#2: Terry B. McDougall – Transcript

April 20, 2021

The Pursuit of Learning – Terry McDougall (1)

Fri, 4/9 9:48PM
• 1:30:39


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Clint Murphy,
Terry Boyle McDougall


Clint Murphy 

to the pursuit of learning podcast. I’m your host, Clint Murphy. My goal is for
each of us to grow personally, professionally, and financially, one
conversation at a time. To do that, we will have conversations with subject
matter experts across a variety of modalities. My job as your host, will be to
dig out those golden nuggets of wisdom that will facilitate our growth. Join me
on this pursuit. Today on the pursuit of learning, I enjoyed speaking with
Terry McDougal. Terry is the author of winning the game of work. She is also
the CEO of Terry B. McDougal coaching, which specializes in executive coaching,
leadership development, talent, optimization, and team building. Prior to
founding her firm, Terry was a longtime corporate marketing leader. This
episode is great for anyone who wants to get ahead in work, or life. Terry,
welcome to the pursuit of learning. It’s great to have you with us. I want to
start our interview today, diving right in to your major life pivot. And then
through discussing your book winning the game of work, we’ll be jumping back
and forth through time and history. Which brings us to our first question in
2017, after more than 20 years in corporate America, you made the decision to
pivot you wrote a book, became a professional coach, and started career
consulting. What drove that major shift for you at that point in time?


Terry Boyle McDougall  01:48

know, it was a it was a while coming. You know, I throughout my entire career
had always been, you know, looking for what’s next. I always wanted to keep
moving up. And I think that as time went on, I just realized that maybe the
answer to me feeling satisfied was not continuing to move up. You know, in the
last couple of years, in the last job I had, I wasn’t really happy. And it
really got me thinking like what could be next I had some interviews for other
jobs, nothing really seemed to, you know, be a good fit. And I really took a
look at myself. And I said, What is it that I’m good at? And what is it that I
like to do? And what I realized was that as a marketing leader, that I had
really enjoyed mentoring and coaching the people that were on my teams. And I
decided to get a certification and professional coaching.


Clint Murphy 

You hit
on something there that you actually talk about in the book about? Well, a
number of things that we’re going to dive into actually in that one answer. And
one of the first ones is you talk about high achievers, and them being
notorious for not celebrating their victories and always wondering what’s next?
What’s next. Yeah, and not being happy with what is? Why do you think that is?
And do you think that it plays a role in why they are high performers?


Terry Boyle McDougall  03:13

I would
say yes, I mean, one of the things that I came across when I was writing my
book, and it was a bit of research that I included in my book, there’s a guy
named time Tom DeLonge, who is a professor at Harvard Business School. And he
has come to this conclusion that high achievers are addicted to external
validation. And I was fascinated when I came across this article, I think it
was in the Harvard Business Review. And partially because it really provided
some context for something that I think intuitively I had recognized in myself
and and other people. But it also I think, is the reason why high achievers are
driven, but also a lot of times why they may be successful, but not satisfied.
Because when it becomes a habit, that you are always looking for validation
outside of yourself, you know, you’re never really going to ever fully achieve
that, right? Because anybody outside of yourself can move those goalposts at
any time. And you know, it’s really up to you to decide, like what’s enough.
But many of us who have gotten in the habit of always looking outside of
ourselves for that validation. You know, we haven’t really developed that, that
and I guess I’ll speak for myself, but I see it as a pattern and people that I
coach as well. That connection with ourselves isn’t as well developed. And a
lot of times we have a hard time getting in touch with what will make me happy.


Clint Murphy 

And in
his study did he hit on why he believes that the high achievers are so addicted
to that external validation. Is it something in the childhood?


Terry Boyle McDougall  04:50

I think
it’s just it’s constant reinforcement, because it’s people who you know, if you
think about in school, you know if if you’re paying attention to what the
teacher asks And you get an A, that that kind of delayed gratification or that
work that you’re putting in, is rewarded. And we tend to keep doing the things
that we’re rewarded for. And, and for a lot of people here in the United States,
you know, we, there’s sort of like a track that people you know, like do well
in school, and then you can get into a good university, and then do well in the
university, and you’ll get a good job offer. And then if you, you know, keep
your nose to the grindstone there, you’re going to be promoted, you know. So
it’s, it’s just sort of like the, you know, playbook for success, if you will.
And for people that, that keep getting rewarded for delaying gratification, or
paying attention to what other people expect of them. It’s just natural that
they’re going to keep looking for that gratification.


Clint Murphy 

If every
time you come home from school and you have an A and your parents are
constantly praising that event, that result, then you’re going to constantly be
seeking that same stimuli from someone else potentially. That’s an interesting,
how would you circumnavigate that with your own children to get them
conditioned to realize they are enough without getting that external
validation? Is there something you do with that respect?


Terry Boyle McDougall  06:18

know, it’s funny, because I actually do have three kids and with my oldest son,
and this was long before I wrote the book, or before I was studying this, and
before I became a coach, but with my oldest son, when he went into middle
school, one of another set of parents had told us like, Oh, well, you know,
it’s important when they get into middle school for them to keep their grades
up. And so we said, okay, if you, you know, if you get a raise, we’ll buy an
iPod. And so he bought into it right away. He was like, all right, you know, so
he was really studying hard. And he did get mostly A’s, and we got him the
iPod? Well, when my second son got into middle school, he’s a different kid, is
like negotiating. And it actually really backfired on us, it caused problems in
our relationship, because I think that he did sense like, well, am I not
enough? Just the way that I am? Why do I have to get AIDS? You know, why can’t
I just live my life the way that I want. And it honestly was sort of like a me,
it took a few years for me to kind of recognize my own part in this dance that
we had with him. And it actually caused a lot of problems. Because he, I think
that he actually didn’t want to focus on school because he didn’t want to be
defined that way. And actually, it’s funny, because whenever I was going
through my coach training, I did bring in, you bring in real things when you’re
going through coach training, and you get coached on them. And I brought in
something, an issue that I had with him. And I remember some of my fellow coach
trainees, were saying, Well, why does this bother you so much? And it really, I
had to really examine my own feelings about like, what does success look like?
You know, and why does some of this stuff matter? Right. And when I started
letting go of it, my relationship with my son got a lot better. And it’s very
interesting to start thinking about, like, how do you define success? Right? I
mean, some people define it by how much money’s in your paycheck or what your
title is. But that I think that once you start getting a certain level of
success, you, you start to realize that that’s not that hard. You can get to


Clint Murphy 

And how
old are your three kids?


Terry Boyle McDougall  08:25

23, 21 and 17.


Clint Murphy 

excellent. It’s a great age. I guess they’re all ages are good, but it’s a bit
a little bit more freedom.


Terry Boyle McDougall  08:33

I will tell you that I feel like the pressure is off my shoulders. I’m like,
okay, especially with the two older ones. I’m like, you guys. It’s on you guys.
Now, I’m going to stop trying to police you.


Clint Murphy 

And how
old were they when you decided to make your pivot? So they were mostly at near
the end of high school?


Terry Boyle McDougall  08:56

yeah. My my oldest was 19. My, I’m trying to think of that’s exactly i think
that’s right. He was 19. The other one was the middle one was 17. And then my
youngest was 13. Okay, I had one in college. So it was a little it was a little
bit scary. But but we made it work. Good.


Clint Murphy 

Yeah, I
have a plan for a very similar path in my life. And my oldest will be the age
of your oldest when I trigger the plan. So it’s quite interesting, the way your
timing played out relative to how ours will work out. Let’s go backwards in
time now to when you were working at a Boston publisher. And you first realized
that there were rules to the game of work. Can you tell our listeners about
what happened and what you learn from it?


