World of Speakers E.15: Linda Williams | Authenticity


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World of Speakers E.15: Linda Williams | Authenticity

Ryan Foland speaks with Linda Williams, a best-selling author and business expert, behaviorist, and Life Coach. She uses her personal story of trauma to deeply connect and inspire audiences, teaching them how to find the courage it takes to face down the past.

Ryan and Linda talk about what it means to be a truly authentic speaker. There are thousands of motivational and inspirational speakers, but sometimes their message leaves audiences thinking “Oh, I have heard this before…” and fails to engage them, or inspire change. Linda outlines the need for authenticity, and how you can lean into your past pain and healing process to develop a message that reaches the hearts of your audience.

Listen to this podcast to find out:

  1. How to deeply connect with your audience, by sharing a message that actually resonates with them.
  2. How women who have suffered from sexual violence can tap into their inner strength and why this is essential for fulfilling their life’s purpose.
  3. Why you need to deal with your issues and traumas if you want to become a truly authentic speaker.
  4. How to find your our individual message that will stand out in an ocean of noise.
  5. Why you need to build relationships with your audience on social media, and how to do it.



If you enjoy this interview we’d be honoured if you reviewed us on iTunes. Just follow this link.


Linda Williams: This is Linda Williams of Whose Apple Dynamic. I just had a powerful discussion with Ryan.

I want you to tune in because I think you're going to find some powerful lessons that are going to walk you through empowering your message.

Ryan Foland: Hello everybody and welcome back. This is Ryan, and yes, you are listening to the World of Speakers.

Today we are talking with someone who is not only motivational, not only inspirational, but somebody who has written and put together their knowledge for the world out there on stages, all over the place.

Ladies and Gentleman, we have Linda Williams with us today.

Linda, how are you?

LW: Ryan, I'm honored over here to get the opportunity to speak with you, today. I'm doing really well, my friend.

RF: Awesome.

Now, as I was mentioning to you, I really haven't done a lot of cyberstalking on you.

I'm excited to fly by the seat of our pants, as we get to know your story and how you've gotten to this place where you've gotten today.

Where did it all begin?

Did you know that this was your path?

LW: Ryan, like most people, you never know. I always say destiny surprises us, it never looks the way you think it will. I'll give you in a Reader’s Digest version what led me to this.

RF: Sure, let's do it.

LW: I'm a survivor of domestic violence. I've been a multiple-rape survivor.

I have wound up in a 16-year marriage to a man who after our divorce was convicted as a rapist and a sexual predator.

All of this began when I was a child, I had endured some molestation in my childhood.

One day my sister called me, it was December 5th, 2005, and said, "Linda, you're going to write a book."

Well, it struck a chord, my mother had said it sometime in the past too. This was the clincher, Ryan, she said that book would only progress as I healed.

Long story short, that was a seven-year six-day journey of writing that book, as I shared layer after layer of trauma, some post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now, that's good in itself, but when you recognize it— I had no clue I was carrying all of that around, then you could imagine the blood, sweat, and tear that took me to walk through that seven-year journey.

As a result of all of that, my vision cleared up, and I began to get a clue as to what my whole purpose or being is.

The bottom line is this, as we've all learned— the past is the past, dead weight.

We can't do a darn thing about it, and the people who did us wrong, even if we were expecting them to make it up to us in their humanity and being here on Earth like the rest of us, there's no way they can make that up to us.

You know what I did?

I decided I was going to make it count. I'm going to make it count.

I can't flip the script on what went on in the past.

The healing I came through brought me to a point where I can allow people to be raw and in the middle of the mess, without it triggering me.

That made me much more powerful, not only as a speaker, but as a life coach who can walk people through the darkness and the shadows and help them to understand that it takes courage to move forward. They have to tie to their purpose to get the hope it takes to walk through that darkness.

I guess you can say my life epitomized the fact that it just takes an ounce of courage to flip the script on all of that, and to make it count in the lives of people that we encounter.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on courage - World of Speakers Podcast (Blue)  Powered by SpeakerHub

RF: Wow. You are definitely an inspiration. Major kudos, and goosebump thoughts, to you.

As you are talking about that, it just makes me think to the fact that everyone to some extent has challenges.

They might not be as extreme as domestic violence, or as terrible as rape, but it sounds like your message is not specific to those— that's your story.

