Putting the “Let Them Theory” Into Practice and Finding Peace

Putting the “Let Them Theory” Into Practice and Finding Peace

Michael Gagnon is back on the show and this time we talk about how he has implemented the “Let Them Theory.” He talks about how he did it, what challenges he faced, what he learned from it, and the emotional peace that he found.

Michael is back on the show and this time we talk about how he has implemented the “Let Them Theory.”  He talks about how he did it, what challenges he faced, what he learned from it, and the emotional peace that he found.

Michael Gagnon is Senior Manager, Strategic Sales at GoTo and has been in leadership positions for more than a decade.

In addition to his full-time focus as a leader and coach, Michael is currently on a journey learning to heal stored trauma in the body by finishing his certification as a Medical Reiki Therapist.



[00:02] Bobbi: Welcome to Unyielded: Thriving No Matter What, where we talk about how to make your next chapter in life your best chapter. I’m your host, Bobbi Kahler, and I believe that the best is yet to come. Back, everyone, to another episode of unyielded Thriving no Matter what. Today’s guest is a returning guest. I think you’ll recognize him. His name is Michael Gangon, and this time we’re going to talk about how he has implemented the Let Them theory. He talks about how he did it, what challenges he faced, what he learned from it, and the emotional piece that he found, as well as how it positively affected his relationships. Michael is a senior manager in strategic sales at Goto and has been in leadership positions for more than a decade. In addition to his full time focus as a leader and coach, he is currently on a journey learning to heal stored trauma in the body by finishing his certification as a medical reiki therapist. It’s time to welcome back Michael. Michael, welcome back to the show.

[01:23] Michael: Thank you so much. I am very excited, as always, to be back talking with you.

[01:29] Bobbi: I know you’re always one of my favorite interviews, favorite conversations, so we were kind of brainstorming ahead of time what we wanted to talk about this time. And you brought up a great, I guess is it a framework maybe by Mel Robbins? The let them. And I love this framework. So why don’t you tell the listeners a little bit about it and then we’ll kind of kick it around.

[01:53] Michael: Yeah. I stumbled across the Let Them theory from Mel Robbins on her Instagram, just as we all do, right? We consume content through scrolling short videos, and she had a short video about it, and it enticed me to listen to her full episode of her podcast that goes into it. It’s a very simple theory, but it’s quite complex. At least I have found for my personal self that it can be quite complicated in how we execute it. Ultimately, the Let Them theory is just letting people be themselves. So when someone sounds easy, sounds easy. So the concept is let people be themselves. When someone is making a decision that doesn’t necessarily have an impact on you, and it’s not something that so I think there are some rules when we can talk about that, but in most instances, you let other people make the decisions that they want to make. So the three situations where you wouldn’t it’s helpful to know would be if there’s a direct physical harm that’s imminent. So you wouldn’t just let someone drive give the keys and drive trunk. Right. That’s something where obviously where you’d step in the second piece is you’re not going to just let someone disrespect you, disrespect your boundaries. Right. There’s got to be mutual respect there. And then the third, which is very interesting, Mel, outlines that when it comes to salary negotiations in your career, you don’t just let someone just pay you whatever. That’s not one of those where you would just kind of let go.

[03:36] Bobbi: That makes sense.

[03:38] Michael: Fascinating. Right? But ultimately, those are the don’ts in the situation. Beyond that, it’s letting people fail. It’s letting people make decisions for themselves so they can learn their own lessons. It’s letting people show up for you in your life as they want to instead of how we want them to. And I think there’s a lot of power in that.

[04:04] Bobbi: I think there’s a lot of power in that. I’m making notes on that. When you were talking about the three don’ts, the physical harm. When I was in grad school, I had a professor. And he said when he was a very young consultant and he got a job at one of the big consulting firms I don’t remember which one, but his boss came to him and he said, look, my job is to help you fail safely. He said, What I mean by that is if I see you going up to the 10th floor and you’re going to jump out the window onto the concrete parking lot, I’m going to stop you. But if you’re going up to the second floor and you’re going to jump out onto the bushes or an air mattress or whatever, he said, I might let you jump out that window. But that’s kind of the same. Sometimes we have to and I imagine, like, for parents, it would be really hard and maybe for managers. Right.

[05:02] Michael: I understand. I’m nodding. I understand the feeling. Yes, absolutely. Well, because there’s an idea that it’s coming from a place of feeling like you know better, or that because you may have already learned it’s the wisdom you want to pass on.

[05:16] Bobbi: Right.

