"Overcoming Impostor Syndrome" With Anna Tyrie

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Into the Story
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Join Anna Tyrie in this enlightening quiz as we explore strategies for overcoming impostor syndrome 🌟 Test your knowledge and gain insights on building confidence and self-belief 💪 Don't let self-doubt hold you back any longer - take the first step towards empowerment today! 🌈 #YouAreEnough

Which psychological challenge did Anna Tyrie struggle with during her time at the Royal Academy of Music?

Impostor syndrome
Generalized anxiety disorder
Social phobia


[00:00:00] Bree: What am I doing here? I don’t belong. I’m a total imposter and sooner or later everyone’s going to find out. Feeling not good enough even when you are, this is imposter syndrome. Hello, it’s your host, Bree,

[00:00:43] And today on the podcast, we have Anna Tyrie. Anna is a professionally trained actor, pronunciation coach, and the founder of English Like A Native, a podcast and YouTube channel with over 1 million followers. Anna is originally from a small town near Liverpool in Northern England called Southport. Later she moved down to Birmingham and eventually settled in London. Early on in her life, Anna discovered that she loved to perform.

[00:01:23] Anna Tyrie: I want to move people with . My voice with my storytelling. I know that it’s not an easy career, that maybe there’s not much money in it, but this is who I am. This is my soul. Anna decided that she wanted to go to one of the most prestigious music schools in the UK and Europe, but she felt that she wasn’t good enough.

[00:01:50] Bree: Please make sure to click the follow button on your podcast app so that you never miss a new episode of Into the Story. And as always, it’s free.

[00:02:03] Okay. It’s time to look at five words and expressions that Anna uses in today’s story. The first one. is. To nag, N A G. So to nag is to keep asking or reminding someone to do something, often in an annoying or persistent way. For example, he always nags his sister to clean up her room. Or she nagged her friend to come to the concert with her until she finally agreed. To nag.

[00:02:47] Next, to give it a go. So if you give it a go, it means that you try something or you make an attempt at something. For example, I’m not sure if I can ski, but I’ll give it a go. Or she wasn’t confident about dancing in public, but she decided to give it a go at the talent show. To give it a go.

[00:03:21] Next, to be blown away.

[00:03:27] So if you are blown away, it means that you are extremely impressed or amazed by something. A similar expression is to blow your socks off. So, for example, when she saw the sunset over the mountains, she was blown away by its beauty. Or the performance of the singer blew my socks off, it was absolutely incredible. To be blown away.

[00:04:03] Next to not mince one’s words. So mince is spelled M I N C E. If someone doesn’t mince their words, it means that they speak very directly, and honestly, even if they upset people by doing this. For example, she never minces her words. She tells it like it is, even if it’s uncomfortable. Or in the meeting, he didn’t mince his words and offended his boss. To not mince one’s words.

[00:04:41] And finally the underdog. So the underdog, this has one word.

[00:04:48] is the competitor or a participant in a competition or conflict who is expected to lose. For example, despite being the underdog, the team fought hard and won the championship.

[00:05:01] Or the small startup company, seen as the underdog in the industry, surprise everyone by outselling its larger competitors. The underdog.

[00:05:15] So this story has lots of incredible vocabulary. It was actually really difficult for me to pick just five.

[00:05:24] But if you go to our website IntoTheStoryPodcast.com, you will find an extended vocabulary list. You’ll also find the transcript and a quiz to test your listening comprehension. Okay. It’s that time, let’s get Into the Story.

[00:05:45] Anna Tyrie: Growing up we didn’t have very much. Um, my mom was always struggling to entertain us, so we were always just making our own play, making our own fun, and I remember just being obsessed with music videos. Madonna particularly, and, um, dressing up. We had this huge dressing up box with old clothes and things that we’d always be, be putting on and constantly nagging.

[00:06:12] My mum to watch me do my show. Watch me, watch me, watch me. And then my mom got me the best Christmas present one year. It was something I’d never even thought about, never expected, hadn’t asked for, and it was a karaoke machine, and when I opened it, I nearly fell to the ground. I was just like, oh, this is the best thing ever. Because I loved singing, and I always wanted to be just stood on the stage creating magic with my voice, and, and that inspiration actually came from when I was, I don’t know, maybe eight years old, my father took my mother and I to see West Side Story.

