Episode 83: Mike Robbins: Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken

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In this high-energy interview with Mike Robbins, we talk about some of the principles of his new book "Be Yourself: Everyone Else is Taken." A very timely subject as many people are questioning their future right about now.

Mike shares with us his 5 Principles of Authenticity:

  • know yourself
  • transform your fear
  • express yourself
  • be bold
  • celebrate who you are

He also speaks to the men who might be listening about the importance of finding or creating a supportive mens group. I love it. Men are waking up!

In support of all listeners loving themselves a little more, Mike has made the generous offer that if you send him your letter of appreciation TO YOURSELF, he will mail it back to you at some point in the future with a copy of his new book!

Start writing ya'll and tune in to hear where you can send your SELF Love Letter!

Check out his site at www.beyourselfbook.com


Alissa Kriteman: Welcome to Just For Women: Dating, Relationships and Sex. I’m your host Alissa Kriteman. This show is dedicated to providing today’s modern women with useful information they need to make empowered, conscious choices.

Alissa Kriteman: So I’ve been thinking with the economy being as strange as it is and so many people getting laid off, losing jobs, changing jobs, it’s really a time of reckoning and looking at, “Was that job something I even wanted to do?” I know a lot of my friends are going back to school, and they’re really considering what’s next in the face of all this change. So on the show today we’re going to discuss authenticity and the power of being yourself. Our guest today is Mike Robbins, author, speaker and coach. He just came out with a new book called Be Yourself: Everyone Else is Taken. I love that. So Mike Robbins, welcome to Just For Women.

Mike Robbins: Hey Alissa, thanks for having me back on. It’s good to talk to you.

Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, you know, we had you on not too long ago with your first book, Focus On The Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation…

Mike Robbins: Yeah, that was fun.

Alissa Kriteman: That was so fantastic I decided to have you back.

Mike Robbins: Well I appreciate that.

Alissa Kriteman: Now don’t you agree it’s kind of like what’s going on in our society today that there’s a lot of change…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: people are definitely looking at their life in a deeper more authentic way?

Mike Robbins: Absolutely. I mean I think, look, as challenging as the economic downturn is for all of us in different ways and however it impacts us, I actually think it’s a beautiful thing because it’s taking each of us to take a look and stop and go, “Wait a minute, what’s really important to me? What do I want to do? Why am I doing this and not that?”, and you know, in a lot of cases, for better or worse, people were, as you were saying, getting laid off or losing their jobs or their businesses or weighing down some sort of, you know… Necessity is the mother of invention, I think the saying goes, right, so I think there’s a lot of things happening that look, quote, “bad on the surface”, but ultimately I think it’s kind of a national and global transformation that’s taking place and we can really utilize it particularly as it relates to being ourselves and being authentic.

Alissa Kriteman: It’s so funny, I’m kind of visualizing this like worldwide group hand holding. You know, like, “We can do it.”

Mike Robbins: Exactly. Exactly.

Alissa Kriteman: Well let me tell my listeners a little bit about who you are. So Mike Robbins, besides being one of my personal friends…

Mike Robbins: Yes, lets get that out of the way, right.

Alissa Kriteman: You’re also a motivational speaker, leader of personal development workshops, which we used to do way back in the day…

Mike Robbins: Yes, we did.

Alissa Kriteman: Which is how we met. I love that. It’s so fun that, like, you’re on my show and you’re writing books, and it’s just, you know, it’s like who we are. We want to get the word out to people that, you know, your life is something you can create and it’s just amazing opportunities, so I’m really excited to talk with you today about all this.

Mike Robbins: Yeah, absolutely.

Alissa Kriteman: Now I haven’t been featured on ABS News and Oprah and Friends like you…

Mike Robbins: Not yet at least. Not yet.

Alissa Kriteman: Not yet, or Forbes and the Washington Post. I thought it was funny that you were in Ladies Home Journal. What did you, what did you, were you writing?

Mike Robbins: No, I didn’t write something. They did an article, oh I don’t know, it’s about a year or so ago on complaining and sort of, you know, is there any benefit to complaining and what do you think about complaining and they just featured me as an expert, and so they interviewed me and it was actually a nice piece. And the thing about being in magazines like that one I find is, you know, they sit around in like hair salons and doctors offices for a long time, so people, like, pick it up and they’ll email me, “Hey, I saw you in Ladies Home Journal”, I was like, “That was like a year and a half ago.” But it’s actually great as far as, you know, just getting the message out and all that stuff, so…

Alissa Kriteman: That’s a good point.

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: I got to get in some magazines.

Mike Robbins: There you go. It sticks around, you know, newspapers are gone the next day and online stuff, I mean it gets archived but people may not see it, but magazines, good old fashioned magazines, they stick around.

Alissa Kriteman: Right. Old school.

Mike Robbins: Exactly.

Alissa Kriteman: So you’re also a happy husband…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: and a father of two, that’s amazing.

Mike Robbins: Yes, yes. Two girls, and you know, being raised by a single mom and having two older sisters and my beautiful wife Michelle and now two little girls and two female cats, I think I have a little bit of credibility as it relates to talking about women, although I’m clearly not one.

Alissa Kriteman: You must want to be just surrounded by them.

Mike Robbins: I guess. You know, people keep asking, “Are you guys going to have another and try for a boy”, and I was like, “Look, we have ten, we’ll probably have ten girls”, so I think, I think we might be done with having kids.

