Episode #1: Tackling Self-Doubt (Fear Mini-Series, part 1)

We’re kicking off the first segment of a 3-part mini series all about overcoming fears. Today we’re tackling self-doubt; how to give an idea the attention it needs, how to work through Imposter Syndrome, the importance of sourcing positive support, and how to play to your capabilities. We’re also covering one listener question and finishing the show off with a weekly actionable tip about how to break down big tasks.

Show sponsors:

NTA | Podcast Sponsor | Driven Podcast

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Cassy Joy: In today’s episode, we’re kicking off the first segment of a three-part miniseries, all about overcoming fears. Today we’re tackling self-doubt, how to give an idea the attention it needs, how to work through imposter syndrome, the importance of sourcing positive support, and how to play to your capabilities. We’re also covering one listener question, and finishing off the show with a weekly actionable tip about how to break-down big, scary tasks.


  1. What’s on my plate [2:36]
  2. Shop Talk: Dealing with self-doubt [9:46]
  3. Listener Question: Getting out of your head [37:12]
  4. Tip of The Week: actionable steps [43:55]

Cassy Joy: Today’s show is brought to you by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants by focusing on bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes a whole-food, properly prepared, and nutrient dense diet as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s innate ability to heal.

Throughout their programs, students learn a wide-range of educational tools and techniques to identify and correct nutritional imbalances and deficiencies in their clients, and to launch a successful career in holistic nutrition. The NTA produces like-minded practitioners and consultants that we endorse and consider leaders in the health and wellness space. Registration is now open for their September class. You can learn more, and save your seat by going to www.NutritionalTherapy.com. Don’t forget to mention our name on your application.

1.  What’s on my plate [2:36]

Diane Sanfilippo:  Right now, we’re going to talk about What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. So Cassy, what’s on your plate this week?

Cassy Joy: I’m so excited to talk about this! {laughs} It feels like I finally have an outlet to share all of those things. You know? Because, at least my business online, Instagram feels kind of one-dimensional. It’s about food, and wellness, and things like that. So let’s dig into things that are actually taking up my time.

We just hired an administrative assistant who is going to very quickly evolve into an executive assistant. So I’m really excited about that. We did this huge application process; had a great response, and I’m really excited about the person we’re bringing on.

Brainstorming; there’s nothing like hiring somebody to get you to start thinking about the next two hires, right? So Amber Golden, who is the managing editor at Fed and Fit. She and I are really digging deep on roles and responsibilities, and putting job descriptions and kind of the wish list and dream team vibes out. And calling up all of my favorite contractors that I’ve had over the years, and figuring out where they’re at. Working on book three concept, which is very exciting.

We are relaunching the new Fed and Fit website, and I feel like we’re just kicking the can a little bit further down the road. It’s been years. Literally years in the making. And a big hunk of investment. But I’m really excited about that. So that will be happening. Going through rounds of SEO audits, and patching holes from the SEO audit found. Because it just doesn’t feel like good due diligence, you know, to put all this time and effort into a website. Years of it; branding, and rebranding, and coming up with these verticals and the great user experience for it not to also maximize SEO. So that’s been a huge priority.

Figuring out; I just figured out, Diane, that I should probably give Cook Once its own website. Because it’s essentially its own brand at this point, so we’re going through those. Joyful Foods is getting delayed. If you don’t know what that is; I’ll probably share at some point. Trying to get more firm about my work hours between what I’m doing for work and with Gray; because both of those can bleed into each other. And it’s good for me to have just solid blocks.

Finishing out the new office; I’m going back and forth with designers on the overhead; what’s it called? The vent hood? {laughs} It’s just like; these are the decisions that take up my time. Should it be a down draft or an updraft? And what would be better for a live studio audience in this new studio we’re fitting out? Because I want the mirrors, you know, on the top so that folks who are sitting there… anyway. I could go on and on. {laughs}

Supporting my Beautycounter team on the people who are really doing the thing; and you know. There are folks who are in it, and they’re really working, and they want help. And I’m just trying to pour into those folks. And then I’ve also been working; in my free time, I’ve come up with a ditty.

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughs}

Cassy Joy: For the one day when Gus has his own; Gus, my dog, which will turn into a children’s book series, which, my dream is it turns into a cartoon. I have a ditty already for the cartoon. I’m ready.

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughs} In case anyone was wondering if Cassy Joy was busy these days.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: If you were a Balanced Bites podcast listener; and if you weren’t, so this is Diane. If you weren’t a Balanced Bites podcast listener, and you want to hear all about health and wellness. Go back to the Balanced Bites podcast, and of course go back to the Fed and Fit podcast. But, always going back and forth on like, hey what’s going on; I always felt like I had so many things going on that I was just going on for so long. And I love having someone else who makes me feel less crazy about all the little working things I have going on. Just lots of irons in the fire. So I love that; that’s one of the reasons we decided to do this podcast together. Because we have so much in common in that way.

