Featured Interview: Marie Forleo

 

Watch the full video below:

 

 

 

Read the Interview Transcript:

 

Kelly:                        I am so grateful to Marie for joining us and being a part of today and our B-School promotions and for sharing your wisdom with us Marie. I am just delighted to have you here, and I’ve been getting so many messages from women in our community who are ecstatic who are also followers who’ve been probably following before She is Fierce! even existed.

I just think the enthusiasm, and the excitement in our She is Fierce! community to have you here is just through the roof. So thank you for spending a little bit of your time with us in this precious period of your life. I’m very grateful.

 

Marie:                      Oh of course, thrilled to be here.

 

Kelly:                        Well I want to just take a moment, I know we’ll have lots of people will start joining us on Facebook, but I want to take a moment for those of you I’ll be shocked if you don’t know who Marie is, but if you don’t I want to just take a moment to make sure that you know how amazing this woman is that we’re speaking to.

 

Kelly:                        Marie is the founder of B-School, which you guys have probably heard a ton about, from me and from everybody else who is a successful online entrepreneur in the last few weeks. It’s something that you can see just by how enthusiastic pretty much everybody online is. I think that might be your experience Marie, is about this program and about what Marie has put together. You know, with B-School and then also I think all the amazing free resources that shared throughout the year that kind of builds up to this incredible program.

 

Marie:                      Yes.

 

Kelly:                        Yeah, and I feel like, you know, I can personally attest to the success of B-School. I’m a 2015 alum, yay, and I’ve shared my story with so many women in our community in the past, but B-School was the very first thing that I did when I started my business. I mean, the day I made a choice, I had a baby on my lap, I had a two year old, and I’m like, I’m gonna do this. I have this big idea, and what do I do next, right? I knew I had the talent or the capability but I had no idea how do you actually create something, which is the hard part.

So really just by fate, I came across your program right at that time and signed up. I just knew right away that it was something that I felt could be transformative, and I’ll be honest, I have tons of really mindset and practical questions for you. But for those of the women in our community who haven’t gotten to experience that, yet I have to say that I have a background in media, and I thought oh maybe I’m signing up for something, and I already know how to produce TV, I already know how to do these things, and is it really gonna be worth it?

For me, it was transformational. It was an experience that allowed me to get really clear on what I actually wanted to do, ’cause there’s always 1000 different paths you can take. So I want to say thank you to you Marie.

Yeah, and welcome you into our little She is Fierce! world. Those of you, yeah, who are watching for the first time, Oprah called Marie the thought leader for a new generation. She’s been on Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions, has taught more than 44,000 entrepreneurs around the world, which is absolutely unbelievable, and is my personal guru, whether you know that already or not. You’re the person I turn to when I’m like, what am I gonna do next? I’m sure a lot of people say that, but it’s true for me, and I’m super excited to have you on today.

 

Marie:                      Oh thank you, I’m so honored by your words and by what you shared and I’m super grateful to be with all of you guys today. And we can dive in to questions, anything that you want to talk about. I want to make sure that everyone’s time is so valuable and that they get a ton out of our session.

 

Kelly:                        I want to start with the thing that I think is the core of your message, which is this concept of everything is figureoutable, right?

Marie:                      Yes.

 

Kelly:                        Can you talk to us about what that actually means for you in your life and how that translates for women in your community?

 

Marie:                      Yes. So this notion that everything is figureoutable, is bedrock belief. It’s a conviction that has allowed me to really tackle every single obstacle, problem, pain point, disappointment, conundrum that I have ever faced my entire life. You know when I was in high school and I was actually in a physically abusive relationship, it was the thing that helped me extract myself from that and understand all of the mechanics and then heal myself from that situation and do better next time.

When I was in college it’s what allowed me to get into the classes that I wanted despite not having the right pre-requisites and not having everything all together. It allowed me to secure work study positions that were really difficult to get to help pay my way through college. It’s helped me get every job I’ve ever had, it’s helped me figure out how to start a business when I was 23 and had no idea what the hell I was doing and was so insecure and so afraid and tens of thousands of dollars in debt after college, like many of us are.

So this one bedrock belief and conviction has literally been kind of the meta transformational key that has unlocked everything valuable in my life. Helped me save relationships, helped me rebuild when I’ve hit a wall, and so how it’s helped our community is really transferring that conviction that each of us have a potential, a whole range of potentials that we’re here to activate and to actualize.

When you believe, and you know in every fiber of your cell that everything is figureoutable, all of a sudden you can step into the unknown, you can step into industries, fields, new opportunities where you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and you can trust that, hey, I’m a beginner I’m a neophyte I’m completely inexperienced here, but I can figure it out. One of the most beneficial kind of by products, I think, of this belief is that it gives you the ability to always be a student, and always willing to learn. You’re never in a position of like no this can’t be possible, or I already know this, or this isn’t gonna work, which is a very closed down position.

Everything is figureoutable allows you to step in to whatever you want to do next, and go hey, I may not know what the hell I’m doing, but I can figure it out. Someone who’s either figured it out, and I can go, kind of type into their wisdom or their roadmap. Or if it’s completely new, I can piece something innovative together because everything in our world, the way that human history has changed is that someone thinks something is figureoutable. So at one point women didn’t have the right to vote, and then someone said nope, this is figureoutable, this should change.

Then after 100s of years of women working towards it, it finally happened in 1920, right? At one point in history we didn’t think that people could fly, they wanted to fly. It’s like someone is gonna figure it out, and eventually the Wright Brothers, you know, they made that breakthrough and then forever changed the course of our culture.

So, this notion that everything is figureoutable is kind of the bedrock of everything, and it’s especially applicable to us in our careers and our businesses. So if you have that idea in your heart, it means you already have what it takes to bring that dream to life.

 

Kelly:                        I love that, I keep that kind of close to my heart as I’ve been building a business. Of course, we, no matter what you’re doing in life you come up against roadblocks, right? One of the things that I really love about what you teach is following your purpose. Creating something that is profitable, right, as a business. Being an intelligent business owner, but also bringing the sense of purpose into what you’re doing. Can you talk a little bit about what that means for you as somebody who does it from a business perspective?

Marie:                      Yes. So I think that what we human beings crave almost more than anything else is meaning and connection. Right now there’s a statistic out there, and it’s been true for a few years, the trend has been roughly 70% of us, at least here in the U.S. are unhappy at work. Disengaged, miserable at what we’re doing day-to-day. And we’re spending the vast majority of our adult waking lives working, so that’s a problem. When you start to peel back that research a little bit, what you discover is that what people want sometimes even more than a very high salary is meaning.

We want to know that what we’re devoting our lives to each and every day is making some kind of difference, a positive difference in the world. We want to feel connected to ourself and others. So the way that, that has come about for me and our business specifically, when I first started I knew that I didn’t just want to make a ton of money because I wanted material things. I wanted to be comfortable, and to not have to stress over money, but I never wanted to have like a ton of fancy shoes or jewelry. I’m just not into that, and it’s fine if you are, it’s just not my thing that makes me happy.

