Angie McQuillin is a confidence and career success coach with an outstanding history of success with her clients. In particular, her ability to help someone become more confidently assertive instead of being passive and without becoming aggressive. In this podcast interview, Angie shares her journey from being a passive doormat to learning to stand up for herself to teaching this to others, a fascinating struggle from zero to hero that everyone could learn from.
Angie’s main website: https://www.angiemcquillin.com/
Angie’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1uE1V6FBBhCK480cVwR9Qw
Email Angie: email@example.com
Full transcript (unedited)
Welcome back to the Bridger online podcast got a very special interview for you today, with a good friend of mine, Angie McQuillan. We met a number of years ago, I can’t remember how long ago it is now. She’s now a conference and career success coach and a very good one is much in demand. And we made actually, when she was one of my coaching clients, she came to me to work on her own confidence. Her work with me was so successful, her ability to turn our work into changes in herself was dramatic. She accelerated progress at quite an incredible rate. And within a few years, I was helping mentor her to start her own coaching business. And now she has done that very successfully in what she’s going to share with us today is her journey. And in particular, she’s going to teach us a lot about the concept of assertiveness, without which you really cannot have self confidence or healthy relationships, both in the social world and in the workplace. So let’s go over to her and see what she has to say. I think you’re gonna enjoy this one. I know I did. Let’s let’s get into it.
This is rojo online, masculinity, confidence edit Tegrity.
We we’ve known each other for a very long time now.
I don’t even know how long years. It’s that long.
Interesting relationships started his client and coach
ended up as sort of mentor mentee. Think of us as friends, you’re at my wedding, I don’t think there really is a definition for that kind of pathway, which I like. I like having someone like you in my life, that uncategorizable.
And I absolutely admire the journey I’ve seen you on since we met. And I don’t mean that in any sort of cheesy way, like you really do impress me.
And knowing also, what happens, a lot of what happened before we met are even more impressed. The obstacles you’ve had to overcome,
emotionally, and so on to get here. And I want to share that with people as much as you’re willing to share.
So where do we even begin? Why don’t we begin with the present and work backwards? Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do now we’ll start simple. And then we have a little look at who you are, and work backwards. So I’m good. Yeah, well, you might be familiar with my title down, because I’m a confidence coach.
And career success is my official title. But let’s face it, I’m self employed. So I titled that myself. But yeah, working with fundamentally leaders now, but they don’t have to be different groups or work one to one with leaders, I work
in a group of leaders as well. And I also run a boot camp of that’s open to all leaders can join it. But anybody that isn’t a leader can also join and occasionally do these little sporadic, monthly, little random groups as well. But I also do workshops with corporate so I kind of spread myself out as much as I can. But fundamentally, I’m working with, the thing that I get most excited about is people that come to me and say, I want to be more assertive, I want to I want to be able to hold a boundary. I always am just like a doormat, somebody explained myself once as an exploding doormat, which is something you and I’ve spoken about, we can touch on a little bit more soon. So
that’s my life at the moment. Obviously, if anybody listening to this doesn’t really know Dan, train me, that’s got me to where I am at the moment trained by one of the best coaches to enable me to do what I was doing. And I’ll be honest, the reason why I chose to enroll with you to train to be a coach is obviously after I was just a standard client
is because at the time I was when I was looking into it, I’ve been wanting to do it for years, probably about three years right to the lunch to do it. And when the time came to actually just walk out of the corporate space and say right now is now is that time I went to Weekend College, I don’t know what you’d call it, like, where they were recruiting for people to enroll in the coaching training sessions and like their courses and all the things that would have given me official letters after my name. And I went to all these different colleges and universities and just general kind of courses, whatever the titles were, and I genuinely genuinely can say this that I met a whole bunch of people there that are already trained to be allegedly a coach. And now we’re training to be like a more senior version of the coach and get more letters and everything. And I’d be in this room with
I don’t know, 30 people listen to a person up front talking about the course and the structure, what’s their meeting people that have gone through it and what they said about it, and I can hands down, say, there wasn’t one person that came close to you as a coach. So I was like, if this is the caliber that that pops out the end of these courses, and I could, and I did pay a bit more for working with you. But as I can pay more, but I know if I’m half as good as Dan, I’m gonna be better than most of the people in this room. That’s a no brainer, because if nothing else, I needed to be able to deliver results with my clients. And that was very important to me. And I want it to be good at what I did. So I dropped having an attachment to the letters and went right, let’s do it, because I could see the difference. I could just the questions that they’re asking and the way that they went about it. And it was just, it was a different world. And it was actually attending those seminars, whatever. That was actually the tipping point say, right, I need to train you down to become a coach. And that takes me to what I’m doing now. And I’ve been doing that what nearly nearly four years now. I’m a goddess have been four years, nearly not quite so well, between three and a half and four. Oh my God, my life’s flashing before my eyes so quick. That was my sole ego stroke.
And, yeah, I’m stoked to hear that said there kind of impact. But bear in mind, you know, everybody I train has a different outcome, and you are definitely the most successful. Out of all the people I’ve coached and this for a good reason. Partly, you’re very good at it. And also you are, ironically, very assertive in terms of the way you go about taking the risks and doing the uncomfortable things needed to grow a business. And that’s I think one of the reasons. I don’t know, it’s the thing I admire almost fetishize really is when somebody has integrity when they live up to the thing, and there’s nothing better than a teacher who can actually do the thing they teach.
It’s actually kind of rare, you know, to see someone when they’re teaching something that they could actually go live it in real life as well. And specially when that topic is assertiveness, generally you’re either one, you either can teach it, but not love it. Or you can do it but you can’t explain how it’s done.
To be both.
No wonder there’s a huge demand for what you do. That both person is very rare, you might be the only one I know, who specifically focuses on assertiveness. And teachers and coaches are well, let me just jump in slightly that don’t specifically focus on it. That’s just in that I get the most excited about because that was fundamentally the reason that I got into coaching. In the first instance, I remember when I first enrolled with you 422 years ago, whenever it was, I remember thinking if there’s one thing I get out of working with this guy who had found on Google through a random article you’ve written is I want to become assertive, I was so sick of being a doormat, I didn’t know how to like hold a boundary, I didn’t even know what a boundary was how the hell can I create some form of judgment around that’s too far, or that’s not enough, or that’s okay, or that’s not okay, because I didn’t have a clue myself. And unbeknown to me, I was crossing other people’s boundaries, and allowing a lot of people to cross my boundary. So that was a very painful existence, to not be able to be assertive when there was a part of me that was desperate to be assertive. So that’s the thing that I get most excited about. But I think our clients have a very similar psychographic things that they battle with, like people pleasing, assertiveness, comparing ourselves to other people, you know, like self deprecation, like in terms of, like when they put themselves down a lot, whatever. So it’s just, there’s a lot of similarity, but in the way that you get excited about people pleasers, and that’s really what I’m being honest. I also love that too. But when something goes, I just need to be more assertive and like, I can let’s do this. I can like, can’t wait to get into the coaching call with him, you know,
nothing like curing your own disease and others. Exactly. Helping other people. I think that’s what that’s what makes excellent coaches. And that’s maybe what you won’t see in the colleges and stuff where people are generic, which is the person hasn’t gone there to help people with the thing that they can’t get themselves, you know, and no, yeah, I wasn’t mean to say that you only do one thing. It’s more like it’s the tip of the arrow here that led to all the other things it stem off.
Assertiveness has really opened the door to all other sorts of
valuable character traits and behaviors. Let me ask you, actually,
what’s your definition of assertiveness? Like maybe in terms of someone going from not assertive to assertive what difference are we going to be seen?
Sure. I’ve been asked that before and I think the easiest rationale I can give to it is if somebody is so you’ve obviously got assertiveness aggressive
and you’ve got passive, which like three different ways of communication, particularly conflict, whatever. And when you’re being aggressive, you’re basically disrespecting the other person. And to a degree, not really respecting yourself, but you know more So respecting yourself and your needs. When you’re being passive, you’re respecting, oh, my God that they weren’t around. Yeah, no, the when you impassive you’re respecting them more and disrespecting yourself, but when you’re being assertive, you’re respecting yourself, and you’re respecting them. I’m not sure if my dyslexia kicked in, and I got the words wrong, but I didn’t take off. So fundamentally, I think when you’re being assertive, it’s around. You both equal, but you matter. But I matter too. And but it’s how to deliver that. And most people don’t have the actual skill of what that looks like, and how to deliver that, because a lot of people immediately slip into, well, most people, as you know, kind of suppress it, suppress it, suppress it, then there’s this like tipping point when it’s like raw, and it all comes spilling out. And that’s when they go into the aggressive thing for people. And that’s normally because they’ve spent so much time being passive initially. So it’s kind of like this buildup of the jaw gets filled and filled, hits a brilliant point and pours out.
