Knowing Your Value: You Owe It to Yourself and Those You Serve with Dr. Colleen Georges

Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:21:02]

In comparison,


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:21:03]

Photographer, and you’re drawing out a city, and you put the stop, sign an inch away from where supposed to be on the map. It’s probably in the middle of a hospital now. But if you’re the city worker, putting the stop sign where it’s supposed to be in the city, and you’re an inch away, no one’s going to care. So, you can’t, that’s what this statistic does. For us, it tells me am I dealing with an inch on the map or an inch in the real world? Anyway, but, but that was fine to help. He actually finally said he did statistical analysis it out and said, clearly, they are different. And he got back feedback saying, see, was that so hard? And we’re like, yes, it tore out my soul, put that down. Or needed to see for that student to graduate. Are you forever about the right way to do it? Or we could have gotten an approval, which is when you graduate and move on.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:21:57]

You know, when I think back to that time, I was very aware of when I chose my, when I chose my my topic. And when I chose my committee, everything I was doing was with the knowledge that and even when I chose my methods, you’re right. I was doing it with the idea that, like, I don’t want to be doing this forever. Like I don’t, I don’t want to be a DD and I don’t want to be, you know, working on my dissertation for years and years and years. This, this needs to happen fast. And, and so, you know, from the standpoint, like I did a quantitative analysis, because I had watched, you know, at least in my case, you know, I’ll say I’d watched some fellow doctoral students do qualitative studies, and I was noticing that these things seem to take longer instead. Okay, we’re going quantitative, number one. Number two, I had found a lot of folks who had selected to do a topic that was related to the, you know, like the research of some of the faculty members. And that case, those faculty, they were experts on this topic. And sometimes what I found would happen again, I’m sure it’s not every situation, but I found what was happening, some of the folks I would see is that those experts would be harder on them on the committee, because they knew this stuff really well. So I was like, I’m gonna pick a topic. And I’ll be an expert on.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:23:24]

You’re playing in my neighborhood now. So. There’s an old school mentality in academia, that they are the guards to the gate to the ivory tower. And if you can push through them, if you can, can over overwhelm them, then you deserve to be in. But if they can fight you off, and you can’t, then you don’t deserve to be there. Mentality. It’s not an inclusive mentality. It’s a very competitive mentality. But still, in some schools, it’s there in some faculty, so


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:23:54]

I had seen it, and I was like, I don’t want to go through that. So I said, I’m going to pick a topic that’s important to me, and that none of the people that are on my committee are going to be experts in because it’s to them, it’s just going to be about Did you write this? Well, did you do what you’re supposed to do? Does this meet the goals of the dissertation? Not about Well, I know this material inside and out. So you know, I can see this little issue here and this little problem there. And let me as you said, Be the gatekeeper. So I selected people who were at who also were going to get me out who wanted to get me done.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:24:29]

Perfect. I love it. And as far as I’m concerned, you get two out of three there. But I think it’s very important. You know yourself, you know what you want, you’re aware of what kinds of things are going to influence, that you’re being intentional about, making your choices with that awareness, that your reason why is what’s motivating your choices. So that’s awesome. The only thing I would would ding you on is picking a topic that’s important to you. You have to be careful with that you can you can take too much pride and ownership over those sorts of things and and you’re done with your dissertation, not when it’s right or perfect, or anything that we’re used to in academia, you’re done when your committee approves it. So sometimes, you know, like the story I was telling you a little bit earlier about the statistics thing, sometimes you just have to give the committee what they want. Too much pride of ownership. You’re, you’re hesitant to do that, you don’t want to give that. And the other thing that can happen is is you know, that’s sort of intractability. The other thing that can happen is just the Wonder aspect takes over, because we’re all geeks when we go into, you know, a doctoral degree program. And by that, I mean, my definition is, we can take really deep dives on things that are that get interesting to us, right, pandemic hit, and I decided, Okay, I need to start getting a little bit more healthy. And you start working out a little bit more, like a deep dive on. Okay, what is weightlifting? And what is working out? And what am I supposed to do? And a lot of people would have just started running? And I was like, No, no, I’m gonna understand this stuff, because I’m a geek. And that didn’t particularly interest me. Except that I. So anyway, that’s one of the things that can happen. When you pick a topic you’re interested in as well as you can, you can just find all of these tendrils that are interesting to you. And if you keep following those, then you’re never going to get done. Around the thing, get in get out.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:26:10]

