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When you feel frustrated, annoyed, and like the world is against you, there is one thing that will put things into perspective for you.

Helping others.

We all get into that cycle of blaming and complaining from time to time.

It doesn’t feel good and it doesn’t serve us.

What does feel good and ultimately serves us is making a contribution to someone who needs it.

That’s what I explore in this episode. I share why helping others helps you, how to shift your mindset to be able to help someone else, and why this action is so empowering.

Plus, on this week’s Examples of Awesome series, Master Coach Brig Johnson interviews Life and Weight Loss Coach Jennifer Dent Brown on the power of creating a “Success Squad” and how you can create one for yourself.

What you will discover

  • Why complaining isn’t useful.
  • How service and contribution relieve negative emotions.
  • Questions to ask yourself when you’re feeling frustrated.
  • What a “Success Squad” is.
  • Why it’s easier to lose weight when you have a community around you.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo episode 486.

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Hey, my beautiful friends, how’s it going? I’m in Chicago right now. I’m at The Peninsula hotel, which is gorgeous, looking out at the city. And I have the entire children crew with me of all the boys and all their friends.

So we went to this amazing restaurant last night; it was funny, it was this huge table for dinner and it was just me and nine boys. I guess they’re all men now, but it felt like my children, my kids. It was really cool.

We actually came to Chicago to watch Christian plan in the Western Amateur, which he did very well, made the cut, played some amazing golf. It was very exciting. And then we decided to just stay for a minute so we could enjoy Chicago. And last night we went to RPM Steak for dinner. So delicious, so fun, such a great time.

Today we’re going to play some pickleball, we’re going to do some shopping. Tomorrow we’re going to a Cubs game, spending time with Christian especially before he goes back to college, and then we’re going to go to San Diego for a little while. I’m going to hang out with Connor in San Diego for a little while, so that should be amazing.

Today, I want to talk a little bit about what’s been going on with a lot of you all. For many of you, my friends, my students, my loved ones, this has been a rough year. A lot has been going on.

I’ve had friends that have been diagnosed and who are dealing with cancer diagnoses and wading through the fear and pain of that. I’ve been helping people through business challenges. I’ve been talking to people about relationship challenges. Lots of drama, it’s been a very interesting year for a lot of you.

And one of the things that I want to offer as a solution, in addition to obviously managing your mind and taking care of your emotional life, is the opportunity we have to help people and how much that can help with a lot of negative emotion. It can be an amazing outlet.

One of the coping mechanisms that I’ve had in my own life has been to create some self-awareness around whatever’s going on for me, understand it, and then teach it. And so many of my colleagues who are coaches and teachers do the same thing, and it’s very healing.

So for those of you who are new coaches or just getting into this industry, and for those of you who aren’t coaches, I want to offer this technique, this opportunity to you as well because a lot of times when we’re dealing with something that makes us frustrated or depressed or anxious, we can end up in a loop of being very unproductive and also self-absorbed.

And it’s not helpful to get too wrapped up in your own dream. So there are stages to this. So the first part is you definitely want to have some self-awareness around what’s going on with you, whatever it is, whatever is creating this emotion, and recognize that there’s a thing that’s happening in the world, the circumstance, and then there’s the thing that’s happening in your brain, and those two are very separate things.

I’ve been watching this show called Alone at night. As I’m falling asleep, I’ve been watching this show called Alone and it’s basically about survivalists that are out in the middle of nowhere on an island all by themselves, in the middle of winter now, it’s just turned winter in this season that I’m watching. And they talk a lot about how important it is to stay warm, and to stay dry, and to find food, and to stay clean, and take care of themselves, and all the things that are required for survival.

But the most important thing, the thing that causes them the most problems is their own brain. And one of the guys that was on the show was talking about it like you have to be careful because there’s only seven hours of sunlight where they are, so the rest of the time they’re just sitting in the dark in their shelter that they’ve created just dealing with their own brain.

And most everyone on the show that ends up tapping out is because they can’t handle their emotional life. They can’t handle the pain of missing their loved ones, they can’t handle the thoughts that are going on in their brain, and so they end up tapping out.

