Imposter syndrome is real, and it means that you are human and have achieved success. Be thankful that you have these feelings; they mean you are accomplishing something worthwhile. But that doesn’t make it easy to deal with. For this penultimate podcast episode, Ryan returns to one of the post prevalent issues plaguing directors. Name your imposter syndrome, call it out for what it is, and then keep on doing amazing things.
Feeling like an imposter?
- Yes. Duh. Of course.
- Anyone who has achieved any modicum of success (unless they’re up their own butt) deals with imposter syndrome.
What is it?
- It’s the fear that you’ll be found out; the idea that you’re actually a fraud and don’t deserve what you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
- YOU worked hard and have realized some success.
- And because YOU’RE responsible for your own success, you feel like YOU put yourself there. Which you did. Which is why it’s easier to tell yourself you’re a fraud.
- You deserve your success, for the same reason you feel like an imposter: YOU earned it yourself.
- Remember, everyone else is working toward their own successes, so why should you feel like you shouldn’t.
Being successful puts you in the spotlight
- Now you not only deal with imposter syndrome, you deal with people who hate you for your success. So, now you speak negativity to yourself for the same reasons:
- Maybe because you took something other than the traditional path, and they watched you take a shortcut and are envious.
- Maybe you’re just plain talented and don’t have to work as hard.
- Maybe you worked harder than others were willing to work.
- Maybe your focus was on serving others, and those others are giving you all the attention.
- Maybe you operate in an environment where your peers believe in a zero-sum game, even though you don’t.
- Maybe you’re anti-establishment and just popped out of nowhere, not taking the traditional path to success.
- Maybe those with a higher degree of education (or debt) are struggling, but you chose a different route.
- Maybe… You name it.
The problem with listening to your imposter syndrome
- You stop doing what helped you achieve success in the first place.
- You, by proxy, allow your critics to control you and your level of anxiety.
- It’s a losing scenario, because if you listen to your imposter syndrome and kill your success your self-talk changes and attacks you for being a failure.
So what do you do?
- Understand that it’s part of being successful.
- Say “Of course. Just when I’m trying to enjoy life… Here you are!”
- Name it. (Mine is Phil)
- Put it in a bubble.
- Push it out.
- Affirm, out loud, that you deserve success.
- Name, out loud, all the people that have benefited along the way.
- Keep a “Smile File” of notes, emails, cards, articles, and things having to do with your journey that make you smile.
- Have someone you can talk to about your imposter syndrome who will be your cheerleader. Could be a best friend or spouse, or it could be someone you meet in Choir Nation.
Having spent most of his middle and high school career in detention, Ryan Guth loves to speak to audiences about ways for choral directors to engage the seemingly un-engageable.
Ryan learned fearlessness and indomitable spirit from a young age through many years studying the martial arts while also pursuing music – especially the time in middle school when he tried to break a board with his head in front his entire ninth grade class and failed spectacularly.
He believes the best choir directors face challenges head-on (no pun intended), are solutions-oriented, and take full responsibility for all aspects of their program. Ryan’s most popular and surprisingly positive article “Your Choir Sucks Because You Suck” was shared over 2,200 times in 48 hours, and has since become his manifesto, mantra, and the platform that his work was built upon.
Through his first podcast, Find Your Forte, Ryan connected thousands of weekly listeners with some of the most brilliant minds in choral music such as Helmuth Rilling, Patrick Quigley, Joseph Flummerfelt, James Bass, and 80-plus others. He recognizes the fact we become the best when we learn from the best.
In 2017, Ryan created the Choir Ninja podcast to share solutions with middle and high school choral directors so they learn to work smarter – not harder. That’s why he focuses on sharing what works in choral programs across Choir Nation in a way that makes running a great choral program approachable, fun, and rewarding.
When not dressing up in his ninja jammies or buffing his diploma from Westminster Choir College, Ryan is a financial advisor in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before that, he spent a decade building a large middle school program and for-profit choral ensemble and musical theater business in central New Jersey.
Ryan’s choirs have been heard alongside GRAMMY winners Kenny Rogers, Linda Davis, and The Chieftains and on the stages of Boston’s Symphony Hall, Philadelpha’s Mann Music Center, and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, to name a few. In July 2017, he made his Wolf Trap debut as Chorusmaster with the National Symphony Orchestra as they performed the music of the wildly popular Zelda video game.
Ryan was the keynote speaker at the 2017 Iowa Choral Directors Association Annual Summer Symposium, has been a presenter at the Chorus America Annual Conference, and a guest speaker at various other conferences and workshops throughout the year in both the choral and podcasting niches.
Ryan enjoys getting lost outdoors with his beautiful fiancé, Amanda, and pitbull-lab Sasha. He also dislikes socks and only wears them when absolutely necessary. This bio was sponsored by Gold Bond Powder.
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