Authentically Growing Your Purpose – ep.106

 Policing for Change – ep.105
September 7, 2023
 Advocating for Veterans – ep.107
September 20, 2023

Certified Life Coach Kamini Woods talks about finding your purpose, the importance of self-care and how to eliminate self-sabotage and offers practices to help promote productivity that will improve your work-life balance.

Melyssa Barrett:  Welcome to The Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each week, I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share or is actively part of building solutions in the space. Let’s get started.

Kamini Wood, a certified professional human potential coach, helps people take the courageous steps to identify their limiting beliefs, the reasons for their stagnation, or feelings of not enoughness, so they can have what they want professionally and personally to live a fulfilled life. She is the creator of Authentic Me and CEO of Live Joy Your Way, a coaching company helping high performers and overachievers who have seen success through old-rooted, traditional metrics reestablish their relational self-awareness.

Kamini is also a certified life coach, certified wellness coach, certified conscious uncoupling coach, certified teen life coach, licensed body positivity facilitator, certified calling in the one coach, certified breathwork coach, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging trained, certified new money story coach, board certified AADP, certified project manager, shame-informed based coaching, emerging adults based coaching. She is a Diamond Award winner as the best wellness coach. She is just an all around amazing woman.

One of the things I love about having a podcast is that I get to interview and meet some of the most wonderful people. Today is no different. I have the pleasure of introducing everyone to Kamini Wood. She is a powerhouse, as you can hear from her bio, but I really just want to dive in and talk to you a little bit about your own journey and how did you even get on this path of being an author, a certified life coach, and obviously, it’s more than just a certified life coach, it’s the certifications of all life coaches, I think. How did you actually get here and what formed you?

Kamini Woods:  I always say that it wasn’t a linear path. What really formed me into the path that I’m on right now is actually, if we were to work backwards, it was being a mom, but let me sort of go back to the beginning. I grew up in a predominantly white town in Connecticut, one of maybe two Indian families. Both my parents were immigrants here. They came over when they were teens. My mom’s like 13, my dad 19 years old. They actually met in New York and got married and [inaudible 00:03:53] story.

Anyway, they moved us to Connecticut. Growing up in that town, I knew I was different. I had a different name. Kamini is not like the names of the other kids. I was definitely darker in skin color. Going to school in that dynamic, I do not, let me just say that I don’t look back on it with any negativity, but at the time as a five or six-year-old, you knew you’re different because people do make fun of your name. It’s different or they’re asking, “Why are you darker,” because kids don’t know.

What happened was an internalization was occurring where it was like, “Wow, I’m different. I have to somehow figure out a way to fit in to belong.” Again, not conscious thoughts. These were just internalizations of what was being said to me. I did start to find ways to make sure people were happy with me. What does that mean? I did a lot of people pleasing. I did a lot of like, “Let me do this for you because it’ll make you happy and then you’ll like me,” and all of that.

Also, simultaneously, as I mentioned, my parents were immigrants and they were working very, very hard to provide for my sister and I. What that really meant for me was I didn’t want to be a burden. I knew that they were busy. What that came out as is a lot of perfectionism, a lot of just, let me not fail, let me not need help because they’re so busy and I don’t want to cause them any more stress. It was never anything that they said to me. It was just how I, myself, internalized what I was witnessing watching my parents. Those two things stuck with me.

Now, we go through life and I go through the whole working in a dot-com industry and becoming a project manager and then running the project management office because I was high achiever, making my way to the top of that little dynamic, but within all of that, what I found myself doing was really working with individuals and trying to figure out what they needed to get the project done, what they needed, what would help them grow, what would help them succeed.

Once the dot-com bubble kind of burst, I moved on and found myself running a law practice and in the same realm wearing many different hats, but the hat that I absolutely loved was the one that was talking to people about how they wanted to grow, how they wanted to expand. That was happening professionally. The reason why I said motherhood was really the catalyst was because at the same time, I’m a mom of five. My oldest is 22, my youngest is 10.

Melyssa Barrett:  Oh my gosh.

