Robert A. Belle is a transformational speaker, author and ACCA Qualified Accountant. He helps people who feel stuck in their career or life journey to break away from the “norm” and find new paths that reveal their true value. He focuses on dismantling the line between licensed professionals and the creative world.
He has shared his secrets of creative success at his numerous speaking engagements as well as on various TV and podcast interviews. He also spends much of his time mentoring and guiding men of all ages to have a strong, positive impact on their families and society as a whole.
Robert is a winner of the 2019 Advocate of the Year Award (Affiliate) and 2020 Brand Advocate of the year by the ACCA for his work assisting other accountants embrace their creativity and reach new growth potentials both personally and professionally.
Josh: What is up everybody, Josh Tapp here again and welcome back to The Lucky Titan and today we're here with Robert Belle and he is the founder of Smith consultancy SMIP, which I thought was such a funny name awesome Good work so I'm excited to have Robert here because we just had a good conversation before this interview to really talk about creativity and how to harness that to grow your business as well as really fighting that imposter syndrome and I love to talk about this in particular, because, you know, we've, we've worked with billionaires, and they still have that imposter syndrome, they're fighting all the time. So I'm excited to delve into how we can work through that and manage that so Robert, first off, say what's up to everybody and we'll hop in man.
Robert: What's up, everybody that's me, Robert, is he getting here, I'm excited to be here to talk to Josh, you know, just to bring value to you and to help you leave this place and just fired up to actually make that step.
Josh: love it and I also have to give a shout out to Robert here he is our first guest ever from Nairobi. So I don't know what you call it Nairobian Nairobi how do you say it?
Robert: that I will be in Nairobian
Josh: I don't want to make myself sound like first Nairobian guests, which I think is really awesome. We've worked with people in Nairobi, but never had one on the show so this will be a sort of fun interview Robert, and then we'll finish up so you can actually go eat dinner but I want to ask you this, Robert, is to kind of kick it off, really around that imposter syndrome because as I mentioned in the introduction, I mean, we've worked anything from never owned a business to multi billionaire, everybody struggles with his imposter syndrome so walk us through kind of your methodology of how to fight that and manage it.
Robert: Alright, so first thing that I tell people to do is stop fighting imposter syndrome right, imposter syndrome is actually a very good thing because you deal with imposter syndrome, or it comes about because you have this aspiration, right you, you have this expectation that you want to you know you want to achieve right now the challenge comes in is that where you are right now and where you're trying to be, you know, you're not really quite there yet so you want to be the top podcasts in the world and he's absolutely nothing wrong with that you should dream to have that you get your podcast started, the thing is to relate to imposter syndrome, I think fighting it is the old school way and it's just trying to get over it because you'll find yourself back in a vicious cycle, you can get over the hump of imposter syndrome right now then you become a billionaire, you still have that imposter syndrome, right so what I say is have a relationship with this imposter syndrome and understand the imposter syndrome in his face and say, you know what? I see you, I see you, but I'm coming for you right? It's, it's just identifying what you need to do to get to that stage so before I started my business, I was like, Look, I want to start a business for sure but I didn't expect on day one, I'm gonna have a flourishing business and money just piling through the doors, I needed to make sure I'm one in tune with the reality of it that the first few days is going to be tough, the first few days when I started my business, I'm telling you, I mean, family, friends, the people who thought like really would support you, I mean, just telling you, hey, you know, I noticed your lifestyle has changed, I think you should go get a job and I'm like, like, no, not one single person Josh ever came to me and say, Hey, I noticed you started your business, I think you should speak to this person and that person or that person may be able to, you know, help you so the imposter syndrome, it all relates to that because you that those voices start to feed that that that that that monster inside of your head imposter syndrome because when you start hearing those things, when you start a busy, like, you know what, it's true, who am I to think that I could have started a business so relate to it, and just identify that you have to make those infancy steps as you go along the way.
