In a world where people are famous for doing nothing, we’re here to discover the seemingly ordinary people who take giant leaps to do something extraordinary.

Moving Forward features individuals from all different backgrounds and walks of life with the goal of inspiring you to discovery the extraordinary in yourself.  Everyone from 6 and 7-figure entrepreneurs to actors, musicians, filmmakers; everyone has a story about how they moved beyond the ordinary and excelled to become extraordinary.  Get ready, it’s time to start moving forward!

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MF 123 : Alain Mayrand on How to Score Your Career with Perseverance and a USP

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Alain Mayrand is a composer and orchestral conductor for film and the founder of Score Club. Today, Alain will share how perseverance + a USP (unique selling proposition) can move you forward in a big way.

Successes at a glance:

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • Pursuing a career as a film composer isn’t easy. As Alain shares, there is no clear cut road map and many times, it requires tolerating something that no composer wants to hear: silence. Alain started out by putting himself out there, scouring internet billboards and seeking out independent and small film projects that he could cut his teeth on. Despite having the academic credentials and the desire, there was a lot of silence in the beginning. However, as Alain reveals, silence is not a sign that your work is being ignored or worse, that you’re not liked. It’s part of understanding the process of working on a film. A film is a large machine w/ many parts and each part, including the score, has a place and time in the production process. Not hearing back usually means that it’s not the right time in the production process for the filmmaker to be considering the score or soundtrack. Know that when you send out your email or pitch, it may not get looked at right away or even for a long time. Be prepared for silence and embrace it as part of the filmmaking process. There is a time and place for you to get that response and understanding that is critical to moving forward as a film composer.
  • The other reality is that there is a lot of rejection in this industry. Having been an actor, I can attest to this. Film composers spend many years studying their craft; putting together samples of their work and pitching to many film and TV projects. While Alain has built an incredible career scoring and conducting for some of today’s biggest films, there was a lot of rejection along the way. While there was no one specific “fall apart” moment, there is a question that he asked himself along the way that all artists face at one point or another: “am I going to succeed in this or am I going to be a cautionary tale.” Being a film composer is a highly rewarding career but not an easy one to break into. While many believe a career in the arts is about having “luck,” for Alain’s moving forward journey, it was about the hard work and perseverance in creating his own luck.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Alain has had a passion for music and in particular, film scores, ever since he was a young boy. It, therefore, made sense for him to pursue it as a career. Alain studied composition in university, focusing on piano with a minor in jazz guitar. He followed this with a Masters in composition. At one point, Alain was at a crossroads: he could have pursued a comfortable career path in academia, having paid his dues in the classroom. Alain decided not to pursue this route and opted to be a concert composer. However, Alain’s real passion was working in film. Alain had grown up listening to soundtracks and scores, often recording them from the television so he could listen and study them. The problem was that he didn’t know that this could be a career track much less how to pursue it. The first “aha” moment came when he took two courses offered in school in film composition and from that moment, he knew that this is where his future was. Moreover, Alain wanted to pursue his career on his terms which meant, as he puts it, spending some time in the “woodshed” working on his craft as a composer. So Alain went on internet sites where filmmakers would post and share project needs. Alain also built up connections by talking to professors, mining both the academic halls and the freelance projects that were posted online.  Alain got his first taste of scoring music while working on compositions for short and independent films.
  • By the time he finished his masters, Alain had completed four compositions that were “film moods,” spanning genres from romance to action. Alain also got a group of students together to put together a small ensemble and record film moods for chamber orchestras.
  • As noted above, Alain’s career didn’t come about thru random luck. While some composers stumble into great opportunities via great circumstances and others are great at networking and “schmoozing” at parties, neither describe Alain’s road to success. Instead, he had to come up with his own path to a career in the arts. While trying to break into film, Alain gained experience in concert music; honing his skills as a composer. Alain enjoyed the freedom of composing on his terms and having his music delight listeners. Despite this, he ultimately decided not to continue with it because while he loved the experience of concert composition, his passion kept calling him back to film. Alain loved the entire package of being part of the storytelling process, adding music to the visuals on screen. Having this big “aha” moment of clarity is when things started to shift.
  • A few years prior, Alain had done work on a short film called ‘Say Yes’ with Neil Every, who went on to become one of the writers of ‘The Legend of Silkboy.’ Having worked with Alain on ‘Say Yes’ and appreciated his work, Neil advocated for him to be the composer for this project. At this point, Alain had never worked on anything of this scale. On top of that, ‘The Legend of Silkboy’ was an animated feature and the only experience Alain had, had up until that point was working on an animated short while in school. However, as Alain shares, there was something special about this project. While Alain didn’t have much experience scoring animated projects, he grew up thinking he would become an animator and to this day, he maintains a passion for animated stories. Neil’s advocacy combined with the work that Alain had already produced convinced the director to hire him for ‘Silkboy.’
  • While this in itself is an amazing story, Alain also shares an important point about perseverance in this accomplishment. He not only had never handled a project of this magnitude before but he had his fair share of naysayers. There were people who were not in favor of Alain being the composer for this project. While our own doubts and insecurities can be hard enough to deal with when given a first big break, having external forces against you can sometimes be crippling. This is where we either back away or double down. Alain chose the later. He put together a document proving that he was up to the task, never letting anyone’s doubts derail his desire to do this project. Moreover, Alain got to know the director, having conversations with him about the vision of the film. As a result, the director got to know Alain’s work and as revealed in this interview, was convinced when he listened to one of Alain’s pieces which he said was exactly the type of score he was looking for. So you may be wondering what kept Alain moving forward and on course to his seeing his dream career become a reality?
    • This was Alain’s passion from childhood. While it took a long time to figure it out as a career, at the heart of it, he knew that this is what he wanted to do. This is extremely important, Moving Forward listeners. Anything worth pursuing, whether it’s a rewarding career or business has to be something you believe in because the higher you aim, the more you will face doubters and naysayers. So make sure you are moving forward with something that really lights you up.
    • Alain knew he could do this. Despite never having worked on a project this large before, he had paid his dues, both academically and in the real world; working on various projects that honed his skills. Further, he had proven himself to one of the writers who advocated on his behalf. If you know anything about film or TV, you will know that writers are extremely protective and particular about their projects. It was no small thing for Neil Every to put Alain’s name to the director when it came time to pitch a composer.
  • Having proved himself on ‘Silkboy‘ and by virtue of his work as a composer in residence, Alain saw the doors open and open wide. Alain’s differentiator (or his U.S.P.: unique selling proposition) is that he isn’t simply a “computer composer” but a composer that still loves to work with live orchestras. While ‘Silkboy‘ was a great feather in his cap, it was that combined with his work as a composer in residence that led to his next project, ‘Elysium.’ Alain knew the music editor, Rich Walters, and during post-production, got an opportunity to put his U.S.P. to work. The film’s composer hadn’t done a movie before and they needed an orchestrator to make the score come to life. Because Alain had positioned himself as an orchestrator (as well as a composer), Rich Walters naturally turned to him and Alain delivered, providing a live orchestra for ‘Elysium’s’ soundtrack.
  • And this, of course, has opened new opportunities. When you think about the pieces in Alain’s story: hard work, relationship building and that U.S.P., it’s reminiscent of the stories of some of the successful entrepreneurs we’ve had on Moving Forward. Alain is no different. When you think about it, Alain is not only a great composer and orchestrator, he is someone who has dominated a niche with skills and experiences that many young artists can benefit from. Moreover, Alain shares a great lesson that many of entrepreneurs, including myself, take years to learn. You don’t say yes to every project that comes your way. This is especially necessary for composers. Composition is taxing, both physically and mentally. Saying yes to every project isn’t practical or healthy. Often, projects are priced too low to be worth the time and emotional investment. Instead, Alain has struck a great balance by taking on fewer, more meaningful project that pay better and in between, leveraging his skills and U.S.P. into teaching others composition. Through ScoreClub, Alain has been able to pass on his skills and the nuances of his U.S.P. to help guide and shape the budding film composers of tomorrow. Moreover, Alain is able to use incredible technologies such as online courses, to create solutions that would have benefited him when he was coming into his own as a composer. As Alain shares, this is “sending the elevator back down” via a scalable, evergreen business that allows him to be choosy when it comes to film projects. This is what we call Moving Forward in a big way!

