Pause On The Play Ep 1

Hello beautiful people! You know I love a good conversation, so today we’re starting an amazing series for you. This first episode is a collaboration with India Jackson, the mastermind behind India Jackson Artistry, my business partner, and a woman with something to say. And I’m here for it.

Introducing Pause on the Play EP 1 - Conversation on Diversity

The episode is below in multiple formats for your convenience😉

Below are the audio, YouTube, and transcripts of the interview. Pick the one that works for you and enjoy!

erica courdae pause on the play blog post

EC:                          All righty. We are back again with Pause On The Play. It is myself, Erica Courdae, and India Jackson is joining me again today.

IJ:                            Hey.

EC:                          So, we have this happen regularly where we're in a conversation and then we will literally say, "Okay, stop. We need to be recording this," because we have these really good conversations that need to be shared with you guys. We want to have these be interactive, so we want you to be able to jump in.

EC:                          Today we were talking about how there is, sometimes, this lack of being willing to be authentic around where you are in conjunction with what you do. So, for me as a coach, I think that, in full transparency, I'm not perfect. I have my own things that I am working on. I have a coach. I think that we all have our things that we're working on. I stand by that statement of, "You can't take anyone else any deeper than what you've gone." So I find that it's very important to be open and honest to say, "I have a level of empathy and understanding about where you are and how you're feeling because I've had it. While I can't say that I've walked in your shoes, I've walked in a very similar pair." So that gives a way to connect, and a lot of people struggle with that. So I want India to tell me a little bit of where she thinks people come from in being unable to admit what makes them imperfect.

IJ:                            I think it's interesting because I notice that ... Well, first of all, for those of you that are chiming in for the first time, my business, India Jackson Artistry, we do branding photography, as well as social media photography, for businesses, personal brands, etcetera. A big part of that is evaluating how they want to be seen, whether it's how the business brand wants to be seen or how the individual brand wants to be seen, and then kind of storyboarding what we're going to create to match that and to attract who they want to attract.

IJ:                            But I think even in my industry, it's interesting because you would think that photography, again, is all about capturing the true essence of something or someone, so there's that authenticity piece there. However, I find that, even in my industry, there's this fear. I don't know if it comes from external people, meaning people who are not photographers, or if it comes from the photography community in itself, and so once you're in that community, you have blind spots, so to speak, so your perception of what others think is skewed. But I think that there can be this pressure to only post images or only use things that are your best, to be heavily edited, perfectly curated. Therefore, even posting something as simple as a selfie from your cell phone, you have that fear that someone comes to your account for the first time, and that's what they judge you by, is the worst picture, that wasn't even a photography job.

IJ:                            I think that this may apply to the other business owners, as well, where they're like, "I'm afraid to post anything, because I don't have quality," so then everything that you post is so curated. But then, at what point are you still being authentic? Because we all take cell phone images. We all have moments where we're not our best. In Erica's case, it was coaching. There's still some things that you have to work on with coaching yourself. There's still some things that every industry runs into.

IJ:                            I'm curious to hear your take on that, Erica, of how do you be authentic and let go of that fear of the judgment when things aren't perfect while still having balance of being professional?

EC:                          I think the reality of it is… is that when you hit the fear of judgment that you have to first address the fact that nobody else is going to judge you or is able to judge you as harshly as you judge yourself. So the fear comes more from your judgment of yourself than it does from anyone else. No one wants to be in a place of feeling judged, but I do think that there is something to be said about your character, if you are in a position that is challenging or difficult and what you do with it. If you look at politicians or CEOs that are in places where, if something really goes wrong, it's bad. It's not like, "Oh, I ticked off a client. They're mad. They just won't come back." Years ago, for example, Exxon gas spills, like big stuff. So when you're in a position of authority, I think that it tells a lot about who you are and your character and what you do at those types of moments.

EC:                          Nobody is perfect. As much as society nowadays is playing into this, what's called cancel culture, which is this, "Oh, you did something wrong. You're canceled. I'm done with you forever," I don't think that one mistake is necessarily the end. I don't think that that's necessarily an indicator of your character across the board, 100%, forever, particularly if you did something and you've grown since, or you did it and you realized, "Hey. I'm not that person anymore. I've learned. My mindset has shifted. The amount of knowledge that I have has shifted," and to be able to do that.

EC:                          So I think the double-edged sword in it is that people are afraid to be authentic because they're afraid to be canceled. They're afraid to be judged to a fault, to where they can never come back from the things that they've gone through. Because to me, it's not the fact that, "Oh, I fucked up." What do you do after you fucked up? Do you deflect? Do you make everyone else the problem? Do you now try to water it down and make it seem like it's not that bad, and before you know it, it has gotten way out of proportion because now the truth comes out and it's a lot bigger than what you really tried to attend to? Or just the fact that, you were just going to do everything possible to not have to have your come to Jesus, come to the universe, come to whoever you pray to, or answer to, or look to, moment of, "Okay, I need to fix this. I need to work on this." Being a work in progress is not a problem. Denying the fact that you are a work in progress is.

IJ:                            Wow. I-

EC:                          Soapbox. Got on my soapbox for a minute.

