October 11, 2022

Finding Your Imposter Syndrome Origin Story with Sheryl Anjanette

by Hacker Valley Studio

Show Notes

Sheryl Anjanette, Author, Speaker, and CEO & Founder of Anjanette Wellness Academy, comes down to Hacker Valley to discuss and promote her new book. The Imposter Lies Within covers Sheryl’s work with the intersection between business and mindset, and invites professionals to reconsider and reprogram their brains away from imposter syndrome. Using her findings personally and professionally, Sheryl walks through the origins, explanations, and potential remedies for imposter syndrome in this episode.

 

Timecoded Guide:

[00:00] Discovering imposter syndrome’s origin story 

[05:04] External triggers vs the inner critic

[13:59] Imposter syndrome & Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

[21:11] Reprogramming your brain to heal from the imposter phenomenon

[27:34] Fearing firing as an unrealistic response to the inner critic

 

Sponsor Links:

Thank you to our sponsors Axonius and Uptycs for bringing this episode to life!

The Axonius solution correlates asset data from existing solutions to provide an always up-to-date inventory, uncover gaps, and automate action — giving IT and security teams the confidence to control complexity. Learn more at axonius.com/hackervalley

Uptycs, analytics for the modern attack surface, observability for the modern defender. Check out Uptycs by visiting them at uptycs.com

 

What is the origin of imposter syndrome? 

Defined and named in the early 1970s, imposter syndrome impacts each person in different ways depending on a variety of personal experiences, including gender, upbringing, and income status. Despite the experience varying from person to person, Sheryl explains the set of symptoms still remains strikingly similar, no matter who is suffering from imposter syndrome. This has made the phenomenon relatively easy to identify with, as many struggle with a lack of belonging, self worth, and self confidence.

“In the early ‘70s…researchers called it the imposter phenomenon, but they had only studied women. For quite a long time, people thought only women experienced feeling like an imposter, but recent studies have shown that men and women experience this almost equally, just differently.”

 

Do you see imposter syndrome as a negative construct of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)?

Outside of the office, Sheryl incorporates Integrated Hypnotherapy in a large majority of her coaching work and explains that a large majority of that has involved delving into NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming. NLP emphasizes the importance of what people tell themselves. What someone actively lets themselves think has the power to become true to their brain. When someone thinks they are an imposter at work, they end up accidentally using aspects of NLP, which causes their brain to believe they are an imposter. 

“Our conscious mind is only 10% of our reality, 90% is below the surface. When we can start to make the unconscious conscious, when we can do the deep dive and go back in and look at our programming, we can see where the code went bad and change that.”

 

What are the steps of reprogramming your mind away from these imposter thoughts?

Reprogramming someone to actively deny and work against imposter syndrome thoughts requires a deep dive into emotions and an understanding of an internalized past. Sheryl explains that being present, taking deep breaths, and allowing your perspective to shift out of your head and into your body are all steps that need to be taken in this reprogramming process. This process is powerful and new, but Sheryl promises it doesn’t have to be difficult or uncomfortable. 

“Get very, very present in the moment and then, just feel yourself drop into your heart. Feel yourself drop into your heart, it's only an 18-inch journey, but it's something we generally don't do very often. Get out of our head and into your heart.”

 

For anyone that's dealing with imposter syndrome, is there anything that you would want to tell them to help them understand the power within?

Sheryl sees a large majority of professionals struggle specifically around the idea of not being good enough at work and being an imposter at risk of being fired. Imposter syndrome can convince anyone of this idea because it doesn’t rely on experience as evidence, according to Sheryl. Instead, someone suffering from imposter syndrome has to acknowledge that the idea of not being good enough and being fired is just an idea, not reality. 

“As you go into your heart and into your observer role, ask yourself: Is this real? Where's this coming from? And then, tell yourself a different story. ‘I'm good. Everything will work out. I think that's just a pattern that I've had for a long time. I'm going to assume the best.’”

---------------

Links:

Keep up with our guest Sheryl Anjanette on her website, LinkedIn, or via email: hello@sherylanjanette.com

Purchase Sheryl Anjanette’s book, The Imposter Lies Within, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Connect with Ron Eddings on LinkedIn and Twitter

