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048: How to Be Truly Confident with Elle Russ

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Do you know how to be truly confident? If you can get on stage in front of 50,000 people and speak, but you can’t have an intimate conversation with your partner – are you truly confident?

Our guest is here to tell us what confidence is, how anyone can develop it and much more. Elle Russ is the author of Confident as Fu*k and The Paleo Thyroid Solution. Her books have helped thousands of people around the world with their health and their confidence.

Today we dig into so many aspects of being confident, creating confidence and being assertive as well as how to deal with the Debbie Downers of the world. Elle says there are many things we can do to cultivate and build confidence, some of it involves scraping the “barnacles” off of your life. One of those things is getting to the root of any parental or childhood issues you may be holding on to that are limiting you – that’s a “barnacle”. 

Another thing we can do is to reevaluate who we spend time with and who we take advice from in our lives. Are your friends people who encourage you or do they step all over your dreams or other people’s dreams? You want people who lift you up and tell you to go for your goals, people who do everything they can to help you achieve your dreams.

She reminds us we have to stop being the victim, and instead be the hero of our own journey. But being that hero means we have to do the work involved and we have to follow that journey wherever it may take us. She gives examples from her own life, her experiences coaching others and from her book. 

Also on today’s episode, we talk about the widespread thyroid issues and one thing you can do now to learn more. Join us to hear her no-holds barred, straight shooter approach in our conversation on this edition of Awesome Health!

Episode Resources:

Read The Episode Transcript :

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. It's Wade Lightheart from the Awesome Health Podcast and I'm here with Elle Russ and she is confident as F***! So you kind of get the whole program here. She's an amazing lady. I actually first heard about her from her "Paleo thyroid solution". We're going to talk about that book and how that's impacting people in the health. But when I started to dive into what else is all about, I discovered this book and in this book she talks about a lot of things called downer thoughts, nonversations, victims versus volunteers.

Wade Lightheart: And I think in today's climate where victimology is so big and everybody's kinda got this sparkly communication with an undertone of judgment and attitude. And then you know how we're all so busy and we just have these conversations like nonversations - I want to have a conversation about that. And then I want to get into the "Paleo thyroid solution" because I think both of them are actually really important. And I'm so glad that you took the time today to be on the Awesome Health Podcast because you're dynamic woman, you have a lot of confidence you've overcome some pretty interesting challenges in your life and you've learned a lot of things, you've got a lot to share. So welcome to the show.

Elle Russ: Oh, thanks so much for having me. I also am like, where's the accent? Is it Canada, Minneapolis, Wisconsin? I can't tell.

Wade Lightheart: It's an East coast Canadian that has been mutated through West coast that has now moved into the United States with a few other languages thrown in. So it's just a mess.

Elle Russ: I love it. Well, I'm from downtown Chicago, so it's always very comforting for me when I hear sort of essence of that accent. I'm like "Oh, it's like home." Anyway, so glad to be here. Glad to talk about this all of the stuff with you.

Wade Lightheart: Right on. So I want to get into this confidence issue because I think a lot of people, for example, in the health industry or the fitness industry, I call it cosmetic fitness, we want to look certain good and that makes us more sexually desirable or more attractive, which is all driven from meeting patterns and all this sort of stuff. But really a lot of what we do in the health industry is to mask a deep sense of lack of confidence, what's been your discoveries and what are some of the things that you've kind of outlined in this book or how did you get there?Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself because I don't think we've really told your backstory, but I just really want to get into it cause when I was going through your book, this one just grabbed me right away cause I've seen it so often in my sport, which I started out in - the bodybuilding fitness industry. And you have these people with absolutely unbelievable physics. You did everything that you could imagine. And then behind the stage you just felt that they were shells of what people might think. And I know you've been in the film and television industry and all that sort of stuff - what have you noticed, how'd you get here, share with us how you came up with the confidence as F**** (I don't know how we are going to say that.)

Elle Russ: We'll say "as F U asterix". So I'll get to confidence in general in a second. I don't care if you're on a stage with 50,000 people and your body is amazing - that doesn't mean you're confident at all. In fact, sometimes it's the opposite. Sometimes you're the weakest person in the room. You get off that stage and you can't have a conversation with your loved one, your roommate, or speak up to somebody or declare your worth in a job interview and it's a confidence. That's just performance confidence. And that is learned. Anybody can attain that skill. Now, even if you're ground zero and you're the shyest person in the world and you can't even talk to a Starbucks barista - you can hire a social coach, get out there and learn to do that.

Elle Russ: Anyone can kind of really learn and get comfortable ultimately with performance confidence. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about inside and outside. When I say confident as F I'm talking about, you know, some people might say, well it's self esteem, but I'd say, well right, so here's the thing. You can have confidence in an ability. You can be like, wow, I really know my stuff, but I just don't have confidence. Meaning you don't have the competence to get out there and tell the world about it, right? You can be really confident that you're an amazing artist, but no one's going to come knocking on your door to buy your paintings. How are you going to get out there? So at the end of the day, a lot of people miss characterized confidence and they think this is an outward show, a bravado almost kind of like what I might appear to people.

Elle Russ: You know, I'm very confident, I can speak to a group of people. Again - those are some of the most insecure people in the room. And same goes for the loudest people in the room. The quietest people in the room sometimes has the most confidence. So confidence can be very quiet and we all know, we see someone who's kind of bragging and trying to prove themselves. No - it's like the ultimate insecurity, right? If you have to feel like you have to prove yourself to someone or give them your resume or trying to make yourself look good, you just lost that confidence game. That's not a game. Truly confident people play because they just don't care. You either find that out about us or you won't, but I don't need to tell you. So I think there's a lot of false confidence.

Elle Russ: I think in general I go through so many details in the book and we can get into downers and non variations, but essentially confidence is the overall sense that you're going to prevail in life. You know what - whatever it is, I don't care if you're a stay at home mom, you're still gonna need confidence. You're gonna have to speak up to your son's friend's mother who is a BIA, right? Or you're getting bullied by someone who can just speak up to a relative. Everything in life requires confidence. Everything from the bedroom to the boardroom, you're not going to get what you want unless you speak up and declare yourself. And also sometimes properly defending yourself or drawing boundaries with people. So confidence really is like the overall sense in your prevail. And also just really a sense that wherever you go in this world, you are comfortable in who you are and proud of who you are.