[00:06:55] it was the first time I’d ever been to the theater and I remember sitting up in the gods, so the gods being the, the highest, circle away from the stage. So we were a long way away from the stage. We could barely see an any of the people, any of the actors. They started singing, and I remember being moved to tears as an 8-year-old, being moved to tears by these teeny tiny little people that were so far away from me, I didn’t know them, and their voices made me cry.

[00:07:27] And I thought, wow, that’s real magic. I want to be able to do that. I want to move people with my voice with my storytelling, that’s what I want to do. And so from that point on, I’d been obsessed with this idea of being a singer

[00:07:44] So I’m 16 years old. And I didn’t really have any specific academic talents at that point. But my mom said You have to do something sensible. So I started college doing things like a level maths and science and all the sensible things,

[00:08:07] And I just thought to myself, what am I doing? I’m really unhappy. I want to be doing performance. I know that it’s not an easy career, that maybe there’s not much money in it, but this is who I am. This is my soul.

[00:08:20] Bree: Anna decides to drop her math and science course and started doing acting and voice classes. And eventually she ended up in drama school.

[00:08:32] Anna Tyrie: What they do at drama school here in the UK is they strip you down.

[00:08:36] So they break you down. They break down all the anxieties and self-criticism that you have, they try and strip all that away, and they make you find your inner child again

[00:08:48] with this sense of play and openness and trust.

[00:08:53] Bree: At drama school, Anna meets Kate and Kate had a natural talent for singing. Her voice was beautiful. And they enjoyed their three years at drama school together.

[00:09:08] Anna Tyrie: And then in the last year of our three-year acting course, we had a new singing teacher and this lady was

[00:09:18] She was like a lioness. I always think of that because she had big, curly red hair and she just, she’s just a big character. And she’d come in, and she was warm but confident, and she took us, like, you know, scared little children and said, right, come on, let’s find your voice. Let’s really make this work.

[00:09:40] She would bring in a couple of guests to work with us. And I remember she brought in this chap who had been working in the West End. And, um, he did a workshop with me where I sang about a song about being a mother and, um, struggling with my child and it made him cry.

[00:10:01] And he’s like, wow, you’ve got a real talent for storytelling through song. And that’s the first time anyone had ever suggested that my voice was nice or that I could sing and move people in the way that I’d always wanted to.

[00:10:19] And so at this point, it’s my last year. And the final year show, I was cast in the musical. So I’m put on stage and I, it’s the first time I’m having to actually perform in front of a big audience as a singer, and it was terrifying.

[00:10:36] Absolutely terrifying. I was like, at some point, my voice is going to crack. Everyone’s going to laugh at me, or they’re going to wonder why on earth I’m on stage singing. It was okay. It, it went by. It was fine. Nobody booed me. My voice didn’t crack. But I did feel completely out of my comfort zone. I felt out of control.

[00:10:56] I didn’t really know what I was doing with my voice, and I thought that’s a really scary experience. So let’s just focus on the acting. So I leave drama school and I focus on my acting career. My best friend, went straight into another course at the Royal Academy of Music, this very prestigious conservatoire in London, and one of the best conservatoires for music or musical education in Europe. Everybody wants to get in there. There are thousands of people who apply and hundreds of people who get to the audition stage. And every year they take about 30 students.

[00:11:37] Anna Tyrie: So my friend got in and I was like, of course you did. And every week we’d be on the phone and she’d be telling me about the amazing days that she’d had singing, dancing every day. And I was just wishing that I could be there with her.

[00:11:56] But instead, I was out on the road touring. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my acting days. I was doing Romeo and Juliet and Pantomimes and Children’s Theater. That was great fun, but I really felt like I was missing something.

[00:12:12] So coming up to the end of my first year out of drama school and I thought, do you know what? I want to go to the Royal Academy of Music. I am never, ever in a million years going to get in, but I want to go. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to apply, I might get an audition.

[00:12:35] Then I’ll go to the audition, and they’ll turn me down, and then at least I can say, I tried, and then I’ll feel better because I tried, and it didn’t work, and that’s okay. If I’m really good, I might get a recall, and then I can say, I got a recall for the Royal Academy of Music. So this was my plan. This was the way that I was going to make myself feel better, was just to confirm that I wasn’t good enough just to give it a go.

