Glenn:          0:00        All right. Good afternoon. Good morning. Good evening. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Central Leadership Skills, the podcast. We have a brilliant guest today, Miss Michelle Griffin. Now, she has a very unique, powerful version of herself. Authentic version of herself. I think it’s important that you sit back to an end, grab a cup of coffee, depend on the time of day might be a couple of wine, in fact, the glass of burgundy wine sound really nice about now but we’ll forego that. Let’s go ahead and introduce the Michelle and let’s have a little bit about herself. Then I have a question and pin her down a little bit more. So Michelle, welcome.


Michelle:    0:39        Thank you, Glenn. It’s so great to be here. I’m sincerely honored to have an opportunity to talk to you more today and talk about some of the favorite things I like to talk about is authenticity and personal branding.

Glenn:         0:50        Great, cool, we’re gonna have a good time at this. So tell us a little bit about how you got involved in personal branding. And just a little bit about your history. I mean, we don’t need from two years old on up, but just a little bit as well.

Michelle:     1:04        Yeah, know what professionally speaking is usually how I introduce my background. But I’ve the last two decades, I’ve been in marketing and public relations. Most recently, I was an executive director for a long time, and a member of professional association insurance industry and almost a year ago, I made my entrepreneurial dreams come true. And retired from my job to become a marketing consultant/strategist. And in the last year working with people, I realized, and I still do that I absolutely love helping people, the people, well, all people matter for, you know, an entrepreneur or business. But the impact is just so profound when I’m able to face to face help someone with their branding, their messaging, their marketing in an authentic way. So I’ve decided even though you might hear what is personal branding, it’s such a need. And that’s why I’m here to help more people get their expertise and their message out in an authentic way. Because so many of us want and have this expertise in this thought leadership, but we don’t know how to do it. We’re scared of imposter syndrome, we’re scared, we’re going to be seen, as you know, “I’m narcissistic.” And it’s not that I mean, a personal brand is just you as the brand. But just like any good company brand, you don’t promote yourself, you’re just equipping yourself, so you can equip yourself to help others. That’s what my definition of authentic personal brand is being in service to help others. And that’s what I’m advocating for.

Glenn:         2:37        Well, I hate to say this, I’m gonna still listen podcast myself, I think it might be useful for me and for our clients. For me, just to say, you’re going to coach me now. I want you to coach me on all of this. But before I have you coach me on this, I wanted to share something with the audience us about yourself that most people don’t know.

Michelle:     2:59        Wow, well, most people don’t know and that’s sort of mentioned this, as I was trying to become more authentic was being human and real and transparent is externally of you met me at a networking event or whatever, you would think I’m completely extroverted. I absolutely love talking to anyone and everyone like I’m insanely curious. But the funny thing is, as I’ve stepped out and become a personal brand strategist, it is super hard for me to show up online and put myself out there because I’m actually very private. So it’s possible to be extremely extroverted and insanely private at the same time, that’s me, so I struggle with that. So I can totally relate, then it really helps me be relatable and approachable to others who struggle with that. So I think that’s kind of my secret sauce. Like I can get totally, most people are very opposite, they’re, okay, not most people, but I’ve met many people who are okay being online because they don’t have to be themselves. But when they come in person, they’re introverted. So I’m the opposite.

Glenn:         4:04        That’s a good to kind of know, I think, it is a challenge for a lot of folks. I mean, there’s, I’m okay in front of the room. I’m okay on all this. But you know what, my dad and I were talking the other day about the pandemic and the effect that it has, this having on people being in all the time, this lockdown, I mean, I love it. I’m an introvert. I’d like to be an extrovert when I’m speaking or something like that, but I just prefer to be by myself. And that just didn’t work out. So that’s good that’s interesting. I have to remember that sometimes, next person asked me that question, I have that same answer for.

Michelle:     4:40        Yeah, totally. It’s kind of weird, but it’s true. But the more we do anything, like you said, the more becomes easier, you know, for, we’re always going to be who we are. But with anything, just get those reps in and life gets a little easier and whatever you’re struggling with.

Glenn:         4:54        Absolutely. So I’ve always been challenged by this word authentic. Here All the time, you know, you can go on clubhouse, you can go on podcast. “All you got to be your authentic self,” in your own words, what does that mean?

Michelle:     5:10        Yes, I’m trying to kill buzzwords, like buzzwords and jargon. And I’m trying to define them. Because there’s no better word, I guess there could be. But authenticity means being to view, you being real, approachable, how you are on person or you are in online, if you met me at a networking event next week, you’d like, “Michelle, you’re exactly the same as on zoom.” So you’re basically showing up as your human self, you’re not trying to be polished and perfect. Because absolutely no one is, right. So just be real. I mean, and that helps you attract the people you’re meant to serve, and who resonate with you, and that so you’ll be a fit. So being authentic, shows people you’re human, because we want more human empathy, empathetic people, these days, and we need it. And more brand, corporate brands, hopefully will be like that, too. Because there’s a huge need for that, anyway, it’s just being your real self. And I’m not saying you’re going to curate, like over curate, like, you’re an overshare. It’s so personal. But there’s a way I call it being professional, which is a blend of being personable and professional, so I live on LinkedIn and clubhouse so to speak. So when I’m personal, I’m going to do it in the context of being professional, obviously, and it’s not me, some people devote too much of their lives on Facebook, they put it out there, that’s just not me. But maybe that’s for them is a little more their authentic self. But I tried to do it, it’s a nice balance, right? Because you need to be known for something too, so authentic means who you are. But in a professional setting, you want to be known for that one thing. So if you’re sharing too much of your personal, then they don’t know what you do. So there’s always a fine balance. But in the end, it’s just been who you are. Say what you mean, mean what you say.

