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“I am a tough case.”
“I fear people finding out about my problem.”
“I have a lot of negative talk about myself.”
These are some of the statements a person with Social Anxiety have.
And in this episode, watch Brent as he effortlessly shares his #JourneyToSocialEase and how tapping helped him become the person he is today.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the interview!
Note: The Social Confidence Club is currently closed for registration.
If you’re interested to join, pre-register using the link below and you will be notified as soon as enrollment starts.
Seb: Hi, this is Sebastiaan from social-anxiety-solutions.com
I’m a former Social Anxiety Disorder sufferer and a Social Confidence coach
Welcome! Today, I’m going to be interviewing Brent.
Brent has joined our Social Confidence Club that started last 2020 May. We’ve been running it for eight months.
Prior to that, he did a 30-Day challenge. And we’re going to be talking about the Social Confidence Club today.
And my usual style is going to be quite casual.
Basically, I’ve got a bunch of questions that I’ve written down from the web about, “hey, what questions to ask to uncover someone’s experience?”
And I’m just going to ramble those off and then play with the answers that I get, and it will be interesting. And I think it’s very empowering for you.
First of all, thanks, Brent, for doing this. Very cool. Cheers!
To give people a bit of an idea of what it was like for you. What was your social anxiety experience before you did any tapping before you joined the Social Confidence Club?
Brent: Well, I’ve been (I guess) suffering from anxiety for probably since I was…I’m 32 now. Probably when I was 18 or 19, actually.
I had problems before that. I would be really excessively shy.
And I then read a paragraph in the university about the Psychology 101 textbook when I was in a Psychology class. I read one paragraph on social anxiety disorder, and it was the ultimate white coat syndrome.
It was almost like a light bulb went off in my head. And then I actually bit it in the wrong direction. I actually spiraled down. It affected me quite a bit and a lot of negative self-talk. And it led me into significant anxiety.
So, I got to a point where I couldn’t even walk into the grocery stores. I couldn’t call people. I isolated myself from friends and family. And so, it got pretty dicey.
And then, I probably spent four years studying on my own and thinking that I could think my way out of it by just researching on Google and not telling anybody. Keeping it totally hidden from everybody, because that was one of my biggest fears was – people finding out that I had this anxiety problem.
Although, I’m sure it was written all over my face. Anytime I went anywhere, I would get blushing of my face excessively, and how my heart would race like crazy, it might get all these physical symptoms.
And then, I made a bit of a breakthrough because I told I told my parents, I got to the point where I couldn’t hide it anymore. So, I had to tell people, and they weren’t very shocked.
They directed me to my family doctor, and then I got down to sort of the typical Western route, I think, where I put on medication right away, and then off to a Psychiatrist who then referred me to a CBT Group.
It was helpful because it was nice to know that other people were suffering from the same problem.
They weren’t suffering from social anxiety, though. So, I thought, “Oh, I’m really tough case because I have social anxiety, and that’s worse than any type of anxiety these people have.”
Seb: Hmm. So, they didn’t have social anxiety? They had other anxiety in that group?
Brent: Well, yeah, I mean, looking back, I suspect people did have some social anxiety, but nobody wanted to admit it. Because that’s like the ultimate vulnerability.
If you admit that you’re socially anxious, well, you’re admitting that “I’m afraid of you.” Like “I’m afraid of you” around here. So, it’s kind of a taboo thing to say.
Anyway, I still thought I was kind of on my own. But then, I started going on YouTube, and I found people doing videos and stuff and saying, “I have social anxiety.” So that made me feel a bit better.
I studied a lot; there was a big, thick binder full of cognitive-behavioral therapy information. So, changing my thoughts, changing my behaviors, doing mindfulness meditation.
Probably the best thing out of that, though, is I did start my own mindfulness routine. So, I started meditating, which I think did help because it helped me. At least, sort of, temporarily slow down my thoughts when I was on my own.
I felt a little bit better on my own, but I would still get crazy, like triggers when I was around certain people, definitely, my family were huge triggers; every Christmas or event where I had to go backward with family, it was a disaster.
