Are you doing your very best or do you want to do better?
Do you want to perform at a higher level, but you’re not sure what to focus on?
Are you accelerating or decelerating in your own performance?
What if there are tweaks you could make to get out of your own way?
Hi, this is Audrea Fink, here with Julie Holton and our podcast guest, Katy Stanfield. We are your Think Tank of Three. Today we’re talking to Katy about performance accelerators and performance elevators.
But first, before we get into accelerators and decelerators and what those are, let’s get a little bit about Katy. Katy Stanfield is a performance psychologist and executive coach and a licensed clinical psychologist. She is an expert in performance optimization and behavior change.
Katy currently has a coaching practice. It’s called WISe performance, where she sees clients one on one in groups, and then she also facilitates workshops. She uses evidence-based principles in her coaching practice related to mental toughness, grit, mindfulness, values, and positive psychology.
All perfect topics for Think Tank of Three and Katy is a fellow dog mom, so we’re going to get along really well. She’s also a mother of two girls and lives in Seattle, Washington. Katy, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today.
Thank you for having me. I am really grateful and excited to be with you all today.
So Katy, tell us a little bit about your background because you have a pretty interesting career transition story.
Yeah. I spent about 10 years in the Navy flying helicopters and I knew I was looking for a big change when I was coming up on sort of my 10 year mark. And so I spent a good bit of time really trying to figure out what was next. I had always been really drawn to and passionate about the field of psychology broadly.
And so I investigated and spent a lot of time looking at clinical psychology, performance psychology, industrial organizational psychology, and eventually landed in this great balance between both performance and clinical psychology.
Wow. So interesting that you were flying helicopters in a previous life, basically a previous career, and that was something just so totally, drastically different.
Katy, what do you find most meaningful in your current practice?
I would say that the thing that gets me up every morning and makes me excited to go do my job is really being able to see a measurable impact in people’s lives, which is a big picture thing. But really the details and the nuance of it is pretty powerful and pretty rewarding.
So I’m grateful to be able to be in that space with a lot of pretty incredible people.
Part of your practice is this performance accelerators. And, and they sound very exciting, but also very vague. So can you tell us a little bit about what performance accelerators are?
Sure. If you don’t mind, I’ll first kind of just step back and explain a little bit like the framework of why I conceptualize it that way and just talk about the balance between the two. And then I’ll dive in a little bit more on the accelerator piece.
Perfect. Because I think for some of us, like me, that background on act is really going to help.
Yeah. You know, for me, I love really helping people who are kind of hungry to get better or feel better, those kinds of things, in whatever domain they’re in.
I really like to give people concrete tools to improve their performance. And so this is where this idea of the accelerators came up.
And I’ll talk a little bit more about those in a minute because I also just want to point out, part of where the decelerator piece came from was realizing that the accelerators, weren’t quite enough.
There’s a lot of high performing individuals across all the fields I work in, sports, veterans, corporate clients, things like that, where the high performance piece, you know, they get burned out or they have difficulty transitioning between different worlds, or you know, they look great on the outside to the outside world, they’re really kicking butt, but internally there’s a ton of pain.
So that’s kind of where the conceptualization of the decelerators came in. And again, I’ll talk more about that in a second, but to drill down on the accelerator piece.
This comes from in the performance and sports world, there are tons of these very concrete tools that I really found to be helpful. And so for me, creating this sort of idea of, you know, what are some things we can really point to that will make my performance better?
So, you know, broadly speaking, the first one is mindset.
Can you talk about mindset for a minute, because we’ve talked about that on on many of our podcasts, but to really look at it from your point of view. What are some things you really look at when you’re looking at someone’s mindset and how that’s impacting performance?
Yeah, you said it. I mean, there’s so many different ways that people talk about and think about mindset now, which is great. I think we do appreciate more now about how we approach things is just as if not more important than the what we’re approaching.
The things I’m looking at are Carol Dwecks work on growth mindset. I’m sure you guys have covered before, but you know, she talks about this. Do you perceive that the thing that you’re working on, is that innate to you or is that something that can be improved upon? Which sounds very basic. But if we perceive that it’s innate, then obviously we’re going to approach it differently and then we will actually perform differently. So that’s one piece of it.
