The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Episode 58--How to Make Being Selfish Work for You with Val Jones

May 11, 2022 Billy & Brian Season 5
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Episode 58--How to Make Being Selfish Work for You with Val Jones
Show Notes Transcript

Billy and Brian talk to Val Jones, a master coach for purpose driven women who are ready to uplevel their life, relationships, and income. She is also a corporate coach in the United States for Chanel, the Air Force, Chevron, Warner Brothers, CNN and many more. Val is also the host of The Selfish Woman Podcast where she’s on a mission to prove that ‘selfish’ is not a dirty word, and when we make ourselves a priority, it transforms our relationship with ourselves and with others, which is exactly what she’s here to talk about today.

We ask Val:
--So selfishness, self-centeredness, and self-absorption all come with negative connotations.  I am of the opinion that there is nuance in being self-centered and there is the potential for developing awareness when it comes to self-absorption, but I am not sold on any positives that come from selfishness…what am I missing, or is this more about semantics?
--When you’re coaching, how do you balance the fine line between helping your clients recognize self-limiting beliefs and behaviors that empower them while at the same time not letting that empowerment drift into becoming an egotistical asshole?
--How do  you see selfishness working FOR someone when it comes to relationships? 
--One thing I whole-heartedly agree with you on is how labeling someone a narcissist is all the rage these days when in reality, they’re more likely just an immature asshole.  In your opinion, what’s the difference?
--Tell us more about what subconscious programming is and how that can limit our beliefs if we’re not careful.
--How do we identify those limiting beliefs and what does “saturating in your truth” look like? How do we do that?
--How does recognizing that difference between an asshole and a narcissist apply to your Boundaries Bootcamp?
--Tell us about your upcoming group program Women Rising.
--Our show seems to be very popular with the ladies, particularly midlife female coaches who will reach out to us to be guests on the show.  Now we reached out to you because we wanted to address this idea that “selfish is not a dirty word”, but why do you think there are so many life coaches out there who work specifically with women and so few life coaches out there who work specifically for men?

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Val: The way I like to describe it is full permission to be fully myself while still being responsible for the impact I’m having on others, which means that I get to explore the edges of my personality, my desires, my whatever, and, at the same time, be open to hearing how I’m impacting someone and being willing to take responsibility and to make sure that that is worked out in relationship.


Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life’s second half. Join your hosts, Billy and Brian, a couple of average dudes who will serve as your armchair life coaches as we share our life experiences, both the good and the bad, in an effort to help us all better understand how we can enjoy and make the most of the life we have left to live in a more meaningful way. Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with us through The Mindful Midlife Crisis.


Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I’m your host, Billy, and, as always, I’m joined by my good friend, Brian on the Bass. Brian, how you doing over there, man?


Brian: I am gnarly today, Billy, but in a good way, in a 90s kind of way, not like gnarly like decrepit or anything, I’m actually gnarly in a very groovy kind of way, if you want to parallel it to the 70s and 90s. 


Billy: Oh, are you feeling gnarly because your new Gen X Jukebox band had an absolutely stunning opening weekend?


Brian: It really was great. We couldn’t have asked for better. There was a lot of people there. Everybody was singing every word. We had dancers. So it was pretty good.


Billy: I felt bad that I missed it because I was in Denver and now I’m in Seattle making my way to Seoul and if people are like, “Where is this dude?” we’re recording this out of order, okay? This is actually the last episode that we’re recording but it’s hitting right in the middle of our season so I’m actually kind of curious if people are going to hear a shift in my mood throughout these episodes, that sort of thing. But I’m glad that you had a great show and they called and booked you right away after that show, didn’t they?


Brian: Yeah, management there at the club actually got on the phone to the agent after the second set and said, “Get these guys back here as soon as possible,” so that’s a pretty good sign.


Billy: That is a good sign. And if you’re not following Gen X Jukebox on Instagram, go follow them on Instagram. You can follow them on Facebook as well. It’s going to be a good time. You’re going to be hitting the Minnesota circuit but then are you hitting the Midwest as well?


Brian: We’ll be playing the 10 state area. We’ve got shows in South Dakota, Iowa right now. I think we have one in Wisconsin. We have a lot of them. We’re booked straight through October right now so that’s pretty exciting. And yesterday booked four more shows for November-December so the year’s almost full.