Alissa Kriteman: Oh man, alright. Well lets get into authenticity…

Mike Robbins: Right.

Alissa Kriteman: I definitely want to talk to you about what authenticity is, what it isn’t and why it can be so difficult to be authentic in this day and age…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: And you’ve got five principles that I want to talk about, and then you’ve got some really amazing exercises in your book, so lets jump right in. Tell us what authenticity is for you and what it isn’t.

Mike Robbins: Well, and I’m glad you asked it that way because it is really something that we each have to define. So, you know, I just wrote a book about it, I speak about it and do workshops on it, but I’m always a little hesitant to define what it is in some way because I think it’s unique for all of us and it’s always evolving throughout our lives, but one of the places we can start is what it’s not. And I, you know, I sort of list out I think in the introduction of the book, you know, some things that authenticity is not. It’s not necessarily getting in peoples face all the time. It’s not having to be unique and creative and different. It’s not, you know, marching to the beat of my own drum or, you know, having, well I had all these, you know, dramatic things happen in my life that I overcame. I mean all of those things, we can approach those in authentic ways, but there’s not set of rules that says this is how to be authentic, and if it turns into that for any of us it’s no longer authentic, it becomes just a set of norms like anything else. So it’s really more about being vulnerable, being transparent, being real, and it’s a moment by moment process, you know. I mean, the question isn’t “Am I authentic?”, the question is “Am I being real right now?” And that’s really the only thing that we can ask ourselves and honestly answer. So it’s one of those things, you know, the great saying “There is no way to peace, peace is the way?” The same thing could be said about authenticity, it’s really a practice for life, for relationships, for work, for whatever it is we’re doing.

Alissa Kriteman: So in the moment, if I’m feeling not so authentic, like, how would I even know, how would I even access am I being real right now?

Mike Robbins: Well that’s a great question ‘cause a lot of times we…

Alissa Kriteman: ‘Cause I’m a big faker.

Mike Robbins: Yeah, you and me both, right? Well but see that Alissa though and part of, and you and I, you know, doing all the workshops we’ve done together and all the different things we’ve done and lots of people listening know that one of the accesses to being real, being genuine is first noticing that we’re not. And sometimes we don’t know, and this is why it’s really important that we have people around us - you know, friend, our significant other, family members, maybe a coach, a counselor - you know, that can give us feedback. Not like their feedback is the truth, but people, especially people that we really trust and admire, can give us a sense of feedback. My wife Michelle is often a better judge of whether I’m being really real in certain situations than I am…

Alissa Kriteman: Yeah.

Mike Robbins: because I’m caught up in experience, and she’ll look at me or say something to make me kind of feel where I’m at, and it’s not as though I can’t trust myself, but there’s a way in which I can rely on her to say, “Hey babe…”, you know, especially if she sees me speak or we’re at some, we’re at an event somewhere and I’ll kind of just like, “Hey, help me get back to that place of center that I really want to be at.” But it can be difficult. You know, as simple as it may seem, it’s not and it’s complicated in a lot of ways and I think if we all just imagine, look back in your life ten years, fifteen years lets say and we thought we were being real at that time and then we look back and laugh and go, “Oh my god, I was so full of it”, you know…

Alissa Kriteman: Yeah.

Mike Robbins: But the truth is that we are, you said it, you know, you’re a faker, I’m a faker. I mean I think, and I say this in the book quite a bit and whenever I’m speaking, I think most of us are full of it most of the time and…

Alissa Kriteman: Well, you know, you talk about that… You talk about how we, you know, we’re trying to get this love, there’s all these things we’re trying to get from our childhood growing up that we think we don’t have and we’re practically conditioned like Pavlovian dogs to…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: want love and attention and we don’t realize it until we’re a little bit older and there’s things we want in our life and we’re like, “Why can’t I get that?”

Mike Robbins: Yeah. ‘Cause it’s tough, right? You’re right, we absolutely get trained. You know, it happens all the time, it happened to us as children and through adolescence and throughout our life. And I see I now as a father, you know, our girls – Samantha’s a little over three, Summer’s three and a half and Anna Rose is almost ten months – and just the other day, it was really great, we had, Samantha had a friend over and, you know, I heard them in the other room and Michelle was with the girls and her friend had brought a present, she had a gift for her, right. She, I hear this, overhear this, “Hey Samantha, I have a present”, she gives her the present, Samantha says, “Oh I don’t like that, I don’t want it”, right…

Alissa Kriteman: A parent’s worst nightmare.

Mike Robbins: Oh my god, right. So her friend gets all upset and, you know, and I hear Michelle talking to the girls and then Michelle says, “Samantha sweetie, someone give you a present you have to just say thank you. That’s the nice thing to do even if you don’t like it”, right. And I’m thinking, “Well I’m glad I’m not in there”, and I probably would’ve said something similar but Michelle and I were talking about it later and, you know, we just started to talk more deeply about it and I said, “You know babe, we really got to be careful or at least be more conscious of the fact that, like, we don’t want to start teaching her how to lie…

Alissa Kriteman: Absolutely.

