Fake feelings or real emotions? with Kelly Campbell

Kelly Campbell and I seem to have struck a nerve with the conversation in Episode #437 about trusting your intuition.

Listeners seem especially interested in the distinctions we’re making between fake feelings (what Kelly calls false narratives) and real emotions.

So we picked up there in this new episode, Episode #438, and explained a bit more how we each see it – I even shared an actual example of my own "fake feelings."

Then we connected that idea to the essential skill of listening, especially for coaches. It’s another really interesting conversation – and will again be continued.

This is Part 3 in what is clearly becoming a series of conversation between me and Kelly Campbell in a wide-ranging discussion (you can find the previous conversations gathered here).

Here is one baby step you can take to stop yourself from reacting too quickly:

The next time you feel yourself reacting strongly to a request or a comment from a prospect or client, see if you can restrain yourself just long enough to decide whether it’s a fake feeling or a real emotion before you actually respond. 

Here’s a strategy shared by Teresa Murray, a copywriter for thought leaders in the innovation space: 

Read email + leave it alone + read it again some hours later + reflect + draft a calm response + leave it + come back, check it is polite and answers concerns of prospect. Check writing quality. 

(If you’re a client of mine, you can even run it by me before you send it.)

Try it and let me know how it works.

So listen to the entire episode here (and below). Scroll down for the complete transcript. 

 

And if you like what you hear, we’d love it if you write a review, subscribe on Apple Podcasts and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

Transcript of Podcast #438 – Kelly Campbell

ilise benun

Hi there, this is ilise benun, your Marketing Mentor. And this is the podcast for you if, and only if, you are ready to leave the feast or famine syndrome behind, and I mean for good. 

In Episode 437, Kelly Campbell and I seemed to have struck a nerve with the conversation about learning how to trust your intuition. Listeners seemed especially interested in the distinctions we're making between fake feelings, which is what Kelly calls “false narratives,” and real emotions. So we picked up there in this episode and explained a bit more about how we each see it. I even shared an actual example of my own fake feelings. Then we connected that idea to the essential skill of listening, especially for coaches. It's another really interesting conversation and will again be continued. So, listen and learn. 

Hello, Kelly. Welcome back to the podcast.

Kelly Campbell

Ilise, I am so excited to have yet another conversation with you as a follow up to Part One and Part Two. And who knows, it might be more.

ilise benun

Exactly. And we've been getting so much good feedback; it's so interesting. People are really, I guess, curious about especially the things we talked about in episode 437, about figuring out when to trust yourself and trust other people and listening to your intuition. And I think it makes sense because this is something people struggle with a lot. So I am looking forward to just jumping right in and continuing the conversation. But first, in case someone hasn't heard those episodes and doesn't know who you are, please introduce yourself.

Kelly Campbell

My name is Kelly Campbell. I am a trauma-informed conscious leadership coach to creative agency leaders. And I have been doing that for about five or six years, since I sold my cause marketing firm in 2016.

ilise benun

Excellent. And we will talk a little bit about what that means. We'll come around to that, I'm sure, because it does seem all related. But I think the place I want to start, there are two things that I think are connected that I wanted to pick up on. And one is this idea of making a distinction between what I call “fake feelings” and real emotions. And maybe explain a little bit more what I mean by that. 

And I've been thinking a lot lately about the listening that's required as a coach. And how I think about and improve, really, the way I listen. And just run that by you and see how it strikes you and how it might relate to what you do. And maybe you can share some of how you do it, also. So how does that sound?

Kelly Campbell

Yeah, that sounds great. I love these conversations and this is why this has become multipart, because it is an ongoing conversation with a lot of depth and a lot of layers, because we're talking about humans and we are not simple creatures.

ilise benun

That's for sure. That's for sure. I love the depth of them also. And I do think that's what people are responding to, so we'll just keep going deeper and deeper if we can.

Kelly Campbell

Speaking my love language. You talked about fake feelings last time, fake emotions, and I called them “false narratives.” And I think we arrived at the place where we're I actually saying the same thing, we just use slightly different verbiage.

ilise benun

Yeah. So let me describe or define a little bit more about what I mean by fake feelings and see if that connects to false narratives with you, or if there's a distinction, because as I've thought about at this more, the way I think about it is, it's not that the feelings themselves are not real. I'm not saying what you're feeling, you're not really feeling. That's not what I mean when I say “fake feelings.” And actually, I think about doing feelings, it's an action as opposed to having feelings. So when I do it, when I react angrily when something happens and there's no need to be angry about it, I think of myself as doing feelings as opposed to having feelings. And that helps me stop doing it, basically.

