Welcome to episode #133 of Explode Your Expert Biz Show, brought to you by http://gtex.org.uk/,
I am your host, Simone Vincenzi, The Experts Strategist, and this is the podcast for experts who want to become the ultimate authority in their niche while making an impact in the world.
Today I have the pleasure to Interview Divya Parekh
Whether she is speaking, advising corporate clients and organizations, coaching business owners or helping authors to write their books and get published, Divya has a message that is essential to bringing success to anyone. That message has five tenets:
1. Servant Leadership
2. Collaboration not Competition
3. Build Relationships that matter
4. Mindfulness works everywhere
5. Knight yourself
In this episode, we talk about
- How to get your story out there
- How to connect deeply with your clients and audience
- How Divya grows her business
Connect with Divya Parekh
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– Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of Explode Your Expert Biz Show. I’m here with the one and only Divya Parekh. How you doing, Divya?
– I’m doing good. Thank you for having me on your show, Simone.
– Fabulous, now we connected because we are both contributors of Forbes, and the Forbes Coaches Council. So that’s actually I remember I think it was Chris Seboloro that put us in touch, if I remember well.
– That’s correct.
– Fantastic, and actually I’m going to be interviewed on his show right after this interview. Such a small world, right?
– Oh, fantastic.
– So, now, this interview is about you and I know that your, what you help people do and organisations do is to craft their message, to craft an unique message. But before go on talking about how we can craft our unique message, which I’m really intrigued to see your methodology, I would love to know how did you get into what you do right now? What’s your story?
– Great question. So, I come from a science background, and I’ve always been intrigued with how body works, how emotions work, how brain works. So I went into the field of biochemistry. From there, my life meandered through the halls of research. It meandered through pathways and intricate woods of biopharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and one of the things that was common was people. People have been the fabric of my life, because you know each and every one of us has a fabric, and then there are different threads. So, people have been my major thread of the fabric of my life, and what I found was that as I was growing in my career in biopharamaceutical, having the desire to have a balanced life, raising a family, and having some time for personal time and as well as growing in career, I decided to grow laterally instead of climbing the ladder so to speak. Because I believe that as a boss or as a CEO or wherever you are, as a director, whatever position you’re in, or as an entrepreneur, I love to give my best 200%. So it’s expectations of myself rather than anybody else’s expectation of me.
– So then I decided that, okay, if I’m going to do that then I’m probably going to end up spending a whole lot more time than I would if I were growing my career laterally and in that I was very fortunate to have around multi million dollar projects, and worked in different aspects of pharmaceuticals, from marketing to business side, to connecting with clients, and leading projects, you know, taking the medications–
-biotech medications from the ground zero so to speak and taking it to market after FDA and EMEA. EMEA’s a medicinal entity in Europe, having their approval. So, as life progress, you know of course entrepreneurship is far from thought, but 2008 rolls in and economy took a down turn in US. And there was a big hit. A lot of industries were impacted by it, and of course biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals were no strangers to it so to speak. And here it was, my husband was in IT, which at that time, you know, it was really a bad market for information technology. So, it was almost guaranteed that he was going to lose his job and now we have a grapevine, the rumour going around in our company that, oh, there’s going to be a layoff. So very turbulent times, very stressful times, and then one day the rumour came true. We were all there and they said that, oh, there are going to be quite a few layoffs and here I was standing in one corner praying that it, hopefully that I was not the one who was laid off, because you know, when you’re raising a young family you’re just kind of thinking so many different thoughts are rushing and gushing through your head and at that point in time I felt really powerless and I felt this small, because I had always taken great comfort and solace in the fact that, you know, that I always cared about other people. I thought that was one of my main values, and then it came, me versus them, here I was like, you know, okay, everybody else, I wanna keep my job. So, it was a very revealing moment in my life and a lot of my friends who had just walked off with all of their lives. I mean, you know, when you are in biopharmaceuticals and then you’re in science, beauty is that science doesn’t stop for anyone.