And so it’s really made me think about how important it is to understand, yes, you are in a survival situation where you’re trying to survive physically, but you’re also in a situation where you’re trying to survive mentally. And that’s true for these people on the show called Alone, and this is true for us in our own lives.

So self-awareness is really the first important piece of that, to really understand this is what’s going on in the world and this is what’s going on in my brain. And to notice where we’re being reactive, where we’re not managing our brain, where we’re maybe lashing out.

I talk to a lot of people when I see that people are outside externally complaining about other people, blaming other people, or overreacting emotionally in situations. And believe me, I do the same thing. I understand kind of the temptation of this. But it’s so unproductive for everyone involved, and it actually ends up causing more problems than it releases any kind of energy.

So one of the directions that I want to encourage everyone to consider is when you’re going through the toughest of times, when you’re going through the hardest of times in terms of frustration, complaining, feeling sorry for yourself, feeling like the world’s not cooperating with you, that is and can be the most important time to actually help and serve others.

In my career and in my life, I have had the benefit of helping literally thousands of people. And having this life where I get emails every single day from so many different people telling me that my work has changed their life is an amazing experience, and I wish everyone could have this experience, to know that my life has been useful to someone else, to many other people because of the work that I’ve done and because of how I showed up, because of the risks and the courage that I took in my own life.

And there’s something powerful about that and very positive about that. But that is not the ultimate reason for helping, especially in a moment when you’re struggling in your own life. There’s something that happens in your brain in the actual moment of service, in the actual moment of contribution, in helping someone else that relieves us from negative emotion.

I was actually researching this to try and understand that, and I was reading an article in The Times and it was basically talking about how the pleasure we get from helping people in the moment, the same part of our brain is stimulated as when we are eating food or having sex.

It’s this hardwired altruism that we have within our own brain that actually gives us pleasure when we offer up our own usefulness, our own contribution, our own power to another human being. It doesn’t have to be a human being, it could be animals, it could be anything else that would benefit from you helping it.

And the reason why I say that and the reason why it’s really important is it’s not about the appreciation that the other person gives you because a lot of times, you can give anonymously. You can contribute anonymously, can help anonymously and still get the same benefit.

I’ve talked about this in previous podcasts how I think there’s so much power in true giving with no expectation in return. And it’s really important when you want to utilize the opportunity to give and the opportunity to help other people as a way to maintain your own well-being that you aren’t trying to get anything in return for that helpfulness, for that usefulness.

So I have some questions that you can ask yourself that might help you in this moment. So if you are feeling frustrated, angry, anxious, if you’ve gone through a failure, if you’re feeling inadequate, you can ask yourself this simple question which is, how can I help? What do I know that can help others? And what do I have that can help others?

When I answered the question of have, for me, it’s two things. I have time and I have money that I have available to be able to help other people. I also know a lot about mental health and I know about brain management and I know about emotions, and all this knowledge in my brain is another way that I can help contribute.

So as I ask the question how can I help and I come up with these answers, well, I have a lot of knowledge that I can help people with their mental suffering, I have time that I can contribute to other people who maybe don’t have as much time or who need my time as something that can help them, and I have money. I have a lot of money where I’m able to help a lot of other people in areas where they need financial support.

In just the asking of that question and the answering of it, I feel a sense of empowerment. I feel a sense of being able to be useful in this moment to someone else, to another human being, and not so caught up in my own emotional cycles, my own emotional drama.

So even if you just do that, ask how could I help - the next question, who could benefit most from my help? Who can I help right now? Sometimes the help could just be literally opening the door and holding it open for someone, helping someone get to the front of the line, helping someone carry something.

It doesn’t have to be this huge, altruistic, deeply meaningful thing. You could literally just go out into the world for an hour with a sole purpose of helping people. After that one hour, you will feel different.

If you are a life coach, if you are a service provider, if you are someone who has signed up to use your life to be of service to others, to help other people with their minds, to help other people with their lives, first of all, my hat is off to you. I honor every single one of you who are choosing to be a life coach.

But sometimes when you’re out there and you’re maybe working for someone else and that’s challenging, or you’re trying to build your own business and that’s challenging, it’s easy to get caught up in blame and complain and mental suffering around it.