Kamini Woods:  At the same-

Melyssa Barrett:  Wait, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. How is that even possible?

Kamini Woods:  I’m going to say thank you.

Melyssa Barrett:  I’m like, wait a minute, hold the train. A mother of five is one, but when you said 22, I’m like, what?

Kamini Woods:  Yeah, she’s actually a professional ballerina. Then, I have a second year in college, senior freshman and then fifth grader. The fifth grader is super excited because she’s almost done with elementary school. It’s a big deal.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it.

Kamini Woods:  Anyway, my kids became my catalyst because really what I was witnessing, especially with my middle daughter at the time, was a lot of people losing a lot of, let me take care of what you need. I saw myself being mirrored back, and that was the, oh wow wake up moment. If I don’t pay attention to this, this is going to keep repeating. I was witnessing her not honor herself in situations.

That was when I realized, I need to kind of go inside and do this work. I went through my own recognition of where the narrative was, like the I don’t belong, I need to make other people happy, the people pleasing, the perfectionism, where that was holding me back. As a matter of fact, I realized, “It’s holding me back even professionally, because actually what I really wanted to do from the time that I was seven was talk to people, really just support people.” I wanted to do something in that nature. I didn’t know what it was at the age of seven.

As I went through that transformation, I really realized that my personal journey was meant to match something professionally. That’s when I made that big decision of like, we’re going to go train in this and we’re going to not just train in it, we’re going to train in different modalities because all of us are different. With my five kids, they all learn differently and I know that. Does it make sense to only know how to work with somebody from a cognitive level?

It’s a great tool, but some people do better somatically. We have to figure out ways to really honor all people so I can meet them exactly where they are. I know that just took you through a long journey, but that’s really how I got where I am.

Melyssa Barrett:  That’s awesome. No, that is awesome. I think, a lot of times, we don’t have language. We look back and we go, “I don’t have language for what I want to do or for what my child is going through. Then, we learn and realize all of those familial, systemic patterns that are still in there, changing the dynamic. Kudos to you for actually saying, “I need to do the work on myself because I’m seeing it repeat in my children,” which [inaudible 00:08:48].

Kamini Woods:  Yeah, then of course, professionally, I mean, the work that I’ve been doing with individuals, it’s more common than we want to really [inaudible 00:08:57] because people don’t talk about it. The, I’m not good enough, is so common amongst people or the I don’t belong or I don’t deserve. Those are those common false beliefs that really, that’s the work that it’s all about is can I create a space where we’re witnessing that or coming to a deeper understanding of self, and through that deeper understanding of self, figuring out how to take those committed actions to move forward.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it. Let’s talk about, when you talk about getting to know yourself, I think one of the questions, and you say something that says, you help people remember how powerfully resilient they are. Can you talk a little bit about what resilience is and why do we lose our memory about resilience and how do we cultivate that?

Kamini Woods:  It kind of goes hand in hand with boundaries. I think that as babies, we’re so resilient and we are so full of boundaries. We cry and we’re like, “Don’t touch me. I don’t want you to touch me.”

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes.

Kamini Woods:  Resilience, when I’m talking about resilience, it’s about being able to face those challenges that life throws at us and coming back and reacclimating to oneself, realigning oneself. It’s not about not facing challenges or brave-facing through them. It’s about allowing self-compassion as you go through it and being able to say, “Wow, this is really hard or this is really difficult,” and then working through it, showing up for yourself, trusting yourself, and then that’s the resiliency.

In my mind, that’s what resiliency means. It does come from, I do believe that as babies, I mean, we come into this world, we are so resilient. I mean, we have all of a sudden, we’re facing this big world, and the only way that we can communicate is through crying. We do it. We figure it out. I mean, that’s resiliency is like, “Wow, this is really scary. What am I going to?” We don’t have the consciousness to know what we’re doing at the time. It’s natural, just like boundaries are natural.