The other one that, again, there’s lots of different people and concepts that have approached this, but it’s this idea of when I feel discomfort or when I have thoughts about failure or you know, any in that range. What do I do with that discomfort and that tension? Do I sit in it? Can I pause in it to learn from it or do I go away from it?
Were were kind of created to have this fight, flight, freeze response. And so it makes sense that we were trying to figure out, is this a threat or not. So it is a little bit of a challenge to really say, let me sit in this and learn from it.
And as you can imagine, there’s so many different applications for it, but conceptually that’s such an important, you know, base.
Is the premise behind like this mindset, when I think about failure or I think about not getting things right, am I supposed to then sit with it? Am I supposed to acknowledge this is really uncomfortable or push it aside? Which one of those helps as an accelerator?
It’s a great question, and I tell people, you know, everyone’s most frustrating response from somebody in my position is “it depends.” And it does. The important part is that you don’t go into an automatic response to it, you know? Unless it is a life threatening situation, which of course I work with people where that is the case, right?
So this is being able to sit in it and then learn from it. And if you can pause and you make the choice of like, what is there to learn from this, then I might. The next step.is you’re doing it with intention, you’re doing it with awareness, instead of in that sort of responsive way. Does that make sense? Broadly speaking?
It does. And I’m really interested to hear about these decelerators because I think, you know, especially to our regular listeners, we talk a lot about how do we move ahead? How do we move up in our careers? How do we move forward in life or past trauma? And we don’t often stop to think about our own behaviors that might be stopping us or pulling us back. So can you talk about this next aspect?
When I talk about this with you? You know, the things that I’ve identified, they are not new in themselves, right? This is me extracting from a ton of research, both in the clinical space and somewhat in more of like a wellness performance space
But the three big factors that come up again and again in, in this idea of like wellness and being a human is there’s this idea of joy experiencing joy, and so the decelerator is lack of joy, and that can be on a tiny scale and it can be bigger. When I tell people, notice I’m not talking about happiness, which is a different construct. This is feeling joy in a second, in a moment.
Can you talk about that too because this is so fascinating? Joy versus happiness. I was just recently talking with another woman about this and about the society that we live in where we’re constantly in search for happiness, but the difference between that happiness that we are seeking after that, maybe society says we need to have in the form of mani/pedis or whatever that might look like, versus actual truly having joy.
Yeah. You know, there are some great researchers that look at this more closely. I’ll say for me, just anecdotally.
When somebody comes to me and says, “I just want to be happy.” That’s a totally human, understandable thing. But to me there’s, there’s such power in looking in the more detailed moments of your life, right? Considering values. Considering I also look at, sometimes I think of it as like, what are your joy blockers?
What’s getting in the way of joy? You know, a full, values congruent life. You know, you may be able to put a label of happiness on that, but that’s such a big construct to say, “Am I happy or not?” It’s also a little bit dichotomist. It’s a little bit black or white, which I don’t find real life to really be that way.
So again,not to dismiss the value of happiness. That’s there. But for me, I really find it helpful to look at and think about. And you know, when you think about your day, like how do I know when joy is there? For me, I have two young kids, so there’s so much opportunity for putting down my phone or looking them in the eyes and playing with them. You know, that’s one way, but it happens at work too. Doing one thing at a time. There’s certainly a lot of mindfulness work that can help with that, but it’s not just that. I think it’s being open to it. I think it’s seeking opportunities where you will feel joy, which again, kind of ties in with this idea of values and things like that.
I feel like we interrupted you because we got really excited. We started with mindset and mindset is the first principle, right? What’s number two?
Number two is process goals. And this one is an interesting one, I think goals. Goals and goal setting is so common in our day to day life. It is something that I think culturally in our world, we talk about setting and doing, especially this time of year, and I think it’s really valuable both in work and in home life, to think about, to go a little deeper.
So often we set outcome goals. So that would be I’m going to win the game. At my next performance review, I’m going to be number one in my department or division, and I’m going to run a marathon. Those are the outcome goals, right? And so to me, the emphasis on this is to make sure I use three to one ratio is one place I go.
Have three process goals for every one outcome goal. A process goal is really “the how you’re going to do it” and not just “he what you’re going to do.” The other really important component, the difference between these, process goals are the ones that are more in your control.
If I’m going to have an interview to get a job, that come goal will be, I want to get the job, of course. So it’s valuable to have that, but the process goal is: what am I going to do to prepare to get that interview, to do well in the interview?
