Profit or Passion by Nog Ferengi

An oppressive parental figure. A harsh mentor. An expectation from someone above you to take a specific life path — even though you’ve already set your mind on pursuing another. Lots of us can relate to the shared experience of wanting something that conflicts with what our friends, family, parents or colleagues want for us. The question is: what do you do in a situation like this?

Today we’re going to walk you through someone who’s on this path right now. His name is Nog — a fellow on a pretty universal journey, if you will. A young man from a profit-based planet (or, should we say, city), Nog has dreams of joining an organization based on charting, exploring and defending unseen lands. Unfortunately, he’s running up against problems with his uncle, who’s convinced that the best move for Nog is to take a more active role at the family bar in the coming years. 

To get clarity around his concerns, Nog’s written a few journals to us in hopes of better navigating his situation. Let’s dig into his first journal entry now and see what we can glean (and hopefully, by the end of this coaching session, you’ll be inspired to start journaling about your challenges, too). 

Nog’s first journal entry: profit or passion 

Entry One:

“I have a really difficult decision to make. My uncle has told me that he expects me to take a more active role at his bar next year, and my dad seems to be on board with that idea… but I have other plans. I’ve decided I want to apply as a cadet to the academy and try to become an officer in Starfleet. I’m not sure if I should admit to these plans before I’ve even gotten in, but I can already guess what my uncle will say. ‘There’s no profit in it!’ and ‘You’ll never really belong there.’ He’s right, of course, but maybe there’s more to life than earning profit… I have to make a decision soon, because I’m getting to the point where I have to choose an apprenticeship, some direction to go in. I just don’t want to turn out like my dad who struggled beneath my uncle’s shadow, when he’s secretly the most talented mechanic I’ve ever met. I know I have the lobes for this if I just get my chance…” — Nog F.

First impressions: stuck between a Nog and a hard place 

So, from Nog’s journal, it’s clear that he’s caught between two really tough decisions. Should he join up with the bar (the “smart” choice) or apply for his dream job (the “passionate” choice)? This happens to so many of us — we’ve all been in a spot where we’re made to feel a certain way about our passions. You’ve probably heard questions like these from your own circle before: “What’re you going to do with an art degree?” or “Isn’t it time you quit the band and grew up?” People in our lives can sometimes make our choices seem black and white, when obviously there are many shades of gray involved in a situation like this. 

So: first, it’s important that we sort of “check our story” about Nog up front. That means we’re not going to judge Nog for anything we assume about him; rather, we’re going to strictly look at what he’s said in his journal and go from there. If we didn’t do this, we might fall into a trap where we simply tell Nog to “follow his dreams,” even if that’s not really realistic advice for his particular situation. Instead of doing that, what we need to do is really understand Nog. 

We need to know his motivation behind wanting to join this Starfleet organization. Is it for fun? A sense of adventure? Financial stability? Or something else? In essence, what is it about becoming a Starfleet officer that speaks to him over something like working for and owning a bar? In fact, let’s put that question to Nog and see what he has to say about it. 

Next: seeking inspiration, not monetization 


What is it about becoming an officer that speaks to you over something like owning a business?


It’s hard to say, but I look at the admiration that the officers who come to the bar get from their subordinates and how their worth isn’t tied to how much they earn, but the amount of success they find in their passions. Every doctor, engineer, even the heads of security and operations is treated like a celebrity because they do what they love. Besides, I’m okay at business, but it’s not what I’m passionate about…I want to feel inspired by what I do.”


Alright, amazing: we’ve identified some of Nog’s core beliefs, and that’s something we can work with! It sounds like Nog really ties the idea of a passion to his career, and he doesn’t associate passion with profit all that much. It seems as though the kind of “profit” he’s really seeking is the adoration of those who see what he does and are impressed with his ability to provide security to others. Nog wants the respect of his peers, and he wants to be in love with what he does. And those are all great and healthy desires. 

What we’re also learning is that Nog is sort of making decisions and creating beliefs when he might not have all the information he needs at his disposal. For instance: has Nog had a deep sit-down conversation with either his uncle or his dad to discern their true feelings about his decision to pursue a role as an officer? He can already “guess” at what his uncle will say, but has he spoken to him yet? Moreover, even if his uncle rejects his plans, will his dad disagree? We can’t know for sure yet whether or not his choice will actually be a chaotic decision within his family, or if he’s making it bigger than it might be. 

That’s something that’s going to matter to Nog if he joins up and becomes a Starfleet officer. He’ll need to use his communication skills, and he’ll have to have those hard conversations, even when they’re undesirable. It might be helpful to have this small confrontation now so that bigger, career-oriented confrontations aren’t so hard later on. 

So it seems like we’ve got two questions for Nog: first, is there a way to talk to your dad and uncle about your decision? And second, are these internal battles you’re fighting worth keeping inside? Let’s let Nog forge his own path again for a bit, and we’ll check in on him in a few weeks. 

nog ferengi

The check-in: surmounting confrontation  

Closing Journal:

I got in!! It wasn’t easy, and I had to have a pretty big fight with my uncle over it, but my dad came through and said he would support my application and I. got. In!!!!! I’m so excited. I realized that I was running away from being a disappointment, but once I got some support, I could see my future was to be a part of something bigger than myself. Being who I am instead of what someone else expects of me took a weight off my shoulders and now I’ll be the first in my family to have this opportunity.”


