You’ve been trying to set boundaries with your bipolar mother about not interrupting during work hours unless it’s important, but she calls you three to five times before noon every day just to talk. How can you help her to understand that her perspective isn’t authoritative? We’ll cover 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- How Essentialism author Greg McKeown uses the 80/20 rule (aka Pareto principle) to get more done in less time — and why Jordan is pretty minimal with his posting on social media.
- You’ve been trying to set boundaries with your bipolar mother about not interrupting during work hours unless it’s important, but she calls you three to five times before noon every day just to talk. How can you help her to understand that her perspective isn’t authoritative?
- You’ve had to fire and sue a general contractor who bilked you on a house renovation, and now you’re forced to live in expensive, short term rentals while you find someone reliable to finish the job. How do you keep your sanity and identity intact while languishing in limbo?
- A friend with whom you reconnected has been diagnosed with depression, but would rather keep rehashing the same conversations with you rather than seek professional therapy. How can you bow out of your unintentional counseling role so she can get the help she really needs?
- You were recently selected by your company for “reverse mentoring” — a program that connects senior-level managers with younger and less experienced employees in order to exchange fresh perspectives. Your mentee will be the CEO of the company. How do you make this unique opportunity valuable for both of you?
- You’ve been strengthening your network thanks to following our free Six-Minute Networking exercises, and now you’ve been getting clients for your new photography business. After doing one freebie for exposure, how do you start charging what you’re worth?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at email@example.com!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
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Miss our conversation with Steve Elkins, the real-life explorer and discoverer of the Lost City of the Monkey God? Catch up with episode 299: Steve Elkins | Finding the Lost City of the Monkey God here!
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Resources from This Episode:
- Jenny Radcliffe | Cat Burglar for Hire | TJHS 428
- Greg McKeown | The Disciplined Pursuit of Less | TJHS 429
- Jordan Harbinger on Elite Time Management and Networking | What’s Essential with Greg McKeown 20
- The Unimportance of Practically Everything | Greg McKeown, Harvard Business Review
- How Marketers Use Social Media Fomo to Sell You Things, and How You Can Keep Your Money | CNET
- Bipolar Disorder | NIMH
- Breaking Into My Life: Growing Up with a Bipolar Parent and My Battle to Reclaim Myself by Michelle Dickinson-Moravek
- Family Toolkit | Here to Help
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
- Raised by Bipolar Parents | Reddit
- Bipolar Disorder: A Daughter’s Experience | Annals of Family Medicine
- Six-Minute Networking
- How to Find a Mentor (And Make the Most of the Relationship) | Jordan Harbinger
- How to Be a Good Mentor | Feedback Friday | TJHS 203
Transcript for Setting Boundaries with a Bipolar Parent | Feedback Friday (Episode 430)
Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Today, I'm here with my Feedback Friday producer, my co-captain in conundra, Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and 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 deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening even inside your own mind.
[00:00:35] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice to you and 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. If you want to get a selection of what we do here, go to jordanharbinger.com. Some of our favorite guests, popular topics are up there. We'll hook you right up.
[00:00:54] This week, we had Jenny Radcliffe and Greg McKeown. Jenny Radcliffe — how do you even describe someone like this? She breaks into buildings for a living. She's a professional cat burglar, and her stories are really interesting. She uses a lot of psychology to gain access as well. We did a show with her. I just loved it. She's a real character. And we had my friend, Greg McKeown. He's the author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. He's not just a productivity guy. He is a well-respected thought leader in the field of getting more done by doing less. It's hard to explain. Look, the book is amazing. The show was great. I've really enjoyed it. And I think you will too.
[00:01:28] You can reach us for these shows at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your emails concise. If you can include a descriptive subject line that makes our job a lot easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or if you just need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work — how to leave a scary domestic situation. Whatever's got you up at night lately. As long as it's not your feelings on political stuff or the election. I don't want to hear that at all. It's just going to trigger me. Hit us up at email@example.com. We're here to help. We keep every email anonymous.
[00:02:01] Something I've been thinking about lately. I had my friend Greg McKeown on the show and I was on his show. He talked about how to 80/20 your work. This is not in the show. It's just part of his book, Essentialism. So you make a list of the five or 10 things you spend the most time on. You circle the one or two that really drive your results. So if you pick 10, circle two that drive your results, do more of that stuff. Eliminate everything else, automate, outsource, whatever you can. Pause the rest. That's the hardest part is pausing the rest. Because you think, "Oh, I can turn this into something." You pause the rest and you just rinse and repeat. And it sounds really simple, but this is one of the hardest exercises because you have to turn off things that you want and that you enjoy doing for other reasons.
[00:02:39] And Gabriel, so for an example here, this is one of the reasons I essentially gave up social media. I still answer all my messages on there from show fans on LinkedIn, Instagram, whatever, Facebook, I still answer messages on there. You've noticed this, right? I don't post content. I don't do like, "Hey, what's up, I'm at an airport lounge. Here's my cat." Like I don't do any of that stuff.
[00:02:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:02:59] Jordan Harbinger: And a lot of other content creators or podcasters, they're doing this constantly. And I realize, it doesn't do anything for the business, really. There's this intangible sort of brand value that honestly, I don't feel is necessary, but also I think people do it because of vanity, right? Like you get all these likes and people say what a cute dog. All the time you get this instant feedback. These dopamine hits. And so when you're thinking that you need to cut it out of your business, you don't want to, because you're getting validation from it.
[00:03:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interesting.
[00:03:29] Jordan Harbinger: But I realized I was like, it doesn't drive any revenue. I also don't enjoy it. I like the feelings it provides, but I don't actually enjoy it. And there's a huge difference there. And that difference was making me feel kind of unhealthy.
[00:03:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, I have to say, I am a little bit bummed about missing out on some of your cat content. But like in the bigger picture, yes, I totally understand.
[00:03:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I don't know that many people that have huge online personalities like influencers if you will, that really can convince me that they enjoy what they're doing. They like their life in certain ways. They're making money or whatever, but I think a lot of them resent having to sit there and film. Like, "Look at where we are right now. Look at the view at this cool restaurant I'm at." Like, I really think 90 percent of them would rather be home playing video games.
[00:04:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interesting. Yeah, it does become a burden, doesn't it?
[00:04:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: And also it's a little disingenuous when you know that you're doing it just so you can get more attention or more likes or whatever
[00:04:24] Jordan Harbinger: You're doing it for the gram. And also not only are you doing it for the gram, but you're also competing with everyone else. You're making other people feel FOMO and the reason you're doing it. Is because you have FOMO about what other people are doing online. So it's like this cycle of FOMO where — it's like bullying, right? You get bullied. So you bully someone else. This is FOMO. You feel FOMO. So then you go and become an influencer and deliver your own FOMO and everyone else has it for you. It's like, do I want that relationship with you listening to this? Not really. I want you to listen to this and be like, "Wow, this is really cool. This is life-changing, you're really helping people." Or you're just really entertained whatever it is, but I don't want you to be like — I don't want that. I don't want envy or any of that, especially not because I'm somewhere on a vacation. That's like the dumbest reason to envy someone as if you'll never have a vacation yourself.