Examples of that would be, I’m going to research the company one hour a day until the interview. I’m going to make eye contact when in the interview. I’m going to practice my narrative, my sort of intro, in front of a mirror, a couple times that week before the interview, things like that.
I think it’s so interesting. Just to jump in real quick. I was talking recently with a girlfriend who is also a business owner like I am. We were talking about our goals for 2020. And she was explaining to me that she actually sat down in addition to her business, you know, development plan and a goal setting that she was doing for 2020, she actually wrote out for her personal life, a development plan with what you’re describing these, you know, these process goals.
And I thought it was so interesting because she’s a mom of two young boys and a wife and running, you know, a couple of businesses and, and she was actually looking at, okay, what and where do I want to grow this year? Like, how do I want to develop personally?
And so I throw this out there because I hadn’t even thought of that. We go through all of this business planning and goal setting for our work lives. And I’m totally guilty. I don’t know who else is out there listening that’s in this, this camp, but I will fully admit it. I have never sat down and actually worked out, what do I want my personal life to look like? And so that’s something I changed for this year.
And I love hearing you describe these process goals because sometimes it’s like we have this big picture idea in mind. I don’t really think about necessarily the steps, the process that it takes to get there. So this is really interesting because often I know for myself, I feel like I’m failing if I haven’t hit that big picture goal.
But if I can hit each of those process goals along the way, Oh my gosh, it’s gotta be a game changer because you don’t feel like you’re failing in the big picture anymore.
Right. And they become, you know, and then they build on each other. Right? So, as you can imagine, if you accomplish that day to day goal, that will build, you know, people always talk about motivation, right? So that is what builds motivation. It’s success on smaller levels.
So you’re right. It’s important that you segment the goals. I mean, there’s so much really interesting stuff in the world of goal setting. This is just one piece of it, but you’re right to make it segmented, to make it within your control.
I also think it’s fun to think about like how do you want to feel with the goals, which is sort of a different piece of goal setting.
I really liked this process goals, and I think it relates really well. As you were talking about this, I was like, these little incremental steps are also how good salespeople work. You don’t start with this idea of like, I’m going to make 8 million in revenue, or maybe you do, I don’t know, but you can’t go into work on Monday and be like, alright, we’re generating $53 of that 8 million today, right? Like that’s just not motivational.
But if you were to say, you know, I’m going to contact three of my best clients this week and take them out to lunch, see if they have issues, or I’m going to go to three networking events and try to meet new people who can help me make other connections.
I think this is applicable in so many ways, and I love that. Julie, you took it back to the personal, because I’m also not creating personal goals for myself.
I mean, we’re probably all guilty on some level, but I love, I love bringing it back to business too, because I mean, Hey, we’re not born making deals, right?
We learn incrementally along the way, and we also just can’t like roll out of bed and close that, like you said, close those multimillion dollar deal. It takes steps to get there. I love this idea of, of process goals, because we’ve talked about mindset, we’ve talked about process goals, what’s, what’s the next one for you?
Yeah. There’s two sort of concepts that I’ve seen repeatedly and some of the research and literature on this world, and so they’re well known to most, but I really found it interesting to think about both deliberate practice and flow.
I think both of those are two really important pieces that come up. I think a lot of high performers know them well, do them, think about them often. I think it’s important to, to kind of bring that, especially if you’ve been doing something for a while, to think about the idea of just a practice, never mind deliberate practice. But again, it’s about applying some of these things that work in one domain that I think they can really be applicable in many domains.
Can you give us just a quick definition, maybe like one or two sentences about what deliberate practice means to you and then what flow state is?
I mean, I can put the words together, but I want to make we’re on the same page.
And flow is such a buzzword right now too. And so it’s like, what does that really mean? Because I think sometimes things go mainstream and then it just totally gets convoluted with what it actually is.
Absolutely. And I’ll say, you know, for your listeners, you know, again, Angela Duckworth in Grit does a little bit on that and Anders Ericsson talks a lot about this deliberate practice when he studied experts and kind of what are they doing?
What I’d like to do, I’d walk you through sort of the steps quickly of how they conceptualize deliberate practice. And all of the things by themselves it’s not rocket science, but you put them together and I think it’s helpful.
What I’d like to do, I’d walk you through sort of the steps quickly of how they conceptualize deliberate practice. And all of the things by themselves it’s not rocket science, but you put them together and I think it’s helpful.
