Episode 8

Published on:

22nd Feb 2024

Self Confidence, A Male Perspective with Jack Chambers Ward

In this episode Tazmin chats with Jack Chambers-Ward about confidence - but from a male perspective.

Often confidence, or lack of, is seen as a 'women's thing' but Jack gives us insight on what it feels like for a man.

The conversation is rich, taking in many angles from imposter syndrome, neurodivergence, and emotional intelligence.

About Jack:

Jack is an SEO Specialist with 5 years of experience, and a podcast host and producer with more than 10 years of experience. Alongside Search with Candour, he also hosts, edits & produces the popular movie podcast Sequelisers, all about fixing bad film sequels. He’s also a published writer with previous work including the 300+ page graphic novel D-Day: Storming Fortress Europe (published by Osprey in 2020 and British Showcase Vol. 1 (published Markosia Enterprises in 2013).

Where to find Jack:

Jack's Facebook page

@jlwchambers on Instagram

@jlwchambers on Twitter

Jack's Website

Jack on YouTube

Jack Chambers-Ward on LinkedIn

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Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the SEO Mindset podcast where we aim to bring you knowledge and share information and chat generally on topics that will help you thrive in your SEO career. Today I'm joined by the wonderful Jack Chambers-Ward and we're going to be talking about a topic that we've discussed before, confidence. But today we're going to be speaking about it from a male perspective. Now, for those who don't know Jack Chambers-Ward and I don't think there's anyone out there, but just in case there is, I'm going to tell you a little bit about him. So he is an SEO specialist. He currently works at Candour as the marketing and partnership manager. He is a passionate podcaster, hosts Search with Candour, hosts The Sequeliezers podcast, that was a job getting that word out. And he also joins Sarah and myself. We are a trio in Brighton with the live podcast. So we host that on the Wednesday night before brightonSEO, and we talk about what we call overlooked topics, things like anxiety and confidence. So that's a great collaboration we have with Jack. He is also, in case this is not enough, he's also co founder of community Neurodivergence in SEO. He is married to the lovely Emma, who although I've never met her, I have a kinship with her. We are Vimto twins and they recently went on their first cruise. And on a personal note, I've only recently got to know Jack, but he is one of my favorite people. He is kind, he is honest, he's respectful, and he's a fantastic listener, which is probably what contributes to his podcasting success. But today we get to listen to him. Now, before we dive into the topic, a reminder that if you're enjoying what Sarah and I do and would like to support the SEO Mindset podcast, then there's a few ways you could do it. One way is to drop us a donation via the buy me a coffee. The link is in the show notes. And also please share this podcast with anyone and everyone that you think would benefit from it because we would love to reach even more people. But now it's time for the topic. Jack, welcome and thank you for joining us today.


Thank you for having me on. Yeah, it's really nice to actually have a one on one conversation because like you said, we do the trio that is me, you and Sarah at the Brighton SEO episodes. But it's nice to have an episode of SEO Mindset. I've had both you and Sarah as previous guests on Search with Candour as well. So yeah, very fun to be finally crossing over in this direction and going to chat some confidence with you today, Tazmin.


No, that's brilliant. And confidence, like we said, we spoke about it in the live podcast and often because a lot of the people I work with are women. A lot of my clients are women. Confidence is often perceived as a woman thing, but today I really would love to hear from you. What is it from the male perspective? So if we just start off with what does confidence mean to you?


I think it is a male thing as well. Absolutely. And it's funny coming round to thinking about it, because so much of the marketing industry is saturated with straight, cisgendered white guys like myself. It's kind of weird to be asked to have my perspective because usually you can't escape the male perspective in most senses. But I think confidence is a thing a lot of people need to be thinking about and talking about. And to me, I think it's having trust in your own abilities and having your own understanding of where your strengths and where your weaknesses are.




Knowing yourself and knowing your abilities, your values, all this kind of stuff. And having confidence. There you go. Having confidence in yourself is a thing where I think a lot of men struggle with, and we'll get onto it in a second, but a lot of people go in the other direction as well. But yeah, confidence, to me, I think, is that fundamental, trusting your own abilities and understanding where your strengths are. Essentially.


In the world of tech, there are many outwardly looking confident men, and they have a certain Persona about them. They have a certain way of being, and that can sometimes not feel very nice. It's almost that arrogance rather than what you have described as confidence, and that's often perceived as confidence and then is mimicked by younger men, sometimes mimicked by women. So what do you think? Why is it that there is that confusion between confidence and arrogance?


