Episode 29: "Focus on the Good Stuff: Your Man wants to feel his Importance in your life" with Mike Robbins
“Focus on the Good Stuff: Your Man wants to feel his Importance in your life” with Best Selling Author, Motivational Speaker and Coach, Mike Robbins
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Alissa Kriteman: Welcome to “Just For Women: Dating, Relationships and Sex.” I am your host, Alissa Kriteman. This show is dedicated to bringing you the most useful information from today’s top experts to help you create a life you are inspired to live.
“…well imagine if 30 years from now and you are 30 years older than you are and you were looking back at a photograph of yourself today, what do you think you would appreciate about yourself? You are probably saying, “Man, I am looking pretty good…
…the thing that we want more than anything is for the woman in our lives to be happy and if there is anything we can do or say that provides a deeper level of happiness or self-appreciation if you will, will do that. But a lot of times the men in your lives and in the lives of so many women I know are just clueless about stuff and there is a lot of stuff that you can do in a very positive way to train us…”
Alissa Kriteman: Today in the show I am happy to welcome Mike Robbins, author, motivational speaker and coach who is going to share with us insights about the power of appreciation.
We are going to cover juicy topics such as the power of appreciating ourselves and how to become better at that, the impact on men when we as women aren’t loving ourselves and we will learn some great simple practices for keeping love and appreciation alive in our lives. Welcome Mike Robbins to Just For Women.
Mike Robbins: Hey, thanks for having me on Alissa.
Alissa Kriteman: For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mike Robbins, he is a professional coach with organizations and individuals with training from The Coaches Training Institute. He is a dynamic motivational speaker and holds the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional designation. He has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and played profession baseball with the Kansas City Royals. Not the Red Sox but the Royals, that is okay.
He has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today and on Fox Sports Television. He is the author of a newly released book called “Focus On The Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation.” Mike lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife Michelle and I am imagining their beautiful daughter, Samantha.
So, I just want to say Mike and I have been friends for a long time. And Mike, one of the things I love about you is you are so easy to talk to and you are so down to earth. And I am really glad to share with women that kind of openness that you have and I am really excited to talk to you today.
Mike Robbins: Well, thanks. I am grateful to be on your show Alissa.
Alissa Kriteman: So, let’s jump right in. As a woman in society today, the message is pretty clear; however you are isn’t quite good enough. You have to be a little thinner, you have to be a little bit more gregarious. It is just very confusing to be a woman today. And I think many times we forget to appreciate what we already have because we are so conditioned to look for the next thing. So, why is it important for us to stop and appreciate what we have?
Mike Robbins: Well, there are a lot of reasons I think for both and men and women, but specifically for women, I mean we live in a culture, as you mentioned, where we are inundated with messages that we are not good enough, that we need to improve ourselves whether you turn on the television or read magazines. Or even in the realm of personal growth, personal development, a lot of people listening to this show Alissa, those of us that are committed to our own growth, if we are really honest about it, the reason that we take the seminars or read the books or listen to the audio programs is because we think there is something wrong with us that needs to be fixed and there is just this insatiatable desire to get better and improve.
There is nothing with improvement but the reality is no matter what it is we want in life, a great relationship, to be thinner, to have more money, fundamentally what we are after is to feel good about ourselves and we can start right now regardless of the circumstances of our lives and specifically for women who have a tendency to be really critical of themselves just to appreciate what you have, while you have it right now.
Alissa Kriteman: How do we do that?
Mike Robbins: Well it is a practice. You have to surround yourself with people who do that, you have to put in daily practices in your life. You know, one of the things and we will talk about this here specifically and then focus on the good stuff, I wrote it to be more of a work book than anything else, so that there is practices and things that people can implement into their lives. Something simple as just—you know many people have daily meditation practices or go into prayer or they do some kind of—they go for walk, they go do yoga, they exercise, those are wonderful things to do but in the process of doing that, how much time and attention do we actually put on, not only what we are grateful for in general which is important, but what we specifically appreciate about ourselves, what we are proud of, the things that are going well in our lives. That is the challenge and that is really what makes the difference.
