A new follower 👯♀️
Last week I checked my phone at my daughters softball game because I was honestly I was a lil bored and I saw I had a new follower on the Bare Minimum Babe Instagram. I instantly clicked on it because as of this episode I currently have just 28 Instagram followers because it’s brand new and every follow is noticed and super appreciated (hint hint wink wink…😉).
I was blown away when I realized who the follow was. It was Denise Duffield Thomas. She’s an amazing businesswoman and author from Australia. I spoke about her in the previous episode “Being a contributor vs the guru. It’s okay not to be THE person. Ep 8” when I was hyping up her book “Chillpreneur” and a lesson I learned from it.
I decided that I would tag her in my social post promoting this episode because I directly referenced her in the audio clip that was being played in the post and I wanted to make sure she got credit, not at all planning for her to see it because she’s busy.
To my complete surprise, she saw it, commented that she loved how I explained the concept and followed me!
This podcast has been an idea that’s been rattling around skeptically in my mind for a while but I thought it would be pretentious, I didn’t know what I was talking about and so people would make fun of me for doing it and overall just be an embarrassing waste of time.
I finally said screw it after a couple of conversations with my friends that I mentioned in the very first episode of Bare Minimum Babe and thought I can always quit if I don’t like it and what’s the worst that can happen? I spend time on something that it turns out I don’t want? No biggie.
So the fact that 2 months, 8 episodes, into this podcast, a woman that I admire greatly saw a social post and thought highly enough to comment AND follow me is such a validation.
Why so hype about an Instagram follow? ✅
I found myself questioning why am I so excited and proud of this follow? Is it just because it’s a successful person following my page and it’s now a little social proof?
I realized I felt an internal sense of accomplishment because I felt seen and heard.
My daughter reminds me in a joking way that “we’re all somebody's kid.” But 10 year old jokes aside, we are just grown up children (duh Amanda) and crave validation, whether it’s cool to admit or not. We still have the feelings children do of craving approval, attention, and assurance that we’re doing well from people we love and/or admire.
Acknowledging this craving for approval and not fighting it is important. The craving doesn’t go away just because you deny it and fight against it. If anything it internalizes in such a hidden negative way that you’re seeking validation from anything and anyone because you haven’t admitted exactly what it is you’re seeking and for what purpose.
The importance of kind words of encouragement 🥰
When someone is trying something new and outside their comfort zone its a vulnerable place to be.
The motivation to try that new thing might have initially come from within because you were inspired by something outside of yourself. However when you see your skill and how far you need to go to get to that level that initially inspired you… that internal validation can start to feel more like doubt and vulnerability.
When a person that you respect gives you a kind word or indication that you’re doing well, that can be a little burst of motivation that lasts for a few months. That kind word lets you know that you're at least facing the right direction even if you’re still not yet on the correct path. You don’t feel as unsure or vulnerable anymore.
I see what you’re trying to accomplish… 🎨
I’ve recently been taking a watercoloring class to try something new as a creative outlet. About 50% of the students in the class that are not good and just starting, 25% of them decent but not great (me), and 25% who are really good. Regardless of the person's skill level or what the painting looks like, the teacher will come around and say really positive things about paintings that you can see are not good.
My in progress painting of a cat on my husband's lap.
As motivation to keep painting she always comments on the positive aspects of the painting and then to help us improve she will say something like, “I can see you were probably trying to do X and you had a little problem with Y…” And you nod and she continues smiling and commiserates with you by saying “that’s totally normal and takes time to get, even I still struggle with that, what helps me is…” And only then does she go into a solution she uses that you can try out too.
She sees and acknowledges what you’re trying to do. She understands that you just didn’t know how to do it and someone needs to guide you so you know next time. Her gentle words and smile guiding you down the path a little further, always saying I see you and here’s a little help to get you on your way quicker.
The Gap (and I’m not talking retailer jeans) 👖
This type of instruction is essentially just good teaching. Good leadership. Good coaching. Making someone feel seen and heard. Guiding them to where they want to be.
Encouraging someone on the path, but helping them with tips and tricks to make the path easier and get to their destination quicker. You don’t ever say “you suck at this path you should just give up.”
This made me think of that often referred to Ira Glass quote. Ira Glass is an American public radio personality and host of and producer of a number of NPR programs including This American Life. I’ve listed the quote below because I love it and think it’s important to hear all the time, especially for anyone trying something new even if it’s not “creative work” like he refers to here.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit…We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work…. it is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions…It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Essentially, the gap between your ambitions and the level of mastery of others that inspired you to start something vs. your skill level when you first start anything is huge. You can see there is an obvious gap. You have the taste to see that what you’re doing is not good and can’t fathom bridging that gap and how long it could possibly take. And it takes a long time. So long that you worry it might never happen. But this is normal. Everyone goes through this.
During this time especially is where the outside validation comes into play. When you see that gap, and others see that gap, but they still believe you can bridge it. Any kind word, or random validation (like an Instagram follow from a person you admire), can be a little stone helping you to build that bridge to overcome the gap in your skill and your ambitions.