I continued. Until I started finding out about your work three years ago, I did some random spontaneous tapping and didn’t stay with it; I didn’t commit to it fully. But I got great results from just a few sessions or few periods where I did it for an extended period of time, maybe like a couple of weeks, and then I fell off the wagon.
And then, things really started to change for me last year when I did the 30-Day Challenge, so I just had all these light bulb moments go off throughout the 30-day Challenge, and then I thought, Okay, well, the missing pieces I have not been committed to it, I haven’t been doing it every day and making it a routine.
And then as soon as I did that, I mean, it’s 2020, so everybody’s been worrying and freaking out about COVID. And I’ve been having the best year of my life. I’m like, “Man, I go down, and this has been one of the best years I’ve ever had.”
Seb: Wow, that’s profound. So, there’s the 30 Day Challenge. And then, after the 30 Day Challenge, you joined the Social Confidence Club. Now, did you have any doubts about joining that club?
Brent: No. Not after the 30 Day Challenge. I was pretty much, in my mind, I was convinced that this was going to be the thing for me because I loved the fact that you could do these big; created an environment where I could actually do exposure therapy, but it was controlled.
It is rarely that you get these opportunities to go and do social exposures, which are barely even exposures because you gave us the option of just joining the webinars, the weekly sessions, without any audio or without any videos, so you could just join.
I was okay with just having the camera on and my audio off and not saying anything.
That was just what I liked about it. This is perfect. This is what I need.
Brent: And then I slowly gained the courage to spotlight me for one of the webinars. And then that was a big shift.
And then, there were just multiple shifts in my mindset as I went.
And then, I realized as I was going, I was working through these old memories, and I was processing them because I didn’t process them back then properly.
I didn’t have the tools available to me as a child. I guess I got dealt kind of a crappy head. But I didn’t play it very well when I was a kid.
But now, it’s amazing! I was skeptical that you could take away the emotion from memory or the belief, and then it wouldn’t come back. That’s a very eye-opening thing for me, and even if I tried to think about it, I can’t bring the emotion back.
Seb: Yeah. It’s amazing.
Brent: So, I needed a little bit of time to understand that that was possible. And now, I’m pretty much sold.
Seb: This kind of reminds me, I did not even tell people what the Social Confidence Club is.
Let me just brief you about the Social Confidence Club is. What we do is we have three contact points:
So, on Sunday, I take a volunteer, and I do a session with that person. Everyone watches and follows along and taps along. And because you can relate to the person on screen, because we’re all dealing with similar or the same issues, your issues get triggered just by that. And you just tap along and get insights on how to work through your stuff, and so on.
On Friday, the hangout. It’s more casual.
And so, that’s the Social Confidence Club. That’s how it’s set up.
And these lessons on Wednesday, they move you through the five stages, from social anxiety to effortless social ease.
So, you get lessons on how to improve your self-esteem, how to get rid of shame, how to get rid of social perfectionism, how to deactivate your triggers, and turn them into confidence, etc. It’s quite structured.
What Brent was talking about was, in these live webinars, you have the option to be the following:
So that’s a way of kind of exposing yourself.
Because every other week we do group work. And then anyone who’s in the screen, I’ll work with them. So, I’ll be working with 10, sometimes 15 people at the same time in 90 minutes, and everyone kind of gets a bit of work done.
And something very special in the dynamic that’s created there because everyone has social anxiety. And so, one of the first things that I’ll do when someone unmutes themselves, I’m like, “Okay, how high is your level of anxiety right now?” // “About a 6” // “Okay, great. Let’s work with it.”
And so, it’s kind of like a CBT meeting and the ones that you described.
However, everyone has social anxiety here, and you’re doing it from the comfort of your own home. And so, there’s a big level of acceptance that comes in with this kind of setup.
We’re all in the same boat here. We all know what’s going on. And it creates a very different relationship with anxiety. And we can directly address the problem right there in the moment. So it’s pretty good.
