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April 30, 2022

How to Recognize and Break Through Fear as a Content Creator

How to Recognize and Break Through Fear as a Content Creator

An Important Announcement About Our Live Show

It is important to take a look at your analytics and see where you're at and what's going to best serve your audience.

Indications show that more of our audience would be able to watch our show if we streamed it in the evening. So next week we are going back to our 7:00 pm MDT Wednesday night time slot on YouTube. We'll still have the same type of content, but we're going to trend more toward conversations instead of so much presentation material.

Presentations are wonderful because they keep us on track, but they can cause us to present to the camera rather than having a conversation and bringing out personal stories. 

We're going to focus more on conversations and move our show to a more amenable time for our audience. We hope you’ll join us live to add to the conversation on the Messages and Methods YouTube channel.

Today's presentation is about a part of the livecast lifestyle that we don’t often talk about, how to recognize and break through fear.

What Are The Signs of Hidden Fear? 

There are always signs that show us there's fear that we need to address. Some of the signs that we have unrecognized fear holding us back include: 

  • Procrastination
  • Lack of clarity - feeling confused
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Asking others to do it for you
  • Circular or negative thoughts

Do you notice any of these signs in your life?

Procrastination

You go to do your work and suddenly you think, I need to clean my office, or I need to organize my Google Drive. Or maybe it's time for me to look at my analytics on my YouTube channel. Or maybe it's time to do anything else. 

We end up procrastinating on the work we promised ourselves we would get done. If that's happening to you, there is likely underlying fear keeping you from moving forward.

Lack of Clarity - Feeling Confused

If you suffer from a lack of clarity, or you're feeling confused about everything, that’s a sign of hidden fear. I'm not sure which way I want to go with this, or I don't know what to choose. I can't land on an answer

Confusion triggers us to look for more information and we often end up spending hours scrolling ourselves into rabbit holes that waste time and add to our frustration and anxiety.

Difficulty Making Decisions

If you're having difficulty making decisions, whether about your business, your content, or even your daily schedule, that is a sign of fear of failure. I think I want to stream at seven o'clock, but I might want to do five o'clock. I can’t decide which email service provider to use. Should I spend the money or save it for something else? 

Not making decisions will slow or even stop all your progress so you don’t move forward. You stay safe in your comfort zone as your sneaky internal programming intended all along.

Toby is good at making quick decisions. Last week we were running errands and stopped at the UPS storefront. Next to that was a bed store. Toby finished dropping off his package and said, I want a new bed that raises my head up for reading. 

We entered the store together and the manager approached us. Toby asked him a series of questions, made the decisions about what size, which firmness, and when it could be delivered. It took him less than 20 minutes to buy a bed that he's going to be sleeping on for years to come. 

There was another couple in the bed store laying on the beds and moving around to different positions and then talking it over. They were there when we got into the store, and they were still there when we left. The manager selling Toby a bed was thrilled that we were so decisive.

Asking Others to Do It For You

There are times Toby doesn’t want to write something and he relies on me to get it started. It’s not usually related to fear, it’s more a division of labor for us. But there have been times in the past when I’ve asked Toby to write an email or make a phone call for us because I didn’t want to deal with the person. That was a fear-based request.

Another thing that we do when we're procrastinating is think I just need to read one more book or take one more course, then I'll be ready. We think if we get more information from an expert, it will move us forward. It is just another excuse because we are really wanting that expert to make the decision for us. That way it isn’t my fault if it fails because I was doing what the expert told me to do.

There are lessons to be learned from experiences whether you fail or succeed. Once you accumulate those lessons, they make you into a real decision maker because you have the experience that guides you toward quicker decisions.

Circular or Negative Thoughts

It’s easy to get into a negative pattern of thinking when we are procrastinating, feeling confused, and having difficulty making decisions. That’s when we can spiral into negative self-talk, I’m so lazy. I never get anything done. I can’t do anything right. This kind of negativity will keep you stuck, which is the brain’s way of keeping you safe.

Have you noticed any of these signs of hidden fear in your life?

Acknowledge and Conquer Fear

How can we acknowledge and conquer the fear that's hidden? How can we root that out and override it so we can move forward? 

  • Recognize the signs
  • See the protective nature of the brain
  • Self-compassion
  • Small steps
  • Teamwork and accountability

Recognize the Signs

Once you know what the signs are, you can start to notice those things when they happen. Raise your awareness so you will recognize procrastination or feeling confused and dig deeper into what fears may be slowing you down. 

See the Protective Nature of the Brain

Our human primitive brain tells us don't make changes. Changes might cause you to die!

