Transcribe your podcast

What really breaks my heart is how stuck people are. There are things you can do to change your life for the better. And so let me give you the secret. Mel Robbins, one of the most trusted experts on confidence and motivation. Her unique brand of raw and.


Relatable advice has made her one of the most sought.


After speakers. In the world. Don't rely on motivation. Motivation is garbage because it's not there when you need it. And the fact is, if it were easy to develop great habits or change your mindset, everybody would have their dreams come true. It is very difficult to change because we are hardwired to spot patterns that seem similar and to repeat them. There's also this in your voice that is talking to you all the time. Boy, you really suck, and you blew that. And my God, you're never going to amount to anything. Constantly telling you what you think about yourself. And of course, what you think about yourself then drives the things that you do. But luckily, there's two ways around it. One is to... That absolutely works.


Let them.


Let them. Let them. Let them. The let them theory is based on a simple truth. The fastest way to take control of your life is to stop controlling everyone around you. That opinion is usually driven by your insecurity, controlling nature, your anxiety, and it is ruining your relationships. But when you say let them, something really interesting happens. You will notice it's absolutely life-changing. You will At.


This time of year, everybody is thinking about changes that they want to make in their life, but it's incredibly hard to become a new person when your circumstances stay the same. In this episode, me and Mel go on a journey to figure out how you, listening to this at home, can change your life. We go through the science, we go through the proven strategies, and we go through some of the mindset alterations we all need to make going into next year if we want to stand the chance of closing the gap on our potential. And when I say potential, I'm not talking about success alone, I'm talking about happiness and I'm talking about health. Things that I think everybody that listens to this podcast cares so deeply about. And there's one thing that Mel says, this idea of the let them theory, which sounds so simple, but I honestly think could change your life. Whether it's in your relationships, at work with your partner, or when someone cuts you off in traffic. This let them theory, for me, since Mel told me about it, has significantly improved my life. I can't wait for you to listen to this episode.


Mel is just the best. And before this episode starts, I want to make a deal with you. I promise you that we will keep making this show better in every single way. And we have huge plans to turn this into more of a documentary-style conversation where we work incredibly hard to bring in footage of the things we're talking about to give you greater context and greater meaning. I hope you choose to come along on this journey. Enjoy this episode. Mel, I'm thinking about the 45-year-old taxi driver that's her dad. I'm thinking about Judith, who has an idea for a handbag business she wants to start, but she's 56 years old and maybe society has convinced her that she can't change now. She can't pivot away from where she is. I'm also thinking about the 27-year-old medical graduate who became a dentist because their immigrant mother told them that was success and happiness and they never listened to the voice inside of them. Those people that are in those situations where they feel like they've gone so far down a path, how does one turn back, move forward? I don't even know what direction you mean to-.


You don't turn back.




Well, because here's the thing. First of all, I'm 55, and I did not even get started in the podcast business until I was 54 years old. I personally feel that my life and the business that I've built and the example that I set every single day is evidence that you can decide at any age that you are going to pivot and turn in a new direction. One metaphor that has helped me, Steven, a lot in my life is I think about life as one long road trip. And that I know it sounds super cheesy, but just bear with me for a minute. If you think about every single year of your life as a mile marker and the fact that we all start at zero. We all end at some point. When you think about your life as a road trip and you're the driver, that means it's about navigating where you go next. And at any single moment, you can pull over, stop the damn car. Like if you feel lost, if you feel turned around, if you have hit a dead end, do not find your way by continuing to drive in circles.


Stop for a second, assess where you are, tune back into the navigation system that is inside you and you can turn your life in a new direction. You do it over and over and over again in business. You have this natural curiosity, this natural drive. If your instincts tell you to go, you point towards it. I have that. But for everybody that's listening or watching us, who feels like you don't ever have that moment where your intuition tells you it's that way. Let me give you the secret to how to make your next big move. And the secret is this. Pay attention to what sucks in your life because there are positive navigational signals and there are negative ones. And when it comes to my life, Steven, you seem to have been able to tap into the positive. I have a much greater like, I don't know, I'm more deeply connected to the negative shit, the jealousy, frustration, feeling anger. Anytime those emotions come up in my body, it's just a directional signal from deep inside of you telling you you're supposed to pivot. Like, do not head in the same direction. Do not keep going the same speed.


Make a change.


I hear you say that we can pull over on the side of the road at any moment in our life, but I guess some people who are listening to that will think, Well, I can't stop because I've got a mortgage to pay, I've got bills to pay, I've got responsibilities. I have no time to even think about that. Also there's this other group of people who maybe feel the frustration and the jealousy and the rage that drives you and me to some degree, but for some reason, even though they know, every fiber in their body knows that this is not the situation for them. This is the wrong relationship, wrong job, wrong city, wrong friendship group. They still, for some reason, just can't take that step into uncertainty, which is, I think, most people probably.




I almost believe that people don't have a signal problem. We all feel the same signal, but they have a problem with acting on the signal because- Correct.


I personally believe that we are all born. The second you come out and into this world, you are hardwired with this natural intelligence that is your own personal inner compass and that it is tuned into what is unique to you. It is constantly programmed by the experiences of your life, but it is always signaling toward what is uniquely aligned for you. If you just accept the premise that we are energetic human beings, that we give off energy, we receive energy, we've all had the experience where you walk into a retail store and all of a sudden something feels off. That is the compass I'm talking about, signaling to you based on your experience, based on your DNA, based on the generational wisdom that is passed down through your ancestors, that there is something there for you to pay attention to. The problem is not what your inner compass is telling you. The problem is that you won't listen to it. I can prove it because if you have somebody that comes up to you and says, Oh, man, I've been in this relationship and that relationship and the other thing, and I'm just unlucky in love and I can't trust myself and I da da da da da da da da da da da.


I always say to somebody, Stop. It's not that you can't trust yourself because your instincts have always been right. I want you to go back through the five or six horrible relationships that you just had, and I want you to look backwards in the fastest way to do this is look back through your photos and that'll take you back on the timeline and that'll remind you of all this stuff. I want you to look at your face and I want you to just be honest with yourself. When did you know this wasn't working? You will always have somebody you admit that they knew seven years before the divorce. They knew a year before the breakup. They knew before they even hooked up with the person the first time that this was probably not the right thing because it felt a little off, but it was confusing because you've got all the rush of the adrenaline and the attraction and all the hormones and all that stuff. But deep down inside, if you got really quiet, you knew that this was not the right decision for you. And so the issue isn't the accuracy of your inner wisdom.


The issue is your courage and following it. Because following your inner wisdom and making decisions that are aligned with what you are meant to do in your life, the people you're supposed to be with right now, the support that you need, the things that are interesting to you, it always requires you to do something different than what you're doing now. The problem is, if it requires you to do something new, what's also going to happen is you're going to have a fear response. And we mistake those moments of change or those moments where you're going to try something new, the moments of vulnerability, the moments where you're going to risk a little, the moments that require courage. We mistake the very natural response to change, which is a little moment of feeling alarmed with your intuition being wrong. One way that you can tell the difference is the feeling of the decision. If the decision is the right decision in terms of a decision that is aligned with who you are and your soul and your DNA and just this deep wisdom inside you, even if it's scary, you will feel a sense of expansion.