Yeah. I mean, I can speak to that in the sense that, you know, I think I picked up the habit of over over researching during that period of time. And I hear that, you know, I This was my year of health, too. And I became obsessed with learning about supplements. I mean, like, I know about every mushroom supplement that exists now, so but you know, again, if the researcher and you write it’s that you’ve, you’ve developed a habit, you you through the doctoral degree, been indoctrinated to be a person who does not do anything without researching the hell out of it.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:26:45]

Is the research thing. I think it’s deeper, I think, research. Yeah. But I think curiosity is a trait.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:26:51]

Yeah, I guess you’re right.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:26:52]

That’s it. I think that what a lot of us share when we get to that level, but not not when we get to that level. It’s not like a switch that turns on the folks who have passed through all the filters to arrive at that level. One of the filters somewhere along the way was you’ve got to be curious, you’ve got to fit in things. There are a lot of people, quite frankly, that aren’t interested in things. There are little things they do and they kind of live life with, and they’re perfectly happy with that. But they don’t ever. There’s no interest or wonder in them. And I think that that’s not a great thing. But


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:27:28]

I just like the spice of life, I feel like, yeah,


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:27:31]

So Um, but yeah, I think it’s that I think it’s that curiosity of, of, you know, wanting to understand things. And why does it work that way? Why are we doing it that way? So that’s, that’s something that we as doctors never take anybody’s word for anything often. And you have to be careful, because once you your first name is Doctor, everybody will always take your word for anything.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:27:52]

Oh, yeah.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:27:54]

So Well, before we leave the the doctoral journey altogether, what would you say your greatest challenge was? And that process of you know, you went into school? You had to come out the other side, like you said, with that doctoral degree, what was the greatest challenge you faced, that that slow that process down for you? Or made you question whether you might be able to finish?


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:28:14]

Um, I think that, you know, midway through the program, I kind of realized that I didn’t want to do what I again, started out the program for, and I had, you know, some sort of identity crisis is how I remember it, I ended up actually almost switching programs, I went to meet with another chair of the I guess she was like the director took another program, and, and I’m so glad I didn’t make the transition. They weren’t gonna let me in. But But I ultimately stuck with it. Because and I think this is such an important message is, I realized that I was getting too hung up on the idea of what this degree was going to do for me like like that, it had to be exactly this thing that led to this path. And the thing that I’ve learned, you know, and that I’m glad I made the decision to stay, and that I’ve learned in all these years, is that that doctoral degree, a lot of the time it doesn’t matter what it’s in, it’s opened every door for me in every arena. And it has been one of the smartest moves that I ever made. And one of the very best decisions I ever made. Because everything that I’ve gotten to do since then, I mean, I sometimes feel like again, I always feel blessed, but it feels like so many things have come my way that I haven’t had to seek out and I do do a lot of speaking to I’m very much a driven person, but a lot of things came my way. And I know what came my way because of those letters. Yeah,


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:29:47]

you’re absolutely right there there are. So the numbers are about one to one and a half percent of the population has an earned doctoral degree. I’ve actually checked the census data back that That’s it, it varies as you know, with graduations and deaths, it varies from year to year. But that’s that’s where we stand. So unless you go to a center of duck for illness like a university, chances are you will you won’t run across hardly any other doctors in your work, you know, you think, your circle of maybe three to 500 people. That’s a pretty broad circle at that point. There might be, you know, four or five folks with doctoral degrees in that circle just based on you know, sort of random variance. If you go someplace where it all the doctors live is different. But it’s so if you’re not in a university, for the most part, no one you meet is going to ask you things like, oh, what did you write your dissertation on? They might, they probably won’t know the word dissertation. They know.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:30:48]