– It continues going. So you sometimes are spending weekends, sometimes nights together, when you have almost a couple of million dollar batch running, and especially when you’re leading the whole project, then you have to be on top of different things, and you know, you are so involved in it and these are people who become your family. All of their lives packed in one little cardboard box, and they walked out of the door. And that was it. And I sat down, reflected a lot, and I found that I had this insatiable thirst for learning and helping people and finding something tangible. But I thought pharmaceuticals was extremeLy rewarding because I knew that medicines would be made, you know? Sometimes a lot of patients at the end of the pipeline were waiting for it. They could not have lived without it.
– But yet, it’s intangible, right? Yes, you know about it, but it’s somewhere down the road–
– You don’t see the impact. You don’t feel it. You know that it’s there, but you don’t see yourself being part of it.
– Right, right.
– So, that’s when I moved towards coaching. And then rest they say is history.
– So, you moved towards coaching and now you do something which is very specific which is helping organisations and entrepreneurs finding their unique message, their unique value proposition. So, what transition did you make then from biopharmaceutical to coaching to what you do now? What happened that got you so passionate about what you’re doing right now?
– Oh, definitely. So, let me share. Regardless whether we make conscious choices or we make unconscious choices, each of us is living a story. Now, you could be living in a story of powerlessness. You could be living a story of powerfulness. You could be living a story of being victimised, like, oh poor me, and I’ll keep on crying for the rest of my life, or you could be living in a story where you can have support, cry about it, because it’s okay, right? Just like I always, I’ll give an example of viruses impacting our bodies, right? So it has to get out of the system. Either it’s pushed through antibiotics, or it is, you know, viruses of course, antibiotics don’t work on viruses, but I’m talking about any microbes entering our body. So, either you get fever, you throw up. The body has a way of getting rid of it. So similarly, it’s okay to sit down and cry to someone, but it’s about, okay, I’ve let it out. Any toxicity that’s impacting me, I’ve done something to get rid of it, and now I’m back on the road. And as they say, you know, that you fall off the horse, you’ve gotten back on the horse and get ready.
– So, going back to talking about that, why did I become passionate, and the same thing. It’s like going from microcosm to macrocosm, and if you take a look at atoms, right, just how atoms are revolving in an empty space, and when you take it to the big, like when you go to galaxies and all that, it’s the same revolution, the same empty space. So same concept runs through, and same thing happens from an individual to an organisation.
– Regardless whether you’re a small entity or a small entity you are living a story. You are living a message. So why not live something that will not help you thrive, make you live life with passion, and you know, living in life, not just letting life go by where you are just, you know, you are just passing through it, so living in life, and thriving in it, and living your legacy. Yes, I’m talking about leaving your legacy, but why wait? Go ahead and live your legacy now. So, that’s what made me passionate about what I do now.
– That’s very powerful, thank you very much for sharing Divya. And I think that a lot of people they go through this period of transition. I was blessed to interview more than 100 guests here on this show, and a lot of people actually they had their turning point with the financial crisis in 2008. That was the moment where some people were forced or some people decided a wake up call to take more control and interviewing also people like yourself I’m always interested in story, and that’s what I resonated with your message right now. ‘Cause yes, everyone has a story whether you like it or not, and as you said, you can take control of your story or you can let your story leave you, and that’s a thing, what’s so powerful about what you shared right now, which is a beautiful bridge to what we’re going to talk about right now, which is crafting your message, crafting your unique value proposition. Now we were talking earlier in the, while we were having a chat, and you said that there is a difference between a unique selling point and unique value proposition. What’s the difference?
– So, it goes back to my core value system.
– Each and every one of us has values, right? So, the way I see the difference is selling is coming from a place, even though your services may be doing fantastic job, your products may be adding great value to people, but still the thought is that I wanna have this unique selling proposition. So I wanna create a transition right there, changing the intention, not only that my product creates a value, but talking about value right from here, here, bringing your heart, head, and your gut, everything in alignment. So, your belief system changing, where it’s all about value. How do you bring value to yourself, and how do you bring value to others? So, that’s the difference. It’s that even that coining of that phrase, that selling that goes out, it’s all about creating value for yourself, creating value for others, and just taking it to the next level.