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Alain to move forward:
    • The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky: Alain studied many genres, including jazz and rock, but always felt he wanted to push the limits of each. It was Stravinsky’s piece that made him realize that this was possible and that the “environment was completely open.”
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Google Keep to manage ideas:
      • Alain’s hack is to make it a two-step process: 1) put the idea on a notepad and then 2) organize those ideas into Google Keep at the end of the day.
      • This allows you to quickly jot down the ideas and then organize them later while having them sync across all devices.
  • How Alain recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Reading books on mastering the creative process by pioneers like Edward De Bono. By focusing on building these muscles, Alain finds he doesn’t hit those roadblocks as often – a proactive rather than reactive approach!

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • Alain admits this is a tricky one for him but when it comes down to it, his advice to his past self is simply, “just be you.” The reason is that if you try to follow everyone else’s advice, you will force your way down a path that isn’t your own and will not work. For Alain, his career wasn’t about following other people’s advice or path. It was about creating his own luck by leveraging his gifts, skills, and U.S.P. which evolved from his passion for orchestral music, composition, and storytelling in film. This is the essence of moving forward as an artist: being true to your character and what moves you to create. Finally, Alain advises “be patient” and know that it will work out. Since being an artist and a film composer requires dealing with a lot of silence, this is sage advice that would have saved him a lot of guess work and alleviated some of that early insecurity.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Aim for true excellence.”

Connect with Alain:

 

MF 122 : James Nowlin’s Formula for Success (Hint: “Read the Freakin’ Manual!”)

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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James Nowlin is CEO of Excel Global Partners and author of the hit book, ‘The Purposeful Millionaire.’ Today, James will share how to achieve great success by following a simple rule: “read the freakin’ manual!”

Successes at a glance:

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • James walked away from what on the surface looked like a dream career. He worked hard and succeeded, becoming the first in his family to pursue higher education, get a graduate degree and break through into white collar success. James had the corner office w/ the floor-to-ceiling glass, a secretary and paralegal working for him. He was commanding a six-figure salary at age 26. James was successful but he was not fulfilled. He faced daily torment from a boss who harbored prejudice against James for qualities that had nothing to do w/ his intelligence or work ethic. As you will learn, later on, James walked away and decided to branch out on his own.
  • While walking away from a 6-figure job is bold on its own, imagine doing so during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Soon after James left the corporate world to start his consulting business, the economy bottomed out. As the housing bubble burst, James saw many of his friends lose their homes and several declare bankruptcy. James was “skyhigh” in law school debt and had gotten used to living a 6-figure lifestyle that included a BMW, house and material objects that at the time he thought was necessary to show his success. On top of this, and due to the recession, James had no clients and no income. James wasn’t entrepreneurial bravado, he was scared, laying awake at night, questioning the sanity of his decision. While many might have given up and sought their way back into a corporate job, James wasn’t content to do that.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Let’s go back to the beginning: James has had quite the journey of moving forward. He left his parents’ house at the age of 17 to go to college. The first “aha” or awakening occurred when James saw demonstrations of familial love from his classmates. James had grown up in a fractured environment, replete w/ domestic violence. Seeing and listening to students talking to their parents on the phone, having conversations about money, books, classes and peppered w/ “I love you” statements, gave James great pause. He had never known this growing up. So James decided to start modeling the communication behavior and end conversations w/ “I love you” to his mom. James also started modeling some of the financial decisions he saw fellow students making, especially when it came to investing in their education. Specifically, he saw students asking their parents for money; not to buy things but to audit courses and to learn beyond their majors and standard curricula. These were two very big “aha” moments that permanently set James on a path of self-empowerment, uplift and more authentic communication w/ those who are close to him.
  • Following college, James went to medical school before dropping out to pursue a law degree, which he completed. James became an attorney and was recruited as an associated at a prestigious law firm in Dallas. Sounds like a pretty good success story, right? Actually, this was the precursor to the amazing life that James leads now. Like many young individuals w/ aspirations to do better for themselves, James pursued a professional degree and landed the 6-figure job. The age-old narrative of education then stable corporate job that many of us grew up w/. James was the first in his family to break through into the white collar world. The problem was, the fairy tale career wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. Despite all the trappings of success, James never felt that practicing law in a firm environment was his calling. While James was recognized for his talents and work ethic, his boss let him know in no subtle terms that he was not comfortable working w/ James who is a gay man, of color. James knew that staying in a toxic environment was the wrong choice; one that would ultimately cause him to “self-destruct” or “implode” if he stayed. Moreover, James knew he didn’t deserve this kind of treatment and that he should be judged by his intelligence and the content of his character. James made the decision to walk away.
  • James started his own business, Excel Global Partners, leaving both the firm and the practice of law behind. James made the pivot into business consulting. James’ entrepreneurial goal was to help businesses optimize financial and managerial performance.
  • Although starting a business w/ no clients and no income during the worst recession in recent history was a big setback, James now looks back on it as part of his growth. He is now more financially conservative and doesn’t equate wealth w/ material possessions or toys. He also attributes this difficult period w/ giving him the humility and wisdom to be a better businessman, leader, and person. As James reminds us, it is the tough times that stretch us and test us to our limits.
  • So how did James pivot and create a successful business that has made him a Purposeful Millionaire? James didn’t have a lot of role models growing up but he knew that mentors had the power to shape, guide, and inspire. He sought counsel and it was one particular mentor that taught James a valuable lesson w/ one question: “would you rather be right or would you rather be rich?” While many entrepreneurs see their path as getting away from a boss, James takes a different approach. He sees his clients as his many bosses and as such, he takes the philosophy that he can’t be right all the time (even when he is). In other words, James’ role is to help his clients navigate to the best possible solution and not preach to them what they should or should not be doing. It was upon hearing that advice that gave James a big “aha” moment: he realized that failure is an option and that it’s ok to fall flat on your face sometimes. As James shares “if you risk nothing, you gain nothing.” This has strengthened James’ “courage muscle” to keep executing and to keep trying, even when it doesn’t end up working. This has translated into a mindset hack that James shares when it comes to working w/ clients: don’t tell them what they “need” to hear. Instead, learn what they want and adjust. This means that sometimes when you tell a client what you think is the best solution, they may outright reject it. Instead of stewing or resisting this, James digs deeper to find out what the client wants. When he minimized his ego, James found his business and his happiness expanding. That is James choosing to be rich over right.
  • Today, Excel Global Partners, is a leader in business consulting, serving clients throughout the US and abroad, James has found incredible success and recently published his first book, ‘The Purposeful Millionaire,’ which quickly became a top best-seller.
  • Though his journey hasn’t been an easy one, through it all, James has found himself and his purpose. It all started when James started modeling healthy and empowering behaviors from fellow students in college. This led James to develop habits of self-development, reading books, learning and investing in assets over things. James sums up his 19-year, “overnight” success journey w/ one simple mantra: RTFM (“reading the freakin’ manual”). This allowed James to develop the self-awareness in his identity and dignity: standing up for himself and the conviction that he does not deserve to be treated like a second class citizen; making the brave decision to walk away from a toxic corporate environment. James took a leap of faith and pursued his “divine calling” to be a leader in business and help inspire and empower others. Today, James is living a happy, healthy, wealthy, and purposeful life, filled w/ abundance and joy.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired James to move forward:
    • ‘The Science of Getting Rich’ by Wallace: this book is the source material for many others that followed; framing wealth as a mindset of planting seeds of success and not being held back by limitations. The biggest lesson that James has gotten out of this book is the idea of investing in yourself, staying the course and letting the universe respond favorably.
    • An African Proverb: “When you pray, move your feet.” For James, it starts w/ intention and then taking action.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Join.me: allows James and his team members to share their computer screens. James like it bc it’s fast, reliable and gets the job done!
      • James’ hack: text a link to share a computer screen when talking to someone and you have to describe what you see the screen.
    • 3 minute mindfulness: a mindfulness app that sends daily reminders to breathe and reflect on the day.
  • How James recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • James admits this is a challenge. With a successful business and a highly successful book launch, James has been putting in 16 hour days. This has been taxing w/ fatigue and a strain on his system. Now that the book launch is complete, James is looking forward to getting away, turning off the phone and spending time w/ his partner.
    • James also makes his home his sanctuary, complete w/ soothing sounds, and scents; making it the ideal environment to recharge.
      • Turn off the external, turn on the internal.
      • Meditation hack: still meditation doesn’t work for James so he does his meditation while in motion; during yoga or free body weight exercises. During this time, James is super focused on being intentional w/ his breathing and his thoughts.
      • FLOW philosophy: fulfilling life by optimizing work. Executing the administrative responsibilities as quickly as possible so he can maximize the time he spends on sharing his gift w/ the world.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • “Don’t compete, be unique!” For James, finding himself meant he had to stop chasing after something, whether it was being a lawyer, a doctor or collecting material possessions that we often equate w/ wealth. James grew up w/o healthy or positive models for success. This led James to struggle w/ trying to look successful to eventually figuring out that success wasn’t about the car you drive or the gadgets you have in your home. James only found his purpose when he stopped trying to be someone else and just embraced who he was and the gifts he could offer to others. James took a long journey to become a happy, successful, and healthy, Purposeful Millionaire.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Be Yourself and Diversify as Quickly as Possible!”