You were asking what happens? Society, culture, family, those things. We get these messages of like, “Oh, no, no, you’re not supposed to.” Don’t cry when you’re upset or be quiet when somebody’s pushing you, pushing you over. That’s where we end up “losing it.” For me, it’s about coming back to self. How can we realign with self, realign with those actual core values and those core needs and the core beliefs that we have so that we can really remember how resilient we were when we first entered this world.

Melyssa Barrett:  I think what’s interesting is that alignment, I feel like gives you, it already knows your purpose. It’s almost like you’re trying to get back to alignment so that you find your purpose. How do you know you found your purpose?

Kamini Woods:  That’s a great question, and I think that maybe what it is, is giving yourself permission to have different purposes. Maybe there’s not a one purpose, first of all, but for me, the reason why I feel so aligned with this and feel like this is my purpose is I am in such flow on a day-to-day basis. I start my day and once it starts and I’m in my work, the end of the day is here. I am like, “Wow, that was amazing. Also, how is it already 8:00 or 9:00 at night?”

For me, that’s an indication that I’m in flow. I am living my purpose right now. That’s for me a way that I kind of measure it if we’re going to measure it, but I also do, because I work with a lot of college students as well, and that’s a big thing that they struggle with is like, “Well, I need to figure out what I’m going to do. I need to get it together.”

Sometimes it is about the possibility of what if you have a purpose for now, and as you grow and evolve, maybe the purpose also grows and evolves, and it’s okay for that to happen. That’s why I say, I don’t look back at my past and say, “I shouldn’t have been doing that,” it had a purpose. It had an actual purpose, and it had meaning at the time. As I grew and evolved, my purpose and the meaning in the work that I was doing shifted as well.

Melyssa Barrett:  I can totally relate to that. I mean, I worked at in payment technology for 30 years, and then, after my husband passed, it was kind of like, “What am I doing?” I felt my purpose has definitely shifted and found myself, really finding myself in that alignment, which is awesome. I love the fact that you talk about flow because I think people disregard some of that flow and the fact that you’re focused on joy. It’s like if you have joy, that’s flow, right?

Kamini Woods:  Yes. Yes. I do, I focus on joy rather than just happy because happy, to me, while it’s lovely, it’s still an emotional state and all emotional states, they come and go, right? They ebb and flow. It really is, do I have joy? Do I have that sense of fulfillment because the truth is, we can still be in joy and sitting in traffic at the same time.

Melyssa Barrett:  Absolutely.

Kamini Woods:  We’re not happy. We’re not happy.

Melyssa Barrett:  But we can be in joy.

Kamini Woods:  We can be in joy.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes.

Kamini Woods:  But we can be in joy.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it. That’s absolutely right. Then, when we talk about, I mean, in this day and age, we have so much to talk about when we think about self-care, mental health, behavioral health, trauma-informed healing, all of those things, there’s so many perspectives on what self-care is. I know you have an ebook on cultivating self-compassion. Can you talk about how important self-care is and how self-compassion really holds the key to building those productive habits?

Kamini Woods:  Absolutely, yes. I do think that self-care somehow, I mean, it is part of the pop culture, right? Everyone’s talking about self-care…

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes.

Kamini Woods:  … there’s the self-care aisles at the Walgreens [inaudible 00:15:06], which great, wonderful, and I absolutely believe in those, but self-care to me is not just the spa days and things like that, it’s also taking five minutes for yourself can actually be self-care, but really it is, the crux of it is self-compassionate, it’s kindness over judgment.

Often, we are so quick to judge ourselves and the inner critic calls us names or says, “How could you be that stupid? Why did you do that thing?” That keeps us held back. Self-compassion is recognizing that we are truly making the best decisions that we can for ourselves at the time with the information we have.

If we go forward and we feel like there’s been a mistake made, I challenge people to think of mistakes as an outcome that we’re not happy with. When we’re not happy with that outcome, instead of falling into judgment, it’s asking certain questions like, what did I learn? How did I grow? What can I take from this? What might I do differently next time?

It’s what we would say to a loved one if they were facing that. It’s offering us that same kindness. It’s also recognizing that we are part of this calming humanity. We are not going about this on our own. We’re not isolated. Also, people have had similar experiences, and it’s actually okay for us to talk about it. It’s okay to say, “Well, how did you handle something like this?” It’s also pushes us, self-care is about being in the present moment, and self-compassion is about being mindful.