You've taken this as an opportunity to really empower people with their ability to deal with, to create clarity.

That's an interesting point you talked about, in this seven years and six days, you became more clear, not only of what happened to you, but of why you are here.

I think that's a universal trait that not everybody has the opportunity to have to face, right?

LW: That's so well said, I like the word “universal”.

What it boils down to is: human being.

That's one thing we all share. Whether you're atheist, Christian, Muslim, no matter what culture you come from, the color of your skin.

The truth of the matter, whether people want to accept it or not, is that every person walking and breathing on this Earth shares one thing— humanity.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on humanity - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy)  Powered by SpeakerHub

As a trained and educated psychotherapist, I understand the basic human dynamics, what those multiple decades of behavioral science have taught us.

As born Christian, I see how we've been missing it in the church, because we've been ignoring that sound behavioral science.

Any platform I come from, whether it's in organizations or a corporate world or whether I'm speaking in churches, whatever platform I come from, the basic premise of our humanity is the foundation of what I have to say.

That message can be flipped and twisted and remolded for the particular situation, but that's the power of my platform.

When you add in the fact that I am transparent, after seven years and six days, Ryan, what have I got to hide?

Most of it I said in the book, feel me, and I'm right up there. I wrote the book on “Stuck on stupid”...I have been there.

I always tell my clients and my audiences that the things that I'm teaching here, have nothing to do with all of the degrees that are hanging on the wall behind me.

The fact of the matter is that when I was getting those degrees in psychotherapy, my life was a shambles and I never connected the two in all those years I was in school.

I didn't see myself in the pages of those textbooks, I had no clue that the very dynamics were playing out in my head and in my life.

That's the insidiousness of this matter, we do not see how our mindsets are completely sidetracking our destinies.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on mindsets and destiny - World of Speakers Podcast (Black)  Powered by SpeakerHub

I know it from both the experience side and I know it from the book- knowledge side. That's the power of my platform.

RF: What's interesting is this idea of it not being something you saw, and even when you were earning the degrees you didn't really see that connectivity.

At what point did things really connect?

Was it when somebody told you that you were going to write a book?

Was it during the seven-year six-day process?

Where did those worlds collide for you?

LW: While I wrote the book.

RF: During that process?

LW: That was a serious blood, sweat, and tears on the floor, on my face crying process, and it wasn't easy.

RF: During that process, were you also talking, or really did your speaking happen after the book going around talking about it?

Tell us about your experience with speaking.

It's got to be difficult to come to terms with your story and then feel comfortable sharing it on top of that.

LW: I was clueless. Just to be honest with you, I was doggone clueless! The whole time I was healing.

That's the key here, that's my message, Ryan. You lose vision when you lose hope, and without vision, you cannot see your purpose.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on vision and hope - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy)  Powered by SpeakerHub

That's such a slow, gradual loss of hope, I'm comparing it to falling asleep behind the wheel, I've done that a few times in my life.

RF: I think we've all been through that, the head nod, like, "I can never believe that we're driving and we're actually falling asleep, when we know it's the worst thing possible," you can't fight it sometimes.

LW: Right, and you don't know you're asleep until you wake up.

RF: That's good.

LW: That's what the message is here. It wakes people up to the first effect that they had lost hope.

The hope that they need to move forward comes in understanding that you get to chose, “yes,” your life, the stories you think are “too true to tell”.

The stories you have told, the stories you've forgotten, become the scripts by which you are living your life and guess what— I'm handing you the pen here, let's rewrite that story.

RF: Okay, I like this.

LW: That's the hope.

RF: The stories that are “too true to tell”.

That's really a crux, and I think a lot of people do it because if you're a speaker, and you're an expert and you're on a stage, sometimes people still don't want to tell the stories that are “too true to be told”.

That's really where the connection comes from the audience.

LW: There you go.

RF: This is like a modern day tongue twister that we're going to establish here.

How important is it, as a speaker, to connect with your audience by telling stories that are “too true to tell”?

LW: Bottom line is this— you can't even tell those stories until you walk through the type of healing that I went through, inside out.

Now healing— you have to first recognize you've got a problem, to understand you are the problem.

When I was walking around before I walked through this process, I didn't know that I had a doggone problem.

