The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Du’An Lightfoot

February 06, 2024 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 78
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Du’An Lightfoot
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we have a conversation with Du’An Lightfoot, a senior cloud networking developer advocate at AWS and the founder of LabEveryday, a popular YouTube channel that helps aspiring IT professionals pursue their dreams.

Du’An tells us how he started his tech career in the Air Force and how he overcame his fear of making mistakes and his imposter syndrome along the way. He also shares his advice on how to learn new skills, set goals, and find mentors in the tech industry.

Du’An is a teacher and a leader who uses technology as a platform for empowerment and education. Tune in to hear his amazing story and tips.

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“If you allow your fear of making mistakes to hold you back, you will never achieve your goals.
Hashtag be brave.
Hashtag do it anyway.”
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Machines made this, mistakes and all...

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello, and welcome to the imposter syndrome network podcast, where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. My name is Chris Grundemann, and we are unfortunately missing, uh, the ever enchanting Zoe Rose today. This is the Duan Lightfoot episode, and I have a feeling this will be a fun one. Duan is a network and systems engineer with expertise in DevOps, enterprise network automation, Python, Git, cloud computing, Cisco networks, Microsoft active directory, group policy management, and VMware to name just a few.

[00:00:38] Chris: And it's very likely that you already know Duan from his very popular Lab Every Day YouTube accounts, where he has been helping us pursue our dreams as IT professionals for something like six years now. 

[00:00:51] Chris: Hi, Duan. Would you like to introduce yourself a bit further to the Impostor Syndrome Network? 

[00:00:55] Du'An: Yeah.

[00:00:56] Du'An: Hey, what's up, Chris? Thank you for having me on. My name is Duan Lightfoot. I'm currently a developer advocate at AWS. I've been in tech for a while, since the year 2000, like right after Y2K. Thanks for having me. Right. And I've just been passionate about learning tech, evolving in tech and helping others do the same.

[00:01:15] Chris: Awesome. Awesome. Well, thanks for being here. Uh, let's just dive right in. Funny, I think we started, it sounds like we started our tech careers right around the same time, right around that kind of 2000, the turn of the century, I like to say, and it makes people laugh. Um, it's a weird phrase still to me. And we've bumped into each other online for some time now, but what finally prompted me to get you on the show was a message you posted on LinkedIn.

[00:01:35] Chris: That said, if you allow your fear of making mistakes to hold you back, you will never achieve your goals. Hashtag be brave. Hashtag do it anyway. Uh, can you tell us a little bit about what prompted you to post that message? I mean, have you personally overcome a fear of making mistakes to achieve your goals?

[00:01:50] Du'An: Yeah. Um, throughout my career, right. I've faced challenges and fears like personally, professionally, and most recently at reInvent 2023 for AWS, right. Three talks was turned into four talks because one is a repeat and one of the talks was by myself. I had to prepare decks for these talks, I had to learn technologies around these talks, I had to prepare training to train other people for some of the talks I had to give, so there was a lot on my plate all at once, right?

[00:02:20] Du'An: It's kind of like the movie, everything at the same time or everything all at once, you know, and I was just, I would say, faced with imposter syndrome. I was faced with, um, a fear of failure. I was faced with all these things, but one of the things I realized on this journey is that no matter what happens, you learn.

[00:02:38] Du'An: And I think of every talk that I had before that every event that I had before that and how I kind of felt the same way it kind of was not as bad, but then I made it through it. Right? So that's kind of how what led me to that post. 

[00:02:53] Chris: Yeah, I like that. I mean, it definitely experience helps a lot, right?

[00:02:56] Chris: Because once you've gone through a couple of these really scary moments. You can start to look back on that and say, okay, well, you know, I survived, right? You know, um, like the hangover I did, but did you die? Um, no, I didn't. Uh, I made it through. And I like that. And I also really like to focus on learning.

[00:03:12] Chris: That's something that's helped me quite a bit in a lot of different situations. One, just like making career decisions, right? Sometimes. You're working at a job, it gets really stressful stuff, maybe not clicking the way you want it to. And I always kind of try to ask myself, am I learning, right? If I'm, if I'm still learning stuff, then maybe it's cool to hang, hang in and try and work through it.

[00:03:31] Chris: Um, if I'm not learning anything, then, you know, that rip cord is right there. And maybe I should start looking around or something. 

[00:03:36] Du'An: Yeah, I think as a network engineer, like we strictly focus on networking. I think it's important to always be learning. I've been in my career to where I'm not a person that likes to be stagnant.

[00:03:47] Du'An: I like to chase the certification. I like to chase the problems in the network. I like to chase these things in order so I can grow so I could feel like alive. And so that's part of who I am. But what I found in networking is that for the longest, networking was kind of just understanding the protocols, understanding your environment, and you're good, you're golden.

[00:04:08] Du'An: You know, if the network doesn't break or if the network does break. You're important. If it doesn't break, okay, you know, it's all good. Well, we're at a point now to where networks are moving from like on premises into the cloud. They're scaling, they're going to the edge, they're getting closer to customers.

[00:04:24] Du'An: There's automation being thrown in, now generative AI being thrown in. And so if you just stick to the protocols, At that point, the value to an organization changes, right? Because they're kind of asking you to do more, right? There was a time where we had to understand service. We had to understand virtualization.

[00:04:41] Du'An: Now we need to understand that and even more. So if you're not learning, you know, if your organization needs to downsize. God forbid that happens and you have to enter the job market. I've seen too many times where people get in that situation and it's like, wow, I don't know what to do. You know, I got all these years of experience, but the experience is great.

[00:05:01] Du'An: Things to kind of evolve beyond that. 

[00:05:03] Chris: Yeah. Yeah. One. And that's interesting. I think, you know, that's something that's really interesting to me is this idea of. Growth and change through your career, right? And I mean, you know, and some people get kind of in one place and do it really, really well and keep doing it.

[00:05:15] Chris: And there is growth and change within that. But there's also, you know, the possibility of kind of reinvention of actually changing course a little bit, trying new things. I've done that a little bit and had a lot of fun with it. I think you have as well. You know, you've kind of gone from I. T. specialist, desktop support through kind of the networking system admin.

[00:05:31] Chris: And then now, right, senior cloud networking developer advocate at AWS. That seems like a fairly, it sounds like on paper, a big shift from network engineering to kind of this developer advocate role. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about what that role actually is. What, what are you doing day to day?

[00:05:46] Chris: What does a developer advocate at AWS do? 

[00:05:48] Du'An: Man, I think my, all of my 20 years of experience have accumulated to one role, right? Because spending all the years on help desk, working with customers internally, working with customers externally, spending time understanding like servers and Windows, Linux.

[00:06:03] Du'An: Virtualization containers and then spend the time as a network engineer doing infrastructure and then spend the time learning the network automation and really diving into Python. Now I'm in a role to where I could take all of those skills and experiences in the years of working with customers. And being able to understand, listen to customers, understand their needs, and then take that back to AWS, our service teams, to talk about the challenges that they're facing when they're developing the services for VPCs or hybrid connectivity or whatever those services may be, and then help scale and expand and improve the customer experience and those services for the customers.

[00:06:38] Du'An: So I'm kind of like a bridge in between the customer, the service teams, when it comes to, um, I would say the customer experience on AWS in regards to networking. 

[00:06:49] Chris: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense now. And so that's awesome, right? And that is definitely a shift kind of being that bridge versus actually being the one kind of configuring the network and stuff like that.

[00:06:58] Chris: Also, there's another shift there, which is, you know, I think anyway, from more on premises networking as you've already talked about, right? Networking is evolving. You've evolved with it. Can you talk about that shift from like on premises networking and kind of, you know, old school network engineering to cloud?

[00:07:13] Chris: You know, you've alluded to kind of a different set of skills and stuff there, but maybe talk about that a little more. 

[00:07:17] Du'An: Yeah. Yeah, I look, at one point I was looking at things like a trifecta of what we were at the beginning of 2023, the high, I would say the reimagined network engineer is a trifecta. You understand on premise networking, so you understand networking layers one through seven, or I would say particularly layers one through four.

