Oct. 3, 2022

Unlearning Something Old with Jeff Nischwitz


Jeff Nischwitz is CoreX Legal’s Chief Impact Officer and, as part of the firm’s leadership team, is responsible for the firm’s people, operations, culture and growth. Jeff is no stranger to the business of law and growing an entrepreneurial law firm. 

Jeff is also the Founder of The Nischwitz Group, a speaking, consulting and coaching company. As an executive and business coach, and an international leadership, team engagement and culture speaker, Jeff is known for his unique perspectives, for challenging traditional thinking, and for delivering tangible shifts for leaders to grow their people, build their businesses and enhance their relationships. Jeff also worked extensively with business owners and their teams to help them achieve their highest levels of performance and business growth.

Jeff’s the author of five leadership and personal development books including Unmask: Let Go of Who You’re “Supposed” to Be & Unleash Your True Leader; Arrows of Truth: Simple Shifts for Personal Transformation; Just One Step: Walking Backwards to the Present on the Camino Trail; and his recently launched Snow Globe Leadership: Shaken, Not Settled. Jeff’s books are available on Amazon and at www.nischwitzgroup.com.

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Transcript

Josh Wilson
 Good day, fellas. Welcome to Uncensored advice for men. This shows for you guys. I love you guys. This show has been a great way for me to get free therapy, free Dtkcoaching, all sorts of free advice. I just want to share with you. I have questions and you guys are asking questions that I don't freaking know. I go out to my networking and say hey. Who could answer this? Of course, I love bringing on returning champions, my friends like Jeff. Jeff, welcome back. Uncensored advice for men. Men. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Thanks, Josh. We're going to have a connect of who's most excited to be back talking. We talk regularly, but not with the mic and the recording going on. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. Now, you are no stranger to podcasting. How's it feel to get back behind the microphone because you've been hustling lately? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Yeah, I love being behind the smartphone. I miss it. It's been a while since I've been on team chat. Would you call it a circuit? It's been a while since I paused or shut down my podcast and I keep looking for the next opportunity, that you could tell the last time were together how much I was jonesing. This is going to be my little fix for the week. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. I'll tell you, I don't know about you, but for me, live podcasting, I've been doing it for live eight or so years and it's addictive. We do like four a day. There's something about connecting with people and uncovering wisdom together. I think it's for me, I can't imagine never not doing it. What about you? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I agree with you. The funny thing about it is just last week I was in Miami and a group of us went out to a cigar bar one evening and a lot of people in a group flofr podcasters, right? 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 There's a lot of conversation about who's on the podcast you want to be on more. We had this conversation and everybody in the group said, this is the kind of conversation, it's like a podcast. I said, yeah, we just need the microphone. You and I have had that conversation over and over. This conversations that are podcast like, I think can happen everywhere. The real key is the level of vulnerability and the level of curiosity. Yeah, that's it right there. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah, super great live vulnerability. This is what makes, I think, a great conversation. Vulnerability, curiosity, great key points. I think that I've interviewvalet a thousand people and I could tell when someone has something to sell me or something like that, but when it feels like there's a true no motive or the motive is impactful to give or something like that. I'm like San, Josh are the ones that I enjoy most. That happened with you and I and we became friends. Peter this and just to give people a little frame of reference, it was maybe a year or two ago when I interviewed Jeff and met him for the first time and then we stayed friends and we've had cigars since then, a few cocktails since then. Done some business since then. The conversations that I enjoy most with Jeff is we'll do some deals, right? 


 Josh Wilson
 There's some cool deals out there that we're working on and Jeff is doing some amazing stuff with a really cool group, but it's in between the business meetings when it's just like jeff and I are a small group and we're like, man, I just learned something. And then we live. Debrief. Jeff with that, right before we hit record, you said this is a special day. I do want to start off with this to give massive respect and love for this special day. It's a tough day. Why don't you tell us what's going on? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Yeah, well, that's interesting word, special. It's certainly memorable because of the hurt and pain. Today, September 20, is the 42nd anniversary of my younger brother Greg's death. Tragically, my brother was killed in a work accident. He and I had a painting company back in our college days. We were a year and a half apart, and he was killed on that job September 20, 1980. While I think about my brother often, somehow this date still resonates with me as something unique and remembrance. It's gotten to the point that it's not terribly sad. It's just a moment of melancholy, I guess. And every year I do the math. I go, wow, he'd be 61 now, and what his life have been like if it had not been taken. It also reminds me of a very dear friend of mine told me about a year ago there was another loss in my life, that we die three deaths. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 The first death is when our body physically ceases to function. So that's really the physical death. We can have a discussion about is that what happens to the soul? But there's the physical death. So that's number one. Number two is when whatever celebration happens to honor our passing, whether we call it a funeral or awake or celebration of life, there's that celebration or recognition of some type. So that's the second. This is what I love about it. Our third death happens when our name ceases to be spoken. In that sense, I look at live, when will that ever happen? I know certainly in my immediate family, that's never going to happen. With my brother Greg, I can't imagine. I mean, it's never going to happen with us. We're always talking about him, thinking about him. I do wonder the generations like my sons who never met him, obviously they hear him talked about a lot. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Certainly while I'm alive, that third death hasn't happened for my brother. I think for many of us, it'll go on for generations and generations. 


