How discovering what makes you special can transform your business

I was never a child prodigy.

I didn’t grow up being excellent at gymnastics. (You should see me trying to do a forward roll.)

I can’t really play any instruments, except the recorder with my nose.

And while I can say, “I love you because you’re a tall and handsome man” in Cantonese, my language skills are a bit rubbish.

I’ve never been really good at anything. Just okayish at a lot of things. If I were a superhero I’d have an ‘M’ on my cape for Mediocre Woman! (And no, I’m not being self-deprecating here. I love me. But I also know my strengths and weaknesses.)

But looking at some entrepreneurs out there in social media land, you’d think you need a superpower to succeed, whether it’s inventing your own brand of yoghurt when you were eight or having a chain of poodle massage shops by age 22.

We’ve been sold the idea that to be a success you need to be horrendously attractive, a chino-wearing supernerd or someone with a beard. (I’m 99% convinced Branson would be nothing if he was cleanly shaven.)

Oh, and it also helps if you’re bald.

I’m none of these things. But I quickly realised it was important to appreciate my superpowers, however boring and pathetic they seemed.

(Yes, I know ‘appreciating my superpowers’ might sound a bit ‘woo woo,’ but bear with me.)

We all have superpowers. And if we can identify them, they can really help make our business a success.

Tune in to learn:

In this episode we cover:

  • What are superpowers?
  • Why are they important?
  • How do you find out what your superpowers are?
  • Who would play Kate and Melanie in a movie?
  • What are Kate’s superpowers?
  • What are Melanie’s superpowers?
  • Are superpowers part of our nature or does it come down to nurture?
  • What to do if your superpowers are bad things?

 

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Confessions of a misfit

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About Melanie:

When you ask a brand strategist how she defines her brand and she says “Approachable Badass”, you know you’ve found someone who can help you define your own brand. Melanie Spring was put here to get you outside of your box and firmly in your purpose – professionally and personally.

Melanie runs Branded Confidence as an international speaker and facilitator – bringing her charisma and confidence to humans worldwide. She’s so dedicated to her purpose that she once drove 7,000 miles in 3 weeks to find out why great brands work. And she’s here with me today to make sure you know to rock your superpowers.

As mentioned in the episode:

Facebook Group: www.kickasshumansclub.com

Find your business brand: bitesizedbranding.com

Download the Rock Your Life Workbook: http://brandedconfidence.com/rockyourlife

SPEAK With Confidence course: brandedconfidence.com/speak

 

Where to find Melanie

Instagram: instagram.com/melaniespring

Twitter: twitter.com/melaniespring

Website: brandedconfidence.com

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Transcript:

I was never a child prodigy. I didn’t grow up being excellent at gymnastics. You should see me trying to do a forward roll. I can’t really play any instruments, except the recorder, with my nose. And while I can say I love you because you’re a tall and handsome man in Cantonese, my language skills are a bit rubbish. I’ve never been really good at anything. Just okayish at a lot of things. If I were a super hero, I’d have an M on my cape for Mediocre Woman. And no, I’m not being self deprecating here, i love me. But I also know my strengths and my weaknesses.

 

But looking at some entrepreneurs out there in the social media land, you’d think that you need a superpower to succeed. Whether it’s inventing your own brand of yoghourt when you’re eight. Or having a chain of poodle menswear shops by the age of 22, we’ve been sold on the idea that to be a success, you need to be horrendously attractive, a chino-wearing super nerd or someone with a beard. Oh, and it also helps if you’re bald. I’m none of these things.

 

But I quickly realised it’s important to appreciate my superpowers, however boring and pathetic they seemed. And yes, I know appreciating my superpowers might sound a bit woo-woo, but bear with me. We all have superpowers, and if we can identify them, they can help make our business a success.

 

 

MUSIC

 

Hello, my name is Kate Toon. I’m the author of Confessions of the Misfit Entrepreneur, how to succeed in business despite yourself. And today, I’m talking with Melanie Spring. Hello Melanie Spring!

 

Melanie: Hello!

 

Kate Toon: I’m so excited to talk to you. We’ve been trying to arrange this podcast since the dawn of time. And here you are. Are you glad to be here?

 

Melanie: I am, I just wish we were in person so you could bite my thigh again.

 

Kate Toon: I did. I did bite your thigh. I met Melanie at a big digital conference in Adelaide a few years ago, where she was actually speaking about superpowers. How good is that? Her chat ticked all my boxes and it’s a phrase I’ve used for many years so I felt like it was super important to business and that’s why I wanted her on our show. And yes, I did, did I bite them? Did I really bite your thigh?

