Dr. Ian Brooks is the chief executive and founder of Rhodes Smith Consulting leading transformations of people and organizations for over 24 years. Ian has extensive experience in executive and leadership development, change management, business performance consulting, and communication planning.
Ian helps clients achieve their pursuits through:
Ian’s coaching is based on building client leadership capabilities and creating intentional scenarios to improve their team and organizations performance. Leveraging business and team feedback, Ian partners with executives in identifying behaviors, routines and measures for sustainment. Previous corporate clients include executives and their teams from Shondaland and Black Cultural Events, targeting improved employee morale and communication, delegation tactics, and executive leadership.
By creating leadership development programs, Ian facilitates leadership and employee learning to help companies advance by providing insight-driven solutions. He partners with managers to model and develop processes that help teams overcome performance-limiting behaviors resulting in more effective coaches and mentors for their staff. Previous clients include executives and leaders at the Guitar Center, Bank of America, and Palo Alto Medical Health (Sutter Health) focused on succession planning, talent development, line of business skill assessment and leadership coaching.
Organizational Transformation/ Development
Ian is an expert in change management and partners with organizations in realizing business strategy through human change. He defines new generations of solutions through research and experience with clients around the world. Clients have included Nike, Sony Inc., Warner Brothers, Fox Sports, and Illumina focused on technology implementations impacting employees globally.
In addition to the clients listed, Ian has worked as a consultant with IBM and Slalom Consulting; as well, as internally at Kaiser Permanente and the Department of the Interior. He is the author of the upcoming book Intention: Building Capabilities to Transform Your Story and is content creator and trainer of Organization Development & Change Leadership certification program, in collaboration with the Drucker School of Management.
Ian holds a PhD in Industrial /Organizational Psychology from Marshall Goldsmith School of Management at Alliant International University, a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Morehouse College.
The right habits puts you in control of your health, relationships, mindset, and more. But most people lack the tools to stick with those habits long enough to see results that is about to change. Welcome to the unshakable habits podcast with your host, habit change specialist and speaker Stephen Box. Join us each week as experts share their stories, experiences and insights and give you the tools to build unshakable habits so you can live life on your terms. It's time to take your habits from unsustainable to unshakable. The right habits puts you in control of your health, relationships, mindset, and more. But most people lack the tools to stick with those habits long enough to see results that is about to change. Welcome to the unshakable habits podcast with your host habit change specialist and speaker Stephen Box. Join us each week as experts share their stories, experiences and insights and give you the tools to build unshakable habits so you can live life on your terms. It's time to take your habits from unsustainable to unshakable.
Stephen Box 1:31
A everybody welcome to the unshakable habits Podcast. I am your host, Stephen Box. And I am joined today by the author of intention, building capabilities to transform your story. Dr. Ian Brooks. Ian, thanks for joining me, man. Hey, thanks. Glad to be here, Steven. So he and you have a really interesting story about how this whole book came about, just like your whole educational background, how you get into habits. And we're gonna dive into that. And we'll have a little conversation just you know about habits in general throughout our interview today. But before we dive into your story, I do want to take a second to remind the audience about the unshakable framework. And the reason why I like to remind people about this is this framework is what's going to allow you to take Ian's story, and transparent and transpose it onto your life, so that you can use these same principles to make the changes you want to make. So the first part, we have to have a vision. The visions are different than goals. Goals are very specific, we're chasing an outcome. And the reality is we often do not have control over the outcome. But visions, they're flexible. They're just really us imagining what we want life to look like. Next thing you need, you need some skills, you either have to have them already, or you need to develop them in order to live out that vision. And in order to develop skills. Of course, you need the third part of the framework, which is repeated actions, aka the things that become habits. So that is our unshakable framework. So Ian, tell me, man, how did you get into this this field of habits?
Dr. Ian Brooks 3:26
Yeah, it's a it's a great question. And I think we all try to keep them. But we always seem to fail one way or the other. And the habits that we do tend to keep, they serve a purpose for a time and place. But they also sometimes need to be let go of when we're actually trying to change. So this idea of habit and getting into it really started with my passion for one to help people from a psychology standpoint, from a mental perspective. So I started my journey through working in a clinical Ward, as a clinical intern, working with people with mental illnesses. And you want to talk about trying to transform people's habits, one of chemical imbalance, a new routine of new behavior. And now how do we, how are they expected to live their life as they move forward? You want to talk about the transformation of habits and the challenges that were experienced within that framework were extremely daunting. Now, while I left that part of me in from a professional standpoint, and moved over towards working with higher functioning people in a corporate space, and people just want on one, we all still struggle with our abilities to now have habits that are consistent towards being better. And that was always the the, the narrative. It was all we each have a story even of individuals within my clinical Ward I worked with to the executives to the people, one on one, we all have a story. And that story is that continue Was continuous ability to transform in a continuous desire to be better. And to be better, we now need to reinforce our habits on a consistent basis as we move forward. And so when I actually, you know, came up with the idea and started jotting down notes for my book intention, it came down to where do people actually struggle the most? In my opinion? Yeah,
where do they actually find the biggest need? And always came down to? Well, I can't sustain this.
Well, okay. That's the end point. Yeah, well, we, that's our end result. And as you described, from your framework that you articulated, there's a lot more to just one singular endpoint, there are steps and habits and behaviors that are built from that. So if we say yes, that we believe that that is still true, then now I need to focus on a different point in time, not the sustainment. But who am I? And what am i seeking to achieve? And what behaviors Am I willing to do even before I start enacting them. And so that's how I came up with my book intention to make sure that I can articulate that in a more specific way and guide readers, as even guide myself through changes in habits that I now need to take to be better.