And the thing that's fake about these feelings that I'm doing is that they are rooted in ancient history and have nothing to do with what's really happening and the person in front of me. And so that's what makes them fake, is that they're repetitive and habitual and automatic—which means they're not happening in reality, because if they were happening in reality, it would be something totally new for the most part. So, I did think of an example. I don't think it's the best example, but it's what I came up with when I was trying to think about this.

What happens often when someone asks me to do something that I've already done, but they just don't know it, I get mad. And so the reason I get mad is because I imagine they're accusing me of not being reliable. And I know that I am, and I pride myself actually on doing what I said I would do. It's one of my “things.” I'm sure that's also rooted in ancient history from all those people who didn't do the things they said they would do, but whatever. That's all part of the past. And the reality is that this person, whoever they are, is not accusing me of anything. They're just looking for something, or they're confused about something, or they're lost or they're overwhelmed, but it's not an accusation and it's not about me. So I have no reason to do the feeling of anger. So, that to me is a fake feeling.

I don't know what a real emotion ... I mean, I hadn't really thought about this more, but there are real emotions of anger, for sure, that happen in the moment when something happens. But I also actually try to control that because it's a total waste of my energy. But anyway, that's how I think about it, so go.

Kelly Campbell

Okay. So the first thing is, we are way more alike than we are different. What you just described in your example is exactly something that I relate to. I think it comes from this idea of wanting to be seen as competent, and the idea of being accused of not doing something triggers something about incompetence in me. And so, when we're trying to pull these things apart, I call them “false narratives.” What I really mean by that, which is similar to what you just said, is that they're not rooted in reality, right? They are our reactions or they're part of our reactivity, which are actually trauma responses. And so this is a lot of the work that I do.

When I say “trauma responses,” I mean, big T, little T, doesn't matter. None of us escaped childhood unscathed, from having some traumatic experience or feelings of powerlessness or unworthiness or things along those lines, right? What this is, is it's really programming or imprinting—and I may have said this in one of the previous parts of our discussions, but it's imprinting or programming that we carry with us into our workplace, into our relationships, into all manner of how we show up in the world.

And so, what you're talking about in terms of that feeling of anger and that reactivity, and then being able to discern that, is now you are embodying awareness, right? You're more self-aware because you've gone through the process of being introspective about it and saying, “Well, that's not reality. That's not accusing me of doing something that I didn't do. It's actually just my reaction and I've got to pull that apart.” So, this is where the deeper work comes in and I call it “intense introspection.” That has to be first, so that you can start to heal those parts of you that are unresolved that you're still carrying with you.

Some people call it “baggage,” but I don't look at it as baggage at all. I look at it as these are trauma responses and coping mechanisms that helped us to survive when we were younger. And now our job in adulthood and as leaders is really to take responsibility for those emotions or those quote unquote "fake feelings" and discern, what is the reality? So yeah, we are definitely saying the same thing. And now that's even more calcified for me, that we are not talking about two separate things. They're definitely the same.

ilise benun

Interesting. So let's connect this to the idea of listening. And specifically because we're both coaches and that involves a lot of listening, we can think about it and talk about it from that point of view. But I think everyone who has clients or relationships with people need to be good listeners. And my experience is that when I am too focused, or maybe not introspective enough about what my reaction is, or what's going on as I'm reacting to someone, then I can't listen because that's a distraction away from what I'm trying to do. But lately I've been thinking about what I'm calling “dual listening,” which is essentially just listening on more than one level at a time. And I'm sure, actually, there are more than two levels, but I'm just starting with two.

And the dual listening is the more obvious, which is listening to what the person you're listening to is saying, the person who's speaking. But I think as a coach, especially, more important—not more important, equally as important—is listening to myself as I'm listening to the other person, because what I hear in myself is a whole cacophony of things, some in reality, some not in reality. And I have reactions and ideas and responses and all sorts of things that I have to modulate, control, decide how or if to use and bring into the conversation, or let go.

And I love this process, actually. This is one of my favorite things to do, is just to sit and listen to someone and myself simultaneously, and then decide what would be the most helpful for the person I'm talking to. Not, what do I need to say. Right? But, what would be the most helpful thing I could say or not say for the person. And shoot, I had a thought, but then ... oh, I got distracted … because what happens is the minute I turn my attention elsewhere from the listening, from the dual listening, what seems to get muted first is my own reactions. I can keep listening to the other person, but I mute, and I would even say “betray” myself if I check my email or even try to turn my attention elsewhere. What do you think?

Kelly Campbell

So, yeah, what you're talking about, I love this conversation. We're talking about deep listening as a coach. So inside of the coaching container, especially with my training in trauma-informed coaching, there are actually four levels of listening. 

The first level is listening to reply versus listening to understand, right? So you're just listening. There's probably some judgment. It's very surface level.

