Public speaker, executive coach and comedian Cally Beaton is creating waves in the world of podcasts. Her new podcast ‘Namaste Motherfuckers’ aims to bring Humour, Business and Self Care together – it’s out each Monday. With first Namaste season coming to an end soon, the podcast has two seasons already in a can and more is being recorded as we write.
The podcast features an array of celebrated and famous personalities talking about everything from politics, to their childhood, to success, to impostor syndrome. We sat down with executive coach, public speaker and comedian Cally Beaton to talk about her new podcast, diversity and being a female Vice President.
“You can bring all the things that you are good at into your next new thing.”
Multitasking and Transferrable Skills
With so many sides to Cally – Executive Coach, Comedian, Vice President of Viacom for ten years, Podcaster – we wonder whether all those skills add to one another or do they rather take away from each other and compete in some ways.
“It took me probably a couple of years as a stand up to realise that I might be able to bring everything I’d ever done together into one sort of persona.”
In her calm and pacifying voice, the podcast host revealed that when she first started it was in her forties. “I thought it was like a secret second life. Stand up was completely separate from corporate life. I used different name for my stage persona – Cally as opposed to Caroline – so that when people research my name, me they wouldn’t find out. Then some of my colleagues started to join the dots… It took me probably a couple of years as a stand up to realise that I might be able to bring everything I’d ever done together into one sort of persona.”
“One of the things I talk about on stage is that if you want to reinvent yourself – at whatever stage in life – you don’t have to downsize. You don’t get rid of that thing you did for 10 years. Instead, you can bring all the things that you are good at into the next new thing. I’m a big believer in upsizing.”
With inevitable changes brought about by the pandemic, the executive coach and public speaker has a hopeful message: “without minimising the trouble people have gone through, it’s also possible things could be better. Whether it’s me or anyone else in the world, you take what you’re good at with you and do your best in the next thing you do.”
Cally Beaton’s Take on The Impostor Syndrome
“It’s like comparing your insights with other person’s outsides.”
One of the topics that consistently comes up in her podcast ism unsurprisingly, Impostor Syndrome. “Impostor Syndrome is one’s inability to internalise their success,” explains Beaton to the Business Coaching Journal. She puts us at ease by citing the figures: “It’s very prevalent. Approximately ninety three per cent of world’s population will at one point or another feel like an impostor.”
“In words of Oliver Berkman, it’s like comparing your insights with other person’s outsides. And for whatever reason, the idea that we have to seem to know all the answers even if we are a hot mess on the inside and fear that we are going to be found out every minute keeps coming up in my podcasts.”
Cally Beaton, a trained NLP Master Practitioner and public speaker was able to dedicate more time to executive coaching thanks to the lockdown. Despite missing the comedy gigs, she admits to be happy spending more time on coaching. And she doesn’t just coach in person. The coach has recently lent her expertise to ScreenSkills online course for freelancers about Impostor Syndrome. “I think the more we speak about it, the more people will think ‘maybe I’m not such a failure’.”
“You never quite know how far you are away form a bad gig.”
And yet another insightful message from Cally Beaton below.
Speaking of the prevalence of the Impostor Syndrome, Cally adds: “people used to think that it more affected women than men and actually research would tell us that women might be talking more about it but if affects everybody regardless of gender.”
Public Speaking and Presenting Pep-Talk
“If you go into performing with an idea of perfection, you might be even too scared to try.”
Being a versed public speaker herself, Cally offers Public Speaking Coaching. We ask where does she get her confidence from when speaking in front of large audiences. “Nothing equips you to doing it like doing it.” She elaborates that one of the things that often scares people is “the concept of being perfect”. She advises to let go the idea of perfection if you want to be a public speaker. “Because there are so many variables. There is always that element of public may not like you or something not going quite right on the day. You never quite know how far you are away form a bad gig. There is a saying you never learn as much from a good gig as you learn from a bad gig. I think if you go into performing with an idea of perfection, you might be even too scared to try because you will fail. But it’s about failing better and failing forward.
And seeing it as quite positive creative thing is really hard. I am a perfectionist by nature but I’ve had to learn to let go of that thing because what I do on stage is far from perfect most of the time.
“You will fail. But it’s about failing better and failing forward.”
Top 5 Tips for C-suite Women from Cally Beaton
Seek out allies
Seek out for people who will sponsor you. Not financially but people who are going to help you progress within your organisation. Certain demographic groups naturally get traction through organisations just by default. And that still tends to be more men than women.
It’s taking women a bit longer for their natural networks to support them. So, as a senior female leader you need to actively think who are your allies who can help you, whether it’s a mentor or sponsor.
Speak about your experiences
I think it’s very important to show your vulnerability for any leader. But certainly as someone who’s been in senior position quite a while in media. When I started to dare to include elements of my own fallibility in my speeches and interactions with people, I think it probably gave permission for women looking at me as a role model to think “I don’t have to perfect. It doesn’t all have to be easy. I’m allowed to admit that some of it is difficult.”
make a decision even if it’s a difficult decision
When you are a leader, you don’t need to micromanage people around you, but you do need to know how to make a decision. And the reason you are getting paid a lot more than a lot of people at a lower level than you, is because you need to take those difficult decisions and you need not to be afraid to take them.
One day, one of those decisions might turn out to be a wrong decision and you might end up losing your job for it. But the very worst kind of leadership is indecision and cowardly. I think you are getting paid at the top to make decision.
Empower Your Team
Strong leaders will be recruiting people and developing talent that is very likely going to be better than them. So, when you are recruiting to be your second in command, or someone to head up part of your business, and you seen at an interview someone who has more knowledge than you and maybe more energy than you, you mustn’t be threatened by this person. You absolutely must go for that person.
Seek out strong people that challenge you rather than the people who are exactly like you.
When I was at Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central), we would need an opinion op people from the demographic we catered for. Mainly 16 to 24 years old. We had what we would call a ‘reverse mentoring’. Whereby younger people, newer entrants would help and advice on programming and creative decisions. Because they understood more intuitively what the audience would want to watch. When we knew it was working, was when we renamed it to ‘reciprocal mentoring’.
I like the fact that the most brilliant idea can come from the most unlikely place. Being willing to look for wisdom and promote wisdom from unlikely direction. When taking it back to gender, then we are also giving voices to younger women or women from demographic groups whose voices are less likely to be heard. By doing that, you have the humility to say “OK, you are not like me, you’re much younger than me, you don’t look like me, you don’t speak like me, you don’t have the seniority I have but I really want to hear what you have to say and I think I’m willing to learn form you.” That’s very important thing for women in senior positions to give platform to younger women.