Be a Micro-Disruptor to Change the Workplace
Updated: May 12
In this episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, we talk about bringing more humanity to the workplace. My guest, Mike Thompson, founder of Spark Recruiting, shares his journey with impostor syndrome and how he views his investment in his mental health as just as important as his investment in his physical health. We also talk about how to re-imagine the hiring process to increase diversity and ensure that the right people are promoted to leadership. And, finally, we talk about the role of micro-disruptor that we can all play to transform our workplaces.
About My Guest:
Mike Thomson has been in the recruitment agency industry for thirteen years. He launched Spark at the end of 2021 with the goal to change how everyone attracts top talent. Hiring is uninspiring, generic, faceless, and lacks personality but not anymore. He is an entrepreneur, matchmaker, sales professional, storyteller, father, athlete and optimistically curious about people.
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Kim Meninger Good morning, Mike. And thank you again for being here. It’s wonderful to meet you today. And I’d love to start by inviting you to introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit more about you.
Mike Thompson Well, first, Kim, thanks for having me on. And again, I said this before we jumped on thank you for this platform and this message and this mission, it’s super important. And something I’m very passionate. So thank you for having me on. First off, I’m Mike. I’m, you know, founder of Spark Recruiting, which is a recruiting agency that does things a little bit differently. I’ve been in the recruitment space my entire career for… I don’t want to tell you how old I am. But it’s been almost 15 years that I’ve been in the recruitment space. And through that, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve experienced a lot personally, as well as with people that I have worked with, that I’m, that I’m so excited to share with you. I’m also a relatively new father. I have a two-year-old son, Oscar, that is, again, for all the parents out there changes your perspective on life. And it’s just, it’s great, like life is awesome, and I’m just so happy to be here.
Kim Meninger Oh, thank you. And congratulations. That’s an exciting time. And I was really intrigued by your story. You and I talked a little bit about this before we hit record that, in particular, I think it’s, it’s less understood how impostor syndrome affects men. I don’t think that it’s something that’s not experienced by men. But I think that a lot of times just because of socialization and just different kinds of challenges, men aren’t as comfortable necessarily sharing about it. So I so appreciated how open and honest you were in how you talked about your own story. And I’d love it if you wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit about your own journey with impostor syndrome.
Mike Thompson Yeah, for sure. And I think just to touch on that, before my story, I think there’s a stigma out there that, you know, toughness, or being mentally tough, is something where you’re not fazed by things. And you know, you can just shake things off, and plow forward, do all those things. It’s incorrect. And I think everybody experiences this and we’re just not comfortable being vulnerable and communicating that. So I really want everybody to know that’s listening, you know, whoever it is, you’re not alone. Everybody’s experiencing this and we need to normalize it so it becomes less of this big, scary monster, and then we can really kind of minimize it. So my own story, I started in the industry, right out of school, small company, you know, thrusted, into a sales kind of role where there was a lot of pressure put on early on and I had a lot of success. And I was trying to figure out what I was doing while I was becoming successful. And I always felt that there was this thing in the back of my head that was like, just don’t say anything or don’t, don’t let people know you don’t know what you’re doing. Because then all of your success is going to go away. So just act the part like you know what you’re doing. And there was always this side of me that was afraid of being found out that, oh, Mike doesn’t actually know what he’s doing. And you know, and now all of a sudden, all the success is gonna go away. And it sounds generic. And it sounds like the cookie-cutter definition, but it was there. And it stayed there for over a decade of, you know, having this track record of success, but almost not trusting it. And thinking that, you know, I was fooling everybody. And I needed to do it quickly. Because there was going to be a time it was all going to end. It was inevitable that it was all going to come crashing down. And you need to kind of make hay while the sun is shining before you get found out. So that was my entire career through multiple roles. It was as a recruiter. And then as I moved into sales, and then as I moved into a more senior sales position, and then I moved into a general manager role. And now as an entrepreneur and even as a father, you have these things. So it doesn’t matter the role you have, there’s always this doubt of, I don’t know what I’m doing. And if I say that, then people are going to figure it out. And I’m going to stop having success.
