April 12, 2022

How Your Habits Can Help Shape You Into the Person You Want to Become with Donna Zajonc

How Your Habits Can Help Shape You Into the Person You Want to Become with Donna Zajonc

Our guest is Donna Zajonc, author of “Who do you want to be on the way to what you want?”


We often think of habits as something that just “happens” to us. But the reality is that habits create our lives. They define who we are and play a huge role in our success. That’s why it’s so important to understand how habits work and how they can help to achieve goals.
Habits direct our focus and determine the energy we use on a daily basis. The energy we spend is then used to fuel our behaviors and decisions. This often goes unnoticed because our behaviors and decisions feel automatic.
But what if your habits could show you the way to being the person you want to be?
This week we’re joined by Donna Zajonc. She is a master coach and educator. Donna has the ability to transform people’s lives. She can help them release the inner blocks that keep them stuck. In this episode, she’ll help us answer the question her new book poses: “Who do you want to be on the way to what you want?

What We Discuss with Donna:

  • What is the Drama Triangle and how is it useful to people?
  • What is The Empowerment Dynamic and how can one apply it for a more whole and healthy mindset?
  • Why it is important to learn from reactive habits and what the myriad benefits of properly translating the lessons learned from observing them are
  • What learning to be a coach has taught her about herself and how that transformed her own life first, and then the lives of her clients
  • Why the titular question of the book is key to a personal development journey
  • How coaching should always be used to augment psychology and psychiatry rather than replace them
  • How judgments can offer direct insights into the spaces within the mind that need healing

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[00:00:00] Zajonc content - Mic 1: You have a lot of bad habits. You constantly rebel against them and even resent them because they hold you back from accomplishing your goal. But what if your habits can show you the way to being the person you want to.

[00:00:11] Zajonc content - USB: This week, we're joined by Donna Z. John she's, a master coach and educator. Donna is known for her ability to transform people's lives and help them release their inner blocks that are keeping them stuck. She'll help us answer the question, her new book poses. do you want to be on the way to what you want?

[00:00:30] This is the fit mess conversations with world-class experts in the fields of mental, physical, and emotional health. And this episode 

[00:00:38] Donna Zajonc: What we've learned in psychology is the more that we can get some distance from ourselves, and we're not immersed into the power of , those heavy emotions.

[00:00:49] And we can see it and observe it. Now it's not as, quite as personal and it ups our ability to have choice.

[00:00:57] Now, here are your hosts, Zach and Jeremy. 

[00:01:00] Zajonc content - Mic 1: INTRO 

[00:01:00] Welcome to the fit mess brought to you by athletic greens. We appreciate you being there. We're here because we've been through all kinds of struggles and ended up stronger because of them. And we want to help you do the same. So if you're sick of your own shit and ready to make a change, you're in the right place.

[00:01:14] The title of our guests book is really the question. We encourage you to ask yourself every week, who do you want to be on the way to what you want by taking on the identity of the kind of person I want to become every day. I take actions that determine the outcome of my reality. Some big, some small, some good and some bad, but I'm learning to recognize the connection between those choices and they're out.

[00:01:38] Zajonc content - USB: You say some good and some bad, huh? I dunno. It's, it's mostly bad in some good for me. And for when I look at my entire life, like the first 20 years was mostly bad and the last 20 years has been like a 50, 50 split. So like, I don't know. I'm, I'm sitting on a nice, , 75% bad, 25% good.

[00:01:58] But I guess, , those good choices in that. 20 years , have definitely helped me along from, , the 300 pound big Mac eating mountain Dew guzzling dude that I was 20 years ago.

[00:02:12] Zajonc content - Mic 1: It is all habits though, right? I mean, , those big Macs were habits. The, the, those gallon cups of mountain Dew were habits. And along the way you figured out these are not serving me. These are not serving the life I'm trying to create or who I want to be. I need to put these down and trade them in for running a few laps around the track.

[00:02:31] Zajonc content - USB: Absolutely. , but it was like, we talk about all the time. It was a bunch of little choices. Like it didn't all happen at once. And it was, , quitting smoking. That was not a little thing. That was a pretty big thing. But you know, it was one thing. And then it was, , not eating, , a bucket full of chicken nuggets, , For dinner or, , some, it was a bunch of little things and none of it happened overnight.

[00:02:52] The point we try and make all the time is like, you know, you said some big and some small. Yeah. There's some big and some small, but , one at a time, , one, maybe two small ones or one big one. And it takes a lot of time. , it literally took. 10 years to get from that guy to somebody who I could reasonably say as healthy mentally and physically.

