Episode #2: Other People’s Opinions (Fear Mini-Series, part 2)

We’re back with part 2 of our 3-part mini series about overcoming fears. Today we’re talking about setting boundaries around other people’s thoughts and feelings, how to identify the opinions that matter, how to navigate the opinions that matter, how to identify facts vs. a story, and how to publish assuming that everyone is rooting for you. We’re also covering a listener topic request of *how* to set boundaries and an assignment that helps wrap up our thoughts on overcoming other’s feelings.

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Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.


  1. What’s on my plate [2:40]
  2. Shop Talk: Other peoples’ opinions [11:03]
  3. Listener Question: Setting boundaries [41:36]
  4. Tip of The Week: Homework [50:11]

Cassy Joy:  In today’s episode, we’re back with the second segment of our three-part Driven podcast miniseries about overcoming fears. Today we’re talking about setting boundaries around other people’s thoughts and feelings, how to identify the opinions that matter, how to navigate the opinions that matter, how do identify fact versus story, and how to publish assuming that everyone is rooting for you. We’re also covering a listener topic request of how to actually set those boundaries. And we’re giving you an assignment that helps wrap up our thoughts on overcoming others’ feelings.

Cassy Joy:  Today’s show is brought to you by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants by focusing on bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes a whole-food, properly prepared, and nutrient dense diet as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s innate ability to heal.

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1.  What’s on my plate [2:40]

Diane Sanfilippo:  We’ll be starting off with What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses and our lives for the week. So, Cassy, why don’t you tell us what’s on your plate this week?

Cassy Joy:  I would love to. {laughs} I was drafting; it’s so funny. When I make notes for what I’m going to say here, I’m like blurgh-blurgh-blurgh; bubbling over. When I read last weeks’, I thought; what else could there be. But there is more.

So this week; I’m not sure when this is going to come out, but we are working on September content. So, it’s the beginning of August right now. And when it comes to what we put out on www.FedandFit.com, we treat it like an editorial. We’re running a little close to timeline than what we normally like. We like to build content six to nine months out, ideally.

But anyway. We’re doing September content. People have been really asking for more Cook Once, Eat all Week, but that incorporates breakfast and snacks and lunch; and, what are the other meals? Desserts. So we are going to hit the ground running in September with four of those weeks. More Cook Once, and all of those things. So there’s going to be something new published every single day in September. {laughs} So the team is downstairs right now cooking away, and I’ll pop out when we’re doing recording and go take photos.

Let’s see; I am also working on fine-tuning book three concept. That’s about all I can say right now. But we did make the decision that I am going to; or, we’re chatting about photography. And that’s kind of the fun conversation right now. I get to come up with a creative vision board on Pinterest. You know; what do I really want the look and the feel to be. And looking at photographers. Pouring through their portfolios. So that’s a really fun phase of the project.

This weekend, we’re headed to Temecula, to go hang out with Bethany McDaniel and her husband and two little ones; the owner of Primally Pure and Primal Pastures. Bethany is a longtime friend of mine. And it’s just been so neat. We both started our businesses around the same time, and it’s just been so neat to see Fed and Fit and Primally Pure blossom. So we’re going to chat business, but really to just go hang out. Austin and Gray are coming with me. So it’s going to be a really; I’m just really excited about it, minus the whole toddler on an airplane thing. Any parents listening out there; it’s like when we were planning the airplane rides, the time schedule, it’s like this time zone Tetris of; when will she nap? And if we can get her to nap on the airplane is best case scenario. Anyway, so that’s what we’re doing.

Book two is still going really well. I was going to tell Diane before we pressed record, but then I was like; I’ll save it for the episode. But Book two! Book two. Normal people don’t talk like that. Cook Once, Eat All Week is doing; I’m shocked. Still genuinely surprised by how well it’s doing. And that’s because people keep sharing from it, genuinely, because it’s solving a problem. And it’s just humbling to be along for the ride on that. It’s still ranked; I mean, this morning I logged in. Who knows where it will be when this comes out? But, it was 85 when I woke up out of all books on Amazon. And, two weeks ago it was ranked in the 20s on Amazon. So it’s just been phenomenal.

It’s breaking my goal; my hope for it was that it would surpass this paleo world. There’s a lot of supportive entropy in this paleo world where Diane and I have our background. And we think of ourselves as supporting the world at large. And this is one of the first resources I was able to come up with that I felt really bridged that gap and helped me reach other folks, and it’s doing that. So it’s been really great.

And then last thing I’m doing is office finishes. And that’s really fun. I get to find; the studio kitchen office is what I’m thinking of. So I made the decision we’re going to do Carrara marble engineered stone for countertops and thinking about what I’m going to do for backsplash. So it’s like, building a mini-house. Which is just so fun.

Diane Sanfilippo:  That is fun.

Cassy Joy:  What are you doing?

Diane Sanfilippo:  I want to do that.

Cassy Joy:  OK. Help me! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  I know you don’t need help with that, at all, or I’d be like, “Let me look!” But no, no, no. I trust that you will make good decisions. So this week I’m kind of continuing from last week, and again we’re not 100% sure when this will air. We’re hoping that our first three episodes will kind of all come out together, so you guys can really listen and get hooked on us. But we’re still working on hiring an assistant, and that should be coming together pretty quickly. We’re going through interviews right now. So that’s always exciting.

