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Difficult conversations. Well, they are called “difficult” for a reason. Whether as a business owner, team member, or spouse, sometimes they are unavoidable, and that’s OK. There is no reason to think that you have to feel bad, that you have to apologize for having these discussions.

So many times in our lives we put things off to spare that conversation. We accommodate, we don’t get what we were truly asking or looking for; we end up with someone or something we don’t want, simply for the sake of sparing their feelings. Look, I’m not saying this in a mean cruel way, but you shouldn’t have to feel bad for knowing what you want.

On this week’s episode, I want you to stop putting up with that bad contractor, that difficult employee, the dead-end relationship… this week, I want you to start making space for the things that best serve you and stop apologizing.

We’ve got some unbelievable guests coming on the show over the next few months, so in order to help us reach more people, please share this podcast with your tribe and leave us a review on iTunes to give us more visibility.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • That people don’t get to make you feel a certain way.
  • Why no one else can show you what your dreams are.
  • How to have an open dialogue without feeling sorry.
  • How to sit in the discomfort and have the difficult conversations.
  • Why you need to create boundaries with the people you love and care about.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Want to have it all? Well, the best day to get started is TODAY. Welcome to Love Your Living, a podcast for ambitious women who want to take their life and business to a WHOLE new level of success. I’m Brooke Keeling, multiple six-figure business owner, passionate entrepreneur and your host.

Welcome to another episode of the Love Your Living podcast…

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Love Your Living podcast. I am Brooke Keeling and I am so excited to be here with all of you, as always. I have so many things that have come up in my life recently and these are the podcasts that I love chatting with you guys. They’re big a-ha moments, they’re big life experiences that have shifted my mindset or allowed me to be open to a concept that maybe I’ve heard in the past but I haven’t quite figured out how to apply it or really ho powerful it is.

So, the topic today that I’m going to kind of – I was thinking about, how do I phrase this? What is the actual topic that I’m talking about? And I’m going to borrow this from Rachel Hollis, who I love, and she has a new book out called Stop Apologizing. I have not read it yet. I hear it’s absolutely amazing. I adore her as well. But it’s a topic on just that, stop apologizing.

Now, you guys, I have been working through some new branding and we’re going through a rebrand, we’re updating all of the things, website and image and content, everything. So one, when you guys have feedback, when you comment on – if you don’t follow us on Instagram, please do, @brookekeeling_. You can find us on Instagram.

We do all sorts of fun things over there and you can kind of see what’s going on in life and behind the scenes. We’re changing up all of the things that we’re doing right now and it’s a little bit exhausting, but it’s also part of business. And I remember working with someone recently and they said, you get things when you get it. You truly do.

You can be coached on something. Someone can tell you something. You can tell they feel this is very, very powerful, but you’re kind of like, yeah, okay. Like, there’s been so many times where I’m like, okay, and I think about it for weeks at a time sometimes. Sometimes it takes me months. Sometimes it doesn’t hit me for like two years. And I go back to it and I think, yeah I get it, but how do I apply that into my own life, into my own world?

And I remember working with a couple of different people over the last few years and one of them kept telling me over and over again, people don’t get to make you feel a certain way. So when you are constantly saying, I’m really sorry, or I know I’m being difficult, or whatever it may be, whatever that thought is that’s in your head, you need to remove that dialogue from your mind in the first place.

But I’ve had this many times when I’ve had contractors; contractors that I pay or team members that I pay. And I have so much compassion and respect for the people that I work with. I feel like I’m very fair. I feel like I give fairly clear direction on things. But sometimes, I don’t know what I don’t know. And so, if I hire someone out that is an expert in a certain area, I really lean on them to show me the way.

However, as a business owner, as a visionary, as the visionary of your own life, you need to be able to see that picture so clearly, because anyone that you hire, no matter how desperate you are no matter how good that person is, they can help you try to understand it better, but no one is going to be able to show you what your dreams are. No one is going to be able to show you what you’re capable of or what you truly want in your life. That’s you.

So there’s different tactics and there’s different coaching ways to help pull it out of you, but you, and especially as a business owner, you have to be able to paint the big picture and the big vision. This came up in my mastermind group recently and someone was saying, how do you get people on board without feeling like you’re being bossy? How do you get people to know that these changes are going to greatly impact them, but in the short-term it might create a little discomfort or it might create a bit more work for them and they’re not getting paid anymore. How do you get them to buy into it?