Glenn:         6:53        Well, the challenge I have, and you can help with this question is that when someone in a leadership position as being professional, that’s great. But people like people that are like them, they want to see that you like them, they want to see that personal side. And as amazing people that put them out there, my grandson, how many people want to know about him and that and because they have a grandchild or something. So we end up sharing that and that could be kind of personal. What’s gonna lead to the next step in the grandson, daughter, family? You know, X wife, [glue] to the whole ballgame. Well, you’re saying being authentic, in your personal branding. Draw me a real good but you kind of have, it all set. Don’t go too far. But was too far and was not enough when it comes to saying a personal brand that fits a professional existence. To me, those two words don’t, are not the same.

Michelle:     7:58        I mean, yeah, and here’s the thing, I want to turn a line and because we want to show like how do you, it’s funny how we go to work and we put on these airs, and I get some professions are like that, right? But you know, like, say you’re on LinkedIn, I just want to show up and talk about stuff and be me without feeling trim and [inaudible 08:14]. I just want to be me so people respect me and respect me as a professional. But does that mean I need to completely change who I am? No. And at the same… How would you talk to someone like if you go to the grocery store, you would be polite, professional, right? That’s how you want to be I mean, I don’t know why when we go to work or whatever, we have to button up our suits and be this different person, and then we leave and then we’re something else. So if you’re a jeans and T-shirt kind of person, why not be a jeans and T-shirt kind of person. Now I get it on some contacts, because listen, I was in legal insurance, and those are very buttoned up profession. So there’s a way to show your personal side, show your humor, there’s just the way, you have to find out who you are internally before you can be expert. And that’s what I work with my clients because you know, they think also to this professional brand, but no, who you are, what your comfort level is, what’s your vision, your values and mission, you have to know all those things. And then that will help you find your vision, your value, and most importantly your voice. Because how we show up online, we need to have our voice in check. We don’t want to show up one day one thing and then next day another trying things out. So when you do that deep, messy work, you realize, “I could share stuff, people like it.” And so what I do is I tell my clients, like we’re gonna find some personal stories we weave in with a business perspective. So that’s the way I like to mix the two. Does that make sense?

Putting on Airs Equals Low Self Confidence

Glenn:         9:44        It makes me start to think about you as and especially what’s the biggest challenge you have with your clients? I mean, you listed quite a few. They’re both the biggest challenge, you see, with clients trying to get a hold of this personal brand so they can use it to improve their career?

Michelle:     10:02      Well, first, they think they don’t need a personal brand, for many reasons I think their stuff speaks for themselves that people just… They assume people know them, right? Well, the biggest thing is, first, they don’t know how to show up online, they don’t know who they really are. Maybe think about it, when they go to a networking event and someone else and what they do, and they don’t, it’s complicated, or there’s too many, it’s too long. So they don’t really know who they are, how they want to show up, or they do it’s just not working for like it could. So in a sense, they’re not as visible as they could be. So what I do is come and help them we do an internal deep dive, then we face the external messaging, right? So that’s their branding. And to me, branding is like, you know, for messaging, not your logos, your fonts, and all the pretty stuff that can come later. But it’s like who you are, just like a company would define their missions and values, then they get to their product, while the product does you. And then you define, you know, your avatar and all that. So you have to do that foundational stuff. So I would say the number one thing is people don’t have that foundational stuff. They just go out and do stuff. It’s all over the place. And we get them really in check of who they are and its clarity, I help people find the clarity. And then they get into their marketing, we align their marketing, and then the visibility. Because the main thing is, a lot of people have this incredible message, but they don’t know how to define it and differentiate it and so that’s what I think. And then they have imposter syndrome too, a lot of people think, “Oh, who am I to say anything? I’m not an expert, right? I don’t know how to do this.” So, I help them work on that too.

Glenn:         11:41      I don’t want to drop imposter syndrome because that’s a big, big issue. As you said, well, clubhouse, how many rooms that we see they have imposter syndrome. No [inaudible 11:53] catchphrases, which I don’t like for people that label themselves that way the imposter syndrome. But they do and that’s the catchphrase these days. When it comes out to the clients that you’re working with, at what level, does a client really find this beneficial? I mean, if you’re a small mom and pop operation that has a web presence, it’s beneficial, but at what level do they start approaching you and saying, “Hey, you know, I have a multimillion dollar operation here, I need to clean this up, I need to do this,” is there a certain level that you’re more likely to start working with?