Terry Boyle McDougall  09:46

Yeah, so
I had worked at this publisher for I don’t know, maybe like a year or so. I was
the administrative assistant in the advertising sales department in my boss was
the sales manager. And he had told me that he was going to promote me to be a
marketing coordinator. So I was excited to kind of get out of the admin pool
and move into more of a marketing role. And a new president had started at the
company shortly before that, and my boss had been, you know, he was a real
salesman, right? Like he wanted to sell as much advertising as he could sell.
And, you know, there’s no know how much people know about magazine advertising.
But you know, there’s deadlines for Okay, when we close the book, meaning like,
if any new ads come in after that, that point, they would typically go in the
next issue, because, you know, it has to go to the production department,
they’ve got to lay everything out, we’ve got to get it printed. You can’t sell
advertisements, like up until, you know, it has to get a layout, right. But he
was used to being able to sort of like, get his way with the production
department. And when the new president came in, the new president said no,
like, we’re gonna have deadlines, and the deadlines are deadlines. And my boss
pushed it and ended up getting in a tiff with the new president and got fired
on the spot and was walked out the door. So of course, that was, that was
shocking to me. I was like 23, and I had never seen anything like that happen.
And I, I felt quite lost. I was actually so upset, I had to go home for the
rest of the afternoon. It’s so funny to think about, given everything I’ve seen
at this point in my career, but I still had this expectation like, Okay, well,
Dennis promised this promotion to me. So I’m expecting that somebody is going
to fulfill on it. Well, it took a, you know, several weeks, I don’t know, a
couple months or something for them to hire somebody new to come in. And, you
know, I let him know, I was interested in this promotion. And, you know, he
interviewed me for the role, but he did not promote me, he ended up hiring
somebody from outside the firm. And I was very upset about it, because I really
felt like I had paid my dues to the company. And I did not want to continue
being I had a BA in economics, I did not want to keep tightening people’s
letters, right, I wanted to move up. And what I realize now when I look back
was that this new guy was going to do it his way, right? He wasn’t going to go
by the playbook of my previous boss, and especially since my previous boss had
gotten fired. This, this new person had no intention of following that path.
And, you know, it felt very unfair to me, but and it took me a while to sort of
put it in context to understand that, okay, there is no objective, you know,
guidelines or rules of work, right, you’ve really got to kind of step back and
understand what are the dynamics here, you know, it is I feel like in many
ways, it is a big game. And you’ve got to really understand what’s going on
there within the game, and play given what you see in front of you. It ended up
I quit my job and got two part time jobs and saved up my money and moved to a
different city and picked up from there. But you know, I just didn’t want to
stay in a role that wasn’t wasn’t really leading someplace,


Clint Murphy 

in when
you looked back, you wrote that it’s so easy. Now to look back and realize how
clueless you were, you talk almost about that path you talked about earlier,
work hard, get good grades in high school, get good grades in college, get a
job, keep your head down, keep your nose clean, without complaining, and you’ll
get what you deserve. And that was the first time you realized it doesn’t actually
work that way. And so were you able to start yet seeing Well, how does it work?
Where did that come much later?


Terry Boyle McDougall  13:40

you know, what’s, what’s kind of interesting is that I lived in and worked in
Boston. And then I ended up moving back to the DC area, I’d gone to college in
Virginia. And interestingly enough, the the woman that hired me, she saw that I
went to William and Mary in Virginia, and that’s where she went. And so that’s
why she wanted to interview me. And so even though I did not, I was thankful
that, you know, she kind of saw that on my resume, and she pulled me out of the
pile and decided to interview me, but when I I don’t think I gave it as much
credit at the time as I do now that those connection points, you know, those
feelings of, you know, commonality that people have, this is a lot of times
what helps you get ahead, and, you know, we can recognize those things and try
to cultivate them, you know, because it’s all about relationships. Right? And
quite frankly, you know, if I think back to working at the publishing company,
you know, maybe had I don’t know shown up differently or, you know, cultivated
the relationship with the new boss in a different way. Maybe he would have
said, Oh, yeah, of course, you know, she’s clearly ready to be promoted at
knowing myself at that time. I probably had a slight chip on my shoulder
because the old boss had gotten fired. And I was kind of like skeptical of the
new guy coming in which nobody likes that feeling. When You’re new coming in,
and people are skeptical of you, right? because he’d had nothing to do with,
you know, the old guy getting fired?


Clint Murphy 

Yes. And
I believe we’ve probably both been on the other side of that where we’re the
new person coming in. And yeah, exactly. People are skeptical of us in New
York, right? That absolutely does not make for an enjoyable experience in a new
role. So that’s one rule of the game, you might say is cultivating your
network, cultivating your relationships. So that in the future, when you are
looking for new opportunities, you already have that network to lean on to help
you find the right role or opportunity somewhere else.


Terry Boyle McDougall  15:38

absolutely. And, you know, I would also say that build your network without
knowing what it’s going to do for you. Because you will not be able to to know
and I’ll just give you a quick example, that, you know, at that first job in
Boston, I when I was 22 years old, I met somebody there and befriended her. And
we were friends for you know, the years that I was in Boston, and we’ve just
stayed in touch since then, like just Christmas cards. I mean, not really,
like, full blown, you know, talking to each other, like sometimes we didn’t
talk for years, but I am working with her nephew right now, because she
referred him to me after like, 30 years, but she was like, Oh, you need a coach
Terry’s incredible. So yeah, you just don’t know where, you know, what’s gonna
come out of maintaining positive relationships. And it doesn’t have to be like
I said, you don’t have to be best friends. You just have to, you know, show up
authentically, and, you know, be trustworthy and kind. And, you know, I think
people, I think people want to help other people if they feel like, you know,
that person is is somebody that can be relied upon. Absolutely.


Clint Murphy 

before we go on to another question, do you want to share the interesting
tidbit? You mentioned you were at school in Virginia, and over the summers, I
believe you were a server? Yeah. And you had one interesting customer? Do you
want to share that with our listeners?


Terry Boyle McDougall  17:06

Yes, I
did. Yes, I did. So I grew up in Delaware. And I worked one summer in in Lewis,
Delaware, which is down at the beach. And one day, Joe Biden and his wife and
daughter came in one evening, they came in for dinner, and I waited on them.
And his daughter, Ashley was she was probably like four or five years old. She
was a little, little child. And I knew I knew who he was because he was the
senator. He I mean, he’s been the senator in Delaware, you know, from like,
1970 to two and this is probably like 1981, or no, maybe 1984 or something like
that. So he had been a senator for 12 years or something in Delaware. So I know
who he was. And that’s always been sort of like my, I’ve had that as a feather
in my cap. And I also wanted him for president ever since he first started
running like, I think he ran first and like 1988, or something like that. And
I’ve always been a fan because he’s a good guy. And actually, it’s funny,
because there’s another little tidbit. Also, like that summer, I also waited on
bill Roth, who was the other senator for Delaware, and he’s Roth IRA. Oh, okay.
That’s he was the senator that that sponsored that bill. So, and nerdy as I
was, I knew who both of the senators were.


Clint Murphy 

I love that little digression. Thank you for sharing that story. And I want to
rewind the clock again, because there’s something I think that was a thread
throughout your career. And you highlighted when you were a child, your mother
compared you to a tenacious little terrier.


Terry Boyle McDougall  18:42



Clint Murphy 

often found that tenacity is a major factor in someone’s ultimate success. Can
you tell us what your mother saw in you that prompted that feedback? Well,


Terry Boyle McDougall  18:54

know, it’s hard for me to know exactly what my mom saw on me, but I just know
how I am that if I get a vision in my mind that I want it to happen. And I
think from her experiences, probably that I was always asking for things that
that I wanted or just trying to do things on my own. I just wasn’t really going
to let things stand in my way. You know, I just was a creative kid. And you know,
just I had a vision I was going to try to make it happen. I didn’t remember one
time when I was probably like six years old that I really wanted to be a
ballerina and I really really wanted like to to you know, like a ballerina. I
tried to make one out of paper like I colored it all pink and I had a but
whatever. I wanted one I was gonna try to make it didn’t work out that well.


Clint Murphy 

level of tenacity carry with you throughout your career and has that helped
shape who you are?


Terry Boyle McDougall  19:49

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I, you know, moved a lot in my career just to you
know, to get jobs I’ve I’m really, really curious. Yes, there have been times
when, you know, I really thought that maybe I would recognize something at work
that we needed to change. And I would recommend it to my boss. And if my boss
said, No, I would just hold it in the back of my mind. And I would just keep
looking for those opportunities to recommend it again, I had, you know, more
than one situation where just as an example, in the last company I worked for,
when I first came in, we did a lot of charitable giving within the division
that I was in, and we had no process for it. And I remember then to the first
year, like all the bankers, they would like be charging like a gala table or
getting a for some at a golf thing or doing some kind of sponsorship, and all
of that came out of the marketing budget, but it was not, there was no process
for it. So at the end of the year, we would have to be scrambling to, you know,
be sending it, send me your, you know, credit card slips and, you know, anyway,
so I came up with this whole process for and I talked to somebody else in the
department that could do programming, and we were going to do this graphical
user interface. I had like, talk to people in the departments to figure out
like, what the process is going to be in terms of approvals, and so forth. Then
I went to my boss, and I think maybe, I don’t know, maybe it was just too
complicated, or he was distracted or whatever he’s like, now now, we don’t need
to do that. We don’t need to do that. So, you know, I just waited to the end of
the year, I might have brought it up one other time. But he just kept kind of
brushing me off. And at the end of the year, we had to go through the process
again. And he was kind of complaining about it. And I said, Well, you know,
Rick, remember that process? And he finally said, Okay, alright, I’m going to
give you the green light to go ahead and make this happen. I just would look
for my moments, right, but not forget,


Clint Murphy 

from a finance background, most of my career hearing that the marketing
department was not necessarily on top of the numbers and budgets is not the
most surprising thing I’ve ever heard. Terry, that’s quite quite consistent
through many organizations that I’ve seen over over my career. Yes, yes. The
you mentioned in there that you’ve moved for a lot of jobs. If I can recall
correctly, you had also moved 40 times before you were 11 years old. Yeah. How
did that impact you from a development perspective and set a bit of a
groundwork for your future?


