Changing Our Lives One Unforgettable Talk at A Time with Jody Miller

Dec 07, 2021

There are multiple reasons why someone becomes an entrepreneur; some come from an entrepreneurial family, others might feel the need to impress their parents, perhaps meeting someone inspiring. In Jody Miller's case, the entrepreneurial instinct came from realizing as a child that they didn't have a lot of money at home, so the only way she could have access to what she wanted was making money. 

Jody Miller is a Bestselling Author, TEDx Speaker, Podcast Host, and Speak and Performance Coach. Jody's passion is helping people find meaning and happiness in work and life and moving from their comfort zone to achieve peak performance. She is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, CEO magazine, Bloomberg, LinkedIn, Huff Post, and Thrive Global Business Success Magazine.

In this episode, Jody gifted us unique and inspiring stories about how to overcome challenges, how to step into who we are without fear of being judged, and how powerful being curious and asking questions can be. We delve into some of Jody's most memorable experiences, like when she convinced a TV station owner to make a show called People's Opinion or how she got her job at CBS. 

Jody shared the moment she decided to follow her passion, moving from desperation to aspiration, what it means for her to be on the right path, and how she changed her life after the first Unforgettable Talk. 

Some Questions I Ask:

  • Could you tell us a bit about your story? (1:26)
  • You started early in your life as an entrepreneur for survival. And then you asked yourself, what do I want? Could you talk about that? (6:24)
  • You mentioned your first Unforgettable Talk; can you talk a bit about that? How did that come to be? (18:17)

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • From desperation to aspiration. About Jody's first steps into becoming who she is today (4:28)
  • I'll be working with you in three weeks. About Jody's first meeting with the owner of CBS (8:51)
  • The importance of slowing down and enjoying the moment (15:03)
  • How powerful and life-changing an Unforgettable Talk can be (22:03)


Let's Connect!


Jody Miller: I just think it's important to really stop you know enjoy the moment and live in the moment as well as you know always moving are still forward and sometimes that can lead to a lot of stress and if you live in the moment, you just you can sort of exhale and just enjoy your life.

Clint Hoopes: This is the flavor of leadership podcast I am your host, Clint Hoopes. Together we explore the unique blend of leadership wisdom that helps top leaders consistently achieve work goals, develop personally, and find fulfillment with family, let's get started. Today I am so excited to have Jody B. Miller on the show today. Jody is TEDX and global speaker she writes books and articles about finding meaning and happiness at work in life workplace collaboration and moving outside your comfort zone to achieve peak performance she contributes to numerous publications including entrepreneur magazine CEO magazine Bloomberg, linked in, HuffPost thrive, global business success, magazine among others. She's interviewed regularly on television radio and global podcast and host the top ranked radio podcast the Mesabi method welcome Jody B. Miller so excited to have you on today.

Jody Miller: Thanks so much Clint, I am really happy to be here.

Clint Hoopes: Wonderful well as we get started here today, I just want you to be able to maybe tells us about your story. 

Clint Hoopes: yeah, I'm sort of an unusual story, I’m an eclectic story and I think a lot of that entrepreneurial way of life that I have let has stemmed from just overall curiosity starting as a child. I grew up in a house with one bathroom and seven people in this little town in New Jersey. So you can imagine five kids in five years all of us teenagers wanting to use one bathroom was a little challenging.

 Clint Hoopes: that's a busy household we have problems with that at my house we have six kids and we have several more bathrooms than that and we have the same problems. I can't even imagine.