And we do still have a position for a video editor open. So if you’re listening, and you are or you know someone who is a great video editor and someone with creative juices flowing in the video realm, please get in touch.

Other things happening; new things coming for spices. I don’t know that we’ll have new blends, necessarily, coming this season. Because anybody who creates products you may or may not know; it’s just, it’s a slower process than you think to get something from concept to launch when it comes to newness. I’m also self-funding everything when it comes to spices and meals and all of that. So with that comes a lot of decision making with regards to; do I launch new flavors? Do I launch new sizes?

And insider tip; new sizes are going to be coming before new flavors. Because I think one of the things that has been a little bit of a miss for me; and we’re talking today about; we’ve been talking about fear and we’re going to be talking about other peoples’ opinions this week. But I don’t usually take that stuff in. But one thing I do always listen to is what’s happening with the customer. And if the customer seems a little bit confused, or a little bit hesitant to jump in on something because of confusion, then I take that feedback. It’s not feedback that people voice, it’s just something that I will observe as kind of a read between the lines.

So many of you who are, perhaps, already buying the Balanced Bites spices. They come in really large jars. Which I think is awesome, and for those of you who love them, you love those large jars. Because running out of taco blend after three or four uses is kind of annoying, right? You don’t want to just make tacos a few times and then suddenly you’re out of your favorite taco blend.

Well, explaining to people through the internet that these are really large jars, and they hold like three times what a normal spice jar holds is a little bit tricky. And also, if you’ve never tried my super garlic blend; first of all, you’re missing out. {laughs}

Cassy Joy:  It’s the best.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Second of all, I can see why pulling the trigger on something that has a higher price tag would be a little bit tricky. But once you’ve had it, it’s a no-brainer, right? So anyway, all that to say, we have some more “normal” sized spice jars coming out this fall. So that’s something I’ve been working on, just getting new labels ready for them. I’m holding one that Cassy can look at here. But it’s not quite the size of my head, the way the other jars are. It has a little bit of a thicker; it’s not as tall and skinny as some of your traditional bottles but it’s going to fit like a normal spice rack.

Anyway. That’s been a long process. And I’m really excited about that. And they’re going to look just like the other one, but they’re just a little smaller with the cute white cap that has two sides on it. So yeah, all of that really takes a lot of time and energy and money. So it’s a big decision-making process.

And then, just kind of on the personal realm. My husband, Scott, competed in a powerlifting competition last weekend, so that was really fun. I’m like a super home-body so I don’t usually have a ton going on unless I’m traveling for a book tour or something like that. But yeah, we basically were just in town for that which was really fun. It actually took place in what they call the parking lot of dreams, where one of the original CrossFit gyms; San Francisco CrossFit was probably one of the first five or ten gyms of CrossFit. And it used to actually be held in a parking lot behind this place called Sports Basement. I did train there for a few months back in the day. But the competition was held in the parking lot of dreams, so it definitely took me back to my early days crossfitting back in 2011. That was pretty fun. And he; I think he took like two medals home from it. He did awesome, and that was really fun to go support him.

2.  Shop Talk: Other peoples’ opinions [11:03]

Cassy Joy:  In this segment, we talk about topics that are both on our minds and your minds. We’ll cover all sides of the issue, and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable, and helpful. And like I said in the introduction, today is part two of this overcoming fears miniseries.

And in the first miniseries, we talked about, of course, overcoming personal fears. Can I do this? Am I ok to do this? Is this me? And today’s episode, we’re talking that we’re going to acknowledge other peoples’ fears. And Diane is going to kick it off, but I’m really, really excited about this topic. Because it’s something that I even battle on a daily basis. So I think we’ve got a lot to say.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Yeah. And I think for a lot of topics, we tend to have very similar points of view; maybe 80-90%. But we have different life experiences, different backgrounds, different families, different everything. So I think this is one that, while I have not personally battled a lot of issues worrying about other people’s thoughts and feelings, and judgements and all of that, based on who I am and who I surround myself with and the way that I filter what people are saying. Which I’ll talk about in a second. I can recognize how heavy this is for other people. And I can recognize some elements where we can take action to empower ourselves and create boundaries. Which we’ll talk a little bit about boundaries, too.

So, a couple of things I want people to think about when it comes to other people’s thoughts and feelings. Which, I wrote about this in Practical Paleo when it came to what’s on your plate, and other people judging what you’re eating. And the same rings true for what other people have to say about what you’re doing; whether it’s a side hustle, starting a new business, etc.

However, there are some very real elements to people’s opinions of what you might want to do with starting a business. And I think that while some of it comes from a deep-seated need to have approval, perhaps from our parents, right? If we grew up unsure of whether or not our parents really believed in us. Whether the love was a bit conditional. Which, I’m sure people would say; no, I know my parents love me unconditionally. But, there are times where you felt like you needed to get good grades. You needed to do well at that sport. They expected you to be a great piano player if they were paying for lessons. There are expectations that parents put on you.

