Step Out from the Shadows and Into Your Calling

Episode 05 with Trivinia Barber of PriorityVA

Trivinia is the founder of Priority VA – a boutique virtual assistant agency that matches elite level online entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield and Todd Herman with highly-skilled assistants who “get” the online space and come prepared to deliver massive ROI right out of the gate.

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Transcript

(approximate transcript)

Trivinia is the founder of Priority VA – a boutique virtual assistant agency that matches elite level online entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield and Todd Herman with highly-skilled assistants who “get” the online space and come prepared to deliver massive ROI right out of the gate.

 

Andrea: Trivinia, it’s so great to have you here.

Trivinia: Oh Andrea, it’s my pleasure! I’m so glad to get to connect with you here today.

Andrea: Yeah this is fun. So I met Trivinia on an Amy Porterfield webinar actually for B-School, which I ended up signing up for that day and Trivinia was in the chat box. And I just remember, Trivinia, I was just so impressed by your combination of competence and confidence, but you delivered it in such a relational way. And that just really continued throughout my time like my experience with you through that program or all of our online stuff.

And then when Todd Herman launched his 90-Dar Year program which we’ll get into later, and I Trivinia, was an affiliate. And I signed up through here because number one – I could tell that she really embodied the transformation that was promised in the program and was so enthusiastic about it. And number two – One of the bonuses was a call with Trivinia and I really want to get to know about her, and I’m so glad I did. So Trivinia, it’s so fun to have you here.

Trivinia: Thanks so much and you know I think it’s really interesting that I have been able to build some really amazing relationships with people that all started in a chat box in webinars. It’s just so interesting because I think that sometimes people feel like their personality can really come through in online or a chat box, or in these tiny little micro-interactions that we have with people. But I feel like I’ve been able to prove a lot of people wrong in that area that we can absolutely build relationships in this little micro-moment together, so thank you so much for that.

Andrea: Yeah, I love that and it’s like this little snippet but it’s not fake, you know. Whatever, it’s just like a little window into your personality and as you get to build more, it’s a neat thing to be able to see so yeah.

Okay, so Trivinia, you took the…I just wanting to say your name all the time, I think. It’s such a fun name. This year, I invited my guests to take the Fascinate Assessment because it’s fun and I’m curious about when we’re talking about Voice or Voice of Influence that sort of things. And so Trivinia took it and she came out as the maestro which is power plus prestige.

Now, if you don’t know anything about this, go ahead and go back and listen to Episode #1, where we discussed the whole thing if you’re interested in learning more about the Fascinate Assessment. But anyway, the point is that power plus prestige – this is a really leadership-driven, high standard kind of voice that Trivinia carries. And Trivinia, I’m curious, was this something that you’ve seen yourself kind of always have, or this is something that has developed throughout time?

Trivinia: Yeah, that’s such a good question. I feel like when I was younger, when I was in let’s just say maybe middle school and high school, I always wanted to be the leader. I didn’t want to be the follower. I was a captain of my swim team, little things like that you know. I wanted to be the best and I wanted to be in charge of things for sure.

But I think that what I found as I’ve gotten older, especially as I started my own business is that I typically ended up taking the backseat to people that were stronger than me and I would be the assistant. I started my career really as a virtual assistant, and so I was always behind the scenes sort of making things happen that I wasn’t really in the spotlight.

And as I’ve grown my business, what I realized is that, I do have a voice. I do have something to say and I want to be heard and that’s been probably the biggest change that I’ve really sort of stepped out from behind the shadows of other people that I’ve served and developed my own voice and really stepped in to that power and that prestige personality type.

But it has been not necessarily something that I’ve chased after but something that I’ve had to have revealed to me by other people that I really admired and say like “No, Trivinia, you do have something to say and there’s a platform. There’s room up here on the stage for you too.”

Andrea: Wow! What it was like for you then to have these people speak into you like that?

Trivinia: Well, I didn’t believe it. I think a lot of people can really struggle with taking compliments, you know very well. I mean, I know sometimes people even say like “Oh I like your outfit.” And we’ll downplay, right like “Oh I got it on sale at Target.” We just always want to just give an excuse or downplay whatever it is.

And I think the same thing was true when it came to my business acumen. People would make comments and say “Oh well you know, I’ve got some great mentors and I always just deflect to giving someone else the credit and so it was hard for me to accept that. But then I started to see that it wasn’t just people that I was paying, you know. Maybe it wasn’t something they were saying because I was in their course. I was paying to be a part of the Mastermind. It was peers also started to tell me that as well.

I started to really look a long hard at myself and be like “Well, do you want a voice? Do you really want the stage, because it’s kind of up here and if you step up on it, I think that there will be people to listen to you?” And that’s really weird and it’s just came down me making a decision that I wanted to kind of step out of the shadows.

Andrea: Wow, yeah that’s such a powerful image of looking yourself in the mirror like that. So do you think that you’re – as you’ve taken steps and where you’re at in your business right now and how do you think that your voice has sort of developed?

Trivinia: It’s such a great question. I remember I used to call my business, ‘my baby business’ and then I would say “Oh it’s toddler now.” And I think were like on full and grown-up mode now. I recently start doing all client works. I used to really have this safety net of client work where I was literally still being a virtual assistant to people and that provided me a stable steady income.

And I used to think like “Well, if all that fails, at least my mortgage is paid.” And I’ve recently just about doing all that and I’m just fulltime running my own business right now. And so I’m a real entrepreneur now, right? There’s nothing else to fall back on. It’s sink or swim with making this business successful.

And so we’re starting year four. We wrapped up 2016 at about $1.5 million in revenue, which is just insane for me to think. And we’re going to look toward potentially in doubling that this year and just continuing to transcale and hone or our systems and reach for people. So I feel like we’re definitely at that stage where it’s like “We can make this thing go as big as we want to.”

And that’s terrifying and when I say ‘we’, I say my husband and I because he actually quit his cushy corporate job with amazing benefits a couple of years ago to join me in my business. And so we are fulltime doing this thing now, and it’s scary but really exciting to think about the lives that we can impact really as a result of me just deciding to step fully into this. It blows my mind, Andrea!

Andrea: Oh my goodness! Yes that’s so exciting and I just have been watching this from afar sort of. And seeing all the steps that you’re taking that you mentioned on social media or what not, and you know really investing yourself, investing in your business and in your people, how does the investment that you’re putting into your business? I mean, how do you look at that and say “What is the ROI on this? How is our return on investment?” Why is it worth spending so much and putting so much into your business instead of just trying to get more clients and match more VA’s with clients?

Trivinia: Yeah that’s a really good question because I think that just like clients come to us and they look at using virtual support as an expense, I have to always flip those tables for them and help them understand that it’s really an investment in themselves and in their business when they come to us and really decide to put their money where their mouth is and get some help where they need it.

So I think the same thing is true for me. I can talk about all these great ideas that I have in my head but unless I have someone to help me strategize and figure out how to actually execute them, then I’m just talking too right? And so one of my biggest challenges is I can sit across a table from you Andrea and I can brainstorm a ton of ideas about how we can grow and scale your business, or maybe how can get you more exposure and things like that and really support you.

But when it comes to my own business, I kind of have these blinders on and I just don’t see possibilities. So for me, it is well worth the investment for me to bring alongside people like Todd Herman or Dan Martell and invest in their leadership. I do it in Mastermind. It was very expensive but in the three months that I’ve been in that Mastermind, I’ve had ideas or discussions with other people or with the leader of Mastermind that can potentially 10x my business.

And that just from a conversation at a dinner table after a Mastermind meeting and that’s the kind of things that I think people will often put in the back burner and say like “Oh yeah, I’d love to join the Mastermind,” or “I’d love to maybe sign up for a course or whatever but I need to do it when, right?”   We only say “We’ll get there some other time.”

But for me, I’m more adventurous I guess or more of a risk taker. I’d rather invest the money right now, get innermost conversations with people at a further down the road than me and take one idea that they have and scale this business more rapidly that I could by myself and try to figure it all out. So it’s definitely worth it but it’s scary. When I was paying the invoice for this most recent Mastermind that I joined, I was literally shaking because I was like “I can’t believe I’m joining this. What if it doesn’t work?”

But I did it anyway because I feel like if I’m going to grow my business and I’m going to surround myself with people that are doing amazing things in their own kind of niches that they’re in then I can’t like keep dreaming about joining in. I got to start doing it. You know, Todd Herman talks about like, “I don’t care about your potential; I care about your performance.”

And so for me, it really is putting money where my mouth is because I’m a kind of girl that if I pay for it, I’m all in because I’m going to milk every single dime of that experience. So whether that’s an online course that I’ve taken like 90-Day Year or a Mastermind that I paid 40 grand for, you know I’m all in because I want to recoup that investment multiple times over.

Andrea: Right and I don’t know that everybody really sees how that could actually become that big event, an actual investment that’s actually turning into revenue. But one of the things that I gathered from and got from you and Todd Herman and that experience with the 90-Day Year was that I needed to be spending more of my own time working on my business, not just in my business that sort of thing.

And that when we’re doing that, it’s worth more that that’s it’s actually worth more for me to spend time strategizing I’m going to execute that I’m going to have eventually, execute on that of course but to spend that time on it. So I think that most people, and I say most people just because I think that’s what I experienced, but I think a lot of us, a lot of people who maybe do have a Voice of Influence, Influencers at home, maybe it’s easy to get stuck in that mindset where you’re thinking that this is the way life is.

And I can use my voice right where I’m at and I’m not going to try to push out the boundaries at all. But no matter whether you’re an entrepreneur or whatever you are, if you take a step back and look at life and say “Well, how do I want to take that time away investing yourself or howcould I put my voice out there in a bigger way like Trivinia is. I mean, that’s pretty huge for anybody I think, not just entrepreneurs.

Trivinia: Yeah. It’s interesting because I had a lot of people telling me like you should create a course on how to become a virtual assistant. It’s kind of everybody tells me all these different ways that could diversify my revenue and all these things but it wasn’t until I paid to join this Mastermind and these courses. And I was encouraged to again kind of take that look back who I want to be and how I want to use my influence.

And I really realized and was like “No, I don’t want to create a course like that. That’s not anything that I have any desire to do. Now, do I want to speak on stages, sure! Do I want to write books, absolutely! Those are the ways that I want to be able to influence a community, but I don’t want to have online courses that’s not something that I want. I don’t want to teach VA’s how to be VA. I would rather teach CEOs how to be CEOs instead you know.

But I was very close to going down a path that ultimately would not have left me fulfilled just because people were telling me I should. But when I took the time a way kind of by myself to really look at where I wanted to use my influence, it would just came clear that what people were telling me wasn’t really where I wanted to go.

Andrea: Oh that is so powerful too because I know even for myself, looking at what I’m doing, trying to think about which ways should I listen to. And in the end, it has to be true too, like inside of you I think. It does feel like a calling, doesn’t it?

Trivinia: Yeah. I think sometimes I still do battle with that because I know that the impact that we’re making. I remember telling Amy Porterfield this all the time like “We’re not caring kids here.” But we are making changes in people’s lives because of the work that we were doing together there. And I feel the same is true for PriorityVA. I have VAs tells me they had no idea where Christmas is going to come from but now they do you know because of the opportunities that were affording them to work at home as a VA.

And so I know that we’re making changes in people’s lives and it’s important what we’re doing. But me, sometimes it’s so hard to see that because we get caught up in looking really what other people are doing or what other people, family, and friends, whatever tells us we should be doing. You know, you just get to set with yourself and just really figure out who you want to be and go for it.

And I think that’s where if we take any consideration the Fascination Advantage thing that that’s where my power lies or that’s where my prestige lies is in really being able to take hard look at myself and then go full board ahead to get what I want that’s kind of cool.

Andrea: Love it. So you said that you’re interested in writing books and speaking on stages which you would be fabulous at. What would you want to talk about? What is that thing that you really want to get out there? What is the message?

Trivinia: You know that’s just a great question and I think that it will evolve and change as I get more comfortable in this new space of not being the assistant. But I think for now, one of the biggest things that I still want people to understand is that we don’t have to do it alone. I feel like as we’re growing our businesses in this entrepreneurial space, we’re all sitting behind our computer screens and getting fatter and just becoming more isolated. And I feel like we don’t have to do that alone.

We don’t have to barricade ourselves in our office and become martyrs to our own businesses and things like that and not just a really important message. Obviously, it ties very closely into the need that I feel all entrepreneurs have to have a virtual assistant or to have some sort support system for them. So that’s really important to me. Other things I’m really passionate about of course, adoption and foster care so you know, it could be that that I spend more time speaking and writing about those things.

It’s interesting to me, Andrea, that now I have the choice to think about it and that’s what so weird to me is that if I want to talk adoption, I can talk about adoption. I don’t have to talk about virtual support. So that just kind of interesting is that I can grow up into whatever I want to now because no one else is just tell me what I have to do.

Andrea: Sure, yeah that’s exciting. It’s interesting too to think about how we can have this. And one of the things that I love about this is that you have a business that is supporting you. And then if you want to talk about your passion, your mission for adoption and foster care then you don’t have to make money doing that necessarily.

You’re making money in your business, so this allows you to have the freedom to be able to pursue a mission that may not make money at all, maybe giving money a way for you to give back or whatever that is and whatever how it placed out. But I think that it is easy for people who have a passion like you’re describing because you have adopted two children, right?

Trivinia: Yup!

Andrea: So that’s one of the reasons why you’re so passionate about this, and I think that it’s easy for us to get stuck in that passion and not think about how we’re going to support it.

Trivinia: Yeah, absolutely. I used to do all this in your free talks and I’d write in forums and blogs and all that sort of things to try and get the message out about foster care and adoption. And I actually had to take and that would be put in the back burner for a little while for me so that I could build a business that could sustain my little side projects that really fill me up and I really feel good doing them.

But I still have four children that need to be fed and they have school uniforms that need to be bought and my love of adoption isn’t going to be necessarily feed them. So it’s important I think that we get our priorities straight. And for me, creating a business that could give me the time – I mean, my whole business started because we adopted a child and she needed me to be home for her.

And so I had to really focus on that for a few years to get to a place where I could sustain now. And now, I’m like “Alright, where can we go?” “Who can we talk to about adoption?” How could we view these things and it’s only because I put the time to build something that could sustain this new sort of fun side project that I have. And you know that could be something as time goes on as well. So we’ll see how it plays out but it’s fun for right now.

Andrea: Yeah and in the meantime, you’ve built yourself a platform.

Trivinia: Exactly!

Andrea: And continuing to grow that one and that’s pretty important, so I think these are great, great lessons for the Influencers that are listening because I think that it is so easy to get stuck. So thank you for that. Now, I’m really fascinated by how you’re passionate about something that I’m also passionate about which is pairing your VA’s with the right client. Tell me a little more about that because I’m really interested in this.

Trivinia: Yeah, so this all really started because I was working with some higher profile clients and people were starting to ask me if I could work with them. And really that’s where the entrepreneurial being kicked in for me and I kept thinking “Well now, I can’t take anymore on myself but I can find you someone that has the same characteristics or the same traits that you think you want in me.” And that really started this business.

And so the way that I’ve really utilized a couple of things – I say that we have to figure out the right skills that you need someone to have. You know, do I need to know where and all these things because I need them to be able to do and execute what you need done. But more importantly, in my opinion, it’s personality and temperament, character, and values that are going to drive a relationship and really make it work.

I can teach someone many pages. I can show someone how to set up Facebook ads, but if they don’t care about your business and your mission where you’re going, it’s not going to matter. There’ll be a little kind of crash test dummies, right? They’ll be filling out forms or clicking buttons and doing things but they’re not going to care. And to me, the best relationships or where can I place a VA with the client who’s not…they’ll never be equally as passionate about what you’re doing because I just don’t think that’s possible.

But if they are driven and motivated by what you’re doing in your business and they have the skills that you need, that is a recipe for magic and for, really, what I call long term collaborative support. And one of the best things that I found in my career is working with Amy and being able to kind of look behind our shoulders and say “Holy cow, do you remember our first launch together, it was like $30,000” and then looking at doing nearly $2 million launches.

And not that I was solely responsible for that but I played a part in it and I was able to see sort of where we had come all along the way in our relationship and in the business building and things like that. And that’s really magical if I can create that relationship for people. So I spend a lot of time working with not only with more personality tech profile stuff that really digging in with our clients and asking politically incorrect questions. I’m just really trying to figure out who they really need.

Because most people, I think 90% of the people that come to me looking for virtual support, they’re all about the ‘what.’ I need someone to manage my account. I need someone to schedule trips for me and that is all they are concerned about. But when I can sort of put the tables on them and say “Okay that’s great,” like “got that part.” Now, who is the best person to come alongside you and work with you, because you’re B-Schoolers, you know creating your ideal client avatar and we get that down. We know what kind of music they listen to. We know where they shop, like we know all of those things but nobody does that to figure out their ideal teammates.

Andrea: That’s crazy, isn’t it?

Trivinia: Yeah, exactly because they’re the ones helping you build those things. And so I try to get people to really flippant and to think about that for a little bit, and let’s create a profile of your ideal teammate and then I go to work to find them. And obviously now, my team is growing and I have fulltime recruiter that helps me with that now so it’s not just me anymore.

But that is so, so powerful when I can then introduce a client to a virtual assistant and I can say, you know “Here’s Sarah and here’s why I chose her for you.” And the clients were like “I cannot believe you were able to find somebody that aligns so wonderfully with who I am and where my business is going.” It just does magic for me, and it makes me so happy and it’s kind of exciting.

Andrea: Oh yeah, it’s magic and it’s gift that you’ve been given. You obviously have a gift for being able to do this and understand your client, understand your VA and look for these deeper things. Would you be willing to share any of the things that you’re looking for when you’re trying to match?

Trivinia: Yeah, I mean it’s different for everyone. So it really starts out with, I would not hire any VA who doesn’t align well with my values, because I would assume that if a client aligns with my values and then I bring on VA that aligns then we’re starting off on a right foot. And so that would be things like truth. I mean, it’s tattooed on my wrists if that’s important to me like I can’t stand liars. Oh, integrity and just commitment. I need people that are going to be committed not only to me and PriorityVA but to their client and really to themselves.

I think that a lot of people who are trying to get their foot in the door in a VA world, you know, they used to work at Target and so they’re going to try this VA thing and they’re going to see how it goes. But they’re not really committed to learning what they need to learn and so commitment is really important and then service. Having a heart to serve is massively important to me because being a VA is hard and sometimes you’re going to be asked to do things that you’re not really interested in doing, at times you don’t really care to do them.

And so I need people that ultimately have a heart of service and just really get filled up by serving other people, so that’s kind of where it all starts. If people can align with that then they can at least get into the fold of the next level of conversation with PriorityVA and then from there, it’s just me. And right now, I’m the only that’s doing this. But I’m the one that engages with their clients and I’m the one who talks to them and figures out really.

I get kind of deep with them and I make them answer hard questions that they’re like “Oh, I never thought of that before.” But it’s like “Do you need to work with someone who shares the same, maybe spiritual views as you?” Because maybe their business is all about their spirituality and maybe having somebody on their team that doesn’t share that so it’s going to become challenging for them. Or maybe it’s somebody who they really, really need somebody who’s very techy because they’re technophobic, right?

