Social media is booming in this generation. However, there now exists an unfortunate trend of authenticity – where people are forced to keep producing content that impresses the audience even to a point of burnout. For times like these, how can a creator find the middle ground between being okay and being firm in who they are? In this episode, wellness champion Tiffany Richardson discusses what creative burnout means, why creators get burnout, and how they can slow down and recharge. Tiffany shares the importance of rebuilding your foundation, redefining a starting place, tuning into yourself, and more! Tune in now!
Quotes from Guest:
- Burnout is a hibernation period.
- Not everyone has access to safety.
- Instead of being perfect, it’s about learning and adapting.
- Even when I fall short, it’s still enough.
- The whole you deserve grace.
- On social media, there’s no reward for wellness.
- Creatives deserve a space where they can be affirmed when they’re not creating.
- Historically creatives have not been supported.
- Creativity comes from inspiration outside and within.
- How can I consistently show up for the conversations that matter and not burnout?
- Slow down and tune into you first.
- There is so much unlearning that happens on the journey to entrepreneurship.
- The cheering won’t always be loud, but that doesn’t change your value.
- The true champion is you.
Listen to the podcast here
Slow Down And Tune In: How To Recharge During Creative Burnout With Tiffany Richardson
In this episode, I am sitting down with Tiffany, who I found on TikTok, scrolling through my For You page, as it’s called there. You organically stumble upon people without seeking them out. TikTok is fascinating in the way that it seems to know you. It gives you more of what you like, and I like to learn about different ways of thinking, living, and approaching life and business.
I can’t remember the first video I found because it’s been quite some time. I’ve watched your content. It seemed to have been a statement you were making about helping people who are feeling low energy. You might have referred to them as low-energy creatives, and you started talking about creative burnout. I wanted to begin our conversation with a better understanding of what creative burnout means to you. What’s your definition of that?
Creative burnout, from my personal lens, looks different for everybody. In this space of defining creative burnout, I offer to look at what’s going around and what’s going on. There might be holidays or things approaching. There might be an anniversary, birthday, or the start of the year. There are many things that contribute to your creative inspiration. On the other side, when you run out of that inspiration and energy when you’re close to finishing a project, you burn that creative energy.Creative burnout looks different for everybody. Click To Tweet
Instead of feeling guilty or shame about not wanting to create, I came up with the phrase or was introduced to the phrase Creative Burnout. To me, it’s that phase where you don’t feel like creating, you don’t have that jumble of ideas or inspiration, but you’re equivalent to winter. It’s like a hibernation period. It might frequently come for you, especially if you have a chronic illness or any transition going on in your life. It might come seasonally or once a year, but it looks different for everybody. That’s what creative burnout means to me.
One thing I appreciate about the work that you do, and this definition, too, is that self-care looks different for everybody. You said that verbatim in one of your videos, and that’s important. Burnout is going to show up differently. It’s based on different factors in our lives, what even causes it to happen. You and I, before doing the interview, mentioned the various traumas each of us goes through.
In fact, it seems to my research around trauma that most people experience some version of what they call lowercase T trauma, which is not as traumatic as being disabling or sometimes even obviously impacting your life that is usually referred to as uppercase T trauma. Many of us carrying around trauma are socially related. It could be from our parents, teachers, friends, and society that all feel socially related. I’m curious for you, as part of your definitions and exploration around burnout. How much of that is coming from external pressure and these ideas around conforming and trying to meet some socially constructed ideal or standard?
A turning point for me was reading The Four Agreements. In that, it talks about how we are used to going through these experiences that we domesticate ourselves and fuel our judgment. I talk about this in my content, too, where you sit in the seat of the judge or you are either in the observation seat. As you are learning and embracing your journey of self-care and you’re unlearning some things, you also have to take into consideration like, “Am I sitting in the judge and continuing to try to force myself to fit in or to whatever I should be doing? Am I going to observe and see whether this even makes me comfortable? Do I even like face masks, enjoy this, or am I just doing it because this is what the definition of elegance, self-care, or loving myself is supposed to look and feel like it’s supposed to?”
No, especially if you are working through trauma in any letter or a capital lowercase. That’s heavy, and it’s not a switch that’s going to turn on and off. It’s rebuilding some foundational things, and that isn’t easy to chisel in, get under, rebuild that support and fill in. That was the pivotal moment for me where I said, “I’m going to sit back and observe for a year,” and that year taught me things, and now I’ll see how that feels for me.Working through trauma is not a switch that's just going to turn on and off. It's rebuilding some foundational things. Click To Tweet
I love that you gave this a year of your time. Was it literally a year that you put things on pause? What did it look like in that year when you sat back to observe? What did you learn from it?
I did it unintentionally prior to reading The Four Agreements because it was when my mom passed away, I had to quit my job in DC, and I relocated to North Carolina whenever we got updates about her declining health. I took a year, and I didn’t teach. I went to Egypt for a yoga retreat and went to Thailand. When I came back, it was February 2020. I went for a job interview the week of the year anniversary of my mom’s passing, I was hired, had a job, worked for a week, and then everything shut down due to the pandemic. We read The Four Agreements later that year, my husband and I. Intentionally I gave myself three years to reflect and observe. After doing the work for The Four Agreements, that is what gave me the journal prompt to be observant of.
