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Season 2 Episode 4: The Biggest Fan

In this episode, we’ll learn about the final character in the Happier Approach cast– the wise, self-loyal, and sometimes elusive, Biggest Fan. The Biggest Fan always has your back, but that doesn’t mean that listening to her is easy. Nancy shares her experience of learning to tap into the voice of the Biggest Fan through the encouragement of her husband Doug. Then, she speaks with actor Victor Warren, who embodies what it means to listen to that self-loyal voice in order to make your dreams come true. Finally, Nancy shares a conversation between herself and her husband Doug, where they talk about the true meaning of the Biggest Fan.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • All about The Biggest Fan
  • Tips for tapping into the self-loyal voice of the Biggest Fan.
  • Insight from actor Victor Warren.

For more information about Victor and his work:

Learn more about Nancy:

Transcript:

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Nancy VO: Hey guys, it’s me! Nancy Jane Smith. Welcome back to the Happier Approach, the show that pulls back the curtain on the need to succeed, hustle, and achieve at the price of our inner peace and relationships.

Today is the day we get to meet the final, and my favorite, character of the Happier Approach cast. In our yellow brick road analogy she’s like Glenda the Good Witch. Kind, encouraging, and somewhat elusive. She’s not the type to let you off the hook. She’ll still make you walk all the way through the magical land of Oz just to learn that the key to happiness was clicking together the shoes you were wearing the whole time. But in the end you’ll be glad you went on that journey. I’m talking about my wise, self-loyal Biggest Fan.

Like I’ve mentioned in earlier episodes– for a really long time I believed I needed the Monger to motivate me. I needed to be mean and belittling to myself or I wouldn’t accomplish any of my goals. But lucky for me my husband Doug has big Glenda the Good Witch vibes. When my Monger is running the show, he’s pretty much the real-world, human version of that kind, self-loyal voice of the Biggest Fan.

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ACT I: Nancy and Doug the Biggest Fan

Nancy VO: Doug and I were both in the basement. He was working and I was riding the exercise bike listening to a highly successful marketing expert talk about what I should be doing to market my business. Building a network, reaching out to people, and sharing what I do. 

That would all require me to put myself out there and be a little more extroverted, which I hate. But by the time I hopped off the bike the marketing expert had motivated me. While I did some post-workout stretches on the floor, I shared what I’d learned with Doug. I even shared how I was going to make it happen.

Doug didn’t say much. He just nodded along and listened intently.

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After our chat, I walked the 2 flights back upstairs to start my day. By the time I’d showered and dressed and parked myself in front of my computer in my home office…my Monger had started talking. 

You suck at networking—you are terrible at it. What do you have to share? Why would someone want to listen to you? You’ll seem so pushy and annoying like one of those horrible sales people. Ugh This is going to be awful.

As soon as my Monger was finished, my BFF stepped in: SCREW this “so-called” expert! This is just her opinion. What does she know?? Let’s just keep doing what we were doing. Passive marketing is where it is at.

By the time my Monger and BFF were done duking it out, I felt totally stuck. So I ventured back down the two flights of stairs to talk with Doug about it. I shared my doubts and the conversation in my head. And again, he quietly listened. Finally he said, “do you think networking more would help?” I said “yes”… and then started in again describing the debate between the Monger and the BFF. 

He cut in and replied, “Stop. If you think it will help, then go figure out how to do it. You can totally do this. Just stop debating.” He gave me a hug and turned back to his work.

Beat

With Doug’s back to me, I stood there stunned and a little pissed off. I turned around and walked upstairs with tears in my eyes. That wasn’t the response I’d wanted! I didn’t want to take action—taking action was scary! I wanted to keep debating. I wanted more coddling. More Sweetie I know it is hard. And what I really wanted to hear was this: you don’t have to do this. You can stay small and still run a business. Basically, you don’t have to believe in yourself.

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Believing in myself is something I struggle with. And when I talk about self-loyalty this is it in a nutshell: being able to have your own back. Intrinsically. Knowing that you are enough and that you’ll find your way.

When I’m striking out on my own, putting myself out there and doing new things that scare me it’s particularly hard to tap into that self-loyal Biggest Fan voice. What if you fail my Monger says. What if everyone rejects you AND your ideas

And that makes me wonder. If I have trouble pushing myself to face potential failure and rejection, how do people who have to face rejection over and over in order to do what they love motivate themselves to keep going. How do they learn to embody that wise voice of the Biggest Fan.

