Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

Episode 55 October 13, 2022 00:57:07
Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
The Agency Hour
Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

Oct 13 2022 | 00:57:07

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Hosted By

Troy Dean Johnny Flash

Show Notes

Imposter Syndrome has been discussed many times on The Agency Hour, and for good reason.

It's an extremely common occurrence in the business world that can make you feel like your work isn't good enough or even worse - a total fraud! But don’t worry because we've got Dr Sherry Walling with us today who will be sharing some tips about how to get past imposter syndrome so YOU start feeling more confident at your job.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Imposter syndrome is in many ways, a, a skewed or a biased risk assessment. We're trying to do the math on what's going to happen if I leave this position and start this business, or if I take this risk to put my name forward for this new opportunity, what's going to happen? Am I going to be successful? So, we're doing a little bit of like future prediction, but unfortunately, our crystal ball is skewed towards threat. Speaker 1 00:00:27 If you have a vision for the agency you want to build, then we want to help you build it. Welcome to the agency, our podcast brought to you by Agency Mavericks. Speaker 2 00:00:36 Oh, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of The Agency Hour Live here wherever you are tuning in, whether it's on our Facebook page or our, maybe our YouTube channel. I don't know where we're streaming this these days, but I'm super excited. First of all, how good is this tune? Speaker 1 00:00:53 Oh, Speaker 2 00:00:54 So good. Eight points later by the delegates. And you can't take me off the air, Facebook or YouTube, because this is, uh, production music royalty free production music from a great website called Art list.io. No affiliate link here, by the way. We probably should have. Uh, but I love Art List because it gives me lots of access to really cool tunes that I can use in our content royalty free. I actually think this song should be on the radio. It's too good to be royalty free. I wasn't loving it. Anyway, eight points later by the delegates. Hey, today we have one of my favorite humans on the show, and I don't say that lightly. I've hung out, uh, with this awesome person in real life, our live events. We've had many chats over the years. Uh, and this is one of my favorite topics. It is a show, uh, where we are getting out of the tactics. We're getting out of the thing that we do, and we're gonna dive into our head space and what goes on between our ears and how that impacts our actions and therefore our outcomes. And of course, I'm, uh, very, very honored and proud to welcome back to the show for, I don't know, the third or fourth time. Of course, I'm talking about the one and only Dr. Sherry Walling. Come on down. Speaker 0 00:02:05 Hey. Hey. Hey. Speaker 2 00:02:06 How are you, my friend? Speaker 0 00:02:08 I am great. It's great to be with you. And I I love that intro jam. Speaker 2 00:02:12 It's, it's Speaker 0 00:02:13 Good to, Speaker 2 00:02:14 Yeah. It's been a minute. I can't remember how long it's been since we spoke, but you've got a new book out since then. What's been going on in your world? Speaker 0 00:02:23 I got a lot going on. Yeah. We last spoke right before my new book came out, and then, uh, it's since been released. It's here behind me. It's called Touching Two Worlds, and talk about the deep dive inside. It's a book about grief. Uh, it's a book about how we cope with hard things. Um, it's a really personal book. It's, you know, it's a tough one, but it's, uh, something I'm really happy is out there. And I'm actually, I'm doing a Ted Talk, a TEDx talk in a couple days on, gosh, topics in the book. So lots going on. Look Speaker 2 00:02:54 At you, <laugh>. Hey, we're gonna, we're gonna dive deep into this and we're gonna talk about the book. Um, I, I, this is a, a meta question if you like, Did you experience any imposter syndrome when writing and publishing the book? Speaker 0 00:03:10 Ooh, I love this transition that you did there. Nicely done. Speaker 2 00:03:13 It's kind of my thing. Oh, Speaker 0 00:03:15 Yeah. I think imposter syndrome is always with us when we're doing something that's outside of our comfort zone, right? It's that narrative in our head that's like, You shouldn't be doing this. There's somebody better than you to do this work. Or, you know, you're not the right person for this message. Um, so I think I, I feel that whenever I take on something big and important that stretches me mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, that doesn't mean I get stuck in it. And I think that's what we're gonna talk about today Yeah. Is how to not get stuck in it. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:03:48 Yeah, definitely. So, before we, before we start talking about that, just give some people some context. There will be people watching this and listening to this who have no idea who you are. So maybe just give people a kind of too long didn't read version of like, where you've come from and what you do and why you do what you do today. Speaker 0 00:04:03 Yeah, absolutely. So I'm a clinical psychologist by training, um, PhD that's hugs, not drugs. So I don't prescribe medication, but I talk to people about their thoughts, feelings, and important experiences. And I have spent, um, most of my professional life in sort of two camps. One is in the world of traumatic stress, and the other is in the world of entrepreneurship. Um, so it's a little bit of an unusual combination, but let's just say that I like really high intensity people who have highly stressful things that they are working through and wanna show up really well in the things that are important to them. So I am married to an entrepreneur, and he's probably a little bit of what, um, brought me from a traditional academic research trajectory into my own exploration into entrepreneurship. And that's been a really, uh, fun partnership to be able to, um, serve entrepreneurs, be married to one B one, think about how creative people are doing amazing things from the inside out, from a place of our own mental health and stability and wellbeing. Speaker 2 00:05:09 The reality is, it would be a lot easier just to get a job, Right. Working in like a private practice or in like a medical setting. Why, why did you feel compelled to choose the entrepreneur path? And because it's, it's freaking hard, right? Speaker 0 00:05:26 Yeah. It is really hard. But for those of us that choose it, I think there's an element of it being the thing we can't not do, like kind of have to do mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I think there's a subset of those of us who become entrepreneurs or agency owners. You know, we sort of take this step off the, well trodden, here's the path that's laid out for you. And we're like, No, thank you. I'm gonna go do this other thing that's super hard. But usually there's something inside of us that needs to color outside the lines, maybe because the lines that are established for us don't really fit. Or because we have some kind of drive inside that makes us want to do it. So we choose the hard path, but it's also the path that's necessary for our sanity and wellbeing. Speaker 2 00:06:12 And it's, it's a dichotomy, isn't it? Because that, that in itself causes a lot of discomfort and brings up a lot of stuff because we, I speak on behalf of the people I know who are entrepreneurs and also myself, is that we constantly feel like a square peg in a round hole. We constantly feel like the black share. We constantly feel like we don't fit in. And yet that's our choosing. We we choose to stay in that space, even though it causes so much discomfort. Like, like, what is it? What is it that you think keeps us there? Are we, are we just saddest and we like punishing ourselves? Or like, what, Like, it would be so much easier to take a job. I say, I've said this to my wife so many times when things have been really tough in my business. I'm like, You know what? Speaker 2 00:06:57 I'm just gonna go and get a job. And she's like, You wouldn't make it till lunchtime. Are you kidding me? Like, you're unemployable. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, why? What do you think it is that keeps us coloring outside the lines? I love that metaphor. That's so, that's exactly, you know, I remember being a kid in primary school and being taught to color in the lines. And, and I vividly remember, my kids are in, in kindie now about to start school. And I vividly remember learning how to cut along the line. And I'm like, I wanna cut in an S shape. I don't wanna cut line being constantly forced to con to be restricted and confined into someone else's parameters. And yet being, wanting to bust out of that cage, and yet being outside that cage causes so much discomfort. Why do you think we stay there? Speaker 0 00:07:40 I think it's pretty much a mixed bag either way, right? As your wife says, if you were to take a job, you wouldn't make it to lunch. Like, that's its own kind of suffering. So I think when you're, when you're becoming an entrepreneur, an owner, you're choosing your suffering. So you're choosing the suffering of potentially an unstable income of nobody in your life. Really understand what, understanding what it is that you do for a living. You're choosing less stability, less predictability, less support. But you're also, you know, to take a job would be to choose a, you know, maybe a life of boredom or a life of quiet desperation. It would be to choose like an online shopping addiction or an alcohol addiction because you're trying to numb out the part of you that's like, I wanna do something more interesting and more creative. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So you're choosing your suffering. And, um, I think for many of us, entrepreneurship is very difficult, but it's also a pathway to a tremendous amount of creativity and meaning. Because we are deciding how we spend our time, we are responsible for that. So I, yeah, I find that to be a privilege and something that's profound, even though there are many parts of it that are very, very hard. Speaker 2 00:08:49 Yeah. It's, you know, it's, I've never heard anyone articulate it like that before, but I've, I've said to my friends for years, like, I have a lot of friends who are like, Oh, man, you're so lucky. I'm like, lucky, lucky you've never laid awake at night. You know, like, not been able to sleep because you'd concerned about cash flow. Or like, like, you know, there, there are so, or, or the team, or like, there are so many things that keep you awake at night. And, uh, most of the time if you, you know, if you, I mean, as a business owner, you just have that kind of responsibility. But I've said to them over the years, the thing that is most important for me is the freedom to choose how I spend my time. That is like the number one most important thing in my life. Speaker 2 00:09:28 And so, and I think that's why I've chosen this path. I've never actually put those two pieces together. So thank you for helping me bridge, bridge the neural pathway there in my head. Um, the other thing I wanted to touch on here is that, um, it is, it is a choice to be an entrepreneur. It is a choice to, and, and it is a desire that we can't quell, right? And, uh, the, you know, I was in the states recently for a couple of weeks, but before I went to the States, I kind of was familiar, I'd become familiar with this meme called Quiet Quitting, which is kind of a thing that's happening across Australia here now. And it was really prevalent out in the States. I wonder if you can just kind of talk a little bit about your understanding of quiet quitting and maybe where that has come from. Speaker 0 00:10:10 So, my understanding of quieting quiet quitting is, it's a little bit of the like second wave after the great resignation <laugh>, right? This sense in which, um, people when confronted with some of the existential dilemmas and challenges that covid offered to the world, right? The sense of the finality of time, the unpredictability of the world, the parts of your job that are inflexible and unkind and blah, blah, blah. Many, many people around the world left their jobs and we're like, It is simply not worth it to me to continue on in this way. And I think, um, quiet Quitting is a little bit of a cousin where people are recognizing this activity is not valuable to me. I do not care. Um, I'm going to stay in the job for maybe logistic reasons or a variety of reasons. I'm going to go through enough of the motions and show up in enough of a way that I don't get fired. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but not really be, not really participate, not lean in, not, not sort of, sort of like the lights are on, but nobody's home. Like, I'm just gonna sort of have a, a warm body and a chair. And so you're quitting, you're resigning the investment of your passion, of your intelligence, of your drive towards making your workplace or your job a successful place for you. And you're, you're sort of resigning yourself to, to butts in seats status. Mm. Speaker 2 00:11:37 It's horrible, isn't it? I mean, it's, I mean, as a business owner, I would be mortified if anyone on my team, and I've said this to my team, I say this to my team all the time, I don't, I never want anyone to dread coming to work. If you are waking up in the morning and you don't wanna be here, you need to call me immediately. And we need to fix that. We need to either make your job more interesting, make it more fun, or find you somewhere else to work. If you don't wanna be here, then I don't want you to be here, you know, under the, under those kind of conditions. But it's also horrible for the, for the employee to like be sleep walking through their own life, right? Speaker 0 00:12:11 I feel like it's kind of like lowest common denominator, human existence, right? I, all of us have this like deep longing for meaning. And when we spend the vast majority of our day engaged in an activity that we find meaningless, like humans cannot thrive in that situation. So I think we're gonna see the sort of, you know, maybe it's a little bit dramatic, but like, it's kind of the atrophy of the human soul. We're gonna see people walk around a little bit soulless because they are consenting to this existence. And, you know, and maybe this is like a little bit of an ancillary issue, but in the US one of the challenges that we have with really supporting people in entrepreneurship is that they are, their health insurance is really tied to their job. So if they have family health concerns or if they have health complexities, many, many people just stay in the job because it's so complicated to try to get health insurance. Like, it's this, it's this tie to a job that maybe they don't care about or don't wanna do. And so when we sort of bind people to those activities in that way, uh, it's absolutely horrible for society. It's horrible for individuals. It's horrible for families. Speaker 2 00:13:20 I know, uh, I have friends who are in this situation here in Australia, and they are, you know, desperately wanting to get out of the situation that they're in. But they are, and I'm gonna tie this back to imposter syndrome again, uh, is that they, they, even though they can kind of see a pathway out of it, they are just riddled with, with limiting beliefs and fear that they are not experienced enough. Is like that, that the number one thing I hear is like, I'm not, I don't have enough experience to go out and do my own thing, right? Um, I don't have a big enough audience. I don't have the skills, I don't have the money, I don't have the support. I don't have like insert whatever it is here. How the experience one is super interesting. I've, because I had, you know, not a lot of experience when I started this thing. Speaker 2 00:14:05 And I've, I've certainly learned more being in this role than I ever did as an agency owner. I've learned more about being an agency owner over the last 10, 11, 12 years of teaching and coaching than I did in the five or six years that I was actually an agency owner. So I find that an interesting thing, but, um, I know it's a real thing, and I know it impacts a lot of people and it actually holds a lot of people back. What, how, how, Just talk about how you have experienced and how you've witnessed imposter syndrome manifest and, and what, what's actually going on in our brain there that keeps us in a situation that we're not happy in, because we are too. Because we don't think we are good enough to do something else. Speaker 0 00:14:44 Yeah. I think imposter syndrome is in many ways, a, a skewed or a biased risk assessment. We're trying to do the math on what's going to happen if I leave this position and start this business, or if I take this risk to put my name forward for this new opportunity, what's going to happen? Am I going to be successful? So we're doing a little bit of like, future prediction, but unfortunately our crystal ball is skewed towards threat. And so it's skewed towards a negative appraisal of our own preparation. And often it's like objectively wrong, just totally skewed, kind of out to left field where we tend to diminish or minimize our experience, our value, the, the skills and the resources that we have, essentially, because we wanna play it safe. We want to craft a story that keeps us where we are, because change is scary and the unknown is scary. So at, at its basis, imposter syndrome is a, is a risk assessment. Um, but at its worst, it's total reality distortion in which we tell a completely untrue story about the state of things and our involvement in them. Speaker 2 00:15:56 Mm. I love that. Um, my wife, who's also a clinical psychologist, Yeah. Um, uh, taught me <laugh> once, Cause I have a lot of anxiety about a lot of stuff, right? And it's like a daily thing, and I'm like constantly coaching myself. And self talk is, is definitely a big part of my daily routine. I'm talking like out loud <laugh>. I talk to myself all the time. Words come outta my mouth. It's not just in my head. And one of the things that she taught me is like, this is your, this is your brain trying to protect you. It's your brain trying to stop you from, from being in a day, from being in a potentially dangerous situation. The, the what I, you know, I've explored this a lot over the years and I'm, I'm curious as to why our default setting is to think something is gonna go wrong or something is gonna fail, or something is gonna damage us. And why our default setting is not, this is gonna be fricking awesome and I'm gonna be a superstar and this is gonna go swimmingly. Well, what, what, what is, are we just born? Is that part of our survival mechanism that that's just in our dna, that we can't get rid of it? Like, why is that our default setting? Speaker 0 00:17:05 It's our default setting purely from like an evolutionary safety perspective. But what's happened is that often that default setting gets applied to situations in which our life is not actually in danger. You know, we, we read an unknown situation or a new opportunity as if it's like, I'm gonna, you know, walk across the Savannah at night and hopefully not to serve the lions. That's what our, how our body is reading it. Um, but of course, there's not actually that level of threat. And, and you do meet the occasional human who has that other setting who's like, everything's fine. And sometimes those folks are real successful, but sometimes they don't have long lives, right? Because they're like, really entrenched protective mechanism isn't really functioning. Speaker 2 00:17:54 Mm. Speaker 0 00:17:56 So I think the more that we can kind of befriend that voice in us, befriend the voice of caution, it doesn't have to sort of run frantically panicking all the time. We can say, Hey, I see your concerns. I hear your concerns. I realize you're trying to keep me safe. Thank you for that voice. And then you can kind of move past that place of panic and uncertainty into maybe a more rational kind of internal conversation around what your qualifications may be to jump out and start your own business, for example. Speaker 2 00:18:29 So this is, I just wanna park here for a second because I think what you just said is super impactful and is a game changer for, certainly was a game changer for me because I spent years trying to beat the proverbial shit out of that voice that was holding me back. I spent years fighting it, right? Telling it the shut up and go away. And I was not friends with it at all. I didn't know, I didn't even know that was a thing. I was just like, This is annoying. You're holding me back. Go. And I had, there was this internal turmoil that manifested in all sorts of really poor behavior and poor choices because, and I, I always felt like I was in some kind of pain, right? And I thought that that was my plight as a, and I, in fact, I actually embodied the tortured artist stereotype, or this is just my plight because I'm a creative person and I'm always going to be in some kind of internal pain. And I wore it as a badge, right? Yeah, Speaker 0 00:19:29 Yeah, yeah. Speaker 2 00:19:30 It was such a dick. Anyway, that's a whole other conversation. <laugh>, um, oh my God. Speaker 0 00:19:34 Like those days are behind you, Troy. Like, Speaker 2 00:19:35 If anyone knew me from the age of 26 to 32, I'm just so sorry for everything. I was, you're watching this. I'm sorry. Um, anyway, um, and, and then, you know, and then really it was through meeting my wife and just kind of, and, and just kind of hanging out with her and sort of understanding, you know, the nuance of like being, and also having tons of therapy. I had a lot of therapy with really good psychologists that helped me understand that this was a part of myself that I could make friends with. What, on a, on a, on a, in, in a moment. Right? In, and I'm kind of, um, I'm kind of teeing you up here. Uh, I hope <laugh> I'm not throwing you a curve for, but in a moment when you are feeling that voice and you are feeling that, that you are being derailed by that voice, what is, what is, what's some practical things that you can do to just kind of settle the internal anguish and just stay calm and kind of do the thing anyway? Speaker 0 00:20:36 Yeah. I really like, uh, naming that voice, which is maybe a little bit unusual, but like helping that voice have a life of its own. There's a, a system of therapy called Internal Family Systems that names that voice the firefighter, which I kind of like because it, it legitimizes why that emergency response is there, why the alarm bells are going off. So if, if you can name that voice, then sometimes you can even write that voice, like the voice is really loud in your head. Just take pen to paper, let it free flow on all of the fears and all of the worries, and all of the potential ways to die and all, you know, all of the things. And let that voice have its time and space for a moment. Know that it's heard. And then I like to shift into the physiological