You know the lyrics: I like big…
I’m not even gonna go further,
because I know you know the rest.
Throwback to 1992, Sir Mix A Lot couldn’t get enough of the type of girl he was rapping about.
But if you know this song, you also know how it begins. “Oh my God Becky, look at her.”
Becky and her friend were jealous…and probably a bit racist as well.
They couldn’t stop talking trash about this girl — not ‘cause she did anything wrong, but because deep down they wanted exactly what she had.
I’m Kim Wensel and this is Resentfully Yours, a limited series podcast where we examine, adjust, and reframe the expectations of a creative career.
The topics on this show explore how to avoid resentment when you’re feeling misunderstood, overworked, and undervalued. Because as a working creative the question isn’t IF you’ll feel this way, it’s WHEN.
This series focuses on how to get back to work that’s life giving, not life sucking; making your own definition of “making it;” and ditching the excuses that are keeping us from reaching our true potential.
MOCKERY IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY
One of the earliest lessons I remember learning was that when someone makes fun of you it’s because they’re jealous of you. That didn’t make sense to 7-year-old Kim, but as an adult I understand.
When you’re confident in yourself you don’t need to pick apart anyone else.
When you’re happy with your life, you want to see others happy in theirs.
And, of course, vice versa.
Misery loves company.
It’s easy to feel wrong when you’re misunderstood or ahead of your time. When you’re bold enough to do something they aren’t willing to try.
I’ve been in many of those rooms in my life. And unfortunately, I believed them when they told me I was wrong.
I’ve heard the backhanded comments, “Degrees don’t mean anything” and received the “how dare she” death glares. I’ve been called threatening and intimidating.
For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.
Two days before Covid shut down the U.S. I was set to speak at The Women’s Center annual leadership conference. My presentation title: Embracing Feedback to Fuel Your Personal Brand.
During the presentation I asked attendees to share in the chat what feedback they had received as being too much or too little of something.
Too soft spoken.
The list went on.
It reminded me of the words I had read in a group call I was part of a few months prior. Tara Mohr, the facilitator, asked: “What does your inner critic say?”
The things people shared brought me to tears.
No wonder nobody likes you.
People will just laugh at you.
You don’t matter; you’re mediocre.
You have nothing new and insightful to share.
You’re too young.
You’re too late.
You’re not creative.
You’ll mess up.
These are the tracks on repeat in our brains. While this group, in particular, was composed of women, I fully believe no matter how you identify you have these thoughts.
We’re not born with these ideas!
These are remnants from the feedback, fear, and dismissiveness of others. And they stick with us for YEARS.
EXPECTING FEEDBACK WITHOUT GETTING DERAILED BY IT
How many opportunities have we missed out on because we believe this is who we are — things we’ve avoided because we’re terrified of how we might be perceived?
Yet, this feedback — the feedback we get 99% of the time — isn’t constructive. It isn’t given to help build us up but to tear us down. Because we truly believe there isn’t enough room at the top for all of us to thrive.
Mohr says that a lot of feedback is a lazy and vague way of trying to talk about our own requests, boundaries, and preferences by putting it on another person.
What we’re really hearing from people is what they need, not necessarily what we need.
In other words, not everything you hear needs to mean something about you.
This is hard when our work is so personal. It’s difficult to disentangle feedback about what we do from who we are.
But you should know: any substantive work will bring criticism.
My question is: are you listening to the compliments as much as you’re listening to the criticisms?
How many times recently have you brushed off a compliment? Have you downplayed an achievement? Have you deflected praise because you weren’t the only one who made it happen?
Sometimes people can see things for us before we can. And if we’re dismissing what they believe they see in us, we’re sending the signal to dismiss us.
Let’s talk about influence. If I told you I wanted influence, what would you think of me?
Maybe that I’m a bit narcissistic. Maybe that I need approval from others for my own self-worth. Maybe that I want to be a celebrity.
But what if I changed that word to influential?
Do you want to be influential? To be part of something bigger than yourself? To lead change and positively affect others?
You can’t do that without influence.