Kim Meninger I think your story is so familiar. And I so appreciate your sharing it. And I want to ask you because you make an important point, you had a track record of success, you know, you were experiencing success. Yet this voice lingered. And I’m curious if you could name what the challenges were of having that voice because if you’re sort of thinking about, if you zoom out, you think about it from a non-emotional place, you might think, well, what’s the big deal? Right? You’re being successful anyway, but it can be incredibly difficult to navigate. So I’m curious if you’re able to think about how did it affect you? What was, what were some of the consequences of having that voice with you at all times?
Mike Thompson Yeah, and it’s been, you know, a lot of therapy that’s helped me uncover a lot of this. But, you know, the real thing is when you have this doubt, this emotional trigger that, you know, it’s just always there. Whenever you experience success, it’s a fluke. And when you experience a bit of a drawback, or a bit of a stumble, that’s the real thing. And that’s what you hold on to and that gets magnified. And successes get, oh, wow, Lucky. And you know, when something goes wrong, your world is falling apart, and it affects you. And even though it’s emotional response, it starts affecting you physically, it affects how you show up at work, it affects how you show up in your relationships, and how you view yourself. So it really just builds up as a snowball from something that you’re just not trusting your track record that you have. And, and what I’ve learned is logically, if you step back and say, Hey, listen, I’ve had 10 years of success, it’s not all gonna go away tomorrow. But when you’re thinking emotionally, logic, it’s a different language, you can’t out logic an emotion. You have to ride out that emotion and understand that it’s an emotional response. And it’s going to play its course, like a wave, it’s going to come, it’s going to go, and then you can go back to it. But when you try to fight it with logic, you have this, this, this difficult debate inside, and it’s just like I’ve learned, and I’m still learning. I mean, I don’t want to make it seem like I’m through it, because you’re, you know, we manage it. But it’s a very difficult thing to overcome.
Kim Meninger That was so well said, and I really appreciate what you said, too, about how when you have success, it’s a fluke. But when you have a challenge or something bad happens, that’s the real you, right? And so it’s so hard to stay connected to those wins because they feel so fleeting. And so, you know, just like, oh, well, that was lucky that time. And that is such a, such a common experience. And I’m curious because you articulate this so well. And you mentioned going through therapy, how did you know I need to work on this, I, this is something I need to start addressing differently?
Mike Thompson Yeah, and it really kind of started as a fluke. My, my therapy journey started from a fear of flying, which most people do, I was afraid to get on a plane, and it was holding back to doing things and I wanted to find a way to deal with this or manage this. So I explored it. And what I found is, is I come from an athletic background, I still love being an athlete, and I dedicate a lot of time to my physical performance, what I eat, what I train, how I recover, and I started thinking, how much effort and work am I putting into my mental health? If I’m putting this much work into my physical health, what am I dedicating towards my mental health? So I found the sessions about learning how to manage my fear of flying, just continue. Just sometimes I didn’t even know what I was going to be talking about, I still have a standing appointment with my therapist once a month, where sometimes it’s I don’t know what it is. But it’s dedicated time for me to explore how am I feeling? Why am I feeling the way I’m feeling? And does it matter? Sometimes no. But just that journey of self-exploration is my time to work on my mental health. And it’s really important for me to have that in the calendar to know that it’s there. And through that experience, I’ve uncovered a lot. And we talked about the success and failure and the trigger for me on that was I was materialistic to the point where I wanted to buy things to signify my success. So I would purchase things so other people would notice on me well Mike that’s a, that’s a nice, nice pair of shoes you have. These are nice, those are, and their reaction to me would satisfy that reassurance that I was successful because I didn’t feel it myself. So I needed that external recognition of success to counter the voice in my head that you’re not successful. And through therapy, I’ve been able to kind of manage that. And you know, my retail therapy still gets out of hand a little bit but, but at least I know where it comes from.