[00:07:35] Du'An: You understand that deeply on premise. But then you have the cloud, which kind of takes you from that layer 3 through 7 in the cloud. And you understand that as well, regardless of who the provider is, you understand how to establish the hybrid connectivity between on premises and the cloud, regardless of where it is.

[00:07:52] Du'An: And then the application layer, you understand that as well when it comes to networking in the cloud and with networking in between applications, whether it's Kubernetes or whether it's some type of load balancer that extracts everything. In a cloud, and then there's the automation, right? With the infrastructure as code.

[00:08:10] Du'An: I like to think of that as infrastructure as code 2. 0. So the traditional infrastructure is code or network automation is deploying some type of automation to get something to work or to configure some type of change or update. What we really need is to have guardrails, safety and compliance through that automation.

[00:08:28] Du'An: So not only do you deploy the automation, but you're able to implement those pipelines to do it safely in your organization repeatedly. Right? So those are like the trifecta that you need, but there's another piece of that. And that's also understanding the tooling to be able to get the visibility and the monitoring in the cloud on premise, wherever the network needs to have that visibility and be able to troubleshoot it.

[00:08:48] Du'An: You have to understand the tools that are needed. So your tool belt needs to change. 

[00:08:52] Chris: Yeah, that makes a ton of sense to me. So when you're adding these new skills, like as you've done right as a network engineer, kind of growing into this trifecta of adding cloud, adding applications, adding automation through your career, you know, I think I'm maybe taking an assumption here that you've set goals, maybe learning goals along the way to kind of get there.

[00:09:10] Chris: Is that part of your process? I mean, you know, how do you set up? How do you go about kind of adding skills to your tool belt? Is it a goal setting process or there's something else going on there? 

[00:09:17] Du'An: Yeah, I've been lucky, right? Um, the goal setting process for me like on prem was, I would say migrations, upgrades or some challenges.

[00:09:26] Du'An: So I had to learn this thing or figure out this solution. So that was always a driving factor. Um, before that, there was certifications where, okay, I wanted to evolve out of this role. But the only way I can do on this role is to show some type of value or to prove my worth or that I have some knowledge just to get an interview.

[00:09:45] Du'An: And so that's where certifications kind of helped me get that, I would say that, um, stand out a little bit, right? And then when it comes to my role now, like doing talks or writing blog or making a video, especially specifically talks, because when I prepare for a talk, it isn't just presenting the talk, it's being ready for the questions after the talk, right?

[00:10:04] Du'An: You have to be able to answer those questions. And so that's kind of like the motivation and driver for us now. To be able to say, okay, let me up still. So when I get on stage, I know what I'm talking about. And if customers come, come up to me after the talk, I can effectively answer the questions that they may have.

[00:10:19] Du'An: And you never know those questions. So you got to kind of, you know, know how to navigate that. 

[00:10:23] Chris: Absolutely. Yeah. I, I definitely find that, um, when I'm writing a blog post or preparing to talk, you know, the amount of research I do, you know, I feel like, I don't know if it's, you know, 10 X is an easy number to throw out there, but, you know, I kind of try to figure out a lot more than what I'm actually writing down.

[00:10:38] Chris: Because I find, you know, two things. One, I like, you're right, right? People are going to come up, ask questions. Maybe there's going to be, you know, if it's a blog, there's comments. If it's, you know, uh, given a talk, they're actually going to come up and talk to you afterwards or, or send you an email or whatever.

[00:10:49] Chris: Um, but even beyond that, I find that the better I know something. The easier it is to describe it in simpler terms, right? Like if I don't know something very well, it's, it's, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm, you know, it's all complicated. I'm doing crazy stuff, but if I really know it really well, I can distill that down to the one or two sentences of, of the kind of get the gist across to somebody.

[00:11:09] Chris: Do you find the same? 