Alissa Kriteman: So, what would be a practice for women who say I wake up, I am going through my day and I am just kind of in that grumpy mood, I don’t like my clothing. I am just in that little rut. So there I am, I am picking my clothes, nothing seems to work. I am just in it. What can I do to get out of it?
Mike Robbins: Well there is a couple of things. I mean the reality of it is sometimes we are just in a funky mood and that is the way it goes and we got of sort of be with that. You know, I know you had Debbie Ford on your show a few weeks back I think. And she talks a lot about the shadow and there is a lot of gold sometimes in some of that negative stuff and if we can in the moment pay attention to what are we grateful for.
Here is an interesting thing to do specifically as a woman. And a lot of times I talk to women and they say, they don’t feel good about their clothes or their body or their hair, something physical, right? Well imagine if 30 years from now and you are 30 years older than you are and you were looking back at a photograph of yourself today, what do you think you would appreciate about yourself? You are probably saying, “Man, I am looking pretty good.”
Alissa Kriteman: Okay, that’s not something—I was like woman will freak out if they think about that because that’s one of the biggest fears for a woman is that she is going to age and lose it all and be poor and….
Mike Robbins: And the reality is look, I mean I don’t mean to be negative or brutal about this, but it is going to happen to all of us. I was with my aunt who lives on the East Coast a few months back and we were looking at some old pictures and she was looking at some pictures from like the early 80s and we are going through them. She looked to me, she says, “You know what Mike, I really thought that I looked old and fat back then and she laughed and said, I wish I looked like that now.”
So you know in some ways, I mean I say to people all the time Alissa and this is something that we all got to remember that right now regardless of how wonderful or how awful we think our lives are, this today, these are the good old days at some point in the future and if we can remember that and appreciate while it is happening, life is a heck of a lot easier.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, you know, I like what you are saying because it is true. I think we have a huge aversion to getting older and death in our society and because of that the present moment becomes really frightening. And so what you are saying is just stop when you are in that mindset it is critical to appreciate what you have because there is no stopping that we are going to get older and we are going to die soon. But you are saying is to be joyous about the present moment now and being in that practice is actually a habit for the future. So when we are in our 50s and 60s and what not and we don’t look like we are in our 30s that we can actually enjoy that moment too.
Mike Robbins: Exactly, you know, for me personally and one of the things I write about in my book and I speak a lot about, my big insight and realization to the importance of gratitude and appreciation was when my baseball career ended. You know, you mentioned earlier that I played professional baseball with the Kansas City Royals. From the time I was seven years old Alissa, all I ever wanted to do was play in the major leagues. And you know I got a scholarship to Stanford, I got drafted by the Royals. I was working my way up to the big leagues and I went out to pitch one night in my third season in the minor leagues with Kansas City and I blew out my arm and my career ended.
And just like that at the age of 23, my dream that I had since I was a little boy ended and it was devastating to me and as I worked my way through the process of trying to heal physically and then ultimately mentally and emotionally and started to do some kind of deep soul searching and personal development work. As I looked back on it, I realized the only regret I had from that entire experience was that I didn’t fully appreciate it while it was happening. And I think that that’s a metaphor for so many aspects of our lives and whatever it may be, a relationship, a job, how we look physically, if we don’t appreciate it while we have got it, what is the point.
Alissa Kriteman: Totally. All right, so you recommended daily meditation and I really like that because meditation is a practice of being with what is and it is so, I think people think that meditating is such a big stretch when actually it is just sitting. And when do we ever do that and I think that’s a big piece of appreciation, do you talk about different kinds of meditation or things of that nature.
Mike Robbins: No, I mean I personally have been meditating since I was 20 years old, so for the last 13 years of my own life and I have had my own struggles as I am sure lots of people like what’s the right way and what is the right type and there are so many out there. And I just believe like you said it’s really just about sitting and being with yourself and so, so many people don’t do it because they are trying to do it right instead of just doing it. And I, a lot of my coaching clients, I said if you never meditated before, just sit down and breathe. And, then from there, there is a lot of different aspects of it.
