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It's a Charade with Doctor Dave

By Adam Korenman

Do you feel like an imposter? You're not alone.

You hear it too, don't you? That voice in the back of your head telling you that you don't belong. The feeling that everyone knows you're not really a professional artist. The certainty that, despite all the work and knowledge and experience you've gained, you're just faking it. It's called Imposter Syndrome, and it affects every single artist you know.
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Imposter Syndrome is one of the more insidious parts of, well, everyone's life. Everyone from famous musicians to iconic actors to the first man that walked on the moon experiences this sensation from time to time. As artists, we often feel it even stronger since our work is so subjective. How do you overcome the fear that you just aren't good enough? To answer that, we need to bring in an expert.
"Dr. Dave" Landers knows what it's like to feel like a fraud. While there is no magic pill to take or a magic wand to wave, he's learned a few techniques for quieting down that voice inside your head. With a PhD in Educational Counseling and over 31 years in the field, Dr. Dave speaks to the reality of this common challenge.
Now grab some hot cocoa and a warm blanket, because we're shushing those intrusive thoughts and taking back our mojo. Give it up for Dr. Dave.

It's a Charade with Doctor Dave

Show Notes

Transcript

Ryan:
We all have certain skills, strengths, fearless, climbing, speed, smoldering intensity.
Ryan:
If there's one thing in the motion design industry that will stop you dead in your tracks. It's not learning a new piece of software. It's not trying to find a new client. It's the simple thing. I'll just get to say it. Imposter syndrome. That's right. That sense of impending doom and dread in the back of your head when you sit down and turn on your computer, that idea that everyone's going to know that I'm a phony, I'm a fraud. I don't know how to solve the problem. They're all looking at me. Wait, no, they already know I don't know what I'm doing. I'm about to get fired. I'm going to be blacklisted now. Never work in the industry again. Stop, take a deep breath and slow down.
First, you need to know all of us feel imposter syndrome. You're not alone. It's common to every creative working professionally. And even though it's good to have a name to this problem, so many of us in the industry don't know where this comes from or what it is. But today we're going to talk with a mental health expert that's going to help us figure that out. What is it? Where does imposter syndrome come from? Why do I always feel it no matter how many times I've proved myself that I can get this job done, that I'm good at my job? Most importantly, I'm going to learn a couple ideas on how to identify it and hopefully how to take control of it.
So today we have an absolute treat. I'm here with Dr. Dave and we're here to talk about something that's near and dear to my heart. And if you know anything about me, you know that I had a big conversation last year at Camp Mograph. And I asked three big questions that I don't think people were really expecting to hear me talk about, but they all centered around the mental health of our industry. And the biggest response came from me asking, "Do you feel imposter syndrome?" And not surprisingly, almost every one of you raised your hands. And I think that's okay because in our industry, we're still in the very first wave of people making through their career. There isn't anybody that's even retired. So in some ways we kind of are all imposters, but we don't know how to deal with it. We don't know how to define it. And we don't even know how to really talk about it. And that's why today, Dr. Dave, you're here. Thank you so much for joining us.
Dr Dave Landers:
You're welcome. And congratulations, for as a profession, for entertaining this topic.
Ryan:
Well, it's something that I think is sitting right under the surface of so many people. In a world where we're dealing with pandemics and people losing jobs and people going remote and trying to figure out how to balance it, it kind of gets lost in the shuffle, but I think it's sitting right there and I'd love if you could, just to set the stage, could you just talk a little bit about what imposter syndrome actually is?
Dr Dave Landers:
Sure, I'd be happy to. So imposter syndrome usually refers to an internal, no, not external experience of believing you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. No. Well, this definition is usually applied to intelligence and achievement. It has links to perfectionism in the social context. To put it simply, it is the experience of your feeling like a phony, a fraud. You feel as though at any moment, you're going to be found out as a fraud. Like you don't belong where you are and you only got there through dumb luck. It can and does affect anyone, no matter their social status, their work background, their skill level, or degree of expertise.