– So, that’s the difference. It’s about having the emphasis on value rather than having the emphasis on selling. So now, how do we create a unique value proposition? How can a business or a person create this unique value proposition to get them moving?
– Fantastic. So the first thing to do is first of all there are five steps to it. So one of the first–
– I like steps. I like structures. That’s good, that’s already a good starting point here. I like it already.
– Yes, well, thank you Simone. So the first step is knowing yourself, exactly who you are, and having that relationship with yourself. It’s, jeez, I’m not sure who coined that phrase or who had said that, know thyself. Was it Shakespeare?
– I think it was Aristotle.
– Aristotle, that’s right.
– I think that it was Aristotle.
– Yes, know thyself, and I live by it because we are changing and the more we know ourselves the better you’re going to get in helping others. So the first step is knowing yourself. Know thyself, and know where you wanna go. So that, you know, just this one step has a lot of elements to it, but I can share briefly about it. Where you are, where you wanna be. Be extremely clear. Know about your passion. Know what your purpose is, because to me when your passion and purpose come together that’s when performance comes into play, and when you’re performing well, then prosperity is right behind you. So the key is knowing just not yourself but as part of yourself having these three equations right. Passion, it’s a triangle I’ve created, and in that triangle, one corner is passion, one is purpose, and the third is the performance. So when we talk about passion, passion is something like what is it that will make you spring out of bed every single morning? And I have to share that, that even though I was not laid off in 2008, and after a lot of soul searching and helpfrom different coaches when I found my passion, when I knew exactly what it was, since then I’ve never put an alarm any day. I wake up in the morning on my own, because I’m looking forward to day, and that doesn’t mean, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days, or you will not have bad days. Each of us are going to have that, but still, my why, what is why, that’s what drives me. So that’s where your passion and purpose come together is that what is your why that will make it so easy for you to go through the challenging times, get you out of bed every single day. Feel that fire, you know, just kind of kindle that fire within your belly and make you go, yes, you know what, regardless of what comes my way, I’m going for it. I’m going to stay true to myself. So that’s part of one of the full steps is knowing thyself and also knowing your competencies. Because passion alone is not enough.
– Because let’s say, you know, I might be extremely, extremely passionate about the cosmos and now I say, oh, I wanna be an astronaut. If I say that at this point in time in the game of life, then I’m being unrealistic. I mean, I’m not saying it cannot be done. However, think about it. It’s, you know, you’ve got to add a touch of realism. So, knowing your competencies, what are your skill sets, and what are your abilities? So your abilities that you already have and where you wanna go. How can you add to it, creating a structure and creating a plan around it? Because even though I decided in 2008 it was after several years that I left corporate to step into the full playground of entrepreneurship. So that’s the part of know thyself, having that competency, and also knowing about that gap. It’s important to know about that gap, because it’s all about mastery, and when I talk about unique value proposition it doesn’t come unless you have mastery in it, and now, you know, you may ask a question that do I have to wait ’til I work like 10,000 hours? And recently I heard from somebody else you need 30,000 hours to become a true master.
– No, you don’t have to wait until then. As long as you are good, you’re an expert, you can go ahead and get started and then continuously learn.
– I agree with you. Sometimes imperfect is better than done.
– And at the same time you need to be honest and to be upfront with the level where you’re at because I found that sometimes in this industry we have the whole concept of fake it until you make it, and there are people that claim to be masters, even if they are not masters. So I think that as a main core message here, we are talking about yes, get started. Don’t let your, if you haven’t done 10,000 hours, or 30,000 hours or 100,000 hours, don’t let that stop you. Don’t let that stop you. Get started, and at the same time, be honest with where you are at, because people will respect you much more for that. That’s what I found out personally. I don’t know if you’ve found out the same Divya.