Connect with James:

MF 121 : Breaking Old Patterns and Moving Forward into Alignment, with Tara Baldwin

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Tara Baldwin is a certified life coach and founder of Believe Life Coaching. Today, Tara will share how certain patterns hold us back and how we can break them to move forward.

Successes at a glance:

  • Founder, Believe Life Coaching
  • Certified life coach
    • Trained by Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Dr. Joe Dispenza
    • Worked for Tony Robbins for 5 years
  • Speaker, teacher (certified coaching programs)
  • Creator of ‘Rise Sessions’ – 2017 personal growth program
    • 10 wk group coaching sessions

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • For Tara, there was a time when, on the outside, she appeared very successful. During this period, Tara was working for Tony Robbins and at the peak of her coaching career. Tara had 97 clients, was in a relationship and living in a beauty home. On the surface, Tara had it all. The problem was on the inside: her body was telling her that she was burning out. The problem worsened as that she refused to listen and over time, the stress and anxiety took its toll, making her sick. The worst came when Tara ended up in the hospital w/ tubes down her throat. Looking back, Tara reflects that she was being more “reactive” than “proactive;” putting other people’s priorities and needs ahead of hers. At the heart of it, Tara was saying “yes” too much. She was giving, as is her nature, but she wasn’t receiving; she wasn’t prioritizing herself. What drove Tara to say yes at the expense of her own health? Tara shares that behind her saying yes too much was an insecurity that stemmed from childhood. Tara had grown up surrounded by limiting messages about what was or was not possible in life. In her mind, she knew that working w/ 15 clients in a meaningful and impactful way would be more beneficial than working w/ 97 clients and spreading herself too thin. But this lingering voice inside of her head made her doubt whether she could be as successful or survive if she said no. Thus, she said yes to everything which came at a high cost.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Tara has been a lifelong student of what she calls her “stuff,” trying to better herself. Her regimen included listening to libraries of tapes and soaking up as much as she could from personal growth coaches like Tony Robbins, for whom Tara ended up working for 5 years, before branching out into her own life coach practice. At the core of it, Tara’s motivation has been to “break family patterns.” While many family legacies are ones we proudly carry on into the future, sometimes those legacies include pain and heartache. Tara made the decision not to carry forward that particular legacy.
  • Over time, Tara made the change in her life and that’s when the “aha” moment hit that she could use her experiences of making those changes and help others make similar breakthroughs.
  • A key revelation that Tara shares on this episode is that many of our decisions and mistakes are borne out of family patterns. Tara highlights a big example: lack of money. Tara explains that many people who grow up in poverty never escape it, in part because they are stuck in a pattern where lack of money is a constant, non-negotiable reality that is permanent. If that is your environment from a young age, it conditions a belief system which becomes more and more ingrained as we get older. This belief system may cause you to stay in dead-end jobs or never seek better opportunities bc you have it programmed into you that lack of money is permanent w/ no hope for change.
  • Tara fleshes this out further. Citing Tony Robbins, she shares that we all have certain basic needs: be it love, connection, significance, etc. That’s common to all of us. To meet these needs, we employ “vehicles,” some which are very empowering (e.g. yoga) and some which are very disempowering (e.g. joining a gang). The key to breaking old patterns is not resisting the need, as they are inherent and essential to all of us, but altering the vehicle to achieve those needs. Further, Tara shares that new science and technology enable us to rewire our brains to further break old, disempowering patterns.
  • The final pattern break came at the hospital. As discussed above, Tara still had some lingering doubts about whether she could be successful working w/ fewer clients. She had fallen into a pattern of saying “yes” too often, at the expense of her own health. While in the hospital w/ a tube down her throat, Tara had no choice but to spend time w/ herself. She reconnected with her inner voice, the one she had been all but ignoring; resulting her in being put into the hospital in the first place. Tara embraced being still and learned how to love herself first and fully.
  • Moving Forward listeners, what are you chasing? Are you saying yes too often? Many of us, myself included, have been guilty of this at one point or another. Usually, saying yes too often is the result of an insecurity in our own ability to be successful if we say no, even knowing deep down it’s for our own (and our clients’) benefit. Tara’s story reminds us that sometimes to move forward, we have to trust in inner compass to make decisions, even if that means saying no, that will benefit us spiritually, physically and in our careers and businesses.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Daily rituals: work the muscle of your brain. Change your energy / vibration, change your life!
    • Tara’s hack: record your aha moments, your affirmations on your phone and listen back to them while doing things like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. This a simple, time-efficient way can help set the right vibration by making you proactive rather than reactive in your day.
  • How Tara recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing.
    • Mid-day check-ins.
    • Take a nature walk.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • Tara would tell her past self: love yourself first and make the connection w/ yourself the most important one for the day. Make time for and prioritize those daily check-ins to ensure you are aligned w/ your inner voice. Finally, be proactive rather than reactive. By taking care of yourself first, you will be able to better serve you, your business, and your clients.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “You create your experience.”

Connect with Tara:

MF 120 : Write Your First Book and Move Forward, with Monica Miller

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Monica Miller is an experienced writing coach, working with businesses, entrepreneurs and new authors. Learn how you can write your first book and move forward!

Successes at a glance:

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • As you’ll learn from Monica’s story below, her life has been as intriguing as a novel w/ many exotic locations and plot developments. When it comes to setbacks, Monica shares a hearty laugh; proclaiming that as an entrepreneur “you have them about once a week!” But a particular one that stands out for Monica occurred in 2015. Monica was just starting out as an entrepreneur. During that first phase, she and her husband were struggling financially; to the point where he suggested she find a job. This set off an alarm bell as Monica knew she didn’t want to go to a standard 9-5 life. However, Monica knew that this meant she would either have to grow her business or follow her husband’s suggestion. Shortly after, she put on her first paid workshop w/ 10 people. At the very end, Monica presented her offer and to her dismay, no one bought her service. Monica went home and cried. Imagine, you’re brave and bold enough to strike out on your own but you have debt hanging over you. You make your first pitch to a room w/ 10 prospective buyers and don’t land a single sale. At that point, many of us would probably give up, throw in the towel, and get a job. Not Monica. While she ended up getting a part-time job to help make ends meet, she didn’t let go of her dream …

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Before we get to the major shift in Monica’s mindset and entrepreneurial trajectory, let’s step back and take a look at her early life. As far as she can remember, writing has been a constant part of Monica’s life. The foundation came from a homeschool education and her mom who early on, gave her a curriculum that taught how to write a book w/in a school year. Monica notes a certain irony as her parents were far from creative; having strengths more on the math and accounting side. Yet, both Monica and her sister were bitten by the writing bug. As a teenager, Monica wrote a number of books that as she shares “will probably never see the light of day” due to some “copyright issues!” But the experience of immersing herself in writing at an early age provided the framework for her later work as an author and writing coach. The effort paid off as Monica published her first book, The Cave Nemesis, at age 19.
  • As Monica went to college, she pursued a professional writing degree. However, Monica shares that the regimen of reading textbooks and writing numerous papers “killed” a lot of her creativity. Quite the opposite of nurturing her love of writing, being a professional writing major turned off Monica from writing and reading for a long time!
  • Monica got married at 22 and soon after, her husband was stationed at Ramstein Air Force base in Germany where she moved w/ him. A year after settling there, Monica started writing human interest articles for the base newspaper. As Monica was interviewing guests and putting their stories to paper, she fell back in love w/ writing. That’s when Monica’s first “aha moment” came to her. She realized she wanted to start her own business.
  • After spending a couple years in Germany, Monica and her husband moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 2014, Monica launched her first business as a freelance writer. Interestingly, Monica soon discovered that writing for others didn’t always fit her style and unique voice. That’s when Monica made a pivot and decided she would be more adept at coaching others to tell their stories thru their own voices. However, as you learned above, her first workshop didn’t provide an easy start.
  • So what happened when she had to land a part-time job after she couldn’t make any sales at her workshop? What she couldn’t change were the results of that first event. But, what Monica could change was something far more important: her mindset. While she initially saw that workshop as a “failure;” one that caused a lot of tears, there was another way to look at it that she didn’t realize at the time. She had 10 people in the room. That in itself was an accomplishment! Looking back, Monica has flipped the script on that first event. Rather, than see it as the end of her entrepreneurial journey, it was just the beginning.
  • Since then, Monica has been on an incredible growth streak which has led to a series of great “aha” moments which are also great knowledge bursts for you, Moving Forward listeners:
    • Your content strategy should match your marketing strategy
    • And what is content strategy? Monica defines it by looking at several key questions:
      • What is your content saying?
      • What “job” are you giving your content? Is it to lead your readers to your product, service or a webinar to learn more? In other words how does your content turn readers or visitors into sales leads?