But what does make me happy, is creating possibilities for other people. Just seeing the state of the world that we’re in, and understanding the vast income and equality and how many problems there are that frankly financial resources can help to fix. I mean, we have to fix things on a level of consciousness as well, but there’s also other pieces that we you direct more resources in that direction you can actually see some positive change and some growth.

For me, since I started my business I always wanted it to have a greater impact than just even the change I was making in peoples lives, to help them make, through my coaching. I wanted it to have an even bigger ripple effect. When B-School came about, 10 years ago, I realized that most of the people that I was talking to and that I was attracting through my work had similar goals and values. They didn’t want to just be successful just to have a ton of cash sitting in the bank, or to have jet planes or fancy cars. My folks tend not to be into those things quite as much, but what they really wanted was to make a difference in their community.

Or to make sure that their kids had an education and then their kids, kids had an education. Or they saw some issue on some other side of the world that broke their heart, and they wanted to be able to go over there, or write a check, or devote their idea capital or their time or use their platform to help make positive change.

B-School, or tag line is “Make money, change the world.” What we focus a lot in the program is how to teach people to use their unique gifts and strengths to not only grow a business that makes sense money wise, meaning that it’s actually profitable, but it’s meaningful. That it has a deeper purpose and that purpose is up to you. We had one B-Schooler come in it was earlier on in her business, she’s been around for a while, so I’m thinking of her.

She was a nutritionist at this time, and she loves trees, and planting trees and the environment. Through the program she’s like oh wow I didn’t really realize that not only could I do all of this raw food nutrition work but that I could also support and plant more trees and have it connected. She didn’t really see herself as a philanthropist, because she thought she had to be much further ahead and be making all this more money before she was able to actually tie purpose into her business.

I was like no, you can actually do this now. Starting small doesn’t mean thinking small. So one of the things that we walk people through in B-School are all the different ways that you can connect your business to your deeper purpose, and it provides so much meaning and inspiration and creativity when people start to link these things up. It’s just not something that we talk about, and you don’t have to be a social entrepreneur per se to do it, and you don’t have to be a non-profit or for purpose business to do it. You can do it as a for profit business. There are so many different iterations of that and it’s really, really fun when people start to realize how much power they have right now.

Kelly:                        I love that. I have to say that I brag about you to people when people talk to me a lot, they ask oh, are you a non-profit? Because they assume because we’re doing a lot of things that are of service, because we work with a lot of non-profits that we are a non-profit. For me, I feel like that’s been a really powerful message that you can create something for yourself, right, you can do something that’s beneficial to you and you can have this greater impact to everybody else. I want to talk about potential.

 

Kelly:                        That’s certainly what I’ve been talking about to women in our community, I know your sharing that with all the people in your community right now. I heard you say something recently that I just loved, and it’s a simple thing, but it’s just “Take yourself seriously, and then do the work.”

So what does that actually mean to you? I think that’s the biggest challenge, right, we have all these people that are probably watching right now thinking I have this big dream, I have all this possibility, I know I have all this potential, but what is it actually mean for me to translate that into something?

 

Marie:                      Yeah, so taking yourself seriously, and I didn’t hear the second tail end of it.

Kelly:                       “And then do the work.”

Marie:                      Yes. It’s really about ownership, and owning these gifts that you’ve been given. So, one of my other beliefs is that every single one of us is on this planet for a reason, that there’s no extra people. That you have been given a unique set of gifts and talents and strengths. You have a unique perspective, unique stories, unique quirks, personality, and there has never been and there never will be another you. This unique expression that you are on this earth you have to do everything possible to share these gifts, ’cause that’s really why were here is to give to others.

Owning that and taking yourself seriously means putting this flag in the stand to say I am here to contribute and to create and I’m not going to apologize for that. I’m gonna do everything in my power to get those things out there in a way that’s aligned with my values and my heart. Doing the work, it’s not cute all the time. It’s hard, it’s gonna be difficult. You’re gonna bump into resistance, you’re gonna feel afraid, you might even feel like, oh I don’t know if I’m doing that right, but I think what’s so lovely about B-School Kelly, is that when you put yourself in this environment in this program you are surrounded by people who are stepping up to be more courageous.

You’re surrounded by people who are taking responsibility for their gifts, what they want to offer the world, and putting it out there. So they’re experimenting, they’re gonna try certain things that will work and they’ll try certain things that don’t work. But when you’re by yourself, kind of off in your own silo, it can get really lonely. You can get swallowed in what I like to call a Tsunami of self doubt where you pull back.

But doing the work, and I think doing the work in community, meaning your doing the work by yourself, ain’t no one gonna come and sit down at your table and hold your hand and actually make you, you know, take your pen out, do the exercises.

 

Kelly:                        You’re not gonna do that for me Marie?!

 

Marie:                      I’m not gonna do that for you, ’cause it is a group coaching program. Honestly, I think it does people a disservice. It cuts off how powerful they really are. It’s not just about one extreme or the other, you don’t have to be this lone wolf. You have to do your work, you have to show up every day, but you can also show up in community with people. So that when you hit these tough spots, and we all hit them. I still hit them to this day.

But you have other people to connect with, to reflect with, to get some perspective, ’cause you all know, right, when you get into a funky place and we all get to scared funky places, you can kind of talk yourself into a tizzy and into this scared place. Someone will go, oh wait hold on a second, we need to get some perspective here. Let’s just get grounded in what’s reality and what may be a story, and then let’s refocus our energies on what we can do and what can be productive and what can move us ahead.

I think that’s one of the most powerful pieces of B-School. So, yes, you do have to do the work. You have to take yourself seriously, you have to take ownership of this and there’s been no better time in history for us to do this especially for women. Obviously what we teach in B-School is not based in gender, I just happen to attract a large proportion of powerful women and I think that’s many of us need ’cause we haven’t had many role models like that for most of our lives.

And to put yourself in the kind of community like that were people are generous, they’re supportive, they’re kind, they’re positive, they want you to win, there’s no backbiting or cliquey kind of stuff, no competition. It’s like, no there’s more than enough to go around. It’s amazing Kelly, how that can propel you even further than you would have gone on your own.

 

Kelly:                        Yeah, I love what you are sharing, and I have to say that, that is a huge principle that I took away from B-School and that we definitely bring into She is Fierce! community and to all of the different people that we partner with. I will be honest though, I did not come into entrepreneurship thinking I want to be an entrepreneur. I thought, I have this amazing idea I want to elevate woman stories. My background’s in media so I know there’s a way to do it. I want to bring this to life, but I’m not sure what that looks like. I had asked lots of people for permission and had been at lots of big international networks and not gotten permission to do it.

So I thought, I’ll just try this on my own. But one of my biggest fears speaks to what you are talking about, which is, if you become an entrepreneur then are you in competition? So I love what you’re sharing about this idea of it’s about collaboration it’s about being with like minded people. I know certainly my experience with B-School members has been absolutely about that. Watching other people rise, and instead of thinking, uh I’m down because I see their success, you think what is the ‘possibility’?