How could I know that I was the darn problem?

The reason why I'm wishing, waiting, hoping and praying for a better relationship, a better job, but I'm still in this relentless Groundhog's Day cycle of the same old toxic relationships, stuck in the same old job.

Now, in that condition, I'm looking at everybody else like they had a problem. I had a chip on my shoulder that everybody saw but me.

First of all, you have to recognize that you have a problem before you recognize where you're a part of that problem.

Second thing is, you have to be able to walk through the inside out heal, and look folks— no more this butterfly bandage on a big gaping wound that's passing straight to the bone here.

Yeah, you think you're all right, you stuffed it, I stuffed it for decades, stuffed rape, I thought I was the reason for the rape.

I just believed it to my heart that it was my fault that that guy raped me. I really believed that.

This is after I come through all of these degrees, I still don't get a clue that he has to own his wrong.

You have to be able to separate your responsibility in this situation, from their responsibility in this situation.

Quit taking on their responsibility as your responsibility, and deal in your circle of control, your circle of control excludes everybody but you.

In the process of that, you begin to heal from the inside out, we're not stuffing anymore.

And that's where the power is.

You can't just get up as a speaker who hasn't even faced the trauma that you dealt with and then all of a sudden call yourself, going to get up there and start sharing stories you think are “too true to tell”. That's going to fall flat.

You have to allow yourself to develop and grow and heal in a process that is ongoing.

I will never suggest that anybody get up there and start really sharing deep things that they may not have dealt with.

That discomfort with that sharing is going to translate to your audience.

Here's the bottom line ; and I don't have very much more to offer with respect to a powerful speaker platform than this— be a thin-thick.

I'm going to be able to tell when all you did was went to a seminar, you took a class and now you're going through all these machinations with your body language, and the words, and the infliction.

People know when it's real and when it's not. Your most powerful self is realized, your most powerful message is made, your most powerful connection with an audience always comes in the truth of who you are.

Know that truth.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on genuine message - World of Speakers Podcast (Blue)  Powered by SpeakerHub

RF: I love it. Let's spend some time in some of this discovery that you've gone through that you can share from a tactical standpoint.

What we've established here is that you can't leverage the stories that are "too true to tell", unless you actually become self-aware of them, have a holistic view of them, have some sort of a healing process through it.

You're not a charlatan who has experienced these feelings on a certain level, you're understanding the “why”, the multiple parties involved, and that's what creates this authenticity when you're telling stories.

Just to clarify, there are people who had traumatic things that have happened to them like you, and they're able to work through it and become an expert and give back an influence.

There are other people who maybe haven't had traumatic experiences from that level playing ground, but maybe they've had businesses that have failed.

Maybe they've had life experiences that are disheartening or they've had trust issues, or people have left them, or friends and family close to them have died which have led to a revelation.

In this conversation, when we talk about this idea of authenticity, are you saying that it is really a universal element of humanity?

These tools that we're going to go through to really tap into the process of discovering your authentic stories, it's not just for people that have gone through traumatic, it's real life experiences, right?

LW: Yes, yes that's your platform.

RF: Okay. Talk me through how you would work with one of your clients in that discovery process?

We just established that whether it's traumatic or whether it's just life experience or the loss of a loved one— how do people process that to become authentic communicators of that message?

How do you step people through that and really, at the end of the day, this is your advice for people to become more efficient and more effective speakers to connect with the audience through this discovery process.

LW: First of all, let's clarify, I'm also a life coach. I keep a strong guideline between being a life coach and a psychotherapist.

The advice I'm getting ready to share with you is not something I would do as a coaching client, because that gets sticky.

RF: As a coaching client, you're working with that person individually. If we are speaking about this larger, as I like it you mentioned the body of practice over the last however many years, we're really focusing on these things.

It's not an individual person you're sitting with, these are the humanistic journeys, we're going to take people, and help them become more human.

LW: Yeah, and I still have to reiterate and understand that.

Whether I'm sitting one on one or with a group, I'm not going to step out of coaching into psychotherapy, I have to be very ethical about that, make sure that's clear.

I am just going to talk to you guys straight up, me sitting here, from a human behavior standpoint.

This is the tough part— own your pain, you've got to own it.