What a journal! That’s amazing for Nog. He got into Starfleet, and he’s also got the approval of his father. Even though his uncle isn’t happy about things, Nog feels more at peace because he’s able to pursue his true desires — which involve altruistically helping others — instead of turning inward and working to make himself rich or profitable. 

So, what we’ve helped Nog do is confront those “hard conversations” we all have to have, and he’s taken our advice in stride by tackling his challenges head-on. When that happened, he realized that the conversation itself, while a little rocky, wasn’t nearly as hard as he was building it up to be! That’s something a lot of us do in our own lives: we agonize over how others are going to perceive our decisions, but at the end of the day, many of us are at our happiest when we speak our truths and own our own narratives (or at least, Nog seems happier by doing this!). 

That’s pretty big growth for Nog. And hopefully, if you’ve dealt with something similar, you’ve learned a thing or two from his process as well. If you need advice on how to get the approval of someone important to you (or you’re stuck between two really hard decisions and don’t know which way to go), come and talk to us! Listen to our whole podcast episode on Nog or visit The Journal That Talks Back to get coaching just like this.

Only, we’re hoping your problems are a little more grounded… because we’re not really sure how to help you fill out a Starfleet application.  

Episode Transcript

Jon Rom: [00:00:00] 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

Jonathan Friedman: I'm Jonathan

Jon Rom: and I'm Jon and this,

this is character coaching.

Jonathan Friedman: It's Character Coaching.  That's what it is.

Jon Rom: This post is titled "profit or passion". It reads: I have a really difficult decision to make, my uncle has told me that he expects me to take a more active role at his bar next year and my dad seems to be on board with that idea.

But I have other plans. I've decided I want to apply as a cadet to the academy and try to become an officer in Starfleet. I'm not sure if I should admit to these plans before I've even gotten in, but I can already guess what my uncle will say: there's no profit in it and you'll never really belong there.

He's right, of course, but maybe there's more to life than earning profit. I have to make a decision soon because I'm getting to the point where I have to choose an apprenticeship, some direction to go in. I just don't want to turn out like my dad who struggled beneath my uncle's shadow when he's secretly the most talented mechanic I've ever met.

I know I have the lobes for this. If I just get my chance.

And that post was written to us by Nog F.

Jonathan Friedman: Wow. That's a really, really beautiful journal. I really, really love that.

Jon Rom: Yeah. So heartfelt, right?

Jonathan Friedman: And there's a lot of stuff going on here, Jon. I'd love to hear, where do you even start? Like what's going through your head reading Nug's journal?

Jon Rom: Well, I think the first thing that I thought was how relatable this is, you know, because no matter what you end up doing, no matter what direction you go in, don't we all have expectations of us, uh, by other people? And we're all, we're all made to feel a certain way about our decisions whenever we share them with other people.

And I think, uh, I think Nog here is really struggling through, uh, kind of a big decision that he seems both set on and kind of ambivalent towards, because he, he, he really trusts and values the opinion of his elders.

Jonathan Friedman: And it sounds to me like that there's this really big disconnect, or maybe even a really large disconnect between what he really wants and what his father's belief about what he should be doing is

Jon Rom: yeah.

Yes. His father and his uncle, it sounds like, uh, they both, uh, they both have their own views on things, but, uh, his, his dad has really left an impression on him. Uh, of, of what not to do, which sometimes that's how it turns out. That's how it shakes out sometimes.

Jonathan Friedman: So, we know as coaches that the first thing we gotta do is sort of check our story. And that means that we take note of all of our own beliefs, our experiences, and biases and focus directly on what was actually written in the post. And John, did you have any sort of, you know, gut reactions that if you were having a conversation with Nog that you would say, oh yeah, this is where I want to start?

Jon Rom: Yeah. You know, it, it makes you want to say like follow your dreams, man. Like, forget money, dude. Like, get out of there, get out of that mindset. Like who cares? Like, you know, you can earn a million dollars then if you're unhappy, what does it matter? But, you know, that isn't necessarily always practical advice, especially when, uh, if you're the one who has to support yourself through the education and the training.

Uh, I don't really know what Starfleet is. I, I, it sounded like that company that makes, uh, that makes pots and pans and utensils. Yeah, it does sound, it really sounds important. And clearly, uh, you know, clearly, uh, if they've got officers there, it's a big deal. Uh, but it trying to train to do anything is, is a big undertaking.

And just telling someone to follow their dreams isn't necessarily uh, the best advice, if you don't have context for why, why do they want to do this? And how long have they wanted to do this and what are their motivations?

Jonathan Friedman: So let me ask you a question, Jon. So, if this is a company that deals mostly with pots and pans, do you think the officers are, are really critical to this, to the Starfleet, uh, journey?

Jon Rom: Well, have you ever, Johnny, have you ever used a really crappy pan?

Jonathan Friedman: I must say that I use one all the time.

Jon Rom: Yeah. And, and, you know, everything gets stuck to the, to the bottom of the pan and you can't, you can't get your eggs off. And you're thinking who designed this? Who, how, what sort of person gets hired to design this lackluster product? Well, I, I feel like, I feel like this is the kind of training you go through to avoid making those kinds of shoddy products. You become an officer of a non-stick ware, for example.

