Tag Archives: Help

If You Had A Chance To Be Assertive Today-Would You Be Ready? (Hint: How Spock Did It Every Time.)


If you have OCD then you know it’s an enormous force to come up against. There are moments of clarity when you know it’s nothing more than a neurological condition. “I know that’s ridiculous” and you give OCD a disinterested shrug. But, then there’re times when you’re flooded with fear and you totally forget to boss it back. In these moments OCD seems like a merciless bully and you don’t dare assert yourself.

Chances are you have an equally difficult time asserting yourself with people. That’s because a person with OCD detects, perceives and labels situations as threatening when they aren’t. “If I tell this person what I want then I’ll sound mean.” So what? Work on your tone! Say what you mean but don’t say it mean. True, sometimes there really is danger, but not to the catastrophic degree that OCD has you believing. “If I say no to him I’ll be a lonely old maid the rest of my life.” The OCD brain impairs your ability to reason. It keeps you in fight, flight or freeze mode. So when you encounter a situation that requires you to be assertive, you either:

  • Come on too strong to force the unpleasantries to stop
  • Hide and avoid the unpleasant situation or person
  • Freeze and regret not standing up for yourself

While most people have a hard time being assertive, a person with OCD has an even more difficult time. You have deeply embedded neurocircuitry that tells you to do the same thing over and over and over. This circuitry is deeply embedded but has no deep meaning. That’s where the tragedy lies; you think it does have deep meaning. Brain circuitry is nothing more than patterns like on a flannel shirt. Patterns develop based on usage. Your circuitry tells you to fight flight or freeze when there is uncertainty. Asserting yourself can result in any number of possibilities—that’s a lot of uncertainty! Fight flight or freeze is your default circuitry.


To be assertive you must step outside of your comfort zone, assume whatever risk you think is there and accept uncertainty. In order to become assertive you have to break the deeply embedded code in your neurocircuitry that wrongfully cries out: “Don’t Do It!” If you break this code and practice being assertive with people, you’ll be bossing your OCD around like a pro. You get good at what you practice.

circuitryThe question is how to break the deeply embedded code that makes you nonassertive with people and OCD. Here is the strategy for breaking the code and becoming assertive with people and OCD:

I Statements

Being assertive is stating what you want. It sounds like this: “I want…I need…It’s important to me.” Use a matter-of-fact tone of voice. There is no need for emotion and if you remain calm you will actually remove 70% of the other person’s urge be dramatic. You’re taking ownership of what you want, using direct eye contact and your posture is energetic, not slouched or aggressive. “I” statements work with OCD too. If you truly don’t want to be doing compulsions, then you have to stand up for what it is that you do want! “What’s important to me, OCD, is that I spend time with my family. Lying in bed all day—that’s not what I want.”

Repeat and Don’t Attack

After you communicate what you want you are likely to get a “yeah, but” response. You acknowledge the rebuttal (“hmmm that’s interesting…”) and then repeat your point of view again; what it is you want. Don’t attack back by trying to be logical. The same goes for OCD. Do not try to reason with OCD. Just repeat what it is you want. Don’t engage in any lengthy explaining or defensive argument.

Be Absurd and Over the Top

If a peer is being rude to you take it to an absurd level. If someone calls you an idiot because you made a mistake exaggerate your mistake to absurdity. “Oh you’re right this mistake is serious. I can’t seem to stop making mistakes. One of these days my mistake is going to end all mankind.” This by the way is exactly how to talk to OCD. Agree with it to the point of absurdity.

Rehearse Being Assertive

I’ve attached a video of 10 scenarios of people struggling with being assertive. Watch all 10 clips every day for 7-14 days. This is called a computer-aided exposure exercise. Studies show that people who experience Exposure Therapy vicariously improve more than someone who doesn’t.


Another way to break the code of fight flight freeze is to imagine being relaxed in uptight situations. Listen to this Assertive Meditation.


Finally, we have some good advice from Dr. Spock. He responded to most things with nothing more than curiosity and intrigue. Nothing kills a bully’s buzz more than fascination. Same goes with OCD. It’s hard to be afraid when you act fascinated.

Please consider sharing this post with anyone you know that needs to be more assertive. Also at the top of the post click on “Leave a Comment.” Feel free to ask questions, tell a short story or share an idea! We’re building a community of bossy pants!

Why Accountability is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread


One of the most effective ways to gain power over OCD and get super determined to “Boss it Back” is to get an Accountability Partner. Accountability breeds determination!

First figure out who you want to be, and what it is you want to change or achieve. In 2016, I’m going to try out something new. Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, that I end up drifting from, I’m going to use this blueprint and review it every 90 days with my Accountability Partners:


  1. The Purpose of my life is…
  2. My outer mission is…
  3. My inner mission is…
  4. The highest values I live and make decisions by are…
  5. My top goals for the next 90 days concerning health, spirituality, relationships, business and adventure….
  6. Books or podcasts I will use to enrich my life…
  7. Morning and evening habits I will stop or start.
  8. Daily routines will include…(e.g., Gratitude exercise, meditation, physical exercise.)


Once you have the details of your blueprint it’s important to share it with someone. That person is called an Accountability Partner. When choosing a partner or partners:

  1. Look for someone who will challenge you but not condemn you. Accountability is not forced but chosen.
  2. Pick someone who is emotionally resilient and positive. You want someone who won’t accept excuses, will ask hard questions but won’t belittle or give up on you.
  3. It’s helpful to pick someone who has had some success in the areas you are working on. You want someone who can help problem-solve.
  4. It’s actually a good idea to find more than one partner.
  5. As a team or individually talk at least online weekly and meet every 90 days.
  6. When you talk with your Accountability Partner, BE HONEST!

