Offer the Feather that Could Nudge People to Their Destiny with Terry Weaver

Episode 30

Elephants make bad pets. If you read Terry Weaver’s new release Making Elephants Fly, you’ll realize why. The “elephant in the room” for too many people is that they have dreams they aren’t pursuing. There’s no simple answer to what we ought to do with our dreams, but in this interview, Terry explains the havoc these “elephants” cause in people’s lives. Sometimes the greatest risk is to let an elephant make it’s home in your living room, where it doesn’t belong. What dream is chasing you? Who needs you to be a Timothy Mouse in their lives by offering a feather to help them believe in themselves?

You can find Terry on his website, www.terryweaver.com.

Making Elephants Fly is now available at makingelephantsfly.com,

and information about his live event “The Thing” at thething.live.

Full Interview Transcript

Andrea: Terry Weaver, it is so good to have you back on the Voice of Influence podcast.

Terry Weaver: I’m a fan. I’m excited to be back, a fan of your work, and it’s exciting to be back again today.

Andrea: Yeah, thank you! When we were talking back, gosh, I think your episode came out May, maybe even April last year or of this year, 2017 and we were talking about some of the things that you were working on your book. And now I have it in my hands and it’s so good, Terry. It’s great!

Terry Weaver:   Thank you! You know, there are courses that you take how to write book in a month. I did not take that course. It’s just more like how to spend way too long writing a book. It’s good to get it done and get it out of the world and start telling people about the stories. I feel like I’ve been treating this animal for the last five years and now I’m ready to take it off the press so that it’s out in world and hope that it helps people and doesn’t kill me.

Andrea: You’re asking people to be audacious so you’ll never know.

Terry Weaver: Exactly!   I mean, I’d rather them die living the best possible life than to wither away living the life that was not worth living.

Andrea: Yes!

Terry Weaver: Yeah. My friends give me a hard time because sometimes I kind of lead towards that morbid…but you know, we live in a world right now that it’s just seems like it’s going mad like Alice in Wonderland. And I was like “Has the place gone mad? Yes, I think it has.” And there’s just a lot of chaos. There’s a lot of hurt. There’s a lot of pain, and our time on this planet is really limited, so I want to do my part to encourage people to go on and live now and stop waiting for…

As you’ve read, you know, the beginning of the book really starts with the permission like literally. I’m giving people just permission to chase those big audacious dreams. There’s never been a better time to do what you want to do from where you are. And I’m not here to show and go that at the end of the journey is going to be easy. It’s going to be 10 times harder than you ever imagine.

But yeah, it’s so much work to make these things happen and to make these things become real and big dreams come with a lot of late nights. I’m ending a season of living from one season of hustle as I call it with a little tiny break in between. Now that I’m in my 40s, staying up until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, or 6:00 in the morning working and getting things out the door hurt a lot more than it did in my 20s.

Andrea: Oh yeah!

Terry Weaver: So the bounce back is you know when you’re in college and you did those things and it’s like two cups of coffee the next day, you’re good. Now, it’s like in the middle of the following week, you still feel like you’ve been run over by a train, but we’re here proceeding.

Andrea: That’s right. The book is called Making Elephants Fly. So Terry, where did you come up with this title and why this title? And this is the title of your podcast as well, so why this title?

Terry Weaver: I was sitting in a Starbucks one day and a friend of mine was having a conversation online. And he was kind of talking about Walt’s quote where he said “If you can dream it, you can do it.” And I was just like “Yeah, but…” and I said something to him that I was like “No, no, what you miss is the fact that Walt Disney believed in the idea that if he can make an elephant fly in a cartoon that the imagineers can make an elephant fly at a theme park.

He believed that if there was an idea that he can get a team or process a way to move that idea forward. Really, all of our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them and we really chase to go after them. If we don’t give up, when trial comes and tribulations come. And if you know Walt Disney’s story, his story was one greater than pain and hurt and struggle.

So I was sitting at the Starbucks, at the time I really wasn’t writing much. I was blogging and I would write my blog there. I begin to just start talking to all the baristas that day because one of them said “Hey, what are you doing?” I was like “Oh, I’m just writing my blog.” That always leads to a longer conversation. I discovered everybody working in that building had no desire to be a barista. All of them had moved to the city of Nashville to chase a song-writing dream.

They came here to work on the production team or they came here because they knew there was a creative environment here. They came here because they wanted to get on in the medical field and they knew there was a lot of opportunity here because there was a big healthcare area. All these people were doing nothing how to do with their dreams and I was just like “Man.”

And then the thought kind of crossed through my head at the beginning there, imagine the elephant in a room that they’re living with. I switch sometimes working in the music business and I remember all the artists that quit right before things started. They were on the edge where the pain was real, the work was incredibly hard but they were moving to the phase where things were going to start to get a little at least differently and a little bit easier and the door is going to start opening a little wider for them but they quit.

I thought about all of them living with the pain of “What if.” Those two words can haunt your entire life, “What if? What if I never do this? What if I would have done this?” So I just started kind of thinking about the idea of an elephant. I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of ideas maybe too many. But when I do get an idea, I tend to kind of let it live with me and this idea of “making elephants fly” just would not freaking go away.

I had really, I mean honestly, no desire to write a book. I never did well in English in school. If you tell every teacher that I would be writing a book, they would laugh in your face, but this book just begins and just come out of me and so I started. I started but I was just like, you know, I’m a person of faith so I was like “So OK, God, if this is really something you want me to do, I’m going to call the Nashville Zoo and they’re going to let me hangout with the elephants.”

That totally seems like something that normal people would say no to, right? “Nope,” then next they say “Hey sir, we love to schedule the time. We love to have you. This is normally where they cost thousands of dollars but we love what you’re doing, we want to support you.” So I go to the zoo and get to interview the head zoo keeper and the guy stood out there and talked to me forever. It was literally like a 100 degrees in Nashville. It was incredibly off out of the normal day. And he was like “Hey man, it’s hot out here. Can we go back stage; I’d like to show you where the elephants live when they’re not on the zoo.” I’m like “Are you kidding me right now?”

So we go back and we get to spend time with the elephants and he was like “Hey, let me take you into their enclosures.” So we go there really through the bars into the elephants’ cage where they stay, which by the way, is freaking scary but it was also scary for the elephant. So I met an elephant by the name of Juno and she’s a beautiful elephant. She has since passed out of a disease elephant’s in captivity and they get a lot of diseases which is why it’s much better where they could be in a place out of the zoo and be out open and moving. A lot of zoos are moving more towards that.

As soon as I walked into the cage, she had to pee. And we’ve all heard the phrase, “You got to pee like race horse.” Nope, that statement should be, “You got to pee like an elephant.” Because let me tell you, the only way I could describe it, it was like a fire hose coming out of a 55 gallon bucket all at once and that was kind of her reactions to me coming in there. He said “No, no that’s normal.” I’m like “Man, there was nothing normal about what was coming out of her right there. That was the most fluid I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

So that moment I truly understood and I really had a pretty clear picture of what is like to live with an elephant that you should have in your house. I just started to think of all my friends and all of the people that I kind of knew that have these big crazy ideas and are doing nothing about them. You know in my head, I’m just imagining this elephant going around and peeing all over furniture and I was like “Man, that’s a mess.” Then I begin to realize why they’re miserable, why their marriages were struggling, why they weren’t happy, or why they hated their job and so I wanted to write a book for these people.

Obviously, the idea of Making Elephants Fly inspired by the story of Dumbo in Walt Disney in desires to make elephants fly, and you can go to every theme park. Everywhere they’re located you can go and ride an elephants fly. I still get an elephant ride like a crazy person that go up and down and just to remind myself of like “Wow, someone at one point thought this was impossible to do,” but one man’s dream and one man’s passion for an idea made it happen. And now Tim Burton is actually in production of doing a live-action Dumbo movie, which you know, I love Tim Burton, so I hope that’s going to be cool.

But yeah, we all have these elephants. We all have this big dream. We all have these big passions; but the difference is a lot of us are just living with them. I’ve seen the other side of how inaction would do more damage than actually taking the risk of actually breaking free than actually doing the things and giving them a try. We’ve been taught at a young age that failure is a bad thing. You don’t want to be a failure, but one of those things that makes you a failure is when you don’t get back up when you do fail. We’re all going to not succeed at something. We’re all not going to achieve the things that we set out to achieve. But when we’re actually are pursuing those things, there’s going to be a lot of failure but it’s a lot better than just asking yourself at the end of your “What if?”

Andrea: Yes!

Terry Weaver: One of the big ideas in the book is even if you are nearing the end of your life, if you’re not dead; you’re not done. That’s one of the big ideas in the book. If you’re here and you’re living and breathing, you’re here with a purpose. You’re here with something to do and it’s never too late to accomplish those big dreams that you’ve been wanting to accomplish.

Andrea: Boy, I can relate to this idea of the elephant that is trapped and still in captivity inside, because that’s definitely how I felt a few years ago. I can tell you, I affirm what you just said about how it can just cause havoc. I actually read the part, about the elephant peeing, like that page to my kids. They just died laughing. I thought that was hilarious by the way, but I think that that picture I just get it. It resonated with me and I think a lot of people don’t realize it that they don’t see it probably because of the other thing that you talked about towards the beginning of the book was that the elephants that follow each other in captivity with their tails. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that because that’s pretty good too?

Terry Weaver: So you’ve mentioned your kids, you know, the very first thing your kids learn when they go to school is what? They’re taught to stand in line.

Andrea: Oh yes! Don’t even get me started.

Terry Weaver: They’re taught to follow along. They’re taught to comply. In fact our entire education system is set up so that we will comply. If you don’t believe me in the story, go read books by Sir Ken Robinson and go read Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams. One of the best things I’ve ever read and it’s a free. It’s just a free PDF. But kids, you know, you’ll learn at an early age that you should just follow the person in front of you and you kind of march through your childhood like that, right?

I met a fifth grader a few weeks ago, he was talking about college. You know, when I was in fifth grade, the last thing on my mind was college, right? I was just trying to figure out how to stop picking my nose, you know what I mean?   I never wanted to grow up. And so I rode my big wheel. It was a chips big wheel. It has had the wheels that literally fell off of a thing, right? It’s very interesting how society and I think even the idea of the American dream, I talked about in the book is one of those things that tries to keep us in captivity.

You know that idea that you go to school and you go to college and then you graduate college and you have two and a half kids, too bad for that 0.5 child, right? Then you go on and you live your life and you’re working on a job that you really don’t like but you do it because it’s a safe thing to do and then you retire and then you move to Florida and you wait to die. That’s kind of the American dream. I was just listening to a podcast for speakers with Ken Davis. He’s on his late 60s he’s like “I’m not retired.” He’s like “Retirement for me is death.” There are a lot of us that are starting to say “I wanna get out of that life. I wanna stop complying.”

So elephants in the wild will sometimes do a practice called “tailing.” If you’ve ever seen the elephants in the circus or elephants in the zoo, you’ll see the elephant’s trunk will grab the tail of the elephant in front of them. That’s mostly a practice that’s used with elephants that are in captivity not because it makes them safer, but it does keep them in-line and it gives you the illusion of safety, right? “OK, these elephants are complying, they’re following instructions, and they’re just following along.”

I think we march through life with the illusion of safety. We march through life with the illusion that we’re going to get a job and it’s secure. One of my coaching clients, her husband just lost his job that he was nearing retirement for. He worked his entire life for the safety and security of a job that he really didn’t like. And now here he is when he’s kind of cutting on his job, you know, he’s kind of at the red zone of life trying to get across the goal line and the same that he had been doing something he didn’t love, he ended up giving up because they let him down.

I think of Jim Carey, if you haven’t seen Jim Carey’s speech. He’s like “You can fail doing something you hate, so why would you not try to fail doing something you love.” And man, get on the line and be the kid. Luckily, my mom kind of allowed me to be that kid growing up. I got a lot of trouble in school. I acted out a lot. I was the kid in second grade that discovered that if you throw pencils on a teacher, you can get out of the class.

Andrea: Oh no!

Terry Weaver: I was the kid that learned that it was even better if you could keep the pencils really sharp. So my poor second grade teacher, they’ve told me had a nervous breakdown and quit teaching after that year. I got to do second grade again the next year. Kids, if you’re listening, I’m not telling you that’s how you should act. My parents had just gone through a divorce, I was acting out. I was wanting attention, but even at an early age, I started to go “I’m not really one for following the rules.”

Obviously, you’ve got to be a law abiding citizen. There are some rules that you have to follow, right? Or they put you away. But there’s no rule that says you have to go and work at a job you hate. Obviously, you had to make a living and as you know put in together a portfolio of opportunity that allows you to make a living, that’s easier said than done, right? For me, the alternative of going through life hating what I do is just not something I’m willing to accept.

We’ve got one shot at this thing called life like there’s not a second act. There’s not a sequel to life. We live in a Hollywood culture where there’s a sequel to everything but there’s no sequel to life. You don’t get to do this again. You don’t get to fix what went wrong in your first one the second time. We get one shot at it. Man, I believe that getting at a line as soon as you possibly can in chasing and doing.

I’m so jealous of kids that are in their late teens, early 20s and the world that they’re coming into of opportunity. When I was in my 20s, the internet had really just become a thing. We were still on AOL where we wanted the internet; we had to hear this (ahh ehh err) sound in the internet. The internet crawled along and you could basically send email and chat. That was really it. You really can’t book an airplane ticket online. You could barely sell anything, right?

Now, we’re having a conversation of over a thousand miles away through the internet. It can be posted and people are going to download this and listen to it in their car on the internet. But it’s just crazy if you think about that, right? People can go online and buy your book, buy my book on the internet. They don’t have to go to Barnes & Noble to buy, they can go to a website and put their credit card in and in a couple of days, the mail will show up and put that in the mail boxes.

There’s so much opportunity that there’s just no excuse to not do what you want. I’m not one of these guys that’s like “You can do it and it’s gonna be easy.” No, I’m telling you, “You could do it and it’s gonna feel like it’s impossible.” It’s going to be the most fun that you’ve ever had, but it’s going to be the hardest work that you’ve ever done but the reward is going to be incredible.

Andrea: I love that. I love that when you’re talking about story time with the elephants and you bring this exercise that I think is really interesting, the storyboarding your life. Tell us about that. What are the steps and what do you actually tell people do?

Terry Weaver: So it is something that I did several years ago. I had a coaching client really before I was even doing coaching. That guy met me in a coffee shop and was like “Hey, man, I’ll talk to you for five minutes and you tell me to figure out more in five minutes than I have in my entire life. I live in another city. I’ll fly you in. I’ll pay your expenses. I know how much you get paid to speak, I’ll just pay you that for three days, each day, and can you help me figure out where to go from here? Can you help me get unstuck?”

And that was kind of the first time I had really done that, so I was like “OK, I want you to go to Wal-Mart or wherever you go or send someone…” He was pretty wealthy individual, obviously if he can afford to hire some kids sitting in a coffee shop. So I had him give out index cards and we did the process like he would storyboard a movie, and we did it with his life. He figured out what are his roles and his goals.

I’m actually kind of turning this into a course that I’ll be recording. My wife has actually had me take her stuff through it. She’s getting a really good deal because she kind of personally pays me. So I’m doing it for free, the things we do for our spouses. When you storyboard a movie, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen like a documentary, The Pixar Story, which is a Pixar movie.

It’s a great documentary by a lady name, Leslie Iwerks. Her grandfather was Ub Iwerks, which was Walt Disney right-hand man. If you’ve ever seen Mickey Mouse, Ub was really responsible for Mickey. Walt kind of had the idea and Ub made them real, and they’re doing the same thing about Disney imaginary called Imagineering Story that’s supposed to come out soon too.

In the Pixar Story, you can see what storyboarding is. If you’ve ever seen an image of an animated movie because of so much cost and expense goes into every frame, even with computer animation, someone still has to literally touch almost every frame. So when you storyboard, you figure out what’s to going to happen intentionally in every part of the movie. And so storyboarding your life is really just that where you take your story of your life and you figure out how do you go to the process of what you want your life to look like.

You know, storyboarding is something you use a brainstorming. I used that when I wrote the book. I carry about a deck of index cards. There’s another author by the name of Rob Bell and I saw him did that with index cards, I’m like “Do that and that’s the best.” I had every kind of part and piece of the book in every story that I wanted to tell and I’d begin to put them together like a puzzle. It’s just a process that allows you to kind of look, it allows you to kind of hover over a big idea and see the whole thing.

What I want to do when storyboarding your life is I’m going to hover over your life. You know, with Stephen Covey in his book, The 7 Habits talks about one of the habits is beginning with the end in mind. There’s an amazing story he tells in that book about, you know, imagine you were going to your own funeral in a few weeks and what would you want people to say about you. And man, that’s a jacked up exercise right there when you start thinking about the end of your life and those terms.

But when you start to look at how you want your story to end, it will have a great amount of impact of how you actually lived your life. The part of this process is really identifying your goals. When a movie is made there are a lot of people who watch the end credits. It’s unbelievable how many people it takes to make a movie. There’s hundreds and hundreds of you know, key group, craft services, and all of these things, right? Just really identifying all the people who have a role in your life and who of those people, who they are, and do they really matter both professionally and personally. What are your roles? What part are you playing in your own story?

A lot of people find out through this process that they’re the bystander in their own story. They’re kind of watching their life go by from the sidelines, much like a team that’s losing in a football waiting for the game to end. What I want this practice to do is to help people to get off the sidelines to get on life and figure out, “Let’s make changes. Let’s tell a great story. Let’s live a great story.” A lot of people really believe that life is an accident for them and life shouldn’t be an accident. Life should be something you do with purposes.

I think I talked about like defining what success is, establishing your why, clarifying your what, determining your how, assembling your who’s, and scheduling your when. Those are just the few things. For me, these things kind of helped because I’m all over the place and for me to have a blueprint or map, an outline, something to go back to know like “Wow, where am I going? How am I getting there? Who’s helping me get there?” Because I think one of the things that really helps you do is it helps you know who you’re going to need to help you make your story better.

When a movie gets to be a production, they bring in other people. They bring in other storyboard. There’s a great story of Walt Disney making the movie Snow White. It was the first kind of movie I like that was animated so firs animated movie and people were just like skeptical. So what Walt literally got his entire team together and he literally acted out the entire movie for everyone so everyone can see “Here’s the big picture guys,” and you know the next day, everybody went back to work and they got it. They understood the mission because the vision had been laid out. And most of us do that when we project-manage, we do that in our job but we don’t do that with our own lives. We don’t know where we’re going and we surely don’t know how to get there.

Not to say that life doesn’t throw you curveballs but things are changing and things are moving. Then you want to be moving in such a way with intention and live life with a sense of purpose in knowing how to get to that goal and knowing what that end of the movie. Because we’ve all been in the movies and been like “Man, that ending was the worst.” My mom is the best of that like if she gets to a movie, she’ll start yelling at the screen or yelling at the TV at the end that’s like “I’ve been sitting here for two and a half hours and they died. That’s what you did to me.”

We should want to take a great deal of control over the things and we can’t control everything that happens with our story. We can’t control the things that just happen that are part of that, but we sure can control how we plan or how we prepare and how we live with a great deal of intention with our own life. And that’s why I think storyboarding your life is a really powerful tool. I planted the seeds for people in the book and I’m excited to begin to even take that process.

I think I’ve done it with about three hundred or four hundred people and kind of gone through that process. So now it’s time to really take that to another level and make it with people who do that online and really just understand the process of knowing what where they’re going and what their stories going to be about and who’s involved. I think people, like you, who are available as a coach, you know, having a director and having someone that’s helping you guide the process who’s invaluable.