Jody Miller: yeah well I finally learned later in life I had four bathrooms so that was important to me, so I sort of learned how to become an entrepreneur very young and one of the things I realized is that we didn’t have a lot of money so I had to find ways to make money and as a young girl I use to go to the YMCA and make go to these craft free craft classes and make these cardboard bracelets that I'd wrap it with colored Raffi like it looks string but it's colored and I'd go right downtown to sell at this little store called hands and feet which is like a hippy dippy seventy story you know with like the glow posters on the wall and your mood lights and stuff and they bought them. So I started getting money that way and then I got a job very early and the reason why I did that is because I realize very young as I said we didn't have money and I was a cheerleader and I was also on the gymnastics team and on the track team and you had to buy your uniforms and we didn't have the money to do that so I found ways to make money so that I was always very current on all the things I needed in my school I also put myself through college completely hundred percent and I think when you're an entrepreneur sometimes you have to look back in your childhood and say where does this come from sometimes it comes from parents who who are academics maybe and you want to if you want to impress them or or maybe comes from not having a lot of money and you feel like that fear so it drives you forward like a survivor or maybe it's because you met someone along the way that inspired you or or you just have that kind of creative mind so it's a lot of different ways people become entrepreneurs and and I think mine was more of a survivable at a young age but that changed because I I started landing opportunities and then once I realized I could make money I started to look into what I really loved, so if you can make the transition if you're like me where you started out without a lot of money then you ended up having money you start to look more internal to what do I really want to do what do I really love and so that changed my whole life from sort of desperation to aspiration. You know what what did I aspire to. and that led me on many different careers Clint because as I said I'm very curious and I'm not afraid to ask questions and I'm not afraid to take big leaps and I'm not afraid to just put it out there I don't really care what others think I care. I'm not braced and I'm very positive but I don't absorb other people's negativity if that does that makes

Clint Hoopes: yeah yeah that definitely makes sense you're one that'll make sure that that if you feel like something has to be done you you do it you don't let other people's input decide what you do.

Jody Miller: Right but I do my research and I surround myself with support and I'm realistic too so here's an example, two of my kids went through very high end private schools in the bay area and every summer during like the junior high in younger years all the parents would send their girls to the same summer camp in Tahoe the same one and they always have to go with a friend and I used to think well that's stupid why do you send your kid to camp its so that they meet new people they they step outside their comfort zone they have to figure it out they have to make new friends so I always send my kids to this little church camp in the middle of nowhere where all these inner city kids would come in and they learned a lot about life. So that's just one example of just not always listening to what everyone else does and I think really good entrepreneurs in life look at Steve Jobs look at some very famous ones and not so famous ones follow their own path and I think that's important.

Clint Hoopes: I love that yeah instead of instead of doing whatever it everybody else does looking and saying but like you said early on in life you determined you started with survival and then you went to well what do I really want. 

Jody Miller: Yeah, and so I decided I wanna be on TV you know I was gonna be the next Barbara Walters that was that.

Clint Hoopes: That’s a huge aspiration, right? I love it. 

Jody Miller: It fits right? I mean my Missoni method podcast my Ted X. talk they all relate to this which is funny and when I have this news course coming out called the unforgettable talk you are meant to give and I've done a lot of coaching one on one with people creating these talks not and having them give them enough as you know I've done tech stock in spoken all over the all over the world actually about all kinds of things about finding what you're meant to do work happiness, happiness your life etc. so here I am thinking I want to be the next Barbra Walter so how am I gonna get there. So I'm in college and I go downtown Santa Barbara I didn't have a car I was at UC Santa Barbara so I take the bus and I remember this I wouldn’t get home until like eleven at night on the bus which is kind of scary, and I convinced the TV station owner to let me do a show called people's opinion and I would go out on the streets of Santa Barbara ask them their opinion on things that were facing the city so I became sort of like a little reporter you know it was it was fun and I did it for free but I got a real out of it and so that helped me get opportunities in San Francisco and then I wanted to move to New York but when I got to New York I got a job with a small media company and of course I wanted to be you know big network so I went to this event at the Waldorf Astoria that had the owner of CBS, the president of CBS, and a member of the Federal Communications Commission, which is the governing board that tells companies how many media outlets that combined in each market so they're they're pretty important and there's a yeah there's a cameraman and a leading person and about two hundred people in the room and I had this overwhelming inspiration and this is something I want your your audience and listeners to really consider when you have that and you get that pit in your stomach and you know without a doubt I have to do this and it's a positive thing you should just do it and otherwise I think you have regrets so at that moment I'm with a guest at this event and I said hey I'll be right back, and he says what where are you going you can't leave me alone here and I go I just I'll be right back.

