Noble Obstacles

and Overcoming

Imposter Syndrome

Ep. 119 ft. John Mollura

“Somebody has to. So why not you?”

John Mollura

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Bio

John is a multi-award-winning luxury portrait photographer specializing in empowering and creative portraits that create personal transformation. John’s backstory is one that exudes personal transformation. Prior to becoming a full-time photographer, John had a successful fifteen-year career as a leading test engineer for NASA and military projects. However, after a series of personal and professional changes, he chose to follow his dream of becoming a photographer.

Show Notes

There is no quick fix in whatever endeavor you are working on. It’s determination, acknowledgment, and a whole lot of self-trust. This week’s conversation is a testament that wherever your life path takes you, there is time to adjust, to chase the things on your heart, and to overcome the negative voices that are holding you back.

If you have any comments or questions about the Be It pod shoot us a message at [email protected]. Or leave a comment below!

And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! Never miss another show by subscribing at LesleyLogan.co/subscribe.

In this episode you will learn about:

  • From summer jobs to NASA
  • Stop listening to the odds of success and take action
  • Noble obstacles and the weight of responsibility
  • Surrounding yourself with the people who have been where you are
  • Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and mental health struggles
  • Creating the right space for empowerment

References/Links:

Transcript

INTRODUCTION

Lesley Logan
Hey, Be It listener, how are you? Have you ever had a plan not go as planned? I guess it’s not really anything like, how have you ever had something not go as planned? There it is. Um, yeah, me too. I think that’s actually helped plans go. I’m, I’m becoming more increasingly convinced that plans are only meant to like be like the compass that gets you started. And then the rest is kind of figure it out as you go. And, and that’s the hard part because we all want certainty. And we all really want to know that, like, if I do this, and this is going to happen. And the more people I interviewed, the more I am noticing a strong theme and that a) things don’t go the way we expect. And b) sometimes, not sometimes, every time something is happening is happening for you. And it’s setting you off on this track and this, and this journey that you are meant to be on. And I’m so grateful that our next guest cross paths and our like our paths cross because he’s super cool. I really I really liked him. I I think Brad and I will be friends with him for hopefully a long time because he is just an inspiration. And he share so passionately and authentically his story. And I really believe that you can learn so much from it. So he when you’ll hear in the interview, but this is the person whose plan A didn’t go and then plan B didn’t go and like, of course you get down and depressed. And you find yourself doing a job. You’re like, “Why am I doing this?” Like, “Why am I doing this?” And that’s the thing, that’s the thing that actually makes you shine a little differently, shine a little brighter become something that somebody else pays attention to. And and it completely changes trajectory of your life. And so please don’t underestimate the crazy weird jobs you’ve ever had to do, or the experiences you’ve ever had. Because those experiences, those weird jobs, those weird skill sets, literally might be the reason and the thing someone is looking for to hire you or to spring you on to their show or to or to have you speak in front of their audience. Like those are the things, too often we’re looking for the degrees or the certifications or, or you know, some sort of like title with letters after it that we think is going to be why someone picks us. But it could literally be the weird thing you did one summer. And so stop under estimating yourself. Give yourself some time to write down all the things you’ve ever done. And think about it as you listen to this interview with John because I think it’s really powerful. And I’m really excited for you to hear from him how he became a rocket scientist. And now he is a really well sought after photographer and I can’t wait to work with him. So that’s going to happen, I’m putting on my list for this year. All right. So let me know how this interview impacts your life. Please let John and I know, tag us on Instagram. Share this with people that need to hear it and here he is.

Lesley Logan
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and fitness business coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guest will bring Bold, Executable, Intrinsic and Targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.

EPISODE

Lesley Logan
All right, my loves. I have John Mollura with us. I didn’t say your name, right. John Mollura. (John: You got it.) How do you say it? John Mollura?

John Mollura
Just like you said it. Mollura. Yeah.

Lesley Logan
I do this all the time, like I, I 100% check names and like, “Oh, I know his name we’re good.” And then I’m like, “Did I say it, right?” And it’s anyways, it’s my own thing. Everyone, we have John Mollura here. And I am so excited from literal rockstar to incredible photographer, and he has an amazing story. And I’m just so happy our paths crossed, I really have to say, you know, I put out a thing like, “Hey, I’m looking for this,” and you put yourself up there. And then when you’re like, “Oh, here’s the topic that I’m going to talk about.” It made me laugh because I’m like, “How on earth could you talk about impostor syndrome when you had like no imposter syndrome with of like saying, ‘Hey, I’m the person you should talk to.'” So John, thank you for being here on this podcast. I really am excited to talk about all the things that you rock at. Can you please tell everyone a little bit about how you became like a rocket scientist to a photographer? (Lesley and John laughs) Not exactly like the linear plan that I think people would expect?

