Entrepreneurial Musician Andrea Callanan on Overcoming Obstacles and Finding Your Voice

And why "no" is one of the most important words in business.
Entrepreneurial Musician Andrea Callanan on Overcoming Obstacles and Finding Your Voice
Image credit: Andrea Callanan

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In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Andrea Callanan, founder and CEO of Inspire Me, which specializes in corporate engagement and workplace happiness. It was condensed by The Oracles.

Who are you?
Andrea Callanan: I’m a high-achieving female, wife, and mother based in Wales, though I also work in the U.S. I’m a classical singer and musician by trade who sang in front of the British royal family, owned a record label, and performed at Glastonbury Festival. I’ve lost and found my voice and sense of self in both my life and business. I’ve helped thousands discover their voice, both physically and metaphorically, through my Unapologetic Self Mastery system.

I’m also an international voice, mindset, and business coach for speakers, entrepreneurs, and senior executives. Twelve years ago, I founded Inspire Me, an award-winning people development company that uses singing and mindset training to improve the bottom line. I help tens of thousands of office workers find more meaning in their jobs. I’ve spoken on global stages, and I became a best-selling business author in 2018.

My purpose is to help people recognize that they have a choice, which is my ultimate driver because it’s our biggest expression of freedom. I thrive knowing that I’m making a difference.

What is one of your proudest moments?
Andrea Callanan: I have so many! The birth of my children. Marrying my husband. Performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Pivoting my business to meet new market needs. Sticking to my integrity and passion for impacting lives.

Children learn by what they see, not what we tell them. When I was a single parent, I vowed to teach my children to be, do, and have whatever they wanted in the world. I’m proud and humbled to say that I’m leading by example.

I’m also proud to be joining a hand-picked group of high-achieving females for a philanthropic business mastermind with Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island in June, which has been on my vision board for eight years. I’m bringing my family, and we’ll be giving back to other women via Virgin Unite.

What excites you the most about your business right now?
Andrea Callanan: The changes and growth. My life is changing daily in so many ways. I used to hate change but now it excites me.

The unprecedented global success of my voice- and self-mastery mastermind has allowed me to add more agile online business coaching, training, and scale to the corporate services that Inspire Me offers. I’m excited to launch this in 2020 and make it affordable for the top-tier businesses and brands we work with. We’re also scaling Superchoirs, our community that’s impacting lives with positive energy, music, and singing.

What’s your favorite quote?
Andrea Callanan: The poet Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I intend that everyone I meet leaves feeling better about themselves and their life.

I’m a firm believer that you cannot make people change or do something they don’t want to. But if you remind them of their power and help them master their mindset, they will move mountains.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Andrea Callanan: Have an unwavering belief in yourself and listen to your inner voice, which sings of your purpose and power. Sometimes, things will be tough, but we grow through pain, so keep going. Positive transformation only comes from dark times. What feels like the end of the world is just the end of your old world.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Your clothes size doesn’t matter but integrity and honesty do. Look after your health and relationships; they’re the most important things.

Always use your voice. Be grateful and kind to yourself and others. Breathe, slow down, sleep, and cherish life’s moments. Hunt for joy every day. Always forgive people — especially yourself. Sing, dance, and laugh. Travel and try new things that scare you. Finally, keep soaring.

What are the biggest common leadership mistakes?
Andrea Callanan: Managing instead of leading. Making assumptions instead of asking and talking instead of listening. Getting in your way. Disrespecting your team and disempowering them by micromanaging and not trusting them or allowing them to be experts in their roles. Communicating with ego and without clarity. Failing to follow through; do what you say you will, and accept feedback.

How do you evaluate a good business deal?
Andrea Callanan: By finding a balance between go and no. If the proposition is on brand, makes a difference, has integrity, will be enjoyable, and will make money, it’s a go.

That said, one of the most important words in business is “no.” In business, instincts are everything. If something feels off, it’s off — end of story. I look for alignment and only work with people I feel an affinity with, which is easier, more fun, and more profitable. If there’s a hint of doubt, it’s a no. Trust your gut, do your homework, and go with your heart and your head.

Which single habit gives you 80% of your results?
Andrea Callanan: Nurturing relationships by connecting, caring, and being kind. I rarely show up to meetings empty-handed. In a business world where we’re more technologically connected than ever, emotional intelligence and relationships have never been more potent. People buy from people. As a connector, I leverage this.

Aligned selling is an empathy-led process driven by relationships. I want people I invest in to feel appreciated. A new kind of leader is emerging: one who is real, vulnerable, imperfect, and authentic. These are the people we trust.

What are you working on right now?
Andrea Callanan: So much! I’m launching a high-tier Voice Mastery Mastermind with Jermaine Harris, the United Kingdom’s fastest-growing inspirational speaker. I’m joining forces with my business bestie, Emma Van Heusen, to host elite retreats for high-achieving females who want more. We’re exploring scale with Inspire Me services. I’m also launching my couples entrepreneur platform, “Me + Mr C,” with my other half, Matt Callanan.

On top of that, I’m about to fly to Los Angeles, California, to teach at Niyc Pidgeon’s Unstoppable Success Retreat. I’m writing my second book and training as a subconscious coach with Dr. Erin Fall Haskell. Exciting times!

What are a few things on your bucket list?
Andrea Callanan: Creating a retreat venue in Ibiza, Spain. Securing more global clients in the United States and Dubai. Being on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” show. Launching an award-winning platform and podcast with my husband to talk about entrepreneurial couples, inspired by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Writing and releasing more music and establishing a charitable foundation. Getting a dog, having a bigger garden, and seeing the Northern Lights. Watching my sons grow old, healthy, and happy, and leaving a can-do legacy with them.

Connect with Andrea Callanan on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or visit her website.

The words and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee alone. What worked for them may not work for everyone. Any claims in this article have not been independently verified.

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