August 30, 2023

Transcript Ep #213: Clarifying Your Message One Stage At A Time With Merritt Onsa

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Transcript Ep #213: Clarifying Your Message One Stage At A Time With Merritt Onsa

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Clarifying Your Message One Stage At A Time With Merritt Onsa

– Transcript Ep #213

Hint of Hustle Podcast Cover

Heather Sager  1:29  

Well, hey, friend, welcome back to another episode of Hint of Hustle. This week, we’re coming at you with an interview with my friend and client Mara on set. She has been inside my programs for nearly two years. So she has a unique story. She’s part of the program that was a year long program where she learned to refine your messaging and get practice showing up and speaking. And then most recently, six months ago, she participated in the signature talk accelerator. So in this she shares her story around how clarifying her message and taking big bold action, how that’s impacted other areas of your business beyond just speaking. You’re gonna love this one, she has so many great insights to share. Also, the pep talk you didn’t know you needed around, gaining confidence, and really what it looks like to show up and look back and cringe at your content, and be proud of it. One of the things that Merritt shared with me right after we finished record, that I was like, dang, we wish we would have got it. So I have to give you the update here. So first of all, foremost, you’ll hear all about what Merritt does in her business. She’s a dream coach. She has online programs, a digital course she does a group coaching program, she does speaking she has a really amazing podcast. But what I loved was she shared that just this week, as we’re recording this right after we hung up she has four speaking Opportunities This week alone. And what is she most proud of with these? Well, one she works with her she off to make this happen. But all four of these opportunities came her way. You see, when you learn how to communicate effectively to the right person and your messaging down, you become magnetic, not just your ideal clients, but to stage opportunities, where of course you want to show up and you want to pitch but how wonderful would it be for you to be looked at as the authority in your field and have people seek you out to speak on their stages. So I love that for America congratulates gratulations to you. So friggin cool. Also at the time of this episode going live, if you’re listening and it is in the heavy relatively around the time you’re hearing this, be sure that you get your tush signed up for becoming the known authority if you want to be the kind of person who attracts those inbound opportunities, both for prospects in your program, but also for speaking opportunities. You have to be known for something so in my private podcast series, becoming the known authority paired with my greenroom sessions, where you’re gonna get some spicy Sager coaching, which refer to a lot in these interviews. You can sign up for that all the informations down in the show notes. If you by chance are listening to this later and it’s no longer live. Be sure to jump on the waitlist for the next round of the signature talk accelerator so that you can get your message nailed down and start showing up in an even better way. I am so thrilled for you to listen this episode. Let’s pass it on over to Merritt.

Heather Sager  4:38  

All right, we’re officially here merit. I am so freaking thrilled to have you on the show. Welcome officially to the Hindu hustle podcast, my friend. Thank

Merritt Onsa  4:46  

you so much. It’s a joy to be here.

Heather Sager  4:49  

Yeah, we’ve we were joking before we hit record on this. Mara and I have been talking about doing this interview for probably over a year at Mara has been with me for quite quite a while now. I think Almost two years, we’re going on that we have been working together. And it has been a joy to watch your growth and watch your confidence soar over that time period. So I cannot wait for people to hear your story today. So why don’t we start with a question. Tell us your business and how you help people in your business.

Merritt Onsa  5:16  

Sure, yeah. So I am what I call a dream coach. But in real life terms, people just call me a life coach. But I work with Christian women who have a God shaped dream. That’s the dream term. And really, you know, the irony of it all is I help them get through the procrastination, the fear, to find courage to step out into something they feel like they were made to do with their life. So I say I, Renee, because sometimes I lack the confidence

Heather Sager  5:49  

really happens to be that like, conundrum for so much. So many of us as coaches is the thing that we coach on is the thing that we constantly have to work on. I think actually, there’s a beautiful gift in that. So let’s, let’s look real quick, I want to hit on the so you’re your coach, and how do you work with people? So let’s talk about the business side for just a moment. And then we’re gonna rewind it back and talk about your business building journey to get to this point. So how do you help people through your programs? Do you do one on one? Do you do group coaching? Do you have courses? Like give us a little high level? What’s marriage space? Sure.