[00:05:11] So, I guess what I'm trying to say is I'd rather make people feel good, so entertained, helped grounded, whatever you want to call it, whatever we're doing here on Feedback Friday, instead of making people feel bad. And I think a lot of people when they post on social media, not if they're sharing funny stuff or family stuff, but like the influencers that are living on FOMO, they're actually making a living, making other people feel bad, kind of right? Or am I just looking at this with a negative lens?
[00:05:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: No. I mean, I think there is something about their work that's aspirational. Like you see them and you kind of want to be them or do what they do, but yeah, the unintended consequences that it makes you feel not great, right?
[00:05:49] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Like there's a difference between being inspiring or helping people, even in a non-cheesy way or a cheesy way for that matter, who cares? But that's not really what it's about. Like people influencer types will say that it's about that, but it's kind of, not really about that for real. Right?
[00:06:06] I'm on a tangent, Gabe, stop me. What's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:06:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I could use some advice on approaching difficult conversations with my bipolar mother. I've been trying to set boundaries with her about not calling me in the morning so I can start my day and focus on my creative work during my peak hours. I've told her that I won't answer her calls in the morning unless it's important. And if it is important to text me first, but she tries to call anyway to see if I'll answer because she wants to talk. Sometimes this is three to five times before noon. This has been an uphill battle since the beginning of quarantine. Today, she did it again. And when I called her in the afternoon to tell her one more time, she hung up on me and began to passively aggressively attack me via text for trying to set that boundary. I will not budge on this because I know she's trying to test me to see what she can get away with. However, when anybody, her boss included brings up something unpleasant to try to help her get better. She responds by getting angry and starts to blame and shame them to make herself both the hero and the victim. I try to choose my wording carefully when I talk to her. But even with innocent things, she still finds ways to nitpick and twist my words to fit her narrative. Any advice on how to navigate this dicey situation? Is there any way that I can help her to understand that her perspective is not authoritative? Sincerely, Bulking at this Bipolar Blame Business.
[00:07:23] Jordan Harbinger: Well, thank you for writing in. I'm really sorry that you have to deal with all this on a daily basis. It sounds like a lot. We get a lot of letters from people with bipolar family members, bipolar friends, sometimes even from people who are bipolar themselves, and honestly, there's some of the toughest ones to discuss because bipolar disorder, especially bipolar disorder in someone you're close to, it's largely fixed. It's outside of your control. There's treatment and that treatment is important, but there's no cure. And it's basically a fact that everyone has to learn how to work with, to work around which — let me just say acknowledge right now — is incredibly difficult for both you and your mom. Because no matter how far you've come in handling her disorder and it sounds to me like you've come a very long way, which is admirable. It's always going to be an issue for her, especially since — Gabe, it sounds like he doesn't even understand the effect that it has on the person who's writing in. So I completely get why you'd feel angry and misunderstood and probably a little resentful towards her having a bipolar parent. That's a lot for a kid to deal with.
[00:08:23] Here's the part where I'd normally tell you — you know, figure out what you will and won't put up with, from your mom and start learning to draw those boundaries but you're already doing that. You know, I got to say, I think you're doing a really good job here. You're asking her not to call you when you're at work. You're screening your calls to protect your time, your energy, your mental health. You're taking her bat shit, crazy texts in stride. You're trying to explain to her why this is important to you without escalating the conflict. And it sounds like you're doing all of that with a lot of gentleness far more than I probably would have. A lot of patients — also not something that runs deep in me. And so in the daughter of bipolar mother games, you'd have a real MVP right now.
[00:09:00] Sadly, your mom's not getting the message here. She doesn't even seem like she's considering the message, honestly. Gabe, it seems like the calls and texts keep coming. And I think with a lot of folks, they just steamroll boundaries. Some of it, they're ignoring. Other stuff they're testing it. Maybe this is as good as it's going to get with her. One thing I can tell you is this, you're absolutely taking the right approach here. And when you said, "I won't budge on this, because I know she's just trying to test me to see what she can get away with." When you said that. I almost stood up and slow clapped because that dynamic right there, that is how a manipulative parent with a mental illness starts to slowly chip away at the healthy boundaries that you have put in place. And I'm sure that it goes against every instinct you have as her daughter to uphold these boundaries.
[00:09:46] But then he answered your phone one time before lunch, or you babysit her by text a couple of times. And before you know it, you're spending two hours on the phone, listening to her rage because her boss gave her some feedback today. It's a very slippery slope, this boundary stuff. And those boundaries, they can get broken down without you even noticing it. So keep up the good work there. Stay vigilant, stay firm, stay connected to your own experience. Know that you are 100 percent allowed to create that space for yourself. You deserve that. It's really the only strategy that people have in a situation like this, Gabe, I think, you know.
[00:10:21] And look, if you feel the need to draw those boundaries even more firmly if this isn't enough to keep your mom's toxicity at bay, then I would encourage you to do just that. Maybe you mute her number before noon. You can probably do that with your phone. Maybe you respond to her text messages just once at the end of the day. I know you cannot do-not-disturb text threads on the iPhone. I do that to tons of people, even people, I like if they tend to text a lot or send me funny memes. I like to snooze this until the evening. And it's not that I don't enjoy talking with them. It's just, I don't want to get 14 texts while I'm on a conference call because it occupies the mental, real estate.
[00:10:56] Gabe, are you like this? Where if you get a text or something, you're like, got to remember that. And it's magnetically pulling my brain into the phone. So it could be like, my parents going, "Call us right away." And I'm on a conference call and I'm just trying to get off the phone. That almost has the same amount of anxiety being induced as somebody being like, "Hey, what do you want for lunch?" You know, those things like somehow are not far enough away — they're not far enough away in my brain. They occupied very similar real estate. So if that's you, if this is tripping you out every day, then maybe you just have your texting with mom time at the end. And when she starts up with the blame and shame stuff, and you just say, you just go Zen on it and you say, "Mom, if you're going to lash out and make me feel bad, I'm going to have to say goodbye and hang up." And if she keeps going, you say, "Mom, I told you that if you keep doing that, I'm going to have to say goodbye." And if she still won't stop you say, "Okay, mom, I'm saying goodbye now have a good day. I'm talking to you tomorrow," just as calmly as you can, probably even calmer than I just did right now, because I'm feeling it for you.
[00:11:56] Then take five minutes to breathe, let it go, get back to your life. And I'm not telling you that, that's how you have to handle every conversation with her. I bless you if you can do that. I would not be able to. I'll let you decide what the boundaries actually are. I'm just saying it's okay to be even firmer with her if that's what you need to protect your sanity, and you can do all that in a way that doesn't create any additional drama. That's major, major bonus points. Gabe has for her other question, is there any way that she can help her mom understand that her perspective is not authoritative — by the way, that's really well articulated.
[00:12:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:12:28] Jordan Harbinger: Your opinion is not a demand in my life. It is just an opinion, right? How does he or she make mom realize this?
[00:12:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know. I mean, maybe there's a way to help her understand that, but my sense is that you've probably tried to do that and she refuses to listen, or maybe she just doesn't get it. And if you ever feel like you do have an opening with her to talk about some of that stuff, to help her see things the way you're seeing them, you can try to have that conversation again. But just based on what you're sharing, I wouldn't get my hopes up about having a super positive outcome in that regard. You're trying to communicate rationally with somebody who's in the grip of a serious mental illness, and that's no shade on her. It's just what she's dealing with. And it makes it very difficult for you guys to have the same conversation.
[00:13:12] You're on different frequencies, right? You're speaking different languages and look to be fair, tons of people with bipolar disorder, they do understand how mental illness works, how to manage their own mental illness, how to make sure it doesn't affect the people around them too much, especially the people who are important to them. And that's usually because they've gone to therapy or they have a good dose of education, a good dose of self-awareness. So I'm not saying that it's impossible to communicate with your mom in that way, and it certainly makes sense that you would want to.
[00:13:37] But based on what you've shared, I just don't see that happening anytime soon. You would probably have more luck trying to get her to talk to a professional so she can do some of that work on her own, which is really the only way that things will fundamentally change with her. And if you can encourage her to do that, maybe even help her find a therapist if she doesn't already have one, that could be a game-changer. Also while we're talking about it — I wonder Jordan. I wonder if her mom is on medication. I hope she is because bipolar disorder, to be honest, is incredibly difficult to manage without it. But if she isn't, that could be another thing you could help her with if you want it to — if you want it to maybe making an appointment with a psychiatrist to get a handle on this thing. And ultimately that's between her and her doctor, but if she needs that extra step, then you could help her get there.
[00:14:18] By the way, while we were thinking about your question, we came across a book you might find interesting. It's called Breaking into My Life and it's written by a woman who grew up with a bipolar mother. I haven't read the book. So I can't make any promises, but it might be helpful to read someone else's experience with a parent like yours. Apparently, the book is very revealing, very helpful. We'll link to that in the show notes. I would also encourage you to find a therapist of your own. If you don't already have one that is key. I'm guessing because you've done so much work in this regard. And you're really — it sounds to me that you are taking your experience very seriously, and you understand how these boundaries work. So I would not be surprised if you already had somebody to talk to you, but if you don't. If you need a little extra support, or even maybe if therapy is not an option for you right now, there are so many resources for people, especially designed for children of bipolar parents. And we'll link to a few of those in the show notes as well.
[00:15:03] Jordan actually pointed out a really great one on Reddit. There's a subReddit called Raised by Bipolar. It's a super active community and there are tons of people in there posting all the time about their experiences, asking questions, sharing resources. Anyway, we will link to all of that in the show notes. But honestly, bottom line, I think you're doing great. I think Jordan is absolutely right. I know that the situation is tough for you. Way tougher than you deserve, but ultimately your mom in her strange way is teaching you to get more in touch with your needs, more in touch with your priorities, and as much as possible, I would let her be your frankly, super dysfunctional teacher in protecting your time and protecting your sanity because you sound like a good daughter and you have a great life to live. And there's no reason that she should get in the way of that if you learn how to draw the boundaries the right way. So hang in there and keep up the great work.
[00:15:52] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:15:56] This episode is sponsored in part by Public Rec. Okay, I've been living in these pants, Public Rec. All right. That all-day, everyday pants, they call it that, obviously — I didn't even know they were called that. That is the perfect name for them. They're stylish. They're sweatpants, but they are the only thing that I can — I've tried a pair of regular pants on recently. They were so uncomfortable, comparatively — these have ruined regular pants for me, not that being on Zoom calls all day has not ruined regular pants for me too. But for real, I can't even go out in public with regular pants because these are so freaking comfortable. You won't want to wear anything else anymore. I'm in the process of updating all the pants in my wardrobe to this one in each of the nine colors. I'm pulling a Zuckerberg over here. So I don't have to do any thinking about my clothes. One for each day of the week and two more. I'm not sure what I was trying to do there, but now I guess I can do laundry every nine days.
[00:16:49] Jen Harbinger: Public Rec rarely discounts, but right now they have an exclusive offer just for our listeners. Go to publicrec.com/jordan and use our promo code JORDAN to receive 10 percent off. That's Public Rec and use our promo code JORDAN for 10 percent off.
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[00:18:58] Jordan Harbinger: And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:19:03] What's next?
[00:19:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey team! Two years ago, my wife and I bought a house and plan to renovate before moving in. We sold our condo, found a short-term rental, had an architect, draw the plans, and hired a general contractor to start the work about a year ago. That is when the problems began.
[00:19:19] Jordan Harbinger: I was about to say, "Congratulations on the house." And then it's like, "But wait, there's more." That's why this is a Feedback Friday question and not just somebody bragging about their new house.
[00:19:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nope. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Here it is.
[00:19:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yep.
[00:19:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: The work was supposed to be completed eight months ago, and it's still not complete. At best, we struggled to get quality performance out of the general contractor. At worst, we've had to fight him over additional costs. He couldn't even substantiate along with demands that we purchased materials, which his contract said that he would cover. We finally hired a lawyer and terminated our agreement due to a breach of contract. My wife and I are still stuck in short-term rentals and have had to move five times in the past year as the project kept drawing on. Now, we're stuck in a painfully slow process of finding people to finish the work with the money we have left and working with the lawyer to seek damages from the general contractor. We're bleeding money between rent, mortgage, legal fees, and other related expenses. All in all, it's a dangerous financial spot. The past year, dealing with all of this has taken its toll on me. I've worked together for myself over the years. I've become more social, more optimistic, better at building and maintaining networks, and showing interest in other people. But lately, I feel like it's a struggle to do any of that. I find it tiring to talk to friends and family because the subject always comes up and I'm just exhausted. I don't know what I'm going to do and it's hard to explain that to people. There's a constant feeling of uncertainty and regret that I cannot shake. I don't want to be defeatist, but I can't figure out how to be myself while we are out of house and home with no clear end in sight. I'm acting on everything I can, but it seems like there's nothing I can do to speed this along. While I'm so preoccupied with the house situation, I'm afraid that I'm letting my networks and my relationships suffer. I don't know how to be myself again until this fiasco is over. What would you do? How can I keep my sanity and my identity intact while I'm dealing with all of this? Signed, Languishing in Limbo.
[00:21:09] Jordan Harbinger: This is I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this, man. Situations like this are truly upsetting and destabilizing. You're bleeding cash. You're moving constantly. You feel manipulated and beyond stressed out, which I can't blame you at all. I'd feel the exact same way. But I get the sense that the worst part is that you feel like it's out of control. And this nightmare is happening all around you and there's nothing you can do to speed it up or make it go away.
[00:21:32] For what it's worth, I got to say, you're kind of like the woman who wrote in about her bipolar mom, it sounds to me like you're doing a pretty incredible job here. You found an attorney; you took appropriate legal action. You're rolling with the punches as best you can. You've done a ton of personal growth over the years. And imagine if you were dealing with all this and you weren't optimistic. You didn't have a strong network. You didn't take an interest in other people. You didn't realize that you could take control back of some of these situations. I know that's probably cold comfort right now, especially, but without those assets and the uncertainty that you're feeling right now, it would bury you, it would bury you. So I just want to recognize you for that. You should be proud of how far you've come, how much you're holding up right now, how much more equipped you are now to deal with a punch in the junk like this.
[00:22:16] So look, as you know, there's nothing I can do to make this go away for you. I wish I could. I wish you could share some secret legal hacks and any lawsuit in 30 days other than dropping the suit, of course, which — look legally, you could push this out. There's almost no urgency involved in this. He might even be judgment proof, aka broke. So I would focus more on fixing the situation, but look short of hiring some guy named Ivan to break this GCs kneecaps, which is probably the most effective route, but I should advise you it's quite illegal.
[00:22:44] The only thing you can do is protect your finances in every way you can and let this thing play out. And beyond that surviving, this chapter is all about your attitude because you're looking for it and aren't out there. It's the way that you're responding to the situation. It's how you're processing it and making sense of it. That's the quote-unquote fix for this. And you know, one of the hardest things in life is hanging onto the best version of ourselves when shit gets bad. You want to be this optimistic person, this calm solutions-oriented person, the guy you've worked so hard to become. And then this corrupt con-artist GC general contractor comes along and makes your life a living hell. Knew full, well, he couldn't complete the job, lied to you a bunch. I mean, this guy has a piece.
[00:23:25] Okay. It's easy to be enlightened when things are good, but when things get hard like they are for you right now, that's when being all enlightened and chill really matters. That's the true test. Not how present and patient you can be when everything's fine and dandy, but how present and patient you can be when everything is going to hell in a handbasket.
[00:23:43] And that's really what I realized three years ago when I was essentially — for lack of a better word — fired by my business partners. You know, non-applicable split as it really was, lost the show had to start over, lying on my couch, trying to figure out how I'm going to put my life, my business back together. And what I realized back then, which let me be clear, was horrible. I hope I never have to go through it again. But what I realized is that being that guy, the guy who can hang on to his best self, when he's really going through it, lean on your network, lean on your wife, lean on your friends. He had so much of that around me. Leaning on that, being that guy, the positive guy, or not even positive, Gabriel, but just optimistic and focused, less positive, really. That's a choice.
[00:24:23] It's a choice to keep being the person you want to be and keep showing up every day with as much value as you can to choose, to be kind and generous to other people. Even when everything happening around you makes you want to do the exact opposite. And this is not toxic positivity or irrational hope. I'm not telling you to ignore how horrible the situation is. I'm saying that your chance for the best outcome here largely depends on you committing to handling it in the best possible way despite the fact that it actually is totally horrible.
[00:24:51] So when you say I can't figure out how to be myself or I don't know how to be myself until this fiasco is over, I feel that I really hear you, man. The answer is that you're going to have to choose to be yourself when all of this is happening. And the only way to do that — and I'm going to get a little woo here, but it's the good kind of woo because, you know, I hate the bad kind of woo. I think you'll know exactly what I mean. The only way to do that is to be bigger than the shitstorm you find yourself in. If this crap sandwich becomes your whole life, it's going to freaking consume you. And I think that's kind of what's starting to happen right now.
[00:25:25] Nothing wrong with letting that happen a little bit. You're feeling it. I can tell by what you're saying in the letter here, but if this crap sandwich it's just part of your life and you remember that you are bigger than it's because you have your wife and you have your career and you have your sanity and all these great qualities that you've developed. And this GC is just — this guy is a shitty subplot, a forgettable tangent in this very full life that you already have that you've already built.
[00:25:51] If you do that, you will have a much better chance of weathering the storm because ultimately that's all you can do. Weather the storm. This thing with the general contractor, it's happening, whether you're happy or whether you're sad, whether you're optimistic or you're hopeless or you're grateful or you're angry or whatever. So the only thing you can do here is let it and decide how you want to show up for the shit show that is every day.
[00:26:15] And that said, I want you to know that it's okay to get angry. It's okay to feel hurt and pissed off. It's okay to feel hopeless sometimes or feel like you really got taken for a ride and it's not fair. There are very real concerns here. I get that. Money being one of the most stressful things in anybody's life, especially relationships combined with that. I know that you will do whatever you have to do to keep a roof over your head and take care of your family. Part of that is acknowledging the reality of your situation, but that's healthy. The alternative to that is suppression and delusion and false positivity. That's the toxic positive. That's the Instagrammer kind of crap, right? That we were talking about before. So I'm not telling you to bury your head in the sand and believe that the universe will provide or manifest whatever you need or whatever like that.
[00:26:57] Acknowledge whatever feelings and thoughts come up for you. Give them some airtime for sure. But don't feel the need to indulge all of them either. Don't make this whole situation, your identity, or your whole identity. Don't confuse your circumstances here for who you really are as a person. That's really what I mean by being bigger than this situation, you punch the pillow a few times or whatever you vent with your wife, you write it down an angry letter to this GC and don't sign it. Or you write an angry letter to your lawyer and you let him cross things off and then send it if you want to, whatever. I've done that. And then you say, "All right, what's next?"
[00:27:29] And in most cases, what's next. It's not going to be a specific thing you have to do. It'll just be releasing your anger, allowing this thing to play out. Focusing on the parts of your life that you can control, like your career, your mental health, your marriage. That stuff's not on pause. Your house is. Your career, your mental health, your marriage, that's not on pause. That's playing right now. Enjoy it. That's what you do while you wait for this storm to pass. And one day when it does pass, it'll be amazing. It'll be everything you expected when it's over. You'll feel relieved. You'll feel grateful, but I think you'll also feel weirdly proud. And I hope you, you look back on it the way I look back on my dark days, a few years back, and you go, "Well, shit, I wish that never happened, but I'm actually kind of glad it did because now my values, my whole sense of self has actually been tested. Now I know what kind of person I can be in a crisis. And on a practical level, now I know to never, ever hire a general contractor. I haven't vetted to renovate my house, whatever." I promise, you'll never going to find yourself in this situation again.
[00:28:31] So hang in there, bud. You got this. You don't deserve what's happening to you. No one does, but also it's kind of happening for a reason — or let me put it in a better way because I hate when people say that. You're going to create the reason that this is good for you because that's what you got to do. That's how we get through this crap and come out even better.
[00:28:48] All right, Gabe. What's next?
[00:28:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: That was just —
[00:28:50] Jordan Harbinger: Chef's kiss. Bam!
[00:28:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:28:52] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you. Appreciate that. By the way, I think a lot of people might think we're in the same room and you actually kissed me unless they're watching us on YouTube. You're in your house, I'm in my house. And you just did that. "Mwah!" Like when a dish is really good, like those Italians. "Mwah! It's so good." That's what that was. For people who think that Gabe just leaned over and gave me — planted one on me. That's not what happened. Not that — look, I don't want it. It's 2020, but I just thought that could be confusing and weird. So I'm going to clear that up right now.
[00:29:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love working with you, but I don't know if I'd ever leaned across the microphone and just kiss you on the forehead.
[00:29:24] Jordan Harbinger: It was so good. Just give me a smooch.
[00:29:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm so proud of you.
[00:29:30] Jordan Harbinger: We don't give you Christmas bonuses here at The Jordan Harbinger Show. We give physical affection only.
[00:29:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: It means more, you know, people respond to it.
[00:29:44] Jordan Harbinger: Usually with lawsuits, but they respond to it.
[00:29:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh my God.
[00:29:50] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[00:29:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's incredible. All right.
[00:29:52] Jordan Harbinger: All right.
[00:29:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Should we talk about the depressing run?
[00:29:54] Jordan Harbinger: Let's do it. Let's go to the next one. Yeah, start that one over.
[00:29:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. Hey, Jordan, I recently got in touch with an old friend while practicing Six-Minute Networking. She just broke up with a guy she's been seeing for three months and now she's depressed. I want it to be helpful and supportive because I know that she probably feels alone. She's trying to make a new life in a foreign country, all on her own. After a few phone calls, I suggested that she talked to a therapist because I don't think I can offer more than what I've already told her. She kept telling me the same thing going on about how horrible she feels. I also overheard her telling her housemate that she's been diagnosed with depression. I met up with her to play some sports thinking it might help her take her mind off of things. We happened to run into one of her other friends. And she started telling this person again, that she's diagnosed with depression. Since then she's been asking me to spend time with her multiple times saying she enjoys my company, but I'm not keen to meet up with her. And not just because she keeps talking about a breakup. I always feel judged when I'm with her, about what I wear and how I look and so on. But I feel bad rejecting her because she's having a difficult time. So what should I do? Signed, Co-opted into Counseling a Clinical Compatriot.
[00:31:03] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, well, this is a bit awkward. I've been there many times myself. Well, first of all, nicely done on the Six-Minute Networking. I'm sorry that you happen to reconnect with somebody who's a bit of a burden. It happens sometimes. Rarely, honestly, but it does happen occasionally. This could just as easily have been a person who became a great friend or hired you for a job or became a mentor or a mentee or whatever. Sometimes the risk of being open to new relationships is that when you encounter someone you don't necessarily want to pursue a friendship with the solution is not to network less, although I'm sure right about now you're feeling like no good deed goes unpunished. And I can't say I blame you.
[00:31:40] The solution is to know what your boundaries are. Just like the one with the bipolar mother earlier in the show here. So look, this friend, the one you reconnected with, she's obviously going through some stuff. She just went through a breakup. She's clinically depressed. She clearly wants and needs companionship. It's genuinely kind of you to spend some time with her and be there for her. And it says a lot about you. She obviously deserves compassion and understanding. We've all been there at some point, we know what it's like. The problem is she isn't very self-aware or sensitive to how other people are responding to her situation. And it sounds to me like her whole identity is getting wrapped up in her mood. And on top of all that, she's judging you apparently for your appearance when all you're trying to do is be there for her, which I think we can all agree is pretty uncool.
[00:32:28] So I actually think that your instinct here is totally appropriate. You don't owe this person anything beyond basic kindness and compassion. It's not like she's her best friend for 10 years and she's going through a rough patch and she just needs a little help. That'd be a different story, but she's also not this super awesome person who just happens to be reconnecting with you during a bleak chapter in her own life. That would also be a different story. This is a loose acquaintance who's both struggling in her own life and making it harder on herself and harder on other people. And as other problematic qualities that are making it hard for you to be close with her. So she's getting in her own way and I feel for her on that level, but this is not your problem to solve.
[00:33:06] What can she do, Gabriel? You're probably going to have a more compassionate way of handling this than I would.
[00:33:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: So in a case like this, "I do think it's totally fine to say, listen, I know that you're going through a tough time and believe me, I understand how painful breakups can be, how hard it is to be depressed. For what it's worth, I think you need to talk to someone about it and I'm happy to be there for you here and there when you need it. But I can't be that person for you all the time. I'm glad I connected. I'm glad we found each other again. I hope things are going well, but I also hope you take some time to work on this stuff because I think it'd be really helpful for you."
[00:33:35] You know, something like that to let her know that it's okay, that she's going through it, but that it's not your job necessarily to hold it in her hand through every step of the process. And then if she keeps asking you to hang out when you don't want to, or I don't know, she keeps unloading her drama on you every time you go out to play ping-pong or whatever you're taking her out to do. That's when you have to hold the boundary. And you could say something like, "I'm really sorry, I can't hang out right now, but I do hope you're holding up okay." Firm but kind, I think that's the name of the boundary game.
[00:34:03] And I know it might seem a little bit harsh to say something like that, but this is what boundaries setting looks like in practice. Just like we talked about with the woman dealing with her bipolar mom. Sometimes you have to say the simple thing in a way that doesn't escalate the conflict that doesn't add to the drama, but definitely signals, "This is not a role that I can play for you right now." And look, this is probably going to be the hardest part for you. Like you said, in your email, you feel bad rejecting her because she's having a difficult time. That is a very normal impulse. That's what an empathetic person would say in a situation like this.
[00:34:33] It's also why empathetic people can get trapped in friendships that they don't always want. They're sometimes torn between their compulsion to help on the one hand and their need for independence and a sense of self on the other hand. And that's why those people — people like you — that's why they really need boundaries. Because boundaries at the end of the day, they're what allows you to be close to other people without compromising your sense of self. And I think that's what you're really looking for here. Not just a way out of this one kind of difficult friendship, but a way to stay open to other people and to be true to yourself.
[00:35:05] So yeah, it can be a little bit tough. I promise this will not be the last time you have to draw a line like this in a relationship. Ultimately, it's good practice. It's going to come up. It's good to know how to do it. And to let somebody know, "Look, this is not the role I can play for you." And ultimately, it's not just helping you. It's also helping the other person learn to find whatever resources they're looking for and the places they should be looking for them and not putting all of that on you.
[00:35:25] Jordan Harbinger: Solid. I feel like we have a boundaries episode today.
[00:35:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, we do.
[00:35:29] Jordan Harbinger: You know what a lot of problems that other people bring into their lives or that we bring into our lives I should say, can be solved by just adhering to boundaries. But it's one of those so much easier said than done types of situations.
[00:35:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:35:41] Jordan Harbinger: Like, "Yeah, I'm just going to avoid this now. I'm not going to put up with it." And then like five minutes later, you're doing it.
[00:35:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:35:46] Jordan Harbinger: It's like Halloween candy. "I don't want to eat this." And then you're just housing fun-size Twix for the next three hours. And you're like, "Yeah, one way to get rid of them."
[00:35:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:35:54] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe that's TMI.
[00:35:58] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show. And this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:36:03] This episode is sponsored in part by Mack Weldon. The new normal uniform has a lot of us searching for our closets and drawers for men's essentials that are just not there. Instead of the usual business, casual button-ups and jeans, it's soft knit polos, tees, joggers, active shorts. We've all seen some Zoom accidents where people just opt out entirely of their bottoms. But whatever men's basics you need, Mack Weldon has you covered with unmatched comfort and fit. I've been sleeping a lot in Mack Weldon. I think it's super cozy. It stretches in the right places and doesn't stretch in the right places if you feel me. And Mack Weldon wants you to be comfortable. So if you don't like your first pair of underwear, you can keep them. Obviously, they don't want them back. You know how that goes. They'll still refund you. No questions asked. They've also got a totally free loyalty program, which let's be real is cool, but also kind of weird like I never had a loyalty program for underwear. But I don't know, let's just say they're innovators.
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[00:37:08] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Better Help online counseling. You all know I love therapy when it comes to anxiety, grief, depression, any kind of trauma, difficulty sleeping, family conflicts — a lot of people with a lot of issues, especially right now. You fill out their questionnaire. They'll match you in 48 hours with a therapist. Secure video or phone sessions. No driving across town. No parking. Plus, you can exchange unlimited messages to communicate with your therapist at your convenience. Everything's confidential, super convenient. You can always switch counselors at any time. I'm just a massive fan of talking to people about problems, working out problems with somebody who's trained, especially, and Better Help has you covered here. Over a million people have taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced Better Help counselor. So why not join them?
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[00:38:02] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Blue Moon. This is a great beer. It's probably got me through law school if I'm a hundred percent honest. You've seen this before. You can't see through it. It's not transparent. They throw that Valencia orange peel in there. So it's kind of sweet. Oh, it's great, that smooth, creamy finish. It's a Belgian wit, right? So it's not transparent. It's not the clear beer that a lot of us are used to. So I like it for that reason. It's great at barbecues. I remember being able to go outside and socialize with friends. So I do order this, whether it's on a hot day or a nice sort of inside drink during something because it's a little bit more flavorful than your usual beer. It's a little bit more complex to be kind of a beer snob about it. Jen.
[00:38:41] Jen Harbinger: The next time you're out with friends or just enjoying a night in, reach for our Blue Moon. It's the beer you can enjoy every day. You can have Blue Moon delivered by going to get.bluemoonbeer.com and finding delivery options near you. Blue Moon, reach for the moon. Celebrate responsibly. Blue Moon Brewing Company, Golden Colorado Ale.
[00:39:00] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. Who doesn't love some good products and/or services? You can always visit jordanharbinger.com/deals for all the details on everybody that helps support the show. And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:39:18] All right, what's next?
[00:39:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and team. I'm a 28-year-old working in marketing at a European app company. I recently got selected by the company for reverse mentoring, a program that connects senior-level managers with younger and less experienced employees so that the employee can share fresh perspectives with the manager. My mentee will be the CEO of the company. I've only met the CEO once briefly when I joined the company six months ago. My impression of him from company-wide meetings is that he is fairly open, but also very diplomatic meaning he often speaks around a problem or question rather than giving a direct answer. From what I've heard from other people during one-on-one conversations, he is more candid. He's more open. So I would say approachable, but also political. Specifically, he's asking me a few questions such as what makes it fun and inspiring to work at our company and how can we have open communication channels in the company. Naturally, I'm thrilled to have been selected for this initiative and I'm very excited to get started. It's a great opportunity for me to learn and to grow as well as to expand my network in the company. So my questions for you are: how do I do my best to ensure that I am a value to my mentee and ensure that the experience is the best that it can be? How can I get the best out of the experience and take it as a learning opportunity? And how do I best build a relationship with my CEO without it feeling too scammy? Signed, Is It Worth It? Let Me Work It. I Put My Mentorship Down, Flip It, and Reverse It.
[00:40:47] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Nice one. That's definitely a top 10. Sign off —
[00:40:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: cool.
[00:40:54] Jordan Harbinger: — for sure.
[00:40:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Glad you like that.
[00:40:56] Jordan Harbinger: Well, this program actually sounds really cool. It sounds like you work for a pretty open, forward-thinking company and I hope they listen to what you guys have to say, and they're not just doing this for show. But it sounds like they really do care what the younger folks have to say and you're right, this is an amazing opportunity for you. Most people have to wait a really long time or engineer some sort of weird contrived situation to get this kind of FaceTime with their CEO. You're getting to meet him six months in and you get real with him pretty quickly. So yeah, you definitely want to make the most of this opportunity because it's probably not going to happen again, at least not soon.
[00:41:30] And before I dive in, let me just say that if you're listening to this and you don't work at a company, like the one, this guy does. What we're about to talk about here is helpful advice for anyone who wants to build relationships with more senior people. So look, the main tension you're feeling here is between having an organic conversation with this guy, while also deliberately trying to build a good relationship with him. And I think that's what feels kind of scammy to you going into these sessions with your own agenda.
[00:41:57] So let's just resolve that tension right now, and the way to do that is this. Forget about being this guy's friend for a moment. Forget about gaining his approval. Instead, ask yourself how you can be the most helpful to him right now. If you focus on adding value to his life, if you focus on sharing ideas and perspectives that would make him more effective, you'll be fulfilling the purpose of this program and building that relationship that you want. But if you go in there trying to be this guy's best friend, he'll sense that it'll end up working against you. And by the way, this is one of the funny paradoxes of relationship building. You don't build great relationships by trying to build great relationships. That's when the networking starts to feel awkward and self-conscious, and kind of smarmy.
[00:42:39] The real way to build great relationships is by investing generously and genuinely in the other person. And I mean that not in some sort of like a goody-two-shoe type of sense. I mean, you really actually just care about other people and you try to be consistent about expressing that whether it's introductions or something else. The relationship that's a by-product of the investment that you make in it, the connection that results from sharing the value with other people, right? Your value with other people. The connection that results from that, that's the relationship. It happens as a by-product of your investing. Is that clear, Gabriel? I feel like I'm almost dancing around it somehow.
[00:43:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, that's exactly right. That's a really, really great point.
[00:43:19] Jordan Harbinger: So kind of like the only way to be happy in life is to not try to be happy, but just do things that are meaningful. The way to build great relationships is by investing in other people, not trying to make your relationships great in some ways. So Gabe, how does he figure out what the value actually is?
[00:43:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, it sounds to me that is really about answering the CEO's questions in an honest way, in a meaningful way, in a way that only this guy as a junior employee can answer them. And I would go into these meetings very well prepared with notes for each of the questions that he asked you. Carve out some time in the next few weeks to really engage with those questions on your own. Think about what you would do if you were the CEO. Get specific, get actionable — I can't believe I just word here's the word actionable. I haven't used that word since consulting. That's hilarious.
[00:44:04] Jordan Harbinger: It's a good word though.
[00:44:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: But, you know, something you can actually put into action is what it means. So I guess that's the right word.
[00:44:09] Jordan Harbinger: Fair.
[00:44:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe while you're preparing for the conversations. You could even ask some of your peers, your colleagues for their input. So you get a few different perspectives. So when it comes down to answering his questions, you don't want to BS your answers or just spitball. I think he'll sense that that's probably not a great use of your time. You really want to offer something meaningful and to show him that you took this seriously, you did the work. And yet you'll definitely have to take politics into account here to some degree, especially since you're dealing with somebody who's — as you put it sort of diplomatic. You don't want to burst into his office and your first session and start dropping truth bombs left and right about how Anders — I don't know — totally screwed up that partnership last month or how nobody actually likes those Friday Zoom meetings or whatever. That might be true, but it's not going to be valuable to him if it's not delivered correctly if it's not delivered thoughtfully.
[00:44:52] So just to put your mind at ease a little bit, tailoring your message to your audience here. That's not manipulative. I think that's self-aware. And yeah, you can cut across seniority and accompany by being the guy who drops those truth bombs, but there will always be an element of politics at play in any professional relationship, especially a new one like this. And later when you guys are good friends and you've already bonded, you can be more direct with him, but I would work up to that.
[00:45:16] One specific thing I would do in these sessions — and by the way, this is more of a general approach, sort of a state of mind, rather than a technique. One thing I would do here is to ask him a lot of questions. You could go in there and say, "So I know you asked me a few questions in advance and I've given those a lot of thought, but before we dive in, I would love to know what would be most useful to you right now. Which question do you feel is most important?" And listen to his answer and then use his answer to find the most relevant thing that you can share. And as he responds, keep asking those questions. You know he gives you something and you could say, "So tell me more about wanting to open up those communication channels. Do you feel like you're sometimes a little bit at a remove from your employees? Are there specific things about working here that you feel you're missing out on?" And again, listen to what he says and then answer the question that he's really asking.
[00:46:00] And the more that you can draw him out in that way and gather more information and make it a conversation, the more effective these sessions are going to be for both of you. And if you go in there though, thinking like you need to have a perfect presentation that solves all of his problems all at once, this whole thing is going to probably feel pretty stiff, kind of transactional. But if you go in there prepared to have a good conversation, you'll end up getting into much more interesting territory. And at the same time, you'll be building that relationship that you really want to build.
[00:46:27] So as far as getting the most out of this experience and using it as a learning opportunity again, I think that's more the by-product than the goal. I think that's what Jordan was getting at. If you keep focusing on your CEO, if you try to approach him from a place of curiosity, a place of generosity, then you guys will naturally get into good conversations. That will teach you everything you want to learn. Not because you're trying to learn it. Not because you're trying to get something out of it, but because you're actually trying to help this guy.
[00:46:53] Jordan Harbinger: My last piece of advice is this. And it might be. The most important piece of advice that I'm giving you — if all goes well in these sessions, you will probably develop some interesting ideas to make the company better, which is great. Maybe that'll be, I don't know, a monthly newsletter from the CEO to his staff. You know, you developed this with him during these conversations. Maybe it'll be some new ritual where you guys share major wins at the end of every marketing meeting. Maybe it'll be a new program where you interview your users to understand how your app helps them and how it can be better.
[00:47:23] I'm making these examples up, but I think, you know, what I'm getting at. The hardest thing for your CEO will be figuring out how to implement these ideas. So one thing you could do is offer to help him execute those ideas. It doesn't matter if it's your role or not just offer to do that. Maybe you draft the newsletter for him. Maybe you write up a little script for him to talk to the VPs about sharing those wins at the end of the meetings. Maybe you help him coordinate those user interviews and facilitate the conversations again. Ask him, if that would be valuable, just put the offer out there, let him take you upon it. Or maybe take a chance and take a stab at one or two of them on your own and just see what he says.
[00:48:00] What I'm getting at is this — you could come out of this program, having shared some cool ideas with your CEO, or you could come out of this program and become the lieutenant who makes these programs happen, kind of like an informal chief of staff. And if you do that, you'll really make these conversations effective because not only will you be coming up with good ideas, you'll be making them a reality with much less work on your part. Imagine how indispensable you'll be to him at that point. You'll be showing him that you took this reverse mentorship program seriously, and you'll be showing them what kind of executive you would be at this company. And you'll be building your relationship with him all at the same time. That's true leadership right there.
[00:48:39] And like I said, this is a formula for great relationship building in any company, whether they've got a reverse mentorship program like this or not. And you could do all of this even after a two-minute conversation with somebody in the break room at your office. Anytime, you can share an idea with somebody who needs it and then help them execute on that idea, that's an opportunity that you should grab. It's so simple. It's so basic, but it's really the key to rising up, building good relationships, and having an interesting and exciting career as much as I know about that. Good luck, man.
[00:49:11] All right, last but not least.
[00:49:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey team. I'm a 21-year-old living in the good old Pacific Northwest. And I recently started my own automotive photography business. I have clients lined up and I made great connections. Thanks to your Six-Minute Networking course. The problem I'm having is asking for payment. I have had one shoot and did not charge for it because I saw it as an opportunity to gain a client. And because of that client, I now have three more lined up. My question is, should I start charging the next set of clients, or do I continue this free ride to build up relationships? Thanks for all that you do. Signed, Charging for The Cow When I'm Giving Away the Milk.
[00:49:47] Jordan Harbinger: Well, nicely done, dude. Look, I love this. You started a new business. You got your first clients super quickly using Six-Minute Networking, which is at jordanharbinger.com/course, by the way, and it's free. And you shared your value early on to build a reputation. That's an amazing way to start a new venture. And can I just say how amazing is it that you only had to give away one session to get three more paying clients? To me, that is proof that generosity and openness and all that stuff we teach in Six-Minutes Networking really does work. So congratulations.
[00:50:16] You're asking a great question here and it's something I hear a lot from people who understand how important it is to be generous. How generous is too generous? When does sharing my value freely tip over into bad business? Because at the end of the day, what you want is to make money doing something you love while still building strong relationships. So I totally get the confusion and I'm glad that you wrote in. The answer is actually pretty simple. My advice is to give away your work for free only as long as you have to, and only so long as you are not putting yourself at serious financial risk. So in your case, you did one shoot for free and as a result, you lined up three more amazing.
[00:50:55] That means three other people are willing to pay you actual money because they know you can do the job. You should charge them. That's what I say. This is your career now. You deserve to get paid. Now, if you already told these new clients that you won't be charging them, then you probably have to honor that. But if they were expecting to pay, you don't even think twice about it. Your giving-away work for free phase is over. That's a mental shift you're going to have to make for yourself. And look, if it makes you feel any better, if you're still learning and you don't want to feel like a fraud or something, maybe you charge these new clients half your normal rate to start. But if you can do the job well, and they're going to pay you, they're willing to pay you, there's no reason to get in your own way here. Listen to your customers, do great work, and let them compensate you for your talent.
[00:51:40] You can give away some sessions for free. What I would do honestly, is say, "Look, it costs this, but then have a refund policy for the first session." So people have to pay you, but if they go, "You know, I didn't really get any shots or it looks I like." Then you give them their money back. So sometimes you will end up giving away a free session, but sometimes you end up getting paid because they're satisfied. And then for the second and third and subsequent sessions, there's no real reason to have the money-back guarantee because if they select you again, they already know you can do the work. But having the refund policy, if somebody is really dissatisfied is actually not really, really a bad idea in my opinion.
[00:52:14] So I would charge but offer a good refund policy if needed. That way you never really have to give away work again, unless you're just trying to get your foot in the door with some particular company or client or something like that. Gabe, any other thoughts here.
[00:52:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love this story. I think it's such a great example of how you can choose something that you really care about something you love and that you want to do with the rest of your life. And then you just kind of give it away a little bit. And build up some cred and then suddenly you're like developing all these relationships and you've built this actually sustainable business model doing this. I mean, it's incredible. It's so cool.
[00:52:46] The only thing I can add to what Jordan said is down the road, as you build up your photography business, I would stay connected to that generosity mindset. Just because people are paying you now, doesn't mean that you should just throw away all the principles that got you here because they clearly worked. I mean maybe you throw in an extra look for your clients from time to time. Maybe you spend a few extra minutes. I don't know — photoshopping their photos for them after a session. Maybe you introduce them to other clients you think they would get along with.
[00:53:09] And maybe when you start to level up and chase after bigger and better clients, maybe you still give some work away for free here and there when there's a good reason to. For example, if you wanted to let's just say land a car dealership as a client, and you've never shot for a dealership before. Maybe that would be a good client to take on pro bono. And then you can go to all the other car dealerships in your city and go, "Hey, check out the work I did for Keyes Van Nuys. I could do this for you too." And that's just an investment in your business. Something that you can do at any stage of your career. It's an amazing way to keep climbing the ladder in your industry and continue building great relationships.
[00:53:41] So I guess what I'm saying is the generosity that got you to this point, that's not just a ploy to get your first few clients or a technique to make people like you. It's a way of seeing the world really, and people who see the world that way, they tend to get ahead just like you are. So I say, stick with it, keep up the great work. I think it's going to serve you really well.
[00:53:59] Jordan Harbinger: Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone that wrote in this week. Go back and check out the guests. Jenny Radcliffe, professional cat burglar, and Greg McKeown of Essentialism. Those are in the feed for you this week if you haven't heard them yet.
[00:54:10] And if you want to know how I managed to book all these great people and manage my relationships, using systems and tiny habits. We talked about it before. Check out our Six-Minute Networking course, it helps you get jobs, raise gigs, move out, whatever it is. A lot of crazy cool victories from that. That's over there on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. Now, I know many of you think you don't need it right now, or you don't have time, but you cannot make up for the lost time when it comes to relationships and networking. The number one mistake I see students and entrepreneurs make, especially postponing this, not digging the well before they get thirsty. Once you need relationships, you're probably too late to make them and then leverage them. The drills take just a few minutes per day. Hence the name. Ignore this at your own peril. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. This has been crucial for my business and personal life. You can find it all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:55:02] A link to the show notes for this episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes as well. There's a video of this Feedback Friday episode, going on the YouTube channel. That's at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or just hit me on LinkedIn. You can also find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:55:24] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. And my amazing team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi Keep sending in those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own, and I'm a lawyer but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. So share the show with those you love. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody who can use the advice 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.
[00:56:04] I wanted to give you a preview of one of my favorite stories from an earlier episode of the show. Steve Elkins. My friend, Steve Elkins, found a lost city in the jungle that most people never even knew existed. I'm not even kidding. It sounds insane. This has to be one of the most incredible stories I've ever recorded on the show. I know you're going to love this one.
[00:56:26] Steve Elkins: The legend of Ciudad Blanca or White City in English goes back probably 500 years to the best of my knowledge. People have believed that there is this civilization out there. And the local indigenous people have their own legends. It has about five different names of which I can't pronounce about this culture, this civilization that lived out in the jungle at one time.
[00:56:48] One of the other monikers for the city in current times is Lost City of the Monkey God. Maybe there's some truth to this legend. I kind of felt there was something to it. The Mosquitia Jungle where it's located in eastern third Honduras is one of the toughest jungles in the world. And by accidents of geography and history, it's remained pretty much unexplored until recently.
[00:57:11] I have a map made by the British in the 1850s. And on that map, it says Portal del Infierno, over that part of the jungle. And it was called the Gates of Hell because the terrain was so tough. A lot of people have gone looking for it. Some went in and some never came back.
[00:57:28] A director friend of mine introduced me to a guy named Captain Steve Morgan. And he was a lifelong adventurer, explorer, treasure hunter, and rock on tour, nice guy, really pretty smart. And I said, "Let's go." And then 1994, we headed out to Honduras for an unknown adventure, looking for the Lost City.
[00:57:51] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Steve Elkins, including the details on how they discovered the city and made one of the most important archeological discoveries of the century check out episode 299 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:58:05] Jen Harbinger: Support for today's episode comes from Progressive Insurance. Fun fact, Progressive customers qualify for an average of six discounts when they sign up for Progressive Auto Insurance. Discounts for things like enrolling in automatic payments, insuring more than one car, going paperless, and of course, being a safe driver. Plus, customers who bundle their auto with home or add renter's insurance, save an average of 12 percent on their auto. There are so many ways to say when you switch and once you're a customer with Progressive, you get unmatched claim service with 24/7 seven support online or by phone. It's no wonder why more than 20 million drivers trust progressive and why they've recently climbed to the third-largest auto insurer in the country. Get a quote email@example.com in as little as five minutes and see how much you could be saving. Auto insurance from Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates. Home and renter's insurance not available in all states. Provided and serviced by affiliated and third-party insurers. Discounts vary and are not available in all states and situations.
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