Look; not all of our parents are at a place when they had us where they were super self-aware. And bless them for doing what they did to get us to where we are. We’re not going to hold it against them. Were not going to have this whole uprising about it. But I think being aware of the fact that there were expectations imposed on you, and again, we’ll talk a little bit about what those boundaries can look like now as an adult. But we need to recognize that we need to separate from a lot of those expectations. And one of the things that can be really tricky about this is; if your parents still have a financial hold on you.

Gary Vaynerchuk has kind of a funny way of putting this, where he’s like; get off the payroll. And I’m with him, right? I know. It’s such a funny way to think of it, but I was telling Cassy right before we started recording that, I think I recognized this at a young age, that if I wanted to do what I want to do, I need money to do it. Just, period. Point blank. For me, personal freedom is of the utmost importance. Being able to make decisions. That doesn’t mean that freedom is always taking lavish vacations every year. Right? That freedom actually means I’m choosing what I want to do on a daily basis. And it actually also meant not going on vacation for many years, because I didn’t have the money to do that, because I wanted to save to do this thing that I wanted to do.

So, if you are in a situation where you have financial ties; then you will be put under someone’s thumbs when it comes to their thoughts and feelings and their opinions. Right? So we might feel like they shouldn’t get to have a say. But the reality is, if you’re taking money, then they’re going to have a say and you’re going to have to deal with that. So the first thing I would say is; be working towards that financial freedom from the folks whose opinions you don’t want to allow in. And that might not be something you can do today or tomorrow. That might take months or it might take a couple of years; however long it’s going to take. But recognize that if you’re taking the money, you are going to have to take the opinions. And you’re going to have to deal with it in some way. And then, {laughs} maybe just cut the tie.

So if there are people who you don’t have financial ties to; let me back up for one more second. This could also be a spouse, right? You might be in a situation where your spouse is the breadwinner, and you want to do something new. You want to take on a venture. You want to start a side hustle; start a business, etc. This is where you do have the burden of proving that you have a plan. And you might not know exactly what the potential is. But you need to show that you are taking responsibility for the risk involved for your family.

So what that looks like is saying; we’ll use a Beautycounter business as an example. Because as many of you listening know, Cassy and I are both Beautycounter consultants. We’re managing directors with the company. So this is something that we have a lot of experience with. But this could be any side hustle. You could say; you know what, honey?  What I want to do is start this business. Here’s how much I need to get started. Here’s where I’ve noticed that I can cut back in our budget to save this money. And in three months, I’m going to allocate that money to this.

Now, I’m not saying that this is a situation where your partner is bossing you around, and is controlling. It’s not about that. But it is about showing someone; I’m not going to put our family at financial risk to do this thing I want to do. Or; at a very minimal risk, and I’m willing to say; I don’t need to go get a manicure every week because I’m going to save that money. So that’s anywhere from, what, $20 to $50 people spend on a manicure. $15 to $50, depending on what you’re getting done.

So you do have to be able to say; I’m going to make these changes. I’m going to sacrifice this, because this is something that I want. I don’t think that it’s fair to just feel like we are entitled to take these risky steps with our lives and our finances, especially when we have a family involved. So I think those are things we can all consider.

Cassy Joy:  I think that’s great advice.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Does that make sense?

Cassy Joy:  It’ makes perfect sense. And I think that’s really, really great advice. especially thinking, in a personal note, just about my relationship with Austin. We are a team. And me taking the effort to do what you just did, and sit down. Instead of bulldozing my way in, my mother raised three feminists. And being like; listen.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Here’s what I’m going to do, honey!

Cassy Joy:  Yeah, exactly. I dare you to challenge me. Right? That’s an option. {laughs} I could approach it that way. But by sitting down to take the time and show respect for his opinion, and also acknowledging the significance of this decision in our family. And at the time; for example, Beautycounter is a great example, actually, on a personal note for me. Because I joined Beautycounter as a consultant 3.5 years ago. Fed and Fit, my first book just went off to the printer. Ok. And at that point in my business; I don’t know. Fed and Fit as a company was making $30,000 a year. Right? I mean, it wasn’t anything extraordinary. And it was to the point where there were people in my life still calling it a hobby. Even though, I’m putting in 80-hour weeks on this hobby.

I just remember turning in this book. And for my first book, there was no advance. There was nothing like that going on. But there weren’t really any finances coming in. But I was spending so much time working on the long game. And I understood that. I understand that vision. And when the book went off to print, I was like; I need something else to do. I had already joined Beautycounter for the products. And I loved them. And I said; Austin, I’m going to do this thing. I want to do this. I have some time; some downtime right now. And this is where I want to spend it. But I had to cast that vision for him, and help him understand. And he was kind of against it at first. And he, of course, has seen the light of day since then.