[00:11:10] Du'An: Yes, I got kids, right? So if I'm, if I'm working on the talk and I'm working on something, let's say I have like a router or something or I'm working on some code and my son walks in the room or my daughter, one of my daughters walk in and they ask, what is this? If I can't explain it to them and they understand it, then I don't know it well enough.

[00:11:26] Du'An: That's like my, my way of judging it. And sometimes, like, I have friends that are, um, on the journey as well. I reach out to them and ask them what they heard or something. And if they say no, I'd be like, well, you got time to hop on the call. And I just kind of explain it to them. And if they can understand it, then I know I'm on the right page.

[00:11:42] Du'An: But if they start asking questions, then I know, okay, I need to fill in these gaps and et cetera. 

[00:11:46] Chris: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's fine. And I like that kind of learning through iteration too, right? By finding what questions they ask. Then next time you answer those questions, before they even ask 'em, uh, and kind of build up the, the, the talk or the paper or whatever you're putting together.

[00:11:58] Du'An: Yeah. That's, that's a good thing about going to like meetups. Like if you're presenting, like go to some small meetups and build your chops that way, or, you know, live stream on like Twitch or somewhere that's like, I would say. Having a small audience is kind of a great thing, right? You can experiment and you can fail.

[00:12:18] Du'An: You can do all these things and not have the burden of, what if I mess up on this grand stage? You know? 

[00:12:25] Chris: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. De risking it a little bit makes a ton of sense. Yeah. Um, so in that, I like that idea of kind of, you know, explaining something to your kids. If they get it, it makes sense. That reminds me of a question we often ask, which is what are your kids?

[00:12:38] Chris: What is your wife or your, you know, your mom? What do people who are non technical think you do? Like, how do they see your job? 

[00:12:43] Du'An: Yeah, they just know I do tech. You know, they know I talk about tech and I make videos and stuff. But I mean, what I like to say, I was explaining to my son about what I do as a developer advocate.

[00:12:53] Du'An: He was like, so you're a teacher. I was like, yeah, I'm a teacher. You know, I, I teach the service teams about the customer and I teach the customer about the service. You know, and I help them find the pain points that they have and solve those pain points, whether it's with our service or another service.

[00:13:10] Du'An: I just want to see them be successful. 

[00:13:12] Chris: Yeah, yeah, that's awesome. It sounds really fulfilling as well. 

[00:13:14] Du'An: Yeah, it's really fulfilling. Um, is it the most fulfilling job I had? No, being a network engineer is the most fulfilling job I've ever had. There's, to me, there's nothing more fulfilling that I've had in my career than being a network engineer.

[00:13:27] Chris: Why is that? What is it about being a network engineer that was so fulfilling? 

[00:13:31] Du'An: Because seeing the problems, being close to the problems, being close to the technologies makes me more creative. It inspires me to learn more. It inspires me to dive deep. It inspires me to share. It, it just, so when I first learned, like, automation and DevOps, I went through a training.

[00:13:50] Du'An: I was blessed to go through a training within my organization. We set this up so I could work with software developers and learn DevOps, learn Agile, learn the whole process, learn Python from a real project. And we tried to take that back to the team, but one of the challenges we had was being in operations, especially like in tier support, you are very reactive and it's hard to have any like time to do anything structured in a reactive environment.

[00:14:14] Du'An: And so finding ways to help others improve and be better like that inspires me. So those type of challenges, I just love that. 

[00:14:22] Chris: That's awesome. That's awesome. So in that, I mean, what, what's been your most fun job that you've had through these last 20 years or so? 

[00:14:29] Du'An: I have had some amazing, being in the military was the most fun.

[00:14:32] Du'An: Really? Yeah, that was the most fun. Um, because there's something about a military environment where you all have a common bond. You don't have that in the civilian world. There's a lot of, and it's nothing against being a civilian, but I think that when you're in the military, you know, you're fighting for something and you're all fighting for that thing, regardless of where you're from.

[00:14:51] Du'An: So for me, being in the military was the most rewarding, most fun thing I've ever done. 

[00:14:56] Chris: Awesome. That makes sense. Thanks. Um, What about teamwork? I mean, have you ever been on a team that was like, really, really clicked and just felt amazing 

[00:15:04] Du'An: again in the military outside the military? I've been on some great teams.