I’m glad you’re bringing up The Four Agreements because I haven’t thought about that book in a long time. It makes me want to reread it and reflect on the lessons there because it is such a powerful book. This idea of observing is so powerful because a lot of us are caught up in the hustle, the grind, and going fast that we might not even take the time to pause, rest, or recharge. Those are some words that come up in your content. Do you feel that’s accessible to everyone, or is it a privilege to have the ability to pause and recharge?
Both can be true. It’s a privilege to have seen it done before, where you don’t even have to be aware of your pausing. First, you have to have a space where you’re safe. I can tell people to take a deep breath all day, but if you are in a space that you cannot settle in, that’s not going to be helpful at all. I have content where it’s me sharing my sunshine with you because I know not everybody has access to safe neighborhoods or trails they can just go to. Whatever accessibility limitations are there, they might not be able to go. It requires more spaces that allow people to get access for it to be something that everybody can access. That is not a privilege. It’s a right, and truly it should be a right.
That is articulate, powerful, and helpful because you’re helping me understand the difference between what privilege is, what right is, and how access plays a role in all of this. To your point how things look different for everybody, it depends on your circumstances, what your solutions are, and what’s going to help you get there. One thing that’s rubbed me the wrong way about health and wellness for years is this one size fits all approach or too much emphasis on quick fixes. To your point, what if something as simple as going into nature might seem simple to me, but it’s not simple for everybody or accessible?
In fact, for me, it’s not that accessible where I live in the big city of Los Angeles. The beach is available and relatively accessible, but it’s not as accessible as stepping outside my door. I have to pause my entire day to experience nature. I have to have the ability and energy to do that too. You talk about the low energy side of it. Access might be the literal access to where something is. There’s also emotional access. Are you in a place where you can emotionally take the next steps for self-care?
It’s a lot to ponder. I’m wondering. How do you guide someone to figure all this out for themselves? It seems to me when people are feeling burnt out, they might feel overwhelmed, overstimulated, and caught up in the shame that often comes along with it. It’s so intense. Some people don’t either know or know how to take the next steps because that’s intense for them.
It does look different for everybody. Redefining a starting place is the first conversation I have with anybody I work with or how that shows up in my content. You get to choose your starting place. It does not have to be New Year’s day or the first day of spring. It can be whenever you feel that you’re ready to pivot. That starting place doesn’t have to be perfect. Let it be messy and unclear, and that’s okay. As we unpack and redefine and get rid of the stuff, the guilt and the shame that can surround your current state, that’s where you get introduced and plugged into grace. Ultimately, that’s what I want to put forward for everybody.You get to choose your starting place, and it doesn't have to be perfect. Click To Tweet
The word grace is so appealing to me. There’s something comforting about what grace is because I don’t know if I give myself a lot of grace. I don’t know if I’ve felt a lot of grace from other people. What does grace look like for you in your life, and how do you help people find it for themselves?
I’ll share a quote that I heard, and this is what grace means to me. When you stop putting a question mark, everything after everything, and you start putting an exclamation point. It’s not necessarily apologizing because I feel I’m very self-aware. I know when I’m making a mistake, messing up, whenever I fall short, I don’t do it perfectly, and I do everything that I can to make sure I don’t make it ever again. I never want to make the same mistake twice. Now I trust that. Now I let that be the inspiration behind my learning.
Instead of saying, “I want to do this thing, but now I need to have it all figured out and needs to be perfect and put together.” Now it’s, “I’m learning, and I can adapt. I have the evidence that in my life, even whenever I fall short, it still was enough, and I was able to improve from being enough to take it beyond somebody else’s expectations.” Grace allowed me to switch and say, “I know I’m operating in this space. I don’t feel bad for being a perfectionist. I don’t feel guilty about that. It’s a matter of how I show love and passion. Instead of feeling guilty for wanting to do things well, I trust that I will do things as best as I can, and that’s what grace in action looks like for me.”
Trust is part of this too, and I’ve mentioned on the show before how I’ve struggled a lot with trust. I feel like I have some trauma there. I have struggled with trusting myself. That’s where I feel the trauma is, similar to not giving myself that grace. I also struggle with trusting other people, which is usually me thinking, “Somebody’s not going to understand me. They’re not going to do it in the way that feels comfortable for me.”
A lot of that comes out of the neurodivergent journey that I’ve been on of seeing how different my brain works and that connection. It’s hard to trust because trust is tied to feeling different. Other people don’t seem to trust me because they want me to do things their way, and that burns me out. I’m trying to conform and do things their way, not giving myself grace. You were talking about mistakes, for example. It’s okay to make mistakes, and you can learn and adapt from your mistakes.