[00:03:17] But I'll tell you what, one of the things that I did that really sped up that process was when I decided to start taking athletic. 

[00:03:22] Zach: I started taking athletic greens because I really needed to have a sufficient. That tasted great, gave me all the things that I needed. , and I didn't want to have to take 10 pills a day or, spend all of my time cooking all the meals.

[00:03:36] I try and get my nutrients from food, but let's face it. We don't get everything we need every day from food. So athletic greens was a great solution for me. It tastes great. Gives me everything I need for more energy, better gut health optimized immune system. 

[00:03:51] It has less than a gram of sugar and there's no nasty chemicals or artificial anything. And it actually does taste good. And for what you get, it's less than $3.

[00:03:59] and right now is the time to incorporate better health and athletic greens is a perfect start to make it easy.

[00:04:05] Athletic greens is going to give you a free one-year supply of immune supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit athletic greens.com/fit mass. Again, that's athletic greens.com/fit. Mess to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance.

[00:04:24] Zajonc content - Mic 1: All right. Well, when you do finally get to the point where, you know, something needs to change, it does help to have a coach or someone who can help guide you on the right path. That's when he turned to someone like our guest don Jose. John is the award-winning author of the book. Who do you want to be on the way to what you want? And we asked her about that question, that her book seeks to help you answer.

[00:04:43] Donna Zajonc: the title is a little unusual in that. , who do you want to 

[00:04:46] be? On the way to what you want, you know, and right now, or at least for quite a while in a European Northern America world, we're so focused on goals and getting what we want life, you know, and what now, especially with the great resignation and what's gone on in the last two years with the pandemic.

[00:05:06] People are really now talking more and wanting more around relationships. Who do they want to be? 

[00:05:12] On the way to what you're trying to get, what you want. So the book is a teaching story. It's a 

[00:05:17] story of main two characters are two women. One is a professional 

[00:05:22] coach coaching, a very hard, 

[00:05:26] , Difficult, young woman, who's a CEO.

[00:05:29] And it's a conversation 

[00:05:30] about how do you. learn to be with as a coach, whether a professional coach or you want to have a good friend that you're

[00:05:37] listening to and coaching, how do you really 

[00:05:39] learn to be in that 

[00:05:40] coaching relationship to listen to 

[00:05:43] someone who. Not happy with who they are, 

[00:05:45] but yet they had this deep yearning they're wanting more.

[00:05:49] And so the title comes 

[00:05:51] from, you know, about the 10th chapter, I wrote 

[00:05:54] this phrase that Sophia says to her client after all the bigger question is who do you want to be on the way to who you 

[00:06:02] want or what you want as a leader. So that's how it developed. And that's the 

[00:06:06] title of the book. 

[00:06:08] Zach: I personally love, , stories that teach you a lesson, right? You can learn if you're just reading like a reference book, but if you put it into story for. , it's definitely really helpful. , was that always your plan was to make this a story or did you actually originally think about like, just writing a reference book about some of these coaching strategies?

[00:06:28] Donna Zajonc: Yeah, thanks Zach. A good 

[00:06:29] question. Uh, I always wanted a story. , this is a 

[00:06:33] third 

[00:06:33] book and our leadership story series about coaching, about helping 

[00:06:38] leaders, team members be their best, and we have gotten such positive feedback about how the story really captivates them. And what we know now from neuroscience.

[00:06:49] If is if a story, I mean, think about it. A great movie, a book. If it really creates some emotion, you remember that moment of, , that emotional sense in our brains now, , have that capacity to remember. So I personally am very drawn to stories as a way to teach complex. Ideas complex psychological ideas.

[00:07:15] That's really, my mission in life is to translate complex ideas to simple form so that they're widely available to people to apply in their own life. Yeah. So I always thought of the story was the way I wanted to share. I knew I wanted the two main characters to be 

[00:07:32] women. Certainly there's there's men in the story, but I.

[00:07:36] I definitely wanted a more feminine approach to leadership and, , how we, our best selves right now. 

[00:07:44] Jeremy: One of the ideas that you talk about in the book is the drama triangle. Can you give us sort of the, the, the overview of what that is and 

[00:07:51] how that

[00:07:51] applies to what we're talking? 

[00:07:52] Donna Zajonc: Jeremy, it's a, it's a big concept. , part of the story. So, , in the late sixties, early seventies, Dr. Stephen Cartman 

[00:08:00] named, , three basic roles that we human beings play 

[00:08:06] when we're 

[00:08:07] in conflict, when there's something we don't like, it could be conflict with ourselves. 

