TSP087 | Alexa Fischer – Transcription

TSP086 | Samari Salman – Transcription

John Livesay:

Today’s guest is Alexa Fischer, who is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama where Meryl Streep went. She has some great takeaways on how to pitch with confidence. She said arrogance is the mask of fear. When you are using humility to pitch, it shows that you listen, you have warmth, you have generosity, and you have a connection with the people in the room. So, when you are confident with humility, that’s when investors want to invest in you. She said the why behind the why is everything. She actually met Simon Sinek who has a famous Ted Talk on this and he actually gave her something when they met. To find out what that is, be sure to tune in.

The interview begins in 45 seconds right after this information on how you can get funded fast.

Are you a founder struggling with your investor pitch? Do you need warm introductions to the right investors to get your startup funded? Do you need a funding road map to get you there fast? All of this and more can be found in Crack the Funding Code. Join host, John Livesay, and Judy Robinett, bestselling author of How to Be a Power Connector and board member of Illuminate Ventures, on their free Crack the Funding Code webinar. Simply go to judyrobinett.com – that’s J-U-D-Y-R-O-B-I-N-E-T-T dot com – and click on the webinar tab to see how to tap into their network of investors from around the world. There’s a link in the show notes as well. You’re only one click away from getting funded fast.

Hi and welcome to the Successful Pitch podcast. Today’s guest is Alexa Fischer. She uses the skills she learned at no less the Yale School of Drama, which I believe Meryl Streep went to as well. We can ask her about that. She’s been on countless primetime television shows to help people speak with confidence and stay calm in any situation. Not only is she talented but she’s versatile and her methods can be applied to public speaking, and even cocktail small talk and probably pitching for funding. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies like Trader Joe’s and Sony, and worked with smaller philanthropic organizations like Step Up Women’s Network and Dress For Success. She works with clients in group workshops, online training, one-on-one. She’s all about polishing your speaking and presentation skills. We can never get too many of those tips. She’s the creator of her signature program,  Radiate Confidence – How to Create a 1000 Watt Presence as well as launching her first physical product, Wish Beads. Can’t wait to hear about that. Alexa, welcome to the show.

Alexa:

Well, thank you very much. You are correct, Meryl Streep did go to Yale.

John:

So, that’s an impressive place to get into. I’m sure the auditions for that were not easy.

Alexa:

No. But you know what? It’s a great story. Because I will tell you, it was all about being in a great state of mind.  When I went to that audition, you actually go to a hotel and there are lots of different graduate programs all auditioning at the same time. I had just come from another audition for the University of California, San Diego. I had so much fun in the room, and I had worked with one of my personal heroes of stage. I went from that audition and literally walked into my Yale audition. I must have just been literally radiating this good energy, because I was not thinking about – dum da da da it’s Yale –  there’s a lot of pressure. It was just great. I’m telling you it was probably the reason why I got in, truthfully.

John:

We can take that right off the get go. There’s some great takeaways right there. Because auditioning for schools, colleges, whatever, is very similar to getting in front of investors. You probably do multiple meetings sometimes. Your mindset before you step in that room is everything. Before we get into all the goodies Alexa, paint the picture a little bit about your background. You made the decision to become an actress. When did you decide and why – which is always the interesting question behind that – to become an entrepreneur?

Alexa:

Well, for people who are not really familiar with how the entertainment industry works, is that it all seems so glamorous from the outside. But once you’re inside it, and again I was very honored to work with some amazing televisions shows and some films and a ton of commercials – what you discover is that there is so much downtime. There is so much sitting around. For me, the reason why I was drawn to acting was truly because of my love of people. I’m fascinated by people. Fascinated by their motivations, by the way they express themselves. That’s really what great acting is. And yet, two things bothered me. One, I felt like I was wasting a lot of time, sitting around on set endlessly. The second thing was I fundamentally was bothered by this idea of people comparing themselves to the airbrushed images of the celebrities on People magazine. It drove me crazy because celebrities are just like you and me. They really are. Some are fabulous. Some are not so fabulous.

They look like you and me, believe it or not. There’s not anything super magical about them other than they have a very high profile job. Once again, when I was inside, there was one day – I’ve told this story because it is the God’s honest truth – I was working 15 hours in at the shoot filming an episode of the TV show Bones. I was playing a lawyer. Something bad happened to my character in the movie in the script I’m laying on the floor with blood coming out of my mouth. Fake blood. I literally had that moment, you know after all of my training, after all my dedication, after all of the countless successes and rejections of being in the entertainment industry, I had that moment where I said – what am I doing with my life? Because I’m laying there just looking like a jerk in my opinion. So ridiculous. I literally put a call out to the universe, internally, and said – give me a sign. There’s so much passion that I have. There are so many talents that I feel that I have.

Why can’t I put them to a higher calling? It’s not to say that I didn’t love acting. I still do. But that was the shift. I kid you not, it was less than a week that I get a call out of the blue from a friend, a contact that I had made in the entertainment industry, and she was looking for a media trainer for a very high profile client of hers. She said – I thought of you and I think you’d be terrific. And boom, I was set on a different path. It was a journey of incredible tenacity, but a great deal of curiosity. Because I was driven by this idea – wow, I know how to do this instinctually, but yet I’m going to have to learn how to build a program, to build a website, to market myself, to meet new people, to learn about branding, marketing. I began filming myself, before people were really making online video classes. I was really pioneering that. It was a lot of hussle, a lot of heart, but a lot of humility. Because I had to really find out information. I had to study. It was a whole new world in which I actually did in parallel to my acting career. It wasn’t like I just had this epiphany, started this new thing. I was still acting. That’s really how I made my living. So it was until the consulting and the teaching, that took up so much of my time. I had to really do a dance with my agents who were like – excuse me what are you doing and why aren’t you available?  There was a crossover.

John:

I love what you said, that curiosity and tenacity are a powerful combination. We’re going to tweet that out from the show. That’s a great takeaway. I love that because you need to have both. You can’t just be curious or you’ll be – ok, now this is hard I’m stopping. If you just have tenacity but you don’t have curiosity to keep learning, you’ll probably get bored and stop. So the combination is really great. Before the show we were talking about the difference between confidence and arrogance.  Everybody knows who listens to The Successful Pitch podcast, you have to come across as someone who is confident because investors want to feel confident in giving their money to someone who can execute the idea. They really invest in the team. Let’s talk about your perceptions and definitions of confidence versus arrogance.

Alexa:

Sure, yeah. I love this idea because, sure as a culture we get that confidence basically says as you wearing a billboard, this fake, pretend billboard, energetic billboard, that says yes. Yes to life. Yes to meeting people. Yes to pursuing your dreams and yet, what really is that. For me, this idea that we have this light that’s inside of us, it’s something that everybody is born with. It’s not like you have to go get it or someone’s going to give it to you. You have all of the magnificence inside of you. But most of the time we block it because of fear. We don’t think that we have the right thing to say. Or we don’t have the right connections. Or the right knowledge or the right fill in the blank. So, we block that. The knowledge and the light is inside of us. When we can release some of that fear, we naturally let that light shine. That’s what I call unlocking your 1000 watt presence. It’s not so that you can go into the room and blind everybody right – I feel great. No, it’s more of just this quiet confidence. Now, if you are someone who is pitching an idea, you’re just talking about an idea, you’re connected to this idea. Again, it’s not because you want everybody to love it immediately. It’s this idea that you know why. You know inside – why is this idea important. Why is it going to serve people? Why is it going to be successful? What is your why? When you are connected to that, you are in service to it as you’re meeting people. So, ironically it’s not about you anymore. It’s about this thing that’s coming through you in service to others.

John:

Part of our fear kicks in when – do they like me? Am I going to get this money? You’re so self-absorbed and so in your head you’re not present with the people in the room is what I hear you saying.

Alexa:

That’s absolutely correct. The same holds true with – let’s just take something and I think perhaps women can relate to this more than men – this idea of, I don’t know if I’m wearing the right thing. So, you’ll sit there and go in your closet and you’ll try to figure it out. What’s the appropriate thing to wear?  Forgive me, maybe men have this feeling as well. You spend all this time. Let’s think about it John. Do you really pay attention to what other people are wearing? Do you really genuinely notice?