And my response to that was, you have to be able to clearly articulate what your vision is. So you have to know that first and you have to be able to share that with them. And believe me, I have different brilliant big ideas every other day and oftentimes, I feel like my team’s going to kill me, right? But it’s who I am. I’ve accepted that. I’ve had these conversations with my team members and people that aren’t able to pivot quickly or say yes or that are on board with my ideas or the direction or the pace, it’s not a good fit for my business. And that’s okay, right?

But we need to, in order to get people to buy in, they need to feel like they’re supported, for one. They need to know how important they are in this piece of the puzzle, and they need to know that it’s not about you. When we can serve, truly serve, instead of just serving ourselves or our own vision and people feel that, they’re almost always going to be on board for something bigger, to grow, and to continue to grow with you and your team and your business. But we have to be able to paint that picture.

The same goes for contractors, if you are outsourcing different work or you have different people on different projects. I currently have multiple people on multiple projects and sometimes it gets a little bit confusing. And I can tell you, over the last couple of months, it’s been a little bit difficult trying to articulate what everybody needs to be doing when I don’t know it yet, when I’m still kind of in that grey area and trying to have everyone feel supported and feel like they’re doing a phenomenal job within their role, but to also stay in their own lane, right?

We still need to be able to give that direction. And when we can’t give that direction, it’s okay, we’ve got to work through and maneuver it. And I found that the conversations are more easily had when it’s we’re trying to work through this or I don’t quite know what this looks like yet, and continue to move forward so that you can have open dialogue with what’s not working on your end, what is working on your end, how do you need to be better supported?

And just know that most people want to help and they’re coming from a place of help, and everyone has different opinions. And when we are in this grey area of not really knowing or seeking advice or expertise, we’re constantly looking for the answers outside of us. That’s when shit’s really going to hit the fan and get really, really messy, because you’re going to have all of these different people chattering, sharing all of their different opinions, sharing their opinion and strategy and direction. And you need to be able to, at some point, corral everyone so that everyone’s moving in the right direction.

And sometimes, people aren’t going to like what you are choosing to do in business. And I want you to also know that that is okay. For example, I have a phenomenal team that I work with on a lot of strategy and I don’t really see eye to eye on design work. I shifted that to someone different and had someone else in that role. And sometimes, those are hard conversations to have, but when you look at it as business and you look at it as your business, oftentimes, as business owners we want to be fair. But we need to be fair to ourselves first.

And if something isn’t working, or it’s not aligning with what our vision is, our big picture vision, we need to be able to have conversations around it. And I see this become so stressful all of the time, literally all of the time. Whether it’s business or real life, we get so stressed out about having hard conversations or saying no to things that don’t serve us or asking for another revision or, hey, can you please make this tweak?

It’s like, oh I’ll just make it work or I don’t want to be difficult so sure, it’s just fine, I’ll fix it later, or I’ll do it myself a little bit later. I got my hair done a couple of weeks ago in New York City and something wasn’t quite right. It’s really expensive to get your hair styled in New York City. Rather than being like, oh yeah it’s just fine, and then touching it up later – same with makeup, same with the littlest things.

Just tell someone what you like and don’t like and get really comfortable in asking for what it is that you need to support you and be honest with it. I see so much tension with people that carry something with them for weeks and months because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, because they don’t want to have the hard conversations, because they don’t want to see what’s on the other side.

And I’m telling you, if you’re in any situation, whether it’s a friend asking you, can they drop their dog off for a weekend, can you house sit, can you run this errand for me, whatever it may be, or if it’s something in your business world, saying no is okay. Or if you have questions on how a certain dynamic works, it’s okay to sit down and have a full conversation and to be able to ask for what it is and the support that you need.

I’ve felt like this many, many times in my business where, with my team, I’ve become very, very strong with it. I’ve had thoughts where I feel like I’m such a bitch or I don’t have the patience or I’m not giving enough to someone, I just need to figure out how to make it work, it’s me, it’s not them. And it’s not anyone, you guys. But when we’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, not only does it not serve you, but it doesn’t serve that other person.

I had that quote come up to me recently, basically saying, as a leader, it’s our job to be able to see people’s strengths and to allow them to play in their strengths and support them in their strengths, rather than allowing them to suffer in areas where it doesn’t make sense for them because, not only does it hurt us, it hurts our business, it hurts every other team member on the team. It also hurts that particular person because they feel like a failure, and it also affects their family and their kids. It’s just a downward spiral all the way around.

So, being able to have open conversations, whether it’s with your mom, whether it’s with a family member, whether it’s with a friend, it allows us to have such stronger relationships when we are strong enough to sit down without anxiety, without all of these feelings and just have an adult conversation.