That really goes towards this idea that, it was a research study, and I constantly forget who it was by, but 70% of our day is either in the then or the there, meaning in the past or in the future. Self-compassion says come back to the right here and right now, what is happening for you right here and right now.

That, to me, is also such a huge element of self-care because oftentimes, we can ruminate and overthink about what choices we did make, or we can worry about what the future’s going to hold, which is completely outside of our control. Instead, it says, in this moment, I’m okay. I am safe. Everything is fine. What choice do I make in this moment to move myself forward?

Melyssa Barrett:  I love that. That’s awesome. I think we can be so self-critical and I know you talk a lot about self-sabotaging because I think with self-care, especially, it’s one of those things where people go, if something comes up, it’s like, self-care takes the backseat.

Kamini Woods:  Yup.

Melyssa Barrett:  You talk about limiting beliefs and just how to realign yourself with your authentic self. How do we stop that self-sabotage?

Kamini Woods:  I often will say that self-sabotage is the part of us that’s trying to control the fallout. It’s the, let me mess this up so I know it’s coming, and then I’m not blindsided. Really, it’s just getting curious with the self-sabotage part. It’s getting curious with what am I afraid is going to happen here.

For instance, if we’re thinking about relationships, this happens a lot where I’ll hear people say, “Well, I need to self-sabotage every relationship I’m in. As soon as I’m in this great relationship, I do something to mess it up.” Just getting curious with that part, what’s that part doing? Oh wow, that part’s trying to protect you from the fear of this relationship not working out. That part does something to just end it and you know it’s going to happen, so you can control that. It still hurts, but you know it’s coming, instead of being blindsided.

When we’re talking about how do we shift the self-sabotage, it’s to really recognize that those are actually limiting beliefs. I don’t deserve love. I’m not worthy of this person, and instead, coming back to what’s actually true, that you are already worthy by your mere essence, by you being here, that makes you worthy inherently.

Also, what’s actually true is that you are a loving individual who has love to give and therefore also love to receive. Then, we start going back to values. What are your core values? Then, what core actions and committed actions do you want to take to move yourself forward? We start breaking down the self-sabotage, understanding what’s underneath it, and then coming back to those core pillars, beliefs, needs and values, and figuring out how you want to move forward.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes. Oh, wow. That’s really interesting because I think you’re right, people really want to control something or have control or seemingly have control, and I think a lot of times, we also, when you’re going through a lot of change, there are things that you have control of and then there are things that you don’t. I think I’ve heard you talk a little bit about just the neuroscience of change and how to interact with that change. Can you talk a little bit about what is the neuroscience of change, because I absolutely love it?

Kamini Woods:  Well, really what change comes down to is the fact that we’ve neural pathways that these are the patterns that we have in place. What ends up happening when we’re trying to change either a belief or a pattern, a behavior pattern that we’ve had, we’re coming up against that neural pathway and we’re saying, “No, no, no, we want to create a new one.” Well, the neural pathway is kind of the best metaphor I’ve used for.

I think the best metaphor is that of a paved highway. It’s paved. It’s got the lines. You are smooth sailing. It is so much easier to just put on cruise control and just go down what you know. The challenge is to say, “No, we’re going to actually take this exit and we’re going to go a totally different way. We’re going through the woods where it is bumpy, rocky, branches are everywhere. It is the bumpiest ride we can possibly make.”

There’s so much of us that wants to say, “No, I just want to go on the paved.” It’s again, smooth sailing, but it’s about commitment to what’s meaningful to me, what’s valuable to me, and continuing to go down that path that is super bumpy because the more we do it, the smoother that path gets, and we’re actually creating these new neural pathways.

When we’re talking about change, it is about recognizing that we are in certain neural pathways that have been built, but we have the capacity through neuroplasticity to create new ones. It’s just also about commitment to giving it the time. That’s why they say there’s so many different time periods out there, 20 days, 60 days, 90 days. Truth be told, it takes time. I don’t know that there’s a specific way.

