Closing the Confidence Gap with Guest Expert Kelli Thompson

Ep: 235

Society hasn’t made it easy for women to get a seat at the table.

And often when we sit down in one of those coveted chairs, it’s immediately clear that we still make up a very small percentage of the voices in the room.

In order for things to change, we have to change.

And it all starts with closing the confidence gap.

Today on The Bridge to Fulfillment®, Blake welcomes Kelli Thompson, a women’s leadership coach and speaker who helps women advance to the rooms where decisions are made. She has coached and trained hundreds of women to trust themselves, lead with more confidence, and create a career they love. She is the founder of the Clarity & Confidence Women’s Leadership Program, and author of the critically acclaimed book, Closing The Confidence Gap: Boost Your Peace, Your Potential & Your Paycheck.

In this episode, you’ll learn how to start shifting the limiting beliefs that have been preventing you from building the confidence you deserve. You’ll hear examples of what it feels like to ignore the cues from your body and what it feels like to listen and act on your intuition. You’ll hear some of the most common myths about women in leadership and learn how to push them to the side and move closer to the success that you deserve.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What Kelli did differently to get into the rooms where decisions were being made (8:31)
  • Paving a new path toward success as a woman (11:54)
  • How to create boundaries as an entrepreneur (15:58)
  • Learning to listen to your gut and check in with your body (22:05)
  • How to figure out what you want and what you don’t want for your life  (29:35)
  • Work myths that need busting (31:33)

Favorite Quotes:

  1. I just often think back, hindsight being 2020, how much I limited myself because I couldn’t see women in those senior rooms. I just had so many more limiting beliefs at that time. And I was like, you know what, this needs to change. – Kelli Thompson
  2. One of the biggest things that changed my life was learning to invest in myself. And I think that as a society, men learn how to do this more than women. – Blake
  3. What I saw was the women that were at the top of the organizations I worked at, not all of them, but by and large, the vast majority, were really unhappy, very angry, sacrificed, tremendously, and had zero work-life balance. And I remember thinking to myself at certain points, I want to move up in my career, but not like that. – Blake
  4. Be something different lead in a way that makes you feel good lead in a way that’s in alignment to your values, so that the younger women in the office, look at you and say, I want that. – Kelli Thompson
  5. I am going to make trusting your gut sexy in corporate America again. – Kelli Thompson

Additional Resources: 

Connect with Kelli Thompson:

Freebie: Free Career Clarity Guide

Social media:
Instagram: @kelliraethompson
Linkedin: in/kelliraethompson

For programs and opportunities to work with Blake, go to


Kelli Thompson 0:04
When I left corporate, I’d had some really difficult personal challenges in my life. I had been married for seven years and gotten a divorce. I’d had some concerns and red flags before I walked down the aisle. But, you know, at that age, I just didn’t have the wherewithal to kind of like really listen to my gut and my mind of “You can’t call this off, what will people think you’re in too deep”. So we get divorced, and I go back into another relationship. And we are engaged about three months out from the wedding. And my gut, again, is like “Kelli, Kelli, this isn’t it,” says it and I’m actually having like physical symptoms, like in my body where I’ve gone to the doctor, they can’t find anything wrong. And I had a dear coworker who kind of knew what was going on, come into my office, and I was telling her like, “I just don’t know where to get married“. And she said to me, she goes, “Kelli,” she’s like “God,” and again, whatever you believe in, creator, universe, like, “She’s not the author of chaos. She is the author of peace“. And like in my body, I was like, oh, like I knew what peace felt like. And I knew what chaos felt like. And I knew the difference. It was the first time I used anything below my neck to make a decision. Because I was so busy doing and thinking and making pros cons lists into my Excel spreadsheets and working to even think about checking in with my body.

Blake Schofield 1:25
Hi, I’m Blake Schofield, founder and CEO of The Bridge to Fulfillment®, mom to three, USA Today top 10 professional coach, and former corporate executive who got tired of sacrificing my life for a comfortable paycheck. My mission is to expand women’s perspectives and empower them to achieve greater impact at home and work without sacrifice. This is The Bridge to Fulfillment®.

Blake Schofield 2:01
Today on The Bridge to Fulfillment® I’m excited to introduce you to guest expert Kelli Thompson. She’s a women’s leadership coach and speaker who helps women advance to the rooms where decisions are made. She has coached and trained hundreds of women to trust themselves, lead with more confidence, and create a career they love. She’s the founder of the Clarity and Confidence Women’s Leadership Program, and a Stevie Award winner for Women and Business Coach of the Year. She’s the author of the critically acclaimed book, Closing the Confidence Gap: Boost Your Peace, Your Potential & Your Paycheck. Kelli holds an MBA, has served as an adjunct management professor, and has more than 10 years of senior leadership experience in financial services and technology organizations. She’s been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, MarketWatch, Quartz, Huffington Post, and Fast Company. She’s from Omaha, Nebraska. And I’m excited for you to meet her and hear about her personal journey and experience, what she’s learned and how she can help you uncover some very simple ways to begin to trust yourself and put yourself in more of the rooms where decisions are being made.

