Episode 250 – Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story: An Interview with Joey Mascio

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In this episode, I’m speaking with Joey Mascio. He is a fellow life coach and good friend who normally works with teens helping them become the hero of their own story. But today we’re taking it a step further. A lot of what we think about ourselves comes from when we were teenagers. So we too need to find a way to become the heroes of our stories! Whether you were a teenager once or are raising a teenager, this is a must listen episode!

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Show Notes:

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Join Amanda’s Private Facebook Group.

References for this episode:

You can find Joey at:

His website: http://www.sidekicktohero.com/

His Instagram account just for teens: https://www.instagram.com/sidekicktohero/

His Instagram account for parents: https://www.instagram.com/joey_sidekicktohero/

Or his podcast, Secrets for an Awesome Life: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/secrets-for-an-awesome-life/id1504492900

Show Summary:

Amanda: Hey everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. I’m so happy to have you here. Before we get started with this really great interview with my friend Joey Mascio, I wanted to let you know that the Embrace You Elite Society is just going to be open from now on. You can join anytime for just. $49 a month, or $499 for a year. I’m not going to be opening and closing the doors. I’m not going back to the $499 upfront fee. 


So you can join any time and you can cancel at any time. But I really hope that you’ll join me in this amazing membership. We’ve got so many women in there who are making huge changes in their life, in their marriage, and in their sexual relationship, and I want that for you too. And for $50, why not at least try it? Right? 


So go to amandalouder.com/membership to learn all about it and join. Whenever you’re ready, I will be here for you. 


And in the meantime, if you don’t think you’re quite ready to join the membership, but want to learn more and hear some coaching, you can now subscribe to My Embracing You Podcast. It’s $99 for an entire year of the podcast where you get to hear me coaching actual clients and women just like you, and you get to apply the principles that I teach on that podcast and in those coaching sessions to your own life and start learning and growing. But it still doesn’t make up for not being in the membership because in the membership you’re not only going to get coaching, and listening to coaching, but you’re going to get my Embrace You video course and personalize coaching from me. So, either join the membership. Or subscribe to the podcast or better yet, do both. To subscribe to the podcast, you can go to amandalouder.com/embracingyoupod. All right, let’s get to the interview.


Amanda:  I serve in the young women presidency in my ward. And a few months ago I was asked to do a mental health night for the youth and I had some ideas, but immediately thought about my friend Joey Mascio. Joey is great at connecting with and coaching teens. He coaches my own teens, and so he was able to walk me through some awesome ideas of how to help these teens, not just be the sidekick, but be the hero in their own life using scripture stories. So I wanted to bring him on today to talk about how we can also be the hero in our own lives and help ourselves and our teens do just that.


So welcome to podcast Joey. 


Joey: Thanks so much for having me. I’m so excited. 


Amanda: Did you ever think you were going to be on a sex podcast? 


Joey: Not once, not once. When I picked my niche, working with teens, I’m like, that will never be anything that I’ll be on, but here I am. 


Amanda: Here you are. Okay. So introduce yourself a little bit for my audience.


Joey: Yeah. I’m a coach for teens. I’ve been a coach for four years and I specifically help teens with confidence, social skills, reaching goals, you know, emotions. 


Before that I was a middle school teacher for seven years where I volunteered to be the teacher in the discipline office. Yeah. My principal was like, are you crazy? And I’m like, yeah. Mm-hmm. I am. Yes. But that’s where I started coaching teens. And that, or at the same time, discovered life coaching and was like, wait a minute. This is a thing you can do, like on your own? I want to try that out. And I did that. Yeah. And so I’ve been doing this full-time for two years now. And then before I was a teacher, I was an actor, a stage performer throughout California. My biggest claim to fame is being an actor at Disneyland, where I’m the only actor in Disney history to have played both Darth Maul and the Mad Hatter. 


Amanda: Interesting. So I’ve seen you do some improv. I know you do some, like improv shows and stuff like that. You also own an escape room. 


Joey: I do have an escape room business. Yes. In Orem, Utah. My dad and I went in on it, co-owners, and so, it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve almost had it for a year now and it was already existing, so we took it over and are having a lot of fun with it. And of course I’m like, well, I have to tie in my mental resilience training for youth groups. Yes. So we’ve been doing that there, and that’s been a lot of. 


Amanda: So fun. So fun. Okay, so you said that you specialize in helping teens have more self-confidence and social skills. How do you think self-confidence as a teen translates to our sexual relationship later in life?


