[00:00:00] Welcome to the School of Moxie podcast brought to you by Sensible Woo. This is the podcast where we break the mold around business podcast conversations. We make it fun around here by using television, movies, and entertainment as a jumping off point for conversations about how we navigate the world as individuals.
I’m your host, Mary Williams, and I’ve been an online creator since 2010. I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go over the years, but one thing that has persisted is a struggle among entrepreneurs to connect more authentically with their audiences. As a business systems process and operations coach, I’ve seen how much my clients and subscribers have benefited from learning how to incorporate their fun sides.
So we’re going to demonstrate this for you here on this podcast through analogous thinking. Not only that, but we’re using media and entertainment as the lens through which we reflect on our own desires and strengths. Fiction is the vehicle that gives us words to articulate our value systems and tells people who we are.
I find that a lot of my
[00:01:00] audience, and probably yours as well, struggle to find words for their problems until they start thinking about how to use analogies. Analogies help us build bridges between something we can’t describe into a new area that we are in the process of developing. As humans, we are a languaged species, which means we find context and meaning in our lives. This podcast is going to help you normalize this process and see how it’s done in real time as my guests talk through their own experiences in relation to the episodes they’ve been assigned for this show.
Our first season of this podcast is centered on the first season of the HBO original series, The Last of Us, based on the video game of the same name. Consider this your official spoiler alert. On this podcast, my guests are going to jump right into the conversation, and we are going to spill all the tea on the story and the plot.
So if you enjoy being surprised, I encourage you to watch the episode first before listening to our discussion. Thank you to our generous sponsors
[00:02:00] for the one and only premiere week here at the School of Moxie podcast. This week has been made possible with support from the AK Collective with Amber Kinney.
You’ll hear about the AK Collective in the show credits every week because they’re a major part of how I do my marketing around here. And I’m so thankful to Amber for the additional opening week support. Scale fast with clear metrics and ads that convert like crazy. And that’s just a very small part of what the AK Collective can do for you.
Additional support comes from The Secret to Thriving Online Communities with Tonya Kubo. If your online community needs to grow and delight your members, this is the service and program for you. We are also supported this week by Everyday Effectiveness with Gwen Bortner. You can’t scale without real business operations running the show, and Gwen is your person to help you do that.
Last but not least this week, we are supported by Custom Learning Atelier with Beth Salyers. We demonstrate a lot of divergent thinking and
[00:03:00] alternative methods of learning on this podcast, and that’s what Beth can build for your organization as well. Links to each of these amazing sponsors is located in the show notes on this episode.
I encourage you to give them some love by visiting their websites. Before we get into this week’s episode, have I told you about the weekly readings that I create for entrepreneurs just like you each and every week? I’m an Akashic Records and Tarot reader and I’ve been giving clients intuitive guidance coaching for just about 20 years now.
That’s a long time. I know that most readers out there don’t focus on your business needs. So that’s where I come in. Readings with me are only about your business development and it helps you feel more aligned with your intuitive messages so that you can incorporate those gut feelings and inner knowings into your business data for better results.
Click the link in the show notes and subscribe to my weekly email updates. Where you can get a free reading sent to your inbox every single week. If you want more, you can subscribe to the weekly extended readings, which are just
[00:04:00] $9 per month, and help you get focused on your business energy every week.
No more Sunday scaries. You’ve got this better in hand than you know, and I’ll help you see it. Now let’s get watching and talking. Hi, this is Mary, your host for the School of Moxie podcast. Thank you so much for joining us in our first season. I guarantee you aren’t hearing other entrepreneurs talk about business the way you’re going to hear my guests talk about it on this podcast.
And I cannot wait to dive into that in our next episode. But first, I decided to add in a special solo episode to kick us off because a lot of events happened during the course of production, which need to be addressed. We talk about television and movies around here, and I’ll explain more about that in just a moment, but the really important thing is that because of the entertainment topic, I need to make sure we’ve included a disclaimer this season when it comes to the union strikes that are still happening when this podcast premieres.
What I’ve done with my guests
[00:05:00] is use the HBO original series, The Last of Us, as the focal point to talk about business. Rather than give you a lecture about analogous thinking exercises, we’ve actually modeled this for you over an entire season of this podcast. So your best course of action is to simply listen and enjoy the conversation.
But because I think television and movies are the perfect way to explore tough emotional topics in business and leadership development, it got a little crunchy as we worked our way to premiering this thing. I made a calculated choice for this podcast that we would record in person in professional sound studios with a sound engineer to produce high quality audio content.
While I was literally flying around the world, WGA and SAG /AFTRA went on strike one after the other. The Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild are still on strike when I record this episode, and it’s important to note that most of our guests this season are regular people building businesses.