[00:08:12] With a situation with 

[00:08:13] another person.

[00:08:14] And what he named is is that one of the things we do is that we disengage and step back 

[00:08:20] and they say, oh, poor me. I never get what I want, whether we're 

[00:08:25] conscious of that inner chatter or 

[00:08:27] not That's how we take on a strategy to 

[00:08:31] deal with conflict. And he named that role victim. We feel victim to the problem.

[00:08:37] And that's the second role he called that the persecutor, whatever we are saying, persecutes us, and maybe another situation, 

[00:08:46] a person. It could be our own inner 

[00:08:48] persecutor talking to us. And once those two roles are set up, then he says the third one enters. And that's the 

[00:08:54] rescuer. Some people say that the 

[00:08:56] hero, but the rescuer doesn't like any of the 

[00:08:59] conflict between the victim and the persecutor.

[00:09:01] So they want to be helpful and they lean in and say, oh, let me. 

[00:09:05] Hope if you'll do it this way, or let me do 

[00:09:07] it, , we can manage this conflict. So the brilliance of Dr. Cartman and naming those 

[00:09:13] roles, some people call them archetypal roles

[00:09:16] and that they're through all of our 

[00:09:17] novels or stories or 

[00:09:19] fairytales, Greek mythology. 

[00:09:21] , he really did 

[00:09:23] us a service to help us. Self observe in any situation maybe 

[00:09:28] were uncomfortable with, wow, which role did I just take on? And the, what I 

[00:09:34] do 

[00:09:34] as a

[00:09:34] coach is I help

[00:09:35] my clients see 

[00:09:36] that sooner

[00:09:38] so that they can have a choice about how they want to get out of that. how 

[00:09:41] do they want to transform and not get stuck racing around the drama triangle and 

[00:09:46] those reactive roles of victim persecutor and rescuer.

[00:09:49] So does that make sense? To Jeremy. Do you hear, do you hear yourself maybe taking on one of those roles sometimes? 

[00:09:56] Jeremy: I, Yeah. 

[00:09:57] I dabble in all of them at different points with different things. One of the things that I, that I think has been a big part of my life for a long time, for a long time, is that the victim. , growing up with alcoholism in the family, as, as a kid, , you definitely feel like life is sort of happening to you.

[00:10:14] And you're just kind of getting steamrolled by the emotions and, and all of the things that are going on in the house. And so, you know, as that carries with you into adulthood, it's hard to get away from. Just stand back, set, quiet. Don't be seen and don't get steamrolled by the energy that, that is in the home and creating that sort of fear and instability.

[00:10:31] So I think that's the one that I definitely resonate the most with, but as an adult, I'm trying, and I don't know if it's right or wrong, really, but trying to shift more into something of a rescuer and trying to help others. Battle that same battle that I do and tell them that you're not a victim. You do have some say in how your life 

[00:10:51] goes, and I want to help show you the way out 

[00:10:54] of feeling like that and feeling more like I'm learning to 

[00:10:57] Donna Zajonc: Hmm. Well, I really resonate with that and, and my, empathy and compassion 

[00:11:02] for that situation. I have alcoholism in our family and there is a very real sense of victimization. And so let me make a quick distinction here between the role that Dr. Cartman described as a victim role. Versus victimization.

[00:11:21] We are all victimized at time. Certainly you just described one. That's very real and we can be victimized. You know what? From a poor driver on the freeway, cutting in front of us, there's a number of ways and then very serious ones of, from storms to war to. The violence, but we also have many during the day, many episodes where we feel victimized in the long grocery line where we're in a hurry, 

[00:11:53] we have that sense that victim mentality comes up. So the work we do, I do, , 

[00:11:59] stands as a 

[00:12:00] challenger to victimization because victimization is real. what 

[00:12:06] is the good part of noticing these roles? Is, is 

[00:12:10] that. What we've learned in psychology is the more that we can get some distance from ourselves, and we're not immersed into the power of that, those heavy emotions.

[00:12:22] And we can see it and observe it. Now it's not as, quite as personal and it ups our ability to have choice. Whatever the situation is, I can still choose You just said you're wanting to help others to know what you're learning. That you could still choose our response to whatever is going on out there.

[00:12:43] And that's the big, that's the big move. That's the coaching move to help find that. So did that distinction between victimization and victimhood victimhood is when we really take on an identity. As 

[00:12:57] being a victim, no matter what 

[00:12:59] the situation is. 

[00:13:00] And 

[00:13:01] Jeremy: And that's. 