[05:17] Michael: But a lot of that wisdom comes from learning and the bumps and bruises that come from along the so one of the biggest lessons I learned from Mel’s discussion was that you’re robbing someone of the opportunity to learn. A powerful lesson if just by intervening just because you want to try to protect I mean, we keep going back to it’s hard, but sometimes the hardest thing is to do nothing just to watch someone but again, within reason, of course.

[05:48] Bobbi: Right. And if you think about it, those lessons that you learned the hard way, we tend to remember those. We don’t have to be reminded of those very often, but I think that can be a really hard thing to do. But you are kind of cheating them. I had a coach tell me that about myself years ago relative to my little sister, and she’s like, you’re cheating her out of her own self development, by the way that you’re trying to protect her all the time. I’m like, ow.

[06:21] Michael: Because you love her so much that you want the best.

[06:25] Bobbi: So it comes from a good space sometimes. But we are cheating them when we do that. Out of the experience. So tell me more about your experience with the let them how have you been? I can see from your face, thank goodness. Okay, so tell me more about how this is working for you, Michael.

[06:47] Michael: It’s working well, it’s been very eye opening. I don’t think each day I’m any better at it than the previous, but a new lesson at least, and I’m at least reminded that it’s working. There’s wisdom and benefit in continuing to try it, but it’s not a light switch. It’s not a vending machine moment where you put in the coin and you let them, and then everything just falls into place. It is a daily conscious effort based on wiring just to try to rewire that and to make it more natural. So it’s not natural yet, but there’s been a lot of wisdom. As an optimist, I have the tendency to see the best in people or to see them as I want them to be. In my mind, it’s what I think is the best version of them without any consideration for if that’s even what they want. And so that’s been one of the lessons, is just because I see what someone’s capable of, the infinite potential that they have, that doesn’t always match with what vision they have for themselves.

[07:59] Bobbi: That’s right.

[08:00] Michael: And a lot of conflict can come from that, whether that’s family members, whether that’s coworkers. There’s been a lot in just personal relationships with family members. I’ve wanted more of a connection. I’ve wanted more time spent. I’ve wanted more just opportunities for us as a family to grow closer. And it’s not that my family members haven’t wanted that. I just think that the way that lives have been busy. We’ve had a lockdown and a shutdown. It’s made interaction, physical interaction, more difficult. Travel has been kind of hard. And so an example, my mom recently reached out, and we rotate Thanksgiving and Christmas every year between my family and my husband’s family. And so this year would be Thanksgiving with my mom. And so she reached out and she said, wanted to let you know I made other plans for Thanksgiving this year.

[08:52] Bobbi: Oh, no.

[08:56] Michael: I just wanted to give you a heads up. And so it’s plenty of time before that. So she was being courteous. My initial instinct would have been to try to debate her on that or try to convince her or potentially get upset about it. And before even I just I got that that sense that I was going there. I felt my chest tighten.

[09:18] Bobbi: Yes.

[09:19] Michael: Here we go.

[09:20] Bobbi: Breathe.

[09:23] Michael: I heard the voice that said letter. If she’s got another plan, if there’s another way that she wants to celebrate the holiday letter, it’s fine, just let her. And in that space, I said, Great. I’m happy you’re getting to do something that’s really exciting for you. It’s a chance to see some other family members or a chance to spend the holidays in a special way for you. Fully support that, and we’ll coordinate another time. Maybe you eat before that or afterwards, and we can see each other. And it shocked her, like, wait a minute, where’s Michael? Right. And to the point in that conversation, she said, I’d like to know that you would miss me. It kind of scared her. That, why is he so chill? Oh, he doesn’t want to spend Thanksgiving with me. But it was a good discussion to say, no, of course I want to spend holidays with you. We don’t have to spend that particular day together for us to create an opportunity to spend some time. We can be intentional about another day or week. And I want to make sure you have that. The desire to have that Rockwellian family moment from Turkey, I had to let it go, and that doesn’t necessarily matter. And the connection I’m trying to have with her isn’t improved by holding on so tightly that we have to spend Thanksgiving together when she would rather do something else.

[10:52] Bobbi: Right.

[10:53] Michael: So that was a powerful moment of just don’t let go of what you want for the other person. Let go of your idea of what an ideal relationship is and open up to what it could be, because it probably is going to be better.

[11:10] Bobbi: I love that there’s a lot in there, too, because it sounds like it’s not just letting go of what you want. It’s that idyllic version of it. And I’ve got to control it. And the story that we tell ourselves about what it means, it’d be easy for you to go like, well, my mom doesn’t care about it. And pretty soon we’ve fabricated this whole story, this novel that may or may not even be true. I’m really picking up on how many times that happens in life. Something happens and we construct a story, and it’s like, how’d we end up here? How did this story happen? So it sounds like Michael, in the past, that would have bothered you.

