Breakdown 2: Doubt and Social Skills
Welcome to Breakdown II
Breakdown (BD) is where each week I teach and give away a coaches secret secret sauce: how to dissect a persons problem so you can give them the solution. Think of it a little bit like math or code - I don't just show you the final answer or end product but the mechanism that got me there.
Learn to copy my coaching skill and you're learning how to coach yourself.
If you'd like to have a problem of yours BD'd please feel free to just hit reply and let me know. It's always a delight to be sent one to BD.
BD posts can get quite (very) long, so if you want to skip the reasoning and just get the answer then scroll past all the words until you reach the solution photo, which has the solution under it.
Estimated full reading time: 13 minutes
Estimated reading time of just solution: 7 minutes.
As always, the first place we start is how this person has written out their problem.
Remember: language is a tool and a technology. It is the coding mechanism of this moist computer we call a human brain. Use it well, and you can code your brain to do what you want. Use it poorly. and it'll code some programs without you even realising it.
If we believe the above, then how we speak about things reveals much about our minds have been coded over time.
A few things really stick out as I read over this email.
1) 'The doubting dialogue or internal conversation' - It's interesting that this person describes the problem as a dialogue or conversation, as opposed to simply 'thoughts.' Having struggled with doubt myself a LOT in the past, I can understand where this is coming from and that really it's a message of the severity of the doubt. This isn't a 'once a week' event - this is consistent and there is a lot of it.
To put it more simply, what's nosier - a single person talking loudly or two people speaking loudly? The fact that this is a 'conversation' rather than just some erractic single thoughts show me that this is persons mind is pretty full of this doubt.
This is our first key insight and guides what we recommend: the material that we teach never really changes but the more challenging a pattern is for someone the more likely we are to use multiple different tools and a few big guns to really make sure we are impacting this properly.
This insight tells us that we need to make sure we give a detailed, impactful and deep response. A one-liner won't do here. An intense pattern also usually propels people to try and get rid of it, which clearly hasn't worked: meaning a bunch of nice words aint gonna do here, they need tactics and they need ones that will start working today. It also means this person might be worried that it'll always be like this, that it can't be helped. That means we have to be very direct in our response.
2) 'Dominating the conversation' - This is either a global or local problem: this person is either thinking of ONE particular person as they talk about this OR they feel like everyone dominates the conversation wherever they go. IE do they always feel dominated no matter what or is there one person that dominates them?
I'm pretty comfortable in the assumption that they would have languaged this problem very differently had it been a global thing and they would have focused much more on it, so I'm comfortable that this is one person and is probably at work.
That's just a hunch supported by a little bit of evidence in that they wrote that sentence immediately after discussing clients, so were clearly thinking about work. NOTE: this is usually where we would ask a question so we don't have to assume, but we can't do that over email.
3) 'Not be afraid of answers' - This is a bingo. This person is afraid of answers to questions that they are either asking or are too afraid to ask. This tells us a lot about this persons code but you need to know a little bit about how the mind works to understand it.
If you're scared of people not liking you, or you think your job is in danger of being made redundant, or think you're not very good at it or have any other disempowering belief set, the WORST thing for it to happen is for it to get confirmed. If I worry that I'm not good at my job then someone tells me that I am, not only do I now know for certain that what I thought was true, it probably means that everything else negative I think about myself is true as well.
It's gonna be a bad time if that happens, so naturally I'd be afraid of getting answers as well. This shows me how disempowering this persons view of themselves is and goes a long way to forming our response to them.
Now that said - I can't rule out the fact that this person might actually not just be that disempowered but is actually dealing with an very egotistical human who won't let them get a word it. To be safe, I'll deal with both in the answer. It's really hard to know the answer without more information so we will do both to be safe.
4) The word 'strangely' - This one stuck out for me the most and is something I find really fascinating. Here is a person describing their own doubt and wishes to be more assertive in their life, yet they find it 'strange' that they feel that way in front of people.
It seems to me ike it would be normal for them to feel that way considering how pervasive this seems, so why on earth does it seem strange that it's happening infront of people now?
