Shadow of Darkness by Dick Grayson (aka. Robin)

It’s hard being in second place. If you’re the second sibling, you don’t get nearly the attention growing up that the first-born does. If you’re second in the Olympics, people don’t remember your name as well as if you took first. And nobody hands you a medal for being the second best guitar player in the world… although, truth be told, that one would still be pretty cool.

Why are we talking about being number two? Because today our guest on Character Coaching has spent his entire life being in second place. We’re talking about Dick Grayson, the titular sidekick to playboy billionaire Bruce Wayne — although you might know them by other names.  

At the moment, Grayson is feeling a little lost. He’s not exactly sure of who he is when he’s helping Bruce at his job… or, put another way, he doesn’t know who he’ll be when his mentor finally retires and gives Grayson the reins. What kind of leader is he going to become? Will he conduct his work in the same way Wayne does? Or does it make sense to try and strike out on his own and forge an entirely new path for himself?

We decided to get in touch with Grayson and ask him these questions. We’ve catalogued his responses below so that you might get something out of our communications… buckle up, strap in and spread your wings, because we’re going in. 

Grayson’s first journal entry: shadow of darkness  

Entry One:

“Since I was a kid I was trained to be more than what I am. More than a man, more than a mask, I was supposed to be something that symbolizes hope in those who need it, and fear in those who would take that hope away.

Truth is, I don’t feel like I symbolize much of anything without my mentor. I’m his shadow, going wherever he goes to fight crime and to make the streets safer. So when he’s gone, when it’s just me left in this fight… who will I be?

I know I won’t be the sidekick forever, but how do you discover who you are when that’s all you’ve ever been?”Dick G.  

First impressions: second banana to the main dish 

Well, this journal is one hundred percent dark and mysterious… but it’s also one hundred percent relatable. I mean, who hasn’t spent time being second banana to the main dish? All of us have likely had a time in our lives where we had to adjust to being second in command… that, or we’ve felt like we’re a supporting actor in someone else’s show. 

The thing is, while it’s normal to feel that way, all of us inhabit many different roles in our lives — sure, we might feel like we’re second in command at work, but do we feel that way when we’re at home with our family? Or maybe it’s the other way around: some of us feel like the overlooked member of our family, but we’re on top of the world the moment we step into the office. 

Whatever the case is, it’s natural to want to “control” how others look at us in situations like these. When we perceive that we’re not being recognized for all our wonderful qualities, our natural reaction is to start questioning who we really are. After all, if other people don’t see us how we want to be seen, then how are we supposed to see ourselves? 

This is a tricky road to go down. When we keep reinforcing the fact that we’re second-rate to someone else, we behave in ways that further concrete our position as a sidekick. Alternatively, when we start thinking about ourselves as the first banana in our own lives — instead of all this second banana business — new opportunities open up before us. Instead of worrying what others think about us, we start to feel a little more grounded and confident in who we are. 

So, in order to get Dick out of this funk he’s currently in, let’s ask him some follow-up questions. What I’d like to know is: what kind of identity has Grayson developed even under someone else’s shadow? And perhaps even more importantly, who was he hoping to be when he began this position as a… mask-wearing vigilante? Let’s pose those questions now and see what we get back. 


  1. What identity have you developed as a sidekick?
  2. Who were you hoping you’d be when you started?
batman meme

Next: learning how to be first banana 


“This was years ago, but when I started I wanted to be just like my mentor. He seemed to always have the answer, could solve any puzzle, overcome any obstacle. Then I realized how much he was losing himself to the job, how he put everything secondary to his missions. That isn’t who I am. I believe in the greater good but not at the expense of everything. When I suit up it’s to protect the people I care about. I have my own team and they need a leader who will always have their back, just like I’ve watched out for my mentor. If he’s vengeance, then I’m a protector.”

With this follow-up journal, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of not only who Dick is, but who he wants to be, too. What immediately stands out is that by understanding who his mentor is, he knows who he doesn’t want to be. I mean, how much clearer can you get about your future than saying, “If he’s vengeance, then I’m a protector”? 

That’s especially interesting, considering just one journal ago Grayson was talking about how he wasn’t sure who he’d be once his mentor was offstage. As it turns out, it seems like Grayson actually has a pretty clear idea about who he is, and also what his future looks like. And that’s just by looking at the contrast between his and his teacher’s differences!

This is something you can do in your own life, too. If you’ve never tried it, start thinking of experiences, people or situations you don’t want more of in your life. Think about what repels you from those things, and then start thinking about the opposite of those things. By finding out what you don’t like, you’ll be able to set a better course toward all the things you do like. So, that would be my first piece of advice to you… and also to Grayson. 

The other thing I’m noticing here is that Grayson might be spending a little too much time on the job. It seems as though he values people who don’t get completely lost in their work, because a work-life balance is important to him. That might also contribute to his feeling of being second banana to someone else: if he’s spending all his time working for someone else, he doesn’t get to enjoy being the number one person in his personal life — with friends, family or even a romantic lover. 

In response, I’d ask Grayson a few more follow-up questions. First, I’d want to know if he thinks his identity necessarily needs to be tied to somebody else just to have meaning. And I’d also be curious to know what branching out and doing his own thing would feel like to him. Would it feel natural, or might being “second banana” be his way of acting naturally… in other words, is being second banana Grayson’s first banana? 

These are the questions… 

Follow-up Questions: 

  1. Do you believe that identity has to be tied to someone else to be meaningful?
  2. How do you feel when you’re acting as a leader vs. acting a sidekick?

The check-in: the bird flies from it's nest

Closing Journal:

Thanks for replying to my journals so quickly, I know I post at really weird hours. Part of the job. A perk is that it gives me a lot of time to think. When I’m leading I don’t have any doubt about who I am, but when I’m playing my role as second-fiddle it’s when I feel antsy about my role… I think I may have outgrown this position. I started so young and I’ve always been under the wing of someone bigger and stronger, but that’s not who I am anymore. I can do things my way and get the job done, without completely shutting myself out from the rest of life. I think maybe it’s time to spread my wings and try to fly on my own.”

This is why I’m glad we do so many follow-ups with everyone who journals with us: because even as coaches, we don’t always know the full situation until we’ve spoken with someone for a while. For instance, I was wondering if maybe Grayson was okay with being a sidekick forever… when it’s clear now that where he actually feels comfortable is in a leadership position. 

It seems Grayson is finally outgrowing his position as second in command, and now he’s going through the natural growing pains of that “transition” phase so many of us have to navigate. Now that he’s leveled up in his career, he’s ready to take those next steps toward becoming a larger part of the business. He’s developing skills that no longer fit the role of a second-banana-man, so it only makes sense that it’s time to strike out on his own. 

One last important thing I’d like to point out before we go is that this entire transition has been motivated by excitement rather than fear. Grayson is inspired by what the future holds for him, rather than afraid of what he’d become if he didn’t shake things up. That’s really crucial, because when we’re able to take the reins and take charge of our own lives, we’re happy and interested in our futures. 

On the other hand, when we’re pushed into a position or led to believe that we’ll “miss out” on something if we don’t make a change, we’re not excited about the future… we’re just afraid of what will happen if things aren’t different. That’s an important life lesson, and it’s one I’m happy Grayson discovered all by himself — whether he’s first, second, third or even last banana. 

Alright. Enough banana talk. Or, if you haven’t had enough of it, you might want to just listen to our entire podcast episode on the subject… because we go pretty bananas in it. 

