More than anything, great businesses thrive because of the positive impact they are making to the world. Unfortunately, many small businesses still find it difficult to come out of their own shells and make the difference they are set to create. In this episode, Terri Levine invites someone who can help you do that. She sits down with David Trotter, the host of Inspiration Rising and author of Empowered to Rise: The Secret to Embracing Your True Identity, Uncovering Your Super Powers, and Bringing Your Inspiration to the World. David inspires us in this conversation to tap into the divine within ourselves that helps us move from a place of love, empowerment, and inspiration in life and leadership. He further shares some powerful advice on taking our dreams into income streams, where we can help transform the lives of others and the world at large.
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Empowering Businesses To Rise And Create A Positive Impact To The World With David Trotter
We are all about empowering small and middle-sized business owners to have more of an impact in the world while they’re making more money and helping more people. I have a guest with me who’s here to help you. His name is David Trotter and he’s the author of Empowered to Rise: The Secret to Embracing Your True Identity, Uncovering Your Super Powers, and Bringing Your Inspiration to the World. David is also the host of Inspiration Rising. That’s a podcast dedicated to inspiring women and the men who support them to rise up in life, love and leadership. Through his business coaching programs, David helps female entrepreneurs experience life-changing breakthroughs in their business. He’s been doing this for over 25 years. He’s helped people get unstuck, clarify their goals, and take their lives to the next level through his leadership, speaking, writing and filmmaking. He and his wife, Laura, had been married for over 26 years and they live in California. Welcome to the show, David.
Thank you so much, Terri. It’s an honor to be with you. I appreciate it.
You have many things that are in resonance with me. I’m curious, how did you get started down this path? What led you here?
I’m of the age where I’ve had multiple adventures in careers. I started off with three years in corporate and then I transitioned to being a pastor. I was a pastor for over a decade and helped start churches here in Southern California. It’s very entrepreneurial effort when you start a church. You’re starting something from scratch and you’re dealing with staffing, budgets, people, and rallying people to be a part of it. Several years ago, I transitioned out of that and started my own marketing business that I’ve served people for many years. Primarily for profits and some nonprofits as well, and that has allowed me to pursue some passion projects. I ended up falling into documentary filmmaking and there were some social justice issues that were close to my heart.
I’ve produced and directed three feature-length documentaries in social justice issues, plus a scripted feature film. For the last few years, I decided that I want to be impacting people more on a day-to-day basis rather than a year-to-year basis because films take so long. I started Inspiration Rising to bring all of the experiences that I’ve had over the years into one umbrella to go, “How do I help people get unstuck, clarify their goals, take their life to the next level?” People are always asking me, “Dave, how do you do all these different things? How do you know how to do it? How do you figure out? How do you stay motivated?” I started realizing that’s a passion for me of doing that, and so helping other people made sense. That’s how Inspiration Rising was born.
Why focus on women?Part of being a heartrepreneur is leading with your heart first. Click To Tweet
When I started thinking about this toward the end of 2018, I asked my wife, “Do you support, do you like the idea of this transition?” She said, “Of course. Who is this going to be for? It can’t be for everybody, otherwise, it’s for nobody.” We said, “Who are the people that you’ve most impacted over the years? Who are the people that have been most drawn to your work?” We thought about it and it was clear. It was primarily women for whatever reason in terms of not only the ministry but the marketing and the movies. Primarily, I’d worked with a lot of women. They had been influenced by my work and we decided, “Let’s have the podcast be more focused on a female audience.”
I’ve gotten some mild pushback like, “Why is this man telling women what to do?” If they spend ten minutes with me, they’ll realize that I’m not trying to tell anybody what to do. I’m here to support and encourage. The 125 plus episodes on our podcast, 95% of them featured women. I’m highlighting what women are doing. I believe in women and want to support women. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use that as a tagline because I have gotten a little pushback. I don’t want to get any pushback. I want to just help people, but that’s the reason why.
That resonated with me and I believe it will resonate with the audience. What fascinates me is that my husband, he’s a financial advisor and has been doing it for many years. He ended up with his primary audience, women and it was by design. He felt that women were not in financial control that sometimes divorced, widowed, they had no financial control. As Mary Kay Ash said, “A man is not a plan.” He began to focus in that area. Interestingly enough, here in the show, the brand may sound “feminine” although we have 82% men. It’s varied over the course of years doing this. When I first started, it was predominantly male. I wasn’t marketing directly at them. It became female-oriented for a few years and all of a sudden, we’re back to predominantly male. I roll with doing what I do and staying in my lane and letting it show up.
