Alison Donaghey – Book Journeys Author Interview Transcript – Jan. 5, 2017

Book Journeys Author Interview – Jan. 5, 2017

 

Jenn McRobbie with Alison Donaghey, author of Change Your Business, Change the World: The Domino Effect of Your Thinking.

 

”Your fear is an illusion.” ~Alison Donaghey

 

Jenn:

Hello, hello, hello, everybody! It’s January fifth, 2017, this is our first show for the year, super excited to introduce to you to today’s guest, who is Alison Donaghey. She is a consultant, speaker, radio host and author, so she’s gonna have a lot to share with us about what’s she doing and how she’s using her book to propel all of those things in her life. Her book was originally titled Change Your Business, Change the World: The Domino Effect of Your Thinking, but there’s actually a new title now, and we’ll talk about that during the show, but if you wanna look it up while you’re listening to us, it’s now called Think Opposite: Using the Domino Effect to Change Your Business, Change the World. Welcome, Alison!

 

Alison:

Oh, thank you so much for having me, Jenn! It’s such a great opportunity to talk with you again!

 

Jenn:

Oh, I’m so glad, so, no one who’s listening probably knows this, but the first time that Alison and I met was actually at a conference that we went to in Toronto called the “Archangel Summit.”

 

Alison:

Yes, it was – ‘astic, and, hey … the new – … the lineup … this year, holy moley! Yeah.

 

Jenn:

Yes, so, it is definitely something worth looking up if you are an entrepreneur or someone who is building a business, … definitely something to look up after you’re done listening to the show, because it was ‘astic and exciting, and I got to meet Alison in person, so I will always treasure that moment.

 

Alison:

Wasn’t that a treat?. Likewise, and you – the Author Incubator was a sponsor last year, too! And they ….

 

Jenn:

Yes, we were one of the sponsors.

 

Alison:

Very goo – again, this year.

 

Jenn:

Yes. Exactly. So, ….

 

Alison:

Very cool, ‘cause they’re doing – yeah, they’re doing so much good work.

 

Jenn:

They are, and what’s really important, I think, is – is, for the Author Incubator, … – for us, we get a chance to showcase authors like you, who have – who are out there … making a difference with their books, because I think a lot of people are terrified to write a book.

 

Alison:

Oh, yeah. … I have lots of people coming up to me, saying, “How did you do it? Why aren’t you scared?,” and “How’d you get started? How many years did it take?”

 

Jenn:

How many years did it take you, Alison, what’s the answer to that question first?

 

Alison:

Um, four weeks? I think?

 

Jenn:

Four weeks!

 

Alison:

It depends on how you look at it, it’s just … – a coupla weeks to think about who I – my ideal reader was gonna be, and create an outline, and then, the actual writing itself, I think I was done in about four weeks, and then … there’s that getting ready for – to be published, yeah. The book covers, the photos, those kinds of things. And – but, yeah, about the writing, it was about four weeks.

 

Jenn:

See, people listening who are afraid to get started writing? You can have a manuscript in your hands in four weeks, if you’re like Alison, of course.

 

Alison:

And when you think about how your – your – how people spend their time. The people that I’ve talked to have been wanting to write a book for years. And they think about it all the time. They get started and stopped all the time, they have more than four weeks invested already in writing that book. If you a – add up all of that – … for lack of a better word, “wasted time,” … actually put pen to paper and written it.

 

Jenn:

But how did you get over – because there – there seems to be … in their ship, that’s stopping us from using that extra time we have, …, so how did you get over that inertia?

 

Alison:

I think part of it is – having a team helps, is what – … helped me, because if I don’t figure something is going to land, I have a hard time getting started, because I think, “Oh, I can do this in my career because it’s making me money, or I can do this, this is not making me money, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with it, but I’m just gonna spend a little of those time potentially not making money.”

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Alison:

So, for me, the, how to get it from, “Okay, I just put the last word on the page,” to “How do I get it in people’s hands?”

 

Jenn:

Right!