Elle Russ: So a con man, let's say, who's misusing confidence and they're conning people out of their money or whatever - that's a misuse of confidence. What they do - they instill in us that they know what they're talking about, then they kinda just throw their money and okay, well I would argue that person on the inside really, you know - they're not going to get away with it because they're not a good PR. That inner turmoil is going to backfire. So again, you kinda can't cheat confidence even if you try, if that makes sense. And then I'll just leave it there and see where you want to go with the questions on this. But this is something I think everyone needs to either cultivate or they need to refine. So a lot of people have asked me - "I'm already confident. Do I need your book?". And I would say "yeah, you do." Because confident people have a lot of pitfalls. And so it's important to refine your confidence. And we have a lot to learn from less confident people. They actually have some skills we need. So whether you're ground zero with confidence or you think yourself to be highly confident, this book will apply for both.

Wade Lightheart: This is super great. And now also I seen a lot of people think they have confidence and then as they go through different stages of life, they kind of lose it because it's kind of built on a straw house if you will. Were you always really confident or was this something that you cultivated? Was it part of your career? How did this all come about for you and how did you get to the point where you realized that you needed to write a book about this because it was such a big issue?

Elle Russ: Who do I think I am, right? Well, here's the thing. So I have been generally confident my entire life, but you know, there's teenage years, there's stuff going on where of course I wasn't. And even though I was seemingly confident in a lot of areas of my life, I again, if you think there's an area of your life where you can shuffle under the rug a lack of confidence and think that it won't affect the rest of your life - you're wrong. So again, this to me, confident as F***, all encompassing inside and out in every other area of your life. Because if it's lacking in one area, it's going to affect you in profound ways. And it did for me with personal relationships and romantic relationships and I can get into how my confidence suffered there and what that was all about.

Elle Russ: But in general, yes. And what I started to notice over time, people come to me for confidence for years. They come to me for how do I ask for the raise? You know, what should I ask for my salary? How do I speak up to so-and-so? Or you know, I've got just got bullied by my neighbors wife. They're always calling me about it. Yet. What I realized is that they had a lot to offer me in return - they were sort of mirroring the opposite my pitfalls, which are sometimes people who are less confident or I would say maybe beta, even though I don't consider that a negative word, they have a level of diplomacy that highly confident people don't - highly confident people are more quick to react, more quick to press the 'send' button. You know, I talk about that in my book, the careful on the sand, like you got a text or an email.

Elle Russ: So those people are more willing to sit there and simmer with it and think before they speak, which is something that highly confident people definitely need. The other side of it too is that highly confident people are often alpha and there's nothing wrong with that. Alphas are great, but the pitfall of that is we hate being vulnerable or showing any kind of perceived weakness. This is a pitfall, not a good thing. So we're really inaccessible. People admire us, they want to come to us for help. They'll want to throw out a set a problem. However, they kinda can't get in there and really know us cause it's one sided because we don't want to, we see that as a weakness - to show emotions. And it's really, really hard for us. So that's where less confident people essentially are - they are better receivers whether it be a compliment or whether it be with help, where highly confident people are bad. Delegators we can enable other people cause we're like "Oh just give it to me. I'll do it. I can handle it. I'll get it done quicker." There's a lot of lessons to be learned. So I found a lot of compliments in the people that would come to me for confidence, but they had qualities that I needed to, to advance my growth as well. And those are some of the things I've noticed.

Wade Lightheart: Now, did you feel that was part of your upbringing or you were just born this way? And then how would you say that differs from, say the person who would like to have confidence that doesn't seem to be able to generate it or consistently keep that? What have you noticed in kind of your exposure to the world and people coming to you, what are the common elements of people who don't have confidence in? How do they overcome that?

Elle Russ: Well, it depends on how you were raised. Of course there's a lot of that, but even someone who's raised seemingly confident are told they could do anything. There's things happen a lot, like whether it's a teacher or a friend or a scenario or situation where you kind of chip away at your confidence and if you're not evolved and understanding and have the brain to kind of assess this stuff, you're just going to let it affect you. So it doesn't matter if you're born with it or not, you could lose it. But also if you're not born with it and you are beat to death every day of your life and you've overcome that, and then there's probably still some imprinted subconscious story that's going on. And I call that parental garbage.

Elle Russ: We all have an element of it that can really actually affect your confidence. And it can be very small. So it doesn't have to be the extreme examples of like "Oh, you were beaten as a child and you think you're worth nothing. Oh my God." Well, yes, that would be absolutely applicable to what we're talking about. But I'll give one of the examples in my book that's just very subtle that a lot of people might resonate with. And that's Brandon's story. So Brandon is in his forties now and for the past couple of decades in his adult work life, he was a contractor and every single project he was on - something would go wrong. That wasn't even his fault. He get blamed for it and patronized by the manager in front of all of the employees on the project and never spoke up.

Elle Russ: When you know you're getting verbally bullied, you shut down and they don't know what to do and this person didn't have the competence to speak up and say "Hey, don't talk to me that way." So long story short, we're having these conversations and I say "Brandon, this keeps happening to you. Why does this keep happening to you?" Of all the people, right? Bob, Mary, Joe, Jack and myself, we're not always having this issue with employment where things are going wrong and we're getting chastised and patronize. So that doesn't mean we're better employees than knew what is going on here. Why are you always wrong when you're not supposed to be? Well, we dig back into childhood. It took literally two minutes to assess this, which was, Brandon grew up in a very lovely middle upper-class household on the East coast.

Elle Russ: Nobody was beaten, molested, like everything was seemingly fine and normal. But dad was a little bit of a hothead in terms of, let's say, the hammer went missing. He'd be blamed. "Brandon, I know you stole the hammer. Where is it?". Brandon would SAY "I didn't take it. I swear to God I didn't take it. Why would I steal the hammer?" Dad would rant, rave and then the dad would find the hammer and never apologize. This stuff kind of went on occasionally. Now it seems so small and dumb, doesn't it? But this is the reason Brandon is failing in the workplace. This is the reason he has a lack of confidence. It's a story about being wrong under authority and then being patronized for it. And that story is playing out in his work life.