Billy: Nice work, dude. Nice work. I’m proud of you. This has been a project that you’ve been trying to put together for a while. We’ve been talking a long time here to start the show, which feels a little bit self-indulgent here, but that’s actually fitting because today’s guest talks all about why selfishness should not be a dirty word. Our guest today is Val Jones. Val is a master coach for purpose-driven women who are ready to uplevel their life, relationships, and income. She is also a corporate coach in the United States for Chanel, the Air Force, Chevron, Warner Brothers, CNN, and many, many more. Val is also the host of The Selfish Woman podcast where she’s on a mission to prove that selfish is not a dirty word and when we make ourselves a priority, it transforms our relationships with ourselves and with others and that’s exactly what she’s here to talk about today with us. So, welcome to the show, Val Jones.


Val: Hey. Thanks for having me, guys. I’m really excited to be here.


Billy: We’re excited to have you here too. I know you through my good friend Jill Dahler and I know Jill is a very sassy woman with a potty mouth and I’ve listened to your podcast and I know you are a sassy woman with a potty mouth and those generally are our favorite guests. So, we are looking forward to our conversation with you.


Val: Maybe that should be my new Instagram handle, sassy woman with a potty mouth.


Billy: I like that. I think that will get you a lot of followers right there. I mean, outside of being a guest on this amazing podcast, I mean. So we always have our guests share 10 roles that they play and, Val, I’m going to give it to you now, your 10 roles are far and away the most entertaining 10 roles that we have had in five seasons. 


Val: You’re lying.


Billy: No, that is a sincere compliment. They are very creative. So, will you please share your 10 roles with us?


Val: You know what, I was about to give you shit because I was so annoyed that I had to do this because I’m like I’m not good at this and so I was shocked to hear you just say that because I was feeling a little embarrassed about my lackluster job I did. So thank you.


Brian: Never underestimate yourself, Val. That’s the key I think we just learned here.


Val: All right, so you want me to share all my 10?


Billy: Please. 


Val: Okay. Rule breaker, recovering people pleaser, life changer, tree hugger, not in the way you might think, mother, manifester, world wanderer, romantic, West Coast obsessed, and entrepreneur.


Billy: Let’s dive into some of these here that you listed that you’re looking forward to in the second half of life. Let’s talk about world wanderer because that’s kind of where I am in my life right now so I’m relating to that. Why are you looking forward to being a world wanderer? Where have you wandered around the world so far?


Val: Yeah. I didn’t start wandering the world in any real way until, I wouldn’t say midlife but definitely in my 40s. In my 20s, I was having babies so in my 40s was when I really started having more of the finances and the freedom to travel. So then I really made up for lost time and I did six months, went to Spain, Morocco, Greece, Italy, France. I’ve been to Scotland, England. Also Costa Rica. So I have really fallen in love with travel and fallen in love with sort of minimalist travel, I’m sure you can relate with all your crazy wanderings, and I’m really looking forward to getting back out there. I was going to go to Sri Lanka this year and swim with blue whales, which is like a whole story in itself, but I postponed it because I had to book the flights last year and didn’t know what was going to happen and that’s a lot of travel so maybe next year I’ll do that. 


Billy: Do you have any other places that are high on your priority list that you want to visit?


Val: I’d love to go back to Costa Rica just because there’s something about it that really speaks to me. Other than that, I’m open. I think Thailand maybe is in my future.


Billy: That was supposed to be in my future multiple times but that has not worked out. But, in hindsight, Puerto Vallarta was a wonderful consolation prize and I actually think it was where I was supposed to be. It’s funny how those things work out. You also said rule breaker and I followed you on social media long enough and, like I said, I’ve listened to your podcast enough to know that this certainly applies to you, that you relish in just being out on a fringe right here in this idea of being selfishness, which we’re going to dive into a little bit too. Talk about why are you looking forward to being a rule breaker in the second half of life. 


Val: As one of my other roles I mentioned, I’m a recovering people pleaser, which means that most of my life, I followed the rules. I was the good girl, I was the responsible one, and that was fine, that was great, but it was a box that I was put into based on my childhood, my upbringing, my experiences that felt like me. When I started to understand that it actually was a construct that I was living inside of based on my programming and my life experiences, I started seeing the rules I had been living by and a lot of those rules had to do with what I wore, how I behaved, I never used to swear, there were just so many rules I lived by. I also was raised in a religious household so there was a lot of that. And when I started seeing the rules, I started seeing that those were actually the prison that I was living in that was keeping me in a very small, sheltered, safe, lackluster life, if you will, and so I started breaking the rules and the more I started breaking the rules, the more life got way more fun, way more exciting, way more adventurous, and so I look forward to breaking many more rules in the future and living from my inner being, my connection to myself, and not based on external expectation that just feels like the way I should be living.


Brian: So when you decided to break the rules, did you start small? Did you go in the exit door, stuff like that, and then work your way up or did you just go directly to like grand theft auto?


Val: Yeah, I pretty much went to grand theft auto. My marriage blew up in a very dramatic way after 24 years and that really catapulted me into a lot of experimenting with freedom and coming out of a lot of ways that I’ve been living that were status quo and so I would say I pretty much, yeah, shot right out of the gate.


Billy: So then how did becoming a rule breaker help you shift into a manifester for yourself and for others?


Val: I love that. So manifesting requires you to know what you want and it requires you to know what you want from your actual desires based on who you are. And if you are manifesting based on rules, like I should want this or I should want that, it’s not going to go so well because you are trying to create something, you’re trying to manifest something based on a desire that isn’t even yours, it’s coming from your programming, which means you’re in cognitive dissonance which never works. So, the more connected I am to who I really am, my inner being, my true self, then I can break those rules of expectation and manifest what I really want, which might look a little weird, dangerous, out of the norm, unexpected, which makes it fun.


Billy: Well, and this is the topic that I want to explore a little bit because you suggested that when you get to know yourself a little bit better then you’re able to manifest your true self and you’ve spun that into embracing selfishness. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to take a quick break and then when we come back, we’re going to talk to Val about how being selfish can actually manifest more of what you want in life. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.



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Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with Val Jones. Val is the podcast host of The Selfish Woman. She’s a master coach for purpose-driven women. And we’re here to talk about this idea of being selfish. I told you that I was going to challenge you a little bit on this. So, selfishness, self-centeredness, and self-absorption all come with negative connotations and I’m of the opinion that there is nuance in being self-centered and there is the potential for developing awareness when it comes to self-absorption but I’m not sold on any positives that come from being selfish. So, what is it that I’m missing or it’s more just about semantics because I taught English for too long?


Val: Could be all of those things. When you think of selfish, and you could correct me, you’re the English teacher, but when I think of selfish I think of full of self. Would you agree with that?


Billy: I look at it this way. When you’re self-absorbed, it means that you’re so wrapped up in what you’re doing that you’re unaware of what’s going on, but at least when it’s brought to your attention, you’re like, “Oh, okay, okay.” But when you you’re selfish, I look at it as you’re so wrapped up in what you’re doing and then when someone says, “Hey, you’re kinda wrapped up in just you,” your response is, “Meh, I don’t care,” that sort of thing. So that’s how I look at selfishness and so you’re looking at it from full of self, which is a reframing of it and that’s interesting to me. So, carry on with that. I’m curious where you’re going with that.


Val: Yeah, I’m redefining it and I love that we can make words mean whatever we want. When I was out for a walk yesterday, I was thinking about that and thought, well, how many words have we just decided means something different? Gay means something very different now than it did in the 50s. So, for me, it’s like I want to just redefine selfish and I’ve decided it means full of self and it’s the opposite of selfless. Selfless means less of self, and selfish means full of self. And for women, and also men, I think a lot of men might relate to this, we were raised to be selfless, we were raised to put others before ourselves, and we were raised to make sure that everyone else is okay, we’re taking care of the people in our families, we’re taking care of the people in our lives, and often to the detriment of our own self-care. And women especially who’ve been raised to be people pleasers, the good girl, are in this mode of putting themselves on the backburner, putting their needs on the backburner and taking care of everyone else, and what that results in is burnout, exhaustion, overwhelm, and resentment. And so when I reframe it and say, “Well, look, if you’re not full of yourself, what are you full of?” Well, you’re full of conditioning, programming, social media, religious indoctrination, a lot of external information that tells you who you are and how you should act so when we actually start to become full of self and we put our needs first, we’re making sure we’re taking care of, we’re looked after, we’re doing what lights us up and excites us, we’re full of our self, then not only are we happy but when we give to others, we’re giving from overflow, we’re giving from joy, we’re giving from abundance, which is way nicer on the receiving end to get, to receive that, but also, it’s way nicer for us to give from that place of like, “I’m so full of myself, I have overflow to give to everyone in my life.”


Billy: It sounds like it’s more of an empowerment principle from your perspective. 


Val: Absolutely. 


Billy: So then, one of my least favorite quotes that I see people post all the time is from Marilyn Monroe where she says, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best,” which, in my opinion, epitomizes a complete lack of awareness and what I would deem selfish because the whole quote is, “I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure, I make mistakes, and I am out of control and at times hard to handle, but if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” So when you’re coaching, how do you balance that fine line between helping your clients recognize their self-limiting beliefs, which we’ve talked about extensively on here, and behaviors that empower them while at the same time not letting that empowerment drift into them becoming an egotistical asshole?


