The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Tim Crawford

November 21, 2023 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 69
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Tim Crawford
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we chat with Tim Crawford, a strategic CIO, executive coach, and advisor who works with large global enterprise organizations and vendors.

Tim has over 30 years of experience as a technology leader, working in various roles such as network engineer, infrastructure manager, and CIO at different companies and industries. He’ll share his journey from mowing lawns as his first job to starting his own business, AVOA, where he advises both end users and vendors on technology and business strategy.

We discuss how he brings his CIO perspective and expertise to both sides of the equation, and how he deals with the challenges and opportunities of running his own business and being a doer.

We’ll also explore his experiences with imposter syndrome and how he overcame his self-doubt and achieved success in his career.

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Find your own purpose.
Contribute to something more than just the job that you’re doing.
Find a way to make a difference in something that resonates with you.
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[00:00:00] Chris: Hello and welcome to the Impostor Syndrome Network podcast, where everyone belongs, especially those of you who think you don't. My name is Chris Grundeman and unfortunately we are not joined by Zoe Rose today. She is away late at some other meetings that had to happen, but I think you're still in for a treat.

[00:00:25] Chris: This is the Tim Crawford episode. Tim is ranked as one of the most influential CIOs and regularly quoted in the Wall Street Journal, CIO. com, Forbes, Silicon Angle, and TechTarget. Uh, he's a strategic CIO, executive coach, and advisor that works with large global enterprise organizations across a number of industries, including financial services, healthcare, major airlines, and of course, high tech.

[00:00:51] Chris: Tim is also a board member, an advisor, a member of the Wall Street Journal CIO network. And the host of a couple of podcasts. 

[00:01:00] Chris: Hi, Tim. Would you mind introducing yourself a bit further to the imposter syndrome network? 

[00:01:05] Tim: Hey, Chris. Thanks for having me on the podcast. Uh, really looking forward to this conversation.

[00:01:11] Tim: I think you've encapsulated kind of who I am pretty well. Had the, the opportunity, the honor to, to work with a number of different people and companies over the course of my career, and hopefully I'll get to share a little bit of that knowledge and insight as we go through the conversation. 

[00:01:27] Chris: Definitely.

[00:01:27] Chris: Yeah, I hope so as well. And just diving right in as we sometimes do, I'd like to start right at the very beginning, maybe even before the beginning, I guess. What was your first ever job, not just in technology, but what was the first thing that you were paid to do on a regular basis? 

[00:01:41] Tim: Oh, geez, you know, I think a lot of folks would probably say a newspaper carrier, but that was not my thing.

[00:01:48] Tim: And I actually have a story about that later in life when I worked for one of the largest newspaper companies in the country and ended up having to work as a carrier. During a strike, but my first paid job was mowing lawns would take our lawnmower to a couple of neighbors and mow their lawn. And I think I made five bucks doing it, but you know, it was money at the time and, you know, gave me a purpose.

[00:02:13] Tim: And I started to learn about the importance of commitment and and doing a good job. 

[00:02:18] Chris: That's awesome. Yeah, that was actually now that you say that I had kind of forgotten that was I think probably the first thing I got paid to do as well was was mow a couple neighbors yards. Wow. 

[00:02:26] Tim: Yeah, it's funny when you think back, you know, it's.

[00:02:29] Tim: Our lives are not just about technology, right? They're informed by a lot of different things. And quite often you have, uh, you have these little jobs that you do that you just don't think about because it wasn't something you put on your resume, right? But they exist. 

[00:02:44] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and, and thinking back to that also, I think that was one of the first places where I think I got, you know, at least a glimmer of the entrepreneurial spirit, right?

[00:02:54] Chris: This idea that. You could with your own labor, you know, create value for others and then capture some of that in the process. And I probably would definitely have not explained it that way at 10 years old, but I started to see a little bit of that right. And I wonder, you know, if that is true for you as well.

[00:03:09] Chris: I know now. You're a CIO strategic advisor at AVOA, which I believe is your own company, and you've been doing that for what? I mean, I think it's 14, 15 years almost now. Yeah. Yeah, 

[00:03:21] Tim: just over 10 years now. 

