Ever Felt Out of Your Depth?


August 1, 2022

I have just come back from a week off, having cruised around Norway which was fabulous. I am sure like many of us the only time I get to really read for pleasure is on holiday and one of my favourite reads in Norway was Catch Me If You can an autobiography by Frank Abagnale.

You may not have heard this name, but he was the man whose book was the basis of the Leonardo Di Caprio/Tom Hanks film Catch Me If You Can back in 2002.

It’s his story as a con artist, and boy did he do well. Between the ages of 16 and 20, he dropped out of school and travelled all over the world posing as a pilot for Pan Am, impersonated a Paediatrician at a Georgia hospital, passed the bar, and became a prosecutor for the Louisiana attorney general, taught sociology as a college professor, and forged two million dollars in checks in the late 1960’s.

He has since gone on to be a much sought-after advisor on the subjects of identity theft, scams and fraud working for the FBI in America.

Why am I talking about this I hear you ask? Well I wish that I had read his book a long time ago, as I could have learnt so much about this man during this time just exuded confidence despite being so out of his depth. I think if I had read this before we started to launch Three Sixty workrooms then I might have felt more comfortable.

Launching this venue threw me onto the London Coworking Scene. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone I have met has been incredibly kind and supportive but personally I felt uncomfortable. I felt I was too old in what appeared a young vibrant scene with people who had a vast knowledge way beyond my own. It was definitely an ‘its not you it’s me’ moment.

Here are three tips I learn from Frank Abagnole’s book.

Tip 1 – Try to relax and exude confidence

When you are in a situation where you feel like you are not in control, nervousness and even panic can set in—your heart races; your palms get sweaty. The feeling of being out of place consumes your thoughts.

As you look around the room, it feels like your inner dialogue is being broadcasted from your forehead, and that everyone else is focusing in on you. However, people are far less observant and attentive than you would think; on meeting new people they just are not tuned in to looking for differences, absences, and discrepancies.

Tip 2 – Look the part

Abagnale found that there was great power in a uniform. This was back in the day when flying was quite glamorous, and wherever he went in his Pan Am pilot’s get-up, people instantly afforded him trust, respect, and admiration.

I am not suggesting this!

Just that when you feel comfortable in how you look then you can cope better with situations. I think this has been one of the biggest switches post pandemic as people move to hybrid working there has been a more casual attitude to work wear which is a good thing obviously. Honestly I have struggled for years with this, but now just get over myself.

Tip 3 – Play Catch up

If you are thrown into a situation where you think don’t have the skills or knowledge to perform up to par, then you’re going to need to play catch-up!

Use every opportunity to gain experience and research the subject to ensure that you can speak with authority and impact. Actually, I found out that my insecurities about the new coworking space were unfounded I actually knew far more than I thought I did. The only thing that was holding me back was my own anxiety and fear of looking stupid.

So, what are we going to do to help with this feeling out of your depth that other businesses from the creator community might be experiencing.

Well from September we will be hosting the over 50’s creator club, a physical network for people aged over 50 who are in the creative head space and need to find like minded people. An opportunity to share and develop practice and to learn from experience, guest speakers and networking. We will be doing this with support from Brennan and Burch who are local artists who we have worked with for many years. I am really looking forward to meeting you all.

If you want to be part of the Over 50 Creator Club or have some ideas on how we can make it work, then do reach out our first get together will be at Three Sixty workrooms on Wednesday 7th September at 6pm. Logo to follow that is not my forte!!

If you wish to support or have any ideas then please contact me [email protected]