Perhaps It’s Time to Stop “Leading” and Focus on Influencing

Episode 14 with Dr. Neal Schnoor

The concept of leadership is a good one, but is it possible that we’ve turned it into a list of behaviors we “do” in order to get people to do what we think they should do? Dr. Neal Schnoor, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor of UNK, presents an interesting proposition to focus on influence, rather than leadership.

In this interview we discuss:

Connect with Dr. Neal Schnoor here:

 

Listen here, on iTunes or Stitcher

 

Dr. Schnoor provides counsel and assistance to the Chancellor relative to the comprehensive executive portfolio. He is a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet and Administrative Council and serves as UNK’s chief compliance officer. Previously, Dr. Schnoor served as Dean of the School of Education and Counseling at Wayne State College. For thirteen years prior he was a member of the faculty at UNK, where he held tenure in both the College of Education and College of Fine Arts and Humanities and served as Coordinator of K-12 and Secondary Education and Director of Bands. He has published articles in state and national journals and presented papers at state, national, and international conferences and served as a higher education representative to the Effective Educator 2020 Summit and on Nebraska’s statewide committee for developing state teacher/leader standards. Dr. Schnoor is one of only a few individuals to have been elected President of both the Nebraska Music Educators Association and Nebraska State Bandmasters Association and he continues to present clinics and leadership development sessions for students and educators. Dr. Schnoor earned PhD and MM degrees from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and BFAE from Wayne State College.

 

Hey, it’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence Podcast. I am honored to have Dr. Neal Schnoor with me today. When I first decided that the premis of this podcast would be helping creative leaders develop their message and their voice of influence, there were a few names that immediately came to mind as people I want to interview and Dr. Schnoor was one of them.

I met him at the University of Nebraska, Kearney when I was a music education student and he was the director of bands. And he also taught a secondary education class that I was in and it really felt like that secondary education class felt a lot more like a life leadership kind of class. So I gained so much from his influence and I loved the way that he communicated and it just seems to resonate with me.

 

Andrea: So today, I’m so thrilled to have you with me on the podcast, Dr. Neal Schnoor.

Dr. Schnoor: Well, Andrea it’s just a thrill to catch up with a former student and find the wonderful things you are doing to help people and to see your life unfold. That’s the best part of being a teacher. It’s sort of like being a parent; you get to watch your kids grow up and it’s just a pleasure.

Andrea: Well, thank you. Now, you’re not a director of bands of UNK anymore, what is your position now?

Dr. Neal Schnoor: So currently, I serve as the Senior Adviser to the Chancellor for executive affairs. While I was band directing, I got involved in teacher education and kind of did both of those things and then have the opportunity to go back to my alma mater, Wayne State College and served as the Dean of Education and Counseling and then I’d been back in this role for about five years now.

Andrea: So what all does this mean that you’re a Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, it’s sounds like right hand man king of thing, it’s that kind of description of it?

Dr. Neal Schnoor: It is and it’s a little hard to describe to people because it just sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo. But in general, I work with strategic planning, compliance. Chancellor refers to me as this crisis manager, so I can get some of the sensitive, legal and personnel things, just really trying to help the executive team here function best, and think short term and long term. So every day, is an adventure and that’s what I love the most.

Andrea: Are you in a classroom at all now?

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Not very often, although, I still try to do at least one honor band every year and I’ve probably stayed more active trying to do leadership. I just love working with teenagers and we’ll probably talk as we go on. I’ve almost gotten to where I hate the word ‘leadership.’ I’m really more into influence and helping kids, not to get sidetrack at the beginning, but to help them deal with the anxiety in that process because I’m just seeing them what are college students here, adults or high school students, their level of anxiety are so high. So I try to work that in as well.

Andrea: Oh yeah, we definitely need to get into that. But before we go there, I’m excited about that.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: I sidetrack you are ready, didn’t I?

Andrea: No, not at all. You know, I was thinking today again about how…I just cannot help but go deep fast. I invited you to take the Fascinate Assessment®, which you haven’t heard of before, and you did and it was so fun to find out that you and I are so similar in our voice.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: But it’s really interesting, isn’t it?

Andrea: Yeah, so the two things that come out on top are Innovation and Power and they’re just flipped for you, Power and Innovation which is kind of a language of leadership. But you don’t like that word, so I love that you don’t like that word, you’re ‘going to tell me more about that later. But I suppose, it’s a language of influence then willingness to share your opinions and guide people and then innovation is creativity. So you come out as like the Change Agent as what the thing says and so the archetype is. So I’m wondering what was your impression when you found that out about yourself?

