Do you want to know how to fall in love with being uncomfortable?
Listen as Anne Bonney shares some simple wisdom to embrace and dance in the discomfort zone especially when you'd rather not.
Do you want to know how to fall in love with being uncomfortable?
Listen as Anne Bonney shares some simple wisdom to embrace and dance in the discomfort zone especially when you'd rather not.
In this week's powerful episode "How To Best Fall In Love With Being Uncomfortable" you will discover...
And a whole lot more...
Susan Friedmann: Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas and tips from the masters. Every week, I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books.
Today, my special guest is Anne Bonney. She's a fun, energetic international motivational keynote speaker and influence igniter. She's an authority on change management, two-time author, host of the “Ignite Your Influence” Podcast and an experience, virtual, in-person and hybrid workshop facilitator. After 20 years in highly successful corporate and non-profit leadership positions, Anne now uses her experience, education and expertise to ignite your ability to influence others by harnessing emotional intelligence, courageously communicating and effectively dealing with change. She's a dear friend and colleague.
Anne, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show. And, thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.
Anne Bonney: Oh, Susan, it's so great to be here. Thank you!
Susan Friedmann: Oh, change management, Anne. Change is just something that we know is a constant. But, saying that and actually dealing with it are two different things. I know that this is an area that you specialize in. So let's go down that path and see where it takes us.
Anne Bonney: I love it.
Susan Friedmann: Talk to us about embracing this whole idea of change, let's say if we can, feeling more comfortable with the concept.
Anne Bonney: I think we need to get comfortable with the concept of being uncomfortable with change.
Susan Friedmann: I like that.
Anne Bonney: Yeah, right? Because the fact is, our brains are not built to deal with change. Our brains were designed and invented back in the day where doing something that you haven't survived yet could be very, very dangerous. "Don't eat that berry, Uncle Frank ate it last week, he's no longer with us. Let's not leave the cave at night, because we might get eaten by saber tooth tigers." Our brain is built to keep us in the known.
And, when we're dealing with change, whether it's changing the way we do something, the way we think about something, the way we approach something, the way we interact with people, whatever it is, our brains are saying, "Whoa, whoa! Whoa, whoa! Let's stay alive, here." Your brain doesn't realize that we're not in mortal danger anymore and it still throws out those signals. We're fighting our brains in this, Susan, as we try to muddle through.
That's not going away so if you're waiting for it to be comfortable, you'll be waiting for quite a long time.
Susan Friedmann: Well, that's good to know. Then, I'll stop waiting.
Anne Bonney: Exactly. Exactly. It's all about embracing the discomfort. Or as I call it, dancing in the discomfort zone.
Susan Friedmann: Let's talk about how can we dance elegantly in this discomfort zone?
Anne Bonney: It's understanding your why. That's a big part of it, is why the heck am I doing this? Because when we're going to be stepping off the porch of the comfort zone, into the discomfort zone, we have to know what we're doing. Because otherwise, often times it's just too uncomfortable to do it. Understanding why am I making this change, what am I hoping for on the other side of this change and what's that new comfort zone that I'm headed to. That discomfort zone is the space between comfort zones. It's when you leave the old way, or the old thing, and you're headed towards that new thing. Not only your why, but what are you headed towards?
Susan Friedmann: Our authors have a new book. And, promoting a new book and promoting themselves is very uncomfortable for them. Is there a way that you work with your clients to help that discomfort level? And, being able to see that, "Hey, I've written this book, I'm proud of it and I need to get it out to the audience."
Anne Bonney: Yeah. A lot of times, it comes with creating what I call some sassy back talk. Some people call it a mantra, some people call it a reminder, whatever you want to call it. I call it sassy back talk because that works for me. But basically, as that safety part of your brain, that voice of doubt is yelling at you, "Oh, this is uncomfortable! Oh, that might reject you! Oh, this might not work!" Which, believe me, mine yells at me all the time.
Having that sassy back talk or that reminder to say, and it's always the same phrase for me ... Once I identify what's stopping me, and for me it's, "They might not like it. They might judge you." So I say, "Hey, this book is great. People love it and the right people are going to want this." And, I just remind myself of that and that allows me to take the steps to promote the book, or promote my retreats, or promote my webinars or whatever it is that I'm offering. Saying, "You know what, this reason is bigger than this fear," and that's what helps me take that step.
Susan Friedmann: I love that. So just having something, a mantra as you say, an affirmation of some kind, that you just repeat when this doubt comes up. Because it is going to come up, whether you like it or not. Even if you start selling amazingly well in the beginning and then, all of a sudden, those sales drop. Friends and family have bought their copies.
Anne Bonney: Your mom has all her copies.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. She's got as many as she can, to give away as gifts to everyone on the street. But, then that doubt, as you say, comes into your mind. I love this idea of the sassy back talk, the head trash, that starts coming up and saying, "Hey, I don't think they're really liking this. It's not selling the way I wanted it to." But, you're right. Yeah.
Anne Bonney: Because when we're talking about it here, you're like, "Oh, I can convince myself," or, "I'll be okay," when you're in a vacuum in a safe space. But, Tuesday at 2:30 when you're trying to promote your book, that voice starts talking and you need that sassy back talk to say, "Hey, we've got this. This is important. People are going to want this. Let me go ahead and put this out here."
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. That whole feeling which comes up, that feeling of being a fraud, being a fake, the imposter syndrome. We talked about it a lot on the podcast, with other guests. But again, what's your take on that? Yes, you've got this mantra. But, what else? What else to convince yourself that really, you are an expert, you've written the book. And to feel good about the fact that, "Hey, I'm putting this out to the world and it's important. I've got a message, I've got value."
Anne Bonney: Well, and that's something that I've fought with when I was writing my book is I'm not the first person to write about change. I'm not the end-all-be-all Earth expert. I remind myself of my successes, of the people who did like it. And, there are a lot of people who really liked it, so I remind myself of that.
And, I remind myself yes, I'm not the end-all-be-all expert. There may be people who know more than me about this. And, I know more than a lot of people because I've studied it, I've thought about it, I've experienced it and I have a unique voice that is going to resonate specifically with some people more so than some of the other books on change. And, so this needs to get out there.
When I had that imposter thing, that's what I remind myself is I'm a unique little snowflake, Susan.
Susan Friedmann: That is so, so important. Yeah. The idea that you have a unique voice, you have a unique experience, you've experienced what you've experienced. And as you say, there are going to be umpteen other people who've been, and will come and talk about change, but yours is a unique perspective on it. And, those people who like what you have to say will follow, whereas somebody else will like what somebody else says. What do they say, when the student is ready, the teacher appears and for some people, you're going to be the teacher. Others, it's going to be somebody else.
Anne Bonney: Exactly. I remind myself that I can't make everybody happy because I'm not pizza, but I'm pizza for some people.
Susan Friedmann: I know that one of the things that you do really well is to help people move from having an idea and putting that idea into action. Take us down that road.
Anne Bonney: Well, action's scary because you're committing. You're saying, "I'm doing this." We're really good at planning, we're really good at thinking about it, conceptualize it. But, actually stepping off the porch of the comfort zone into whatever new thing you're thinking about doing, it's scary because you're committing. And honestly, it could fail.
This is what I tell people is so often, that same voice of doubt that's telling us all the things in our head. Maybe it's saying to us that we're not good enough, that we don't know enough, that we're not the whole expert. Other times, it's telling us all the things that could go wrong and all the consequences when it does. And, what we forget to remember and what we forget to list out, as we're listing all the things that are going to go wrong, is all the things that could go right. Because I've found, more often than not, when I jump off the porch of the comfort zone, it goes more right than I ever could have imagined. And, you know what? When it goes wrong, I can usually figure it out.
This is another bit of sassy back talk. We forget to remind ourselves of what could go right. And, that's what I always ask people to list out for me. It's like okay, I get all the things that could go wrong and I'm not saying they won't go wrong. I'm also saying that you are not thinking about the things that could go right.
Susan Friedmann: That's such an important perspective to keep. Yeah, we think about all the time well, this can go wrong. And, we can start worrying about all those things that go wrong to the point that it stops us from doing it.
Anne Bonney: Right.
Susan Friedmann: But, when you turn that around and look at well, what could go right? Yes. My whole career could take off. What if?
Anne Bonney: I worked with a guy once who was a CEO of a graphic design company, he had worked really hard to get there and he was miserable. But, he had a kid who was about to college, and he was supporting his wife and all of this. And he says, "I can't leave." I said, "Well, what are you leaving on the table if you don't leave?" And switched around the perspective on it. He was suddenly like, "Oh, wow." Not only thinking what if it goes right, but how much better could it be if it does go right?
Susan Friedmann: Oh, I love that. I love that. To keep in mind that perspective, because I think the worrywarts out there, and I know my daughter's one of them, she worries about all the kinds of things that can go wrong, but yeah, turning that around. And, what could go right and how this could, as we say, launch your career, take you to a whole different level of success when you focus on the right. And, things are going to go wrong.
Anne Bonney: Right.
Susan Friedmann: It's just natural that not everything is going to go according to plan. But yeah, at least give it a try.
Anne Bonney: Exactly. We're so good at figuring things out. And in the moment of fear and anxiety, we sell ourselves so short on what we can figure out. If something goes wrong, it's not the end of the world, we're probably going to figure it out and it's probably going to go okay.
The exercise I like, because this has to be intentional, Susan. It's not going to happen automatically. Unfortunately, the negative stuff happens automatically. What I like to do is I like to sit down and write, "Wouldn't it be fun if?" And, answer that question, over and over. Or, "What if this happened? What if this happened," on all the good stuff that could happen. Just spend some time daydreaming about the possibilities. It really just revs your engine and just, "Oh, yeah!" It's fun.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. I think that, often, that whole idea of getting things right, we go into procrastination because we stop ourselves because it isn't perfect. I know I went through a phase, oh for many years, where it had to be perfect and I wouldn't put it out there if it wasn't. Oh my goodness, if I had a typo in something, that was almost like the end of the world. But, you know what, it really wasn't.
Anne Bonney: Right. And yes, it's important that we get things to a degree of excellence. And sometimes, good enough is good enough. This is what I talk about in my mental toughness workshops, is that sometimes good enough is actually good enough. It makes all of us perfectionists cringe because we're like, "Oh, good enough." But, there's a point of diminishing returns. The more effort you put in, you start, at some point, getting less and less value out of the additional effort. So it takes that courage to say, "You know what, this is good enough. I've got to let this go." Commit to the risk that it isn't perfect, but understand that I've got other more important things to do that's going to great value, and I've got to put this away.
Susan Friedmann: It's so funny. All of this reminds me of when people used to write in and say, "Oh, you made a grammatical error." Or as I said, "You made a typo." And I would say, "Oh my goodness, thank you so much. I just don't see my own errors often. It's people like you who've got eagle eyes, who make me so appreciative that you are willing to share that with me." I turned it around and said thank you, yeah for correcting me. Of course, you know there nit-picky young people out there.
Anne Bonney: Well, that's where you have to let it roll off your back and say, "Okay, yeah. There may be a typo, I can fix it. We're good to go. The content is still there, I still put out a great product. And, if that person chooses not to buy another copy because of that typo and missed apostrophe, I think I'm okay with that."
Susan Friedmann: I can live with that, too. I can live with that as well.
Talk to us about mistakes that you see clients make or some of the big ones that you've learned from. What can you share with us? Our listeners love mistakes.
Anne Bonney: Well, I haven't made any myself.
Susan Friedmann: I know.
Anne Bonney: I'm 48.
Susan Friedmann: I should have said that, as I introduced it. I know you've never made any mistakes, but some of the ones that your clients have made or people around you, friends, family members.
Anne Bonney: I tell you, it's so funny. I think the more times you step off of the porch of the comfort zone, the more mistakes you're going to make. And, the more you're going to learn. And, the more you're going to figure out. And, the more strength and confidence you learn because unknowns become knowns.
My biggest mistake, going specifically into my speaking career but also in writing my books, is I kept listening to everybody else about how it needed to be done. And, I spent a lot of money looking for a checklist, or a formula, or a strategy that was perfect, to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible. It took me five years to learn that I needed to figure out the right way for me. The cool thing about all the things I learned, spending all that money on experts to tell me, is I learned what ways wouldn't work and I learned some strategies that would work for me. But, I wish that I had stepped into the realization that I needed to do it my way and that that might be different than some really smart people. I wish I'd realized that earlier because it would have saved me a lot of time and money, trying to listen to everybody else.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. Me, too. It's like looking for the ultimate way of doing things, and I know so many authors follow other authors. They see their success and they see, "Oh, they put Google Ads in, or they put Facebook ads and it worked for them. I've got to do that." It's like no, not necessarily. Are you comparing apples with apples, rather than apples with oranges?
Anne Bonney: Right. It's important to learn from other people, learn from their successes, learn what they do. But, what happens when you start taking that on and feeling like, "Oh, I've got to do that," is you should all over yourself. I drowned in the shoulds. Should, should, should, should, should and I'd drive myself crazy. And, I ended up not doing anything because the shoulds that I'm telling myself I should do are so wrong and uncomfortable for me that I don't do them. And then, I sit there feeling bad about not doing them. And then, I don't do anything else.
Susan Friedmann: It's like a vicious circle, isn't it?
Anne Bonney: It's awful. I'll sit there, staring at my bellybutton, because I don't want to do the shoulds but I'm too scared to do the things that feel right and I'm not doing anything. I needed to say, "Okay, that's one way that doesn't feel right for me and that may work great for other people. I'm learning from that and I'm going to go this other way that feels a little righter for me."
Susan Friedmann: I think so much of what you're saying is just listening to your gut and believing in yourself. And maybe, it's accurate and maybe you're going to have some failures along the way, but at least your doing what you feel is right and what you feel is comfortable. Which, I think what you alluded to there, was the fact that if you don't feel comfortable with it, you're just going to resist doing it.
Anne Bonney: Yeah. And, listening to your intuition is especially hard when you've got that voice in your head, giving you all the doubts and giving you all the reasons. Imposter syndrome rears its ugly head and you sit there, doubting the things that you're like, "Yeah, but that feels right to me." So you've got to get to that point. I think I needed to take five years to get to that point. I still battle the shoulds, but it's an important piece.
We imply that a mistake is a bad thing, too. I think that in itself is a mistake because we learn so much more when we make a mistake, often, then when we have a success. Because with success, we'll just move on.
Susan Friedmann: But, then you get reminded all the time by people around you, that live in Shouldville, that you should do this, as you said. You should do that, this is the right way of doing it. Or, this is the way you should do it. So you do it, it's not surprising that you second guess yourself and you're like, "Well, maybe I should do that. Maybe I am going the wrong way about this." Everybody's got an opinion.
Anne Bonney: Yeah. It's true.
Susan Friedmann: Which they believe is right.
Anne Bonney: Right. And, they may have a way that worked beautifully for them and they want to share it with you because they want you to be successful, too. It's all coming from a very noble place and we all have to have some, what I call, naïve arrogance to say, "No, I'm going to do it my way. Thanks. I'm going to learn from you and I'm going to take my path."
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. Naïve arrogance, I like that. I like that.
Anne Bonney: My dad didn't like that very much.
Susan Friedmann: He didn't?
Anne Bonney: He just thought, "Arrogance, that's not right." But, it is. It's this, "No, I'm going to do it my way. I don't know if it's going to go well, but neither do you know if your way's going to go well, so here we go."
Susan Friedmann: As I say, we're going to fail, whether we like it or not. We just don't know when and how.
Anne Bonney: Exactly.
Susan Friedmann: It's par for the course.
Anne Bonney: Yeah. Well, and that's another thing is that we have to recognize that, is things aren't going to go right. You're not going to avoid failure, and mistakes and all that stuff. And, you're going to figure it out. We catastrophize the bad things that could happen, when often it's just, "Oh, if that happens, I'll work it out."
Another question you can ask yourself when your brain is telling you all the things that could go wrong is, "Yes, and? How bad is that actually going to be?" My whole fear around sales, and I hesitate in a big way around reaching out, and offering my services and products to people, because I'm so uncomfortable with it. I always have to ask myself, "Okay, if that bad thing happens, and this reach out fails, what happens? They say no. Then, what happens? I just make another call, I'll go have lunch." We catastrophize this stuff and when we look at the reality of it, it's usually not that big a deal.
Susan Friedmann: And, that's a famous one, the whole selling piece. I'm pleased you brought it up because so many authors do hate the idea of selling and promoting themselves. They feel it's icky, and it's sleazy and they'll do everything to avoid it. And, the rejection isn't the rejection of you, which you so often think it is. It's just they don't see the value of what you're offering at that point in time and it's not necessarily right for them. And of course, this is easy for me to say, but always as easy for me to do.
Anne Bonney: Right. Yeah, exactly. When we're on a podcast, it's really easy to talk about. But in the moment-
Susan Friedmann: Of course it is, of course it is.
Anne Bonney: It is tough. And, it's recognizing that, again like you said, if you are doing it in a non-manipulative, smarmy way, they don't see the value of the thing right now for them. It's a not now, not necessarily a no.
I think, also, if you shift the mindset versus I'm selling me, I'm selling my product, I'm selling my speech to, "I have this great value to offer. Let me see if it would help them right now." Shifting it to that, it changes the spotlight from you to whoever you're talking to or whoever you're marketing to. So it feels, to me at least, a little less like, "Hey, look at me! Buy my thing, it's really great! I'm awesome!" That's yucky.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. And, we're not selling books. You're not selling speeches, you're not selling coaching, you're not selling training. You're selling the value that that coaching, or that training, or that speech and that book brings to that other person.
Anne Bonney: Exactly. You're dealing in outcomes.
Susan Friedmann: Yes.
Anne Bonney: And in value, not just in product. You're not selling screwdrivers.
Susan Friedmann: And if you are, you're selling the value of what that screwdriver will do for you.
Anne Bonney: I literally just fixed the toilet paper holder in my sink, right before we got on this call, with a screwdriver so I stand corrected. My life is better now.
Susan Friedmann: It's got its place.
Anne Bonney: Yes.
Susan Friedmann: It's got its place.
Anne Bonney: It's true.
Susan Friedmann: Oh, Anne, this is great information. It's fun. If our listeners wanted to find out more about you, your services, your book, talk to us. How can they do that?
Anne Bonney: Yeah, sure. Yourchangespeaker.com is my website. But, if you want to go to discomfortretreat.com, that's my retreat program. If fear and anxiety really holds you back from moving forward in the things that you want, you might want to think about coming in getting uncomfortable with me. But yeah, discomfortretreat.com is my website. And yeah, let me know what I can do for you.
My books are called Get Over It and Get Them Over It, on dealing with the discomforts of change. It's all about getting uncomfortable, Susan. What a weird thing to focus your business around, huh?
Susan Friedmann: Yeah, getting discomfortable. Yes. Yes. I'm visualizing this pit of snakes, for some reason. I'm not quite sure why.
Anne Bonney: Yeah. We don't do that.
Susan Friedmann: Oh, good. Good.
Anne Bonney: There's no eating bugs or sockless overnights in the Arctic. It's a relatively civilized level of discomfort.
Susan Friedmann: I like it. I'm sure our listeners will feel much better about that, too.
Anne Bonney: Or, maybe they won't and that's okay, too.
Susan Friedmann: If you were to leave our listeners with a golden nugget, Anne, what would that be?
Anne Bonney: I would say take a step. Action shrivels anxiety. So if you're sitting there, worried about something, do something about it. Take a step. Do something.
So if you're worried about marketing your book, do a little thing, reach out to one person, do one post, because that's going to help you feel more confident and feel more in control of the movement and the momentum, through that discomfort zone.
Susan Friedmann: Action shrivels anxiety, that is beautiful. It's so visual.
Anne Bonney: Right?
Susan Friedmann: To see it, shriveling up there. Well, thank you. Anne, I know that you've got something special that, when we head over into our premium membership, that you're going to share with our premium members. So listeners, if you're not a member yet of our premium membership site, then head on over there and sign up because Anne's going to continue this conversation with some juicy pieces of advice. We'll see here over there.
But, in the meantime I'm going to say thank you, Anne, for sharing your wisdom on this podcast. And, thank you all, for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview. I sincerely hope that it sparks some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success.