Want to learn the right power code that leads to a brand new kind of life? A life that has no limits, no boundaries, and no hindrances from fear and anxiety? In this episode, Juliet Clark is joined by coach and imposter syndrome expert, Jen Coken. Together, they go into an in-depth discussion about how individuals usually get into the negative cycle of life. They also talk about harnessing your inner power to get more control over your mindsets, actions, and attitude. Tune in to discover how to activate your own power code, grow your mindset, and live a better life!
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Your Power Code
I’m super excited. We have Jen Coken back. For those of you who don’t know Jen, you should know Jen. Before we get started, and I introduce her, I want to make sure you go over to BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com and grab your free copy of our monthly magazine. There are lots of tips, tricks, and fun articles about our authors over there. I encourage you to go over it. We have added 2023 some extraordinary new contributors. Tracy Hazzard will be starting in February 2023. She’s the Owner of Podetize.
She can give unbelievable advice on how to get booked and pretty much everything about podcasts. She and her husband, Tom, are the owners of the largest post-production podcast company in the world. They know a lot about this. I’m also adding Jacquie Jordan of TVGuestpert. For those of you out there who have aspirations to be on TV talking about your book, Jacquie has some new courses. We are excited. These courses are downloadable. Being in the media is harder than you think, especially on TV, because the segments aren’t that long. You need to be polished and be the expert that they choose to come on.
Lastly, there’s Nina Froriep and Robin Stift. I’m excited about these guys because they are video experts. They participated in our 10-Day Author Platform Build. Even though they are video experts, we highlighted them as email experts because they write the best emails. It’s no wonder that their audience stays so engaged. Please go over it. You don’t know this but we run launches if you are a magazine subscriber and we know what books you like, occasionally, we will send you a free book. Who doesn’t like that?
We are getting into it, Jen Coken. Recognized by ABC, MSNBC, and TEDx, Jen Coken is a comedian, coach, speaker, and Imposter syndrome expert. She believes coaching is a full-contact sport. I would agree with that. She is also the no-BS guide for rebellious and purpose-driven CEOs and their teams who are ready to get out of their way and achieve what they are destined for with clarity, focus, and confidence. Fortune 500 CEOs to seven-figure founders trust Jen to shake things up with no apologies, no limits, and all the laughs. Stay tuned for Jen.
Welcome, Jen. How are you?
I’m glad to be here. I’m doing great. I’m in Annapolis, Maryland. It has been gray and fall. Now, the sun is out. I’m excited.
It is out here too. There’s no snow. Being from California, I’ve never made friends with snow here.
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. I am very good friends with snow, except, in Cleveland, it always went right to ice because of the lake. There was always this lake effect. It was always this cold that would get into your bones thing.
I spend most of my winter upstairs because the whole side of my downstairs is glass. It feels like it’s always cold down there. I’m excited to have you here. Before we get started on the POWER Code, talk about your book, When I Die Take My Panties. It’s being made into a movie. All I’m imagining is thongs running across the screen.
I had always had the vision to have the book made into a movie because when I wrote the book, it was an opportunity for me to process my grief for my mom passing away from ovarian cancer after being misdiagnosed for a year. I know of at least three women who read the book and were diagnosed with stage 1, which is unheard of for ovarian cancer. Every time, I kiss my hand, look at the sky, and say, “Thanks, mama. We got another one.” I’ve always had this desire to have it in a movie format, so I had a bigger platform but I also honestly didn’t want it to be some sad, tear-jerker misery memoir set on the big screen. I found an amazing screenwriter who has the same snarky sense of humor that I do.
This memoir about my mom dying and our relationship is now a romantic comedy set in a retirement community in Florida that has nude speed walking and nude drum circles because one of the backstories is, “Age authentically.” People say age gracefully. I never liked that. My mom never liked that. Be yourself. My mom was tap dancing and teaching tap until the week before she passed away. That’s part of the backstory. The whole thing is set against the backdrop of Alice in Wonderland.
Do we need to drop acid to see this movie?
It’s going to be like Little Miss Sunshine if you ever saw that movie. It’s quirky but it’s very poignant because it’s about the relationship of the little girl to herself and accepting herself for who she is and being happy. It’s more of that genre but then there’s also this beautiful love story that’s meant to show that Jen recognizes, me being the main character now, which is so weird, that happiness is out not outside of her and that she doesn’t have to go looking elsewhere to be happy.
