Episode 233 – Conquer Anxiety

Rob ShallenbergerWelcome back to our Becoming Your Best friends, wherever you’re at in the world. This is your host, Rob Shallenberger, and I hope you’re having a fabulous day! This is going to be a fun podcast! I have with me, here in the same office, Jon Skidmore, and we’re going to talk about something that has touched everyone at some point in their lives – whether directly or indirectly, this particular topic will have touched everyone at some point. 


Rob ShallenbergerI’m going to, first of all, direct you to the website There’ll be some resources there we’ll talk about throughout this podcast that will be helpful to you – and we’ll get into that in more detail. But I want to introduce Jon Skidmore. I had the chance to meet Jon for almost a couple of years now. He is a licensed psychologist, he’s a professor at Brigham Young University, has an amazing background of helping people through anxiety and all kinds of performance anxiety-related issues, and he’s really been doing this for decades! So, first of all, Jon, it’s great to have you here!  


Jon Skidmore: It is great to be here! I’m looking forward to being a part of your friend network, and be able to support them in any way I can.  


Rob ShallenbergerWell, Jon has become a great friend. He’s the co-author with us – so, him, my father, and myself wrote the book, “Conquer Anxiety”, and it was just awesome to go through this journey together with him and see how anxiety is something that reaches more of us than we realize. It’s something that touches us in so many different ways. And so, we want to get, in this podcast, what anxiety is, what causes anxiety, and some of the things that people experience, and then touch on a few of the topics that you’ll find in the book, and how that can be so helpful in, first of all, recognizing what anxiety is, because that’s the start. That’s one of the things I’ve learned through this process. And then, number two, is how do you address anxiety and finally conquer it so that you’re at this optimal level of what we call ‘activation’ throughout this process. So, we’re going to jump into this. I’m going to ask Jon a few questions and help him bring his wealth of knowledge to elaborate on some of these things that are a little bit of mysterious topics for a lot of people. And so, let’s start with anxiety, Jon, just in the very basic foundation, why do we experience anxiety in the first place, as human beings? 


Jon Skidmore: The natural state of the body is a state of rest and peace. But yet, we’ve also been subjected to all kinds of threats, dangers, and fears – we’ve got to survive. So, anxiety is really all about the survival mechanism that’s built into our brain. I like to talk about three parts of the brain that are so important. We have our midbrain, which is all about our fight or flight response. That’s where our anxiety comes from, that’s where that imprinting of something that causes anxiety – like rattlesnakes – that imprint is there, it shows up, it fires off, it sends the adrenaline through the system, signals for that. And then we react to it. We like to use the word ‘activated’ in our book because this is actually called the sympathetic nervous system. It is activated and when it’s activated, we’re familiar with these symptoms: heart rate increases, respiration increases, sometimes the mouth goes dry, respiration becomes very shallow, sometimes the face feels like it flushes, sometimes the stomach feels like it’s tied in knots or there’s butterflies or jets flying around in that stomach – all kinds of weird stuff can happen. And all of that is really designed to help us prepare to fight or to run. But yet, a job interview. Well, I’m going to go into this, but that anxiety, those symptoms, aren’t necessary for that, and they simply interfere. So we have that mid part of the brain.  


Jon Skidmore: Then we have our frontal cortex under the forehead, prefrontal cortex right behind that. I like to refer to that as ‘the decider brain’. That’s the part of the brain we want to be in when we go into that job interview, when we’re trying to organize this project, when we’re trying to create something. And it’s exciting to be able to be in that part of our brain, but we also know what happens when that midbrain gets triggered. 


Rob ShallenbergerAnd this was something that was interesting: I’ve heard a lot of people now who have read the book already, just in the short time that we’ve released it, and they said they loved being able to put a label on an emotion. In other words, rather than it just being this mysterious thing – the butterflies are tingling, whatever it is – now you can say, “You know what? I’m not just nervous, I’m not just anxious – I’m simply activated.” 


Jon Skidmore: And with the word ‘activate’, it implies ‘deactivate’. Now, it’s so important to get that you can activate faster than a heartbeat, but yet it’s going to take you 20 minutes or more for that ‘super juice’, as I like to call it, to get burned out of the system. 


Rob ShallenbergerThe adrenaline, right?  