Connect with Chris Cochran on LinkedIn and Twitter

Purchase a HVS t-shirt at our shop

Continue the conversation by joining our Discord

Check out Hacker Valley Media and Hacker Valley Studio



Transcript

Hacker Valley Studio 00:07
Who says tech can't be human?
Sheryl 00:11
Because a lot of people think you just have to live with it. You can't get past it, and if you believe that, then that will be your reality because your subconscious mind will believe you. It's non-judgmental. It's not critical. Whatever you believe whatever you tell it, it's going to believe you. “I can,” it believes you. “I can't,” believes you.
Hacker Valley Studio 00:30
Welcome to the Hacker Valley Studio podcast.
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Chris 01:08
What's going on, everybody? You are in the Hacker Valley Studio with your host, Ron and Chris.
Ron 01:16
Yes, sir.
Chris 01:19
Welcome back to the show.
Ron 01:22
Glad to be back again with an incredible guest. A guest that is helping businesses and really focuses on the intersection between business and mindset. Our guest today is Sheryl Anjanette. Sheryl is an author, international speaker, and has founded her own company Anjanette Wellness Academy. We also have to drop your recent book, Sheryl, Imposter Lies Within: Silence Your Inner Critic, Tame Your Fear, And Unleash Your Badassery. Sheryl, welcome to the podcast.
Sheryl 01:54
Thank you so much. So glad to be here.
Chris 01:58
We are beyond excited to talk with you about impostor syndrome. I really didn't have a name for it when I started feeling impostor syndrome. I'm sure it's pretty much the same for a lot of folks, but once you have a term for it, once you understand what it is, you can start making steps to improving it within yourself. But for everyone out there, what exactly is impostor syndrome?
Sheryl 02:20
Yeah, Chris. I mean, for decades, I didn't know what it was either. Frankly, I did live with it for decades before I finally figured out how to get past it, but here's what it is. It's a psychological pattern, and I want to put the emphasis on the word pattern because this does become habitual, where someone feels like they're not good enough, in spite of their accomplishments. So, despite evidence to the contrary, no matter how well we do, no matter what accolades we get, no matter how far up the corporate ladder we climb, we have that internalized angst that someone's going to figure it out we're not as good as they thought we were. Some people may use the imposter word, "Oh, they're gonna figure out I'm an impostor, I'm a fraud, or I'm a phony." But even if that word doesn't resonate with you, the feeling is the same. It's like, "Oh, I'm going to be exposed."
Ron 03:14
What is the origin of imposter syndrome? Because when you think of this idea of being exposed, and almost wanting to hide it and not share that you may feel like an imposter, someone had to come forward and say, "Hey, I feel like an imposter in this industry." Does this happen frequently? And do you have any insights on the origin of how we all got to this point of starting to recognize imposter syndrome, when we're really trying to mask maybe our inadequacies or pieces of focus where we're not confident?
Sheryl 03:47
Yeah, the origin question is kind of twofold. It's like, what was the origin of people finally, being able to name this body of symptoms? Because the symptoms are painful, they're debilitating, they really have costs associated with them. When we're kind of wandering out there with these suppressed emotions of not good enough or not worthy, not deserving. Or, "My voice doesn't matter. I don't matter. Who would care? Who would care about what I had to say?" And so, there were some people— I'm not thinking of their names right now, and so I don't want to say it incorrectly— in the early 1970s that first came up with a name for this, and they called it the imposter phenomenon, but they had only studied women. For quite a long time, people thought this was a female phenomenon, that only women experienced this body of symptoms, that feeling like an impostor, but recent studies, and not so recent studies, have shown that men and women experienced this almost equally, just differently, just differently. So, there's
some origins there, but then, you know, Chris, there's also the origin of: Where did this kind of begin for me, for the individual? Where did that come from?
Chris 05:04
When I feel like an imposter, it still comes up for me even to this day, I think I've quieted that voice down quite a bit, but in the very beginning, especially being in something like cybersecurity that imposter syndrome voice can be very, very loud. Because there's a lot of information that we might not know, right? We might be hired for a particular experience or things that we've done in the past, but once we arrived in this new place of work, maybe it's even a social group, we feel like we don't know as much as we should, and that's okay. As long as you're in a learning environment, but I do feel like, in some environments, they aren't learning environments and can add to that impostor syndrome feeling. Have you dealt with, whether the imposter syndrome is completely internal, or even if it's being affected by external or environmental effects?
Sheryl 05:57
Yeah, definitely. External triggers affect the imposter syndrome experience, they affect it. They don't cause it, it's not so much causation, as correlation. So, impostor really lies with it. It's this feeling that goes all the way back to our really early childhood beliefs. When we're like little sponges, we're just pure emotion, and we can be three years old, or even younger, two years old, or four years old, or five years old. Something happens and our mind is wired to find evidence to make us right. We're all like that, right? We're going to look for evidence. Something happens, we're going to look for more evidence, am I right? Am I right? Am I right? We want to be right. And so our little minds are looking for evidence if something happens, and I feel like, "I'm not good enough," and I look around and something else happens, and I say, "Oh, there it is, again. I'm not good enough," and it starts to get weightier. Depending on my personality, if I'm really sensitive, it can be very, very weighty. "I'm not good at this. Nobody cares what I have to see. I'm not lovable." "Someone abandoned me, or someone's been really unloving, it must be my fault. I'm just the person that's not lovable, or my voice doesn't matter." So, now we're adults. Now, we're adults out in the world, and there are these voices that you talk about, and some people will want to name that voice as the inner critic, but there are actually different voices in our head. The inner critic is usually the loudest, that's the one that's really self-critical, right? But there are other voices, the voices of fear, the voices of doubt, the voices of just not good enough, and those are kind of the symphony in our head, this self-talk that swirls around. Now, if we have a little bit of that, or a lot of that, and we get an external trigger, and somebody in the environment tells us, or shows us, or acts as if we're not good enough, puts us down, maybe it's micro aggressions. They don't come out and say it, but we could feel it in the tone of the voice or the way they treated us, versus the way they may have treated someone else, right? And it amplifies that. So, definitely, external triggers are powerful.