 

Alison:

And so, that was the beautiful part of working with the Author Incubator, is that I was able to get that whole process. I didn’t have to worry about that all – I had to worry about was writing my stuff down.

 

Jenn:

Yeah, was being you, right? Putting you on paper. … –

 

Alison:

Yeah. Yeah, and … other people – …

 

Jenn:

Exactly. Did you then – … as you began writing with us, did you envision what your book would look like at the end, or did you just sit down and … crank it out?

 

Alison:

I sat down and cranked it out. I … to – … I – I feel some – at the beginning, I started thinking about that whole book, was … – it got really quite daunting about – what I end up doing is, once I had my outline done, that reduced all of those possibilities that didn’t exi – shouldn’t belong in my book. And … the book is one of those things that shouldn’t be in my book, so I would sit down and … “Okay, I gotta write Chapter Two today, and this is what I’m writing about, super!” And I just wrote a book that – and my brain knew that I just couldn’t wander off on some wild goose chase about – down some rabbit hole, trying to find some thought or something to write or trying to make sense of something, ‘cause I had to get that chapter done ‘cause I was on a deadline.

 

Jenn:

Right, and the outline helped … give you boundaries, then.

 

Alison:

Absolutely. It’s – it’s – it kept everything clean. …, if you go into … your dirty kitchen, you know all you have time to do is clean the dishes, and then you have to go, your company is showing up or wherever the kids may be, you don’t waste time! You just get those dishes done. You don’t think about all of those –

 

Jenn:

You’re so right!

 

Alison:

– other things that you could be doing during that time, you just focus. I just focused.

 

Jenn:

Well, in listening to you talk, so – the listeners probably don’t know what “thinking opposite” is. So, can you explain to them briefly what that is, and how you were able to … use that to write your book?

 

Alison:

Sure, it’s ac – Think Opposite developed after the fact. And – and just to let listeners know, it may still be possible, as Change Your Business, Change the World, to find that on Amazon, I don’t think that the actual change yet has happened with the new title, but it is in the process of happening, my book’s gone to print and I’ll be getting it into the new titles soon, but to … that’s developed after because, in the book, I talk about dominoes thinking, … where do your thoughts take you? And that morphed into Thinking Opposite. Thinking Opposite is, I ask people to suspend their belief long enough to consider a different perspective and then proceed with clarity. So, suspend your belief, think opposite, proceed with clarity. And when we can suspend what we believe, we actually can give other perspectives some thought. We … those things that we think about, and we think we’re right, we’re … chambers, we’re slaves to the Facebook algorithms, and we ha – live in this state of thinking we are more right than we are.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Alison:

… put that on a shelf and go, “Okay, what is the complete opposite of this?” and explore that. Then, we can see everything that exists between what we hold as a belief and the opposite of what we hold as a belief. And then, we come back and sometimes we think exactly what we think because we are certain that is right, but other times, we go “Ha, maybe I could shift just a little bit.” And … when we shift, just a little bit, or we come more clear in our belief because we explored other possibilities, we’ve built trust, connection and communication. It is much easier to talk to somebody if you can imagine their position. And it’s easier to see them as a person, as well.

 

Jenn:

You know, that’s so important right now, too, because everything feels really divisive, doesn’t it?

 

Alison:

Oh, yeah, we are definitely polarized. And i – and we’re coming more and more so, we’re becoming more and more captive of our own stuff.

 

Jenn:

Yes, but if we can take a moment – … I – I think people have said that, it’s … walking in the other person’s shoes, is a – another way of saying it, if you take a moment to step out of your own … and put yourself in the other person’s mind, boy, that – that is such a powerful technique.

 

Alison:

It is, and – really, at the end of the day, you are benefitting from it just as much as they are. So, if you think that … self driving down the street and there’s some jerk behind you, tailgating you, you can … –

 

Jenn:

Never. I never think they’re a jerk.