So, Rachel Hollis – I haven’t even read this book yet, but Stop Apologizing, I’m thinking this is in every area of our life. Just stop apologizing. Just be honest. Let’s have open conversations. Let’s ask if we don’t know without feeling like we’re being stupid or we should know this or making up stories in our mind about what’s going to happen when it hasn’t even happened yet and creating this whole drama when we can just have conversations.

Now, I was just reading a book recently and I’ll reference it a lot because it’s in the forefront of my mind and I’m getting so many life lessons out of it. But it’s called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and it’s all about upper-limiting. And one of the big things that he says about creating conflict – so, oftentimes, we create conflict in our life when we are going to the next level or whatever it may be, just in general in life. You think about some of the relationships where you create conflict or you create drama. And it was a very, very interesting way and perspective that he has on this.

And he said, when we are in conflict, the people that are in an argument or creating that conflict are battling for the victim role. Now, when I heard that, I was like, oh hell no, I am not a victim when I cause fights or when I create drama or I have a tough relationship. It’s you and me trying to earn that position of a victim role. And I am like, I am absolutely not a victim. That is one of my core values is I am not a victim. And it’s something I’m relentless with, with my team, as well.

And so that was really, really interesting to me to think about that and really truly think about it. So now, any time that I’m in conflict, it’s like, I will not be the victim and it allows you to just take a different place in your mind of what conversation is actually happening and how do you become a little bit calmer and have a real conversation about what it truly is that there’s an issue behind or whatever it may be.

So, whether you’re looking in business or you’re looking right at home with your family or with friends or with a relationship or you’re trying to establish boundaries that support yourself, support your business, support your goals, you don’t need to apologize for it. You don’t need to apologize for wanting more in your life. You don’t need to apologize because you enjoy working, that you like to hustle, that you like to make money.

You don’t need to apologize for the new shoes that you just got. You don’t need to hide behind the things that make you feel incredible because you don’t want someone else to feel bad. You don’t need to apologize because you have another edit to your website when you’re paying thousands and thousands of dollars for someone to do the work.

So this is another part of, one, you have to have the vision so that you can be able to really clearly articulate what it is that you want. So if you constantly find yourself going back and forth and saying, like, well I don’t know or this or that or whatever, take some time away. Allow yourself to step back. Allow yourself to take the time that you need to get the clarity that you need to have in order to move forward versus just trying to constantly push a boulder up a hill.

And know that other people’s opinions, no matter how much they love you, it’s okay if you don’t align with them or it’s okay if you have a different opinion on something. Now, I’m not saying this in a mean cruel way, like I’m paying you so bow down, bitches, kind of concept, right? But someone told me once, I felt like I’m being so difficult to work with. Like, I don’t like being difficult to work with. I like that when I partner with people or collaborating with people or I hire out contractors, I like to have a great working relationship.

And I haven’t always been that way and I think that is more of a power trip in our ego, feeling like we’re leading from a place of power, now I want to collaborate. I do want to be the boss. I’m not bossy though. I want to understand people. I want to collaborate with them. I want to connect with people. It’s so much fun when you hire people out and you respect them and you love their work and you can work together, versus just being a total bitch. I think we can all understand what that looks like.

However, we also have to understand that we are paying the bills, right? You are paying these people. And so, if they tell you to do something and you don’t agree with it, it’s okay to tell them that you’re not going to do it. It’s okay to tell them that thank you, I really appreciate your insight or I really appreciate your opinion, but I’m going to do it this way.

And if they get mad about it or if they get upset about that, that’s not you, that is them. And I’ve seen this over and over again. And I’ve actually looked at myself, I’ve looked in the mirror a few different times trying to understand, like, okay do I see different lifecycles of relationships within my world? Where are different patterns that come up?

Is it growth? Is it me being frustrated and giving up? Is it me not communicating clearly? What is it? And just getting curious about some of those things. But I notice them in other people too, when things get difficult or they don’t quite go the way that someone wants them to go, it’s like, okay, I’m done, onto the next thing, versus being able to sit in the discomfort or sit down and have a hard conversation so that not only you can grow from it but the other person can grow from it and you can figure out what the real problem is so that you can move forward. That is what’s going to allow you to grow to the next level, whether it’s with that particular person or the next person.

Say you’re even dating someone or you have multiple marriages that have failed, don’t look at the other person, you have to look at yourself first. And I’m not saying that from a mean way, but you have to look at yourself first and look and see if there’s anything in your life that you don’t like, look at what patterns are showing up, because they’re there, and I promise you that they’re there. And if you can’t see them yourself, have conversations with other people.

Be open to them giving you some insight as to what they see, with love, so that you can see it more clearly and so you can change it, because we’re all humans. We’re all just humans trying to live our best life. That’s what we all want is to live a life of happiness and love.