Terry Boyle McDougall  22:28

I think
that there were a couple things that came out of that, I think that it made me
very self sufficient. Clearly, you know, I had, I didn’t have like a group of
friends that I could, you know, go through all the grades with or even you
know, before I was in school, you know, we might live someplace for a couple
months, and then we’d have to move because of my dad’s job, which was, it was
like these large scale construction jobs. That was why we had to move so
frequently. And so I think that that’s one thing, I think, on the negative side
of it, I think, because I was self sufficient, I actually didn’t trust people
very much. You know, I think those two things go together, you know, that I
would just depend on myself, because I didn’t know people well enough to know
whether I can depend on them. So I think, you know, maybe the tenacity kind of
went into that as well. Because if I wanted to do something, I knew that I
would just have to figure out how to do it myself. I also was very adaptable,
because you know, you don’t want to a new school, or move to a new
neighborhood, you had to, you know, figure out your how to get around what the
customs were, you know, in your school, it’s always like a different layout
different kids, what are the teachers like, you know, had to be pretty agile
when it came to figuring things out. And I think that I’m just now quite
frankly, beginning to recognize what a superpower I developed over those years,
I don’t think I really gave myself credit for the fact that I can kind of come
into a situation and size it up pretty quickly. And actually, I see this a lot
with many of my clients too, that when something comes to you very naturally,
you just sometimes assume that everybody else can do it, too. And I kind of
wish that I had recognized that earlier, because I think I would have been more
confident about, you know, my perspectives, I was always hoping that somebody
else would come in and second my perspective. And, you know, what I realize is
that a lot of times they were it was gonna take them a lot longer to come to
the same conclusion, because I just was so quick.


Clint Murphy 

And did
you ever find that that got in your way? A little perhaps,


Terry Boyle McDougall  24:29



Clint Murphy 

other people would say, well, Terry, you haven’t been here long enough. You
haven’t seen enough to? To make that conclusion. It’s too quick.


Terry Boyle McDougall  24:39

Well, I
think that when I worked in marketing for my whole career and in marketing, you
know, we’re always having to sort of like evaluate what’s going on, try to
think about like, Okay, how are we going to, you know, support the objectives
of the business and influence in the marketplace. And so you’re always doing
new things right. But I also would have to Get agreement and approval from the
people in the business and get approval and the budget, all that kind of stuff.
And, you know, often, I might come up with an idea that was a little bit out of
left field, but I truly believed that it would work. And I think that the big
gap was me being able to leap to a conclusion or come up with an idea and think
that all I needed to do was present the idea like pretty casually, and that
people would get it immediately. And I think what I did not realize was that,
because I didn’t give myself credit for how quick I was to size things up and
come up with a solution, that when people didn’t immediately support my idea, I
started thinking there was something wrong with me, rather than recognizing
that the issue was really that I needed to be more persuasive, that I needed to
figure out where they were, and, you know, kind of fast walk them to where I
was, so that they could see things from my perspective, and understand that it
was a good solution.


Clint Murphy 

So you
were trying to take them all the way to Zed? Yes, without walking them through
steps, B, C, D, and some people can’t make that jump the way you could.


Terry Boyle McDougall  26:11

most people, most people can’t, and especially, you know, working in, in
financial services, marketers are in the minority anyway, because they are the
more you know, sort of creative type, or you’re around a lot of analytical type
people. And, you know, a lot of people that I worked with, were really
skeptical of something that couldn’t be like plugged into a formula. And, you
know, have like an exact number come out, right? So often, you’re just, you
know, in marketing, we’re sort of testing and learning constantly, you know,
sometimes you’ll make a hypothesis and you test it, and it doesn’t come out the
way that you thought, but then you just keep, keep trying to optimize. Right?
And, you know, so often, when you’re working with people that are analytical
data that feels risky.


Clint Murphy 

solitary, how did you learn to effectively almost slow yourself down? And
realize, well, wait, I have to take them through all the steps to get them to
where I am? What was that process like for you to get to that stage?


Terry Boyle McDougall  27:15

know, I think that, I mean, it’s funny, because I don’t I’m not sure that I can
really pinpoint exactly when that started happening, I think I did start
realizing that you’ve got to meet people where they are, you know, you can’t
just, you know, stand where you are, and be like, Hey, here’s, you know, come
to me, you’ve got to go to them. And you’ve got to start to see things from
their perspective. And I think that that was just happening gradually over my
career, but I think that it went into hyper overdrive, when I got the job here
in Chicago, I was head of marketing for the US investment bank for an organization,
here, a bank, and investment bankers are a really interesting breed. I mean,
they’re, they’re like, you know, you look at their CVS and resumes and, you
know, you’re going to see the top top schools in the country, and, you know,
very, very smart driven people that, you know, you talk about overachievers,
these are over over achievers, right. And, and I really, it really forced me to
sort of, like, stay on my toes. And I would also say that, you know, when I
moved here, for this job, I moved my family from North Carolina to Chicago, and
I need I had to make it work, you know, I wasn’t gonna move my my family
halfway across the country and fall on my face. So, you know, I really needed
to, to make sure that I was figuring out how to influence and provide value and
the role that I was in. And I think that there’s so many lessons that I learned
many of them, I learned kind of the hard way, you know, that you try something
and and somebody would not like it, not only would they not like it, but they might
call my boss and tell them that they didn’t like. And so not only did you have
to like deal with them, but I had to like, you know, call my boss down and be
like, okay, I’ll fix this, right. So it made me a lot more aware of everything
that was going on around me. And I would often tell my, my staff, I was like,
Okay, we got to play a good game of offense, meaning we’ve got to do our jobs,
and we’ve got to do a great job at doing our jobs. But we also have to play a
good game of defense, we’ve got to look around and say, you know, what are the
potential downsides of the things that we’re doing? You know, like, Who are we
dealing with here? What’s, you know, what’s their likelihood? What do we what
do we know about them? As you know, quote, unquote, a player? Right? Is this
somebody who if they don’t get their way there, they are going to call my boss?
Or is it somebody that you know, because you’re going to play it a little bit
differently, right, you’re maybe you’re going to be a little bit more cautious
or more specific, when you’re sitting down with them to maybe you’re going to
ask more questions, or you’re going to have them be a lot more involved in the
planning, you know, but you really have to know who you’re dealing with.
Because sometimes it’s not really the quality of your work. It’s, you know,
their feelings. of whether they feel involved or whether they feel heard.


Clint Murphy 

borrow a term from poker, you’re, you’re playing the cards because you have to,
but you’re also playing the players, you’re saying, Okay, well, well, I’m gonna
play, I’m gonna play that client differently than I will that client, because
they have a completely different risk tolerance attitude.


Terry Boyle McDougall  30:21

that’s a great analogy. And even though I talked about, you know, game, you
know, playing it like a game, that’s absolutely, and I, I did totally do that,
because there were some, you know, players, if you will, that I knew them well
enough that I knew how to, I knew how to influence them to take a certain


Clint Murphy 

there’s a certain level of strategy to that. And one of the things you talk
about is, you say, it’s key for people to gain objectivity, to be strategic,
effectively having the ability to see the trees and the forest. Can you
describe some of the challenges you see for the people that you work with? As
it relates to being able to both be in the detail? And be high level? Where do
you see people being challenged with that,


Terry Boyle McDougall  31:11

know, it’s, it’s interesting, I was just talking with one of my clients this
past week, and she is having some conflict with somebody that she works with.
And she gets sort of irritated and emotional about this person. Like, he has a
tendency to kind of push her buttons. And I think she wants to like react based
on her emotional response. And, you know, what I’ve been trying to get her to
do is like, okay, use your emotional response to see if you can get at the
heart of why this bothers you. And then, you know, once you get clear on it,
and basically what it was in this case is that she’s doing a lot of work, she’s
doing a good job, she’s asking this person to do something that is within his
job description, and he doesn’t want to do it. And so it, you know, puts a
burden on her because she’s more client facing. And so she ends up being sort
of left holding the bag, because he’s not doing the part that should be his.
And so once, but you know, she’s just having a reaction to this, like, you
know, irritated, right? But once we started seeing, like, okay, what’s going on
here, and then you can start putting it in terms of the impact on the business.
And once you can start talking about like, when x happens, y happens, and this
is the risk for the business, that’s when you can go and start having
conversations with people higher up to explain what’s going on. Right? It’s
basically drawing the X’s and O’s on the board, rather than, you know, being in
there and getting your teeth knocked out. Right, because I’ve seen it time
again, I’ve experienced it myself that when you go in hot to talk to your boss,
or, or whoever, they’ll brush you off and say, oh, they’re just disgruntled, or
there’s just that’s just a personality issue. They’re like those who just don’t
get along. Rather than understanding that like, no, baby, we’ve got a huge gap
here, that somebody is really not performing. And it’s causing an issue, you
know, and a risk for the business. Like, you have to go through the emotional
part for yourself, and get it down to the facts. And then once you have it down
to the facts, and you can talk about the facts without getting emotional, then
you’re ready to go and talk to the boss or, or even, you know, go and talk to
your colleague to say, you know, listen, when when you do this, this is the
impact that it has. Maybe you didn’t realize it.