John Mollura
Well, the key was I didn’t really have any life plan. And that’s something that I’ve just kind of done. So exhibit A, you know the podcast like I just, even though I wrestled with impostor syndrome, and pretty severe anxiety, a lot of my life. I just always had that pioneer spirit, if you will, or I would just, I’d rather be, you know, on the tip of the spear, the first person going in because I get bored, so easy. And I’d rather just put myself out there. And just try something, (Lesley: Yeah) with risk being, you know, just bored and static. So …

Lesley Logan
So you’re saying you could never have just like, worked behind a cubicle doing the same thing every day? You’re …

John Mollura
That lasted nine months … (John laughs)

Lesley Logan
Oh, hey that’s longer than I think I lasted when somebody tried to ask. I was like, “I don’t think I’m really good at this.” (Lesley laughs)

John Mollura
Yeah, yeah, that came right at the end where I where I jumped ship on corporate world after 16 years and start doing photography full time. But backing up, yeah, so I used to be a literal rocket scientist. I lead test missions for NASA and the Department of Defense from Antarctica on projects to England. You know, garden spots, like, you know, Sandusky, Ohio in February. It was literally all over the map. And the way I fell into that job was my buddies and I were sitting around Penn State, senior year, probably, like some wing and beer night. And a call came for people to interview for the company. I made the spacesuit for NASA. And I say, I’m gonna …

Lesley Logan
Wait. (John: Yeah) Wait, hold on. I’m sorry. You’re just having wings and beer. And they’re like, “Hey, there’s this job to work for NASA. We’re you qualified for this?” (Lesley laughs)

John Mollura
Oh, I felt I wasn’t because although I did, I did okay in school. School never came real easy for me, in engineering school, for those of you that are familiar with is an absolute grind. It whenever we sat in our freshman orientation, they said, “Look to the person to the left to you and the person to your right. And they’re going to wash out in the next four years. One (Lesley: What a pep talk.) of you, two of you three.” Yeah. Yeah, I mean, it was like, it was like signing up for you know, buds with the Navy seals, it’s like, “Pretty much all of you are not going to be able to make it. So good luck.”

Lesley Logan
Okay, so here’s what I can tell you. Absolutely, very few people listen to this podcast, probably are familiar with engineering schools. (John: Right) I don’t know. No offense to the ones who are so. So you did go to engineering school. (John: Yeah.) Okay. And then you’re having the wings and beers. And then you see that this is job with this company who made the NASA outfits.

John Mollura
Yeah, the spacesuits like since like the Apollo days. (Lesley: It’s a real thing.) Yeah, the real deal. Yeah, not the stuff you know, for soundstage like the stuff they actually put on the rocket and you know, allegedly landed on the moon with you know, depending on which side of the fence you fall on (Lesley: Yeah) the debate. But so I sent my resume in as a joke like thinking like there’s no way like this company is ever going to want to hire me. And sure enough, they did, they want to do a phone interview. You know, this was back in the late 90s. So like, there was no FaceTime, no Zoom, like I was sitting on my shared landline in my fraternity house. And yeah, there were some guys like you know, … next dorm sitting there on a phone interview talking to … (Lesley: NASA) Yeah, yeah. (Lesley: No big deal.) Yeah, no big deal. And I was interviewing to be like a project manager, which I had no clue what that would be. And knowing what I know now, that would have and awful fit, I would have been terrible that. And the summer before I applied when I was I think a junior in school, I taught rock climbing for the Boy Scouts. Because I have all lined up, you know, to go do an internship at Disney, like be Disney. And I lost it to like another person like me and one other person and I lost it. And yeah, and it was like, late April, you know, this is also a recurring thing with me. I don’t really have a plan B a lot of times.

Lesley Logan
Right. Doesn’t, it also kind of no offense, doesn’t really sound like yeah, there’s a either, it’s …

John Mollura
Yeah. It just like Forrest Gump my way through life. (Lesley: Yes, I’m loving it.) Yeah …

Lesley Logan
I wish, I wish I could do that. I’m like, I need a b 27 letters later. I would like another.

John Mollura
Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, I not not my thing. You know, my wife and I always joke. It’s like, you know, there’s two types of people in the relationship. There’s the person that says, “All right, I got the passport. I got the boarding pass. I got the hotel reservations and the rental car reservations.” And then the other person in the relationships, like, “Where are we going?” (Lesley and John laughs) (Lesley: Oh, my God.)

Lesley Logan
You know what’s really funny, is up until this moment, like I was like, oh, yeah like Brad is like, kind of that person. He’s like, “Oh, I can do that. Oh, I’m gonna sign up. What?” Like he’ll get bored and the same thing all the time. But when it comes to travel, he has our passport. He has a dropbox folder of all of our visas. He has all the things that I’m like, “So we’re going?” So anyways, okay, so, you, you’re going you’re teaching rock climbing for Boy Scouts.

John Mollura
Yeah, yeah, that was that was the summer before the infamous wings and beer night where we decide to apply to you know work on critical life saving equipment. And but I put that on my resume because I got that job after the whole Disney thing fell through, my fraternity brother walked in the room and they’ll say, “Hey, you’re right, man.” And I’m like, “No, I’m pretty far from okay, right now, dude.” Tell them what happened because we are outdoorsy, you want to you know, you want to work at a scout camp. I’m like, “I was never a Boy Scout. I didn’t wear goofy green shorts and run around.” It seems like, alright, well, don’t say things like that, but we could hire you. So I worked with the maintenance crew. Like until like, I could do my assigned job, which was I was supposed to be a watersports director. And I, once again, I was like, “I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to sail or do anything. I can swim that’s about it.” They’re like, “We’ll train you.” I’m like, “Alright, cool, you’ll train me,” whatever. And, but until like training, like there was like a six week gap. And I worked with the maintenance crews and I had like zero, like trade skills. So I was I was the guy just like schlepping the chainsaws through the woods. And you know, when the when the septic drainage truck would need something like I’d like run out their stuff. And the crescendo of my glamorous jobs was when we got the cabins readied for the people to come in. They’ve been uninhabited in the Catskills for like nine months. Well, a lot of mice apparently with like, try to get water in the toilets and like fall in the toilet. Yeah, the look on your faces at all. (Lesley laughs) So my job was I, I got to pull the dead mice out of the toilets that I had, like sunk. Now, that was my job, honest to God.

Lesley Logan
Oh, my God. So that’s what NASA, you put that on your resume?

John Mollura
Well, not yet. I didn’t put that on there. But which, you know, unfortunately, those kinds of skills did come, come in handy down the road in my career. So here I am doing this job. And I’m like, “This sucks. Like, I didn’t sign up for this.” But whatever, I’d no options. And, you know, I thought maybe it was just karma. You know, since Mickey Mouse like, you know, just me like now I’m like, dead mice … (Lesley and John laughs) So, so anywho, so I’m getting ready to, I’m psyched, like I’m counting down the days. We go to training. They’re gonna teach me how to like teach people to water ski and all this cool stuff. I’m like, “Awesome.” And I’m like sitting in the middle of some like field like scrubbing rust off a propane tank that’s like leaking next to me. And I’m thinking, “This sucks.” But one more day, and they came up, the Directors came up and they’re like, “Hey, John, how you doing?” I’m like, “Oh, I’m good. Good train and train. I’m leaving for training tomorrow.” They’re like, “Hey, yeah, bout that. We just got the call from the person that was here for the past two years. And they want their old job back so we don’t have to pay to train you anymore.” And I’m like, “Oh, God.” So it’s like …

Lesley Logan
So they’re like, they’re like, “You’re fired. But we’re happy because we …”

John Mollura
Oh, no, no, no, I wasn’t fired. (Lesley” Okay, okay.) I impressed the Ranger, the maintenance crews so much (Lesley: that they wanted to keep you on.) They want to keep me on there and I’m thinking, “Oh my God. Alright, well, okay.”

Lesley Logan
How many more cats and toilets are there?

John Mollura
Yeah, yeah. Right. How many more propane tanks am I gonna have to scrub? And so they’re like, or you could be Assistant Director of rock climbing. I’m like, “I’ll do it.” They’re like, “You want to hear what it is?” I’m like, “I don’t know how to rock. I don’t care. I’m not that scared of heights. I’ll do it. When you trained me how to do it?” They’re like, “Yeah, we’ll send you to training.” I’m like, my bags already packed like, “Alright, I’m out of here, man.” So, so it ended up being a great fit. Yeah, I’ve worked with a great crew. Like, I supervised like I think over 700 Scouts, rappelling and rock climbing on like natural cliffs. We weren’t in like a gym. We were like, (Lesley: Oh, this is like …) outside, like turkey buzzards. Yeah, this is like, (Lesley: Oh) yeah, (Lesley: Like real, real stuff.) Like real deal. Yeah, like, like the rocks, like falling down. Like kind of stuff.

Lesley Logan
That’s crazy. So that’s, what was on your resume that made them go?

John Mollura
That’s what was on my resume, Director of Rock Climbing.

Lesley Logan
How crazy. (John: And …) I wonder, you know what, probably if you had Disney on there, they’d be like, “hmm another Disney kid.” Like …

John Mollura
Yeah, right. Yeah, (Lesley: They thought like they wouldn’t have been as impressed.) It was Christina Aguilera’s boyfriend, whatever. That Timberlake guy trying to get a job again? But so I put that on my resume, because I thought, you know, it showed I had some practical experience. You know, I had other engineering type stuff. And they said, “What’s this about rock climbing?” I gave my little spiel, and they said, “Hang on a second, someone just walked by, we want you to talk to.” And like they put me on mute. And I’m like, “O-oh.” (Lesley: Yeah) And this nasally voice came on the phone again. No video back in the 90s. Sneezes voice goes, “Hey, what do you think about rock climbing on Mars?” And I just knee jerk reaction said, “Are you going to pay my airfare?” (Lesley: Yeah) And I thought, “Oh, God, I just blew it, just being a smartass.” And this dude, who I had no idea who he was. Yeah. And then he interview, he gives “Get them down here.” And they’re like, “Alright, well, we’re going to arrange an on site visit.” And it was like an eight hour drive from where I went to school in Pennsylvania. And I come down here and lo and behold, that like mystery person that jumped on at the last minute. I was like the lead test engineer for like Mars landers. And he was a former Air Force Special Operations guy and tested fighter jets. And he and I just like hit it off like a ball of fire. He said, “I don’t need the smartest person in the room.” I’m like, “Good because you didn’t get him.” He’s like, “I need someone I can send out into the field.” You know, then …

Lesley Logan
And you’re like, “Oh, actually super good. I can scrub brass top off propane.” (John: Yeah) Did you know that?

Lesley Logan
Propane tank, you need dead mice. I’m also your guy for that. (Lesley: Do you have that on Mars? Don’t worry. I’ve been there.) Yeah, right. We terraform Mars, I’ll be I’ll take care of all the plumbing issues. But so he said, “You’re not you’re not being confined to an office, being a some project manager.” So for the next like seven years, like Skip, and I just went all over the world. He was my mentor. His name was Skip Wilson. And we just, you know, just did some pretty radical shit for the world.