 

Melanie: Yep. Because I was wearing white jeans and you thought my thighs were very sexy. So, you bit them.

 

Kate Toon: That makes me sound like a complete weirdo pervert now. Thanks Melanie.

 

Melanie: I love weirdo perverts though, that’s way more fun.

 

Kate Toon: And you did really enjoy it. Because you know we were like the most exciting people at the conference, I think we realised, didn’t we?

 

So anyway, that was how we bonded. I don’t recommend that for future networking events, but let me start by telling my audience a little bit about you. Because you are an American. And we are all here in Australia, and we don’t know all the American famous people. Let me go through what you do.

 

When you ask a brand strategist how she defines her brand and she says approachable badass, you know you’ve found someone who can help you define your own brand. And Melanie Spring was put here to get you outside of your box and firmly in your purpose, professionally and personally. Melanie runs Branded Conference, as an international speaker and facilitator. Bringing her charisma and confidence to humans all over the world. She’s so dedicated to her purpose that she once drove 7000 miles in three weeks to find out why great brands work. And she’s here with me today, to make sure you know how to rock your superpowers.

 

So, I think that was the title of your keynote at Big Digital. And I love it, because like I said I believe that everyone has superpowers, we might not realise it, but we do. And superpowers can become part of your branding, your values, your tone of voice. And it’s actually something I devoted an entire chapter of my book to, that’s how important it is. So discovering your superpowers, owning them, that helps it make it easier to market yourself. That’s what we’re going to be talking about today.

 

But I want to start with a definition. And usually I read this out. But I feel like you’re a bit more qualified that me on this one, Melanie. So, how do you define superpowers?

 

Melanie: My definition of superpowers is the thing you’re genetically engineered to do, mixed with the thing that you love to do. So being able to figure out those two things together and meshing them together, and becoming the superhero that you were born to be, that’s my idea of superpowers.

 

Kate Toon: Oh I love it!

 

So you think it’s kind of a combo of nature and nurture, then?

 

Melanie: Mm-hmm (affirmative), definitely.

 

Kate Toon: So we are all born with innate superpowers and it’s about discovering them.

 

Melanie: 180% yes.

 

Kate Toon: 180, okay. And why do you feel that having superpowers is so important in a business?

 

Melanie: I think knowing your superpower and being able to exploit that superpower for business and to make money with it is wonderful. But it has more to do with being able to give back to the world. And using the thing you’re really good at mixed with the thing that you love to do? The fact that you can make money doing that, you also have to think how can you give back to the world around you. Cause the more you think about other people with your superpowers, the more money you can make for your business.

 

Kate Toon: I love that.

 

So, I guess if you kind of just use your superpowers to make money, then are you a baddie? Are you more of a Joker than a Batman?

 

Melanie: No, by no means. But at the same time, if you think about businesses, the businesses that are typically just for you. It’s something that can give back to your clients and your customers. It’s something that can help support them in some way. So even if you’re more about the money than you are the loveliness of how happy your clients are, you can survive for quite awhile on just that. But I can say that at the end of the day, you definitely want to be focused on how you’re helping other people, not just yourself.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, it’s that combo isn’t it? We talk about that a lot in the book. You know, do people want it? Are you helping people? Can you make money from it? And do you enjoy doing it? Do you know what I mean, those three things come together quite naturally in superpowers.

 

So how do you find out what your superpowers are? Do you have a discovery process? Or do you think people should just know?

 

Melanie: Most people actually don’t know what their superpowers are. And most people hire people and don’t understand their superpowers either. So being able to make sure that you can take the time to really find your superpowers, a lot of the times it can be through personality test and things like that, but sitting down and taking some real time to think about who you are as a human being. What are you genetically engineered to do? So I usually look at four different sections.

 

The thing you’re really good at, just automatically, you’re born here and doing this awesome thing that you learned how to do. Or that you didn’t learn but you just know how to do. And then the thing you love to do. And then the thing the world needs from you. And then the thing you can make money doing. And if you can make four different lists and compare those lists together, the thing you find that fits all four of those lists, that’s where your superpower lies.

 

Kate Toon: Okay, I’m going to get you to repeat that. Because I haven’t had enough coffee yet this morning. So it was, the thing you were born to do, I’m just writing this down for my own knowledge. You’re born to do, what was the next one?