I recommend people do as much visualization as they can if that is something that is comfortable for them and it relates to self appreciation. It is this kind of mantras or reminders, I try everyday even if when I am lying in bed just waking up in the morning, to go through a list what am I grateful for and it might be you know, my wife Michelle or my health or my home or I am really proud of myself for the work that I do and just reminding myself even in the midst that sometimes when things are really difficult or stressful. There are so many good things happening, we are often just not paying attention to it, especially when we get ourselves kind of stuck in a negative place.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, I love that too. I interviewed another happiness expert and she said there is nothing—we can never say that we are at a loss for finding something to appreciate if we have hands and legs, feet, and toes and eyes. It’s the simplest things, the most simple things.
Mike Robbins: It really is.
Alissa Kriteman: Let’s talk a minute about receiving because women as you know we want to give and give and give and sometimes we have difficulty receiving. So, what do you say to women if they don’t necessarily have that receiving muscle all that strong?
Mike Robbins: Well, you know there is someone that I listen to and read recently, a woman name Pat Allen, I am not sure if you are familiar with her, she is a relationship expert and she was talking about masculine and feminine energy and actually saying that the nature of giving is actually more of a masculine nature than a feminine nature, although a lot of women have a tendency to give.
So what she was talking about is really as I know you know Alissa because we talked about this a lot over the years and in your work, that it’s so important for when we are in our feminine, particularly women in their feminine to be able to receive, and it can be challenging and specifically as it relates to appreciation is a great practice or exercise in terms of both giving and receiving. And, I find that people in general and especially women have a very difficult time just receiving compliments.
There is something simple that every single person listening can practice, is when you get a compliment from your husband or your boyfriend or your lover or just from a friend or from someone at work or anywhere, take a breath and just say thank you and receive it like a gift. Because what we often do is we don’t hear what they say or we hear it and we deflect it back in someway; either give a phony compliment back that we don’t really mean because that is sort of socially acceptable or even worse will cut down the compliment in some way and disregard it or disagree with it, which is really an awful thing to do it. It’s literally like if I gave you a birthday present and say, “Happy birthday Alissa,” and you took it and threw it on the floor, and you go, “I don’t deserve that, what’s wrong with you.” But that’s what we do with compliments all the time.
Alissa Kriteman: Are there little ways that you have discovered with your clients and the people that you work with maybe the unconscious ways that we deflect receiving love and appreciation?
Mike Robbins: I think that yeah, I mean if we go a little deeper because there is that voice in our head that in my book I call the gremlin, you know sometimes people call it the inner critic or whatever kind of negative voice that we have. And just in the moment when we are receiving or when attempting to receive, someone gives us something like a compliment or some appreciation or some love, there is that often knee-jerk reaction that we have that doesn’t agree with it or things that they want something.
And as women, I mean I don’t know this obviously because I am not a woman, but from a lot of feedback from my clients and understanding some of the dynamics, that receiving love and appreciation particularly from men, as nice and beautiful and wonderful it can be, it can also be scary.
So, there is a protection mechanism that I think happens for women that is different than for men that often can just put your defenses up even if you really want the love and want the appreciation because there is probably been times in your life when it’s come to you in not the most healthy way or not the most productive so to speak.
So as much as you can be aware of that, you know, have compassion for yourself in that but at the same time remember that really especially when you are talking about relationships, it’s about being able to receive that love and appreciation and for men it’s a big deal and a scary thing for men actually to express their appreciation because by the way we men don’t hardly ever do that with each other. So we only do it with women, so if a woman is not really good at receiving appreciation, the man that she is with will be that much more insecure about giving it if he is not usually that good at giving it in general.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow, I love it. We are going to take short break to support our sponsors but when we come back I want to talk to you more about men, love, appreciation, and what happens to our relationships when women aren’t accepting love and appreciation from our men. This is Alissa Kriteman. I am your host of “Just For Women: Dating, Relationships and Sex.” We are talking with Mike Robbins, motivational speaker, coach and author of Focus On The Good Stuff. We will be right back.