 

Marie:                      Yes. One of my other beliefs is there’s more than enough to go around. Meaning there’s more than enough opportunity, there’s more than enough clients, there’s more than enough customers, there’s more than enough money, there’s more than enough love, there’s more than enough creativity. [inaudible 00:36:02] people are like, oh I’m gonna run out of ideas for my free content, what am I gonna talk about on Instagram, or what am I gonna talk about in my email newsletter, what I am gonna talk about on my show or my webinar or whatever it is that folks share for free in a new world. I’m like, honey don’t worry about that ’cause that’s coming from a scarcity mindset as though you’re gonna run out.

You have a well within you. You are tapped in to complete infinite … you can’t run out of the juice that’s inside of your heart. ‘Cause you’re connected to something greater, and when people really shift that paradigm, everything opens up. Especially around competition. [inaudible 00:36:35] that way. If you think about it, in terms of cookbooks, sometimes when I’m interested in a new type of cuisine or a new type of eating, I don’t just buy one cookbook. I buy all the cookbooks, right? So that maybe, quote un quote competitors in a certain [inaudible 00:36:52] but they’re not. I’m buying this one, I’m buying this one, I’m happy to take it in. Same thing in self-help and personal development.

When you’re interested in a topic, let’s say it’s productivity, you’re not gonna buy just one productivity book, you’re gonna buy all the productivity books, ’cause you want to get these different points of view and these different perspectives and they’re all rich and beautiful in their own unique way. For someone starting a business or thinking like, oh it’s all been done before, it’s like, nope scarcity minded not a great place to come from, and it’s just factually not true.

 

Kelly:                        Yeah, I think that principle is at the heart of successful online entrepreneurship, because if somebody is out there just trying to do it all by themselves, you’re stuck in a little bubble, and you don’t have this potential. One of the other things that I wanted to ask you about, and I know you share some insights on this often, but I know we’ll have people that are watching right now who are thinking, well that’s all very well for Marie, she’s amazing look what she did. Or that’s all very well for Kelly, she was able to turn it into something, but I’ve been trying, and I’m struggling because I’m trying to find the people that will buy what I have to sell. Or I’m trying to figure out what … where my next paycheck is coming from, which is a tough thing to be in. It’s a tough place to be in.

 I really love, and I know I tried to ascribe to this, that you share, which is about finding a way to add value. Can you talk a little bit about how to get out of that scarcity mindset and start to think about how you’re adding value?

Marie:                      Absolutely, so there’s a couple components to this. The underpinning is always making your business, and your life frankly about what you can give not what you can get. It’s a complete paradigm shift where you’re always looking for how you can be of service. How you can help, how you can add. Now someone understandably be like, look I don’t have enough myself I just need to get, get, get right now. That energy is part of what holds the whole back.

Now I’ll say this, for most of us again we’re not independently wealthy, which I was not. When I was starting out, I needed to keep my side jobs, which was bartending, waiting tables, being a personal assistant, cleaning toilets, I do so many different things to have money coming in so that in my coaching business what I could put out was a generous energy.

Because I wasn’t worried about keeping a roof over my head, or having enough money to buy my little mac ‘n cheese in my Kraft boxes, because that’s what I was eating a lot of at that time. I could coach clients from a place of abundance because I wasn’t relying on them for my income. I was letting my income come in through other sources and when I could build up my confidence, also build up my rates, you know what I mean? So you have to do what have to do.

There’s actually a study out, American Management Journal, they tracked about 5000 entrepreneurs over 14 years, and they found that those who kept their day jobs while starting a business were 33% less likely to fail. I thought that’s an interesting-

Kelly:                        I believe it, absolutely.

 

Marie:                      So for many of us, right, there’s some people that are built like this if they burn the bridges, and they’re like, I must make money. That’s how they rise, they’re just unique souls that, that’s where they come to life, and they make it happen. That’s how their DNA is built, I’m not like that, I’m more risk [inaudible 00:40:07]. If you need to keep a roof over your head, you can start your business on the side. You can start small, you can do it a few hours a week, you can dip your toe in the water, B-School will help you do that ’cause it’s a take it at your own pace kind of program.

We’ve had many, many people … no one comes into B-School, quite honestly Kelly, with I got 10 hours a day, I’m just gonna hang out and do nothing and just absorb all this B-School. No, we’ve got kids, we’ve got families, we’ve got full-time jobs, we’ve got illnesses, we’ve got a whole host of challenges and things to navigate.

Frankly, some of my most productive time in life is when I’m the busiest. If you want something done, give it to a busy person. That’s right for a reason, because you’re very structured about your time, so you don’t waste a lot of it. If you have a pocket of an hour or two you’re gonna spend it on something that really makes a difference and moves the needle ahead.

So the answer that question, it’s about that underpinning of energy to make it about what you can give, not about what you can get. When you come from that space of generosity it’s an intangible energy that people sense and two, if you need to work out the money thing, it is fine to take it slow. Studies show that you may be actually giving yourself an advantage because you can take care of some of the core financials without having that neediness in your business at first.

 

Kelly:                        I honestly love that advice. It’s something that I did not do myself, so I can’t speak from experience. I had two small children, and I was like I can only balance these things. Yet, the advice that I give to everyone is, keep another income stream coming so that you can find that value in yourself more quickly. So I just love that.

So I want to ask you, as we kind of are coming to a little bit of close, just to talk about what I think everybody struggles with. At some point, no matter how successful you are, or if your kind of just at the beginning or your journey, we all come to these upper limits or these mental blocks and we have this fear of failure or sometimes a fear of success. I know I’ve heard you speak about this before, and I know that you, I’m sure, have been through many different barriers like this.

I was wondering if you can share some of your tips and tricks for people who are just starting out and thinking oh my gosh, I have this big dream and then for people who … people like me who are like wow, I’ve been able to turn it into something, how do I get to that next level and overcoming those challenges?

 

Marie:                      Yeah, so I think one important identifier is we all fail. We are all gonna flop, we’re all gonna face plant. I’ve done it, I still do it, I will continue to do it. It means that I’m trying new things, it means that I’m innovating, it means that I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone. So you have to know, that it’s not a glitch in your journey, it’s a feature, it’s a must have feature if you are going to do big things in this world.

Honestly, I’m actually writing about this in my book right now, failure, it’s a first attempt in learning. It’s a faithful attempt in learning for many of us. So if we can reframe that and just see it as hey, we’re learning, we’re trying something it’s not permanent. We had a brilliant woman named Judge Victoria Pratt on the show, she’s incredible, and she said something great. She’s like, failure is an event it’s not a person and not a characteristic.

It helps us depersonalize this and recognize that it is something that we all experience, but you don’t have to stay there. So that’s on that side, so just realize if you’re fucking up, that’s a good thing. It’s a really good thing, ’cause it means you’re putting yourself out there, and you’re learning. Now on the flip side, like the fear of success, I think when it comes to that fear it’s like you have to drill down. One of the biggest challenges around our fears is that we let them remain vague and amorphous in our minds.