[00:15:11] Du'An: Um, yeah, I've been on some great teams. Like, I'm, I'm the type of person I make the best of any situation, right? But one specific. situation. I was working for this company. There was an ammunition plant and we had about 40 buildings spread across like 40, 000 acres or something crazy, 4, 000 acres, something crazy.

[00:15:27] Du'An: But anyway, the, the whole entire infrastructure was outdated. It was like layer two, all the IP addresses on plant were public IP addresses. It was, it was just, you name it, it was layer two flat. It was just an opportunity to learn networking. and evolve. And so I did networks. I had a mentor who really did the layer one, layer two connectivity.

[00:15:51] Du'An: He specialized in that, but really didn't understand like the routing and stuff. So it gave me an opportunity to learn that. We had somebody that understands servers and virtualization, and we all just kind of build upon each other's skills. It was just awesome. 

[00:16:03] Chris: Yeah, that sounds great. I think that is part of a really great team, right?

[00:16:06] Chris: It's those, uh, kind of puzzle pieces fitting together. Right. Yeah. Whenever everybody's skills kind of click together, you're not stepping on each other's toes, but you're able to learn from each other and toss things around. Exactly. Have you ever been on a terrible team that didn't work? That was just frustrating and didn't really get stuff done?

[00:16:21] Chris: And maybe, you know, can you compare and contrast the two? Like, what is it about, what fails in a bad team in your experience? 

[00:16:28] Du'An: Yeah, I've been on some bad teams, right? For me, I've always tried to be the shining light in those bad teams. Um, sometimes you have team members that you just don't, I would say they just want to have a job and they just want to come to work and do the minimum and go home and I'm okay with that, you know, because if that's what you want to live your life.

[00:16:47] Du'An: That gives me an opportunity to focus on the things I really want to do. Right. But there is other people that feels like everybody needs to carry their weight. I look at it as you never know what somebody's going through. Maybe, you know, and then leadership is the second part. So I think leadership is the most important part of a bad team.

[00:17:05] Du'An: Because if you have a bad team, that means you have bad leadership. That's not directing that team correctly. That's my thought. 

[00:17:11] Chris: I like that a lot. I think that's probably exactly right. Uh, including probably some bad teams I've been a part of where I was the leader, you know, I can, I can reflect on that and say, you know what, it probably comes down to, you know, not setting the right standards, not setting the right example, not communicating well, I think you're right.

[00:17:25] Chris: I think leadership is, uh, it's probably what's wrong if there's a bad team, you know, if something, if there's a dynamic, it's off. 

[00:17:30] Du'An: Yeah. Um, because if you know, the problem on your team, whether it's an individual, whether it's coworkers, like as a leader, you have to figure that out. If you have a high performer and you have someone that's bringing down the whole entire team, like how do you handle that as a leader?

[00:17:46] Du'An: Like some leaders don't like conflict, right? And I think if you're a leader that don't, that doesn't want to address the conflict, it's avoided and ignore it. Yeah. That, that affects the entire team. 

[00:17:55] Chris: Yeah, it's true. Absolutely. Um, so shifting gears a little bit, I'm interested, you know, we talked about the fact that you kind of have been in technology since the turn of the century, which is just a fun phrase to say for me.

[00:18:05] Chris: I don't know. I like it. Um, what was, uh, you know, how did that start? Right. I mean, did, did you know you wanted to get into technology? Is this something you kind of fell into? Maybe talk about, you know, why technology caught your attention and how you got involved. 

[00:18:17] Du'An: Yeah. Yeah. Um, my mom, actually, when I was graduating high school, I wanted to go to Ohio State to play football.

[00:18:23] Du'An: Didn't get no scholarship. I actually wasn't good enough to get a scholarship, but that was my dream, right? And so my mom was like, well, you know, you mentioned going to the Air Force. Why don't you get you a computer job in the Air Force? And I'm like, well, that sounds cool. You know, we didn't have a computer, but I was interested in them.

