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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.

Liz: From six feet away. [laughs]

Anne: Well you know, my neighbors visited the other day in their car literally. And they shouted out –

Liz: That’s awesome!

Anne: They shouted out their window, and I was in my house. I opened my window, and that was it. We literally for an hour, it was their family went for a drive because they needed to get out of the house, and I think the car is a great thing if you’ve got one to go, you know, out in the car –

Liz: Yeah.

Anne: – on your bicycle in a remote area, you know, it’s great.

Liz: Are you watching where these police officers, or teachers, or birthday parties, they’re having these drive-by events?

Anne: Yeah, drive-bys.

Liz: I love that. I’m not having drive-bys. I’ll say I have new birds. [laughs] I have, you know, I have a raccoon that took down my rosebushes. He and I are not friendly.

Anne: [laughs]

Liz: I’ve got a squirrel that comes and lays out on my front porch.

Anne: I saw that. I saw the picture of the squirrel.

Liz: Yes. Oh did you know? I’m sorry, Anne, that was really bad.

Anne: I saw that squirrel, but really, it is, it’s interesting how the animals are responding, you know, if there’s no humans. I saw something on the news the other day where there was an alligator that was in one of the malls, I think, in South Carolina, like literally in the parking lot of one of the malls, because there’s no people. So in a way maybe it’s, they’re reclaiming some of their territory back.

Liz: Something, you know. It’s just, how about those mating pandas? They hadn’t mated for 10 years. Finally everybody left, and they’re like finally we can –

Anne: Privacy!

Liz: – do it in peace!

Anne: Some privacy.

Liz: [laughs] Of course somebody took a picture, poor things. Anyway, but yeah, there are some certainly some silver linings that are, you know, blessings. And I think we have to if we get down in the rut about it, we have to look at that.

Anne: Look at that, oh yes, absolutely. I was going to say every day I’m thankful. I’m thankful for my health. I’m thankful for my home. I’m thankful for my husband. I’m thankful for my animals and my family, and I just, that, I think is a grounding exercise. I want to say that I was thankful and consciously thankful like every other minute, you know, about these things.

Liz: Right.

Anne: For sure, I’m just overwhelmed with gratefulness, and I think that really helps me to get through the hard times. It doesn’t mean that I can’t be sad, and it doesn’t mean I can’t be frustrated or –

Liz: Oh no, no, no. But it helps to lighten the load of a heavy heart, man. That’s the other side. Being grateful is the other side of ugly.

Anne: Yeah.

Liz: It just is. And you know, none of this is pretty, except for the silver linings we’re talking about.

Anne: Right.

Liz: And like we talked, we can’t control it, so getting frustrated about it – like I asked a question today on my page. I’m like, when do y’all think it’s going to be over?

Anne: Oh I saw that.

Liz: I had almost 200 responses. There’s a little bit of snarky, but it stopped really quick.

Anne: Yeah.

Liz: It was just people genuinely answering. And I mean, we’ve got answers everywhere from two weeks to now to never. And I mean, just watching people respond and all, it’s becoming even more and more real. And so since we can’t change it, we find silver linings. Only thing I want to caution you, I just do is even though we’re starting to get some good news out of New York – thank god, thank God, thank God –

Anne: Yes, don’t be complacent.

Liz: – don’t think that’s your answer. They’re saying –

Anne: Yeah.

Liz: – one peak is supposed to hit in a couple of days, and another one in a few more days after that, and you know, we’re just – still be vigilant, man. Do not let up.

Anne: And it has hit home for me. There has been a member of the family who passed away yesterday, due to complications from that –

Liz: Oh Anne, I’m so sorry.

Anne: A lot of my husband’s family is in New Jersey, so they’re close by, and they’re getting hard hit. And I actually, Bergen County is getting quite hard-hit. But again –

Liz: I’m so sorry.

Anne: Thank you. I appreciate that. And I just, it is very sad, you know. I guess the really, the frustrating part is that we can’t get together as a family, like normally we would be doing that. That in and of itself is a nice thing that can happen from that. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the family gets together like physically. Like we see family that we haven’t seen –

Liz: You don’t even get that now.

Anne: But we don’t even get that now. And so we’re going to try for some sort of a virtual memorial.

Liz: You know, a silver lining perhaps, remember how we got into a rut where we were always looking down on our phones –

Anne: Yes.

Liz: And ignoring our outside world? Now that’s all we can do. Perhaps it will shift people’s behavior. I don’t know if we’ll go back to handshaking and hugging anytime soon, but it will shift people’s behavior to pay attention to the people around you physically and mentally. This isn’t going to fill up your need to be on your electronic device, I don’t know what will. When it’s all said and done, I hope we have a healthy disdain for that and long for the human interaction, so we can rebuild our joy, you know, that comes from being around one another and being –

Anne: I was just going to say, I think that that is, it’s still going – I don’t think we’re going to be completely digital ever because I think this is just going to cement the fact that being together and being physically present with one another is something –

Liz: Yes.

Anne: People need people. We need people.

Liz: People.

Anne: It’s so true. So you know, guys, BOSSes out there, I want you to know you’re a BOSS no matter what you’re doing right now. You’re a BOSS if you’re just sitting at home and relaxing and trying to just maybe meditate or deal with family members maybe that are home now that you’re not used to. You don’t have to be productive. You don’t necessarily have to work on your voiceover career. Whatever you’re doing, it’s okay, and you’re still a BOSS.

Liz: And just be. It’s okay to just be. Really, it is.

Anne: To just be. Yeah. Yes. With that I’d like to give a big shout-out to again the sponsor that allows us to connect and be close to one another. I do love ipDTL because it’s like we’re in the same room, Liz. I’ve said this so many times before, but I think the fact that we have such good quality audio together really, it makes a huge difference. You know, I can hear you —

Liz: Except for when I move.

Anne: Except for when you move.

Liz: I apologize.

Anne: Except for when you move. But it really makes a difference, and I know that Kevin has been working around the clock to continue the service to all of his customers.

Liz: Thank you, Kevin.

Anne: Thank you, Kevin so much. You guys want to know more, and I’ll tell you what, I had a discussion with some members of the community the other day about well, what should we get? There’s all the different competing options for connections, and I said get them all if you can. Because it’s nice to have the practice with them all, and it’s nice to be able to connect to whatever technology the person on the other side has. So ipDTL is for sure one of my faves, and I thank Kevin for being there for all these years and for working so hard, and find out more at Thanks, guys.

Liz: Thank you.

Anne: Have a beautiful, blessed week. We love you, and we’ll see you next week.

Liz: Take care.

>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host, Anne Ganguzza, and take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.


Anne: As always, I love the Internet, I would marry it if I could. I’ve said that, I’ve said that –

Liz: Ooo I get Jerry!

Anne: I’ve said that – no, I take Jerry with the Internet.

[both laugh]

Liz: I think just bumped into the blanket before –

Anne: Yeah. I think so too because it was like, it was like crazy.

Liz: I think I was –

Anne: Please be careful, be careful. When you move around like that, it’s like an explosion in my head.

Liz: Sorry. I don’t know, I’m trying to get it off of there. Okay, is this okay?

Anne: It’s good, just don’t scream.

[both laugh]

Anne: Just try not to scream really loud.

Liz: I’m not promising you, you [beep]