I think there is a very kind of thin line between the two. You can very easily, almost accidentally cross over into arrogance just by showing that you are confident in something. And sometimes, even if you are just genuinely being confident about yourself and your abilities, some people will perceive that as arrogance. And even if you don't intend it that way, I think it can be crossed over. For me, the difference is that deep down, do you know that you're good at the thing? Do you understand yourself? You're aware of, like I said, your own values and strengths. If you're not, and you're kind of shilling to the people and lying to the other people, that's kind of where the arrogant side comes in, where you're bigging yourself up beyond your own abilities and beyond your own kind of limits and things like that. I think that's where the element of, like you said, especially common in the tech industry and marketing, where you and I work a lot in Tazmin, there's that element of these people who are big public speakers and project themselves as incredibly confident and often borders into arrogance. And you get that kind of very slippery slope of them lying about, oh, I made a million dollars, or I have a million visitors to my website or whatever it is. And if anyone's ever been on LinkedIn, you've probably seen this people bigging themselves up and exaggerating all this kind of stuff. I think that's where that line goes from being honest with yourself and talking about your strengths and then exaggerating them and kind of adding a little element of falsehood and lying in there, I think, is where it kind of slips into the arrogance side of things.


And what do you think that falsehood does to other people around them? What is the impact of that to maybe younger people in the team, maybe people who, women. I mean, I hear a lot from women who say, I don't get a chance to speak, I don't get a chance to get those opportunities. I don't get a chance to show what I am capable of doing. Because this, and I'm going to generalize here, this louder, bigger than reality male is taking over.


Yeah, I think that's definitely a common thing. Especially, like you said, in the workplace, in meetings, at conferences, all this kind of stuff, you see that one person, and let's be honest, in this day and age, still in 2024, it's probably a white dude, probably a cisgendered white guy being. Trying to be the center of attention and claiming they're God's gift to insert marketing sub industry here. And I think it's an interesting thing where you get that. I don't feel like I'm being heard. I don't feel like I'm being given an opportunity. And I think where it comes into taking opportunities from other people, from my perspective, again, as a very privileged man, that's something I actively try and do, is give voices to other people. So I make sure to have people from diverse backgrounds, from various different countries, from various different genders and races and stuff like that on my podcast, because that is my platform. Right. I want to make sure that I'm trying to elevate voices that I think are not being heard enough. And I think that's the way I try and use my kind of privilege as a man and as a podcast host. I guess the confidence in me being a podcast host for the last twelve years or so, being able to bring my expertise and my knowledge to say, like, I think this person needs to be heard more in the industry, this person deserves to be highlighted. They're saying something interesting, but they're not being heard because they're not the Neil patels of the world or the Lily rays or the Barry Schwartz or whoever it is. That's three different, very different people I just mentioned there purposefully. Neil Patel, a person of color who has really made a name for himself in the marketing industry. Same with Lily Ray, a woman who has made herself a name in the industry, and Barry Schwartz, a jewish man who has made himself very known in the SEO industry as well. Three completely different backgrounds and three completely different, I think, approaches to the, I don't want to say this like, marketing celebrity side of things. I think we see a lot of, but I really respect especially what people like Lily do to highlight other people. And it's something, obviously I'm much, much smaller than those people. I have far less influence, but what influence I do have, I want to make sure I'm using it for good, essentially for highlighting things I believe in and things that align with my values.


So in a way, being in a position of leadership, and this is something I always used to say to my children, that with privileges come responsibilities and vice versa, urge everyone out there who has a platform to help those people who perhaps are struggling to get their voices heard. But you touched on something on LinkedIn. There'll be lots of people who are saying, I made this much money, I hustled in this way. And it almost feels like marketing and SEO pressures and this normalization of hustle culture, it seems to be encouraged by these confident, successful men. What are your thoughts on that and what do you think the effects of that is?