The second level is what you're talking about, where you are listening to them. You're also, you call it “dual listening,” which is a great phrase, but you're listening to them; you're also listening to yourself, almost like in the seat of an observer. 

And then the third level of listening is where you start to really look at their body language, what's going unsaid, changes in their nervous system, the ways in which they're showing up. So you're really listening to the whole of the person.

And then, the fourth level is really holding that space for them and having no judgment over what they're saying, whatsoever; really looking at everything that's going on, keeping in mind everything that you know about them or the situation, and really just being inquisitive. So, it's like creating this ... Dr. Gabor Maté calls it “compassionate inquiry,” where you're actually not giving them any information. You're not giving them guidance or advisory, right? Because in a true coaching relationship, that's not advisory. That's more consulting, if you're giving them or solving things for them. In this stance, you're just holding that space and asking good questions so that they can arrive at the information for themselves because, as the client, they are the subject matter expert of their own lives. And there's nothing wrong with them. There's nothing to fix. They're not broken. They're whole and complete. And so, you're basically empowering them by just asking really introspective questions and getting them to go a little bit deeper for themselves. 

So yeah, that's the power of deep listening, because a lot of coaches who maybe either aren't trauma informed, or they confuse consulting or mentorship and coaching, a lot of them will give advice. And absolutely, I did this before I really understood the difference between the couple of different roles to play.

In this situation, it would be disempowering the client if they said, “Hey, I don't know what to do about this thing. What would you do?” Or, “Tell me the answer, give me the answer, help me problem solve it.” If we do that as coaches, what we're actually communicating to our clients is that they are unable to problem solve for themselves and they need external validation; they need these other external things and that they don't have the answers within them. And that's not our job. As coaches, we're there to empower our clients. So deep listening is a huge, huge component of this. And you have to obviously embody a lot of emotional intelligence techniques and empathy. “Compassionate empathy” is what I might call it based on Daniel Goleman's work. So yeah, there's a whole host of things that as a coach, listening is the number one, but it's got to be deeper than that, even, because it's got to include all of these other ways in which we are observing and taking in lots of information, whether that's visually, their body language, et cetera.

ilise benun

Okay. So of all the different things that came up while I was listening to you, I'm choosing two.

Kelly Campbell

Okay.

ilise benun

And then we can only do one at a time, but I'm just going to put the two on the table. One is, I want to push back on the idea of not advising. And I want to talk, if we have time, also briefly, about the visual aspect that distracts me when I'm listening. I don't want to see any body language. I don't want to see anything. I really feel like I listen better, I hear better, when I can't see. So, we'll come right back to that. 

But I hear what you're saying about people have the answers within themselves. And part of the job, from my point of view, is to help them find themselves.

I definitely agree with that, but I also think—and this is me speaking from my own experience learning from an excellent teacher—that sometimes we need to internalize someone else's more logical, more reality-based voice, and hear it and sometimes in the form of advice, so that they can, later on when I'm not there anymore, say, “What would ilise say? What would ilise do? How could I think about this differently?” And then that becomes part of them, ideally, and it has nothing to do with me. It's just something that overrides those old voices, I would say.

Kelly Campbell

Yeah, and I'm not saying that I don't advise clients. I just am wearing my consultant hat when I do that. So I actually create two separate containers. I have a coaching container and then a consulting session—two separate sessions with clients on a monthly basis, because it helps us to both understand how better to show up in those sessions.

ilise benun

Interesting.

Kelly Campbell

So it's like a hybrid of conscious-leadership coaching and agency-growth consulting. That's how I make the distinction.

ilise benun

Interesting.

Kelly Campbell

But yes, yes, and I think that both are valuable. It's just for me and for the client, both of us knowing and setting up the expectation as to how we both show up and what the expectations are on my part when I'm in the coaching container—I 'm not giving advice, I'm not problem solving. I'm literally just holding space and asking good questions.

ilise benun

So, let's just talk briefly before we wrap up. And then of course, we're going to have to have another conversation. And as you suggested, I think it was in Number Two, maybe this will even be a podcast of its own at some point in the future, which I think would be a lot of fun. 

So, the other point is that when I think of myself as a listener, I am focused on my ears and what happens inside of me. I often will close my eyes if I'm on a Zoom call with someone or I'll just say, “Can we please just talk on the phone?” because I am distracted by the visuals of a person. And I really feel like I hear better, I hear more, when I can't see. I get a better sense of the person. I don't know how or why this happens, but it's just too distracting to see.

Kelly Campbell

And I think that's fine. I don't think that there's anything wrong with that. I think we all have our own styles of how we listen best. And so if you get just as much information from turning the camera off or talking on the phone, that's fine. I totally understand that. And I think that there are a lot of therapists who actually prefer to talk on the phone because of that. 