So they talk about, you know, first find your Achilles heel, which is really about like clearly define, your sort of goal, right?
Make a stretch goal to target this sort of point that you want to work on this, this Achilles heel. And then full concentration effort practice. I think I think about this a lot where in my head I’m like, “Oh, I’m totally working on something hard.” And it’s like, well, am I really giving it 100% or do I have 10 tabs up on my computer while I’m doing it? That’s in the work world. You can apply it in many other places.
So full concentration, effort and practice. And the next one is get feedback. You know, as a therapist and as a coach, this is an interesting one because I don’t videotape myself often and then watch it. But that’s one way, I think that’s, you know, getting feedback.
You can also do it obviously from, you know, Hey, talking to somebody, how am I doing? What is it like? But to really improve that one thing that you’re working on, it’s, it’s getting feedback from coaches or from video and things like that.
This is where it might be helpful to have a coach to figure out, how do I do this? What would it look like to get feedback on this really specific thing I’m working on?
Then the next part of course, is incorporate the feedback and then repeat with reflection and refinement. And then the asterick on this, that is not a small piece, but I love that they talk about this in the literature, doing this process, but you have to kind of look out for shame and judgment.
If you’re trying to do this, but it’s loaded with no shame or like, “Oh, I’m terrible and awful,” which is a human thing. Right? But really noticing that and then working to kind of bring that down. That’s going to be a big part of blocking sort of all your efforts on that.
Avoiding shame and judgment, I think that’s the number one reason why people hold back from getting feedback in the first place. And if we would only realize that we’re the ones judging ourselves, the feedback is actually a really positive thing. I mean, even in the business context, I love it in the personal context as well, but in the business context.
Our clients feel good when we ask them for feedback on how we’re doing. They like to be asked. They’d like to know that we care about them. And so just the process in and of itself is a positive thing.
But I think that wanting to avoid having to confront what we’re not doing well and we’re pre-judging ourselves and what we think we might be told. That’s a huge one, I think just in being able to get the feedback.
You don’t have feedback you don’t know, like don’t know if you, if you’re doing things correctly, you’re putting all this effort into maybe be changing a habit or changing a behavior. If someone else can’t tell you whether there’s improvement or not, then what’s the point?
Or even yourself watching it. I’ll give you a quick, my own sort of experience. I had done a video, a sort of clip with some questions for a nonprofit I worked for. And I didn’t know they had put the video live and it just kind of popped up on something. And so I was like, okay, do I watch it or not? And I had this moment of, okay, if you’re going to get better, you have to watch it.
That’s a more internal, I mean, that was all completely me right off to watch. But that’s how I’m going to get better. But whoo.
Is that always fun to see like, Oh, they recorded this.
What is flow state then?
I’ll answer, I’ll answer the question by a little bit of an indirect route.
But for me, you know, I spent a lot of years on the clinical side and there’s a lot of great research on mindfulness and the importance of that. And so when I started reading more about flow, kind of in this more performance world, it was really interesting to look at some of the links between those.
And I got drawn to Mihaly Csikszentmiahalyi. He has a lot on flow and optimal experience, things like that. He has many books, really prominent research in this world. This helps me to really put it in concrete terms, right? So this flow state, he has this great graph and on the the sort of way to explain, when are we in a flow state, which we can talk about how it feels, which is a good place to start when you’re trying to figure out where your flow state is, but he explains it.
It’s basically when you have your challenge, your sense of being challenged is as high as your sense of skill. That’s sort of the sweet spot that you’re in. It’s helpful, I think, to think through, right? Like, am I not being challenged enough and is my skill set not there yet? And it isn’t to say like, it has to always be in that place and it won’t, but that’s kind of a way to think about it.
The feeling of being in a flow state, right, is more about the sense of you’re not analyzing. You’re not talking about the passion. You’re not thinking about the future. You’re fully immersed in something. You feel energized, you feel alive. You’re not in that more frontal lobe space.
As someone who launched my business about three years ago and as someone who’s also a perfectionist, it is so hard because you’re constantly trying to achieve flow state where you just, everything’s like a well working like a well oiled machine. You’re on point.
And so Katy, you’ve made some major career changes and you go from, I’m assuming one career where you like, you reach the height of your game and you’re just on top of it because I know that’s how I felt, right?