Stephen Box 6:20
It's interesting, one thing you just mentioned in there was how you have to make a decision about what things you're willing to change ahead of time. And to me, that's a huge part of that vision component, right is when we talk about vision, it's not just like, Oh, I want to be a millionaire, and I want to live on the beach somewhere. Right? That's, that's great. If that's part of your vision, nothing. there's anything wrong with that, right? But vision is, what kind of person are you? Like, what kind of person do you want to be? You know, when I interviewed on a podcast I used to do for just fitness and health people. When I interviewed a lot of fitness people over and over again, the question was, how do you maintain your fitness program? Like, what is it that makes you so unique compared to your clients who are struggling to do the same thing? And overwhelmingly, the answer always came down to the same thing. Although they may not have thought about it this exact way. They did consider themselves a person who exercised a person who cared about their physical health. Whereas somebody else physical health was kind of an inconvenience, it was something that maybe was important for a short period of time, but it didn't fit into the overall scheme of their life. And that's why it was so much easier for someone who maybe they weren't always motivated to workout, but it was easier for them to get into the gym, even when they lacked motivation, then pose to their clients who, when they didn't have motivation, it was rough.
Dr. Ian Brooks 7:56
Yeah, yeah. And that's, that's a great way of looking at it and actually talk about in the book and a very similar fashion, where it's a way of life, not treated as something as an event. So to give an example of that for a moment, it's kind of like, you know, we want to lose weight, sticking to sticking with your theme here of the gym. It's what most people want, they just want the magic pill. Right? Give me this, give me the shot, that's gonna just trim this down in the next week. That's what I want. I want that end result. And that's it, think about the pill or the needle, the you know, the thomastown. That's just, you know, interjecting something into us. Right? When we get something interjected into our into our bodies, it gets in there immediately. And it'll will take its effect the bloodstream will will take it to where it needs to go to the heart or lungs. Were whatever the purpose is designed to do. Work. That's an immediate action. And let's be clear, sometimes we do need that interjection into us, right? immediacy. But when we're talking about habits, and we're talking about intention, we're talking about integration, we're talking about now building into the fabric of who we are. And that takes a lot more time. So who we are, is our environment. So our people, places, things, the things that, you know, obviously, all of which keep us safe. Our friends, keep us to our social norms, or to the boxes that were created for us or they created for us, our environment. where we live, the types of cars we drive are just regular routines. Heck, even how we'll even shop at the grocery store. We do have a routine in that we are now asking are, you know in with as your descript describing it, as well as, as I'm describing it within my book, specifically around the principle of you. There's a part that really does need to take some stock into our environments and how it keeps us where we are And thus, when we are actually defining who we are based on our environment as a point of reinforcement, or, or places that keep us in, stuck, we now have acknowledgement and choice to do something else prior to taking any level of action. Because once we think about our actions, we're now number one trying to now start new habits, and new behaviors. But we're also competing against all those things in our environment that are that are intended to keep us safe, that are intended to keep us where they are, it needs us. Yeah. And when you combine that, quite frankly, we then begin to start struggle struggling to one even attain any type of new habit. And secondly, when we do get there, we get to that sustainment. And we put you back out into that world to now do it on your own, you know, that becomes a lot more daunting, because we haven't cared for those things that are going to keep us in place. And for me, that starts with the principle of view, not only from an environment standpoint, but it also even extends to who we are as people through our characters.
Stephen Box 11:02
Yeah. Yeah. I love that. So real quick Tell, tell everyone exactly what it is that you do.
Dr. Ian Brooks 11:09
Yeah, no, aside from being an author, one of the things I do is I help people master their intentions. I'm a coach. So I work with executives, as well as individuals outside of the corporate space, one on one and within groups to help build capabilities in particular behaviors that they can now do in different situations. So for example, within a corporate space, I work with leaders, specifically around how they communicate how they're developing a strategy and how that impacts their employees. Anything that's executive related, and the impact to their teams, their peers, or their the development to get to that next level, I help from a developmental one on one coaching perspective. Now not to be lost, those same desires are put into our personal lives. So I help individuals one on one, to achieve their dreams, their purpose, and what they see is their intentions of their story. And in that capacity, sit down, have very detailed conversations with who they are and what they're willing to do. And then we start building out specific planning in a very incremental way to actually help them achieve that. And then achievement is based off of consistency of behavior, not necessarily achievement of one particular title or goal of which we can also get caught in a cycle of
Stephen Box 12:31
Yes, absolutely. And that kind of goes back to what I was saying earlier about, you know, goals are very outcome oriented. And you know, what happens if that outcome isn't reasonable? Who knew them out? What is some external force makes that outcome impossible? Right, then what?
Dr. Ian Brooks 12:47
Yeah, it's it's something that a lot of people struggle with. There's a quote and by john Sartain, I'm probably gonna mess this up. But it resonates with me. And it speaks directly to this idea of goals. And as it goes along the line of when we hear the details of success, it's hard to separate it from defeat. And, to your very point, when we think about goals of outcomes, or achievement, those are details because we haven't in our mind already what we should be doing, or where we should be at. Yeah. But when we don't achieve that, now, all of a sudden, it's defeat now and why didn't we do it? Why didn't I achieve this? Maybe I couldn't. And then oftentimes, it turns into the wily coyote effect as I as I like to call it, you know, wily coyote from the Road Runner. And the old Roadrunner cartoon widely used to coyote used to try to chase down the road runner with all these new contraptions. Yeah, the problem is, while he never used the same contraption twice, he always failed. He never learned because His goal was solely about catching the Roadrunner. Yeah, it was not about building capabilities to hunt and find new or refine the contraptions he used. Instead, he always created a new one. And so he was always number one, chasing the Roadrunner, but also chasing his own ideals. And it was easier to create than it was to correct and that was one of his biggest downfalls.