Alissa Kriteman: We are back, I am Alissa Kriteman, your host of “Just For Women: Dating, Relationships and Sex.” Today, we are talking with Mike Robbins about the power of appreciation. Before the break we were talking about some of the things we can do to get ourselves out of a little funk. If we are not in appreciation which is do a quick meditation, say some mantras, remind ourselves for what the little things and simple things that we can be grateful for.
Now we are going to talk about some juicy things, mostly men and what happens when we as women deflect, don’t receive, shrink back from the offerings of love that Mike you were saying, the masculine is so inclined to give. So, let’s talk about that a little bit more.
Mike Robbins: Well again, think of it this way, I mean on a more superficial level, and most of us know this about our relationships, male/female relationships that giving, like for a man—for me as a man with my wife Michelle, I love to give her things especially when I know it’s something that she likes or when I see her get really excited whether it’s a gift or taking her somewhere, or just doing something that makes her happy. And when I give her something and she is not that happy about it, doesn’t seem excited about it, it’s just not as much fun for me, right?
And in general as it relates to a compliment or an acknowledgment, that’s a really intimate personal beautiful gift that we can give all the time and when it’s deflected, it’s just like imagine that your husband or your boyfriend literally gave you like a diamond necklace, like this really precious amazing beautiful thing and you kind of went “ah no big deal or oh, I am not really going to wear it because you know I don’t deserve that or I don’t like how my neck looks or something” You know, really awful for both of you, you wouldn’t get the gift, you wouldn’t feel good about it, and we don’t think of it the same way, but that’s exactly what a compliment or an acknowledgment is when it comes from a man to a woman.
Alissa Kriteman: Well, so you are saying that if we aren’t accepting what is being given to us, I can see that over time the man would just stop giving.
Mike Robbins: Yeah absolutely, so then we just stopped because the thing is as human beings, male or female, we don’t want to look bad, feel awkward, you know just look like an idiot so to speak, so we are not going to create that awkward environment about situation, which is often what happens when compliments aren’t received.
Another thing though that can women can do and my life Michelle has been great at training me over the years. You know we have been together for about seven years and when we first started dating Alissa, she used to do this really cute thing, and she still does it from time to time, but she did it a lot when we were first together. She would raise her hand and say, “I would like acknowledged,” and I would go you know like, “What? What do you mean, for what?” And it would like totally kind of confuse me and then she would tell me that she had just done something or there was something that she wanted me to notice that I wasn’t noticing.
And I really appreciated it and Alissa, you know my wife Michelle, I mean she is very straightforward, and she is really good at asking for what she wants. And in doing that what she did was instead of getting upset with me for me not noticing things because in general and especially as a man, there is definitely going to be things I don’t pay attention to that she wants me to pay attention to, but she put attention on those things, pointed it out to me and then asked for what she wanted. So then I would acknowledge her for those things, but overtime I started to become very aware of what are the things that are important to her for me to acknowledge.
Alissa Kriteman: Got it. So she was teaching you in a very positive way instead of going at it by being upset with you for not knowing innocently. I think women sometimes think that men are just messing with us.
Mike Robbins: Right. But really I mean and you know this and I you know you teach this, we are really not. And the thing that we want more than anything is for the women in our lives to be happy. And if there is anything we can do or say to provide a deeper level of happiness or self appreciation if you will, we will do that, but a lot of times the men in your lives and in the lives of so many women I know are just clueless about stuff and there is a lot of stuff that you can do in a very positive way to train us.
Because one of the things that I realize and even now if Michelle is a little upset with me or she seems a little funky or off, sometimes I will now proactively say “Baby, is there something that I missed that I should have appreciated and I didn’t.” And she will usually look at me and say, “Yes.” And then I will say, “What was that, I am sorry.” And then she will tell me what it is and then usually I can just say, “You know what, I apologize, I wasn’t paying attention” and then I can acknowledge her for whatever it was that I wasn’t paying attention to.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow, that’s fantastic.
Mike Robbins: Yeah.