[00:13:02] that that's largely the shift that that I've been able to make really in just the last few years is Owning the identity, right It's deciding that I'm not that person anymore. Now I'm the person that gets up and goes to, the gym every morning. Now I'm the person that rides his bike for a few miles everyday.

[00:13:18] Now I'm the person that? doesn't, you know, eat like garbage all the time. It's, it's putting on. 

[00:13:22] that different hat and saying, I'm not the person who's 

[00:13:25] just going to sit over here and hope that nobody sees me. And then eventually 

[00:13:27] life will just pass me by and 

[00:13:28] everything will be fine. So, 

[00:13:30] Donna Zajonc: That's beautiful. That's beautiful. And until we can see that, and, and what I've discovered is that the drama triangle helps people to see it sooner at sometimes when they do see it. Oh my gosh. I've lived my whole life in a victim mentality, a victim role. It is so shocking. That it can really overwhelm one, , to have that sudden awareness.

[00:13:54] Cause we still function at a high level. Probably you probably still did, you know, but you knew something wasn't right. You know, something 

[00:14:01] wasn't aligned. And so compassion really is important here when we get this epiphany. 

[00:14:08] Jeremy: I mean, that is the very core of what We're trying to do with the show is to show people that you can flip that. 

[00:14:14] switch. There is a, there is a, a moment somebody words, something the right way you read the right book, whatever it is, and something opens your eyes. 

[00:14:21] Donna Zajonc: Yes. 

[00:14:23] Jeremy: W, you know, not to not to talk you out of any clients or 

[00:14:26] anything, but how do you do that? How do you show 

[00:14:28] someone how to turn that light 

[00:14:30] Donna Zajonc: Well, that's what the story is, is the very difficult CEO, young woman, eventually after lots of plot twists does

[00:14:40] turn that light on in what I wanted to show in the dialogue is some ideas about how to do that. First of all, I'll say that no one turns 

[00:14:49] that switch on until they're ready. 

[00:14:53] Jeremy: Hm.

[00:14:54] Donna Zajonc: And no matter how great a coach I am, how great a parent, a partner until the other person is ready.

[00:15:02] So what makes them ready? I think is what I'm really hearing your question is. Yeah. Well, 

[00:15:08] Jeremy: for sure. 

[00:15:09] Donna Zajonc: one is when we're in 

[00:15:10] relationship with another. 

[00:15:13] Is to really have compassion for whatever they're 

[00:15:16] going through and be curious about what's it like to be them what's been going on in their life. Now that can be tough for me.

[00:15:25] I really have a hard time being around a very victimy mentality. Poor me. Personality can be really tough, but I guarantee you, if you tell them, oh, you're just being a victim. What's that going to cause them to do. 

[00:15:38] Jeremy: Oh, total. 

[00:15:38] Yeah. We're just repel against

[00:15:40] anything you say after that. Yeah. 

[00:15:42] Donna Zajonc: So that's the first thing I 

[00:15:43] would say 

[00:15:43] is really be understanding, get really 

[00:15:46] curious about what's going on in their life and know that you cannot do anything until they're ready and what makes one ready? A lot of love and compassion. That'd be my first thing. And we can continue to explore that question.

[00:16:01] That's a 

[00:16:02] big one.

[00:16:05] Zach: The drama triangle there is. 

[00:16:08] You don't have to be stuck 

[00:16:09] in that, right? There is. There's a S there's something else that can help with that. I myself, , I grew up very traumatic childhood and was a victim of many, many situations, but I figured out ways to get out of them, which kind of 

[00:16:24] led me 

[00:16:24] into being more of a rescuer.

[00:16:26] , so I would try and I would 

[00:16:28] see conflict, or I would see the victim and I would jump in and try and help. 

[00:16:32] And that has turned into. More of a coach, 

[00:16:37] right? Not, Not, a rescue or 

[00:16:38] any more, but more of a coach as defined as I was reading through all of your work. , I immediately identified with a rescuer, 

[00:16:45] but then as I started reading about the empowerment 

[00:16:48] dynamic and what a real coach

[00:16:50] is, I realized, Hey, I turned the corner 

[00:16:52] into that.

[00:16:53] So I'd love to hear you talk 

[00:16:55] about why we don't have to be a victim or a rescue, or like what's the alternative. 

[00:17:00] Donna Zajonc: Yeah. 

[00:17:01] Nice and beautiful question. Love where you 

[00:17:04] guys are going with all

[00:17:05] this. So what Dr. Cartman explained was are a lesser part of 

[00:17:10] us are our 

[00:17:11] faults part of us. That is, , how we manage our anxiety 

[00:17:15] about something we don't like. And so that those three strategies we all 

[00:17:20] do, however, There is The, better

[00:17:24] part of us.