But oftentimes, we self-sabotage and then we blame others. And when we’re in that place of blaming and not taking accountability and not taking control for our own actions or allowing ourselves to grow from our mistakes, it’s not going to help and you’re going to see the same things over and over again.

So, understanding that, but also truly getting back to, again, what another mentor of mine told me is that you pay these people. You have to understand that you pay these people and it’s okay sometimes if you change your mind. It’s okay if you want to do a 20th revision. You’re paying them.

If they have a problem with it then fine, whatever, none of us want to be the difficult person, and we don’t try to be, but don’t be apologizing because you uncovered something new or you changed directions or you simply changed your mind or, I don’t know, whatever it is. Just stop being so sorry and hard on yourself, and even notice the conversations.

I’ve noticed recently in the conversations that I’ve had or you type out, we have to be so conscious of what it is that we’re saying, conversations we’re having with ourselves, with the people that we’re working with, with the language around everything. If you’re constantly talking about not seeing success in a certain thing or not seeing the money that you want to see or swimming around different ideas, that’s what’s going to continue to come up.

So even those conversations that you’re having with people, rephrase how it is that you’re speaking and rephrase your mindset around it. And also, just know that it is okay, that is part of business. I used to beat myself up so much because I changed my mind a lot or I changed directions or I would start something and I would start a bazillion things and I have a lot of different projects going at once.

And now, I look at it as a superpower of mine. I feel on such a deep level. I know, for example, when I hire someone, I can screen them, I can profile them, I can interview them, I can have a ton of conversations and usually I’m pretty confident about bringing someone on that they’re going to fit. However, when they’re not going to work out, I know it within the first couple of weeks. And I do my very best on understanding how I can get better or what’s not working here and exploring why it’s not working so that I can learn from it and I can support that persona and try to give back versus saying, you fucking suck, get out of here, because that doesn’t help anybody.

That doesn’t allow us to learn and grow. And what’s so interesting to me now is that I have people coming to me asking, where do you think their strengths and their weaknesses are or why do you think that this isn’t going to work, or just brainstorming different ideas on different fits. And my culture is not the same as anybody else’s culture. Your culture is going to be your own. You have to discover that for yourself.

I think I’ve said this before if you’ve tuned into some of my podcasts, I have an incredible mentor that I work with in my real estate business and he has a phenomenal team and his culture, they just thrive. They’re an absolutely incredible team, incredible mindset, work ethic, just killing their competition, young team. And I tried to replicate his culture into my business and it didn’t work.

And rather than feeling like a failure – and I did feel like a failure many times – I had to realize that I had to create my own culture. And some of those things were the same. I took so many great tips and tricks and whatnot. Anything, whether it’s a culture that you’re building, whether it’s a business that you’re building, you can look around at what people have done before you and you can take some of those tools and implement them into your own world, but you have to know that you have to implement them your own way. And so maybe you go hard and you implement everything by the tee, but then you have to start weeding it out and figuring out what works for you, what makes sense for you, because that’s what’s going to have everything align is leading from that place of your heart.

It truly is. That’s what makes everything work in efforts towards your growth. So you could look at my business and you could implement everything that I’m doing, but it’s not me. That’s another thing that I say to people when I’ve had this conversation many times and I used to be scared of this myself – how do you give to your employees wholeheartedly?

How do you give them absolutely everything and grow them when you know that they could take everything and leave and do it on their own? And the truth is, you have to be able to skill your people up. You have to be able to give them everything. You have to train your people up so that they can go and do it on their own, but build a culture so that they never want to. That’s a Richard Branson quote and I love it.

And it took me probably five years to get to that place because I did have people leave, I did have them take my contacts, I did have them use my networks to build businesses that were not in my favor. I’ve had people take all of my processes and implement it into my competitor’s businesses, and it’s not cool. Guess what, it’s not cool.

But you can’t get caught up in that bullshit. You just can’t. You have to keep moving forward and keeping your eye on the big prize and know that nothing is going to define you what someone else does. But when you think about what your competition is too, I could know the ins and outs, I could have every piece of strategy of some of the people that I look up to so much, and if I implement that into my own life, yes, it’s probably going to create some success, but it’s not going to create the level of success that they have because I’m not them and their business is not me. And so I have to put my own personal touch on that.

And so, my point with this entire topic, everything that we do in our life, we have to be able to be strong enough to ask for the things that we want, have the difficult conversations in a very calm way of just understanding each other more, understanding concepts more. Stop apologizing for little mistakes or things that are out of your control.