In truth, when I was going through my mom’s things after she died, I always thought that somehow she hadn’t lived up to her “potential” because she was an actor as I was growing up. She was also an educator. She worked for NASA but when she married my stepdad, she stopped performing and doing those things that I knew she loved. I always thought she had somehow given something up.
When she and I talked about it at the end, and when I eventually went through all her things, I realized that wasn’t the case at all. She was completely happy and content. I had felt like I was always the one on this treadmill of trying to find happiness and forgetting. As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” It’s more going to be a quirky, offbeat, fun, and happy movie but at the end, it is revealed that my mom is dying and there’s nothing I can do.There's no place like home. Click To Tweet
The closing credits will be one of these, “If you are a woman,” because it’s not even, “If you are a woman suffering from ovarian cancer,” but, “Here’s where there are free resources to identify the symptoms and the signs.” We filed a script with the Writers Guild of America and have done what’s called the tone reel. We have done the slide deck to take it around to funders. We are looking for a cool $5 million.
Isn’t it amazing when you clean out your parent’s house and the things you find? I found boxes of pretty much every medal and ribbon that my sister and I had ever won from swimming. I threw them away. I was like, “What the hell am I going to do with these? Why did they save them?” It was nice to know that they were so proud of us that they saved them but it was a weird experience. Let’s talk about POWER Codes. You have a new program out that is so beneficial in helping people understand and take back their power. Can you talk about that?
I would be happy to. There are a couple of things that are facing workers in general. Number one, it’s a continued work-from-home or hybrid workspace, “Am I going into the office?” A lot of teams are disconnected. People have called COVID the great equalizer. I don’t believe that at all but I do think COVID made the whole population of the world realize how uncertain life is. We never know.
Who would have predicted any of this? None of us. If we did, we would be millionaires because you and I would have invested in N95 masks and gloves. We would be billionaires. Nobody could have predicted that but people forget that life is always uncertain. When you have a major life event, if you’ve had a divorce, if you’ve had someone die, if you’ve given birth or if you have a wedding, you are reminded of the uncertainty of life but COVID reminded everybody of it.
We have uncertainty that’s very present in people. Even with life being uncertain before COVID, at least it was a little bit predictable. You could predict a promotion or where the market was heading. You could predict the way that people are going to buy things over Christmas and New Year’s, travel, and that thing. All that went out the window. We have uncertainty and unpredictability.
It’s a great combination for us humans to feel even-keeled all the time. What I looked at was what you do in the face of total uncertainty and unpredictability. The only thing you ever have any agency over is yourself and how you can respond to situations. I call that response-ability. It’s your ability to respond in a calm and present manner. Mindfulness and meditation are mastering the distance between reactivation and response but I don’t know about you or anyone reading this.Responsibility is your ability to respond to things in a calm and present manner. Mindfulness and meditation are mastering the distance between reactivation and response. Click To Tweet
If I’m in the middle of reacting to something, I’m not going to move to positive mantras at that moment. I want to throw a punch at someone. I’m upset. I’m dealing with all of that. That comes with the brain-generated activity. What I’m now training people in is what I call the POWER Code. It’s an acronym to train people on how I can respond at that moment in a present way and how I want to show up as a leader.
That is such amazing insight because when I get uncertain, I get angry but I have trained myself over time to say, “Can I control this? Can I not?” I learn, “I can’t control it. Let’s let it go and whatever is going to happen,” but getting to that point does not happen overnight. It is truly a practice.
The other thing is, “What can I control.” The other aspect of it that I have found is, “What can’t I accept now.” For example, I had a client, Brian. He owns 4 restaurants, 1 of which he bought in the middle of the pandemic. It was not predictable. He took over a family-owned restaurant. He was the first guy other than the family to buy it. It has been phenomenal but in the middle of everything, he could not find a source for turkey or buttermilk. I refer to this as turkey gate.
We are on the phone. He is usually a very happy-go-lucky guy. He knows I talk about this all the time, and he is fine with it but he was not happy that day. He was brow-furrowed and quiet. Other people on the call were talking about their wins and what support they needed. I get to Brian, “I don’t have turkey and buttermilk. I can’t believe it. I can’t accept it. This is crazy. I don’t understand. I’m usually so resourceful. I cannot find a source for it.” I said, “First of all, Brian, what’s the worst that can happen?”
