BD12: People Pleasing

Welcome to Breakdown 12. Today we tackle putting yourself first.

me trying to figure out what to say mid BD. it didn't work.

BD is where I teach a coach's secret secret sauce: how to dissect a person's problem so you can give them the solution. Think of it a little bit like making an ice cream cake - I don't just show you the final cake but the recipe and mechanism that got me there. If you can learn this skill then you can start coaching yourself through your challenges and put me firmly out of business.

If you'd like to have a problem of yours BD'd please feel free to just hit reply and let me know (I've currently got 11 in the chamber so no rush.)

BD posts can get quite (very) long. Today's one ain't so bad. So don't say I didn't warn you in the future.

Estimated full reading time: 7 minutes.

Estimated impact: If you really get the distinction I'm hammering on about... then life changing.

For the oldies with the bad eyes

I have a problem for you to solve!!

Familiar with game theory / prisoners dilemma?

Here's a fun sciencey thing on it

So, my problem is, I try to help defectors, rather than focusing energy where it will actually be appreciated by those who are cooperators (by appreciated, i mean it will go up in value, is a good investment of energy, a good ROI for the world at large)

So, how to stop making investments in people that I know are defectors


Interested in your take on it :)

Hello, everyone.

Welcome to our latest breakdown!!!

As you can see from our problem today, we're going to be discussing people pleasing and how to put your energy into high quality relationships, namely those based on giving. I'm super excited for this one as the subtle distinction that you need to unpack BD's problem is a game changer in life.

Let's dig in.

It's obvious that our BD clearly knows what they need to do in their life. They not only have identified their problem they have even found some research with language around their solution. BD knows that they want relationships based on giving, heck they probably even know which relationships ARE NOT based on giving and they even have language to differentiate between the two.

So we are off to the races and ready to cut some fuckers out of our lives right? And yet, BD is still emailing someone asking, "How do I do that?"

What gives? Because the the short answer is: you just do it.

You literally just do it. That's the thing. You do it. End of the discussion.

But here is where it gets interesting. BD knows this – and yet they are still not doing it. So we need to figure out what’s REALLY breaking down in their decision making process because it's not a lack of understanding. No research is going to suddenly give the insight needed to start doing this.

Most people at this point in their decision making process will search for more information, which is actually what our BD has done. They see that they know what they need to do and they see that they understand the process and they see that they can recognize the pattern in their life.... but they also see they are still doing it and so they make the fatal assumption that stops them from growing and living the life they want.

They assume that because they haven't taken action yet that is must be because of a lack of CORRECT OR ADEQUATE INFORMATION.

It's a very, very easy assumption to make. But it's 200% wrong in the face. Remember: more of the same just brings more of the same. That means more information just brings you more information. For those of you following along at home: information is NOT action.

And here lies BD’s problem.

Our BD doesn't need to understand this any deeper than they currently do to take action on this. They just need to start taking action. And what is at the root of all action that is taken or not taken?


MJ, did you really choose this problem because I knew I could try and get you all to understand leverage even more? I did definitely do that. I'm very sneaky. Like, don't trust me as the bank in monopoly sneaky because I will create a federal reserve with the money and pass laws to crush the property market.

Remember always the goldens rule of action

1) The only reason we are ever not taking action on is insufficient leverage.

2) The only reason we ever do ANYTHING is that we have sufficient leverage to do so.

It's for this reason and this reason only. Don't overcomplicate it.

It's not because you don't understand how to do it but because if you had a big enough leverage, you would just figure out the how.

Whenever I raise this point people always comeback with "Oh, no I don't know how! I don't know how to start a business” or “I have no idea how to love myself” or “But I don’t know how to surrender to myself" or some other thing that they think is the exception to the GOLDEN rule.

My response is always the same: Firstly, did you ever get taught how to talk and walk or did you kinda just figure it out? You just figured it out because you have enough LEVERAGE to do so.

You learned to walk before you could communicate and you think you're not smart enough to figure this shit out?

Secondly, if I sat with two of your best friends and told you that if you didn't figure out how to start a business in the next six months, both of them were going to die horrible deaths by unicorns, what would you do? You would figure it out. If your childs or parents or partners life was on the line, you would do whatever it takes.


Yup. Still insufficient leverage. I had no idea how to run a business until I watched 500 Gary Vayerchuk videos and make 14,000 mistakes. Same thing with coaching. I worried about leverage first and how-to second. This is the distinction that BD needs.

A sufficient amount of leverage allows you the ability to just ENDLESSLY experiment, fail and learn. PLEASE READ THAT SENTENCE TWICE. It's the SECRET.

If you have leverage, you don't care how many times you fail, you don't care how many times it goes wrong, you don't care how many how's you have to try. Because you're committed to doing it and you’ll do whatever it takes. And if you do that you have a perfect place to LEARN THE HOW.


So, with that rather aggressive all caps sentence in mind, the question we know have for our BD is not ‘how do I do this?’ but ‘what’s stopping me from doing this?’ We change the assumption from needing more information to the fact that this isn’t happening means that there's something blocking me from doing this and leveraging me to stay put.

There are 1000 things that it could be and they all have something in common. It’s a four letter word that starts with F and rhymes with beer.


Fear of the emotional mind that something bad will happen if we change. This is the leverage that is keeping out BD put.

Maybe from a young age our BD had it reinforced that you have to put other people before yourself, that you have to take care of other people, that you have to be a kind person, that you have to always look out for everyone and if you put yourself first you’re a bad person.

Maybe our BD grew up not liking selfish people and was cut out of friendships in the past because they were not giving in them and they were immature. Maybe they don’t want to go through with this because they are worried that they will hurt other people like they were hurt growing up or they will be like those selfish people.

Maybe BD is worried that people will start rejecting them and that if they don't people-please everyone else maybe they will have to focus on themselves. Maybe they tried focusing on themselves in the past and it got them rejected.

Maybe BD is a perfectionist and doesn’t trust themselves to be able to take this decision and stand beside it and they are worried about cutting the wrong people out. Maybe they don't trust themselves to realise that this is the next course of action and that they really needs to do this.

This is the conversation that you all need to be having with yourself when you’re not taking action. It’s NOT more how. We are a culture that’s obsessed with how. How’s that working out for us? Not so great. Everyone is still fat and unhappy.

The question is: how do I isolate and recognize what fears are holding me back?

That's it question. Once you get the answer, you just have to figure that out a reason that’s stronger than those fears and the change starts happening. BOOM!

Unless BD looks at this challenge with this mental model of leverage, they will always continually put defectors above themselves because they think seeking more information is the answer without realising that they are never actually addressing the thing that's stopping them acting on that information.

That is having leverage and understanding the fears that are holding you back. The other critical part of this is to realize that it's a SKILL. You can get better at skills and having a belief that you can get better at things fundamentally changes your behavior when you're learning those things (shout out to growth mindset.)

Realise that putting yourself first is a learning process. If you can find a way to look at this as a process, if you can find a way to look at this as something that you can enjoy learning, you will come to the other side. It takes time to condition this. Most people think time means 2-3 years. With the right leverage this is a 2-3 week thing. Just practice like crazy and focus on the bright spots.

I will see you all in the next breakdown.



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