But we had to have a discussion, and I definitely could have said; this is what I’m doing. But to your point, it was a show of respect, and we approached it as a team. And we were able to negotiate that. So I think that’s great.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I think that’s a great way to describe, it too. Like sharing your vision; that’s really tricky sometimes. And your partner may or may not always see it with you. But I think if you’ve decided that that’s your life partner, just thinking about the folks who are listening; we know those conversations are not always easy. And we know that sometimes you got married, and had kids, and you might be a bit of a different person now than you were then. I think for both Cassy and I; our husbands knew what they were getting into with us. {laughs}

So I’ve always been like; here’s what I’m going to do. It hasn’t always been a real conversation like that, because of my financial independence in it. So it’s not like I’m saying; this is what I’m doing with our money. I’m like; this over here; this stockpile over here, this is what I’ve earned and this is what I’m going to do with it. And we don’t have children, so it’s not about this riskiness with what might be used for a college fund or something like that.

But, I think that sharing your vision and then having some accountability along the way, like within the household. And this is really just in that tight knit, the people who do matter when it comes to the financial aspect of those decisions. And holding yourself to; if you’re not meeting the financial goals that you set with a new business or a side hustle, what are the other benchmarks that you can show to prove to yourself and to your spouse or whoever it is who needs to see it. Like, ok, I haven’t earned X dollars, but here’s the groundwork that I’m lying. And I know it’s going to take time, but I need you to see and I need you to trust me and kind of get behind me on this. And here’s what I’m doing to build it. And here are the steps I’m taking.

And as the person taking the risk, you have to show up and do the work. And I know that it’s hard sometimes if you don’t earn money, let’s say, in the first three to six months with a new business; even longer. If you guys think about big businesses out there, anybody watching Shark Tank. You know these companies; big companies are not earning a profit. They’re not taking money in from outside sources as a profit for sometimes years. Right? But we don’t all have that luxury. We need to say, “Ok, I’m going to actually be making money from this in like three to six months. Or within the first year.”

So, if you’re not, but you are still really working on those elements, then showing your work. Right? Just kind of like the math equation of; here’s what I’m doing.

Ok, so here’s the other side. What if you don’t have financial ties, and this person is just; you know, it’s a friend. Longtime friend, or it’s somebody who is just kind of a naysayers. They’re just giving their opinion. I think it’s important to know first and foremost, typically a negative or unsupportive opinion will come from somebody who doesn’t understand what you’re doing. Who is fearful of it for themselves. Couldn’t see themselves doing it. And is generally not a risk taker. Not an entrepreneur.

You and I, Cassy, if we have a discussion about something, even if; I think I do this more than you do. But Cassy has a lot of big, grand visions; pie in the sky. Which I envy; I’m like, I wish I could have a little more exciting vision. And I sometimes feel like I’m a little bit of a voice of reason. Although I don’t want to be someone who rains on your parade. I try and balance my, what I consider to be a voice of reason with not being a thunderstorm.

But, understanding that I come at it with all the support and positivity for whatever that new thing is. It’s not ever coming from a place of; I don’t think you should do it or I don’t want you to do this thing. Because I’m not afraid of what’s going to happen as a result.

Cassy Joy:  I mean, sorry, to add on to that. Just to distinguish between what you’re saying and an unsupportive kind of feedback. I think when you say something; you’re like; this is the way I see it. Prove me wrong.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Yeah. Like I want to be proven wrong. So for example with your new book; I was like, listen. Practical Paleo, my first book, was on the New York Times list for two years. Sold a ton of copies. And I don’t feel like that was because of me, entirely. I’m very proud of what I did. I think it was a great book. It still is. It solved a lot of problems for people, which is the conversation that we had. What’s the problem you’re solving? Because a lot of people just write a book to write a book. Which is fine. But if we’re not really solving problems for people, then I don’t know what we can expect.

And I remember having the conversation like; look. You’re coming in with a new book in a time when keto is super hot. These other things are super hot. And they sell really well with the wave that’s happening on its own. So what is the problem you’re going to solve and how will you communicate that to people, so that you can really stand out in this noisy world of cookbooks. And you totally delivered on that! And we were like; this is amazing. You weren’t sure what to expect, but people’s response; just that little bit of positive response in the beginning. And you totally ran with it.

So there are probably people who were naysayers in a different way. But I think that identifying the difference between someone just slightly challenging you so that it can push you in a positive direction, and getting you to question; am I just being frivolous versus, is this something I really want and I’m going to prove that this is something I’m going to do.

So understanding why do you respect this person’s opinion. If you don’t have financial ties to them, and so this example with Cassy and I; obviously she respects my opinion just for what I’ve done in this kind of space. If you’re taking an opinion from someone who has never been there; never done this work. Never taken a risk and done something scary. I think you have to understand that you need to delineate between people who are going to be critics, who don’t count. And then the small kitchen cabinets; this is like a Brene Brown reference. She calls it the kitchen cabinet. It’s like; take a 1-inch square of paper and write down the names of people whose opinion in your life really, really matter. And that’s about how much space it should take up. Because you should have this really small cabinet of people who you can turn to for advice on something that really matters to you. And you know that they’ve got your best interest at heart.

And the rest of the people who might have something to say. You have to understand that that’s basically crowd-sourcing really important decisions in your life. And it’s people who don’t know the full depth of what you’re talking about. You should not have to explain yourself to those folks. And their opinion; it’s just noise at a certain point. It’s too man people’s opinions.