Jon Skidmore: The adrenaline, all that glucose, cortisol – all that stuff that shows up – it takes 20 minutes for that to burn out of the system. And so, a lot of people, as they look at some of the interventions, they don’t react fast enough. It’s not like you click a mouse and you have what you’re looking for. We have to work for it a little bit. That’s an important thing to be able to recognize. Let’s practice those skills to relax, to calm down and recognize, “Hey, I’m just activated. But I’m not in danger. Okay, what’s more important? Worrying about my stomach doing flip flops or the message I want to share, the gift I want to give?” 


Rob ShallenbergerYou brought up the midbrain versus the decider brain. 


Jon Skidmore: Yes.  


Rob ShallenbergerThe other thing that’s been interesting about anxiety, in general, is everyone experiences it to some degree or another, right? Getting up to give a talk in front of people, we can all relate that at some point we felt those butterflies in the stomach, the sweaty palms – you can go out there and play a musical instrument, you have a sporting event, whatever; we’ve all experienced it to a degree. And what’s interesting is, it has its root cause in all kinds of different areas. In other words, the source of our anxiety can come from so many different things. And what’s been interesting about this discussion on the midbrain and the decider brain is, you know, something that happened to us when we were four years old, or three years old or seven years old, it may not have even been a life-threatening thing back then, but it left such an imprint on us that the midbrain now has tagged that or labeled that and it perceives it as a real threat. So, even though it may not be a life-threatening deal or threat, our midbrain has tagged that, and now it draws out the same emotions as if it was life-threatening – kind of like the rattlesnake.  


Jon Skidmore: Yes.  


Rob ShallenbergerSo talk a little bit more about that. 


Jon Skidmore: The brain of a child, that midbrain, is fully developed by the time a child’s two years old. And all they’re really doing at that point is encoding, learning things that are going to be hurtful or harmful to them. This is part of survival. So, we’re going to learn about mistakes, we’re going to learn about failures, we’re going to learn about pain, we’re going to learn about positive responses – these kinds of things. Well, the response we learn when we’re little is often the same response we bring to our experiences as an adult, except we often think as an adult, the problem is in front of our nose. In this sense, I’d like to talk about, 5% of why we’re upset or scared, most often, is in front of our nose, and 95% is between our ears. That’s where the real energy is coming from. And suddenly, it’s like, “Oh, if I can take care of my reaction to this, and my response to this, I’m going to call this ‘a learning opportunity’. It’s not a failure. My history of failure brings up a whole different thing.” 


Rob ShallenbergerIt’s interesting because when we’re talking about fight or flight, most anxiety is, like you said, 95% of it is between our ears. It’s something that we’ve tagged along the way or labeled as a threat, but the reality is, it’s not a life-threatening threat. 


Jon Skidmore: It also starts to shift very quickly from the physical pain or physical threat – I mean, I’m 59 years old, I’ve only had one true bonafide life-threatening experience, like near-death that could have taken me out, but I’ve had lots more of anxiety and situations where I’ve been anxious or worried or concerned about things. It’s because we start to tune into the social component. “Am I being liked? Is it good enough? Is it going to be accepted? Was it the right thing? Was it complete enough? Was what I hoped for?” And these things can also start to trigger our stress response. 


Rob ShallenbergerYes, I mean, that’s kind of the idea, right? There are so many different things that could trigger our stress response. For those who get the book, “Conquer Anxiety” – and hopefully everyone listening to this will get the book because it will benefit you, it will benefit your family, your friends, your co-workers. I mean, writing this, I learned so many things in our conversations with Jon, especially related to performance anxiety. So, in chapter two we’ve put in an assessment, right, Jon? And in this assessment, there’s four different significant exercises that really walk a person through what’s causing their anxiety. Why is it so important that someone takes that assessment versus just jumps into learning different techniques? 


Jon Skidmore: Well, I’m going to use the words of a colleague of mine. I gave her a copy of my book and she pulled me in the office and she said, “Jon, can I talk to you for a minute?” “Sure.” “I was reading your book, and I was reading the assessment. And I’ve never connected that when I was seven X happened and I’ve been anxious about that ever since!” And, you know, here’s a professional in the mental health field, and she was like, “Thank you! That helped me explain where some of my anxiety has been coming from.  


