A “friend” who once admitted to having a crush on you came over to continue a night of drinking and crash on the couch. You pushed him away when he tried to kiss you because the crush isn’t mutual and you have a boyfriend. Then you woke up in the middle of the night to him spooning, touching, and trying to make out with you. You pushed him away again and went back to sleep. Is this a form of sexual assault, or did you cheat by allowing yourself to get drunk and winding up in this situation? We’ll try to find answers to this and more here on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Were you sexually assaulted by the “friend” who kept trying to make out with you one drunken night, or did you cheat by allowing yourself to get drunk and winding up in this situation? [Thanks once again to clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Margolis for helping us with this one!]
- You feel like the past two years of the pandemic have dulled your ability to converse smoothly with other human beings, and you worry this is damaging your relationships. What can you do to regain what used to come so naturally?
- Your young, sweet neighbor is a stay-at-home mom of four kids, and married to a teacher. She’s also embroiled in an MLM scheme and you want to help her see a way out before her family’s modest savings are emptied by shysters. What can you do?
- You’ve never gotten along with your snarky mother-in-law, and the tension has only increased since you gave birth to your son. On top of this, your husband takes her side in any disputes, and you’re mentally exhausted by all of it. What should you do?
- You’re an in-house art director for an advertising company, where people are so competitive and credit-hungry that stealing work is not uncommon. You’ve collaborated with partners who completely dismissed and gaslighted your contributions. How can you nip this behavior in the bud before you’re actually driven to kill somebody at your office?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
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Happier with Gretchen Rubin is a lively, thought-provoking podcast in which the best-selling author and her cohost (and sister) Elizabeth Craft share practical, manageable advice about happiness and good habits. Lend it your ears here!
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Resources from This Episode:
- Cheer Season 2: Why Did Monica Aldama and La’Darius Marshall Fall Out? | Cosmopolitan
- Danny Gold | Breaking News from the Underworld | Jordan Harbinger
- Richard Clarke | Warnings, Cassandras, and Catastrophes | Jordan Harbinger
- Erin Margolis | Thrive Psychology Group
- What Is Gaslighting? Learn the Warning Signs | Verywell Mind
- If a Person Kisses You, Is That Cheating? | Girls Ask Guys
- Six-Minute Networking
- How to Avoid Scams | Deep Dive | Jordan Harbinger
- Essential Oils Pure and Natural | dōTERRA
- Creating Freedom Through Fashion | LuLaRoe
- SpongeBob SquarePants | Nickelodeon
- Gretchen Rubin | Four Tendencies: The Framework for a Better Life | Jordan Harbinger
- Mike Abrashoff | It’s Your Ship — Here’s How to Shape It | Jordan Harbinger
- From Start-Up to Grown-Up: Grow Your Leadership to Grow Your Business by Alisa Cohn | Amazon
- 5 Scripts for Delicate Conversations | Alisa Cohn
- From Start-up to Grown-Up Podcast with Alisa Cohn
621: Are You at Fault for Being Sexually Assaulted? | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my Feedback Friday producer, the guy, mat talking to me from the sidelines of this advice pyramid, Gabriel Mizrahi. And yeah, that was a Cheer reference. So we're fans, you can email us your hot takes on the La'Darius-Monica beef to the Friday inbox. Just know that we're definitely Team Monica over here.
[00:00:22] On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. And we turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening, even inside your own mind.
[00:00:46] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice to you, answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers.
[00:00:59] And this week we had Danny Gold. He's a friend of mine. He's a journalist who gets himself into some of the most dangerous places on earth to get a story. I really enjoy his work. He seemingly has no fear, whatsoever. Also one from the vault, recorded a few years back, Richard Clarke, formerly the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-Terrorism for the United States. I don't understand how that's one job. We discussed how to filter signals from noise when it comes to warnings, using something called the Cassandra coefficient, a matrix of cognitive bias and other factors that influenced the way we think and make decisions. So make sure you've had to listen to everything that we created for you here this week.
[00:01:36] As always, we've got some amazing questions here in the Feedback Friday inbox. Gabe, what's on first?
[00:01:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I have this one guy friend in my life who I have never had feelings for. He had a crush on me when we first met, but he knew I had a long-distance boyfriend and my friends told me he eventually got over it. One night, my group of friends and I go out to a bar and get very drunk. Most of my friends take off and I'm stuck alone with this guy throughout the night. He buys me drinks and shots, and eventually, we decided to head home. We live in the same neighborhood, so he offers to order the Uber. When we get to my house, he follows me inside. I've had friends spend the night on my couch or in my roommate's room when they were drunk before, so this wasn't a big deal to me. We're both sitting on the couch, waiting for the frozen pizza to come out of the oven when he leans over to kiss me. After a second, I push him off and tell him, "No, I have a boyfriend." It's hard to string together the exact sequence of events. But I think he tells me that he never got over his crush on me. And I remember I started crying. He leans in again to kiss me and I push him off again. And I say, "No, we shouldn't do this. I have a boyfriend." We ate the pizza. And then, I decided to go to bed. He asks if he can crush in the bed with me and I'm honestly too drunk to really care. So I say, "Sure." And then I fall asleep. I wake up in the middle of the night to him, spooning me and touching me and starting to make out with me. I feel like it takes me a couple of minutes to really process what's happening. But I know for a fact that I push him off and I tell him to stop again. And then I fall back asleep. I do know that we did not have sex. I wake up in the morning and I feel very confused and hungover as if what just happened was a bad dream. Later that day, I talked to him about what happened and I tell him, I felt used. He acted very hurt that I said that and told me that it was just a moment where we both felt passionate towards each other and it wasn't a big deal. A day or two go by, and I feel myself getting really angry about the situation. I decided to let my friend know that I feel like he took advantage of me. He says he's very sorry about what happened. But again tells me that we were both just feeling passionate that night and claims that he was also very drunk, but I'm still angry at him. And I feel gross and I feel taken advantage of. I'm considering telling my boyfriend what happen, but I'm afraid he'll be hurt and think that I wanted this to happen. Is this a form of sexual assault or did I cheat by allowing myself to get drunk and be in this situation? And am I obligated to tell my boyfriend? Signed, Trying to Assuage This Vague Rage.
