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#71 Transforming Pain into Power With Brian Pennie
The 360 Leadhership Podcast, Episode 71, 03 May 2023 by Lucy Gernon
Ready to turn your life around?
In this mind-blowing episode of The Powerhouse Revolution Podcast, I am joined by Brian Pennie, former heroin addict turned author, speaker, PhD candidate, university lecturer, and life-change strategist.
Brian is a former heroin addict turned doctor who’s on a mission to show people that change is possible. Since embracing his second chance at life in 2013, he has become a doctor of neuroscience and psychology, a lecturer at the top two universities in Ireland, an executive coach to some of Ireland’s most influential leaders, and a consultant to some of the world’s largest organisations. He is also a keynote speaker, best-selling author and founder and CEO of Change is Possible.
Brian and I chat about the power of reframing the narrative, the importance of taking things day by day, and how to overcome the fear of rejection.
Brian also shares his expertise on the concept of manifestation and sheds light on the idea that we are the ancestors of the anxious, fearful monkey, and how this plays a role in our lives today (yes, really!).
Below is just one of the comprehensive subjects that Brian covers to show you that you can overcome ANYTHING and become the best version of yourself
Negativity Bias: 5 Tips to Overcome and Build Self-Belief
Negativity bias is a natural human tendency to focus more on negative events or experiences than positive ones. While this helped our ancestors survive in a dangerous world, it can make it difficult to maintain a positive mindset and build self-belief.
The good news is that with conscious effort, you can train your brain to overcome negativity bias and develop a more optimistic outlook. Here are five tips to help you do just that:
Practice gratitude and mindfulness
A gratitude practice can help shift your focus from negative to positive experiences. Start each day by listing three things you are grateful for and try to be present in the moment as you do so. Mindfulness meditation can also be helpful in building awareness of your thoughts and feelings and developing a more positive outlook.
Build a wall of evidence for self-belief
If you want to build self-belief in a particular area, break it down into small steps and focus on building evidence of your successes along the way. For example, if you want to become a better public speaker, start by watching TED Talks and practicing at home, and gradually build up your confidence.
Challenge negative thoughts
When you notice a negative thought, challenge it. Ask yourself if it’s really true, and look for evidence to the contrary. You may find that many of your negative thoughts are not based in reality.
Surround yourself with positive influences
Spending time with positive people and consuming positive content can help shift your mindset toward the positive. Seek out uplifting books, podcasts, and social media accounts, and spend time with people who inspire and support you.
Take action despite fear
Finally, remember that fear and discomfort are normal when you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Don’t wait for the fear to go away before taking action; instead, take small steps despite the fear. Over time, you’ll build confidence and self-belief.
It may take some effort to overcome negativity bias and build self-belief, but these tips can help you shift your mindset and develop a more positive outlook. With practice, you can train your mind to see the world in a more optimistic light and achieve your goals with confidence.
Here’s this week’s episode at a glance:
[16:32] The surprising strategies you NEED to reframe your mindset and change the narrative
[21:19] The ULTIMATE guide to challenging your thinking and unlocking your personal growth
[29:32] Brian’s secret to overcoming your fear of rejection and achieving your goals
[34:15] The life-changing power of manifestation: Here’s how to do it right!
P.S. Have you taken our free quiz yet? In just 60 seconds, you will receive a personalised playlist of the top 10 Powerhouse Revolution Podcast episodes you need to listen to! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to fast-track your growth – take the quiz now! – take the quiz now!
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Welcome to the powerhouse Revolution Podcast. I’m Lucy Gernon, ex corporate leader turned CEO of my dream business, helping corporate female leaders just like you to create your dream career and life. At 40, I quit the corporate world as I was tired of doing a job that no longer led me up and wanted to live my life my way. I created the power house Revolution podcast, to give you simple, actionable tips and strategies to help you create the perfect career and lifestyle that you and your family deserve. So if you’re a corporate female leader or manager who is ready to step into her superpowers, and live the life you were born to live, you are definitely in the right place. Because life is way too short to dread Mondays. Okay, let’s jump into today’s episode.
Welcome back to this week’s episode of The Power House Revolution podcast. I hope you are all having an absolutely amazing week. And if you haven’t done so already, like I always say to just take a minute and just pause and just check in with yourself and see how are you feeling? How’s your day going? What’s going well for you right now? What can you be grateful for? And really just take a minute of just presence with yourself before we pop into this podcast today. So you know that I’m big into mindset. I’m big into how the mind works. I’ve done you know, lots of different episodes on this. I’ve had lots of different guests on this about this topic. And recently, one of my clients put me in touch with somebody amazing who I had heard of in the background, but didn’t really know too much about his amazing work. How I didn’t know I have no idea. And so when I started doing my research into my guest today, I was completely genuinely blown away. I actually feel emotional when I’m saying this, and because of his journey, because of his story. And I really feel that my guest today is going to inspire you. So without further ado, I’m going to introduce Mr. Brian penny to the podcast. Brian, how are you?
I’m doing great. Lucy, thanks so much for the lovely introduction. I feel a little bit emotional myself as you’re talking about that there. It’s yeah, feeling great love. Have you started that just to ground us because we’re having a having a good little chat before the energy was very, very high. I needed to be grounded. I feel a lot calmer just thinking about that. But really looking forward to today’s conversation. Me
too. So myself and Brian were just chatting and giggling before when we came on air. And I was saying to Brian, how do I even introduce you because you’re wearing so many hats. So in a nutshell, like Brian is going to tell you his story with Brian. He has a PhD in neuroscience
and neuroscience and psychology. Yeah, yeah. Brian
story is gonna just blow it away. So I’m just gonna let Ryan introduce himself properly and tell us how you went from an addict to where you are now inspiring people all over the world.