But the when you’re assertive, it’s around mutual respect, I’m respecting myself, and I’m respecting you. And then if somebody doesn’t respond to that, well, you can manage it, it’s not something that you just say once and like Game Over, everything job’s done. When you’re communicating with somebody that assertiveness solid communication starts at the moment you start communicating and stops at the moment you stop communicating, but most people kind of think I’m going to go in and say this one thing, and that’s me being assertive and jumped on, I can walk away and everything’s going to be fine, actually, based on what happens in their reaction will then define what you do next, in terms of the next thing you say. So it’s on loop, it never really stops. And
I think that’s a big part of understanding assertiveness is that to keep that balance of mutual respect, but being very clear in advance of what your boundaries are, because otherwise, it’s going to be nearly impossible to know, if you’re going too far, if you don’t go far enough, if you haven’t got clear, definitive understanding of what your boundaries are in, you know, basically what that looks like in communication.
Couldn’t agree more, which of course, means it must be an ongoing learning process, because we don’t know what our boundaries are off until they crossed Right. Or until we’ve kind of allowed them to be crossed, I like that idea. As you put it, I call it holding the line, you know, so holding the lines assertive link, someone crossed the line is what you call passive, I guess, and crossing the line into their world would be aggression.
But holding the line is the best for everybody. Very effective.
Cool, when we’re gonna get, maybe try and squeeze some secrets out of you for how that’s done. Especially beginning, somebody who knows that they’re either passive or aggressive and wants to take some baby steps towards the middle line.
But first, let’s do the Freudian thing and have a look at your history with all of us.
Obviously, I mean, I can tell just by the way you talk now, there’s a self respect there. And while there’s like, sort of heat and strength of what you’re saying, that isn’t aggression, you know, I can tell like, I love when I’m talking to someone I know, like, if I push the button, I’m going to get it. But they’re not going to do anything unless I push the button. It’s that kind of latent dog on a leash that they’ve got available to them. I really like that it’s very easy to respect, they’re at a vibe. And I think you will have noticed sight learning martial arts as soon as you know how to fight, nobody fights you anymore.
And often, when somebody becomes assertive, they start getting a whole lot less shit they’re now getting before people can feel the vibe and go, that’s okay, that’s not worth it, or they just suddenly feel respect, which gives them a much more
genuine starting point. I think that’s really important. I mean, sorry to cut you off. But I think, you know, what I try and stress loads and loads and loads in the coaching is that a lot of people when they fear being assertive is that they’re scared effectively, of losing the respect of the other person, but they might like me less, they might be reactive to what to do or what we’re going to do to say this. Actually, it’s the other way round. But the more assertive we are, the more able we are to hold boundaries, the more you’re sorry, the more respect we receive from other people. Because, as I’ve heard you say before, they know where they are with us, they know that they can trust us. They trust what we mean. And we mean what we say and they therefore they don’t need to do any tiptoeing. They don’t need to do any trying to fathom out what we’re actually meaning when we say one thing potentially mean another word. There’s no hinting going on. There’s no read between the line bullshit, it’s just this is who I am and people feel safe in that environment. But it actually generates more respect for the people and one of the my own personal experiences that has probably been the most jaw dropping about learning how to be assertive was when I first wasn’t assertive. I was all
We’re scared of how people are going to take me how people are going to like me, you know, being liked for so much of a big deal to me anyway, initially, that was the reason that drove me not to be assertive. So it was terrifying to start risking losing everybody by being this person. And then I got a million times more respect. So in a world where I used to live alone, without exaggerating, I would say people were crossing a boundary to a degree every single day, one way or another. It rarely happens now. It’s very, very rare. That even happens. And I’ve got all these tools and all these abilities to say, it’s what I need to say in the right moment. I’m like, Come on, guys, because somebody try and cross a bloody boundary because I’m ready for it. And it’s fun, to be assertive if I need to be but I don’t even need those tools 99% of the time, because people are treating me differently. So it’s, it’s incredible that the thing that I was scared of doing, because I’m scared of receiving being disliked by people, it’s actually made people like me more. But that wasn’t the motive to do it. It’s just a byproduct of being more boundary based, more assertive.
That’s the beauty of working on these things, isn’t it? And often we see that we’re in a self sabotaging system that by chasing the thing we wanted, we actually chased it away, you know, people pleasing that defines people pleasing every strategy backfires.
Yes, I love I love to hear that. And I’ve heard that from every single person who’s worked on this stuff in a real way, as they get to the point like, come on, fight me, somebody, you know,
it’s gonna get rusty, I need to practice any good enough practice if people are still people. But
you know, I used to work with criminal offenders in one of my key questions, especially for the violent kind of guys who are mothers, the bullies? How do you choose it choose who you’re going to do it to? It’s not random selection at all. Some of them can explain how they choose, they go, I just know it’s that guy. And they’re looking, you know, they can explain that they’re not looking for a challenge they’re looking for when.
And I eventually came to realize it’s as body language thing, that’s probably almost subliminal, we couldn’t tell you what we’re seeing. But they can see a victim and it provokes them.
So it is a hard thing for victims often to hear is like you bring in this on yourself. I mean, that guy is still a dick. But he’s picking you out of a crowd, because the way you are, you change that you become visible to him actually threatening.
And you don’t have to be bigger or stronger. You don’t have to be a black belt, you just have to be somewhere it looks like they will defend themselves and willing to get uncomfortable and take a risk to do so that guy doesn’t want that. So looking for that fight.
You toned down from criminality, just to bullies in the workplace or just overbearing personalities, the same law applies. They actually smell I call it the blood in the water. The Dresslink that that shark out of Finding Nemo is their friend until he smells blood and his peoples go why? And he starts trying to eat everybody. You know, if you’ve got dominant people in the workplace, they smell their blood, they can’t help themselves or provokes them.
yeah, it’s really fun to see how quickly you got from being disrespected every single day, as a few somehow targeted to kind of like, Where’s where’s the next one? Come on, give me some practice. How do I go as far as saying that I don’t even know if people were intentionally disrespect to me. I have to own that. Like I was allowing people to cross a boundary that I would now consider that behavior to be a disrespectful attempt. But I think people sense now that they can’t do that to me. So that’s probably why my interpretation now would be That’s disrespectful dude. Like, you don’t get it. That’s not okay. You can’t do that to me. Whereas, you know, 1015 years ago, I would have seen it like that. So people would do it automatically, because they wouldn’t know any different. So it was I’m not saying that the whole world was against me. I don’t believe that. But the people that I hung out with the behaviors that we saw as okay, I’m not saying all of them, but some of the people I’d mingle with them aren’t okay, now. And that’s why I don’t have the same type of relationships, even in friendships. And some of the people that I used to spend a lot of time with, I don’t spend hardly any time with now because I’ve changed so much that we now clash, because what used to be okay, what I used to tolerate, I don’t tolerate anymore leave like we’ve changed about so yeah, damn right. I have a thank you. Because my life is a million times better would not want to go back to being the old person. So while she challenged me and shamed me for being this person, there’s no chance of me going back to the old person. And it’s fascinating how people react to it as well.
Yeah, some people find it hard to swallow such a dramatic change can happen, especially when it’s inconvenient for them.
It’s healthier for everyone involved, but some people they’re not ready to grow now. You gotta leave them behind.
Let’s talk about that old energy.
little bit. So by the end, I first meet the NGO who’s desperately searching on the internet for some sort of relief from what had been, I guess your whole life in one way or another various relationships and other when you look back on her now as if she’s a different person?
How would you describe it?
Well, before I got into coaching, I’d had sporadically not all like relentlessly, but on and off 12 years of counseling. So I was already on this mission, that something was wrong with me, I did not come out wrong. It’s not that something was fundamentally flawed today. But something wasn’t right in my life. And I needed to fix it. And psychology is always been a massive fascination for me, my mom’s a therapist was kind of being brought up in my from Day Zero kind of thing. So there’s a there’s the psychology side of it was always something that was always fascinated in a study at university, whatever. But then I think what was most frustrating for me at the time when I met you is that I have this plethora of understanding of psychology and understand the background and my experiences and what brought me to being the person that I was. But I still found myself reacting horribly, to the same situations, and I couldn’t understand why so. And in my head, I didn’t have any way of measuring what to do differently. I had all these fears around doing it different, I didn’t even know an alternative way to look at it, because nobody ever exposed that to me. So I just almost felt like I’d ceiling down. And I’m not if anybody’s listening to this thinking I’m slacking off therapy or whatever, I’m not doing that at all, like he’s got his place for the right things. I’ve personally found that I ceiling down in that. So when I met you, I already had a lot of self worth work. I was already working on my self worth. But I just had this massive gap in the middle that nobody seemed to be able to help me with. And that was what taught me and where it’s showing up in my life most was very, very
dysfunctional relationships were definitely improving. But I was just finding myself, either around friendships, or in relationships that weren’t healthy as I knew that they could be. But I kept finding this repeated pattern. And nobody seems to help me with it. So when I was on line, doing a bit of searching, like, Okay, I still react like this or feel that way. Number one that came up was your article on Google. That was when I reached out to you, whatever, and the rest is history. But at the time when I first met you, like the thought of being assertive was terrifying. The thought of
I was I was basically imploding because I was wearing this massive game face to talk a lot in my own talk about a lot of my own content. The person that everybody else was connecting with, wasn’t me, because I wasn’t even showing up as who I am. So how can they were connecting with this exterior performance person. And that wasn’t her it was so I felt very lonely, incredibly lonely, because actually, although are surrounded by people a lot, nobody was actually connecting with who I was, they were connecting with the person that I was showing them. So and that applied for relationships as well. But actually, when they got to know me, it wasn’t exactly the person that I’d put myself out there to be. And with friendships, you know, long term friendships.
