Diverse Clinicians Series: The Confidence Project Journal with Kaity Rodriguez | POP 731

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A photo of Kaity Rodriguez is captured. Kaity Rodriguez, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, confidence educator, and empowerment speaker with a passion for educating and inspiring women and minorities to live amazing lives. Kaity Rodriguez is featured on Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Do you practice self-compassion alongside being confident? Which habits can hinder self-compassion? What is The Confidence Project Journal and how can it help you uncover personal strength and stop self-doubt?

In the second episode of the Diverse Clinicians Series, Joe Sanok speaks with Kaity Rodriguez about her book The Confidence Project Journal and why self-compassion and journaling are so important.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

An image of Therapy Notes is captured as the sponsor on the Practice of the Practice Podcast, a therapist podcast. Therapy Notes is the most trusted EHR for Behavioral Health.

Is managing your practice stressing you out? Try TherapyNotes! It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and telehealth a whole lot easier.

Check it out and you will quickly see why TherapyNotes is the highest-rated EHR on TrustPilot with over 1000 verified customer reviews and an average customer rating of 4.9/5 stars.

You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support 7 days a week, so when you have questions, you can quickly reach someone who can help, and you are never wasting your time looking for answers.

If you are coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. TherapyNotes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away.

Use promo code ‘JOE’ to get three free months to try out TherapyNotes, no strings attached, and remember, telehealth is included with every subscription free. Make 2022 the best year yet with TherapyNotes.

Meet Kaity Rodriguez

A photo of Kaity Rodriguez is captured. She is a psychotherapist, confidence educator, and empowerment speaker with a passion for educating and inspiring women and minorities to live amazing lives. Kaity is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Kaity Rodriguez, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, confidence educator, and empowerment speaker with a passion for educating and inspiring women and minorities to live amazing lives. Her group counseling practice, Serenity Wellness and Therapy Services, is located in Montclair, NJ, and specializes in treating individuals with anxiety and stress disorders, as well as self-esteem and self-confidence issues.
Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

In this Podcast:

  • Confidence versus self-compassion
  • Create your identity
  • 3 things that hinder self-compassion
  • The power of journaling

Confidence versus self-compassion

There is a difference between being confident and having self-compassion.

You can be very confident but have very low self-compassion. If your self-compassion is low, then you’re going to be beating yourself up for every flaw and imperfection that you have. (Kaity Rodriguez)

Even if you are one of the greatest at a sport or activity, if you do not practice self-compassion towards yourself, then that confidence can turn nasty very quickly as you judge yourself for not achieving a high standard.

For confidence to remain healthy, it must be paired with self-care and self-compassion.

Create your identity

I was careful not to create an identity around that one achievement because that achievement or accomplishment was temporary, or short-term. (Kaity Rodriguez)

As a high-achiever, be sure to separate your identity from your accomplishments. If you define yourself only by your successes and failures – and there will always be ups and downs – you will be unnecessarily harsh on yourself.

Know that who you are, and your intrinsic value, is not only dependent on your successes but who you are as a person, apart from the external glitter.

What I shifted my focus to, were the other things in my life that will be important to me, and that allow me to serve my community, other people, and to live a happy and adventurous life. (Kaity Rodriguez)

3 things that hinder self-compassion

1. Not knowing yourself

If you do not have a connection with your inner being or you do not know who you are, that can inhibit how confident you feel in your actions and how you practice self-care.

2. Not taking the time to get to know yourself

Make the time once a day or a few times a week to really connect with you. Listen to your thoughts and emotions, and build a healthy relationship with them.

3. Not being proactive

Don’t let it take a major life event that shakes you to take a step towards caring for your own needs. Try to practice self-care, compassion, and fulfillment before you are forced to.

The power of journaling

If there [are] two skills that I could have you walk away with when it comes to therapy, it would be mindfulness and self-compassion. (Kaity Rodriguez)

Journaling is a tool that helps you to practice mindfulness tangibly.