Jon Skidmore: So, really, what this does is it gives us a chance to look at some of the major themes, not only experiences that we’ve had around successes and failures – there’s a lot of us who have issues with that – but as we start to look at what we call our successes, what we call our failures, as we start to look at different attitudes and beliefs, these are, typically, patterns. I do not have to redesign my response to a rattlesnake encounter. That is just so there that anytime that shows up, I know exactly what to do, I know what I’m going to do – it just happens. Well, this is about changing these patterns and recognizing where they started. It is a great way of saying, “Oh, that may have been reasonable then. That may have made sense then. It doesn’t make sense now.” That’s one thing I love to talk about – is that midbrain will give us a first response. And it’s very powerful to watch someone say, “Oh, my first response. Yeah, that’s my first response. Oh, I can’t trust that. Oh, if that’s my first response, and I can’t trust it, what could be my second response? What could be my third response?” That’s where that decider brain comes in: “I’m going to decide that this is going to be an opportunity. I’m going to decide that I can live as I go through this. I’m going to decide what my next right step is going to be.”  


Rob ShallenbergerYou know, and we have literally hours of content here that we can talk about, and we’re going to do more podcasts on this book, “Conquer Anxiety”, so it’s okay that we go off on some sidetracks here because we’ll come back to these.  


Rob ShallenbergerSo you just brought up the first response. This one’s been interesting because, again, I think everyone listening to this podcast relates to this. You know, you finish giving a talk in front of a group of people, you finish playing a musical instrument, an athletic event, an interview, whatever – and it’s so interesting to look into our brains as human beings and how our first response most of the time tends to be negative.  


Jon Skidmore: Yes.  


Rob ShallenbergerIsn’t that interesting? I mean, it’s like, “Oh, that didn’t go well!” Or “What could have happened there?” So, 99 things could have gone right; one thing maybe didn’t, and we tend to focus on that one thing. And if we’re not careful – this is one of the things that I’ve observed – if we’re not careful, that one thing, despite there being 99 good things about that experience, can get labeled or tagged, and start creating anxiety for future things like that. 


Jon Skidmore: Absolutely. And it’s interesting, our brain does focus on negatives because that had survival value on that hunter-gatherer brain that goes back a few thousand years. And so, we want to pay attention to that. We don’t have to re-learn this. 


Rob ShallenbergerSo, here’s the idea: in chapter two, you’re going to see an assessment – for those who read the book – and it is so important to go into that assessment because what I’ve learned is you’ve got to understand what’s causing your anxiety. You’ve got to understand what’s the root cause of why you’re experiencing what you’re experiencing, why you’re having certain thought patterns, right? 


Jon Skidmore: Yes!  


Rob ShallenbergerMy wife, for example, read the book and she skipped that chapter. She’s like, “Oh, I loved it!” And anyway, we had this conversation, I asked her about the assessment. She goes, “Well, I skipped that chapter.” 


Jon Skidmore: Unfortunately, too many people will skip that chapter. And so, it really is important to say, “Let’s look at where did I get trained to think and feel the way I am right now around those kinds of things?” It’s one thing to be in a car accident – who wouldn’t be anxious, who wouldn’t be all activated in that situation? Those are terrifying experiences. We’re out of control. We’re in danger. Well, we’re talking about anxiety that is unwarranted, unnecessary, and it’s showing up and it’s interfering. And the thing that is really powerful to recognize is we often create a lot of secondary anxiety, anticipatory anxiety. It’s like I’m getting worried about what if this happens? And what if this happens like it did the last time? And suddenly that sense of anxiety starts to build and it just gets in the way, it is such a huge interfering factor. And it’s great to say, “There’s tools and skills that I can use when I am activated, both mentally and physically, so I can start to break out of these old patterns, or will just continue to repeat them.” 


Rob ShallenbergerYeah, it’s that mental interference that develops. And one stems from another and it’s almost like this growing snowball, if you will, going down the hill – it just gets bigger and bigger unless we address it and start applying some of the right tools. That’s what I found is that this is not something that we just have to deal with for the rest of our lives. I mean, there are things that we can do specifically to help with anxiety, that activation, so that we’re not over-activated if you will. To go back to my wife as an example on this, I said, “Honey, you’ve got to go back and read chapter two and actually do the assessment.” 


