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[00:00:00] Dr. Sharp: Hello everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.

Many of y’all know that I have been using TherapyNotes as our practice EHR for over 10 years now. I’ve looked at others and I keep coming back to TherapyNotes because they do it all. If you’re interested in an EHR for your practice, you can get two free months of TherapyNotes by going to thetestingpsychologist.com/therapynotes and enter the code “testing”.

This podcast is brought to you in part by PAR.

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Hello folks. [00:01:00] Welcome back to The Testing Psychologist. I’m glad to be here.

Today is a business episode, but it’s a little bit unique or a lot unique, I suppose because my guest and I get into a live coaching session on the podcast. Unlike what is typical for me, this time I am the one being coached.

My guest, Scott Robson is an experienced and compassionate coach, creative, and connector who supports fellow entrepreneurs in the very human experience that is running a business. He helps them find their unique voice, gain self-trust, and claim their space in the world.

Scott and I do, like I said, a live coaching session where he walks me through his recently released adaptotypes for business owners. We identify my type. We talk through a situation that has been concerning for me and bring the work to life a little bit.

This was certainly an [00:02:00] exercise in vulnerability and risk for me to do something like that publicly and talk about a relatively personal issue. And that’s perfect for this episode because Scott likes to focus on the risk and vulnerability of running a business. So I hope you enjoy that.

We talk about risk and vulnerability quite a bit. We talk about how as business owners, we do our best to keep ourselves safe and sometimes that means employing mechanisms, behaviors, or thinking patterns that don’t serve us as well as they could in our businesses. And then of course we spend a fair amount of time bringing this life in the coaching session. 

I hope that you enjoy this somewhat unorthodox episode of The Testing Psychologist with guest, Scott Robson.

[00:03:00] Scott, Hey, welcome to the podcast.

Scott: Thanks so much for having me, Jeremy.

Dr. Sharp: I am glad to have you. We were introduced by a mutual acquaintance who came to Crafted Practice last year. She said, “You have got to talk to Scott. He has transformed my business.” I can’t turn down an intro like that. So I’m glad that we got connected and I’m excited for this conversation.

Scott: Me too. It was very kind of her.

Dr. Sharp: Certainly. I’ll start with the question I always start with, with folks, which is, of all the things that you could spend your time and energy on in this world, why spend your time doing what you do?

Scott: It’s a great question that feels quite complicated to answer in some ways, which I’m sure is how a lot of people feel [00:04:00] when they come on and answer this question on your podcast.

For me, when I first started in my professional career, I was in the publishing industry for over 15 years. My life was very bifurcated between design and also self-development. It came together at the end of that publishing journey when it turns out that working in magazines is not the industry that is growing by leaps and bounds these days. So there was a moment when I had to make a decision as to what my future was going to look like after I was the last man standing after so many rounds of layoffs and I realized that the axe was going to eventually swing down on me as well.

I had done coaching training early on in my career, almost 15 years beforehand. I’m an 80s latchkey kid. And so for me, [00:05:00] the self-development was something that I was drawn to because it felt like filled the gap for me as far as… I was very good at spending time with myself. I enjoyed relating with people and helping people, but I needed to do a little bit more of that inner work. And so when I went into coaching and getting that formal training, that helped me make some real connections and heal some things within myself. When I left the publishing world, I decided to get my 2nd certification. And then I, after that, got a 3rd certification.

I was drawn to working with entrepreneurs. I had worked with a lot of small businesses while I was in publishing. We had luxury city-specific magazines and we had a lot of small businesses in those magazines. They were right there alongside large international luxury brands. So you’d have this small luxury [00:06:00] jewelry company and then 3 pages later, you’d have an Audemars Piguet ad for this beautiful watch.

I loved the commitment that these small businesses had to their passion. I think that it’s probably one of the most courageous things that you can do is going out and opening your own practice, your own business. They inspired me on a daily level. And so, when I left, I realized that this is actually where I wanted to focus on my support. And that’s what I did. I opened my practice almost 10 years ago now and I’ve been doing it ever since. 

Dr. Sharp: I love that. I love how you call it your practice. That’s maybe not the first word of it I would have chosen knowing what I know about what you do. And so maybe that’s a good intro to briefly tell people what you do. We’ll get into the nuts and bolts a [00:07:00] little later in terms of what it looks like, but big-picture, how would you describe what you’re doing for folks?

Scott: I work with courageous, open-hearted, wholehearted entrepreneurs in their journey of owning a business. I always say we’re humans that happen to have businesses. And that’s how I like to approach working with people. I work with my clients, both 1 on 1. I also have my group programs. I facilitate and coach training. I also work in other capacities as well within businesses as far as being an internal coach in some businesses after I’ve worked with some of those CEOs.

I think that this work is really important. I think that one of the things that we’re taught, maybe it’s modeled for us is that we need to silo who we are as [00:08:00] business owners. And so, for me, my approach is really about desiloing that. How do we get the whole person into their role as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, and feel that we’re allowed to do that? We’re allowed to take up a room in our businesses in whatever way feels right for us. And so that’s something that I firmly believe. And that’s what I follow as far as my philosophy goes.

