36. Bully-Proof Your Mission with Joey Mascio

I’ve heard of more and more missionaries and missionary moms worried about their sons or daughters who are getting bullied on the mission. In this episode, I talk with Joey Mascio about how he became Bully-Proof. There is a specific set of skills that you can practice and develop that will allow you to show up confidently, regardless of how other people around you are behaving.

Listen in to Joey and my conversation, where you will learn:

  • Why some people bully
  • Why it’s not always useful to call someone a bully
  • The best solutions to prevent bullying
  • What to do if you are being bullied on the mission
  • The best ways to show up for your missionary who is getting bullied.

It’s easier than you think to become completely Bully-Proof!

Check Out Joey’s Program:  Firmly Founded

Listen to Joey’s Podcast:  Secrets to an Awesome Life

Follow Joey on Instagram:  @firmlyfoundedcoaching

Connect with me:

Website | Instagram | Facebook |

Free Video Series:  3 Tools to Help RMs in Their Transition Home

Jennie Dildine 0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone? It’s Jenny, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 36 bullyproof. Your mission with Joey mascio. I’m Jenny, the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next. Hey, everyone, and welcome to the podcast. I am super excited today to share with you a conversation that I had with one of my friends Joey mascio. He is a certified life coach like me, he’s also been through the advanced faith based coaching with Jodie more like I have been. And he works with teens and young adults and has tons of experience in the area of bullying. And I thought that it would be super helpful to have him on the podcast, so that we could talk through some of what bullying looks like, what it has looked like on the mission, what it might look like on the mission and some of the things that we can do to equip ourselves or our missionaries to handle bullying. I know it’s kind of a hard thing to realize that it actually does happen on the mission. From time to time. I’ve seen countless Facebook posts, moms on Facebook talking about how their son or daughter has been bullied. I’m so excited that Joey came on the podcast and I hope you guys find this conversation that he and I have a super useful. And without further ado, here is my conversation with Joey mascio. Hey, Joey, welcome to the podcast.

Joey Mascio 2:19 Thanks for having me here. I’m so excited.

Jennie Dildine 2:21 Yeah. How are you doing today?

Joey Mascio 2:23 I’m doing good. It’s snowing.

Jennie Dildine 2:26 Snowing in Utah.

Joey Mascio 2:27 It’s just south of Provo, and it’s snowing. And so I’m from Southern California. And I moved up here thinking it’d be snow all the time during the winter months. And people were like, No, that’s not how it is. And I was seeing grass for the past couple of weeks. I’m like, This is not right. This is not why I moved up here. I want snow. Oh,

Jennie Dildine 2:44 you want snow. I

Joey Mascio 2:45 want snow and a snowboarder that’s born and raised in Orange County, California. Like, okay, I love snow.

Jennie Dildine 2:52 Uh huh. Not me. I’m like, do you know? Okay, so we’re recording this on Groundhog’s Day? Yes. Do you know whether the groundhog saw his shadow or not?

Joey Mascio 3:02 I have no idea. I know in Groundhog’s Day, the movie? What happens there? But yes. Oh, no.

Jennie Dildine 3:09 It was the first thing my daughter asked Alexa this morning was did the groundhog see his shadow? And yes, he did. Which means six more weeks of winter.

Joey Mascio 3:19 What does that even mean? six more weeks of winter these days?

Jennie Dildine 3:22 Maybe you’ll get more snow? is maybe what it means. Okay.

Joey Mascio 3:26 Then, yes. Thank you. Groundhogs for a coward. Yeah, it is.

Jennie Dildine 3:31 Well, I just want to tell all of our listeners, I’m so excited to have Joey mascio on the podcast with us today. He’s a good friend of mine and fellow coach. And today we’re going to talk about bullying. Because I do get a lot of Facebook messages about bullying. I’m seeing a lot of stuff about bullying on the mission. And Joey has an amazing background. He has an amazing program for teens and young adults. And he actually has some personal experience with bullying. And so why don’t you Joey? Just kind of tell us a little bit about yourself, about your background, your family, all of that fun stuff.

Joey Mascio 4:12 Yeah, of course. So let’s see. I’m like you said a life coach. I’ve been a life coach for three years. I specifically work with high school and college students on lots of different things. Bullying, being one of one of the things before I was a life coach. I was a middle school teacher and a high school teacher for seven years. And then before that I was an actor, where I performed on hundreds of stages across California in front of 1000s and 1000s of people and my biggest claim to fame is being the only actor in Disneyland history to have played both Darth Maul and the Mad Hatter. Okay, nice.

Joey Mascio 4:48 I’m pretty versatile.

Jennie Dildine 4:50 I knew you had an acting background. You know, my claim to acting fame is I was the lead and my high school musical.

Joey Mascio 4:59 It’s the Phantom Asterix. Okay, I’ve heard of that. Yeah.

Jennie Dildine 5:02 Yeah. It’s like one of the longest running shows on Broadway. It’s kind of a lesser known show, but a good one.

Joey Mascio 5:08 Nice. Oh, awesome. Oh, with theater person.

Jennie Dildine 5:11 Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So

Joey Mascio 5:13 I do that. And then I, you know, I, I’m very animated. So you guys will hear me get very excited about things as we’re talking about it. I’m married, my wife been married for eight years now we have four kids.

Jennie Dildine 5:26 I love that. So I listen to all of your podcasts on bullying. And Joey has an amazing podcast secrets for an awesome life. So I love you guys totally go check that out. And in that podcast, you’ve kind of shared some personal things about your own background with bullying. And so I’d love for you to just kind of fill us in a little bit about that.