John:

Only if it’s really one way or the other. It’s really – oh god you’re wearing shorts to a business meeting or you’re so outrageously dressed, unless you’re a creative artist, that’s not appropriate. I do think there’s a whole thoughtfulness that goes into deciding who you are as a brand and having your clothes reflect that.

Alexa:

I totally agree with that. I’m talking about on an everyday basis.

John:

Oh yeah, no. We’re too busy about our own stuff.

Alexa:

Exactly, that’s my whole point. So when you have the habit of having a habitual internal reflection, a sort of inner critic narrative going on in your head, you’re blocking yourself from delivering your gift. From being able to share your why. To be able to connect with people and be present. The truth is most people are consumed with the inner dialogue that’s in their head. Or their to do list. Or what they’re going to do in the future. Or they just came from. When you can think about showing up in life and being able to be present and to communicate your light, or just let your light shine in front of someone, then there is the flow. That’s the thing that makes people stop and pay attention to you. That’s what’s amazing. I’ll tell you I have a funny story about – speaking about the power of why –  so Simon Sinek of course wrote the book Start With Why. I had the privilege, I think it was in 2013, I went to Marie Forleo’s Live event which she had, I think it’s actually called Rich, Happy and Hot. Which is kind of a funny name. I actually think that’s what it’s called. Anyway, it was in New York City.

The morning before it took place I was at a little coffee shop in the meatpacking district in New York. Which sounds gross but it’s actually very trendy right now. I saw Simon Sinek sitting with a bunch of people. I just kept on being drawn to his energy. Should I say something to him, should I not? In that moment I said, no I’m just going to let him – he was having a business meeting – didn’t quite realize that he was a guest speaker at this event.  I see him on stage, he absolutely blows my mind. He’s just a wonderful speaker. So it’s afterwards, I’m like, I absolutely must speak with him. I find him afterward. The most remarkable thing when we connected afterward, he had this ability despite the fact that so many people wanted to talk to him afterward, when he was standing in front of you, he was so present. He was just there.

John:

He wasn’t worried about other people. I’m taking this moment and I’m looking at you and I’m listening to you. That whole message of why is so important because investors want to know, what’s the why behind your why of doing this startup. It can’t just be to make money. You have to be personally passionate about it. Whether you’ve experienced your own frustration or own pain of something that you’re trying to solve. It has to be a bigger purpose than just – I want to make a lot of money. Because that’s what keeps you motivated during the tough times, right?

Alexa:

Exactly. When I met Simon he gave me this medallion. He literally put a medallion in my hand that looks like a bullseye that says “why”. When he put it in my hand, and closed it around this medallion, I understood the passion that he has for his work. Because it was as if I got the message of my why mattered. And it’s up to you to bring it into the world. I say that because whatever your business is, and now I’m again pivoting because in addition to doing my business I’m also building this physical product, and I am just like many of the people that you teach, on the cusp of sharing it with the world, pitching it in front of people. I’ve already began pitching it to people. It was this idea that I even viscerally felt from Simon, which was my why mattered. Even though it is a grand vision, it is up to me to voice it. It is mine to find the courage to voice it. And again it’s that borderline thing. There’s a humility that comes with that. Honoring it. Allowing this thing to come through me not – oh my goodness I’m the biggest smartypants girl in the universe because I came up with this thing. No! It’s through me. It’s through me.

John:

What a great example of branding. He’s passionate enough to have a medallion to give to people as a keepsake of who he is. Also, it inspires them to live his message. It’s so smart on so many levels. I’m telling you, if you do something like that in a pitch meeting, and can give an investor something to remember you by, because they hear so many pitches, and your story has to be memorable, but if you give them something besides here’s my powerpoint deck printout as a leave behind, it really sets you apart. Let’s get back a little bit to confidence versus arrogance. I think it’s really important to flush that out just a tad more. Because most people feel it’s one of the other.  So being coachable, is one of the key things that investors look for. If you’re not coachable, because you’re arrogant and think you know everything, then investors aren’t interested. They want you to take their ideas sometimes and decide whether they work or not. It’s that fine line you still have to be a leader, but coachable. But not be so easily influenced that you’re just constantly changing your strategy all the time. So, it’s really challenging for people to figure out – how do I do that?