And then all of a sudden you’re like, ooh, let’s do something different. And it’s like this little implosion happens where suddenly you’re back at the bottom again and you’re working your way up. And so for me, when I launched my business, I’m like, wow, I’m really good at marketing. I can do this as a business. I can work for myself.
And now here I am, three years later, I’m like, okay, I’m still good at marketing. I’m good with my client, but I’m also running a business. And that’s been a whole, that’s been a game changer because I had to start at the bottom. I had to start learning how to run a business and so like reaching that flow state… as you’re talking about that. I’m like, Ooh, I can really relate to that because you’re just constantly, there are days when I’m like, where is up from down? And not because of the work, but it’s just you’re trying to learn more and take it all in. And like you said, have your skill reach that level where you’re just in that flow state.
Absolutely. Part of probably what has made you so successful is that you’re striving to be in that flow state, but you know, I know for me, you’re right. I have made several pivots and changes, and having done that a couple of times, it’s taken me time to realize, but that first three months, that first year, I’ve learned to be able to say, I don’t particularly like this phase, but there is something that is stimulating and it’s interesting.
But you’re right, I’m always seeking that.When am I in that space where that skill level is up and the challenge is also there too, which when the challenge gets a little down is where I’m like, Ooh, what else might be around the corner.
If we know that this sort of challenge, high skill high is our sweet spot, but we also want to be continuing to grow and develop. Let me put this into an example to explain it.
I am what I consider very successful in my role right now. I work at a large law firm. I do business development coaching for the attorneys. I help them with how they go to market. I do a lot of business planning, a lot of strategy for these attorneys. I’m really good at my job. And there’s gotta be a next step.
I feel like the challenge is still really high for me and my skill is still really high, and so I am in my sweet spot, but like sometimes I feel like I’d be nice if the challenge is a little lower so that I could think past where I’m at. Is this flow state always an accelerator or is it sometimes maybe also staying where you’re at?
Well, let me try to answer and let’s see where that lands us for me. And part of the, part B of my answer is, you know, what do you do with understanding where and when are you in a flow state? And what does it look like, is kind of why I put this in there.
So I think my answer to your question would be, we aren’t always in flow state, and we may not always be seeking that. There’s a couple of exercises I’ll do with people where it’s like, you know, walk yourself through a flow experience that you’ve had.
And then from that, there’s so much to learn. What environments set me up well for this? What kind of tasks? What kind of people and sensory experiences around me? How do I feel when I’m in that state? What am I doing? Right? So just trying to unpack that a little bit, and it might be different for different environments.So those kinds of things.
So I put this in the accelerators because understanding when you are in that space can be really important as you kind of map out future decisions.
So what are performance decelerators we’ve, you’ve mentioned that a few times. What are they and how do we avoid them?
I love how you asked that question because how we avoid them is by not avoiding them.
Shoot. Well, there goes that. I like my list and I like to check things off and now you’re telling me I can’t.
Yeah, I, you know, I put them as decelerators. Which is a little bit of playing with words, but it’s important because I think as we’re all striving to be better and do better and do more, if we ignore some of these pretty important pieces…
You know, I say there’s the metaphor. I think it was like our accelerators are like, if we’re getting the fanciest tires and the best engine in the world to kind of up our game. But decelerators would be like, if I didn’t put gas in this car that I just totally spoofed up, or if I’m trying to fly a plane into an 80 mile an hour headwind, and I’m only going 60 miles an hour.
So that’s like the concept of it. So the decelerators we’re talking about joy mastery and tribe. So decelerators would be lack of those things. And you know, there’s not like some number we’re seeking. It’s just about spending some time thinking about are these things in your life and if they aren’t, they’re likely to become decelerators.
So joy. We talked a little bit about seeking joy, feeling joy, looking for moments in your life. It’s already there. Or maybe seeking it out a little bit more.
Mastery, or also, you know, a sense of agency. Those kind of go hand in hand. That one is really important and see that one come up, sometimes it’s about, there’s a lot of times when we’re in a certain season of our life where maybe there’s things out of our control that we just have to deal with, right?
Personal or professional, and we don’t have that sense of, “okay, I see a problem. I’m working really hard at it, and no matter how hard I work, I’m not getting the results I want.” Right? That’s mastery piece. If I’m not getting that in one place, it’s really important to find it in another way. Does that make sense?
