You keep hearing the buzz phrase “superpower”. What the heck does it mean and is it really possible to focus on it when you have other hats to wear as a business owner? Joining me for a conversation about natural talents, strengths and superpowers is Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, Anna Nelson.
Anna works with online business owners to build profitable and fun businesses. Through 1:1 coaching and team workshops, she helps entrepreneurs discover their superpowers and assemble a team that empowers them to do more of what they naturally do best. ← that is literally Anna’s superpower.
Grab the full show notes here (including links to take the assessment mentioned)
>>> Are you an online entrepreneur wanting to speak on live or virtual stages?
COMMUNITY: Join Influential Speaking for Online Entrepreneurs, our free Facebook community where you can ask questions and connect with other business owners leveling up their speaking and marketing chops.
CONNECT: For daily tips and inspiration, connect with Heather on Instagram @theheathersager.
Heather Sager 00:00
Why do you think a lot of people resist training for the thing that they're naturally good at? Is it because that they're are naturally good at it, so they don't think it's an area that you do invest in.
Anna Nelson 00:10
I think a lot of times the thing that we're good at, we've never been told you're really good at that instead was something else like, oh, Anna, you know how to saw or wow, you were able to sew that bra. You should make a business. Because it's external, you could see that I created a product versus recognizing Oh, I go to the coffee shop and I'm able to connect quickly with strangers. That doesn't seem like a skill. It just seems like oh, somehow she's able to talk to strangers. So we get put down for the things that we naturally are good at. Some of the things that we are good at are not graded on in school. I mean I grew up thinking I was not smart, because I did get really bad grades in math and science classes and I'm not a straight A student in the English and other History and Social Studies, those classes. But I was friends with everybody at the high school, from the gang members all the way up to the jocks on the hockey team. I didn't get graded on that. I got graded on how well I did in Algebra 2 as a senior in high school. So depending on what the metric is for helping someone discover what they are good at, it's easy of course to also point to the bad. And then I think it's humbling to have to learn what you're good at. And sometimes people don't value what they're good at, one, because they might not have been encouraged in that, or they don't appreciate it themselves. And so it takes a while to really say this is who I am and what I do and how I show up. How can I now use this in a way that helps other people, right? And that takes time, and you do have to really dig deep and start recognizing Oh, yeah, I really actually do like that. And then again, our superpower is just like that cliche says our greatest strengths are also our greatest weakness. So many people are operating out of their greatest strength, which is now become too much of a strength so now it's become detrimental to their everyday life. And so for them to have to unlearn how their strength has become too much in their life and just use it at the right amount, it takes work and you know what it is hard work becoming a better version of ourselves. But in the end, it's totally totally worth it.
Heather Sager 02:38
Well, Hey, friend, welcome to another episode of the Heather Sager show. I'm Heather and I believe that people don't connect with marketing, they connect with other people. So if you want others to see you as a go to authority, you've got to start showing up using your voice and sharing your message with intention. So consider this show right here your new playground to become an influential speaker so that you can actually start making strides towards that dream on your vision board. Let's go. Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of the Heather Sager Show. Today is a very, very special episode because I am joined today by my dear friend, Anna Nelson. Welcome to the show.
Anna Nelson 03:32
Heather Sager 03:33
I like, I like weird of that. Anna Nelson, Anna Nelson, Anna Nelson. We're gonna roll with that. Welcome. I'm so glad you're here.
Anna Nelson 03:44
Thank you, I'm excited to be here.
Heather Sager 03:46
Me too. We're gonna have a lot of fun today. Let's do quick first a little introduction of Anna. I'm gonna have you introduce yourself in here in a moment. But I'm going to make you introduce yourself with an interesting story that you have shared with me in the past. So just buckle up, baby. But for those of you who might not be familiar with Anna, we're here talking today about strengths and how your strengths and superpowers actually give you a competitive advantage in your business. And Anna is like one of the most positive people that I know who will make friends with everyone. She is a gift in that way. She's kind of person that you want to have in your program and just in your social circle. She's a strengths coach. She knows firsthand that focusing on your strengths are superpowers, as many call it. It helps you grow your business and helps you have more fun in your business. We're gonna talk about in just a moment this idea of superpowers. And I don't know if I told you this before, I don't necessarily love that word because it's like this word that's kind of scary to think about. So we're gonna break it down like what that means. But Anna is a Gallup certified strength coach who I've actually hired and worked with my business to help me better understand myself, and what I do best, and what I need to focus on more. So you're a coach, you do team workshops, you've spoken on stages this year, which has been very, very exciting. But I think it's just fascinating that what you focus on is helping people understand their strengths. So, when we think about this, regardless, if you're listening, if you're a coach, if you're a course creator, if you're a business owner, you got to know what you're good at, so that you can make business fun, but also productive. Anna, let's let's like talk about this idea, your story around how you stumbled into becoming a coach is a little bit of a roundabout journey. But I want you to share your story around how you went from what you were doing before becoming a strength coach and then how you discovered that your superpower was helping other people discover their superpower, which is very meta and hilarious.
Anna Nelson 05:57
Exactly. Well, Heather, I, of course, since I was in high school have always wanted to have my own business. And one of the things that I kind of thought I would eventually have was a clothing business of some sort. It wasn't until my early to mid 30s, while I was working in corporate that I decided to kind of pursue my passion of sewing more in depth on the weekends and in the evenings. Somehow I got into lingerie design. I know. it's like so random, but I totally got into it. I took a nine week leave of absence to go study bra making up near Toronto in Canada, and I'm a certified professional bra maker. I started my own custom lingerie business and I had paying clients. And my living room was not a living room, it was a studio with like three sewing machines, fabric, a sewing table, all of the things. I would have my clients come to my sewing studio, and to get measured and then they'd get their custom bras and I add tags and labels. I did all of the things. I went completely all in in terms of starting this business because I was like, Oh my goodness, you can actually make money doing this. But the thing is, after I totally went all in and you know, you have to start doing the daily grind of doing the work and drafting patterns, and fitting clients, and figuring out what kind of product line I want it to have. I just, I would do everything except for saw. And I would be like you have to saw, you cannot do anything else. But like something would come along like oh, I needed to go on a walk all of a sudden, or my cat needed me, or one day acquaintance called me and was like, hey, do you want to go out for coffee and I was supposed to work on a bra that day because someone was paying me to make a bra. And I said yes to coffee. And on my way to the coffee shop, I was like something must be wrong with this particular path that I've chosen. If I'm willing to go out for coffee, when I literally told myself like, Hey, you have to get this project done. And so that was the start of my journey of really focusing on what did I enjoy doing and how would I want to make money doing that. Ultimately, I had had a coach and I had had my strengths reviewed and everything that no one had ever told me I was good at is exactly what I've built my current business around, and that is what I want to do for others. So that's literally what I've done for others, like without even trying. And now I'm certified as a coach, and I love doing it. And so it's just really cool to build a business around something that I love doing in order to make money and then I no longer have my lingerie business, but I have all of the sewing machines. Occasionally, I'll dabble in sewing when I'm bored.
Heather Sager 08:57
Okay, so the question is, do you actually like sewing? It was just like making sewing your business. Was that even a hobby that you enjoyed or it was just an idea you have that you felt like you had to pursue because you said you were going to?
Anna Nelson 09:12
Growing up, we did not have a lot of money like I'm the oldest of five, and my dad was a social worker. And so at the time of his career, we did not have a lot of money. And so if you wanted something like I was a girl, I wanted to be cool like others. If I want, we couldn't afford target, right? So like if we wanted something we had to make it. That was just the household that I grew up in and so that's how I learned how to sew. Not to mention my grandma knew how to sew, my great aunt, my great grandmother, you know, all of those previous generations. It's like, I knew how to sew. So then it's like, well, maybe this is something I should do, like I know how to do this. So learn skill set, maybe I can make a business doing this. At some level, I enjoyed it. But I enjoy talking to people more than I enjoy sewing.
Heather Sager 09:58
Okay, that's fascinating to me. Side note, we're going to want to Sager side note here. Sewing is my background too. My mom was a seamstress. I had all my clothes made for me growing up except for the year that we went shopping at Value Village, which was like the second hand shop. But I remember the year that we got to go back to school clothes shopping at JC Penney's was the coolest year of my life. I'd like JC Penney's department store. Oh my gosh, to not have homemade clothes was really incredible. But back to the point, this idea of a lot of times we think about what we're good at in terms of a skill that we've done in the past, not necessarily like what we enjoy doing, and are good at. Let's segue way that right into this idea of a superpower. What the hell is a superpower? Like, not just a pie in the sky thing? Like, what is it? And how does someone go about discovering what theirs is?
Anna Nelson 10:57
Sure, and I also agree with you like, I don't really like that word superpower either because I think in the online space, especially, it's definitely gotten overused, and we've lost, like the true meaning of it.
Heather Sager 11:09
It's like a marketing tactic almost like it's kind of positioned as like a marketing message versus a, I don't know, a skill or a personal development type of thing.
Anna Nelson 11:20
Yeah, and it's something that you yourself have to figure out, and it doesn't really involve anyone else. But you know, it's not as fun to dig deep internally, while you're figuring it out. It's cooler to like, do something external instead. Superpower is something that you are already good at. If you start with talent, something that you're naturally good at, it becomes a superpower when you've invested in it. You've purposely added skills and knowledge to the thing that you're naturally good at. For you, you enjoy communicating with others, you're able to connect ideas and come up with ideas really fast for people, and you have talked publicly before but you've also added skills and knowledge to that. You haven't just done the same thing since you were 13 years old, let's say. You've actually done the work. I know that you've practiced like, on camera, on stages. You're investing in it, right? So then you actually are really good public speaker, really good communicator. I might be really good one on one with individuals. But now I'm even better one on one because I've invested in coaching programs to learn how to listen better, how to ask better questions. And so it's something I'm good at but now I'm really good at because I've invested in it.
Heather Sager 12:45
Okay, I love that distinguishment. Is that a word? Distinguishment? I like that, that how you talked about, it's when you amplify it with skills, like with training. I think this is a really important distinction, because I think a lot of people think when it comes to a superpower, it's like something that you're born with. So therefore you you don't need training, right? You need to train to what you're not good at. But I love that you brought this up because I'm quite, okay, this is like a true confession moment. When I started my business, I had this big moment of going, I've never actually taken other public speaking trainings before. I like consciously wasn't really invested in that piece because I'm like, well, I'm supposed to be the expert, I'm supposed to be the coach. I'm the one setting the pace here. And then I luckily had this moment of going, that's stupid. I should be reading the books to understand how, like, what are the models that can help me reinforce what I can teach because I have to uplevel my skill, even though I'm already good at it. And that did unlock something completely different from me, not only my abilities to speak, but also teach other people to speak. I think that idea of you can be naturally good at something, but it becomes a superpower when you also get better, like intentionally get better through skills training. And I think like, why, why do you think a lot of people resist training for the thing that they're naturally good at? Is it because they are naturally good at it, so they don't think it's an area than you do invest in?
Anna Nelson 14:21
I think a lot of times the thing that we're good at we've never been told you're really good at that instead it was something else. Like oh Anna, you know how to sew or Wow, you were able to sew that bra. You should make a business because it's external. You could see that I created a product versus recognizing, oh, I go to the coffee shop and able I'm able to connect quickly with strangers that doesn't seem like a skill. It just seems like oh, somehow she's able to talk to strangers. And so we get put down for the things that we naturally are good at. Some of the things that we are good at are not graded on in school. And so I mean I grew up taking I was not smart, because I did get really bad grades in math and science classes. I'm not a straight A students, even a student in the English and other history and social studies those classes, but I was friends with everybody at the high school, from the gang members all the way up to the jacks on the hockey team. I didn't get graded on that. I got graded on how well I did in algebra two as a senior in high school. So we aren't, you know, depending on what the metric is for helping someone discover what they are good at. It's easy, of course, also point to the bad. So and then I think it's humbling to have to learn what you're good at. And sometimes people don't value what they're good at, one, because they might not have been encouraged in that, or they don't appreciate it themselves. And so it takes a while to really say this is who I am and what I do, and how I show up. How can I now use this in a way that helps other people, right? And that takes time. You do have to think really dig deep and start recognizing Oh, yeah, I really actually do like that. And then again, our superpowers just like that cliche says, our greatest strength strengths are also our greatest weakness. So many people are operating out of their greatest strength, which is now become too much of a strength so now it's become detrimental to their everyday life. And so for them to have to unlearn how their strength has become too much in their life, and just use it the right amount. It takes work. And you know what it is hard work becoming a better version of ourselves but in the end, it's totally, totally worth it.