I believe that there is a period where we go through the, this is a change I want to make. Then, we get to the really uncomfortable part. This is super awkward. I’d much rather be on that paved highway and then we get to the, “Oh, yeah, this isn’t so bad. I get it.” It’s a process we go through, but really behind change, we’re just talking about building these new neural pathways, and our brains are totally capable of doing it.

Melyssa Barrett:  I feel like you just took me to the beach house at the end when I had to navigate through that woods in order to get there.

Kamini Woods:  Yes. Yes. Yes. Which is usually true, every beach that I’ve been to, there’s always some swamp area that you’ve got to go through, and it’s like one lane for each side. You’re sitting in traffic and it’s really frustrating and it’s kind of, yeah.

Melyssa Barrett:  Weird and swampy, but then you get-

Kamini Woods:  You get there. You get there.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah.

Kamini Woods:  It’s nice.

Melyssa Barrett:  Especially in Connecticut, right? I love it. Now, I know you have, I think, a bunch of different books out. I want to talk a little bit about, I know one of them is Voices of the 21st Century, where you kind of contributed a component to that. I think it was called Step Out of the Shadow and Into Your Light.

Kamini Woods:  Yes, yes, yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  Can you talk a little bit about that?

Kamini Woods:  First of all, I loved being part of those 21st Century compilations because it was a bunch of women authors coming together to contribute a chapter, and it was such a pleasure to be a part of. That one was about giving yourself permission to actually figure… give yourself permission to say what it is that you need and want, and then take the action. For me, personally, that meant stepping out behind the scenes of letting everybody else shine and recognizing that if I shine, and the analogy I believe I use even in that chapter was it’s kind of like a lighthouse.

If you stand as that lighthouse, you become this light that then other people can actually find their way, you don’t have to go do for them, because my whole being was people pleasing, go and do for people, but instead it was, “Hey, you can step out of the shadow of being behind everybody, be your own person. Stand there within your own self and actually through that, continue to serve people and help them,” but you’re doing it from a different place and you’re really owning your own space.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love that, be the lighthouse, right?

Kamini Woods:  Mm-hmm.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it. I love it. Now, you also talked about, I think you have an audiobook called Doing Your Best: Finding Productivity.

Kamini Woods:  It’s an ebook. Yeah, it’s a short ebook.

Melyssa Barrett:  Let’s talk about Doing Your Best because you’re a total overachiever.

Kamini Woods:  Yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  When you’re talking about doing your best and finding productivity, I mean, I know there are even different motivations and both extrinsic and intrinsic and all of those things, what kind of ways are we able to really focus on finding our own productivity?

Kamini Woods:  I actually talk about this in a slightly different way than most people do. I will say that productivity and motivation actually come after. Really, what it is, is about, again, I come back to my go-to all the time is values, but it’s what do I value? What do I need? From there, setting your goals. That’s, once you have those goals set, then you break that goal down into smaller bite-sized pieces. As you’re accomplishing those, you continue to self-affirm. As you’re self-affirming, you’re actually building your intrinsic motivation. Essentially, that’s how we become as productive as we can be.

When we try to set these goals without having any type of recognition of why it’s meaningful to us or why we have a need to do that thing that we’re setting out to do, it’s outside of us. It’s most probably driven from some external source. It’s really difficult to feel productive with something that’s not driven from the inside out, but rather, from the outside in. I tend to talk about it in a slightly different way than these people.

Melyssa Barrett:  No, I like it. I think it’s, and it’s so meaningful, because then you actually are connecting again yourself. That’s your authentic self, but a lot of people don’t know their authentic selves. You know what I mean? We’re so busy doing all sorts of other things…

Kamini Woods:  Things, mm-hmm.

Melyssa Barrett:  … it’s easy to just neglect who you are inside…

Kamini Woods:  Absolutely.

Melyssa Barrett:  … until you find yourself, literally find yourself.

Kamini Woods:  Yeah. Well, and that’s what happens, I think, is we get so busy with life, doing life. We become these human doings instead of human beings. The old adage, I’m a human being, not a human doing, and it’s taking stock in that and saying, “Well, I’m actually a human being, so who am I being? Is that actually connected to me?” Who I’m being, who I really want to be and who I really am, or is it a form of what I think I should be doing? That’s the key of shifting from externally-driven being to intrinsically being.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love that. As I mentioned, you’re like a mom of five. You’re working. I know you were working with your husband’s law practice for a while. You’re now CEO of Live Joy Your Way, and that’s a coaching company to help high performers and overachievers who have seen success reestablish their relational self-awareness.

Look, I looked that up, but I do want to ask you, I mean, I know you find yourself in a myriad of roles, as most of us do, as a CEO, both balancing your own company as well as your family, how do you balance your personal life and work? Everybody talks about work-life balance. I tend to talk about work-life integration. How do you do it? What are some things that you do to make sure you’re balanced?

Kamini Woods:  I actually define balance by saying that it’s going to be different every day. Balance for me is about what works for me today.

Melyssa Barrett:  Okay.

Kamini Woods:  For instance, yesterday was a day where I was on mom duty. My daughter, she suffers from really bad allergies. Once a year, we have to go through the whole allergy testing, and that’s a two to three-hour process. I knew that today is mainly I’m on mom for most of the day and I’m going to work, but I’m going to work around that because for me, I know where the value for me is my family.

That is a high priority in terms of where I, if anybody asks me, Kamini, what’s your why, I’m going to absolutely say my kids, hands down. For me, I know that that’s kind of a north star in my world. I build my balance around, how can I do both of these things? How can I continue to serve my clients but also be mom?

Yesterday, was more of a heavy family day and less client focused in terms of the number of clients that I saw. Now, other days it’s going to shift. For me, it’s about giving myself the grace to shift it. Instead of saying, it has to be this rigid rule of X amount of this time and Y amount of this time, it’s letting it ebb and flow and recognizing that that’s where I live in the spectrum rather than this end of the spectrum or that end of the spectrum.

I’ll be honest, I think, for me, it was going to baby number three that kind of taught me that, where you recognize that you can’t give one child 100% of your time, or you can’t give it equally, right? It’s not going to be a third, a third, a third. Instead, it’s going to be one child might need 60% of your attention that day and the other two, but it all balances out.

Again, as I I say motherhood has been my best teacher because it’s another way that I learned like, balance doesn’t have to be a rigid rule. Balance can ebb and flow, and I can be with it. I can be in alignment with that ebb and flow. I don’t have to fight it.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love that. It’s like when you go to a zone defense, right? 

Kamini Woods:  That’s right. We were no longer man to man.

Melyssa Barrett:  Exactly. That’s funny. Now, I know you have also a book called Life’s Gentle Reminders. Can you talk a little bit about why it’s so important to just stop and pay attention to daily reminders?

Kamini Woods:  It’s so funny, I actually didn’t set out to write that book. It was actually just, I was writing these little analogies and kind of capturing, and the analogies were based on everyday experiences I was having. Then, I realized, “Wow, if I could compile this and people could pick it up and read one at a time, they don’t have to do front to back, it’s just a way to recognize that in everyday life, we have these moments where we can just step back into observer mode and we can see what we could be learning and how we might be able to grow and expand through a normal everyday situation.

I still say that one of my favorite ones is just sitting in, I hate traffic, clearly this is the second time I’m bringing it up in this conversation, but I remember sitting in the construction traffic and just zoning in on the people working and watching them really, they were digging up the old pavement.

It kind of hit me like, wow, this is kind of what I do for a living, where I’m helping people take out those old layers of just stories and narratives before we put down the new ones, because if we just wanted to swoop in and say, “Oh, no, think of it this way, it would be the equivalent of these individuals just putting down a new layer of pavement, which would just end up with cracks in just a little bit. You’ve got to take out some of that old in order to put the new in.”

It’s just that’s an example of an analogy that we can just have those moments of like, I could look at this differently and I can learn from it. That’s what that book [inaudible 00:31:41].

