Today’s Episode is sponsored by Petra Kolb
Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity, the podcast that helps film pros and other creative people to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 46 – MAILBAG SHOW 1 “Fake Friends and Overwhelm”
During the last few weeks, you will have heard my special six-part series within the series based on Napoleon Hill’s awesome book, the Law of Success in 16 Lessons. I have been waiting with bated breath to see how it went down and from the positive vibes it’s been getting on social media all seems to be well. It was a very serious undertaking which nearly dragged me under but once I had started it I realised that I couldn’t back down or deliver it to you half-@ssed. I hope you’ve all found it helpful.
If you’ve not checked it out yet then please go back to episode 40 to listen to all 6 episodes in order. It’s over 3 hours of content which outlines A FORMULA FOR SUCCESS which is accessible to all. Please tell people about it and get them listening too. I plan to take the 6 episodes and make a FREE Udemy course with them for show promotion reasons so I’ll let you know when I get that together too.
Today I am answering various questions which you have been sending in, and I’ll get on to that in a minute - but first I must tell you how I managed to make myself a productivity nightmare out of this episode before I even started – and how you can avoid it if you ever have to do something similar.
The problem was that I asked people to get in touch with questions for the show but I was very broad on HOW TO DO IT. I created a rod for my own back as I have had questions in via Facebook, Twitter, the official website contact form, the official website’s speak pipe app, via WhatApp, my personal email address and the show one, Instagram messenger and verbally. Pulling these together was nightmarish.
For at least some of the questions I was able to forward them to the official email address as they came in but as I didn’t do it for all when I got really busy and had to focus on the fight work at hand. As a result - I have really struggled to find all of the messages that have come in but I have done my best.
For all future mailbag shows I will ask that messages be sent to the shows official email account which for the record is email@example.com with the word MAILBAG placed in the Subject line. Further to that, I would request that questions come in which only have up to 50 words in them.
If you ever plan to ask folks for questions, whether you run a podcast, or if it’s just a social media post or something, I urge you to do the same.
Now as I have been working on this I have decided to split this episode over two shows. Although I didn’t have a particularly vast number of questions - the ones you did hit me with were really quite complex to answer. Part 2 of this episode will be released as an inbetweenisode in January.
Without further ado though, let's go on.
“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” ― Mark Twain Unquote
Ok so this first question, I’ve been struggling to cut down in length, but I’ve done my best – It’s from RHEA who is a screenwriter and producer in LIVERPOOL, UK. She says:
I made a film with someone that I thought was my friend but too late realised that they were very controlling and just liked to be the centre of attention.
My initial frustration was that they would say they had done things only for me to later discover when we were running out of time to get things done, that they hadn’t. I’d then have to do it myself, and they’d turn around and say ‘That was my job, you are just trying to take everything away from me!’
This happened time and again with important and imminent production level matters that the project would come to a standstill without. They’d put in the minimal effort like make one phone call and when they draw a blank, they’d just give up.
One time I very luckily saw the very thing we urgently needed, an action vehicle; so-called the company there and then and got it. When I went to a production meeting with this person and the director, they seemed happy that I’d got what we were looking for, but as soon as I was home I got lots of long nasty messages because they hadn’t been the one to get what we needed, even though they had previously admitted to giving up on it.
More often, they would openly criticise me IN FRONT of others. Once, in a room full of people they made a personal comment about me that silenced the room. Fortunately, those people then defended me.
The last straw for me was listening to them talk badly about someone else as they did with many people. I stopped working with them after that and they became nasty. They’d tell lies and makeup stories to make me look bad and make them look better and they would always play the victim, although I’ve since found out that’s something they’ve always done.
Their messages became abusive and threatening. I blocked every way they had of contacting me, but I know that any chance they’d get they’d try to make me look bad and gossip about me, even though I have never talked about them.
I have discovered since, that a lot of people already knew what they were like but didn’t tell me because we were “friends” and even admitted that they had avoided working with me because of them.
I know most people are grown up enough to listen to both sides of a story and get to know people before accepting what someone says about them, but it seems to be those few small-minded, not very smart people that believe a one-sided story, that stay in your head.
If you’re friends with someone and put time, effort and in some cases money into projects with them to only too late discover that they’re not your friend –
How do you get over and move on from it?…and not let the lies and gossip affect you?
Better a good enemy than a bad friend. Plato UNQUOTE
Okay, Rhea, there’s a lot going here and I’ve done my best to streamline your questions, I hope without losing too much of the content. Let me deal with your last question first - How do you not let lies and gossip affect you?
"Zig" Ziglar was an incredibly successful American author, salesman, and motivational speaker who passed away in 2012. I quote from him often in my quotes of the day on social media as he gets right to the point of many of the problems that I have faced myself, and I trust his instincts and teachings.
He said that we should “Live in such a way that if someone should talk badly of you, no one would believe it.” (repeat)
You are not alone in having faced this sort of thing - I’ve faced it myself now and again as have many others. It used to cause me more concern than it does now, but I also understand how it can eat away at you, and burn up your mental energy and cause you upset and distress.
Zig Ziglar’s statement should give you the assurance that if this person is as you describe them, that the people who matter and whose opinion you actually care about have already very likely sussed them out. Or if they haven’t, they will soon enough. I think your point that others didn’t want to work with you because of them backs this up. Remember too the words of Eleanor Roosevelt who once said:
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
In a quote attributed to David Foster Wallace, although I did have to go into the quote investigator website to verify that as my Google search attributed it to someones Facebook page in 2012 which is ridiculous- Wallace said:
You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.
I was looking up who said,
“What other people think of you is none of your business”
when I found that one – but I never did find the answer.
I’ll sum up on this though by also stating that what someone else thinks about you really does not matter. The only thing that matters is what you think about yourself. Do not give those who don’t even know you the power to determine your happiness. Take control of that – as you unhook yourself from other people’s validation, you become truly powerful.
An article by medium.com gives this advice
You cannot read minds, so stop acting like you can. We all have a kind of negativity bias so we usually assume negative things. How many times have you found yourself thinking “Oh they all love my dress”? Never. Our brains just aren’t wired that way and as a result, you are probably making the wrong assumptions.
Your own thoughts are the only thing you can control. Marcus Aurelius said: “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts” so you need to intelligently take control of them and not let them be hijacked by others. I know it’s not always easy, but you can do this. When you are preoccupied with what other people think, you are not in control of your own thoughts.
A focused mind is one of the most powerful things on earth, We are all living in the future, living in the past or trying to live in someone else’s mind. If you are worried about what other people think, you will never really focus on what you want in life. If you spend your limited mental energy worrying about other people you won’t have anything left to focus on what really makes you happy.
Rhea’s first question was How do you get over and move on from a negative experience like what she went through with her once friend?
I’ve had very similar experiences to what you describe, and I doubt it’s limited just to creative work. I think we all face similar problems when interacting with others in life and work.
William Blake wrote It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. UNQUOTE
I heard a new word today whilst watching a YouTube video – The word was POUTRAGE. POUT-RAGE. That’s someone showing an expression of petulant annoyance and attacking you when they are revealed to be divisive, lazy or deceiving in some way. When you took over from that person and solved the problems which they had created, you showed them up to be one or all of the above. From the sounds of things, all of the above would be pretty accurate. I’ve faced it myself, and I talked about it in an earlier show, I can’t recall where. I found someone with their hand in the proverbial till, and they created a smokescreen of POUTRAGE to cover up the fact that they were caught out. Pout-ragers don’t immediately back down because they can’t – they are too committed to their fake outrage - but they do eventually lose steam. In the face of facts, they get very loud and angry but it’s all smoke and mirrors.
A good demonstrative example of this was that I once caught someone trying to scam me on my car’s dashcam. I pulled in behind a parked car and went into a shop. When I came out they had backed into me. They raged at me and ranted about how I had driven in and hit them and I simply said, I have a dashcam mate. They raged and raged and raged about it before buggering off. I posted that video on youtube to warn others. That video 100% proved they had lied and tried to scam me.
Those without evidence to back up their actions eventually lose steam because they don’t want to highlight the fact that they are wrong or have lied.
I’d say that your negative experiences on this film mirror many other filmmakers journey. My friend Bryan warned me of certain problems he’d faced on his first feature, and I, in turn, had many mirrors to his problems on my own so I think you can take heart in that you are not alone in your experiences.
The biggest frustration I personally experienced is similar to your own - that “some people” - perhaps even professionals you have to work with – seemingly believe the words of the person who has been poutraging.
I eventually let this go as those people that are unwilling to do a minimal investigation into claims, who accept what an enemy says about me or who despite overwhelming evidence still side with the poutrager, are not people I want to be connected. They who will soon learn the hard way that they have aligned with someone who is bringing them down. I shouldn’t say it but I smile quietly to myself now when I think of the foolish people who have not yet realised their error.