Blake Schofield 3:19
All right, Kelli, I’m so excited to have you on The Bridge to Fulfillment®. Welcome, welcome.

Kelli Thompson 3:24
Thank you, we’re gonna have a great chat.

Blake Schofield 3:27
Yeah, I have zero doubt. I feel like we’re already fast friends. We literally just met, which is fun. Today, we’re gonna talk about a lot of things I know you and I are both equally passionate about. But before we dive into all of the goodness, I’d love to ask you just to introduce yourself. Tell the audience a little bit about your personal journey and how ultimately you ended up, you know, in this arena being passionate about these topics.

Kelli Thompson 3:51
Yeah, you know, if you would have asked me growing up, I never would have told you like, I’m going to be an entrepreneur. I think I knew I wanted to write a book. But when I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the weather. So like I went to colleges in meteorology major. I’m gonna be THE WEATHER GIRL on TV. And then I figured out “Oh, yeah, you got to work the six and 10 o’clock news every night.” And I was like, “Oh no!” which might give you a clue into maybe some things we’re going to talk about. But umm, switched my major and ended up getting a job at a bank. And I’m like, “Well, this is kind of nice. It’s clean. There’s no greasy food.” You know? And so those early jobs in food service that’s like a kind of like banking, and that’s where I stuck after college for a little over 14 years was working in banking and financial services. And, you know, I did all the things that I was supposed to do. I graduated college, I got married young, which my small Midwestern Catholic town upbringing says that you should do that, so that you’re young and have energy for your children. You know, I ended up going to grad school and just raising up the corporate ladder in banking. You know, it wasn’t uncommon for me to be one of the only women’s, women in the rooms because you know, banking still, it’s gotten better is a very male dominated industry.

Kelli Thompson 04:59
You know, but after about 14 years, I knew that my options were limited. And also, I just didn’t love all the compliance rules. Like I love to kind of like move fast and ask for permission later. And banks don’t love that. So I actually went to go get a job running HR at a technology company, still, again, very male dominated. And there’s been a good chunk of my career actually working for another author and a leadership development consultant and traveling all over the country doing leadership development training. Eventually, I left in 2019, and went off on my own and started my own leadership coaching, and speaking practice, because I was ready to get off the road. And as I was really trying to think about, like, what is it that I want to do, the thing I couldn’t stop thinking about was how much I loved in corporate talking to women. And being an HR and having women come to me that were just, they see a job that they had posted, like, “Can I, can I do this, I only need like six to 10 qualifications, I don’t know if I should negotiate my pay.” There was just so much hesitancy, and the conversation was so different. And I think I resonated with it so much, because I felt it. I felt it even though I was the HR person that was like supposed to have all the answers. And I really just made that my mission and my practice to help women advance to the rooms where decisions are made. Because I just often think now back hindsight being 2020, you know how much I limited myself, because I couldn’t see women in those senior rooms. And I just had so many more limiting beliefs at that time. And I was like, “You know what, this needs to change.” And that’s why it really became the passion of my business to focus on, on women.

Blake Schofield 6:30
What you said resonates so much. Advance to the rooms where decisions are made. I was just having a conversation earlier today about, you know, in the last six years as an entrepreneur that the rooms that I’m in are probably 80 to 90% men. And I feel really passionately about the fact that one of the biggest things that changed my life was learning to invest in myself. And I think that as a society, men learn how to do this more than women, I think there’s can be a lot of shame around a lot of that. And I also think women, by enlarge, are taught just to take care of everybody else and just suck it up and put up with a lot of things. And so it’s interesting to hear your journey. You know, I spent 18 years in corporate retail, there are a lot of women in corporate retail. And it was an interesting experience, because in some ways, I experienced some of my best and also my most challenging bosses being women, to be really frank and honest. And there’s a lot I think of which we may get into based on some initial conversations around why that is.

Blake Schofield 7:36
But I truly believe that the reason toxic environments, people feeling undervalued, people being unhappy in their careers, in so many ways comes down to what we tolerate, what we believe as possible, and not understanding and owning in our value. And until we do those things you don’t get in the room. You don’t have those conversations, because you don’t feel worthy of it or you’re so overwhelmed, so exhausted, or so burned out that you can’t be. So I’m interested in your perspective, obviously, you did this in your career in an environment that was very male dominated. What are the things you think that initially because I’m sure you’ve learned and developed so much more expertise since then. But what are the things that you were doing in your corporate life that enabled you to be the only or one of the few women in the room that was different than the other women?