Knowledge bursts for writing:

  • Mindset hack for getting your first book done:
    • Know this: out of 7 billion people in this world, you are the only one who can write your book! Monica picks apart every excuse not to write a book by reminding us that no matter how many people have written on your topic, no one has written it the way you can write or say it. In other words, you have a unique point of view and a unique voice. Don’t deprive the readers who will benefit from your voice by not getting that first book out there!
  • Time management practice to carve out the time to write and finish your first book:
    • Write 10-15 minutes a day, 2-3 days a week. That’s it. Don’t make writing a big daunting task. If you chunk it into small time frames; even a few times a week, you can write your first book. The beauty is that you can allow additional time if the inspiration hits you but only have to write 10-15 minutes on those days where you may not be feeling as inspired or high energy. This practice is how Monica managed to write two books in 90-days!
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack for writing:
    • Google Keep: if you come up w/ an idea, use this as an ideal journal and have it sync to all of your devices.
    • 90-day calendar for planning your marketing and content strategy. Why 90 days? Monica shares that it’s the “sweet spot” of a time for goal setting. It’s not as intimidating as 1-year but more ambitious than a week or month. Use it to map out a big goal you want to accomplish. For example: say you want to launch a course or a webinar. Use the calendar to map out the activities and the content you have to create that will build towards that goal.
      • Monica adds this productivity hack: do a quarterly check-in to see if you are staying on task. Gather and implement lessons and takeaways into the next 90-day calendar!

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • Monica advises that being an entrepreneur is a journey and journeys are processes. The value of going thru these processes is that you will discover who you are and your purpose, even (and especially) during those difficult times. Following that first workshop, Monica would tell her past self that it’s ok, you are on a long journey and a road to meet people who will know other people that will become power partners or will help you along your journey. Go thru each process, take your time and get ready for the next one. Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. For Monica, that first workshop was a win. She just didn’t realize it at the time. Many of her friends commented they were impressed she got 10 people in a room to hear the pitch! Moreover, just by doing that first event, Monica had accomplished something that many people wouldn’t even attempt to try. This is what it’s is all about: the big and small victories that move us forward.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Celebrate your wins!”

Connect with Monica:

MF 119 : How Kelly Bonanno Became a “Savvy Girl” Entrepreneur

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Kelly Bonanno is an entrepreneur and coach, focusing on organic beauty, wellness, and eco-friendly products. Today, Kelly will share how blogging allowed her to build a business, combining two passions.

Successes at a glance:

  • Founder, Kelly Bonanno
  • Voiceover artist
    • Commercials, promos, internet audio, computer software & tutorials, educational videos & CDs, corporate training videos, audio books, telephone on-hold productions, travelogues
  • Former Freelance Writer / Reporter / Anchor for the City of Santa Monica
  • Worked at CBS, starting out as a PA and eventually became head of a division of on-air promotions

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • For Kelly, a difficult moment was leaving CBS when she became a first-time mom. Kelly loved her job and her career path was constantly looking upward. As you will discover in the next section, Kelly started as a PA and worked her way to eventually running an entire department. However, the hours were long and very demanding: not conducive to the lifestyle of being a new parent. Further, while Kelly loves being a mom, she isn’t content to just be a stay-at-home mom. Kelly shares that the transition was a lonely one. Kelly, a true people person, found herself a bit isolated since most of her cohort were not having kids at the time. Kelly had also just recently lost her mom, making the transition even harder. On top of that, Kelly’s side gig in voiceover work came to a halt just as it was starting to really gain traction. The agency that represented her had closed its doors and finding new representation proved to be difficult. While a voiceover career is in many ways an ideal career for a new mom, Kelly recognizes that it wasn’t meant to be and doesn’t look back w/ any sadness or regrets.
  • Kelly is the very definition of resilience and optimism. Despite having a difficult transition out of the world of television broadcasting, she knew this was temporary and that she would find both her tribe and her big “aha” moment. At her core, she has always wanted to educate and share w/ an audience the knowledge and experiences she has garnered in making good healthy choices.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Kelly calls herself the “accidental environmentalist” and attributes her devotion to healthy living on the model her parents provided for her. Kelly also resisting the Hollywood-LA narrative that focused solely on superficial beauty. During her teen years, Kelly decided not to fall victim to that prescription; instead adopting a “beauty comes from within” mindset.
  • In terms of her career path, Kelly started out wanting to be a journalist. Speaking w/ Kelly, the one quality that stands out is this innate curiosity about the world and the choices we make as consumers w/ respect to our lifestyles. Combined w/ her love of storytelling and writing, it made sense that she would be drawn to journalism. Specifically, Kelly aspired to be a correspondent on a show like 60 Minutes or Dateline NBC. This spark developed as Kelly studied journalism in school and then got her first job w/ CBS. Although her first foray into broadcast television was w/ CBS’s entertainment division, she saw it as an important stepping stone towards news and television correspondence. Kelly started out as a PA and had a great 10-year run which culminated into her running an on-air promotions department.
  • The first major crossroads or pivot came when Kelly had her first son. At that point, the long hours at CBS weren’t as appealing, given the life change that had just occurred. However, Kelly is a self-described “doer.” While being a mom is a huge part of her life, she also has this lifelong drive to be vocational and entrepreneurial. What’s great about Kelly is that she has done many things to broaden her skillsets that have contributed to her personal and business growth. In addition to working for CBS, she’s also done voiceover work as well as reporting and anchoring for the City of Santa Monica. If her voice sounds familiar, it’s likely you’ve heard Kelly on a commercial, audio book, or corporate training video! Kelly also did freelance writing for blogs and publications which eventually led to a big “aha.”
  • As Kelly was writing for blogs and magazines, she decided why not start one of her own. During this time, Kelly was pregnant w/ her second son and unbeknownst to her, she somehow ended up on an email list for Dan Jacobson, a California environmental legislator. Dan’s stance against BPA, phthalates and the toxic chemicals in consumer plastics, intrigued Kelly. As she did some extensive research on her own, Kelly came to a shocking discovery. Many of these chemicals were in the products that she was using for her first son, then 3 years old; hitting very close to home. While nowadays, consumer awareness over toxic chemicals like BPA is fairly high, back then it was not a well-known issue. Kelly became a trailblazer, taking up this cause that affected her personally and other parents alike. Consider that, over the years, Kelly honed her skills as a journalist and a writer. Although the theme of her jobs at CBS and elsewhere were in various fields ranging from entertainment to local news, she kept her internal focus on healthy lifestyles and choices. This eventually led her to become what she describes, an “accidental environmentalist” and this is where Kelly’s story takes an incredible turn w/ a big “aha” revelation.
  • As Kelly wrote on health topics, her awareness grew on larger, global health concerns, including the toxins and hazards in everyday consumer products. This passion evolved into Kelly taking on a more consumer-educational route, teaching individuals how to make smart choices. Kelly’s newfound passion further evolved to reach more people as she started partnering w/ an organic skincare company, doing presentations and spreading the word. Speaking w/ Kelly on her journey, it’s almost as if you’re listening to a gardener planting a beautiful tree. Starting w/ a seedling which was her passion, her writing and speaking blossomed into learning, educating, and eventually coaching individuals on wellness and healthy, eco-friendly consumer choices. I should also mention that Kelly has a unique coaching style. While adamant about her stance on eco-friendly products, she doesn’t mandate a militant, all or nothing approach. Rather, she employs a personalized, client-centric / sensitive model. For example, a client may want to continue using eyeshadow that may not be eco-friendly but is open to making healthier choices in their skincare products or lipstick. Kelly’s role is to help guide that person in making those choices. It’s a layered, personalized approach that both educates but also empowers her clients in their decision making. Kelly likens this to a person who maintains a balance in their diet: eating healthy whiling indulge in an occasional glass of wine or a slice of pizza.
  • By taking the step of creating her blog, Kelly was able to combine two passions: creating a forum to communicate and cementing her as an expert in health, wellness, and eco-friendly living. Moreover, Kelly helped bring awareness to important issues that back then were not widely talked about. These efforts have paved the way for companies to reduce and/or eliminate toxins from their products while increasing consumer awareness. At the heart of Kelly’s story is this ever-lasting “knowing.” From a young age, Kelly had this inner voice telling her that she would make an impact; sharing her knowledge w/ an audience. She may not have known at the time that this is how her career path would unfold or the pivots and pathways that it would take, but one thing is for sure: Kelly has lived her life w/ a mindset of moving forward.
  • The other big piece to Kelly’s story is that she is her own media. In the early part of her career, Kelly sought to be a journalist by working for a network. But as Kelly reminds us, in the age of YouTube, blogging, and podcasts, you can create the channels to get the message out there. This is an exciting time to be sharing your gifts and as Kelly’s story reveals, it can lead you to great things.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Kelly to move forward:
    • Raquel Welch’s book on health and wellness: Kelly’s parents gave this to her as a teenager and it inspired Kelly to make healthier choices in her diet while introducing her to yoga.
    • Erin Brockovich: this movie’s story about the famous PG&E toxic tort case further instilled and inspired Kelly’s mission to educate consumers on toxins.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Environmental Working Group (EWG): they do great work on educating consumers on health and beauty products.
      • Skin Deep®: an app and platform created by EWG that rates and reviews otc beauty products by chemical makeup and ingredients.
  • How Kelly recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Take a break w/ down time. Kelly’s daily routine includes meditation, exercise, and prayer to help reset. Kelly admits it’s a time crunch being an entrepreneur and a mom but shares that even if you can do a few minutes of a power walk or meditation, it will help you move forward!
    • Spend quality time w/ friends and family.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • You create your own happiness. Gratitude is the gateway to everything and you should know that you are only as happy as you make your mind up to be. Happiness is a choice. The universe brings you what you are, not what you want.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “You become your thoughts.”

