What You Will Hear:
- Starting over after divorce;
- Rekindle passion for life;
- How to be more influential for career and business success;
- Develop authentic relationships with influencers.
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More about our featured guest
She is a relationship marketing expert who teaches small business owners, writers and professionals how to generate a following. Specializing in word of mouth and gossip, Teresa has taken three books to bestseller status in only 8 months using only word of mouth marketing techniques.
Owner of Wildfire Workshops (http://wildfirews.com), Teresa is an international speaker who teaches business skills in developing countries. She also writes best-selling children’s books to raise money for schools in developing countries.
[00:00] Joel: And joining us on the show today is keynote speaker, relationship expert, and master at creating positive change in the world, one wildfire conversation at a time. It's Teresa De Grosbois, and I've been practicing your name all day long. Did I get it right, Teresa?[chuckle]
[00:22] Teresa De Grosbois: You did. That was awesome.
[00:23] Joel: Pretty darn close, anyway. So, thank you for humoring me.[laughter]
[00:29] Joel: This is the first show that we've done together. So, welcome, welcome! Glad you could make it on.
[00:35] TD: Oh, it's awesome to be here, Joel. Thanks for having me.
[00:37] Joel: Indeed. One of the things that I've learned about you, Teresa, is that you have studied and developed a way of communicating and spreading your messages that creates conversational epidemics. In other words, the message that you spread in your coaching, in your speaking, it has the tendency to go viral, and in the journey of you learning how to do that for yourself and then helping other people do that with their message, you've helped three books reach best seller status, did I read that right on your…
[01:12] TD: Yep, I have three best sellers that I wrote to raise money for my charity, and I've helped numerous other people put their books on the best seller list as well. So, I've got quite a few under my belt.
[01:23] Joel: Well, fantastic! Well, I'm thrilled to have you on today's show because today we are talking about influence. What does it mean? How to get it? And how can we harness it to create positive change in the world, and if you're able to take books and messages and ideas from infancy to a global level of awareness, and you obviously know a lot about how to be influential. So, I definitely want to get into that and to equip our listeners with the ideas that will help them connect with and leverage their own influence. But before we get into that, Teresa, if you don't mind, if you could help us understand a little bit about why you decided to dedicate part of yourself to studying and mastering the art of influence?
[02:10] TD: Yeah. Well, it probably all started when I had one of those big “A-ha” moments [laughter] that so many people have. It probably started when I had what I now affectionately call “my really bad year”. I had a period of my life where in the first six months of that year my father had died, my marriage had fallen apart, my business had failed, and I lost my health, and the only thing I knew was how incredibly unhappy I was. And I'm sitting on the bathroom floor of my condo one night, my first post-divorce condo, I'm surrounded by tools 'cause I'm a renovator, and this bathroom is gonna be my latest project, and I'm literally in a pool of my own tears because all I can think of is that it's me that needs renovating. And I'm looking back over my life, and outwardly, you would've said I was one of these women that really had it going on, and I had been a leader in industry. I had led all kinds of industry task forces and helped change legislation, I had done a lot of really cool things in my career in industry, but it lacked the kind of meaning for me that really turned my crank.
[03:26] TD: And so, in this moment of realization, I realized I really needed to renovate myself from the inside out, so I went back, I did every self-help course I could get my hands on. I get a lot more serious about my yoga and meditation. I actually go back and do a certificate in mediation, and slowly, I started realizing that I can lean in the direction of those things I love… Kinda lean into my dreams as both Janet Attwood and Jennifer Hoff, I don't know if you've heard of their work, but they're both very famous best selling authors.
[04:00] Joel: You bet.
[04:02] TD: They both talk about this concept of leaning toward your dreams. And I suddenly realized that what I really needed was to take what I know and really put it as in service of the world. So, I shifted into really making my life about helping those who are really trying to change the conversation of the world, understand how influence really works, understand how you can get the common lay person to change the way they think, to change the way they speak, and when I made that shift, I realized, “This really is my passion and life just got so much sweeter and so much simpler for me.