Dr. Sharp: You used the word desiloing in our conversation before recording. I want to spend a little bit of time there because that was not immediately intuitive to me how that applies to business. And so I would love to dive into that a little bit. First, when you say siloing ourselves in business, what does that mean? And then we can flow into the opposite. So what does it mean to desilo ourselves in business?

[00:09:00] Scott: Absolutely. We all do this at some point when we feel like we’re on the back foot or that we’re maybe not exactly the experts that we need to be when we’re in a crowded room full of other experts. There’s an acting as if, and there’s a certain persona that may step forward. And I think that makes total sense. We’re trying to keep ourselves safe, which is very much a philosophy that I follow that is so much of our behaviors. 

What ends up happening is that if we commit to that persona, over time, it becomes a pattern and that pattern becomes the silo that we live in. That is the persona that we need to step into in this role because it’s what’s expected from us. And we think that it’s keeping us safe. It’s in a way that is effective and it’s also portraying a certain [00:10:00] role as far as how we’ve seen it done “properly” in the past for us.

The desiloing is when we take a little bit of a closer look at that, and we come to see, is there any way that we can have all of your different aspects play a role in who you are as a business owner? That might mean designing that first time. We may not want all of our different aspects to be a part of this business persona that we have. There are certain levels of appropriateness. We don’t want our inner 4-year-olds running our business, for example, but we certainly can do something a lot more holistic and a lot more connected to our values, our wants, and our needs as people.

I find that when we do that, that’s when we get authentic business owners. That’s where we get people who when they walk into a room, other people breathe a sigh of relief. They feel [00:11:00] comfortable around them. You’re able to share your opinions and not make it mean anything when other people don’t agree with you about those things. You can stand on your own, but then also feel at home within yourself. And I think that’s ultimately the goal.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. That sounds like there’s a lot of overlap with imposter syndrome or values-driven practice. Both of those terms popped up as you were talking. You’re nodding. That tells me I’m on the right track.

Scott: Very much so. I think the Venn diagram has it all. There’s a huge amount of overlap, especially with imposter syndrome.

My approach is also very compassionate. I always say, there’s a damn good reason why you’re doing what you’re doing, even when it feels like it might be in some way, self-destructive. At the end of the day, we’re always trying to keep ourselves safe from some sort [00:12:00] of perceived psychological risk, whatever that is. And that’s always going to be based on your biography. It’s always going to be based on what was modeled for you; what you’ve seen happen for other people. And so there’s always a reason why we do what we do.

So if we take that angle of real compassion, then we can just relax. We can be okay with whatever this behavior is. We can offer ourselves a little bit of a hug, and then we can move on in a wholehearted way. We can create something that feels connected and a little bit more aligned with what our goals are, which that’s, at the end of the day, one of the most important things here.

Dr. Sharp: I’m totally on board with all of this. I’m sure you’ve seen, I’ve seen this is hard for folks at different stages of their business. I see it in the beginning when people are [00:13:00] launching their practices, they don’t want to be totally transparent that they don’t know what they’re doing or they’re feeling insecure or scared about getting enough referrals, and then it comes on later down the road as we hit different stages of our business where we don’t want to be authentic and let people know we’re struggling, or maybe I don’t have all the answers, or maybe my practice isn’t as profitable as people think it is, and things like that. It can just come up in so many ways and can be really hard to overcome or work with, right?

Scott: Absolutely.

Dr. Sharp: I’m curious how you might dig into that with people and encourage or make it a little safer to be more authentic and do this desiloing. 

Scott: That’s such a great question. [00:14:00] My goal, of course, always is first when I’m working with my clients, and I’m sure it’s true for anybody who’s in the helper space, whether or not you’re a coach or a therapist or something else, them feeling a sense of psychological safety is the most important thing. How we do that is we look at how their unconscious beliefs are driving them. We look at that through the view of whatever is going on for them- whatever that specific current situation is.

What we get to see is that there’s an actual system at play here that’s keeping us at arm’s length from that risk. And once we’re able to see what that system is, and how we perceive that there’s something off here, there’s something wrong here, and then there’s this discomfort that we feel in our bodies or our mind’s eye, we’re either flashing forward to potential future or flashing back to something that’s happened to us.

And then we [00:15:00] develop some mechanism to take us out of that discomfort. That mechanism could be proving yourself. It could be feeling paralysis. It could be placating. Like, you’re saying, everything is everything’s fine, everything’s great. There’s no problem here making enough money when the truth is maybe that’s not so true. Or we procrastinate.

Whatever that thing is, we’re trying to keep that risk at arm’s length. And that risk could be a lot of different things. Like you were saying, it could be failure, it could be success. It could be feeling rejected. It could be a conflict. It could be even a sense of complexity, like, this feels big and hard. That’s a risk.

Once we’re able to understand what that risk is, there’s usually a way that we can get out of it. But what happens for a lot of folks is that [00:16:00] also, once they understand the system that’s in play here, like I was saying, then suddenly it makes sense. So we’re just trying to keep ourselves away from that. Not just that risk with that feeling of physical and psychological discomfort that we’re feeling.

What tends to happen if that goes unaddressed is that it can settle into something that I call a pattern. That pattern can be, for example, I don’t do conflict. That pattern can be, I’m not someone who is visible marketing my business. I’m not someone who’s good with money. So it ends up being these deep-seated, almost protective beliefs. And what these beliefs do is that they keep us away from that risk.