Michelle:     12:29      Well, my clients are mostly entrepreneurs, and consultants, coaches, experts, people like that, mostly, I’ve helped people who’ve been much like me in the corporate setting, have this amazing expertise and have decided, “You know what? I want to go out on my own, I want to use my skills, my years of knowledge, all the stuff that I’ve built up to help others,” so that’s why their personal brand means a lot. And so that’s what I focused on. And predominantly, I love helping women because I find women and like me, think they need to stand out more, they tend to not want to put themselves out there as much. And I was one of those people. So no judgement there, trust me. But it’s important, because if people don’t know you, they can’t do business with you. So there’s a way to stand out authentically. And for people who are scared to put themselves out online. It’s not about you, it’s how you’re in service to help others. So that’s always been my motto as a marketer “People First,” right, so we’re talking about other people, we’re here to help other people and that changes the whole narrative. When you’re like, “Oh, I want to talk about me.” Because here’s the thing I don’t like talking about me, remember, I told you that earlier, hate to talk about me. So when I talk and give value, so we’ll get our content, our education and all that how they can help, then it’s so much easier, but it’s not. It’s also easier when they realize, “Oh, this is how I show up in the world. This is who I’m going to be known for. This is who I want to be known for. This is what people will know me as,” and then I help them build all that clarity, the confidence and then we work on their visibility and getting out there. Because consistency is a secret sauce, you have got to stay in the game consistently. So that’s what I help my clients with.

Glenn:         14:14      That is a challenge, this thing consistent, especially early on, because early on, the message is not being seen by enough yet. So that is a challenge. And that’s where that kind of segues nicely into the imposter syndrome. But it segues really strongly there because I believe gross generalization and labeling which I don’t like to do, women feel imposter syndrome more than men. If I was gonna say, “Okay, Help…” People, the idea is this with 1, 2, 1500 tips, one tip, two tip or 1500 whatever you prefer, get your mind off of this idea that you’re an imposter. How would you help [person who] do that?

Michelle:     14:57      Well, first of all, like you said, we should never use that word. I mean, I hate the word too, I hate a strong word, but I dislike using that word. It’s a cliché. And I like I said, I’m trying to kill jargon, even though people recognize it. But I’m trying to define what it really is. Here, we’re wired as humans, I don’t care who you are, to have that fear and that second guessing, that’s just how we’re wired. So the best way to do it is start small, but do start and stay consistent. And I had that too, when I coach my clients to hang out and get out there, but I’ve told you I was, being private and not wanting to start online was a huge thing for me. So how I do it, and how I ask people and train people to do it is just start small. Give yourself a challenge. Okay, well, I’m going to start at least five days, do something for one minute. So for most people showing up consistently online, for instance, LinkedIn. So actually, for one thing, as an example, I started something called the 365 challenge on LinkedIn this year, I was talking to one of my friends, telling him how hard it is for me to put myself out online. Because, I guess at the end of the day, you think “Who am I?” The same people think of, “Do I have enough value? Are people going to listen to me? Are people going to judge me?” Those are some of the common things, we think with imposter syndrome, the best way to overcome it is just to kick your fear to the curb and do the things that you’re scared of. So instead of saying, I’m going to post myself on LinkedIn, I decided I’m going to post 365 consecutive days. So I think right now, I’m at 62 days. And you know, I have to tell you, once you do it, the fear doesn’t ever go away but it’s so much easier. So you have to confront the fear. And when you do you get stronger each day. And that’s what you got to do. You got to walk outside of that fear and just start.

Glenn:         16:52      Well, I think that’s powerful. I started doing that. But I didn’t realize that that is hoping erase that a little bit. Because I have done a live show every morning, Monday through Thursday. Number one, you know, who am I to even have a message? Number two, who’s going to listen, and if I get a poor comment about something, I’m going to be upset. I know, I was working with a gentleman who is actually part of my mastermind group. And we were just talking about the fact that we go through an entire year, like, I think in 2019, I suppose 75 to 80,000 people. And throughout the time, you probably got maybe 10 to 12 negative ratings. And this idea that you focus so much on the negative ratings 15 out of all those many people, that was the focus, and I think that creates the imposter syndrome, if you will. But I’d like your thing, just no matter what, post, it is a small step. You didn’t ask people to write a novel or anything, it is just post, take a small step. I think that’s really useful and powerful. And I think that leads to the authentic self. Does that connect those two together?

Michelle:     18:10      Oh, yeah. I mean, so now there’s 250 people in our 365 challenge and I just ran a post on Sunday, “How many of you are still here? Who’s still posting?” And about 60% are showing up daily and about 30 are doing it weekdays. I mean, some came and saying, “Look, I can only do it weekdays.” And that’s fine, progress not perfection, but they’re still doing it. So I am realizing who I am. Even though I’ve written it out. And that’s what got me the clarity getting that validation and the feedback is the best way to figure out your voice and your value online. Because, we can’t see the label for the jar we’re in, it is the old thing. So when people say, they comment on your stuff, then you see how you resonate or you don’t, if a post doesn’t resonate, it’s not you. It could be the algorithm, it could be at that moment, the 5% it shows to didn’t see it. So that’s one thing, the personal thing, like you said, I’m not taking it personally now because I’ve built up that resistance, so to speak by getting 60 days into it, you know, so imagine another 60 days, I’ll be even better. I’ll never be perfect, but I’ll be 1% better as the atomic habits book says. I’m going to be 1% better. So if you can try to make that little small step, nothing will change unless something changes and trust me, I lived in my head for far too long so I know how that is. And here’s the thing when you see negative stuff, I was just having a post about this, talking on someone’s post, what happens only if you get a negative comment, but what if you constantly keep seeing someone in your feed and for some reason, you can’t put your finger word around it but it [bug you]. It’s something about them because, I don’t know if its competition or whatever, here’s what you do. And this is what I do, and it help, I unfollow them. So I like an, out of sight, out of mind presence. And so I’ve heard, I think Seth Godin, once something [inaudible 20:13] just read, they don’t ever read their reviews, because they don’t want to know, because they don’t want it to taint and get into their skin, so to speak. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid those. But as much as you can stay in your lane, put your blinders on, the competition is a trap, competition, sabotage is crap. So it’s a negative. So I’m not saying we’re all going to be 100% positive, but it sure helps. We need that daily small doses to get through, right. So anything like that, we got to help.