You will feel like something is growing, that there is possibility. Even though you're nervous about it, even though you're not quite sure where you're going to go, if the decision is wrong, when you get quiet and you drop in, you will feel a sense of shrinking. You'll feel constrained. You'll feel a little depleted in your energy. We often mistake that nervousness that you feel before you make a decision to quit your job or a decision. You know what? I'm going to get serious about my finances. I'm going to stop going out to the bar on the weekends, and I'm going to commit to listening to this podcast two hours every weekend to start learning and start mastering skills and to literally put these things that I want first. Now, on Friday night, when your buddy's calling you're like, Hey, we're going down to the pub. You want to come? When you are about to say no, you're going to feel that rise up because you've never done this before. You always go and you know you're going to get blowback. But if you get really quiet and you drop in and you ask yourself, okay, if I were to go to the bar tonight, does that feel like something expansive?


Or does that feel like something that's shrinking me a little bit? And you'll know the right answer for you. That's a tool that I have used over and over and over again in my life to know what to do. It doesn't answer how. It doesn't answer when. It answers what.


There's a quote I heard many years ago, I think almost a decade ago, which stayed with me because I tried to understand why sometimes it seems like people need a little bit more pain before they make a change. And the quote is, Change happens when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of making a change. This sounds like a crazy thing to say, but I sometimes see people in certain situations where they're debating making a change or getting that gym membership or breaking out of a cycle that has kept them trapped in a situation which has made them unhappy. And it appears that they just need a little bit more pain.


What you're talking about is a fundamental fact, and that is you cannot change another person. People only change when they're ready to change. And if what it requires is more pain or hitting a rock bottom or the stakes becoming so high that somebody sees the cost of continuing to self-sabotage or to go on the path that they're going down, that for some people is the only moment in time where they see that they want things to be different. You can't want somebody's sobriety or their healing or their financial freedom more than they do.


Because at the very bottom, I guess we learned two things. As you said there, the cost of continuing, but also the reward of change is never greater. When you're at the very bottom of the mountain, it's like the cost of continuing down here, plus also the reward of me climbing that mountain are at maximum.


Yeah. We're having an intellectual conversation. The fact is it's really hard to change. If it were easy to develop great habits or change your mindset and it could happen like that, everybody would have six-pack abs. Everybody would have four companies like you do. Everybody would have a hit podcast. Everybody would have their dreams come true. And it is very difficult to change because we are hardwired to spot patterns that seem similar and to repeat them. I do think it's important to say that if you're struggling, if you're frustrated with yourself, if you're at that point where you're so sick of yourself and your excuses, I've been there, Steven's been there, this is a normal part of the human experience. And at some point, either the pain is going to get big enough or you're going to bump into somebody's story somewhere on this planet who has been in the position that you're in right now facing the stuff that you're facing right now, and there is something about their story at this exact moment in time that will ignite something in you that is missing. And what is missing in you right now is hope.


Because when you're stuck and when you are on a downworld spiral, whether it's just in your own head or it's in self-destructive behavior, the thing that's missing in your life is hope. You don't believe right now that anything is going to make a difference. Until you get to the point where you just hate what you're doing so much that it's worth trying, or you have somebody crack open a door and just a little light comes in and you have this moment where you go, Well, what if? What if this is the time sobriety sticks? What if I go to therapy and I actually do change the way that I think? What if I could recover from this narcissistic abuse that I've been struggling with after that relationship or that marriage? What if I could get out of debt? If that person did it, maybe I could do it. Without either hope or that rock bottom moment, I don't think you're going to change.


Can you tell the difference between someone who is likely to change and someone who isn't? Because there must be so many people that message you and they present a facade as if they have had that realization and they're about to change. Mel, I'm about to start that business. Thank you so much for everything you've done. You look in their eyes and you go, and you're like, I don't believe a word. What do you mean?


I'll tell you, that's an energy thing. You're somebody who invests in a lot of people. I would imagine that in addition to looking at the business model, you're actually looking at the person and talking is cheap. The people that are actually going to change will thank you for the hope and thank you for a specific piece of advice. And then they are moving so fast out that door because they realize that change doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen with one insight. It is tedious. It is painful. It is lonely because it is a game of just moving the ball down the field inch by inch by inch. It's not glamorous. It's lonely. As you start changing, everything around you starts changing, people around you start... It's not even fun in the beginning. You'd either have to have an incredible amount of hope or a ridiculous amount of inspiration and delusion, or you have to be in so much pain that the alternative to continuing this pain that you're in is to try something different because it's the only thing that might be slightly less painful than what you're doing. You get to that point where I call it the fuck it moment.


This is bad, so fuck it, let's try something else. I really believe that. I think people, you can't tell who's going to change because it's a long game.


Is there anything that breaks your heart about what you do? For all the.


Upsides of it, for all- Oh, my God, yes. Yeah. What really breaks my heart is how stuck people are and that there are things you can do to change your life for the better. And if you don't have hope and you don't have this breakthrough where you have for just a millisecond this insight where you go, Well, what if things did work out? If you don't have that moment, most people stay so stuck in resignation. Actually, that's one of the things that really I'm so curious about with you because I like you, talk to so many people and have so many people writing in, and the number of people that are living their life at 40 or 50 or 60, and they are defined by the trauma that happened in their childhood. That's not to say that the trauma wasn't profound or wasn't impactful. And having experienced childhood trauma of my own that I didn't discover until later in life. I find it so sad that so many people just don't know that they're stuck in patterns of abuse or patterns of thinking that they can change. And if you're not aware that you're stuck in something, there's no way you can change it.


And so it makes me extremely sad that there are so many people that are not aware of how much better and how much more present and how much more joy they could experience in their life.


It's much of that identity, like the identity, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves circulates around us. It becomes this instruction manual for everything we do, believe, and think of ourselves. That is ultimately the story of Stephen Bartlet that I have authored based on everything I interpreted that happened in my life. Things happen. I write a new line into myself story about who Steve Bartlet is because of that. Then I use that as my instruction manual for forward facing behavior.


I think one of the most interesting experts to talk to about that topic is I think his first name is Dr. Paul Conti from Stanford. I know his last name is Dr. Conti, but I just interviewed him for our podcast, and his work is all on the inner voice and the subconscious. And that there is this narrative that you have that you may not even be aware is talking to you all the time. And when you start to turn toward what that self-critic is saying, You're never good enough. Why did you screw that up? And you start to examine what it's telling you. It would be as if I was walking behind you, Steven all day long going, Boy, you really suck, and you blew that. My God, you're never going to amount to anything. You're going to be alone and you're going to do this. We do it to ourselves. So, yes, your self-talk, which is probably buried somewhere very deep, this is not my area of expertise in terms of psychiatry or neuroscience, but we just interviewed them and it was fascinating, is informing what you think about yourself. Of course, what you think about yourself then drives the things that you do.


Is it thought-driven or behavior-driven? Is it nervous system-driven first? Is it subconscious-driven first? Here's what I know. I know that until you make a decision that you no longer want to feel how you feel, or you no longer want to think the way that you think, or you no longer want to have the results or no results that you have until you make that decision that, You know what? I know I don't feel great. I know I doubt myself. I know I've had a lot of bad things happen. I know there's a lot that I regret, but damn it, with the time that I have left in my life, I really want to start to enjoy myself. I want to take better care of myself. I want to feel happy. You don't even have to believe you deserve it yet. You can just want it. You've got to start there. You've got to start with wanting something better for yourself. And then I personally think the most important thing is to start acting like the person who has the things that you want right now, even though you don't feel like it. And the reason why I personally prefer to hack this change of going, Okay, I want to...


