Social Influencer Series | Heather Monahan, Best-Selling Author
One of our first Social Influencer interviews was with Heather Monahan. At the time she was dominating the C-Suite as the Chief Revenue Officer of a major broadcast company. She had inspired me by the way she built a brand on social media and her innovative approach to driving sales results in a declining radio economy.
A lot has changed since that initial interview. Heather Monahan faced adversity and the major life-change of being fired from the C-Suite by another woman. It was a devastating blow, but she dusted herself off and "has dedicated her life to empowering others and pulling the curtain back to reveal what it takes to get ahead at work and in life while leapfrogging the villains that you meet along the way".
She launched Boss In Heels a global community and a life-style brand dedicated to helping others gain confidence and live the life they want to live. She also wrote an important book - Confidence Creator, a must read for being prepared to take on the challenges of the real world. In the Confidence Creator, she combines personal stories with the insights and tactics she has developed to allow anyone to create confidence in their life.
"Realizing that we are all more alike than different and all have the same potential to develop confidence is all you need to know in order to dive in and get started. Even if this seems hard to accept, trusting that it is true and starting to read you will be well on your way to creating confidence for yourself". - Heather Monahan
In addition, she is enjoying the limelight as a Perry Ellis Brand Ambassador and inspiring women with her blog and a host of speaking and media engagements. I caught up recently with Heather. Here is a snapshot of what she had to say:
What was the inspiration for your book - Confidence Creator? The backstory is so powerful, but what was the turning point?
The inspiration for my book is a very young me. I can remember when I was a young girl thinking that some people were just born beautiful and more talented and more confident than me and that was just the way life was going to be. Having this clear memory of what I saw as reality vs what reality really is has driven me to take the biggest professional risk of my career and pour my heart out into this book. Knowing that there are others out there that may not be aware that Confidence is something you create not something you are born with drives me to get this message out and ensure that everyone has the blue print to become their own Confidence Creator. I’m tired of wealthy people who hit the genetic lottery being the ones that get the leg up from the start, my goal is to level the playing field and ensure that everyone has the playbook in hand to create their own Confidence. The turning point for me was truly the moment I found myself on my couch crying feeling like I had lost so much when I was fired. Visualizing me running my own company and focusing on creating to elevate others and sharing what I have learned over the past 43 years, scared me to death and also made me feel ecstatic. The moment I felt really scared, I knew that this was exactly what I had to do. If I didn’t feel enough fear it wouldn’t have been big enough to be meaningful. The fear has been nonstop through this process but finally being my own boss has made all of it worth it.
Let's talk a little bit about your journey. You had so many obstacles, but found an incredible path to success. How did you get there?
Everyone faces obstacles in life, what I have learned is it isn’t about the obstacle but instead it’s about how you overcome it. Flipping the way that I had viewed challenges and instead welcoming them because I knew it meant that I was growing really helped me to begin to build my Confidence. Using those challenges as success stories and building blocks for me, developed an inner strength that allows me to face adversity with ease. I certainly didn’t feel this way when I was younger. I was more of a person that would suffer in silence and be angry at others quietly because they didn’t treat me well or I didn’t get what I thought was fair. Overtime I realized that people will treat you the way you allow them to and if you don’t get what you think is fair you better improve your ask or move on and ask for it from someone else. In each of these moments I would journal and I would learn from myself and build on my small victories. When I look back now it was all leading me to exactly where I am today. If you fall in a ditch you want someone who has been in the ditch to tell you how to get out. Similarly, if you want to build Confidence you want someone who has not had it explain how they were able to create it and how you can to.
You built a brand on social media. A personal brand and one that promotes your business ventures. What were the keys to your success here?
Wow, this was a massive undertaking that I recommend everyone take on no matter what it is that you do for a living. Everyone has a reputation or an image, why wouldn’t you want to be the one creating and directing that story/image? If people are going to be talking about us, I definitely want a voice in that conversation and that is exactly what creating a personal brand will give you. There will be challenges. Others may not like it, there will be haters and naysayers but what I have learned is not everyone is going to like you because some people simply don’t have good taste. Forge on, create your brand, be authentic by being you and know that if you weren’t getting haters it would mean you were just like everyone else which to me would be the ultimate fail. Create your brand pillars, define what you stand for and how you want to be seen and share that image and story with the world. Years ago there was a phone book and business cards, today there are personal brands on line and on social. Be sure to show up and have a presence because everyone deserves to be seen. The keys to my success with my brand was my transparency and some of the coverage I have received in media. My biggest media coverage actually came from a website I encourage everyone to check out www.helpareporter.com This site allowed me to submit content whenever I had free time and wanted to respond to inquiries.
What advice would you give young people today who come from a similar background as you. They have big dreams and big obstacles. How do they overcome?
This question made me think of the day I decided to sit down and start writing my book. The idea is so big and seems so distant that it can be crippling. Instead of looking at it that way I did a few things that really helped me and could help others feeling like they were up against a goal that is too far out of reach. The first thing I did was create a mock book that I could look at to keep me focused on my end goal. Creating an image that represents where you want to go will help you remember what you are working towards. The next thing I did was I googled how to write a book because I love to research everything and find tips and tricks. What I found was that I just needed to sit down daily and write. I was a beginner, I had no experience writing but I made myself sit down and write. I didn’t know what I was going to write about or what the name of my book was but I did know that if I sat down and wrote something it would move things forward and it did. Some days I would write and then trash what I wrote. Other days I would sit and write chapters. Taking small steps daily and recording my progress in my journal kept me focused on the end result I wanted to reach. Sharing my commitment to launching a book in 2018 with others held me accountable to my goal. Then I needed to tap someone with experience for help and that is when I found my editor. Pulling in a mentor or teacher to help you advance quickly is a great move when you are chasing a big goal. My editor quickly pulled my writing together, reorganized it and sent it back to me looking like a manuscript. The day I received the first draft of my manuscript I cried tears of joy and pride and that moment pushed me forward so much faster as I saw my vision coming to life. Recognizing our accomplishments and using them as motivation to move forward works. The further along I went the more real everything became and the more possible it seemed but it would have never happened without taking the first step on day one. This holds true with writing a book, building confidence or getting yourself out of challenging situation.
You turned the adversity of being pushed out of the c-suite into an incredible new chapter in your life. What advice would you give to someone who just got "let go"?
I have an entire chapter dedicated to this in my book! The reason I did that is I want people to know they are not alone and it isn’t necessarily about them. Sometimes in life you find yourself working for someone who is threatened by you because you are talented or you find yourself in a declining business where the vision is simply to cut and cut more and those are situations that after time you will be grateful for escaping. The first thing I advise is to give yourself some room to feel sad and recognize loss. Taking that first week to feel all of the emotions I had was hard yet helpful. Over time that will simply change and eventually go away. Next, it is critical to let people know that you are available. The post that I put out after I was fired garnered so much attention and created so much opportunity for me it was the single most impactful thing I could have done to get help. Taking a moment to envision your future and re-evaluate your goals is critical in ensuring you just don’t jump right back into something similar from what you just escaped. Working to build your confidence back up in this time will help you to make a better decision on what you really want to do next. I created a no negativity zone and asked my loved ones to help lift me up during that time which was fantastic. Then once you get an idea of what it is you are seeing for your future start taking action to achieve your goal and let nothing get in your way. The rest is history!
1. Celebratory Cocktail? Chardonnay, please!
2. Proudest Accomplishment? I am most proud of my son and being able to instill Confidence Creation techniques in him and a desire to pursue his dreams.
3. Go To Social Channel? Living for the Gram.
4. What do you say to the haters? Not everyone can like me, not everyone has good taste.
5. Inspiration hashtag? #confidencecreator
About the interviewer:
Mark Keaney is a Husband, Dad, Coach, Mentor and Leader. With almost 25 years in traditional media and wild ride in the world of tech start-up/social - Mark is helping brands deliver world class CX and strategy through his consultancy OTL Local Marketing. Brand Globally. Market Locally.
e: email@example.com or m: (617) 513-2668 or t: @markkeaney2pt0