Heather Sager 16:50
Yeah, I totally agree with that. One of the things that you said in there, which is really fascinating to me is that we're so used to our strengths and they seem so natural to us, we don't even view them as strengths. That idea of like, one, we might not even view it as a strength, right? We view it as just, I don't know, just something that we do, but because of how we're raised, how we're tested in schools, what we're rewarded for, even like, if you think about the traditional employment hierarchy structure. I think about this, I was a manager for years, like the way you give feedback to people, it's like check the box to give people their strengths in their annual performance review. But every other day, it's like, here's where you're underperforming, here's how you're not networking right, here's how you're doing this, like, it's all the list of things you want people to do better, like we're groomed to focus on our weaknesses to mitigate those. And so I think the combination of the lack of our own awareness of our skills or our strengths, because we don't know them and we wouldn't even view them at skills, like those two things together puts us at a disadvantage to, I don't know, to even know where to look. So how does one begin to recognize that they do have strengths, even if they might not be like the classic skills of I don't know, like, I can't even think on the list. Like when you talk about making friends is a strength, I kind of giggle a bit because I'm like never in my life I would I consider that a strength but it totally is. So like, how do you start understanding what your strengths are? And what you talk about with like, how do you connect them to your business? Unpack that a little bit for us.
Anna Nelson 18:27
Mm hmm. There are four parts to knowing and recognizing whether something is a quote, superpower, and that is the level of ease. So how easy is it for you to do that thing? Do you do that thing with a level of excellence pretty much every single time? Does it give you energy both during and after? Where you're like, kind of high a little bit like oh, my goodness, that was so much fun. I can't believe I got to do that. And then did you enjoy it like, wow, I could totally do that over and over. And then of course, if you add the skills and knowledge, then it amplifies all four of those ease. So ease, excellence, energy and enjoyment. And that all is from Gallup. If you start paying attention to things that you do when you're like, that was so fun. See if it had all four of those elements, that's when you can start recognizing it as a talent slash superpower. And talking to friends is I have all of those, right? So okay, that's great. So there's a story that years ago when I was working in corporate, my boss and I were walking to the parking ramp and we were walking out of the office building and I said bye to someone. I said, bye Jen, have a nice evening and she said bye, Anna, I'll see you tomorrow. My boss looked at me and she was like, how do you know her and I said Yeah, she was who was that? And I said, Oh, it's Jen. She owns the flower shop down the hall. And she was like, well, how do you know her? And I was like, I don't I met her in the bathroom. She goes, you met her in the bathroom? And I was like, you don't meet people in the bathroom? And she was like, no. And it was the first time where I was like, okay, not everyone makes friends in the bathroom. Like, I literally had tons of friends. I knew lots of people from the building because of meeting them in the bathroom. And so then, that doesn't seem like a great thing. It just seems like I'm some crazy person meeting friends in the bathroom. But really, that boils down to the ability to make connection with strangers quickly. Okay, well, what does a coach do? What do I do in my online business, as a coach? I can get on a zoom call with a client and never have met them before in my life, and for two hours, I'm reviewing their strengths. We go deep, and I don't know who they are. They live in another country even. But I can really make inroads in and help them make inroads in their own life. And I don't know them from anybody, right? And so that is where taking those things that seem like this doesn't really compute. But boiling it down to be like, actually, what does that mean and how could I build a business around it? Okay, how can I build a business around connecting quickly with strangers? Okay, I guess I become a coach. Great.
Heather Sager 21:29
Okay. I love, I love, love, love this example. And I think for everybody listening, going like, Oh my gosh, that seemed like really clear. Like, one, I always love your bathroom friend story. We always giggle about that, when you tell that story. So good job sliding that in there, like perfect example. I think going from that piece, you having this self awareness to then connect that, oh, I make fast connections, oh, I can become a coach. That sounds very linear in your thinking. But can you give some context? Was that so linear for you or did you stumble into that connection? Because I want to make sure we point this out for anyone listening because I don't think it's that like, clear cut when you recognize to like put into play, right?
Anna Nelson 22:09
Absolutely, bause we are our own worst like, viewers of ourselves, right? So that was years ago, like I said, and then, you know, had a different job. And then that was a little bit too much. I was going through some things. So I quit my job in order to pursue, starting a business and doing all of those things. It was it until I had hired a coach and I was going through coaching training. And then she reviewed my strengths and that was when I was like, Oh, this all makes sense. That took a long time, right? But for me to do it with others, I'm already good at that but then as now a Gallup-certified strengths coach, I just love having that as a tool to help people really dig deep into who they are and how they're wired to then behave and then help them see like, hey, build your business around this, or keep doing this, or get rid of that, or hire someone else. So it is not, again, it's really hard. You know, we could be going through a hard time and not know why but we could easily look at someone else and be like, Oh, they totally need to fix this thing in their life. Right? Like it's harder when it's us.
