As a Division 1 athlete and student, I grew up thinking that I had to be better than the woman next to me to be someone. I thought I had to get better grades, better boyfriends, and make the starting team to be important. This way of thinking only left me feeling empty inside. I learned that this culture of competition and women bullying other women is a big reason why women are still behind in business, money, and power. If we want to see fellow ladies in positions of power, we need to lock arms and support those who use their voice instead of calling them names, even when we do not agree with them. We need to set this precedent for young girls because the future needs more women in power to heal.
As a part of our series about Inspirational Women of the Speaking Circuit, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Megan McCann, Founder of Soul Success.
Megan McCann is a best-selling author, speaker, coach, and the founder of Soul Success®, a global personal development and leadership brand designed for female leaders who are ready to reach their next level. She holds a Bachelors in Sociology and a Masters in Counseling and is a certified yoga and meditation teacher. In 2011, she reached the top 2% level of a multi-billion dollar nutrition company.
Currently, Megan works with entrepreneurs, philanthropists, intuitive healers, speakers, authors, and other creatives giving them the tools to scale their business. Along with opening yoga and nutrition studios along the West Coast, her global events, retreats, business summits, coaching, and online tools give change-makers the tools to harness their highest potential with less time and effort. She lives in Sun Valley, Idaho with her two daughters Mykala and Galena, and her husband Luc McCann.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Santa Barbara, California with three sisters. My dad is a sportswriter and my mom an office manager. My parents got married at 18 and started their family right away. We all had a modest upbringing and as you can guess, my whole life revolved around sports and competition. I was taught that my pathway to success was to get good grades and excel in sports so that I could get into a good college, land a decent job, and work my way up the ladder. I went to UC Santa Barbara, played Division 1 Softball, and eventually got my Masters Degree in Counseling from the University of Southern California. I thought I was going to become a school counselor in Los Angeles and make a modest living until 2008 happened and California laid off 30,000 educators. Little did I know that the universe had different plans for me. What started as a side hustle in 2009 turned into a global brand 11 years later.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
How much time do you have? Honestly, I have tried everything. By everything, I mean everything from cocktailing on Sunset Boulevard to counseling high school students in Los Angeles Public Schools. After college, I started working in the corporate world as a marketing and events associate. I remember feeling very out of place. I was unmotivated and felt undervalued by my superiors. Every morning going to work felt like a walk of shame. I used to fall asleep at my computer because I was so bored by my work, and I wasn’t making enough money to support myself in Santa Barbara.
My breakthrough moment happened in one week where I got fired from the job I hated, broke up with a boyfriend (I might have disliked even more), and got arrested for a DUI. I hit rock bottom and realized that if I wanted things to change, I would need to change. I discovered personal development and yoga, traveled to Central America, and earned my Masters Degree.
Once the recession hit, I spent six months looking for a full-time job with not one interview. I realized that if I wanted to stop letting outside sources decide my fate, I would need to start my own business. With pure desperation, I started a health and wellness business. I found the right mentor and was able to transmute desperation to inspiration. We launched bootcamps, opened studios, and ran fitness programs and within two years, this business hit seven figures.
About six years ago, after working from home around my baby, I felt so blessed that I could stay home while scaling my business around my daughter. I wanted to help fellow moms create and understand that they too, could have both a successful business and be a present parent. I built a business coaching company based on supporting stay-at-home moms. From here the Soul Success® brand was born. What started as a small coaching business, evolved into online courses, masterclasses, community groups, global leadership events, and eventually a #1 best-selling book called Soul Success, Stories and Lessons From Female Leaders Who Turned Piles of Sh*t into Nuggets of Gold.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I come from a family of educators who never really understood my business. My mom would constantly tell me about job opportunities, hoping that I would finally use my degree as a counselor. I realized that she had no idea how much money I was actually making and my business was actually legit — I would need to show her. I waited for the next time she shoved a job posting in my face, sat her down, and showed her my tax return. She’s never peeped a word about finding a “job” since!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started my business, I was so broke and desperate that I literally tried every tactic under the moon. Since I had little resources, (and this was before social media could be a business marketing tool) my only strategy was talking to ten people every day and inviting them to a wellness profile. My friend and I would go to Target and strike up random conversations with people. I loved the shoe aisle. “Oh hey, those shoes are cute! Where do you live? Do you want to work with me?” Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but my whole strategy about meeting people was just as desperate! Even though I made a fool out of myself in my beginning days, I learned how to get outside of my comfort zone and meet new people. To this day, I love the new people that I meet in my business.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
It takes a village, baby! I’ve had many mentors help me carve the path to Soul Success. My first mentor was a woman named Heather Schwartz. She helped me build my first successful business in the health and wellness coaching industry. When we connected, I was right out of grad school, six figures in student loan debt and struggling to pay the bills. I’m not sure if she even realized it, but she taught me the principles of manifestation and laws of attraction. I would come into her office and sit next to her every day, watching her every move (of course in a non-stalkerish way!).