Ron 08:06
That is so interesting to me, to hear the differences of voices in your mind. That's so true, and now that I'm reflecting on my life, especially because my mindset is focused around freedom and when I don't feel free, whether it's personally, financially, spiritually, or even in my relationships, there's different voices going on. My mindset isn't really in alignment with where I want to go and then, I lose my state of presence. I'm thinking about being somewhere else or being in the future and having things be different, and then, maybe at that point, I'm thinking, "Now I'm in the wrong place. I'm not really where I want to be." I would imagine that everyone's origin story is a bit different, though, when it comes to imposter syndrome and their current mindset. What is your origin story with impostor syndrome? How did you first learn about this? Have you ever felt these emotions or experiences with feeling like an imposter?
Sheryl 09:00
Yeah, absolutely. Well, the way I kind of got the name, the way I understood what all these symptoms were, was I was working with manifestation. I was teaching people how to manifest by design, not by default, because we're always manifesting. We're always calling in that which we are thinking about and that which we are feeling because our emotions can be even more powerful than our thoughts. I was teaching people that there's this disconnect, and then I got on this audio app, I don't know if you've heard about it, Clubhouse. Everyone was talking about impostor syndrome, impostor syndrome. And I said, "You know, I'm a gap analyst," and I was looking for the cracks in the foundation. I said, "That is the term that is the umbrella for this body of symptoms that are creating this misalignment, the reason why we're not able to really do the thing or call it in or call it in congruently." The people I was working with were just getting more what they already had, or the opposite of what they want, or they were manifesting but it was really haphazard. They weren't really, I don't like to use the word control because I don't believe in control, but they just really weren't able to repeat that. And so, I did this deep dive and I opened these rooms, and I had hundreds and hundreds of people, thousands probably— yeah, thousands, actually— over about a year and a half. They came in and out of my rooms, and just shared their pain and their experiences. So, that was my origin of working with impostor syndrome.
Sheryl 10:32
And then, as I did the deep dive, I'm also an integrative hypnotherapist. I had 30 years of business background, I've been an entrepreneur three times, I was a senior executive C suite for a couple of large billion-dollar companies, but then I also did the deep dive, and I'm a hypnotherapist, I'm an NLP master, all the mindset stuff. And so, I was looking inside. What's so interesting is so much gets buried, and I grew up in a really nice household. From the outside, everybody would say, "Oh, you grew up in the perfect upper middle class, really nice family, your parents loved you, blah, blah, blah." And I don't say blah, blah, blah lightly, because I think that's a big deal. I was fortunate, and I knew it.
Sheryl 11:18
What I didn't realize is that it's not so much the experiences that happened to us, but the meaning wevgive them at the stage we are. And so, when I was very little, I'm an introvert, so it was really hard for me to be with groups. I always felt awkward and I always felt like the one that didn't fit in. And then, when I was very young, my father, who was just an amazing human being, I mean, really somebody everybody loved, but he had a big voice, a big temper, and he also had a voice like Pavarotti, but he had a big voice, big temper. If he got angry, he would go take a drive. It was his way of just, "I'll just go blow off steam," which is probably a good thing. And so, he would do that, he would just go and as a little girl, I'd hear the door close, or your dad's voice gets raised, and you're little, so that's big. And then, the door would slam, so I had that noise, the trigger. I'd hear the car rev up and Daddy would leave. I felt abandoned. I didn't realize this until this year, actually, Chris, that I had a fear of abandonment. My father never abandoned me, you see, so it wasn't true, none of it was true, but it was the belief I had in my little mind that I was completely unaware of at a conscious level.
Sheryl 12:40
So, I had fear of abandonment, I was an introvert so I always felt awkward, and then, I was very sensitive, so little things would happen. I think I was in, I don't know, maybe the fifth or sixth grade— fifth grade, I think. A boy asked me to go study on April Fool's Day, and then said, "April Fool's." And so I thought, "Ah, I'm the girl that no guy wants to go out with, and they're just gonna make fun of me," and it was just painful. And so, these become our beliefs. The experience happens, but then the belief starts to form of and that identity of, "I'm not good enough, I'm abandoned, they left me." And little kids never blame their parents, little children blame themselves. When parents are unloving, little children don't stop loving their parents, they stop loving themselves. So, in my case, it wasn't that someone was unloving, but it was just things happen to me and I, in turn, found myself playing small, or I got pretty good at feeling my fear and doing it anyway, but I lived with a lot of anxiety. So, it wasn't that I wasn't successful, it was that I was successful and I had all these impostor syndrome feelings that went along with it, that I thought was just part of it.
Chris 13:59
You're hitting on something that's so important, because when we tell these stories to ourselves, we tend to take them as reality, but there are many sides to this story. There's the story that others see, and then there's ultimately the truth, the absolute truth, whatever you might think that might be, but you touched on something just very, very briefly. I think that it fits in this impostor syndrome discussion so well, and that's the experience you have with NLP because I feel like impostor syndrome is probably the negative side of NLP, right Programming ourselves to feel a certain way, versus programming ourselves to do something positive, have confidence, be joyous and energetic. What has been your experience with NLP? Do you see impostor syndrome as a negative NLP construct?
Sheryl 14:47
Well, just in terms of programming, this is a really important discussion. So, let me just give you kind of an overarching approach that I use to get past impostor syndrome, because a lot of people think you just have to live with it and that you can't get past it. If you believe that, then that will be your reality, because your subconscious mind will believe you. It's non-judgmental, it's not critical. Whatever you believe, whatever you tell it, it's going to believe you. "I can," it believes you. "I can't," it believes you. But I believe, and I have proven this, that you can get past impostor syndrome, but it takes a holistic approach. Doing the deep dive in, which is the reprogramming, what you were just talking about. And it takes repatterning the brain because we do have the neural connection. So, I'll talk about that in a moment.
Sheryl 15:32