Victor 

I’ve been acting since. since I was 10. My dad was a film composer. My mom was an opera singer. So, so they kind of so I guess that’s where I got it.

Nancy VO: This is Victor Warren. He’s made a living as an actor, writer, and director since the early 90s. 

Victor

I’ve done some directing and some writing, a bunch of screenplays playing the try to make movie thing in Hollywood for a while. 

Nancy TAPE 

What, what, what made you want to be an actor? Do you have like an acting origin story?

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Victor 

I have a Charlie Chaplin cane that you can’t see that’s hanging on the wall right here that when I was I think around 10 my birthday gift was a Charlie Chaplin cane and a clown nose. And it was like, That’s it. That’s it. And you know, I mean, and I did my imitations of Charlie Chaplin.

Victor 

My mom did operas at Cal State University Northridge.

Victor

and Dr. Scott, who was the head of the department was conducting the opera and wanted me to do it. And he asked me to do it and sing it in front of everybody. And I just laughed hysterically and couldn’t and couldn’t do it. And then a year later, they did an opera that was only like they’re only like six rolls and it was a pants roll. That’s normally paid by a woman, but my voice hadn’t changed yet. 

And I got to to be in that. I, I got cast and I learned the part and I played it. And I was with these college students, you know, that went on to sing at the Met and but Living in that world where you know I just, I loved the world of it.

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Victor

I’m an artist. So I want to through whatever story or medium I’m doing, I want to affect someone with the possibility of hope and change in their own lives. Which leads me I mean, granted, I’ll take a job, and I will be a serial killer, you know, I’ll do whatever needs to be done. But in the bottom line, I want to reflect back to somebody who’s engaged in it.

Nancy VO: But being an artist and an actor means Victor’s had to deal with rejection A LOT. He is constantly putting himself out there. It’s basically a part of his job.

General Hospital theme

Victor

I did a small reoccurring on Heneral hospital for a little bit, which was great. It was great driving on a lot and Mr. Warren Right this way. And, and, and it with soap operas, you basically get somebody else’s dressing room was not working. So I had somebody else’s big dressing room and and I thought, Oh, yeah, this is great look, and then the job’s done. And then you don’t work.

Victor 

I’m kind of a character lead. So I’m like a Tom Hanks or Michael Keaton kind of thing. But I’m not a leading like, they didn’t know what to do with me. They didn’t know how to cast me.

Nancy VO: Even though Victor didn’t fit into some of those Hollywood roles, he kept going. He carved out a niche for himself over the years doing TV commercials and voice overs.

Commercial reel

Victor

I kind of hit a stride. And never made, you know, not a killing, but consistent money that it could support. 

Victor

But it’s I think. There’s so many people that just basically, have given up. And they’re, I mean, I’m talking phenomenal, amazing actors talented beyond belief, who just got to a certain point where I got to raise my kids, I can do this thing, I’m going to sell insurance. I’m done. I’m done. I just I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve kind of been able to just keep going. I mean, granted, you have those moments of, like, Holy fuck, I just I sucked at that. Or, you know, you just wonder, cuz no one. It’s not like, someone’s going here. Good job, God, God, you’re great. You know, you’re, you’re doing it on your own. And you have to find your own support mechanisms.

Victor

There’s something in me that don’t I I’m struck to use profanity. You know, just fuck it. I’m doing what I’m fucking doing.  And granted, you want people to go, Oh, good job, good job. But it’s like, I’m doing this, this is what I’m doing. And you’re not going to stop me because I’m going to do it anyway. And I don’t know where in my genetic pool makeup that comes from. And I’ve gotten better at I have to trust the fact that there that I’m doing what I’m doing for some reason. And, and just keep one foot in front of the next.

Nancy TAPE

Would you say that you’re you kind of motivate yourself to keep going, even though there’s rejection happening? Because of, I’m just gonna ask why. How do you motivate yourself to keep going?

Victor

I need I need to create opportunity for myself, because I love doing it.

Victor

I’ll never not do it. Like, like, people talk about retiring even actors who work all the time they. But I just, I mean, the only reason I wouldn’t do it is because I physically mentally couldn’t.