Jonathan Friedman: So Jon and Naga, I want to come right here on the air and apologized. Uh, I, I, I totally made it an assumption there and, I'm really, really, sorry about that.

Jon Rom: Well, I think we all make assumptions. And I think the assumption I struggle with here is that who is, who is this uncle and this dad to tell this person what to do? It's my own bias, I guess.

Jonathan Friedman: And so in this story of Nog, CPP officers, I chief pots and pans officer side.

Jon Rom: Yeah.

Jonathan Friedman: We have hidden Nog's father and his uncle who is sort of coming in with this assumption of what Nog should be.

Jon Rom: It's true, it's true. Like, uh, I dunno, Jonathan, you told me what was your, what was your initial reaction to hearing uh, that Nog is kind of getting pushed in one direction when he seems to want to go another direction?

Jonathan Friedman: Honestly, it's not so dissimilar from you. For me right away I, you know, I feel like I've had this own journey myself where, uh, family members might want me to do one thing and I really want to go in other way and there's this clash that's created. So, for me, I almost see a bit of myself and Nog, and I know, and you've probably just about to tell me that that's, that's a really dangerous place to be.

You got to really take all of those thoughts, even your own experiences, and put them aside as we sort of prepare for asking Nog the real questions. I really jumped into coaching.

Jon Rom: Yeah. Like, like you want to, you want to understand where the person is coming from, but if you, if you have experiences that you yourself have, have gone through and you start to kind of start thinking about your own experiences over the person in front of you, then you might get caught in the trap of, uh, over empathizing and really, really identifying with the person, but not necessarily, uh, understanding them.

Jonathan Friedman: Absolutely. I, John, we're totally on the same page. And what I think we need to do is we need to jump into that next step and get the story from Nog, from Nog's journal, and getting the story means that we've acknowledged our own beliefs, our own experience, our own biases. And now we can take the time to ask all of the questions and ask for all of the juicy details from the journal post.

Jon Rom: I completely agree. And I think the biggest question that jumped out at me is what is it about becoming an officer that speaks to him over something like owning a business? Cause they, they have, uh, it's very different paths, but I don't really understand yet what is it about those, those two paths that are meaningful to him and how he views them?

Jonathan Friedman: I think that's a really, really beautiful question because just in this journal alone, we don't really know what each of those different paths mean to him or even to his father or uncle or how he perceives that. And what you're saying is we really want to dive right in there.

Jon Rom: Sometimes, sometimes these posts feel like the first page to a really good book where you just want the characters and the ideas and the, and the, uh, paths before our, our hero to be clarified and laid out.

So we understand what the stakes are.

Jonathan Friedman: Exactly. And in this case, it sounds like there are lots of pots and pans to be not sticky.

Jon Rom: Exactly!

You know, maybe, maybe it's all about getting that cookware just right so that the bar could run better. Like maybe that's the turnaround, maybe you're going to make the bar a better place, uh, through sort of a more roundabout kind of way. Instead of running it directly, you let the bar have like better, uh, nachos, because all of the nacho ware is non-stick and you can, the customers can get all the cheese off.

Jonathan Friedman: It doesn't get warped. See what I did there?

Jon Rom: It doesn't get, uh, I don't, cause I don't, I don't know what Starfleet is, but, uh, there's, uh, there's definitely, you know, you really want, you really want Nog to be able to go, uh, beyond where any bar owner has gone before and, uh, just seek out new textiles and materials.

And I think I lost the plot on this, uh, on this reference, Jonathan.

Jonathan Friedman: And it happens to the best of us, man.

Jon Rom: It got away from me.

Jonathan Friedman: We have the rule of three questions so what we really want to do is when we're getting the story, we don't want to ask just one question, there's no one perfect question.

We want to ask a whole ton of questions. So, I love your question, John, but for me, something that I'm thinking about is, you know, what, what the heck is the process to becoming an officer on Starfleet? What is the training process like? What is really interesting to know about that training process? Is there, you know, a Starfleet officer that Nog really looks up to who might have been a mentor to him? is there, um, you know, a story from his childhood that he found really interesting that from that day forward, he's vowed to become a Starfleet officer?

I really want to understand the story. And as we've so carefully noded, we have no idea what a Starfleet officer even does. We really want to understand Nog's motivation to that, and also to understand, um, his relationship with that experience.

Jon Rom: So, how do you, how would you want to phrase that question? How would you want to put it succinctly uh, to Nog?

Jonathan Friedman: So, my question to Nog would be, what about being a Starfleet officer is really exciting to you? Um, have you ever met a Starfleet officer before? Something like that. Something to really, you know, open up the proverbial pit and get the conversation about what that position means

to Nog going.

Jon Rom: Yeah. Maybe, maybe it's a little bit more literal than the question I was asking where it's just like, what is that at?

What are the practical duties? What do you have to accomplish? And you know, that, what, what, what does it look like to achieve what he's trying to go after here?

Jonathan Friedman: Absolutely!

And it's getting like all of, all of the details, that's really what's important here because we can find some, some as you call them spicy nugz.

Jon Rom: The spiciest most delicious, like the good pieces, you know, the one that is shaped, like a kind of like a boot

Jonathan Friedman: yeah. The ones that were, um, collaborated on with BTS.

Jon Rom: Exactly, exactly.

Jonathan Friedman: Exactly! And specifically them.

Jon Rom: And building on that. I think, I think there's a, a big question here that we got at the end, which is uh, he doesn't want to turn out like his dad who's kind of sounds like, sounds like was, was, uh, playing second fiddle to his brother or, uh, or his, or maybe his wife's brother, we don't know. Uh, and is secretly the most talented mechanic I've ever met? Maybe, maybe if you rewind the clock here, there's a story about how his dad ended up in that, in that situation.

And maybe there's, it's worth asking, like, how do you feel your dad ended up, uh, uh, struggling, struggling underneath your uncle shadow? What was the, what was the series of events? What led to, um, that, because that's probably what Nog is going to be looking at when he says I don't want to become like this.

Jonathan Friedman: I think that's really a fantastic question. And I'm going to throw in, I know we said three questions, but I have one more bonus question.

Jon Rom: Uh, the secret fourth question.

Jonathan Friedman: You know, I'm sitting here reading this journal with you and I'm reading the journal, but then I looked up at the title profit or passion and something that I really want to know, because I think there's a lot, that's a loaded title.

And I think, you know, Why is it profit or passion more? I want to learn more about that. And what is it about his passion that can't be profitable? What is it about being, as it seems in this case, what is it about being a Starfleet officer that, you know, can't earn Nog the life that he really wants and appreciates and, uh, can live it?

Jon Rom: Yeah. I, I, you know, it's, it's funny because it reminds me of that conversation that is so stereotypical where the, where the parent is saying like, oh, you want to be an artist? There's no money in that, it's like, well, that's, that's very binary. Like, it's very much you're either making money or you're not, when in reality, it's, it's a shade, it's shades of gray.

Like maybe you won't be earning enough to own your own yacht, but, uh, who knows, maybe you will, maybe you'll make just enough to get by, and that's all you really care about it. It really, it really depends on who you are.

Jonathan Friedman: Yeah.

If owning a yacht or whatever Nug's yacht might be in this case or his, uh, dad or uncles yacht might be in this case, is that yacht really important to Nug?

And we don't know, but it might not be.

Jon Rom: Exactly like maybe, maybe it's about owning yourself. That got kinda metaphysical there for a second, but it's like owning who you are and not feeling like someone is telling you what to do all the time. Maybe that's his, that's his yacht, you know, aim for the yachts.

And if you fail, you'll fall amongst the fishes, that's the saying, right?

Jonathan Friedman: It must be. And I really like your reference to my favorite Marvin Gaye song. Let's get metaphysical.

Jon Rom: Let's get metaphysical. I, yeah, I love that song.

Jonathan Friedman: So, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna jump right in. We have some really good questions as Nog, but I think, you know, your first question was really, really pointed.

What is it about becoming an officer that speaks to you over something like owning a business? And I'd love to hear Nog's response to that.

Jon Rom: All right. So, uh, I'll, I'll send it his way and then we can come back and, uh, see what he has to say when he gets back to me.

All right. So, it sounds like, uh, uh, Nog was a pretty eager beaver. And I guess that kinda lines itself up to being, wanting to be a cadet because he responded within, within an hour.

He said: it's hard to see but I look at the admiration that the officers who come to the bar get from their subordinates and how their worth isn't tied to how much they earn. But the amount of success they find in their passions, every doctor, engineer, even the head of security and operations is treated like a celebrity because they do what they love. Besides, I'm okay with business, but it's not what I'm passionate about. I want to feel inspired by what I do.

Jonathan Friedman: Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Jon Rom: Yeah. I know.

Jonathan Friedman: The next step of coaching is identifying beliefs. And part of the reason we ask a lot of those initial questions, in the beginning, is while we might have guessed as to what the beliefs are, we can't always be sure. And when you ask this question, what is it about becoming an officer that speaks to you over something like owning a business?

I think it really uncovers a lot of things. I'd love to hear what you thought of Nog's follow up.

Jon Rom: So, it sounded like Nog really ties the idea of a passion, away from something like profit, where, where, you know, if you're doing what you love, how much you make is kind of immaterial. And, and I'd be, I'd be interested to know, even if he's ever had a conversation with the officers that come in with the bar to the bar, like how much do they make?

Because it sounds to me like he has seen these people and seen the adulation that they get and decided like, that's what he wants to earn from, from this whole experience. He wants to earn. Uh, the respect of his peers, he wants to, uh, be in love with what he does and, and have that kind of be exuding from him.

And it's an interesting idea to kind of tie that away from making money and kind of making a living.

Jonathan Friedman: Absolutely.

And I'm, um, I'm wondering too, as I'm listening to this and remembering sort of that first journal, it sounds like there's quite a bit of pain in there that. You know, what happens if you choose this to be a Starfleet officer?

Is there an expectation that Nog will have like maybe becoming disconnected with his father and his uncle and cutting ties with the family? Is that a part of what's going to happen here?

Jon Rom: Yeah. You know, it's, it's true. He, he, uh, he seems to really understand the consequences of this, of this fully, but he doesn't really have a great grasp on what it is he's trying to accomplish.

Um, I, I, I get the impression that his, his, uh, uncle and his dad have left him certain that if you were to follow this, uh, this dream, this pursuit, he would be alienated, not just by them, but by the people, the people in his, uh, who are attending the academy with him. And yet he's got these people who he admires coming into the bar and it's almost sounding like, he feels like he's. Uh, got more in common with them than he does with his dad or his uncle.

Jonathan Friedman: So, when we're really starting to uncover and identify beliefs and identifying beliefs again, it means that we're asking a question to see what we think if what we think our client's beliefs are, are aligned with what they actually are.

What, what are some of the things that are coming to mind that we want to ask Nog to see, um, around his beliefs?

Jon Rom: Well, you know, it's, it's the old adage. You want to check yourself before you wreck yourself, and I wonder, I wonder if he's even had a conversation, a serious conversation with his dad about, about all this.

Like, it seems like his uncle has given his opinion and made that and made that fairly clear, but his dad, the one who's, who's kind of giving him an example of what not to do. Has he spoken to him? Has he given him any inkling that this is, this is kind of the path he wants to go down? Maybe his dad will be supportive is there's no real way to tell because he hasn't pursued it yet from what we can hear, what we can see in the story.

Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. There's that assumption that we might have about Nog that there's like this fear of talking to his father or his uncle that in fact, going to Starfleet will totally cut ties. Maybe it's not desirable, but maybe it's not as destructive as Nog might think it might be.

Jon Rom: Yeah. Yeah. And I think, I think it's, uh, it's good to point out that assumption there, whereas his uncle might not be uh, a supportive influence that doesn't necessarily mean his dad won't be, and who knows, maybe, maybe talking to his dad, especially about his fears, about becoming, um, a businessman in lieu of his passion might be the thing that he needs to understand his motivations a bit better.

Jonathan Friedman: Really, it always comes back to asking questions at every single turn to really understand for ourselves as coaches to understand the full story, because in any conversation or in any journal, there's always some pieces that are thrown in that we can sort of grasp onto, and when we ask questions that uncovers a lot more of those spicy nugs.

Jon Rom: This, those delicious, spicey, well dusted, uh, with dipping sauce on the side nugs. So...

Jonathan Friedman: Just one second, Jon, just one second.

Yeah. Oh yeah.

Sorry. I just need, uh, we need, we need, uh, we need to talk about something that I think is really important, but what is your favorite dipping sauce?

Jon Rom: Oh, sorry that...

Jonathan Friedman: Dropped the ball.

Jon Rom: Can I, can I say something controversial?

Jonathan Friedman: I mean, I would expect nothing less.

Jon Rom: I like, I like dipping my nugs and ranch.

Jonathan Friedman: What

Jon Rom: I'm a ranch, I'm a ranch boy. Ranch, the ranch has its place in the world. I feel like ranch gets a bad, a, a bad rap. Uh, and it is delicious on a wrap, but I think on a nug it's got that, it's got that, um, that complimentary flavor, we're talking salty, we're talking umami, other, other adjectives that are used to describe flavor.

Jonathan Friedman: I guess uh that would help too with the whole not sticking to the pan. If you have some sauce, it makes it all happen.

Jon Rom: Yeah. Same question to you. What's your favorite, uh, nugs sauce?

Jonathan Friedman: So, I didn't know about this for a long time, but I recently discovered that there's a Buffalo sauce, and having the spicy nug and the Buffalo sauce has been really, really great.

I, I, well, I like ranch in some situations. I'm not a ranch boy per se. Um, I'm a ranchman, but...

Jon Rom: you're a ranchman?

Jonathan Friedman: Ranch man. Jonathan ‘Ranchman’.

Jon Rom: ‘Ranchman’...

Jonathan Friedman: I feel like we, I feel like we went to school with somebody with that name.

Jon Rom: Uh, statistically very likely. We had a, we had an embarrassment of Jonathan's at school

Jonathan Friedman: and that's why you're Jon and I'm Johnny, right?

Jon Rom: Yeah, I think there has to be a differentiator or else you're just going around a, you would, you could throw a rock and accidentally hit a Jonathan, which is ill-advised, but it's true.

Jonathan Friedman: And stop throwing rocks at Jonathan's, please. It's a, It's too much.

May he? Yeah, may he may, made the

Jon Rom: Jonathan without, sin throw the first rock into a crowd of Jonathan's.

Jonathan Friedman: Wow. That's, that's really impactful. Thanks for sharing that, Jon.

Jon Rom: You are so welcome.

Jonathan Friedman: Back to the point. Buffalo sauce is the best sauce.

Yeah, it's

Jon Rom: Listen, hey, I'm, I'm willing to step out of my comfort zone. And I think, uh, I think that's, that's might be the piece that I, that I end up sending to nog, like get out of your comfort zone, get into the point where you, you have these courageous conversations with other people in your life and ask them, ask the people in the bar like, what are they, what are they earning? What is, what is the, uh, ability to make profit in this job and, and, uh, ask your dad, like, what does he think about this alternate career path? Like get the information, get the story from other people, check your own story and get the story from other people.

No more assumptions. Just true. Uh, just ranch, just Buffalo sauce.

Jonathan Friedman: I love it. And I think one of the pieces beyond the sauce, that's what we should call this episode.

Jon Rom: Beyond the sauce.

Jonathan Friedman: Nog beyond the sauce.

Nog beyond the sauce I love it.

Um, I think one of the really important pieces here is that, as coaches, we, with our knowledge and with our understanding of how coaching works by way of the steps, like taking the time to check your story, taking the time to get the story.