And so when we’re able to understand how this all works, it just unlocks something and we go, gosh, doesn’t that make so much sense? Knowing what I’ve been through, knowing what I’ve seen, knowing the things that have [00:17:00] happened, that I would be particularly sensitive to that risk. And once people are able to make that connection, suddenly the risk lessens. It feels a little bit more approachable. This is a compassion-based work.

And then the work goes on from there. We see how can we expand your self-concept a little bit to include a little bit of this risk. That way we could start to feel a little bit safer with it. We can include it in our worldview of what we can handle. And then the dominoes start falling pretty quickly after that.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. You keep using the word risk and this is interesting as we were tackling this and thinking about what to talk about here today. You were one of the only folks I think that I’ve talked directly with anyway, who is taking this head on and acknowledging the risk and the vulnerability of [00:18:00] running your own business, opening a business, running a business.

I want to make that observation and create more space for us to chat about that because when you said that, I was like, yeah, this is a huge risk. There’s a ton of vulnerability. You’re completely putting yourself out there; your financial situation, your reputation, everything is on display for anyone who might be watching.

Scott: All on the table.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah.

Scott: This is why, again, desiloing is so important because this is when we realize that while it may not be appropriate that our inner 6-year-old should be running our business, sometimes he or she is actually right. And so our relationship with some of these risks can feel what I like to call soft. It feels like a bruise is there. It’s just a little bit [00:19:00] more sensitive.

And so when we’re able to look at, well, what is it about, for example, a judgment of other people? What about that? Where did that come from? What is the origin of that? We’re able to look at that. That’s when we say, oh, there’s a really good reason for this. And so we’re able to then start making some decisions and choices from our business after doing this work from a place of a lot more of a healthier adult space. And suddenly it’s like those experiences aren’t informing our on-the-spot decision-making that we’re making in our 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s. It’s so unconscious. We’re not even aware that we’re doing it.

This is why I have so much love for anybody that has a business because I feel like it’s all going to come up in our businesses. And so let’s just welcome it in. Let’s do the work. That way, we can get you to a place where you’re in your most settled, [00:20:00] rooted self, making decisions from that place.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Well, and I’ll say, I don’t know what you found with people you’ve worked with, but I feel like it took me a long time, way longer than it should have, to come to grips with this whole thing. I had a friend, now a friend back then was a coach of mine, that person said, whatever is going on personally is going to show up in your business. And I was like, of course, that makes sense, but it took a long time for that to sink in and to become aware of some of those patterns that keep popping up and getting in the way.

Scott: It’s so true. We never get it right. I just want to say this. It’s not like you do this work and you’re like, hey, I’m cured of all self-doubt. I’m never feeling overwhelmed.

I had a presentation to a board yesterday evening and when you can’t get the words [00:21:00] out, you’re gumming it up, the Zoom opens up, it’s like 15 heads and they’re like, okay, the floor is yours, and you didn’t realize it was going to be quite that quick. You start tap dancing. I got my footing and it was fine. It was good, even though I was so prepared. I closed the Zoom call, and of course the first feeling you think is like, ah, I really biffed those first five minutes. I was tripping over everything that I wanted to say.

And then I said, do I always have to do this? Can this one time, can we be okay with that and let it be, it’s going to be what it’s going to be. And it just felt so much better. And that’s where that sense of self-worth comes in. I feel like in doing this work as well, where you can be with, we’re talking about complexity, the complexity of these feelings and not have it mean anything about who you [00:22:00] are. You can sit within the discomfort of that and not let it run away with you. And so that was a really uncomfortable moment that I had after I closed that Zoom call for about 10 seconds.

What this work is about is not eliminating it because it’s just not going to happen. We’re human beings. But I think what it does is that it shortens the time. So you can work through it so much more quickly, and you can get to the other side of it and you could have a healthier relationship with these moments when they do happen. 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Hearing you talk about it, it sounds like there are a lot of elements of mindfulness or something like that in this whole process. Is that personally part of your life? It seems like there’s some practice here. 

Scott: Yeah, for sure. That’s so funny that you picked up on that. You’re so perceptive. I started meditating when I was about 7 years old.

[00:23:00] Dr. Sharp: Did you say 7?

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Sharp: Okay.

Scott: Although I didn’t realize I was meditating at the time. I was very lucky. One of my closest friends, he’s my oldest friend in the world to this day. He and I became friends in kindergarten. When we were 7, he happened to move in next door to us without even realizing that. His mom was, and is an incredible person.

She had a lot of kids in her house having sleepovers bouncing off the walls at 11 PM. And so what did she do? She herself had done a lot of mindfulness work and she sat us down and she taught us how to meditate. I’ve been meditating ever since then. It also led me to become involved with the Buddhist community in New York City before I moved out to now live between Los Angeles and Vienna. But it got me involved in that. I’ve done a lot of work in that space. And it’s threaded [00:24:00] itself through all of my coaching practice, for sure. 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, it’s super powerful, whatever you call it, mindfulness or meditation, but that awareness and the ability to create more of a window between the event and the reaction.

Scott: For sure. Why didn’t that gap out as much as you can? That’s where freedom is. Absolutely.