You can use the act of writing down what you think and feel as a way to practice becoming self-aware.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 731. I’m Joe Sanok, your host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m so glad that you’re here, so glad that you’re a part of this series. We have kicked off a series on clinicians that often don’t get the spotlight. So we’re trying to find diverse clinicians where we can have deep conversations, not just necessarily about race and social justice, but just about the really good work that they’re doing in the world. I’m so excited that today we have Kaity Rodriguez who is a psychotherapist, confidence educator and empowerment speaker with a passion for educating and inspiring women and minorities to live amazing lives. Her group counseling practice, Serenity Wellness and Therapy Services is located in New Jersey and specializes in treating individuals with anxiety and stress disorders, as well as self-esteem and self-confidence issues. Kaity is a former Miss New Jersey USA and the author of The Confidence Project Journal: 52 Journal Prompts to uncover personal strength and stop self-doubt. She’s been featured on outlets, such as Fox News and NBC. Kaity, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. [KAITY RODRIGUEZ] Thank you for having me, Joe. It’s good to be back, two years later. [JOE] Yes, I know it’s been too long. Well, and you are in Italy right now. Let’s just start with, how did that happen? That’s amazing. You’re there for a couple months. [KAITY] So I’m in Milan, stationed in Milan right now for about two months, but I’m living the digital nomad life. So as with COVID, COVID was such a terrible thing in many ways, but it was also an opportunity for a lot of us to shake things up, so ever since the movie Eat, Pray, Love, I’d always wanted to do my little year of travel and go to Italy, but I never quite could figure out how to make it happen. So with COVID having to work virtually, I said it’s now, or never. It just makes sense. So last year in August, once things started to settle down a little bit I said, I’m going to start my travels and spend a couple months here and there. So I started out in Panama and then I came back to Houston and then bounced over to Dominican Republic and now I’m in Milan, so I’m enjoying it. [JOE] That’s awesome. So what are you eating while you’re eating, praying and loving? [KAITY] Well, I just got here last week, so it’s been mostly pizza. I had a little bit of pasta. Oh my God it was the best pasta ever. It was one of those little Mom-and-Pop shop type restaurants, family run like the best ones. They’re only open from like 7 to 10 so you have to get in and try to get reservations, but it was good. [JOE] Oh, and I’ve heard the table wine is just better than any wine we even just like have in our most places. [KAITY] I haven’t experienced that yet, but we’ll see. I’ll let you know. [JOE] That sounds good. Well, I mean, so you have this new book out and you do all this work with high achievers and people that are dealing with anxiety. Before we talk about the book, why is this work important to you? I always love just hearing the heart behind why you do this work [KAITY] So for me, I think that it’s a part of my purpose, is what I was created to do first and foremost. In terms of this self-esteem and confidence work, we have to go all the way back to 2009 when I was Miss New Jersey. That’s when I was Miss New Jersey USA. As a person that I would consider a high achiever myself, I’m always striving, I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to, and that’s a lot of pageant winners we see recently. I don’t know if you’re aware, Chelsea Chris, former Miss USA died by suicide I think because there’s such intense mental health issues in the pageant community. There’s so much pressure to be perfect. There’s a lot of criticism. There’s a ton of criticism being on a platform in that way. During that year, as I traveled around and spoke to different communities, one thing that I noticed with the girls in the community were that they had issues with their self-esteem and issues with their confidence and being able to work with them and put them on a stage I created a nonprofit organization quite a few years ago, after that experience. It showed me what I can do to help people, to help with their confidence, to help with their mental health. So it all started there and has grown, and I’ve been able to integrate my pageant background with my mental health background and it’s been a real journey. [JOE] Well, I can’t imagine the pressure that already a lot of people feel, especially as a woman in regards to image in society. Do you feel like pageants, I hear both sides from different people that it helps often women rise up and show their skillset and all these other areas. Other people would say that it perpetuates stereotypes of beauty. How do you frame that as a pageant winner now? [KAITY] I think it does both. It’s a balance that you have to have it can help create confidence in the sense of knowing how to perform, knowing how to work past your failure, being comfortable, speaking up and speaking in public and celebrating your strengths. But at the same time, if you’re not careful, there’s a difference between confidence and self-compassion and people often think that it’s all in the same bucket. You can be very confident but have very low self-compassion. So if your self-compassion is low, then you’re going to be beating yourself up for every flaw and imperfection that you have and when you’re on the pageant stage, all of those imperfections are being judged and being rated and scored and observed. So it’s a double-edged sword in a way. [JOE] Yes. I mean, I can imagine that when you’ve worked for something for so long and then you have life after that, to have such focus, so whether it’s someone that I don’t know, maybe they were amazing at volleyball throughout school, and then they play in college and maybe even go pro and then that ends, or even just going after any big thing that life after the thing you were really good at, like, you don’t get that affirmation anymore in that same way. So for you, when you were