(I promise I’m done now.)

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Jon Rom: Character Coaching is an exploration of coaching principles applied to fictional characters by the host. Any likeness to real people or situations is coincidental. And none of the advice given is intended to take the place of real coaching. Learn more about getting accessible coaching at

[00:00:21] Jonathan Friedman: I'm Jonathan

[00:00:22] Jon Rom: and I'm John and this is Character Coaching, coaching

character, ching, ching, ching

You forgot how to record right before we're about to, uh, set up a podcast episode.

[00:00:46] Jonathan Friedman: Okay, great. Great thing. Uh, Jon, do you want to take it back to that part where you asked me if I chew my cud or not?

[00:00:54] Jon Rom: And you know what, you know what the nice thing about that is? No context is needed.

[00:00:59] Jonathan Friedman: No context.

[00:01:00] Jon Rom: No, no context. Exactly. Well, okay, so let me ask you this. Why don't you chew your cud more?

[00:01:09] Jonathan Friedman: That's a good question. So I have this weird diagnosis called eosinophilic esophagitis was my pronunciation correct on that one?

[00:01:16] Jon Rom: Yeah, you crushed it 10 out of 10.

[00:01:18] Jonathan Friedman: Amazing. And basically, it's this diagnosis of, I guess my esophagus spasm sometimes when I swallow food and it doesn't stop me from breathing, but food just gets stuck in my esophagus.

And it's like, you're always kind of gagging for a few minutes, but I feel if I chewed my cud much like a cow, um, I feel like that problem would occur less. My esophagus would know what to expect weirdly. Um, but then also everything would go down as soup. So I'm not sure how I feel about it.

[00:01:52] Jon Rom: I mean, who's not a fan of soup?

[00:01:54] Jonathan Friedman: Actually, that's a good question. So, one cow swallows, or they always swallow like a soup. Like, is there a soup de jour for cows?

[00:02:03] Jon Rom: No, I think it's more like a mash.

[00:02:05] Jonathan Friedman: Mash?

[00:02:05] Jon Rom: Like a mesh mash. Mish-mash?

[00:02:08] Jonathan Friedman: Mish-mash

[00:02:09] Jon Rom: uh, well, your, but your body has always had a very love, hate relationship with, um, the outside world and the food that most people would deem, uh, deem tasty.

[00:02:20] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. I'm allergic to everything and I keep getting more allergies. So I was talking, I think you brought this up once years ago. And then I was talking to this other person in my entrepreneurship mastermind group and she was telling me about this cross pollen food syndrome or something like that. Is that what it's called?

Something like that

[00:02:44] Jon Rom: per uh it's. Is it an Atopy? I think it's Atopy. I'm going, I'm going to the internet because I should know it off the top of my head, but I haven't taken immunology in a hot minute. Uh, yeah. It's like, it's it? Nope. That's not. What was it called? Oh, this is going to drive me crazy. How could you do this to me?

There's, there's a condition where your body is just ready to, uh, to attack anything because your immune system is, uh, is always primed, uh, against, against the world. And it's not, it's not fun.

It's not very fun. Atopy I don't know how you say Atopy.

[00:03:28] Jonathan Friedman: Atopy, like get through half the half, half the alphabet.

And you're done A- to -p.

[00:03:34] Jon Rom: a, to P exactly. You got to pee in your life and Q I'm not feeling that.

[00:03:38] Jonathan Friedman: I feel it. I don't want it. Don't want to think about it. Don't want it don't want it. Don't want to know it's there.

For me.

[00:03:44] Jon Rom: It causes asthma, hay fever, and eczema.

[00:03:48] Jonathan Friedman: I have all of those things.

[00:03:50] Jon Rom: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what I made it be.

It's uh, it's, it's, it's annoying to have because it manifests in all these different ways.

[00:04:00] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. Like I just want to, I want to run and be out in the sunset, but then sometimes I start sneezing. And now in this Covidien world, we live in, um, you sneeze one time, not because of COVID, but because of allergy season, and everyone just looks at you, or other times you just want to eat a sandwich, but then you have the worst night of your life.

It was like this...

[00:04:26] Jon Rom: I mean, I have had excel at sandwiches from gas stations. So I've also experienced that before.

[00:04:32] Jonathan Friedman: You're right. That is worse than an allergic.

[00:04:36] Jon Rom: I wish I'd had an allergic reaction before I put it in my mouth.

[00:04:41] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah, your body should just sense that that's not something you should eat.

[00:04:45] Jon Rom: I feel like, I feel like, well, there was this, there was this a PSA. Don't put it in your mouth. Uh, when we were kids, uh, with the blue dolls and anyone who knows what we're talking about has a song stuck in their head immediately.

[00:04:59] Jonathan Friedman: Only 90's kids will know.

[00:05:02] Jon Rom: Yeah. Oh yeah. That's true. I don't like that there are things that only 90's'90ss will know. It feels like where, uh, uh, purveyors of dark secrets,

[00:05:11] Jonathan Friedman: like the house will know

[00:05:12] Jon Rom: like take to our grave. Exactly. Like someone's gonna, someone's gonna get a bite out of their peanut butter and toast, a little tiny bite was taken out.

They're going to be like, what the heck is going on? And we're going to be like, you, you can't, you can't know about this. This is, uh, this is secret lower.

[00:05:28] Jonathan Friedman: There's this whole eight-year group of people who genuinely believed that there was this little hippo, this roaming around your house. I remember seeing that commercial for the first time at my aunt's place.

And I, I started looking for this hippo and in the, in the commercial, um, the hippo's eating peanut butter and I'm very allergic to peanut butter on that Atopy. Uh, but I opened the peanut butter caber that was hidden from me, but I opened it to see if the hippo was there. Uh, it wasn't.

Um, hilariously all of those commercials are about the dangers of advertising to children and how, and, and how, uh, how not gullible, but how much they're willing to believe because of imagination.

And there's the commercial, the intent of the commercial to share that danger didn't help at all. Cause I, I, I legitimately believed for years that there was this house hippo and that. Yeah. And it would eat all the peanut butter. I mean, for me, that's a good thing, but it would save me from a lot of problems.

[00:06:40] Jon Rom: Which is crazy because that means that you saw at the beginning of the commercial and then completely checked out every single time when they were telling you that it's a, they're like, you knew that couldn't be true did don't you? And you're like, what? Huh? I didn't, I wasn't paying attention. Where's the house hippo? Why is this show over? Uh.

[00:07:00] Jonathan Friedman: It's not like this was a commercial that happened, you know, once in a blue moon, this was on in between every single break of your favorite cartoon. So you're sitting and watching cartoons all morning and at each commercial break, there's the house hippo.

There's don't you put it in your mouth,

[00:07:15] Jon Rom: the TV, the TV that wanted you to watch less TV that was on your TV.

[00:07:20] Jonathan Friedman: Or the why be you when you could be me.

[00:07:23] Jon Rom: Oh yeah, then they go into, uh, this is, this is going to sound like absolute insanity to anyone who didn't grow up in, uh, I think specifically Ontario, I don't think it was even a Canada thing.

I think it was just Ontario.

[00:07:38] Jonathan Friedman: I love how, uh, many of our episodes are slowly, slowly becoming niche knowledge to very specific provinces.

[00:07:45] Jon Rom: Yeah.