I think it's a pretty big problem in the industry at the moment, to be honest. I think we saw a lot of it shift to really kind of focus on the SEO moment for a second because that's obviously where I'm focused in a lot of my career. The recent helpful content update that happened towards the end of 2023. So again, Google helpful content update. There was an algorithm update that really, really cut down a lot of these very niche sites that are focused on affiliate marketing, where they just try and bring a lot of clicks and they get advertising and they get a lot of affiliate clicks and try to make as much money as quickly as possible. A lot of it is spam or not written content with the best intentions, essentially, to put it nicely and to filter out a few swear words. I'd usually say for these kind of people, that kind of hustle bro culture and the fact that I call it hustle bro and you kind of know what I mean, it is already a gendered term, right? The hustle bro side of it, I think, is you get an idea of, I'm going to say one of my least favorite people in the world, somebody like Andrew Tate, for example, who is an absolute shill and a charlatan and criminal, let's be honest, and has sold themselves as this marketing genius, and you can transform your life and all this kind of stuff. And I think that is felt in general. I think there is in general, in the western world at the moment, in speaking to my friends in the US and living here in the UK, there is a pressure to be that kind of grinding, hustling. You've got to have 15 different part time jobs and freelancing while you're also doing your nine to five. And actually a nine to five is more like an eight till seven because you're really putting the work in and all that kind of stuff. You need to have this inescapable work ethic that just constantly drives you forward. And I think that is definitely a huge part of toxic masculinity and the way our society is built around men being ceos and men being the head of the companies and driving our workforce forward and all that kind of stuff. And unfortunately, SEO and marketing and this sort of things are big parts of that industry. We are so driven by men being the head and voice of so many companies that it's come this like, oh, that's the end goal, right? Me as a white middle class man, essentially I should aim to be a CEO or a founder of a company or start a new tech company, because Lord knows the world needs more tech companies written by white guys. It's that kind of narrow career path trajectory I think a lot of people see, and I've kind of consciously steered myself away from that personally. But I think that is definitely a huge pressure in the industry where I've spoken to people younger than me and I've spoken to people older than me, people who've been in the industry longer and not as long as I have. And I think we all notice it. And I think you mentioned there, Tazmin, the pressures that people coming into the industry feel like, oh, I need to not only have my nine to five agency job, I also need to be working on 15 different freelance things and also building my own sites and making passive income of $100 million and all this kind of stuff. I know we were talking about before we started recording. Like, we have these people who try and sell you that kind of program, right? You get these people who will take your money and say, yeah, I'll make you all this money. Or they sell a course that will say, yeah, I'll help you make $10,000 a month. More money than you could ever dream of. I'm like, is that all we care about these days? Is that kind of where late stage capitalism has driven us to most people? Yes, it is, unfortunately, it seems. But if you don't know anything about me, listeners, I'm not a fan of capitalism, despite being a fairly active participant in it. But yeah, I think there is definite pressure there for especially men. And I think it comes from two different sides of encouragement of like, yeah, go and be your best self and work your way up the career path and all that kind of stuff, but also being influenced by YouTubers, TikTokers, podcasters, whoever it is who have these platforms, who are selling this grind set mindset, hustle culture stuff that just is often not suitable for lots of people. Like, a lot of people will not thrive in that situation. I am one of those people. I am not a hustler. I am not a grindy kind of person. I work as hard as I can in my little job and my little corner, and I get my work done, I think, to a decent standard. But I'm not ready to have ten different freelance jobs and make a million dollars by building 15 different websites and churning out AI spam and all this kind of stuff. I think it's a big problem in the industry, to be honest.


I would agree. And the big problem comes when relationships break down. Mental health breaks has an impact. I was at a meeting of people who had almost gone through that cycle. They'd done the hustling and they still were driven individuals. But when they were asked, what are your goals for 2024? One of the overriding goals was, I want to be more present with my family. So they had gone through the cycle, done the hustle, got burnt out, realized that actually the treasure that they already had is the treasure that they were neglecting in striving to gain even more money. And I hear more and more people rejecting that hustle culture. Now I work hard. I've always worked hard. I come from a family that worked hard, and it's part of who the Suleiman women are as well. But I would not sacrifice my home, my relationships, because that's what gives me joy. And people forget that actually, when you are happy and peaceful and joyful, you're actually going to be more productive. So it's counterintuitive to push all of that aside. And I think that's where yourself, Sarah and I, what we try to talk about at the live podcast is about regaining that sense of peace and happiness and inner confidence in ourselves. Sorry.