Well, speaking of things in common; I’m in the process of hiring an administrative/content assistant. Have lots of great applications. And one of the downsides of not actually having an assistant right now is the fact that those applications have been in my inbox without the best attention for the last week or two, because I just have a lot going on. So I’m trying to whittle that down and have some interviews and do all of that.

Also hiring a video editor; which I don’t have quite as many submissions on that. And I don’t think I have any yet that are really front runners for interviews. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re a video editor, get in touch. [email protected].

So, of all the different arms of business I have; and I know we haven’t given folks a full background. But as you listen to these episodes, you’ll learn more about all the businesses that Cassy and I each have going on. Balanced Bites meals and spices are a big part of what I do. Balanced Bites organic spices; everything is kind of in the works on that. And actually, {laughs} I’m remembering right now that I need to approve some labels for some new jars that we have coming. So stay tuned on that. I’m not going to revel; show all of my cards right now. But we have some fun new things coming in that way. And, I’m serving as a bottleneck for all of that. Which is pretty common.

And then, also, Balanced Bites meals. We have a really fun new campaign that we’re working on in terms of; when I say campaign, I just mean a new way to communicate the problems that these meals really solve for folks. Because as we run this business for the last six months, I think we’ve just been kind of figuring it out and feeling it out as to who we’re best serving with the meals. And now that we’re watching the community respond, and eat them, and tell us how they’re really helping, we have some great new ideas about how to position that to help all of you guys understand; what are these meals for?

Because for the last decade I’ve been teaching people how to cook for themselves, and make healthy meals. And now I’m like; but also, if you don’t have time for that. All the time. Here’s what you do. So we’re working on that campaign, and also getting some email marketing stuff really squared away so that when folks want to come into my world, whether it’s learning about business and marketing and this type of information through Diane Direct. That’s an email series we have, or weekly emails. The Balanced Bites weekly emails. Really, that’s where folks are getting nutrition and recipes. Kind of the old stuff that people used to get; all the food-based content, as well as stuff about spices and meals and all of that, is really through Balanced Bites. And then 21-Day Sugar Detox has its own email series, as well as folks who are interested in safer skincare and learning about that from me.

And then, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention; similarly, you know we both have these Beautycounter businesses that we’re building. And the same thing; really just focusing on those folks who are wanting to build. I’ve got a lot of people who are in those big building stages. And then also a ton of really new folks who are just running with it. And it’s so exciting to see, and it’s so refreshing to watch that process happen. And I just love stoking that fire of somebody who comes in super lit up. So that’s been really fun and rewarding.

2.  Shop Talk: Dealing with self-doubt [9:46]

Cassy Joy: That is really fun and rewarding. And it kind of ties into what we’re going to talk about today. So, the meat of every episode is going to be what we’re calling Shop Talk. This is a weekly segment you’re going to find every single time. We’re going to talk about topics that are both on our minds and on your minds. We’ll cover all sides of the issue, and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable, and helpful. And this is an eloquent way of packaging the endless conversations, Diane. And I have …

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Yeah.

Cassy Joy: The countless hours we will spend. Because, there’s this app call Voxer, for example, and we’re both on it. We’ll ping each other and we’ll send each other these lofty thoughts. Like, what do you think about self-doubt getting in the way of people’s business getting started? And then we’ll just ping ideas back and forth and talk shop about the whole thing. And that was really; like she’s saying, we both have these passions for business. But we have these passions for talking through issues. And it just might be so helpful for y’all to hear some of these conversations. Because like I said, we usually do land somewhere. We usually do get to the point where we’re like; uh. Well there we go. We tie a little bow on that. And we’re good. We’re done. We finished it for today, until we have more information.

So, that’s what we’re going to do today. And like she said; this is the first episode in a three-part mini-series all about fear. And we think that the best place to start it is talking about self-doubt. Because that’s usually the first one that comes to mind. And I’m just going to go ahead and kick it off, and we’ll go back and forth. But the first idea I have about self-doubt is; if you’re getting to the point that you’re doubting yourself, you probably have an idea. Right? You had an idea for something or an inspiration for something that you want to do. And I say, it’s important that we honor the idea.

It makes me think; if y’all have ever read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She is also the one who wrote, was it Eat, Pray, Love? I think that was the book. Julia Roberts; yes. It was in the movie. {laughs} Diane’s nodding.