Alexa:

I think that’s a great point. I was having a really interesting conversation with Judy Robinett earlier this week. One sentence that I shared with her, which was – I know what I know but I also know what I don’t know. What I don’t know I’m going to go get very deeply curious about and go seek those answers. Now, I’m not saying you use those words in a pitch. But it’s the energy of humility that helps fuel confidence. So, before you go into that pitch meeting, you want to be able to articulate certainly what you have done to build this idea, to flush it out, cover all your bases. You want to be incredibly prepared, but there is also this energy of humility that must be present because when you are overly confident, that does come across as arrogant. Arrogance is the mask of fear.

John:

That’s great. We are going to tweet that out. Arrogance is the mask of fear. Have you said that before, it’s great?

Alexa:

No, I just said it right now.

John:

I love it. You heard it here first.

Alexa:

Yay! The question comes to my mind, ok how do you know the difference? Someone who is humble listens, is a great listener. I think someone who is humble speaks with warmth and generosity.  Someone who is humble walks into a room and connects with people. I think when your pitch begins when you leave your house and you’re driving to your pitch meeting. There is an energy there. By the time that you show up, your focus needs to be on the individuals in the room, the people, in terms of just a warm handshake. Looking someone in the eye. Being lighthearted. Being genuinely enthusiastic. That’s a warm energy. It’s very hard to be arrogant when you’re coming from that warm, positive place.

John:

I love what you said so much. We’ve never had anybody quite articulate it like that. It’s so great. Humble people listen, show warmth, show generosity, and have a genuine human connection. When you do that folks, you don’t have to worry about coming across as arrogant. You will come across as confident. Fantastic. Really, really great stuff. Let’s talk about your why behind your why. That story is so great as an example for people to have to go I understand why behind my why. If you tell us your why behind your why, your product and how you go inspired by it and what it is.

Alexa:

Absolutely. So In my work, what I discovered was, there’s some energy that’s inside of us. I talked about it before this 1000 watt presence. I talked about this with CEO’s. I would go in with their teams and talk about this. I would give them some experiences. But a lot of times people would not really get this idea that what they see, what they imagine, they can achieve for themselves.  Now this sounds a little esoteric, but what I discovered was maybe I could create an experience for people. To let them have something that they physically do to help them achieve what they want in life. Because what I realized in my coaching was it wasn’t just about communication and confidence.  It was giving people the tools to have them feel confident that they can get what they want. My community, over at alexafischer.com, my students who take my online courses, they’re on the cusp of greatness. These are my people. This is what I discovered after five years of doing this. Anyone who finds my work, is because they know they are capable of more and they need just a little guidance to get them there.

John:

Nice.

Alexa:

One day – I kid you not, in the shower, cause I don’t know about you but all great ideas come in the shower – I literally had a complete vision of this product that I was to create. It was to be called Wish Beads. Wish Beads, without going into too much detail, is a bracelet making kit, that stems from the idea of the law of attraction. Meaning when you pause your busy, busy life to really see a moment in time where your wish has come true, and that’s the first step of Wish Beads. Then you write it down. You anchor it with language. You physically write down what you saw in delicious detail. You do that on paper that I include. Then you turn that paper into paper beads, wear it on your wrist. It inspires you to see your wish. It inspires you to keep it top of mind. It inspires you to take action towards your wish. So, in this kit I include a little 21 day action journal to get people to train their minds to see signs, coincidences. To be taking small, decisive steps toward their wish. That literally helps make that wish come true. John, the crazy thing is this thing works. It works crazy. It works really, really well.

John:

I’m a believer.  I know whatever we focus on, we get more of.

Alexa:

Exactly. It’s the law of attraction.

John:

Yes. So, what you’ve done here is you’ve given people a tool to become aware. Then literally make your own bead out of paper, then ground that energy into something that you’re wearing so you’re tapping into all the senses. It’s really great. If I may be so bold, my guess is the why behind your why Alexa, is your whole intent is to transform people’s lives. You realize this is the tool to do so. Would that be a good guess?