So it’s just all figuring out “Do you need someone who’s gonna say, “Yes, Mrs. Wenburg,” or do you need somebody who’s like “Andrea, you told me you’re gonna give me this stuff and you didn’t get it for me.” You know, so it’s figuring that out and those are hard questions I think people don’t want to answer sometimes, because they don’t want to seem like rude or they don’t want to seem like maybe they’re kind of a bad boss.

But if I can get them to go deeper and answer those questions then I have higher much success rate of like 85% success rate in the matches that I make because I’m not having to uncover stuff later that like they really don’t like somebody that says all the time “Okay.” You know because that’s an annoying word to you and I give you someone…

The funniest story, Andrea, that one of my clients told me one time like “I don’t care if they’re college educated. I don’t care if they have babies on their lap while we’re talking, but please don’t give me someone that has a Boston accent.” You know that’s so funny. I was like “Okay, that’s the kind of stuff I need to know, because what if I did. I got them some great person but they were from Boston and not just great on you every time you talk to them.

So I love hearing the funny, funny kind of non-negotiables that some people have, but yeah it’s fun. And then from there, we kind of do the same thing with the VA’s, so we talk to them about who they’re ideal client is and where they can make the most impact. And so if it’s somebody who really needs to be a behind-the-scenes person and they’re more task oriented instead of collaborative relationship oriented, they’re typically not going to work well in our company, because I don’t do task stuff. I think we can outsource that to offshore companies for much cheaper. So I don’t want more collaborative relationships. We start to dig it deeper and ask questions and then it just all comes better.

Andrea: Yeah, that’s great. So some really great advice for people who even have a business maybe whether or not it’s internet business or brick and mortar but it’s hard. It’s neat that we’re in this day and age when you can and you have a lot more to choose in the internet world. You can do a really interesting mix and match in ways that we really can’t when you’re brick and mortar or they couldn’t years ago I’m sure.

So I’m curious when it comes to that relationship between a VA and the client, I’m wondering about how they interact and how you help them interact. Again, this is about voice because I’m sure that your VA’s…it sounds like the way that your VA’s interact is definitely more collaborative as you mentioned. And so they do have a little bit of a voice, maybe more so than a normal VA. But do you have any recommendations or suggestions for people or either that Voice of Influence as a VA or somebody who is in a superior and somebody who’s supporting that superior if you will?

Trivinia: Yeah. You know, the easiest thing, but people look at it as easy, but the easiest thing to create an amazing relationship with anyone we’re working with especially when the relationship is virtual, it’s just consist of communication, right? It’s just like when we’re building our audience and we email them maybe once every nine months. Well, that’s going to be hard to build their relationship with our ideal audience.

And so the same thing is true when it comes to virtual support. I work with subcontractors and so my team is not built of employees, so they’re not W-2 employees. So I can’t demand that they have weekly meetings, but I strongly encourage that they have weekly in meetings with their clients. And I like those to be face to face whether it’s just real quick on Skype or Zoom or Facetime or something, and talking 10 minutes. This is not need to be an hour-long meeting because most clients hate meetings because they’re busy and they don’t want to get caught up in stuff.

But that face-to-face interaction does a lot for building trust in really solidifying relationship, so that’s probably step one for me. And another thing that we do is we have our VA’s give a weekly report of basically what they did get accomplished, what they’re going to start working on for next week, and then what any impediments to progress are. Because oftentimes, the clients are the ones that the impediments to progress.

And so it’s just becomes really, just really transparent about what’s going on and that helps the client to know “Okay, these are sort of my shortcomings. This is where I really need to step up to the plate and help this relationship continue to progress.” So that’s really important I think with any relationships. You just get to communicate a lot and then really utilizing tools that we have at our disposal.

There are so many different things whether it’s things like Teamwork, a project management software that we use here or Slack for quick force of communication. And then of course if people can afford it and it allows in their schedule like get together in person with your VA at least once or twice a year and have a little brainstorming session and that will just again solidify their relationship as well. It’s been really fun to get my team together. We’ve started doing quarterly retreats and we just go rent a VRBO in a different state, in Plymouth and this like 3-day implementation weekends and that’s really fun. And I’ve been able to find out so much about my team now, like for instance – oh I wonder, I’m might be blowing a surprise but that’s okay.

One of my VA’s, Kim, is the most amazing assistant on the planet and so no one even try to steal her from me, but she is coming up on anniversary working with us. And so one of the cool things is like I started asking my team like where would you go if you could go anywhere? And you know, she was talking about different cities she wants to go to. And so I’ve kind of been conspiring behind the scenes, plotting to send her and her husband on a trip for her like anniversary after working with PriorityVA. But I wouldn’t throw that out really just like through email, you know.

It was just around the fire at VRBO in Phoenix, we’re just chatting. And so I think if people will take that relationship to another level with their team, it’s so cool. It’s just so fun, right but you have to step out of your comfort zone and do it and really be interested in having relationship. And that’s the main difference I think, Andrea, between working with other virtual assistant companies and working with PriortiyVA is that I want people to have relationships with their team. And I want them to really be a part of the team not just some button pusher behind the scenes.

Andrea: Oh man! I mean who wouldn’t want to work for you Trivinia. I mean, did you hear what she just said. She’s sending somebody on a trip with her husband and that’s so powerful and it just makes it feel like you truly care.

Trivinia: Yeah, because I do and a lot of people don’t. I mean, we’re just really being honest. A lot of people, they don’t really care about their assistants because they’re disposable. And I want to create relationships that aren’t disposable. So that if you’re assistant got hit by a bus, yes there are systems and there are processes like work could still continue, but I would want that to matter to you.

A lot of people in this online marketing and digital world that we live in, people are so replaceable. And I’m kind of looking at flip the tables on that a little bit and bring it back to kind of old school where people had a secretary for 15 years, you know, that’s normal. I just want that relationship to be really important to people again.

Andrea: Oh I love that! Okay, so one of the other things that I want to ask you about was I know that you have passion because of this is what you’re doing, you’re supporting people who have ideas, you’re giving them support staff or support whatever. Anyway, when people who have a Voice of Influence are growing and wanting to become and develop their voice, get a bigger platform perhaps, or figure out how they want to interact in the world, or whatever it might be; I know and I’ve heard you said this before, it’s so easy for us to get lost in our heads and not actually execute. And part of that problem is the fact that we’re not willing to delegate.

Trivinia: Oh yeah.

Andrea: So what advice do you have for the Influencer that’s sitting here listening right now saying, “It’s going to be years before I ever get anything off the ground.” How do they decide when to actually delegate and that sort of things?

Trivinia: Yeah, stop it. That’s one of the things you know, it’s like people stop being a martyr in your own business. And stop feeling like if you’re not touching it and you’re not pushing the buttons that it’s not going to be done right. I have often said like “There will be spilled milk. Your system is going to mess up.” I sent an email to at least nearly 200,000 people from a client’s private email address one time. Yeah, it sucks and it was horrible and I was crying hysterically, but you know, we fixed it and it was fine and nobody died.

And so I think that that’s the biggest thing that we can do as Influencers or business owners. As we’re getting started, stop thinking that people are going to die if an email is not sent out right or if a link is wrong on a Facebook post. Just stop taking yourself so seriously and really start small. I think that getting your feet wet in delegating and outsourcing, like do something on 99designs or something and just start flexing that delegation muscle, because I think that it is a practice that we have to get better at.

Now, I tell my team like take it. They’ll ask me questions and I’m like “Oh, I don’t care. You do what you do, you own this.” Dan Martell tells us something that I think that if more people would really embody, I think their business would scale so much faster. We need to put people in place and he calls it, ‘we need someone to LMA that.’ And it’s Lead, Manage, and be Accountable, and I have fully embraced that in my business especially in this past couple of months is that I’ve said, outsource-outcomes and not tasks.

So instead of you outsourcing the task of booking a flight, why don’t you outsource the outcome of that entire trip, right? So you’re not worried about the hotel, rent a car and all that stuff like you have an itinerary that such to go. And when you arrive at your hotel, they’re going to have whatever it is that you need. Maybe you’re gluten free or something. You know, outsource the outcome of that and stop worrying so much about the individual tasks that you need to get off of your plate and lets someone lead, manage and be accountable for the outcome of something.

And that’s going to be a part of your team, it’s going to let you sort of rest easier in knowing that it’s not all on your shoulders now. Now, if you picked the right team then you should feel confident in LMA-ing different part of your business. And you should have one for your marketing, you should have one for your finances, you should have one for the administration, and then you obviously have for the delivery of whatever product or service you’re selling.

And so yeah, you got to start small and flex that muscle. You will get burned, you will be disappointed, you will feel like “I should just do this myself,” but if you push through just like when we were working out, right? If you push through that breaking point, you will develop muscles instead. And you’ll get really, really excited about what else can you get off your plate.

Andrea: Oh Trivinia, thank you so much for all of this amazing advice. You are definitely a powerful, beautiful Voice of Influence. And I think you’re definitely already speaking to those CEOs. You’re going to grow this platform even bigger and I want you in front of more and more people. So I wish you well. I’m excited for you and I will always be your cheerleader. So thank you so much for being with us today!

Trivinia: Absolutely! Thanks for having me.

 

END

 

How to Give Students a Voice Through Video

Episode 04 with Michael Tringe

Michael Tringe co-founded CreatorUp to empower anyone to have the opportunity to tell their story through video and all forms of digital media. He loves helping people learn, and watching the impactful stories and videos they’ve created after learning with us has been incredibly rewarding.

As a teacher in Morocco, he started a film program, and was inspired by his students’ stories. For the first time, Mike could see the world through their eyes. That changed him, and inspired him to go to film school at USC. For Mike, films and videos are not just entertainment. They are a means to get to know each other and ourselves. A way to communicate new ideas in a powerful and exciting way.

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Transcript

(this is an approximate transcript)

Mike Tringe co-founded CreatorUp to empower anyone to have the opportunity to tell their story through video and all forms of digital media. He loves helping people learn and watching the impactful stories and videos they’ve created after learning with CreatorUp has been incredibly rewarding.

As a teacher in Morocco, Michael started a film program and was inspired by his students’ stories. For the first time, he could see the world through their eyes. That changed him and inspired him to go to film school at USC. For him, films and videos are not just entertainment. They are means to get to know each other and ourselves, a way to communicate new ideas in a powerful and exciting way.

I am truly excited to have Michael Tringe on the podcast with us today. He’s a dear friend going all the way back to elementary school. We participated in a number of activities together throughout our school years and graduated together in stayed in contact since then.

 

Andrea: Mike, it is an honor to have you here with us.

Mike: Well, it is an honor to be joining this. So thank you so much for the opportunity.

Andrea:   Now, before we get to CreatorUp and the work that you’re doing to empower people’s voices through video, I’d like to go back to where it sounds like this part of your story begin. How did you get from Harvard to teaching school in Morocco?

Mike: Well, I really wanted to travel and I knew that I was a little burned out from college, so I applied to a lot of different international schools. Harvard had something called, the Harvard overseas teaching program, and so many of those schools had relationships with the university. That meant that it just a little easier to apply, that didn’t mean that it’s easier to be a teacher.

So I applied to schools all over the world and the one that seemed most interested in me was the school in Morocco. And I think you can appreciate the story, but the last time that I had been to Morocco was on our band trip to Epcot Center and that’s where we had, I think, our first O’Doul’s.

So my memory of Morocco was like you know this little Moroccan hat or whatever who was in the Epcot Center. I was thinking “That sounds like a fun adventure.” But in all seriousness, I really was excited about the chance to try something completely new and different. And that’s why I really was gravitating towards Morocco, even more so than some of the programs that I applied to.

Andrea: You didn’t go to school for teaching right?

Mike: Well, I didn’t and I did. I always knew that I enjoyed teaching and I did take some classes in educational psychology and behavioral science, and so in some ways like it was in the back of my mind. But you’re right, I was premed and I thought I was definitely going to be a doctor and this was, you know, I’d taken [unclear 03:09], so this was my break year where I was going to go teach for a year and that turned into three years and the rest is history.

Andrea: So you went to teach English is that right?

Mike: I did.

Andrea: And I remember you told us a story about somebody that you’ve helped find their voice through writing.

Mike: Yeah I know, I could name; his name is Karim, and I’m really among all of the students remember him because he’s a very quiet student and someone who I knew was intelligent and knew had something important to say but he never spoke up.   You know, it’s intimidating, you’re in high school and my classes weren’t huge and most of the students really did know each other quite well since it’s a small school. But for whatever reason, he seemed too uncomfortable talking in front of the class.

So we worked on his writing and I could see that he was starting to get better at articulating his thoughts and then I noticed when I opened up the film class that he was the first one to join. And I thought “Oh this is interesting.” He wasn’t my first thought of a candidate. And man, when he picked up the camera it was just like he was singing.

He was really just like in his element and I think that taught me that this is a medium for, you know, sometimes people who don’t know what to say or how to say it but they want to share their vision in a visual way. So it was just really revelatory for me as a teacher to discover that this is a different form of communication that really works better for some types of students.

Andrea: That’s really powerful. Do you tend to notice these people that have something to say but they just don’t seem to be saying it?

Mike: Yeah.   I think every filmmaker I ever met has this kind of sort of background where even YouTube creators. I could say just like maybe they’re not so good at communicating in traditional ways but this [unclear 05:21] thought or vision or idea that they have has to come out on the screen, somehow. That’s the journey that a lot of filmmakers and visual creators I think are on. This is one of “Okay, this is in my head, how do I get it out?”

Andrea: I’m curious. Did you always know that you were going to start a film course in Morocco, or it that something that developed overtime?

Mike: No. No, totally overtime. I had brought my own camera to Morocco and had been filming my own stories. That was really enjoyable for me and it was very natural extension as I was asked to teach a photography class or to coach track or whatever to say “Hey, you know, I have this camera, why don’t we start a film class, you know.” It seems like a natural thing I want to do.

The headmaster was very supportive. And he was a very special person because he started working at the school 40 years into his time there and I came in after he’d already been there for 40 years. He had done a theater program and he had this very famous plays produced. He had people like Tennessee Williams and Oliver Stone coming to this place [unclear 06:43]. And I was like “Who is this person?”

But he was from the Deep South and very connected to literature and plays, and so he was very supportive of the film program when it started even when we were getting this max with 4 gigabytes and one camera that cost $4,000 or whatever.

Andrea: Just for context, approximately how long ago was this?

Mike: 2001, so it’s 16 years ago.

Andrea: So video and using video anywhere outside of your home videos, I think was still really a new idea, right?

Mike: Yeah for sure. It wasn’t really even until, I would say platforms like YouTube came along later when it really became a thing because if you’re going to do more with other than like send it off to festival or share with your family like a slide show.

Andrea: Yeah and the barrier to entry who’s just starting something like that is so much [crosstalk]. You said that you had this sort of revelation in Morocco that film was a big deal, when did that translate into your own personal like “I want to learn how to do this better?”

Mike: I think it’s a very deep question but I think that most of what I realized when I was there was there was I was pretty frustrated with my ability to communicate. I spoke English. I never know how to speak Arabic and so part of it was like “Wow!” And for three years I’m not able to express myself outside of the classroom, and so I have gone better with my Spanish. They spoke Spanish there and I studied French and studied some Arabic.

So I really worked very hard at my capabilities for any language. And I still felt really limited and I was like “Hmm, there’s something about video which is very universal.” I mean you can watch it and see it and experience it, and sometimes there are subtitles and sometimes there are not. But to me, I really saw it as a universal communication tool and one which allowed me to access through the eyes of my students. They’re used of their culture and for my own perspective; I was able to share how I saw the world. And so, I think for me, it was like that desire to really learn another language or visual language.

So I started going to festivals more and sort of experiencing the world of film festivals and people telling stories. And I really feel, they just fell in love with that because I think [unclear 09:39] you than anyone. I feel the same sort of need than I do to kind of deeply communicate with people. And really we are most vulnerable when we’re making films or telling stories for others to see. So for me, I was just really attracted to that as a communication medium and a tool and experience.

Andrea: I’m curious about what you said, “I’m most vulnerable when making something for somebody else to see.” What do you mean by that? Vulnerable because why?

Mike: Well, it’s the artists’ dilemma, right? Which is you’re sharing ideas that you might not normally be able to share in conversation or think about when you’re writing down your deepest thoughts and then you translate those into stories. And then you have a team of people that comes in and helps you tell that story because filmmaking involves other people. And then it goes on to spreading somewhere or out into the world.

So I can see how it’s scary. You know, it’s very scary especially in today’s day and age where media is pervasive and things [unclear 10:55] and I was like “Oh my God, can I really do this? What’s gonna happen? Where it’s gonna go? What are people gonna think?” And all these thoughts and I remember going in festivals and hearing people talked about my films afterwards. And being both like on the edge of seat wanting to know what they said and so being like “Don’t say anything bad about it,” you know, which inevitably happens, some people like it and some people don’t.

Andrea: You know, I haven’t thought quite like this before but I haven’t really done a lot with video myself yet. I think someday I’d like to, but I’ve just been trying my voice in writing and audio. And what I have not done is other than my editor for a book, I have not really submitted myself to somebody else’s win as far as, not their win but maybe their artistic expression of what I’m trying to create.

So I can imagine what it’s like to pull a team together around your own story, around the idea that you’ve developed and then somehow trusting. I mean, I know that you’ve done directing but is that part of the vulnerability too, also just like putting other people and giving them that power?

Mike: Oh for sure, absolutely! And I love being in film’s school because it was very supportive and I think that’s why people go because you really do feel like you’re on the Island of Misfit Toys. It’s like everyone’s there to do something and say something and you want to help them to that because they want to help you do that. So in a lot of ways that’s what you’re paying for to be a part of this community of supporters where’s there’s no judgment and there’s really an openness, yet finding people who are going to get it is hard or it can be.

Andrea: So we’ve kind of moved on to film school then you went to USC, and do you want to share anything about your experience there?

Mike: From an academic perspective, I was all in. I mean, I loved every class and learned so much and I was excited about learning about the entertainment industry, meeting new people, and met some really incredibly talented people. It was like a challenging period though because, on the hand, I was going to school. And on the other hand, I was making films with friends on my own for homework on nights and weekends. And then I was working two or three jobs, so all in student’s paycheck.

So for three or four years, I was really sort of subsisting and I know that’s kind of like whatever grad student says but I was surprised by how hard it was. And I think a lot of people were like “Oh film school that sounds so funny, sounds so easy.” It’s like “No, you’re driving and unloading 2-ton [unclear] trucks and there’s a lot of like physical-ness to it and emotional-ness to it.” And probably one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever done you know and it just last a long time.

But having said all of that, it was cathartic in a lot of ways because I was able to write stories that I’d never been able to write and have some success with what I was doing. I had films start to get into the festivals and people started to recognize my talent as a writer, as a director, as a producer, and all of that was really made it all worth it. You really don’t think about the long hours with a low pay. It was more about “Wow, this is really exciting!” The shocking part came at the end when it was like “Okay now, we’re moving into this exciting industry.” And then the industry all changed and all the rules have changed and it’s just kind of like starting all over again but not in a bad way.