– Oh yes, yes, and that’s what I always share is that you know bring that authenticity and it’s so important regardless where you are whether you’re an organisation, whether you’re an entrepreneur, come from a place of integrity. If you don’t know, it’s okay. Just share, that I don’t know, and I will share this, that you know, I can go to some folks, I have resources. Don’t say no that you can’t do it. Be honest with people and tell them that yes, I have resources accessible to me, and I can find answers for you.
– Absolutely, very strong. So, what’s the next step now?
– Okay. So, now you know yourself.
– You know who do you wanna work with, right? So, the next step is defining your market, understanding your market, exactly who they are, what’s theproblem, what’s, what are their hopes, the desires, their dreams, and of course, you know, there’s a whole bunch of things that you could go on and probably we would need several hours to go through it. But it’s knowing that, whose lives do you wanna make a difference to? Where do you wanna add value? So it’s almost like a dance. I always say that, you know, whether you’re doing tango or you’re doing waltz, one person is leading, another person is following, but yet at the same time, you’ll start out with leading and following but then it becomes a partnership.
– So that partnership has to have that equal give and take where we are co creating that plan. So it’s important to know yourself, and then the next step is knowing your market and now whether you’re an organisation, whether you are an entrepreneur, you could be a CEO, know that. What are your employees thinking? Know what is it that makes them, they’ll say, know what is it that keeps them engaged, and as I’m sure, there are studies after studies that show that 60 to 70% of employees are disengaged. I’m giving US statistics, of course. I’ve not looked at more statistics.
– But I’m sure it’s the same thing in UK, too.
– Absolutely, we have very similar statistics. Actually, all over the world, because people are doing the same things, and that’s what created it.
– So then the next one is know who you want to serve. Then once I know who I want to serve, what’s the next step?
– The next step is define their star problem, and when I say star, not only star, five star problem. You know how we say, oh, this restaurant is fantastic, or this hotel is fantastic. It’s got a five star rating.
– So same, so same way. Problem, a five star problem and you may say, hmm, what’s a five star problem?
– Yeah, exactly. That’s what I’m talking about. What’s a five star problem Divya?
– So five star problem is it’s, again, you know, that would take time, but I can kind of cover it in short. It’s the problem that will make your market’s life miserable, that is holding them back, that is not allowing your prospective customer or your prospective partner or your prospective client, your prospective team, it could be in different situations, right? So even if you’re in a organisation, a team is not working. What is it that’s not making them work? If you’re an entrepreneur, what is it that your market, what is it that’s stopping them from achieving that greatness? So that’s when I say it’s a five star problem because if it’s a, it has so much value because we are talking about unique value proposition here.
– So there are tonnes of people out there in a crowded market. I don’t like to call them as competitors. I like to call them as collaborators. I mean, because they may be dancing in the same field, and yet they’re not making it. So for you to make it big, what is it? You gotta find out what is that five star problem–
– That your market is having.
– Fantastic, so now you find the five star problem, and then what’s the next step?
– Now the next step is coming up with five star solution.
– That makes sense.
– It makes sense, right? Yeah, so, you find the solution and as part of this step it’s important to know if this is something that people know that they do have a problem. So it’s almost as part of implementation you do a pilot programme, and make sure that five star problem is the right one, your five star solution is the right one. So that’s number four, and five is I always, coming from a background of corporate, using lean Six Sigma is reflection and reevaluation and readjustment, and seeing whether you’re on the right track or not. If you’re not, readjust.
– Start again, yeah.
– It’s so important to learning, and tweak it, and go for it. So those are the five steps.
– Fantastic, can you recap them very briefly? Let’s go from number one to number five very briefly. So then, if you are listening right now or you are watching this video on YouTube or on Facebook then make sure that you take notes, take note, now from step one to five. Go Divya.
– So the first step is know thyself, as Aristotle said, so thank you for that.
– You’re welcome.
– Filling me in. Then second is know your market. Know your prospective buyer. Know your team. Know your client. Know who your colleagues are. Know who your employees are. Know who your partner is. In any phase of life, know others. Third is find out what is their five star problem. What is it that’s bothering them? What is it that’s causing them pain? What is it that’s keeping them up at night? And then based on that, on that five star problem the fourth step is come up with a five star solution that will make them feel great, that will make them go from one level to the next level, because you are here to serve your market, and when you come from a place that I’m going to give that five star value to my customer, five star value to my employee, five star value to my colleagues, then just that mindset, start with that mindset. When you’re starting with that mindset the results are going to be fantastic. So that was the fourth step.
– The fifth step is when you implement it and then reflect upon it, reevaluate it, reassess it, and if any changes need to be made, readjust the course. Correct the course, and do it again.
– Fantastic, that was gold! That was absolute gold. Thank you very much for sharing it, Divya. Now, what I want to move is to transition, and to the next part of the interview where I will love which we called lifting the veil, and here is the part where you’re going to share what is something that, or something or a tool that you use in your business or a practise that you use maybe in your marketing or sales on your operation that actually makes the difference, that everyone should know? What is that thing, Divya? Let’s lift the veil.
– Absolutely, it’s writing the right book. It is, so, as we talked about, it’s first of all is writing the right message.
– And once you have the right message then of course there are different ways of disseminating that message to come across and connect with your market, but what I have found in my experience writing in quotes the right book makes a world of difference.
– So, what makes the right book? ‘Cause you said right book, not just a book. What–
– How can we make it right?
– So, it’s again, so for example I can share, you know, I can share with one of my clients, Karen, last, actually, a couple of years back, I mean, I’ve known her for quite a few years, and she already had a programme, a fantastic programme. It’s a programme on how to build influence, and she has a full blown programme for coaches, for organisations, and she was already engaged. She was working with big organisations, with executives and all that, and then she was teaching the course to some of the coaches. She was training them so that they can go and teach–
– In other organisations, and then they were sitting and telling her, Karen, is there any way that you can capture in a book? Because your programme is so vast that it’s hard to know what it is. And then, fortunately, she came across, I think it was my 11th or 12th book, I don’t remember, and when she was reading it and she said, Divya, can you help me write my right book?
– So you wrote how many books?
– I have, I think, so the last one was 12th or 13th. I don’t remember.
– Wow! You are incredible! What’s the name of the last–
– I don’t know about that.
– What’s the name of the last one?
– The last one is Revealing Your Masterpiece.
– Right. So, she was reading. She read one of your book, one of your latest books, and then what happened? So she asked you for help, and what did you do with her?
– So, we walked through those five steps, because when she came to me with an outline, that, oh, this is the outline I have for a book, and I said, no, let’s start from a clean slate and we went through all five steps. I helped her figure out her five star problem. I helped her know herself, because the best part of the thing is that I coming from a science background I’ve got a battery of validated–
– Assessments, and what it would take somebody, let’s say if I had went without a partnership of assessments, and I stepped into a coaching partnership. It would take months for people not only to build that trust with me, but also it would take months for them to know themselves. So here the way we start out is one of the things is a person has to be invested in themselves, and as you said, lifting the veil. One thing is you gotta have that passion, because without the passion, things don’t happen. You gotta have that passion. Know that, you know, I gotta invest time, resources, and efforts in myself. I gotta do it, and I’m ready for it. I’m ready to take myself to the next level. I’m ready to take somebody else to the next level. So we do a battery of assessments and once we have done that we know that know thyself part, and we really get into the nitty gritty details of figuring out what’s the gap, really exactly what’s the gap and then what is it that makes them tick? Out of her whole programmes, what was it that really she wanted to narrow down? What was the message she wanted to create? So, okay, we have her message and this is the message she wants to pass on. Then we went to the next step, and even though her clients were defined we still grilled it down that okay, who would be your ideal person that you’d like to work with? Yes, you have it totally, totally grilled down, and we did that, and then third was again we took that problem and really, really, it’s like crystallising it.