Joey Mascio 5:49 Yeah, definitely. So you can’t see me there’s probably a picture, maybe attach this podcast somewhere. But I’m incredibly pasty white. My head’s pretty large, and has always been and I’m shorter for my age. And just just shorter. And I’m scrawny, right? So it’s like prime pickins. For for bullying, just because of the difference, you know, between me and maybe somebody else. And really, there’s not that big of a difference between all of us. But during elementary school, middle school, and even throughout high school and college, our brains are kind of focused and trained to notice what’s different. And then some people make it the topic of conversation. And then some people will make it a topic of conversation against your will and at your expense, which is where we get into the territory of bullying. So for me, I mean, in elementary school, I was called Casper. In middle school, I had a very memorable event that I share on my podcast. But when I was called Moon head, I’m gonna go into that story. Sure, yeah. So one day, I was walking home and I was a seventh grader, and there’s a bunch of eighth graders by the bathrooms that you have to pass on. You’re on your way off campus. And one of them looked at me. I was I look at this kid. His head is huge. And then he’s like, yeah, look at me. Oh, my goodness, man. I got to stand up straight. And then somebody made a connection to a McDonald’s commercial that was popular at the time. Mac tonight. Now Mac tonight is a guy with a crescent moon for a head. And he’s playing the piano singing about how you should have a Big Mac tonight. That connection that hey, you got a pointy chin and a big head. So dude, he looks like the guy from that commercial. Yeah, Moon head. Oh, he’s Moon had and they and they christened to me with the name, Moon head. And I in that first day, I like put my head down and got out of there as soon as possible. My heart was beating my stomach was all in a knot. And I’m like, what just happened? Right? And I just like left without saying a word. And the days went on. And I had to pass them every day. And they’ll go, oh, it’s moved ahead. What’s up, and I would just look down and keep walking. And it got to the point where I hated leaving school, which no kid should ever hate leaving school. Yeah, yeah, right. It’s the best part of the day. It’s the best part of the day. So I was like, Oh, my goodness, he’s bullies. And I can’t avoid them because they’re exactly where I need to go. And, and it was super annoying. I can picture that picture them now exactly what they looked like. Until one day, I was walking. And before they saw me, I heard one of them turn to one of their buddies and go Shut up, Twig. And I was like, Yeah, that guy is like sickly skinny, huh? You know, he’s really skinny. You know what the other ones kind of fat. And the one who like makes fun of me the most. He’s really hairy, four year old. And I had several realizations all at once. We are all awkward. It’s kind of the nature of our age. Right? So every looks different these kids communicate by pointing out each other’s differences and other people’s differences. So them call me Moon had actually has less to do about me than it has to do about them. And also, I’m still awesome. Like, I always believed that I was awesome. But when people would bully me a bit, oh, I guess I’m less awesome. But then I was like, Wait, like they they think they’re awesome. They think they’re top of the school. And they all look how they look like and I’m like, why can I think that as well despite what they are saying. So I’m like, I’m awesome. And yeah, my head is big. And I’m still awesome. So the next day when they call me Moon head, I responded, I was like, what’s up guys? And kind of threw them off a little bit. You know, and I just got into this habit when they were like it’s moon and I’m like, Hey, what’s up? You guys want a Big Mac? I’ll get you one. Give him a high fives and it turned into like a little pet name that they had for me. And eventually, like they stopped calling Immediate, that doesn’t always happen. I think I could see me later in the year they might go to its moon head What’s up, but I’m like, from that day, I was never bullied again by them. But they kept calling me Moon head. And it’s, I didn’t feel bullied because of a change in my mind. And in my perspective, not a change in their actions, their actions stayed the same. But because my brain had change on how I viewed them and viewed myself, the bullying stopped.

Jennie Dildine 10:31 That’s right. And that’s what we teach as coaches, right as like, our thoughts create our feelings, which drive our actions. And if we’re solid in how we think about ourselves and feel about ourselves, then we just see their behavior differently, and it doesn’t have as big of a effect on us. Yep. I love that so much. Did you serve a mission for our church?

Joey Mascio 10:53 I did. Yes. I served in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada.

Jennie Dildine 10:57 Okay, it’s cold up there.

Joey Mascio 10:58 Oh, super cold. 50. It was the coldest I was in and that’s Celsius. So it’s like negative 60 Fahrenheit.

Jennie Dildine 11:06 Wow. Did you see any bullying on the mission that you recall?

Joey Mascio 11:11 Oh, 100%. Yeah.

Jennie Dildine 11:12 Okay. Tell me about that.

Joey Mascio 11:14 So okay, so I’ll tell you one, that’s not my example. But one out so I was a, I was a zone leader. And there is a companion ship, where one was more of an athletic dude. And the other one was more what people might call a nerd. Right? He loved playing Dungeons and Dragons. And they were very, very opposite. And we were far far away from the mission home, like, like seven hours north, right? Because it’s that mission was a second largest geographical mission in the world. At that point, I think it still is, and it was a large area. So I’m way up in Grand Prairie up in Canada, and zone leader over the, you know, these, like 12 missionaries that are up there, and transfers came and the athletic missionary assumed that he was gonna get transferred away from this guy that were one of them. And he was very excited that I told I told President, like, I don’t like him, we don’t get along. So I’m sure we’re gonna get separated, you know, and they did not add this missionary was like, furious, and he was mad about it. And so I know, he didn’t, like treat the other missionary very well. Right. And so one, two, and they had a strained relationship, and he would always refer to him in derogatory terms and whatnot. And the relationship was was very strained. And then one day, we’re playing basketball with a couple of young adult investigators, right? them to me, my companion, who was even shorter than than I was, and there’s really big athletic missionary, and then the other missionary, his companion, and they were on opposite teams, and they were playing, you know, half court basketball is totally in the rules were allowed to do that. But they were guarding each other. And regarding each other really roughly, and got it got rougher and rougher. And it got like, into a fight. And I looked over and what was happening was the athletic missionary was taking his aggression out on his companion by guarding him super close, and being all up in his business. And the other missionary kind of like, pushed him off of him. And then the athletic missionary was like, I saw it in his face. He’s like, this is my opportunity. And so he walks up to him, he takes his right hand. He takes it takes his left hand and does a little wave like way over here on the left. And his companion looked over and then he took his right hand and punched him across the face.