Josh: And I love that relationship with I've never actually heard it explained that way. And it's I'm coming for you, I see her they're coming for you and and you know, it's funny as your entrepreneurial journey is not unique in that sense, right? I mean, even to this day, people don't know what I do and family's there to make it humble, right but when we have conversations we just had a really interesting situation that we're buying a new company and my father in lies loves everything about what we do and he was telling me to tell all of my my in laws that we're buying this new company, and I don't ever talk about it because I don't want people feeling intimidated or anything and I love my in laws and I brought it up it was the most uncomfortable moment because they're all like I don't even know what to ask and and it's it's funny because no matter what success level you have, like you're, you're still just going to be the the brother in law, the the sister, the Father, the Son, whatever and people look at it as and then just keep you humble because you're still you even though you have a business, but then they also worry what are you doing? You know, there's always this uncomfortable moment people ask you what do you do oh, I Oh my God but, and they're like, Oh, just never know what to say, what is it right?
Robert: You know what you've got into level two of the relationship of imposter syndrome and you've hit the nail right on the head, the key word there is, is humbles you humility, I just did earlier today I had a coaching client, and now we've gotten to that stage, you know, because without having that humility in that relationship with imposter syndrome, then you don't get the opportunity to grow so I mean, if, when you want to become a world class speaker, right, you hit the stage, you don't really deliver as you quite have expected to because you have some probably deficiencies in competence but many of us don't want to hear that we don't want to hear we don't want to put ourselves out there so that we can identify the deficiencies we have in various competencies so that we can develop it and that takes a lot of humility. You can only do that by being vulnerable, right? So that's what you have to have a relationship with a process to say, look, I see you, well, you know what, I'm going to make that bold step, right, I'm going to step on that stage, I'm going to click record on that podcast, I'm going to write that paragraph for that book, I'm going to, you know, follow up on that lead and try to convert, you know, I'm going to I'm going to make that scary call and say, are you interested in this product, right because that's the only way you develop the competence too much tied to Intel, we live in the head, and we don't take any action and the best action to take is the imperfect action you got to be able to do that in your relationship with imposter syndrome.
Josh: Wow, yeah. I love it. You're speaking in my soul here, man. I love that. I was just having a conversation last night with my wife and she was she was like, look how far you, you've come You know, when we were doing our Facebook ads agency, I was scared quoting a price of $500 a month, there's no way they're gonna pay me that, you know and now if I caught it to $500 a month, I'd be like, What is wrong with you right and it's just funny that nothing changed other than my mental blocks, and feeling like I was worth it, or what we had was worth it so I love that that's the relationship we're building with, with that imposter syndrome and so I want to ask you this, because I like the term imposter syndrome, because it's very indicative of what a what a what a entrepreneur has, but it really is just fear, I mean, it's it's fear to take action and, and, and I know, more recently, we've, it's kind of come to light that we need to be more vulnerable and I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that, because you mentioned that how do you work especially with men, because we really struggle with being humble and being vulnerable and and sharing these things what, what do you recommend to somebody who is wants to be vulnerable, but can't or feels like they can't?
Robert: Alright, that's, that's a very good question, Josh and I really want to acknowledge that cuz I was there, like, you have the desire, you really have the desire, but it's just seems to be the stronghold you know, there just seems to be something just, you just can't seem to do it right, especially with Man, I totally, I totally hear what you're saying and particularly men who are a bit more mature, getting close to mid midlife, etc, because it is harder, it's harder to burn at that point in time, right, It seems a bit harder, but also even young, especially freshly young, you know, entrepreneurs in their early 20s, because they think they know it, all right. I mean, that's we will all there so, first thing is, you know, understanding people where they're right, I help people to understand where they're usually that resistance, to be humble, and to ask questions comes about because there's a fight going on, there's something that you're fighting, there's something that either was said, or there was, you know, some some kind of, it could be from a situation, it could be from a personal it could be self-imposed, that I have to make this work, right and that, really, that stronghold of making, you know, fearing failure goes back to what you said that fear of failure, because being humble means you got to take a step back, and you got to be able to unpeel all the layers, right and with men, the challenge is seeing or having them understand that sometimes the actions you've taken, you'll have to take a step back and redo it again, you got to take a step back and redo it again. Now if you get a guy who likes washing his car and waxing