Episode 2 - How to be a badass and fight imposter syndrome

It has been a while since I recorded episode 1. I have been busy with conventions and the holiday rush, in fact today is the first day all of my 3d printers are off. When they are on they can be very noisy which doesn’t make for a good podcast background, which is also why I held off on recording. For those of you that don’t know I have an online shop called Mighty With All Trades and I sell technical theatre buttons, stickers and other theatre gifts. Feel free to check it out and get your kids or even yourself some swag. I’ll put the link in the show notes.

Real quick I want to get you up to speed on what has been going on.  I’ll start with Texas Thespians. this year I attended both festivals, san antonio and grapevine and while It was a lot of work, it was great. There were so many friends that came by my booth and I was to say thank you for supporting me and coming to check on me, getting me food or a drink. I appreciate you more than  you know. I got to meet so many fans that follow me on social media and got lots of feedback on my products. It was great. I felt like I was on the right track. There has been some worry that my niche might be too small but then there’s advise out there that says you need to be in your super niche. I don’t know. I’m just gonna keep going and see what happens.

So after I recorded episode one, we left for our very first Disney vacation. I want to preface with I am not a huge disney fan, as far as characters or movies and songs. For me it was one of those bucket list things, everyone should go and experience at least once in their lives. I had  great time, I definitely stayed away from the character photos but the entire park was amazing. I have a tendency to look at details which being a theatre person, I’m sure most of you do too. I looked at all the architecture, the faux finishes, the design. Just blew my mind. 

One of the things that really resonated with me was the Walt Disney museum in Hollywood studios. I didn’t really know anything about him before this. We walked through the museum and watched a short movie on his life. I became very intrigued I mean when you think about his story, it’s really cool. When we returned I literally watched every single walt disney documentary I could find. My favorite one has been the Imagineering Story. Like ok, let me go on a short tangent here. 

The last thing I want to update y’all on is my recent hire at UT. I will be doing props over hire for two operas in the spring. I’m super excited and nervous and all the things. I have worked really hard to get where I am today and getting this opportunity is a huge thing for me. Some might not see it as a huge deal but I don’t have a masters, I was a high school teacher, I make buttons and stickers for living. when you put all this down on paper I just sound like an unlikely candidate. So  I’m really taking it in which is why I wanted to make today’s topic about how to be a badass.  

Now my friends are always saying i’m a bad ass and whatever, but there are times I also feel inadequate. Everyone does not matter how successful you become. It’s human nature to compare your wins to someone else and sometimes you feel small. I’m sure you have heard of imposter syndrome, the feeling of self-doubt in your skills, intellect or accomplishments. I’m not worth it, or I’m not special. Well It is time to get out of your way. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in what you think is your identity that you can’t see past the front door. I’m only a teacher, I’m only a technician. Today I am going to talk to you about ways you can create positivity around yourself and combat Imposter Syndrome. Everyone has something to offer and it’s time you started believing in yourself. 

Some of these are methods, some is advice, so I’m just gonna go through them:

Genius Zone

The first method to creating positivity in your life is to work in your zone of genius. the zone of genius is where you are thriving the most.  How do you find your zone of genius, well good question. 

The best way to find it is to think of the process as a three circle vin diagram.. you can use columns too if that works for your. 

one circle is your strengths. a strength is the ability to provide consistent performance in a given activity. Strengths can include things like patience, you are very collaborative, have good time management, you are kind, reliable, those types of things. 

The second circle is your talents. A talent is a action that can be productively applied. What are you good at doing. Now in this category there are three types of talents. Natural talent that people are born with, Evident talent that refers to skills people have learned or accquired through their life and Potential talent,  the talent that a person can develop if they are prepared for it. For the most part you can just put what you are good at but these categories might help you broaden the list if you feel like it’s too short. I am a firm believer in people can learn anything. 

The last circle is Passion. To find your passion, you can also ask you self whats called a “wonder question”. It is designed to keep you in the not knowing, the guessing, the thinking and it can change through out your life so that’s why it’s important to ask yourself every once in a while. 

What do you most love doing? 

What do you do that provides the greatest positive outcome per time spent? sometimes we are afraid to do the thing that must be most valuable.

What do I do that I lose track of time when I’m doing it?