Mike Robbins: even if it’s a polite lie”, and the thing is that you and I and most everyone listening, we lie all the time to be polite, not to hurt peoples feelings, because it’s socially acceptable. We don’t even notice, we’re not even paying attention. It’s not like this big overt, it’s not like we’re lying and saying, “I have ten million dollars” when I don’t or, “I have a house in, you know, the Hamptons” or something. We’re just lying all day about how we feel or what’s going on or our honest reaction to things because we don’t want to rock the boat, we don’t want to not get that love or appreciation that we’re desiring, so we just withhold a lot of stuff.

Alissa Kriteman: You know, it really is a fine line because, you know, I work with a lot of people myself, I’m a course facilitator, I’m a coach, and like you said I’m constantly surrounded by people who’ll give me the truth…

Mike Robbins: Yes.

Alissa Kriteman: or they’ll give me their perception of me…

Mike Robbins: Yes.

Alissa Kriteman: or what they thinks going on with me from a place of ownership.

Mike Robbins: Yes.

Alissa Kriteman: And so I noticed, you know, there’s other people in my life, like mastermind groups that I’m in, where people will have a tendency to say their quote/unquote “truth”…

Mike Robbins: Yes.

Alissa Kriteman: which really is like giving someone their judgment or opinion.

Mike Robbins: Yeah…

Alissa Kriteman: What’s the key there with like, hey you want to be authentic, you want to be truthful with people, but you also don’t want to like vomit on them.

Mike Robbins: Right. Well I think you just, you pointed it out, and the thing is that in the… and I don’t like to say this in this kind of elite way, but you know what I’m… in the kind of real world, I like to sort of call this consensus reality, right, the, what we watch on TV and how we interact kind of in our professional lives. The concept of speaking the truth is a scary concept because it’s just like people like spouting their judgments and opinions, it’s like, you know, getting into an argument at a meeting, it’s like, “But I was being truthful.” It’s like, well yeah, but you were being nasty or you were just kind of, yeah, as you said, vomiting on someone. And so the distinction that I like to talk about is the difference between focusing on being real versus being right. So it’s like, and it comes from a place, in the symantical aspect of it, the words of it, and we’ve all heard this but it really does make a difference, is to, you know, it’s the “I” statement versus the “you” statement. “I feel”, “I think”, “I see”. But the deeper part of it… that’s just the word…the deeper, more emotional part of it, and you mentioned it when you were just setting that up, is ownership. So if I’m giving you some feedback, you know, in a authentic real way… First of all, lets hope there’s some relationship that we’ve already built that, like, there’s some permission there. ‘Cause I’m just walking around giving people on the street or whatever, they’re like, “Who the hell are you”. You know, right. So we’ve got to build some kind of repertoire that there’s a little bit of connection, you’ve given me some kind of permission to give you some feedback, so there’s that. And the more related we are, the more connected we are, the more we know and love each other, the easier it can be, although, as we all know in our relationships sometimes, it can be the scariest, but you know, so there’s that. And then if I can own it, you know, that really this is what I see, this is what I feel, this is where I’m coming from, this is… and it could be kind of a brutal hard truth, but there’s a way, and again it’s hard to even define because it’s an energetic shift, that when I’m coming from a place of my love and my care and my concern and my commitment for you is coming through in my feedback, if you’re paying attention you’ll feel that and know that versus if it’s just me either projecting something or judging you, and that’s part of why even the words can sound the same, but the feedbacks received very differently, and it’s hard to always know but a lot of times we can see it in the dynamic with the other person based on how they receive it, and then, you know, what I always say to people is like, “Look, you may mess it up and you probably will all the time if you’re really being real, ‘cause sometimes it gets a little messy, but then it’s just another opportunity to get real again and keep kind of going deeper in the conversation”, but mostly, even those of us that know this, myself included, we shy away from it because, you know, it kind of gets a little bumpy and funny and “What if they say something that I don’t like and hurts my feelings so forget it”. It’s just easier Alissa to be phony.

Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, exactly, which is why I love having this conversation. There’s actually another, you know, interview I’m going to do. It’s why women lie in particular. How women are… and I mean it’s a whole other series and set of reasons why women have to protect themselves. I don’t know if you’ve done any research on…

Mike Robbins: The one… obviously I can’t speak from a female prospective, but I, my sense of it in a general way… You know, we’ve all got different reasons for why we don’t tell the truth and our gender obviously plays into it as one of the many factors. But one of the things I remember hearing years ago and it really resonated with me… and I know you, your show’s all about empowering women and you’ve done so much and teach so much great work about not only empowering women, but the dynamics between men and women, so I know you’re talking a lot about this on your show and in the work that you do, but I remember hearing something that made so much sense to me that in general, based on just a physical kind of, you know, the physical aspect of our species, that from a survival standpoint that a lot of times what men tend to do, even if it doesn’t manifest itself in a physical way, is that, you know, kind of operate from a place of domination, so we’re constantly scared of women so we dominate or try to dominate because there’s a physical way that if I really need to or want to I can physically dominate my wife, I could… you know, I don’t do that, but I could grab here and, right…

Alissa Kritemam: It’s kind of fun though sometimes…

Mike Robbins: Oh, it is, if it’s fun. There’s different ways, right, but you know what I mean. And, but the other thing is that for women given that in relationship with men in particular and in the world, there’s a physical fear of being able to be hurt, you know, or dominated by men, so therefore the way that women try to get what they want a lot of times is through manipulation.

Alissa Kriteman: Right.