Andrea: So when you say the industry changed, was that something that was happening from your experience going from grad school to the industry or was that in general a big change that was happening in the industry?

Mike: It was in general, it wasn’t just my experience. I mean, the digital revolution has happened. This is a sort of the reason I started this company. But in general, the business models were changing; who they hired to do things was changing because the business models were changing. So it used to be okay, well you “break into Hollywood and you get discovered and hired in the other group.” That make it sounds a little easy but at least it was kind of like a system for 30 years you know.

Andrea: And you go into film school thinking that’s their system that you’re going in to.

Mike: That’s a system, yeah that’s the system. I think every industries kind of been disrupted in one way or the other, so that system have changed. Basically, the rules forced you to move into [unclear 16:03] models a little faster. So in order to get funding to do anything, and in that we’re talking about crowdfunding more than getting a production company, to invest in you because original stories are not what studios were looking for. I mean, the big realization for me was like “Wow, what of superhero movies going on?”

Yeah, because the studios were like “Yeah, we’re not just taking risk anymore.” They fired all of the studio heads and they replaced them with marketing directors and that was just a thing because all the studios were required by conglomerates. So no longer was art as important as it once was to the system. Luckily, YouTube happens, Instagram, and Facebook so people have these other outlets, right and crowdfunding happened.

Andrea: Yeah!

Mike: But in that netherworld from 2008 to 2012, which is when I was working. After I graduated, all these shifts were happening. And I think all of us were really like grasping for what’s the pathway here. You know, one student asked “What what do I do with that?” “I don’t want to take that and make it a thing,” so…

Andrea: It’s so amazing that you were in it right in that time and those things were changing, you were trying to figure out what to do then that eventually led to the new steps that you were going to take. So what was it about industry then that led you to move towards starting CreatorUp?

Mike: Well, it was hindsight. I think looking back at what I saw and experienced in wanting to change things. I didn’t like a lot of things that I saw. And I think you know me well and you know that I’m very principled person when it comes to making things feel right. I saw a lot of privileged in the system in terms of who was given access and why, and I thought back to my personal story, a gay person who had come out and was making and telling gay stories and realizing “Well, that’s not really marketable.”

I mean, it was in some ways starting to break out with things like Brokeback Mountain. And then I think with Moonlight winning an Oscar, it has come to kind of full circle. But at that time, I just realized that for me and other minorities or other voices of people who don’t have as much money or access, what happens to them? And always, those were the stories that need to be heard.

So for me, it was a mission about how can I take the knowledge that I have learned in four years in film school as I was interning and working? Or maybe closer to 10 years in the industry, how do I take that and give it away and make it accessible and give people tools? And so for me that became more important even in telling my own story was “How do I help other people tell their stories?” Because I feel like I have told my story, you know, I have said what I wanted to say and will continue to do that but how do I help other people do that.

Andrea: When you think about the minorities’ story that ideally you were just sharing that does the story that you really need to hear, why is it so important to make sure that those stories are told?

Mike: It’s so, so important. It’s about representation. We go up in Nebraska and we knew what we could see that was that, right? Whatever was in front of or you could read about, but I think especially at this time in our nation, in our society, we need to see more. And if we’re not able to see and hear those other stories then out of sight, out of mind. It’s almost like those other people don’t exist because we’ve never heard about them. We don’t know about them and maybe the reason we don’t know about them is because they’ve never been given that opportunity to share who they are.

Andrea: You know, I also think that empathy…that’s one of the things that were given when we can really experience somebody else’s story through video, especially…

Mike: Oh for sure.

Andrea: I’m more able to really understand somebody else and their perspective and what they’re experiencing and I’m seeing their facial expressions and I’m hearing the tone of their voice. And seeing their perspective I guess to film in a way that even writing doesn’t really quite allow.

Mike: Absolutely! I mean that was like Directing 101 for me in the first semester of film school was that like this emotional element. And this empathetic element is the thing that sort of makes this medium different.

Andrea: You know, respectful dialogue is one of my core principles that I’m longing to promote and get people behind, because obviously there’s demonization of other people all the time. And it’s very difficult to move forward in any kind of way when we can even be respectful to one another.

So empathy and being able to understand other people what’s going on with them, what’s going inside of them and they’re real people. The other people are real people and not just…I think it seems to help me when I think of myself and my experience of film, it helps me get in touch with my own humanity in a lot of ways and what I feel and what I’m thinking. It makes me think more about that.

Mike: On that note, I have to just mention because a friend of mine was involved in this project. There’s a project called Project Empathy, and it’s actually uses virtual reality to help you experience…I mean their tagline is Help us see the world through the eyes of another. So it might just be, you know, I know virtual reality as well is starting to be an extension of filming video in terms of what we’re able to experience in terms of other people’s perspectives.

Andrea: Yeah. So let’s move on to how CreatorUp got started?

Mike: Okay. Well, I think I can give you the idea side of it and I can tell you the people side of it. So from an idea perspective, it was about…I mean, looking back at my time as a teacher and knowing I enjoyed that and knowing I enjoyed film school and wanting to continue that and have that be something anyone could do. I think I mentioned this before but I worked in the admission office at USC. And I remember this, they were rejecting everybody maybe because there were such a limited number of slots or you know…

Andrea: That’s interesting.

Mike: I was like “Hmm, okay…well, a lot of people wanna go to film school, not everyone can get in and it’s so expensive because we all owed over $100,000.” So how can we change that a little bit? And at that time, other interesting shift that was happening was that education models were changing, right? So these massive open online courses were becoming popular. Salman Khan has started the Khan Academy and so our reaction in making things accessible was to start filming ourselves.

So we gather our friends together and said “Hi, you know about cinematography and you know about editing and started making courses and putting money in the internet, 25 bucks a month, all [unclear 24:45].” And that’s literally how it started. So we started as a consumer-focused website that had online courses around storytelling production, marketing, or crowdfunding.

And then as we were going along, we realized “Well, how we can make this even more impactful and more meaningful?” And so we expanded our online offerings to live classes and that soon became something companies wanted as well. So right now, we’ve gone from one, two, three people to 11 or 12 people working here. And we serve primarily schools and companies, but we also serve individuals. And we help people tell their story and use media to reach people with their ideas. That’s what we do.

Andrea: So when you’re doing you have companies, are you doing production work for them or are you teaching them how to produce?

Mike: Both. So I think you know, the people inside of those companies who need a lot of their staff who are working and most of them in the marketing department. So oftentimes, we are working directly with marketing departments to train them around best practices for next generation communication. The big industry trend that I just shared with you is that people are not watching as much TV and they refused to watch commercials.

So what do you do with that? Well, you actually have to make a change. You have to create content that people want to watch and that is the new method by which you reach people, you create value. You create education and you create entertainment. You create inspiration, so those three tenants or some of the tenants behind. But types of content happen to work well on YouTube, which by the way, is now being watched with a rate of 1 billion hours every day. So it’s a thing. It’s a real thing.

Andrea: Wow! How does one even bother getting started? How do you get over the hump of thinking, how do I do that?

Mike: Here’s a dirty little secret, everybody started somewhere and there is so much opportunity around who you are and what you know. And it’s the same thing your grandma told you, “You’re special.” You are, you’re a special person and other people will appreciate that specialness about you because you’re unique and that’s like an easy way of saying that every voice has an audience, every voice has a niche that they’re feeling.

So that’s the beauty of the diverse stories out in the world. We have been living in a broadcast world for a hundred years where it was really like a few channels and one distribution pathway and that has been revolutionaries and that’s great. That’s good for us.

Andrea: One of my mantras is your voice matters, but you can make it matter more.

Mike: Right. I see where you’re going. So the medium allows to amplify that and platforms across social media are one distribution mechanisms. They’re not the only ones, but technically it gets started because this is a technical medium and a lot of people are afraid of that technical element. I think that…yes, it has a small investment whether that’s educating yourself and some equipment or borrowing equipment.

So to get practical about it, you need to identify basically your process and your tools. So from the process perspective, it’s just about mapping out your ideas. I can recommend Evernote for doing that and not necessarily writing all the scripts down or thinking what’s going to be in every video. It’s some of the bullets around you know “What do you wanna say from a big picture perspective? What’s the mission behind your message?”

And then bullet out, what are the topics underneath that that you would want to talk about for let say 10 videos? Once you have those things then it’s about “Okay, well let’s get a camera that works.” DSLR camera or an iPhone could work with a road microphone or something that put into it so that your audio quality is good as well, and editing software which is really just kind of your visual storytelling tool.

You don’t want to do that directly through Instagram stories or Facebook Live with live audience just stream directly which is another medium. But if you want to kind of have that editing element into it, Adobe Premiere is a good tool.

Andrea: Adobe Premiere for both Mac and PC?

Mike: I think it’s probably the best one, the easiest one.

Andrea: Okay.

Mike: Yeah, the other element that I want to talk about in getting started this is just more about making time, finding a way signing a way that kick start what you’re doing. And what I found with anything new they’ve ever done is that requires help that requires other people. You know, they say when you go diving, you need a dive buddy?

Andrea: Right.

Mike: I think need a buddy to keep you accountable and maybe to help in areas where you might not make it so good. Maybe there’s some compliment or skills that’s there around and somebody is good at organization and the other person is good at ideas. I don’t know but I think that’s helpful and I think getting involve in your local filmmaking community. That might not so far as you think.

I mean, a lot of towns and schools and cities will have film festivals and film organizations and you’ll be surprised really how accessible they are if you just walk in. In Nebraska, I know the Omaha Film Festival has a really great community, and I think there are festivals all over the state at this point.

Andrea: It seems like I’ve read some place or saw some place that you were doing some work with helping schools get into film a little bit or start a film program in their own schools. I mean, is that something that CreatorUp is involved to it?

Mike: Yeah, we do. That’s one of my favorite parts of what we do. So our course library can be made accessible, video textbooks about everything from cinematography to editing and writing. A lot of schools work with us to provide our curriculum in those materials to their schools.

And so at a base level, schools that don’t even have a program can literally plug in CreatorUp and we can have their instructors, their teachers whether they’re be English teachers or enthusiast teaching this as an extracurricular program, very similar to the type of program that I would have thought when I started high school when I was teaching.

So for that, we are literally plug-in-play solution for any school that does not have a program to have a program and that is one of the things that I want to emphasize is like “This is why we started the company to make this more accessible.”

Andrea: What is that someone needs to do to get started if they’re interested in using CreatorUp in their schools? And who would it be for? I mean, surely anybody could participate but it seems like this is really ideal for students, who, like you mentioned before might have something to say but aren’t sure how to express it. They might be in accelerated learning program but they might not. They might be somebody who just doesn’t know how to express themselves.

Mike: To answer your second question around, who is it for? Is it for teachers; is it for students and what type of students? I mean, it’s for both so we actually offer professional development training for teachers as well. And I really do believe that it’s critical for teachers to teach themselves how to use these mediums because they need to be creating more dynamic materials for the classroom. They need to be empowering their students to create video essays to get into college as an alternative method to turn in homework, whether it’s history or English or math or you name it. It’s another engagement tool for teachers to take their classroom to the next level.

And then on the student’s side, video and media making should be viewed in the same way that other critical skills are. Some people might say that coding is now a critical skill that students must have. But in addition to start learning a language or learning math, to me video should be right in the next. And I think it really just kind of gets either overlooked or people think it’s too artsy or this or that. But I think you and I both know the importance of this type of program, I mean with music or art that it has an emotional development of a student which is so important of that stage of your life.

Andrea: Absolutely! I know and another one as you go through life and just that ability to be able to express yourself in various ways. It seems like film is just a video or is just becoming more and more important culture in our social media [unclear].

Mike: Yeah, yeah and I think a lot of times people look at they’re like “Oh it somebody’s obsessed with the camera,” or something like that. But they don’t see that media and storytelling is also a community-building opportunity, because you’re starting to bring people together in ways that they’ve not been brought together before to think and talk about things that are uncomfortable sometimes. Or if not uncomfortable that are celebratory you know. So it’s just a really, really lovely nice medium to be able to bring people together as well.

Andrea: Great! Thank you for what you’re offering. I think it’s really powerful. And so if somebody wanted to get in touch with you or somehow use CreatorUp, do you just suggest they just go to your website? What’s the best…

Mike: Yeah, go to our website or you can have them email me directly. I’m in charge of a lot of these partnerships, and so just mike@creatorup.com and we’ll be happy to start talking.

Andrea: Awesome! Alright, one last question, the aspiring filmmakers out there, somebody who might be a little bit more interested in actually utilizing film or video as their job, what would you recommend? Do you recommend going to some place like film school or where do you suggest they start?

Mike: You know, I think classes are good. I think classes are helpful to create structures and timeline and deadlines and get you to create projects. So whether that’s school or whether that’s something we’re doing or whether that’s filmmaking buddy, you really just have to start making things and showing them to people and getting feedback.

I think the best part about having a small community whether it’s in a school or outside the school is that you can improve. You can get better in a safe place because no one starts out perfect. You’re always going to make mistakes and you kind of have to be open to overcoming some of those challenges if you’re going to get started.

But once you have some videos whether those are promotional for a business or just your ideas, you can put them on Vimeo and then put your Vimeo links on your website and show people you’re real. And that’s when they’re going to hire you and pay you to do the work. So it’s as easy as that if that’s your video or resume but you have something to show.

Andrea: Thank you so much for sharing your story and your passion for video and giving people voice through video. Mike, I really appreciate the time you spent with us today and I’m looking forward to seeing more videos popped up because of CreatorUp. This is fun!

Mike: Thank you so much Andrea! I’m loving what you’re doing and thanks so much for having me be part of it.

 

END

How Good Businesses Can Build Influence

Episode 03 of the Voice of Influence Podcast

Mentioned in this episode:

Listen here (press the play button below) or find us on iTunes and Stitcher.

Transcript

(This is an approximate transcript.) Adrienne Dorison is a business consultant, podcast host, and the founder of Good Businesses Do Good, who helps entrepreneurs get focused and strategic so that they can be more profitable and sustainable in way less time. She is a LEAN business expert who believes in generosity, relationship building and doing less, better. Adrienne loves dog, cookies, Crossfit, and long-distance triathlons.

Andrea: Adrienne, it’s so good to have you here on the Voice of Influence Podcast.

Adrienne: Thank you for having me. I love hearing my own bio read back. That’s me!

Andrea: Yeah, I do love those things.

Adrienne: Yeah, I do love cookies and Crossfit and dogs. I’m excited to be here.

Andrea: Do you have any long-distance triathlons that you’re training for right now?

Adrienne: No. I need to sign up for one. It’s one of those things where I don’t just like pay the fees and sign up then I keep putting it off. So I need to pick a race and get training that’s what I need to do. I think it’s like most things in life right? Like we just keep procrastinating or putting it off until we invest and book a date.

Andrea: I agree. I agree. Yeah, my husband is signed up for the Boulder Half Ironman. So I don’t know. Adrienne: That’s hilly, I bet.

Andrea: I think not too bad. Anyway, it will be fun.

Adrienne: Well, I live in Florida so…

Andrea: A little more hilly maybe. It’s kind of on like a flatter ground I think, but it still yeah, it’s kind of fun. So Adrienne, I asked you if you have taken the Fascinate Assessment before and you said you had, so I’m curious when you’ve done that before.

Adrienne: You know, it’s really funny, because I know you know Amy Porterfield, and she had Sally on her podcast and that’s when I first took the assessment, was once I heard Sally on Amy Porterfield podcast and I was like “Oh this is interesting, I’m gonna go to that test.”  I got my responses back, my assessment back and I was like “Maybe my husband watch this video,” He was like “Oh my God!” I’m like “This is me.” He was like “Yeah, that’s exactly you.”

Andrea: So fun and I told you previously, you’re the Ace which is alert plus power which is what my daughter is. Yeah, she’s 10 so I’m like “Oh, I’ve got a picture of what her personality might be like as an adult.”

Adrienne: It’s crazy that like within here now. Did you see change overtime? I’m so curious.

Andrea: I definitely see it in here. Yes and her favorite words are plan and organize. Does that sound familiar?

Adrienne: Yes.

Andrea: A little bit maybe? Well, anyway, it’s fun. So I’m curious about you. Do you feel like your voice in a way that other people perceive you, the way that you interact in the world – are those sorts of things, things that have the way that you are now, do you think that that’s you have been since you were a kid too?

Adrienne: No. I would say that…I had a pretty traumatic experience in my childhood like growing up with my mother at first. She was alcoholic and lived in an abuse at home and so I think that like at aged 10, I probably was not the A’s in terms of how the world perceives me now. I feel like I’ve definitely evolved into being more confident and more comfortable with sharing who I really am and being okay with that as well as like having a voice at all.

Because when I lived in that home, it was not okay to speak up or have thoughts and emotions. And now maybe because of that experience, I’ve actually shifted. I’m like swung to the other side of the pendulum, right? Now, I do have a voice and I’m not going to not talk about these things anymore, right? So I would say I had taken it up that time, it would not have been the Ace. So it’s just interesting like I want to follow back up in 20 years and I’ll ask what your daughter if she’s still that way because I definitely evolved as a person.

And I always wonder the same thing with Myers-Briggs. I am like “Am I still the same personality type as I was 10 years ago?” And I don’t think I am and it’s so interesting. And I think if I’ve taken a couple years from now, I’ll maybe even be a little bit…I don’t know, a little bit more different, possibly evolving in that voice and getting more comfortable and confident in it in who we are as we learn what it is.

Andrea: Right. I think that’s the key is understanding that there is, I don’t like the potential for our voice is different than how far we’ve taken it so far. And as we continue to grow and experience these new areas of our lives that it does seemed to really expand. But I don’t know that it’s necessarily changes who we are in the beginning. Maybe it really does sort of just swell, you know. As we mature, those different parts of us are able to come out in different ways too. But yeah, I do think you can look like a different person for sure. So that’s really interesting!

Adrienne: And maybe it’s more of the peeling back of the layers, which I think I’ve done a lot of. And you’re right like maybe that’s more of a swelling. Maybe it’s more of like the allowing at this point of my life for those things to lead versus suffocating them as I was told to do as a child. And maybe, you know, like most children aren’t told to suffocate those things, which is great like they shouldn’t be, but maybe this was always who I was. And as our influences start to permeate us, we start only saying and using our voice that we think we should use versus what we actually feel and know is our truth.

I know it’s just an interesting time in the world right now. And I think that the political climate can have an environmental and the social climate can have an influence on how you’re using your voice and what layers of that onion are being peeled back and kind of like what knife is being stuck into them that you’re more willing to show the real truth and actually use the voice that you’ve always had but maybe even didn’t know until these things start to trigger it.

Andrea: So when you look back on your life then, do you remember or recall any particular triggers that really started to peel back those layers for you or release that in you?

Adrienne: And I think about like current circumstances right now because that’s like what’s most obvious to me. Like the election, I think definitely shook me a little bit. I think a lot of people, a lot a bit so that’s been something that I’m exploring a lot of my own beliefs a lot more and trying to get educated as long as using my voice in a more powerful way. Because I think in the past, I felt like I didn’t know enough, so I wouldn’t say anything about anything, right?

Andrea: Right.