So, she wrote this other book called Big Magic. It was a totally different vein from Eat, Pray, Love. But it was essentially about how ideas have their own entities. It’s a little woo-woo; everybody just braces yourself. But ideas have their own entity. They have their own almost life. And it’s like; have you ever though to yourself; gosh. I have this idea for an invention. You’re brushing your teeth and you’re thinking; it would be really cool if there was this toothbrush holder/cleanser thing in my bathroom. You come up with this crazy idea. And then you think; I’m going to do something with that. But you don’t. You don’t do something with it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. I had that idea about something to hold eyelashes while the glue dries.

Cassy Joy: Yes! Exactly!

Diane Sanfilippo: And then I ended up just using a hair clip. I was like; oh, this hairclip can stand on it’s end so I’m like; well, I guess I don’t need to invent that. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Ok, so in that same vein, that’s a great example. Because Diane was really excited. I remember she texted me the picture of her eyelash hairclip holder. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  Eureka! {laughing}

Cassy Joy: It was very exciting; I was excited for you. Because I think we were sitting there in a bathroom together, and I’m waving my eyelash glue in the air trying to get it tacky; there’s got to be a better way.

So the concept of Big Magic, and this idea. So, Diane has this idea for an eyelash holder that holds your lashes while the glue dries a little bit and gets tacky. So that you can go do the rest of your makeup and then put them on when you’re ready. And the way this idea works, is Diane is like; cool idea. She either solves it for herself and moves on. But if she doesn’t take it to scale, and bring it into the world as like; hey everybody, we’re not on QVC with this eyelash holder, you know? Then that idea will find another home.

So this idea that Elizabeth Gilbert shows up in Big Magic and talks about is; if you’re not the place for this idea then let it go. Because otherwise you’re going to be watching an infomercial and say; oh, I thought of that! That was my idea! And she thinks these things happen at the same time. Again, woo-woo. I warned you. But these ideas happen at the same time. So I say; if you have an idea or an inspiration for a business, honor it as its own entity and its own thing.

Like, I am going to do this idea the justice of making a decision on whether or not I’m going to proceed. So I say commit to doing it, or commit to not doing it. Or being open and needing more data. But I think it’s important to be clear. And this whole self-doubt thing; am I right for this? Am I not right for this? I think if we get out of that. Don’t focus on our fear and try to focus on; am I the right person for this thing. I think it helps us move past it.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s such a great point. And I knew that I was not the right person for that. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughing} Are you sure you don’t want to be on QVC and Shark Tank with your eyelash holder?

Diane Sanfilippo: I was not going to be the inventor for that. In fact, there is a woman on my Beautycounter team, her name is Cassandra. And she actually did invent a product like that. And to your point, kind of around the same time as I was having this; there’s got to be a better way! You know. I need to get these two minutes of my life back. So yeah, I think that’s such a great point.

I think one thing that people get tripped up on is the idea of imposter syndrome. This, either; hasn’t it been done before? Or, isn’t someone already doing it? Or, won’t someone else do it better than I will? And I think that is a big doubt. We see this a lot in the health coaching space. We see it in network marketing. Where it’s like; oh, there’s already somebody doing this.

I think the thing that a lot of folks don’t realize is that you don’t know what can happen when you as a unique person bringing your background, your friends and family, your contacts, your life experience, your personal flavor or twist to something; what that does when it gets together with the thing that other people might also be doing.

So when it comes to health coaching, for example, maybe you have had experiences with autoimmunity. Or a very specific health challenge that I personally cannot help people with. But because you’ve had that experience, and it’s something you’ve done tons of research on, and you’ve dug into, and you’ve experienced, perhaps, for yourself. That’s where there is this other piece of; I’ll call it magic. It’s what you bring to the table.

So here’s a couple of examples of that. When I first started teaching paleo seminars back in the day; back in 2010, early 2011, Robb Wolf was already teaching seminars. A handful of folks were teaching and I was like; I don’t know, do we need more people doing this? And when you look at the entire country of people who needed to learn about this, it’s like; yeah. We need more people teaching this. Because not everybody can learn from just a handful of folks. Those people can’t be everywhere all the time. And also, we all learn from and connect with different types of people differently. Some people might love Robb Wolf’s teaching style; some people may not.

So, I think that recognizing that your own spin on something is relevant and valid. Look at how many cookbooks there are out there; how many of them have a recipe for hollandaise sauce? How many of them have a recipe for the same things? We are not that creative. {laughs} You know what I mean? But we do have our own spin on an approach or a certain; one ingredient that we add that just really changes things. And I think if you keep that analogy in mind when you’re following people’s recipes. And you’re always saying; listen. We know. First hand. Y’all always want more recipes. And we’re like; really? There are about 40 billion recipes that already exist, and you’re telling me you want more recipes?