[00:04:05] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man, I am so sorry that this happened to you. This evening you had it is awful. It's violating. It's unsettling. It's gross. I completely understand the anger that you feel. And I also understand the confusion given the circumstances. It all makes perfect sense. And I'm just very sorry that you found yourself in this situation. We wanted an expert opinion on this story. So we reached out to the one and only, Dr. Erin Margolis, clinical psychologist and friend of the show. And Dr. Margolis right off the bat, she said, and I agree, that this was 100 percent an assault. Once you were at your house, you said no, several times. And he continued making moves on you. You wake up in the middle of the night to this guy, frigging, spooning you and groping you, ugh. Yes, you let him sleep in your bed. Yes, you were both drinking, but if he's touching you and kissing you and you're literally saying no, and he just keeps going, that is clearly violating. So I'm with Dr. Margolis. I'm relieved to hear that you guys didn't actually have sex, but what he did, it's clearly an assault.
[00:05:07] But the way this guy responded to you, when you confronted him, that adds a whole other layer of grossness to this situation. You told him that he took advantage of you and that he hurt you. And his response was, "Oh, that's not it at all. We were just drunk. And we were just both feeling so passionate that night," while he's apologizing to you in the same breath. Now, that is incredibly manipulative. And honestly — and I hate to use this term because frankly, it's way overused these days — but this is very gaslighting. This dude is gaslighting you. You are owning your experience and saying, "This is what happened and this is how it made me feel." And he's saying, "Oh, that's not what happened. I'm the one who's hurt." When the proper response, the proper response would have been, "I was drunk. I didn't listen to you. I should've listened to you. I'm horrified. I'm deeply sorry." Instead, he's just denying your experience and putting at least some of the onus on you.
[00:06:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Which is just deeply uncool and I'm incredibly gross. But I suspect that part of the reason he's doing that Jordan is that he knows he f*cked up and he's probably freaking out right now. So he's trying to rewrite the narrative of what happened that night.
[00:06:18] Jordan Harbinger: Totally. Yeah. He's changing the story to make himself look better, maybe to avoid any consequence or maybe to just be able to live with himself more easily, but this is such a lame attempt. "Oh, we were both just feeling so passionate about each other." Like how does he know what you felt? Only you know how you felt. I mean, you forget started crying at one point. How was that passionate? That doesn't make any sense to me.
[00:06:41] Anyway, Dr. Margolis, she's zeroed in on this as well. And she said that in a situation like this, where your assailant is gaslighting, you, it's very important to not also gaslight yourself. Just because your story isn't as severe as certain assault cases you read about or see on television or the conditions were slightly more ambiguous. That doesn't mean that what happened wasn't as big of a deal. It is. It was. And I thought that was a really important point.
[00:07:09] So to answer your question. Did you cheat? Hell no. Nothing about this situation is cheating. As Dr. Margolis put it, how many times have you gotten drunk around other friends and this did not happen in those situations? You wouldn't wonder if you cheated. The only difference on this occasion was this guy, not you, you getting drunk and being friendly that doesn't equate to you allowing this to happen. So I'd let go of that impulse to blame yourself. It's just not reflective of what went down. And to be super clear here, the only person to blame for an assault is the assailant.
[00:07:44] All that said, I am curious about what made it hard for you to draw a boundary sooner in the. And again, I want to be very clear. I am not blaming you for what happened. I think it's pretty damn clear where we stand on what happened that night, but listening to your letter, there are several points in the evening where you could have said no. Indeed, you did a few times. You could have drawn a line, put this guy in his place. First, when he's ordering all those drinks, then when he orders the Uber, then when he follows you into your house without you inviting him in, then when he's kissing you on the couch after you said no twice. Then when he asks to crash in the bed with you. And then again, when he tries to initiate and he's still sleeping in the bed. Now, I understand that this guy is a friend. I understand y'all were drunk. I get it. But there were several moments where you could have said, "Hang on. No, I don't want this. I don't like what's happening here. Get out. Please leave."
[00:08:39] So my question is what made it so hard for you to give this guy the boo? And I'm asking this, not because you being agreeable caused this assault, but because I'm wondering if this might be a larger pattern in your relationships and maybe even in your life. Of course, it's possible that you are intuiting, that this guy would get scary or threaten you or something if you took a harder stance, but it's also possible that there's some people-pleasing going on here, maybe even a desire to avoid conflict, a fear of disappointing people, or asserting your own needs. And if that pattern is operating in your life at a grander scale, and that is definitely worth exploring. That way, if you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation in the future, hopefully, nothing like this, but life is full of uncomfortable situations. Then, you'll be able to find a little more agency, a little more control, and you can feel more empowered to say, "Actually, no. This isn't what I want. What I want is something different. And if you're not going to respect that you need to go." And to not feel pressured to go along with somebody else's agenda, especially somebody who clearly isn't attuned to your interests or your needs.
[00:09:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: That is such a good point, Jordan. I mean, it sucks that you couldn't just let this friend crash at her house without worrying about what he would do. And yeah, she should be able to do that, but in a world where she can't and where all kinds of things can happen, this story is a great opportunity to look at how she operates in situations where her agency is challenged like this.