He chuckled and goes, “There are no buttermilk pancakes after church and no homestyle turkey mashed potatoes and gravy for people either. We will have to shut down on Sundays if I was silly about it and take it to the nth degree. I get it but can’t accept that I can’t be resourceful enough to find turkey or buttermilk.” I stopped him and said, “What did you say?” He said, “I won’t accept it.” I said, “At 4:30 on a Monday, do you have a source of turkey or buttermilk?” “No.” It was 4:31 but I kept going down that line of questioning until finally, he said, “I don’t have a source.”
I said, “That is what’s so. Those are the facts, Jack. You can accept or not accept it but being unwilling to accept it. You may not like it. I’m not talking about people accepting things, and then that means they have to like it or be okay with it but it’s the facts.” That’s the first part of the POWER Code. Pursue the facts is the P and O is Own your stories. He was making up this whole story about how he wasn’t resourceful. The thing is going to shut down, “It’s terrible.” I said, “What are the facts?” He can’t find a source. “Can you accept that?” Those are the facts.
It’s weird. It’s like defying gravity. It would be weird not to accept the facts. I’m 5’10. It would be weird if I didn’t accept that and didn’t duck when I went into my airplane seat. I would have a noggin full of bruises because I could easily whack my head. At that moment, when we separated the facts from his stories, he had a moment to be able to pause. He said, “I can’t accept it.”
The W is Witnessing. When we are separating fact from fiction, we are present, “I can’t accept that.” When we are present, we have the presence of mind to think logically because when we can’t accept or when we feel like we are out of control or something is out of our control. This is when the amygdala takes over, and the reasoning and logic brain goes out the window.
When we separate fact from fiction, there is this inverse reaction where the emotion gets taken out of it, and the logical brain begins to take over. We can then have some presence of mind, body, soul, and spirit. If they don’t like the word spirit, call it Bob, God, your dog or the universe. I call it God. It’s up to you. Call it Bob or a tree. We can still hear that small voice of how we do want to show up as a leader. That’s embracing a new choice.
Separate fact from fiction. He got to be the Witness to his thoughts. That’s the W in the POWER Code. Witness your thoughts, body sensations, and all that. You can say, “It’s not in the pit of my stomach. What if we don’t have turkey sandwiches and buttermilk pancakes?” You are thinking, “I’m not resourceful and all that stuff.” Who do you want to be when you show up to work tomorrow? There’s all that angst all over your team as they are freaking out because they don’t see the resources.
He goes, “I’m going to be generous and compassionate to myself of getting that. Now, I don’t have a source for that.” He’s embracing that new choice of being generous and compassionate. The next day at 10:00, I get a text, “Six turkeys were dropped off at each of my locations. This happened. I got a source for buttermilk.” It sounds woo-woo but at the same time, we are all energy. Everything is energy.
Our thinking is what blocks us from being responsible and accountable and not accepting of our blind spots of where we are energetically blocking off opportunities. We can’t see them because we are so narrowly focused on the issue at hand. Using the POWER Code takes those blinders off and allows people to see new ways of showing up and embracing their leadership that they would not have seen before.
When I’ve said, it’s a practice, one of those lessons that brought that into my awareness was one day saying, “I’m not going to play this game. I’m breaking the pattern. Whatever happens, happens.” Probably 20 to 30 days later, the situation came back resolved to my initial satisfaction. It was powerful for me to say, “I learned how to let go. How do I replicate that?”
That’s important. We hold on so tightly to our opinions and viewpoints as if they are the truth, “That is the way things are. This doesn’t work. They are a jerk.” The way to replicate that is to say, “I’m upset.” When I lose my sense of humor, all my bets are off. You know me. I play. I’m fun. If I’ve lost my sense of humor, I’m reactivated by something. I have to give myself a timeout. I have to put the baby in the corner to deal with myself. Otherwise, it is not pretty for the people around me.
It’s the same with my sense of humor but unfortunately, I have to put myself in a corner because that snarky sense of humor turns to snarky ugly fast.