[11:55] Michael: It would have, because the ego kicks in and you immediately think that, oh, it’s because of you, or it’s a deficit on your part. If I was a better son, if I was more loving, if I was more interesting, they would want to spend more time with me. Right. This web you weave and that spiral that you get yourself into about all the things that are wrong with you and why you take it personally, and I’m learning the older I get, I’m learning that people it’s not that complicated. People are really just kind of more involved in their own things that they’re doing, and it’s not always about you. And so part of that letting it go. Let go of the fact that they’re making decisions because of you. They’re doing what they want.

[12:40] Bobbi: That’s right.

[12:41] Michael: And they can be happier if you just let them.

[12:43] Bobbi: Just let them. It sounds like, though maybe it wasn’t your first reaction. We talked about choosing again on the last episode. So once you owe again, it sounds like you went there. How did you feel when you made that decision, when you made that choice?

[13:04] Michael: There were two feelings. Which one was a peace and an acceptance and love. That was one kind of nugget, and then the next was, am I giving up? Am I just giving up on that person? And that’s been that struggle of does that just mean is letting them just mean that I’m no longer pushing to improve relationships or I’m no longer invested? And I had to really work through the roller coaster of let go of your idea of the relationship and just see it for what it is and accept it as it can be and accept it for what it is, not what I’m holding on to. Right. So a lot of that letting them and that letting go is all the things that we create in our minds of what things are and not so much on the things that cloud our vision, the lenses that we put on to kind of see the world. I had to take the lenses off.

[14:06] Bobbi: Right. So how long ago was this when she said that she was going to do something else for Thanksgiving?

[14:11] Michael: About a month, month and a half ago.

[14:13] Bobbi: Okay, so that question you had, the second thing about you. So peace was one thing, which was good. And then, Am I giving up on them? What do you think about that question now? Am I giving up on them? How would you answer that?

[14:27] Michael: Now I’m further down that rabbit hole of letting go of the pressures I put on myself and other people that I’ve created in my head that they haven’t even necessarily agreed to.

[14:43] Bobbi: That happens a lot though, right? These unexpressed expectations that drives Rick, drives him nuts. He’s like, I never agree, and it doesn’t usually happen to me because I know, but other people and he’s like, Why is this the expectation? We never had a conversation about this.

[15:01] Michael: I saw the flicker in your eye as soon as I said that. I was like, oh.

[15:06] Bobbi: Because it’s true. So it sounds like growth for you.

[15:11] Michael: Yes. But it’s painful. Right? And a lot of it is tears and pain, bruises and feeling silly. Yes, it’s certainly growth. There’s happiness on the other side of it. But it’s realizing that I am the source of my own discomfort. I am the source of my own unhappiness. We all do that. We create these images in our heads of what we want things to be, these expectations of how they’re supposed to be. We don’t necessarily question why or how they form. And then all of our interactions with people are informed by that. And then we hold so tightly that we don’t even let them be themselves the moment they start showing who they want to be. We react again. It’s been a challenge, but I do see a lot of value, and it’s just the simpler choice. Let go. Let them do it.

[16:16] Bobbi: And it releases a lot of anxiety or angst right when we’re trying to control it. Also sounds, though, like, from what you were telling me, it ended up you and your mom having a good conversation about it, right?

[16:29] Michael: A much better conversation than if I had followed the initial gut instinct. Yeah, lots of good follow up since then to be able to get to a better place about it.

[16:42] Bobbi: It’s interesting because you brought up the thing about the holiday. I was thinking sometimes it’s the know where it’s like, I used to have a friend well, she’s still a friend, but every Christmas she would, and I’m going to put this in air quotes have to go home to visit her mom and Michael, I’m not exaggerating. She would start stressing about it at Halloween and then she’d go home and it wouldn’t go well, and it’d be like St. Patrick’s Day before she recovered. And I’m like, that’s like, six months of a year. But it has to be this way. And her mom’s like, you have to come home. And what if you just had a conversation? And eventually they did, because every year I’d be like, why don’t you guys just have a conversation? There’s got to be a better way. Like, six months of the year you’re giving to this. She’d be on, like, antianxiety medications for this. This is how bad it was. Finally, they sat down, they had a conversation. Her mom’s like, God, I wish you would have said something earlier. And they decided they were going to do a girls trip instead of going home for Christmas, they’d do a girls trip to Mexico in March. I’m like, things don’t have to be so complicated.

[17:53] Michael: But how often does it happen where there are family traditions only to find out that everyone’s miserable and would rather do something else?

[18:02] Bobbi: It’s a powerful thing, and I think it’s also a tough thing, that whole notion of the let them. And I heard Mel in one of her episodes, she was talking about, well, and I hear this a lot. Well, so and so, one of my coworkers, they’re talking about me this way, and she’s like, Let them. Have you experienced anything along more of those lines?

[18:27] Michael: I subscribe to the belief that what other people think of me is none of my business. And that has been a lesson I learned early. It was a benefit to learn it early in life, and it served me well that it’s really none of my business. I don’t need to be burdened with someone else’s thoughts of me. I’m mean, enough to myself.

[18:50] Bobbi: Take that on, too.

[18:53] Michael: I am chock full of enough personal negativity to not create space for anyone else to be able to pile on. But I make a joke about that, but I don’t tend to worry about that. I find it’s liberating to just not be concerned by that.

[19:15] Bobbi: Yeah, it stood out to me because I would say it sounds like I didn’t learn it as early in life as you did. I was either late 20s or early thirty s and I was still caught by that because it always feels really unfair. Well, they’re thinking about me this way and it’s unfair and why don’t they see the good person that I am? And finally I had a coach and she’s like, do you understand how much power you are giving them? Because it’s what keeps you stuck, because you’re constantly trying to prove that. She said, you should know that you’re a good person. The person that she was referring to, she’s like, they’re never going to see you as a good person, they don’t want to see you as a good person. And it’s like, well, at first I’m like, well why? But there’s power to that if someone because you’re right what they think of you. Now, that’s my philosophy too. It’s not my business. I mean, I do my best to be a good person and after that it’s kind of out of my control. Which brings us to because earlier said depending on wiring, it can be tough. And I think if you have more of that controller instinct this one right here? Yes. Were you high in controller on PQ?

[20:37] Michael: Yes, I was high on a lot of things in PQ. Controller was the number one.

[20:43] Bobbi: Really? I remember that surprised me. So go ahead and share with the listeners what controller means because not everybody is going to know the PQ language that we’re talking about here.

[20:53] Michael: Sure. So through the PQ process there’s an assessment that helps you analyze your inner Saboteurs. And these are inner voices. These are responses to trauma that we basically create in life that early on when we experienced the trauma, these types of responses were insulating and protective. They were our childlike brain way of making sense of the world and how we can be protected and survive as we grow older and as we develop, our brains are still wired for that to be the response, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that those Saboteurs are serving us well in any capacity. And so for me, the number one is a controller. So if you’re growing up in an environment that seems a little out of control or there’s volatility, there’s any potential for tension fighting, any of those types of things, you can create this narrative in your head that if I can control the situation, everything can be fine and then I have the people pleaser. So if I can also then make everybody happy, that’s an element of controlling and that everything’s going to be fine, everything’s going to be safe and I’m going to feel good.

[22:08] Bobbi: Saboteurs are friends, that’s why we understand each other so well. Oh, my God.

[22:18] Michael: Did I explain it?

[22:20] Bobbi: Yeah, you did. So how have those that inner dialogue, how has that affected your ability to implement the let them?

[22:30] Michael: It is an environment that stands in direct opposition to letting people do whatever they want. It is a part of me that says, Let them. Are you crazy? No, I will absolutely not do that. I will not feel safe by letting people do that. There’s a lot of trust that is required. So the initial response, the controller comes into my head very loudly, just says, Wait, what? Cannot be serious. So knowing that, then I can recognize that this doesn’t feel safe, but it’s almost recognizing the risk as the healthier option. So, like, learning to find comfort in the physical response in your body, you start to sweat. As I’m talking about it, my palms are sweating. The controller recognizing those things not as danger danger, but as, okay, this is uncomfortable. You’re not unsafe. There’s discomfort here, and you’re not in danger. You’re not going to be subjected to any level of abuse. You’re going to be okay. You also can be happier if you just let go. You don’t have to hold this onto this. So it’s a lot of being very mindful of the physical responses in your body and also the emotional responses, because you can hear it in your voice. Your throat tightens, your speech changes. You can suddenly start talking faster. Just recognizing, okay, I don’t have to control this. I have this thing. If you’ve ever watched the Long Island Medium, when she’s about to do a reading, she moves her mouth in a way like she purses her lips almost like she’s put lipstick on. Yeah, I have this nervous tendency that when I’m not feeling safe or my lips start moving, like, I start going. And Mike recognizes it, and he’s like, your mouth is going what are you doing?

[24:39] Bobbi: You’re doing that look again.