It was very, like, I don’t know, it wasn’t always healthy. And those people I’ve separated from a lot now in terms of distancing myself from all the ones where I didn’t feel it was a healthy relationship as an a friendship. And anybody knew as a friendship that came into my life, I really didn’t have the confidence to believe that they’d actually want to get to know me because I trapped that part of me away so much. And I was so used and familiar with putting on my game face. It just became this trap of if I show the real me I didn’t think they’re gonna like the real me. Nobody actually knows the real me, I don’t even know who the frick the real me is anymore, because I’m such an actress. So you live in this world where you feel like you’re kind of behind bars, but or even a brick wall, and nobody actually really knows who you are, and you’ve lost sight of who you are yourself. And it’s a very lonely existence. And I think I’d hit pretty much breaking point when I was doing that searching and then came across you. And I’d never even heard of coaching in my head. The only coach ever heard it was a football coach or a badminton coach, like, you know, what, how is a confidence coach, you know, or a life coach, whatever. So that was like a massive turning point to kind of come across something that was so different and so unusual. And once we started speaking, it was clear that actually you had some answers, and probably more so than anybody else that come across in my life. To give me the help that I needed in the part that was missing, I could work out for myself.
Yes, that is very similar to my own background. Maybe that’s why we resonated so much. The way that stood out to me was actress. I used to see myself as a basically a very good actor, at least the people who were convinced were convinced and I think other people just simply walked away when they saw
and very lonely existence. Like you said, if someone has a relationship, they have it with the method acting never with the character in the movie, they don’t have it with the actual person playing the character. So, you know that they don’t seem to know that. But then you’re trapped. Like you suddenly showed up here who Foster’s right? Yeah.
How different would have been to switch? Would they even notice a huge difference as it seemed in my head, it would be a huge difference, it would be jarring for them, but I was never going to try it anyway. So as always, I think he wasn’t noticeable. Because since I’ve been showing up more as a person, I’ve had people say that you’ve changed, but I was like, Yeah, damn right. It happened, thank God, like I was dying as your person. You know, I’ve said it. And I don’t mean to sound dramatic about it. But I can’t. Like I’m 41. Now I’m 42 in a few weeks, whatever. And the thought of having spent another more than a decade as the old Angie, the thought of spending all those years, it’s just like, Oh, my God, like it literally, I don’t know, I don’t think I would have done anything stupid. But my life would be very, very different. Now. You know, I’ve always felt like a part of me was dead on the inside to carry on living like the old person. What’s really interesting that when you just mentioned about the game face there, I just had a massive flashback. And I’ve never said this story out loud before, and I’m going to share it. So it’s just occurred to me. By one time when I was a kid is probably about, well, my sister left home and I was where she must have been visiting. So it’s definitely older than 11. But anyway, I was in an early team. So let’s say I’m going to make a guessing around about 13, maybe 14, maybe 12. Who knows. And by the age, I went down to the basketball courts with my sister to play just by playing about. And she said something. And then the fee a member feeling really uncomfortable. And I just I threw my head back in laughter because I was just trying to defuse it or whatever. And my sister just stood there and just said, Why are you acting. And I was like, watch because you fake laugh all the time. It’s really obvious, you know. And I was like, what, and then I just burst into tears. So I’ve totally been busted. And like that pain that I was actually feeling that I was disguising behind this fake, like laughter. Somebody had actually caught me red handed and spotted it. Sisters quite intuitive. And I was like, Oh my God, and I didn’t know what to do. And I felt so embarrassed and so ashamed and so exposed. I went immediately from like, like hysteria of laughter to bawling my eyes out in the middle of a basketball court when it’s Saturday afternoon number of the kids there. But even even from that such a young age, I had practiced it for decades until I got into my early 30s when I stumbled into you. So imagine how embedded it had been when I carried on even like existence, and I must have been doing it before then to have been well rehearsed the fate laughing. So basically, decades of practice before I got into coaching, so it became very painful because you just lose sight of who the hell you are.
Yeah, it’s funny when the flashbacks like that. So
I’ll be doing a lot of introspection about my past, like kind of journaling and seeing what comes up about being a kid and stuff. And my earliest memory of people pleasing is the day I figured out how to stop crying. Because I was the cry baby. I was only about seven years old and something made me want to cry. I can’t remember the exact incident. I remember just like stopping it physically, and then just go, Well, I can stop it. I don’t have to be the crying kid anymore. You know, as such, are so happy about that. Because I’ve been ostracized for being the cry baby sensitive. One day I turned it off. And it was like another 15 years before I cried again, you know, I blocked it. And that was the first beginning. You know, you have the actors talk about how difficult it is to make themselves cry. As I try myself stop, you know, that’s acting.
But yeah, so it’s interesting how we, by the time we get to our 20s, or something we’ve had decades, or over a decade of training in real life with real judges and we have to get it right this isn’t in a studio or laboratory somewhere we’re not sure if it’s going to work it has to work it has to work every day. It has to work on our own parents has to work on our siblings has to work on stranger in the street and anybody we don’t know
when we get to 20 it works or at least it seems to I’ve got a theory that truly gone from people see right through it and they just stay away. And so don’t know I think of a few people I used to work with who just seem to keep their distance I admired them. I like them they were assertive they’re everything that I wasn’t I’d never seen they never seem to socialize with me they never seemed company my desk you know.
They didn’t really didn’t gravitate towards me as the center of attention entertainment that I’d set myself up as. Now I look back I think maybe they knew maybe they didn’t even know that they knew but they just sort of smelled something went like that. Not that
guy, you know, anyway, because I can do it now I can see people pleasing now so it’s not as great an act as we’d like to think it was, but it still works on other people.
So you got this actress
years and years of counseling, concentrated crack the code, again, very similar to me, I was like, this is something about me not like toxic shame, like I’m broken as a person rather, as a one try and fix it.
It was more like this, like, I call it these days a bug in the code, you know, the computer keeps crashing, because somebody wrote one of the lines wrong. There’s something like a little at sign that needs to be taken out or something I just keep crashing, let’s keep hitting this thing in a short circuit.
So we may and we started diving into this. Tell me how, how it was it assertiveness kind of arose from this as the thing that you wanted to focus on.
Because I just had so many examples of biting my tongue, not saying the thing away to say feeling sometimes livid and encountered happy somebody where they’d said something disrespect to me maybe humiliated me, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not just because it was just kind of like the the realms I was working in at the time.
But I was so tired of not knowing how to change that. I was so tired of feeling scared of that I was so sick of feeling exhausted from pre empting what might happen and trying to plan words and it all going wrong, I used to get so much anxiety when it came to being assertive that I would literally stutter. As you can see, I don’t have a speech impediment. But when I tried if it was intense enough, like I don’t mean, whatever, like something fairly straightforward, because I generally use humor, because I can be quite quick witted if I need to be. And that was always my go to to defuse it, I’d laugh with them, I’d divert it, I’d embarrass, I’d make jokes about myself. And, you know, if you do acquit yourself, they can’t do it kind of thing.
But if he genuinely got really intense, I’d be like,
literally just. And then when I tried to say more words, just this summer website at the same thing, but it’s incomprehensible splurge of slur came out. And if I ever get myself in a situation now it’s just very, very rare probably once a year, if that once every 18 months, where it’s pretty intense, got to have this difficult conversation. If it gets intense enough, I can still catch a little bit of that every now and again, I’m like, how you word slurs. And like, there it is again, but now I immediately call it out. And I just don’t go, I just slowed there. I’m obviously a bit nervous at the moment. Whereas historically, it just used to be a long trail of slur. And then that would make it worse. And I remember one time, and it’s only one example. But I remember one time at school, this bully girl who wasn’t even particularly anybody really. But she was giving me a lot of grief, I was obviously an easy target.
There was she said something to me. And I tried to speak back and
and everybody saw it was like, Ah, she can’t even speech I was be, I remember my face growing the color of a bloody tomato, which made me even made it even harder to speak right, even harder to communicate. And that’s just one example. But those memories stick with you. And the fear of ever having that level of pain, again, public humiliation, because I wasn’t able to hold my own, it became so terrifying to ever be assertive. And I’d had experiences before and I probably had experiences after that as well. But there’s some of them that really stick with your memory going, I never want to ever experience that again, that was just so painful. And then it becomes so habitual, that you don’t any different. And it just becomes a local doormat. And you’re the people pleaser that will do anything to avoid conflict and agree with everything to avoid conflict and laugh with everybody just to avoid conflict and pretend to be somebody that you’re not to avoid conflict and to be liked. And
and I just knew there was this other version of Angie aside, we busted to get out. But I didn’t. I couldn’t find the door. That’s the only way I can describe it. I felt like trapped in animal. And then I met you and you’re like it’s just this way. So the here is the door.