I don’t think I’ve had a lot of permission to make mistakes. Thus, I feel the shame, and I lack self-trust, but I simultaneously get extremely frustrated with other people when they make mistakes unless I’ve developed a lack of trust for others because I’m like, “I’ve been told over and again that it’s not okay to make mistakes. Not only can I not make them, but I don’t want to see somebody else make them. I don’t have trust for anybody. You’re nodding your head a lot, and I’m curious what parts of this resonate with you, or have you seen them play out in other people enough to recognize them?”
The first thing goes back to the conversation about The Four Agreements. We’re so used to operating in that seat of the judge, and your judge is on fire like, “I cannot make a mistake. I cannot do this. I need to be able to.” It does take us away. It does disconnect us from trust. On my personal journey of accepting neurodivergence, it was something that I was different from. Trust for me had to look a lot different because you’re used to masking and trying to say no, “What I’m doing is wrong. What feels natural, good, and joyful for me is wrong.”
For the longest, it was as simple as saying what my favorite color was. I would always say it’s purple. It’s brown. I love the color brown. For the longest, I would not say my favorite color is brown because people would be like, “Why do you like brown?” That was the reaction. In order to avoid it, I navigate around it and say purple, or I like all the colors. It’s things that take away that we don’t even know that it’s slowly taking, and it might not show up instantly. It might show up years later of you exhausting yourself.
Eventually, you domesticate yourself, and now you’re going into social situations with that already. I know I’m going to feel guilty, shame, and awkward after, so I’m coming into this. I’m bringing this to the table. In the work that I do, if I could put intention behind it, it would be offering a virtual room where we take out that shame and guilt and give permission for it to be in the corner for a bit. It’s here.
I’m not going to say don’t feel guilty because it’s real. Let’s talk about it. It’s here, but it doesn’t have to be in the driver’s seat. It can be in the backseat. It doesn’t get the chord. It doesn’t get to control the music. It’s along for the journey where all of you, the whole you, deserve grace. The whole you deserve opportunities to create and know that’s enough of what you’re bringing to the table.The “whole you” deserve grace and opportunities to create and know that that's enough of what you're bringing to the table. Click To Tweet
You don’t need to be any better or cleansed of all of the things in order for you to have access to grace. That’s what I would like to build on my little corner of the internet, and I’m trying to figure out a way to say it in fifteen seconds in a catchy dance on TikTok, so I can just go and get the audience. I haven’t figured that out yet, but we’re learning, adapting, and evolving.
I’m laughing because I haven’t figured that out either to think about that with TikTok because I love TikTok. I don’t know if I love creating on there very much. I feel a sense of burnout, but I’m trying to figure out. That burnout was already there. I don’t think TikTok is responsible for my burnout. It’s a shame because the joy I feel through TikTok feels hard to access sometimes through my own content as I feel creatively burnt out. I was drawn to your work, wondering, “She can relate to this, and she’s got some tips around this, which I’m grateful for.”
Before we get more into that, I want to say I love that your favorite color is brown. I saw that in one of your videos and was delighted by it. It’s cool, unique, and how interesting that people judge you for a color choice or even the fact that people judge color. We see this with humanity’s judgment around color and skin color, but when I think of the color brown, it’s neutral.
I find it’s not neutral. It’s interesting. It’s a natural color that shows up in all parts of nature. Some of my favorite things are brown, like trees and the dirt we eat from. It blows my mind those types of judgments. It’s heartbreaking to think of having to hide something that we love and brings us joy because of the judgments, or it’s exhausting to navigate judgmental conversations. Thank you for your transparency with that.
In terms of creative burnout, one thing that you said that I wrote down is, “It’s okay if your timeline looks different, and it’s okay if we’re not always creating.” You posted something else on TikTok, as I was binging all your content before about how you wanted to say something, but you decided not to. I forgot how you phrased it. You were acknowledging that you wanted to post a TikTok, and you did, but you weren’t doing the content that you were thinking.
Instead, you were making content about the process of making content, which is this meta experience. Sometimes we don’t have to conform to what the algorithm seems to be rewarding people for. There’s so much pressure when it comes to creativity these days. I would love to hear more about how you navigate that. You are creating a lot of content on there while simultaneously acknowledging that it’s not always coming out the way you want it to, and that’s okay.
One thing is if I could gain the momentum to shatter the creator economy with my next venture and what I want to provide, that’s what I want to do. Whenever I think about the journey of creators on TikTok or YouTube, they get that pacing, making that content, getting their people, they have it, they burn out, and they shut down their platform. Can they really take a break? They’ve built their platform off of posting an extreme amount of times a day, doing things that are extreme versions of themselves. I do believe that there is a way to build your platform in a way that feels authentic.
That’s not an extreme expense to your creativity that allows you to rest, recharge, and then come back. It is slower. I have people that I started with, and they’re at 10,000. Those are impressive numbers. I’m chilling with my 2,500 followers. We have a little corner, and it’s okay, but that’s the exchange that I had to be okay with. Yes, I’m going to go slow. That means growth is going to be that I’m going to show up authentically, and I’m going to take breaks, but I’m not going to hit those viral moments. I’m going to have those spurts, and it’s going to happen, but I have to take it in stride because it’s not going to happen at the same pace as everybody else.