done in that circuit, how did you find meaning and grounding and purpose outside of having such a clear focus for so long? [KAITY] That’s a really good question. I appreciate that you asked that because for many people, when they no longer have that platform, it’s like that platform, that was their thing. That’s what defined them. But during my reign, I was very careful and mindful of the platform, the title not defining me. Although it’s a big achievement it’s not, I don’t even consider it to be the greatest thing that I’ve done. I think the greatest thing that I’ve done thus far has been creating the nonprofit, the role model group that I created after my rein. So I was very careful not to create an identity around that one achievement because that achievement or accomplishment it was temporary short term. As we look at, if we were to translate that into other areas, whether it be your job, your relationship status, what’s in your bank account, if any of those things were to ever be taken away and you define yourself by it, then you’re not going to find yourself in a good place mentally. So I was always very careful about that. I was funny about my friends introducing me to people as Miss New Jersey, because I didn’t want to define myself by that title. Afterward, what I shifted my focus on were what are the other things in my life that will be important to me that will allow me to serve, to serve my community, to serve other people and to live a happy and adventurous life and to continue going after those things? That’s what I’m doing over 10 years later. [JOE] Now when you look at maybe the average person that purchases your journal, or the clients that you work with, what are some of the things that get in the way of confidence or that lead people away from that self-love? [KAITY] Well, I would say one of the main things is simply just not really knowing themselves. So often, as people, but as women, particularly, we are focused on our relationships, whether they be romantic relationships or platonic relationships. We’re so focused on our relationships with other people that we don’t take the time to do the self-development to learn ourselves, what are our values, what are our strengths, what is our foundation? What’s the thing that makes us? So, as a result, they’re not in tune with themselves and not being in tune with yourself and knowing who you are, it can make confidence more difficult. So I think that’s one of the barriers, simply not knowing yourself and not taking the time to get to know yourself. I find that what a lot of the population that would benefit from my book, what they struggle with and what they’re going through, it tends to be either breakups, they’re going through a period of, okay, I’ve broken up. I need to focus on me. I need to get myself together. They’re looking for tools that are going to help them to be able to do that. So this journal, that’s all about building awareness, helps that. So it’s a breakup or it’s a period of depression. Now I wouldn’t say it’s a book, a tool that you use for depression, but oftentimes we’ll see the two coincide, low confidence, low self-esteem and depression as well at the same time. [JOE] Do you feel like people almost need to have some sort of crack in who they are in order to want to do that deeper work or does it feel like, because I feel like sometimes the average person is just so busy with life that to take time to say, who am I? It’s like, well, life isn’t bad enough for me to really dive into a bunch of self-love and confidence building, but it’s also not good enough that I love it, but then maybe like a breakup, just tears somebody apart so much that there’s like, I’m just stuck in my misery. I might as well do something with this. I mean, how do you frame out how maybe, why people don’t work on this stuff until oftentimes things hit the fan? [KAITY] That’s a good question. I think, I think that we can look at it from like a hierarchy, the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs type of thing. So many of us are just focused on just like living, the lower level, surviving, getting by, making sure that we have a sense of community and have our needs met and we’re surviving and things like that. It really, so we don’t think about that higher level self-actualization, self-fulfillment, being the best version of myself until something goes wrong and it shakes up our whole way of thinking, living and then we’re forced to think about it. So I think it’s absolutely normal, but it’s good to go to that next level. I will say, I think with mental helping destigmatize and so much conversation happening on social media, there are more people that are starting to dig a little bit deeper without there having to be as big of a prompt as a breakup or divorce or life-threatening illness type of a thing. There is more of that work that I think is happening is becoming more normalized. So a little bit by little bit. That’s what I see. I don’t know. What do you see? What do you think, Joe? [JOE] I think that with the pandemic there’s so many stories that are emerging of just major disruptions, whether that’s in relationships like with my situation or even just in regards to people saying, I don’t want to work at this job anymore. Like the great resignation or recalibration, however you frame it. I think we are in a very unique window where almost everyone is reevaluating their lives and saying do I want to do the next half of my life this way? So it seems like, at least what I’m seeing is that a lot of people that maybe were in adequate relationships are saying, I’m not going to put up with this for 50 years till I die. Or people that were in adequate jobs are saying what, I actually don’t want to be a dentist. I’d rather do something else? So I think that cracked open a lot of maybe the things that people just weren’t even thinking about anyway. I don’t know, I think a lot of therapists do a lot of that self-work. So maybe we felt a lot of those things, but whether we had partners or groups or friends or whatever, that didn’t think that way, I think that that was a big part of the last couple years too. [KAITY] That’s true. But again, the pandemic, that was