Sunday, March 21, 2021

Darby Fox: Shifting from Control and Conflict to Structure and Nurture to Raise Accountable Young Adults

In this interview, Darby Fox talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Rethinking Your Teenager: Shifting from Control and Conflict to Structure and Nurture to Raise Accountable Young Adults.

“Discipline means to teach, not to preach.” ~Darby Fox

Darby has over two decades’ worth of experience working with teenagers and their families, specializing with this group as a therapist. She originally intended to work with children, but got into working with teenagers, as she was not only interested in doing so but also realized that there weren’t that many people so working with that age group. As part of that work, she needed to work with parents, and as she did so, she thought that there was a way for both parents and adolescents to thrive during this adolescent period, rather than just merely surviving this period and just “get over it.” 

Darby remarks that, as everyone has been a teenager, parents think back on their own teenage experiences and use this to interact with their teenagers, by attempting to control their behavior so that their children will not make the same perceived mistakes that they made while they, the parents, were, themselves, adolescents. She notes that this isn’t the proper way to go, as adolescents are neurologically and physiologically hard-wired to seek out new, and particularly gratifying experiences, as they are out to eventually make their own way in the world, as adults. Parents can thus best interact with adolescents by setting boundaries and letting adolescents take the consequences of their actions, rather than the parent being the one dealing with said consequences.

Teenagers need connection and guidance, Darby notes, and parents who can connect with their teenagers will find it easier for the latter to buy into what the parent is attempting to teach them. She emphasizes that teenagers will listen to their parents if they don’t think that the latter is judging them, pointing out that, if teenagers are given parameters to work within and are shown not only these but also the consequences of breaking those parameters, they are more likely to connect with their parents.

One of the myths surrounding teenagers is that they don’t care about anything but their friends, which, Darby notes, isn’t true, as they care about what other people think about them. She notes that humans, by nature, want to please others, and that adolescents focus on their peers because they are practicing creating relationships. Darby also remarks that it’s damaging to think of teenagers as always going against a parent, as that kind of relationship is inherently one of conflict, making that relationship emotional and reactive, particularly in the teenager’s mind, leading to the adolescent pulling away and shutting down.

Parents asking “How can I help you?” Darby notes, create a relationship with far more possibilities than one where the relationship is based on conflict. In addition, getting adolescents and teenagers a mentor, someone whom teenagers could go to if they have problems or need advice, who have an emotional or intellectual connection with the adolescent, can turn troubled teenagers into successful adults, Darby notes.

During adolescence, the brain constantly looks for new things that an adolescent can take on, Darby emphasizes. Where the brain is concerned, the adolescent’s brain develops at possibly the second fastest rate in any period of a human being’s life, with brain development while in utero being the period when the human brain develops the fastest. This is when the brain starts selecting those parts which are used often, and pushes aside those parts which aren’t so often used, resulting in a great deal of flux and growth. Creativity is high at this period in life, and adolescents are always looking for new things to do. Darby also notes that the adolescent’s brain releases melatonin two hours after the adult brain does, resulting in their falling asleep later and waking up later compared to adults. Using drugs or alcohol during this period thus also affects the brain adversely, during this period of growth. The neurotransmitters in the adolescent’s brain which seek out new experiences, Darby also emphasizes, are five times stronger than the brain’s own signals to stop and think, which means that teenagers will prioritize going right for what is the most fun or gratifying, and this also means that parents really connect with their teenagers when setting boundaries.

Where the challenges of raising teenagers today, compared to previous generations, is concerned, Darby notes that social media and the constant input of information (which isn’t necessarily checked) is difficult for adolescents to figure out. Social media, in the adolescent’s mind, creates an alluringly shiny world which is hard to manage, as adolescents feel isolated if they don’t feel they are part of that world. This is very damaging to an adolescent, as they are sensitive to negative comments, to the point of their brain registering this as pain. This, Darby notes, is something that everyone is presently figuring out, as the previous generations haven’t had to deal with social media and the Internet.

Rethinking Your Teenager
espouses a philosophy different from the traditional approach, and Darby notes that this philosophy enables children to build a foundation of strength, resilience, self-sufficiency and empathy, making the resultant adults capable of handling themselves. She gives the example of what happened when the Covid-19 virus hit the world, noting that those who don’t have such foundations don’t know “where to go,” as they haven’t questioned who and what they are. This would be in contrast to those who have such foundations, who can figure out what else they can do, and Darby then related the instance of how differently parents and children react to rejection, such as not making the cut in a sports team, depending on what method they use. A traditional relationship will be one where the parent would try to talk to those concerned, such as the coach, while one using the philosophy espoused in the book would turn that into a learning opportunity, with one lesson being that the things that happen to a child aren’t necessarily personal. Darby notes that, at present, American parents aren’t good at letting their children fail, or at letting their adolescents deal with the consequences of their actions. Darby also points out that parents who control their adolescents and not give them a voice are sending the message to their children that the parents don’t trust their children, when this is likely not the case.

