It’s our favorite day of the week: Interview Wednesday!  This week we were floored (in a good way) when the incredibly talented, Dyana Valentine graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us. 

If you haven’t heard of Dyana before, she’s a world-class instigator who has worked closely and intensively (she warns you she’s not for the faint of heart) for 12+ years with hundreds of clients.  If you have a grand idea (or even a silly idea), she’s the lady who puts you into motion!  Before that she was a microsurgery tech, an event planner, and survived a stint in corporate America.  And if that wasn’t enough she has degrees from Antioch University and Brown.  See, told you she was a go-getter!

We hope you love this interview as much as we do! 

Have you always been an instigator?

Absolutely! When I turned five, I decided that it was my mission to teach as many kids how to tie their shoes as possible. There was something about the intense empowerment I felt when I learned to get fully dressed, shoes included, that just had to be shared. I think that has a lot to do with my work now–a big part of it is taking what I learn (from myself and others) and sharing it with the world. Being an “instigator” was not always appreciated in my family or in school or in my first (several) jobs. In fact, I tried to minimize the instigation, make myself smaller, more quiet, more mainstream. EPIC FAIL! All that resulted in was making me feel incredibly tense and uncomfortable and send waves of high anxiety animal-trapped-in-corner-of-tight-cage feelings out into the world. The first day I named myself (actually used the term that several clients had used to describe me) an Instigator from stage with 500 people in attendance–the whole room sighed in relief as if to say, “At least SHE said it!” That’s just how true the moniker is. So, to everyone reading–what’s your really-for-sure true descriptor? Put it in the comments–I would love to hear them.

What is the most common thing that stalls an entrepreneur on their forward march to success?

I will start with this: not everyone is stalled and not everyone needs to be stalled or even to struggle to know they are on the path to success. It can be easy–well, easier than we are led to believe. I think it’s not so much about what gets in our way, as how we handle those situations when they come up. Some of my go-to reactions start out looking like white knuckle panic, wtf-tantrums and deer-in-headlights stun. However, I do recover faster than I used to and those states are now my clues. I laugh pretty quickly after the initial shock wears off (of whatever the trigger situation is), and say to myself, “Okay, Ms. DyVa, I’m listening, what needs to happen next?” It’s kind of fun and takes the pressure off to have the perfect solution or the expectation of never freaking out. Those standards are just not reasonable. So, the lesson is: freak out. Really, let ‘er rip. Then, take that as a symptom, look at it and ask, “What now?” You’ll surprise yourself with your answers.

What inspires you to inspire others?

Hmmm. I don’t know that I set out to inspire others. At least, I don’t have that in my conscious mind. In fact, I was recently walking through Chicago Midway Airport and a woman was softly jogging down the terminal in my direction–it wasn’t until I heard a looooonnng, “Dyyyyaaaaanaaaa Vaaaaaleeentiiiine” that I realized she was coming for me. She was so cute, arms akimbo, bag trailing on one wheel at points, smiling like she was reuniting with a friend, that when she wrapped her arms around me there was nothing to do but hug her back. I mean, really–that kind of high vibration you just do not leave standing there! She told me how my video had impacted her life, that she uses it as a wallpaper-ish tool on her desktop, and how she got to relive the impact every time she shared it with someone new. Holy wow! I was blown away. It wasn’t my intention to inspire others with that video–I just knew, without any hesitation (literally, I did not hesitate at 4:44am, except to put a robe on, for the good of all involved), that I needed to say that, in that way, at that moment. So, if what I do inspires others: BONUS! If what I do gets ME out of bed and makes me feel SURE of anything at all–that’s my money shot.

How can a product entrepreneur who creates things that fill “wants” rather than “needs” develop a cocktail line that’s attractive?

Ha! I love this question because I think I and most of my peers and clients would agree we are all in the “want” business–but are very tempted to position ourself in the “needs” business, if only for the marketing zing. Let’s face it–it’s a rare entrepreneur who is making life-saving oxygen delivery systems, pace makers or an email organization system that you could voice train. What transforms a want to a need is to identify the pain someone (a specific someone, so they can see themselves in the pitch) is in and make it clear how you solve it. Bam! My favorite formula is Them (their needs/their identity)+You(your service/widget)=A Better World. The last part is key–because if your problem solving for them doesn’t improve the world, then what are we talking about?

Don’t forget to pop over to Dyana’s site and sign up for a free guide on writing a press pitch plus 3 hours of audio to help you polish it.