Today’s guest is Petra Kolber, author of The Perfection Detox: Tame Your Inner Critic, Live Bravely, and Unleash Your Joy. Petra is an internationally renowned fitness expert and wellness leader who’s known throughout the industry as a crusader for change and a beacon of authentic happiness. In her 25 years in this field, she starred in and choreographed more than 60 award-winning videos and fitness programs, spoken live to thousands of people and audiences around the world, lead workshops nationwide. She’s a keynote speaker and inspires people to stand up for their lives and live profoundly from their hearts. She’s been the face and voice of leading food and fitness companies like Reebok, Spry Living, Yes Fitness Music, and California Walnuts. She’s a two-time cancer survivor and she’s passionate about waking people up to the precious gift of time. Her mission is to motivate people to move more and fear less so they can stretch their dreams, strengthen their courage muscle, and build an inspired life full of joy and gratitude.
00:03:12 – What’s life about?
00:05:28 – Learning to DJ.
00:11:22 – The Perfection Detox.
00:16:26 – An aha moment.
00:23:16 – Staying in the present.
00:33:50 – The little voices inside our heads.
00:37:03 – Loving ourselves.
00:42:42 – Mirror talk.
00:48:09 – Book release date.
00:49:10 – Lighting round.
00:54:06 – Challenges growing up as a child.
01:07:19 – What it took to get the Perfection Detox written.
01:12:01 – Beta testing of the book.
01:20:48 – Book proposal how-to.
01:28:45 – Finding an editor.
01:33:59 – The Writer’s Space.
01:37:49 – Technology used in writing.
01:43:11 – Positive psychology – a discussion.
YES! Fitness Music
The Perfection Detox: Tame Your Inner Critic, Live Bravely, and Unleash Your Joy
The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection by Michael A. Singer
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
The Bloggess by Jenny Lawson
Voice Record Pro App
If You Can Talk You Can Write
Hire My Mom
The Writers Room
Petra’s TEDx talk
BRYAN: 00:00:41 Today my guest is Petra Kolber, author of the Perfection Detox, tame your inner critic, live bravely and unleash your joy. Petra is an internationally renowned fitness expert and wellness leader who’s known throughout the industry as a crusader for change and a beacon of authentic happiness in her 25 years in this world, she started in and choreographed more than 60 award winning videos and fitness programs spoken live to thousands of people and audiences around the world, lead workshops nationwide, she’s a keynote speaker, inspiring people to stand up for their lives and live profoundly from their hearts. She’s been the face and voice of leading food and fitness companies like Reebok, Spry Living, Yes Fitness Music, and California Walnuts. She’s a two time cancer survivor and she’s passionate about waking people up to the precious gift of time. Her mission is to motivate people to move more and fear less so they can stretch their dreams, strengthen their courage muscle, and build an inspired life full of joy and gratitude.
BRYAN: 00:01:39 In our conversation, we talk about, of course perfectionism. Petra talks about her recovering perfectionism. We talk about the difference between ruminating and reflecting, living in the present moment, some thoughts that can help improve the quality of your relationships. I love something Petra says, “the real work begins when the love story ends.” We also talk a little bit about her passion for Djing. Dj P. K. sometimes goes by, and we spend a lot of time talking about how she got her book written. I think you’ll find something that is very amazing and inspiring. T he thoughtfulness and the, the strategy that she puts into creating a workshop that she led people through, helped her organize and inform this book. So as you listen to it, don’t compare yourself to Petra, but see what you can find is an inspiration that you might be able to apply your own work and your own writing. Probably the most energetic person I’ve talked to all week. So without further ado, please enjoy this conversation with Petra Kolber.
BRYAN: 00:02:49 Petra, welcome to the School for Good Living Podcast.
PETRA: 00:02:51 Thank you so much Brian. It’s such a pleasure to be here.
BRYAN: 00:02:55 So in just a moment, I will ask you to answer the question. You know, when somebody asks you who you are and what you do, what do you tell them? But before we get to that, I want to start with kind of a softball here, Petra, tell me what’s life about?
PETRA: 00:03:12 Oooh, that’s the softball question? I’m leaving now. You know, I honestly think life is about two things. Life is about rediscovering who we were, who we are before someone told us we should be more of this or less of that. I think it’s really coming back to… it’s such an overused word, but our authentic self, and I also think it’s leaving the world a little bit better than when we found it.
BRYAN: 00:03:40 I think you just answered that question in the most concise manner of any guests I’ve ever had. Congratulations. Okay, so then let’s go to that. That question that I alluded to. When somebody asks you who you are and what you do, what do you tell them?
PETRA: 00:03:57 I catch myself even to this day. So I guess if you to say, who am I and what do I do? I would say I’m a writer, I’m a speaker, and then I say I’m a happiness facilitator, but is that really who I am? I mean, and even when I say that I almost want to like kind of clarified like, well that’s not really who I am. I think I’m a writer but I’m not really a writer and then I’m a speaker, but really who am I to be saying I’m a speaker and all those doubts come in. But I really, those three, well those are the three things that I do. I, I write, I speak and I get people to move into a happier state I believe. But then at the end of the day, I think what I really try to do is just help remind people of how awesome they are.
PETRA: 00:04:46 And again, that word awesome sound so American, but it really is that I really, I believe my job is in whatever capacity, if it’s just meeting a stranger on the street or speaking with you right now or meeting someone at a bookstore, it’s how do I help remind them of all that they are versus all that they think that they’re not because that I feel is the human condition. We are so great at recognizing all the list of things we could be doing better, but what about just stopping and pausing and reminding ourselves and reminding others of all the things they are doing so really, really well and helping elevate the energy of the people around them.
BRYAN: 00:05:28 So one thing I noticed, you didn’t describe it in your description of what you do there is a is Djing, but I understand that something that you have an interest in and passion for. Will you tell me a little bit about that?
PETRA: 00:05:40 Yeah. Well, I can definitely say right now, but I am not a DJ yet. One of my goals is, because I talk a lot, you’ll hear me say the word energy and so what I’d like to be next year, let’s say you interview me next year and say, what do you do? I would like to say I’m an energy maker. So my goal is for next year, and to be honest, I had started the process last year. I went to school. I’m the DJ, the scratch Dj Academy, here in New York City where they were learning on vinyl and what I realized is I don’t have enough years ahead of me to really learn how to do this well on vinyl. I got to cut to the chase. So I have a really good friend of mine, Mike Babbit, who is a phenomenal Dj. And I began the process. He was so kind.
PETRA: 00:06:23 He bought me the tractor equipment. I’ve got everything I need. He set me up on the early stage of lessons and my goal was in addition to writing a book and you know, having my own podcast and creating new keynotes oh, I’m going to just learn how to dj too. And what I realized is there’s just too much. So my goal is I’ve got the very, very first stages of deejaying the skillset, nowhere near to even say I’m a DJ in practice to be an insult to every DJ in the world, but my goal is between November and January to like deep dive into that for eight weeks and then next year be able to position myself when a conference comes to me and says, what do you do? Oh, you know, I do this keynote around the perfection detox and I want to be the energy makeup for the entire event.
PETRA: 00:07:13 So in between speakers I’ll be mixing music depending on the atmosphere that they want to create, you know, because one of the hardest things to do is create energy where people are learning and retaining. So my goal is to elevate, you know, to be able to ask for more money if I’m being completely honest, but then also be maximize their time and their events. So we create a space where people are coming to watch or listen, but they also get to retain and then be able to implement all this great work. The learning over the two days into their own life. So that’s the honest. Oh. And can I show one of the thing? So I said to my friend Mike Babb it, I want to have the name Dj Happy Beats, and he looked at me like, are you kidding? Because my role, my background was fitness.
PETRA: 00:07:57 And so for many years, you know, in the, in the eighties I’d be wearing a headbands and leg warmers because it’s kind of you showing up with your headband or leg warmers. We don’t do that anymore. Your Dj name will be Dj P K or Dj Petra. Okay. First schooled, I was schooled in Dj. Don’t get too fancy with your Dj name.
BRYAN: 00:08:16 You could bring those back. You could make your thing again.
PETRA: 00:08:20 Everything old is new again. I will take you up on that.
BRYAN: 00:08:22 That’s awesome. Well, when I hear you talk about kind of why Djing is interesting to you and how you would use it, it makes me think about the fact that you’re very, you’re very innovative and you created an app to allow fitness instructors to… tell me about that.
PETRA: 00:08:40 You do your homework, you’re the first person that’s ever even noticed that. Thank you. Yeah. So my background, my school of learning was in the worlds of fitness and this was way before, you know, the apps that we have right now.
PETRA: 00:08:57 And so a big thing of when you’re moving to music for it to really work, the movement has to match the music and so oftentimes the music is too fast or too slow, so it’s cool, I mean it’s called tempo control, but as fitness people we knew it as pitch control, speeding up or slowing down your music. And so in the past, the only way to do that was going to the gym and it would be built into that big stereo system. Now a lot of places they had boom boxes still like the YMCA, smaller, if not the YMCA, but smaller, unique boutique studios might not have the luxury of having a system that can also control the speed of the music. So that means you were reliant on buying your music at the right speed, limited you, very much so, as an instructor.
PETRA: 00:09:46 And so I had come to Yes Fitness Music at the time and said to them, you know wouldn’t it be great if we had an APP that elevated and increased or decreased the speed, and at that time Apple, the way they analyze music, it was an impossibility. It was just… between us having that conversation, all the algorithms change like, oh my gosh, we can do this now we can take this APP and put it into the algorithm of what Apple music is doing. And so Tempo Magic was born. And literally in someone’s palm, they can now take that pitch control that used to cost thousands of dollars, now cost $4.99 and any instructor could use their phone. And so that was a big… that was a big change in our industry and I was just honored to be a piece of that. I mean, I was kind of coming up with the idea. I was nothing to do with the technology, but it was such a privilege to be a part of that, that launch of something new in the fitness world.
BRYAN: 00:10:46 That is really cool.
PETRA: 00:10:46 Thank you.
BRYAN: 00:10:48 I want to ask you about perfectionism and I want to ask you about your perfectionism, and I’ve heard you refer to yourself as a recovering perfectionist and you’ve written this entire book about it, which I’ve been reading and is great, by the way, thank you for for writing it. I know I’m not… maybe I’m not your, your exact audience for this is because I’m pretty sure you’ve written this book for women, but I’m still getting a lot out of it, so I’d love to hear from you… tell me a little bit about why you wrote the Perfection Detox, who you wrote it for, and what you want it to do for them.
PETRA: 00:11:22 Yeah, thank you. That’s a great question and yes, the book is definitely written for a female perspective and I’ve had many guys come up to your. “Why are you writing it for the female perspective?” And I felt that for me the book is based on evidence based on research from positive psychology is that based on the research from perfectionism and my own lab of life, and so as a female I knew I could speak from a female voice and not saying that this is not something that man’s, you know, deal with on every day, but I do feel like the metrics, the measurements that we use are slightly different from male to female. So I, I had been suffering quietly around this idea of the need to be perfect for many years as a fitness expert. I came into fitness, I guess basically fell into it. I moved to New York thinking I was going to be a dancer and very quickly realized while I was a great dancer for Miami, I was nowhere near good enough for the New York Broadway scene.
PETRA: 00:12:24 And so I was also a realist. So I kind of fell into this thing called aerobics in the heyday of step aerobics. No problem there, I was going… I didn’t know any better. So I kind of fell into it not knowing how lucky I was, how quickly my success elevated and then I got connected with Reebok, I became a fitness athlete with them and then I started being positioned as a fitness expert and I think that word expert was laden with all these false beliefs that I had from my past that was kind of built upon people telling me, my, my dance teachers at the time, a couple of coaches saying, you’re never gonna make it, you’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough.
BRYAN: 00:13:07 What kind of coaches are those by the way, holy crap!
PETRA: 00:13:09 I know. Right? But at that time, the whole idea of building, breaking people down to build people up.
PETRA: 00:13:15 And I said, yeah, they brought me down and it just got to build it back up again.
BRYAN: 00:13:20 Just a minor detail.
PETRA: 00:13:21 But yeah. And at that age, and it was like 15, 16 right before I was about to go out into the world as a dancer. I idolize these people. And then I had a choreographer for me that told me I was too fat. Again, not having enough self esteem to even question that their opinion of me might not be correct. So there was this kind of seeded idea of needing to be a certain way to be of worth. Kind of put it on the back-burner, managed to deal with it in a certain level, and then as my exposure out in the world became greater, the platforms became larger. I was now on TV on a fitness TV show every week and it was in the heyday of ESPN and where you’re…
PETRA: 00:14:05 You’re seen across the country and in some places across like Mexico where I was now becoming a fitness celebrity for lack of a better, and even saying that word Brian, I’m kind of like cringing, but I really was. People would recognize me in the airport and things like that. I was on the back of Special K box. Not saying this to brag, but as my personal identity started getting wrapped up with my professional identity, it got all mishmash and all of a sudden I felt like I needed to look a certain way. I needed to see the perfect thing. I should only be eating certain foods. I should never drink a glass of alcohol, a lot de Blah, and so I started putting all these silent rules on myself that became like my own box and I started boxing myself in thinking that the more perfect I was going to be, the most successful I would be.
PETRA: 00:14:59 In reality, it was actually shutting down my success because I was saying no to more and more things. That was kind of the preamble to me dealing with this myself. The first time I thought there might be something bigger out there was I was doing a keynote for a small fitness conference talking about all my highlight reel. Everything that was going, you know, I think it was like 10 tips to be successful. I don’t know what I meant. Whatever. One of those, hundred tips to be the best you or 10 tips to be the best… I don’t know anything, and out of nowhere I casually mentioned I had suffered from anxiety.
PETRA: 00:15:38 I don’t even remember what it was and I felt the whole room kind of shift and almost like leaning in and I thought at that moment I had two choices going with my planned speech, or let’s just follow this conversation a little bit down the path, which is certainly not what a perfectionist does, but for five or ten minutes I dove a little deeper into this idea of the need that to be a fitness leader. I believed I needed to be perfect and perhaps the leaders in the room, maybe we’ve got the wrong idea of what a leader should be. Now the end of any of my talks in the past, I might’ve had a couple of people waiting for me. I suddenly had a line of women and basically the only question they had for me is, oh my gosh, you suffer from anxiety too?
PETRA: 00:16:26 And I went, ahh, we’re onto something here. Time to start looking under the under the fantastic light spandex and headbands and let’s dive deep into what’s really going on inside these bodies of… you know we’ve been… I’ve been doing fitness of so many years and we made. We had made the body the end point, the definition of success and in reality I think is actually making people feel worse about themselves. And that was kind of my aha moment to think there’s something bigger here that we’re not talking about because it’s not sexy. Anxiety is not sexy. Panic attacks are not sexy. How does that fit into the perfect fitness program? I thought, hey, you know, I came to start talking about what I think needs to be addressed so I can keep doing what I’m doing, which is not a bad thing, but at that point I thought, it’s time for me to maybe start changing the conversation.
BRYAN: 00:17:18 I think there’s a lot of people that that are looking for or maybe they don’t even know they’re looking for this conversation. I think about the stress that myself, I think many people create for themselves when they compare… and I love the way that you talk about it, about comparing. When you talk about, you know, like what we compare ourselves to others, how like how we go about that and the stress that that creates for us. You have a great way… something about we compare other people’s highlight reel, right, to like our behind the scenes?
PETRA: 00:17:50 That was by Steven Furtick, the pastor, and I heard him and I… and every time I use I use, I keep using it because it’s such the perfect analogy, especially in today’s world of social media. And he said the reason we’re all struggling with insecurity because we’re busy comparing our backstory to everybody else’s highlight reel, and I think this is more prevalent now than ever. I mean, I think about growing up, you know, when I was a dancer and even when I started doing fitness right, there was no social media. I can’t even imagine anyone like you, you know, your audience are entrepreneurs. They want to do great things in the world. When I started out wanting to be making a change, no one was that judging me instantly, you know, they had to go. I mean, yes, the Internet was there. At the time, it was, vhs tapes…
PETRA: 00:18:38 I am so aging myself, but for someone to write a negative review, there was a couple of places online and I knew exactly where they were and I could stay away from them. Now, gosh, we have to like really arm ourselves with resilience and grit and knowing that our worth and our work is more important of other people’s opinions of us especially we don’t know them and I love know on the feed I saw recently, I refuse to compare myself to strangers on the Internet, but that’s what we do and it’s easy to say and it’s easy to put onto a bumper sticker, but yet look, I see this like I might get, you know, you know, some really nice comments about something I pose and this one person saying, well, I’m completely in disagreement with it and a lot it, all I do is our heart and our brain goes to the negative.
PETRA: 00:19:29 So it’s just, you know, not changing media. I mean, I heard Gary Vaynerchuk say this recently in a talk, technology does not have an opinion. And I really liked that. You know, it doesn’t have an opinion about us, it doesn’t have an opinion about how we’re going to use it, does not, but we need to create our own opinions, our own guidelines, our own boundaries of when we go on either to share or to scroll, what do you want to learn, what do you want to contribute and how are we going to leave the people around us feeling uplifted versus pulled down and depleted.
BRYAN: 00:20:07 I think that’s such a great way of thinking about it. And I know for myself, especially if I’m tired, it’s easy to kind of get sucked into the psychic vortex of my smartphone or just find myself wasting time, you know, online and, and so that intentionality of, um, tell me again what they are. What do I want to learn? What do I want to contribute?
PETRA: 00:20:28 And how do I want to leave the people around me feeling? It’s all comes to me, Brian. The big metric is feeling when, whether it’s about perfection, whether it’s about the work that I’m doing, whether it’s about being online. Ask this one question, does this add more joy to my life or does this suck the joy out of me? Then let’s maybe ask this question, am I adding more joy to other people’s lives or am I sucking the joy out of their life? And I’ve never thought about it that way too, but it’s not just, hey, what do we want to get? But what do you want to give? And like you said, that key word being tired. Oh, it’s prime for our inner critic to go, yay Petras, not paying attention! Brian’s kind of just scrolling without intention! Now time to meet to get my judge and my jury and my, you know, my baton of Southworth out and you’re just, you’re not enoughness.
PETRA: 00:21:19 And so again, with anything that we do, whether it’s being of service to the world, doing your craft, going online, the more we can do it with intention and with attention, the more benefits we’re going to get out of it. It’s okay to be bored. And we’re seeing more about… They said, let yourself be bored. And what tends to happen is we don’t want to be bored, so we jump onto our phone when reality, we’re bored, we’re still bored, but we just scrolling. But when we’re doing it without attention, that’s when we start to start judging ourselves against other people, picking other people apart. All the worst of ourselves comes out when we’re not being in the present moment.
BRYAN: 00:22:00 Yeah, I love that you talk about present moment. Awareness is almost an antidote to perfectionism. I’ve never thought about it that way. You know, but you have this really great insight. Also, I’d never thought about this thing about the difference between rumination and reflection. Will you talk about that a little bit and perhaps the link between perfectionism and present moment awareness or the lack of link perhaps?
PETRA: 00:22:30 Perfectionism, fear, self doubt, worry that it’s impossible for those to exist when we’re in the present moment and to stay in the present moment, twenty-four-seven, is it’s just not a reality. It’s. It’s kind of like, is it like, I call it like interval training. We kind of got to go in and out, in and out of it, in and out of it, but the more we can pull ourselves back into the present moment or even just be aware that we’re not in that state, it’s more of an anchoring to the good of who we are. Our brain is automatically going to pop back to the past or sometimes it jumps into the future. Nothing wrong with that as part of our human nature, but when we’re residing there too long, when… rumination happens more about when we’re going back into our past and also there’s nothing wrong in looking back to learn from our past.
PETRA: 00:23:16 So like if someone said, well, just stay in the present. Yes, and there’s nothing wrong in using our past as a metric. I mean I can learn. I always say there’s research in the rejections… there’s data in the disasters. We kind of have to reflect lightly with appreciative inquiry, with a light touch, what we’ve done well in the past, what maybe we could do differently, what we can bring from our past into our present and carry with us in to a positive. What maybe we need to let go of and so for us to even have these conversations, we need to look back with reflection. The difference between reflecting and rumination is, rumination is when we kind of go into that spiral, it’s a spinning of the brain without any solution. So for example… and it tends to revolve around negative… we rarely, rarely ruminate on positive things.
PETRA: 00:24:11 I don’t think I’ve ever ruminated on a positive moment. Rumination tends to like say we’ve had a breakup or someone did us a wrong or maybe we messed up or we made a mistake that we’ve magnified as though we were the mistake and it could have happened yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, three years ago. I mean I have been guilty of ruminating, you know, of, you know, past relationships and all of a sudden you get locked onto a thought or an idea or a wrong that someone did to you and you just start spinning. It’s spinning, it’s spinning, it’s spinning it. But the difference is in reflection, I’m going to look back or whatever that was and come up with some sort of solution. Maybe it’s a positive question… what can I learn from this? What could I do differently next time? What was my part in this?
PETRA: 00:25:02 What did I not contribute? What? What did I not ask for it? It was a relationship or with with a job that may be ended, what could I have done differently? Was that something I didn’t bring to the table? Whatever, without judgment, just questions that allow us to get curious about the past so we can bring the best of that to the future. When we ruminate, it’s just over and over and over and over with no solution, so it just takes us further and further and further down the rabbit hole. So that’s the difference between rumination and reflection. Does that answer the question?
BRYAN: 00:25:40 Yeah, that’s a really beautiful distinction, and yet as I imagine applying that in my own life, it seems that asking those questions is an attempt at reflection could easily snare me back into rumination, but I love what you’re saying about doing it without judgment.