Stephen Box 14:21
Yeah, I love that because it's ironic. I actually just made a video last night about this idea about evolving are revolving. And, you know, revolving it's just you're literally just doing the same thing over and over and evolving is that you're constantly growing if the constant tweaking and the assumption if you listen to society, if you listen, all the motivational stuff out there, the assumption would be we should always be evolving. The truth is this sometimes you need to revolve. Yeah, you just need to, if you have something that's working, keep doing it. But if it's not working, sometimes it's just making that little tweak. It's not it's not going in a completely different direction is just tweaking something.
Dr. Ian Brooks 15:08
Yes. And I and I talk about that in my book to that very point around attunement, right? How are we really reflecting and learning from adjustments, as we're building consistency of our new behaviors? It's that continuous evolution, that, as you mentioned, it's not always creation, it's sometimes saying, Hey, I'm doing this. Well, how can I refine it? Or if I didn't do it? Well, where was the breakdown? Yeah, maybe the plan was absolutely right. But was just bad timing. Maybe you're doing everything? Well, you just need to give it time.
Stephen Box 15:47
Code either, right? It's like, yes, maybe maybe you just need to pull the the string like two seconds sooner, right? That that is the only trap.
Dr. Ian Brooks 15:57
Absolutely, that he's doing everything else. And he's now starving. And he never adjusted in that way. And that was the whole point of the cartoon, which made it funny or enjoyable to watch. But when we're doing that in our lives, that becomes exhausting and cuts up fat. We're not like y Li where it's a cartoon. And we can continue to draw and create new traps. Guess what we do? We stop and say, You know what? I can't do this. Yeah, it was too daunting. And every time you think about it, you think about the times that you failed. You don't think about the possibilities any longer. And then thus, you're stuck. right where you are. Yeah. And which is also a byproduct of not really stepping back and learning and adjusting.
Stephen Box 16:40
Yeah, I want to get back to your story. But there's a couple of points that you brought up here that I want to touch on too. So real quick, your degree is in?
Dr. Ian Brooks 16:51
Yeah, so I have my Master's in clinical psychology. And then my PhD is in industrial organizational psychology.
Stephen Box 16:59
So I just the reason I asked that is I want for anyone listening, who might be like, why should I be listening to what, you know, em, Brooks has to say? Because a man knows the stuff. That's why.
Dr. Ian Brooks 17:11
Right? And if they get nasm, certified from a personal trainer perspective, heck even have a bartending certificate, sir. All told, I love to learn. And each one of my certifications, and degrees are all about helping other people. And there's a lot of fun doing it.
Stephen Box 17:29
Love it, man. That's Yeah, it's all it's all about lifelong learning. Right? It's absolutely. You'd be surprised what you learn about yourself and others. Oh, yeah, especially by others? Yes. So one of the things that you brought up that I wanted to kind of go back to and make sure that people don't miss this is you talked about how we get into these comfort zones, so to speak, great, where our brain does the safest stuff? Yes. Can you maybe talk a little bit about for the people that may not be familiar with this concept. Now we essentially have two different brains, and how they function in different ways. And so this whole idea about your environment needing to change and our mindset needs to change. And we have to get kind of comfortable with that change. What does that look like? Because I don't think a lot of people necessarily get how strong those emotions are, tell this.
Dr. Ian Brooks 18:29
Yeah, they really are strong. And it's one of the pervasive points that I talked about upfront in the book. Because as we go down a path of transformation and trying to build habits, we're constantly fighting against our old selves. So to your acknowledgement to your point, we do have multiple selves and characters, no different than any other story, where we're we are not only the actors were the set creators, we are the directors.
Stephen Box 18:58
For the writers,
Dr. Ian Brooks 19:01
all of these parts of who we are influenced our story. And to be to drive this point home, I'll bring it up into the context of characters in what they really mean for us and how they influence what we do. Characters are not the titles bestowed on us, like I'm a doctor. Okay, great. That's something bestowed upon me. And my brother, a sibling, I'm a VP. Um, whatever. Right? Those are titles bestowed to us as the thing about our characters. Our characters can be where do we find ourselves in certain situations? And that's how you show up. It can be I'm a jerk. Right? Or I'm Mr. know it all. Or for me, as I listed out all my degrees, one of my characters is Mr. degree because that degrees offered validation. Yeah. have personal validation, and it got away from what people could judge or take away. Yeah. And so I recognized that's a character within my story. I also recognized because of that character, I was running from judgment. And so, because of that, that character, in running from judgment of others, influence, even how I even wrote this book, or at least for the first copy that no one has ever seen aside from my editor. And in that judgment in that character of Mr. degree, and running from judgment, it influenced how much I was actually putting out on paper, was I even owning my own voice? Right? Was I even saying, in my own perspective, or was I regurgitating? What I was reading and seeing from my counts, hours of research, from having a doctorate in the Masters in experience. And I realized in that first copy, that my character, Mr. degree, and my fear of judgment, didn't allow me to just let go and own my voice. To the extent that I actually when I did my first audio book. And when I was actually on the microphone in that moment, I was scared. I was scared to hear my voice. It was the first time that I was also hearing my words that I'd written down out loud. Yeah. Even though I had practice, I heard it in my mind, but that's a lot different. Yeah, he's, or when I did say it out loud. I was just picking almost picking and choosing unconsciously things that were fine or, or that I was comfortable with. But to actually have other people actually hearing what I had written. And then for me to actually hear it jumped immediately to the part of the judge. Right, that judge character in me, that judgment, and that fear of it, right. And so as a result, I was stumbling over my words, I was analyzing every single sentence I had. And to the extent that over the course of two days, I was just worn down, you know, just beat up. And while my second day was better than my first, it still offered me an opportunity, as we talked about to take stock. And what was I willing to do? What was my voice? What did I really want? No one was forcing me to write a book. In this case, even an audio book. No one was forcing me me even to do the audio book on my own. Right. But I had a decision to make. And in that moment, I sat down and said, Okay, yeah. Check. You, you went through this. Got it. Now, what did you learn? What do you learn about yourself? Yeah. Yeah. What's that feeling emotion, because as you described, he knows, it's one of the things that keeps us in our place, our two strongest pieces are going to be our mind. Because the tricks we play on ourselves and the fear of pulling us back to our safe zones. And our motion, the butterflies, the anxiety, the quick pace of dialogue, the slurring of words, the tone, isn't there. Yeah, all of those things come up. It was like, Okay, and now some of that comes with practice, right? First time doing it, check. But there was more going on, that I needed to solve. And as a result of my depth and attunement to myself in that moment, and making a decision that I was going to do something different with my characters of the judge. In Mr. degree, notably,