 

Melanie: What do you love to do?

 

Kate Toon: Love to do.

 

Melanie: What the world needs from you.

 

Kate Toon: What was the next?

 

World needs, yeah.

 

Melanie: and what can you do to make money.

 

Kate Toon: And money.

 

I love that. And so if you did circles like one of those Venn diagrams. Can you have four circles in Venn diagram, I always think three. Then in the middle would be your igafke, or whatever it’s called. Your point of awesomeness. Your superpower.

 

Melanie: And you can talk about it as purpose too. You can think about it as the purpose you’re given to be here. And you can change it. Your superpower can change over the lifetime, your lifetime. Because you can get better at certain things and love certain things differently, and be done with the thing that you have finished and now you move on to a new superpower, and so you can do that.

 

Kate Toon: I like that. I like the idea of the ability to evolve, because often, something that you know, you can find something that ticks all those boxes, but the one that changes in the one that you fall out of love with it. So yes, it’s something that remains and that you’re good at, but you just don’t want to do it anymore, and that’s okay, yeah?

 

Melanie: I agree, yep.

 

Kate Toon: Okay, cool.

 

Well, let’s talk about other ways into kind of working out what your superpower is. And obviously you’re a branding expert, and you help people develop their brands. One silly, easy way that I use to help people understand their brand, this is from agency world, ad agencies, is to think about a person that your brand, could represent your brand. So say you wanted to find a brand ambassador, who would be that person? Obviously it would generally be you, if its your business, but it’s a fun little game to play to think about who would play your brand in a movie? I often think for me it would be Kathy Bates in Misery. Or who would be your brand ambassador? And people often compare me to Nigella Lawson. But I think that’s more just looks based than actual personality. Who would play you in a movie, Melanie?

 

Melanie: Well, mine would be a mix of two different people. I would say Ellen DeGeneres. Who, I’m sure you guys know who that is.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah.

 

Melanie: So, Ellen DeGeneres and the singer Pink.

 

Kate Toon: Oh, wow, that’s good!

 

Melanie: Yes, I do, and I love that she’s keeping it.

 

Kate Toon: So what qualities do they have that you think are matched with your brand?

 

Melanie: Well the exciting dancing Ellen DeGeneres who is just excited about anyone that she meets and wants to know more about them, and dives deeper into who they are as human beings. Mixed with Pink and her women will thrive and we will overcome personality and the fact that she is very pro-equality and pro-loveliness, and but also so badass at the same time. I would love to be her when I grow up except that she’s like 5 foot 2. So, I feel like my six feet tall would be growing down, but it’s not. So yeah. Being able to mix the two of them together.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, she may be short in stature, but she’s got a big personality. I once paid for a VIP, I went to see Pink and I paid for this VIP ticket where they like made out you were going to meet Pink. And I was so excited and then I went and it was just a room full of sort of rows that you got to sit in before the conference. It was gutting. We didn’t even see Pink. We didn’t get touch her or anything. What a con!

 

You know, so I’m writing things on pads as you talk. Because obviously I’ve met you, but what I picked up from those two Ellen and Pink was that you have a curiosity, that you’re approachable, that you’re endlessly enthusiastic. That’s something that I am positive, I really picked that up from meeting you just very briefly. But also you want to have, you’ve got a bit of a message as well. And you’ve got a badass side to you. So those are two perfect brand ambassadors, I think I need to work harder. I don’t think Kathy Bates and Nigella Lawson are really selling it.

 

Melanie: No, they’re not.

 

Kate Toon: I think a bit harder. I should’ve asked you to pick two people for me, and you can think about that.

 

Melanie: And also thinking about what you were just talking about, about the brand ambassador for you. A lot of times when I’m asking people when I talk to companies about their brand I’m usually asking them, what are the values of the person that you want to be the spokesperson for your brand? And whether it’s personal or business, thinking about okay well the #metoo movement, which is not a fricking movement and I would like them to stop saying it’s a movement. But the hashtag me too situation that’s been happening, that I’d like to have end as soon as humanly possible. That you pick a person who has done something terrible to another person. Would that person wreck your brand because they were your brand ambassador, your voice for a long time. So making sure that you can choose people that have your core values and fit who you are as a human being and as a business, I mean, that’s a huge part of the spokesperson piece.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, totally. And I think it’s a really useful exercise. Even here with my foggy, uncoffeed brain, I’m thinking, pick a famous person. Doesn’t have to be the same sex as you, but say Jamie Oliver. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Jamie Oliver in America? Is he a bit of a? Well, you know, what do you like and what do you not like about him, you know.