[00:17:25] Since ancient times it's been called the Christ 

[00:17:28] consciousness, the Buddha consciousness, the higher self know thy self So what we have 

[00:17:32] done is my. My business partner, David have named the three roles that are what we call the antidotes to the three drama triangle roles. So the opposite of victim and in our victimy mindset 

[00:17:48] is creator.

[00:17:50] We can create. The life we want. And in fact, we 

[00:17:54] have inside of us, not a role. We have a true essence in us that is based upon goodness is a based upon creativity and grow and continuous growing. There's no way we would be here at this stage in a evolutionary unfolding without that creator essence. So.

[00:18:12] The positive aspect of us in response to the victim, the, the antidote to the prosecutor is we learned to challenge ourselves. This is where we tell ourselves the truth that Jeremy you referred to just a moment ago, when you got real with yourself about. And understanding that part of your victim mindset, you started realizing that there is a part of you that wants something.

[00:18:36] You tell yourself the truth and you have a will. And you're 

[00:18:41] constantly in a learning process. We call this the challenger,

[00:18:46] we challenge ourselves. And we also are 

[00:18:49] that person in the room where we challenge others. Where the truth teller in that we have a courageous authenticity. We've all been 

[00:18:58] around these people that know how to 

[00:19:01] speak. Without putting 

[00:19:04] other people down, but they 

[00:19:05] just seem to get right at the core don't they? And they're powerful. And we remember who those people are. 

[00:19:10] Might've been a college professor. It might've been an uncle. Somebody really 

[00:19:14] challenged us to step up because their intention was to bring the best of us when we're in the persecutor role.

[00:19:22] Our 

[00:19:22] intention is to put down and criticize. So that's a 

[00:19:25] quick, , look at the challenger rule. 

[00:19:29] As an antidote to persecutor. So now what's, what's the opposite of rescuer. You know, 

[00:19:34] we, we call that the coach and it doesn't have to be a professional coach, but when we're rescuing, 

[00:19:40] We're stepping in and doing for others, what they can do for themselves,

[00:19:46] And why do. We do 

[00:19:49] We do that because we want to be liked. We do that because we're conflict avoidant and we want to 

[00:19:54] stop the conflict. and here's the dirty secret. We do it because we 

[00:20:00] actually don't think the other person can do it for themselves. and that is really difficult when we come 

[00:20:06] to grips with that. But when we coach, we actually really believe in the 

[00:20:12] creator goodness, in the other. And that's where we get curious, can support them, ask great questions, believe in them. You know? So that's the, that's the difference. It's a very important difference 

[00:20:26] because in the restaurant role, we can actually do harm and keeping the other person one 

[00:20:31] down. 

[00:20:32] Zach: Hm.

[00:20:32] Donna Zajonc: I've even noticed the times you guys, when I get stuck in the 

[00:20:34] rest of your role, I 

[00:20:35] actually almost go looking for people to help. 

[00:20:39] Cause I, it makes me feel better. You all resonate with that one? 

[00:20:43] Jeremy: Oh, yeah, definitely. Yeah. W when you can focus on someone else's problems. Yeah. It said it

[00:20:47] takes all the burden

[00:20:48] off of worrying about your own 

[00:20:49] stuff. For sure.

[00:20:51] Donna Zajonc: Yeah, that's interesting yet it takes the burden off of your own. Responsibility for asking yourself what is mine to do here? Not anyone else's. Yeah. So those are the two main roles and why it is really helpful in the coaching world. World two is to be able to see those aspects and be able to look at well, where am I right now?

[00:21:16] We're in this moment with whatever's going on. Wait, how am I relating to the situation to myself? Am I relating more from the reactive victim, persecutor rescuer, or my pausing asking who do I really want to be here? And from the creator challenger coach roles.

[00:21:38] Jeremy: Speaking of a coach and you said it doesn't have to be a professional coach. That, that is that person. I know for me, one of the first times I remember the light switching was just something my brother said in passing. Taking on the, physical challenge with my knee. And he was like, Hey, just, just be the weird guy that goes and rides his bike to work every day.

[00:21:56] Just be that guy. And I was like, I can do that. And I literally like that day owned that identity and that's who I became. I bought a 

[00:22:02] bike and I started being a bike commuter. He was an accidental coach in that moment when he just said this thing that he thought was silly. 

