the podcast recap episode with aj & rory vaden

Ep 41: Following Your Life’s Calling in the Face of Persistent Fear with Luvvie Ajayi | Recap Episode

This episode serves as a recap and debrief of our most recent interview with Luvvie Ajayi. One of the biggest takeaways from our time with Luvvie was her boldness and the fact that she is not scared of being herself. She shouldn’t be taken as mean or nasty though because the actual source of her gestures as a writer and social commentator is an unflinching devotion to being real. Her genuineness, persistence, and resolve to follow her internal voice are some of the things that her success can be attributed to. During this episode we deconstruct her process, talking about the value of consistency, how fear and confidence relate to authenticity, the use of an avatar strategy for refining your message, and a whole lot more.     

Listen to the episode below:

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • A way of breaking through the noise: don’t be afraid to stay authentic. 
  • How people already have a unique message but just need the confidence to listen to it. 
  • Using fear of judgment as a benchmark for measuring the authenticity of your truth. 
  • The value of consistency: Luvvie’s career was 15 years in the making. 
  • Understanding Luvvie’s boldness as rooted in her valuing of truth rather than being right. 
  • The necessity for having an opinion as a TV personality in order to create drama. 
  • Clarifying your message by imagining your audience as one person. 
  • Using the avatar strategy to streamline SEO work once you have a large audience. 

Tweetable Moments:

“Luvvie is a great real-life story of somebody that was 15 years to an overnight success.” —  @roryvaden [0:05:09] 

“I’m not writing to ‘people’, I am writing to a ‘person.’” — @aj_vaden  [0:09:08] 

“Be bold. Be passionate. Be unapologetic.” — @roryvaden [0:13:04] 

About Luvvie Ajayi

Luvvie Ajayi is an award-winning author, speaker and digital strategist who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology and activism. Her debut book, I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual, was released to critical acclaim and became an instant New York Times best-seller. It’s a collection of essays that critiques our fame-obsessed, social media-centric lives while encouraging us to do better. Luvvie has been blogging for 15 years and also recently launched Rants and Randomness, a podcast where she covers her most pressing rants, raves and faves from this crazy thing called life. She also released a Ted Talk a couple of years ago that now has millions of views. 

Links Mentioned:

Luvvie Ajayi — 

Luvvie Ajayi on Instagram — 

I’m Judging You on Amazon —

Brand Builders Group Consultation Call —

Take The Stairs —

RV:    00:00     Hey Brand Builder. Welcome to this special recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast. I’m joined by my wife and business partner, CEO brand builders group, AJ Vaden. Hello. And today we’re breaking down the interview with Luvvie Ajayi who I absolutely love and she is a brand builders group client and is somebody that we just got to meet really over like the past two years and I’ve gotten to know a little bit and work with her and also learn from her. I think she’s definitely one of those, one of those clients. And I think when I think of that interview and when I think of Luvvie in general, I think the most clear, consistent thing that she says and does in terms of her strategy for building her brand is it’s just incredibly authentic. And she talks about the way to break through the noise is to just kind of passionately own what you believe and to come out right and just say it and don’t be afraid. The fallback, which I think takes a tremendous amount of, of courage. But that’s, I think, you know, her book is, I’m judging you, right? So she’s like putting it right out there. Like that is a part of her brand is, is to really just like lay it out there on the line. So I, and I think she does that. I think she, that’s what her brand is all about. And I think that’s, that’s one of the biggest things that I, I took away from her. AJV:     01:24  Yeah. I think, you know, one of the things that she says in the interview is it’s not always about finding your voice, it’s about following your voice. And I think, and as that relates to building our, growing your personal brand, it’s just how confident are you in being your authentic self? Because I think you will, you’ll find in Luvvie is she, the girl’s got confidence and she’s got boldness. She’s very bold. But that’s because she truly believes in what she’s saying. And I think for any of us, if we’re afraid that people are going to be judging us, then perhaps the message that you’re trying to share isn’t the real one. If you’re so concerned about what everyone else is going to say and what everyone else is thinking, is that your real truth? I think that’s set there. Deep root of Luvvie as she goes. AJV:   02:10  No, this is my truth. And to some degree, who cares if you like it, right? Cause this is my truth. And you don’t have to like it because it’s my truth. And there’s a whole group of people out there who need to hear what my truth is. And that’s who, I’m speaking to. And for you a quote unquote haters. It’s just not for you. So don’t follow me. Don’t like it. Don’t read my book, don’t listen to my podcasts, don’t read my blog, don’t read it and then get so offended. Just don’t follow me. But how passionate are you about your message? Like is it your truth to the point where you’re like, not trying to offend anyone but if they get offended. So we it, I think that’s just a really good kind of place of going, is this my truth? Is this my core message to the point of, wow, so what, what you think? RV:   03:03 Yeah. Well, and I, I love that. Like conceptually, if it is your truth, it’s like what other option do you have to really just come out and say it and you don’t want to water down your truth. You don’t want to Dodge. Yeah. Sugarcoat the truth. It’s like, if this is your truth, it’s what you really believe, then you have to just kind of come out and own it and dominate it. And she’s a good example of someone who does. Although I would also throw in there, you know, she’s a great real life story of somebody that was, you know, 15 years to an overnight success. AJV:   03:32  Consistent. Yeah. And you said like RV:   03:35   10 years on the blogging plus. Yeah. She was like one of the, the O G bloggers, like she’s been blogging for a long time. AJV:  03:43                That’s so true. But again, it’s like [inaudible] I think the most consistent thing that you will hear through all of these interviews is consistency. There’s, there is no way around, there is no like, Hey, start tomorrow and you know, get whatever 6 million fans or like our followers on Instagram, unless you’re Jennifer Aniston who started her Instagram account and then like in 24 hours, that’s six RV:   04:06                And spent decades building up her personal brand and becoming Jennifer Aniston. AJV: 04:10                So I think all of those things I think are important. It’s consistency is the game. But what I really loved about that kind of point is it’s more about what’s your real truth and if it really was your truth, and I didn’t be so offended RV:   04:23                I wasn’t thinking about this before, but, but something about the way that yours saying it, babe, about there’s some quote, and I’m probably gonna mess this up, some stuff off the top of my head, but something, a quote from a Mont Mcgon D that was like, I’m not interested in being right. I’m only interested in truth. And I also took that away away from her because even though her, her book is like, I’m judging you. And she’s very, you know, forward and bold. Bold is a great word, I think for Luvvie. And I totally admire that about her. It wasn’t just like being judgy. That’s not what her thing is about. Right. She has these three questions that I thought were super powerful, which was do I really mean it? So again, is it truth? Can I defend it? Which also is, is it truth and am I saying this out of love, which is also truth, right? It’s like I’m not saying it to just be right. I’m not saying it to offend you. I’m not saying it to just get my opinion across AJV:  05:19   To get attention or to be controversial. Is this just just who I am? RV:  05:25     Yeah. And if, and if, if it passes those three tests, then I think what she is saying is it can be sharp. It can be pointy, it can be penetrating like [inaudible] because, because it’s not about just being right. It’s not about just having some flagrant opinion. It’s that you really mean it. You’ve thought through it, you can defend it and you’re saying it out of love. And to me, one thing that didn’t really come up in the interview, but where I would say this applies directly for personal brands is in media training. If you’re going to be on TV, you have to have an opinion and it needs to be sharp and pointy and powerful, right? Like what makes TV is drama. Doesn’t mean you have to be mean. It means you have to be clear and you have to be opinionated. And that’s what often creates drama on TV, which is [inaudible] two opposing