Overcoming Impostor Syndrome with Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin

Dr. Russell Strickland [00:22:20] And it was helpful that they probably knew a little bit about this other guy.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:22:23] Yeah, well, my my new boss my new boss was best friends with my advisor there. I had another job and this institution and she I was able to tell her the truth about what happened because she knew my she knew my former advisor to me. And I got this job was making more in three days than I was making full time at that other job. And then I decided, I want to I want to craft my own future. I need to think about like and it came from my husband sort of suggesting I get going over those two years or three years that I was working at that college. I never got my license. I didn’t pursue anything that moved my stuff for my husband said study for your licensing exam. Now that you’re part time, like think about what you want for your business. Let’s move this thing forward. And I just felt like, yes, let’s do this. And I just started to put together to read like crazy like different books about the business of private practice, not just the clinical piece, the business of private practice. I wanted to set up good like accounting practices and good business practices and good marketing practices. And I really just invested in learning like becoming a student student of business. My father used to always say, like higher ed is about learning how to learn. And I think one thing my dad taught me was like, I can become expert at anything.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:23:36] I just need to do this so important that I agree with that to college in particular. It’s about learning how to learn. So many people look at that as job training. I think when you’re going to get a PhD or an advanced degree, a master’s level degree or something, that becomes a lot more about job training, hopefully we’re going to enhance some of those critical reasoning skills and thinking skills. But here it is really. It’s learning how to learn.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:23:58] It’s you learn all these skills about learning. Yeah.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:24:01] And becoming an expert in anything. That’s awesome.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:24:04] And I just started to learn about the business I wanted to do. A lot of my colleagues, I have older colleagues were were advising me like, don’t do it the way I do. It did it like I made a lot of mistakes. I just thought about the clinical work. I didn’t think about the business. And so I was like, I’m going to do this. I’m going to craft a plan to kind of do this. And and we really focused on doing amazing clinical work in the hour. But having a business that supported it in terms of having real marketing practices, real ways of being visible in the field as clinicians and not as professors, like we really thought about how to do this really as a business and not as like like almost like a hobby, even though it’s not a hobby. You’re really doing work, but you kind of don’t think of it. You never want to associate business with the actual.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:24:47] I think there’s something to do with that word a lot of too many experts use for their business practice. I think there’s something in there where we’re again, you don’t treat it entirely seriously like a business as you as you’re putting it. You’re good at your practice and you’re trying to do a good job in your practice. But it’s not practice. It’s like real.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:25:09] Yes. Oh, yes. Yeah. You don’t let yourself acknowledge that without the formalities of really doing it as a business. And so, yeah, I think that’s what we took. And then my practice grew to the point where I was able to leave my part time job and then we took another growth spurt. Later, my husband was able to leave his full time job and then we both became because he’s also a psychologist. And so we then both ran the business from that point on full time.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:25:37] That’s awesome. So what were you mention of accounting and and marketing and some of these other things? What do you think was the most critical thing that you needed to focus on to really make the business successful above beyond just being a good psychologist?


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:25:53] Yeah, I mean, I think the peace around sort of taking it seriously as a business was important foundational concept. And I think then the other thing that I think has been really critical is really developing really good marketing skills. And so that and those are really hard. It’s a very a. This feels like it seems really concrete, but it is not it’s constantly changing, and so you really have to invest instead of really learning the craft of marketing and how it’s shifting with social and all those things. So that has been really critical for me. One of the best things I ever did for my business was actually I wanted to teach other clinicians how to develop the business of private practice in private practice. And I developed this workshop, yeah, very needed skill set. And I developed this workshop and I felt like we could not preach it unless we practiced it. So I literally everything I preached and the thing we did and then nobody came to the training, like I had to let people come for free because nobody would pay for it. But in doing that and prepping for that training, we did something. We did a bunch of things. But one of the things I did was I we revamped our entire website, got hired a bunch of people to work on it and made it SEO optimized, and it blew our business up. And that’s when my husband was able to lead his full-time job. And it was kind of really ironic that the actual thing I wanted to do with it, the purpose of it, was mostly to prove that it’s important to do it. But in essence, it really just blew our business up. So that’s when I was able to really go for myself full time.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:27:24] Well, I believe wholeheartedly. I mean, there are these sort of condescending little bromides out there. Those who do do, those who can’t teach. I think that if you want to be able to do figure out how to teach it and know it and if you really know how to do it, but you have to really go first.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:27:41] Yeah, it was really a good it was a good I never thought that I was so upset by the empty rooms and how much we spent on getting space. But I think I was so grateful six months later for what I had done in preparation, because it really I don’t know if I would have done it otherwise, but it was really it was a really good thing for our practice. And so I think doing that really got me interested in a SEO in marketing and like really kind of staying ahead of the game when it comes to marketing our practice.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:28:10] I’ll bet you that experience helped you find your voice some, too, because I know you’ve been continuing to do these sorts of things. And one of the folks that I follow said, get out there, start talking and be grateful for the fact that you don’t have an audience at first because you’re going to be awful. You’re going to be horrible. OK, everybody is. But you’ll find your voice and you’ll find your audience and they’ll both sort of come together in an organic way. But you can’t do that unless you start. So sometimes it is speaking to an empty room or a hall full of one person.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:28:41] Yeah, I think one of the things that my husband always says is like we’re going to take risks in our business, but all the risks are going to have gains even if they fail, because there’s learning even in failure. And I think some of the best moments I’ve had in my business have been around the failures and that they’ve really been able to kind of like have a piece of learning or gain that. I didn’t anticipate that really just almost like accidentally put me in a path that was like another healthy path for us.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:29:08] And so you can’t course correct from a standstill.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:29:10] You have to have to be active and you have to take risks. And not every risk pays off. And there are a lot of failure in business and you just have to be OK with that part of the process.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:29:21] So you’ve mentioned a few marketing principles that I’m kind of familiar with. Talk to us a little bit more about some of the other things you’ve done and how those fit into your business. Like I know you’re an author of a book, TEDx talk, big on social. How do those things fit into this growing your business process for you?