Now I want to go back to my initial comment that this refers to an internal experience, as opposed to any external feedback you may receive from peers, supervisors, clients, family members, and or friends. So these are messages that you give yourself. It doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting them from outside, but this is what you tell yourself. And here are just some of the common signs of imposter syndrome: self-doubt, an inability to realistically assess your competence and your skills, attributing your success to external factors, be rating your performance. You're not good enough. Fear that you won't live up to expectations. Overachieving, which is the infamous Wonder Woman, Superman complex. Sabotaging your own success. Self-doubt, setting very challenging goals and feeling disappointed when you fall short. And did I mention self-doubt?
Ryan:
Yes. Yes.
Dr Dave Landers:
So one of the things that's important for us as we go through this conversation, Ryan is to understand something that I teach all of my students. I always have and they come back and tell me, this was so helpful to them. And that is that labels belong on soup cans. They don't belong on people. And when you put a label on someone, sometimes they then change their behavior to try and fit the label. And so, I like soup, but I don't happen to like tomato soup. And if I have a cupboard full of soup cans that have no labels and I want soup and I grab a can and it's tomato soup, I'm going to be disappointed. I like chicken noodle soup.
So labels belong on soup cans, but we all label people around us and people around us label us. But most importantly here, we label ourselves. So if I label myself as someone who has imposter syndrome, then that can have a real negative impact on who I am and how I view myself. And that's where some of the self-doubt comes in.
Ryan:
That is I think the first time I've heard somebody describe it so acutely. And I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, it's a really insidious problem specifically for our industry because at heart, more than I think almost any other creative arts industry, we are problem-solvers looking for the express approval from others, right?
Dr Dave Landers:
Right.
Ryan:
For better or worse, motion design is still at its hard to find as a service industry, right? We're very rarely making work for ourselves. We're almost always commissioned by someone else. And we define ourselves as successful if someone else thinks we're successful. But what you're telling me is that the imposter syndrome kind of label, it isn't necessarily coming from interactions with other people. It's coming from your interactions with yourself, with your own psyche.
Dr Dave Landers:
It is. But at the same time, and it's a great question, I find that all industries seem to be equally impacted by the syndrome. Although your particular profession may be more susceptible to it simply because so many members of the general public have absolutely no idea or clue of what you do. So question, what does school of motion even mean? What are motion graphics? And a question for you, can you remember any family member's reaction when you told them that you're going to study film or graphic design or motion graphics?
Ryan:
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I know I struggled with just saying that I was an artist for probably over a decade. I would tell people I worked on computers.
Dr Dave Landers:
Exactly. And so, my favorite character, who I hope doesn't really exist is so when Aunt Tilly asked you over Thanksgiving break, as you pass the cranberry sauce, "So what are you going to do for a career, for a job?" How did she respond when you told her that you were interested in graphic design or motion graphics?
Ryan:
There was complete confusion.
Dr Dave Landers:
Absolutely. And most people don't have a clue about what this means and what it is. And so, because you're not getting that kind of external reinforcement, no one is saying, "Oh, that's awesome. I've seen these wonderful things on ads and in movies and everything else. That's great you're going to do that." That's not the reaction that you get. I met this past weekend with a former student of mine. He brought his 18-year-old son up to Champlain College in Burlington, and he's going to study film. So his son, Mick, he was a high school athlete and he was good, but he wasn't great. And he was a good student, but not great. And so his father said, "What do you want to do?" And he goes, "I want to do film." And he took a couple of film classes in high school and really loved it.
Now, his father is a businessman and his son says, "I want to go and study film." And his father says to me, fortunately, he didn't say it to his son, "I'm going to spend $200,000 on my son's college education. And he's going to get a degree in film. And then what's he going to do with it? He's not going to get a job when he graduates." And fortunately he told me that, but he didn't tell his son that. He said to his son, "Fine, do some research, find a good school and we'll support you 100%."