That's our caveman mentality protecting us and keeping us safe and comfortable. Don't try anything new. Don't go outside your comfort zone. There could be tigers out there!

We're comfortable making our content the same way that we make it all the time. It's uncomfortable to change anything because our whole schedule is going to have to change. Ahhh! Disruption!

We will experience resistance to any changes. We just need to recognize that is the protective nature of the brain. That’s when we say okay, brain, good job protecting me. Now you can go relax because I’ve got this.

From my perspective and my logical brain understanding, I know that none of this is going to kill me. I'm going to change from streaming at one o'clock to seven o'clock and nobody's going to die as a result. Now breathe!

Self-Compassion & Small Steps

Be aware of the protective nature of the brain and acknowledge that fear is a normal human reaction. Then conquer that fear with self-compassion. Tell yourself out loud, Feeling fear is okay. My primitive caveman brain is telling me that new things are scary. Let's take one small step forward and see how that goes. 

Teamwork and Accountability 

Shelley: When I come to Toby and say, I'm trying, but this is not working for me. I can't figure it out. I need help. He's right there to say, okay, let's do it together. 

That’s teamwork.

The accountability is that I'm telling him I’m committed to doing this and he agrees. We keep each other accountable so we get it done by the deadline.

Common Fears of Content Creators

Our most common fears boil down to two things:

  • I'm not good enough
  • I'm afraid they won't like me 

That's our primitive brain telling us that we might get kicked out of the tribe because we aren't contributing enough or because the rest of the tribe does't like me. 

We might fear of being imperfect on camera. We fear we’ll say the wrong thing or we don’t look our best and this video or podcast is going to be out there forever for everybody to see and they will laugh at me! (You can always delete it if it’s that bad, but it’s great to keep it around to see how much you progress and you can laugh along with everyone else.)

I don't want to be imperfect. I want to get it right starting day one. 

Nothing is perfect. Perfect is a process rather than a final result. Perfecting is getting rid of the things that aren't working and adding in new things to try to see if they will work.  

Fear of negative judgments comes up when we see hateful comments on other people’s work and think I'm afraid that people are going to say mean things to me or they'll say that I don't know enough or I'm not good enough. 

That may happen. But when you reframe the comments as feedback or somebody else is having a bad day rather than taking it personally, then you don’t need to be afraid. Most negative comments can be turned into a productive conversation. That person took the time to engage so they must be reaching out in hopes of relieving some pain. Challenge yourself to reach back with kindness and see if you can connect instead of becoming angry or afraid.

Fear of Failure

We all have a fear of failure to attract engagement and money. We think, nobody's ever going to watch my videos or listen to my podcast. We're not going to make any money at this business. We're never going to have any clients. 

Failing is just feedback. It means what you’re currently doing is not working. Find ways to make it better and try again. 

Vulnerability

We're afraid of being seen and known and people taking advantage of our vulnerability. We're also afraid of being censored or banned from groups. If we're sharing about ourselves and our business and our videos in a Facebook or LinkedIn group, we might get kicked out or they might censor us or take our posts down. That happens. 

When that happens, recognize that your brain is telling you I'm not good enough, and they don't like me. But the truth is that group leader doesn’t want self-promotion posts in their group because they don’t like competition in the group they created for their own purposes. It’s a good time to evaluate the value of that group and if you want to stay in it if you cannot post about your work. Or you might need to have a conversation with the group leader to get clarification about what you can post. 

Don’t let fear of confrontation keep you from posting good quality content.

These fears will all pop up when you are creating content and distributing it on your social media platforms. But the more practice you get, the less bothersome everything will be. 

Your fears will melt away more and more every time you see a comment from somebody that tells you they feel better, stronger or happier because of your content.

What fears pop up for you as a content creator?

Google Podcast Creator Program

Over the last three weeks, we have been putting together a Google Podcast Creator Program application. This application is our first step to gain money, training, and working with experts in the podcast industry. These are people who will mentor us and help us to learn more about podcasting as a business, and how to make money networking with people who are levels above us in the podcasting industry.

The program is from Google, so it's pretty big and it's very competitive. Thousands of people enter applications and only six are chosen. The decisions that we had to make as we put this application together will affect our future. Whether they accept our application and choose us for the program or not, filling out this application has been a transformational experience.

We've made decisions about what we're doing, who we are, and where we're going. Those decisions can be difficult to make because all the other possibilities are left out. We're going with this one.

Toby: Shelley got the notice that this program was available. She got excited about it and she started filling out the application. That was good because it required a lot of writing and she's better at the writing part than I am. I'm good at editing and adding things to it, or modifying it so it's a little more “sales pitchy.” 