I posted an elevator pitch to my audience and also to an outside Facebook group that I’m a part of. My audience didn’t push back on the word women, but when I posted it to the outside Facebook group, there was real clear pushback on that. That would be like saying a straight person was trying to help people who were identifying as LGBTQ. That would be weird and I get it. I understand that. They don’t know my heart and they’re just seeing some text on a screen. I don’t want to do anything that is going to cause someone to bristle at the very beginning. Part of being a Heartrepreneur is going, “I want to lead with my heart first. If there’s something that’s not helpful, I want to take that away.” It’s a constant learning process as an entrepreneur, what works, what doesn’t work, how can I be more attractive and more helpful?
That’s a great takeaway for our audience. When you put out a message, a marketing message, a core unique positioning statement or an elevator pitch, you’re always testing. Marketing isn’t like you do it once and there you go. Even the word ‘Heartrepreneur,’ when it was first handed to me by my publisher, I was like, “What?” I then resonated with it. I branded and trademarked it, and we did all of this. I tested and tested to make sure that that landed. It landed. The logo landed and we stuck with it. Everyone breathed this in. What David said is important because you have to make sure that your audience is in alignment. Even if there’s a little pushback, maybe that’s telling you something. That’s another way to say it and another way to do it.
David, I’ll share this with you. I have had a coach or a mentor in my life for many years. I have eight of them. I’ve only ever had one female, and that might shock the audience. I don’t know why but I gravitated to men that are very much like you that have a big heart that is skilled and have a lot of knowledge. When it comes to growing my female business, I haven’t had female mentors. I’ve had male mentors. I’ve not chosen a person based on their sex. I’ve chosen a person based on their heart that they’re running bigger and faster than me. I don’t know if that helps in any way. I wanted to share that with you.
I appreciate that. It is interesting, even in the world in which we live in, with all the things that are happening that it’s easy to be misunderstood. We want to continue to clarify our messaging to make sure that we’re not understood, but at the same time, how do we stay ourselves? How do we stay true to what’s going on inside of us? That’s a little tricky in the world that we live. The more we can stay open to feedback and also at the same time, keep our hearts open because one thing that I have noticed, especially as a pastor. For a decade, as a pastor, you enter into that with an open heart, but standing up in front of hundreds of people each week and you can have comments that are pretty painful. If somebody hasn’t been in that context, it’s like, “You’re not teaching the right thing.” “You’re not true to this scripture.” “Why did you say that about your wife or kids?”
All these things and what’s interesting is you can start to close your heart and your heart can become guarded. There’s something less influential, less impactful when your heart is guarded like that because people don’t feel that heart connection. That’s true in business because if you’re a Heartrepreneur, I would think that I want my heart to be open and connecting with people. Yet, it can be easy over the years when challenges come up to go, “It’s probably easier for me to close my heart and protect myself from either comments or feedback or whatever it might be.” That’s something I’m learning and I’m trying to figure out life like, how do I remain and keep my heart open? At the same time, keep asking for input and feedback. It’s a challenge.
That is the perfect blend though. Keeping our heart open and allowing that feedback. I am good friends with someone who was in the movie, The Secret, and he’s involved in these ridiculous lawsuits. Someone is suing him because we can in our society. I kept encouraging him, “Stay who you are. Be authentic. Keep your heart open, even if she dragged you into court.” He’s navigating it with such a wide-open loving heart. Isn’t that powerful? That’s what I want our audience to get. No matter what is going on in your life or your surroundings, we use three words as Heartrepreneurs, it’s integrity, authenticity and transparency. My experience is as long as I stay there and I come from love, there are going to be all kinds of chaos around me, chaotic people, and somebody who argues with one of my posts on social media or whatever it may be. If I’m coming from the purest place, that’s the most important. Does that land for you?
Part of it ties back into what I call our true identity. If I have embraced my true identity, I’m going to be more solid when I’m dealing with situations like that and less triggered. An example is many times, we create an identity around our external circumstances. Whether we create an identity early in life around education, socioeconomic status, the way that we look on the outside or the way that our kids perform, even our title, mom, dad, vice president or CEO, all those things can be ways that we create an identity. What I challenge my clients to do is to say, “Those things unfortunately can be here today and gone tomorrow.” We see with businesses that are lost, relationships that shift or change, or things with kids. If we ask, what is an identity that we can hold onto, that will stand the test of time, that will never go away?