Dr. Sharp: Yes. Talking about all this, these feelings are coming up in our businesses. You know this as a coach, we can tell people what to do all day long, but this is the stuff that gets in the way. I ultimately feel like people probably usually know what to do, whether it’s marketing or what to put on their website or how to set their fees or whatever it may be, it’s this emotional stuff that gets in the way that keeps people from [00:25:00] doing the thing that they know they should do. And so it’s crucial to work through some of this. And that’s what caught my attention from your work is that you pair the coaching with the marketing and design stuff. That’s super valuable, I think.

Scott: Thank you. One of the things that I love about melding this all together with coaching, marketing, and all of that, and the mindfulness, typically when my clients come to me, they know what they should be doing. They should be marketing themselves more. They should be maybe more visible. They could be doing all of these things. Generally, that’s not the issue though. Those are things that you can find out on your own, right? You can read a book, you can go online. There’s a lot of great people out there with great tips. And there’s generally not one way of doing it. So you can find what it’s going to work for you.

What I found, though, is that all of the researching, all the thinking about it, it doesn’t require [00:26:00] anything new from us. We can be researching and it feels very safe. We can have all the information that we need. But when we actually start to take action and put ourselves out there, it actually is going to require us to be something new and trying on something new.

And this is when this idea of, am I going to face plant in front of everybody that’s ever known me? Am I going to the business going to fail? Am I going to look foolish in front of my colleagues and peers? This is where the coaching comes in. And so it’s embracing these actions that actually require something from us as far as expanding our sense of who we are, that tends to be a little crunchy and that’s tends to be also where overwhelm steps in as well.

Dr. Sharp: Right. What we do and how we respond to [00:27:00] overwhelm and stress seems to be a linchpin this whole process. What do you think about that?

Scott: Absolutely. It’s ultimately the reason why we do or don’t do almost everything to be completely honest. Our relationship with self-doubt, our relationship with stress, our relationship with overwhelm, our relationship to those risks that I was talking about, and also the relationship to the self-identification of those stories that we tell ourselves to keep ourselves at arm’s length from those risks, all of those things play a huge role in how we show up in our businesses.

And so a lot of this work is simply how can we neutralize all of that? So that way we actually have choice. Because what happens is when those automatic thoughts come through, we tend not to have a lot of choice in them. It’s like, well, this is the world works, right? This is how my world works. This is who I am. And so when we get to [00:28:00] talking about the gap, this is so perfect. We get to widen that gap a little bit and say, hold on a second. Can we stop that thought for a sec? Can we actually slow this whole process down?

A lot of my work, I feel like it’s just slowing it down, like slow it down. What is actually happening? So you can take a look at it and you’re like, Oh my God, why am I thinking that? That’s not really something that’s helping me, is it? And once we’re able to do that, then great. Let’s start. Now we can begin. 

Dr. Sharp: Yes. Well, a part of that, in my understanding, you’ve thought fairly deeply about this and have found a way to group folks into certain profiles, right? Tell me about that a little bit.

Scott: Exactly. This is something that I launched recently. It’s called your entrepreneur adaptotypes. It’s something that’s on my website. I’m really excited about it. I’ve been [00:29:00] mulling it over for years and about 6 months ago, I finally decided, let me write this down. I wasn’t sure what it’s going to be; if it’s going to be a book or something, and maybe it’ll turn to something. Right now it’s something that is really excited to share.

The idea of the adaptotypes is that as entrepreneurs, our ability and capacity to be able to adapt to circumstances is both one of our biggest strengths, but it’s also a source of self-imposed limitations, right? It constrains how we show up, how we act, how we feel, how we think and what also we think is achievable for our goal. It actually impacts the goals that we set for ourselves. I’m not that person who can do A. B. C. I can only do D. E .F. So it tends to narrow things out.

This idea of entrepreneur adaptotypes is designed to look at all these [00:30:00] 6 different ways, these different styles that best characterize what I call your adaptive behavioral style as a business owner and as a leader. Your adaptive style is how we show up and overwhelm and also how we’re showing up when we’ve learned that we need to avoid overwhelm historically. So, it’s actually there even in what we believe are neutral moments and everyday circumstances.

This could be when you’re walking through the door at work and you’re feeling good, in certain relationships in your life, during specific events, like travel, going to the doctors or Thanksgiving dinner, frankly, everything’s good now, but you’re waiting for your aunt, your uncle to say something. So each type of these, they come in with their own strengths and weaknesses, and they shed light on how you navigate challenges and the inherent wisdom that’s embedded in each style. And also our it limits us and how we can [00:31:00] grow past that in order to get to more of a place of choice.

Dr. Sharp: I’m looking forward to digging into this. Before we do that, I want to ask an obvious question, maybe not, we’ll see. There are, I think, a lot of typologies out there, personality, what we do, and how we do it, and categorizing people and all of that sort of thing. As I was looking at this when you sent it ahead of time, I just got to thinking, I was like, there’s a meta-process here.

What led you to have the self-assurance or something along those lines of creating a new thing when there’s plenty out there, I would say, that falls in the same realm. I’m just imagining going through that like, who am I to create this? I’m projecting onto you, but I’m curious about [00:32:00] the process for you to do something like this.