Kelli Thompson 8:31
Two things that I did differently. I think one of the things that maybe I did differently was my personality has always been fairly direct, straightforward, assertive, and that held me back because I didn’t fall into a lot of gender norms. In my business, I feel like that personality style and approach, it was easy to connect with men, it was weird, like I went to Catholic school, men ran the school. This is gonna sound really nuts. But it didn’t occur to me that I was one of the only women until probably I’d been at that organization for maybe like six years. And I remember, I was sitting in one of those all day kind of strategy meetings that you get stuck in with the conference rooms with no windows. And it was after lunch, you know, you get the lunchtime dip. And I’m just like, “Oh, gosh, I’m like this conversation is going in circles. I’m so annoyed. I’m just having one of these moments. We’re hearing from the same voices over and over again.” And so we finally got a bathroom break, and I go into the bathroom, and sit down and I’m like, “Oh my goodness, why am I so annoyed?” And it kind of just hit me. It’s like, “Oh, well, we keep hearing from the same people. And it’s going in circles.” And then I was like, “Oh, those people are men.” I know that sounds so weird. But I’d worked at the organization for like eight years and like I had my spiritual dawning. I was like, “Oh, well, there’s a lot of dudes around here.

Kelli Thompson 9:54
And so I remember thinking I’m like, “Okay, well, is there more men than women in this room?” And I kind of did the mental math and I’m like, “No,” you know, because I worked in banking, and we had a lot of retail banking folks in there, which similar to retail, it’s a lot of women. So the room itself was about 50:50, although all the leaders were men. And I was like, “These women should really speak up in here.” And it’s almost as if like those bathroom stall walls kind of like came in mommy. And they were like, well, you could be the one to speak up. And I’m like, “Oh, no,” I’m like, “I can’t speak up.” I’m like, but first, I would need to get more experience more than the eight years I already had. But first, I would need to like, I don’t know, take another class or be sure that if I spoke up, people wouldn’t think it was silly, or question my judgment, like all these like, but first, but first, but first. And so I think part of it was number one, like my personality style and approach, naturally was kind of fit in, although it wasn’t sometimes because I went had a lot of critique from women. But number two, I don’t think it occurred to me. That was like, part of the ease of like, seeing something open. And I just went to it. But I will tell you, though, once it did start occurring to me, I was really in my head about it. Because I did have aspirations to grow at that company. But I then started remember thinking, Well, I don’t look right. Like there’s no women above a certain level. And that’s when I remember, just, you know, a lot of the doubts really started to hit for sure.

Blake Schofield 11:17
Yeah, and I think that’s so huge, because I had a similar experience. But in some ways, maybe the polar opposite. Funny enough, I grew up had a lot of guy friends, and I probably had more guy friends in high school in college than I did girlfriends. I remember when I went through Russian college to do sorority life, I was like, I don’t know, because I’ve actually been hanging out with more guys than girls. I don’t know, about, you know, a group of eighty girls, and I loved it and took on leadership positions, and so thankful for that time and experience. But yeah, I always was more directs didn’t want the drama, could see a straighter path. So I think there’s some similarities in that. But what I saw was the women that were at the top of the organizations I worked at, not all of them, but by enlarge, the vast majority, were really unhappy, very angry, sacrificed, tremendously, had zero work life balance.

Blake Schofield 12:15
And I remember thinking to myself at certain points, I want to move up in my career, but not like that, right. Like, at some point, it’s not worth it. And I was achieving at the top of every single company I worked at, and I’ll never forget, I have three kids. But I had had my, my daughter, she’s two and a half years younger than my first. And she was about less than two. And I won this award for being the, my team and I won this award for being the number two company out of 90 at JC Penney for sales and profit. For two years, I had turned, I took a business that was the worst business and women’s apparel, made it the best and drove double digit sales comps two years in a row. And I got up on stage and was, you know, awarded this thing by all the C suite. And I sat down and looked at my husband in tears and said, it’s not worth it. And I see that so often with women, because I think that there are so few examples, there needs to be a lot more of women who are successful on their own terms, both in corporate as well as entrepreneurs. For me, my passion is helping people understand that they can achieve more without the sacrifice or the compromise, because the only way I saw it was all of that sacrifice and all of that compromise. And I think a lot of women in particular opt out because they’re not willing to do that without understanding that there’s another way.