 Josh Wilson
 Oh, God, I love you, man. Do you mind if we talk about this more? Do you mind if I don't gosh? The hard thing about being a podcast toast is when you get questions that pop up in your brain, because I know this happens in the audience. I know it's our duty to ask it, but sometimes I feel so uncomfortable asking this. How did he pass away? I've got to ask questions around this. How did it happen? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 We had a painting company with myself, Greg, and his best friend Tony, and were painting a building, hyattcommercial building that was owned actually by Tony's father at the time. I will tell you, I actually wasn't there that day. It was really you talking about the reason things happen or not a certain way. I was on location that week, and they Tony and Greg were finishing the project, and it had been like a six week project. It was a very long project. We were working with scaffolding, and they were almost done with the building. All they had to do was move the scaffold, go up, paint the location, and they were done. It was that close. You're talking about 10ft of all this giant building, and they probably were rushed, what I would say, and they pushed the scaffolding into a 10,000 volts wire, and it killed my brother instantly. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Tony was just had very minor burns, spent the night in the hospital, but was okay. So, yeah, very sad, very tragic. I brought up the part about vacation because it was an interesting journey. A lot of people over the years have suspected that I felt guilty, and it was interesting because I never did. I could have easily because I know that I was the oldest, I was always the safer one. I was the one more likely to take because we knew the wire was there. The wire was not a surprise. It was not like it was super close. It was oh, look at the wire. But I never did. It was interesting that I wasn't there that day, because I think back and we've talked about, through the family of everybody's, different experiences of that day and Rhett rross and how he found out, because I didn't actually find out until the day after he died. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 So think about that. Think about that. He was killed the morning of September 20. I didn't find out till the morning of September 21. Most people today would say, how is that possible? Simple. We didn't have cell phones. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I was driving back from Florida with two buddies, and my parents told me later that they were had this quandary of what do they do? Because they were tempted to have live the highway patrol look for our car. I was actually driving my parents van and stop us and tell us, but then it would be dangerous because we'd be upset and rushing to get back. So they chose not to do that. My father and my brother were together collectively celebrities of sorts in our town. So this was big news. My brother was a star athlete. My father was well known in Dayton, Ohio. So in it was on the radio. They were like, oh, my God, is he going to hear it on the radio and synchronicity. God came in because the last hour of the trip, which is when we would have been listening to the radio, we had rigged up a sound system to play cassette tapes with some speakers in the van. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I was 21 at the time. We were having a blast. What's fascinating is my parents said, hopefully they'll be listening to the music. We actually turned the music off that last hour, but never turned the radio on. 


 Josh Wilson
 Wow. News nowadays flies way too fast, right? We're constantly bombarded with loss, death, this so and so, earthquake, tsunami, boom. And bad news travels super fast. You were saying that your parents felt like it might have been unsafe for you to get that news too quickly that extra day you landing. So how did you receive the news? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Not well. I'm going to add another piece to this, because as much as, I mean, it's certainly a tragic day, a tragic memory, there are certain things about it I remember with fondness of my friends, because they said I was driving back from Florida with my two best buddies, John and Jeff, the three Jays, on vacation. And we got to John's house first. John went in the house, came back out. I went in and said hello. Actually, that's not true. We were unloading the van, and I said, Key, I'm going to go say hello to your parents. He goes, well, they're really busy right now. I remember thinking that was kind of weird, but okay, cool. I drive Jeff home, dropped Jeff off. His dad comes out. Well, Jeff goes in, his dad comes out with him. And I started talking unloaded jeff stuff. It wasn't a lot. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Started talking to his dad. I remember this sense of seems like they're rushing. His dad said, well, we've got to get somewhere to go see Jeff's grandmother. What I learned later is that they were both rushing because literally, and to this day, I don't know how they did it. I really don't. Both of them walked into their home. John walks into his house. His parents say, this is the quote. Greg's dead. We got to get Jeff home. They came out and didn't show it. Jeff had the same experience of walking into this parents. By the way, Jeff's parents went to high school with my parents, so they were friends. They're already their friend's son had died, and they're going, Greg, we got to get Jeff home right now. I go home, and we had driven by my house, cause it's between John and Chess house. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I remember looking at my house, had a very long driveway, and there were a couple of cars in the driveway thinking, well, that's really weird because they're usually at church this time on Sunday. 