[04:40] Joel: Now talk about that a little bit, leaning in. I wanna come back to that, but talk about your own self-discovery when you were in that place of… You were now alone, again. There's a lot of women that are starting over, that listen to this show, women and men as well, and being an at-risk child growing up in an at-risk environment, I, unfortunately saw both of my parents go through their own cycle of growth, and then destruction, growth, and destruction, and there's a lot of people that are at different levels of that recovery. So, help us understand, was it an “A-ha” moment like what you said earlier? Was it a gradual coming of age when you finally decided to draw the line and realized that, “I needed to quit running,” but to start leaning in? Help us understand a little bit.
[05:41] TD: Well, I think life is really a series of “A-ha” moments, and it's never a specific event, but more of a process we go through because I love the way Janet Attwood talks about this. She talks about whenever you're faced with a decision, lean in the direction of that which you love more and your passion will slowly emerge. Because one of the things that's fundamental to influence is if you look at the habits of influential people and the things that they consistently do, influential people stand 100% in their own passion. They do something that they deeply care about. ‘Cause when you think about it, what inspires us to talk about people? Well, we're either talking about people 'cause we don't want to warn someone, or we're talking about people 'cause they deeply inspire us. And passion is one of the number one ingredients that inspires people to talk about you. When somebody really lights you up, you would easily stop whatever you're doing to listen to them, right? So, passion is one of those key elements. It's like the fertilizer on the garden of influence.
[06:48] Joel: You bet. You bet. Passion's a wonderful word, but for some people, I'm just playing devil's advocate here, some people kinda get scared with that word, because they don't know exactly what it feels like, looks like, or tastes. And they kind of, they have some ideas of what it might be, but in my book, “Finding Your Voice”, maybe you can appreciate this, I don't so much talk about passion, but I talk about the emotion of excitement and how excitement can be a big clue, and maybe a trigger that can be tripped as you're on that search for your passion, because what I find, and I know you've probably found this out too, is that, while passion might be something that a person has trouble wrapping their head around, people know when there's excitement. They can relate with that emotion. And they know what excites them and when they've been excited, generally speaking. And they also know what kinda bores them, bores them to tears. So, when people start talking about passion, and how game-changing that concept can be, I always think about some of the things that I've shared in my book about excitement, and how maybe that's the emotion that we start with, as we're on that journey toward our own passion. What do you think?
[08:20] TD: Oh, that's brilliant. I think that's so true. ‘Cause excitement is an everyday emotion we can wrap our heads around. And it's so often true, we often know what we don't like more clearly than knowing what we do like. Right?
[08:33] Joel: You bet.
[08:33] TD: And here's a really interesting concept. What if we can create the possibility of changing the way we feel about what we are already doing? That's a great question to dive into, right? Like, if shifting isn't an option for you, is shifting the way you think about something, or shifting the way you approach something a possibility? Because your influence around whatever you're doing, will grow exponentially with your excitement, as you say. The more you're lit up about what you're doing, the more you're gonna attract people to you. The more they're gonna wanna… They want to know what Kool-Aid you drink. [laughter] I hate to say it, but you know, they want some. Right?
[09:12] Joel: You bet.
[09:12] TD: So, the more you can get into the energy of that, the better off it will be in terms of having people draw towards you. And your life gets a lot easier in terms of whatever you're trying to achieve.
[09:23] Joel: Fair enough. Absolutely. I completely agree with you, Teresa. Thank you for indulging me with that a little bit. Speaking of drinking Kool-Aid, I wanna drink some of yours. I wanna get right into some of the tips, the tools, the strategies about influence. And what does it mean, and how can we become more influential, so we can equip our listeners with tools and ideas that they can use today. I mean, if they're driving their car right this minute to their next meeting or their next presentation, something that they can latch onto and use quickly.
[10:03] TD: Okay, well, the most foundational one, and this goes right hand in hand with how excited and passionate are you about what you do, is really being clear on what problem you solve for other people. Because I love the way a lot of experts talk about this. Keith Cunningham talks about this a lot. I don't know if you're familiar with the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” work. But Keith Cunningham was Robert Kiyosaki's “Rich Dad”. Right?
[10:27] Joel: “Keys to the Vault” is phenomenal. That is… That's…
[10:31] TD: Yeah, it's a beautiful book that he wrote. Right? And one of the things Keith Cunningham talks about is, “The bigger the problem you solve, the bigger the profit you'll make.” And I would add to that, “The greater the influence you will have.” So, really think about it. I like to use the analogy of wildfire, right? What's gonna create a wildfire, word of mouth epidemic around what you do? Well, the spark that lights the wildfire is how big of a problem do you solve for other people?
