“The whole essence of story isn’t about being likable.”
– Marc Gutman
Marc Gutman and I met at his Happy House – an old coal shack renovated into his office space – outside of Boulder, Colorado. It was the perfect location since this week we’re talking all about finding your happy place. Marc is an amazing storyteller who I’ve known from Maverick, Entrepreneurs’ Organization and weirdly overlapping social circles. We could talk for hours – but here’s an hour we recorded on the podcast just for you.
Marc grew up in Detroit, Michigan before hopping into his car after college and driving to Hollywood where he began his storytelling career. He’s the founder of Wild Story, a brand story messaging consultancy. Marc found his happy place in between being a master storyteller and a strategist working with outdoor brands.
“When you talk about putting your values where your money and your mouth are – that’s what brand is really about.” – Marc
Listen in as we talk about balance, work-life integration, finding your personal and professional core values and the art of sticking to them. We use Nike as a case study for the power of having enough courage to show up for your brand. The kickass-ed-ness of using your brand to polarize. And how taking big risks can lead to huge wins (like 30% increase in sales for Nike after their Colin Kaepernick ad.)
WARNING: This episode contains adorable puppy-appreciation breaks:
Check out Marc’s office – The Happy House – and adorable pup here:
AS HEARD ON THIS EPISODE: Find out more about First Descendants and the work they do for young adults with cancer and how you can support their work. And make sure to tune into Wild Story’s new podcast Baby Got Backstory!
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In his words: Marc is creative, humor, adventure, storyteller, and extremely cuddly.
Facebook: Marc Gutman
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“Money is a tool to further your purpose in life.”
– Alex Agresta
Alexandria (Alex) Agresta is Chief Purpose Pioneer at Purpose Pioneers and is now a SPEAK With Confidence Rockstar Alumni! I’m such a huge fan of hers and I promise two minutes into this episode – you will be, too. This woman is so on brand and so purpose-driven it shines through her in every way.
Alex knew her purpose was all about purpose when she was six-years-old – so who better to talk about living a life and work full of purpose than Alex herself?! On this episode, we chat about systemizing purpose and creating systems around fulfillment in life, why your purpose is your brand, channeling both masculine and feminine energies, and, of course – manifesting that shit!
“If I’m tired and want to take a nap in the middle of the day because I’ve been working my butt off – then I’m going to freaking do it and not feel guilty.” – Alex
If you’re in a season that needs some light, tune into this episode & walk away puking rainbows.
“Life is too short to not make an impact in the world.”
– Jon Cook
Jon Cook is so good at connecting people that I found him because every time I asked for people who were connected in Denver, every person sent me to Jon. He is a wonderful human filled with loads of information about effective copy for your business. For this episode, we’re about to enjoy a stay-at-home double-date while sipping rosé at 4pm on a Wednesday talking all things branded copy.
Jon is a content writer extraordinaire who understands brand voice better than most. He builds trust for his clients by learning how to be them. John and his team at Keynote Content work with thought leaders and speakers to create branded copy & content creator that writes copy that passes “The Sniff Test.” (See – NOW you know why I like this guy.)
“the sniff test”: /snif/·/test/noun: An observation we all make when we come across a website, post or content that clearly doesn’t have a brand’s voice.
“If you’re obsessed with being great at your craft, everything else will take care of itself.” – Jon Cook
This episode is filled with nuggets of wisdom for authentic and effective copywriting. If you have to write emails, blogs or social media posts for your business or just looking to get into professional copywriting for other businesses – you definitely won’t want to miss this.
Listen to the podcast here:
For your sharing pleasure:
The October SPEAK With Confidence Accelerator is all wrapped up – but my Crew and I are gearing up to for April’s Accelerator already! Follow me and check out pics from October’s SPEAK With Confidence on my insta page or sign up to secure your spot for April’s Accelerator today.
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In his words: Jon is focused, curious, driven, relatable, and funnier than his wife will admit.
Facebook: Keynote Content
LinkedIn: Keynote Content
“You have to be very mindful of what you’re trying to accomplish at the end of the day.” – Jenny Shtipelman
Last week we held our SPEAK With Confidence October Accelerator in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado. The week was busy, jam-packed with great Rockstars, Trainers, and Experts. During our 3-day retreat we were able to write talks, laugh, cry, eat so much delicious food and hold space for each other like we never have before at any other SPEAK With Confidence. If you’re feeling FOMO – don’t stress. The April SPEAK With Confidence Accelerator is ready for you & already starting to fill up! Go check it out.
Now that we’re done with all that for this moment, let’s get back to PODCASTING!!!!
Join me in a confetti party for the return of the Adventures of Branding podcast while I introduce you to my dear friend, Jenny Shtipelman.
Jenny is Senior Vice President at Eagle Bank, a powerhouse career woman with super savvy financial advice, and a closet that truly does redefine what a banker’s closet looks like. “Jenny From The Bank” is a kickass human with a personal brand that’s totally her own and stretches beyond her industry or position. If you didn’t think you could let your personal brand shine because you work in a corporate environment, this will challenge you to reconsider.