Adrienne: Then really understanding my not saying anything was real tolerance of the things that I didn’t believe in. And I was like “Oh, I mean not using my voice; I’m actually supporting the other side.” So being more proactive about that has definitely…I feel like there’s more of a sense of urgency right now as well as I’ve built this platform. So I feel the person responsible to use it.

So that’s like a big ownership thing that I feel. As well as like I would say at certain times of my life, I’ve gone through like some religious experiences that caused me to challenge my own thoughts and beliefs and speak up more vocally and use my voice around those things as well as like shapes my voice, right? Because I was actually questioning myself versus taking things at face value, which helps me understands what that voice was even more. I think when we take things at face value, we’re just using societal voice versus our own voice.

And it’s really easy to get trapped up into that especially with how noisy the world is to be like “Oh, is that what want? Is that what I believe? Or is that what’s easy to believe or what someone else told me I should believe. And when I really peel back those layers, it’s not actually what I believe because now I have the energy, the time, and the space and the knowledge to go and search out like what I really believe the truth is or my truth is. I feel like that’s a deep yet, non-specific answer.

Andrea: No, that’s okay. I think that this podcast and I, in general, tends to be a little bit both of those things.

Adrienne: I mean that’s broad but…

Andrea: Yeah, yeah that’s okay. I love this kind of conversation because I think we are all kind of trying to feel our way through it all and to hear how other people are gruffling with their own voice, and how to use their platforms is really important. I think the person listening right now is somebody who does or wants to have more of a Voice of Influence of some kind. And so I’m curious for you and your platforms. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing and your platform is based on?

Adrienne: So my platform specifically is helping people grow their businesses so that they can then give back to the world in more meaningful ways. So I talk about earn more to give more because I think it’s like really unique points in the world right now. There’s global internet economy that we have access to that we can create limitless income for ourselves. We can create our own businesses. There are more entrepreneurs now than there have ever been. By 2020, there will be like this crazy amount – forgot the numbers right on the top of my head.

But there’s going to be a crazy amount of entrepreneurs continuing to enter the world in the economy like leaving corporations, leaving jobs and moving towards starting their own businesses. So we have this potential to earn more money. So #1 – We have to embrace that. We have to be okay with that. There are so many people, women specifically, that are uncomfortable with earning more money and that’s a problem, because if you want to have a major impact in the world, we know that money is a large part of that.

So first of all, we need to get comfortable with earning more money and we need to know how to actually do that, right? So that’s the first piece of what I help people with. It’s like getting comfortable with that wealth creation at a mindset level and then strategically knowing how to do that in people’s businesses. And then to give more peace, so I have this side of my business called Good Businesses Do Good, because I truly believe that good people with good money do good things, right?

So let’s be part of an opportunity that we have to change the world much more quickly than we have ever had the opportunity to do in the past, because we now can control a lot of that money and where it’s going. So let’s use our wealth creation for more good. So instead of just building a business that supports your own personal lifestyle, which you can still have, I have this big calling and mission on my heart to show people that the hunger, the motivation that keeps you going is actually having the cause outside of yourself that impacts the world in a meaningful way.

So giving back generously whether that’s through your financial side of your business or through your time or through your energy or through your gifts, etc, so that we can really change the world much more quickly. But I think that we have to have both sides of the equation like the earning more and then the giving more. And with those powers combined, it sounds like Captain Planet..we really do have, not just an opportunity but like I said, the personal responsibility to use our businesses positively.

There are tons of studies that to show that businesses that actually do good, give back to socially, environmentally, responsible causes, they do better. Like people want to invest their money in those companies, so why not be one of those companies? Why not meet your personal needs in your life and then your lifestyle but then also use your business to support other causes around the world.

And by doing that, you’re actually also helping your customers make a decision to work with you because that’s something that a lot of people use to decide when they’re choosing between Company A, Company B, and Company C; is this company doing good things with the money we’re investing in them? So you get to help them align with their values by also showing what your values are and helping them make a decision because they want to invest their money in good businesses. So let’s be a good business and let’s show the world who is good businesses are.

Andrea: That is really powerful stuff. And I think that for me, it was about a year ago when I started to really kind of shift my own mindset on this. I kind of come from a ministry background so my thought was always, you know, that I would never make any money and that I probably shouldn’t. And because if I was starting to help people that I shouldn’t try to profit from them or whatever, so it’s just never even entered my mind that I was a business woman of any sense. And so I wrote a book and I decided, I needed to sell it in order to get a message out. I actually had to do some marketing.

And what I realized was, I ended up taking BSchool, and what I realized was that actually I could give maybe this message out even further and I was going to have to build a platform. I was going to have to get those email addresses and all those sorts of things that you kind of need to be able to do to get a real message out into the world beyond your kind of immediate location. And so that’s when it started to kind of shift for me that “Wait a second, maybe I have something professional to offer to besides just a message.”

And so I had to be going to do some digging but I think that a lot of people do good in their hearts, you know, they want to do good, they want to help people, they deal with a lot of guilt around this idea of making money. They feel like they shouldn’t. So how do you help people to see beyond that guilt?

Adrienne: Uh-hmm. I mean, it’s a huge emotion and attached to money for some reason, right? Whether that’s from your childhood or from something that someone told you at some point in their life or from religion that you’re part of that or maybe believes that or you’ve just created that assumption from something in your past. But I think that if you really do believe in the work that you do or the message that you have to share and you believe that can serve and support other people, then it is your personal responsibility to share it with more people.

And by you feeling guilty about making more money, you aren’t able to help as many people as you may want to. So there is money rotating around this world, energetically being exchanged between people and wouldn’t you rather that be in the hands of people that are going to do good things with it, right? Because there are people that need the service or the product or the offer that you provide. And if they don’t buy it from you, they’re probably going to go buy it from someone else. So if you feel guilty receiving that money someone else does not. And so that’s why I think the earning more, yes this is important but then the giving more means that now you have c

ontrol to say “Okay, I earned more and now I feel it’s my personal responsibility to go back and do what I really feel is on my heart to change the world in a bigger way.” So that doesn’t mean we need to be directly through product or service that you provide. So many people that I have spoken to, you know, whether it’s related to their business or career, I’ve heard a lot of people like what I used to be really involved in a church felt like they weren’t doing God’s work if they weren’t in ministries. I’m like “What can you do… #1: Given these gifts or you’re selling this product or service for a reason like it does directly help someone in some way.

But then what can you be personally responsible for after that to then do what’s been placed upon your heart, right? Whether that’s investing that money into an organization that you really want to support or to a nonprofit or spending your time and energy with people that need love and caring and whatever it is, there’s no reason to feel guilty about making more money if you truly believe in giving back in a positive ways. And I think that actually freeze you up to give back in more meaningful and positive ways when you are earning more money. And so actually if you’re not doing people a disservice, you should feel guilty about not making more money.

This is how I get my people because they don’t want to feel guilty about not serving, about not giving their gifts to the world. You know, what I always knew is that if I wasn’t paid for the work that I do, I would have to go back to a job. If I’m not paid for the work that I do going back to the job doesn’t help the people that I know I can serve directly through my work, but it also put at risk for this bigger mission of Good Businesses Do Good and how I financially giving back to other causes. I can do that as greatly if I have to get a job, right?

So I need to be paid to do this if I want to continue to do this and if I want to reach more people doing this. So I think that there’s a huge disconnect for people that are feeling guilty with what impact they could be having if they went through some of those emotions and really understood them a little bit better, right? So it’s easy to say on a podcast but really going back and like digging, I’m like “Why do you feel guilty about making more money? What is it about money that has attached guilt to it in making money, right? Do you believe that rich people don’t do good things with money and why? Some of the most wealthy people on the planet are doing some of the greatest, most charitable, most selfless and acts of giving that I’ve ever seen, so why not want to be part of that?

Andrea: Yeah that’s really interesting. I was thinking about the person listening who might have that message that they’re wanting to get out. They might be where I was maybe a year or two ago where it feels like this message is the thing. And this is what I need to do when I need to get this message out by writing or speaking or whatever it might be. But that message of itself may not be something that would make money.

Adrienne: It’s not monetized or monetizable.

Andrea: Right, right. So how did they look at? Is there a way for them to create a business either around that message or do you recommend that people do it outside of the message and that the message is the give back?

Adrienne: I think it depends on looking at a business specifically and saying “Is there really nothing here we could monetize?” I think that’s very rare with a message, and so usually that’s just like a personal block that you’re having that you can’t see it because you’re too close to it. It’s too easy for you which is something that comes up a lot for people when they have a specific gift or skill set or expertise. They don’t see the value as much because it comes so naturally for them, whereas other people would absolutely be willing to pay you for that specific expertise, right?

So that would involve like you or maybe just asking someone else to really give you an outside perspective and someone with much expertise on this, could this be monetizable? How could we monetize this? Get creative with how you monetize this. One of my mentors, Jadah Sellner always talks about the cash project and the heart project, right? So for some people, you have this heart project that really isn’t monetized or don’t want to monetize it at all. And in order for that heart project to be able to be moved forward and have the impact that you want to have, you actually do need to hang on to the cash project.

Whether that is a different business or a different component of your business or a job like whatever those things are that will actually provide you with the financial stability and security that you need to push the heart project forward maybe until you understand how to monetize the heart project. So I would say like don’t throw out that cash project yet until you figure out how to move that heart project forward in a way that have the impact that you wanted to have or you’re able to monetize it in a way that it feels really good. Because again, in this current online technological economy that we live in, people can actually and are just monetizing followers.

So if you’re able to create the impact that you wanted and have a really powerful message to share, you could absolutely monetize it if you work on that heart project piece of just getting people onboard with this idea in creating a large following or a large audience for it that had your back. That’s monetizable, right? Even if you don’t directly see that yet, something that’s like not been available to us before.

Andrea: Right. Yeah, I found myself just being incredibly grateful that I’m where I’m at right now in this time and history, I guess. Because it seems like it’s a pivotal moment in history as well, like you said there’s going to be even more entrepreneurs in the next few years. But right now, there still aren’t, you know, we’re still building on that building the momentum thing. So yeah it really feels exciting.

Adrienne: I mean, when you think about it, because we’re early adaptors, even though entrepreneurship has been a thing and has been a growing trend for probably the last three or four decades.   It still pretty new, because when you think about the majority of your like in real-life circle, if you’ve left a job or if you have a side business, you are the minority, right? And I think that that will start to shift for over the next few to 10 years in a much more drastic way. I mean, even kids were making millions of dollar on YouTube. That’s going to be the new norm in the next 10 years.

Andrea: Yeah, I don’t know how many people would find that normal but I hear what you’re saying.

Adrienne: Yeah, just like entrepreneurship in general, like it’s being more accessible and normal for that to be how people make their living and share a message and monetize their life or their message or the service or expertise that they have. So we are like new and still share that with friends or people at my job “Oh you’re the first?” I’m like “There are few other people that do, but they’re always like super intrigue, right? Like “How do you make money?” Like “What is that look like?” “How did you do that?” Because people don’t like and not in my online circle and when we’re on this online circles, we forget that like “That’s not really normal world yet.”

Andrea: So true. So Adrienne how did you get started then in this online business world.

Adrienne: Yeah, so this is another thing that my mentor  Jadah Sellner asked me. She calls and asked me “What’s your daily drug so I’ll get through the online space.” Because usually because once you find that person, what happens is like you ripple effect to my client this other you know like snowballs and you find that you find these other people. So I started to think back to that when she asked me that question and like “What was my gateway drug?” And my daily drug was actually Dave Ramsey.

But it started with Dave Ramsey because I went to Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University which is how I got out of $48,000 of debt in six months. So that was the turning point for me to start like really cleaning up my financial life and money mindset and really doing that work. And I didn’t have a side business at that time but during that time when I was working through his program, I started the side business just for fun because I felt like suffocated at my job and I was blogging and talking about that. And then I stumbled on to Dave Ramsey to Jon Acuff and I read his book, Quitter, and then I found …

Andrea: Umm good one.

Adrienne: Finally, and then I quit my job and then I stumbled upon Jeff Goins and I read his book The Art of Work, and I interviewed him. And then the ripple effect, the snowball continue to happen and continue to like “Oh you know, Jeff interviews need to, you know, this other person.” And then I was introduced to Chalene Johnson and then I found this person.

So once you stumbled upon like one of those people that can open the gateway, I feel like they’re usually connected to other people and that’s how I kind of found my way to this world. But I started by really trying to get my financial ducks in order and growing the side business and helped me pay off that debt really quickly and helped me really find what I’ve really wanted to do and then I was able to leave my job and start doing this fulltime about six months after I first started.

Andrea: You recently shared an episode on your podcast, you have a couple of different podcasts currently but your main podcast – you shared about a Dear Diary episode where you were discussing the fact that hadn’t been as consistently with your content. You’re taking kind of a sit back, reevaluating, trying to figure out what you want to do for this year. So I’m really interested in the voice aspect of this. How did you decide whether or not to share this process, the fact that you were in process, with your followers rather than maybe faking it until you figured it out and then you start with your new message or you start with your new, you know whatever. Why did you decide to go ahead and be vulnerable, or in a sense vulnerable, and share that you don’t have it all together right now?

Adrienne: Yeah. This is such a good and timely question because I’m still going through this, but I’m sharing the actual process. And I just aired a new episode on The School Self-Mastery, which is the podcast that you’re talking about. I was kind of making follow up to that Dear Diary. It’s a great episode, which I continue to kind of go through this again peeling back the layers like really open book process. And I sent an email to list which was well-received by some people and then I actually gotten some negative feedback around this sharing this process and you sharing this voice.

Andrea: Really?

Adrienne: Yeah, which is why I bring it up because I think it’s a really interesting conversation to have, right? I’m really processing this as you asked this question because I haven’t answered this question before. “Why I’m actually doing this? Why not just air some old content or just power through and do some posts.” I actually have recorded episodes in the drawer like in the bank that I haven’t aired and I’m not airing them. I could be doing that, so why do this instead of that and instead of being silent because there’s been weeks and weeks where I’ve read just silent and then I reappear and say like “Here’s what’s going on.”

And the reason is because it felt so uncomfortable like I felt like I was hiding a secret from my husband or my bestfriends, because I felt such a close relationship with my audience. And because I’ve really made it part of my business and my mission to be an open book with them and to tell them like “Hey, I’m gonna be on this ride with you.” It might be a couple of steps ahead of some people. It might be right next to some people.

Some people might be ahead of me but they just like following me in terms of the content that I put out there. I want to be on this right with you and that means showing up and talking about this even when I don’t know what to say, and even when I’m feeling inconsistent or feeling like I’m not sure with the message is meant to be. Or that I don’t have it all figured out because I just feel like I was trying, like when I would record an episode and I wasn’t saying all those things, I just couldn’t do the episode.

“How do I hide this from them? How do I not talk about this? How do I just keep putting out content that doesn’t really bring the main thing that’s going on for me to the table?” So I almost just feel like I couldn’t escape recording and not sharing what was going on and will I lose followers? Absolutely. But I’ll gain more of the right ones and people I think trust that more and they relate to that because that’s how a lot of people being like “You know what, thanks for saying that because I felt like that too.” Or “I’m not knowing how to express what’s going on.” Or “I felt like it wasn’t okay for me to express that that what’s going on for me because of what I’ve built so far, or what I’ve been talking about so far, so thanks for opening up that door for me, right?

And really what this is is permission to self express and that’s the greatest freedom that we have #1: (I’m American citizen, right?) As American citizen as human beings is that freedom to self express and I think that most people where they want freedom, they say they want freedom. They want financial security of course and that provides some freedom. But really, what we’re saying is we want freedom to express ourselves. We felt so suffocated maybe in this corporate world or all over this place.

And I created a business at a certain point that I wasn’t giving myself permission to self express and I’m like “Well, I’m not doing that that I’m really just creating another job for myself, for my values and freedom and self expression as one of my highest value that I have to open with that conversation.” So yeah there’s been some negative backlash in terms of, you know, what I wrote yesterday saying “I need to be real with you.” And when I got a response back “No, you don’t. You don’t need to be real with us. You need to just keep doing what you do like putting out content, why tell us this.”

And I was just like “Wow, that’s actually maybe something I needed to hear because it fires me up even more that I have [crosstalk] and then I will not and then I will not be suffocated by other people not wanting me to share that story. And this for me comes back to childhood and not being able to use my voice, and not being able to say the things I wanted to say if I was self expressing in a way that I wanted to. And over the past years when my business has gained more popularity and like, you know, I’m searchable online. I’m not like famous or anything. But I’m searchable online and people can find me which means that my biological mother has found me on the inter webs.

Again, from birth having that childlike feeling of someone saying “Don’t share this story. You can’t talk about this.” It completely reminds me of why I need to share the story and why I need to talk about these things and why I do have responsibility to myself and to the people I serve to use that voice and self-express, right? And I think that that just has been coming up for me like so much more clearly that I just felt like I owed it to my audience and it almost felt like a big exhale to talk about it. So that’s kind of like a little bit of the behind-the-scenes on like using that voice in a way that feels a little bit messy right now to be honest.

Andrea: Yeah. You know, Adrienne, you really struck me as someone who longs for authentic connection with other people. Obviously, not just fake but also deep authentic connection and it sounds like what you’re doing by being honest and being both authentic and transparent about your experience right now with your business and with your message, you are sort of offering a filter to people and saying, “Look, this is what I’m really going for here, really wanting this kind of connection with you. So if you’re not interested that’s okay, but this is me and this what I want.”

And I have a feeling that you’re going to find or that most people are going to really appreciate and do really appreciate the transparency that you’re offering because they can relate more to it. And I feel that they can relate to you and then the people who don’t are typically just afraid of their own stuff.

Adrienne: Right and they don’t have to listen. That’s the beauty of me being able to share that message. And I think there’s this just something, you know, we teach what we need to learn. I had a client I was talking to yesterday and she was talking about how it takes hours and hours to write and email to her lists. And I said “You know how long it took me to write my email this morning to my email list?” I said “It took me about 10 minutes.” And I said “You know why, because I wasn’t filtering myself. I just wrote it and I didn’t care.”

The reason it’s taking you so long to write that authentic feeling email because you’re not being authentic, right? She was in tears because she was afraid. She was afraid to talk about the things that she really wants to say. She’s afraid to say the things that are really on her mind right now because of the pressure to make something super valuable. Oh my God like if one more person tells you like “Make sure, you bring out some valuable content, right? Don’t put anything else that’s not valuable.”

And to be honest I’ve said that a million times. And I’m like “Oh my gosh, I have to release that pressure off myself too because who am I to say what some others going to find valuable from this or not. I just need to self-express and the people who are going to need it at that moment or going to get it or people who don’t, will just leave and move on for the day. No worries. But the more we filter, the less we get to self-express and actually the less value we provide because we’re trying to self filter and gauge what other people are going to find valuable or useful. And I’m like “What did you just get something out there?”

Let other people decide what they value and feel it useful because truthfully, I don’t know if this has happened to you, but every time get out there and share a message what I think is going to be the most valuable piece never really is, right? If someone comes back and they’re like “Oh my God, you said this one line that was so impactful for me.” And I’m like “I said that, right? Okay, if that’s what what you got from it, that’s what you were meant to get from it.” But if I continue to filter, they may never get those things because I’m just siding what they need to have as most valuable, right?