Val: When I think of that Marilyn Monroe quote, I think it’s really interesting because, on the one hand, it does kind of sound like, “Yeah, you should be able to handle me at my worst,” and, on the other hand, it almost sounds like permission to be an asshole and everyone just has to deal with it so I don’t really align with that, but the way I like to describe it is full permission to be fully myself while still being responsible for the impact I’m having on others, which means that I get to explore the edges of my personality, my desires, my whatever, and, at the same time, be open to hearing how I’m impacting someone and being willing to take responsibility for that and to make sure that that is worked out in relationship.


Billy: I like that. Okay. I’m starting to come around on this idea now. So you’ve done such an eloquent job of explaining this, I think I’m almost fully converted here. 


Val: You getting there?


Billy: Yeah, yeah, I’m getting there. I like it. You’ve done a nice job with that so far.


Brian: Eloquent, that should be a word of the day, Billy, we got to write that down.


Billy: We’ll add that. Eloquent sounds very fancy.


Brian: Eloquent.


Val: Very fancy.


Billy: We have to be in ball gowns when we do that episode.


Brian: Who says I’m not right now?


Billy: Very true. Very true. Let the audience’s imagination drift on that one.


Val: None of us know what we’re wearing on the bottom. I could have a ball gown underneath that T-shirt.


Billy: That is true. That is true. So, this episode follows our conversations with relationship coach Christine Chang, who I know you’ve also interviewed on your podcast so everybody check out that episode of Val’s podcast with Christine Chang, amongst all her other episodes because they’re all very good, and then we also talked to Deanna Bryant who hosts the Revive Your Midlife Marriage podcast. So, how do you see selfishness working for someone when it comes to relationships?


Val: I’ll use myself as an example because I think what I did is a great example of what not to do, and that is to be selfless in a relationship. I worked really hard at that of focusing on the kids, focusing on the partner, making sure everyone else was happy. Okay. We moved about 30 times in a 24-year marriage. My ex was a bipolar and a narcissist and an alcoholic so it was a triple threat. So I was just like, “Whatever you want, I’m here to support you,” and so I moved whenever he wanted to move, and, after 24 years, I realized that selfless isn’t a great strategy in a relationship. That was a big contribution that I brought that didn’t work in that relationship was I wasn’t fighting to be selfish. I wasn’t making my needs met. I wasn’t speaking up. I wasn’t saying no, saying yes when I wanted to say no. So, for me, I really learned that when I’m selfish in a relationship, not only is it good for me, it’s good for my partner because I’m expressing my needs and communicating my needs and setting healthy boundaries and, at the same time, I’m allowing the other person to be selfish as well and say like if two individuals are fully meeting their own needs, providing for themselves, communicating what they need, I think it works a lot better than one person sacrificing everything to just keep the peace and the status quo, and a lot of my clients are in that place where they’re realizing that it’s not a sustainable strategy.


Billy: Well, it’s interesting that you brought up that your ex-husband is a narcissist because in one of your episodes, you actually talked about how labeling someone a narcissist is all the rage these days when, in reality, they’re probably most likely just an immature asshole. So, what’s the difference in your opinion between a narcissist and someone who just doesn’t have the emotional maturity yet?


Val: It’s a buzzword now. Everybody’s a narcissist. If you don’t take out the trash, you’re a narcissist. I mean, it’s just gotten a little out of hand. So, if we reel it back to really what the clinical definition of a narcissist is, it’s someone who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, they fantasize about being superior, they take advantage of others to get what they want, and one of the biggest hallmarks of narcissist is they lack empathy. So, when you look at someone who’s a classic diagnosed mental health issue of a narcissist, you can see how it shows up. An asshole is just someone who is treating people like shit and walking around being toxic or whatever but not necessarily a narcissist.


Billy: It’s funny, because as I was listening to that episode, you were listing off all of those characteristics of a narcissist and I’m like, “Well, I’ve done that in the past, I’ve done some of that in the past. Oh, shit, am I narcissist?” but then you do a great job of dispelling that for people who are going through that because you even acknowledged like, “Okay, if you’re going through this list right now and you think you’re a narcissist, you’re most likely not,” so, for those people out there who do need to hear that, why are they most likely not a narcissist?


Val: If you are asking yourself, “Am I a narcissist? Because, look, I’ve done this in the past,” or whatever, if you are even asking yourself that question, it proves that you don’t have to ask yourself that question because a narcissist would never ask themselves if they are a narcissist. Even if you tell someone they are a narcissist, they won’t believe you. So, you don’t have to worry about it, Billy. You’re not a narcissist, don’t worry about it.


Billy: I want that on the record for everybody to hear. That might actually be the soundbite from this episode right here, just so that’s the first thing people hear in this episode is, “Billy, you are not a narcissist.”