Jon Skidmore: Okay, yeah! 


Rob ShallenbergerI mean, it was in a nice way. We have a great relationship. So she was a good sport. She did. And sure enough, she had really gone through, in a lot of detail, the assessment. And that changed the whole book for her because everything that came later in the five stages of peak performance was now something that she was able to relate to some of those thinking patterns, to some of those areas that she had tagged or labeled from her youth and were still impacting her, in her 40s. And so, the reason I bring this up is because there’s all of these things that you’re going to learn out there that can help with anxiety, but for me, writing this book with you, was so important to see those in the context of your own background. 


Jon Skidmore: Well, thank you! One of the things that I saw as we talked about where to put that assessment in the book, I wanted it right up front because we need to have that information as we go forward with it. So, if you’re reading the book, do not skip the assessment. It is going to be worth your time. It’ll give you access to some automatic patterns that you can now start to make decisions around and that’s where we start to have power in our lives. 


Rob ShallenbergerYeah, it really is! And so, the rest of the book is based on the assessment, and it walks you back and says, “Hey, go back and look at what you wrote in exercise four, in paragraph three – what did you put right here? So it’s critical you don’t skip it. And the truth is, it does take a little bit of emotional energy, right? It does take looking in the mirror. And there is the possibility that could bring up things from our past that are not maybe emotionally easy to look at, but if we want to conquer anxiety, it’s important to look at those things. 


Jon Skidmore: Absolutely!  


Rob ShallenbergerSo, I can’t believe we’re already 15 minutes into this. So, here’s what we’re going to do, Jon: let’s jump into this. And, for our listeners, we really haven’t talked about the details of what we would cover here – we just wanted to jump in and see where this would go. There are five stages of peak performance that we address in the book after someone is taking the assessment and these are five simple things that you can do or phases that you can focus on to conquer your anxiety, regardless of how significant or small it may be. Now, while this is targeted at performance anxiety – climbing, playing a musical instrument, giving a talk in front of a group of people – this applies to everyone across the board. And we came up with a very simple way to describe these five stages. It’s vision, ready, set, go, and evaluate.  


Jon Skidmore: Yes.  


Rob ShallenbergerSo let’s just talk about a few of the key highlights throughout those. What are some of the things that could have a big impact on people? And then we’re going to come back and do another podcast specifically on the five stages. Let me ask you, Jon, in your experience, you meet with people on a daily basis, in your office as a psychologist, who are experiencing anxiety. What are some of the most common things that you see? And I’d really rather save most of the five stages for a separate discussion, a separate podcast because there’s so many things in there that could be helpful to people that it really does deserve its own time and podcast. But as you see and meet with people on a daily basis, what are some of the most common recurring things that you see? And why would this be important for our listeners to understand and hear some of those examples? 


Jon Skidmore: When it comes to anxiety, there is such a thing as a conditioned response. It’s an automatic response. So, the word ‘triggered’ – typically, people come into my office because something triggered their anxiety, something triggered this reaction that they know is unhealthy, they know is not going to support their goals, their visions: “I don’t want to talk to my boss anymore.” Well, they come in and they’re all upset about their boss and a conversation with their boss. As we start to talk about it, it was the conversation the day before, where the boss said something that was demeaning, and suddenly, that brought up all this energy of his past about being made fun of in elementary school, he was bullied in elementary school and now he’s seeing his boss as a bully. And it was amazing to watch, “Oh, so the stuff from elementary school, being bullied, is now something that… My boss is not a bully. He can be a jerk sometimes, but he’s not a bully.” And that, again, created an access point towards like, “Okay. I want to treat him as a professional. I want to be a professional. I’m not 11 years old anymore.” That’s where that anxiety can start to be managed.  


Jon Skidmore: Other things that show up in the office, really, are part of life. I mean, life is a very uncertain thing. Life’s never been more uncertain for more people than today in these Coronavirus times. We like to pretend we’re very certain about things and very sure, because ultimately that says, “I’m safe”, right? If you’re going to repel off a cliff, you want to make sure that’s anchored properly. Unfortunately, there are people that die every year repelling because they don’t do their anchor properly. So, we want to make sure, as certainly as we can, that we’re safe. But there’s times when there’s things we just cannot control. And so, the more a person tries to control things they can’t, the more anxious they’re going to be. You can put the things of life into three piles: things we can control, things we can influence, things we can’t control. That ‘we can’t control’ pile is the biggest. And so, being able to get out of the anxiety and say, “Okay, well, what can I control? What can I do? I’m going to focus on that. I’ve got to let this other stuff go because all it does is cause anxiety.” 