So we’ve got to break down this thought that wanting influence is superficial. It matters.
I once had a coach ask me: Who’s a CEO that you admire?
No one came to mind at first. We’ve got to have an answer to this question. And if it’s not a CEO, it can be a leader — someone who you admire for who they are and what they stand for.
We need more leaders to look to. The ones who think, act, and live differently and are happy and fulfilled.
We need to see leaders who are creative and creatives who are leading in the business world.
We need people to speak more honestly. We need to see push back against the endless monetization of our personhood. We need someone who’s willing to say, “Yep, I hit my goal, so now I’m going to sit here and enjoy what I’ve built rather than chase more.”
We need DEPTH.
We need people who are willing to be unliked and put their weird ideas out there. Because today’s “weird” is tomorrow’s trend.
Think about the first person to start talking about cryptocurrency. How many people did this make sense to off the bat? Given I still don’t really understand it, probably not many.
You can be this person.
I can be this person.
Last year I started talking to people in my inner circle about the importance of having a personal brand separate from your business or main job. The way I was thinking about this was not to have another way to sell yourself, but a way to showcase who you are in your entirety — a place that transcended what you were doing for work today.
I was so excited about this. And, yet, when I told people about it they didn’t seem to share in my excitement.
“Am I missing something?” I asked myself.
Now a year later and personal brand sites are all the rage, headlines declaring them as an alternative even to resumes.
How many times have you been angry because someone “stole your idea” when really they were just the first to risk rejection and get their idea out there?
We fear that someone might hate it while also fearing that we won’t reach our potential. So if fear exists on either side of that coin, why not choose the side that has the greater reward?
STANDING OUT REQUIRES YOU TO BE DIFFERENT
I’m a personal development fanatic. Give me an inspirational speech and I will be full on praise-Jesus-hallelujah. So, of course, getting on my Peloton can be a spiritual endeavor.
My go-to instructor is Robin Arzon.
I think there’s gotta be some algorithm that maps you to your instructor of choice based on your personality. I like Robin because she’s everything I admire in a woman and a leader.
She’s bold. She’s got personality. She does the red lip. She’s a career changer. And she takes no crap. Basically the woman I want to be but am sometimes scared of.
On one ride she said, “Don’t dim your shine. The brighter you glow, the more you’ll piss people off. It’s not your job to make them feel better.”
It’s not your job to make them feel better. That caught me.
At times when I’ve played big, I’ve felt guilty for it. I’ve felt the need to prove that I’m the same person I always was. And why? To make others feel comfortable. I’ve avoided relishing in my successes because I don’t want others to feel less than.
Tell me I’m not alone here.
Sometimes we think that receiving more will make us less of the person we are deep down inside.
Is that what we believe or what people have told us?
Money changes people.
She’s too big for her britches now.
You’ve heard these before. But if you have vision and you know why you’re using your voice for good, how would more visibility change who you really are?
We’ve got to question that and call B.S. where it’s due.
Visionaries like you and I need encouragement to pursue our unprecedented ideas. Doing something that has never been done, creating something that has never been created. Because that’s when the criticism comes rolling in.
And we need the support, the models to look to in order to push through this stage. Because how valuable is an idea if it’s stuck in your head?
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in my career is that what others think about you is none of your business. Your validation, direction, and fulfillment must come from within.
This is why my career has led me to where I am today: helping leaders, entrepreneurs, and executives develop a platform to share their voice, their stories, and their perspective. Thought leadership, if you will.
So who are you to be a thought leader?
I can think of many reasons, but I’ll start with this one: if what you heard in any of these 12 episodes resonated, that’s reason enough.
Because who am I to put out a show like this?
I’m not a certified coach.
I’m not a motivational speaker.
I’m just someone who wants to drown out the surface level, unrealistic, and even harmful expectations that are being set for creatives.
And I think that’s enough.
I’ve alluded to the feelings I’ve experienced as I recalibrated my career. A year of feeling everything and feeling nothing.
After 36 years I feel like I finally know who I am and can see the journey for what it is.
I still push myself too far, too hard. I still expect perfectionism. Hell, getting this podcast out without scrapping it was a miracle.