life-changing for all of us. It took all of our worlds and shook it up and turned it upside down. So that makes perfect sense. [JOE] It made us sort of sit with ourselves in a way that a lot of people hadn’t been alone with themselves that much to let that those inner things come out more. I would love to hear from your perspective, the value of journaling. So The Confidence Project Journal, take us through maybe what people experience and maybe even some of the exercises in it. But even before you get into that, I’d love to hear for you, for yourself or for your clients or for your readers why is journaling so important? [KAITY] So for me I say when I work with my clients, I say, if there’s two skills that I could have you walk away with, when it comes to therapy, it would be mindfulness and self-compassion; your ability to think about what you’re thinking about and your ability to be kind to yourself. I think those are such crucial skills when it comes to mental health and for some clients it’s more difficult for them to be mindful without something that’s tangible. It’s harder for them to self-reflect without having something that they can tangibly record that with. So that’s where journaling comes in. I assign that as a homework tool or resource all the time, being able to journal and to write down your thoughts, look at your thoughts, review your thoughts, understand your thoughts and understand them. So that’s the base of why it’s such an important skill and why I wanted to use that model for this resource. [THERAPY NOTES] Is managing your practice stressing you out? Try Therapy Notes. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. Check it out and you will quickly see why it’s the highest rated EHR on Trustpilot with over a thousand verified customer views and an average customer rating of 4.9 out of five stars. You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support seven days a week so when you have questions, you can quickly reach out to someone who can help. You are never wasting your time looking for answers. If you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away. Use the promo code [JOE], J-O-E to get three months to try out Therapy Notes, totally free, no strings attached. Remember telehealth is included with every subscription free. Make 2022, the best year yet with Therapy Notes. Again, use promo code [JOE] to get three months totally free. [JOE SANOK] Awesome. Maybe take us through a couple of the exercises and journal prompts and maybe how people are framing out those journal prompts. [KAITY] Sure. So one of my favorite, there’s a few, but one of my favorite essentially is around who are you? There’s a quote that Maya Angelou, and each journal entry starts with a quote, and there’s a quote by, it was recorded by Maya Angelou, which she got it from the Roman playwright, Terrence. It’s originally written in Latin, but translated to English. It says, I am a man or human. Nothing human can be alien to me. So when Maya Angelou breaks that down, she talks about how, if you look at some of the greatest people in our history, whether it be, let’s say Maya Angelou were a Jesus Christ or a God deer, whoever you might look up to as a role model they’re humans and so they have the same basic DNA structure as you would. They have a similar capacity to love and also a similar capacity to hate. So when we look at some of the greatest human beings, and we look at the fact that they are human, they can’t be completely alien to us. So when I look at that it encourages that quote, it encourages me to say, who are some of my role models and what are the things that I share in common with them? So the journal industry is around reflecting on that. Who are the people that you look up to and what qualities can you find that you have in common with them, whether it be you come from a similar type of a background or you’ve had similar struggles, or you have similar ethnicity, or you have a similar appearance, or you’ve learned certain character traits about them that you admire, that you never really realized you also possess as well. So it’s a different way of looking at your role models in comparison with yourself and pulling from that strength. So that’s one of my favorite exercises in the journal. [JOE] That idea of thinking what you have in common with your role models, instead of seeing them as just way up on a pedestal, I imagine shifts in people’s minds the way that they not only view those role models, but how they view themselves. [KAITY] Right, and that’s the whole idea. At the end of the day, these people are just people at the same time and so if we can look at them as peers, it shifts things like you said. [JOE] When you use this journal with clients what are some of the insights or shifts that they’ve experienced in using the journal? [KAITY] So this is terrible Joe, but I’m going to be honest. I actually haven’t shared it with my clients., I’ve sent the email out, but I haven’t actually used it as a tool during my own therapy session. I just have sold it to my social media following and my family and friends and things like that, but I’ve never pulled out the journal and actually used it with a one-on-one client. I know it’s terrible, but we’re being honest and transparent here, right? [JOE] That’s awesome, way to share something that’s not easy to share. [KAITY] There’s, I have again, self-compassion, I feel like I have so much growth to do in terms of integrating business and growing my practice and trying new things with my clients. So it’s all a journey. [JOE] Oh yes, no, that’s awesome. Well, in marketing the book and in launching it I think it’s always interesting to hear how different people approach the marketing of a product that’s outside of their practice, what’s been helpful in regards to having a book? Are you mostly doing it on social media? Share a little bit more about the journey of getting the word out about it. What’s that been like? [KAITY] Sure. So I knew that this time around marketing, I’ve said that marketing isn’t really my strength so this time around, I wanted to have a team. I wanted to have someone who already knew and understood what the process of launching a book would