Restaurateur and entrepreneur Jeremy Fall found success at an early age, and has been doubting that he deserves it ever since. In his new Scribd Original Do You Know Who I Am?, Fall talks about his battle with imposter syndrome (which he’s named Bob) and ways he’s found to accept success and foster authentic connections. This interview provides further advice for any fellow sufferers from imposter syndrome on how to be a successful — and, most importantly, happy — entrepreneur.
Now that you’ve worked on understanding imposter syndrome and Bob, how has it changed your life for the better? How do you approach things differently now?
Jeremy Fall: Bob and I have a long and special relationship. In all long-term relationships, each partner acts as a mirror to the other. Bob, through his sheer existence, served to highlight the specific aspects of my lack of self-worth translated as imposter syndrome, and this remains valuable information as I continue to heal and build a strong foundation of mental health. Thanks, Bob! Likewise, I am a mirror to Bob, and as we observe his reflection, we recognize him to be an unattractive dude, a troll, someone who really just wants a lot of love and validation but hasn’t figured out a healthy way to get it. Bob and I learn from each other constantly, and while I do wish he would just get lost, he’s much more bearable these days because I’ve learned how to turn down his volume and take everything he tells me with a big grain of salt.
What kind of advice would you give to someone who feels like they may not deserve the success they have achieved?
Jeremy Fall: If you are from any kind of minority or oppressed background, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll have a complicated relationship with your own success. And even if you’re not, and you find yourself unable to fully appreciate the fruits of your labor, try stepping outside of yourself, and viewing yourself as a friend would; with pride, encouragement, and appreciation.
Take time and space to be present with yourself and your accomplishments. Sometimes just taking inventory on a yearly basis of all the things you’ve done can really open your eyes. Make a list, put down your achievements in black and white, update your resume, apply for competitions, residencies, grants, and jobs that force you to be the opposite of Bob, and toot your own damn horn, loud as you can.
You clearly mastered how to network effectively at a young age. Do you have any tips on how to network effectively, for anyone looking to make their business ventures a reality?
Jeremy Fall: Show up. Be a fun person to be around. Be reliable. Listen to what people have to say. Find ways to connect that aren’t based on status, wealth, or what someone can do for you. Connect because you genuinely like someone, and are interested in the same things.
Did growing up on Skid Row shape your sense of identity? Also, did your French Afro-Caribbean and North African Jewish roots contribute to how you identified with your surroundings growing up in Los Angeles?
Jeremy Fall: Growing up close to an epicenter of American inequality gave me a keen appreciation for the strength and resilience of those who have been left behind by capitalism. Of how easily and quickly destitution can happen if you don’t have a safety net or are suffering from mental illness and addiction. Seeing all that pain at a young age blessed me with a sense of perspective, gratitude, and an urgency to work as hard as I could to elevate myself into a position of safety, where I could one day give back.
Likewise, growing up mixed race and Jewish with European parents opened up my mind to culture beyond American shores. I saw how my parents’ experience of living in America, as immigrants, was different from mine, and I embraced the hybrid cultures that existed within my DNA.
What did you learn from your social media detox and ultimate return?
Jeremy Fall: I learned that social media is a great tool when it comes to validation, but can also be a huge distraction from your real problems, and your real self. I needed to step away from it in order to go back to the basics of who I was, and what I was presenting to the world. The temptation to constantly curate and manipulate our truth can make us stray too far from our authentic selves if we’re not careful. So taking a break was wonderful because it allowed me to recalibrate, reground, and focus on my real self and real relationships. By the time I came back to it I was in a much better place, and able to engage with it in a healthy and productive way.
How can you make sure once your ideas start to take off in the world and others start getting invested in your story, that you’re the one who’s in control of the narrative? Is social media still helpful for this?
Jeremy Fall: If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we’re never fully in control of anything, let alone a public narrative about us. One of the most beautiful things to me is seeing how people respond to my ideas in the food and entertainment space in their own ways. If by sharing my creativity I can offer people a great experience, food for thought, or inspiration, then my job is done. Controlling that narrative isn’t something I ever want to invest too much time in—I’d rather get back to the business of being creative.
Tell us a bit about your NFT platform, Probably Nothing. Why did you decide to start it? What are some resources for people who are curious about NFTs?
Jeremy Fall: Probably Nothing is my web3 educational platform made to onboard people into the web3 space the right way. We do it through quality editorial content on social media platforms, tv shows, podcasts, collaborations and a soon-to-launch website. It's a nod to my upbringing in the 90's when people didn't believe in the Internet, which is a lot of what we're seeing now with NFTs. I wanted to give people a way to enter the space through a source that they can trust, and build a fun brand that people can connect to.
If “fake it till you make it” is one of your mantras, this succinct personal essay about the pitfalls of imposter syndrome from Hollywood-based restaurateur and entrepreneur Fall is a must-read. Endeavoring to silence the nagging voice in his head, Fall explores ways to find greater authenticity and discovers a welcoming community within the world of NFTs while embracing his newfound role as mental health advocate.
About the Author: Ashley McDonnell
Ashley is a Senior Editorial Associate at Scribd who loves Ernest Hemingway, “The Hunger Games,” and ice hockey. When she’s not reading or at the rink, she’s making nerdy podcasts about anime and manga.