Mike Robbins: Not that men don’t manipulate, but that women are often much more skilled at manipulation by necessity, because they can’t, they can’t sort of lean back on, “Well if I have to I could just, like, hit him or grab him or whatever because that’s more dangerous”, so that it, you know, it’s one of those things that’s almost like instinctual, not even conscious, and I can see it happen with Michelle, with my wife and sometimes when she and I will get into, you know, conflicts or have situations and at some level when I’m aware that I can just go, “Oh yeah”, you know, that’s another big difference. So I mean there’s a lot to it. I’m sure you could do show after show after show and I think it’s great to do it to really look specifically for women, you know, what is that about, and there’s lots of stuff for us as men too for us to take a look at. You know, why, I think one of the big things for men right now, I was just actually talking about this earlier today is with the economy the way that it is, and this is impacting everyone, male and female, but so many men I know are so scared right now about money, about supporting their families, about being, you know, doing what they do in the world and there’s a level in which it’s impacting men at some very core, you know, root level of sort of what’s our purpose in the world and how do we show up and provide for the people that are important to us that, like, my coaching to a lot of men, I’ve been interacting about this, is we just got to keep getting real about it and we got to share it particularly with each other in a way that feels safe so that we’re not walking around with all this fear and anxiety, which then impacts all of our relationships and everything we do in a negative way.

Alissa Kriteman: You know, that’s a really interesting point. I talked to Decker Cunov about that. You know, like how can we as empowered women support our men, because it is such a challenging time, and I love that guys are getting together…

Mike Robbins: Yes.

Alissa Kriteman: and talking about this stuff. Man, if that’s any, any indication of the silver lining in all of this, it’s like that guys are coming together to actually talk about the truth in their own purpose…

Mike Robbins: Yeah, and that’s, Alissa, one of the best things, and again, I know you know this and teach this, but women can really support the men in their lives to be around other men, you know. And it sometimes can be hard because the tendency a lot of times, for all of us but for women especially, is to, like, “I want to be there, I want to support him, I want him to share with me and tell me”, and that’s appropriate and beautiful and wonderful in its own way, but it’s similar to often times the way parents feel of, like, they want their kids to tell them everything and tell me and, you know, but it doesn’t always work that way because a lot of times someone else needs to intervene with the kids that the parents can’t. It doesn’t mean the parent is a failure, and the same thing in a relationship. There are situations where men need to have conversations and be supported by other men, and one of the things that we don’t do nearly as well as men that women do is, you know, lean on each other, especially when we get into a relationship with women because there’s an emotional connection and an emotional sort of, you know, reservoir that’s there that kind of gets filled for men from a woman and from the women in his life, whether it’s his significant other or not, that a lot of times for men we get so kind of focused on things, it’s like, “Well I’ve got my woman and I’ve got my work and, like, yeah, it’s not like my buddies aren’t important but…”, guys have a tendency to sort of let that slide, and it’s not just about getting together with guys to like, hey, drink beer and watch the game, and that’s all cool too, but like conscious men getting together to talk about what’s really going on. And it’s scary for us as guys, but every time in all the men’s work that I do I always know there’s a, I don’t, like, it’s like at first I don’t want to do it ‘cause I’m like, “Oh it’s going to feel funny. Oh someone’s going to laugh at me or, oh, I don’t know”. And then whenever I do and I’m around the men in my life that I really love and care about and talk to, I’m just like, “Oh, thank god…

Alissa Kriteman: Yeah.

Mike Robbins: Why have I been holding out”, you know.

Alissa Kriteman: I’m glad that you’re saying that because I know a lot of men actually listen to my show - I get emails from them all the time – and so for you to speak to that, in two-fold, it helps women to relax, like, “Oh, so I don’t need to feel, you know, jealous or threatened when my man wants to go be with his men?” No, absolutely not. Totally encourage that and, you know, it would be nice if it’s a little bit more of a conscious realm where guys are. But, you know, we can only hope, and maybe if women have men who are the guys who are just going out and drinking that it’s hard, it’s such a big thing because no guy wants to hear, like… You know, that’s why men need men, because there’s only so much guidance a woman can give her man.

Mike Robbins: Absolutely…

Alissa Kriteman: But anyway, we have to take a break.

Mike Robbins: Good. So much to talk about.

Alissa Kriteman: We could have like a five hour show on this. But we must breathe. We must have our sponsors have their time.

Mike Robbins: Yes, of course.

Alissa Kriteman: Just put it on pause for one second. And listeners if you want some great deals on things that’ll enhance your life, please listen to the ads that are coming up. They’re from my sponsors and they help me support having fantastic experts like Mike Robbins here on the show. This is Alissa Kriteman. I’m with Mike Robbins and we’ll be right back to talk more about authenticity and how to be yourself.

Alissa Kriteman: Welcome back. I’m Alissa Kriteman. We’re talking today to Mike Robbins, author, speaker, coach, extraordinary man, father, husband. And he wrote a book called Be Yourself: Everyone Else is Already Taken. And we’ve been talking about the importance of being real with yourself and also how to actually be real about yourself and not be, you know, just out there telling people your opinions and ideas about things. There’s actually a difference about being real and being right. I really like that point that you said. Lets talk about these five principles of authenticity.