Brent: I think it’s important to say that, when you said six out of 10, I would say, it’s more than 10 out of 10 for me.
But the thing that’s different, though, is it’s a different 10 out of 10. So, I guess, maybe it’s not 10 out of 10. But because I did all that work before, I wasn’t suffering as much from that – that extreme anxiety.
Even though I had anxiety being the center of attention on the group, it was just there was some different quality to it. I was actually more excited to be part of that because I knew while I’m working on it, I know I kind of have some familiarity with the process here.
So, I know that coming out of this, I’m going to be okay. And it’s going to be beneficial.
So then, the next time I did the same thing, it was much less, it was significantly less.
Seb: That’s a very good point. Because we’re creating a safe container for you to show up and demonstrate your issue.
And we’re not judging you. For like, in a normal situation, people judge you because they’re like, “What’s wrong with him? Why is he so awkward? or Why is he so weird?”
That doesn’t happen here. We understand that you’re reliving old stuff, your brain is perceiving threats. And we’re just talking about what are these threats? Oh, it’s this. Okay, great. Let’s tap on it. And let’s work through it. And it’s quite casual, playful. And it’s usually a good time.
And see, I’m automatically starting to tap. That’s typically what we’re doing. We’re having a conversation; we’re adding the tapping to it.
All right. So, it’s been eight months now that you’ve been part of the club? And what are your results? What has changed? How’s your social anxiety now?
Brent: It’s dramatically less.
I could probably just give you some examples.
Before, I mean, it probably one good example is just me talking right now; I’m able to organize my thoughts. It’s just a very harmonious flow. There’s no weight on my shoulders, there’s no constriction of my mind, my mind is very open. It’s just a very nice light kind of feeling.
And I can kind of go in any direction, I’m just talking now. It is crazy to think that this is possible, because before, like 10 years ago, I would have to write on a whole piece of paper on a piece of paper, if I was going to leave a message for somebody on the voicemail or on their phone, I have to write it down because I was so scared of the things that were coming out of my mouth. I had to make sure that it was perfect. And so, I would read it off of the paper.
And so, now, me talking in front of people one on one is amazing enough. But doing it, knowing that there’s a whole bunch of people watching this, it just doesn’t affect me. This is pretty crazy.
But I mean, it positively affected my work. I have my own business. I started my own business. And that sounds like maybe it was really, and then that was before this group. And maybe people think ‘wow, that’s impressive.’ But I was gritting my teeth and white-knuckling my way through it, I was just struggling through it the whole time.
And I felt like, I would forget things very easily because I had so much anxiety constantly. And so many racing thoughts through my mind. I would forget even conversations with people, I would forget what somebody said even a minute before because I was just so worried about how they’re perceiving me and how I was coming across.
And so I couldn’t get anything done. It was very counterproductive. So my business didn’t go anywhere, because I couldn’t build relationships with people.
But now, this year, my business has actually taken off significantly, because now I can get on the phone and call people. And I could do zoom meetings with people, and it’s fine.
And now that I’ve started those relationships, and built those relationships, everything’s kind of snowballing in the right direction.
Brent: That’s why I said, 2020, has been the best year of my life.
And then second to that, my personal relationships with my wife and friends, I’ve reconnected with family. My brothers used to be big triggers (my two older brothers), and I actually look forward to calling them, which I can’t believe that still. Because I dread every moment of my life, or every moment I was with them for the last 10 years has been very uncomfortable.
And then this year, it’s been the opposite, it’s been easier and enjoyable, I actually enjoy talking to them.
Seb: It’s amazing what happens to your relationship in your life when you start to change the things inside and you start changing your own reactions that are frozen reactions from way back when.
And you actually step into the present moment, by de-activating the past, you still remember what happens, but it’s not triggering you anymore. It’s not triggering you in the same way anymore. And you just update those old programs.
You liberate yourself. So, it’s very cool. Nice. That’s great. It’s great.
Well, has it been worth the money you’ve invested?