sort of operation around how to calm down. So first you give the voice space, but then you start to breathe, then you practice your relaxation, and then you invoke some other voices that are also live inside of you that can be in dialogue with that anxious voice. So give it some space, express it, don't run from it, but also know that it's not the only voice in your head. It's not the only vision of reality that it lives inside of you. Speaker 2 00:21:54 Man, that's, so, that's huge. Like, that took me, that took me years to figure that out, right? And I like, seriously feel like I lost about seven or eight years of my life trying to figure that, Right. Figure that thing out. Right? And, uh, and it's funny because when, you know, uh, when I had kids when, when we had Oscar, who's now five and Goldies, two and a half when we had Oscar, I remember like in the first two weeks of, you know, cause when Max, who's producing the shows who got a one month old, it's, it's their first, And I'm kinda watching Max go through this journey now, when you have, for me, when I had, when we had Oscar was like, you reflect on your entire life up until that point, and you reflect on like, how can I be the best parent? Speaker 2 00:22:35 And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And the two things that came up for me were the two things that I want to be able to help my kids with is resilience and resourcefulness and resourcefulness. I think I've always been pretty good at like, just not stopping until I figure the problem out. Yeah. Resilience has been the thing that's, that I've had to learn. Like emo I'm talking emotional resilience, right? Mm-hmm. Like just being able to feel the pain and get up and keep going and not self destruct because I'm in pain. That's been a huge lesson for me. Um, so any advice on how to teach that to a five year old cherry <laugh>? Speaker 0 00:23:11 I love talking with kids about how two emotions can be true at one time. Oh, Speaker 2 00:23:16 Yes, yes. This is exactly the conversation we're having with the kids home now. Speaker 0 00:23:21 But, and you know, the, you know, with like a 3, 4, 5 year old, sometimes you can just use the color wheel. You can be like, what color are you? Are you purple? Maybe you're like a little sad and a little angry, and blue is sad and red is angry, and you put those together and you're purple right now. Okay, great. And so then you can just play with different ways of understanding. Two things can be true at once, because that for me is, I think one of the core pieces of maybe mental health in general. But I think really being able to be a high performer in a difficult situation or a difficult context is to realize I can be both under stress or I can be in some pain. I can be experiencing some challenge. And also I can feel hopeful and also I can feel optimistic. I can feel joyful. So that the ability to live into realities at one time is kind of the, the secret sauce and mental health in my opinion. Yeah, Speaker 2 00:24:21 Totally. We, at, at kindie Oscar's learned about the zones, the colored zones. There's the, the the blue zone, which is sad, The green zone, which is calm, the red zone, which is angry. They were the three zones to begin with. And then they introduce the yellow zone, which is like, excited. And so he, he does that now. He said he'll say that he's a little bit in the red zone, a little bit in the blue zone. So he is a bit angry and a bit sad. Um, yeah, I remember when I was like six years old, or like maybe six or seven years old, and I'd obviously done something to drive my dad nuts. And my dad was like quite angry with me. And, and I remember saying to him, Don't you love me, dad? And he said, Of course, I love you right now. Speaker 2 00:25:00 I just don't like you very much, but of course I love yourself. Oh, wow. How is that a thing? Like, how can you not like someone and love them at the same time? Like, I totally get it now. Of course, <laugh>, maybe, maybe it was not the best way to articulate it to a six year old, but hey, you know, Um, but it's, it, it is it. And I think also people, you, you mentioned this at the start of the show, that you really like high intensity people who are high performing and, and, and, and are challenged. And I think high intensity people, when we feel something we are, we feel it like we are you Speaker 0 00:25:33 Committed all in. Speaker 2 00:25:35 Right? We're all in. If like, if I'm, if I'm angry, I am like freaking angry and I'm like a tornado, and I'm gonna explore that emotion and feel it a hundred percent, it's really challenging to, to, to, to re to remember. I can feel two things at at once because yeah, I'm fully committed to the experience that I'm having in that moment. Right? Speaker 0 00:25:56 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:25:57 Um, what, what, what, what are some of the other things that you've experienced entrepreneurs over the years? Like ways I know mindfulness is, and, and maybe you talked about it a little bit then as like, just kind of like breathing and getting back into your body mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, what are some of the other things that you can do from a, from a, uh, to, to just remind yourself, which is, for me, what mindfulness is kind of about is like reminding yourself as to where you are right now. I'm in no danger. You know, I, a friend of mine said him say to me recently, he was making a cup of tea at the kitchen window looking out to the backyard. And his brain went to these really dark places and he had to just look down at the tea back and go, Dude, you're just making a cup of tea. There's Speaker 0 00:26:39 Big tea's. Speaker 2 00:26:41 No danger. Right now you're Speaker 3 00:26:42 Just angling the tea bag. There's no danger. Like, calm down. Speaker 2 00:26:47 What are some of the other things that we can do to just get ourselves out of that spin? Speaker 0 00:26:52 Yes. So as you're alluding to mindfulness is that practice of presence. It's being really centered and embodied in what you're doing in that given moment. So I'm making tea, I'm breathing, I'm sitting here in this chair in my home on this day, really grounding to that moment in time, which can keep your mind from time traveling in all kinds of wonky ways and just keep you centered. Um, you know, anything that changes your context can be helpful. So let's say you, you know, you are in, you're sitting in your chair at your desk and you're starting to feel, uh, more anxiety than is comfortable or as useful. Get up, walk outside, get some sun on your face, flush some water on your face, Change the sensory input of your system, and that will often change your state of mind. You know, I'm also a big fan of like, putting on music and starting to dance or starting to move, realizing that your emotion state is based on a variety of inputs, right? If you think of our body as a system, there's inputs that come through each of our sensory mechanisms, and then there's our, sort of our internal system. It's like the thoughts we're thinking. So if you change any of those inputs, you're going to change the output, just simple math. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so you can change the thoughts you're thinking, you can change the stimulus that your body is reacting to, and that tends to disrupt the pattern, disrupt how you're feeling. Speaker 2 00:28:20 You just mentioned you can change the thoughts you're thinking. This is, again, this is one of those little nuggets that I think people will, will, will miss, because I think a lot of people just let their thoughts race and they just let their thoughts race. How do you, what, how do you ch how do you stop and just fo and change the thoughts you're thinking? How, what's the, what's the practicality of that? Speaker 0 00:28:40 Yeah. It maybe is a little oversimplified, but I really like to imagine just picking up the remote control and changing the channel. Yeah. So if my channel is really focused on, you know, my lack of perceived preparation for a podcast or a talk, right? I'm, I'm going down, Oh, I should've done this. I didn't do that. I could do this better, blah, blah, blah, baba. Like, ugh, I don't like this show. I would like to change the channel. Yeah. And I can change the channel to focus on a memory, like a positive, beautiful memory that was important to me in the past. Yeah. Or I can change the channel to focus on a different thing I'd like to be thinking about on something that's more controllable. I can change the channel to just positive affirmations. So if this is something that shows up for you a lot, I think is actually helpful to make a list of your easily available channels. So, you know, you, like, you have your basic cable, your channels that are available all the time at every television. And just have those kind of on a list, in a note card in your desk. And you're like, Wow, shoot, I'm noticing, I just don't like the way that I'm thinking right now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, take out your list and choose another topic. Mm. It's not always easy, but it is possible with you intention and a little bit of like, discipline to actively change the the thought process that you're going through in one given moment. Speaker 2 00:30:00 Love it. Love it. I, I, I'm, I'm, I'm a music guy and audio guy, so, and I grew up in the seventies, right? So my visual has always been like those old ghetto blasters with the tape, The tape, the castle one. Yes. And the one that I had had these really big buttons on it for stop and rewind and play, and it had an eject button. So in my mind, Yeah, I, I stop, I pushed the eject button, I take the tape out, I turn it around, I put it back in, and I play the other side. Yes. Like a circle track Speaker 0 00:30:25 Neutral. Speaker 2 00:30:26 So I'm a physical, um, and a sensory person, like, and I'm very tactile, so I would like take the batteries out of a remote and just walk around with the remote and go, Hey man, I'm changing the channel. I'm Speaker 0 00:30:36 Changing the channel now. Exactly. Speaker 2 00:30:37 Exactly. Um, true story, this is a little embarrassing, but, um, I'm gonna tell you about my pretend friends Oscar has, has got pretend friends. And I said, I said to him the other day, I said, Dude, I had pretend friends when I was a kid. I loved my pretend friends. They were like my cheer squad. And then we kind of explored this conversation. It went on for a couple of days, and then for some reason he came home from Kindie and he'd heard the Happy Days soundtrack. Now, I don't know, I know I'm older than most people on this show and watching this show, but Happy Days was a great TV show that I grew up watching in the seventies and eighties. Uh, Richard Cunningham, uh, uh, and, and the Cunningham family and Fonzi. And, uh, it was, it was awesome. And of course, Ron Howard was Richard Cunningham. He went on to become a great actor and director and filmmaker. And, uh, and um, uh, I can't remember the actor's name who played Fonzi, but he was an absolute legend, uh, iconic, Yeah. Character. What's his name? Who's the guy Speaker 0 00:31:31 That played Fonzi? Harry? Is it Harry something? It's right, It's right in the tip of my tongue. I'm gonna wake up in the middle of the night. Henry Winkler. Thank you. Max Speaker 2 00:31:38 Win. There we go. Henry Winkler, who, who played Fonzi. Um, so in, in Happy days, I remember that Richie's little sister Joanie ended up hooking up with Fonzis cousin Chachi. Right. And Speaker 0 00:31:52 Chay, Speaker 2 00:31:52 Like I was, which, who was Scott Bao. Right. And I was just at that age where I was like, equally in love with Scott Bao and the girl that played Joanie. I'm like, Oh my God, I can't believe they've put these two together as a couple. They're like my teen idols. And so Oscar the other day, I, we were talking about this and I said to him, Actually, you know what Oscar, I think my pretend friends these days is Chargey and Joanie. They're my cheer squad. They follow me around all the time, and they clap for everything I do all the time. They're constantly just, Yes, Troy, you're awesome. I'm like, Yay. Thanks Joni and Judgey. They're my cheer squad. And, uh, my wife's kind of going, Wow, you really are a case study, aren't you? And I'm like, Well, you know, you gotta do what you gotta do to get through. So, um, Speaker 0 00:32:36 I love that. If you gonna have, have an anxious voice, why can't you have a cheer squad? Exactly. They should have outfits, right? I mean, yeah. They could like have a big TD embroidered on their like, cheer sweaters. Speaker 2 00:32:49 See this Joni's got pompoms and CHAI's in a black leather jacket. Right? I mean, it's, you know, and they are just like cheering me from the sidelines. Uh, and that's what keeps me sane. I love it. Hey, I do wanna <laugh>. Exactly. I do wanna pivot a little bit and, uh, and talk about your new book. So, um, first of all, tell us why, what was the inciting incident that brought you to writing another book? Speaker 0 00:33:14 Yeah, so this is my second book, My first book, um, called The Entrepreneurs Guide, Keeping Your Shit Together. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, is really the, the guide to mental health for those of us who are running businesses. So this book is a very different endeavor. Um, it's a very personal book, as I alluded to. And I had a, a period of my life beginning in 2018 where I lost both my dad and my brother. Uh, they both died in a very short period of time. My dad died, um, from esophageal cancer, and my brother died by suicide. And so I was, you know, building my business and writing books and raising kids and doing my life, and then found myself sort of catapulted into this alternative reality in which the people that I love became very sick and eventually died. And so I was now in this sort of land of grief mm-hmm. Speaker 0 00:34:04 <affirmative>. And so I wrote the book, um, it's called Touching Two Worlds, because it is about that experience of being so very alive in my life mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but then also living in this land of grief. So going back to our conversation about how two things can be true at one time, This sense of being in deep joy and deep love, and also deep grief. So the book is, um, a, a series of essays that are anecdotes or stories from that period in my life and those experiences of loss, and then some little, some little tidbits, some little infusions from my life as a psychologist around the kinds of breathwork practices or the kinds of essays, or rather, the kind of journaling prompts that were helpful to me, the kind of poetry I read that was helpful, that kind of served as little stepping stones to get me through the worst of those moments. Um, so yeah, the book is out. It's widely available and it's, um, I, I'm sure I'm biased, but it's, it's beautifully written. It's a, there's a lot of heart in it, so it's a, it's a piece of work I'm really proud of. Speaker 2 00:35:10 I can't even, I can't, I'm first of all incredibly sorry for your loss, and I can't even imagine how you get through that and how you come back from that. Um, and, you know, just full of admiration that not only, and there's also all this thing about being a clinical psychologist going through something like that, that is like super, it's super complex, Right? I've seen my wife go through things and give herself a hard time because she, she feels like she should have a better handle on it because she's a psychologist, she's got the training, right. It's super messy. But then to come out of that and, and, and, and share it publicly and write a book, I imagine was, I imagine it was quite cathartic, but I also imagine it was probably terrifying to put it out there into the world for everyone to read. Speaker 0 00:35:57 Yeah. It's a little bit like walking around naked, Right. So it's, it's really vulnerable. Like here I am guys. Yeah. Um, yeah. I, I found though so much gratification in being able to help people talk about grief, because especially in my, in your circles, I mean, we hang out with like the movers and the shakers of the world. These are people who are building things, not people who are thinking about death. But that, I feel like grief is one of those universal realities that really has the power to just slap us upside the head. Um, and it's helpful to have a little bit of like, preparation for grief before it happens, and certainly a little bit of commiseration when you're in the middle of it. Mm. Um, so I, I really believe in the conversation and that's helped it feel less terrible to be so vulnerable. There's also some delight in the fact that as I tell stories about my dad and my brother, it, it keeps them like a little bit with me. You know, I originally am talking about stories about them and that, um, that has some personal beauty in it for me to be able to, to share that. Speaker 2 00:37:16 Yeah, for sure. There, there's, there's, um, there's a, there's a, there's a kind of a void around grief dialogue. People dunno what to say when someone else is experiencing grief because, because they don't know. And I, I've, I've seen this happen a lot. People don't ask a lot of questions, questions about how you are and how you're actually doing, because they dunno what to do with the response. They're scared. That's right. That if you fall apart, they're not gonna know what to do. And, uh, and, and so therefore they just don't ask. And that's, that's terrible for the person experiencing the grief because they, most of the time they don't need anything. They just need someone to be with them. They just need a hug, or they just need someone to sit with them and have a cup of tea and let them feel. Right. Yeah. Um, and, and, and I wonder if, uh, again, kind of teeing you up or maybe throwing you under the bus. I don't know. But I wonder if you can, like, Speaker 0 00:38:11 Same thing, Troy, same thing. Speaker 2 00:38:12 <laugh>, same thing. Uh, if, if you, if you are with I, one of the things I've learned over the years is to be able to sit comfortably with someone who's falling apart and not soo them. Yeah. And realize it's not my job. It's, it's actually not my job. My job is just kind of to sit here and, and be with you and let you know that you're not alone, but I'm not, my job is not to comfort you. Um, I wonder if there's, if, if you, if if you can kind of give us some insight or, or share something that would help us, you know, talk about our own grief or allow others to talk about their grief. Speaker 0 00:38:42 Yeah. I think the open conversation is really important. Um, one of my favorite things that someone asked me in sort of the throws of my grief was my friend Jamie just asked me, Would you like to tell me a story about your brother? Mm. And that question was so beautiful for a number of reasons. One, um, it ha it had this sense of sort of permission or consent, like, would you like to, is a little, it just felt very gentle and inviting. Like it was, it would've been easy for me to say, No, I don't feel like it. And it would've been okay. So I had some choice. Yeah. The second thing that I really love is that she asked me if I wanted to talk about my brother, um, in a way that would've allowed me to tell a story about him when he was six, or he, when he was 12, a story about him when he was alive. Speaker 0 00:39:33 Because one of the losses when you're dealing with grief related to death is that, um, for a time the person's death becomes sort of the most important thing about them. The piece of information that everyone's interested in. Yeah. And especially with suicide, people don't wanna ask questions about how I feel because they're afraid of it, as you've pointed out. But they do feel okay to ask questions, like, Well, how'd he do it? How'd he die? But, you know, so all these like, information questions about his death, which are no, not their business, and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, not important in any way mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but also completely overshadow any significant story about their aliveness mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which is, is what's most missed. Right. It's the thing that believes people most often want to talk about mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so I think that's a great question. Mm. Speaker 2 00:40:29 Do you, as a psychologist, do you, in Australia, it's really common for psychologists here to get what's called supervision, which is basically seeing another psychologist to help usually with client case cases. Right. Um, but also, uh, I, it's really common for psychologists to have to see a psychologist for their own Absolutely. Mental health. Um, do, do you, is that something that you've done over the years, like in a professional capacity and supervision, but also in a personal I imagined it, it was, Speaker 0 00:40:56 Yeah. Both supervision while training and then, you know, sort of once you get a license, they're like, Okay, you're out on your own <laugh>, you can, but many people do choose to continue in supervision, which I have also done at different times if I was learning something new or had a difficult patient. Um, but I think that importance of being in therapy or having a safe sounding board as a, as a psychologist, as a clinician is incredibly important. I think it's also important for anyone who's leading other humans mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because your inner world, um, your grief, your disruption or depression, that all plays into how you treat people. Speaker 2 00:41:35 Totally. I, I, you know, I feel like we can't have this conversation enough because like wherever I travel, it's 2022 people, there are, there is still such a stigma about putting your hand up and asking for help with your mental health. Yet if someone, you know, breaks their arm, they go straight to the hospital and get help because something's not working properly. And, you know, and I think it's across the board. I mean, I, I especially feel it as a male and I don't wanna gender this. There is definitely a, well, you know, come on, Speaker 0 00:42:14 It plays differently. Yeah, for Speaker 2 00:42:15 Sure. Yeah. Tough about princess, you'll be right. You know, especially in Australia, there is a real culture of just like, you know, she'll be Right. And you kind of need to figure it out. Um, what I mean, the, in, in a, I'm just wonder if you can talk to like the, the pathway in Australia, the pathways. You go to your gp, you go to your local family doctor, and you ask for a mental health plan. And in Australia, what that means is that you get 10 free sessions with a psychologist. If they put you on a mental health plan, you get 10 free sessions with a psychologist just to kind of, you know, I mean, I'd think it should be 50 free sessions, but anyway, uh, you get 10 just to kind of as an introduction kind, kind of get you on a mental health plan. And then if you wanna continue, you keep seeing that psychologist. How does it work in the states? What's the culture there? What's the, the mechanism, what's the pathway for someone putting their hand up and saying, I