Yeah, I think that's a really important part to kind of talk about there where you want to think about your family, your home life, your personal life, and understanding that work life balance. Because hustle culture. I don't know if you've seen some of these Instagram things and TikTok things, listeners and Tazmin. If you get up and work a nine to five job, I'm getting up at 04:00 a.m. And I've already done a day's work by the time you start working. So just think about how far I'm going to be ahead of my competitors in six months time. I'm working 14 days a week, ten days a week, whatever it is, that's not sustainable. You are like physically killing yourself. And like you said, your mental health is going to suffer. And I think that is something I've totally been guilty of. You mentioned sqlizers at the top there. That is something I do entirely in my own time at evenings and weekends outside of the nine to five job, as well as guesting on podcasts and all that kind of stuff as well. And I'll be honest, earlier this week, last week ish kind of thing, I was burning out. I really felt the pressure. We had a lot of stressful time in the agency. So my day job at Candour, we were working through a client site migration, and it kept delayed and delayed and complications and things like that. And I was really creatively struggling to write this thing that I needed to write for sqlizers. And I realized I hadn't had a moment where, you know, went for a walk with my wife or hung out and we didn't do anything. There wasn't a moment where I wasn't thinking about either the work thing or the podcasting thing. And that's essentially work. It's essentially the second job, as much as I try not to call it that. And I was like, I haven't sat down and read a page of my book that I'm supposed to be reading in over a week. Now, my wife and I have not gone off and had a meal in over a week. I've not really had that time to recharge. And I was like, I need to take a pause and think about that. And this was something I was talking about with the fantastic Hannah Butcher on my podcast a couple of weeks ago. She talked about her in her own words, squiggly career path, where she has been SEO specialist all the way up to digital pr, to head of department, to managing director of a company, and then actually realized maybe that's not the end goal for me. And actually, she's more worried about spending time with her husband, her kids, and understanding that work life balance a bit more. And actually, freelancing is something that really fulfills her in a way that gives her that kind of confidence in her work. Like, she knows she's brilliant at her job. She can really do. If you listen to, you don't know Hannah Butcher, she's amazing. And that kind of element. I know you and I were talking about this before we started recording Tazmin. You as a freelancer, as a coach yourself, like, understanding that flexibility where you can be there for your family, your kids, whatever it is. And for me, it was kind of like I'd forgotten that almost. I was putting so much pressure on myself to get all of my work done and also all this stuff that is kind of work outside of work. I hadn't really taken that work life balance, and I was completely exhausted just getting migraines and forgetting to sleep and all that kind of stuff.


We started off by talking about, what is confidence? And you were saying, confidence is this ability to trust yourself. It's also the ability to trust yourself to look after yourself, which is definitely what it's wrapped up in. And this year, for the first time, I've created a Google calendar that sits over everything else, but it's all of my self care. So what time I'm going to wake up, what I'm going to do, and how many hours I'm going to give myself before I dive into work, when I'm going to have lunch, when I'm going to finish work, when I'm going to go to bed. And I now fit in anything that I need to get done in between those hours. I won't sacrifice that. And last Friday, I realized I don't want to work Friday afternoons anymore. I'm not just not going to do it. So I've now added, that's my afternoon off because I'll work really hard all of the rest of the time. But there is that need. So for all of those people who think, all of those listeners who think that confidence equals hustle, it doesn't. It really doesn't.


Yeah, it doesn't have to. I think it can work for some people. Don't get me wrong, some people really do thrive in that environment. As I said before, I am not one of those people. And I think more people need to realize and come to terms with where they fit in that spectrum. Right. I think there is plenty of room in the middle. You don't have to be extreme hustler, making a million dollars every 10 seconds or whatever, getting up at 04:00 a.m. Every single day. And you also don't need to be the total opposite where you're not worried about your job, you're barely doing your job and all that kind of stuff, I think there is plenty of room in the middle there for a healthy balance where you're satisfied with work, you're finding fulfillment from work, you can be confident in your abilities at work and also understand that you can have the balance and spend the time with your family, your friends and all that kind of stuff. I love the idea where you're saying there of almost scheduling in the self care time and having it as almost like a friend of mine who works at Candour, one of my colleagues schedules in focus time and then off time as well. So his entire calendar, basically from 08:00 a.m. To 10:00 p.m. Whatever is, is blocked out with either, like spend time with partner, do this, do that. Obviously there's some flexibility there. You're not setting everything in stone. But I love the idea of just having that reminder of don't forget to go and go outside, go for a walk or read a book or play a video game or whatever is. And scheduling that in can be such a refreshing kind of. Oh, yeah, maybe I should do that kind of feeling.


Yeah. You and I can talk after this and we can create one for you. Your own self care menu. Oh, that's brilliant, Jack. I think let's have a break now. And when we come back, I'm really interested in talking about the neurodivergence part of your life and what you're doing in that space. And that would be great to talk about. Hello, everyone, and welcome back. Today I am talking to Jack Chambers-Ward, and we're talking all about the male perspective on confidence. So, Jack, we hear the term impostor syndrome and confidence a lot. Tell me, how does neurodivergence, or often undiagnosed neurodivergence, play a role in?


