517 Bianca Modo Isom:
Is there something you want to change about your life right now? Perhaps you have too much on your plate, you’re overwhelmed trying to “do it all” … perhaps you’re frustrated, maybe you’re burned out, or feeling all that fear around you. You know things have to change … but how?
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who came to learn through her own trials and tribulations that all change begins within ourselves.
Bianca Modo Isom says everything in her life and her business started to fall into place the moment she took responsibility for healing herself from within. Abused as a young child, Bianca had been carrying that pain with her into all her relationships and her business – and today she shares the “aha” moment that enabled her to shed the self-blame keeping her from success. Listen on because we’re going to talk about the inner healing necessary to step into empowered and inspired leadership.
We’ve all been wounded by traumas, betrayals, setbacks and failures along our paths – and we all have a choice whether to carry the pain with us or to let it go. Oftentimes the pain is deeply submerged in our subconscious minds, and can sabotage us in everything we do – until we learn how to release negative self-beliefs and embrace our personal power.
Bianca Modo Isom is the founder and CEO of Modo Global and the creator of Brand Build, where she helps leaders claim their true power to change the world – by first changing themselves from within. A serial entrepreneur and the bestselling author of Unscarred: Prayer for Healing, Bianca helps entrepreneurs, executives and thought leaders with the presence and positioning they need to create authentic and warm connections with their communities and customers – by embracing their personal power within.
Bianca helps leaders gain clarity and align their brands for maximum impact – and Bianca is going to share her branding magic – plus we talk about the massive awakening taking place in the country about the extent of institutionalized racism and how to be an inclusive leader of a diverse team.
I can’t wait to share this interview with Bianca Modo Isom, and as you listen, you can join the conversation over on Podopolo. Just download the free app on the Apple or Google app stores, follow Wings, and if you have a story about overcoming subconscious beliefs that have held you back, or any questions about how to create an authentic brand aligned with your empowered self or want to share about being an inclusive leader of a diverse team – or anything else – please chime in. The first 5 to comment on this episode will unlock a 15 minute free consultation with me. That’s Podopolo free in the app stores.
So Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Bianca Modo Isom.
Melinda Wittstock: Bianca, welcome to Wings.
Bianca Modo Isom: Thank you for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited about this conversation because, frankly, anyone who comes through this podcast saying that change begins within themselves and that that’s the kernel of great leadership, has won my heart from the very beginning. And I just want to know what was it that… What was the aha moment that really gave you that insight?
Bianca Modo Isom: So, last year, I decided to go ahead and publish my book. And my book is called Unscarred Prayers For Healing. And it’s a book about healing from abuse and misuse in relationships.
I was abused as a child. I dealt with abuse, physical and emotional abuse, in relationships as a teenager, as I had gone to college. And I realized, as I was writing my book, as I was getting my book done, that there were some things that I had not healed from in my relationships. It was carrying over into business relationships, personal relationships, relationships with my parents. And once I finally was honest with myself about that healing, everything just kind of started to fall into place. My business started to fall into place, opportunities started to fall into place, because I was now responsible for what had happened to me.
I was no longer blaming other people. I was no longer holding other people accountable for what I needed to do for myself. And thus, that transformation started to happen inside of me and, of course, trickled over into my business.
Melinda Wittstock: So, it’s interesting that you mentioned responsibility because when we’re victims, we have no power, but when we take responsibility, we have power over the situation. And myself, having come out of an abusive relationship in a marriage, I can look back now and think, “Oh, gosh. This was actually done for me, not to me.”
So, how did that all manifest for you? Because we don’t want to deny the real pain and hurt that comes with that and totally absolve the abuser, but at the same time, to reclaim our power back, which you’ve done, requires that responsibility.
Bianca Modo Isom: Absolutely. And it’s interesting that you say that because I was never the one to… You know, I wasn’t blaming my parents. I wasn’t really blaming anyone. I was blaming myself. And the reason I was blaming myself was because I didn’t tell anyone.
I wasn’t even thinking about the other person and what they had done to me, in a sense, I was just holding all this guilt and shame and fear from myself. And once I realized that… Like you said, you look back on it and you kind of start to think about, “Well, why did this happen? What was I supposed to learn from this?” And so I think that’s the most important thing, as a transformational leader, is when you start to realize situations are not really happening to you to defeat you, they’re happening to you to grow you. And they’re happening to you to change your mindset, change how you deal with certain situations, change how you’re interacting with other people, because every time that something negative… That we think is negative, happens to us, it’s kind of like, “Well, how do we get out of it? What did it take for us to get out of those situations?”