– Super saturation or distillation. So, same thing. We walk through the whole process, and now her book is out. She hit number one bestseller, and actually people, lot of people on C suites are just ordering her books and I think, so she already got a contract with an organisation. So it’s that easy, because book is the new business card. As you walk away from someone, you know, sometimes yes, you may put it in an app. It captures somebody’s contact information but you forget, whereas a book–
– Goes with them to their house. You’re going with them to their house and think about it. They can read at their leisure, and as they are reading, you’re not sitting there and convincing them. You know how, as a lot of entrepreneurs will say, oh, you know, in your sales pitch, in your conversations always have the objections answered. So this is, you don’t even think about objections. That’s the beauty of it. When you talk about value, they see what you bring to table. You don’t have to sell yourself, and that’s why when you’ve written the right book with the good intention of helping others and we also craft the book in such a way that reader always is coming back to you, putting different structures in book in such a way, and that’s again personalised, because when you go to a doctor you’re not going to say, hey, doc, give me one medicine that will work for all.
– Yeah, absolutely. You know, sometimes here you go to the doctor and all they say is, oh, take some paracetamol. No, I just want something, you know, It seems paracetamol for everything. So, no, give me something that actually can work for my solution. Now I have one last question before we wrap up Divya, which is about, you wrote almost like 13 books, and how do you structure your time to write so much? Because you know, some people even struggle to write one book. I wrote four, and, my God, right? But personally, I don’t like writing. So for me, it is even extra. Is that because you have a great passion for writing? Do you have some magic powers? What, what, tell me, how do you write so much?
– So, I don’t have a passion for writing. I love sharing my message. I love what I do, and when you love what you do then the means is just a means, and also I have to share that because I’ve been, I’ve worked with world class people to figure out what writing is and I have been finessing my process. So yes, I do have a process where whether you’re a writer or you’re not a writer, whether you have, whether, even if you don’t have time, we craft the book in such a way, it’s a personalised process. It’s customised just for you that it’s a pleasure, not a chore writing a book.
– Oh, that’s brilliant. So, for everyone that feels, that is listening right now, that feels, oh, I gotta publish my book, but I cannot have time, or I don’t know how to do it, then make sure that you get in touch with Divya. So now, how can people connect with you? How can people get in touch with you, and do you have something for them?
– Absolutely, they can reach out to me through my website. It is www.divyaparekh.com, and I’ll spell it out. D as in David, I, V as in Victor, Y, A as in apple, P as in Paul, A as in apple, R as in Robert, E as in Edward, K as in Kevin, H as in Harry, dot com, and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and also I do have a gift. May I share?
– Of course, please.
– Okay, so it is https, just like you know any other H, T as in Tom, T as in Tom, P as in Perry, S as in Sam, colon, forward slash, forward slash, success, S-U-C-C-E-S-S.divyaparekh.com/makeitbig. So if you’re thinking of writing a book these are nine marketing hacks that tell you how you can make it big even before you have written a book.
– Oh, fantastic! So make sure that you’re going to go on that link. We are going to put all the link that Divya shared right now in the show notes. So you can scroll down your app if you’re listening on iTunes or Spotify, or if you’re watching on YouTube you will find those links in the description and make sure that you check them out because definitely a book is a must have. If you’re an expert in your industry literally you’re not an expert if you don’t have a book, and now it becomes standard. It before was nice to have. Now it’s a must have. If you don’t have a book, hey, go back to school, right? It’s kind of this reputation in our industry. So make sure that you take it seriously, clarify your message, and write your book. Divya, thank you very much for being with me on this interview. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
– Oh, thank you Simone. I loved it, and I really appreciate it, very grateful.
– That’s my pleasure, and if you are listening right now make sure that you subscribe to our show, so you don’t miss any other episode. We have more than 100 episode that you can listen to, and we publish more than three episodes every single week of this live podcast. So make sure that you subscribe right now, so you don’t miss any other episode and if you want to give me a personal favour, a personal favour to me is to write a review. Give us a five star review if you think it’s five star. If you think it’s four star, give us four star review. If you think it’s three star, just don’t bother. Just give me the good ones. We were talking with Divya today about the five star, so I like that, and let me know what did you like the most about the show. Also, I’ll read every single review and I will personally thank you here on the show. So, thank you very much for listening. Thank you very much for watching, and always remember that together we grow exponentially. Bye for now.