Joey:  That’s where all the foundation is laid, right? For how you view yourself, and the world that you live in, you know? Sure, you’ve talked about similar things, but we all live in worlds as we perceive it with our minds, right? And so I call those stories that we have made up, right? So we have stories which are made up of our thoughts and whatnot and we start building those in our teens. That’s when the prefrontal cortex starts developing. And all during that time, we start having understanding of ourselves. And you can always change that understanding. We know a lot of adults who are older in their life, they’re like, wait a minute, I can change it. You can always rewrite it. But I feel that the reason why I chose to work with teens is because I don’t want as much rewriting. Know that needs to happen later in life. 


Amanda: Yeah. Like if we don’t have to rewrite those stories, that will be great. Right? Yeah. But it’s, but when we do have these stories, we find out later on in life that they’re really not serving us. They’re really causing us so many problems in so many areas of our life. And then we have to do the rewriting. But if we have that foundation where we think, you know, we have that self-confidence and we have those social skills, then we probably don’t have to rewrite so many stories. 


Joey:  Yeah. Yeah. And so for me, and I don’t know if this is one of your questions, I’ll just get right into it though. For me, I’ve had two marriages and my first one was, you know, it was with my high school “sweetheart.” You know, we met in high school my senior year kind of thing, and I served a mission for my church, came back, we dated some more and then we got married and then almost immediately she decided to leave the church, you know, and so that was kind of, yeah, we were married for two and a half years and then separated for a bit, and then the divorce was final. Right? And then the day after my divorce was final, I went on my first date with my actual wife. 


Amanda: Yeah, that sounds a little familiar to me too. I know, I had only been divorced for six weeks when I met my husband. 


Joey: Oh, I beat you.


Amanda:  So I know, you know me. 


Joey: Yeah. But here’s the reason why I bring that up is because, for me, I had a whole journey from middle school on, where I did a lot of rewriting of how I viewed myself. You know, people can’t see me. My headshot might be on somewhere on your podcast or whatever, but I have a pretty big head for a dude. You know, my head was just the same size when I was in middle school, but my body was a lot smaller, right? So people always, like, when I got bullied in middle school, that’s what it was big head, and they called me moon head because of the McDonald’s commercial with Mac tonight, the guy with a crescent moon for a head. Yes. 


The group of boys who were very intelligently made that connection. I looked like him, you know, and so they would call me moon head, and I like, it really, like started writing the story that, okay, well I look weird and that’s just kind of a thing that, you know, I’m just going to have to accept, you know?  And I’m not as appealing to other people as other people are right? 


Now, in middle school, I came up with some rewrites that helped me with the bullies, where I was like, you know what? Yeah. My head is big and I’m still freaking awesome. You know? And That’s awesome.  And so that started in middle school and I started coaching myself then before I even knew what it was, but elements of that stayed with me as I kind of dated throughout high school. I didn’t really pick the best girls. Like if they showed interest in me, then I’d be like, Ooh, cool. Hey, nobody else probably will because I look a little different, you know? So I think I’ll just date them. Right? 


So, my first wife, I think looking back there was probably a lot of that there, you know, there’s a lot of signs that me and her probably weren’t, as compatible, especially with religion, because there were lots of signs that she wasn’t really a fan of the church even though she was a member. But, you know, for me it was, yeah, but you know what, she’s, in my head I’m like, she’s beautiful. I’m never going to find anybody else who’s going to love me, you know, so I can make this work. So that was my lack of confidence leading me into a relationship that didn’t work out. And she’s a fantastic person in her own right. You know? And we’re very amicable divorce, but, the sex life was not anything that I think either one of us wanted it to be, for various reasons. And, so I think to me, all that, my whole journey of accepting the belief that, well, no, I look different, I look weird, and I can’t just get any girl that I want. I can get the ones who are interested in me only, you know that I know of, right? You know, and if they show interest in me, then I have to end up with them. And then I really just connected with the love. 


Oh no, we’re in love, and it’s just me and her and that’s it. And we’re going to make it work no matter what. You know? And so that, I think that could have been avoided, maybe. I don’t know. I love my journey and it made me who I am now, but, you know, that could have been avoided if I knew a lot of the stuff that I know today.


Amanda: Yeah. I think about my own story with that. And, I mean, in some ways it’s very similar. In some ways it’s the opposite. So I got a lot of people who just looked at me and then tried to get as far as they could with me. 


Joey: Nobody did that with me. That’s weird.  


Amanda: And really, I mean, what led me to marry my first husband is I had had an experience where I’d been dating a guy I  thought it was the end all, be all like we were going to get married. And I ended up overhearing a conversation between him and a friend that I wasn’t supposed to hear. Oh, that, you know, the friend was like, so, you know, how’s it going with Amanda? Like, are you going to marry her? And he’s like, no, I’m just trying to get her to go as far as she will. And like, that was devastating for me. And so I ended up breaking up with him and then like a week later I met my first husband. He didn’t seem interested. I mean, he seemed interested in me, like he thought I was pretty, but he wasn’t like, I mean, it took him like three weeks to kiss me. It took him, or actually it was actually, it was like six weeks to kiss me. It was like three weeks to hold my hand. And so, you know, and he would ask me like, you know, tell me about your hopes and dreams and stuff. And so I went from one extreme to the other and which, you know, turned out to be not great either direction, right? 