 

Alison:

Nev – never! You can think that they’re a complete ass! And then, you can spend your entire day telling the story and reliving it and spend all of your time in that space. You can slow down, you can ruin their day, because now, they can’t get ahead of you, or you can think, “Hum, maybe that person’s not an ass. Maybe he’s a really good son and his mother’s in the hospital and he’s trying to get through so he can hold her hand while she’s going through surgery.” … you – you feel yourself calm down and go, “Oh, that poor guy.” Doesn’t have to be a true story. But what you have done is used – removed that angst from your entire day because it won’t live with you the same way. You’ve pulled over so that guy can go ahead. Now, he’s not angry at you, he’s just …, or she, whatever the case may be, and there’s no accident. So, when you consider tho – that domino effect of just thinking the opposite, your entire day changes. And potentially, your entire world, … you get an accident because you’re playing this road rage game with the guy behind you.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Alison:

And you get into an accident, you end up in a … the rest of your life, that decision could have changed that.

 

Jenn:

Wow. That’s super powerful, to look at it from that perspective.

 

Alison:

Yeah, and if we – it doesn’t take a lot of work, … if you think about, when you’re in a car, how long does it take for you to go, “Okay, maybe he’s a good son.”

 

Jenn:

Right?

 

Alison:

It doesn’t take very long!

 

Jenn:

Why don’t we short circuit that … – … we’re gonna have that initial thought, that “Oh! … Stop tailgating me” thought. How do we train ourselves to short circuit that and – and think opposite?

 

Alison:

It’s just taking that breath when you see yourself to getting to that really horrible space, and you’re feeling yourself getting more worked up. One, … there’s very little we can do about anything that’s around us, but what we can do something about the way we think or feel about it. So, that’s your first tregger – trigger. “I am getting really worked up about this. Okay, breathe. Why am I so upset about this? I’m upset because this guy’s tailgating me. Okay, why is he tailgating me? Hm. Maybe he’s a jerk – maybe.” And then, think about what the opposite was, “He’s a really good person, and he’s also tailgating me, what would the story be?”

 

Jenn:

Right, right about that.

 

Alison:

And we can do that in our businesses, we can do that with our customers, we can do it with our staff, so, my book talks about business and how we can use our business as more than just a tool to make money, we can use our businesses as a tool to change the world.

 

Jenn:

Wow. I – I – and I see that now, I – I understa – and it is that – … you call it, a domino effect, just from that one changed decision. And … never know –

 

Alison:

Yeah. … – Well, of course not.

 

Jenn:

Yeah, I mean, we’ll never know, but – but have you made your day better by thinking …. Right. ….

 

Alison:

That we know! Right! And we’ve – we’ve made our life all about other people’s lives.

 

Alison and Jenn:

….

 

Alison:

I think I’ve always thought this way. I – I’ve – drove my teachers nuts because I was always …, “Well, hang on a second, if we do that, this is gonna happen, that’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen, and I don’t wanna do that.” And they … “Shut up and do it!” So – yeah, it’s always been that person that thought about the outcome, and – in – granted, we have to be quite careful about, we don’t get caught up in that paralyzation that comes with a domino effect, because if you think about it, you might go, “Oh, goodness, I can’t even put her to bed, I might step on a beetle, and beetles are becoming endangered because they use them for shellac, and so, if they become extinct we can’t touch shellac, and what will we put on our walls as our grow-ups and our – … our nicotine, how does … painting industry will be out of business, so I’d better not get out of bed, ‘cause I could step on that beetle.” We – and this is how my brain works, a lot. … I – I do get out of bed, and I do – I – I do get out of bed, and I do think about … what could happen, and I – you just make the best choices you can, but you can only make the best choices you can when you do some thinking opposite and considering different perspectives.

 

Jenn:

And it sounds like it works in either direction, … if you’re – for example, if you don’t wanna get out of bed because, “Oh, my gosh, … I’m gonna kill the shellac industry,” you think opposite for a moment and you think, “If I get out of bed, then maybe I’m gonna help -” … whoever your people are, and that’s gonna offset any possibility of me stepping on a beetle and killing the shellac industry. ….

