445 Jennie Edwards: Value Yourself to Create Value
What are your values? How do they drive your business? And how much do you truly value … yourself? I’ve learned along my own entrepreneurial path that it is neigh impossible to create value for others … if we don’t value ourselves and walk our own talk in alignment with our values.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who helps entrepreneurs share their message with heart to make a bigger impact on the world.
Jennie Edwards is an accomplished photographer and videographer who now uses her skills to help others show up both confidently and vulnerably. Those two words – confident and vulnerable – may seem contradictory – and Jennie shows us today why they are in total alignment.
It's all about being in alignment with your values and valuing your unique self. Jennie’s business, Guided by Imagination, helps her clients grow audience, connect authentically and drive sales.
We talk about what it really means to be authentic, how to be in alignment with our values, and why our personal stories matter in business. After all, people buy from people … not logos … and they buy from people they know, like and trust.
Jennie Edwards will be here in a minute and first …
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Now back to the inspiring Jennie Edwards.
Jennie says she’s been living her passion since 2007 as the owner of Guided By Imagination.
She works with entrepreneurs and thought leaders to empower them in front of the camera – allowing them to be both vulnerable and confident at the same time to connect with their true tribe. She helps them share their unique message and be more memorable while making an impact in the world. In the best-selling book “Empowered You, Jennie helps readers activate their Best Self to live their most fulfilled life, as well as being present in the moment.
Jennie also teaches storytelling and visibility to entrepreneurs, interview global leader to inspire her tribe, ad is always ready for a red-carpet moment meeting a change-maker to share their wisdom on video.
Her key to success is to make EVERYDAY a Celebration by having gratitude, sharing joyful moments and focusing on what’s most important in life.
So are you ready for Jennie Edwards? I am. Let’s fly!
Melinda Wittstock: Jennie, welcome to Wings.
Jennie Edwards: Thank you so much, Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: I always love to talk to people who are helping entrepreneurs really get in touch with their true mission because I think we do better in business when it's a vision that's bigger than just the transactional nature of business that's propelling us forward. What led you in that direction?
Jennie Edwards: Well, I think working with more conscious entrepreneurs that have a big vision that want to make an impact. And by being able to use my tools as a photographer and videographer to really help propel their message in a bigger way was really satisfying to me.
Melinda Wittstock: And so you're a photographer, you're a videographer, you do all these things, but what made you want to work with entrepreneurs?
Jennie Edwards: Well, I started doing just weddings and events and things like that for my business 12 years ago, and I began to really understand that as an entrepreneur myself, how important it is to get your message out there and separate yourself from the competition. And so I decided, there's a lot of people that are just super fearful about being in front of the camera and it really stops them from standing out from the competition. And so I wanted to find a way to use my tools to work with entrepreneurs like me who have a bigger vision, a big picture impact that they want to make in the world to really help them share their message and feel more confident in front of the camera.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, what do you think it is that makes people fearful about being in front of the camera? Deep down, is it just a fear of like not being liked or maybe we don't like ourselves enough? We don't want to… What is it?
Jennie Edwards: A good question. I think there's a lot of reasons. Sometimes it's how people are raised. I actually had somebody tell me that their grandmother told them that the camera would steal their soul.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness.
Jennie Edwards: And I thought that was just an old wives tale. But in some cultures, older cultures, they might believe that. So anyhow, I think that judgment is a big part of it. Maybe people are afraid to be seen in a way or they're not connecting with this piece of equipment that's in front of them. And if they don't have someone on the other side of the camera, that's actually a really famous photographer. You might've heard of him, Ansell Adams. One of his quotes was the most important part of a camera is the 12 inches behind it. And I always love that because it's so powerful in how someone that you're working with behind the camera that can guide you and direct you and help you feel more confident. Help you focus on your best qualities and your values and what's most important to you so that you can truly share something in a more authentic way.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, sometimes it's the things that we don't like about ourselves that are actually the most compelling to other people. Do you find that in all the people that you've worked with? When you're photographing someone or video, there's a quality about them that's really unique, but that unique thing is the thing that they don't like maybe because it's unique and they wanted to fit in or something in their lives.
Jennie Edwards: Yeah, definitely. And that, it makes me think about just the topic of vulnerability because a lot of people feel that they have this need to be perfect, that they don't measure up to, “Oh, I'm not good at this video thing or my hair is not right or I need to lose 10 pounds before I do something,” or whatever their perceived notion is, and they are afraid to go there and be vulnerable because they could see that as a perceived weakness. But yeah, in reality it's the rawness, the raw emotion, that people really connect to and the realness of being human.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, authenticity is vital. It's become a really over used word where a lot of people confuse authenticity with like spilling your guts and a lot of TMI, but in actual fact, all it really means is just being yourself.
Jennie Edwards: That's to you.
Melinda Wittstock: At the end of the day. And why do people struggle with that so much?
Jennie Edwards: Well, I think it has to do with your comfort zone, and if you're willing to expand your comfort zone and be open, but sometimes people struggle with that because they don't want to be judged by others or they don't have the support system or the clarity in their life to move past that. So it's definitely a personal growth experience too.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, well, entrepreneurship is a personal growth experience.