And the positive part about that is now that we start to recognize what happened to us, and how we ended up in this situation and how did we get out of this situation, now we can finally realize the red flags. And now we know when we’re going into relationships or when we’re going… Even in business relationships, you know, what are those signs that were… That we missed the first time around?
Like you said, it’s a cycle. It’s a cycle that we have to intentionally break so that we can move forward into our purpose as women.
Melinda Wittstock: So, one of the things that strikes me though, is something that I often say, that when the lesson is learned, the experience is no longer necessary. So, in other words, when bad things happen to us, there’s always a lesson. There’s always something good in it that can lead to that transformation, and the minute we make that leap, we don’t have the situation anymore.
Bianca Modo Isom: Yeah. It no longer happens. You know, we no longer meet those same people. We… Essentially, we’re evolving. We’re evolving into who it is that we’re supposed to be, the relationships that we’re supposed to have. I mean, everything evolves once we learn from those situations.
But I’ve noticed that, especially with a lot of my clients and even my friends, I watched them go through the same thing over and over. And it’s just so funny that they can’t see it, but, of course, you know, you and I, we’ll say, “Well, you know, what part of this aren’t you seeing?” You know, this is the same person, but in a different body.
But we’re not aware.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Like a lot of people have, patterns, things that repeat over and over and over again in your life, and you get old enough and you realize, “Okay. Well, that’s obviously something.” A belief system or something within us that is seeking to prove that out for whatever reason and then when we shift that, suddenly different people start showing up.
I think one of the interesting things, in my own evolution into higher and higher consciousness, was escaping this horrific marriage to a very narcissistic man, as I was healing, there’d be different people come into my life that would have echoes of that narcissism. It felt like, to me, over time, it was a universe saying, “Are you sure? Are you sure you’re healed? Are you sure?”
It was sort of testing me, right? And now I don’t get anybody like that.
Bianca Modo Isom: And it happens. And, you know… And I think that’s because sometimes we’re so stuck in our weaknesses. And you talked about our personal power and having personal power, and it’s like, “Well, how do we get to that?” You know? What is it that’s happening to us that we can’t really fully embrace our personal power? And what I’ve learned is to start focusing.
Once we noticed, “Okay. Well, this is a pattern.” And we get rid of those patterns, you know, for me, I realized my weaknesses were letting people in because I would feel bad for them or I would feel like I needed to save these people. And instead of just focusing on my strengths and what it was that I was good at, which is what I have now naturally started to attract, I attract… You know, started to attract the people that have the same strengths or that helped me to grow my strength and my personal power.
So, yeah. It’s just… It’s a process that we go through in our healing.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, Bianca, you help your clients go through this. And I think there are so many people in the world that have various… Just different variations of the same, you know? It’s a slightly different circumstance, the names have changed but it’s still the same sort of dance. And one of the things that I’ve understood about entrepreneurship, being a serial entrepreneur in my own case, is that if you want therapy, just become an entrepreneur because it’s going to have to force you to deal with a lot of these things to grow a great business.
So, when you’re working with your clients, tell me a little bit about that process because every business coach out there in the world is selling business strategies, business tactics, business education. All the different things you have to do to run a business, but at the end of the day, it’s always about mindset.
Bianca Modo Isom: Absolutely. And so, as a coach, I mix my transformational coaching… A lot of people don’t really do that. Most business coaches… You know, I can teach you sales, and I can teach you marketing, but what about your branding? And when I say branding, I’m not talking about your logo and your colors and… You know? Yeah, that’s something that you do, but what is your authentic story that you can share with your audience and your clients?
What is it that you can tell them that differentiates you from the next person? And what I tell my clients is, “It’s your story.” No one has the same story as you, which is why I tell my clients to start owning their mistakes. Own the things that you have done so that you can embrace your personal power and you can teach your clients, or teach your customers or whatever problem it is that you’re solving, you can actually show them how you overcame your own personal story.
We all like to know someone and pay for it… If we’re paying for a business coach, we like for them to be relatable, right? We want them to understand that we all didn’t start at the top, we all had to overcome something, and I believe… I truly believe that if you want to make that connection with your client, then you have to actually be honest about who it is that you were in your past.
You know, we all weren’t successful. We weren’t making six and seven figures always, we didn’t just jump into this as perfect entrepreneurs, we all have to go through something. And so you have to be intentional about who it is that you are. Your brand story, so that you are able to connect with your audience faster. So they understand what it is that you have to offer and the transformation that you’re able to give them.