Mike Robbins: Well the first one is to know yourself and, you know, that’s similar to what we were talking about before the break in terms of authenticity being a lifelong journey and process, so is knowing yourself, and as I talk about in that chapter, in that principle specifically, it’s really about making a commitment to growth, and I would imagine, Alissa, the majority of people listening to your show are the kind of people who have made that commitment. You know, we’ve got to be careful not to judge ourselves ‘cause of course people might even hear that and go, “Boy, I’m not that committed or I should be more or…” you know. But actually to pick certain things and pick some path, not the right one or the best one or, but something that really can serve and support us but know that it will evolve throughout life. You know, we, in our ego based culture, here particularly in the Western world, I think we have such a attachment to the way we go about growing. You know, whether we argue about the religion we choose or whatever process we go through, and I just think that’s such a, you know, it’s sort of like moving the chairs around the deck of the Titanic, like, who cares, you know, just grow, just engage in…

Alissa Kriteman: It’s funny, it’s kind of built into being human. It’s like, well you’re going to grow physically, right?

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: And so, yean, I definitely agree that the people listening to this show are so committed to growing, which is why, you know, knowing ourselves and loving ourselves is such a big piece of this.

Mike Robbins: Absolutely. And so the more that we can know who we are, not just about ourselves in kind of an analytical way, although that can be part of it, but really going deeper and deeper and deeper into ourselves and having as much empathy and compassion and awareness as we can. Some of us, and I know this is very true for me and Alissa, you know this about me from knowing me, is that I have a tendency to get a little impatient. Like I just want to know now and I want to, you know, and I’ve had the same spiritual counselor for fifteen years and we’ve done sessions off and on, and one of the things he’s literally said to me in almost every session for the last fifteen years is like, “Mike, chill out. Mike you’re not supposed to know this right now. Like allow yourself to be where you are in your journey, in your process.” So, you know, backing into knowing ourselves is the first one, and then that kind of leads into the second principle, which is to transform your fear. And this one I think is an interesting one in a sense that fear gets kind of a bad rap in two ways; again, in this sort of consensus reality of the world we operate in and walk around in a lot times, we’ve all been trained directly or indirectly to sort of mask our fear and pretend it’s not there. But even as we step onto our spiritual personal growth journey of whatever that looks like, fear also is, you know, it says in the course of miracles, right. You’re either making choices out of love or out of fear. So then we hear that and go, “Huh, I’m not supposed to get scared, you know. Now I’m too evolved to get scared”, and like, but we do…

Alissa Kriteman: Right, yeah.

Mike Robbins: So every, everybody gets scared. The thing that I’m really passionate about, whether I’m speaking to a group of professional athletes, because I do that sometimes given my sports background, or group of, you know, leaders in a corporation or couples or at a church or I’m talking to teenagers, I almost always will talk a bit about fear and my big main point about that is like it’s okay to get scared. It’s one of the most human things, and the thing we want to start to do is not live in a state of fear, and the only way that we can move ourselves out of living in a constant state of anxiety is actually to admit it, own it, express it when it comes up. You know, and sometimes it’s counterintuitive to do that. Like, I remember and I read about this in the book before Michelle and I got married and, you know, we dated for a number of years and…

Alissa Kriteman: I know.

Mike Robbins: You know, right? And there was a lot of people like you and people who we knew where kind of the question would come up all the time, “When are you getting married? What’s going on?”, it was sort of this, you know, we were definitely of the age to get married and we’d been living… I mean all the, the circumstances all lined up. But for me there was an enormous amount of fear. And I was aware of some of it, and I got more and more in touch with it as it got closer to looking like this may happen, and it wasn’t until I was able to fully confront it and own it how deeply terrified I was think that, you know… My folks had split up when I was really little and my dad had bipolar disorder and it had been, you know, just been a very painful situation for my sister and for my family and for my mom and just kind of experiencing that, even though I thought I’d worked through a lot of that I realized at some deep level I didn’t trust that I could actually be a husband and be a father, or if I did that I would potentially really hurt or damage Michelle and any children that we might have, and…

Alissa Kriteman: That’s a good point. It’s actually a good point that you raise about patterns because I’m just thinking people listening, they’re like, “Yeah, I have fear”, but what you’re saying is there’s conscious and unconscious fear…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: and so one way to get into that unconscious fear is to look at what are the patterns that keep repeating themselves…

Mike Robbins: Right.

Alissa Kriteman: in your life.

Mike Robbins: Absolutely, and so for me with the piece, when I finally was able to get in touch with some of them and really experience it and then express it and share it with Michelle, even though I was scared, like, “Oh, it’s going to sound like I’m just avoiding, I’m running away from commitment, she’s going to…”, right, “maybe she’s going to turn the other way and say ‘Forget it, this guys never going to figure…”, or whatever it was, I was really scared to share in a vulnerable way, and when I did Alissa, of course first of all… And you know Michelle, I mean, she was so amazing about it. And second of all, there was something that shifted in me and liberated inside of me that I didn’t even expect that literally like two weeks after kind of coming to that realization and sharing that with her I proposed. And there, look, as it relates to the choice to get married, literally for me it was like once I made that choice and fully jumped in, there was so much freedom that I had no idea about in terms of committing. And it’s not that I don’t get scared now. I mean now we got two girls and we have this whole life and there are moments I still have that, “Oh my god, I can’t do this”, right. But what I’ve learned to do, either with the men in my life or the people that I really trust and also directly with her, is to share that stuff when it comes up in a way that’s conscious, that expresses it and clears it out, not that keeps it lingering around. So that’s really the piece, for everybody listening and as you look through this principle of transform your fear, it’s not about ridding yourself of fear, it’s about creating a relationship to it so it no longer runs your life.

Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, exactly. You know, you dedicate a lot of, like a whole chapter to fear, and I thought it was interesting you have a quote in there about, from a doctor who says that “unexpressed fear can lead to anxiety disorders…

Mike Robbins: Yes.

Alissa Kriteman: And I’m doing a whole product to help people reduce anxiety in their lives, and it speaks directly to that. It’s like when we don’t want to be real about what we’re afraid of it, like, it will find its way out and….

Mike Robbins: Oh yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: how it finds it is like these anxiety disorders…

Mike Robbins: Yup.

Alissa Kriteman: and all these weird little things that start to run our life…

Mike Robbins: Totally.

Alissa Kriteman: because we don’t want to look at it. So…

Mike Robbins: Absolutely, and it relates to, you know, the third principle to express yourself, which I really go into talking a lot about the expression of emotions, like all the emotions. And just like we were just talking about fear and what you just said, which is so brilliant, is that this stuff comes out anyway, so one of the things that we can start to think about, instead of thinking of good emotions and bad emotions – like good ones: happy, excitement, joy, gratitude; bad ones: sadness, anger, fear, right, depression, you know, shame – yeah, of course they have different experiences, we’ve all experienced all the range of emotions and some feel great and some feel awful. The thing, what, if we could start to think about it is that when we express an emotion, fully express it, then we are actually able to tap into the positive aspects of it. When we don’t express it, it almost always turns negative. Even positive emotions, love that we don’t express, gratitude that we don’t express, gets twisted…

Alissa Kriteman: Right.

Mike Robbins: gets suppressed, gets stuck, right. Fear and anger that doesn’t get expressed definitely gets suppressed and stuck in there and then it runs our life. But when we express it, right… Think of the times when we express our anger. Even if we get into an argument or get into a fight or it gets a little ugly or nasty in the moment it almost always feels better on the other side. Or when we get done crying. That’s one of my favorite feelings in life is when I get done crying, even if I’m still sad or upset about whatever I was crying about, there’s something so liberating and so cathartic and so human about, ahh, just letting it come out. And it doesn’t…

Alissa Kriteman: I love that you said that.

Mike Robbins: But I, but you know, and especially, look, for me as a man and even a pretty emotional expressive sensitive guys, I’ve always been since I was a little kid, I’ve been trained, just like any other man, particularly in our culture, that like, boys don’t cry. So it actually takes something for me to allow myself to get emotional, and when I do though it’s like, “Oh thank god”, because we let it come out. And I think that if we can start to, look, that’s been trained out of us as well, we were kids, we didn’t have this whole notion about we’re not supposed to express ourselves, we just did and then we got trained early on, and I see it happening right now and even in my own house as much as we try not to, we throw the fit, we throw the temper tantrum, we express ourselves fully, and the world, whether it’s our parents or otherwise, basically tells us, “No, shut up, sit down over there with everybody else.”

Alissa Kriteman: Right.

Mike Robbins: And then we learn ‘cause we don’t want to get in trouble any more, so we shut up and we sit down, but we’re still doing that when we’re grown ups and it’s not serving it.

Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, again, I mean god, there’s that whole line of like what do you do with a screaming kid? I mean that’s a whole other thing, but…

Mike Robbins: Yeah, we could do a whole series of shows on that, ‘cause I don’t know, man, we’re trying to figure that one out.

Alissa Kriteman: Conscious parenting, we’ll have to do that one.

Mike Robbins: Yeah, exactly.

Alissa Kriteman: Alright, so what’s the fourth and fifth…

Mike Robbins: The fourth and fifth principles… So the fourth one is to be bold, and that really is about going for it Alissa. You know, it’s interesting, I actually want to share a brief little story that I though of when you were introducing me, and I think I’ve shared this with you personally, but… About ten, eleven years ago I remember being, you and I were together, we were at our friends Jack and Nicole’s house, we were all sitting around and we were in the process of starting this organization that never got off the ground called Dream It. And the idea was really to empower people to pursue their dreams and their passions, and you sat in that circle and there were just about eight or nine of us, and said what you really wanted to be was an inspirational speaker and a coach and, you know, doing a lot of the things that you’re doing now, leading courses and workshops and… And there was something about you saying that night that I remember being so inspired by and you articulated something that I’d been thinking and feeling myself for a while, but when I heard you say it it was like one of the first times I was like, “Wow!” And I mean I remember thinking, knowing you, you could totally do that, but then thinking to myself, like, I could do that too, that’s what I want to do. And, you know, so I just again, I want to thank you for that because it was one of the many spots of inspiration along my own journey that continue to move me towards this dream, this passion of mine. And it took a lot of boldness, and I share a lot in the book about some of my, you know, steps in the process to really put myself out there, and I think for all of us that it doesn’t mean that everyone has to be a speaker and an author or, you know, coach or whatever, but whatever version of boldness in our own life, whether it’s relationship wise or professionally or otherwise, to really step out of that comfort zone and go for it… You know, Michael Jordan has a great quote that I love and I always say this and try to remind myself. He said, “I missed a hundred percent of the shots I never took.”