 

Alison:

Maybe it means that you’re gonna get in your car and you’re gonna go to work and you’re not going to play … with that, with the person behind you, which means you’re not gonna create an accident, which means you’re not going to kill the woman that’s pregnant with a baby who’s gonna save beetles.

 

Jenn:

Right!

 

Alison:

Right? ….

 

Jenn:

I don’t know – it’s a … playful way of thinking, Alison, though, I love that! ….

 

Alison:

….

 

Jenn:

And I think we – we – yeah, … to stretch and – and – and be more playful in the way we look at things.

 

Alison:

And, we also then get to recognize our own greatness, because if you being nice to that guy behind you could save beetles, damn, you are powerful!

 

Jenn:

True, very true.

 

Alison:

Yeah, how can you not think you’re pretty magnificent if some of your choices could lead to something really amazing?

 

Jenn:

Wow. That’s so – … and we probably need to spend a little more time, each and every one of us, thinking that we’re powerful and amazing.

 

Alison:

Because we are!

 

Jenn:

Because we are.

 

Alison:

Yeah, way more …, yeah. And we underestimate that.

 

Jenn:

Did you use this – … you say that this is … think, and – and how you thought your whole life, did you purposefully use this method of thinking while you were writing your book, or is it just … a natural thing for you?

 

Alison:

I – it is a natural thing for me, people always figure I’d point out the obvious, and I point out the obvious because I’ve already spotted … six, seven steps down the road, or four hundred.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Alison:

This … – the case, … I was working with a client yesterday, and – and she was just … “How did I not see that?” because she was stuck in that moment, she was stuck in those feelings about how she was feeling, and I was able to come along and say, “Mm, there is all of this over here,” and then she went, “Oh, now I see it.”

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Alison:

So, there is an element of me which is always seeing it that way, it’s … seeing the world through a different lens, and I recognize that now, for a long time, I just felt like I was a bit of a freak and there was something wrong with me, ‘cause I don’t think like everybody else, and – there might be some truth in that, but … now, in the last few years, I’m running my own successful business, I have my own business for eighteen years prior to Domino Thinking, which is my business wh – to the book and helping people just step into the ver – … really, the – to step into their ability to be that much more and to have that much more of an impact, and – … yeah, it really developed from the way that I normally think, but then, there’s a section of each of my cha – end of the – end of each of my chapters called “Domino Thinking,” and that came to me in the middle of the night, I’d already, I think, written one of my chapters, and then I went, “At the end of every chapter, I need to have this section completely unrelated to business that gets people thinking – domino effect and what happens, think about this.” And – and so, there’s all of these random thoughts, one at the end of each chapter, that gives people an opportunity to go, “Ha! Yeah!” And the – the cool thing about it is, when we shock our brains into a new thought, our brain does amazing things because our adrenaline hasn’t had a chance to catch up with it yet.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Alison:

So, you know when you have time to think about things, and then that voice in the back of your head comes up with all of these reasons why that’s a bad idea?

 

Jenn:

Yes, that’s when you fight yourself.

 

Alison:

I – right! So, it’s important to shock yourself once in awhile, so here we are, we’re reading about your staff and your company, and then we threw in a domino thought, something completely unrelated in your life, “Whoa, I wasn’t expecting that,” and all of these great thoughts can come to you because those voices in your head, they’re just confused and it – your brain loves to do what it does best, which is think.

 

Jenn:

Wow. Such a good idea. I love that, I’m so glad I came to you in the middle of the night.

 

Alison:

…! And then, the other thing that came to me in the middle of the night, because – … half of my life comes to me in the middle of the night – is, I have people who are really important to me, starting off at the beginning of each of my chapters, because they’ve said something that’s profound or I loved the way they do something. Or I’m just really impressed with who they are as a human being, and so, rather than having sayings – people throw quotes at the beginning of my book that I don’t know and I’ll … – probably never need, I have people that I know do it, and that it just shows that the people that are in your life impact the way you think. And they can be just as powerful to your thinking as Oprah is, or some cynic or whoever the case may be –

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Alison:

– if you’re just looking for the beauty in what they’re saying.