A lot of us think that we don’t need a coach or we don’t need a director. Man, the more people I coach the more I realized that man, it’s just a help to have people who can help us navigate. You know, we’re kind of sailing through life without a GPS and having people…and even if it’s just a couple of steps down the road, at least they know, at least they’ve kind of seen where we’re going and know at least what’s the weather going to be like when we get there and kind of prepare us and help just be ready for what’s coming. And help us really make sure we intentionally get where we’re going.

We talked about the “road less travelled” where a lot of us tried to take that path, right? It’s really easy to get lost in the road less travelled. There’s no other way that I would choose to go but I definitely know that I’m going need a guide; I’m going to need some help on that journey. I’m going to need a community, I’m going to a need a tribe. And so yeah, I think knowing your story, knowing where you’re headed in life, and knowing who’s going to help you get there is really what separates success or failure for a lot of people.

Andrea: Terry, I know that sometimes people feel like their dreams are not worth investing in or they aren’t worth the time and energy and even sometimes money that it takes to be able to move forward and to make their elephant really fly, what would you say to that person?

Weaver Terry: What’s the alternative? I think a lot of us when we think about chasing ideas and dreams, fear as kind of bars of the prison that keep us back. You know, I was like the exercise of like “OK, I get you, it’s scary.” What’s the worst possible thing that’s going to happen if you make this move and make this jump? OK, you’re going to quit your job, great. So you’re going to quit your job and you’re never going to be able to get another one? Is that what you’re thinking that’s going to happen, because that’s not what happens? That’s now how life works.

People quit their jobs all the time realizing this isn’t for them and they go back to do something else. And I’m not saying that everyone needs to go and quit their job to be entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur, I know that it’s not for everyone. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you may not have something that you do on the side, you know as Chris Guillebeau’s of the Side Hustle. You know, that’s a healthy thing.

I know a lot of your audience as mommas working from home. You’ve already got a fulltime kick raising children and then you’re also probably raising your husband. So you know, man, I just keep always going back to the idea you know, “Sure, chasing your dreams is going to be expensive, right? But what’s the cost if you don’t.” I thought that cost is much higher. You may not necessarily be financial, but it’s definitely emotional.

Andrea: Yeah.

Terry Weaver: Let’s just pick someone in history, imagine if Michael Jordan had said, “Duh, getting up every day and shooting free throws is too work, I’m gonna to quit.” Imagine if Einstein would have stopped the light bulb number 2,998. Imagine if Steve Jobs would have said “Yeah, it’s sounds like a good idea, _____ everyone wants to make it, but I still wanna do with telecom companies.” Imagine if Walt Disney had after he went bankrupt said “Nah, I’m not gonna get on a train and go to Hollywood with $40 twinning.”

I think we could do the entire podcast or read stats like this about everyone that you probably think is cool and they all have them across every field. It’s just story after story, after story, after story that you could say that the people that…imagine if they had to quit too soon. Don’t be reckless that you’ll put yourself on a bankruptcy over it, but there’s going to be some risk and there’s going to be some inconvenience. I’m not challenging people to do something that I haven’t done either. I realized that if you’re looking for an eight-hour work day, this is not the pathway here.

I’m coming off of season of a lot of 18-hour work days. You can probably hear it in my voice but that’s the season that I’m in, right? To make big things happen, big sacrifices required. We’ve been talking with my mastermind group about someone asked me what my business plan was. I kind of giggled with that you know because the idea of a business plan, most of the time you’re just try a business plan when you want someone to give you money. It’s people who make up numbers and like “Yeah, we’re gonna be doing $4 million in 18 months.” For me, I realized that the way that I do business was more tied to my core values than anything.

I write down that my business plan was to be someone that was empathetic, someone that value others. If you don’t think that business plan works, go to a fast food restaurant and take an order with someone who doesn’t care. We’ve all had that experience, or we’ve gone to some place like Chick-fil-A with their they’re trained to believe in excellence and to believe in customers’ care, and they care. They’re like “Hey, my pleasure. Thank you for coming in today,” and you know, the other thing is about generosity.

You know, on the flipside of generosity is also being selfish. Being generous with yourself, taking care of yourself, self-care saying “You know what, I’m gonna go with that massage.” “I’m gonna take this day off. I’m gonna take this trip,” because rest is part of the process. The third thing was integrity, and I think integrity is the key differentiator of success and failure that your yes is yes and your no is no.

We all have banks and investments that we make at other people and when you say yes and you actually don’t follow through, you’re making huge deductions out of your relationships. I think this integrity comes back to yourself, right? I love what Jon Acuff says, I went to his book launch. He said goals are promises that you make to yourself and so the integrity of reaching your goals. And even if you don’t reach someone you said you would but that you still follow through it. I wanted to have this book of like three years ago, but things happened. The timing is right now and the opportunity is right, and so I’m finally following through on that goal and I haven’t given up, and believe me I’d quit a lot. I normally quit a couple nights a week, you know, I’m just like “Done. I’m over.”

When you get back up the next day and you’re like “Alright, I’m back at it.” I also said imagination was a key part of my business plan that I want to be someone that’s, you know, if you noticed that I talked about Walt Disney a lot because it greatly inspires me to dream bigger and to have an imagination. Or I think, you know, we live in a world with big problems and I want the people that are going to be great leaders of our generation are going to be the ones of the best in imagination. We have a lot of problems that require a lot of creativity to solve.

And the last one is this and I think this is the one that is a real differentiator, and it’s really the generosity and empathy and that’s this to always be the one that brings the most value, to add the most value to every relationship, to every meeting, to every opportunity to come upon, to be the person that’s just adding values to other people. We live in a world where everything feels like it has to be transactional, right? Everything feels like “You’re a coach. I’m a coach. We get paid to talk to people all the time and sometimes you have to do things just because you’re generous and you want to add value. And once you do that, once you are generous, I believe that success and the financial rewards begin to come.

This guy reached out on LinkedIn and said “Hey man…” he mentioned the list of all three of my podcasts. I was like “OK, I’ll give you some time.” He was like “Do you have just a few minutes so I could pick your brain?’ And I don’t know, I always say yes to that. Most of the times I’ll just kind of send you to my coaching page and say, “Hey man, we can schedule some time here.”

But I was just being generous; I wanted to help him out and really would know a gender, right? I kind of, most of the time, give everything in return, I was just like “I’ll talk to this guy and give him 30 to 45 minutes.” It turned out to be like an hour and I really wasn’t expecting anything then he started asking me about my coaching program. He started asking me about the conference I produced. So by the end of the conversation, I’ll make way more than I can ever imagined just because I was generous, just because I added value to him. He’s probably going to attend my conferences of VIP and sign up for a coaching program next year when he has the budget to do it. That wouldn’t have happened if I wouldn’t have showed up. I think 90% of success is just showing up.

Andrea: You know, the last time that you were in the podcast, I actually got quite of a feedback, really positive feedback in how people were so inspired by the things that you were saying. I think the book and everything that you’re saying, it’s really not just about like you said before, it’s not just about entrepreneurship, but we’re talking about just taking a step towards something. I mean, going for it and being vulnerable in your relationships or maybe realizing that your job is not what you want it to be and maybe there is something out there for you. Why not go find it?

You know, letting go of toxic relationships or trying something new, some new exercise plan or diet or something, people don’t want to change. They get kind of set in their ways but what your inspiring I think is just an openness of mind like you said and your ability to imagine of what if life was something different. I love that this message reaches so many different kinds of people in so many different levels.

Terry Weaver: And I’ve learned to listen. Oprah has come up before we got in the call; I was watching a video that she was in it. Trust me; I’m by no means like a member of the Oprah Winfrey fan club, although one day I hope she gets a free car because that would be cool. But I do study her a lot as a leader. She’s probably one of the people in our generation that’s effectively led more people than anyone there alive. There was a season there that every woman in America at 4 o’clock, or whatever time she came on, was watching her. And if a product was announced on her show, a lot of people give the success of the iPad to Steve Jobs, but it was one of her favorite things that year and it blew up.

I’ll just read you this from a book, it reads with no quote, we get to choose what voices we listen to and once that we surround ourselves would change everything great leaders understand. And that Oprah Winfrey said, one of the best news is to surround myself with friends instead f asking why are quick to say why not and that attitude is contagious. She understood and that needed to surround herself with the right people. Most people who get stuck in this cycle that can’t get off, can’t make moves, or can’t go forward, the people that they’re surrounding themselves are responsible for the main captive, because they’re surrounded by a bunch of people who doubt everything, who question everything, or people who are OK with saying what if later in life.

But when you make the shift and you start surrounding yourself with people just giving you the permission of at least encouraging the conversation when you say “why,” they say “but why not?” It’s just such a paradigm shift when you move your life to the place where you allow yourself to be surrounded by people who are pushing you forward rather than holding you back.

Almost everyone who has had great success was surrounded by an amazing team of people both that are kind of in a frontline, behind the scenes, and people that you never see or hear about that are just there pushing you forward. That could be a spouse; that could be a mastermind group, that could be a mentor, and that could be a coach. In an ideal world that’s all of those things, working together in synergy encouraging you, pushing you forward, and not allowing you to quit when you quit everyday but saying “Hey, you can do this. You can make it.”

You know, I do thank you so much that I have heard from a lot of your listeners and love knowing that I’m inspired them.

But I would be a failure if I just inspired you today. I want to inspire you to do something. I want to inspire you to act. There’s a lot of inspiring people in the world. I want to be someone that’s inspiring people to act, inspiring people to do. And I hope that if you read Making Elephants Fly that you’re inspired, but I hope that you’re uncomfortable enough that you’re going to do something about what you’re inspired to do. Because there are a lot of people walking around in this planet with big dreams, but a lot of them are going to go to the grave with them.

They say that the biggest collection of dreams is sitting on the top of your casket as you’re buried. Man, I don’t want to live this life with anything undone. I want live it out on the field. I want to live this life. I want to do the things that I’m here to do. I want to make an impact. I don’t want to be that guy that dies with a bucket list of things that you wanted to do but never did. I want to get out there and live and do.

In my world that’s entrepreneurship, it’s chasing dreams, but it’s also taking both of our moms to Hawaii over Thanksgiving instead of cooking a dinner that costs $500 that makes us fat. We’re going to go in the beach in Hawaii instead and so it’s doing those things. I’m sure the timing of that is horrible for me right now, but if we wait for the right time for everything, we’ll never actually do anything. I don’t want to be the person that just talks about doing things; I want to be the guy that’s known for doing things.

I may fail miserably and embarrass myself, but man, when I get to end of my life, I want to be able to say, “You know what, at least I tried, at least I got up to the plate, I stood there and I kept swaying. I hit some balls, I miss some balls, I threw the bat and hit the bat boys, I struck out a couple of times but I stood there and I left it all in the field and I did what I’ve been put here to do.

Andrea: Yeah, yeah! I’ve got one more question for you for before we wrap up, is that OK?

Terry Weaver: Yeah, yeah, I’m good.

Andrea: You mentioned that you have ADD or that you might have ADD, and we talked about students and being in school earlier and I want you to speak to somebody right now. If somebody is struggling, maybe they’re students or maybe they’re in a job, and it’s not just going very well. They’re not very good at it maybe and other people around them are better and even their friends. Even the things that they’re really good at, the things that they are good at, their boss or their teacher, it’s like an inconvenience you know. It’s causing problems instead of being something of way that they can share who they are and use their gifts they’re not able to use. Those are squashed they’re just feeling down in the dumps. What is that look like for them to make an elephant fly?

Terry Weaver: Well, I think we live in a culture now more than ever where personal responsibility has gone out of the window. It’s really easy to blame everyone your circumstances, your peers, your boss, your teacher, or your environment. But personal responsibility says “You know what, this is my thing. I’m gonna do this. I’m utterly responsible for what I do with my life. I’m not going to worry about what anybody else’s things.”

If you go back to Dumbo, that story; Dumbo was very much that kid, right? You know, Dumbo was laughed at. The elephants didn’t want him. That’s the reason why I wrote this book because I was that kid, right? The elephants didn’t want Dumbo. The clowns didn’t want Dumbo. Nobody thought Dumbo could do anything. And staring at Dumbo with its giants ears which everyone would say was this “massively-ness” and Dumbo was able to take what everyone thought was his greatest weakness. It actually turned out to be his greatest strength because no one could see it except for one person and that was Timothy Q. Mouse.

I would actually like to speak to the people that have those people in their lives, be Timothy Mouse. Be the person that finds the good in someone and helps them believe in themselves because if you look, everyone had that person. I had that teacher. Luckily for me, my third grade teacher changed my life. She made me think, dream, imagine, and do things that I never thought I could do. Be that person. Be that Timothy Mouse. Be the person that everyone else that is holding them back and help them find a way to breakthrough.

If you don’t have someone that does that, you’re just going to have to find that belief in yourself. I had some great teachers growing up and I had some horrible teachers. Well let’s call him Mr. E for short, in case he listens to this podcast, but he was a horrible man. And I remember him pulling me out at a seventh grade one day at my Christian school, that’s the whole other subject and just telling me that my life was never going to amount anything. And I was just like “Wow dude, I’m gonna so prove you wrong.”

And sometimes you just have to be the one that proves everyone else’s wrong. Sometimes, you have to make your mess your motivation. You have to make that struggle and that pain… I mean, Dumbo can easily sat around and just cry about his problems. When you see a scene of the movie where he’s literally sitting there, it’s the saddest part of the movie where he was sitting there. His mom was in the car locked up and you heard the song Baby Mine. That’s why a lot of people don’t like Dumbo because you’re sitting there on your couch trying to watch this happy movie about an elephant and weeping your eyes out. It was a low point for Dumbo but he used that up to breakthrough, to find out what he could do to make him soar.

It was Timothy Mouse that gave him a feather that allowed him the strength to believe in himself and to actually find…that feather wasn’t magical but it was that nudge from someone else that pushed him over the edge, that led him into his destiny, that led him into doing what he was put here to do and that was to soar. We’re all supposed to be the elephant that can fly. We all have weaknesses. We all have things that maybe we’ve been told that’s going to keep us in doing what we want to do. We have this weakness or the shortcoming, it’s our size, it’s our lack of size, it’s our whatever, whatever your blank is that you’re facing.

Sure, I’ve got ADD. If you listen to me talk, I still have that. But you know what; we live in a world that really is kind of giving an extra dose of ADD because the idea of just doing one thing is kind of a thing in the past. Jeff Goins says on his podcast the Portfolio Life, “We’re building portfolio of things that we did.” When I told my wife I was having this book, she was like “You spend plates incredibly well.”

So I talked about a little bit about spinning plates in the book, you know but you got to learn how to take those things that really aren’t weaknesses. You just been told they are and I firmly believe that you should focus on your strengths but sometimes the things that we believe are weaknesses, like Dumbo’s ears, turned out to not be.

I think in closing this thought and this last question you wanted to ask, you know, this goes back to that storyboarding your life idea that we can either choose to let people define us or we can choose to be the one that gets to define and gets to set the rules moving forward. McNair Wilson, a Disney imagineer read the book and he was like “Dude, I can’t believe that you told some of those stories that you told about your childhood going through. I never heard you told those. Those are dark places that you had to go.”

I was like “Yeah, and I wanted to go there because I wanted to let people know that even through the pain that I went through, that even through some of that hurt that I can either sit here and look at those things and learn and make that a motivation to help other people or I can let that be that holds me back. I can let that be the chain on the elephant’s leg that keeps me in captivity.

What other people thought was going to be a weakness for me, actually it’s a strength. I’m going to own it. I’m going to do it. I’m going to accomplish it. I’m not going to let anyone else stop me because that’s what great about the elephant. If you’re going to herd elephants together, if you’re going to group people that believe in something, you’re not going to ever stop a herd of elephants, they’re unstoppable. So find some other people to fly with you and you will not be stopped.

Andrea: Yes, love it! Thank you, Terry. OK, I want to make sure that we cover The Thing 2018, would you tell us a little bit about that and where we can find information about that and you book?

Terry Weaver: So you can always find always find everything about me at terryweaver.com, you can find everything there. I hosted of it for people who were chasing “their thing and people who have “a thing” and everyone has “a thing,” right? And so we want this to be the place for people who had a thing to think how to do it better and how to refine their message and get inspired. Probably, by the time that this gets posted, registration will be open for The Thing. It’s thething.live, you can go there and we’ll have registration information there for you to register and for you to sign up for our 2018 event. We’ll be announcing the day. It’s very, very soon!

If you want to get a copy of Making Elephants Fly, you can just go to makingelephantsfly.com. You can get your copy there, depending on when the show gets put up. You may even able to get some of the presell benefits and all the tips. Actually, we leave them up until I know the shows but that’s for a week or so.

Andrea: November 6th.

Terry Weaver: Yeah, so we’ll leave it up for a few extra days so you guys can get some of the perks. I’ve credited a few some extra things. I’ve got the storyboarding your life stuff coming. Just be sure that you can obviously hear my podcast, Making Elephants Fly. That’s all in my website. Be sure it’s set up on my email list. That’s just a great way to keep track of what’s going on. I really do appreciate. I love hearing from you guys. I love knowing that you’re going to be inspired. I want to know what you’re working on and I want to see you actually not just dream it, but actually do it.

Andrea: Hmmm love it! Thank you so much Terry for your time and good luck with this book launch. I’m so excited for you!

Terry Weaver: Yeah, it’s an adventure.

 

Find Your Message & Superpower in the Voice of Influence Academy

Episode 29 with Linette Bumford

Do you ever feel like you just know you’re feeling a tug on your heart to offer more of yourself to the world in some way, but you’re not sure what it is? A year ago, Linette Bumford came to the first iteration of the Voice of Influence Academy (at the time called the Core Message Course) with that feeling.

She knew she wanted to write a book but she wasn’t entirely sure of the message. Through her own exploration and with a little assistance from different aspects of the course, she came to truly own the gifts of her personality and gain a clearer sense of her core message and how to use it.

It allowed me to take really difficult things captive and own them and not look at them like scars but swords. And at the end, that little spark will be an unstoppable fire. When I was done with the class, I was unstoppable.

Linette Bumford is a Jesus Follower, Wife, and Mother. She is an ambitious, focused, and determined thought leader. A veteran of the USAF, MBA graduate, trusted advisor in her profession, and author. Linette drives excellence, confidence, and high quality standards to every aspect of her personal and professional life. She is passionate about inspiring others to invite failure to seek wisdom, live with vibrant boldness, and to achieve their dreams and goals through practical and real action.
Linette’s awe-inspiring story of finding humility, unwavering perseverance, and the tenacious determination in spite of overwhelming obstacles is expected to release in 2018 in her book called Getting There: An Inspirational Guide to Navigate Life with Unstoppable Perseverance. She lives in Maryland with her husband, daughter, and their dog Titan.

You can find Linette at www.linettebumford.com.

Sign up for the “How to Focus & Infuse Contagious Passion in your Message as a Personal Brand” Master Class by clicking here.

Learn more about the Voice of Influence Academy here.

Full Transcript

Linette Bumford: For a long time I was trying to figure out what I wanted to say and there’s so much in my history that I thought “Well, do you just start with one thing and maybe do a series and whatever?” But when I was going through the Core Message class and kind of making the transition from working fulltime to part time, I was going through a couple of different things.

I had surgery on my wrist, which stopped me from writing for a little while and everyone just keeps on asking me because there were so much going on. They were like “How are you doing?” How’s your wrist? How’s this and how’s that?” And the words “I’m getting there. I’m getting there and I’m getting.” I think we say that so kind of haphazardly where I was like “Yeah, I’m getting there.” I really start to think about what that means, you know what it that means when you’re getting there.

So I thought, “OK, let me break that down a little bit.” And really I think it’s a couple of different things but for me it’s that journey of life. We all have an ultimate destination but what is getting there really look like. There are these two words, getting there means you’re getting, which is the act of doing something, right? Either obtaining it or moving through, but it’s an actionable word and that was when I think that I was passionate about with my message was having an actionable thing, you know doing something with your faith.

I was talking to my husband this morning and I was like “You know, I think as I prepare to go on a mission trip in January and preparing to do a testimony. And I think “Oh testimony of my life where you’re getting up in a puppet and sharing some crazy story.” But I do really think about what my testimony was and early on in my life, I was a believer but it was until later on in my life that I became a follower of Jesus, you know what I mean?

Andrea: Hmmm

Linette Bumford: And it was kind of breaking all of that down, so it was believing in something with no action but then later on following Jesus which was actually putting my faith and my trust in Jesus to where I can actually do something about it. So “Getting There” to me is a journey of using inspirational stories but also just some practical every day signs to help us navigate through whatever life turning us because the Bible says we’re going to go through stuff. We’re going to be faced with challenges but it’s about navigating through those with the everyday practical signs that God puts in front of us. Yeah, I’m really so excited about it. I know it took me around six to eight months to get to a certain point but it’s just flowing so easily and I’m so excited!

Andrea: Oh good! What do you think it’s taking you to get to that point where you’re in the flow?

Linette Bumford: I think for me, it was trying different things, right? Again, it was going down to a certain path like if I was inspired by something, I was saying “Alright, let me take that. Let me see how that fixed.” I think we had this conversation before; you try different things on to see how they fit. And sometimes we’re like “Huh, this looks good but it’s kind of uncomfortable.”

And so it’s jeans or that outfit where you’re like “Oh this is so cute but really not for me,” or then I would do something else and it was too simple where I was like “Well, this doesn’t really accentuate certain parts of my story.” And it was just continuing to try different things and at the end of the day, I thought you know getting back to that authenticity like “What is it about me?”

I actually started asking people. I was like “Why do you ask me? When you think of me, what goes through your mind?” And sometimes it was asking for that real honesty from people that you trusted and I really appreciate getting that feedback because it gave me things to literally, I would put sticky notes on my wall and I would look back.

Sometimes you have to take a step back and I would look and say “OK.” It would almost form by itself. You know, I pray a lot. I would pray over the words or the feelings and just putting all that out there and asking God, “OK, God, what did you make me for? Why did you make me this way?”

I think one of the key aspects was going through the Fascinate Assessment. I told you this, it was when I took that assessment and I read through that, it put it altogether and I was like “Yup, that’s me, ” and then it forced me to own it. I could no longer look at those characteristics and not completely own them and then it gave me permission. I felt like it gave me permission and then I was like “Alright, this is my outfit.”

It’s like superheroes like Captain America is not Spiderman and Wonder Woman…they are made a certain way. They all have that superhero commonality but they all were given specific gifts. And I think in any of their stories, I think they were confused about what’s happening. We are all are confused by what’s happening to us but it’s when we come into our gifts that I think is when we truly blossom and we can fully be utilized by God with confidence.

That was my biggest thing. You wouldn’t know that probably in my professional life because I had all kinds of confidence over there. But I think in my personal life, I didn’t feel like I have the confidence to own what God had done in my life that it would mean anything. When I say that it would mean anything outside of what it was doing for me, right?

Andrea: Exactly, yes!

Linette Bumford: I was like “Yeah, this is great that God has hold me through so many different things and it has been the fuel that has helped me succeed or helped maybe a couple of people here and there that I could actually be used for a greater good maybe. Because I think sometimes we take our faith and we take our struggles and we put them on a box and we put this puzzle together and we’re like “Oh great, what a beautiful picture. Now, I see what that was all about. OK, put it back on the box and maybe we want something else.”

We don’t really say that “Wait a minute, you can put that puzzle together, you can frame it and other people can be inspired by it.” So I think that just again growing in my faith and really praying about what God wanting me to do. I think I mentioned it to you before this book concept of sharing my story if you will was something I thought about 10 or 12 years ago, but it just sat there. I was like “Yeah, OK, sure.”

But I got to tell you and I’ve said this probably a hundred times, just the cover of your book alone was all it took for me to go like “OK, God, I hear you.” Like I had been frozen in that area of my life for that whole time like God said “You’re gonna do this. But I just wouldn’t let Him thaw that part of me, you know what I mean?

And it was so profound that I told someone recently at work you know and they were like “What made you want to write a book?’ And I said “The fire inside of me and the inspiration if you will of the Holy Spirit was so strong that I felt like if I didn’t that it felt like I’d be doing something wrong.” I almost felt disobedient for not following rather than fearful of not succeeding, you know what I’m saying?

Andrea: Yeah!

Linette Bumford: Don’t you think because they’re like “What if you fail?” I’m like “If I don’t do this it will be a failure.” So it’s not about how successful it will be, it’s about doing what I’ve been called to do out of obedience to what the Lord has done for me. Then it became where I was like “Well, I have to do it. No, turning back now.”

You know, it was holding myself accountable to that for once because sometimes I’ll dream big dreams but I won’t hold myself or let people hold me accountable. But this was the big dream that I said “Alright, this is super real.” I started reading books, “OK, how do I do this?” Because that’s what I do, I’ll go learn. And so one of the first books that I read was You Have to Start Talking About this and Not Shut Up, like you have to talk, talk, and talk and tell anyone who would listen and you tell them because that will keep you from just putting it back on the shelf.

Andrea: Yeah, so who did you talk about it with? Was that a significant part of your accountability then?

Linette Bumford: Yes, absolutely! Neighbors, friends, community group, church and then obviously, I had to make a huge shift at work. I mean, the moment I sit down with boss that’s when it became really real.

Andrea: At what point did you sit down with your boss and what did you tell him?

Linette Bumford: Probably the day after I saw you book cover.

Andrea: Wow!

Linette Bumford: I’m telling you, if I didn’t take action immediately then I don’t know if I would be where I am today. Like it was one of those things that God said “OK, you’ve already gone down these paths where you’ve worked for me and not done anything. You already know what’s gonna happen if you don’t take action immediately.”

So I knew that I had to verbalize it immediately. If it wasn’t the next day, it was definitely within a couple of days that I sat down and I said…I didn’t say I’m going to quit my job but I went to my boss and said “I had such a disturbing, like it was a positive disturbing feeling in my soul.” I was like “I don’t know what this looks like, I will get back to you but I just need to tell you that something is going to change very soon.”

He was receptive and he completely understood and I said “I’ll get back to you in a couple of days but I just wanna let you know that I’m strongly concentrating a change in what I’m doing right now.” After I kind of wrapped my mind around things, you know, I had some good conversation with my husband then we realized that this book and me writing was definitely something God was putting in my heart. It was just too strong to ignore. I think it was a week later when I said “Hey, I can’t do this, what I’m doing fulltime, anymore.”

He was fully prepared I think emotionally to be like “OK, good luck with that.” But God immediately showed up so quickly to be able to work part time. You don’t have to know the whole journey to know what it looks like, you just have to take the next step.

And I think what I try to tell people is you don’t have to know what the whole journey is going to look like; you just have to take the next step. You just have to put one out there. I think I’ve mentioned this once before. There was a scene in a very old movie that I used to watch as a kid called the Labyrinth and they have to get across this really disgusting moat or something and these rocks come up from underneath just as they’re staying, right?

But they had to have faith as they kept moving that those rocks are going continue, otherwise, they could be stuck out there in the middle, right? Or how are they going to do that and I think that’s how we feel, right? I’m going to be stuck out there in the middle with no way out but that’s just how God is. He’s like “Get out of the boat. Don’t worry about the storm. Don’t worry about the waves, just step out of the boat.”

And in those moments, it’s still really hard for me to explain people I’m like “It’s inexplicable.” It literally feels like God is right there. This massive force is just in you and in the moment and I think that’s all the things that we see that’s what inspires us that’s what get us excited.

Andrea: Oh yeah, it’s so empowering. I mean, I that weird vulnerable sense. It’s in your weakness, this is when I’m strong and it’s like that when you are totally vulnerable and you’re totally putting yourself in that place where you’re about ready to fall but you’re stepping out in faith that’s when all of a sudden, you feel so strong. But you know that that power doesn’t come from you which makes it even more reliable.

Linette Bumford: It’s ridiculous. Again, it’s so hard to explain but you did a very good job there. I think our minds and the world and things around us tell us like it’s about finding that self fuel if you will. But I’m like “You don’t have to do that because then you’re relying solely on yourself and that is the limited resource or anything. There’s not enough of you.” And I think it’s in that sense when God shows up and says “You don’t have to do any of this by yourself.”

Andrea: Have you seen Wonder Woman yet?

Linette Bumford: I haven’t.

Andrea: OK, you totally should. You’re going to love it.

Linette Bumford: I know.

Andrea: What I love about it is that it’s not teaching me anything, it’s just giving me imagery for things that I already know to be true. One of those things is that like she knows inside from a very early age. You’ll see it in her eyes when she was a little girl. She knows that she’s meant to do something really big. She’s got it in her.

Linette Bumford: Oh yes!

Andrea: But as she grows up every battle that she fights, she kind of like owns herself a little bit more and realizes her own power a little bit more. And every time and every battle was bigger and it was more intense too as she gets older. I just think of that it’s so incredible. If we don’t get into the fight if we don’t go into battle, we won’t know the kind of power that we have.

Linette Bumford: Right. Again, going through like I bring up the Fascinate Assessment because it really helped me. When I did the assessment and I was the maestro, it talked about this confidence. And I thought “Where does confidence come from? Where do people just know that they can do a thing?” Sometimes it’s practice, something as simple as riding a bike, right? How do kids get that confidence of riding a bike with those training gears? Well, it’s because they’ve done it over and over and over and then they just know. Well, I’ve been there. I’ve done that.

I thought about that, even in that sense this like of kind of conductor, this maestro; more times than not, they’ve been in those seats. They know what those folks are looking for. They know the different parts of the orchestra or they already know how to play multiple instruments themselves or things like that. They’ve experienced what they people who are looking to them for leadership, they’ve been there. They’ve been in their shoes and that confidence comes from, like you said, being in the battle, being a part of those experiences so that you speak form a place of truth.

I’ve seen people, I’ve listened to different speakers, and even some pastors like they speak truth but not from place of experience. And there’s a difference when you can speak to someone with truth and the experience because it brings so much more power. Like I’m not just telling you what the Bible says, I’m not just telling you what these folks said, I’m not just telling you what you already know from the truth, I’m telling you because I have been in that battle, I have done that thing.

When I’m at work and someone asks me to do something like give this speech or presentation and I don’t know the content, I am funky mess out there. You know, I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m shaking. I’m stumbling and I don’t know what I’m trying to say because I don’t understand the content you know what I mean? I’m like “I don’t know what I’m saying up here. I can’t speak to you confidently about something I know nothing about nor should I be,” you know what I mean?

Andrea: Yeah!

Linette Bumford: About a year ago, I’ve done a presentation and I knew every detail. I knew what the people in the audience were going to think. I knew what they were going through. I knew they were going to think I was crazy. I knew how much work it was, but I was so confident because I was like “We’ve been there. We did that. We went down the wrong roads. We tried everything. This is wherever we came up with.”

After that session, I remember just kind of like walking away and finding a quiet space and I just kind of smile you know like “Did I just do that?” It was that place that said “yes” because you were speaking from a place of confidence. And so again when everything came together after I took the Fascinate Assessment, I realized that God was just asking me to speak from a place of my experience not talk to people about things I could not relate to, you know, maybe that’s for another day. He probably asks more experiences lined up for me and at that time I can speak from that place, but it’s about just owning the battles I’ve already been through and sharing the truth and love, right?

Like in sharing truth and I do have ways sometimes of being a little too forward or direct with people, but at the same time, you know I think that’s why my girlfriend who I asked I said “You know, why do you come to me?” And she said “Because if I really want the real truth, I know you’ll give it to me.” And I was like “OK,” it was a common theme with anyone I spoke to.

Andrea: Oh yeah. The whole point of the Core Message course, the one you took and the academy that I’m trying to make now that I’m excited about, I mean, the whole point is to get down to that, like to get down to that work and say it. Don’t try to talk in generalities, number one. And number two, don’t try to say something…again, we care about a lot of different things. How do you decide what you’re going to actually end up focusing on? I’m so convinced that it has to do with our experience.

Linette Bumford: It does. I absolutely 200% agree with you and I think for me, it was mapping out my experiences. Even that, I told you that it was one of the hardest things I had and I was like “Oh gosh where to start,” you know. And it doesn’t mean like “Oh, if I don’t have dozens and dozens of experiences that I still can speak from that place, you might have one thing that is very important to you that’s OK. You own that one thing and go with it that’s it. You don’t have to have many obstacles. You can have just one.” Like you were saying, you might believe in the broader sense.

Again, going back to the kind of superhero like they all believe in good but how they achieve and support and defines good is in different ways and always that you got to be everything for everybody. And again, it’s going back to what are you? I’ve got good friends, they are the heart. They are the encouragers and sometimes I get jealous because I’m like “I’m so not made that way. I wish I could be like that.”

But then I have to remind myself that they aren’t like me you know what I mean? And they probably in these certain characters speak about me and I tell them I’m like “I wanna do that.” They would probably see the things in reverse so I can admire what God is doing in them and in those gifts and somehow encourage that to them and in turn, it’s kind of like this reciprocation. Their encouragement or their gifts helps me continue to be the way God made me. Once you get that, it’s such a freeing feeling.

There’s no more comparison because I don’t compare myself to that encourager, that heart, or that person who’s always serving. I’m like “God, made me this way so that I can serve in my capacity.” And that’s kind of hard sometimes, we try to do everything and be everything. But even at work, I was realizing that I was only giving about 10% to things and I didn’t feel like I was really doing a very good job even though they were saying I was doing a really good job, I was like “I don’t really feel that way though.”

I know I’m doing a good job when I can really give at least half of myself to something. But to really pour yourself into something that you absolutely passionately believe in, I think is when we really feel what success looks like. You know what does success looks like? Success is a feeling and it’s when you know you really poured your heart and soul into something and then it’s realized.

Andrea: I like that definition of success. Going back to your superhero comparison, the other thing about those superheroes with their suits and stuff, if you see Captain America’s suit and his shield and you know you can rely on him in battle. You see the Black Widow and you know what she’s going to be able to do in battle and what you should, you know how to rely on her in battle. That’s what I see in personal branding.

We throw on that superhero, those suits, anything that’s going to magnify, those characteristics about ourselves that make us you know, “This is what you can come to me for. This is who I am so that you know.” When I first started about hearing branding, immediately my mind went to the mask that we put on trying to be for other people or whatever and I’m like “I’m sure that it can be that, of course it can.” But just like life, I mean if you’re going to be authentic, I mean you can either throw on a mask or you can throw on your superhero suit but it’s an actual magnification of who you are.

Linette Bumford: That’s very true. I think it kind of goes back to what I was saying before, like when you put your mask on, if it’s not your suit, because you can just imagine putting the Hulk in the Captain America, it’s going to be uncomfortable and it’s going to look awkward.

Andrea: And nobody believes you.

Linette Bumford: And nobody believes you. Imagine seeing this you’d be like “Something is just not right here.” You know what I mean? You’re going to feel that. That’s what uncomfortable is for? That’s what those feelings are for. They are a gauge, right? They are a radar for you to be like “Something about this is not right so I’m gonna just not pay attention.” You’re not going to listen what they have to say and so that’s what happens when people are not authentic with you, your heart and your soul know that.

I could see that in other people and then I begin to think “Wow, the reality is I do that too.” I am not authentic with people. I either act the same way or I would say certain things because I thought that’s what they wanted to hear. It’s exhausting. I was tired. I was like “Yeah, I’m not just gonna do this anymore.” It’s just too exhausting. I think of what this saying is but it’s like you know people who lie, they have to keep up with the lie.

Andrea: Yeah. Right, right!

Linette Bumford: You have to keep up with, “What did I tell so and so? Who was I for them? And who was I for…” This is what you get, you know what I mean? I am a work in progress. I did this and I have done this. We all see this but I think we just don’t show it. And I started doing this to other folks at work and saying, “You know what I really don’t like to be angry like that. I’m really sorry, I’m just making it known that that was struggle for me.”

It invited other people to run kind of examine themselves and if they were contributing to my struggle or also hold me accountable. Again, once I started verbalizing those things, it gave me room to grow. It gave me permission to be authentic.

Andrea: Yeah, you didn’t have to be perfect. You weren’t holding yourself to this perfection standard.

Linette Bumford: Exactly! It doesn’t mean that I don’t have a message. You know it doesn’t mean that I can’t still be used. It so easy to just get down on yourself and I’m like “Yeah, actually that’s exactly who I am because if you want to follow perfection, follow Jesus, don’t follow me. I am not perfection. If you wanna see what transformation looks like, if you wanna know what change looks like, if you wanna know what struggle looks like, you can follow me all day.”

Andrea: That is awesome!

Linette Bumford: “If you want to know what it looks like for real give me a call,” you know what I mean? I talked about this a little bit in my book but you know there’s this point in my life in which I really made a significant change. I just said “OK, I’m going to follow, I’m gonna take actions to follow Jesus.” Shortly thereafter, the next chapter is called “Road Work” ahead because there’s a lot of stuff in my life and it is dirty. It’s is ugly. It is bumpy. It is inconvenient, all of that.

But as He does that, He was also laying down new road that’s smoother and easier, you know like He says “My yoke is easy and it’s beautiful and it’s new.” I read a quote not too long ago and it said something like a success and whatever comes from hard work, no excuses. It’s work and if you think it’s not then what you’re after is probably not sustainable and what you’re going to get is not sustainable. I refinished the table recently and I used a lot of analogies, I apologized. But I can’t say, I really refinished it, I just painted over it.

Everyone kind of asked me “Did you strip it? Did you send it and did you do this?” I was like “No, I slashed a page on it.” “Why would I go through all that trouble?” But then I thought about it because the reality is that’s only going to last so long. Eventually, the pain doesn’t have anything to really hold on to you. And then I thought “Well, when I get that point, I’ll just throw it away.” But it did keep me thinking about, sometimes you have to strip it. You have to save it down in order for what you’re going to lay down for it to last and then you have to pull away the olds in order to lay down the new for it to really last the long haul.

Andrea: Totally true. Oh that’s great! I love the picture. I don’t know where you at now and where you headed and what do you need?

Linette Bumford: I need another five hours in the clock, right? Right now, I am in full transition or post-transition. I’m working part time and it’s been an amazing experience. So many people come alongside and just supported and it’s one of those decisions that it was a little scary at first. But the way God showed up through opportunities and connecting me with other people and other writers, I have a coach who is helping me right now. She’s amazing. Her name is Renee Fisher, she’s amazing.

Again, everyone needs kind of guidance like I’m going down this path and it’s something I’ve never done. So she has really helped to keep me motivated. Sometimes we want to do things by ourselves because we’re like “OK, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it alone.” And I read something from, again another great blog, Jeff Goins had put article out and it was about doing this in community. We’re not called to do this alone.

And again, it goes back to the superhero thing. Sometimes, they gather together to fight that battle, right? You got a combined forces and that was a little bit difficult for me. You know, I had my reservations but I trust it that God has been showing up in the process. Anyway, so I’m working on the book actively. We are looking for early spring of 2018, which would be awesome. And I’m probably going to be going into maybe more of like a pre-marketing phase of things. It’s weird but it’s so real because you know it takes time.

Sometimes I think some things happen for people very quickly. You know, I am still at work and it’s interesting. I think you said something the other day or it was only message that you said in the academy you know. Early on in the process, I thought “OK, well, I’m gonna have to completely give up my career in order to do this thing.” And then I thought “Well, maybe I’m doing this for now to help me be better in what I do as a career, or it doesn’t mean you have to always give up one thing to do something else. It maybe you need to slow down in one area in order to build the authenticity of where God is taking you.”