Brent: Yeah! I think that speaks for itself. Yeah, definitely. It’s been the best return on investment. I think ever.
I wouldn’t change anything. I think it’s reasonable too. I think if you look at it from a cost-benefit, the benefits that you get are just are completely worth it. Basically, you’re investing in the rest of your life, it’s the way I look at it.
And so, that’s what I think about right now is like, I’ll probably look back at it 10 years from now and still think it’s the best investment I’ve ever made.
Seb: Right. Because the thing is the work that you do, the results that you accomplish, that’s with you for the rest of your life.
So it’s a process that you’re undertaking, and it’s not always easy. But the benefits that you’re gaining are lifetime benefits.
Not just the results that you get emotionally, mentally, and how that affects your relationships, your career, and so on. But also the tools that you learn for future stuff.
Because life is life and shit happens and problems occur. And you’ll have a very different approach and mindsets towards upcoming problems.
When they do occur, you just become a lot more emotionally mature and, and psychologically resilient.
I’m taking over but sorry, I get too excited. All right. Was it a painful process?
Brent: No, not at all. Actually, all the stuff that I did before was really painful. Like doing the exposures through cognitive behavioral therapy.
I remember doing presentations to the group and just being terrified and it was just so uncomfortable. And I didn’t really make that. There weren’t many gains from it.
Maybe I think I got better just that speaking a little bit, but there’s only because I was just practicing. And I was practicing a lot in front of the mirror and trying to improve my ability to speak.
Brent: Skills and stuff, but the skills were okay that skills got better, but I didn’t feel any better. I felt the same way so that was always really discouraging.
Oh, and I did these awful shame attacks is what they call them in the CBT world.
So, I would walk into chapters while the bookstore where I’m from. And it’s a big bookstore with lots of people. And I would go and I would randomly pick a book off the shelf, and without looking at the title, I would take it to the front and, and pay for it. And then I would just immediately come back and then return it right away. And just so I think weird things like that, just to cover the embarrassment of doing things like that. And it turned out the book was on women’s health or something like that.
So that so the guy’s looking at me and thinks, “what is wrong with this person, reading and shaking at the same time.” And so, this guy’s probably like, “well, what’s going on here?”
And so on to those weird and like, turning the music up really loud. When I was listening to some song that I thought was embarrassing, I would turn it up loud and look at the person next to me driving.
So just like those little things where you’re purposely embarrassing yourself, kind of like you’re putting makeup all over your face and walking around.
I mean, those were awful and terrifying. And they didn’t really give me that much benefit.
But this was easy. This was like a walk in the park. You’re in control, you have given us the option to control certain parts of the experience.
When I was ready, I would just take that next little baby step. And then, and then it was just step, you know, baby steps every day or every week, and just over the few months, it just got significantly better.
Seb: Hmm, awesome!
The best way I can describe the journey. And I got that from this Psychotherapist whom I did some group supervision with, for a particular technique.
He was actually talking about getting into a long-term relationship.
And he said it’s a journey of a lot of little steps.
And I’m like, that very much applies to overcoming your social anxiety. It is a journey of a lot of little steps.
People think it’s this big leap, all of a sudden, boom, you’re socially at ease, and you walk out of the door, and you go from super anxious to super confident.
No, not like that at all. It’s a gradual process with big breakthroughs at times, but that’s it!
I just wanted to say if you’re watching this, so Brent’s experience has been pretty easy in the sense that, it’s not been as painful as the shame attacks that he’s describing.
But other people, you can experience difficulties along the journey, and that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong, it simply means, ‘okay, there’s something that’s got triggered. And now you need to look at that, and you need to address that. And we’ve got the resources for that within our club.’
Next question. What specifically do you like most about the club?
Brent: What do I like most?
Just that it’s regular, and it’s recurring. And it keeps you accountable.
So, every day I can I can go on the chat group and just see people commenting and then just me looking at that gets me motivated, because I see people commenting, and then I feel like walking. There’s no pressure for me.