But like, it just is so interesting that, you know, we end up marrying these people because of the validation that we’re looking for, whatever that is, depending, I mean, you know, this person loves me and accepts me for who I am, and I’ll just kind of overlook all of the problems that are actually there, because it’s more of that reflected sense of self that they’re like giving me what I actually want to hear, rather than me being strong and secure in myself to move forward, you know?


Joey: Yeah. And that narrative, being able to control your own narrative, I think is so powerful and could help a lot of teens and adults when it comes to relationships. And just being able to go in there and be like, you know what, that doesn’t have, like, because of the way I look or because of how people have treated me before doesn’t mean anything about me. It doesn’t have to mean these specific things about me. I can let go of those. I can delete them, I can rewrite them and become the person who I want to be. 


Amanda: Yeah. Okay. So that first marriage didn’t work out for you? You went on a date the next day with, now with Angela, that’s your wife now. So tell me about what changed between those two relationships.


Joey: So it was a super interesting transition, right? Angela is a strong communicator. And that I feel that’s where communication really comes in. 


I left, well, I should say I entered my first marriage with these preconceived notions of what sex was, for example, where it’s like, it has to be like the movies, anytime it starts, it has to be like, Hey, a look, you know, and then a comment and then you go right into it. And if you don’t do that, then it’s not, I don’t know, it’s not going to be magical. It’s not really sex. So that put a lot of pressure on me. And a lot of this was just all my head right. You know? And yeah. A lot of that made it just really interesting to try to fulfill my sexual needs and try to, you know, connect with, with my first wife, because it was like very, oh, well if it’s not, you know, just happening, you know?  


There’s a movie called Fun with Dick and Jane, with Jim Carey, right? And there’s a moment where they’re like, Ooh, oh, hey. You know, like they’re in bed and they’re a married couple and they’re in bed and they’re like, oh man, I love you so much. Yeah. Hey, let’s have sex. Yeah, Saturday. Perfect. And then they go to bed. Right. You know, and it was like, yeah, let’s do it later. You know? And, and that was apparently the more real version of it. And that was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that where sex isn’t like it is in the movies. 


And when I got together with Angela, she having never been married before, never even told anybody that she loved them, right? But had dated a ton because she’s a knockout and she’s beautiful. 


Amanda: She is. Yeah. 


Joey: And, so we get engaged and she comes up to me and goes, Hey, there’s this book here I got a Deseret Book. It’s called, I think it’s called The Act of Marriage. Yellow cover, right. You know, and, but yeah, it’s all about, like how to have sex, you know? And I was like, oh, well, you know, I’ve had sex before, so, you know, like I’m experienced, you know, but I’m like, I was just excited that she wanted to read this together so it can be the best it could possibly be. 


That was just not even an option in my first mindset of what sex was. Right. I can’t sit here and read a book about it. You’re supposed to know already. And me being a, you know, a, a pretty good LDS kid growing up, right and the first time having sex on my wedding night, I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know what I was doing for the whole marriage, that first marriage, right? 


As we’re reading this book together, I’m like, wait, what? Wait a minute. I didn’t know about that, and things just made so much sense. You know, and I learned a lot about me. I learned a lot about a woman, right? I learned a lot. None of that was communicated in my first marriage. There was, there was no, Hey, Joey, right?


There’s this, you know, thing like, you know, here’s this and that. I don’t know what words I can say here. 


Amanda: No, you can say whatever words. We can say all the words. 


Joey: Yeah. Ok. I said that, you know, this is what a clitoris is, right? Like nobody told me like my wife didn’t, like my first wife did not tell me that.


Amanda: Yeah. Well, but chances are she didn’t know herself. 


Joey:  Quite possibly. Quite possibly.


Amanda:  I mean, I didn’t know that I had a clitoris for like the first 12 years of my first marriage. 


Joey: Oh, okay. Well there you go. Right. So yeah. Maybe she didn’t know, right? Yeah. But it was that, and it was that level of confidence and communication that came with Angela that I was like, oh my goodness. Like, this is, this is great. And from day one, with our marriage, I mean, phenomenal, like our intimacy and our sex and all the other stuff is just so good till now, almost 10 years later. Right. It’s still just absolutely amazing and I’m always,


Amanda:  I’ve heard about some that…Joey and I are good friends. We’re good friends. 


Joey: So yeah, and now I’m just like, man, it’s so much better to be able to communicate and it takes a lot of what I call hero thinking in order to live this kind of a lifestyle with your spouse. And, I don’t even know if I’ve, if I’ve explained the difference. 