For me because spirituality is a part of my life, the thing that I train our clients on is I believe that you were created by the divine. Because of that, you are loved, inspired and empowered without having to do or be anything else, just as you are. If we build our identity on the fact that we are loved, empowered or inspired, that becomes the solid launchpad from which to launch from. Even using the metaphor of the space shuttle back in the day. You would remember watching that. As a kid, you’d watch that and go, “The space shuttle, this is amazing. What if I was inside of that? What if I was a NASA astronaut?” All the attention is on the space shuttle.
Nobody is looking at the foundation or the launchpad and going, “That is the coolest launchpad ever. I want to build a launchpad.” Nobody said that. That’s what our true identity is. That’s the foundation from which we launch. If we’re launching from something external, something that’s here today and gone tomorrow, it won’t be solid and stand the test of time. If we have that strong launchpad, we can continue to launch over and over again, whether it’s businesses, products and relationships. Having that true identity, having that solid launchpad, that then allows us to not feel reactionary to all the things that are happening around us.You are less influential and impactful when your heart is guarded because people don't feel that heart connection. Click To Tweet
I’m glad you said that. I think that’s important. When people come to me and they want to build a business, they’re like, “Give me the tactics. Give me the strategy. Let’s go.” I’m like, “No. We’ve got to work on you first because we have to have a strong foundation or this house is going to crumble.” I love what you said. Tell us who is an ideal client for you. If there’s a dream client or clients and they’re reading and they want to raise their hand, who would that be? How would they figure out that they are meant to talk to you, David?
I love to help people take their dreams and turn them into an income stream. Generally, that is a woman, probably 35 to 55, who’s in the middle of a transition. I have found that most women have the biggest transition coming out of separation or divorce and saying, “Who am I? How do I generate either an income for the first time or more of an income because I’ve got shifts there financially?” She’s had a health crisis and she’s saying, “I don’t want to waste more time in life. I want to do what I’m passionate about.” She has a child who is transitioning to middle school, high school or college and that relationship is shifting whether she’s been a stay-at-home mom or not. She’s going, “I have more time on my hands and I want to do something meaningful.”
The fourth transition that I often find is not enjoying a job that she already has and like, “How do I get out of this?” That’s separation, divorce, health crisis, child emptying the nest or a job transition. There’s a dream, a longing, a desire to do something. Sometimes it’s clear like, “I want to start this.” Other time it’s, “I want to start something, but I’m not sure. Here are all the experiences that I have.” We take that dream and go, “How can we build your true identity and make sure you have a solid foundation?” That’s all the mindset work. The second is, “What do you want? What is the lifestyle that you want to create?”
How can you use your gifts, your talents, your expertise in order to create either a product or service that people would be interested in paying for? How do you then develop a loyal following to do that? Coming alongside, a lot of women, for whatever reason, in that age category are thinking, “What do I have to offer? Maybe I’ve just been a stay-at-home mom. I’ve just been the CEO of managing a family, perhaps the finances, the schedules and the meal planning.” There are many skills involved in playing that role. We help turn that dream into an income stream. That’s the goal.
I’ll remember those words, “Take the dream and turn it into an income stream.” If someone is reading and they’re like, “That’s me,” how do they best get in touch with you? What’s the preferred method?
You can check out our website. It’s InspoRising.com. The name of the podcast and the business is Inspiration Rising. We have the Rise Up Business Coaching program where I walk someone through that process of starting their business or they already have one and taking it to the next level. I generally like to work with people for about four months because that’s an amount of time where I feel like we can get some significant traction and take some significant ground in their life. That’s the best place to check out all the resources.
My story, just to share with you is, my mom died in 1996. She was like my best friend on the planet. Seven days later, my girlfriend, age 40, died of breast cancer. Right before my girlfriend died, she was on hospice and I spoke to her on the phone. I couldn’t get to be with her because I was with my mom. She said, “Terri, go and do something else with your life. Something that has more meaning than being CEO of this company.” Her words were a wake-up call. They both tragically disappeared from my life and I’m going through the motions at work. I’m saying, “I’m making a difference for this company. I’m not making a difference for the greater good.” I knew in my heart what I wanted to do. Within a couple of weeks, I finally turned in this resignation letter that I carried for weeks and I never looked back.