You don't lose when you lose fake friends. Joan Jett UNQUOTE
I’ve kinda covered getting rid of fake or bad friends in my episodes about toxic relationships etc so to finally answer your question directly, as I have wondered a little, I move on from bad or negative experiences by adapting and learning from them. I realise that’s another one of those productivity statements that sounds simple but is harder to put into action than it first appears btw.
For that reason, I’ll go a bit further. To move on you must:
Learn from the past but don’t dwell there. No matter how painful they are, take some time to reflect on your experiences and realise that they will actually benefit you down the road. I never made a second feature (at least not yet) but the bad experiences I faced on my first, and it’s still causing me strife btw, almost make me want to make a second one because I feel like the bad experiences taught me so much. Instead of doing a second feature though, I make this podcast to ensure that the experiences at least benefit others.
Next, Get the pain you’re feeling off your chest. Venting to a friend or writing it down like you did here for this episode will have helped you. Expressing your feelings will help sort out what, if anything, needs to be done to move on.
Try and avoid taking on the role of the victim. It’s too easy and sometimes it feels good, but the problem is, blaming others prevents you from going forward and removes your ability to take control. It’s a form of auto-suggestion that if you are not careful, might permanently make you the victim, and forever take away your control.
Another effective way to let go of the past is to embrace the present. Keep yourself active and enjoy the current moment. Learn a new skill. Meditate. Exercise. Whatever it is, just live in the moment. Look back to episode 22 on Rumination to find other ways to break that cycle. It will in effect freeze up your ability to move on.
Before moving on again you might want to Disconnect. Take some time away so that you can clear your head. Remove yourself from the situation by distancing yourself from the people, places and things that remind you of it. When you return to start a new project, you’ll have a perspective on the past.
Another thing to do before returning to this and possibly making the same mistake again, is to take inventory of the people around you. Who is negative and always bringing you down? Who are the people associated with the past that you’re trying to move away from? You may need to move away from these people to find more positive people who will empower you. I often refer to Jim Rohn who said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. This relates to the law of averages, which is the theory that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes. If you have even one lazy person, one negative person or one divisive or toxic person in that group it will greatly affect your ability to move on as you will always be carrying, covering for or being frustrated by them. This, in turn, will ensure that you cannot ever bring all your focus to bear on the matter at hand. Look back to episode 40 to find out about THE MASTER MIND which is effectively what you need to create if you want to move forward with others.
The final piece of advice I’d give is, as much as it rubs me the wrong way in principle, all the advice that I can see out there says that If you’ve been hurt by someone you need to forgive them. Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “Forgiving others is essential for spiritual growth.” He presents 15 steps to help you forgive someone, which include things like embracing the past while moving on, making a new agreement with yourself, not going to sleep angry and being kind and generous.
In my experience, which has been strengthened by the GOLDEN RULE presented in the last episode of THE LAW OF SUCCESS. Forgiving others helps you to move on as it disempowers those who have bullied, frustrated or cheated us. It’s distasteful at first, but powerful and effective.
A fake friend likes to see you do well, but not better than them. Your negative experiences with that person on your project have been a costly lesson for you but one which will strengthen you as you go forward.
Today’s second question for this episode comes from my friend Ian O’Neill of the How They Did It Filmmaking Podcast in Canada – He asks:
How do you cope when overwhelmed by a project?
Overwhelm is a 20-foot wave crashing into you. Repeatedly. Psychologist Marla W. Deibler described overwhelm as
“feeling completely overcome in mind or emotion. When we think a stressor is too great for us to manage, we feel overwhelmed.” UNQUOTE
Part of my answer to this Ian is encapsulated in season 1 of this podcast, which I almost called Save Yourself or From Burnout to Badass. I created FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY to help people head off OVERWHELM and BURNOUT before it crashes upon them as I’d already had it pretty bad myself on my own first feature.
In Episode 1 I introduce the concept of intellectually taking control of our lives through the principle of higher-level thinking because this allows us to get in a headspace where we can take on the productivity advice that I offer. Without assuming a higher level of thinking. Of intelligent and accurate thought, we are going nowhere fast.In Episode 2 I encouraged people to say “NO” to anything that didn’t further their own dreams and objectives – I continued this in the first part of the Law Of Success series, which talks about setting out a definite chief aim for ourselves. If you know exactly what you are trying to achieve, you can say no to anything that doesn’t take you closer to it. This frees up time and energy you would be giving away to others and allows you to bring it to bear on your own problems.Finally, in Episode 3 I introduced a system for prioritising what is important over what is not. Separating the important and the unimportant, from what is urgent and what is not, along with the principle of saying NO often - will save many of us from being overwhelmed in the first instance.