 

I like the fact that he’s really out to help people. I like that fact that he’s down to earth even though I feel it’s slightly artificial. And that process of picking someone and breaking them down into values really helps you identify your own values.

 

Melanie: Yeah, definitely.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah.

 

So based on this, and I’m sure there are lots of other ways in that you help people assess their superpowers, but what would you say that your superpowers are? We’ve talked about few of them now. But if you could list out your superpowers, what would they be?

 

Melanie: Well my biggest superpower is I think along the lines of my title, which is approachable badass. I think the biggest part of what I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I’m very approachable in the sense that people want to tell me things, which is so lovely. Because they tell me stuff that they probably don’t tell other people. But I’m also in the badass version, where I like to take what they’ve told me and push them further then they’ve planned on being pushed because they probably just thought they were going to chit chat with me. And in the end, I’m like, have you ever really thought about changing this or working on this or really moving forward with that? And let’s take it a little bit further.

 

So doing epic shit is basically what I’m always telling people. It’s not epic as in you have to jump out of an aeroplane epic, it just has to be epic for you, whatever that thing is for you. So being able to take in their information and then hand it back to them in a totally different way, that’s definitely my biggest superpower.

 

Kate Toon: And that kind of combines two superpowers. Because obviously being approachable is a lovely superpower but then you have your other side of it as well, which is the badass bit. And I like that because they kind of almost challenge each other.

 

Melanie: Yes, most definitely.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, and I think quite possibly that’s why we get on, because I think I might actually steal your tagline, because I think I love, I love approachable badass. Because again, I’m somebody who, when people meet me or talk to me, they feel like they’ve known me for a long time because I’m quite myself online. But then I’m not particularly fluffy, do you know what I mean? I will call a spade a spade, I will tell you your idea is daft and it’s not going to work. I will challenge you. Yeah, I’m going to steal your tagline.

 

Melanie: The problem is, your cape is going to have to change from mediocre woman to approachable badass.

 

Kate Toon: Oh yeah. I’ve already got my cape. I can’t afford to get a new cape.

 

I mean, I also, something I talk about in the book. When I started out, I think you get more confident about your superpowers as you get more confident in business. So when I started my business, I was 5 months pregnant, I didn’t really know what I was going to do, so I just came up with an economist brand, Kate Toon dot com. And I thought, what can I do, what am I good at? So looking at your list there’s, born to do, love, the world needs it, money. I thought, well I’m quite good at managing projects, and timelines. Quite good at processes, quite good at typing. Those are my superpowers. And it didn’t sound very sexy or interesting.

 

But they’re almost like skills rather than superpowers. But I guess my point was I wanted to be a copywriter, but I didn’t feel like a super creative…oh, hello. I didn’t feel like a super creative, you know, I didn’t feel like I was copy woman, word wrangler. I felt my skills were more in project management. And they don’t sound, would you class those as superpowers? Or would you say they’re more the skills?

 

Melanie: I’m here. Hold on just a second. My poor dog.

 

Kate Toon: It’s okay, we can meet the dog!

 

Melanie: Great.

 

Kate Toon: It’s one of those podcasts where if the dog joins in, we just go with it. My dog is lying on the floor at the moment asleep but who knows what he will do in a minute.

 

So I was just saying do you think that those superpowers I mentioned are really superpowers? Or not?

 

Melanie: I feel like they could probably be a little bit more tightened up. More from a, they could be good explainers for your superpowers, but I think making sure that you can tighten them up even more. And think about what if you could boil it down to one or two things to make it that your superpower, that, like you said the mediocre woman sitting on her back. Cause you’re definitely not that by any stretch. But thinking about being a clever copywriter and giving a little more depth to it. I feel like you have such, so many dimensions, how do we? Can we just superpower the crap out of you?

 

Kate Toon: Oh yeah. I mean, that’s where I started. I guess I could’ve said my superpowers are I was process woman. Whatever project you fling at me I will deliver it on time, on budget, with zero stress. You have to do that voice when you’re talking about superpowers. But over the years, I’ve realised that those weren’t, those literal skills were not my superpowers. And I think that my superpowers, I’ve actually defined them. I’ve actually had to think about them. But I’ve got too many so I might need to narrow it down. Maybe you can help me.

