Imposters and Innovaters
Because I love having many irons in many fires, I’ve got a few gigs *outside* Sand Dollar that I don’t really talk much about *inside* Sand Dollar. The first is as Community Manager of The SpeakEasy Cooperative. The SpeakEasy Coop is a training and coaching hub where voice professionals gather for guidance as they develop and grow their voice businesses. But within SpeakEasy, I also serve as a copy writing coach. (And here’s where the imposter syndrome pops up!) What’s a copy coach? Well, put simply, I help my voice colleagues write about what they do in a way that makes sense to their prospective clients. Home pages, service pages, about pages, hard emails, studio policies, presentation proposals, social media posts, and more. And I love it.
So why the imposter syndrome? Because there are so many people out there who do it better. So many, many, many writers who are better, faster, more clever, more experienced than I'll ever be.
And yet. My soul knows that writing is a big part of what I’m supposed to be doing in this world. There are lots of things I’m not great at. Math. Organization. Planning. Card games. Following through. Painting nails. Parenting (sometimes). I’m bad at a lot of things. But writing? Writing clicks. Writing is home. Some days, even more than singing. Which is why yesterday was so lovely. Because yesterday, I got to share with my esteemed colleagues in the SpeakEasy a bit of what I’ve learned about writing over the years. And how your writing is a place where you can uniquely be you. You know what I was thinking during that presentation? “These people are so smart. They don’t need to hear this from me. They need to hear it from someone smarter.” “They already know all this.” "I don't deserve to do this. Who will this even help?" “Who am I to teach this info when hundreds of people could do it better?” But you know what else I was thinking? "I bet no one else teaches writing through 'Mean Girls' and Panic! at the Disco references like I do." "I bet no one else quotes their sweet Southern grandma to explain client-facing language like I do." "I bet no one else structures their presentation like I do." "I bet no one else waltzes between voice pro and writer like I do." See, friend, it's not about being the best at something. It's about being the best YOU at something. Take these two recordings of "Autumn Leaves." (Discovered yesterday while I was prepping to teach a different class entirely :D ) The first is the great Nat King Cole. The second is the captivating Eva Cassidy. What do you hear? It’s the… Same melody. Same lyrics. Same story. But these are two different songs altogether, aren’t they? Cassidy could easily have said, “'Autum Leaves'? Nat King Cole already did it. Who am I to follow in THOSE footsteps?” But she didn’t. She sang out, with her riveting legato and her haunting interpretation. She wasn't Nat. That's for sure. And because of that, she could have felt like an imposter. But instead? She was an innovator. Our stuff is for the people it’s for. Yes, that’s a garbage sentence, but you know what I mean. Your stuff—your writing, singing, teaching, playing, isn’t for everyone. And you might end up doing something super similar to your friends and colleagues. But it will be different because YOU are different. And IF you are honest about who you are and what you’re doing, your art/work will reach and impact the people it’s supposed to. And when that happens, no one will judge you for doing something that someone else already did. They’ll just be glad you presented your stuff in a way that makes sense to them. When you are freely you, you create space for others to be freely them. No matter who else has done it or who else is doing it. You stop worrying about being an imposter and allow yourself to be an innovater.