Glenn:         20:44      That’s very useful and powerful there. I took me back to the days when I just used to do that. Just do the best I can, who cares what you say, if I’m doing the best I can I know I’m helping the most people, I’m kind of hard to do that on social media platforms, because you’re supposed to respond to comments that help your algorithm things grow. But maybe that’s why you hire somebody to do that for you.

Michelle:     21:09      Well, it’s there’s always gonna be those people. But you know, I read a quote that those people are usually unhappy inside or whatever, why are they lashing out? Why is just 10% out of 80,000 people? There’s usually another motive and it’s not you it’s something like they’re unhappy inside their job, whatever. It’s them. But you know, it comes across to you, it happens to every famous person, every person who puts themselves out there, but why would you let those 10 people stop you when you’ve impacted 80,000 people last year or in 2019?

Glenn:         21:40      Yeah. So I guess that’s a very powerful lesson for non-profit leaders, you’re gonna have people who snipe at your leadership. But if you’re making a difference out there, why would that impact you?

Michelle:     21:55      Exactly. And that’s why bringing this full circle, knowing your authentic personal brand, maybe you’re not going to be a consultant or anything everyone has a personal brand. So when you know internally, your vision, your values, and then you reminded of that, then you’re hopefully on track on that right lane with your blinders on. “That is my bigger why or this is why I’m doing this.” So you’re gonna have the naysayers but when you stay on track, knowing you’re in your destination to what you want, it’s going to help us stay on track and not fall off when you get a negative comment. Because we’re all going to get a negative comment. Something’s never it. Life’s not perfect, very much another cliché, but when I was a little girl, my mom used to tell me the same and I’ve always remembered it and the days that it gets very disgruntled I tell myself this, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch, mile by mile, life is trail,” and some things are silly and so simple and everybody has a different saying like that. It just helps me get back on track, this too shall pass. This is not the rest of your life this moment.

Glenn:         23:00      When I asked you because you mentioned Seth Godin and you mentioned James Clear’s book atomic habits. Catching totally off guard and I apologize, but this could include anything that you’ve written or read. What would you say to your clients, “Go read this,” you can include anything if you read, “Go read this.”

Michelle:     23:21      Okay, well, I think every high school or college senior should read, “How to win friends and influence people.” That is a classic what it’s, I don’t even remember what year was published almost 70, 80 years ago. I have to admit, I was late to life to read it. I think I only just read it five years ago after hearing about it all my life. But I kept reading and underlining everything, everything because in my DNA, I’ve always been strong about people first, customer service, and it seems so silly and so obvious, but it’s brilliant. So anyway, I would recommend that it’s like how to get along with people basically, right? If more of us did this, we’d have a lot less combative and drama in the world. “Find your why” is another one because when you identify your why you, not only, from a personal branding perspective, but just life perspective, it helps you go to that big picture. And I have a million marketing books that I read that most people wouldn’t read but there’s a really good ones but just off the top my head for all around. I would think those two, I can’t think of right now, all my books are on that bookshelf wherever they are, so I’d have to go pull them out. But as for this conversation, those are two important ones I think. Simon Sinek book, “Know your why” that’s an essence really saying, “Know your vision, know your mission, know your passion.” Why you do something before what you do something, correct. Yeah, that’s, people want to know why you do something. So as a personal brand, who are you about? Why is who you are? But it’s not about you. It’s why are you doing this to help me solve my problem. And that’s what I try to tell people, you have to know your internal before you know the external. But it’s huge because people judge first by emotions, then by logic. So when you can connect that first people are going to pay attention in today’s noisy world, goodness, we need to break through the noise. So when you have a narrative around your why, a bigger picture, a bigger mission, a transformative mission that you’re trying to help people with, they are going to understand and pay attention a little bit better than just talking about what you do, what you do, what you do, right?

Glenn:         25:25      Well, okay, so you too, yourself up for this one.

Michelle:     25:46      I knew that was coming.

Glenn:         25:48      Tell us why you’re in the business that you’re in?

Michelle:     25:54      Because I hate the fact that, I dislike the fact that people have a brilliant mission to share or expertise are not getting the attention they deserve, especially women. I think that we cater to too many other people, and we don’t put ourselves first. And I don’t mean putting ourselves first in a very narcissistic way. I mean, taking care of who you are so you can help more. And there’s a lot of brilliant people who are just being overshadowed. And so if I can come and help them own their message, that’s the title one of my talks, your message, like who you are matters, what you have to say matters. Like we all have an expertise and don’t think that everyone else is doing it, because no one else has your vision, your expertise, your experience, your talents, all that good stuff. So I’m really passionate about giving a voice and a vision and a message helping people because when you can have your message because for instance, my life for five years, five years, I dreamed about leaving my job, not that I was unhappy with it, it was a great job. But I had outgrown it. And I had this internal mission to help more people. But I struggled for five years, even though that’s what I do, knowing who I was, and why and what I do and all this. So I kind of put band aids on it by thinking that courses and certifications were helped me find that why? And none of it did. So it wasn’t until I had a breakthrough moment and figured like Michelle, who are you so I just started writing and journaling made this kind of whole own your message thing. Actually it was a talk I gave and then I applied it to myself. And then I realized, oh my gosh, here’s who I am and why I need and what I need to do. And so I want to help people who are struggling women, especially knowing they have a bigger vision, but don’t know how to start or feel like they don’t have enough confidence or clarity. So that’s why I do it. Because it’s called brand your brilliance, I want to help people brand their brilliant.