[24:41] Michael: You’re doing the mouth. What is wrong with you? What’s going to let them? I’m trying to let you, or whatever it is. So there’s the physical aspect, there’s the emotional aspect, but just also understanding. I think there’s power in understanding why you have these tendencies, why you are wired this way. There’s a grace that can come with that. You don’t have to blame the reasons why. You don’t have to hate the inner saboteur. I’ve learned to love those aspects of myself because those are the things that have led me to this point.

[25:16] Bobbi: Right.

[25:17] Michael: But I also can say that the controller, you and I have had a long relationship throughout life, but this doesn’t have to continue, and I can move on in a better way. And through that PQ process and talking with you about it, there was the idea of the surfer, when you’re looking forward and just learning to ride the wave, that you don’t have to be the wave. You’re the surfer. And you’re on the surfboard and there’s a letting go and a let them aspect of that too. And I think so much of my life has been dictated by trying to convince myself that I’m the wave or.

[25:55] Bobbi: I can control the wave.

[25:57] Michael: I can control the wave with my mind. If I just work hard enough. Yeah, right. If I just was better, if I just pushed a little harder, if I just stayed up a little longer and worked on that thing a little bit better, if there was just something better about me or whatnot so much of that that’s driven by that controller, when really we’re not the Wave. We can’t control the wave. We can adjust. We can be successful as the surfer.

[26:29] Bobbi: Right. It’s funny that you mentioned that because I really love the notion of the surfer too. Even though I know nothing about surfing, I suspect I wouldn’t be very good at it.

[26:37] Michael: Same. You and I can watch from the beach.

[26:41] Bobbi: Skiing, okay. Surfing? I don’t think so, because you’re right, there’s so much stress that comes from that notion of I can control and if I only did this, if I only did that, I’m also high and pleasing. My top one is the hyper Vigilance, though. So imagine that little scenario. That is a perfect storm for stress because you always feel that danger. I think what you said earlier, too, it’s very wise that discernment between wait a minute, I’m feeling basically a stress response, but I’m not actually in danger.

[27:21] Michael: Right.

[27:22] Bobbi: That’s something Michael, with the PQ thing, that was hard for me because especially being so high and hyper mean that’s how I survived my to looking for.

[27:34] Michael: And understanding the imperceptible. To most people, slightest changes in the look in someone’s eye or a change in tone or just the general energy or emotion shift, being able to pick up on that meant that you understood when to duck or run or get out of the room. That was the survival mechanism that served you well. And also most hypervigilant people I know are the most empathetic.

[28:02] Bobbi: That’s right.

[28:04] Michael: You can make some really great coaches because you can really pick up on a lot of things. As someone who also scores high in that aspect too, I’ve had to learn that the changes aren’t about me and there’s a sort of letting them in that too of I can recognize that someone’s mood has changed, but I don’t have to take on the responsibility that it was my fault, that I did something to serve that they could just having a bad day and it’s nothing to do with and so learning just let them. I don’t have to fix your day. Right. Because you got the hyper vigilance, the controller and the people, pleaser. So someone in your life is having a bad day. You immediately want to go in and fix it and make everything happy and you absorb that. It’s something you did. How much time do you get back if you just let them be in a bad mood? Just give them the space to work through it or fail in whatever way they need to. Let them learn whatever lesson they need to. And it’s not about you.

[29:07] Bobbi: That’s a tough one. Yeah, that is a tough one. Because you feel it, right? When you’re that empathetic, you feel it. Rick is always saying to me, even I’m extremely empathetic and I pick up on stuff and he’s like, how do you even notice? But you’re right, it was a survival mechanism. And it’s funny. Well, I didn’t always think this. I had a friend this was years ago. We were talking and she’s an exceptional facilitator and she had a very similar background. And she’s like, that’s why you’re such a good facilitator. She said you can just feel the shift in the room. And you can because when that’s your survival, you hone that skill. So it’s great at times, but sometimes it’s like, man, you want to turn it off. You feel the slightest shift.

[29:56] Michael: Well, there was somebody, and I wish I could cite the source and the name escapes me, but there was a video I was watching recently where they talked about the line between hyper vigilance being manipulation and empathy. And that perceiving other people’s emotions and struggles and then making it about you, that it’s something you did. So then you then adjust it to try to make them happy and try to change their mood is a form of manipulation, really. But it’s how we make ourselves feel safe is like, oh, this person’s suddenly upset. I need to make them feel better because it’s dangerous. Are you being empathetic and allowing them to process their feelings or are you trying to manipulate the situation? And so that was like mind blowing for me.