And if you just stopped and were like, “What do I know as a life coach? What do I know as a service provider right now that could help another human being where I expect nothing in return?” That is what this podcast has been for me in many ways is showing up many times when it’s inconvenient, many times when I don’t feel like it, many times when I’m grumpy or frustrated or mad or I’ve just screwed something up, and I show up and I deliver this as a service, as a contribution, as my way of being useful, and I always feel better when I’m done.

Now, there’s many times that I love doing the podcast. I’m excited about the topic and I show up and I can’t wait to talk to everyone. But you have to remember, I’ve been doing this for nine years every single week and sometimes this podcast gives me the opportunity to feel so much better because I have given something, I have offered something, I have helped somebody else.

Think of what in your life that is super small that you could use to help someone, and think about the big things that you could do to help someone. And I never want to encourage anyone to give or to help someone else out of guilt, to help because they’re people pleasing against their own will. That is not what I’m talking about here.

I am talking about a pure offer of help that will provide you with brain stimulation of altruistic pleasure, to have given to someone. And when you are running a business or when you are in a job, it is very easy to get caught up in trying to, “I will create this amount of work and I’ll get paid this amount of money,” and forgetting the bigger purpose of why you’re doing the work.

For those of you who maybe work in a corporate job, or you work for an employer, and whether you like the employer or you like the job doesn’t actually matter when you ask this question. How can I help anyone in this job right now in this moment? How could I be of service? How could I contribute in a way that maybe is unexpected, that maybe is needed but not warranted by you? How could you show up and help in that little way?

And pay attention to your emotion around it. Pay attention to that contribution. And it doesn’t have to be all day every day. It can be just a moment where, okay, I’m feeling down, I’m feeling sorry, I’m feeling pity, I’m feeling frustrated, I’m complaining, how could I help someone? What can I offer here right now?

For me, one of the most powerful ways that I like to help people is I like to help people succeed. I am committed to being an example of what is possible in my own life so I can show people what they could do and what is possible for them by me overcoming all my own obstacles. But then I also really want to help coach people and talk to people in a way that helps them understand their own mindset around what’s holding them back from succeeding.

I just recently had a conversation with a young friend of one of my kid’s friends and he just had a very negative mindset. Just a very downtrodden kind of, “I won’t be able to make this work, this is too hard, Brooke, you can do this but I can’t, I’ll never be as successful as you,” that kind of just negative spiral that we sometimes get in and don’t even realize that we’re in.

And we never want to coach anyone against their will, we never want to offer advice to anyone or help them fix their mindset if they don't want you to, but if they do, if they’re looking for support and they’re looking for help, it’s one of the greatest opportunities that I have to understand the human brain and to understand thoughts and how much they can hold us back or serve us.

And so just in that moment, offering a different perspective, offering a different way of looking at the world, without making anyone feel bad for how they are currently looking at it can be a super amazing way to feel powerful, to feel useful, to get what some of these articles have called the helper’s high.

And not like, “Oh, look how great I am, how much knowledge I have,” that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re not talking about pumping ourselves up by someone else’s need. But we’re talking about offering help, reaching out and offering a little bit of help where we can.

I love to help people feel better in any way that I can, and by helping them look at their own thoughts and see them in different ways so they can feel better about themselves, about their lives, about what’s possible for them.

I love to help people evolve, and I love to help people make their contribution. And this is right in line with what we’re talking about today is when you make a contribution, whether it’s a simple moment of kindness, a simple moment of help, you are going to see yourself in a useful, more powerful way.

I am here not just to sit over here in my own corner of misery and feel bad for myself or about myself. But I am here and I am useful and I can make a contribution and I can give what I have in this moment. And that is going to give you a shift, it’s going to give you a perspective, it’s going to give you a way of showing up that maybe you haven’t been doing.

When I have been at my most downtrodden, my most discouraged, my most self-loathing, self-hatred, when I have asked myself, “What can I give in this moment?” I recognize in myself that altruism that we all have, that worthiness that we all have, that we are wired to do. Just that one moment.

So I wanted to record this podcast for you today just to offer to anyone who may be struggling in their own life to shift your perspective, to stop thinking about what you can get and what you haven’t gotten and blaming and complaining and frustrating, and to simply ask yourself, how can I help right now?