Clint Murphy 

it’s not personal at that point. It’s not an interpersonal conflict. It’s an
actual issue with facts.


Terry Boyle McDougall  33:41

And yeah, and in that situation, you know, when I was talking that situation
through with my client, what we actually realized was that, you know, she was
definitely feeling, you know, like, there was some issue personally, but I
said, Well, you know, maybe it’s, maybe he’s not a good fit for that role. And
he actually, maybe we should have some compassion for him, because they put him
in a role that he can’t do, you know, and that’s not his fault. That’s, you
know, whoever hired him for that role. They bear some responsibility there. You
know, they should have explored to see if this person could do the job. And if
they can’t do the job, it’s not that person’s fault, right? Some people just
can’t do something. Right. It’s just not within their wheelhouse to do it.


Clint Murphy 

And one
thing you said there, because you actually talk about this is you say some
people get held back because they take things too, personally.


Terry Boyle McDougall  34:33



Clint Murphy 

And they become attached to that scenario. And one of the things you try to
teach them is the importance of perception. Can you tell our listeners a little
bit about that distinction? perception so that they don’t take it personally?


Terry Boyle McDougall  34:49

you know, I think that everybody has a perspective, right? And if you can, you
know, try to put yourself in the position of the other person or Or maybe even
step back and say, you know, I’m telling myself something before I start
feeling angry. What if that thing I’m telling myself is not true, because
that’s our perception. I can simplify this in terms of, I think, something that
anybody can understand. And it’s like the example of when we’re driving down
the highway and somebody swerves into our lane and right, we’ve automatically,
I think that underneath of everything, what we’re saying to ourselves, that
person trying to hurt me, right. And so and then we were shocked, and we lay on
the horn, and we curse and all that kind of stuff. We might even like, you
know, speed up and give them the finger or something like that, I suppose
natural if you feel like you’re being threatened, you know, you’re in a moment
of trying to survive. But if you shifted that perception, and then you said
something different to yourself, like not that person trying to hurt me, but
maybe you say, well, maybe they’re in a rush, because they’re trying to get to
the hospital, maybe they’ve got somebody hurt in the car, right? Like, you’re
going to react differently if you have different beliefs, right? And so often,
from our own perspective, we’re looking at somebody and we’re making judgments
about them. And we’re saying, Oh, well, you know, like, in the case of that,
that client I was talking about, you know, she might be looking and saying,
well, that guy is just trying to, you know, he’s trying to screw with me, like,
he’s, he doesn’t want to support me. And the reality is that he probably isn’t
capable of doing some of the things that are part of this job, you know, and
that’s a very different thing than him, you know, wanting to sabotage her,
right? I mean, and would bring you to respond differently, right? I mean, to
beat up on somebody who does not know how to do the job, that’s not going to
make them be able to do the job, right. But to be able to go to the boss and
say, this guy’s really great at analysis, he’s not so great at execution.
Right. And so we’re, you know, maybe you don’t even personalize that you just
say, there’s a gap here when it comes to execution. And, you know, maybe we
need to get somebody in a role that just works on execution, in


Clint Murphy 

on this idea of perception, because there’s something that you hinted on right
there, about the way you perceive something in your own mind. In your book, you
also talk about the fact that you talk about cognitive behavioral therapy, and
you use it with your coaching clients. Personally, it’s been one of the most
instrumentally life changing things for me personally, can you describe to our
listeners, what CBT is, and how you use it in your coaching practice, and how
they can use it so they can get at that core of being able to choose the
answer, that’s probably more logically accurate, then usually those first one
to two answers that just pop into our brain when we see a stimuli. And your
example of that car swerving was a great example of really auditing your
thought process, which really brought me back to CBT.


Terry Boyle McDougall  38:00

yeah. So I mean, you know, I’m not a psychologist or anything, but I do look at
like, Okay, what causes behavior, right. And there’s this, there’s a stimulus,
there is a thought, and there’s an emotion, and then there’s an action. And so
many of us will try, you know, say, for example, like if it’s dieting or
something like that, that will just try to, like change the action, without
getting in and saying, what was the thought? And what was the emotion that was
that, you know, happened after the stimulus, right? A lot of times, we’ve got
habits, right. And that’s also why we have knee jerk reactions. Often, that
something is, you know, it’s there’s a neural pathway there that’s been trodden
for years and years and years. And we might not even realize that we have a
choice about this. But if you have patterns of behavior that keep causing new
problems, whether it’s at home or at work, you might want to take a look at it,
and slow things down. And you know, it could be you know, every time it’s time
to clear the dinner dishes off the table, it ends up being like a war of words
with the kids, right? Because they’re not doing it. And you know, if you can
say like, Okay, well, the stimulus is that dinner’s done. My belief is that the
kids to just hop up and, you know, start clearing off the table, and when they
don’t do that I feel used. And so because of that, I start yelling at it.
Right? Maybe the kids aren’t aware that that’s what you want them to do. Maybe
they have other feelings about, you know, so you’ve got to stop at that very
moment and say, okay, and, you know, am I really being used or could something
else be going on here? And I do see it a lot where, you know, people will
sometimes say, Okay, well, I understand this, but, you know, it’s hard for me
to change that nicely. Yeah, of course it is. Because you know, what’s going to
happen is that if you know if you’ve got that scenario with the kids not
clearing off the table. Well, maybe the first time that you’ve made it, you
know, you’ve made a decision that I’m not going to just start yelling at them,
I’m going to say like, well, maybe I need to ask them nicely if they’re going
to do it. But a lot of times when we might start off, just doing what we’ve
always done, but you can always pull back and change that, like, give yourself
credit for not getting on a path that doesn’t work and continuing down that
path. Right? If you get halfway on the path, and you’re like, Whoa, I don’t
want to do this, I’m going to go back, you can always go back and be like,
Whoa, sorry, I yelled at you, I’d appreciate it if you would clear the table
off, right and see what happens, right? Very likely, if you show up
differently, the people around you are going to show up differently. You’re not
going to spend as much energy on feeling angry or feeling threatened or, you
know, whatever that is that causes you to react in the way that you do.


Clint Murphy 

It’s a
great, great example. Thank you, for listeners, I’ll put it in the show notes.
A book that is a good read on cognitive behavioral therapy for anyone who
thinks it might help them is feeling good, the new mood therapy by David Burns.
So we’ll put that one in the show notes for people. The taking a little
sidetrack, one of the things you say is so many people rely on intelligence on their
talent, but it’s not enough. And there are a lot of other things that they have
to be doing to be successful. That to me is a really important one to unpack.
Do you want to take the listeners through some of the factors that you believe
drive a person’s ability to advance in their career in within an organization?


Terry Boyle McDougall  41:46

Yeah, I
mean, I think that the first thing that is helpful is to have clarity around
whatever the goal is that you have. And the second thing would be to think
about, you know, what’s the roadmap to get there. And it doesn’t mean that you,
you know, if you come up with your goal, and it’s a big goal that you’re going
to get there next month, right might be a five year plan, right? Eventually, I
want to get to this level. And this is sort of like my roadmap to get there. I
think that when you’re developing a roadmap, a lot of times, what you’re going
to see is that I think that it’s important to look for these is like, what are
the skill gaps between where you are in where you need to go, one of the things
that I see a lot with with talented people is that, you know, if they’ve got a
strength, they will double down on that strength, like if you know, with high
achieving people, if they’ve hit an obstacle, and they’re not sure how to get
through it, they’ll try to go faster, or do more or, you know, just take on
more. And a lot of times it makes sense to step back and try to look at the big
picture and say, is there a different way that I can get to my goal, besides
just trying to bust through? And, you know, I also say that, or I’ve observed
this with myself and with a lot of my clients that usually people’s biggest
weakness is their biggest strength overused, and, you know, just as an example,
you know, me being able to, you know, size up the situation quickly. And that’s
a superpower, right, but for me to just rely on that and not develop other
skills, like, you know, an understanding of where other people are, and, you
know, listening and figuring out how do I communicate what it is that I’m
trying to influence them on more clearly, you know, a lot of us have, you know,
tools in our toolbox that we want to reach for all the time. But just like if
you’re doing work around your house, you know, and you’re good with using a
hammer, like a hammer is not going to be very helpful. If you need to take a
screw out of the wall, like, could you do it? Yeah, you could like bang a big
hole in the wall, and you could get the screw out. That’s not the that’s not
the most effective way to do it. Right. So sometimes it It helps to develop
these other tools that we can use, even if they feel awkward, you know, the
more you use them, the better you’re going to get at it.


Clint Murphy 

So how
do you work with your clients? Or how would you recommend to someone to undergo
that gap analysis themselves? You know, outside of getting a 360 done at work?
How can I identify what my biggest gaps are?