 

I thought one of mine is having a good sense of humour. I mean, I don’t think I’m laugh out loud hysterical, I’m not about to go an do standup. But I think I’m very good at seeing the funny side of my business and business in general and not taking it all too seriously. I think I’m approachable. I’ve stolen that one from you, so I’ve got that one. I think I’m relatable, which I think is very different than approachable. So, I think that I’m able to make my business relatable to others, so people feel that they understand what I’m doing and they can see themselves in me. And that’s really helped with my audience.

 

I think I’m a hard worker. And I think that’s a superpower, I don’t know if it is. And I think I’m relatively brave. I don’t know if you can put a qualifier on brave, but I’m going to. So there you go. Humour, approachable, relatable, hard worker, brave. But I have to pick one or two, don’t I? Or do I? Can you have more than one.

 

Melanie: I think you can smoosh them together a little bit. I think these ones that you have almost sound either like an ad for a boyfriend or an ad for a job. Which I don’t think you’re trying to do here. So I’m wondering if we could take the personal piece of who you are mixed with the business piece of who you are and smash them together, what would we find in here that could actually be your actual superpower and include these things at the same time?

 

Kate Toon: Oh my god, I need to go through this exercise. I really do.

 

Do you have a course or something I can do?

 

Melanie: Oh my gosh, I have so many different things going on right now.

 

Kate Toon: Well we might have to get some links from you at the end that we can share, some resources and stuff. Cause once you dig into it, it’s quite challenging to think about yourself in the third person in this way. And it also appears to me, because I’m terribly British, a little bit self-indulgent, do you know what I mean? I’m a little bit egotistical in a way. Do you think, I mean Americans are egotistical, no I’m joking. Let me just alienate my entire audience. But what do you, do you know what I mean? I think this is a more American attitude than, British people would be like, oh gosh don’t be silly I don’t have superpowers, have another crumpet. Where Americans have superpowers.

 

Melanie: They do but most of them don’t understand it either. They didn’t grow up learning how to do this because their family didn’t teach them that they are good at anything. Either they were told that they were good at everything, or they were told that they were good at maybe one thing. But their parents are doing it through the filter of who they are. Not necessarily what you need to be doing. So it’s an interesting space to be in because most people don’t get a chance to do this.

 

They don’t do this in school, this isn’t like, they give you a test and they tell you what you’re good at and you hope that you might go into that later. But thinking about who you are as a human being, most people do that in counselling or therapy, not in everyday world life. I don’t know, I think it’s something that people should do a lot more of because it gives you a lot better sense of self and it helps you understand who you are as a human being, and it helps you with your career or your business or whatever it is that you’re trying to do in the world, even if it’s just be a missionary and help people in other countries.

 

Understanding who you are is the backbone of all of that, so, yep.

 

Kate Toon: It’s so, you’re preaching, I’m sitting here saying preach, preach. It’s ridiculous, because I thought of this episode and now we’re talking about it, as always happens, I get kind of like “oh! Oh!” So excited! But, I guess you mentioned you were on, that there’s lots of tests that you can do. There’s ENFJ tests and I think there’s another one that says you’re a rebel, you’re a this, you’re a that. Now I always dislike those, in teenage magazines, there’s all these personality tests, find your perfect boyfriend, I hate those things. I hate being put in boxes. You know, someone said to me, ‘oh you’re definitely the rebel’ and I said well I hate that title and I’m going to rebel against you calling me a rebel because sometimes I’m not a rebel. Today I don’t want to be a rebel, today I’m a conformist. I might be ENFJK or whatever it is one day and then I might be INPOB another day, do you know what I mean?

 

Melanie: Yeah, I agree.

 

Kate Toon: What do you think of those tests, do you think they’re useful or do you think? I don’t know, I feel like sometimes they tell us what we want to know, what do you think?

 

Melanie: I think having a mash up of all the different kinds of tests. Like taking a few different tests and getting a sense for who you are from different perspectives is really good. But then, the one I like the most is called Strengths Finder. And it’s I have some friends who do the coaching for it, which is really fascinating because it’s a way for you to look at your top five strengths, or your top 20 strengths, but the top five are the most important. And it tells you a little bit about how those top five mash together to make up who you are, and why you are the way that you are. Instead of being like, you’re extroverted or you’re introverted, or you have to be on one end of the spectrum over another. One of mine is woo, my number one strength is woo, which is winning others over, duh.