[00:03:22] Chris: So is that something that you always wanted to do or is that is that something that just came along?

[00:03:25] Tim: Yeah, you know, it's it's not something that I had in the cards, you know It definitely wasn't on the bingo card as they say I was actually looking for my next leadership role If you look over the course of my career in technology. Kind of started out networking and putting together, you know, fixing computers and then building networks and, uh, you know, this is back in the late eighties, early nineties, and then starting to, to build infrastructure and applications on top of that.

[00:03:54] Tim: And so, as I progressed through my career, working with bigger companies and having more, more responsibility in the roles that I held. All the way up through a CIO, I was starting to look for my next leadership role, and I just wasn't finding anything that really kind of got me excited. I'd go on these interviews, I'd meet with these other executives, and it just wasn't, it wasn't coming together for me.

[00:04:20] Tim: I wasn't finding something that was really kind of getting me excited, where I felt like, you know what, this is great, this is, this would be perfect. And so that's really when I started to, to work with others and they said, look, you've got some free time. Why don't you work with us? You know, bring your expertise, you know, we'll pay you to for your time.

[00:04:40] Tim: And one thing led to another. And next thing you know, I got a book of business. And I'm like, okay, that was not part of the plan here. And so that started to build. And then I joined one of my clients for a short period of time and then spun back out is that after they got acquired. And started doing the same thing again, but then vendors started to reach out and say, Hey, you know, we we see what you're doing.

[00:05:02] Tim: We hear you coming up in our customer conversations. We'd also like to get some of that that perspective in an expertise. And so kind of to your point, you know, 10 years later, here I am and there are two pieces to what I do. One is working with end users as kind of a CIO at large, bringing that perspective to the conversation with customers.

[00:05:24] Tim: So that comes in the form of assessments, uh, strategic involvement, strategic building. And then also, uh, coaching and then the other piece of it is working with the vendors and again, bringing that CIO perspective to those conversations to where they can really kind of get the straight answer. There isn't bias that comes into that conversation like a customer would bring or others might bring into it.

[00:05:52] Tim: It's they they're able to have those direct. Intimate conversations, and they're also able to tap into some of those private conversations that that happen, not exposing who said what, because that would that be a violation of trust, but rather they get to understand kind of what's really being discussed and what's really being said amongst IT leaders. 

[00:06:15] Tim: And so the combination of these two became really interesting because I see the whole equation. And coming from a customer standpoint brings that unique perspective to it. 

[00:06:25] Chris: Yeah, that's super interesting. And I can definitely see, I mean, on both sides, right? I mean, for their own self interest, right?

[00:06:31] Chris: It's kind of like pleading the fifth in some cases, maybe not quite that dire, but, you know, vendors may not be as 100 percent forthcoming as they would be with a potential customer because they're gonna. You know, do maybe a little bit of sugarcoating or something along the way, right? They're definitely gonna put their best foot forward.

[00:06:44] Chris: And vice versa, the customer is trying not to give too much away that they don't want to end up on the wrong side of a negotiation. So that's right. That relationship just can't be completely 100 percent honest. I don't think. 

[00:06:54] Tim: That's right. No, you're absolutely right. And I don't think enough people really think about that and think about those relationships and why things are said the way they're said.

[00:07:03] Tim: You know, as a customer and having served on customer advisory boards for years, I always held something back and I was never going to be completely truthful to say, you know what, your product is horrible and here are the ways you can make it because you know that there would be someone in the room that would get ticked off about that and say, you know what?

[00:07:21] Tim: Screw them. We're gonna, we're gonna up their rates or we're not going to be as forgiving with them. And so you always want to be conscious of the relationship and what you say. Thank you. Such that you don't taint it. The problem is the vendor then doesn't get the straight answer as to what they really need to hear.

[00:07:40] Tim: The res. The reverse is true too. You know, there, there are things that happen within vendors that I'm now privy to where I just kind of scratch my head and go, why are you doing this? Like customers really don't care, or customers are gonna react in a certain way. And then we go out and we test that and sure enough, that's how it plays out and they're like, wow, you know, we would have never known.