Listen to the podcast here:
Want to find out more about defining your personal brand? Listen to the SPEAK With Confidence podcast series’ Chapter 2: Define Your Brand (your friends might know it better) to find out how to get a personal brand that rocks as much as you do.
If hearing Jenny’s super useful tips about creating a team to help you build your dream business and reach your financial goals inspired you to learn more, listen to Give Me 1 Hour, I’ll Give You 9 Years. I share lots of nuggets of information I’ve learned the hard way over the last 9 years about building a business.*
*No coffee required
CONNECT WITH HER:
Join the Kickass Humans Club
In her words: Jenny is assertive, humorous, badass, traveler, lover of all foods and experiences.
Facebook: Jenny Shtipelman
LinkedIn: Jenny Shtipelman
HUSTLE HARDER. STOP EFFING AROUND.
TAKE MORE VACATION. STOP WORKING SO HARD.
FOCUS ON YOUR ONE THING. STOP DOING EVERYTHING.
BE MORE. BE BETTER. BE THE BEST. BE WHAT YOU WERE MADE TO BE.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. FOCUS ON YOU.
DO LESS! DO MORE!
Everyone has an opinion. And you know what they say about opinions.
They either tell you to work harder or they tell you to take more time for yourself. And everyone has their own formula for doing it – thinking that it will be one-size-fits-all when it’s not and it CAN’T be. We’re all unique snowflakes (I know, I know – but it’s true!). We all need our own balance/integration/way-of-doing-life. As much as personality tests try to stick us in categories to tell us how to do things, we still have to figure it out for ourselves.
I saw a facebook ad that literally said (and I quote): "FACT If you are not madly in love with every area of your life, overflowing in every area of your life which matters to you… (continue reading)” with a physically fit bearded hipster guy sitting on a rock looking out over rocky terrain & a link for his program to upgrade your life.
I couldn’t even "continue reading" because first, it isn't well-written – and second, I wanted to hit him the face for putting that kind of shit on other people. Those words are out there making people feel like shit because he OBVIOUSLY does this himself. *insert eye roll*
Let me be REALLY clear: NO ONE IS MADLY IN LOVE WITH EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIFE. NO ONE IS OVERFLOWING IN EVERY AREA. NO ONE. ABSOLUTELY BLEEPING NO ONE. The gurus, the monks, the coaches, the trainers, the experts, the spiritual leaders, the ninjas – no one has all of their shit together. WE ARE ALL HUMAN! We’re not meant to have everything together. We’re meant to keep learning & growing. The reason some of us teach others is because we’ve figured out how to authentically be ourselves and our purpose is to help others figure out how to do the same.
So many are REALLY good at hiding their shit – and it ends up eating them alive. If you ever hear a “guru" say that they have all of their shit together & that they’ve found the fountain of _fillintheblank_ and you look at their life, their Instagram feed, and see that they live a spotless life – RUN! Don’t buy that program. Don’t read their blog posts. Don’t listen to their podcasts. Don’t fill your brain with that shit. Don’t feel bad about your life.
Phew – now that THAT is over.
Over the last two years, I’ve been building a program
that is SO far outside of my comfort zone. This program allows humans to show up authentically on stages sharing their stories. It didn’t happen over night. And it has NOT be easy.
I hosted it three times – training over 30 people – before I even admitted I was doing it. I denied that I was training speakers – when in reality, I’d been doing it for years. I’m a brand strategist so it’s been my job for the last 10 years to help companies tell their stories. I’d even written talks and created slide-decks for people and companies – and stayed fully focused on the fact that I’m “just” a brand strategist.
Every time we hosted an event, I would always say it was the last. Every time we had to get butts in seats, I said I’d never do it again. Every time we finished the event, I’d be SUCH a Proud Mom – telling every one of my speakers' stories – and how hard they worked to get on that stage. And yet, I WAS NOT GOING TO DO THIS AGAIN.
Then I moved across the country, built the online course, and wrote a 140-page workbook – and, what did I do? I did it again. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?! I’m NOT a speaker coach. I help people tell their stories, I don't teach people how to rock stages – AND this is REALLY HARD! Why am I doing this?!
This was until my Helpful Human, Gisell, looked at my ragged, weary, and proud face after our third event as everyone was hugging each other to head back home and said, “If you could hear what everyone says about you and this experience, you’d never doubt that you have to keep doing this.” So, we did it again. We posted a whole new event for October – added more days, made it all-inclusive, got a few signups, worked our tails off – and found that EVERYONE wanted to do the next one.
“I’m totally in for the workshop in April,” said the 53rd person.
Hearing this over and over, I took a weekend to decide if a handful of signups was worth moving forward with or if I should just wait until April. I asked my team to think on it, pray on it, and see what they thought. One of my trainers came back to me after the weekend and said, “I asked God for a word and although I wanted to play it safe and wait until April, He told me that you should listen to what He first told you.” So, we forged ahead with a new fervor.
Until I hit another wall.