Merritt Onsa  6:24  

Yeah. So I started out with one on one coaching. And the big thing that I’m doing right now is called the dreamer lab. So that’s like a 12 week group coaching experience where there’s a defined period of time, people come in saying, I’m gonna work on this aspect of my dream. And then we do that together as a group for a quarter. I also have an impostor syndrome course and a podcast course I got a lot of stuff going on. But the dreamer lab is really what I love and where my heart is. Yeah,

Heather Sager  6:53  

okay. I love that. And beyond business, if you don’t mind sharing, is this a full time thing for you? Do you have a life outside of this on my life? Like, No, I,

Merritt Onsa  7:03  

I have two kids, an eight year old and a five year old that’s about to go to kindergarten, and I care for my aging mom, who has Parkinson’s. We have a lot going on. But yeah, this is I started a podcast in 2016. And this is kind of the outgrowth of that. So

Heather Sager  7:25  

yeah, that’s beautiful. I think it’s really important for us, especially I think you would agree, when listening to podcasts, it’s really easy sometimes to double down on the like, yourself business thing. I’m always curious around. Okay, so what does their life look like offstage? Because I like when I when I like to have that filter, call me weirdo. But I like to have that filter when I’m listening to other people have going, right, but also what’s going on in your life? Because I need that for me to measure my own expectations for comparing my growth. And what I’m going to take on I like to know that yeah, thank you. Thank you for sharing. Yeah. Let’s rewind it back a little bit and talk about your business two years ago. So that’s, I think about the time when you and I cross paths. i Okay, now I’m having a brain fart, because I don’t even remember how we cross paths. Do you remember how we first connect? Yeah.

Merritt Onsa  8:14  

So Katie whoosah was my business coach, and she’s no longer doing business coaching. But I was finishing up a program with her and you guys, I think you were on her podcast. Is that right?

Heather Sager  8:27  

Now? We did. We she came on my podcast, and we talked about planning. I still remember she had the most beautiful Trader Joe’s grocery shopping analogy prepared for her interview with me. And I’m like, Katie, I love analogies. And I love Trader Joe’s and you will forever have a place in my heart for sharing. So yes, she was on my show. And I was on her show.

Merritt Onsa  8:48  

Yeah. And she was great and really taught me things I didn’t know that I didn’t know about business. And then I got stuck, like, but I think my messaging is really not clear enough, because I wasn’t attracting people that were responding. There were still people listening to my podcast, but I wasn’t attracting the people that were responding was like, oh, I need more of merit or more of whatever merit might someday offer. And so I think I came to you, in a pretty emotional season of like to do lots of tears.

Heather Sager  9:28  

business can be emotional. Okay. I am curious around that that phrase, I just wrote it down. My messaging must not be clear enough. Was this something that you were like consciously thinking? Or did you hear messages, getting into your brain telling you that parrot, your messaging isn’t clear enough? Like was that a thing that you knew? Or was that a belief that you adopted?

Merritt Onsa  9:52  

That’s a good question. I mean, I think it was something that I knew or began to understand in this phase of like, Okay, I’m gonna provide a service, I have to actually be able to define that for someone so that they can go oh, yes or no. You know, that’s for me. And so I end the whole, like God shaped dream. It’s kind of vague. And I’m still wrestling with how do I define this in a way that still includes a few groups of people? Like it might be writers or speakers, or people who want to launch a ministry or do some sort of something in their community. But I haven’t been ready to be like, No, it’s one type of person. So so how do I talk about a dream? And not be incredibly vague, so that everyone’s like, Oh, well, that’s not me. So? Yeah, I think it was something that I knew. And I’m still working through.

Heather Sager  10:49  

Yeah, well, we all are. And I think what’s interesting is, it’s funny as I was mentally preparing for I’m doing a batch of interviews today, as I was preparing for yours, you are one of the people that I always remember how to introduce you, because I will never forget helping women achieve their God shaped dream, like that. Phrasing is, it’s very uniquely tied to you, and it calls out the person who you are for. So and it’s something you and I’ve talked about before, I think a lot of times we get caught up in this idea that we have to be like, so specific, and it has to be so narrow. And so sometimes the language we use, we create this instant, identifiable, identifiable language that our person just knows where their person Yes, and our programs further clarify the problem that we solve, but it doesn’t always have to be in that. That one liner statement. So just so you know, I love Oh, I love your tagline. I love how you do it. Do not chase, because one memorable break, and I’ll ruin it. So don’t for me, don’t do it.