But it is that uncertainty about what we're talking about when we talk about whether it's the school of motion or it's graphic design or anything like that. And it's interesting because now that as an industry, you're starting to look at this and start to ask the questions, then the next question is where do we from here once people start asking those questions?
Ryan:
Yeah. That's the kind of mystery I think for everyone in our industry is that we've maybe crossed the first hurdle of knowing that it's there, but we don't know the nature of it. We don't know where it comes from. And then I don't think we know how to treat it. I think there's been just the beginnings of discussions of, is this something that you can conquer? Is this something that you manage? Is this something that you have to have your radar up for all the time? Are there triggers that we can be on the lookout for? All of those questions are kind of just circling in the air, but nobody really has any good answers yet.
Dr Dave Landers:
Yeah. And of course, those are great questions. I find your industry fascinating. And I find it particularly fascinating that you want to talk about this because it's been around since the mid to late '70s. And that was when the expression was first coined. I've encountered it through my counseling and my teaching experience. But a great question is to where does it come from? The most current thinking is, well, it originated primarily with women who had for years and years and years been told directly and indirectly that they were not good enough, not thin enough, not attractive enough.
PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:10:04]
Dr Dave Landers:
... but they were not good enough, not thin enough, not attractive enough, not smart enough. Their hair was too curly, not curly enough. It was too kinky or not kinky enough. Their skin was too light or too dark. Their bodies and/or specifically their breasts were too big or too small.
Now that's changed. Now men too are subject to the not good enough scenarios that our culture surrounds us with. Men are not cut enough, not masculine enough, not strong enough. Their penises are too big or not big enough. It's interesting to note here that everyone can benefit from better understanding and accepting ourselves for who we are, and knowing that, in fact, we are good enough. But we have a world and a culture that tells us 24-seven 365, "You're not good enough." And when your reinforcement comes from external sources like a client ... so a client comes to you and says, "Here's my idea. You're the expert, go ahead and do this and get it done in a day and a half."
And so you spend hours and hours and hours working on a project and the client may say, "Oh, okay, that's good." Or no, "That's not good." So that reinforcement is so important and we all need that and we all thrive on it. But I think particularly in your industry, because you're the folks who have a set of skills that the rest of us don't have. I mean, artists and people who are in this profession are incredibly gifted, but if you don't get reinforcement from the people around you, that you are gifted and that what you're doing is amazing, that's where the self doubt comes in.
Ryan:
So going forward then what, what do you think are some actual tools that artists can actually start to adopt? I mean, I think in my mind, I've suffered from this greatly and it felt like every time I conquered a stage or a level of my career, it would subside. But then the next time I would engage to try to make it to the next level or try to get to the next best studio, it felt like I was receding all the way back to that starting line again. And it was, "Oh man, they're going to understand that I don't know what I'm talking about. They're going to see right through me. I have a blank page. I'm frozen."
No matter how many times ... I mean, I was working for 10 years before I made it to the studio of my dreams. And the first three months at that studio was a living nightmare. If I could be totally honest. Because I woke up every morning thinking, they're going to realize it, they're going to kick me out and they're going to tell everyone else, and I'm never going to work in the industry again.
Dr Dave Landers:
Exactly.
Ryan:
And that's not hyperbole. That is the honest truth.
Dr Dave Landers:
No, no. Absolutely. That impacts so many people. But if you think about this for a second, so a positive and accurate self-assessment ... I'll go back and repeat that. A positive and accurate self assessment can be very helpful for anyone, but especially for those who experience the imposter syndrome.
So what are your strengths? What are you really good at? Do you have a close friend, a partner, a coworker with whom you can have this kind of discussion? That happened from what I understand at Camp Mograph.
Ryan:
Yes.
Dr Dave Landers:
Can you do an accurate assessment? The imposter syndrome is not healthy as it leads to issues of depression and anxiety. Let me define anxiety. Anxiety is defined as issues of fear and apprehension. It manifests itself in us cognitively with our thoughts. "I'm not good enough," for example. Somatically with our body reacting to something, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure.