opinions. But the, you know, that’s why the people you see on TV are never the really like level-headed, you know, key even keel people. Cause it doesn’t make, nobody wants to watch a TV show for a bunch of people getting along. It’s, it’s just not interesting generally speaking. And so having an opinion and knowing what that is I think is, AJV:   06:34                Is it important? Yeah. Agreed. That’s great. RV:  06:37                The other thing she talked about, and maybe you can talk about this baby is probably the third thing is about the audience because that was very aligned with some of the stuff that we teach. AJV:   06:46                Totally. She said that, you know, when you’re speaking, when you’re writing, when you’re just talking in general, do it through the lens of who is my single target? Who was that single individual? Like what are their demographics, what are their psychographics? So demographics is like, how old are they? What gender are they? Where are they from? You know, what is their socioeconomic status? And the psychographics are, you know, what do they care about? What do they believe in? What do they value? What are they struggling in? What questions do they have? Ha, you know, like where do they need to be met? Those are the things that you want to be thinking about as you’re writing and speaking your message. It’s who are you directing this to? Who is that single individual that you were talking too? And I love that because you know, you talk a lot about how when you were riding take the stairs that you really felt like the first chapter that this even worthwhile was when you really concentrated. AJV:  07:44                Like I am not writing to people, I am writing to person one person. You had one person in mind. And you know, I think too, even with me it’s like when I think about like my message in my keynote and what I do, it’s like when I think about this is the exact person that I am speaking to, it is so much easier for the content to flow cause I’m not trying to make it general. It’s not general. It’s do I very specific unique individual. And that makes a world of difference in the uniqueness and in your stories and in the message and in the endearment and then the true sincerity that’s coming across because you’ve got this, this one person in the back of your mind. I’m going, this is you, this is for, this is the message that will change your life. AJV:   Not Hey, someone out there who might be listening. No, it’s no, I know you’re listening. I know who you are. This message is for you. I think I just totally changes the whole ball game and and if you listen, if you follow Luvvie that is how she talks. That is how she writes. And I think it’s really, it really like if you’ve ever been in church and I have this, I have this moment, all the, I’m like somebody tell him like that’s what I’m going through right now. Like it’s like what’s what’s happening? But it’s like you’re sitting there in the audience and you’re like, man, that was for me today. That was for me. I needed that. Like that message was speaking to the heart of what is going on in my life. That is how people need to feel about your message. RV:  09:16                Yeah. And that it’s so powerful and passionate and punchy when you visualize that one person in your head like this is who I’m talking to versus let me sit down and write my, you know, my memoir for the world. The other thing about that, the avatar thing, cause that was another big takeaway from me that [inaudible] for those of you that are listening, if you’re, if you’re a client already of ours, you know we, we T you know we’ve got these, this four phase process that we talk about a brand builders group and when we get to phase three we talk about high traffic strategies. And when you get into that phase, the technical, it becomes all, there’s some technical components of advertising and when you get into the backend of Facebook or you get into the back end of Google and YouTube and you literally the world is your playground to reach hundreds of millions of people and it actually becomes an exercise to go, wow, who am I really trying to reach? Yeah. The more, the more well versed you are in who your avatar is, the, the faster that process is going to go, the smoother that process is going to go. And the less money you’re going to spend because you know exactly the person you are. AJV: 10:24                Hopefully the higher conversion because that person will, you know, it’s like whatever that mess that you say this. Sometimes it’s like, I’m like, you have a radar. RV:   10:36                Oh, a signal. A signal. Yeah. It’s a good that you pay such close attention. AJV:  10:42                Sonar radar signal. You’re sending out a signal and they’re picking it up. Yup. Same will happen in the advertising and ad spend if you have that very targeted perspective. I think that’s such a good point because we know so many people who were like, I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars in Facebook ads or ad words or whatever, and it’s like, it doesn’t work. And it’s like, well, we also know people who’ve spent millions of dollars and say it’s worth every single penny. So what’s the difference? Do you know who you’re targeting? Do you know where to find them RV:  11:16                And are you watching the data of what converts? I mean, that’s the other thing that happens in phase three is phase three from a data perspective will teach you a lot about who your avatar is versus who you think it is. Because you might, you know, you start phase one, learning your identity, phase two, brand creation. You start putting all this content out, but then you get to phase three and you’re running ads and you’re seeing this type of person is engaging and this person is not, and this person is buying in. This person is not as like, wow, my voice really appeals to a different audience than I ever anticipated. That’s one of the most exciting and fun things is to go. You really start to fine tune it. So anyways, you can’t do that without aiming at somewhere first. So pick out that avatar. Be bold, be passionate, be unapologetic. That was the word as we were talking about this to me, what, what I love about Luvvie is she is bold and unapologetic and unfiltered, unfiltered, and she’s just living her truth and she’s not trying to be mean. She’s just being direct about her truth and it’s winning for her and it’ll win for you. So go out, do that today and we’ll catch you on the next episode of the influential personal brand.

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