Thanks so much, Lucy. So so as you said, what I get asked that by so many people, what do you do? And it’s a question that I really, really struggle with. It’s really interesting, because I’ve been told for the last few years that I need to niche down I need to focus on niche down. And what I found is that if I’d done that a few years ago, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunities that I have today. So as you said, I wear many hats, and I do so I’ll start off with a little bit about my personal story. So my earlier life would have been full of trauma, physical trauma as a baby infant trauma, true and operation whatever general anaesthetic, crazy medical practice in pre 1985. And that was sort of set me up for a lot of anxiety and panic attacks. And I really struggled with the mind always worry and full of tension full of bodily anxiety. And at the age of 16 I found drugs Well I found drugs at the age of 1314. But I found heroin at the age of 50. I aged 60 And sorry I often say I never got the anesthetic I needed as a as a baby when I had the operation on sort of created that world of trauma that I lived with from then. But I found in the CHE at the in the shape of heroin I was 16. And that’s just set me off on a on a course of destruction. for over 1920 years. I was chronically addicted to heroin for 15 years. And so at the Dublin for a few years before that, and I had what I can only call, don’t look shift in perspective or not too sure was a near death experience in 2013. And my worldview just completely shifted. I often say like I transform czars, but it’s like I switched addictions i from my addiction to heroin, became a newfound love for life a tourist for learning, learning about the year I’m in mind why I suffered so much emotionally and why, after the shift, I felt so energized and alive with energy. That’s the only way I can describe it.
Pause Yeah, like you said about the shift there. Do you remember that moment? Or? Oh, I
do I do if what happened was
like you were like, You were addicted to her when all of a sudden you were addicted to life. So what was the aha moment for you?
So there was a couple of moments within us. So I sort of lost everything and addiction. I was a functional addict for a lot of my addiction. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, ironically. In no way the print and the production area of the pharmaceutical industry. So ironically, I’d be sitting on the desk designing methadone labels and anti anxiety medication. While I was chronically addicted to these drugs, it was a it was a funny stuff funny story when not funny at the time, but am any I lost everything in the end, I lost me job. God, I lost me health, I lost every relationship in my life. And I was at a stage where it was time to sink or swim, live or die. It really was. And I ended up having to do a benzodiazepine. So more commonly known as Xanax, and Xanax and Valium. So I was taking a lot of them on top of methadone and heroin swatted the norm that the pain that I was feeling that emotional pain I was feeling. And basically, I I tried to get off benzos Amini own and two days into the detox my own personal little detox of that. I had what I can only describe as the most painful night it’d be life, but the most important night me life, and I had what’s called a grandma of convulsive seizure. So it’s, it’s when every neuron in your brain fires at the same time and I was pulled some twist and and convulsing on the floor. And I actually drove my teeth down the center of me tone, split me tongue down the middle, blowed everywhere, horrific experience. And the aftermath of that experience. When I was lying in the hospital, I couldn’t verbalize my external world as it was in the hospital. And I thought I was brain damaged. I remember thinking, Oh, my God, there’s no coming back from this your brain damaged. And I was in so much physical pain, so much emotional pain. And I remember in the hospital, I was I was lying on a trolley and I shudder went into this tunnel vision, staring at this red fire extinguisher that was hanging on the wall. And there was this sense of dread came with that, because I realized I couldn’t verbalize this thing hanging on the wall. And I never should have known what it was, was like I was disconnected from my normal worlds. And I remember thinking that that’s brain damage came over not and I can deal now. And I was waiting to be overwhelmed by the panic and fear that drove my entire existence up until then, but I remember just start to lean back on the trolley, and just sayin, I don’t, I can’t do this anymore. And this sense of peace came home. And what I realized retrospectively, especially with me studies was that was the moment of surrender. The first time I ever surrendered, I accepted that I couldn’t fight this power, this anxiety, and I put up the white flag, I surrendered. And a sense of peace came over me, the way I described that is now what was like, we all have an ego, we all have an identity, my identity, my ego was to protect my addiction at all costs. So I think that was a chink in the armor of the narrative that I created in my life to protect my addiction. And that sort of set me up for a loosening of my identity. And I went with a heroin detox after that. And it was during that time, there was like this energy coming back into the body. And over the course of six weeks, I began meditating. For the first time I seen a psychologist for the first time, I started devouring books on self awareness, Eastern philosophy, and six weeks into that, that moment that you talked about our perspective shift, it was we forced a clan at October 2014. And the shift was common, the energy was shifting a little bit by little bit. But that morning, I had a profound experience that I can only describe as the world was just glowing. That’s, that’s the best way I can describe it. And I was on a firm up on the outskirts of Dublin open, not open at all. And I walked around the firm that morning. And it was like nature was breathing on the skin. It was just one of the most visceral, present moment experiences I have ever, ever experienced, that I will ever experience. Remember, the sound of the boards was just caught and through my body and soul, it was just incredible. And that was the shift and I went on from there. We went on straightaway to study psychology. my newfound addiction to psychology got me a scholarship at Trinity College Dublin. Yeah, I don’t only PhD there, and everything has just everything. It just really manifested itself from from those experiences.
And you you lecture there now she was
ideal and did so it was funny the professor there so she was a doctor at the time Dr. Johanna overs came into the detox facility where I was two days before the eighth of October actually, funnily enough, and I was still taken I might have been brand damaged at that time, I was a little bit concerned that I don’t because that that that moment when I like I was so broken, even in detox, even notice his energy coming back into the body, I spent so long in addiction was there was a war, I was adjusting to my newfound identity, my newfound life, when I was still a little bit worried I was I was brand damaged. And even though I was feeling better intellectually, and Johanna, came in to do a study on methadone, and people on long term methadone use, as she was asking me the questions, I started answering or asking questions about the next question. And she turned around, and he says, CAGGIULA, very sharp Mullins. And I remember thinking, Oh, thanks, God, maybe I might even be able to go to college. This has sparked an interest in me. So that sparked the interest to go to college. I then met Johanna, a few years later, she asked me Do I want to teach on the neuroscience of addiction masters and Trinity College. So lovely, full circle moment. They’re amazing. Amazing, amazing. And I teach in UCD, the neuroscience of mindfulness in over in UCD, as well. So lovely little their circular moments there.
Yeah, you’re given me so much that you can see my face. I’m feeling so much joy, I’m feeling really emotional, actually, when I meet you, I don’t know why I’m quite an impact person. So just when you were talking about the the moment of presence, like I, I’m quite spiritual person, not religious, very spiritual. And I know like, I experienced something very similar to you, in a sense of that whole spiritual awakening, when I saw the world completely different. It’s like, when you go to something painful, no, mine wasn’t as bad as yours. It was awful stuff going on with me. But I think that’s what it is. That’s what it takes to change. You need to be in so much pain that you’re like, I’m ready. It’s like something has to change. But when you do, the world literally does glow doesn’t
really doors. And it’s really interesting as well, I often find that the pain is relative for different people like, so we talk about rock buttons in addiction circles sometimes. But like, it doesn’t have to be the low of the low. Like I know, some people have been lower than I’ve ever been. And it didn’t have that experience. I know some people that just had minor adversity in their life, and they had this shift. So it doesn’t have to be this incredibly harsh experience. Sometimes it can help. But I do find like there’s some great lines out there. The poet Rumi says it beautifully, like the light enters through the wound. So you need to darkness darkness becomes light. And there’s certain things with like one of the favorite lines, it’s Zen proverb, obstacles don’t block the path. They are the path. Yeah. And it’s something that I did in the old life was like the narrative of my life was, I can’t cope with anxiety, I need heroin to survive. So it was a very reactive sort of maladaptive narrative that drove my life. But my net and our main narrative, my life today is adversity doesn’t stop me, a fuels my ability to thrive. And that’s a mantra, I speak to myself very, very often. And I found myself leaning into challenges and using them as fuel for growth. It’s a much better, much better framework to operate from
absolutely, like, I’m all about that that whole growth mindset that really like I really believe that we’re all here for a reason. And like your purpose, the reason you’re doing what you’re doing is because of you know, so you can help other people. What I was going to ask you, then you talk about you talked about the moment of change, when I kind of shared it doesn’t need to be you know, as I suppose as dramatic if you like as being addicted to a drug or something. What, talk to me a little bit about this, this piece, because I hear people who maybe came from like normal enough backgrounds who have experienced some sort of trauma. Now I can see as a coach that it’s trauma, but because it’s not a big thing. It’s not it’s not kind of seen as trauma. So isn’t there a thing called like big T little t do like, can you tell us a little bit about that? Yeah,
you took the words out reminder as well. I remember hearing this concept and it was Gabby Bernstein. I forget her name. She was talking about a podcast and she really started to frame that for me in a way I could think about. And she she struggled, I think was sexual abuse. And that was her big T that was sort of big trauma in our life. But she says one of the other bigger, potentially bigger traumas was the smaller trauma and when she I think she was like 1012 years of age, there was a boy in our class that she had a crush on. And he said to horses god, you’re not very smart. And he probably didn’t even remember that. But that literally bought out into her head. And she gave it life. She gave her growth because she kept on reading, living the experience, and she avoided academic pursuit. For the best part of 35 years, as a result of that one comment from a boy who was only 10 or 12 years of age, and that became nearly a bigger trauma in terms of the impact that it had on our lives. So you can have a big trauma in the earlier part of your life. But one of the things is a trauma is like a wounds, let’s say it’s like a little wound a cut on your arm. And if you keep on picking that wound, and reliving that, that that sort of narrative that the thing that happens, you can make it worse. And this stuff is grounded in neuroscience, like when we think of our hippocampus that’s like the one of the most important memory centers of our brain, especially spatial memory, and how we remember things that’s connected very closely to the area of the brain called the amygdala, the emotion center of the brain. I’m talking very generically here now. But so when we recall events, we feel the emotions, that’s what are functionally connected, we feel the emotions of the event, we don’t just remember the emotion, we actually feel the emotion of the event. And if you recall the event and make it worse in your head, and, and we’re over again and again. And again, when you recalibrate that memory back into your brand, you can make the emotions even worse. So the next time you recall that event, you’re not recalling we often think we recall the original event. But we recall the recalibrated event of the last time we recall that event. So we can make traumas worse over time by doing that, and those little tears can be calm or big tears over time. And it can really Tinks come faster.
Yeah. 100%. So that kind of brings me on to my next question is around like a lot of the women that I would work with are extremely successful, extremely high performing ambitious, driven, empathetic, like doing their shit in the corporate world, right, making a huge impact. But on the inside, and many of them are struggling with impostor syndrome. So when I do the work with my own clients on this kind of whole area, we like, obviously, I’m not a therapist, and I don’t deal with trauma, but we would look at okay, why are you thinking this way. And oftentimes, when I do this free frame and exercise with them, we go back and we look at things that have happened. And it could be to something as small as an it’s never as small, as I say that, you know, very loosely, you know, an adult might have said, you’re not smart, but on the same day, a teacher also, you got one out of 10 and your spelling test. And I remember Dr. And Steve, Professor Steve Peters in his book, The Chimp Paradox, because interviews, he’s amazing. But he was saying it’s not necessarily one thing that happens, it’s actually the two things combined, that actually makes you believe something about yourself. So like you said, a minute ago, somebody might say something like, the boy in your class might have said you’re not smart. But if you actually did get only like 2% in a test, then you’re like, that makes sense to me. So how do we begin? So there’s lots of my listeners who will be resonating with this, this feeling of not being good enough or not being smart enough? How do we begin to reframe that narrative and reprogram that mind?
Yeah, it’s a little big question. And I think I think another really important point of that is like, it could be one or two things, two things, three things. Well, all of a sudden, if that hits us, like a little T, a little trauma, oh, my god, am I not good enough? Well, all of a sudden, our brains are looking for evidence of that. And we can current create this confirmation bias, like these biases that we have can play a huge role. I think these unconscious biases should be taught in schools because they play such have such a big impact on our lives. And all of a sudden, if you’re thinking you’re not good enough, you’re going to be looking subconsciously sometimes for conformational evidence that that is true. So even if we see all of these examples in the world where that might not be true, we’ll ignore that to confirm the potential bias that we think could be there. And that’s so salient that’s so important in our lives right now. So that’s what we are going to see. It’s like, if you’re thinking of buying a car, and all of a sudden you see it on the roads everywhere you start seeing it everywhere to carry you are going to boy, because it just jumps out at you. So I think one thing we have to do, we have to start looking at disconfirming evidence, right? How is this not true? And I think this is really, really important. So look for the evidence that it’s not true when we don’t need to go around looking for it in the world. As it happens. We can reflect on these pieces and say, right, well, how is this not true? Because when we get into a cash catastrophizing mindset, and say, I’m terrible at everything, I’m not good enough, everyone has a better, you will see that everywhere. So reflective questions in terms of asking yourself, if that’s not true, is really, really good. And there’s a beautiful concept from him. I think it’s cognitive behavioral therapy is cognitive behavioral therapies like the ABC. And like, it’s not the be all and end all. And I think of it in terms of self talk, I think of it in terms of the schemas that we have and the narratives are of our lives. But if you think of this in terms of belief, belief systems, you will have an adverse event so let’s say so bad happens or eating, you’re not good. It’s something bad happens in the event and you’re starting to challenge in the world. If your belief system is I’m not good enough, the consequences of that event is, you’re not going to go for that promotion, you’re not going to go and ask that personnel to have that the relationship that you really, really want. So the things in your life, your belief system is determined in the consequences of your life. So what we need to do in terms of this mindset is change our beliefs. And to change our beliefs, we need to challenge and dispute the validity. And the it added ideas, beliefs actually true. So let’s say a challenge and event comes into your life. Let’s say you have to do a presentation and you say, I’m not good at public speaking. Well, is that actually true? What evidence is there? Is that actually true? So well, I’ve never really done public speaking, if that’s the case, but I’m a good talker, I can have chats with people, maybe I can be a good public speaker, maybe you can reach out and ask older public speakers, maybe I can practice really, really hard and good effort in here. So look at the actual evidence that’s there and try to disconfirm what what are evidence and I think that’s one of the best ways of going around to challenge these, these these confirmations that we don’t we have of ourselves.
So I’d love to dive into the evidence piece. And the reason being is that years ago, I had to go for cognitive behavioral therapy because I was complete and completely naively having panic attacks, I was a perfectionist, I was all of those things. And I had really low self esteem, but I didn’t actually realize I did because it was so normal in my world, people looking at me thought it was confident. But inside, I didn’t feel like I was good enough. So I remember going into my therapist, and she diagnosed me if you like as being a perfectionist. And we were going through CBT. And I remember she was asking me about the evidence piece. And in my mind, I had evidence, this is the thing I want you to help me with, in my mind, I had so much evidence that I wasn’t good enough that I couldn’t see it. So when she was asking me, she I remember she said to me, it needs to be tangible. So it needs to be black and white. So for example, our member, a friend, a neighbor of mine, I used to bring her her child to school. And I was heavily pregnant with my third kid and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was at work on stress to you because I was so anxious about like the pregnancy I’d prenatal and depression law to check on. But I remember I then I had to tell her I couldn’t bring the kids school and I was a people pleaser. So for me to actually turn around and say, I can’t help you was massive, because I knew she wasn’t going to be happy. So we worked through this, I remember in therapy, and she was like, what evidence Have you got to support the fact that she doesn’t like you anymore? And I was like, Well, I saw her the other day. And she didn’t say hello, for example. And she said to me, that was evidence. But then when she challenged me and she said, Well, what other reasons might there have been that she didn’t say hello. I was like, well, actually, she didn’t make eye contact. So maybe she didn’t see me. Actually, maybe she was having a bad day because one of her parents was sick. So it’s about for me that was a massive shift in terms of the evidence piece was actually well, what other reason might there have been for that? And that really helped me with that whole evidence piece. So what would you say to people, I really want to hear your perspective on what is evidence because I always say to my clients, it’s like Judge Judy, like, if you’re in the court of law and Judge Judy AFCEA, you need to be able to show her proof like so what would you say on the evidence piece?
Big time, I love this. And I’ll get back to the evidence piece in terms of building self belief and confidence because they can be like arbitrary concepts. How can you build self belief or seems really, really difficult? So I started to think of this in terms of building a wall of evidence. But in terms of in terms of Deodar piece you asked, and I think you touched on it there as well, like, what else can be true? So we need to start to dispute the truth. And people as you said, you are sort of locked into that mindset? No, this is the way it is. And it’s really interesting the way we get locked into this mindset, like we create an identity for ourselves. And even if the identity doesn’t serve us, we still just keep running with this identity it has to be
is that like explain that to me. But neuroscience perspective, I know we have negative biases, and thankfully, I’ve been able to break through all that shit through years and years of work, right. So it totally is possible. But why is our brain soul primed towards everything that’s wrong? Instead of looking for everything, that’s right,
yeah, it kind of comes down to right. And I don’t know how much evidence there is in this in terms of research in terms of neuroscience, but it does come down to the sort of negativity bias that we have, and it’s more of an evolutionary kind of neuroscientific perspective on that. And if you think of, let’s say our ancestors, like eons and eons ago, monkeys, bonobos, wherever we came from walking through the forest in the war in the wild, and all of a sudden there’s a rustling in To trace, alright, so it might be fields, or it might be something that sees you as fields, right? So what more if you see the happy optimistic monkey? Oh, Kobe fields? Are you seeing the monkey that was absolutely terrified and ran up to the treetops, you think what monkey would you want to be and start saying? Well, I think I want to be the most optimistic monkey. But if that was the case, you’re dead. So in essence, we are the ancestors of the anxious fearful monkey, that didn’t take a chance, because that’s the one that survived. So the negativity bias nearly comes from this survival perspective, that we need to be survivors. And it’s like we have I think it’s Rick Hanson, I said this one time on one of his books, what is brand is great book. And he says, it’s like, negativity is like Velcro. Positivity is like Teflon, it just slides away. And we need to have like five positives that make up to one negative. And if somebody tells you a story, and rambling on for ages, about lots of good things that happen in our lives, but then they say, Oh, well, a relative of mine actually has cancer, that’s the piece you’re gonna remember. And in terms of ourselves, we hook on to and try to confirm the bad pieces, because that’s the way our brains are kind of built, it’s the evolutionary perspective is still going on. So we really need to fight against this as well. And our natural tendency is always going to be towards the negative. So we really have to push strategies and put techniques in place to put ourselves out there and reach out for the positives. And this can be quite difficult. And it takes a little bit of work to do that, like you said, You’ve done the work. And I bet it wasn’t easy.
Ya know, it’s 10 years. 10 years ongoing, personal, ongoing. Isn’t it? Like, I mean, I’d say even for you like, it’s like people look at the later you were me who do this stuff. And they’re like, Oh, my God, you have the perfect life? No, like it’s constant work. What you mentioned on the negativity bias, right, like my secret to everything like I’m very positive person, because I’ve trained myself to be that way. And a massive part for me was gratitude, practice and mindfulness. So I know you’re big into mindfulness. So talk to me about the neuroscience, because I do podcasts on this often on like growth mindset, and on a positive mindset. And I think, you know, there is always a growth giving, there’s always an opportunity or a learning. And some people think I’m mad, because they don’t really believe that they can see when they’re in the moment that everything has gone wrong, that there’s so much else around them that they can look for it to be grateful for. So talk to me about your perspective on that.
brilliance, I want to touch on this, this idea of all it’s gone on these are walks the wonder of the world, because there’s great neuroscientific research on that as well. But before we say that I did say a talk about the comfort the evidence for in terms of building self belief, so I just want to touch on that in case anyone’s waiting for that answer. And I skipped over it. So in terms of building a wall of evidence of self belief, or confidence, whatever that is, like it’s, as I said, it’s very arbitrary. So you’ve got to make it more concrete. So in terms of let’s say, you want to become a great public speaker, or you want to become a manager of a top job. So how are you going to build that wall of evidence? Well, what you do is you take the basic simple steps and the little blocks. So you go and look at the public speaker and Ted Talks, they’ve already checked out at what the day they’ll practice that at home, then you look at and watch, call it how to be a great public speaker, practice that arm, create a script, practice that at home put in in the practice. And as you get better, you were basically building a wall of evidence. And you can literally do this with anything. If you mentioned people please know already people really struggle with this, I think our rich people more so more. So I think are just natural people pleasers, we want to be sound. And it’s clear, we also
had to be gourds growing up, like in our area with the culture and all that kind of stuff. It was like Be quiet like, you know, do as you’re told,
this, is it. This is it. And some people are crippled with the idea of saying now, but take small steps take baby steps and say, right, well, what can I say? What can I say no to? And is there is there something back to that disconfirming evidence is there something I can say no to practice with that it’s another brick in your wall of evidence. So think of yourself belief as this wall that you’re putting together brick by brick and then slowly build up more confidence. And it gives you a tangible more concrete route to get to the path to where you want to go. So just think about it in that more concrete way. And that’s been a game changer for me personally.
Amazing. I like to you. Do you like to write out a list like I’d off record recommend people that they kind of get a list of stuff or do you do you think it’s more just about day by day building the breaks remember it in your mind? What do you suggest?
I would suggest both if you’re really struggling writing it down writing stuff down was always better and better journal and just it’s when the wipers for the soul I think it was. Arianna Huffington said I love that it’s brilliant. So I think writing it down really solidify Boys, I think tracking progress is really important as well, like what gets measured gets improved. So when you track your progress and write it down, it’s not just journaling, there’s a, there’s an extra layer of self awareness that comes with that, as well as solidifies the information in your mind and an insight of it as well. So I would highly recommend writing it down. If you’re really struggling with it. It’s just a much more powerful practice.