Connect with Kelly:

MF 118 : How Marc Guberti Became an Author and Digital Marketing Expert While In His Teens

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Marc Guberti is an entrepreneur, blogger, author and digital marketing strategist. Today, Marc will share the mindset it takes to create content that impacts and moves forward.

 

 

 

Successes at a glance:

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • Marc hasn’t yet hit the kind of failures or “fall apart” moments that many entrepreneurs face. He’s definitely had his share of setbacks though, whether it’s a website server problem or some other “train wreck” w/ technology. Dealing w/ these have definitely prepared him for the some of bigger challenges ahead. And he will face those. Not bc of bad luck but bc Marc is the type of person who doesn’t play safe. He has great ambition and aspires to be more than the standard 9-5, M-F kind of person. As he starts new ventures and continues building on what he has already established, he will no doubt face many obstacles and challenges. But what’s different is that he will look at them thru a different lens than most people have. He has already developed the resilience and can-do attitude that will carry him thru, no matter what curve balls life throws at him. And not just bc he’s a die hard baseball fan either! Marc shares this wisdom: “you have to move forward regardless … no matter how difficult something is, you make it as difficult or as easy as you want it to be.” May we all take a page from Marc’s book and see setbacks as part of the journey and something we can all move forward from.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Marc started blogging at age 11 on a topic that he’s really passionate about: being a Boston Red Sox fan and a New Yorker (wrap your mind around that one!). So at the outset, Marc had a really special niche. This gave Marc a forum in which he could connect and communicate w/ other Red Sox fans. From there, Marc cultivated a love of blogging which eventually led to his using social media to promote his work. From there, Marc found a passion for social media which combined w/ his love of blogging led to him exploring digital marketing.
  • What stands out about Marc isn’t simply that he’s written 12 books or has 300k followers, all really impressive feats on their own. What you hear in his voice and in his story is this innate curiosity and drive to learn. A “spur of the moment idea” is one thing but to execute on it, that’s what makes Marc different. He didn’t just ruminate or talk himself out of trying, he did it. And it was this curiosity that drove Marc to become an expert at digital marketing. Marc’s hobby became something more when he got into the Squidoo platform (now HubPages). Marc created more and more content and started getting paid for it. The big picture became clear: Marc was not just providing content, he was providing value to his readers. This led to the next major “aha moment.”
  • As Marc had accumulated all of this valuable knowledge, he could continue sharing it all thru his blogs or he could turn his hobby into something more and generate revenue. After all, knowledge and learning are an investment and in Marc’s case, he had put so much into that investment, it only made sense to see some ROI. Marc decided to take his love of writing to the next level and write his first book. As Marc shares, that first book took a really long time. Think about this for a moment. According to several polls, including one cited in a New York Times Op-Ed from Joseph Epstein, over 80% of Americans feel they have a book to write but very few ever do. Most people treat the thought as a daunting, pie in the sky, aspiration that they will never achieve. But not Marc. Despite having some doubts about whether he could, he did it. While writing a book before having a driver’s license is quite an accomplishment in and of itself, Marc didn’t stop there. Hitting the publish button on that first book only fed a desire to write more. So he did. As of the recording of this interview, Marc has written and published 12 books. 12. Let that number sink in for a minute. Moreover, Marc has tackled topics that businesses are still trying to get a handle on; such as how best to use platforms like Twitter to engage w/ customers. But Marc didn’t stop there.
  • The next endeavor was to launch a podcast. As w/ his first book, Marc wasn’t sure if he could or should do it. Marc had tried twice to launch a podcast but it never went beyond the ideation stage. Marc candidly shares that he had a self-imposed barrier to launching a show. It wasn’t until the third time that he actually did it. This time, he had more than simply his own desire at stake. Marc had sent emails to five potentials guests, before even knowing how to do a podcast. As fate would have it, several replied yes and all of a sudden, he had booked and recorded several interviews. He now had a responsibility to make sure his guests’ time sharing their knowledge was shared w/ an audience. Once again, Marc hustled to figure out the “how” and he pulled it off w/ aplomb. Since launching Breakthrough Success, Marc has interviewed such luminaries as Seth Godin, Aaron Walker and more. Just imagine if he hadn’t hit that publish button.
  • Moving Forward listeners, Marc is 19 years old. He has accomplished more than many people twice his age even dare to dream of. He didn’t let anything hold him back. Most of us take years to get to the mindset of doing. We have to declutter our brains from all of the hangups, doubts and imposter syndrome that we gather over the years and store like attic junk. But not Marc. He didn’t let anything hold him back. He moved forward simply by using his mind and a drive to see his ideas come to fruition. Ideas and daydreams are a dime a dozen. It’s what you do w/ them that counts. I know many people who say they will launch a podcast, write a book or have written one but have never hit that publish button. If you’ve got the idea but haven’t shared it w/ the world, what is holding you back? Marc will no doubt go on to do amazing things in his 20s, 30s and beyond. It is my hope that you will be inspired by his story to stop talking yourself out of executing on your ideas and start moving forward.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Marc to move forward:
    • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: a favorite of many entrepreneurs and thought leaders.
    • The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy: this book instilled the idea that all the little things you do, that seem unnoticeable, add up. So for example: if you spend 15 minutes a day writing (whether it’s a blog or show notes), that’s two hours a week which accumulates to 60 hours a month and beyond.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Hootsuite: makes scheduling social media posts easier. Marc’s advice: Don’t get too distracted by the trending topics on Twitter and other platforms. Instead, use Hootsuite to set up multiple streams and use the dashboard to reply to messages w/o all of the noise and distractions.
  • How Marc recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • 20-minute nap to recharge: just enough to get refreshed but not too much to mess up your sleep cycle.
    • Dedicate one day of the week to do nothing but read books:

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • In life, bad things will happen but there are sometimes good and unexpected gifts that can come out of those situations. Marc shares that he was cut from soccer in high school. Instead of moping, Marc took up cross-country running to improve so he could try again in his sophomore year. Instead, he discovered that he loved cross-country so much that he ended up doing it all thru high school and is continuing w/ it in college.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Always chase your dreams.”

Connect with Marc:

MF 117.5 : How Deborah Olalere Created an Opportunity to Move Forward in a Big Way

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Deborah Olalere is a 19 year old student at UNLV. Learn how she created an opportunity to intern for one of today’s biggest social media influencers and branding strategists through Twitter.