Alexa:

Yes, absolutely. I’ll tell you it also stems from a conversation with too many CEO’s that I was working with. Eventually there’d be this moment where they’d say – is there anyway that you could talk to my daughter? Or is there someway that you could talk to my son? Or is there some way – I said to myself – I must bring this to young people. I must find a way to work with young people to give them this idea that, look, life is tricky. We didn’t come here for this fun easy, breezy ride. We actually came here to learn something, right? Yet, the obstacles don’t have to be these barriers in your life. Your obstacles are your greatest teachers. We can embrace the challenge and also hold the wish. Hold the dream. Pursue what you want. I have a very big vision of giving people a tool of personal empowerment. Helping them achieve their goals. Having a phenomenal experience along the way. Bringing people together, women together in something I call wish circles. It has been a wild ride to learn how to build a product from scratch. This has been a passion project for about two years in the making. Literally as I’m talking to you I”m on the cusp of launching a kickstarter campaign which is really a way for me to just get a lot of eyeballs on this all at one time. Then I have a very comprehensive marketing strategy after that.

John:

Fantastic! Well, I know that that’s something we are all going to be supporting and looking for. Because with your kind of tenacity and curiosity you’re going to transform the world. Before I let you go, Alexa, is there a book that you would like to recommend that either helps you in business or life, whatever? That you think would be great for the listeners.

Alexa:

I do. There’s a woman that I’ve collaborated with for years. We have an online course together. Her name is Dr. Daphna Slonim. She’s a psychiatrist and she wrote a book called The First Key – How to Remove Subconscious Sabotage.  This, I have to tell you, is one of the reasons – she collaborated with me years ago to help her do a DVD series to promote her own book. I ended up doing her work, which is based on a lot of energy psychology techniques. I ended up doing that work and I kid you not, I believe it was one of the reason’s why I had my “aha” moment on the set of Bones. Because something energetically lifted in front of me. Once I removed my own subconscious blocks, which, look let’s face it everybody has subconscious blocks because we get crazy mixed messages in this lifetime.  It was very amazing. Doing the technique with her just to learn it, I did remove subconscious blocks I had to happiness, to success, to career fulfillment. Then I will tell you things started showing up more effortlessly in my life. So, I really strongly recommend this book. You may not have any experience with energy psychology, but she certainly walks you through it and gives you techniques to do them yourself. It’s a remarkable publication.

John:

I highly encourage everyone to get that. We’ll put it in the show notes. Mindfulness concept is so big in Silicon Valley with all the successful founders. So, if you want to get on that path, this is a great tool to get there. Alexa how can people get more of you? What’s your twitter handle and all that good stuff?

Alexa:

Sure! My twitter handle is @1000WattAlexa. You can also find me on my website at AlexaFischer.com and that’s F-I-S-C-H-E-R dot com. You can also find me on Facebook and you can also check out Wish Beads at WishBeads.com.

John:

Nice. I can’t thank you enough. It’s been a great episode. You’ve given us so many great takeaways. My favorite is – arrogance is the mask of fear. Alexa, thanks for helping us remove that mask. We can’t wait to watch you continue to soar.

Alexa:

Thank you, John. It has been a pleasure to speak with you and I’m actually learning so much from your podcasts. So, thank you for the work that you do. I will certainly put it to good use.

John:

You’re welcome. Thanks again.

John:

Thanks for listening to The Successful Pitch Podcast. If you liked the show, please go to iTunes and write a review, and encourage your friends to write reviews too. It really helps get the word out.

You know, people say that the longest distance is between someone’s mouth and their wallet. People can tell you they’re going to invest but when it comes time to write the check, they don’t do it. So, how do you get people to say yes and then follow through? Visualize yourself on the left side of a riverbank and you have to cross the river, and on the other side of the river is where the funding happens.

So, first, you make up your idea and then you make it real and then you make it re occur. Once you start dipping your toe into the water to get to funding, that’s where I can help. I get you across that river faster than you would on your own with a lot less frustration than you will get when you hear a bunch of no’s and you don’t know why. So, if you want some help getting funded faster with less frustration, go to my free funding webinar, sellingsecretsforfunding.com/webinar and sign up and get in depth information on how you can get funded fast. Thanks.

TSP086 | Samari Salman – Transcription

Also published on Medium.

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