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SG Susan Garrett
EC Elliottt Connie
SG: I’ve got a special guest, he's a very good friend of mine. His name is Elliott Connie. He's an experienced psychotherapist who applies solution focused approach to help individuals, couples, and families move towards their desired futures. He founded the Solution Focused Universe, an online learning platform that provides training for professionals, so other psychotherapists.
Elliott has spoken at conferences worldwide, authored four books on solution focus-based approach, and he's in the midst of getting a television deal. Is that not right, Elliott?
EC: Well, yes.
SG: Can you tell us anything about that? Is that legit? Can you spill the beans just a bit. We're just dog owners right here. Like, it’s hard to get into too much trouble, Elliott.
EC: There are some things happening and there's some things happening. That's what I'll say.
SG: Who’s going to be the producer, director of it?
EC: Oh, I can't tell you that. Well, Tiffany Haddish is going to be the executive producer. I can tell you that. Tiffany Haddish is going to be the executive producer. I had a crazy day like meeting with, I jump on Zoom and I'm like, “Oh my God, I know you from like every movie ever.” It's been crazy, it's been crazy.
SG: So, Elliott has a podcast. Do you have one podcast, or do you have more than one?
EC: I have one podcast called the Aha! Moments, which is like a five-minute podcast. My obsession is inspiring people to be the very best version of themselves they can possibly be. So, when I started thinking about a podcast, I was like, “Man, I don't want to just interview famous people and just be like talking about gossip and pop culture.”
So, my podcast is like five minutes of something every single day that's just going to put a smile on your face, fill your heart, and make you be the best version of yourself you can be.
SG: It is every bit of that and more. And so, if people don't know what solution brief therapy is, like how does that contrast to regular therapy if somebody, you know, just needs a therapist at some point, how do you, what is the contrast between that?
EC: You know, that's always a hard question for me to answer. So given that I'm in a room full of dog people, I'm going to use dogs as an example for this answer. I remember going to Susan's house and Susan's going to get so mad at me for saying this, but the only dog trainer I knew was Cesar Milan on television.
And then I'm hanging out with Susan and then I'm like, what's the difference, what Susan does and what everybody else does?
EC: And the difference is in her heart, like when you watch Susan interact with dogs, it is very evident that she loves dogs. And because you love dogs, it impacts how you talk to them, how you treat them, it impacts how you ask them to perform.
So, I would say the difference between solution focused brief therapy and traditional psychotherapy, it's evident that I love my clients. That's a word I think most psychotherapists are not comfortable using, but I don't understand why. I didn't say I was in love with my clients. But like, I love my clients. It impacts how I talk to them. It impacts how I ask them to perform.
It impacts how I do what I do. And a conversation that is about solution focused brief therapy, it's a conversation that's about inviting the best version of your client into the room so that things change.
I watched Susan do this incredible thing where like she said, “Sit, move forward, move back.” And the dog did exactly what Susan did. And I was so blown away because it didn't look like commands. It looked like an invitation, and it was like the dog was like, responding to the invitation that Susan was giving.
And I would say that's the difference, is when I'm doing therapy, I'm not asking my clients to change. I'm not making my clients change. I'm not commanding my clients to change. I’m respectfully, and lovingly, inviting them to change. And I think that's what solution focused brief therapy is about.
SG: That’s beautiful. And so, I know you, Elliott, and you're always like so in motivated and you spoke about that on your podcast, I think yesterday or one day this week. And you know, there are times when you're training your dog that things aren't going so swell and it's hard to stay motivated.
So, what would you say to people that get in that position?
EC: Well, first thing I would say, we all get in that position because we're all human. But I think there are two things that helped me overcome that position.
Number one, I never forget when I dreamt about these problems. And what I mean by that is like if I wake up on a day, like I just went on a little bit of a European tour. I was in France, I was in Germany, and then I was in England.
And there are days you wake up and you're like, “Oh, I'm so tired from jet lag.” And I always remember, I remember being like, I grew up as an, like my father was super abusive and we didn’t have a lot of money and I remember being like, “I used to dream about waking up jet lagged in Europe.” And that changes your perspective when you never forget where you came from and why you started.
And I think the second thing is teaching yourself to have gratitude about everything. Like, everything. I think sometimes we remember to have gratitude about like, “I'm so thankful that I have my 200th podcast.” Which by the way, shout out to Susan, congratulations.
But like, I want you to have gratitude that like, “I woke up this morning and my feet touched the floor, and I could feel the cold tile on my feet.” And I know a lot of people woke up today and they couldn't feel it. And a lot of people woke up today and they couldn't move. And so, I mean like having gratitude about like everything.
Because then what happens on that day when your dog is not performing and you're really, really frustrated, you remember that like, I love this dog. You remember that like I used to dream about having a dog like this. And there's one day going to be a day when this dog is too old to perform.
EC: There's one day going to be a day where I have to say goodbye to this dog. And you, and on the day when you say goodbye to the dog, you're going to miss the dog the day when the dog didn't perform, and was barking when you didn't want it to bark.
And I've trained my brain to be grateful of everything, including my problems, all of it. I love it all. Absolutely all.
SG: That is such an amazing approach. And why you're such a special human. I mean, gratitude is my favorite of all the virtues you know. And those of you listening, if you do not write in a gratitude journal at night, start off just before you go to bed and think of three things you're grateful for.
And then when you feel like you're more into this groove, then pull out the gratitude journal. And it will change you when you are in that tough spot. I just, Elliott, I love that line about, ‘go back and think about why you got a dog in the first place.’
EC: Yeah, for real. For real. Go back and think about why did you start doing the thing you started doing and remember, “I once dreamt about the day I had these kinds of problems.”
SG: So, if there was, and you may have already answered this, if you think of all of the people who've come through your office door, and if there is one thing you could wish for them to believe in their own heart, like a hundred percent you could snap your fingers and they would believe this one thing, what would it be?
EC: That they're awesome. I think we walk around on this planet believing lie and the lie we all believe is that our flaws are more impactful than our brilliance. And if there was one thing I could snap my fingers and people do, is I want to switch that. Because we all have brilliance, we all have flaws.
I want everybody to know that your brilliance is far more impactful and far more noticeable, than your flaws. And when you become more attuned to your brilliance, then you make decisions that are in line with your brilliance.
When you become more in tune with your brilliance, then it makes you more resilient, it makes you more ambitious, it makes you more gratuitous, it makes you more hopeful.
It literally transforms your life because the greatest lesson I could ever share with anybody is your brilliance is important and your flaws are irrelevant. That would be the one thing I would want them to have.
SG: There is the gem. Oh my gosh, you are just so cool. Thank you for being here. Elliott doesn't even have a dog, but his mentality just resonates so much with what we do. And so, thank you, my friend, for being on.
EC: No, thank you for having me.
SG: Swagger is saying hi to you Elliott. Swagger’s saying hi.
EC: Tell him I said hi back and I can't wait till I return to Ontario, and I hang out with your amazing family of dogs. And not go for a walk around the pond and get my shoes off.
SG: I tried to get Elliott to take his shoes off and walk with me barefoot around the property. Did not go over so well.
EC: Elliott's a city kid so one thing I don't do is walk around barefoot in grass because it makes my feet get itchy and pretty gross. But I love being around Susan. Susan is one of the most amazing humans I've ever seen. And every human who knows Susan and every dog who knows Susan is better for it. And I consider myself so grateful I have a friend like Susan. I love you Susan, I thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
SG: I love you too, buddy. And let's have some hearts for Elliott and we'll talk soon. Elliott, thank you so much.