[00:08:04] Tim: Um, I think there, there is that kind of middle ground that bringing those two together, those two sides of the equation together is really, really important. 

[00:08:15] Chris: Yeah, I agree 100%. And I think, you know, my view of it is I worked for a value added reseller in Manhattan for a while. And so I've worked in that kind of somewhat in that bridging role a little bit, right?

[00:08:25] Chris: But even there, and I think the vars in the past anyway, had a lot more of that role where you would go to a VAR and they would kind of be your trusted advisor for real. And then kind of, you know, bring, bring equipment to you. Or, or maybe that's just my idealized version of how it used to work at some point.

[00:08:39] Chris: But you know, it seems that now it's, it's very, it's much more contentious, right? The VARs have kind of gotten squeezed on both sides. Customers want to pay a lower. You know, fee to the middleman, the vendors also want to pay a lower fee to the middleman. They're kind of getting squeezed out and, and, and because of that, a lot of times you'll see a lot of VARs working directly with.

[00:08:59] Chris: A specific vendor manufacturer having, you know, special relationships there, and so you're maybe not getting actually truly unbiased advice. And it's really hard to get truly unbiased advice from anyone. You're buying something, you know, especially physical hardware from it. And then you talk about cloud and it's all these other aspects into it.

[00:09:13] Chris: So you're not even getting the full picture anymore. That's right. Um, so I think this, Knowledge transfer is really, really more necessary than ever. 

[00:09:20] Tim: Yeah, you're, you're absolutely right. And I think it even goes further than that to say that there were a lot of times, and maybe this is specific, more specific because I used to work with really large enterprises.

[00:09:33] Tim: The problem when working with VARs when you're really large enterprise is you might be the biggest customer they've ever seen or ever worked with. And so they don't necessarily have the expertise. To bring that true value to you and so a lot of times I would try and sidestep the VAR or the MSP because I wanted to work directly with the vendor just because of my sheer size and I knew how this game was played.

[00:09:58] Tim: I knew how it worked out. You know, give them some credit for give the MSP or the VAR some credit for. Bringing the deal to the table, you know, make them whole, but at the same time, everybody needs to be happy. And that's the piece that you have to think about the relationship. You have to think about the value you're bringing to the conversation.

[00:10:18] Tim: And if you're not full stop, full stop, like you, you really seriously need to consider what is it that you're doing and why are you doing it? And is this really serving your purpose or is it serving the customer's purpose? And I think more times than not, it's not serving the customer's purpose. And that's, that's really kind of the downfall of many of these orgs.

[00:10:43] Tim: And why customer satisfaction and frustration just kind of amp up, but you never hear about that again, going back to what we're saying, because I don't want to tick someone off. You know, I've got to still work with these folks. 

[00:10:55] Chris: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I think it sounds like you and I understand the work that you do quite well.

[00:11:01] Chris: There's probably a lot of people out there who don't, maybe even within the technology field, How do you explain what you do to a stranger or a layperson or somebody who's not, you know, doesn't know what a CIO even does, perhaps? 

[00:11:15] Tim: Yeah, and a CIO can have many different colors to it. And a CIO, depending on the organization, could be the chief information officer or the chief investment officer.

[00:11:26] Tim: If you're talking about a financial institution. Could be, um, chief Innovation Officer. I mean, there's, there's a whole litany of different words that get inserted into the "I," but for the Chief Information Officer, the work that I do, just think of it as I'm the senior most person in IT that's responsible for the organization, responsible for the IT organization.

[00:11:51] Tim: And if you're not familiar with IT; IT is your technology organization, right? Um, so I'm responsible for the IT organization and I'm really the translator between I. T. and business between technology and business. Now I can't be the only one because I'm only there, you know, whatever it is, 40 60 80 hours a week.

[00:12:14] Tim: And I've got a staff of people that are In aggregate, they're much longer. And so it's important to understand the role that you play, but also the role your organization plays in the company. And so understanding what a CIO does as that senior most person. You're essentially responsible for leading an organization that is enabling technology within your company.

[00:12:41] Tim: There, there are nuances, especially as you start to think about, well, where does the CTO fit in, the chief technology officer? And typically that would be someone that is more focused on technology as a product offering for the company. As opposed to IT, which is more focused on the internal workings and operations of the company.