[00:22:09] I've also had a therapist for many years, who in many ways is my coach and helps guide me on, on different paths and, and figuring out who 

[00:22:14] I am and what I want to be in all.

[00:22:16] So who, who are the coaches in our lives? You said it doesn't have to be a 

[00:22:20] professional, but can it be 

[00:22:21] literally just anyone, any passing moment

[00:22:24] who are the 

[00:22:25] coaches in

[00:22:25] Donna Zajonc: Yeah, of course, of course. That's a great example of an accidental coach, you know, because you were ready to hear something you were ready in my hunches, you trusted your brother, and that's a very key part. 

[00:22:38] Jeremy: Yeah. It was a huge 

[00:22:39] mistake and it should never trust my breath

[00:22:42] Donna Zajonc: And now you're still a biker,

[00:22:44] right? 

[00:22:44] Jeremy: still loving it. Yup.

[00:22:46] Donna Zajonc: but you know, think about, uh, how important that trust is. , that's one thing. , the other is my 

[00:22:52] hunches, those many years of working with a therapist therapists. Got you ready to hear that? , there's a lot of studies around the readiness to change.

[00:23:00] That's been observed with, supposedly if we get a bad diagnosis, let's say lung cancer and I'm a smoker, you would think. You would stop smoking, but not necessarily. And that's, what's so fascinating about change and how do we get ready to change? And it, it could seem like an overnight success for you, Jeremy, that you immediately took your brother's suggestion And 

[00:23:26] got on that bike. it. could have been 10 years of getting yourself ready. That makes sense. 

[00:23:32] Jeremy: Oh, I mean another example I mean, for the last, however many months, five, six months, I was whining to Zach about, I moved to this 

[00:23:39] place and there's a free gym. That's a five minute walk away and I complained about how much I hate going to this. I want to work out and it sucks. And I don't want to waste time looking at myself in the mirror, lifting heavy things everyday, what a waste of time in my life. 

[00:23:51] And then I was externally motivated to actually go and work out 

[00:23:54] because I was going to interview someone who put together a workout and I haven't stopped doing his workout since, and Zach looks at me. 

[00:24:00] I told you every day, just go do it and you'll feel good, but it took 

[00:24:03] you talking to this guy to realize that you had to go do it and to feel 

[00:24:06] good.

[00:24:07] So I, that's one of, probably hundreds of examples from my life

[00:24:11] where I can hear the same thing over and over 

[00:24:13] again. But until I hear it for the 

[00:24:15] right reason

[00:24:16] or I'm motivated in the right way, 

[00:24:18] I'm not going to make that change. 

[00:24:20] Zach: doesn't trust me. 

[00:24:22] Donna Zajonc: That 

[00:24:22] must 

[00:24:22] Jeremy: not even a little 

[00:24:23] Donna Zajonc: That must be it. So what do you think changed for you in that interview with that person that got you more interested in making that five minute walk And getting started?

[00:24:33] Jeremy: I mean, just, 

[00:24:35] maybe it's kind of a boring answer, but for the most part, the one time I did go to the gym on my own, without this interview hanging over my head, I had no idea what to do. I had no plan. I walked in and I went now lift that thing and I'll run on that thing for a while and then I'll leave and I hated It It was boring, but I went in and, and you know, I'm watching this guy's video and doing his workout and realizing, oh, if I just do it, he says every day, Then I, I don't even have to think of it. I just have to walk in the door and then, you know, turn my brain off and do whatever he says. And within a few days I felt so much better just from doing That that I was 

[00:25:06] like, this is ridiculous.

[00:25:08] Not like this is so easy. The hardest

[00:25:11] part is literally putting on my shoes to get here every 

[00:25:13] Donna Zajonc: yeah. 

[00:25:13] Perfect. Yeah. so 

[00:25:15] there's a couple of really key. Yeah. 

[00:25:17] Uh, principles that just occurred in that conversation. First of all, you asked me, how does a coach do that? And you gave me an example and I didn't answer you. I ask you what worked for you. And that is a very fundamental, almost like duh 

[00:25:36] kind of principle of coaching. And yet we all like to be, especially in the Western world, we'd like to be expert. And so when somebody asks something, we tend to tell, and it is really a challenging habit to interrupt, to answer. And instead get really curious about what happened for you, Jeremy, and you just told me what happened for you that some, that you needed 

[00:26:01] some instructions in that case.

[00:26:03] So now as a coach, I would listen to them. And 

[00:26:06] I would talk with you about what other areas in your life have you found success in some basic instruction? So are you getting my drift here on how the, how you enter the coaching? 