Andrea: You know there are two things that makes me think of that. I know we’re kind of running low on time here, but I think #1 – People are valuable inherently and the idea of connecting with another person is invaluable. It is so hard to find that, and so I think that that is valuable for sure. But then the other part is that I think that because you’re taking the time back and you said you stepped away from producing more content and that sort of thing. You were wanting to sort of take a step back and really reevaluate. And I think what that means is that you really know who you are. You’re trying to know who you are.

I think a lot of people don’t already know that, and they don’t take the time to go there. And so then when it comes to just turning on and just figure their heart and just pouring out their 10-minute email, they don’t how because they don’t even know what they want. They don’t know who they are. So Influencer who’s listening, know you are. Take that time back or step back like Adrienne is doing and feel free to be able to do the digging that you need to do so that you’re in touch with who you are and what you think and what you want to say. So that when you do come to that email or that conversation, it’s automatically more authentic because you already are who you are and you’re not having to fake it or try to come up with something.

Adrienne: Uh-huh. And I think a lot of us know who we are and again, we filter that because we’re afraid of what other people would think about who you really are, right?

Andrea: Yeah.

Adrienne: And so it’s like, you’re right taking that set back and say…you know, sometimes just writing for the sake of writing versus writing for a purpose or for someone else can be very really helpful to figure that out. It’s like, “What would you say if no one was going to read it, you just write that out.” And that’s like one of the exercises that I do and another exercise that is super helpful that I have recently picked up from Jess Lively is writing to your intuition and asking your intuition questions and then allowing that intuition to write back to you.

You could ask your intuition like who am I really and just see what comes up for you because it would probably be really insightful and interesting and you just need listen and not try to judge it, because that’s what immediately going to come up. But you just listen and didn’t judge that or didn’t allow the external noise to tell you what you should be or what you should write or what you should do which is very heavy and distracting in online space, so you need to take that time with self to figure that out for sure.

Andrea: So good! Adrienne, I am so glad that you took some time today to be with us and share your story, share your heart, share your message, your voice with us. I’m glad that you’re out there doing that in the world and I hope more and more people do it because of your example.

Adrienne: Well, thank you! It was super fun to be here. This is a really awesome discussion and I think even just thinking them out how to find that voice even more like having discussions, you know, sometimes this is where or some of that comes out and you’re like “Huh, did I just say that that was really good, right?” Like “I never thought about that or that’s a really good question, let me think a moment to think about that.” And so I love doing podcast and this is one of the reasons. It’s like really help me understand what that voice is so this is reciprocated like the value is totally here for me too, so thank you so much!

Andrea: Awesome! All right, will talk to you later Adrienne.

END

Discover the Language of Your Authentic Voice with Finka Jerkovic

Voice of Influence Episode 02

Finka Jerkovic is a Leadership Empowerment Coach and Professional Development Mentor whose vision and purpose is to inspire breakthrough transformations in your work and life. 

Her passions lie in turning the workplace from transactional to transformational. She believes there’s room for everyone’s potential. Everyone can have a breakthrough. Finka works with professionals, entrepreneurs and organizations to help them discover their `signature brand specialty` using the Fascination Advantage® system

Prior to founding FINKA Communications Inc. Finka spent 20 years in Corporate Canada in the financial services industry, ranging in roles from sales, leadership, HR, training and development. She is a certified CPCC Co-Active Coach, a Certified Fascinate Advisor and Trainer, an Adult Trainer and Educator and a Transformation Mastery coach.

Mentioned in this episode:

Listen, subscribe, rate and review in iTunes: Voice of Influence

 

Transcript

(Please note: This is an approximate transcript.)

Andrea: Finka, it is so good to have you here on the Voice of Influence podcast.

Finka: I’m so happy and excited to be here Andrea. Thank you for inviting me today.

Andrea: I met Finka through this Fascination Training because she was somebody who led the group coaching. How you say that?

Finka: I’m the Fascinate Certified Advisor facilitator, so I teach the Fascinate System. I’m the program director for the Fascinate Certified Advisor Training Program. And so for people like you who are interested in using the Fascination Advantage System in their business with their clients or in their work environment. I help people learn how to use the tool, how to integrate it into their business, and how to help people bring the best of who they are into their work and into their relationships.

Andrea: And I can attest to Finka’s mastery of training. She does a great job with that and I’m really excited to visit with you today about your voice, how you came to be where you are now. Then discuss a little about the Fascinate Assessment because I do find it very interesting especially when it comes people finding their voice and really diving into what it means to develop that. So Finka, I’m curious when you first took the Fascinate Assessment, we’ll start there since it’s kind of our point of contact, when was this and how did you get involved off with it?

Finka: So for me, I took the test. I’m going to say about four years ago now. I’m probably on my four year anniversary this March. I’ve taken other test like I’ve taken Myers Briggs. I’ve taken Strength Finders and I’m taken Standout, and they’re all very valuable assessments. But it was this one that really helped me see myself in a different light than I had previously.

So I took the test and it was one of those, you know, just landed in my inbox because I was actually part of part of Marie Forleo’s B-School list and think she was doing an interview with Sally Hogshead and they were offering a free assessment for the first 1000 people and I’m like “Let me do this and see what is this about.”

And so I take the test and it was 3 minutes long and you’re like “Okay, not a big deal.” But man, it was a big deal because the impact it had on me, you know I took it and I listened to the words. I watched the videos, I read my report and I was just like “Ahh this is who I am and this is what I’ve been struggling with to be.”

In the sense that most of my career, I’ve worked in the finance service industry, so manym many years in this industry where it’s very, I’m going to say very trust space, very conservative. You can just picture what a banker looks like and you know exactly what type of my environment that is.


So for myself when I did the Fascinate Assessment, my results were – I was a trendsetter and my primary advantage being innovation is I speak the language of creativity and second advantage being the language of prestige, which is I’m always looking to make things better and improve things.

So as a trendsetter in an environment where trust and the tried and true and the way we used to do things is the way we do things around here. I always felt like a square peg in around hole. I could not find my place and honestly, I felt like an alien. I felt like I fell in the trap so many times conforming to what my leaders wanted me to be, conforming to the environment that I was in and losing myself because I thought who I was was wrong and wasn’t a fit.

So when I took the test, where I learned as a result of it was that it’s not so much that I had this value to bring to the table and I’ve wronged it for so many years. And what I learned was it was different from everybody and that difference was actually here to add value. Over the years, the more I learned to own my difference and to be really deliberate and strategic around where I’m applying it. The reward recognition and just sort of more alignment to my voice than who I am. I feel better. Things take less effort. I don’t have to work so hard because I’m not trying to fit in to a box anymore.

And so for me taking that 3-minute test was eye-opening and it gave me the courage to all my voice. Sometimes, I just think about it and I’d say like “Really?” “How pathetic you have to be that a test had to tell you how to claim courage to own your voice?” And it did. It was the thing that worked for me. It was the catalyst, the trigger that helped me claim my voice. I believe we all have different ways to access our true voice and our authentic self. I know for me my goal has been try everything and I’m going to hit it. Something is going to give me that spark and this is one of the things that really helped me.

Andrea: Wow yeah, I can definitely relate to a lot of what you’re saying here about wanting that alignment with who you are and then also the need to some sort of outside voice affirm yours. And I think affirm specifically that’s one of the nice things about this sort of assessment but this one in particular being so related to voice is that it feels like there’s a really specific affirmation. It’s not this general idea of I like to say “your voice matters” because I do believe it, but that’s very general.

So when you get really specific and say this part of you, this creativity that feels like that’s not fitting into any boxes or whatever. There’s a reason why you’re like that. And maybe there’s a really good purpose or maybe you’re just that square peg in around hole kind of thing and you define the other around holes to fit into.

Finka: For sure and I think that’s the another element of our voice and what we bring to the table is identifying. For me the Fascinate was a real I guess catalyst or trigger to understand the language I speak and that language of creativity and language of prestige and excellence. And so for me that was eye-opening and how it was different from the environment I was working in. And then the other element of the equation I think that helps us get more congruent with our voice is figuring out where you could apply it best.

And so it’s almost like now, I know what language I speak. I know I bring ideas. I know I’m going to look at making things better all the time but then where can I be really deliver and selective of where I’m going to apply that. And again, I got lost in the weeds and this is all just from my own personal experience of trying to understand myself. “Okay, I’m gonna work in my corporate. I’m gonna work in my business. I wanna have these projects going on or this initiative going on.”

And what I learned was I expect myself too thin and so when I figured it out where my – let’s say my skill set, and I don’t know if it’s really skills or gift. But when I figured it out that I’m really good at teaching, facilitating, and helping people kind of self realize where they can be their best then I started really focusing on “Okay, that’s where I wanna apply my innovation and my prestige, that’s where I’m want to be focusing on.”

So it’s like niching down our own voice. We really need to get really specific around how you do what you do but then what it is that you do best. I know I’ve got a strength in this particular area, but it’s something that I continue learning to grow and expand on it. So I’m doing it out my best right now in this moment but I know I’ve got still so much more learning and developing and growth because I want to hit mastery.

When I hit mastery, I’m going to continue to excel in that area. Or I might say “Okay, I wanna to pick something else but I think when we think of our voice on where we’re going to apply ourselves best is understanding how your personality and your communication style where it’s going to help serve you in the best direction. But then there’s also this part of the capabilities, the skills set like what is it that you do that you can apply that whether it’s creativity, whether it’s familiarity, whether it’s relationship, or emotional of connection. Those are some attributes we have but then thinking about where it’s going to be best applied. That’s been sort of my journey over the last few years of really finding that piece.

Andrea: So did you come to the point where you’re at right now, were you’re doing some work with the Fascination Advantage and the actual company but then also you’re doing your own thing? Have you always wanted to have your own business? Is that something that you’ve always wanted or is this something that kind of come up out of your discovery of your voice?

Finka: I guess I’ve always had this entrepreneurial spirit. When I even look at my career in the corporate world, there’s a term for entrepreneur and corporate environments, we just call entra-preneur and so I always the one that was sort of outside the box. I always look at the business I ran within my organization. So whether I was a sales professional or a leader of a team, and most of my career, I spend as a manager or leader of a team. When I was in those roles, I looked at that as my business. I didn’t look at it as I was working for this organization and they give me responsibilities that I need to deliver on.

I really looked at it as “This is my business.” And so for me, I feel like I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I was just applying it in a different environment. And to this day, I still linked it to my corporate work. I help others uncover and what they’re entrepreneur spirit and helping them find their voice within those environments because I think it’s critical, especially for corporate environments.

But for me when I started…the seed was planted like “Oh I can do this outside of corporate.” And what I love about it is in my corporate environment, you get to work with like so many people and you know how it is when you’re in your business like there’s like your ideal client. And so when I’m working with the corporate world, in a group of 20, my ideal clients maybe there’s two to five are going to be my ideal clients. And what I love about having my own business right now is the fact that everyone I work with is my ideal client.

And so there’s a different impact that I have or there’s a different reward I received from them. It such a passion or there’s such a congruency and I remember when I started my business, I struggling to find my ideal client. And when I was doing that, I was trying to be everything to everyone. And over the years, as I started getting more specific how it is served me, you know, just the value that I’ve been able to offer but also the value that I’m getting out of the client that I’m working with. And so I think it’s really important.

And now how does Fascinate fit within all of this? So I was part of an initial pilot program. I took the test. I fell in love with it and I started asking questions with the Fascinate group around you know “Are you offering this to other coaches to get certified in the system.” And they said “Wow, we’re just happened to start a training program.” We’re running a pilot. We’re looking for 10 people to be part of this program and based on your advantages and who you are, you’d be a perfect fit. Would you be interested in taking the pilot with us?”
I got off the phone with the lady I had a conversation with and I went to my husband and talked. I’m like “I don’t know what it is. I know I just took this test but I got to take this training. I don’t know what it is. I got to take this training.” And so I signed up for the training and during the training, it was the funniest thing. I just said I’m like “I could do this. I could teach this stuff. I know I could teach this stuff.”

So it was just some seed that was planted. And again, I think it’s like when you have that idea planted in your mind like “I know I can do this,” and I really believe that I could. And so over the coming years after, I really started to show how fascinate the tool can be used in the workplace, how it could be used for professionals and helping them build their brand and their voice and their presence. And I really started bringing what I was doing, bringing that information inside the programs that I was teaching around Fascinate into the Fascinate community.

And that’s where I stayed the Fascinate community with Sally Hogshead. They really took notice “Oh look at the work that Finka is doing on Fascinate and look how she’s bringing it out into her workplace, into her business.” And so that was sort of the door that opened for me to give me an opportunity to start leading and facilitating the training for the Fascinate System Advantage and for Sally and her team.

Andrea: So you could sort of be the trendsetter if you will.

Finka: Yes, yeah.

Andrea: Or the Fascinate coaches.

Finka: Yeah and it’s funny because I’ve done the test a couple of times and sometimes people when they do the test they say “Well, I have a different result. What is that mean now? And so what happened is I took the test again and I did get a different result but what was the constant was my innovation that kind of always stayed with me. I would say your first test is always the true test of your results because when we take things for the second or third time, we’ve now know the system. So the way we responded to those questions is going to be biased in some way because you might be leading towards you know, “Well, I’m leading towards my mistake advantage or my priority advantage a bit more.”

I looked at some of the other results and I said “Those are true but I’m always a trendsetter at heart and I know the way my brain is wired and the way I work is always see things two or three steps ahead of everyone else.” It’s a wonderful gift because I can see where things are going and in the moment sometimes I can be like, you know, people don’t listen because I can tell you where it’s heading, “I could do that I told you so.” Like “I told you so we’d end up here,” but what I learned through the process has been where my communication or my voice doesn’t meet another person’s voice.

So we all speak in different ways and we understand things in different ways, and so I speak in the trendsetter way which means, I will go from A to Z very quickly. And that might be on a particular topic or particular segment.

Andrea: When you say A to Z, you mean cover all the things or to go deep really quickly, what do you mean by that?

Finka: Yes, I can go deep very quickly. I can see the end. Most likely I can see the end while we’re in the start like I can see the end, even though the end might come a year or two years or three years down the road. And so where my challenge has been for me is communicating. So when I say A to Z. I go A, Z. It’s B, C, D, E, F. It’s that stuff in the middle that I struggle with.

Andrea: Yeah, I can relate to this.

Finka: And so my challenge has been, you know, if I want to pitch an idea or if I want to get people onboard to what Z is like what the outcome is, I need to do a better job of talking about the process of how to get there. Or what got me to think that this is going to be the ideal solution or that we should get on board or “If we don’t do this, what’s the cause of not doing this?” So it’s been getting me to get more clear on communicating the message in a way that others will understand.

And I think that has been my biggest learning curve because where I went from A to Z like I see end result to where I want things to go or what I want to do very quickly, my challenge has been how do I get, you know, key decision makers to buy into that idea, clients to buy in. And so that has been my biggest learning of getting people on that vision and on that mission as well.

Andrea: The different assessments I know like any of them are very helpful for us to feel more comfortable with who we are. But you just brought us something that I think is really important that just understanding other people who are different on us as well. If you understand who they are and whether it be through conversation and you just figure it out or by understanding their Fascinate Advantages or whatever it might be then you can sort of meet them where they are a little bitter.

Finka: Absolutely! It is so important like it takes two to tango. If you want to dance, you need a partner. And so when we think about communication and conveying our voice, there’s an authenticity and authentic voice you want to convey. You’ve got a certain mission you want to deliver on and you have a vision that you see. But to get others onboard, you may need to and this is where I say, you don’t change your mission, you tweak your messaging.

So again, you don’t change your mission. You’re still going to go for that goal. You still want to achieve that outcome but the way in which you communicate it, the messaging maybe different depending on your audience. So if I’m speaking to someone who relies on the tried and true, who is someone who likes to do things the way we have done them before and not where they want to focus on.

I need to be sure where I’m communicating, you know, something that might be new to them, how it fits into the tried and true model, where I might have been tested before and tried before and getting some of that maybe anecdotal evidence or testimonials. So it puts them at ease and comfort that “Oh this has been done before. It’s nothing new and fresh but it is something that they feel more confident in because we can position it in a language that they understand.” Does that make sense?

Andrea: Yeah. I definitely agree and I think this is something that I’ve certainly thought about for a long time. But I appreciate just the language and structure of the Fascinate Assessment to be able to very easily kind of gain and understanding of other people and myself. And how that communication can actually connect instead of that ideas of speaking to whom I’ve heard is just like you.

Finka: Exactly!

Andrea: That’s the hard part. There’s a tendency to talk in a way that you’re comfortable and then you just kind of gather those kinds of people around you instead of ranting out.

Finka: Yeah and seeing how the value of having those different voices around the table, how they actually add more value and can contribute to helping you get your voice and your vision out into the world. And so what I mean by that is…so I speak the language of innovation and prestige. So I give hit with shiny objects very often. So for me, keeping me on task of like “Okay, I’m gonna do this and this is my new bright idea,” and to stay committed to it for a long period of time is a challenge for me.

And so I’ve got partners and I’ve got key relationships in my life that help me stay grounded. So one of my key partners is my husband and he has the trust advantage that’s his primary and that’s my dormant. So for many times, you know, I’ll be like “Oh I’ll do this.’ And he’s doing this already and you know what if he just sticks to this for a while and just see it comes to fruition. And I can’t say enough of how having the other perspective of asking different questions than I would ask that has allowed me to stay longer to some projects and how I could think…

I’m still delivering and teaching let’s say my workshops and that’s part of my work that I do, but instead of teaching new topics which is where my innovation will sometimes lead me to is how do I refine and get innovated in a topic that I’m teaching on. So then I get deeper in that and so I’ve learned to stay longer in certain projects that are serving me well. I’m not getting distracted by the next brilliant idea I get. Finding a place for that idea because I think I incubate it somewhere because my brain needs me to do that. If not, I will get distracted. But how do I not let distraction get the better of me and stay in my projects or in my current venture long enough that I can reap the rewards and benefits.

I’m going to say Fascinate has been one of those, so for me to have stuck with a system for four years is a testament to this Trust Advantage that is not my strength but it’s something that…let me understand the system better, let me get deeper in it. Let me work with it more. Let me teach it to others. If I succumbed to my distracted shiny object syndrome two years ago, I wouldn’t understand as I do now. I probably wouldn’t be the program director working with other people teaching them a system in how they can apply it because I jumped ship too soon.

Andrea: Oh this is really, really good, Finka. I know we’re running low in time so I want to make sure that but first of all, how are you applying this and what kind of offerings do you have? I know you have a course that you’re working on or you’re about to launch maybe, would you like to tell us about this?

Finka: Yeah absolutely, thank you! So a couple of things that I do so I do teach a Fascinate from a personal branding and professional branding so as an entrepreneur or a professional in the workplace. If you’re looking a brand that would be a piece of what I do and for team building workshops, so if you’re owner of an organization or you working out in the corporate environment and you’re looking to use a tool that can help build better communication, a team building, and better engagement within a group definitely it’s a piece of work that I do.

My current and my newest passion project is called the Daring Introvert. It’s really around helping introverts or high achieving ambitious introverts in the workplace or entrepreneurs who are looking to find their introvert voice. There might be some challenges standing in the way that they might feel misunderstood in the workplace or undervalued and they really want understand how to use that introverts super power advantage to their advantage. And they might be hitting sort of a glass ceiling in there. They’re not maximizing their potential.