Terry Boyle McDougall  44:19

Yeah, I
mean, you can actually do a 360 for yourself if you want. And I think I might
have even talked about how to do it in the book that you can set up a Google
form and you can send the link out to people and they can fill it out
anonymously. But I think that if you’re not getting the results that you want,
and you seem to, you know, be tripping up on certain in certain scenarios, it’s
probably worth it to take a closer look at that and say, I mean, it’s very
easy. I mean, I’ve had clients say this to me, like, Oh, I’m so unlucky. I
always end up with these terrible bosses or whatever. And I’m like, Okay, this
has happened at your last three jobs. You’re the common denominator here,
right? It, it might not be your boss, right? It might not be luck, it might be
that you’re showing up in a certain way. And it’s, you know, you’re the common
denominator. So like, if you showed up differently, how would that impact the
situation? I do think that sometimes it’s difficult to get that kind of
perspective on yourself, it’s very difficult to even see that there are things
that you could do differently, because a lot of times, they’re so innate to us.
I mean, this, this is why coaches can be helpful, but, you know, if you’ve got
people around you that are willing to give you feedback, and you can, you know,
ask for it takes courage to ask for it, you know, and like I said, sometimes,
you know, the greatest weaknesses that we have, or our greatest strengths
overused, and it can feel a little threatening if somebody says, Well, you
know, sometimes you, you know, you talk too much in meetings, and nobody else
can get a word in edgewise, right? And it might be a positive thing to be able
to have the confidence to talk and to, you know, quickly come up with ideas
that you want to share. But if you’re getting that kind of feedback, maybe that
means that you need to consciously step back and let other people, you know, be
able to be heard as well, or consciously ask people like, Hey, does anybody
else have ideas?


Clint Murphy 

makes absolute sense? And one of the things you said in there that gave me a
chuckle, because you talk about it later in the book is what do these five
words mean to you? When someone says, at every job I’ve had? Do you want to
dive into what immediately comes to mind when a coaching client comes to you
and they start their sentence with those five words?


Terry Boyle McDougall  46:49

What I
alluded to that, if they’re having the same problem at every job they’ve ever
had, the common denominator is them. So I actually think that it’s a positive
thing for me from a coaching standpoint, because that means that there’s
something there that we can discover. And if it’s something that they’re doing,
they have control over it. I’m not saying that sometimes people aren’t just
unlucky, and maybe just keep picking bad jobs. But that also might be something
to look at, like, Well, you know, how could you recognize that maybe this isn’t
a good job, right? for you. But you know, if it’s something that you’re doing,
you have the power to change it, it just might be a little bit painful to, you
know, might feel a little, you might feel a little bit vulnerable, when we’re
looking at it. But you know, you’re either going to, you know, keep doing the
thing you’re doing and not advance or be boxed out of, you know, maybe be
ignored or something because people either don’t want to tell you the feedback,
or they have told you and you’re just not getting it, right, because eventually
they’ll just say, okay, just sit over there in the corner and just do the work
that we give you, we’re not going to give you an opportunity to move up. And
usually they don’t tell you that right. But that’s what’s happening.


Clint Murphy 

what happens behind the scenes. And when you have that conversation with your
coaching client, when they when they use that they tell you, oh, you know, my
last six jobs, this exact same scenario is played out. When you point out to
them, do you see the commonality? How do they react to that? And how do you get
them to that point where they realize, wait, I have to make a change? It’s not
them. It’s me?


Terry Boyle McDougall  48:29

it’s usually not something that happens immediately. I’m actually surprised or
not surprised that like, I guess pleasantly surprised and, and happy when
sometimes when I have some assessments that I do that sort of shine a light on
some of the patterns of behavior. And sometimes as soon as those patterns are
surface, people will be like, Oh, my gosh, you know, like, now I understand.
But a lot of times, they’ll still go back to that like defensiveness or, you
know, because it’s hard. It’s hard to separate yourself from that behavior. But
I think that what we can do is recognize that, you know, we are not our
behavior, right? Changing, you can change your behavior at any time. I’m not
sure if I’m answering your question. But you know, some people take to it right
away. Some people are very attached to their defense mechanisms, you know, the
assessment that I do, it really kind of divided it up into two, two sections. One
is where I’m talking about, you know, what I see from the assessment in terms
of like, who they are at their core, you know, it might be that they’re
creative, optimistic person that likes to collaborate, or they’re, you know,
whatever the assessment tells me that’s sort of like who they are at their
core. And most of the time people are like, oh, wow, yeah, that does feel like
me, but I you know, that’s like my ideal me, right. And then there’s another
part of the debrief where I talked to them about the their coping mechanisms,
and how the coping mechanisms that they’re using Maybe holding them back from
stepping fully into that potential, because that’s who they are at the heart of
it, but maybe they have some coping mechanisms that are outdated or, you know,
ineffective. And all we have to do is learn new coping mechanisms. It’s not, we
don’t have to keep doing the same things that we’ve always done. And in fact, a
lot of our, you know, coping mechanisms or ways of showing up were developed
when we were kids. And depending on what your you know, life was, like, when
you were kid, I mean, a lot of people have had, you know, a lot of, you know,
traumatic things happen in their life. And so they had to come up with some
pretty, you know, drastic ways of coping, and that might, you know, if you’re a
survivor, and you know, you are making sure that you’re going to survive in a
very dangerous situation, like, that’s great, you’ve survived. But if you go
into the workplace, and it’s not, you know, a cutthroat, toxic environment, and
you’re showing up, like, you know, you’re in a fight with the bear or something
like that, people are gonna be like, Whoa, like, what’s going on here, like,
and it’s gonna have the opposite effect of what you probably really wanted to
have, you know, people would be like, Wow, she’s so touchy, or, you know, she’s
so defensive, or, you know, she avoids things or he avoids things, you know,
and maybe those coping mechanisms worked very well early on in your life, but
they need to be brought up to date to deal with what you’re dealing with today,


Clint Murphy 

quote by Carl Jung, that comes to mind is until you make the unconscious
conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate. And so many of
us don’t realize that something that was probably safe and healthy and the
right coping mechanism to have when we were five years old, six years old,
eight years old, whatever age it was, it may just not be the right reaction
today. And we don’t know that.


Terry Boyle McDougall  51:55

We don’t know that.


Clint Murphy 

So until
someone like you brings it to the light, yes, it has a conversation around it.
We don’t know to change it. That’s great.


Terry Boyle McDougall  52:04

you know, and I will also let you know that. And I mean, this is something that
I’ve experienced as I’ve gone through my, you know, healing and growing, and
all of that is that sometimes there’s shame associated with the way that we’ve
coped, you know, and, and we, we want to beat ourselves up for it. And I always
try to help people reframe it to say, look, you know, everything that you did
in the past got you to where you are now. So kudos to you, because you’ve
survived, you know, any amount of success that you’ve had till now, you made it
happen, right. But like, as they say, What got you here is not going to get you
there. And so you can choose to evolve and change and grow. And just like, you
know, when you’re a little baby, and you’re learning how to walk, you don’t do
it without falling down a little bit. Right. Yeah, I mean, we fall down, we
hurt ourselves, but we keep getting up to keep going. And I think that a lot of
times with adults, that that can be difficult, right? Because we you know, we
get past those early years of learning and falling down and skinning our knees
and all that kind of stuff. And, and we like not doing that, right. But if you
want to keep growing, you may have to, you know, push the envelope, you might
have to step outside your comfort zone, and it’s gonna feel uncomfortable. But
that’s but you will master, you know, once you step outside the comfort zone,
you will master that. And that will become the new comfort zone. And you just
keep going until you get to where you want to get to, and you’re getting the
results that you want to get out of your life in your career.


Clint Murphy 

And so
an important concept and correct me if I’m wrong on this for your clients to be
successful. And for them to get to where they need to get to through this work,
because it is it is work to change who we are. Yeah, I assume they have to be
coming in with a growth mindset.


Terry Boyle McDougall  53:55

yeah. I mean, if they really want to make progress, they do need to come in
with a growth mindset. And I would say that I’ve had a couple of people that
have wanted to work with me, and we’ve gotten started. And it was just clear
that they didn’t understand what coaching was about, like coaching is about us
kind of coming up with strategy and then then taking the action, right, like
writing me a check is not going to protect you from having to step outside your
comfort zone, but it will, you know, I kind of come with a big flashlight,
right? So I’m like, I’m trying to shine it a little further down the road. So
it’s not as scary to take those steps, but for the most part, yeah, I mean, you
know, some people I’m amazed I’m like, gosh, do you really even need to pay me
as your coach because you’re like, you’re cruising but you know, they needed somebody
to help them with, you know, get started and and many people you know, it’s
very valuable to them to have someone to bounce ideas off of and it gives them
the courage to take the action. Other people we have to work a little bit of
them detaching from those from those defense mechanisms. Right? And that’s
okay. It’s absolutely okay. It’s completely understandable that somebody would
respond in a certain way, if that’s what worked for them in the past. Right.
But we just don’t like conditioning? Yes, absolutely, absolutely. And it’s just
a matter of, you know, starting to recognize that, Oh, I’m in a different place
now. And so if I want a different result, I have to do something different.