And it was as simple as that. And I think I took to it quite quickly because I’ve I’ve got quite a psychological mind. So I picked up on things quite quickly. I don’t know if that meant that I grabbed it more quickly than maybe the average person I don’t know. But I remember just immediately once I started experiencing, I remember it just been a rocketed. Because then I got so addicted to it. I wanted to try out everything and all of a sudden, at the beginning I had loads of opportunity because I was living in a world where people cross my boundaries all the time. So I plenty of opportunity to practice or as if I was living the life that I’m living now. Trying to become more assertive, I probably wouldn’t have as much opportunity to practice because people don’t really cross my boundaries now. So I was in a perfect position to practice regularly every day and learn very quickly, very rapidly and within it
accuses him of whatever this takes, like, it’s nothing can be more painful than what I was living like. So if this is uncomfortable now then so be it, because it’s going to help me in the long run. So that was my attitude going into it basically.
And while that attitude is something you can create it, I think because, you know, my favorite type of person to work with is someone who’s tried everything else. And they had, they’re like, I can can’t fucking do this anymore. And that’s the courage needed to go well, there’s the thing, you really don’t want to do that actually that then you need to do.
You’ve bought up something that’s really I’ve noticed a lot in want to talk to you about. It’s almost tragically simple. Which is there’s a physiological response to confrontation, you talk about stuttering, I used to talk about what I call the hot orange in my throat, which is you know, that precursor to crying when you get all choked up in here, that would happen very hot, like I’ve swallowed a hot chunk of orange. And
because my thing was Don’t cry ever, as I can’t continue for I’m going to cry. Like, it would be a simple thing. Dad might be telling me off for having an extra snack and just be like, lump. I can’t even say anything.
I can’t push this button, because I know what’s next is cry.
So I’d have this literal war physically, or be like, I have to stop there, like do this another way, crack a joke, whatever, go silent disappear.
And you had obviously the kind of thing like if I continue to talk at this point on that day, that’s going to have and you can smell it, you can anticipate you know, when it’s coming, you can actually see it quite far off, and you can divert away from early on.
So this is the thing I’ve noticed a lot of people who struggle with assertiveness is the getting the stop sign at this physiological response. Similar to you know, people will have the same ones you and I have others will have different ones doesn’t really matter. They know if they’re listening to this, they know what they want is the thing that they like, the body starts saying no. And they’ll back off, and they don’t realize to continue walking in their direction is actually the answer. But how do we do there? So how were you able to, I guess,
find the courage to walk into the risk of that public humiliation like that that physiological proof that you’re not doing well, that everyone will get to see every head? How do you find the balls to do.
And I think one it was just I didn’t feel I had a choice, because I knew the alternative would be to carry on as I was. And that wasn’t an option. I mean, if you just said to me, like the solution to this is very simple, you just need stripped naked and run through a football stadium. You know, when it’s live on every TV channel in the world, I would have done it because I was whatever it takes, you know, like I would have done it. So first of all, it was a part of me that it wasn’t it was non negotiable. And I’d reached the stage where if this is going to work, I’m going to have to be uncomfortable. But it’s I was in so much pain, not doing it, nothing could have been more painful than where I was, that was the worst sort of like nothing can get more painful than this. So it can only go one way, I’m either going to stay the same, or I’m going to get better. So I’ve got nothing to lose by trying. So that was one way of thinking about it, particularly the thought of doing this long term for the rest of my life, that would be an unbearable thought.
And I think it came down to starting small, which is something that I obviously mentioned with my clients as well, it’s like start on something that is pushing you outside your comfort zone, that’s very uncomfortable. But it doesn’t mean if you want it to be big, or make it big. But it doesn’t have to be in order to make a change in your life in how you feel about yourself. It doesn’t have to be this huge like world groundbreaking move that you make, that’s going to potentially send you into a massive state of panic and make you recall back straight into your comfort zone which be passive again, just do something that stretches you. So it might be just working out what could you say to somebody? Or what could you say? Or what type of situation could you be in? And sometimes it is just as simple as working out. Okay, well, that was too much this one set that could try that and then given them the courage to go and at least try something and see how it feels and whatever they experienced in that it might be that they had this great resistance or they find it easy or they find it addictive and then that becomes the the future call of what happens next. So some people will often say, Well, I have a boundary but I’ve not been asked that worrying about it all week kind of thing. And they’ve so although they’ve done the right thing, they’ve got this aftermath, but then it goes into a case so you’re feeling uncomfortable with it. But why would you expect not to? You’ve just done something for the first time that you’ve ever done in your life. And you’ve you’ve become very familiar and comfortable. The other one Why would you expect this to be easy? And then it’s because they’re fighting they’re almost shaming themselves for feeling that way. A lot of people think well, you know, I thought being assertive would be a
comfortable. But once I’ve done it, I feel great for it and expect to have this sense of enjoyment as some people do have that. But it can’t be everybody’s expectation, because they’re breaking a rulebook that’s been so embedded in their brain for the last 20 years or more, why would they expect that to be dead easy. So when people then become accepting of how they feel, but then focus on the behavior, as opposed to the how they’re actually feeling about the outcome, or how the other person feels, it just becomes easier for people. And that was, that is basically where I went down that road as well. It became easier and easier. But I think for everybody, when they’re doing anything, there’s always, there’s always the one moment when they think, Oh, my God, I can’t believe I just did that. So for you. Remember you saying there was something about you walked into a room and said, would you say this in front of other people? Or would you say this person if they were here, and your face was like holy shit, and you walked up, and I can’t believe it just did that. I remember you telling me that story. For me, it was more.
I was in the corporate space at the time. And I stood up to a very, very, very aggressive, Senior Director of another country. And she was shouting at me and embarrassing me on this phone call with lots of other heads off. And I was leading the call because it was in my area at the time.
And the way she spoke to me, I thought that what she was trying to do is intimidate me. So rather than what most people do, which is get stuck in into the detail around, Oh, I did it that I made the decision because they’re so we had to get budget sign off for that and content content content. I just call the outset. It feels right now that you’re trying to intimidate me. And it wasn’t face to face. To be fair, it’s a telephone call. But I remember being on the call of that hope, waiting for this massive response. And you could have heard a tumbleweed go down that phone line.
And to be honest, like at the end, she denied it at first and then she kind of came back and was speaking nicely again. And then within a few minutes, you’re shouting again. So you know that thing that I just said to you about two minutes ago, you’re doing it again. Now, this is one of those examples right now, red handed, called route straight again. And at the end of the call, I just remember feeling that I jumped forward in terms of confidence about six years, it was like holy shit, I can do this. And it changes everything. Got back to my desk, and I had about six emails from all the other heads of countries in my inbox going that was inspiring about time somebody stood up to her oh my god, that was impressive. Oh my god, well done. I was like, Oh my God, this just gets better respect. And I was like, blimey, that was my practice with these little things before just saying no to people and practicing little bits and bobs. But that was like, Okay, now is the time to really turn it on this woman is totally disrespected me totally cross my boundary are now able to read that. Not going to take this on with punches. And that to me, I tell that story quite a lot to my clients. But that was like, I’m not going back now. Like now I’ve done that it was so addictive. And I saw the impact and how much other people were inspired by it how much I felt better about myself how much it stopped her from being like that, to me. It was like there’s no way I can go back to that shrinking violet, whatever the phrases from years ago. So up until then, like I said, I’ve toyed and played with and flirted with lots of these little tiny boundary based stuff and sharing a bit more and basic knows. But that was my turning point of like, okay, now I’ve got this year this is it. Now I’m all over it. It only it was here. And that’s it that that was that was it basically, that’s my turning point.
animal gets out of the cage, finally. Yeah. Well, this is.
I don’t know if I ever told you this before. I forget what I’ve seen it or not. But one of the things that struck me about working with you is actually there’s some some clients that I quite like to actually confrontational to me in sessions, which is I kind of prefer because like you said, you know where they are. So if they disagree with me, or don’t understand me or think my challenge is unfair or inaccurate, they call it out and say no, it’s not exactly this, or I don’t get what you mean, whatever. And you did a lot of that.
And it’s a good thing. Absolutely a good thing.
And I was sort of remember thinking or maybe I’m just thinking now as I look back, I’m like you always had that thing in you once you felt safe with someone. Or once you chose to take off the mask. It’s one of the great privileges we have as coaches is often on the very first call, someone just takes the mask off that they’ve never done with anyone else.
The frame was the call or something that title coach who knows what does it the way we are
content saying we get it, whatever it is take the mask off and you do it with me and when you took the mask off with me, you’ve got to confront me no problem at all. You know, very assertive you’re very, you’re very much want to make sure that you didn’t just go arcade in and not long with something
like flesh out anything you weren’t totally cool with.