BRYAN: 00:25:57 Doing it with curiosity, not allowing myself to do it in a way that it’s just this kind of circular process that doesn’t ultimately yield any kind of solution, it’s not productive.
PETRA: 00:26:06 Yeah. That’s a great observation too that you know, asking those questions could snare you back and there’s no wrong or right answer. Sometimes like, oh my God, well that wasn’t the perfect question. You know we ask ourselves questions and we’re still a bit confused at the end of it. The fact you’re even considering that maybe I had something to do with this or maybe I could have done something differently or maybe it was just out of my control and the situation couldn’t have been changed, but maybe how I reacted to it could be different. So again, and even that and you know, we might fall into rumination time and time and time again because again, our brain’s default is to kind of do that, it’s to kind of focus on the negative.
PETRA: 00:26:47 And again, just with self appreciation loving kindness to go, okay, let’s try again. We do the best we can with what we have and that’s enough.
BRYAN: 00:26:59 If you were to estimate, based on your experience or maybe in your research, what percentage of Americans would you estimate deal with perfectionism?
PETRA: 00:27:09 Oh, great question and I have no idea, but let me say this. I think the majority of us at some point, whether we see it as perfection or we see it as a lack of courage, or we see it as a low grade uneasiness with our life or we see it as low grade stress or anxiety. I believe in most of us, I would say most of us, there’s this idea of feeling like an imposter in our own life. And if you come to that research when we talk about being a fraud in own, feeling like a fraud in her own life, feeling like we’re going to get found out.
PETRA: 00:27:52 They say like 70 percent of us, if not more, and especially high achievers, so this is something for your audience to think about. Probably the… and I always say the closer you’re getting to your truth, the more likely you are you’re going to feel like a fraud because you care so deeply about the work that you’re doing and just change where you’re placing the caring, you know, because I think when we care so deeply and if we’re working in isolation as a writer or a, you know, a change agent or someone wants to do something different in the world and especially if you’re working on your own, we get in our heads so much which moves us into the little eye. So it’s not changing the caring but it’s shifting the carrying off. What are people going to say about me and moving the carrying on…
PETRA: 00:28:38 How can I be of impact to the people that I think I can help? And that kind of takes us out of that spiraling effect again. Because again, I know for me personally when I move into that like, oh, I’ve got to get all the reviews. I don’t want everyone to love my interview that I’m doing right now with Brian and I want everyone to like…oh my God. I’m just setting myself up for failure. I can go, if I could say one thing that might resonate with one person out there that might make them feel a little lighter in their world… been a good day, been a great interview, check, move on.
BRYAN: 00:29:13 You know, I, I love that. And what I love about it is what, what you’ve said could sound like theory. It could be like, oh, that’s a nice idea, but what one of the things I love so much about it is that I think it’s eminently practical, like is really, really practical, which is consciously changing our focus. Right? And, and so my experience is if I find myself, like you’re saying, stressed, worried, doubtful, and invariably…
BRYAN: 00:29:43 that is kind of, an alarm, a warning, maybe even my higher self, depending on how you might think about it, indicating Oh, there’s a, there’s a self focus thought co occurring, right? And then that triggers an opportunity to be aware of where my focus is and consciously placed my focus on something outside of myself. I think there’s something there that it occurs for me as, um, I dunno, like a higher level of emotional intelligence or, or self awareness?
PETRA: 00:30:16 Yeah. And I think, you know, need to talk about theory. Yes and no. Um, the science around this too, you know, where your focus goes, your energy attention is going to flow. And you know this is the research from positive psychology and I think it’s this whole idea of, I saw an ego and I liked the idea of ego is edging gratitude out and we come back to a place of gratitude. It will reframe our focus and I will read… the and he’s this fascinating research, the kind of thoughts we have, changes all brain’s pathways. There’s no such thing as an idol fault these days done gotta let that go because no thought is idle is either routing a pathway of more positive living, more positive focus, more positive objective in the world or it’s ruminating and creating more of a negative pathway. And what we focus on gets stronger.
PETRA: 00:31:13 So again, this idea of, you know, we’re either moving forward or moving back. There’s no such thing as a status quo, status quo and there’s no such thing as idle mind. It’s either moving you forward into a positive focus or it’s moving you into a negative focus. And again, like attracts like. So you know, we see this, you know, I mean they say, you know, more positive people tend to be luckier… ah, no. They’re just seeing the opportunities. So again, you know, there is such thing as outside circumstance, but a lot of that is really what do we choose to see in the world would choose to see the good or the not so good. And with that being said, terrible things happened in this world. And I’m not saying there’s an answer for everything, but even in the worst of times and the worst of our own struggles that it might be…
PETRA: 00:32:02 And there will be days when you, it’s not gonna be possible to find gratitude and that’s okay. That’s absolutely okay. But as we catch our breath and as we get our feet back under us by asking for help, and maybe that’s through friendships, maybe that’s in therapy, whatever it is we need to do, when we come back to the ordinary of days when we haven’t been, had the wind knocked out of us by some unexpected circumstance, through gratitude, we get to find the extraordinary and the ordinary. And so yeah, it is kind of like, it’s so funny that people say, oh, it’s kind of like woo woo, yeah, I actually want to do a whole workshop called the science behind woo woo. Because science and woo woo, are kind of colliding right now in a really powerful and wonderful way.
BRYAN: 00:32:46 I wonder how many people think, okay, to be that vigilant of my own thinking. You know, his kind of exotic can be I think exhausting and, and I think our relationship with ourselves is I think is a very interesting thing as well, right? Because we’re always saying something. There’s always that little narrator going on. Evaluating and judging and assessing, you know, and opining about everything all the time automatically. Most mostly unconsciously. Like, you know, unaware to us and, and that effort to, to take, I would almost say more control, but I don’t know that we ultimately can control, we can maybe influence, it, could become aware, we can direct, you know, that kind of thing. But for people who have… and I want to actually back up a half step too, to say I’ve had this conversation with a few friends and you know, Michael Singer talks about this in the surrender experiment about when he became aware of the little voice inside his head and the course that uh, of his life hadn’t had and how that changed.
BRYAN: 00:33:50 And I’ve had this discussion with my wife. Like, when did you become aware of the little voice inside your head? And I thought about it for me and I, and, and, and there’s a number of people that it’s just like, well, I’ve always known I had it, you know, it wasn’t like an Aha. And at the same time I’ve been in seminars, I’ve been in a… I remember the first seminar was in this happened that the instructor pointed out the little voice inside our head and there was an audible gasp, you know, as somebody who is probably in their forties became… and it’s like, what? How do you… So where I’m going beyond like, I think it’s interesting to explore this topic when it comes to people and their relationship with themselves and that little voice inside their head. Right. And Eckhart Tolle, he talks about this too, of course many, many people, but what’s your advice for people who were, maybe they experienced that voices an adversary? Like how to just how to live with it, how to make friends with it or, or at least how to, you know, live with it?
PETRA: 00:34:45 Yeah, I mean, I think there’s two pieces here and I think it’s such a big part of it and I’m going to come right back to that question a moment, Brian, but I think a really important thing is why am I gonna be able to control it? I think this is what we’re going to see meditation even more and more on the rise and there’s many different descriptions, right, but I was lucky enough to be with Pema Chodron for like three days. This is not about stopping these thoughts, but it’s about making the container larger. So that the thoughts have less power and that was something I could get my head around that the more I can be with be mindful, even if it’s five minutes in the morning, a minute in the morning, I get to kind of expand my mind, my container. So those 70,000 thoughts and his research says 95 percent of those all at the same as we had yesterday.
PETRA: 00:36:10 85 percent negative. They might not go away, but because the containers larger, they have less impact. I love that, but to come back to that idea of when did you notice or how do we know? I think the first thing is because we’re so distracted on our phones, it’s become… the noise has become something that we’ve gotten used to and then we don’t even realize that it might not be working in our favor, so I think it’s just know again, coming back, how do I, when I’m sitting with myself, how do I feel? Am I friends with myself? Am I comfortable with my own companionship? Do I even like myself? Ooh, let’s get to that one because my mom brought me up, may she rest in peace, she had two things to say. One was be able to look at yourself in the eyes, in the mirror everyday with a clean heart.
PETRA: 00:37:03 Check. And love your neighbor as thyself. This is what I think the problem is. How can we truly love others unless we… not even love ourselves, like ourselves, I mean this the longest distance we will all travel is from our head to our heart, and that to me is what this work is about. When we get to notice what the noise is and then notice where, what created that noise? Was it someone in my past, teachers that I had that told me I was not enough, and then what was that moment that I decided that that truth is more important than my truth, and then this many times it’s not an Aha moment like on this day at this hour I knew, but it’s a slow awakening, a slow realization that maybe there’s another way of living. Maybe this low level anxiety or this low grade feeling of unease is something that I could address and add more lightness to my day and there might be medical intervention needed. We might need a therapist to hold our hand along the way. Or maybe it’s just exploring light with all friends, you know, different types of conversations, reading different books, listening to podcasts like yours. Just going maybe my normal, could be different.
BRYAN: 00:38:24 What you’re saying really, really resonates with me and I think that one of the things that the work you do and the work I do has in common is this desire we speak with to encourage them to basically accept themselves. Right? Like exactly as they are. Because I find, you know, I’m my own worst critic, you know, people that I work with, it’s, it’s really astonishing to me and I’ve almost stopped being surprised like how hard we can be on ourselves, you know, and, and this thing that, that I look at about, you know, whatever it is that we, that we believe we are or aren’t or want or whatever. I think about how powerful it is to just acknowledge, right. I mean accept is a big word, right? So if I say how powerful it is to accept, that’s one thing, to be able to accept all that stuff. And it’s, it’s another to even acknowledge just to say, oh, okay, that’s a desire I have or that’s a belief I have or that something I did, you know, what, what advice do you have or what insights do you have for people who are maybe grappling with just accepting or even acknowledging you know, who they are, what they want, what they believe, or the inverse of all that. What they don’t want any more, what they, what they don’t believe, what no longer fits them. That kind of thing.
PETRA: 00:39:54 Yeah. I think the first thing I want someone to know is you’re not alone. That probably everyone to your right and to your left behind you in front of you is dealing with the same thing, but we don’t talk about it because then that means, how can I talk about this and then be the expert in my field? How can I talk about this and then be the leader that I want to be, and yet Bernay Brown says it so beautifully. It’s all about authenticity is about the whole part of ourselves, the pieces that we like and the pieces that we don’t like. Yet we’ve, we’ve come to this false conclusion that to be likable, we have to be perfect. We only show that highlight reel. So I think the big pot… Oh God, exceptions is such… and this doesn’t happen overnight. I wish I could say, you listen to your podcast, you pick up a book and it’s got no, it’s, it’s work.
PETRA: 00:40:47 And it’s. And if I say for the work to work, you have to work the work, you know, and this is where you teach what you need to learn. And there’s also like a double edge sword. Then I get a bit, a bit of a pushback. Well, if I accept myself does that mean I’m no longer going to excel like, no, no, no, no, no. So what I. I love that saying that you know, I am enough and there’s still work that I want to do and there’s still things I want to learn and there’s still things I know I’m not good at, but it’s no longer a definition of who I am. What I do is not a definition of the person I am. If I make a mistake, it’s not that I am. The mistake. If someone doesn’t like me, it doesn’t mean that I’m not lovable.
PETRA: 00:41:28 If it’s like I said, I got totally said it so well and we can separate this crazy, this thought system from the essence of who we are. And when you asked at the very beginning of this show, what is the purpose of why… I think this is it. Oh my God, if we could just, I’m getting. I’m feeling this as you’re asking this, Brian, because the amount of people that truly, truly accept themselves is few and far between and look, do I accept myself fully? There are moments. Yes. And there are moments where I’m like, oh, I am so like in the ring with myself, like pounding my… but the good news is I catch myself, I catch myself like a minute in verses four hours in, I catch myself. Sixty seconds of ruminating versus two weeks later I am so mad at myself and the world. So I noticed faster and have the tools and strategies to kind of reboot and reframing and then not beat myself up. Do I do a perfectly heck no, but I do it… I have a lot more joy and gratitude and ease on myself and in my life than I have for many, many years.
BRYAN: 00:42:42 Do you ever talked to yourself in the mirror?
PETRA: 00:42:44 No. Out Loud or subconsciously?
BRYAN: 00:42:49 Or even out loud? Do you ever talk to yourself out loud?
PETRA: 00:42:51 No. No, but I. I. okay, so this is really. Okay. Look, we’re going to get brutally honest right here. So I think there’s one the hardest, especially for women and I’m sure for men too, and look as I’m, as I’m aging, hopefully. Well and with grace, oh my God, this thing called the mirror. Let me just say it’s a true reflection of what we see. I mean, there’s a saying that I’ve shown this to a group of women I was talking about last week. It’s so crazy how we do this. If you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, you automatically go, oh my God, I look old, I look fat, I look tired, bloody blah. If you should happen to look into a mirror and you go, oh my God, I don’t look too bad today, we automatically go, oh, it’s good lighting.
PETRA: 00:43:31 Like if there’s anything positive with the lighting, if it’s negative, it’s who I am. So what I have caught myself doing and I try and catch myself more and more now where I look in the mirror, I try to see my whole self, you know, if it’s my face, my body, I’m not… what I used to do, is find my Achilles heel. Maybe it was my tricep, my neck, my wrinkles, whatever. And then that’s all I would see. And now I just, I, I’m still not someone to be honest. It goes, oh my God, you are a rockstar. But I can appreciate who I am today, my age, my wrinkles, my softening valley, whatever, and recognize that… do I want to spend this, my, my next half of my life beating myself up? And my, what I do say to my. Actually I do say something to myself in the mirror, when I find myself doing, that I really see my mantra to snap me out. I refuse to beat myself up. Done.
PETRA: 00:44:32 Not saying that I didn’t beat myself up prior to noticing that, but I will stop it. I will stop it and just move on. What a waste of time. What a waste of time.
BRYAN: 00:44:43 I love that, I’m writing a chapter right now on the topic of love.
PETRA: 00:44:49 Share with me, share with me.
BRYAN: 00:44:53 Part of what I’m exploring is this idea of, of loving ourselves first as you talked about just a moment in a few moments ago, you know, how, how able we are to love other people is directly related to how well we do or don’t love ourselves. And I did a workshop a few years ago with Jack Canfield and it was um, it was a pretty intense program and on the, I think it was the first day part of our homework was to go talk to ourselves in the mirror, you know, and every day I’m just like..
PETRA: 00:45:25 Whoa, that’s deep. Actually on day one?
BRYAN: 00:45:28 Yeah, on day one. And, and then he had us do it every night. It was just part of a standard set of, you know, every evening on this five day workshop. It was when I began and I don’t do it everyday now, but when I, when I started it was really uncomfortable, you know, it was just, it was really strange. Part of it was changed because it was something I’d never done before. Part of it I think was strange because normally my self talk is not verbal, right. I’m, I wasn’t talking to myself in quite the same way, but it was a little, it was strange. It was strange because I’m talking to myself all the time. I just don’t externalize it or vocalize it, you know, and, and I’m just, I’m curious in your experiences you’ve worked with, with people on this topic of perfectionism, you know, and, and self talk is such a big part of that and as we’ve talked about present moment, awareness is such a big part of that. I was just curious to see what your experience with that was either for yourself or with people you’ve worked with, you know, mirror work term even, you know, Louis Louise Hay was the first one I had heard. Use that term, you know, mirror work and wondered if that was something that factored into to the work you do.
PETRA: 00:46:28 Yeah. No, I know just before I go into that, what you had just said that talk that we often have with ourselves, but it’s all internal and so we don’t feel like it has more power but actually adds more power to it when we’re having these negative thoughts and we don’t put a voice to them. It’s just sit up so the more we can actually put a voice to it what was saying and let it go and actually deamps, that internal negative drive that we can have the mirror work, that’s really interesting as a chapter in the book where I talk about it but it’s mostly making peace with the mirror and even on some days just not looking at it and seeing how you feel when you. Because we are constantly, whether it’s on a selfie, selfie image or there are mirrors all around us now more than ever. Whether it’s… mostly a phone, you know, so you can look in there in your reflection and just go, what a gift. How grateful am I to be here. But I don’t have a ton of work around that right now. But that could be a whole workshop unto itself, and maybe to be completely honest, maybe it’s work I still have to do before I teach it. Might be something that I still need to explore. Darn it! I thought I got this all perfectly figured out.
BRYAN: 00:47:40 Just when you thought you were almost done. Alright. So before we move on, let me take this moment to ask if people want to learn more about you or maybe if they want to work with you, what should they do? How can they connect with you?
PETRA: 00:47:56 Um, the best place to go is my website, Petra Kolber.com, p e t r a k o l b e r Dot com. But for work specifically around perfectionism, just go to perfectiondetox.com.
BRYAN: 00:48:09 Awesome. And your book the Perfection Detox, Tame your inner critic, live bravely and unleash your joy. Tell me when it’s available. It’s coming out August 14th but depending on when your show airs Brian, presales are available now and if people or to be for the 14th there’s some bonuses, including a three part master series that we’re going to be doing a September, October, November, where they get to, you know, read the book, then ask questions about, you know, first one is tame your inner critic. Um, second part is you’re learning how to live bravely and then third lesson will be about unleashing your joy and that’s going to be live and interactive and if they can’t make it live, the recordings will be sent to them and they’ll have downloadable workbooks to accompany them too because like I said, to work the work, you have to work the work and so it’s one thing to read it and then it’s another one’s been conversation around like minded people. And then to dive in with, hopefully I can be your guide and your loving partner to just help you begin this process of falling back in love with yourself and your life.
BRYAN: 00:49:10 Awesome. Okay, great. Alright, so lightning round. First question, please complete the following sentence using something other than the words a box of chocolates.
PETRA: 00:49:23 Damn, that’s what I was going to say. Life is like a puzzle.
BRYAN: 00:49:23 Number two.
PETRA: 00:49:33 I want to go back. No kidding, kidding.
BRYAN: 00:49:38 What do you wish you were better at?
PETRA: 00:49:38 DJing.
BRYAN: 00:49:42 Alright, number three, if you were required every day for the rest of your life to wear a tee shirt with a slogan on it or a phrase or a saying or a quote or quip, what would the shirts say?
PETRA: 00:49:55 On the front? It would say, on the front. It would say you’re awesome. On the back it would say, you’re doing great. Hang in there. I always want to do a tee shirt line that says pay it forward. And was it like sort of it forward, pay it back because oftentimes when people are walking behind us and they’re looking at our backs, I always said that should be something really powerful on the back of our t shirts too.
BRYAN: 00:50:20 Number four, what book have you gifted or recommended most often?
PETRA: 00:50:24 The four agreements.
BRYAN: 00:50:26 Why that book?
PETRA: 00:50:28 You know, I think it’s because it’s not, it’s, it’s a, it’s a quick read. So, um, and then I, again, it’s coming back to, you know, learning to like be impeccable with your word, you know, learning to not take things personally, just the little lessons in that can be applicable to wherever you are in your life. And I just, I just think it’s a wonderful read that you can come back to again and again and it seems to me wherever you, whatever you answer you need. Have you open up the book? It’s right there for you. It’s one of those kinds of books
BRYAN: 00:51:02 Number five. So you travel a lot. What’s one travel hack? Maybe something you do or something you take with you when you travel that makes your travel less painful or more enjoyable?
PETRA: 00:51:13 Yeah, and the. I just changed that for me, I got a really cranky next why actually I’m one of those people that now travel with my own pillow. I never thought I’d be that person, but I travel with a pillow and lavender oil. So I’ve always put lavender on my jaw and on the pillow and that to me changes everything because I one constant is I get a good night’s sleep. So yeah, me not normally I’m checking luggage because it’s a bigger pillow. I’ve tried to get the smaller ones, but pillow and lavender oil.
BRYAN: 00:51:42 I’m to try that. Number six. What’s one thing you started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
PETRA: 00:51:53 You know, I got to come back to… I think I’ve stopped judging myself because it just ages me in every single way. And then I stopped watching as much television. I have to say I actually got rid of my cable, although you can still watch a whole ton of TV without cable. But I’ve really downregulated how much screen time I have. So I think it’s really, it stopped judging myself because that did. Nothing’s going to age you faster and oh, and also I move every day. Did you just ask for one thing? I apologize, I move everyday. Even if that might not be going to the gym, but I moved my, I go, I’ll take a walk. I’ll do something physical. Mostly for my mental state. I’m a much happier person in, nicer to be around when I move.
BRYAN: 00:52:35 Oh, you know, and on this topic of living, I’m going to interrupt my own lighting round for a minute to explore a topic. I’m talking about living, living well. Uh, in your book you talk about having received a cancer diagnosis… twice. Right? And, and your statement was after you received that, you said, I want, you said to yourself, I want to be around long enough to love as I know I can love. And then you go onto talk about it took you 15 years to be able to do that, but it’s awesome that you got cancer diagnosis, lived more than 15 years longer, but will you talk about what you meant by wanting to be around long enough to love as you know you can love and why they took you 15 years.
PETRA: 00:53:20 You know what’s so interesting, Brian. What I thought it meant then and what I’m realizing now were two different things. When that happened, what I thought it meant is to love someone else, like being a romantic relationship with someone and have you know that, that love, that kind of way. What’s that saying? The real work begins when the love story ends like so when the movie Rudy stops, that’s when the work begins. Right? At the point when I had had cancer, I’ve never been in a deeply loving relationship like that and so what I. What I meant at the time really was that like being in love with someone and maybe have the kids and the white picket fence. What I’m realizing today, what it really meant was learning to love myself.
BRYAN: 00:53:20 And why did it take you so long?
PETRA: 00:54:06 Because who teaches you how to do this stuff? I mean it’s interesting and the people that I’ve interviewed in this work, I mean there are a few. There are a few women I came across that never really questioned their self worth. They always knew they could do it, but they had a parent or a role model that taught them at a young age that with effort and hard work, they could go for their dreams. We’re very lucky if we have those role models in our life, our parents do the best they can. I had a wonderful mother, but she was so busy. My Dad was a… he was a drinker and he lost. He was a salesman, so he lost his job over and over again because he’s always crashing the car or you know, it seemed. I got funny stories now but at the time it was mortifying as a child when your dad backs his car up for your brick wall of your, your house, and it was, you know, we didn’t have the money to fix it.
PETRA: 00:54:56 So you’re the only kid with a broken brick wall that dad had backed into. And now I look at that like, oh my God, whatever. But at the time I was mortified. So my mom was so busy, you know, being an Avon Lady, working at the bar, pulling drinks to pay the mortgage. He loved us dearly, but she didn’t have the time to say Petro, you can go for your dream. She’s basically just paying the bill so we had a roof over our head. So I think and maybe the conversations beginning to change a little bit now because of what we’re seeing with social media and the rise of anxiety, but we really have to teach our children that loving ourselves is not a selfish act is actually selfless because when we can learn how to love ourselves, like you said before, that’s how we get to love others in the way that they deserve.
PETRA: 00:55:50 So for me it was just a… also being British, we don’t talk about the negative. Everything’s fine. You know, everything’s wonderful. Don’t make, don’t make any waves. No, don’t talk about your problems. So some of it was cultural too. It’s like you stiff upper lip, don’t dream too big, you know, who do you think you are? It was like you have these really conflicting messages. And so I think it began to change for me to be honest, when I came to America and I met you, you Americans, and I was like whoa, they really mean this when they’re going their dreams and you know, try your best, not at the expense of anybody else’s success, but there’s nothing wrong in having desires and dreams and you know, going for it. So I think some of it is cultural and then it was just me, you know, how to unravel what I thought a perfect childhood should be.
PETRA: 00:56:43 And then letting go of the past and just figuring out that maybe this is the work worth doing too. Because I had become a teacher and many different ways from movement and now into speaking and this work that maybe from me to be of the best help I got to, you know, you can’t. I say you learn it to teach it, you live it to preach it. So I had to do some more learning and that living and then hopefully in the mix of those two things, I can help create a really solid methodology for other people to kind of fall back in love with themselves, to, and even saying that to be honest, Brian. And it’s like to love myself. Do I really love myself? What a shame. If we don’t, you know what the heck is this life about? If we go to the end of our day’s going, what am I love myself didn’t even know, like, didn’t even read a like myself. I mean wonder why there’s so much negativity in the world.
BRYAN: 00:57:40 When I think about it like now in this conversation, I’m just thinking about we can look at a beautiful landscape, you know, we can look at Mount Fuji or Kilimanjaro or, or whatever, you know, the Grand Canyon and we can see the majesty and the splendor or, or we can look at wildlife and just see the, you know, the power and the beauty and the strength. And, and yet, you know, when we can look at other people and really admire and sometimes, yet we don’t look at ourselves in the same way that we can look at, you know, any other part of life and admire it. And it’s like, wow, how, how does it happen that we kind of separate and isolate ourselves and create this one space in the universe that’s not worth loving. You know?
PETRA: 00:58:21 I know. I love what Bernay Brown said. I think it’s a conflict. He was like, oh, well, if I love myself, does that mean I have a big ego? And no, Bernay Brown said, loving yourself or liking yourself or owning yourself, is showing up and occupying your space fully. It’s not puffing up being bigger than you think you are. And it’s also not shrinking. So like that false humility that British, we’re really good at doing. It’s just being who you are. Not better, not worse, we’re all in this together and not at the expense of anybody else, but also not at the expense of your own happiness too.
BRYAN: 00:58:57 Awesome. Okay. Oh, I love this next question by the way, since you were a transplant to our fine country, so number seven, what’s one thing you wish every American knew?
PETRA: 00:58:57 Oh my gosh…
BRYAN: 00:58:57 Now’s your chance. Petra.
PETRA: 00:59:17 Fish and chips are really good in England. No. Well, I think there’s two things I do. We as a country and myself included at this point, there’s a whole big world out there. I think the more we can get out of America and travel to other countries that… I know for myself, I’ve been very blessed to travel around the world and when I get lost in a foreign language I would say like, oh, I think every, every one of us should go to somewhere where we don’t, they don’t speak English and we have to make the effort to fit into someone else’s culture and get lost and have to ask, you know, learn a language and you know, not necessarily that well, but get lost in the majesty of nature and in a life outside of what we know.
PETRA: 00:59:59 I think it’s really useful to be uncomfortable in someone else’s country. I think it’s, it’s a really good learning lesson for us all. And then I think for everybody, whether it’s an American or anyone, you’re doing great, you’re doing great.
BRYAN: 01:00:20 What… I know you’re just on the cusp of releasing this book. I want to ask what’s next? What’s on the horizon for you?
PETRA: 01:00:28 I will… So there’s two things that come to mind. So it was funny recently and this is all about that inner dialogue that we’re talking about. So that’s why I’m bringing it up. Someone says, what do first thing, what do you hope for this book? And my first thing Brian, is I really said, it’s like I hope it’s a bestseller. And then immediately my inner critic, like, who are you to be saying that? Oh my God, it’s so easy going. And so I caught myself saying, I hope it does well. Bull crappy. I mean, I hope it’s a bestseller. Do I think it will be? I have no fricking idea, but I just, I laughed at myself going, even in my biggest dreams, you know, and writing a book as one of them. I downgraded my, my hopes for it immediately for the fact that someone might judge me on, well, who does she think she is? I’m like, oh my gosh, you know, I’ll go back and read the book again. But. So what’s next? You know, I love audiences and I work really well in front of big crowds. It sounds so interesting. I’m more comfortable in a room of a thousand than one to one. I don’t know what that is. It’s been like way in my fitness career as a dancer. I know I have this skill of being able to read a room. I don’t even know what it’s called. It’s not a skill. It’s something that was given to me and almost be able to anticipate what that particular room needs. And so my, what I would love to be known for even more than writing is moving minds and moving people’s beliefs, beliefs of, um, of that possibility. And that for me is through not just the spoken word or the written word, but also through music. It’s such a piece of it and movement. I get my audiences up, not my audiences. I get the audience that I’m blessed to be in front of. Always move their state. I’ve seen Tony Robbins talk about you’ve got to change your body, you’ve got changes state. So I think what’s next is me spending more time learning the craft of music mixing and I would love to be able to craft a an experience an hour long where I really feel like I’ve taken people on a journey and I can’t. I don’t quite know what that looks like yet, Brian, but I, I know where I’d like it to be. I just got to figure out how to get there. I’m not sure if that makes sense.
BRYAN: 01:02:49 Yeah. And what you’re talking about for me, it’s an art, right? It’s really, it’s really. I mean, it’s, you’re right, it’s not just a skill, it’s like a gift or an art and that idea of being able to not only read a room but engage with, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s really cool. And I think, you know, having been to a few Tony Robbins events, seeing the way that he incorporates, you know, the playfulness and the music and the movement and he talks about when he would go, you know, earlier in his career and basically audit or research other people’s workshops and he say there’s no movement, there’s very little interaction. Like it’s not fun and it really is a, I think a real talent to be able to, uh, get a room engaged to where it’s not awkward or you know, weird, you know, or whatever.
PETRA: 01:03:41 So yeah, and the thing is too, you have to own it. I mean, that’s the hard thing about it not being awkward if, if, uh, one piece of me, like I’ve done this a lot in recent talks, I get them off like three minutes. And yet it’s a little bit of choreography. It’s very easy, but it’s to very uplifting music. And if there’s any piece of me that second guessing doing that, it will never work. You have to, and it might not be 100 percent of the audience buying into it, but normally I’m getting like 80, 85, 90 percent buy-in. There’s some people just hate to move. But if I ever catch myself looking at someone who’s not joining in and I start second guessing myself and I come out of the moment and going, oh my God, I shouldn’t be doing this, it’s going to be a bust.
PETRA: 01:04:25 So that’s what… I’ve only seen Tony speak once and it was just at a recent event in for four hours. And Oh my God, there’s no apology. There’s no room for him to sec… I mean he’s a master at this. And I’m not even beginning to compare myself. But just seeing how he does it. And you know, whether we’re talking about self doubt, perfectionism, self-worth, sitting and having a body that’s not moving is the worst place. It’s the finest breeding ground for our inner critic or doubt demons. It loves inactivity. So you know, to move this idea of who we are, we’ve got to move our body and us and change our states.
BRYAN: 01:05:06 I don’t know how much you’ve experienced this in your, in your career with the production, the overall production, right? Not just the music, but also the lighting, you know, in the configuration of the room and whatever you’ve said to set up, you know, the, what you’re inviting the audience to do. Like it’s all when it’s done well. It’s really masterful at getting there. And my experience is it can be quite challenging?
PETRA: 01:05:31 No, I absolutely agree. I mean when it’s done well, it brings the odds over to your favor. You know, when you have a great sound system, you’ve got great audio, got great, great visuals that are working, you know, and also when it’s not working, I think it’s our job to not to apologize for it, not to make excuses and just go, well this is interesting. I was at an event recently where just that say the setup was not as I had planned to go in and complain about that. I go, well, okay, that’s interesting. How can I make this the best, not perfect, the best experience for my audience, the audience. The first thing is don’t even mention, there’s nothing worse than having a teacher or speaker come on and list everything that’s gone wrong. Well, I would have more time if I wish we had. They don’t need to know that and I think that’s just like, if we’re not prepared, then it’s, you know, I know for myself, if I’m not prepared, the first thing I want to do is almost like that, like let me make excuses in case it doesn’t go well, but when I’m prepared it’s like maybe this is not what I had planned, but now based on what we have, what’s the best thing I can do? Or maybe this is like we’re going to go throw everything out the window and this is not, we’re going with plan B. But sometimes that’s when the magic happens. When you go with what is versus… This is a great, great metaphor for life. Pema Chodron says, this is the difference between pain and suffering, like we’re all going to experience pain, but my suffering is a presenter. How know what a trite thing to worry about, but you know, my suffering is only if I go by what I thought I wanted it to be while I wanted it to be the perfect sound system and up and state. That’s what it, what it is. Let’s deal with what is and then we can make the magic happen.
BRYAN: 01:07:19 So I want to shift gears a little bit and ask now about some of your, what it took to get your book written, like how you did it, what advice you have for others who want to do it or maybe in process. So I’ve got a few different questions, but I want to start by asking if you just kind of walk me through from concept to completion, the high level, like how did this occur? Did you write a book proposal? Did you get a book deal? Did you do it by yourself? Did you work with someone else? Like if you were to just kind of give me the 60 second high level overview of how this project went from an idea to a reality.