Glenn:         27:52      Okay. I don’t want to lose that thought. But I want to ask you another thought. So you got your why, you know where you want to go. Who is a great client for you, the red carpet client? Who do you want to work with?

What is your WHY?

Michelle:     28:09      My ideal clients. I love helping women, but I don’t discriminate men, because I have helped men. My client is typically a women executive or professional, someone who’s just worked in their field a long time, and has an insatiable desire to help other people and start their own business and do consulting, coaching, what have you and so I help them come to me and they figure out who I am what I am. So we work on their branding, their internal, external branding, then we set them up with marketing and visibility, bringing my PR experience and how to get visibility these days. So ideally, it’s people who want to make a bigger, have a bigger mission and message but don’t know where to start. They’re uncertain. Because they don’t know how to do any of this or they scared to take that step. So I help them with that.

Glenn:         29:07      So it sounds like that you’re able to grow the customer that you’re working with the clients, you’re working with from, I don’t know what my mission is, to know my mission is, I’m branded, okay, now I have a PR person who can help me figure out how to get out to get better.

Michelle:     29:21      Yeah,, you could call it going from a closet expert, you know he knows about him, to being sought after and I don’t even like to call it PR these days because PR to me is so corporate and one sided back 20 years ago before the internet and all the social media existed and podcasts and all these talks. It was kind of one sided and so now I call it visibility because there’s ample opportunity to get visibility. So we work on like their pitch deck, there expert buyers, all that stuff. And then we work on what I call the engagement ladder. You know, you’re not going to land on USA Today or Good Morning America the first day, so you start small, you start getting your reps in, and then you just build it up. And it just keeps going. It’s a chain reaction, you know, someone sees you here, and it just explodes. So we work on that. But before you get to there, you know, everyone’s to go, I want to be on USA Today, I want to be on Good Morning America, whatever you cannot get there that day. So you start figuring out your foundational stuff, then you get your marketing to amplify it, magnify it, and then we get to the visibility. So it’s a wonderful learning process. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it’s fun. Because when you get that clarity and the confidence, and you can talk about constantly who you are and how you serve people, it’s transformative. And that’s what I’m trying to do, transform life.

Glenn:         30:39      Absolutely love that. Now, one people I share is Dr. Edward Demings. And he’s considered the father of quality management for those people who are not familiar with him, and he has rules he says, all managers should look at and one of them is don’t use slogans. Throw the slogans out. So I’m gonna ask you off top your head again. What slogans would you throw out and what would you use to replace them?

Michelle:     31:11      Well, I guess I would know needs to know more about what slogans he means. And some examples, if you want to call slogans jargon, I mean, that would.

Glenn:         31:21      Jargon.

Michelle:     31:21      Jargon, to me, actually funny, I made a list of blog ago, like a year ago, my jargon lists, I try not to, you see a lot on websites and b2b like synergy. And well, here’s the thing for a personal brand. And people start using jargon or slogans, we don’t know who we are. So we start looking at everyone else for affirmation, like, “Who should I be?” When you don’t listen to yourself and have you noticed how many websites on the same? So that is my pet peeve. So I say don’t sound like everyone else and don’t have jargon. But as far as slogans, I’m okay with a slogan. I don’t even like the word slogan, we work on a brand positioning message or a personal brand statement rather. And so people know what they do in a nutshell, it’s not a jargon. It’s not a slogan. It’s basically who you are and what you do mostly and why you do it. And that’s what I work on to help people with.

Glenn:         32:20      Let me go, because you said a lot of people use the same language. Yes. And I’m guilty of that to some degree. More than I want to admit, I’m guilty of it too, obviously. But I’m thinking, if I take a word like authenticity and define it, it’s going to be different for everybody. So therefore, you can have a different website, I would think.

Michelle:     32:43      Yeah, well, here’s the thing, though I have it in my definition on my LinkedIn banner, I try not to talk in jargon, you just talk in real thing. And so I have a whole process. I bring people through when you talk in the language of your ideal client, and use their words. I don’t like conversationally, how you and I would talk. That’s how I put on my website, in a very professional way, of course, but we don’t sit here, you and I and talk and synergy. And I can’t even think of my jargon words, because I’ve tried to get them out of my head. But we don’t talk in jargon, you and I, even when we have used those figures of speech, you and I both qualified with, it’s a cliché, it’s a figure of speech, but we don’t like using them, but in the context of human language we do, but at least you and I clarify that. Anyway, so just use your customer’s language, and they will completely relate to you. And it will be, “authentic” to them.

Glenn:         33:42      In the work of personal branding how much work do you do helping someone understand the conversation, they should be having? I’m starting to say the chats you should be having if you’re making a sales call, somebody should be a chat. It shouldn’t be a conversation. It shouldn’t be a sales pitch. That’s what I’m kind of thinking, “Let’s just chat.”