We’re in this now, you know, people can’t… People just don’t want to buy from you just because you’re selling something, right? You know, they’re looking for transformation. Especially with everything that’s going on, with COVID, I mean, everything else, people are looking for a transformation. People are losing their jobs. Their nine of fives that they have been working for years and they were not prepared for this.
And so if you’re able to help them transform whatever it is that they need, then you’re going to stand out in this mass market of people, of coaches, that are out there.
Melinda Wittstock: I think the virus, kind of, had a message for us, which was, “Okay, everybody, slow down. What is it that you truly love to do? Who are you really? Get connected to your soul’s purpose.” You know? Why you’re here, your talents, like what you actually love to do.
And there was just a little bit of enough of a pattern interrupt, or a reset, to allow people the chance, the open canvas, to rethink their lives. And all our habits changed, and with our habits changing, it allows you to think differently. And I think it’s so interesting that on the heels of that, you’ve seen this massive transformation of… You know, frankly, so many white people like me, waking up to a lot of things.
You know, in the Black Lives Matter Movement. Such a huge, profound shift, so quickly, and I sense a massive sea change. An awakening, I guess, if you will, in our culture and people who really want to do something that’s good for the world. In times where things are changing rapidly, my entrepreneurial brain kicks in and I think that’s a ton of opportunity.
Bianca Modo Isom: Absolutely. And, you know, I think there have been… Just I’m thinking about I sit on boards, I’m in a lot of organizations, I’m used to being in a mixed crowd of people and, you know, I have people reaching out to me. Especially my board members, they’re like, “Are you okay?” And, “I just want to let you know that you’re appreciated and we appreciate everything that you do.” And I get it.
I do get it. You know? I get that people have this sense of… Like you said, it’s a fear, because it’s almost like you’re tip-toeing.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, there’s a massive guilt.
Bianca Modo Isom: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Actually. Let’s just call it for what it is. There’s a massive guilt because every white person… You see it on Facebook. It’s all the anguish of, “Oh, my God. I can’t believe I didn’t see this before. I’m so sorry. Oh, man.” Like we’ve got to think… You know? Right?
And that’s all good. And that’s a process.
Bianca Modo Isom: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: But I’m curious. I have to ask you this, how does it feel when, all of a sudden… All of a sudden everybody’s asking you, “How are you feeling? Are you okay? Oh, my God.” Like, what does that feel like to you?
Bianca Modo Isom: It’s interesting because… And, you know, we are being very transparent, I’m not used to that. I’m not used to that, as a black woman. Period. I am… You know, we’re normally the backbones of our culture. We’re intended to be strong, we carry our culture, so I’m just not used to anyone asking me, you know, “Hey, Bianca, how are you feeling today?”
You know? It’s always me asking that because I’m intentional. That’s just who I am as an individual. I don’t see that as a black/white thing or any kind of cultural… That’s just who I am. I care about people and it’s the same thing that I teach my clients. To care about people and what it is that they’re going through. So, it’s different for me.
I appreciate it. I definitely appreciate it. It’s all at one time so it can be a little overwhelming, but I do appreciate that people are starting to, kind of, wake up and realize that it’s not something that’s just made up and people aren’t really overreacting. I think that’s been the story. And, no, it’s true. And there are things that we have had to overcome, as black people, in general, but, especially black women, you know? We’re so used to carrying the weight and then that’s the best way to explain it. That, in our minds, you know, we’re like, “Well, we were going to do what we had to do anyway so it wasn’t going to change anything for us.” But, yeah. I appreciate the thought that comes. And I just really hope that people hold onto that and really start to kind of build relationships and have more conversations with their black friends to say, “Okay. Well, what is it that you need? What is it that, you know, we need to learn?” What are the open conversations that we need to have?
Sometimes it’s just conversations, you know? We don’t really need anything but for you to acknowledge and say, “Hey. Well, you’re right. We were wrong about this. What can we do? What’s the next step?” Those are the kinds of conversations to have.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Well, it’s just the empathy too of just that first realization for many white people. It’s something I’ve known for a long time. You know, when you really understand that you have a privilege. Things like… “I’ve never had a fear that my son would be gunned down on the street.”
Like I’ve never had that fear or nobody’s ever crossed the street because they’re afraid of me. Or clutch their handbag tighter or… You know, those sorts of things. And I think there’s just a massive realization among, not all white people, but, you know, a sizable and encouraging a majority, even, that’s going on right now, which is great.