Scott: That’s a great question. I love that question so much. It’s so funny. I think that we all have elements and gifts that we are pretty solid with. That we’re like, no, no, no, I’m good. That’s something that I can rely on myself for. And I think one of the things that I have always fallen into quite easily is finding patterns and seeing the underlying systems of those patterns. Everybody on my father’s side of the family is an engineer. And so I feel like I got that brain, but I’ve a fire hose focused it on the way that people think, instead of taking apart lawnmowers and large machinery.

So, for me, I had this experience when I was working with clients where I started automatically being like, oh, okay, they’re [00:33:00] struggling with this. That reminds me of this other group of clients that I’ve worked with, and then I meet with somebody else struggling with this reminds me of this other group of clients that I’m working with.

And the theme of the thread that ran through the mall is how are they working with or trying to avoid overwhelm. And so this goes to the heart of what we were saying in regards to their self-concepts, their relationship with self-doubt, and all of those perceived psychological risks.

It honestly started as a notes on my iPhone, a notes page. I started taking some of these notes and I started looking at, for example, what are their challenges. What are they overwhelmed by? How do they feel about goals? There’s different things that goal orientations, so, how are they feeling about goals? How they either add to their business, add to their lives, or are they pretty agnostic about it? How [00:34:00] do they avoid overwhelm? What are their growth edges?

That’s what I started with. I started filling this out. And it soon started to become very clear to me that there we have these 6 different types. I would go around, I explain this to a few people, to a few other colleagues, this is something that’s landing for you. And they’re like, yeah, this fits in with what I’m seeing too and it ended up becoming fleshed out. It took me about 4 months to put together and I’m continuing to refine it as I get more data.

But what I will say is that as opposed to personality types, the one warning I would give is that this is not a personality type. This is not who you are. And that’s why I called it an adaptive style. This is how we adapt. This is a strategy that we’ve adopted around overwhelm. And so it explains our [00:35:00] relationship to that overwhelm. So that can change. None of these are fixed at all. However, they do have the gifts of some strengths that they’ve given us because we’ve had to develop those strengths in the face of this overwhelm.

So great. Let’s claim those. Let’s keep this. We can keep all the strengths. That’s fine. But also what choices then do we have once we’re able to shake this tree a little bit and loosen up around this? What other choices do we have that we were not quite so limited within this certain type? And so that was the goal of creating the adaptotypes.

Dr. Sharp: That sounds great. It’s such an undertaking. I have a lot of respect and admiration for something like this. I appreciate you sharing a little bit more about the process and how it happened. I would love to dive into this if you’re game for that.

Scott: I would love it. I took a little peek before we jumped on our call what your adaptotype was. You had the keynote. Is that right?

Dr. Sharp: That’s right.

Scott: So tell me a little bit [00:36:00] about when you got your results and you looked through the results and read them. How did this land for you?

Dr. Sharp: This was interesting to me because the page when it shows you your adaptotype, it gives you this main headline, and it says, you cultivate strong, enriching relationships that nourish and fulfill. Right off the bat, and maybe this is the self-doubt talking, but I was like, that is, I think, aspirational for me. I don’t know that I’m as good at it as the type would tell me, but maybe that’s the way I answered the questions too. So right off the bat, I was like, okay, I don’t know if I’m having imposter syndrome with my adaptotype already.

It really hit, like, the part about becoming overly focused. When I am overwhelmed, I get super focused on [00:37:00] perfectionism, digging deep into what I’m doing, controlling and locking things down as much as I can, being prone to eventually avoiding things when I get overwhelmed, burning out, and that kind of thing. So, there’s a little blip of like, is that me, or is that aspirational? And then a lot of, oh, yeah, that’s what happens. 

Scott: I love that. What I will say is, please leave to the side anything that doesn’t fit. This is where we can’t completely be sorted as if it was like the Harry Potter sorting hat. What I will say too is that this is designed to give us some insight. I love that you were able to find some insight in that. That’s great. Is that something, you and I had mentioned this prior to our recording, that’s something that you’d want a little bit of exploration to do together.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah.

Scott: Can you do that? Is that okay? 

Dr. Sharp: I’d love to do it. [00:38:00] Let’s do a live coaching here and get people a taste of what this might look like.

Scott: Perfect. Okay. I would love to do that. That’d be so great. Thanks for being so generous and allowing the space to explore this a little bit.

Tell me a little bit more about if there was one aspect of this adaptotype, the keynotes, that resonated with you as far as like, yeah, that does represent a little bit of a growth that you’d said; something about the overworking, maybe something along those lines. Is that right?

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I think that’s true. There were two parts. Certainly, that component of being prone to overworking, perfectionism, and control whenever I’m getting stressed. And then the component of struggling with conflict in close relationships. When things get stressful, I will avoid difficult [00:39:00] conversations with people close to me more often than I would like to.

Scott: That’s one of the things that’s unique about the keynote. The keynote is very good in neutral situations of being able to have everyday boundaries. It’s not usually an issue. You’re able to be straightforward. You’re able to say what your needs and preferences are, but it’s in those close relationships that it ends up being particularly a little bit sticky. And that makes a lot of sense. So for you, is there a situation that we could explore that came up for you recently where it feels like it was true for you? Something that stands out in your mind.

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Let’s get back to the podcast.