Michelle:     34:03      Yeah, well, if you do it right, and you show up, people know who you are, the go to person because you’ve completely defined and differentiated yourself and then you’re delivering so much of your thought leadership in the form of content, you’re giving value which value, you’re gonna put a disclaimer, it’s another cliché word. Value to me is just education. You’re sharing your expertise for others. When you keep doing that consistently. That’s another jargon word. But it’s one of my favorites. You’re going to be known as a go to, people are going to start, the poll comes to you, you don’t have to push to people, they’re going to be coming to you. So I just say you have to show up and start talking about what you’re known for in and then it does and then when you do get in front of someone, you ask them about their problems. You’re not selling them, you’re just talking to him like you would, that’s what I do. I love sales calls. And I already like to call them sales world. We just talk right and I’ll say, “Well, here’s what I’m hearing. Here’s how I think I can help you” and share information, so it’s never that way. I’m not a salesy person, I always like to say, we have to make sure we’re a fit. And usually, if you’ve articulated yourself well online, and given them enough value they’re already sold.

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Glenn:         35:20      How would you suggest like a CEO of a versus… Mostly most of my clients are in the educational space. They had to sell their team on creating a safe center or a safe school being enrolled and being engaged at a seller team. Here’s my question, at that point, you’re putting in that person’s personal brand, that’s the person’s gonna cause that vision to come true, that type of work that you do as well? So another reason, I’m giving a speech, my personal brand shows up for the people that want to work with me.

Michelle:     36:03      Yeah, I mean, think of personal branding as your online reputation and thought leadership, which another cliché, but I help people define what they want to be known for. And then in their content strategy and their thought leadership, we define for them, we’ll talk about what they want to talk about, but most importantly, we’ll get to the heart of who they serve, and what are the problems our clients are having? So you show up, it’s a natural fit. People are like, “Oh, wow, I need to know this person.” So yes, we work on thought leadership. We work on speeches, we work on podcast pitching and topics. So if that’s what you meant, I think I don’t know if that’s exactly what you meant. But that’s what I do.

Glenn:         36:45      Yeah, it was because I guess I’m asking also like, okay, I got my professional brand. But in order for my professional brand to really make a difference, my personal brand has to be strong?

Michelle:     36:58      Yeah, well, personal brand, professional brand, to me the same thing because you how you show… A personal brand another name for your professional brand. So because I’m talking about a personal brand in the context of the professional setting, so some people call it professional brand, but it’s a personal professional brand is what I mean.

Glenn:         37:21      Okay, that’s gives me a real sense of clarity. And what it does for the audience, you saying is a personal brand, is how you drive your professional brand, they are the same thing.

Michelle:     37:31      Yeah, and I’m sorry, if I wasn’t clear earlier, that’s how I define it.

Glenn:         37:35      So it takes just say things 10 different ways for me to catch it.

Michelle:     37:38      So you and me both, if that’s how they say, we have to keep putting ourselves out there because it could take sometimes people 10 times, like you said to do it. And so that’s why consistency is huge. But no, it’s the same thing to me. And I look at a personal brand as your professional security, defining, you want to know who you are. So I don’t care if you’re going to look for another job, people know you, because you have defined who you are and you show up and help them and so sure, they’re kind of known to know who you are and hire you or whatever, because you’re known and you’re defined, and they know you’re the go to person.

Glenn:         38:17      Your story is, I don’t I want to say that, but its average. Okay, it’s kind of the average person’s story. Just hearing it. And we don’t want to cross that line of going and getting too much personal information. But there’s some level of passion there when I hear your story that makes me think, Okay, well, it makes me want to ask you, why are you so passionate about this personal branding issue?

Michelle:     38:42      Because I know, you might say because I guess I didn’t articulate or greatly articulate the five years I struggled that it sounds and I even would tell myself during those five years, this is in the scheme of life, this isn’t a problem. But yeah, it is when you have no identity or know what you want to do, want to change your life or have a calling to do something different. And you don’t know every day you just walk around and you don’t know which way to go. To me that’s like being lost in the desert. And that’s how I would call myself sometimes. So I want to save people that time and tears, there were tears of frustration, you know being the go to person so when they can articulate, gosh, I have a calling, I want to step out of my job or whatever and do something else. But I don’t know how to do it. I was uncertain. And I thought these courses and certifications while they educated me great. I didn’t need that, I needed to find someone who could say this “I’ve been there before and I’m here to help you. I don’t want you to waste five years of your life doing it.” So if that makes sense. And I know that sounds a bit narcissistic but I’m using my story as a catalyst to help others.

Glenn:         39:53      No, that’s why else we do things because it’s our story that why do things. I asked that question because my mind five years being stuck in a job, how many people out there stuck for 30 years in their job and you didn’t give up, you just realize how much pain that was for you.

Michelle:     40:14      And, to be honest, I’ve always been in marketing, I have a master’s in PR. And I would look at other things like, well, maybe I don’t need to stay in this, maybe I’ve my colleagues being X, Y, Z. So I looked at invest into other things I’m not going to mention, you know, professionally, but it wasn’t me and I’ve wasted a lot of time and money too, and anguish, thinking but I started also during that time I was journaling at 750, I highly recommend that, it’s a great tool, and I pay $5 a month to be a member. And it’s kept all my digital diary, so to speak, all those years. But even though it was originating all that stuff out, I still didn’t put the pieces together until I made that talk in 2019. And then I opened it up again. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I can apply this to me.” And so when I was trying to help others own their message, I wasn’t owning mine. But then after I did that talk, and it was so well received, I put myself through it. And it was so clear. And so then I realized later that year, I submitted May 31, I believe I remember the day well. I submitted my resignation and then I left my job January, 31 2020.

