ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | ELIZABETH DIALTO
Q&A WITH ELIZABETH DIALTO
Q: Tell us a little about how you got started with CUTCO.
- I was tired of doing the same old summer jobs. I worked in restaurants or retail all throughout high school. I went to the Vector interview, and the pay appeared to be better. I had a $10k Fast Start and was the #10 scholarship winner that summer. I literally remember this: I sold $48,252 my first summer.
Q: What were some of your most transformational experiences during your time with the company?
- The concept of recognition was huge. I’d always been comfortable in front of groups of people. I played sports in high school and remember at a high school basketball banquet giving an impromptu speech, realizing how comfortable I was; people came up to me afterwards and said that it was amazing. Every week I had an incentive to hustle other than just to make money. Money is cool, but in my life it’s never been my top motivator, money only gets you so much and so far. The recognition for the effort was really transformational for me. I not only realized how important it was for me in my own life to have that kind of positive feedback loop, but also to create that for other people.
Q: One of the things that is key to our ability to influence others is how we make people feel. If we are somebody who finds good a lot more often than not and tries to make people feel appreciated, they feel good in our presence and are more open to what we have to say.
- I still to this day love telling people about my district office in Washington, D.C. (my team name was The D.C. Regulators)! I loved that there was fun built in: fun, celebration, and personal expression. When I went to college in Baltimore, my manager Jeff Gamboa had this super fun cheer, people got to dance, and that was very much in line with my personality. Getting to create something like that for my own team and be able to build fun into work was something that, at a young age, really helped pave the way and show me something that I would value a lot in work. You spend a lot of time at work, so to have it be something you enjoy really matters.
Q: I saw you sharing something about why you succeeded in Cutco & Vector, and it was along the lines of your trust in yourself became greater than your fears. Can you unpack that a little bit?
- I get interviewed a lot on entrepreneurial podcasts and I say this all the time: My Cutco training was so valuable because I really learned that you often have to get through a lot of “no’s” to get to the “yes”. Not just the “yes”, but the aligned “yes” that is really good for you. As a rep, it was a numbers game. If I make more phone calls, I’ll get more appointments; if I do more appointments, I’ll make more sales. I was a person that just followed the program. Part of the trust came from having a path to follow. My grandpa would always say, “They could knock you down, but they can’t keep you down.” A lot of my trust came from that. There’s nothing that can happen that I can’t bounce back from. If we look at the spectrum of things that can happen to people in terms of trauma and tragedy in their lives, someone saying no to you, that they don’t want to buy something you’re selling, is pretty low on the scale of magnitude of hardships.
- A friend said, “What is for you cannot pass by you.” I did trust that whatever was happening, I was going to make something out of it. I don’t really believe in failure. I just believe that you’ll get the lesson, you’ll get the learning, keep it moving.
Q: That’s an awesome mentality that you developed. Was that something you developed while you were at Cutco, or were the seeds already there before you got to Cutco?
- The seeds were there, but Cutco, in a lot of ways, gave me all these different applications of it. The big one was the summer of 2003, I wanted to be a branch manager. I had trained so hard and I don’t mind telling you, I was certainly the best candidate in my class. They didn’t pick me and wanted me to be an assistant that summer. That was so eye-opening to me; you can’t just outwork people to get what you want. Hard work is not just the answer. I showed up and outdid everyone in the training and I was not selected. It was crushing for me at the time, but it was a retrospective lesson that there are always going to be factors out of your control. It was hard for me to bounce back from, there was nothing I wanted more. I showed up and did a good job as an assistant in the office even with all this resentment I had. I sold over $25,000 that summer and qualified for my region trip. If this is the hand that I’m being dealt, I’m still gonna rock this.
Q: There’s an insight there for young people: we don’t always get what we want. Kids think that just because they want something, that’s how it should be, and it’s not always that way. We have to learn that as we go along, we’re part of a bigger system, some things are out of our control. Being able to choose the best meaning for what happens and make the most out of it is what really makes sense.
Tell us about after Cutco. You got into the fitness industry, what were you doing at that point?
- I was literally working out one day and the manager at the gym asked if I’d ever thought about being a trainer, and I asked how it worked. I became an apprentice trainer, got certified, then became a trainer and was teaching all the classes, even creating my own classes.
Q: Did you use your Cutco skills in that job?