 

Jenn:

Oh, wow, I – I think that each and every one of them was so honored to be … that way in your book. I can only imagine. Did you tell any of them you were putting them in the book?

 

Alison:

Yes, I did. And I told them what chapter they were going to be in, I told them why, and then they came back with a quote, and it’ll be exciting when I get my book in hard copy, which will be in just a few weeks, need to be able to give them all so that they’re – see their name in prints, because it is a really cool thing to see them.

 

Jenn:

That is really – … I – I love that idea, because so many of us – you’re right, we turn to people that we don’t know to lead us or guide us or motivate us, when we are probably surrounded – or at least most of us are surrounded by people that are probably more motivating than these famous people we don’t know.

 

Alison:

Mm-hm. Yeah. But we don’t consider people in our backyard the experts at anything.

 

Jenn:

Right!

 

Alison:

It’s – yeah, that’s why, parents don’t let their children do things to help, … – I don’t know about you, but my parents say to me, “Oh, we’re having this problem,” … “Oh! Well, ABC will fix it, now, isn’t that nice?” And then, they call me up and … “Guess what? I talked to Joe down the street that I don’t know, and he had a buddy who said ABC will fix it,” I’m … “Really? Really?” But I was their backyard, they can’t see me. Yes!

 

Jenn:

That’s excellent. Well, so, … you have this unique way of thinking, and you’ve already been running a successful business before you wrote your book, so, what’s the best thing for you that’s come out of writing this book?

 

Alison:

Oh, having done it. Really, it’s that – “Whoa, here is something that I – people spend their entire lives thinking about doing and I just did it.”

 

Jenn:

Wow.

 

Alison:

And then, that – … for a personal accomplishment, huge. And it wasn’t … I really wanted to write a book. I – … prior to this year, I was never – something I thought I’d – last year, it was never something I was going to do. And then, the opportunity came along, and I’m … “Well, why don’t I write a book? I have lots to say, clearly.” And – and – so, yeah, I did that … from a personal bucket list … thing, it was – it was neat to check something off that you know was on your list, and then – … comments are trickling in, and I’m realizing that this book is making a difference in people’s lives, that is so very cool. It – it really is, and in ways I never imagined.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Alison:

Yeah.

 

Jenn:

It – it is. You … become the expert in the backyard, though, once you write a book, don’t you?

 

Alison:

A little bit, yeah, but there’s that – people have a little bit of a hard time assimilating the change, because I own a local house painting company, that’s what I’ve had for eighteen years, and people have a hard time seeing me as a business expert, even though, clearly, I’ve had to be, to stay in business for that long.

 

Jenn:

Really? Right.

 

Alison:

Because they see me as a painter.

 

Jenn:

Oh, interesting.

 

Alison:

And the presents – … as a painter, to see me not as a business expert but an author, too, because, after all, they’ve been wanting to write a book their whole lives and they’ve never been able to do it, so who am I to do it? And that creates a little bit of friction, so I’m finding there’s more success outside of my hometown –

 

Jenn:

Fascinating.

 

Alison:

– although it is really cool, seeing the people who are proud of me here.

 

Jenn:

Of course. Of course. … but that’s fascinating, that what you teach in your book, which is to think opposite into the – the domino effect of your thinking is exactly what they’re not doing, and so, if these people in your hometown would, maybe, put themselves in your shoes for a moment and think, “Why can’t a quote unquote painter write a book,” then maybe they’d be more proud of you!

 

Alison:

Yeah. And I had a guy say to me one time, a client! He said, “You can’t write a book, … you’re a painter!” And I … “Well, clearly, I can,” and he goes over to  … book, “Paints?” And I said, “No, I wrote a book, Critical Thinking.” And he goes, “Well, don’t you think that’s a pretty hefty topic for a painter?” And I was –

 

Jenn:

Wow! That is offensive, right?

 

Alison:

Whereas, if I was in some random conference, speaking, and I talked about owning a – a painting company, and I talked about this book and I talked about critical thinking, people would have accepted the package, because that’s what they know of me.