And so it made me think
Like, this isn’t some new thing that you’re learning. It’s a dormant thing that you’re releasing. It’s always been there. And I think that that’s what inspired 12 years of therapy and constant research as this thing was like yearning to become free.
I’m not sure everyone has that.
But it doesn’t surprise me that once the, the animals out of the cage of progress was staggering, you know, you turned who you aren’t really, I’d say into a different person. But I’d say you found who you were, and stopped being a different person.
And social short period of time that you now help others to do it. And we haven’t known each other that long. You know? So as much as I’ll take credit for whatever coaching I did, you will, it’s like, you know, walking a dog is just like straining at the leash. Jesus Christ.
So in a bitch,
pretty much. Yeah, that was the long winded professional way of calling you but.
But that’s, that’s the thing is, I think that people don’t quite get that you can explain it to them, it’s hard to sell it. Once you get a taste of the witness
properly, once you get over the first like few attempts, maybe a few especially it comes down to luck. Sometimes your first attempt gets a good result, sometimes you get confronted back and you weren’t prepared for like round two, you thought just throw a punch on my head a fight. And you kind of sit on it or you actually have negative consequences. That rarely happens. But that can happen.
It’s harder to keep going after that. Once you get your first kind of wind under your belt, which doesn’t necessarily mean changing the other person’s behavior. But managing your own like you said, you started shouting again. And you did it again. And you realize, oh my god, I can do this 1000 times, I keep doing it.
She’s She’s powerless, all of a sudden, she doesn’t have my stamina.
Once you have that realization, like the world just opens up to you. So it is a very inspiring story. And
it’s hard for people probably if they’re watching this, and they’ve never heard of you, or never met you before, or particularly don’t know you prior to who you are now.
This will just sound really accurate, like theoretical or hypothetical this person used to be but I met you when you’re back then. You know.
And unrecognizable, almost compared to how you are now
talk about this talk about the work. We’ve hinted at it, and terms of like the actions you need to take. But let’s try and give people a realistic idea of exactly how much action you had to take and what kind of action you had to take to earn this change. Since we started the journey.
I think it comes in all different shapes and sizes.
Journaling helps a lot in the beginning. I don’t journal that much anymore, but I should do. I always have it on my I should do that more kind of list.
But every time I journaled I recognized on a frequent basis, oh my God, I’ve done it again. There’s another example. There’s another example. And I wasn’t seeing those moments when I was in them. I was so blind and blinkered to them that I was living through examples where I had opportunities like golden nuggets of I could have been assertive them and I didn’t see it. So how can I’ve done anything about it? And right, okay, I’m there for next time. And eventually your brain starts viewing the world in a different way. And then you start seeing moments when you think no, that’s not okay. I’ll say something and sometimes it isn’t anything about conflict, a lot of people assume Being assertive is meaning managing conflict that absolutely is include included. And it was fundamentally the part that would I would stutter and shy away from and blush and shake and fear in a sec, etc. But it also included an opinion in a group of people that I would just agree with just because everybody else did. Or
I don’t know like, it’s just even down to the little things that up to a
quiz like a pub quiz. And I’m rubbish at pub quizzes. I’m absolutely Bloody useless. I asked me stuff I know about and I’m good general knowledge. I’ve got zero like I’m a liability to a team, not an asset. But I used to just kind of find a way to kind of mingling. Oh, yeah, it could be that. Yeah, it could be that and I was like, this is all bush. It’s all like I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I was just trying to mingle in with other people just to go as if I maybe knew something about the questions up there. Guys have a clue. I seriously don’t have a clue. But I don’t even know what the question is. What does that I’ve never even heard of that country. How am I going to know what the capital is?
It was just that type of communication that started coming out of me. So it wasn’t even necessarily around dealing with conflict, it was like, I’m just going to be more honest. I’m just going to be more open. And I’m just going to show people here who I really am. But in a way, that includes being assertive. Because I had to risk people judging me, I had to risk people not liking me in order to communicate like that. Same with that was just a random example. But how to know where do you want to go tonight? And I’d say, and that’s how I’d like to watch this film. And I used to go okay, let’s, that’s great. I’d like to watch it tonight. No, I actually don’t want to see that at all. Sometimes I didn’t want to see it so much, I just wouldn’t go. So it wasn’t that I’m trying to dig my heels in being uncomfortable. But I knew that I can’t stand sai ffice films and stuff like that I just doesn’t interest me whatsoever. And I know that I almost resent being there. But you know, there’s plenty of other people that that person invited me could have gone with it. I wasn’t you weren’t dependent on me. And it’s just having those little moments of saying no, or being more honest. In a meeting, for example, I’d used to bite my tongue unless I was convinced that everybody would agree with my opinion. And I was going to get the validation and approval for everybody else in the meeting, then it’s just thought, well, I’ve got this view, and I’m going to share it. And it’s okay to be wrong. I started also dropping the attachment to I have to be right with every view I have. And if somebody else said, Oh, we can’t do that, because of this, but Okay, great. I didn’t know that. That makes sense. Now, yeah, I see it differently, thanks for sharing. And it was like I joined forces with them. Rather than fighting against them, I’ve had this need to be weird. To be right or to be wrong, it’s like I just, I’m just going to say it with no attachment to anything, I’m just going to speak it because it’s in my brain to say it. So it was a variety of different experiences where I started testing the water with being more honest and be more assertive. And I use this phrase, and I know, I’ve heard you say too, but it’s like strengthening a muscle. If you go down the gym, and you’re you’re not gonna if you’ve got arms, like pipe cleaners, you’re not gonna be lifting the heavy weights in there. But if you get used to lifting weights, you can build up to the heavyweight. So because I’ve spent all this time, like slowly dealing with bits and bobs and trying to be more vocal and assertive in meetings and speaking my mind about things actually want to do what I don’t want to do, admitting to things that I had no clue about, rather than trying to fit in and like just to not stand out in a stupid way or whatever.
By the time I’d exercise that muscle so much, by the time I really got hit on the spot was something like when this lady was shouting at me, I was like, I’m ready for this now. But I wouldn’t have been ready for that. They want after our first, you know, assertiveness coaching session, because it would have been too much of a jump. I spent a few weeks going right, I get this now it’s getting easier, like nobody abandons me, people still like me, I’m feeling better about myself, boom. So when she hit me with it, I was like, you’ve just picked on the wrong girl. Now, it was. And that that was the that was the turning point. But I had a lot of work to put like prior to that moment, to be ready for that particular conflict.
That’s a very important message, essentially one of training, long term commitment, lots of frequent little actions.
The idea that the big wins, actually, there’s opportunities don’t come up that often people generally I mean, depending on what country you’re in what culture and people are generally agreeable. So it’s really easy to give a big, especially a big call out or in front of a group like that, like, these days, you and I would like relish like half finally I get to flex, you know,
but actually, back in the day, it’d be hunting for that experience. It’s in the little ones, like you say, the whole group wants to go see one movie and you don’t,
the group will be fine with you not seeing it, but you’re just not sure they will be. And I think that’s the thing that the message that you’re putting across here is essentially a frequently risk taking.
So assertiveness doesn’t necessarily like
you stand standing up for the deep cause that you believe in at all costs. It’s more just that they might not react positively to this whatever it is could even just be you sharing your mood, your preference whatever. Like you said, I think this is why you and I have a big thing about honesty his honesty will provoke the reaction whatever the reaction is going to be honest he will find it
and that’s what we worry about. Is this going to be one of those ones that makes the orange come up on my throat? You know, I don’t know. I don’t know when it’s going to hurt sometimes it’s obvious like with the bully boss who likes to yell at people that one’s definitely predictable one but I don’t know what’s going to sit off one of my friends. I triggered my mom just the other day I don’t see that coming. We’re just having conversation on Sunday. No sir voice getting all tight and stuff. I’m like, oh shit. She’s gonna we’re gonna conflict. I don’t even realize I thought we were chatting. You know? And that’s I think the fear people waver on assertiveness as their uncertainty. When is it going to be the big one? We don’t know what’s going to kick it off. But of course, keep a little the risk is minimal. And when it does happen
opponents easily solved. Now, you mentioned another concept not only just taking these frequent risks, but letting go of the need to win. Now I know a lot of people conflate assertiveness with dominance. So assertive means winning, not just fighting.
What are your thoughts on that idea?
I’ve had people that I’ve helped with being assertive. And they’ve come back in the next session said, I did everything that we talked about that value based communication without any didn’t work. Would you mean it didn’t work? So well, it didn’t work. They didn’t change behavior. So define work. And they were like, well, the patient was is that this other person was going to change is like, so you want to that that was your measurement of success was it that the other person changed? How about your measurement of successes that you’ve just done something that you haven’t done for 20 years or more, that’s the measurement of success, you’ve just literally smashed it out the park, and then you go into like, not going to go to a coaching call, obviously. But like the obvious stuff around, if somebody changes their behavior, because what you said, it’s a byproduct, it’s a nice to have, it’s the cherry on the icing. But most importantly, what you’ve done in that moment is send the message to your brain that you’re worth it. And worth fighting for my opinion does matter, my worth does matter. That’s more important than them changing their opinion. And regardless of everybody else changing in these moments, you’re still building your confidence, because you’re sticking up for yourself in a way that you’ve never done before. So when it works, if you’re attached to them changing, you’re attaching something that you can’t control, so that we can’t use that as a measurement system. And that’s just that would have been nice. But at the same time, what works is that if you do this repeatedly, for the next, however many however long it takes, it won’t be difficult for you, and he won’t even be important what the other person does, because your self worth will be built in that time.