How can I help for a minute, for an hour, maybe for an entire day? Maybe I go volunteer somewhere, maybe I donate something, maybe I give money to someone, maybe I do it all anonymously. And do it from your heart. Don’t do it from a sense of obligation or guilt, or it won’t work.

But do it from that truest part of yourself that needs to get out of your own head, and stop focusing on your own self, and stop spinning around in that energy, and go out into the world and help the people. Don’t expect anything in return. Just help the people.

Have a beautiful week everyone, I’ll talk to you next week. Bye-bye.

Hey wait, don’t go. I have another Example of Awesome starting right now. Enjoy.

Brig: Hey y’all, this is Brig Johnson and I have another interview to present to you. And this time, it’s with another good friend of mine, Jennifer Dent Brown. Say hello.

Jennifer: Hello, hello. Thank you for inviting me to chat with you Brig.

Brig: Okay, now I did invite you to chat with me because you’re a friend, but actually, it’s because of the friendship that I wanted you to come on because you gave me a term called success squad. And it was because of you that I labeled it, like developing a success squad. Tell me what that means to you first of all.

Jennifer: Yeah. I feel like every time I wanted to make a big leap in my life and move to the next level, I always found some support. Sometimes I had to hire the support if I couldn’t find it with people that I knew, or I looked for people who are already doing what I wanted to do and included them in my, what I call success squad.

So it was only natural that you and I became part of each other’s success squad as we started coaching around the same time and have grown our coaching businesses together.

Brig: Yeah. Let me tell you what was going on with me and then I want you to give me your takeaway or your feedback, and maybe the same thing was going on with you or not. I don’t know. But when I first decided that - I found thought work and I’m like, “Oh my god, this is amazing, and your thoughts create your results,” it’s like every time I started…

I know you guys do this when you first learn thought work. When you start listening to your friends or whatever, you’re seeing it. We know that you’re not supposed to coach without permission but we’re starting to see everything and you want to talk all things coaching or all things thought work, and your current friends, they’re your friends because they share your thoughts, right?

That’s why people are your friends. Because we share similar thoughts, so it feels easy and smooth, but yet when you’re making a direction change, you may change your thoughts or the way you think about a lot of things, and what I was finding was I wanted to talk all things thought work and my friends were like, “What are you talking about?” So there was this mismatch and I was just out there.

Jennifer: It’s like life before thought work and then life after thought work, right?

Jennifer: Right? It’s this new thing for you so you just want to talk about it, and then when you start applying it to something like you and I were doing, which is growing a business, then those conversations become even more important. And so tell me what you think about it. What came up for you in the importance of a success squad?

Jennifer: At that point when we became friends, I was still working in corporate, you were still working as a nurse, and we were working on building a business on the side. And I think that was our common thought thread right there was trying to shift our identity from employee to employer, business owner, solopreneur.

And I think that’s what bonded us together, so we were able to have those conversations, you and I and other people who are coaches on the success squad, we were able to have those conversations about what was happening with our old friends and what was happening with our business and our dreams and who we wanted to help and all of the things. Those conversations that we couldn’t have with our friends life before coaching, or life before thought work.

Brig: Right. It’s another way like Brooke talks about want matches. Sometimes we think our friends don’t want to evolve. That’s one way of looking at it. Or we could just say, of course our friends are thinking this way, I’m the one that decided to choose to think a different way, and it’s not for me to drag my friends with me. But if I still have that desire, then I get to feel that want match of what I want to talk about and not burden my friends with like, “But I want to talk about this.”

Jennifer: Yeah. And you still - it’s not like you left your old friends. We’re still friends with our old friends, life before coaching. We’re still friends with them and they meet a need that my coach success squad doesn’t meet.

Brig: Yeah, totally. I love it because it’s very empowering. Instead of being frustrated in your current friendships or whatever and asking them to do something that they don’t want to do, you get to allow them to be where they are, and then you get to like, “But I want to talk about this,” then you go create another success squad.

And so when you said success squad, it’s something that you created, I’m like, “Yes, that’s it.” That’s what I did. What do you think is the impact though of that for you? Because I know you incorporate that into your coaching now too.