 Josh Wilson
 Oh, man. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 But it did nothing clicked. It was just all data points until later. When I got home, I remember this vividly. I got out of the van and I'm kind of looking around live, wonder who these cars are. I didn't recognize them, although ultimately I knew everybody who was there. My dad is the one that came out to tell me. And I can remember his words. He came out, and I'll tell you, at this point in my life, I had never seen my father cry. He was clearly upset, but I didn't know about what. I realized he was really upset. My first thought was, something happened to my mom. There was something. It seems his face was serious. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. You Ian Hill. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Something happened to my mom. He goes, I've got some bad news. I thought, oh, what happened to mom? So I'm preparing myself for that. He proceeds to say on the painting job, yesterday, there was an accident, and Greg was electrocuted. I remember thinking electrocuted just means shocked. So probably he's hurt. He right after that said he never had a chance. And I remember this vividly. I started to cry a little bit. I got angry and I turned, and so I used anger. That was where I went to, was anger. I don't think I had the tools at that moment for sadness. I started pounding on the van, and my dad tried to grab me, to hug me. And my dad was not a hugger. To this day, it's kind of funny. My dad is funny, cute. My dad, he's a hugger now, but still you can sense this word, hugs. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 You and I have hug. It's different hug. And I love my dad's. 


 Josh Wilson
 Awesome. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 My dad's still with us, and he would be fine with us, but I remember that. I remember pushing through, going the house, seeing my mom. There were some friends there. Tell you the truth, I remember very little of the next three or four days. I remember the viewing, I remember the funeral. But it was just a whirlwind. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 And it's interesting. This is popped in my head, Josh, over the years, periodically I get a new story from that day, out of the blue. Never planned, never sought after. In fact, probably about ten years ago is the last ten, there's another story. Ten years ago, I got a message on Facebook from a guy. I didn't know the guy, and he said, are you Jeff Nischwitz, who used to live in Clayton, Ohio, which is, what the name of the suburb? At first I'm thinking it's some scam. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 And I said, well, yeah, I am. He said, well, I found you on Facebook. I wanted to reach out and share something with you. I hope it's okay. He proceeded to send me the link message that says that back then he was a deputy sheriff where we live. He got a call to go meet his sergeant that day near our house. Didn't know what it was about. Goes and meets the sergeant. The sergeant tells him, we got to make a death call to notify my parents. My mom was home alone that day. My dad was at church that morning with a youth fellowship, doing a fundraiser. My mom is home alone. The sergeant says, I know the family. I can't do this. Says to this guy who's now messaging me, can you please do the notice? Just talk to her. I'll go with you, but you need to do this. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 He proverbs to tell me more of the story, how they went there. As I said, we have long driveway, how my mom was getting out of the car from the grocery, and they helped her carry the groceries in without her saying anything live. She must have known something. My mom later said she assumed it was my dad. When two police officers show up to your house for no apparent reason, it's not a good call, right? 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 He told me some of this story, and it wasn't earth shattering, but I'm always grateful to hear those stories, because what it reminds me is how so many different people get impacted by loss in big ways if you're really close and in tiny little ways. For me, I don't know, I really do there's an enjoyment in hearing the web of these stories, and a lot of times it's a web that really reminds me of the type of person my brother was because I'll meet somebody that knew him, and it's always the same thing. God, your brother was so amazing and such a good man and such a good person and so friendly and always smiling and really a person of service and always looking out for others. We all respect it, and it's very genuine. My brother was an incredible young man and live an incredible but short life. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I really do enjoy getting those stories, even though they're less frequent these days. But it's been 42 years, man. 


 Josh Wilson
 God bless. Live the people who have to deliver bad news for a living, right? Military, police, fire. I work with the chaplaincy here in Maryland County. For people who have to deliver bad news, man, that's tough. Jeff, man, like, you were on the receiving end of bad news 42 years later. You've been in coaching. You've built businesses, you're scaling organizations, you're doing investing a bunch of cool stuff, but you've had to deliver bad news yourself to others. What's some things you've learned about delivering bad news, that's not something that we're taught, right? Like, hey, here's how to deliver bad news. Right? Live. It's not a class that you learn in school. What have you learned? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 What's interesting, as you say, that because I'm scanning right now, and I think in terms of death. The only thing I can remember of where I delivered bad news around that was when my mom passed away and I let my two sons know. I don't know that I've ever otherwise communicated that kind of loss. No, that's not true. That's not true. Actually. I remember when I was married many, many years ago and my wife's mother passcode away and the doctor had called me, called the house to let us know and told me that. I remember telling her that her mother had passed away. I would say this two things I've learned today. Because there are all forms of bad news, right? We can talk about death as the greatest bad news, but I don't know that's true. I think there's all sorts of bad news that can trigger for all different forms of grief. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Grief I think we attribute to loss of life. Grief is everywhere and maybe that's something we talked about. There's so much grieving going on in this world right now, in my opinion. The two things I've learned are this one is to get to the point right away to not try and soften it. Because in the softening it makes it more painful, I believe. Whatever the news is, I really believe in getting right to it and just speaking it. Because think about this bad news. If you're going to let somebody go at work, ultimately sometimes that's the best thing can happen for everybody. But in that moment it's bad news. Even someone who's ready to go, it's still that. There's a jarring. I tell people all the time I think it's important to just get right to it. So, Peter, to all be really short and sweet and direct and honest. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 But here's the second part. I think this is so critical and so often let the people you've communicated with have their emotions, whatever they are, actually don't try to comfort them. Which sounds so contrarian because I think we innately want to comfort others. I've come to believe that desire to comfort others is because of my own discomfort with their emotions. 


