“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
LinkedIn: Marc Gutman
“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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Join the Kickass Humans Club
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
“You must expect failure as part of your journey of success, failure and success go hand in hand, you cannot have one without the other.” – Richard Parkes Cordock
Failure sucks. Thoroughly, painfully sucks. No one wants to fail – we all want to succeed. And we talk about success all the time – about how it’s not really failure, it’s just a pivot. “I’ve never failed, I’ve just pivoted.” That’s cute – pivoting is actually what we learn to do from failure.
It’s amazing how much we hear about success – but rarely hear about failure. We hear about how people made it but not the parts where they almost didn’t. It’s always so glamorous when someone writes a book about how to do it the right way – and then you wonder how they figured it out – and then wonder what’s wrong with you. It’s disheartening for struggling business owners and CEOs to think they’re the only one failing because “everyone else” is a “huge success.”
According to the Small Business Association (SBA), 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10. So, let’s hear THOSE stories. Then we won’t feel like we’re failing alone.
I’ve made it WAY past my own definition of failure – QUITTING – mostly because, for me, there is no Plan B. This business doesn’t look anything like it did when I started. I’ve quit parts of it, failed at other parts, and succeeded more than I ever expected. All of that led me to pivot hard and do something much more in line with who I am as a human. (read: Give me 1 hour, I’ll give you 9 years)
When I asked my Crew what they wanted to get out of our first real company retreat, every one of them said “defined vision & defined roles for every person.” Even ME! I want to know where we’re going and what everyone is doing to help us get there. I don’t have an exact plan myself since it’s been evolving so much. I want to make sure I have a Crew that will help me define where WE want to go. They will help me put the pieces together but at the end of the day, I’m still the Boss Lady.
Speaking of Boss Lady, it’s almost been 10 years of being her. Being the boss comes with SO many ups & downs and typically ends up being quite lonely. I’ve failed SO miserably and succeeded in ways I never thought I could. I’ve had lots of cash in the bank, while other times I’ve had to pray for it. I’ve always made payroll but not always for myself. I’ve made bad hiring decisions AND really amazing ones. I thought I knew where we were going and then realized I had no idea. I quit my business twice – and still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next.
When you start your business in your 20’s, you look back and wonder how anyone thought you were smart enough to do any of this. I never wanted to be the “boss,” but over time I’ve realized I ACTUALLY never want to be a manager. I fully believe everyone should do their job, make their paycheck, and keep growing. I hustle my face off, so why wouldn’t everyone else? Oh yeah, because if I don’t show them how to, give them the opportunity to do so, and give them an incentive to do it, why would they bother?
We all have to show up for ourselves. Whether we’re the boss, the assistant, the manager, or the helping hand. We’re all human – no one is BETTER than another and no one person is MORE IMPORANT than another. We all have to do our jobs in order for the whole business to work. We all have to put in the time & effort and keep growing. As the boss, we set the example for everyone else. When we set a bad example, it’s up to us to own it and grow from it so our teams can follow along with us.
This week we host our 4th SPEAK With Confidence – an event I never planned on creating, a methodology I never planned to write, and a course I never wanted to create. It was never in my plans, yet it’s been the most rewarding business venture we’ve ever taken on. It fits my skillset and my team does an amazing job of supporting me in it – even those who come in from other businesses to share their own expertise.
Now that I own the fact that we’re doing this, I’m starting to see the holes in my planning. I’m starting to see that as much as the event is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, it drains every bit of my energy and adds way more stress beforehand than anything else. And there’s a reason.
A goal is just a wish without a plan.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
When I asked my entrepreneur mom for feedback for our corporate retreat, she said: “At the end of the day, Melanie is the boss. And she needs to be respected as the boss, referred to as the boss & regarded as the boss.” Now I want that on a t-shirt.
The biggest reason I have never been “the boss” is because I made a decision 10 years ago that I never wanted to be a “boss.” I didn’t want to be the quintessential horror reigning over everyone with an iron fist. The best bosses I ever had never acted like the “boss,” but I never knew if they regarded themselves as the boss either. So, I never owned my own boss-ness.
I wanted to build a company and I felt like everyone I hired would just own their shit & do their job. Why would they need a boss?! We did everything we were “supposed to do” like create job descriptions, set up processes & systems, and make sure everyone knew what to do. I made all the big decisions and owned all of the failures while being grateful to my team for all of the successes, but I missed the biggest piece of all. I guess I kept waiting for the real boss to show up and take over.
Which left me sitting here wondering how I’ve had a company this long without being the boss. It was actually really easy – I WORKED MY ASS OFF. Hustled my face off. And learned how to live in a constant state of stress. I built myself a perpetual job instead of building a sustainable company that was focused & set up so that everyone was able to succeed. Including me.
Guess who’s owning their boss-ness now?! *raises both hands** YES! Me!
Maybe it took my mom saying something – or even my team mentioning it (over and over and over) for me to realize they would follow me wherever I went – as long as I finally took the reigns and got us somewhere.
So, what does it mean to own my boss-ness?
Being the boss is however we want to define it. There is no ONE way to be the boss. As long as we own being the boss. It really comes from who you are as a human – and I have a big idea of what I’ve been missing this whole time. So, I’m going to write it down and own it – and you can all hold me accountable to it. (You can write yours down too – I am more than happy to help you own it!)
MELANIE IS THE BOSS LADY
In order for Melanie to be the boss lady, she has to:
1. Slow down.
– Be willing to put herself first.
– Block time on the calendar just for what she wants to do.
– Make time for creativity.
– Learn to be proactive, not reactive.
2. Create real, tangible goals for herself.
– Understand what her perfect life looks like.
– Set deadlines for each goal.
– Set up regular calls with her mentor.
– Create accountability for herself.
3. Create real goals for her company.
– Work with her Crew to create tangible, big plans.
– Set up processes & systems for all aspects of the business with her Crew.
– Write job descriptions for every person on the team (even the future ones.)
– Create accountability structures for everyone, including herself.
4. Keep growing.
– Learn something new.
– Read the books on her bookshelf.
– Write the damn book. (Gisell, look!)
– Take a walk & enjoy time away from the internet.
5. Inspire her Crew.
– Make sure everyone is in the right place.
– Create team goals for growth.
– Set weekly/monthly meetings for check-ins.
– Schedule fun trips throughout the year for brainstorming & relaxing.
Success & failure go hand-in-hand, sure. Yet, when you have the right team and the team is inspired because the boss is inspired, success is inevitable. Which means I have to own up to being the boss & give my Crew the success they deserve.
Hi, I’m Melanie Spring and I’m the Boss Lady.
Now, what are YOU going to do to own your boss-ness?