need some help. I'm not too proud to admit it. What do I do next? Speaker 0 00:43:03 Oh, it's, it's a little tricky. Unfortunately in the states, it depends a lot on what kind of health insurance you have and where you're located. Hopefully. And I think this is actually changing, It's one of the maybe, uh, inadvertent silver linings of covid is that mental healthcare is becoming a little bit more accessible. But generally speaking, again, it depends on your insurance. You just kind of go to Google and you look at the map and you look for therapists in your area and you look at their websites and sort of decide if they look like a reasonable human or not. <laugh>. Um, I know it's not, it's not the best plan actually, but it, it does allow with more remote access, you know, there are, there's more possibility of seeing people who maybe have a specialization in entrepreneurship, for example. And as long as they are licensed in the state in which you live, you can use your health insurance for coverage, um, for that care, depending on the kind of health insurance you have. Speaker 0 00:44:03 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But one of the things I think is important in the sort of journey of finding a psychologist is, um, I'm a little too old and been married too long for this, having had this experience directly, but I understand it's probably a little bit like online dating. Like you kind of match and you have like an initial conversation and you either hit it off or you don't mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so you are looking for a mental health professional. I think it's really helpful to, um, I guess play the field a little bit. Like ask for a few introductory conversations. Most clinicians will do that without a fee if it's a 30 minute kind of exploratory conversation. And I think that's where you sort of discern fit. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do they seem reasonable? Do I like talking to them? Are they a good listener? Just these basics that help you as a human feel like, Okay, I'm safely connected to this other human. Mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:44:57 Totally. I, I, it's like trying on jackets. I, I, I feel like it's like trying on a jacket. It's gotta be a good fit and it's not always a good fit. And I've, I've seen friends and family members persist with a psychologist who we all know is a bad fit. They're telling us it's a bad fit, and they keep going because they don't wanna start again and retell their story to someone new. And I'm like, Well, that's fine. But like, think about the outcome that you're working on here. <laugh>, like the current fitness is not working. Um, there's a couple of myths I wanna bust around seeing a therapist. One, this was my experience when I first started seeing a therapist. I'm like, Okay, here I am. I'm clearly broken, I'm dysfunctional. Uh, there's all this stuff going on. I need a lot of help. You need to fix me. You need to tell me exactly what to do. Right. And while there are some things that a psychologist can suggest that are super helpful, like in my case it was like exercise, eating. Well, just basically looking after yourself. Right. Their job is not really to fix you or to tell you exactly what to do and to fix your problems. Speaker 0 00:45:56 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:45:57 What Speaker 0 00:45:58 Is, yeah, Speaker 2 00:45:58 What do they do exactly. Like if I, someone's watching this and they've never been to a psychologist and they're like, Well, what do they do exactly? Speaker 0 00:46:06 Ooh. A psychologist is sort of an expert listener. So they are going to listen to your story and your experience, and they're gonna pattern match with all of the other people that they've worked with and all the books they've read and all their training. And they're going to extrapolate from your specific experience some things that may be helpful for you to try that may help you see your situation differently, that may, um, you know, just sort of create a different perspective for you. But the thing is, is that, you know, you are also the expert on who you are. And so sometimes it's in your own ability to talk through what you're holding, talk through your experience, that a lot of the healing power comes. So the, you know, most of us don't respond super well when people just tell us what to do. <laugh>, you know, it triggers especially, um, especially those of us who are entrepreneurs, it triggers all of our like, Well, I wanna color outside the lines. Speaker 0 00:47:10 I don't want that to be true. I'm not gonna do what you say because I'm rebellious and creative and unique and special, and you clearly don't understand me. So, um, gen gentler approach is to let you listen and to ask questions and maybe provide some structure and guidance so that you come to some different solutions or some different ideas, um, than maybe you had at the beginning. So it is a collaborative process, and no, it's not just going to an expert and getting a list of things to do differently. Although some behavior and lifestyle changes as you're alluding to related to exercise and how you care for yourself, super important and should be part of the plan for everybody. But it's in the listening, the unfolding, the uncovering, the sitting with difficult stories and experiences that those things do begin to change. Speaker 2 00:48:00 Yeah, totally. Uh, it's, my experience mirrors that my ex, what I learned, I had two really, really good psychologists and it, and you know what it was like five years later that I reflected back and I was like, Oh, wow, they're really good. It's like things were dropping in. And I'm like, I'm so glad I spent that year talking to that person. Um, yeah. And what I realized is that they just allowed, they created a space for me to come in and figure stuff out, a really safe environment for me to come in, talk things through, figure stuff out. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, heal my own wounds or, or go through that healing process and allow my wounds to heal. And some of those wounds took years after to heal. But I had the tools and the skills to allow them to heal and to say things out loud that I'd never said before, and realize that some of them just weren't true. Speaker 2 00:48:53 Oh, that's just the spirit I keep telling myself that's just not serving me and causing all this destructive behavior, and it's just not true. And now I've been able to tell someone it's such a relief to get that off my chest, knowing that no judgment, there's no baggage, there's no implications or repercussions of me saying this. And it's actually not true. It doesn't mean that anymore. It's not important anymore. I can let that story go. And it was, it was, it was jarring for me because I was like, I was kind of going, You need to give me the blueprint. You need to gimme the checklist. You Speaker 0 00:49:28 Need to, Right. You're the expert. Tell me what to do. Stop withholding from me. Just what do you think, Doc? Speaker 2 00:49:33 Right, Exactly. Right. And, uh, and, and, and realizing, Sorry, my, my headphones are about to die. Uh, realizing that, uh, the, that's not their job. That their job is to just allow me to explore and allow me to, um, figure things out for myself and create that kind of safe environment where I can do that. Speaker 0 00:50:00 And, and that's this, because change happens from the inside out period. You know, if we're gonna make meaningful changes about the way that we see ourselves, the way that we approach our lives, even our appraisal of the past, even as we review things that have happened in the past, if we want to do that differently, see differently, think