Jennie Dildine 13:40 Oh my gosh, right up across

Joey Mascio 13:43 the face. I remember Mike a companion others only because like screamed as loud as a four foot two guy could rise. We separate them get the mission president on the phone. We were like on like a permanent like exchanges for the next couple of days, as they figured out what and so the athletic missionary got transferred to like the great white north with a different missionary yet area. And he was like, so happy, right? He was just like, Ah, well, you know, I got myself transferred. You know, this is no, but I will never forget. I went into the room with the, his companion. Yeah. And separated them. I sat down and he was bawling. And he was crying. And he’s like, I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried to get along with them. He just hates me, and I’m worthless. And he had a bunch of labels for himself because of that. And I wish I had the coaching tools now than that I have now. I had my own like inside like I already become bulletproof myself, but I didn’t know how to communicate it to him. But he was making it all mean something about himself being who he was, according to this other missionary was not as good as being like the athletic missionary and he was believing that who I am is not as good is worth less than other people at all. Because of this other missionary felt like being a jerk, right, and he was having his own issues and was doing his own stuff. It didn’t mean anything about his companion, but his companion was making it mean something about him. And I wish I could have helped him. Coach them out of that.

Jennie Dildine 15:15 Yeah, well, that’s one of the things that I love that you brought up on your podcast is kind of how bullying, whether it’s on the mission, or in middle school or high school or in college or wherever it’s happening, that the fight against bullying is kind of brought up in three fronts. Like we talk about it in three different ways. Can you explain that? And maybe we can kind of connect that to what what was happening in that moment. But how would how would we have solved that with these three friends that you talk about?

Joey Mascio 15:46 Yeah, so the main two fronts, that the media and the education system focus on our front number one, stop the bully, right, or change the bully, if we can get bullies to stop being bullies, that would solve a lot of problems. And it totally makes sense. Let’s get them to stop. The problem with that front is that most people when they’re in like an anti bullying seminar, or whatnot, is that the kids who need to be there aren’t paying attention, or the kids who like need to, like listen to aren’t paying attention. And if they aren’t paying attention, they generally don’t think it applies to them. Because it’s usually big caricatures that we’re showing, right? Like in church videos, it does it too, and other videos and all of this, usually some like thick net redhead kid who’s like bullying somebody or whatever. And people look at that and go, Yeah, that’s not me. You know, like, I wouldn’t ever do that. But and then that afternoon, could go and do something that is bullying another kid. And so some kids are like, yeah, that’s kind of me. But, and then if they if they’re able to change, great, that’s wonderful. Let’s keep fighting on that front. Right, because people will recognize themselves in those messages. The second front is inspire a bystander. And I know that there was some celebrities doing this for a while ago, or I don’t know if they still are, and forgot what the their slogan was, but it was like, stand up, right? It’s like, make a change. If you see somebody being bullied, go in and say something. And studies show that if somebody says something to bullying will stop, which is great. I love that. Let’s keep fighting that front. The problem with that front though, is that somebody who is a target of bullying is going to need somebody around them to a be there and be recognize that the kid feels like they’re being bullied. Sometimes you can’t always tell, right? Everybody’s joking, and good fun and all that other stuff. But the kid is like, Oh, I’m dying inside, right? Other times when it’s very characteristic. It’s easy to hate guy stop calling him names a back off what’s wrong with you, and the people back away, because you know, somebody’s gonna stand up for him, whatever. But it won’t work when you’re not there. Right? That guy gets cornered and that he’s being bullied. Right? Is it? Well, great, nobody’s here to save me. And keep fighting that front. I love, love, love, the idea of people standing up for others love it. So the third front is the one that mean you kind of advocate for right, which is to strengthen the target, right is to become bully proof. Now, it’s possible to become bullied. I’ve done it. Kids have still bullied me, even my middle school students. I was in the discipline office as a teacher in there. And the kids who came in there were in very bad moods, right. And we’re just shooting down any leader ship, they could find any adult there. And I’ve kids personally attack me the size of my head, my skin color, my height, the way I talk everything, right? And I’m glad I was just bulletproof because they it never got to me. Right. And when it started to get to me, I was able to do myself coaching and be like, oh, wait a minute. This has more to do with them than it has to do with me. So those are kind of those three fronts.