Yes, let’s see. My wife and I recently had a big conversation about role division within our home and who does what. Our work schedules have shifted a bit over the years. We’re revisiting who does what and we’re running into some differences of opinions or feeling about some of those roles, what’s [00:42:00] reasonable, and what’s not reasonable. Maybe we start there with that general overview.

Scott: That’s great. That’s a very normal relationship conversation that anybody who’s in a relationship can relate to this conversation. So this is perfect. Chaos totally comes up. So when it comes to this, and to that particular situation, what is it that, and you think about how you handle that conversation, if you were to go back to that conversation, what would you want to get better at as far as how it was handled and the outcome of that conversation? Anything that showed up for you. Maybe it was how it felt for you.

Dr. Sharp: I think this is a theme for me. I would have liked to step outside of myself a little bit instead of digging in [00:43:00] and finding ways to make my case and be able to understand her perspective a little bit more and connect with that, be a little more empathic, and come from a, I would say, collaborative place versus not selfish place exactly, but more of a personally centered place.

Scott: I love that. That’s such a good goal that we can step outside of our worldview and be more connected to the people that we’re speaking with, especially in these moments when there might be a little bit of conflict underneath the surface, right? There might be some difference in opinion. We might be making up some things story-wise in our heads about what they’re saying and what it means to pull ourselves out of that. That makes a lot of sense.

If you were able to do that, [00:44:00] what would that look like in your conversations with your wife? How would that show up?

Dr. Sharp: I think it would be a lot more listening, a lot more, so basics but we get in these moments and forget everything we know, it’s making sure I’m connecting with what she’s saying and that she knows that I understand, that she knows I get what’s going on for her, probably not talking as much, certainly not performing as many rational arguments in my mind as we’re talking and just more…

Scott: I love that. You know when you’re doing it because you’re going to be talking less. There’ll be less arguments in your mind. She’ll know and she’ll understand and she’ll be able to reflect that. So you’ll have some real evidence in that conversation that that’s happening. Got [00:45:00] it.

Dr. Sharp: For sure.

Scott: That makes a lot of sense. I love that. I’m curious though around this for you. What do you find yourself, if we’re to go back to that conversation or maybe some other conversations where it’s been a little bit more tricky, what are you doing instead? Can you explain that a little bit?

Dr. Sharp: What am I doing instead of what I know I should be doing or what I wish I was doing?

Scott: What’s the reality? What does that look like for you?

Dr. Sharp: Oh my gosh. The reality is that I’m getting locked into this pattern of building an argument in my mind, trying to be super-rational, like convince her of all the reasons. Of course, there’s a little bit of discrediting her version of reality. This is why that’s not true. And no, you remembered that wrong. It’s a lot [00:46:00] of that. Like I said, it’s almost like an extension of that perfectionism, that logical almost task-oriented approach where I go back to details and logistics and miss the empathy and the feeling part of it.

Scott: Yeah. You lose the threat of the emotion that she’s experienced, it sounds like, right? 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. And even for myself, I don’t even share what I’m feeling during the whole thing. I could be like, Oh gosh, I’m feeling defensive. What you’re saying, I’m not doing enough around the house and my contributions don’t matter. I could say that too, but I don’t even go in that direction.

Scott: But it’s there. It’s bubbling out of the surface for you. So it informs how we show up, it’s convincing, right? The discrediting and the perfectionism that you talked about in the arguing.

Is there anything else that you either [00:47:00] do or don’t do? Because we’ve heard a lot about what you say and what you don’t say.

Dr. Sharp: Yes, gosh. I tend to, I’m just laying it all out there. I’m probably not making good eye contact. I am having this silly, I don’t know, maybe other people do this, but in the middle of our discussion, I’ll find a task to do. So I’ll be cleaning the kitchen and trying to have this important conversation. And so I’m distracted, but not. It’s just giving me some outlet for whatever crunchy energy, as you said.

What else am I not doing? Not moving closer to her or initiating any kind of physical connection or anything like that.

[00:48:00] Scott: I’m so struck. I love how you mentioned you give yourself a task to do.

Dr. Sharp: Oh, yeah. I start looking around. I’m like, what can I straighten up or what can I dust or clean?

Scott: One of the things that I’ve often found with my clients is that that is a great way of creating a little bit of distance from the immediacy of what’s happening around you, especially for male minds, one of the things that they found is that we like to do things. It’s easier for us to communicate when we’re working with our hands. So, in a lot of ways, you’re helping yourself out in that moment to turn down that volume so you can be in the conversation. It totally makes sense. 

Yeah. Got it. Okay. Great. By the way, there’s no need to explain anything because this is courageous work. This sort of work. Talking about these things. These are not everyday conversations we have.

Dr. Sharp: That’s fair.

Scott: So if you did stop [00:49:00] all of those ways that are essentially undermining how you want to be showing up actually, which is more about her connective more. She’ll be understanding, less talking, less arguments. What’s the concern? What might happen if you stopped all of those ways that you’re showing up? What are your worries or fears?

Dr. Sharp: I might do it wrong. I might try to do all of that and it’s still not land. Certainly vulnerable. It lets down the shield. And then maybe I’ll be taken advantage of or something along those lines. 

That’s a really good [00:50:00] question. I may have to think more about that. Those are the first things that pop up though.

Scott: Yeah, doing it wrong, feeling vulnerable, you might be taken advantage of. What’s the concern about being taken advantage of? What might happen if that happens?

