Boss Mindset: When the Struggle is Real

with Liz Atherton

”Does anyone else feel completely unproductive, unmotivated, and uncreative right now?” This thoughtful question from Rebecca Davis got us thinking about the very real struggles we face during this pandemic. Join VO Boss Anne Ganguzza and series co-host Liz Atherton for a heartfelt discussion on the trials and tribulations of social distancing. The struggle is real. It’s ok to not be ok. You’re a boss, no matter what!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Rebecca Davis inspired this podcast by asking the question: “does anyone else feel completely unproductive, unmotivative and uncreative right now?”

  2. Everybody is at their own point in this trauma

  3. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be positive during all of this

  4. Who am i to tell you how to feel? There is not right way to feel!

  5. You cannot choose what you fear, nor should you try and set the opinions or feelings of others!

  6. Some people deal by pushing forward through work, but make sure you take the time to adbsorb what is happening

  7. It’s ok to be distracted when trying to audition with all of this

  8. If you feel sad own it. If you feel happy own it!

  9. It’s ok to feel guilty and like you can’t do enough

  10. Getting out and serving your community, in a safe way, can help your mental health

  11. Now might be the time to get into meditation

  12. Use this time to connect to friends and family who are far away

  13. Zoom connected so many of us, when internet connection is all we have

  14. Facebook connects us together

  15. Take this opportunity to look inward and understand what your values are

  16. When things are out of your control, you look inward and can learn to accept it

  17. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

  18. Being grateful is the other side of ugly

  19. Even though we’re starting to get good news, don’t think there’s an answer, we still need to stay at home

  20. Remain vigilant, stay at home, wear masks if you go outside

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

10 Ways your anxiety might be manifesting
More information on Zoom
Recorded on ipDTL
Editing by Carl Bahner


>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premier business owner strategies and successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS. Now let’s welcome your host Anne Ganguzza.

Anne: Hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with the bee, the Queen herself, Ms. Liz Atherton. Hey Liz.

Liz: Hey Anne. How are you? Crack me up every time.

Anne: You know, Liz, it has been a crazy, I keep saying how crazy of a time it is, and you know, emotions have run up and down and all over the place, and I think it’s a good time for you and I to just, let’s just talk open and honest about what’s going on and how you’re reacting, how I’m reacting, how your friends and family are reacting. The other day I noticed a great post by Rebecca Davis, who said she was debating whether or not to post it, because she always wants to be positive and optimistic, and I’m kind of that person too. But she asked the question, does anyone else feel completely unproductive, unmotivated and uncreative right now? And wow, what a great question. Literally hundreds of comments already on it. And I think it’s something that we can kind of discuss here because I think everybody is at a different point in this trauma.

Liz: You know, Anne, I can speak to myself. As of today, I’ve been quarantined for a month. I’ve had two visits from people that we made sure we distanced ourselves, we shared a meal, and we went our merry – and we watched a movie I think, and then we went our merry way. With the absolute assurance we had been practicing safe quarantining up until then. That’s it. You know, I’ve gone to the grocery store, and that’s a traumatic experience. I’ve found myself becoming somewhat of a vigilante person. But when this first started, you know, I was all happy. I was getting on the Internet, and I was do FaceTiming which is just crazy. Posting all sorts of funny stuff. In parallel to this I still have work. You know, it’s not bringing me any money right now, but I have work. We’re working on getting CastVoices launched. There’s a lot of creative opportunity there, but just in general I was like, it started out really exciting, and then it got to worried, and now I feel like I’m in this void. Actually I’ve picked back up a little bit, but yeah, I completely understand where Rebecca is coming from. Getting something done was just not on my priority list, nor could it have been. I just feel like gob-smacked, whack. Our world is in turmoil.

Anne: Well, that’s what it is. I think really because it’s such uncharted territory, and none of us really know what’s going on, I think there’s a lot of fear, you know, and that –

Liz: And armchair quarterbacking.

Anne: Yeah.

Liz: You know, people telling other people how to feel.

Anne: Yeah, that’s totally correct. I think that we all are at different phases within this. Because we were hit with something that I think is truly scary. We don’t know what’s going to happen. As time moves on, and we’re hitting, you know, our maximum numbers during this pandemic, it just gets sad, scary, and I think we have to try to figure out how we’re dealing with all that. And then just go on as if, what, it’s a normal day? Because it isn’t. It really isn’t. And I think we can’t put too much pressure on ourselves to feel a particular way, or to be up and optimistic all the time, although you know.

