Minimize Imposter Syndrome
In this episode, my guest Felicia Hatcher shares the lessons that she has learned on her journey – particularly regarding imposter syndrome and how we can unleash our epicness by understanding our zone of genius.
About Felecia Hatcher
Felecia Hatcher-Pearson is the Co-Founder Blacktech Week, Code Fever, Tribe Co-work and Urban Innovation Lab. She is on a mission to rid communities of innovation deserts by working with community leaders and government officials to create inclusive and diverse tech/startup ecosystems.
Code Fever is an initiative connects minority led startup founders to capital through their VC in Residence program, tech skills training for African American and Caribbean youth and young adults in the areas of technology and entrepreneurship through full stack development coding boot camps, in school programs and an annual week long emerging technology summit called BlackTech Week and in 2018 launch Tribe Co-Work and Urban Innovation Lab to provide innovation hubs in Black Communities. Hatcher has raised over 3 million dollars to support Code Fever’s work which sits at the intersection of economic development and inclusive innovation.
As an Author, Social Entrepreneur and the former “Chief Popsicle” of Feverish Ice Cream, Hatcher was named one of the Empact 100 Top 100 Entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by the White House and Kauffman Foundation in 2011, a 2014 White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity, Ruth Shack Honoree, 2017 Comcast/Nationswell Tech Impact Allstar, a Black Enterprise 2017 TechConnext Game Changer and 2016 Innovator of the Week, Essence Magazine Tech Master, and featured on the NBC Today Show, MSNBC, FORBES, INC, The Cooking Channel, & Grio’s 100 African American’s Making History.
For 7 years, Felecia ran Feverish Pops a Miami based gourmet Popsicle manufacturing company with clients like Google, Airbnb, PayPal, Cadillac, Adidas, and Wholefoods. The VC backed company had a huge social mission and donated to build community programs, which is where Code Fever was launched in 2012. Before launching Feverish and Code Fever, Hatcher worked as a marketing manager at experiential marketing agencies for technology and gaming companies Sony, Nintendo, Wells Fargo 2nd Life Video game as well as the NBA as the front office Marketing Manager with the Timber wolves/Lynx during its championship winning year. A globally sought-after keynote speaker presenting engaging talks at Walmart HQ, Google London, United Nations, White House Young America Series, Girl Scouts of America, SXSW, Coca Cola HQ, FBLA, DECA, Knight Foundation, TEDxJamaica and countless startup events, colleges and universities. Hatcher is also the author of 6 books
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Kerry-Ann: Hey everyone welcome to another episode of carry on friends, the Caribbean American Podcast. I am excited today, I tell unnu I’ve been celebrating the five years all year. And I am excited to finally have this woman on the show. Felicia Hatcher, welcome to the podcast. How are you?
Felicia Hatcher: Thank you so much Kerry-Ann for the invitation I’m doing okay. I’m doing okay and congrats on five years.
Kerry-Ann: Thank you. Thank you. All right, so why don’t you tell the community of friends a little bit about who you are what you do, and Caribbean country you present?
Felicia Hatcher: Sure, sure. My family’s from Jamaica. And I work in tech, specifically around kind of tech ecosystem building. And so kind of creating programs spaces, policy and resource, research, to better support building inclusive innovation ecosystems in South Florida, where we’re I’m based. And then all ultimately across the United States as well.
Awesome. All right, so I’m going to bring the community a little bit back. So a few years ago, I discovered a TEDx that you did in Jamaica about your failure story. And at the time, it wasn’t you had the ice cream, or what was that company, the
Felicia Hatcher: Fever, feverish pops,
Kerry-Ann: feverish pops. And I was like, oh, that’s a novel idea. So, you know, bring us just give us a little bit of that background and how that kind of got you to where you are today?