I’m there with you. The R in the POWER Code is Reflect and Repeat. Clients of mine have been in a pickle with somebody, “Let me use the POWER Code. Let me write out everything I’m upset about.” This is the key thing.” Set a timer and handwrite it. It makes a difference. Once that timer is up, go back through and circle the facts or take a highlighter. If you are like me and you love pretty colors on a page, highlight the facts, who, what, where, and when. You are going to find that there are a few. There’s that one moment, “Nothing I’m upset about is happening. All this is made up.” That’s the moment when we are witness to everything.
You can embrace how you want to show up, “I’m going to take a step back. That’s how I’m going to show up, chill out, and allow things to unfold. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I’m going to allow it to happen the way it’s going to.” At that moment, you interrupted that brain pattern. I recommend that people practice. As far as I can tell, it’s what I have been practicing for the last 43 years of my life. There’s more time to practice it because I still get annoyed and reactivated by lots of stuff.Whatever's going to happen is going to happen. Just allow everything to happen as intended in a particular moment. Click To Tweet
What I found since I started practicing that is I don’t get upset as much. I don’t worry as much because it truly is out of my control. Why am I spending energy on it? The other thing is when you were talking about that gentleman in the restaurant. Sometimes when you come up with a Plan B, Plan B is better than the Plan A you have been following. Some extraordinary things come out when you sit down and start reevaluating and separating those facts from fiction.
What you said is important because we need to have a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A is what you are thinking about and creating in the best of times when all things are perfect, and they never are. What’s your Plan B? Everything went to hell in a handbasket. Somebody got sick in your family. You need to go deal with a kiddo at school or supply chain issues. There are barges stuck at sea with cars that are about to sink. I live in Annapolis. There was a barge off the coast. It was a BMW barge with all these cars that was going to sink if they didn’t get the stuff off.
It’s BMW, though. If it sinks, there’s no big deal. I own two. I hated BMWs but I get what you are saying.
What’s important here is to recognize that we have a choice. Sometimes it feels like we don’t because the circumstances are beyond our control but circumstances are always beyond our control. Have some compassion when everything isn’t going well, and have that Plan B. It doesn’t mean you are not committed to Plan A. It isn’t the right environment. It’s not conducive to Plan A, so have a Plan B.
Tell us about this class. When are you starting it? Where can people get onboard? It is important. Before I have you say that, I got done reading a book about anxiety. It was called Totalitarianism. Our media expert recommended it. Anxiety is one of the things that is moving us a little bit more toward fascism because people are getting locked in those stories and shutting down. I thought that it was very interesting that anxiety is one of the ingredients in what’s going on with cancel culture and all of these other things that are going on in the world.
We are anxious about what we don’t have control over. When the pandemic first hit, I was doing a lot of free workshops on how to harness anxiety to achieve your goals because what I said was that anxiety is a direct result of something you are committed to. If you are committed to producing 50,000 widgets, the widget maker shuts down, and you have to fulfill orders, which can create anxiety but there’s a differentiator between real fear and imagined fear. Mostly what the human brain worries about are what we think might happen, not what is happening.
When we separate fact from fiction, we can clearly see what’s happening and then ask ourselves, “What am I committed to?” so that we can move forward and not be caught up in that anxious thinking. If people go to my website, JenCoken.com, there’s a popup where you can get Cracking the POWER Code. That’s an eBook and an infographic to have next to your desk. I will be having a masterclass on how to use it next quarter. I want to say it’s January 10th, 2023. I can’t remember the date. That’s a free masterclass for anybody that wants to start being trained and developed in how to use the POWER Code.
Can people email you if they are interested and want to be notified? It’s Jen@JenCoken.com.
We will have a live waiting list page shortly once we get it together. We are talking about January but it’s going to be here sooner than we think. People have their Christmas decorations up already. They had them the day after Halloween. I’m like, “Can’t you wait until the day after Thanksgiving?”
If you look downstairs, I’m half and half because I’m going to my daughter’s for Thanksgiving. The dining room is Thanksgiving. In the living room, my tree is up. It’s just not decorated. I’ve got a half-and-half thing going. I want to get back to something quick. I will have you repeat at the end where to go. Anxiety can be addicting. I wanted to get to that a little bit because of that power that pattern interruption. You can get locked into anxiety.