Liz: You usually are, man. You usually put a smile on people’s face, and whether you intend to or not, you know, you do come across as very upbeat and ready to go and not dwelling on the concerns. Where I get concerned is where people are posting their bookings, and then they’re getting chastised for posting their bookings because it’s making people that aren’t booking feel bad. And then is like I don’t want you to feel – I’m like who, and pardon me if I anger anyone, but who am I to tell you how to feel?

Anne: Right, yeah. Exactly.

Liz: No. If you need to post – I mean heck, I was posting all sorts of goofy, sometimes inappropriate – and by the way, I’ve got an inappropriate one coming in a few days –

Anne: Thanks for the warning. Thanks for the warning.

Liz: I have planned it. I have planned it.

Anne: She plans the inappropriateness.

Liz: I do, I do.

Anne: I love it.

Liz: You know, it just, come on, folks! You know, you cannot decide what makes you afraid, you cannot set your fears, and nor should you try to set the opinions or feelings of others. And by golly, quit calling people names. I don’t care what your political beliefs are. Stop that stuff! Just stop it!

Anne: I think there’s lots of expectations especially when we read social media. First of all, what do we have, right? Thankfully we do have our Internet and our network connections so that we can stay connected in this way. And that’s like a double-edged sword actually, because a lot of the stuff that you’re seeing out there could be good. It could be funny, it could be entertaining, but then there’s a lot of other stuff on there that’s not so good and is not so happy. And we’re trying to process all of that at once. So we see people’s comments here and there, and this is what you should do. This is what you shouldn’t do. You should be so productive. Take this time to learn, take this time to hone your craft. Even I’ve been guilty of saying that because for me, part of my coping mechanism is to actually work through, you know, if I don’t know what to do with my emotion, I work through it. That is my self-admitted, a little bit of a workaholic over here, which gosh, I think anybody that knows me probably has already known all about me forever, but that’s really how I deal as I push forward through work. But a lot of times that’s not so great because there’s some denial in that. And so when I do take the time to absorb what’s happening, yeah, it affects me. It affects some of my performance when I have to go and do an audition, when all of this is weighing on my mind. I’m distracted.

Liz: Well, and let me take another slice at the current situation. My experience with a lot of the VO community is a lot of them have an uptick in their business. They’re busier than they’ve been. And then some of the maybe perhaps less experienced folk are seeing no work. And so then you have the really experienced ones who are busier than normal feeling guilty for having that, you know, surge in work. And like I said, it’s just such a strange place to be. I think the best thing any of us can do is to just be as authentic in our own selves as we can. And I’m not trying to quote any kind of anybody. I’m just saying, you know, if you feel sad, own it. If you feel happy, own it.

Anne: I’ll tell you, here’s something, you mentioned that about guilt. I actually, you know, New York state being my hometown, where I grew up, where I was born, I feel horrible that it has become such a hot spot. I know people there. Family is back there. You know, both sides of my family are back there. And I feel in a way, even though California has also been hit hard, I feel almost guilty. You know, and then I struggle with what to do about that. You know, as I see these horrible things happening and more deaths climbing in other areas, I, here I am in my house. I’m not leaving for the foreseeable future. I feel horrible, and I want to be able to help. And you know, there are things that I can do remotely to try and help. But I’m grappling with what can I do that’s even enough, when there are people dying out there? I can’t get my head around that.

Liz: You know, it has not been a cakewalk for me on any planet, but I decided for me, something that would make me feel better is to do for someone else.

Anne: Yep.

Liz: And I can’t really go out because I’m compromised and you know, I don’t need to go in to that. Just know that I’m compromised. And so what I did, and this is me, and it helped. It helped me make me feel like I contributed to something, I’m part of this group. It’s a lot of entertainment peoples. And I reached out and I said hey, we’re tough in this neighborhood. I got a neighbor across the street who is homebound with cancer. It’s a mixed neighborhood. Anybody can help. And I got about $300 in donation, just cash, which was terrific. And this great guy, Tyler Grant Gresham, sent me two loaves of bread that he hand made. And so I reached out to my neighborhood. I said it’s not a lot of money, but if there’s something that you need, it’s yours. You don’t have to explain it to me. Just tell me you need it, or tell me where to drop it off, and then who could use some bread? I remember it was raining the day the bread came, but I wanted to get it out, or the next day I did. I walked my neighborhood and kind of checked on people. Nobody ran into anybody or anything like that, but getting out in a way as a place of service that was safe, and trying to help even just a little bit, even if I can’t do a bunch myself, trying to help by coordinating others was great. But then on the other side, other coping mechanisms, I have this meditation book called Blank – it rhymes with duck – This. I went on Facebook Live and I read that. I’m like okay, Liz. I’m not quite sure what you’re thinking, but maybe that’s not your shining moment.