it and polishing it, that guy will go over every spot over and over again and he'll, he'll be determined to dig into it and things into it. Now when you face a situation in life where you're not where man is not willing to go back to there is because there was some sort of embarrassment I find for my experience and my coaching and everything, there was some sort of embarrassment and going there just opens up that wound that would have happened before because look, so I help that person to identify what wound are you trying to cover up right because look at it. Humility is about just being being open to be vulnerable. You get a coach, you have to say, coach, check out my form, coach, check out my business, you know, you're open, you're willing to because you have that growth mindset going on but when you're not willing to open up that much, it means that there's something you're trying to protect, and I find that a lot in the clients that I work with, to my business was small business owners, right and I'm a qualified accountant so the first thing and you can see the stronghold they have on finances they like that. Like, okay, Show me what you've been spending on and they give you partly and then you know, because I'm an accountant, I can do some forensics and I can find out a look, there's some things that are missing here, what happened here well, the that was something something, something that I was like, okay, you didn't disclose that to me, you know, what's, what's going on, I mean, they also just don't know what's going on so it's bringing that awareness that what are you fighting, what are you trying to predict and even on the flip side, Josh, I found entrepreneurs, who say, I'm struggling in my business, I don't have cash and they have money put aside like a ton load of money and I'm like, I'm like, yeah, you have all this money? Like, yeah, yeah but that's my safety, that I'm never gonna touch that, that's like, what you're drowning here your business, right? You have cash, it doesn't mean that you got to put all your life savings away, but you have to be able to merge something you're trying to protect and when I will, in a situation like that, I find that they're not willing to touch that saving, because they had a relative or they had a friend who put their all into the business and went completely bankrupt and they're scared of that.
Josh: Yeah. And it's almost like they've got they're drowning and there's an entity, right? They're like, I'm saving that just in case I'm drowning, It's just, it's a funny, funny image when you see that, man, I'm glad that's not one of my traumas with it, I'm too risky with my money but, yeah, I love that and, and that's such a cool methodology and I was like, let's, let's get to the core of the embarrassment. What, that and I mean, I'm just going to use sales as an example because 99% of people I suck at sales and I said, Okay, well, why? Why are you bad at what was that embarrassing moment you know and and I love that because it allows them to open the wound and then heal it back. Well, that wasn't your fault, you know, that it wasn't because you were a bad salesman, maybe that person wasn't interested at the time or what have you so that's cool, I love it.
Robert: Well, let me say something on that, Josh. I'm sorry let me say something on that. Because here is another way that we fight that humility and it's an avoidance tactic, right? There's a series of winning tactics around that that like, going back to that same salary, why do you think you suck at sales well, you know, you don't really know you just I don't know, who told you that, and so much related to creativity and we're going to get there because you ask people, why do you think you're not creative? Like they have no clue, Like, there's no assessment you ever did that said, No, you're not creative. Don't ever call yourself a creative again, we'll come and arrest you, and you will be fine, there's nothing like that, right but here's the award and tactics that happens, overcompensating on competence competencies that don't need to be developed. So you're not good in sales, and you're not willing to get to that point of admission, or you're not good in sales. So instead, what you do, you want to sign up all the best sales training, you want to sign up for everything you want to use, what's the best funnel, click funnel, I want to do this, you want to do everything, everything, everything except address the issue that you personally have and I keep telling people, sometimes you got to leave the Google the Google in, right and trying to find the best guru, you know, trying to find the best person in this, you need to find someone who will identify your specific issue so you can just google and say, top 10 ways to become the best salesperson those things are very generic, they're very helpful, I totally agree but there are times you might have an issue and one of the issues may be I find when people who say they're not good at sales is that they worry about their physical appearance so they relate feels to having to look good, I have to look good, you know, my face had to be good, my hair got to be good and then I can see, so it's an issue of confidence, they obviously or something else, you know, sorry, from spilling anyone's secrets.
Josh: No, that's, that's brilliant and I love that because that's, um, I would say 99% of time that we've worked with people say I hate selling I suck at selling is it's, it's because they've got a perception and then they've got that, like you said, that experience tied to it. That's that wound of, Oh, I'm not going to be good at because of X Y Z and I love that
Robert: or or that salespeople are slimy and trickery and I'm not that kind of person. It's in the back of your head and your subconscious at times, and you don't even know it.