Glenn:         41:29      Not the best of times.

Michelle:     41:33      Yeah. And I was gonna take a sabbatical and then the world forced me to take a sabbatical. But, here’s the thing, I was also during that time, word of mouth, doing marketing, consulting aside, so I knew that I loved helping people. But I didn’t connect the dots. So I struggled with, who am I going to help? Anyway, I know people, it’s a universal thing to struggle, but no one’s struggle for that long and no course will help you unless you know who the heck you are and what you want to do. So I figured out with my own your message thing, how to, hopefully help people overcome that.

Glenn:         42:06      Cool. So one of my last 15,000 questions for you. When you look at coaching, I think people need to be coach. I have three coaches that I use. If you were to say, “Here’s three coaches that I think I will… Let me rephrase it, here’s three coaches that I want to use, maybe you’re not using them, maybe you are using them, but here’s three coaches or four coaches that would help me in my career. Who would those coaches be?

Michelle:     42:35      Yeah, that’s a great question. First of all, looking back, I would have probably picked a instead of investing all that money in courses, I wasn’t ready for some of them, some of them never finished, because I wasn’t a fit, I would invest in a coach for sure. But a business coach to get your business in check. Some people say life coaching, I’ve helped life coaches, but I’ve never used one, but those seem beneficial. And I would think like a messaging coach, if you ever struggle, a personal brand coach or messaging coach, someone can help you get your own messaging out, because this year… And I’m gonna tell you another secret about me. Even though I do that for people I use my friends who are do what I do, I have to run my stuff by him too, because I need a coach too, I think there’s a Bill Gates line, quote that says “Everyone needs a coach.” I mean, look at Tom Brady, the greatest of all time, all these people have coaches. We all need another person to help us see who we are and have that feedback. So although I run my stuff through my own messaging framework, I use my friends and colleagues to bounce off so messaging or personal brand coach to figure out your brand identity, whoever that might be in a business coach, for sure. Now, if you’re having a hard time and you know exercise in life health coach might be good, but from a professional business standpoint, a business coach and an identity coach, if you can find one that do both. But we just need someone to talk to and keep us accountable, motivate us for sure.

Glenn:         44:07      Not that I’m his biggest fan, but I liked what Tiger Woods said about coaching. He had a swing coach, he had a petting coach, he had a chipping coach. He has a head coach of [inaudible 44:18] him so you have all those coaches and that’s why he’s so successful. He has as much money as he had or has. Coaching mastermind, maybe the same thing in your head, in your mind, but mastermind group, who would be in your mastermind group, alive or dead, doesn’t matter?

Michelle:     44:39      Oh, well. I’m one of her biggest fans. Sara Blakely of Spanx. She went to Florida State, was there when I was there. And you know self-made. I think she’s one of the first self-made billionaires and she is a true definition of an authentic personal brand, if you follow her on Instagram, which I do, it’s hilarious. She shares her live and she’s hilarious. But then she shares important wisdom for women. She’s a passionate supporter of women. And families and entrepreneurship. So definitely would want to include her. And I’d have to thank just some of the past strong leaders of our world, women and men, probably no more five or six. But also people just like me because I don’t think just because someone’s famous doesn’t mean they’re have all the answers to and that’s what I’m trying to tell my clients and your listeners and your audience, there are brilliant people all around us, right and we need to get that out there. So just because someone’s not known does not mean they’re brilliant, and they have wise words to share. So I would probably try to find some people who aren’t so know, and learn from them as well.

Sara Blakley founder of Spanx

Glenn:         45:52      Cool. Well, that’s my mastermind group is full. So that’s good advice. I follow that advice. I do it already. So I will do that. I want to ask you about your clubhouse. Do you have a room in clubhouse that you share? And if so, we connected through clubhouse right?

Michelle:     46:07      That’s correct.

Glenn:         46:08      Yeah, but don’t tell anybody that because I don’t like the Mac or the iOS stuff. [Inaudible 46:13] new iPad. So let me see what they do and then I found. So tell me about your rooms where someone goes on, they’re gonna find you and [inaudible 46:26].

Michelle:     46:28      Yes, thank you so much. Well, I love that we did meet him clubhouse. In fact, I’ve met brilliant, amazing, just smart, insightful people there. So I highly recommend people check it out. Listening to the town hall from the founders every Sunday, they did confirm they’re working on an Android version, which makes me happy too. I do have friends who are an Android. So I hope that’s, the next couple months. So I have a weekly show called The Personal Branding clubhouse. And it’s Wednesdays at 11 am, Eastern. And every week I bring someone on a guest speaker we talk about some aspect or to have a speaker topic on how to grow your personal brand. That’s our tagline, “How to grow your personal brand.” In fact, tomorrow, it’s kind of matter is, how clubhouse can grow your personal brand. And that’s a great way to grow to. I have been working on a blog post on how many ways it is, I became a clubhouse member in December. And since January, I’ve either posted or moderated weekly. And some people say, “It just takes too much time,” not if you’re strategic and intentional. And to me, you should be strategic by becoming a thought leader on the go to by hosting your own room. Okay, being consistently weekly showing up that’s done great for my brand and helped me connect to people I do. And the beauty of it is that you’re in that moment, so people can fast track their new like and trust. And so what I always do, it’s a little bit harder when I’m hosting. But when I’m in a room, I’ll screenshot all these people. You know, there’s no LinkedIn profile. There’s only Twitter and Instagram. So I try to just capture that person. So I can stay focused on the topic and then after I make a point of going to connect with these people, and people are very receptive. You just say, “Hey, it was great to see you talk with you, chat with you in clubhouse today.” And I’ve started many conversations that way. So I try to go in there, like three hours a week. It’s not crazy.