Or behaviorally. And behaviorally, this is where we avoid situations that may cause us the anxiety. When you think about the link between anxiety and depression ... and depression is often defined as anger turned inward. Well that anger is anger at yourself. You know, "Why didn't I know how to do this correctly? Why didn't I know what the latest technology was. Why didn't I read another article in another magazine at two o'clock in the morning after I finished a project?"
So you go through that more so than a lot of other professions, because that perfectionism also comes into play. So if you think about the idea that there is an expectation that you give yourself and sometimes others give you, that you have to be perfect, it has to be just right, it has to be so good. That's really difficult. When you think about the idea of perfectionism in your field, you're the experts. A client comes to you. They have an idea of what they want, but it's your job to take that idea and make it come to life.
But if you look at that and go, "I could have tweaked that a little bit differently." Your client doesn't know that, because your client doesn't have the skills. If the client had the skills, they would have done it themselves. I think the tie in between the imposter syndrome and your profession also fits into athletics. I've done a lot of work with athletes. I was the NCAA faculty athletics rep for 13 years at St. Michael's College. I was liaison between athletics and academics. So I worked with all 21 varsity teams.
But if you think about someone in your profession, who's an elite artist, then you think about an elite athlete. Think about Michael Phelps. Michael Phelps is probably the best swimmer we've we've ever had and probably that we ever will have. If Michael Phelps had not been arrested, hadn't gotten a second DUI, he probably would be dead today, because he was experiencing depression, but he couldn't tell anybody. He knew that the previous Olympics he'd gotten X number of medals, and now the expectation that everybody had was he had to do better than that. Then he had to do better than that and better than that. And he had to do it faster. Even though he was getting older, he had to get better than what he was. You just can't do that. But there's no one to say to him, "It's okay. You're okay." So when he got arrested for the DUI, the judge forced him to go into counseling and he now promotes on television a lot, people going to get counseling.
The other person, I was watching the Boston Red Sox play against Atlanta last night, and Jerry Remy is one of the announcers and they were in the studio and they were talking. They were talking about the young players today, the professional athletes and how good they are. And Jerry said, "I was never that good." And Dennis Eckersley said, "I was never that good." And Dave O'Brien turns to Jerry Remy and goes, "Jerry, you had a series of 19 games that you had a hit in. You're still saying that you didn't feel you were good enough?" He goes, "No, I kept waiting for the hammer to come down and someone to say you're not good enough."
So the parallel between any profession that expects you to be perfect, and what you do in terms of the art world, and motion design, and graphic design, that puts a tremendous, tremendous burden on you.
Ryan:
I'm so glad you brought that up because I've kind of tried to urge to artists that I talked to, to start to consider themselves at the same level as an elite athlete, because what we're doing is so rare, it requires constant practice and constant upkeep and a constant kind of sense of where you stand compared to everyone else. There's also this general sense of being really used to and comfortable with failure as a way to get better.
Dr Dave Landers:
Yes.
Ryan:
But in our industry, everybody is tiptoeing like they have to hit a home run every time they come up to bat and it's just not sustainable.
Dr Dave Landers:
And who gives them permission to say, "That's okay?"
Ryan:
No one.
Dr Dave Landers:
And again, that goes to the not good enough. When you look at the not good enough complex, which it's everybody ... If you're saying to yourself, this isn't good enough, it may be fine. It may be absolutely fine.
A couple things to think about. This is pretty bizarre. 40% of adults today are dealing with mental and behavioral health issues. The pandemic has only made that worse. Most of those people will not get help. A quarter of the young people ages 18 to 25 have considered suicide.
Ryan:
Wow.
Dr Dave Landers:
And the suicide rate is rising. 13% of adults in the pandemic right now report an increasing substance use to try and cope with this pandemic. A couple of years ago, there were two men's ice hockey players, Danny and Justin. Danny had gone through some depression and he talked to the coach about it, because it was impacting his grades. He was a four point student. The coach got him to see one of the counselors on campus, which was great.