And I see that in a sense of, you know, I was struggling out to really be a leader. I felt like in different ways, I was a manager and I was a leader. I was like hitting the ceiling like almost like an emotional or like a growth ceiling. I met with my mentor and he said to me, “You have to do this. You have to go part time; you have to go follow this dream, this feeling inside of you.” And I was like “What? You’re the same one who mentors to like keep growing.”

And he said “Doing that will make you a better leader if you decide to comeback.” And I thought “Wow, OK.” So I table that and I thought “Well, that’s pretty powerful.” Sometimes you have to step to decide. You have to go and dig up an area in order for all of you to move forward and then he said “And when you get there, you just turnaround and help someone else do things.”

And I thought “OK,” and it was after that conversation that I’d really, really like I made the decisions anyway. I hope that that make sense. But yeah, I think I was excited and open. I think at this point, I don’t have it all figured out but I’m open and initially, I was like “Oh my gosh, I got to learn about social media. I got to learn about this and God said “No, you don’t. Nope, you just need to tell your story and I will help you when the time is right to get to those other points.” I was like “I’m just gonna focus on what God has put on my heart and tell the story that He has done in my life.”

Andrea: Yeah, it’s like that. Going back to your analogy about taking the step like you can’t take all the steps at once.

Linette Bumford: I’m not just the next-step kind of person. I mean, sometimes I do those huge leaps of faith, right? And those are exciting too but you can’t leave that everywhere. You have to say “Just take a step,” and I think this was another thing I heard early on and I was like just the torch bearer, right? We talked about this early on.

When you’re in a dark cave and you have a torch, it doesn’t light up the entire cave or all the ways out, it just gives you enough light to get a few feet ahead. And we just have to trust that that God is that light for us our relationship with Jesus is to have just enough faith to take the next step and not fear the failure.

I think of it like a maze, right? We try to figure out this maze and we go a certain direction and it’s a dead end. Well, things happen along the way, right? So it’s about what you experience along the path and to me that makes the light brighter, like in video games, you go down this level and you gather up you know whether it’s trinkets or whether it’s coin. And then you go down a certain path and you gather things for the rest of your trip.

And then you’ll come across another obstacle where you’re going to another path and you go “OK, I need a hammer for that, you know, I need this little trinket.” I just kind of think about things in that way like that’s what our life is about. We go down certain paths to obtain certain experiences and certain nuggets of wisdom so that it can be used later on in the journey. And it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be there forever, it’s just now you have it, you’re going to need it, right?

I think that’s why they exist; you’re going to need it for something, just hold on to it. And when the time is right, you’ll know when to reach into your little wisdom pouch, pull it out whether it’s for someone else or for you to sustain you through a hard time. That’s really what it’s all about, right?

Andrea: So when you took the Core Message course, it was basically a three-month period. I thought that it would be a 5-week deal but I realized very quickly that you guys were like “Woo, wait a second this is a lot more to process than I have time for in one week at a time and it made total sense as we kept going.”

So I tried to take all of what you guys were saying then I also listened to some other people who know a lot of people say they want to make changes or they want to figure stuff out for themselves. They want to find their things. They want to find their passion but they need accountability and that sort of thing.

I thought all this together seems to me like what people really need is they need bite size things to chew on for a period of time and over a period of time. That’s the reason why I went with 6-month program because I thought what would be the most transformational thing I think would be a coaching program for six months.

And if I could just disseminate the information a month at a time with a module at a time, something for people to focus on for one month and then move on to the next thing that maybe would make more sense. So that’s the reason why you guys and your feedback was so helpful to me in deciding what to do here.

Linette Bumford: Again, it has taken me all this time, but life had to happen. I had to let things call today or culture. I had to let those things happen in order for God to show up like when we want to do the fast diet. Oh well, it’s going to happen but it’s not going to sustain you, you know what I mean? So yeah, I think it’s progress and I think that’s really a good observation on your part.

Andrea: So who do you think should consider doing this program?

Linette Bumford: You know, I don’t want to speak for everybody but what I’ll do is I’ll speak for myself. I knew I had something inside of me. I knew that I was being called to something. The question was what was the thing? What made me me? Not made me different, didn’t make me special, right? I mean, I am different and I am special. We are all different and especial. We are who we are, right? But what was it about me that I needed to own but what was it that made Linette Linette, and it was my experience. It came down to figuring out what it was about my experience and then what was it that I had to say, I guess.

It’s great to just tell people “Yeah, I’ve been through a lot of stuff. You wanna hear about it? Here it goes.” But what was the purpose in all of that and then finding a way to own it? So being creative is sometimes an agonizing process. You taught me about the six stages of creativity, like there’s a very agonizing stuff in there where you’re like “Huh, this is just too hard.” You know, I want to go to the easy thing, the thing that I know how to do right.

But if you look at yourself in the mirror and you’re like “I’m ignoring something. I’m ignoring the gut feeling. I’m ignoring my heart. I’m pushing something aside,” and you are getting frustrated by that and you know that there’s that thing inside of you, take the class. Don’t try to figure out what it is before the class because the course is going to pull it out of you. I’m just saying. It will pull out of you. It pulled it out of me in a way that I just never imagined but don’t try to figure it out.

Again, I’ll plan this out, I’ll figure it out, or I’ll go into the class. I’ll be the superstar. I’ll be the teacher’s pet like that’s all we do, right? We try to over analyze it and I did it. I said “No, I’m just sure; I’ll sign up for that. I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.” I said it from the very beginning. I was like “I haven’t had any clue, but I’m open and that’s all you have to do.”

So if you’re feeling it and your heart flutters when you think about whatever it is and you just have no idea how to wrap your mind around it, take the class. It’s going to help you bring structures to the chaos. It’s going to bring clarity where there’s fog. It will help you own you. I think sometimes we let the story or our experiences own us and take us captive but it allows us to take those things captive.

Andrea: Amen! Oh my gosh that’s the perfect way to put that. Yes, yes, I just got goose bumps all over my body and I’m even crying because that is so what I want for people. That is so what I want for people.

Linette Bumford: I’m telling you that as a student and I love that at the academy, yes, it did that for me.

Andrea: Oh so cool!

Linette Bumford: It allowed me to take really difficult things captive and own them and not look at them like scars but sword and at the end like just that little spark, it will be an unstoppable fire when you’re done. When I was done with the class, I was unstoppable.

Andrea: Yes!

Linette Bumford: I still don’t have any idea what I was doing but I was unstoppable.

Andrea: Exactly! It’s like the internal positioning like that “OK, there are still stuffs to be done but I’m ready to go.”

Linette Bumford: I’m determined and I’m energized and I’m going to keep going. And having that fuel, I want to get there and that is my story. We’re all getting there, right? So yeah, I want to get there. I’m going to do it. You know, people come to me and they’re like “You’re so audacious.” And I’m like “Why not? How do you live with yourself going what if?” I’m like “No, I’m not a what if-er, I’m a why not-ter, because I have a hard time with the what ifs.”

I have more regrets, not with what I did but it’s what I didn’t do. I’ve learned that failure, I almost chase it now. I’m like “Bring it on.” And something that may seem small for us could be huge for someone else. We never know when that’s going to inspire greatness to someone else, right?

Andrea:   Totally!

Linette Bumford: So yeah, if you’re feeling the thing, if you’re feeling anything, if you’re hearing this and you are like “Yes, yes” then take a class, just take it. I had a hard time believing that words are not going to show up and really help you own and take your personality and take whatever your name is and whoever you are, take that captive. And sometimes that’s all you need. You just need to have permission to take your life captive and sort of your life taking you captive.

Andrea: Awesome! Thank you so much for your generous endorsement and for sharing your own story and feedback along the way. And yeah, I’m excited for you and where you’re headed. I have another friend who said to me before “You know, it just seems like we’re not supposed to know where we’re getting to because it could just overwhelm us like we just don’t know and maybe we can’t handle that right now and I think of that with you for sure like who knows. I just don’t know but it’s some place, I’m pretty sure. Some place special.

Linette Bumford: Yeah. I hope I’m going somewhere. I know I am.

Andrea: Yeah, absolutely!

Linette Bumford: And again I write about the goal, the goal, the goal but even through the process, I’ve had to learn to appreciate the journey and pulling over and taking it all in because it’s so easy to get somewhere. I still do this when I’m driving around, like “I gotta go, I gotta go. I’m late, I’m late.” But I was just missing it and I’m still learning. I’m a work in progress but you know I’m learning to just slow down and just enjoy the little things because God is everywhere and He’s everything and He wants us to like the arrival, right? The arrival, the steps along the way, or the “Mile Markers” you want to call them. He wants us to get there but He also wants us to get there happily, does that make sense?

Once you get there gradually, like “God, I finally arrived. What a trip!” How many people have come home like “Oh it was traffic. There was this.” “I’m so sorry that your trip here was so exhausting.” We want to arrive like that. He wants us to arrive happily like “I’m so excited to be here. Let me tell you all these things we didn’t plan but it happened along the way?”

How difference that would make when we interact with people? I thought these amazing things that I just didn’t plan but happens along the way and how awesome it were. Even things like getting a flat tire or bad weather or whatever. If we can just look at them as God’s way of slowing us down and just appreciating those things.

Andrea: Well, thank you, Linette!

Linette Bumford: Welcome! Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to help with the academy. I mean just watching you of what it was about a year now, right? It was last August that I began to see you progressing and succeeding and the fire that you continue to have to help people. I’m excited to see how God continues to move in your abilities to help us find our voice.

 

END

An Open Letter to Multi-Passionate Creatives Stuck in Creative Chaos

Dear fellow Multi-Passionate Creative,

Creative chaos is how I would describe the ideas bouncing around in our heads. It’s a fun place to play but it’s not very helpful when it’s time to make any kind of decision about what path to take with your life or business, is it? Untended, chaos breeds more chaos and pretty soon intelligent, ambitious people spin their wheels so fast they (and everything around them) turns into a muddy mess.

How are you supposed to build a platform or business around confusion, overwhelm and frustration? You can’t. Not a powerfully sustainable one, anyway. If you can’t make up your mind and decide on an idea to pursue, you’ll keep jumping from one passion to another without gaining traction on any of them.

Compounding the problem are all of the voices out there ready to give you the exact plan for this or the perfect blueprint for that. If you just follow their plan, you’ll end up with the results you want.

It sounds great, but who’s plan should you follow? What “proven” tactics are the ones you should use? Should you follow one or synthesize them all? And what if a better option comes along while you’re in the middle of implementing the one you thought you chose?

Whether you’re spinning your wheels trying to decide on an idea to pursue or you’re spinning in circles trying to decide who to listen to, you’re probably not getting anywhere. Fast.

Before you spend the last of your continuing education budget or eek out one more drop of effort to build your platform, please STOP.

This is me, grabbing you by the shoulders, looking you in the eye, saying:

Friend, you are smarter and more capable of making your own decisions than you think you are. I know what it’s like to feel so lost in your own head that you can’t make sense of the cereal box, let alone Facebook’s newest algorithm. I know what it’s like to know you’ve got more to offer the world but you’re so lost in the chaos of choices before you and the chaos of voices yelling from the Internet to see past your own keyboard. It’s time to lift your head above the fog and listen to your own voice.

It was only a few short years ago that I was so lost in my own creative chaos that I was a bottled up mess of ideas and ambition that I verbally exploded from the internal pressure on a regular basis. It took realizing the pain I was causing others to make me stop saying terrible things to myself about being “crazy,” “scattered,” “a mess,” and “a waste.”

If you’re saying terrible things to yourself, please stop for a minute and look me back in the eye and answer me this:

  1. Who do you say that you are?
  2. What message is on your heart to share with others?
  3. What do you want to offer the world?

If you know the answers to these questions, then write them down in big letters and throw them up on the wall behind your computer and use them as your internal compass when you have decisions to make because if you align what you do and what you say with who you are, you will gain traction and make an impact.

However, if you struggle to answer these three questions, it’s time to take a reflective moment in time and figure it out.

October 23-27th I am offering a free 5 Day Challenge to help you nail down these answers in an elevator pitch. And if you think this is just some simple formula you can Google, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. I know exactly what it’s like to be where you are right now and I do not see your elevator pitch as some simple fill-in-the-blank. You are more beautifully complicated than that. Your multitude of talents, your fierce ambition and your passion to help others deserves to be honored. That’s exactly what we’re going to do in the Nail Your Elevator Pitch 5 Day Challenge. Stop spinning your wheels and sign up NOW (HERE).

You’re talent and message are worth it. I’ll see you inside.

 

Your Voice Matters,

How to Monetize Your Expertise for a Portfolio Career

Episode 25 with Dorie Clark on Personal Branding

Dorie Clark is an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the author of Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You and Stand Out, which was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine. A former presidential campaign spokeswoman, the New York Times described her as an “expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives.” A frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, she consults and speaks for clients including Google, Microsoft, and the World Bank. You can download her free Entrepreneurial You self-assessment workbook and learn more at dorieclark.com/entrepreneur.

Download your free and simple personal brand strategy guide called

“Focus Your Brand DIY.”

Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Transcript

Andrea: So I want to tell you something before we really get going here to kind of set you and the listeners up why I was so excited to have you on the Voice of Influence podcast. Toward the beginning of this year, in 2017, I was working and developing my podcast concept and I was really struggling to decide on a title, a focus, an audience, and all of that. So that’s when I stumbled on an article written by Dorie Clark in Forbes, and it really spoke to me. And so that day, the very day that I saw that, I actually went to your website. I dove in. I downloaded your 40-page workbook and then when I got your audio version of Stand Out and then spent the rest of the day walking and listening to that book.

Dorie Clark: Wow!

Andrea: Yeah, I really dove in. But I remember watching the tiles on the floor of the mall while I was walking because it was cold. So I remember looking at these tiles and just thinking to myself “What am I gonna do?” And I’m eating up your content and then all of a sudden, you said something that really resonated with me. You said that I could land two different areas of expertise together to come up with a really good standout kind of concept and that’s when it hit me. And so three months later, I started this Voice of Influence podcast combining my expertise as a vocal coach like an actual singing coach and teacher with this idea of communication and personal branding. So I just thank you very much for your influence on the Voice of Influence podcast itself.

Dorie Clark: That is super meta! I really appreciate you sharing that story. That’s awesome! I love your background too because I often will tell people how important it is to get vocal training and you know, it’s so hard and so frustrating sometimes. We all know how important oral communication is as a means of branding yourself and literally getting your ideas. And there are people who just cannot seem to be able to raise their voice to a sufficient level to even be heard in meetings. It’s like the very minimum that a person needs to have this is just literally to be heard and they have not got the diaphragm, breathing thing down. And they’re like “Well, I can’t just do it?” And I’m like “No, you can and you need to freakin’ do something about it now.”

Andrea: Yes, yes! There’s a great clip from Sister Act II or even Sister Act I, it isn’t like the best movie to talk about. But it was such a great clip and there was this kid who was hardly singing at all and then she kind of helped him find his voice and then all of a sudden he just started bursting out and found it. I think that there is something really unique and interesting about each voice.

And every time I hear somebody in particular singing, let’s say, but also somebody that may have expertise or message and they’re playing it down or they have this inner projection of their voice instead of really projecting their voice, it just kills me. And I’m like “I hear what could be but you’re just not quite there yet.” I think that’s one of the reasons why I resonate so much with you and your work because I think you really are helping people to find that.

Dorie Clark: Well, thank you. I appreciate it. That’s awesome and definitely it sounds like you’re doing that as well.

Andrea: OK, so before we dive into the book and all that other stuff, I would like to ask you about you. Why don’t you tell us and tell the influencer listening what is it that you do and how did you kind of get to where you are right now?

Dorie Clark: Well, to make a somewhat elaborate story short, these days, I mostly write business books and then travel around and speak and consult and coach around them. And so I started my entrepreneurial career doing marketing strategy consulting mostly for companies. But my work has really shifted over throughout the years to working primarily with individual professionals helping them establish their brand as thought leaders in the market place.

And so my newest book, Entrepreneurial You, is in many ways what I view is the culmination of that which is once you have kind of repositioned yourself into where you want to be, once you have established yourself as being an expert in your field, how do you then make money from it? How do you make it sustainable? How do you actually turn it into a real legitimate career? And so that is what I explored in an Entrepreneurial You.

Andrea: Yeah and you’ve written a trilogy of books now about creating, developing, monetizing a personal brand in this expertise. Why don’t you set us up with what those other books are and what they are about?

Dorie Clark: Yeah, definitely! So my first book is called Reinventing You. It’s kind of the first step, because for a lot of people you’re not necessarily in the place that you want to be professionally. You may have a different aspiration whether that is getting yourself promoted to a different level or maybe changed in companies, maybe changed in careers altogether. And you have to work and try to reposition yourself strategically. So Reinventing You is about how to work that process to get where you want to go.

And then the next step of course is once you’re in the vicinity, once you’re kind of in the right place, you need to really get known in your field. You have to figure out how to establish yourself as being one of the very best in your company or in your business. That is what enables you to come in premium pricing. That’s what enables people to seek you out instead of having to constantly be knocking on people’s doors and asking for business literally or metaphorically, and so that’s what I covered in my second book Stand Out. And then as I mentioned Entrepreneurial You is my newest and that is really how to monetize your expertise and create multiple income streams off your business.

Andrea: And when it comes to personal branding, do you also talk about people who are in a company, maybe they already have a job but they still need to have a personal brand?

Dorie Clark: Yeah for sure. I think this is a really important area because it’s oftentimes a neglected one. People sometimes assumed that if they are not themselves entrepreneurs, they don’t have to worry about personal branding because their company brand will just carry them. And they’re maybe true up to a certain point but it’s getting less and less true, number one – because you’re going to be dealing with clients, with even coworkers who are all around the world. They’re not necessarily going to know you just from being around the office with you.

So they will get to know you by reputation before they ever get to know you as an individual. And so getting cognizant of what your reputation is and whether it reflects what you wanted to be as an important step. The other thing of course, the other unfortunate reality is a lot of times, jobs don’t last forever. And so if you’re relying on your company to do all the thinking about your brand and just handle that for you that may turn out to unfortunately be a little bit misguided at a certain point.

Andrea: I feel like having a personal brand and understanding kind of that going to that process really helps people to kind of define who they are and what they want to be about. I mean, it seems to me that it’s about more than other people’s perception is also about what you want to express and what you want like a purpose, your purpose and your direction you want to take in life. I mean, have you found that with the clients that you worked with and the people that have been impacted by your books?

Dorie Clark: Yeah for sure. I mean, you know the background that I come out of actually is not a business background. I was a philosophy major as an undergrad and my graduate work was in theology. So I’m very preoccupied with questions of meaning and how people figure out who they are and who they want to be in the world, so personal brand is really just the business application of that.

Andrea: Yeah I just think it’s really…it definitely helped me because I’m I’ve also always just been consumed with my own why’s and what I’m doing and what direction going to. When I started to dive into of what is my personal brand, I don’t know if there’s something really intentional about that that made it more of a priority and gave me a clear picture and gave me a clear direction I think.

Dorie Clark: Yeah that’s awesome. That’s all it should be.

Andrea: Yeah. OK what drives you now with your business? What’s your why?

Dorie Clark: Ha ha! We’re just cutting right to the big picture here.

Andrea: Sorry. Well, we’re just talking about meaning, right?

Dorie Clark: Yeah, exactly. Let’s bring it, yeah.

Andrea: We dive. We dive in the Voice of Influence podcast. We dive in!

Dorie Clark: Yeah, we do. Awesome! You know the really what is what is exciting for me is the fact that you know, I think we all know people who are, you know, they’re good at what they do, right? They’re talented. They have so many to contribute. They’re smart and yet, they are not necessarily succeeding the way that they should. And I would argue that in a lot of ways the reason that that is the case is that in the modern era, the ways that people make money are actually very different.