Welcome to Ontario talks where we talk about things that only people who were watching children's television in the, uh, the mid to late nineties and early two thousand would understand, uh, I'm your host, uh, Dr. Jonathan Rom.

[00:08:04] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah.

The people tuned into the show because they want to hear characters getting coached and we're like, you know what? Maybe we should coach the house hippo.

[00:08:17] Jon Rom: I mean, now we can, now we can't, we've acknowledged. We've acknowledged. Don't friggin put the tiger on the table and yell at it don't

I don't want to reveal all our secrets.

[00:08:30] Jonathan Friedman: Don't put, don't put the tiger on the table. How many people do, you know, put tigers on tables?

[00:08:34] Jon Rom: Not many. That's why it's I don't want you to do it.

[00:08:38] Jonathan Friedman: Is that a, is that a common phrase? Is that something people say, do people only say it, uh, when they want, uh, their favorite breakfast cereal?

When do they use that phrase? That's a new one for me.

[00:08:54] Jon Rom: It's an everyday phrase. I don't know. I don't know. As I say to you.

[00:08:57] Jonathan Friedman: You genuinely use that phrase all the time, but okay.

[00:08:59] Jon Rom: At the time, put the tiger on the table and yell at it?

[00:09:03] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. Is that every day?

[00:09:07] Jon Rom: All right. Do you want it, so do you, do you want to coach today, or are we just gonna, we're just gonna mess around,

[00:09:14] Jonathan Friedman: just riff?


um, I, I like riffing, but if there's one thing I'm passionate about, it's, uh, it's coaching. Uh, definitely, uh, pumped and excited cause I, I heard a, you, you messaged me last night that you got a new journal, so I'm, I'm excited to see, uh, to see, to see what's, uh, you know, just go ahead and put the tiger on the table and let's get down to business.

[00:09:38] Jon Rom: Does it bother you that I messaged you at two in the morning with my, uh, with the fact that I have a journal that we can use?

[00:09:46] Jonathan Friedman: Well, it's two 30 in the morning right now.

[00:09:49] Jon Rom: Yeah. I know.

[00:09:49] Jonathan Friedman: I'm amped. I'm pumped about it.

[00:09:51] Jon Rom: You're always ready. You're like, well, that's.

[00:09:54] Jonathan Friedman: With the microphone in front of my face at all times cause you never know when gold is going to strike

[00:09:59] Jon Rom: well, that's appropriate because, uh, our, our current, uh, our current journaler uh, seems to be a bit of a night owl. Uh, and, and this journal is written by, uh, Dick G and it is called: Shadow of Darkness. Uh, Dick writes:

"Since I was a kid, I was trained to be more than what I am.

More than a man, more than a mask, I was supposed to be something that symbolizes hope for those who need it and fear for those who would take that hope away. Truth is, I don't feel like I symbolize much of anything without my mentor. I'm his shadow going wherever he goes to fight crime and make the streets safer.

So when he's gone, when it's just me left in this fight, who will I be? I know I won't be the sidekick forever, but how do you discover who you are when that's all you've ever been?"


[00:10:54] Jonathan Friedman: who do you discover who is when that's all you've ever been?

[00:10:58] Jon Rom: Fighting crime? I guess I guess the cop? I don't know that. I feel like people aren't very explicit with their job titles in our journals.

Have you ever noticed that?

[00:11:07] Jonathan Friedman: There was always this, uh, this mystique?

[00:11:10] Jon Rom: Yeah, exactly. A very, aery mysteriousness, uh, uh, very shadowy figure. But okay. Whatever, we can take it out, we can take it at face value.

[00:11:21] Jonathan Friedman: It's even, it's even helpful to be honest because I think when you get a job, you get some of that. You get a, uh, a specific picture in your mind about, you know, who they are and you know, what they look like and what they're doing in their day today.

Uh, but this allows us to explore a bit more.

[00:11:38] Jon Rom: Yeah. And it's, it's a little bit open to interpretation, but I think, I think everyone can relate to being, um, second banana being in the shadow, uh, literal or figurative of someone else. What about you? Do you do? Johnny, does this resonate with you?

Do you ever have a heavy, do you have a time in your life when you were adjusted under someone else's command?

[00:12:08] Jonathan Friedman: Oh, all the time. I, uh, I've been first banana, then second banana in third banana. Uh, been a banana split. Uh, I've, I've been the whole fruit salad, man.

[00:12:22] Jon Rom: I mean, if your fruit salad is just bananas, I feel like you're making a fruit salad, or also aren't you allergic to bananas?

[00:12:28] Jonathan Friedman: Some of our frequent listeners will know that I used to work at a Starbucks and, uh, they had the smoothie. And as a, as a Starbucks barista, you get to have, you know, uh, uh, one of your favorite Starbucks beverages on your break. And at one point during that summer, I started reacting to bananas, but I'm allergic to so many things and I just didn't want to be allergic to another thing.

So I thought you'd want to control the reactions, not too bad

too, uh,

to, to, uh, make myself immune to bananas every single day I'd have like between two and three bananas to make my body just understand that bananas need to be a part of my life. And it's not even that big. It's not like I go to a supermarket. I'm like, oh, damn look, there are the bananas. I need all the bananas.

Um, bananas are okay. It was just, I was so stubborn that, uh, I, I, I, wasn't going to let there be another thing like that I was allergic to.

[00:13:32] Jon Rom: And, and, and it sounds like our journaler has their kind of, uh, a war on crime that they want to be waging, but they don't have their own identity. Do you feel like, do you feel like part of forging your identity was fighting, uh, uh, against the banana menace that was looming over you?

[00:13:54] Jonathan Friedman: The banana menace.

[00:13:56] Jon Rom: The banana menace. It wasn't fun. That was fun, two words to say together. Banana menace.

[00:14:01] Jonathan Friedman: I want a.

[00:14:03] Jon Rom: Banana menace doo doo doo roo

[00:14:05] Jonathan Friedman: I sometimes whenever I hear something funny, I think about how we'll learn to say that word and it just like.

The banana menace.

[00:14:16] Jon Rom: That's good. That gave me chills.

[00:14:20] Jonathan Friedman: Um, I think it's very interesting, this kind of role exploration, because you have, we all experienced different versions of ourselves and different people experience different versions of us in a lot of different situations.

You know, if you think about when we're hanging out as friends, when you're going on dates when you're parenting and being around your kids or going to see your partner's family or going to work, those are all different iterations or explorations of you as a person. And what is interesting to me is when you're looking at yourself as a second banana, and you're looking at what life looks like when you're the first banana. I think it's almost a cool discussion to have, because it allows you to sort of, you know, try it on before it happens, you know? You're not being forced into being the first banana right away being that, uh, you know, the hero, not the sidekick right away. And, uh, you can, you know, put on some cool tunes, some noise-canceling headphones, and just, imagine what is the first banana would be like, are you right?

Are you underwriting a little spotty? What's going on?

[00:15:44] Jon Rom: The, the role of an apprentice is, um, it's really meaningful when you're, when you're, uh, getting to the point where you are skillful in what you do, but you still need to, uh, develop your sense of identity and who you're going to be when you're doing it on your own.

And it's kind of, it's kind of a tumultuous, scary time to be in, I think, uh, and, and I don't, I don't blame Dick for having these, um, these concerns because these concerns are something you should be thinking about when you're under the tutelage of someone under the watchful eye of someone. Uh, and you're developing into who you're going to be.