Elle Russ: So what that took was us talking and coaching and getting Brandon realise - you don't have to be wrong. Do you see where this is coming from? You don't have to be wrong, but you're attracting scenarios. You're continually perpetuating the story. Now this is psychology everybody in the world knows, the scrub to any entry level psychologist, and they'll tell you - we repeat patterns that are familiar to us in childhood. Even though they're not healthy. This is why someone who grows up with a mother being beaten by their father might go and get themselves into a relationship where they are beaten. Again, not healthy, doesn't make any logical sense to any of us, but that is just classic psychology. It's also the reason that when the child protection services taking the beaten baby away from the mother, the baby is still crying out for the mother.

Elle Russ: My God, why would the baby? Because that's all they know. Okay, so got him to see this. The second phase was - the next time this patronising boss blame you, this happens and you get chastised in front of everybody, you're going to have to speak up. This is the hardest part of the game right there. And he was prepared to say something to the effect of "Hey, look, if you don't stop talking to me like that and talking to me in a professional manner, I'm walking out of this job right now". He prepared for that financially and everything else. Don't lose the job if your mortgage is on the line, but he prepared for this. So the next time it happened, it went exactly the way I thought it did.

Elle Russ: The patronizing boss brought something that went wrong, it was an assault again. He got yelled at in front of a room and he totally spoke up. Now what happened was, is what happens often with bullies and people like this - you confront them and they don't know what the F to do. They're stunned. They often acquiesce and they shut down and apologize usually. So that is what happened. He didn't have to walk out that job that day. But what happened after that was amazing. First of all, Brandon's sense of confidence in that moment. You should have heard the call. "I'm So proud of myself." You should have seen it. His level of confidence was fueled by the fact that he spoke up for himself and said "Hey, you're not going to talk to me like that." And not only that, it completely changed the trajectory of his future contracts.

Elle Russ: So it's like he's given a test that he keeps failing for 20 years. He finally goes "alright, it's me. I'm the common denominator. I get it." He steps up to the plate, he challenges it, overcomes it. What happens next? Every single contract he gets from there on out works with amazing people. Nothing goes wrong. In fact, the opposite. He gets emails from the people on the job going "Oh my God, Brandon, everything was so smooth. We loved working with you." A completely different employment paradigm. Now I will say this - usually if you overcome a pattern of something like this, you'll get a tester. So, you know, he did get a tester, it's kind of like "did you really learn it?" I feel like that kind happens a lot. So it came in for him and he got a tester and he stood up again.

Elle Russ: He called them on. It never happened again. And so that can happen too. You might prepare for that. It's like once you overcome something, it may not be the end, there might be one tester in there, but for the most part now Brandon works with incredible people. Never went back to that initial first person, even though they do have a good relationship, probably because he called that guy on, that guy has actually an internal subconscious respect because he was called out on it. So, you know, again, parental garbage, very subtle, seemingly lovely household. But it goes to show you how something so stupid and small can completely change your adult life. So these are the things we have to dig into. What's the story going on here? And it doesn't matter what it is and it doesn't matter what the issue is.

Elle Russ: So again, it's not like "Oh, every conversation I have with every client goes back to childhood." You know, classic psychology, but at the end of the day, some of these things make real sense when you dig back and you go, where did you get the story? And you know what that was? That was his family's projection onto him. And he accepted it, kept attracting it, and perpetuating it because it was familiar and what he expected in that dynamic of a person of authority and always being wrong and patronized and it doesn't happen anymore. And it took 20 years, this wasn't deep work he had to do for hours with therapists for 20 years. It's just like saying hold on a minute. Why is it happening to you? And so that's an indicator in anyone's life. What keeps happening to me that sucks. Do I keep running into the same crappy girl type of girlfriend? Do I keep getting fired from jobs? Am I always undervalued? Do I never get the raise? I don't care what the situation is. If something you don't like in your life that happened a few times - that's when you need to look at that. It's a pattern and it needs to be analyzed because it can be overcome.

Wade Lightheart: You bring up a great point. You know, Tony Robbins is a great example - has been spending 30-40 years breaking people's patterns about the story they've associated with whatever the event. It's almost irrelevant. It's you attached to it because you can have two people with the same traumatic event and one person goes on and becomes a world champion and the other person lives the lifetime of being a victim of that situation and keeps juicing it and drawing themselves into those situations. Which brings me up to the next piece. You touched on the book between victims and volunteers, and I have a big pet peeve that's out there. I'm going to throw this out there for everybody listening and that is this culture of victimology that is sprung up in the last decade in no disrespect to what people call the "Me too" movement.

Wade Lightheart: I call it "Your next movement" because, and I'm certainly not trying to minimize a subject with that. You know, we shouldn't address abuse issues with women or men or whoever it happens to be. But it seems like every year there's some new thing of why we need to make special acclamations for some particular group of people because of their sensitivities or their association with I call a victim complex and this paralyzes people in their life and their relationships. It paralyze them, they start movements and they get acknowledged for their victimology. And that doesn't mean that there isn't real victims, but it seems like we've had a plethora of victims and we're kind of feeding the juice to the victims as opposed to, as you say, which I loved the volunteers, which I think is very cool. Can you explain how you came to this conclusion and what the distinction is between a victim and a volunteer?

Elle Russ: So there's a couple of things on victims. The saying is, you know, there are no victims, only volunteers now.

Elle Russ: "Oh, How dare you. It's not my fault. I got cancer. It's not my fault. I got mugged on the subway last weekend." Hey man, I didn't ask for hypothyroidism and a permanent hand disability. I get it. We can all be the victim of something. But do you keep getting mugged on the freaking subway? Do you keep getting healthy? If there's a pattern somewhere with something, then that's when you gotta go "Ooh, I might be a victim and I might be continually attractiveness." Okay, so you know, this is the common sense theory, right? Where I'm not victim shaming. The other thing too is that I have a thing in my book called "Your victim application has been denied." And I use an example that killed me. I was at a gathering once, there was a 50 year old woman who was there and her mother was like at the party in the backyard or something.