Clint Murphy 

D, it’s
interesting, because we’ve, we’ve talked about cognitive behavioral therapy,
we’ve talked a little bit about Shadow Work, psychoanalysis. And for a lot of
people, these aren’t things that they necessarily dive into when they’re a high
achiever in finance, or marketing. And all of a sudden, you’re bringing up
concepts from psychology from psychoanalysis, even as a coach, do a lot of the
higher achievers take to some of these areas right away, do some of them have
resistance to these?


Terry Boyle McDougall  55:57

Well, I
mean, I’m not a therapist, and I don’t usually talk about these things, you
know, using the, you know, psychological terms, you know, I just talk about it
more in, you know, what’s the impact that it’s having on your life? And if we
look back, and we say, like, Okay, well, you, you develop these coping
mechanisms, and this is why, you know, once they understand that, and they
understand that that was very normal and natural. And then usually, they, they
feel comfortable enough to start thinking about how they could respond differently.
And usually, they’ve come because, you know, they’re, they’re like,
figuratively banging their head against the brick wall, right? They, they’ve
run up against an obstacle, and they’ve, they’ve made a go at it number of
times, and it’s painful, because they’re not getting through, they’re not
breaking through to the other side. And, you know, I basically am telling them,
like, okay, together, we’re going to step back and see how we can figure this
out together. And a lot of times, they just, like I was saying earlier in our
conversation that with high achievers, often, if they’re not getting the result
that they are expecting, they will double down on whatever they’ve done in the
past, they’re going to try to go faster, they’re going to try to do more, and
that often just causes them to have less energy, because it’s not productive
activity. You know, it’s literally them banging their head against the wall.
And I’m like, Okay, let’s step back, hey, look, there’s a ladder, let’s use the
ladder to go over the wall, or, hey, there’s a little path there to the side.
Why don’t we try that


Clint Murphy 

let’s stick on high achievers for a second, we already talked a little bit
about how they can be addicted to external validation. One of the other things,
you talked about them getting trapped by his lifestyle creep. And you’ve said
as they go down that path, they start to lose themselves, and they don’t know
what they want. How do you help them find what they want, in a way is that is,
is I tend to look at things in a very simplistic way, is know what you want,
figure out a plan to get it. Yeah, I tie that to your roadmap, and then do the
work. Life is actually pretty simple. Not necessarily easy, but simple. So how
do you how do you get them to overcome that trap of external validation and
lifestyle creep to really figure out what do I want?


Terry Boyle McDougall  58:26

the funny thing is that when I ask people that question, one of two things
usually happens one time, one situation, they’ll say, I don’t know, I don’t
know what I want. And the other situation is they’ll say, I know what I want,
but I can’t these are the reasons why I can’t have it. So slightly different
ways of dealing with those two scenarios. I guess the first thing that I would
say is that I believe that deep down inside, everybody does know what they
want, but it’s just a matter of like, how much are you defending yourself
against your wants? Because there’s risk involved in starting to take action
towards something that you want. And I think that it’s very interesting that
with high achievers, that a lot of times they sort of placate themselves with
like, well, at least I’m making a lot of money even though I’m not really doing
in the industry or in the functional area that I love, right? At least I’m
making a lot of money, or I’ve got the title or whatever, whatever it is,
whatever the trappings of that success are. But when people say that they know
what they want, but they’re here’s the 10 reasons why can’t have it. I just
tell them, let’s separate these things. Right? Let’s just let the thing you
want exist, right? Don’t don’t like smother your baby in the cradle, because
that’s, you know, basically what they’re doing. And then separately if that if
you’re clear on what you want, let it live. And then separately, let’s start
brainstorming of how you can get there. Right? Because there’s a way there’s
absolutely a way right I mean, we see people every day that how Have the things
that we want, right? And if we can allow ourselves to embrace that, and
envision that we can find a way. And I mean, it’s funny because I’ve seen my
clients that once they allow that idea to live, they can get that thing pretty
quickly. Because there are people around us, that could give us the thing that
we want easily, right? I mean, there’s people that are hiring every day, right
there, you know, if you want to live in a different town, there are realtors
right there, there are ways that you can do these things, right, you just have
to start start thinking that way, when people say they don’t know what they
want, a lot of times, they’re very defended against allowing that inner
knowledge to trickle up to the level of consciousness. And what I’ll tell
people that are in that situation is like, start paying attention to your body
sensations, when things are happening, right. Like if you you know, if there’s
a project at work, and you get butterflies in your stomach, when somebody
starts talking about it, take note of that and start asking yourself, like,
what is it about this is that’s getting me excited. You know, if I think that,
like, even the opposite of that is true, too. Sometimes we’ll tell ourselves
why have to do this. But you know, maybe when we’re doing some part of our job,
we’ll start clenching our jar clenching our fists, or our palms or get sweaty,
and I think just getting curious about like, what’s going on here, because
maybe that’s something that we don’t want to do. And we’re making ourselves do
it, because we’ve told ourselves that this is like part of our job, and we have
no choice. But just I think getting in touch with that inner wisdom is what’s
really important. And then, you know, honoring yourself enough to allow what
you want to live and, and to believe that there’s a possibility for it to


Clint Murphy 

When you
said, Let’s separate these two things. One, what you want to be doing two the
reasons you can’t do it. Such great advice, are there some very common
responses that people give to why they can’t do it? Okay, what are some of


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:02:07

from like, Oh, I want to do this, but I have to go back to school to do it. I
want to do this. But you know, that doesn’t pay that much. And I make too much
money to do that. You know, my kids are in college, or there’s all kinds of
reasons why, you know, they only hire people that come from an HR background to
do this, and I really want to do it. But I come from a finance background. You
know, and I don’t know, call me an optimistic fool. But I believe that, you
know, if there’s a guess maybe this is where my tenacity comes in. You know, I
truly believe that there’s a will there’s a way, you know, and there’s, you
know, just because something happened a certain way in the past doesn’t mean it
can’t happen differently in the future.


Clint Murphy 

know? Absolutely. As soon as you said, the way I see it, right, in my head was
if there’s a will, there’s a way. So yeah, you are an optimist. And maybe it’s
the right way to look at it. I’m aligned with your thinking on that. And when
you were talking about how some people, you tell them to focus on the sensation
of when they like something, and also the sensations when they don’t, one of
the case studies in your book, Scott said something that really struck a chord
with me. And it was if you don’t love what you do, why do it? I’m curious what
that means to you?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:03:28

Well, I
mean, why waste your life doing something that you don’t like to do, you know,
that one of the things that I noticed with, with high achieving people is that
they have the ability to do many things, you know, and, and I think sometimes
we can try to protect ourselves by not going at the thing that we really want,
because maybe we fear that if we don’t get it, we’ll be too disappointed.
Right. So sometimes we’ll go after something that’s like kind of close, you
know, I think in Scotts case, you know, he was he was writing, and he was
writing for, you know, an organization had a great job, but he, you know, had
this, this hankering to go out and start his own business, and, you know, do
writing. And the funny thing about about him too, is that, you know, he’s a
financial copywriter and writes like white papers and all kinds of, you know,
content. And I met him at a networking event. And when I met him, I was like,
Oh, my gosh, where have you been my whole career? Because it’s very, very
difficult to find financial copywriters who understand the more complex areas
of finance and you know, he worked in an investment bank. So he, he was writing
about things that I was constantly looking for somebody to, to write about. So
I think, for him to have the confidence to say, you know, I think there’s a I
think there’s a need in the marketplace, and I’d like to be doing this. I guess
essentially, it’s the same thing that he was doing for the company, but he’s
doing it for his own company and he can choose who he works with and What types
of projects he works on. And, you know, I know in his case that he just felt,
you know, more ownership and joy out of knowing that he was creating this
company, and that he had more control over it than just waiting for somebody to
give them an assignment.


Clint Murphy 

He also
talks about the importance of moving towards something versus away from
something. Can you tell me in the listeners a bit more about what he means by


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:05:26

Yeah, I
mean, I think that I see it a lot. When people are in pain in their current
job, that they’ll come and they’ll just say, I need a new job, I needed a job,
because I just want to get away from the pain, right. But the reason why I have
the first step, when somebody works with me, is for us to get clarity on their
goal is because if they don’t have a goal, you can leave your job, and you can
go and get another job. But is that really gonna do you any good, if you just,
you know, jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, right, it could be just
as bad if you haven’t gotten clarity on what it is that you want, you know, and
when you get clarity on what you want, and then you’re going towards something,
you know, if you’re just trying to get away from something, you can go in any
direction, and it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be going towards something
that’s better.