What I really want to do is ______?

The reason I do what I do is so that I can _______

There is always something preventing us from getting the life we want, an un necessary fear that prevents  us from operating and living in our zone of genius. We become addicted to thinking it will take us decades to get to the point when we can finally do what we want to do in our lives. Addictions hold us back and they don’t have to be substances, they can be thoughts. 

Let’s take time for example because that is something we all struggle with as educators. Time for many people has the same role in their lives as a substance. They are addicted to always being in a hurry, always doing things last minute, they thrive on the adrenaline of time crunches. Some people make themselves a victim of time. Oh I would love to do this but I don’t have time. Addictions are anything you lie about and the the best way to find an addiction take look at the things you lie about. People lie about time, when someone says to you they don’t have time to talk to you right now it usually means they don’t WANT to talk to you right now. 

Some people are addicted to being wrong, they just love that arrogant feeling of thinking they are right, but that is an episode for a different time. point is cut these addictions out of your life. 

Ok so back to the circles. Once you fill out your lists, take a good look at where those topic overlap, that is your zone of genius an that is where you should strive to live and function everyday. delegate shit if you have to. live in your zone.

The Badass List

Ok the next thing I want to share with you is the Badass List.  I heard about this from an entrepreneur named Jen Gottlieb. She has a book that I am wanting to read called Be Seen. It’s a really great way to  squash imposter syndrome enough to allow you to take action to do the thing you are afraid of doing.

Let’s make a list of all the badass things that you’ve done in your life. Sometimes you forget about how great you are , you’re just in your own way. right now you don’t see yourself they way others se you. things on the list can be running a Marathon, winning teacher of the year, getting that promotion, like every single moment.

Now, I want you to read all of those things out loud but I want you to read them as if you’re reading them about somebody else. are you impressed with that person? Would you like to meet them?  Is that person worthy of everything they deserve? Well guess what, that person is you.

I have a list I keep it on my phone of all my bad ass moments. the key is to read it as if you’re reading it about someone. It may sound silly but take yourself out of it, see all of your accomplishments, look at yourself and be proud of yourself. keep doing this everytime you feel afraid of inadequate about something.

Less fucks, more skills, more freedom

Moving on is the topic I call, less fucks, more skills, more freedom. If there was one thing I could tell my past self it would be, give less fucks earlier. In the beginning of my career I was so scared of doing something wrong, saying the wrong thing, being written up, not following some procedure. Eventually I got over it because I started believing in my own skills as a technical director. I was so stressed about the teaching part of my job that I would sometimes not enjoy the production part of it, which is what I really really loved. I started really focusing on learning more skills and really trying to be a one woman show. I wanted to learn everything and anything so that I had the ability to be more marketable. I wanted to be able to find a job anywhere, anytime. Eventually I got to the point that when ever I wanted to something sus, I would ask myself, what are they going to about it, fire me? they would be doing me a favor. I had enough confidence in myself that I could find a job. My advice on this one is don’t let systemic abuse or fear keep you at a job that crushes your soul. Learn more skills, give less fucks and that can possibly lead to more freedom. It certainly is less stressful on this side of the fence.

Capacity for zero

Speaking of more freedom I wanna talk about the last topic on my list called the capacity for zero. 

how willing are you to start from zero? How willing are you to say, “I'm not an expert. I don't have a lot of clout in this area. I do have to start from the ground up to make this work, and 

I'm willing to put my ego aside and start from scratch, not knowing if it's going to work out or not”?  

Now, that is very real for anybody listening now that’s still teaching and wants leave, but it's also very real for you if you are just thinking about starting a side hustle. 

The truth is that all of us come with success to the table. And what I mean by that is you actually have clout in your job. You know what you're doing. you showed up for work this morning, and you felt fairly confident that you were going to crush it, right? You know what you're doing in your job. 

We are gonna talk about Sara, Sara is not her real name but let’s talk about her story. She recently retired from her job. She, she was with the company for nearly 30 years. It was her only job she's ever had. It was her first job out of college. She stayed there for 30 years and rose up the ranks. She had a lot of confidence in her job. She had a lot of clout in what she did. So if she were to leave that job and change careers or start a business, some of that clout goes away. She now starts from ground zero. No one knows who she is online. Like, a lot of the stuff that might boost your ego in your job is no longer there when you venture out. You have to have a high capacity for zero in order to put that ego and fear aside. 