So this course is really for leaders, for entrepreneurs who are really looking to leverage their introvert advantage and they really want amp up their daring. They really want to unleash this power quiet that’s sitting inside of them. It’s just a small voice that’s wanting to burst through in screen, out from the rooftops because they want to make a difference and make change. And this course is really about helping people do that.

So I’m really excited about it and so this will be my new passion project, one that again is a lot of innovation and prestige of thought into it at the same time, it’s something that I’m looking for the long haul to see of how I can help introverts. I’m an introvert, and so I know and understand the challenges of finding your Voice of Influence as you would say, Andrea, as an introvert and I’m really helping them find your Voice of Influence as an introvert and not just any introvert, a daring introvert. One that’s really willing to come to the edge and say I’m ready to take the jump and leap.

Andrea: I love it! So Finka if you had any advice for the Influencer that’s listening right now related to – if they were to take the Fascinate Assessment, give us your last two minute kind of spiel on what you would advice somebody who’s just taking the assessment or thinking about it. How did they approach it?

Finka: I would say take the test number one, and #2 – Make it a live document. We take tests and we do these quizzes and we do all sorts of things, and then either it gets buried on your C drive or goes in the cloud or wherever it goes, make it a live document and take it out with you into the world. And start really using it to find where you shine in those areas. Whatever those advantages are, go out and ask your friends, your colleagues, your peers, managers, or mentors, coaches where they see you show up in those ways so you can start getting some evidence from your outside world that this is who you are and this is how your advantages show up.

What I know is that the thing that comes easiest to you, the thing that comes most natural to you is the thing that you’re going to take for granted and you’re going to think it’s no big deal. But it such a big deal and it such a big deal to the world, it’s a big deal to your work and going out and getting that feedback from the people that you work with and live with. Your clients, they’re critical because they are mirror to you that let you know what you do well. Because what you do well is going to come easy to you and you’ll say “Oh this thing, it’s no big deal.” It is a big deal. You need to bring this work out and so we take it for granted because it becomes your natural nature and you don’t think it’s a big deal but it is.

And so what I would say is #1 – Take the test. Two – Go out and ask people how it shows up. What the impact to them on you showing up on this way. What is that you do specifically that shows them that you are being innovative or passionate or you’re showing your Trust Advantage so you can get that evidence and #3 – Continue to bring that. You have the power to choose to live in an alignment to who you are, what you do, and what you bring. Don’t let other things that you’re distracted out of that. Don’t let time or you don’t have to do that. You do have that time and the power stays within you, and so you being the director of where you’re going to apply your talent. Your skills is critically important.

Andrea: Great! Thank you so much, Finka. I really appreciate it you taking time today and especially appreciate your Voice of Influence within professionals, with me personally and I look forward to seeing how this Daring Introvert Course really impacts people. So thank you so much. Thank you for this opportunity and I enjoyed having this conversation with you and I look forward to taking with you and I’m excited about the Voice of Influence and the work that you are empowering others to help them find their voice and to use it for influence so that they can make a bigger difference in the world. So I’m so excited about the work you’re leading here for all of us. So thank you for this.

Finka: Thank you!

Andrea: You’re welcome!

 

END

About the Voice of Influence Podcast

00 Episode & Transcript

In this episode you’ll learn about the premise of the Voice of Influence podcast and what you can expect.

  • Do you want to know that you belong somewhere and your voice can make an impact?
  • Maybe you know your voice matters, but you want to make it matter more.
  • Why my creativity, sensitivity and intensity is both a blessing and a struggle.
  • Andrea connects her experience as a vocal student at Belmont University and the University of Nebraska – Kearney with the idea of developing a Voice of Influence.

Mentioned in the podcast:

Please listen via iTunes or Stitcher.

It would mean a lot to have you subscribe, rate and review on these platforms!

Transcript

Hey, hey! It’s Andrea Joy Wenburg and you’re listening to the first episode – the About episode of the Voice of Influence podcast. In this episode I’m going to share with you just a little bit about myself and the premise of the podcast and what you can expect.

So I am Andrea Joy Wenburg, author of UNFROZEN: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You. I grew up in Holdrege, Nebraska. I loved my experience there. I had lots of great friendships, amazing teachers and opportunities to learn and grow. And what I found out there was that I could sing. Now, this podcast isn’t about the singing voice, but it relates so give me just a minute to tie it all together for you.

I found out that I could sing and it was something that I really loved to do. I would get up in front of an audience and sing and I felt like I could really connect with the audience. I felt like they were hearing my message and when I was particularly in the zone – feeling the message in the song, I felt like I was really connecting. And I thought, “you know what? I want to do this for the rest of my life. I want to connect with an audience like that.”

So I ended up going to school at Belmont University in Nashville, TN because I thought I wanted to be a recording artist. I wanted to stand up on stage and connect with an audience.

Well, it didn’t take me too long to realize that I actually don’t have the drive to do what it takes to pursue that dream and that though I wanted to be the next Sandi Patty (a gospel singer at the time), I realized when I got down there that there were a lot of other girls wanting to be the next Sandi Patty, as well. So it became evident that I didn’t have that start quality or the drive to pursue that dream.

I redirected my focus to helping other people find and use their voices. I went back to school in Nebraska to become a music teacher. Now, what was interesting is that I refused to even apply to this school when I was in high school because I thought, “I’m never going to be able to stretch my wings in Nebraska.”

Well, when I got back to UNK, my experience with a vocal instructor there went above and beyond any music experience I had in Nashville, which was surprising to me. When I stepped into Dr. Foradori’s office, she asked me “So, Andrea, do you know about this or that” and I said, “Ya, I get all this!”

But as we got going in lessons she realized I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. And at one point she said to me, “You know, Andrea, once you really understand what it means to connect your breath, you’re going to carry with you a foundation for singing that’s going to carry with you no matter what you sing. Once you understand this one concept and it really clicks inside of you and you get that, it’s going to totally transform the way you sing everything else.”

Eventually I did get that concept and it did totally transform the way that I sang everything else. I did have that support underneath of me with breath and what it took for me to sing like I wanted to sing.

Now, I say all of this because since then I have focused more on what it means to find and develop a voice of influence in the world, because there is something else that I really care about.

I’m somebody who cares a lot about – and I think maybe everybody does – that we want to know that we have a seat at the table. And when I say seat at the table, I’m thinking like when you walk into a cafeteria and there’s a bunch of people sitting and you wonder, “where do I fit?”

And when I say seat at the table when talking about is when you walk into a room and there’s a bunch of people sitting around maybe it’s like a cafeteria and you’re wondering, which table do I fit at? Where do I fit?” This is something that I really struggled with in my life. I wondered “where do I really fit?”

Well, it’s nice to have somebody turn around and say, “Well Andrea, why don’t you sit down at our table. We want you to sit here.” That feels great because then you feel like you belong and are excepted and you connect. With other people. The thing that I really realized, though, was that’s not the only thing I want. I also want to know that when I say something, it matters. That my voice makes a difference. So, if you’re sitting at that table and you’re thinking, “I don’t really feel like these people are listening to what I have to say.” Or you start to speak up and they say, oh that’s stupid.” Or they write you off. Or they say it doesn’t matter, or whatever. They don’t have a respect for what you have to say for your vioce.

That’s a little harder place to be in. Because then it feels like you are being used, not like I belong and I making a difference, “they invited me to sit here, but I’m not actually getting to have an impact on the dialogue.” Which is different than saying, I want to have all of my ideas taken for everybody to believe everything that I say, and that the buck stops here, kind of thing. I’m not saying that.

I’m saying that we want to have our voice matter in the dialogue of life.

So, when I think about that, and I think about the voice of influence and what that means how that relates to what it means to have a voice, I realized that there is something really special about this idea of the connecting of breath on the one side, and how that applies to the way that we connect with other people with our voice of influence. When we have certain things, When we change certain things about the way that we speak that or message or the way that we are communicating, when we change those certain things, or we get those certain things, then our voice, no matter where we go, in our relationships, at home, at work, or in the world. Whatever audience you’re trying to speak to, when you really carry with you that voice of influence, it will matter more with everybody, everywhere you go. And your voice and message has a better shot of actually making a transformational difference in the life of the person you are speaking with.

Because, when we really do have that voice of influence, it’s not just about saying, “this is what you should do, this is what I want.” That sort of thing. It’s not necessarily that, because we can always try to shame people into doing what we want them to do. But that’s not the kind of person I think you are. You are the kind of person who really once to make a difference in the heart of a person. Because you know that when somebody changes on the inside, it’s going to come out in so many different ways on the outside. And that is way more powerful than just changing and outward thing.

So, this podcast is about developing a voice of influence, understanding where it comes from, why we are the way that we are. Who we are. What we really want to say, and how we can say it in a way that is truly a transformational kind of message.

That is the basic premise of this podcast.

I want to mention that last year I published a book called UNFROZEN: Stop Holding Back and Release the real you. And that book is actually my story about me and my voice. So, if you are ever interested in reading or listening to that book – I am currently working on the audio version and it will hopefully be out very soon. So, if you are listening to this in the near future, it’s probably out. You can look it up on Amazon or find it here.

It’s my story about me, and trying to understand what my voice is like. Coming to grips with the fact that I am super creative, but also really sensitive and that being creative, sensitive and having a lot of intensity – that those things altogether became both a great power, and a great struggle. And something that could actually get in the way of me using my voice and connecting with other people.

That is what the book is about, and I would encourage you to check it out if you’re interested. And now I want to tell you what you can expect from this podcast.

We are going to be on a regular rhythm of 1, 45 minute interview and one short after show kind of episode where I will be speaking for maybe five minutes, reflecting on something that came up in the episode before that. The interviews will be interviews with experts, leaders, Thought leaders – people who really have well-developed voice of influence or something they can really speak to that would be helpful or interesting to you.

It’s really important to me that you don’t just listen to the interviews and forget them. So I want to offer these little episodes that you could listen to on the way to work or whatever, and be something you could chew on that would really make your voice matter more.

That’s the basic rhythm, that we will have an interview and then a short segment. And for April we will be doing an interview and a short segment, two times each week. We will be doing a lot of those episodes in here in April 2017 and after that we will settle into a rhythm of an interview on Monday and a short segment on Thursday each week.

That is the basic premise and what you can expect from this podcast. I also want to let you know that I’ve opened up a Voice of Influence Community Facebook group for message-driven leaders. So if you are interested in communicating with other people who want to develop their voice of influence, and discuss different things that come up on the podcast, then that would be a great place for you. I would love to have you.

And the final thing I want to mention to you is that in every beginning and ending of the podcast, we say, “Your voice matters, but you can make it matter more.” And what I mean by that, is that inherently, because you are a human being created by God, your voice – your thoughts and feelings and how you express them, that matters. And no matter what anyone tells you, I believe that you matter, and your voice matters.

However, I do think that there are some people who are able to develop that voice in such a way, that we can make it matter more. Meaning, we can make a bigger difference. So although you really cannot matter anymore or less in one sense, in another sense, in the sense of how much impact you have on the world, and relationships and things like that, you can make your voice matter more. You do that, by developing it. You do that by using it.

It’s just like when I was in Dr. Foradori’s voice studio and she would have me sing, and if it didn’t come out right, she would have me mimic her, or she would give me the tools that I needed, or she would suggest that I try something new and feel something different in my mouth or that sort of thing. And she would also help me find the right music for my voice. Which, I think is like finding the right message for your voice of influence.

There are many different correlations that I will be making or referencing here on the podcast, but my point in the end is that I really hope you will take the time to develop your voice of influence. And rather than just be somebody who sings every once in a while in the car so that nobody else can hear them, if you are listening to this podcast, it is because you don’t just want to sing in the car. It’s because you want your voice to matter beyond the immediate where you are at right now. You wanted to matter in your relationships, in your home, in your work, and in the world.

So, that’s what we’re here for. I am so glad that you are here. And I hope that you will join me in the voice of influence community Facebook group. You can find a link to that here or search for it in Facebook.

Thank you so much for being here in this about me episode. I am truly honored that you have given me a few minutes of your time today and anytime that you come back, man! I am really honored that you would take the time to be with us. So thank you.

Your voice matters. Now let’s make it matter more.

Join the Voice of Influence Community Facebook Group here.

How to Create Lightbulb Moments with Espen Klausen, Ph.D.

Episode 01 Podcast & Transcript

We’re here! It’s the very first episode of the Voice of Influence podcast! You can listen to the podcast and read the transcript here. But if you want to help a girl out, head on over to iTunes and Subscribe, Rate and Review the Voice of Influence. It would be so helpful! Thank you!

You can find Espen Klausen at his website http://www.espenklausen.com.

Transcript

Hey, hey! This is Andrea Wenburg and you are listening to the Voice of Influence podcast and this is episode 01. That’s right, this is the very first interview that I’m publishing on this podcast. A
nd Espen is the perfect person to start us off. Espen is excellent at communicating and connecting with his clients and people that he cares about in his relationships, his work life and as a speaker. I think you’re going to find that this interview is something you’re going to want to come back to over and over again. I’ve already listened to it a couple of times and I’ve thought, “I have got to write some of this down, because this is good!” Let’s get to it with Espen.

Espen Klausen, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and speaker based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. His work in public community mental health includes individuals, couples, and family therapy with clients of all ages and he conducts psychological assessments. He is the lead psychologist for several County programs. He consults for Social Services. As a speaker, he runs seminars on a wide range of subjects for professionals groups, company wellness programs, ministries, County departments, and community groups.

Andrea: Espen Klausen, it is so good to have you with us.

Espen: Thank you. I’m very happy to be with you.

Andrea: This is of course very fun for me because Espen happens to be married to one of my bestfriends from high school, so I’ve known Espen for quite a long time. And through my work in ministry or just in trying to help other people on a one-on-one kind of basis, Espen has often served as somebody that I could come to with questions about different things and sort of like a consultant. I’ve really appreciated your help through the years, not only for attempting to help, but for myself as well, Espen.

Espen: Ah yeah. I believe I show up as a cameo in your book.

Andrea: You do, you do and very important one too because I was really struggling at that time, and I appreciated you and Chris and the way that you guys came around me. I really appreciate that. Anyway, I’m so glad to have you here to talk about Voice of Influence with the Influencers that are listening. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about what you do?

Espen: Wow, what do I do?

Andrea: Right. I know, your bio kind of indicates that you do everything.

Espen: Yeah, and being in community mental health, you have to be ready to do everything. You have to be a generalist. You don’t want to go working for the county and be “Oh, I’m only working with trauma,” because we want to help everyone and you don’t know who’s going to walk through that door and we cover crisis and then certainly you don’t know who’s going to show up and need the help right there. You’d be willing to do everything and work with everyone. That’s also been the training I’ve pursued.

So a lot of general public mental health which is what I wanted in seeking this line is working with a lot of people that underprivileged, underserved people with multiple mental health problems, medical problems, poverty, difficult life situations; and the hardest of cases to deal with where they have few outside resources.

Andrea: Yeah, that sounds like really important work. It occurred to me that the listeners are probably hearing your accent and wondering where you from. And also, how did you get from there to where you’re at right now? Maybe a little overview of why you are doing what you’re doing, how you got this point?

Espen: Yeah, and I know you’re very intrigue with how people are finding the voice and it’s kind of the same story. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to help people. And as a result from early on, I’ve pursued becoming a medical doctor. In Norway, that’s where my accent is from, you know, I often joked I got it for $1.99 on eBay because nobody else would bid for it, but I got it from Norway that’s where I was born and raised.

So I was pursuing medical school. The way we do things in Norway is in Norway, you start medical schools straight out of high school. There’s no premed college or something like that. Once out from high school, you go for medicine that’s one long education. I studied hard in high school. Got the insane grades that’s needed in Norway to get into medical school, but as it turned out, I didn’t get into the medical school I wanted.

So I decided to wait a year and collect some… we call them “study points,” which would make more qualified to potentially get into medical school I wanted to. So I decided to take the dare to study abroad. And when I said study abroad, that has two meanings – my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, who you know well, was going to college and was an American. So I decided to study at her college for that year.

But then what happened was – I took a psychology course just a few weeks and I’m like “Why in the world am I pursuing medicine?” Yes, helping others is a part of my voice, but my voice is multifaceted and has certainly other elements than that. It is part of that meeting people where they’re at, helping people on a very personal level. And I quickly fell in love with psychology and the opportunities that it had. It was a possible self that until this point I have never even considered.

I actually think that’s one of things that lead to us, having too few mental health workers and people in psychology and related fields is most people just don’t even think about it as a career choice until they happen to take a psychology class. And I just recognized “Wow, yeah this is where my voice is.” Since then, I continue education in psychology, three years of college, graduate school, and now having been a professional in psychology over the last 9 or 10 years.

Just every year, I discover more, more of my voice and refining it within that field. So how I got to America of course then is loving education. And once here, just discovering psychology and choosing to finish my career here and of course, I got married to my wonderful wife too and got established here.

Andrea: So when did you begin speaking then?

Espen: Well, I was probably around 2 years old when I started speaking but okay…

Andrea: You’re very funny.

Espen: Yeah, yeah okay. I usually joke way too much and say “Hey, waited this long to have a joke,” that’s kind of unusual.

Andrea: I was going to say … I think that was part of your voice. This is part of who you are is you’re funny and you’re witty.

Espen: It is. Sometimes people are…oh I sometimes come to a talk because I get to have fun and I might learn something at the same time. You want to keep people entertained particularly in this day and age. Yeah, I guess early start would be in my graduate training. It was research-focused. You’re expected to become a scientist. You’re expected to do research and you’re expected to disseminate research, which means you’re going to do presentations.

Through my research, I was lucky enough to get a lot of opportunities for it. And that picked up interests, which means I was interviewed by radio shows and that was the early beginning to it. But I never thought of that as much of a career or as a society career. Starting to work for the county, people started liking what I was saying; social services, social workers there, and other people started coming to me for advice. They wanted to learn and they like what I had to say and people started asking me to training or “Can you do this talk?”

And the more and more I was doing that, I started recognizing that I had the ability to meet people where they’re at in more than a one-on-one situation or more than a family or a group. I could do it with a bigger audience and that people appreciated what I had to say. I also found that one of the things in the world that I found the most rewarding is seeing people have a light bulb moment. And that also flavored the way I speak, the way I talk, or the way set up main points are in ways that give people light-bulb moments. I speak in such a way that by the time I give them their main points and take-home message, is exactly the same time that their brain is making the same main points.

Andrea: How do you know that that’s what happening? Is it intuition or is it just kind of an observation?

Espen: No. It is observation. And for most people, this is akin to having a baby where you show them something new. They may be looking all around or bubbling or whatever but you show them something new and exciting they’ve never seen before and you just see the face changed. And you knew they were interested. It’s just the sudden change, the sudden dawning on their face.

And for most people when they have a light-bulb moment, actually the face looks much light bulb. And my understanding is, it is probably because it is the same face. It is the same reflex. It’s the brain that’s recognizing something new.