Lesley Logan
That’s so … Here’s what I, here’s what’s so crazy. I hope, like, I hope you all just heard that. You could have easily been like, “Oh, I’m not smart enough. Oh, I’m not qualified enough.” Like, I think so many people do not put their name in the hat for things because they they pre reject themselves. And yeah, you were probably like, you were like you said, half joking. Or like, whatever. Let’s just like it’s a game. Let’s see what happens. But oftentimes, people are not looking for the most qualified, perfect scored, most well trained, they’re looking for someone who they can get along with that they want to travel the world. (John: Yeah) And like, we’ll get their hands dirty. And like, actually, just try and not assume that they know the answer. I think that is really a cool story.

John Mollura
Yeah, yeah. So I did that. I said, you know, I did Skip for the next seven, eight years, you know, we we sadly lost him to cancer in mid 2011. Which really, I didn’t realize how much it affected me. But it really affected me because he and I were one of the few that did what we did in our country and also in the world. So it really left the whole, like kind of like not having that like fallback position. Because you know, even though I was in charge, and I would lead a bunch of stuff, it’s always nice to kind of like be like, “Hey, Skip.” Or like, “Hey, Dad, what do you think of this?” (Lesley: Yeah, yeah.) So that’s, that was what I did. And I stayed at that company until 2016. And by that point, like, I’d been there for 15 years, so the leadership had changed. It had become a very much profit driven company. Because the company the company, they got bought by venture capitalists, and yeah, that that old chestnut …

Lesley Logan
Yep there, I just actually heard it was on the Daily podcast, not a sponsor of the show everyone but they literally explain in layman’s terms about like VCs and how like, these like they’re taking over, like your vets, and your dentists and your all these things and (John: Yeah.) I’m like, “Oh my God,” Anyways, (John: That’s crazy.) that’s another podcast, not ours. (John: Yeah) So go listen to that one if you actually don’t understand how that works. Okay, so so you’re in this job for 15 years that isn’t that is in… insane like, “Let me see how this goes.” Journey. What? I mean, obviously, it wasn’t as exciting at work are they are having goals that were outside of what yours were? What how did you end up in your next thing? Were you, were you dabbling in photography while you’re doing this? How did that go?

John Mollura
Yeah, I had always done photography as a hobby. I think I got my first camera and I was like seven. So it was back in the mid 80s. So like I learned to shoot on film. And I was actually just looking through the first travel album I ever did after I got a real camera. We got my first Nikon with my daughter today. And she’s like, “Why are these pictures so weird?” I’m like, “Well, it’s because they were on film.” And like … (John and Lesley laughs) just had the kind …

Lesley Logan
Why are these pictures not moving themselves?

John Mollura
Yeah, right. Yeah. But no, photography had always been a hobby. And like I said, I got to go to some very awesome places in my tenure as an engineer, and I was I just threw my camera in the bag. And you know, I’d have my Little Walter Mitty fantasies when I’d be out, you know, working on some engineering job pretending like National Geographic had just sent me an Anartica instead. And …

Lesley Logan
Okay, that is being it till you see it. You’re like, (John: Yeah) “I am, I am taking pictures and they don’t… like for National Geographic. Great.”

John Mollura
Yeah, so yeah, because that’s like one of the big dreams like, you know, for photographers like that’s like the gold standard. And I remember I was reading a National Geographic once, because that’s actually what kindled my love of like photography, and like travel and wonderlust. It was a episode I saw my grandparents table, and it was about Mount Vesuvius, like back in the 80s at, like a par… I can still I could still see and that’s what sparked my wanderlust in National Geographic, other than just kind of being like, the gold standard of photographers holds a special place in my heart because I, you know, it, that’s really what kindled my wanderlust. And I remember reading an episode or a issue of National Geographic, probably 10, 15 years ago. And they had the statistics of like, the chance of like, having National Geographic, like, even look at your photo and let alone getting published. And they’re like, look, you know, for an issue like the photographer’s that we send out, they shoot, like umpteen 10s of 1000s of pictures, we get this many pictures just sent to us. This many pictures make it to the, like, final edit, but like it came down to these statistics that were like, just insane, like …

Lesley Logan
Less than a percent of a percent. (John: Right.) Yeah.

John Mollura
So, I of course, tore that out, (Lesley: Yeah) and put it on my little vision board. And I’m a huge Star Wars nerd, as you know, from from the May of 4th, you know, thing we did together this year. (Lesley: Yeah) Han Solo is always like, just like my, like, such an icon to me, because he just had that swashbuckling like self confidence that I really didn’t have, like, I might like, jump in and do things. But, you know, like I mentioned, like, imposter syndrome and anxiety and stuff were like, things that like traveled with me throughout my life. So like, Han Solo, it was always like, the, like the dude. You know, it’s like, (Lesley: Yeah) “Man, if I could just be like that and have that confidence in my abilities. Like, that would be so awesome. So I print out his picture of Han Solo, you know, in it just said his one of his famous quotes from on the lot movies. Never told me the odds. Like he was doing some like thing where, like, there was like, zero chance of success. And he’s like, “Don’t tell me the odds. I’m just gonna do it.”

Lesley Logan
Oh, I see. (John: Yeah) I see. (John: Yeah) I see.