[10:58] Joel: That's good.
[10:59] TD: Yeah. And when you think about it, what would it take for a 28-year-old, fresh out of Bible college, to become globally iconic, right? And, of course, I'm talking about Martin Luther King, 'cause he was only 28 when he became globally famous. He stood in the biggest problem going on on the planet at that time, racial equality. And he stood in it so courageously, so passionately, his excitement was so palpable when he spoke, that you couldn't help it but stand up and listen, and people came at him in droves to help him with what he's doing. So, that's an extreme example of the energy you want to stand in to have influence, solve a big problem, and find a way to really be lit up about it.
[11:43] Joel: Absolutely. Absolutely. He solved a big problem, and I love the visual that you painted there, because people were attracted to his influence.
[11:53] TD: Absolutely.
[11:54] Joel: And solving a big problem, I love how you framed that too, because oftentimes, a lot people with the best of intentions, they're not clear on the problem that they're solving, but they're focused on the process. Have you ever been in that presentation where someone is trying to help you appreciate and understand the process that they take you through, but they haven't first identified what they're solving for you?
[12:25] TD: Yeah. And hence, you often hear the adage in business, “That's a solution looking for a problem.” If you've got a solution that people can't see what problem it solves for them, nobody's gonna buy from you. And I mean that both literally in terms of product sales, but I also mean that just in terms of influencing people of a point of view, right? If they can't clearly see the problem that you're addressing, there's no influence in what you're saying.
[12:53] Joel: Okay. So, first takeaway: Get crystal clear on the problem you're solving. Yes?
[12:59] TD: Yes. Absolutely.
[13:01] Joel: Fantastic. Let's get one, maybe two more in. I want to respect your time, and of course, I want to respect our listeners' time as well.
[13:09] TD: Well, and I love using the analogy of wildfire. ‘Cause when we really talk about the wildfire word of mouth, we've actually got two major takeaways already. Because the spark that lights the wildfire, is the problem you solve for the world. The fuel that has the wildfire burn out of control is how passionate are you about it? How excited, how lit up? Because that's what draws the energy in. That's what draws people to come and notice.
[13:34] TD: So I want to talk for a minute about what's the wind in the wildfire? What really causes word of mouth to go epidemic? A neighbor might mention you in the shopping mall. I'm talking about the kind of mouth where people you don't even know might start talking about you. You might become the talk of the internet. You might be all over Facebook, right? And that is influential people are masters at relationships. In fact, they tend to develop really solid relationships with other influencers. And really, a prominent key to this is authenticity.
[14:12] TD: You really want to make sure you're picking people that you love to play with. You know, I probably turn down a half a dozen interviews a month 'cause I don't really resonate with the person who's offered to interview me. I would come on your show any day of the week, Joel, 'cause I love your work. I think you're brilliant, and it so deeply aligns with what I teach, right?
[14:31] TD: So, really think carefully 'cause a lot of people pursue the money, and they pursue the numbers, but that can create an inauthenticity for you. It actually detracts from your own influence. So you really want to think about A] building powerful relationships, but B] doing it really authentically. Find people that you love and admire and play with them and play with them full out.
[14:53] Joel: Do you have just an idea or two, maybe a tip or two, of how we can connect with other like-minded influencers so that we can build that influence within our inner circle and then extend outward?
[15:07] TD: Well, I love that question. I actually have whole courses designed to help people understand the answer to that question. Because the reality is, the influence game is like any other game we might play, right? I really like using the analogy of game, because all of life can be boiled down to games, right?
[15:22] Joel: You bet. You bet.
[15:23] TD: And like any game, whether you're in any industry, any walk of life, different groups of people tend to have an etiquette associated with them in a way they speak, in a way of being. And when you don't know the norms of that group, you tend to show up like you don't belong, right? So connecting with influencers is actually not nearly as hard as you might think, but it's just a matter of learning the way they think. Learning their typical etiquette. You know, following the appropriate habits, so that you show up as someone that they want to play with, right? It's kind of like, if you want to play hockey, you've got to learn how to play hockey, and then it makes sense that you're on the hockey rink, right?
[16:04] Joel: You bet.