Kelli Thompson 13:41
Yeah, you know, it’s really interesting. I was actually having this conversation yesterday with a banking group, they host like an annual luncheon for all the CEOs in, in the community. And one of the things that we were talking about was the unpaid workload of women and how women aren’t just working. But when I go into mixed gender audiences, one of the things I love to do and I’d like to talk about unpaid workload is I asked the men in the room to raise their hands if they know when their child’s next doctor’s appointment is. And we’ll get a couple. We don’t get many. But it just kind of illustrates my point that unpaid work is not just the picking up of the kids or thinking about what’s for dinner, it’s all the mental load that you carry of, oh, man have I haven’t kids been in the dentist in the last year? The thinking of all the things, the scheduling of all the appointments. And you know, we also take that on at the office, no matter what level we’re in, I coach women all the way up to the C suite, and they’re still doing unpaid work. Why are you the one that’s keeping and sending the notes? Why are you the one still organizing the party for the person? Why are you the person is leading the company ERG but you’re not employee resource group, but you’re not getting paid, or a bonus or it’s not showing up in your performance review. It’s still all of that unpaid work that women take on, believing that they need to hustle to do all of the things and one of the things I really challenged the group on when we were talking is it’s my mission, the same to really say “You know what, unfortunately, women have accelerated into leadership roles where their only role model was men.

Kelli Thompson 15:07
Because you know what, up until honestly, very recent history, organizations were built by men, for men, when women stayed home, that was just the way of it, there’s no right or wrong of that. It’s just the way it is. And so the only role models we’ve had are to watch men work endless hours while their wife stayed home. And so when they get into those senior leadership roles, that is just the mental model, that is the working model that we assume that you’re just going to fall into. And so my message to clients when I work with them, and to groups like that is be something different, be something different, lead in a way that makes you feel good, lead in a way that’s in alignment to your values, so that the younger women in the office, look at you and say, “I want that.” Because right now, so many are opting out, because they’re like, “I don’t want that.” And even as an entrepreneur, you probably know this. But it is, you know, a lot of times I think people think when you go into entrepreneurship, it’s like all sunshine and roses. And I could set my own hours. And while there’s some truth to that, like when you’re building your business, it’s also very easy for you to continue the cycle of overwork. Because you’re like, “I have to say yes, to all the things, I have to do all the things, I have to work so hard to build my business.” But I became very intentional about for me personally, as a business owner, to set very clear boundaries about what I will and will not do, because the one thing that I refuse to do is recreate the madness of my most recent corporate job, because I might as well go back at that point. So like, I totally see what you’re saying, both in a corporate perspective. But even for women who choose to leave and run their own businesses, it’s still a very fine line, we have to walk and set boundaries on, because you want the world will take if you just continue to give and overwork. I mean, that’s just the culture that we live in.

Blake Schofield 16:46
Yeah, it’s interesting hearing you say that that’s a huge part of what I learned in my journey, right? I work 60-70 hours a week on average for 18 years, minus the few good years at Target where I was working 40-45. And when I started my own business, I thought, “Well, I get to get out of this like crazy environment, toxic situation, micromanaging boss, and I found myself repeating many of the same cycles.” And what I ultimately learned is that there is the first step in The Bridge to Fulfillment® we call it Gain Control. And it’s about learning how to regain control of your time, energy, and state of mind. And if you do not do that work, you’re never solving the root cause of why you go through cycles of burnout, or why you feel these frustrations, and you don’t expand your perspective into what else is possible. And I think that’s really important work. Honestly, for everybody. These are things we aren’t taught. And I think as a society, we talk about it like it’s all tactics, well, you just need boundaries. And you need these planners and you need this process. But the reality is, it’s an emotional and a tactical journey. And if you’re not addressing, what are the emotions behind why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’re never going to solve that problem. It’s like, you’re constantly, we put all this energy to override, belief systems, fears, doubts, anxieties, conditioning, that could be better spent in so many other ways.

Kelli Thompson 18:08
It’s like, if you never fixed the bug in the code, you’re never going to have the right output. And I wholeheartedly agree, it’s, you know, the calendars and boundaries aren’t the thing, it’s, you know, when I’m sitting down with women in my book, I have a whole chapter on this. And I talked about how there’s four common reasons why we say yes, when we want to say no, and lots of times the first one is, is it’s an achiever mindset, “Oh my gosh, if I say no, then you know, people will not think that I’m capable.” And then this high achiever, you know, sometimes it’s people pleasing. It’s, “I have to say yes to all these people, or people are going to be really unhappy with me, and I’m gonna lose on my relationships.” You know, sometimes folks just kind of have this supportive caretaker mindset where it’s like, “I have to do and say yes to all the things so that people know that I support them and take care of them.” And then I think that fourth mindset sometimes that we really work through is kind of a perfectionist mindset. “I have to do all the things and I look perfect, and everybody thinks I’m perfect, and everything is perfect.