Let's talk about programming. NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming, and it's really the
language of the mind. It's a great conversation for techies, because we understand programming, right? Oh, okay, I'm gonna just create the code, I'm gonna create the program. But we know there's a lot of bad programming out there, too, right? Trojan horses and all this stuff, right? And so, that early programming isn't actually programming we're doing. We don't have influence of that. By the way, I alluded to earlier, I don't believe in control, I absolutely don't believe in control. Now, you can believe whatever you want, but I would invite you to consider what would life be like if control was a myth? What would be left? There's this huge void, but really, there isn't because what we have is choice and influence. But when we're little, we're not choosing the messages that are coming to us, nor are we cognitively choosing our response because we're emotional beings, we're just all feeling. And so, the programming really isn't so much neuro linguistic. Well, it could be, it could be considered that, but it's being done, we're being programmed unbeknownst to us. And so, we go along in life, usually pretty
blind to that. Our conscious mind is only 10% of our reality, 90% is below the surface, and it becomes the mystery why we self-sabotage. So, when we can start to make the unconscious conscious, when we can do the deep dive and go back in and look at that programming, and see where the code was bad and then, change that. You have to really go in and almost do the deep dive to when you're young, and change it there. Not at the conscious level, the 10%, not at the adult level.
Sheryl 17:20
My mind, Sheryl Anjanette at my age, is gonna understand that wasn't abandonment, but little Sheryl at 4, 5, 6 years old, she didn't understand that. We had to go in and meet little Sheryl, and we had the conversation because she was all emotion, and then she understood and she was able to do the cognitive reframing. I don't know if you're familiar with cognitive reframing. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, cognitive reframing, is one of the most potent things you can do. If you think about a picture, if you took a picture and you put a different frame on it, it looks different, doesn't it? When you pick out a great frame for not so great picture, you can really improve that picture. Vice versa, you can take a great image and put a terrible frame on it, it does nothing for it. So, we reframe our thoughts, reframe the meaning, the story, which is really the feeling. Think about emotion. We feel emotion in our body. It's something that we experience in our body. You feel fear, you know what that feels like in your body.
You feel angry, you know what that feels like in your body. You feel happy, you know what that emotion feels like in your body. The feeling is the narrative you give that emotion, it's the story. We change the story, and then the emotion changes. We change the thought, so those all feed our thoughts. We change our thought about that, and it changes.
Sheryl 18:47
So now, I've reframed that for my young self, my inner child, which I happened to think of as children, because I think we're different at different ages and stages. But I go back in and I reframe that, and then it bubbles all the way up. It's almost like it works back up to your timeline, and now, I don't have those feelings anymore. I've been able to dissolve them, transmute transform them. And it's very lightning, like enlightening, but also lightning. Like, my clients will say things like, "Where's that heaviness? I used to feel like there was this huge weight in the pit of my stomach and it's gone. When is it going to come back?" And it doesn't, it doesn't come back, because we express those emotions. We cognitively reframe the experience. We changed the story around it and it's gone. It's gone at the origin, kind of going back to your word, if that makes sense. So, what you can do with neuro linguistic programming you don't have to do— I really often combine it, if someone's interested in hypnotherapy, I like to do NLP while people are in hypnotherapy, but some people are not sure about hypnotherapy. You can use neuro linguistic programming to do that reprogramming. Now, we can go in and start to find these things, and it's really powerful, but you always want to be with a good guide, somebody that you can trust that's really just a guide, not manipulative. Some of these things can be used for manipulation, but with a really good guide, somebody with high integrity, it can be one of two actually, those two and especially together, of the most healing modalities and very, very rapid.
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Ron 21:11
This reminds me of all of the things that could surface as you're trying to change yourself, maybe trying to change your mind, even your life, your habits. All of these thoughts, whether they're positive or negative, and you have to reprogram your mind as you were describing. When you're first learning how to program, especially in the technology field, you're not really that good at it. You might write your first program, and it has one line of code and it does one thing, but it's not quite helpful for you yet. I would imagine it would be the same for something like NLP, where you start with one small task or one small element of NLP, and then you move and you work your way to start programming more and more of your mind. Tell us a bit of a story about, or even a walkthrough of, what are the steps of programming your mind? How do you start, if you're someone that doesn't have access to an NLP practitioner like yourself?
Sheryl 22:12
Yeah, it's so interesting when you were talking about coding, and I'm not a coder, other than for the mind, but I've worked with large teams in my marketing company, I did a lot of that. Have you ever had the experience of you'll have a lot of complex code, but you'll change one line of code, and it is just magical? Like, it either destroys everything or just all of a sudden it all comes together, right?
Ron 22:38
In the programming world, it's typically a comma, or something very small that just wrecks your entire program.
Sheryl 22:46
Right. Or, finally makes it work. That was the thing, right? Let's think positive here, but right. You know, it's like the big shift, if you just moved the rhetoric a tiny bit, you're gonna end up in a completely different country. If you have access to a guide, and you're open to hypnotherapy, I think that's the most rapid way, because it's kind of like if you're climbing Everest. Would you do the climbing? Yes. Would you carry your own pack? Yes. Would you carry your own oxygen? Sure, of course you would. But would you go without a Sherpa? Probably not. And even without a group, sometimes just having others, but we're certainly not without a Sherpa. So, that's the way it is. So, if you have access to somebody that can really do this, it's actually much faster, because you can have someone. Like, with my clients, I can go right down and the thing that's been evasive for years and years, sometimes decades, we can find in a 30 to 60-minute session. It's like that comma or that little piece of code.
Sheryl 23:54