Elle Russ: And she was talking and you could tell that she was embarrassed about where she was in the life. She wasn't that successful. She's never really done anything. And you could tell just through her voice and everything that she was insecure about this and she was trying to excuse it and she was saying things like, "you know, if only my mother had pushed me harder when I was younger and had more discipline, I probably wouldn't be where I am right now" and all this kind of stuff. And I said "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. You're 50, right?" So at what point, were you you realize - you know what, my mom wasn't a great mom or she should have done that. When did you notice these essential faults that you think your mom has about parenting? "I Don't know."

Elle Russ: "Maybe When I was 29-30 or something like that." So you've had 20 years knowing this and you didn't do a damn thing about it. That's on you girl. You pair it yourself and everybody needs to do the same thing, period. End of story. Nothing's fair. I don't care who you grew up with, it's not fair. No child should be beaten, you know? But are you gonna let that parent or that situation continually keep you down in victim? Is that really what you want? Because if you actually ask herself - it's the opposite. You'd prefer to prove them wrong or I say prove yourself awesome. So you're allowing a projection of someone else or a failure of someone else in parenting or otherwise.

Elle Russ: I don't care what it is to continually feel your story, to keep you in the nothingness that you're in this victim hood and just excuse that. And I can't accept that, nobody should. And we know these people, we've all met someone who is still blaming their father. And you know, I'm the kind of friend that cut off a friend like that and go "Nope, you're 50, we're still talking about your dad. Come on man. Parent yourself. So here's the thing. No one cares more about you than you. You're it for you. The only thoughts you have about yourself are your own." And people go "Well that's not true. I'm altruistic. My friend Mary was in the hospital with surgery and I went to go bring her flowers and read her book." Yeah, because that made you feel good. That thought still about you.

Elle Russ: So it's all about you and you have to do this work. Nobody gonna come up and do it for you. You have to push and propel yourself forward so that your victim application is denied. That is the end of it. I have a friend and I put him in the book - he got a traumatic brain injury, wrote a book about it called "Feed a brain." You know, in a coma with a 10% chance or less getting out of the coma. But he can still walk and talk, but he's compromised in certain ways. Went on to help future traumatic brain injury patients with this and made a life out of it. That guy's not a victim, and I can't say his situation is worse, or my hypothyroidism are worse than your molestation or whatever it is.

Elle Russ: You get to choose, like he said, to be the hero of your own journey. Or you can allow all these frickin people who you don't respect any way. The woman talking about her mom, you can tell she doesn't respect her as a mother. I had a shitty mom and she did this to me and that's why I'm not successful. No, you're why you're not successful. So if you're 18 and you're hearing this - time to get to work. If you're 30-40, you're still blaming your parents? You've got to do some self examination, get himself help books. You're never going to get out of it. And then you allow them to be right. "No, I can't help it." No, that's insanity. That's like the ultimate definition of insanity. Really. You allowing someone else's opinion of you to effect how you feel about yourself. It's really low vibration and we need to get out of that.

Wade Lightheart: Beautifully said. And I couldn't agree with you more. What are some of the, I would say, the tools or the techniques or the tricks, whatever you want to call them, that when someone has this, I would say come to Jesus conversation with you or that come to Jesus moment where they say enough enough? I know Tony always says when you get to a moment of disgust, disgust with the behavior, disgust with the situation, disgust with yourself, there's an opportunity there that you're going to break away from and that's the power of that emotion. Some people say it's a negative emotion, but it can be a springboard to correct. What have you noticed? Is that the tipping point or that point of launching where someone is able to turn that around and is there a way that you can activate it for people who might be suffering from low confidence?

Elle Russ: There's lots of things to do to cultivate and build confidence and some of it is scraping the barnacles off your life. We talked about getting to the root of and cleaning up some parental garbage. There's a barnacle scrape. Then we've got stop hanging around with toxic downers and people who don't encourage you and stop being a downer on other people's confidence and dreams. That's another scrape of the barnacle, you know. The next one would be, I would say, you've got to look at shame. My book is not filled with acronyms and tidy To Do lists. The important thing for me in this book was to relate levels of confidence and how you might see it in yourself through legitimate real life stories. One of the things that really bothered me - I have a philosophy degree, but one of the things that bothered me a little bit about when I went through that as this all stuff's great.

Elle Russ: Ancient Greek, this, that, and the other. But how do I apply this to my life? Give me a real life example that's practical. And so that's what I do in the book. I go through all of these stories that we've all been through. You're going to read it and go "damn it, that's me. Okay. I get it." You're just going to understand what you need to do through this. But that's what it is. It's like scraping off the barnacles off the boat to get to the point where you're cleaned up and then you move forward with confidence. And again, self love, self worth. And in the barnacle scraping, you realize how much you have put your own worth into the hands of others or outside of yourself, which is really where it shouldn't be. And again, nobody is going to propel you forward.

Elle Russ: You have to be your own best cheerleader and encourager. And that is what I am fighting for. That is exactly what I talk about in the book. It's about self-reliance, but at the same time it's about changing out your tribe and understanding certain conundrums. And you know, I speak up all the time - you choose your battles wisely. Confident people don't take every battle. And I don't either. Competent people don't compete and they're not jealous. And envious. So if you've got any of those things going on, these are going to hinder, absolutely disable your competence, including shame and some other topics I get into now, health wise it's really difficult to be confident when you don't have any T3 receptors in your brain because you're hyperthyroid. Or if you're going through an autoimmune disorder, you're struggling with rheumatoid arthritis.

Elle Russ: That's a whole extra level. That's a whole extra layer. And I'm not saying you can't get through that, but hey, cut yourself some slack. If you're going through a health thing right now, it's tough to be confident if you don't have the neurotransmitters firing at all the right directions for you to be happy. Literally you can't access happy feelings almost when you're hyperthyroid or in some of these other conditions. It's just not there. So I just want to let everyone know this still would be applicable to you and things you could work on while you're trying to heal from something, but cut yourself a break because until everything's right with your mind and body in a lot of ways it's a little bit tougher to kind of step up and be ultra confident in certain areas.

Wade Lightheart: Very, very powerful. I want to catch one other thing on the downer thoughts. So for example, as I was going through your book, there was one particular place which I related to, where you were talking about driving down the Pacific coast highway and seeing the biker and then be kind of "Oh la la, I'm having a great time and now I see the biker." And then just like Oh my God. Cause I feel that too, I'm first off almost always and this is my story. Almost all my friends who bike regularly have issues with cars as well. It's a downer on both sides. And then almost all of them had been hit. I'm like "who is the loony chick down the road." It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong, you're dead or breasted or whatever. And then I read that story, I was like "Oh my God, so me, I'm driving by the bicycle and I'm leaning in, I'm like "who is this crazy person?" And I go on this psychic tirade where I just want to like blow the person off the planet, which is totally insane.