Here's something that I am working on right now. I'm 55 years old. I'm in the middle of menopause. It's a complete nightmare. And I feel as out of control with my body as I did when I was pregnant with one of our three kids. Everything's changing. It's really confusing to figure out what's going on. I could go on and on and on about this. As somebody who's in the middle of it trying to figure out what to do around my changing hormones and how to get better control of my health. And so what do I do? I feel a little discouraged right now. I don't really know what to do. I just know I don't like how my body is feeling and how it's changing. And so I make a decision and a commitment to myself that I want to feel better. I want to understand this. And so that decision is super important because without deciding that I want to do something, I'm not doing anything. And then I start to study all of the experts and what people have to say about this topic of hormone balance and gut health and women's health and how to regulate your hormones naturally.


There's just so much information out there. Then I make a decision. Okay, well, what are the two or three things that I'm going to do? Then I start doing it. I wake up every day and I do those things, even if I don't feel like it, even if my self-talk is pretty poor. Here's what happens over time, for me personally, is if I see myself taking actions consistent with somebody who exercises or somebody who is taking care of her hormone health or somebody who is not drinking or somebody who is writing a book, if I see myself taking those actions, it changes the way that I look at myself. The action-first approach is what I personally believe in because I think it works faster.


Everybody that hears you saying that and everybody who sees people be disciplined in that way, the illusion is that they're just profoundly motivated.


Oh, my God, no. No. I think motivation is garbage. I always thought that was funny given that I was a motivational speaker for a long time. Here I think it's garbage. The reason why I think motivation is garbage is because it's not there when you need it. I don't rely on motivation. I do not expect to feel motivated. I do not expect to feel like doing things, and I make myself do them. That does not mean, by the way, that I have great willpower. That does not mean that I consider myself to be a disciplined person. That means that I understand the biology of how most human beings work and the biology of how most human beings work is that you feel a sensation in your body. Let's just take an example like getting out of bed. You set the alarm the night before. I know you don't, but most normal human beings set the alarm the night before. And when the alarm goes off, you're going to get out of bed, right? I mean, that's how it's supposed to work, because when you set the alarm the night before you're setting it for a time where you're basically supposed to get up.


So you are making a promise to your future self in the morning that you're going to get out of bed. Well, what happens? All kinds of things happen. You go to bed, the alarm rings, and the first thing that you feel is a sensation. And for me, the sensation that I always feel in my body is something that I would call it. I don't know if it's the cortisol, I don't know if it's partying, I don't know if it's menopause. I don't know if it's the fact that I have a fabulous bed and my husband's next to me and I don't want to get out of it. I don't know if it's the fact that I live in southern Vermont and it's freezing. I don't know, but the first sensation is then perception. So sensation, perception, then feeling, then thought, then action. That is the biological chain of events that happens in a nanosecond. I know that this is what's happening. I have the feeling. I then have the perception happen, which is I look around, it's dark, Chris is next to me. I then have an emotion about it, overwhelm, frustration, like usually something negative.


Then I have a thought which is, I don't want to get out of bed. And that, for years, would trigger the action I would take. And what most of us, I certainly didn't understand that sensation, perception, feeling or emotion, thinking, and then action is the chain of events. That is how you're hardwired. This is how it works. Bodykeep, this is how it works. It wasn't until I understood that, Holy cow, if I don't reverse the chain, my sensation, my perception, my emotions about things, and my thinking, all four or five of those things actually precede what action I take. And I'm not in control of what I'm doing. My emotions and my sensations and my trauma and all of the stuff that has been running on autopilot forever, that is controlling who Mel Robbins is. And at some point, if that's working for you, fantastic. If there's an area of your life that you're not happy in, then you got to reverse the order. Or I guess, or and you can go to therapy for months and months and months and do the work, and slowly but surely you will change the way that you think, which also helps.


But I find that understanding that that is the chain of events. And for those of us that have any childhood trauma where sensation is the first thing that you feel that then triggers that whole pathway or you have any anxiety, again, sensation of the alarm that then triggers a whole pathway of action and reaction, this is one of the reasons why you feel out of control. It's because the sensation and the wiring in your body is actually triggering this chain reaction, and you don't even realize it. It's why avoiding things or freezing has become your default response to everything, because every sensation triggers the exact same thing, which leads to an action of avoidance.


And the way around that is to flip that and start with taking better actions, regardless of.


How you feel. There's two ways around it. One is to work with a licensed therapist who can help you do the deeper work of understanding yourself and understanding your default thinking patterns and doing the work to challenge those assumptions and change the way that you think. That absolutely works if you will commit to the process of doing it. The second way, and you can do these together, certainly how I did it, is to look at your behaviors and understand that there is this chain of... There is this order that happens in your body and reverse it. Take a behavior-first approach. If you want to get in better shape, what does somebody do who is in the shape that you want to be in? Ask yourself what the behavior is, because I'll tell you the reason why you're not taking those behaviors is because this chain of events in your body, from sensation to perception to feeling and emotion to thinking, is constantly telling you, I don't feel like it. I don't want to. It's not going to work anyway. I'm going to eat that thing. Yeah, I'm going to eat that thing. I'll do it tomorrow.


And you can reverse it.


It's funny because everyone knows how... Well, I believe 99% of people know how they should behave to become the person they want to become. They know they probably shouldn't have that, I don't know, bowl of ice cream at 2:00 AM in the morning. They know that they probably should get up in the morning and run for five kilometers. They know they probably should check in with their friends and family. They probably et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.


But here's the thing. You're not making your behavior decisions with your brain. You're making them with the sensation in your body. If you don't feel like doing it, you don't do it. See, before it even gets up here, you feel it in here. This was the thing that was revelatory for me. It's like, Oh, my God. My emotions drive my entire life. That's why I feel out of control. That's why I'm frustrated with myself. That's why I can talk till I'm blue in the face about what I need to do and what I should do and what this and what that. But when push comes to shove, if I don't feel like doing it where I'm scared or I'm this or I'm that, I don't do it. That means my emotions and the sensations in my body and the patterns that have been hardwired for a long time and the coping mechanisms that just run on autopilot, that's what's driving you. It's not up here.


So we've broken our cycle.


Who has? Well, I don't know. Dude, I wake up every… I still, I know all this. This is the other, I think, is a really important thing for you to hear, not you, Steven, but everybody watching and listening to us. And that is that I personally feel like it's important to understand that you may never like the things you need to do and you can still do them. I will never like getting out of bed. And I still get out of bed when the alarm rings. I don't like emptying the dishwasher, and I still do it. I don't like exercising. I still do it. I don't like eating healthy a lot of the times. I still do it. I don't like taking a breath and centering myself. When I really want to just scream at my husband and I still do it because I let my emotions and my anxiety and my trauma responses and my fears run my life for far too long. I would rather be in the daily, I don't know if you call it a battle or you just call it, I'm just in a daily dance with myself to constantly come back to alignment and peace and showing up as the person that I want to be rather than how I may feel in the moment.


One of the things I did want to speak to you about is about how we know what we want and how we set goals. Again, we're in that part of the year now where everybody's thinking, we've talked a little bit about how one changes themselves, but then even knowing what direction to aim at is a whole challenge in and of itself. How does one know at 30 years old in my life, what real goals I should be aiming at? Because part of the concern I've had is I wonder if I'm driven or being dragged.


What do you think?


I don't know. I don't really know.


The difference.


Bullshit, you know. No, I don't.