Then Justin had had an uncle who had committed suicide. Then he had a friend who you went to high school with, who was in college, who disappeared right after Christmas. And everybody was pretty sure he was gone. They discovered his body in May that year. These two guys came to me and they said, "Can we do something to use our status as athletes, as student athletes, to try and deal with athletes about mental health issues?" And I said, "Yes."
And we were meeting with a woman who was the women's basketball coach and also the advisor for the student athletic advisory council. I said, "Let's come up with all the things we want to work on. We can't work on everything. To pick three topics we can deal with." The three topics they picked, everybody picked the same ones. Depression, anxiety, and suicide. These guys started a program called Hope Happens Here. They started doing presentations at athletic events. We started having male athletes talking about suicide, talking about anxiety, talking about depression.
Then we got the female athletes to be part of it. So trying to give people permission to deal with topics that no one's comfortable talking about, that's essential. Then there are a couple of other ideas of how you can get past that sense of the imposter syndrome.
One is, the people who are listening to this podcast, you have a tremendous amount of skills. Can you volunteer those skills to a local non-profit? So you may look at an internet thing on a non-profit that's trying to get some support for youth at risk or whatever that may be, and you look at their website or look at their videos and you go, "I could change that. I could make that better."
Do you volunteer for that? Because if you do, then you have a chance to feel better about yourself. Another thing to do is to realize that our resilience, our resourcefulness, our ability to understand that events don't shape our lives. How we view or respond to those events can and does-
PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:20:04]
Dr Dave Landers:
Our lives, how we view or respond to those events can and does often dictate our response. I'm reading an interesting book called How to Be an Anti-racist, by Ibram X Kendi. In the book, he says this, "What could happen based on my deepest fears mattered more than what did happen to me." I believed violence was stalking me but in truth, I was being stalked inside my own head. Once we realized that the self-talk, if it's negative is only going to hurt us. It's only going to take us down that road of anxiety, fear, and apprehension, and depression. Then think about our friends, our family, our close friends, our colleagues, our institutions, they can be a source of strength.
Here's another one get off of Facebook and Twitter. My friend, Kim just did her dissertation got her PA got her PhD, I was a content editor for it, and she did it on Facebook. It's the first time that we've had some actual data to look at the fact that the more people are on Facebook, the more the level of depression, the more level of anxiety, and the least level of satisfaction with life. Because what does Facebook do? Facebook makes you compare yourself to somebody else. Because everybody puts up on Facebook, the way we want people to see us not necessarily the way that we are.
Another suggestion is to Zoom, or FaceTime, or Skype, with those you love and those people support. You. Talk about your concerns, share what we're talking about on the podcast. Talk about what your concerns are for yourself, for your friends, for your colleagues, so that you are not carrying all that weight solely on your shoulders. Zoom with colleagues, Zoom with colleagues that you value who are going through the same uncertainty as you are. As all of us are about the realities of life across the world, especially now with the pandemic. They can really help you realize and accept that you are not alone in this journey.
If we think that we're alone in this journey, that's where the problems come. If we think we can't talk to somebody... So what I hope this podcast does, Ryan is to give people permission to say, "Yep, Ryan's right. This is what I've been dealing with. And I haven't been able to talk about it before, but now I am." What you experienced at Camp Mograph, is something that your students and the students at the School in Motion can start to deal with and recognize, you are good enough. So let's start dealing with it in a positive way.
Ryan:
That's wonderful. I mean, I listened to everything you say and it really feels like what's resonated with me is that, it's very easy to get lost into isolation and the pressures mounts and double down when you allow yourself to be in that position.
Dr Dave Landers:
Absolutely.
Ryan:
One of the actionable things we can all take from listening to this is that, not just waiting until it gets to a crisis point to reach out to someone but to make it part of your active daily life as a working artist to break free from the isolation. Whether it's a colleague, whether it's someone that you went to school with, whether it's a loved one, whether it's a group of people that meet together, making that part of your daily or weekly practice. As much as learning a new tutorial or looking for more work, if you're a freelancer. That has to be part of your daily practice.