Josh: Well, and I mean, Hollywood and all these places. I mean, they're selling us that. I mean, the bad guy is always the businessman in the suit and the sales guy and it's really interesting, because when you get into this world, and you meet business people, wow. The successful ones are really kind good people who genuinely care about your success and yes, it's it's really interesting, such as such an interesting concept there so I want to kind of transition the conversation a little bit now to the creativity side, because that seems to be your methodology is like root out the problem what's the big problem, figure it out, address it, but it sounds like creativity is the way to fix it, Is that correct?
Robert: Absolutely, Man, absolutely. That is the root problem. You know, why is that the root problem and is not about trying to make him autistics not about trying to make you learn an instrument because people miss understand what creativity is. You see, creativity is an identity extractor, creativity helps to bring out a uniqueness that's done that you remember what I was saying earlier that you got to move away from the Guru's and top 10 ways to become the best salesperson and address your specific issue and your issue is tied into your relationship with creativity right? That's, that's where it comes about because creativity is when we are allowed to be our complete self and, and many of us are, are afraid of being ourselves because we're going back to what you said, societal issues, so many other issues of perception, right? So to be an entrepreneur, I have to be this type of person to be an accountant you know, when I started pushing this whole concept of creativity, my controversial like, I mean, you're talking too much. We don't do that around here, you know, I was full on persona accountant, my glasses when pocket square calculator, trust me, I was that person a CPA, you can picture in your head right now that was me and when I started doing these things, people like No, stay back in your lane, what do you do and we don't do those kind of things so it's like, Yeah, but accountancy is just something that I do, It doesn't fully define me and then I went on a journey so how do I define myself, right? So if I remove the label of my profession, or of this of my school, my my my certifications or whatever, who, who am I really at the core, and I found out I was empty, and I was totally empty, I had no clue who I was so I have no solid foundation so creativity gives us that foundation, it helps us to know, it helps us to give us interception.
Josh: So let me ask you this, then so if it brings out our vulnerabilities, and it helps us to identify really, the weaknesses and the strengths and everything, it's also the solution to the problem, right is identifying and then adjusting, is that correct?
Robert: Yes, absolutely and you see Brynner, your vulnerabilities is not a bad thing. It's absolutely not a bad thing, right because it shows that those innate parts of us that we want to develop your body, your soul is your mind wants to develop, but you're resisting it, you're denying it by distracting and avoiding by trying to do other things so you want to go for more degrees, you want to go for a Master's, you want to go for that and that's why right now, when you look around, you know, in the corporate world, that people are looking for people with soft skills with relevant skills, right, it's not just about the hard skills, we focus so much on the hard skills that we, we've forgot about building ourselves, I call it creativity is about bringing the human back into work bringing the human back into life, right so it's not just about I'm a father or my husband, and these are the things that our husband does, right but what are things that you are good at, right and this is where the humility comes in and what are the things that you're just not good at right now right because you can't develop something that you you're not aware of, or know that you have a deficiency in and too often we want to develop things that that the outside world tells us we need to develop, right and instead of developing the things we need to develop, so people always come to me say, hey, how can I be a better business person how can I be whatever, how can I be this? How can I be that and I said, you don't need to learn what to do to be any of those people you just need to be that person and being that person means learning to accept that there's going to be failure, you got to try it out. You got to, you know, put yourself out there make an attempt to make an attempt and do something because that's what will help bring out you know what you're good at, let me ask you, Josh, have you ever failed at something but you enjoyed it because you realize, Okay, I see what I did wrong. I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna try that again.
Josh: Yes, many, many, many times. That's a daily activity on business, right? You don't always enjoy it but yeah, I can I can specifically say yes.