So I had a little pencil skirt on high heels and you know my little corporate blazer and I'd just click click clicked across the floor in the middle of this ballroom all by myself nobody else, and I went up to the owner of CBS whose name he has since passed but Lawrence Tisch. I said hello Mr Tisch I'm Jody I'm going to be working for you in three weeks and he just looked at me and he goes well I guess you are with that kind of confidence and he introduced me around and I sat there for ten minutes or stood there and then everyone else started to come up and one gentleman stop me said thank you for breaking the ice for us all and I was working at CBS three weeks later.

Clint Hoopes: That's incredible 

Jody Miller: So that's just one example of like you know going for it.

Clint Hoopes: When you have the inspiration just follow it and go don't don't wait on it right are you missed IT right

Jody Miller: right and that's what I'm saying like if it's an overpowering because really I think in the end we all do what we really want to do and less were held back somehow by our environment and our work or relationships whatever our self or self-doubt but if you get that overwhelming desire and you know without a doubt this is gonna be a good thing I think you have to act so I just did that throughout my life. I went from television to investment banking I was in media still. Then I started consulting for big fortune one hundred and five hundred companies all about the convergence of media and technology and then my kids were getting older so I wanted to take some time off at the height of my career and I started writing books and thinking I wanted to be a speaker and I just started speaking and writing and I would speak at rotary I'd speak at anyone who would have me and I would speak about things that I noticed throughout my careers about what makes you happy what makes us really happy in our work what makes us engaged and like I say I've always been very curious so I always pay attention and over the years it's just evolved into lots of great opportunities for me and you know I I just it keeps on groing I mean I've got a podcast like you do call the Missoni method which is an extension of my ted talk and it's all about going far outside your comfort zone to achieve lasting positive change and success in your life and I think I've been doing that since I was a kid.

Clint Hoopes: Yeah just looking to go outside your comfort zone and do, not only what needs to be done but do what you wanted to do right away in accomplishing your dreams I I love your podcast I've been listening to it recently and you TED talk which everyone should see it's amazing and I I actually am going to put a link to the podcast and TEDX talk in the show notes so please go take a look everyone it's amazing what Jody has been able to to do throughout her life and and how following that inspiration that you've had and just going for it what it's what it's been able to do for you.

Jody Miller: Yeah it's really amazing you know the other thing is if your parents listening you know even I know you address a lot of the corporate environment as you know I've done a lot of that I also have a lot of care and compassion for parenting because I wanted three very different kids I had three kids in three years they're still great they're in their twenties my oldest daughter graduated from the top business school in the world she's a go getter she’ll probably run Google someday.

Clint Hoopes: She probably will, from what I've heard about her.

Jody Miller: While doing musical theater and having kids you know like she'll figure it out and then I have my youngest son who was a college athlete number one in his sport and he's now a tennis pro, and actor and he's following his dreams of acting which is tough but he's also doing what he loves which is tennis pro too so that's really cool to watch his growth and then my middle child my oldest son is half his life behind cognitively so he doesn't look different but cognitively he cares more about going to Disneyland and you know seeing his family and friends.  

Clint Hoopes: He’s is my kind of guy.

Jody Miller: Yeah it's so much fun. The coolest thing about Christopher's that, in a way he's my best teacher and I talk about it in my TED talk at the very end it's something I never shared before ever. I just kind of brought it into my TED talk and the cool thing about Christopher and again this is just something for your listeners to think about is that he lives in the moment. Literally everything for him is taking care of he lives in this view the full facility in Marin county that's funded by a lot of very wealthy people that have disabled kids adults unfortunately I just got very lucky that he got into the main campus eight years ago and it he was he was the youngest one by a long shot and it's a full on program every single day he volunteers, is working, goes horseback riding, his life is so full everything's taken care of and he's just happy he's just in the moment and we all live either in the past or the future and so with with Christopher I every day have to remind myself let's just live now let's live right now if I don't get something done it's okay it will get done if I make something if I move something forward I stop and I reward myself because I got that done and I just think it's important to really stop you know and enjoy the moment and live in the moment as well as you know always moving are still forward and sometimes that can lead to a lot of stress and if you live in the moment you just you can sort of exhale and just enjoy your life for a moment.