[30:44] Bobbi: That is mind blowing.

[30:45] Michael: Am I stepping in to try to appease somebody to make me feel more safe and comfortable? Is that robbing them of just them processing their emotions and working through whatever they need to?

[30:56] Bobbi: I never thought of that before. But that’s a really good point because it is it can be really uncomfortable.

[31:03] Michael: Right? Yeah, right. Especially it’s kicking in because of response to trauma. You’re trying to sit in that space and just allow someone to feel their emotions. Feel good when you’re so attuned to their feelings but recognizing it’s not about you. Let them be mad. Let them sit in that space. Let them work through their feelings even if they are mad at you, their opinion, unless you’re actively trying to hurt somebody. Right. I like to operate on the idea of trying to focusing on kindness. If I can confidently know that I’m approaching things in the kindest way I can confidently know that I am not intending to hurt someone. And if I do hurt someone, then I’d hope that they would tell me. And then we’d have an opportunity to talk it out.

[32:00] Bobbi: Right. In such a way that you could talk it out, correct?

[32:04] Michael: Yeah.

[32:06] Bobbi: You know what? It’s interesting you say that too, because that’s kind of not word for word, but it’s kind of like my mindset on things. I try my best to be a kind, loving person, to bring light to stuff and a positive light. And so that gives me not that I never make mistakes, but my intent is never to hurt. So I would hope that someone, if I do something inadvertently, they’d be like, hey, can we talk about it? Okay. So I wanted to go back to something you said about the whole thing with if they’re in their bad mood, whatever, and it’s like, hey, I got to let them whatever. Are there any specific strategies you use to give yourself the space to be comfortable? Like, do you go for a walk, or do you just kind of like, is it a mental thing? What do you do?

[33:01] Michael: Yeah. I am a firm believer that not everything needs to be discussed right on the spot. Sometimes I feel safer if I can go for a walk, if I can go get some fresh air, if I can take a moment to think through my thoughts and feelings on something. Sometimes when things are so emotionally charged, it’s just not an environment that’s conducive to any sort of positive movement. Let them feel what they need to feel, let myself feel the feelings. Right. There’s so much about just emotional regulation I find in myself of just like, you shouldn’t have to feel that way or don’t feel that, or they didn’t mean to make you angry. Just be angry. The anger is faster. It works faster through you if you let yourself just be angry versus explaining all the reasons why you shouldn’t feel angry and trying to give that person the benefit of the doubt in your head. And then for me personally, I find that that whole process lasts so much longer than days, months, weeks of trying to explain away someone’s feelings and try and explain why I shouldn’t feel the way I do about that, I’ve had to learn. Just let myself just be angry. It is okay. Flip a table. I’m kidding. I’m not going to don’t flip the table. But it is okay. And I got that feedback in my career of as a leader, sometimes people need to see your emotions, and there’s power in that. And of course, not in a way that’s disrespectful or unprofessional, but in a way that lets people know that you are human and that if lines are crossed or if you have a certain level of expectations and there’s some frustration there, you can let it out. There is that line. My most proudest moments in my career have not been those moments, but those are the moments when my point has been more clearly articulated and heard and received well. So there is a benefit to just it’s not venting out the fresh. You just have to let it. Because otherwise I’m a person that would bottle it up. And then the most innocent, seemingly innocuous situation happens up, and all of a sudden I’m like, I’m so mad.

[35:29] Bobbi: Right?

[35:30] Michael: And then people are very confused as to what ticked him off with Michael. What happened to that? It’s. Part of letting them is also letting you feel it and feel it match the appropriate, match the emotion to whatever it is that’s bothering you, instead of trying to feel like you have to suppress it or work past it or through it, and then it just lingers. And then it ends up being applied to something that doesn’t have anything to do with. And then everyone gets very confused. So the part about letting them is just letting myself if you just need to be angry, be angry. And so taking a walk is a good way. Driving is one of those moments where I can really like, you put the music on, you put the sad music, you could just wail and belt out with the song and drive through the country. That’s always a good one for me.

[36:30] Bobbi: But it’s a release.

[36:31] Michael: Right.

[36:32] Bobbi: So if I heard you right, so someone does there’s some kind of transgression, makes you angry. And I think, as a pleaser, this is where that probably comes in a little bit. You’re trying to rationalize why they did it, why you shouldn’t be angry. That’s what you’re saying versus just saying, I’m angry.

[36:52] Michael: Yeah.