At first, I was kind of like, I don’t feel part of the group, like, there was some anxiety there. So I just tapped on it. And then I use that as a little mini exposure and then I started typing on the chat room.
And then now I feel great. Like now I look at it and I’m like, I just want to know what everybody is up to. And I want to send a message and joke around.
So it’s like it was like such a great sense of community. So there’s all these people and I really like that people are from all over the world. That was super cool because I feel like a long time in my along my journey. I just felt very isolated like very stuck in my small part of the world, in this little town in Canada. And now I’m like, ‘Wow, there are these people all over.’
And that was really cool too, because then it’s like, this is a universal problem that people are suffering from.
And hearing other people’s stories, I think every single person in the group, I can relate to in some way. So, it really is such a common problem.
And I think you’ve decoded this whole thing really, really well, and deconstructed it.
Seb: Thank you.
Brent: So yeah, I just there’s lots of things I like about it. But probably that’s the best thing is that it keeps you accountable.
And then there’s a group of like-minded people.
Seb: Yeah. Awesome. What are three other things that you like? What are three other benefits in the Social Confidence club?
Brent: One is that you can control your exposure level.
So I mean, I can really dial up the exposure, if I wanted to, by participating more in putting myself in the spotlight, which I’ve been doing more often. And speaking up during the webinars.
What else do I like?
I like that there’s an opportunity just to have casual hangouts.
So not everything is just a very structured, formal process – That that is nice. I do like that. But I also like that there’s this.
Life is very unpredictable and spontaneous. So, there are opportunities to join in if you’re ready to join in on those more like spontaneous adlib-type situations.
Brent: And what else do I like? I don’t know. You said three. I can’t think of another thing? I don’t know. Everything. Everything about it.
Brent: And you know what’s a good thing to you, you actually get feedback from us too.
So, we can actually participate in it. I feel like I’m involved when you’re asking for my feedback. And then we give you feedback and then make changes based on what everybody wants. So that’s cool, too.
Seb: Cool. Yeah, We’re kind of as a group, determining the right way to get the best benefits for all involved.
So, I do little surveys every couple of months. Couple in the US, I believe it means two months, but the couple could be 2-4 months in my book, but we do surveys every now and then.
And based on that feedback, we can improve it. It’s a nice back and forth that we’ve got going.
I love that too.
All right. Final question. Would you recommend the social confidence club? If so, why?
Brent: No, I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. I highly recommend it. For all of the reasons that we just talked about, basically.
Seb: Good point.
Brent: This is life-changing. I think I’m living proof.
How would I recommend it to anybody? Actually, I recommended it to a friend of mine, he and I had been going through the same journey.
Also, I really liked how you have the milestones. That was really helpful for me, seeing that there are stages. And because I have more analytical mind. So, I just like it when there’s no more left-brain dominance. I like when there’s just like a step by step; someone’s broken it down like that.
And so, I think, my friend is more on the, he’s early in the milestones, I’m a little bit ahead, just because of my experience.
But I recommended it to him, knowing that he’s more on the severe side of things, but I know he’d benefit from it.
I would then recommend it to somebody who says ‘I’m a really successful business person’ who may be struggling a bit with presentations. It’s just like the same thing.
You can tap on the same things happening. There are just these emotionally charged thoughts and beliefs. The tapping process can eliminate social anxiety on different ends, different parts of the spectrum, but I would recommend it for anybody.
Seb: Awesome. Well, great! Anything else you’d like to add? I think we’ve said a lot.
Brent: No, I think that’s good. I got to get another cup of coffee.
Seb: All right, well, thanks for doing this. And thanks for sharing your experience. And I think a lot of people kind of know you. Because most of the people that are seeing this, not all people, but a lot of people have actually done the 30-Day Challenge. So, they’ve seen you encouraging others and participating.
So, it’s probably nice for them to see your face to the comments, or actually moving face because you have a picture there.
So thank you for doing this. Appreciate it. And we’ll be in contact soon.
Brent: Yeah, thanks a lot.
Seb: Thank you!