John Mollura
Yeah. I never never tell me the odds of success or failure, because I’m just going to do it. It’s not going to change my effort. So I took that and like, pinned it overtop of the National Geographic thing. And it (Lesley: Yeah) was always like, right next to my thing. And in 2016, I got notified that National Geographic was featuring one of my photos … (Lesley: Shut up) Yep, in their your shot program. It was like they selected 12 photos a day to feature and mine was one of them.

Lesley Logan
Shut up! (John: Yeah) That is insane. (John: Yeah) Oh, my God!

John Mollura
Yep. So, (Lesley: Oh, my God.) I had that above my thing, like open like at these like insane odds, but then, you know, Han Solo always reminding me, you know, (Lesley: Oh, my …) but don’t worry about the odds, just do it.

Lesley Logan
That is amazing. And also, Brad’s gonna nerd hell out about this right now. Like, I know that he’s listening right now. He’s like, chuckling because, first of all, Star Wars. Yes. National Geographic. Yes. Like, and, you know, there’s this like, common thing you said, like, you’re like a pioneer, and I know very little about Star Wars, everyone. It’s, it’s okay, we clearly know this. By now like, I don’t think I can get away with it. But what I do know, what I do know about Han Solo is, he is like that pioneer. He’s like, just gonna like he is like, like, he doesn’t need to see the map. He’s just gonna go do it. And so I feel like, I feel like you’ve had some really good like spirit animals in your life guiding you into like, (John: Yeah) “Okay, I’m gonna be like Han Solo right now. I’m just gonna go do it.” Anyways, that is so cool. (John: Yeah) This is amazing. Because, you know, I think, again, going back to like people thinking like, life gets really linear. You, you suppose to like you’re like, “Okay, I’m a rocket scientist and then I’m a photographer.” Like you were like, you were organically allowing one to still happen while you were doing this other thing. And I think that is really cool. We don’t have to just be one thing and we don’t have to just only like, we don’t have to wait our turn for, for this thing to happen. Okay, that’s amazing. So all, so when did that happen? When were you in National Geographic?

John Mollura
That was in 2016.

Lesley Logan
Okay, about the same time that you were leaving.

John Mollura
It was right after I left my job that I had been 15 and a half years. And I’ve been doing photography as a side hustle for a number of years, like getting paid for it. But what self respecting father of three that lives in Southern, rural Southern Delaware would like leave the six figure job to be a photographer. So I didn’t, I didn’t leave the job I was at and go straight to a photographer. I went to another engineering company, (Lesley: Yeah) where I got paid even more money and like they’d fly me like first class to like Shanghai for these like meetings and …

Lesley Logan
Okay. So that the harder thing to give up. I’m just gonna be real, (John: Yeah, it was.) first class Shanghai, that’s a little hard to give up.

John Mollura
Yeah, yeah. If you’re gonna be first class anywhere, like, don’t don’t be first class from like New York to Miami. Be it on like, a day long flight. (Lesley: Yes, yes.) But that job was was like a desk, it was a desk job. And I was, I was so unhappy in my previous job just because I had a lot of personal change going on, you know, that led up to that. But, you know, I just felt this, you know, responsibility in my family, where I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t, I couldn’t be a photographer full time. Because there’s no way I you can make anywhere close, you know, all these stories. And the Author Jon Acuff that I love called them noble obstacles.

Lesley Logan
Oh, I love Jon Acuff. (John: Yeah) And that’s noble obstacles. (John: Yeah) Interesting. Um, I also think it’s interesting, like you said, a couple stories, like what self respecting, father of three would like leave this job to go do this. And then like, you know, these things, and it’s, I know, people listening, a lot of them are saying the same thing to themselves right now. Maybe not that sentence, but like, there’s a story that’s keeping them from doing the next thing because of like, what other people will think or like, how, that’s a crazy idea. And like, because we’ve not necessarily seen it, maybe didn’t see Han Solo do it yet. Like, (John: Right) it’s hard to imagine that it could be a possibility. So what was the impetus? How did you leave that job? How did you get over that?

John Mollura
I had someone that was a mentor to me for a number of years in photography, and she was also a coach. And she invited me to a networking event because my thing was, I knew I had skills in photography. And but I didn’t know how to sell it or market it and, or how to, like, even get in front of people. And she invited me to a networking event. And I’m like, “Oh, my God, there’s actually like, ways to make this happen.” So I came home and talking with my wife about it. And she’s like, “You’re miserable, dude.” Like, she’s like, “Your skin has like the pallet of like a wet ashtray.” … (Lesley: I like that she keeps it real.) Well, what she’d been living this for years (Lesley: Yeah) with me like, (Lesley: Yeah) yes, as my, my job just wasn’t satisfying it. So yeah, I turned in my, my resignation in the spring of 2017, which was over five years ago. And when I became a full time photographer, and even that’s evolved over the past five years and what I currently do, which is, which is portraits.

Lesley Logan
Yeah. Okay, so, um, there’s, I mean, like, I love this story, because A said, the detonics, but also like, it’s not, it’s, it’s not predictable, but it’s completely like something and every single one of us have a story like this. And we get caught up that like, it’s has to be, “Oh, has to be a certain way. Oh, I have to do this and when I’ll have this.” And I just like that you kind of followed your passion. And even when you didn’t, you have people around you who like shined a little flashlight on possibility. And there’s just like constant theme, you have a mentor and you have people around you who are like being, who are being honest with you about who you are. And I think a lot of us don’t have, like a lot of us pull ourselves back. We hide, we like don’t want to be like fully seen because we want people to necessarily know like, the mistakes we make or like the thoughts we’re having. But actually are you having a mentor and a coach and your wife and your like, they’re they are the ones that kind of guided you to where to go next. And so it’s just really cool because we don’t have to do it on our own.