Alissa Kriteman: That is fantastic and I can see where that really helps solidify your relationship in a healthy way, but we have to learn as women and one of the first interviews I did with Alison Armstrong, she really teaches what you are saying to women, as its course is specifically for women, so that women can really understand, men actually do want to make us happy.
Mike Robbins: Oh absolutely. I mean Michelle and I had a relationship coach years ago, and he said the most profound thing to us at one point, he looked at us and he said to Michelle, he said “Michelle, you want to make sure that Mike is really happy?” And she said, “Yes.” So here is what you do, “Be happy and give him credit for it.” And then he said, “You want to make him miserable?” And then Michelle said, “Okay, how would I do that?” And he said, “Well be miserable and blame him for it.” And I was sitting over there nodding my head going, “Yeah yeah exactly.” Because we really do more than any thing.
I know the thing that makes me most happy in my relationships is when Michelle is happy. Because then I can relax and feel good and just enjoy being in a relationship. And when she is not happy, not like I have to fix it or change it or you know, she is grown woman and I am a grown man, but I know that there is a certain amount of stress and pressure that I feel when Michelle is not happy, specifically when she is not feeling good about herself, fact that there be some self appreciation. And men in those moments, there are times there is literally, I mean I try my best but fundamentally how she feels about herself impacts our relationship usually.
Alissa Kriteman: Well, let’s talk a little bit about this self love and self appreciation because I know your wife and she is a powerhouse, and that woman loves herself and she actively ongoingly takes responsibility for the quality of her life and so being happy and giving a man credit for that happiness, that takes a lot of self love.
Mike Robbins: It does, and it’s not credit from the perspective like that she needs me or that she can’t be happy without me, but like for example, you know my life is now, we have a 21-month-old daughter Samantha, and Michelle is a full-time mom and for many many years—she has a masters degree, she had her own business, she was a very successful coach and had all these things and decided to stop working, so that she could be with Samantha, and she loves it. And I am very grateful that she does that.
One of the things that’s important for us to do in our relationship all the time is to acknowledge each other for that because as much as we love our lives, it’s a little stressful. I am out on the road traveling and speaking and promoting my books and doing all these great stuff that I love, but I am away from them. And, Michelle as much as she loves being a full-time mom, there are moments, anyone who is a mother can probably relate to this, it is a little stressful.
But the thing about it is that she tells me all the time, how proud she is of me and how grateful she is that I am doing well enough, that she has the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. So, she gives me credit for that. And it’s important especially when she gets really stressed, because if she is stressed over the course of the day or a week or a month, and I don’t hear from her, I get the sense from her that she is grateful, I can start to feel a little bit resentful like I am doing all this, so that you get to do this and it seems really hard. Or on the flip side if I don’t take the time to let her know, “Hey I am so grateful for the commitment you have and what a wonderful mother you are and just everything you are doing to raise our daughter.” Michelle will start to get a little resentful like, “Hey are you not noticing, my whole life is given to this child,” and you know what I mean.
Alissa Kriteman: Right, right.
Mike Robbins: So, it’s really important that we proactively do that for one another. And the thing about it, when you think about men and women in a general sense, that I am sure you have heard this and probably teach this Alissa, that women want to feel cherished, and men want to feel important. And it’s important that we understand that as we acknowledge each other because if my acknowledgment of Michelle or the women in my life in general comes from a place if you are having them feel special and cherished. And Michelle’s acknowledgment of me or women’s acknowledgment of men comes from the perspective if you are important, you matter; that is what kind of builds us up as men.
Alissa Kriteman: Okay. I want to do a totally impromptu example given who you and I are of each other. I never heard actually that women want to be cherished and men want to feel important. So, you acknowledge me as a woman feeling cherished, I mean I am not your lover, but you know I think you could still do that.
Mike Robbins: Absolutely.
Alissa Kriteman: And then I will acknowledgment you for your importance as a man.