Yeah, I’m just thinking, as you were saying that I had a client there last week or the week before, and she was talking about impostor syndrome. And she said, You know what I said, Right, let’s write out what the ideal candidate in this role would do. Okay. So they will do X, Y, and Z. And one of the things was to be a driver for change. So she said, I just feel like I’m not driving enough change. And I said, Okay, let’s look for the evidence that you are driving change. So she had this thing in her head that this driver of change needed to be like transforming the organization and all of these kinds of things. But actually, when she thought about it, and she kind of looked at, well, actually, I have made this change, I have made this change, I have made this change. And she wrote it all out in black and white, she could very quickly see that actually, she was ticking all the boxes in the job description, right. So how do we like I suppose as women, right, so the majority of my listeners are women, we know this famous statistic where you know, women won’t apply for a role unless they take 100% of the boxes, whereas men will apply if they take 60% of the boxes. So what’s going on with between the male and women demand the male female, I suppose brains from a neural neurochemical, or neuroscience perspective.
Yeah, big time. And it’s simple when kind of when you think about that. And again, it comes back to this more evolutionary kind of perspective, as well, like so much of our evolution like to think about it, we’re out, we’re living in the world, in the world we live in today, like we only moved into cities a couple of 100 years ago, we only have computers 60 years ago, we only have smartphones 15 years ago, or whatever that is. But from an evolutionary perspective, our brains and our bodies are being harnessed and created and wired from millions of years. So that has a huge impact on our actions and our innate drives. And if you think about 1000 years ago, when we lived in the caves, which developed which was the dog sort of heart, those sort of circuits that were hardwired over times, men went out and hunted for fields, where as women more and more the caregivers indicate in the caves and stuff like that primarily speak and let’s say, and then for that he needed to be risk takers, like from an evolutionary perspective and a survival perspective. If, if the man were in the case of Don’t go, don’t fancy going out hunting today, I might get hurt, so might happen, you’re kind of in trouble. So especially young men are much bigger risk takers from that perspective, more so than older men, because that’s what we needed for the tribe when we were hunter gatherers back in the day. So there’s just more on a look, statistic of risk taken and impulsivity. Young men especially have much higher levels and a manifest itself in terms of deaths, like deaths by dangerous pursuits. Young men are much more and prone to those kind of pursuits. So when that taps into the arena, there’s just as an arrogance at bulletproof I used to think of myself that even when I was younger, I said drugs, jokes can kill me, I just thought it was bulletproof. And I was delusional. I know now, it’s delusional, that I just got lucky. But it was just this sort of bulletproof mentality as if nothing can really go wrong. And I think it’s hard work into men more than women. And even for me today, like one of my core values is boldness. I love being bold, I love reaching out and we chat beforehand. 2017 I actually got this idea. And we had, I wanted to reach out to 40 people further along the path. And I googled the 25 most influential women in Ireland, 25 most influential men in Ireland, gets their emails based on the companies where he worked. And I create an army of mentors for myself and customers and good friends. And that was a bold move that gave me the opportunity. So I think it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s more explained in terms of risk. Yeah, it’s more explained in terms of the evolutionary link in terms of how are brands or hard work that the risks are the risks are being taken.
Okay, so how can women then because I get asked this a lot, right, International Women’s Day is next week actually, guys, when you’re listening to this, it’ll be after that. But I’m, there’s a lot of women who really hate this whole thing about international women’s day and they hate the whole thing about men and women being kind of seen as kind of two separate and we’re all about you know, I suppose diversity, inclusion, equality, equity, and all those things. But I really believe what you’re saying, Brian, it is it does come from evolution. But I believe now that we’re beginning to evolve because women are starting to wake up and realize actually, we can do whatever whatever the hell we want to do. So what would you say to those women who are still holding themselves back?
Yeah, what I would say there is a Think reflective questions are great on this right? One question I think is just really, really simple. What’s the worst that could happen? And interestingly enough, so when I reached out to influential leaders and stuff like that, I also reached out to a couple of artists as well. And Amy Huberman was one of those artists. So the actress Amy Huberman. One was amazing woman she is. And she says to me, I said, I wasn’t going to reach out am I taught you what to say? No. And she says, what’s called if you don’t, if you if you don’t ask the answer is always no. So what’s the worst that can happen? You’re actually like, it’s a it’s a fear at the end of the day. It’s a fear of rejection. That’s what it actually is. It’s a fear of rejection. Well, I’ve set the reframe that for myself. I says we are. If I don’t ask, I’m pre rejected. I’m already rejected. It’s only by putting myself out there that you give yourself a fighting chance. Yeah. So it’s reframing it in your mind? If you don’t ask the answer is always no. And you are pre rejected unless you put yourself out there. Like if you’re afraid to go for a job position, and you don’t go for it. You don’t get the job. If you put yourself out there and you go for it, you might get it or you might not get it, you’re giving yourself a fighting chance. So it’s just reframe, reframe reframing. And another question I love is I remember writing a blog on one time as well. And it got a good response. It gives me it gives me a feel of something that vibes with people, it’s a simple question. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Yeah. negate their fear? Yeah. Yeah.
So powerful. I want to I want to bring you back to what you just said about it goes back to rejection. Right. So I love those two questions. I use them all the time as well. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Right? I go for the job. Okay, what’s the worst that can happen? I get rejected. But then the next questions. And what does that mean, if I get rejected? What actually happens if I get rejected? And the answer is always nothing happens, right? So I do that all the time. Like, I’m like you I reach out to people and I used oh my god, it’s such a people pleaser word. They don’t like me what they say no. And then I had to do the work on myself like John Dingell. Well, who cares if they say no, every time I got to know, it leads them closer to a yes, that’s how I totally see it anyway. So I think it’s about if you are rejected, it’s not you they’re rejecting it’s your offer or your your skill set at that moment in time, but they’re not rejecting you. Yeah,
it’s so true. It’s so so true. And there’s another aspect of that as well, like it’s like failure. It’s like reframe failure, as well. All of these things come into, like, failure isn’t failure, it’s just the step on the ladder to success. But you’ve got to learn from that and adjust and pivot. So it’s just really part of the path because maybe you reached out to someone and you put yourself out there and you didn’t get the answer that you wanted. So it gives you a chance to pivot and do it better next time. And as you said, you’re not being rejected. It’s just different things at different times. It’ll give you a laugh. Actually, I’ve been really good. I think I’d stand there. Joel wrote a 10 bit some of the biggest podcasts in the world, they send them an email, it just popped into my head and the send them an email letting go being rejected from Joe Rogan’s podcast about 20 times. I don’t even know if I want to be on the podcast and be great, obviously, my business like you know, but it’s like, just throw it out there. And I want to be on Russell Brand’s podcast as well, because Russell was in in recovery. And that was great. And I’ve been reaching out to him for years. And then like, before Christmas, and I met a guy called Brian McDermott, former Premier League football and Russell Brand came up. So I’d love to meet Russell, some great names, but Russell says, before Christmas, I got a video from Russell Brand. And he’s like, Brian, yes, now buttering me up social media Leave me alone, having the crack, he says, Now come over to London, let’s come over. So I’m going over to London in a month or two, but that’s five years of rejection from Russell Brand. But now I’m going over next month.
This is the thing and I know that I’m actually loving that we’re getting on to this topic, because I don’t even think I’ve spoken about this on the podcast, and I really probably should, but the whole area of manifestation. And I know that you’re into that as well. So I was I had Keith berry on I know you’re a part of him, I think as well. Yeah, yeah. I remember Keith saying, and it’s so true that like you look at the likes of Kibera that most people in Ireland would definitely know when you think Oh, he’s so successful, but he was like, Yeah, I’ve manifested everything, but I put a shitload of work in behind it. I’ve sent 1000s of emails, I put myself out there. So talk to me a little bit about because I always say like, confidence comes from taking action. It’s like what you said about building that like wall of evidence. It’s because you’re getting the evidence that’s there. So talk to me about manifestation, what that means and what we need to do to create the career or life that we want.
Yeah, and I love that. I think the problem of manifestation is the label sort of misrepresented. So some people think the law of attraction Tink, and you will receive that as absolutely BS. It’s hard work plays the biggest biggest role Have Talent plays the biggest, biggest role like I could want to be the next Michael Jordan, I can work really, really hard. But I’m not tall enough or talented enough to be the next Michael Jordan. That’s
the I don’t believe that. I believe that if you want to be the next Michael Jordan, I believe you can do anything, but you have to have the want. Because you can, I believe you can teach yourself anything.
You can teach yourself anything, but there’s biological limitations that come in. So it’s just it’s important to remember some kind of aspects that it’s like, there is some innate talent that that’s needed, I’d say you can bring yourself to 95 to 99%, anywhere. But for the elite of the elite. Sometimes it’s that next level, but I think sort of you tapped onto the it’s the want, you’ve got to find your want. And it has to be this perfect storm of your want certain talents, which is probably not that big. Michael Jordan was itself a claim, not the most talented personnel was hired or
ejected from his high school, his high school team, he didn’t get up or he wants to go and watch, he was able to
want to do so much. What’s the action and like what Keith says, Keith works so hard. And I heard I had me on a gig one time radio gig. And I had what’s his name, Joe wicks on the show, so the body body coach, and he was called an overnight success. And he says to me, over the 10 year, overnight success, I was practicing the art of what I did for 10 years before anyone ever knew me. And Sam, let me self like it’s as like, I’ve been working so hard for the force few years. And it’s like, the compound interest of the hard work then becomes something that manifests itself even even into your life. And then you have the opportunities to what looks like manifesting, but it’s hard work. But on the manifestation piece as well, I think one of the biggest challenges and we’ve talked about already, it’s more about what’s holding us back, rather than what we want to get. So what are the limiting beliefs that are holding you back. So if you want to manifest the job of your dreams, what if you think you’re not good enough? That’s a challenge, you’re gonna have to remove the barriers, the belief system of, I’m not good enough to get there. So sometimes it’s a matter of removing the things that’s holding us back, to get to where we want to go. So combine hard work with removing those barriers, and your, your 90% of the way of manifesting, one of the things are manifesting, there’s just that as well. So I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, as well, I think we need to think about that where we are as well, in the grand scheme of things. Like I’m big into exercise nutrition, now I’m looking into the immune system, we’ll have to chat at the end about gratitude. And I can’t forget about that.
I feel like we got to talk to you for about three hours. So.