But if you're doing this yourself, the thing that you want to remember is first and foremost, and this is hard for people that are thinkers and over thinkers. I would imagine people that are high performing in the technology fields, especially if you're entrepreneurs, your mind is probably going nonstop all the time working out problems, ruminating about things. The most important thing is first, do some deep, deep breathing. Low and slow, like you're pulling it deep into your belly or the base of your spine, holding it, letting it go. Get yourself into your parasympathetic nervous system, because when you're going, going, going, you tend to be in fight or flight. So, it's really important that the logical mind can communicate with the emotional brain. And then, you put something in your mind that you're grateful for, or something that you feel positive about, something that makes you happy, and you just focus on that. You get very present, get very present meaning notice something you see, something you're touching, something you feel, touch something, feel it, get your sense of smell on board. Get very, very present in the moment and then, just feel yourself drop into your heart. Feel yourself drop into your heart, it's only an 18-inch journey, but it's something we generally don't do very often; get out of our head and into your heart. That just slowing down, slowing your mind, and just find yourself in a place, a place that is your special place. It can be inside, outside, it can be a place you know, a place you don't know, real or imagined. Find a place that feels really safe, and you know that no matter what, you're okay, and then, just start to go down.
Sheryl 25:48
Don't go into any trauma, just tell yourself before that you're not going to revisit trauma, but almost like an observer, go back through your past, like you're looking down, and you're your own coach. You're just kind of going back down through your own life. Revisit things and coach yourself, like an observer. Just go back in, like you're repairing a little code, see yourself if you were bullied at 10 years old, or if you were the bully at 12 years old. Hurt people hurt, give yourself forgiveness, give the other people forgiveness. Help yourself see the difference, that real story versus the interpretation at that age. Listen to yourself, nobody listened to you, it's easier to deal with somebody else and sometimes, it's scary for somebody to do this by themselves. It's like, "Oh no, I'm gonna do everything I can to distract myself, to keep super busy. I'll play games, I'll go do every useless thing I can do, rather than having to go inside."
Because those emotions have been repressed for so long, it can feel like you're opening up Pandora's box, but the truth is, emotions are energy in motion and if you do not express them in a healthy way, they will come out one way or another. They come out as self-sabotage, they come out as disease. Most diseases, I believe, are from these suppressed emotions, if not all. It's really powerful, but it doesn't have to be difficult. It's a little uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to be super uncomfortable. It's very liberating. You used the word freedom earlier, and it is so incredibly liberating.
Chris 27:34
I love everything that you're saying. I went through some coaching training a little while back, and one of the things that they taught us is that we have all these tools and ideas, thoughts and advice internal to us, and a lot of times we don't even realize it because we can't see the forest from the trees. We find it easier to give other people advice than to give ourselves advice. That little exercise of being your own coach, thinking completely detached about your situation and being able to look at it for what it is and coach yourself through those moments, I think it's one of the most powerful tools that anyone can have in their toolkit, to push through uncertainty, to push through self-doubt, and even imposter syndrome. For anyone that's really dealing with impostor syndrome now, maybe they feel like they're in a job where they're going to be fired any moment, is there anything that you would want to tell that person as they have those feelings of uncertainty, and really to understand the power of that's within?
Sheryl 28:37
Yeah. And by the way, this happens a lot for people, even when there's no evidence. Now, if there's really evidence, that's one thing, but imposter syndrome, it's likely that there's no evidence that you're going to be fired at any moment. We just feel like we are, we always feel like we're not good enough. And so, the first thing to do is do that deep breathing. And then, as you go into your heart and into your observer role, ask yourself: Is this real? Where's this coming from? And then, just tell yourself a different story. "You know what, I'm good, I'm good. Everything will work out. It's unlikely I'm going to be fired. I think that's just a pattern that I've had for a long time. I'm going to assume the best." I choose, because one thing you always have is choice, you may not have control, but you always have choice. You get to choose what thought you put in your mind and where you have the most influence is always over yourself. So, just use that. It's kind of like you get that question in the moment, this is happening in the moment: What do you do right now when it's happening? I'd like you to consider stepping back for a moment, so that you can repattern your mind. Not just reprogram but repattern your mind, so when these things, this self-doubt comes up in the moment, your mind already know knows where to go, you've already created new neural pathways. I talk a lot about this in my book, it's sort of a journey from awareness to insight to alignment to integration, and there are 20 exercises— actually more— throughout the book. But it's a place where you can kind of start to understand how the reprogramming and the repatterning all comes together, if that makes sense.
Chris 30:24
That makes absolute perfect sense, and I think this is a great segue for anyone to really dive into the psychology and the mindfulness that you're talking about now. For the folks out there that want to stay up-to-date with you, get your book, and stay up-to-date with all the incredible things that you're putting out there into the world, what are the best ways for people to do that?
Sheryl 30:44
Yeah, I'm pretty easy to find if you know how to spell my name. It's just Sheryl, with an S, Anjanette. The book is called The Imposter Lies Within, and it's available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and I think a few other places. It just came out on May 11th of this year, so it's kind of being picked up more and more and more. It did actually become a bestseller pretty quickly, which was nice. That was fun. I wouldn't have been able to say that when I was in the throes of impostor syndrome, celebrating my wins, so I'm proud of myself for saying that. And yeah, Sheryl Anjanette, you can reach me by email, Hello@SherylAnjanette.com. My website, all the social media is in my name.
Ron 31:30
Great. Celebrate the wins. Take a few deep breaths. Program the mind. Sheryl, thank you so much. We'll be sure to drop all of your information and the link to your book in the show notes for everyone to check out. Really appreciate the time and great conversation and with that, we'll see everyone next time.
Chris 31:53
If you found value in this content, it would mean the world to us if you shared it on social media, sent it to a friend, or talked about it over coffee.