Heather Sager 23:24
It's so much easier to give advice or to see something from the sidelines when you're trained in that, right, than to see it for yourself. I see this all the time when I'm working with clients. They're like, why is it so hard to write my opening story like I do this for other people. I'm like, it's totally normal. We all suck at doing it for ourselves. I think from on that piece, that was part of the reasons why I hired you to go through my strengths assessment with me. I've done a ton of personality assessments over the years and worked in personal development for a really long time. Done the Enneagram. I used to be a certified DISC coach, like I used to train on those things. But still Gallup and have my little book here. I have my Strengths Finder book with my top five strengths right here ready for, getting post-it notes off. There's to the camera, ready for today. I've had this book on my shelf for three years. I never touched it. And I'm like, I know if I read it and I know if I took the assessment and read it for myself, I'm sure I'd be like, Oh yeah, this is interesting. But I knew there would be something different to have somebody else reflect back to me and ask me some questions. Can you talk a little bit about the assessment itself because I'm sure people might be interested in want to take it? But just taking the assessments is only one piece of the equation, right? That's one of the things you do is you actually talk to people about it. Can you talk a little bit about that process and just kind of how that works.
Anna Nelson 24:51
Mm hmm. The CliftonStrengths assessment which if you're interested, you can go to Gallup.com to take the assessment and it has 177 questions. You have 20 seconds to answer it. It takes depending on how fast or slow you are at, less than 40 minutes, let's say to take.
Heather Sager 25:09
Sounds very overwhelming.
Anna Nelson 25:12
But it's really quick. You could be done in 20 minutes, let's say. It kicks out a report. You can either pay for your top five strengths or you can get all 34. They have 34 talent themes. There are four domains that these 34 talent themes are divided into relationship building, strategic thinking, influencing and executing. It tells you which domain you are strongest in and what the order of your talent themes. It will give you like a description of each talent theme like you are this, you are this, you are this, you are this. But what's really powerful is, so many of us have taken it like as with many other assessments and just put it on a shelf. I was first introduced to strengths when I was unemployed during the financial crisis and my sister paid for me to take the strengths assessment and I took it I was like, this is not helpful. I mean, I was unemployed. It should have been extremely helpful. But it didn't do anything for me until literally 10 years later, and I had a coach review it with me. It's super powerful to have your results to go through your results with someone because like we mentioned earlier, it's easier for someone else to see us than it is for us to see ourselves. It's like that other person's like the mirror.
Heather Sager 26:36
Yeah, I think one of the things I just want to jump in and note here that I realized is if anyone listening, I do this naturally. I have a tendency to skip over the strengths. I have a tendency to like, just like minimize my own accomplishments. I think a lot of us, especially females, we do this a lot where we kind of minimize like, Oh, yeah, I mean, everybody's good at that, or it's not a big deal. I think the thing that was really instrumental going through this with with you, especially since you've been in Speak Up to Level Up, you've actually experienced coaching from me and my program, it was a different perspective. But having you actually pause to make me like sit in the strengths, and actually, like, tie my strengths to actual things that I've done and truly face them. But it's kind of, I don't know why it's like embarrassing to be like, yeah, I'm really good at that, or yeah, like, we have a tendency to shy away from that. So that's why I think it was the most impactful for me to actually review it with another person because I couldn't shy away from the strengths which I would I I'm naturally going to like, chalk up the good stuff to like, Oh, yeah, that's good. But then I'm going to focus on but what's on the bottom of the list? Like, what do I need to work on? I think like that piece, if anybody else has this natural tendency to shy away from their strengths and focus on the word to improve, and either get a coach or get a buddy to review these things. You could actually, like, honor yourself for a hot minute.
Anna Nelson 27:59
It kind of I was thinking while you were talking like, it's almost like when someone pays us a compliment, like, oh, Heather, you look so pretty today. It's harder to accept that versus like, if you said, Oh, thanks, but my hair color is, it's time for me to get a haircut. You go right to the, quote, weakness when I didn't know that, right? So it's like, no, but you look great. We don't want to sit in what we're good at because that's not how we operate in society. Right? It is definitely, let's focus on our weaknesses.
Heather Sager 28:35
How do you approach that with a client? Like if a client is like dismissing their own strengths? Or they're discounting them or being like, well, that's not a big deal? Or like, that's nice in my personal life, but it's not helping me in my business? How do you help someone sit in their strengths and really start exploring it to see the gift that it could bring to their life and their business? Kind of a loaded question.
Anna Nelson 28:57
It kind of is because each client session is so different. And it depends on what we've talked about before, during and after, and what their goals are and stuff. But when I'm working with individuals, it's just kind of asking really good questions and understanding what their goals are, and then just helping them getting information from them. So then I'm connecting the dots on their behalf so they can start to see Oh, that's really that's, like, especially clients who have strengths that are my literal weaknesses, my bottom strengths or their top. I mean, then it's super easy to be like, okay, just so you know, this is not a, quote, normal thing that most people can do. You are able to do this differently than other people. And when they pause to think about like, oh, Anna, I can't do that. Like, I've had people ask me like, so how do you make friends so easily. I just pause and with my mouth open, like, I don't understand the question. I literally don't understand what you just asked me. But for them, they're genuinely asking because they do not know, or they are not comfortable opening their mouth while washing their hands in the sink to be like, Hey, I'm Anna, what's your name? They just don't know how and so for me to stop and recognize like that is something they don't have. Okay, so how can I lovingly then say, Oh, this is what you can do, or here are some tips and not judge them because whatever their strengths are going to be different than mine. So it depends, but I guess, connecting the dots, asking good questions, and knowing what my client ultimately wants, and then helping them see how their strengths can get them there.
Heather Sager 30:53
Okay, I love that. I think you you brought up this idea. I think, everyone, especially in the realm of speaking, right. On the show, we talk a lot about speaking, speaking from the stage, sharing your message or your natural talents with other people so that they can get similar results. One of the things that comes up so often when I'm working with clients is like, wait, what do you mean other people don't get that? Where it's like, the speaker has this really clear way of of doing their thing and they assume their audience thinks in the same way but that's actually not true. Like you have to like unpack the way you think, you have to like reel it back 15 steps to actually get your audience's and then bring them up to speed. I think there's something really similar in what you just described to what we have to do when we're speakers to an audience. Have you found that to be true? I'm just curious, like, let's sidebar for a second. Have you found that to be true? I think about you 10 months ago, when you joined Speak Up to Level Up, to how you talk about this today? Have you noticed how you talk about strengths? And on this topic, has it shifted for you?