Jennie Edwards: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And so what led you from being a photographer, being a videographer into advising people how to do it? Was that just a natural progression, you just saw a demand for it or how did that all happen?
Jennie Edwards: Yeah, I definitely saw a demand for that. The more that I talk to people and I originally thought, “Oh, I just want to work with other photographers who are having…” Because photographers tend to hide behind the camera, most of them. And like, “Oh, I'm going to start because I do public speaking as well, and I want to speak at conferences to photographers about showing up more confidently in front of the camera.” And then the more conscious entrepreneurs that I started talking too and you find out, “Oh, they have these fears too, and wow, I could really create this opportunity to help them tell their story and know what parts of their story that they could share in a more powerful way.”
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, so I'm curious what the kind of aha moment was where you said, “Okay, right, I'm going to launch a business.” Because it's not easy to launch a business. What was the spark? When did it happen? What were you doing? What made you do it?
Jennie Edwards: I think it was when I was talking to my husband, Brian, and he had been doing a lot of studying of The Hero's Journey, The Hero's Journey story and how people can use this in their lives. And I had this aha during a conversation that we were having about, “Oh, I really just want to help people and share their vision and make a bigger impact.” And it was like, oh, okay, I've been doing my business for I think at that point, like 10 years, and how can I make my mark and help others in a bigger way? And then there's something that he said about The Hero's Journey about how it's not just you telling your story, but it's you moving your audience because it's such a powerful way to connect and build trust and also credibility that moves your audience to a different place, a different space emotionally, which is, I feel so much more meaningful than just talking about the facts. This is what I do, this is how I do it, blah, blah, blah. And it's-
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, a lot of people write about this, whether it's Brene Brown or it's one of those things that's pretty vital.
Melinda Wittstock: So you launched this business to help people really get in touch with their true north. Walk their talk with authenticity, be able to be vulnerable in front of the camera, get their message across all this stuff. And you started 12 years ago. What have you seen in that time in terms of how things have changed because you have all these different trends around social media where increasingly people are getting more and more comfortable just literally wearing their heart on their sleeve. What are some of the challenges that women in particular face now with all that change it makes? I see more and more people being comfortable with it than they were before, but what are some of the changes that you've seen in the past 12 years since you've been doing this?
Jennie Edwards: I think, well, definitely technology because there's a lot of different ways that people can share their story like with Facebook lives. You can hop on a Facebook live at any moment of the day, but some of the challenges are knowing what to say and how to say it because people just like spilling their guts without any intention isn't going to be effective. And-
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, this is intriguing because how do you get that combination right, of showing just enough authenticity or just enough about your vulnerability without coming across as weak or sappy or just like a sad story as opposed to? And I like that you use The Hero's Journey because everybody has this arc. You go through something painful in your life, you learn a lot of stuff about that, so you can therefore, help other people who are in that same situation. It's the story of almost every amazing business ever built. The founder has come up with an idea based on something that's happened to them in their own lives. So every entrepreneur has that hero's journey for sure. And that's a big part of our stories and yet we feel sometimes afraid to share that.
Melinda Wittstock: Like say for instance you become a money expert, you're really good at finance because maybe at one time you were dirt poor, or you advise women about how to avoid abusive relationships because perhaps at one time you were in one. So what's the best advice that you can give in terms of how… Let's get really specific and get in the weeds here. How can someone specifically take up say a painful moment of their lives or a challenge or a difficulty, which they no doubt went through for a reason, and to be able to leverage that in such a way that it can help many others, perhaps even millions of others? What are the steps? How do you do that?
Jennie Edwards: Okay, the first step is you need to know your audience. You need to know who you are wanting to attract as a prospective client, and the second step is to understand their values. I think actually right before that, you need to know your values.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, well absolutely. I help people launch podcasts, and we don't do anything until I know your why. your mission, your purpose. Why do you… Why, why, why, why, why? And what are your values? What are you seeking to achieve? And only then you say, okay, so then who is your avatar? Who are the people who are going to want to listen and why? And then what are there three o'clock in the morning moments? What are their feelings? What are their values? So this is absolutely critical. And yet with all the many, many entrepreneurs that I've advised over the years and worked with mastermind with or whatever, this is tough. A lot of people don't actually know who their customers really are. They'll say, “Oh, this is for everybody.” I'm amazed how many even seasoned people do that.
Jennie Edwards: Yeah, yeah, it's true. And when you really look at, like for instance, I'm working with a woman that sells life insurance and long-term care, and so she has different demographics that she wants to serve, and so we split, okay, this certain demographic is going to want to connect with these family values. And so by telling her story coming from, she had lost one of her parents when she was very young and her story of her family situation and what they encountered, the challenges that they endured and being split apart as a result. And when she can share her story from that space coming from her own family values and how she wants to help people protect their own family, that connects to the heartstrings.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. Every time, this is something that is just tried and true in Hollywood or in anything. Like any author, any podcaster, any You Tuber, [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:25:02"]. Anyone who can market effectively knows this. Whether they know it because they've learned it, they've been taught it by someone like you or whether it's an intuitive thing for them, but it's absolutely vital to master. So do women struggle with this more than men?