Felicia Hatcher: Sure, sure. So I ran a gourmet popsicle and manufacturing company with my husband, Derek, for seven years here in Miami. Prior to that, I worked for some major corporation. I worked in corporate America, and for some technology companies, mostly on the marketing side product launch and then experiential marketing. So for the NBA, I work for the Minnesota Timberwolves as a front office marketing manager for the Minnesota Lynx. Florida girl in Minnesota did not survive there long. I worked for Sony launching the Sony eBook reader as a regional marketing manager for them had a staff of about 300 between three states promoting a product that arguably should have been the iPad but you know, we know the iPad no one knows anything about the Sony eBook reader but whatever. And then also for Nintendo launching and on the product launch and experiential marketing team for the Wii Fit board and then the Wii Sports Resort video game. And then I worked for Wells Fargo launching their Second Life video game as well. And so, really crazy experience as far as corporate America extremely fast paced, most of my jobs were 100% travel so I was on the road a lot. And I came up with this idea for starting and gourmet ice cream company and gourmet popsicle company after falling down chasing after and ice cream Truck in heels. Who does that? But me, and that was my Oprah aha moment when the economy tanked in 2008. I lost my job, my husband lost his job, same time from the same company, same campaigns we were working on, and decided to move back to my parents’ house at I think 24-25 ish. And just see where this crazy idea was going to go. I often tell people like if I could have found a job in my industry, but like no one was hiring like everyone was firing. I probably wouldn’t be on this podcast with you today Kerry-Ann, because I probably will be doing something completely differently. But that’s how the universe works. That’s how God works. And it kind of forces you sometimes, or puts all the pieces together for you to like really kind of stand in your truth and say, are you going to do this or not? And so that’s where feverish pop started. And we ran the company for seven years, we manufactured gourmet popsicles. We put alcohol in popsicles; we sold them to all kinds of crazy major corporations. So Google and PayPal, forever 21, Trump hotels, Capitol Records, Universal Records, Aveeno lotion, like I can keep going on and on. And like how all these major companies were our clients because we just used to do something really cool and really unique for them. We did a lot of branding of the Pops anywhere from like, unique flavors. Sometimes putting their product into the flavors, hence alcohol pops to, you know, getting creating flavors that match all the colors of Google’s logo. Or, you know, it’s just really random company that we manufactured. We private label and we ran a store we shipped nationwide, all of that fun stuff. And we sold the company to a friend of ours Italian ice shop about five years ago. And before we sold it, we had launched a nonprofit called code fever. That was kind of marrying two worlds for us. So one kind of the technology side too, we started off just training our employees that were at our shop because we knew that they weren’t going to be in pops forever. We knew that we weren’t going to be in pops forever. And we wanted to train them in some of the most marketable skills possible. So code fever, black tech week, I own a co working space and urban innovation lab with my husband, and another partner, Starecks, all of that initially kind of came out of wanting to make our community stronger. I wanted to better support entrepreneurs, and then really just wanting to build a community. But most importantly, like wanting to say like, if anyone has an idea, they should know like, what the steps are, they should have a community that supports them. And then they should be able to easily connect with dollars in order to make that happen. And that didn’t exist when Derek and I were running feverish. And so like our kind of next iteration, outside of that we wanted to create an environment inside of South Florida, at minimum to that fosters all of that and essentially kind of rid of black communities of being innovation deserts.
Kerry-Ann: You know, just even though you said a lot, I felt it in my bone because how many people have been laid off and you’re faced with this? You know, I learned a long time ago, losing a job is trauma, because now you have to think about where you’re going to eat, where you’re going to sleep, how you’re going to take care of kids, and that stress that happens from that. But then there’s something where you experience that aha moment. And, and I feel like many of us could have those aha moments, if, like you said, we have resources and communities to support us when we feel like you know what, maybe me can try this, but I don’t know the first place to go. So let’s talk a little bit about you from that layoff moment. And where you felt like, where did it come from to say, you know, I, I think I can do this and how were you supported to do this and be confident in doing that because I think a lot of, a lot of people getting (from) this Aha moment to we’re executing this: there is confidence and there is support.
Felicia Hatcher: Right. Right.
Kerry-Ann: So you’re working on the support area, but we still need to do that internal work on the confidence, which is part of why I wanted you to be here. How do we unleash that epicness that we have in us?
Felicia Hatcher: Yeah, you know, I would love to say, I, once I got laid off, I was just like, I could do this. It definitely wasn’t that and I think it’s really important for people to be as candid as possible about like, what the actual full on process was, you know, it was it was an idea that I could not let go of, but in the interim of that I was still looking for employment back in my field. And it was like constantly not getting, you know, sending my resume out and not getting responses was just like I need to figure out how to make money. And so you know for me, it was like, I think we call it like an MVP now, right? A minimum viable product. We talk about all that that all the time in the startup world. But originally it was just That, like, let me just see, and kind of test this out by some moles off of Amazon come up with some flavors in my parents kitchen. And maybe I can just make a few extra bucks until like I found I found, like I found the job. And like that was really where my original like intention was like, let me play with this idea a little bit. I can’t let it go. So let me just kind of test it out and see if I people respond to it. But the real goal was just like to get another gig like back into the field that I really truly loved. Right? And so sometimes I tell people, you know, sometimes a good paying job will stand in the way of you following your dreams just as much as a bad paying job. Because like, that was me like I was making really I was making really, really good money. At 24 years old. 23, 24 years old. I was also like, you know, all expense paid all over the United States. Like I was living out of a suitcase like I was literally living a rock stars life without like knowing how to sing or play an instrument. It’s just like promoting product. And so I really truly loved my industry, but like I also just could not let go of this idea. And so it was really honestly it was that, it was just a lot of no’s kind of led me to finally saying yes to this thing that I couldn’t let go of. And that was a process and it was a slow process. You know it was, I did not have food experience. And so I had a long list of all these things that people tell you that you should have in place before you start a business. Like I didn’t have formal like food education, like none or food training, no culinary training at all, except for working at McDonald’s when I was 16 years old, and my husband worked at like subway, right before he went to Morehouse and like that was kind of it, did not have a lot of money. You know, we used the last bit of our savings and bought two carts off of Craigslist, didn’t even have enough money to get them professionally graphic wrapped. So we went to like Home Depot and bought spray paint and decals that were supposed to go on your wall, but we were just like we’re going to cut these out and like get the letters for the logo. And just literally start pedaling to events and like that’s how we started. And we started, like people responded to it. Timing is also really important Kerry-Ann because we were all like it was because the economy was tanking, like people were bartering more than they ever did before. People were like the whole DIY kind of do it yourself culture was sprouting up. And so us spray painting a cart didn’t look kind of ghetto, you know, or like foot or, like it just didn’t look janky it was just like, oh my god, this is really cool. Like, you guys just spray painted this. And it’s like, all of that timing kind of worked really well. And then social media had like, was just starting to sprout up and people were just starting to understand truly understand it as a business utility. And so like it worked really well for us in that sense as well. And so being spending a lot of time on the west coast and seeing like food trucks start to emerge. Food trucks were still like a not a thing in south in Miami, and in South Florida. And so this whole like Follow us on Twitter in order to find the Food Truck was this new thing that we essentially kind of introduced to people. And so it was a lot of kind of educating people in the very beginning, it was a lot of education and failing ourselves, to kind of get to a point where we started getting a footing.