Actually take the time to write down what am I actually afraid of and why. What’s the worst thing that could happen here? You don’t just think about it, you articulate it on the page. What you do is you give yourself a chance to objectively look at it, to A, evaluate what’s the likelihood of this actually happening, ’cause most the time it’s not very likely. And two, how would I deal with it if this fear did come true? How would I recover, how would I get back on my feet, how could I mitigate against it happening in the first place?

So there’s magic that happens when we actually take the time to address our fears on paper, not from a place of hysterics, but from a place of just calm expression and inquisitiveness and curiosity. That’s how I would suggest on a tactical level to tackle those things and then just to remember if you are making progress in your life, if you are doing new things, yes are you gonna fail, quote un quote, you’re gonna have a flop, you’re gonna have a misstep. All it means is that you’re growing and learning, it’s actually a positive sign.

 

Kelly:                       I know we are coming to the close ’cause you have got so much going on right now. I want to just ask you, is there any … on our She is Fierce! stage we’ve had all these amazing women who come on stage, and I always ask them, you know, after they share their story, what is the one message that you hope that the women in our community can just take to heart? I know we have so many people who are watching or engaging who are looking for just your inspiration. So what would you say to people who are like, ‘okay this could be my chance, let ME do something.’ So what would you say to them?

 

Marie:                      I would say, if you have a product, a service, or an idea that you believe in your heart of hearts can help change another person’s life that you know this needs to be out in the world, please for the love of all things holy, learn how to market and sell that idea. Otherwise, you are stealing from those who need you most. There’re people like that out there right now, with pain points, with dreams and aspirations that you have a solution for. Or you have a product or service for that could help them get to that next level. If you play small, if you hold back, if you stay in your fear, you are literally stealing from them.

So whether you learn from me, or you learn from someone else, these are the skillsets of the future of being a modern creative of participating in livelihood in a way that is aligned with your heart and your values. Obviously I’m biased because I’ve been doing B-School now for 10 years, we’ve had 44,000 people from over 564 industries go through the program from over 139 countries. So the reason I say that is its battle tested, it’s proven. We know that it works, if you resonate with our style come please join us, but even if you don’t commit to yourself to learn these skills because it is what will help you share your gifts with those who need it most.

 

Kelly:                        Thank you so much Marie, I am so grateful for your time and so grateful for you just being a part our world, and I know the women in our community are as well. So thank you and good luck. For those of you who are dying to get into B-School, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people asking questions, you can find our link it’s above us on Facebook, or I’ll send out an email right after this and check out our bonus, you can get one on one coaching with me, you will get Marie’s phenomenal wisdom, which I didn’t even have time to go into some of the incredible things that I learned in B-School. I will do that separately, and Marie thank you again for joining me!

 

 

Featured Interview: Brenda Jackson

Brenda Jackson

 

Watch the full video below:

 

 

 

Read the Interview Transcript:

 

Brenda Jackson: When she invited me, I was pondering, “What would I say to you?” I thought about my beginning, and what it took me to get where I am. I’m working on my 114th novel. I retired in 2008 after 37 years with State Farm Insurance Company, in management. While I was working at State Farm, I wrote over 50 books. I had made The New York Times and BET had made a movie of one of my books. People would ask me, “Why are you still here?” The President of the company said, “You’re still with us?” I’m like, “Yes, I’m still here.” Because, I was Miss. Corporate America. 

Brenda Jackson: I knew there was something more for me to do, and I wanted to write more books, even though my husband didn’t understand, “How could you write more?” Because even working full time, I was publishing at least six books a year. Yes, six books a year. I know, a lot of people say, “I’m just writing one.” That’s good if you write that one, but I was inspired. To tell you why I was inspired, let me tell you some more about me. I write stories that I enjoy writing. They say you like to read a certain type of book, well I love romance. I love romance. From the time I was a little girl, I enjoyed reading Cinderella, Snow White, any book that had, “… and they lived happily ever after.” That was the key for me. It had to have a happy ending. 

Brenda Jackson: How many of you read Bridges of Madison County? I’ve re-written that book, the ending, because if you read it, you know it didn’t have a happy ending. So, I’m like, “No. It has to have a happy ending.” No way I would have left them hanging all these years without a happy ending. I only watch movies, I only wanted to watch movies and read books that had happy endings. So, to escape into a world that’s not how it is. If I wanted to see how it is, I could cut on the television and I could hear all the things that’s happening. People read books to escape. They read a good mystery. They read a good sci-fi. They know, “Okay, this is not really how it is.” A car is not going to come back from the dead just like it did in a Stephen King novel. I don’t have to worry about zombies whenever I walk the street, but you read to escape. 

Brenda Jackson: It’s not different than a writer who wants to write. You pick a topic that you want to write about and you write. With me, tell you a little bit of background of what happened. When I was in the eighth grade, I always wanted to write and I had a fixation with Gidget and Moondoggie. How many of you remember Gidget and Moon I know, we’re telling our ages, I know, I know, I know. Okay. I could just imagine Gidget and Moondoggie. I loved their story. Sandra Dee, Bobby Darren, Gidget, and Moondoggie. So, to entertain my classmates when I was in the eighth grade, I wrote my own Gidget and Moondoggie. I would get to school, and I would pass out this is notebook paper, longhand. I would pass them out to my classmates. I have one in the audience who can attest to reading my stories when we were in eighth grade. 

Brenda Jackson: We both got in trouble. I got in trouble, she got in trouble for reading it. Not only her, but a lot of the members of my class. It showed me that I have an imagination. I could think of a lot of stuff, but that wasn’t really what I felt like I wanted to do. I went to college, graduate of JU, and I got a degree in Business Administration. There was always something within me that said, “You need to write a book. What could be more perfect for you than a romance book?” The reason being, I met the young man that I subsequently married, when I was 14. Yes. I still proudly wear the going steady ring he gave me when I was 15. We got married a year out of me graduating from high school when I was only 19. Until he passed away two years ago, we were together 47 years. 

Brenda Jackson: During those times when we got married, I set some ground rules. I was the oldest of six kids. I was the live in babysitter at my family’s home. So, I said, “No kids right away. I don’t care how many times the family asks, ‘When are you having a child?’ I want to wait at least six to seven years.” We waited six years before we had any children. So, we got to know the two of us before there became the three of us. We became the very best of friends. He inspired me, and he became my very best friend. When I worked at State Farm Insurance Company and I was moving up the corporate ladder, I had to take all these exams for different designation. I have my IIA, my COU, my CPCU. All of those types of designations, and you have to study all these exams. So, I needed something to break the monotony of reading so much academia books. 

Brenda Jackson: So, a friend invited me to go with her to writer’s conference. There I met the woman that will always be a treasure in my life. Some of you I’m sure have read her books, by the name of Nora Roberts. I don’t know what Nora saw in me, but we had to do a assignment in class where she gave us a word and we had to write a paragraph. When she got to my table, I had written three pages. She said, “This is good.” I said, “Thank you.” She said, “Have you ever thought of writing?” I said, “I did it when I was in school, but that was years ago.” She said, “It may be something you want to take back up.” Those words inspired me so much, when I returned home I told my husband, “I need to write.” First, I want to see what’s out there, what everyone is reading. This is before Fifty Shades of Grey, mind you. This is back in the ’90s. 