look like, and they could help support during the journey. So I hired a publisher. Well, she’s really an editor that has a publishing company, which is really an awesome, awesome editor, as well as just brought a whole team together to help me to put this together and to launch it. So we had our social media person. We also had a PR person that was able to get me a few different interviews. We had, I guess you would say like a launch strategist and what she did was she encouraged me to, and this is where I had to build my own confidence, she encouraged me to reach out, to create a list of a hundred different contacts that I have whether it be family and friends, business contacts, just a hundred different people that I knew and to ask them on the day of my launch, which was March 8th, 2021, that was International Women’s Day to share certain posts on their social media channels about that I had created so recreated these posts. Then I asked that they would share all of my posts or a post with either their mailing list or their social media following whichever one they wanted to do. She created a series of about four different emails, like reminder emails for them and I felt so like, oh, am I over? Is this too much, resending reminder emails? We’re asking people to share about me and their list, who’s actually going to do that? I did it, but only about two people, two or three people told me no. Most people were more than willing and so on the day of my launch there was an outpouring of support. Many different avenues people were sharing about my book and we were going for an Amazon best seller list. We didn’t hit that goal because there were two reasons why, one reason specific why we didn’t hit that goal. I had two different versions of the book. So I had a book that was on Amazon, which was the paperback and I also have a VIP version. So I really wanted for this journal to feel like a, to be an experience, the journaling, the process of using the journal to be an experience. So we have a VIP special edition version that’s a little bit more expensive and it comes with a gold pin and a metal bookmark that says the most beautiful thing a woman can wear is confidence. It also comes with a playlist, a Spotify playlist, a QR code of like self-love songs. It comes in this beautiful, like keep safe packaging, and it’s also hard back. So there were two different ways that people could order the book and being that a lot of people chose the hard back version, which Amazon doesn’t track that came directly from me being shipped from my home we didn’t hit the sales list on Amazon. So we might have done that part differently, but having that team and having that strategy of having to reach out to so many people it was, I think it was really good. Now that was the focus for the launch day now, so now the question is, what do I do next in order to continue pushing the book. So again, it’s a journey and there’s levels to it. [JOE] Oh yes. I mean, even having a big publisher, like Harper Collins with Thursday is the New Friday, the amount of work that falls on the author is just chocking. So yes, to have that initial push and then how much do you want to keep pushing it or versus going to something new? Well, thanks for sharing so much about just the journey of helping people around confidence and self-love. Kaity, the last question that I always ask is if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [KAITY] What would I want them to know? I would say two things, one I truly believe in the power of hiring a coach. I was in Group Practice Boss for a little bit, and that was very helpful. Although I didn’t even put in much time into it, the little bit of time that I did open up some doors and opportunities for me because of one suggestion that was made during the group. So the power of coaching, hiring someone to tell you the things that you don’t know essentially. Then I would just say two, continue being creative, to be creative and to not limit yourself in terms of being able to create the practice and the lifestyle that you want, because that’s exactly what I’m doing. I have two clinicians, we’re still very small, that are working back in New Jersey while I’m traveling all over the world for a period of time. So I haven’t limited myself because I’ve been creative and took those limits off. So I would encourage them to do the same. [JOE] Oh, that’s so awesome. If people want to get your book or follow your work, where’s the best place to send them? [KAITY] They can go to theconfidenceprojectjournal.com or social media Kaity B, as in Betina, Rodriguez. [JOE] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast today. [KAITY] Thank you so much, Joe. I enjoyed it. [JOE] it’s awesome to go after big things that are maybe a few steps out of our comfort zone. That could be writing a book, that could be traveling to Italy, it could be all sorts of different things. So I just want to encourage you to find those areas that you can make yourself feel a little nervous because sure you can keep doing your private practice. There’s nothing wrong with that. But sometimes stepping into that nerve-wracking stuff of starting a group practice, or just stepping out into something new, it’s amazing to see what can really happen if you do that. So find an area that maybe you can step into that makes you a little nervous. And we couldn’t do the show without our awesome sponsors. Today our sponsor is Therapy Notes. Therapy Notes is the best electronic health records out there. If you’re switching from another platform, they will for free help, you transition everything over to their platform. We have so many folks that are using Therapy Notes. Just use promo code [JOE] at checkout, and you’ll get some months for free. It also helps them know that podcast advertising actually works to get people to know that they exist. So we’re able to do four episodes a week because we have sponsors like Therapy Notes. So again, that’s therapynotes.com and then use the promo code [JOE] at checkout. Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon. Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the producers, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.