 Clint Hoopes: The interesting thing I found in my life about living in the moment is that when I live in the future, live in the past, I sometimes miss not only some of the most important moments that are happening in front of me but I simply, you talked about inspiration earlier,  I miss some of the opportunities to be inspired by what's around me to give me maybe my best idea or my best next action my life I'm missing it or I may just be missing out on some happiness with those that I care about most.

Jody Miller: Yeah and and when you do that clint, like every day I do this meditation in the morning and I always get out in nature those two things I always do every day and I just find that it calms me and it keeps me focused and it gives me ideas like I get great ideas when I just quiet everything down and I just experience what's around me and notice it and then I started to get ideas and then here's another thing I teach people when you know you're on the right path you're always on the right path so even if something goes wrong you're still on the right path we have too many things in life to talk about what I thought was the wrong path and it's never been the wrong path.

Clint Hoopes: It’s your path I like that.

Jody Miller: Yeah it’s your path, it's good and so when you get that inspiration and it's right here's a way to know it's right you start to pay attention to the signs around you. It's almost like I bought a new white BMW ours used to be black you know how many white BMW’s I see around now. So I start to pay attention or you're pregnant, I'm not pregnant anymore of course but you're pregnant you see pregnant people around or you're in a restaurant you're thinking of a new idea and you hear someone talking about it or talking about something they just watched or heard or read that you're like oh my god that sounds like that would really be valuable I'm gonna go look that up that's happened to me so many times and it's incredible and so you look for those signs to sort of validate that inspiration that you feel in your gut is something that you should go toward and you want to go toward or you maybe need to go toward and don't want to go toward sometimes that happens at work.

Clint Hoopes: That happens all too often in life.

Jody Miller: Right and you your in that space all the time and I used to be doing workshops and all kinds of stuff speaking at companies but I think if you pay attention to the signs it gives you validation and then you can move forward with confidence.  

Clint Hoopes: I love that I love that that's such good advice you know as I'm sitting here thinking I  was just you know as we're going through it what we've been talking about the making me think again about earlier you'd you just mentioned for a moment a new course that you're doing and I think you said the name was the unforgettable talk you were meant to give right… and that's just that's stuck with me and I'm wondering what is that all about how did, how did that come to be.

Jody Miller: Yeah thank you so much for asking it's been a long journey after I gave my tedx talk which was a huge, huge leap to do that and it's a big process and that's sort of a bonus I give in my course because you really need to understand everything involved in that if that's something that's you you desire to do or you're inspired to do. That's a freebie in the course but anyway so after that I was writing and writing for all these magazines and I was speaking all over the world I thought maybe I could start helping people because like I get this and I'm not talking about just giving a TEDX talk which I could definitely coach people on and have. So I started coaching people one on one but it wasn't just about TEDX it was about how to create and deliver the talk they're meant to give no matter what walk of life there in.  It could be a talk to a child, I had to give a talk to one of my children that was probably the hardest talk I've ever given and I followed the format and the structure and the undulations and the twist that you need in a talk to keep someone in or an audience engaged and sitting on the edge of their seat and really hearing your message and so it's not just… I sort of evolved from the TEDX to saying you know a lot of people, everyone of us has something to offer were all put on this earth with unique gifts and we all have a message we need to share like I say could be with one person it could be with a small group it could be on a grand stage could be at work could be a boss a colleague it could be on and on and on so I was helping people one on one charging a lot of money to do this and the problem was I only could take on so many people because I only have so much time and so I thought if I could develop this into a course that a lot of people could take and I’d be teaching the same thing but they could kind of go along their own pace and still get the feedback and have the group connection as well I think it would add so much value to anyone who has that special message. It could be a message of hope it could be a new idea it could be a notebook full of ideas, it could be something that they've experienced that has changed their life or something they've done like if you listen to my podcast. I've interviewed everyone from people that have reversed Alzheimer's to the top surf photographer in the world, to the man who invented a whale shark tracking device, which I ended up swimming with whale sharks a week later in the Maldives. To everyday people who've gotten out of a very scary situations and change their life so everyone has a message everyone is something they need to share in some way shape or form to some person group or grand stage and so I'm developing this course and it really came out of that and I'm launching it January seventeenth so if you want to put in your podcast notes I'll send you the links and then people can listen to the free audio training which are basically that three things you must know in order to give an unforgettable talk so that's sort of a sneak peek into what I teach and it's free whether you take the course or not enjoy it I hope you learn from it yes I'm in the middle of that I'm spending a lot of time on that and ramping up my podcast again yeah.