[00:13:02] Tim: So there are some some nuances there. And then, of course, you hear about chief data officer and and others that have come up over the years. 

[00:13:09] Chris: Yeah, for sure. Definitely any of the C suite stuff is as blown up lately. I feel like depending on the type of company and things like that, there's all kinds of different chiefs now in the mix.

[00:13:22] Tim: Some of them need to go away, quite, quite honestly. Um, it's too many chiefs in the kitchen, right? I even saw someone that was suggesting that there should be a chief, chief generative AI officer. And I'm like, really? Like, I don't understand that. So we're now we have a chief cloud officer. I mean, where, where do we go with this?

[00:13:43] Tim: And I think it just diminishes the whole purpose of the, what a chief officer role is responsible for. And so when you think about that in the context of your chief marketing officer or your chief financial officer or your chief executive officer, the CEO, they operate at a certain level and the chief information officer doesn't always operate at that level.

[00:14:07] Tim: They might have gotten the title because they were promoted and so they threw the title at the, at the person. But they don't necessarily operate at that same strategic level. That's not always the case. There, there are a lot of great CIOs that are on parity with the CEO, but that's the direction that things are headed.

[00:14:25] Tim: So how do you start to think very differently to raise that chief officer level to truly act and engage at a C suite? From a C suite perspective, and that's one of the challenges that many CIOs have, and by the way, it goes both ways. There could be CIOs, in fact, I've worked with a number of them, that they are ready to operate at that level, but their organization does not see the value of IT or the value of the CIO at that level.

[00:14:57] Tim: And so both of these have to come hand in hand, and there's a whole dynamic and conversation that comes behind that its own. 

[00:15:04] Chris: Sure, sure. I bet there is. Now, in addition to kind of being a CIO at a single company in your past and advising a bunch of CIOs today and giving, or maybe not in addition to, a big part of what you do is advise, right?

[00:15:15] Chris: And I know you're also, in addition to kind of being maybe a consultative advisor, you're also a board advisor to a couple companies. And I wonder, does that work differ than the, or kind of maybe, maybe you kind of map out kind of the different types of advisory services that you do? I mean, you know, maybe not a product pitch necessarily, but, but kind of understanding, you know, what it is you love about your work, I guess, maybe.

[00:15:36] Tim: Yeah, I mean, it's, you're right. The work that I do is more advisory as opposed to a traditional consultant that might step into a project or, or do a particular effort. And so I would start with, it's like being a CIO, but you're doing that for multiple companies. So instead of being the senior most person for one company and, and your paycheck comes from the one company and, and, uh, your focus is the one company, you're coming up side by side.

[00:16:08] Tim: So, for example, Chris, if, if you were the CIO of Acme company. You might bring me in to work side by side with you, and these are some scenarios of ways that I've worked with other CIOs. You might bring me in to work side by side with you because you only have so much time to spend with your team, with the organization, and you're looking for someone that understands kind of what you're going through, and so I become an extension of your capabilities.

[00:16:35] Tim: Then you also might have other situations where you want someone that has walked a mile in your shoes, that has experience doing what you do, that can look over your shoulder, look over your strategy, and just evaluate it. Look at it and say, hey, what am I missing here? Sometimes you're not missing a thing.

[00:16:53] Tim: Like the CIO's got it buttoned up, it's good to go. But it's, it's more of a check the box, making sure that. They haven't missed something because I'm not biased by the company and the politics that that they would be in the same way because whenever we start to work for a company, we we inherently build in bias over time.

[00:17:15] Tim: And so I bring that objective view into into the conversation. I can also look at the organization and help assess the organization or technology or architecture. Or strategy on a different level. And so there are a number of different ways that I bring that CIO perspective and that CIO set of skills into an end user company.

[00:17:39] Tim: Now on the other side of what I'm doing with vendors, it's very similar. It's bringing that CIO expertise, that CIO perspective into the work they're doing. So just imagine they could reach out to a customer advisory board. And they could bring one of their cab members in to say, Hey, we're going to show you some things that we're doing.