I now needed and afforded myself in as important empowered myself to do something else. Yeah. And to that extent, I threw the whole audio book away. And started from scratch. The entire book, every wrote the entire book, in about six months. And what I realized was that experience in that audio book, offered two things. The first is, I became the author the book needed me to be Yeah. The second thing I'd learned is not only was I the author, but I'm also the client. I was coaching myself through this. Yeah. And it afforded me to get even closer to the word to the point. And so as we think about it, from our listener standpoint, and even just ourselves as we think about the voices in who we are and the characters we create, and have created in our lives, that Oh, yeah, by the way, thanks. do serve a purpose, right? They have served a purpose in who we are and in the decisions we've made, and the biases that we've created to make quick decisions, because we can't constantly be thinking about every single thing that we do every day. Yeah, we make some 2000 plus decisions each day. Right? Right, we can't think about every single one to the same level of detail. So we have to make certain decisions or make certain assumptions based off of previous learning. And that's fine. But when we're actually trying to change our behaviors, and our habits, those things that we have now I'll say cut corners on or made easy for ourselves, just by making certain biases or assumptions can come back to haunt us, right. And so we always have to be conscious of that. And sometimes we don't afford ourselves that opportunity. And that impacts us down the line to think about our plans and our behaviors moving forward.
Stephen Box 25:54
I love the fact that you this uses now, it's because I've not heard anyone use this analogy, of this idea of there being different characters. I've had a couple of mentors who have, you know, come to this idea that all behaviors are an effort to solve a problem, or a way to identify who we want to be sure, but I haven't heard this as characters. And when I thought about when you said it, and I'm being careful to tread lightly here, because I don't want to make this direct comparison to mental illness. Sure, but it almost comes across like schizophrenia, where you have multiple personalities. Right? And that is the rare disease, right? Yeah, like this. So it's like, it's almost like that second personality comes out for a reason. Yeah, there's a reason that second personality comes in. And I love the fact that you kind of pointed out that this isn't a situation where the personalities don't know each other or anything like that. This is just different kind of characters, that you have different parts of your personality, so to speak, that they show up for certain situations, they're not always there. But I'm at a certain times, and I really loved the fact that you were like, Hey, you know what, I realized these two characters in particular, were coming out. And I had to stop and ask, why. Right? are they showing up? Now? What problem? Are they here to solve?
Dr. Ian Brooks 27:23
Yeah, are they kind of keep me safe because of their comfort zone, or in what has been learned and how they were created. And again, they serve their purpose, but maybe that purpose no longer exists. And it is, you know, it isn't as extreme as dissociative disorder, your schizophrenic behaviors and multiple personalities. It is to describe that when we all show up in different situations, we do bring a certain part of ourselves that may be different from one part to another, you know that that role that someone is, again, going to make it a little bit easier. When we go into our back homes, around our family around our significant others, we may act in a certain way, versus when we're just around our friends. Right? Right. Now, yes, we're the same person. Yes, we're gonna be talking about somewhat similar things. But our characters in the role we play in our that life. So in one life, I'm just maybe, hey, I'm just a support on there. Or I'm the glue guy. I'm the one who brings everyone together, like make sure everyone's taken care of, in another situation, I'm the party guy, because they're not going to do it, and then be looking at me to get things started. So guess what, I'm gonna get this party started. Or I could be the judge. Or I can be Mr. degree. Yeah. And then but it's all a personal journey. And we all have those characters, and how they actually show up. And then you combine those characters with our environments that Oh, by the way, reinforce those characters via our friends, the places we go, our routines, all intended to reinforce those characters. And it's like, oh, poop. I'm starting to change one thing. I now realize that I don't have to change about five or six.
Stephen Box 29:15
Yes, it is funny how that the things interconnect. One of the big things I always teach people is you can't separate out different areas of your health, right? Your your physical health has a direct impact on your mental health. Mm hmm. And your emotional health. And if your emotional health and your mental health arena impacted, then your financial health probably be impacted because you're probably not being as productive in work or your you know, business or whatever. Your relationships are going to also get hurt because you're probably not going to be a very pleasant person to be around. Yeah, so when things get out of alignment, it can really impact so many other areas. And so like you said, then all sudden you're like, Nah, Got a change five more things you can write I've uncovered a new problem that I didn't know existed before. Right?
Dr. Ian Brooks 30:06
Yeah. And maybe that's the real problem. Maybe that's it now, when you're just seeing the remnants in the results. And I think as as we think about building new habits, it's in for an intention standpoint, it's about acknowledging those pieces of ourselves up front, because oftentimes, we try to detach ourselves from those situations, or pretend that they don't exist, or they don't matter. Well, they do. They're absolutely matter. And I know in my book, and as you're describing, as well, the intention is to build depth. Yeah, because this is the true foundation of which we're really affording ourselves the opportunity to do but what's not to be lost in this either is that when we talk about building new habits, or we're talking about operating with intent, people look at it in the context that I'm doing something else. Yeah. As in, I'm adding on to, sometimes you need to let go of the things that aren't aren't right. And, but when people think about, oh, I've got another 510 things to do just to do just to achieve this one outcome, or this one behavior? Yeah. I don't know if I've got it. Well, if you put in the context of doing everything that you're used to doing, then yeah, you're not going to achieve it, I can guarantee you, or if you do, you'll achieve at one time, and then you're going to complain about the sustainment. Or I don't live to this on a day to day basis. Right? That's because you're trying to lift yourself you haven't let anything go.