PETRA: 01:07:56 The first piece of mail is kind of backwards, and this is not necessarily gonna work for all your listeners is. I did a Tedx talk called the perfection detox and then based on that, that’s kind of where I started. I kind of mined out that I had to write that out. So then from that I’m even at that point, I wasn’t sure I was going to write a book. I had a platform. I was lucky I had a fitness platform. I had 30 years of people follow me on dvds and they weren’t necessarily going to come on this journey with me to buy a book. They’ve bought vhs tapes and dvds. There was no guarantee, but what I did know I had was a place to put my message so I knew I had an audience whether that would be the same audience today or not. I didn’t know at the time. People have been asking me to write a book for many years, but I… I didn’t want to write another fitness book. So I think first thing is if there is something you feel the world needs that your message could help. If there’s a pain, I mean, I know this is, people have heard this so many times, I kind of really fought this idea for one time, position to their pain. You know, if someone has a pain, that’s what you’re going to sell to, and I was like, ugh. But in some ways, if you know you can eat someone’s pain, you’ve got a book worth writing or if you’re going to bring more joy into their life. I’m reading a great book right now. I can’t think of her name. She’s called The Bloggess. Oh my God. Jenny Lawson, hysterical. She’s irreverent. It’s her story of mental illness. She’s not necessarily… she would make a lot of people feel less alone, but just like laughing out loud. You can’t breathe funny, so just whatever you feel you want to do to the world if as easing someone’s pain or elevating that joy or teaching them how to cook. It’s all good and don’t for one second thing is already been done. Because no, what makes… and you’ve heard this before, but it’s so true. What’s makes? What’s going to make it unique is your point of view on happiness, depression, anxiety, knitting, cooking. No one’s done it like you. Then from that, what I did, I had to write a book proposal because I was going with nonfiction. So the plus for that is, and I’m not the expert here when it comes to writing, but I’ll share what I know. Um, what I’ve learned so far, I was told that for nonfiction you don’t have to have the whole book for the proposal. I’ve been told that for fiction they actually want the whole book, I guess to see if it’s a good story or not. So because I’m a first time author, I did a really thorough and maybe because I’m a recovering perfectionist, I don’t know. I did a really thorough proposal, so I had the overview, that chapter of contents two full, two full chapters. And of course then of course the most important piece, the marketing, how you’re going to spread this. Even if you were the publisher, they want to know how, ugh, how many social media followers you have, but don’t let that stop you.
PETRA: 01:10:48 Because my social media following was not huge, but I also had a lot of deep relationships of people that could help me spread the word. So again, don’t let that stop you, but that’s what they want to see. Then I also heard Brian, there’s a big difference between writing a book and writing a book proposal. So I had never done this before, so I asked for help. I had an agent interested, I was very lucky and so his wife helped me take, oh, I think I had 70,000 words at the beginning and she formatted it into the book proposal, took things out, streamlined it. And it was, I’d say the table of contents is about, is about 70 percent of what it is today. So some things changed. And then what I did before I even submitted the proposal, I beta tested my material. Um, I workshopped it. I did an online program, I got some stories, so it was more of an experience versus just my opinion of it. I’ve been working this material for three years in, in light form, but I deep dove into a 21 day beta test online with a lot of participants to get feedback and tweak things that could be done better. I did all that before I went to the publishers.
BRYAN: 01:12:01 What did that look like? How did you find your beta testers and then how did you engage with them? Did you write this? Did you deliver, you know, like word documents via email or did you set up google forms? Would you create videos or like what did you do and how did. How’d you find the people you did it with and then how did you get their feedback?
PETRA: 01:12:19 Great questions. Number one, I reached out to my email list. I don’t have a… I can’t believe I said email list that sounds so marketing, but I mean that’s a great thing. You know, I had a… I had an email. It wasn’t huge, but I reached out to it and I could have reached out on Facebook. I just didn’t want to tip my hat so fast because I wasn’t sure I was going to do with that material so you can reach out on Facebook whatever. And I reached out. I said I’m writing this book, I want to workshop this idea on perfectionism. It’s going to be a 21 step plan because I knew I wanted it to be almost like a detox, like a diet idea. And I got and it was like a yes or no form and just one essay of why they want it to be a part of it. I accepted everybody except for one person. I just didn’t feel that there were a right fit for me at the time. And then what I did, it was 21 days and for the 21 days I delivered every day, it was a one page like overview of what the lesson was and what the action step was. A, uh, a quotes to inspire them. And then a little bit of the science side, a little bit of the research to prove why this is important. So everyday they got like a worksheet and a five minute audio. I realized I thought it will be shorter time and will actually got feedback was they loved the audio it was like a five minute downloadable and… Oh, I did the audio on soundcloud. I put the audio up on soundcloud into a private group. So they got the link to the audio. I delivered the one page worksheet via their email.
PETRA: 01:13:56 Um, I BCC’d everybody there probably was a better, more efficient way of doing it. But at the time I did that and then I had three sections to this program, Brian, so the end of section one, there were seven steps. I would send them a short, like easy to answer form. People hate forms, they’d have no… s o basically yes or no questions. It was like, did this make sense to you? Did it make you feel better? I think it’s like, did it make sense to you? Did you feel more joy or less joy at the end of this? Was there anything that felt uncomfortable or any suggestions? So I got that. And then at the end of the 21 days I gave them a more in depth form of anything that you’d like to share and would they be willing to share any of their experiences in the book? May I interview them and that kind of thing. And that’s kind of where I started. And then I went and workshopped it at the JCC. I did work like two day workshops at Pure Yoga. Where there I just reaching out online and to people, to friends.
BRYAN: 01:14:57 What’s the JCC?
PETRA: 01:14:59 The Jewish community center. I got great place. I could just go and try this material and see if it works with this group. Does it work with this group? Is this group resonate with or a common pain point. Was there something that actually I thought was going to help them in fact actually made them stop questioning themselves even more, and I got really great input as to how to fine tune this material to be able to then put it into book form.
BRYAN: 01:15:25 It’s amazing. How big was that group of your beta testers from your initial email?
PETRA: 01:15:25 30 people.
BRYAN: 01:15:33 And you did 21 consecutive days?
PETRA: 01:15:35 Yes, and interesting enough I got great feedback from that because some people said they felt I had to… I did explain it at the beginning that this is a… I needed the… I needed the feedback to go into the proposal, so I knew I had a certain timeline and several people said, I love this. I’m feeling super stressed right now because I can’t keep up, and I’d like to sit with this particular lesson a little longer and so right off the bat at the beginning of this book, I’m saying it’s 21 steps, doesn’t have to be done in 21 days. Take the pressure off it. If one step resonates with you, sit with it longer. If something doesn’t resonate with you, just leave it. I might not have written that small little two sentences had I not done this and gotten the feedback. So I suddenly realized like, you know, I like, I like to get it in, get it done, let’s move on. Let’s conquer the world. Some people are like, oh no, that makes me feel more uncomfortable. Some feedback that was that helped me decide this is worth doing was people saying, I thought I was the only one ooh, and the big one in here, Bryan was. I started talking about the imposter syndrome. That was a real like, oh my God, there’s a name for this. There’s a word for this. I’m not alone. And I could just. Even from that, I could sense them breathing a little more lightly. You know.
BRYAN: 01:16:55 When you did your five minute audio, did you say that there was one of those for each of the 21 days?
PETRA: 01:17:00 Yes, but that’s because I just, you look, I love to talk. It’s actually easy for me to talk than write and so I would take the thing… and I can jam on things. Not saying that everybody has to do this, but then what I did, I got my eyes. It wasn’t complicated. I got my iphone. I think I used record. I’m gonna. Look it up right now. Real quickly. I think it was. I was not yet. It’s like record pro simple. I got a, um, a lav mic that goes straight into my iphone cheap. It was, um. Oh, I can’t remember. I’ll send it to you. So it’s not expensive. I didn’t use an editor. I just basically did the audio, upload it straight to Soundcloud, I think how I did it, but it was easy. It was not complicated. I wasn’t, they didn’t have to be perfect and I knew people would actually like that more than the one sheet and it was kind of just reviewing the one sheet and then if I wanted to riff on something, I often share one of my own personal experiences so they felt less alone, like bring it back to me always like, this is what I believe. This is what I’ve struggled with. Yeah. I did find the audio portion a challenge for me, but then I had a gal, you know, the one thing I’m not good at is automating everything. And so I had my, my virtual assistant, Sarah helped me get it all in line, keep all the feedback. She helped me with the um, what’s it called? Um, the survey chip.
BRYAN: 01:17:00 Survey Monkey?
PETRA: 01:18:23 Yeah. So she helped me do all of that because that outer gone paralyzed, trying to think about how to do that. So, but the audio stuff, it didn’t cost me anything, didn’t cost me anything except time. And Oh, I went onto Canva, I wanted to create nice sheets, you know, that look pretty. So I’d go to Canva.com. I was using their free service. I picked my colors and being a recovering perfectionist, I wanted to look pretty and yeah. And then it’s so funny. Day One, Brian, I got feedback saying, oh I wanted to, I wish it was three hole punched but a. But the holes go in the. They ended up going across your texts. So of course I moved everything over three all punched, you know. But yeah. And because it was work that I was excited about, it wasn’t work.
BRYAN: 01:19:09 I mean that’s amazing. First of all, the amount of thoughtfulness and effort that went into to develop something that would inform the book proposal. This wasn’t even yet, in a way, it’s of course drafting the content of the book, but it’s really, as I’m hearing you explain, clarifying your own thinking for your book proposal.
PETRA: 01:19:31 I honestly have to say it was my agent’s wife, Juliet, that told me to do that. Had I not been told that I wouldn’t have done it because it was a bit of an inconvenience, you know, it’s like, oh my God, I had to find people and I have to, and then here’s the big thing. I actually have to put my ideas out in front of them.
BRYAN: 01:19:31 Minor detail.
PETRA: 01:19:50 And these are people I knew, you know, book out, they don’t know me, so whatever, but, and, but what for me, what she was saying, and it’s so true. When I sat down with the publishes, I got to say, I mean I had workshop this material in, in like 90 minute sessions across country, but I’d never done the deep dive. So it was really helpful for me to be able to come to them. They say, well, have you actually tested this? I go, yeah, and I’ve done the research and I know what works and what doesn’t work, so it gave me that instant social proof that being a first time author, especially in this market, if you want to go with traditional publishing, you need and because I didn’t have the 1 million, you know, Facebook followers,
BRYAN: 01:20:34 Right? Yeah. That’s social proof is, is so massive. When I heard you also say that you had 70,000 words that you kind of distilled down to create the book proposal. Tell me about how you got those written.