Anna Nelson 32:01
Yeah, in a way, it's like, oh, I need to go really elementary. So for me, it feels elementary, but for someone else, it's like light bulbs are going off for them. And I'm like, what, but recognizing I've been immersed in this and studying it for a few years now. And they just heard about it for the first time in their life. That's, yeah, for all of us. It's like the thing that comes easy, it is going to take someone else a while to get to where we are, if they ever get to where we are. Even like in SULU, you're extremely good at coming up with all of these ideas for ways in which your students can structure their talks and you don't even know the subject matter that these students are writing their signature talks around, but you're like, Well, okay, well what about doing this, this, this, and this, and the rest of us are like, how did she come up with that? And that just comes super easily to you. Great, well, guess what? You get to do that and get paid to do that while helping other people learn how to communicate what they're good at, so that they can go help people. It's like all of this like how you help me help others like all of the things, right? And so for you, you might be like, well, that's really easy. I shouldn't have to like get paid for that or whatever. No, you should because I can't do that for other people or for myself and that's where you come in really handy as a coach.
Heather Sager 33:30
So I like being handy. When you we were talking earlier about those four phases to that list of thing like ease, I'll say that again. It was ease, excellence, energy, and enjoyment. Okay, ease, excellence, energy, and enjoyment. When you were saying that and then you gave your example around like your bathroom friends, I immediately thought like for me, in being in front of a group doing a live like facilitated training, or a role play, or a something, right, being in front of a live audience, a virtual audience, or an in person audience. It doesn't matter as long as it's live. Like, for me, like, easy, breezy piece of cake, like it's easy to get up. Of course, I have nerves, but I have fun. I love reacting to an audience. I like taking topics I know nothing about but then being like, here's what we can do with that. That is what I am really really good at. It took me a long time to do it. But even to the point where I could be in a group of real estate agents, and the next day be in a group of financial advisors, and the next day be in a group of broadway performers, and like each of them very different things but I could take the process and like boom, navigate workshop in front of each of them and it was feel like all those things that you just mentioned like that to me would be like amazing. For someone else, that would give them a straight up panic attack like total panic attack. That for me is a big like ding, ding, ding, ding, like that is a strength for sure. But it's something that I've cultivated and learn to do so that now I can do it like very easily. It's fascinating.
Anna Nelson 35:07
Well, and then you're designing how you work with your clients and your students around that. Like, yes, you're not going around to I'm not a financial person or whatever. But like, when you have your coaching calls, it's a spontaneous, you're on quote, stage as the leader of the group, and people are coming to you with Hey, how am I going to communicate this? And they tell you, and then you're kind of, it's different than a, you know, real estate workshop for those that group, but it's still like a kind of each call could be a workshop where you're helping people work through their ideas or their questions. And so you are building your business around that and people are paying in order to get your expertise to help them structure talk.
Heather Sager 35:52
Yeah, okay. Let's talk about some of the specifics like that. People are thinking like, okay, I love this idea of understanding my strengths, but I want to like, I want to make it a little bit more tangible. How do I start putting them into place? Can you talk a little bit either about some examples of clients, we could use me as example, other clients, whatever you think, but like, what would be some examples of some strengths that you help somebody identify in a session, and then how they tangibly use that in their business.
Anna Nelson 36:18
So, you know, Bobby Klinck?
Heather Sager 36:24
Yeah, I can't remember. But I think it was Episode 32. I can't remember. It's the more cowbell episode. I'll link to in the show notes.
Anna Nelson 36:33
Yeah, there you go. Bobby paid me to come in and review his strengths, and his at the time two team members strenghts After we all worked together, his team was able to recognize and appreciate the way Bobby thinks, feels, and behaves in business. And they came up with a completely new product line, so to speak, of having VIP days that Bobby does either half day sessions or full day sessions. And the whole point is he does these half day sessions with entrepreneurs and comes up with strategies and ideas and just helps kind of problem solve for them in whatever business area they want help with. And that is because Bobby is extremely good with it ideation, so ideas and strategic thinking, as well as some other strengths. But he's always thinking. He can come up with all these strategies and ideas. Okay, well, when you're a business owner, and your business has already left the station, you cannot derail it by coming up and throwing in like 50 new ideas, because then your business is never going to get off the ground. So it's beautiful about that, is Bobby can still get paid thousands of dollars for these VIP days as part of his business, but his business still stays on track. And so that came out of a coaching session. Bobby's a really smart guy, right? Like, he already knows, he's already operating out of his strengths. But now he's like, amplified that and he has this team on board as well.
Heather Sager 38:13
While you're while you're thinking I have, that actually sparked a process that I did with my old team so we also had a lot of ideas. Those who listen to the show, you know that my team and I produce corporate events for 10 years. And ideas was a big part of that being strategic coming up with ideas, putting things into action, like that was a huge part of our world. There was a challenge, though, is there come a point where we had to be out of the idea brainstorm mode, because we needed to actually execute on the thing. We always have this funny saying around like, it's not idea time, it's now due time. Like there's the idea and due time. But what I realized is when we would squash the ideas it would like it would hinder the success of the team because those were very creative people that if I had to go back, I would guess that they have high ideation in their strengths. So what we decided to do was we had to create a container for their creativity. What I mean by that is we had to say, okay, we always have to allow for creativity, but it has to have a place to go that doesn't curb the like, what you're talking about the growth of business or the execution of the event. We would always have, like a five minute brainstorm at every meeting around. We titled it, wouldn't it be cool if?, and every meeting, we had a brainstorm, but all those ideas lived in a container that we review on a quarterly basis to see is the idea still good, is it relevant, how could we execute it? But we gave our creativity a container that fit in our business model, that fit in our execution mode,l that allowed for it, but it didn't derail things. And that was one of the ways we did it. But at the time, I didn't have the language for that. But as you speak to us, I'm like, Yeah, totally. It was an idea based team. We had a lot of that ideation.