Uh, if you're not thinking about this, then, when you get, when it becomes time to do your own thing, you're not going to have a very well thought out, um, uh, identity. I think you're just kinda, you're kinda gonna go with the first thing that comes to your mind instead of being purposeful in what you do and.

And I guess one of the things I wonder about in this case is whether people identify people created an identity, even when they are the second banana. Uh, the second banana identity is its own thing. Not every apprentice or sidekick is, is the same. And I'm curious, I'm curious who Dick is as a sidekick. I'm curious who, who he is as a, uh, uh, crime fighter, uh, even now when he is, when he's, um, when he's being mentored.

[00:17:32] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. That's interesting. And one of the lines in Dick's journal that sort of pops out to me is the truth is I don't feel like I symbolize much of anything without my mentor, but who says that the mentor and those teachings that Dick has had, can't be a part of his identity when he's first banana.

Right? It doesn't need to be so, so cut and dry. So I'm wondering. you know, I'd like to explore that a bit more. The other thing that I think is important to mention here is where every single day we experienced a bunch of different things and those create a sort of a knowledge base, a think tank in evidence-based, um, to, you know, support our identity and who we become.

But if we're not taking a lot of time to reflect or journal about, you know, the happenings of those days, we might lose track and, you know, start to think that our identity is only what exists at that moment. So being second bit in, or being sidekick, it's not to say that that can't be a part of Dick's identity.

That's probably a huge part of his identity, but I think we're losing track of a bunch of the other stuff in Dick's world. Right? What are you, what do you think? Where, where, where do you go with this?

[00:18:53] Jon Rom: I think it's a really good point because before you start before I started medical school, I had a very clear idea of where I wanted to go. And when I was, uh, in the depths of it, it was very easy to lose sight because of the amount of work and strain that was on me. And so I would often revisit, uh, what, what was I hoping for in the first place?

Like why did I go into this? What did I want? Uh, it was, it was good at re I was, I was good at reframing what I was doing, because if you want it to do it in the first place, even if it's hard, it goes, uh, it becomes a lot easier to do it. And if, uh, if Dick can revisit what he was hoping to do at the beginning, then I think he's honoring who he is outside of. Uh, of the sidekick role, because before you become a sidekick, you're a no-kick. You're, you're a punch

[00:19:59] Jonathan Friedman: without being a sidekick. You're a no-kick. Remember that? Listen,

[00:20:08] Jon Rom: don't you scrutinize, scrutinized my, my wisdom or my monitor and infinite scrutiny.

Well, when you listen, when you're a punch and not a sidekick, you can understand what it is you want. And then when you get, if you get lost in the weeds of what it is, you want to be where you were headed towards, then just think back, think back to when, when you were, I mean, you know what, Hey, I'm going to run, I'm going to ask, I'm going to ask Dick what, what he was hoping to do when he started everything.

Uh, and, and I'm going to call him a punch. I, and if you. If I get the same sass from him, then I will retract my wisdom.

[00:20:52] Jonathan Friedman: That's fair.

[00:20:53] Jon Rom: Wisdom retracted.

[00:20:54] Jonathan Friedman: There's a little humor into your questioning thing. That's great.

[00:20:58] Jon Rom: Um, I punch it up. Yeah.

[00:21:02] Jonathan Friedman: I don't know if it's from a lack of sleep or that we were talking about things that are specific to Canada and Ontario.

Do you remember those, um, uh, liftin' sidekick noodles? When you said sidekick that's immediately what I thought of, it's kind of like they had these, I guess they're different sizes of noodles that are kind of like that you would use in chicken noodle soup, but they cut them up in different ways and boxed them as different things with different powders that you incorporate with milk or water to make the different sauce.

So they'd be like, it'd be a Mac and cheese kind of thing could be a hamburger helper kind of idea. Um, not that it was good. It just, uh, maybe I'm hungry and that's, you know, you said sidekick, and my brain went, oh yeah. That's my one. That's the only time I've ever heard that word sidekick. So that's, what's going to pop up in my brain right now.

[00:22:00] Jon Rom: Isn't Lipton make Te?

[00:22:01] Jonathan Friedman: They expanded into the noodle market for a bit

[00:22:04] Jon Rom: no, they didn't stop

[00:22:06] Jonathan Friedman: they made chicken noodle soup

[00:22:08] Jon Rom: Oh yeah, you're right there. It's true. That's true.

Wait, so they made different noodles sizes?

[00:22:14] Jonathan Friedman: It was a, it was a thing. I swear. I swear.

[00:22:23] Jon Rom: Listeners.

I'm trying to coach, and this man is obsessed with noodles. So if you want to, if you want to get coached, I do recommend that in your journal, make sure that you only talk about pasta and its various forms, shapes, and sizes. Uh, so that Johnny gives you, uh, his undivided attention.

[00:22:52] Jonathan Friedman: Yes. That's the only time I listened to it.

You can talk about chicken can talk about beef. I'm not even here for it. Second, you bring up noodles. You have my, my, my, you have my sword.

Um, one of the things that are interesting to me, and one of the things that I'd want to explore with Dick is kind of that idea of trying things on. And that concept comes around.

You know, you go to old Navy, you see a shirt that you like, but you're not sure if it fits. And you know, you take a bunch of different shirts that kind of look interesting to you and go to the change room. You try them on, you look at yourself in the mirror, you go out of the change room to show, you know, partner and you know, some look great.

Some. Maybe the pink floral design was not for me at that time. And that's okay too, but it's kind of the same thing when we're trying on different identities because we all have those different iterations of us in different kinds of places. And when I think about what my identity will be like in the future, I want to put on some noise-canceling headphones, listen to some animals as leaders, take out my journal, and start to take the time to think about, you know, what will that look like?

So with Dick today, I want to ask, you know, um, when you try on your identity, you know, in a year, two years, three years, like using your imagination. What does that look like to you when you're, when you are first banana? Well, we'll bring it back to the banana reference.

[00:24:26] Jon Rom: The banana menace, bananas, noodles, and bananas is the, uh, unofficial name of this episode.

I like your question. I could question. I think we're looking very forward. We're very much looking forward to Dick here. This is a very forward-looking, uh, uh, coaching approach where we're trying to look ahead with him and help him discover who he, he is by, by asking him who he wanted to be. And, uh, what does he think is going to happen?

Um, I'm curious to see what he says. I'm curious to see how he replies.

[00:25:07] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah, me, me too. Just one more thing on that. I think, um, for anybody who's listened to a fewer or more of our episodes, there's kind of this idea of checking story and getting the story, and that's important, but in a way, we're using here to get the story is by exploring what the story could be because it seems like there are some untapped things in this journal.

And by asking this question, you know, we're sort of inviting imagination, we're inviting conversation. It doesn't always need to be, you know, a closed question in this, in this journal, we can be very explorative. Then I think that's the way we want to go here.

[00:25:43] Jon Rom: It also helps when someone is very cagey about their present or their past, to bring up the future because the future is still unwritten.

And so they don't mind going into more detail on it. Uh, this is my experience.

[00:26:00] Jonathan Friedman: As first banana.

[00:26:02] Jon Rom: As first banana.

[00:26:03] Jonathan Friedman: You, you get to make those calls. as the first banana.

[00:26:05] Jon Rom: My, my banana, can you come up with a dish though? It tastes good with both bananas and noodles? I'll let you work. You know what? I'm going to let you work on that.