 

Who is Deborah Olalere and Why Should You Care? (and Yes, You Should!):

  • Deborah Olalere isn’t an influencer or entrepreneur (yet). She’s a 19 year old student at UNLV and like many college students, she is thinking about her summer plans. If you’re a college student reading this, you may have lined up a summer internship or job (congrats!) or you may be wondering what the heck you’re going to do. Perhaps, you’ve trekked down to career services and flipped thru a bunch of books or blindly sent out a bunch of pdf applications: hoping, just hoping, one will land. Not Deborah. She took a risk. She reached out to one of the biggest social media influencers and branding experts today, Leonard Kim. Leonard has been featured in numerous publications including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur and more. He has 12M+ readers of his content and 400k+ followers on Twitter. He’s also about to give his first TEDx talk later this month on a subject he’s an expert at: greatness. Leonard is a phenom and companies and entrepreneurs everywhere seek his advice to boost their brands on social media. For many, he might be seen as the type of guy you would follow on Twitter but admire from a distance. Deborah admires Leonard too but wanted something more: an opportunity to learn. Out of the hundreds of thousands of followers, Deborah reached out to Leonard w/ a bold, audacious request: an internship. Deborah wants to be a CEO one day. She’s currently majoring in political science w/ a minor in marketing. So learning from Leonard will help put her on the c-suite career track, no doubt. But here’s the funny part. Leonard wasn’t advertising an internship. You might think game over, thanks for playing. Not so. Deborah used a rather brilliant way to engage Leonard. She asked a question. Not just any question but one that offered potential value. She asked him how many RT (retweets) it would take for him to give her an internship. She negotiated a number and not a modest one too: 2000. I had to ask her again on the episode to repeat it just so it was crystal clear. Not 20, not 200, 2000. And she pulled it off. She put a lot of hustle, grit, determination and applied skills on social media to get 2000 RTs within a very short period of time. Out of all of his many followers, Deborah stood out because she offered and delivered value. This impressed Leonard enough to create an internship when one previously didn’t exist. Think about it. If Deborah had sent him a resume or an email, all she probably would have gotten is a polite “no, thank you.” This isn’t because Leonard is rude or uncaring but bc he is inundated w/ thousands of messages on every social media platform. Every day, almost every hour he gets pinged by businesses, entrepreneurs, publications and countless people who are looking to become more visible on social media. If Leonard spent his time carefully vetting every polite email and PDF that came his way, he would have time for nothing else! Deborah cut to the chase, got his attention and delivered. Leonard saw the potential and the value she offered and that made all the difference in the world. She now has an opportunity to learn more than she could ever imagine. Learning from someone like Leonard is a dream opportunity. But if she hadn’t taken the bold steps of reaching out, offering value and delivering it, it would have stayed a dream.

Top Tips for Creating Opportunities on Social Media:

  • Be ambitious and aim high. Deborah was inspired by the #nuggsforcarter campaign in which Carter Wilkerson asked Wendy’s how many RTs he’d need to get to earn a year of free chicken nuggets. The bar was set at 18M. Carter reached 3.42M RT’s which was enough to impress Wendy’s to not only give him the year of free nuggets but donate $100k to the Dave Thomas Foundation in Adoption on his behalf. Along the way, Carter caught the attention of companies like Microsoft and Google who participated in helping Carter w/ his goal. Carter also picked up 100k+ twitter followers along the way. Similarly, Deborah set an ambitious goal and delivered it quickly.
  • Be presentDeborah shares this great tidbit. Whatever social media platform you’re on, whether it’s IG, Twitter, FB, be present. This is huge. Too often, social media is seen as a passive game of likes. A person of Leonard’s accomplishments and stature has hundreds of thousands of followers. To stand out, you have to do more than simply follow. You have to engage and that’s what Deborah did.
  • Don’t be afraid to market yourself. Deborah reached out to Leonard w/ a goal: she wanted to become his intern. Behind that goal is a recognition that 1) Leonard is a highly successful branding expert, influencer and social media strategist, and 2) Deborah’s own ambitions are extremely high: she wants to be a CEO of a major company one day. Deborah is still a student but she recognizes that social media is about branding yourself. Deborah used Twitter to market herself and create a connection which developed into a relationship. This led to an opportunity for her where none existed before.

Parting Wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Just Do It!” [quoting Nike]

Closing Thoughts:

  • Since making that strong first impression on Leonard, other great opportunities have come into Deborah’s life. In just a week, she has been interviewed by The Huffington Post, on KUCI FM radio w/ Ryan Foland and due in no small part to Leonard’s recommendation, on this podcast. By taking a chance on Twitter and delivering value, she is laying the groundwork for her future and not leaving it to chance. But this story isn’t over yet. It’s just the beginning. Deborah made an impression and got her foot in the door. What she does w/ this opportunity, to build on it, is in her hands. A few days ago, Leonard mentioned to me that she has hit the ground running and is working on a project for him. He’s given her a substantial amount of responsibility and with that responsibility, he’s providing honest feedback and that includes letting her know when something needs to be redone. Taking critical feedback isn’t always easy but I hope Deborah sees what an incredible mentor Leonard is. He’s teaching her the high standards that he sets for himself and those around him. Leonard has achieved greatness and demands it from everyone on his team, from his business partner to his intern. If Deborah can continue putting in the same heart and effort each and every day, taking the feedback as opportunities to grow and learn, she will go very, very far. Leonard is teaching her greatness. I’m excited to see what’s next for Deborah as she continues to move forward.

Moving Forward Book Recommendations on Social Media:

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Connect with Deborah:

Connect with Leonard:

 

 

MF 117 : Being a “Two Feet Forward Kind of Jumper,” with Geoff Blake

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Geoff Blake is co-founder and executive director of MissionFit, a non-profit organization providing free fitness classes to Baltimore’s inner city youth. Today, Geoff will share his philosophy of being a “two-feet forward” jumper to move forward.

Successes at a glance:

  • Co-founder, MissionFit:
    • a non-profit organization providing free fitness classes to Baltimore’s inner city youth
  • Crossfit certified: Level 1, Strongman, Kettlebell
  • The Brand X method certified, Ido Portal method trainee

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • Whatever most of us might imagine as rock bottom, it probably doesn’t come close to what Geoff has experienced and survived through in his life. Geoff is a recovering addict: he turned to drugs at an early age as a way of coping w/ some of the rough experiences from his childhood. Geoff is also no stranger to loss; having watched people around him die, including the devastating loss of his father at a young age. On top of that, and Just prior to losing his father; after visiting him at the hospital, Geoff lost his house and all of his belongings from a fire caused by lightning. This caused a downward spiral that took Geoff to the pits of despair.
  • Geoff describes his rock bottom moment as a time when he lost everything; to the point where he felt he had nothing left to lose. Let that sink in for a moment.
  • You might think that this was the end. Tragic story, tragic ending. Not so. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that Geoff describes this as “falling apart in the best way.”