Anna Nelson 39:56
And that also, well, one, in that particular example, it sounds like people, it was safe enough for people to then share ideas. And then for people to say we'll take that idea and put it somewhere, right. But how many times have we worked places where strengths aren't appreciated. And so some of it is recognized, like, that's how I've worked with people where they've had, when I was the project manager, like the graphic designer I worked with, I needed her in order for me to do my job, but she needed me in order to do her job, she didn't know what to do, unless I communicated with the client to tell her this is what the client wants to do on the catalogue or whatever. And so we could appreciate what strengths we brought to the table, because we valued each other's strengths, right. And that as a team, and so then for our own entrepreneurial adventures, it's like, appreciate that I'm really good at helping people discover what they're good at. So that then they can go out and do the thing that I would never be able to do but I really want to see them succeed. And so just appreciating like, Oh, I'm able to do that, and other people aren't. Okay, great. It is super valuable for all of us to appreciate what each other brings to the table and think of it as a value add. And I have a sister who, one sister who I was, I reviewed her strengths. We were going through different ones. And then she was like, well, that makes sense why that one woman was super annoying at that one job, because she didn't appreciate this one woman who had the complete opposite strength of my sister. But once you appreciate it, then you're like, Okay, I totally need you. And then you start looking for more of the people who start complimenting you, whether it's in your business, or personal life, or at friendship wise, whatever, and which is, I think, really, really cool.
Heather Sager 41:54
Okay, so let's talk about that piece of team like that team piece, because I think a lot of people, especially newer entrepreneurs that are in the online space. Traditionally, in this online space, they're small businesses. So they're one person in the business who does all of the things, or they're maybe getting their first virtual assistant, or starting to look at contractors. Thinking about this piece, like I think a lot of times people hear this idea of find your strengths and do that. Then they're like, but what about all the other things like so how do you manage owning your strengths, doing more of that, but there's also stuff you have to do in your business? So yes, delegate but what if they can't always delegate? Like, how do you navigate that when you're coaching a client?
Anna Nelson 42:41
It depends on where they are in their entrepreneurial journey, of course. In the case of Bobby, he has a team, right. In his case, his team members are perfectly suited for the roles that they're in, which is amazing. But then let's say, I am my own entrepreneur. And now I'm like, Oh, I need help creating social media graphics. I'm not really good at figuring out the back end of tech and design and whatever. Well guess what my friend's 16 year old daughter is and so she is my marketing intern, creating these graphics for me. And then also what my top strength is that I'm a maximizer, which doesn't sound super sexy, but what it means is that I like to take good things and make them better. And when you're starting out building a business, there is nothing to make better. Absolutely nothing. It is starting from scratch and took me a long time to understand why I was really struggling to do all of the things especially in the early days. But once I started to appreciate my maximizer strength, then I could say okay, what, who can I surround myself with who can help me get through this early stage of putting the foundation of my business in place, so then I can have something good to make better? And so I joined a group coaching program and so some of it is as an owner, who do you need to surround yourself like an accountability group or pure different peer groups who think differently than you? Or when if you are at the point where you can hire out, understand look for the kind of like take your strengths results and look for your weaknesses, and start looking for people who have your weaknesses as their top strengths. Yeah, okay. I love, I love this piece, because I think a lot of people, especially in the early days are really worried about outsourcing and to be frank, I think a lot of it is is because if you're an entrepreneur, you do have, okay, speaking for myself, you have a little bit of an ego of like, I don't want to work for somebody else anymore. I want to do it for myself and cons with that is like you kind of think that you can do things better than other people, even the things that maybe you're not so great at. And there comes this point where we get our identity from our ability to do the things even if deep down, we don't that we're not actually good at it. But there's this like guilt or this hesitation that happens to delegate. But I think like when you, this is what's interesting. What I like about the strengths is they're not necessarily skills. They're like areas or facets like in of your business. And it's not really caught up in like, like, for example, doesn't say like video editing or writing social media captions, like those are skills that you learned development. You got to learn a lot of different skills. But like for me, when I look at my top five strengths, the top three that we went over were, I'm activator, strategic and futuristic. What was funny, was like, the I don't remember the language around the one around communication, but that was not in my top five.
Heather Sager 45:45
And I remember us laughing at that going like, uh, okay, so communication or communicator was not in my top five strengths. But I am a communications and speaking coach. I was like, is that a bad thing, Anna? What does that mean? But like activator, strategic and futuristic. When I think about those things, and I curious you can like we I want you to like analyze me for a bit so people can hear this. But like, understanding what I'm good at helps me release control on some other things, to then empower my team to do what they're really good at. So why don't we just for a second, let's play with this for a moment. I want to get your take on my kind of top strengths, share with the audience what you noticed, and how you see that kind of plays in?
Anna Nelson 46:29
Well, if we look at, like your activator theme, which is your number one. The fourth box down actually, when I was reviewing them before our session, I like put arrows by every boxes. I'm like, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. And like, you're the first sense, it's very likely that you relish talking to others. Frequently, you help people express their opinions, thoughts or viewpoints with enthusiasm. Your words frequently energize individual or groups. And it's like, well, there's your whole business, right? They're all summed up in one box, right? And that's just your first box out of your first talent theme. Okay, it's fascinating.
Heather Sager 47:13
Oh, you read it? And you're like, yes, I'm gonna meet the man of my dreams this month. The horoscope says so.
Anna Nelson 47:21
Exactly. And it's like, oh, that's really cool that it says that. So then I could be like, all right, in your business, what areas, where in your day to day business to-do list do you have the opportunity to talk to others?
Heather Sager 47:42
And here's what it's kind of played out. Thinking about this, especially as we look back on 2020, where the business model changed, right. When I used to be on the road, a lot speaking to groups, there would be this a lot of alone time when I travel. A lot of alone time quiet on the airplane, quiet in my hotel room, I'm an introvert so I need a lot of space to myself. But then I go to the event and I would network, I would do my thing. I would get lit up from being on stage, facilitating, talking with other people. And then I would go recover and have my alone time. Well, what's funny is now that I've been home, I would go weeks without being online talking with people, because whether Speak Up to Level Up wasn't in session ao there was no live events happening. I noticed my energy and enthusiasm but my business was starting to get a little stale. But then if I jump on a coaching call, or then I would have like a group session or do a facebook live where I was engaging, I would get that instant hit and that connection around like, Oh, this is what it's about. So like I can feel that energetically play out when I'm working with people and I'm in the lives versus when I'm working behind the scenes on my business. Even though I love the strategy. I love the strategic. I like thing about the future, I need that like instant gratification of the interactions with other people.