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:29:40] Yeah, I mean, they’re all part of part of being visible and kind of the marketing piece of all of it, but it’s it’s been that part was very hard for me as a as a psychologist. We’re taught to be invisible and we’re taught to be listeners and to interpret, but to kind of like to be our our our personas are people. Ness should be invisible largely and not present. So it’s really hard for me to be out on, like LinkedIn. I’m a LinkedIn type voice and I do all of these things. But the way that I did it was just taking a little bit of risk. And the way I got as LinkedIn type voice was writing on LinkedIn articles and like I’m a journalist from LinkedIn, caught on to it and interviewed me for things and really liked me and then thought you’d be great as LinkedIn voice. And so I think it is these little kinds of ways you push yourself to kind of like to take your expertise and be visible with it and be very, I think, be very flexible in sort of how you kind of present yourself. Don’t get caught in like we’re going to do this, this, this, this. See how the audience responds to it. Start to put things out there. If they respond, keep doing more of that. If they don’t respond, move on.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:30:42] And so very important point. But I think also it’s very important to be authentic to yourself because one of the things that happens is you you attract the type of people you attract are based on the message that you put out there in the persona that you put out there. And so you better make sure it’s your persona, because if not, you’re going to attract people that want to work with someone else and you’re going to have to put this face of someone else on while you’re working with them. Because if they see the authentic you, they’re going to be like, that’s not the person I connected with. So you have to be authentic to figure out what part of your message resonates. That’s perfectly fine. Yes, that makes sense…


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:31:18] Also too, it’s authenticity. I think especially as academics, we can get very rigid about like authenticity. And like this is what’s correct about what we know. And it’s like, you know, like I think it’s about being more flexible about it because there are things that I would love to talk about. My audiences want to hear about it, where the things that, you know, they’re just they’re not interested. But so I so I try to kind of be responsive and think about sort of how to how to find things that I know in my discipline. I know a lot. So there’s a lot of things I can talk about. So it’s OK for me. I’m not bothered by the fact that this doesn’t go linearly and teaching you X or Y or Z. I try to be super flexible and I think that’s been helpful for me because I think as an academic, we’re taught like, you know, like this is the correct way to do things, you know, can get really rigid. And it’s I think there are a lot of things right.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:32:03] And we talked about that a little bit before we we started the show today that we teach that there’s a certain way to do things in academia, but we practice a little differently. And then when we figure out how we want to do it, then we kind of do that regimented thing to make sure we’re doing everything right. And so when you’re finding your voice in in marketing your business or whatnot, there’s going to be a lot of experimentation. And you’re right, there’s a lot of different things you can talk about in what I would consider to be an authentic way. It might not be, again, the rigid this is how you should pedagogically teach people if they’re if they’re attracted to this part of your messages, to that part of your message, give them what they want, but give it to them in a way that’s authentic to you. Don’t try to be someone else while you’re doing it.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:32:45] Don’t. Yeah, that’s a waste of time. It’s a great actor and it’s going to be a really difficult to do that. You have to be an actor.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:32:52] Do you want to be the part that you play all the time or do you want to be yourself?