Don't run from it, don't try to deny that you're hurt, don't put on a facade in real life and then don't let it just tore you up inside.

You have to personally acknowledge and say that, "I am hurting here, because of—," whatever it was.

The next thing you have to do is when you own that pain, then you have to also understand that there's no magic wand that somebody can touch you with.

There's no magic going through a prayer, none of that that's going to be able to change that pain.

I am going to tell you the next step is to be courageous. You've got to be courageous, you've got to courageously be willing to walk straight into this healing process.

In that process, what you will begin to understand is why that hurts you so badly, how you have translated that experience into your "here and now", in other words, “Every time somebody touch of me off, I'm back in 1973 when so and so did so and so to me.”

That's the dynamics: a big rubber band and you're back!

You haven't healed, somebody innocently does something, now your step back to 1973 or whatever, you're still in the middle of that pain and you reacted out of a 1970-something-pain in the 2000s. That's where it becomes maladaptive.

You don't have to wait until you're completely healed to step out on that platform, that's the key.

The deal is, as long as you are self- aware that this dynamic is playing out in your life, while you walk in that out with a therapist or whatever.

You will go ahead and learn that when that thing comes up, it's not real, it's a smokescreen, and you'll be able to navigate the here and now more effectively.

Don't wait until you have completely healed, that's my journey, I had to. I was a tough-girl person, and I wasn't going to do anything but hurt people, so that was my journey.

You need to understand that you better step into your destiny right where you are, and as long as you are aware of the pain, you're going to be willing to walk through that healing, understand your triggers, choose to deal with them in the moment and step on.

To the extent that you have come to a point where you can acknowledge to somebody that, "Well, I am a domestic violence survivor", "I'm a rape survivor", "I've lost businesses", "I've done this", "I've done that".

Go ahead and share out your knowledge.

What I'm warning everybody not to do is to go out there and think that they need to be Linda-up-chucking-da-boogie-on-everything-in-her-life.

That's just not going to work for everybody, and that gets back to our authenticity.

Be aware you guys, it's an individual journey, if you have to get professional help to get through it, please do that, don't resist that.

As long as you are aware of how it's affecting you in your here and now, I've got some free tools on my website to get you through that and walk you through that.

I don't want anybody walk away from this message thinking that oh, "I've got to be completely healed before I can get out of here."

No, step into your destiny at every possible opportunity. That's your destiny and that's your choice.

RF: Now, this is interesting, because sometimes, aside from the normal anxiety that comes with public speaking, if you add on an emotional element to it, it increases the anxiety because people have a fear of getting emotional on stage.

What are some of the tips, or how do you deal with a topic that is emotional?

And again, I just want to clarify, yes there's the traumatic emotion bit for me, at one point in my life, I filed bankruptcy, and then only found two weeks later that I got returned because there was $0.32 less than I needed, and when I talk about it, it becomes very emotional.

I was bullied as a kid, and it becomes very emotional.

I'm curious, are there any tactics that you use as a speaker to try to communicate the message without getting emotional, or does that matter? Talk to me about that.

LW: I think you came to the wrong person if you are asking for somebody to give you some tactics, because I deal strictly with authenticity.

This doesn't go down to “Step A”, “Step B”. If you're out there talking about this situation and it was triggering something in your past, then you need to share the doggone tear.

I am not the one to stand up here and tell you not to, because guess what— to the degree that you get real with that before your audience, that's the degree to which you will reach more out there.

And if your whole goal is speaking, this goes for you or anybody else, is that you want to make a real connection, a sustainable connection with your audience.

Then you need to share that doggone tear and if indeed it gets to the point where you are choking up so bad you can't talk, let them see you, say, "Give me a minute here."

RF: Yes, that's the tactic that I'm looking for.

LW: Oh that's a tactic— I'm sorry, there you go!

RF: It's okay, but this is a really good point.

I love that I ask for a tactic and you say, "You have to be authentic," and then basically you said, "If you have to shed a tear and if that's what happens, then that's what you do.”

The tactic is that there is no tactic when it comes to authenticity." 

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on no tactic in authenticity - World of Speakers Podcast (Grey)  Powered by SpeakerHub

LW: I loved it. Yeah, you have to get real.

RF: Are you on social media, do you like Twitter, are you on Twitter at all?

LW: I am on Twitter, I am at @whoseapple on Twitter.