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Geoff has had many ups and downs in his life. But one thing that stands out is his philosophy of “two feet forward,” meaning you don’t let the ‘how will I do this’ stand in your way of getting started doing something. The flipside to this is that while Geoff has experienced a rock bottom most of us will never experience (or can even imagine), Geoff has a resiliency that is also unmatched. As Geoff shares, the reason why his rock bottom was “falling apart in the best way” is bc he didn’t spend much time there.
  • The first major pivot was a definable, specific moment for Geoff. He was laying on a couch, looking out the window at the clouds. This put in Geoff’s mind the idea of what heaven is and must be like. This led Geoff to wonder how his Dad in heaven might feel looking down upon him. Something about that scenario, that moment, moved Geoff in a way that nothing else ever had. Knowing that his Dad would feel disappointed that Geoff had given up on life filled him w/ an incredible sadness, almost as if he could feel his Dad’s emotions. That was the moment that got Geoff moving, literally and figuratively, bringing him into alignment w/ his why. That big why was being a son that his father could be proud of. Geoff quit drugs cold turkey and made a fresh start. First, Geoff got into music thru a good friend, Jordan Goodman, whose encouragement helped him find a creative, healthy outlet. Before he knew it, Geoff was touring w/ bands, playing bass guitar.
  • The next major pivot came when Geoff “leapt two feet” forward into the world of fitness and personal training. Geoff met a club owner in Baltimore who was also a Krav Maga instructor. Although hesitant to immerse himself in a martial art that would risk his fingers, while touring as a musician, Geoff gave it a try and fell in love with it. This led to Geoff’s next iteration, out of music and into personal training.
  • The next major pivot came almost two years ago. Almost mirroring his own tumultuous journey, Geoff watched along w/ the rest of the nation, in horror as the city of Baltimore was engulfed in riots and fire over the death of Freddie Gray. As Geoff shares, it was a feeling of a “dark cloud” w/ a lot of uncertainty looming overhead. Like many of us, Geoff asked himself what could he, as an individual do. A daunting question w/ no easy answers. But for Geoff, it started w/ looking at what he was doing at the time. He was a trainer at a cross-fit gym, having built up a great career in personal fitness. It was then that Geoff realized that’s where the answer to the question was. Geoff decided he could give back utilizing his gifts and talents as a fitness expert.
  • This is where the “two feet forward” philosophy comes into play in a big way. Geoff decided open a gym but not just any kind. This one had at its core the mission of giving back by providing free classes to Baltimore’s inner city youth. To do this, Geoff had to think different. Geoff had built up a lot of success as a personal trainer and in the for-profit world. But this was a whole different ballgame. To accomplish his goal of giving back, Geoff had to pivot into an entirely new and unfamiliar world. As it happens, life sometimes has a way of bringing the right people into ours live at the right time. Geoff’s friend Wendy, who also worked at the same gym he did, was at a “midlife crisis” point. Like Geoff, she wanted to give back and not just be in it for herself. Wendy and Geoff got into a long discussion w/ her suggesting that they start a non-profit. Keep in mind, Geoff knew nothing about non-profits. While many of us would hesitate, hem and haw, Geoff didn’t blink an eye. His “two feet forward” instinct kicked in and he decided take that proverbial leap. Thus, MissionFit was born.
  • For Geoff, this has been the story behind every decision he’s ever made. Geoff doesn’t let the how or what if’s hold him back. Instead, Geoff decides he’s going to do something and then does it. Where does this come from? As you read above, Geoff has hit the lowest of the low. After surviving that, the typical fears and hesitations that we have when it comes to starting a business or non-profit venture, just don’t apply in Geoff’s case.
  • Moving Forward listeners what is your big why? Many of us are held back from aligning ourselves w/ our big why bc we’re afraid of what will happen if we take that leap. Take a page from Geoff’s book, one filled w/ the kind of loss and tragedy that you will only experience reading this blog. Even if things completely fall apart in the way you define them, you can bounce back, you can pivot and make it your best “falling apart moment.” Geoff did so, defying all of the odds. He did so bc he knew his big why: being a son his Dad could be proud of. That’s all it took. This is what has kept him resilient and moving forward.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Geoff to move forward:
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Headspace: the simplicity of breaking down meditation into 10 minute digestible chunks. This one I also highly recommend and wrote about for Johns’ Hopkins Business School’s Blog.
    • Podcasts: Geoff is a self-described relentless self-learner and shares that this is an incredible, free resource.
      • Geoff’s hack: listen at 1.5x speed to save time w/o losing out on any of the valuable content.
  • How Geoff recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Go outside and enjoy nature. Taking a walk is the “absolute reset” that Geoff needs to recharge. Not only that, it’s free!
      • Geoff recommends taking those walks w/o the phone or devices. Get away from the tech for just a few minutes to immerse yourself in the experience.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • Be kind to me (yourself). You don’t get any better if you’re harsh or judgemental to yourself. Take one step forward.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Give their [your] gift.”

Connect with Geoff:

MF 116 : Creating the Mindset for Moving Forward, with Regan Hillyer

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Regan Hillyer is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and coach. Today, Regan will share why strategy is meaningless without the psychology and mindset to move forward.

Successes at a glance:

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • All great stories have large crisis moments and Regan’s is no exception. As you’ll discover in Regan’s “aha” journey below, she went thru several transitions w/ her business. At one point, she was doing a lot of 1-1 coaching, speaking, and training; building it to a $1M a year business in NZ and AUS. On the surface, everything looked fantastic: she was showered w/ praise from friends and loved ones but something was off. This uneasy feeling continued to grow and finally surfaced at a live event w/ 30 people, just as Regan was getting ready to go on stage. The attendees had paid thousands to attend and Regan was poised to make quite a bit of money. But something inside her kept telling her not to go on stage. At first, she couldn’t figure out why there was this internal resistance; it wasn’t until she had a heart-to-heart w/ herself that she realized that the business wasn’t truly aligned w/ her purpose. Moreover, part of Regan’s lifestyle goal was to travel the world and this business model ran counter to that, forcing her to always be in a location that was dictated by the live events. Add to this, the limited capacity of physical-live events. There was a ceiling on scalability and growth which Regan had already hit.
  • As w/ last wk’s guest, Yigal Adato, you are seeing an example of a setback that occurred during a time when on the surface, everything looks like a success. The point being that moving forward isn’t simply about making a lot of money. That’s important and for Regan, it’s a critical goal. BUT the alignment of purpose w/in the engine that gets you to that goal is equally critical. Consider that Regan had broken away from the traditional 9-5 path and was making a 7-figure income as an entrepreneur. Many of us would compromise a lot for that kind of success. But what Regan’s story illustrates is that alignment isn’t just financial gain, it’s about the 360 of your life and the vision of how you want to live your life. Regan did a very bold thing: she shut down the business and started from scratch.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • In speaking w/ Regan, the word that comes to mind is “journey” and as she shares, she’s been on quite an extraordinary one. Regan grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, raised in a family that believed in education. Regan started out on the traditional path: she worked hard, studied in school and went on to university. Later, she studied architecture and was on her way to a 9-5, M-F career; she was following the “system.” But somewhere along the way, Regan realized that this path wasn’t for her. This was her first “aha” moment. Regan knew there were so many other possibilities out there and that she could do and be more but as w/ all big realizations, she had no idea where to begin.
  • As if upgrading to a new operating system, Regan pivoted from architecture to personal development. Although she was just starting out and quite young, Regan already had a grand vision that matched her larger than life personality: to find her purpose. She had already decided that the traditional narrative wasn’t it. What she did know were two objectives: 1) to make money doing what she loved and 2) to be a force for positive change in the world.
  • The second objective really came to fruition as people started noticing a change in Regan. She became a magnet for change as people started gravitating towards her, asking her for the blueprint. If you follow Regan, you’ll quickly discover she embodies the “social” in social media. As if the mist from the window were wiped away, Regan discovered that she loved helping others, especially those close to her. This led to a breakthrough “aha” moment and that led to her coaching practice.
  • As w/ all great entrepreneurs, there is no satisfaction in complacent comfort. Regan sought to grow the seed of her coaching business into something more. Regan’s journey continued w/ speaking engagements at events. As noted above, this development had its shares of success and but also limitations.
  • Today, Regan has created growth, scale, and global reach by shifting her business to an online model. This “aha” moment has always been driven by the two drivers, mentioned above: 1) make money doing what you love, 2) be a force for change. Moreover, Regan knew in her heart that she was put on this Earth to do something big and follow massive dreams.
  • Moving Forward listeners, reaching financial success is only part of the alignment equation and for Regan, it’s an all or nothing proposition. When she found that her in-person business model wasn’t jiving w/ her internally, she shut it down and started over. Not easy to walk away from something that is making 6 or 7-figures a year but the biggest takeaway from Regan’s story is that having a moving forward mindset sometimes requires very bold actions: starting over so you can reach even greater heights than you ever imagined.
  • The other big take away from Regan’s story is to have a big picture vision: listen to it, let it be your compass. The cool part about this is that Regan doesn’t always have the “how to” answers when she starts. When she decided to shift her business model to online, she didn’t know exactly how to do that. But what Regan does have is that big picture vision that compels her to jump “all in” and build the strategy as you go. You heard a similar philosophy from others like Joseph Bonner, who decided to build a media empire and figure it out along the way. When it comes down to it, it’s not the how but the why that moves you forward.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Regan to move forward:
    • A cultural experience from Regan’s childhood. Regan’s father did a lot of work in India. While Regan did not go w/ him on these trips, she would listen intently to all of his stories when he returned. Moreover, Regan’s father shared the good and the bad. In talking about India and seeing homeless kids on the side of the road, he would give Regan the mindset of perspective and appreciation for all of the opportunities and gifts she had growing up. This not only instilled the travel bug in Regan but cultivated a philanthropic streak which is as much a part of Regan’s identity as her entrepreneurial aspirations. Currently, Regan is spearheading an initiative to build schools in India.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Basecamp: a straightforward project management platform that helps Regan manage a team of 37 that is spread out throughout the world.
      • Regan’s hack: create to-do lists by person rather than by project. The open-table nature of Basecamp allows transparency and for everyone to see everyone else’s to-do list.
  • How Regan recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • While many entrepreneurs fall into the pattern of working weeks or months on the business and then taking off a few weeks, this doesn’t work well for Regan’s work and leisure flow which moves on a more daily basis. So Regan compensates w/ a daily regimen of tuning in, making she sure she has the proper mindset and to recharge and center herself. Like brushing your teeth or showering, this is a daily non-negotiable. For Regan, her mindset refresh comes in the form of 10 minutes to an hour of meditation, journaling, breathing, and being intentional.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • Success is 80% an internal game and about having the right mindset. If something is not working, go within and rewire. Ten years ago while she was in university and diving deep into the personal development world, Regan was obsessed w/ the how rather than the why w/ respect to her big goals. She was running Google searches on “how to quit my 9-to-5 job” before she even had one! On top of that, Regan was borrowing money, getting into debt, attending seminars and investing in her personal development journey. However, despite all of this, Regan felt as if nothing was shifting or changing. She was stuck in neutral while mounting tremendous debt. This came to a head when she candidly shared w/ a coach she was working w/ her doubts about whether this was really for her, proclaiming, “maybe this is not for me, maybe I’m not meant to be successful.” In response, the coach laughed in her face and said “Regan, you have this backward … I see you focusing on all the strategies … how much work are you doing on you?” It was then that Regan realized she had been spending so much time on strategy (how) and not fine tuning herself and discovering her why. Regan’s mentor then shared this about success: it’s 80% psychology, mindset and the inner game and 20% on the external: strategies and actions. Once Regan started focusing on her inner game, that’s when things started to shift.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “You can have it all and on your terms!”