Yes. I was thinking to myself, I’m currently working on a project at work that is very hard for me. I am not a master at it. I am not in the flow zone by any means. Right?
And I found that what that means is when I come home, I have to have something that I do feel good about. So lately it’s been cooking, right? I’ve just spent a ridiculous amount of money on new cookbooks that I, who knows if I’ll even use, but I’m just like, but I can do this.
Right. And even having that sense of, I’m buying the cookbooks, maybe I’ll buy something, right? Like just those alone can give that sense of, you know, I’m getting myself closer to a goal. Or accomplishing something or feeling that sense of I put out effort, I see or feel a difference.
But I could see where this could also hold us back because a lack of mastery in one area, I know for me causes me to do more of what I’m good at in other areas.
But then over time, and I mean like years can go by where you’re really filling kind of that void with other things instead of actually focusing on how to master what it is, especially if it’s something that’s not going to go away in your life and it’s something that’s going to be there. And so I think I can see where this could be a decelerator because the lack of ability of really to focus on and, and achieve a goal in one area.
I mean, I’m not, it’d be nice if I was cooking Audrea. That’d be awesome because I’d be a better cook at this point. Way better. It can sometimes take our focus away from really focusing on what we should be getting better at or what, or making that decision of, if that’s not for me, maybe we move into a different area.
Well, it’s just like people who only do one exercise when they go to the gym. Have you ever seen those guys where they’re like…
Gosh, are we still talking about me?
…ripped on the top, skinny legs on the bottom? Not that we’re body shaming, but you’ve seen those people who are like, I spent all my time working on my upper body, or all my time working on my lower body, or all I do is run and, and then there is an imbalance.
Yeah. So true.
I think how you dial in this piece is really pretty individual. The important part is if just from a human being standpoint, if you aren’t having a sense of mastery or agency in your day to day life, that’s going to be a problem. That’s going to be a decelerator, right?
So if you’re, you know, if it’s avoidaning, if there’s an avoidance strategy in there, you’re right. If you’re avoiding something that you can work on, but you’re just not wanting to, you’re right. The details of how you do these things or how you’re avoiding that is a really important thing to drill down more on for sure.
But the important part to me is just seeing, you know, this. It’s sort of the inverse of like, mastery is the inverse of like learned helplessness, right? Which is a huge problem. So if you’re in an environment or a workplace or if you are at home, and that’s happening, you know, taking any steps you can to solve that of course is important.
But sometimes those things are out of our control, right? If we have like a parent that’s ill, there’s not much I can do to make that situation better, always. So it’s just recognizing, okay, what else in my life can I do where I get that? Which, you know. Picking up cooking or something like that. Might be another, an example of how to do that.
So the last performance decelerator that you mentioned is tribe or lack of tribe and tribe has been a topic we’ve covered a lot. We are big on tribes, but I would love to hear you tell us a little bit about how lack of tribe affects us. And then how do we reconnect to tribe if we have been disconnected?
Similar to flow and mindfulness, it’s pretty exciting to see how much is sort of getting out there and, and just recognizing how important this is. There’s a couple of good books that have come out lately on the importance of it. And again, to me, there’s such an individual piece in like how you dial this in, right? So introverts, extroverts, size of community, cultural, there’s all different ways to intersect this.
The important part is that you’re recognizing, who is my tribe? Do I need to grow it? Are there people I need to reach out to that I haven’t in awhile? What gets in the way of that? Right?
And that’s where, again, some of the more in depth work might have to happen, right? Some of the high performers, people who are working really hard to be a high performer, the tribe part can suffer.
And so really looking at that in a nuanced way, I think is important. You know, it can be in your community, it can be in your church, in your community your family. It can be old friends, new friends, right? This idea of just having a tribe and having that be a space where people see you and understand you and can validate you and you have shared values, you know? To me, that’s a good starting place.
And that is exactly why we developed Think Tank of Three and this podcast. I mean, frankly, it’s knowing that women in all aspects of their lives, business, personal, you know, everything in between. We need, especially we need other women who get it. Other women who have been there before us, other women who are coming up behind us, you know?
And that’s really what Think Tank of Three has been designed to do, is to help. And of course, it’s not the same as getting together with girlfriends in person, but we, we do what we can to really support each other and empower each other.
Because life isn’t always easy or fun. Sometimes we just have to bear down and get through, but it’s so much better when we have that support system, that tribe that you’re describing to get through it with us.