She got down to the bottom and they started asking questions about demographics. If you have a team, only one of them can complete the application and submit it. There were some demographics questions about how you see yourself from a race perspective. I fulfilled three of the options. It had questions about military background, including a checkbox for disabled veterans. I filled in more options. 

We attended a couple of live streams where they answered everybody's questions about the application. It seemed pretty clear to us. I started to fill out the demographics and told Shelley, You need to do all this writing.

For about two weeks I asked her how are things coming along? 

I'm having a little trouble. 

She knows exactly what we do and why we do it. I didn't pick up that she was procrastinating and she wasn't doing the work. She was uncomfortable with it.

In some ways, she was letting me know that I needed to get involved so that we could move forward with this. I didn't pick up on her hesitation until the last week. It was due on Sunday, April 24th. We put a little work into it the Wednesday before, then we decided to dedicate all of Friday to get it done. 

It was documented in the explanation that preceded the application, give yourself at least three hours to fill out this application. We figured at the end, between the two of us, we probably put 20 hours into this application to shoot it towards perfection, because we really want to give this our best shot. There's a lot that you get in return.

Not only is there a six-month training program, but the first week they fly you out to Google headquarters to do a week-long intensive class on the topic of how to improve your podcast, how to monetize, and how to gain benefit from the course and mentors. They give you a check for $15K, which is very helpful.

The first question they asked was, are you willing to suspend your podcast for six months? Meaning, are you not going to live stream podcasts for the second half of this year? 

We really had to think about that because we like doing our show. The income we get comes from doing this podcast and generating clients. So it was a really hard question. They give you a big box to answer the yes or no question. Will you agree to suspend your podcast for six months? We answered YES because we'll do that. That's how much we want to participate in this program.

I looked at some of the previous winners and there are a lot of young people. There are no old people among the attendees in the past. We qualify as old people. That brought up some fears for us, but we're going to see how it turns out.

It was a good experience for us and it gave us the opportunity to have serious and sometimes difficult conversations about the track we are currently following.

Questions About Us

We suggest that you answer these questions for yourself as well, because when you do this, it really helps you conceptualize where you're at and where you want to go. 

Describe how you support community engagement

They state in the application process that they're very much about diversity, inclusion and community. So we described some of the things that we’ve done including the Women In Podcasting book, where we elevated and amplified the voices of women podcasters as a community.

What could you point to in your own work that supports inclusion in your community?

What is the biggest challenge you're currently facing?

Shelley: I wanted to answer filling out this application! 

Toby: Honestly, the biggest challenge we're currently facing is producing a livable income. Imagine if you were raising a family and this podcast was the only way for you to make a living, how much would you have to make to support that family?

Fortunately, we’re not in that position. We don't have to raise our families. They're pretty much on their own. But we would like to get something in return for the time that we put into this work every week. Although we've managed to produce income, it is not what I would call livable income. It's not consistent. 

They asked us how much we would like to make and we told them the number that we're shooting for. 

A lot of people will say I'm challenged because I don't have the equipment or I’m challenged because I need a production team. We don't have any of those challenges. We have the equipment, time, energy, and the impetus to get this accomplished.

Our impression was they wanted to know income growth was a challenge because they described the people that they were looking for as mid-career podcasters. That is people who already know how to make a podcast and have been doing the work consistently for at least two years. Our problem is moving up to the next level of making a livable income. 

What is your biggest challenge? 

What We Hope to Get From the Training 

We want to learn to make a livable income from our work by growing our audience, collaborating and securing sponsors.

Have You Worked On Any Other Podcast Projects? 

Shelley: I've done podcasting consistently since 2019 on my Shelley Carney, Livestream Coach podcast. First, it started off as life coaching topics, then it changed to livestreaming topics. I dropped that podcast as we picked up with Messages and Methods in June 2021. I also mentioned that I’m producing a livestream podcast with Jen McFarland called Women Conquer Business.

Toby: My first podcast was in 2006 and it was called 60-Second Marketing. But we didn’t put that on the application because it didn’t last that long and we wouldn't be able to find it at this point.

Are There Any Other Non-Podcast Projects That You've Worked On That You're Proud Of?

We had a giant list so we had to narrow it down to the projects that show we're the kind of people they're looking for. We want to show our diversity, inclusiveness, and community-mindedness. We did a documentary together called ¡Adelante! which was based on the labor movement and we got to interview Deb Haaland, who is now the Secretary of the Interior. At the time she was head of the democratic committee in New Mexico. That was a big name drop for us that we were able to share.

We did a couple of documentaries for the International Documentary Competition including one about a couple of gentlemen who were one of the first gay couples to get a marriage license in New Mexico.