Anna Nelson 49:01
The domain that you lead with is influencing and you are able to get people to take action. In your programs, that's what we all do. We're literally taking action on because we're signed up for a program. Id if you aren't able to see people taking action, then that would make sense where you're like, oh, what's happening in my life like this isn't super fun. But then the second you're in front of someone and you're influencing them, you're leading them to take action on whatever the action bullet point is for that day or session. Then of course, you're coming alive because you're literally living out of that domain that you are wired to operate out of all the time. But as with life, we can't always operate out of it perfectly all the time.
Heather Sager 49:51
I think that's really important for those listening who are digital entrepreneurs. If you have online programs, and if you're finding like things aren't working for me, or like why does it seem easier for other people, or like why am I not getting the feedback, or like if you find yourself questioning as we all naturally do. Know that sometimes it doesn't mean that you're doing the processes wrong or that your business is flailing, it just might mean that the way you engage, interact with your audience, or the way to set up your program needs to be different because your strengths and structure for your business is not going to be the same as the person that you learn from. This is like one of my, I'm gonna go off on a tangent here. But this is one of my number one things that my clients inside Speak Up to Level Up, No, I'm not going to teach you the like, step by step, do it exactly this way because the way I communicate is very different than the way that my clients communicate. I don't want to teach them to be little mini Heather's. I want to teach them to be Anna's, or Rhonda or Sarah, or, like whoever's in the group. They have to be their own version of them. So I think about this, like for so long in my business, I thought, Oh, my gosh, like I had this idea for a business model, but it's not going to work because it doesn't follow the like the quote unquote, digital course perfection model, or it doesn't follow the XYZ, or I like I wanted to have more of a group coaching program versus a digital course. I had these ideas but I felt like I couldn't do them successfully because I didn't know the online space, and other people knew it better than me. I'm just here to tell your friends, like you got to trust your gut and the things that you're naturally good at. I think this is where having this level of awareness for yourself, could help you stop second guessing your decisions and try the damn things you actually want to do and see what happens. So that's just like my two cents around this. I think everybody should take this assessment, but I 100% think that they should review it with someone.
Anna Nelson 51:45
Yeah, and, and I think, I mean, ever since we're little kids, we all want to wear like the same shoes as everyone else, or the same sweater. And then all of a sudden, if you're the one wearing the homemade sweater, and everyone else got theirs from the GAP, you're gonna feel like a loser. And yes, I'm talking about myself. I think we forget like, hey, someone handmade that sweater, there's something really unique about it. The wool came from whatever sheep on some farm. Like, that's really cool. And so when we give ourselves permission to really value and step into who we actually naturally are, and appreciate it the right away, you can get rid of like the comparison thing. And like you said, kind of trust your gut. I'm like, No, I, you strategic, you have ideation futuristic, like all of your ideas make sense for you and the business that you wanted to create. But then like, if we are in adult kindergarten, you're looking at everyone else, like, oh, they're doing that. So it's like you're wearing that homemade wool sweater and be like, I don't know about this. But really, if we all decided to wear our different homemade sweaters, we could start appreciating the colors and all the things I don't even know if that's a good analogy. But when we can each appreciate what we bring to the table about ourselves and then appreciate what others bring to the table then, it's just really lovely. And what a much, much better world we could live in it for literally all helping each other because the way I can help you is different than the way that you've helped me.
Heather Sager 53:27
Puzzle pieces fitting together to create this really amazing image. You know when you were talking about sweaters, the visual that came in my mind, I went a little weird for a moment. And I envisioned that that that scene from Mean Girls were Regina George, they cut the holes in her sweater like right over the top of her boobs. There were two holes in her shirt. And then she walked she was like, man, whatever. And she walked around the hallways all day with like her bra exposed because she had like holes in her shirt. And then everybody else was doing it. It's like, it's this idea. If you just own who you are, and just rock it, it actually becomes a trendsetter for other people. So I just think about how amazing what our industry be, how it amazing would entrepreneurship and the ripple effect that would have on the world if we each got a little braver and bolder to not copy and paste but instead, own what we do best and have confidence in our strengths. And then use those to set the tone for what we do next. Using the short the templates, the frameworks, the things that people teach us, but we use those to amplify our strengths. not hide them. Very passionate about this topic.
Anna Nelson 54:39
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, no, exactly. Right. Because then you know why you're doing something versus just following a template. That doesn't work for you. And you're like, why am I doing this again? You know why you're signing up for a certain program. You know why you're going to do a Facebook Live. You know why you're going to do pick and choose and whatever.
Heather Sager 54:59
So yeah. I think I think it's a beautiful thing. So okay, so I know people are gonna have some questions around superpowers, how they can identify those. You've already talked about how to go about getting the strength assessment. But I know you have a free resource that people can can get to help them understand a little bit better. So can you share a little bit more about that?
Anna Nelson 55:17
Sure, it is my freebie. And it's called Why understanding your superpower is the only way to build an online business you love and they can get that on my well not on my website, annaynelson.com/superpower.
Heather Sager 55:34
Perfect, and annaynelson.com/superpower. I'll clip that below in the show notes. I highly recommend that you each download that because it gives you that kind of takes this conversation we're having today, but allows you to start thinking about how this fits for you. It also will get you on Anna's email list where you can kind of connect with her because I'm sure you'll have some questions about today. So give her some love. And if you take the strength test, which I highly recommend y'all do that, I cannot recommend and I know you're not going to say this. So let me say it for you. I cannot recommend Anna highly enough. I could have said that better. But you follow what I'm saying like book a session with Anna to go through this either for yourself, or you and your team, or you and your partner. Oh my gosh, if you've like what a great relationship building activity heading into the new year. This stuff, yes works in business. But it's also really powerful to see how your strengths play out in your personal life. And speaking of personal life, shout out strengths come in in your personal life. Anna just got married this month. So we're celebrating a big congratulations on the new wedding Anna.