You are the most driven person I know. Why? I don't know. I'm going to ask you. Just give me this part from my interview. Yeah, fine. Well, this is something that I'm sad to do. Why are you the most driven person I know?


Why are you?


Me? Yeah. I think I was outrunning something for a.


Very long time. Sounds like being dragged.


Is it?


I genuinely have sat here with hundreds of people, and every single time they explain their motivation to me, I guess, Sounds like you're being dragged by shame, your father's opinion of you, insecurity, whatever.


That's a negative way to say it. I feel like-.


That's why people don't like it, because they sound powerless. They sound like they're attached to the back of the lorry and it's flying down the motorway.


Well, if you recognize that's what it is, you suddenly become powerful.


Yeah, you can drive.


Yes. For me, if I put it through the lens of the bad things that happened, it would probably be just outrunning. Like a psychiatrist once said to me, It's very interesting to me that when this incident happened in the fourth grade and this kid climbed on top of you while you were sleeping, you are in a state when you're sleeping where you are completely supposedly safe. I'm not sure, Mel, your nervous system ever reset back to a place of feeling safe. Then the hypervigilance of having a caregiver who is always very erratic with their personality also made me feel always on the move, always on the move, always on the move. If you're on the move, nobody can catch you. And so slowing down, if you put it in that context, becomes unsafe. However, if you look at a lot of our experiences growing up, most of us get a lot of positive attention when we achieve. And so we become, whether you want to say, driven or dragged, it's probably just a matter of whether or not you're in control of it. A lot of us are driven by the desire to want to feel seen, the desire to feel loved, the desire to get the accolades, which is why so many of us feel driven to achieve because it's tied into a sense of self-worth.


It's tied into a sense of being loved, being seen. For me, I think I was probably, to use your words, dragged since I wasn't in control of it. But more and more, I feel profoundly driven.


I often think people need to be dragged to a place where they realize that something has failed them for them to then take stock and decide to become a little bit more intentional and to take hold of the steering wheel. Because in my situation, I was 100 % dragged to thinking that I needed a million pounds of six pack, a girlfriend, and a ranger of a sport. Then upon getting those things, it was like almost a bit of an existential crisis. Like, What the fuck am I doing here? What failed me and why did I come to this part? Then in that moment, I could really take stock of what my own intrinsic drivers were and then do things a little bit more intentionally and aligned with disassociated from the thought that any of these things would validate me at some deeper level.


I think a lot of this that we're talking about isn't conscious decisions that anybody's making. That there is so much conditioning and programming that happens that we are unaware of as we're growing up and as we're moving through young adulthood that you don't even realize how much you avoid stuff or how much you're coping by being busy or you're coping by drinking too much or you're chasing stuff because you feel a deep sense of self-loathing. And that most of the decisions, at least this is for me, were all reactions. Just again, just trying to do the best that I can, but not really in control of anything. Andand until I really believe this, until you can drop into your body and just calm down your nervous system and not be revving that internal engine so much, but to be able to just... This is not a technical term. I feel like I've smoothed out my nervous system by doing traditional talk therapy, guided MDMA therapy with my husband, EMDR, all of the behavioral activation therapy, which is leading with a behavior-first approach and start acting like the person you want to be.


Let them.


Let them. Okay.


Well, I was so fascinated by this theory, this let them theory, which is a behavioral technique, I guess. Would you describe it as a behavioral technique? No, I wouldn't. What is it?


The let them theory is based on a simple truth. The fastest way to take control of your life is to stop controlling everyone around you. You have no idea how much time and energy and attention you are wasting trying to control other people. You have no idea how much energy you are burning through, thinking about, worrying about, obsessing about what other people are doing, what they're not doing, what they're feeling, all of which you have zero control over. And so the let them theory is this simple theory that I credit my daughter with teaching me that has created so much peace in my life because like every other human being on the planet, I had no idea how many opinions, how much frustration and expectations I had about what other people were doing or what they should be doing. It's just unreal how obsessed we all are with everybody else and what they should be doing and what they're not doing. When you start to use the let them theory, you will notice it's just unbelievable how much you need to use it. There are exceptions. I can explain a lot about this. I'll give you the quick story about how I learned it because I think it's very helpful.


It was our son's junior prom. He's an 11th grader in the States. Like most moms, completely obsessed about everything. It's also my son, and this is his first prom, and I had daughters, so it was a totally different circus with our daughters. I thought that his would be drama-free because he's a guy. But it actually became more dramatic because he doesn't say anything. Everything, Steven, was a last-minute scramble. Like from getting the tucks to he needed to have these certain Stan Smith, Adidas sneakers, and we had to overnight those to the fact that he was just going to go with his friends. Then all of a sudden, he asked a date. Then she wants a bootineer, she doesn't want a bootineer. Then we're going to the pre. Every step of the way, I had internal opinion. Why doesn't you do that? We get to the pre-prom photo party. That's a lot of pees. Our daughter happened to be home from college. She was there for the weekend, and all of a sudden, it starts to rain out of nowhere. By rain, I mean a hairstorm. It is raining sideways. I realized none of these kids have umbrellas.


None of these kids are prepared for this. I turned to our son and I'm like, Oh, where are you guys going for dinner? He's like, Well, I don't know. I turn towards my husband. I'm like, They don't have plans for dinner? What do you mean? They didn't make a reservation for the prom? I start to get all worked up. Now all the other parents are like, Wait, you didn't make… Do you want me to call the in? Would you guys want us to order pizzas? And the ramp-up is happening. I start to jump in and my daughter grabs my arm and she says, Let them. Just let them do what they want. Oak yells over and says, Hey, Mom, I think we're going to go to this taco thing. Now, the taco place that they were going to, Steven, is like the size of this table. There are 20 kids. It is hailing outside. They are dressed to the nines. I could feel that volcano of control coming up like, You can't go to the taco place. You're in a tux and you got the new sneakers and her dress is going to get ruined and you don't even have an umbrella.


What are you thinking? And then whatever. And Candel has my arm. She's like, Let them. If they want to go to a taco stand in the pouring rain and ruin their dress, let them. It's their problem, not yours. As she said it, I started just repeating those words to you, Let them. Let them have a taco stand. Let them ruin issues. Who cares? Let them do what he wants to do. Why am I worried about what he's doing? Why am I not worried about where I'm going to have dinner? It was just this moment, and it immediately unhooked me. Then from that point forward, I just noticed a million situations sitting at the restaurant that night and the waiter is busy with other stuff and they're not coming to the table. How does everybody feel when that happens?




Them be busy. Let them take care of the other table. Standing in line and I don't know what it is about the world today, but people can not stand in lines. Fidgeting and this and that and the other thing. The person is letting in people from that line, and they're not letting in people from this line. Let them. Let them. Some of the really important topics, too. Like, if your kid wants to drop out of school, you can say what you need to say. Ultimately, it's their life. Let them.


What's going on there at the heart of that? Is that just a lowering of one's expectations? Going back to the point we said about expectations and happiness, we alleviate the chance of disappointment. Because we're just saying, fine, let it go. What is at the very crux of that in a psychological level that's allowing us to feel liberated from that stress and need for control?


What do you think it is?


I think when we take on other people's problems, we create expectation for them. Like in the case of your son, you had an expectation of what his night would look like and where his trainers and tucks were going to go. That unmet expectation is causing you unnecessary suffering, control, stress, angst, vigilance. Just by saying, Do you know what? I wish him well, you're just cutting the cord of a whole other stream of expectation that you absolutely do not need. You don't need to volunteer to make yours yours.