Elle Russ: Totally! It's amazing how just coming across a group of road cyclists can throw your shit into a complete downer state of being. So this is one of the most innocuous and simple downer examples in my book, but I'll quickly brush over what you mentioned. So I don't like cycling. It actually just doesn't really work with my arms. I might be more of a cyclist if I didn't have a little bit of a hand issue. But either way, in California especially, you've got all these cyclists on the road, they're blocking the whole entire road of a two lane highway and they're not following rules, whatever is like the ban of everyone's existence a lot of the time. And so I developed this extreme prejudice towards the bikers and every time, every time I'd see them, I'd be like "you son of a motherfucker." And I'd be in a perfectly happy state. And then I see some cyclists and I just want to like, murder all of that, you know? And I'm just so angry. And so everyone's got something like this, right?

Wade Lightheart: I'm a plant-based guy and I'm so worried about being associated as a vigilante vegan, which drives me nuts. It's like Y or Z. So you see them out marching and stuff and I'm freaking out because someone's having a burger or something.

Elle Russ: Thank God you're not one or I would have clicked off this two months ago. That's the thing, I'm like "hold on a minute". I'm judging someone else's fricking sport so I don't like their sport, but every time I see them I'm letting them completely come in and screw up my peaceful, awesome vibe as I'm driving. Until I noticed it and it took talking out of, and it seems so simple, but now if I'm driving and they're all crowding the road, I'll take a deep breath and I'll just be like "look, you know what? It's not your thing. They're outside. They're loving it. They probably cycle past the ocean and see me stand up paddling and think I'm a total moron because I'm paddling with sharks."

Elle Russ: They're having the same downer effect kind of thing about me. But again, I'm letting it affect my day. My vibration just got lower. That's a very simple, dumb one. We all have something like that that will take us off kilter. So what's your downer effect? Every time you see a vegan or whatever, it doesn't matter what it is, right? A bike or whatever your thing is - you're prejudice against or you have an issue with or you don't like. So I had to talk myself out of that now. Now I just kinda laugh and you know, work to maintain that as I'm driving by them because again, I know how much it affects me and that's just one little small tweak.

Elle Russ: Another example though are people who you keep telling people what your dreams are and they keep pooping on them? I want to start a new business. "Okay, Well be careful because 50% of new businesses fail." All right, well F you. How about I'll be on the 50% side that wins. Seriously, you're shooting statistics at me. These are downers. These are downer comments by people. I had a downer comment. Once a stranger asked me what I did. I said I was a writer. They said "so you're like a real writer who like make money at it or do you like work at Starbucks but you do something else?" And I said "Oh my God, that is rude as F, would you actually go up to a real estate agent and said, you just have your license to sell houses but don't make money and live at home?" And the person goes "oh no, no, no, no. It's totally different."

Elle Russ: And I go -no, it's not. It's rude. But luckily for me, people like you, when I come across a negative naysayer, I feel that shoots me to success. So thank you very much. Now some people can be like, well, why didn't you defend yourself and tell them you have a bestselling book, you just tried to come at me like bullying mean girl. Me with your patronizing comment. No, no, no. I'm not going to defend that coming right at you with an attack, which is, that's rude to ask in the first place. Dude, shut it now. I don't choose every battle. I'm not a confrontational person who's looking for it, but these are the times when I'm really glad I have confidence because those moments, refuel it and ignited even further. But here's a downer that we all need to be aware of.

Elle Russ: And this is an example where I was a downer and we've all had this and we need to look at stuff like this. I have a friend who's in their forties and they've never had health insurance. I think it's crazy. I've always had health insurance. I grew up with the philosophy of you never know what's going to happen. You could cut your finger and it's an $80,000 surgery, right? This is for most of people why we have insurance. It's in case something horrific happens, right? This is my belief. So I'm trying to convince her "you're insane. You're in your forties you've gone this long, you never know what's going to happen. This would be so dumb." I've been a beneficiary of insurance, trying to convince her and she's just not seeing it. And she's like "You know, Elle, I just don't have these thoughts about my health.

Elle Russ: I don't think this way. I'm feeling really good. I've got good vibes all around. I don't walk out of my house worried about not having insurance like you might". I can't believe she's being so dominant. I'm trying so hard to prove my point - still doesn't work. I can't argue with her point either. So we get off the phone and my first thought - I'm angry cause she's so stupid. And my first thought is, you know what? So dumb watch, something's going to happen. She'll see. And then it was like record scratch because let's take a look at that. That comment is horrific for me to be right. She has to be screwed. She not only has to have a medical problem happened to her, which I don't want my best friend to have.

Elle Russ: But then she has to have a medical problem that screws her so badly financially that my point about having insurance is right. Do I really want this for my friend? No. Total a whole move on my part. Horrible thoughts. How did I know to look and I caught it right away. How do I know to look at it? Cause I wasn't feeling good after the conversation. Anytime you're in a situation where you know I'm right and you're trying to prove yourself right or you're saying something, inside you're rolling your eyes at someone else's dream and you're going here yet. Right? Good luck with that. You'll be crawling back on your hands and knees, no time. That kind of stuff is when you need to check yourself cause usually chump on someone else's confidence and if you keep doing that, it's going to come right back to you.

Elle Russ: It's not just a karma principle. It also has terrible vibes. We all know and feel when someone around us is not supportive and they're kind of like, yeah, right, good luck. We'll see you feel it. You can't hide that. It's palpable. So what a downer. I was actually called her afterwards and I was like "Oh my God, I had the most horrible thought", but usually when we're trying to be right about something or we're going, yeah, right, good luck with that is when we need to check ourselves because we're really stepping on someone else's confidence and we are putting out a horrific idea, actually hoping they fail. Right? Like I'm hoping my friend in that comment of being right about insurance, I'm hoping she fails. And that failure would be having a medical situation that puts her into financial ruin for me to be right.