It’s so you’re, you’re so spot on. And I, I do love that you guys have created this because you’re right. It is in your day to day life, right, you see people, you have friends, and sometimes if we’ve come from more environments where it might be more, I’ll say specialized, right?
So a lot of transition work I do is like people leaving the military, or if we’re leaving a high performing athlete world or corporations to like people who are retiring. These are huge things to consider if your tribe is about to literally change, what do you need to do to kind of keep some of those elements in their to stay connected to some of the people? Or to make new friends that have a shared experience from that? It’s super important, which might not be …I don’t have to surround myself with female pilots in the military. But it might be about spaces like this. Where it’s like other women who are, you know, seeking out, you know, high performance, but also want balance in their life, things like that. I’m seeking that out in whatever way, shape, amount that I can, but I know it’s there. I think that’s really important.
Humans are designed to live life with other humans, right? We are. We are meant to live in community and not isolated and not alone. And I just love that you’ve been a part of our community today to help bring attention to this.
Yes, absolutely. This has been so insightful. Before we go, we are collecting advice from successful women in our communities and sharing it with our Think Tank forum.
We have three rapid fire questions for you.
Number one. Is there a lesson that you’ve recently learned that you wish you would’ve learned earlier in your career?
Definitely. I would say my, my sort of immediate reaction to this would be this idea of being self-assured and confident, which I know you guys have talked a lot about on your podcast.
I would say the most important piece of this to me, because it’s something I work with clients on, I talk about, and yet it’s just like you guys were saying earlier.Actually doing that and actually setting your world up so that you have some tribe and some support and some systems to help you kind of do that is really important.
Just recently I had a contract I was reviewing and I had this moment of like, “Oh, I don’t like this thing. I don’t want it in there.” And I thought, “Oh, well, it’s not a big deal. I don’t want them to kind of make a thing of it.” And I was able to, I said, you know what? Let me, I called a friend who I knew would kind of give me that support and that reminder of like, hey, you’re working on doing what you need to do for your business.
And she did, and it completely helped out and it was not a huge deal and not as huge a deal as I had made it in my head. And of course, all negotiations aren’t that straight forward, but me being able to kind of say what I needed, I think that was really important.
I love that. What advice would you give to your younger self 10 years ago?
Yeah, there’s a lot, but again, I think the one that really stands out to me is to just allow yourself some flexibility in your values as you kind of navigate a career and a professional identity. You know, for me, having kids was a big part of it. But it’s not just that, I think, I think there’s being open to the fact that you have different sort of seasons of your life.
So for me, I consider myself an ambitious person. I care about achievement, but I had a time in my life where I needed more flexibility. So I didn’t totally get rid of that ambition piece, but I needed more flexibility and more autonomy. And for awhile I think I, you know, judged myself or, you know, I come from a very, again, high performing world, so I was like, “Oh man, I’m really letting myself down if I have to like leave this space or do something different.”
And so trying to again, take away the judgment is like letting yourself see there’s different seasons. And then of course there’s a big silver lining often when you’re able to step back and look at things more clearly. So I’m grateful for seeking out that more flexibility and you know, as those seasons change, now I can dial up some of the other values that matter to me.
What do you think the most important skill is for a woman to hone in today’s professional setting?
I would say a concept that has helped me and that I try to help my clients with too, is trying to allow yourself to be dialectical.
So for those who aren’t familiar with the term, dialectics is the concept that two seemingly opposing things can both be true.
So for example, in sort of a modern core corporate world, it might be that I’m both assertive and empathic. Or it might be that I’m limiting my hours at work and I’m working really hard when I am at work, which I don’t see those things as opposing, but some people do. Right? Sometimes in the military that would be, I can read Cosmo magazine, but also be a good pilot.
Again, not necessarily things that I see some people do. Part of it is just allowing yourself to be both things and most importantly, I think is to challenge the world around you and the prison that they might be seeing you through.
Awesome. Thank you. Katy, can you please share with us the best way for our audience to connect to you if they had either additional questions or business interests, maybe they’re interested in reaching out for coaching.
And do you do coaching for people outside of the Seattle area?
Great. So we’ll put those links then with the podcast, you can reach out to Katy. Katy, thank you so much for joining us today.
That is all for this episode of Think Tank of Three
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