 Josh Wilson
 Think you got it? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I'm cheating them of whatever it is. I mean, if it's anger, let them be angry. If it's sadness, think about this. When someone gets sad about us, around us, often our natural reaction is to stop it. Oh, no, it's all right. It'll be okay. I'm like, why are we depriving someone of something beautiful like emotions? Emotions are beautiful, all of them. That would be the thing that comes to me. Get right to it and let the people have whatever their emotions are. Don't intellectualize it. Don't try and take them out of it. Even to the point this is somewhat controversial because people have disagreed with me via my I often, if it's a sad situation, will not touch them in that comforting way because what I've realized from my starting with myself is that often that takes me out of my emotions. So it works. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I get comforted. The ability to just hold space for someone and their emotions is more vulnerable is an act of vulnerability, and it's an act of love. It's an act of empathy, because I've had situations in my life where someone touched me, and it took me out of the emotions. I remember one point being angry, very specifically angry. I needed that. That's cathartic I wanted to feel. Someone else decided that they were uncomfortable with my feelings. Those are the things that come to mind. 


 Josh Wilson
 Wow. I never thought of that live. When delivering bad news, I've had to do it a few times. One of my first thing was comfort, and I've made this mistake recently to try to stop the emotion from happening, and I repent on that. Holy moly. I need to let the emotion happen, because that's their way of processing grief or fear or pain. I got to go apologize to the wife now. Thanks, Jeff. Yeah, we had a situation, and she started crying and getting emotional, and I'm like, It's okay. It's okay. Just today, my son got sick. She called me flipping out. I'm like, I'm just live. Calm down. I got to understand what's going on. Let me get to this tactically. I was a medic, a firefighter medic. I'm like, all right, motion to the side. Let's deal with the issue. S***. All right. I got to do some meeting, the emotion fly, and there's room for tactics and stuff, and sometimes you got to stop the meeting or whatever, but holy moly. 


 Josh Wilson
 I stifle emotion here's. Why, Jeff? Because I'm a dude that really is uncomfortable with emotions. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Well, and I would say this, Josh, two things. One is I hear the dude comment. I see this both with men and women, there's a great level of discomfort with others emotions, especially sadness. Especially sadness, tears. The other thing, and this is why I think this is more about where we're coming from and starting from versus where we end up. I've learned over the last probably ten years that sometimes when I'm just holding space for someone, that some people actually wanted the comfort. And I wasn't offering the comfort. I was just holding space. What I guess I would say is I want to come from a place of my starting point is I'm going to hold space until I get an indication that there's something else they want versus starting with comforting, which is really taking them out of their emotions as my starting point. 


 Josh Wilson
 Interesting. Holy moly. The situation happened the other day. Ian Hill I have a wife and two daughters, so there's a lot of emotions. Actually, all of us are freaking emotional. I'm just uncomfortable with emotions, and my daughter was obviously upset. It was about my father passing two years ago, and my daughter, who is nine, something happened in the truck, and she was just like, I just missed Grandpa. Right. So live. We were parked, and I go, do you want a hug? Yeah. I went over there and gave her a big hug, and that was the best hug I've ever had in my life. And I started crying. I think if I would have just been like, oh, babe, it's okay. Grandpa's gone. He's in heaven. If I would have done that, man, I think I would have missed out a really good connection point. Jeff, man, you are really insightful. 


 Josh Wilson
 You're very aware of emotions. Were you always like that? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 No. 