I'm going to write my reply for Dick and then we'll circle back and you can tell me, um, after the jump.

[00:26:25] Jonathan Friedman: Though, what you're saying is that the only reason that people should stay on and listen to the remainder of the episode is to discover what my banana noodle recipe is?

[00:26:35] Jon Rom: Yeah.

Welcome to diners, drive-ins, and John's cousins Johnathan's. Thank you. I crashed it 10 out of 10.

Uh, so, uh, uh, you've had a week to think about it. Jonathan, did you come up with, uh, a noodle banana dish?

[00:26:57] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. Give me one second. I have to remember the name of the exact thing I'm thinking of. Uh, because there it is. Okay. Here's my solution to this very critical problem.

[00:27:14] Jon Rom: Solves my puzzle.

[00:27:16] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. So, um, my, my, my girlfriend's family after family is a, is Filipino. And there's this Filipino dessert called Turron which is, um, I guess kind of like a deep-fried banana, but it's, it's battered in a way. I often can't eat it, but I often stare at it because it seems like a great idea who doesn't want a deep-fried banana?

So I was thinking that we could crush up some noodles and use that as the batter for the banana before we fry it. So we have noodle fried Turron and that, that that's, that's, what's been consuming my mind for the past four and a half minutes.

[00:28:00] Jon Rom: I mean, I think I'm going to be consuming this dish. This looks awesome.

Wow. I am. I am amazed that you came up with anything at all. Uh, but there's, that was good, I want some, uh, Turron? Yeah. That's, that's very good. I think I was born to... Run

Pastamize me, captain.

Uh, well, Dick wrote back, um, uh, I kind of mixed up my assignments and I was expecting him to come up with a banana noodle dish, but he did, and he just answered our questions.

So, uh, Dick writes:

"This was years ago, but when I started, I want it to be just like my mentor. He seemed to always have the answers and could solve any puzzle, and overcome any obstacle. Then I realized how much he was losing himself to the job, how he put everything secondary to his missions. That isn't who I am, I believe in the greater good, but not at the expense of everything.

When I suit up it's to protect the people I care about. I have my team and they need a leader who will always have their back, just like I've watched out for my mentor, if he's vengeance then I am a protector."

[00:29:21] Jonathan Friedman: Interesting.

[00:29:24] Jon Rom: I love the, I love the, I love the journalists that have a flair for the dramatic.

[00:29:29] Jonathan Friedman: If he's vengeance, then I'm the protector.

[00:29:33] Jon Rom: I'm going to need you to say vengeance with a 30% more growl. We will, uh, we'll fix it in post

[00:29:39] Jonathan Friedman: Vengeance.

[00:29:41] Jon Rom: Can you say banana menace again, but in that voice.

[00:29:44] Jonathan Friedman: Banana Menace

[00:29:46] Jon Rom: oh gosh.

Yeah, there we go. This is a now welcome to our ASMR podcast.

[00:29:52] Jonathan Friedman: Uh, Banana Menace he strikes again.

So, this is interesting. This is what, what are your, what are your thoughts, coach Jon?

[00:30:01] Jon Rom: Uh, I was going to say, uh, coach Jonathan, that this, uh, this, this picture starting to get a little clearer, um, because the the the, a good question we could have asked and something that we should be curious about is what has triggered this type of thinking now? Why someone, why is, why is he modeling over, um, his, his future solo career, uh, now, and not, not before and not, and not like what, what brought it up? And I think we're, we're noticing, I'm noticing that it's a noticing that your mentors aren't perfect, uh and that there are things that you can do better than them., It is a very common trigger for thinking about how your career is going to look on your own.

And there's nothing wrong with that. You're going to be at, you're going to have strengths that others don't and weaknesses that others don't. And, and it's all right for you to, to question, um, uh, what your future is going to look like, because you have noticed that you can do things better than then, uh, the person teaching you.

[00:31:25] Jonathan Friedman: I agree. And another thing that I thought was interesting is, um, and it comes to light now that we're reading this journal and maybe it was just our, our intuition on, we were asking the previous questions, but sometimes when people give us a glimpse into the past, "I was always the sidekick" that kind of thing.

A lot of times, a lot of times. We feel gravitated towards that and want to spend a lot of the time there. But really what was interesting here is by opening up the question about the future, it's not that Dick doesn't have an idea of who they want to be. Right. I mean, if he's vengeance, then I'm a protector is a pretty rooted idea.

Even if it's just conceptually or ideologically about, you know, the role you want to have in the world. And the other thing that Dick's leveraging here that I think is great is this idea of contrast were, um, you experienced things that, you know, uh, are a big part of your life, but you look at them and say, yeah, well, I like this part of it.

I don't like this part of it. And this idea of, um, the greater good, but not at the expense of everything else and sort of defining how you can be that protector being that protecting role with. Expensing everything else, um, is a very, I think, important finding here.

[00:32:54] Jon Rom: Yeah. Work-life balance, right?

It's a, it's a thing. It's a thing. And I, and, and if you notice it's, it's also coming up generationally that, that it just seems like younger workers are more conscious of the fact that burning. We'll stop you from working for an indefinite period. And so if you have to kind of pull back to take care of yourself more and, and look at the things in your life and, and focus on those things outside of work, then that's fine.

Uh, and, and it's, and it's not going to be something that you necessarily learn from your mentors. It's going to be innate in you, uh, uh, because of your environment and, uh, your upbringing and who you are as a person.

[00:33:46] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. I think this idea of being, you know, hyper-productive and, you know, working the 25-hour days and all of that kind of stuff, I, I very much fall into that category as I kind of person.

Uh, but recently, as, as a personal example, I went to Florida with my brothers, uh, just for a few days on a, on a bit of, uh, an RNR trip. And I didn't even look at my screens at all. I didn't turn on the data. Or anything like that just kind of sat on the beach or, uh, you know, played Settlers of Catan with my siblings, that kind of thing.

And at first, it was, it was tough to not work, but, um, coming back to my week, this week, I feel my energy is higher. I feel like my ideas make more sense. Um, and I have a lot of inspiration for a lot of new projects that we're working on.

Uh, this idea that rests is like steeping tea. It makes you stronger. It makes you more productive. It's, uh, going all the time at 150% while it seems like a really good idea. It's, it's a, it's a little there's, there's a lot of imperfection there and it's, I think it's important to kind of call out and, you know, to say that if you, if you're going through your day and you're working a lot and.

Even if it's 1130 in the morning and you're already hating everything, take a break, go for a walk, play around with Apex Legends, go do what you need to do, and come back. Because even that, uh, break allows you to come back in a new way. You're not, you're not keeping yourself stuck in that rut.

[00:35:32] Jon Rom: It's beautiful.

It's beautiful. And now, and now I have to wonder, um, how much of cause, because you know, this, this gentleman has identified that he is different from his mentor, but he still sees himself to his mentor. And, and you know, you as an adult, as a, as an independent entity, have the ability to kind of like, uh, dip out to Florida and you know, that's now part, it's part of who you are and, and self-care and, and, and getting uh, shaking off cobwebs and, and it's part of your work life. Um, but, but Dick sees it only about his, his mentor. And I want to understand if he believes that if that identity, um, has to be tied to, to someone else to be meaningful or, or, or can he pull a Jonathan and kind of make it part of his own solo identity?

[00:36:41] Jonathan Friedman: Which Jonathan are you referring to?

[00:36:43] Jon Rom: I'm referring to, uh, the, the real first banana.