Victor

But you look at somebody like you know, still working all those older actors like Anthony Hopkins in The Father right now. Oh, my fucking God. He’s, he’s just gorgeous. I mean, it’s the craft and I want to be that it’s kind of like me, me looking at those. Those people when I did the opera, you know I want to do that. I want to be that person. And the only way I can do it because I don’t have those opportunities is just to keep going.

Nancy TAPE

What do you think separates you from the people that are like I’m done. I can’t do it anymore.

Victor

Again, it’s just I’m not. I’m never not going to do this. I don’t I can’t see myself being me. And not doing this.

Beat

Nancy TAPE

would you say you have a biggest fan?

Victor

if I have a biggest fan, it is yourself being your own biggest fan.

Nancy TAPE

Yeah, cuz I would describe mean how you have described like handling the rejection, all of that, to me is a super self loyal way of this is how I want to be, you know, I have to do this like this is I got to figure out a way.

Victor

I mean, I think, which I hadn’t really thought about till we’ve just had this conversation. But I think the the the analogy, or the things that I put together of Anthony Hopkins and my that thing when I was 11/12 years old, doing the opera is very resonant right now in me, based on our conversation just now. So I feel emotional now. 

Music

Victor 

My friend Paul Raci, who is now he’s nominated for Best Supporting Actor this year and Academy Awards for this role that’s perfect for him. I was in a play a few years back with Paul, and we became friends. And but he’s older. 

And, but we’re backstage doing this show. That’s a beautiful show. But, you know, he’s saying, you know, look, I’m done. I’m done. I do these one line things. I don’t work. I’m done. I’m finished. This is it. Going on and on about, forget it, fuck it. I’m done. No more rejection, one line pimp rolls, I’m over done. And he gets this roll. That is perfect for him. And he is going to the Academy Awards. I mean, it obviously gives you hope. But you know, not that I’m going to go to the Academy Awards, but whatever it is that makes things happen. Somehow out of the quintesimal fragments of existence, that galvanize into that moment that creates a lifelong opportunity, 

I think has to derive itself from the motivation of not giving up, and I’m going to get it done. Because if Paul did give up, he never would have gotten that.

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Nancy TAPE

So do you think that that idea of having your own back, and, you know, kind of that biggest fan thing we’ve talked about is important?

Victor

It’s the only it’s the only way you can sustain yourself. Especially for an artist. I mean, granted, I guess someone who works in sales would need the biggest fan to say, I can talk to my boss about this new idea. You know, there, there’s different versions of it. But as an artist, definitely.

Victor

I mean, especially if you’re an actor, it’s all just, you, you you. If you can’t help yourself and be your own biggest fan, it’ll be much more difficult to succeed or succeed is not the right word to continue doing what you do. Yeah, I mean, I would say that probably most of  these other actors I know, who had to give up to financially make money to support their kids to do certain things. I mean, if they had their biggest fan, or they had some, something along those lines that kept them motivated or on track, even though they had to do these other things, they probably wouldn’t have given up completely.

Victor

I think what gets you out of it is making a choice and stepping forward. Because what’s stopping you is the lack of inertia, the feeling of I just want to pull the covers up over my head, and don’t bother me. And so it’s, you know, throwing the sheet off and stepping out and taking a shower and saying, just keep going.

Nancy TAPE

Is there anything that the fear of rejection kept you from pursuing? 

Victor

No. I don’t. I mean, I’ve learned in the past, and I think it’s been a learned thing is that you can’t make any choices based on fear. And, and that I think that’s a piece of it. So, no, I’ve never not done anything because I was afraid of,

Victor

Somehow we are all unique. And we all deserve the possibility to empower ourselves to be and do whatever we want. And I think it is a question of trusting and letting that happen. And not questioning it and not being afraid of it. But just moving forward through it.

Victor

You know it sounds so simple, or just you, you have to, you have to live your dream.

Nancy TAPE

I am struck that self loyalty for you is just is a way of being in the world. And I think that’s why it isn’t something that’s separate from you. It is it’s a voice but it is like it’s just like you kind of ooze it. It’s just who you are.

Victor 

Iit feels like it is a protective coat. I’ve created to wear for myself at a young age. And I think I’ve just worn it.

Victor

And yeah, it’s part of me.

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Nancy VO: Just putting one foot in front of the other. Trusting in yourself enough to know that you’ll make it to your next goal. That you’ll keep getting to do what you love despite the potential for rejection. THAT is the voice of the Biggest Fan in action.