Dr Dave Landers:
It has to be. I have two friends who are really being challenged by teaching in the current environment. Because one of my friends teaches down at Merrimack college and he's got a podium on wheels, with plastic sheeting out on the both sides and on the front. He can move his podium around, but the students can't move.
Ryan:
Right.
Dr Dave Landers:
Then he has another class where he's got 30 students in an auditorium, but he's got four of them doing online, he's got five of them are quarantined because of Corona, and the rest of them are sitting in a classroom. Now, how do you deal with all of that? So we've been friends for a long time and I've been a mentor to both of them. Every Thursday afternoon we Zoom for an hour just to talk about what's going on? "How are you how's the wife? How are the kids, how's your husband doing? What are the kids up to?" Because it gives them an opportunity just to process things.
See Ryan, when we keep everything inside, we only listen to ourselves. When we have a chance to share what's going on in our concerns, and our fears, and our worries as well as, "Man, I just did this great project and it went really well and the client loved it." We've got to be able to share that because if we don't, then it just sits there and we pay a price for that.
Ryan:
Yes. I think I want people to really listen to that. Because the other unique kind of issue with our industry is that we do so much good work, and so much hard work, and put so much time into something that is essentially a femoral, right? The amount of time and effort that it takes for an ad on TV or a pre-roll for a YouTube video to actually be created versus the life that it lives. It's almost gone before you actually finish it. Then there's no resonance-
Dr Dave Landers:
Exactly.
Ryan:
... That work doesn't connect to people that someone three months later can say, "Oh, do you remember that piece?" Unlike music or film or TV, where a lot of other creatives are working there is that resonance with your work connecting to an audience that we are kind of robbed of on a daily experience. Even more so now because you don't have that happy accident of a coworker walking by and saying, "Oh, that's great. How did you do that?" Or, "Explain to me." We're just staring at our screens and this very myopic worldview of just like, "I have a problem. I have to solve it. If I can't, I'm going to get fired." I think it's really important for everyone to hear what you just said.
Dr Dave Landers:
It is. I want to go back to the reinforcement thing because as a psychology professor I used to talk with all of my students and I would say to them, "If you're looking for immediate reinforcement, don't go into the field of psychology." Because you're not going to have somebody come back the next day and say, "Wow, you really changed my life by that conversation yesterday."
Ryan:
Right.
Dr Dave Landers:
But I've been doing this longer than most of the people listening to this have been alive. I'm 76 right now and I'm retired, and I love it. I hear from students all the time. I've had students come back and say, "You saved my life, and that was 20 years ago." Or people who said, "I haven't told you this forever, but I've always wanted to, and now I'm going to." So, where do you get your reinforcement from? Sometimes it's from your clients, but it's also got to be from inside you.
Ryan:
I think this was the question I wanted to ask, but I think you kind of just gave a hint at the answer. A lot of the people listen to this they're not just people who have recently graduated or people that work for someone else, they're also people who are starting their own companies or may have a small company already. I think that's where a lot of the responsibility and power to change this for our industry may be coming from. That if you know your employees or your coworkers are isolated, it's kind of upon all of us in this position to create an environment where people can get that recognition, and get that reinforcement, and have it be something that is again, part of your studio culture. Do you think that, that's something that could be a takeaway that people can pull from this? That we're not just asking each individually, go and take the responsibility, but also for those of us who employ and connect to people, it's part of our responsibility as well.
Dr Dave Landers:
I agree with you. I think that's one of the reasons why you asked me to do this podcast.
Ryan:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr Dave Landers:
And why Mark gave you my name. Because it's important as a profession that you give people permission to understand it's not all on your shoulders. A couple of other things one is I'm wearing a tee shirt right now and it says, "You are loved." I wear that, I have several of them and I wear it. The response I get from people is amazing. The other thing to understand is it's okay to not be okay. I mean, it's okay to have some self-doubt, but then how do you deal with it? If it's something that's been bothering you for a while, find a good therapist. There's some wonderful, wonderful therapists who are out there right now. Just find someone to talk to.