And look how much stress it created.




And look how much agitant it created. There's so many things going on, Stephen. First of all, I should also say there are exceptions. First of all, you're not just going to let your kids do whatever they're going to do if you're a parent because you're supposed to put the guardrails up. But there is so much controlling that we do in our lives of other people, and it is ruining your relationships. A great example of a way to use this is, let's say that you see that your friends are going out for brunch this weekend. They didn't invite you.


Happens all the time with my team. Let them.


Let them. Because here's the thing that's really important is it's really not about other people. See, energetically, you're hooking yourself into other people because you have an opinion about what they should or shouldn't be doing. That opinion is usually driven by your insecurity, or it's driven by your controlling nature, or it's driven by your anxiety, or it's driven by whatever it is that you may have. But once you get your energetic hook into somebody else, you've now just lost control because you are now trying to gain control of anything in your life, what your friends are doing for brunch this weekend, by focusing on them. When you say let them, this is what's very interesting. It's very different than saying, I'm just going to let go. I don't give a hoot. I don't care. Balloney. If you're feeling a wave of energy about it or emotion about it, you do care because the emotion is evidence that it is impacting you. And so most people understand that you should just let it go or you shouldn't care, but they don't know how. When you say let them, a couple of really interesting things happen. Number one, you acknowledge what's happening, which both acknowledges that your friends are out to lunch without you, and it also acknowledges that it bothers you.


When you say let them, you're acknowledging the situation and you're almost saying, I'm above it and I'm permitting this because I see it happening. Then something really interesting happens because you're no longer all worked up about what they're doing. You are forced to look back at yourself. Let them. If my friends are going out to brunch and they didn't invite me and it bothers me that much, and I'm just going to let them do it instead of sitting here stewing about it. What do I need to take responsibility for?


You're toxic.


Yes, probably. Or I don't ever invite anybody out. Or if I want more experiences with my friends, I should be the one organizing everybody to go out to brunch. Or maybe my friends can just go out and I don't have to always be included and it doesn't have to mean anything and maybe I've got work to do with therapy. And so what happens is as you start to use let them to lower your expectations to stop focusing on other people and what they're doing, it forces you to take responsibility for what you want in your life.


Linked to that was this thing that I found which people just loved when you said it, which was, You should stay in your peace and stay in your power. Yes. And it sounds somewhat correlated to that.


Very much so. When you start using it, you will notice how often you get agitated or frustrated by what other people are doing. It's strangedanger is in a coffee shop. It's your relatives. We were just in a situation here in the States for Thanksgiving where we were down visiting my parents. They're in a place that's small. We had a place that we had to rent so that we could all be together, but it wasn't that close. Every time it was a moment where it was, Are we going to their house? Are we going to our house? Are we going to their house? Are we going to our house? Somebody had an expectation about where we should be. Normally, the old Mel would get hooked right into that person. I'd just be like, Let him. The people in your life are allowed to have their emotional reactions, and it's not your responsibility to manage their emotional reactions. Part of the reason why we get hooked into these toxic dynamics with people is because you're part of the dynamic. Somebody does something that triggers you. You go right in, you start to change how you show up, you start to compensate, you start to people please, or you get all mad and angry and next thing you know, it erupts and it's the same thing over and over and over again.


You wonder why it never changes. Well, part of the reason why is that person's never going to change. You cannot control that. But you can change the energy you're putting into the dynamic.


When you were asked what was the worst advice you were ever given, do you remember what you said?


I do not. What is it?


You said, The worst advice I've ever received is that someone else can make you happy.


Oh, it's so true. It's so true. Money can't make you happy. Someone else can't make you happy.


It's correlated to what you were just saying there.


In a way. It's very correlated because a lot of us are putting our energy into trying to push other people to show up a certain way. When if you were to pull all that energy back and conserve it for yourself, you suddenly start taking responsibility and you have more energy to take the steps and to change the way that you think so that you can have what you want in your life. There are exceptions. Look, you're not just going to let somebody get behind the wheel of a car if they've been drinking. If it's dangerous, if it's self-destructive, if it's discriminatory, you have to step in, in my opinion, and do something. But here's the rub. Hold the intervention with your friend who is an addict. Offer to pay for the treatment center if you can afford to do so. But then you have to let them do what they're going to do. It makes the responsibility of how you show up entirely on you, which means you are now operating based on your values and based on what you want in your life and based on the person that you want to be, not because because you're doing it out of obligation or manipulation or that transactional nature that we get into with people.


It seems to be both selfish and selfless at the same time in a way.


I don't think it's selfish at all.




I actually think it's one of the most generous things you could do. How is not controlling other people a selfish thing to do? I'm not saying I don't care. I'm saying I'm aware that you are an independent human being with his own feelings and his own life path and his own values and expectations. And when I step in and try to fix everything for you or change how you feel, I actually rob you of both the breakdowns that you need. I rob you of the responsibility that you need to take. And I don't own the part of the equation in every relationship. Every relationship has an energetic exchange. I do something, and now you are going to react. And are you going to react based on what's aligned for you? Are you going to react as a way to try to change how I am?


Taking that hook out, though, feels like it serves you in a profound way as well, which is the selfish part of the equation. It doesn't feel selfish, but over the long term, it's going to serve you. So it is an active self-preservation or taking care of oneself.


Yeah. I also feel like there's a healthy dose of curiosity in this because it's going to reveal all the things in your life that really bother you. Because right now you're distracting yourself by being upset about other people. Instead of pulling that energy back in and going, Oh, well, if it really bothers me that my sister-in-law never comes to visit me, then I clearly care about this relationship. And so do I care about me being right and them always coming to me? Do I care about tit for tat? Or do I actually just care about building a good relationship with somebody? This is also extraordinarily effective if you're dealing with somebody that has any toxic tendencies, any narcissistic traits. When you look at the research around especially narcissism and the fact that people are not born that way, they're made that way, and it's highly unlikely that they're changing based on the supply that they constantly need, when you go let them? I'm going to see what's coming. I'm going to anticipate what's coming. I'm going to let them have their tantrum, which is what typically happens. I'm going to go into this wide open.


I'm not going to allow myself to get triggered by it because I am saying, I know who this person is. I know what's going to happen. I've been in this dynamic for years, and I'm going to let them do what they do. And when that happens, you also… It's almost like an emotional force field.


That goes up. Does this apply to Chris, too?


Oh, hell, yes. I'm trying to think of….


How is Chris? We talked about him a bit last time.


Chris is fantastic. He's getting a Master's in transpersonal psychology.


Oh, wow.


And heI'm really, really, really proud of him. He has started that he's been doing men's retreats for six years. Why?


Why? Was there a catalyst?


Yes. He came out of his restaurant business a broken human because the venture did not succeed and he felt like an abject failure. Based on all the messaging that men in particular get about providing, he felt like he had completely failed his wife and his three children and all the friends and families that had invested. And as I scrambled and did whatever I could to try to keep us afloat, when things started to take off for me, the shadow that I cast just made him feel even worse. And so he was looking for something that would allow him to really reconnect with himself, to connect with other men. And so he created something called SoulDegree. And it's been a real passion project of his. He just does two or three retreats a year. He just opened up next year's registration and sold it out in 24 hours, which tells you a little bit about the demand and the desire for people to have deeper experiences and deeper connection, and to circle back on that topic about goals if you want to go there. I think it's very important. This time of year, when January first rolls around, January first is what's called a temporal landmark.