Another reason why I want to shatter the creator economy is because there are many spaces that are saying, “Creators, you have value. As long as you’re creating, showing up, and producing this content, we will reward you.” It’s interesting because I’ve also done research in user experience design. Whenever a new feature comes out on TikTok, they highlight it. “You use this feature, and you’ll get pushed.” There’s also a wellness feature on TikTok that Instagram also put out. It’s, “We’ll remind you to take a break after you’ve been on the app many times.”
There was no reward for using it. There was no promotion behind it. There was nothing. It’s those spaces that send a message. I want to create a space. I don’t know how it’s going to evolve. I don’t know what it is, but I’m doing market research. I’m trying to figure it out. Creatives deserve a space where they can be affirmed by saying, “You still have value even when you aren’t creating.” As a matter of fact, we can both have grace and accountability to finish these projects, but also both things. You don’t have to be either or. It can be both. I don’t know if I answered your question, but I hope I did.
You took this in a direction that is even better than something I could have asked. I got chills hearing you talk about shattering the creator economy. I will be there with you, and I will support you in this endeavor. There’s nothing that would bring me more joy. It’s already happening in some ways because I’ve been part of the creator economy if you want to call it that. Before it was even a creator economy, and I’m not saying that from an ego standpoint, when I first started creating online, there was no such thing as an influencer. Watching the evolution has been exciting but also disheartening.
Before I started doing online content, I was doing filmmaking and a traditional career path and got drawn into this digital world, probably because of burnout. Working in the film industry in Los Angeles, in general, is extremely disheartening. Many people come to cities with these big dreams and deep creativity, and it’s the metaphor for what you’re describing or parallel, where both digital creators now and people like myself were on the more traditional industry path, having knowledge, skill, and talent, then coming here and saying, “That’s not how this works.” There’s a whole game that’s based on a lot of rules that I was never taught, and I never wanted to be part of, to begin with.
The type of people that I would meet was often judgmental. They were cutthroat. They didn’t care about who you were or what you were saying about the wellness side. Social media doesn’t care about your wellness. When I think about shattering the creator economy, I often wonder do I want to play a role in it anymore on the social side because I know it’s not good for our mental health on most levels.
The benefits are connecting with someone like yourself. I wouldn’t have met you if it weren’t for TikTok, likely. We live in completely different parts of the country. I’m exposed to people like you. I get to learn from people like you. That’s why I return to TikTok. That’s why I haven’t left. It’s not 100% true that there are no wellness benefits because the mental health impacts of connection, community, and education are enormous. What you’re pointing out is similar to creative industries, where going back to the film industry, you were encouraged to burn yourself out.
It was like survival of the fittest when I worked in that world because most of the production days were twelve-plus hours. I saw an interview with one of the stars of The White Lotus TV show. She was describing her day starting at 4:00 AM. She wouldn’t get home until 7:00 PM, and she’s talking about going out to dinner, and I’m thinking, “When do you sleep?” That show has been in production for five months.
Can you imagine? Maybe you can because of the fact that you have a young child and you’re not getting much sleep. That’s a completely different thing. Can you imagine having to adhere to the standards of all this type of creativity at the expense of your well-being and that being normalized? It’s so normalized in these industries that it deeply disturbs me.
I went to the Van Gogh experience, and there was a quote. I can’t think of it verbatim. He says, “I spent so much time doing what I loved that I lost my mind in the process.” Historically, creatives have not been supported, but we are what’s in the history books. Our creations extend beyond our lifetime. At the same time, we feel it’s short, insignificant, or not good enough, and we can’t put it out. I appreciate platforms like TikTok because it makes it accessible. You don’t have to go through these channels of getting certain certifications, quality of phone, material, equipment, having certain connections, or getting a manager. It’s right here, right now.Our creations extend beyond our lifetime, but at the same time, we feel like it's so short or it's so insignificant, or it's not good enough, and we can't put them out. Click To Tweet
In the evolution of a creator in finding your niche, if that’s the path you want to take, there is a journey of discovery that is neglected to be talked about or even encouraged whenever you’re talking about creators. I don’t feel I have a niche. I don’t feel like all of those things are figured out, and every time I go to a business coach or try to get support or a mentor, they’re like, “What’s your niche? What’s your target? What is the message that you’re going to say? What are the pillars of your content?” I’m sure that works for some, but whenever you feel different your entire life, whenever you’ve had to creatively overcome obstacles, you don’t necessarily have the answers. Google doesn’t even have the answers for you.
The other day I tried to google something I was experiencing, and Google was like, “Here’s an article about this thing that has this keyword.” Whenever we have to operate in such a creative space, we feel othered. We grow comfortable and thrive there. It’s not easily explained. Unfortunately, TikTok only gives us fifteen seconds or points, whatever seconds, to grab attention.
If you don’t come in, are not aggressive in the camera, and not like, “Do you want to know what I cooked for dinner?” swoop, hook or whatever the rules of engagement are, it’s beautiful to know that I’m standing in this world where things are finally slowing down on TikTok. People are like, “You don’t have to make perfect content. Do the real-life rugged.”