John Mollura
Yeah, and that’s always that’s one of the biggest suggestions I always give people when they say, “How do you, how do you make a living, like make a good living as a photographer?” I say, “I hire people that have been down that path before me.” They’re like, “Oh, that sounds expensive.” And I said, “Well, it’s not inexpensive.” But the paybacks monetarily are easy to quantify, but also just giving you that confidence that oh, these people have been down that path is worth a lot.

Lesley Logan
Yeah, that’s actually. I mean, and that’s the thing that most people skip. They’re like, they’re, and I get that I get that everyone has bills, and everyone has a different budget, and there’s all these things and but I agree, like, I would not be where I am today, had I not hired people who had gone through what I wanted to be through. Like, like, I was like, they knew the what it took to get to the next level because they already left that level. So like, I think, it is not the easiest decision to invest in yourself. But you have like, if you don’t you just you don’t even get to stay where you were. You you go backwards because you you’re gonna feel stuck, miserable. And also, the world keeps going forward. Like that’s the energy, your a rocket scientist, you I don’t tell you that you know how energy works. So …

John Mollura
Physics of a cruel mistress, is very cruel. (John and Lesley laughs)

Lesley Logan
Yeah, I actually, I’ll be really honest, I am changed my major. This… So yes, I lost feeling in my fingers, which is one of the reasons why I changed my athletic training major. The other reason was, is I was like, “Physics? Why the hell do I have to do that? No, we’re not doing that.” So I was like, “What Science classes does a communications major have to do?” Great. The Math class, it was like statistics like, “Nope, I don’t want to do that. What’s the other like, what major gets me out of Algebra? I just, I just, I’m gonna hire someone to do the Math. It’s fine.” (Lesley laughs) Anyways, um, so okay, we’ve talked about it a couple of times. And I just want to touch on a little bit, because you’ve mentioned you had an anxiety you’ve had impostor syndrome. I know a lot of our listeners struggle with either one or the other, or both. And, and how, like, how has that been? Because I’m sure like, having anxiety and also like, being a parent and being a partner and being someone who’s like, making these major changes. And now it’s like, how did you get over… like, what was that? How did you move past that with everything going on?

John Mollura
It, it goes back to the same way I did it in my business was working with therapists you know, coaches, people that even just a trusted person. But but, you know, therapy therapy was was super important. And what that was one of the hardest decisions for me to make, because, you know, one of my traumas from growing up was, you know, I had to become like, very self sufficient, you know, I just had this in it, and it still crops up, you know, I’m one of those fools that sometimes will be like, “You need help with that, John?” “No, no, it’s just, it’s just awkward,” you know, when really, like, I need like three other people to help me. (Lesley: Yeah) So being aware of that, because, you know, there’s no, there’s no quick fix, especially with it will anything with your health, mental or physical, you know, just because you eat a salad one day doesn’t mean you’re gonna drop 15 pounds. (Lesley: Right) You know, it’s, it’s, it’s putting in the reps and doing it. And it’s the same with with mental, your mental health. You know, once, you know, I got got some tools from a therapist, and, you know, took medication for a while, just as a as, you know, as she put it, in vernacular, I could understand when I was an engineer, like, “This is just another tool in your tool chest John. This doesn’t mean anything. It’s just another tool.” (Lesley: Right) So, you know, acquiring those skills, and doing some very honest self reflection, and realizing when things come up, and, you know, looking for patterns, maybe and those things and just having the desire to get better. You know, and (Lesley: Yeah) which was huge. And, you know, it’s not perfect, not every day is sunshine and rainbows, and (Lesley: Yeah) but, you know, it’s not about having everything be perfect. It’s about how do you how do you respond when that’s not perfect?

Lesley Logan
Oh, yeah, that’s good. That, that’s a great question. That’s also like, something to think about on a good day. So you have an answer for when on a bad day, you’re like, “What am I supposed to do right now?” You’re like ,”Oh, I actually on a day that I was feeling good about life, (John: Yeah, right.) wrote down a game plan for myself.” Yeah, I think, um, I mean, it’s there more and more, it’s easier for people to talk about mental health and anxiety. And I do love that. But we do have so much more work to do, because I think so many people look at others and they, and for better or worse, you know, social media is always going to show the good stuff. Just is. And we then put on it, “Oh, they must not suffer from impostor syndrome, anxiety or any other things.” It’s like, no, it’s just that they just didn’t post about it on that day, they you know, that doesn’t mean that like, they don’t struggle with the same things. And so so a) the more we all can be aware that everyone is going through it at some point it that makes it easier. And then I love what you said like, had to decide, like you have to decide that like you wanted it to be better, that you wanted to do something. And I think that that’s that’s that’s a tough one decision to make and but also believe that it could, so good for you. And also thank you for sharing that. You, I’m going to just let the cat out of the bag, because when this is up, it should be hopefully ready. You came into Agency to talk about impostor syndrome. Agency is our group coaching program. And literally after it was over people were like, “I need to buy that. I need to rewatch that. Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m in that.” And it’s an interesting topic because I feel like more and more and more people will say, “I have impostor syndrome. I have impostor syndrome,” is kind of like a catch all title. But when you broke it down, you explain a lot of things. And I and you know, everyone can go watch the course. But can you talk about why you got excited about this topic? Like what made you investigate it? What made you go, “Oh, I want to I want to, I want to explore this and also teach people about it.” What was that?