[00:18:00] Tim: You know, it's all under NDA. We want you to help pick it apart and put it back together. Well, there's some problems with that. If you were bringing an actual CIO into that, number one, they're not going to be completely candid about it. As we mentioned, you know, relationships and other reasons might prevent them from really kind of getting into the details.

[00:18:19] Tim: Number two is they generally don't have the time to invest in that one company. Even their most intimate relationships they have with their biggest providers. There's only so much time that they can commit. And then the third piece is they need that unbiased view, that unfiltered view that isn't just that one company's perspective.

[00:18:39] Tim: And so the combination of those become really valuable from an advisory standpoint, but from that CIO lens to the vendor. And so that's essentially what I'm doing now is bringing that CIO perspective. To both sides of this equation, not at the same time, but with any given, any given customer or client that I'm working with.

[00:19:01] Chris: Yeah, and that's awesome. And I can see it being self reinforcing because anything you learn on one side is now helpful to the other side. That's right. With some Chatham House rules in there, at least, you know, that makes a lot of sense. And I can see how this would be potentially really attractive, right?

[00:19:13] Chris: I mean, this is kind of the pinnacle of a career in some ways. Obviously, like being the CIO is great, but also advising a number of CIO sounds maybe just as great. So some may be more great. For folks who are aspirant to do something similar to this. I mean, do you have any advice for what folks should do to prepare themselves for a role like this?

[00:19:30] Chris: Or what kind of other roles would, would give them the experience needed to lead up to something like this? Or, you know, if I was earlier in my career and wanted to do what Tim does. What should I be looking to do now? 

[00:19:40] Tim: You know, I think number one is there's a, there's a saying that I that I have said for some time and I think it's even more apropos today, which is opinion does not replace experience.

[00:19:54] Tim: Opinion does not replace experience. And so the advice that I'd have for someone that Let's say ultimately they want to do something similar to what I'm doing. And by the way, there aren't that many people that do what I do. There are people that advise other CIOs and there are analysts that advise vendors.

[00:20:11] Tim: But there aren't people that necessarily do what I do from the experience that I have. So there's a lot of opportunity for it. But what you need is a, a well rounded background. You need to understand how to take really complicated things because technology is getting more complicated by the minute and it seems to be accelerating at a rate we've 30 plus years in technology.

[00:20:38] Tim: You need to be able to take these complicated things. These complicated concepts and boil it down. Number two is you need to have a good, well rounded experience in a lot of different disciplines. You cannot be just an infrastructure person that has been working on server storage network. And expect to hop into what I'm doing today.

[00:21:00] Tim: Likewise, you can't come from the developer angle and do what I do today. So you need to have this kind of well rounded view of not just IT, but also understanding the business aspects. You know, I hate to bring it up because I don't want it to be a center point, but this is one of the reasons why I went to school and not just did my undergrad in Computer Information Systems.

[00:21:24] Tim: But also got an MBA in international business because I think that the importance of understanding business for I. T. leaders is incredibly important and becoming increasingly more important over time. So understanding the fundamentals of business is another aspect that kind of fits in with that well roundedness and anyone that works in I.

[00:21:45] Tim: T. should at least understand some of the fundamentals of how your company makes money and how your company spends money. And how your customers engage with you. Once you do all of that, then you'll start to progress through the rank and file to the senior most person in IT. Once you achieve that level, and once you're successful at that level, you'll start to understand the importance of relationships at an executive level, which then starts to open the door to exposure to your board.

[00:22:18] Tim: To advisors to customers and once you start to put those pieces together, the invites will start to come where you're invited to attend the board meeting not to present necessarily yet, but to attend and that's built off of relationships that you have with people like the CEO. And the CFO, et cetera, once you go down this path, you've built those relationships.

[00:22:44] Tim: You've started to expose yourself to these other aspects, whether it's the board, whether it's participating on other boards as a board member, there are CIOs that are board members for other publicly traded companies today, then you can start to consider how do you go down my, the path that I've taken.

[00:23:01] Tim: The path that I've taken, I will say though, is hard because now you've got your own business. AVOA is my company that I started just over 10 years ago. And it's hard to run a business. So now, in addition to doing the work, you have to run a business. And each of those is a job in its own right. And it takes a lot of discipline.