[00:26:17] Jeremy: reminds me of all of those, those scenes in shows and movies with the therapist. Well, how does that make you feel? I mean, literally 

[00:26:24] putting the question back on the person

[00:26:25] makes them go inside and find the answer that's been there the whole, the 

[00:26:29] whole 

[00:26:29] Donna Zajonc: Yeah, and therapy is so valuable. What I love about coaching is is it, then we build upon. And what difference does that make for you to get an action for what you want to create in your life? And. Big principle, all that's in the book, uh, and it's called baby steps. It's the theory of incremental learning and especially in today's world, uh, we just do not know how it's going to work because things change in.

[00:26:59] So rapidly. So when, , I work with clients to not have to have it, figure it out, I really give them permission to have no idea how they're going to do it, but what's just one thing they could do to experiment. And they don't even have to do that. Just open their mind to a possibility, opens an energetic space in their mind and heart to get really curious about what do they care about.

[00:27:26] And so here's the principle again, is incremental learning based upon intrinsic. Motivation that it comes from within. And so I'm listening very deeply with the language someone uses what they tell me that they care about. And that's the opening to take just one step, learn, adjust. Oh, in three or four days, I felt better.

[00:27:50] Jeremy says, there you go. And that's, those are some really basic, I mean, to become a professional coach, it's at least a year. Oh of education training, experimenting that I've been studying and working for 20 years in the field of coaching and how to support someone to help them get the life that.

[00:28:10] Zach: I know for me, I said earlier that I went from, , being a rescuer to a coach and I, I, I still remember like the very first day where I had the moment where I would, , prior to it, I would jump in and I would say, You know, I can do this faster.

[00:28:26] , no point in showing you I can just do it myself. And this is mostly at work managing people. And then I, I'll never forget the day where somebody came in with a problem and I just sat there and I just kept asking questions. This was after reading some articles on like how to actually 

[00:28:41] coach. And I kept asking questions that I knew the answer to. 

[00:28:48] But I would, I, I just, , post, , 5, 6, 7 questions that were kind of open-ended and just watch them churn through it. And then they figured out themselves and they walked out the door. Like that was a glorious moment for me. And now, like, that's how I do everything. Like I, even if I know the answer, I try and let them come to that conclusion.

[00:29:08] And that has led me down the path of, , I like coaching myself, but in everything that I do, I look for coaches.

[00:29:15] Donna Zajonc: Nice.

[00:29:16] Zach: So I would love to hear you answer, like, does everyone need a coach? And if so, why, why, why would, why do you think everyone should have a coach and in one area or another in their lives?

[00:29:31] Donna Zajonc: beautiful. But first I'd like to compliment you on the principle that you were actually deeply curious about how they were making meaning and discovering alternatives and positive ideas about how to address the problem they brought to you. There are many leaders. Internally start chattering to themselves about that other person going, oh my God.

[00:29:55] He's in here again, wasting my time. If I tell him again, you hear that chatter. So first of all, congratulations that you genuinely wanted to empower. That's why we call it the empowerment dynamic, the rules of creator challenge. Your coach. You believed in. And what we also know in terms of leadership and team development, is, is that the next time they come back, they're going to have already done some of that thinking.

[00:30:20] And they're going to say, Hey, Zack, here's what I've been thinking. What do you think of that? And now you're really getting them on a roll. And that's why there's cultures of empowerment and people don't want to resolve. From those kinds of businesses, the great resignation now is more and more with cultures that are mean-spirited and not supporting and empowering people.

[00:30:41] We could have a whole podcast conversation on that, but now let me go back to, does everybody need a coach? You know, I don't think everybody necessarily needs a professional coach. However, the third space that is created between another person and a second person, if, if. Coach like person truly loves an, a value and values.

[00:31:04] The other person there is a magical, and I believe someday we'll actually be able to detect an energetic 

[00:31:10] space that supports them in this journey of intrinsic motivation and intrinsic learning. And especially if the other person is someone who knows the art of deep listening. Of true curiosity, it's magical for the other person to come to their own, , deep sense of what is true for them.

[00:31:35] And so that's why you can hear why I'm so, , positive around the role of coach professional coach or for friends and coworkers that are more coach like. Rather than telling prescribing, fixing for you that just simply disempowers you. 

[00:31:53] I hope everyone could 

[00:31:55] give that gift to another. And when you do that, you're going to attract people in your life that gives that gift to you. That gift of being deeply listened to. Deeply curious about how I am making meaning we can give them that gift to others to. 