PETRA: 01:20:48 Oh, I just, you know, the proposal was one thing. That book was another, the proposal. Here’s the honest truth. It’s so funny when you’re writing, this is what I needed help in organizing my thoughts. I wrote the book myself, but I don’t think I would’ve ever gotten across the finish line without someone helping me formula formulated. So one thing is, you know, I mean I would say maybe 20,000 of those words were repeats. I thought, oh my God, this idea is genius, but actually just said it like in chapter two, I just forgotten I said it, but I was repeating myself in a different way, so I needed a fresh pair of eyes to go. This is good. We’ve already said it. It’s really hard to edit yourself, especially get really attached to something. And maybe what I was getting attached to actually wasn’t that, wasn’t serving the book that well, so we chopped a lot of that. But the, the proposal itself was, I think it was 70,000 words. Not saying all of those went into the book, but a lot of them did. So writing the proposal I think was easier for me than the book because it’s almost like I didn’t know better at the time. It’s like I was new to this so I didn’t really know what to expect. Um, and I had, you know, I just knew this was work that people, but… no one had done it in this way before. You know, I read a lot of books about perfectionism, but a lot of them were very dry, very research based. Like read like snooze, great material, but like not inspiring and then I also, there are a lot of books out there saying just give up being perfect. Don’t worry about being perfect, but no one. I mean I say tell that to recovering perfectionist. You just added more anxiety. How do I do that perfectly, you know? No one had said step by step by step and then I recognize no one had really applied positive psychology to this idea. I knew it was a good fit. I just knew it. So I, I knew I had something different. Did I know it was something that was going to be bought? Not at the time, but at that point I knew whether, whether I didn’t have a book, Brian, this is going to be workout is going to do so either way I was creating content that I could have used for something else, a course, a workshop, so it was never going to be a waste of my time. And I think sometimes if you’re writing a book proposal and you second guess yourself, change your attention off the end products like, yeah, of course we all want to get a book published, but just say it doesn’t get traditionally published. You can self publish and then say, you know what? I don’t really want to self publish. You already have amazing content now for an online course or other deliverables for a keynote. The work is never going to go to waste. It’s just when we get so fixated on how it is we want to deliver it to the world where maybe the world is a different idea of how you. It wants you to deliver it.
BRYAN: 01:23:52 I hear you describe the began the effort and the thoughtfulness that you applied and I’m thinking about people listening to this and people who are employed full time, you know, people that it’s not their… they haven’t made a transition to being a coach, a speaker, a trainer or whatever, full time. So they might be saying, oh, well that’s easy for Petra to say, this is what. This is what she’s been doing for the last 30 years is, you know, being in front of people and sharing her her messages and stuff like that. So what, what do you say to somebody who, you know, they have a full time job or other commitments, maybe they’re, you know, a stay at home mom or dad, like what do you say to somebody that’s the majority of their time is, is perhaps already occupied and it’s with something other than, you know, sharing a message.
PETRA: 01:24:37 Yeah, no, absolutely. And if you’re a mom or you’re a dad best, that’s the most valuable hard work that you’re ever going to do. And so thank you for that. No one gives you enough thanks. But we all are on social media, most of us as zoning out a TV at some point… has to happen first thing in the day. Can you carve out… it doesn’t have to be huge. I think we get very black and white thinking and I did this at the beginning too I’m going to sit down and write for three days straight and I never sat down and wrote, not even for a minute. So what I say when I say I’m going to sit down and take the data, right? Guess what? I take the day and that last minute, maybe I’ll write something. So I shortened the time first thing in the day. This cannot wait to the end of the day. Especially if you’re a mom or a dad or you’ve got another job. Something’s always going to get in the way that’s paying the bills. So 15 minutes every morning, bum on seat every morning. It’s that ritual and that habit. So like you said, yes, I’d been out there spreading my message. I had never written a book before ever. How does thing I’ve ever done to put my thoughts on paper, formulate them in a way that’s cohesive and then not second guess myself that who am I to be writing a book first thing every morning? Give yourself 15 minutes every day and if you’re staring at a blank sheet for 15 minutes, that’s okay. And then it just right just write. Maybe not writing about the book. Maybe you’re writing about something else comes top of mind just write. It’s getting into the habit of seeing yourself as a writer and don’t edit, just write, because if you write and then edit, you’ll never going to get past that first paragraph. I say, write. That’s the biggest thing I learned to write, write, write, write, write, and get a friend to edit it. Get someone else to edit it first, especially if you’re on a deadline. Even if the deadline is for yourself, write a chapter, write 5,000 words before you go. Give yourself a chunk of writing before you even go back and consider editing. Otherwise you’ll never get past the first paragraph.
BRYAN: 01:26:45 Yeah, I’ve experienced that for sure. That it can be easy to get lost in, oh, this isn’t good enough. It’s not done yet. How can I go on and try to get more material without, you know, this one being at a point that I’m willing to share it with somebody
PETRA: 01:26:59 I know and I think that’s a good point too. It’s like I’m not good at grammar. I might. I mean, I went to England, my mother is going to turn it on her grave right now, but grammar is not my thing. And also it’s def American grammar. That’s my excuse. I’m going to stick to it is different to English, punctuation. So I, I, I, I’ve, I try to do the grammar perfectly. This book was never going to get written because I write like I speak. You’ll see this in my book. It’s very conversational, but yet it still has to be good grammar. So I had someone else do the grammar. Does the common goal inside of this or does it go with the outside of this? This is too many questions. My brain, my I’d be ruminating about that for the next few weeks and not writing a sentence.
BRYAN: 01:27:46 I found a book a while back called if you can talk, you can write it and it gives that very thing is not getting hung up in the exact formatting and you know all the grammar and all that.
PETRA: 01:27:56 And that’s a great thought too Bryan. There are many people out there that are great at conversation, so why not? If you don’t have the time but you have an idea, record it, just record, talk into the computer and then again get it transcribed, get someone on and that’s your first. That’s your first piece of notes. You know, maybe that’s what you work with, you speak it, you get it transcribed online. Doesn’t have to be wildly expensive, but maybe that’s how you write your book at first where you get started.
BRYAN: 01:28:27 Well, you talked about the value of having an editor and the difficulty of editing yourself. If somebody doesn’t have an editor, you know yet, how can they find one and how can, how do they approach it from a perspective of, you know, chemistry and compatibility and costs and all of this?
PETRA: 01:28:45 Yeah, great question. I mean as it is can be very expensive and again, I’m not an expert in this, but maybe there’s someone that I think oftentimes there are people all around us that might have the skill set that we need, but we’ve never asked for help so we just don’t that they do. So I see even first of all, go around your inner circle, your friends, your, you know, your friends or the PTA or the moms or the fathers, someone at work and maybe you could say, Oh my God, I love editing. I’m really good at it and they don’t have to be perfect at it, but maybe there is someone who actually specializes in editing and then you have a skill that they need. So maybe it’s not even an exchange of money, but it’s an exchange of your talents. Maybe that’s something that you’re great at that you could help them with what their needs are, you know, maybe it’s babysitting and exchange for editing, who knows, but ask your inner circle first and then you can also go to places like Upwork Fiverr. When I was doing a lot of, um, blog posts for fitness magazines, I just didn’t have time to like even I kind of write them and I want to just send them in. But then I was like, oh, I need someone to kind of just double check it. I felt I found some great editors online at Fiverr for like $5. They were not going to edit your manuscript but you can get some really good talented editors online but inexpensive. You just got to spend the time looking at reviews, ask for some samples of their work and it doesn’t have that. This is the great thing about technology. It’s really cutting down the gatekeepers and giving you access to a lot of people that also need this work. There’s another site called hire my mom in Canada, Canadian based, amazing stay at home moms that are looking for work and some of that you can write what you need an editor, so don’t let cost put you off because there are people out there that charge thousands of dollars. That’s not what you need at this point.
BRYAN: 01:30:43 You know as as I listened to to what you’re sharing about how you got yours done. One of the thoughts I have is obviously in the fact that you have the book coming out in August is further confirmation that you serious. I mean like you are legit, a real author and you. You approached it from the very beginning with this intentionality and including this, an awareness of what a publisher was likely to ask, you know, these questions about marketing or platform or, or reach or whatever. And one of the things that I hear as I talk to people who are thinking about writing a book or who want to write a book is that they, they maybe don’t want to take on all of that. And I’m wondering how much of that, you know, getting the social proof workshopping and the material like this kind of thing. How much is that, in your opinion, is really just part of the package if you want to write a book and, and how much of it is maybe not necessary if somebody just wants to get something done and sent out into the world?
PETRA: 01:31:50 Great question. I think at the end of the day it’s what is your endgame? You know, if it’s getting it out into the world, we can do blog posts and that’s fantastic. You could do that today with no editor with no barrier to entry with no focus group and that’s all amazing. And then also if we’re coming back to writing a book, ask yourself, why is it that you wanted to write the book? I knew for me it actually wasn’t about the book. It was about speaking because I’m not going to get rich. God. Hey God, willing, maybe I will, but I know very few first time authors that get wealthy. Look, I’m in the red right now between being honest and I have no. I’ve been very lucky. I had saved money. I had the money, I created my own pre sales page. I’ve created video content. I’m, you know, I am more in the red than I am in the black. Well let’s put it that way. And I probably will be for a good six months after this book comes out and if it does well. But I knew for me there were certain speaking stages I wanted to get on that it didn’t matter how good or bad you are, they wanted a book.
BRYAN: 01:32:55 What are some of those?
PETRA: 01:32:57 There were mostly female empowerment stages, like the big stages, like, um, I think like wisdom to Wisdom 2.0 and other big keynote stages like I had been the. I had been a breakout session, like even an ice bar is a big spa conference that I just saw Bernay Brown, Simon Sinek, they have amazing keynoters and I jokingly said to the organizer, two years I’ll be up there. And even on the, in the fitness arena, you know, a lot of fitness people still see me as a fitness person versus a speaker. Nothing wrong with that. But I knew for them to see me differently, I needed to be published. And again, it also makes you an authority. It’s whether you are or you not if you have a book, it’s that social proof again.
BRYAN: 01:33:46 Yeah, there’s something we respect very much. Even as much as we’re a sound bite highlight real culture. There’s still something very special about a book. If you had it to do again, what would you do the same? What would you do differently?