I think it's a huge part of it, and I think we're seeing a lot of people kind of understanding their own diagnosis. You mentioned there, Tazmin, a lot of people are undiagnosed Currently, and it's something I kind of been actively trying to be aware of in the industry. Hence my co founding with Sarah Press of the neurodivergence and SEO community here in the SEO space. We're trying to kind of help people understand what it means to be neurodivergent in various different ways. I myself have been diagnosed with ADHD as of the middle of last year, June 2023, I think it was. And I think a lot of people have that diagnosis moment of like, oh, now this all makes sense, right? And you hear all the various different symptoms and various different things that come with a particular diagnosis. And, oh, right, that's why I do that thing. On the other side of it, there is also a lot of where do I stop and where does my condition start? And kind of understanding your own identity in that sense. And this is something I was having a conversation with my wife before I got diagnosed, and we had a what's kind of the plan? What's the point of getting diagnosed at that process? Do you plan to go through, like, counseling and therapy sessions to better understand yourself and build techniques? Do you plan to go on medication? All this kind of stuff? What does a diagnosis do for you and for me? It gave me confidence in knowing that some of my weaknesses and some of my setbacks and stuff aren't necessarily my fault. And that became a huge part of kind of understanding myself and understanding, oh, I'm always late for things, or I'm always handing in pieces of work late or missing deadlines or whatever it is. Yeah, that's time blindness. That's a pretty well known condition. And part of ADHD and impostor syndrome, I think, really ties into something that resonated with me a lot when I understood my diagnosis is rejection, sensitivity, dysphoria, which is you could give, and I'm sure being criticized by you, Tazmin, is a very soft, pleasant experience where you would be the nicest possible positive, constructive feedback kind of person, but the tiniest little negative thing. And that is the weight of crushing despair on my shoulders for the next two weeks. And it's basically like a huge, oh, well, Tazmin didn't like that thing. You liked 99.9% of it. But that one negative comment becomes bigger than the tiny little 99% of positive comments, and that becoming like an ongoing thing. And how much of my life and my career is driven by impostor syndrome? I never feel as clever or as educated or as experienced as most of my colleagues, despite having worked in the same industry as them for the same amount of time, or worked on similar clients as them, or whatever it is. As soon as you start comparing yourself to other people, and I am totally guilty of this. As I'm speaking from first hand experience, I find you end up picking out tiny little pieces and tiny little elements where actually you should be looking at the bigger picture or just having a conversation with that person about it rather than getting it all in your head. And I think what so many neurodivergent people do, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, is compare ourselves to neurotypical people or perhaps even other neurodivergent people who have different conditions. Like me saying this as a person with, I have the inattentive type of ADHD. Comparing that to somebody who has been diagnosed on the autistic spectrum or who has OCD or dyslexia and all this kind of stuff, I know people have been diagnosed with dyslexia. Like, finally realizing, like, right. That's why my teachers were always criticizing me about my spelling for years and years. And whatever I did, I couldn't get it right. I'm the same way with timekeeping and meeting deadlines and stuff. For whatever reason, I will try my hardest, but I will leave everything until the final hour, the 11th hour, and I always, always do. And I realized, like, oh, that's a thing I need to get better at. Sure. But that is also a part of who I am and my condition, and that's something we can work on. And getting that diagnosis has given me kind of that confidence booster to be like, right now, I know what the problem is or what is causing the issue. Maybe that's something we can work into building up and trying to improve in some way without just know, oh, this is all my fault. I'm a terrible person. I'm a terrible employee every time I have a conversation with a colleague. Yeah, you're a really good worker. You're a good employee. You mentioned at the top there, Tazmin. Like, I think I'm a nice person most of the time. I try to be as much as I can, and that's an element of that. Coming round to the impostor syndrome of like, I don't want to make anyone else's day worse. I don't want to be that one bad thing that makes that person's day worse. So I try to be as nice and open and friendly and honest as I can with people I know. It was a tiny little interaction you and I had in Brighton, Tazmin, the moment where I came over to speak to you, and I know you were sat against one of the windows by yourself. And I asked, are you okay for me to come and speak to you? And that was a very conscious decision from me, regardless of neurodivergence and all that kind of stuff, to be like, do you need some time by yourself? Because like I said earlier, I burn out if I don't get that myself. So I was very conscious of that and I didn't want to be. I finally got a moment's piece and oh, here comes Jack. Oh, I've just been dealing with him. We've been trying to do the podcast together and I've had enough of him. I don't want to deal with him. And I would totally respect that, totally understand that. Because as the listeners can probably tell, I can talk a lot.