I tell people like, “I felt at home. I’m supposed to be at home doing this. This is what I was meant to do.” I want other people to understand that you can take your dream. You can make an income from it. You can have a great business from it. Everything in your life changes. For me, the relationship changed and my health changed. Even though I made a lot of money as CEO of this company, my wealth changed. For me, it’s the importance that I have of being able to give back, to help others, and have the freedom and free time. I know there are women that are reading, that are getting that wake-up call and are going to reach out to you. I feel sad when I meet people of any age in life, whether it’s 25 or 55. They’re in this job. They think that’s what life is, “I go to work and I make money,” but they don’t know their identity.
I love to see people unleashed. It is not just about the income stream. For me, it’s all about making a difference in the world. Whatever product or service you’re putting out there, ultimately I believe it’s going to feel empty if it’s not connected to a deep resonating why that’s transformational in some way. When I get to help people do that, it’s fulfilling.
When I worked in Corporate America, I got bonuses all the time. I don’t ever remember coming home and going, “I feel rewarded.” It was, “Here’s a nice check, which is great.” My husband said to me, “What is going on? This has been for years. You get flowers, you get candy, you get books, you get cards. You have all these admirers.” I was like, “I’m helping people in making a difference and those are my thank you gifts. They mean so much to me because someone else is successful.” You understand that.
That is powerful. Just an email, a card, any of that feels way better than some jelly of the month club.
For me, it’s affirming that I’m in the right place, doing the right thing with the right people. As you talked about making that impact, it’s important that we all take a look at our lives and ask, “Am I showing up with my real identity or am I hiding behind some mask?” I was the CEO of some company. It was like a whole ego trip. How can I be more of me and make more of a difference in the world? I want you to give some final thoughts, words, maybe even some actions you want people to take. I resonate with you and I think the audience is going to fall in love with you.Take that dream and turn it into an income stream. Click To Tweet
I have a short manifesto that I’ll read around here that your audience would love. The book Empowered to Rise is based on this manifesto. I took every sentence in the manifesto and turned it into a chapter to help further explain it. I wrote this for myself and for those that I connect with. It says, “My life has been inspired from the moment of conception. I am whole and complete just as I am. I don’t have to do or be anything else to be loved. This is my true identity. Embracing my inspiredness, I am discovering my unique way to bring inspiration to the world. My life story, wiring and strengths are my superpowers. I’m learning to use them with others for the sake of others. I have access to all the resources I need to live out my inspiration and I will be strong and courageous in the face of any challenge. My inspiration is rising.” My hope is that people will embrace that because as I read it every day and people in our community, it’s a way for me to remind myself, “This is who I am. I’m good. I’m making an impact in the world. I’m continually being a lifelong learner. I’m here to help others.” That is inspiring. It’s inspiring me and other people. I hope that people would embrace that true identity because it does change your life.
I’m still breathing that manifesto in. That resonates so much and it’s beautiful. One more time, how can people connect with you?
Our website is InspoRising.com. We have a twice a week podcast. It’s called Inspiration Rising. It’s on all the podcast platforms. I also go live twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:00 PM, Pacific Time, 7:00 PM, Eastern inside of the Inspiration Rising Insiders private Facebook Group. I teach on a different topic every week. We do a two-part series, part on Tuesday, part on Thursday. Everything from grit to how to say no so you can say yes, all different topics that are transformational for people.
Thank you so much for being a guest here on the show. You have added value to my life. I know you’ve done the same for our audience.
It is an honor to be here, Terri. I appreciate it. Thank you.
You’re welcome. For the readers, we have been talking with people and finding out their biggest struggle is getting leads and qualified prospects. I put together a free video training that you can quickly access. Go over to TheUltimateBusinessGrowthSystem.com. I did a four-part video series that gives you more leads. You take one simple action and get more leads. The second video, next action. It’s like me taking you by the hand to get more leads. If you want more quality prospects, which is what you need to get your business more income and to create more value for others, that’s my gift to you. Thanks once again for tuning in and we always look forward to seeing you next time. Don’t forget to share the show and let other people know what we’ve got going on over here.
- Empowered to Rise: The Secret to Embracing Your True Identity, Uncovering Your Super Powers, and Bringing Your Inspiration to the World
- Inspiration Rising
- Inspiration Rising Insiders – Facebook group