Kerry-Ann: You know, I like that you said, failing ourselves because we are afraid of failure. You know, like, we don’t we spend a lot of time cooking up in the lab, and fantasizing how we want something to be and if it fails, you know, some people walk away from it. So let’s talk about how in like, how did you deal or adjust with some of that failure? And, you know, I’m pretty sure that having your husband was kind of there was a balance, both of you may not have been in the same failure funk at the same time. One was kind of, you know, encouraging the other while the other was in a funk and, you know, it flipped sometimes. So talk to me a little bit about how you managed failing and rebounding from the failures.
Felicia Hatcher: Yeah, you know, I think the first part: like failure is not final. You know, you have to iterate, you cannot get to true innovation without failing and making mistakes multiple times, like you’re constantly breaking things and trying to fix it. That’s how, like, that’s really kind of the definition of innovation is figuring out a new way of doing things. And the only way you get to figure out a new way of doing things is you also, in the same, like, instance, are figuring out the wrong way to do things. Right. And so it’s interesting, and I have a lot of conversations like I, I live in two worlds, right, like art, like from a culture standpoint, and like our community and like, kind of the startup community that is all about, like failing fast. And my pushback always to them is like, you know, failure is really different from a cultural standpoint. It’s different. It’s different from a race standpoint, it’s different from a cultural, it’s different from an ethnicity standpoint. So failure means different things, you know, and for our communities, it is this final thing because oftentimes you are the one right, you are the one that got a chance to have this opportunity, you are the one that got a chance to go to college. And so because we ingrain our communities and constantly saying like you are not allowed to fail, that’s why we’re not oftentimes seeing the massive innovation happen is because oftentimes we pick very safe careers. You know, we have certain careers that are known in our communities and respected and everything else is not. And so being able to kind of shift the narrative about like, what is possible, and even just like what success and failure looks like, because those two things are should be individualized and they’re not. So failure to you Kerry-Ann should mean something completely different than it does mean to me, and success to you should mean something completely different than it does to me because those are individual experiences and what you want and what I want and what everyone else want is all different. I think ultimately, there are certain things you want basic Maslow’s needs to be met.
Felicia Hatcher: You know, you want security, you want safety, you want to be taken care of you want financial stability, but how you get there, and how that aligns with you working in your zone of genius are two completely different things. And so I think starting from there is really important, but then also changing the conversation, you know, of like one being able to be at a place where you can be curious about the things that you want and curious about the things that you ultimately get to explore until you figure out like, exactly what your lane is, and the gifts that you ultimately want to leave on this earth. And the work that you ultimately want to do is definitely one thing, but I think this kind of image of what we think, you know, the white picket fence and the 2.5 kids and the dog like that was bust wide open and the when the economic downturn happened because everyone was told you just go to college and they’ll be a job waiting for you. And that job will afford you this kind of lifestyle. And I think over the past, what was that 12 years of the major economic downturn, people have looked at things a lot differently as a result of that. And so I think there are positive strides in that. But like failure is not final. You know, and I think because of technology, you get to kind of try things out, you get to test things out, where you don’t have to put like, you don’t have to necessarily bet the house in order to figure out if this thing is the right thing or not. And you can get to figuring that out and testing things out much faster, so that you can pivot, you know, and so like, I always tell people, like, hey, if you want to start a university, I can’t tell you can do that on a ramen noodle budget, right? But like, and that may take a long time. But what you can do is you can start teaching a course based off of like packaging up your knowledge that you have a you can teach a course on lynda.com or you can teach it to a course on teachable or kajabi and like all these platforms, and be able to test and iterate and see if your idea makes sense before you then decide to bet the house and kind of double down in this area that you aren’t necessarily sure on. Like, there’s these tools that allow us to kind of hedge our bets. So the failures aren’t as large. But again, like it, like I said before the beginning, like failure is not final. And I think that’s the biggest thing that we have to wrap our head around, about like that process and how we approach it.