Amanda: I think we should talk about that, because I think that’s really important here.


Joey: Yeah. When I teach it to teens, all this life coaching stuff and amazing things about confidence and social skills, I love to always start with this story of Metropolis burning. Right. 


Like Metropolis is on fire, you know, and it’s just, I mean, banks are being robbed. Lex Luther’s doing all of his stuff, and Superman is sitting on a curb, just head in his hands and he’s just like, you know, and just really like down on himself. And then Jimmy Olson walks up is like, dude, Superman, like, do you not see what’s going on? Like you should go save the day, you should do things. And he’s like, ah, I can’t, ah, you know, I’m not good enough. You know, and he’s just down on himself. And Jim says, you are Superman. You literally could go stop all of this and it’s going to take you to get up in some effort. Like, what’s wrong? He’s like, I don’t know. It just, you know, and he’s down. Cause maybe some of what other people have said, what Lex Luther has said about him, what he’s thinking about himself. He’s Superman with all these, all these doubts, you know? Yeah. And I just love that imagery because that was me. 


Amanda: Yeah. And I think it’s so many of us. 


Joey: Yeah. And my job with teens is to go, Hold on, you are a superhero. You are the hero of your own story. You’re just thinking like a sidekick and having Superman thinking sidekick thoughts. because in every story there are sidekicks who are like, oh, I’m not good enough. And they get captured all the time. They need to be saved, you know, by the hero. All that right to take all that. And I, I use that to frame my coaching with teens and I put it this way, a sidekick is someone who feels like they’re not in control of their destiny, and they’re always at the mercy of their circumstance, but it’s different than a victim because people don’t self-identify as a victim.


When I’m talking to a teen, or parents, if you’re saying that with your team, oh, don’t be a victim. They don’t self-identify as that. But when I say, Hey, you’re a sidekick. You’re on the team, you’re on the superhero team, you’re on the Justice League, right? But right now you think you’re not front and center. You think you’re the one in the back who can’t save the day, you know, even though you want to. So a sidekick is always someone who wants to do more, you know, who’s like, ah, I’m trying to, but I can’t because of these reasons. 


A hero is someone who’s always in control of their destiny, no matter what’s going on with them. And when I phrase it like that with the teens I work with, I have them come up with a hero title for themselves. That’s, you know, their name the blank, you know, I’m Joey, The Creator, you know? Yeah. And it works, right? It’s an alter ego, kind of a you know, a tool. But, it worked this morning when my kids were screaming bloody murder. Oh my, so much.


And I had an appointment and my wife had an appointment online. And so we were both going to be on our computers, and two of my kids were just screaming at the top of their lungs. And I wanted to be like, you know, strangle them. I would never, but yes, I really wanted to and I wanted to yell, even though I don’t yell, generally speaking, right. And I wanted to, but I sat there and I was like, hold on. What would Joey The Creator do right now? You know, he would create a very teachable moment with all this. And I’m like, yeah, that’s what I would do. And how would I do that? Oh, you know what, yeah. There’s nothing wrong with my kids right now. You know, I can create a teachable moment. Let’s go. And then I was able to do it, and they were both calm. I did it in like under two minutes and I was able to jump on my meeting. You know, and it’s the same thing for teens, right? A lot of their sidekick thoughts or like ones I had, I look weird, you know? I’m not as good as so and so. I can’t talk to people. I’m not good at talking to people. 


And the biggest mistake they make is assuming that their sidekick thought is a fact. Because then they think they can’t rewrite it, you know? So when I work with them, I help them first off, see that that’s not a fact. Okay. That’s your story, and you can rewrite that. Let’s come up with a really good, like you at your best, you know? And what’s your name? You know? And I get a ton of great superhero names, you know, like Ryan, the Strong, you know, they get Unleash the Kind, you know, and all this other stuff. I had one recently, because they get to pick it. This was a college student actually, and it was something like Trevor, the Conductor. I’m like, what? You know? And he’s like, because I like trains and you know, like, I can lead the conductor leads. I’m like, that’s amazing. 


Amanda: Brilliant. Yes. I love that. So good. So good. 


Joey: So that’s kinda my way of approaching it.


Amanda: Yeah. But I think, I mean, that’s so applicable to adults as well. I mean, It’s like if we can get that in their heads when they’re teens, how much more successful are they going to be in their life and in their relationships, you know, later on. But we’re, you know, we’ve got a lot of adults listening here that need to write their story, that have these stories that they think are just facts, right? That they need to rewrite for themselves, for their marriage, for their sexual relationship. Like, I don’t know what I’m doing in bed. Yeah. I’m just never in the mood. Like I’m just not a sexual person. Right. Or even stories that they have about their spouse. I think, you know, when we start to recognize them as these stories that we tell ourselves that, you know, as coaches we talk about like, okay, well what results are you getting from that story? Are those stories the results you’re getting what you actually want for your life?  And if it’s, if they are, great, keep it. 


