes. And you don’t get overwhelmed without sometimes missing an email, unfortunately. I do the best I can. But the perfectionist in me… it’s interesting… that perfectionist is really… I didn’t maybe realize this until right now, but I’m a perfectionist because that part of me still believes I’m going to have to be a perfectionist to survive, because any little infraction could mean the death of me. So I’d better be a perfectionist. I better be. Yeah. I’m really good at these ten areas, but I’d better be really good in these other half a dozen areas too, because if I’m not, I’m screwed. That’s the basic feeling.
So with my acupuncture client, I had to talk to her and say, I’m sorry I am not perfect in this area. This is not where I’m perfect. And I try very hard, and I am not perfect, but I care very much, and that’s who I am. And that conversation started a relationship, where we were more honest with each other, and I explained more what I needed. Since then, we figured out how to work together, and I am the person that she can rely on that she’s happy to pay x dollars an hour for a tasks to get things done that she can offload. And that all speaks to my personality. There’s a character level and also a facility of intelligence that is just as valuable for her.
And then the other one thing I wanted to say was when my friend told me all these nice things about myself, I had to suspend my ego to listen. It’s actually an act of humility, to be willing to hear good things about yourself. That’s an amazing realization. My ego wants to protect me by saying “no, I’m not that great.” Isn’t that weird? That’s not how we usually think about ego, but that’s exactly what’s going on. My ego wants to preserve a sense of itself at all costs, and it doesn’t care. I have to use the same humility sense in myself that I have cultivated when I have to own a transgression, or admit a mistake. It’s the same sense of having to like, let it down this guard that’s always there, to be able to let in that I do something well, and that’s really true, even though I don’t want to hear it! So we’re helping people let go of their ego that tells them they’re not good enough.
Kathryn Gorges: What’s interesting is that this is really what it takes to be able to market yourself and your business in a way that connects with people. And that’s something that people miss. They don’t realize: they can have a passion business, but if nobody understands that they actually care about people’s experience of being cared for, cared about, then their marketing is just going to be non-stick.
Chris Burbridge: And I think what keeps happening now is that we find these people that come into our media world that really inspire us because somehow, they’ve found a way to be themselves. And some of them might’ve just had wonderful childhoods. And maybe others had terrible childhoods, and then they had to work through something If you listen to Tim Ferris, he’s quite honest that from day to day he is a neurotic person who has a lot of hang-ups. And he’s pretty honest about that.
Kathryn Gorges: I went to listen to him, talk at the Castro Theater. Yeah, like an hour and a half conversation. It was pretty interesting to see him and hear him.
Chris Burbridge: How did he come across?
Kathryn Gorges: Pretty like the way you’re describing him. My impression of him is he’s actually a really fragile person, and he knows he’s fragile. Not always, but he takes and does these things to try to build more stability for himself in his life, or anchor points or touchstones. So he has routines: annual routines and quarterly routines, as well as weekly, but there’s things that he does to anchor himself in his body, to anchor himself in his mind, to anchor himself and just being present. And it’s really interesting, because he’s actually very fragile. What makes him different is, he says: I need these things; and so I create them for myself. I figure out what I need, and I create it in a way that’s gonna help me live my fullest life. And you can do the same thing; although my things are not necessarily going to be your things. Go out and figure out your own things. He’s figured out a way to be himself. To live his fragility and still be powerful because, that’s who I am. And so I take care of myself and in that way he is powerful.
Chris Burbridge: Yeah. And I’m touching into some real vulnerability here that I’m sensing. Of course we don’t want to create a program like an encounter group or therapy session; but so much is about this vulnerability. And I’m just really struck by how much about the vulnerability of accepting that you might be good at some things, can actually feel like a threat to my ego. It’s really surprising! But there’s some kind of a clue here. Sure, sometimes maybe people have to be vulnerable in the way we’re more used to — on the other side — to accept that they’re not good at everything, or that there’s things they’ll never be good at maybe, or that they have to make choices sometimes they don’t feel like having to make. Those are all those types of things we are used to thinking of, when we think about “a blow to our egos”.
But what about the vulnerability of accepting that people love you for who you are? Or that there might be something really wonderful and special about this thing that you’re always trying to hide because you thought it was so terrible, or just “not enough”?
Kathryn Gorges: This is like the angst of the artist. You can think of this as being the same kind of creative process, right? When you’re an artist, your creation is like a part of you. You’ve made it; nothing exists, and then something exists; and the angst is. The process that it took for you to be able to express that: learning how to write or paints or draw or sculpt or whatever it is. So there’s all of that, to get to the point of being able to really communicate your vision and your ideas and your thoughts. And then, the second part is to let it go. Because you’re letting something that you created go. And so how much of yourself are you going to put in that?
And then you let go: how easy is it to let go of something that you’ve put a lot of yourself into? Or are you going to hold something back and do formula work? Formulaic writing, formulaic painting. If you haven’t seen it, just go down to Carmel and look in some galleries and you’ll see formulaic painting.
Chris Burbridge: Yes.So then I’m thinking, what does it really mean to let it go, versus what does it really mean to hide behind some, a formula? When I hide behind a formula, I can act from the story that if I do things according to these labels and steps. And I will be “a polite person”. Or I will be “a successful lawyer”. Or whatever, but I’m safe behind that formula — according to my mind, anyway — my mind has already told me that people like that are safe. So as long as I follow those structures, I’ll be safe too. But then, as you say, when you make your art, or I make my podcast, and I have to let it go. So then what I think now, is what am I actually letting go of? I’m letting go of knowing how people are going to react.
So the opposite of letting go — of holding on tightly to it — would be: I put it out and then, waiting and waiting. “Oh God, are people gonna like it? Are they going to hate it? Am I going to survive? Or am I not? What’s going to happen? I’ve done a non-formulaic thing. So I can’t predict more. Anything could happen. So letting it go is throwing up your hands and saying, ” I’ve done my work today; we’ll see what happens next. And then, I can just let it go.
And when I do allow myself to do this, I feel good, and I just need to keep putting out there what I feel I want to or need to. And over a series of weeks, I think somehow the practical level of it will come out. Yeah, ’cause I seen over and over again the wonderful things that I see in the world, have that quality where someone just put it out and didn’t worry about how it was going to be perceived in a way. And it stop worrying about how it’s going to be received, exactly.
It’s the same thing where you get on a camera and then you freeze up because all of a sudden you feel like you’re being looked at and then you’re stiff and not yourself because you’re trying to be behind the mask. So this, yeah, this vulnerability piece is really strong.
There’s no formula. The only formula is being yourself and keep practicing that. So this has been a really cool, tender and interesting balance that we’re doing with people, of bringing them into a space where they can trust and be themselves. And looking at that through a practical lens as well.
But then, this is where the whole community thing can really come in and become a place where we can all… we need to not pretend to be… We can be leaders, we can be setting the tone in a lot of things. But they also need to know that we’re vulnerable. Seth Goden said he has imposter syndrome all the time, because he’s always trying new things. Can you imagine? He seems like the most confident person in the world. I wonder what Seth Godin’s like at home.
Kathryn Gorges: Yeah, probably just like a normal person.