Brenda Jackson: A friend gave me a book called, Shanna. Anyone has ever read Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss? It’s an historical novel set in England. I read book, but like, “Yeah, but I don’t want to go way back in England. I want something modern day.” So, I start reading Nora Robert books. I read other books, Nora Roberts. I read [inaudible 00:08:27] Gregory series. She had a series of books. That’s one thing Nora said, that when you start writing, do a family saga. When you do a family saga, people want to know the family. If you write 10 books into that family saga and someone come along and pick up book number nine, if they really want to know the family, they’re going to go back and get the other eight books. I’m like, “Okay, yeah that’s good in sales.” So, that was really good advice. 

Brenda Jackson: So, when I started writing, I came up with a family saga and I named the family the Madaris’ and they were brothers, cousins, set in Texas. I have this thing for cowboys. I know, yes. I go way back. Gun smoke, the rifle man, high chaparral, yes. Earlier we were talking about Clint Eastwood, and everyone was saying their favorite Clint Eastwood movie In fact, I can go back farther than that. I can go back to the days of Gil Favor and Rawhide. When Clint Eastwood was Rowdy Yates, before he became whatever he was, Josie Wells Before those days. So, I enjoyed writing about men who were cowboys, or from the west. 

Brenda Jackson: I started my series of books. I wrote them really just to entertain my friends. Not think that they would get published, and whenever I would go to my class reunion, my friends would ask me, “Did you ever write a book?” I’d say “Yes, but I wrote it and I was through with it.” They said, “No, you should try to get that book published.” So, I said, “Let me finish at least three of them before I submit them.” I got rejected just like anybody else that say they have submitted a book. I knew nothing about writing other than there was a story within me. So, when I started writing, I knew I was serious about writing as a way to escape. When I got home, after I started having the kids, I would sit on the bleachers at their games and I was never a sports person. So, I would always have some type of book with me. 

Brenda Jackson: I started reading. I started studying. Then I started going to conventions, and I hooked back up with Nora and others who were authors. They taught us the craft, do workshops. By the time I resubmitted my book, Kensington Publishing, which is a major publisher in New York, offered me a three book contract. I will never forget, I was in New York for the event and I called my husband and I said, “They bought my book.” He said, “You’ve got to be kidding. Really?” I’m like, “Yeah! They bought all three of them. Cha ching! Extra money.” I think I said that too loud, because my sons overheard. By this time, they were in high school about to go off to college, and in college you know how the kids call you and they say, “Mom, I need this. Dad, I need this.” I told them the same line my mom would tell me when I would ask her this question. Do you think money grow on trees? My son, the youngest one say, “Mom, all you got to do is write another book.” 

Brenda Jackson: Evidently, he thought I was writing to educate him. So, in a way I was, because they were blessed to both go to Ivy League colleges. One graduated from Columbia University and the other from Cornell. So, writing to me then became thank you Writing then, became a way for us to have extra money, because I had a full time job that I enjoy and then writing relaxed me. I think one reason it relaxed me so much was because at work I was in management, and if anyone has ever been in management you can only get your people to do so much. I could go home. I could relax. I could get to my computer, and I could create people who would listen to me. They did what I wanted them to do. They only liked what I wanted them to like. 

Brenda Jackson: As far as men, the ones that thought they would never, ever, ever fall in love? Oh, they fell in love and they fell hard. Once in awhile I would ask my husband’s opinion, because he was a man and I have to say that a lot of my books, he represents what good As far as what I see as a big strong man, loving, kind and how I felt a woman should be treated. Then I had these guys writing me and said, “My wife reads your book. I don’t have a problem with that, but you are setting up unrealistic expectations. Wh en I kiss her, she expects the faint, and that’s not …” I said, “Yes it is. You just have to work hard at it. It’s possible.” 

Brenda Jackson: So, I enjoy reading and writing. I enjoy creating my characters, and because they were families, they were connecting books. The next thing you know, I was connecting books, I was connecting families, and BET made one of my first books into a movie, One Special Moment. I’m still working. I’m still Miss. State Farm, because I really believe I was meant to be Miss. Corporate America. You know, God has a way of letting you know what your calling is, and he did. I finally got a call from a publisher. One of the ones that never, ever that always rejected my books, Harlequin. They were the first one. “You can’t sell to Harlequin. My goodness, that’s the romance giant.” Every book I would send to them, it was rejected. 

Brenda Jackson: So, basically when they called me I was like, wait a minute, when I wanted to write for them, they didn’t want me. Now, I’ve gotten a couple of books out there. They can’t keep them on the shelves. Now they’re wanting me to write for them. Should I, or shouldn’t I? My agent said, “Yes, you should and we’re going to make it worth your while by taking them to the bank. They did, and I was able to retire after 37 years at the age of 55, with State Farm Insurance, but I had to come home and really get serious about writing everyday. I’m a very structured person, because I was used to going into a professional atmosphere. 

Brenda Jackson: The first couple of months, even when I worked at home, I would dress up, just to go to another room and write. My husband said, “Can you just go in your pajamas?” I’m like, “No. I have to …” It was that mentality that in order to be successful at whatever I was doing, I had to basically have a certain persona. After awhile, the stockings came off, the panty hose. Then the flip flops replaced the pumps. Then it was like, the idea is just writing the book, being relaxed. Something that stayed with me was, if you can conceive it, you can achieve it. If anyone would have told me years ago that I would be standing before you, working on my 114th novel, that I would be the first African American author to make The New York Times, and The USA Today, and Publisher Weekly Best Seller’s list, I would not have believed them. 

Brenda Jackson: My greatest joy came in 2012 when I received the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, because that is the highest honor any romance author can achieve. In that year, I became the recipient of that award. People ask, “Why do you write romance?” My answer to them is, “Why not?” Love stories, knight in shining armor, every woman dream of a fantasy of being saved by some rich guy. Even though we know it’s fantasy, but so is I have this conversation with men, I say, “Why do y’all like Star Trek? That’s not real.” We all have what we want in way of our fantasies. Someone asked me what did I think was the biggest appeal of Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m like, “It’s a individual thing.” Ask one woman, she would tell you one reason. Another woman would tell you another reason. 

Brenda Jackson: With me, I love happy endings. I love when a fierce woman takes the most untamed beast, the male, and can bring him to his knees. I do that in my book. Men who swear they would never, ever, ever, ever, ever get married end up living happily ever after with the woman that they meet and fall in love with. I’m hoping that I inspire you, if that’s your dream. Whether it’s to write a book, whatever it is, to follow your dream. To believe in yourself. I had to believe in myself and the times that I didn’t, I had someone, a very strong man behind me saying, “You can do it.” Who was the wind beneath my wings. If you don’t have that wind, then you have to propel yourself, just to move up, to do the things that you want to do. I’m proud to say that after BET, another movie was made, a second movie. We had sent my oldest son to college for eight years. He graduated after Columbia. Then he went on to Florida State and got a Masters in film. 