Merritt Onsa  11:57  

Thank you for that. I appreciate that affirmation.

Heather Sager  12:01  

So let’s talk about so a couple years ago, you were like, Alright, I got to get my messaging dialed in, I need to talk about this in a more clear way. Because you had the podcast, you were doing things but you weren’t quite attracting people to say I want to work with you, I want to invest right with you and make this happen. So what were some of the things that you did to start getting that messaging clarity down?

Merritt Onsa  12:27  

You know, I think it was talking to people and asking them, what is it that if I were to offer more than the podcast, what do you need and want? And where are you getting stuck? And, you know, how are you feeling unable to identify your own dream? I mean, I, I had the problem that my audience has. And so it really was getting in front of those people and learning from them. What, how were they talking about it? And then it was like, Oh, I see.

Heather Sager  13:03  

When were you able to see that at first? Or was it? Did you kind of find yourself in a little bit of a? Like, how do I reflect this back? I don’t know, sometimes when we interview people, it’s like, it’s still kind of

Merritt Onsa  13:14  

hard. Yeah, I’m just so it’s been an ongoing process. And I have a very messy spreadsheet where I’m like, somebody says something, I’m like, oh, that has to go on the spreadsheet. And when I’m looking for messaging language, I go back to that. And I’m like, oh, yeah, that person talked about it in this way. I have one gal that I worked with. And she was like, Well, you know, I bought, you know, like a dummy’s guide on how to write a business plan. And then I just decided I’d rather go shopping at Kohl’s and put the book and I was like, oh, yeah, that’s that’s a good one. You know, we all you know, binge Netflix, whatever it is, we’d rather do than the hard thing that we really want to do, but maybe not today. So yeah, I’m still what I mean

Heather Sager  13:57  

and Kohl’s cash, like has an expiration. Right. There’s that scares me about talking about Mark. Yeah, totally.

Merritt Onsa  14:05  

So yeah. Okay, working on it. When you

Heather Sager  14:08  

when you started getting clarity around what your people were wanting the language that they were using, was that like the thing? Or did you did that surface another set of problems for you? I’m just curious, like, why don’t you walk us through? I’m gonna give you the mic. Why don’t you walk us through a little bit around what your journey has been like, from that first moment when you’re like, I gotta get my message dialed in to like, Okay, I’m feeling better about my message. What was that journey for you?

Merritt Onsa  14:35  

Well, it’s a bit of a blur, but I, you know, because in the last few years, we’ve also been coming out of COVID. And I was homeschooling and all of that, but I began to as I was working through learning, like a talk, if I were to deliver a talk or what would I actually say, and you pressed me to make a few deadlines for myself, which was really good. But then I also So began to test out an offer. And I called put it I call it the something accelerator. I don’t even know. But we

Heather Sager  15:10  

hold on real quick. This is like a lesson learned for anybody who missed. What’s my first offer? Or what’s that thing gonna be? Fast forward two years, you’re probably not gonna remember anyways, because all about learning. So like that right there with a lesson in itself merit.

Merritt Onsa  15:25  

For sure. I mean, and, and I, I wanted something I knew I wanted something to gather women so that it wasn’t just me talking to them one on one, but that they can talk to each other. And that was where it got super rich, where we were all able to engage in this, whatever my accelerator thing was called. And people could give me feedback. And hey, man, this resonated with me or I love it when you did this. And what turned out like, there were some small things I thought it was, I thought it had to be this huge extravaganza. But there were some small things that people were like, I really just loved being on a zoom call with three other people. I was like, Oh, okay. And I think there was a huge part of me realizing that what I wanted to put out into the world was already in me, and I didn’t have to, like conjure it up. I just had to be courageous enough to open my mouth and try it and be willing for it to be 80% or 50%. And then, you know, know that everybody else’s collective memory was not going to be like, Oh, merit, you’re not quite there yet. You know, they’re like, Oh, I’ll take what I like from this. And if I like it enough, I’ll do it again. And so as I’ve refined what it looks like to work with me, more people are saying, I’m doing it again, I’m going to do it again, I’m signing up in October, I have people telling me, I’m signing up for your group in October, I have people who are saying they’re signing up telling other people they need to sign up. This was not happening two years ago. So I think it’s been being willing to get it wrong, or partially right, to discover, like, Oh, this is what resonates with people. So it’s been huge. I love that.