I mean, if there’s nothing else that inspires you on the fact that; yes, your voice is wanted and needed, it’s the fact that people will never stop asking for more recipes. So can you take that analogy of; people will never stop asking for your take on something because they know you. They don’t know me; they know you. So if you lost 50 pounds eating keto, there’s so much more power in that than just the fact that I wrote a book. They’re like; tell me what you did.

So anyway. I just kind of got onto a totally different track. But this; hasn’t it been done before? Isn’t somebody already doing it? Everything has been done. Other people are doing everything. That doesn’t mean, of course, there won’t be those really magic moment ideas. But most of those don’t come from nowhere. The iPhone didn’t come from nowhere. It came from the iPod. You know what I mean? The marriage of the iPod and what was happening with touch screens and phones. And you can’t do nothing and expect a big idea or something super unique to come along.

So I think that’s kind of my note on this whole thing. This self-doubt often comes from this feeling of; I don’t have anything unique to offer. Or there’s nothing new. And I think just understanding that it doesn’t need to be, but, like 1% different. 1% different that you add, or you twist, or you tweak or change. And I’m not saying; steal someone’s idea, and make it 1% different. I’m just saying; you’re a different person. So the way you do it will be different just by virtue of who you are and the lens through which you see the world.

Cassy Joy: Amen. I mean, double down.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Cassy’s got her hands up over there, like; Preach!

Cassy Joy: Yes. The emoji, hand praise. It makes me think about; when I started Fed and Fit 8 years ago; y’all, I had no idea if I wrote a book what the book would be about. I had no idea what this thing could turn in to. But I knew from a 50,000-foot view that I had it in me to do something big and meaningful. And I had no idea what those details were going to be. I knew I had an iPhone in me, kind of invention, but I had to spend 6 years, right, doing the work. Getting beat up in the arena; hat tip to Brene. But really being in there, doing the work, failing, learning from my mistakes, before I was able to really brush off and polish that pearl of an idea.

I wouldn’t even say; I’m not even at that iPhone level. We’re going to be working on 10X iPhone in several years. There’s just going to be an evolution of the business. And what I’m trying to get at is; just because you don’t have a clear business plan. I’ve worked with so many folks who get so caught up in this crystal-clear business plan. And this is kind of going to bleed in into next weeks’ episode of what other people think. But part of it is; I think they’re not acknowledging whether it’s their own fears; imposter syndrome being a great one to summarize. And maybe how we have to portray this to other folks. But they get caught up in; well, if I don’t have this crystal-clear business plan of what I’m going to do with this thing and can prove why it’s going to be successful, then I shouldn’t start it. Because it’s not until I have that idea that I can do this thing.

You know what? Of anybody; and I find myself craving, endlessly hungry for entrepreneur stories. How did you get to where you are, and what went through your head when you started? They did not have crystal clear ideas. They knew they wanted to do something big. They knew qualitatively what they wanted to do, but not necessarily quantitatively. They didn’t know the details. So don’t let a lack of details really get in your way.

And that brings up another idea that I had; {laughs} all of my little bullet-points are a little bit more woo-woo. Because I just can’t help myself. But there was a friend and mentor of my family; his name was Tom Shehan. And he helped inspire my parents, starting their architectural engineering company. And he was endlessly inspiring in my early days of business. But he always told me; he told me two things. Number one is go ugly early, and I’ll elaborate on that more later because there are some footnotes to it.

But the second thing he always told me was; if you’ve got a hot idea, stay close to a heat source. When you’re going through seasons of self-doubt, you have an idea. Something that’s burning, that really inspires you. That lights you up. It’s important that even with the season of doubt and imposter syndrome, and all these feelings that you have and you’re going to go through; and there will be more layers of them as time goes on. Which we’ll cover more in this series. But it’s important to stay close to a heat source.

What’s a heat source for a hot idea? People who are going to encourage you. People who are going to be excited about the idea as you are. I mean, Diane and I are a great example of this friendship. But I’ll be like; Diane, I think I’m going to make casseroles. {laughs} She’s like; cool! When are you going to do it? Are you going to do it yesterday? Because it would be great if we had them yesterday. You know?

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I would like to eat them.

Cassy Joy: Exactly! And if I didn’t have that kind of encouragement; and at this point, a lot of confidence. Right? Because that is something that accrues over time. As your skin thickens, your confidence also thickens as time goes on, as you have fails and you realize you survive. And as you put yourself out there, and you realized you came through it for the better. I think that confidence in these ideas will thicken over time. So just remind yourself; surround yourself with people who are going to encourage you.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ooh. There’s a good food analogy; cooking analogy in there. So, like, you’ve got this sauce. Keep it close to the heat source, so it can reduce. So that it becomes more potent.