Kim Meninger And I love how you talk about therapy as something that’s an investment in your mental health in the same way that you invest in your physical health. Because speaking of stigma, right, I still think that even though we’re at a place in history where it’s safer than ever to talk about our mental health, it’s still not safe enough. And I think there are too many people who suffer in silence, too many people who don’t access resources because they’re afraid of being that vulnerable. And so, you know, one of the things that you said that really jumped out at me is just what I interpret as raising the unconscious to the conscious level so that you can actually decide is, is this a useful thought or a useful way of engaging in the world around me? And I think of it as almost like a pause button, right? Because we’re all going so fast and things are happening so subconsciously, that unless you insert these practices that give you time to evaluate, am I thinking about this in a way that works for me, we’re not going to have different thoughts. We’re not going to be able to recondition ourselves. So I’m curious what that journey was like for you too because I know it’s not a switch that you flip suddenly.
Mike Thompson Yeah. And it’s and it’s, you know, it’s uncomfortable, to be honest, that it is because sometimes you get frustrated. And a lot of it is frustrations when you’re, when you’re dealing with, you know, therapists. And they’re great at asking questions that make you look inwards and think about things differently. And sometimes you don’t have the answer. And that frustrates you and you get anxious, because you’re trying to figure it out, and you can’t figure it out. And there was a lot of frustrations, but that’s the process. You’re almost trying to figure out why you do the things you do and where that comes from. And if you want to change it or not, sometimes you don’t. And I look at it more like performance. And people think about, you know, and I talk openly about, you know, seeing a therapist regulating people, people have this look that’s like, oh, what’s, what’s wrong with you? And that’s the problem is? Well, first of all, there’s lots of things wrong with me. But there’s a lot of things wrong with everybody. And it’s more, it’s less about, you know, I’m dealing with this thing. And it’s more, it’s a performance thing for me, like I don’t know how to navigate myself in terms of the questions to ask, to dedicate the time to explore these things. I seek a professional to guide me on that journey. And it’s not on them to solve the problems for you. But it’s, it’s on them to help you figure yourself out. That brings a lot of things to the surface that, you know, sometimes they are, and sometimes they’re not. And certainly the topic we’re talking about today it helped me manage that know where that was coming from, and how to manage it going forward. And I think that’s super important. Because most people, like you said suffer in silence, they don’t know there’s something wrong. And they operate every day with this, you know, this, these thoughts or these things that are holding them back because they don’t know how to manage it.
Kim Meninger Hmm. It’s such a great point. And it is so interesting when you think about it in these terms of Well, obviously, I don’t know, you know, why would I know this stuff? But, but there is such a fear factor associated with admitting that or taking that kind of action. And you actually answered the question I was going to ask next. But I’d love for you to expand on this a little bit of do you talk to your friends about this? Do you, do you share this? And I’d love to hear more about the response do you feel like, not that this is your job? But do you feel like your willingness to be open about this does influence the people around you and their willingness to be more vulnerable?
Mike Thompson Yeah, I, I’m careful about talking about it. Like, I don’t want to pressure anybody into thinking they need to do this. Or to almost talk about it like it’s a cool thing to do. In terms of Oh, my therapist said, or oh, this or my therapist thinks this or Oh, you said this, my therapist would say this, like, nobody wants to be that person. Nobody wants to be around that person. But I think when you’re having deep conversations with your friends, more on a one-on-one basis, you can be vulnerable and open up. And I think for me vulnerability is how you build relationships. If you can’t be vulnerable with anybody, how can you expect that same vulnerability back? So for me, I can speak to that point. And I don’t fear that I’m going to be judged because this is who I am. This is, I, this is my authentic, genuine self. And if you don’t accept me for who I am, then we have a problem. And I’d rather know now than later on, in terms of, you know, we’re not the right individual for each other to be, you know, helping grow each other. That’s, that’s the point of having friends and support is, you know, you need to be there for each other and it’s, you know, you grow together. So I, I talk openly, all my friends know, and some of my friends even came up to me, and, you know, kind of said that they’ve, they’ve gone and, and done it themselves and it’s and it’s something that, that’s, that’s great because they don’t feel comfortable talking about it and it’s men don’t talk about it enough. You know, and I think it’s just I don’t know why I really want to just say just it’s not a statement doesn’t, doesn’t mean anything did shouldn’t be associated with anything, you should feel comfortable being yourself.