And I think we struggle with this because I know we talked a bit about this in the first episode about people’s tendencies; the four tendencies. Gretchen Rubin’s framework. We’re like personal development junkies over here. So all of these references. But I think because most people are Obligers, and most people feel like upholding and obliging to other people’s expectations is such a huge part of how to get things done, that then we confuse this idea of how valid or important other people’s opinions are in our lives. And the truth of the matter is, they should never have had a vote.

Cassy Joy:  Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Right? How many people? And I think if people are listening, you’re like; yeah. I think I took that person’s advice. Or this person was afraid, and obviously what they said to me came from fear. And I don’t know why I listened to that. You know? It’s like, we can probably all pin back to advice that we were given. It’s not so much advice, it’s just people telling you not to do things. That’s kind of what it comes to, right?

Cassy Joy:  And I want to distinguish, again. Underline what Diane is saying. Because I am somebody who I have believed to my core that I’m a part of all I have met is one of the ways that I walk through life. I do believe that I can learn something from every encounter and every person. But it may not be the obvious thing you’re thinking you might learn from them.

So, when your best friend tells you; “Why would you do that? Everybody is doing that.” The thing to learn from that may not be; oh, I should listen to her. She’s right. Why am I doing this? The thing to learn from her is not the actual thing she’s telling you. But it might be that she’s not going to fulfill every need when it comes to mentorship in your life. That might be the thing to take away from it. And it doesn’t mean that it’s a negative relationship. It just might mean that it’s not this expectation or this hope, I think. And we learn this as we grow up, right? We learn this as we mature and age. We are going to get things from people, and some people are going to contribute and fill certain buckets in our lives and we’re not going to get everything from one person.

That’s kind of the mistake of the spouse, and the partner idea. Is can I get everything from this person, and that’s a fallacy. Right? And I think maybe that can be the lesson to learn when someone is giving you advice that still isn’t true for you, and it’s ok to acknowledge that. And acknowledge that their heart might be maybe -ish in the right place, and leave it at that. So you can still learn from what they’re saying without actually taking their advice.

Diane Sanfilippo:  That’s such a good point. I think one other thing that you could learn from that feedback and that moment is; ok maybe there’s something to what she’s saying. A lot of people are doing this. And is till want to do it. So maybe the thing you learn is; the way this appears to the outside world is they have not seen what I’m talking about in terms of how I will do this differently.

Cassy Joy:  Oh, that’s great point. Yep. That’s a great point.

Diane Sanfilippo:  And that’s true with a lot of health coaches, right? I’m sure there are tons of health coaches listening. All the time we see people who are like; well, I want to be a health coach, or I want to start a blog. But it’s a crowded space, there are so many people doing it. I’m like; there only seems to be a lot of people doing it because of the internet. If you got yourself off of the internet, there are two health coaches in your town, who might be trying to do anything. Seriously. But because of the internet, and because of these programs that we do that bring us together, and create this world-wide community, all of a sudden we think it’s a noisy space.

I do think there is a groundswell of people in this space, but there’s a reason for it. More and more people need the help. But I think at that point, rather than be afraid of; “Well, this person doesn’t see how I would be different or do anything valuable.” See it as a way to; it’s not about proving someone wrong necessarily, but taking that feedback as; yeah, actually, that is a good point. There are a lot. And here’s what I’m going to do personally that’s a bit different from what everyone else might be doing. I think that’s valid, too.

So, this is really where just kind of tying this into a bow. I want people to narrow down who the opinions come from. And I think it will get easier over time. And this doesn’t mean; kind of to your point, Cassy, sometimes that person is just not the right person to go to with ideas about your business. But that doesn’t mean we only go to yes people. Right? Ok, sure, 80-90% of the stuff I’m going to share with Cassy, she’s going to be supportive. Be a cheerleader. But if I’m like; hey, I really don’t know the direction to go with this, what do you think about this? I can count on her to also think critically with me, look at this from all angles, and say, what about this? And kind of present it in a different way where it’s not just somebody who is going to yes me to death, because they do have a valuable opinion and they understand that I want and value that opinion.

There’s a lot there.

Cassy Joy:  {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  I think for the most part, you know, really getting; look. This is my ENTJ; right, that judging side of me where I feel like I have a really thick filter for BS and people who; I’ve said this in other ways in other places. But I remember being in college, and we were out to Chinese food dinner. And a friend’s parents were kind of like; hey, what are you up to these days? And just kind of like; I don’t think they were being rude or critical about it, but the way they asked the question and the way the follow ups were, I just kind of remember how I felt. And this could just be my defensiveness at the moment. Right? Because I didn’t have a clear vision of what I was going to be doing with my life. But I was studying whatever I was studying, and had a jewelry business on the side. And I was working at the GAP. And I just had a lot of irons in the fire; as I still do. Some things never change.

But I remember feeling like their expectation of their child, and therefore of me and my answer was; well, this is the thing you’re going to study, and this is the thing you’re going to then do as a career after. And because I wasn’t fitting the mold, I got the sense that they were a little confused by it. Maybe not necessarily approving of it. But when I step back and I’m like; well, what’s the life that you have? It’s not judging it in a rude way. It’s just like; well, this is the field of work that you’re in. That’s not the field that I’m looking to go in. And I don’t know that you can understand what I want to do.

