Storytelling with Thought Leadership | Adam Zuckerman, Mary J. Cronin, Michelle Mellon, and Christopher Brace
Connecting storytelling to thought leadership. A compilation of advice for using storytelling for…
But how do you make sure everyone hears what you have to say?
My guest today is Stacy Mayer, a consultant and coach who works with women seeking to get promoted into higher level leadership positions. Stacy talks about her book, Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite, from the process of writing, to the effect the book has had on her business and her life.
Stacy shares her writing journey, and talks about the impact the book has had since its publishing, elevating her credibility and ability to leverage her thought leadership. Even more, it’s had a profound influence on her, personally, as people echo back the importance of her ideas. Now she sees how much deeper she can take her work, helping more women move up the ranks in big business.
The effects of the book don’t stop there. The book has also increased her offerings as a coach! Previously, she offered a six-week group training program, but now it has evolved to a lifetime enrollment offering peer round tables, guest coaches, and so much additional knowledge that she’s been able to increase her fees.
While the outcome of the book is all positive, getting it written wasn’t without hardships. The idea for writing a book came from her husband and those who listen to her podcast Women Changing Leadership, feeling that she already had all the material she’d need for a book. Yet when faced with a blank page it didn’t come easy. Stacy shares how the realization that she didn’t have to start with the introduction, she could write the book in whichever order made sense by collecting the knowledge she had in spreadsheets and various documents she’d written over the years.
If you need a strategy to bring your thought leadership to market, Thought Leadership Leverage can assist you! Contact us for more information. In addition, we can help you implement marketing, research, and sales. Let us help you so you can devote yourself to what you do best.
Peter Winick And welcome, welcome, welcome. This is Peter Winick. I’m the founder and CEO at Thought Leadership Leverage and you’re joining us on the podcast today, which is Leveraging Thought Leadership. Today. My guest is Stacey Mayer. She is a certified executive coach. I like I pulled from her LinkedIn bio is chief corporate badass because that’s not something you see a lot of. So either there’s not a lot of competition in that space or it’s a new role. I want to find out what that is. And she is a first-time author of Promotions Made Easy, which just came out fairly recently. So welcome aboard today, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.
Stacy Mayer Thank you, Peter. I’m so excited to be here.
Peter Winick Yes. So let’s start with your journey as a first time author.
Stacy Mayer Ooh. Oh, that’s fun. Yeah. Oh, man. You know, the first thing I’ll say to that is I never thought of myself as somebody who needed to write a book. You know, that was not my definition of success. I actually came from the stage. I was an improv performer in New York City, and I knew I was going to be famous some day, you know, And writing a book wasn’t really part of that equation. Fast forward many, many years and my husband, who has a Ph.D. and the background that writing a book is a measure of success. It’s like, you know, you should write a book. And I was like, Really?
Peter Winick And what is the thing you should do? Standup comedy, right?
Stacy Mayer Yeah, exactly. And maybe you should do standup comedy. But the good news was he was 100% right. I should totally write a book. And it wasn’t until the moment that that book came out because even the process, the journey, everything to getting that book published, I didn’t realize the significance of that from an emotional standpoint. Like there is a huge amount of significance as I’m sure you work with your clients on in terms of credibility and being able to Leveraging Thought Leadership, but also from an emotional standpoint of success that it is. There are markers and the journey to writing a book. Ask anybody who’s lost £50 if that wasn’t a marker of success in their life. Right. You know, and it has.
Peter Winick That idea of what your where you’re going, if I’m tracking here is sort of the you know, people think of the book as the finished product and it lands on my desk with a thought in the covers. Beautiful. And I could read and all that stuff. But they don’t see the blood, sweat and tears, the sleepless nights, the stress on chapter three, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I think there’s intrinsically why do folks write books? And, you know, one is there’s a forcing mechanism. It forces me to get my I thought everything was clear. I thought I had to write. So there’s a forcing mechanism. And then the other piece is that sense of accomplishment. It’s almost like there needs to be the equivalent of everybody that does a marathon, gets the, you know, their chest going through the tape or whatever. There isn’t that there is that milestone, but we don’t have that symbolism for an author.
Stacy Mayer But if it feels that way, it’s it’s like I didn’t know that it was going to feel like I was running through the, you know, the tape at the end of the marathon. Like, I really felt it. And I still feel it right now, you know, And I feel that amount of pride and and then from a you know, like you said, getting your thoughts together, I realized that the book, the thoughts that I organized for the book were really just the beginning of the organization of my thoughts. Because since writing the book, I have gone deeper and deeper and deeper into these concepts and really like understanding what people are gaining from the book and how they’re using it. And so it just really catapulted a whole new level of growth for both me and my clients, just the act of writing a book.
Peter Winick So that’s interesting. So most people would say the benefit of writing the book as it relates to external is, you know, you’re elevating the brand. You can literally say, and I’m the person that wrote the book on dot, dot, dot. It’s a client acquisition tool. You get invited to cooler parties. Your neighbor thinks you’re smarter than you are, whatever the case may be. Talk a little bit about the impact it’s had on your business. Maybe like, you know, the pre-book Age and the and the now Stacy-with-the-book Age.
Stacy Mayer I had to realize that my mission and the work that I’m doing is actually bigger than me. And I think for a lot of it. So I specifically coach women to get promoted into higher level leadership positions. And for a lot of women in leadership, the title isn’t their driver, right? And so for me, I don’t think that I could have used the book just from that lens as motivation. Like, I wouldn’t have been motivated for very long. It would have been like a fad diet. And then I would have been like, okay. But for me, the biggest benefit has been that the mission is bigger than me and really allowing the book to live on its own and to meet people that I will literally never meet, and to trust that I can put these words out into the world and other people can take these words and have success based on these words that I wrote, that I came up with a concept that I put together and it fuels my work for like decades to come. Like, I can already see that. It’s like I just want to do more. I’m already working on my second book and I’m like, No, I need to get this information out to more and more people. And so I think that from that standpoint, being able to touch people that you have never met and that you will never meet as clients per say is priceless.
Peter Winick And that’s I would I would sort of frame that as sort of evangelical. Like one of the reasons we’re on the planet is to get this message out that lives in the book. And the more people that can be exposed to it, whether they’re on this side of the world or the other side, and they can they could digest your thoughts and ideas and do with that what they will. But stay on it for a moment as it relates specifically to the business. Right. So you have a very defined niche, which I love, Rachael, women that are looking women of a certain level in certain types of organizations that are looking to increase the probability of their chances of getting promoted to the next level. Right? So that’s identifiable, right? How has the book helped the business?
Stacy Mayer Right. So there are two there are two ways of looking at it. So from a financial standpoint, absolutely right. So when you talked about the specific measurements of success, I’m able to reach a bigger audience. I have a podcast as well, 150 plus episodes. And if somebody reaches out to me and asked to be on it and they haven’t written a book, I really just have to move on. And it’s not because there wouldn’t be great guests, but because we do receive a lot of information from people. And if there are a coach and they’re going to talk about their business, I’m not as interested in having a conversation with them. But if they’re going to talk about their book and the platform and what they’re doing or perhaps their thought leadership, it’s way more interesting to me and my audience, right? And so that’s one piece is just it’s given me more platforms being on your podcast, various different avenues, speaking opportunities that have come up, which then turn into clients hands down because more people are I’m getting more exposure and things like that, but from a mission standpoint. So you can imagine if I coach women to get promoted, right? And so you hire an executive coach and you’re like, I want to get promoted. I’m going to own that, I want to get promoted. I’m probably not going to broadcast that to the world, right? Because there’s part of you that’s like, you know, well, it’s like, you know, this is private. This is something I want to do for my own success. So I’m not going to tell everybody about it. Day one, As soon as that book came out, all of my clients were broadcasting my work to the world because it meant something bigger. We were changing leadership. We were getting women promoted at a larger scale.
Peter Winick And so short of finding your tribe. So it’s not. Yeah, one might one response I might have if somebody, you know, had dinner with somebody said, Oh, and I want to get promoted. So like, Oh, good for you. That’s really.
Stacy Mayer Yeah, good for you. Yeah, right.
Peter Winick Like, and good luck with that. Yeah. They’re part of a movement of we, my tribe. People like me deserve to be promoted. I want to be promoted. And we’re following a way of thinking, process, methodology, framework, whatever in order to do so. Yeah. So there’s a little bit of like, Oh, I found my peak because getting promoted is a fairly, I would say a private personal with like people don’t post the Arlington today. My goal is to get promoted like.
Stacy Mayer Yeah, they’ll post when they get it, but not the goal too. Right, exactly. Right.
Peter Winick Right.
Peter Winick If you’re enjoying this episode of Thought Leadership Leverage, please make sure to subscribe. If you’d like to help spread the word about our podcast, please leave a five star review at rate this podcast dot com forward slash LTL and share it with your friends. We’re available on Apple Podcasts and on all major listening apps as well as at ThoughtLeadershipLeverage.com/podcast. So that’s interesting. So is it that tribal component, that connection component? Because if you take.
Stacy Mayer It again, it goes into how many people can we reach. So I really think about the growth of my business as, you know, like how can I spread the work we’re getting that I’m doing to more and more people, Right? And so from an actual access standpoint, getting on interviews and things like that, that’s one way. But then the other way is to get people to talk about your work, to share on social media. And so then I’m accessing more and more people and so then therefore I get more and more business. So my business does better.
Peter Winick And it also, you know, I don’t know if you’ve hit this threshold yet, but there’s a point where you can say, Geez, and I could raise my prices.
Stacy Mayer Right, exactly.
Peter Winick You know, I could raise my feet. There’s nothing I mean, in your world is as an entrepreneur, that’s kind of the equivalent of the promotion.
Stacy Mayer It’s actually happening. Jan one.
Peter Winick Yeah.
Stacy Mayer You know, I was like, Oh, yeah, I started like, you know, letting people know if you’re thinking about joining, now’s the time to join. Right?
Peter Winick Yeah. Yeah. But that’s but, but I think there’s a piece where. There’s pricing is commensurate to sort of what an expectation is. And then you say, Wow, I’ve got this going for me. I got that like, yeah, I can I can price myself at a different level. Then you’re in a really competitive space depending on how you define the space, right?
Stacy Mayer Right. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, when I think about what my clients are doing, oh my gosh, the parallels are so huge in terms of being a leader and leveraging your thought leadership and being able to charge more, quote unquote, is at the executive level because I have clients that have now created their own podcast, written their own books, and then now they’re more valuable to their organizations as well.
Peter Winick Exactly. So in terms of, you know, now that the book’s done and things are more codified than they were before, have you added to or changed the suite of services and offerings that you’ve had? Because I think my assumption would be, and I could be wrong, that the primary delivery vehicle is you coaching people one on one. Right. Are there other ways now that the content is more locked and loaded, that you can get that out there that doesn’t require you to be hand-holding it?
Stacy Mayer Again, you know, one of the things that I did start even before the book came out was I had a group training program. And so I still have it. It’s called Executive Ahead of Time. And when I before the book, it was a six week training program. And so I would literally get women to come in for that cohort. I would coach them for six weeks at a time. And it required, even at a group training level, A require an enormous amount of energy on my part. There was a responsibility. It was women joined for a very short amount of time, literally like day one. So when my book came out, within 30 days of the book came out, I turned my group program into lifetime enrollment, which could seem like more work on my part and actually not at all the case, because now what I’m doing is I’m invested in the lifetime of these women’s career. We’re learning to lift each other up. I have added other elements that don’t require my physical presence, but yet still elevate actually in some ways elevate them even more because it’s teaching them how to think for themselves and apply these concepts themselves. And so we have peer roundtable discussions. I bring in guest coaches, right, because we’re there for the long term of their career. I’m thinking more about that mission and that are we really changing the leadership table and so on?
Peter Winick Yeah, So, so I love what you’re saying there because part of the trick is oftentimes as an independent, you know, coach, consultant, whatever the limit is, there’s only so many clients I can handle. There’s only so many hours in the day. But once you’ve got your thought leadership locked and loaded, it doesn’t live by those constraints. So now you have to be thoughtful and say, okay, how are the other ways? And you’re doing this in the ways that allow you to have more scale so that every time you’re doing something, it’s got a little bit more leverage, touching more people, etc., etc.. And I imagine down the road there might be video or more scalable things or.
Stacy Mayer Oh yeah, absolutely. And I have all of that. Yeah. And then because I’ve been adding to the trainings and adding to them, so there’s just more, much more available to them to the point where I was like, Oh, I think it’s time to raise my prices, right? Because there’s just so much information there and they’re getting results so quickly, like way faster than even when we were doing one on one coaching. And I think it’s when you start to tap into that mission, that collective, that bigger picture of like, what are we all here to do? It takes people out of their head of like, I need to be promoted as to what can I accomplish with my promotion.
Peter Winick But it also takes some of the burden on you that that was in order for this to work to get out, I’ve got to touch so many people do so many day. And now it’s like at some level, it’s not that you become irrelevant, but you become less relevant. Right? When there’s a whole other suite of offerings and solutions that are don’t require you and simultaneously you’re getting more impact right now, maybe double win, right? You could reach far more people, right?
Stacy Mayer Yeah, absolutely.
Peter Winick So as we start to wrap up, if there’s somebody out there now that is pondering is where you might have been a year or two ago when the book was more sort of rattling around in your head and maybe I should, maybe I shouldn’t. What would you advise them to think about? What are the things that you didn’t know until you were like knee deep in this, that like, Oh, if I knew that a year ago, I might have responded differently?
Stacy Mayer Well, there are a couple of two big things that come to mind. One is the process of writing the book and what I ended up doing to get it finished. So for a lot of authors and other entrepreneurs who I’ve met, who put really positive thought leadership out into the world, they’ll get this term, which is, you know, the book’s already written or you should write a book, right? Will get that a lot And I had that a lot coming from many different angles, especially because of my podcast. People were like, You’ve got enough material, you can write a book already, now it’s out, you’re already there. And so there was a single day where my husband was like, How’s it going? How’s that book going? You know? And he’s like, It’s already written. And I was like, Well, if it’s already written, it would be written. And thankful to me and him. He stopped for a moment. He said, okay, let’s talk about it. And I realized that the word right was really hanging me up. It was like as if I had done nothing in my business. It was as if I had no words on a page. It was as if I had nothing to say. And I had. Had to come up with it in that moment. But the truth was, my book was already written. That was actually very true. And so we had this conversation. We literally changed the word to collecting. He said, Why don’t you collect the book? And I just got to work like a crazy person. I had spreadsheets and moving Google Docs around, and I was just collecting transcripts of work that I had already written. I had actually on our team.
Peter Winick A skeleton and assembling. Yes. As opposed to creating because there’s nothing scarier than the blank pages screen. Once you had that insight, it said, Oh, it’s kind of a treasure hunt. I’ve got a piece here, too. Yeah, Yeah.
Stacy Mayer It was so much more fun. And then the other piece that was holding me up was the introduction. I kept thinking I had to start at the beginning. And so when you said the thing about the treasure hunt, it’s like, just leave the introduction for last. It will write itself and then just start piecing the chapters together. Do the one that makes the most sense. You do not have to go in order. That’s actually I think that’s a really is you up.
Peter Winick A really good piece is that obviously for most of us we read a book in a linear way. I would say almost every author I know, I’m trying to think of an exception. It’s not written that way. Yeah.
Stacy Mayer And we need to know that from the beginning.
Peter Winick Right. Sometimes it might. Yeah. Well, chapter five is the meat and potatoes of the model. Let me start there and then radiate out sometimes as well. There’s for it. But like, there is no one right way to do that. You do it in the way times and then worry about sort of receiving it together. Well, this has been awesome. I appreciate your time and you’re sharing your journey. Good stuff.
Stacy Mayer Yeah. Thank you so much. This has been great.
Peter Winick Thank you.
Peter Winick To learn more about Thought Leadership Leverage, please visit our website at ThoughtLeadershipLeverage.com to reach me directly. Feel free to email me at Peter at ThoughtLeadershipLeverage.com and please subscribe to Leveraging Thought Leadership on iTunes or your favorite podcast app to get your weekly episode automatically.