Elle Russ: Another example is a woman in the book who I coach, she had an assistant who she loved but she was at a very busy time at work and he quit and gave the two weeks notice. She was so angry and so offended. "I Can't believe this. You know, he was going to another job where he will get a promotion. He's able to manage couple of people. But there's no way he's going to be able to manage this many people and he's going to go there and to be way over his head. He'll be begging and crawling for his job back in no time." And I said "Oh my God, you like this guy."

Elle Russ: You want to keep him as an employee. He did the same time simultaneously or wishing like the ultimate failure and embarrassing horrible failure where he has to come crawling back for his job because he did so horribly at this new endeavor. Is that really what you want for this guy? And she's like, yup, you put things into the real term. She's like "Oh my God, no, no. I like this guy. I mean he's great. I don't want to lose him". I'm like, right, you're just an ego right now. You're feeling rejected. You want to retaliate, and we get it. You're busy. You're being selfish right now by your own life. But what if this guy goes to that job and he kills it and he far exceeds anyone that's ever been in that position? Wouldn't you want that for him?

Elle Russ: You like him, you don't want him to leave - it would be totally different if you're like "Oh, thank God he gave notice. I've been waiting to get rid of this guy forever". But it wasn't that, she liked this guy and she was "no, no, no, you're right. I don't want that". So vibe goes down, vibe goes up, okay? All the negative stuff's there. Some people might go "well, why does it matter? It's just a thought. Who cares?" Because for the next two weeks, if you don't think that guy's going to feel the vibes from her every time she's walking around and being like "yeah, good luck. You'll be valued. Like you're never going to be able to hack it." That kind of stuff will come out. Words or not, it will come out. What a better vibe for her to have turned this around, got okay with it.

Elle Russ: And then now she's walking into the office for the next two weeks, completely supportive and encouraging and understanding that those downer thoughts were temporary and they were just ego kicking her butt. It turns out year later he totally killed it and he became a total superstar at that job. Wonderful, right? So sometimes, and again, her thought was like "yeah, yeah, good luck. He'll be back crawling on his hands and knees." They'll see any of those thoughts or comments. You better check yourself because you weren't jumping on someone else's confidence - it's going to come right back to you. And you just lowered your vibration and you just actually wished failure upon someone. Period. End of story. That's what it translates to. And you might, and again, someone pointed it out, like me, you'd go "Oh my God, no, I don't really want it."

Elle Russ: So that's where the self examination has to come in. So anytime we're feeling that - that's vibrational. Anytime in life you're not feeling awesome, you're feeling annoyed, you're feeling upset, angry, jealous, I don't care what the emotion is, anything other than feeling happy and great - you got to take a look at that. That's coming from somewhere. And when I got off the phone with my friend, I remember I realized what my thought meant, what the whole trajectory of that thought really was. And that was just so ugly to look at. And most people don't take the time to look at it and they just keep running about life. Can you believe this? And they might've called five friends - "Can you believe Mary doesn't have health insurance, she's such an idiot."

Elle Russ: So we got to check ourselves. We've got to stop being downers, okay? Stop messing with other people's confidence - it really what it is. And then also we have to stop hanging around with downers, okay? These people that don't believe in our dreams. You keep telling your sister about your exciting dream, she keeps shooting it down. Probably never going to get on board, but also you're the insane person because Mary is a person who does this. She's been doing it for 20 years. What point are you going to figure that out? Stop being the insane person and these are things I had to learn. So now when I see this family member, I rarely see who makes insane, illogical comments that I used to argue with, which would get us into a nonversation a conversation that goes absolutely nowhere and just raises blood pressure.

Elle Russ: I learned to take the high road. This person is a person who says illogical things. They had been saying illogical things since 1980. So now when they say something like that, I zip it. I take the high road and I'll say "interesting, never thought about that", but I don't engage because in the engaging of it, it's a fool's game for a confident person and now I'm just dropping my vibration to a low point. I don't need to like it, they're never going to figure it out. They're never going to see, they're not logical. You can't use logic to argue with someone that doesn't have logicallity, it's an insane making endeavor, right? So these are the things we have to look at and they can be a little things like that, you know? And so I don't care if you have to get a free support group online or a coach or a therapist or someone who could be in your corner who's encouraging your dreams - great.

Elle Russ: But even people who love you, who aren't normally downers are going to say something that's going to project a lack of confidence onto you about a thing. What are you gonna do about it? Are you going to let it get you? I mean it - I have so many examples in the book as you know of this, it happened to me in every turn with my first book with a family member and I wrote it in there. Then after I was done with the book, I showed it to them. I go see that, all those downer comments, that was you. They were like "Oh my God, I can see what you think. But I didn't mean it that way." I go, well, the bottom line is you need to know what comes out of your mouth because you're a freaking downer and it's gotta stop.

Elle Russ: It's gotta stop. So we've all had that. I've been a downer. We all have. It's just now I'll catch the downer thoughts. Won't ever really express it. And here's the thing - let people fail. Unless someone has some insane idea that might kill them. Okay? If someone's wanting to go start an endeavor, encourage them, they'll remember you, encourage them, let them fail. That's how people learn anyway. And in the process of pursuing something that might even fail, you might come up with something that's a win somewhere else. That is how my life has taken place. So if I listened to the downers that told me not to do that, or that was unrealistic, I'd never be where I am now. Because one thing led to another, led to another. So let people fail, encourage them.

Elle Russ: If you're their friend, just be encouraging, you know? And again, sort of something like "please don't jump off the building with like a makeshif parachute." But short of that stuff, we need to encourage our friends and be positive. And by the way, if you can't really get, you don't want to be fake about it, but you have to get to the point where if you are always, then this goes to jealousy and envy. No one likes hanging out with jealous people. But if you're kind of secretly hoping that people fail around you because you're jealous or because you're a downer, you're the sum of the people you're with. Do you really want to be around a bunch of losers? You know what I'm saying? Lift people up. Confident people encourage other people. Confident people are kind, confident people are for you.