Stephen Box 31:35
Right. All right.
Dr. Ian Brooks 31:36
Well, that's a choice you made, and that's perfectly fine. But is that really the outcome that you really wanted? Yeah. And then that's now let's have the conversation about it. And there's no silver bullet or line to it. It's It is hard. Sometimes it's sometimes the learning intention is to create the awareness. And that's it. I don't need to do anything else. Yeah, the awareness was good enough. But that's the thing about habits, routines, and sustainment, either thought, or in our bodies or in our actions, then, you know, there's a lot more work that needs to go into play than just that one thing that you think you want to solve?
Stephen Box 32:17
Yeah, and you know, it's interesting, because I think you touched on this a little bit, there were people they want, like the answer, right? Like, we can give me step one, step two, step three. And the reality is the reason why I teach a framework, the reason why you teach a framework is because the skills that you need, the capabilities that you need is your terminology for, they're going to differ for each person for each environment for each situation for each outcome that you're trying to breach. No matter what it is that you're looking at. It's going to require something a little bit different. So I can't just say, oh, here, sit down, clear your mind, say this magical phrase. And everything is good. Right then right? Not how this works. Right?
Dr. Ian Brooks 33:13
Right. Right. That Yeah, but people want that. Yeah, they just want I just want the end result. They don't want the path. They don't want the work. They don't want the step or steps to get there. And it that's why again, that principle of view, I start off of what are you willing to do? You know, because someone else's story is not yours. You may want the same goal. That could be true. But who you are, how you think what you're willing to do? That's all is very personal. It's a very specific journey to you. Yeah, I mean, that can't be lost. And oftentimes it is, it's like, I just want that, like, so do a lot of people but what are you willing to do for that? need that executive to or to have a loving relationships? What are you willing to do? And what are you willing to give up?
Stephen Box 34:16
And, and perhaps even more importantly, what are you not willing to give up?
Dr. Ian Brooks 34:20
Yeah, that's that's exactly it. And people are the anchor on to what feels comfortable. They feel more comfortable knowing where they are, and being unhappy, then not knowing where they're going to end up and reaching for the possibilities in the challenge that we were consistently tested on throughout any type of change in behavior and strengthening capabilities, or creating new habits.
Stephen Box 34:49
Yep. Yeah, it reminds me Oh, I don't know if you've heard this riddle or not. But there's a riddle that there's three frogs sitting on the side of a river. No one decides to jump in. How many frogs are left? The answer is three. Because just because the frog decided to jump in doesn't mean that he did. Right? Yeah. Or he was making a decision. He hasn't taken any action yet. Right.
Dr. Ian Brooks 35:20
And if he did jump in, you still have three. Just because he jumped in doesn't mean he's. He's left where? Yeah. All right. He could just be sitting on a rock underneath that water. Yeah, you still have three, three frogs, unless he swims downstream. And he's just and he's just gone. Right? Yeah. Then he says done. And then the other two can be can go. But you still have three. And but I think it also underscores that, that leaving is a bad thing. Yeah. But like, the riddle I hadn't heard before. Yeah. It just,
Stephen Box 36:01
it made me think about it, cuz you're talking about how people, a lot of times they, they're needing to make all these decisions. And sometimes you just get paralyzed by the decisions. And so then even when you do make a decision, you just you don't do anything with it. You just, yeah, but you feel like sometimes just making the decision is so hard. Right, that you feel like you've done the work on just making the decision. But yeah,
Dr. Ian Brooks 36:26
that's, that's it. And, you know, I talked about in the book quite a bit. And from, you know, spending a lot of time on the discovery of what are we trying to solve for you then the principle of view, then even just documenting a plan, right, without even doing anything? Right, you've just now when you start documenting the plan, now that you've taken in consideration who you are and where you're trying to go, you really, your steps have been more mental, more emotional, less about the action. And that in and of itself is victory, right. But there's many paths, and steps to victory in building capabilities. Now, I've just taught them capabilities of how to think how to really search for discovery on what they want, how to document, a plan, that is realistic, based off of themselves and their true goals. That in and of itself is a capability that many people don't have, because most of time their plan is based off of I want I need. I go Bye, bye. Um, but we all live parallel lives on paper. So when we actually now start taking those steps in action, now the emotion starts to come out. Yeah. And that's when we start to get the judgment and fear and mental ghosts, our characters start to come out our environments shot and pull us back to what feels comfortable to them in it. And that's when we start to get challenged. And that's another step in this process of building the capability of how do you consider it building out plants that consider the environment? Planning around it? And for it, right? planning for two years from now, not just tomorrow? Yeah. And that's how you build capability. That's how you build a habit. And try to set yourself up for success. Yeah, that's it.
Stephen Box 38:23
Like, you have to have that awareness of what struggles may come up, and you have to acknowledge them early. Because, you know, it's what we were saying earlier, we're just making the decision sometimes can feel like work. Yes. So you feel like you've accomplished something just by making the decision. And then it becomes easy to kind of avoid the uncomfortable next step. Yeah. So we have to kind of push past that a little bit and say, Okay, what is this look like? Right? You know, and I think, to your point, it's not that we necessarily need to have all the answers. But just by acknowledging, Hey, you know what, this is going to be a struggle. This is going to be the hard part. I know that, but here's how I'm going to deal with it. Right? It gives us a sense of control. Yeah, it can take some of the fear out of it.