But we do have a
[00:06:00] guest this season who is a member of SAG /AFTRA, and Sarah recorded her episode before the union went on strike on July 15, 2023. You’ll find a special disclaimer on our episode when you hear it this week, and the reason why I have it on there is so that she doesn’t get penalized by the union for future jobs as a working actor.
A couple of us on this podcast have lots of industry networking connections, but we’re not part of the unions. Also, I wanted to make sure it’s stated aloud that the content we’ve produced here for the podcast, it’s not considered in conflict with any of the union rules as they negotiate for more equitable terms and conditions of employment in the new age of artificial intelligence.
I want to say that as a creator of this podcast and someone who used to make movies for a living, I am 1,000,000% in support of my friends who are currently on the picket lines. This is a really big deal, and the strike is necessary. In fact, that’s a perfect segue to talk about what we’re talking about this season on the podcast, because it
[00:07:00] can be really easy as a normal, non famous person to think of Hollywood as a town full of rich, fat cats.
And while those folks do exist, they are actually a very small minority of the working people in the industry. We’re going to examine the topic of fame and fortune a little bit in this opening week with Renee’s conversation. I invited her to talk about our show just a little differently than everyone else, and it was so juicy, you’re going to hear half of her conversation at the beginning of the season and the second half at the end of the season.
There are some notable press pieces floating around the interwebs about Pedro Pascal’s massive salary as the headlining actor on the series, and it would be too easy to just stay in the celebrity gossip space. So you’re going to hear how we get out of that on this podcast and get into really meaty topics around everything from building communities to creating safe spaces in a world where things like pandemics are out of our control.
As entrepreneurs, I think we should be paying attention to the media world a
[00:08:00] hell of a lot more because not only does it have fascinating business stories, but we frequently look for data to build new models for selling our offers and delivering our products. This world operates so publicly, you can get more out of it than almost any other industry.
But learning how to draw that analogous bridge over to your specific business is a skill that has to be developed, and this is where this podcast comes in. I’ve been teaching analogous thinking for a long time, and it’s been with me my entire career. I’m a librarian by trade, and I started working as a digital archivist for a major movie studio.
Fast forward to becoming a business coach, and what I’ve discovered is that my ability to manage huge quantities of information came in super handy. I’m used to helping people translate their feelings and thoughts into better questions that get good answers. Back in my movie making days, I earned a nickname called the Bridge Builder.
People would actually invite me to their meetings and help translate between teams. It really happened because
[00:09:00] most people, whether you want to admit it or not, have a really hard time drawing analogies to their own work when the ideas aren’t presented super literally to them. But literal thinking and absolutism are like poison to any business.
It will prevent you from making decisions or being so limited in your options that the energy of your offers slowly drains out until you have to hop to the next idea. Learning how to use the information around you without making exact copies is what analogous thinking does for you. It’s how you create new original work.
What I know is that television shows and movies can be the perfect vehicle to practice these skills and turn them into your secret sauce. If you’ve been stuck in a rut or you’re looking for something that’s more unique to set yourself apart from the competition, Watching TV and movies is perfect because the risk is so low.
It’s emotionally safe. You have an opportunity to privately examine how you feel and how you’re processing your emotions around a particular topic. In fact, if you’ve
[00:10:00] struggled to take risks in business in general, watching a TV show or a movie that is way outside your normal comfort zone can be a very liberating experience.
The stakes are so low that if it’s truly unpalatable for you right now, all you have to do is turn it off. But our current technology age has so many people programmed to mindlessly binge watch their usual favorites, whether it’s fluffy romantic comedies or salacious true crime docuseries, I’ll bet that you have your usual go to genres.
Hey, so do I. I love action movies and hero stories. I also like underdog stories, so I feel uplifted when the protagonist overcomes their struggles. And then I have my comfort flicks. Pitch Perfect. Anyone? Anyone? Our entertainment helps us feel things, and we should always like what we like. In fact, when I was writing these analogies all through the COVID pandemic lockdowns, I got more responses on my newsletter for Legally Blonde
from men than any other title that I
[00:11:00] wrote about. It still makes me giggle, and I love that they felt safe enough to confess that to me, that that title brought them so much joy. It just goes to show that you can’t ever predict what someone else really likes, which is why I chose The Last of Us. Because, for a lot of people, watching this show is the pattern interrupt we all needed.
In fact, this is what happened to me, which kicked off this entire podcast. The marketing machine behind The Last of Us had been going strong for about four weeks, and I was totally avoiding the show. I had been watching my usual shows on autopilot because I was working my way out of a wicked case of severe burnout, but that’s a story for a different podcast.
One weekend, I was just so tired, all I could do was lay on the sofa and watch something, anything. And so I finally said, okay, HBO, do your best. And I said I would watch the pilot to see what all the fuss was about. In my mind, I thought, ugh, another zombie show. And I knew it was based off the video game.