[00:23:25] Tim: It takes a lot of perseverance. Because the first couple of years that most people's, when they start a business, most people experiences, it's really hard and they just, they just tap out and they're like, okay, this isn't for me. I can't, I can't be sustainable doing this. You have to think, you have to think several steps ahead, but you also have to then kind of bring in and layer in what does it mean to run a business?

[00:23:52] Tim: Cause there are going to be times where. Oh my gosh, the money is just rolling in, you know, it's great. I've got more people knocking at my door than I could ever have imagined. And then next month it's going to be like crickets, nobody's returning my calls, nobody's returning my emails. What am I going to do?

[00:24:10] Tim: My mortgage or my rent is due. How am I going to make it work? You know, these are real things that you have to think about, right? And so running a business and running your own business is not for everyone. And so I think it's, it's important to just have a heart to heart, have advisors that advise you to, I've had some great advisors that have given me some very candid and direct feedback, which I have greatly appreciated over the years.

[00:24:40] Tim: But you need your own advisors to, to kind of that know you and say, you know what, Chris, this is what you should do, or this is what you shouldn't do, you know, based on what I know about you. And here's some things to think about. There's a lot to it, but I think it starts with experience. And then grows from there.

[00:24:58] Chris: Yeah. I couldn't agree more. I think those foundations of real world experience, especially in technology, I'm sure it's, I think it's true in business as well. Maybe all fields. I don't know. Oh, I only know, you know, all advice is autobiographical. So I only know what I know, but definitely I've found that getting that experience makes everything a lot easier.

[00:25:12] Chris: And I also resonate a lot with the, you know, starting your own business. I made a couple of false starts before my current run. Because yeah, you know, pretty quickly you realize, okay, well I have to do the job that I was, you know, that I thought about doing that this, you know, this cool idea. Um, but I also do sales and marketing and, and, and general management and there's a ton of other stuff that goes into it.

[00:25:33] Chris: So.

[00:25:33] Tim: That's right. I don't think, I don't think people think about that, you know, Oh geez, you know, okay, I've got to file my, my tax returns. Okay. Well I need a tax person. Oh, I've got some accounting things. I got to find an accounting person. Okay. Now I need some help doing X. Okay. Now I got to find that person.

[00:25:49] Tim: And next thing, you know, You're like, okay, I'm spending how much time just running business and not actually getting to do the work. And one thing that's kind of interesting about that is. And this is, this goes back to understanding what is it that really drives you? Like what is it that, that you're really interested in?

[00:26:09] Tim: Because that will help dictate whether you should go down this path or not. And one of the things may be, I'm a doer, you know, maybe I'm the type of person that I like to get my hands dirty. I want to work with the technology. You may not be that person. Maybe that, maybe someone really wants to scale and run a business.

[00:26:28] Tim: They want to be able to focus on. You know, where the business goes and how do I hire more people? And that's actually how a business grows companies that, um, where the founder is actually the doer don't scale. And I'm a great example of this. I'm a doer. So for me to scale becomes really, really hard because what I do is so unique, which limits my ability to scale in certain ways, but I found other ways to scale.

[00:26:59] Tim: That have, uh, led to success, but I don't think that's very common. And so it's important to understand, do you want to build the business or do you want to do? And if you're a hands on doer, then embrace it, go for it. 

[00:27:13] Chris: Sure. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think that's right. And there's also, you know, different types of scale.

[00:27:17] Chris: I think one of the things I've run into recently is kind of a wave of folks talking about solo preneurship and these kinds of ideas of. No, maybe you're not trying to build the next unicorn. Maybe, you know, you know, doubling your salary is a plenty good business to run. And that you may be able to do as a doer, right?

[00:27:33] Chris: Uh, I don't know. 

[00:27:34] Tim: I think the, that gets back, Chris, to, to what I was saying of, you've got to figure out what motivates you. Like, what is your objective? And does that align with where your passion is and where your interests are? And if the answer is no, full stop. Don't even try it. Don't waste your time.

[00:27:50] Tim: Like, figure out what you're passionate about, what interests you, and go after that. And so, you know, it's, it's really important to find that connection point. And when you do, that's when you'll find the greatest success. 