Anxiety and fear are cousins but not twins. Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one. Max Lucado UNQUOTE
I do recognise however that it’s not always easy to do these seemingly simple things as life can be relentless as curveballs such as illness or changes in circumstances can get in the way. Your question was though, How do you cope when overwhelmed by a project?
As I researched my answer here, I noted that Anxiety seems to be the most common cause of overwhelm.
BTW I should clarify here that the overwhelm we are talking about is sometimes known as EMOTIONAL OVERWHELM - a state of being beset by intense emotion that is difficult to manage. When we relate this to projects, it manifests for many as STRESS AND ANXIETY and I will be taking that topic on later in the season as it’s a big one that deserves its own show. I might even make it my New Year episode. Who knows?
Feeling overwhelmed has many faces. It might manifest as an intense emotion, such as anxiety, anger or irritability; worry, doubt or helplessness; and behaviour, such as crying, lashing out or experiencing a panic attack. It can affect our ability to think and act rationally and prevent us from performing daily tasks. As we lock up in its grip we seem to achieve less and less and get more and more overwhelmed by the tasks that sit before us.
Psychcentral.com suggests you consider these 6 things when dealing with overwhelm.
Accept your anxiety. Has fighting your feelings of overwhelm ever helped you erase them? Probably not. More likely, battling your emotions only boosted them. Think of acceptance as riding out a wave of overwhelm.
Change overwhelm-inducing thoughts. Thoughts of uncontrollability or unpredictability are the backbone of overwhelm. It’s the unrealistic or unreasonable thoughts that spark our stressed-out reaction. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to what we tell ourselves and learn to create helpful thoughts. Let’s say you have a mile-long to-do list, and all you keep thinking is “I’ll never get this done.” That’s a damaging thought that can lead to distress and anxiety. It paralyzes you from problem-solving and taking action. It goes right back to the rumination thing I spoke about earlier. Rumination is a poisonous and damaging habit to get into. Try and intellectually break it’s cycle so ask yourself “In what ways might this [thought] be inaccurate, unreasonable or unhelpful?” then re-write them in your conscious mind - If you think “I may not get it all finished today, but if I work on it or if I seek assistance, I will likely get it done;” then this conscious thought will affect your unconscious mind and put you back in control. If you stick to, I’ll never get this done, let's face it – you are already in trouble.
Stop multitasking.“’Multitasking’ by definition implies that we are doing too many things at once,” so shift your perspective and change your expectation that everything has to be completed right now ‘or else. Do things one at a time. Use some of the simple techniques I describe in episode 9 FOUR HACKS TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION – to help you achieve things.
Focus on the “now”. When you’re consumed with what may or may not happen in several minutes or months, you can’t appreciate the here and now. Schedule time to plan for the future, so you can breathe in the present moment.
Take a deep breath. Deep breathing encourages our body’s relaxation response. Sometimes you just have to ta a minute to get your head straight. It can make all the difference to your mindset and your stress levels.
Take action. And that action doesn’t necessarily have to be related to the project which is causing you overwhelm. Just engage in an activity that you enjoy, such as listening to music, swimming, reading a book or taking a walk. This can be enough to jump you out of the negative headspace you find yourself in and offer a solution.
I’ll add here that you should take a leaf out of the HOW DO YOU EAT AN ELEPHANT episode and if you are having difficulty dealing with it as it is, break your project down into a series of smaller parts. This can be done even if you have already split it down once already. Divisions can always be subdivided. Not thinking of your project as one big problem is a very direct way of stopping overwhelm as when you can intelligently break it down into a series of small tasks that you can chip away at it. That overwhelm feeling, although it may not entirely go away, at least becomes somewhat manageable in that instance.
This series is a good example of this. I am right now very frustrated that I still haven’t recorded the whole season as I was working so much and then picked up a cold, and even now have a chest infection which is slowing me down drastically. I feel frustrated but I don’t feel OVERWHELMED.
Another thing I do to help combat overwhelm is that I have a whiteboard written up and in an obvious place in the house which shows the progress of this series. I can see how close I am to completing each episode – which in turn is split into research, write, record, create promo image, find a sponsor and create a promo video. It’s frustrating when I am only very slowly ticking stuff off but it’s not overwhelming as I can still see progress.
