One failed Angel-backed startup and one divorce. I wanted both to win, but didn’t know how to make it happen at the time.
From Cry-baby to Public Speaker
I was always shy and sensitive as a child – even a cry-baby. But when I turned 12 I discovered Bruce Lee in a movie theater in Long Beach, CA, screaming and kicking ass in Enter the Dragon. Bruce Lee was pure confidence! I mail-ordered all of Bruce Lee’s Fighting Methodbooks and practiced kicking and punching and screaming on a heavy bag that grandpa bought me. It was Lee’s Tao of Jeet Kune Dothat I learned about his overall life and martial arts philosophy, as well as exercise routines, diet and even proper posture. All of this had a huge, positive, impact on me as a teenager. Lee’s smashing the status quo within his own Chinese community by teaching martial arts to non-Chinese also made an impact on me. You really can make a worldwide impact, as long as you break all the rules. This “question authority” attitude was definitely for me – LOL
Dance and music
The first time I saw the popping dance style I was 16 years old and hanging out at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, CA. I was stunned by how 4 guys could make the human body move in a way that looked like a robot or a wave. I spent the whole summer hanging out with these guys, watching and learning their popping techniques. Shake Your Pants by Cameo is the song they were blasting from their boombox, and is the pivotal song that marks the beginning of dance and dance music in my life.
I went on to teach popping and break dancing at The Broadway Academy of Performing Arts when it was located in Carmichael, CA when I was 18-20; performed twice in The Best of Broadway showcase in Sacramento, CA (1983 & 1984) and eventually become an original member of Pepper Von’s Body Talk Dance Company in Sacramento, CA. During my college years Mozart’s Requiem would have the same overwhelmingly-deep impact on my being and soul!
One book, published in 1936, changes my future
You’re the same person 5 years from now, except for the people you hang around, the books you read and what you listen to.
How to Win Friends and Influence Peopleby Dale Carnegie taught me how to get my head out of my ass and focus on supporting the success of others, both personally and professionally. This book also gave me the tools to develop a real and meaningful relationship with my Dad, as well as hone productive business relationships. And I guarantee that this book would have saved my failed marriage, if both me and Lisa would have applied its success principles.
Frustration always reveals a deeper truth
2007 saw the height of frustration between my career as a Web designer and what seemed like a galactic-distance from my true calling! Whatever a true calling is. “This cannot be the fucking reason I was born – to code websites,” I screamed over and over at the ceiling, as I shoved myself back from my desk! I love design, but trouble shooting “code” was so outside my technical and emotional “core” that I would explode in a torrent of frustrated cursing and middle-fingered stressification.
It was obvious that I was so far off the mark with code that it lead me to search for “what is a person’s productive calling.” I observed what I love and what frustrated the shit out of me about Web design: I love the supportive client discussion around building their business; I hate certain technical aspects of building their Web site. This investigation lead to life coaching as a possible strength.
Frustration, properly harnessed, becomes a powerful compass for the best use of your skills, talents and strengths.
The feedback from longtime friends – who could objectively judge my strengths and weaknesses over a 10-15 year period – was overwhelmingly supportive of life coaching as an innate strength of mine. How ironic, because I was “most present” and did my best work in college in Psychology, graduating 3rd in my class! In 2010, I took the Strengths Finder 2.0 test, which lists my Top-5 Strengths. WOW, what a homecoming!
One failed startup
I started a fashion company in 2003 because I liked fashion and design and thought my designs were awesome! I coordinated a ton of customer surveys and compiled 100s of data points to know exactly what customers wanted. With money in the bank from an angel investor, I produced product, coordinated fashion photo shoots, designed marketing materials, created sell-sheets and order forms. I also incorporated the company, hired a CPA and built a Website.
Then I attended local craft shows and called on all the local fashion boutiques. The first 10 boutiques turned me down. My product was not a match for their customer base. Turns out all my surveys, research and compiled results – that led to the purchase of product – did not target the correct market. I was way off base. D’oh!
Life Coach for Entrepreneurs
You want the kind of honesty – and actionable feedback – that you won’t get from your friends and family. The type of honesty that’s productive for both your startup and your personal life. The type of honesty that pushes you to succeed and be smarter in both areas of your life!
You need a confidential and productive “space” to vent – a sounding board where you can let it all out without freaking out your team, investors and customers. You need a safe place to take a breather, get feedback and positive reinforcement. You need a coach to keep you on track and keep you accountable – to push you!
When you hit a road block, we’ll work it out.
The Lean Startup
Since I was the proud owner of a failed angel-backed startup, Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup really smacked me in the face – hard! It showed me that I had done everything backwards. Now, here was a scientific approach that I could wrap my head around. Following Lean Startup principles would have saved my business.
After seeing so many client’s and friend’s startups fail over the years, I’m a huge Lean Startup advocate. It’s a faster way to decide what to create and where to focus resources and talent.
Killer public speaking confidence to catapult you into superhero status! Heck, you’ll need to hire 6 full-time body guards! Your massive levels of clarity and confidence will straight-up melt the faces off peeps sitting in the first two rows.
You’ll get my insights as one of the top 18 speakers in the world in 2013.
With my help, your public speaking badassery will add a new phrase to the thrill-seeker’s lexicon: 3rd-row is for losers!
Public speaking is scarier than death. And after a couple of years of one-on-one life coaching for business owners, I wanted to share my coaching insights in front of a gigantic audience of strangers. Except, I was still too scared to move past one-on-one consultations. So, in January 2010, I forced myself to go to my first Toastmasters meeting.
Toastmasters is like a martial arts dojo or a dance studio: a place to practice, get mentored and get good. And just like kung-fu or ballet, public speaking is a skill that can be learned. Capital City Toastmasters is my home club in Sacramento, CA, where I’m an active member and speaking coach for members.
I know what it’s like to give a butterflies-in-my-stomach, talking-too-fast, nerve-racking, fidgety-handed, dry-mouthed speech. I also know what it’s like to win 2nd-place and come out in the top 18 out of 30,000 speakers world-wide, in front of 500 attendees at the 2013 Toastmasters International Convention in Cincinnati, OH on Aug 22, 2013.
Public speaking is the fastest way to build Screaming Confidence™. I will teach you to look and feel confident when everyone is watching you.
Hit me up: 916-416-6404; moc.y1414161564ellaw1414161564dier@1414161564dier1414161564
Momentum starts at home
School was boring. Life was fascinating at home, learning about sea shells, stamps, aquarium habitats, and gems; tracing illustrations in my grandparent’s copy of Gray’s Anatomy; fashioning 3-D structures from craft paper, building scale models, and designing model-train dioramas with my engineering-minded brother, Lance; being enthralled with Time-Life’s book “Astronomy” (a gift from Grandma). Science is still a heavy part of my YouTube consumption.
Press images (ZIP file: 1. Life Coach image; 2. 1st-place winner 2013 Toastmasters “District” International Speech contest)