You had to be living under a rock
[00:12:00] not to know about this game back in 2013. I was living in Austin, Texas, where the game was created, the year the game was released, and it made massive waves. But I’m an ex gamer, and as much as I love movies like Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland, I really didn’t think a show like this was going to do it for me at that time.
I have and still feel strongly that The Walking Dead oversaturated our televisions with gratuitous zombie kills and only accomplished dulling everyone’s senses. No, I’m not a fan, as you can tell. Although I appreciate things they did in the first season that hadn’t been done before. I think if they’d stopped like 10 seasons and 4 spinoffs sooner, maybe I’d have more respect for them.
So that’s where my mind was at. It’s brutal, I know. Feel free to send me your hate mail if you’re a Walking Dead fan. I wouldn’t blame you. But can we take a moment to acknowledge that visceral response? When we’re fans of something, look how strongly we’ll defend it. Here’s your first analogous lesson.
How strongly do you defend what happens in your
[00:13:00] business? Is it as strong as your fandom for your favorite show? That is food for thought for you right there. This story’s already getting long, so let me wrap it up. I was watching the pilot episode for The Last of Us and was riveted. This was not a zombie show.
This was a character drama, and I saw business written all over it. I let the autoplay continue to the second episode and then the third episode, and I cried so hard over that episode. And I knew in that moment, something was happening here that was different for me. That evening is when the fourth episode was airing, and I had to wait about two hours for it.
And I had not been so impatient for a show episode to air in ages. This is the same story I heard repeatedly from my guests. You’ll hear them say on the mic all season that they never would have watched this if I hadn’t invited them into the project. And now that they have, they can’t stop thinking about so many ideas and how they’re relating to the world and other people around them in more compassionate and innovative ways.
Some of them
[00:14:00] have already produced new content as a result of their interviews. I chose this show for the experience I just described to you, but also because the reality of our much less dramatic world, thank heavens, is that we did in fact go through a pandemic together. I didn’t realize how much I needed to process big chunks of that and this show helped me do it.
I found a lot more compassion for my fellow entrepreneurs after watching this and I think you will too. High suspense and drama creates an emotional response in you as well. We all need it in order to feel something new in our problem solving processes. I encourage you to watch along with me and my guests so that you can experience this same response.
So much of our usual business development is watered down and kept in a professional bubble that removes humanity from the real problems we’re solving. We are humans, and what makes us special is our ability to feel things. If you’re not feeling what your audience is feeling, you’re not going to create the
[00:15:00] offer and sales page that helps them buy from you.
You’re going to struggle with your authenticity because people are savvy and we smell bullshit from a mile away. The usual business training programs aren’t working anymore. They’re tired. They’re dull. Their age has ended. It’s time for a new method and this requires so little investment or risk. You really can’t go wrong.
You can use your experience in this podcast to become more relatable, more authentic, more interesting, and more connected with the world around you in the way that people are actually telling you about their current struggles and celebrations. When I’m recording this episode, our entrepreneurial community is riding another cycle change in our industries.
Customer behaviors have shifted and changed, and they are telling us what they need. But if you only look for what you want to hear, that’s going to create major problems for your business. When you watch a television series like The Last of Us, it can help you connect with the feelings happening outside, in your real
[00:16:00] world, so that you can unhook from the usual messaging and funnels simply aren’t working right now.
This week, your best bet is to fire up max. com and start watching the first two episodes of The Last of Us. I know that once you start, you’re going to want to keep going. So have fun with it. Let yourself enjoy the process of building your business. We got into this entrepreneurial journey because we wanted more freedom and to make an impact in the world around us.
So let’s do something a little differently than the usual zoom calls and webinars and online courses. I am so grateful to my brilliantly insightful guests this season. They were so brave to do this project. They talked about their experiences and thoughts on the mic, and you’ll hear them struggle to find their words sometimes and have so much to say in so many other ways.
It’s an empowering experience to hear other people model this work of being a more relatable human and I know you’re never going to be the same either. So let’s do this. Hello Season 1.
[00:17:00] This has been the official School of Moxie podcast. With your host, Mary Williams. This show is written and produced by Mary Williams, and this episode was recorded in Vancouver, Washington at the Sensible Woo home office.
Chris Martin from Chris Martin Studios is our editor and the sound engineer for this episode. Additional production and marketing support is provided by the AK Collective, founded by Amber Kinney. I’m Mary Williams, your host and the founder of Sensible Woo. You can watch the HBO original series, The Last of Us, on max.
com. As a librarian, I will always encourage you to check out the companion book, Bittersweet, by Susan Cain at your local library. You can find this show wherever you listen to podcasts and all of the links to resources, guest information, and anything else we might reference in an episode are in the show notes.
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Until next week, be sensible, be woo, and most of all, be you.