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:32:55] And some people do. Some people want a public persona that isn’t really them so that there’s not there’s not any kind of connection to that. So you can choose that. But I think it’s you’ve got to make a choice that sustainable for you, that long term. You can still be doing it and it feels authentic to you, even if it is. You know, some people have like a persona. And when I when I meet them in real life, they’re a little different. It’s OK. You know, just just make sure that it’s sustainable for you. The other thing I would say is, like, one of the things that I think was a surprise to me about sort of putting stuff out there, like putting articles on LinkedIn or like I would totally tell your audience to like, check out HARO is fantastic. Help A Reporter Out. It’s a website you can sign up for where if you have an expertise, you can offer it to popular magazines and stuff. And the way I got a lot of visibility and it’s really super simple to do. But I think doing that kind of public kind of visibility stuff was what got me my book. And so I didn’t pitch my book to my to my publisher. My publisher pitched me. My publisher reached out to me and said, I see you’re talking about this stuff publicly and you’re writing. And I think you’d be thinking about writing a book on imposter syndrome. I think you’d be fantastic at it. And so and and like that that it brought me opportunity. And I think it’s it’s important to remember that it’s not always like we often think with our business ideas or expertise we go chase them all the time. And if you kind of put yourself out publicly in certain ways, people come to you. And with our publisher, we were given free reign, even though it was their idea of competition and we had been talking about. So we’ve been thinking about it and they let us do what we want and we’ve got to construct a book that was authentic to who we were, what we believed in. So it was it’s important, as you put your message out there, to recognize that. We’ll see had an opportunity comes from it, and I think it’s really the visibility can be hard for us. We’re not a lot of stuff going to choose to become stars or like insta-famous or whatever. But but it is it can be helpful to actually execute the things you want to do, to give trainings, to give talks, to write a book, to do all of these things that can give a lot of opportunity. I’ve gotten a lot of really cool opportunities from that.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:35:00] Yeah. And a lot of people just have to understand that there’s a lot of things that we don’t like about being out there and being visible and being present. But one of the things that I found so many PhD, so many doctoral candidates or students, they do this because they want to help other people in some way. They’re called to serve some people and help solve some sort of problem. And the way that you can do that is by getting out there and being visible. It’s not about you. It’s about helping those other people. And for some people, that paradigm shift that flips things for them and they can really it really resonates so that they get out there and do it.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:35:36] Yeah. And build community like that’s what instead of thinking about audience building, thinking about community building. Know, I think also to one of the things that was helpful for me is that I stopped trying to be perfect. I think in our doctoral programs we oftentimes get pushed to be perfect. Everything has to be crossed every I dotted. So we get very anal and kind of rigid in the way that we present or, you know, and I think I just learned to kind of just be like, I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to say, oh, I’m going to say, oh, you know, I’m going to tell an incomplete story and it’s just going to be OK, you know, and just really be human, you know?


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:36:08] And that’s another bell I try to ring with our our folks all the time is if you try to be perfect, you’re never going to be prolific. First of all, I may get things out the door, but also it comes down to that authenticity thing that if you are if you’re polishing everything that you produce and making it perfect, then when someone actually meets you, you’re going to have all these people that expect perfection and they look at you like, oh, you got like a little thing with your makeup or a little with your hair or you said, um. You don’t want those people. You want people that resonate with you and who you are when you say, um, they’re OK with that because they love what you’re giving them and they can they can accept you because you’re helping them. Yeah.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:36:48] That’s like don’t do it perfectly. You will you will waste time and be perfect. Just really enjoy the process, learn from that kind of considerate, iterative, you know,.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:36:58] I know we’ve got to to wrap up fairly soon. Very busy here. But I wanted you to talk for just a couple of minutes about Instagram. I know you mentioned that was a huge boon for your you.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:37:08] Yeah, we we you know, we built well, I built my Instagram page largely thinking about the book is like we have to have a place where we can talk about the book, like people can get to know about the book. LinkedIn was a harder platform for that. And so we thought we’d work on an Instagram page and talking about Imposter’s, one of my books about imposter syndrome. And so we started kind of small and like really started doing a lot of digging and reading and learning about the platform of Instagram and the algorithm and how it works. And and it really was a fun process where we kind of dug in to kind of understand it and tried and experimented with things and really built a decent size audience on Instagram. And I’ve learned a lot over the process. I really had such lovely community. It’s really been people on my page really want to talk about imposter syndrome and think about how to work on it. I really I think when I entered the the process, I did a lot of, like, benchmarking of other people who are similar to me and and see what I liked and didn’t like about their their like way that they showed up in on Insta. And I think for me at that I decided I wanted certain things for me personally. I wanted a place where people felt like they could be proactive, like I didn’t want to feel victimized by imposter syndrome. I wanted to talk about what you were going to do next to kind of move it forward. So I very purposefully think about that is the way that I then produce content is about action and movement and learning as opposed to, oh, this is what happened to me this week. I didn’t want that. And so I really was very purposeful and a lot of really fun things came up, talked to a really cool people on it, like in terms of my edu lives and, you know, I do IGTVs. I experimented with every different aspect of the platform. And so it’s really been a lot of fun and a lot of amazing. Like I’ve done a cool talk from it, like people have reached out to me from universities and newspapers, from all these kinds of places to do talks with them. And so it’s really been amazing in terms of generating that expert like visibility and of people say the expert influencer is dead. I don’t think so. I think maybe the bikini-clad influence or maybe that, like those kinds of influencers may be moving their way on. But I think the expert influencer is just beginning. And I think there are a lot of really great opportunities for academics to become influencers on this and teach people what they know and spread the word in a much more accessible way to their content. So…


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:39:33] It’s again, being out there. Opportunities multiply when. They’re out there, so you’ve got to you got to get out there and Instagram’s a great way to do it. Yeah, you’re an expert. Yes. You don’t have to be, as you said, a bikini clad.


Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin [00:39:46] No, you do not want and don’t do it. Oh, don’t be tempted to do it. I see a lot of my colleagues like it’s like, no, that’s not the influencer we are. We’re the intellectual influence or we are not the bikini influence.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:39:58] It’s all about intentionality. You have to be authentic. You have to draw people in. If that is who you are.

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.