Kim Meninger I love that. I love that you are seeing an impact on your friends too. And it is unfortunate and it actually leads me to want to talk a little bit about the, the workplace these days, right because you’ve been in the workplace and as an entrepreneur and a recruiter, you see a lot of different things and so on. You know, it’s hard to even know where to start. But I think about the pandemic as being this turning point in how we look at humanity within the workplace. And certainly, it brought to the surface a lot of what was not working. And it sort of has created more, I don’t know if permission is the right word. But for vulnerability, both on the physical and the mental health side of things. And I wonder if you have a perspective on what organizations should be thinking about in terms of creating more space for this kind of vulnerability because, you know, you and I are talking about it more so in friendship-based relationships, but this applies to the workplace too. And so for people to be able to do their best work, to feel safe to share their ideas to, you know, feel connected to the environment around them, the same conditions have to exist. And historically, that has not been a focus within corporations or workplaces. It’s been much more of like, yeah, check your humanity at the door and get the work done. Right. So, so how do you see that world these days, given your vantage point?
Mike Thompson Yeah, this is my life’s work. And this is my passion. And this is why I love to trend where we’re going where, you know, it’s not work-life balance, it’s life-work balance, in terms of where work fits into my life instead of vice versa. So I feel like the pandemic has really pushed the pause button, as you said, everybody to kind of say what matters in my life. And, and obviously, work is a big part of people’s lives, you dedicate a lot of time and energy to work, and you want it to be meaningful. And whether it’s in the nature of the work you do the organization, the mission that, that they’re driving towards, or the impact you have on a day-to-day basis, and who you’re working with. So I find a responsibility of organizations to really figure out who you want in those leadership roles. Because as much as an organization has policies around empathy, or compassion, or all of these buzz, diversity, all these buzzwords, we hear, if the individual leaders don’t reflect those, it doesn’t matter. And I find the way that organizations promote individuals into leadership positions is flawed, the highest performer on the team becomes the manager of the team. Are they the best person to be managing a group of individuals? Maybe? But most times, not necessarily. So I find those decisions, in terms of who we put in those people management positions is going to have the largest impact on how organizations move forward to address a lot of these issues.
Kim Meninger And do you when you’re talking with organizations as part of your work? Do you get to weigh in on that? Do you find that your voice influences how they think about the, the ideal candidate and what they’re, you know, how they’re going about trying to identify the right person for the roles that they’re looking for?
Mike Thompson I would like to say all the times, yes. But I would say, I would say in most cases, for sure. Like I think there’s a vulnerability that organizations have right now when it comes to hiring. And it’s only because of the market. The market has dictated that organizations are vulnerable because the talent pool has more options than they’ve ever had before. So there’s the vulnerability if, if bank ABC is hiring tomorrow, that’s not unique, because they all are. So now what and that’s the next phase will organizations have to adapt to this vulnerability that they have? And that’s forcing them to think differently about how they hire and who they hire. So there’s, there’s, there’s more influence I can have in these discussions now just because of market conditions.
Kim Meninger And, you know, I always worry about the fact that the pendulum tends to swing so far from one direction to the next. I’m hoping that these conditions are not so fleeting that they don’t result in meaningful, long-lasting change.
Mike Thompson I agree. And I don’t think that’s going to be the case. Because this has always been when we talk about diversity hiring. And I talk about diversity in terms of, you know, looking at people from different backgrounds, different experiences that can do a job. That’s always been a benefit. It’s been well-documented for decades that a diverse team actually has significant impact on financial results of the organization. But it hasn’t been put into practice for a long time until the pandemic, until the market is forced to, to hire differently and not hire the executive that was doing the exact job they were doing previously and now they’re doing it for your company, because the market is causing people to there’s, there’s too many jobs than there are people to fill them. So now you have to think differently. And now this diverse hiring is happening. And you’re putting these people in these roles, and they’re excelling in it. So now, it’s not just a short-term solution, they’re seeing the benefits that people have been documenting for decades of this type of hiring and of this diverse hiring. So I feel optimistic that it’s not gonna swing the other way. Because we finally been able to do this and it’s working.