Jennie Dildine 18:52 I love that. So if we were to describe like, maybe what are the main components and then we’re going to dive a little deeper into this, but what would be maybe the components that you would need to strengthen yourself to consider yourself to be bully proof. Do you think yeah, for me, the

Joey Mascio 19:11 number one thing to focus on first is love yourself for everything that you are. A lot of times when people make fun of things about us whether it’s how we look which is the main thing because it’s the first thing people see whether it’s what we like oh you like that you like Kpop? Or you like you know, anime or you like sports? I’ve seen people get bullied for liking sports, would you like it? That’s a typical, but whatever you like, right? Love it. You are who you are. And there may be things about yourself that you would like to change, and you’re welcome to change them. But before you can even change them whether it’s like your weight, or your strength or whatever, before you can change them. You have to still love yourself for who you are. So I just accept yourself For everything that you are, for me, it was like, Yeah, my head is the way it’s shaped. Right. And it’s, it’s skinnier and larger than most other people’s. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean anything about me, which is the second step. So once you can start loving yourself, you know, I accept myself for my weight for my speech impediment. I coached a team with a stutter one time, and I said, you don’t need to change at all. You don’t have to talk to anybody that you don’t want to talk to. Right? Because he was feeling like people would stutter him or bully him and try to get him to stutter by responding. And I was like, those people do not need to hear your voice. And you do not need to, like, you know, grant them that you just smile and just shrug, you know, and just sorry, like, you don’t get to hear from me. Yeah, it’s just how I choose to live my life like you’re welcome to love you. But that’s only if you love yourself. And he was like, Oh, I have a stutter. And that means that I’m less than, you’re not less than, hmm, you’re not less than anybody. And so it’s first off, that’s step number one is believing that. Secondly, is when we feel affected emotionally, by the words or actions of others. It’s because we are making it mean something about us. You need to remind yourself, you’ve already decided to love yourself for everything that you are, and accept yourself for everything that you are even the things you want to change. Right? Yeah, like, I’m gonna change that one day, I’m gonna I’m gonna motivate, motivate myself and either get more fit, or stop doing these things or start doing these things. That’s totally fine. But I’m also fine with who I am right now. And I recognize that I can change if I want to. And my plan is to write, but you’ve already decided to love yourself, which means that when somebody starts making fun of you, then you can go wait a minute, this doesn’t have to do with me, I’m not any less awesome. This has to do with them. And who they are, they are someone who likes to point out other people’s differences, or and for whatever reason, and when I would coach teams, they always be like, they’re jerks. They’re emotionally scarred, they’re this, they’re that they’re gonna end up living in a van down by the river flipping burgers, right. And they use that as a way to feel better about themselves. And like, we don’t even need to do any of that. It’s not like, let’s bring them down so we can lift ourselves up, because we don’t, we don’t know that about them. And that generally doesn’t bring the best feelings, it brings more animosity or anger in there. And I just let it go. I’m sure to accept them for who they are. And that’s step number three, I’m going to accept them for who they are. They don’t need to change. I coached one kid, coached counseled one kid in the discipline office. He was majorly bullying a girl and I think I shared this on one of my podcast episodes. She had a cleft palate. He I mean, like, he was essentially telling his friends, she’s your girlfriend. No, she’s your girlfriend, who know like, but in his mind, he was not being a bully. He also wasn’t emotionally scarred. It wasn’t like he was something I even Mike was credentialed determine whether he’s emotionally scarred in that moment. He just want to make people laugh. Hmm. And that was all he was going for was to make people laugh. And for jokes is kind of what he was just joking. It was what make people laugh. And I was able to show him what how it was affecting her. And he’s like, Ah, I’m looking down at the floor and be like, I didn’t realize this. Not everybody’s doing it because they’re hurt. Some people do some, some people don’t. Some people just don’t know how to be funny. You know, or don’t know how to be funny without bringing somebody else down. Once you do step three, and accept them for who they are. You don’t have to change them. They don’t need to stop saying what they’re saying. They don’t need to stop doing what they’re doing. Right?

Jennie Dildine 23:40 Yeah. Good. Oh, what I was gonna say about that is like, both what we both teach is like their emotions drive their actions which come from their thoughts, and we can even let them keep their thoughts. And those really don’t have to affect us. That they, what I tell my kids is like, if someone is like, Oh, this kid said something about me at school today. What I say to them is like, what does that tell us about them? Yeah. And they’re like, Well, maybe they had a bad day. Maybe they thought that was funny. Maybe, you know, maybe they were whatever. And then I always say, Well, what does that tell us about you? And they’re always a little confused. They’re like, they’re like, Well, I don’t know what to do that. And I’m like, nothing. That person’s behavior tells us nothing about you ever.

Joey Mascio 24:32 Yeah, I love that. It’s well put one one caveat about accepting them for who they are. You’ve always wanna bring this up. Yeah, but what if he’s, like physically hurting me or touching? Or something like that? And I’m like, Hey, by doing these three steps, you’re in a better place to be like, oh, man, it looks like this kid needs to know not to put other people’s backpacks in the trash can, right or not to come up and he doesn’t get to just punch anybody. He wants to push me aside. So I’m either gonna say some thing to him, or I’m gonna go get somebody to help him. Because the way he’s acting right now isn’t socially acceptable for this area, right. And so, and for me, it frees me up and it frees the teams I work with, to, to go get help, because a lot of people think, ah, there’s something wrong with me, There’s something’s wrong here, and I don’t want to go up and, and say something about it and be a snitch or make a deal of it. But even if somebody’s bullying you physically, right or touching your stuff or whatever, for me, the thought that he’s not a bully, and I don’t even really believe in the term bully, I don’t think it helps us at all right? Because it puts us in the victim mode. But for me thinking, nothing’s going wrong here. This is how teenagers or young adults, this is how humans sometimes interact with each other. And it’s all part of the process. And it can be changed. And this person needs to learn not to do this. And, and by doing that, you can set up boundaries for yourself and get other people to go talk to that person and go, Hey, look, I you’re putting somebody’s backpack, and that’s not okay here at this school, the rules that we have here, keep your hands to yourself, right, you’re breaking some of the social norms here. And you shouldn’t be doing that, again, has nothing to do with you and want has nothing to do with you. You’re free to go get that person help. And that’s how I love to look at it.