Actually, one of the rewarding things for a person is when we make new sign-ups connections. When our brain makes new connections, it is pleasurable for most people. But it’s pleasurable when their brain is making those connections, not when they’re just being fed information. Or if just being fed information is work that your brain has to focus on and make itself concentrate to put it in the storage banks.

And when our brain can make its own a new connections when…I like to call it, when we can learn when our brain is just putting two and two things together and go like “Ah so that’s how that works.” Or sometimes it create a light-bulb moment where I present things in a way where I just know that what I’m saying is going to connect to their own experiences, where they’re be interpreting what they did experience before. And that’s when I know things they’re thinking in and that’s when I know how things are going to be remembered and put into actions.

It’s one of the reasons I work educating people who have children with certain mental health issues, particularly something like autism or ADHD where very often parents who are new to the diagnosis don’t understand how it works. Now, I can understand certain principles and suddenly there are dozens of life experiences with their child that just in a few flash seconds are getting re-interpreted in seeing in a totally different life. They report this “Oh, there’s so many things that suddenly makes sense now.” And when people have that experience, it’s one of the most rewarding things there is for me.

Andrea: So do you think that you’ve always been pretty good at leading people to these light-bulb moments in a sort of way by allowing them to connect to their own experiences, allowing them to come to their own conclusions. It kind of sounded like you’re saying, you’re sort of putting the two pieces in front of them and letting them add them up. Have you always been good at this or is it something you’ve developed overtime?

Espen: That certainly something I’ve developed overtime. This sharing knowledge, sharing, understanding, it’s something…I have memories of doing this when 5, 6 years old. I was probably labeled as precocious and…

Andrea: Probably huh?

Espen: Yeah, probably. But that was just sharing information and probably whether the person was really interested or not. It was probably the information that was relevant to that person, or now I’m a know-it-all or certainly I was that way in high school in class “Ah there goes Espen, he is raising his hand again.” So that’s something I developed overtime. Certainly something that has been important is a lot of my training in psychology is understanding people psychology, understand how people’s past affect the way they look at things certainly has helped me tuned in to that.

But that really boiled down to…has been my philosophy that has developed over the last decade and a half which is that meeting people where they’re at. And part of this is too much training and acceptance to commitment therapy or other which sometimes called Third Wave CBT. It does look very little like…it might be very different in what people…I’m unfamiliar with first and second wave CBT is, but it goes down to their values and what’ s important for them.

Andrea: Okay so CBT. I don’t know what that…

Espen: Yeah, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Andrea: Thank you.

Espen: I’m going to make an example of meeting people where they’re at and I how your values don’t matter. I guess this is a perfect example where I was at the other end of things. Many years ago, my health was bad. I was 45 pounds heavier than I am now. My cholesterol and triglycerides were really bad. I lost three weeks of work staying home with…we couldn’t figure out what’s going on and we realized, it was bad asthma. Certainly my obesity at the time didn’t help.

So I went out to testing with my pulmonologist. My lungs were tested. My heart was tested and the doctor told me…I have a hard time doing this without going to his heavy accent, which I know coming from me but the doctor said “Dr. Klausen.” “Yes.” “You wanna be healthy, right?” “Fit right?” “Yeah, I do want to. Yeah. Sure, I agree with those values.” And then “Okay, you have to go exercise one hour, five days a week.” “Okay, okay. Yes, I need to do that.” And so I really realized that that was really important. So I went home and I did not do that.

The thing is, like most people, I agree with health and I agree with fitness. But they’re not my core values. A couple of years later, I had a conversation with my daughter. It was more like her having a monologue and she was talking about her life, about she’s going to graduate high school, graduate college…

Andrea: How old was she?

Espen: She must have been 4 years old.

Andrea: And she was talking about graduating.

Espen: Right, you know.

Andrea: Okay, go on. I just want to get some context here.

Espen: Yeah. And okay, one day she’s going to get her masters and she graduated on her PhD. And I said, “If you wanna stop with a masters, it’s okay, but a PhD is fine.” And she said you know, “Okay and getting married.” She was just spluttering on about her coming life. And in the middle of that conversation, I had this realization as I was picturing it that the way my health was going, I might not be there to see that. Now, my daughter matters to me but beyond this, what are my core values?

And one of the things that’s rewarding to me is being a witness to other people’s lives. That’s one of the privileges I had been being a therapist. People share their lives with me and I get to be a witness to their life. And I realized that to the most important person in my life, I might not be there to be a witness to her life. And my diet changed. My exercise changed and I did what my doctor told me. It had to relate back to my core values.

If we speak to someone, if we teach someone, if we try to get people to change or tell them what they should change, it’s irrelevant and it’s not going to do anything unless it meets them where they’re at and it relates to their core values.

Andrea: Such an incredible point, so important. And I love this idea and I certainly want to do that. That’s something I always want to do, but I think it’s kind of hard to figure that out. But what I’m hearing you say is that what we need to do is almost to listen first to understand where their core values are, and what they do care about so that we can get to that point where we can speak to those instead of just throwing information at somebody and expecting it to stick.

Espen: Yeah. Even in Evangelism or spiritual direction, you have to start with what you believe. Or in life and change in general, what’s important to you or what you want in life or what are you missing in life and that’s the starting point. And even if you have this goal mind for them that’s different, the goals you want them to pursue has to be related back to where they’re at and what they want.

Andrea: Ah, that makes a lot of sense.

Espen: It relates to a flipside of this, that relates to that that’s very actionable thing I’ve learned overtime that it both related to my growth but also my relationship for the people I work with. And I do this whenever I do speaking engagements for a company in learning about that company. I do this in a group level, the company level, but I do this in individual therapy level but also with friends.

But a big principle for me is, learn something from every single or every single organization. So every client I have, I learn something from. Every client I meet is on the inside of something, whether it’s how something is actually done on what that requires or what does it entails to actually be doing tattoos. What it’s like to have autism? What it’s like on the inside? What it’s like to actually being social worker removing children from a home when it’s necessary? What it’s like to be a police officer and the various levels of that? What’s the experience of actually being incarcerated?

In every client I see have their own inside experiences which something, and I can learn from that, from someone being on the inside. And that in turn how I can relate to future clients and get a lot of credibility but then I also learned from them. We often feel like we’re in this in a lot of positions in life, particularly one word – the professional, we feel like we have to be the one that knows everything and the other person is the person that has to learn. But people get so much more open to learning when they feel like they taught you something. It’s now two-way street.

Andrea: I’m sitting here like raising my hands going “Yay!” I hear yeah, I do. This is great! This is so true! I mean, I feel like people want to be known and they want to be respected in some way and they don’t want to just be written off. They want their voice to matter. So when their voice matters to you, when you’re able to communicate, you actually care what they’re saying and where they’re at then they can come back with being more open to maybe what you have to offer them as well. And it’s not that sort of top down teaching that you’re talking about, it’s a dialogue which is significant.

Espen: Absolutely, absolutely! And the more educated we are, we will have a tendency to focus on logical thinking and logical arguments, but that definitely has its limits. Our brains have many different learning centers. But two primary areas of our brain are roughly dividing, up here is our outer cortex and it’s our midbrain. Now, the midbrain is a part of the brain that we share with most animals. The outer cortex of the brain is fairly unique to us humans. Dolphins and dogs, they have a little bit of it but nothing like humans.

Now, the outer cortex, it can learn from reading. It can learn from talking. It’s the part of the brain that can put two into together and learn things that technically nobody ever taught you. It’s the intellectual part of the brain and is very deliberate and that part of the brain can adjust quickly. You learn something and then learn you’re wrong and you learn something else and say “Okay.” It adjusts quickly. “Hey, Obama is the President.” “Well, Donald Trump got elected.” “Okay, now my knowledge changes about who’s the current President.” That’s the outer cortex.

Very often when we talk to people and the more we’re academically trained, we tend to do this and that’s the part of the brain we’re talking with, except even more powerfully is our midbrain.

Our midbrain is where our instinctual understanding is. It’s where our emotional understanding is, and it’s where a lot of our automatic thoughts come from. The thoughts we don’t have any control over. You see chocolates and you have a good or negative experience to that – I’m imagining most of your listeners have a good experience to that, good reaction. And my reaction is “Yuck!” I don’t know, I just laughed the credibility of your whole audience but I apologize for that.

But the midbrain only learns from experience. You could talk all you want, it only learns from experience. And that means that for people to learn on that level, you have to give them an experience and you also going to be so much more effective if you can talk about things in ways that it speak with their experience or utilizes their experience; otherwise, you’re only working to change one part of their brain.

Another aspect of that is when things get busy, things get stressful, or things get overwhelmed, our outer cortex tend to shutdown or tends to get overwhelmed and then we tend to leave our decisions to our midbrain. This is one of the reasons why people that are stressed tend to eat unhealthy. So if you’re very busy and your brain, your outer cortex is filled and overwhelmed with all of these other things you have think about and now we have to make a choice about what to eat. With outer cortex is busy, they just going to go with your experience of what taste good and that’s usually not a healthy stuff, so deep change requires experience.

Andrea: Okay, so is that why story is so important? I mean, I hear a lot about telling stories and how important stories and all that. Is this the reason why stories are so important?

Espen: That is a big part of it. And in a way, that’s the strength of a book like yours. There are personally that books I kind of like to read tends to be very academic because I, myself is, kind of an outer cortex person. But if I wanted to influence my life, if I wanted to influence my instincts and my emotions and how I react to things then I probably should have a book that tells us story and a story that gives me an experience where I can feel like I’m in that person’s life. And going through as I’m reading some of what they’re experiencing, that’s kind of has more transformative power on the midbrain level.

Andrea: Because you’re kind of experiencing with them sort of like empathy and so because of empathy you’re able to – it’s feeling like you are also having the experience in the sense?

Espen: Right, you’re providing the person with an experience. A parallel is, sometimes we use Jaws as an example, so most people are afraid of sharks. Intellectually, I can teach a person that out of more than 200 species of sharks, there’s only five that will ever attack a human being and even then they will only attack a human being if they don’t have any better options.

So if you’re in an open water and you see a shark coming your way, you’ll probably still say – and I can give them all education about a shark and they may even agree with me “Okay, I realized now these sharks are safe.” But if they’re down in the water and they see a shark coming their way, they still feel scared because their experiences with sharks still the sharks are dangerous.

And they may tell me “But I’ve never had experiences with sharks.” “Well, have you seen Jaws?” “Well, yes.” “Well then you’ve had experiences with shark.” It may not been real in person but you have that experience. When we read stories or we watched movies, we had the experiences. It’s how they’re set up and that is affecting our emotional reactions through things.

Andrea: Yeah. Okay, so what do we do when we encounter something a story or an emotional experience that is negative or that kind of leads us to make conclusions that might be incorrect or how do we deal with that?

Espen: Yeah, that relates to something that – I think these days there’s actually a problem with American culture. I’m not just picking America. We have at least as big of a problem with this back where I grew up in Norway. There’s a tendency these days to think about “Hey, if I did this or watch this and nobody got hurt then there’s no repercussions of that.” But that’s not true because our midbrain learn from our experiences. Our whole brain learns from our experiences and the automatic thoughts and the feelings we’re going to have in the future are going to be based on the experiences we’re having.

So one example I often use when I speak on this is, if someone watches pornography and we could go into the whole exploitation things of whoever’s involved in pornography. But if we set that aside, the person is “Okay, I’m done watching pornography, nobody was hurt. I had a good time and I will move on and nobody knew about it, so it had no consequences.” Well, that’s not true. It does mean that the person had exposed their midbrain to this experience and the more likely to have sexualized thoughts in the future. It does have effects.

There are plenty of clients I’ve worked with where their brain tends to think too violently. And I have to confront them about “Hey, you need to stop watching violent movies.” I’m not a big prude when it comes to violence and say “Hey, if you don’t have a problem with watching violent movies, but if you’re already having a problem with having too many violent thoughts to begin with, don’t create more.” But it can be negative thinking if someone already has a sense that the work is really dangerous.

Maybe their early life experiences or more recent experiences in a relationships or something like that have a lot of negative experience that people are dangerous, that people are bad, or that only bad things happen in life then they should not be seeking out more experiences through TV, through movies that give them more of that experience.

The midbrain had already had – I was about to say incorrect experiences. They’re not incorrect, they were their experiences but they’re not indicative about the way the world is in general.

Andrea: Uh-huh. How do people know that though? I think of people who might even watched news and almost feels their own anxiety about the world and they continue to go back to it. And even maybe leave it on and it gets sort of keeps fueling that negativity, how do they even know that that’s not wise? We just need to tell them?

Espen: That’s get difficult and that’s getting almost…and this gotten more difficult over the last decade because our news world now tends to be so over saturated. We have news channels; they’re on 24/7. And if someone sees a terrorist attack, if they keep the news channel on, they’re maybe hearing about that terrorist attack for 24 hours. And you don’t hear the stories about the wonderful things that are happening in the world or every town in the world where there was nothing happening.

A big thing that comes to all of these things is being connected, talking with people, and being a witness to other people’s lives. The more our lives get limited, the more our experiences also get biased. It’s usually good for people that have a wide-range of I call it the purviews of someone’s life. If someone’s life is work and home and either work or home starts having difficulties, then half of the world is having difficulties.

Andrea: Right.

Espen: The more activities we have, the more people’s lives were involved with, the more settings, the bigger the purview of our life, the more chance there is of their being stressed in life. That’s one of the reasons some people end up starting to shrink their life because the smaller your life is, the less life there is for them being stressed. However, when they’re now stressed for difficulties then that suddenly fills a huge portion of your life and you may not have safe places in life to go to to deal with the stress.

That it’s why in marital counseling…I’m all for married couples need to have a lot of shared interests and activities. But they do need to have some things in their life that are separate, because any relationship is going to have difficulties. And there are times where they need to step out of their own life or times when they have to step back just so we can recognize when we’re thinking incorrectly or when we’re getting too stuck on things.

But if we have nowhere to step out to to do then we’re not able to get that step back so that we can come back in and having a constructive conversation. It’s not just related to what you’re involved in in your life, but it is also where you find your stress relief. If all your ways of dealing with stress is backed up in your partner then the moment there’s stress in the relationship with that partner, you have no way of dealing with that stress. That means you have no way of getting to a point in a spot where you can calm down with your partner and have those good conversations.

Andrea: Yeah that’s great! I think of actually young moms who have young kids at home maybe and maybe they’re not working. I’m thinking of myself you know a few years ago and how limited my world view was at that point just because I didn’t have connection outside of, you know, just few people around me. And that was because mostly because my time was taken up with little children. I think that definitely set me up for was to, you know, when you’re only with other moms with little kids, they’re also having the same struggles. So it does sort of feed that, I think. So it makes a lot of sense.

Espen: Wait, wait, wait…little kids can be stressful?

Andrea: I know right.

Espen: Huh, okay huh.

Andrea: You know when they wake up at 4 o’clock every morning and you’re getting five hours of sleep every night. You kind of have a limited worldview.

Espen: Yeah, exactly. It’s hard to step away from that.

Andrea: Yeah. I think that’s one of the things that I’ve really appreciated about you know, once my kids did get into school, I kind of sorted to take more long lines of writing and finding a place for my voice. But I think that what you’re saying sounds to me like, it’s wise to find a place for your voice outside of just your own immediate family at times because you kind of need that bigger perspective. And to be tapped into something other than just what’s right here in front of you all the time because that can be awfully stressful.

Espen: Yeah, and a mistake sometimes people make is…it’s nice if that things stepping out is relaxing and fun that’s nice. But people for this day and age have the notion that it has to be. But very often the things that are most useful and helping us to distress or take that step back or get different perspectives, they may not be fun or they may not relaxing.

For some people, getting their husbands or their wives to watch the kids for a couple of hours so they can go on and sit down and write, it may feel like work and it may not be distressing. But it might actually reduce their stress for the rest of the week because their mind was able to go to something else and they also make it easy for them because the brain was able to go to something else. It’s easier to step back into the stressful part of life with a different perspective on it, where were not so stuck in our head and stuck in the stress.

Andrea: Oh man! This has been great, Espen! So many value bombs here. I feel like whoever is listening – the influencer who’s listening is definitely going to go back and listen again and take note if they haven’t already. And I’m pretty sure we’re going to have you back on again sometimes to talk about some other things. But this has been really, really helpful and I love this idea that you know, you’re telling us how we can sort lead people to this light-bulb moments instead of just telling people what to think, because it’s not as effective as when they’re able to put those two and two together and have their own experience of understanding something.

That’s so significant for anybody wanting to have a voice with somebody else. And not only that, you also mentioned this idea of being a witness to somebody else’s life, learning from them, letting that be a dialogue instead of a top down kind of teaching time. Which I think has always for me been the most significant interactions and the most significant learning that I’ve had. So I can certainly attest to that as somebody on that side but then also, I’ve seen it myself as well.

One of the reasons why the book ended up what it was from my book because it was going to be something where I just taught. And then as time went on and as I kept working through it and everything, I felt more and more led to just share my story in a way that would also give people that experience but then allow them to learn something at the same time. And I’m so glad because I do think you’re right. I think all these things are just really important. They’re so valuable to the Influencer that’s listening.

So thank you so much for everything, Espen! Do you have any parting words of wisdom for us?

Espen: When we’re in the presence of someone else, we share one environment. But everyone exists in two environments at the same time. We have an external environment that we share. We may sit in the same room or maybe in the same coffee shop. We may even order the same coffee prepared to Starbucks’ perfectness of consistency, same drink and we share an external environment.

But each of us also exists in a second environment and that’s our internal environment. They have an environment of emotions, of physical states, and of automatic thoughts, that’s a combination of our past experiences running headlong into the external environment that’s around us right now. The result of that is whenever we meet with someone else; we’re not in the same place only in the same external environment, but we’re interacting not just with that person but with their internal environment.

And that internal environment we don’t know unless we listen to them. And they may not even say what an internal environment is. Few people do unless they specifically say “Hey, I feel sad and right now, I’m having this thought popped up.” But it’s not usually how people talk or sometimes we can get to that level. But you hear it on how they talk and what directions they go. How they react through things and that’s the real reality that we are interacting with. It’s also where healing takes place. It’s where pain takes place, but it’s also where close relationships are really being formed. It’s in the interactions between your internal environment and their internal environment and that’s a very precious place.

Andrea: Indeed! Thank you so much, Espen!

Espen: Thank you, Andrea!

 

 

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How to Stop Holding Back and Achieve Your Potential

Using the Fascinate Advantage®

It was a rainy evening and I had a few hours to work, so I settled myself in at a local restaurant with wifi. I love restaurants with wifi. There was this personality assessment I’d been wanting to take for a while, but I avoided taking it, sure that I could look at their graph and figure out where I fit. I had my Fascinate® archetype all-but-framed when I finally bit the bullet and shelled out the money to get the report. I sure hoped it would be worth it.

The assessment was surprisingly short, so I knocked out the 23 questions in a few minutes and then clicked, “submit.” In just a few seconds the report came back and I did a double take. It couldn’t be right!