- Of course, because you’re getting clients! You’re handling objections before they come up, encouraging and motivating people, basically having personal consultations with your clients every week. Being at the front of the room in that fitness class guiding people was so natural to me because I had done it so many times in my Cutco experience (running interviews and training).
- I had started writing for blogs and doing things online in 2009 and I met some people that were doing trainings on how to run an online business. I was still a personal trainer but I started to create online programs. I took a 60% pay cut to become a personal trainer from sales, so I had to figure out how to make more money. I did a semester of grad school at G.W. for Exercise Science. While I was there I had told my clients from New Jersey I would still make their workouts, they could just do them on their own, pay me this much, and I would do Skype sessions. Now we’re in the age of Covid and people are doing all this stuff on Zoom, and I’ve literally been doing this since 2010, figuring out how to get people to do things without having to be with them in person.
- I created my first fitness program called “Tighter in Ten Days”. All this sales, marketing, and copyrighting came easy to me because I knew how to build rapport, how to get people excited for the next thing. All these things in Cutco I had practiced for years totally translated into getting people excited about my next fitness program or my next class.
Q: Ultimately, your experience in the fitness industry led you in this direction where you wound up creating the Wild Soul Movement. Tell us about what led you to start and what it’s all about.
- This actually connects back to some experiences I had as a district manager as well. I had a couple experiences of my reps coming into my office and pouring their hearts out to me about what was going on at home, challenging things. It was very emotional for me, and I didn’t have the tools at the time to deal with being as sensitive or empathic as I am. There’s something about my energy where people feel like they could be themselves.
- After I realized that grad school was not for me I moved back to New York and was working in a boutique training studio in the West Village, and the clients were fashion industry folks, celebrities. Marie Claire wanted us to make a video of a snippet of my class. The guy who owned the studio hired people to do hair, makeup, and film to make this video. I have a lot of freckles, very curly hair; they put so much makeup on my face you couldn’t see my freckles, they straightened my hair, so much lip gloss. I would never work out with my hair down and all this lip gloss on. I had my own visible abs and they still painted contour lines on my stomach. That day I realized that I’m pretty sure I’m part of a problem that I don’t want to be a part of: this perfectionism, ideal image, and pressure that gets put on women about what’s good and what’s bad. It really upset me.
- I started to study psychology, archetypes, expressions of femininity, and more healing-oriented things. I started salsa dancing and I’d always been an athlete growing up, so getting into this more feminine expression through my body opened me up to how to integrate these things. Wild Soul Movement was born out of my desire to want to synthesize all these things that I’d become passionate about to show women that there’s so many amazing things about their bodies and who they are that are much more important than how they look, even though our culture largely values women on their appearance.
Q: Let’s talk about some of the principles that you feel are important for others to internalize.
- Everything you have ever needed has always been inside of you. People will sometimes ask me why I say it like that, and I want to emphasize to people that it’s always been that way. We’re each perfect in our own expression, then we go to school and we have to compete, get grades, follow rules, and start to learn. All this programming, conditioning, standards, and beliefs get piled onto us and we internalize that. We end up functioning as adults in so many ways that we’ve agreed to, but aren’t actually rooted in the truth of who we are.
- The personal development path, Vector got me started on that, too. It’s not just mindset, learn more, do better. You have to peel back and question everything that you’ve been told to go, is this actually true for me? Or did a teacher, parent, religion, or something tell me it was and I just went along with it because I didn’t know what I didn’t know? What is true for you? What is in line for you and makes you feel more like yourself rather than a carbon copy or literal offspring of someone else and other people?
Q: How does somebody see those things? I think it’s in an area of life that we don’t even see that maybe people observing see about us. Maybe people with more experience or knowledge of this sort of space can educate us, but for a lot of people, they don’t see these things about themselves. How do they increase their awareness? How do they learn?
- This is why I got so deeply into embodiment, another one of the principles I talk about a lot. You need to spend time getting out of your head and into your body. Your head is where all the programming and conditioning lives, the body is where the truth lives. One of the things I also talk about with this is the difference between judgment and discernment. A lot of personal development and spiritual things will teach you to try not to be judgmental because judgment is constantly evaluating things and placing value (this is good, that’s bad). So much of it is subjective; we all get to have preferences, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right or wrong. Discernment just says, “Yes, that’s for me!” or, “No, that’s not.”
- Part of what I do is help people use more of their senses to glean information than just logic and rationale to process things. If anyone listening to this is a manager or in training, some of us are really good at some things and really crappy at others. Instead of trying to get good at the things we’re not great at, we really just need to get the support. Someone out there absolutely rocks at the thing we are so bad at, and it’s so much better to fill in that puzzle piece rather than keep trying to be good at something that you’re just not gonna be good at.
Q: That’s so true! You said something about learning who we are and how we’re built. Where does that come from?
- So often in management training, you’d see people being a parrot of their own manager. Using the same hand gestures, voice inflection. It’s because they’re mimicking, that’s a step in learning. But then when you come into your own, you say this is actually how I want to say this, this is how I move my body, how I express myself. I would remind people who come to me for mentoring to see how they’re built because they may not have my level of energy or capacity to do what I’m doing, I’m a doer. Some people are more magnetic. I have friends who get all these referrals, they barely have a website, and their client roster is always full. It’s nice to know there are some things that we are naturally good at and inclined towards, but of course we can train in anything.
- In the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, there are four zones: The Zone of Incompetence, The Zone of Competence, The Zone of Excellence, and The Zone of Genius. The Zone of Genius is when you’re literally in that place of doing what you’re built for, meant for, comes easily to you, and you love it. A lot of people get stuck in the Zone of Excellence because they have trained, because they’re so good at some things because they’ve learned to be, and they never touch the Genius because they’re stuck in the Excellence.
- Learn about yourself. See what resonates for you, what really does it. Learn to accept these things about yourself instead of fighting them.
Q: I want to circle this back to all of the young women that we’re trying to develop in Cutco/Vector and give you an opportunity if there’s any advice or insight you want to share with that group.
- We still live in a very patriarchal world, dominant culture, misogyny, but it’s not indicative of how all men are; it’s indicative of the supremacy and the culture. You don’t have to engage with it. I want to remind women and the men listening: stop allowing anyone to diminish you down to thinking that anything is because of how you look, or that you’re not getting a result because of how you look. There’s so much more to you! It’s worth it to do the self-inquiry, self-discovery, to learn who you really are, the deepest part of your core, where your inner power and authority comes from.
- The thing I said in the beginning about recognition being a great thing? That can also become addictive. Then you’re basing your own worth all the time on external validation, awards, accomplishments, or accolades. You also need to balance that out with satisfaction of the pleasure of your own existence and being who you are.
- A core element of our success in relationships and connecting with others is simply based on how we make people feel. How we make people feel has a lot more to do than just the things that we say. It’s a lot of other elements of how we interact with other people. Learn to be great at recognizing, acknowledging, making people feel good, comfortable, and accepted through our physiology.
- Vector provided Elizabeth an opportunity for personal expression. We are a place where people can be who they are and fit in. There is an opportunity for you to fit in here regardless of who you are. We want people to be expressing themselves.
- A powerful phrase Elizabeth used is, “What is for you cannot pass by you.” Being able to view things that occur from the lens of, “How is this happening for me, and not happening to me?” is a compelling insight we can ponder, particularly as we think about the challenges happening right now. Everything that is not really sustainable in our lives will fall apart during this pandemic crisis that we’re in, and it’s uncovering the things that are sustainable, that can be long term activities and values in our lives. Those things are being revealed right now in a way that’s powerful and insightful.
- Elizabeth talked about learning who we are and how we’re built. She used the words “curiosity” and “observation”. I wonder why I’m feeling this way right now, or why does that set me off, why does it seem like that makes me angry? Learning from that is the first step in being able to manage our emotions. Observation is what increases our awareness. It’s important that we are continually learning and evolving. So many people don’t do that, they just stay the same all the time.
- Zone of Excellence vs. Zone of Genius. Are you spending time in your Genius zone, or just doing something you’re really good at because you’re good at it, making money and succeeding, but not in your Genius zone?
- District Manager: A manager running a full-time, year-round Vector office.
- Branch Manager: A manager, many times a college student, gaining experience of running a Vector office for a summer.
- Fast Start: A Cutco rep’s first ten days on the job where they’re encouraged to work as hard as they possibly can to get a “fast start” in learning and gaining experience.
Show Notes for this episode provided by Lyn Ginelsa.
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