Hacker Valley Studio 00:07
Who says tech can't be human?
Sheryl 00:11
Because a lot of people think you just have to live with it. You can't get past it, and if you believe that, then that will be your reality because your subconscious mind will believe you. It's non-judgmental. It's not critical. Whatever you believe whatever you tell it, it's going to believe you. “I can,” it believes you. “I can't,” believes you.
Hacker Valley Studio 00:30
Welcome to the Hacker Valley Studio podcast.
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Chris 01:08
What's going on, everybody? You are in the Hacker Valley Studio with your host, Ron and Chris.
Ron 01:16
Yes, sir.
Chris 01:19
Welcome back to the show.
Ron 01:22
Glad to be back again with an incredible guest. A guest that is helping businesses and really focuses
on the intersection between business and mindset. Our guest today is Sheryl Anjanette. Sheryl is an
author, international speaker, and has founded her own company Anjanette Wellness Academy. We
also have to drop your recent book, Sheryl, Imposter Lies Within: Silence Your Inner Critic, Tame Your
Fear, And Unleash Your Badassery. Sheryl, welcome to the podcast.
Sheryl 01:54
Thank you so much. So glad to be here.
Chris 01:58
We are beyond excited to talk with you about impostor syndrome. I really didn't have a name for it when I started feeling impostor syndrome. I'm sure it's pretty much the same for a lot of folks, but once you have a term for it, once you understand what it is, you can start making steps to improving it within yourself. But for everyone out there, what exactly is impostor syndrome?
Sheryl 02:20
Yeah, Chris. I mean, for decades, I didn't know what it was either. Frankly, I did live with it for decades before I finally figured out how to get past it, but here's what it is. It's a psychological pattern, and I want to put the emphasis on the word pattern because this does become habitual, where someone feels like they're not good enough, in spite of their accomplishments. So, despite evidence to the contrary, no matter how well we do, no matter what accolades we get, no matter how far up the corporate ladder we climb, we have that internalized angst that someone's going to figure it out we're not as good as they thought we were. Some people may use the imposter word, "Oh, they're gonna figure out I'm an impostor, I'm a fraud, or I'm a phony." But even if that word doesn't resonate with you, the feeling is the same. It's like, "Oh, I'm going to be exposed."
Ron 03:14
What is the origin of imposter syndrome? Because when you think of this idea of being exposed, and almost wanting to hide it and not share that you may feel like an imposter, someone had to come forward and say, "Hey, I feel like an imposter in this industry." Does this happen frequently? And do you have any insights on the origin of how we all got to this point of starting to recognize imposter syndrome, when we're really trying to mask maybe our inadequacies or pieces of focus where we're not confident?
Sheryl 03:47
Yeah, the origin question is kind of twofold. It's like, what was the origin of people finally, being able to name this body of symptoms? Because the symptoms are painful, they're debilitating, they really have costs associated with them. When we're kind of wandering out there with these suppressed emotions of not good enough or not worthy, not deserving. Or, "My voice doesn't matter. I don't matter. Who would care? Who would care about what I had to say?" And so, there were some people— I'm not thinking of their names right now, and so I don't want to say it incorrectly— in the early 1970s that first came up with a name for this, and they called it the imposter phenomenon, but they had only studied women. For quite a long time, people thought this was a female phenomenon, that only women experienced this body of symptoms, that feeling like an impostor, but recent studies, and not so recent studies, have shown that men and women experienced this almost equally, just differently, just differently. So, there's
some origins there, but then, you know, Chris, there's also the origin of: Where did this kind of begin for me, for the individual? Where did that come from?
Chris 05:04
When I feel like an imposter, it still comes up for me even to this day, I think I've quieted that voice down quite a bit, but in the very beginning, especially being in something like cybersecurity that imposter syndrome voice can be very, very loud. Because there's a lot of information that we might not know, right? We might be hired for a particular experience or things that we've done in the past, but once we arrived in this new place of work, maybe it's even a social group, we feel like we don't know as much as we should, and that's okay. As long as you're in a learning environment, but I do feel like, in some environments, they aren't learning environments and can add to that impostor syndrome feeling. Have you dealt with, whether the imposter syndrome is completely internal, or even if it's being affected by external or environmental effects?
Sheryl 05:57
Yeah, definitely. External triggers affect the imposter syndrome experience, they affect it. They don't cause it, it's not so much causation, as correlation. So, impostor really lies with it. It's this feeling that goes all the way back to our really early childhood beliefs. When we're like little sponges, we're just pure emotion, and we can be three years old, or even younger, two years old, or four years old, or five years old. Something happens and our mind is wired to find evidence to make us right. We're all like that, right? We're going to look for evidence. Something happens, we're going to look for more evidence, am I right? Am I right? Am I right? We want to be right. And so our little minds are looking for evidence if something happens, and I feel like, "I'm not good enough," and I look around and something else happens, and I say, "Oh, there it is, again. I'm not good enough," and it starts to get weightier. Depending on my personality, if I'm really sensitive, it can be very, very weighty. "I'm not good at this. Nobody cares what I have to see. I'm not lovable." "Someone abandoned me, or someone's been really unloving, it must be my fault. I'm just the person that's not lovable, or my voice doesn't matter." So, now we're adults. Now, we're adults out in the world, and there are these voices that you talk about, and some people will want to name that voice as the inner critic, but there are actually different voices in our head. The inner critic is usually the loudest, that's the one that's really self-critical, right? But there are other voices, the voices of fear, the voices of doubt, the voices of just not good enough, and those are kind of the symphony in our head, this self-talk that swirls around. Now, if we have a little bit of that, or a lot of that, and we get an external trigger, and somebody in the environment tells us, or shows us, or acts as if we're not good enough, puts us down, maybe it's micro aggressions. They don't come out and say it, but we could feel it in the tone of the voice or the way they treated us, versus the way they may have treated someone else, right? And it amplifies that. So, definitely, external triggers are powerful.
Ron 08:06
That is so interesting to me, to hear the differences of voices in your mind. That's so true, and now that I'm reflecting on my life, especially because my mindset is focused around freedom and when I don't feel free, whether it's personally, financially, spiritually, or even in my relationships, there's different voices going on. My mindset isn't really in alignment with where I want to go and then, I lose my state of presence. I'm thinking about being somewhere else or being in the future and having things be different, and then, maybe at that point, I'm thinking, "Now I'm in the wrong place. I'm not really where I want to be." I would imagine that everyone's origin story is a bit different, though, when it comes to imposter syndrome and their current mindset. What is your origin story with impostor syndrome? How did you first learn about this? Have you ever felt these emotions or experiences with feeling like an imposter?
Sheryl 09:00
Yeah, absolutely. Well, the way I kind of got the name, the way I understood what all these symptoms were, was I was working with manifestation. I was teaching people how to manifest by design, not by default, because we're always manifesting. We're always calling in that which we are thinking about and that which we are feeling because our emotions can be even more powerful than our thoughts. I was teaching people that there's this disconnect, and then I got on this audio app, I don't know if you've heard about it, Clubhouse. Everyone was talking about impostor syndrome, impostor syndrome. And I said, "You know, I'm a gap analyst," and I was looking for the cracks in the foundation. I said, "That is the term that is the umbrella for this body of symptoms that are creating this misalignment, the reason why we're not able to really do the thing or call it in or call it in congruently." The people I was working with were just getting more what they already had, or the opposite of what they want, or they were
manifesting but it was really haphazard. They weren't really, I don't like to use the word control because I don't believe in control, but they just really weren't able to repeat that. And so, I did this deep dive and I opened these rooms, and I had hundreds and hundreds of people, thousands probably— yeah, thousands, actually— over about a year and a half. They came in and out of my rooms, and just shared their pain and their experiences. So, that was my origin of working with impostor syndrome.
Sheryl 10:32
And then, as I did the deep dive, I'm also an integrative hypnotherapist. I had 30 years of business background, I've been an entrepreneur three times, I was a senior executive C suite for a couple of large billion-dollar companies, but then I also did the deep dive, and I'm a hypnotherapist, I'm an NLP master, all the mindset stuff. And so, I was looking inside. What's so interesting is so much gets buried, and I grew up in a really nice household. From the outside, everybody would say, "Oh, you grew up in the perfect upper middle class, really nice family, your parents loved you, blah, blah, blah." And I don't say blah, blah, blah lightly, because I think that's a big deal. I was fortunate, and I knew it.
Sheryl 11:18
What I didn't realize is that it's not so much the experiences that happened to us, but the meaning we give them at the stage we are. And so, when I was very little, I'm an introvert, so it was really hard for me to be with groups. I always felt awkward and I always felt like the one that didn't fit in. And then, when I was very young, my father, who was just an amazing human being, I mean, really somebody everybody loved, but he had a big voice, a big temper, and he also had a voice like Pavarotti, but he had a big voice, big temper. If he got angry, he would go take a drive. It was his way of just, "I'll just go blow off steam," which is probably a good thing. And so, he would do that, he would just go and as a little girl, I'd hear the door close, or your dad's voice gets raised, and you're little, so that's big. And then, the door would slam, so I had that noise, the trigger. I'd hear the car rev up and Daddy would leave. I felt abandoned. I didn't realize this until this year, actually, Chris, that I had a fear of abandonment. My father never abandoned me, you see, so it wasn't true, none of it was true, but it was the belief I had in my little mind that I was completely unaware of at a conscious level.
Sheryl 12:40
So, I had fear of abandonment, I was an introvert so I always felt awkward, and then, I was very sensitive, so little things would happen. I think I was in, I don't know, maybe the fifth or sixth grade— fifth grade, I think. A boy asked me to go study on April Fool's Day, and then said, "April Fool's." And so I thought, "Ah, I'm the girl that no guy wants to go out with, and they're just gonna make fun of me," and it was just painful. And so, these become our beliefs. The experience happens, but then the belief starts to form of and that identity of, "I'm not good enough, I'm abandoned, they left me." And little kids never blame their parents, little children blame themselves. When parents are unloving, little children don't stop loving their parents, they stop loving themselves. So, in my case, it wasn't that someone was unloving, but it was just things happen to me and I, in turn, found myself playing small, or I got pretty good at feeling my fear and doing it anyway, but I lived with a lot of anxiety. So, it wasn't that I wasn't successful, it was that I was successful and I had all these impostor syndrome feelings that went along with it, that I thought was just part of it.
Chris 13:59
You're hitting on something that's so important, because when we tell these stories to ourselves, we tend to take them as reality, but there are many sides to this story. There's the story that others see, and then there's ultimately the truth, the absolute truth, whatever you might think that might be, but you touched on something just very, very briefly. I think that it fits in this impostor syndrome discussion so well, and that's the experience you have with NLP because I feel like impostor syndrome is probably the negative side of NLP, right Programming ourselves to feel a certain way, versus programming ourselves to do something positive, have confidence, be joyous and energetic. What has been your experience with NLP? Do you see impostor syndrome as a negative NLP construct?
Sheryl 14:47
Well, just in terms of programming, this is a really important discussion. So, let me just give you kind of an overarching approach that I use to get past impostor syndrome, because a lot of people think you just have to live with it and that you can't get past it. If you believe that, then that will be your reality, because your subconscious mind will believe you. It's non-judgmental, it's not critical. Whatever you believe, whatever you tell it, it's going to believe you. "I can," it believes you. "I can't," it believes you. But I believe, and I have proven this, that you can get past impostor syndrome, but it takes a holistic approach. Doing the deep dive in, which is the reprogramming, what you were just talking about. And it takes repatterning the brain because we do have the neural connection. So, I'll talk about that in a moment.
Sheryl 15:32
Let's talk about programming. NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming, and it's really the
language of the mind. It's a great conversation for techies, because we understand programming, right? Oh, okay, I'm gonna just create the code, I'm gonna create the program. But we know there's a lot of bad programming out there, too, right? Trojan horses and all this stuff, right? And so, that early programming isn't actually programming we're doing. We don't have influence of that. By the way, I alluded to earlier, I don't believe in control, I absolutely don't believe in control. Now, you can believe whatever you want, but I would invite you to consider what would life be like if control was a myth? What would be left? There's this huge void, but really, there isn't because what we have is choice and influence. But when we're little, we're not choosing the messages that are coming to us, nor are we cognitively choosing our response because we're emotional beings, we're just all feeling. And so, the programming really isn't so much neuro linguistic. Well, it could be, it could be considered that, but it's being done, we're being programmed unbeknownst to us. And so, we go along in life, usually pretty
blind to that. Our conscious mind is only 10% of our reality, 90% is below the surface, and it becomes the mystery why we self-sabotage. So, when we can start to make the unconscious conscious, when we can do the deep dive and go back in and look at that programming, and see where the code was bad and then, change that. You have to really go in and almost do the deep dive to when you're young, and change it there. Not at the conscious level, the 10%, not at the adult level.
Sheryl 17:20
My mind, Sheryl Anjanette at my age, is gonna understand that wasn't abandonment, but little Sheryl at
4, 5, 6 years old, she didn't understand that. We had to go in and meet little Sheryl, and we had the conversation because she was all emotion, and then she understood and she was able to do the cognitive reframing. I don't know if you're familiar with cognitive reframing. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, cognitive reframing, is one of the most potent things you can do. If you think about a picture, if you took a picture and you put a different frame on it, it looks different, doesn't it? When you pick out a great frame for not so great picture, you can really improve that picture. Vice versa, you can take a great image and put a terrible frame on it, it does nothing for it. So, we reframe our thoughts, reframe the meaning, the story, which is really the feeling. Think about emotion. We feel emotion in our body. It's something that we experience in our body. You feel fear, you know what that feels like in your body. You feel angry, you know what that feels like in your body. You feel happy, you know what that emotion
feels like in your body. The feeling is the narrative you give that emotion, it's the story. We change the story, and then the emotion changes. We change the thought, so those all feed our thoughts. We change our thought about that, and it changes.
Sheryl 18:47
So now, I've reframed that for my young self, my inner child, which I happened to think of as children, because I think we're different at different ages and stages. But I go back in and I reframe that, and then it bubbles all the way up. It's almost like it works back up to your timeline, and now, I don't have those feelings anymore. I've been able to dissolve them, transmute transform them. And it's very lightning, like enlightening, but also lightning. Like, my clients will say things like, "Where's that heaviness? I used to feel like there was this huge weight in the pit of my stomach and it's gone. When is it going to come back?" And it doesn't, it doesn't come back, because we express those emotions. We cognitively reframe the experience. We changed the story around it and it's gone. It's gone at the origin, kind of going back to your word, if that makes sense. So, what you can do with neuro linguistic programming you don't have to do— I really often combine it, if someone's interested in hypnotherapy, I like to do NLP while people are in hypnotherapy, but some people are not sure about hypnotherapy. You can use neuro linguistic programming to do that reprogramming. Now, we can go in and start to find these things, and it's really powerful, but you always want to be with a good guide, somebody that you can trust that's really just a guide, not manipulative. Some of these things can be used for manipulation, but with a really good guide, somebody with high integrity, it can be one of two actually, those two and especially together, of the most healing modalities and very, very rapid.
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Ron 21:11