 Josh Wilson
 What was the thing? That the tipping point where Jeff needed to go learn about emotions. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Well, I'm going to share that. Something else hit me that I want to add to that list of what to do or not do when we're interacting with people around whatever we perceive to be news, instead of labeling a good, bad, or whatever, it's news that might have an emotional impact. A phrase that I've eliminated from my life is, I never say to someone I'm going to say never, because I really don't think I do. I don't. See, I know how you feel. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah, you don't. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Another version of that is overtaking their story with my story. Like when my brother died, I remember so many people saying, hey, I know how you feel. They tell me a storyon, and it made me angry because I'm thinking, you don't know anything how I feel. Even if you've lost a brother, you don't know how I feel. You know how you feel. Over the years, I've shared that, and so many people have agreed and said, yeah, my God. People tell me their story live. What is your story got to do with my experience? I think it's a form, I think our good intentions I don't think we're trying to overtake their experience or their emotions, but I offer that because I would put that on the list of what not to do. Do not say I know how you feel ever. Because you never know how someone feels, ever. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 The other part is to be aware of when you start to inject your story over their story, especially around emotional topics. 


 Josh Wilson
 I probably do that, too. I've got so much to learn. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Jeff, what's our natural it's a natural reaction, though, Josh. This is about it's not about learning something new. It's about unlearning something old. 


 Josh Wilson
 Say that again. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 It's not about learning something new. It's about unlearning something old. Because when we hear this, most of us will go, oh, that makes sense. It comes from our family experiences, our friend experiences, our cultural experiences, our world experiences, our news experiences, our pop culture experiences, all telling us how to be. So back to your question about emotions. I was. Not emotional growing up. In fact, it's I remember when my brother died the first day or so, I remember crying a lot. I had this really interesting experience. I just remembered this Josh. It was probably within a couple of days of his death. I don't think the funeral had happened, I don't think, and some people call it a dream. I really think it was a vision. I really think my brother came to me, I was meeting, but I really feel like it was a vision. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I remember it was a weird detail. We were in a cab. I don't know if I'd been in a cab at that point in my life, but were in a cab, and were just talking, and I remember him saying to me, tell everyone I'm okay and don't cry for me. I hesitated, but I did tell my parents that, and to this day, I don't think they received it well, and they're in their grief. I don't judge it just as my observation, but I remember thinking, well, I'm not going to cry. I can remember it was probably three years later, I was married, and I was telling my wife the storyon of his death and just broke down. I realized I had never really broke down like that with so much emotion pouring out of me. I thought, wow, I've really been holding that in. I thought it was done very naive. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I'm laughing here because my brother and sister and I have talked about this, that as far as we know, no one in the family, none of the kids got counseling. My parents didn't get counseling. My parents spoke to their pastor, which is a form of counseling, but none of us talk to a grief counselor. None of us talk to anybody. In fact, we've also talked about how we never talked about this. We never talked about Greg's death. We talked about positive memories of Greg or saying we miss Greg. We never talked about, in fact, to the point that when my mother died in 2018. Four years ago, were going through some of her stuff, and my dad, my brother's sister and I were sitting there together, including my brother's wife, so my sisterinlaw, and that was that. We realized we shared the stories of the day Greg died in that weekend. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 None of us had ever heard that story from each other before. It would been 38 years. We never share the story because we just didn't talk about it. That was the part we didn't talk about. We talked about the positive things, who Greg was, the life he lived. But we buried all this. I realized I live a life of burying my emotions until about eleven years ago. You and I have talked about this before. I got involved with an organization called the Mankind Project. Went to do a men's weekend, as very actively involved and now leading these weekends. That weekend taught me a lot about emotions and that emotions aren't good or bad, and they're healthy, and they're an indicator of our humanity and our humanness, and they can teach us, and they're meant to be felt because now share this last bit and then stop talking. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Get going here. What I took away from that, and I've learned further, is that imagine emotions are like this ball of energy, different shapes and sizes, different colors, probably, and different types of energy, but they're energies. Energy wants to stay in motion, which means exit. Instead, most of us are taught, and especially men are taught, to push down those emotions, to bury those emotions, to not show those emotions, because we either deem them to be dangerous or we deem them to be a weakness. What we're doing is we're taking those balls of energy and stuffing them into our body. Well, if the energy has nowhere to go, what's it going to do? It's going to eat us from the inside out. My big takeaways on energy is they're not meant to be stuff. The most unhealthy thing we can do, and I've always loved this visual. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I don't know where I got it. I'd give it attribution if I could remember that. We tend to think that emotions are like separate spickets. I've got anger over here. I've got joy over here. I've got fear over here. I've got sadness over here. I've got shame over here. We think we can turn off each spicket. What I totally believe, and the science demonstrates it, is emotions. There's a single spicket. I've had so many people, but especially men, say to me, I don't feel much of anything, including joy, because it turned off the spigot. 


