Erin Weed is the founder and CEO of evoso, a consultancy firm that helps people to develop speeches. She has been an entrepreneur since college, when the murder of one of her sorority sisters motivated her to scrap plans to work in television production so she could teach young women about self-defense and personal safety in a way that was empowering rather than terrifying. She created a self-defense seminar program that she eventually sold before founding evoso.
Erin believes strongly that authenticity is the force that will move the world forward and that conviction is reflected in her Paper Napkin Wisdom: “Speak your truth, change the world.” Through personal and professional experience, she has recognized that attempting to maintain the façade of perfection builds walls between relationships while showing vulnerability fosters connections.
Some leaders may fear showing vulnerability to their team. We’ve learned, however, that there’s a strong impact of vulnerability. When leaders let go of that expectation energy and lead by example, the ripple effect will lead to others speaking their truths. It is then that a group is most prepared to adapt to changing dynamics.
Erin’s company uses a “Dig, Plant, Grow” approach to developing speeches for clients. The “Dig” portion often startles those accustomed to the impersonal business standard but it is here that much of the most important work is done. By taking an honest look at themselves, a person can begin to identify what it means for them to honor their life and live their truth.
This became apparent, perhaps more than ever, when evoso was helping a client named Ashley develop a speech about coming out of the closet. Through this process, they began to realize that we all have a “closet,” meaning a truth about who we really are that we do not want to share with the world for fear that others will freak out. What usually stands between us and this authenticity is a difficult conversation – a conversation that, in some cases, might hurt others. And yet, when people have these conversations, they quickly begin to see the benefits. Erin says, “If there’s so much fear before, there’s so much freedom on the other side.”
For Ashley, this conclusion resulted in a speech so successful the video of it went viral with five million views on YouTube. For Erin, this conclusion only reinforced the importance of speaking one’s truth. “A closet is no place to live,” she says. As to identifying one’s truth, Erin encourages others to identify their one-word mantra – their “Dig word,” as she calls it. By doing this, a person can turn to their “Dig word” when things around them shift and reevaluate their goals.
Erin’s “Dig-word?” Authenticity.
Listen to the conversation with Erin here: