It was July 13, the day was only just starting as I was coming up the elevator to my work’s office floor, and just as I usually do, I flicked open my phone for any notification badges. Although I had checked earlier, there weren’t really any notifications, but one caught my eye, it was a LinkedIn email informing me I had a new direct message from Chris Grundemann, whom I was very lucky to have met In Austin, TX at Tech Field Day 18 back in February 2019.
Chris is a fantastic dude and together with Zoe Rose, they run the Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast, a podcast I was a huge supporter of before the first episode with Ethan Banks dropped. They really started promoting the idea early on, and it got my excited for what was to come.
My mind is always running at 130% all the time, there is so much going on that there usually isn’t ever time to finish thinking through the last thought. The one place where I find that my thoughts can slow down and process more thoroughly is in the car, this is where I am usually listening to podcasts or thinking through a problem (but it is also the place where the solution will get lost because I can’t write it down). That being said, I’ve listened to every episode of the Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast, each and every week. Just like any other podcast, I start thinking of what I could contribute to that episode, what my opinion of the topic might be, or the answer to a quiz. I had also thought on many car trips that I would like to be asked on the Imposter Syndrome Podcast – of course, I had all the topics and answer right there in head, however I would forget it all once the car engine was turned off – although I didn’t actually think I would end up on an episode, especially as time went on and the guest just became ever so much more amazing with their long lists of achievements.
However, on this particular day, that message arrived. Here was a message from Chris asking me to come onto the show and tell my story. Immediately my imposter syndrome kicked in and my mind started racing in all of the thoughts of how could I just say, “I really appreciate the offer, but I’m not the person you’re looking for..” I didn’t think I had any of the chops to be on the show. But the strange thing is, I actually wrote back “..My imposter syndrome is yelling at me to say “No” but the one thing I’ve taught myself is to just answer “Yes” and be terrible to be successful.” – that last bit was key. “Be terrible to be successful.”
So, from that point, I was signed up and I booked in for my recording session with both Chris and Zoe for 2 weeks time, Friday at 3:30am in the morning. That’s right, 3:30am. The 3 of us together were able to split the earth in 3 even sections with our locations. The recording went well, and it was quite clear at the start that the cogs hadn’t really started turning and my answer to Chris’ first question was restarted 3 times. We spoke a lot about my 10 year history as a vExpert and what it takes to join and be a part of those community programs and the motiviation to produce content. As all three of us have been delegates with Tech Field Day, we also talked about that small close-knit family that community groups create, and the different levels of experience and opinions of technology.
I’ve done some podcasts in the past, when I did Nerd Journey Pod, I was nervous, the only thing going through my head was “What if I say the wrong thing publicly – what is everyone going to think?” and it really got to me, you can hear it throughout. My next podcast was with The On-Premise IT Roundtable with Gestalt IT, but was joined by Pure Storage – whilst I was there for Storage Field Day, talk about being thrown into the deep end of having to discuss a product I barely knew anything about – but I managed to get through it by focusing on the business side rather than the specific technology (phew!). I then made several appearances over the last few years on the Tech Breakfast Podcast just joining in on the conversation which had no real agenda except to discuss current technology events.
So you can see my podcasting history is fairly short, and one thing I’ve learnt about myself over the recent years is that I am just 1 person in among 7 billion others, if I sink like a lead balloon doing a podcast or a video, then it won’t be long and I’ll be forgotten. It has taken me a VERY long time to learn that. Sure, there are people who are close to me, but they seem to move on pretty quick, too many other things that are happening, it’s just myself who dwells on my own past.
Immediately after I said my first opening line on the show, I squirmed in my seat, I started focusing on that thinking it was terrible and very cringe worthy, although I had originally thought it would be a nice little joke, because really, I was an imposter being there – this continued to play on my mind all the way up to me hearing it when the recording was released. But, it was one of my friends who heard the episode and his first reply was “That first line reminded me of Fight Club” and yeah, that was exactly what I needed to hear, it tied it together nicely.
I am always hesitant to listen to myself after any recordings I’ve done, but I do it anyway, I use it to help learn and make adjustments on what to do different next time. I was extremely nervous to listen back to the episode, the only things I could remember saying were the bits where I started to focus on where I felt I said the wrong thing. In the end, I actually enjoyed the episode and started to promote it in some of my channels with friends across the world – this is something I usually would be very strategic with and would wait until the episode was released out of my control, but on this occasion, I couldn’t wait.
What happened over the next 24 hours was certainly a first from any of the other podcasts I had done, several people I had no direct connection with started reaching out on LinkedIn telling me how much they enjoyed the episode and they wanted to connect. This truly created some highlights, like anything I produce, as long as someone gets something out of it, then I’ve done something worthwhile, I just didn’t expect the response I got.
Earlier this year, I accepted an offer to do a co-presentation with a friend at an event next year, it was a whole year away, and it still took some time to accept the offer, but the thing is, if I don’t take the opportunity, I’ve only got myself to blame for not taking the leap.
While it might seem obvious that I process every word in real-time, it isn’t the voice that the audience is there listening to, they are there for the content and to learn something. You can be anxious, but don’t let that stop you because there is always a brighter outcome – it just takes 1 person.
It doesn’t matter if someone has a longer list of credentials than you, it doesn’t matter if someone has written a post on a topic you were planning to. It doesn’t matter how you present. Step up, take the challenge and say “Yes”. There is at least someone out there who will appreciate it very much that you did.