Clint Murphy 

And if
you don’t know why you want to get out of that situation, odds are, you’re
going to be saying, every time I’m at a job, this happens down the road until
you figure out what the cause is. Yeah, something else that you wrote about.
And I watched the movie when I was a kid, so quite loved it. In mindfulness, we
often talk about the monkey mind. And you write about Gremlins?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:06:41



Clint Murphy 

it’s a
very similar concept. Can you explain to our listeners, what a gremlin is, and
how they can deal with it so that it can help them in their day to day life?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:06:53

you know, Gremlin is the word that I use for that little voice in your head
that a lot of times the same kind of mean thing, you know, don’t throw your hat
in the ring for that promotion. Because, you know, you’re just gonna fail, you
know, don’t don’t do this, you know, the Gremlin is a voice in your head, that
it is part of you that is trying to protect you. It’s job, it’s, it’s sort of
like the, you know, it’s like the guardians at the gate, right, but they don’t
want to let anything in period, they don’t want let anything in. Because that
can be risky, that might hurt you. But the Gremlins can also keep good things
from coming in. And I think that it’s, it’s important to sort of honor that
part of yourself and to recognize that that voice is trying to protect me. But
it also can hinder you know, and to, to understand that, you know, you can you
can be kind to yourself, and you can, you know, you don’t need to talk harshly
to yourself to get the results that you want. I think that a lot of us just
kind of got in the habit of it. Because, you know, depending on how we grew up,
I mean, maybe it was really critical that we were harsh with ourselves, because
the stakes were high if we made a mistake, you know, and it’s important at some
point to stop and take inventory of where you are in your life right now and
say is this level of hyper vigilance needed, you know, like, really look at it
objectively and say, you know, it’s funny, because like, when I first left my
job, and I was starting out my business, I did have this feeling constantly
that my family was going to end up on the street. Just because I think it was
such a weird feeling not to get direct deposit in my bank account every two
weeks, right, that I had been getting that in my bank account for, like 30
years. And it’s strange when you first leave, but I finally sort of step back
and I was like, okay, like, look at your bank account, right? You’re fine. Look
at the business that’s coming in, like, yes, it’s not at this point, equal to
what your direct deposit was. But, you know, you made this choice consciously.
And really, what you’re dealing with here is, you know, maybe like a little
Gremlin that’s not used to the new normal, right. And I had to really reassure
myself that no, I’m okay. Right, that even if, you know, it gets to a point
where financially I’m not doing well, with my business. There’s so much runway
between where you know, where I was then and, you know, my family and the guy
on the street. It would have never, ever happened, right? Because I could
always go out and get another job, or we could sell our house or whatever, you
know, it’s not and sometimes just being able to recognize that, you know, that
voice is being very alarmist. And that’s not really the truth of what’s going
on that we can adjust. The way that the Gremlin talks and the Gremlin is us. So
we can we do have control over how it talks to us. And I think a lot of people
don’t recognize that they’re like, that little voice, you know? Yeah. Everybody
has it.


Clint Murphy 

Have you
ever met someone whose inner Gremlin is a positive, happy go lucky person that
just continuously praises them?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:10:23

Well, I
mean, it’s I I don’t know, you know, I can’t hear somebody else’s inner voice,
right. But I do think that a lot of very successful people have learned how to
consciously shift their mindset so that they preserve their energy to focus on
their goals. And anytime that we get caught up in listening too much, and I
talked about the monkey mind, you know, if we’re spending a lot of time
worrying, ruminating, looking for threats, like an excessive amount of time
doing that, or being defensive, judging, all of those activities, use a lot of
energy, and all of that energy is leaking out of our ability to focus our
energy and be able to go forward towards our goals. You know, I think, you
know, probably, if you talk to Tony Robbins, or somebody like that, right, that
there, very little leakage there of energy, like probably all of the energy is
going towards the goals, with very little time spent worrying or judging other people.
And you know, all of that, all of that is, you know, it’s a way to try to keep
us safe. But it’s probably, you know, I think that I started coming around to
this at some point where, I mean, this is a long, long time ago, but I
remember, I always tried to stay really tight on top of my finances. And
actually, the second job after I got into business school, I, I got a
relocation package, and they move me and, you know, me and my husband, and that
was great, you know, I felt like, Oh, well, I made the big time there, got to
reload package and all this kind of stuff. But and I didn’t really I didn’t
realize that those benefits are taxable. And so when the, when I did my, my
taxes that year, I owed, and I was so upset, I was beating myself up for like, a
couple weeks over, because I thought I was going to get a refund. I mean, it’s,
it’s silly now. But I was beating myself up over it for like two weeks, you
know, just feeling really angry about it, and kind of saying, what could I have
done differently? how, you know, how would I have no notice? And I had to write
the check to pay the taxes. And then I realized afterwards, I was like, why did
I waste so much energy on that? Because I was gonna have to write the check
anyway. Right. And, and I could have chosen to be upset for 10 minutes, and
then been like, whatever, okay, I got to write a check. You know, I have to
shift my expectations about, you know, what I was thinking about using the
refunds that I wasn’t gonna get, you know, but I think that there’s a lot of
times where we put a lot of energy into things to try to protect ourselves.
And, you know, like, maybe if somebody is going into a presentation, and
they’re like, worrying about it, and think, well, what if they ask this
question, and oh, I have to do all of these different things. I’ve just
observed that so often, if I over prepare, like that, I’ll go in, and none of
the things that I prepared for happen, and something that I didn’t prepare for
does happen, and I deal with it, right. So we can choose to do that at any
time. I mean, I’m not saying don’t, you know, don’t prepare, don’t practice
your presentation. But I’m saying, like, do the right amount. And then just
have confidence in yourself and go in and be present and deal with things in
the moment, right? Because if otherwise, maybe us, you know, we’re sleepless
all night long, and you go in the next day, and you’re not going to perform
well, because you’re so worried


Clint Murphy 

the what
are some of the things that you’ve taught yourself tools, tips, tricks on how
to reduce the Gremlin voice or to just look past it?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:14:05

Well, a
couple things. I mean, when you hear that voice, you can say, what’s a better
thing for me to say to myself, right, like, it could be anything, you can say,
you can come up with things to stay say to yourself when you’re not under
stress. Like it could be that when you recognize that you’re beating yourself
up, like come out of a presentation, and or any anything like an interview or
whatever, and you’re like, Oh, I’m such an idiot, and I didn’t do well. And I
should have known the question to this and all of this, to say, how would you
talk to your dearest friend or loved one, if they were in the same situation, try
to start adopting that language with yourself. You know, don’t say things to
yourself that you wouldn’t say out loud to somebody else. And most of the time,
we wouldn’t call somebody else an idiot, or stupid but yet people will do that
to them. selves all the time. And, you know, I, at least my experiences that
the more that I have stepped into this, the better I feel about myself, I feel
worthy, I feel lovable because I talk to myself that way. And I get used to
feel that way. I used to feel like I really had to have the, you know, the
lookouts on the gate, I had to like be looking for the threats. And and I
really believed that if I wasn’t doing that if I wasn’t hyper vigilant that
something might common, you know, upset the applecart and I’d be in a really
bad situation, right. But I think I just realized that that that was a very,
very high price to pay for the, you know, success. And that if I just sort of
let things flow a little bit more that I probably not only had the same amount
of success, but more because I’d have more resources that were available to
focus on my goal.


Clint Murphy 

mentioned hyper vigilance right there. And needing a guardian at the gate. And
very early in the conversation. You mentioned that you realized that one of the
things that moving did to you was it made it hard for you to trust people? Do
you tie those together? In that that lack of ability to trust? put up a bit of
a guardian gate for?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:16:19

I think
so i think so. Because I think that, you know, whenever you go into a new
classroom, or something that you didn’t know what the social dynamic was,
right, like, who was the queen bee? You know, who was the who were the popular
kids? Who were the not, you know, whatever, you just didn’t know what people’s
roles were right. So, you know, I was very wide. I like looking for all of the
clues that I could put together to understand what the dynamic was. And, you
know, there were times whenever I, you know, I didn’t get it. Right. Right. And,
you know, maybe there was something that maybe there was an altercation on the
playground or something, you know, because I didn’t know to steer clear of this
person, or whatever, you know, I wasn’t friendly enough to somebody and they
took offense or whatever. Yeah, that childhood stuff. You know, I think once
you get into the, the workplace, there’s, I mean, there’s still drama, and
there’s still politics, and, and all of that. But, you know, I think adults
usually are not as as cruel as children can be.