To parents, Darby advises that they ask their children for their opinion and to then listen to their responses.

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Friday, March 19, 2021

Elke Scholz on Her Book Anxiety Warrior

In this interview, Elke Scholz talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Anxiety Warrior

“If we understand what we’re going through, if we’re aware of it, that’s when we can make changes.” ~Elke Scholz

Elke is a certified psychotherapist in both the United States and Canada, and has been practicing for some three decades. She is certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which is used effectively to treat PTSD, is research based, and has been used for several years. Elke is also a consultant for expressive arts therapy, and to get her certifications, she needed to get a Master’s degree in psychology. Elke is also very much interested in neuroscience, and while she is also a painter, she thinks of herself more as an author, where her creative passions are concerned.

Elke has always known that creative methods help with the neural pathways of the brain, and she also notes that a great deal of communication isn’t verbal. She remarks that there are other ways of communication, or of expressing oneself, other than in written or visual form, such as moving one’s body, which aren’t commonplace in Western culture. People thus heal and manage what goes on in their lives in different ways, with someone who prefers to move their body dealing with life in a manner different from someone who is more auditory in nature, such as wanting to talk. Elke notes that math and language are interconnected, and she has participated in programs which enabled struggling students to jump grades “within weeks” when creativity was married with education.

The human brain, according to Elke, holds both large and little traumas, and she notes that this, as well as such aspects as attachment, can be influenced by the belief systems one is involved in when growing up. She also notes that any change is a loss, and gives the example of someone leaving to a new community to take on a more exciting job. Elke notes that being aware of such things helps out, with self-awareness being key to managing one’s brain. “You are not your brain,” she remarks, adding that it is the first organ to form, and it collects and manages data from the start, and along with that are thoughts, memories and learning. The brain processes four billion bits of information per second, and it can also generate thoughts which, if one isn’t self-aware, one would think would be one’s own.

“The whole idea is to partner with the brain,” Elke emphasizes, noting that the brain can be trained in different ways to think, noting that the brain generates some 50,000 thoughts per day. The work she does thus helps one master one’s brain, and creativity plays a part in doing so by enabling one to enter liminal space, a place where one is present to the present. In this space, the neural pathways fire in different ways, effectively rewiring the brain somewhat and creating new thoughts which one wouldn’t have been able to think of before, or break old thought patterns which one would otherwise not break away from. This type of therapy enables people to trust their bodies and to tap into their own inner wisdom, thus enabling them to help themselves heal.

Anxiety Warrior sprang from Elke having her own strain of generalized anxiety, which wasn’t diagnosed until she was in her thirties. This diagnosis, and her curiosity, led her down the path she is now taking, and over the course of the years she not only created several handouts but also felt a bit like “a broken record,” as the people who kept coming to her did so with just about the same symptoms. “We, in North America, don’t have enough resources to help people,” she notes, remarking that people “fall through the cracks” because they don’t have enough money or insurance. After looking at a pile of handouts that she had, she realized that she probably had a book ready, and it was after going to her editor that she and her editor finally fleshed the book itself out.

Elke notes that anxiety comes from eleven different spaces, and that these can be changed within an hour, when the right methods are used. Anxiety Warrior also provides people with a definition of terms for what anxiety is, as well as gives some methods by which people can manage it. That said, Elke remarks that anxiety, on its own, isn’t a bad thing, as it acts to warn us of something that might come up, which would concern us. Trauma, she adds, “comes at the end,” and results in such behaviors as second-guessing and perfectionism. “Life doesn’t dole out stresses evenly,” Elke notes, so both she and the book enable people to create strategies to manage the stresses they inevitably encounter and feel.

Elke shares two words with others: awareness (the more aware one is, the better one can create changes) and practice (figure out what works for oneself).

Purchase from Amazon: 
Anxiety Warrior by Elke Scholz

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Kris Holmes on Igniting Your Career Plus Strategies and Tactics to Unleash Your Potential

In this interview, Kris Holmes talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Ignite Your Career! Strategies and Tactics to Unleash Your Potential.