[00:28:05] Chris: That's great advice. 

[00:28:06] Chris: Now, taking a different angle on this, right? The outside of the business stuff, right?

[00:28:10] Chris: The actual work, right? All this, you know, you're doing a lot of advising. You're coming in at a CIO level to work with other CIOs. Or with vendors who are expecting you to be a CIO, that feels like there's a lot of pressure there, perhaps. I mean, do you ever feel like you're not actually smart enough to be giving these people advice?

[00:28:26] Chris: These guys who are running other companies or running parts of companies or organizations and things like that? 

[00:28:30] Tim: Yeah, I, you know, there absolutely are times. I mean, it goes back to, you know, go back to a Wayne's world. You know, I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy. You know, when they were in front of Alice Cooper.

[00:28:41] Tim: You know, I think, I think there absolutely is, is that time that you hit? And I've hit it where I'm like, okay, I just need to take a minute, take a breath, realize where I'm sitting and what I'm doing. And there have been some engagements that I've had where I just. Go. Wow. Okay. Let me pinch myself. Why am I here?

[00:29:04] Tim: Like, you know, there was one, uh, situation that I thought was, was absolutely hysterical. It was, uh, after I left Stanford University and the director of the Sloan program at the university reached out to me and said, Hey, this is early days of cloud, the Sloan program, which is about a hundred students, um, 10 month executive program.

[00:29:26] Tim: Yeah. They'd really like you to come in and talk about, um, cloud, talk about the business of cloud. And so I had planned, I, I may be wrong on the numbers here. I think I had planned like a two hour seminar for the engagement. And, uh, she's like, okay, we should talk to the, the students that wanted to, to bring me in.

[00:29:44] Tim: They're like, Hey, you know him. Can you talk to him and have him come in? And she's like, yeah, I know him, but you know, you gotta be serious if, if, uh, you want me to do this. And they're like, yeah, sure. Let's do it. Okay. So she reaches out to me and, and this is the director of the program at Stanford at the graduate school of business and says, Hey, you know, the, the class would like you to come in and talk about cloud computing in the business of cloud computing.

[00:30:06] Tim: I think that was the title of the presentation. This goes back a few years now. And I'm like, that's, that's great. But are they sure they want me? And she's like, she laughs. She goes, yeah, they want you. They found you. And, and then they figured out that I knew you and we had a good chuckle over that. And I said, okay, but here's, here's the problem.

[00:30:28] Tim: And I had brought up on the web, the last couple of speakers at the Sloan program. And it's like, you know, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Condi Rice, you know, former secretary of state. I forget who the third one was, but I think it was another former secretary of state. And then Tim Crawford, and I'm like, which one of these doesn't, doesn't, you know, belong, right?

[00:30:50] Tim: It's like, okay, so I'm having, you know, I'm being brought in to, to speak. You know, right after, or it wasn't right after, but, you know, kind of on the heels of them hearing from these other, you know, really luminary leaders in the world, right? In politics, in government, in commercial, in finance, it, it was just, it was very awe inspiring and it was a great experience.

[00:31:16] Tim: And we had a great time. We went, whatever it was an hour, two hours. And then we had to vacate the room because there was another commitment to the room and we ended up going to the lounge for even longer. So it was a great, great engagement, but yeah, it was just that funny imposter syndrome of, okay, which, you know, Jamie Dimon, Condi Rice, you know, I think the other was George Schultz at the time, and it's like, which of these don't exist or don't belong, rather.

[00:31:45] Chris: Yeah, that's a wild experience. Um, unfortunately, that's all the time we have for today. Tim, do you have any projects or causes you'd like to shout out or highlight to the Imposter Syndrome Network before we close out here? 

[00:31:58] Tim: You know, I, I would just say, find your own purpose rather than take mine, find your own and really kind of get behind something in a way that you can contribute to something more than just the, the JOB that you're doing, the job that you're doing.

[00:32:14] Tim: Find a purpose that whether it's around climate or sustainability or around. Data insights to for cancer research, whatever, whatever it is, it doesn't even have to be something grandiose is that, but find that purpose that you really resonate with. Maybe it's a personal experience you've had in your own life or your family or friends.