I had the sense at that younger age to recognize that their opinion didn’t really matter in that way. So whatever judgement they might have had of my situation at the time, I could kind of filter it and be like; well, glad you think that. That’s ok. And moving on. Does that make sense?

Cassy Joy:  That does make sense. It does. I’m actually an ENTJ also. Funny enough. {laughs} And I can resonate with that. But it’s interesting, because I approach it from a different place. Because I, as a Rebel; right, we choose who we want to be. And I want to be coachable. I want to be that person that takes feedback into consideration, and I digest it, and I judge it for what it is and I move on. Right? But I do put myself through throws first. So it’s an interesting balance. And I’m learning to walk that line a little bit better.

Even just with my mom and dad; they are very strong business people in their own right, and I really value their opinion of things, and I will ask them for their opinion. But it still doesn’t mean that their opinions and the advice they would give me of my business is right. So it’s interesting being able to get to that point faster than I used to. But I think that’s really, really great.

I think Diane laid a really great foundation, and that’s something I have not… I mean, I feel like that’s a super power of yours, Diane, to be able to really just set those boundaries. Set the ground floor. Listen, this is how we’re going to do this. This is how we’re going to operate with each other. And that’s not necessarily something that I lead with, but it’s something that I think I do continue to work on.

Where I spend my time focusing on other people’s thoughts and feelings is around more of; if Diane laid the ground work, I’m painting the clouds in the sky. {laughs} I’m like, you know, a little bit more of the woo-woo side of things. But I think it’s important to; when it comes to, how do we react to other people’s thoughts and feelings, let’s say you’re going to work on the boundaries. You’re going to work on it. You’re going to work on how you digest this stuff. You’re going to work on; does this really apply to me. But let’s be honest, that’s a muscle. You have to build and develop it. Even with somebody who is a very similar cookie, as Diane, in terms of our personality and our tendencies. I do still; this is still a muscle that I’ve had to work on and build. Maybe it’s because of my background. I am from the south, and we’re polite, lovely people. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  And I’m from New Jersey, where Italian, Jewish, and shouting is how you have a conversation.

Cassy Joy:  Also lovely. Also lovely people.

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughs}

Cassy Joy:  But yes. Exactly. I mean, very different. So maybe cultural backgrounds has something to do and is playing into this. But I find myself; let’s say you’re going to work on the foundation. How do you lob those balls back over the fence, though, that do make their way to you? And you’re wrestling with them, and you’re dealing with them?

So I say, the first thing we can do is we can stop and assess. Is this person’s opinions and feelings towards me, is this actually what’s going on or is this a story I have written in my head? And that can be very freeing, right? And there is all kinds of research out there that talks about stories, and things that we think about. This is definitely not a novel thought. But I think that can be a very powerful stop; pause. Am I resenting my brother-in-law because I think he thinks this of me? Am I concerned about his thoughts and feelings because I’m inventing the story line because he said this thing, which maybe means this? And then I had this other clue that could mean this. Right? Am I piecing together this story that may not be actually true? Maybe it is true; but do you know it to be fact? And if you don’t know it to be fact, then let it go.

I think we can really free ourselves up when we assume the best of people. And I think that’s; if I’m going to give myself a super power, {laughs} I would say that that is part of the reason why I’m able to put the pedal to the metal, full force. I’m driving 60 miles an hour down my goals, and navigating my family, and pursuing strong friendships and strong relationships with my family members. I don’t care what they think of me, because I love them anyway and I’m going to show up.

I still have these stories. I still have these moments where I think; are they feeling this towards me? Because if they’re feeling and thinking this towards me, that would hurt my feelings and it would impact our relationship. I say; you know what, that’s a story. If I really care enough I can sit down and talk to them about it and get the facts. And if not, I’m going to ignore it and assume the best.

So I think that’s one way to lop a ball back over the fence that may have gotten its way over to you. And then another thing, if you’re thinking about; to close this out. This is the last one, I think. If it’s stopping you sharing your life, or putting yourself out there. Maybe if we’re thinking about social media. Sharing a new business you’re taking on. Or heck; just sharing about the fact that you’re about to introduce new foods to your baby, right? Whatever it is. All of these controversial things that people could have a million opinions of, I want you to assume that only the people listening. this is not a naïve assumption, right? Because you’re aware. But I want you to publish as if there is only one person listening, and it’s the person that needs to hear it. And it’s the person who; I don’t know. I plucked, on Instagram the other night, I had a chin hair. And I pulled out my chin hair.

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughing} So good.

Cassy Joy:  I thought about it; I was like, I’m going to share this. Because it was such a victorious moment, and I happened to have my phone next to me, and I was like, I’m going to share this because this is such a moment for me. And if I had thought for half a second longer, I would have been like; you know what, I wonder if my ex-boyfriend is watching these stories. And I wonder if these other people who maybe don’t wish the best of me are watching these things, and I’m fueling their fire to maybe have stuff against me.