Kim Meninger That’s really great to hear. I’m encouraged by the fact that it’s proving the model, right? And I’m curious too if we can take a look at it from the candidate side for a moment, because you and I talked a little bit about this offline too of just that as a natural point when people start to experience impostor syndrome and start to say things like, Well, who am I to go after this kind of a job, or I can’t compete with people who have all this other experience? And I imagine that this is just your daily life. Do you have certain… I guess, are there certain indicators for you that that is what’s going on? And do you support people around that?
Mike Thompson Yeah. And I think that the job this is, you know, where the this, this conversation collides for me, because in my line of work, what I’m trying to change is the whole nature of the hiring process. Is, is doesn’t help with impostor syndrome. And I’ll tell you why. Look at the job description. That’s the only form of collateral that’s used to market a job. And if you scroll to the bottom of a job description, you have required skills and experience, it’s a list of 15 things that people need to have on the job, what they’re setting you up for, nobody has those. Nobody has all of those things. So looking for a job is already vulnerable enough, you’re putting yourself out there because you want to try something and you’re unsure of if you’re qualified or not. And then you read this, and what brings to the surface of what you don’t have, why you’re not the right person, why you’re not fit. So it reinforces all of these things you already have in the back of your mind that you’re not enough. And you don’t have the experiences, the job description reinforces that. So what happens people that are overconfident or ability men have 20% of the required and jobs, rock stars, we’re going to apply for this job. Women need 90% of the required skills and experience before they feel confident enough that they’re actually going to apply for the job. So what happens, they just don’t apply. Because they feel like if they do apply, they’re set up to fail. And it’s going to reinforce all of these voices in their head telling them they’re not good enough. So the whole hiring process is what I’m trying to change because nobody needs those 15 required skills and experiences. And we can really simplify that and do a better job of promoting and highlighting what people have. Everybody is unique. We talk we will you go online, and you see everybody looking, I’m looking for the next rockstar, unicorn, you know, Loch Ness monster, whatever the make-believe thing is that doesn’t exist, which I have issues with that, we can talk about that later. But everybody is unique. Everybody is that person because nobody has your story. Nobody has seen the world and had the experiences that you do. So you are unique. You are a rock star. The job process, the hiring process should be one of understanding what somebody’s story is and how they can contribute to the job versus, “Are you good enough to do this job? And where do you fall short?”
Kim Meninger Huh? Oh, my goodness, I feel like you’re in my brain. I love that. How to? And not that this is an answer you can give in a couple of minutes. But get there because it really is a paradigm shift. And I feel like a lot of what’s happening isn’t even necessarily thought about it’s kind of the wall. This is the way we go about hiring this is the way we go about creating job descriptions. There isn’t necessarily, especially in really busy under-resourced organizations, there doesn’t even seem to be time carved out to rethink what it might look like in a better way. And so how do you get this to happen on a systemic level?
Mike Thompson Well, certainly if we’re successful at doing this, we’ll look back at this and say, Hey, Mike called the shot. And this is what it does, but what I believe is the most effective way at hiring referrals. You can never compete with referrals. And if you think about how that works, it’s very casual. It’s very conversational. There’s never a job description. A, It’s Hey, Kevin, I know someone that would be perfect to work for you for these reasons, because they are ABC, awesome, Mike, I would love to meet them. It’s very to the point of who they are, the skills they have, and I know you and they can help you, then when you connect, it’s very simplistic in terms of the language you use to describe it. The job is, hey, this is the job. This is what success looks like. What do you think that’s it. And that’s been the most effective way at hiring for as long as I can remember. Now, somewhere along the way, we try to systemize it by creating a wish list of the perfect candidate for every single hire when that doesn’t exist. And that’s not realistic. So I believe the way to scale it is to scale the personal referral method. And that’s what we’re working on. And that’s what our mission is, is to really just put the hiring manager on a video talking about, what is this role? And what would success look like? And what skills would be great for this? Let’s really humanize this experience, instead of having them less well, my, I would like 10 plus years of this experience, and I would like them to have seven plus years of this, followed by a university degree from these things. Nobody speaks like that. But that’s a job descriptions listed where you would say to me, you know, what success in this role would look like someone that can come in and do X? Awesome. That’s a great starting point. Let’s go from there. So simplifying the job from a skills perspective, what skills would contribute to success instead of what we need everybody to have? I think, is how we’re going to solve this problem.