John Mollura
I don’t want people to suffer like I did. And I didn’t even know what impostor syndrome was for a very long time. And just being able to put a name to something, especially things that are troubling you, already gives you some power over that. So I really wanted to educate people on what impostor syndrome is. You know if anyone’s listening to this, and you know, a real quick check to see if you’ve ever had impostor syndrome. That’s a term you’ve never heard before is, “how do you respond when someone gives you a compliment”? Do you like genuinely say, “Oh, thank you very much. I’m so glad that you know that that spoke to you.” And feel good about yourself or like, do you kind of get like these like weird feelings in your stomach. And maybe do some poorly delivered is tempted self deprecating humor, like, “Oh, you liked that song I wrote. Oh, you should probably get your hearing checked. Ha ha ha.” (Lesley: Yeah.) Those are how impostor syndrome manifests. And I really just wanted people to understand how that is. Because if you look at my, my resume, my professional record on paper, you know, engineering or photography wise, you know, NASA, Department of Defense Commendations, National Geographic features, like, it sounds like I, you know, I got it all together. But a defining moment in my life was I remember getting a commendation letter from the Department of Defense for a project that I led. And I thought I’m up on the stage, so everyone can actually point their fingers at me and be like, “See, we knew you were full of crap. And you’re actually not supposed to be here.” And I remember like almost being in tears when I got the letter. And like, that’s like one of those core memories that I have. So whenever the opportunity came up to speak about impostor syndrome, like, I don’t want people to feel like that. Or if they do feel like that I want to teach them, provide them some resources that they can use to move past that.

Lesley Logan
Yeah. Yeah, that’s… Well I think, I think anyone listening is like, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe that’s how he felt when something amazing is happening.” And yet, I bet, if we asked all of them like they would have, they could think of a time when an amazing thing happened. And they were letting their imposter syndrome. Tell them that it wasn’t as amazing and that this isn’t, they didn’t deserve this, or somebody got it wrong. I loved it. I love, I love how you explained it, I loved everything you have to say our members loved it. And so everybody, we we will definitely put in the show notes. So you can watch, you can watch this amazing course from John, because I want to help you make sure that no one else has to suffer through that too. I think it is really important. It’s really incredible. It’s also what what so many of our listeners are suffering from and it’s holding them back. And the whole point of this whole podcast is that I just know that every single person here listen to this has something that they’re meant to do. And I cannot be imposter syndrome or the feeling that they’re not good enough, which is the exact same things. I maybe redundant, but it cannot be that, that cannot be the reason that they don’t do it. Like other reasons, sure. That one, no. Because that one, that one is something that together as a world I think we can really combat and we can we can we can work on that. So John, thank you for being you. Okay, we’re gonna take a brief break, and then we’re gonna find out how people can get their picture taken by you, find you, follow you, all that stuff.

Lesley Logan
Alright, John, where do you hang out? Where are you on the socials? Where do people get to know more about you?

John Mollura
Well, literally, I hang out in my car a lot, shuttling my three kids to various things. (John and Lesley laughs) But when I’m not doing that, they can track me down on social media, there’s not a lot of John Mollura’s out there. So just John Mollura Photography, M o l l u r a. And my website’s mulloraphoto, and you can see samples of my work on there. And if, like I said, I do portraits, I specialize in people. And we’re not talking about like the white, you know, backgrounds of JCPenney’s Days of Your. I really like to create empowering photos of people. Because you know, how awesome does it feel to look at a really good photo of yourself, whether it’s a selfie, or someone took it, and they just happen to catch you, right? Like that makes you feel so good. And …

Lesley Logan
You are so correct. You are so… I’m sorry to interrupt. You are so correct the other a couple episodes back, y’all. My friend Clare asked me about like, “How are you get ready for photo sessions?” And I have to say, many of the photo sessions in fact, one of the best photo sessions I had. Recently, I was not having a good day when the photo shoot was supposed to happen. I’m like, “I can’t beleive I have a photo shoot today.” And I’m like, “I’m like having impostor syndrome, all the stuff.” And yet, when you have a photographer like you, who would like first of all loves what they’re doing and is does it really well. But when they capture that photo of you in, in this portrait, you’re like, “Oh, that’s I may feel like this, but that’s who I am.”

John Mollura
Right.

Lesley Logan
Ah, it’s amazing.

John Mollura
Yeah. Yeah. And I, you know, so one of the things I love to do is remove as much stress from the whole situation as possible that goes from like, you know, initial consults, but then like going to their homes and like helping them pick their wardrobe. (Lesley: Whoa.) Yeah, yeah. Right.

Lesley Logan
You are in it. That’s amazing.