I like video because I like to be able to gather ... I'm an information gatherer. I'm like an emotional detective. And so for me, it's about seeing when they take a deep breath to reset their nervous system. It's about, if they get emotional, I want to be able to see what's actually going on. I can hear it. I can see it. I can feel with them. And then also help them to move out of that by asking some good questions about what's going on for them in that moment. “It all belongs,” as my teacher says.

ilise benun

And my teacher says, “Everybody's different.” Awesome. All right. So, that seems like a good place to put the bookmark for today, Kelly, to be continued.

Kelly Campbell

Well, I think that clearly means that we've got to continue the conversation and just maybe even make it a little bit longer next time and go deeper, as you said. There are so many layers to the onion, right, as the analogy is used pretty often. And I think the more that we peel back, we just get deeper and deeper into the nuances of how we are showing up in our leadership roles, I guess I might say. But also, I mean, in relationship—whether that's with our clients, with our families, with our partners—all of this is interconnected. And I think that's maybe what people are gravitating toward in these conversations because, yes, these conversations are being had, but not really in the context of business. And I think that's where the ethos of this whole thing is.

ilise benun

And especially because I know my clients, and I think yours as well, are self-employed. And so there's a lot of blur between business and personal and all those different elements of our lives. And I don't think it makes sense to compartmentalize them for the most part.

Kelly Campbell

Not at all. We're not two different personas, right? One at work and one at home, or the self person and the employer person. If we want to live life in a way in which we feel integrated and whole, then we have to bring all of ourselves to that leadership role. 

I think I said this in one of the previous conversations, but we carry ourselves with us wherever where we go. There is no compartmentalization that's really possible. The things that we're talking about here are about wearing a mask, right? So we put the mask on and it just helps us to assimilate in certain situations. We can regulate our emotions and still show up as our authentic selves. And I think that's what a lot of people are really craving at this point, especially given the last two years.

ilise benun

And just from a marketing point of view, bringing one's self into one's business as much as possible, as authentically as possible, is certainly one of the ways to stand apart from someone who claims to do the same thing you do.

Kelly Campbell

100%.

ilise benun

Right? I mean, even in these conversations, it's interesting, because we both do coaching for similar markets, but we're so different.

Kelly Campbell

Yeah. Your positioning is very much like marketing mentorship, right?

ilise benun

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Campbell

And mine is this hybrid of developing self-awareness so that you can have a more sustainable business in terms of an agency, whether that's creative, media technology, it doesn't really matter.

ilise benun

Exactly. All right. So yes, next time we'll make it longer.

Kelly Campbell

Okay.

ilise benun

We'll allow more time. We'll go deeper. Deal. All right. So tell people where they can find you online, Kelly.

Kelly Campbell

Sure. So my website is just klcampbell.com, and you can find lots of information about the work that I do as well as my email and my phone number.

ilise benun

And your podcast, Thrive Podcast.

Kelly Campbell

Yeah. Thrive is also on there and obviously all of the places where you listen to this podcast as well.

ilise benun

In podcast places. Okay. Good. Thank you, Kelly.

Kelly Campbell

Thank you.

ilise benun

Wow, that was great. And as I mentioned in Episode 437 with Kelly, I'm adding a baby step you can take after each episode based on what I discussed with my guest. So here is the baby step from this excellent chat. 

The next time you feel yourself reacting strongly to a request or a comment from a prospect or a client, see if you can't restrain yourself just long enough to decide whether it's a fake feeling or a real emotion before you actually respond. 

Here's a strategy shared by Teresa Murray who's a copywriter for thought leaders in the innovation space. She suggests this: read the email, then leave it alone. Then, read it again some hours later or maybe even the next day, no, maybe hours later; there's no rush to respond. Then reflect for a little while, as long as you need. Then, draft a calm response. Then put it away, leave it, maybe overnight, sleep on it, come back. Check that it is polite and that it answers the concerns or the question that your prospect asked, and then check the writing quality.

And if you're a client of mine, you can even run it by me before you send it. So, try that and let me know how it works. 

Did you learn a little something? I hope so, because that is how this works, one baby step at a time. Before you know it, you'll have better clients with bigger budgets. Speaking of better clients, they're probably not going to fall into your lap. If you want to build a thriving business on your own terms, you need my Simplest Marketing Plan. The new 4.0 version for 2022 is packed with all new content, including six new case studies and six new lessons. You also get three different planners, plus access to the free monthly Office Hours group coaching session where you'll meet other creative pros who are practicing what I preach and taking control over their business and their life. Find it all in the marketing mentor shop at marketing-mentor.com. And if you haven't already, please sign up for my Quick Tips there. And I'll be back soon with more conversations with creative professionals who are doing what it takes to ditch the feast or famine syndrome. Until then, see you next time.