There’s no reason why we need to apologize for the fact that it’s raining. I can’t help that. I can’t help that maybe I have a photo shoot or maybe I’m holding an open house for a client and it’s raining and I’m sorry, I can’t control the rain though, right? So we need to stop apologizing for those things and stop apologizing for feeling like we’re too difficult or we’re asking for too much or we’re taking too long or we’re not clear enough on something yet.

It’s okay, we are exactly where we need to be at any given point in time, and especially if you’re hiring people out to help you, they work on your terms, and you need to be able to have an opinion and know that they’re not going to be able to give you the answers. And you can appreciate them and you can have them help in different brainstorming sessions and different creative ideas, but in the end, you’re the one that has to make the decisions for your life.

In the end, you’re the one that has to set the boundaries that you need in order to support your life. You’re going to have to flex that muscle so that you can have conversations in a very loving way and saying, look I just really need this time, or I can’t be interrupted right now, or I’m working on some really big projects; I love you, but I’m not going to be able to do this. Or, I just don’t feel comfortable having your dog in my house, and that’s okay.

And I’m telling you, and this is the last thing that I will leave you with; it is really uncomfortable to start doing this. It’s really uncomfortable to create boundaries with people that you love, to have hard conversations in a way that is not fight or flight mode, like you’re at each other’s throat or I’m right you’re wrong, creating this victim mentality. It is so hard to release some of these things, to allow your armor and your guard down and allow yourself to be vulnerable and allow people to see you as you truly are, to have an opinion, to have people not like you.

And that’s okay too, right, because they’re not your people. But I’m telling you, the more that you do this in the kindest way of just loving yourself more, because that’s what it comes down to, when you’re apologizing for all of these things, you’re not respecting yourself. So respect yourself more than anything in the kindest way and you will start to open the doors to some of the most beautiful connections in your life, the most incredible conversations, the most incredible people and connections that you could ever dream of on a level that is just so comfortable.

And what also will happen is that you will weed out some of the relationships that maybe aren’t meant to be or some of the people on your team that aren’t meant to be, or different working relationships that you have. And what that allows you to do, it’s just like Marie Kondo, it allows you to make space for the things that do serve you and that do serve your best version of yourself in your life. And that’s when you’re going to feel so supported in your world.

So, in Rachel Hollis’s words, Stop Apologizing. Do you in such a compassionate way. Don’t feel like you’re being difficult. Ask for what you want and the support and I promise, you’re going to start to receive it. And allow yourself to be there, because that is truly when we grow the most. That’s when life starts to happen.

And you know what is incredibly helpful when you start going on this journey is having people by your side that get you, that support you, that you can go to and say, hey I just had a really hard conversation, or hey can I run something by you. Having a mentor or being in a mastermind group where people know what your goals are, they see you differently, you guys.

So if you don’t have a support network, if you don’t have a coach, if you’ve never done a mastermind group, if you feel like you’re alone or you’re starting to outgrow relationships and you’re just feeling like maybe I don’t fit in anymore or what’s wrong with me, you need to go find yourself a squad. Go and look into different mastermind groups. Go and look into one on one coaching. Go and look at different organizations that you could start connecting with likeminded people.

It will make you feel so much more supported as you go on this journey and it will give you a sense of love as well. That’s been incredibly powerful. My own mastermind group that we have going, I just told them a couple of weeks ago, I’ve so much gratitude for them and just knowing that you have this group of women or men, it’s so empowering. You can have the worst day, you can get served with papers, you can get sued, you can get – all of this shit can happen and then you jump on a call with someone.

It literally just happened to me within the last month, you jump on a call and they say yeah, me too. And it’s like, oh my gosh, I’m not an awful person. Like, this isn’t just happening to me. It’s part of life. It’s happening for us, it’s allowing us to grow.

So, get yourself connected with people. And if you don’t know where to go, drop a message, come and check us out, You can check out our Instagram, @brookekeeling_. Have conversations there. See if you connect with anybody. And we always have different groups and programs.

We have a retreat coming up in July and we’d love to help bring you up and be a support, and when you start opening up to different connections, you will be blown away at how life starts to open up doors for you, connecting the dots.

So, I hope you all have a really, really great day. Stop apologizing for whatever it is in your life you are apologizing for and do you. I’ve said this so many different times, but it has been the forefront in everything that I am doing lately. So, I hope you all have a great week and we’ll see you next time.

Thanks for showing up and listening to this week’s episode of the Love Your Living podcast. If you’re ready to create a business and life you love or simply take your already-pretty incredible life to the next level, head on over to or simply check out the link in this week’s episode of show notes to instantly download my 6-Figure & Beyond Business Blueprint. You’re going to absolutely love it.

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