[00:32:36] Tim: And really find a way to contribute to that. And that would be the way I'd suggest others kind of get behind it. 

[00:32:44] Chris: Yeah, I love that. Another great piece of advice, Tim. Thank you so much for coming on, making some time and sharing your story and and these insights with the Imposter Syndrome Network. My pleasure.

[00:32:54] Chris: And of course, thank you to all of our listeners for your time, your attention and your support. If you found this episode insightful or interesting, please do consider paying it forward by letting others know about this show and the great guests we have on. Now, Tim, I do have one more question for you, actually.

[00:33:10] Chris: Uh, before we started recording, we talked a little bit about blogging and being in the habit of it. And that came back to kind of muscle memory. I'm personally an ever growing fan of consistency and building habits. So I wonder if you could talk to us a little bit more about kind of muscle memory and how that's worked for you in advancing, you know, the things you caught, you care about in your career and so forth.

[00:33:31] Tim: Yeah, physically or professionally, because, you know, it, muscle memory is really important. And, you know, whether it's technology that you're learning about, whether it is a new trait that you're looking to build, it could be blogging, it could be speaking, it could be podcasting, it could be getting out and just learning about something new.

[00:33:57] Tim: But there's, there is a muscle memory that you build with each of those. And that consistency is really, really important because as you do it on a regular basis, you will improve it. And it's, it's very similar to if you go to the gym or, or like to run or like to cycle, the more you do it, the better you get at it.

[00:34:18] Tim: And so that's why it's really important, whatever it is that you're interested in or passionate about building that muscle memory and that consistency is really important because if you drop off for a while. And then try and pick it back up, you fall back a few steps. And so you have to regain what you've lost and then build upon it again.

[00:34:39] Chris: I couldn't agree more. And definitely, uh, I can tell you, for somebody who had chronically spindly skinny little legs my entire life. I've been running as a, just as a, as a routine to kind of clear my head for a few years now. And all of a sudden I have calves, which I didn't know existed. I didn't know it was possible for me.

[00:34:56] Chris: So, uh, it also works for IT skills and things like that, I'm sure. But, uh, definitely that just, just consistency, right? Just doing a little bit, uh, every day or, or every week or whatever it is, it has huge compound effects over time. 

[00:35:08] Tim: That's right. You're absolutely right. And let me emphasize. Doing a little bit.

[00:35:12] Tim: It's not like you have to commit to, Oh my gosh, I'm going to write a blog post every single day. I mean, that's a huge commitment. You know, you could say, I'm going to write one every month. Okay. That's 12 a year, or I'm going to do. And then as you go down several months, you might say, okay, now I'm going to go from one a month to one a week or one every other week and then one a week.

[00:35:35] Tim: And then eventually you might get to one a day, if that's what If that's what you are finding that's valuable, assuming you have that much to to kind of impart, you don't want to just go through the motion to go through the motion, but it's kind of the same thing about running right? You could run once a month.

[00:35:53] Tim: Well, you need to run more than that to make it effective. But the point is, if you if you run. A couple times a week, that's beneficial. And then if you build that up to, okay, and now I'm doing it three times a week, four times a week. Now I'm going every day. It builds on itself. 

[00:36:10] Chris: Absolutely. It really does.

[00:36:12] Chris: And my mantra as I was doing the running thing, not to make that the example of everything, but was always kind of consistency over distance over speed. Meaning the most important thing was to go out and run. I didn't, it didn't matter if I ran a kilometer. Or a mile or whatever. As long as I went out and ran, I was winning.

[00:36:27] Chris: And then as I ran consistently, then I started slowly adding distance. And then kind of naturally behind that, a little bit of speed came along with it. I'm still not going to win any marathons or anything, but the speeds have definitely come down a little bit as I've continued to be consistent about adding distance slowly.

[00:36:41] Chris: So I think that works kind of across the board. 

[00:36:43] Tim: Yeah, no, that's great. That's great. 

[00:36:45] Chris: Awesome. Well, fantastic. Thanks again, uh, Tim for coming on my pleasure and we will be back next week.