How the World Sees You

Bare with me for a moment as I explain the Fascinate® concept (or skip this paragraph and watch the 1 min. video at the bottom of the page). It was developed by Sally Hogshead, an internationally award winning copywriter and hall of fame speaker. She’s really good at coming up with words for marketing. She wanted a way to make it easier for small businesses who can’t afford big ad agencies to identify the best words to use and tone to take when marketing their products and services, so she created a little quiz. Well, that quiz turned into a researched assessment that has now been taken by over 1,000,000 people and is used with huge companies and individuals, to help them identify the voice of their brand. (And if you haven’t heard me say it before, every person has a personal brand. It’s what people think of you when you aren’t around.)

There are 7 Advantages. The assessment pairs your top two Advantages to create your archetype, as displayed in this graph.

Well, before taking the assessment, I was sure of my spot on the matrix. I knew I had to be a Catalyst: #1 – Passion (the language of relationship) and #2 – Innovation (the language of creativity). But when I clicked “submit” and my assessment came back, Passion wasn’t my number 1 advantage. It was number 4! I was shocked and a little taken aback, because though Innovation was #1, my #2 came out as Power.

“Power?!” I thought. My stomach rolled a little. I shrank back and took note of my response. Power is the language of confidence. Power is something I’ve never wanted to convey. I’ve seen Power play out before, and it’s not always pretty. “Surely the assessment is wrong!” I demanded.

But then I read the name and description of my archetype, The Maverick Leader:

You lead with a bold and unconventional vision

You are unafraid to take the lead and happy to propose a new direction for a product or market strategy

You’re always full of new ideas, and almost a little restless. You definitely make sure there’s no dull moments in your meetings

If something starts to feel familiar, you’ll probably start experimenting to see whether higher goals can be achieved

“Oh. Well, maybe they’re onto something here. Because all of those bullet points fit me like a glove.”

Your Greatest Potential Lies BEYOND What You Already Know About Yourself

Upon further reflection, I had a huge revelation: “I’ve been calling my ‘Power’, ‘Passion’ and trying to hide it all my life!”

Let’s just take a moment and read that again.

“I’ve been calling my ‘Power’, ‘Passion’ and trying to hide it all my life!”

That’s right. All my life I heard things like, “you’re so passionate” or “you’re so deep.” But no one ever said to me, “you’re so powerful.” So I never associated power or confidence with my intensely passionate responses. When I read the full description of my archetype, I knew that the assessment was right and I’d been so afraid of displaying my intensity and confidence that I hid it. Why? Because I didn’t want to alienate myself from other people. I didn’t want to stand out. I didn’t want them to be annoyed with me or think I didn’t care about them when I shared my opinions or insights. I worked to develop my relational advantage so I could speak that language with people instead of just shooting off my opinions whenever they came up in me.

It sure seemed to me that “powerful” people got what they wanted sometimes, but if they achieved their objectives by using shame, judgment and sheer force, they didn’t get to people’s hearts and souls where change really happens. I knew. I’d found myself in that very position before – on both sides of the exertion of power. I didn’t want to be like that. I didn’t want to be compelling in an aggressive way. I wanted to be compelling in an invitational way.

But seeing power as an Advantage, I realized that maybe it wasn’t not all bad. Maybe power was just like any other trait or gift. It’s most helpful when fueled by love, and truly dangerous when fueled by fear and stress.

Since that rainy night in October, I’ve determined to step into my own “Power Advantage” and explore it. Maybe I was created this way for a reason. Maybe I’m supposed to be more bold.

And so I’m trying this power thing on for size. I’m leveling up my game and doing bold things like asking big-time entrepreneurs and leaders to be on my podcast. And they’re saying yes. The crazy thing is that I fully expect them to say yes when I ask.

I’m realizing more and more that all I’m doing is stepping into who I’ve been created to be. I’m not trying to become more “powerful” or “successful.” I’m trying to figure out how to best steward the gifts I’ve been given.

What about you? Do you wonder if there are untapped resources inside of you, just waiting to be explored and used for the good of others?

Subscribe to the Voice of Influence podcast in iTunes or Stitcher! Whatever you do, I encourage you to keep growing in self-awareness. Because the greatest potential for your voice lies beyond what you already know about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh – and if you would like to find out your own Fascinate Advantages®, [ CLICK HERE ]

Like a Little Girl in a Candle Store

Last weekend I let my daughter and niece spend as much time in Bath & Bodyworks as they wanted. It was Amelia’s birthday weekend away and my mom and I enjoyed watching the girls do big girl things and delight in their time with each other. I watched for 45 minutes as they meandered around the store, sniffing randomly chosen candles, lotions and sprays. They each had a little money to burn and they wanted to find the perfectly scented treasure to bring home.

It was pretty darn cute. But I took note of their pattern. They didn’t methodically work their way around the store, they just smelled something, reacted to it, then set it down and wandered a few steps before doing it again. It was only when they began to get hungry that they finally made their decisions so they could go to lunch.

Decisions, Decisions.

Being on this journey to figure out what the heck I’m trying to accomplish with my book, blog and business feels a bit like wandering around, sniffing all of the scents, trying to figure out where I should commitment. I’ve been told that everything changes once you really know who you’re writing for and what you’re offering those people, but I don’t want to decide! I want to grab all of the candles and bring them home.

But as Marie Forleo says, “if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.” Ugh.

Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to actually make a decision! I’m constantly thinking of ways I could contribute, so much so that I get lost in the mingling aromas of the ideas and don’t even know what I’m smelling anymore.

But that’s part of the dilemma creative people face. The world of possibilities looms so large that it’s tempting to freeze right in our tracks. We often need community and mentors to guide us in our decision making processes. So I sought out help.

Podcasts, online courses, articles, books and great conversations have stretched and challenged me to hone my message so it aligns with who I am and makes a significant contribution to the world. And just as I’ve said from the beginning of my blogging journey, and as evidenced in my book, I want to help you do the same.

I see creative, sensitive, empathetic people hold in their thoughts and lock their voice in like I see with timid singers and it pains me. These people have insights and perceptions that could make a significant impact in their relationships and the world, and yet they stay quiet for any number of reasons. It’s quite a bit like this little movie clip I love so much.

Maybe that’s you. Maybe you don’t share your opinions because you don’t want to make other people feel as you’ve felt in the past – run over by someone else’s agenda. Or maybe you don’t share your wisdom because you’re worried people would think YOU think you’re full of yourself. Maybe you hold your voice in until you can’t hold back anymore and it explodes. Maybe you just don’t think your voice matters that much.

What if?

But what if you developed your voice and let ‘er rip like these kids?! Wouldn’t it be amazing to move with more confidence, humility and power instead of holding back? What if you’re voice has more potential than you realize?

Well, that’s why I’m here. I may still be sniffing around a little, but I’ve found a good stopping point for now. Just as I used to help singers find their authentic voice and develop as a singer, I always have and always will do what I can to guide others as they find and develop their voice of self-expression so they can make the difference they are born to make.

Do you believe your voice matters when you use it? Do you feel completely confident every time you step onto any stage in life, knowing that you know exactly what you want to say and how you can deliver your message so the people listening will be moved by your words? If so, you don’t need to waste your time on this website because you’ve already got what I have to offer: compelling communication strategy.

But if you know you have more to offer than your voice is delivering, you’re in the right place. If you have something you want your loved one, your team or the world to hear and yet you can’t seem to get it to come out right or it just doesn’t seem to be making the difference you know it could, stick around.

 

 

In April I’ll be launching a new podcast entitled “Voice of Influence.” It’s been a year in the making and the name of it changed recently when I had a massive breakthrough about the message and focus of the show. The podcast (previously “Brand Revelations”) will feature interviews with experts and leaders who share the story of their own voice of influence, as well as practical advice based on their area of expertise. I will also have short segments where I bring you into my “voice studio” and share actionable insights that you can apply, one at a time, to make your voice matter more.

Read more about the Voice of Influence podcast here. The interviews I’m lining up are truly amazing and will offer actionable insights to help you develop YOUR Voice of Influence even more.

If you’re really interested in the podcast, I’d love to have you join the launch team. I have some really cool thank you gifts for the 25 people who commit! Apply for the Voice of Influence podcast launch team here! Apply by March 21st.

Your Voice Matters, But You Can Make It Matter More

I nearly floated out onto the stage as the crowd put their hands together in an audible wave of anticipation. “This is where I belong. On stage, moving the audience with my voice,” I thought.

But then as I glanced at the red curtain and the dimly lit auditorium, I had a strange sense that I’d been here before. My stomach began to make its way to my feet. Music played and I took a breath. Just as the first note began to roll out my lips, I realized I didn’t know the song at all. Attempting a professional moment of pulling it together, I looked down and then realized in horror: I was completely naked!

A cold shriek came out instead of the first note of the song and shame ran me off the stage where I grabbed the curtain to shield myself from view. Moments later I opened my eyes find myself sitting up in bed, wrapped in blankets, breaths coming in rapid succession. I had indeed been here before, in this recurring nightmare.

That’s when the weight of the moment hit me: I might have a voice that can get me in front of an audience, but it is insignificant and even wasted if I don’t do the work to prepare.

Your voice matters, but you can make it matter more.

I know I have what it takes to move an audience with my voice, but when I overestimate my innate ability and experience, I end up spending an insufficient amount of time and effort in preparation to use my voice effectively. My voice matters, but I can make it matter more if I take the time to develop it and learn the song in my heart – the right song for my voice.

The same is true for you.

You may be or want to be someone who influences others with what you do and say, but trust me. It doesn’t just happen. And the truth is that many people think they are making a difference when all they’re really doing is exposing themselves and pulling out a reaction rather than truly moving their audience. If you want your voice to carry the weight of significance, you need to develop your voice, your message and the way you deliver it.

Your voice matters inherently because you are a human being. However, your voice can matter more when you take time to prepare and develop your style, your message and your strategy. You make a bigger impact on every stage in life when you carry with you a Voice of Influence.

Your Voice of Influence

In April I’ll be launching a new podcast entitled “Voice of Influence.” It’s been a year in the making and the name of it changed recently when I had a massive breakthrough about the message and focus of the show. The podcast (previously “Brand Revelations”) will feature interviews with experts and leaders who share the story of their own voice of influence, as well as practical advice based on their area of expertise. I will also have short segments where I bring you into my “voice studio” and share actionable insights that you can apply, one at a time, to make your voice matter more.

This podcast is for men and women creative leaders who care about the people they serve at home, work and in the world and want to make their voice matter more. I will be publishing the podcast audio and transcripts here on the blog and you’ll be able to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, etc.

In order to be sure I show up on this podcast stage prepared and focused, I have been quiet on my blog and social media in 2017. I’m ironing out the look, sound and feel of the show with the help of a little team. The goal is to spread this message far and wide, so the strategy is to invite as many downloads, ratings and reviews on iTunes as possible when we launch in April.

The Voice of Influence Podcast art is in development – this is just something I created.

I am already booking incredible interviews with New York Times Bestselling authors, Internet marketing gurus, leadership experts, entrepreneurs, speakers, psychologists, etc. But these amazing interviews won’t see the light of day without your help. If you’re interested in helping, there are three levels of involvement, outlined below. I’m taking this very seriously, so I’m offering a thank you package to the launch team level (LIMIT of 25 PEOPLE) that includes a big bonus!

3 Levels of Involvement

I’m guessing you already feel some kind of nudge to help out if you’ve read this far. Take a look at these options and identify which one fits you. Then share in the comments below or on the Facebook post.

  1. The “Interesting, I’ll have to check it out,” option. Follow me on social media or subscribe to this blog so you know when you can listen to the podcast. Thanks for the interest!
  2. The “I want to support you” option. Simply promise to subscribe and leave an honest rating and review on iTunes in April. I will explain exactly what it takes to do this so it takes very little effort on your part.
  3. The “I want to be a part of making this podcast a huge success” option. This is the Voice of Influence podcast launch team. I’m offering rewards for participation in the launch team, but it requires filling out an application by March 21st and will be closed when we reach 25 committed members. PODCAST LAUNCH TEAM APPLICATION

Voice of Influence Launch Team Member Thank You Package

(Value: $250 – Limited to the first 25 Accepted Applicants)

  • Insider knowledge when I book and record interviews with celebrities, leaders and experts. 
    • I already have some amazing people lined up and as soon as you’re in the launch team, I’ll let you know who!
  • Insider knowledge about the process of starting and executing a high-quality podcast, including a cheat-sheet of my podcast process from start to finish.
  • A Fascinate® Advantage personality assessment that gives your primary and secondary communication advantages and your archetype.
  • A high-quality, special training video from me (a Fascinate® Certified Advisor), explaining how the assessment works and how your results can transform the way you communicate at home, work and in the world.
    • If you know me, you know I’m OBSESSED with personality assessments. Well, this is my favorite assessment to help identify and develop your voice, so I promise, you’re getting something amazing.
  • I will create HIGH quality, individual coaching videos for each person who completes the requirements for the launch team between March 31st and April 28th. This will take your Fascinate® results to a very practical and personal level, addressing your individual communication struggles and potential. You must apply for the launch team by March 21st to be considered for the launch team and receive these rewards.
    • I will be discussing this assessment some on the podcast and I have a coaching package in my business for this, so it’s truly exciting to offer this as a thank you!

Launch Team Requirements (March 21 – April 28th):

  • Fill out an application by March 21st here: PODCAST LAUNCH TEAM APPLICATION
  • Subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes the first week of April.
  • Share your enthusiasm about the podcast with your connections on social media a handful of times though April and May.
    • If you’re on or willing to get on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the launch period, that’s even better.
    • This could mean anything from re-tweeting/reposting my podcast posts to sharing an insight you gained from an episode you loved.
    • I will have certain requests in the month of April, but they will be related to sharing things on social media.
  • Join and participate in the Voice of Influence Launch Team Facebook group
  • Recruit/encourage others to subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes in April.

I’m so excited to share these amazing podcast interviews and actionable insights to empower you to know what you want to say and how you want to say it in relationships and in your creative contribution to the world!

Thank you for all you do to amplify my voice so I can help others. I am sincerely humbled and grateful.

Why I DON’T Think You Should Be Vulnerable

Do you hear people talk about “vulnerability” as though it’s something we ought to be? I used to, but I’ve changed my perspective on vulnerability. Listen to this audio explanation or read the transcript below. Do you think you should be vulnerable?

I recorded this audio for you. You can listen to it by pressing play here, or read the transcript below.

Basic Transcript:

You know, people talk about being vulnerable quite a bit, as if being vulnerable is something we should aspire to do or be. And as if it’s something scary.

I want to talk about vulnerability because my perspective on this has changed slightly over the years. As I’ve come to understand vulnerability, it’s not just about sharing things that are raw or hard. The idea of vulnerability means that we are susceptible or open to attack. If I show you that I’m bad at something and then you take advantage of me, I’m vulnerable to you.

Most of us don’t want to share things that we’ve done that are wrong or weak – failures – anything that we perceive that would make others think that we’re bad or whatever. That’s when we feel vulnerable.

“If I share this with you, you might not like me anymore and that would hurt me.”

“If I can be hurt by you in a real way, then I am making myself vulnerable to you.

I’ve got a little something to say about that.

My idea of vulnerability in myself in the past few years, has changed dramatically. Two years ago I started blogging and for the first time in a long time, I shared weak things about myself – experiences I was nervous to share. Just the idea of putting a blog post out into the world and waiting to see if anyone would pay attention – it felt very vulnerable. Because, “what if people reject me? What if people ignore me?” Either way, I was vulnerable to their response because I knew they could hurt me by rejecting or ignoring me. I knew they could hurt me by thinking worse of me – by thinking bad of me.

What I’ve realized since then is that the more I put myself out there, the less vulnerable I feel when I say what is true about myself – to share a story or “put myself out there,” if you will. Because I’m not as concerned about what other people think. I’m not going to say that I never care, I’m not going to say that I’m never worried about it. But, I tell you what, it’s way different than it used to be. My vulnerability now has more to do with my parenting or things that are really, really close to my heart. Ya, I’m vulnerable to one of my children or my husband getting hurt. Caring about – or loving people makes me vulnerable to getting hurt.

But at the same time, there is a certain level of…of knowing that I am going to get hurt. And when you can look at life and say, “I know that I’m going to get hurt and I am going to grieve and there are going to be really crappy things that are going to take place. But I’m not going to let the fear of those things keep me back – hold me back…”

I am so done with that.

I’m not going to let the fear of man – the fear of women – the fear of judgement and people looking down on me or whatever…I am so tired of worrying about that. It’s not worth it anymore.

When I act like that, when I’m really taking actual risks with what I’m saying and who I’m saying it to – when I speak boldly and passionately, knowing that sometimes I’m going to screw it up – sometimes I’m going to be wrong. Sometimes I’m going to say it really powerfully and be wrong and I’m going to have to eat my own…junk. I mean…for real.

That’s just the way it is.

And when I feel like that, I am less at risk. I’m willing to put myself at risk, knowing that I’m going to get hurt, knowing that I’m going to feel pain. And saying, “I can take it because this world is not my home…I can take it because I am loved, no matter what, by God. I can take it because I know my husband is standing with me.”

When I know that those closest relationships are solid, when I know that I’m loved no matter what, then I’m not vulnerable! I’m sharing real things like emotion, things that look weak to other people (but that to me it’s just human), I don’t feel vulnerable.

In fact, my biggest concern is that I’m going to hurt somebody. My biggest concern is that my kids will grow up resenting this part of me. Yet, at the same time I don’t believe that.

But the point is that you are only vulnerable to the extent you give other people the power to hurt you. Not just hurt but to the extent to which you think you can not get past the hurt.

I feel so different than I did three years ago. I just can’t even begin to describe it. Because I was hiding. I was hiding so much that I felt incredibly vulnerable. I felt like I was going to get attacked and if I said anything at all, I might get hurt. And so therefore I kept holding it in.

And I tell you what, it was rough. When you hold stuff like that in, all kinds of stuff goes on in your mind and heart that’s just not healthy. I mean, feeling like I was stuck inside my head and that everything I was thinking and feeling was stuck inside me and all I wanted was release. All I wanted was to get it out of my head, and yet I felt like I couldn’t because if I did, then I would get hurt. If I did, then people wouldn’t like me.

(laugh) And now I’m just thinking…

The reality is that sometimes I’m going to screw it up. I’m going to mess relationships up and I’m going to apologize and try again. But the truth is that I’m not as vulnerable as I once was. And yet I’m sharing more, I’m putting more out there than I ever have.

So the question for you is, are you vulnerable? What makes you vulnerable? Where are you giving other people the power to hurt you and hold you down? Maybe they don’t even want the power, but you’re giving it to them. You’re giving it to them because you’re afraid of what they think. You’re afraid they’re gonna reject you. You’re afraid that they might ignore you.

But I tell you what, the more you put yourself out there, step by step by step, the closer you come to feeling less vulnerable. You’ll realize you’re OK and you’ll be OK no matter what. I’m saying that on a philisophical level, but seriously. How vulnerable are you?

If you’re feeling really vulnerable right now, you need to take a risk that actually puts you in a place of being vulnerable to other people where you can take a hit. You need to take a hit.

If you’re feeling vulnerable, ya, you need to toughen up. And you toughen up by putting yourself out there and taking risks – going ahead and taking a few hits and realizing YOU can STAND BACK UP and you’re OK.

So, my friend. This is it. This is your call. I’m calling you out. If you’re feeling vulnerable, put yourself out there. Take a few hits, stand back up again and realize that you don’t have to be vulnerable.


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