Ep47: The Ugly Side of Depression, Burnout, and Imposter Syndrome | with Gen Malone


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Depression. Burnout. Imposter Syndrome.

I’ll take “3 Things I’d Rather Not Admit That I’ve Experienced” for $1000, Alex!

In today’s society we are conditioned to believe that we have to show up to work every single day, all day, for ridiculously long days, and always be able to perform at an equally high level. The expectation is that we should be able to summon creativity on demand, and while it is possible to learn how to do so on a more consistent basis, it’s just not realistic to expect that you can push yourself at 100% capacity all the time. Subsisting off Red Bull, M&M’s, and pizza definitely doesn’t help either despite that being the standard diet in most creative office spaces. And if you’re a woman in a male-dominated field, let’s just say the deck is not stacked in your favor either.

I’ve shared my story more than once about the many times I’ve experienced depression, burnout, and imposter syndrome throughout my career, and in today’s episode I’ll be sharing more of my experiences alongside my guest Genevieve Malone, the founder of The Inertia Project who is also a civil engineer as well as a competitor in the sport of female bodybuilding, specifically as a figure competitor.

Genevieve founded The Inertia Project to empower other women to take control of their lives and habits, but if you’re a guy listening today, don’t let that scare you away. Even though Gen specializes in working with women, she has plenty of killer tips & tricks for the men out there as well. She focuses on fun, quick, effective workouts and incorporates behavior change techniques to make the changes stick.

If after listening you’d like to start taking real action, Gen has been kind enough to provide a bonus for this episode. It includes:

  • A shopping list with healthy recipes using food to stay alert and focused all day long
  • 3 energizing workouts to sharpen your focus and prevent burnout
  • Her “Crystal Ball Technique” to harness the power of visualization

» Click here to download Gen’s amazing Bonus Guide for this episode

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • What burnout looks like, the ugly side, especially when dealing with “Imposter syndrome”
  • Going from a civil engineer to a female body builder
  • Framing failure as a learning experience, especially if it leads to depression and burnout
  • Habit stacking and visualization to go from unlikely behaviors to likely behaviors
  • Dealing with common misconceptions around being a body builder
  • Processing depression in the midst of becoming a public figure
  • Evaluating the standards you define yourself by in the wake of burnout
  • Relieving yourself of the obligation to help people and giving yourself permission to fail
  • The simplest steps you can take to move towards health while in the throes of depression

Useful Resources Mentioned:

The Intertia Project

Our Generous Sponsors:

This episode is made possible by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat, my #1 recommendation for anyone interested in moving more at their height-adjustable workstation. Listen, standing desks are only great if you’re standing well, otherwise you’re constantly fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti-fatigue mat, the Topo is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout the day which helps reduce discomfort and also increase your focus and productivity. And they’re really fun and a great conversation starter.

Guest Bio:

Genevieve founded The Inertia Project to empower other women to take control of their lives and habits. She focuses on fun, quick, effective workouts and incorporates behavior change techniques to make the changes stick. On top of running TIP, she works full-time in a demanding field – so she knows a thing or two about living the Side Hustle life while trying to not go insane. Genevieve put together a special bonus for the Optimize Yourself listeners to help them in their journey – [click here for more!]

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Jakin Rintelman. Special thanks to Krystle Penhall and Sarah Furie for helping to spread the love!

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).


Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor (Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee, Shooter), a documentary director (GO FAR: The Christopher Rush Story), father of 2, and the creator of the Optimize Yourself program. Zack helps ambitious creative professionals and entrepreneurs overcome procrastination, depression, and creative burnout so they can get sh*t done and achieve the most meaningful goals in their lives...without sacrificing their sanity in the process. If you’re interested in learning how to better manage your time, your energy, and develop ninja-like focus, download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”