Brenda Jackson: After you send your kids to college, you want to say, okay you put your money in your kids. You want to see whether they got anything out of the eight years. So, I went to my husband. I said, “You know what? I got all these books. We need to invest in him one more time.” My husband’s like, “I think we’ve invested in him enough.” I’m like, “One more time. Let me pick a book out and let him see whether or not he can make a movie out of it, and whether he could do a good job.” He said, “Where he’s going to get the money?” I’m like, “We’re going to use your money, your 401K. You’ll get yours before I get mine. So, it’ll be yours.” So, to the tune of a half a million, we invested in the movie. One thing my husband made me promise that I would be on that set everyday to supervise. He knew when it came to business, I knew business. He said, “You’re going to be on there everyday, because I will not lose my money.” 

Brenda Jackson: I said, “Okay. We’ll do this.” At the time, I was not aware that I was going to have a crew of 20, 20 year olds, because one of the things that we decided to do was to reach out to all the top film schools in the country and ask them to send their top and brightest students to work on a film, and they did. They didn’t have to draft anybody. You’re talking about schools mostly up north, during the summer kids wanted to come to Florida. The first thing they thought about, “Oh the beach!” So, I had to get instilled in them, you’re not here for the beach. You’re here to work on a movie. So, once we got that understanding then the movie took off. 

Brenda Jackson: It was a Christmas movie and we was filming in August. That posed some problems, because I needed some people to decorate their houses for Christmas. We bought two houses in the Springfield area of Jacksonville to film in. We actually got the neighbors, just so their name could be in the credits, to actually decorate their houses. At night, the lights came on, so you were seeing Christmas in August. Everything worked out fine. I never meant to send that movie to the big screen. It was going straight to DVD, but something miraculously happened. I knew it was for my readers, and I knew I was only going to make enough copies it was a lot of copies of DVDs, in order to get my husband’s money back. 

Brenda Jackson: So, after the movie, we went straight to DVD. In order to do that, I had to charge $25.00 a DVD. So, my husband thought that was the most ridiculous thing he ever heard, because his favorite movie of all time was Avatar and he only paid $19.99 for Avatar. So, how could I expect anyone to pay $25.00 for an independent movie? My readers bought so many copies of that movie, it got the attention of Warner Bros., and the next thing you know, Warner Bros. called and we was working out a contract with Warner Bros. to put that movie that was just supposed to be going to my readers, in Walmart, Best Buy, any place movies were sold. Netflix called. We worked out a deal with Netflix. So, not only did my son prove what he could do as a Director, I got my husband’s money back, and more. So, he was happy about that. 

Brenda Jackson: I got a call this week, Debbie Allen will be directing my next movie. It’s called, A Silken Thread. The movie based on the book, A Silken Thread and they’re going to start casting for it in January. So, you’ll be hearing more about that soon, but I bought everyone a copy of that movie that I made, Truly Everlasting. So, you have a complimentary copy of the movie, so you could see what my son did. What I did, what my husband did, and to show that what you can do when you believe in yourself. My question to you is, you got it. You’re fierce. You got it. Now that you got it, what are you going to do with it? You have to decide what your gift is, what do you want to do and don’t waste any time. Go for it. Thank you. 

Interviewer: So, I just want to tell you guys very briefly that when I first was trying to find speakers for this series, I was asking everybody I knew, all the people in media and everybody. Who do you know, who’s the most amazing speaker you know. So many people recommended Brenda, but I had never met her. So, I kind of thought, “She’s not going to know what I’m doing. She’s not going to want to do it.” I called you up on the phone from my car thinking, “I’m just going to call her and get rejected and then I’ll move on.” She was like, “Sure! Why not!” I was like, “Oh, okay great.” So then we put her on the poster. We had never me and I was just ecstatic that she was one of our speakers. Then I realized that I had put a poster out there with her face on it and we had never actually met, and I had no idea what she was going to say. 

Interviewer: I had a little moment where I was like, “Oh, what have I done.” So, I called Brenda and I said, “Brenda, can we go out to lunch? I’d love to meet you.” We had the loveliest lunch, at least for me, I don’t know if it was for you, but for me it was amazing. I became your biggest fan, although I’m sure there are other people in the audience that will dispute that. The thing that struck me the most in our conversation and in your talk was that you were pushing those boundaries. You were working. You were getting rejected as you first tried to publish. You then got some success. You continued to work. You persevered through and all of the things that we can look at now, and say, “Oh my gosh, she’s having a movie. She’s published so many books. She has all this success.” But you, over time continually built on your success and kept pushing forward. So, how did you do that? 

Brenda Jackson: I think because I had so many people behind me. I had readers who wanted more books. Even when I was writing six books a year, I would get this letter from a reader saying, “You’re not writing fast enough.” I’m like, “Really?” I think that helped me. I believed in my characters, because I wanted to convey good men out there that were treating their women right, and I think that’s what made me keep going. 

Interviewer: I want to open it up, because I know we have some people with questions in the audience. I think Brandy has a mic, so let’s take our first question. I know it always takes a moment. All right, we’ve got one right over here. Can you see her Brandy? 

Brandy: Nope. 

Interviewer: Oh, sorry. We’re going to the back first. 

JB: Hi Brenda. 

Brenda Jackson: Hi. 

JB: My name is JB, and I’m from Jacksonville and you know me very well. Anyway, you always mention the fact that this kiss makes a woman pass out. 

Brenda Jackson: I’m sorry, could you say that again? 

JB: Talking about the kiss. 

Brenda Jackson: Oh yeah. 

JB: The kiss that makes the woman faint. Can we hear about that? 

Brenda Jackson: Okay. I was due to write a book called, Delaney’s Desert Sheikh, and while I was on a cruise right before I wrote this book, I was on the cruise writing the book. Taking notes and everything. This couple came up to me and they were from Greece, and they were just wanting to know what I was doing, because I was observing people and I told them I was writing about a romance story. So, they asked me, “Do you know about [Ariss 00:30:20]?” I’m like, “No. What is that?” They said, “That’s the kiss from Greek. It’s a type of French kiss that will make a woman pass out when she’s the recipient of this kiss.” So, I’m like, “Do tell.” 

Brenda Jackson: After our conversation, I wasn’t sure whether the lady was for real or not, but she took my address. She said, “I’m going to send you information on the kiss.” When she sent it, it was in Greek. So, I had to go to restaurant after restaurant and say, “Could you translate this for me?” I finally found one that said, “Sure. What is it?” I told him, and while he was reading it, he would look at me. I’m like, “What’s going on?” He said, “You really want to know what this says?” I’m like, “Yes.” He said, I’ll have my wife tell you. Anyways, she explained to me again about the kiss, and so I put it in the book. 

Brenda Jackson: It was such a beautiful scene in the book, but I got a lot of backlash because I had all these men writing to me and said, “My wife read your book. Now they want me to kiss them and make them pass out. Tell them this is not for real.” I’m like, “Yes, it’s for real. You just got to work at it. You got to learn how to do it.” The kiss is out there. A lot of people have since researched it, and that book became one of the top sellers for Harlequin. 