“You want to have substance and be clear and concise.” ~Kris Holmes

Kris started her career in brand marketing and stayed in it for around a decade before switching to executive recruiting, which is what she has been involved with for over two decades now. She admits that, while she was good at some aspects in brand marketing, there were also other aspects that she struggled with, and after doing some self-assessment she decided to switch over to executive recruiting. “There are some overlaps,” Kris states about the two jobs, noting that, as a marketer, she had to be very strategic, able to figure out what is actually needed as well as to connect with people to buy into one’s objectives, as the people a marketer needs to influence do not work for them. Kris was good at the people aspect of being a marketer, and this is what works well in recruiting, as she is able to connect what people want with the careers that would make sense to them.

When comparing how one would enter the job market today compared to how to do so at the dawn of the Internet age, decades ago, Kris remarks that there are some challenges as well as benefits. It is easier, today, to network, thanks to social media platforms such as LinkedIn, which makes it easier to find people to connect with, such as for mentorship or finding jobs. This also means that the job market is also more competitive and makes it more challenging to enable an applicant to stand out from the rest. Kris believes that the younger generation “is being led astray,” given the message for people to follow their passion, as she believes that the best way for someone to have a long-term career is to build a strong foundation by getting the best experience possible, as well as being someone people want because one can apply best practices and be someone who knows what is going on in one’s field. “It is really hard to go backwards,” Kris remarks of people who would follow their passion before building their foundation.

Kris urges people to assess their innate strengths and what make them unique, noting that people mistake what comes naturally for them as being their strengths. She recommends asking friends and family for one or two things that one is strong in, as well as writing down all the things one liked and disliked when one thinks back on jobs and projects that one has worked on, then culling down the top five aspects. Kris also suggests taking strength finding surveys, which will give one’s top five strengths as well as suggestions of fields where one would be successful in. Kris also recommends YouScience, which figures out not only one’s strengths but also how one’s brain is wired, as well as suggesting fields where one would be successful in. Where she, herself, is concerned, Kris admits that she was somewhat embarrassed that recruiting seemed so easy to her, and remarks that this was because her career fit in with her strengths well.

For older people who shift careers is concerned, Kris believes they should figure out the skills they had developed over the years, the strengths they have, and the combination of where these two can merge well. She also suggests that such people figure out what their driver is, be it still building up their career, making a difference in the world or earning enough savings for their retirement. “They need to know those before they start applying,” she adds. Networking is also very important, Kris also notes, adding that people should start networking as early as high school or college, starting off by asking about what some professors are like. She recommends making networking a part of one’s daily life, as this will pay dividends in the future, such as mentorship, getting advice and activating it to get a job. Networking makes it easy for people to get in touch with others and speak with them from a place of having kept in touch every now and then, rather than just calling up out of the blue and sounding desperate. The present pandemic, Kris remarks, has made networking more widespread, noting that she has spoken to more CEO’s in the past year compared to in the decade before that.

Ignite Your Career! sprang from Kris’s years of experiences, working with college students, and while she noted that some of these schools might have had great career centers, the students themselves wanted the information that she was giving them. Kris then realized that students in schools where career centers weren’t existent or were less able, and she got “a kick in the pants” from her life coach to get writing - something she really went into during the pandemic. The book consists of a strategic part, which covers the elements one would need to think about, long-term, about one’s career, and a tactical part, which enables one to do the nitty-gritty of what needs to be done. “It is meant to be one-stop shopping that you can get back to in your career, again and again,” Kris emphasizes, adding that the information in the book is derived from her decades of work at the O’Connell Group.

Kris notes that it is important for people to tell stories about themselves, as a way to make their point in a way that they, themselves, can remember. She remarks that people make their stories in the STAR format, which she refers to as Situation - Thinking (which is different from industry to industry) - Action - Result.

Where resigning is concerned, Kris, being a believer in maintaining positive relationships in one’s career, notes that doing so in a respectful manner is important. That said, she also notes that, while people accept counteroffers, that which drives them to leave will still be around, which is why she recommends that people respectfully turn these down, as doing so will waste everyone’s time. She also points out that one doesn’t know where one’s present bosses will be in the future, and there will always be the possibility that they would want to hire one further down the road.

For possible coaching, Kris can be contacted at

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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Anthony Brinkley on Journaling His Rise to Manhood (You Can't Run Away from You)

In this interview, Anthony Brinkley talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, You Can't Run Away from You: Journaling the Rise to Manhood: Volume 1.