Clint Murphy 

know, it’s just thinking as you were talking about it, how it changes from
childhood to adult, but you still have, you know, what we were talking about
earlier, we still have that coping mechanism that we had when we were in grades.
You know, we’re now you know, we’re in our 30s, we’re in our 40s, we’re at
work, we’re still coping that way. It’s an interesting way to look back at it,
one of the things that you talk about for all of us is that we all have our
stories, what is the importance of each of our stories? And how do people find
their story?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:17:56

you know, I think it’s, I think it’s really interesting. You know, one, one
thing that I’ve noticed as the more that I, you know, come on and a guest on
podcasts, and the more I tell my stories, the more I understand them. And, you
know, I, one of the things that I see a lot with people, when I do that
assessment that I talked about is that it gives them a reframe of their story,
because a lot of times people are very judgmental of themselves, you know, that
they’ll they’ll just say, Well, I wanted this and I didn’t get it, there must
be something wrong with me. And, you know, when we start digging into what
their coping mechanisms are, and start shining a light on and you know, even
asking, like is this, you know, given that this is what you want? Is this the
best way to go about getting it? And, you know, a lot of times people are like,
Well, no, it’s not, but I really don’t know what to do instead. And I’m also
not sure why I’m doing this, right. And usually, it’s because of something
they’ve experienced in the past. Always It is always it is. And you know, I
talked about this a little bit earlier that when we put their behavior in
context to say, Well, of course, if your parents divorced when you were four
years old, and that you didn’t have the oversight, or they were so distracted
by what was going on with, you know, the broken family and mom had to go back
to work and you were left by yourself, it’s natural that maybe you would
develop this certain type of coping mechanism, right, because you did not get
the support that you needed. You didn’t get the attention that you needed at
that at that age. And I’ve seen it a lot with that, once that is put into
context and they realize that there’s nothing wrong with them that really the
way that they’re coping is normal, given what they experienced. They relax and
they’re like, oh, okay, like, there’s nothing wrong with me like at my core,
and I’m like, No, like at your core. You’re the Beautiful shiny being. And then
you know, there may be your you’ve got sort of like, some dirt on the outside,
because this is, you know, you coped in a certain way that wasn’t as effective
as it could be. But you can always choose to do it differently at any moment,


Clint Murphy 

as you
were describing that the word that came to mind was that must be absolutely
freeing for the person who’s realizing that with you,


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:20:24

yeah, I
mean, I’ve definitely seen people, you know, it’s almost like a huge weight is
lifted off their shoulders. Now, the thing that I’ll say is that there is a
tendency to want to go back, I mean, we don’t even want to we just do, right,
because that that neural pathway is carved and praying, it really, it’s sort of
if you think about, you know, your brain and like part of your brain is just
like this dense forest. And then part has this like well worn path on it, that
when we’re deciding that we want to do things differently, it’s hard work,
because we were taking the chainsaw or the machete and we’re cutting the, we’re
cutting a new path in this dense forest, right, we’re doing something
different. And, you know, if we don’t keep doing it, and then it kind of the
vines grow across the path and all of that, right. So you have to keep doing it
till it becomes a habit. And then the nice thing that that happens quite often
is that if you keep consciously, you know, reinforcing that, and reminding
yourself because like, it’s very likely that you’ll sometimes be like, well,
I’m gonna go on this old path, right? And then you’re like, Oh, yeah, I told
myself, I wasn’t going to do that, I’m going to back up, and I’m going to go on
the path through the dense woods, it’s a harder path. But the more you do it,
the easier it gets. And then what will actually happen is that if you don’t use
that old path, the vines will grow across that and you won’t even think about
doing it. Or maybe it’ll just be like, under extreme stress, you’ll go back to
that old way of doing things.


Clint Murphy 

That is
such a great analogy for describing how to convert from a prior habit that you
don’t want anymore, to a new habit that you do. And it really encapsulates how
much work you have to do to do it, get the machete out and cut a path day in,
day out, do the work. And that’s something in everything I write or talk about
that I really encourage the listeners to realize is, at the end of the day, a
lot of this is about doing the work to get what you want. Terry can do the work
for you, I can’t do the work for you, the only person who can do the work, is
you. And that brings me to another question. Because something that happens to
a lot of high achievers over time, is we get that opportunity to step up and do
more often we don’t get a title page, and we don’t get any compensation with
it. What are some of the things that our listeners should be thinking about
when that happens to them? And as an example of that, can you take them through
what you refer to as the stop method?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:22:59

Oh, I
might have to get the book out to to remember that when you you’ve definitely
gone deep into my booklet and I’m like, Oh, I keep hoping like, Okay, I hope I
remember that example. Well, let’s see, you know, when people want to move up
in the organization, a lot of I think that if you’re given the opportunity to,
to do more, that’s great. Because typically, you’re not going to make a giant
leap from one level to the next. Because it can be very risky for you and for
the organization for them to say, oh, we’re going to promote you to this, like,
you know, really high level role or radically expand the scope of work that
you’re expected to do. So I actually say that I think it’s important to over
perform and improve yourself so that you’re ready to move up to the next to the
next level. But I also think that it’s important to position yourself as a
leader and not just quietly take work on you know, if there’s something that
you that you want to do make sure that people understand that Yeah, I want to
move up, I want to if you’re offered something, you know, don’t hesitate to
ask, you know, what, is this just temporary? Is this something that is a
stepping stone to something larger? Or are you just expanding my role without
giving me additional pay? A lot of times companies will try to do that.


Clint Murphy 

And that’s a huge differentiator that you talk about is recognizing Is this a
short term, temporary situation or is it long term, and the acronym that you
have for stop is stop, take a few deep breaths, observe the sensations that are
arising and proceed with awareness and compassion into the situation. I thought
that was great when someone’s being put into a situation where they’re, they’re
unsure of how to handle it is to just effectively what we’ve been talking
about. Throughout the conversation, putting a gap between the stimulus and the
response that they undertake some questions I like to dive into outside the
book tied to your coaching. And one of the things that jumps out at me are what
are some of the myths to coaching? Are reasons that people don’t pursue it? And
why do you think they would benefit from coaching?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:25:26

Well, I
think that some of the myths that people have about coaching are that only, you
know, senior level C suite executives get coaching. And I think that another
thing that that sometimes people think, is that people who are successful in
organizations got there effortlessly, that they just got on it, you know, that
they were just smarter, they were lucky, and they got on a escalator that just
took them to that to that level, and they didn’t have to really do anything.
And in fact, a lot of successful people have gotten help, right, that they,
they recognize, they go through the things that we talked about, you know, like
that, they they set a goal for themselves, they put a roadmap in place, they
looked at what are my skill gaps, and they proactively went out and got somebody
to help them whether that was a mentor, or a coach, or, you know, whatever, you
know, got some presentation training or sales training, or, you know,
communications coaching. So I kind of look at it, like if there’s something
that you really want, and you believe that you have the intelligence and the
talent and the drive to do it. Don’t let other people’s perceptions of what
your potential is stand in the way, you know, like really position package
yourself, position yourself to be in that place where people are going to start
looking at you and saying, Yeah, I think their management material,


Clint Murphy 

already highlighted your superpower, which is a question. I like that ask a lot
of my guests. And on the flip side of that, what’s something that you struggle
with day to day?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:27:01

I’m extremely curious. And I think that the thing that I struggle with his
shiny object syndrome, I like to, I am very curious, I like to be involved in a
lot of things, I like to start a lot of things, one of the things I kind of
miss about working in the corporate world is that I could come up with ideas I
could come up with, you know, the strategy, do the creative stuff. And then I
had a team of people that I could delegate to, and as an entrepreneur, you
know, that’s, that’s a little tougher, you know, I’m putting some I’m putting
some, you know, support in place to help me with that, but it’s very easy to
get stuck in the weeds, whenever, you know, you, you overcommit, which sometimes
I tend to do


Clint Murphy 

you’re operating at your best, what routines habits rituals are you following?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:27:53

that’s a
good one. Because I really, when I’m operating at my best I get up early in the
morning, I journal I meditate, I kind of get myself centered before I start my
day. And I will also regularly review what’s on my to do list and prioritize,
right? Because sometimes, you know, things that I wanted to get done this week,
maybe they’re going to be deprioritize. Because something else came up and you
know, constantly sort of looking at at what I have to do and prioritizing is
critical. Because otherwise, you know, something gets left on the backburner
that really is something that’s important that should be paid attention to.


Clint Murphy 

And for
the listeners out there that morning practice that Terry does of journaling,
and meditating those can also be very effectual in helping quiet or reframe the
Gremlin or the monkey mind. Yeah. So definitely something that when we’re
operating at our best is very beneficial. If there was one problem that you
could solve, what would it be, you


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:28:59

know, if
there was one problem that I could solve it would be to help people appreciate
themselves and to understand that they’re worthy innately period.


Clint Murphy 

you. How can our readers or sorry, how can our listeners find you?


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:29:14

They can
find me at my website, which is Terry B. McDougall comm they can also link in
with me on LinkedIn, and my handle, there is Terry B. McDougal. And then if
they’re interested in checking out my book, winning the game of work, it’s
available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Clint Murphy 

we’ll have all of that in the show notes for them to find in before we go, is
there anything else that’s on your mind that we haven’t covered so far in our


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:29:43

the problem that I wanted to solve I guess the message that I have for your
listeners is that you deserve to be happy, period. So if you’re not happy right
now, start figuring out what you need to do to be happy. You deserve that


Clint Murphy 

you are
enough. Just as You are. Yeah. Thank you, Terry. I really appreciate it.


Terry Boyle McDougall  1:30:03

for having me, Clint.


Clint Murphy 

you for joining us on the pursuit of learning, make sure to hit the subscribe
button and head over to our website, the pursuit of learning comm where you
will find our show notes, transcripts and more. If you like what you see, sign
up for our mailing list. Until next time, your host in learning Clint Murphy

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