They’ve changed substantially over the past two decades and this is this is what I talked about in Entrepreneurial You but there has been a shift from making money from something directly from something to making money because of something. And the clearest example that I can say of that is that I started my career as a journalist and that’s a pretty simple business model, right? You’re a journalist so you write articles and then you get paid for the articles, boom! That’s the business model that anyone can understand.

But nowadays, the tricky part is that there’s hardly any journalists left, you know, 40% of journalist have lost their jobs in the United States over the past 15 years. I mean, it’s just this wholesale decimation and the market constantly has gotten worse and so publications are paying you a little of a wage to write anything. If you were continuing to try to do the same business model like “Oh, I’ll write an article, I’ll get paid for it.” You’d be in a really bad shape because they would say “No, do it for free.” Or “No, do it for $20.” And you can’t make a living that way.

However, if you are a little bit crafty, if you decide to make money because of something rather than from something, you can actually do much better. And so in my case, I actually still spend a substantial amount of my time writing articles, you know, doing literally the same thing that I started my career doing, except now I don’t get paid for them. But instead of that being a tragedy, that’s actually an opportunity because I have found other ways to monetize around them through speaking and consulting and things like that.

And I am now able to make a lot more money than I would have had I nearly been paid a couple of hundred bucks for an article. So it’s just helping people understand that shift which is not necessarily intuitive. But once you are able to crack the code, it opens up a lot of possibilities and enables good people to really get their voice heard effectively.

Andrea: Yeah, I love in a prologue when you talked about your why for the book and you said “You can be talented and well-regarded but unless you’re very deliberate about the choices you make, you may end up earning little for your efforts.” And then you went on to say “Learning to make money from your expertise is just a different skill set.” I think that that what you offer through this book is so much to the person who does have expertise. But yeah, they feel like a fool when it comes to trying to make money with it other than in an entrepreneurial sense.

Dorie Clark: Yes, yes exactly. It’s really an entirely different skill set and I think a lot of people just don’t realize how different it is and then they get upset at themselves for not necessarily being able to crack the code. They don’t realize that it’s not something you necessarily would know intuitively. You have to study it. You have to learn about it and that’s really what I try to do with Entrepreneurial You is to create a kind of roadmap for people to follow to make that process easier.

Andrea: Definitely! You know, I could have started to deep dive into all of this space a few years ago or just like a couple of years ago. And I’ve heard about most of the people that you wrote about in your book and most of the ways of monetizing but it took a lot of effort from you to even come across these people and those ideas. So the fact that you put them all in one spot is incredibly valuable to somebody like me or somebody who’s just starting out, either one whether we’ve been in it for a while or we’re just starting out to be able to see a big picture of the landscape of what we could do.

And I think that that is also, I don’t know, it’s just really valuable I think to the person that’s struggling. OK, so in chapter I, you set up the reader to realize how important it is to have more than one income stream and you likened it to having a diversified portfolio and I love this comparison. So why don’t you just explain to us what is a portfolio career?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. So a portfolio career is really just kind of a way of thinking about making money from doing a variety of different things. So instead of the kind of old school, here’s a job, this is what you do, period, a portfolio career is somebody who has multiple things going on. I mean, in my case, my version of the portfolio career is making money through writing plus doing business school teaching plus consulting plus coaching plus doing online courses, etc, etc.

But even if someone has a fulltime day job, they can still begin to create a portfolio career for themselves. It’s a thing that I would encourage heartily because it provides more security for yourself and it could just be a thing that you do once a week or once a month. You know, it’s taking on if you have some expertise, taking on a coaching client on the side or maybe it starting to investigate something that’s of interest to you whether that’s crafting on Etsy, or you know tinkering around and trying to figure out how to develop an iPhone app. There’s a lot of different ways you can do that but if you start to be able to create multiple income stream for yourself based on your expertise, it just insulates you again to risk a little bit more and it open you up to new opportunities.

Andrea: Do you want to list some of them?

Dorie Clark: Sure! Yeah, yeah absolutely!

Andrea: So what are some of those income streams that you write about in a book?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. So in writing Entrepreneurial You, of course there’s an infinite number of potential income streams that the people could do so. I certainly didn’t cover them all but I wanted to provide a sense for people about possibilities that they could undertake that don’t require a lot of capital especially. You know, these are not possibilities where you need to go get a loan from the bank or you have to put your life savings into it. These are all things that you can start doing, basically today or tomorrow snap your fingers and if you decide that you want to learn about it and approach it earnestly, you can dive in and do it.

So some examples would be; coaching, consulting, or doing public speaking. You could start to organize events, you know, you won’t necessarily say “Oh yeah immediately rent a stadium and do a 5000-person event.” But you know, for instance last year for the first time, I pulled together a 10-person Mastermind event and I did it in the conference room in my building and you know, it was low expenses and very low key but high value for the participants and something that brought me some money as well. So that was a really great example and a really great possibility.

If they’re interested in online thing, they could start creating an online community or they could for instance work to monetize a podcast like this or a blog. So there’s a wide range of options of what might be of interest to people.

Andrea: Yeah. There was one in particular that really caught my attention and I actually wrote in a column, brilliant, because I’ve heard most people but I hadn’t heard about the Mastermind Talks and that was such a compelling story. Would you mind sharing that because I think that sometimes we just need to think outside the box and realize that you just never know it could be possible?

Dorie Clark: Yeah, definitely. This is a pretty clever example of somebody who really took what might seem to be an impossible situation and turned it into something pretty cool. So there’s a guy names Jason Gaignard who lives in Canada. And a few years ago, Tim Ferriss, the well-known author was releasing his book. I think it was the 4-Hour Chef. Anyway, he was looking to get bulk sales for the book so that it could hit the best seller list. And he put out an email that if someone bought 4000 copies of his book that he would do two free speaking engagements for that person. The cost for this is about $80,000 – very, very expensive.

Jason, number one did not have $80,000 and number two, he didn’t have any idea of where he would have Tim Ferriss speak. It’s not like you run a company and is like “Oh yeah, you know, we have a conference next year, you could speak at our conference.” He had no idea but he saw that opportunity and he said “You know what, this is a great opportunity. I don’t even know what I’m gonna do with it but I can do something amazing with it.”

So he said yes to it. He had about two days to get the money. So hustled around to his friends and finally had a wealthy friend that agreed to loan him the money and then he was about trying to figure out what the heck he would do with it. And so he ultimately stumbled on was that he would create a conference which he ultimately called Mastermind Talks and he realized that he couldn’t afford to have lots of speakers. I mean, it practically broken him just to have Tim Ferris, but he realized Tim Ferris is a popular guy. He’s a guy that a lot of people want to hang out with.

And so he thought “Wait a minute, if I have Tim Ferris, I could probably get lots of other people for free just because they want to hang out with Tim Ferris.” And so he essentially used Tim Ferris as bait and he invited all of Tim Ferris’ friends and they’re like “Yeah sure, I’ll come.” He did like a competition. So it wasn’t totally free, there was a chance. There’s a chance, you know, with all these people who were very expensive speakers that if they were voted the number #1 speaker that they would win I think $30,000. But the vast majority of course didn’t go home with that and ended up speaking for free.

But it was a very clever way of solving a difficult problem. You know, you might say “Well, I don’t have any money for speakers; therefore, I can’t possibly have an event. But Jason looked at those constraints and came up with something very different that no one else would have.

Andrea: Hmm and he didn’t just try to pack a stadium with that either.

Dorie Clark: Yeah that’s right. That was the other really interesting. Instead of going for the maximum quantity of people, he decided that he wanted it to have a very intimate event, which is you know frankly a kind of risky move because it’s always a lot easier to get you know, a bunch of people who pay a $100 or $500 or something as compared to people who would put down $300, $4000, or $5000. But he limited the event so that it became very kind of elite and exclusive feeling and he did phone interviews with the people. He said he returned about $40,000 worth of people’s admission fees because after talking to them on the phone, he decided they weren’t a fit. So he just sent it back.

But he limited it up to a 150 people who would attend this conference and tried to create a stellar experience for everyone. And he told me that that his goal with it is that if you really good job the first time and you record it, you get testimonials so that other people can see how great it is, he said at that point, you really never have to market it again because it essentially markets itself. And so he has repeated the event multiple times, I think they’re on maybe the fourth, the fifth year now and he continues to keep it a very small. He’s constantly reinventing it, doing it in a new location every year but he was really able to create a very powerful brand out of this.

Andrea:   So what would takeaways be for us when we’re thinking about, you know, we can’t think out of the box. But then we hear story like this “Whew, wait a second, there’s so much opportunities out there. It’s limitless.” What kinds of suggestions do you have for us when we’re thinking and trying to be innovative or thinking outside the box in terms of how to monetize something or how to make money with our expertise then?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. Well, I do some teaching around innovation and one of the common frames that they use in terms of how to teach people to think in an innovative fashion is to reframe “we can’t” to “we can if.” And I think that that’s a really useful framing because it is true. Under the present circumstances and under the present assumptions, it maybe a 100% accurate that you cannot do a certain thing but that just kind of lead to passivity. It’s like “Okay, that’s the reality.”

But the truth is people can change their reality all the time and what’s the more interesting question to ask is “we can if” that means what circumstances would have to be changed in order for this to be possible. And if you can figure out which variables need to be tweaked, some of them may prove to be impossible; others may prove to be far more malleable than you might imagine.

And so in the case of Jason, “Well you know we can’t have a conference because can’t afford speakers.” “Well, okay, we can have topnotch speakers if we can find a way other than money to make it valuable for them to come.” What might be more valuable to them than money? “Oh, they all wanna be BFF’s with Tim Ferris. If we can give them Tim Ferris then maybe that would be worth the $10,000 or, $20,000 or $30,000 that they would normally get to them.”

Andrea: So good! I love that advice and one of the income streams that you talked about is this JV partnerships. I think it’s a really interesting concepts and I know that you talked about your own experience with sharing other people’s products with your audience. I’ve been thinking about people who have a lot of charisma, people who may have a lot of connections, but they’re not necessarily wanting to write a book or share their expertise per se, but yet it seems that they would be able to monetize their connections and their gifts in this way by using that JV partnership concept. So would you mind sharing a little bit more about?

Dorie Clark: Yeah absolutely! So JV of course stands for “joint venture” and it’s basically just a wave that you can earn a certain commission by referring people to a product or service that somebody buys. It’s really kind of a win-win situation because when it’s done right, you are sending people to a person that you like and respect. That you would want to recommend regardless and they are getting a client that they otherwise would not have gotten.

And so as a result, this is especially prominent in digital products because of course there’s no marginal cost increase in selling additional ones. If I have an online course, it’s not like it costs me more effort for having a 101 customers as opposed to a 100, because I’ve already made the digital course. So therefore, you can often have a really generous affiliate commissions, usually anywhere from 30% to 50%. It really is great because it’s a new customer for me. It’s money for you and we’re supporting each other.

So the real trick of course though is making sure that it really is symbiotic that you’re promoting somebody that you do in fact respect. And once you make that introduction to your clients, you know that person will treat them right. That they have high-quality products, that the service experience will be good, and that they’re not going bombard somebody with 110,000 emails a day, etc, etc. There’s a lot of adding that goes into the process but if you’re comfortable with that and you can do that, it really can become positive.

Andrea: Yeah, and I would say it’s a probably a win-win. Really, because it’s a win for the client or customer as well because they were introduced to something that they can really benefit from.

Dorie Clark: Yeah, it’s true. I mean definitely hear it from folks all the time that thanked me for introducing them to some author that they were not familiar with before.

Andrea: Uh-hmm, I can definitely attest to that for sure. OK so Entrepreneurial You is not just a list of ideas, and not just a list of stories that back up those ideas. But you also get really practical and you share things specific things like how much to charge for things. Like ideas about where the market is right now. I was thinking in particular about speaking because I’ve gotten that question before too, like what do I charge or how do I know how much to charge?

And I’ve wondered that at times when I was starting too and so I’ve really appreciate that first of all. I just want people to know that they’re going to get a lot more than just some ideas but some really…you got really practical. But why was that important for you to include? How did you decide that you were not going to share ideas but you’re going to get really specific?

Dorie Clark: Well, you know part the process for me of writing Entrepreneurial You really sprang from conversations that I had in the course of developing an online learning program that I worked on last year called the Recognized Expert course. I have built up this really lovely community about a 150 people at this point who have been through the course. In many ways, it’s kind of a learning lab for me because the things that they want to know, the things that they’re curious about are things that I realized a lot of people are.

And so oftentimes, it’s you know some initial questions that might be basic but are really not basic in the sense that they’re not talked about a lot, like how much do you charge for things. There’s a lot of secrecy. I mean, this is something that I wanted to really breakdown in the course of writing Entrepreneurial You. There’s a lot of secrecy in our culture about money and about you know how do you earn money? And how much do you earn and how much do you ask for something?

And I really came to realize that the more things are not talked about, the more it perpetuates inequality because people just do not have good information. And when they don’t have good information, they don’t know what the market value of something is and they’re not able to ask for what they really deserve. And so I figured, the more we can shine some daylight on it, the better off more people will be.

Andrea: Thank you. I think that’s just really helpful. It’s really helpful for me and it’s helpful for other people that are going to read this and say, “Oh man, finally somebody is just saying what they’re charging or saying what I could do.” And that just empowering for sure because I think we stumble on that concept or the actual naming of a price. And it becomes this block that I don’t even know what I can do and so I don’t even know if I can offer it you know. So that’s great.

Dorie Clark: Yeah, thank you. I’m so glad they resonated.

Andrea: Yeah. I also really appreciated your “try this” section of the book where you really breakdown the concepts into these actionable steps for the reader. So thank you for that as well. And I’m also curious, how much of your writing process was sort of designated to coming with these action steps. Did you do it as you went? I mean, as a fellow author, I’m curious. Did you do it as you went or did you do it when you’re done and how much work was that?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. So creating the “try this” section was certainly an important part of the book for me. It was something that I did while I was writing the chapters and it’s something that I became really aware of with my first book, Reinventing You. When I created the first draft of Reinventing You, I did not have a “try this” section and my editor said to me “Hey, we think you should do this you know with sort of pointers for people.” And I was skeptical I’m like “Oh, I don’t know. Do we really need that? Would anybody really use that?” But you know, it was my first book so I did it because they told me to.

And then like in the years since that book has come out, I heard from so many people that that was the part they liked and appreciated the most was having this kind of “try this” bullet points where it was very specific suggestions about what they could do. That I realized “Oh this is not some afterthought. This is actually one of the most important pieces and I just wasn’t clawed into it.” So I took it really seriously in my next book Stand out and then again with Entrepreneurial You. I decided “OK, if people are really using this, I’m gonna put a lot of effort into trying to make them good and make them useful.”

And in fact, I ended up creating a free giveaway which is this 88-question Entrepreneurial You Self-Assessment, which takes all of the questions or almost all of the questions you know the ones that are at the back of each section and chapter and put it into a PDF document where there’s line and space for people to write things out. So you can really use it like a workbook and a way to take these ideas and questions and apply them to your own life. So if any listeners who are interested in that, they can download it for free at dorieclark.com/entrepreneur

Andrea: Yes, and we’ll definitely include that the show notes because that’s something like I said before that was helpful to me from Stand Out, so yeah. OK, so now I’ve got another question. This isn’t necessarily about Entrepreneurial You; this is going to go back to something that I heard you talked about. I’m not sure where it was that I heard you talked about this. But it really made an impact on me and I think that there are people in the audience who are really message-driven. They might be really talented but they’re not really sure how to choose their topic or how to specialize.

And you talked about one time the difference between, I think it was the difference between being a specialist and being a generalist. Would you explain what the difference is there and I think you said that you’re a generalist, so I would love to hear more about what that looks like for somebody who’s trying to figure this out for themselves?

Dorie Clark: Yeah, definitely. I think there’s a lot of cultural pressure in the business world for people to specialize. That’s a kind of standard advice that you almost always get is “Oh, well you need to take a specialty. You’re not just a marketing consultant, you’re a nonprofit social media marketing consultant,” you know or something like that. On one end, that is not a bad advice because if you are very specialized, it becomes immediately clear who your customers are and by extension where you can go to find them.

It’s a lot easier, you say “Oh I’m trying to do social media for nonprofit as you probably go to this and this nonprofit conference and this social media conference and I’ll be good.”

So it is easier in many ways. But the truth is there are some people, and I count myself among them, that just don’t like to operate that way. You know, maybe it’s making by far for ourselves, I don’t know but I never wanted to artificially choose something and then just specialize in that. And so for that situation what I did instead is I essentially decided “Alright, I’m gonna let the market dictate this.”

I think this is actually a pretty good way of doing it because for anything the market almost always knows better than we do about what would be desirable. And so my version was I essentially created a lot of small bets, a lot of sort of small experiments. In my case, these were blog posts, and I would just write about a variety of different topics and see what seem to resonate with people, what’s getting the most views, what’s getting the most shares, or what’s getting the most engagements.

And it happened that an early post that I wrote for the Harvard Business Review called How To Reinvent Your Personal Brand was one that did seem to get a lot of traction and a lot of engagement and HBR noticed and they asked me to expand it into a magazine article and then eventually that turned into my first book, Reinventing You. But it was not something that I consciously picked in a top down fashion. I never said “Oh I’m gonna write a book about reinvention. That’s my strategy.” It was something that arose organically from being one of dozens of different things that I tried.

Andrea: Yeah. I think that advice was so helpful to me I think in particular. But I think it’s a really important thing for anybody to do when they’re trying to figure out what they’re going to be all about, what their focus is, or at least what their brand is and what they’re showing to the world. Because they’re going to end up still bringing all their other expertise into whatever they end up doing, but yeah, I really appreciated that designation. I felt affinity with you in that and it made me feel less alone and less crazy for not knowing what my specialty was going to be, and not wanting to niche down.

Dorie Clark: That’s awesome!

Andrea: Well, Dorie, I’m so grateful to you for your time here today and for this book and for these trilogy of books that you have offered the world. We’ve already mentioned your website but when does Entrepreneurial You come out? I think by the time I publish this episode, it will be out and so where should people going to find it?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. Thank you so much, Andrea. So the new book is Entrepreneurial You. It is officially released October 3rd. People can grab that on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, you know many different independent bookstores. And if they want to get that Entrepreneurial You Self-Assessment that I mentioned for free, they can get that workbook at dorieclark.com/entrepreneur. So I look forward to having a chance to be in touch with folks.

Andrea: Yeah. I just recommend everybody if you haven’t read the other two books just buy all three at the same time and systematically go through them because that’s an education that’s worth the small price of three books.

Dorie Clark: Excellent point, thank you.

Andrea: Way more than that, yes. Well, thank you so much, Dorie, for your voice of influence on the world and for your time with us today.

Dorie Clark: That’s great! Thanks a lot Andrea!

 

END

Earn the Right to Be Direct by Connecting First

Episode 24 with Amber Hurdle

Amber Hurdle is a teen mom turned powerhouse businesswoman who has worked with international celebrities, Fortune 500 companies, and women in business worldwide. Whether she is empowering female entrepreneurs, teaching them out of the box business strategies, or energizing and educating leadership within an organization, Amber’s straight-shooting “velvet machete” and warm personality never fail to motivate others to strategically up their game in business and in life.

Find the book and all of the amazing bonus resources at thebombshellbusinesswoman.com

Find Amber’s Bombshell Business Woman podcast here.

If you’re struggling to gain traction with your personal brand, cut through the creative chaos with the free Focus Your Brand DIY guide.

Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Transcript

Andrea: Well hello, Amber Hurdle, and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast.

Amber Hurdle: Hey Andrea, thanks for having me. I’m very excited to get to chat with your today.