This might be one of the most important points that we touch on today. Because one of the number one complaint, so sort of here is
something along the lines of what’s the point if it doesn’t work,
and work as defined as manipulation of another person’s behavior, you you stay the same, they change or you get the win or whatever.
What was it like for you at the beginning? Do you attack? I can’t even remember, were you particularly attached to winning? Or was there another concern for you? First,
I think it was a little bit of both if I’m honest.
And to a degree, like I’m not the finished article now, like I’m still developing, I wish when I made that point to anybody that I’m talking to, because I do not want to get this impression that I’m the finished article, whatever. For me, I think more so it was about just I was gobsmacked that these words were coming out of my mouth, that I was able to actually do it without stuttering, because that was just such a fearful thing for me to like, I can’t be in this position where I just looked silly, because I’m trying to be because I’ve kind of set such a bit of an image like I was very extrovert naturally. And quite a loud personality, that all of a sudden, when you see this quite, you know, girl on stage playing rock guitar captain of the football team, quite extroverts and again,
unable to speak, was incredibly humiliating. So for me just about to say something was, was the main thing, but then it was obviously coupled with it was nice to kind of when should we say, but I don’t think it was a priority at the time, I just wanted to be able to speak without, to be able to get my words out, basically.
In a sense, I think you’re lucky because I find the people are attached to winning struggle with this even more. So sometimes they don’t struggle so much with the getting assertive. They struggle with the loss, but they’re not getting their way, which is maybe a different issue. It’s not really a fear of assertiveness, but maybe a fear of lack of control. Locus of Control being in the outside rather than the inside. Whereas with us on the inside, I just want to be out of control myself kind of thing.
Which is healthy a starting point, in my opinion, because it’s the only realistic starting point, or ending point.
What’s your advice, I guess, for the people who get it, they’re like, I know this is about me and building my confidence. And I know this is about self respect. And becoming the person to redeem the person I was, you know, to make up for all those last years.
I still feel gutted about the loss. You know, when I lose the thing where I look bad and the situation when nobody respects me afterwards where I tried my best and still failed. You know, what do you say to the person to help them through those most inevitable moments that they’re going to have to endure as they work on us?
I think I mean, I can only talk from my experience fans to that, but you
When just the ability to do it at home, and not be the stuttering standard, that was whatever, coupled with, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still occasionally find myself where I want to win this debate. You know, it’s not like I’m completely detached from the outcome on every account. But it’s definitely not as attached to it as certainly maybe as it used to be yours. I think a lot of other people are that I see people get very triggered by it. But just generally, like when you know that you can hold yourself in any situation. Whereas like you said, I could be assertive if I’m in a safe environment, even then, I didn’t always trust if something went wrong in that environment, how I’d react, could I still be triggered, and I don’t have that fear anymore. But coupling that with
any situation that I could be in now. I feel bulletproof anyway. And that’s incredibly confidence boosting because I used to avoid so many situations or so many conversations or so many scenarios. Because I didn’t know that I didn’t have the confidence I can handle if something went wrong. Or I didn’t want to put myself in a situation or I used to like begrudge something because I would do something on somebody else’s terms because I didn’t know how to handle it. So it’s like throw anything at me now. I’m bulletproof. There’s going to be some things that are more challenging than others. And we’ve all got maybe some
weak spots that we can be
more sensitive to than others, like particular people or scenarios, whether it’s family, best friends, old friends, partners, whatever, they’re going to be more sensitive to you than your average Tom, Dick and Harry, but at least you become aware of those. And you just have to give those a bit more deliberate thinking and attention, shall we say. But when you know that whatever happens, you’re not going to be stuck for words.
Even if I’m stuck for words, and I’ll tell people I’m stuck for words. So I’m not actually there’s still something coming out of my mouth. So it’s that whole thing around whatever happens. Now, I’m not scared of it in terms of communication, and that has given me so much ability more freedom to be who I am in all these situations that I used to shy away from, or things of confrontations that are sometimes in jest I used to dread. But actually, I’ll just share now to put it into context about a year ago to a friend’s birthday, went down the park and it was a Sunday afternoon. They were meeting and they were drinking all day. And I was like, Well, I’ve got work. I’ve got work tomorrow, and I’ve got my dog and only leaving for too long. I didn’t really want to do a boozy Sunday’s, I said, Well, I’ll rock up at four. And I’ll leave at seven. So I had this like three hour little time span I’ve given myself. So as promised, I wrote about four, started having a few drinks and then got to seven I said right guys, I’m going home love to see you all. And then somebody said, Would you really go in? I was like, Well, yeah, I’m going home now. So I’m going to do it. What did he say to me? I said, Angie, I’ve been drinking all last night, all this morning, all day. And you’re going home. And then at first I went into an old mode initiatives, and yet we’ve got I’ve got work at nine. And he said, Yeah, but I’ve got worker six, what’s your point? And I was like, hold on. I’m not here to justify my friggin decision. I don’t need to tell everybody why I’m doing it. I’ve made a decision to go home. So I’m gonna do it. So when he when he said, Well, I’ve got workers six, what’s your excuse? I said, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize we were competing. And he was like, well, we’re not competing. But I’m just above and I was like, Well, what what I asked me then, because we just get your shit together. I was like, Oh, so now you’re shaming me as well. We’re shaming me and we’re competing. And this other guy had overheard this debate between us. And he fell back laughing I said, May I’ve just been listening to you guys, she’s killing it just stop you making yourself sound stupid. Because this guy was like, you could almost see a state of bamboozlement on his face. When I kept calling out what I believe that he was doing rather than getting into what most people do, which is I slipped into it for one sentence. I’ve got work in the morning, I’ve got to look after my dog, I don’t have a hangover, then it’s like, that’s irrelevant. I don’t need to justify ship of what time I go home and what my decisions are around my life. But in the olden days, those types of conversations used to be difficult, because I felt the need to explain myself and justify myself. But now I can just go and I’ve made the decision when I’m doing it. And if you challenge me on it, I’m going to call you out for what I believe you’re doing. And it’s it was so easy. And I’m just thinking God, like what would I’ve done 15 years ago probably said, oh, yeah, you probably right. It’s embarrassing. Okay, I’ll stay for a few more hours. But now it’s just like, this is just such an easy conversation for me. So even the jokey day to day stuff is effortless. And even those would have been quite difficult to handle before I got into coaching. So it changes everything is a game changer when you know how to manage any given scenario that is thrown at you whether it’s aggressive, whether it’s just a difficult an awkward conversation, whether it’s done ingest and people are peer pressuring peer pressuring you. It could just be speaking your mind in a shameless way could be just telling somebody something that you wouldn’t normally share in this way that it’s actually just more honest. And when you live like that. There’s literally nothing stopping you doing anything because you’ve got no shame and you’re not trying to put
tend to be somebody that you’re not and you’re not bullied into doing things you didn’t want to do.
I think your time perspective is what’s really brilliant here, which is, the individual interaction is only as good as like a training session, it says just an act of self respect that contributes to the greater whole. It’s like, if you fail this one, it’s not a big deal. If you win this one, it’s not a big deal. But over time, the accumulated weight of respect or disrespect matters. And I think the person is I, you know, I lost that one, or I didn’t get this exact interaction, right? And missing the bigger picture of your becoming person who can handle these interactions. That’s the real win here to be that person. Like, I often think they’re people who, like, they lose weeks of sleep over how often some conflict wins, and they didn’t handle it. But what happens years later, they don’t even remember it. Like it never happened. It didn’t matter. They don’t matter. I always think of like,
we had this big fight and we broke up. And it’s like, you think that fight? Did it there one fight nearly? That’s right. You were a broker, your whole relationship was bought it just in the been let’s all the idea that that fight mattered? No, no, probably your assertiveness was lacking from the very beginning. That’s one five matters. No one conversation is what kills a relationship. No one conversation is what gets you fired. It’s like, there’s a buildup. And once you can see, like, if I become the person who’s assertive,
those kinds of negative results are less likely to happen, because the weight behind it like I’m less likely to have conflict in healthy friendships that have been honest and assertive from the beginning. So Suzanne, if I’ve got a lot of conflict in my friendships, they’re rotten at the core, right. And that’s probably, that’s why I know, you’re focused on so much more than assertiveness, but I think it’s really was the tip of the air, I talked about people having an X factor, mine was dishonesty.
It was like, that’s the thing. That’s the, you know, the thin part and one of those sand timer things. Everything has to go through that point, before I can become anything else. My dishonesty was blocking any other it was blocking courage is blocking responsibility is blocking respect, they had to stop there. You actually were more honest than I was when we first met, like, honestly wasn’t your X Factor. Like with your partner at the time with me, you were honest.