 Josh Wilson
 Oh, bro, shove that crap down. Right. Very emotional. Yeah. Boys don't cry. Men don't cry. Toughen up. You're showing emotional. Live. When I was a kid, you show emotions, they call you words today that would send you to jail. Right? Stuff it down. Drink it down. As you get older and you start playing around with substances, emotions. I don't like feeling lonely. I don't like meeting afraid. I don't like feeling sadness. What do I do with it? I could shove it down and pour some booze on top of it. It makes it go away, baby. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Go far beyond the booze and the drugs, dude, just go with the concept of medicaid. We medicate our emotions because we're not allowing them. We're burying them. How do we medicate? We medicate with drugs. We medicate with alcohol. We medicate with men or women, depending on our gender. We medicate with gambling. We medicate with shopping. We medicate with work. We medicate with busyness. Anything to distract me from these emotions. 


 Josh Wilson
 Man, my mind is racing. We just had just today, right? My son got sick at school. My wife texted me live, he's not meeting well. He collapses in school. I have to go take care of him and such like that. So I'm having emotions. Don't know how to deal with them. All the time talking about it, talk with wife about it, talk to a few other people, prayed for them and such like that. Getting phone calls live, even during podcast, internet, and so live emotions and our energy all the way of freaking around us, the way I've dealt with it unhealthy in the past. Shove it down, push it aside. Keep busy. Busy for me is the medication, right? The location of busyness. The problem is, I get home, okay, busy, busy. Okay, cool. Take the kids, bathe them, do whatever. Get them ready for dinner. 


 Josh Wilson
 Dinner. Kids, go to bed, watch a movie. Still keeping the mind busy. It's when the wife goes to sleep and everybody's asleep. Now I got to sit there in my own freaking quiet. It's quiet in the room, and I'm just sitting there with my own emotions, and they're yelling at me. Now. Coach, tell us, man, how do we team chat? Do we unlearn? How do we unlearn something old? Talk to us, man. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Well, first comes from awareness. Awareness, that how we deal with emotions. Was taught to us. There's nothing natural about it, but if we believe it's natural, then they said, well, isn't this natural? So it's taught to us. Emotions are all remember, part of the awareness is the emotions are very personal and unique to your situation and everything going on that moment. I realized this a few years ago because some people in the group were talking about emotions, certain emotions being natural. This idea hit me that I tried out for the first time. I've tried a lot since there were, like, ten people in the moment. When something comes in the moment, it's just even more memorable. That came to you. I said, well, the group I said, I want you all to imagine that right now in this meeting we're having right now, I'm somehow simultaneously standing next to each of you, which I can't do, but out of the blue, I slap you hard across the face. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Like, hard enough. Not a tap. Slap you hard. They kind of make their place. I went around the table, and I said, what emotion would you feel if that just happened? It was a mix of men and women, so this was not about gender. The range was certainly we'd say a lot of people were angry. A lot of people were scared. A couple of people said, I feel shame. Like somehow I must have deserved that. I deserve that. Some people felt sad, and I said, but look at this, folks. You want to tell me that it's not? And the same thing. Everybody had the same experience, right? Now there's a different connect because I'm bigger than some. Some are men, some women. The only thing in common is there was a physical contact to your place and we had at least four emotions here. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Someone even said, well, some people might have felt joy if they'd like that. I go, no. Exactly. First of all, we start with awareness. The big part is that part of being aware that we learn these emotions and being aware of what are the stories in our head that are keeping us from experiencing fully our emotions. They vary by person, they vary by past experiences. I've also found in many ways they vary by gender. I'll give this real quick piece, and this is just my perspective of it based upon my own life, but particularly working with men extensively over the last twelve years. First of all, we're going to simplify it into five emotions because there's a lot of emotions, but simplification helps. I'm mad, I'm scared, I'm happy, I'm sad, I feel shame. I've asked this question of men a lot, but I've still asked women this question. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 So here it is. Men, what emotion of those five do you feel? James Xpressify? 


 Josh Wilson
 Wait. Mad, scared, happy. Shaman. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 What was the other so mad, sad. I'll do the Rhyming version. Mad, sad, glad, scared and shame. 


 Josh Wilson
 Okay. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I would argue that all the other emotions fit in one of those, just different labels, and they may be different words for different people. Like some people say I'm frustrated. Well, for me, frustrated, I'm probably angry. Actually, sometimes frustration is fear to me because I'm not meeting stuff done, so I'm afraid I'm going to drop something or not meet expectations. I've got those categories and I said to men, which of these five do you feel James Xpressify? What's the first one? They say mad. Mad. Exactly. Because culturally we go, that's what men do. They get angry. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Here's the interesting thing about that, and I'll just ask you, Josh, culturally, do you think men feel safe being sad? Safe from a cultural perspective when it. 


 Josh Wilson
 Comes to safe live, if we're sad. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 How they're going to be judged? 


 Josh Wilson
 Judged? Oh, definitely judged. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Weak. Here we go. You're going to find a theme here. So how about scared? Are man allowed to be scared? 