differently, act differently, that is an inside job. And someone can't, from the outside tell us what, and or exactly how to do, but can just create the conditions for change to happen with the right amount of compassion and openness. Maybe some challenging, maybe some really pointed questions. The ability to call bullshit when you need someone to call bullshit on you. Um, those are the conditions in which we have the potential to change. So it is, it is, there's some method to the madness. It is by design that you are the one who has to do the work on your behalf with a guide, with the support, but not someone who can just tell you what to do. Speaker 2 00:51:03 I remember, um, one of my therapists, uh, the first session, I was so naive and I was such a rockstar. I was such a dick. Uh, I, I went in and I'm sitting in the waiting area and she comes out to meet me and, and I'm like, Oh, can I, can I get a cup of tea? And, uh, she's like, No, we're not here to have a cup of tea. We're here to do some work. And I was like, Whoa, okay. That's not what I expected. And it took me a while to warm up to this, this particular psychologist. In fact, it took me about three months and I would keep canceling appointments. And there was all this kind of, I had all these hangups, like she would charge me a cancellation fee. And I'm like, You just want my money? And she's like, No, actually I don't want your money. Speaker 2 00:51:41 I want you to turn up and do the work. That's why I'm charging you, cuz it's accountability. And then I remember asking her questions about her, her life and herself, and she's like, We're not here to talk about me. We're here to talk about you. And I'm like, Wow, you are so cold. You are holding everything back. You're just a brick wall. And, and, and, and again, like five years after that experience with her, I was, I saw her every week for the best part of a year, or just, just over a year was like 3, 4, 5 years after that. I was like, Wow. I know exactly what she was doing. And it was amazing. I, I was super challenging for her and she did an amazing job of just like creating the boundaries and keeping me within those boundaries and not blurring the lines. And it was, it took me a long time to get comfortable with it, but I, I realized it was such a gift. Speaker 2 00:52:27 It was such a gift for me to have that space to figure that stuff out. Um, the other quick story I I'll say is my, one of my other therapists, I've been seeing him for about six months and in the corner of his office was this like sandpit on, on wheels, like on a, an elevated platform with like a sandpit. Now all these characters, all these figurines on his bookcase. And one day I'm like, What's going on here? Like, you just collect this stuff. He's like, No, actually it's a form of therapy called Sand Play where you can pull the figurines off the bookshelf and put 'em in the sandpit and create your own little scenes and tell your own little stories. And I'm like, Really? And he's like, Do you wanna have a plan? And I'm like, I think I do. And then it's like for three months after that, every time I went to him, we were just like, it was the most bizarre but super cool, super creative. Speaker 2 00:53:15 And it was just another way for me to communicate. I would like put these figurines in the sandbox and he would like, Right, So tell me about the story. And I would say, Well, this is my mom and this is me trying to protect her and this is my girlfriend and this is is my brother. And he's like, Wow, this is super interesting. And I would look at it and go, Wow, where the hell did that come from? It was just, it got me outta my head and got me into a tactical experience. It was super helpful at the time. Felt really weird and self indulgent, but extremely valuable in the long term. Speaker 0 00:53:41 I think that kind of expression, any kind of expression that gets us out of our scripts, right? That's why a psychologist isn't gonna sit down for tea and exchange stories and pleasantries. They are about changing the scripts. And so, and then when you, as a fully grown, grown up who's got, you know, lots of words and lots of ideas and probably a little bit of ego sits on the floor and plays with these toys and moves them around in the sand, you're totally breaking the script, but in a way that allows for these like, interesting new perspectives to rise up and come through. Speaker 2 00:54:16 Yeah, a hundred percent. It was, it was awesome. Um, hey, I'm conscious of your time. I'm conscious for everyone else's time. This has been like, again, you're one of my favorite humans. I love hanging out with you. I love talking to you. I know this is super impactful for our audience as well. And I wanna thank you for your generosity and your time. Before I let you go, please let everyone know where they can get a copy of touching two worlds. Where is it available? Speaker 0 00:54:37 Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I likewise love our conversations. So again, the book is on Amazon, it's not all major retailers, um, and should be pretty widely available. So it's called Touching Two Worlds that we made a website of course, um, in honor of the book that has a little bit more of the backstory and, um, some cool video from the circus show that we created to, uh, launch the book. So if that intrigues you, how we would make a circus about grief, well you can go to the website and check that out <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:55:09 Awesome. And where can people reach out and say hi to you, Sherry, and follow your journey? Speaker 0 00:55:14 Yeah, I'm getting more and more entertaining on Instagram, so if you're on Instagram, you'll see this odd combination of psychologist and circus artist, um, and parent and dog mom and all these other things. So feel free to follow me on Instagram, which is at Sherry Walling, and then I'm also on the internet as [email protected]. So love connecting with your folks and super happy to be with you for this conversation. Speaker 2 00:55:39 Awesome. Well, thanks again for joining us, Dr. Sherry Walling. I'll look forward to talking to you again. And, uh, until then we'll see you in the soup as they say. Speaker 0 00:55:46 All right, take care. Speaker 2 00:55:48 All right, gang, that's another episode of The Agency Hour. Live here on our Facebook page or YouTube or wherever you're watching this. Uh, if you like what we're doing here, please give us a, like a thumbs up, share, subscribe, do the usual kind of things, uh, and leave us some feedback. Leave us some comments. Tell us what you learned from this episode. Uh, what would your bigger aha moment, who would you like to see come on the agency or in the future? Um, if you are listening to this as a podcast, get on over and join the Digital Mavericks Facebook group. We drop, uh, live streams in there once a week, uh, with tips and tutorials and, and howtos and some more inspiration on helping you grow your agency. Uh, and, uh, also get on over to our YouTube channel and subscribe there and, and, uh, you know, ding the bell. Do all that kind of good stuff. All right, I'll look forward to speaking with you again next week on The Agency Hour. Until then, my name's Troy Dean. Have a great day. Speaker 1 00:56:35 Thanks for listening to the Agency Hour podcast. Subscribe at Apple Podcasts, Spotify Pocket, Audible, and wherever you like to listen, you can catch all of the Agency Hour episodes on our YouTube channel, youtube.com/agency Mavericks, or you can get involved. Check out our free Digital Mavericks Facebook group where we broadcast these episodes live for our community every week along with a ton of free training. We'll see you there.

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