Connect with Regan:

MF 115 : From Successful Entrepreneur to a Legion of Leaders, with Yigal Adato

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Yigal Adato is an entrepreneur, leadership expert and founder of Leaderato and Legion of Leaders. Today, Yigal will share what it takes to find success while keeping true to your values and your relationships.

Successes at a glance:

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • As you will discover in the next section, Yigal achieved major success as an entrepreneur. Unlike many of our guests, Yigal’s rock bottom didn’t look like one from the outside. He was making a lot of money and the business was getting spotlighted on TV and in newspapers. Then two major life events occurred that sparked a much-needed pivot. First, Yigal’s father had been diagnosed w/ Parkinson’s disease and dementia at the young age of 58 years old. This was a man, himself a very successful entrepreneur, who had built up a business w/ 12 locations and hundreds of employees. He lived by the philosophy of working now “to enjoy later.” Sadly, as Yigal shares, “his later is filled with caregivers and doctors.” Second, Yigal had gotten married and one-year into his marriage, his wife sat him down for a heart-to-heart, saying these words which shook him to his core: “Yigal, I didn’t get married to be alone.” This took Yigal completely by surprise. At the time, he thought he had reached the pinnacle of success; providing a good life for his wife and their newborn daughter. But when Yigal looked into the mirror, he didn’t like what he saw. He saw someone who was tired, 30-40 lbs overweight, and now carrying the weight his wife’s unhappiness. It was then that Yigal knew it was time for a major pivot.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Yigal has had some pretty remarkable pivots and “aha” moments in his career. Although he came from a family of entrepreneurs, Yigal started out w/ a different path: music. In high school, Yigal was lead singer in a band w/ aspirations to become a famous rock star. After year 6 of having fun, touring and being surrounded by groupies, Yigal was broke. While Yigal was off trying to break into music, his brother built up a pawn shop business. To help pay his bills, Yigal worked a few days a week at the pawn shop, managing the books and paperwork. As the business started to grow, so did Yigal’s involvement: from 2 days to eventually, 4-5 days a week. Shortly after, Yigal and his brother had a heart-to-heart about where Yigal’s life was going. Yigal’s brother needed full-time help and Yigal wasn’t making any money as a musician. So came the fateful day when Yigal left music to become a partner in his brother’s business and took a leap into entrepreneurship.
  • Over 15 years, Yigal helped grow the business and found a new passion. As Yigal shares, music was like a first love and when he left that behind, he found it a bit “soul crushing.” I suppose you never forget your first love in relationships or in careers. But then, Yigal found his inner entrepreneur and soared as a business owner.
  • As noted, above, Yigal decided to make another major pivot when his father started got sick and the wake-up call from his wife that his business success was adversely affecting their relationship.
  • Yigal candidly shares that change didn’t happen overnight. Nothing magical happened after looking in the mirror, except the revelation that what he thought was “success” was actually making him and those around him unhappy. The next few days, Yigal went to work and was sad and depressed. Concurrently, seeing his father deteriorate before him sent Yigal into some dark spirals w/ moments where he would just stare at his computer screen; desperately seeking a way to make a change for the better.
  • Yigal started on a long journey of self-development, reading lots of books and seeking out coaches who could help him out of his rut. Then, the big “aha” moment for Yigal occurred when one day he was holding his baby girl and asked himself three questions:
    • Question 1: What do I have to do so that you can grow up happy?
    • Question 2: What kind of man do I have to be to make sure that my relationship w/ your mom is full of passion and lasts as long as we both last?
    • Question 3: How can I be the kind of leader that will help make this world a better place than the one I had growing up?
  • It was then that Yigal broke down into tears and realized that the success he had as an entrepreneur wasn’t enough. He needed to take all of the things made him a winner in business and put that into his personal relationships.
  • Thus, came the big pivot: Yigal decided to sell his half of the business to his brother and take his experience and wisdom as an entrepreneur to coach and teach others. Thus, Leaderato was born. What makes Yigal’s coaching practice unique is that he doesn’t just focus on helping business owners grow their business. Yigal certainly knows how to do that. But he also teaches how to be successful and mindful in your personal relationships; not sacrificing them to reach the top. In discussing this, Yigal reveals a rather surprising fact. It’s not just start-up entrepreneurs who have this problem. Many of Yigal’s clients are extremely successful business owners w/ lots of money in the bank. However, many of them are miserable w/ deteriorating relationships and poor health.
  • Moving Forward listeners, becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy. You’ve heard that from many of our guests. But what’s even harder is to be successful in all areas: your business and in your personal relationships. Many think it’s impossible to have both, that it’s one or the other. Not so. Yigal’s story is both a cautionary tale of the costs of blind devotion to a business but also a story of reinventing, reassessing and re-prioritizing what’s truly important so that you can have a successful business w/o sacrificing those that mean the most to you. Many think of leadership only in the context of a business or career. For Yigal, that’s only half the picture. Leadership is also about how you live your life intentionally w/ your family and your loved ones, how you manage your health, as well as your business. This requires taking a good hard look at who you are and being authentic and vulnerable w/ yourself and those who you seek to help you. This is how we move forward in the best way, the right way.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Yigal to move forward:
    • The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine (Paperback | Kindle): a sobering look at those who make over $80k a year. Yigal shares that many don’t have a great relationship w/ their kids leading to increased risk of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
    • (Dis)honesty – The Truth About Lies (Instant Video): explores the science of why we lie and aren’t authentic. Yigal reminds us that when you’re in a mentor-mentee relationship, being vulnerable and real is the most important requirement for getting the most out that relationship. Lying to yourself and to others about what’s really going on in your life will prevent you from moving forward.
  • The most important quality to look for in a mentor:
    • Someone who will call you out and won’t be afraid to tell you like it is.
  • How Yigal recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Spending time w/ his family, whether a trip or a drive.
    • Spending time outdoors; hiking and walking.
    • Take some time to get away from the space where you spend so much of your worklife.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • First, keep moving forward and take action. Yigal had been hitting the same wall for a long time. It wasn’t until he sold his half of the business to his brother and started his leadership coaching practice that he started to see the change he had been seeking for so long. It all started w/ a sobering conversation w/ his wife, then seeking books and mentors; all culminating into a life-defining moment when he held his baby daughter and ask himself those three questions. Second, don’t wait until it’s perfect to start. Put it out there and improve as you go. Don’t hold yourself back or delay bc of perfection syndrome. It was only when Yigal was honest w/ himself and completely authentic that he was able to make those pivots and move forward.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Be clear with your communication”
  • “Be courageous w/ your actions”
  • “Be committed to what you say you’re going to do!”

Connect with Yigal: