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Brent’s 1 Year Update: “I’m getting better and better as I go.”

 

SUMMARY

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION

SEB Hey, this is Sebastian from www.social-anxiety-solutions.com

We’re opening the Social Confidence Club in a couple of weeks. Mid-February is that going to be. 

And I thought that it would be interesting to have a chat with one of the former members, and check in to see if the results that he reported on are holding up: how he’s doing, and have a bit of a general chat about the journey.

And throw him some things that I’ve read in the Social Confidence Challenge that’s currently going on.

So here we are…

SEB: Brent! Welcome.! Thanks for doing this.

How’s it going? Is everything good?

BRENT: Everything is…

Well, just like what we were just talking about. Things are neither good nor bad.

They just are what they are.

SEB: Interesting times.

BRENT: Yep. In general,, if you’re asking, how is everything in terms of social anxiety?

It’s fantastic. It’s great. Could be better…

SEB:  Nice. Results are…how about them?

BRENT: Essentially a bit better. I’m getting better and better as I go.

SEB: There’s no regression and it doesn’t all of a sudden come back then?

BRENT: I don’t know. How do I see it?

No, there’s no regression.  It’s continuous, like moving forward.

There are the ups and downs and peaks and valleys along the way. But that’s life.

There are certainly subclinical levels of anxiety that I think anybody experiences.

I mean, I just handled those dips pretty smoothly.

I reached some point where I’m in that journey that you described where you’re kind of climbing the mountain.

I got high enough up the mountain that I could start skiing down the mountain, and knowing that there’s a mountain range out there. There are just different journeys, different adventures after that.

That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I think.

SEB: Good. We’ll talk more about where you’re at.

But before we’re going to talk about that, I’ll tell you what I read in a comment that was made in the Social Confidence Challenge on the day, whatever.

I asked people…

“Here are 10 testimonials of different people that you can go check out. So you can see that other people have made a transformation. And it will inspire you and it will give you hope, most likely, and because you can relate to these people, and so on and so forth. And then once you’ve watched one of these interviews, write a comment underneath this video here where you see me talking.”

And so, I scroll through the comments and one comment, and I’ve heard this before.

It was like…

“Well, I watched Brent’s interview. Actually, watching the interview gave me anxiety. Because it’s so far outside of what I see for myself is possible. It just seems unrealistic to me. “

BRENT: Yeah.

SEB: What can you say to that?

BRENT: Oh man, I feel that person. Like I really, truly do feel that.

 I don’t know. This has been a struggle for me.

I kind of knew that when I started getting the results, I actually started getting worried.

There was this worry that stuck with me for a while.

The worry was that I’m now going to come across so confident and so comfortable in myself that people aren’t going to believe that I actually went through the exact same thing that they went through.

They won’t believe it.

SEB: Right.

BRENT: Because I remember thinking the exact same thing.

I remember thinking when I watched your videos – of you, I didn’t believe it.

There’s no way this guy has had social anxiety like me.

There’s no way because you came across very confident and speaking fluently, and you were talking about your social life being normal.

SEB: Right. Right.

BRENT: I had a lot of fear.

I had a lot of doubt too, going into it.

I don’t know what to say to that person.

SEB: It’s really challenging.

BRENT: It’s really challenging.

I think, actually, one thing that I started perceptual shift I made was and I think you talk about this a lot in the course and in the 30-day challenge is that the journey of 1000 miles starts with one step.

And so, it’s just about your brain is not meant to be able to process these major hurdles, like you look up way up at the mountain, and you’re just going to be like, I can’t do that.

Your brain is designed like, that’s too hard.

Don’t even go there. Just stop. But instead of looking way up like that, if you just focus on the next ledge, that’s 10 steps away and that’s so much easier for your brain to process.

I think at some point, I got to the point where I started doing that.

I can’t think about where Seb is.

Because Seb is on Chapter 150 of his book, and I’m on chapter one of mine.

All I can do is focus on the next chapter and then trust in the process that it’s going to get me there because I got some good results from the 30-Day challenge, and I just thought — this is working.

Now, don’t focus on the huge, monumental goal, just focus on the next ledge that’s there.

I started climbing up that mountain fairly quickly.

There were a lot of big shifts that occurred along that journey, after the 30-Day Challenge, and even during the 30-Day Challenge.

SEB: Right. I say it’s a journey of a lot of little steps.

You take a little step made a bit of progress and people seem to frequently think it’s part of irrational thinking.

It’s like black or white thinking. I’m either socially anxious, or I’m socially confident.

Not taking into consideration that there’s a huge transformation in between these two states of mind:

  • Decreasing of anxiety
  • Less long sticking around
  • Your first situation where you no longer feel anxiety
  • Feeling comfortable with a particular person that you felt anxious around all the time
  • Connecting more deeply with people
  • Actually, feel free to be yourself
  • Noticing that you’re more at ease,

And it’s all like a gentle progression that happens over a period of time.

It’s not like you’re here now and then you’re there all of a sudden, right?

It did not happen for you overnight.

BRENT: And then you get to the fun part is you get to look back after you’ve been so, narrow in your thinking in that you’re just focusing on those next steps.

And when you look back later, you’re like, wow, like even just us talking right now is reminding me of that it’s been a long journey. And there’s been a lot of progress I’ve made.

But that’s the fun part. Look back down the mountain – Yes, I’ve made a lot from that mountain.

Even if there’s still a long way to go, that’s fine.

You still get to constantly look down the mountain. You see where you’ve gone and so that’s motivating.

I just want to say…I don’t know how I can prove that I’ve been where that person is, whoever that person is, who made that comment, I’ve been in your shoes. If that person, whoever’s listening to this, is getting anxious.

I literally could tell you, I used to go to grocery stores and have beet-red because of the anticipation of communicating with the cashier/the teller/whatever you call it — that just because my thoughts would just go insane and then I’ll get embarrassed about a perceived response from that person.

Before I even started talking to them, my face would go red, and then I would barely even be able to say the words because my chest would be so tight. I’d be so shaky. I would literally be shaking when I was giving them my credit card to pay for groceries at the store.

I used to be so terrified to leave voicemails on people’s answering machines that I would write down word for word, exactly what I was going to say. And then I would read it off the paper.

And this is very problematic because sometimes, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to write.

I remember being in the car one time with my friend. And then when I had to call somebody. I was like, Shit, I have to call somebody? — First of all, I got to call somebody is anxiety-provoking enough, be even just being with my friend was anxiety-provoking enough.

And then I had [to call] but there was no response. So, I had to leave a voicemail.

And so, I was terrified. I was almost sweating. And so, I had to leave a message.

And it was so ridiculous. It didn’t even make logical sense.

The message that I left, because I was so nervous.

So, I don’t know. I’ve been in your shoes before.

SEB: The interesting thing that you’re saying like doesn’t make any sense (the message that you left on the phone) because your brain is hijacked at that moment. It’s in survival mode. And you can’t think properly

You can’t socialize.

You don’t have access to your normal capabilities at that moment because people often judge themselves that they don’t have social skills, and so on and so forth.

There’s a small percentage that might indeed, could do with some social skill training, I guess?

But the most important thing is this: if you’re feeling comfortable, and you’re okay with saying whatever comes to mind, you don’t really need that many social skills.

It’s just, you need some common sense.

And you have that available to you when you’re not feeling anxious.

If you think about it, when you’re around a particular person that you are comfortable with, hoping that you do have a person like that, social ease is just feeling like that around all people.

BRENT: I actually have a comment for that.

For anybody out there, I one point in my life, I had no one that I was comfortable that no one, not even my girlfriend that I had at the time. It was really a deep dark place for me because I wasn’t comfortable with myself.

So, I didn’t know where I went. Could I escape the anxiety?

It was all-encompassing. My world was caving in on itself. It was really rough.

I slowly made progress and a lot of progress with your program — being comfortable with myself.

Then I started to say that I was doing this book.

I did have some cracks open in the door, where I was starting to feel a little comfortable in times when I was by myself and not with anybody. No social interactions.

So that was where I started making progress.

But then with your program, like pry that wide open.

And then I started becoming more comfortable in these social situations, that’s when I really started realizing that this is the real deal and it was working.

SEB: So, some of the things that you did before, kind of set the stage for the breakthroughs after. Is that how I’m interpreting what you’re saying?

BRENT: I think so.

I had mindfulness meditation, and I had done CBT.

But mindfulness meditation as part of the whole Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

I can’t ignore the benefits of those.

Those strategies that I was using before kind of led me and it just helped me get by.

That’s how I think about it before I went to your program.

SEB: My mentor, David Lake is a psychotherapist said that the problem with these kinds of approaches is that they’re operating on the cognitive level and they help you to function better. But the fear is still there.

It doesn’t deal with the fear, doesn’t get rid of that fear. And so, you’re feeling the fear and you’re doing it anyway.

You have a better life quality, but you’re still dealing with the fear.

And that’s my experience as well.

So, question that I wanted to ask you earlier.

How do you now feel about the lost years?

BRENT: I don’t know. I just tell people I’m making up for the lost time.

It’s kind of funny now. I have this other problem where I can’t stop talking. I talk too much now. Sometimes it’s a nice problem to have. But it’s just another problem. I just told myself I’m making up for the lost time.

My perspective now is, it is what it is in the past. All I can do is just focus on the present moment.

I still love that philosophy of small baby steps.

I now have very big goals and very big ambitions, with my own business, and with my personal life and things that I want to do.

But I can’t focus on those things too much, or else I’m getting to give myself anxiety.

I could just focus on these small little milestones and accomplishments and goals along the way. And whatever happens, happens.

SEB: Excellent. I also asked that question, because I wanted to share it for myself. Because this has come up for people.

And I also know that other people in (the SCC) like Kate, for example, shared it in her interview, which I read and recently rewatched: My social anxiety was very bad. It was very, very bad for a long time. And in those moments, I really suffered. And I really looked forward to one day, being free of it, one day being able to speak my mind, enjoy interacting, just feel really free and to have what I saw some other people have.

  • To have friendships, groups of friends, being able to start conversations all over the place, and just really, really being free and liberated, I really looked forward to that and I craved that at that point.

And I was also upset about all that I was missing out on because I saw other people having that.

And it cringed, hurt, and it sucked so much because I know that underneath,

I actually am very different than how I’m currently capable of showing up socially.

I knew deep down this is not really me, this blushing and feeling scared of things, and my heart started to race for no reason. And all these problems, that’s not really me. And it’s super frustrating, and so on.

And I thought that the upset about the missed years, which were many because it started when I was 12 and it lasted until my 20s. I started to resolve the bulk of it in my mid 20’s, more or less. But it took years before it finally really left.

But I thought I would be upset about the last years, but I’m not the least bit upset about it.

This is just the past, this is over, it’s gone.

I’m too busy living in the present and thinking about the future.

I like where I’m at and I’m looking forward to where I’m going.

That doesn’t mean I’m always in a happy, jolly state.

No, of course not. I’m only human.

But most of the time, this is my default.

Something can be off.

But my default is I enjoy the present moment.

I look forward to the future.

And I’m not moping around upset about all of these last years.

It’s also because these years have led to so much personal development and training and self-awareness and coming to understand who I really am. And that right now I just have a very, very rich experience. And I attribute it to that.

I attribute that to having done that inner work in order to get to this place where I am so pleased, bordering on cocky, where I’m so pleased with myself.

And it no longer isn’t an arrogant kind of thing because, believe me, I had to work on that a lot too.

You just like yourself, and like being around other people, connecting with people, and just enjoying other people and not being in these competitions like I’m better than you, you’re worse than me, and I got to do this to one-up you and make you look bad. Like game playing.

It’s not there and so I’m just enjoying my life, I’m enjoying my social life.

And so, I appreciate the shitty years for what they’ve been, what they were, and it’s what it is.

BRENT: I was thinking about getting a tattoo actually. And I was going to because there’s this quote that I really loved. It’s…

“No tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reached down through hell.”

I kind of attribute all those years that I struggled as almost necessary for where I’ve gotten. Whether that’s true or not, I have no idea.

I just believe that because I can and it helps me. That belief is just so strong now. Maybe I could have suffered more, and maybe I would have been, further along. I don’t like to read it that way. So that’s kind of how I look at it.

SEB: I just want to say we have a bit of a jolly attitude towards the struggle.

And that’s not, for me personally at least that’s not because I don’t understand or that I don’t honor it or, it’s just that when you’re not in it, for one that’s really nice and liberating. And it’s a lot easier to talk how about how it was when you’re in the midst of it, it is really, really damn difficult.

Now, a bunch of years ago, only like two or three years ago, I got triggered badly.

Now I say I’m anxiety-free, right? I’ve been saying that for years. And that’s the general consensus.

However, in that scenario, I got triggered, and I got triggered so badly that I’m teaching is already for a decade.

And I excused myself from the social situation to go be by myself in my room, it was in Italy, and to just tap, and try to come to terms with how I was feeling, reminding myself of everything that I’ve learned, okay, this is trauma that I’m dealing with, something got triggered here. This really sucks, but it’s just feelings.

I can allow the feelings. I can accept these feelings. It is going to be alright, Seb. Relax.

It doesn’t matter in the big scheme. Yes, I’ve acted really weird.

Yes, they probably have their thoughts about it, but it doesn’t matter.

You know, you’re not judged by this particular thing.

Anything and everything I could pull out of the windows. It was important for me to hold on and heal.

After an hour and a half of this. I was at least a bit calmer, but still suffering a fair bit. And I went to bed.

The next morning, I was nervous to go down and deal with my friends. Because we were we were all staying in one place.

And I tapped in the morning. And that I got triggered so badly that for that whole weekend. (It got triggered on a Friday, Saturday it was still there, it got better and I tapped and I got better. It got smaller and smaller. And on Sunday when they brought me away with the car, I stepped into the train and like thank fucking god, that weekend is over.) You know, that was so tough. It was really tough.

And I can’t wait to work through the rest of this fricking thing that got triggered in my session with my coach because, man, this is gold. This stuff that got triggered here is really big. If it upsets me at this point for two days. This is some gold here. I really know what suffering is and I know what it is when you’re going through it. So, it is really a tough time. But you can work through it.

And there are perspectives, mindsets, attitudes and there are stress strategies and techniques that can make your suffering less and less and less. And you can work through the triggers so that you no longer have 57 triggering things, you only have 50 triggering things that are going to improve your life quality a fair bit.

And then you only have 40, you only have 13, and you only have 20. And you only have 10. And then you hardly get triggered. And every now and then, there’s one of the 10 remainings. And then as I Oh, great, let’s work through this one.

Now I got even less left, you get triggered even less frequently.

That’s the journey. That’s the path. You go through stages.

BRENT: I think what you set up is genius, to be honest, because it’s just created this like an umbrella over people’s heads and a safety net underneath them.

So that this environment, in this social environment (is a social environment) it’s a place like a laboratory, and you can run these experiments. Or a training center, like it’s training you for the real world.

And what you learn in the group, translates out into the real world.

Where else can you get that? I mean, that’s why I think it works.

Like obviously, tapping is a very powerful technique. But I think the group setting that you’ve set up is just like, it’s an incredible combination, those two things.

SEB: I’ve been surprised by that. You know, the whole community element. I thought it’s going to be great for people to see others transform on screen.

I’m going to work with people, they’re going to see that they’re going to tap along, it’s going to be inspiring to see others make that change.

Seeing that, that’s going to help them feel, I can do this too.

Wow, I can see that this is working, because that was how it was for me.

Why? Because tapping didn’t work for me initially.

But I had seen enough practitioners work with people on the screen where I saw the change, and I’m like, this is for real.

It’s undeniable then that the tapping works when you see it live demonstrated in front of you.

That was one of the big reasons.

I thought people can tap along.

They can borrow benefits.

We’re going to set it up in such a way that people will, will be able to connect with each other via the forum. And I think that the WhatsApp group was even created. I think we created that as a backup option to the forum or something. And the bonds actually got formed.

Initially, by putting a lot of time into it, and making it really simple for people, okay, send a picture of what you’re seeing right now, we build it up really slowly, so that bonds are being formed.

What we’re now going to do in the new search conference clubs, we’re actually going to offer to make mini-WhatsApp support groups.

Like mini accountability.

We have like, five or six people from the same time zone that are going through the challenge.

And they also have their mini-group to check in with, keep each other accountable, ask questions. We’re going to really leverage that community element.

There is something special about that because so many people are reporting it. It’s like, it’s nice that there’s a place where I can freely speak my mind that I’m not judged for the fact that I have social anxiety.

We’re all in the same boat.

And we’re all supporting each other.

BRENT: I think that’s where some of the biggest shifts came when I finally had the courage to participate and be a volunteer in the group and do the live chat, which was terrifying, by the way. Absolutely terrifying.

But it just ended up it was just another milestone in the journey. I think you got something.

One thing that I struggled with was I was doubtful when you said oh, you know, it’s a gentle approach.

And you know, you can really get somewhere fast.

And I thought, well said. How long did it take you? Took you 10 years or whatever? How many years? 12? 15 years and you spent thousands and hundreds of dollars.

Well, I can’t do that.

I can’t spend all the money that you spent and all the time that you spent.

Well, how do we know that you only got where you go?

Because of all the things that you did, and how are you so confident that this group is going to do it, and it’s significantly cheaper and significantly less time.

I had that skeptics skepticism.

I’m just naturally skeptical.

But anyway, I just took a leap of faith.

And then in when I got in the group, I went, that’s why he’s taken all of the shit that he did, we did out 90% of the stuff that didn’t work.

And now we’ve got this 10% and he’s created this like, group that he wished he had, to be able to support him through the process because that how important it is that, social support and accountability.

And you know, all this stuff layered into it.

So that’s why I think it kind of zips you up the mountain a lot quicker than what you did.

Maybe even what I did beforehand.  I lost you all the years, pretty much from 18 to 28, 29 due to anxiety and depression and trying to fight my way through it.

I just to come in and piggyback on your point, it was hell, it was really hell.

So, I really understand people, I don’t mean to trivialize it, almost make it look like we’re laughing at the process of something and I respect the shit out of it.

I’m very much aware and sometimes I do also default back into states very similar to that.

Which reminds me of how difficult it was and how much of a struggle it was.

I think I had a man.

I wish your program was there when I was 20. I think I could have just skipped, seven, eight years of struggle.

To be honest, I truly believe that. You’re not paying me anything to say this.

I’m just saying it because I purchased, bought the program and I’ve got that much value out of it.

SEB: Appreciate that. Nice.

I told you beforehand, we’re going to do this unscripted because I thought that would be a good idea. You know, to keep it quite casual.

Well, I think this is a good place to end it.

So first of all, thanks a lot, Brent, for chiming in, sharing some perspective, pimping my club.

I want to say that if you’re interested in joining the Social Confidence Club, at the moment this interview is released, it’s not open yet.

We’re going to open it in the middle of February.

When exactly remains to be announced.

But you can go to the early registration list.

And because we’re going to have limited availability, we can only serve so many people.

And you can go to that early announcement list.

You can register on to that list by going to bit.ly/socialconfidenceclub.

And I’ll talk to you very soon.

Thanks for your time, and go there now.

Bye.

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