Dr. Ian Brooks 39:21
Yeah, apps, absolutely. And minimizes our fears. And it puts us in a position where we can adequately respond versus react. Yeah, so when we're reacting, you typically don't have a plan. You're like, oh, poop, like okay. I had go Okay, I guess I have to do this. The power goes out. Now we're acting like, you know, if I didn't know what to do now I'm reacting. A responses. Okay. didn't plan for this. Check. bout this. Do some work. Got it. But this needs to be handled. All right. Now let me think through Well, if I just hit the generator, you know, that should do the trick, right? Make it made this real time. But the reality is, when we get caught in a reactive mode, especially during habits and change, then we were drawn back to what we've been successful with before, you know, we're drawn back to the boxes, we were in pre drawn back to the characters that have made us safe, that we know versus response in our plans to say, okay, I've thought this through to the extent I could think it through, here's what I think is going to happen or could happen. I've planned for it. So if I get anxiety, what should I be doing in that moment? If someone tries to redirect me, what should I do? If I'm at a restaurant? How should I be ordering? And keeping my focus? Right? And so now I know how to respond. I don't know what situation is going to pop up? I really don't know. I'm not trying to I'm not going to plan for that. Right. But I am planning for what are the Where are my likely areas of derailment? Right. And let's now think that through, that's okay, here we go. If something pops up that isn't as part of what I thought about, which will happen and does happen, it's expected to happen.
Unknown Speaker 41:25
It's about okay.
Dr. Ian Brooks 41:27
I have now a choice to make. Yeah. And now you're building capabilities. Now you're building habits and taking you out of isolated incidents, and creating behavior and consistency. Yeah. And that's how we start to build out more sustained changes and new behaviors.
Stephen Box 41:47
Now, it's, you know, one thing that I wanted to ask you is, you know, because you're talking about this idea of changing and the characters and all this different stuff, I want to kind of bring this back to your story and put it into perspective for people. Sure. So when you first started with your book, you had a vision for this new Great, yeah, well, what was that vision of when you first like the very first time you wrote it? What was your vision?
Dr. Ian Brooks 42:13
Yeah, my very first time and for writing the book was really to write down and document points, and describe areas where people were often failing, and writing the questions that I was getting. And as important questions, I was even asking them around the journey. And it was really intended just to be a guide to say, Hey, I can't be with my clients all the time. But what would be a helpful reminders? What are the helpful checkboxes or things that they need to be thinking about for themselves? That, while my questions are consistent, their answers are very unique and specific to themselves, right. And so the goal and the value there was, Hey, I wanted to make sure I'm caring for them when they aren't sitting with me for an hour. Right? And that they can do this after I leave. Because I don't I'm not intended to be a crutch. And so as I was going through the journey of now putting in the, in the writing, I realized that one I was writing in a very scholastic way. Yeah, right. I'd never written a book before. But I'd written my dissertation, my thesis and other journal articles. So I was having to write in a lot different perspective, a lot more storytelling. I was like, oh, poop, right? Because people want to read stories. I was like, oh, man, this is more technical. So I got an editor slash riding coach to help walk me through this, to make sure I was articulating the stories in a way that created excitement. Yeah, reality, but also reflected the guide and deep thinking did I wanted to make sure came out in this book.
Stephen Box 43:58
Dr. Ian Brooks 43:59
that was really the goal in the vision I had for the book that I can just use as a leave behind with my clients or others, to talk about it. And that, as I mentioned, that first version was not what it is right now. It looks categorically skeletal wise, point wise, very similar, but the depth, the story, and how it even reflects even my own personality, which I didn't realize happen until I got a second editor just to do the last cleanup, of visibility. It didn't come out until she actually gave me when I asked her at the very first instance of her reading the book, what she thought about it did I realized that the book really turned into my voice. And that journey was one of two exploration. But I can tell you, this book is, again, a lot different feeling wise. That I'm one I'm happy to share with others versus that first one that was written in a voice that was scared.
Stephen Box 45:07
So kind of going back to say the first one, you wrote it with the intention of helping people, right? But your own fears, your own insecurities kind of got in the way of you writing the book you really intended to write. Yes, you wrote a helpful book, right? Like not one to anyone was likely to read, right? Yeah, not one that one would, unless they enjoy reading research papers. And that's exactly that's exactly it.
Dr. Ian Brooks 45:37
And even then, it really was not as clear as it needed to be. It's like, what point are you trying to make out of this, or I'd write a story. And I intentionally not include details because they go, that's not really important. Or the effort taxi, right, the entire depth of the this story just takes too long. So Mike, just given bits and pieces, or some of them were with, with my client, so I was very protective of the stories, I was telling him in the book, to protect them, even though no, you wouldn't know who they are, or otherwise. But I was always fearful that they pick up the book and like, Oh, that's me, he's writing about me. Um, I had to let some of that or better yet either let a lot of that go. But it really came out of that first book was like, oh, man, this is this is not very helpful. At all. And again, when I was listening to the recording of my audio book, I was like, really analyzing it. As a coach, myself, I was coaching myself, like, I created three columns, what you know, based off of all 52 recorded sessions, okay, let's go through each one. And what one first column was, what I like about the content or content, first column was content, second content column was my voice pitch those type things. And the in the third column is, what did I need to add? And I tell you what, it took me a month plus to go through those recordings. Yeah. And to the extent again, when when the the, my audio production team asked me what I thought about it, I said, this has nothing to do with your skill set. You can only correct what I give you what I create. But this is, this is not what I want. This is a missing point all over the place. And I even got angry, like half of my editor, let me let me send this out. You know, get a place playing someplace. Yeah. And I was like, it's not my editors fault, right? He didn't write the book. Right? This is this is you? Yeah,
this is you? And now you have a choice. Yeah, now you had a choice.
Stephen Box 47:58
So once you kind of realized where you were at the verge, but did you did your vision change at all, going into this into the rewrite.