Val: Maybe that’s your new Instagram handle.


Brian: They do have quizzes for this online too, Billy. You could just — ’cause you can trust those 100 percent —


Val: Totally.


Brian: — the accurate scientific diagnosis that the internet provides through quizzes. 


Billy: When I shook my Magic 8 Ball, it said, “Ask again later,” so I like Val’s answer much, much better.


Brian: We’ll take her answer, yes, thank you.


Billy: So let’s do this. We’re going to take a quick break and then when we come back, we’re going to talk about some of the programs that Val offers and we’re also going to talk about this idea of subconscious programming with Val. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. 



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Thanks for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We will do our best to put out new content every Wednesday to help get you over the midweek hump. If you’d like to contact us or if you have suggestions about what you’d like us to discuss, feel free to email us at or follow us on Instagram at @mindful_midlife_crisis. Check out the show notes for links to the articles and resources we reference throughout the show. Oh, and don’t forget to show yourself some love every now and then too. And now back to the show.


Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with Val Jones. She is the host of The Selfish Woman podcast. She is also a master coach for purpose-driven women. You can find her on Instagram at @msvaljones, go check that out right there. So, Val, in one of your episodes, you talked about subconscious programming so can you talk about what that is and how that can limit our beliefs if we’re not careful? I found this to be really, really interesting.


Val: I love talking about this because it permeates everything in our lives. So, if you think about your childhood experience, whatever it was, good, bad, challenging, happy, you absorbed messaging from your experiences and the messaging you absorbed from your experiences become how you see yourself. So, for instance, maybe you got rewarded for getting straight A’s in school but if you got a B or C, you just didn’t get rewarded. It’s not that you got criticized, you just got the lack of the reward. And I had a client tell me that the other day and now she’s struggling with perfectionism. So you can see how it’s this subconscious programming that says, “It’s good to get A’s, it’s good to excel, it’s good to get that high mark,” and your brain lays down a track in your subconscious that says, “This is how we’re gonna be loved and accepted,” because a child always needs love and acceptance to feel safe and so your brain creates these subconscious programs that are basically designed to keep you safe, it’s doing a great job, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, but then as you grow up, you’ve been playing that tape over and over in your subconscious, like a cassette tape, you stick the cassette tape in the recorder, what does it do? It listens, records, and plays back. That’s what your brain is doing. Now, that’s a very Gen X analogy. I just realized that’s perfect for you guys. And it’s playing these loops for decades and decades and it becomes so subconscious that you don’t realize it’s happening. So, if you think of a glacier, the tip of the glacier is your conscious mind. Five to ten percent of the time, you’re actually accessing your conscious mind during your waking hours. The bottom of the glacier, what you don’t see, is the subconscious mind, which is 90 to 95 percent of what’s operating during the day. That’s what’s running the show. It’s not your conscious mind, it’s the subconscious, and that’s the part of the glacier that took the Titanic down, that’s the part that really drives our experiences in life.


Billy: Well, and that connects to what, when we talked to Deanna Bryant, when she and her husband went to marriage counseling, they had to unpack their past history before they were even together and that reminds me of when we talked to Jill Dahler when she talked about healing childhood trauma. So, as you’re working with people, how are you helping them unpack, whether it be childhood trauma, healing the inner child work, that sort of stuff, or just unpacking those modes of operation that subconsciously they don’t even realize are embedded in them?


Val: I mean, it’s a lot of different things. Yes, inner child and, yes, releasing the past, but one thing that’s really powerful that I find with my clients is dealing with what’s going on right now. So, you’ve got this subconscious programming, regardless of why it happened, it’s here now, it’s happening in your brain all the time. Let’s get really clear about what it is. So you got to pull it out of your subconscious so you can see it. So I work with them to see like what is your special sauce of subconscious programming? Is it perfectionism? Is it people pleasing? Is it being hyper vigilant, always looking for like what bad is going to happen? Worrying about the future, feeling anxious, controlling? There’s so many different ways that people have subconscious programming that is unique to them because their experience is unique. So, once they start seeing it and pulling it out into their awareness, they start to see how they’re sabotaging themselves in their life based on the subconscious programming and then we start pulling those out and we start basically uploading new software in the brain, new beliefs that support who they really are, how they really want to feel, the results they want to have.


Billy: So, when you pull these out, do you help them recognize, “You’re a people pleaser so this is how it’s not working for you, this is also how it is working for you in a positive way, so keep these aspects but let’s ditch these aspects”? Because I imagine that the subconscious programming that people have, it’s a yin and a yang, where sometimes it’s good for them, sometimes it’s not so much. So, do you draw out what specific examples of those, like I said, we’ll just use like perfectionism or people pleasing, how those work to their advantage and how they work to their disadvantage?