Elle Russ: They're not jealous. They don't compete. They don't have a scarcity mindset. So if someone's competitive and crappy with you, but they're a boisterous, you know, female or male at work, they're not confident, they're just in a hole. So again, confidence is not nasty, but people sometimes I think interpret it that way because they feel because a lot of bullies are seemingly confident because they're bold about the way the end look. I mean a lot of bullies are super common. It's not really confidence though. But again, they have this outward competence that they can dominate. They use a sense of confidence for domination and that really puts people on edge. And that's why you know you're weak because you're a person who can't speak up. Also, the other thing too is like do you really want to keep you patronizing in life? I mean the beauty of my life is I rarely get challenged on speaking up.

Elle Russ: No one ever patronizes me. I'm rarely ever talked down to because that's the vibe I put out there. They probably sense like she is not going to take it, you know what I mean? Cause the only time than it ever happens to me is a stranger at my gym or like 3 times in 5 years. And every time they're instantly regretted because they chose the wrong person that day. Hope they learned a lesson. If not, that's okay. At least I stood up for myself. But I rarely get challenged on that stuff. I might have other challenges, right? But this is the one that confident people are the most authentic, competent people are the most admired. They're also the most hireable.

Elle Russ: When I used to hire people for living, I'd rather hire someone who was confident versus someone who had the skills but wasn't because confident people are proactive. They're competent in their ability to learn a thing, even if they don't know it. There's so much good stuff that comes with confidence, and so much more than my book about that. But that's so again - it's not about faking it, about pontificating it, but it's about getting that inner self esteem inner outer combined with each other. And it doesn't mean you have to be a talkative person or a performer. I rambled on there for a bit.

Wade Lightheart: No, no, I love it. I think this is such a great topic and it's why I kind of wanted to go there and you're just giving us so much gold. One of the beautiful things that you do illustrate in this book is you go back to the story. For example, the simple bike story I could completely relate to in what I think if I would kind of get the crux of how do you identify these downer thoughts or what's taken it out is to be totally aware of how you're feeling after a conversation or with somebody and owning your side of the street of how you're creating that situation. Is that an accurate statement?

Elle Russ: Also, for example, when you're hanging out, we've all had this, after hanging out with a friend, you don't really feel good. That's probably not a good friend to have, right? So if you have to make yourself smaller or not talk about your great things in life because you're afraid it might hurt someone else's feelings. Well they're not confident as F and screw them, they're a jealous person because only jealous, envious people act that way. And you do not want to be hanging around with any of those people. So if you're finding yourself have tiny voice or you're finding yourself not sharing your glory with a friend and that's probably a friend you need to think about getting rid of. Does that make sense? So you know there's a line there.

Wade Lightheart: That then go into that. If you start having these conversations, where you're kind of like in this cyclic communication pattern with someone that's in your life, whether it's a friend, a relative, a coworker, boss, whoever it happens to be. And recognizing that I think the piece is how do you be confident and assertive. And then how do you know that the differentiation between, you know what, we're just going to take the high road here and the set of the life. What is the key strategy there for you that you've cultivated? Cause you've obviously really refined this process variance

Elle Russ: Because there's cause you'll blow it because you will start something or you will speak up and it's not appropriate. And you will feel it. You'll feel it. And that'll indicate that, you know, it's really trial by error on some of it if you're coming. I mean, I've had a bunch of trials by tribulations in my whole life to kind of understand this refinement. But again speaking up is not that confident people always tell the truth. Have I met your mother's house for Thanksgiving and she's got a horribly ugly Christmas sweater on and says "don't you love my new beautiful sweater?" I am not going to tell her it's ugly. I'm going to lie to her face. Cause that's a normal, nice, courteous thing to do right now. But it's my mother and my mother knows me.

Elle Russ: She not gonna ask that question cause she knows she's gonna get an honest answer and I'll tell her "Oh my God, it's horrible. Don't wear that sweater." So listen, confident people aren't rude and brash and these are the things you have to discern over time. And the way you just turn them is really trial and error. But I guess what I'm about to say, going to advance my situation in my life spiritually and personally and the others or is it not? And if it's not going to advance anyone's life in the conversation, it's better left unsaid. That could be one indication.

Wade Lightheart: Right. And then one other piece and we're going to get into the "Paleo thyroid solution" book. How do you kind of navigate the conversation when, let's say, a trusted friend or a trusted person in your life comes to you and really wants some honest feedback about this. How do you curate that conversation with people. Cause we all have that person where we may have a level of aptitude or skill or ability and we see a person really in a pattern or a loop. But you have a friendship and you don't want to impose yourself but they're coming to you. How do you navigate that conversation?

Elle Russ: You know, that's a tough one. Coaching is different. So when you're coaching strangers that don't know you, but you've got friends, you've got a history and if they're asking for you to put the coaching hat on, in that scenario, you might have to tread a little bit lighter knowing their circumstance. I would say that I'm pretty brutally honest with all of my friends. They know this about me at this point. So they don't ask me questions that they know I'm not going to give the answer to. But also that being said, I want to say this, they know me so well that they know I'm very protective. I'm a leo, I'm very loyal. I'm very protective. So if you call me and you told me like someone discipline, my claws will come out.

Elle Russ: You know what I mean? Like I'm the first one. I'd be like "Oh well you know, just because I really am very protective so my friends knows about me and they will preface a conversation with, I just need you to listen." I don't need, I don't want any advice, hear me out before you jump on my husband or whatever. Cause they know I'm so protective of them that I'm going to come in there as their main protector and argue or whatever. So they know that about me and they'll preface those conversations the appropriate way. Sometimes I might ask a friend. And it's less about "here's what I think you should do with your life." And more about guiding them with questions to allow them to find the own answer.

Elle Russ: I mean, that's really what good coaching is. So it just depends on how brutal the scenario is. Sometimes I'm really brutal with people. So if you've called me for 18 years complaining about your crappy marriage, well first of all I wouldn't get that long cause I would have told you on your five that you have to stop calling me about it cause it's a nonversation and until you're doing something meaningful about it, I won't listen to you. And that's tough love and that's harsh. But guess who that saves me and them from stop being a victim because they're still a victim. So you know, I'm a little bit tough love with some of my friends depending. So if you've called me three years in a row and you're like "I'm going to quit drinking this year, I'm going to finally lose the weight". I mean you're going to, I'm going to call BS on it.