And a temporal landmark, I'm not going to get the definition right, but it is this term used for moments of significance, moments that create a before and an after. We've all had experiences on birthdays.


Turning 30.


Was one of them. Yes, of course. A before and an after. The reason why there are more people that go to a gym on the first of a month is not only because of the incentive with pricing, but it's because it's a temporal landmark. Quarters in a business, temporal landmark. But January 1 is a really huge temporal landmark. I think it's very important to do an assessment or an audit of where you are before you jump into what's next. I think this is the piece that everybody misses when they sit down and they write out a list of goals. The most important part of setting goals for yourself, I believe, is first understanding where you are. There's a simple exercise that you can do. It's like if you think about directions, it's mathematically impossible to give somebody a set of directions unless we know your starting point and where you want to go. And most people pick their head up and go, I want to go there without going, Well, where am I right now? Just take out a blank piece of paper and write out all the categories of your life. There's no formula for this, literally.


You could do 10 different categories. You could do five. You could do relationships, money, my health, my happiness, and just rank them. Where are you? 1-10, 1-5, whatever you want. And explain why. I think a really good goal is to simply say to yourself, How do I make this number two or three points higher? That right there changes your direction. You know where you're starting from, and you ask yourself, Well, if my health is at two, what would a five look like? And can I work towards that? To me, that's what goals are. Goals are that point on a map that are your next couple of steps. Dreams are something else. And dreams are just as important because dreams are that moment where you pick your head up and you get really quiet and you tune in to what your mind, body, and spirit is telling you. You aim that inner compass out into the distance and you ask yourself, Where do I want to go? If you think about five or 10 years from now. The easiest way for me to figure out that is, Who am I jealous of? That usually shows up a lot faster than, Who am I inspired by?


Because jealousy is just block desire. You can't feel jealous of somebody unless you authentically want something for real that you think that they have. The jealousy happens because you have somewhere in your psyche told yourself you can't have it. That's why it comes up as negative. But I want you to consider if you were to allow yourself at this time of year or right now after this podcast to just span the world and ask yourself, Who am I either inspired by or who am I jealous of? Give yourself permission to do that. And then get curious. Well, what is it exactly? Because it might not be the fancy cars or the things that you see. It might be a sense of peace. It might be that they seem to have a great family life. It might be that they have a very vibrant energy to them, that there's something behind the stuff on the surface that really is aligned with what is hardwired in you. And pay attention to that because those dreams are there for a reason. I think that they are the beacons out in the future that are directional signals. Just because you have this dream doesn't mean you're going to get it.


The dream's purpose in your life is to get your head out of the sand and to look out ahead and to point you in a different direction.


Dreams and goals. It's funny because as you were saying that I was wondering what your dreams and goals must be, and it made me think of this comment that I saw on our last conversation, last time you came on the podcast. It said, Dear Mel, you've touched me. I've had a similar molesting experience. I came out after the experience and I told my parents about it. But I didn't tell them for many years because I thought I would be blamed for it because that is how my mother always treated me. I can finally totally relate to somebody in you. I've been living in fear all of my 71 years of life. Fear, capital words, controls me to this day. Now, thanks to you, I have the answers. I can now live the rest of my days better. I've spent my life trying to fix me. With you, I have directions to follow now. So thank you, Mel.


Thank you for sharing that. One of the things that is profound about the let them theory is that if you're in a situation where you're terrified of somebody's reaction, right? Just tell yourself, let them. Let them have the reaction that they're going to have. Because if you allow the space for your parents in that situation to have a really horrible reaction. You've anticipated that it's coming, and you've also allowed them to be human. You empower yourself to then do what you need to do for yourself, which is to say it out loud and to tell the truth about what happened to you. Because it's not about your parents' reaction. It's about you finding the courage and making the decision and taking the action to say this happened. That's the beginning of your life moving in a completely different direction. Because fear is something that runs people's lives. It makes you avoid. It makes you shrink, it makes you live in silence. It makes you deny what you're feeling. Too often, the fear that we feel the most is we're afraid of what other people are going to say. We're afraid of other people's reactions. Let them have it.


Let them be human. Let them do... I'm not saying let people treat you poorly. What I'm here to tell you is that when you take responsibility for your truth and you take responsibility for expressing it, and then you take responsibility for your boundaries, and you take responsibility for your healing, you do have the possibility of living the rest of your life in a completely different way.


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I was, I think, like 47.


How did it change things?


It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. You were recently diagnosed, right? Yeah. It changed everything because I finally had an explanation for something about the way that my mind worked and the way that I felt that made me for 47 years feel like there was something defective about me and I couldn't figure out what it was. And I was diagnosed the way that most women that are adults are diagnosed, and it goes a little something like this. You have a kid. My husband and I have three children, and our youngest, Oakley, was this just amazing, of course, roll of things. One of the things that he was is that he had a lot of trouble in school. We didn't even know that he couldn't read. I mean, talk about being a parent that's asleep at the wheel. We didn't find out that he couldn't read Stephen until he was in the fourth grade. The reason why we didn't know and the school didn't know is because he had so overcompensated in the classroom by being so verbal. First kid with the hand up, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, like talking, talking, talking that nobody knew that he was having trouble.


And all of a sudden, the math problems get harder because they become word problems. All of a sudden, reading comprehension, and not to mention the fact that he also had dysgraphia, which basically means that it looked like he was writing with his feet. I mean, his handwriting was so bad. I was befuddled by this because he could literally sit in front of the TV and play video games for hours and have hyper focus and all this dexterity. I just thought, Oh, he's acting out. He can't stand school. We have this great teacher in the public school system who says, You really need to get him tested, and I wouldn't test him in the school. Luckily, we were at a point where we could afford to go get, I think it's called a psychographic something, something. It's like a long word. And sure enough, the testing comes back and the PhD neuro-psych guy is like, Yeah, well, he has profound dyslexia. He has profound dysgraphia. He has executive functioning issues, which is basically the conductor or the secretary in the brain helping you stay organized and a couple of steps ahead. He has ADHD. As I'm reading through this report, I'm sitting in the pediatrician's office, Steven, and I'm looking at this report and I'm reading it and I look up at his pediatrician who I had become good friends with because we had three kids in the practice at this point.


I'm like, Mark, do you think maybe I have ADHD? He puts his paper down, Steven, and he goes, Do I think you have ADHD? Of course you have ADHD. You are the most ADHD person parent in my entire practice. I'm like, What do you mean? He's like, Mel, you're brilliant. And yet you never do what you say you're going to do. You will leave here and tell me you're going to call. You never call back. Your kids go years without coming in because you miss all their wellness appointments. You scramble every single year for the physicals that your kids need, and you beg us to take... It is clockwork. Of course, you have ADHD. I look at him, Steven, and I'm like, Why didn't you tell me? He said, Because I'm not your doctor. I went and I got the testing, Steven, and turns out, yes, ADHD, dyslexia, same profile as my son. And what was interesting about getting the diagnosis, because I didn't understand what ADHD was, I always thought that ADHD is that you can't pay attention. That's not what it is at all. And so learning about what it is and learning that boys and girls present completely differently.