PETRA: 01:33:59 The one thing I do the same as I went to a space, there’s a place in New York called the writer’s space and my first two months, once we got the book accepted and they said we needed, it was a pretty tight turnaround and I was like, oh, I can do it my, I can do it at home and I wasn’t getting it done. I was like snacking. And then there’s facebook for things to check and I’m hungry and there was always something and as I got to get serious and so I found a space in New York city, the writer space, not super expensive, but you go in there and you’re there to write. You’re with playwrights or with, you know, well known authors, cell phones are off. You had to prove the are working on a written word piece. Um, you had, you know, had to do some referrals. I got accepted. It was not that expensive, but you go in and technology is off except for your computer. No talking. Everyone’s on their headphones and there was something me getting out and going to a place to write versus an … I know not everyone can do that, but for my mental state I knew because I’m on my own a lot anyway. I knew I needed to. If I was going out to my writing space, my focus, I think it quadrupled. I don’t think this book would have gotten finished without me going to that writing space. I suddenly felt like a writer when I was there and also I joked, we see people with their heads in their hands go almost like, I’m not the only one struggling. You know? I’m not the only one struggling here. It’s also good to be around other people struggling. As crazy as that sounds so that I would do over and over again. What would I do differently? I just think this is part of the process. I want to say trusting myself a little sooner. It took me awhile to actually believe that. Even now to say I’m an author, you know, people say, oh, she’s an author. I’m like, not yet. No, no, you are. You’re not yet just trusting myself by just as part of the process. I don’t think you do trust yourself right away and I think if you did that might not be a good thing and it just try. It’s trial and error and I don’t know in this day and age if there is one true way to get a book out there, which is kind of a cool thing too because maybe the way your listener, if you’re listening right now, maybe the way you’re going to get this book out hasn’t even been done yet. You know, you, you might think a new way and that’s where the beauty of the world that we live in. You could do this any way you want to and you might go out saying, I want to be traditionally published and then suddenly pivot and go, I’ve changed my mind and that’s all good.
PETRA: 01:36:44 Or maybe you’re going, I’m going to be self published. Oh you don’t. Maybe I’ll try for traditional publishing and either way, and I want to say this too. If you go for traditional publishing and you don’t get that deal, it’s got nothing to do with you and don’t let that stop you from doing self publishing because then again, you got to get creative, like how you’re going to get your, you know, how you’re gonna get your voice heard and I just think there’s still room for all of us that’s going to, if you stay true to what it is that you believe in and if we make sure that the work is not about us, you know, it’s about helping other people. You just gotta do it and you’ll figure it out and if you don’t know how to do it, you’d learn how to ask and listen to podcasts like yours and just realize that there’s no one way, which is both wonderful and terrifying at the same time simultaneously. I mean there isn’t a one by 10 step. Yeah. No, I wish because I was today it’s going to be different next week, you know?
BRYAN: 01:37:49 Tell me about the technology you use to get this written. Are you a Mac or pc person? Did you use word or scrivener or something else? Did you have any apps that were useful to you? Like anything and everything related to the technology?
PETRA: 01:38:02 Yeah, no, I’m, what I use is I’m a Mac person on a word doc and as going back and forth with my editor, so we, I had to learn how to use, um. Oh, what’s it called now? Track changes, track changes that, that was baffling to me. That was overwhelming to me at the beginning because I was like, I didn’t know how to turn track changes off. So all I saw were led red lines and no. And so once I got used to work in track changes because that’s what I was working with someone what I use for short period of time, but then I didn’t use because then I had to go and upload it to a word doc and I was a nervous of losing it. I used Om writer, I think it’s o, m then writer. I could be spelling it incorrectly, but it basically whites out. I needed to get rid of as much distraction as possible. So OmWrite it gave you that white blank screen, but then I didn’t like the way it felt. So how I changed that was by going to the writer’s room and then another thing that I did recently, maybe towards the end of the book, I think, I don’t know if this is the right word of it, it’s called the death calendar, which is kind of horrible, but it’s a countdown to like, you know, your 70th, 70th, 80th birthday. You can. And it basically checks the way the days and I don’t ignore it. I ignore the hours, but just seeing that was kind of my app of getting my ass up and… on girls these days going down faster than they go. They’re not going up. So that just for me it was all about focus. I’m, I always had headphones on. I’m really. My friends can attest to this. I am awful with noises like popcorn. You’re never going to be my friend can’t eat popcorn in a movie. You’re not coming to a movie with me learning. I mean just I’m. I had to relearn how to focus at such a deep level and then also giving yourself a break. I knew like any, any… occasionally I would go along if I was on a roll, but like 45 minutes I’d be taking a break, switching everything off, going for coffee, giving yourself that mental break too, I think is a very important.
BRYAN: 01:40:47 Yeah. I think there’s some beautiful paradox in this about focusing quiet yet. You live in New York City.
PETRA: 01:40:55 The funniest thing is that was not funny. It seemed to me that construction was following me everywhere. Like I had a really quiet apartment and then they took the building down next to me. So I was in construction zone. So I’ve moved since then because I was like, there’s no way I can do podcasts and maybe even in the, you know, your audience can’t see this. But right now I’m standing in my closet. But even in my old apartment in the closet you could hear the jackhammer. So I was like, oh, I gotta go. Um, and then the writer space, um, it was super quiet the first three months and then we were on the twelfth floor on the 11th floor, they suddenly decided to gut it. I was like, are you kidding me? Like, everywhere I went I was like, is this a test? But again, that’s why the headphones and at sometimes I have ear plugs in with the headphones and the white noise. Yeah, I’m creating a whole lot of crazy going on in this line, but it seemed to work at the time.
BRYAN: 01:41:47 Talk about focus, that’s focus. Do you have any rituals, any specific things you do either you know, to begin, uh, or you know, during or just throughout the day that supported you in being effective in your writing?
PETRA: 01:41:59 Yeah, I would. What I, what I realized this was just more out of exploration that on the days I moved, I worked out in the morning I was much better able to focus, so not say 95 percent of my time would get some sort of workout in before I went to the writer’s room. On the days they didn’t. Again, I find my mind would wander a little bit more even. It sounds so weird, even the ritual of putting on my headphones and the white noise that became a ritual in itself that was kind of like I could assemble or, this is your writing time, you know, and I’d have, I’d actually on spotify, I’d have track lists at deep focus because there’d be certain things. It was almost like for me, I think the ritual was more what was I was listening to this is your, this is your writing time. And I, and I have to say, I think I was meditating more during my writing. I would be met only like five, 10 minutes with a timer. Um, that was another app that I used Um timer five, 10 minutes in the morning. That helped me just get my mind, make that mind bigger thoughts to come in and less self judgment. Join the writing.
BRYAN: 01:43:11 That’s awesome. I posted on facebook and Linkedin that I will be interviewing you and invited people to pose questions and I’m a friend did want me to ask you about, about Daniel Pink? I wasn’t aware of this, but my friend informed me that Daniel Pink, and I might be wrong on this, but I’m acknowledging this came from a post, uh, so my friends said Daniel Pink is actually not very high on positive psychology and I’m wondering if you’re aware of that and what if you had kind of a response to that perspective, what it would be?
PETRA: 01:43:44 Yeah, I’m thinking. No, I wasn’t aware of that and I heard that. I’ve heard Dan Pink speak and I thought he was great and he’s a realist and I think with anything like positive psychology is a relatively new science and with anything that’s going to be pushed back, it’s like this with fitness too. And there is a dark side to happiness, you know, I mean we, if we’re focused, I think the push back might be, well, if we’re only focusing on what’s going well, what are we talking about over here? Of the things that need to be changed, that needs to be fixed. That needs to be tweaked. And positive psychology is not that. It’s not like you’re either happy or you’re sad. It’s how could our wellbeing be happier and with any science that some relatively well known science from that world has been debunked. So you know, this, this statistics and research that I use when I first, um, I had a program called moving to happiness, some very well known research that I was using that got debunked and like, yeah, well we didn’t actually have true enough research, empirical research to prove that, but that’s with anything, you know. And with any piece of research I’m going to pick the research that supports my, my point of view and I think, you know what, and I think too much of anything is never a good thing. But what I did find for me personally is the research and the mindset and the ideas behind positive psychology made complete sense to me with that. Yeah. Not Without fault, but I’ve implemented into my own life and I know it works. I’ve helped other people implemented in that life and I know it works and there’s enough data in this, whether it’s more of a more of it, yes then a no, it’s been disproven. And we can say that about everything, the diet Industry, the fitness industry, the medical industry, there’s always gonna be outliers and also people that do research with the best of intentions, you know that. So I’m not even going to mention here, but it’s research that I still think it’s worth even though it got debunked, has value because I’ve tried it on and it works. But if it’s not gonna hurt, I mean again, you know, if I say if you’re not happy then that’s no way to live and I don’t give you an. And you know, you’re suffering from severe depression. That’s not a very logical or even kind positioned to take. So sometimes it’s not even the research, but it’s like what are we doing with it? How we try to share it, what are we trying to gain from it?
PETRA: 01:46:20 What message are we trying to share? Is it to elevate us or is it, you know, and again, any research in this book, I was very mindful that it had been proven and it could do no harm that even if five years to now been disproven, there was nothing in this book like first do no harm and also recognizing I’m not a therapist, but yet like you said, this work works. I mean, I used to say it’s easy to teach happiness when you’re happy and you know, a few years ago I was literally sideswiped by life and I was deep in the throes of positive psychology and I got to say it was that work over and over and over and over again. That got me, helped me get back up.
BRYAN: 01:46:59 Oh, it’s beautiful. And the fact that you’re sharing it with people in such a thoughtful way, I hope this book is a huge success for you. I think a lot of people will benefit from it.
PETRA: 01:47:10 Thank you so much.
BRYAN: 01:47:13 That’s great. As a way of expressing my gratitude to you for making time to talk today. Uh, I went online to Kiva.org. I have a little lending team, we make micro loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, so I loaned $100 on your behalf to a 26 year old woman named Ripa who resides in West Bengal, India, and she’ll use this money to purchase supplies for her rice selling business. She’s got a family involved in agriculture. So, um, anyway, this is a small way of making a contribution to someone on the other side of the planet just to say thank you for making time to talk with me today.
PETRA: 01:47:55 Oh my God, Brian. And I’m going to take that idea and run with it. What a beautiful, thoughtful. Oh my gosh. Thank you. I got goosebumps. You know, it’s so interesting. I interviewed someone recently and she said, um, when you have, when you’re creating your table for your work, always include philanthropy and that’s what you’re doing. And I was like, hmmm, that’s the world we need to live in. And I got to make more room for that. Thank you so much. That’s, that’s so generous.
BRYAN: 01:48:26 Well, this, this has been awesome and I feel, I feel really privileged to know you. A lot of of what you talk about resonates deeply with me. You said something, I think it was in your Ted talk where you talk about perfectionism, Rob’s achievement of its joy, right? Something to that effect, and I thought, yeah, that’s, that’s true. Yeah, that’s true for me. So I look forward to doing what I can to help your book be successful and then to staying in friendship with you.
PETRA: 01:48:54 Thank you so much, Brian. I really would. Let me, and again, whatever I can do to support you and thank you for the gift of your time and already, um, you’re doing incredible things and what an honor and a privilege to be speaking with you today.
BRYAN: 01:49:07 Well, thank you. All right. Thank you for listening to this interview with Petra Kolber, Dj Happy Feet or Dj P.K. I hope you’ve really enjoyed this, that you’ve taken something away that will help you to get your book done and your message out there. I think about what Petra said, position to their pain or bring them more joy. So whatever you’re writing, I encourage you to stay with it and make it a reality. Take what works from this and leave the rest. I hope that this has been useful in helping you make the difference that you were born to make. So until next time, good luck and I’ll talk to you real soon.
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