[16:05] TD: So one of the keys to that is really understanding that the currency of influence is influence. Next to time, which anyone in business values very highly, the thing that you will find most influencers value the most, is their own influence, their own reach. Because they understand, especially if they're in it for authentic reasons, influence helps those that would change the world, those that would shift the conversation. It helps them have a bigger impact, right? So the number one thing you do to get in a relationship with an influencer is offer them more influence.
[16:41] TD: So, your radio show is a great example of that, Joel. You and I became friends, 'cause you offered to have me on the show. And all of a sudden, I started looking at your work, and I'm like, “Wow, I really like what this guy's about.” And all of a sudden, I'm wanting to connect you with other influencers and recommend you to people and shout you out on Facebook and things like that. And you kick-started the relationship. It's metaphorically like the plate of cookies you might bring to the new neighbor. It's the offering that makes it really easy to get in conversation, 'cause you want to meet a new neighbor, you're not gonna walk buy and offer to borrow their lawnmower, right?
[17:18] Joel: Right. Good point.
[17:20] TD: You bring them a plate of cookies. So you want to have your own social media, your own following, your own newsletter, whatever it might be, because that's the gift that you can offer other influencers to get in conversation with them.
[17:32] Joel: Very, very well said, and wonderfully, wonderfully explained. So, two takeaways today. Well, actually, gosh, a lot more than that. But two things we're really zeroing in on. And that is to be crystal clear specific on the problem you're solving, and then grow your influencing… Grow your influence by connecting with other influencers and offering them more influence.
[17:56] TD: Yeah, absolutely. And if I can just add to that?
[17:59] Joel: Yeah. Please.
[17:59] TD: Just as… Probably the number one… In my online courses, I talk about a lot of mistakes people make. But I would say over half the time, the number one mistake I see people make is what I would affectionately call “the premature ask.” They meet someone really influential, and they think, “Oh my God, this is my one chance. I better go ask them to endorse my book. I better go ask them to connect me with so-and-so.” And they go running up to that individual, and they start asking for a bunch of stuff, and as I mentioned earlier, it does become the metaphorical equivalent of trying to meet the new neighbor and asking to borrow their lawnmower.
[18:39] TD: So it's really important that you relax and understand that there's nothing to hurry up and do. You've got lots of time to build relationship with this person, and you just gotta understand that there's… I like the way Shawne Duperon talks about this. I don't know if you're familiar with Shawne's work, but she's talk about the cycle of reciprocity that we get into with other people.
[19:01] Joel: She's on your Board of Directors at the Evolutionary Business Council.
[19:03] TD: She is. Yeah.
[19:05] Joel: So yes. And we'll…
[19:05] TD: An amazing, brilliant trainer. And a lot of what she talks about in networking and in dealing with media is, how do you build powerful relationships? Well, you always start with an offer, not an ask.
[19:17] Joel: Absolutely. You have to offer something that you have, and oftentimes, without expectation of return. And just like the law of reciprocity, it will come back to you in measure.
[19:34] TD: Yeah. Beautifully said.
[19:36] Joel: Indeed. Gosh, we could go on all day. We're just gonna have to have another show, Teresa. Sorry, but that's just the way it's gonna have to be. Is that okay?
[19:43] TD: I would love to. It was awesome to be here, Joel.
[19:46] Joel: Fantastic. And I know we had talked about maybe giving our audience a gift today, so do we still wanna do that? Do we like that idea?
[19:54] TD: I would love to. I have a special 30-day program they can work through that are just quick daily exercises that just really help you get in the energy of understanding how this game works. So our free gift is available at wildfireacademy.com…
[20:11] Joel: Wildfireacademy.com. I'm sorry.
[20:13] TD: /free-gift. So it's www.wildfireacademy.com/free-gift.
[20:25] Joel: Fantastic. Just email me that link, and I'll get that shared on social media and also include that in our show notes, that people can just go to and click anytime, and that will be parked up on my website. Our people are welcome to make full use out of our offer. So, very good. Teresa, this has been a delight. Thank you for your time. Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing your influence and your wisdom. Thank you for being here.
[21:03] TD: My pleasure, Joel. Thanks so much for having me.
[21:05] Joel: Absolutely, and have a wonderful, wonderful rest of your day.
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