Val: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of my corporate clients have perfectionism as a subconscious programming and it’s actually benefited them immensely. They strive for excellence, they have high integrity, they have a huge work ethic, and so they are really successful in what they do. So, yeah, you’re right, that’s the part that’s serving them. The part that isn’t serving them is when they procrastinate. That’s a byproduct of perfectionism. So they’re procrastinating on that project because it’s never quite good enough or it’s too overwhelming to imagine doing it because their standards are so high when really it could have been done at 75 percent. So we look at, yeah, how’s it working and how’s it holding you back.


Billy: It’s funny that this is the last conversation that we’re having to record for the season, and like I said, it’s going to hit right in the middle because the theme for this season revolves around gaining clarity and that didn’t become clear until about halfway through because we weren’t real clear about what direction we were heading, we were just like, “Let’s just talk to cool people,” that sort of thing. So, there is some irony in the theme of this all, but especially when we talked to Christine Chang whose biggest message I feel is clarity, she stresses clarity so much in her work. So, how do we identify those limiting beliefs and what does saturating in your truth look like? Because that sounds like a bath that I want to soak in right there, just in my truth. You talked about daily self-inventory and reflection work so can you talk a little bit about what you prescribe for the people that you work with?


Val: Yeah, it’s my prescription that none of them like, they always get mad at me when I tell them to do this, because daily self-inventory is where you get out of your comfort zone which is how we grow, we all know that, but here’s what I get them to do. I get them to reflect on their day. So, at the end of the day, I want you to look at your day like you’re watching a movie, you’re watching a movie of yourself going through your day, and see if you can pick out the subconscious programming showing up. See if you can be like, “Oh, the people pleaser showed up there when I said yes even when I wanted to say no,” and just make a little note about that. Or, “Oh my gosh, I was totally controlling when I was cooking dinner and I wouldn’t let my daughter help because she doesn’t do it the right way.” So you’re really just taking a daily self-inventory of your brain and you’re making notes about what’s going on in your brain, how is that subconscious programming showing up in a way that’s holding you back. And it’s really fascinating. When my clients do this, even just for a week, they come back and they’re like, “I had no freaking idea how, number one, how busy my brain is but, number two, how much my programming is influencing my thoughts and my emotions and my actions,” and they really start to build awareness. And I always say you can’t change what you can’t see so that’s a huge exercise and anybody can do and just take a look at what shows up.


Billy: So you talked about some of the work that you do with your clients and I know you have a boundaries boot camp. Tell us a little bit about what that is and what sort of work you’re doing in terms of boundaries, because we talked about narcissists before so how do you help people establish those boundaries so that they’re not caught in a narcissist web?


Val: Yeah, boundaries are key because narcissists love relationships with empaths, with people pleasers, with people who don’t have boundaries, that’s who they’re looking for because they’re going to be able to control and manipulate those people. So you see it all the time. So boundaries boot camp is a self-study course. It’s four videos that people can take and watch at their own leisure, but I literally take you through like what even is a boundary, why the fuck do you need it, why are you struggling with boundaries and then I get into some of the self-work that you need to do around why that’s been an issue for you and then I get into like how to know what your boundary needs to be in any situation. And then, the most important piece is how do you enforce that boundary because a boundary without a consequence is just a request. It’s not actually a boundary. And that’s a piece that trips people up. And then also how to deal with your emotions as you’re setting boundaries, because it’s very scary for people who are stepping into this, they feel like a bitch or a bad guy or mean and then, also, how do you deal with the other person’s reaction to your boundary, especially if it’s a narcissist, they are not going to like it. The course is really for people who know that, “Look, I know I suck at boundaries, I know it’s hard for me to say no, I’m abandoning myself all over the place. What do I do about it?” They can take that course and it’ll take them by the hands through the whole process.


Brian: You said process. So Canadian.


Val: My American clients always make fun of me for that and I just don’t get it. You guys say, what? Process?


Brian: Process.


Billy: Process, yeah.


Brian: But we’re from Minnesota so we say prahcess.


Billy: You also have a new upcoming group program called Women Rising. So can you talk a little bit about that?