[00:13:01] So I paid my money, I think it was like 70 pounds to do this application. And normally when I’ve auditioned for anything else, I’m terrified because I really, really want it. With this audition, I wasn’t terrified because. I knew there was no chance that I’d get it.

[00:13:21] So I thought, well, I paid 70 pounds. I’m going to treat this like a singing lesson and make the most of it.

[00:13:27] Bree: Anna feels good. She went to the edition, sang her songs, did her monologues, but now she has to put it out of her mind.

[00:13:36] Anna Tyrie: And that’s that Christmas, I was doing a pantomime. So I was up on the coast of the UK in the middle of nowhere playing Snow White, I think it was, and still waiting for my letter of rejection to come through. And then one day mid-show, I was having a little break. I was waiting for my call to go back on stage and I have a phone call that I’ve just missed, and I see it and I thought, oh, why am I getting a call from home?

[00:14:03] I told them to call me when my letter arrived. Maybe they’ve got my letter from the Royal Academy. So I give them a quick ring and I say, look, I’ve got five minutes before I have to go back on stage. What’s going on? What’s happening? Oh, your letter’s here. It says Royal Academy on the front.

[00:14:22] Do you want me to open it? And I was like, yes, yes, please. Maybe I’ve got a recall. Maybe. Maybe. So they open it up and she reads to me. So they say, thank you so much for attending your audition. Lots of people applied this year, and then this is what they normally start with. And then they go on to say, but unfortunately, but the words I hear are not, unfortunately, the words I hear are, and we’re very pleased to tell you that you have been offered a place on the course. And I was like. What, sorry? Um, uh, what? I was so blown away by the fact that I hadn’t got a recall. I’d been offered a place from that one audition. Little me, who is not good enough, who doesn’t have a good enough voice, who’s never done any singing, auditions, or singing training before, has been offered a place, one of the 15 places in the Royal Academy of Music.

[00:15:30] This has got to be a joke. And so she was like, okay, I’m going to have to go now. And I was like, yeah, I’ve got to go on stage. Now. I’m literally shaking with just shock and excitement. I go on the stage, and I’m doing my next little scene, and then the reality starts to sink in a little bit of. Oh my goodness, now I’ve got to find the money to pay for this course.

[00:15:56] Because I hadn’t thought about the reality of how I’d actually, you know, physically be able to do this because it’s an expensive, uh, master’s degree. I’d have to move to London, which is a really scary prospect because when you don’t live in London, and you’re a young person. Actually getting to London is quite hard.

[00:16:15] It’s an expensive city to live in, and it’s a really busy city. So for little me, I was like, ooh, I don’t know how I’m going to make this work. It’s really scary.

[00:16:25] Bree: Anna had 10 months to prepare after receiving the offer to go to the Royal Academy of Music. She has to work very hard to find the money to go, but with help from different organizations and by borrowing some money, she managed to pay her way to London.

[00:16:47] Anna Tyrie: And I got to London and I arrived at the Royal Academy of Music. I’m like, I’m here. On the very first day, when you get there, they take you into the theater. There’s a beautiful theater inside the academy, and they take us all onto the stage, and they said, okay, we’re all going to introduce ourselves by singing a song.

[00:17:09] And they get up one by one and, you know, blow my socks off with how good they are. And then I get up and sing my song. And I, I really had this, and I still do struggle with it, but I have this difficulty with imposter syndrome, huge imposter syndrome.

[00:17:29] Just feeling like I didn’t deserve to be there, like I wasn’t good enough to be there. From that very first day, I had to show time and time again who I was and why I was there. And people were nice. You know? They reacted to me in a way that was very lovely. Oh, that was a great song. Oh, that was lovely. I loved that. And I felt like, okay, this is all right. My voice is okay. People think I’m okay. And then by week two, we were allocated our singing teachers. So you get one singing teacher for the entire year who looks after you.

[00:18:05] And so I’m put with this, this chap Graham. Lovely Graham, and he doesn’t mince his words, at all. So we start with the warm up and we start working on my audition song. And then he stops playing towards the end, and he looks at me and he says, Anna, how did you get in?

[00:18:25] Uh. Sorry, what? He said, how, how did you get into this course? He said, you realize that you sing like half a tone flat all the time. You are just flat. So I’m really surprised if this was how you sang on your audition. I’m surprised that they let you in. I mean, I’m sure you are a lovely performer, but that we need to really sort this out.

[00:18:48] And was a bit of a shock because he was the first person who was honest with me. You know, everyone else had been polite, and he was the first person to actually confirm my belief that I wasn’t quite good enough to be there.

[00:19:07] It does hurt. It’s like a punch to the gut when someone tells you that, you know, your voice, the thing that you feel most nervous about showing, is not very good.

[00:19:19] But that really inspired me then. To start working hard. I was like, okay, I am the underdog. Okay? I am not going to come out of here and get a leading role in the West End. That’s okay. But I can make the most of this opportunity and I can be better. I’m going to learn from the best. I’m going to be surrounded by the best.

[00:19:40] So this is going to be a whole year of being scared, of feeling uncomfortable, but if I just stick to it, then who knows what could happen.

[00:19:54] Bree: It was tough. She worked really hard. And every week she had to perform in front of the Head of musical theater, w ho is well-known in the singing industry. Her name is Mary Hammond.

[00:20:10] Anna Tyrie: She sits there and just shakes her head and yawns. And tells you exactly what she thinks of you. And every week I had to get up and perform a different song for her and in full performance as well.

[00:20:23] So you might be doing a dance routine with it, or you know, really telling a story and I get shivers thinking about having to get up and do that class every week. But, you know, it was, uh, it was a period of growth and self-discovery. Then when we got towards the end of the year and people start thinking about what comes next, you know, some opportunities start arising.

[00:20:50] People coming in from the BBC or television production studios coming in saying, we need singers for this, we need singers for that. Initially, when I heard about these people coming in to audition us for things, I was like, hmm, well obviously I’m not going to get into that.

[00:21:09] I’m not going to be doing that. I’m not the better one in the year. There are so many great singers in this year. I’m not going to be offered that opportunity.

[00:21:18] Then a huge opportunity came in to perform on the Royal Albert Hall with none other than Sir Elton John, and I was like, oh, that would be amazing. That would really be an incredible opportunity, not only to sing with Elton John, but also to perform on the Royal Albert Hall. Not many people get that opportunity.

[00:21:47] So I auditioned for that, and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity and the Royal Albert Hall was sold out. There is nothing, there is nothing that comes close to the feeling that you get walking out onto the stage at the Royal Albert Hall to a packed Royal Albert Hall and performing next to Elton John. I remember looking out into the audience and just thinking, it’s like looking out at the stars because it’s such a vast space. It’s so dark out there, and you can just see a few of the spots of the lights, and it was like looking out at the universe, at the galaxy.

[00:22:30] It was, it was just such an overwhelming and Incredible experience. And from that point on, I thought, you know what? I can’t tell people that I’m not a very good singer anymore because I’ve just graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and performed on the Royal Albert Hall with Sir Elton John, and I’ve performed on television for a major television production as a singer. I think now it’s safe for me to say that I am a good singer and I should stop giving myself a hard time. So that was my, that was my big transformation. It was fighting through my imposter syndrome, telling myself to keep going no matter what.

[00:23:20] I didn’t think I’d get into the Royal Academy. I tried and I did. I didn’t think that I would be very good, but I get to the end, and I’m offered the chance to go on stage with Elton John. If you want something, often what stops you is you. Whatever you want, just give it a go. Because something amazing might happen.

[00:23:42] Bree: That is Anna Tyrie, the founder of the YouTube channel, podcast and website English Like A Native. The next time that you hear yourself saying I don’t belong here, take Anna’s advice: even if you feel afraid, maybe especially if you feel afraid, then just be brave and try. Anna has a lot to say about fear and bravery.

[00:24:11] And she invited me on her show to talk about it, and I told her some of my own fears. So, if you would like to hear that conversation on English Like A Native, then follow the link in the show notes.

[00:24:25] Okay folks, if you would like to join our community and hear me go further into the psychology side of each episode, and also speak more personally about the lessons that I learned from our storytellers, then join our newsletter, just visit IntoTheStoryPodcast.com and click subscribe.

[00:24:46] It’s totally free. Okay. That’s all for today. Until next episode, I hope that you have a good time or at least a good story to tell.

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