Andrea: Yes, I am too! And I’m really looking forward to diving into your book, your new book. It’s The Bombshell Business Woman book, and I’m really looking forward to that. But before we do that, why don’t you give the influencer listening just a snap shot of who you are and what you’re doing right now?

Amber Hurdle: OK, well I am probably like a lot of your listeners, a very busy woman, because I play a lot of roles in life. Professionally, I’m an ICF certified coach. I do brand consulting, both with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, looking up for brand from the inside out. And also with small businesses more of creating their visual brand or their brand messages or even rebranding so that’s the professional side.

But I’m also a mother. I have two children and a step daughter. My step daughter is married and has two children, who are my grandchildren. My husband and I are very involved. We have lots of friends. I’m one of six kids. And so I’m sure like a lot of the people who are listening, I kind of go full tilt all the time and everybody will tell you like “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Andrea: Yes, I think Bombshell is a perfect word for you and the people that you’re serving. That’s awesome!

Amber Hurdle: Well, the Bombshell phrase, you know, I made that. I redefined that term to be a Bold, Brave Female Entrepreneur because I saw a lot of women out there like me who was just going all the time and running like crazy and yet they still always felt like they weren’t great businesswomen, or they were letting their kids down.

But they always found that one thing, an area that they could pick on themselves and I thought “No, we’re changing that.” Instead of saying “Look at this one thing I can get done today.” Let’s look at all the things that you did to impact your world uniquely. And so yeah, I refined that term and I hope to embody that most days, some days better than others, right?

Andrea: I love your definition of the Bombshell. It’s like somebody that’s got all this energy and passion and drive, and at the same time a very successful maybe even. But at the same time like what did you say was like one of the examples you gave was questioning the paper plates.

Amber Hurdle: Paper plate mom?

Andrea: Yes. OK explain that real quick.

Amber Hurdle: I have found that for those have gotten the privileged copy of the book, they have been emailing me or text messaging me saying “Oh my gosh, I’m a paper plate mom.” And so I just want explain what that is real quick. So you know, you’re a woman, you’re taking care of your family, you’re taking care of your business, or your employees are counting on you. You’re providing this income for your team which then they get to go home and take care of their families and participate in their community.

You are a community participant. You’re a friend to many people and then you go to your kids’ class party for the first time in a while because of course you have to run your business during the day. And you know, Suzy’s mom comes in and she’s got like these cupcakes and it’s like on a three-tier platter and there’s like crystals and there’s the school mascot on it’s all in the school colors and then your kids signed up for the paper plates, like again.

And so in that moment you break down and you’re like “I’m not a good enough mother.” “Look at those cup cakes.” “My kid is going to be scarred for life. I’m gonna have to pay for therapy because I’m a paper plate mom.” And that’s so ridiculous. I mean your kid, I promise and especially with a boy who does not care that they brought the paper plates. Like they’re just happy that you’ve got to show up to their party and probably they’re just happy that they get to have a party and they’re not working on schoolwork and they’re not thinking about the fact that Suzy’s mom brought cupcakes and you brought paper plates.

Get over it. Think about all the amazing things that you’ve been designed to do that you get to do because of your position and because of the zest that you have for life and what did that look like to your children. They get to watch you do that. They get to watch you become be the best person of yourself through you living out these gifts and serving other people. They don’t care about paper plates.

Andrea: Such a good word. You know, it’s so tempting to do that comparison game. And really, it’s not just about comparison because we can compare all we want. The question really is are we judging each other based on our comparisons? And I think that happens a lot where we do judge ourselves or somebody else based on a comparison. And so one of the messages that I heard you talked about a lot is the importance of encouraging each other and being on the same team. Why is that so important for women in particular to have that mindset when it comes to business?

Amber Hurdle: Well, we’re a little bit behind the eight-ball as it is. I mean, statistically, we create a ton of jobs and we have a ton of businesses but unfortunately the men are the ones who are making all the money. And that could be for a variety of reasons. I mean just disparities and access to learning and education to mentorship. You know they’re different things and I was like to point out, I’m not picking on them. These is just we’re here right now and I don’t think there’s any conspiracy that men are trying to hold us down or anything. It’s just historically, we’re behind and we’re just not there yet.

So why, if you’re already in such a small percentage of women who are creating revenue and running a successful business, why would you take that little energy you have to tear somebody else down when you can in turn say “Hey, how can I help you?” Like even if you’re on the same business, what it would look like? For example, I’ve got one Bombshell who might have to many massages booked that week at her saloon and spa.

So she will call her competing spa and say “Hey, do you have any openings? I’d like to send one of my customers over to you so that they can be taken care of?” It’s in that moment that the customer comes first that there’s a camaraderie and a support system between two women who are fighting like crazy to make a way from themselves and their family and there’s no drama associated whatsoever.

They’re not looking at each other like “Oh well, she does the same thing as I do so I’m gonna talk poorly about her and hope that she fails so that I could win.” It’s like “Hey, let’s win-win together. You’re gonna make some money this week. My customers are gonna be taken care of. They’re gonna be more loyal to me because I did that.” Like what’s wrong with that situation? And I think more women need to have that mindset of looking for the abundance and the opportunity instead of like closing their hands in scarcity and looking for ways to just double down and shut people out because of fear.

Andrea: Yeah that’s really good. I know that you do a lot of work outside of targeting or encouraging Bombshell women. I know that you’re working with companies that of course have both men and women working in them and for them. Why did you decide to focus your podcast, I didn’t mention that yet that you have the Bombshell Business Women podcast, and now this book on women, why women?

Amber Hurdle: I have always had a heart for women. Probably, if I had to pinpoint to two areas; one, I was a single mom and you know just going back to my teen mom story, it’s a different experience to be a woman because while I was clawing to just find a way to provide for my daughter, it was all on me. There was nobody there to bail me out. There was no real consequence for other people who should be doing what they’re supposed to be doing but weren’t, and so it all fell on me.

You know, I was asking my mentor and actually the gentleman who wrote the foreword to my book, I asked him the other day when we’re just talking about things, “Did you ever worry if your son forgot his lunch that day or not? Was that a stress for you during the day?” And he was like “Never.”

So I think women put so much more pressure on ourselves to be everything to everybody, whereas a man can kind of compartmentalize a little bit more. I mean, it’s just how we operate differently and I’m speaking in generalities and nobody, you know, email Andrea and say “Amber is being one way or the other.” I’m just saying in general. That’s kind of how things work. So I think there’s just having a perspective of being female, being a teen mom, or being a single mom.

And then the second part is I have worked in higher education and so the gals who were in school would see me and they started reaching out to me just looking for advice and mentorship. And then eventually, when I worked at Cumberland University started the Women’s council for leadership and philanthropy. So I paired professional women in business, I’m talking about high ranking women, with female students who aspire to be in a career like them. And we had events and we had guidance and facilitation of how their mentor-mentee relationships go. Those female students are still in my life and they still stay in touch with me and I get to follow them now.

So I saw firsthand the power of a woman investing in another woman and that forever changed me. So I’ve always continued to have a student that I’ve either you know paid to be an intern or that I’ve taken into my wing to mentor and so many women have done that for me over the years. Now, I just have this huge platform. I can do it in such a greater way than one at a time.

Andrea: So let’s go into a conversation more about voice for a little bit because we actually met in a training about the Fascinate Assessment and I absolutely love the Fascinate Assessment and its ability to take the personality and describe how it’s relate your voice, how you’re expressing yourself through that. What is your Fascinate Archetype and the advantages that make that up?

Amber Hurdle: Well, I am a catalyst, so that is a combination of a primary trigger of passion and a secondary trigger of innovation. When I am communicating with other people or at my highest level of influence, the things that can help me be more powerful in that massaging is by making sincere emotional connections through that passion trigger and through thinking of out-of-the-box strategies through that innovation trigger.

Anybody who knows me would be like “Oh, Amber doesn’t even know where the box is, like she didn’t even know a box was in the equation.” So I feel like it was very spot on. I love that test because it’s not psychologically how we perceived ourselves. It’s a very good assessment of how other people see us at our greatest.

Andrea: So I know that in your book you talked about the fact that you have used this phrase or other people have used the phrase “velvet machete” about your personality. I love it and when I first heard it, I loved it. Please tell us about what it means and what this looks like in your conversations?

Amber Hurdle: Well actually, I was given that term way back in the day when I was a personal trainer for a short stint. And the person who dubbed me the “velvet machete” basically said that I said what needed to be said. I didn’t hold back but I did it from a place of love. It kind of stung a little bit but they knew that it was really because I cared about them and I wanted them to meet their goals. And so as soon as it stung, it kind of like also felt good.

So what that looks like in my coaching or my consulting or even when I’m speaking is I just shoot straight. I’m not going to sugarcoat things. I’m not going to dance around an issue. We’re going to dive right in because that’s the time. Time is money whether that’s small business or big business and we need to find solutions quickly so that we can change the trajectory of whatever problem I got brought in to solve and start making progress.

So I think not all people are for me and that’s okay. And I think that’s one of the things that Sally Hogshead talks about when she’s talking about the Fascination Advantage® Assessment, you have to find your people and my people want that. My people don’t have time for niceties and not that I’m not nice. I hope you can attest to the fact that I’m nice but a lot of people might tear around something. I’m just going to say it and then help whoever it is that I’m helping find the solution and take action towards fixing that problem. I do it out of love.

Andrea: You know, I’m thinking about how really it plays out in the structure of your book, because in chapter I, you kind of described what the Bombshell Business Woman is and say yeah, that’s me. And then you take us back in chapters II and III to your story, your story as a teen mom and the struggles that you had. So you sort of softening not in a manipulative way but to prepare us for the fact that you’re going shoot it straight through the rest of the book.

Amber Hurdle: Right.

Andrea: And I loved it. So you cover such a wide range of topics from your own story to company culture, to branding, and to how to work with vendors. Why did you write this particular book with that particular scope?

Amber Hurdle: Well, I didn’t want to do a deep dive on one topic because what I have found is that my Bombshells need a lot of help in a lot of areas to go from where they are to where they want to go. And let me explain that a little bit. My clients tend to have been in business for three to five years. They typically have at least three employees, oftentimes they can have several employees or subcontractors especially when you think about like a law firm or spa. You know, how many massage therapist and hair stylists and, you know, institutions you might have.

So what happened was they were a part of another person’s company and maybe they found out “You know, I’m really great doing hair and my book of business is full and the only way that I’m ever going to make more money doing this is to open up my own shop and to have other people underneath me.” Or maybe they just want the freedom or maybe they just have always dreamed to being a business center.

And so they left that company and started their own because they were good at their trade but they never really slowed down to lay the foundation of a healthy and successful business. They never really created a company culture. So ultimately, they struggle when they’re trying to market consistently because they can’t communicate those core pieces of their business that are so important to them that is basically left up to interpretation to every graphic designer or website designer or whoever they try to hire to help them.

And so between putting processes into place and teaching how to put together a basic business plan, goal setting, networking, and all these things that maybe they never slowed down to put a plan behind, this book is for them. Now, well I deep dive in the future? That’s left to be seen. Probably so, I definitely know I have a leadership book coming next because I have neglected my corporate clients this year in favor of really deep diving with my Bombshells. But I think you know just to address wide and tell my story first because you cannot compartmentalize business from life.

Your life is the owner of your business and so those things just merged together and we all have stories. You know, yeah I was a teen mom and now I have an amazing life. That’s the short version of it but I’m not special because I did that, like there are so many stories out there. There are so many people who have overcome many things and sometimes people use that to fuel them and to inspire them and even sometimes say like “I’ll show you world.” And other times, people allow that to drag them down or they say, “Well, I could do this if these things weren’t true.”

So I felt like it was important, just kind of part of my velvet machete that I say “OK, let’s keep it real. This is what happened.” And that was a hard story to tell. It’s been a long time since I was a teen mom. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to think about you know waking my dad up and telling him because my mom was like “I can’t know when your dad not knowing.” You know and looking my parents in the eye and explaining “Hey, I know I’m in charge of all these things at school and I’m a leader in my high school, but guess what, everything is about to change.”

And you know having to unload that on them and then also to re-experience the love and support that they returned to me. I mean, that was just very overwhelming, so I feel like it gave me a little bit of an opportunity to go back to a place that many Bombshells are right now. And it also gave me the opportunity to say, “So whatever it is that you’ve gone through or you are going through, there is no excuse. Now, let’s get to work. Here’s what you need to do. We have to work through these things. You have to find a therapist. You have to journal. You have to do whatever it is that you need to do.”

And I’m not ashamed to say, I spent seven years in my 20’s in therapy. Seven years, OK? So I didn’t do all this figuring out of life on my own and I still don’t, like I still don’t have everything figured out. It’s a journey, but it’s a journey that I’m willing to accept because I’m not going to let the actions of other people or decisions determine what my future impact on humanity in serving other people in this world is going to be.

Andrea: All right, I love it! If that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what it is. I think that one of the things is that you really accomplish in any of us. Accomplish by sharing the story of our struggle especially our struggle starting out is that it turns into a redemptive message when we’re able to do something with it and we’re able to show people that “Yeah, you know what, it doesn’t have to stay like that forever.” Just like what you’re talking about and I find that to be incredibly inspiring and powerful in bringing people out of the woods and having them look around and say, “You know what, I can make a path through this.”

You really did have me, in one page, I cried and then I laughed and then I cried again. In one page and it was the page about you telling you that. All right, so on page 21, I’m going to just quote you “Once you design your plan for your unique business, you’ve done the heavy lifting for good. From there, you can tweak the essentials as your business evolves and grows. Once, you build the foundation, everything else starts to fall into place.”

I think this is a really great point and you’ve already touched on it a little bit, but would you take us deeper into why this is so important to design a plan, to understand your company culture, and brand message and all that from the foundational start of your business?

Amber Hurdle: Well, unless you want to run around like a crazy woman for the rest of your life, you will have to at some point delegate responsibilities and tasks to other people. If you are super clear on who you are as a business, like who you serve, how you do things uniquely then you can teach other people that. So they’re very clear on that. When you know the brand essence that you have, the way that you want people to think about you, the type of experience that you want people to have when they do business with you then your employees can help you communicate that experience and create that experience to your customers and that’s going to help your customer service. And that’s going to help your repeat business and that’s going to help your word of mouth and make your marketing more clear.

And again, I touch on vendors earlier and the most recent episode of my podcast at the time of this recording is my rebrand with Renae Keller Interior Design. And I did get into a lot of these into the show notes because we had to hand off her culture and her brand messaging and her visual brand guide. We started with the graphic designer who helped us create the visual side of things but then we had to hand it off to the videographer. We had to hand it off to the website designer. We had to hand it off to the person who was helping her create marketing materials. We had to hand it off a magazine that she was being featured in all immediately.

So Renae could have started from scratch and explain what her business is all about to all of these people and hopefully set it kind of sort of the same way so that it will have a cohesive and unifying effect. Or she just did all the heavy lifting and she literally hands over all her documents and says “Make this happen.” And they get it because everybody is reading the same song with the same instructions and the same essence. And so falling down helped you enable other people to elevate your brand that it also helps keep your sanity because there’s nothing more frustrating than just trying to take stabs blindfolded at what it is that you’re supposed to be doing.

If you don’t know what goal that you’re moving towards in terms of your company mission or even your annual goals, like in 2017 what are your goals? Well, mine was to publish this book. My publisher said, “Well do you want to be in the October sales catalog?” This is in January that’s probably a bit of stretch “Or do you want it to be in the January catalog?” And I said “Well, at the end of last year, what are my Glamour Goals,” which is the process I teach in The Bombshell Business Woman, “Was that my book would be published in 2017.”

So I might die trying but let’s make it happen and it did, because next year’s goals are going to be impacted by whether or not this book is published. Last year, starting my podcast was a huge, huge goal because that enabled me to really get even further clear on the content of this book. So everything builds on each other and if you aren’t clear on your foundational elements then like what are you even doing other than going crazy.

Andrea: And probably driving everybody else crazy around you.

Amber Hurdle: Oh yeah, especially your employees, like you want to see an employee quit. And I know not all of your listeners have employees and I certainly have plenty of listeners and people who are in my audience who are thinking about starting a business or it is just them. And so these concepts are transferable.

Again, a lot of my one-on-one clients have employees and so you want to see an employee run the opposite direction from you and your brand and all the time that you’ve invested them in terms of training and all that kind of stuff. They’ll run away if you seem uncertain. Because if they don’t know where they fit into the big picture, they’re going to go find a place where they can make sense of their life.

Andrea: So how do you handle that if you’re a business and maybe you do have a business or you play a leadership role in a business, a major leadership role or some sort of an ownership or management that you know that you probably need to get more clear on some of these foundational elements. But it’s so hard to take time away from, maybe you’re super busy and you don’t even feel like you need it. I mean, why is it important to still put the time and effort into that?

Amber Hurdle: I think it’s an issue of sustainability. You might be busy and that’s typically, you know, my typical client is insanely busy and you know the very first thing that I do with them is map out their calendar for the entire year. We talked about busy season and the lighter season and when realistically you’re going to get stuff done.

But you will never be able to create the margin that you need to have a sane life and to actually next-level your business so you can create even more revenue because now you have space for creativity or to even delegate things to let you operate more as CEO or as the genuine general manager and not as the person who’s going in and delegating and popping in to fix things because nobody really knows the direction and you are personally a required element to keep things going.

And some of us want that in our business like obviously my brand is Amber Hurdle Consulting, so Amber is going to be doing a lot of the work. But if I wasn’t able to hand things off to the team members and the vendors that I have in place for me to able to do only the things that Amber can do, there’s no way. I mean, I would just hang it up. I’ll just sit by the pool every day and be thankful for the bliss life that I have. There’s no way that from a sustainability standpoint, anybody can maintain a level of joy and fulfillment from their work if all they’re ever doing is chasing their tail.

Andrea: Oh yeah and if you’re spending all of your time, if you’re spending so much of your life in that business, in that job then why wouldn’t you want that.

Amber Hurdle: Yeah and I’m just going to say like for real you can miss one episode of The Bachelor to sit down for an hour and work on some of this stuff. And it might take a few months for you to get it done but that time invested is like one minute of planning, saves 10 minutes in execution. I think it’s how that works. And I’m a psycho planner, probably too much sometimes if I was being real. I like to plan and so I understand that’s natural for me and that’s not natural for other people. But find resources like my book or find a time strategy system that works for you. Keep trying until whatever works naturally for you, a system you will actually use. And I talked about time management versus time strategies in my book as well.

I think time management is a misnomer. There’s no way you can manage time. You can only be strategic with the time that you have ahead you. Those are key things that I think in our Snapchat, microwave world, we forget that we can slow down and we can be present with a bigger picture and not just that exact moment and the selfie before us.

Andrea: Well, when it comes to you know, creating this foundation, you make a distinction between company culture and the brand. Would you share with us what distinction is and why it’s important to understand it?

Amber Hurdle:   Absolutely! So your company culture is like the family rules of your business. It’s the essence of who you are and so that would entail things like your company mission, your company vision, so like why are you a company? What do you aspire to be as a company, your value. So again, the family rules. I mean, what’s most important to you? How do you make your decisions? How do you understand how you’re going treat each other? Is that integrity? Is that an example of excellence?

I give examples; I believe American Express who I use to talk about these values and then also your service standards. Do you always expect your team members to smile? Let them know that on the front in, like that shouldn’t be a rule that should just be understood, follow up or have ownership of problems. Those are all service standards that you can establish.

So at that point, you can be consistent with your decision making whether you have to make a hard decision like letting go of an employee. You can point to “Well, you know here’s what we agreed to on the front in when you became a part of this work family. These are the ways that we live here and this is just a non-negotiable and so I’m afraid at this point, we’re gonna have to part ways because I can only have people who are going to live out this culture in my business.”