Val: Yeah, I love this program. It is a group program for women who are ready to do all the shit I’m just talking about, get out of people pleasing, get out of being the good girl, start to learn how to set boundaries, but it’s three stages. The first stage, it’s 12 weeks, so the first four weeks we are letting go of the past, dealing with all the shit from the past, all the childhood stuff, all the trauma, we’re getting that dealt with. The next four weeks, we’re reconnecting with ourselves so they’re going to learn how to connect to their true inner being, I call it, the place where you have your wisdom and your truth and learn how to connect to that, undo that subconscious programming like I’m talking about. And then the last four weeks is get clear on a vision for your life. What do you want? What are your goals? What are your dreams? Let’s get some excitement happening about where you’re going to go next. So, it’s 12 weeks of coaching calls and Q&A calls, we have a Facebook group, and that’s coming up in May and then we’ll be doing another one in the fall.


Billy: And you’re also teaming up with our past guest, Jill Dahler, for a women’s retreat. So can you talk about what is this women’s retreat? Where can people sign up? When is it? Where is it?


Val: Yeah, it’s September 29th for four days. It’s on Vancouver Island. If you’ve never been — have you been to Vancouver Island, you guys?


Brian: Never have.


Billy: I’ve been to Victoria Island and I’ve watched whales swim around there but I haven’t been to Vancouver Island.


Val: Yeah. So, Billy, you’re going to get a geography lesson. It’s called Vancouver Island and Victoria is the city on Vancouver Island so you actually have been.


Billy: Okay, all right. So, yeah, yeah, I’ve been to Vancouver Island.


Brian: You’re striking out on this whole Canada thing, man. First process and now this, man. 


Val: I don’t think you’re going to be let in if you try to come back now.


Brian: That’s right. We’re not going to garner a large audience in Canada, apparently. I apologize to our Canadian listeners for Billy.


Val: Thank you, Brian.


Brian: Yeah.


Val: All right. So, yeah, it’s on Vancouver Island, and if you’ve never been, it’s incredible, rainforest, it’s a very sacred place. It’s for a small group of women, we’re going to spend four days there, and Jill, the fabulous Jill is doing all the yoga and so, you know what, if women are listening and they’re like, “Damn, I would love four days away from my family. When was the last time I spent four days just by myself?” there’s going to be lots of time to just be in nature but it’s yoga, meditation, workshops, we’re going to teach journaling, there’s going to be delicious food and doing a lot of inner work on everything I’m talking about. It’s all going to happen. It’s going to be one of those before and after moments, I like to say. You know, when you do something and it’s like, “I remember who I was before and then I can see how my life changed trajectory because of that experience,” that’s what it’s going to be.


Billy: Well, our show might not be popular in Canada but, based on our demographics when we look at the statistics, our show actually does very well with the ladies. Now, part of that is because both Brian and I are devastatingly handsome, of course.


Brian: And charming and all that stuff. 


Billy: We are the total package and we get a lot of requests from midlife female coaches who will reach out to us to be guests on the show. We actually reached out to you, Val, because we wanted you to talk more about this idea of selfish is not a dirty word but you’re doing a lot of work with women with the boundaries boot camp and the Women Rising and the women’s retreat, why do you think there are so many life coaches out there who work specifically with women and so few life coaches out there who work specifically with men?


Val: It’s true, there’s so many women coaches, women are working with coaches far more than men. I do work with a lot of men through my corporate coaching and so I get to kind of see both sides. But, based on my own experience, I would say women are more comfortable with vulnerability more so than men. We’ve been raised to be maybe more comfortable sharing, women like to share their feelings with each other. We like to connect through those areas of sharing our struggles and that kind of thing. And so going to a coach might feel a little less scary for women and a lot of men have been raised to see vulnerability as a weakness so I think that might be a barrier for men to enter into coaching. And I have a lot of colleagues who are male coaches who, as you said, they work with women predominantly. My second husband, because, yes, I’ve been married twice, so I did the first time, I tried it again and that one didn’t work out either, but he — and I learned a lot from Christine Chang about that. But, anyways, my second ex was a coach, a male life coach, and all of his clients were women as well. So I think that it’s partly that, more comfortable with vulnerability. I was thinking about this earlier today, because I knew you were going to ask me this question so I did have some time to think about it and one of my thoughts, I’d love to know what you guys think as men, is that women have had to work harder on our evolution, we’ve had to work harder to evolve, to develop our emotional intelligence, to understand what’s holding us back because we haven’t had the power in society and so as we’re working to progress in our careers or whatever it might be, we’ve had to really work on ourselves, whereas maybe men haven’t had to, it’s maybe been easier for men, maybe they’ve been able to skate by with a little less self-awareness. What do you guys think? I’d love to hear.


Brian: I think men are dumb. We’re way dumber than you guys. I think you’re much more in touch with yourselves and each other than we are, for sure.