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Well, my first thing is I ran it across my filter, my wife, Theresa, and I showed her those things and I said “Do this described me for better or worse?” And she said “Yeah, most of them. That really is you.” I’ve never gotten too hung up on it but as I read those descriptors, I really did feel like they fit a lot of aspects of what I hope to do. Some of what I do in this job, again for better or for worse is just to ask good questions. I think that just, is there another way to do things? Are we looking at all the information? Are we considering people’s strengths and weaknesses and things like that?

So the word probably caught me, you have to explain it to your listeners better but the word power kind of took me aback because I don’t want to be authoritarian. I think I explained in our class one time, that that’s how I started teaching. I simply was demanding and, kind of my way or the highway, and the kids taught me pretty quickly that there were a lot better ways to engage them. So tell us a little more about power, Andrea, what that means?

Andrea: Yeah, I was definitely taken aback by that word too and that was my exact experience is that I think I have this natural bent towards telling people what to do, which is not a form of real influence. I mean, you can tell people what to do and try to get them to comply with you, but that doesn’t really change who they are in the inside.

So I really struggled with that word as well. But at the same time, I realized that for me, when I looked at it, because I didn’t want that, I pulled back in some ways where I wasn’t sharing as passionately or intensely or whatever as maybe I could in a way that was not. I guess in a way that’s compelling instead of, I don’t know what’s the different word, yeah authoritative.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Yeah, instead of drawing people in, it can kind of turn them off. And so I think sometimes in our passion, some people misread that as maybe even arrogance and so on. So yeah, such fine lines in there.

Andrea: I always considered you to be very powerful. In this more positive way, your voice is that way and when I say voice, I’m talking about your style, your tone whatever. I mean, it’s confident.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Yes. You know, one of the things I was thinking about, Andrea, and again this can go a lot of directions, but you had kind of talked when we initially visited about have we always had this voice, or have I had this voice? It really made me think really hard about something we’ve talked in class as Stephen Covey described to as secondary traits people have a hard time seeing that. And the more I’ve developed, the more I think I’m finally catching up with where we really are, our intellect, our passion, charisma, and communication skills, those were actually all secondary traits.

And I guess one way to understand that as he explained it, those are things you could lose. Say you had a traumatic brain injury, those things would go away. But the essence of who you are is still the same and will hopefully .. a little bit but some people call it the soul or consciousness or those kinds of things. But the real challenge for me is that I think I’ve always been able to use those secondary traits that I had to influence other people, where over the years I’ve tried much harder to get at the “But am I doing it for the right reasons?” Because you know, there have been a lot of leaders who have all these leadership skills that we’ll talk about.

And if you go down as I often talk in my leadership presentations, I’ll ask the students when we set lists who are your leaders and always was positive ones. But I’ll draw them to figures like who are some other leaders that who really had these skills very powerfully and some horrible leaders have had those skills that even Adolf Hitler had all these leadership skills what’s missing? Well, we might argue consciousness. So yeah, have we had this voice? I think so. Have we always used it? Well, that’s another therapy session for me I think.

Andrea: That’s the reason why I love the idea of developing one’s voice. Yes, we have a style or we have these secondary qualities that you’re talking about. We have even a message and things that we’re wanting to share but then it’s really important to take it through a process of development that edits the message and turns the voice into a tone that is compelling, that is drawing in and inviting instead of pressure and that sort of thing. Who have you read or what are some of the things that you have encountered over the years, beside your students that you’ve already mentioned, that have influenced the development then of your voice.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Well, you know, it’s interesting. And we may work into faith but my Christian faith has been strong throughout my life, and yet I think as all people are aware the stronger that is probably the more you question it. And to me that’s always actually a good sign, but it is interesting. I started reading a philosopher, his name is Jacob Needleman, and what attracted to me initially is his efforts to put together Judaism, Christianity. He looked in Hinduism and so he’s looking for some central truths, so to speak. And I just like his voice, his message, and how he looked for rather than differences similarities.

And so that kind of led me looking for things and lately, I’ve really, really found Michael Singer’s work to be powerful, a book called The Untethered Soul. It kind of profoundly moved me to look more at that consciousness. And I’ve shared it with family members, nieces and nephews and they’ve all found it to be compelling. There’s another one called, The Surrender Experiment, The Power of Now is a very strong book and then different things I just looked at these universals and what I’ve gained is somewhat say that’s leading away from Christianity, it’s actually kind of reinforced that stronger.

So I guess digging, you say, you like to dig deep. For me, it has been a real challenge just because of my nature to quite the voice in my head. So I was drawn to your voice because for about the last four or five years, I have tried to really identify with it’s not a false voice, but our thinking minds will think around problem. And if we allow it to do that and where are psyche in it’s kind of overactive, freaked out way to constantly talk in our head.