But that's a lot of pressure, isn't it? That's a lot for you to be thinking about. And that in itself can feel quite heavy. Does it feel heavy to you?


Yeah, definitely. There's a thing I was talking to my wife about a little while ago, and I think it was something I hadn't realized. I was kind of subconsciously doing it. I mentioned I'm a cis white man, straight man. So I'm ticking all the boxes of privilege, basically, apart from being from an incredibly rich family, unfortunately. But there is that element. I'm also a physically large person. I am six foot two. I am nigh on 20 stone. Like I'm a physically large person. And as anyone who has seen the pictures of me, Sarah and Tazmin, from the podcast, you can see I am much, much bigger than you two. And there is an element there that comes with I am going to be an intimidating presence to people, whether I like it or not. Being a physically large, especially white man in certain circumstances, the fact, know you, Tazmin, being a woman of color who is a foot shorter than me, and I don't mean that as a dig, just as a fact, a large guy approaching you when you're not feeling comfortable. And again, not speaking for women here or people of other genders, but that can be a pretty intimidating process. And I've realized I've kind of been going out of my way to be as unintimidating as possible and trying to be as friendly as possible. Despite my size, despite my appearance, I try to be a positive presence, a friendly presence. And I've to the point where even little things like, oh, I'll be walking home late, I'll get off the bus and be the only two people walking on this street will be me and another person. The other person is a woman. I'm like, well, this could make this very uncomfortable for her. So I'm going to hang back or walk a slightly different route and let her go off on her own rather than me. I could rush home and I could be right next to her or, like following right behind her or anything like that, but that can be quite an unpleasant experience. Again, speaking to my female friends, speaking to my wife, speaking to. I have two sisters as well, which is probably a big influence on this as well. Trying to not be this coming back around to the confidence and arrogance thing, like this big. I am the center of attention, man, and trying to accommodate people and realize some people don't want that. Whether that's out in the street, on a bus, on a train, at a conference, in the workplace, whatever it is, having that element where I'm trying to kind of minimize myself in a positive way, not to make myself feel smaller, make myself feel worse, but to make myself a less intimidating presence, I think is something I really had been doing subconsciously and now kind of am actually conscious of it.


And there's a big part of awareness, or you could call it emotional intelligence in that, that you understand what impact you may have. I think the more people are open and honest in conversations with each other and be able to speak what is right for them, because I also remember last Brighton, you and I were at a dinner together and we'd been invited, but we were both quite tired. And remember we spoke and said, do you just want to sit here and eat our pizza in peace or have we got energy for a conversation? And you said, no, let's chat. And I think that was the first time you and I had a really in depth conversation about ADHD. We were talking about my recent trip to hudge, and it was a very rich conversation. I felt it was very rich conversation.


We went into our family backstories and all kinds of stuff. Yeah, absolutely.


And it's something that I've learned with my daughter because she's had some diagnosis, but it's very honest in a non raw form. So if she comes to me with mom, this happened, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I'll ask her, who do you want me to be right now? And she'll say, I just want you to be mum and just listen and give me a hug if I need it or whatever. Or she'll say, I need you to coach me through this. I need to find a solution. Don't want you to find it for me. I just want you to ask me questions. So normalizing those sorts of conversations with your friends, with your siblings, with your children, with your manager, I feel that can only help improving relationships, be it personal or work wise. I'm interested in understanding from you. Like we're saying, emotional intelligence, more and more important these days, especially working with teams of neurodivergent members. What are your thoughts on the ability of, because most managers leadership is male orientated on emotional intelligence, or even perhaps lack of emotional intelligence of men in.