In the same way, you can praise somebody in front of everybody if that’s something that they enjoy or drop them a note if they’re more of a private person. And say “You know, in this particular situation,

you exemplified this particular value.” Or “I have yet to see anybody uphold this service basic so intentionally.” And so it gives you an opportunity to encourage and edify your employees as well and it also helps you make decisions if it’s just you. If you don’t have any employee, is this opportunity a good one for me?

You know, somebody reached out and they want strategically partner on this particular project, is this fit for me? Will you go back to your culture? Does it fit your vision? Does it fit your mission? Like what’s the expectation is that your customers have of you in your business? Is it going to distract from those things or will it strengthen those? So that’s like your ruler. That’s your company culture.
What do people believe about you? What do potential customers and customers think about you?

So when you think of Apple, what do you think of? They’re very specific of tangible things that we attached to a white apple with a bite out of it. That’s their brand but there’s a huge culture of innovation behind it. And everything that Steve Jobs created in this culture of excellence and you can’t mess with their phones. You can’t change the programming on it because they believe that simplicity is the most important thing and that will create a better end-users experience.

So because of that cultural belief, it then became a part of their brand that some people hate that. They’re like thin Android. I want to be able to do whatever I want to do with my phone. I love open source and so, good. Now, they’ve eliminated those people. They’re appealing to the people who think that elegance is simplicity and they just want their freaking phone to work or their computer to work you know. I mean, it differentiates you.

And then at the top of this business success pyramid that I talked about, you create that culture and you create the business brand that at each individual in your company, whether it’s just you or whether it’s lots of different employees or subcontractors. Everybody has a personal brand too and that’s where I know you’re an expert in. So I’ll leave that to your future episodes. But you know, what the people say about you as an individual and how does that fit into the business brand to strengthen up brand while honoring that culture.

Andrea: Thank you so much for that distinction. I really believe in that idea of understanding who you are so that you can express it accurately and I think it’s so often gets lost. We think we know who we are but can’t really quite articulate it.

Amber Hurdle: Yeah. But that’s why I test like the Fascination Advantage Assessment are so helpful because you know, we’ve lived with ourselves every single day of our entire lives, so it’s hard to see what other people find value in what it is that we do and how we interact with people on a daily basis.

Andrea: OK. So I love the red lipstick analogy in your marketing chapter. I think it’s super powerful and even if you’re a man listening right now, I think that you can get a lot out of this. So what is red lipstick marketing?

Amber Hurdle: OK, so my friends used to tease me that I would not even go out to my mailbox without a pair of big sunglasses on and some bright red lipstick, because I like to be very polished no matter who saw me when. And so I could have been like absolutely no makeup on, but I would put red lipstick on and it gave the illusion that I had pulled myself together. Not so much anymore. You will see me running all over running in Tennessee with a top knot in yoga pants and no makeup on, so like manager hopes if you ever see me _____.

But anyway, back then that matter a little bit more I guess in my 20’s. And so when I was trying to describe this to a one-on-one client a long ago, I told that story because I’m like “You’re over thinking this. Like you don’t have to put a full face and makeup on, just put on some red lipstick and do the one thing that’s gonna create the most amount of impact.” So in today’s world especially, oh my goodness, between these traditional marketing strategies that have been around for forever and then pairing it with new marketing strategies like digital media and content creation.

I mean, we weren’t thinking about producing podcast 10 years ago, like that wasn’t a thing. I mean, it was a thing but not in masses like it is now. You know, I just broke it down to three categories. So you pick just a couple of things out of your active marketing strategies, a couple items out of the passive marketing strategies and a couple items out of the keep-in-touch marketing strategies and then you do those things. And you do them well and you don’t worry about all the other things that you could be doing or everybody says you should be doing on every blog and every social media post that you’ve ever seen. Focus on these things for at least three months. You measure them. That’s very important. Is this working and how is it working?

At the end of that three-month period if it’s working, do more of it and fine tune it and get better at it. Be more strategic in how you’re doing it. And if it’s not working then ditch it and do something different. Or if it’s maybe just a onetime thing then you replace that onetime thing with maybe another flexible thing. But just put on the little red lipstick. Stop trying to like be Kim Kardashian with all of this extra shadowing and contouring and false eyelashes. It doesn’t really add any value to your business. It just keeps you busy in front of the makeup mirror all the time.

Andrea: Thank you for sharing that. I think it’s very impactful. You know, Amber, this is been such a fun discussion and you have given us so much. And yet, we barely dip our toe in all of the information that is in your book. So the influencer listening is dying to buy book now. When does it going to come out?

Amber Hurdle: Well, it launches officially on October 1st, so you can go to thebombshellbusinesswoman.com and there’s a link to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Books A Million or wherever it is that you like to buy your books. And you can preorder it before October 1st. But importantly go back to thebombshellbusinesswoman.com and then opt-in for the bonuses because for a limited time, I am also giving you a 40-page workbook that goes along with the books so that you can write all your notes and everything that I tell you to do in the book is actually going to also be in a workbook. You don’t have to write any margins in the actual book.

Remind me, Andrea, and I will send you that as well. And then there are 30-day affirmations so you can keep up your Bombshell journey with a daily positive sound bites to set your intention for the day. If you are a Christian or even not a Christian and just want to have some encouragement and something inspirational, there’s a seven-day biblical truths for Christian women in business. A seven-day devotional that are _____, just drawing on verses that have helped me remember like who God made me to be and to keep focused on that instead of beating myself up, like so many of us love to do at times.

And then we also created a book study guide. So there are two options there. If you wanted to do like a onetime meet up with a fellow fempreneurs. We described that to you and give you a facilitator’s guide. Or if you want to do a four-week weekly meet up, maybe you go to a girlfriend’s house, you meet at a coffee shop. Everybody brings their books and talks about how they’re implementing the strategies and you help each other and you mastermind. And really, I would love to see groups of women coming together to work through the Bombshell experience together because that is where the power really lies.

And so we are going to share like all different kinds of things, like what should you serve, or who’s house should be at and then we tell you if somebody’s monopolizing of the conversation, how do you handle that. So nothing has been left uncovered. So there is no reason to hesitate. You know, just go to your local Chamber of Commerce, or if you’re in an online group, you can maybe create a private Facebook group and work through this together. You can meet on Skype or Google Hangouts.

So many different online ways that you can meet in person and not physically be in person to walk through this with your fellow sisters. Women supporting women is probably one of the biggest messages that I have. And if we want to create a powerful financially sustainable business network, we have to start helping each other.

Andrea: Hmmm and all this for the price of one book.

Amber Hurdle: $14.99, I know. I tell people, I’m like “I’m giving away the farm.” This is what I feel called to do and there are not enough of us out there. I mean, there definitely other women speaking to female entrepreneurs. But in comparison to the number of men who are doing it, it’s a very small group. And so I just want to do everything I can to help people who are willing to invest in themselves and be successful.

Andrea: Awesome! OK so go to thebombshellbusinesswoman.com and get those bonuses, order that book, and order four or five of them because you’re going to need to do this with your friends.

Amber Hurdle: Well, I’ve got little secrets too. I mean, I called them my Bombshell boys. I have men who listen to my podcast. They take my advice. They email me and say “This is what I learned and this is how I fight it,” and they take my Bombshell Business Bootcamp. I mean, this is a book that speaks directly to women but a man can obviously find value in this. And even women or men in leadership and companies because we’re talking about hiring and firing and leadership and all different kinds of things.

Andrea: All right. Well, thank you so much for all of the value and wisdom that you brought to us today.

Amber Hurdle: Thank you, Andrea! I appreciate being a part of this and also for all that you’re doing to your listeners.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Find People Who Will Challenge You to be Your Best

Episode 21 with Laurie Hock

Laurie Hock’s coaching credentials through Gallup and the John Maxwell Team define her specialization of helping people stop living life, and start leading it. Through her company, Growing Points, she creates and delivers individual and group growth experiences purposed to “set the caged bird free and empower those already flying to soar higher.

Laurie is a personal friend and one of the many powerful things we discuss on this episode is how we started and developed our own friendship to challenge and encourage one another to be our best.

Find Laurie at www.lauriehock.com and sign up for her monthly video series.

Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Transcript

Hey, hey! It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast. Today, I have my friend, Laurie Hock on the line. And Laurie is somebody that is really into her calling and who she is kind of continuing to grow and develop her own self as well as the offerings that she makes the to the world.

 

Andrea: So Laurie, I’m so thrilled to have you on the Voice of Influence podcast.

Laurie: Thank you! It’s a total joy to be here with you!

Andrea: Well, Laurie and I have been friends for a couple of years. I don’t know how long have we been friends, maybe about three or four years?

Laurie: Yeah, probably around there.

Andrea: Something like that and she lives in North Platte where I live. A few years ago, we’re in the same bible study, small group kind of thing and Laurie took off on some trip and she came back and was like ready to go with this whole new purpose in her life and it was just amazing. And since then, she has really grown and she has really inspired me to look at what I offer as something that could be done as a business. I don’t know, we just had quite a little journey together, Laurie.

Laurie: That’s right. Yeah, it’s fun to think about as each of us grew individually; we also grew together as well. What a beautiful thing.

Andrea: Yeah. So Laurie, why don’t you tell the Influencers listening what it is that you do right now?

Laurie: Right now, I have found my true sweet spots and some of these will probably be described as our conversation continues, but moving from working with people one-on-one primarily to creating growth experiences. And I’m both a coach, speaker, facilitator; I’d feel probably describes me best as I get to come alongside people in their growth journey and help them really navigate their way from where they are to where they want to be and getting in touch with the core of their true self.

Being able to celebrate what’s great about them and really creating this kind of transformation in the context of community and relationship with others, which is what I think is one of the greatest and most significant aspects and elements of any growth. So I serve people locally. I serve people in different states as well. Much of what I do can be done virtually or in person, so there’s really no geographical limits and there are needs all over the world. It’s a wonderful, wonderful exciting privilege of watching other people really come alive and step into their greatness.

Andrea: And you have a couple of credentials really behind you. That credentials and also these influences tools that these things have offered you which would be like the John Maxwell Team and the Gallup StrengthsFinder. Do you want to tell us just briefly about those?

Laurie: Sure! Yeah, I’m very privileged to be able to be connected with really some of the global experts on the planet in the field of personal development and what really started this journey for me several years ago as becoming a coach and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. John is by far and has been for years the world expert on leadership. He is the number one leadership guru and I get to be affiliated with him. He really has been on a mission in his later years of his career of wanting to leverage his name and his influence to give other speakers and coaches a platform to open opportunities for them.

So he’s been a big influence in my life. I use some of his materials in what I do and his ideas have helped me shape my own ideas around what it means to be a leader. I continue to stay connected with the team on many levels. So there’s that and then also the privilege. The experience you mentioned in the introduction was when I went to Gallup to be trained as a Certified Strengths Coach and that’s really about leveraging their Clifton Strengths Assessment. To help people identify what they do best and their innate talents and strengths that really indicates where their greatest potential lies and how they can develop that to achieve the greatest results and sense of fulfillment and satisfaction and success in their lives.

So I have some really amazing tools that both of those affiliations gave me that the true joy in finding my voice of influence has been, not just in speaking from one of those lanes or the other, but allowing them to marinate and come together within me. And then speaking my truth of how those blend and how I find my own voice and make my own ideas from that foundation of how I can best serve and support clients, friends, peers, family, and all the people in my life.

Andrea: Hmm I love that idea of wanting these other influences and letting them saturate and become like really a synthesis and I guess to come out as your own voice. Yeah, that’s really cool!

Laurie: Yeah, exactly!

Andrea: I know that I you didn’t start out your career path with this particular thing in mind. If you want take us back to what you were doing that moment that you knew that you wanted to move in this direction of finding business and developing your voice of influence in the space where you can really utilize your own strengths and offer that to other people?

Laurie: Yes. I will give you a brief insight into my life in 2007 that’s really where this revelation started and then it’s been a process over the last 10 years. Oh actually, let me go farther back even than that. In sixth grade, I really set my sight and got very clear for some specific reasons that I wanted to be a dietitian, a nutritionist in terms of how I understood it then. So I pressed on with that in pursuing all my educational requirements to be a registered dietitian. And everything that I aspired to do in that, I now see the motivation underneath that is the same thing I am doing now. It was just going to be expressed toward helping people create positive changes in their health and developing healthy lifestyles. What wasn’t correct in that fate was the specific industry that I was applying that in.

And so as passionate as I was to help other people to create positive change, I felt a lot of limitations in that particular career path of being a dietitian that wasn’t going to allow me to do that the most fully and in a way that made me feel most alive and engaged. I had great coworkers and colleagues there but it felt like it wasn’t the right fit. And I came to that revelation in 2008 or so that I needed to really be willing to lay down that part of me and being able to create and new way forward.

That was a really huge identity crisis in every sense of everything I thought I was was no more in the sense that if I lay down that career path, I knew in my heart it wasn’t the right fit anymore. It would be a disservice to stay there knowing that just because I had all my educational investment and requirements met there, it would be a disservice to not only my own destiny but to the lives that my life is purposed to speak into. There were too many limitations and restrictions in that industry for my voice to be most heard.

And so I had to find out who is Laurie Hock without that career. Who’s Laurie on her own? Who’s Laurie without any sort of work-related attachments to it? And I think that’s a question very few people ask themselves and that begin a very deep soul searching journey for me because I didn’t have the answer to that. I knew different things I enjoy and was good at but I’d never thought just who I was at the core of my identity without anything else defining that.

So it took several years to come into that but the biggest decision and that turning point was making the intentional choice to create a new way forward that I could redefine myself. I could find my deeper truth that I didn’t have to stay with what it was or who I had been to that point, but that I could define who I was going to be outside of what I did.

Andrea: Hmmm. Laurie, was there anything in particular that helped you to realize that you didn’t have to stay there, that you could be something new? Do you remember?

Laurie: You know at that point, I didn’t have a lot of community. I didn’t have a coach I was working with. I was totally unaware of this whole personal development industry and all the opportunities of working with people that are experts at this. I remember I started going to the library. We were living in San Antonio at the time and I picked up a few John Maxwell’s books actually.

And I began to feel that there was something greater within me that was begging to be awakened. And through the practice of reading some of these leadership-related materials and paired with journaling to really get in touch with the deeper things going on inside me. This restlessness, this cry for more when I could sit and really allow those feelings from within to be exposed and surfaced and expressed in the form of my nightly journaling, wow, I just heard such a longing in me. That even if I didn’t know what it was and as risky as it felt to lay that other piece down, I knew it was far riskier to stay. And so it was just this light-bulb moment. It’s a combination of all those. Does that make sense?

Andrea: Sure! So really, I mean John Maxwell has a huge impact on you from the get-go.

Laurie: Yeah. I think this is true for all of us that there are certain voices that the spirit within us just clings to and it resonates with us so richly and so deeply even if it’s far beyond that we can’t understand in the moment. It speaks to us and it awakens something inside that knows it’s going to continue to unlock more of our potential and more opportunities for what’s ahead.

Andrea: Yeah that’s cool! Okay, so what happened after you kind of had this light-bulb moment like “Wait a second; I don’t have to go down this path that I was going down. I could choose this other path.”

Laurie: Yeah, it came with a lot of tears. I’ll be honest, I feel a lot of grieving and searching and then from just the decision to find a new way to create a new way, it probably took about five years actually. My husband had a job changed. We relocated back to Nebraska. I sensed heavily then that I wasn’t to look for a position here in North Platte as dietitian. I had left that in the past life and so I had some times. We started a family. I had some years with some kids all the while doing intensive searching within me and that’s a real discipline.

It takes time to truly find who we are but in that, the fruit of that is within over that compounding effort, the voice of influence we carry becomes clear. So yeah, I encourage everyone listening to this to give yourself the space, the time, and the freedom to enjoy the process. This cannot be manufactured overnight. It’s not an overnight success. It is something that really takes consistent commitment. And I believe we find our message when we first find ourselves.

Andrea: Yeah I like that. I really like that! We find our message when we find ourselves and we have to enjoy the process and kind of let it just set it in and keep moving. I love that. Yeah, because five years that’s a long time and it’s hard when you have little kids. That was definitely a struggle for me to try to understand who I was in the middle of having kids. But you were really processing all of that in the midst of that. At what point then did you decide it was time to move forward that you found yourself, you found your message?

Laurie: Yeah, I’d say the awakening really became clear, I was in some other leadership roles in our community but was feeling like in those situations, people were looking to me for the answers and I was wondering who can I look to for the answers. I know I was too young in my journey to have all the answers. I needed someone that could lead me so that I could lead them and that came through this incredible process of then discovering that John Maxwell had a team of people he was training and equipping and credentialing to be leadership coaches and speakers.

So I joined and made the investment in myself to join his team strictly for personal growth. That was back in 2013 with no intentions of it becoming anything more than just me growing as a leader so that I could feel this bigger call in my life, this leadership mandate. Even though I had no idea what’s that look like, I could sense it that I needed to be equipped and grow as a leader to be able to carry out my life’s mission.

So I found out that you can join the Maxwell Team. I did it for personal growth. I went to my first live event in 2014 with John in Orlando and it was rather unexpected but I really looked back at that moment and now see that I received my life calling there in the middle of one particular session.

It just became incredibly clear through a lot of just emotional eruption of joy and gladness and tears and all sorts of things that God was really calling me to make a business that would empower leaders and help them understand and recognize their true potential to be alongside in this journey and developing it. To call out who they really are so they can step forward more boldly and confidently and to fulfill their life’s purpose.

And it was just very clear that this is my time. This is my time and I didn’t have a clue that business was on my radar at all. It was so clear in that moment. Of course, I said yes immediately and everything shifted in that moment. Even before going to that event, I remember sitting out by the pool before the first session and I love to journal my thoughts before going in to some experience like that and just really putting out there “I’m expecting this to change my life. I’m coming to be transformed.”

And I remember just this _____ before going into that first day was that I wrote down in my journal “Your whole life has been leading up to this moment.” So I felt then like “This is my voice” and it’s been a process in the years since of finding what it looks like to do that and to be that but that day changed everything for me.

Andrea: Yeah. I remember you coming back from that experience and coming into this little small group of a number of basically stay-at-home moms and saying “I’m supposed to start a business.” Your joy, your excitement, it was such a clear picture of how affirmed you felt in that decision, in that call.

Laurie: Yeah. It felt like everything had been leading up to that moment and what I thought was _____ so that I can grow others and it can go a pinnacle in receiving that calling and then coming home thinking “I’m doing this no matter what.” It’s so obvious to me even though it’s so unknown. It cannot be bought. It’s so clear and so unknown at the same time. I think so the big picture vision is so clear and how to get there is the unknown but we find that one day at a time.

Andrea: Yes, yes, so true! Yes, I love that because you knew it was ahead but you didn’t know exactly what steps to take, what does it mean to run a business, and all those things. But that vision you had seems to be really motivating you to be able to keep your nose to the grinding and keep figuring that out even if you don’t know what’s next.

Laurie: Because we know the why. See I got my why that day in Orlando. The how is negotiable. The how doesn’t matter in the big picture when we’re connected to that why that’s what drive us forward. That’s what’s drive our influence is the why, our why.

Andrea: Definitely! Then basically you started this business and it’s kind of turned into what it is today over the course of a few years. Do you want to say anything else about that transformation of your business?

Laurie: I think what has been really critical for me in that and this is truly a main message I would love to emphasize to your audience is that it really takes the help and support of other people for us to find our voice however that’s expressed. If it’s in terms of business or personal things in terms of your relationship and the influence you have with other people in your life. I believe we can’t find our voice on our own.

So when things begin to get really clear of what I’m best at and what my business is most effective at doing and how it can meet the needs of the people around me that my voice is called to reach. That clarity all came from the context of being in relationship and connection with other likeminded peers and experiencing the benefit of really feeling support, and I’ll define support in just a moment, for people to help me clarify my own value.