[00:18:38] Du'An: So that's what I decided to do. I went to the Air Force, took the tests and qualified to get it, become a computer operator. And that's what I did. 

[00:18:47] Chris: Awesome. That's cool. Well, see, I mean, she had a lot of forethought. I mean, I think I don't, I mean, I guess I was probably a kid in the nineties, right, but I don't know that it was totally obvious to everyone that computers and technology stuff was going to be really, you know, something worthwhile to get into.

[00:19:00] Chris: It could have been a flash in the pan, maybe from, from that perspective. 

[00:19:03] Du'An: Well, I'm from Canton, Ohio, right? So it's an old manufacturing. And so my mom comes from that era when manufacturing in the eighties was a big thing. She seen the evolution of how technology affected her jobs and every job in the city.

[00:19:18] Du'An: So for her aspect was like, well, this is where there's no more factory jobs. The next thing is technology. So why don't you go do that? 

[00:19:27] Chris: That's awesome. So she kind of saw the negative effects of it and was able to be like, Hey, this is, you know, give you some really good advice. It sounds like, and get into that.

[00:19:33] Chris: Yeah. Very good. Awesome. That's very cool. What would you say is the greatest achievement of your career so far? However you want to rate that, right? I mean, I think there's lots of different ways to judge success and achievement, but, you know, from your perspective today, what would you say is, is greatest thing you've done so far in your career?

[00:19:48] Du'An: Man, the greatest thing I've done in my career. I think starting my YouTube channel was the greatest thing I've done in my career because it inspired myself and inspired others. And I think just was a snowball effect that just had an impact that, you know, I really can't even measure. 

[00:20:06] Chris: Yeah. I mean, it, it's, it got huge, right?

[00:20:08] Chris: I mean, I think you've got something like over 50, 000 followers on there. Um, that's wild. I mean, that's a huge amount of success, especially for, you know, network engineering, which, as you said, kind of was a boring topic for a while. Not everybody's super stoked about it. To have that many people tuned in to you talking about it is, is pretty fantastic.

[00:20:23] Du'An: Yeah, because when I started, there wasn't too many people doing it the way that I was doing it. It was like myself, Network Chuck, I just thought, I think Network Chuck had like 3000 subscribers or something at the time, you know, and that, that was pretty much it. As far as people that were talking about certification careers and like real world.

[00:20:42] Du'An: Um, my goal was always to become a network engineer because when I started, I was actually a system administrator working for the government. And so I wanted to, okay, get my CCNA, got my CCNA. Well, let me get my CCNP. And as I'm doing my training, there was nobody black that looked like me on YouTube. So I said, I'm a give back.

[00:21:01] Du'An: So I started my YouTube and started giving back. And through doing that, I help people get jobs. I help people advance their career. And I was able to help myself by becoming a network engineer. So it's, it's just been a blessing. And I think that one overcoming the fear of doing it, um, was like a snowball effect.

[00:21:18] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. It seems like it. So, you know, I think it's interesting. You mentioned nobody would look like you that was out there doing this stuff. And I also noticed, you know, on your LinkedIn profile, you've got a banner that says amplify black voices. Obviously not necessarily a technology topic, but I think it is very relevant to technology because You know, I go to conferences, I show up in meetings, um, and, you know, it is a lot of white men everywhere I go, um, which maybe has been good for me, I don't know, but it definitely, I think, can have a chilling effect on other people.

[00:21:45] Chris: Is there any advice you have for, for folks, you know, maybe how can IT in general amplify more black voices? I mean, I mean, maybe there may be some obvious answers, but maybe you can talk to us a little bit about that or what you could, you know, what you've seen that's worked or I don't know. 

[00:21:59] Du'An: Yeah. Um, it's a, it's a tough, so the way I look at it, right.

[00:22:04] Du'An: When I was a kid, I wasn't allowed to tinker, you know, I don't know if you remember like modding Segas, modding PlayStations, you put these mod chips and you can play pretty much any copy game or whatever, right. Um, nobody in my neighborhood were allowed to do that. There was always, you had to go to other neighborhoods that could afford to do that, right?