Kelli Thompson 19:02
And really just kind of boiling it down to understanding why you’re saying yes, and why you’re overworking is huge. Because, you know, I have a dear friend who just says “Overwork is simply a drug, girl.” I mean, she’s just so blunt. She’s like, lots of times over work feels good, because it helps us avoid some of the other things because here’s the thing, like, rest, the physical act of rest is really not that difficult. It’s the mental act of rest. That’s hard. When you, when you I’m sure you can speak to this so well, like that first day, where you’re not working 60 hours, and you only have to work 10 hours and like your work is done. You’re like, “Oh, well, who am I? What do I do with myself? I must be a lazy person.” I mean, just that mental junk is just so gross. And so what do we do? Well, let’s find something to keep us busy. Like I think it’s just so normal for everyone to kind of really struggle and kind of have to figure out just that messiness of all that.

Blake Schofield 19:55
Yeah. And anytime you look to transform your life, you have to be willing to get down to the deeper why, right? What I often do is really I think one of the things I’m best at is being able to see the gold, right? What’s the gold in somebody? What are they really gifted at? And then what’s all the stuff that’s misaligned that’s literally in their way? And how do you just strip that out of your way. And I think, unfortunately, so many people, especially high achievers thinks that they’re not as good as everybody else thinks that they are, they deal with a lot of imposter syndrome. And a lot of belief systems have that they’re broken, or something’s wrong with them. And that could not be further from the truth. And I think when you can begin to understand that you’ve always been a whole. And when you understand truly who you are at the core and why you’ve been given the gifts perspective, skills, experience you have, and you can own that, and put it in the right environment. It just changes everything.

Kelli Thompson 20:53
Hmm, yeah. I mean, you said it so beautifully. I have a line in my book that says owning your talents is the antidote to imposter syndrome. Anything that you really just summarized that really well.

Blake Schofield 21:02
Yeah. Thank you. You mentioned something for us to chat about. I’m like, “Oh, yes, I definitely want to hear your perspective on this.” You talked about there’s an over cognitive approach to leadership and growth. Can you share a little bit about what do you mean by that? What do you see? And what should people do instead?

Kelli Thompson 21:21
One of the things that I talk a lot about in my book is that a lot of times we lead with something with that a call like neck up leadership development. So I grew up in HR, training, learning and development, and all the leadership development we do is all about being more strategic. Here’s the ABC of delivering feedback. Here’s how you do good performance management. Here’s how you get good ROI. I mean, do some of the better leadership development programs bring in a little bit of emotional intelligence and self awareness? Yes, but like by nature, a lot of this is head up like pros cons, analyze, put it in a spreadsheet, make a PowerPoint deck. I mean, we, we’ve all been there. And I mean, yeah, I was right into it. I mean, that’s just the kind of girl I was, and like, yeah, give me a spreadsheet. I love me an Excel spreadsheet. But when I left corporate, I’d had some really difficult personal challenges in my life.

Kelli Thompson 22:10
I had been married for seven years and gotten a divorce. I’d had some concerns and red flags before I walked down the aisle. But, you know, at that age, I just didn’t have the wherewithal to kind of like really listen to my gut and my mind of “You can’t call this off, what will people think you’re in too deep”. It was just so ingrained, you know, when I’m 22 years old. So we get divorced, and I go back into another relationship. And we are engaged about three months out from the wedding. And my gut, again, is like, “Kelli, Kelli, this isn’t it,” and I’m actually having like physical symptoms, like in my body where I’ve gone to the doctor, they can’t find anything wrong. Well, it’s just stress, like it was literally stress and tension that’s causing all these ailments. And I had a dear coworker who kind of knew what was going on, come into my office, and I was telling her like, “I just don’t know where to get married“. And she said to me, she goes, “Kelli,” she’s like “God,” and again, whatever you believe in, creator, universe, like, “She’s not the author of chaos. She is the author of peace“. And like in my body, I was like, oh, like I knew what peace felt like. And I knew what chaos felt like. And I knew the difference. It was the first time I used anything below my neck to make a decision, because I was so busy doing and thinking and making pros, cons lists into my Excel spreadsheets and working to even think about checking in with my body.