[00:36:49] Jonathan Friedman: Ah, you got me blushing over here.

[00:36:52] Jon Rom: I don't know. I meant me. I'm the first banana, you are the second banana.

[00:36:56] Jonathan Friedman: Not again.

[00:36:57] Jon Rom: Sorry. You're the third banana you got demoted and I forgot.

[00:37:00] Jonathan Friedman: Oh, we demoted me to a fourth banana.

I'm looking out my window and I just saw a bird fly through a vent.

I think somebody has a burden.

[00:37:09] Jon Rom: No. Oh no. Oh no.

So I usually in my, when we're recording podcasts and like my podcast studio, I have some moonlighting on, but I usually keep the blinds shut. Cause I like the colorful lights to mean something. Um, and you know, sets the mood for me. And for once I decided, oh, you know what?

Spring is hearing and open the blinds, get some daylight into here. And I just saw a bird fully fly into somebodies house.

What kind of bird was it? A pigeon, a Sparrow, a Robin,

[00:37:42] Jonathan Friedman: uh, I feel like it's got Sparrow vibes. It was a small bird.

[00:37:49] Jon Rom: Oh gosh.

[00:37:51] Jonathan Friedman: It's got Spiro vibes.

[00:37:52] Jon Rom: Oh, that joke went over your head. All right.

So Johnny, is there anything, is there anything you want me to ask a Dick before I asked him about his, uh, identity? Because I'll be honest with you. I was going to ask him about, um, you know what? Maybe I will, I want to ask him also about this whole leader sidekick thing and how, if he feels any different when he's doing either role.

So I'm going to add that too, but I'm curious, like, what's your, what's your curiosity here? What's your, what, what are you wondering based on what he just wrote?

[00:38:30] Jonathan Friedman: I like your questions. I think the, I think where we've gotten to so far is that it's not that Dick doesn't have an idea of what their identity should be in the future.

But I think the interesting point that you brought up is that um, it seems that that exists only about their mentor. And, you know, that's part of like growing, you learn a lot from your teachers and you take what you can and then move on. Um, but also we want to reinforce that Dick can have that identity for themselves.

It doesn't need to be just about their mentor and use that as sort of a jumping-off point to understand what that leadership, that first banana roll is for Dick. So I like where you're going. I have no further questions, your honor.

[00:39:18] Jon Rom: No further question? I rest my case.

[00:39:21] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah.

[00:39:22] Jon Rom: Case closed.

Alright. Okay.

[00:39:24] Jonathan Friedman: Bring on the dancing lobster

[00:39:26] Jon Rom: Bring out of the dancing lobster, exactly. Only nineties kids will remember. So I'm going to send that off to Dick and, uh, after the jump we'll, we'll, we'll find, hopefully, he'll write back to, uh, as you know, one of these days we're going to have someone just completely ghost us and then we'll just have to end the podcast early and do something else.

[00:39:48] Jonathan Friedman: I hope that's not the case. I think we do a good job. I, um.

[00:39:53] Jon Rom: People come back for more. They like, they like, they like our flavor.

[00:39:56] Jonathan Friedman: They always come back.

[00:39:58] Jon Rom: Yeah. Okay. All right. Well let's,

[00:40:00] Jonathan Friedman: They always just come back.

[00:40:01] Jon Rom: Hey, you gotta, you gotta come back. Where are you going?

[00:40:06] Jonathan Friedman: Bananas, bananas, bananas in pajamas. That's a thing right?

[00:40:11] Jon Rom: I wish that music wasn't licensed. I want I would want that to be the the the cut.

[00:40:17] Jonathan Friedman: That music is probably the most licensed.

[00:40:20] Jon Rom: Yeah.

[00:40:20] Jonathan Friedman: And again, I know this is a nineties thing, but where we're going to really, we're already here friends. We're already here at this point in history. If we're doing nineties, let's stick in the nineties.

Go, go gate, go into a drive-thru go get your Mc pizzas. It's there. They're underrated. Criminally underrated.

[00:40:41] Jon Rom: Yeah, fricking I got my, my JNCO jeans on and, uh,

[00:40:47] Jonathan Friedman: You only listened to KoRn?

[00:40:49] Jon Rom: I only listened to KoRn

uh, not the band, the vegetable.

[00:40:56] Jonathan Friedman: So like, do you sit at your oven and you just put corn in a pot on a gas stove and you're just.

[00:41:03] Jon Rom: No, I pop it.

[00:41:04] Jonathan Friedman: You're listening to it pop.

[00:41:06] Jon Rom: I Pop my KoRn.

[00:41:08] Jonathan Friedman: Listen to it a slap, listen to it pop. Corn is the base of the culinary world. If you think about it.

[00:41:19] Jon Rom: Aight, we need to get you out of the kitchens. You were coming up with some weird science over there. You're turning. This is turning into supervillain stuff.

[00:41:29] Jonathan Friedman: The banana menace.

[00:41:30] Jon Rom: The banana menace.

All right.

[00:41:32] Jonathan Friedman: That's a good time as I need to say.

[00:41:34] Jon Rom: Exactly.

Okay. So we, uh, we got a reply, thankfully, um, pretty quick reply.

[00:41:43] Jonathan Friedman: So he didn't ghost us.

[00:41:45] Jon Rom: Yeah he didn't ghost us, uh, Dick G wrote:

"Thanks for replying to my journal so quickly. Ooh, I know I post it really weird hours. That's okay. Part of the job, a perk is that it gives me a lot of time to think.

When I'm leading, I don't have any doubt about who I am, but when I'm playing my role as second fiddle, it's when I feel antsy about it. My job. I think I may have outgrown this position. I started so young and I've always been under the wing of someone bigger and stronger, but that's not who I am anymore. I can do things my way and get the job done without completely shutting myself out from the rest of my life.

I think maybe it's time to spread my wings and try to fly on my own".

[00:42:35] Jonathan Friedman: Just like that bird into that person's house.

[00:42:38] Jon Rom: Seriously? Oh man, it. I mean, listen, sometimes aren't we all just birds trying to get into somebodies house. When do you think about it?

[00:42:50] Jonathan Friedman: People like you aren't getting in there, like, all right, cool. We got this doctor as a character. We had this counselor coach guy. They're going to say some insightful things since like, oh yeah. Like, aren't we all just birds who want to fly into people's houses.

Yeah. We're the next level, everybody.

We're at the next level,

[00:43:09] Jon Rom: A bird in the house is worth two in the Bush, which is worth about three in the backyard.

[00:43:20] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. I'd say that math adds up.

[00:43:22] Jon Rom: The bird convergent confer, convergence? Conversion rate

[00:43:26] Jonathan Friedman: convergence.

[00:43:27] Jon Rom: The convergence is a...

[00:43:30] Jonathan Friedman: That's the popular metric there.

[00:43:32] Jon Rom: Yeah. Well, I check every morning with COVID.

[00:43:36] Jonathan Friedman: So, where we get this journal and good, good work for replying so quickly to Dick.

That's awesome.

[00:43:44] Jon Rom: So we also, you, you, uh, message me once an hour, every hour too, uh, to check my journals.

[00:43:52] Jonathan Friedman: We're up talking to each other 24 hours a day, doing this podcast. So it's pretty simple to communicate.

[00:43:59] Jon Rom: Except when either of us goes to Florida.

[00:44:02] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. Or goes into somebody else's house because we're all just birds trying to do that.

Sorry. Jokes, the joke's dead that one fell flat. Sorry.

[00:44:13] Jon Rom: It's like a dead, like a, like a bird hit, uh, electric wire.

[00:44:17] Jonathan Friedman: All right. Enough too, too graphic not to change the rating of the podcast. It's a whole mess.

[00:44:23] Jon Rom: Just a second. Just a second. Mom, I'm recording.

All right. Say what you just said again.

[00:44:34] Jonathan Friedman: I have to change the whole rating of this podcast. And we have to add your mom as a guest artist on the show.

[00:44:41] Jon Rom: Multiple languages,

[00:44:42] Jonathan Friedman: Jonathan's and E-mom

[00:44:44] Jon Rom: no, I don't want to cut this whole thing out. I don't want people to know I have a mom.

[00:44:48] Jonathan Friedman: Damn. Okay. Yeah, probably. So where, where, where, what did we do, and what is our takeaway from this journal from Dick?

It seems there's been kind of, not quite something solidified, but it seems where we're getting there.

[00:45:11] Jon Rom: Yeah.

Then, the bird has to hatch from its egg and an apprentice needs to outgrow the apprenticeship, and, those moments aren't. Uh, formal and solid. Sometimes they take time to coalesce and form.

And in my mind, uh, Dick is going through a very normal transition phase where he's becoming his professional, his person. And I think a lot of people can relate, uh, that, that moment isn't, isn't so much a moment, but a series of moments, you start to realize that you're good at stuff that your mentor isn't.

And you start to notice that there are things you want, that your mentor does not have, uh, to offer you. And you start to notice that there are, uh, opportunities for you to be your person, that you're going to have to decide if you're ready to take or not. And, Dick has obviously made a little bit of a commitment to that.

Uh, but I think that is that point. That, that moment, of indecision about what are you doing? Who are you that is the trigger for those types of decisions? Uh, you don't just make those decisions out of the blue. You feel you feel a sense of worry that you're not your person. And so you become your person.

[00:46:43] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. I think what we've got is, is interesting to me as this idea of when do you know that it's time to, you know, leave the nest, you know, go fly on your own for the first time?. And there's, I think historically, maybe like 80 years ago, um, you know, you turn 18, it's time to leave the nest. It's the time to go do your own thing and now things have changed.

And now we have an opportunity to feel as ready as we want to be to take that next step and to take that leap. And I think Dick is sharing a very good lesson for us where, you know, Taking the time to explore what that new role is and how you want to do things differently in a way. It, um, seems exciting to go in now take that step.

It's a little less fear-based and a little more, you know, with excitement with a bit more control, um, with a bit more possess.

[00:47:50] Jon Rom: Possess

[00:47:52] Jonathan Friedman: I'm full I'm full of good words today.

[00:47:54] Jon Rom: Yeah, you are. You're a, you're a, uh, a thesaurus of and good culinary tips.

[00:48:02] Jonathan Friedman: Th that this is going to be so hard with my list, this Horace Rex that,

[00:48:07] Jon Rom: 10 out of 10.

[00:48:09] Jonathan Friedman: Thanks so much, man.

[00:48:10] Jon Rom: Uh, I like, I like that there's um, there was a functional, there was a functional transition point here where. Where, um, Dick looked at his leadership role and, and identified the difference between how he feels when he's leading versus how he feels when he is the second banana. And I think that's a very, it's a very good tip for any listener who's struggling too, uh, uh, transition out of an apprenticeship is to take more leadership opportunities to see who you are when you're in charge and figure out your shortcomings and figure out your strengths and just build on that.

[00:48:53] Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. Heck yeah. I think too when having when you take the reigns as the first banana, you're more likely to throw some of your ideas and think things through because you're not there there's less fallback on somebody else. And while that can seem a bit scary. Getting to see your ideas through might have a lot of value for the organization you're in or for your personal growth.

So thanks for sharing your lessons with us, Dick that's great.

[00:49:26] Jon Rom: Thank you, Dick.

[00:49:27] Jonathan Friedman: So, so we have a listener question, um, as per huge and, uh, which is great. And if you're sitting at home listening to, uh, character coaching and you ever have a question that you want to throw to us to ask live on the air, uh, ask on the air to answer live on the air.

[00:49:47] Jon Rom: are we live right now?

[00:49:49] Jonathan Friedman: We're life.

[00:49:50] Jon Rom: Is this a feed? Is this going to someone's house right now?

[00:49:54] Jonathan Friedman: I hope so. Like the bird, like the bird,

[00:49:59] Jon Rom: I'm like the bird going unintentional and we're unintentionally flying into people.

[00:50:06] Jonathan Friedman: Unintentionally, but isn't that what the internet is? The worldwide.

[00:50:10] Jon Rom: Basically.

It's an unintentional bird fly into your home.

[00:50:14] Jonathan Friedman: So if, uh, if you're, if you're at home, you see, you see the bird you want to, you want to share a question with us to answer, uh, on the air and feel free to either, uh, attach a message to that bird and send it back to us. It's a carrier pigeon a well-known technique, or you can do the, a quicker way and message us at The Journal that Talks Back on Instagram, or give us an email at Jonathan's with at

But we do have a great question from Kelly who, uh, I'm guessing recently, uh, went for a job interview, had experienced an anxiety attack right before the job interview, and struggled to bounce back and experience the job interview. So the question is how do I handle the aftermath of an anxiety attack during an interview?

And kind of where I wanted to go and have this discussion with you, Jon, is how do we be one preventative about anxiety? And I know there's, you know like that's kind of when we're scrolling around on social media, that's kind of a lot of them, a lot of the rigmarole. That's a lot of the stuff that's going around.

You know, people talk a lot about different relaxation techniques, a lot about yoga. We're going to talk about a few other ways as well. But a lot of times I feel like there's not a lot of information on what to do at the moment. You know, a lot of us who experienced anxiety, myself included, you're going about your day, going to go on a date, you're going to go have a job interview.

You're going to be in a big meeting and then suddenly anxiety strikes. And you're like, man, what the heck do I do? Like what I know for me, when I experienced anxiety, I get weird. And I'm like trying. I run a company. I have meetings for sales and stuff like that. And if I have an anxiety attack and go into a sales meeting that that could, you know, reflect very interestingly on you know, me on the company, then that makes me even more anxious.

So, uh, Jon, I'd love to. And also what do you even do after the anxiety attacks? So, you know, you've done some prevention, but you still have an anxiety attack at the moment. We're going to talk about, you know, how to sort of take care and manage that when you do after, like where, where do you go with it? Like, are you just stuck now that, oh, I had an anxiety attack.

That's just something that happened. It's an event. And do you move on or are there some things we can build in your job?

[00:52:39] Jon Rom: Well,

[00:52:41] Jonathan Friedman: that was the greatest

intro of all time.

[00:52:46] Jon Rom: Well, so during, during an anxiety attack, I feel like the biggest challenge is, um, the fact that you're, that when you're trying to get yourself out of anxiety, it causes more anxiety. Uh, it's, it's, it's a catch-22 because you want to feel less anxious, but by trying to make yourself anxious by forcing it, you are, uh, uh, causing yourself to be more anxious and sometimes acutely.

Um, I guess, I guess the best way, the best way I can, um, I can analogize this is when you have a stomach ache and you have somewhere you need to be, that is a terrible situation to be in because the anxiety caused by that situation makes the stomach ache worst. And so the first thing that you need to do is accept the situation that you're in.