Clint Hoopes: That's so exciting, oh my goodness well that course you're speaking about here I mean that's, gosh that's an amazing thing I'm sure there are people listening right now that had never thought of it kind of like when I think of giving an unforgettable talk I always think of okay I'm on the TEDX stage I'm in front of you know hundreds or thousands of people and it’s this big thing and that's what you know that's what these big time people do right instead of the way you were describing it even down to speaking to your boss speaking to your employees speaking to a child I mean that makes you think a little bit differently about planning for that kind of a talk you know because usually we go into those nervous those kind of discussions and it's oh man what do I say and maybe you have a little napkin with a few items written on it and you go in nervous because you're not prepared, you're not as prepared as you could be, so that's, this is incredible that you put this together.

Jody Miller: Yeah it's funny because when I did my research I thought should I just focus on TEDX and big conferences in America. I'm like no there are people that run TEDX events that do that. I can do like, that's why I included as a bonus all about getting a TEDX talk.

 Clint Hoopes: Which is so valuable because I have no clue how you get on to a TEDX. What do you do send an email?

Jody Miller: Yeah, it's very involved so that's free with the course because I thought I don't want the course to just focus on that and if you have the structure of how to give this unforgettable talk, it like I say the talk I gave to one of my children trust me it was unforgettable and it changed him and the direction of his life and it changed me and it changed our relationship and so had I not known how to structure and deliver that talk I don't know if it would have been very effective so and then also in my research I researched a lot of people who teach about public speaking and even though this talk could be to one person it's still public speaking you know you're publicly speaking and most people that teach these kinds of courses doesn't want you to make money doing it, so six figure income is blah blah blah you know that kind of thing get paid speaking engagements now trust me for me that has happened as a result of all these big talks I've given but the smaller unforgettable talks I've given have been honestly even more important to me I mean it's great to be paid but that's not my motivation and like I've given talks like that at work and like the talk I gave at CBS that changed the direction of my career those are and that was a six word talk I don't think I said exactly the six words I said you know sometimes your talks can be very short but there's still an arc to every talk and a structure so that it's delivered effectively you have your audience engaged or that one person and you have a call to action and you have a transformation not only for you but for them and it literally can change you every talk I’ve ever given has changed me and it will change your audience and it can lead to great things, just great things.

Clint Hoopes: I love it, I love it, so you just mentioned action steps, what action step would you have for my listeners. If I have a listener that is interested in maybe, you know giving a talk like this someday or honestly just wanting to learn more about that how do they connect with you?

Jody Miller: Sure, so I know a lot of your clients are corporate people and I've lived my life in that world for a long time and I've consulted for a lot of companies so if you're in a company and you need to give a talk to your boss or your team you need to maybe give a motivational talk maybe need to give a talk in front of the whole company, maybe you need to give a talk to a colleague you'll learn a ton about how to do that. How to do that right and then you can use that for all the talks you give and you can use it when you're talking to your family or friends. So for that group it's very valuable for if your parent is very important if you're someone who just is entrepreneurial and you want to attract investors into your company it's very important to learn how to deliver that talk. It's not all about slides and I do have a freebie about slides what not to do and what to do, so if you go to and you go up to courses at the top and click on that that leads to my unforgettable talk you're meant to give course but I also have other freebies so if I can just send you those freebie links and you put in the notes that's the free audio training and that's also another one about slides if you're using slides what you definitely do not want to do your audience will just shut down and then what you do want to do if you're going to use slides so that's more for the corporate world I think.

Clint Hoopes: So, you don't end up with death by PowerPoint like we see sometimes, right?