Dr. Ian Brooks 48:08
The vision did change it in the context more. So the vision of myself. The goal was always still about helping people realize themselves and offering a book as a guide to for them to actually do so. But the vision evolved to Now look, instead of having four chapters with quite some questions, to now having seven parts broken out in a very seamless, strategic and intentional way of where people are evolving and driving their story. And where am I placing the most emphasis, right? Or more emphasis, then I'm really offering a new perspective. And so that truly did evolve from a vision standpoint of my own self and how I was becoming an author. Because one thing that I never saw myself being it was an author in that first book. Yeah, I didn't see myself as an author. This second book, I needed to become an author. Yeah. to really see and envision myself saying all the things going into all the details of what I was feeling in that moment, what I was seeing when I was smelling or what I envision someone else was doing. Yeah, I had to put that out there. And so that vision changed for me quite substantially. And it added content to the book, it again expanded it to now seven parts in a way that again, afforded me a chance to really put myself into the book In that regard, it was funny, like, I'll go back to a statement I made and, and then tell you the punchline. As I mentioned, when I gave the my second copy of the book to the second editor, just so that she had a more marketing piece that I want to make sure that I was touching on, because she was looking at the characters in the, in the storytelling. And after that, first, at the very outset of our meeting, when she was actually reviewing, giving me feedback, the first thing I asked her was, what did you think about the book, like aside from the edits, and everything else, everything else. She said, You know what, I really liked the book, she enjoyed it. She said, she liked the way that I set myself up as an expert up front, and set the white minds to play with you set the white lines of expectations like this is what you need to do. This is what you will be doing. Yeah, it's not going to be easy. But as, as you as I set the foundation upfront with those parameters, in a very straightforward, easy to read way. She said the book just opened up as you move forward in the book. And when she said that, I was like, I just started to smile and laugh. Because that's my typical personality. Yeah, I'm one of I'm serious. Oh, wow, smile and laugh and joke and all that stuff up front. But I'm a lot more serious. I'm going to set the white lines up front. Yeah. But now I know the rules of the game. Now I can now I can play. Yeah. Now I know what I can and can't do by rules. But also, I know what I can do that or maybe outside these rules, because these rules. Guess what? We didn't say these rules up front. Right? This was one part of our rules. So now I can do anything I want in that case. And so even my example start to you know, I start to get more playful as I go down the path with my client. Yeah. And in that respect, like, okay, remember, this is the rules. Remember, this is the rules I Okay, let's go. That it doesn't mean the rules can't change. But that doesn't mean that we've already established the rules. And so when she said that, again, I smiled. And that's when I knew that this book, really, in a subconscious and unconscious way, this book really became mine, and really reflected my voice.
Stephen Box 52:24
You know, the thing I love about this story is, and I'm pointing this out, because I want to make sure people get it. You have a couple of things that happen here. So one, when you sit out with this original intention of writing your book, it was very Matter of fact, right? It was like, I'm going to write this book, I'm going to help people. And I get where you're coming from as a coach. Because there's, there's a little bit of frustration even there, right? where it's like, you help people when they're around you, and then they get away from you. And then they don't do what they're supposed to do. And it's like, maybe if I just give them the instruction that they can run with them at all. Now, now they'll follow the directions all the time, and they'll get great results, right? Like, that's just that natural inclination as a coach until you learn that that doesn't work. And they have, like, Alright, now I need to do approach. But early in our coaching careers, I think we all do that, right. And so you give people this, you know, list of things to do, right. And it's this helpful thing to have. It's a great resource. But it's not tapping into the emotional side of things. Right. And it wasn't tapping into other people's emotions because you weren't tapped into yours. Right. And what happened is in going through that uncomfortableness of doing the audio book, which I know from our first conversation, you didn't even want to do like people were like, I'm not listening. I'm not reading your book, you have to do an audio version, right? Yes. not buying your book. Right. So you kind of did it out of guilt. but ended up being a blessing because it revealed to you. Because had you just read it, you can't read it in your own voice. Right. And it wasn't until you heard it out loud in your voice that you're like, that doesn't sound like me. Yeah, that doesn't sound like the Ian who talks that sounds like the UN Human Rights. But it isn't a new talks. Right. And so there was a disconnect for you. And so you went back. But when you went back to learn the skills for your new vision for the second version of the book, you didn't do what a lot of people would do, which they would have focused on, I need to improve my writing, I need to learn to tell better stories. I mean, you had kind of already done all that stuff. The first time you had those skills, you just didn't apply them correctly, right? You had to learn new skills, you had to learn how do I tap into me? How do I let go of some of that insecurity some of those fears of judgment that I have. Yep. And tap into my emotions and just be real with this. Yeah. And once you did that, now those other skills were unlocked. So that's what I love that you didn't get caught up on like, Oh, I have to learn this skill, the skill and the skill, the technical stuff. You dug deeper, and you really found the actual skills that you needed to unlock.
Dr. Ian Brooks 55:11
Yeah, that's, that's absolutely the case. And, you know, once, and that doesn't mean, I'm a good writer, otherwise, as much as I did have to tap in to me. Yeah, and my emotion. And in boxing terms, just let my hands go. You know, just let my thoughts go. Yeah, and whatever happens happens.
Stephen Box 55:39
And you're good boxing analogy. Yeah.
Dr. Ian Brooks 55:43
Oh, glad it resonates. But but but it's true. I think in this case, for me, it was like, you know, just let just let your hands go. And, and in that case, for me, just letting my mind go in, put those words on paper and just tell the story as though you're telling somebody the entire story, not trying to get them to an endpoint, they'll get there on their own. Don't get there on their own when they're reading, but just tell the story. And we'll go from there.
Stephen Box 56:13
And now you said that, that doesn't necessarily make you a good author, I'm going to challenge your audience to make
Dr. Ian Brooks 56:22
There we go. I said not necessarily good writer, but you know, it's I tell you what, it's um, it has improved my writing, it's, I can honestly say that, as I've read it again, for myself, I've enjoyed reading it, even with the analytical eye that I have. And, you know, the feedback that I've gotten on the book has been just really, really positive and quite frankly, overwhelming, on, on what people have been able to take away from the book to this point. And yeah, I've been been surprised, in a very pleasant way around what people have really walked away from, which has been good.