Kim Meninger I couldn’t agree with you more. And one question I have for you, is, I wholeheartedly agree on the networking front. I also worry sometimes that if networks aren’t diverse enough, we’re just going to keep perpetuating the same kind of person and these roles. And so are there things that we can all think about in terms of how do we continue to diversify network so that we’re getting access to more different kinds of profiles, and it’s not just a cookie cutter of the same person?
Mike Thompson It’s so hard. And I think you nail it’s a challenge, because of the way algorithms are on social media, you see what you believe, right? So it’s very difficult to try to build diversity, I think it’s what we talked earlier, it starts with self-awareness, it starts with understanding what you believe in where you’re at, and what might be valuable to balance that to help you grow. But there’s not enough people taking a step back to really understand themselves. So they just jump into these social networking websites. And all they see is just reinforcing what they already believe in. And it becomes very difficult to build a diverse network, when that’s all you’re seeing and prescribing you, you think you are, you’re adding people, you’re commenting on things you’re contributing, but you’re only seeing your version of that. So it is very difficult to build a diverse network, it starts with being aware of that, first off is that what you see online, is not everything, it’s your version of that and, and to be aware of that and to seek out kind of other individuals or other viewpoints and starting engaging in that will help. But it is challenging. And that’s something that we struggle with, you know, even in hiring and even as I’m building a network, and, you know, you just, you just you see what you what the algorithm wants you to see.
Kim Meninger You’re absolutely right. But what I love about what you’re saying is that I always try to separate out what’s the macro level responsibility, meaning what is the organization responsible for and then in what we’re talking about, they’re responsible for a lot. But I’m also a big believer in personal self-empowerment and personal accountability. And what I like about what you just said, is that it’s something that every single one of us can think about and do better, we can all take action on that it’s not going to be limited to what the organization is doing. But to really think to ourselves, like what can I be doing to have a more diverse network so that when somebody comes to me and says, Hey, do you know anybody who can do this job, I have a more diverse pool to pull from.
Mike Thompson Exactly. And I agree with you completely. I think we can all individually, micro-level, do this. And enough of that happening, that micro-disruption turns into transformation. And I think a lot of individuals feel it’s daunting, it’s, well, it’s not going to change because of me. It’s like, if everybody says that then nothing does change. So, you know, be like, consider yourself, and I consider myself and… You’re a micro-disruptor because you acknowledge that you want to do things differently, or you’re looking at improving. And I think this term of micro-disruption is key because if you feel empowered to be a micro-disruptor, then you have a responsibility to do it. So consider yourself a micro-disruptor and challenge the status quo. And then you’ll, you’ll, you’ll surround yourself and your tribe and community of other micro disruptors who are also looking at doing the same.
Kim Meninger I love that language so much. I think that’s such a great way to think about it. Any thoughts on how candidates who are really doubting themselves and not moving forward with something because they don’t meet 100% of the qualifications, like any, any thoughts you would have, or advice you would share with people who are in that process, and maybe their, their self-doubt is getting the best of them right now.