Rob ShallenbergerAnd isn’t that interesting? I’m just thinking about my own life and the people I associate with on a daily basis. It seems like that is a dominant way of thinking for most people, including myself. 


Jon Skidmore: Do you mean, control?  


Rob ShallenbergerControl, yeah. 


Jon Skidmore: Control issues. Yes, yes! You have control issues. We all do. 


Rob ShallenbergerAnd it’s when we’re spending time on the things we can’t control, there seems to be a much larger increase in anxiety. And isn’t that interesting that that’s where we tend to spend most of our time? Or where we have minimal influence. And it’s amazing how often we’ll create scenarios in our own mind. I think you mentioned this earlier – when talking about anxiety, there’s almost one anxiety that leads to and builds on another. And so, we start to imagine things in our minds of, “What could go wrong here? What about that? What would happen if…?” We start to make up these crazy, weird scenarios. 


Jon Skidmore: You know, it’s interesting, one of Rob’s favorite terms in the book is ‘chair flying’. And this is what he learned to do as a fighter pilot.  


Rob ShallenbergerYeah.  


Jon Skidmore: That’s the positive use of visualization. Well, anticipating fear, anxiety – that’s a negative use of visualization. And we tend to get better at what we visualize. So, it’s so important that we look at that as one of those very important tools and say, “Okay, I’m visualizing, I want to see some positive things happening here. I want to see myself moving forward with my strengths, doing what I can do, what I’m able to do, rather than worrying about, is it going to be good enough? Is it going to be good enough? What if it’s not good enough, and grandma and my boss…” and then they start to get all worried about that. And so, again, just recognizing that as a very subtle distinction that if we can have very positive visualization, which is so powerful, we can also have very powerful negative visualization, that it really is destructive to the freedom in our lives, to our dreams, our goals. And that’s a frustrating experience. 


Rob ShallenbergerAnd that’s why stage one of the five stages in the book is to start with the vision, right?  


Jon Skidmore: Yes.  


Rob ShallenbergerWe flip it away from the negative – the problem – to the positive of what are we trying to accomplish? What’s our vision? 


Jon Skidmore: And with that vision, what’s so important in stage one is you design a mindset. You want to bring a mindset to accompany that vision. Most of us start out really strong with visions and goals, but do we design a mindset that, “Okay, I’m committed to this mindset. Boy, to get this goal, I’m going to have to be determined, I’m going to have to be just courageous, I’m going to be willing to risk, I’m going to put myself out there. Yeah, I can do that.” But what happens when we don’t design that mindset? And we start to go out there and suddenly, “Okay, I’m scared again. I’m anxious. Oh, that is bigger than… Well, I can’t do that.” Then, our goals die. 


Rob ShallenbergerYeah. And it’s interesting. Just talk briefly about the example you use in the book. And we won’t get into any of the other stages after this one, but in stage one, the vision, I think you use the example of a student who had a senior recital that was a part of their graduation. And it was the point where they were just scared to death about this senior recital because they were so focused on the problem. Talk about that experience.  


Jon Skidmore: She came to me with kind of a crisis, like “Dr. Skidmore, you’ve got to help me!” “Well, what’s going on?” She went through this whole story of her senior recital, how stressed out she was, how she wasn’t practicing effectively, how she was worried about everything. And she was really afraid of failing. Well, she had a great goal but she didn’t have a mindset goal to support that. So, when I asked her what her current attitude about her senior assignment was, all she said was, “I am hating it!” Well, it took just a few moments of coaching for her to realize her goal was to be a great teacher and a great performer, that she was passionate and excited about the creativity and the beauty that music can bring to her life, their lives, the world, and suddenly, she forgot about failing. And she’d been working on this for four years and she saw this now as an opportunity to share what she had learned. It just changed that fast for her.  