 Josh Wilson
 Heck no. Suck it up, buttercup. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Yeah, because then we're weak. How about shame? Talking about our worthiness issues, I've got those. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. Weak. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Weak again, right? 


 Josh Wilson
 Mad makes you strong. All the other ones are weak, right? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Including happiness. Because I have asked me this question, said, do you feel safe culturally in being happy? And they go, not really. Because I feel that men are told to be stoic, get s*** done, take care of stuff, handle it, contain it, don't have these emotions. So that includes being happy. The message that me get is, I got one. That's the one that men get judged for. I'm not saying it's appropriate because it comes out at other people, and that's never appropriate. We can have our anger without dumping it on other people or using it to attack others physically, emotionally, verbally. But here's the interesting thing. Now, flip the question. I've asked women this question, and women's question is actually different, which is the only one that women feel generally unsafe. Xpressify. 


 Josh Wilson
 Shame. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I would say no, because they get together and they talk about things and talk about I've got doubts about myself. Okay, what is the one emotion that women I'm quitnessing quotes are not allowed to be? 


 Josh Wilson
 Well, if they're mad, then they're a b****. Right? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Exactly. If you're that we got a word for it. We created an entire word to talk about women who get angry. One of the things we see women who get angry, and what do they do? They start crying. Are they really sad? No. I judge most of the time they're actually angry. Culture has said, yeah, no, don't be that. It's interesting that men have very limited emotions that are culturally safe in that old way of thinking. Women have a lot more access to emotions culturally, but there's a big one they're not allowed to express. What's fascinating in my work with women is how often they need to go to their anger to get to their truest emotions, because that's the one they turned off. 


 Josh Wilson
 And you know what's funny, dude? With guys, I don't know a dang thing about women, to be honest. I'm learning. I've got a wife and two daughters, and I can speak on behalf of guys, but I can't really speak on behalf of girls. Yet out of these emotions, really, the only one that we're lifted up about is mad. I want you to stand for something. Get mad. Get angry. Boys, we need to fight for something. We need to stay a guy who doesn't stand for something or fall for anything live. Get mad about what's going on, and coaches will even tell you, get mad. Get you right. They'll hoop and holler you the only way. And I'd love your thoughts on this. If I look at guys and I go, Where do you guys see? Where do you see guys showing emotions of happiness? Like exuberant happiness? 


 Josh Wilson
 Where do you see that? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Where do I see it? 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Well, I will say this, starting with myself, which, Jess, I usually start with myself in my experiences. I'm getting there. I think of all the emotions, I have the most work to do and really embracing joy as opposed to happiness, because joy happiness is, to me, contextual. Like, something could really happen. So I'm happy about it. Joy is a state of being, I think, where I see it most for men in general is around their children. I think part of that is when I, as a man and we as men allow ourselves to connect to the little boy in us. Because it doesn't matter how old you are. We all have a little boy in us, and that little boy is really helpful. That little boy is often the one that's got us afraid, by the way, because that little boy went through something, some point in their live that I got to protect. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 At the same time, I want to bless my little boy and say, dude, I know you went through this tough time live. Have a conversation with your little boy. I know you had a tough time, but it's okay. I got this now. I'll take care of us now, not you. Because when the little boy is taking care of us, it's usually unconscious and often not really healthy. What I want is that little boy is exuberant. The little boy who jumps in the puddle, the little boy who stands in the rain, the little boy who gets muddy, the little boy who sees something new and goes, oh, my God, that's the coolest thing in you. See the joy in the face that lighting up. Why don't we light ups as adults? Because somewhere along the line, we got a message that we got to take care of s***. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Now, one other thing to throw into all this. We have not actually talked about this phrase. If you take the natural extension for men of, hey, you got one emotion, dude, you can be angry all you want. Just don't go too far. Don't go to rage. Don't hit anybody. In fact, we actually give men often a pass for verbal abuse, and we shouldn't. It's still an abuse for attacking someone with our words. You got all these others. What was the word we said? They're all weak. The story is that's weakness. But here's the extension, man. If I'm a male, let me just go with male right now. I'm not, at this point, getting into transgender issues. I'm going with the traditional thinking of male and female. If I'm a male and I'm weak, the next step is that means I'm not a man. The thing about these emotions is which is why they're so difficult to tap into, is men have been given a bullshit story that says if you express and even feel these emotions, you are not only weak, you're not a man. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Your manhood is at risk here or your perspective as a man having manhood or being a man. I think this is one of our biggest challenges with emotions for men is that the message ultimately is you're not just weak, you're not a man, or you're not man enough. That is terrifying until we collectively and starting with individually, are willing to take the risk to bring all of us into the conversation to bring all of us into the experience, to bring all of us into our relations and have those emotions. I have become an incredibly open emotional person. I remember just a couple of weeks ago, as I was in Africa and Ghana, got my shirt, one of my shirts done here about a month ago. I was telling a story to a business group about my trip. Part of what as I was telling them, I said one of the things I really remembered and it related to the African slave trade and it was talking about some specific things that were happening back then that are very horrific. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 I had no idea because I was just sharing it intellectually. As I shared it, I started to choke up. I just said I said, man, I didn't know this was going to come out. So I had tears. I was choking up in this group. I can tell you 15 years ago, 20 years ago, that had never happened because even if that emotion came up, I would have turned it off so that they never saw it. Now I'm just like allowing that is how they get to really see me. I believe it's how we really connect with each other when we allow ourselves to be human with each other. Emotions are a big part of that humanity. 