If we can identify those for what they are and realized where the consciousness within that perceives those voices, that perceives the emotional state where in, then those things quit running our lives and instead, we simply fully experience each moment. And we know that we’re the one watching even though we might be sad, even though we might be happy that’s not us. That’s just something we’re experiencing.

Andrea: How does that tie in to your message about anxiety?

Dr. Neal Schnoor: It’s actually the major point. We really do talk, you know, our psyche to put ourselves in touch with it, that’s what I think Singer talks about it really eloquently which is, you know, for hundreds or thousands or millions of years with these biological creatures for a great period of time, the psyche kept us from – it’s that hair on the back of your neck that told you a bear was coming and you reacted. Most of us don’t have to fear for our physical safety walking to work in the morning, and so we kind of set this psyche, we’ve given in a different job which is to really kind of fuss about how we feel all the time and it just talks to us if you hear it.

The best example I always give to kids is that’s psyche and your thinking mind, if you pass a friend in the hallway and you say hello and they ignore you, just pay attention to that mind “What did I do? I didn’t deserve that. What’s wrong with her today? Oh my God, I’m so stupid. I bet she’s mad because I didn’t call.”

It’s everywhere. If you start listening to it and paying attention to it then you see that it’s not going to solve your problems, it presents every possible option that’s out there. And if you become aware of it and simply watch it, it’s amazing how much power you have to not live in that reactive state.

Andrea: So watching it is the answer. Is that what you’re saying?

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Yeah. Just watch it; do not get involve with it. If you do, it will suck you in. I mean, we’ve all done it before. So for instance, it could seemingly a silly example but we spent 90% of our lives in that silly example. My wife is quiet. My mind starts working. I wonder what I did now. I wonder if she had a bad day. I wonder for something I can do to help. All of those are not bad in and of themselves but that’s just are thinking mind. And if I sit back for a moment and say “Wow and how’s that making me feel and some of those things?” I’m less apt to say, “Well, what’s wrong today?” It’s just amazing how reactive we are, not even fully reading.

So back to the example, then I ask the kids the person passed in the hallway and your mind is going a thousand miles an hour and 15 minute later, your friend comes back up and says “I think I just passed you in the hallway but I get a text and my pet died, I was really busy.” And all of those negative thoughts that we wasted 15 minutes crucifying ourselves didn’t even need to happen.

So much a more proactive responses might even be to give them a little space or simply to follow them and say “Hey, just now I said hello. Is there anything happening with you or something?” You know, it’s just more proactive ways. It’s been a journey for me for five years to see how frequently my perceptions, attitudes, emotions, thoughts, or mood can negatively affect a reaction. It’s not about me. My job here is to solve problems or help others find their solutions to their problems. And the clearer I can be and the more I get my emotions out of it, the more help I can be to them.

Andrea: That is so true. I think there was a time when I realized that…I mean, I’m sure everybody kind of goes this at one point I hope, but when you start to realize that not everything is about you, people’s reactions are not necessarily about you. It’s hard a thing to swallow at first because when you’re a baby, everything is about you.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Yeah!

Andrea: And then as you start to realize that other people are having other experiences that are unseen. And you may never know about, you may never understand what’s going on inside of somebody then the question for me became “What do I have to offer them?” Instead of “What do I need from them? Do I need them to tell me hello? Do I need them to acknowledge me?” Or “Do I have something to offer them instead?”

Dr. Neal Schnoor: You know, Andrea, it’s along those lines reading your book and we could talk about that for an hour. I so enjoyed that, but one key thing that really hit me is that I got to know you better. I realized I was interacting with you every day and had no idea what was going on in your mind. You know, we get so focused on, well it’s a class and…

I perceived whether you might be understanding a concept, or you read your students to see if they have a performance look. But we frequently looked true life either assuming or not paying attention but there’s a whole consciousness in every person we talk to and we’ll get very complex. You know, it hit me very powerfully and wonderful reminder for me.

Andrea: Thank you. I think the other part that’s hard is me knowing that I have so much going on in my head. It’s easy for me to assume that other people have a lot going on inside of them. And I think that one of the hard things for me is to say, it’s okay if I don’t know and to let people just have their experience and not need to be a part of it that inner experience. I don’t know if that’s very common but…

Dr. Neal Schnoor: I think so and the other piece there is you talk about, for instance my work here in this current role and what a slippery slope it can be. I mean my job in some ways is to be problem solver. And so I find a world of difference in a very slippery slope between problem solving and helping people come to their solutions or help them find some that are inevitable. And doing that for the right reason which is to serve or that slippery slope  because 180 degrees worse I derived my value and sense of worth and it strokes my ego to be seen as the problem solver.