Cheers to “Bossing it Back” stronger and faster than ever before!

Where to Go to Free Your Mind

It’s not necessary to suffer from OCD. There are places you can go to free your mind! It’s possible to find a place where you can focus on what truly matters. Places I’m going to share a couple of places that surprised me during this busy shopping season.


A few days ago I visited the Apple store at Crossgates Mall. A young woman, Sarah, was assigned to me and we had a brief conversation about how she used her MacBook in Paris and why the Apple store had been moved to such a small tiny little room in the mall. Truthfully, my mind was not focused on Sarah or the MacBook. I was telling myself to keep my hands in my pockets because people were sneezing everywhere and the tiny little store smelled like germs.  (This is what I get for hanging around so many people with OCD!)

Sarah went on to the next customer while I cautiously lingered a bit longer. I was eavesdropping on what other people were asking and learning. But, believe me, I was on the lookout for people who seemed sickly. Then a young man named Benny approached me. He said, “I’m so excited to show you something!” “Me?” I asked. “Yes, look at what you can do with this MacBook!”

I was there for another hour and I never even heard another cough or sneeze again. My mind was set free by talking with Benny. And, it’s not because of what he was teaching me about the MacBook. Benny is the happiest person I’ve ever met.  No circumstance or worry got in his way. Even when his supervisor came over and said, “Benny’s new so I’m just observing him,” Benny did not stop smiling. And I just kept smiling back. Talking to him made me want to be happy, not worried. I’d rather be happy and sick than healthy but worried all the time.

Hopefully you can visit Benny, but maybe he’s not accessible from where you live. No problem! There are happy people all around the world. I tested this out. I went to Barnes & Noble and asked to speak to the happiest person working. I was introduced to a young gal not cheerful like Benny, but very warm and tranquil. Happy people are in many places and I hope when you find one, you decide to smile back and free your mind!

You’re off to great places…so get on your way. Oh the places you’ll go.

What Everyone With OCD Needs To Remember

If you’re like most people with OCD you can get pretty exhausted and overwhelmed. OCD can send you in never-ending circles while you try to feel certain about something. And no matter how hard you work to get that sense of certainty, it’s impossible to feel it for any length of time. There are lots of steps you can take to beat OCD. But first, let’s make sure you know and practice the first step. This step can’t be skipped!

The first step in beating OCD is to shrug.shrug

A shrug communicates “Whatever happens, happens.” How does it work out when you try to control the uncontrollable? Being attached to a certain outcome is exactly how OCD grabs hold of you. For example, perhaps OCD has you paranoid about what people think of you. If you are attached to everybody liking you then maybe you’ll try to control what people think about you by being the funniest person in the room. But, people will think what they want to think whether you are funny or not. And you know this! You can’t control what people think! So no matter how funny you are, there is no relief because you’ll never feel 100% certain you are liked.

Remember, OCD is the doubting disease! You can either keep trying to get certainty-to no avail. Or you can end this vicious cycle and shrug at the worry. Maybe you worry, “What if they think I am boring?” Instead of trying hard to make them think otherwise and only failing because you’re trying too hard, SHRUG and say, “Whatever! Maybe they think I’m boring, maybe they don’t. Until someone says I’m boring to my face…I don’t care.”

I know that shrugging won’t always work. OCD can feel very intense at times and the urge to do whatever it takes to get rid of the anxiety can feel very strong. But before wasting all that time and energy, just try to always make shrugging your first attempt to “boss it back.” If you put any time or energy into trying to control the worry, you’ll end up suffering. Even if you get some relief, it won’t last.

Shrugging will raise your personal threshold–you’re ability to handle anxiety. If you are willing to be anxious, OCD has no power over you.
The higher your threshold the less time you’ll spend trying to control the uncontrollable. I’m not saying it’s easy to just shrug at what can be intense anxiety. Just make it the first thing you try when “bossing it back!”



Use These 10 Superpowers to Cripple OCD

If you’re like most people you probably have a “Life is Good” T-Shirt. The brand features a character named Jake and he seems like he’s always having fun. I never realized what the “Life is Good” saying really means! Bert and John Jacobs are the developers of this brand and recently came out with a book. It’s called, “Life is Good: The Book.” In this book they talk about their hardships and even tragedies. So it’s not as if life has always been good to them. Bert asks, “How could anyone wear one of our shirts after 9/11 happened?” But, it was shortly after 9/11 that their company experienced a huge growth spurt. It’s because “Life is Good” is really about optimism. In their book they talk about 10 superpowers that we all possess to help us be optimistic, no matter what adversity we face.

Here are the superpowers you already possess that can cripple OCD:

  1. Openness (to learning a different way of handling OCD.)
  2. Courage (to be anxious without fixing it).
  3. Simplicity (shed the complicated compulsions.)
  4. Humor (OCD crumbles with laughter.)
  5. Gratitude for the many things in life that are good and working well.
  6. Compassion towards others and oneself. (Don’t be a self-hater!)
  7. Fun-seeking. (It gets you out of “threat and protect” mode.)
  8. Creativity (allows you to outsmart OCD.)
  9. Authenticity is being who you really want to be. Do what you love and love what you do! (That’s the Life is Good tagline.)
  10. Love (is so powerful and it’s impossible to be in threat and protect mode when you are truly appreciating someone.)

I encourage you to get the “Life is Good” book because it shows you how to be optimistic in the face of adversity.  But, even if you don’t get the book you can still access your 10 SUPERPOWERS to help you BOSS it BACK!

I send out weekly tips to help you Boss OCD Back! The above is based on the tip sent this past week. If you’d like to receive weekly tips send me your email and I’ll help you be a lean mean fighting machine against OCD!