The other thing that I’ve seen though, too, is that this real rush among entrepreneurs to, “Oh, my God. I’m looking at my team and my team is all white and we really want to have a diverse team. How do we do that?” And so there’s lots of CDOs, Chief Diversity Officers, and like everybody… Not everybody. I wish it was everybody, but a lot of companies really want to get this right.
Do you have people coming to you now saying, “Hey, can you help us with this?”
Bianca Modo Isom: Oh. Absolutely. The people that turned you down the first time are kind of picking back up in emails. You know, reaching out in contracts and saying, “Oh, hey. Are you still available?” And even some of my colleagues are saying, “Well, now, we are up in our price.” Not necessarily because, you know, we know what’s going on, but because you missed the opportunity the first time.
And, once again, someone who… I’m not looking at my color, other people may, I’m always looking at my skills. And I always know what I can bring to the table, which is important for anyone. You always know your talents and what you’re natural at so that when people start doing things like this, you can say, “Well, you know, I sent this contract six months ago, now you’ve been working with someone else.” It went bad and I don’t want you to come to me to say, “Well, just because now we want to bring more people of color.” For me, I’m looking at it as, “Well, now I have to go back and fix the work of the previous person.”
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
Bianca Modo Isom: And that-
Melinda Wittstock: It’s more work.
Bianca Modo Isom: But, you know, yes. It happens. It’s definitely having people reach out, definitely having any jobs that are saying… I’m in project management, so, of course, now they’re reaching out. But it’s kind of a… It’s catch-22, you know? Because I don’t want to be your token black person, you know?
I want you to definitely hire me because I have the skills and you know that I can transform your organization. That’s why I want to be hired.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Exactly. It has to be done that way. And, you know, I fear that a lot of people in their rush to do… And I think of it in the context, say of the environmental movement, right? Where all these companies engaged in something called greenwashing, right?
Where they would make a product look environmentally friendly that actually wasn’t. Right? It has to have… Like everything in business, to really succeed in business marketing, any aspect of business, has to be authentic. It has to be real.
Bianca Modo Isom: Absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: You know? It’s just such an interesting time that we live in. I mean, it really is.
So I want you to tell me about Modo Global. I mean, you have this brand that takes in a lot of different businesses. You’re doing a lot of different things, so I want you to be able to talk about your business. What is the thing that’s really inspiring you right now? And really setting your… Kind of, you know, your soul on fire? In terms of business?
Bianca Modo Isom: So, Modo Global is our parent company. This is where I do my consulting, my image consulting, my coaching. And, of course, my project management of the projects that we build and help other entrepreneurs to build their projects and their brands.
Right now, with everything going on… Especially with COVID going on, I decided that I wanted to create an online course. And so I understand that… Once again we talked about, people are losing their jobs. They’re not really understanding how to start businesses and I want people to be able to jump into a business, whatever it is, to have an idea and take that idea and turn it into something that is tangible.
I started a skincare line. And this is within the past year, started a skincare line, I started a subscription box within a month, I wrote my book within 13 days and so I truly understand what it’s like to have an idea to want to execute that idea in a small amount of time. And then, “What do I need to do to market that idea?” And right now that is what has my soul on fire, because people just have all these ideas and they don’t know what to do with them.
They don’t know how to get them out there to brand them properly. Even to just execute, just to make them, so I am putting all my energy into creating this course so that people can work with me either one-on-one or in groups. But that information is already there.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. And so I have the sense that a lot of people are waking up during Coronavirus saying, “Oh, my God. I really don’t like my job. I didn’t really like that job anyway. I wasn’t really doing the thing I really wanted to do.”
And so now there’s this opportunity to really do that thing but they just don’t know how. They don’t know where to start It’s sort of like society’s calling on a lot of people to be entrepreneurial, even if they have no training in that. Maybe no natural instinct for it, but they have to be that in this new economy.
Bianca Modo Isom: And being passionate about something outside of a nine to five. How do you live life and not really know what you’re truly passionate about?
I believe that we were all sitting here, we have some type of passion that we should be following and executing. But if you don’t know who you are, if you’re not true to yourself, if you’re always building someone else’s dream, how can you build your own? So, we definitely have to take that time. And, you know, yeah. I get it. Entrepreneurship is a risk.
I was taught growing up… You know, I was checking the boxes. I was the honor student. I went to college and I thought that I was going to be a psychologist. And I was like, “Oh, my goodness. This is so boring.” Like I was bored. And then I changed my major to Business Management and just fell in love. You know? I was never given that opportunity for someone to sit down and say, “Hey, you could start your own business. That’s what you could do.” My parents never told me that. You know?