John Mollura
Oh yeah. Yeah. You know and then the day of the shoot, you know, there’s always professional hair and makeup offered for folks so they can just show up and not worry if it’s raining outside and what happens to my hair. No, you can just sit in Kelly’s chair and she’ll take care of it. I’ll get you a glass of wine or tea or whatever you want. Do the photo shoot where I you know, I guide people through all the poses because it was at Talladega Nights, you know that … What do I do with my hands? (John and Lesley laughs) So I tell people what to do with their hands, you know. But then, even afterwards, I help them pick the photos, and then they’re all professionally retouched. So, you know, it’s showing people in like, very treated, I don’t make people look fake, and like, you know, like some plastic Barbie. But you know, let’s face it, like the the high end digital cameras that we use, like they capture a lot of details that like, don’t need to be captured that you don’t really see. But then even helping them with like, because like you said with photos, when you see a photo that makes you feel really good, but I’m a firm believer in like the power of like a physical product. So every photo people select, they always get a print of it. Five by seven, it’s matted, I mail it to them with a thank you note. But then I offer like heirloom quality like wall art. Like I’ll come to their house I install it. So it’s like start to finish like …

Lesley Logan
Oh my God.

John Mollura
How much stress can I remove from you and have this actually be what it is, which is showing, showcasing the world the true you and more importantly, because some people are like, “What am I going to do with like 15 photos of myself, John?” I’m like, “Put them in the nice little gift box I give you and then when you’re having you know and keep like one of them out. Have some boss ass photo of you hanging up and like your bedroom, your closet. If you don’t want the world to see it, in when you’re having those bad days, like you were having like how awesome that’d be to look over and see that picture and be like, ‘Okay, I got this for five minutes. I can. (Lesley: Okay) I can do this.'”

Lesley Logan
You’ve inspired me to print some of our photos. (John: Yeah, you should.) That I only been putting on Instagram. You know, um, well, now I just have there’s so many reasons why my family is listen to this, they’re be like, “Well, we have to get Delaware anyways.” But now I feel like we have to get to Delaware so that we can do a photo shoot with you.

John Mollura
Yeah, love the photograph. You and Brad.

Lesley Logan
Oh, yeah, yeah, no, it’s gonna happen. There’s we literally go to Delaware. So it’s gonna happen. You know …

John Mollura
You the president and Dave Grohl my … (Lesley: Right) Yeah, well, they all frequent Delaware.

Lesley Logan
And also, for those of you who are on the East Coast, I from what I understand, like Delaware, it’s really easy to get to, your states are all very small you’re because you’re not in California. You can get there in a couple hours. (John: Yeah) Go do it. Um, okay, so we can talk about photography even more, and maybe it’ll come up but be it till you see it action items. Bold, executable, intrinsic or targeted steps that people can do to be it till they see it. What do you have?

John Mollura
My friend Paige who’s like, just one of these people that you talk to you and you’re like, “Well, you’re you’re really smart. You just understand people.” She said something to me years ago, and I don’t even know if she meant it to have this much impact. So when I was talking about doing photography and like, “I don’t know, Paige, I’d love to do it full time. But you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And she just matter of factly said, “Well, John, somebody has to do that.” And like, that stuck with me, like, so anytime, I think it’s impossible for me to make this sale or make this much a year or for my band to make a CD. It’s like, “No, somebody has to. So why not you?” (Lesley: Yeah.) And you know, if you want to get even, you know, more positive, don’t say someone has to because I can have a negative connotation, but someone gets to, somebody gets to make a living from photography, or make a living from Pilates, what they love. Why can’t that be me? (Lesley: Yeah) So that’s what I want people to really take away. You know what, why not me? (Lesley: Yeah) And then when the negative voices start coming up, you tell him to shut up and just remember, why not me? Some somebody has to.

Lesley Logan
Somebody has to. Why not you? John, ah, I am obsessed with you. You’re amazing. You’ve got so much to offer this planet. We can keep we’ll have to have you back. I’m sure Brad is like, you could have gone more into the Star Wars or something else but …

John Mollura
So tell Brad to call me we’ll nerd out.

Lesley Logan
I know.

John Mollura
Do some legos or something.

Lesley Logan
I know the day of our shoot, we’ll just have to block out extra hours for time for that. Anyways. Okay, everyone, how are you going to use these action items in your life? Right. Tell us by tagging John Mollura and tagging @be_it_pod and letting us know. Also, do us a favor, send this to a friend. And you know what if this had an impact on you DM John or myself or text a friend what it was because not only does it change people’s lives, like it really does if you they could there could be a sentence that like Paige said to John that changes and sticks with someone. But also it’s literally how we change the world. Like we get rid of impostor syndrome and these feelings of of being alone. One person at a time. So thank you everyone so much. And until next time, Be It Till You See It.

John Mollura
Thank you, Lesley.

Lesley Logan
Yeah.

Lesley Logan
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast! One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over at the @be_it_pod on Instagram! I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!

Lesley Logan
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of ‘As The Crows Fly Media’.

Brad Crowell
It’s written, produced, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell. Our Associate Producer is Amanda Frattarelli.

Lesley Logan
Kevin Perez at Disenyo handles all of our audio editing.

Brad Crowell
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music. And our branding by designer and artist, Gianfranco Cioffi.

Lesley Logan
Special thanks to our designer Jaira Mandal for creating all of our visuals (which you can’t see because this is a podcast) and our digital producer, Jay Pedroso for editing all video each week so you can.

Brad Crowell
And to Angelina Herico for transcribing each of our episodes so you can find them on our website. And, finally to Meridith Crowell for keeping us all on point and on time.

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