It's either a new thing that's just started happening OR this person believes they are very good with people, but in reality might only have a very specific demographic they have in mind when they think of 'people.' Maybe in reality they are good with old people or working with males, but they really believe they can work with everyone.
This strange feeling is either a result of some strange evidence which is disagreeing with the belief of the mind that they are good with everyone or the fact that it's just started happening or being noticed.
What does that tell us? TBH - it gives us a useful insight that this person isn't seeing reality as effectively as they could be, but I don't think anyone on earth is really doing that, so it's helpful but not game changing. What could help is the fact that they may have felt confident in the past and so we can use that in the answer.
One of the big unknowns is whether this just a lack of tactics. It's almost never, ever the case of just being a lack of tools that's creating things like that, but we can never be sure so we have to put that in there as well. COACHING HINT: 99.35% of the time when someone thinks it's a lack of tactics, they are wrong. They will argue that it really is that, but they are wrong - 99.35% of the time anyway.
So all of that tells us a few things that we need to handle:
1) This person wants to feel confident and free*
2) No matter how much work they do, until they view the world as a place of opportunity and safety they won't feel confident.
3) This person is creating a disempowering reality that they need to stop.*
4) They don't love themselves, or they wouldn't have this doubt*
5) They probably feel nervous and unsafe at work, partly because of their own blueprint and partly because of one person or group of people that they feel intimidated by.
6) They are probably feeling quite severe doubt*
7) This answer has to cover both this being a potential lack of tactics and the above
* denotes something that I see a lot, therefore can make a bunch of assumptions about this person as a result during my solution. Sometimes you'll read below and think WTF he didn't type that above, but that's just my experience coming into the picture.
Thanks so much for the email and for writing to me. I really honor your courage, strength and honesty for reaching out the way you did. A lot of people would have felt what you were feeling and decided not to reach out, but you did! Congrats for that. The first step to change is always about fully recongising what the hell is going on and you've NOT ONLY done that but actually taken steps to move forward. I love that shit and I really commend you for it.
There are two broad things to talk about here to help answer your questions: the first is how much you disempower yourself without realising it and the second is some tactics you can use for people who might dominate conversations around you. I'll break down my answer into two parts.
You, my friend, need to stop this bullshit about not being worthy of love. I know you didn't speak about that at all, but it's underneath all of this. I don't care who taught you that you should believe that, I don't care if you think you got it from your parents, or if you think you got it from God.
They are wrong. You are worthy of love because you're alive and breathing and because of that have inherent value. What else would possibly be true? If you could see yourself the way I see you, this would all disappear in a heartbeat. You clearly care and you clearly want to get better, but instead of trusting that side of you, you focus on the doubt. That stops today.
Whilst this seems like it's a problem of doubt BD2 - it's really a lack of love for yourself. You need to begin the PRACTICE of self-love... and I use that word in particular. It's a practice, meaning you have to do the fucking work.
You don't go to the gym once and get ripped or an epic booty. You have to put in the work and build a habit.
There are a few ways to go about this which I'll dig into a little bit deeper below, but I don't want to overcomplicate this. The answer is to reject the negativity that's causing you to doubt yourself and instead choose love - ESPECIALLY the parts of yourself that you don't want to love or you feel are the darkest and deepest.
For you to feel free and confident, you need to start looking at the worlds as a place of opportunity and as empowering as possible.
Whether you like it or not, your mind is going to build a world for you to live in. You can either let it do it's thing without being in control or step inside and commit to making it as empowering as possible. Either way it's going to happen, so why not decide to take control and make it amazing?
It's like life, it's happening whether you like it or not - so why not make it magical?
The solution for this here is to stop asking yourself such shitty questions.
BD2, the mind will answer any question you ask of it if you ask it enough times.
Asking a question like 'Why can't I speak my mind and be confident ' assumes not only that you can't speak your mind but that you're not confident. You're gonna get shitty answers to that question, which will make you feel shitty emotions, which will make it EVEN MORE unlikely that you'll speak up, leading to even worse questions. And so the Mindset-Merry-Go-Round continues (shout out to my certainy guide - which I recommend you read over on my website.)
You need to break that cycle. Start with these
How can I feel even more confident right now?