Maybe not, no great self control, but still, like more honest, whereas I would have lied in all those situations, I would have even lied to a coach back in the day.
But assertive shore, that was the thing. You know, that was the key. And it’s so so this is why people who are struggling with serverless should come and talk to you. Because you’re not coming from that. I call it top of the mountain coaching. We’ve never had a problem with this, you actually climbed from the very bottom. That’s why you understand why they’re at where they’re at. You understand their objections, you understand why something didn’t work the way I was supposed to, like learning martial arts from somebody who’s lost a fight in every way that they can before they started winning. You know, who is the person who knows first lose
is actually a great teacher.
thing when I’m sure you’ve had loads of these as well, but when you’re working with other people, and they start doing the things and you can see them on the way down the path that you’ve already you’ve already been there, right and they get those. So even today, with a guy I’ve only been working in about three sessions, whatever, but he’s had a very difficult relationship with his boss. And I don’t know about three hours ago, he messaged me go and I’ve just had the meeting what they wanted was like this big build up for this big one to one he’s having with his boss, and just said I really helped my own I have a boundaries, a shed everything that we talked about, you know, I was listening to what he had to say. And we resolved pretty much everything he apologized and said I was right about some things I acknowledged the stuff he was saying is I’ve never ever had a conversation with him like it, I feel amazing. And I was like, great. So you know, tell me a bit more about it. And he just went into some detail around it doesn’t really matter what he said. But the point is, is that you just said he feels what did he say usually with glowing, I feel like I’m glowing right now. And I was like amazing. Like that is the addiction behind respecting yourself and doing something and and he said it didn’t even feel like I was being assertive but I know that I was it just felt like I was having a really solid adult chat with somebody. And I was like, that’s the all you can ask for and that’s a brilliant result. But most importantly you took action on it and you respected yourself in that process and it’s the cherry on the icing that the conversation went really well. But he’s like he’s you know, celebrating and everything is skipping around the house like partying kind of thing because it’s just over the moon that you know the guys
knocking on 50 and he spent nearly 50 years being massive people pleaser and he’s a lovely guy I love love love working with them and he’s got this real natural drive to understand the stuff is like a sponge. Everything we talk about is like you can tell he’s so zoned into the call so keen, but now he’s making like after three sessions having come confrontations with his boss, and you know that’s how much you can change you and he spent working for that company is nearly 20 years and he’s never actually had this conversation with his boss. And it’s like that’s how game changing it can be when people are willing to do the work basically.
Yeah, I don’t think there can be understated like I the glow. You know their story. You mentioned before about me confronting workplace before gossiping. That was the feeling I had walking out of the room before the panic said and anyway was the glow like I finally did the thing that thing I always tell myself I shoulda done every night lie awake, have insomnia from anxiety. And should I say this? I wish I could say that to actually go in, say those things. It’s the freedom everyone’s looking for is the I think that’s the key to assertiveness as the
stepping stone to self respect. It’s all about not looking to beat anybody else. In fact, that’s a kind of a loss, you destroy somebody else. It’s not assertiveness as you said more.
But it’s when you go home and you’re like I protected this a gun, I have my own back. It’s like having another person as your bodyguard suddenly feel safer. So I can try some shit. Now I can get into some situations I can finally let someone in intimacy and all these things are available to you now because you’re safe to get out of them, you’re safe to protect yourself during them. I think of how many people are afraid of getting into a relationship because they’re scared of not being able to end one. So they’ve got this commitment phobia of like I can’t commit to someone because if they suck I won’t get to end it I might end up married to them in a very real and quite a real
there’s a lot of people are scared of starting relationship. They don’t know this, this get a starting relationship because they don’t know how to end one. They don’t want to walk into a contract that they’re scared to like take to court to end or whatever.
And you got a lot of people just missing opportunities blindly. Because they go you’re not you know the singer inside you says like Vegas difficulty you’re not going to have to handle it. So don’t don’t start there go near it again to sabotage. And now you know, those people won’t apply for a promotion and things now No, I’ve got a pretty good boss now Moon Moon moon lander. Dude, you just you’re scared of the conflict. That’s it. Once you mosquito the conflict. I can anything’s possible.
Excellent stuff. And let’s
let’s wrap up a little practical tip.
You know, you’ve already mentioned a few, you know, starting small and so forth.
So someone’s listening to this. And they’re in a very similar position to where you were, like they’ve been on the back, taking it for many years. And they stand and realize maybe I don’t have to.
But they just they need some sort of starting position, like very practical, like how to stay up, I guess,
to just put what we’ve been talking about into action and see what happens.
What would you recommend with so many different things where I can throw a few arrows.
And I probably say as a starting point to actually identify where you’re not being assertive? Because how are you knowing what you’re going to fix? If you don’t know, I don’t even know what those are. And like I said, even when I was in coaching with you going back years ago, like when I was frequently coaching with you like weekly,
there was so I was so dropping the ball on occasions I didn’t see. And I just I was so blinkered and so used to thinking in particular way, I just couldn’t recognize them until maybe a day or two later, I was like, Ah, that was one of those again, I had the I had the opportunity, and I missed it. So I first of all, journal if necessary, write them down. And what are the things where you feel that you’re not being assertive? And don’t just classify as being assertive as managing conflict? Yes, that’s included. But think of the times when you’re not being honest around who you are what you want.
Are you laughing at things that you don’t find funny? Are you agreeing to things you don’t want to do? Or are you speaking up in meetings to voice a potentially controversial opinion like those smaller things that aren’t actually conflict basis such when you’re not doing those? So identify them first and foremost? And I think the second thing I would say that I think is really important, and I try and drill this as much as I can when I do my own coaching is a lot of people think that when by understand what your definition of honesty is, a lot of people go into a place of what they think is honest, and they’re just judging the other person. So you’d be in a decade. That’s not being honest. So I’m just being
honest often when people put the caveat in is of just being honest, it’s normally that’s their justification to be an absolute are sold to somebody. So when somebody is being being assertive, let’s use
an example, I actually read in a book, he is going to put in one of my eBooks actually. So fundamentally, if you’re, I don’t know whether your partner is quite, I’m going to be bit person, I would say you are and then somebody makes move, and then they get rejected. A lot of people who are what’s the point, you know, obviously fancy anymore, like you’re just not interested and they go on the attack. But what’s really been happening is that the rejection button has been pressed. And actually, the deeper honesty is, I’m scared where this relationship is going, I miss being connected with you. I’m feeling rejected right now. And that’s your honesty, and that is being assertive. Because you’re sharing where you are. In that moment. It’s not, assertiveness isn’t about just attacking the other person, which leads into like, I have to win or I have to be the underdog. And I’m not with the underdog. Like being assertive doesn’t mean being aggressive or judging the other person actually being assertive means I’m just going to tell you what I’m feeling right now I’m going to, I’m going to share with you how this has landed with me. And if you that’s why the way that I coach, Being assertive is so much more powerful than what people think Being assertive is, is because people say well, but you’re telling me you can get permission to be assertive, I’m going to run around being a jerk, I actually know, if you’re there with your partner and you’re losing connection, tell your partner that I’m worried that we’re losing connection. And I’m worried about what this means for our future. And I don’t know how I’m feeling rejected. And I’m scared what this might mean for whatever, as opposed to just attacking them. Because imagine yourself on the receiving end of that, you’re going to be much more receptive to hearing it and finding your way through it. But in that moment, what you’ve been is still very assertive and vulnerable and open and honest. So when people understand what honestly, really, really is, it’s so easy to be assertive, because it doesn’t mean attacking the other person, you’re so much less likely to have the conflict, because you’re not attacking them. You’re sharing what’s happening inside you. And it’s as simple as that. So that, although that was quite a long answer to your question, I think that is so important to understand how to be assertive when this is what I’m feeling and thinking rather than this is what you are as if this is factually correct.
No, I think that’s excellent advice. And like you said, the smaller levels of assertiveness aren’t even really about conflict at all, just the risk of it, or the risk of feeling uncomfortable. And you just defined what it means to take that risk a little bit. And take ownership, you know, a lot of people Yeah, like you say they think attacking someone is what they’d call honesty, when actually it’s a defensive tactic hiding what they’re really feeling. So it’s can’t be honesty, if they’re hiding something behind
you. And also, what are you hiding?
really triggered by my childhood wounds right now. Okay, there you go. You get your right now.
Which is, you know, it’s as difficult as easy in the sense that you and I were still working on this stuff to this day. Because that is the work, you keep working on it. It’s almost like the simplicity itself is complex, the more you try to be simply honest, the more you see the layers to then you just got to get started somewhere.
Well, to wrap that point up, let’s say somebody goes, Okay, that’s what I’m going to do. First, I’m going to identify the areas where I’m clearly not being assertive, or at least I know, I’m not being fully honest, then they’re going to go and play in those areas tried a little bit, when they can make a journal, like you mentioned earlier, how do they answer the question? Like, did I do it? Right? How would they know that they’re on track? Do you think?