That's something where we can jump a bit, not too much, but a bit into teaching and we can share that checking your own story and getting the story can really help to understand how other people and Nog's case, you know, at the bar with all the other officers and maybe with his own family, how they really are perceiving his own actions, because it seems like Nog is making a lot of his own assumptions.

I think

Jon Rom: you're absolutely right. John, John, I think you're..

Jonathan Friedman: Absolutely right.

Jon Rom: Yeah. I know. I got confused. There are too many Jonathan's on this podcast.

Where's Ranchman?

Where's the Ranch. Yeah. Mrs. Ranchman, I think you have, I think you have a good, a good insight into, into how we should be approaching this because there's so much, we just don't know about how other people view this decision.

But I think that the underlying crux is Nog doesn't understand this decision fully yet because he doesn't have all the information. He's not playing with all the cards, and I think, I think that's the next step is to get some information gathering going.

Yeah, it's

Jonathan Friedman: really challenged those beliefs, meaning that we're taking time to find the crux of how in this case, Nog views his problem and brings light the conveniences, the assumptions, the pitfalls in those beliefs, we do this by asking more questions.

And what we're starting to uncover with Nog is that, um, he's making a lot of his own assumptions and that's creating a lot of his own pitfalls. That's creating a lot of internal conflicts. Probably my guests for being a chief pots and pans officer or a Starfleet officer, there's probably a lot of value in being able to take the time to ask questions to quash those internal battles because it sounds like he's probably going to be working as a team with a lot of different kinds of people.

Jon Rom: Yeah. It sounds like it's a, it's a collaborative effort for sure, and, whatever he ends up doing, he's going to want to get in the habit of being open and communicative with the people around him.

So, I think, I think this is going to be a very multifaceted, uh, uh, little while of coaching, where, where we talk about what it is to understand, uh, what you want by, by being clear with other people about what they want from you..


Jonathan Friedman: So with that, I think let's take a couple of months. Let's do the two months later thing and let's see how Nog's doing after some coaching.

Jon Rom: Oh, so it's been.

Jonathan Friedman: We're back.

Jon Rom: We're back. We're back.


Jonathan Friedman: Too much. Just flew by.

Jon Rom: Yeah, I know. So, it's been two months and I've been, uh, I've been talking to Nog and Nog really clear to me, uh, uh, for me a lot of things concerning his family and how he views it. But I, I got, I want to read you this post that I got the other day from him.

Jonathan Friedman: Please do.

Jon Rom: It starts:

"I got in. It wasn't easy, and I had to have a pretty big fight with my uncle over it, but my dad came through and said he would support my application, and I got in. I'm so excited. I realized that I was running away from being a disappointment, but once I got some support, I could see my future was to be a part of something bigger than myself. Being who I am instead of what someone else expects of me, took a weight off my shoulders and now will be the first in my family to have this opportunity."

And, the interesting thing that I learned over the last few months is that the biggest part about what Nog wanted to do, uh, had a lot to do with altruism and, and he kind of viewed it as a, as a stark contrast to running a business where it's, it's kind of about being successful and building on your own successes and very, very kind of looking inwards.

And what Nog was really appreciating was the fact that these officers were outward-looking. They were looking at the world around them and being, uh, being a, an active, productive member of their community while also leaning into their passions and, and it was, it was, it was a, it was an interesting road to get them there, to get them to the point where he understood his motivation for wanting to become an officer.

Jonathan Friedman: And it sounds like by taking the time before months ago when we were asking those questions, we really sort of uncovered, you know, that pain and during those months of coaching. You were really able to dive into the pain and understand or help Nog to understand, um, the importance of, you know, having those tough conversations because in some cases, You know, they're not tough at all.

That was an internal dialogue he had going on with himself because in this case, while he did have a big fight with his uncle, which, you know, seemed to be expected, his dad actually supported his, uh, his decision. And in the end, he was able to, uh, have that opportunity and to be the first person to have his opportunity with his father's support.

Instead of without it.

Jon Rom: Yeah, absolutely. And it kind of, it kind of stemmed from a, from a coaching principle where I asked him if other people are responsible for how he feels or is, is he, is he letting people kind of control how he feels without having conversations with them about anything, not communicating with them, just making assumptions and then letting that control how he views, you know, different options in his life and different opportunities.

And, and when we got to the root of, of those assumptions, uh, we realized that he'd been having this internal monologue the whole time. He wasn't even, it wasn't even the fact that his uncle, uh, uh, would be disapproving or that his dad had already disapproved that hadn't, that hadn't happened yet. For the most part, his, his uncle was wary and his, uh, his dad hadn't given an opinion either way, but he had already made those assumptions and those assumptions were coloring how he viewed each option in front of him.

Jonathan Friedman: I think what's really interesting is that without this experience, you know, Nog seemed super driven. He probably would have gone to Starfleet, but this idea that you know, other people as life sort of, you know, taking over, creating that internal dialogue and having those internal conflicts, you know, throwing, um, what you think might happen as it's reality.

You know, having that idea that your dad just doesn't approve. That'll impact his life over and over and over again, and by building that chance, that strength, that muscle to have those conversations, ask the questions to ask the big and tough questions and to really get the story, um, you know, that brings Nog to a place of greater peace and of greater exhilaration, right?

It allows him to get to that place where he's able to make strong decisions to have strong conversations, which is probably my guests a necessary skill of a CPP officers.