Cassy Joy: {gasp} Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: And I’m with you; we are totally a heat source for each other. We don’t talk every single day, just depending on what’s going on in our lives. But, definitely if we have an idea, or we’re feeling self-doubt, we definitely check in with each other. Because we know that we will support and also help ground. Like; here’s what’s really going on. Or, here’s; {laughs}. We won’t just fan the flame in a bad way. We won’t feed into each other’s self-doubt. We actually are like; no, no, here’s what’s happening.

So, it’s hard to find that. And I think when you do find that, you do want to really stay close to it.

So a couple of other things I want to hit on as we just wrap up maybe this first Shop Talk. You guys; this is what happens when we get together. We cannot stop on these topics. We just go in. And that’s why we knew we needed to have a podcast about all of this.

But I think one of the self-doubt issues that comes up is this question of; “Am I capable of this?” And I think you were kind of touching on it a bit with the confidence thing. And people ask all the time, and I know we’ll have more episodes on confidence. But people ask all the time; “How did you become so confident? How do you feel, or gain confidence?”

What I don’t know if people understand is that; you have to be willing to do things that you’re unsure of. That you don’t have confidence in. And do them wrong, and not feel like that’s the end of the world. Because none of us were born knowing how to use an iPhone. None of us were born knowing how to use MailChimp. This is always my example; some people may naturally be better at certain things. But a lot of things in life, we simply have to decide we’re willing to learn. We’re willing to make mistakes. We’re willing to take responsibility for those mistakes. And then be able to look back and say; yeah. 10 years ago, no, I didn’t know how to use XYZ programs. But I spent the time, I fumbled along the way. And now I’m pretty confident telling you how to do it, or that I have learned it. Whatever it is.

So, I don’t know where it comes from. If it’s in our childhood, we have parents who maybe kept telling us no, or don’t do that. You can’t do that; whatever it is. We can’t really dissect all of that on this show. But what we can do is explain that you are going to fail. That will happen. It will happen over and over again. And you have to get to the point where you realize that looking ahead at what you want to do, when you say, “I want to start a blog.” Or, “I want to be a health coach.” Or, “I want to start a side hustle. Start a Beautycounter business.” Whatever it’s going to be. Write a cookbook.

You have to be willing to suck at it. You have to be willing to have; like you said, Cassy; the go ugly early. You have to be willing to do it at all first, and know that your first attempt will probably not be excellent. In fact, your first 10 attempts will probably not be excellent. How many eBooks did we put out? How many blog posts and then eBooks? And then, a revised eBook. And then maybe eventually pitching it to a publisher. It’s not like; today I decide I’m going to write a book and tomorrow I’m talking to a publisher.

A lot of what we all see is somebody’s best effort, and their 10th effort. Yes, Practical Paleo was my first book that was published, but it wasn’t the first thing that I “published” and put out into the world and said; “Ok world! Here it is! Judge me as you will.” You know; you have to get to a point where you’re willing to say; I’m going to put this thing out there. I’m going to put myself out there.

And look; if you don’t want to do that, that’s also ok. But if you’re not willing to bare yourself in that way, then you’re not cut out to be an entrepreneur. And I really believe that not everybody needs to be an entrepreneur. It doesn’t mean that we don’t all have an entrepreneurial spirit. I think a lot of folks can have an entrepreneurial spirit. You take great ownership and great pride in what you’re doing. You want to be a part of something and do something meaningful. But you may not be the one who is ready and willing and able to stand up and say; I’m going to do this poorly. I will make mistakes. People will criticize it. And I will still be ok on the other side of it.

And I don’t know if that can be learned. I’m not sure. I’ve never been afraid of that. So I don’t know what it’s like to be afraid of it and come through that. And I have not personally met someone who really self-identifies as an entrepreneur who has said that they were really afraid of that stuff from the beginning. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people that I know who are entrepreneurs now; they’re kind of reluctant entrepreneurs. They’re doing it, but they’re not obsessed with it the way that we are. We cannot breathe without bringing ideas to life and solving problems. And solving problems to figure out how to solve the problem. It’s just a constant ongoing thing.

So this idea of; “Am I even capable of this?” Those are all questions that you need to ask if you’re capable of handling failing along the way. And I do think that there are a lot of people who think that you can. You’re listening and you’re like; I don’t know if I can. But, if you look at your life and how you got to where you are now, you probably did. You’re just not actually giving yourself credit for all the times that you fell down and got back up. So part of it might just be taking inventory and taking stock in what you’ve already done, and giving yourself a lot more credit for each of those things.

And I’m talking to myself here, too. I am very quick to dismiss success along the way. It’s literally; I know we talk about this all the time, Cassy. It’s like; we do this great big thing that other people see as great and big, and we very quickly are like; ok, now what and how do I do better? {laughs} Imagine your first actual published book being a New York Times’ Bestseller for 2 years. The self-doubt that follows that is insane. Because, how do I do better than that? {laughs} That’s really hard. And I’m not saying that to be like; I don’t know. That’s actually a big challenge. Because you want to have growth, but how do you grow from that? This thing that other people may see as a pinnacle. And then it’s like; then what?