The reason I’m saying that is when you mentioned COVID, I remember being so anxious that first week. Typically, I’m someone who doesn’t eat when I’m anxious but for some reason, I was gobbling carbs. I remember that the moment I hit rock bottom was when I watched Tiger King. I was like, “You are becoming addicted to this anxiety. That was the worst. You’ve hit rock bottom, girl.” I got up, threw the carbs away that morning, went out, and started running and hiking again. That was very minor but you can become addicted as part of that anxiety pattern. Would you say that’s true?
That’s true unless you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder. That’s separate. A syndrome is always a medical diagnosis. We are talking about run-of-the-mill anxiety, where there’s no medical diagnosis because the average human has 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. Let’s say for sake of you, me, and everybody reading it’s 50,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. 85% are negative, and 95% are repetitive.
The brain’s job is to keep the thing alive. It’s constantly predicting potential threats. That used to be a physical threat, which for the most part, we don’t have unless you are one of those crazy double black diamond skiers. Maybe you are going off those because you are there in Utah. I’m thinking about all those skiing movies.
There are skiers here. They jump out of helicopters. That one caused me great anxiety for me.
I would never do that. I’m on the bunny slope, “I will meet you in the lodge. I’m getting cocoa with a little vodka but don’t tell anyone.”
I’m still in the lodge.
That’s what happens as we get into this negative feedback loop. It’s one thing if we are dealing with it ourselves but then you have this pressurized container of isolation or people isolating with others they aren’t normally around with. Everybody is feeding off each other. We are all watching the news. I never watched Tiger King. I could not bring myself to do it.
You are a bigger woman than I am. I saw a little kid with a mullet, and I was like, “How could you do that to your child? Did you ever watch Tiger King?”
Part of what happens is that we get into this negative cycle. We are the sum of the five people that we are around the most. If all those people are negative, that’s going to keep feeding that same beast too, keep those stories alive, keep feeding your anxiety, and not ever allow you to break out of it. It’s one of the reasons I love my close friends so much because they will be like, “Cher in Moonstruck can smack me across the face and scream, ‘Snap out of it.'” Those are the people you should call your friends, not the people you are moaning with over a glass of wine.
There are layers and layers of us to ourselves with the way the brain works. We are in conversation with other people about how much things suck. You have this pressurized world of everything that’s happening, and then you are looking at that. I stopped watching the news years ago. I will do it in bits and bites but I’m choosing. I used to be a junkie of watching the news. I don’t do it anymore because I couldn’t stomach it. It was making me anxious.
That’s interesting. I was telling someone that. I brought up that we are in a recession. He said, “I don’t want to position it with my clients like that because it’s so negative.” I told him, “When I was a real estate broker during the last recession, our coaches told us to turn the news off because we would watch it and then believe that we weren’t going to get any clients.” It fed into this loop.
Even when you are out pitching, you are like, “I’m not going to get this. Even if I got it, I can’t sell it.” You get negative. That’s good for you. It’s all propaganda, anyway. We can find you at Jen@JenCoken.com if we want to email you when this comes out. Go over to her website, JenCoken.com. You can get on the interest list over there too. Go over and get that download too.
If they want to unsubscribe from my newsletter, they can. I send out about one email a week. When you get the POWER Code eBook, you are automatically added to my newsletter list, which comes out about once a week. It has tips, tools, and strategies for how to be a better leader, how to manage your team, and that kind of thing. If you want that content, keep it or download the thing and then unsubscribe. It’s fine with me. I don’t care.
There you go. We love engaged lists. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
I so appreciate that you had me on and that we had a conversation about it. How great was this? It’s unexpected.
It’s very cool. I love having you on about once a year. You are one of my every-year-I-go-to. I need to get Merrill Chandler back on with what’s going on in the finance world. Thank you so much.
Thank you much.
- Jen Coken
- Nina Froriep and Robin Stift
- 10-Day Author Platform Build – YouTube
- When I Die Take My Panties
- Writers Guild of America
- Merrill Chandler – Previous episode
About Jen Coken
Recognized by ABC, MSNBC, and TEDx, Jen Coken is a comedian, coach, speaker, and Imposter Syndrome, expert. She believes coaching is a full-contact sport. She is the no-BS guide for rebellious, purpose-driven CEOs and their teams who are ready to get out of their own damn way and achieve what they are destined for with clarity, focus, and confidence. Fortune 500 CEOs to seven-figure Founders trust Jen to shake things up with no apologies, no limits, and all the laughs.
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