Robert: Yeah, because when that's how we learn, you know, failure is fuel for mastery right. Failure is fuel for but I got to caution people that it's not just about going out and jumping off the cliff, right because before you can get to the level of mastery, just where the imposter syndrome comes in again, and ties in your creativity and I say this all the time, that bravery must come before mastery, you have to learn to be brave. First, you got to take this step and then when you take the step, you do one concept that I've developed that I go by the mantra of my life, which is mommy. It's an acronym Ma Ma, which stands for minor adjustments that give major improvements right. So think of a traffic gridlock, traffic gridlock at a junction, right, it's usually just one or two cars need to move, and everything else will flow smoothly and it's the same thing in a business and in your life. It's usually just one small, it's not sometimes not a big thing sometimes it's a very small, pesky thing but that pesky thing has fostered and grown and become, you know, you know, it's just become like, spread like a cancer, it's grown bigger than it ought to and if you just address that one small issue, right, that's gonna unlock everything for you and let me give you a personal example. I mean, just even away from business and health, right? I struggled to lose weight, I was over 200 pounds, you know, just just work out twice a day at the gym, I would do everything, you know, and I would hear this concept that look, you know, nutrition, weight loss and health is 70%, diet 30% exercise rubbish, those are just marketing gimmicks, that does not Oh, how can I lose weight by just watching what I eat, that's, that's nonsense, man and I was very proud of that. I was like, I'm gonna prove these guys wrong because I was doing so subconsciously, I didn't realize by working on twice a day, I was tired, I was exhausted but I kept waking up at 5am and then after work in the evenings going to the gym, and then I decided, you know what? Hold on myself. Right? Let me learn about nutrition and I studied it. So one month, all I did was worked on what I ate, no exercise, and I lost 10 20 pounds in one month, healthily. In that year, I lost over 50 pounds and I tested the concept by eating a pizza every Saturday night, because I was like, I need to make sure I understand what's going on with my body and then I realized I need to, I need to understand what is my my metabolism, what's going on so it was just one small thing that I needed to change, it wasn't about trying to push this big effort thing, right? It was just being honest with my self and realizing, you know what, I got an issue with what I put in my mouth.
Josh: and that's that is such a cool example of it, too because it's not an adjustment. It's really that difficult. I mean, my guess is you didn't have to be laser focused on your diet either in order to lose that it was just saying, controlling it, right saying what am I actually putting in and consciously putting it in, I have a brother in law, he's lost almost 100 pounds this year, doing that exact same thing is just paying attention to it and he runs here, they're they do some activity, but but he says it's it's for him, it's been 90% what he eats and I thought that was so intriguing, I tried it for two weeks, basically and I lost a pound a week doing that, like, that's just bizarre, really interesting to watch that happen and it's the same way in business, like you're saying it's it's those teeny little adjustments that make massive, massive dividends for us. So, I do want to ask you this, Robert, because, you know, we are coming up to the end of the interview here and anybody's been listening to this can tell me Robert obviously knows what he's talking about, and helping people to break that barrier, figuring out where you're at, and then improving yourself, I mean, your story is a great example of this Robert, being somebody who was an accountant, you know, I the office that we read is within an accounting firm and it's really funny because they all walk in dead, they leave dead they're not excited it's tax season right now to they had an extension and that's just kind of the a typical accountant, right and I have a partner who's an accountant, and he's been fighting that and fighting that fighting that to not be that way but it's it's so interesting that we're gonna take that now you're helping people, your energy levels higher, you're much better at explaining this, I this is probably the best interview I've ever had about finding imposter syndrome so I appreciate that. So I want to ask you, Robert, first off, where can people get access to you?
Robert: People can get access to me through my website, www.robertablle.com and that's BELLE from the you can get links to my YouTube, you know, all my social media accounts. That's the best way to get get in contact with me.
Josh: Awesome and I would I would highly recommend for everybody to go check that out so it's robertabelle.com So make sure you go check that out because I mean, the content he puts out is amazing, this guy has been speaking all over the place and doing some amazing stuff in especially in this imposter syndrome space. I would highly recommend everybody go check that out and, Robert, just one final question for you, which is, could you leave us with one final parting piece of guidance for our audience.
Robert: The piece of guidance I'll give is that you want to be able to appreciate the Pain of boredom, but the right pain of boredom and what I mean by that is by, you know, doing that daily discipline, that consistency, staying at it and not procrastinating and avoiding because you want to take the best action that will give the biggest results and too often people time fail trying to plan to take the best action to think that you want to do is just get it started, get it started and then you know, you might get a quote unquote, a little bored in trying to you know, develop that routine, but it's in developing that routine that you develop the discipline and then just when you're about to get absolutely bored, then you change it up again, you change it up and try something different so what I'm saying is just Mommy it, make a minor adjustment, that will give you a major improvement. So when you when you listen to this podcast, don't go out and try to drought or some brand fantastic strategy, just start changing one small thing but not just any small thing one small thing that will give you that big improvement that you're looking for.