[36:53] Bobbi: Now you don’t have to go yelling and screaming and tipping tables over. There’s a great book I read this years ago by Harriet somebody or something, Harriet, I don’t remember, but it was called The Dance of Anger. One of the best books ever, because we’re taught we should never feel anger. Right? Shouldn’t be angry. You shouldn’t be angry. And she’s like, no, there are times you have every right to be angry. What you do with that anger is where it can become inappropriate. Right. And I’ll never forget I was 14, Michael, and we were watching on the farm. Our neighbors went on vacation for two weeks, so we’re watching their farm, and it was just a complete freaking disaster. Their sows all had litters of like twelve each, and everything that couldn’t go wrong was going wrong. And then their bull got out and visited the next door neighbors cows. And that guy wasn’t very happy. His name was Mr. Miller. And Mr. Miller came tearing onto our property, yelling, and my dad wasn’t home, yelling and screaming at my mom and me and my little sister. We were out in the garden, and it was terrifying. And our dog Snuggles, who wasn’t as cuddly as the name would imply, he was a big Australian shepherd. He was, like, growling. And Mr. Miller’s like, is that dog going to bite mom’s like, I don’t know, but it looks like we’re going to find out. So he took back off, running to the truck. Love my mom, right? So that night we’re telling dad, because dad gets home and we’re telling him what happened. Mr. Miller comes tearing back on the property. I mean, literally, gravel is flying into our driveway. My dad, without ever appearing to move fast, made it out to that man’s truck. And Mr. Miller, I thought, was going to cry. And my dad was like, let’s get one thing straight. You will never come tearing onto this property again. You will never yell at my wife and kids again. And he said, do you understand? And Mr. Miller, the most he could do is just nod. I swear there were tears coming. He was afraid. And then my dad’s like, okay, so what’s the problem with this bowl? And what do we do? How do we fix it? And as a 14 year old, I’m like, I knew my dad was mad, but he didn’t lose his temper. And I’m like, oh, my God. You can get angry because he was justified. That’s not right. What that man did was not right. He was threatening us. And I’m like, my mind was blown.

[39:30] Michael: Yeah. He didn’t call a name. He didn’t do all the things like the things that you the checklist of things that angry people do.

[39:37] Bobbi: Didn’t even raise his voice. No anger, no threats, no nothing. Just let’s let it was a very firm boundary. Let’s get one thing clear, and it was fine. And then they took care of it. They fixed the fence, and everything was fine. But it goes to we can feel anger and we can feel anger in healthy ways and do things to let it go because sometimes other person just isn’t at their best.

[40:04] Michael: Yeah, but he didn’t go through the motions of, well, maybe he’s just having a bad day and we don’t need to be angry with him. Right. He didn’t explain away and bottle it up. No, he let himself feel it and communicate very clearly what the boundary was.

[40:22] Bobbi: Right.

[40:23] Michael: He said what needed to be said, and then there was no reason to yeah, then there was no reason to dwell.

[40:29] Bobbi: None. And he came back in from fix of the fence and he’s like, totally fine.

[40:35] Michael: He did what he needed, right? Yeah.

[40:40] Bobbi: Oh, my God. Yeah. That is a great book. The dance of anger. It’s a really good book. I highly recommend that for anybody because it really does shed light on how anger is a valuable emotion. It’s telling us that there’s been some sort of transgression. Someone is as a coach used to tell me, if someone’s stepping on your toes, you have every right to say, you need to get off my toes. But as the pleaser, I’d be know, if you don’t mind, that’s kind of hurt my toe.

[41:11] Michael: If it’s okay with mean, but if you really need, like, I can hold my breath a little bit, right? I don’t really need all of my right.

[41:19] Bobbi: You’ve heard those conversations of mine, apparently.

[41:21] Michael: Michael, I’m standing beside you with their foot on my foot, too, and we’re both just going, yeah.

[41:30] Bobbi: Oh, my goodness. So earlier you mentioned rules about the let them. Were those the three exceptions, or were there other okay. All right. Anything else about the let them that you want to share?

[41:45] Michael: I encourage anyone listening to check it out and dive into it and give it a try. It’s always situational is what I’m finding. And there’s a chance to choose again, like we talked about previously, and give yourself the space to make mistakes and recognize I should have just let them, because it’s not perfection. And a lot of the reasoning why we do what we do while we try to control the situation or be hyper vigilant or please people again, comes from our own personal wiring and response to trauma. So recognizing that and just being loving and graceful to yourself that this is a learning process, you’re not suddenly going to just get perfect at this. No, this is a lifelong lesson of this is a moment where I let them.