Mike Robbins: Okay, absolutely. Let’s see, so Alissa, one of the things that I really appreciate about you and from the moment that I met you before we even knew each other is that you have this spark and this energy and this passion that flows through you, that ignites me and I see the impact you have on people. And it really is, you know, an honor to be your friend and I am so grateful to know you and see how you have blossomed so to speak in your life personally and in your work and the way that you are impacting people in the world and I so just love and appreciate that about you.
Alissa Kriteman: That was so good. And I noticed that I had to keep opening to it, you know what I am saying, it’s like I can really feel the places where I just want to say, “Oh that’s not true, he doesn’t really believe that,” it’s just amazing amazing the conditioning. But I do, I get it, and thank you, thank you.
Okay, so now I am going to acknowledge you for the importance that you are as a man, I really like that, it’s really going to help me in my relationship because we really can acknowledge people for many different things.
Mike Robbins: Yeah.
Alissa Kriteman: Okay. So Mike, I want to acknowledge you for the work that you are bringing to the world that makes such a difference in people’s lives, not only as individual people working out the relationship stuff, but I want to point to the work that you do in organizations because I know you do a lot of professional work and people spend so much time at work and when they come across you in the work place and you are your natural, vibrant, authentic, real powerful self, I know that that transforms something in them, in their lives. And it’s like they get this sense of what is possible in their life in the workplace. And I think that is really rare.
So I think that the work that you are doing is so important, especially for people who are working so so hard at their jobs to come across someone like you and the books that you are writing and the audio programs that you are putting on line. So I want to thank you for all the work that you have done in your life over the years to get to the place where you are offering transformational work for individuals and also in corporations as well where I know that’s not always available.
Mike Robbins: Thank you.
Alissa Kriteman: Well, we have to start ending now. You know one of the things I wanted to talk about too is I don’t know if you know about audible.com, and I know you are offering your work in digital form, that is such all the rave now. And I wanted my listeners to know that there is a free downloadable book waiting for them through audible.com. You just got to go to audiblepodcast.com/women. And so Mike, have you checked our Audible at all?
Mike Robbins: I have, absolutely.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, isn’t it great?
Mike Robbins: It’s great, it’s wonderful and I am personally, I am much more of an auditory learner myself, so I like to get as many of my books and all kinds of different things in audio format, so I can listen to them and I think it’s a great service. And you know the way the digital world is moving, so much more information is going to be transmitted that way, so I think it’s fantastic.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, and soon I am hoping, cross our fingers, that our books are available on Audible. But listen, so yeah, you can go yourself to audiblepodcast.com/women. That is the code for the “Just For Women” free offer and you will get your free title, whatever you want. And it really is a great value. I know that the “Power Of Now” with Eckhart Tolle and the “Astonishing Power of Emotions” with Jerry and Ester Hicks. Those are great books. There is over like 3000 titles in the self-help area.
Mike Robbins: My program, The Power of Appreciation” that I recorded a few years ago is available on audible.com, so people can take that one up if they wan to.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow, nice, I didn’t know that. So great, and so listeners again audiblepodcast.com/women, you can get “The Power of Appreciation.”
Mike Robbins: Yeah.
Alissa Kriteman: Fantastic. All right, well Mike, thank you so much, how can we find you, what is your…
Mike Robbins: You go to focusonthegoodstuff.com. That’s my website, and you can sign up for my free email newsletter and even download a free chapters of Focus On The Good Stuff and find out all about it. That’s the best way to get in touch with me, focusonthegoodstuff.com.
Alissa Kriteman: All right, great, focusonthegoodstuff.com. And also listeners I would love it if you send me an email, let me know what you thought of this interview, what you want to hear regarding dating, relationships, and sex, just email me at [email protected] And again Mike, thank you so much for being on the show, thank you for all the work that you are doing out there in the world, I greatly appreciate it.
Mike Robbins: You are welcome Alissa, it was a honor to be on with you.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, thank you. Send my love to your beautiful wife and daughter.
Mike Robbins: I will.
Alissa Kriteman: And, we will see you soon, I am your host Alissa Kriteman, always expanding your choices here on “Just For Women: Dating, Relationships and sex.” See you next time.
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