You and I, we’ve done the work. You don’t need another certificate. You don’t need to tweak your copy. You need to believe in yourself as much as you believe in others.
It’s time to be the main attraction.
HOW TO STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF
If we’ve decided — and just to be clear, we have — that your way is the only way. That living in alignment is the most direct route to happiness, strong and healthy relationships, and maybe even world peace, we must spend more time in fulfillment and less time in resentment.
So let’s begin. With that, I present to you my top five.
- Keep your eyes on your own damn paper.
Creating your career and life plan is not the same as creating a marketing plan. You don’t need to do competitor research. For when you do, you’ll inevitably convince yourself there are either too many or not enough people doing what you want to do. Your path is yours alone. Don’t invite doubt to that party.
- Any time you have to convince yourself, the answer is no.
Remember when we talked about red flags? They start as gut feelings. Once you know what you want and don’t want, create a “will not do list.” Use it to aid in decision making when you could be convinced otherwise.
- Know when you work best.
I get my best writing done by 11am. Any time I try to force it in the afternoon I fail. Acknowledge when you produce your best work and close up when you lose steam. Prioritize time off to just be and you’ll end up doing the best work of your life.
- When you’re spinning, reach for what centers you.
When you find yourself stuck at your desk trying to push something through, the hardest decision is to walk away. This is what you need to do. You can’t force innovation. Creativity doesn’t exist in the margins.
- Get what you came for.
You will always be your best advocate. It’s not imposing to get your needs met. Ask questions if you don’t understand and ask without apologizing.
We’re 12 episodes in. By now we know what it feels like to be resentful. But what about the definition?
Resentment describes a negative emotional reaction to being mistreated. There is no one cause of resentment, but most cases involve an underlying sense of being mistreated or wronged by another person.
We don’t have to get to this point.
It’s our job to let people know what we’re available for, to know ourselves, to set boundaries, and to communicate without asking for someone’s opinion.
If you’re doing work you don’t enjoy, stop. You don’t have to do it. The more that you do, the more you’re signaling to others that’s what you want. And well…you know what comes next.
This season of Resentfully Yours could have gone on. In fact, it did. With each episode I found more and more I wanted to pack in.
I’m still learning things daily that I want to incorporate in these episodes. But that’s the beauty of working in your zone of genius, isn’t it? This is just the starter package. There are endless possibilities for where to go next.
In the end it’s about relentlessly and unapologetically pursuing what’s right for you, sharpening your vision, and moving the ideas from your head out into the world.
This podcast would not be possible without the contributions, inspiration, and support from many people, just a few of whom I’ll mention here.
First to Jeremy at Counterweight Creative who took my idea for a produced, NPR-style show and made it happen. Thank you for your patience and for getting me.
To Erica Courdae and India Jackson, who were there at the beginning of the pandemic and helped me through some of the complex emotions and stages of breaking away from people and situations that no longer served me.
Tp Sarah Ashman of Public Persona who guided me through my own awakening and allowed me to see past what I’d always done to be able to accept what I was destined to do.
To Shauna Haider of We Are Branch for being the ever professional translator of my visual and brand dreams.
To Lane Clark for always encouraging me to do less and recognize my progress.
To the friends and clients who have trusted me and encouraged me when self doubt creeps in.
And to the authors and visionaries whose work and words I’ve quoted in these episodes:
Robin Arzon and Ally Love for helping me sweat it out and cry it out on the bike
Abbi and Callen Hearne
And, of course, to you. To you for listening. For sending me comments about parts of this season that have resonated. For sharing this show with someone who needs it.
It is truly an honor to join you for a small part of your day.
It’s time to be too big.
Ask for more.
Refuse to engage.
And embrace your sensitivity.
Wherever you’ve been holding back, open yourself up to that. Because I can tell you, you’ll never feel like yourself, you’ll never create your best work when you’re only being what others want you to be.
These episodes are here for you whenever you need that reminder, that pep talk. I need these words as much as you do.
You have so much potential waiting to be claimed. It’s time.