I’ve been here. I didn’t want to do that anyway. I’ve been doing real-life rugged. This is me. I’m chilling. This is what I’m coming to you. It’s cool to see them catch up, but it’s unfortunate that it’s a Trend, and it will eventually lap past me again. If there’s anything that I’ve learned in this journey that I do pass on with any creative that I can share, everything is a phase. Burnout is a phase. Creative abundance is a phase.
That in-between juicy spot where you get peak creativity where you can take a break and rest like, “I’m noticing that my body is hungry. Let me eat instead of working on this project for 800 hours,” that beautiful spot is a phase too. If we normalize the fact that things are temporary, we are only here for a short time to honor the seasons that we’re in and to truly observe and not judge, we will be here for a much longer time than the people that are doing it quickly and fast.
So much of what you’re sharing resonates with me. I don’t even know what to say next. It is interesting. I find that comforting knowing that things are a phase. We were doing this in December 2022, and in the last week or two, there’s been much focus on my For You page. It’s not going to be true for everybody, but I saw much content around the AI platform, ChatGPT. All these people are saying, “This is the next thing. You got to get on this. You got to master it.” People already started to teach classes on it, and I was sitting here going, “I don’t like that feeling of rushing towards the newest trend.”
That, to me, is a huge downside to a platform like TikTok, where there’s cultural pressure to get in on a trend. I would rather be a creator showing up in their pajamas, not doing the latest thing. This is why we’re talking now. I’m drawn to you. I’m turned off by that. In fact, on TikTok, as you’re mentioning the hook, there’s also the opposite effect where you’ll know within a split second if you’re turned off by something. I’ve been leaning into that when I scroll because the hooks turn me off.
When there isn’t a hook, a lot of times, I’m more interested because it feels different and real. I want to say for you and anyone like you, keep going with not doing the hook, not showing up perfectly or polished. For example, in the podcast world, there’s this whole trend of making these clips, and they all use the same caption style.
It’s like white lettering with yellow, and they’re this certain font, and they stick out. Those all blend together for me. They all look the same because people are doing that style that now they don’t have an appeal. They don’t stand out anymore. Ironically, you tend to stand out when you’re authentically yourself because it’s truly unique versus trying to shape yourself into this trendy style.
It is sad to me that authenticity has become a trend. For someone like me who craves authentic creators, it’s harder to find it. Sometimes the hook is someone pretending to be authentic, and I feel hoodwinked now. You pulled a fast one on me because you’re not authentic. You’re pretending to be authentic to hook me in, so I buy the product or service you’re promoting.
It’s a strange state of the world that we’re in, but coming back to that comforting phase of everything is temporary in our lives all the time. It is, somehow, society convinces us that, “This is the right way to do it.” You’re talking about the niche. I’m sitting here cringing, thinking, “That’s the most cliché marketing advice you can give somebody.” That’s like marketing 101 beginners. It has some value, but not if it doesn’t resonate with you. If you don’t naturally have a niche, maybe you don’t need one, or yours is more subtle. To me, your niche is creative burnout and encouraging people to be well. There it is. It doesn’t need to be any more than that.
I agree. Also, whenever I hear niche, I hear a lot of people don’t get access to the stuff. It depends on who you’re talking to as far as what their definition of niche and target audience is and pain points. I’ve always been on, if I’m targeting and going after women who are new moms, if I have those specifics, that’s leaving out a lot of people. The part that people aren’t saying out loud is ableism.
They need to be able to access my material and this price point. Nobody’s saying it boldly, but they will say it in their content. Whenever you have flashy content, whenever it’s fast, there is a group of people that don’t access it. I hope the ease, comfort, and wellness I want to channel in my content are accessible. I know that it’s not perfect. There are a couple of pushes that I want to do to make it more accessible, but operating in the capacity that I can, I’m doing what I can.
In those meetings, that’s always what I’ve heard. It’s thick with ableism because nobody’s thinking about, “How will this person access it if they need text-to-speech, those transcripts, or their captions?” You have your captions going at a pace where it’s just for visual appeal, not for anybody to read. You’re missing the point, an opportunity to serve with your content. You are teasing dessert and then snatching it away.
You’re like, “Everybody can come to sit at this table because everybody has experienced overwhelm. Everybody has experienced stress. Everybody, I’m sure, has experienced burnout to some extent. However, not everybody experiences it to the point where they are shut where their system’s shut down, get sick, develop an illness or immunocompromised.” There are many other things that are now invisible, but now that it’s normalized to be overwhelmed in your business.
Somebody told me to have this as my niche. Let’s talk about the passion-driven entrepreneur and creative that’s overwhelmed in their business and how I can fix that and cater to that. It’s like, “Yes, but I’m not trying to fix them feeling overwhelmed.” Unfortunately, when you’re experiencing Neurodivergence or experiencing chronic illness, a flare, or any of those things, overwhelm isn’t a privilege that just gets taken away by meditating for five minutes in the morning.
It might help, but it doesn’t take away the chronic pain. It doesn’t take away those symptoms. This wraps up the grace and being able to observe and build that trust within yourself is. I don’t want to trick anybody into disconnecting with their body further on this journey because I truly feel creativity comes from inspiration outside and within. A lot of creatives value that transparency and authenticity. If I’m taking them out of that box and saying, “You’re not experiencing these things,” or, “Everybody does that,” it gets dangerous because then you start doing that to yourself and second-guessing it. Who’s to say that when you needed help or a space to allow it to be quiet?
There was no space available, or you didn’t even know where you could go. That’s what I hope to show up in my business, which is why I got rid of Zoom. I don’t do Zoom coaching calls anymore because why do we have to look at each other for me to tell you that you’re phenomenal and you’re great? I have the free version. If you want to get on there, we can, but I’m modifying it to see, “How can I consistently show up for the conversations that matter while also not burning myself out?” That has been the journey that I’ve been on this past year.
This is what I’m good at. I’m good at a lot of things. I identify as multi-passionate and creative. I’m talented in a lot of things, so I put all of it out there. Honestly, the people that are coming and picking up those crumbs, they’re like, “We don’t need grapes. We want the bread.” In this season, I’m able to see, “How much energy did it take for me to make this bread? Is that a mutual exchange?” I might only be able to make bread once a year, and that might have to be it, or is it something that I’m able to produce, and it feels good for me, and it’s a mutual exchange?
That’s where I am in the evolution of my journey, and it’s not failing. Hopefully, I can encourage other creators to get on this journey too. It’s slow. If you need fast money, I don’t have those answers. There are tons of courses and strategists out there that will tell you how to get it fast. By all means, I don’t want anybody to put anything at risk. However, if you have time to slow down and truly tune in to you first, that’s extremely important for me.
I feel honored and blown away by the many things that you’ve said. One thing that I find interesting is consistency. First of all, I had full-body chills when you started talking about ableism. The access to things, inclusivity, and paying attention to everyone, not just the majority, a lot about this when it comes to being neurodivergent, you are technically in the minority. Statistically, 1 in 5 people is neurodivergent, which puts you in the minority there.
A lot of people are not considering your needs, especially, as you mentioned, the invisible illness side of it. You can be struggling with things. There are people like you and me who talked about privately how it’s a late-in-life realization or diagnosis around being neurodivergent, which comes with its own trauma because they’re second-guessing that comes into place, but you’re also thinking, “I’m mourning something in my life that I never had and didn’t realize, and the society does not realize it. What do I need in terms of accessibility? What accommodations do I need?” It’s a lot of work doing that and sorting through all of it. For me, it was like, “Who else is going through this? Who else have I interacted with in life and didn’t accommodate because I didn’t realize?”
To me, ableism, I’ve become acutely aware of it. To your point, there’s a lot of that in marketing. Given that so much of my work is in the marketing world, I am trying to address it differently because so much marketing focuses on the majority or a small percent of the population. To your point, you’re encouraged to exclude people from your marketing. It’s like, “Let’s me pick a small group of people and target them and exclude the other people that don’t fit in this box.” I understand the reasons for it, but it doesn’t feel right to me.
That’s part of what you’re expressing and social media, the pressure of it. Going back, you said earlier about being rewarded. You’re not rewarded for inclusivity and making things accessible. If you look at the opposite of this, you’re rewarded for being exclusive, shutting people out, and that’s giving a message over and again saying, “Somebody is not worthy or valuable because they’re not getting the accommodations they need.” For someone like you, who’s figuring this out, we need more people like you that have that awareness. We need people who are stepping into and saying, “I will not conform because that does not serve me and the people I want to reach. I am okay with slowing down, even if I will not be rewarded.”
It’s a hard exchange because that makes me step away from capitalism. That makes me step away from looking at certain measures in my business that define success. For the longest, although I didn’t care, money was a nice benefit. Sometimes it’s necessary, but how do you find that middle ground and be okay and firm in where you are whenever there are people that are like, “I made 6 figures in 30 days by doing this digital product.”
I’ve created digital products, and I’ve done this. There are certain price points that I’m sure that the value is there. I don’t doubt the value I deliver, but it doesn’t feel right for me to have it at that high price, which is something that there’s so much unlearning that happens on this journey of entrepreneurship and monetizing your creativity or whatever exchange. There are mutual aid groups that also are great for creators. I haven’t found a home yet in which I’m ready to exchange services for another service.
That is starting to grow stronger in some communities through TikTok and certain groups. Hopefully, the wellness champion can have that ripple effect where we can cushion and be in this creative space where we exchange energy with each other that’s not driven by funds and money. I can’t guarantee it, I don’t have the path mapped out, but that’s where I would like to go. To see the creativity fizzle out and stay out breaks my heart to see any creative go through that journey or see those potential sparks when somebody is on fire talking about the things they love and their ambitions.
In the same breath, they talk about all of these great things that they’ve done, near impossible things that they’ve overcome. At the same time, they’re like, “I don’t know how to dance, so I can’t make a good TikTok,” or they put out their own fire because they’ve been trained that it’s not enough, not good enough, or not worth putting out. I always compared my services to a gas station.
I don’t necessarily want to coach anybody and tell them, “This is what you do to get to this point, and this is what I’ve done. If you follow my perfect ten-step program, you will be the glorious, most best person in the whole world.” No, on this journey, you have peaks and valleys. Whenever you need that companionship or whenever you’re on that journey and you need to recharge and refuel, that’s where I want the wellness champion to serve as. You can navigate through this space alone. You already have what it takes.
I truly believe it, but sometimes you need a thought partner. Sometimes you need somebody that says, “I believe in you.” That can take you a long way. I love quotes, but this reminds me of a quote I heard during a workout. I was stretching, and the instructor said, “Please know that you are beautiful, and that is the least interesting thing about you.” I want people to feel seen and heard and to know that as you’re coming, what I see and can take in without even having a conversation with you, are the least interesting things about you, and I can’t wait to get to know more.
It’s so good, and it reminds me of a quote I heard earlier. I was listening to a book about burnout to prepare for this conversation. There’s a great book by a woman named Emily. She has a great section about beauty. It was in that beauty section, the beauty standards and how that burns us. She shared a quote that I wrote down, “What if I could just decide that I was valuable and it was true?” I believe that it was Lindy West who said that.
I feel that’s such a great takeaway because it seems at the root of the burnout we’ve been discussing, it’s the fear of not being valuable, not being good enough, not getting her needs met, whether that’s financially or the validation we crave, the love we’re looking for, there are deep survival concerns going on, and that has us have a tendency to conform or to change ourselves, and not stop and recharge because we’re afraid if we do that, we won’t be able to continue on, or we’ll be left behind. I love your metaphor for the gas station. With my electric car, there’s only so far I can go before I have to recharge the battery, and it’s okay to stop and do that. It’s not just okay. It’s necessary.
Hearing you share so much, I feel you have so much clarity. I want to send you the transcript of this episode just to be like, there it is. You have your niche, and it’s all there. I see it all. You’re a living example of the process of unveiling yourself. Having been in the creative world in the entrepreneurship world for so long, I’ve gotten to the point of TikTok, and I have 11,000 followers. When you mentioned the 2,500, I don’t feel like 11,000 is that much. To me, there’s no difference between those two numbers. We have been caught up in the measurements that make us feel like, just get to 10,000, it’s going to be this different. I can tell you firsthand it isn’t that different.
It brings in more stress because people then start pretending that they value you more because they see your numbers. I’ve had that happen to me in my career of any external metrics that somebody could see from my accounts. People start to pretend that they like you and value you, and they clearly want something. It happened right before we started doing the interview. I had someone reach out to me and do a bait-and-switch in a way that made me feel uncomfortable.
They’re like, “We want to interview you.” I was like, “Cool.” After I said I was interested, they’re like, “We also want to be on your show.” I was like, “I get where you’re coming from. You want to swap and do that. You started by saying that you wanted to interview me.” There was not even a pause. People sometimes lose sight of we need to build a connection before they ask for something from somebody.
When you’re going to the mutual aid side of things, I feel you on that because so much can come out of giving and taking from one another. Sometimes equal, and sometimes you give more than you get, and that’s okay. It’s absolutely beautiful, but to try to convince somebody that it’s conditional rubs me the wrong way. That stuff, unfortunately, happens the more successful you become, and that’s the trade-off.
There are benefits to “being smaller,” and there are benefits to “being niche down.” Sometimes it’s about meeting ourselves where we’re at and feeling that’s enough and going back to that Lindy West quote of just deciding that you’re valuable, and that is true. It doesn’t take any external measurement because there’s a cost to the external measurement that might not even serve you.
That is worth getting your journal out. Honestly, pausing the episode right here, if I could invite the readers to do so to sit with that for a minute and take advantage of the fact that the rest of this episode will be here, or take a moment and process it and then come back. Take a chance of inviting, doing replays, and sharing with friends and everything. Take that moment and digest that.
Another point that quotes brought up for me talking about neurodivergence as it relates to creativity was my coping strategy. It was how I survived in these spaces for so long, being able to contribute creatively, have an interesting take on things, and problem-solve. Here is it at a pretty presentation that I hand drew because this is what I do. It goes beyond social media as far as having that worth and being able to do it.
The interesting thing about TikTok is they’re mirroring neurodivergence. They’re encouraging people to be a little like ADHD brain, drop all these ideas, like a spitball, tell a story, and make it interesting. It’s literally what I’ve done every day. I’ve been told that I’m all over the place and messy, and you get on TikTok, and it’s like, “She’s quirky, relatable.” For real? Where were you in high school? In these spaces of acceptance, there are true pockets where we see how valuable we are as creatives. It gets silent.
During those silent parts, we have to hold on and have those anchors to the acceptance. There are those patches of sunshine where people get it and might not get it forever. We might not be able to contribute that way forever, but there is a mellow hum in your creativity that allows you to show up in spaces and get that ring. Even in the times when you’ve convinced yourself that it’s silent and you are not good enough, or your art or whatever project is a reflection of whatever you’re going through, just go through the fields, do what you have to do, take care of yourself, and trust that it’s going to return.
It might be different, and it might look funky. It might take some adjustment, but unfortunately, the cheering or the ringing won’t be as loud all the time. , but that doesn’t change your value. Even TikTok, the algorithm, the way it shifts, pivots, moves, the keywords that it wants you to say, or a couple of months ago, you could say LinkedIn bio, and everybody was saying, “Do not make content without saying LinkedIn bio.”
Months later, it’s like, “Never say this phrase ever again, or you’ll get shadowban.” For those of us that are a little late to trends, I finally got the courage to say it, and now you’re telling me it’s wrong. It’s the consistency you have to channel inwards and fine-tune that voice because that’s what’s going to be the true champion. I call myself the wellness champion, but the true champion is you. Hopefully, my voice will be able to ring through to some true things, and you will carry that with you. I can pass the baton and say, “You’re the champion now. Go ahead and prosper.”
Whenever you need to come back and have that conversation, the gas station, whether you’re getting gas or some snacks, favorite snacks, the best snacks, or whatever you need on your journey, take a moment, decompress, pause, and let me pour love into you. Trust that I’ll take time to recharge myself, so you don’t owe me anything, or it will find its way back to me and that you can carry on with your journey and pay it forward. I have a lot of thoughts about the world that we can tap into. We have this agreement we don’t deserve to be there, or we don’t deserve this shine, but we do.
Tiffany, it’s no wonder you love quotes so much. I don’t know what came first. You are full of great quotes. It’s so many things that my brain can’t even keep up with the powerfulness of the things you’ve said. It’s a beautiful thing to witness because there’s profound wisdom and how you think about things, explore them, honor yourself, and pour love into other people. It’s a deep gift that you have that witnessing has been lovely. I want to be there to support your endeavors however I can. I’m so in this with you.
My hunch is that what we’ve been talking about is likely to become a trend or a number of things we’ve mentioned. Not saying that we’ve got the answers, but I have a feeling based on burnout being so intense for people that they’re going to start yearning for this. You might be very ahead of the game and the work that you’re doing. Staying on the path that you’re on is going to be so important, regardless of if it ever becomes a trend. Who cares? It could happen. It might not. Regardless, you are helping people.
You’ve helped me. I’m sure you’ve helped the readers on so many different levels. You help people on TikTok regardless if your videos go viral or however many followers you have. I want to be that reminder of the impact that you’ve made. It also seems like it’s just the beginning. You’re getting started with this, you’re clarifying, and you’re building your foundation. I feel delighted to witness that unveiling for you. Thanks for taking the time with me and the readers.
Thank you so much.
Welcome. For the reader who might be feeling eager, Tiffany, what’s the best starting place if they want to jump into everything? Should they go to TikTok to begin? Do you have a website landing page we should send them to first? Making it simple, what’s the next step from here?
TikTok and Instagram. Hopefully, it will be revived by the beginning of 2023. TikTok is where I show up the most truthful and the most comfortable with showing up as my full self. Therefore, TikTok is the wellness champion.
Perfect. If you’re not on TikTok, it’s wonderful that you’re on Instagram too. Tiffany. I have a feeling it’s a very short period of time before the majority of people are on TikTok, but I’m also already starting to think about, “What’s going to come after TikTok? What’s the next thing?” We’ll see. I always like to remind people you don’t even have to have a TikTok account to watch videos. You can watch them in the web browser. You don’t have to sign up. You can open up on your phone or computer TikTok and scroll through videos like Tiffany’s without ever having to be part of the platform. There’s no excuse.
It might be better to individually pick how you consume that content.
Yes, exactly, for your well-being. It might be something I’ll experiment with as we enter 2023. This episode is already out in 2023, but Tiffany and I are still in this moment in 2022, so there’s a lot to consider about what’s next for us. I can’t wait to see what that is for you, Tiffany. Thanks again for joining me.
Yes, thank you.
About Tiffany Richardson
I am Tiffany, The Wellness Champion, and I want to help you G.L.O.W. (Get a Lifestyle of Wellness). I am a multi-passionate creative, yoga instructor, and a champion for wellbeing. My journey to wellness had a shattering start. In 2019, my mom died. In one of our last conversations, she told me that she wanted me to be happy. I realized that I needed to take responsibility for my happiness and healing. I fell into an unhealthy pattern of navigating through life, trying to be invisible and play small. I was never too excited or too angry (truth is, I suppressed my emotions and became numb).
During my grief journey, I learned more about myself. I journaled, meditated, and started to explore the things that I love to do. I realized that I love helping people discover ways to do more of what they love. I have merged my experience from life’s lessons, teaching, and being an out-of the-box thinker to create workbooks and workshops to help you overcome obstacles and establish self care routines that are authentic to you. I might not have the perfect solution, but I can help you find your starting place. Your journey matters to me.
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