Billy: The episode that we did with Teresa Sande around impostor syndrome, I think emphasized just male privilege in general that we don’t have to consider certain things because goes back to when we talked to Jodi Pfarr, the triangle is right side up, that’s what’s normalized in society so I think that that plays a role in it and I think that’s, like what Teresa says, that plays a role in that idea of impostor syndrome too where do women have the same supports, especially as you’re moving up the corporate ladder where it’s still predominantly male. So I see the need for it. I think you make a good point about men feel like they have to figure it out on their own and it’s a pride thing and that’s why they’re not inclined to seek out a coach because we’ll figure it out on our own. That’s why I applaud Greg Scheinman, like when we talked to him, Greg is doing everything that I want to do right now in terms of coaching with midlife males but I should really be taking his courses because he’s doing such a phenomenal job and he’s really setting the standard very high with the work that he does and the six F’s and all that sort of thing. So, if you’re a male listening to this and you’re thinking we’re male bashing here at this point, no, seek out a coach to work with. We just talked to Jesse Ross not too long ago and he dropped something on Instagram today that said, “Yes, the world is oversaturated with life coaches right now,” but it is important to work with a coach because a coach is someone who can provide new perspective for you so that those bingo balls that are tossing around there that they’re the same old thoughts over and over and over again, they can pick those out and help you slow those down a little bit and maybe like what you do with subconscious programming, hold them up in front of you so that you can look at them and say, “Is this serving me right now?” And, to your point, I think it does require a lot of vulnerability on the part of men to be willing to do that.


Val: And I always say you can only grow to the limits of your own perspective so that’s why a coach is great too because they are going to help you to see different perspectives that you maybe don’t have access to in your own. But, like I said, I work with a lot of men in corporate America and I’d say like 75 percent of those male clients are very open, very coachable, very willing to look at their stuff. They’re doing the work. And that that does give me hope. I do believe that men are coming around to seeing the benefits of having a coach,


Brian: And I should elaborate, I don’t want to be seen like I’m male bashing either. When I say guys are dumb, I say that merely to hopefully motivate somebody listening to go, “Is that possible or would I behave differently if I didn’t know everything?” you know what I mean? Maybe it would spur a question, “Hey, wait a minute, why did that guy say — maybe I don’t know everything. Maybe I should ask some questions about life that maybe I haven’t been asking before.” So, guys, I’m not saying you’re dumb, but imagine for a second that you don’t know everything and I’ll tell you the day you really embrace the fact that you don’t know everything and start asking questions, your life takes a different turn, man. It does, because people start engaging with you more. You’ll find out more about life if you ask questions like this, guys.


Billy: Be curious.


Brian: Yeah, and don’t be afraid. Yeah.


Billy: That’s why we like doing this podcast because we get to ask questions to people like you, Val, who are doing really amazing things and helping people live their best lives. So we really appreciate you being on here. If you enjoyed this conversation with Val, you can check her out on Instagram at @msvaljones. If you’re interested in those programs, she has a link there, you can click on those, it takes you to all those programs. You can go to her website, which is She has all the information there. That’s where you can sign up for the women’s retreat as well if that interests you. So, Val, thank you so much for being on the show. This was a lot of fun. And I got to tell you that I’m glad that you reframed this idea of selfishness for me because I have absolutely been called selfish because of the way that I live my life, which is child free and I’m not dating anybody right now, and it’s hard for me to wrap my head around I’m not living a traditional life and I think people who do live a traditional life, they look at what I’m doing and I’m traveling and I don’t have kids and this, that, and the other and they’re like, “Well, you must be selfish,” that sort of thing. So maybe there was a little bit of subconscious unpacking right there that that needed to happen so I appreciate that.


Val: You’re breaking the rules by living your life the way you want. But are you happy?


Billy: I’ll tell you what, not working and not having kids and traveling to South Korea, absolutely —


Val: Well, then you’re doing your job.


Billy: Feeling very happy.


Brian: Good for you. Yes.


Val: You’re doing your job. We need more happy people. 


Brian: Billy, I think too, man, a lot of that is yours being self-conscious because the feedback I get are like, “Wow, he’s doing what? Oh, that’s cool.” I don’t think people think that a lot, that, “Oh, the guy that age, not married?” I think that’s an older person thought like your contemporaries aren’t thinking that, man. Maybe somebody older is with more “traditional” values.


Val: They’re just jealous.


Brian: Yeah, right? I mean, I see it and I’m like, “Yeah, go, Billy, get out there and live, buddy.”


Billy: I appreciate that. To all you single ladies out there who think being 44 and never married with no kids is a red flag, eat shit, all right? Val, thank you so much. We really appreciated having you on the show. For Val, for Brian, this is Billy, thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care, friends.


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