And that might sound like, a pointless endeavor because you accepted, okay. Now what, but acceptance is a calming, uh, uh, uh, it's a calming force accepting that this is happening, that it is a situation it's not ideal, but it's also not, probably not the first time you've been in it. And it's probably not the last is a good first step, to make yourself feel less anxious and, uh, not letting anxiety in the analogy, making your stomach a course. Then the second thing while you're having the anxiety is to automate the things that you do to make yourself feel less anxious, should be, uh, reflexive.

They should be the things that have worked in the past. They should be things that you are, you are training yourself every time you have an anxiety attack to do, uh, automatically so that you are not being forced to come up with these new ideas at the moment. Uh, you're not a very good idea person when you're anxious and you shouldn't have to come up with it on the fly.

And, uh, the last thing during the anxiety attack is to permit yourself to be outwardly a little bit anxious, because it is much easier to let out the nervous laughter to let out the, uh, uh, shiver to let out the anxious tick than to try to bury it and pretend like nothing is wrong.

If you allow yourself to be off, then you can kind of let some of that energy escape. And that is because the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for anxiety and appropriate, uh, fight or flight response. And if you can allow the fight or flight to take its course, then you can go back into your normal chill rhytm than that you were in before the anxiety attack.

Afterwards, though it is important to actively take a role in relaxing yourself I would say.

The sympathetic nervous system can be activated, but so can its opposing parasympathetic nervous system where you, there are, there are techniques that you can do in order to activate your rest and digest system, the relaxed, parasympathetic nervous system. It's important for you to do that in an active way.

Uh, one of the techniques is actually to force yourself to yawn, to activate the vagus nerve. If you've ever, uh, stuck a Q-tip in your ear, and it's felt like you were, uh, what you shouldn't do, don't do that. It's bad for your ears, but if you've ever done it and it feels very good, it's because of the vagus nerve in it and it slows down your heart rate, uh, carotid massages, slow down your heart rate, chills you out.

It's, it's important to take an active role in decompressing yourself because you might actually be surprised to find out that by doing so you will be more relaxed than you were before the anxiety attack by actively taking a role in calming yourself down, you are going into a sort of Zen where you might actually be a lot more chill. If you manage to go through this whole process before the thing even starts, you can, uh, you can be pretty mellow going into an interview, going into a marketing meeting, uh, The, the weird thing is that an anxiety attack though, not fun to go through might actually end up leaving you calmer after the fact, if you can, if you can purposefully and, uh, uh, with, with, with, with, with, uh, you can knowingly and using your experience, bring yourself down to where you need to go.

[00:58:01] Jonathan Friedman: I think that's awesome. I think that's really great and solid advice. And the reason I think it's solid advice is because one of the things I noticed in my personal life and also with a lot of my peers and also a lot when I'm coaching and also answering people's questions on Quora is so many people who share that they're going through an anxious experience in a specific event.

People literally just say, breathe, and do yoga. And not that those are bad things. Those are very important, powerful things that you can be doing to, you know, calm, to be active to self-regulate. Those are critical, but I love the idea of just, you know, if you, by the time you're going for a job interview and you experienced anxiety, it's likely that you already know that you're a person who experiences anxiety in that way.

Taking a moment to just say, I'm at a job interview, I'm feeling a little anxious. I've had an anxiety attack before it's going to run its course. It's going to do its thing and I'm going to do the best I can at this interview. That's that's awesome. I think I think like in a job interview would be not functional to start doing yoga unless you're applying to be a yoga instructor in which case power to you.

But, um, I, I love that idea of taking the time to accept it, but also. After the events after the job interview, in this case, taking the time to actively relax and, you know, decompress before you might go to reflecting or perseverating and like going over that event again and again, uh, taking that time to like actively relax can help you get to a better place.

And also to have a more accurate reflection on the job interview. You know, now you have, you got through the job interview, you were able to get through it. You did a great [01:00:00] job. Now we're going to relax. And then, you know, the next day you can take some time to think about, okay, before the job interview. Oh yeah.

You know, I had a really tough, uh, meeting, and that kind of set me up for failure with, uh, the job interview. So I know next time I have a job interview, I'm going to, you know, have a clear day except for that job interview. So you can give yourself that time to relax beforehand, to not use Q-tips because don't do that.

And, uh, and to have some noodle fried bananas.

[01:00:29] Jon Rom: Gave yourself permission to be anxious and have noodle fried bananas.

[01:00:35] Jonathan Friedman: That's the, that, that sound medical advice.

[01:00:40] Jon Rom: That's another t-shirt baby

[01:00:43] Jonathan Friedman: noodle, fried bananas and, uh, on another t-shirt we have, uh, we, uh, we have lots of, uh, social links. We have lots of different places that you can find us.

And they're all on one t-shirt, that's hidden underneath a rock somewhere in Toronto, Ontario. So if you're walking through the streets and you see a t-shirt and it seems there are links, this is the exact shirt we're talking about.

[01:01:09] Jon Rom: Do you have any, do you have any links off the top of your head that you remember from the t-shirt?

[01:01:14] Jonathan Friedman: Oh, well, they're our own links, Jon. They're the links where people can find and reach us and. All of that kind of gets up to submit their homeless or questions to engage, to, to catch the latest character coaching episodes. And, uh, that's the journal that talks coaching that's on Tik Tok and Johnson free.

I don't even know my own name, that Tik Tok on a at Jonathan Friedman, 1993. Find us on Instagram at Journal that Talks Back on Facebook on LinkedIn, you can email us at Jonathan's with a Z at The Journal that Talks um, and, uh, where else can they find us ,Jon?

[01:01:53] Jon Rom: Christian mingle? Probably not that one.

Maybe , Maybe.

[01:02:00] Jonathan Friedman: Don't judge.

[01:02:00] Jon Rom: Maybe, you know, you never know J date, but whatever the equivalent is for the Muslim faith. All the dating sites.

[01:02:12] Jonathan Friedman: Do you genuinely believe that people are listening to this podcast or thinking, Hey, you know, I want more of that podcast or like, all right. Yeah. Let's, let's go to the dating sites and see if we can find the Jonathans.

[01:02:22] Jon Rom: I know I'm on, we're only on there for friendship. We're looking for friends, we're looking for friends.

[01:02:28] Jonathan Friedman: So we're also on Bumble.

[01:02:30] Jon Rom: Yeah, well, yeah. Yeah. We're on Bumble. We're on Bumble. We're on a hinge. We're on, uh, we're not on Tinder though.

[01:02:38] Jonathan Friedman: No, absolutely not.

[01:02:39] Jon Rom: Nobody's looking for friendship there.

[01:02:41] Jonathan Friedman: No, we're, we're, we're over it.

So yeah, if, if, uh, we have one profile together, so if you want to use that search function, you can search up Jonathan's with a Z on, on hinge. And you're going to find, you know, the two lovely Jonathan's over here and our, our podcasts, because where else do you advertise a podcast if not on a dating app?

[01:03:01] Jon Rom: We are the most successful podcast on a dating app by far. No question

Character coaching is a production of The Journal that Talks Back a product, at Frame Of Mind Coaching. To get accessible coaching for just $200 a month, book a free intake call at Our music is The Swindler by The Original Orchestra, featuring Ian Post. Our editing is done by one of the Jonathans on the show, which one? We'll never tell.