We don’t understand what we’re best at or where we really shine because it’s so familiar to us. The same work I do with strengths. People don’t recognize their strengths or that significant because they’ve always been there. They’re so normal to them. We don’t realize that it’s exceptional to others. And so in the context of me being a participant in several masterminds with my colleagues and peers that are in the same industry really allowed me to get clear on what my voice can best accomplish.

Andrea: So what is that look like for you in terms of finding those other voices, those other people in your life that could give you that kind of feedback?

Laurie: I know. Isn’t that powerful that in order to find our voice, we need the voice of others? I think that’s so perfect of how we’ve been designed to need and really have to depend on one another but it’s a _____ to depend on one another. So what is that look like to find people? I think what that’s really look like for me and what I would encourage your listeners to consider as well is really finding the people that are willing to challenge you. When I began to experience this environment of support, I discovered that supporting one another doesn’t mean agreeing with one another.

Andrea: Hmmm yes!

Laurie: When we think of “Oh I support you in that,” or when we think of people supporting us, we think of kind of people maybe standing and applauding with us or celebrating us in some way and really _____ in a way that means they’re probably agreeing with us, encouraging us, and behind us sort of thing in what we’re pursuing. But what I have found as the strongest support that I can both receive and that I can give is the support that means I stand for your best, I stand for you. I stand with you, for you, and your highest good no matter what it costs me or what it cost you and being willing to really play all in on behalf of the best interest of others.

The support that I found has been instrumental to me really owning my voice of influence is embracing my role as a challenger. I feel like that best describes it where the best way I can support others and I encourage you as you’re looking for what kind of voice that could speak into you and help you define your message and your sphere of influence and your life mission. Who’s going to be willing to disagree with you or to risk your approval to speak your higher truths and speak into you and show you your best assets, your blind spots, and some of the other things that we have to have that outside perspective to do for us.

When I began experiencing that through this peer connection, I begin to grow faster than I ever grown before. It was truly and epic exhilaration of explosive growth when I had people and it’s a handful. It’s not multitudes that are willing to speak with us and be with us in our journey like this; it’s a handful of a select few that are willing to walk that road for us.

But I think in your heart of hearts if you begin to look around and see who you’re naturally drawn to, who inspires you in some way and being able to kind of mind what it is that draws me to them and what I admire in them and show me something I need to grow in in my own life that’s what happened for me is that some people that I admired were exceptional setting boundaries and being very clear and very direct in a loving way.

But that was radically different from what I’ve experienced or really taking a strong stand in letting their voice be expressed no matter how it was received when given from that place of care. But I realized “Wow, I’m admiring that in him because I need more of that in me.”

Andrea: Yeah. This is making me think about how really when we hear, and I’ve seen this in my relationship with you and my relationship with other people but as you have expressed a certain kind of style or voice, tone, or challenge; when you see that in other people and you see that there’s something in you, it almost gives you permission or you start to realize that you can do that too.

It may not be the same as the other person but I’ve noticed that for myself for sure that as I’ve seen that in you and other people, it’s just different things, confidence, whatever it might be that “Gosh, you know what, I could step into my confidence too.” And I think that what you’re saying about being in a community like that in an environment where somebody would be willing to push you and challenge you most certainly I can see how that would help the actual leader that’s involved and that put themselves in that position that they would then get some of those attributes for themselves as well where it awaken those in them.

Laurie: Yes, exactly! I think we all have people in our lives that support us in the traditional sense of love and celebrate who we are and what we do. But the rare jewels are those that are willing to tell us what other people either can’t see or unwilling to say. Those of them are the most meaningful relationships in my life in helping shape my voice in a way that nothing else could of those ones that are really willing to say the hard things and stand with us through that.

Andrea: And you know when someone is in a position of leadership, which I know that you’re working with people who are in positions of leadership, when they’re in that position, it’s very uncommon for other people to feel like they can or want to or want to risk that idea of challenging that leader in any sort of way. I can see how that would be incredibly valuable for that person to find it outside of their normal environment. I guess, by coming to a group like yours or the sort of community that you seem to be talking about.

Laurie: Exactly. I have two distinct programs right now and that’s really the sole purpose that were gathered together to be a group for women, women rising above the lies that limits us and helping us overcome those things that are holding us back from speaking and being our true authentic self and being willing to challenge one another in that. And a group for company leaders called Catalyst where again it’s a community thing. But what I wanted to share just for a bit though is about the process.

I love how you said “we have to give ourselves permission to kind of go there with people.” And I think giving myself permission to really embrace my role as challenger took a while. That was months in the making. It just becomes really clear in the last year. It’s been unfolding over the past year actually of realizing I’d always seen myself and this relates to what I shared a few minutes ago about the traditional way where we understand support.

I’ve always seen myself as the cheerleader and this natural encourager that came so easily for me and people really seem to appreciate and be inspired by how I could really instill belief in them through the encouraging words that just very effortless for me to give but very sincere and genuine. But when I began to recognize that there was a deeper part of me that was waiting to be discovered in this challenge or piece, it felt very unsafe initially.

And I really had to wrestle through “But I’ve always been a cheerleader” like I’m not sure if it’s okay for me to really stand in that place of what seemed to me, to conflict with celebrating and honoring who they were. So I’d always limiting beliefs I had to work out which is true in most cases. That’s why I feel like I’ve gotten very good at identifying limiting beliefs in the people I work with because I’ve gone so much practice on myself. Being able to hear the ways by limiting beliefs and talking about the things that we’re believing either on the conscious or unconscious level, but how I define this are really beliefs that limit our present ability and restrict our future potential.

So this belief I had, “It’s not okay to be a challenger like I am cheerleader. I’m nice. I’m friendly. People call me smiley wherever I go and they have my whole life sort of thing.” This whole persona that I had wrapped around that but was not going to allow me to tap into this challenge or piece of me that’s really the challengers where my true voice of influence is.

Andrea: Oh Laurie that is really cool and I certainly see that. When you talk about a persona that’s the kind of thing that does not come down easily, a persona is something that you know we really construct around ourselves that is there for a reason and can often…I don’t know be really painful to let go of. Did you find that for yourself that it was hard to let go of the ones so that you could embrace the other?

Laurie: It took probably at least six months of working on myself and just a lot of reflection, a lot of writing and processing, and trying to figure out what always going within me. A lot of conversation with my peers and working with my coach, a lot of conversations and really examining how I was showing up in my life and what things indicated where limiting beliefs was hiding or holding me back. But what I realized in that was that I didn’t realize…I thought the smile was me and it is…hear me on that, it is. When I smile, it is sincere. It’s who I am. It’s the expression of my DNA and all that I am.

I didn’t realize how much I was hiding behind it as well that it was actually, yeah to some degree this a mask or this persona that there was deeper truths inside me. But because I felt I had to maintain this smiley demeanor because that was who I am, right? And that’s what people expected me to be that if not Laurie starts poking people from a place of love but still poking them in the sense of calling them to more and saying “I disagree with that. You’re making an excuse for yourself there. You’re lying to yourself. You’re putting below your means,” whatever that looks like.

Yeah, that took a lot of work, internal work I’m talking about to be able to say, you know it’s grounded in care when my voice comes from a stand of love and they can see my heart in that. I have the power. I have the authority. I have the commissioning, the call to speak into those things that my eyes have been gifted to see and call forth the things within them that they can’t see in themselves, to call out those limiting beliefs and help them discover the higher truth. To be able to identify those things and to create new life in them by challenging their perspective or their way of beings so that they can become more and who they’re designed to be.

When I began to see that my heart _____ in that of calling them to do their best and helping develop their potential, it doesn’t always look like nice. But I don’t think any of us want nice more than we want growth and to really sense that someone is willing to advocate for our best no matter what, that’s where the real value is. That’s what my clients experienced with me. They say that means more than anything else. That they don’t find that in other relationships in their lives because most people have too many insecurities to allow them to speak freely and directly and fiercely like that. But you got to hear me; it’s from the grounding of love that allows my true heart to come forth and for it to be able to be received in a place that others see as a gift not a threat.

Andrea: Yeah that’s like the surgeons’ merciful knife. It’s not malicious. It’s what the purpose of destroying of building up and yeah…

Laurie: Yeah, strengthening.

Andrea: And restoring yeah. That’s really refreshing to have somebody come in and say “Hold on a minute.

Laurie: Yes. I think we’re all starving for those voices in our lives whether we realize it or not and that’s why they were so meaningful when I begin to find a few challengers in my life to be able to really experience the value of that and that gave me the courage to really be able to take my stand and own that that’s what my voice says “I am the challenger.” And as terrifying as it felt at first, it feels so free now. I’ve never felt more at peace with myself and more powerful in the sense that this is my purpose.

Andrea: I’ve really appreciated our relationship. I feel like we should share a little bit about just the way that we have interacted a little bit because I think that it could be really beneficial to other people who are looking for other people that they could walk through this journey with. And while I think it’s really beneficial to have a coach, it’s also beneficial to have peers. And so how would you describe our relationship in the way that we have pursued this?

Laurie: You are a priceless gift to me, Andrea. You have brought so much value into my life by you being who you are and freely expressing and generously giving your gifts through our conversation has been really key to me sharpening my voice, my clarity, my stand that I wish that for everybody that they would be able to find a peer, a friend, a true support. And I believe it takes time because I’ve longed for a friendship like this for a long time and someone that could really get me and that could hold all of me.

And you’re big enough, you’re great enough, you’re grand enough and all of your power to be able to hold all of me because for all of these influencers here, man, we have a big call on our life, right? I believe everybody on the planet has unlimited potential but they’re not all accessing it. They’re not all engaging it. They’re not stepping forward in an intentional way to do something truly remarkable, globally remarkable for that matter.

But I believe that’s your thrive, Andrea. That’s the people you’re attracting of this incredible stellar global leaders and I would say, keep your eyes open and be persistent. I’ve had to try on several different relationships to explore and see what space that friendship would allow me to have and I think we all are aware that we have different levels of relationships, different flavors of relationships in our lives.

But for you and I, I think we’re we both come together anytime we’re in a conversation or in experience together. There’s just such mutual respect for one another, such clarity on the great things that are happening now and the bigger things that are to come. There’s not a sense of competition or comparison I think that can sabotage relationships very quickly, but just this expectation that both of us are creating our own unique journey. And it’s going to look so differently even though we’re called to such similar things.

The way it’s going play out, it’s going to be very unique and individualized to us being able to come together to celebrate that and to show each other what one of us can’t see. And being able to just provide both kind of equal measure encouragement and balance, I think that’s truly what makes the recipe for a very fruitful intentional friendship. And wow, being able to also stay consistently engaged with that that it not be something that we know is there but that we’re not intentionally continuing to nurture.

And as you and I tried to be as diligent with getting together and catching up and regrouping and speaking into one another on a regular basis because a lot of life happens in between a week or two or a month. And when we can lose sight on the intricacies of one another’s journey, we have less leveraged to really speak into them because we’re less aware of where they’re at. So yeah, I’ll pause here. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you too.

Andrea: Yeah, that was such a great description and I want to highlight one of the things that you said the comparison and competition thing because when we first…well, first of all you were the one that initiated the relationship, I would say that. And I think what other people, an influencer listening, what you probably should take away from this is # 1 – you start out with figuring out what you have to offer somebody else because Laurie came to me and she said she had the strengths training that she was going through and she wanted to invite me to participate to take the assessment and to do a little bit of coaching with that and I was like “OK we’ll let’s try that.” So I feel like we’re really kind of started to take the turn, don’t you Laurie?

Laurie: I do and can I go back a little bit further than that?

Andrea: Sure!

Laurie: Sometimes, we really have to be diligent to pursue the people that we want bring into our life and be in relationship with. I observed you speaking at one of the Mocks meeting a few years, can you hear me?

Andrea: Yes!

Laurie: Prior to that, the message you gave spoke to me. And I thought “I need to meet this woman. She speaks my language. We are deep. We are likeminded. I could just feel, even though I probably don’t have all those words in that moment, but I just knew like “Hmm, there’s some rich connection here.” But you had a lot going on in your life and it was a matter of trying to kind of figure out, “How could I initiate some sort of friendship or some level of connection here?”

And it really required me coming to you, kind of on your terms, I guess might be the easiest way to say it. But then in the right time and in the right season, it truly blossomed. So don’t lose heart along the way. If there’s people you’re drawn to that you really feel or to be voice in your life and critical to you developing your voice, don’t lose heart. Keep engaging and yeah, I love how you said figure out what you can offer them instead of wondering what it could bring to you.

Andrea: You know, I remember you’re using that way to describe how you come into me in my terms before. You actually said that to me one time and I was like “What?” You know, I didn’t know what to do with that but basically what that meant was and practically speaking was that you joined my small group, those small groups that I was leading. And in that sense, it was like an opportunity to start cultivating that relationship and then came that moment when you were ready to offer…we had a relationship there but it just wasn’t the same as you know up to the notch, a few notches.

Laurie: Yes that’s true.

Andrea: And really, you came and started speaking into my life at the time when I really desperately needed it because I was in a frustrated mood of being because I knew and I felt that I had more to offer. But I did not know how exactly I was supposed to do that so you brought strength to me at that time and opened my eyes. Maybe the way that I thought that I was maybe wasn’t exactly who I am.

And so just as you found your challenging voice, I found my kind of strategic voice in learning about the StrengthsFinder and what I had to offer and thinking that I was supposed to be mostly empathetic and mostly helping to develop people when I started to realize that “Oh, I actually really able to see the big picture and know which way to head next. That was life changing for me and it also helped release in me the idea and challenge that limiting belief in your words that I couldn’t write. I really didn’t think I could.

You helped call that out of me and I could see that “Oh gosh, you know what, I do have what it takes to make a decision, to make a decision about what I’m going to write about and how to formulate arguments and whatever. I just need the time and space in my head to get it done.” So that was huge for me. I mean, that was the very pivotal time for me and we just kept going and going and going and going and going.

And another thing that really hit me about that was when we were first talking about this “What are we called to?” “What am I called to?” “What are you called to?” “How are we different?” Became one of the questions that I was really interested in answering because I felt like our messages were so similar, but yet I knew that we didn’t need to be competing with one another. So in my head, I knew that but at the same time there’s that like “What do we do with the fact that we’re so similar. What do we do with that?”

And so for me, one of the greatest benefits since then has been to really kind of dissect who we are and see that “Gosh, Laurie is so good at this and I’m good at that.” And the way that this message that’s very similar inside of us is coming out of us has so much to do with who we are in our gifting, in our strengths, in our personalities and that sort of thing, in our experiences and what we’re drawn to. It’s actually coming out in very different forms but yet so similar at the core so that has been super helpful for me.

Laurie: So there again in context of relationship and support of others, we get clear on who we are.

Andrea: Yes. Yes, yes, yes! OK so also practically speaking, I mean we get together maybe once every two or four weeks, I would venture to say. And when we do get together, it’s not for an hour.

Laurie: Yeah, a minimum of three hours.

Andrea: Yeah. And really, I think this is interesting too. We don’t talk a whole lot about our day-to-day lives. We don’t talk a whole lot about our families. We’re really concentrated focus on our personal growth and development of our messages, our voices, and our business which I think is interesting.

Laurie: Yes. It’s not the surface level day-to-day grind stuff. Yeah, I don’t think we really give any attention to that honestly. It’s the deeper things because that’s the rare gift we can give one another. Most other people in our lives don’t want to or unable to relate at that level.

Andrea: Uh-hmm. I think there’s so much value in both of them. I think about different people in my life who… gosh, we have such a different kind of relationship and I love them. I love them all but this is the kind of thing that when it comes to developing your voice of influence, if you’re wanting to do that, this is one of those relationships that you need to be looking for and pursuing like Laurie said and really intentionally pursuing it.

Laurie: Yeah. You can’t wait for it to happen to you. You need to go and create it.

Andrea: Yeah, so true! Do you have any other suggestions for people that are listening for how they could pursue other avenues that would give them those relationships like maybe they have a friend like you and I kind of have this relationship. Maybe they have something like that or maybe they don’t, but what other kinds of ways can people cultivate, find that support, and challenge in their lives?

Laurie: I think you need to enroll whoever is in your life currently with the fact that you want to grow and giving other people access to speak into you. If it’s a sibling, a spouse whatever that looks like or a boss for that matter, but when you can first make yourself available to being open and willing to receive that then you’re giving them permission to be their voice and inviting that to come into your freely.

As we look at our relationships, people probably, I don’t know what percentage of time there actually, honestly reflecting and expressing what’s going on inside of them with us. But if we take away those barriers of “What are they gonna think? Are they gonna upset with me?” Whatever that looks like even friends in a marriage if you’re able to say to your spouse “You know what, will help you see where I’m falling short?” Or “Will help you see the blind spot of where I can’t see that I’m getting in my own way?”

I just had an amazing conversation with my husband last night about that of sharing something I was struggling with and he said, “I tried to tell you that last week but you didn’t hear it you know.” And I said “Stay with me on this.” Sometimes, it’s such a blind spot. We can’t see it and it doesn’t resonate initially. But he persisted. He helped the course and now a week later, I had this incredible revelation that I really needed to be able to move me forward in a bigger way instead of holding myself back.

And so his persistence and then me celebrating that and saying “Keep doing this,” like even if it doesn’t seem in a moment like I get it or that I appreciate it or that it resonates. I mean that. I mean that and now I could see it. So I think we open a great door of opportunity for us and them. We’re open and willing and inviting it from whoever that looks like. Did that kind of answer your question?

Andrea: That was great! I mean, I was really expecting you to say something about finding a coach but that was so wise advice. I love it! You know, it reminded me about what you said earlier that when you went to the John Maxwell event that initial one, you were journaling ahead of time because what you like to do is you like to journal beforehand and expect something significant to happen in your life.

Really, it’s that opening up of your heart, that opening up of your spirit to say, “I’m ready to receive whatever it is that you have to offer,” and that is super powerful. Gosh, I just think that it’s a great way to wrap up what we’ve been discussing here because when you are open to receiving the challenge that somebody else has to offer, you have no idea until you experience it.

Even though it feels so terrifying because it might rock you at the core in the end, like Laurie said, she is standing more confident and free in who she is now more than ever before because she continually put herself in that position. I’m experiencing that as well. Oh man, so good. Love that. So Laurie, where can the listeners find you?

Laurie: My domain name is my name www.lauriehock.com and you can find me there. I am on Facebook as well. I have real joy realizing a great platform for my voice of influence in it’s infancy stage, but it still tons of fun, is making a monthly video where I share my latest class and insights of what’s growing and challenging me. But then I releases tools to be something significant that can challenge the growth in my email communities.

So you can go to my website and if you want to be a part of receiving those monthly videos, just enter your name and email address and I’ll include you in the emails that I sent out, the challenging messages _____ that would be appropriate. Yeah, I just want to celebrate and honor everybody on the line and be able to encourage you that in time you’ll find your voice. And it’s a lifelong process of developing it. I don’t think we ever end that quest. It continues to unfold and develop layers upon layers of more richness.

Andrea: Well, thank you Laurie for being here today. I will make sure that your website is in the show notes. You kind find those at voiceofinfluence.net or if you’re listening on iTunes, you should be able to just click right there in the show notes on iTunes. Remember that if you’re interested in continuing to listen to this podcast, please subscribe to wherever you listen to podcast. I also have an email list and you can subscribe there at voiceofinfluence.net.

I just want to encourage you that wherever you can find community. I tell you, I listen to podcast when I first started getting excited about growing my voice of influence. And for the past two and a half or three years that has been one of the biggest blessings for me and challenging me too. So I just encourage you to keep making your voice matter more.

 

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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.