“Vulnerability is not weakness, but is actually strength on display.” ~Anthony Brinkley

Anthony had a challenging childhood growing up, experiencing such things as being needed to be treated for tuberculosis at the age of five and having a gun pulled on him in first grade. His life was “kind of a mess” until he decided to turn it around, during freshman year in high school. Anthony acknowledges that school wasn’t a priority with his family, and he hung out in his freshman year with seniors who didn’t need to show up. Not surprisingly, he “racked up” F’s, and the time came when his report card came in and he became alarmed enough with all his failing marks that he made a deal with God - that he wouldn’t “screw up again,” if he wasn’t kicked out of school. He would have been so kicked out had he got four F’s; as it was, he got three, so he stayed in. Another motivator for him was seeing the pain his mother felt when Anthony’s own brother didn’t pass high school, and he didn’t want to hurt her any more than possible.

Anthony remarks that: “I didn’t know God, but God knew me,” adding that this truism showed up in his life with all the people who showed up at moments in his life when he needed them, such as his uncle Adolph who gave him jobs to keep an eye on him as he grew up - people who helped him become “a better version” of himself.

Anthony noted his family’s 18th birthday tradition of driving home the point that, from then on, one had to provide for themselves, and it was around then that he joined the Air Force. He served for 28 years, underwent 14 major moves and led around 100,000 people. Anthony notes that all Air Force installations are essentially small cities in themselves, which means that just about any job present in society can be found in the Air Force. He also notes that people don’t pick the people they work with, emphasizing this with a story that he once told the people he worked with that anyone out to kill them didn’t care if they were Christian, Jewish, Muslim, white, Asian or Hispanic - they were out to kill Americans, period. He thus emphasized his people treating each other with respect and as a team.

Anthony achieved the rank of E-9, the rank of Command Chief Master Sergeant, which is the highest rank possible for enlisted personnel. This meant that he had around as many responsibilities and commanded as many people as a commissioned officer. Anthony notes that non-commissioned officers - NCOs - are the ones to translate the directives set down by officers to the enlisted personnel, who are the ones who actually do the work that needs to be done. His work, as an E-9, was to lead his fellow sergeants under his command, and gave him an opportunity to serve others.

Anthony admits that he pushed people away, because of the events he experienced in his childhood, and his stay in the Air Force forced him to face up to such events, as he needed to engage with others as part of his work. “True growth and true connectivity, intimacy, is connected directly to vulnerability,” he remarks. He also notes that half of learning is learning, while the other half is unlearning what was taught wrong - the latter being something which people don’t work on. In his opinion, someone who operated by the principle, “Fake it ‘til you make it” is someone who won’t remember who he or she really is once they reach a level of success. “Face it until you make it,” he advises.

According to Anthony, 50% of Americans experience some sort of trauma before the age of 14, and 75% experience trauma by the age of 24, and he remarks that it’s impossible to move ahead in life without dealing with the effects of such trauma, in order to create “a more cohesive individual or group.” He also notes that the United States has around 5% of the world’s population but also consumes 85% of psychotropic drugs consumed worldwide, which is, as he notes, is a disjunction, as it is unlikely that 5% of the world’s population holds 85% of the world’s pain. In his opinion, Americans are taught to run away from pain, but as he notes that one cannot heal if one hides from pain. (This is something he knows from experience, as alcohol was his choice of pain numbing substance.)

“All a crisis is, is a bunch of data,” Anthony notes, and how it is determined to be good or bad depends on how one reacts to it. The true tests in life, he says, using a school analogy, are not the scheduled tests but the pop quizzes. He thus works with people to ready for any such possible pop quizzes in life by helping them learn about themselves, so they can overcome such crises. As a pop quiz isn’t a final exam, one can study where one went wrong and then learn from it and carry it forward, Anthony adds.

Anthony admits that he would have been a “horrible employee” because he had an independent perspective on things, and this was what drove him to start his own business once he left the Air Force, and he found mentors along the way who taught him how to run a business, which enables him to help others become themselves.

You Can’t Run Away from You started out as a private journal for Anthony and Volume 1 covers the first 19 years of his life, and covers a lot of topics. He notes that there are likely two more books which will come out. In his opinion, his wrote it so that his book is about life, rather than himself, so a reader can remember and recall an incident in their own life which makes such a story real, so that they “stop seeing” Anthony and see themselves.

Anthony advises people to accept help from the people around them, as he, himself, is living proof of how far one can go by doing so. “Fight for the life you have, and you’re here to do something special,” he notes, “even if you haven’t realized it. Make the rest of your life the best of your life.”

Purchase from Amazon: You Can't Run Away from You: Journaling the Rise to Manhood: Volume 1 by Anthony Brinkley