Jennie Dildine 26:21 Yeah. And I loved when you talk about that on one of your podcasts about was it Martin Buber, or Martin Buber who talks about that? I it versus that I, you? And that kind of plays into what you were just talking about whether we identify as a bully or a victim? And i it i You can you talk about that a little bit more?

Joey Mascio 26:44 Yeah, definitely. So the reason why I don’t like the term bully is because that makes them an act. Now the way that this whole concept goes, is that we have relationships with people in our life. And sometimes we view them as an I mean, I’m a person, but you’re in it. And so it’s called I yet, I’m gonna use you to get something in my life. Whatever it is, maybe in some relationships, I’m just using this person for physical intimacy, or I’m using my parents for money, right? Like, that’s all there. And when we view relationships as I it, it’s not really a relationship, and it can become strained. And we start to show up as people that we don’t want to be right. So he encourages to set up an AI you, I’m a person, and you’re a person, right? And it helps us to stop looking at other people as what can we get from them, but they’re humans, just like we are. And we should build a connection with them. And that is going to help the whole kind of human family, right? So the thing is a bully is very often looking at a target as an asset. Like the kid who’s making fun of the girl with a cleft palate scar, right? Is that oh, I need to make a joke right now I need to make people laugh. She’s my pet. She’s the she’s the butt of the joke. Right? She’s the yet oh, this, this works very effectively for me, because look at how many people are laughing. And the and the dopamine him getting this is working very well for me. Right? So that’s how he kind of approaches it. Right. And so whenever I talk with somebody who’s doing that, I love to point that out, Hey, look there person and all that. But when we start calling a bully a bully, then we’re creating the same type of I it relationship. I’m a human, and they’re a bully. They’re in it. And sometimes that it is benefiting us, or we’re using them to feel less than or to feel like a victim or to feel like we’re not in control. Yeah, it kind of serves us in a way. And if your brains like, what what are you serves? I’m not doing Oh, what are you talking about? A part of our brain though? And I know because that was me. Right? It’s a lot easier is more comfortable to walk away and not deal with it? Well, if they’re a bully, I can’t do anything about it. And that’s easier for my brain to handle totally,

Jennie Dildine 28:59 instead of holding that duality of like, oh, wait, they’re a human with human emotions as well. That’s a harder duality for our brains to kind of manage.

Joey Mascio 29:08 Yeah, so for me, labeling somebody a bully is just like labeling them in it. It’s kind of what they’re doing to you possibly, right and doing it back to them. Now it’s a you’re viewing them as an ad, they’re viewing you as an ad. That’s why we feel stuck. But if they’re human, right, and maybe they’re a human, that I don’t want to be around, so I’m not going to be around them. Or maybe they’re a human who needs help. Right in this or maybe they’re a human who just needs somebody to understand them. Right? Or maybe they’re a human, that’s a lost cause. Or someone who needs to figure things out maybe much later in life. I still gotta set up my boundaries against you know, that other human to protect myself from them, you’re still able to do that.

Jennie Dildine 29:47 Yeah. The thing that comes up for me when we’re talking about this is when on the mission, I see this quite a lot actually is like you’re the trainer, and then you’ve got a trainee. And so your trainee is it, it’s like what can we make them do? How can we make them behave? What can we teach them? Instead of and this isn’t always the case, right? But I, I’ve seen it, where instead of saying, Oh, no, they’re a human, they’re having human emotions and really meeting them. I’ve also seen it the opposite way. Instead of someone like someone in an under position looking at like an AP, as an IT, like, they’re the bad guy, they just enforce the rules. They’re not a human. And so, you know, we get this bad mouthing about the AP or about the zone leader, instead of treating them like a horse, even just thinking about them as a human, with their own set of backgrounds with their own set of thoughts and their own set of emotions. Yeah, so I think it kind of goes both ways, right from the top down, or from the bottom up is kind of what you’re saying.

Joey Mascio 30:52 Yeah. And it’s a lot easier to view an us versus them mentality. When it’s an i it relationship. No. And I saw that happen on my mission as well. A district leader who was training a new missionary. Oh, what’s up Greenie? Right. And really, like it wasn’t an endearing way as some people did it. But I was reading and he had, he pulled a prank on me, you probably know a lot about praying, but he hid a bed. So there was just one bed in the rooms. Yeah, we share this bed and it’s just kind of what you know, we do. And the new missionary was like, what, like, that’s not so he slept on the couch. And the other guy thought it was hilarious. You know, he’s like, after the first night, he’s okay, actually put your bed in the closet. And he brought it out. And he did a lot of stuff like that, because I knew missionary ended up being in and same water as me later on in life. And I was able to talk with him about it. And he’s like, yeah, man, and he didn’t do like, he didn’t have an endearing relationship with his trainer, because of that kind of way that he was being viewed as Oh, like, he’s my, my new missionary. He’s my training,

Jennie Dildine 31:58 or my pets or my robot that I got to train or Yeah, totally.

Joey Mascio 32:03 And it’s such a powerful life lesson. In any relationship, you’re going to have this to the IU.

Jennie Dildine 32:10 Yeah. And just I think, as we’re talking about it, like such a powerful leadership skill, to think of it that way, like if you’re in any sort of a leadership to look at it that way, as well.