Rob ShallenbergerIt was that fear of failure. She was so focused on the recital and the possibility of failure that it was becoming all-consuming to her – and just simply shifting her back to her vision of “Why are you doing this in the first place? Why did you choose the music major?” It was helping her shift back to, she wants to be a music teacher and bless the lives of a lot of young men and young women and seeing it in that context and then designing the mindset that goes along with it, that helped her make that shift and see it in the frame of what it was. That was a stepping stone towards her achieving her long-term vision. 


Jon Skidmore: All of you who are listening, just take a moment, take a nice, big breath in, and just ask yourself if there’s any attitude you could bring to a company, to your day, your next project, your next goal, what would that be? If you could stay in it – that’s the big question – if you could stay in that attitude, what’s that experience going to be like? Now, three words that I use a lot are the words ‘bold’, ‘confident’, and ‘free’. Now, you can use whatever words work for you. But just by literally breathing in and saying, “I want to step out here and be bold, confident, free” it creates a whole different level of energy on lots of different levels. And that’s the mindset you want to be in. It has a very positive impact on whatever it is you’re doing. And see, to deal with anxiety, you’ve got to be willing to decide, “I’m going to face whatever is scaring me. I’ve got to face this. This is a dragon I’m going to go out there and slay.” That takes a lot of commitment and determination. To be able to say, “I’m going to do this boldly and confidently” makes a big difference. 


Rob ShallenbergerYeah, you just said it, Jon, and I would hope that anybody out there who has a family member or co-worker, or even you maybe having experienced anxiety, would be willing to finally face it. Because I’ll tell you the one thing: you say knowledge is power. Well, that’s partially true, but it’s partially not true. Knowledge only becomes power when it’s applied correctly. And so, there’s really two parts to this: number one is we need to get the knowledge, and then, number two is, we need to be willing to apply the knowledge. And anxiety is one of those things where we don’t have to just sit there and deal with it for the rest of our lives. The one thing that I’ve learned in this whole process writing the book with you is, number one, understanding it, and then number two, once we understand it, saying, “Okay, this is something we’re finally going to face”, and then applying the stages and those tools to help address it. And that’s how we conquer anxiety and optimize our performance. 


Jon Skidmore: Every time we face a fear our world gets bigger. We get more confidentwe become more powerful. Well, the opposite is true. Every time we run from a fear, every time we shut ourselves down, our fears get bigger, we’re less able, we’re less confident, we’re more willing to avoid. We can practice avoidance and get really good at avoidance. And it does work. Avoidance will work. But there’s a side effect of that, there’s a big consequence to that. And so, just recognizing that, when we want our world to get bigger and stronger, we’ve got to be bigger and stronger – and we do that by facing our fears.  


Rob ShallenbergerI think everyone has experienced that at some point in their life.  


Jon Skidmore: Absolutely! We all do. 


Rob ShallenbergerYou know, even though I was a fighter pilot, I still have this fear of heights. So, you can run from it, or you can face it. And it’s interesting: when you avoid something – you talked about avoidance, this is all in the book – when you talk about avoidance, we’re now living a life that is fear-based and that fear tends to grow and expand. Feed the wolf that you want to feed, right? Feed the wolf of faith or feed the wolf of fear – and that’s going to be the dominant one. As I avoided heights, the fear only grew.  


Jon Skidmore: Sure.  


Rob ShallenbergerSo it wasn’t until I started to really face this and challenge myself and look at it – I still get butterflies in my stomach now and then, there’s still this activation a little bit – but I’d had some amazing experiences – canyoneering in Zion National Park and doing these 120 foot repels down a waterfall. I would have never had those by hiding in fear. And there’s so many different places where people are going to need to face their anxiety if they want to grow their world and expand and it’s something that everyone can do. If you’re listening to this and you’ve experienced it, I’m here to tell you I’ve watched people apply the tools from the book and it’s amazing to see how liberating those can be in helping people develop that feeling that emotion of boldness, confidence, freedom. 


Jon Skidmore: I’d like to say the tools in the book are literally keys that people can use to unlock doors, unlock those padlocks that are on those parts of their lives they’d like to express themselves in and to enjoy – and that’s a really exciting thing for me as a psychologist and as a coach to really see people step forward and move into areas that, “Okay, I can be here now. I can play here now. I can enjoy being here now. I couldn’t do that six months ago. Six months ago, I avoided this place I’m in right now but today I am here and I’m learning from this. I’m growing from this. I’m enjoying this.” That’s a really powerful thing to see. 