It sets a challenge I think in all of our lives that we identify with our roles, and yet, even the most noble “service” we do or the donation we give, do we give it in the spirit of true for giving. The right hand doesn’t know what’s the left is doing, although we do it to stroke our own ego to feel better about ourselves that we’re a “giving” person. I find that to be a dilemma I’ll continue to wrestle with for my life.

Andrea: I agree. I think that that’s something that is, especially for people as we have both described ourselves to be, we care about that motivation. Sometimes, it can be tempting to like you were talking the voice in your head and it can be tempting to analyze that and pick up that part so much that we don’t end up offering what we have to offer them because it feels, am I doing this for the right reasons? And it can become that cycle inside of the head that’s just like “Well then maybe I shouldn’t offer that at all.” What are your thoughts on that?

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Well, that’s interesting. My first reaction there to what you said is absolutely, many of the things that I share aren’t that place of consciousness I’m talking about, it’s my mind. There are wonderful instruments. I hope anyone that listens doesn’t think I’m negative about that or think that “No, that’s the beauty of it.” But our greatest asset can be our worst weapon, and so that constantly thinking, I mean, Singer’s book made me just sits back. And he describes it in this early chapter that he was just sitting there and you started listening to this.

I mean, when you first do it, you will be amazed that it’s just an incessant noise in your head. It is a voice that constantly talks to you and we can so identify with it. Don’t get too involved, just watch it. It’s a notorious flip-flopper like I did the example in the hallway. She did that. He did that. Why is that? I’m so stupid, I mean there’s the self-blame and self-loathing comes in then it would be followed up almost immediately if you watch with “Oh but I have the right to do that.” She’s just unfair. She’s unkind and that’s not right.” It’ll switch to righteous indignation. It’s just everywhere.

So that’s our thinking mind and it’s not bad. It’s not trying overtly to harness it. Honestly, both in The Power of Now, I think that’s where it’s presented and in Singer’s book most directly, I’m sure many, many, many other excellent resources. Just notice it and don’t get involve in its energy and overtime you become quieter inside. And the quieter I can be then I’m tapping into that ability to think beyond my history, my own perceptions.

Honestly, Andrea, I see it in myself and maybe I’m just the scoundrel out there. But we really build up a veritable wall of our mental perceptions how we think the world should be. We even have a belief system and some of those beliefs, we don’t question very often and then we turn around and either judge ourselves or judge others based on not reality, just the reality that we’ve created of how we think the world should go and often how the world should go just to make us happy. It gets really, really complex but my take away and what I’ve tried to do is to be quieter. These things happen and I think we touch the Divine in those moments of quiet.

Andrea: I’ve recently, and when I said recently pretty much since I don’t maybe last few years, and I think that this is part of when I was trying to accomplish with the book has explained this change at least the start of the transformation of me being so in my head starting to realize that I could let that go. I didn’t have to or I guess like what you’re saying engage with it. When I get stressed out now, I think what I end up doing is, I see things that happen. Like the dogs, the dogs get into the trash.

This happens quite frequently at our house and I feel attacked. I’m like “Uh these stupid dogs,” and start to get really frustrated inside and then I start to realize that I’m doing that. “What service is this to me?” Like these dogs could care less what I think about the fact that they got into the trash. Only it’s doing is making me more frustrated, burning these pathways in my brain to negativity and victimization and those sorts of things, which puts me in a position where I end up being more bitter or irritated or whatever. I have less of the things that I really want to offer my family. I have less of that to give.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Yeah, it does. I love that example because we often think of such things and we’re going to change the world, but the dog knocks over the trash is so immediate. I mean, you just nailed it. Why did that hit your stuff so to speak so hard? Well, one reason is because you’re busy, you got something else to do and you got to go clean up that trash. But really, it goes that step further to think for whose mental model thought they could set the world in a place the dog wouldn’t knock over trashcan and that’s what we do.

We, literally every day…we don’t even have control of our own thoughts and emotions many times, and yet we project that and think somehow we can influence and control other people’s thoughts. And there’s a whole a lot of consciousness that work in there, but yeah, what a great example. Those things still suck me up, you know, like “Oh man, I don’t wanna go clean that mess up.”