 

So that makes a lot of sense, but she says if you mix a couple of your strengths together and you have one that’s a negative, it could actually turn into like you could be a very conniving human being. But because you have positivity and restorative as your other ones, and you’re wanting more input, you want to be able to get stuff from people, it tells you more about who you are as a human because of how they’re mixed together. Which, I love that better than you’re stuck in a box and this is just who you are, good luck. So.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, it’s, the labels I think, once you’ve been labelled as a rebel then there can be a tendency for you to go, right I’m going to exhibit rebel behaviour and I’m not going do. And you know, the who introvert/ extrovert thing, I get it. But I feel like we all have moments of both. I think people who heard me would think I was quite extroverted, and I can be. But I’m also incredibly introverted, so I just, I find labels a little bit confining. [crosstalk 00:24:36]

 

Melanie: I like that we can just chuck them off. Labels should be on food, not on humans.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah.

 

Oh I like that. That can be the meme. That’s the meme for the show. Or the meme. I never know how to say it.

 

So you mentioned at the beginning of the show that some of us are born with superpowers, and some of them develop over time. For a superpower to really be your innate superpower, do you think you have to be born with it? Or can superpowers be a learned experience?

 

Melanie: I think people can be both. There are some people, you see in families with multiple kids how some kids are born with these really cool, innate talents. Where other kids you are like, hopefully someday they get something cool. But you don’t have to be. So I think, some people know what they want to be when they’re five. And they figure out that they want to be a doctor and they go on and be a doctor and they’re amazing at it. Some people never figure out until they’re 65 what they want to be and what they want to do. So it takes time and it takes the effort to focus on some self-interest and self-reflection and understanding who you are.

 

And I think, you can take some superpowers, like, I’m a really good singer, but I never did anything with it. So I know it’s an innate superpower but I’ve done nothing with it. So is it really a superpower at this point? So it’s figuring out what you like and what you want to be doing with it.

 

Kate Toon: You know that’s interesting as well. You can have superpowers but choose not to make them part of your business. Because often, you know, I quite like to paint and draw and I wouldn’t say necessarily it’s a superpower but you know, I’m okay at it. And if I invested time in it I could make it into something. But it’s not something I’ve ever pursued from a business point of view because for me that’s like, my private superpower.

 

So maybe you can have public [crosstalk 00:26:20] and private ones.

 

Melanie: I think so, I mean, you don’t really want to tell how amazing you are in bed to the whole world.

 

Kate Toon: Which we both are. Let me just put that out there.

 

Melanie: In case anyone’s really wondering.

 

Kate Toon: Which I’m sure they are, of course.

 

But yeah. Some things are for you, for your family. And I guess that’s it, it’s like being a bit introspective, not thinking of it as self-indulgent but actually thinking of it as a powerful way to find your purpose as you mentioned. But then choosing which superpowers you want to I guess, exploit, do you know what I mean? Or use, or share. You know? I think that’s an important step as well.

 

Melanie: Well and I think some people struggle with their purpose or their superpower over their lifetime. And some people never get a chance to use it, which is unfortunate. Because your superpower, your purpose is not necessarily just for you. It’s for the people you’re able to share it with. And it’s kind of like your story. If you never share the story of what happened to you, maybe someone really needed to hear that. And they never got a chance to hear it, so you kind of became a little bit selfish with it. So, not being selfish with your superpowers and being able to give them away, even sometimes if it’s because it makes you really good money, good. Do that. But if it’s also something that can help other people, definitely do that.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah.

 

You mentioned as well, earlier that superpowers can evolve. How have yours evolved over time? Like when you first started out, were you an approachable badass or were you something else?

 

Melanie: Oh by no means was I an approachable badass, no. Most people thought, a few years ago, I think I cut my hair off like six years ago. And, people would think that I was at a networking event doing a paper for school. I’m 37. Like, I cut my hair off when I was 31, so what was I? No, I’m not 19, are you kidding? So I looked like I didn’t really have it all together. So I actually realised I had to do a lot of introspection and figuring out who I wanted to be known as. And then I ended up hiring a personal, basically a personal stylist to help me figure out what that needed to look like on the outside so the inside matched the outside.

 

But it took me a long time because I was a little more meek, a little more like, I don’t care if anyone knows me, I just want to make sure I help the world. And now, I’m like no, you should know me, I’m amazing. Being able to just hone my craft and understand who I am. But knowing exactly what I’m not good at is a really big part of that. So making sure that I’m like, okay, I’m not an implementer. Do not do things that have anything to do with implementation, and focus on the visionary part of me, and the thing that’s like. I’m really good at coming up with grand ideas, and hiring people who can implement them.