Anyway. I think that’s part of it. We’ll talk more about what it means to deal with what other people think of you, and what if things fail. But I do think playing to your strengths is a really important part of all of this. And if you’re looking at this thing you want to tackle and you want to do, as a business, talk to people who are close to you. Those heat sources, right? And ask them. “What am I really good at?” {laughs} A lot of times, people are like; I don’t know what I’m passionate about. I’m like; ask your friends. Because the thing that you can’t stop talking about. Cassy and I cannot stop talking about our work.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} You know, in Elf. Make work your new favorite! Work is my favorite. Work is my hobby, and when I’m not working, I’ll find a side-hustle that’s work that’s another hobby. That’s what will be the hobby. Ok, maybe plants are now the hobby, also. Trying not to kill them.

But I do think that playing to our strengths and not getting to a point where we are feeling like; if you’re like, “Well I’m not a good public speaker and I don’t want to do public speaking. But when I see other people do this, they’re doing a ton of public speaking.” That doesn’t mean you have to do that. You can really be a writer and get into the writing side of things. So there’s a lot that we can kind of unpack on playing to your strengths. And I think that’s a really big part of what people need to dig into when it comes to self-doubt, as well.

Cassy Joy: I think that would be a great topic for a whole other conversation. And we can talk about strength finders and really knowing thyself. I think that would be really great. And not to extend the conversation any further, but I had just a lightbulb go off while you were talking. And I think that one way to work past self-doubt, whether you’re at the beginning of something, in the middle of your career, or you’re well into it and you already have successes in your bag and you’re like; what do I do next even. I think a lot of it is detaching where your identity lies. Right?

Is your identity {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: She says, to the Rebel type 8 who is; everything about why and how I’m motivated to do certain things is so wrapped up in who I believe that I am. So that is the challenge.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, I can see that. And I think that’s probably why the identity went off. It’s just, as a friend. I can see that. And I can feel that. I can identify with that, even in my own journey. At the beginning, in the middle, and where I am at right now, which hopefully is still the middle. Hopefully still actually the beginning. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I might be in the middle.

Cassy Joy: {laughing} But, where does your identity lie? Is your identity wrapped up in the success of a project? Or is your identity wrapped up in what you’re capable of, to Diane’s point. And if your identity is in what you’re capable of, like she’s saying, and you’re honest with yourself about the things that you’ve learned from scratch. You learned how to walk. You learned how to write. You learned how to read. You learned how to maybe do geometry. And then you unlearned it. And then you relearned another skill later {laughs} as time went on, right? But your ability; what are your capabilities? That, and how you approach life. And you approach business. And how you want to problem solve. And how you want to connect with people. That’s where the identity can be that helps you overcome this period of self-doubt. Because projects will come and go, successes are going to just; I mean, rolling with the tides. They really are. And I think if you wait for those to get past doubting yourself, you’re not going to start. Or you’re going to feel a false start.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ooh.

Cassy Joy: Do it!

Diane Sanfilippo: No, I have a good note on that too. I think, when we get hired. So we’re talking on this show mostly about entrepreneurship and building businesses. And that doesn’t mean that folks listening are all building a business. Maybe they’re just interested in learning. I listen to podcasts about being writers in Hollywood, and I’m not ever aspiring to do that. But I still find it fascinating. I learn a ton.

It just totally occurred that when we get hired to do a job, that is someone else giving us a vote of confidence. Like, “Hey, I think you have these skills. I think you’re good enough at this to fulfill this role.” But as the entrepreneur, there is nobody there fanning your flames saying, “You are good enough. I’m choosing you.” You have to tell it to yourself over and over every single day, and then of course, if you’re lucky, you have a friend that’s in a relationship like we are. Or multiple friends like that. We do each have multiple friends who do support us in this way. But those are not easy to come by.

And I’ve had some friends over the years who, we’ve been friends, and then we were totally in it in the beginning and accountability partners, and then our businesses just went in totally different directions. This is way back to when I first started nutrition coaching. So that person is not there anymore. And you still have to be able to stand on your own two feet to give yourself the vote of confidence that you’re going to keep doing this, no matter what. And if you’re constantly relying on other people to tell you you can do it, or it’s ok, or you’re good enough, it is going to be really challenging to move forward with that business.  