RF: Okay. I'd like to challenge people on the show, if something that we're talking about here is resonating, and this idea that the tactic to being authentic is that there is no tactic— go ahead and tweet us out there.

When you listen to this podcasts stop real quick, and tweet that out there. I'm at @ryanfoland and you are at what?

LW: Whose Apple, @whoseapple. Give them a hashtag, my friend!

RF: All right, what's the hashtag?

LW: You tell me.

RF: Well let's see— authenticity is a long one to do, let's come up with something that this makes sense.

LW: No tactic.

RF: No tactic, yeah, #NoTactic, tag that and hit us up on Twitter with other ideas or reinforcing the fact that the tactic to be authentic is to not have a tactic. #NoTactic, I like this.

How important do you think the authenticity component is to people when they're trying to connect with the audience?

It may seem like a very straightforward question, but I'm curious your specific thoughts on the value of authenticity, since this is what we're talking about the tactic of #NoTactic to be authentic?

LW: It's everything, Ryan.

Look, this is everything, when I talk to somebody, I'm going to be a little bit irritated if you're boring me, I'm going to get pretty bored if it's been 30 minutes and you still ain't said a damn thing I have never heard before.

I cannot stomach it. I'm going to tell you something real quickly—  the reason this is so important to me is that I had turned my back on who I was when I was growing up.

It was well into the writing process and Judy, my little sister and I were talking, and she said, "Do you remember how you were before you left home, Linda?"

I couldn't remember that girl. I could not remember her, because at some point in my trauma I had completely turned my back on her as if she was my problem, she's wearing her heart on the sleeve, she keeps getting me in trouble.

I turned my back on the very person I had to beat to be powerful in my purpose.

Having fought back for 7 years and 6 days plus, to find out who I truly am, I'm not ready to let it go. I'm going to fight tooth and nail to keep it, that's why authenticity is so important.

If you do not make an emotional connection with your audience, they will leave, they just haven't been through another keynote speech.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on emotional connection with the audience - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy)  Powered by SpeakerHub

It's sustainability long life success, stuff that you're going to give them that is going to go far beyond closing prayers or closing comments.

If you have not done something to be on their minds, 2 hours, 6 years down the line, if you have not done something or said something that comes back to them in their life out of nowhere. I remember they said that they'd have you done your job.

RF: And that's an interesting way to approach your material.

Maybe if you are asking people who have seen some of your talks, "What is the one thing you remember?"

And trying to find what that is so that you can really double-down on that and have that long-lasting.

This idea we've all seen a keynote where we leave we're like, "Nah, you just said the same thing, but you just regurgitated it.”

This idea of a message that's unique, and what I'm seeing here is that your uniqueness comes from your story which is your authenticity, which is the stuff that you've dealt with but you might not have dealt with yet.

If you're really tapping into your story, nobody else has that story?

LW: That's the bottom line, there you go.

That's it. That sums it up. Nobody else has your story.

Nobody else has your personal experience with dealing with challenges that maybe many others have.

But nobody has navigated that in your unique way.

RF: I think in a world where there's so many people speaking about social media, so many people speaking about leadership, so many people speaking about motivation, inspiration.

Is the way to stand out really owning your own story and weaving that into being I guess the sprinkles on the donut which is your talk?

Ryan Foland - Quote on owning your story - World of Speakers Podcast (Black)  Powered by SpeakerHub

LW: That's your bottom line.

Personal brand, it's got to go way before you start getting your organization or your platform brand.

RF: Now real quick, on the personal brand, I'd love to know your thoughts on that.

How important has personal branding been for you and your process through this discovery process?

And through that discovery process, probably reinforced what your brand is, because how can you have your brand if you haven't explored the challenges in your own life to come up with the conclusions and process, right?

LW: Right. You got something there, but guess what— my brand came out of writing that book. That brand is me. When I get up in the morning, that's Whose Apple Dynamic.

It just happened like that for me. I wouldn't have thought of having a company and I named the company after the book. I had a 37-year job, a good government job with the federal government that I just retired from in July. I was doing my business on the side.

It's only in the last few months that I am really concentrated on it, and in that process, I recognize that “Whose Apple Dynamic” is Linda.