Kelli Thompson 23:27
Years later, when I went through coach training, they did a lot of mind body work, which I thought I was going to opt out of. But then I was like, “Oh, I’ve paid for it. I should probably go to that session.” Like it was life changing. Like they taught us how to scan our bodies. They taught us how to kind of imagine a you know, a heck yes scenario and what our body does when we’re in the hands of a full body yes. And what happens when our body say no. And I remember thinking to myself, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I am going to make trusting your gut sexy in corporate America again.” Like, this is what’s been missing is we’re in, you know, meeting second guessing ourselves, not knowing what’s right for our career, wondering if we have impostor syndrome. And if we’re doing the right thing. And you know, I think as women, we get advice from all these different places. And we’re trying to wonder, and the last place that we often check in and sit with our gut. And that’s why I think it’s so important in modern leadership today that we check in with our head. Yes, it’s always good to know the facts and all the things to be grounded before we make a decision. But we also needed to like check in with our heart, because this decision even align with my values. You know, does this like move me closer to the type of person I want to become as it makes me feel good about myself and what I’m trying to create? But then also being able to check in with our bodies and our guts and ask ourselves like, “Does this feel like peace? Or does this feel like dread?” And I think really learning how to integrate all of it helps us be not only more confident decision makers, but I really think as women it is totally our competitive advantage, because I think it’s easier for us to access some of those centers for sure.

Blake Schofield 24:55
I’m such a huge believer in mind body connection. And learning how to read and tap into and attune to your inner compass. So you’re definitely talking my language. I think the biggest challenge I see in that journey is if you, I like to describe most of us as you’ve been driving a car across country for 20 years, and you never got a carwash. You cannot see, right, you have to clean the windshield first. And I think this is where people struggle with trusting or listening to their gut is they’ve overwritten it their whole life, they don’t know what it’s saying. And to me, there’s a very fine balance of you have to clean enough of the windshield, to be able to know what your guts telling you because often, if your windshield is, is completely covered with limiting beliefs and conditioning and survival based fear patterns, you’re going to hear that first. And it’s not an accurate, it’s not really your inner compass. And so I love what you’re saying here, because we’re having this conversation about both and I think it is both, right, it’s doing the work to clear the windshield and really understand what do I believe? What’s driving my life? How can, I like to say, “How can I learn how to use my emotions to work for me, as opposed to driving my life?” And then to your point, what am I feeling in my body? And how do I connect in mind, body, soul, to know what’s right for me, and it’s 100%, the shortcut complete superpower. And when you get at this at the highest level, I find that it makes life incredibly easy. Like the amount of work I do now is probably 40%. What I used to do, my inner compass guides me very quickly on what’s a yes or no, what to do and what not to do. It strips away a lot of the noise and the chaos. But to your point, I think so very few people actually know that that is even an option or exist, or are they here, trust your guts. But it’s not as simple as that you have to be able to clear the windshield first.

Kelli Thompson 26:55
Yeah, I remember if somebody said trust your gut, I’d have been like, “Ha?” And I think, you know, the simplest thing that you can do is if you wanna think about clearing the windshield, at least that helped me is when they asked me like, just imagine a time where your head was like, “You better do it, you better do it.” And so you did it. But you’re just kind of like, “Oh, this was not the right decision.” Like, what, what happened in your body? Like, honestly, my body is reacting right now just imagining myself going into that, which is this really cool, powerful thing about the body. And then they’re like, Okay, well, then, you know, imagine a time in your life where you said yes to something, even though maybe it didn’t look good on paper, but like it worked out, like where do you feel that in your body, I can feel my body changing right now it feels much lighter and airier. And I remember even just that subtle contrast of like, under going, “Whoa, this is yes, this is no!” Like, it wasn’t even a full clearing of the windshield, to your point. It was like taking a paper towel, and like just exiting out the part that you need to see it. So you could drive. I’m sure we’ve all done that. But you’re so right. I think I just want to provide a lot of compassion to folks who are like, “I don’t, I don’t know about this trust your gut thing, because my gut is a mess. And it’s entangled and it wants to go Google the internet.” Like it’s just so normal. But I think just slowing down and just imagining a time where it should have been a no or it definitely was a yes. And just just noticing the difference can be helpful.

Blake Schofield 28:16
Yeah, I love that. And I think just like everything, when you talk about personal development, and really growing in your self awareness to me, those are the keys to be able to create anything you want your life. It’s like peeling an onion, there’s layer, upon layer, upon layer. And I love what you’re saying. It’s just the most simple first layer of what do those feel like to me? And how can I just recognize in the moment when I normally would have said, “Yeah, I’ll compromise,” or “Yeah, I’ll do.” And it wasn’t right. And I think that often, that’s the biggest place that gets us in trouble in so many ways is like, “Well, I kind of knew I shouldn’t marry this guy, but I did it anyway,” or “I took this job, then I really didn’t connect with this one person, but I thought it wouldn’t be that big deal.” Or “They made this comment in the interview. But I thought it’s not gonna,” you know, when it’s it’s those decisions that cause us to go off course. And then as we experience the misalignment and the friction and the stress of it, we begin to internalize that it’s our fault that we begin to lose confidence, we begin to get out of whack. And so if you can just catch it earlier and go “Oh, wait, I’m telling myself I should but I really my guts telling me I shouldn’t.” You can spare a lot of pain.