It doesn’t mean we don’t all need that at different times. But I think a good 80-90% of the time, we’ve got to be self-reliant in those ways. And only have that 10-20% of the time where we’re like; hey. I’m not sure about this. And I think that is ultimately one of the big differences between knowing that you are an entrepreneur, and that is something you need to be, versus; do you constantly need someone else to tell you you’re good enough?

Cassy Joy: Yep. Absolutely.

Diane Sanfilippo: Today’s podcast is sponsored in part by Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics. America’s leading purveyor of premium, sustainable seafood and grass-fed meats, and a certified B corporation. Now is the time to grill some wild seafood and mouthwatering grass-fed meats. Their selection includes wild salmon, fish, and shellfish; grass-fed beef and bison; plus premium pastured chicken and pork. Vital Choice also offers great options for work or outdoor adventures. Fantastic canned salmon, tuna or sardines. I just ate a can of the sardines the other day; they’re amazing. Wild salmon or bison jerky, and more. Be sure to save 15% on one regular order with the promo code DRIVEN or get $15 off your first Vital Box with the promo code DRIVENVB from now through the end of the year. Visit vitalchoice.com.

3. Listener Question: Getting out of your head [37:12]

Cassy Joy: Next up is Listener Question. In this segment, we’re going to pull questions, comments, and topic ideas from your interactions with us over @DrivenPodcast on Instagram. Today’s question comes from Right at Home School, and she asks, “How do you get out of your head to just say yes to what lights you up?” Diane, do you want to take it?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I like that. Just throw it right on over. Ok. Well, I’m really curious. I have some follow-up questions for Right at Home School. I’m curious what’s happening in your head. And our guess; the reason why we pulled this question. Our guess is that it is this self-doubt, right? And it might also be some of our future episode topics. Other people’s thoughts and feelings, and this idea of being afraid of failing. That could be one of the things that’s kind of in your head.

And hopefully, what we talked about today in terms of dealing with self-doubt will help you. But I think taking things into actionable steps, which I’ll talk about next. How to break things down. But how to get out of your own head and say yes to what lights you up; what’s in front of you? Are people presenting you with opportunities and you keep saying no to those opportunities because you’re afraid that you won’t be able to do it? Are other people giving you that vote of confidence and inviting you to do things? I think that would be something to pay attention to.

{laughs} How to get out of your own head. Getting into action is probably the number one best way to combat the anxieties and fears of “what if?” So, if you’re in your head, and what your head is saying is, “I’m not sure. I might fail. I don’t know if I can do this. It seems like it might be hard.” The only way to really combat that is to just start. Little by little, start doing it. And you might prove yourself right. {laughs} You might be like; “You know what? This is too hard. I don’t want to do this. I thought I wanted to do this; now that I see what it’s about, I don’t want to do it anymore.”

I’ll be the first one to tell somebody not to write a cookbook. Because I’m like; nuh-huh. Don’t do it. You know? And if someone is like; nope, I have to do it. I’m like; ok, do it. And then I have some friends who have written small eBooks, and I’m like; welcome to my world. How hard that was; how much you hated that, and how painful it was, multiply that by 10. Plus a deadline, plus whatever.

So I think that it is about just taking action. What I find is when you’re taking action on something that truly does light you up, it gets hard. But that doesn’t actually stop you from continuing. So if you find that you can’t stop thinking about this thing. That you’re going to work on the weekends because you’re just obsessed with it. That you’re partner or spouse or whoever you’re with is maybe doing something relaxing, and to you it’s just really exciting to keep figuring this thing out that you’re trying to learn because it’s going to solve that next problem and the thing that lights you up. That’s how you know that you’re on the right track.

I think ultimately getting out of your head requires taking action. No matter what. Because we’re all going to spin in that place. I have a million ideas that are also still in my head. And are they the big magic or not? I don’t know. But they’re in there. And ultimately, if I want to get out of my head and say yes to it, I have to just start chipping away at those actionable steps.

Cassy Joy: I mean, I have something to add to that. A personal story, not to extend this.

Diane Sanfilippo: Extend it.

Cassy Joy: OK.

Diane Sanfilippo: You get to extend it. This is our show.

Cassy Joy: That’s right {laughing}. Ok, then.

Diane Sanfilippo: We do whatever we want. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Ok. {laughing} So, I mean, I talked about it a little bit earlier about how I’m working on this Gus cartoon ditty; y’all. Who am I? Let’s go through the whole scenario. I am a nutrition consultant. I have a food blog. I have two cookbooks. I have a budding online editorial that’s a destination on the web for wellness. Yadda, yadda, yadda. And, now a subset dividing into business talking with my dear friend and colleague, Diane. Right? That’s kind of an understandable offshoot. Cassy Joy Garcia, off-shooting into personal development. Kind of understandable. Logical off-shoot.