Interviewer: All right, let’s take our second question. I don’t know where we’re going now. Clarissa. Oh, right up here. Sorry. 

Speaker 1: this kiss, what would we Google? 

Interviewer: So, how do you research to find out about the kiss? 

Brenda Jackson: Aries. 

Interviewer: All right, I think she’s coming to you Clarissa. 

Speaker 2: Hi. 

Brenda Jackson: Hi. 

Speaker 2: I’d like to know if your books are going to be available in audio? 

Brenda Jackson: Yes, I have over 20 some books in audio. There will be more. Harlequin just signed on Delaney is an audio the one about the kiss, it’s in audio under audible.com. If you go in and put Brenda Jackson, you have a good 20 or 30 of my novels- 

Speaker 2: Are you the narrator? 

Brenda Jackson: I beg your pardon? 

Speaker 2: Are you the narrator? 

Interviewer: Are you the narrator? 

Brenda Jackson: No. I’m not the narrator. They hire someone to be the narrator. 

Interviewer: I just listened to Bane on audible.com. 

Brenda Jackson: Oh. 

Interviewer: I did, and it’s a little hot and steamy. I’m not going to lie. 

Brenda Jackson: Yeah, it is. Yes it is. Bane is, yeah. What was special about Bane, he’s a Westmorland, and when I first originally introduced Bane, he was only 17. Hot headed, and he had to go and become a Navy Seal. So, Bane is about him coming back home looking for his long lost love. So, yeah. It is hot and heavy, and steamy and all that good stuff. 

Interviewer: Okay. Go ahead. 

Speaker 3: Hi, can you tell me how old you were when you had your first book published? 

Brenda Jackson:My first book came out in 1995. So, last year I celebrated my 20th anniversary as a author. In the year 2013 I was celebrating my 100th novel. So, from 2013 until now, I’ve written 13 new novels. 

Interviewer: All right, I saw another hand up. Yup, right here. 

Speaker 4: Thanks for coming. I really enjoyed it. 

Brenda Jackson: Thank you. 

Speaker 4: I have a book in my heart, but I don’t know how to start. 

Brenda Jackson: You have a book in your heart, and you don’t know how to start. Okay. You determine is it fiction, non-fiction. 

Speaker 4: [inaudible 00:34:41] 

Brenda Jackson: So, it’s non-fiction. It’s a true story, your biography. No one can write that book, but you. So, what I would suggest is decide what information you want to put in that book about you. Do you want to start from your early years, from childhood up to now? Are you just going to talk about a certain aspect of your life? 

Speaker 4: [inaudible 00:35:10] 

Brenda Jackson: Okay, the timeframe. Then, what you do is you make notes and then you decide how you want to put it in the chapters. How are you going to break up the chapters, and then you sit down to the computer and write. As Nora would say, the hardest part of writing is sitting your butt in the chair and doing it. Once you do it, then your thoughts will flow. It may not be right, but you can always go back. That’s why we have a edit, and you edit. You write from your heart, and then I would say now it’s so much easier to publish than when it was it 1995, where you had to be rejected. 

Brenda Jackson: Now, because of Amazon, you can get a book out in minutes, after you write the book of course. As far as getting it out there, you could get a book out there. Amazon now cater to independent authors where you really don’t need a publisher. There’s only six major publishers in this country, but now more authors are riding independently through Amazon, and Barns and Nobles, where you don’t have to do it. So, you don’t have to worry about, “Okay, once I finish this book, am I going to be accepted or rejected?” You can’t be. You just have to write the book. 

Interviewer: All right. I think we have time for about one more. 

Speaker 5: Hi there. Thank you. 

Brenda Jackson: Hi. 

Speaker 5: Question. Do you recommend just writing from the heart, or writing an outline and then going from there? 

Brenda Jackson: Whether write straight in the book, or do an outline? I have never done an outline for a book. I have never done an outline. Not saying it’s wrong, but I have author friends who have to write an outline, have to know what’s going to happen in every chapter. You probably heard what they call the dreaded synopsis. When I send a synopsis in, my publisher know that might not be the book when I finish with it, because I’m just giving them something just to say I’m writing this book. Whichever one that you’re comfortable with. If you think that you have to collect your details in a outline, then you do it. Case in point, I just finished a series that came out last year. This book made the highest mark on New York Times made number 11 on New York Times. I was part of the series called, The Granger Series, and the book was A Lover’s Vow. It was a murder mystery. I did not know who the killer was myself, until I almost ended the book. I’m like, “You were the killer?” 

Brend People would write me, and ask me and I had fun with them guessing. I would tell them, I don’t even know who the killer is yet, so how can y’all know who the killer is yet? Any Brenda Jackson readers in here can correct me, so far, no one has written me and said they figured out who the killer was. This book was selected by Essence Magazine as one of the best books of 2015, because so far no one has read that book, figured out who the killer was. 

Interviewer: That’s awesome. 

Speaker 5: Even the author. 

Brenda Jackson: Huh? At the end, I knew who it was, but if you read it you would say, “Oh yeah, it’s going to be this person. It’s going to be that person.” In the end, I fooled you, it was nobody that you thought. It was the person that you least expected, which is typically how it is, but I had it where it was the person you really least expected. 

Interviewer: I know I saw a lot of hands up, do you want to just take one or two more? 

Brenda Jackson: Yes. 

Interviewer: Okay, let’s go for it. I saw a bunch up before. Here we go, [inaudible 00:39:31] has one in the front. 

Speaker 6: Can you hear me? Am I talking loud enough? 

Brenda Jackson: Yes. 

Speaker 6: So I think I’ve been building this question the whole time, and I knew now that I’ve listen to her speak, but I waited because [inaudible 00:39:57] the women that would be speaking about success, in a venue like this would maybe have a negative experience with a man, that might propel them into being driven. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that every single speaker we’ve had for these four weeks have commented early in their presentation that they had a phenomenal relationship with an amazing man who supported them. 

Speaker 6: So that being said, my question is, how do you balance driven woman and successful relationship? How do you balance it? 

Brenda Jackson: I think for me, I always let my husband know that he was the man. I even teased him. I said, “In the middle of the night, if I call out for Justin, he’s just a character in the book. I’m having a Justin moment.” I always made sure, even though I was working full time, I always made what I call our time. I never wanted my success whether it was professional, or as a writer, to interfere with what I had. So, I was romantic. Men, they don’t start out being romantic. I remember for Valentine’s and I told my husband, my birthday is February 14th. February 2nd I said, “Now, don’t think you could give me one card and say this is going to suffice for birthday and Valentine’s day because it doesn’t work that way. I want a birthday card, and I want a Valentine card. Don’t bring me no Valentine card in a paper bag that you forget to sign, just satisfying that I need a Valentine card.” 