Jody Miller: yes so it's about a seven page it's really easy to read it's real simple but you're going to get the gist of it right away and you’re going to go on my god I've done that or oh my goodness this is good. So, this is based on years and years and years of me doing talks and me watching other people. In fact I just watched, this will crack you up, I just watch his webinar of one of the most famous public speakers in the world and all he did was read the text on his slides. I was like oh my god and it was filled with text and I go oh my god this is a disaster.

Clint Hoopes: You’re like we’re dying here why didn’t somebody help this guy out.

Jody Miller: Well he was so known from long ago that people just know him and so I think they just put up with it but I mean I just turned it off and I took snapshots of his slides and said okay so here's what he's trying to say because he just read, he just read you know. You don't wanna do that.

Clint Hoopes: We've all been in presentations like that I'm sure where it’s that very thing and it's like okay this is a little painful.

Jody Miller: Yeah and well it’s like I said if you listen to the audio training to learn about some tips and strategies for making your talk more interesting and how to perform it and how to come up with the idea and like I say it's just a little sneak peek into a deep dive.

Clint Hoopes: And that's all free I mean we can improve our current communication talks immensely just from even a little free piece so that's amazing.

Jody Miller: Yeah, and I'm happy to offer it. I’m always coming up with more new stuff I'm working on another one right now. I don’t want to announce it, but another freebie. I love giving free stuff away if it helps. If you want to take the course I'd love to have you in it whoever is listening but if you don't you can still get great value out of the things that I'm giving away for free because this is based on a lot of experience and a lot of watching others and I'm talking about some very famous people and CEOs and I'm talking about everyday people and I’m talking about parents and private schools and trust me when you're raising a special ed kid it's a whole nother world that you live in so I was living in high in San Francisco private school to special ed get your kid out here you know I mean I literally lived two lives raising my kids so there's a lot about how you deliver that talk depending what camp you're in or public school I was a public school kids so there's a lot for parenting in there too.  

Clint Hoopes: It's amazing I love it. This is such a fun topic something that we often don't think about until we need it.

Jody Miller: Yeah, then we go now what.

Clint Hoopes: Next week I have to give this talk and I don’t know what to do so yeah amazing resources. So somebody, the funny thing is and that's the fun thing I love about podcasts is some people are going to see this in time to hear more about your course in in January and other people are going to find this you know a year or two years down the road so if you're listening the beauty is Jody has been doing this a long time. You can still go to that same website and still learn about these things that you need to do so you can be ready when it's your turn to give that talk

Jody Miller: Yeah and you might have to give it this weekend I don't know I had to give one at the last minute to one of my kids and I sat down and really laid this thing out because I knew the structure and it worked thank goodness.

Clint Hoopes: I love this, I love this. So we're gonna put in the show notes Joni is going to send me those links were gonna put them in the show notes so that you can get access to the podcast to the TEDX talk she gave as well as to these free mini courses on how to be able to improve your talks and then also learning more if you'd like about how to give the unforgettable talk you were meant to give. So much value here I so appreciate you coming on the show today Jody and sharing all this with my audience.

Jody Miller: Thank you so much Clint and I'm excited for your whole flavor of leadership that you're gonna be launching I'm just I just think that's so cool when I hear that I think the whole flavor is so unique because we all have a different style of leadership and I've worked with so many CEOs and C. level people when I was living in the corporate world with the work happiness work and everyone had a different really had a different flavor a different style and I love how you're just taking that whole unique approach to leadership I think I'm really excited to follow you on that.

Clint Hoopes: Thank you Jody. It has been really fun doing this process with my one-on-one clients and I'm excited to be able to take that to more people so more information to come on that too, it's exciting.

Jody Miller: Great I'm happy for you thank you I really enjoyed our conversation.

Clint Hoopes: Thanks Jody. 

Jody Miller: Thank you take care.

Clint Hoopes: Bye. Thanks for joining me on this week's episode of the flavor of leadership podcast if you enjoyed what you heard please share with a friend and if you haven't already subscribed, rate and review the show on your favorite podcast player if you have any questions comments or feedback for us you can reach me directly at thanks for listening.