Jennifer: Yeah, so that was something I actually teach inside my weight loss program. I’m a life and weight loss coach. And one of the things that I was seeing with the women that came to me that wanted to lose weight is that they had failed so many times with past diets, they would just try to lose weight in secret.

And that didn’t work. I mean, I tried to do the same thing too. You just want to walk into the party and be like, “Look, I lost 30 pounds.” But really, weight loss becomes easier when you have a community supporting you, when you have your success squad.

And so I talk about the importance of having a coach, which is me, on your success squad as you’re losing weight. I talk about the importance of having community, the other women in the group on your success squad as you’re losing weight. We’re all in this together, we’re all here to support one another.

And I think that makes such a difference because when you’re trying to lose weight on your own and your old friends and your old family members, they’ve seen you try it and fail, try and fail, and you’re going to be like, “I’m trying to lose weight again,” they give you the side eye like, “I don’t think that’s going to work.”

Brig: They offer you the same thoughts that you used to do, and they’re not supposed to offer you anything else but what they are going to offer, right?

Jennifer: So if you can’t find that support in your old life or your old community, then let’s just build a new community, let’s build this new success squad. And I find that that’s really, really effective when it comes to weight loss.

Brig: Yeah, and it’s so much more empowering to think that you could build your support. You could build that and go actively create that as you go on and using this new tool that we’ve found called the Model and thought work and everything, and you can allow your friends to be - they’re still your friends. You still love them and everything.

Matter of fact, I think I show up better now with my friends because I’m not asking anything from them. I just get to be me and I love that. And for me, there’s so much - a coach is great and I love the fact that we have Ask a Coach and I have my 20-minute sessions and go talk to my coaching there, but then there’s those conversations with friends and I think we forget the importance of that and deliberately creating a success squad I think is one of the things that we can do.

Jennifer: And think about it. When we first learned thought work, it was very exciting.

Brig: Yes.

Jennifer: And you wanted to be able to share that excitement with someone who understood. Is that right? How are you feeling about that? It’s just like, you wanted to share that moment and in that experience with someone who’s going in the same direction as you.

Brig: Right. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We get to understand that and really relish in that excitement, but also not beat our current friends upside the head like, “Well, you know that’s just a thought.”

Jennifer: And they’re looking at you like, “Will you stop talking about thoughts please?”

Brig: Come on y’all, I know you guys have had these interactions with your friends and you’re listening to them and going, “That’s a thought, that’s a thought, that’s a thought.”

Jennifer: Or your spouses.

Brig: Right? But I think that takes the frustration out of it, or the load off of it when you create intentionally a success squad that you can talk about it. Then you’re talked up and there’s no like, “Okay, how are you doing honey?” Any last words for you? And please tell people how to get in contact with you. You are an amazing weight loss coach and how do you help people stop dieting forever?

Jennifer: Thank you. Last words would be don’t be afraid to go and ask someone to be on your success squad. Don’t be afraid. Just say, “Hey, we’re doing this thing together, you want to have a coffee chat? Can I call you sometime?” I know Brooke is the master of creating new relationships and creating new friendships, so follow in her footsteps and create your own success squad. And it’s fun. It’s so much fun.

Brig: Totally.

Jennifer: So much fun.

Brig: Allow yourself to be weird. Because you know, it feels like it’s supposed to happen naturally. Allow yourself to be weird on this one. It’s okay. Go call somebody or DM them and say hey.

Jennifer: Yeah, because you were a little weird in the beginning when you put me on your success squad. You would just keep calling and calling and I was like, “Oh, she’s calling again.”

Brig: That’s right, because I want to talk about all things thought work.

Jennifer: All love now. But I am a life and weight loss coach, Jennifer Dent Brown from I help women get off the weight loss struggle bus and help them learn to stop dieting forever.

Brig: And they do that through creating a success squad.

Jennifer: With me on the success squad. That’s what I love to do.

Brig: Alright, thank you so much Jennifer.

Jennifer: Thank you Brig.

Brig: I love sharing our little insights to creating a success squad. And yes, I am that friend that calls all the time. Alright, bye.

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