If I had given that any more thought, I never would have published it. But I thought; you know what? I’m doing it. Because what if there is one girl out there who is like; am I the only one with chin hairs? What if there is just one person? If it’s just one person, then I’m publishing it. So I would say make that your rule. Act as if only one person is listening, and he or she really needs you. So that’s it. I would abandon stories as best you can; acknowledge them for what they are, and then do your best to abandon them. And act as if; only deal with facts of other people’s thoughts and opinions.

And then number two; when it comes to what’s stopping you from publishing things, pretend that everybody has your back. Because you know what? The truth is, most people do. Most people have your back. I got no negative feedback from the chin hair. Maybe they thought it, but they didn’t send it in. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  I will cut them.

Cassy Joy:  {laughs} I know you would.

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3. Listener Question: Setting boundaries [41:36]

Cassy Joy:  OK, now we’re going to jump into listener question. In this segment, we will pull questions, comments, and topic ideas from your interactions with us over @DrivenPodcast on Instagram. We have a good one today.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Yeah, we get a lot of questions about boundaries. I touched on this a little bit earlier. So there were a bunch of questions in different forms, but in order to wrap it up with this concept of what other people think and feel about us, I wanted to give a few examples of ways to set boundaries when it comes to this issue; your side hustle, building a business, etc.

And I think, to your earlier point, Cassy, I think the reason why I’ve gotten so good at setting boundaries is I know that when I’m questioned or doubted that I will not respond well. So I basically just create a situation where I’ve already decided that that person’s opinion doesn’t matter. So I don’t really engage in a conversation where it would come up. Or I’ve already decided that if they are telling a story about me, that it actually has nothing to do with me. Right? Because we know that. We know so many times; I think my aunt things this. And I’m like; I don’t really care what my aunt thinks. Because she needs to deal with her life, and I’m going to deal with my life.

So I think some of the things we can do around boundaries; maybe when we start telling those stories, realize how much more we really are wrapped up in our own lives. So we think that people care that much, and they really don’t. And if they do, they need a hobby. They need something else to work on.

Cassy Joy:  {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  Make work your new favorite. Ok. {laughs} If you used to listen to the Balanced Bites podcast, we used to quote Mean Girls a lot. I think we’re going to have to quote Elf a lot in this one, and make work your new favorite is one of my new favorite quotes.

Cassy Joy:  Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Six-inch ribbon curls. Six inches! That’s impossible!

Cassy Joy:  {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo:  Ok. Oh my goodness. Cassy Joy is snorting. The wonderful feature of this show. It’s my favorite.

Ok guys, here are a couple of examples. I’m going to do one that might be to your mom, but you could insert aunt, friend, etc. And then maybe one for a husband, partner, spouse, wife, whoever it is.

Here’s one way to approach things with your mom. “Mom. I know you love and care about me, and are concerned about the risks that I’m taking, but I need you to trust that I’m able to make well informed decisions for myself and my future. Or myself and my family.” I have actually said this to my mom recently. Like, I constantly am like; mom. I’m 41 years old. When my accountant sends me the information about the taxes that I owe, I will pay them.

Sometimes I think things come up because of her personality and what she cannot handle in terms of stress or; I don’t know, a late fee. Which, in my life, how many times have I paid late fees to the government just because I was behind on taxes? Fine. It’s fine. You’re like; oh my gosh. My husband would freak.

No, but the reality was there were many years where I was building business and I didn’t have a profit and nothing was due in April. Nothing was due really until October because I didn’t owe any money. So there’s this element of nervousness that comes up with other people. And this is literally what I say. I get it; this is concerning to you. I have it under control. I need you to trust that I’m able to make these decisions.

Ok. We’ll see what happens. Not everyone responds that well to this type of thing. But you have to remember that people who don’t respond well to boundaries are the people who have benefitted from the looseness of your boundaries over the years. Right? They’ve been able to kind of seep in and not just live their lives, but they’re trying to live your life as well. So it’s a really interesting thing.

Ok. So here’s one, maybe for your spouse or partner. “I know that our financial stability is important to our family, and I would not put that at risk. So I want you to know that I’m making sound choices when it comes to my business venture. What questions can I answer for you about it to make it very clear because I need your support in this.”

Cassy Joy:  Beautiful.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I’m really proud of myself for writing that! {laughs}

Cassy Joy:  That’s great.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Because I think it’s really important to acknowledge the fear and acknowledge that there are some risks. Whether it’s a couple hundred bucks that you’re spending or a few thousand or more, right? There are always risks involved. And I think it’s important to enlist them in that moment; or encourage them to verbalize what the fears are. I mean, this is a hard conversation, you guys. And sometimes you need to have those hard conversations. And if you’re in a relationship with someone that you cannot have a hard conversation with, then that is a whole other topic. {laughs}

Cassy Joy:  We’ll cover that in episode 74, when you really like us. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo:  Exactly! But that’s the reality, right? If you’re afraid to have that conversation with your spouse, you tethered yourself to them for life. You need to be able to have these hard conversations with them, and you need to be able to express that you want their support. And ask them, “How can I get the support?” Because the way that I approach things is not if, it’s how. Right? It’s not will you, it’s how will you. How can I help you see that this is what I’m going to do, and how can I make this feel safer for you? What can I show you?