 

So being able to build that approachable badass brand has been a really big, long project for me. But figuring out who I am and what I. I actually, to be honest, I stopped talking to my mother for two and half years and that’s how I figured it out. So. Yeah.

 

Kate Toon: Oh my goodness.

 

Thankfully, my mum’s quite nice. And she would probably have a better idea of my superpowers than me. She’s a big cheerleader. But I think it is an evolution. I think it’s a lifetime journey to discover your superpower. I’m sounding ever so woo woo now. I just said lifetime. I might say manifest soon[crosstalk 00:29:42]

 

Melanie: Say manifest, I say it all the time. If you put shit at the end of it, then manifest doesn’t sound so woo woo.

 

Kate Toon: Okay cool. Good. I think mine are definitely evolving. And it’s about embracing who you are and who you’re not. I haven’t hired a brand specialist, maybe I should. I think, for me, as time goes on I own more and more of my personality. And I show more and more of my personality. And I’m not afraid to be disliked because not everyone is going to like my superpower or like me. And I think that’s really important as well. That confidence that comes with just going, this is who I am, I’m not for everybody. And that’s totally okay.

 

If you, you know approachable badass sounds really cool, but have you had any negative reactions to that?

 

Melanie: Oh definitely, especially in corporate.

 

Kate Toon: Really? Tell us about that.

 

Melanie: Well it’s the idea that somebody, even my Grandma said the other day, she goes I’m still not okay with this ass word. I’m like, okay Grandma. But it’s thinking about in corporate America, most people are just sugar coating everything. And any bigger corporation, especially in the US, it’s very blue collar, it’s very, we’re putting on blue suit and a tie and we’re going to look very professional. And it’s like, okay, we’re going to break that and keep breaking that.

 

And if you’re not interested in working with me because I say that, then please don’t work with me. And it’s a really good filter for people, because I only work with kick ass humans. And if you don’t believe that you have kick ass humans on your team, I’m not working with you.

 

Where if people think that [inaudible 00:31:16] yes.

 

Kate Toon: So it acts as a repellent as well, you know what I mean? It draws the right people in, and spits the right people out.

 

Melanie: That’s exactly what I want.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s corporate, but I also think there’s a bit of a entrepreneurial stereotype as well. I mean, that’s what I dig into in to the book. And I’m kind of rejecting that with the whole misfits idea. That you can be a bit scruffy and I don’t have really, really white shiny teeth, and you know a beautiful studio to record my videos in, and that’s okay. You can still be super successful, happy, help people, earn money, you don’t have to conform. So, I think there’d be lots of other people who would look to those shiny entrepreneurs and go, ew, Kate Toon’s not my cup of tea, she’s a bit scruffy. But that’s good for me, because if you’re going to judge me on my scruffiness, you’re not my people. So, yeah, it’s good. It helps you work out your customers as well.

 

Now what, you mentioned earlier as well that you could have bad superpowers. You mentioned that you could be quite conniving for example. What do you do if you realise your superpowers are the bad things?

 

Melanie: Well it depends on what that bad things are. If they hurt humanity, definitely don’t use them. But most of it is, it’s figuring out how to channel the positive energy and it’s, like I posted something on Instagram today that said, to be the light. And I don’t talk about be the light as in like, just be the light, be so amazing that everyone thinks you’re so amazing. It’s not like that kind of a thing. And I put a quote on there that said, I stopped waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel and I lit that bitch on fire. And that’s what I mean by be the light. Like choose to make the decision to be amazing, instead of choosing to be miserable and trudging and hoping you ever make it to the light.

 

Because some people do have negative superpowers, and they are negative Nancies, and they do drag you down and they’re really good at it. But if they choose to start looking at the positive side, and they don’t have to be super positive like yay, everything’s amazing. But, to be able to figure out how to light that thing on fire instead of being so negative all the time, it’s a really amazing choice between misery and beauty.

 

Kate Toon: I love that. And I think as well, when you go through this exercise, I love your four points. I’m going to list them again, because I love them that much.

 

Thing you were born to do, thing that you love, thing that the world needs, things that can earn you money.

 

If you’re making those lists and you say, well hey, one of my attributes is that I’m really anal, do you know what I mean. I’m someone that one of these people that has to have everything done perfectly. Try to flip that over and see how that could actually be a super positive for someone. You know, somebody that has attention to detail, who follows all the steps, who doesn’t cut corners, who finds every problem and solves it. That is a superpower. That’s awesome. It’s not a negativity. It’s a good thing.