Dr. Sharp: Well, let me see if I follow that all the way down. Maybe it would be that I would end up doing everything around our house, that I might end up unappreciated or underappreciated, maybe [00:51:00] unrecognized. 

Scott: Makes sense. So you’ll be doing everything in the house. You’ll feel underappreciated or not appreciated at all. It’ll all fall on your shoulders. That’s what I’m hearing.

Dr. Sharp: Mm-hmm.

Scott: I’m wondering what’s the story behind that? What do you make it mean that you have these concerns? 

Dr. Sharp: Oh, what do I make it mean that I have the concerns? The very feeling of having those concerns is wrong somehow. Is that what you mean? 

Scott: Well, I’m curious, essentially, what’s the story that is behind these worries.

[00:52:00] Dr. Sharp: That’s a lot easier question. Well, then it’s a straight direct line to being a kid; growing up with mom chronically ill. I did a lot around the house. I was parentified. Never recognized even though they were pretty loving parents in some senses. It’s a straight line. 

Scott: Perfect. It’s so funny. I love that your mind immediately went there. You knew it. That sounds like a lot, right? It’s this idea that I’m never recognized for what I do. That’s the story that I’m hearing. How is that next to you?

Dr. Sharp: Yes.

Scott: Got it. It almost becomes the if-then statement in a way, [00:53:00] right? If I’m the one doing all this work, then I’m never going to be recognized for it.

So we get to see that. This is the way that our brains work. We get to put it out there and have it as an object in the room. We don’t need to hold it too close. We get to pull it outside of ourselves.

What we call that is a protective belief. Protective beliefs are often unconscious. They explain what we do instead of our goal. They’re designed to protect us against risk. And those risks for you, I’m curious what they might be.

Dr. Sharp: Well, it could be being more present and engaged in [00:54:00] the relationship. It could be having a more genuine empathic conversation. There’s a lot wrapped up in that it all feels a little bit risky. 

Scott: It feels a little risky. It feels exposing in some way, right?

Dr. Sharp: Sure.

Scott: Totally makes sense. So we get to see, right? We’ve got this goal and the goal is to step outside of yourself and do more listening. What you want to get better at is her knowing and understanding and you less talking and less arguing, less plotting the argument, if you will, right? I’m imagining a lawyer in a way, but I’ve got a really good case for this, which I can relate to. I think a lot of people can. 

[00:55:00] What you find yourself doing instead is a lot of that convincing, a lot of convincing energy and maybe discrediting, perfectionism, you said was coming up with a concern that you know what? I feel like I might be taking advantage of here. I feel like I’m going to do it wrong. I feel like I’m going to be vulnerable. That protective belief, underneath it being like, I’m never going to be recognized for this.

And so what we get to see is that we’ve got our big goal and we’ve got these breaks in these accelerators. What you want to get better at is this idea of, I want to get better at listening, I want to get better connecting, about putting myself in her shoes- her understanding that. That’s an accelerator to the goal. But then we’ve got the break and the break is the [00:56:00] convincing, it’s the arguing, it’s the perfectionism, it’s some element of maybe proving yourself, like, no, I’m already maybe doing these things, right? And so that’s a break.

And then we also have these concerns, all these worries. If I do it, I’m going to do it wrong. I do this. I’m going to be vulnerable. I’m going to end up having to do everything in the house. You can see how our mind globalizes this concern. It makes it absolute, right? And that’s common when we’re working with protective beliefs. They end up becoming quite bigger than the situation. And so that’s a hallmark that we know that there’s a protective belief here. And we can say, wow, this isn’t commensurate. Am I going to have to do everything else? Probably not. But there’s some part of us that feels like that’s going to be the situation. 

So that’s also a break.

And then we have our protective beliefs and the protective [00:57:00] beliefs are the driver. So you’ve got one foot on the gas. We’ve got a foot on a couple of the brakes. It starts to make sense why this feels like we’re not moving forward with it. So we get to see that because the protective beliefs are there saying, hold on a second, there’s a real risk here of, like, I’m going to be very vulnerable here. I’m going to be open to getting hurt. I might do it wrong. That’s a risk of failure. So it’s doing a good job of keeping you safe. That’s all I hear when I’m talking to you about this. I’m like, how is Jeremy keeping himself safe here? That’s all you’re doing-keeping yourself away from that risk.

You get to keep this risk and the relationship with this risk. If it feels like it’s [00:58:00] too big to loosen at the moment, there’s nothing that we have to do around it. I’m not attached to it. Nothing to do with me. But I also say, wouldn’t it be a shame because of what might happen if we were maybe to play around with shifting that relationship with that risk a little bit? 

So you can see, this work has nothing to do with the goal. It has to do with this relationship that we have with ourselves.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. I’m on board. I love the process. Of course, I’m going through this with two minds, trying to be 100% engaged and the observing mind and, oh, well, what’s this? [00:59:00] It’s right on. I could see this easily translating to business stuff like any other risk that we are protecting ourselves from completely.

Scott: It is. Yeah. And that’s why when clients come to me, first of all, thank you for that. I want to create space. Thank you for allowing me to coach you, especially on your podcast, and being so vulnerable and being so open.

Dr. Sharp: Thank you. That was a surprisingly powerful experience. I’m going to be thinking about this stuff. Thank you.