But it’s like for me to manifest that like, I’d love to to do it. I’m not gonna do a PhD, another one that has certainly that’s too much work. For me, let’s say I want them to manifest their PhD in biology into my life compared to somebody else who hasn’t studied. Well, I had the unfair advantage of already having a PhD, which makes manifest and not a PhD quite easy. If I want to manifest a yacht and to me life, I don’t have the unfair advantage of someone with a few million quid in the bank. So does the state have unfair advantages that some people have or privilege, you could say, that gives you a leg up? So I think for people that are sort of struggling in certain areas of their life, let’s say they haven’t got much money day, or they have had a tough part. They need to know that it’s harder for them to manifest. But if you have those advantages, take advantage of those and use them to manifest good things into your life. But there’s a starting point, we have to think about that’s important as well. Yeah,
I do agree with you. But at the same time, I suppose my number one strength is hope and optimism and that in that strength tests, and I swear I believe you can like I was a microbiologist, right? I had a master’s degree in science. I worked in the pharmaceutical I run labs. And in two years, I’ve completely changed my business. And I you know, women in person development space. But I remember I heard Oprah an interview with Oprah and I was just so powerful. So it was really simple. She said, she was asked the question, look, you have interviewed hundreds of the most successful people all around the world. She was like, Yeah, I’ve interviewed a lot of them. And the interviewer said to her, like, what is the number one, you know, secret that you see that’s common between all of them? And she said, Excuse me, they know what they want. She said, most people go around the world, not knowing what they want. And then you know, you get to the end of your life. And you’re like, why didn’t I do this? So I think it’s about getting really clear on your vision, like, Who do you want to become like, I’m so crystal clear. And I know you are too. I’m so clear on where I’m going. I can’t even tell you. And because I’m so clear, I’m going to get there. Whereas for most of my life, I went where the ball took me. I went along hoping something would happen alone. Well, I think it’s like you get clear on what you want. Like you said you remove the barriers. You use the things to your advantage like even say, like even chat with you today is just so amazing. Because like this happens because of a client, we both know, Michelle, right? Like it’s about using those little serendipitous moments. I think too, I think is it in Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. He talks about taking inspired action. So when you guess, you know, inspiration like divine inspiration might be something in your moment, like, I’ll take action straight away a guy call me in the shower, I’ll jump out, I’ll send an email, like, I’m sure you’re probably the same process. It’s like you don’t procrastinate, you get clear, and you just fucking go for it.
Definitely, definitely just deal with the Nike, the Nike, the Nike slogan speaks a lot.
This has been amazing, right? I just I love you. I have to get you back on again, we’ll have to do an Instagram Live or something together. Because I think there’s so many things we can talk about.
I know, I know. You’ve been an amazing
guest. I so appreciate your time. There’s so much you’re gonna go back and listen so much value in there. And I’m so grateful. And so guys, I link everything in the show notes. As always. Anyway, you’ll find it when you listen to this right now. But just before we let you go, Brian, I always ask my guests two questions. The first one is what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and who was a fun?
Right, so I’ve gotten lots of different nuggets over the years. I’m going to I’m going to use two people that gave me quite very similar similar similar advice. And one of them is so on the list of people that I reached out to so Bernard born he was the CEO of a OB at the time. He’s actually the CEO of Devi group now. And I remember I want to talk to Eber and brought me in for a talk really launched me speaking career gave me a great opportunity really, it’s become a great friend of mine now. And I remember I said it to him since I’m getting when I met him a few years later he says I’m better and I’m getting a lot slicker at the talks. And he says Oh be careful Brian. Loads of slick speakers out there says we loved you because you’re authentic stay authentic stay real. And that really resonated with me it’s be true Dr. A wonderfully where itself like you got to be true to who you are. That has been an absolute nugget. And Bernard introduced me to Carol Andrews and she’s General Manager, which is one of the big big hitters of Bank of New York Mellon and Carol is amazing, great friend of mine as well. And as to things Carol is all about stay like she was always saying Be authentic be yield. That’s that’s what will get you where you want to be. But something else that Carol said that sort of relates to that as well. And I was talking about sort of I wasn’t being me in that in a certain situation. And I’m sitting on top of all sorts of rules for that. And she says there are no rules. And no matter where you are and it’s like imposter syndrome when you get to the next level of somewhere where it’s more authoritative or people you haven’t played in that playground it’s a new playground and seems a little bit bigger of too big for you. You tend to start to restrict yourself and there’s rules here and I don’t know she says there are no rules P he’ll just be that really, really stoked that relies
on easier that today because I’m all about authenticity. But there’s a few things coming up and I’m starting to feel myself kind of go Oh, should I shut down? I’m going to I’m going to wear the pink Paris suit Brian and wear the pink policies love it. Finally, then what is a piece of advice like I know you have so much to give, but like what’s one piece of advice that you would like to give my listeners today that they can go away and just reflect on
ROI again one already I’m gonna give a continuation of that, but then I’ll give me real one at the very end. Be true to your wonderfully weird self. I put wonderfully weird in there because but I wonder if you wear it in the same way because you will attract what you need and repel what you don’t when you’re being you. There’s no masks, there’s no games. So you might get rejected by some people that’s actually good because they don’t vibe with you. You’re not wasting their time you’re not wasting theirs. So be true to yourself but will actually you will get rejected you might get bored a little bit, but it will pay off dividends. But perhaps the biggest advice I’d love to give is trust your instincts like when your mind and go are conflicted. Your mind is telling lawyers so it’s done instinctual go feeling really go up you need to get quiet to really hear that. So I always think of like the mind, the mind will trick you your heart will blow and you will jerk you’re going to realize
oh my gosh I’m framing that I love us I’m right now oh my god no seriously that’s so powerful. So powerful and aware compete people find you.
Oh God the best place Instagram is obviously good. It’s Brian Penny 70 8am Jan I will be on to FM with Gen Z I’m pretty sure every time I say to Shane you need to change your Instagram you’re giving away your edge. Brian Penny 78 Or else cron penny.com I have loads of free access to videos blogs, articles and stuff up there on the courses so Brian penney.com will add a website will give you access to everything
amazing amazing my guys again I’ll link it in The shoulders and it’ll be exactly if you’re listening on Spotify or Apple. I’ll have Brian’s website there as well. Okay, Brian, thank you so much for being our amazing guests and I’ll talk to you again soon.
Lucy It was an absolute pleasure.
Well, we were like we need a few drinks the next time. Bye