Andrea: And what’s funny is that Aaron will try to tell me, “Andrea, they’re dogs” and try to tell me that “that’s what happens.” In which actually this makes me think of something that you’ve said before in that class that I ended up writing about a couple of years ago because it was burned in my brain. Well, what you said in class was “don’t you dare yell at the kids in your classroom essentially, don’t you dare yell at them for your lack of classroom management.” So I’m thinking about how Aaron would say to me, “these are dogs. This is what happens and probably we should have let the dogs outside or something instead.” But now, it feels like “Okay, well, I’m gonna look it that way then it’s my fault.”

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Oh I see, yeah.

Andrea: So how do you balance that you know just sort of saying “Well, I could have let them out. I guess, we’ll let them out next time and not let emotion get tied with it,” or what would you do?

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Well, I mean that’s certainly one thing right there because there are four different directions we can go. But if I think about those and I’m going to tell on myself here, so I’ll sound like and might be a little arrogant first but then the next part will come. So one of the things when I do presentations, the best comment I like and especially with the young teachers, one of them come up and say “Oh, it was so good to hear that someone like you had those problems.” They feel like and we often listen to gurus, we seek out all these resources and we think that person has the answers.

So now, to tell on myself, why could I tell the class with such genuineness and honesty and seemingly know-at-all-ness these because I’d screwed it up for three years, because I had gotten mad at students for how they were acting when I realized that had I done my sitting arrangements the first day, so they knew what to sit. Had I spent the first day or week even if needed to be to explain to them what my expectations were or behavior for how to enter the room so that we could maximize…again, the end goals, some people think that’s a power trip. No, I wanted to maximize every possible second of making music, and I didn’t want to waste it scolding a kid or whether they needed to ask for permission to use the restroom.

So all of those discipline problems, that hundreds of thousands of fires I put out every day or simply a matter that at the beginning I didn’t think through of a set of procedures and explain my expectations to those students because I still believe, sure I was a willful child and I broke the rules and did things like that. But in general 85% of kids will do 85% of the things you asked them to do, simply because you clarify and didn’t ask them to do it.

So that really resonates with me but not to miss that fact that how do we know this? I tell my kids all that or “How do you know how to get around there? How do you know not to drive there?” Because I did it and I blew up my tire and I had to learn the hard way. So yeah, part of it, you would go back and say, “You and Aaron must go out and buy a trashcan with a lid on it,” because you might say…you spent this whole psycho analysis of “Why does it bother me so much that the dog knocked over the trashcan and it shouldn’t bother me. Haven’t I grown up that these things don’t hit my stuff or whatever?” And the solution is perhaps, to buy a trashcan with a lid on it, you know. It’s kind of fun.

Andrea: So first of all, it’s such a great advice about the classroom management.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: About trashcans.

Andrea: Yeah and about trashcans. I knew this is going to happen, you know that right? Anyway, it’s a joy to be able to talk with somebody when you do kind of speak the same languages and that sense that we’re talking about before. And I think anybody, no matter what your style is, it’s just easy to have those conversations with people they’re kind of like you. I want to go back to what you said about why you’re able to share that message about classroom management with such conviction. Now, you hesitated, you didn’t want to use the word power, but I would say that was powerful.

When you communicated that we shouldn’t blame kids or yell at kids for our own lack of classroom management, it was an incredibly powerful statement. And I want to suggest that maybe it’s because like you have said, you could speak that because you would experience it. And I would call that a redemptive message. I would call that, you know what, this is something that comes out of your experience of either pain or messing up, whatever it might be.

There was some sort of transformation that occurred that got you to a point where you could say, no that is not the way. And then it comes across so authentic, genuine and powerful because it is born out of that pain and that experience that you had previous. I feel like maybe that is where the power really comes in. And I say power again as we’re talking about before I guess. It’s powerful because it comes from that place.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Yeah, and I think we’re unpacking again that word power, gave us both pause, but I like where you’re going with it. I noticed my power wasn’t being smart and what I knew about classrooms. My power was learning from experience trying different things, being able to share that with you. And I think hopefully the other message that came across is you all have unique gifts and some of what I do may not work for you and some of what you do won’t work for me. And so it’s kind of aligning with those elements of ourselves that are authentic I think.

Andrea: I think it also helps give us permission to not look at those difficulties that we face, the struggles that we’re having with so much, I don’t know and feeling like it’s a catastrophe. Because then when we do experience that pain and that suffering that messing up essentially, hurting other people or messing up yourself that there is potential to turn that into something really beautiful in the end.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Absolutely!

Andrea: And so when we’re in the middle of it, though maybe we need to feel the weight of it, there’s still hope.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Absolutely! I’m so glad and just like you said, I knew that something would come out that we weren’t thinking. And for me is how many times you’ve mentioned and what a great topic that I think we avoid and that’s pain. And in general, and this is very general, we tend to either look at the past and cling to those things which we should not do that led to joy. We want to feel good and we reject or repress pain.