IJ:                            No, but you are so right. I think that people are very afraid to show the work in progress. Even on a more surface note, I have people that are willing to have the curated image with the makeup and the hair and things like that, but then they struggle to show behind the scenes. I think it's that work in progress concept.

IJ:                            You said a few words that stood out to me. You said mistake. I agree that people are afraid of making mistakes. They're afraid of people knowing their mistakes, as well. But I think that sometimes it doesn't even have to be a mistake. It could just be just being yourself, and being ourselves isn't always perfect or curated. You know?

EC:                          But part of what happens there is that ... You could say misstep, you could say lapse in judgment, "Oops," you can put whatever term you want to. The problem is that the term mistake, and whatever it can blanket apply to, has become such a negative thing. The reality is is that it is these things that you do that aren't completely on point or aren't completely correct or aren't exactly maybe what you were looking for that allows you to learn. It allows you to have a teachable moment. Because little kids don't learn how to walk because they don't fall down. None of us learned how to read and write because we didn't not write that word perfect or didn't pronounce a word in a wrong way. But somehow as an adult a mistake has become a cardinal sin. There's some mistakes where it's like, "Yeah," that you ... Murder, child molesting. There's things where it's like, "Yeah, I don't know how you fix that." I get those types of feelings around that, but the things that people are attaching such negativity and finality to is false, and it keeps you from being able to grow or learn or evolve because you have now decided, "Oh, that's the end. We're done. Finished. Canceled. Out of here." That's not how that works.

IJ:                            What stands out to me is the word polished, that people feel the need for everything that they do to be polished but living in that fear of it not being polished, as well. I'm not sure if it's outside, inside. It may be different depending on the person and their situation. However, I've found that the strong belief in perfection is being ... It's overrated. The results that I'm finding for myself, individually, as well as the clients, is that just showing up actually matters more than the perfection, and people are slowly turning away from this perfect image, just over-polished entity.

EC:                          But it's not just overrated, it's dangerous. Because-

IJ:                            It is.

EC:                          For women, for example, you put out this ideal of what we are, I'm using air quotes, "supposed or should look like." The minute you don't, then there's always somebody that has something to say or they attempt to, in their own way, devalue you, in which case you then have to deflect and say, "You're not going to devalue me, because I'm human, because I'm being who I am in this moment." Because if your hair's not perfect, if your makeup isn't perfect, if you are not the ideal weight, your clothes, the way you speak, the things you say, it's not how that's supposed to go when it comes to you being real.

EC:                          In business, everything is so curated. When you don't see the real, you have this idea, "We won't go back to something that we can't stand," this whole blacktop on the beach thing. This, "I look perfect at all times, as I sit at my nice, neat, perfect desk." Girl, bye. That is not what that looks like all the time. So when you hit this place of everything being given in this pretty little cleaned up package with every little speck brushed off of it, then you make people feel as if they're not enough. You raise the bar to a standard that you are not holding up to.

EC:                          So when somehow life has become this thing that needs to be magazine perfect 24/7, that's not real. Things are messy, things are authentic, which means that they are going to look a way that might be challenging sometimes because life is challenging sometimes. It's going to be difficult. It's going to have its bumps, it's going to have its bruises, but you come out better when you're able to acknowledge the real. You can't go outside of that and think that, "Oh, I'm going to be good as I live in this little Stepford thing." That's not how that works. This perfectly curated Instagram feed is not real fucking life. It's not.

IJ:                            You said something that stood out to me. I'm going to repeat it, because I think it's important for the audience to take away. "Perfection," I said, "is overrated," but, "Perfection is not overrated. It's dangerous." When we live in a world where we try to convince people that everything is perfect, it can dramatically change people's perception of what's acceptable, what's normal, what's not. I look at my generation, the millennials, and say that we grew up in the beginnings of social media. We grew up with technology, and we grew up with this perfection kind of concept. I'm just wondering, as a coach, for you, your perspective on that. But I can say, for me, I feel like social media, in my clients' and my generation, has generated a lot of fear, has generated a lack of self-love, self-acceptance, a lack of redemption and forgiveness, because we have this unrealistic expectation that things need to be perfect. Nothing is perfect.

IJ:                            Then also, the other side of that is that when you're leading with this perfection perspective or, on yourself or your business, from an outsider looking in, where I'm looking to build relationships, I am looking to connect and not just network and be surface, I'm looking to go deep instead of wide, I don't trust you, because I don't know what I'm getting when I'm not getting something curated. It feels fake to me.

EC:                          Yeah. I'm actually going to have you hold that, and we're going to come right back in the next episode with that, because that's a whole nother thing that I... I can go on for a while with that one.

EC:                          So we are actually going to be right back. So the next episode is coming up, and we're going to talk about what it looks like and can feel like to have that responsibility around this perception of perfection and how much of it is helpful and hurtful. We have conversations like this in The Conversation Workshop. I have conversations like this with clients in my Ask All The Things calls. My entire platform is built on being able to have conversations so that the things that allow you to think more diversely and inclusive about your world, your business, your life, that's what I'm here for. So we'll be right back.

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