It just is because I didn't go through, "I'm going to brand myself yadda, yadda, yadda". It evolved as I evolved.

So I can honestly say that when somebody sees that purple and that black, if they see the words "Whose Apple", if they see me on YouTube, I am talking to everybody like I'm talking to you right now.

The authenticity has become the foundation of my brand, and I just stumbled across it.

I'm not going to act like I knew what the heck I was doing, Ryan.

RF: Well, that's inspiring for people that are maybe intimidated by growing their brand when it was more of the brand found you, at the right time.

LW: The brand evolved, it was born out of my own personal experiences with healing.

RF: This idea of owning the pain and then being courageous and then translating what happened and then really being comfortable taking a platform during that process, as you're getting help.

Then there is your “Magic Secret Sauce” that you have that no other speaker can steal, unless they've lived in your shoes, in your life, in your room the whole time, which just doesn't happen.

LW: It's never been better said. Absolutely Ryan, there you go.

RF: I love that the simple message here is "authenticity is your secret sauce".

How can you then take the authenticity and let's say you've gone through that process of discovery development and personal growth, and you're inspired to move forward and you want to monetize this message, not because you want to make money off of it, but because it will allow you to share the message farther and wider, and around the world.

Talk to me about sort of your path and your advice for people who have an event and how have you been able to monetize? How do you continue to monetize?

It sounds like it was really the book strategy, and maybe you can talk about what you would have done differently or done the same again, so that other people who are now inspired to go through this journey, they know what mistakes to avoid or the right path to follow.

LW: I lost a lot of money. I'm not going to lie.

Book came out, everybody is calling me, "I'll send a press release, I'll do this, I'll do that." The wrong answers, you guys.

Guess what— you don't know that there is no return on investment on a press release. There is a lot you have to learn through hard knocks, unless you get a mentor.

I will help any new authors or anybody else start out a new business. [Get in contact with Linda Williams here.]

The second thing is, you've got to know who the heck you are, and get that concrete in your heels, so if you are standing in a hurricane, and you've got concrete holding you up because you've got concrete in your shoes, you will withstand blow of everybody trying to tell you what to do and how to brand yourself.

You need to know who you are, and those values have to drive every decision you make for your platform, or in your business.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on knowing your values - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy)  Powered by SpeakerHub

Who are you?

What are your personal values?

That has become the guideline by which you hold every opportunity.

Once you know who you are and what your personal values are, you translate that to your platform and you won't be able to mistrust me.

There's a whole bunch of people out of here blowing foghorns in our faces, and it's only the ones who are truly authentic that have translated their personal values into their platform to their businesses that could say anything to me now.

You got to know who you are.

Don't be afraid to reach out and get guidance.

I published my own book but it went through two professional edits, I hired a writing coach.

Do it with excellence is what I am saying. Do it with excellence, because as an indie writer you are going to have to write a book if you've got a platform.

Writing a book is a good way to do it, the e-books that you might put together from your blogs might be another way to do it.

You have to build a relationship with your audience. I'm going to repeat— relationship with your audience.

That means you're not out here buying Twitter followers, Facebook followers and YouTube followers.

You are developing a relationship with your audience through your social media platform.

That means you've got to constantly throw them valuable posts and comments. You have to send them valuable information that's going to make a difference in their lives.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on building a relationship with your audience - World of Speakers Podcast (Blue-Grey)  Powered by SpeakerHub

You develop a relationship with your following, you develop a following that is interested in your brand or whatever you're sending out there, whatever you're offering, and you will have customers for life.

Write a little e-book, you might make sure your posts are all online with your message, you throw digital content out there.

You offer them webinars and little pieces of training and stuff. Don't be afraid to give something away for free.

Guess what— don't run up to me on the street, you don't know me and you're pushing your book in my face without saying, "Hello", that's what it is, don't do that to people.

Don't have nothing on your feed but, “Me, me, me, I got this, I got that”. Do not do it, because you will turn people off.

And what am I saying here now Ryan, is all coming back to what— authenticity and relationship.

RF: Yeah. You know what, hey #NoTactic.

The theme is here— how do you create authenticity on stage #NoTactic.

How is it that you monetize your message— you be authentic, #NoTactic.

You're talking about the basics, you're talking about building relationships, not trying to create a phony, fake following of people that have this facade that people are interested in, but building a better relationship with a smaller number of followers.

Your visual language is great, we need to have a whole book of your visualizations, like "concrete in your shoes"— I've never heard that before, #ConcreteInYourShoes.

And then a bullhorn, “people with a bullhorn, just shouting in your face”, somebody running up to you in the street and hitting you with a book before they even say, “Hi”.

These are all great visualizations—of what not to do.

LW: Yeah, I don't know what else to give you my friend, I am no expert out here. You know what I'm an expert in?

RF: What?

LW: Being who I am, I fought too hard to get here.

RF: I love that.

And I think that other people have that ability to channel that, but they just might not be doing it because there's this idea that there's a certain way to do things and not others.

When it comes to following a leader on stage, there are best practices and people are following best practices, but, if you're following someone else, then you're not the one that's leading the pack. Right?

Ryan Foland - Quote on leading the pack - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy)  Powered by SpeakerHub

So it's pretty empowering and inspiring to give people the permission to be authentic, to find their message to find their little niche, versus trying to just copycat someone else who's already got cement in their shoes.

LW: Right. I love it. I'm glad you said that because what you just said could have gotten easily lost in what I said.

It's very important to follow proper protocol when you're doing speaking, these best practices.

You don't get out there, you don't curse, you don't insult. Whatever the protocol is there's nothing wrong with that.

What Ryan has said is so true, because at some point you're going to have to know when somebody else is encroaching on who you are.

And if you don't know who you are, you're going to be out there trying to wear somebody else's pants is what I'd say.

Us in the church, we have a thing when somebody had experience with God, then they made it a whole series of books; that was for them, that was for their life, not mine!

Benny Hinn wrote a book called "Good Morning Holy Spirit", and everybody was trying to do what he did, and they couldn't sustain that behavior, because it wasn't what they were supposed to do.

I call this "Wearing their Benny-pants". Does everybody want to wear Benny-pants? No, Benny's pants were tailor-made for Benny. You could never make it work for you.

And the only way you could keep from wasting time and money and trying to wear your Benny-pants is if you take the time to know who the heck you are.

RF: Yes, I love it. I want to bridge a conversation, I'm comfortable bridging with you and it's a very timely relevant.

Just from your experience, there seems to now be a lot of public dialogue about sexual harassment, about individuals in power that are taking advantage, real-world things that are coming out, after decades.

It's tragic but it's also empowering that it is top of the conversation. I think that the platform of a stage is so powerful.

What is your advice to women who have gone through sexual harassment and who have gone through these challenges that is their authentic self, it's part of their story.

What is your advice on including and incorporating this message of women empowerment, and writing things are wrong without really getting stigmatized to that?

I think it's such an important topic, what is your advice from someone who speaks about it, from this authentic point?

You've probably got your cement high heels, right. I can see you in high heels or whatever.

Speak to the women out there who— this concept is part of who they really are, it's something that they had experienced or something that they are passionate about, women who want to help other women overcome what's happening or changing the status quo.

What's our advice to them and their ability to use their voice as a message to change things for the better?

LW: I got to take it straight back to the individual.

First of all, you guys, understand this knowledge of the truth is the beginning of empowerment, and part of the truth I need you to understand is— you stand there and you refuse to become the wrong that was done to you.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on experience not being the end of story - World of Speakers Podcast (Black)  Powered by SpeakerHub

Do not consider that you deserved it. Don't think that you are that rape.

Don't think that you are what that raper or that molester did to you whatever the trauma is you're dealing with in your life. Understand that.

Don't you believe that that experience is the end of your story, period. That's all I wrote, the pencil broke. That's not the end of your story.

And what's happened to you the only way you become that wrong, is if you internalize it as if you deserved it, asked for it, needed it, start judging yourself by whatever that pain is you went through.

Thinking that pain is who you are, that's the lie that you have got to fight tooth and nail. That's not who you are.

But guess what— your pain is your platform.

You have to understand that that's one of the stories we think are “too true to tell”. You have to get to the point where you're comfortable with telling that story in the proper venue.

So number one, don't believe that you are that rape, that molestation, that pain, that business you lost. Whatever it is, you are not that.

The fear that comes out of that, don't you believe that that fear is the end of your story.

This is only the beginning. Make the decision today, "I am going to make that count."

How do you make that count?

You take what you learn, you take your experiences, you empower yourself with that truth, you determine who the heck you are and that's who you are, no matter what storms come your way.

Ryan Foland with Linda Williams - Quote on empowering yourself - World of Speakers Podcast (Blue-Grey)  Powered by SpeakerHub

Then you go ahead and whether it's writing a book, whether it's writing an ebook or it's doing little Live Periscopes, whatever it is.

Whatever you can do to meet other people in the middle of that pain right where they are, you do it.

Everything else will fall into place, because we got to come out of our purpose Ryan, we got to come out of the reason we breathe, the reason we are here.

There's a reason that you're here.

As long as we allow ourselves to be duped that the fear is the end of our story, to be duped that we are or deserve whatever wrong happened to us.

We will never move into the hope and the vision that we need to make our purpose of reality and not just our lives, but everybody else's life.

I hope that that was an encouragement to everybody.

So, you can't worry about whether it's, "I don't want to get typecast," or anything. 

You know what— you can't be thinking about all of that, because the bottom line is you can't control what somebody else thinks of you.

Sorry about that, but you shouldn't really care. What's holding you back in your life, what's holding back your platform, what is holding back your business is what you believe about yourself.

That's your responsibility.

RF: I love that! I think there are people that are cheering across the nation right now.

That was so concise. It's so applicable to somebody from all polar extremes, right, whether it's losing a business or losing someone's life who was close, or some sort of tragic, abuse or something like that.

What I really liked out of that, you said, "Your pain is your platform". 

I want to extend it, something like your pain is your platform and something about your purpose, if the pain is your platform and your platform is what you can use to find your purpose. Something like that.

LW: Yeah, it's all going to tie in. You will be able to leverage any pain you went through in the past, any failures that you experienced.

You will be able to leverage the lessons you learned in there and going forward just make sure, "Okay, well I learned this, I am going to apply that going forward." That's where the empowerment comes in.

Remember, knowledge of the truth is the beginning of empowerment.

If you have a truthful view of what you went through and you can see where you might've made a mistake, or somebody else made a mistake, whatever it is— that knowledge is the power that moves you forward into purpose.

You are just going to learn that lesson and leverage it going forward, you're not going to get stuck feeling bad about yourself or in the doldrums about something that happened that you cannot change.

RF: We're not in church and I'm not the most religious person, but I'm going to say "AMEN!" to all of that.

This has been so fun, can you believe that it's already been 45 minutes?

I can feel that this conversation has definitely helped change the perspective that I have on the idea of authenticity and tapping into the fact that your pain is your platform.

Within your platform as a way to share your message which whether it's messy or not, it still uncovers the purpose of why you're sharing that message in the first place.

And if you have a message that resonates with enough people, people will pay you for it, and that'll just empower you to share your message with more people.

LW: That's right.

RF: Oh, wow. I feel like we need to go take a walk in nature and just like let all this process.

So here's my challenge to anybody listening to this— shut down your phone, go for a walk, reflect on this and really think back to what elements of your story you can dig into and own.

More importantly than anything else, you can't control what people have done to you, but you can own that pain, and that pain is the guiding light to where your purpose might really lie.

Ryan Foland - Quote on pain as the guiding light - World of Speakers Podcast (Blue)  Powered by SpeakerHub

This is great. Alright Linda, if somebody wants to find you online, what's the best way to contact you or where would you want to direct them?

LW: One-stop shop my friend,  One-stop shop.

RF: Awesome. Well, let’s definitely make sure everybody checks that out. I'll show you some love on Twitter.  

I'm excited to have this being an episode that continuously keeps sharing, because this is evergreen content about how authenticity at the end of the day is the #NoTactic that you need to find your success on stage.

LW: It's been an honor, Ryan. I love meeting you, I enjoyed our conversation. Thank you for the honor.

RF: All right well we will see everybody back on the next World of Speakers podcast as we talk with world-class speakers who travel around the world and you'll be there too. Adios everybody. Bye, Linda.

LW: Bye.


A bit about World of Speakers

World of Speakers is a weekly podcast that helps people find their own voice, and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business.

We cover topics like: what works versus what doesn't, ideas on how to give memorable presentations, speaking tips, and ideas on how to build a speaking business.

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