Usually they don’t


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:30:49]

say it to them, because they know you had to write a doctor book. Most people have that level of awareness. But no, it’s really like, it’s it’s kind of slack jawed awe, is what you’re faced with with most people. And you have to be very careful about that power that you’re wielding, number one, but if you are, you know, good and you use that power for good. Yeah, it means there’s lots of opportunities that come your way. Talked about on the podcast before, this halo effect, people will want to have you around just because you have a doctor, a doctoral degree. Because that means they were important enough to be in the circle as somebody with a doctoral degree. So you know, getting on news, media, things like that, if you have any kind of notion of what they’re talking about what we’re bringing on Dr. Georges who’s going to talk? I don’t, that sounds impressive.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:31:38]

And it’s funny, right? When I think when people read my bio, and even like, I wrote this thing, like, you got to write these bio through, you’ve got this this that you have, and I think, like, I’m like, wow, that girl sounds so cool. Like you don’t feel, you know, like, I think there’s always this humility, or at least from what many of us get that stays with you that you’re just like, yeah, I worked hard. I worked hard to do this thing. And I’m very grateful that I did. But you know, I still feel like the same girl.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:32:10]

Back to I knew you when, right. So your kids are not going to have that slack jawed awe, they’re probably proud of you, but they’re not gonna have that same slack jawed awe, you know, your friends from high school. Again, they might be impressed that you did this, but did not have to cut gum out of your hair when you. So everybody else knows your person. But the people who meet you when your your first name is Doctor, there’s a disconnect there. They don’t get the person they just see you as an authority. Someone who can help them with their problems, whatever they might be. I got my psychology. Really, can you please tell me how I can redesign this engine over here? Yeah, so it’s it’s true. What are some of the opportunities that that came your way? Either things that you took advantage of, or things that you took a pass on, but that you were just surprised, something, something you wouldn’t have expected when you were working away and studying?


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:33:09]

Well, I mean, I think there’s so many different things. But you know, definitely, I got to write chapters and a lot of books before I wrote my own book. And all of those things came to me, I did not seek them out. I did not, you know, it was just, yeah, people would reach out, they would find my website. And they I think, again, a lot of the time it was that doctoral degree, that would be interesting. And they would say, Hey, you know, I think you might be a really good fit for this book project we’re working on Would you like to write a chapter two? So I got to write in a lot of anthologies that was, you know, a big surprise to me. It also I think, was definitely an impetus for me to then really get back to my own book. I know it was. And then, you know, starting my business, you know, I was working in higher education. My plan was to, you know, rise up the ladder and Student Affairs, maybe become a Vice President of Student Affairs. It started with this little resume writing, career coaching, life coaching business on the side, because I was doing this for free for everybody. It was my hobby. And, and it started to blow up, and I got big, and I started to realize that this thing could really be like, like my my full time gig, and this doesn’t even need to be a side hustle. This would be my full time hustle. I never expected that. You know, it all came from a hobby, but I know that one of the gifts of having a doctoral degree is that in a field like coaching, where there are a lot of coaches out there, and there’s a lot of excellent coaches out there, like I’m a believer, and I love to see how many people want to help people. But I sometimes think that things are sometimes a little easier for me because I have this credential that makes you know that that sets the stage for work. People assume about you. And I hope those things are true about me. But you know, again, I think there’s assumptions like, Wow, that sounds fancy and exciting that this person is a doctor or something. And I think it’s made my business thrive in ways that I don’t know that it would have, I think I might have had to work quite a bit harder as a marketer,


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:35:20]

I think is in a good marketing, you put your message out there, and you’re authentic to yourself. And we could talk long about what that means. But we’re authentic yourself not putting up a front, you should naturally attract the right people to you. You will, there will be people who don’t like your hair color, your eye color, the way you smile too much. And whatever it is, they don’t like something about you, fine, I don’t need those people, they’re not for me, I’m going to push them away naturally, and pull people towards me naturally. And that doctoral degree is going to give you one of those filters, that you’re going to be dealing with people that have a certain amount of kind of seriousness, I think, you’re not going to get as many people who are maybe you know, not, well, you’re kind of joking around about whatever accomplished, they’re not really gonna put in a commitment, they’re gonna think if I’m going to deal with this type of person, it’s because I really want another level of expertise. And that’s presumably what you want. Because, you know, you get to the point where you’re good. So you want, we’re gonna be serious about taking your health. So yeah, I do think that there, that there’s that layer of nuance in there, as well as the, you know, if I’m going to look at, you know, this person has a doctoral degree and this person doesn’t, and otherwise, they seem to be the same. Well, it seems like you’ve got the nod for at least the people that you would be interested in, some people might be scared.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:36:44]