I was always, “Go be a doctor. Go do this.” And it was just living behind this perfectionism of everyone else and what everyone else wanted of me and I just got tired of it. So, I say, if you have that spirit and that calling in your heart, don’t let it die. Don’t let that dream die. Definitely follow it. You know? Just figure out how you can get it done, find a coach or something that will help you.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely right.
And so with the people that you have coming to you now, do you have a sort of rush of people who are in that early phase of, “Gosh. You know, I have this idea, what the hell do I do?”
Bianca Modo Isom: Absolutely. Most people that come to me, either they have the idea, they have no idea where to go, or they’ve kind of been running their business for a little bit and it’s not really moving because they haven’t really clarified their brand or anything. You know, who their target market… I mean, they just don’t know. [crosstalk 00:29:43]
Melinda Wittstock: They don’t know. I help a lot of people launch their podcasts and, they’re stressing about what microphone to buy, not about who are they actually talking to.
Bianca Modo Isom: Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: Who’s their audience? What’s their why? How are they going to make money? Basic things like that, right?
Bianca Modo Isom: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: So, it applies to almost any industry. It’s all about if you solve a problem for somebody, you’ll make money. It’s just like… It’s almost as simple as that.
So, what problem are you solving? For who?
Bianca Modo Isom: For whom?
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Like that’s it. That’s the formula. It’s so simple when you’ve been through it so many times, but I speak as like a five-time serial entrepreneur. So, you know, I search for problems. Problems are great because I can go solve them.
Bianca Modo Isom: That’s what we want to do.
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly right.
And so, Bianca, what’s next for you? I mean, how do you… You’re developing an online course, you’ve got all kinds of stuff going on, what’s the thing that… Where do you see yourself going? You know? Like in the next five years or wherever. Where do you want to be?
Bianca Modo Isom: So, I actually have a nonprofit, the Bianca Modo Foundation, and I would like to get women… Well, young women and young girls out of sex trafficking, human trafficking. And so what… You know, and, of course, I’m working on grants and that kind of… You know, of course I need the funding and the programs, but getting them out and then once they get out, how do we rebuild their confidence so that they’re able to either get high-paying jobs or start their own businesses?
And so that’s something that… Of course, I want to start in the United States because… I mean, even in Georgia. I’m in Atlanta and, you know, the amount of the sex trafficking, human trafficking, you wouldn’t even believe it. It’s crazy. The amount of money that they make yearly from this, so, yes. Just being able to help those young girls, because we get them out of the situation, but then what happens?
You know, most of them, they either… If they get locked up, there’s somebody waiting on them when they get out of jail. There’s someone waiting to pick them up on the streets. They have no where to go. They have no real education. So, how can we fast forward what they’ve gone through? Because most of them have had their childhoods taken away, right? And we just want to come through there and just rebuild that confidence.
Because without that confidence… And we talk about embracing our personal power, without them understanding what they’re capable of and what they can achieve, it’s just a cycle that’s just going to keep going.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh. That’s amazing. How can people… Can people donate? How can people donate?
Bianca Modo Isom: Absolutely. So, you can either go to my website, BiancaModo.com and click on contact and there’s a form there. Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll just send you a direct link.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh. That’s amazing. Well, I just want to call on everybody listening to this podcast, that that’s a no brainer donation to make. I mean, it’s so important. I really believe that women are at our strongest when we’re helping other women, no matter what situation they’re in, right?
You know, women helping other women entrepreneurs, women helping other women who… And young girls who are in this situation is so… Such a big part of the whole Lift As We Climb mission of this podcast. So, please, everybody. I I’d like everybody to donate. This is so, so important.
And, Bianca, how can people find you and work with you? People listening to this who are thinking of starting a business and really want to get going, or people who really have a business, or they’re trying to figure out their diversity and how to hire properly, how to deal with everything and that growing awakening? How can they find you and work with you?
Bianca Modo Isom: Absolutely. So, you can either visit my website, BiancaModo.com. That’s B-I-A-N-C-A-M-O-D-O.com.
You can email me email@example.com. And I am on Instagram. I am BiancaModo. And I’m on Facebook, Modo Global.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, I want to thank you so much for sharing so transparently and vulnerably and putting on your wings and flying with us.
Bianca Modo Isom: Thank you for having me, Melinda. This has been amazing.