Heather Sager  17:20  

I love that. Okay, so listen to that, as you’re really describing the business building iterative process, right, is that we test things, we try things, we get the feedback, tell me how creating a talk live for you signature talk, whatever talk whatever you want to call it, right? But the talk creation process and getting better speaking, how has that influenced that iterative process, iterative process for you and your business?

Merritt Onsa  17:45  

You know, I think it’s helped me, I think, you know, I’m unique. Maybe I’m different from your other clients, I came in not having frameworks not having processes. And so have putting together a signature talk forced me to put my ideas in boxes that people could identify with and digest. And that actually doing those two things together. Took a lot out of me, it was really challenging. I felt myself very envious of all the people who are like, I don’t have a six step framework. But it also meant that once I figured it out, I could go, you know, I mean, not that I have it all figured out totally. But being able to talk about things in that defined way, like this is how I think about the process of stepping into a God shaped dream. And seeing it as a container that I could be like, here, do you want to try? And then people go oh, yeah, okay. It’s not as hard as it sounds, or it’s on as hard as I’m making it because your merits defined it in six categories, or whatever it is.

Heather Sager  18:58  

Yeah. Well, it’s almost like you’ve you’ve worked to organize your own ideas, so that you have go to language, right? Or go to things, if you will call them frameworks, call them merit isms, like whatever you want to call that, right. But if the when we’re constantly talking about things in a new way, we create kind of confusion for our audience. So no wonder they don’t like describe it in the way that we wanted them to describe them. So you know, it’s interesting now that you talk about how you didn’t have the frameworks or you didn’t have the processes. That’s very common. A lot of people who come to the programs right there, they’re kind of doing both, or maybe they had something and they end up actually recreating their frameworks and our work. So you’re, you have a special insight into how I teach and just my world of content and how I approach things, because you joined my 12 month program, speak up to level up back in at the end of 2020 2021. So you experience up to level up, and then you’ve experienced me repackaging just teaching the signature talk component in three days. So I’m curious from your take, right is, and this is not to speak to the differences in the programs, but more of the what, what did you take from either and kind of what would you recommend for someone listening around? Like, the importance of getting a talk done? Like, why is that a significant milestone? Well,

Merritt Onsa  20:31  

yeah, both have. And your coaching has an insistence really, to schedule a talk. I mean, that is the bottom line that if you don’t have something on the calendar, if you’re anything like me, you’re gonna wait, you’re gonna, well, you know, that’ll be next year or next month or whatever. So when I went through Sulu, I did I scheduled a talk at my church, and it was terrifying. But, but I did it. And then after I did it, I was like, I think this needs a little bit more work. Obviously, like, I think that’s a natural part of the process that that this was just the first version of the publicly heard talk. And then the signature talk accelerator. I happen to have a talk coming up. So when you were asking who wants to do the accelerator, I was like, Well, it’s, it’s a little scary, because it’s super close to when my talk is happening. But hey, if it’s three days, and then I’m going to get it done. And that was content, you know, I had poked through your recording, or your trainings to get what I needed when I needed it. But I hadn’t done it all in one fell swoop, which was kind of a brain fry. But it was so good. Because it forced me to get my stuff together to you know, when we did some co working sessions, I could just like, turn it off and go in the quiet room and be like, these are the things that have to be finished. But it forced me to get out of that perfectionism that, like, I don’t even think that I know that I’m doing it. Where it’s like, well, I get to a point where I, I’m not sure how to do this piece of it. So I throw my hands up and go eat lunch or something or go to Cole’s. But the signature talk accelerator, have condensing that in three days, made me get it done. And then I went and did my talk. And it actually because it was so recent. I felt like I could be more connected to who I am. And not just like, Oh, here’s this outline I have to follow. So I don’t know if that answers your question of kind of