You’re so right.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:36:45]

And you don’t want those people generally speaking.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:36:49]

Yeah, no, and, and I, I do feel like, you know, again, I’ve been very grateful to have these amazing clients. Now I love what I do. I’m so because it’s such a gift to get to do what I do. And the other piece of it, you know, what else speaking, speaking and training, I never intended to do a TED talk or if you’d like, I did end up seeking it out. But, but I but it came from the fact that people asked me to teach classes, people asked me to do workshops, people asked me if I could do organizational trainings, if I would be a keynote speaker, I got asked to do these things. And I became the speaker, because people started asking me if I would speak, they would find my website and say, Oh, you’re career coach you’re a life coach, could you do a training for us on Blank? And I remember the first time it happened in like, 2009. And I was like, could I do a training on that? Like, you know, and they said, What do you charge? And I was like, I don’t know. You know, some like asking everybody.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:37:47]

Fear is, if you don’t know, whenever someone asks you that question, until you’re really good at this. And you’ve, well, then, you know, but my advice to that is for most folks to have their doctoral degree, whatever you’re thinking add a zero to it.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:37:59]

You’re right. I learned that the hard way.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:38:02]

And that stuff. I mean, there are people saying Oh, a few $100. No, it’s a few 1000. And if you’ve got the temerity to say I was probably a couple $1,000 No, it’s 20,000. As you know, most people don’t they vastly underestimate their value in the world.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:38:20]

You’re right.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:38:21]

Because again, it’s that I knew you’d win thing. A lot of folks about imposter syndrome,


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:38:26]

Oh my god, yes,


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:38:27]

This and say, Who am I to charge $20,000 for something, there are people who would be like, this is so worth it. And number two, if you undervalue yourself, other people will undervalue you.  Very true  is much out of your help. Which is an odd thing for a lot of people until you really understand the psychology of persuasion and sales and things like that. It’s an odd thing for people to think, well, I, if I charge them less, and I give them the same value. It makes sense, but it’s not true. If you charge less they will, under that they will devalue it inherently


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:39:01]



Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:39:02]

When they undervalue it psychologically, then it will actually truly be worthless to them.


Dr. Colleen Georges  [00:39:06]

Yes. And, and not work as hard. Yeah, exactly. And I and I’ve definitely seen that and I’ve learned the lessons over the years, with coaching in no prices, with speaking prices, largely talking to other people, and having other people kind of work you out of the imposter syndrome. But it’s but it’s so true. And I think that once you I think, once you really own own it, you know, own the credential, or Own your expertise. And I think that you can own it and be humble at the same time. I think that you can value yourself and be a genuine, authentic human being, you know, simultaneously that those those two things don’t have to happen separately.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:39:48]

Well, I talked to someone a few months back who had this really interesting perspective on imposter syndrome. And he said that he never wants to overcome imposter syndrome. Cuz if he does, what that means is you’re getting complacent. You’re not doing new things. You’re not trying new things. If you’re not stretching yourself and you’re, you’re not growing, then you always feel like Yeah, I got this, I’m okay. Now, most of us are smart enough not to get cocky like, I’ve got my son right now he’s 15. And I swear, he’s a smart kid, always for sure, in high school honors classes, all this stuff. He wants to be an MD and a surgeon and all this. He’s certainly capable of doing it. I’m not going to project someone’s future, you know, 10 years into the future right now. 100% capable. But at the same time, I’m like, I need something to just knock his head around sometimes because you don’t know this stuff. And at that age you think you do. Yeah. Adult experience helps you outgrow that. I’m sure I had the same thing going on when I was his age. Everything but but if you can just keep that that humility, as you put it. That that yeah. I don’t know everything. So whatever it is that I do know, and I can help people with. It’s because of luck, grace and hard work that I know this stuff. And the fact that they don’t know it doesn’t make them less, it just means they didn’t do the stuff that I did. Maybe they did something else, I’m sure that they’ve got something they could teach me, if I was just open to listening to it. And so you can, if you really think about it, that way, you can try to keep yourself from getting your head from swelling too much, because a lot of people will, will contribute to that. If you let them.

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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.