[00:22:24] Du'An: And so when I look at like my white friends, they were allowed to tinker and they had experience with technology at young ages. And so I think when it comes to technology, we are kind of don't get introduced to a later stage in life. And so at that point, it's still brand new to us. And so when we get into organizations, We deal with imposter syndrome, like, to the utmost max, even though we probably went to school, got the certification, and we have the capability, but we're afraid to fail, or we feel like we have to perform at an excellent level and not just be human in an organization.

[00:22:57] Du'An: And I think, like, us as people, like, Black people have to understand that it's okay to fail, and then the organization has to be okay. This person may fail, but we still have to support them and provide them the sword and let them come to the organization as they are, you know what I mean? 

[00:23:12] Chris: Yeah, just like they would do for anybody else, right?

[00:23:14] Chris: I mean, I think that's, um, like I said, when I started asking the question, I'm like, you know, some of this stuff is obvious, but obviously not to everybody, I guess, still. And that's interesting. I hadn't thought about the kind of introduction to technology, I think, especially going back to, I mean, folks of around our age, right?

[00:23:27] Chris: So if you were, you know, 70s, 80s, 90s kid. Definitely technology was, was a little out of reach. I wonder if that's changed a little bit. I mean, I think a lot of things, you know, as more laws advance and things have come down in price, I think hopefully more and more kids in different environments get a lot more exposure to this stuff earlier.

[00:23:44] Du'An: Yeah, the other challenge now is that kids have access to phones, they have access to technology, but the access to or the mindset of let me learn python at this young age or let me learn the cloud. Rather than being consumers of the technology, let me see how I can produce something. That's the part that I think that when I talk to my kids or I talk to their friends or other kids, like I hand them a raspberry pie or I hand them these things and show them how to tinker and show them, you know, Hey, have you used chat GPT or have you used this, you know, for this type of tool?

[00:24:16] Du'An: Oh, you want to build a YouTube channel? Well, let's talk about how you can do that and the tools to help you automate a lot of this process. 

[00:24:22] Chris: I like that a lot. And, you know, I think about the, yeah, that, that dynamic between creation and consumption and trying to tip the balance. Um, I've seen it in my own kids, right?

[00:24:30] Chris: You know, my oldest son loves playing video games. I tried to talk him into like, you know, getting a little bit deeper behind the scenes. And I don't know, maybe someday we'll see, but, uh, we got to get those opportunities out there, right? 

[00:24:38] Du'An: Yeah, yeah, but there's people out there, or kids out there that are playing video games that are having successful lives and, you know, they're making a lot of money, they're living the lives of their dreams, they're starting YouTube channels, they're scaling that into a business, like some of these kids have aspirations and they figure out how to use technology.

[00:24:56] Du'An: To live the life of their dreams. Kids are doing amazing things these days. 

[00:25:01] Chris: Yeah, they are absolutely true. Um, unfortunately that's about all the time we have for today. Do you want, do you have any, are there any projects or causes that you'd like the imposter syndrome network to know about things you'd like to highlight?

[00:25:13] Du'An: Um, I think there's like a couple books, right? The first book is Deep Work by Carl Newton, I believe his name is. Carl Newport, that's his name. We're in the age of a lot of distractions. And so when we talk about imposter syndrome, which this is something we probably should have talked about, but when it comes to my opinion of imposter syndrome, the times that I faced that is in opportunities where I've done something new.

[00:25:38] Du'An: Right. Something that I've never done. So of course, I can feel like an imposter for something that I've never done, but once I do it, then I build confidence. And so in order to get to that point to where you're going to be prepared for that thing that you never done, you had to own it and eliminate those distractions.

[00:25:55] Du'An: And I think Kyle Newport or Karl Newport, Kyle Newport in his book, Deep Work really talks about how to eliminate those distractions. And yeah, that that's my whole thing is. Since we're talking about imposter syndrome, it's important to understand if you're doing something new, understand that you're new at it, you may mess up, you may fail, it may not work out how you imagined it to work out, but you still learn from it, and that learning experience will prepare you for something greater.

