I watched Jenn Sutkowski throughout 2019 with no small amount of awe.
A creative who is an intoxicating blend of radiance and boldness, alongside tenderness and kindness. Her heart is both fierce and soft. The ANDness you know so well.
As a self-described “business of one,” she often found herself to be her own worst critic.“I don't have a whole team that's saying, ‘Oh yeah, it's great!’ so my inner critic can be very loud. The inner critic and the Imposter Complex like to work together to stop me from living my dreams.”
Which is no bueno given the amount of talent she has to share with the world through writing business, her work as a memoirist and, most recently, an album of songs.
And THAT is why she joined the Starring Role Academy this year. Lucky, lucky us.
She said this about the first time we spoke. “Tanya has an amazing gift to just see right into you. I felt known, very fast and in a super genuine way, which is quite rare.
“By the time our first call was over I could tell that being part of the Academy was going to be a very nourishing experience.”
She hit the ground running, focusing on her inner critics and the underlying values she knew they were holding fast. “[Knowing they were trying to protect me] flipped things around for me, and I now know to focus on excellence, deep connection, and innovation in my work. I learned to see that part of myself as an ally.”
So. I loved watching her do this work. Of course. Driven, smart, radiant, folx digging deep and in is my greatest thrill.
And there was another level to my connection with her too.
See, I lost my Dad in January. She lost her Dad in March. We had both already lost our mothers. It’s an odd and beautiful and precious thing to be able to see such a familiar ache in someone AS you watch them soar.
But it was the loss of her Dad, who had been a huge champion of her music, that made her realize that life was too short not to finally finish and share her first album. She quotes Dr. Wayne Dyer who said, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”
She said: “Thanks to The Academy, I've done a lot of creative work that I don't think I would have completed otherwise. I realized I am super vulnerable around my music, and this work brought me to the decision that if I'm working on new music, I also need to release the stuff that I have been working on for years. I need to share my art as I create it.”
And getting the help to gather her team to produce this first album was BIIIIIIG Impostor Complex-busting stuff.
“I’m an artist who very much likes to be in my own cave,” she explains. “I don’t like to involve others in my work until absolutely necessary. Even when creating my music I was reluctant to involve an engineer as I worried that what I created at home wouldn’t be good enough."
But she did.
Again: lucky, lucky us.
She did the work. And the Academy was there to support her. And to CELEBRATE her.
“Women are so powerful, but we’re considered too big for our britches if we express joy in what we've created. The Academy really encouraged everyone to celebrate their own accomplishments and see that as the norm instead of the ‘good girls don't brag’ thing. There were so many amazing women in the Academy to share with.”
“The Academy is set up so well from beginning to end. The work is simple — not easy. It's just the right amount of work, and it's deep work too.”
Simple, not easy is our mantra, ‘round here.
But my favourite quote from her about the work we do in the Academy MUST be this: "It's like throwing the inner critic a valium tucked into a piece of cheese."
Good, right? I’m sharing Jenn’s story with you today, November 23, because it’s the day her beloved Mama passed away and ALSO her parents’ wedding anniversary. (The first she is observing with neither parent alive... this is not easy to navigate, I can tell you, just having done this myself two weeks ago). Will you do me a solid and send her a big blast of love by going to check out her album today? It’s ethereal, unique, charming, brilliant, and powerful. Just like Jenn. (And that beauty on the cover? Her Mom. Who looks shockingly like my own.)
Life is short. What’s the music in you that needs to be expressed?
PS - If you think the Starring Role Academy is the place for you tame your Critics, overcome the Impostor Complex so your precious work can get out into the world and you could use the coaching, community and content to get you there, I’m hosting a week of open calls to discern fit next week. Grab your spot here.
It’s endlessly fascinating to me where the Impostor Complex shows up. I mean, it usually shows on the precipice of something new...but when it shows up, it’s ALWAYS on the precipice of something important. Entrepreneurship, leadership, creativity, speaking, activism, and parenting... whatever MATTERS. This recent batch of podcast interviews spans the gamut of where and how it shows up:
Start-ups and Entrepreneurship - I really enjoyed getting to know Naomi Mdudu of The Lifestyle Edit.She is as delightful as she is no-nonsense. We talked about how the Impostor Complex shows up when you are starting up a business.
Relationships and Dating - Last week was the first time that I’ve been interviewed about how the Impostor Complex impacts dating and love. Because, like I told Sandy Weiner, my gracious host: “It keeps us from ourselves. When we’re kept from ourselves, we can’t connect deeply with others.” That’s just true.
Endurance Sports - I cherish any time with coach and author Jen Brown of Sparta Chicks. We spoke last year about the Impostor Complex and this year, we dove into Unshakeable Confidence. Fearlessly. Like we do.
I am savouring making sourdough bread. Turns out, I really am becoming more like my father every day. It all started with drinking black coffee and running out of patience for ignorance, which has been curious to witness in myself. But I do believe I have just started to pick up the trail for his lifelong pursuit of the perfect sourdough recipe. I’m not sure this was it, but it was pretty good. And fun to make.
On Monday morning, we are opening the doors to the 2019 Starring Role Academy. This may just be THE year to get the extra support in the form of content, coaching, and community to help you EXPAND into your own greatest desires.
It’s not for everyone, but it MAY be for you, so I’ve opened up my schedule NEXT WEEK to book private 1:1 calls to see if it’s right for you.
You and me, heart to heart. Schedule our chat TODAY for time next week (from Nov 26th to 30th). I’m DEEPLY interested in what’s next for you.