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it. I love it. Well, my mother was an RN for 50 years, and you talk a little bit about, I know you spent some time with healthcare workers themselves…

Kamini Woods:  Yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  … and I think a lot of times, and I don’t know, I mean, I know I’ve had a connection with healthcare workers all my life, never once has anyone I’ve ever talked to talked about a coach as a healthcare worker. I think it’s absolutely phenomenal that you have a focus there, because they may not always think they need a coach or should be coached or any of that, but can you talk a little bit about your coaching practice when it comes to healthcare workers, because I think they’re so critical and a lot of times, they’re so overlooked as whether you’re a healthcare worker, caretaker, a lot of that, it takes so much out.

Kamini Woods:  A 100%, a lot of the work that I do, I have done a lot of work with doctors, especially where we’re dealing with two different things mainly. One is they’ve had their own form of imposter syndrome. They’ve gone through all of this school and now suddenly they’re seeing these patients and there’s a fear around, do I even know what I’m doing? Am I actually capable to do this work?

You think about it, they’ve gone through all these years of training, and yet, they still also have that self-doubt creeping up, and it can be paralyzing when they go out into the medical field and now they’ve got these patients in front of them where they have to step up and make these decisions. There’s a lot of imposter syndrome that I’ve coached around.

The other part of it is as healthcare workers, they are such givers, that it is a giving industry. A lot of times, we end up seeing a lot of people pleasing that comes up in that, but also overgiving and over-functioning to the point of their own exhaustion. There’s a lot of coaching around boundaries, and also not just physical boundaries, but energetic boundaries, because as a healthcare worker, you are taking care of all of these individuals, and sometimes, it’s difficult to not take it on and take on what your patients are experiencing as your own.

Just really coaching through what boundaries could look like in terms of being able to set those. To your point, though, I think that the healthcare industry is definitely overlooked and being that self-care, they get forgotten that they need self-care too.

Melyssa Barrett:  Absolutely. Since we talked a little bit about imposter syndrome, because I think probably everybody has some sense of imposter syndrome at some point in their life, especially if they’re looking to get a new job, whatever. My dad always told me when I was little, “You want to be doing the job you want all the time, right?”

Kamini Woods:  Mm-hmm.

Melyssa Barrett:  When they put you in it, it’s like, of course, you get the job, but I think a lot of times, especially as women, we tend to feel like we have imposter syndrome when somebody’s asking us to do something we’ve never done before or in your example of a doctor, I mean, there are so many different layers as you come out of school and now you’re going into your practice or whatever, and you are literally, I mean, life or death is on the line.

Kamini Woods:  Right.

Melyssa Barrett:  Right?

Kamini Woods:  Right, yeah.

Melyssa Barrett:  I mean, the pressure is intense.

Kamini Woods:  Yes. Yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  When you’re talking about imposter syndrome, are there techniques or things that you can focus on to help people who may feel like they have imposter syndrome?

Kamini Woods:  A lot of times we start tracking what the inner critic is saying or what that inner dialogue is saying. Usually, we will uncover some shame that might be being carried from a previous experience. When we can unshame, again, unshaming is the witnessing of what is that dialogue, we’re able to then shift out, because a lot of the imposter syndrome will be, “I’m a faker, a fraud. I’m going to be figured out. This just happened by a fluke. I can’t possibly do this. I’m never going to succeed.” All of those are elements of the same idea, which is this inner dialogue that is putting you down. It’s that judge mindset.

We come to this place of, let’s bring it to the awareness. Once we’re aware of something, now we can actually make a decision about how we want to move forward. If it’s in our subconscious, it’s just being filtered and we’re taking action without being really aware of what’s happening. That’s really the crux of how we can come at imposter syndrome, which is really becoming aware of what it is that we’re even saying to ourselves.