Or again, talk with a trusted colleague or a trusted friend and say, "This is what I'm going through. What do you think?" It's so important for us not to be an Island unto ourselves. Again, an artist who has a specific set of skills may work in isolation to get their project done. Once the project is done, they have to find a way to share that project with other people. So that's where they can get that positive feedback and the positive reinforcement.
Ryan:
I think that's great advice. I think we have an epidemic of people getting overburdened by seeing so much amazing work all the time. It's an endless flow an endless stream. But I think it's very comparable to what you're talking about with people with Facebook. Where you're not seeing the sketchbook full of bad sketches.
Dr Dave Landers:
Right.
Ryan:
You're not seeing all of the project files of things that were broken. You just see this endless stream because the entire world is out there trying to show off, that you just see the good stuff. I want to ask you a question because I think this is also part of the problem. Is that I talk a lot in this course about having a voice, and trying to create some sort of vision for yourself, for your career and your future. Again because it's so easy for us to be so narrow focused in myopic on the day-to-day problem solving that we lose sense of the context to why we got started. A lot of us don't even have a definition of what a successful career would or could look like. Do you have any tips or any kind of ideas on just gaining a better perspective to what you're doing day-to-day? So you don't get lost in the troubles of the small narrow issues, and still keep the rest of your goals or your vision in mind.
Dr Dave Landers:
Yeah. I love the concept of giving someone a voice. If you look and we'll stay away from those politics. But if you, if you take what's going on across the country there are people who are begging for a voice, they're begging yo be heard. I think to be able to say, "This is my voice now how do I express that?" If you ask people, "What got you into this field in the first place?" The artistic bent on someone is that , "I've got this thing that I've got to do."
So my friend, who just brought his son up to study film, he's a businessman. He just started a company 10 years ago, he's got 1,000 employees and I'm sure he probably wanted his son go into the business. His son has this driving force, "I love film and I want to go into film." How do we give permission for people to do that and to say, "That's okay."?
PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [00:30:04]
Dr Dave Landers:
... give permission for people to do that and to say, "That's okay, that's fine." Then, once you do come up with something how do you expand that worldview so that it isn't just you and the client. So, Mark's nosy. Every once in a while we'll post something that he's done, a creative thing, on Facebook, and I'm absolutely blown away with it. Every time he does it I make sure that I respond, and I make sure that I say, "Mark, that's awesome. That's just fantastic." When someone takes that risk of putting something on Facebook, or putting something on Instagram, it's a risk but there can also be some really good rewards. 
So, getting out of yourself, and again I'll go back to volunteering to do something to help people in your community, help a school, or something like that and say, "Let me try and do it a little different way." Without looking for any kind of monetary payment for anything like that, but just saying, "Let me do something to help out the bigger community," and that's where the voice comes from.
Ryan:
I think that's incredible because I think we forget the idea that what we do, and what our skills are capable of, and what our end product shows, has incredible value. The people that we try to get work from it's in their best interest to diminish that value, right? 
Dr Dave Landers:
Yes.
Ryan:
Our clients, part of their job is to make it seem like what we're doing isn't as valuable so they can get more of it, but the truth is they desperately need it. They want to be close to it. They feel the heat coming off of what we can do. Honestly, a lot of them wish they could do it. I love the idea of what you're saying, though, is that take what you can do, and teach yourself what the true value is by separating yourself from that power structure of somebody trying to get what you can do for less money. 
Dr Dave Landers:
Yes. 
Ryan:
The moment you go to someone who needs something that you offer and you can open their eyes, or expand their audience, or explain what they do better than they ever could, the reaction there, and the kind of longstanding kind of reaction not just that temporary ephemeral hit of releasing a commercial and seeing it disappear, that I hope can help people understand, and reinforce, how valuable their skills really are and give them the confidence to look at the bigger picture. I struggle with this a lot, the only way right now that we interact with the world with our skills is to get paid to do something that disappears. I really think what we have the capability to do, and it may not be for everyone, is something so, so much more.