We did two documentaries on the California Coast, Stories of the Spill and Heroes of the Coast

We have a Udemy course called Livestream Like a Boss

We have published three books, one fiction and two nonfiction. 

We've done a lot of other things that are very different from podcasting and we are award-winning screenplay writers. 

Since their focus was community engagement, we picked the projects that indicated we were engaged with not just our community, but with a lot of different communities.

If you're interested in seeing any of that work, go to the Videotero Live YouTube channel, and there's a playlist that shows our commercials and short film work. 

What projects have you done to support your community?

Tell Us About Your Audience

They asked questions about our audience and this is also good to think about if you are an entrepreneur or content creator. You need to know about your audience.

  • Who is your ideal or intended audience? 
  • Who's in your current audience? 
  • What platforms does your show exist on? 
  • How many people does your podcast reach and where? 

They were mostly interested in knowing you had answers to the questions. They weren't exactly looking for huge numbers of downloads on your podcast, but that you tried to get it out on a variety of platforms and you were working to grow an audience.

They want to know that you understand the benefits of distributing your podcast far and wide, even though you may end up with only 60 downloads.

Our analytics show us that our podcast audience is very different from our YouTube audience. 

Tell Us About Your Show

If you're putting out content you should be asking yourself these questions as well.

  • What are three influences to your show? 
  • Describe your show format. 
  • What is your 30-second podcast pitch? 
  • What is your extended podcast pitch? 
  • What is your ultimate vision for your podcast? 

The three influences that we picked include two other marketing podcasts. Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner has been going for close to 10 years. He's perfected that podcast over time. I listen to his podcast and try to emulate some of the things that I really like about it. Another one is Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield. 

Toby chose Michael Cohen's Mea Culpa podcast because he enjoys the conversations. Michael Cohen didn't know anything about podcasting. He's a New York Realty attorney. He spent time in prison. He had written his book. He had a lot of thoughts on his mind and he made an interview-style podcast where he invites like-minded people to come on and have a conversation about the topics that he focuses on including the diminishing of our democracy. 

The reason I wanted to use it as an example is that he went from, I don't know what a podcast is to a million subscribers in about three months. It's well organized. He's doing it through CBS podcasting so he has a producer and an engineer.

What podcasts do you listen to that influence your content creation?

Our show format is either we're doing a presentation or we're doing an interview about digital marketing.

The 30-second pitch is your elevator pitch. If you have a business, you should be able to tell people in 30 seconds what it's about and who it's for. We do that all the time. 

The extended version expands on why we do it and what it means for us and our listeners.

What is in your 30-second and extended pitch?

Ultimate Vision

The ultimate vision of our podcast was really hard to come up with for me. But they phrased it with what if you had unlimited resources? 

The traditional resources are money, time, manpower, supply chain and knowledge. 

We came up with this amazing vision. If you gave us all the time and money in the world, we would have a network of journalistic level podcasters who are working to combat misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda.

Audio Sample

We submitted a two-minute audio sample that included some of our intro, a few snippets of mission- and character-revealing conversation and some of the outro. If all they do is listen to this sample, they will get to know us and our podcast very quickly.

Video Presentation

We made up some quick slides and we recorded a presentation that shared our ultimate vision for our podcast. We kept it at three minutes and felt the visual aids would help us get our message across quickly and completely.

We believe that when you have a vision and you share that vision with the world, then it starts to manifest. People might hear about our vision and say, I like that vision. I want to get behind that vision. They might reach out and bring resources with them. 

When somebody asks the question, what would you do with unlimited resources? You have a couple of choices at that point. You can limit yourself by what you're doing right now and say I would like to be a better podcaster.

Or you can aim for the stars and say, If Google is going to give me all the money and other resources I need, I'm going to build a network of podcasts like mine with journalistic integrity and the desire to ensure that we counter all the misinformation, disinformation, propaganda that's out there because all of it is used to divide us.

Aim for the stars. 

What would you do with unlimited resources?

Why Is It Important to Answer These Questions? 

When you answer these questions for yourself, you prepare for your future. You envision your goals and imagine the best possible outcome. Then you can get started making those dreams come true.

Celebrate your accomplishments 

When we were asked the question, what else have you done that you're proud of? We were very excited to look back at all of the work we'd done together and reminisce and say, isn't that wonderful? 

We got to celebrate our accomplishments together and feel very proud. A feeling of pride can help decrease fear.

Explore and Commit to Your Intentions 

Come up with your vision of what you would do with unlimited resources. Once you've explored those possibilities, you can commit to your vision of the future. Define your podcast or business and why you do it. That definition and vision will keep you motivated when nothing else will.