Anna Nelson 56:39
Well, thank you. Yeah, less than two weeks.
Heather Sager 56:42
Yeah, very early and newlywed in the house here. But I do think like this idea of strengths. I think it's really easy to put this in a box and say this is a business thing. But I also think as you each, you're thinking about who you want to be and what you want to achieve in 2021. Thinking about like your personal life, your relationships, your role as a mom, as a spouse, as a whatever that looks like personal and work strengths fits into that. So Anna, for anybody who wants to connect with you beyond obviously the freebie download we talked about where's the best place for them to connect and hang out with you. Instagram is my current favorite social platform. So Instagram, you can find me at Anna white Nelson a ma y en el es o n. Perfect. Okay, I'll link to that in the show notes. And then also, if you guys want to binge on this a little bit more and explore how strings fit in your lives and maybe a little bit more on the topic and hear more of Anna's great stories. Binge listen, she also has a podcast called the Anna Nelson show. So check that out. I'll put a link in the show notes. I love having Anna in my earbuds. I don't know that you know this, but yeah, I listen. I listen. I hear you, girl.
Anna Nelson 57:47
Oh, you too. Oh, man. I mean, seriously, every time I like, start, like doing a podcast, like I'm starting it from scratch. And every single time I like so stay read, why am I doing all the things and then I'm so relieved afterwards like, okay, I did it. And so like it, like we all have our things in business that we want to do. And I'm really great. I love working with clients. But then there's the business building aspect that, you know, I just don't really love. So we're all in the same boat, right? We all have the same thing. So I'm not like any better than anyone else. It's just knowing why things are more of a struggle than other things is very helpful. So it softens the blow of business build.
Heather Sager 58:30
It's empowering. It's empowering. Okay, so since as we wrap this up here, since this is a show about speaking, helping people get more comfortable using their voice using it with intention to grow their business, and you've been inside my programs before, can you just give perspective to anybody who's maybe similar to you, who feels comfortable building relationships with people, but the idea of speaking from an audience does not feel like a natural strength. What advice would you have for them if they have that pull of wanting to speak more, wanting to use it for marketing, wanting to get more like in front of more people? But it's not like that natural thing you were just talking about? What advice do you have for that person, maybe in your shoes a year ago?
Anna Nelson 59:14
I love hiring people who are really good at what they do, who will teach me the thing that I want to learn about. I was so grateful that I heard you on that one podcast and then managed to sign up for SULU. I would say look, what do you want to learn and why? And if you are the type of person who works well having accountability and a fire lit under you to like do the hard work of creating, in this case, a signature talk, then sign up for that program. I think kind of like we touched on earlier, it's easy to think that we have all the answers. We don't have all the answers. So be humble and go learn from people who can teach you things. So I already knew how to talk in front of other people before signing up for SULU, but I knew that I could be so much better. And I had so many questions like, how do I start your talk? How do I do this? How do I do that? And I wanted to get out of talking about personal things in my life into talking about like, my expertise and so okay, how do I do that? Okay, well, I found you I was so like, best thing ever besides getting married in 2020 was finding Heather Sager. So find someone who's really good at helping you learn how to use your literal voice and structuring a talk and learn from it. This is a lifelong skill, like in this case, like this is the gift that keeps on giving. And you don't teach the cookie cutter techniques. So you are like, okay, here's how you can I wish I really appreciated like, here's how you can do apply this technique for this particular talk. But here's how you can apply it to another type of tack, even if it's a different subject matter. So it's not just one talk. And that's all you get out of one program. It's like, I could come up with 30 different talks, all with the stuff that I learned from SULU. So hopefully I answered that question.
Heather Sager 1:01:14
I didn't I actually didn't intend for you to talk about Speak Up to Level Up. But I am very much appreciative that I will, I will accept that praise and say thank you.
Anna Nelson 1:01:24
Yeah, I think yeah, I think with anything, if you know that you want to get better at something. And it's something that you have a natural tendency towards, go learn more about it, go take a class, go watch a YouTube video and be humble about the fact that you have a skill, you are talented at it. But you can always be better, we can always be better versions of ourselves. So be humble and go out and be that better version.
Heather Sager 1:01:51
I love that. And I think that goes in the spirit of what we started talking about where I think most people who come inside of speak up to level up, they already have they already like connecting with people, they already have a natural talent for communicating with people. Even if there's fear there, put that aside. It's the they already know that they have a message that they've been sharing, they want to share with more people. So it's that amplifier, you talked about. It's a difference that makes your strength become your superpowers when you put intention behind it. And you actually invest in time and skills to get better at that thing. So I love that that was a beautiful way to start and this conversation. All right, and I am so appreciative of you. Thank you for the time today. Thank you for our session we had a couple weeks ago, it was still my head still swirling about ideas around how I can put those things into practice. And I am just so grateful for you. Thank you so much, and Happy New Year to you and wishing you all the love and joy in your new marriage.
Anna Nelson 1:02:46
Well, thank you so much, Heather, I'm so appreciative for you. And I'm just so grateful that I got to go through Sulu, especially during the early days of COVID. That was just like such a gift. So keep living out of your strengths because you are helping so many people. So thank you so much, and I hope all the best for you and your family in 2021.
Heather Sager 1:03:07
Thanks, girl. And same to all of you listening today. Thank you again for listening to another episode. If you love this show, be sure to take a screenshot and post on Instagram and tag both Anna and i on Instagram. You can find our handles in the show notes. And I will see you back here next week for another episode. Bye friends! Hey, friends. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode. If you liked what you had to hear, and you're looking to make a bigger splash with your brand online, then you've got to check out my brand new free video training. You can get it over at Heathersager.com/mini training or I'm going to teach you the three speaking strategies that every online business owner needs for this virtual world here in 2020. And you don't have to be some big pro speaker to make speaking work for your business. Go grab it now. Heathersager.com/mini training and I'll see you on the next episode.