[00:10:06] As far as telling your boyfriend what happened, that's a decision that you're going to have to make for yourself. We can't tell you what to do. Ideally, a partner would be very supportive in a situation like this. He would see how hurt you are, how distressed you are, and he would be there for you. But we don't know your partner, we don't know how he'll react to something like this. He might be exactly what you hope, but he might also be angry. He might be hurt. He might have complicated feelings about what went down. You're going to have to prepare for any reaction on his part. And obviously, we don't know what your relationship is like, but Dr. Margolis did point out that your boyfriend's response that will be very telling. It'll say a lot about how he responds to you, how you guys handle challenges in your relationship when they do arise.
[00:10:45] So the question Dr. Margolis asked was, does it feel better to live with the secret and accept that it might be something that you deal with apart from your boyfriend? Or is it better to tell him and risk his response, but to find out for sure whether you can lean on him in moments like this. I think the answer to that question will tell you what to do. But whatever you decide, Dr. Margolis' advice, and I do agree with her completely here, strongly consider going to therapy if you're not already there. Talk about what happened, process this experience. It would be great to have somebody who could help you through this decision regarding your boyfriend, and maybe even mediate the conversation with him, if and when you're ready.
[00:11:23] Jordan Harbinger: You know, Gabe, I wonder if part of the reason she doesn't want to tell her boyfriend is that she's feeling some shame about this situation, which I can totally understand, of course, but if that's the case, I would ask yourself if keeping this secret is only creating more shame. Because Dr. Margolis pointed out that the longer you keep something in the dark, the more the shame compounds and the harder it can be to acknowledge and move on from.
[00:11:45] So you might want to consider shining some light on this story with another person, but that doesn't necessarily have to be your boyfriend. It could be a therapist, a good friend, a parent, someone close to you. Again, there's no right timeline. It's your call completely. Just throwing that out there in case that's playing a role.
[00:12:01] And again, I'm so sorry that this happened to you. I know it's sad and weird and very confusing. But I also think that unpacking this experience, using it to learn more about yourself, it's also an opportunity for you to get more in touch with your needs, your patterns, how you want to show up in difficult situations. And on a more practical level, I would just stay away from this guy from now on. This dude is not your friend. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I appreciate you. And I hope you're doing okay. We're sending you good thoughts.
[00:12:31] You know who won't spoon and grope you, at least not without consent? The products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:12:40] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:12:44] This episode is sponsored in part by Wrkout. I'm so grateful to these guys, my friend Curtis, launched something. This company has been game-changing for me. I know I've mentioned it a few times that I've hired a personal trainer three days a week, now four. I increased it. I wish I'd done this years ago. It has helped me so much with mobility, flexibility. My knee pain and hip pain is gone. I'm like younger. I have a younger body. I used to not be able to kneel down that much or sit on the floor because I was so tight. My trainer is great, so knowledgeable. I'll tell him, "Oh, like my knee hurts. I think I did something weird." And he's like, "Push this point on your thigh with the Theragun." And I'm like, what's that going to—? Suddenly, the pain goes. He fixed my back with stretching. I mean, it's just unbelievable. And this is all online. I love that Wrkout is online because you don't have to get in your car or go to a gross gym with like dudes grunting on a squat rack that don't wipe their sweat off. They'll utilize whatever equipment you already have. For me, I started out with just body weight stuff in a carpeted room, which is, you know, I recommend the garage. If you want to see what virtual personal training with a live trainer can do for you, check out wrkout.com. That's W-R-K-O-U-T.com/jordan. If you want to see what virtual personal training with a live trainer can do for you, check out workout.com/jordan. That's W-R-K-O-U-T.com/jordan. They're offering a 10-day free trial. Plus tell them I sent you, they'll knock 20 percent off your first training package.
[00:14:06] This episode is also sponsored by QuickVue. I know that a lot of us are worried about COVID. I mean, if you've already had it, I'm almost envious at this point because at least, you know, you've already had it. You know what you're in for, possibly anyway, the rest of us, especially those of us with little kids, we're like, "Okay, when's it going to hit? And is it going to be as bad as everyone says it is? And is, am I going to give this to my kid?" So if you need to know your COVID-19 status, which I do every time I go pretty much anywhere, pick up a QuickVue at-home OTC COVID-19 test. It gives you rapid results in 10 minutes. And the important part is it detects omicron and other variants of COVID-19. So whether you've been exposed, you have some mysterious symptoms you just need to check, or you just want to know and give yourself some peace of mind. Take the test that's faster than the rest available online or over the counter at your local retailer, QuickVue at-home OTC COVID-19 test. Takes 10 minutes. Take charge. Visit email@example.com.
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[00:15:18] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:15:23] All right. What's next?
[00:15:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, as we start to return back to normal, after the start of the pandemic, I found it increasingly difficult to make conversation and small talk with colleagues, potential clients, and even old friends. I feel that in the past two years, a piece of me has lost the art of conversation. This is especially frustrating because I've always been an extremely conversational, engaging, and friendly individual. I've also found that I'm not the only one who has been struggling with this. Do you have any tips on how I can move past the struggle so I can strengthen my relationships? Signed, Rusty but Gutsy.
[00:15:56] Jordan Harbinger: I hear you, man. We've actually been getting a lot of emails like this lately, so you're not alone in this, whatsoever. The great news is you've always been super chatty, engaging. You know how to talk to people. It's not like you've always found it hard to chat someone up in the break room or at a party. It's just that that skill is rusty because of the pandemic. And whatever you've been through these last two years, the isolation, the stress, the life changes, whatever it is, that's probably just created some heaviness and awkwardness. And that's covered over this outgoing personality of yours, which is literally every person on earth right now to some degree.
[00:16:30] So the best advice I can offer is this. Don't try to overcompensate or work too hard to be your old friendly self. Make an effort, sure. Push yourself to initiate conversation with people, definitely. But don't feel like you need to invent some sort of false persona to stand in for this quieter person that you are these days. You're much better off just doing the authentic thing, whatever that is.
[00:16:53] So for example, if you're at a dinner party and you notice you're being a little shy, I would literally turn to the person next to you and be like, "Hey, I'm really sorry if I seem kind of standoffish tonight. It's weird. But ever since we came out of the lockdown, I feel like I've lost the ability to just like, be a normal person and talk to people. I'm all in my head about it. Do you feel that way too? Or am I crazy?" And I'm willing to bet that with 90 percent certainty, most of these people are going to say, "Oh me too. Of course, yeah, definitely. Me and my wife are the same way." Then you guys can just talk about that. And then you'll be bonding over this mutual awkwardness, and then you can steer the conversation to the next topic.
[00:17:29] And before you know it, you'll be chatting someone up at a party being that engaging, friendly self that you used to be. And by the way, that approach, it works in social settings, work settings, networking chats. It even works over email with a few tweaks. Point is you don't need to be anything other than who you are right now. That's an amazing quality to just show up as you are, share a little bit of it with somebody else, and let that openness build some rapport. In fact, people tend to bond much more strongly over those quirks and vulnerabilities than they do over the superficial. I mean, yeah. You could talk to your coworker about the new Dr. Strange movie or BS about the Keurig cup flavors and the break room or whatever, but you'll get deeper much faster sharing a part of yourself that is more personal, as long as they're willing to do the same. And not everybody is, and that's fine, but if they are, then you're off to the races. So rather than trying to make up for how you feel, I would own it, and share it in a way that is honest and playful and down to.
[00:18:30] My other piece of advice is to be patient with yourself and give yourself some time. We're all finding our sea legs. Again, socially speaking, and even people who don't feel rusty are still dealing with some degree of awkwardness about being around other people. Trust me, the guy at the party or the office who can acknowledge that, who can make other people feel at ease. That is the guy that you want to be friends with. So I'd find small ways every day to cut through the self-consciousness, to open up a little more to other people. If you do that, I think you're going to find that this personality you're looking for, it's been there all along, not to go out wizard of Oz on you there, but it's true. Good luck.
[00:19:07] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or if you just want a new perspective on life, love, work. What to do if you relapsed after getting engaged? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up email@example.com. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:19:31] By the way, we've been getting a lot of questions lately about employment issues, getting fired, having to fire somebody, how to manage complaints in the workplace, stuff like that. We'd love to take some of those on here on the show, but we could really use some experts to consult for us. So if you are an employment attorney or an HR specialist or anything like that, And you'd be down to share some brief thoughts with us on listener questions from time to time anonymously or not, we'd love to hear from you hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. This would really help us up our game in this department.
[00:20:02] All right, next up.
[00:20:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hello, Jordan and Gabe, I have a young sweet neighbor who's a devoted and kind, stay-at-home mom of four kids and her husband is a teacher. These are not wealthy people by any means. They are lovely people, well-liked and well-meaning. The problem is this young mother has an Instagram account where she not only shares charming photos of her family, but she also shares posts to sell and promote a large essential oils company. I've read a lot about multi-level marketing companies and the ones she's working for specifically. And I know for a fact that it's a pyramid scheme. It's wrapped in a deceptive package that tells us recruits that you can have it all. You can be a boss babe, and you can work part-time at home while still learning a full-time salary. As I'm sure you're both well aware, the MLM is set up in such a way that it's mathematically impossible to get ahead. 99.7 percent of quote-unquote, "distributors," either break even or lose money. You need to recruit family or friends or your network to be the customers. Plus the company's founder has an extensive criminal background. My neighbor is either unaware of all of this, or she's just bought into the story she's being fed by the organization. Seeing this young family get involved in something deceptive that will hurt them financially and could seriously damage the relationships is killing me. But I'm not close enough with either of them to talk about the myth they're buying hook, line, and sinker. I feel like I'd come off as that crazy neighbor who just doesn't get it and makes this woman feel uncomfortable. So do I intervene? Do I leave a copy of a book about the dangers of these MLMs on their doorstep anonymously? What should I do? Signed, The Multi-Level Vigilante.
[00:21:37] Jordan Harbinger: Woof. Yeah. I feel your pain. Watching somebody get caught up in an MLM, even someone you're not super close with, it is brutal. It's so painful to watch. You've obviously done your homework on MLMs, multi-level marketing. You probably know this pyramid scheme better than she does. She's just blindly buying into the myth, which is exactly what these organizations want. So I totally get your impulse to save this woman from the damage that this organization will probably cause financially, emotionally, relationships wise, all of it.
[00:22:08] That said, I'm just not sure it's really your place to intervene. This woman is your neighbor. You follow each other on Instagram, it's not like she's your best friend or even your good friend, or like a mom, cousin, something, whatever. Like you said, you're just not close enough with either of them to dismantle the con that they're caught up in. And you're right. In all likelihood, they'd probably dismiss you pushback, call you a hater. That's their favorite word, right? For people who — they're speaking, what was it called? Stinking thinking they call it that sometimes, really corny stuff. That's part of what these MLMs teach their members by the way is how to deal with people who, you know — "Don't want to see you succeed or are too afraid to believe in themselves the way you do," and all that bullsh*t. They use this all the time. It's called a thought terminating cliche. It's like only losers quit and only quitters lose. It doesn't mean anything. It's a bunch of nonsense. It sounds clever. It's a thought terminating cliche. The idea is to get you to not think about what is going to happen next, a.k.a. you're going to lose all your money because the math doesn't work.
[00:23:10] And most people cut up in MLMs, even the smart ones, they have a lot of ego wrapped up in their involvement. If you've spent more than a few months in one of these companies, it becomes very threatening to question the validity of the business, the intentions of their leaders, which are half the time are deified like cult leaders, right? You can't even question your own results or lack thereof. You don't want to be that person with egg on their face or lemon grass and frankincense on their face as the case, maybe. I don't know. I'm not an essential oils guy, obviously. You don't want to feel dumb or gullible or admit that you've lost a ton of time and money on an organization that was actually preying on you.
[00:23:50] So even if this woman were willing to hear you out, it's very possible she wouldn't even allow herself to really consider your arguments at all. Now, if you want to save this woman or try, you're welcome to, I'm not saying you can't, I'm just saying that I'm not sure you even have an ethical obligation to, and your chances are very slim. If you do decide to approach her, I would be very gentle about it. Your best bet is to ask very simple, very basic questions, not press your agenda too much. You know, like, "How's the business going? Oh, that schedule must be nice. If you don't mind me asking, are you happy with the money you're making? How much work do you have to put in? How long has it been now? Are you seeing good results? Those kinds of questions and not all at once, obviously, but organically spaced out, giving her time to respond and at least think about each one.
[00:24:40] The idea here is to get her, to supply the answers, that point to the truth, which is that she's probably not doing well at all. Given that 97 or 99-plus percent of people in MLMs lose money. But you'll have to be very careful not to judge her responses, to not push her to your conclusion too quickly. You don't want to be like, "Wow. So you've only made 300 bucks since you started last year. Does that sound like a good business to you?" I would just listen, nod along, be polite. Let her go about her day thinking about what she told you so that some healthy skepticism can develop in her mind on its own. Then, the next time you talk, you can ask another question, elicit another answer until one day. Hopefully, you've built enough trust with her to say, "You know, Ashley, I've been thinking a lot about what you've shared with me and I hope I'm not being too nosy or pushy over here, but what you've told me, it doesn't quite sound like this MLM is giving you what it promised. Are you feeling something similar? Do you have any doubts?" And again, try not to judge her. Try not to put it. Just be in a safe space for her to talk until she's ready to wrap her head around what you already know about this pyramid scheme.
[00:25:50] Also, before she realizes that she'll probably try to recruit you to the MLM and she might mistake your interest in her for interest in her MLM scam. So just be prepared for. But obviously, this conversation could go very differently. She could lie about how well she's doing. She could clam up or stonewall you because she doesn't want to deal with your questions. And if that happens just back off, she needs to lose more money and goodwill and relationships before she's ready to go there. And that's fine. She's on her own time.
[00:26:20] So that's my take. She'll eventually get there one way or another. They all do. I do like your idea of leaving a book about MLMs on her doorstep. That is hilarious. The only thing she's probably going to know that it's you who left it and she might just burn it the second she sees the cover. If you do that though, just make sure she doesn't have a ring camera or something because otherwise you're in for some very awkward driveway interactions.
[00:26:43] Also, if you want to learn more about how to talk to somebody who's caught up in a scam, I highly recommend checking out the deep dive Gabe and I did on this exact topic. It's called How to Avoid Scams but it'll give you a ton of insight into the psychology of their targets. We'll link to it in the show notes. It's actually jordanharbinger.com/395, which is episode 395. But yeah, you're probably going to have to sit back, watch box after box of frigging juniper berry and cinnamon bark get delivered to her door and just wait until she realizes that she has been taken. It's kind of heartbreaking, but that's how it works. When she's ready to talk, be there for her. And maybe you'll be a part of her way out. Good luck.
[00:27:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, that's a rough situation. You know, Jordan, I know, we all know that MLMs are bullsh*t and essential oils, let's be honest, kind of dodgy or at least the people who get super into them.
[00:27:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I have to say my friend actually just bought me an essential oil diffuser as a Christmas present. And it is amazing. Like I never thought I would be into it, but now I turned it on every morning and it's like, it's actually really nice.
[00:27:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Maybe you can join dōTERRA.
[00:27:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's the essential oils MLM, right?
[00:27:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, yeah. Actually I'm more of a LuLaRoe kind of guy.
[00:27:54] Jordan Harbinger: You seem like a SpongeBob and leopard print leggings guy.
[00:27:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hundred percent. That's me. I got like five of them, on at the same time right now.
[00:28:01] Jordan Harbinger: In all seriousness though, be careful what you put in those diffusers, because some of those oils, especially the lower quality ones, like you get from a lot of these MLMs, they are actually toxic when inhaled. So just be careful what you put in there.
[00:28:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: I have read about that. I'm very happy to say that my friend got me a super bougie one from like one of those bougie stores at Westville.
[00:28:21] Jordan Harbinger: It does not surprise me at all that you have a bougie freaking essential oil diffuser in your apartment. Can't get a light. Can't get working Internet, but oh man, look at this essential oil diffuser. It's on 24/7.
[00:28:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh man. I'm telling you, it's one of those things I'd never buy for myself, but when someone else gets it for me, I'm like, yes, thank you. Changed my life.
[00:28:39] Jordan Harbinger: Fair enough. You know, who won't drag you into a predatory relationship designed to rob you of your precious time and money? Most of the amazing sponsors who helps support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:28:54] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show, and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:28:59] This episode is sponsored in part by Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin. She's been on the show before and is a brilliant writer. Gretchen, you're with us here today. And you had episode 206, "What's the best resolution you've ever made?" And that's a bold statement. Tell us a little bit about that episode.
[00:29:14] Gretchen Rubin: Yeah, you know, I do the show with my sister and co-host Elizabeth Craft. And, you know, we talk a lot about the ideas that we try, but sometimes we throw ideas out to our audience and say, you know, tell us your answers. So we asked the question, what's the best resolution you've ever made. Because I think we can all learn from each other. And it was absolutely fascinating to talk through — you know, was your best resolution to quit sugar? Was your best resolution to start a book group? Was your best resolution to spend more time in nature? You really got a sense of all the things that people were trying. And what we saw after that episode came out was that, well, then people got ideas from each other. And so it's a great way to get the conversation going. And as you always are talking, how do you get people inspired to aim higher, have a bigger life.
[00:29:54] Jordan Harbinger: And of course, we'll link to this episode in the show notes, and you can find Happier with Gretchen Rubin anywhere you get your podcasts.
[00:30:00] Thanks, Gretchen.
[00:30:00] Gretchen Rubin: Thank you.
[00:30:01] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Progressive. What's one thing you'd purchase with a little extra savings? A weighted blanket, a smart speaker, that new self-care trend you keep hearing about. Well, Progressive wants to make sure you're getting that by helping you save money on car insurance. Drivers who saved by switching to Progressive save over $700 on average, and customers can qualify for an average of six discounts when they sign up. Discounts, like having multiple vehicles on your policy. Progressive offers outstanding coverage and award-winning claim service. So day or night, they've got customer support, 24/7, 365 days a year. When you need them most, they're at their best. A little off your rate. Each month goes a long way. Get a quote today at progressive.com. See why four out of five new auto customers recommend Progressive.
[00:30:42] Jen Harbinger: Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates. National Annual Average Insurance Savings by new customers surveyed who saved with progressive between June 2020 and May 2021. Potential savings will vary. Discounts vary and are not available in all states and situations.
[00:30:56] Jordan Harbinger: And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:30:58] All right, what's next?
[00:31:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi Jordan and Gabe, my husband and I have been married for seven years. We've been together for 10. We have an almost three-year-old daughter together. Overall, our marriage is great, but my husband's mother and I do not get along. The problems between his mother and me have existed for the majority of our relationship, but it got really unbearable after we had our son. When we told her we were pregnant, her reaction was, "Oh, I had almost given up on having grandkids."
[00:31:28] Jordan Harbinger: Passive-aggressive, much.
[00:31:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just take the good news, mom. I don't get it.
[00:31:33] Jordan Harbinger: Geez.
[00:31:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: She makes snarky comments to me and has told my husband that she feels like I've stolen, quote-unquote, "her baby boy," meaning him. I struggled with severe postpartum depression and the lack of help from her, her insistence that we always bring our son to her, even though she lives 10 minutes away, and her accusations that we were keeping him from her, despite the fact that she is always welcome in our house, all of that was the straw that broke the camel's back. She also smokes in her house and as a first-time mother, I was uncomfortable letting our newborn around that. When she held him, if he was crying or he was hungry, she would refuse to give him back to me. And my husband would have to take him from her. What makes this harder is that my husband often takes her side and he tells me that his mother, and I just need to work it out and get over it. I've stopped going to events that she's attending including holidays, because it's miserable. You can cut the tension with a knife. My husband says that she's my family, and I need to involve myself with her, but I disagree. I cannot stand being around this woman. She's truly miserable and I'm exhausted. So what do I do? Signed, Battling the Drums With My Husband's Mom's.
[00:32:41] Jordan Harbinger: Another week, another crazy mother-in-law story, huh, Gabe.
[00:32:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yup.
[00:32:44] Jordan Harbinger: These stories, they just blow my mind. Merging families is hard enough, but doing it when your husband's mom is a narcissist who literally doesn't care about anyone but herself and who actually thinks and says out loud, apparently without realizing it sounds completely insane that you've stolen her baby boy. That is bonkers. I am so sorry. You're dealing with this.
[00:33:04] It sucks and no one deserves this kind of relationship, but here's the thing about your mother-in-law. She is who she is. She is probably what? Like 60, 70 years old, you guys have been together for 10 years. You've given her a grandson. She's still being dick to you. Eh, this lady ain't changing. I'm guessing you were kind to her. I'm guessing you've put in the work to be her friend and she just isn't responding. I mean, if you are reinforcing this dynamic, if you treat her the same way that she treats you, if you haven't tried to talk to her about any of this or change the relationship somehow that I would say, "You know, look at that. See if you can find a way to get through to her, find a way to talk this out, hit the reset button," but I'm getting the sense from your letter that Darlene over here, isn't exactly open to working on her.
[00:33:48] If she really believes that you stole her son from her, I just don't see that changing. I hope she does. And if you ever get the sense that you can talk to her about any of this, I would give it a shot, but I don't have high hopes for. But the person we really have to talk about is your husband. He is playing a huge role in all of this. Gabe, this husband's dynamic with his mother is fascinating.
[00:34:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:34:11] Jordan Harbinger: He usually takes his mom's side against his wife, even though it seems pretty clear that his mom is the problem. He insists that she owes his mom time and energy, which okay, but maybe up to a point. I understand you still have to be civil. You still have to do the bare minimum, but to be more involved with his mom when she treats her poorly and acts crazy. Nah, I disagree.
[00:34:32] I don't think you owe his mother more than just basic decency and time with her grandson at this. I mean, the husband is, he's literally the person who has to take their son from his mom's arms when he's crying, because she won't give them to the wife. He also literally is caught between these two women. He's trying to keep things on an even keel, but at the end of the day, he's on team Darlene, not fair to his wife, not helpful with his mother ultimately. And you know, it says a lot about old Darlene's parenting. That he's still very much in his mom's orbit, even as a supposedly grown-ass man.
[00:35:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, there is a lot going on in that relationship. Look, we don't know your husband. I know you're the one writing in. We only know the basic facts about your mother-in-law here, but it sounds like there is something very old and very toxic going on between the two of them. Your husband, he is not just being charitable to his mother. He doesn't have a soft spot for her. He's not just trying to play peacemaker. He is in her court. It doesn't sound like there's any room for him to consider if his mom is in the wrong here because that would invite the possibility that he would have to disagree with her. And that's probably very scary to him.
[00:35:39] It's probably scary to him because it's so scary to her. Because your husband I'm guessing, he knows the unspoken rules of his relationship with mom and the rules are basically, "I'm right. Everyone else is wrong. I don't have to change. Only my feelings matter. If you don't do what I say, you're the assh*le." And what's craziest to me of all, "Any woman who falls in love with my son is actually taking him away from me because my child actually exists to be mine, and to prop me up and to do what I want." I mean, dude, Jordan, just imagine having that as your mom growing up, just the emotional impact of that kind of parenting.
[00:36:14] I mean, we've talked about this on the show before being the child of a capital N, narcissist or even just somebody who's narcissistic. And in this case, clearly in meshed with her son, that is very damaging. And among other things, it produces a child like this, a guy who's afraid to appropriately stand up to his mother who is very difficult and, at times crazy mother, and who's now compromising his relationship with his wife as it a result.
[00:36:39] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Yeah, I think you nailed it. The woman writing in, she's not just up against her mother-in-law. She's up against her husband's dynamic with his mother-in-law and that is hard.
[00:36:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:36:50] Jordan Harbinger: If there is any hope of things changing with the mom, it's probably going to be with her husband's help.
[00:36:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, exactly. So my advice is to talk to your husband, like really talk to your husband. I would share with him all of the ways you feel that your relationship with your mother-in-law's problematic, the impact her behavior has had on you. He might not even fully appreciate that. And also how his stance with his mom is affecting your relationship, the one between the two of you. I would also, if you can, try to help him see, and you're going to have to be very gentle about this because like Jordan said, it's very charged territory. Hopefully, help him see how he's actually enabling his mother, reinforcing the dynamic with her by not standing up to her, by not standing up for you, and now making it harder for you to be treated fairly.
[00:37:33] And this might take a while. It might be several conversations over a long period of time. It might be hard for your husband to see the ways in which he's been colluding with mom. And I'm guessing probably has been for years, but it is worth doing because even if a Darlene over here doesn't end up changing this conversation will bring you guys closer together and it will make your relationship more honest and it'll help you feel less alone in this situation, which is even if you only get that out of it, that'll make the conversation worth it too if, of course, your husband is willing to listen and appreciate your point of view, which I really hope he is.
[00:38:06] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And if he's not at first, I think you can get him there. Just make it clear that this really matters to you. And if you guys struggled to make progress, I would definitely encourage you to consider couples counseling. There's a lot for both of you to unpack here. And it might be hard to do that when you're both inside the situation. I also think your husband would benefit from individual therapy, just given the childhood that he had, but that's his choice. That's a separate thing. So I hope you get to do that. Start talking, start listening, work with your husband to find some new solutions, hopefully enlist his help in making things better with your mother-in-law.
[00:38:40] I don't envy your situation. This is really though. It's possible that the right answer will be to give up and only interact with this woman when it's just totally necessary. Like when she hangs out with your son. But like I said, the real opportunity here, isn't with her it's with your husband. So good luck, we're wishing you all the.
[00:38:58] All right, what's next?
[00:38:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, I'm an in-house art director with an advertising background where people are so competitive and credit hungry that stealing work is not uncommon. I've had colleagues take credit for my idea publicly in meetings and privately in conversations with me. I've also had colleagues who were supposed to present work to a client that was done as a team, but who instead emphasized their own contributions. I spoke out about this once in a one-on-one situation, when it turns out my copywriting partner didn't think that we collaborated on the campaign idea. We joked about how short and selective human memory can be and agreed to disagree. He was dismissive, totally gaslighting, and I just let it go. I realized that sometimes it does make sense to keep the bigger picture in mind and let other people take the credit. Like your show guest, Mike Abrashoff's advices, but I'm not talking about those situations. Is there a tactful way to stop this behavior the moment it happens, or is it better to have a private conversation with a colleague later? Or am I in the wrong here? Signed, Claim What's Mine or a Nickel and Dime.
[00:40:01] Jordan Harbinger: Uh, there's nothing more infuriating than doing great work. And then having frigging Max, your copywriting partner, conveniently forget that you guys tag team to campaign when he sees the chance to shine all by him. It's totally uncool. It's super demoralizing. And I totally get why you're worked up about this. It's a great question. So let's dig into it.
[00:40:21] The thing is Gabe and I haven't exactly been in a corporate environment for a while if you can't tell by my lack of pants. So we reached out to the amazing Alisa Cohn. Alisa is a startup coach, investor, and author of the book From Start-Up to Grown-Up, which we'll link in the show notes. She's also just an all-around boss when it comes to handling tough situations at work.
[00:40:40] The first thing Alisa said was that, yes, she agrees that at times it is helpful to let others take the credit, but that has more to do with showcasing goodwill and unity in a collaborative environment. This environment you're describing kind of sounds like the opposite. So Alisa shared three scenarios and strategies that should help you get control over the situation.
[00:41:01] So scenario number one is when somebody steals your credit in public, either in a meeting or over email, when somebody talks about the work you did like it's theirs, Alisa recommends chiming in to thank them for bringing up the pitch or the campaign, appreciating what they say as a compliment to you and your work and noting some of the details that demonstrate how much intimate knowledge you have of the work that'll already speak volumes by itself. Alisa also said it's a nice touch to call out other people on the team who helped you get it done as a way to model good behavior. And also of course, to get their support. Alisa's advice here is to adopt a pleasant tone and say something like, "Thanks for your comments on this. We all loved working on it as a team. When the client gave us sort of a confusing brief, we were scratching our heads, but it was really Angie who conceived of the central concept. When I framed it up on the page and added that twist you liked, I saw she was right and the rest just fell right into place from there," or, you know, whatever the specifics are.
[00:41:57] By the way, I really love that detail about calling other people out while you claim credit yourself. Because part of your job here is to correct the bad behavior, but also show your colleagues that there's a very different way of operating that this isn't a zero sum game. So I think it's a super smart idea on Alisa's part. And see, this is why we consult with her. You see what I did there?
[00:42:19] All right, Alisa's second strategy is to find an ally in the office, a solid colleague you can buddy up with. Assuming there's someone you can actually trust over there, maybe it's slim pickings, but if there is, and there's usually at least one good egg in every office, make that person, your ally by creating an agreement, they'll call out the work you're doing and hype you up when you're not in the room and you'll do the same for them. When your ally is constantly talking about your great work, your contributions to certain projects, it will become a lot harder for other people to steal the credit. Not only that people will hear about you and your brilliance over and over again, they may even talk about it with one another and that'll create even more cachet for you.
[00:43:02] As Alisa puts it, when you have more cache, you also get more status and more status makes it even harder for someone to steal credit for your work without consequence. But it might still happen. And so the final insight Alisa had was that in a workplace like yours, sometimes you need to get a little bit more aggressive. If you try all of this and it still doesn't work, you might have to signal to the credit thief that you're just not going to stand for it. Alisa's advice set up some time to talk to the person, then get very, very calm, nothing good will come from you losing your temper.
[00:43:37] When you sit down, you can say something like, "Max, in these three instances, you took credit for my work. I don't appreciate you doing that. I need you to know that if you do it again, I will set the record straight." Say this non-confrontationally, but with a tone of authority, then if Max pulls this sh*t again, you can calmly speak up in the moment like, "Max, we had this conversation already. I don't appreciate you claiming you worked on this by yourself. It was my concept. And there are three other people in this meeting who had a massive part in all of this. Sarah, Ben, Mo, they did amazing work. I don't mean to get on my high horse here, but I think it's very important that we recognize the co-ownership of this project and this great outcome," something like that.
[00:44:16] This is obviously like a last resort. If you've tried the other things. Now will this for sure, stop max, the credit thief? Hard to say, but it's worth a shot. Alisa pointed out that at least, you know, you did all you could to fix the problem and you'll have a clearer sense of your environment. And if that doesn't change things, Alisa said that it might just be time to dust off the old resume and find a place where you and your contributions will be valued. It sounds like you're doing amazing work. I mean, it's got to be if people are frigging stealing the credit for it, right? So I'm sure a ton of other companies would love to have an art director like you, so good luck out there.
[00:44:53] And we will also link to Alisa's book and her podcast From Start-Up to Grown-Up in the show notes, along with her five scripts for delicate conversations, PDF. I highly recommend all that stuff, especially if you're having issues at work.
[00:45:05] I hope y'all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week. And of course, everyone who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out Danny Gold and Richard Clarke if you haven't yet.
[00:45:14] If you want to know how I managed to book all these amazing folks on the show, it's because of my network and I'm teaching you how to use the same software, systems, and tiny habits that I use every day. It's our Six-Minute Networking course, and the course is free over on the Thinkific. Just go to jordanharbinger.com/course. It'll encourage others to create a professional and personal relationship with you. It's systemized. It's not a lot of work and not a lot of effort on the daily. I'm teaching you how to dig that well before you get thirsty.
[00:45:41] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram or you can connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:45:56] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Ditto Alisa Cohn.
[00:46:15] Dr. Margolis' input is general psychological information based on research and clinical experience. It's intended to be general and informational in nature. It does not represent or indicate an established clinical or professional relationship with those inquiring for guidance. And remember, we rise by lifting. So share the show with those you love. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice that we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:46:45] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into here's a trailer for another episode that I think you might have.
[00:46:53] Tony Hawk: I picked up skating at the tail end of its first boom in the '70s. That was the trend. And then when I discovered the possibilities and I literally saw people flying out of empty swimming pools, that was my wow moment. There was like a danger factor. There was an edgy factor and I just devoted myself to it. I want to learn how to fly.
[00:47:12] Jordan Harbinger: For guys who considered yourselves nerds and outcasts, you were pretty tough.
[00:47:16] Tony Hawk: That is the defining moment if you want do this seriously or continue to do it is the moment you get hurt. One of my worst injuries in the beginning was I got a concussion. I knocked my teeth out. I knew when I woke up in the pro shop of the skate park that I wanted to get back out there and do it.
[00:47:31] I can't believe people still recognize me. I can't believe that I get recognized for skating because that was never something, that was a goal. There was never something that was an option when I was younger. The most famous skaters when I started skating were only known to a very small group of skateboarders. They were in the skate magazines. They were definitely not on TV. They weren't considered sports stars.
[00:47:53] I still feel strange that I get recognized. You know, it's weird skateboarding now, some people get into it to be rich or famous. When I got into it, neither one of those things was even possible.
[00:48:04] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Tony Hawk, including how he almost lost control of his brand entirely, check out episode 324 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:48:14] Are you ready for a podcast that doesn't hold back? Check out The Adam Carolla Show the number one daily downloaded podcast in the world, five days a week, and completely uncensored. Join Adam as he shares his thoughts on current events, relationships, politics, and so much more. Adam welcomes a wide range of special guests to join him in studio for in-depth interviews and a front-row seat to his freewheeling point of view. Download, subscribe, and tune in to The Adam Carolla Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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