[both laugh]

Anne: But your intent and your heart was there, and I think that’s – I think that your authenticity was there. So I think, I think that’s important. Something was there. I think that that’s important, and I think that again, as a global community, I’m hopeful for the good that will come out of this, although I certainly am so sad to see the sickness and death. But I’m hopeful towards the future in terms of evolving to a different world that maybe has more care and compassion for one another, takes the time to be together with their family. Like I know myself, I’ve really spent time connecting with my family over this time. And it’s funny because gosh, you know, we’ve all been so busy, we haven’t really taken the time to really connect on a regular basis. And now we are. You know, we’re having like these great phone calls, video calls, thanks to, thanks to Zoom. I just want to say, here’s my little tech tip with Zoom. I know Zoom got slammed in the media because of security issues, but here, I have to say that Zoom connected so many of us, when that’s all we had. And so I’m going to say any software that was going to buckle under, you know what I mean, a lot of use, and people utilizing its services, you know, you find, this is what happens, you find the flaws. You find the flaws and you fix them, which is they’re doing that. So I have no ill will towards software that allowed me to connect with my family to make sure that they were okay and safe and healthy and happy, and just to see –

Liz: Exactly.

Anne: – just to see their smiling faces is everything to me. And I’ll say the same thing for Facebook. As good and bad as we say that it is, you know, in one way or another, it connects us together, and I’m thankful for that. It is, allowed us to stay connected. Thank God! You know? What would you do, what would you do if we didn’t have that network? That’s what makes me a little bit nervous. I’m like, my goodness it’s a good thing we have this.

Liz: I know, and a little side note to the listeners, Anne and I were looking for something on my page. She says good God, Liz. You post so much! [laughs] And I’m like, I hide half of it.

Anne: It was 20 minutes of scrolling until I could get to yesterday’s post.

Liz: Just to yesterday. [laughs]

Anne: To get to yesterday.

Liz: [laughs] But here’s the thing. It’s like, it is my connection. I am here with my dog, and I mean, and I live in the country. And I don’t have neighbors that I shout over a fence to. It is literally me, and I am not complaining. Because you know, one of the things I wanted to touch on is that there are some silver linings, aside from the way the earth is healing itself environmentally which is just beautiful.

Anne: Yes.

Liz: I see the pictures and whatnot. Hopefully, I mean, there’s going to be some bad when you’re home with people that you’re not used to being home with, but on the flipside of that, for those of you that are taking opportunity or opportunities is mandating it that you look inward, and that you understand where your values are, and that you understand who you are, I mean, those are things at least for me that’s happening. Because I cannot change, absolutely cannot change my environment right now.

Anne: Yeah.

Liz: It is what it is.

Anne: Yes, excellent point.

Liz: I’m taking this extraordinarily, you know, to the heart, because I don’t want people to die. I don’t want them to get sick. I don’t want me to die or get sick.

Anne: I agree. I’m going to piggyback off that in terms of a discussion I had a couple of weeks ago where this is out of our control. We cannot control right now what’s happening. We can certainly help flatten the curve. Yeah, when things are out of your control, and I remember dealing with that. In a way my health issues some years back, when it was also something that I had no control over. That feeling of like, whoa, it’s overwhelming sometimes. It actually helped me to deal a little bit better I think with what’s going on today because for me, those things you can’t control, then you do look inward and you look toward a space, or a, maybe it’s whatever your god or whoever your god is, and to forgive yourself because –

Liz: Forgiveness and grace!

Anne: It’s not under your control. When you learn, I think, to accept that and to deal with that, I think that that will help you through these times that are so very tough for all of us.

Liz: And just don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t have too much pride –

Anne: Oh yeah.

Liz: – to ask for help. And I’m guilty of that. I’m sure you’re guilty of that.

Anne: Yes.

Liz: I know we all, you know – there are things that we all really need. Pick it, you know, whether it is you or me or somebody else, somebody out there needs to eat.

Anne: Yeah.

Liz: Somebody out there needs a shoulder to cry on. Somebody out there needs a laugh.

Anne: From six feet away.