Those situations, I think lack of is almost the key word there to steal a phrase from SEO. That is something I think I'm really, again, conscious of trying to be more aware of and trying to be conscious of whether that's in the workplace. Like you said, working with, not to call people out, but other members at Candour or other team members are also neurodivergent. We have a neurodivergent employee resource group at Candour where we can all kind of come together and have conversations like, oh, I really struggle with this, or do you think we could use this kind of software or do this thing or, oh, have you tried this thing? Or whatever? Having those open conversations has been a really nice process for the half dozen of us at the company that are going through similar things. Again, not all necessarily diagnosed with the same thing or even fully diagnosed necessarily, but being able to have that open conversation about the struggles and all that kind of stuff is a really powerful thing. And I think that is a massive problem with so many men and our conversations that we have. There's a kind of running joke, right, where a group of women will get together, group of girlfriends, and they'll hang out and they will have the most in depth, incredible conversation, and they'll break down everything. And then the very stereotypical kind of group of guys will hang out. And the question comes was like, oh, wow, you spent, like, all evening with the guys. What did you guys speak about? Nothing, really. You mentioned the in depth conversation you and I had, Tazmin. There's often no depth to that, and that is very much a barrier I think is put up by coming back around to things like toxic masculinity. The emotional intelligence is always trying to force its way through that barrier and push through and say, actually, if we understand our own emotions and how we can be empathetic to other people and be understanding of other people, that is a hugely important thing in life. You mentioned your relationship with the daughter there. I talk about similar relationship with my mum or relationship with my wife as well, like, understanding and having that. Who do you need right now? Because, again, coming around to the ADHD side of things, I'm a problem solver. If there is an issue, I instantly want to go, okay, how do we solve the problem? And sometimes, exactly as you said, Tazmin, you just need a. Just listen to me rant for a bit and be a shoulder to cry on or hold your pants up and punch them or whatever you need. Like, just get some stress out, whatever it is. You don't necessarily need to go into problem solving mode. And actually, that can be frustrating for the other person. They're like, I don't need a solution. I can handle this. I just need a place to vent and reset my energy and kind of make myself feel better. And I think some people can find that quite difficult to come to terms with. And it comes down to communication at the end of the day. There's something I talk about so often with my friends who have been married longer than I have. Like I said, we're married for coming up on two years now. It'll be two years in April. But so many of my friends have been married longer than Emma and I have, and us having those conversations and, oh, did you struggle with this? Or when we bought our house last year? What was this struggle and these big life decisions? You can have those big in depth conversations, but also have fun and have easy, normal conversations. It doesn't have to be all one or the other. And I think I'm kind of, like, trying to find that balance where I will be joking and talking about tv shows or video games or whatever with my guy friends, and then, oh, somebody's going through a breakup now we need to switch and be like, we need to be serious. We need to be there for them. We need to give them real advice. And a friend of mine did go through a breakup a few weeks ago, and he came to me, and it was Emma and I having that conversation with him and going through that process, and it was the most vulnerable we've known each other for ten plus years, by far, the most vulnerable we've ever, ever been with each other. And it was suddenly like this wave of emotional opening and awakening that happened with us where we're just like, oh, wow, I didn't realize you felt that way, or I didn't realize you were even going through that in your relationship and all this kind of stuff. And I think it is such a classic element of male friendship and male companionship where we just don't really talk about stuff, let alone try and relate to women, non binary people, other people of different diverse backgrounds and all that kind of stuff. That is a whole other element to it. And I would really recommend, and not to plug my own podcast here, but I did an episode with Petra Kish Hershegg, and Petra is literally doing a phd on psychology about emotional intelligence and stuff. So they were absolutely amazing. Brilliant, brilliant guest. If you go and back and listen to that episode of Search with Candour, Petra can put it much better than definitely, she's incredible, she's brilliant. And having that barrier where I think that toxic masculinity thing we've been talking about the whole episode, the hustle culture, all this kind of stuff comes back around to, I think men can kind of get, we can kind of get stuck in our own kind of like comfortable bubble of patriarchal structures and male focused structures and stuff and not worry about a lot of the stuff we probably should be thinking about and actually having open, honest conversations about confidence, emotional intelligence, all this kind of stuff. Hopefully we're moving in the right direction. I know I'm in a little bit of a liberal echo chamber of my friends, but I would like to think I'm moving in the right direction as a whole.


I think openness, self awareness, confident communication. I saw this thing on Instagram. Husband's telling his wife, why do you go walking with your friends? Why don't you go jogging instead? And she said, but we're not just walking. We're walking and talking. And he said, well, what's the point of that? And she said, we're not just walking, we're saving lives, right? This morning we saved yours because she was cross at him about something. But we've talked about a lot of topics today. We've talked about confidence and hustle culture and neurodivergency and emotional intelligence. So this question is going to be difficult, I think, to answer, but maybe not. What would you like the listeners to take away from today's episode?


Don't get caught up in the hustle culture. I think it's the key because like I said, you can so easily watch stuff on YouTube or TikTok or listen to a podcast or be on LinkedIn and see everyone making, or at least claiming that's probably a key part of as well, claiming to make lots of money and all this kind of stuff. Really do your research. Understand who you're following, who you're listening to, and don't get caught up in all the charlatans and all the bad stuff that comes with that side of the industry.