Alissa Kriteman: That’s wild. I just feel like we went down a walk down memory lane. I’m like, wow, I do remember that. It’s amazing to get that flashback like that.

Mike Robbins: Yeah, I know. That was quite a while ago, but the thing that’s really cool about it and it relates to the fifth principle, which is to celebrate yourself, is for, there’s so many things about each of us Alissa, and you know, we forget, right. We get reminded about stuff. Maybe someone brings up a memory, like I just did, of ten or eleven, twelve years ago. But the thing that we can do, and I think one of the best things we can do in our journey of life, in our relationships, and as we’re talking about authenticity, the main reason that I think we aren’t ourselves, we aren’t fully our authentic selves is because that most of us don’t think that who we are is good enough the way we are…

Alissa Kriteman: Mm hmm.

Mike Robbins: So, right, we’re listening to this show, we’re reading books, we’re going to workshops, we’re working with a counselor or coach or whatever we’re doing, we’re praying and meditating and at some level if we can get real about it, it’s like, “Dear God, please fix me ‘cause I’m all screwed up”, is kind of the prayer, right? And at some level that doesn’t work because it’s like we’re operating with this sort of fundamental flawed relationship to ourselves. It makes sense, I have a lot of empathy and compassion because I deal with that in my own life on a daily basis, but I kind of think that the biggest thing that we can do is really to come to a place of celebrating ourselves. You know, the best piece of parenting advice that I got when Michelle was pregnant with Samantha, and this is advice for life that I just so love. One of my mentors sat me down and he said, “Listen, you got two jobs with your daughter. Job number one is a huge job, but it’s actually the easier of the two, it’s just teach her how to be in the world, you know, teach her how to tie her shoes and blow her nose and cross the street and say please and thank you and all that stuff”, and he’s like, “It’ll take you a long time, you’ll screw it up a bunch, but you’ll figure it out, but make sure you do that because that’s your job. The second job you have, and this is the more important one and it’s the harder one, is to teach her how to love herself.”

Alissa Kriteman: Mmmmm.

Mike Robbins: And I looked at him and I said, “How do I do that and he said, “You love yourself and then let her see that.”

Alissa Kriteman: Mmmm. I love that.

Mike Robbins: Yeah, isn’t that good?

Alissa Kriteman: That’s amazing. You know, one of the things you talk about in your book is this little saboteur, the gremlin…

Mike Robbins: Yes, yes.

Alissa Kriteman: And, you know, it’s kind of that little voice in our head that wants to take us out, you know…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: criticism… Does everybody have a gremlin?

Mike Robbins: I, you know, I mean there may be some enlightened human beings that have sort of transcended that, but not too many as far as I know, not most of the regular ones of us walking around in life. But yeah, I think so, and I think the question isn’t do we have one or not, it’s kind of like fear, of course it’s there. The question is how much do we let it run the show? And the analogy I always use is if we can take, like imagine that the gremlin in most cases is driving the car of our life and we’re sitting shotgun, maybe even in the back seat sort yelling things out, “Hey can I do that? Okay, no, never mind”, right, it’s like… But what we want to do is take the keys out of the gremlins hand and us get in the drivers seat. Now don’t throw the gremlin out of the car, ‘cause I don’t know how to do that anyway, but I think really the gremlin is speaking our fear and our worry and some of that stuff, which as debilitating as it is, from time to time, that stuff is actually kind of important, it usually will save us from harm. So we want to listen, still hear it, but then it’s all about… See my book really and all this work, for me this is really about choice, getting to a place where we’re at choice. I know what’s real and true for me and then I choose to say it or not say it, to do it or not do it. And ultimately and hopefully it’s a conscious choice, not a reactionary choice; because I’m scared, if I say it to you you won’t like me, if I try this I’ll fail and then I’ll feel like a loser, you know what I mean? But to be really conscious, and that’s the same thing about, be conscious about the gremlin so that if we’re allowing the gremlin to run the show at least at first we’re aware of it and then ultimately we can intervene more and more and more, and that we’re living our own lives as opposed to having our lives lived for us by something else.

Alissa Kriteman: I have to say for myself one great way for me that I deal with the gremlin is to meditate…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: and to get into the practice of allowing those thoughts to rise up and go away…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: and rise up and go away. And the more I’m in the practice of letting go of whatever those thoughts are, it’s so much easier for me to stay calm and grounded and focused…

Mike Robbins: Absolutely.

Alissa Kriteman: and be at choice, right…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: ‘cause if you’re totally tripping out on like some emotional trigger that just happened or some kind of anger and the minds are going crazy with the little gremlin voices, it’s like, “Oh”. We’re conditioned to follow those thoughts….

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: and so for me… Do you have a practice like that? What do you do?

Mike Robbins: I do. I mean I have my own meditation practice and, you know, one of the other things that I really practice that brings me back in addition to meditating is self-appreciation practice.

Alissa Kriteman: Mm hmm.