Jon Rom: Well, I remember I remember a breakthrough point, uh, in our coaching where I was saying like, you know, you agree with your, with something, your uncle said that you'll never really belong there.

And, and I assume that at the very least, it means that your transition into going to the academy, like not everyone there is going to treat you. Uh, uh, like you'd want to be treated like an equal or like you belong there. And if you're this, uh, if you're this dedicated to listening to the opinions of others that you imagine in your head, how, how, how.

How much are you going to be controlled by the things people actually say to you? And, and I think that the first step towards being your own person and making your own decisions is being willing to get that criticism from other people, uh, explicitly and not to make assumptions and not to, uh, not to decide how they feel.

Just, just ask them outright, like, like what they think and then make your own decisions accordingly. And, and once he, once I said that to him, he had a, you kind of had an epiphany where he, he realized he doesn't actually know how his dad feels about all this.

Jonathan Friedman: There's this like idea of Schrodinger's nug, right?

Where if you have a bag, a brown paper bag with yellow arches on it, and you ordered chicken nuggets, but you know, you asked for a mystery sauce, you don't know what that sauce is going to be. You can make an assumption about what that sauce is going to be. Uh, but until you open the bag, you don't actually know what the sauce is.

And it sounds like...

Jon Rom: True.

Jonathan Friedman: Wow. That's never been a greater analogy in the history of this podcast.

Jon Rom: Truly, truly never.

Jonathan Friedman: Um, but it sounds like through, you know, your back and forth through your journaling, Nog's able to, you know, instead of making an assumption about what the sauce is, whether he's going to like it or not.

Now, I was able to just say, Hey, you know what. Is this guessing game really worth it? Is it worth having an internal dialogue and an internal conflict over whether it's ranch or Buffalo or spicy sesh one? It's up to him to open that bag and see for himself what's going on. And then from there, he can make a decision if he's going to go back to, you know, that, uh, no name drive-through and return the sauce, or if he's gonna, you know, go for the dip.

Jon Rom: Exactly.

Like don't, don't throw the nugs away just because you've assumed you won't like the sauce. I think that's a life lesson that we can all carry with us.

Jonathan Friedman: We need like a ding, ding, ding sound to like announce the new principle.

Don't throw away the sauce.

Jon Rom: Don't throw away the nugs. Don't throw away the nugs without knowing the sauce.

Jonathan Friedman: I, for all the viewers out there. I just want you to know that I shed four tears in the Dear John, Dear John's Channing Tatum style way possible. That's it's beautiful. It's beautiful. ?

Jon Rom: Is every time we talk to each other, a technically a Dear John a letter, but, but in podcast form?

Jonathan Friedman: I think that's basically what we're doing.

And it works both ways, right? Like Dear Jon, Dear John

Deere, John's.

Jon Rom: Exactly.

Dear John's with a, with a, with a Zed obviously, or a Z for our American listeners,

Jonathan Friedman: Z Zed.

Jon Rom: Z Zed.

Jonathan Friedman: Gen Z.

Jon Rom: Gen Zed. John zed. Okay. I think we're losing the plot a little bit here, but yeah. So, so I'm really happy. I'm really happy for Nog.

I think I think I'm going to be hearing a lot more from him when he goes to, uh, the academy proper, but he's, he's made a lot of strides and I'm excited for him.

Jonathan Friedman: It sounds exactly that way. And I think that's really, really amazing. It's really a beautiful story.

Jon Rom: Hey, Jonathan, do we have any listener questions?

Jonathan Friedman: Actually, Jon, we do have a listener question. Are you ready?

Jon Rom: Um, my body, my soul, and my spirit are ready. Those not, not all of those things where basically they were all the same.

I'm ready.

Jonathan Friedman: How close to the edge of your seat are you? Is it in centimeters or millimeters?

Jon Rom: You know what's annoying? I spent a lot of money on this chair, I'm basically only using the edge of it.

Jonathan Friedman: You're not really getting your money's worth.

Jon Rom: No, I'm only I'm at the edge of my seat constantly.

Jonathan Friedman: I'm sorry for keeping you there, John.

We have this question from Lynn. How do I say no to the people I love who are depending on me?, especially when I know they'll call me out on my note, Jon, what do you think of that question?

Jon Rom: So, uh, it's, it's like looking at the top of an anthill and knowing that there's just a bunch of scurrying, little black ants all the way underneath, cause it's such a it's such a hefty question, you know, there's so much there. I, I'm curious, I'm curious.

What.. Jonathan, do you ever run into this problem yourself?

Jonathan Friedman: Well,

First, I was wondering when you're talking about that Anthill are you talking to you about the 2005 movie Ants?

Jon Rom: Um, also you ever noticed that the ants in those, in that movie, aren't like, uh, they're covered they're colored, like brownish, Sandy brown.

Jonathan Friedman: Yeah, I did notice that actually.

Jon Rom: That is a way more inoffensive color than like red or, or, or black or something that looks like it will bite you. I feel like brown ants look innocuous, they look like part of, part of the sand and you could just toss them away and nothing's going to happen. I feel like that was a deliberate marketing decision so that people would accept that this movie is about ants with human faces.

Jonathan Friedman: You had, this is not about dealing in poison ants. It's a different kind of thing.

Jon Rom: I would watch a movie about poison ants if the music was written by Lin Manuel Miranda.

Jonathan Friedman: What was his famous play again? I forget.

Um, I think it was the stage version of Moana.

Featuring Dwayne, the Rock Johnson.

Jon Rom: Featuring Dwayne and the rock Johnson as Moana.

Jonathan Friedman: Correct fact. And The Undertaker is that bird.

And that

Jon Rom: Was a bird in that movie, wasn't it? Anyway, We got sidetracked. All right. So, fine. The question still stands. Do you ever run into this issue, Johnny?

Jonathan Friedman: Yeah, I find that me specifically and I feel like a lot of my friends would agree with this. You specifically know that I always put myself in a position where there are a lot of people who depend on me. I'm always the person who's saying yes, I'm definitely a yes, man. And while it's really good to be that person, one of the struggles that I even personally walk into over and over again is when I get burnt out, when it's my turn to say no.

A lot of the people around me are like, what do you mean though? Jonathan? I'm depending on you to get this done, you always help to get things done, You're that guy. And what happens to me is that I get into this pattern of, um, burnout and I also start to feel a little bad about myself, or I start to take it out on myself in a, in a, in a rough way.

And I think it's a bit of, um, it's a weird, um, pattern. So, Jon, what are the things that, you know, I can start to focus on that sort of can help me to get out of that pattern?

Jon Rom: I, well, the main, the main thing I would suggest is recognizing the meaning behind your no's. Why are you saying no? Is it because you're trying to get out of something uncomfortable?

Well, that doesn't, that doesn't usually sound like you, but maybe it is. And that's valid. Is it because you don't know how to do what they're asking you to do? Also, perfectly valid. Or are you just saying no, because you don't have enough, you know, gas in the tank because I feel like a qualified no, and know where you can explain why you're saying no is a lot more meaningful than just a straight out refusal? And it's just as important to be able to explain to yourself as well as to others, what are you purposefully trying to do for yourself.

Jonathan Friedman: So, it's really about understanding what no means to you. So, it's not about just if somebody says: Hey man, do you want to go to Boston Pizza for Perogi pizza?

And you know, you have not a lot of juice, gas left in the tank, as you said, saying, no just by, you know, refusal like no, I'm not going to go for pierogi pizza. Like for anybody on the other end of that conversation, I think that's difficult to understand. I mean, we all love pierogi pizza, right? But I think if you said, if you saved if you said no, you know, I'm feeling a little burnt out. I'm feeling a little tired. I've been working a lot of hours this week and you know what? Tonight I really need to take a, you know, a few hours for myself to watch Emily in Paris on Netflix.

I think a lot of people would be, uh, we'd even offer to watch that show with you if they wanted or to just listen and say, you know, That's totally valid, that's a great call. And it sounds like you're taking the time to take care of yourself.

Jon Rom: Yeah, I would say, I would say a meaningful, no is always better than a meaningless yes. Because if you just say yes to everything and you can't or wont and what was the point? You've, you've committed yourself to something you, you weren't going to do and you've got someone's hopes up.

And I think, I think the cost of that is something that someone who, uh, hesitates to say, no, uh, isn't thinking about at the moment, but that is something that I consider because I am a constant No sayer.

Jonathan Friedman: Are you?

Jon Rom: Oh, I love saying no, I always qualify it, but I love saying no, uh, unless, unless I don't qualify it, if it's a coworker who's asking me to like, Go do something that there's no chance I'm going to do because my life, my life isn't like that I'm too busy, but the no's to the important people in my life that I'm close to are always very qualified but I love saying no, uh, when I can't, uh, when I can't see myself doing something and that's what makes my yes' so, uh, so meaningful to people when I say yes, they know I'm all in. All the chips are in the middle of the table and we are apparently playing, playing poker. I don't play poker, so, it's not a good analogy.

Jonathan Friedman: And that's what they use as the basis for the 2008 head film with Jim Carrey: Yes man. You were really what they wrote that script about.

Jon Rom: Yeah, but he says yes to everything in that movie and it all works out, but it really wouldn't all work out in real life. What would happen is you'd get burnt out, and then it would be a movie about a person learning about moderation, which is what real life is all about.

Jonathan Friedman: I love it. I love it. Well, thanks so much, Lynn, for submitting that question, that was a really fun one to work through. And if you want to hear your thoughts, viewpoints on the show, please feel free to email us at Jonathan's with a Z or Zed or a zaboomafoo at (

Jon Rom: well, yeah, I was going to say, you can follow us on all the social medias, uh, on our Insta, Facebook, uh, AOL messenger.

Um, I think we're on form spring.

Jonathan Friedman: We are, we are

Jon Rom: LinkedIn. Oh no, LinkedIn, LinkedIn. We really are on. Okay, LinkedIn is real, but we, you could get us on.. Help me out here.

Jonathan Friedman: Let's try this again. You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Reddit. And if you really want to give it a try send us a message on AOL messenger.

Jon Rom: We may queue.

Jonathan Friedman: We may be here. We may not be here. You got to test. You got to try it.

Jon Rom: Yeah, try it. It just starts writing. Start writing our, our, uh, handle everywhere you go, and maybe you'll get a discount code who knows?

Jonathan Friedman: Character coaching is a production of The Journal that Talks back a product, at Frame of Mind Coaching.

Jon Rom: 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 Jonathan's on the show, which one? Will never tell.