My third month in business, I remember her saying, “You’re hitting $10k in sales this month!” At first, I thought she was bullshitting me. That number, at the time, seemed so far-fetched because I was struggling to make rent and even pay for my groceries. She kept repeating it over and over until I began to see through her eyes. When I finally hit $10k, that month, everything shifted. I realized that big goals can be achieved if, and only if, you believe in them so much that it’s your reality before it’s actually manifested.
Since then I have always made it a point to have a mentor. I realized that instead of trying to do it all alone, enrolling mentors and a community of people who have your back will take you to great places. There have been so many incredible people who have given me the tools to manifest and achieve greater levels of success.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging and intimidating. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Failure? What’s that? Just kidding. What I’ve learned over the years is that failure is a little love note from the universe that you’re about to expand. The only way we can grow as entrepreneurs is to learn from our mistakes.
I’ve failed more times than I can count. When I first came up with the concept of Soul Success and wanted to launch our first event, no one bought tickets for months. Just as I was about to cancel the event, I asked myself a question I always ask when I’ve about to make a big business decision: “What do you stand for? What is your mission?” Asking this question made me realize that I was off track. The mission behind Soul Success is female leaders locking arms and rising together. At that point, the only speakers at the event were myself and my business partner. No one buying tickets to the event was a sign that we had to enroll more speakers and contributors. Once we made the decision to make the event a collaboration of gifts from women all over the world, we started selling tickets like hot cakes! Since, we’ve never had a problem selling tickets to our events, and we’ve impacted thousands.
What drives you to get up every day and give your talks? What is the main empowering message that you aim to share with the world?
I believe that every person has a story that can inspire others to walk a greater path. Sometimes we believe that our story is insignificant, and we undervalue the struggles we experience. For a very long time, I had lost my voice and undervalued my worth. I stopped speaking up and often let others make decisions for me. Then, I became a mom. I remember holding my first daughter as an infant. I wanted her to know and trust that she can be anything she wants to be. I would need to show her the way, but I wasn’t showing up for myself! I realized I would need to start trusting myself and my voice if I wanted to be that example for her. Each of us has unique gifts to share with the world if we chose to accept that our story can be our greatest superpower. In our book Soul Success, we unearth buried stories of women who have overcome impossible circumstances to turn their greatest struggles into their greatest superpower. It’s been incredible to hear how many of our readers tell me that before reading the book they felt like they were alone but after reading the book, they realize that there is a community of others who have similar experiences and have come out on top.
I get up every morning with the intention of getting my audience to understand how powerful they really are. It’s time for all of us to take our power back!
Can you share with our readers a few of your most important tips about how to be an effective and empowering speaker? Can you please share some examples or stories?
Eleven years ago, when I first began speaking in public, I was so terrified that my mentors literally had to shove me to the front of the room. Talking about myself felt like the most uncomfortable, narcissistic thing you could do! Boy was I confused. Public speaking isn’t about talking about yourself. It’s about how your story connects people to their truth. I say this with love, but we are all selfish and our audience is no exception. When you speak, remember, it’s not about you, honey! It’s about the room. Your audience wants to know how YOU can help them become a better version of themselves. When you tell stories about yourself, make sure that it can relate to the audience. People want to be reminded of themselves when they listen to speakers. Make fun of yourself as much as you can. Don’t take yourself too seriously and if you mess up, smile and keep going. Most of the time you’re the only one who notices anyway.
And most importantly, take a moment to close your eyes, tune in, and feel the energy of the room. Ask yourself what your audience needs to hear at that very moment. It might go against your plan and that’s ok! When I teach a yoga class, I never pre-plan the flow because I trust that my students and my intuition will guide me to what my class needs to experience. I use this same tactic speaking in front of a room of entrepreneurs and executives. It’s incredible to experience the energy waltz between you (the speaker) and the audience (the room). When you learn to surrender and trust your intuition, it no longer matters if your talk is perfect. What’s important is how you feel about what you say and that is where the magic happens!
As you know, many people are terrified of speaking in public. Can you give some of your advice about how to overcome this fear?
Pretend your audience is naked!? Solid approach, but I also learned a trick that’s been a complete gamechanger. You might think I’m insane, but I swear this works! Before going in front of a room, I have a little conversation with myself. I tell myself how excited I am, even though what’s actually happening is massive self-doubt and questioning on how I got myself into that mess. This voice, that’s doubting myself, has a name, and I call her “Nan the Naysayer.” No joke. I have a conversation with Nan. I thank her for the feedback but tell her that she’s wrong before having a conversation with “High Vibe Hattie.” Hattie’s always got my back especially when it comes to my business. Imagine that Hattie is your best friend and biggest cheerleader. Your best friend would never say horrible things to you before going on stage. I then hear Hattie (aka cheerleader best friend) say, “Megan, you rock! This audience needs to hear your story and tools. They already love you. Your talk is going to be unforgettable and you will make an impact.”
This little method has tricked my brain to believe that I’m no longer afraid because I have transferred the energy of fear, doubt, and shame into excitement, impact, and confidence.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Nothing will go exactly as planned, and that’s the beauty of it. Our life and business roadmap, sometimes, takes us to gorgeous new places we never knew existed. When I first started, I thought my business would just be a side hustle until the economy got back to normal and I would find a job as a counselor. I never dreamed it would turn into a seven-figure business! Then when I did reach this milestone, I thought it would continue scaling like it did in the first three years of business. I had no idea that my sales would drop so quickly overnight. I had no idea that my income would cut in half and I would struggle again. But this experience opened up new creativity for me to understand why I was struggling and what brought me joy. This is when I launched my second business, which led to Soul Success. If I didn’t struggle in my health and wellness business, I don’t think I would have asked myself the hard questions and developed my dream business based on events, coaching, books, and speaking. My impact is now even greater than I could have imagined!
- Don’t be afraid to pivot. I used to be afraid of being called indecisive. I wanted to be known for my grit and loyalty to my brand and mission. As entrepreneurs, we are always evolving and sometimes the things that light us up can shift. When I finally developed the courage to pivot from health and wellness to business coaching, I felt the fire reignite. I took the tools that I loved most about owning a business and could train a mom from home just like me to build a successful business around their kids and life. But then there was a moment that I wanted more out of my business. This is when I began hosting small retreats which led to large events and eventually, I became a part of the public speaking circuit.
- Become resourceful vs. DIY everything! This was a tough one for me to learn. Growing up, I was taught to save money by doing it yourself and I took this ideology into my business for many years. I learned how to do everything from building websites to creating automated sales funnels, social media management… you name it and I did it! I was afraid to hire a team because I wanted to save money. I was also afraid to ask my peers for help sometimes. This way of thinking was stunting my growth because I could hire someone to do it better and faster than I could. If you are just beginning, start small! You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to start building your team. Maybe you begin with a virtual assistant a few hours a week. Treat them like gold and understand their value. When you hire the right people, you’ll start to see your profitability increase and eventually, you’ll be able to expand.
- Before large expansion comes large contrast. The greater the contrast, the more opportunity for growth. We all have seasons in business. Even though they are uncomfortable as hell, I’ve come to learn that the winters are a time for contraction. Any time I have struggled in business, I take it as an opportunity to learn some of my biggest lessons. I built my first business in the height of the recession when I was in massive debt and had no income. My desperation fueled a business out of nothing. I learned to say yes to things that I wouldn’t have said yes to before. I believe that with the pandemic, those of us that are willing to adapt to the way that the world is changing and say yes to new opportunities will be the ones who thrive!
- Trust yourself, trust the process. Even when things don’t go as planned, I have come to learn that the universe has a greater path than I can begin to understand. When I’m frustrated because of the outcome, I tune into the frequency of love and trust. I listen to my inner guide and it’s never steered me wrong.
You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?
Our next virtual event is September 16! Our Soul Success Virtual Retreat is for female entrepreneurs and thought leaders who are ready to shift and scale their business in our current global climate. In addition to myself, we have speakers mentoring and facilitating workshops based on our 5 Pillars: Money and Profitability, Spirituality, Service and Entrepreneurship, Relationships, and Health.
And like I mentioned, we also just released our #1 best-selling book, Soul Success. Stories and Lessons From Female Leaders who turned Piles of Sh*t into Nuggets of Gold!
Can you share with our readers any self-care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.
I built my career all around self-care so y’all know I love this topic! I have a list of 100+ things I can do to find alignment and if I don’t take on at least two to three or more a day, I’m a hot mess! This list consists of things like meditation, exercise, reading, nature, oils, crystals, listening to podcasts, etc.
There is a framework that is based on what I call the “Emotional Thermometer.” It’s basically a term I use to create an awareness around our emotions and what brings us joy in what we do. Too often, we find ourselves “pushing” or forcing things to happen in our business because we want to do whatever it takes to hit our goals, yet when we are doing this, we are out of alignment. Forcing doesn’t feel good and just pushes away what we want. When we learn to tap into our emotional thermometer, we tune into how we feel vs. external results. If something doesn’t feel good, often there is a reason. I created a five-part framework called the “Soul Success Magnetic Method” that helps us use discernment to realign our goals with joy. I use this framework with my clients to help them recalibrate and realign with their values. For more information, refer to the “Soul Success Magnetic Method” on my website. www.thesoulsuccess.com
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote?” Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Done is better than good.” This quote may seem pretty basic on the surface, but it’s actually very powerful! I saw Elizabeth Gilbert speak in my tiny hometown at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival & Conference years ago. She had just released her book, “Big Magic,” and used this quote multiple times to explain that as creatives, we often wait for things to be perfect before we finish or sometimes even begin a project. This attachment to perfectionism can interfere with our greatness because it gets in the way of us ever doing anything. So, it’s not perfect, it can still be wildly impactful. I’ve lived this motto every day since and it’s been the foundation of my business. I used this mantra to write my first book, which became a best-seller! This mantra has also helped me manifest my events business and reach greater heights of success.
You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
This is what I’m working on with Soul Success. The Soul Success Summit, the online community, and book is really a movement filled with women who understand that instead of competition, we rise to greater heights when we can lock arms. As a Division 1 athlete and student, I grew up thinking that I had to be better than the woman next to me to be someone. I thought I had to get better grades, better boyfriends, and make the starting team to be important. This way of thinking only left me feeling empty inside. I learned that this culture of competition and women bullying other women is a big reason why women are still behind in business, money, and power. If we want to see fellow ladies in positions of power, we need to lock arms and support those who use their voice instead of calling them names, even when we do not agree with them. We need to set this precedent for young girls because the future needs more women in power to heal.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
You’re really going to make me choose just one? Oh man, there are so many. Well, first off, Gabby Bernstein, are you there? I know you’re a busy lady but I’m still waiting for you to respond back to me, sister!
But honestly, sitting with Michelle Obama would be a dream come true! I believe her to be the classiest, most eloquent, and influential women in politics we’ve ever seen. The world needs more women, especially women of color in positions of power, and she’s taken the role as the first lady with class. Thank you Michelle for breaking barriers and giving us a glimpse into a hopeful future.
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
You can find me anywhere! As I mentioned, our website is thesoulsuccess.com where you can find more info on the book, events and my coaching practice. You can also contact me on Instagram @themeganmccann and search my name Megan McCann on Facebook and LinkedIn.
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!