I got up on stage in front of 300 women to keynote the Women in Business Network event. I’ve never felt more on fire than that morning in Dayton, Ohio. I shared the shit, I shared the awesome, and I gave them permission to take ONE step. Just one. To show up for themselves so they could show up for others. I told them “You are right where you’re supposed to be.” I made 300 new friends that day.
And the whole time I chatted & inspired, I was doubting my decision to make the October Accelerator happen – again. I was excited to be there and suffering inside trying to piece everything together.
A woman walked up to me & said, “I’m so glad I found you. I don’t know if this is weird or not, but while you were speaking earlier, God told me to tell you ‘There is no Plan B.’”
Talk about all of the air rushing out of my body. KEEP GOING! We jumped on it with even more excitement and decided that the people who were supposed to be there would be there. And guess what? THEY ARE! The Rockstars who have signed up for October are 100% right where they’re supposed to be. (Weird that I talk about this.) And this Accelerator would help me streamline every single one of the future ones – hosting more people and going even bigger. Because I was FINALLY COMMITTED! No more wavering. No more Plan B.
YOUR SUFFERING ISN’T FOR YOU TO KEEP.
Entrepreneur life is NOT glamorous. Anyone who talks about the hustle being sexy is lying.
Running a business is HARD. Building a team, managing your life, and making money is HARD. Especially when you AND your team depend on you for a paycheck. It’s not for the faint of heart. We can surround ourselves with incredible humans and still hit bottom over and over. We can be fully supported with a sound business structure and perfect marketing plan – and still miss the mark.
“It’s lonely at the top” is true AND false. It’s hard – there is NO doubt. And all of us have major decision fatigue on a daily basis. But it’s only lonely if we don’t reach out.
The problem is – when we reach out, people say shit like “everything will be ok” and “it’ll all work out.” We share where we are and it ends up being brushed it off as character-building. Which ends up reminding us to NOT reach out. Which reminds us that we’re lonely.
Encouraging words are all fine & good but most of the time we really need to hear “I’m with you” or “I’ve been there” or “I get it & I’m sorry it sucks.”
If you know me at all, I’m a HUGE encourager. I love helping people through rough times and reminding them to wear their awesome. If you need a hug, I GOT YOU! AND I’m also the first person to say “ugh, I feel that. I’ve been there. And I’m standing with you in it.” Because when shit gets hard, we really don’t want to hear that it’s going to be fine. We want to be validated in our feelings and know we’re not alone.
Sure, when we look back on the hard stuff, we may laugh at how silly it was. We may add it to a talk on a big stage or share it over coffee with a friend. Or we may just be glad we went through it because of all we learned. But when we’re in it, PLEASE knock off the “just smile & everything will be better” shit. It doesn’t help. A hug does. A listening ear does. An understanding note does. A word for the Big Guy upstairs does. Because it feels like no one really hears you when they say that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Screw the tunnel. Screw the light. Screw the great story this will make. Screw the character-building. Screw you for saying I’ll laugh about it. I’m just going to light that bitch on fire and we’ll talk about where the light and the tunnel meet.
Because what other choice is there?! Trudging?! Pretending?! Lying to myself and everyone else? THERE IS NO PLAN B.
I’ve been hustling my face off for 3 straight weeks without downtime, without sleeping well, and without feeling like I have all my marbles. I’m building an INCREDIBLE program that takes up almost all of my waking hours – and I know it’ll be worth it. It always is. And I’m tired.
I just turned off my wifi for two hours in a mountain town, put my noise-canceling headphones on, and pretended my business didn’t exist in order to write this post. I have a to-do list that’s bigger than it's ever been and I’ve delegated everything I can possibly delegate. I have zero phone calls on my calendar today and have been asked a total of 86 questions today alone. I’ve only responded to one email. And I finally got a note from my bookkeeper that said the sky wasn’t falling anymore. I am blessed – I get it. I REALLY do. And yet…
It’s been almost 10 years since I started my business. It’s been hard – and SO rewarding. I’ve transitioned, I’ve changed everything, I’ve revamped my life, I’ve moved multiple times, I’ve been through almost everything an entrepreneur can possibly go through. And yet, I’m still here. I’m still standing. I’m still hustling. I get it. It sucks and it’s so awesome – all at the same time.
If you’re in the shit right now, I feel you. I feel every particle of your being. I DEFINITELY don’t have all my shit together and right now, as much as I love celebrating all of the wins (and boy, there are some INCREDIBLE things happening), I’m also living in the shit. I need sleep. I need to delete my inbox. I want to go play. I sometimes wonder what it would look like to have a 9-to-5. And then I remember the impact of what I’m doing. The impact, the purpose, the stories, and the authenticity. I LOVE being me. I LOVE my life. I LOVE this shit. THERE IS NO PLAN B.
So, all that to say – I see you. My twitchy eye sees yours. My tight shoulders are wrapped around yours. I have a tissue box ready for you any time you need to just let it all out. And I will encourage you to LET IT ALL OUT. No matter who you are or where you’re from or what you’re going through, I’ll stand with you. Because that’s what we humans need – to know we’re not alone.