How can I connect even more to the people around me?
How can I feel even more present in this moment?
These will help, and it's time to put in the work. This is brick by brick building of a house.
You need to do these plus start journaling everyday. I want you to write out 3 things you're grateful for about the world, about yourself and about what you accomplished today.
Every. Single. Day.
We need to re-code your mind to empower you and it starts here. I also want you to write out every day why you love yourself. If you can't think of anything, then think of what you would write if you did know something. Don't leave until you have something.
You can also speed this process up by learning to connect with your emotional brain. This is complicated and something I'm explaining in the next masterclass. So watch that when it comes out in two weeks. It'll really help.
You also need to get your body and diet in order.
Your thoughts are a DIRECT RESULT OF YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH. I really mean direct, as in causal. It's the reason I'm so psychotic on my diet, I don't want to slow my mind down. So for you, I would suggest buying 12 weeks of personal training 2x per week today once you read this email.
You need a huge commitment like that to get this started and the accountability of both the PT and the money you're paying for it will make you show up. You need to clean your diet up as well and if you find a good PT they will do that for you.
This might seem extreme, but you can either stay where you are or do something different to change your life and I believe in you and you desire to change and love yourself.
If you cannot afford a PT, I'd ask you to check your bullshit meter to see if you could actually afford it if it was a high enough priority. If after that you STILL can't afford it, then go join a running group on Meetup or a dance class or SOMETHING. There is no excuse for not finding a group exercise you love that will have accountability built in. You'll feel 100x better about yourself when your body reflects the type of mind you want.
To become more socially fluent and strong, start by practice saying what you think and want and not justifying why you want it.
You need to learn this skill. I literally mean saying, he let's go to x pub and not saying why. Just say it and own it. Now, don't be a dick, but I'd rather you get called a dick and then adjust back to a healthy level of assertiveness then doing what you're currently doing.
It takes time to learn to be assertive. What will help the most is t get used to holding the tension in conversations. Assertive people are assertive because they don't fear tension and believe in their opinions. Part one handles the belief, part two is about holding tension in social situations.
Tension is good as it allows you to be honest, so don't run from it. Once you do this you'll start owning your communication everywhere because you'll recognise that your opinion matters. I would also practice holding eye-contact for 3 full seconds with strangers you walk past in the street. Practice holding the tension so you don't run from it if it comes up. Tension is a good thing and we need to feel comfortable around it.
The next step is to realise the easiest way to get what you want socially is to make the people around you feel confident, safe and loved with no expectation of anything in return. That means start giving compliments and smiling a shitload. Give them daily and give them with your heart.
They will change your life.
This builds genuine relationships not a political match for strategic goals and is therefore much easier to connect with people through and will make you feel more confident. So help others just because you can and then they will help you. Compliments from the heart are almost always the answer.
Lastly, for times that you're trapped not being allowed to speak, humor is the easiest way to deflect people's ego. If this person cuts you off from speaking, PUSH BACK SOCIALLY WITH HUMOR AND WARMTH. With a lot of love and care and respect and a SMILE, say something like 'Umm, we all love the sound of our own voice but I was talking SMILE SMILE SMILE. Do you mind if I continue?'
That sentence is social gold and should end the problem. Keep using it if they keep forgetting and it'll train them.
If that fails, then step it up a notch 'Umm, BD NEMESIS are you feeling okay today? Did you forget your coffee? You may not have realised SMILE SMILE SMILE SMILE but you just cut me off, I'm going to continue speaking now' - then look them in the eye with the smile and eye contact you've practising and hold the silence until they say 'of course.' This is CRITICAL. SAY IT AND THEN STFU. You must hold the silence and it conveys your strength, and the will eventually diffuse the tension and you've now shown you will not be dominated.
You MUST HOLD THE SILENCE.
And that's it my friend. Love yourself, own yourself, and recognise that you have to put in the work. You're amazing, time to live that truth.
If you or anyone reading this wants to help out, please share these posts with a co-worker or friend you know who could use it to understand themselves or partner better.
Until next week,
PS: If you really want to get good at this, you should BD why I wrote the solution the way I did. That's only for the super nerds. BDCEPTION!