There's an entire generation of women, I don't know if you know this, but there's an entire generation of women called the lost generation. And what happened is when they were studying ADHD, I guess in the late 60s or early 70s, they only looked at boys. And so boys tend to show the symptoms of ADHD around the age of seven, and it typically is around the hyperactivity or the inability to focus and control their body movements. Girls, on the other hand, don't start displaying symptoms until about the age of 12, and the symptoms are very different. Girls become inattentive, but in a daydreaming fashion. They become a little bit more disorganized, and they aim at getting all of this back at themselves. And so as you become more inward and you are inattentive and you're disorganized and you start to wonder what's wrong with you, and now plus the average age of girls for puberty is right around then too. So all this other stuff is starting to happen and hormones are starting to change. If you don't get properly diagnosed and treated, and by treated, I mean the whole array of things that you can do, whether you're talking about medication or just the different habits that you can have or systems that you can develop to support yourself.


If you don't get properly tested and you don't address it, do you know what the number one thing that happens? You develop anxiety.


Oh, really?


Well, of course, because you're sitting in a classroom and you can't get yourself to focus and you're disorganized and you start to feel this sense of alarm that you're going to walk into a test and you're not going to be able to do it. That you're going to yet again open your locker and the stuff is going to fly everywhere. That yet again you're going to forget your friend's birthday or you're going to forget to do this thing. And so all of this anxiety rises to the surface. So get this. They call us the lost generation of women because what do you suppose if we were not diagnosed, so I'm 55, if I'm in elementary school in the late '70s and they've only studied boys, and so none of this is on anybody's radar screen, you now have a generation of women who are developing anxiety at big levels in high school and college. I was textbook. And so we get treated for the anxiety and medicated for it without addressing the underlying issue all along, which was undiagnosed ADHD. For me, it was absolutely life-changing. And it was life-changing to understand that ADHD is not about your inability to focus.


It is about the fact. And I'm sure you probably have dug into this and you know this, but anytime I talk about this, the number of women that are going to write in, the number of dads that will write in about their daughters, the number of people that say, Oh, my God, I had anxiety in high school, too. Now I've been diagnosed with ADHD, and it was because of my kid going through this. This is exactly my story. It is happening over and over and over again. Here's what really also helped me, Steven, and it's this. Understanding that focus and the ability to focus in appropriate ways requires two different neural networks in your brain. You can think about it this way. If you think about the prefrontal cortex, this part of your brain, really has the job of almost being like a conductor of an orchestra. This is the best example that I've heard in terms of what's happening if you have ADHD. What's happening is if you think about an orchestra and the orchestra is warming up, right? It's like. And the drums are ting, ting, ting, ting, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.


And people are shuffling in their seats. We know that sound, right? And then all of a sudden, the conductor is like… And everybody's silent, right? In order to conduct an orchestra, you've got to be able to do two things at once. You've got to be able to lower the volume on the strings over here. And then you got to be able to amplify the focus on the percussion over here. And what happens when this part of your brain is not switching properly is you are like Mel Robbins in college, and I would be with my books, and I would be in the stacks at Baker Library at Dartmouth College, and I'd be there because I'm going to study. And my orchestra conductor cannot shush anything. The second I sit down, if I'm going to study, I have to do two things. I have to be able to quiet all the ambient noise. I have to be able to quiet all the signaling in my body. So that what? I can amplify my attention on what I'm reading. When this part of your brain doesn't work, what ends up happening, or at least this is the way that it's been explained to me, is that I can't focus on my books because I'm paying attention to the fact that my stomach is grumbling and I hear people walking and then I'm looking around and then I'm paying attention to the fact that I have to go to the bathroom.


Then I'm up, then I'm walking around. That is how I lived for a very, very long time.


Do you think that's a survival response?


What do you mean?


Becoming very aware of your surroundings. You know what I mean?


Has anyone ever researched whether or not there is a link between trauma and ADHD?


Yes. And- Gabal Maté, I believe, is the one that's made a pretty compelling case to me that ADHD appears to be linked to childhood trauma, which is you... I'm going to butcher this, so please forgive me, everybody. The case he made to me was that when you have a chaotic or traumatic or stressful childhood as a survival mechanism, you learn to tune out, and that's protective. If your parents are always screaming in the house, for example, it makes a lot of sense for you to learn to tune out in that moment, but also to know when to tune in obsessively, and maybe that's the hyper-focus bit. The bit that he really stressed to me was that kids that go through some interpretation of a stressful environment at a young age or a traumatic environment are more likely to have ADHD because they've learnt to tune out in order to conserve and survive. It's like my rough understanding of it.


Well, it makes a lot of sense, right? Because if you also have a really chaotic environment, it might not be safe for you to tune out. You've got to stay in that hypervigulent mode, which I think would fry the conductor in your brain. It does, yeah. Because you're both paying attention to the survival signals in your body at the same time as the chaos in your house. And even if you're tuning out the parents who are screaming at each other, you are still tuned into it because heaven forbid it escalates. You got to know. I think it makes perfect sense, honestly, but it was just a game-changer. And it was a game-changer to know the distinction between boys and girls and the link with anxiety in terms of it developing in a pronounced way for those of us that have had this experience of having this as a diagnosis, learning it late in life, and then tracing it back and going, Oh, my God, I've been treated for anxiety for all these years when the real issue was this attention issue. And if you take Gabermonte's theory, which I think is probably accurate, dial it back even further, and it's probably some form of childhood trauma that put a kink in the wires.


Menopause. You talked about.


Menopause earlier. Yes. Do we have to? Jesus. Okay. What do you want to know?


Why did you respond like that?


Because it's really confounding. It's confounding because there's, I don't even know if that's the right word. It's overwhelming. Everybody my age is talking about it because what happens is you start to lose control of your body and you're going through all of these changes that you feel like you are not in control of. I realize I look like a very lean person. And so the truth is that I am a very lean person. I have not changed my habits in, I don't know, eight years. I have very, very healthy habits because I forced myself to do things I don't feel like doing. And yet they're not working. And my body is expanding and brain fog is increasing. And I am like a furnace to sleep next to at night. And all of which is a function of the changing levels of estrogen in my body. And what's very challenging about dealing with hormone changes is that there's so much conflicting advice out there. And to truly know what's going on in your body, you have to be drawing blood. You have to be looking at what's going on in the inside. That is extremely expensive for most people.


It also is a big maintenance issue. It's a gigantic pain in the ass. And it doesn't feel like anybody really has a good handle on this. And I think as a woman, it's very frustrating to know that women were not even involved in medical research until the late '80s. And it's even more frustrating to know. And look, I could be wrong on this, but we had an expert on our show explain that they only use postmenopausal women because they don't want women's hormones to throw off the results of the testing that they're going through with medication. And so it just feels like a massive gray area for more than half the population. Our entire network from the brain through the entire body is running on estrogen. There's new research around just stopping menopause altogether because women's health outcome… I'm not a medical expert, so I'm trying to learn all this stuff to educate myself. Do I take a pill? Do I put a cream on? Do I have this little patch? Do I sleep on a pad that makes me cold so my husband won't complain that I'm sweating through the sheets? Do I do on bamboo shit?


It is so overwhelming. I even feel my cheeks getting hot, so it could be a hot flash coming on. I don't know. All I know is I'm drinking my water and I'm taking my progesterone and I'm doing my estrogen patch. Now I've tried the blood draws and everybody has a different opinion. Is it your gut health? Is it your estrogen health? I don't know. I just know my body is changing. And some days I feel like a mirror that's being put out to pasture. And part of the issue is the lifespan. We have, if you think about it, our life expectancy has way eclipsed the fertility cycle of women. And so we now, for most of us, will have another 30 or 40 years if we take care of ourselves. And that's a long time to live a very vibrant and amazing life, which I believe that we can, and to have a body where your entirewhole entire system needs estrogen and yet your body is starting to lose it. That's part of the reason why there's so much interesting research going on around whether or not the answer is to just keep us menstruating so that we're naturally producing this in our bodies.