Kerry-Ann: Yeah, you know, you know, a few episodes ago, I talked about, you know, how success is a long game. And even though I have this vision of what it would look like, you know, even that vision of the success is going to show up differently, you know, so I might imagine that, oh, it’s going to work out that way, but it may not. And I still have to look at it and say, okay, it may not work out exactly the way I want it to but where, what are the gains in this because there’s a gain in most things. Even if it’s a failure, you gained knowledge, like you said that, oh, this does not work. I will not try that again. So it’s, um, it’s reconciling, like you said, from a cultural stand point. I remember, we went to Haiti Tech Summit And I remember Dr. Claire Nelson says culturally, you know, non-people of color are told that they could, you know, fail and fail fast. You know, Caribbean people are like, Mommy, I get 90%, where is the 10%? type conversations
Felicia Hatcher: Yeah.
Kerry-Ann: So it’s almost like we always have to be at 100%. And if we are not 100% sure, we stay very safe. And that balance can happen with what you’re kind of doing, which is creating a community because our parents are choosing safe or recommending safe careers because that’s what they see. That is repeatable. And they’re like, Oh, yeah, over and over again: A doctor will make money, a lawyer will make money, but unless they’re, they could see examples of other people thriving in some unknown career what they can’t figure it out. That’s because we need that support from family and in and if they can’t see how something’s going to work, will have a hard time from explaining to the parents like what you do and the constant pressure like why you never go and do this? Why?
Felicia Hatcher: Yeah, yeah.
Kerry-Ann: So you know, I love that you brought that up. But that still shouldn’t stop us from like you said, you know while you have the job, just try a likkle ting on the side and keep trying it and seeing if it’s if it works. So let’s segue way a little bit to how do I, failure is not equitable across culture, or households, it’s not the same success is not the same. How do, how do we go internal and find that thing that’s epic about us and unleash that into this world? And, you know, make sure that we leave this earth giving our best and knowing that you’ve given our full potential as to what God has given us?
Felicia Hatcher: Yeah, so there’s a there’s a really good book that I actually Absolutely I have been enamored with since I read it and I was introduced to it. And this mastermind group that I was a part of, and it’s called the big leap by an author, the author’s name is Gay Hendricks. And so in the big leap, he talks about getting to ultimately like what your zone of genius is. And then like the struggle that people often have, just even kind of getting to that point in within their lifetime. So inside the zone, and inside the big league, there’s four quadrants to that. And it’s an exercise that people essentially kind of need to do in order to understand truly what they should be doing and kind of what their gifts are and like how to let you live and play in that. And so like the first zone of it is like the zone of incompetence, and like the zone of incompetence is like all the things that you do that you have no business doing, like you, you ultimately and more than likely you actually probably suck at these things. But you do it anyway. Why? No reason but you do it, but you suck at this. I think our educational system is to blame for us constantly feeling that we need to work on and perfect the things that we suck at. No, you suck at it, you suck at it, like be honest with yourself, you’re not good at this thing. And just be okay with that and move on. But double down on the things that you ultimately are good at. That’s where you should be spending most of your time. And you find people that are really truly good at those things to fill in in the inadequacies, inadequacies that you have. Right? So the zone of and there’s a zone of incompetence, but then there’s a zone of competence, like, you know how to do these things. Should you be doing them? Are they the best use of your time? No, but you do have a competence in doing these things, right. My zone I’m in my zone of competence is writing. Like I can write, I have won scholarships with writing. I have written five books, but if I ever had to be a journalist or had to be tied to a deadline, do not come looking for Felicia, I have failed you on that. I literally can only write when I am, like angry or like wildly passionate about something. Otherwise, it’s not getting done. And so like I run a blog, and it’s not consistent, but what I write is epic. But don’t ever hope you know what I mean. So that’s my zone of competence, like I know how to write. But it’s nowhere near what’s going to make me my millions and billions. And this is not the thing that wildly excites me. And so from your zone of incompetence, you have your zone of competence, then you have your zone of excellence. And your zone of excellence is you are actually really good at this thing, or the series of things. And you know how to do it. People often come to you and ask you to do that thing. And you probably make really pretty good or decent money like doing it. You probably make really good money doing it, actually. But there is this itch that you have as like a human being that’s just saying, this, isn’t it? You know, like I like it when I don’t, I don’t love it, and it doesn’t ultimately bring me joy. And if I were to leave this earth today, I would still feel like I have I did not play full out with all the gifts that I was given. And that takes you to your zone of zone of genius. Your zone of genius is saying I am the best in the world at this thing and saying that unapologetically and by and most people can’t ever own saying that which is a problem within itself. It kind of start skirting on like imposter syndrome. Yes. Because you have the receipts, you have the experience. You are brilliant in this area you can definitively say as a person, I am the best at the world of doing this. And when people call upon me, I always do my best work in this area. And it’s that cliché thing that people say where you like work, you can be working for hours and not even feel like you’re working at all and I was pushed back like no, you are actually work right? Yes. But it’s ultimately like you get lost in this type of work. That is your, those are your gifts. That is your zone of genius. And that is where you should be living and playing and unfortunately, people like spend their time on this earth, and they pass, and they don’t ultimately ever jump from their zone of excellence to their zone of genius. But that’s where you make your money. That’s where you that’s where you make it. And that’s where you ultimately like, have truly have like your legacy work is that. And then sometimes people list a few different things like when you kind of do a quadrant with yourself and like write all those things. Sometimes you have a list of or there are a few things that are in that box. And you really ultimately like look for what is the alignment? Or what is the commonality between all of those things. And so from that, like I kind of create, like, then there’s like your zone of opportunity, based off of like what you’ve learned within the four quadrants that gay Hendricks put together. And my thing is like looking at the alignment of all those things in your zone of genius, and then figuring out are these things that are always going to be hobbies for me, or is the opportunity to monetize this thing, and then being able to make a decision on moving forward that way?