And so it’s a hard step for some people but we should experience pain fully. And when I said to be quiet, I’ll use the phrase, I haven’t use it a lot but I used it a lot is to sit with pain, is to sit with joy, sit with jealousy, just be present with it. Don’t try to change it. Don’t judge yourself. So when I get back of that, I know it’s going to sound freakish to people but the answer is not to try to fix it. They answer is to get quiet simply experience it. And really, most people who have done any kind of meditation, always talking about meditation. Yeah, I am but a lot of people meditate with the purpose of becoming a better person and you’ve missed the point already.

It is a process that can happen and will happen by itself if you’re able to sit with, and I hate to say it but people think “You’ve lost your mind, dude.” But sitting with pain, pain is part of life. I don’t want to not experience part of my life but then to bring in that other piece we talked about, so we start building these mental models. And here how dangerous it gets, people think it’s Muslims versus Christians.

I grew up in a little town of Nebraska and there was literally sort of a philosophical and almost we don’t talk to each other. We certainly don’t date each other between Lutherans and Catholics. We’ll find ways to differ if we allow ourselves to and so sitting with these experiences of pain and not building these walls of our concepts. Because as soon as those walls get hit, we experience discomfort which leads back to that word, anxiety which causes us pain. And if we repress those, it’s not good. So just sitting with it, just recognizing it that this is just something I’m feeling. It’s not me.

So my big message to students, if you looked in the mirror this morning and saw your face and then you had plastic surgery tomorrow that totally transformed that face, would that be the same you in there that’s looking at that image? And they get that. They connect with that. Is it the same you that’s sitting there, that’s experiences pain as well as joy, as well hurt? It is unless we allow our emotions to be us, and then we’re simply bouncing all over the world wishing that would make us happy. It’s tough. It’s really tough to not get involved in that negative energy.

Andrea: I like the idea of… like I don’t want totally separate myself from my emotion. I like the idea that my emotion could still be an indicator of what’s going inside of me or who I am as a person, and yet that I could ground that in something deeper like observe it like you were talking about. But then run it through, you know, ask myself then what do I really believe about this.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Yes. I’m really with you, Andrea, because I think I could negate that. It’s a human endowment. Well, as we talked about with learning, if there’s an emotional tie in, people learn. If it’s a purely academic tie in, they tend not learn as well. So I guess it’s just flipping the onus. It’s the you that experiences all these things, but you are not just what you experienced. There’s a level of control. So here’s the simple one, the next time the dog knocks it over, instead of going right it, my thinking mind kept this and I’ll say “Well, go buy a trashcan with a lid on it.”

You might spend two minutes simply going “What part of me is so bothered by that being knocked over.” It would be an interesting two minutes. I don’t know what you’d come up with. I guess that’s where us going with leadership and not lose that way. We go out and we talk about having charisma, having passion, discipline. What are some other ones, Andrea? Great communication skills.   Those are all secondary traits. Where do we have to go to find that core that allows us to be disciplined?

When I’ve had a disagreement with my wife, it affects my mood. I sure hope people hear when they come to me, don’t think in their mind “Well, don’t go to him today, he’s in a bad mood.” We have to be deeper than how we feel at the moment but that is not negated all of sitting with those emotions and what they teach us. Does that help a little bit because I don’t want to say the emotions are childish and we should get rid of them?

Andrea: Right, I do think so. I think that’s good. So when you were talking about leadership then, you’re saying, we don’t want to…I want you to explain this leadership concept here before we go. I want to understand what your distinction between leadership and influence.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Okay and this is maybe just my hang up, but as soon as something becomes a $10 billion cottage industry, I get fearful. So I’m telling you if you want to make money right now, if you’ve got a shlick thing and you go out there and tell them, you know, great leaders are purpose driven. I have nothing against purpose driven leadership, it’s good. Okay, so the real challenge is finding your purpose because it’s the most searched for. So anyway, that’s just a silly example probably shouldn’t be used because that’s way more in-depth.

But 90% of time when you go to them, they talk about this secondary traits. We have to be more confident. You have to be firm but approachable, communications strategies. They’re all good. But how are you able to come to a place where you’re able to truly open up and listen to what another person’s saying without already trying to solve their problems. So where I’m going with that is, I started thinking less about leadership which implies, you are going to go out and do something that move these other people and try to bring it more inside, “where do I develop that inner sense of right and wrong of consciousness, of awareness of openness to the needs of those people?”