 Brenda Jackson: So, it’s a learning process with both of you. Then, what you have to do is still be able to do what you want to do, but still make sure you have time for them. St. Augustine used to be our getaway and sometimes he didn’t know when we would get away, because when he came home from work I would have bags packed. I’m like, we need me time. I think a lot of women, they are so driven they forget that there’s another part of them. You’re going to always be two different people, because you think differently and that’s when you have to basically do the art of compromise to know when you can talk things out. We had two teenage boys, and we was a team. Kids will try to play you. If you say no, they’ll go to daddy thinking they say yes. So, we had to get together every so often say, “Yeah. We a team. Us against them.” That’s how they knew, don’t even bother. Mama say no, dad going to say no too. 

Brenda Jackson: So, we built that firm relationship, and I knew that no matter how busy my day got that I had a loving supportive husband. Then, I let him know that he had a loving and supportive wife as well. 

Interviewer: All right. We have time for one more in the back, and then we’re going to wrap up. 

Speaker 7: Hi, I was wondering if you have chosen a location for the forth coming film, and how you connected with Debbie Allen? 

Interviewer: Oh gosh. Debbie Allen connected with me. I was surprised. Debbie has a dance group and she was on her way to Australia. They were performing The Nutcracker in Australia. Someone gave her my book, because it was a long flight and someone gave her my book to read. When she got back to the States, she contacted my agent and my agent wanted to know was I interested in having Debbie Allen do the movie. I had what I call a bad experience with BET in that the movie was nothing like the book. Very little stayed in the book, and I was told, “But, that’s how it is. They take your book and then they change it so much that you may not recognize the book, the movie.” My readers were very upset because that book, One Special Moment, was a beautiful well-written book, and they made it something different. So, that’s why I would never ever let anyone else make a movie of my book, unless it was me. 

Interviewer: That’s why I grabbed at the chance when my son wanted to do it when I wanted him to do it, but that was the stipulation that I would have to read and approve the script. He had to go back and forth before I approved the script because it had to be by the book. If you see the movie and if you ever buy the book, you could literally open the book and follow the movie. It was just that much by the book. I felt like I owed it to my readers who were disappointed in my first movie. So, when I talked to Debbie Allen I told her that, that was the one stipulation that the movie had to be by the book. 

Interviewer: I know what artistic liberties are. I know that there’s no way, because of introspection you can have 100%, but I want it at least 75% to 90%, and she said, “We’ll work on the script together.” She hired someone to write the script and any time there was a deviation, she would call and say, “This is what I think we need to do. Will you be in agreement?” Because it was nothing that drastically changed the book In fact, I like some of her ideas, honestly. So, that’s how we got started. The script has been written. Dave Larsen was the script writer, and so we’re on our way. 

 

Rejecting the Status Quo with Debbie Powers

Reject the Status Quo

Meet She Is Fierce! & Lift U Expert Mentor Debbie Powers. Debbie grew up in Indiana in the ‘50s and ‘60s as a gifted athlete with an unrelenting passion for sports. She mastered her skills on the playgrounds against boys because there were no teams for girls. Playing basketball at Indiana University finally gave her a taste of organized competition, but also exposed her to the glaring inequities between men’s and women’s sports. Debbie shares her story as an athlete, an author and a professional speaker and how she inspires and empowers young women to persevere and reject discrimination. 

Here are some great tidbits from the Podcast…

 

  • Debbie shares the social climate of how she grew up in the 1950’s and that her former expectations were that if she wanted to be an athlete she would never date or marry.  (3:15-4:54)
  • Debbie talks about her memoir, “Meeting her Match” based on her coaching experience of her girls volleyball team playing against boys and how they WON!  Debbie describes this experience as one of the most “Unprecedented, unforgettable athletic experiences of her life.” (13:35-14:28)
  • The author talks about not wanting her memoir to be a “woe is me” story, rather one of empowerment, persistence, determination and love what you do for other women to look to. (23:40-24:05)
  • The advice she shares as one of her most important tips as an athlete is “never give up, but also you can reinvent yourself and use your history to empower others.”  (34:12-34:36)
  • The final tip Debbie shares is not to live in the past, but rather to learn from it. (35:20-35:45)

Married with Employees with Heather Vreeland

Married with Employees

 

Meet Heather Vreeland, founder of The Celebration Society and Occasions Media Group. When Heather came to the publishing industry, she had no prior experience, but was able to transform a dream into a hugely successful and respected multi-platform media company. Heather shares her journey of becoming an entrepreneur, starting a business with her husband, being a working mom and just doing things her own way with heart, hustle and chutzpah.

Here are some great tidbits from the Podcast…

 

  • Heather shares her struggles of being an entrepreneur and how becoming a manager takes time, there are often grayed lines between friendship and business and how she learned to navigate that. (14:06-14:35)
  • When asked how she overcomes hurtles, Heather responds “I just keep swimming.” (18:38-18:41)
  • One of the tips Heather shares on scheduling is she batches her tasks, she actually maps out her days and weeks based on which when will be design intensive or administrative.  (28:19-28:40)
  • Heather shares that when deciding to start a business it is important to first decide “is this worth my time and can it be profitable” and then once you have decided to start, put blinders on and “eliminate comparison because that will drag you down.” (33:00-33:43)
  • One of the main things Heather stresses is “comparison is the thief of joy and it doesn’t allowing you to celebrate” other women, and provides the reminder to women that our world is abundant and success breeds success and when one of us succeeds it just opens more doors for others to succeed. (37:50-38:53)

Teaching Confidence with Illiana Raia

 

Meet Illiana Raia, lawyer, lecturer and founder of ‘Être’ – a site and movement providing resources to girls helping to build their confidence and futures. Être means “to be” in French. Illiana works to connect young girls with accomplished, professional women who serve as part mentor, part big sister. When Illiana’s daughter was in grade school, Illiana was interested in hosting a one-day wisdom summit in her home for her daughter and her friends before they headed off to high school. The summit did not take place simply due to busy schedules, but instead grew into a new idea to build a power network and forum that would soon become Être. The idea remains the same. Young girls build confidence and gain insight and inspiration from powerful female role models, women playing at the top of their game.

Illiana shares the story of her mission driven organization helping young girls find out who they want to be.

 

Here are some great tidbits form the Podcast…

 

  • Illiana discovered that so many younger girls become embarrassed regarding their authentic interest and abilities, so she has become inspired to provide a bridge between those girls and their passions, that they might be both happy and brave.  (6:00-7:27)
  • Illiana references her background which is really how the website came to be – “Knowledge strategy for girls is simply highlighting resources they don’t know exist in order that they may build their interest.” (15:00-16:10)
  • In regards to women contemplating “taking a leap” Illiana says that sometimes breathing room can allow us to make change, “if you continue coming back to something, do it!!” (20:40-21:31)
  • So often nowadays young girls even though they may feel smart deep down, they think it is boasting to say so outloud – this is the reason Illiana thought she would highlight successful women who talk about knowing they were smart early on. (26:50-27:38)
  • Fear can provide such teachable moments… nobody likes to fail and it is certainly hard to watch our children fail.  However, so often success is a lousy teacher and knowing there is value and in taking risk.  (36:30-37:11)

 

 

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