Stephen Box 57:06
Well, I will give you this compliment. I told you when we had our pre interview, that my fear going in, because you see me then you're like, you know, I'm a psychologist. That's like, oh, boys, was this guy? Is this gonna be just like one of those like, real super serious, like technical conversations, which I mean, for me, personally, I nerd out on that kind of stuff. I'm good with that. Because I love learning all about chain psychology and everything else. So I can nerd out on this stuff all day. Right. But I'm like, that doesn't necessarily make the best podcast episode. Right? So having met you having gotten to see your personality, seen how you really just have like this fun, contagious personality? I didn't get to read the first version of the book, but I'm really glad that you rewrote it.
Dr. Ian Brooks 58:04
Yeah. Yeah, I am, too. And yeah, I would not decide from my, from my editor. And aside from the people in that pot, in the podcast room in the recording room, there's only one other person who's actually listened to to that material. And that's just because he was that committed to, to that he really wanted to listen to it. That's, that's a true friend there that didn't listen to that. But I would have to say that it really again has afforded me to really just come out in ways that that have been a lot of fun to do, and just bring my true self through the journey. And I think quite frankly, that's what we're all trying to do to be better. Going back to the building habits and even my book intention. And just building a capability doesn't mean it's right all the time. It just means that we're always building and learning from it. And what's in thinking to ourselves, well, what's the worst that can happen? And when we do that, nine times out of 10, what we thought we were fearful of in that moment in time, quite frankly, isn't what we should be afraid of, and wasn't that big of a deal. So in my book for me, in this journey, anyway, has really afforded me that chance to kind of move my anchor, shall I say? Well,
Stephen Box 59:18
I was about to ask you if if you have any closing thoughts that you want to kind of leave people with? I don't know if that if that was your closing thought or if you have something else you want to throw out there?
Dr. Ian Brooks 59:29
Oh, yeah, I know. I know. My closing thought is, you know, as is we had just had to make sure that as we're going through our own journeys, that number one, we're fine as we are. When we're actually making decisions and choices to be better. We're now coming from a place of power. So as we think about new habits and forming new habits or starting new intentions and building those capabilities, You know that you're good enough. And now you're just doing the extra. Now you're looking to build on what you already have. But because of that, we're also going to be checking in adjusting. So I always say, talk to my clients just to own their pace. Pace being an acronym for P, just to be patient, you know, you're not going to get through all this at once. Secondly, the a is accountability. hold yourself accountable. Because you're the only one who's going to go through this journey. No one else is going to ask you about this unless you tell them. It's a wonderful story. Keep going. The see is reflected to stay committed, because you will fail. Like, let's just be clear, there will be times where, like, I'm not doing this.
Stephen Box 1:00:49
Where's that like to say? You'll find out some things that don't work very well. Yeah.
Dr. Ian Brooks 1:00:52
Yeah, you will find out the things that don't work. And those are lessons learned. But keep going stay. Give yourself a fighting chance at improving your story. stay committed. Don't be wily Coyote.
Stephen Box 1:01:06
I mean, he was really I mean, he was committed at least. Oh, yes, at least he was committed to he was committed to learning and creating from scratch. That's the only thing he got right, though, unfortunately.
Dr. Ian Brooks 1:01:18
And last one, that he stands for emotions, both the mental and physical. Because taking it out of the context of our actions, our mental and physical emotions, keep us where we are, because that's where fear comes up. Yeah, and transformations are exhausting. Because you're gonna have to constantly think about it. What am I constantly doing? And there will be times when you will question your mental and emotional fortitude, it will come. But just recognize that do this journey, you can handle it. Yeah. So always remember to remember, manage your pace.
Stephen Box 1:01:54
Love it. Yeah. So someone wants to work with Dr. Ian Brooks. How do they do that?
Unknown Speaker 1:02:01
Dr. Ian Brooks 1:02:01
they can definitely go to my website that is Rhodes smith.com. That's RHOD s.smith.com. They can find out where to work with me both my one on one coaching perspective, as well as some of my group coaching. Also on that site to see and this podcast will be there as well as other places that I've been featured. They can also find me on through various social media aspects through Twitter and Instagram. And there, they can find me at Dr. B, underscore intention. If they want to find the book intention, they can find that on my website, as well as on Barnes and Noble, as well as Amazon, you can purchase the paperback copy as well as the ebook. And there will be a audio book coming in not too distant future.
Stephen Box 1:02:54
Maybe Maybe, yeah.
Dr. Ian Brooks 1:02:56
Well, there will be now will it be my voice will be a different story. But that's, that is still TBD. But it is the audio book is currently under underway now.
Stephen Box 1:03:09
Cool. And idea put, for anyone catching us on YouTube, instead of listening to us on a podcast station. And they put the name of your book up on the screen here just so that way they can. Okay, if the entire title so No, you're also be in your show notes. So if someone is listening on audio, they can just go back and check out the show notes. And it will be in there also know it sounds good. And never forget it is about your intention. So absolutely, yeah. So he and thank you so much for coming on today. Man. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your story and your expertise and your knowledge with everyone and being open about your story and some of the struggles that you went through. And I hope that people were able to take that and learn from it.
Dr. Ian Brooks 1:03:56
Now, thanks for having me here. Steven. It's been a great conversation more than happy to share my struggles and challenges as well as how I've been fasted, and of which we all have a choice and capability of doing so thanks for having me here and sharing today.
Stephen Box 1:04:10
Absolutely. And just a quick reminder for everyone that we will be back next week with another episode of The unshakable habits podcast. You can get notified about that by subscribing on our YouTube channel at unshakable habit, comm slash YouTube. You can also find it anywhere your favorite podcasts are played and you can always learn more at unshakable habits calm until next week. Be on shakable
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