Discovering what makes you unique

Dianne Shaver has been an entrepreneur for over 28 years and has had retail, manufacturing and design businesses, a live radio show and now a podcast interviewing people worldwide. She has written books, given workshops, consulted with corporations and entrepreneurs. She has trained entrepreneurs to pitch to investors and run pitch events with accredited investors. Seeing business from many different vantage points gives her a unique and comprehensive overview to bring clients. Also, Dianne has a master’s in counselling, which gives her insight into changing behaviours that don’t work into clients’ success.

Episode Summary

  • How we’re all blind to what makes us unique
  • The signs that you’re tapping into your uniqueness
  • What makes you unique is continuously evolving
  • Write to uncover your uniqueness



“As human beings, we don’t see ourselves correctly.”

“Address the fear, not the behaviour.”

“Everybody has the right to define the life that they want.”

Guest Information

Website: www.entrepreneurmindworld.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DianneTransformationsPodcast

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EntrepreneurMW

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianne-shaver-b6b786101/

Episode Transcript

Chris Ippolito 00:31 

Hi, Dianne. 


Dianne Shaver 00:33 

Hey, Chris. It’s good to be here. 


Chris Ippolito 00:35 

It’s great to have you on. When we did our pre-interview call, you had shared that one of the things that you shifted your business to is really helping entrepreneurs uncover their uniqueness, and then leveraging that to grow their business more. I was wondering if you could share a little bit about why that transition as well as how do you go about actually helping somebody find that uniqueness. 


Dianne Shaver 01:08 

Okay. The transition, life is a progression. I mean I started out, I got my master’s in counseling and coaching, started out doing things the way I’d been taught. And then I began to see that my way of doing things is a little different, and I trusted myself and it evolved. And then I learned how to use my uniqueness. As I started working with clients, I began to see that when I really listened to them and we had time together over a period of a month or whatever, I began to see that there were areas in their business that they were not paying attention to and that they were so suited for. I mean they had this incredible ability to do this thing and in a particular way that they were ignoring, and that was the gold in their business. 


I think a lot of times we study things, and that’s good and we need to, and I think we all need to start out doing what we’ve been taught and to evolve our own way. And we’re all unique. There isn’t one person on this planet that is not unique. And the ways that we’re unique sometimes are more subtle, sometimes they’re right in your face, but they’re there. And that’s the gold in all of us, if you will, and that’s the thing that makes a business stand out. 


Chris Ippolito 02:40 

Yeah. You were saying that sometimes they were avoiding that one thing or not focusing on it. Why? What would be the reason? 


Dianne Shaver 02:50 

They just don’t see it. They just don’t see it. One of the things that we have as human beings is we don’t see ourselves correctly. And that’s why we all have coaches. Tony Robbins has three, I have one. But you can’t see what you can’t see, we take it for granted. Let’s say you have certain gifts. You take them for granted, you assume the whole world has those gifts because you’re so used to them. And that’s your way of being in the world and you assume that everybody else is like that in the world, and they’re not. It takes sometimes somebody from the outside to help us see what’s unique in us because we don’t see. 


And the other piece in that, a corollary to that I want to add also, is we all have patterns. And they’re called that for a reason, it means that we have a habitual way of looking at things, a habitual way of doing things. And it takes somebody from the outside to help us see that. And sometimes, well, “sometimes,” we always get in our own way until we learn how not to do it. And there’s no exceptions to that, it’s universal. I don’t care how powerful somebody is or how rich they are or how unique they are in some ways, they have patterns they do not see until someone helps them see it. That’s just part of being human. 


Chris Ippolito 04:15 

Yeah, it is an interesting characteristic of humans, that we’re so blind to not just our strengths, but especially our weaknesses. And it’s really great to have that outside perspective that a coach can offer to be able to help uncover it or dig it up a little bit. I was wondering if you could share the story again with the audience, because you shared it with me, but you had mentioned and shared a story about a client who she was able to effectively triple her income just by helping uncover what that uniqueness was and creating an offer around that and a service around that. 