[42:44] Bobbi: Okay, so two things there, and you’ve referred to this, but giving ourselves the grace and compassion and even the empathy, because we need to be doing that more, and we don’t I think we’re so hard on ourselves, so so that’s important. I’ll never forget I was going through an EQ certification, and the person, my coach, she’s like, you score really high in empathy. I’m like, yeah, I know. Because I always do. And she said, when’s the last time you’ve given empathy to it, to yourself? And it stopped me in my tracks. And I’m like, I didn’t know I was supposed to. She’s like, that’s what I was afraid of. She goes, that’s a great way to burn yourself out, because you’re giving so much. So that’s a really important point. The other thing that you said is when you said, give yourself some grace, like, hey, maybe recognizing that’s an opportunity where I should have let them, how would someone recognize that? Like, in retrospect.

[43:43] Michael: I think it’s taking a lens to would it really have been the worst thing to let that person do what they wanted to do in that? So Mel uses an example, and I’ll try to think of one for myself, but Mel used one where her son was going to prom, and they were at one of his classmates house, and they were doing the traditional pictures thing, and it was starting to rain. And Mel asked, so where did you get reservations for dinner? And her son said, oh, we don’t have reservations. I think we’re just going to go somewhere, some Mexican taco joint or something.

[44:23] Bobbi: Right, like a walk up place.

[44:25] Michael: Yeah. And her mind immediately was just like you can’t do that. You can’t stand out in the rain and everyone’s dressed nicely, and this is your prom, and you’re supposed to do this. So she’s about to pull out her phone and start making calls, and that’s when her daughter said, mom, just let them. That’s what they want to do. The experience and the story that comes with them all crammed in at the Taco place might have actually been the most exciting part of their memory that they have. They may not remember who was prom king and queen. They may not remember what they wore or anything else from that night except the thing that she was trying to orchestrate around, like, avoiding that. And I think our wedding planner said the day of our wedding, just remember that whatever happens today, it’s all part of the story.

[45:20] Bobbi: Yeah.

[45:21] Michael: And so when things go wrong, there’s an element of, like, those are the things you remember more, and those are the things you laugh about when things don’t go to plan or they are not something if you could have avoided, you would have just let happen, just sometimes these that’s the story that comes to mind.

[45:41] Bobbi: That’s a good one.

[45:43] Michael: There wasn’t really a reason as to her idea of what was going to make for the most wonderful prom evening for her son. And the stories that he’s going to the memories that he’ll have was not at all in line with what he really wanted or important to him. And just by letting him, he might have had a better evening because of it.

[46:02] Bobbi: And she would have, too, right.

[46:04] Michael: She didn’t have to stress about it.

[46:07] Bobbi: So stressed about it. But we all do that to ourselves. Oh, my God. Okay, real quick, I got to show you. When you said the thing about the wedding, what popped into my head is we got married in our backyard in Portland. We totally regutted it. It was a beautiful backyard, and everything was going great. It was beautiful. And on the street behind us, the ice cream truck went by, and it was a little everyone. It was such a great moment, though. We’re all chuckling and laughing. It was perfect. And that’s one of the things we remember the most. And you can’t script that, but it was just perfect. And every time we hear an ice cream truck, what do we think of remember that time at the wedding? I mean, yeah, just let it be. Coming from two controllers, my controller is not quite as high. I’m higher in vigilance and pleaser. But it’s up there.

[46:56] Michael: You can’t have two controllers that are at the same exact level. Someone has to be a little bit.

[47:01] Bobbi: More willing to turn it bad. Oh, my goodness. Michael, just thank you so much for coming back on. I always love these conversations. I just love getting to connect with you.

[47:14] Michael: Likewise. Thank you so much. And hopefully this was helpful to talk through and for others. I am excited after this conversation to continue on my journey.

[47:25] Bobbi: You’ll have to let me know how it goes.

[47:27] Michael: I will. I’ll promise you. There are going to be some bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s.

[47:33] Bobbi: Part of the course.

[47:34] Michael: All part of the story, right?

[47:35] Bobbi: That’s right. So, hey, if anybody wants to reach out, is there a good way for them to follow you or connect with you if they have?

[47:44] Michael: Yeah. Best way would be through LinkedIn. Okay. That’s typically how folks connect with me.

[47:50] Bobbi: Perfect. I’ll put all that in the show notes and all that kind of stuff. So thank you so much. I don’t know about you, but I had a bunch of takeaways from that conversation, and that’s what I’ve loved about the podcast and these conversations. It’s a way to keep learning and growing and having some fun conversations along the way. If you know of someone who could benefit from this conversation, I hope that you’ll consider sharing this episode with them. That’s why we do this. I hope you have a terrific week and keep thriving.

[48:18] Michael: Don’t. Don’t.

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