Jennie Edwards: Well, [crosstalk [spp-timestamp time="00:25:23"]-
Melinda Wittstock: Because in a way I think we're more open about talking about our feelings and yet, I don't know, we have this perfectionist thing where we want to look all put together and everything's perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect. It's all wrapped up in a pretty bow, and that can sometimes get in the way of any authentic messaging.
Jennie Edwards: Right. Yeah, you're right absolutely. And I think that the toughest part is the balance between the masculine and the feminine energy because a lot of times as women business owners, we want to take charge and we want to do everything right and we want to show up confidently and all of that stuff, but we also have to understand the feminine energy that we can bring to be compassionate, to be connected, and to come from that space too and to really balance those different types of energies when it's most important.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I think that's really true, that balancing the masculine feminine. If you think back to in the '80s, when women were… '70s, '80s women first entering workforce in significant numbers, but still often being the only woman in the room. I remember those big shoulder pads and even wearing fake ties and just pretending to be dudes. And that carried on for a while, but I find now just even in terms of clothing and whatnot, you don't see female news anchors and those big power suits anymore. It's more, it's okay being feminine does not equal being weak, which for many, many years it did in our culture. So I think it sent this message that somehow to succeed, we had to be heavy, heavy in our masculine. But it's authentic. We're not dudes. So how to get that balance right, like when to leverage masculine and when to leverage feminine, and what does that balance look like? I'm curious, what do you think it looks like when someone's in balance with masculine feminine energies?
Jennie Edwards: Well, it definitely takes a lot of commitment to understand that because everything changes day to day. I know personally things come up and you get emotional about it or I do anyway, and just to be compassionate to myself that, not only compassionate to others, but to understand that I am me, I am enough, I am not perfect and that is okay. And I am learning as I go and being open to the possibilities and continuing to expand my comfort zone to be able to be present. I don't have to control every moment, I must be present to… For me it could be like getting connected to source or grounding or just staying connected to my values and what's important to me.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely, it's true. On the masculine and feminine though, do you think there's a real difference? I think feminine energy is very much, you mentioned the word compassion, and perhaps I would add intuitive.
Jennie Edwards: It's the right word.
Melinda Wittstock: Whereas the masculine energy is really that like get things done. Focus, get it done, get it done, get it done. And of course we need both, but I see more and more men in the entrepreneurial world and in the business world trying to leverage some feminine energy on their side. Where you see like much more inclusive team leadership instead of command control and all of these sorts of things. Men trying to get in touch with that because I think they need to be balanced as well.
Jennie Edwards: Oh, yes, absolutely. Yeah, I think that's a great point about the team because when you're surrounded by a team of support, you each bring something else to the table and it allows more balance on having more productivity and also more… And being in alignment with that focus, but someone can bring something to the table that is this intuitive insight that, “Hey, let's think about this perspective too.” And you can come together and create more prosperity based on having that different level of balance between those energies of the team members.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, absolutely. So you do a lot of personal branding, and why is personal branding so important for CEOs and business owners? And why is it important to tell your personal story?
Jennie Edwards: Because it really allows people to trust you and connect with you in a deeper way. So it's not just… Well, first of all, as far as marketing, it's people don't want to just hear the facts like this company does this result in this much business and has this client and blah blah blah, they want to know, people are at a different stage of wanting to connect and see the humanness behind companies and corporations. And it's their story that they are open to sharing with others. When you know the story behind Apple computers and Steve Jobs and the struggles that he went through and what he learned and how that company's different, you might want to share that with others and then that creates even more ripples in the world. And obviously they've become a hugely successful company, so there's more of a human side behind it.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I know this is so true. So Jennie, what's next for you? What do you see as being your big vision? Where are you going? What is the big mission for you in all that you do?
Jennie Edwards: Well, I want to help more entrepreneurs really shine their light in a bigger way and make an impact in the world. So I can use my tools as my videography and photography and really help them propel their message. And also for myself, I want to keep teaching and helping others and also do more international travel. I'm growing my family, yeah, I love speaking events and just always looking for great ways to connect with change makers in the world.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. Well, I love that you have a conscious aspect to what you're doing in business. It really is the future. And I happen to believe that business is actually one of the best tools or canvases, if you will, for fixing all of the world's problems. Whether it's our own personal growth or UN global goals, big challenges. So hats off to you for working in that direction. So how can people find you and work with you?
Jennie Edwards: They can go to my website, which is yourdynamicstory.com/schedule, and I will gift your audience a complimentary 30 minute inspiration session where I can teach them some tips about The Hero's Journey story that they can implement into the marketing that they're already doing and help them share their message in a bigger way.
Melinda Wittstock: How wonderful. That's great. Well, very generous of you, Jennie. I want to thank you for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Jennie Edwards: Thank you so much, Melinda.