This reminds me of all of the things that could surface as you're trying to change yourself, maybe trying to change your mind, even your life, your habits. All of these thoughts, whether they're positive or negative, and you have to reprogram your mind as you were describing. When you're first learning how to program, especially in the technology field, you're not really that good at it. You might write your first program, and it has one line of code and it does one thing, but it's not quite helpful for you yet. I would imagine it would be the same for something like NLP, where you start with one small task or one small element of NLP, and then you move and you work your way to start programming more and more of your mind. Tell us a bit of a story about, or even a walkthrough of, what are the steps of programming your mind? How do you start, if you're someone that doesn't have access to an NLP practitioner like yourself?
Sheryl 22:12
Yeah, it's so interesting when you were talking about coding, and I'm not a coder, other than for the mind, but I've worked with large teams in my marketing company, I did a lot of that. Have you ever had the experience of you'll have a lot of complex code, but you'll change one line of code, and it is just magical? Like, it either destroys everything or just all of a sudden it all comes together, right?
Ron 22:38
In the programming world, it's typically a comma, or something very small that just wrecks your entire program.
Sheryl 22:46
Right. Or, finally makes it work. That was the thing, right? Let's think positive here, but right. You know, it's like the big shift, if you just moved the rhetoric a tiny bit, you're gonna end up in a completely different country. If you have access to a guide, and you're open to hypnotherapy, I think that's the most rapid way, because it's kind of like if you're climbing Everest. Would you do the climbing? Yes. Would you carry your own pack? Yes. Would you carry your own oxygen? Sure, of course you would. But would you go without a Sherpa? Probably not. And even without a group, sometimes just having others, but we're certainly not without a Sherpa. So, that's the way it is. So, if you have access to somebody that can really do this, it's actually much faster, because you can have someone. Like, with my clients, I can go right down and the thing that's been evasive for years and years, sometimes decades, we can find in a 30 to 60-minute session. It's like that comma or that little piece of code.
Sheryl 23:54
But if you're doing this yourself, the thing that you want to remember is first and foremost, and this is hard for people that are thinkers and over thinkers. I would imagine people that are high performing in the technology fields, especially if you're entrepreneurs, your mind is probably going nonstop all the time working out problems, ruminating about things. The most important thing is first, do some deep, deep breathing. Low and slow, like you're pulling it deep into your belly or the base of your spine, holding it, letting it go. Get yourself into your parasympathetic nervous system, because when you're going, going, going, you tend to be in fight or flight. So, it's really important that the logical mind can communicate with the emotional brain. And then, you put something in your mind that you're grateful for, or something that you feel positive about, something that makes you happy, and you just focus on that. You get very present, get very present meaning notice something you see, something you're touching, something you feel, touch something, feel it, get your sense of smell on board. Get very, very present in the moment and then, just feel yourself drop into your heart. Feel yourself drop into your heart, it's only an 18-inch journey, but it's something we generally don't do very often; get out of our
head and into your heart. That just slowing down, slowing your mind, and just find yourself in a place, a place that is your special place. It can be inside, outside, it can be a place you know, a place you don't know, real or imagined. Find a place that feels really safe, and you know that no matter what, you're okay, and then, just start to go down.
Sheryl 25:48
Don't go into any trauma, just tell yourself before that you're not going to revisit trauma, but almost like an observer, go back through your past, like you're looking down, and you're your own coach. You're just kind of going back down through your own life. Revisit things and coach yourself, like an observer. Just go back in, like you're repairing a little code, see yourself if you were bullied at 10 years old, or if you were the bully at 12 years old. Hurt people hurt, give yourself forgiveness, give the other people forgiveness. Help yourself see the difference, that real story versus the interpretation at that age. Listen to yourself, nobody listened to you, it's easier to deal with somebody else and sometimes, it's scary for somebody to do this by themselves. It's like, "Oh no, I'm gonna do everything I can to distract myself, to keep super busy. I'll play games, I'll go do every useless thing I can do, rather than having to go inside."
Because those emotions have been repressed for so long, it can feel like you're opening up Pandora's box, but the truth is, emotions are energy in motion and if you do not express them in a healthy way, they will come out one way or another. They come out as self-sabotage, they come out as disease. Most diseases, I believe, are from these suppressed emotions, if not all. It's really powerful, but it doesn't have to be difficult. It's a little uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to be super uncomfortable. It's very liberating. You used the word freedom earlier, and it is so incredibly liberating.
Chris 27:34
I love everything that you're saying. I went through some coaching training a little while back, and one of the things that they taught us is that we have all these tools and ideas, thoughts and advice internal to us, and a lot of times we don't even realize it because we can't see the forest from the trees. We find it easier to give other people advice than to give ourselves advice. That little exercise of being your own coach, thinking completely detached about your situation and being able to look at it for what it is and coach yourself through those moments, I think it's one of the most powerful tools that anyone can have in their toolkit, to push through uncertainty, to push through self-doubt, and even imposter syndrome. For anyone that's really dealing with impostor syndrome now, maybe they feel like they're in a job where they're going to be fired any moment, is there anything that you would want to tell that person as they have those feelings of uncertainty, and really to understand the power of that's within?
Sheryl 28:37
Yeah. And by the way, this happens a lot for people, even when there's no evidence. Now, if there's really evidence, that's one thing, but imposter syndrome, it's likely that there's no evidence that you're going to be fired at any moment. We just feel like we are, we always feel like we're not good enough. And so, the first thing to do is do that deep breathing. And then, as you go into your heart and into your observer role, ask yourself: Is this real? Where's this coming from? And then, just tell yourself a different story. "You know what, I'm good, I'm good. Everything will work out. It's unlikely I'm going to be fired. I think that's just a pattern that I've had for a long time. I'm going to assume the best." I choose, because one thing you always have is choice, you may not have control, but you always have choice. You get to choose what thought you put in your mind and where you have the most influence is always over yourself. So, just use that. It's kind of like you get that question in the moment, this is happening in the moment: What do you do right now when it's happening? I'd like you to consider stepping back for a moment, so that you can repattern your mind. Not just reprogram but repattern your mind, so when these things, this self-doubt comes up in the moment, your mind already know knows where to go, you've already created new neural pathways. I talk a lot about this in my book, it's sort of a journey from awareness to insight to alignment to integration, and there are 20 exercises— actually more— throughout the book. But it's a place where you can kind of start to understand how the reprogramming and the repatterning all comes together, if that makes sense.
Chris 30:24
That makes absolute perfect sense, and I think this is a great segue for anyone to really dive into the psychology and the mindfulness that you're talking about now. For the folks out there that want to stay up-to-date with you, get your book, and stay up-to-date with all the incredible things that you're putting out there into the world, what are the best ways for people to do that?
Sheryl 30:44
Yeah, I'm pretty easy to find if you know how to spell my name. It's just Sheryl, with an S, Anjanette. The book is called The Imposter Lies Within, and it's available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and I think a few other places. It just came out on May 11th of this year, so it's kind of being picked up more and more and more. It did actually become a bestseller pretty quickly, which was nice. That was fun. I wouldn't have been able to say that when I was in the throes of impostor syndrome, celebrating my wins, so I'm proud of myself for saying that. And yeah, Sheryl Anjanette, you can reach me by email, Hello@SherylAnjanette.com. My website, all the social media is in my name.
Ron 31:30
Great. Celebrate the wins. Take a few deep breaths. Program the mind. Sheryl, thank you so much. We'll be sure to drop all of your information and the link to your book in the show notes for everyone to check out. Really appreciate the time and great conversation and with that, we'll see everyone next time.
Chris 31:53
If you found value in this content, it would mean the world to us if you shared it on social media, sent it to a friend, or talked about it over coffee.

Keeping Cyber Course Prices Equitable with Kenneth Ellington

November 29, 2022 Hacker Valley Studio

00:00:00