Joey Mascio 32:23 Yeah, read the book leadership and self deception. I think that’s where I got the concept originally from the I it. Okay, I think he talks about in that book.

Jennie Dildine 32:33 I love that so good. Can you just talk I know you’ve touched on it a little bit like this idea of how to not make what other people mean anything about us? We’ve kind of talked about that a little bit. But do you have some like in the trenches tools for how we do this in the moment? Like not make it mean something?

Joey Mascio 32:53 So I get asked this question a lot. How do we do this in the moment, or how to do it in the moment, and I love to bring up basketball. Now. I am not a sports player. But I know enough about basketball to know that the easiest shot in the game is a layup. Right, he’s go to the ball right and easiest thing. But before every single game, every basketball team will line up and do layups and they practice layups. And it’s like a round robin thing. I’ve seen them do it, and it’s like, oh, there’s warm ups or whatever. And allegedly, a coach was asked, Why do you do this? You know, like, why not spend time on more advanced skills, and he goes, something along the lines of, well, we don’t want to mess up or miss the easiest shot in the game. So we’re making it muscle memory outside of the moment. So yes, become muscle memory in the moment. So I get asked that all the time. Well, how do you do and I go, you got to do your thought work, you have to take time, when you’re not in the moment and emotions are all high or whatever, and take time to really build up practice, because your brain is used to going certain paths and used to firing certain synapses and thoughts. So, to combat that, especially in the moment, when you just tend to believe what other people are saying about you. Take time, at the beginning of every day, at the end of every day, five minutes to come up with some powerful self identity statements. Some people call them affirmations, self beliefs, whatever. I like to call them self identity statements, things that you believe about yourself that you want to be part of your identity. Right Like, I am freaking awesome. Like that’s one of the things I go to often I’m freaking awesome.

Jennie Dildine 34:47 You are awesome. Joey

Joey Mascio 34:50 right. So I love thinking that I’m freaking awesome. And the more I tell myself than sometimes writing it down on a post it note putting on your your phone they It’s I know, some people are like, Oh, it’s so weird, like rundown. You know, I’m nice and gosh darn it people like me, right? You know, like it’s been made fun of and on SNL skits or whatnot. But it totally works. Because if you don’t do that your brain is gonna be telling you other thoughts. And if you’re not in control of what your brain is telling you, then you’re gonna end up being in the moment and being like, Oh, this thought works, stuff doesn’t work. They’re making fun of me. And I still feel miserable. Because like, it only works if you work it, right.

Jennie Dildine 35:29 Mm hmm. Yeah. And I think it’s useful to note as well that our brain just wants to default to negativity, it wants to. It’s just going to take whatever information it’s getting and accepted as truth. One of the most like powerful things I teach my clients right in the first session is like, you don’t have to believe what your brain tells you.

Joey Mascio 35:53 It’s such a novel thought I first heard that Oh, my Wait, whoa,

Jennie Dildine 35:56 yeah. And And likewise, we don’t even have to believe what other people tell us either. We can filter that and be like, Oh, is that? Is that a thought? I like? How does that thought make me feel? Totally. So do you have anything? Any other tips like these missionaries are out there? They’re feeling like, you know, they have this difficult companion that’s kind of on them all the time? Do you have any other like, in the moment tips or tools for them?

Joey Mascio 36:24 Definitely. So for me, it’s something I love doing is what I call your name, the blank exercise, right? It’s discovering your hero title. Oftentimes, we, we view ourselves as not the center of our story, right? Especially when you feel like somebody else is bullying us, or getting authority over us. We go ha, man, I’m a sidekick. And this is so annoying. And there’s nothing I can do about this, right? So then we start acting like the sidekick in our life, but really were the hero in our life. Like, that’s our job to, to take on that role, especially mentally to view ourselves as the hero, we get to change the way we feel about ourselves. And that will change the actions that we take, right? So the your name, the blank exercise is to come up with your hero title, there’s going to be something like Joey the Creator, that is my hero title. That’s who I love to be. That’s why strive to be that’s me at my best is Joey the Creator. If I run into a problem with somebody, missionary companion or something, I could ask myself, What would God the Creator do in this moment? If somebody is making fun of me? Or you know, hazing me, or whatever I go, What would God the Creator do in this moment, I would create a way around this. I would find a way to make this fun. I would find a way to connect with person, I’m going to create connection, because that’s just what Joey the Creator does. How can I do that? That’s very in line with who I want to be. But my sidekick is like Joey the lazy, right? I mean, I use that a lot for my business. I’m like, Oh, I don’t want to do that as uncomfortable as me being lazy, right? You know, yeah, I don’t want to do the work connecting with this person who I think is a bully, or do the work to stop thinking of them as a bully, because that’s gonna be hard and difficult and uncomfortable. That sounds to me more like Joey the lazy. And I’m like, Oh, that’s not who I want to be. I’m Joey, the Creator. And so if somebody’s saying something to me, that is, I start feeling less than I can stop and go, Well, no. Now who am I? I know who I am. I’m Joey the Creator, or whatever your your title is? And how would that person respond? How would that person think in this moment, and I do this exercise a lot with my clients, high school and college students, I’ve had a lot of great names Riley. Ryan, the great or, you know, Olivia, the confident or Jesse the adventurer, right? Things like that. You get to pick whatever you want it to be for that second part, but have it be an adjective or something that inspires you. Because when somebody’s attacking us, or we’re feeling attacked, it’s very uninspiring, we feel very opposite of inspired. Right. But if you can check in with your hero title, and be inspired, now you can inspire yourself and other people’s actions and words don’t have to bring you down because you are the source of your inspiration and confidence and motivation. Nobody else is.