You need to know the “why” behind your future vision and write it all down. I know it's fun to have it up in your head because then you can add and take away and play with it back and forth, but when you write it down, that's a process of commitment. 

Eliminate the things that are not aligned with your vision and values. 

Write what you will focus on and then start gathering your support team. 

We used the presentation that we created to share with a colleague we’ve been talking with for almost a year now. He came to Toby’s house for lunch and we talked about our proposal based on our vision. 

It's a starting point. It's a step in the right direction. When we decide to go forward with it, then we're on our way toward our ultimate vision.

Toby: Back in 1979, I had the opportunity to transition away from 10 years worth of work for the government, to my own business. The National Security Agency with whom I was employed at the time sent me to the Small Business Administration. They had a six-month course on how to be a federal contractor. That was important to the Agency because they wanted to continue working with me. 

Within the first week, the SBA asked for a presentation of a business plan. I hadn't even thought about a business plan. I dug up a book called the One-Page Business Plan. It is a workbook and it guided me through answering these kinds of questions. 

Eventually I had to conduct a presentation in front of my class that was based upon that One-Page Business Plan.

Because my last name is Younis, I was the last one in the class to present. We had two instructors and one of them said, If we gave out trophies for winners, that was the winner! That's how you write a business plan. 

It was such a good lesson about sitting down and working your way to understanding who you are and where you want to go.

That's what these questions did for us. But now, it's not just me making all these decisions. Everything we do involves a conversation that pushes us to make decisions together and document the results.

I think that's why it took us so much time to fill out this application. But I'm confident that the time was well spent. We weren't spinning our wheels on this stuff. We were coming up with answers that we both strongly believe. That's what made it such a good and rewarding effort for us.

Acknowledge Your Fear and Do It Anyway 

If you see the signals that indicate something's not right, you’re not moving forward, and you’re feeling stuck or confused, then address that. Understand that is fear coming from your primitive brain. It’s holding you back, and keeping you safe. 

Take small steps. Plan your vision. Plan your goals. Plan the steps to get to those goals and move toward your vision. Then share your plans with others. That's what we're doing today. We're sharing our vision with the world because we want it to happen. The best way to get it to start to happen is to share it. 

Then get to work on your vision. 

Now. 

Don't wait for those unlimited resources to pop up. Resources don't pop up until you start doing the work. 

Collaborate with people and gather resources. Let everybody in your network know, I'm working on this thing. Is there anybody who's interested in helping on this project or providing resources for it? 

You'll be surprised at how many people get on board because you have a compelling vision. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves so they jump in and offer their time and resources.

The resources are out there. The tools are out there. If you have a smartphone and an internet connection, you could have a podcast. 

The one-page business plan is a one-year vision. Where am I going to be next year? What do I want to be doing at the end of next year that's different from what I'm doing right now? Keep your business plan goals reasonable and credible. Because it's credible, you'll be willing to invest your time and effort into the steps to create your vision.

What did you do today that got you closer to that one-year vision? 

There are things that we've done that we are willing to share with you. If you want to learn how to livestream and podcast, you can get our books on Amazon, Livecast Life and Women in Podcasting.

We also offer courses and boot camps if you want to learn to do exactly what we do. We have a one-week boot camp to learn livecasting and another on how to publish your first book, with all the lessons that we've learned doing it ourselves. If you're not sure if that’s right for you, then we offer a one-hour free private video conference so we can talk through it so all your questions are answered.

Reach out to us and say, I'd like to talk to you about having my own podcast livestream, or I've got an idea for a book. How do I write it and get it published? If you want to go to the next step, and book a boot camp, we can help you with that as well.

Write to us at support@agkmedia.studio or schedule a free call at http://calendar.agkmedia.studio

This is our vision: A podcast supported by audience members and sponsors and together we form an aligned connection, support, and community. That's where we're headed. That's the vision that's in my mind and now it's in all of your minds too. If you want to be a part of that, let us know where you fit in.

We have a book on Amazon called Livecast Life, and part of that lifestyle is conquering fear through supportive teamwork. Find the book at http://book.livecast.life

Please sign up for our email list if you're not there already. That's at http://news.agkmedia.studio. We offer weekly personalized updates, helpful information and links, behind-the-scenes photos, free offers for training and books, and digital marketing news and insights. It goes out every Tuesday. This week, we shared a beautiful photo of Toby's granddaughter, Maddie, who just turned four months old.

On Saturday, we'll be back at seven o'clock in the evening with News and Views on the Messages and Methods YouTube channel.