When I first thought about retiring as a teacher, I realized I was going to be eligible at 60 something, which was not an option for me. I started thinking about leaving the classroom early and I had a huge fear. I was so wrapped up in my identity as a teacher that I was so scared to do anything else. I had found what I loved doing and not many people can say that about their jobs. As time went by I strengthen my capacity for zero, meaning starting over. I had to be willing to be a beginner at something. 

But I think that is easier said than done, because for a lot of people, including myself, when you've succeeded, when you've achieved a lot of professional success, it can be really hard to go back to square one. So if that sounds like you and you're considering, changing careers or starting a side hustle and you're really struggling, I really encourage you to ask yourself:

Am I willing to be perceived as an amateur when I used to be a pro? 

Am I willing to start from zero when I've been a legitimate authority in my field for so long? 

Am I okay with not getting any recognition, or even being criticized, as I figure this out? 

Am I willing for it not to work out over and over and over again until it does?  

And if you're struggling to answer yes to any of these questions, it's important that you start strengthening your capacity for zero, because the higher your capacity for zero, you're more likely to take risks, more likely to put yourself out there, and you're definitely more willing to fail. And the more willing you are to fail, the more likely you are to eventually succeed.  

So, one really great example of someone super successful, who has a strong capacity for zero, is Oprah. Now, Oprah is one of the most renowned TV personalities in history. But when she first quit her talk show and started OWN, her television network, the ratings were terrible. 

After twenty-five years of being number one, I mean, Oprah was on top of the daytime-television circuit, right? She was the number one. She knew success. She had it every day. She was the pro. She didn't fail. She was tested, tried, and true. And she had a really strong stance in where she was. So when she started her network, she had to dig deep to get comfortable with being new at something. She's talked about this publicly.

She also had to work really hard to figure out how to make this network work. Not only was she starting something she had never done before—and you could argue, “Yeah, but she had so much success, so much knowledge, so much skill, such a big team, she could figure it out.” Of course, she could figure it out. But she still had to start from zero in terms of never having done this before. 

There's so much media about how it was a failing network. Like, right out of the gate, it did not do well. And there was so much question, like, is this going to fail? Is Oprah's next big thing not going to work? And I can imagine how hard hearing all that media would have been. Like, there's no way Oprah just, like, brushed it off. 

So during that time when Oprah's network was struggling, this is what she said. She was quoted as saying, “You can't even think about quitting. You have been in cruise control. It's going to turn around, and you've got to do the work.” she was talking about herself, like, “We've been in cruise control.” And that's what a lot of us have been in in our jobs: cruise control. You show up at work today; you know what you're doing; you have confidence. That cruise control turns off the minute you decide to leave that job or start that side hustle.

I have failed as a few things in my life. When I first started offering MAB workshops I was really confident people were gonna flock to it and they were going to be very popular. My first sewing workshop only had two people attend. It almost only had one but someone signed up last minute. I thought I had failed but then I asked myself, “Why did you even expect it to be a huge success?” I told myself “because I've been successful at other things” . It didn’t  matter because this is new, this is different, andI had to cut myself some slack.

So,  I just wanted to share this with you, because the higher your capacity for zero, the more opportunity you have to win and to succeed. So it means we have to take our ego out. It means we have to be willing to be a beginner or an amateur and not a pro. We have to be willing to say, “That didn't work,” and “What can I do instead?” You have to be willing to take risks and go back to the drawing board and throw it all out and start all over. You might not need to, but you have to be willing to do that. It's an exercise to help you become the best you can possibly be at no matter what it is that you're going after.  

Thank you so much for sticking with me till the end. I really hope that you found some ways to help you combat imposter syndrome and start living your life to it’s full posititivity. I would love to hear your take aways from this episode. Feel free to send me a DM or comment on instagram at Behind the Plasterline podcast.  I would also appreciate you taking the time to subscribe and review this episode, even share this episode on social. No matter the challenges or obstacles, Remember you have the potential to achieve great things. I’ll see you next time. Bye for now. 

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