Cassy Joy:  Right. And in doing that; asking how. You are showing respect for yourself, and you’re showing respect for that other person. Instead of saying, “Honey, let me know your thoughts. If you don’t want me to do this, I guess I’ll understand.” That doesn’t show yourself a lot of respect in the conversation, in the thought and energy that you’ve poured into this. So stand up for yourself, and be able to field their questions with competence. And also be able to collaborate. Right? It’s ok to approach the table as a collaborator.

And there have been many times in my young marriage; we’ll celebrate 4 years in October. We definitely are not prepared to write a marriage book. {laughs} We’re just getting started. But there have been many instances where we’ve had to work on out communication. Communicate about our communication skills. So don’t be afraid to tackle that.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I think, too, sometimes, back to your note about assuming that someone is on your side. Especially with a partner or spouse. Assuming that they want the best for you. Assuming that they want growth for you; they want you to be happy. To be achieving things. Doing things that make you feel happy and excited. Part of this being confident with the answers to your questions; assume that they are asking a question. They’re not questioning you.

Cassy Joy:  Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo:  And if they are questioning you, meaning they don’t have a lot of faith in you; I mean, I think it’s ok to do a self-audit. Have I ever shown that I am capable of saying I’m going to do something and then doing it? I mean, frankly, if you’ve never proven yourself before. To step up and say; I’m going to join this class and I’m going to go three times a week. And then you don’t do it; well, how much confidence will they have in you to do this thing? You do kind of have to prove yourself. In whatever way it’s going to be.

So I think it’s fair if somebody doesn’t necessarily believe that you’re going to do it this time, that you kind of show up with; ok, here’s what I’m going to do. And not just shrivel. “You’re right, I don’t know if I can do this.” Well, no. What are you going to do? Show me what you’re going to do, and let’s make a plan and ask for their support. Especially if you’re an Obliger, your spouse cannot be the person that you’re obliging to. So make sure you have some accountability built in there. But I think it’s important to remember that.

There are a couple of folks that I’m going to refer to on Instagram. Holistic Psychologist, and there are some others that I can’t remember their handles. Which, good branding, Holistic Psychologist. {laughs} But we will tag them and link to them through our Instagram post for this episode. So if you’re listening; there are some; I think it’s pretty much women who are sharing words that you can say that are how to set boundaries in different ways. And I know that seeing those words, hearing them, reading them, reiterating them can really be helpful. So we’ll make sure that we share some of those, when we share about this episode.

4. Tip of The Week: Homework [50:11]

Cassy Joy:  Alrighty. So, to close out, we’re going to give one quick tip of the week. You’ve gotten a lot already, and I hope you’re walking away with an action item that really resonates with you. But just in case you wanted a direct assignment; the tip is to really identify when you’re living in a story and when you’re living in facts.

So, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to; if you’re lost in the swirl of other people’s thoughts and feelings. Whether it’s your mother-in-law, your mother, your sister, your husband, your colleague, your neighbor, or just anonymous people online. I want you to write down all of those people; all those categories whom you’re concerned with. And I want you to write down what you think they’re thinking about the thing that you’re worried about.

So let’s use the business venture as an example. What do they think about, what is the story you’re telling yourself about what they’re thinking? Just go ahead and write it down. Get it out of your head, and onto paper. And I want you to go through and highlight the ones that matter to you. Who are those people that would fit on that square inch that Diane mentioned; that Brene Brown hat tip. Who are the people who really matter in your life? Go ahead and highlight those, and make it a point to sit down and have a conversation with them. And talk it through. And say; these are the things. This is the story I’ve invented in my mind. I know that you want the best for me. I want to talk through this.

Even if it’s coming out of nowhere; oh my gosh, you guys. You’re going to walk away from that conversation feeling like a million bucks, and your relationship is on a whole different level. It’s going to be such a good thing to do.

And the people who you did not highlight; whose names don’t fit on that one square inch of paper, I want you to write down the consequences of listening to their thoughts and feelings. What happens if you listen to it, and what happens if you don’t listen to it? And then once you have all that information on paper, make a decision. If after that point you’re like; wow, the consequences of listening to people who don’t matter to me. Which is a story I’ve made up about their thoughts and feelings, is going to hold me back on chasing this thing which could turn into a business that moves mountains and makes a real wave and change in the world within maybe 10 years; maybe it’s a long burn. But if it’s going to keep you in the way of doing that; and fulfilling this passion and this purpose that you feel that you have for your life; are you really going to throw it out on something; a story you made up of people who don’t matter in your life?

Write down on paper. But it’s hard to have this conversation just to have. You can’t just listen to us and take action. I think it’s important to put your real thoughts and feelings on paper. Take some action. And then make a decision.

Diane Sanfilippo:  That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And take time to rate and review. You can follow us on Instagram @DrivenPodcast. You can find me, Diane, @DianeSanfilippo. And Cassy is @FedandFit.

Tune in next week for more on overcoming fears. And specifically we’ll be talking about what to do if your big idea or new business venture fails. Womp, womp.