[00:32:13] Jeremy: Before we wrap up. Is there anything important that we have 

[00:32:15] not touched on that you want to make sure we mentioned 

[00:32:18] Donna Zajonc: 

[00:32:18] Yeah. Well, thank you. , my work is around the center for the empowerment dynamic and the empowerment dynamic is the name of the alternative triangle. The creator challenger coach work. And I'm really proud of, , 10 years of work to, , create the book that just came out. And, I offer that as a gift to the world I'm getting old and this is work is my ministry.

[00:32:43] As you know, soar into translate. As I said, early translate. , complex psychological ideas in a simple way. So the story could really point people towards how they might use this in their own lives. So thanks for asking. It's that's my, um, I work in the world. 

[00:33:03] Jeremy: And where do we 

[00:33:03] learn more about that work in the world? 

[00:33:05] Donna Zajonc: Yeah. Thank you. , 

[00:33:06] it's the empowerment dynamic.com. And my email is donna@powerofted.com and I'm live right off of downtown Seattle and the great Northwest. 

[00:33:20] Zajonc content - Mic 1: Our thanks to Donna Z. John I'll throw the book. Who do you want to be on the way to what you want? You can find out more about her and her work in the show notes for this episode at the fit mascot.

[00:33:32] Zajonc content - USB: Yeah, I think it's really important to just point out that you need to decide who you are today and how does that compare to who you want to be tomorrow or in the next year or 10 years. And just start committing to taking action. Towards becoming that person.

[00:33:46] Like, you're the weird guy who rides his bike to work every

[00:33:49] Zajonc content - Mic 1: Right. I was when I had an office to commute to, yeah. I, I fully adopted that identity and became that. And more recently have adopted the identity of the guy that goes to the gym every day today. I hated it. It kicked my ass. I'm still tired. I'm exhausted from it. But I made that commitment to myself that that's just something that I do, no matter how I look after six weeks or what the scale says after six weeks or whatever, it's just the thing I do.

[00:34:14] It's who I am now and making those decisions to commit to those actions, create the outcomes. lead you on your path to who you want to.

[00:34:23] Zajonc content - USB: And I know that when you started riding your bike, you didn't necessarily need a coach for that. , that was a small change. We can all make small changes that we don't need a coach for, but I would suggest that, , if you really do want to make some pretty significant changes in your life, and you're going to stack changes, you know, not, not just one or, or two, but like multiple changes that you want to work on and you want to become a different person.

[00:34:48] , and you don't know how. We'll find a coach, whether that is, , somebody on an exercise video telling you what to do or real person telling you what to eat. , make sure you've got somebody in your life. That's helping you achieve your goals and is holding you to a standard that is just as high or higher than you want it.

[00:35:08] Zajonc content - Mic 1: Yeah, doing that can really speed up the process for you to the people that are ahead of you on this journey have made the mistakes for you. They've read the books for you. They can save you a lot of that time so that you don't end up sort of frustrated and feeling like, oh, what's the point? This isn't getting me where I want to go.

[00:35:24] , and giving up. Right. So if you can have someone, either ahead of you or literally alongside you on this journey, it just makes it that much more successful .

[00:35:34] Zajonc content - USB: And if you are looking for a coach or you're looking for someone to help keep you , please join us in our Facebook group where you'll find fellow fitness listeners that you can connect with and we'll have some more monthly challenges and some accountability to reach your goals. And it's just a really cool community that I'm really enjoying, getting to know everyone there.

[00:35:54] Zajonc content - Mic 1: That link is also at our website, the fitness.com where we will be back next week with a brand new episode. Thanks for listening.

[00:36:00] Zajonc content - USB: Everyone.

Donna ZajoncProfile Photo

Donna Zajonc

Author, Dir of Coaching

Donna Zajonc, MCC is Director of Coaching for the Center for The Empowerment Dynamic. Donna brings hope, imagination and innovative new tools to the world of motivation, inspiration and creativity. She is the author of her new book, "Who Do You Want to Be on the Way to What You Want." Donna is a Master Certified Coach the highest credential offered by the International Coach Federation and received the Washington State excellence in coaching award in 2017. Donna’s concern for the world drew her to politics where she served three terms in the Oregon Legislature and was her party’s nominee for Secretary of State.
Deeply curious about the inner landscape of the human mind, Donna fully embraced professional coaching in 2001, later joining her business partner David Emerald in their 3 Vital Questions® and The Empowerment Dynamic® leadership training, coaching and facilitation. She lives in the Pacific Northwest US and enjoys
frequent beach walks, good books, devouring dark chocolate, sipping microbrews, and enjoying family time