Rob ShallenbergerWell, I can’t believe, Jon, that we are almost at 30 minutes. That is amazing to me. So, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to finish up this podcast, we’re going to give you two invitations. And then, we’re going to come back in about three weeks, if that’s all right, Jon. 


Jon Skidmore: You bet!  


Rob ShallenbergerAnd let’s do another podcast on the five stages specifically.  


Jon Skidmore: Okay.  


Rob ShallenbergerBut I think this will actually flow really well. What we’d invite everyone to do, listening to this, is two things. Number one, go get the book. It’s called, “Conquer Anxiety” – you can get it on Amazon, from our website; if you want the simplest way to get it, just go to or you can get the audio version, the Kindle – everything – on Amazon. Just search for Conquer Anxiety. The authors, of course, are Shallenberger and Skidmore. So, number one, get the book. Number two, read through chapter one and chapter two. It’ll recap everything that we’ve just talked about right here. And it gives you a chance to take the assessment to see where you’re at. And then, by that point, we’ll have done the other podcast on the five stages and you’ll have a chance to listen to that conversation in conjunction with what you’re reading in the book. But if you get to that point where you’ve got the book, and you’ve gone through chapter one to understand the brain basics, and your background – that puts you in a really powerful position to move forward. I mean, you’ve just done the hardest part. It all gets exciting from that point forward. Wouldn’t you agree, Jon? 


Jon Skidmore: Absolutely! One thought on that assessment. Consider the assessment is about connecting the dots. As you start to look at your timeline of where you have successful or negative performances, you’ll see those same attitudes show up in the sentence completion exercise. So, it’s really like, how do these four exercises connect? Where do they connect? That’s where you start to see the patterns that you’re responding to when you’re in similar situations. And so, it’s going to just be a really eye-opening experience, I hope, for you to recognize, “Whoa, this over here is connected to this over there. Well, over here, that didn’t make any sense, but it did when I was seven. Okay, I’ve got to start going backwards and forwards and connecting things and really creating a new response pattern.” 


Rob ShallenbergerAnd it’s so liberating! Once you see it, now you see how you can move forward. So, it’s so powerful and liberating, and I get excited about that. Okay, well, that’s the invitation number one. Number two: if anyone would like to take that deeper, on that same website,, there is an online course that we created that complements the book, and just takes it to a whole nother deeper level. It’s just $99. It’s very simple. Anyone can access it. You get an entire workbook that goes along with it, as well as specific videos for every exercise, every activity, and every part of the book so that you get a fully integrated approach to where you get that one-on-one look, you get the explanation of every part. So, the online course will be a really valuable tool for those who get the online course as well.  


Rob ShallenbergerSo, those are the steps. We’ll get into the five stages in another podcast about three weeks from now. Get the book, read it through at least chapters one and two, and make sure that you take the assessment in chapter two. And then, if you want to go further, obviously, go further. We’ll come back and do another podcast on the five stages in a couple of weeks, two to three weeks. Jon, any parting thoughts, comments? For our listeners, before we wrap this one up? 



It’s really about facing fears. And just notice where the idea of “Maybe I don’t want to. I don’t like that. That doesn’t interest me.” See, those are often the front for, “They scare me to death and there’s no way I’m going to do that.” But it sounds much nobler to say, “I don’t want to do that. I don’t like that.” Just look for that as something that may or may not be a part of your life, because it’s really fun to step back and say, “Oh, I choose to move forward with this and face whatever I need to face. And my world just got bigger, and my opportunities increased.” And that’s an exciting thing. That freedom we’re talking about when we conquer anxiety is part of what makes life great. 


Rob ShallenbergerI totally agree. Well, thanks, Jon! It’s always great talking with you. 


Jon Skidmore: Likewise! 


Rob ShallenbergerAnd, to our listeners, thank you for tuning in! We invite you to share this with your friends, share this with other people who might benefit from it. That’s where the old saying that one person can make a difference comes in. So, we appreciate you being loyal. We want to help you succeed and add value wherever we can – and that’s the whole intent behind doing this. So, between us, and you, we hope you have a fabulous day and a great week, and we’ll see you again soon! 


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