Kelli Thompson 29:34
Oh, yeah. You know, the thing that was really helpful to me was, so I’ve been divorced. I just caught off this wedding. I was in a job that it was just not working. And I remember it was so easy in that moment. And I think we all visit that place where we’re like, what did I do? My picker is broken. Like I can’t do anything, right. I mean, I think that’s just so normal to just stop and visit that place. But I kind of had like this, this AHA moment, like, wait a minute, like, there’s a common denominator in all of this, and it’s me. So I kind of need to figure out, like, What’s that red thread of choices or things that happen that brought me to this point. And one of the things that was really helpful was you talked about clearing the windshield, I had no idea what I wanted. I didn’t, I was just like, “Oh, no idea what I want.” And sometimes I think when we’re overwhelmed and lacking confidence, and you ask someone, well, what do you want, they’re like, “I don’t know.” But I knew exactly what I didn’t want. And that was the very first list I made. I remember, like being new to journaling, I feel like I’m walking through a baby deer, I’m discovering like real deep personal development. Like, I don’t know what I want. But I remember making a list of like, five to 10, things I knew I didn’t want. Because I could spot that. Like, I don’t want this, I don’t want this. I don’t want this. I didn’t I don’t want this. And so like, you know, I guess if you’re in that, that point where you feel like your windshield was really dirty. Like that was just really helpful. And it was really empowering. Because then when those situations presented themselves, like, “Oh, I know, I don’t want that.” So I’d say no to that. And that kind of built, like a little confidence, because I’m like, “Whoo like I can say, notice some things,” you know, when you kind of said, once you start to clear away all the things that you don’t want, and that are kind of in the way, like, it just makes so much more room for the right things to come in.

Blake Schofield 31:12
Yeah. 100%. So I have one more question for you. And I think our time is almost up already. It’s been so much fun. Well, too, because I’ll give you an opening. You said there’s some myths that we believe about leveling up at work. What are those? And how can you begin to see them differently?

Kelli Thompson 31:33
Yeah, I think some of the myths that I have personally held, and I know some of my clients have held is that, you know, well, one, let’s just talk about both sides. But one, I think sometimes they think that when they level up and they get the title, whatever the title is, that all of the confidence and what’s going to come with it. And all the impostor syndrome they ever had is going to magically go away because the title has come. But I think once they realize and they get into it, and again, I’m speaking for myself, like I get in there. And then I’m like, “Well, what am I supposed to do now?” All the old doubts and worries just follow you because now you’re worried about doing different things and making the right decisions. So I think that myth that all this, it’s the whole fallacy myth, I’ll be happy when or I’ll be more confident when, like, it just doesn’t really happen. And so I really encourage women to leave space for the fact that doubt pretty much is going to follow you wherever you go. And no matter how high up you are in the organization, like feeling some doubt is healthy. It keeps us humble, it keeps us connected, it keeps us curious. And it just happens when you’re stretching your comfort zone.

Kelli Thompson 32:38
I think some of the other myths that happen is almost just kind of the whole fear of success. A lot of the clients that I’m working with who really break into like that C suite level. And I know I felt it definitely when I was rising up and even growing my business was kind of this fear of exposure, like “Oh my gosh, like, well, at the next level, all my decisions are going to be more visible, and there’s going to be more critique, and I’m going to have to go present to the board, there’s going to be more scrutiny on my stuff.” And I think a lot of times, sometimes that even scares them and holds them back a little bit. Because there is just bigger decisions that have bigger impact and those sorts of things. And I think sometimes they forget all the tools and resources. And as we were talking about earlier, like all those skills and talents and abilities that they still have to draw on to make all of those decisions and that they’re not in like this vacuum, like there are other people and there are other resources that can help you and you’re not the one that’s doing this alone.

Blake Schofield 33:33
Yeah, so important. And that’s such a critical shift as well, right, especially as you move in your journey as a leader is to move from doing things yourself and asking for help being you know, a burden or sign you don’t know what you’re doing, to it being a strength, to there being power in having somebody help you see the blind spots that you don’t see, because we all have them. And when you can operate from that place. It’s it changes, I think the speed of how you make decisions and enables way better decision making. And it just creates an environment where people can be creative, innovative, and show up in a in a far better way.