[00:26:21] Chris: Awesome. I like that a lot. That's great advice. You said there was a couple of books. Is there more than just deep work that you'd like to highlight? 

[00:26:27] Du'An: Yeah. There's another one. Um, one thing by Gary Keller, one thing by Gary Keller, he's actually, uh, one of the real estate agencies he's actually, um, 

[00:26:37] Chris: Oh, like the Keller Williams, Keller 

[00:26:39] Du'An: Keller Williams, Keller Williams.

[00:26:40] Du'An: Okay. Wow. Yeah. Yeah, the one thing and that talks about again, I'm one of those people that create like checklists and I want to check all these things off. But if you really want to have the most impact in your life, you need to find that one thing and work on that. And again, eliminate those distractions.

[00:26:55] Chris: I like that. Yeah. Focus is huge, right? I mean, I think that's something. Through some of the more entrepreneurial stuff I've done, I've found that one of the most powerful parts of strategy is knowing what to say no to. Yes. It's not just about what you're going to do, it's about all the stuff you're going to have to not do in order to do that thing, you know?

[00:27:11] Du'An: Yes. And there was one more book called As a Man Thinketh. This is more like philosophy by James Allen. And so, I think a lot of like the imposter syndrome, the fear that we face, the disbelief that we have in ourselves is, but if we believe the opposite, that's also true. Yeah, okay. So as you think in your mind, and so is it outside in the world.

[00:27:35] Du'An: So you have to kind of change your mindset if the doubt, remove the doubt, especially if you're in a brand new situation, something you've never done, you have to change your mindset to say, okay, I'm, I'm, I'm in this situation, but I can be successful just like everybody else. If I put in this work and I do this, I can be successful.

[00:27:54] Du'An: So you really got to reprogram your mind for success. 

[00:27:57] Chris: I agree with that 100%. I think, um, it's something I harp on with like my friends and people I work closely with and my kids. The power of kind of just positive thought, positive thinking, the way you talk to yourself, right? The words you use and the way you describe what you're trying to do to yourself, right?

[00:28:11] Chris: Even if nobody else is going to hear it, um, I think is all part of that kind of reprogramming. If you tell yourself, you know, that bad things happen to you and that you suck and all that, you know, those things come true every time. 

[00:28:21] Du'An: Yeah, and it's, it's a weird thing because we watch so many things on social media and we're constantly being flooded with shorts and all these different things that we, we unintentionally program our minds in ways that we may unintend.

[00:28:35] Du'An: And so those thoughts, when they creep in our head, sometimes come from that one video that you watched or that one post that you saw on LinkedIn that was a trigger and now it's affecting your whole day. So sometimes you either have to strengthen your mind or remove the problem. 

[00:28:51] Chris: I like that. I like that a lot.

[00:28:52] Chris: Well, Duan, thanks so much for sharing your story and your advice and insights with the Impostor Syndrome Network. And thank you to all of our listeners for your time, your attention, and your support. If you found this episode insightful or interesting, or even just entertaining, please consider paying it forward by letting other folks know about this show and the great guests we have on.

[00:29:11] Chris: Duan, I am curious, If you could roll back, you know, we opened up an interdimensional time portal, I don't know, and you can whisper in your younger self's ear, right? Right around that, you know, when you're getting started in technology or your sysadmin, what's the advice you would give to yourself 20 years ago, uh, if you could?

[00:29:26] Du'An: Uh, 20 years ago, I would have moved to Washington DC and gave tech everything I had. 

[00:29:33] Chris: Yeah. So just go all in. 

[00:29:34] Du'An: Just go all in. Yeah. All right. Cause I had got out of the military. I had a top secret clearance. Yeah. And it would have been valuable in Washington DC. There's no telling where I would be now, but I wouldn't be here.

[00:29:45] Chris: Fair. Fair enough. Right. It's another one of those double edged, uh, swords. Right. Yeah. Awesome. Well, Hey, thanks again. This has been fantastic. I had a lot of fun chatting with you and we'll be back next week.