If their sentences are starting with they did,
I mean, it’s okay to share the context you’re writing in your journal around something that happened. So when it comes to when you are being assertive, if it starts with
something along the lines of this is how it lands with me, or this is what I’m seeing, or this is how I feel, or this is how I interpret you’re on the right lines. Whereas if it starts with you are or they did, or you’ve done this, or this is what you think or whatever, you’re still in the you’re still in the attack mode. And that is the least likely way of getting somebody to pay attention because their guard is going to go up. So it’s simply that the structure of where you’re coming from, is this about what really going on for you? Or is it about them because when you attack the other person, let’s just, you know, cut to the chase, you’re actually in a victim mode, because you’re saying you’re to blame for how I’m feeling. Whereas, and therefore I’m not accountable for how I’m feeling because you’ve caused this and I don’t need to take any responsibility. Whereas actually, when you take it from this is how I see it. This is how I’m feeling. Even if you could be triggered by something else you’re still owning it is still on you and it’s still about what’s going on inside of you still accounting
Hold on responsible. So I think that that’s a key thing, just basically, are you talking about yourself? Are you talking about them, and that, to me will be the definitive difference between if you’re in judgment mode, if you’re in assertive mode.
Good, I’m sure there’s many more measures to add to tongs over time. But that’s a great starting point, as you know, did I take responsibility when I was talking?
If you’re doing that, then you’re on the right path. Excellent. Whereas you and I both know, doing all this work on your own is very important. But if you don’t want it to take decades, anyone accelerated approach then you hire people like us to help just like we hired people like us to help.
So let’s say someone’s watching this or listening to this, and they’re really keen to talk to you a bit more about that kind of help. How would you prefer they get in touch with you, and
I mean, I don’t have a preferred way, I’m very easy to find. Everything is just under my name. So Angie, McQuillan. On Google, you’ll find my website, which is Angie mcquillan.com surnames, link everything below as well. So that your name is pyin, as well, rather than a enery. And you find me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, all under my name, so very easy to search for. Cool, so they can just contact you personally get things done.
Yep. Excellent. I highly recommended actually, as part of our coach training, I got you to coach me for a couple of sessions just to make you uncomfortable. And she knows what she’s doing. And that was a long time ago, I can only imagine that you’ve acquired some experience since then.
Well, I was trained by the best and what can I say? I’ll take that
as it is to take that.
Yeah, there was a excellent chat. And
all I can say is, it’s really what it appears to be, you’ve done the work. This is a zero to hero kind of story. You really like when I met you.
You really were eating shit from people, you know, you really weren’t, like you had a very, very low sense of self worth, when I met you, you know, this kind of deep doubt. There wasn’t even just the fear of standing up for yourself, the idea that it wasn’t valuable, you know, like, it’d be some sort of lie, like your worst worst standing up for.
For, you know, reasons. And when you when you you’re just like an animal laid out of a cage, once you got into it, I’m like, well,
like, holy shit, it’s gonna burn the world down, I got some, some work to do and is actually it’s kind of this meta thing. Your assertiveness is what also prompted you to leave their corporate world and start helping people with their stuff. And much more. Of course, leadership, sadness is just a piece of their pie.
But assertiveness might be self leadership might be another way to describe assertiveness, and you can’t hope to lead others unless you can manage your own shit. Or at least can’t lead them well, authentically. And you are really just the real deal of someone who win and head 1000s. I mean, in the time that I knew you every week, we’d have to talk about three or four incidents. We went out and tried the stuff and it went however it went. Sometimes it went well sometimes, like what the fuck happened there, sometimes you didn’t do the thing you thought you meant to do and you had to try and figure out why fell back into old ways. And you went just this relentless persistence, example after example, person after person.
like, I won’t go into your personal details, but you ended up doing, you know, going to the people that are hardest to do this worth, which is, you know, I call it the white whale, like we build up, everyone’s got the one person I could never confront them, you know, and you actually built up all the way to that.
I absolutely validate working with you like, you’re not going to get someone who has more authentic in the topic
and terms of coaching, you’ve loved it. And you have the rare ability of someone who can do it and teach it.
Not everyone who does it can explain how it’s done, break it down into bits, helps them someone see what they’re doing and what they’re not doing right and so on. And you have that so it’s kind of like a superpower.
Thank you. So I can’t imagine anyone in the world who wouldn’t benefit from being assertive.
I think it’s like a quality of life necessity to be able to hold that line. In respect chance of
not, there’s not actually much else that can happen until that’s done.
So if somebody wants to make sure that that journey doesn’t take them, as long as it takes somebody doing it on their own, and they should get in touch with you. Absolutely.
Thank you so much for your time. You too, always good to chat. Yeah. see eye to eye on so much. And, yeah, it’s been great to see you progress and the accelerating curve that you’ve been on, it’s
very impressive. In well, let’s just finish with the thing that
neither you or I are any different with the people in terms of ability to do it. So whether they come to me or they come to you, whatever, like, we’re both coaches. But
yes, we were both keen, because I think we both had a lot of pain at the point where you go into coaching when I got it when I found you as a coach. But it is doable for anybody. Absolutely. Anybody on this planet can make the changes that they want to take, if they’re willing to get bloody uncomfortable. It’s as simple as that. And it depends on if they’re willing to do that. And if they are, and it must matters to them enough. That’s there for the taking. is absolutely, there’s no, there’s no rules like oh, it won’t work. For me, that is absolute bullshit. It will work for everybody. But it just comes with a willingness to be brave, and the willingness to get uncomfortable and times that you’re currently probably not being uncomfortable, because you’re doing the easy option by hiding away from it. But I just want to put that in, because so many people listen to this type of thing, or Yeah, it’s easy for them. But they’re just a couple of coaches. And it’s like, No, trust me, me, I came from a place where I stutter, it was say sentence, you know, that’s how bad it was where I am now. So anybody can do this. So whether they work with either of us, like I just don’t anybody to listen to this, and they and discount themselves from that choice have been able to change themselves.
Couldn’t agree more, if you were to pull apart our DNA, you will not be able, you won’t identify some supernatural strand that somebody else doesn’t have. There is nothing we have that separates us, except for experience having started. So anybody else starts they end up in the same place after the same amount of time, roughly the same metalwork roughly. You know, that’s that’s kind of how it works in so yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Like it’s sometimes hard for us. When we get over the hump, shall we say, into the point where this kind of stuff is easy for us? It can look like it always was, there was a time where, you know,
we would have 10 attempts without even following through, because we’re so scared. And there are times where we stayed awake all night, because this was the biggest source of pain in our life. And we just couldn’t get past that. 12 years of therapy, I can’t think of how many fucking books I read trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me? Why is this keep happening?
How many how few moments of pure joy I actually had back then when the gears are just turning all the time trying to prevent conflict.
Yeah, we’re not special. We just We got lucky.
you found my stuff, I found somebody else’s stuff. We found little things that like clicked pieces into place in in natural human strengths that we all have finally had, like, you know, they had a target thing that could work towards instead of bashing their head against the wall, everybody’s got their strength. It’s just they don’t always have the target. They don’t know what to Amen.
So again, touch with Angie, if you want to know what Amen, she’ll help was the phrase that I heard you say recently that what’s the difference between a white belt and a black belt? Just the black belt has my experience. So they’re my look at those if they’re all your black belts, that’s easy for you to be that Mr. Karate shot. But actually, we were massive white belts. One point
is just experienced, like you can only get better through practicing. And with somebody supporting that, exactly like you said, you just speed up that process. It’s not that, you know, you can do it on your own. If you’re willing to take years and read books and decipher it in the way that suits you. Or you can take somebody like URI that has spent decades researching and reading every book under the sun, attending every seminar going and mankind paying 1000s and 1000s for coaching and counseling or whatever. So they get the shortcut. They get this. They go mate, that’s your 10 sessions, but you’re going to get a lot of content tailored to you in that short space of time that other people could spend 10 years working out.
Exactly. Yeah. I don’t even know white belt Sacher what’s the one where you’re not even worrying about and just show up like in your T shirt and
I started real like took me three months to get wiped Bellion
window again what’s in there? Is it running know what that is? That’s whatever that is. I remember. Yeah, I remember being in my
Early 20s And I heard the word confidence, just member actually think I’ve no idea what that word means.
Like there were never really featured in my vocab for whatever reason. It just didn’t come up and I just heard somebody say at the workplace conference.
Yeah, so that’s whatever. Yeah, the guy shows up in his work clothes without a belt on that guy. That’s where I started.
Anyway, awesome talking to you, Angie. And obviously we’ll talk again. Sure many times while we remain live. So to be continued, yeah. Well, I’m interviewing you next week. So I’m just listening to the end of the interview, but I’m going to do the question asking I want to hear your thoughts on manipulation as always such a fascinating topic. So I’m looking for that as well. Yes, me too.
This is rojo online, masculinity confidence. Edit Tegrity
Dan’s Top Resources
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