Heather Sager  22:50  

what I what I heard and what I was thinking of as you were describing this, and I had never, I knew but I had never thought about so clearly before. But you and I’ve talked a lot about perfectionism, we’re gonna dive into that next you brought you open the door for that. So we’re gonna dive in. What I noticed is, when it comes to implementation, for any kind of learning to take any program under the sun, y’all if you’re listening, I know you’ve bought courses and stuff before the time you give yourself to take the program between the taking, we fill up the space. And what I see oftentimes, and I think this is what happened with you is that in between just that space, and that time, we think, Oh, space is good, more creative thinking, more better ideas will flow more time means higher quality product. But what we find is the more space between the more opportunity for our brains to run amok, and perfectionism to come in and comparison to come in, and all these other things that really lead to self sabotage, which we don’t often think of. So can you talk about just perfectionism for you, and just how that resonates? And how you’ve experienced that over the last couple of years, even whilst having access to I mean, the best training ever?

Merritt Onsa  24:10  

I mean, I think it’s this. It’s hard to put a finger on it because it feels kind of nebulous, like, it attacks when you’re not really paying attention. It’s that feeling of like, well, I just don’t know, or I’m like, afraid to commit or choose some direction or another. Because I don’t want to get it wrong. And I think we make up what the consequences of that might be, you know, like, we think like, Oh, if it’s not perfect, nobody will listen, which is not at all true. So I think I just, it puts up these roadblocks, where I couldn’t actually get to the finish line. I couldn’t check the things off the list that were you know, next in the training I could I did hear it but I couldn’t actually do it for me. Until it was like, Here I am, my talk is two weeks, it has to be done. I can’t, you know, I might be able to like, eliminate some slides or whatever. But like, I have to know what I’m going to deliver. And so having that pressure forced me to make the decisions that I needed to make in the midst of the training. So yeah, and I think I’m super adverse to like, I just don’t really want to be in a hard place, I’d like it to be easy.

Heather Sager  25:38  

I think you’re not alone in that, that I know, logically, we all know that we have to have that pressure, we have to have like, there has to be some tough decisions and hard work, right mental work or whatever else. But we don’t we don’t consciously choose it.

Merritt Onsa  25:53  

Ever. Yeah. So from

Heather Sager  25:55  

that, okay, can you talk a little bit about So going down that line of perfectionism and the waiting for it to be perfect before showing up? One of the one of the things that I really seen you grow in in the last two years is, so the stage that you’re consistently speaking on is your own stage. So you’ve had your podcast, as you said, from 2016, you’ve also gone live on social media like you were showing up. But I really have noticed a transformation of how you show up and what you talk about. Can you talk a little bit about that journey for you?

Merritt Onsa  26:28  

Hmm, it’s so interesting to have somebody observe you and comment. Yeah, I think that I have needed to remind myself that I’m not just here to like, say words, like put them out and hope somebody grabs on. I think the word I would use is leadership. And sometimes I think as women, we maybe shy away from that. But I’ve had to remind myself again, that if someone is listening to my podcast, or if someone is watching my Instagram stories, or my reels, they’re looking to me for leadership in an area where I have experienced that they may not, or that they might just be earlier down the road. And if I can remember that, like, oh, that’s why someone might hit play on a podcast episode. And it feels scary. Because there there’s a responsibility that comes with saying, Okay, I want to lead you through this. But I feel like that’s been the internal difference for me is to start to own that a little bit more.

Heather Sager  27:40  

I remember you had shared with me, I think you posted in our community around a live that you did, like one of your first lives compared to you going live now. How would you describe the contrast? We’ll call it

Merritt Onsa  27:58  

embarrassing? No. I mean, when I look back, I, you know, I have to celebrate that woman who showed up probably with a toddler or a baby. And probably and showered and messy hair. And I was kind of like, what I think I was narrating my space. Like, here’s what I’m in my living room. So it was something like that kind of lame, like, who cares? Too now, like I do remind myself to when I get on a live video, not comment on how bad I think my hair looks, you know, like, just get into it. They don’t care. They’re not analyzing that. And so I think it’s dramatically different, where at the time I’m going, I’m still testing things out. I was testing things out then with a bit more trepidation than I am now. Now it’s like, okay, I have something to say. And I need to do it concisely. And I want to do it in a way that people don’t, you know, X out of it before actually get to the point. Yeah.

Heather Sager  29:05  

So knowing what you know, now around just the whole journey that you’ve gone on through going live speaking on your podcast, creating talk, speaking on stages, like you’ve you’ve, you’ve done quite a lot in the last two years in running your programs. If someone is listening, and let’s say they’re earlier in their journey, where they’re still at the point where they’re like, I just gotta get my messaging more clear, so that I can show up and not look like an idiot. What would you say to them?

Merritt Onsa  29:34  

Showing up is how you get your messaging clear. That’s how you do it. And it feels scary and embarrassing to like, put something out there and be like, Well, somebody’s gonna see this and think I’m whatever a dork don’t know what I’m talking about. Should I wash my hair, whatever it is. But until those words come out of your mouth mouth, you aren’t giving yourself a chance to practice what you know and say, oh, yeah, I liked how I said that, or Oh, I wish I was more clear there. Let me tighten it up next time that trial and error is huge. And it means just like ripping off the band aid and going for it. Yeah.

Heather Sager  30:21  

As you were saying those words, I have the song creep in my head. I’m like, I’m a creep. I’m a weirdo. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here. Like, that is the anthem for it. Right. And it’s part of one of the things we talk about, often, you mentioned this quite a bit is just get to that first stage, you have to have that stage milestone that you deliver publicly. So you hit that milestone, and then we can move on to the part where we start refining. But getting that first version out, we call it the SRT, Vishuddhi, rough draft, crappy rough draft, whatever you want to call it. And getting that first that version out, or that first round of lives or podcast interviews, or whatever it is, right, is the committing to that mindset is crucial for the growth the for everyone in our in our programs and in our groups. So can you just talk about how you’ve adjusted the way that you approach things around wanting to get it right before starting? versus getting it right through? Starting?

Merritt Onsa  31:20  

That’s a great, great question. So probably the best example I have is podcasts, like solo podcast episodes, where I used to, like script everything out and then read it and then be like, I wish I didn’t sound like I was reading. And you know, kind of like, beat myself up over that. And I think it’s been super helpful to kind of go for the bullet points instead, like you teach us that, you know, if I, if I know my content enough that I want to share it with somebody else, like a bullet point could get me started. And then and I even hear it when I listen like oh, that’s where I went off script because it sounds more real and it sounds more natural. And, you know, I might flub some things. It’s okay, you know, on a podcast, you can edit that out. So I just Yeah, I think it’s been so helpful to shift into trusting myself more with what I already know. And not having to have this like, rigid script that I follow. Because honestly, I don’t think that’s it’s not as attractive to a listener. I mean, if I can identify it, then they probably can’t do. Yeah. How has that

Heather Sager  32:36  

that kind of ability to trust bullet points? How has that transformed your own confidence?

Merritt Onsa  32:44  

I mean, I have to work on it constantly. You know, it’s like, even before getting on this call, like, I know what they’re not going to talk about. But I need to remind myself, I can do this. I have what I need. You know, I’ve done all the work that needs to have happened for me to show up right now. And however that occurs is fine. It’s how it was meant to be. I love Heather, when I listened to your podcast, like you just kind of leave it and all the flubs and the, you know, mispronounced some word or whatever. And it’s like, Oh, right. She’s totally human, too. And it allows me to be like, okay, okay, relax, just settle down.

Heather Sager  33:29  

Permission to lawyers. That is the mission of this show, ladies and gentlemen.

Merritt Onsa  33:35  

It’s more real, right? It’s more human. It’s more attractive than like, the polished plastic robot kind of way. Yeah. It is, you know,

Heather Sager  33:49  

it’s, I’m gonna go on a little side tangent here, but I think this will be relevant. When I first started my business. I, I, the comments I always got from people is whether you’re so polished, whether you’re so polished, whether you’re so polish, and I was laughed because in the real world life right off stage, I’m the silliest weirdo under the planet, like always flubbing, like very clumsy. And I saw this interesting contrast between the two. They were both me. But I realized that I was trying to show up in a more professional way, which was polished. And I was excluding those things. And what I realized is it put a like a distance between the people that I wanted to serve, they were putting me in the sound super douchey to say, but up on a pedestal that they thought that’s what success was. So for me it knowing my audience and knowing that, that imperfection and that whatever, it’s part of the journey, and honestly, it’s part of who I am. I made an intentional choice to start being like, including the things that I would have otherwise cut, or I would have practiced away or those things to be even more real. And not only does that freed me from content, but I think it makes me more identifiable. It makes me calm. more interesting to listen to, and quite frankly, a hell of a lot more fun to record. So it’s that it’s just I think it’s just even still, I mean, I’ve been doing this for a very long time, we still have versions of ourselves that we grow. Like, I think I would probably cringe and high five, episode number one Heather on the podcast, you probably do the same thing for you. It’s just interesting how we how we go. Do you have you noticed that your persona, if you will, on camera, and as you’re giving speeches or whatnot, has that evolved over even those the last six months with last year?

Merritt Onsa  35:38  

Yeah, I mean, I think specifically, if I go back to that talk that I did, in the spring, I was more free. I was more myself, then times when I’ve had to, like, be more rigid and, like, feel like I had to follow more of an hour or not an outline a script. So yeah, and it was interesting. After that, I felt like the women who came up and spoke to me, you know, we were picking up kids, and we were doing all the things, I had multiple people come up and speak to me, like, somebody that they could relate to like a friend. And that is how I want like, I want to come come alongside you and do this thing with you help you figure out your dreams, versus be this like up on a pedestal, you know, kind of speaker, which I totally feel that like, I was distancing myself from my audience, because I was feeling like I had to be so you know, perfect and, and nail it. Versus like, oh, I actually could like, speak to a few people before I got on stage because I wasn’t like trying not to throw up. So yeah, definitely, just being able to be more of myself.

Heather Sager  36:52  

Yeah, I think that’s the I think that’s the continual goal we should all be pursuing is continuing to show up as a the truest version of ourselves. Right? And because it’s going to evolve, right, as we as we grow in our businesses, if we have more experiences, other areas of our life, influence our businesses. And what we talk about is, the more authentic we are now there is something to be said around, somebody could hear this and be like, Oh, I just need to be like, What can? I do? And that’s just to be clear, that’s not what we’re saying, right? If you’re constantly making word flubs, if you’re constantly, like using filler words, like like, like and all of that, that is not going to signal leader word you use I love that word, but use it all the time. It’s not going to signal leader to your audience. So there is a difference between being super casual, and really showing up as an authentic leader have I’m just actually curious. We never talked about this before. Have you ever experienced that? Did you ever feel like maybe we’re too loosey goosey on a stage?

Merritt Onsa  37:55  

Yes. Yeah, and I think some of that is, I feel uncomfortable, you know, and kind of uncomfortable in my own skin or like maybe like, the background noise in your brain of like, I really don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m just, you know, impostor syndrome. I’m just faking it here. So yeah, and I think the difference is that what you just talked about the, the being more authentically yourself, there’s a warmth to that, that draws people in. And so yeah, at the level, I’m kind of just winging it, I think pushes people away to you because they’re like, what’s our problem? Why she’s so insecure.

Heather Sager  38:45  

It’s interesting, though. It’s funny. I’ve never I don’t think we’ve ever talked about this on the show before in this level of like specificity. But that is when you said like, you were nervous or that background track that was going what’s interesting is he noticed this a lot when people when they speak in like peer masterminds, or you are in like a peers group. And there’s a camaraderie that’s friendship, and people are nervous or uncomfortable there might be this like, Oh, I’m gonna get really lacks I’m gonna get super I’ve done this I’ve made this mistake within the last few years of my business before where it’s like maybe a little too personal on the examples are a little too casual in the language. And and that’s a lesson we all have to learn right is figuring out what is that balance of polish and prestige and authenticity. And to figure out what your mix is. This is actually why we spend so much time developing our speaker personas inside my program. I’m curious as your well one. Do you remember what your speaker persona is? And to date has it evolved for you over

Merritt Onsa  39:46  

the last few years? Yeah, it was different when I first started with Zulu and I don’t remember what it was but I have it right up on my wall. Mine is genuine motivating servant leader.

Heather Sager  39:59  

Yeah. And what are those mean to you? Let’s give a little bit of a brief to the audience around what what’s the significance of these words,

Merritt Onsa  40:06  

it helps me remember who I am, and how I want to show up for my audience. So I want to I want to motivate I want to surf I want to lead and I want to be myself, so that they feel the freedom to do that, too. And it it kind of gives a container around like, Well, who am I, when I turn on the mic when I go live? And I have had that practice of like, okay, look at that first, okay, then look at my introduction, you know, go through those reminders, because that’s really helpful to like, okay, get the rest of the garbage out of the way. This is who I am showing up as, and this is my brand and how I can be consistent and how people see me again, and again. And again, if I continue to practice this, I love that you

Heather Sager  41:01  

have that on your wall. I love that so much as part of just give you guys some things Rama to look forward to this is called our power prep process. And it’s essentially it’s the non negotiables that you do when you jump on a podcast interview like today with merit when you do a guest presentation. Even if you do your own podcast episode recordings, it’s the prep that you need to put you in the right state of mind and say, what are the talking points that I’m bringing to this specific stage, you’re not creating things from scratch, you have your signature talk to pull from, but the power prep really helps you be present in the moment so you can show up at your best. So I love like your model, a model student right now.

Merritt Onsa  41:40  

I always aim to please.

Heather Sager  41:44  

Great. All right. So if anyone’s listening, who’s like, alright, I love I love this story. Okay, hear what you’re saying? To have more clarity, my message, I need to just like suck it up and start doing it. Do you have any other like, final thoughts for anyone listening? Who’s still kind of going, but I want to get it right. Like, I just want to get it done. Like, this accelerator sounds great. It’s perfect. I’m gonna get my message done. And then it’s all gonna be rainbows and Lucky Charms, like, can you give them the real talk around what it takes to really be comfortable and competent and confident with your message moving forward?

Merritt Onsa  42:25  

Yeah, it takes doing it again, and again and again. And not worrying that it wasn’t perfect. You know, any of those times, it’s never going to be perfect. And actually, as you as you take action, I think your courage starts to increase, because you realize, like, oh, look, I did that little piece of it. And I didn’t die. And it wasn’t a failure. And people responded, and I felt different, having taken the action. And that motivates you to do the next one. And I think anybody who’s drawn to speaking, has probably felt that like, I don’t even know what to call it, that little tickle that you get after you get off stage, you’re like, oh my gosh, that looks so well, you know, and you just feel this, like powerful leadership that you had this opportunity to share with others. And it’s so encouraging that you want more of it as a little bit of like a drug, you want more. So I would say to double down and get dirty in the hard work, and acknowledge that the things that don’t go the way you expect are huge learning opportunities. And if you feel like crying, sometimes that’s okay. It’s hard. But it’s so worth it. And to get to a place where you can walk off stage and be like, I did my best for where I am right now. That’s huge. It feels so good. And then your message got to get out into the world and that’s really what you want.

Heather Sager  44:20  

I love that Mic drop. Don’t actually drop your mic. Peas are expensive and we need to continue to use them for our pumpkins in this beautiful Barrett. Alright, where can people find out a little bit more about what you do and maybe follow up on your

Merritt Onsa  44:34  

share my podcast is called the devoted dreamers podcast and you can find seven years of episodes and you can go back and listen to my very first because it was not perfect. But yeah, find me there or on Instagram. I’m at Merritt J O. And we’d love to connect If this message resonates with you. That’s great.

Heather Sager  44:59  

That’s great. We will tag so you can give merit your feedback and give her some love in the comments for being brave and very honest today in your in your sharing of how the journey is I think we were chatting on this before we hit record. It’s so easy sometimes when you share these business case studies, it’s really easy to be like, I did this thing and now look at all my success. And around here and inside our programs we talk a lot about it takes work. Like it takes work now guided work and the work can be very fun. But I can’t do as coaches always say I can’t do the push ups for you. And you have gone on your own journey of doing your own pushups metaphorically over the last few years and I’m just so freaking proud of you. Through all the highest your all the lows, you just continue to show up for your audience. And it really shows true devotion that you have talked about, namely your podcast, but true devotion that you have for your wanting to serve and truly help and make a difference. You’re doing great girl. I’m so proud of you. All right, friends. I hope you enjoyed this interview. We will see you again next week.

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