This gap is normal and it’s easy to default into being hard on yourself and pointing out everything that is going wrong because there’s so much probably going “wrong.” But if you’re still learning how to fix it then how would you know what was wrong until you did it yourself and learned a way to make it right?
Poor outside feedback during this gap period could add stones to your back that you now have to carry because you’re ruminating on past errors and doubting yourself completely.
Give yourself space and compassion to learn ❤️
Practice being kind to yourself. You’re trying something new. You’re learning new things. You don’t know what you don’t know. Would you say the mean things you’re saying to yourself to a child? Unless you’re a Disney villain, I assume you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t because you know the importance of encouraging a child learning something new and how easily harsh words stay with someone.
How could you possibly know what you’re doing if you’ve never tried it before? Watching how-to-videos, reading books, taking classes, etc. is very differently than the actual art of doing whatever it is you’re doing.
It’s cool to not care what others think…😎
It’s become cool to say “I don’t care what others think” about literally anything from what we say, the music we listen to, the stuff that comes out of our mouths, how we live our lives, etc. But this is really just a defense mechanism in most cases to say preemptively you can’t hurt me because I don’t care what you think.
But this simply isn’t true. We’re social creatures and it was for most our history imperative that we did care very much what others thought and fit into social dynamics because we couldn’t survive on our own. We needed a village to protect us against predators, help us grow and gather food, form social bonds to reproduce, etc.
I realized I felt an internal sense of accomplishment because I felt seen and heard.
We say we don’t care but that’s often an excuse you might use if you didn’t execute on something well. For example a teenager receiving a failing grade on a test might say, “I didn’t really try so it’s whatever.”
When you say that you don’t have to take responsibility for not doing well. However, if you said you tried really hard and did care very much but failed anyways…well, that’s just embarrassing for you completely and might take social status away.
Versus if you say you didn’t try because you didn’t care then you can’t look stupid because you didn’t try so it’s not an accurate judge of what you’re capable of. No biggie at all. Nobody can think lesser of you and you can’t think lesser of yourself either.
We say we don’t care because we care. The fact that you’re saying this before others might even get a chance to say or do anything negative shows that you’re thinking about it and are preemptively putting up protections against anything they might say or do because you know that it can and will impact you. It’s a defense system.
This attitude also deludes you into thinking you really don’t care and then you become confused when you do get upset by someone's words or actions and are replaying it again and again in your mind saying, “Wait…if I don’t care…why am I still thinking about what they said?”
Placing value in the RIGHT opinions ✔️
When you acknowledge you do care, you can then figure out whose opinion you “should” care about. This is imperative.
For example, whose opinion should matter more:
Someone who you greatly admire that’s achieved the difficult things you’re working through right now.
Your great aunt who has never tried what you’re trying and only knows what she sees on TV
Who’s a more accurate representation of what you’re trying to emulate? Who’s been where you are right now and can help encourage and guide you?
Number 1 is the winner here.
You can still respect your aunt, but does it make a ton of sense to listen to her thoughts, views, and advice on something she knows literally nothing about? No. It doesn’t.
So you can say to your aunt when she tries to dissuade you from doing something new “Thank you Auntie, I appreciate your thoughts and what you think is help on this but with all due respect you have no idea what it is I’m trying to do so it doesn’t make sense for me to solicit your feedback when all it does it make me doubt myself. I will be looking towards my mentors for help and feedback.”
You don’t even need to say this to her. You can say this in your head so that when she gives more advice that isn’t relevant or is unhelpful you won’t place any value in it and won’t feel discouraged on an already difficult path.
Challenge for You! 🥳
Catch yourself saying something mean to yourself. If you can, put a positive spin on it. Tell yourself “I’m trying something new and I feel embarrassed. Eventually I won’t feel as embarrassed because I’ll know what I’m doing, but I understand that will take time. I need to keep going.”
If you’re unable to reframe it into a positive, no biggie. Acknowledge the feeling and thought but don’t take it to mean anything. You can think and feel things that have no real meaning on your life. Hear the negative thought and move on. Don’t repeat them and don’t place value in them.
And ultimately the golden rule is “ If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” also applies to you. Stay quiet if you can’t be nice to yourself!
Cliff Notes 🧗🏻♂️
Admit that you care what others think. It’s not uncool. Once you admit it you can then prioritize and distinguish whose opinions actually matter to you. Positive outside validation is often so make or break when trying something new that it needs to recognized as a craving lest you feel discouraged.
In this episode we discuss:
how a key rule of being a good leader, coach, teacher, etc. is making someone feel seen and heard
how to bridge the gap between your current skills and your ambitions
how it’s not uncool to value what others think of you and admit you care
being kind to yourself when learning something new to you
Mentions in the Bare Minimum Babe podcast episode:
Chillpreneur: The New Rules for Creating Success, Freedom, and Abundance on Your Terms by Denise Duffield-Thomas
Mark Manson “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”
Bare Minimum Babe Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bareminimumbabe/
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