Joey: Yeah. Keep it. 


Amanda: You know, we’re not here to talk you out of that. Okay. But if they’re not working for you, you’re allowed to keep that too, if you want. So I know so many people like, hold on to that story.


Joey: I don’t know why you would.


Amanda: It’s so hard. Yeah. But it just seems so, so true. But when they can recognize like, you know what, I’m actually not getting what I want in my life with this story, and it might be worth looking at and rewriting, and how can I be the hero in that story for myself and for my life? I think that’s a really powerful thing that all of us can think about. You know, whether it comes to our teens, whether it comes to sex, our relationships, or any other part of our life. What are the stories that you’re telling yourself and are they creating for you what you want? And if they’re not, let’s work on changing them. 


Joey: Yeah. There’s a story that I make sure I don’t tell myself when my wife says no to sex, right? Or when she says, Hey, let’s have sex tonight. And I’m like, yeah, right now I’m going to get lovin’.  It’s going to be so great. Right? And then you know, a lot is going to happen in four hours. And then she’s just like, ah, I’m sorry, not tonight, you know, but tomorrow.  And right there, my brain wants to go into so many stories, like just sidekick stories all over the place.


Amanda: Yep. Like what? 


Joey: Yeah. She always says tomorrow, she’s said tonight. Like, my body’s ready for it tonight. I need it tonight. You know, like, tomorrow won’t be as good. Or, man, I just don’t want to put it in words. I’m at a disadvantage. Like she’s, she’s affecting me. You know, I’m… 


Amanda: She’s in control and I’m just a victim.


Joey:  I’m just a victim here. And man. Yeah. Like, why is she…


Amanda: Do you ever go into like, oh, she probably just doesn’t find me attractive anymore? Or she must not love me. 


Joey:  No, I don’t. I don’t do anything else. Yeah. 


Amanda: Well that’s good. 


Joey: Yeah. I mean, and cause Angela’s really going to be like, you know what, I still love you, you know, and all this other, you know, and that was like the first couple years of marriage.

But, where, you know, maybe I had that earlier on, but now I’m like, no, no. She tells me I’m smoking hot and she totally loves me. You know, that’s not the thing.


Amanda:  But that’s because you’ve rewritten those stories, right? 


Joey: Yes, yes. And I didn’t let the other sidekick stories take hold. When the other sidekick stories take hold, there’s no room for anything like that. You can’t think both a sidekick thought and a hero thought really at the same time. And have both of them stay. You know, one’s going to kind of overpower the other. And so for me, my hero story when it comes to that moment, is that I always want my wife to be able to say no to sex. Like, that’s me in hero mode. You know, you can say no and it’s not going to affect you. 


Amanda: Hundred percent.


Joey:  I’m not going to sit here and become whiny about it or whatever. Like I’m going to be Yeah, babe, say no. That’s totally something you should be able to say. 


Amanda: Because you know, then when she says yes, she really wants it. And she really means it. She’s not just, you know, resentfully accommodating you. 


Joey: Right? Yeah. And I mean, I don’t know how anybody can have sex with anybody who’s resentfully accommodating. 


Amanda: Oh, that happens all the time, unfortunately. 


Joey: Oh my goodness. I, that just wouldn’t work for me. I like my engines wouldn’t be able to go.


Amanda: Right. But that’s because of how you’ve rewritten the stories. I mean, I’m guessing. You know, back in your first marriage, you know, you would’ve accepted just about anything if it was going to happen.  Right. 


Joey: No, and that’s totally true. And I remember letting those sidekick stories stay in my first marriage to the point where I’d be like, we never have sex. And then she’d be like, no, we have sex all the time. I’m like, oh, really? So then I started keeping track. Yeah. And I feel so bad about that. Right. But I remember like keeping track and then the next time she said that, I’m like, no, look, you know, and I show her a calendar app that I had downloaded for working out. But I’m like, these aren’t workouts. These are every time we’ve had sex. You know? And it’s, it hasn’t been that much. Right. You know? 


Amanda: And I can’t tell you how many times I hear that story. Right. Yeah. I imagine now. Okay. I just be, because I, full disclosure here, I actually do keep track and not to like to use it like against my spouse because my spouse and I have a great sex life. Right? Like it’s happening all the time.  But I like to keep track because I don’t want it to decrease. I don’t like, because you know how um, like statistics show that sex tends to get less the further into your marriage, you go. 


Joey:  Mm-hmm. Right. That makes sense. And I don’t want that to happen. Hmm. I don’t want that to happen.