One last thing that you should consider is to see what you can delegate to others. If you are trying to do it all yourself, you may find that you are feeling overwhelmed because you are simply taking on too much. If you can find people that will genuinely help, and who are not going to let you down, or betray you, as happened in Rhea’s case, then it will mean that you will progress further and faster than you will on your own. Listen again to episode 40 and the MASTER MIND LESSON as you must find people who will with you in HARMONY of purpose and effort.
My final question for today is this – and it’s come in from quite a few of you. It’s going to sound like I have set this up but I haven’t – The question is:
what you can do to help the show?
Well there are a few things that you can do to help
REVIEW THE SHOW ON YOUR PODCAST APP. My good friend Gillian from The GoTo Agency in Glasgow always says sell the sizzle and not the steak. Reviews where people rave about the show give me great quotes which I can use to promote it. These reviews create a sizzle which makes others want to listen too. They are more valuable than you might think.
RETWEETS AND SHARES ON SOCIAL MEDIA are more valuable than likes so if you have the opportunity to do so without boring your followers to death with them, please do so.
TALK ABOUT THE SHOW in real life and on social media. If the show helps you, please talk about it. This helps the sizzle I mentioned before.
ASK PEOPLE TO LISTEN. I have to admit that I am asking people to listen a lot myself when I meet them at work. I’m beginning to feel like it’s the kiss of death for getting a new subscriber though as I swear I don’t think anyone I talk to about the show ever actually listens to it. If you are out there listener – please stand up and let me know my efforts were not in vain.
The biggest problem I face with this show is not content or production – It’s simply finding new listeners. It is an inconceivably difficult nut to crack.
The listenership based on the information I have is about 650 to 750 downloads every two weeks which is up about 100 a week on last season, and as solo podcasts go, these numbers are really pretty good, but they are not GREAT. I want my listenership to grow as I make it to help people and so getting people to do that is the entire point of everything I do. It’s just... well – difficult. I make no money from this, far from it. So my frustration is that I just can’t figure out how to improve the numbers and although several listeners (Chris and Sheri are the most recent volunteers) have offered to very directly help me push it on out there - I can’t see where best to put my efforts.
When I apply Napoleon Hill’s Accuracy of Thought lesson it starts to become clear that Social Media, as a tool for podcast audience growth, is a dead loss. I recently said on Twitter that 99.5% of my followers DON’T ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THE SHOW, but the figure is nearer 99.8%. It’s demonstrably atrocious.
Social media does not convert into listeners – it’s just the truth of the matter. There’s plenty of “marketers” out there trying to convince me that it does, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram trying to sell me their services, but I’m yet to see how that dollar commitment to marketing the show turns into any reliable listenership. There are other benefits to social media though, and many current listeners do interact with me there so don’t worry. It will continue!
Call To Action
Your call to action today is to as always consider what has been said. Hopefully, you can apply it to your life and work and relationships. If you really would like to help, then getting on to your podcasting app and reviewing the show would be massively appreciated.
As I mentioned before I have split the content of this show into two separate episodes. The 2nd Mailbag episode, should if all goes as planned, go out in late January. I think it will be called “Technology and The Science of ‘When’” or words to that effect.
That last question there got me to thinking about my marketing. I removed this from the answer but feel it may be of interest to you. I have a few ideas to try, but feel free to get in touch via the contact page on the website if you are an expert in this field. I’m going to, over the next 9 months or so:
Attempt to put up more video content, although I am yet to see evidence that this makes a difference to podcast listener growth.Sometime next year I will start putting the shows out on youtube. I think perhaps there is a listenership there.Offer myself up for interviews on other podcasts as their listeners may jump over to my show after listening tp those interviews. Anyone interested.Find influencers and celebrities to listen to and promote the show.
So we’re just about done here - Next week I’m releasing my longest episode to date, which given that I wanted to shorten my episodes this season shows how well that’s been going. Hashtag DOH! Catch it though as it’s a really good one - It’s called BULLIES and THE SILENT MAJORITY.
Let me end today with a quote from Will Smith If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success.
Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY!
The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A HimitsuYou can view the show notes for this episode on the official website filmproproductivity.comYou can follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @FilmproproductivityPlease support the show by subscribing, spreading the word and leaving an AWESOME review.
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When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination. Thomas Sowell UNQUOTE