Dianne Shaver 04:53 

Sure. This is very interesting. This is someone that I started working with that was a very withdrawn, very quiet person, very competent, and tremendous amount of integrity. I mean what she said she was delivering she delivered, and more. But as we started working, I realized that she was pretty bored. And we’re bored when we don’t use who we are. And you know this, Chris, personally, too. When you’re using who you are, all of who you are, you’re excited, you love life, you feel vibrant, you feel really alive. And when you’re just using a little bit of yourself and giving people what they say they want from you, it’s really boring. 


I helped her to see that and also to gain some confidence. Because even though she was very skilled, the confidence wasn’t there. And again, she didn’t see what she had. As we were working, I said something to her. And I don’t want to get into too much of this because she’s pretty identifiable now, I’m being a little cautious about this. But I said to her, “You really are,” and I said a quality. “And this is what you have to offer people, they’re not seeing this.” 


And the other piece that’s important is there was a place in the market for it. I just read Napoleon Hill’s thing and he said, “To make sure that you’re going to be good in business, you have to see that there is a need and that it would be almost impossible to replace you.” I thought about that, too, and this was a niche in the market. A lot of companies are not paying attention to how the money is coming in and out and who’s handling their money and the structure of the business. And these would be small businesses. A small business, what is it, $50 million and under is a small business these days? 


Chris Ippolito 07:01 



Dianne Shaver 07:02 

But in the old days a $5 million-dollar business would have been a small business. But she was able to address that, there was a need in the market. And she had a really unique way of putting this together and now she’s dealing with pretty powerful people because she can help them. And I read this and I used to sneer at this, but when people started making a lot of money they were saying that they were helping people and I thought, “Yeah, right.” But it’s true. I mean everybody needs help and whatever level you want to work at, it’s open. 


She started to do this. And first, she changed how she was working with her current clients. And then some new clients came in and she started working with them in this very different way. And that’s what she’s doing now. Her income is not quite triple, but by the end of this year it will be at least tripled. 


Chris Ippolito 08:06 

That’s amazing. 


Dianne Shaver 08:07 

It is. And my job is to help somebody see it, I can’t do it for them. I mean this is in them, this was in her. This is her genius, if you will. But my job is to help people find that genius and put it out there for them. 


Chris Ippolito 08:24 

Which we’ve already mentioned having that outside perspective is going to help, but let’s see if there’s a way that we can help the audience here in the case that maybe they haven’t quite made that decision to work with a coach. Though they realize there’s value there, maybe there are a couple different reasons that maybe are holding them back from it. And they wanted to try and figure out what’s their uniqueness, what’s their special gift that they could do exactly like you said, shift their business a little bit. Now all of a sudden they’ve got this unique offer which, because it’s unique, they’re able to just demand a higher price point. Could you walk through a little bit of maybe what you would do with a client as far as helping them uncover that uniqueness? 


Dianne Shaver 09:15 

It’s a little different, I listen. I mean listening to someone. What I would say to somebody that I’m not face to face with is, “When do you feel most alive? What is the part of your business that really excites you? What is it when you get up in the morning and you know you’re going to do this do you think, ‘Wow, this is really good’?” Or if you’re in the middle of working with a client, all of a sudden something lights you up. Those are the keys. 


The more alive you feel, the more on target you are, the more you’re using whatever your gift is. Even if you can’t name it, but you know when you’re there. And that’s what makes people know that they’re on target. If you’re really bored, and let’s say you’re very competent at doing something that bores the hell out of you. It’s not your gift, even though you can do it. And one of the things for people who are multitalented that’s a drawback, you can do almost anything, it doesn’t mean it’s what you should be doing. Again, even though you can do a multitude of things, if it doesn’t light you up it’s not where your genius is, despite the fact that you can do it well. If that makes sense. But it’s that alignment. I mean you know from yourself how you feel when you’re working the way you want to work, it’s a whole different world. 


Chris Ippolito 10:37 

Yeah. How I would build on that is what’s the kind of work that allows that person to easily get into a state of flow where time just almost evaporates. Because for me when I’m doing the kind of work that I really enjoy, I’ll look at the clock and go, “Oh my, it’s been three hours,” but it didn’t feel like three hours. Or you almost feel more energized after putting in that work than you did when you started. Those are some good indications that I’ve used for myself as far as whether I’m going down the right path. I think that would be maybe something that could help build upon that, an exercise for our audience to see if they could uncover what their uniqueness is, or maybe at least have a better idea of the direction they want to go. Right? 


Dianne Shaver 11:32 

One of the things about human beings, when we pay attention, we know the truth. And you can feel it in your whole body. If you’re dealing with other people, you know when they’re not telling the truth. But for yourself, and you call it flow, I think that’s a really good way of addressing it. But you know when you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you feel it. And that’s part of the gifts of being human, that we can feel it in ourselves when we’re doing what we are here to do. 


Chris Ippolito 12:02 

Yeah, 100%. 


Dianne Shaver 12:04 

Yeah. But the other thing I want to point out, too, it’s an evolution. And the way I mean it is you might start out doing one thing and it leads you to something else. And it keeps evolving. And it’s like this client, she kept evolving. It might not be the end-all, be-all. You might one day feel like, “Oh, this is absolutely wonderful, I love this,” and you’ll work at it a year, two years, six months, whatever it is for you, and then all of a sudden it leads you to something else. 


Because I had this conversation with somebody and it really interested me. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. And I started out as a dancer, I was in the professional theater. I became a metalsmith, I had boutiques. I’ve had radio shows. I mean I’ve done a whole bunch of things and each thing led to the other. And the person I was talking with was somebody who was very, very competent and had a job for like 30 years, 40 years. 


And it’s just different mindsets. For entrepreneurs we’re risk takers. We’re creatives, we keep thinking of things. I think to get to the place where you think, “Aha, this is it and I won’t do anything else for the rest of my life,” not true. 


Chris Ippolito 13:27 

I 100% agree. I feel like even just for myself personally it’s been just a journey of acquiring skill sets and developing mindsets that have just ultimately led me to where I’m at right now. And I think that’s the journey that all humans go through. But as you mentioned, entrepreneurs, they think a little bit differently and they tend to look at the world in general a little bit differently. 


Dianne Shaver 13:57 

And we’re risk takers, that’s the other thing. We can tolerate a lot of risk, a lot of people can’t. 


Chris Ippolito 14:04 

I almost sometimes think it’s not necessarily a tolerance of risk, but it’s viewing risk in almost a different way. Richard Branson has talked a lot about this, where he’s actually said, “I don’t feel like I’ve taken any risks in my career,” because he’s just so good at reframing it or putting himself in a position where he’s minimized the actual risk. Whereas from the outside there’s this perception of enormous risk. And I think entrepreneurs are just very adept at reframing it and restructuring the risks so that they’re minimizing it for themselves. 


Dianne Shaver 14:47 

I think that’s well said. I think the risk thing comes from an external thing where people talk about, and I’ve seen it statistically, about high-risk or low-risk jobs and so forth, but yeah. I mean for us, for entrepreneurs, and I’m sure most of your listeners are probably, it just evolves. It’s like, “Wow, wouldn’t this be great?” 


And I was sitting down the other day. And this is important, this is the other thing I would tell your listeners, if I may. And that is when you sit quietly by yourself and you just write down things, think about a subject, and then write down whatever comes, and you’re going to be amazed at how brilliant you are because there are things that are right there. But that’s how we are, it’s just like, “Oh, wow, that would be so great to do.” And it adds in and it adds in and it adds in, and it makes internal sense to us. 


Chris Ippolito 15:45 

Right. One question I’m curious about, especially with what you do, helping people uncover that uniqueness. I’m sure you’ve ran into this a few times, but what are some of the more common false beliefs people have, those self-imposed barriers that they put for themselves when you’re trying to dig in there a little bit and uncover that uniqueness and you point it out to them, but then they go, “Well, I don’t know,” and they put up their guards a little bit? Have you seen that a few times? How do you help them navigate through that? 


Dianne Shaver 16:21 

Okay, I think I would address it a little differently. As children, our first job is to survive. We all figure out ways of adapting to our environment and whatever is going on in it so that we can survive. We tell ourselves things that later on probably are not in our best interest. And because my master’s is in counseling as well as coaching, I can spot that kind of stuff, I can see the behavior. And it’s usually some form of protective behavior which is shutting down an avenue that could be explored to make their business even better. 


It’s not finding one thing. If I said, “People don’t believe in themselves,” to me that’s a very surface thing, it’s not really looking at what’s going on. Let’s say there’s somebody who didn’t believe in themselves. And as I start talking, I start seeing how they talk themselves down, how they do it in the presence of very particular kinds of people and particular kinds of circumstances. Again, we’re unique. I don’t have five steps to becoming a master at whatever you’re doing or something because everybody is unique. And if I don’t pay attention to that, I can’t help them find those things. 


That’s how I look at it. I’ve gotten at you one day and I said you’re not being yourself. But that was something you learned. And it was something that was important. And everything, every behavior that we have that’s now counterproductive, at one point in our life was essential. And it’s so not saying to someone, “Don’t do that,” it’s removing the fear that caused it to be in place. My job is to address the fear and not the behavior. And we look at deflating it, if you will, and probably looking at it from a different point of view, and then there’s no need for the behavior. Does that make sense? 


Chris Ippolito 18:36 

Yeah. It sounds like you’re more focused on finding the root cause versus the behavior itself. Like, “Let’s dig deeper and find out why this behavior shows up.” Because you can’t fix the behavior without addressing the root cause to it. Yeah, that makes sense. 


Dianne Shaver 18:57 

And it doesn’t have to be the instance where it started, but it has to be like, “In the presence of certain people, this is what happens. In the presence of this kind of pressure, this is what happens.” And it’s just finding what brings it up, and then working with that. And then you’ve got something. Because you can change someone’s behavior on the surface for a period of time and under stress they’ll revert right back, until you get at what’s really causing it. 


One of the things that brings me to is that even though I am dealing with entrepreneurs and we’re dealing with their business, what we’re doing is dealing with that human being. Although people have talked about separating out their personal and business life, you can’t, you’re one person. There are benefits that go through their whole life that actually impact relationships and their joy in life and everything because they’re one person. It doesn’t matter if we’re doing it in their business or their personal life, it will go through everything. 


Chris Ippolito 20:06 

Right, that makes sense. To try and help the audience, because the goal of every episode here is to have one actionable piece of advice that they can take away and look to level up in that area that they’re struggling with. From your perspective, I know this is tough because you’ve even said it a couple times in our conversation here, but what’s maybe that next step that they can take, what’s that one thing that they can do such that will help them perhaps uncover that uniqueness? You said something earlier that I thought might make sense, is almost sitting down and asking themselves that question of, “What is it that really lights me up?” And/or just writing down everything they know about a certain subject, and then seeing where they get a bit of a rush. Would that be something you think would make sense, or do you have another piece of advice? 


Dianne Shaver 21:02 

Yeah, I think that does make sense. I mean because whatever lights us up is what we’re here to do. And I feel like we are all here to do something. Or else why would we be here? I’m trying to think of some other things. Also, to write down what do you feel that you’re really competent at doing, what is it that you know better than almost anybody. Like sometimes you’re in a room and people are talking about something and you have an idea and you know that you’re at the heart of the idea and they’re talking around it, but you got it. 


I’m believing a lot in writing things down. Because the process of writing, it integrates the left and right brain and it also helps you give real structure to what you’re thinking. To write down what are you really good at, what are the things that you know you excel at. And if you put those all together, what would you have? That could be very interesting. 


Chris Ippolito 22:10 

Yeah, I think that’s a good exercise even in a broader sense, is just writing more frequently, whether it’s journaling or just doing mind mapping or mind dumps onto a piece of paper. I think that in itself is such a fantastic tool, like you said. For some reason it just helps clear things up in a very strange way. Anybody who’s listening who’s not started either journaling or, like Dianne is sharing, just writing down just your thoughts around a certain subject, I think that would be what I would suggest coming out of today, is really figure out the uniqueness. Just write down your strengths, write down what you’re really good at, write down the things that people come to you and ask questions about or you’re always searching online about, I think that might be it. What do you think, Dianne? 


Dianne Shaver 23:05 

I like that, I like that. And also, the thing that you’re really good at may not be what you’re doing at all. If there’s something that comes out from left field, “People always come and talk to me about this, but I don’t do that.” It could be a hidden thing, it could be something that you’re doing already and you don’t realize that you’re really doing it, but other people do, and that be a clue to what your next step is. 


Chris Ippolito 23:34 

I think that might be something we’ll add. I feel like we’re piecing together this exercise as we go. I found a lot of value when I did something similar to this, but I asked other people. I asked people that were really close to me and truly understood who I was, “What are some of the things that you think I’m good at or strong at?,” and then I compared it to the list that I wrote out. And then I started seeing some correlations and things that were similar, and I just dug in a little bit deeper with that. That’s what I ended up doing. 


Dianne Shaver 24:09 

And then the final thing that I’m sure you did, and I’m assuming so, forgive me, that you looked at it and you saw what felt right to you and you discarded what didn’t feel right. I am so much in favor of people trusting themselves, trusting their gut. There’s a difference, and this is hard to define in some ways. I am somewhat of a maverick. Don’t fence me in, don’t tell me what to do. For me I got a new mastery journal, I have to write in several different places all the meetings and things that I’m doing. And I would not normally do that, but I can see it’s something I need. Even though it was something I didn’t want, I knew inside this was something that would help me be better at doing what I’m doing. 


You can take in all the information from the outside, but the bottom line is it has to feel like it’s on target to you. Because sometimes people don’t see this, and they don’t see this because we don’t show them. Again, that’s why I don’t like hard and fast rules. And that’s just me, I mean that’s part of who I am, too. Because we have to be the final decider in our life, and we know intuitively what’s right for us and what isn’t. While it’s good to check with other people, the bottom line is you have to trust yourself enough to go with your gut. I mean Branson is not listening to other people, he’s going with his gut. 


Chris Ippolito 25:54 

He’s mentioned that a few times, he does what he thinks is right. A lot of very successful people have done that. Even though a lot of people will say, “What you’re doing is wrong,” or, “You’re absurd,” or whatever, they’re like, “No, I just know.” And obviously the results speak for themselves. 


Dianne Shaver 26:14 

Well, I think there’s a distinction here. And everybody has a right to define the life that they want. I’m looking for people who want to excel. And for some people that’s not why they’re here, they’re here to fit in, they’re here to work in a different particular way. But there’s no one that can tell you, and this is why I work the way I do, what you should do because inside you know. If you can find somebody that will help link you up to you, then you’ve got it. And I think that everybody who has excelled has done it that way. Sometimes we’re the Lone Ranger and sometimes we don’t do it well and we need to learn, we need more tools, and we need somebody else to come in and help us see what we’re not seeing. But essentially that’s it. This is what we’ve got, we’re it. And there’s no mistake that we have that, it’s infallible when you learn to listen. 


Chris Ippolito 27:22 

Yeah, that’s awesome. This has been great, I really enjoyed the conversation, Dianne. If our audience wants to learn more about you and reach out and get in contact with you, what’s the best place for them to come find you? 


Dianne Shaver 27:37 

Probably my website is pretty good. And it’s strange, but it’s www.entrepreneurmindworld.com. And it’s got a lot of things on there. It’s got a description of how I work with people, and it’s got some testimonials from people, and also some of the past things I’ve done, like the pitch events that I’ve done with investors and entrepreneurs. And there’s a lot of me there and they can get a feel for me. 


And the way I like to work, again, I probably said this before, but we have our 15-minute conversation, it’s like what you and I did, to feel if it’s a good fit. And if it is a good fit, then we work out a time to do the initial intake and working with one another, I write up something about what I think we need to focus on and why, and then from there we dig in and we work. I probably won’t work less than three or four months because change takes time. And I’ve worked with people for years because these people are people who keep evolving. 


It’s just different the way it is, but to do a really good job I don’t want to do a surface job with anybody because I think that’s a disservice. Because if we haven’t worked to the place where they are trusting themselves enough to really go for it, then I leave them in a place that is vulnerable, I think. Do you know what I mean? Because it’s unsettling the old way of doing things and they haven’t integrated the new way. That I won’t do. I’m very clear about wanting to be there as a support. I mean I work with clients via Zoom, like we’re doing here, but also sometimes a phone call is needed. And I’ll be there for that. I really want to support my clients. I don’t want to do, “Okay, we talked this much, we can’t ever talk again until whenever.” Because if they’re in mid-change, I want to be there for them because that’s important. 


Chris Ippolito 29:55 

Yeah, you don’t have a meter that’s like, “Oh, sorry, your time is out.” 


Dianne Shaver 29:59 

Well, I do in a way. 


Chris Ippolito 30:01 

Sort of. 


Dianne Shaver 30:02 

Sessions are about an hour. And again, see, here’s this thing. When you’re doing the work that I do, I’m teaching people. If I say I’m going to be there for an hour, I should be there for an hour and I should leave, because I’ve set a precedent. However, if there is some kind of crisis or something is really going on, then we can renegotiate. But again, it’s that balance because as a coach you’re also teaching. 


And the other thing I like my clients know is that I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend to be and I don’t want to be because it’s not a human quality and I would not be human. But I want them to know that I’m always learning, and I really listen to them. I mean I’ve always said to my clients from the first day I started coaching a long, long time ago, “This is what I’m getting and this is what I think. If inside of you you feel something different, always go with what you feel.” And I stick by that. Because sometimes I could be missing a piece that they’re picking up and they haven’t communicated to me. Most of the time I’m pretty spot-on, but I want to empower the people I’m working with because that’s the whole goal, that’s the reason why we’re working. 


Chris Ippolito 31:23 

Yeah. That’s why you’re a coach. 


Dianne Shaver 31:26 

That’s it. And I can’t stop myself, I mean I can coach strangers on the street. 


Chris Ippolito 31:32 

I can attest to that because even in our original 15-minute call where I was trying to figure out is there a good fit here, you flipped it a little bit on me, but that’s okay because that’s why I like coaches. I think there’s just that natural, it’s not really natural, but there’s that desire to want to just always help and improve other people and get them to where they want to be. Right? And that’s the unique thing, is you’re not there providing unsolicited advice. You’re seeing something and you’re going, “I know you want to get to that next level and I see how you can do it,” and then you provide the guidance on it. 


Dianne Shaver 32:13 

Yeah, I love what you just said, perfectly stated. And that is my goal is what they want, not what I think they should have or who I think they are. It’s what they decide. 


Chris Ippolito 32:24 

Yeah. All right, well, I think that’s a good place to wrap up. Thanks, Dianne, it was a pleasure, I really enjoyed it and I’m sure we’ll stay in touch and we’ll talk sometime down the road. 


Dianne Shaver 32:37 

I’d love that. And thank you again, Chris, this has been wonderful. 


Chris Ippolito 32:39 

You’re welcome. Take care. 


Dianne Shaver 32:42