So interesting. It's funny because I'm not going to go through menopause myself.


Well, that would be interesting. But obviously- You'll do menopause, though, because you'll probably have a drop in testosterone. I will.


But on the subject of menopause, I'm going to be surrounded by women that are going to go through it.


Oh, my God. And bitchy and bloated and all the bees. So get ready.


I want to make sure I understand. That's why I'm so curious about it. But this crazy thing is I only learned about it like a year ago on.


This podcast. Wait, you didn't know about menopause?




Well, that's true. You're a 30-year-old man or 31. Why would you know about menopause?


I learned from interviewing people on this podcast, and I became so fascinated because people aren't talking about it enough, or at least they haven't historically. The conversation, in my view, has risen in cultural popularity over the last couple of years.


Here's my take on it, Stephen. Thank God it has.




If you look at the fact that women were not included in the medical research until the late '80s, and you realize that more than half the population are women, and that menopause and women's hormone health was a chapter in the OB-GYN schooling. It is an enormous part of how a woman's body function. Like if we pull away all the skin and what you see is all the wiring, the fuel that is really circulating through a woman's body is estrogen and other hormones. This is, again, I am not a medical expert. I am just a woman who is trying desperately to figure out how to make sense of an extraordinarily important topic that until recent years has not been looked at with the scientific rigor that it deserves and demands and that women around the planet need. And it has just been like an afterthought that, okay, you're going to take some hormones and then that'll be that. You'll be through it. I mean, most of the advice that I got when I started to get the thickening and the hot flashes started to come and it's too much information for me to talk about all the other symptoms that you may feel when you go through menopause is basically like, Well, it'll take about 10 years and then you'll bounce back.


That is not acceptable when it comes to how we can care for and empower more than half of the people on this planet. It is exciting, though, because I do believe that somebody will figure this out soon that there will be more research. There already are companies popping up all over the place that are doing really exciting stuff. It's just one of these issues that's really confusing because if you Google it or you listen to an expert on the topic, it really does depend on your personal history. Because if you've had any form of breast cancer or history of that in your family, it can be very dangerous or life-threatening for you to take hormones. Again, I have a lot to say about this because I'm in the middle of it, but I don't know a lot, and I think that's the thing that's scary.


My last question before I go to the book. The hardest question that people ask me, I've struggled with it for a couple of years, and I still struggle with it now to be honest, is they ask me what's driving me. I pause because I don't want to give a bullshit answer. Do I really know at the core of me what's driving me? You talked about a lot of it being subconscious. I don't really know. The other thing that people ask me is, What's your goal? Because I think I've got this predisposition now or this perspective that I don't know if there is a goal. I know that there's this state of being that I want to arrive in every day, this feeling I want, but is there a goal? Because I've completed loads of my goals and it wasn't that. I'm cautious about setting any goals, so I'm going to throw the question at you. What is your goal? Thanks a lot. What is your goal? Is there a goal? Is that a shit question?


Because I've.


Read that quote to you. I mean, someone can't have more profound impact on another person's life than that. I'm like, you did it. You have the gazillion followers. You've climbed the mountain. You've got the car, the money, savings, the kids are good, relationships in a great place.


My goal is to enjoy it as much as I can.


It's a good goal.


Another goal is to have a great relationship with my kids and my husband. I think having… It's very fulfilling to have our adult kids be such good friends. I really love that.


When does that make you emotional?


Because they're cool. You know why it makes me emotional? It's because I know they're choosing to spend time with us. I saw this thing on... It's floating around. I'm sure you saw it, too, about how the amount of time you spend with your parents just declines over time. It literally goes off a cliff. I just love the time that I have with them because I think they're all really interesting and unique. I love that they choose to spend a lot of time with us. We have a.


Closing tradition on this podcast where the last guest leaves a question for the next guest not knowing who they're going.


To leave it for. Is it about menopause? Can't you imagine?


Well, it might be, depending on your answer. The question left for you, I love how these are always one of the most difficult questions. My questions are a walk in the park. What is the most difficult challenge that you have overcome?


I'd say I have a gazillion answers to this. I wanted to say getting out of bed every morning when I don't feel like it because that ability to feel resistance in your body and get out of bed and face the day is the skill that you need for any change. I face it every day in every way. I think the most difficult, if you were to measure it in time challenge would be rewiring my nervous system, if that's even possible. Technically, that's probably not a thing that you do. But to de-program all of the crap that was there, and you can't get rid of it entirely, but to make the pathways in my body that used to be driven by either trauma or fear or anxiety that were so hardwired to make those not be the default and to gain a level of self-awareness and have the tools to be able to catch myself then I'd be like, Oh, not going to be the grizzly bear right now.


And focusing on being action-orientated, as you said.


Yeah, and just prioritizing peace.


Mel, thank you. Thank you so much for your brilliance. I could talk about some of these specific things that I think are so exceptional about you, but that would probably be here for another two hours or so. Thank you so much because you have a wonderfully unique talent, wisdom, ability to dissect, understand, reflect, express, be authentic, vulnerable in a way that the world so desperately needs. It needs someone with that talent for understanding, introspection, processing, communication, and that's what you have. It's hard to think of many examples where I've seen that. You are very much one of a kind, and it's a responsibility, unfortunately. It's a great responsibility to have.


I don't feel that way. I feel like it's so much easier than faking it, dude.


I look at you and I go, You've got so much talent that it's a responsibility. Because you can impact 71-year-old lady here to pivot her life. I go, That's a responsibility. Do you know what I think is a great thing in life? Meaningful responsibilities. I think we're all trying to find it, and I think that's what you have the gift of. I'm always going to be your number one fan. Gosh, I actually just think you're at the beginning of your journey, so I'm excited to see all of it play out. Thank you, Mel.


Thank you. Can I say one more thing?


No, I'm joking. Yeah, of course you can.


That comment by what was her name?


I don't.


Think she left her name. Oh, she didn't. Okay. That comment makes me...


I'll find the name for you.


That comment makes me... One of the reasons why I think I'm so driven is because I know how many people go through life day to day feeling invisible and stuck and not seen. If I can share any small thing that I've done that has made a difference or any detail about a challenge that I'm facing, even if it's complaining about menopause and hot flashes and bloating, if that means one human being out there somewhere across the world goes, I'm not the only one, that's why I do what I do. Because I lived inside a body and a brain for too many decades going, I think I'm the only one who feels this way. I think there's something wrong with me. I don't think I'm ever going to be able to fix this. And it's simply not true. You're not the only one. There's somebody on this planet going through it and has changed your life for the better. And if they've done it, so can you.


Thank you. You're welcome. As you'll know, this podcast is sponsored by Hewel. I have to say, it's moments like this in my life where I'm extremely busy and I'm flying all over the place and I'm recording TV shows and I'm recording shows in America and here in the UK that Heal is a necessity in my life. I'm someone that, regardless of external circumstances or professional demands, wants to stay healthy and nutritionally complete. And that's exactly where Heal fits in my life. So if you're looking to try Heal for the first time and to get into it to join the Heal again family, I highly recommend you try this out. Do you need a podcast to listen to next? We've discovered that people who liked this episode also tend to absolutely love another recent episode we've done. So I've linked to that episode in the description below. I know you'll enjoy it.