Mike Robbins: So affirmations that I use, I have a couple of the same ones that I’ll often use and read and remind myself of every day, as well as kind of new ones. I love Louise Hay and have for years and years, so I have lots of Louise Hay books that I, you know, I’ll just open up a page and she’s got affirmations everywhere, but… Another specific thing that people can do that I love, and I do this sometimes, Alissa, in workshops with groups and I love to do this, it’s one of the practices I mention in the book and this relates to appreciating ourselves and celebrating ourselves, is to take out a piece of paper and write a letter of appreciation or almost a love letter to yourself, which as you do it, and you may find people who do it, it can take a little bit to do it in a really genuine and heartfelt way, it can almost feel a little silly or a little cheesy, right, but if you allow yourself to go into kind of a real heart space about it and really get in touch with the things that you love and appreciate about yourself, your gremlin will probably talk and come up, you want to kind of just notice that, you’ll be, it’s a conscious meditation, an awake meditation you’re doing, but just to really allow yourself to express it as if you were expressing it to the person you love the most in the world, you know, and really share it all as much as you can, and then take the letter, fold it up, put it in an envelope, put your name and address on it and put a stamp on it, and then give it to someone you really trust, and say, “Listen, this is a letter that I wrote to myself that I want you to hang onto and at some point in the next year when you feel moved drop it in the mail. Now don’t tell me when. Just whenever you feel moved to do it.” And, you know, they may mail it the next day or the next week or the end of the month or they may, you know, the end of the year, they may lose it in their office or something and they may not mail it for ten years…

Alissa Kriteman: That would suck.

Mike Robbins: Right, but what I found in doing this is that the letter would should up on a perfect day…

Alissa Kriteman: Mm hmm.

Mike Robbins: Like the way spirit and the universe works, right, the day you really need it, and it’ll blow you away because it’ll be from you and hopefully by the time you get it maybe you’ll have forgotten about it and it’ll be this beautiful letter of appreciation that not only you got to experience when you wrote it, but the when you read it back as a reminder of who you really are.

Alissa Kriteman: That sounds amazing. I almost want my listeners to, like, do that…

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: Like, although they’d have to hand it to me right, otherwise they’d have to send it to me and then I’d have to send it to them back?

Mike Robbins: Oh they can send a self addressed stamped envelope I guess, they could do that, like we used to do in the old days for stuff, right?

Alissa Kriteman: Right. So listeners, if you want to… Oh no, then I’d have to give out my address. Well we’ll figure it out.

Mike Robbins: You’ll figure it out someway. Well they can do it with each other or you can blog about it and the could just post about what happened, and yeah, it’s a cool thing to do.

Alissa Kriteman: Yeah. Oh my god. I love that. Alright, we’ll figure out how we can have everybody inspired to… Maybe we’ll give them one of your books.

Mike Robbins: Hey, absolutely. Or they could, you know, they could mail it to me, I could give out my office address, I don’t mind doing that.

Alissa Kriteman: That’d be fun. Would you do that? Would you… I don’t know how many people would do it. I don’t want you to get inundated and then you’d have to give out all these books. How ‘bout you could, I don’t know, send the letters to Mike, he’ll send them to you and how ‘bout you pick the top, I don’t know, just pick three and send, like however, whoever you send them to, would you send three of my listeners a book?

Mike Robbins: Absolutely, absolutely.

Alissa Kriteman: Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Mike Robbins: For sure. For sure. Now I’ll say this though, honestly Alissa, anyone who sends me a letter of appreciation about themselves to me with a self addressed stamped envelope, I will send them back their letter at some point along with a copy of my book, anybody.

Alissa Kriteman: Yay! Okay, where do they send it?

Mike Robbins: Alright, you send it to 1460 Belair Drive, that’s two words, b-e-l-a-i-r, drive, number A as in apple, 203, and that’s Concord, California, 94521 (1460 Belair Drive, #A203, Concord California, 94521), and if you for some reason didn’t write that down or want to, if you go online to mike-robbins.com and just hit contact, the address is listed there as well.

Alissa Kriteman: Mike-robbins.com.

Mike Robbins: Mm hmm.

Alissa Kriteman: Awesome! Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. And listeners, definitely, it’s a fantastic book, so… What an awesome inspiring way to write that letter of appreciation to yourselves.

Mike Robbins: Yeah, very cool. And you know, one thing about the book, let me just say Alissa, if people go to beyourselfbook.com not only can they get the book, but in addition to getting the book for the first few months that it’s out they also get free downloads from people like Wayne Dyer and Jack Canfield and Michael Beckwith and Marci Shimoff and lots of cool folks like that, so that’s pretty cool too, beyourselfbook.com.

Alissa Kriteman: Okay, cool.

Mike Robbins: Yeah.

Alissa Kriteman: I’m going to check that out as well. Thank you for letting us know, and then your other website is mike-robbins.com?

Mike Robbins: Yup, that’s the main site and then the beyourselfbook is just the site for the new book and the kind of launch promotion, all that cool stuff.

Alissa Kriteman: Perfect! Thank you so much for being on the show today. I so completely appreciate what you’re up to and the inspiring energy that you infuse into the world, so thank you for being on Just For Women.

Mike Robbins: Your welcome Alissa. Thanks for having me on again. Good to talk to you.

Alissa Kriteman: Yeah. Thank you. So that brings us to the end of the show. Thank you everybody for listening. For text and transcripts of this show and other shows on the Personal Life Media network, just visit personallifemedia.com. And now you can get instant notification when my next shows go live. Just go to personallifemedia.com/signup. I’m your host Alissa Kriteman, always expanding your choices here on Just For Women: Dating, Relationships and Sex. Tune in next week for more juicy news you can use.