Children’s books, with an animated cartoon named Gus does not make any sense at all.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m here for it, though.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ve been here for it for 3 years. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: I know. I know you are. And it doesn’t make sense at all. But that lights me up, right? And I could go through all the motions of self-doubt. Who am I to go then all of a sudden write children’s books and think that I have a voice there, and I have a place there? And what happens? I acknowledge. I acknowledge those fears. I acknowledge those feelings of feeling like an imposter. I acknowledge the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing there; that’s a totally different industry to learn. And how do I get out of my own head of all of those thoughts and like; this isn’t what I do. I don’t know anything about that world. There is so much to learn. What if this flops? What if I put too much energy into something that doesn’t actually contribute or grow?

I get out of that by just doing the thing, to what Diane is saying. Right? I’m making notes constantly, drafting ideas for books and series and stories and working on Gus’ voice and how I understand him. And this sounds; if you have no idea who Gus is, and what I’m talking about, I might sound like an actual person who; I’m off my rocker. But, I’m figuring out his identity. I’m figuring out; I’m even Googling illustrators in my spare time to figure out what kind of illustration do I want these books to have. And this is not something that I have any business doing right now, because it’s not necessarily part of my business. But it really lights me up.

And so, like she’s saying; I’m getting out of my head on the what ifs and what could fails by just exploring, Googling, putting down research. And the next thing you know; by the time I got ready to do Joyful Foods, I had spent 2 years researching. Little by little; not a significant amount of time. But two years compiling thoughts and research and notes and ideas on branding and how I wanted to release it and how I wanted to do a Kickstarter, to where I had this “business plan.” But I had a plant ready to go. And I’m still not an expert, but I had done the research a little bit at a time. So just take action, like she’s saying.

4. Tip of The Week: actionable steps [43:55]

Diane Sanfilippo: We’re going to wrap up with a Tip of The Week that totally ties back into what we were just talking about. But the tip of the week this week; well, every week we’re going to do this, and in this segment we’ll just give one actionable tip. And it’s going to be related to what we’ve been talking about and kind of hopefully tie things in a neat bow for you. But, but scary tasks.

Generally, when we’re talking about this whole idea of fear and self-doubt. We’ve got this, perhaps insurmountable task or to-do or item ahead of us that we have in mind that we really want to tackle. We need to make a giant list of all the things that we’ll need to get done in order to get started. And break them down into small actionable items that won’t take more than an hour for each task. Otherwise, they’re too big.

So if you put something on your to-do list that will take more than one hour, that is not a task. That is a whole project. So if you’ve got “build website” on your to-do list, you need to break that down into actionable tasks. So here’s an example, building a website. I was a graphic designer for many years. I worked in small business marketing. And we made many, many websites.

So to build a website, some of the things that you’ll need to do that are actionable in one hour are; you need to make an outline. What are the pages of your site going to be? It might take you an hour to do that. It might take you 30 minutes. You’re going to look at other websites in similar industries. What are the pages that they have? Maybe you also detail what type of content you need. So maybe there’s an about page, and you need a photo, and you need a bio of yourself and your credentials, or whatever it’s going to be.

Maybe you need a portfolio page, or my work, or client work, etc. A services page, what are the services I offer? What are the prices? A testimonials page. Testimonial pages are some of the highest viewed pages on service-based websites. A contact page. Those types of things. And figuring out; is there something else? Do you need a blog? Do you not need a blog? What does that mean? All of that. What are the pages you’re going to have?

Ok. So then maybe another item on the list is, “Write my about page content.” Or maybe it’s, “Draft 1.” Because maybe writing it is going to take more than one hour. So maybe it’s just a first draft.

So that’s the type of thing that you really need to sit down, get things written out into actionable tasks that you can accomplish in no more than one hour. Because the truth is, none of us really has time that we can say for sure we can sit and work for more than one hour, whether we need to get up for a bathroom break. Whether the phone is going to ring. Whether you’re hungry. Whether you’re; whatever it is. It doesn’t mean you won’t block two to three hours sometimes to get work done. But being able to truly focus on one task for more than one solid hour is very, very challenging. And I think the less we expect ourselves to do that, the more successful we will be at actually checking things off the list. And advancing forward and getting those things done.

Because you’ll find that after two months of these one-hour or less actionable tasks, you’re going to be well on your way to having that website actually done. And you may find that you get to the end of that, and you’ve created the content for it. And you may or may not be the one to build it. But at least now you have the content that you can pass over to somebody. So, getting those things done, little by little, break it down. You’ll be on your way.

That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @DrivenPodcast. You can find Cassy @FedandFit, and me, Diane, @DianeSanfilippo.

Tune in next week for more on overcoming fears. And specifically we’ll be talking about other peoples’ thoughts about what you want to do with your business, and how to handle that. We’ll see you next week.