 

And even if, you know, I don’t know, let’s pick another one. What if you’re really jealous, you get really jealous of other people. I don’t know if that’s a superpower, but what if you’re somebody who can’t help but look at what everyone else is doing? Well then, try and flip that over into, you’re analytical. You’re good at doing customer assessments, and competitor assessments, and you’re good at seeing the best in other people, and how do you flip that over to seeing the best in yourself?

 

I don’t know. But I think it’s a challenge. And I think people listening to this might go, I don’t have any superpowers, I still can’t work out what they are. So what would you say to somebody who’s literally like [crosstalk 00:34:53] I don’t think I have a single superpower?

 

Melanie: I would tell them that most of it has to do with the fact that they haven’t taken the time to really think about it. I mean, like I said before, most people are not very introspective. Most people don’t think about what can I make better in my life or what can I make better for other people? And a lot of us are very selfish. I mean, I listen to a lady who I love, love reading everything she writes but she, she literally posted one day, why are people focused so much on helping other people, why aren’t they focused on helping themselves? And I’m like, cause it’s a double-edged sword.

 

There is that side where some people give so selflessly that they know nothing about themselves. Where other people focus solely on themselves, they still also don’t know themselves as well. So being able to make sure that you can look at both sides of that. And taking the time to fill out the worksheet. I can totally send you the worksheet for this, so that you can post it and send it to all of your lovely humans. But being able to really think about what’s at the centre of all of this and why is it amazing?

 

And before, I know we have to get going, but I just wanted to say that there was one woman who actually, she was at a workshop I did for Marriott headquarters and she was talking about how she loved something. She was really good at it, and the world needed it, but she couldn’t make money doing it. But she was really happy in the job she had. And it was being a personal stylist for a non-profit to help women get back on their feet and get their resumes put together. And her job was to do HR, human resources. And she was really good at resumes and really good at interviews, and she was beautifully dressed. And she was like, I can help women put their clothing together for an interview and help them practise interviewing and get their resumes together. I don’t want to make money doing that, I just want to give that back.

 

And so it was cool to see that it doesn’t have to have all four of them, but if you have most of them, I think you’re going on the right track.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah. I think that’s beautiful. And I think, you know, it’s not all about the money, honey. And some of the things that we do in business, the bits that give us the most joy are often the pieces that don’t earn us money but that make other people happy. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

So, there we go. I think that’s superpowers wrapped up. I found that really interesting and I’m definitely going to work through your worksheet. Because although I’m 10 years into my business, and I feel I know myself fairly well, I’m not particularly introspective. And I don’t think that I take time out to really think what makes me special.

 

And the other thing I would give, just a final little tip before we finish up, and it’s a tip I mention in the book. Is often we’re not very good at identifying our own wonderfulness, especially if we’re a little bit insecure or a bit introverted. One great thing is to read through your testimonials that you’ve ever received in business and see what qualities people mention. Or also just ask your audience, you know. It seems very uncomfortable and awkward, but how would you describe me? And I’m not saying you have to take their descriptions of you as rote, but you can maybe pick out some things from there and go, gosh, everyone is mentioning that I’m really easy to talk to. Well that may be something I could have as a superpower.

 

But anyway, thank you very much Melanie, for being on the show!

 

Melanie: And thank you for having me. I had a lot of fun.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, and we’ll include links to all your various bits and bobs in the show notes. If you want to find and follow Melanie, she has Facebook groups, she’s on all the social media platforms, and she’s just a wonderful human. I highly recommend her. So, check her out on the show notes.

 

And thanks to you for listening to the Confessions of the Misfit Entrepreneur podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, as I said, head to the blog post for the show, and let us know what you think. It will make Melanie and I weep salty tears of joy.

 

Also, please, for the love of all things furry, subscribe to the show so you never miss any of my future ramblings. And if you have time, it would be fab if you could leave a rating or a review. And of course, if you like the show, you will also probably like the book. You can buy it online at Amazon, or at www.katetoon.com/misfits. Finally, you can head to Facebook and join the Misfit Entrepreneur group if you want to meet fellow misfits. And of course you can tune into my two other podcasts. The Hot Copy podcast with the delicious Belinda Weaver. And the Recipe for SEO Success, where I talk about all things Googly. Find them where you find good podcasts.

 

So that’s it for this week, misfits. I can’t speak today. Keep on keeping on, you’ve got this.