I rarely see those presenters get up and start and say, “what are you hoping to get today? Where are you at your life because it will be all over the place?” And I used the word carefully because I don’t mean to their deep concepts that are quite superficial. If you just tell somebody, “You got to be more positive.” “Oh people say, that’s it the power of positivity.” Well, what is that mean when you just lost your job or your child is sick? There’s another powerful book out there that I didn’t talk about called the Prosperity Gospel. There’s a very dangerous that a lot of people and this happens to be Christianity but I put it in leadership. They go out and say, “If you do these things, you will not only be successful but you’ll be rich.” Not true, not true. I mean, if we take at the core as a Christian, Christ, was he happy all the time? Was he rich? Did he have a nice house?

It so subsumes to me the gospel and what it really means which is to find that internal presence, that connection with the divine moving. It doesn’t matter if you’re sweep on streets or president of the United States, it influences us. I’ve often thought, maybe my role here is not the work I do. Maybe my work was to be a good dad to Graham and Graham is going to do something in the world that’s transformation or maybe he is the transformational figure. And I was simply the support network or the training ground.

So I hope that’s not too vague of an answer, but to me when you go into leadership, too much of it is about do these things and you will be successful, win friends and whatever rather than, you need to get in touch with yourself and be really authentic about that and really think about what success means for you. If it’s having a nice car, nothing wrong with that necessarily but you find out, you buy that new car and a day later, you’re just worried about the payment you got to make. That’s a rumbling answer, I apologize.

Andrea: No, no. You got me thinking. I find that I also tend to shoot for the being of who we are instead of a doing and I’d like to talk about that. I’d like to figure out why we do the things that we do and all those sorts of things. The difficulty I find is that in communicating this message of being an influencer versus doing leadership, it’s easier to communicate how to do leadership. It’s easier to say, this is the path because when you’re talking about becoming an influencer, you’re talking about things that are harder to pin down.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: It really are, and I think too and not in a bad way, but we often project this out in the big thing, changing the world. I’m ever more challenged to be a positive influencer just in my own home and in one-on-one relationships. I find it much easier to go out and say motivate or large crowd and not one-on-one. Sometimes it’s really hard to explain this but I think that’s the importance of your work because all around this, I think I’ve seen it on your website so much, none of this stuff can we give to someone.

We can only hope to inspire them and get them on a path, but for instance when I talk about solitude and taking the time to think to realize this becoming you’re talking about or I might have called it consciousness or awareness or enlightenment as good Buddhist would call it, you have to do it. No one can do it for you and you can’t read it in a book. As a matter of fact, one of the favorite things I’ve heard, her name is Pema Chodron, a Buddhist priest who said “Quit looking at this library of resources, just pick one and do it.”

I think there’s tremendous wisdom. I go to a lot of workshops and good friends of mine “Have you read this? Have you read this? Have you read that?” I’ve actually slowed down my reading in some ways and I tried to pick a few that resonates and go deep and try to really do what they say rather than just being able to go out and say “Here’s what you can do” to experience it myself in some way.

Andrea: Hmmm, because when you experience it then you can offer it in a different way than you could before and then you could if you just learn it.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Absolutely! Well, the other thought Andrea, and I don’t want to interrupt where you’re going as you think through this, but I think we’ve also given ourselves, our mind that says but also our emotions and our sense of who we are. We’ve given ourselves an impossible task. We have said to be authentic, we have said to be open and all those things and yet we’ve given ourselves the impossible task in our mind, we want everyone to like us. And so you want to talk about another one. None of these things I talked about as in either/or.

When I interact with people and I get feedback from them that can lead me to “Oh Neal, you’re being a jerk, you need to stop doing that.” So it’s valuable feedback. At the same time when you’re authentic and you share your voice and you say it very passionately and openly, there will be some that not only dislike you but truly hate you because they disagree so passionately with you. And to be comfortable with the fact which I’m not yet, it still hurts me especially if I offended them in some way.

But we’ve given ourselves the impossible task. We’re going to be a mother or a father and my wife is going to like this because of what we do and people will all like me. There are two different people and they will like and dislike different things. So we struggle with it and if anyone has answer, I’ll be tuning in to your future podcasts. But anyway, we have to surrender to the fact when we thought through well and we’re confident in who we are without offending or judging or hurting other people, simply speaking that truth with our authentic voice is going to make us some enemies or at least cause some people to be aggravated. The best compliment you could ever pay me is when you said I made you think. If I did that, please don’t say “I’m gonna do what he said.”

Andrea: Right and that’s what I look for in their leaders. That’s what I look for people to have influence. They have more influence over me when they get me thinking than if they were to tell me what to do and I went out and did it.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Yeah, yeah. I agree.