Jennie Dildine 39:21 Yeah, I love that so much for a couple reasons. Number one, is that when we kind of put that into our brain, right, our brain will go to work, even in other situations, figuring out how that is true. Making that true in our lives. If we think we’re a creator, if we think we’re confident we our brains will look for that evidence and prove it true. And our result. I love that and then also, like if we have two choices, in our story of the mission, do we want to be the victim? Or do we want to be the hero? And then just thinking about What would the hero do? And that’s the other thing I want to talk about is like, where you talk about on the podcast on your podcast about the most effective ways to handle bullying, we’ve already talked about like strengthening, like, the person is way more effective than these other tools, which we still want to keep doing. But what do you recommend about just talking to people about the bullying if it’s happening? Yeah, Penn State

Joey Mascio 40:31 did a study, where they found out that the least effective way to stop a bully is to tell the bully to stop, right to try to get the bully to change. Yeah, then the most effective way to get change in bullying. And it was still only 33%. Right? Effective, or making things better was to either tell an adult at school and just because this was done at school, so for missionaries, it would be to tell either a leadership or mission president or somebody, or to talk to an adult at home. And I think the reason why that’s more effective isn’t because whoever’s in leadership is gonna go and tell them, hey, look, you need a change, right? That’s not why it makes it the most effective, in my opinion, for me is that when somebody at the middle school came up to me and said, I’m being bullied, I, I didn’t care who was bullying them. I knew talking to them wasn’t going to do too much, possibly. Once I know that somebody’s feeling bullied, I could talk to them and go, what’s going on? What do you believe that? And now you have a good positive sounding board to bounce these thoughts that you’re having off, right. Okay. I’m feeling bullying. They’re saying this about me. Oh, what do you believe that? I don’t believe that about you? I think you’re awesome. No, not awesome, right? No, no, you are. And now you have a team of people who are helping you believe your positive self identity statements, especially if you’re in a place where you believe that you’re just less than other people.

Jennie Dildine 41:58 Okay. Which brings me to my another question, one of the last few questions I have for you is what advice we have for these missionary moms. And these missionary dads who get on these phone calls every week, and their son or daughter is just distraught and upset and saying that their companion is bullying them. What do we tell these people?

Joey Mascio 42:22 So there’s two ways to approach it. And do it in this order, in my opinion, do to in this order? First is to validate? Right? Like, the first thing I want to do is like, come on, right. You know, you’re great. But but here’s the thing is that our brains reject thoughts, we don’t believe, right? Which viruses and we just want to push them out. So if you’re, if your son or daughter is calling you and saying, Hey, man, my companions, so difficult, they’re saying this about me and this and that. They’re believing it. Right? So being like, oh, man, that’s that’s got to be tough, right? Give them that validation? That yeah, that’s, that’s tough, because you are mom, for the most, you know, right, your mom still. And then once you’ve done that, they feel like they’ve been heard. Because I know I’ve been in situations I’ve seen parents do this or other teachers or leaders, where they’re like, oh, no, it’s okay. You’re fine. And the team’s like, okay, they didn’t hear me at all right? And then they’re less likely to want to listen to you. So do the validation part. Be there love them, you know, support them. And then when you feel that they’re ready, or when you’re ready, you can be like, Well, what do you think you can do about this? And then just start asking questions to support them. I love just asking question. We love to tell them. But honey, you’re great.

Jennie Dildine 43:37 Right? Shake it into them.

Joey Mascio 43:40 Yeah. Believe it. What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you believe you’re great, right? But if you can get them to be like, Why I’m pretty great. That’s so much more powerful than you just telling them that they’re great. Because you’re like, well, your mom, you have to tell me that I know people. Oh, you’re my teacher. You have to tell me that. It’s like, well, I don’t but I do because it’s true. So ask them questions like, Okay, well, do you believe that about you? Right, like, what? What are they saying? Okay, well, how does that make you feel? What do you think when they say that? Oh, do you believe that about you? Oh, a little bit. Yeah. Well, do you think some of that’s probably true. Okay. How’s that helping you in your life believe? Oh, probably not. Hmm, okay. Yeah, feeling that way? How would you like to feel? Oh, okay, cool. Well, how could you feel that way without changing them? You know, because I would love to go down there to your mission field and change the other person. Right? It’d be great. You know, and moms try to do that sometime. But it’s like says, let’s just assume they’re never going to change. How could your companion never change? And you still feel the way you want to feel? When they say these things? Like, like, how is that possible? And they’re gonna say the three most common words every Young Adult and Teen will say in any coaching session is I don’t know.

Jennie Dildine 44:59 Oh, Right, of course.

Joey Mascio 45:03 Yeah, yeah. But what if you didn’t know? Right? Like, like, if there was a way? How would you do it? And then donors are coming up with things, right? Because you’ve given them permission. You’ve accepted them for how they’ve been feeling. You’re validated that. And then and then you kind of put it on the coach hat and being like, yeah, what like, what do you want? First off, figure out what they want. We like to tell them, like we assume we know what they want. They want to feel better, feel bad are amazing. Maybe they don’t want to feel better. Maybe they’re like I’ve been wanting to get transferred. And I want to talk about my, to my mission president about this. Oh, well, how could you do that? Why haven’t you? Well, I feel very victimized. And so I don’t want to complain. Hold on a second. Like, if you want to do it, why don’t you? How could you do? And so you coach them or ask them questions towards their desire. Don’t assume you know what their desire is? You’re probably right, they probably want to want to feel better, or you know what, when a change, but have them come up with it first, and then coach them onto a solution.