Dr Dave Landers:
Absolutely. Absolutely. I am so in awe of the work that you do because I have no artistic ability whatsoever. I'm a really good teacher. I worked really, really hard at my profession. I did it for a long time. I think I was successful at it, but when it comes to doing something artistic I have no clue whatsoever. I was just saying a little bit earlier, I had an electrician at my house a couple of weeks ago and he's trying to explain things. I said, You're the expert. When it comes to anything like this, I was a really good psychology professor when it comes to artwork, if I need something artistically done I know the people to go to, and the clients know that, too. So, the artists have to go, Why is this person coming to me?" They're coming to me because I have more skills than they do, and they may be jealous of what I can do because they can't do it, but I've got the skills to do it, and that makes me good enough. 
Ryan:
Right. I think that's a lesson for people, right? There is Work you need to do internally to understand how to have the confidence that's waiting for you. 
Dr Dave Landers:
Absolutely. 
Ryan:
It's waiting for you to take it, and I see it so often in all of the creative arts industries. I worked in visual effects, and that industry has been ravaged by people not having the confidence to understand the leverage that they actually have.
Dr Dave Landers:
Right. The other thing to be careful of, and go back to when we first started talking in terms of labels, if people in your profession start saying, Well, I have imposter syndrome you've now basically said to yourself, There's something wrong with me. I'm broken. I have this thing. I'm a fraud, I'm an imposter, I have this thing called a syndrome. No. There's nothing wrong with you. You're talented. You've got great skills. You're loved by a lot of people, and people love the work that you do. If you buy into, Oh my God, I've got imposter syndrome, then you start right down the rabbit hole that sometimes is really, really hard to get out of.
Ryan:
I love that idea of kind of always having your radar up and understanding that it's a thing that comes to you, but if you're aware of it you can manage it and you can work with it. It's not a label, or a weight that gets dropped on you that's something that you're hoping never shows up. I think a lot of times people will think of it as like, Oh, I hope I don't have it. I hope I don't have it, and then you find out you do, and they're like, Oh, now I'm stuck with this for the rest of my life. It's the next baseball getting thrown to you, it's part of the daily challenge of living as a creative artist and working professionally. We need to take some of your advice on how to address it when it does come up and be aware of it, but it's not something to be feared. 
Dr Dave Landers:
No. 
Ryan:
It's not something to be lamented.
Dr Dave Landers:
A final thing, and I hope people carry this. Our resilience, our resourcefulness, our ability to understand that events don't shape our lives, how we view, or respond, to those events can, and does, often dictate our response. The way we look at something is much more important than what the event is. So, when you look at yourself in a positive light it changes everything.
Ryan:
Dr. Dave, that is wonderful. I have a feeling we will be doing a follow up, and you might actually get some calls from some other people asking that-
Dr Dave Landers:
I would love that.
Ryan:
... talk about this. Thank you. Thank you so much. It's the conversation that's been sitting there under the surface and whispered from some people, but getting this out in the open, and getting people to understand that it is okay and it's part of the daily life and there are ways to actively approach it. Hopefully this will be a bigger conversation that lasts for much longer. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time.
Dr Dave Landers:
You're welcome, Ryan. Take care.
Ryan:
I know it's just the start, but I'm so happy to have had this conversation with Dr. Dave. I really didn't realize how much imposter syndrome starts internally, and it's really a conversation we have with ourselves, and it's so much less involved with what others think of us. Now, that really proves to what Dr. Dave was saying, we need to get out of isolation. We need to share our stories. We need to celebrate our work. We need to find ways to lift up others who may not have the same kind of comradery that we do. Now, this is just the beginning, but I think it's going to help us all get through some really tough times, that no matter where you're at in the industry, just starting out, five years in, or a 15 or 20 year veteran, it seems to be something that we all have happen to us on our day to day. After listening to Dr. Dave we all know now that's okay, it's to be expected. What really matters is how we deal with it once we realize it.