Nancy VO: Like I told Victor, I’mstill learning how to trust that voice enough to put myself out there.  To do the things that scare me. Like… learning how to network and market my business.

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Nancy VO: So last we left off, I was in the middle of a meltdown. In tears that Doug, my husband and the external voice of my Biggest Fan, had kindly, but firmly, told me to just get to work. 

Nancy VO: By the time I’d rounded the corner of  our second floor and headed back into my office I thought… he’s right. Really? That was the kind kick in the butt I needed. The tears weren’t about him insulting me. The tears were because he was right and I was scared. 

To be fair this was a different version of kindness than my husband’s usual go-to. Usually he leans more toward the coddling Oh Sweetie I know it is hard perspective. But every now and then, this different style of kindness comes out that is more genuine. It’s tough love. It’s you know how to put one foot in front of the other and you can do this. THAT is the voice of the Biggest Fan. 

She says: it is going to be hard, it is going to be stressful and you can do it. No shame, no belittling, no beating me up like the Monger. But ALSO no chocolate, no hours of watching bad TV and making myself feel better by judging other people like my BFF. 

On that day, Doug personified my Biggest Fan. He was kind, genuine, and to the point. He’s the Biggest Fan that exists outside of me and reminds me to check in with my internal Biggest Fan.

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Doug TAPE 

so being the biggest fan and Nancy Jane Smith life? Is?

Doug TAPE 

It’s unique because she’s kind of stubborn. And therefore there’s the battle of the BFF and the mongar and then there’s like a really stubborn that I want to keep this battle going

Doug TAPE

And it can be risky, but you just got to be like, hey, stubborn lady, stop in all this entanglement of arguing and get to work. Because you know, you need to get to work.  

Nancy TAPE

There’s a lot of shame in the fact that my mongar and BFF have ruled the day. And then when you come in to say it, you’re walking a very, you know, a floor covered in mines. To get to the point where I’m going to be like, Oh, he’s not attacking me. He’s really, wants what’s best for lovingly encouraging me. Versus you are 

Doug TAPE

Cracking a whip over here.

Nancy TAPE

So but I think that there are definitely it’s not like your success in this. Oh, no. That’s it so hard. 

It’s not like you’re a success at it all the time. Being my biggest fan, right?

Doug TAPE

Iit’s why I chose stubborn as well, because it’s not like I know what’s best. I’ll just kind of poke and ask I’m not forcing anything on her. I’m not saying you have to progress and do this way. I’ll just be like, hey, I’ve noticed this taking place. I know you have also so what’s up with that? 

Nancy TAPE

How would you describe the biggest fan?

Doug TAPE

I mean, the biggest fan is that that kind voice of reason that tells you what to do.

Nancy TAPE

How would you describe the Biggest Fan?

Doug TAPE

It’s the one that is going to give you the most benefit not only now but most likely in the future as well. It’s if there is such thing as a right choice, it’s guiding you towards that right choice based on your morals and your values and your experience like that’s that’s your biggest fan and you have to believe that your biggest fan is going to be making those right choices or it doesn’t quite work. Like yes, my biggest fan knows me. I believe my biggest fan and together we’re doing this

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Nancy VO: And that’s exactly what I did. As I sat down at my desk and started building a networking list, I could hear my internal Biggest Fan reflecting back what Doug told me: “You say you want to build a bigger business. You say you think building a network is an important next step. You say you’re scared. Understandable. Both are true so let’s do this.”

Outro

That’s it for this week! In our next episode we’re going to pull back from the nitty gritty of the Happier Approach characters and zoom out to see how we can integrate everything we’re learned about them on our own journey to self-loyalty. First stop: feelings. How do feelings translate into action? Can emotions have an impact on our physical as well as our mental health? 

We’ll dive into all of that next time, on the Happier Approach.

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Nancy VO: The Happier Approach is produced by Nicki Stein and me, Nancy Jane Smith. Music provided by Pod5 and Epidemic Sound. For more episodes, to get in touch, or to order a copy of my book The Happier Approach, you can visit live-happier.com. And if you like the show, leave us a review on iTunes! It actually helps us out a lot.

Special thanks to Victor Warren for speaking with us today. You can learn more about Victor and follow his work at victor warren dot com.

The Happier Approach will be back with another episode in two weeks. Take care, until then.

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