Andrea: Yeah because when we really integrate that into who we are and we apply it, we think through it and we decide, we start to become that, you know. Maybe we move in one little step in that direction where the person was trying to lead us. But that’s more powerful than it would be to just put on whatever they told us put and doing it.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Uh-hmm, absolutely and staying open to the influence of others. Obviously, there are some bad ideas out there for people. On the other hand, we are snap judgers. We often look at something that they tell you and say I either like it or dislike it. It’s just what we do. We categorize traits if you think about. Again, let’s take it out of the realm of psychology and the incredibly complex human. We walk down the street and say I like that kind of tree but I don’t like that kind of tree. What’s wrong with just letting the tree be a tree? Why do we have to label it?

Well again, it’s not psychosis but we just have a tendency to build these mental models of how the world should be and that’s our likes and dislikes and even our beliefs. Just to take a step back and say “I can just appreciate that tree,” rather than say “I like the color of its leaves.” Yeah, if you catch yourself doing these simple things, I think you’re on a good path that many traditions have pursued which leads believe it or not to some really, really deep understandings. But if we jump to “How do I solve this problem myself?” And “Why I’m aren’t getting better at this?” Or “Everything is gonna go well.”

I know when I’m near where I can sit quietly for 30 minutes. Sit for three and then tomorrow, it’s four. That’s growth. Many people set health goals. I just experienced it myself. I’ve workout for three weeks because I got this nasty virus and it’s driving me crazy. But if you start a goal and you get sick and then you don’t exercise for a week, often that’s all it took for us not to start. And so we get dissuaded very quickly. So it’s a journey. I just love folks like you for taking the time to help us think through that.

Andrea: Oh yeah, I feel the same way. Okay, so Dr. Schnoor, if anybody wanted to engage you in conversation about this or invite you to come and speak to their teachers, their students to do a band workshop, where could they find you.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Where they can find me at schnoorn.unk.edu or I got a Gmail account, schnoornealatgmail.com, LinkedIn, Facebook. Again, to me it’s that interaction with other people, I would love to talk with folks about this.

Andrea: Awesome! Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking time to do this and this has been just a great conversation for me. I love just the fact that we could dive in so deep, and hopefully, there are people out here, the Influencer listening that maybe even us digging in-depth like this makes them feel less alone, because I think it’s hard to think about things like this and feel like you don’t have anybody to talk to. So thank you for engaging with me and engaging with the listener.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: Well, it’s a pleasure, and Andrea, if you ever get the chance in the future if somebody, I’d love nothing more than somebody call and say, that guy is full of it and I’d love to talk again.

Andrea: Yeah that would be fun.

Dr. Neal Schnoor: This could sound condescending, but I mean it with all good thoughts. I’m just so proud of you, the work you’ve done and to catch up with you and to see the journey you’ve been on since you sat in that classroom. Well, I won’t say how many years ago. We won’t give our age or what, but the work you’re doing is so important and I thank you for it.

Andrea: Thank you!

 

 

The Four Elements of Your Voice of Influence

Voice Studio Episode 12

I am so excited to share this episode with you today because this is the introduction to the hearty nourishment I hope to provide through this podcast. If you’re wanting to develop your impact, today I’m revealing the four elements I believe make up a Voice of Influence.

Not mentioned in the episode is the fact that there is an inward awareness and development and then there is an outward awareness and development. The inward elements are Identity and Core Message. The outward elements are Creative Contribution and Strategy.

We’re getting down with the good stuff of purpose and calling here today. Enjoy!

Join the Voice of Influence Community Facebook Group

…where I will be doing a Facebook Live going into more depth on these elements on Saturday, June 3rd. If you’re reading this in the future, check into the group. There will likely be a number of posts about these elements in the future!

Listen here, on iTunes or Stitcher.

What I Learned About Myself from Working with A Fashion Stylist

oh yes I did!

I’ve never been someone who wanted attention for how I look, but when I started writing and wanting to offer my voice of Influence in the world, I realized that my appearance was getting in the way of that happening. So I recently took a trip to work with Toi Sweeney, a fashion stylist for entrepreneurs, professionals and TV personalities. This is what I learned about myself in the process.

This video is going to be included in a longer video about the process. I’ll post it here again when I have it ready for you!

Find information about the Fascinate Advantage assessment here.

Follow Toi Sweeney for information about her upcoming book release.

 

Also, I’d love to have you join in on the conversation in the Voice of Influence Facebook Community group. Join here.

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.

Mentioned in this episode:

Listen here, on Stitcher, iTunes. If you can’t find us where you listen to podcasts, let us know and we’ll take care of it if we can!

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 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

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 ]