 Josh Wilson
 Emotions are energy. And energy must stay in flow. If you stuff it down, that thing will eat inside and if you're like me, it will blow up. So, Jeff, we got to wrap up in a minute, give one maybe direction or piece of advice on how to let that energy flow. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Well, the first one I'm going to go back to, something I said, one is go back to the spickets. Scan your life and you'll find that it's true that when you try and you can't turn off emotions selectively, you're turning off emotions at a single spicket. If you're stuffing down the anger and the sadness and the fear and the shame, then you're stuffing down the joy and you're not only depriving yourself, but you're depriving everyone around you. The other thing, and here's the news, the one I'm going to just punch people in the face with this. Men, this about this. Do you want your children, especially your sons, to walk a life that has no joy or limited joy? 


 Josh Wilson
 Heck no. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 Now, the tricky part here, Josh, is some men would say, well, I want them to be tough. Well, why don't you define tough? Because who's toughest? The one who stuffs it down and doesn't show it, or the one who feels it and still stands in and does what needs to be done? That to me is tough, allows the emotions. The second part is to realize to your point about energy, just ponder this. Men in general have huge population of undiagnosed, unacknowledged depression and also ask yourself this question in what ways are you medicating your life? Especially do not start with the usual suspects. Start with my usual suspect, which is busyness. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah, totally. 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 If I'm busy, I don't have to feel if I'm busy, I don't have to think about what's going on. I don't have to question what's going on and how I'm showing up. Those are the two big ones to me. Remember, it's a single spicket. I always love this question, no matter what the issue is, what would you tell your children? I was told that boys don't cry. I was told toughen up, told I even heard this one. If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about. Those are fear based messages that were brought down from generations. That's why I said what I said earlier. We're not learning something new. We're unlearning something old and ancient. This isn't about a change in time. It's what could have been different for Eons before, but it wasn't, because that was just what people decided to do. 


 Josh Wilson
 Jeff, I appreciate you and I'm glad to spend this time with you. Thanks, flofr. Where can you guys go to connect with you? 


 Jeff Nischwitz (he, him, his)
 All sorts of ways to find me. If you can spell my name, which is N-I-S-C-H-W-I-T-Z you can find me@nishwitzgroup.com. You can find me as part of the team at Corexlegal now. You can find me on all the social media platform with that name, and you can probably find me at a cigar bar in whatever city I'm in. 


 Josh Wilson
 At that particular moment we might be hanging out together. So, fellow dudes, thank you for listening. I just want to commend you guys for focusing on you, doing some self development here, listening into these interviews, learning about emotion, learning what it means to be a man and just being aware, spending enough time on this show and other shows to do that. So kudos to you guys, as always. Reach out to our guest. Thanks for sharing. If you've got some advice that you'd like to share with guys here on the platform, head Shaahin. Shaahin. Shaahin Shaahin. Shaahin. Shaahin. Shaahin Shaahin. Cheyene uncensored advice for men. We'll get you on the show next. Talk to you soon, guys.

Jeff Nischwitz Profile Photo

Jeff Nischwitz

Chief Impact Officer

Jeff Nischwitz is CoreX Legal’s Chief Impact Officer and, as part of the firm’s leadership team, is responsible for the firm’s people, operations, culture and growth. Jeff is no stranger to the business of law and growing an entrepreneurial law firm.

Jeff is also the Founder of The Nischwitz Group, a speaking, consulting and coaching company. As an executive and business coach, and an international leadership, team engagement and culture speaker, Jeff is known for his unique perspectives, for challenging traditional thinking, and for delivering tangible shifts for leaders to grow their people, build their businesses and enhance their relationships. Jeff also worked extensively with business owners and their teams to help them achieve their highest levels of performance and business growth.

Jeff’s the author of five leadership and personal development books including Unmask: Let Go of Who You’re “Supposed” to Be & Unleash Your True Leader; Arrows of Truth: Simple Shifts for Personal Transformation; Just One Step: Walking Backwards to the Present on the Camino Trail; and his recently launched Snow Globe Leadership: Shaken, Not Settled. Jeff’s books are available on Amazon and at www.nischwitzgroup.com.