Elle Russ: Probably if it's a conversation nonversation that has continually been brought up over time. So I'm different with each friend. It depends on what they need. Most of them can accept pretty brutal advice or opinions. And again, if you think someone's idea is really stupid, let's say their business idea, you don't have to say you think it's dumb, but maybe ask them questions around some of the points where you think it is and they might discover it them for themselves. Maybe it's like "Oh well I didn't know there was a market for that. Have you looked up dah dah, dah, dah. Is that a successful business model?" Or you can ask them questions around their idea where they might come to their own conclusion about it versus you saying that's really stupid. But for example, I had a friend who had a really dumb idea, I'm just going to say it.

Elle Russ: Look, we know the government food pyramid is terrible and they wanted to change it and they were like, I want to create a thing called "change the pyramid" and you know, movement and all this kind of stuff. I said "Oh, okay, so you want to be a lobbyist in Washington?" And they were like, wait, what? Oh well, how are you going to get what's the matter of this? Are you just trying to change the world? And if so, then what you are telling me is that you literally want to go be a lobbyist in Washington to change the government food pyramid unless you just want to create an informational website. But it sounds to me like you really want to create a change. And they were like, no, no, no, and they didn't get it until finally they got it.

Elle Russ: It's not a business model. It wasn't anything that was lucrative. It was just a passion of theirs that they wanted to jump on some business model for to realize what did that actually mean. And when they realized it came down to being a lobbyist in Washington, they were like, "Oh no, that's a thankless piece of garbage job. No thanks. I don't want it." Of course. But again, I led them there. I didn't say that was just stupid, but I just again asked questions. So I mean that's so specific to each individual. I think the lighter you go, the better. The more questions you ask - the better. People really will come to their own conclusions, I get emails all the time from friends asking "what do you think of this cover letter?" And I will write back "Oh my God, you're doing too much".

Elle Russ: No, cut that, make it simple, blah blah. But my friends know I communicate that way and they want that straight shoot, no BS, get to the point quickly type of thing. But there are some people in my life that are not that way. And so I might have to preface more or gloss it up a little bit more. You know, there are just sometimes those people, for example, in our company, Marxists and he's like a very East coast, no BS person too. So if he were to call me, he might just be like "yo, what's up?" We talk real quick. And then he might be like, all right, lay by and hang up. No one's offended. No one's offended. My family's not offended, got to go by. No one's offended. But there are people that are kind of offended by that.

Elle Russ: And you know, I've noticed that there are people that just take that kind of attitude and they don't like that. So they might require a more that call them at the office and it's the secretary and you might need to be like "Hey Mary, how's it going? How are you doing?" Now this is the kind of talk they like, I'd rather just call and be like "yo Mary, all right, so got these files right. I want to get to it." But that's also my personality and not everyone else's. So that's another thing I've learned as well - you know, you have to kind of work with who's in front of you and you've got to gauge your audience. And so I definitely will gauge presentation of a thing depending on how I think maybe somebody will feel about it or how they're going to receive it the best because that's really the truth right there is how are they going to receive it. So that you can get what you want.

Wade Lightheart: Beautiful. Just great stuff. I want to be conscientious of the time. So we're just gonna do a quick segue. We're going to bring you back. I want to bring you back because I want to get it, this is so much gold and I had a sense when I had gone through this, it's like I really want to get to the "Paleo thyroid solution", but your "Confident as F" was so good, I think everybody should read that book first and foremost, whatever dietary philosophy they want to follow because so much of dietary philosophies is about tribalism or they're in echo chambers and they're not really addressing the underlying current. You know, back when I was a personal trainer, I used to tell people "Hey look, we can make you lose weight. We can get you in shape.

Wade Lightheart: That's no problem. We're going to do 12 weeks, 16 weeks, whatever we made the assessment's going to be." I said, well we really need to get down to is what do you think that you are going to get out of being in shape? What do you think the payoff is? Or what are you trying to overcome that you think looking a certain way is going to do for you? And I see that in this. Talk to me real briefly about the "Paleo thyroid solution". And we're going to bring you back for another one cause you talk about being a fat burner, not consuming a fat burner being a fat.

Elle Russ: That's right. So I know we're on limited time here, but just for everyone, if there's anyone listening that's suffering from thyroid problems and you think you might have one, I have a free thyroid guide on my website, it's right up at the top. You click it, it tells you all the tests to take, what time of day to get a tested, how to possibly find the right doctor in your state or country that might know what they're talking about because so many of them are uninformed. But yes, this is an area of expertise. I coach people all over the world and I've spoken about it on a million podcasts as well. So you can always just Google my name plus thyroid and learn so much for free. From there, the "Paleo thyroid solution" also available as well. 200 million plus people in the world have it.

Elle Russ: The number one prescription in America is only one thyroid hormone. 25 plus million Americans have at 60% are undiagnosed, is a prevalent, serious, like epidemic going on in our world. And our thyroid is the master gland. It's responsible for our heart rate, our fat burning metabolism, our brain, our sense of wellbeing and happiness. So it's really important that everyone optimizes it. Don't run into any problems. And if you do, here's a natural way to solve it. Here's a way to solve through thyroid hormones, et cetera. So anybody can get that free thyroid guide by going to and then, yeah, I'd love to come back and talk with you just specifically about thyroid. It's very in depth topic that we could cover in an hour. And I am happy to go through that in detail and I'm so sorry to kind of cut you off on time today, but I've got another thing to jump on in a minute.

Wade Lightheart: No, no worries Elle, that was just so much power. The hour flew by. I'm encouraging everybody to read that book. Both of those books go to your site.

Elle Russ: And you get both print and Kindle for "Confident as F", although you can just write in the real word. F U C K it'll come up and also the "Paleo thyroid solution" and yeah, read the reviews, reach out to me. It's fun. It's a fun quickies you read, you know, especially during quarantine time, you guys will love it. Then you're going to come out and quarantine like competent as F, let's like ready to hit the ground running, you know, an it's all you, but you can do it, man. It's a worthwhile endeavor. So thanks again for letting me share this with your audience.

Wade Lightheart: Well, you're a great worker, a writer, a great communicator, and I'm really grateful for you to come on the show. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.
Elle Russ: Well, now we share our mutual, a disdain for a cyclist. Some of my best friends are cyclists, so I was like, you're going to be mad when you read this part. But you know, again, it's just one of those things. So anyway, thank you so much. Thanks so much. Have a great day.
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