Scott: I’m so glad. As a client, you can bring whatever is going on for you. That’s why I said at the end, it has nothing to do with the goal. Bring your goal. I’m so unattached to your goal. As a coach, I really am, but what I am standing for is [01:00:00] what is stopping you from moving forward through that goal? How can I support you in pushing past that? The goal almost doesn’t matter.

It’s what is this relationship with this risk? How are you experiencing overwhelm? How are you experiencing worry and concern? How can we start to expand so that we can include some of this risk and move forward? And then we’re off to the races. To me, it’s at the root of everything that we’re doing.

Dr. Sharp: I think you’re right. I picked a personal example, but there are any number of business examples as well that this comes up with. Do you find a pretty close relationship between goals and risk? It seems like they’re tied together, or they can be anyway. People [01:01:00] set goals, but then goals feel risky when you dive into them. I don’t know. How do you conceptualize that?

Scott: That’s a great question. I think that our relationship with our goals are often very intertwined with our relationship with risk, but also with our personalities. So if you consider yourself, there are some other adaptotypes, for example, that we can explore, if you’re somebody who is a bit of a natural rebel, I call that the outsider, you’re going to be a little bit more goal adverse. Goals for you aren’t going to be super important. You prioritize your identity, making sure that that’s intact and making sure that your values are being honored and your principles. And so those things are going to come first.

There’s also the visionary. The visionary is someone who is very much [01:02:00] about moving forward with a very deliberate plan, step by step, and being open at every single step to seeing what happens, and adjusting as they go along. They’re a little bit more goal-agnostic. And so for them, it’s, what happens is going to happen. They’re going to adjust to that as they go along.

So there are a lot of different ways that we can relate to our goals that are very much connected with our relationship with perceived psychological risk and also about how we see ourselves in respect to goals and how goals work for us. For certain people, goals are a great way to get everything done. Their businesses are a way, for example, a means to achieve their goals. And they’re incredibly ambitious. We know these folks that are on it 24/7 super type A. [01:03:00] That’s great for them. It works for them. I am not one of those people but I have a little bit in all of them when I’m around them. It reflects who we are as well as our relationship with worry, concern, self-doubt, and risk, for sure.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. It was fascinating stuff. I think I told you before we started recording, going through the adaptotype type quiz, it was hard to choose the right answer, which to me is a good sign because it’s not the most obvious thing. You have to think through. Some of the answers were very nuanced. I feel like they fit the way that I deal with goals and problems and being overwhelmed. I enjoyed the whole experience.

Scott: It was [01:04:00] interesting putting it together too, because like I told you, the nuance to me, I see it as a massive difference in these things. I got some feedback that it was a little too nuanced.

And so I tried to make it as straightforward as I could be while still retaining the essence of what I thought was important there. But there’s I think a little bit of shift, like a 5% shift either way. And some of these answers actually can be quite significant in explaining who we are and how we’re showing up in these situations. 

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. This has been a fantastic conversation. I know that there’s so much more that we could talk about and we didn’t even really touch the actual nuts and bolts, I suppose, of the work and branding and marketing and half of things, but I hope that folks are getting a [01:05:00] good sense of how you approach this work and the natural extension into, then how do we create some of those materials and put ourselves out there? Maybe there’s another conversation at some point.

Scott: Sure. This has been great. Thank you so much for having me on. I love doing this work. I think this is the work that we all need to be doing, frankly, including myself. I have my own coach that I work with and I thank God for them because they keep me honest, clear, and help me put the carts and horses in the right order. It’s very fulfilling work. I’m so happy to do it.

Dr. Sharp: Well, I’m glad that you are doing it. It’s super important. I think a lot of us need this kind of thing. 

I’m sure there are folks out there who are intrigued, maybe want to take the adaptotype [01:06:00] quiz, maybe you want to learn more about you. What’s the best way to do that?

Scott: The best way to do that is by visiting my website. It’s scottrobson.net. If you’d like to reach out, I’m also on Instagram at @scott.robson.coaching. I’d love to hear from you. I’m also really curious now that the adaptotypes are in the wild, how are people experiencing them? Please let me know. This is my little brainchild, but you cross your fingers and hope it’s landing for folks. I would love to hear people’s experiences with it.

Dr. Sharp: That sounds good. Folks, definitely check it out. Congratulations on dealing with what I imagine is some of your own risks and feeling overwhelmed sometimes and getting us out there. It’s really cool. I appreciate it.

Scott: Never leaves us. Thank you so much, Jeremy.

Dr. Sharp: All right, y’all. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. [01:07:00] Always grateful to have you here. I hope that you take away some information that you can implement in your practice and your life. Any resources that we mentioned during the episode will be listed in the show notes so make sure to check those out.

If you like what you hear on the podcast, I would be so grateful if you left a review on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcast.

If you’re a practice owner or aspiring practice owner, I’d invite you to check out The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups. I have mastermind groups at every stage of practice development, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We have homework, we have accountability, we have support, we have resources. These groups are amazing. We do a lot of work and a lot of connecting. If that sounds interesting to you, you can check out the details at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. You can sign up for a pre-group phone call and we will chat and figure out if a group could be a good fit [01:08:00] for you. Thanks so much.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner [01:09:00] or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.

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