Then, we go back to Byron Katie, the whole like what’s actually true here plays a part here too. It’s what’s actually true about you. Well, guess what? You went through medical school. Guess what? You know what you’re doing? It’s just now you have to learn. We have to work on building self-trust and we build self-trust by small actionable items, committed actions that you take. Every time you do it, stop and self-knowledge, because now we’re self-affirming, and those will compound to continue to build that confidence.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love that. That’s awesome. I think what’s interesting is when you take the career of someone and then you build in that personal, how does this impact personal relationships?

Kamini Woods:  I am a firm believer that everything’s intertwined. We love to try to say, “Well, it’s just this that I need to work on.” It’s like, “Yes,” and also really, let’s be honest about this. Everything is intertwined, but it is true that as you’re building maybe these muscles in terms of your professional career, you’ll notice, you’ll start recognizing and becoming more aware of where might, in your personal relationships, that self-doubt be creeping in. Is there some element of maybe your personal relationship where you’re overfunctioning and overgiving.

I don’t just mean romantic relationships, it can be in friendships. It can be within the workplace or in your family, nuclear family. I mean, it’s just can we start recognizing where these elements are showing up? Then, I’m a firm believer in boundaries, maybe it’s a boundary thing. We need to set some boundaries, but it is. What we’re doing in one area of life, and that’s why I say, life coaching people say, “Well, what do you focus on?” I focus on you. That’s at the end of the day, I’m just focused on you. I am focused on you, understanding you, because all of these life domains are intertwined.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it. I love it. Now, I don’t think we talked about, you are actually a podcaster yourself. Your podcast called, Rise Up, Live Joy Your Way is available. I know it’s on Apple, iTunes and other platforms, and I love the fact that they’re kind of short and they kind of are very focused on specific topics. Do you want to talk a little bit about how did you get to just all of a sudden you decided you wanted to podcast or what happened?

Kamini Woods:  How did that happen? It’s funny, I realized, originally they were a bit longer, and then for me, I realized that I sometimes have these thoughts where it’s like, “I want to say this thing about this topic and maybe it would be helpful.” I also realized that, for me, balancing all these things, I don’t always have all 20, 30, even an hour to listen to something. That was also part of it was like, can I give people just a snippet? Then, if they want more, they can go get more type thing. I’ve got plenty of blogs.

Normally, I’ll talk about something that I’m also blogging on, so that that way there is more available on the subject, but for me, it is usually something that’s either come up in several coaching conversations where I’m like, “This seems to be a theme.” Sometimes it’s just something that I would like to talk about. Then, sometimes it’s just things that I’m noticing just in maybe social media. I’m noticing a lot of dialogue around something.

For instance, I do blog a lot or podcast a lot about narcissistic dynamics and relationships and toxic relationships, because right now I think people are starting to finally talk about it.

Melyssa Barrett:  I wonder why. I wonder why.

Kamini Woods:  Things will pop up. Recently, I just recorded, I don’t think it’s been released yet, but I recorded a podcast, a very short snippet on just covert passive-aggressive narcissism because that’s something that I’ve noticed in just what I’m reading and seeing. Then, also, it’s actually come up in several conversations that I’ve had with clients where they’re just dealing with in all domains of life, workplace, friendships, family.

I thought, “Well, this seems to be something that could be helpful. That’s really what drives what I end up talking about is, well, sometimes it’s just [inaudible 00:40:43] interesting to me, but a lot of times it’s what could be in service. What could I serve people with? What information could they potentially use?

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it because I think a lot of times, especially as people of color, we don’t reach out. It’s a wonderful way to get people to listen to information, learn about something that maybe they wouldn’t. I just think it’s phenomenal all the things that you’re doing to bring joy into the world. We need more of that. I do want to make sure that people know how to reach you, what you’re doing. Can you tell them, I mean, if they’re interested in reaching out, where do they go? What do they do?

Kamini Woods:  Where do they find me?

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes.

Kamini Woods:  I am on the web I’m also on Facebook and Instagram with the handle, it’s authentic me.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it. It’s authentic you, Kamini. It’s fantastic. Thank you so much for this conversation. It has been such a joy and a pleasure to meet and talk to you.

Kamini Woods:  Thank you so much.

Melyssa Barrett:  Thanks for joining me on The Jali podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.