Glenn:         48:33      That’s the game plan. Again, just something I learned. Because your speaking, I think I said that, “I like that.” And that’s really what the Instagram is and lost track of what everybody else is doing. So but I think that’s useful, screenshot it and come back to it. So that’s good thing.

Michelle:     48:54      Especially for LinkedIn, because you’re not going to have that instant connection so.

Glenn:         48:59      Exactly. Now you’re saying yours Wednesdays at 9? 11am?

Michelle:     49:04      11 am Eastern. So we do that weekly. And tomorrow, I never taping this. So who knows when this will go live. But it’s Wednesdays at 11am. And so I work on different, amazing people in personal branding. And I’ve had you know about the story. We’ve done content, video. Last week, it was about authentic personal branding. So I try to give people actionable things. And the beauty about mine is after everyone I take good notes, as we can’t record it. So I try to take some really good notes. And I make a carousel slider on LinkedIn after each one as a recap. And that helps me help people who can’t be there and it just gives me the content for the day. And people been very receptive and appreciative of that as well.

Glenn:         49:47      We’re talking about the brand and my challenge has been with the clubhouse, but you just erased it, it seems like it’s more of a b2c connection, it is a b2b connection, if you do what you do.

Michelle:     49:59      It could be either, I mean, you’ve got the built in Instagram crowd. And then you know a lot of people, I really In fact, I would love to be on the Town Hall and ask him, so I will put a LinkedIn profile because people will go ahead and put their LinkedIn profiles, but I see a split. So it just depends on who your audience is, the platform that’s right for you is where your audiences and where you enjoy being. And for me, it’s LinkedIn and clubhouse. I don’t ever post on Instagram that much. But it could be either. And that’s the thing. There’s a b2c and b2b audience on LinkedIn. I mean, Bill Gates was just on clubhouse last week. [Inaudible 50:36] on it. Elon Musk. I mean, it’s amazing. I’m not saying they’re on it all the time. But if they’re on it, that kind of validates it, at least now.

Glenn:         50:46      Especially, those guys are brilliant. They’ve gotten there, and they still reach connecting. So now, I would say somebody wants to hire you as a personal branding coach, or as your company, your services? How do they get ahold of you?

Michelle:     51:01      Yeah, well, thank you. Well, my website is, you can find me there, you can find me on LinkedIn. I’m on all the platforms, but the best way is, find me on my website, I’m also going to be relaunching my podcast in about six weeks called Brand your Brilliance, will be focusing on personal branding for women entrepreneurs, specifically and exclusively. So I’m excited about that. So hopefully, people eventually find me there too. But yeah, on my website,, and I’d love connecting on clubhouse and LinkedIn. So I’d love to meet anyone here who wants to connect.

Glenn:         51:42      Yeah, it is recorded, but it’s gonna make his comeback. It’s not a recycling every three or so months, we’re gonna say, “Hey, don’t forget about this, go back to it.” So we’re gonna have a good chance to get to that. Hopefully, you’ll find some good value out of the podcast itself so that you could you’ll share it to your folks. I think that the value of having a personal branding coach, referring to you now having that value, seemed like is a big part of your business world. And I hope people reach out to you for that, I would highly recommend it. I am going to include which I hadn’t, “Winning Friends and Influence.”

Michelle:     52:28      “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” yes. And I’ll stand by you can get it for like $5 on Amazon.

Glenn:         52:34      You can get it for $5 at Amazon, buy tickets on public domain.

Michelle:     52:36      Library. Yeah, or public domain, you’re probably right too. It’s a class, it’s a great read.

Glenn:         52:43      I will include that into the book list, recommended books. What I’m doing is, now if you have an article that you’ve written that you posted there, let’s do that too. My mission is to curate information so people can learn things and be better and make the work life better.

Michelle:     53:02      I love that. I love that you’re a curator too, because I also tell my clients if you can always create content, nothing better than curating excellent content, because we can’t keep up with it, all right, there’s no way possible.

Glenn:         53:15      That’s it. So with that, I’ll say thank you very much. I mean, it’s been a very educational time, you’ve taken me personally out of some of my paradigms. And as far as what I have to do in order to be better. So like I said, at the start, I’m starting this for myself. I’m sure that people listen to it consistently. Yeah, I understand how that type of coach can help me.

Michelle:     53:37      Yes. Well, thank you, Glen. I cannot thank you enough, I owe social media to how we connected and I value the connection and I value even greater the time and chance to be invited. Thank you so much that I get to articulate with true authentic, professional personal branding as well.

Glenn:         53:55      You’re welcome. You spoke to me and I said, “That’s what I needs. I’m sure other people need that too.” So I thank you so very much.

Michelle:     54:02      Thank you again.

Glenn:         54:04      All right, thank you. Let me turn off. Technology and me.

Michelle:     54:21      The biggest key would be marketing strategy is leadership work. Leverage the behavioral sciences and quality market research with your strategy and you will get to your goal. It will help you with your bottom line and you’ll see that online.  This is a touchstone publisher’s presentation, your trusted source of leadership knowledge