Kerry-Ann: Yeah. I love that you said that. A few weeks ago, I was at a workshop at church. And the pastor was doing the session and he was like, you know, don’t operate at your floor, operate at your ceiling, because like, you know, he said, you know, delegate your floor be and that’s where your competencies are you can do it, you’re doing a good job at it, but delegate it to someone else so you can operate at your higher level. And because as you operate more at your higher level, there’s this, there’s this thing of abundance as you work at that higher level, you keep producing higher results and you keep developing other skills that are complimentary to your where you operate at your ceiling. And so when he said that it was just like, Yes, I get it. And so I love to delegate my sister in law keeps saying, you know what, Kerry-Ann is the best delegator. I send everybody out, but most Caribbean people, they delegate, your parents delegate because they’re sending you everywhere. They are never getting up to do anything. So I picked that up. So I love that you’ve brought that into our awareness and the imposter syndrome in this false sense of humility that sometimes we take on. Whereas, you know, own the fact that yes, I do this very well. And I’m owning that and not, you know, saying, Oh please, this was not even my best work blah, blah, blah, no, it was your best work is it was a good day, just accept it. And the other thing that I’ve learned over time if someone says, Hey, Kerry, I like your, I like when you do this, I don’t necessarily have to reply with a compliment. I should just kind of stand in the compliment they give me because that’s another sign that we’re not comfortable receiving the accolades that someone has truly seen in us, right. So if they’re like, hey, you did a good job on that. Like Yeah, like when you did that, too, and they’re probably looking at me like I didn’t ask you know,
Felicia Hatcher: Maya Angelou says don’t pick it up and don’t put it down.
Kerry-Ann: Yeah, yeah.
Felicia Hatcher: When like, when you receive like compliments and accolades, so she was, it was a, it’s a very awesome interview. I don’t know if you saw it, but like, it’s iconoclast, when Maya Angelou interviews Dave Chappelle, like they’re interviewing each other and she says this thing like don’t pick it up and don’t put it down and so she’s like when you pick it up, when you get the compliments, right? When you’re amazing, you’re awesome blah blah blah. You also have to pick it up when they say like you’re a nobody and you’re a failure and you’re a disgrace. She’s just like just when someone compliments you just say you she’s like, you just say ah, or just say I receive that.
Felicia Hatcher: And because oftentimes I think again, like and I speak a lot on imposter syndrome because I’ve personally dealt with it, I still deal with it.
Kerry-Ann: There’s different levels of it.
Felicia Hatcher: It’s just there’s different levels of it absolutely. And what you do is, you get better at recognize when it’s kind of creeping in so that you can kind of squash that and it doesn’t debilitate you and stop you from doing your work. But I think so,
No, I was about to say you know what I’ve been doing I’ve been praying to you know, and I’ve been praying a prayer to have the right people around me and I kid you not whenever I am going through my imposter syndrome moment, there’s this one woman that always sends me an email out the blue. And it’s like, she checks me and I always say God, thank you for sending her because it’s almost like every time I’m in a place of doubt, she comes in and she’s just and I mean, that’s not sustainable. But in the moment you need them because you could you could check yourself but there’s always someone, the moment you need that like reinforcement to say, yeah, keep doing that, that person shows up. And that’s just an amazing thing to have. But that I feel that comes once you get to an awareness that you know what, imposter syndrome is my procrastination tool here and whenever I don’t execute on something, the procrastinator imposter syndrome is what I’m using as a procrastination tool. So I don’t I word
Felicia Hatcher: So I call those people like, your ‘Are you kidding me’ friends, right? You don’t you don’t have a lot of them in your life. You know, if you’re blessed, you have like one or two. But they’re, they’re the ones that they allow you to vent because life is real, right. And if you’re doing anything of meaning, like life is going to punch you in the gut more, more times than you can ever imagine. Right. And that is, 1. It’s a human experience and 2. It’s just a big, big test. But like those people that allow you to vent and then just remind you like who you are, what you’ve accomplished, that you should not be thinking less of yourself that you need to go back tomorrow. And like show them who you are like those are gifts. You don’t get a lot of people like that, but they play such an important role in us like understanding when imposter syndrome is creeping in and then just reminding ourselves to value like who we are and what we’re accomplished because everything around us, you know, the products that people sell, are always going to talk about how inadequate you are. It’s a sales tactic. But when you are constantly bombarded with those messages every single day, it’s almost impossible to not internalize those things. And so oftentimes it happens a lot with like high performing women, but don’t be mistaken. It happens with men as well. It just the way that it manifests themselves is differently like a lot of times men will mask like their low confidence or just kind of uncomfortable with situations with bravado. You’ll see that a lot of times right. But oftentimes like it’s just like it’s you’re just constantly kind of questioning yourself but my whole thing with people and it’s just like you had the receipts, and what are receipts? Receipts are proof of purchase, of like the degrees you have, the experience that you have, every no that led to yes, all the resiliency, all the know how, your expertise or your genius like that is what, at minimum, people are just wanting you to show up because what’s happening is like you are asking the universe or whoever you pray to, to like shine on you opportunities. But then you get into rooms and then you shrink. And so you feel like you’re being missed on opportunities and people aren’t valuing you, but the time that you’re supposed to show them who you are, and the value that you can bring you shrink, because you’re so much in your head, like imposter syndrome is all in your head. And so like outside validation actually becomes really important whether people think that or not, and people argue with me that all the time, but I’m like, if you are so stuck into your head that you are not showing up, and you’re not taking up as much space as you’re supposed to in the world. You need outside validation to remind you who you are, and that you do need to show up and then you need tools that allow you to show up and do your best work because you’re doing it already. But the whole other side of that that comes a part of the world truly benefiting from who you are and your badassness are the things that you’re not doing and the ways that you shrink in the rooms that you walk into every day.
Kerry-Ann: So what is a tool? So I spoke about the person who, you know, affirms and the are you kidding me friends and friends that I have shown what is a tool that someone can use to help them because like I said, you know, the friends won’t always show up when you need them. You need to have your own resources to help you through those moments you’re shrinking.
Felicia Hatcher: Yeah, so it’s definitely Are you kidding me friends, right, having them on speed dial, having them saved to your favorites is one. Putting together a list, of I call it like your do epic-ish list. And it’s literally: write down a list of everything that you have ever accomplished. And you keep that somewhere that when you are having those dark moments when you are questioning who you are, when you are questioning even if you deserve to be in those rooms that you can pull it out often just time just put it as a note on your phone. So it’s always accessible because we take our phones with us and being able to look at that. Because it’s like, it’s in these moments where there’s pressure around us or people over talk us, or we miss the opportunity to share an idea that we know that we should, that you just can be able to easily like reference that like, Oh yeah, I’ve accomplished this and I achieved this and I’ve had this result. Even if you go back to like, when you played like youth sports, and you got like the participation trophies, like whatever you need to put on that list, definitely put on put on the list because those things really, really help you, I think.
Kerry-Ann: No, no, go ahead. I was gonna say they really do.
Felicia Hatcher: Yeah, and it’s such a simple thing, right? People often times we want overcomplicated ways of solving problems like no, you just need a reminder. Because you do know who you are, right? We get home. Like we dance in the you know, you dance like it but then you get on the dance floor. You don’t dance at all right? You just kind of become a wallflower and you watch so there are those moments when we spark and shine, but in the time that it matters against the goals that you are setting, those are the times that you have to do that that most. And then like you said, you know if it’s not your ‘are you kidding me’ friends, surround yourself with your tribe, with people who understand who you are that are doing the similar kind of work, that are going to wholeheartedly celebrate you and not hate on you. These aren’t necessarily the same as like your ‘are you kidding me’ friends, but this is just a like a while, like a mad tribe that like wholeheartedly supports and moves you forward but also allows you to be able to have really candid conversations. And I think like the last part of that isn’t staying in your lane, right? Because I think oftentimes, imposter syndrome sometimes seeps in when we’re doing things that we have no business doing, right? Kind of going back to a zone of incompetence and zone of competence. You know, sometimes those feelings that we have about being inadequate, is because instead of putting someone else on for the opportunity, we were being greedy, and we decided to do it. And so the feeling of inadequacies are right because that’s not what you should be doing. So staying in your lane and being able to put on other people so that they can share in like the wealth and the sharing the opportunity is also something that allows you to stop being and kind of sitting and feeling and grappling with imposter syndrome as well. And then just remember that you’re not like, stop giving all the credit to luck. You know, luck plays such a small role in comparison to when you are ripe and ready for opportunities. I think I see too many people kind of give things up to luck. And not saying like, this is truly the reason like I worked my butt off for this, like I truly deserve that. And then toot your own horn,
Felicia Hatcher: Like people don’t! We do not toot our own horn, there have been times where like, I work with entrepreneurs all the time, as the nature of the work that I do. And I remember having kind of going around this room and having everyone kind of introduce themselves and I’ll never forget this lady, and I was like, I was like I make people do this exercise called ‘the power because’ and it’s like you introduce yourself: Hi, my name is (). You say ‘I’m an epic expert in ‘whatever this one thing is’. And then you, you follow that up with a because statement. And because is like, all your receipts, this is not your time to be humble. This is your time to let people know why you are epic expert. And if you do the because part right, no one will ever question your expert statement, because you have let them know like, I got this degree from this school, I produced this results for this company that I work for. I produce this result, I was featured in this publication, I was awarded this thing, who’s going to question that? But what happens is like, you know, one of the ladies she was just like, yeah, I went to school in Boston. And you know, I worked for this company – didn’t say the company name. Price Waterhouse, okay? That’s a big deal.
Kerry-Ann: Yes, a huge deal.
Felicia Hatcher: Right. And what school did you go to in Boston? Harvard! Like, why?
Kerry-Ann: Like, you know, like you paid that money to say, Harvard’s name out loud.
Felicia Hatcher: You right? And so like, come on, you know what I mean? Like, why not say it’s not? It’s not like, it’s you’re not being arrogant you are you do you’ve done those things.
Felicia Hatcher: Where people begin to question people is like when people own up to or take ownership in things that they actually did not actually do.
Kerry-Ann: Well, here’s the other thing that I’ve discovered, right? So I found that I was doing something similar. And it was just me journaling, I love to journal and I write through I’m always reflective and introspective and I find that, you know, in maybe five out of 10, six out of 10 cases, the reason why some people downplay those things is because when I naturally show up as who I am, someone says “Oh, she’s a show off”, or she’s a this and it happens at a very critical time when you’re forming social relationships and so you learn to, if I show up and do what is excellent. This, this is just what I do naturally, I’m not even making an effort. It’s just what I this is this is me showing up every day doing this. It comes off this, feeling of rejection and not being part of a community because it comes off, “Why she always showing off? Why is she always?” you know, so you have those feelings and when you and what happens is sometimes when you are genuinely, genuinely around people who want to celebrate that, it’s very hard to reconcile if Felicia really genuinely supports me, or she, you know, she’s like those other people who weren’t really happy for me and even though I wasn’t doing anything extra, they just were mad, because I was smart enough to go to Harvard, you know what I mean? And so a lot of those internal work we have to, I mean, we can’t pay attention to it, but I as long as you identify that this is where you’re operating from, I guess those ‘you kidding me’ friends and the tribe, they kind of help you work through those moments. But I remember when I discovered that just by showing up as who I was, was a problem for some people, and then you start dimming your light because other people just didn’t like the way you shined.
Felicia Hatcher: that and other people’s problems, other people’s concerns. You are never your concern. Yes, never. Right. And that’s just it. And so oftentimes when we talk about the ego, we mostly talk about it being like this arrogant thing that we’re projecting. Right. And but we never talk about, like the internal ego of thinking that people are thinking negative things or talking about us. And oftentimes, that’s just not true. Like we make up these stories in our head all the time. Like if I say this, they’re probably thinking this. And as a result of what I think that they’re probably thinking, that they more than likely are not thinking, I am not going to show up as my whole self. And so you missed the opportunity. It’s not those other people, and if they have a problem with you, so what? Their problem is actually not you, it’s themselves.
Felicia Hatcher: So you’re going to deny yourself opportunities that have your name on it. Because of people that did not work as hard as you have a mental thought process about how you should live your life. That’s insane. And I’m saying it’s insane because I dealt with that, right? Like, oh, man, like, I’m not gonna do this because I do that, or I’m not going to read my full bio, because but I worked my ass off for that full bio. So if you think I’m bragging, that’s fine. That’s your thought. But what I’m not going to do is miss an opportunity that has my name on it, because the person that needed to know everything that I’ve done, did not know it, because I chose to play small because someone else that was not going to say no yes or no to this opportunity. Thought something of it. Yeah, like we have to stop that in 2020. Like that is it’s just it’s not okay, but we have been trained to think that and so what ends up happening is mediocre Bob gets the opportunity that has our name on it because mediocre Bob didn’t do anything.
Felicia Hatcher: But the little things that mediocre Bob did, he is shouting from the rooftops. Meanwhile, the person that has – 10 times the qualifications, the experience, the know how, the credentials, the receipts – as mediocre Bob is being passed up, is being underpaid and is continued to be passed up and kind of living the life that they should not be living, but mediocre Bob is like out here and living it. That’s not okay.
Kerry-Ann: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I wholeheartedly agree, and I remember reading about that, tooting your horn, that that’s something that you just have to do because it’s a matter – if you have a struggle with it – you just have to do it as a matter of survival. You just said it. You’re going to be underpaid when somebody else who’s going to be overpaid for something that they didn’t do. You are doing everything so I just love this conversation. Lot of quotables here because like you said, In 2020, we have to be rising to the level of our excellence that was in us, the gift that we were given, and that we need to utilize before we, you know, we die. And that’s the reality and how do we do more of that? So tell me a little bit more. I’m in New York, but you know, I have friends in South Florida. And, you know, I, we have a good amount of the audience in South Florida. Tell, tell us a little bit about, you know, code fever, how people could get involved, like, Who is it for? And?
Felicia Hatcher: Great, great, great question. And so, I mean, the easiest way to get involved or learn more about Code Fever is checking out our website, and it’s codefevermiami.com. We do work nationwide. And so whether you are a young person looking to learn computer programming, learn basic digital literacy skills, or just how to navigate a startup ecosystem, as someone of color like that’s, that’s our organization. And so we’ve trained over 4000 students in those three areas. We also our team, our awesome team, and our young people built out the Grinch video game in partnership with NBC Universal recently when the movie came out. So over three, close to 3 million students and teachers have been introduced to computer programming as a result of our game that we built off of on the Hour of Code website. And then the other side of that is just kind of strengthening communities and strengthening entrepreneurs to get better access to opportunities within the tech and innovation space. And so whether you’re a tech startup founder, we have resources, we put a conference together, we have a venture capitalists in residence program, that we have space, you know, and so ‘Space Called Tribe’ is a co working space and urban Innovation Lab as a kind of like a ‘taking up space’ in our neighborhoods and being able to have a space that is a magnet for innovation and resources and opportunities and dollars. That is that’s the work that that we do. And then just kind of overall just kind of changing the narrative of like who we think gets to be an innovator, who gets to think or you know works in or builds in the tech space is ultimately, like our big goal with it with the work that we do. So that’s us. That’s the easiest way to get involved. We do black tech weekends in nine cities across the United States now. And so that’s our work, that’s our work.
Kerry-Ann: Wow. Wow. That’s so amazing, and I am so glad you came on to the show to talk about just unleashing the epicness that all of we must do in 2020 and beyond. You know?
Felicia Hatcher: Thank you for having me here.
Kerry-Ann: No, no, this was so much fun. I’m so happy and looking forward to a black tech weekend. Normally you have it in February, that’s the first one or no, not correct?
Felicia Hatcher: Yeah, so we usually we usually do it in February. We’re not doing it in February this year because we are changing up the conference. We’re adding a research component to the work that we do. So that there are more data driven decisions that are made about an economic development standpoint within our community. So we’re, we’re doing that part first. And then we’re going to reintroduce the conference and in a different way later this year, and so we’re really excited about that. We’re just, it’s been very disheartening about the lack of research that is done about our entrepreneurs, and their mobility within the communities that they’re that they’re in all across the United States. And the fact that no one cares enough to get through the data sorting, right? Not even just the data because the data is being collected, it’s just being weaponized against us.
Felicia Hatcher: And so no one is actually using data to tell the stories of the prosperity of our potential, our innovation potential, our economic power, um, deeper than just saying “we are a trillion dollar buying power” but like not actually being able to use that data in order to actually affect change in policy in a positive way on a local state and federal level is like the new kind of work that we’re looking to do with black tech week, so that we can actually start seeing change start happening in our communities.
Kerry-Ann: You said a word, I feel you on that. So best of luck on that research, I’d be so happy to support it, because I just feel like there’s not enough and we already know that people of color, we drive culture, we are live trends. And because that is known, we don’t get access to the information.
Felicia Hatcher: Yeah. And then the right people aren’t collecting it either, which is the bigger part of the problem, right? And so…
Kerry-Ann: Because they have their own biases as well.
Felicia Hatcher: They have – they have their own biases, they have their own use for it. And then there’s a lot of misinformation as well. You know, like one of the things that I fight people on all the time and we do this exercise every time we do Black tech weekend in a city, is we asked people like this, this notion that that the black dollar only circulates, I think someone said like six hours within the black community. I like find the report, find the actual report from me online. And who commissioned that report? And what organization, whatever organization, what company, like find the source, and no one can find it. But is the thing that we constantly say about like our communities not being worth a damn. But it doesn’t exist. And so when you when you start seeing how often we talk about misinformation about our community, or how the sheer amount of data that exists that constantly tells us that we’re not worth anything. We are the highest number of this, we are the highest number of prisoners, we’re the highest uninsured, we’re the highest health despair, like all of this stuff, and I’m just like, wait, so where are we winning? Because if we talk about black women being the fastest growing sector of new entrepreneurs, and that is not being seen in other sectors. There is a problem, there is a big misinformation. And we have to be able to fix that and solve for that. And then most importantly, like we have to then start putting that into our normal conversations, and not constantly only believing the worst information about African American and Caribbean people, like that is not okay anymore. So like my thing for anyone, I think when you asked me about how people can get involved with our organization, I think outside of the programmatic stuff, is just do better research about us and share better messages about us and our potential. And then the organizations and the institutions that you are part of like press upon them to do better data collection and dissemination about our communities because we deserve that. If they take our dollar, they deserve to tell better stories about us. And it takes all of us collectively to be pushing upon the organizations and institutions that we are part of, that we work for, that we partner with in order to make that happen.
Kerry-Ann: Absolutely. Absolutely. And on that note, social media handles, where they can find you. And, you know…
Felicia Hatcher: I’m @ Felicia Hatcher on everything. So it’s easy for me to remember. So Felicia Hatcher on everything and then code fever and I’m black tech week on everything as well.
Kerry-Ann: Awesome. Felicia, thank you so much for being on the podcast and as I like to say at the end of every show, walk good.