That's good advice. Good advice. Now, another piece of advice. So this podcast is to help people with their careers through a range of topics. What's the best career advice you've ever received?


I think it was, funnily enough, the director at Candour, Mark Williams Cook, my co-host on the podcast, as really, really smart guy. And when it comes to SEO, he always talks about how whatever you do from an SEO perspective shouldn't affect the user in a negative way. And I kind of twisted that in a slightly different way of like, whatever changes you're making in your career. And Mark and I would talk about this because I left a fairly toxic work culture to come to Canada, and that was I was offered a lot more money by the other company. They essentially doubled my salary. Between me saying, oh, by the way, I'm thinking about leaving to handing in my notice, my salary essentially doubled in like 48 hours over like half a dozen conversations with my boss at the time who was the owner of the company. He was like, oh, how much money would I have to pay you to stay? And I'm like, you're kind of missing the point here. So not doing something in your career that will negatively affect your work life balance, your mental health, all the stuff we've been talking about in the episode, maybe you could make a bit more money here. And if that is your goal, then godspeed, all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, don't make a jump to a career or a company if you think it will negatively affect your life as a whole.


Incredible advice and links in with so much of what we talked about today.




And the third of our wrap up questions, who is someone who inspires you that you would recommend following?


So this is completely out of the marketing and SEO realm and more in the podcasting realm side of things. One of my biggest inspirations is a guy called Greg Miller, who is a kind of youtuber podcaster, has been for years and years and years, mostly covering films and video games and stuff. And he's the reason I became a podcaster. I followed Greg for years and years and years. And his openness with his audience and him now starting funny enough, talking about starting his own company and now being essentially a CEO of a company and a founder of a company for the last few years has been an amazing journey. And yeah, the company he runs is called Kinda Funny. So kinda kinda. And then the word funny. And if you're into nerdy pop culture stuff like I am, I can't recommend them enough. And Greg even going know he had cancer, I think 5678 years ago now, and being open and honest and having that conversation with his audience and all this kind of stuff. I know he's been an inspiration for a lot of people in the podcasting community and he's been a big, big inspiration for me.


That's brilliant. If you give some links, we'll put those in the show notes so everyone has a chance to follow him. This has been quite an episode. We've covered so much personal stories as well. It's been brilliant. So thank you so much, Jack, and thank you to all listeners today. I'm sure you've enjoyed it. It's been brilliant. Thank you.


Thank you for having me on. Tazmin. It's been really fun. Like I said, it's always nice to chat with you, but it's nice to have a one on one and kind of get deep and emotional and get into some deep, deep, interesting, pretty hot topics. So yeah, always fun to do that. Thanks so much for having me on.


It's been great. It's been great. And thank you again to everyone listening. And a reminder that if you are enjoying what Sarah and I are doing and would like to support the podcast, then variety of ways of doing that one is via the buy me a coffee, the link is in the show notes. And please share the podcast with anyone and everyone that you think would be beneficial that would benefit. Thank you again. Take care everyone.

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About the Podcast

The SEO Mindset Podcast
Personal growth tips to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms!
The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that gives you actionable, personal growth and development tips, guidance and advice, to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms.

The podcast is dedicated to talking about important topics that aren't often spoken about in the industry such as imposter syndrome, burnout, anxiety, self awareness etc. Sarah and Tazmin, along with their special guests highlight important topics, share own experiences as well as giving actionable solutions. Basically we have open, honest and frank conversations to help others in the industry.

Each week we cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics. We will help you to not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Your hosts are Mindset Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years experience working in the industry.
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About your hosts

Sarah McDowell

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I've been in Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for around 10 years, currently working as the SEO Manager at Captivate (part of Global), the world's only growth-orientated podcast host. I am a self-confessed SEO nerd (I find the industry fascinated and love learning how search engines like Google work) and a bit of a podcast addict (with this being the fourth podcast I have hosted). I am also a speaker and trainer. I hope you enjoy this podcast!

Tazmin Suleman

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I am a Life Coach, helping people grow and thrive, however my background has included careers in Development, Data Integrity and SEO. Through coaching, mentoring and teaching I help people build happier more fulfilling professional and personal lives by changing their mindset and habits. I teach courses on these topics and have incorporated a lot of the teachings in this podcast. I hope you find it useful.