Blake Schofield 34:15
Well, Kelli, it’s has been such a pleasure. I’ve enjoyed it so much. Let me ask you, is there anything that I have not asked you that I should have, or anything that’s just on your heart that you want to share before we round out?

Kelli Thompson 34:26
Yeah, let’s go back to the beginning of our conversation, you said something really important. You said sometimes women really struggle to invest in themselves, because you know, we’ve kind of just heard this unconscious message that you should give to other people first, and this is something that I personally experienced. And I see this a lot, is let me just kind of just tell a very brief story, but I, my father in law, he’s retired, old corporate, and he’s like, so what’s your book about and I’m trying to tell him what my book is about. It’s about leadership development. He’s like, “Leadership development?” He’s like, “I got that in the bar after work.” And that’s my point. I remember that when we’ve grown up in an environment that’s built by men for men, like they receive mentoring, all the time, by the nature that they are already in the rooms, they’re going to the bar after work, they watch other men do things. And like, up until very recently, there is actually a lot of data that shows that when men are promoted, they receive a lot more post promotion support, and the term of coaches, executive development being sent off to programs. And so when they are promoted, they just have this natural support network already built in whether it’s informal at the bar, or in the golf course, or it’s a formal program.

Kelli Thompson 35:38
And so that’s why I think it’s so important that maybe when you’re negotiating a new role, you’re negotiating a promotion, ask for support. Ask, can I get access or a stipend for executive coaching? Or, Hey, there’s this women’s leadership program offered? You know, here, can I can I go to that, you know, can I be paired up with a formal mentor? You know, it was really interesting. I always relied on my company to fund my leadership development, I thought that that was their job. And when I left and went into corporate, I was like, Oh, well, I guess I have to pay for that now. And it was the most empowering thing I ever did was to go out on the interwebs and see what opportunities I wanted and felt like I needed for my own growth and source that myself and now I have a budget line item for that every year. So a couple of ways you can think about it, I encourage my clients to think about it is one negotiate that in the job offer or in the promotion, have your company pay for it where they can, because so many companies have budgets for that. And if they don’t, consider what a budget line item looks like for you to fund your own development, whether it’s free and your time budgeting by listening to audiobooks, or this podcast, or something, or you know, if you can have if you have some exposable income, really think about what is that budget, I am setting aside for me, so that I can look and feel and be my absolute best not just for me, but for my work and for my family, for my friends, you know, whoever else is involved.

Blake Schofield 36:59
Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, I have such a passion around this topic, I often have women come into The Bridge to Fulfillment® who’ve never invested in themselves, other than maybe like, I don’t know, a health or fitness coach. And after they go through the process, say “Oh my gosh, I now understand this. And I understand it the infinite game,” right, “I want to continue to invest in myself.” Because often we don’t realize the impact, that investing in yourself can truly have on like every part of your life. And that’s one of the things I see, you know, when you talk about leveling up and moving to a new level you do, you get an increase in pay, take a portion of that, and use that to help you learn how to be more productive or more confident or a better leader or to continue to develop skill sets so that you stay ahead of the curve. That isn’t your company’s responsibility. And I think even more so now than it was 30 years ago, companies are seeing that less and less is their responsibility, unfortunately, right. And we’re moving more and more to a gig economy, more and more to a consulting type of economy. And to me job security is the continuous development of yourself and your skills. But even more than that, the ability to take that and use what you learn to help your family, your kids, the people that work for you. There’s such power in doing the work. It’s so much bigger than I think what most people even understand until they experience it themselves.

Kelli Thompson 38:28
Yep. Perfect.

Blake Schofield 38:30
Wonderful. Well, Kelly, how can the audience that say like, Oh, I’d love to get Kelly’s book, or I’d love to connect with her. Can you share with us? How can they find you?

Kelli Thompson 38:40
Yeah, just come over to my website at I’m Kelly with an I R A E. If you’d like free stuff, I got a little free tab of things. You can download some tools, some resources, we kind of briefly talked about today. My book Closing The Confidence Gap: Boost Your Peace, Your Potential & Your Paycheck is all the places where you find the books, so it’s on Audible, Amazon, all the things. And I’d love to hang out on social media. So you can find me on LinkedIn or on Instagram at KellyRaeThompson.

Blake Schofield 39:06
Awesome. Thank you so much for just coming and sharing this time with me today.

Kelli Thompson 39:11
Yeah, this was so fun. Thank you.

Blake Schofield 39:13
Absolutely. All right, for those of you listening, thanks so much for joining us and until next time, have a great week.