Amanda: And so I keep track, not because I’m like going to use it against him, but because I’m like, you know, if I see it like significantly decreasing, then I know that there’s work to be done and I want to do that work to get it back where we both want it again all the time. 


Joey: Well, and that’s motivated by a completely different story.


Amanda: Completely different story, right? Yeah.


Joey:   A completely different story. 


Amanda: It’s just full disclosure. Cause people probably heard about my spreadsheet. 


Joey: Oh, nice. Well, part of me wishes I would’ve kept track with, you know, Angela from day one. Just outta curiosity. 


Amanda: Just right. Like that’s really, and I mean I didn’t keep track from day one. Well, I tried to, like, we tried to do the penny in the jar thing, because you know, you’ve heard this story like as many pennies as you’ll get, like the first year, like you’ll spend the rest of your marriage like taking them out because you will never have that much sex again. I can tell you 2020, like, I don’t know if that can ever be topped.


Joey:  Yeah. Well, 2020 was a different year for everybody, wasn’t it?


Amanda: But anyway, just that’s, but I think it’s really interesting to hear the different ways that we think and how we hold onto those stories and how much damage it can do to ourselves and our relationships when we hold onto those sidekick stories instead of the hero stories.


Joey: No. No, completely. 


Amanda: So what would your suggestions be about how we can help our kids and teens now to become the hero in their own life so that maybe they don’t have the same struggles that we have had later on? Yeah. Like, I want to, you know, we want to set them up for, right? Yes. So what can we be doing as parents? And then, you know, I think we can adapt some of those things for ourselves too. 


Joey:  No, no, definitely. And it’s always an interesting question, right, when we’re talking to parents, because there’s things that you can do as your child’s coach, and that’s the position I want to take, right? Right now, okay. There’s a whole thing that I teach when I’m talking to parents about going from villain to mentor. Perhaps when I work with teens, we go from sidekick to hero, but parents, the journey is villain to mentor. And a quick note about that before I go into this is that villains I always use, you know, Darth Vader. Villains try to force. A mentor teaches and lets the hero make their own choices. 


Amanda: Love it. 


Joey: So keep all that in mind as I go into this and just tools that I use as a coach when I coach teens. All right. 


So if you want to help your teen be confident, the number one thing you can have them do is to focus on is separating out fact from story. So this was something that I started doing in the middle school  discipline office before I even became a coach and heard about all this stuff, was when I’m talking with them, in order to not have them throw up walls, a mentor will immediately not have an agenda for them. And that’s coaches speak, right? Coaches? Yeah. We don’t have an agenda for our clients. Right. Parents have such an agenda, huge agendas for their teens and they’re like, oh no, but I want them to X, Y, and Z and I want them to stop doing that or stop dating hers, whatever. Right. 


Rule number one, if you want to become the mentor for your teen is you need to drop that. Immediately, right? And let them start on their own journey, on their own path, which also might mean that they’re going to be making mistakes that you don’t want them to, right? Once you’ve done that, the cool thing is that they feel less threatened by you. Right teens when they sit down and meet with me on my consults, you know, they’re always, I mean, arms folded. They’re like, you know, and I always throw the joke out there. I’m like, right now you have no idea what life coaching is or who I am. You just know I’m some guy that mom found that she wanted you to meet with. Is that about right? 


Amanda: I remember when I was introducing my kids to you and I brought up your video and um, like the first thing you said was like, okay, how many of you, like your mom is making you sit in front of this video and you really don’t want to be here and you do you and my kids were like, yep. Totally. 


Joey: Yep. And now they’re, they’re in my program, right? 


Amanda: Yes. 


Joey: Yeah. And so, but that’s the thing is like I tell them, Hey, I’m not here to tell you what to do. That’s not my job. I’m here to find out what you want and to help you get that. 


Yeah. So when it comes to that parent, like that’s what you want to be able to say. You want to be able to say, Hey, I’m not here to tell you what to do. And that’s hard to let go of, you know. I’m not here to tell you what to do, but I’m here to help you to get what you want. So, what do you want? And when it boils down to it, they probably want the same thing you do for themselves, right? They want to be successful, they want to have friends, they might want to go about it in a different way, right? So when it comes to having that conversation with your teen, if you can get to that point where you’re their mentor and they’re like, I’m just stuck, there’s nothing I can do, you know, because of this, I’m trying to think of a scenario, right? Where a teen would be like, no, we’ll do this. I get this a lot, you know, friend. You know, and they’re like, oh, so-and-so is doing this. Like, one of my friends, Becky, it’s always Becky, right? Becky is, you know, either backstabbing me or she’s not being a good friend. And she’s not this, she’s not that. What parents want to do is, oh my goodness, oh, and you get mad at Becky, you got to stop hanging out with Becky, you know, and you want to tell them what’s up. Um, but there’s deeper things underneath there. So what I do is I go, oh, well what do you want? Well, and they’re always going to say this, I want Becky to do X, Y, and Z.