 

Jenn:

Right!

 

Alison:

Right? We – we like to keep people in the – in situations and all sorts of things that go into our head, in little boxes, … this is what this person does, and this is what they’re capable of doing.

 

Jenn

Yes. Very much so, and I guess the whole point of – of changing your thinking is so that maybe we’d loosen the restraint on the cages or boxes a little bit.

 

Alison:

… and we need to start thinking about things differently, we need to be able to start having conversations with people who don’t agree with us, … I have a radio show coming up in February called Think Opposite. It’s a live online radio show on … Edition, and – it is really exciting, and I’m so excited that the guests that I’m attracting for this. I’ll have one talking about prison reform, another one talking about our addiction to the status quo, I just met a woman the other day who deals with global warming, and … and she lives in Belgium, and so we are going to do this all that far away, and … technology is really allowing us to be in touch with these people who … potentially we couldn’t be with before, but I’m looking to talk about pro-life and pro-choice and – and – because we all have an opinion about all these things, and I’m certainly feeling it. … I’m pro-choice, and so, when I was thinking about having somebody who’s pro-life on my show, I’m … “Aaah, didn’t know if I ….”

 

Jenn:

Right!

 

Alison:

And then, it’s … “Well, I’m not advocating for it, I am just having a conversation with somebody who disagrees with me.” But I still have to do work, too, about having those conversations with people who disagree, and I enjoy doing it, so I understand, there is a lot of fear and concern, because we – we believe we are our beliefs.

 

Jenn:

Yes! Oh, my gosh, that’s so true. How can people find this radio show, once it starts in February? A – and when I say “people,” I mean me, it’s because I’m so excited to start listening to it.

 

Alison:

I’ve all – it will be live on boldradiostation.com, it’s hosted through …, so all of the archived shows will be available there, and there’ll also be calling capabilities, which I’m really excited about, it – people don’t always wanna actually pick up the phone and be on air with …, because people tend to have opinions tend to wanna be heard, … and then, they’ll also be all archived, eventually get them on iTunes, but I need to get a few of them done, and – … and then, they’ll be available on my website as well, dominothinking.com.

 

Jenn:

Oh, fantastic, oh, Alison, I feel like we could talk for … years. It’s been a –

 

Alison:

Yeah! Yeah, I know, right?

 

Jenn:

… it’s been so easy, and it’s been so lovely talking to you, but our time is coming to a close, and so, I always ask our authors to, real quick, if there’s someone out there listening to us right now that is just afraid of taking that leap, of putting that pen to paper, what one piece of advice would you give to that person?

 

Alison:

Your – your fear is an illusion.

 

Jenn:

Oh!

 

Alison:

It – … it’s not real. It feels real and it might hurt your chest and you might have … trouble breathing and you might have trouble actually picking up that pen, but it is just an illusion, it is just a story you told yourself, and if this is what you wanna do, then just do it. Figure out a way of … making peace with your fear and just do it, because it’s obviously something inside of you that’s wanting to be heard.

 

Jenn:

Wow. I – there’s no better way to close the show, than to remind everyone that their fear’s an illusion, and they should just get out and do it. Alison Donaghey, we can find her online at dominothinking.com, we’ll find her on the radio come February, she’s also on Facebook and her name is Alison with one “l,” and then Donaghey, d-o-n-a-g-h-e-y. If you search her name on Amazon, you’ll get whichever iteration of the book is up right now.

 

Alison:

That’s right.

 

Jenn:

… in the middle of a name change, so, Alison Donaghey, it’s been a pleasure, thank you so much for joining me today.

 

Alison:

Oh, thank you, it was so great to talk to you again, and hopefully I’ll get to see you at Archangel next year – or this … later this year.

 

Jenn:

Yes. … or this year, exactly, that’d be fantastic.

 

Alison:

…. Well, we’ll see.

 

Jenn:

Well, this concludes another episode of Book Journeys Radio, our first one of 2017, where we talk to authors about going from idea to making a difference in the world. Thanks, and I look forward to talking to a new author this week!

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