Mike Thompson For sure, and the best thing I can think of is I, I became so fascinated in storytelling as a, as an art and started reading a bunch of books about storytelling and how to tell a story. And you go down a rabbit hole, and I just read one about stand-up comics, and like their process. And most standup comedians are not funny. They’re not in real life. They’re performers. And what they talk about is their, it’s work. It’s observation. So what I tell candidates, anybody, you have so many powerful stories we have to uncover them, is I can’t tell your story. But you can tell your story. And every day, something happens that is unique to you. That’s a great story. So start becoming aware of that. And there are a lot of great tools out there. There’s the five-minute journal, there’s the gratitude journal, there’s so many different things you can do. But it’s just as easy as thinking about something great that happened today, write it down, you have a collection of all of these awesome stories that are great. And then when somebody’s in, you’re in a, you’re at a party or at a networking event, you’re in an interview, and someone says will tell me something different about you, you have so many different stories that you can draw from where I think most people aren’t paying enough attention to their own lives. That when it’s like, tell me about yourself, what you say, Well, I graduated from university and you regurgitate your resume. So you know, I can see that. Tell me something unique about you. And I’ll tell you a story that, that brings us to light. I was interviewing for a small startup client of mine, a director finance role. And generally, like you’re not people that work in startup, want people from startup, we can talk about why that’s but whatever. And I was interviewing this, this woman that had 20 years of big company experience, she’s worked in large enterprise. And I was curious. So I’m interviewing her. And I’m asking her, saying, you’ve always worked in big companies, moving to a small company startup is challenging, because people in startup want people from startup. So that’s gonna be an obstacle, we’re gonna have to overcome. Why do you want to work in this job in the startup? And she said to me, she said, Mike, this is embarrassing, but I’m a single mom. And I have a daughter, that’s 13. And I’m starting to see that she has signs of being an entrepreneur, she’s very entrepreneurial, she thinks, I think she could be a great entrepreneur. And as a parent, I feel inadequate to guide her on that journey, because I’ve never had this experience. So I am seeking out to work at a startup so I can get this experience to be a better parent to my daughter. And she said, she said now that she’s like, I’m sure and then she said, she’s sorry. And I stopped her. And I said, You just told me more about you in that story than any resume, any LinkedIn profile could ever tell. You told me about your motivations, your values, everything. This makes you a phenomenal candidate because of this story. That’s a vulnerability. And that’s such a great story that more people need to be honest and talk about their intentions. And, and I tell this story, because it’s perfect, it’s authentic, it’s raw, it’s vulnerable, and it’s real. And I want more people to feel empowered to tell their stories and not be apologetic about it either.
Kim Meninger I hope everyone takes that as inspiration because you’re absolutely right. And I particularly love the actionable part of that of logging the stories because you’re writing I mean, when you’re putting on the spot and asked to share something about yourself. It’s funny because I, you know, you do those icebreakers where it’s like, say something interesting about yours, so much pressure, right? Like God, there’s nothing everybody else is interesting. I’m not interesting, but if you have that database to pull from that is such a great strategy to just kind of keep going.
Mike Thompson I stole it. I mean, it like say, it’s my own, but I stole it and I read it. And I mean, but you start going to the process. I mean, yesterday, I was walking with Oscar, we’re walking down the street, had to go get a bottle of wine, because you know, it’s Sunday night bottle of wine. And as we’re walking back, he wanted to stop at the dollar store and get a toy. And I had this thought in my head. It was like, am I spoiling my son by giving in and saying yes to do is this a bad parenting? Move, or is this like a efit? It’s fine. It’s $1 store toy, it doesn’t mean that much. But am I overthinking it? Or am I underthinking, and I had this moment. And then as I’m thinking this, we’re already in the dollar store, and we’re getting a dump truck. And that’s how it ended. So, like you have these moments that happen every day that you just need to be aware of. And sometimes there’s something sometimes they’re nothing but I always try to think about moments in the day that happened that, you know, are somewhat interesting to me anyway.
Kim Meninger Yeah, you never know when they might come up in a conversation. That’s great. It’s a such a great tip. So Mike, this has been an amazing conversation, any final thoughts you want to share? And where can people find you if they want to follow up?
Mike Thompson Yeah, so people can find me. I’m on LinkedIn too much. But I love connecting with people. I love learning about people. And I love helping people uncover that their own uniqueness and their own story, and then being able to tell it in a way so Mike Thompson, Spark Recruiting on LinkedIn. Find me please connect with me. I love learning and me with people. And what I want people to take away from this is there is power and strength in vulnerability and self-awareness. Know yourself, be fully comfortable with who you are, and know that everybody is trying to figure it out. And nobody has it figured out. So we’re all I don’t want to say we’re all works in progress, because that’s a, you know, overused term, but we’re all trying to get a little bit better each day. And, you know, don’t feel a certain way by seeking help or, you know, having these doubts about yourself. We all do and you’re not alone.
Kim Meninger What a powerful way to wrap up today. Thank you so much, Mike.
Mike Thompson Thank you for having me. This is a lot of fun.