Amanda: Yeah. Like, we can’t control Becky. 


Joey: Yeah. And we go, okay. Can you make that happen? And notice there’s a lot of questions, you know? I try not to go full in. Well, okay. You can’t control the people, so stop. All right. Control yourself. They need to discover it themselves


All the great pearls of wisdom that you have as mom or dad, they need to discover, because if their brain doesn’t write that story, it’s going to reject your version of it because you wrote it. It’s going to treat it like a virus and go, Nope, that that doesn’t belong in my head. Uhuh. No, mom, no way. I’m not believing that. And because this is what happens a lot when I do that with teens. I’m like, all right, well, can you get Becky to change? I’ve tried. I’ve done this and all. Well, what else could you do? You know, like, and to be, well, I get, I mean, I know Becky’s just going to be Becky no matter what, you know? Okay. Yeah, yeah. No, I, what can you do and, well, I mean, I’ve tried doing this, but it didn’t work. Oh, no. Hold on a second. Why didn’t that work, you know? Oh, okay. That’s interesting. You know, and it’s, it’s a lot of letting them discover it. I’ve got many, many emails from parents being like, my teen after meeting with you just told me, oh, you never believe what Joey said? Joey said this, and I tell them that all the time.


Amanda: Same thing. 


Joey: Yeah. I go, well, two things. First off, I didn’t tell them that they said it, and I just reworded it back to them. All right. Second, sometimes there’s that initial blockage of, well, you’re just mom or dad, so I can’t listen to you by default. Right. 


Amanda: I know my son says that to me all the time. Like, well, Joey told me this. I’m like, yep. And he’s like, and I realized that it’s the same thing that you told me that I didn’t believe, but hearing that from him, I totally do. And I’m like, great. I’m so glad. That’s fantastic. 


Joey: Yeah. And you know, I have the benefit of not being their parent, right? Yes. That really does help, but so using that, you know, question and letting them kind of figure it out, and they’ll get to points where they’ll be like, I don’t know, don’t believe the first, I don’t know, by the way, when you’re working with teens, never. Never. 


Amanda: Or adults. 


Joey: Okay. That’s probably true 


Amanda: Because adults will tell me like all the time, like women I work with all the time. They’re like, I don’t know, and I’m like, really? Okay, but what? You know, maybe could it be? And then they come up with all these really great answers, right? 


Joey: Yep. Yeah. It’s the same thing with teens. Oh man, that doesn’t change. It doesn’t. Don’t believe the first one. Also, don’t be discouraged by it. Right? And then, you know, that’s letting them discover it. That’s letting them go on their hero journey. And when you do that, then they’re more likely, it’s not guaranteed, but they’re more likely to come to you and ask questions. More likely to listen to you if they know that you are a mentor and not, you know, you don’t view yourself as a villain, but you know, not someone’s trying to..


Amanda: But they often do.


Joey: But they often do. That’s true. Right. So first off, I know, and it’s always messy. So in there was kind of both suggestions, one for mom or dad, and then the other for teens, is asking them questions about the fact and story. That’s the part I forgot to tie in was, you know, oh, well, can that be changed? Oh, okay. Well, is that a fact? Is that something that can be changed? And because teens and probably adults, but I work with teens, we have so many thoughts that we think are facts. 


Amanda: Yes. So many. 


Joey: And so when you really get them to question that and let them have it if they want to hold onto it. But if you really get them to question that they’ll discover it. They’ll know. Because deep down inside the teen is always like, ah yeah, I know. They always do that. Yeah, I know. Yeah. It’s not true. Becky isn’t just rude, you know? And she’s probably doing it for her own reasons and all that. Oh yeah. Maybe not. Now, how do you feel? Well, it feels a lot better. Oh, well, which one do you want? Which one’s going to get you closer to the thing that you want? 


Amanda: Yep. Yep. Love it. Okay, so you have this new app coming out? 


Joey: Yes. 


Amanda: Sidekick to Hero.


Joey:  Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. 


Amanda: Tell us about that.


Joey: Oh, I’m so excited. So as I started working with teens and I was running a membership for several years and the technology that was available out there was super frustrating to me.


Cause I’m like this, I’m working with teens, dagnabbit, it has to look appealing. You know, it needed to be gamified. So I was using like five or six different platforms to run my membership on. It was super clunky. I was not a fan of it. So then, I was like, all right, if I want to do this, let’s do it. And I contacted, or I actually interviewed several gaming developers and interviewed them and found one that really believed in what I was going to make. And we just, we clicked, you know me, they’re called Game Around. They’re awesome. 


So I developed for those past year, it’s almost been a full year now, um, been developing this app. I’m going to say, I call it an app. It’s not going to be a phone-based app at first. It’s going to be a web-based app, which is a good thing for teens because they don’t need a smartphone to access it. Any device with a browser can access it. Eventually it will be turned into an Android and an iPhone app. So I’m saying app, but right now, like they can access it on their Chromebook. They sign on a website, it will say app, you know, somewhere in their app, but it’s an app that they can play on any device with a browser. So I developed it with them and I took everything that I’ve been doing and I shoved it into this awesome app that looks like a game and feels like a game for the teens. They have an avatar that’s going to grow with them as they grow, and they can customize it when they watch videos or go to the live events, or listen to the podcasts, they get automatic experience points and coins that they can use in the app and they play through the four hero arenas, which are headspace, emotions, relationships, and objectives, which conveniently spells out HERO 


Amanda: I see what you did there.


Joey: And they play through that. They’re stages in these arenas. I’m using all the video game terminology. There’ll be random chests that will pop open and gifts that they get as they go, all the triggers that video games have. But it’ll be in this setting where they go to the app and they watch a video and they get a challenge to go do in real life because the game isn’t played in the app. The game is played in real life, because when they play with their video games now and they level, I’m level 100, you know, I just completed this quest and you know, brought the chicken to the farmer, you know, or whatever. You know, they look around at their real life and nothing has changed. Zero has changed. So I wanted to stop that and I want to create something where they go and they do it in real life. Whether it’s go talk to three new people and you lead the conversation. Or whether it’s do like, do your homework that you plan to do at this time for this long. And the app will check in with them and then go in and check in with the app and be like, yep, I did it. I did my homework, like I said I was going to do, and then they get some experience points and whatnot, and that helps them again, level up, customize their avatar and will help them win real life prizes. 


Amanda: Cool. Okay, so when is this launching? 


Joey: All right. Hopefully mid-February. The development team, they’re in the final stages and they were supposed to show me the first walkthrough two weeks ago, and they’re like, oh, no, we found some more bugs. So I’m supposed to see it next week now. This is development in technology. It totally is. The goal is, it’s going to launch mid-February and I already did some pre-sales, so I already have 40 teens ready to try it out. So they’re going to be my test subjects. 


Amanda: Including mine. 


Joey: Including yours. That’s right. That’s awesome. Yep. So we’ll be testing out, giving feedback or whatnot. We’ll make other tweaks and all that stuff. But yeah, the hope is definitely the end of February by the latest. 


Amanda: Awesome. Okay. So if people on here want to hire you to work with their teen, how does that work? Where do they find you?


Joey:  Yeah. So, first off, go to SidekicktoHero.com. You can get on the interest list right now for the app. You can’t sign up for it yet. I know, I did the pre-sales and Amanda got in, but, you can’t sign up. Get on the interest list. You’ll get the notifications, the updates, and any sales that will be coming up during launch, right? For launch. So there’s that. 


And right now, that’s where my focus is. So I’m not taking on any more one-on-one clients at the moment. And I’ll see how things go, but I do have a podcast Secrets For An Awesome Life where I talk to teens specifically. That’s always a good place to start out with your teen, especially if, you know, they’re like, I don’t want to listen to anybody, I don’t want to talk to anybody. 


Amanda: Just get in the car, put it on, they’ll listen to Joey, they’ll love him. It’s a great way to introduce him to your teens. 


Joey: Yeah. Thank you. 


Amanda: They’re trapped in the car so they can’t go nowhere anyway. 

Joey: Exactly. It’s perfect. A lot of parents tell me that’s exactly what they do. 


Amanda: …and then they start asking for it. Like we get in the car and they’re like, can we listen to Joey. And I’m like, yes, please listen to Joey, since you won’t listen to me. No, I’m just kidding. . 


Joey: Yeah, so that’s called Secrets for an Awesome Life. I also have an Instagram account. I do have two, one for teens, Sidekick To Hero, one for parents, which is just Joey_ SidekickToHero because I don’t want to do any selling to teens. So that’s why I separate that, I just sell to the parents. But the teens, it is just short reels and videos where, you know, they have powerful messages.  


Amanda: And you get to see Joey’s big head.


Joey:  It’s great. 


Amanda: Yeah, in all its glory.  If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of Joey and the work that he does, and I really believe in the way he connects to teens, and so he’s pretty fabulous. So I highly recommend that, which is, you know, I wouldn’t have him on the podcast otherwise because I only want to put out quality stuff and I believe in his stuff because I’ve seen it work for my own kids’ life and he’s a good friend of mine. 


Joey: Thanks, Amanda

Amanda: Alright, thanks everyone for joining me today. Thanks Joey for being here and we’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.

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