Jennie Dildine 46:03 One of my favorite questions along the same, like questions that you’re talking about also is like, Hmm, I wonder what’s going on for them. This kind of humanizes again, instead of like the bully, like, you know, it kind of mindset is like, huh, they’re behaving that way. I wonder what’s going on for them? That’s one of my favorite questions.

Joey Mascio 46:27 That’s a good one. It’s like Covey calls it seeking to understand rather than to be understood, right, I wonder what’s going on for them. And we may never know what’s going on for them. But your story about what’s going on for them is probably something like they’re jerks. They’re mean, they’re rude, you know, which is also just a story. And you thinking that isn’t going to help you get along with them or feel better around them. So rewriting that story and being like, what is going on? I bet they feel insecure, or maybe they feel insufficient? Or maybe they just don’t get it, you know, and that’s okay. Or maybe like, seeking to understand is super powerful. That’s a good one.

Jennie Dildine 47:09 I feel like that always, for me, at least and for my clients brings, like some curiosity and compassion. Just like, so strange. That’s not how I would do it. I wonder what’s going on for them? You know? Yeah, yep. Good. Okay. Um, what final advice would you have? For these are wonderful missionaries who are out, like transforming their lives and transforming other people’s lives who really are out there? Just doing the best that they can and run into a situation like this? what final advice would you have for them?

Joey Mascio 47:46 I want to connect everything that we’ve talked about and everything that Jennie talks about in her podcast, but especially we talked about today, I want to connect it to Christ. This I feel is the how we become more Christ like this kind of thought work, right that we do. Often we say, Love one another, right? Love your enemies, pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you. And then we’re looking at the Scriptures. And we’re like, Yeah, but how, how do I love my companion? Right? Or the story? I remember the story of missionary companion who would like shine his companion shoes every morning, because it helps him love him. You know? Oh, great, cool. I’m excited shine my companion shoes. And then you got to shine his shoes. And yes, suede shoes. You’re like, Okay, well, I can’t do that now. Right? So it’s like, how do I do this? This is the root of all of it. This is the route of how you love somebody who we might deem as really hard to love, or as really difficult. I had a companion that I only had for a week. Because we were put together and my mission president told me he said, I want to put you with him because I’m hoping you can reignite his fire and I was three months out and he was over a year. And we get to our apartment. He immediately immediately takes off as time goes on the most burnt missionary there ever was. Which means in our mission was I don’t do things. Yeah, lazy missionary that’s burnt right now. Yeah, burned out, right. And he had a girlfriend and one of the wards like that he would sneak away and go hang out with he went and one time I woke up and two other missionaries were hanging out and they want to sleep over with their shirts off and henna tattoos up and down their arms. And I’m like,

Jennie Dildine 49:26 What is going what’s happening?

Joey Mascio 49:28 What is happening here? But even in that situation, I was like, I am someone who loves my companions. And I was able to have a frank conversation with him. I was able to be like, hey, look like what do you want? You know, like, I would like to do this now. Now. We’re not going out. We’re not going tracking. We’re not doing that well, but I was able to talk with him. And he never changed. Like spoiler alert. He never changed. We were only together for a week because once it was found out that he had a girlfriend. Then the mission president moved him again to the Great White North it’s popular thing to do in Canada. Okay, wait. So he got transferred out and there was a different thing that happened. And then I was put with a missionary who was about to go home, who’s a super stalwart missionary, who was overly stalwart as in like, he would beat himself up if we weren’t knocking on doors all the time. Sure, sure, super, like in his law, and it was the same principle. I’m going to love him, Christ loves him. Christ loves the other missionary, right, I’m going to love him and loving people doesn’t mean they’re going to change. That doesn’t mean that it’s, it’s going to change their results, but it’s definitely gonna change your results. Enjoying a lot more your time with them.

Jennie Dildine 50:44 Totally. And what I will add to that is, which we’ve touched on already quite a bit, but I love the idea of loving everyone in the story. So we’re gonna love them. And we’re gonna love us enough to stand up for ourselves and to, to, you know, say something or to reach out or to, to ask for help when we need that help. I fully believe that Jesus Christ loved himself, too. Otherwise, he couldn’t have done what he did. So I love the idea of let’s love everyone in the story. Make them all human and love them, just the way they are and us to make all of our shortcomings so powerful.

Joey Mascio 51:29 Yeah, and if you can’t do that, remember it listen to this podcast. Listen, Jenny’s Monica. It’s a story you have about them or you that needs to change to create love.

Jennie Dildine 51:36 Yes, I love it. So good. Okay. Thank you so much Joey for meeting with me. And I just know this podcast is gonna help so many people will you will tell us a little bit about your program and where people can find you. Joey’s awesome. So let us tell tell us how we can find you.

Joey Mascio 51:57 Definitely. Okay, so you can find me on my podcast, the secret for an awesome life is for changing I’m adults. So I have a lot of fun on there. Season Three is just about to start. So super fun there. You can follow me on Instagram, at firmly founded coaching on Instagram. I do like to do funny reels. I think they’re funny. So you can follow me there. And then we do have a program if you go to firmly founded att.com/college You can find our college aged program and we call it college aged. But it’s you don’t have to be in college. It’s people 18 to 26 essentially. And we have a coaching program, it’s monthly everybody in it gets one private coaching session a month. We have multiple group calls that we do, there’s video courses on things like this becoming bulletproof or get stuff done have more fun ending procrastination, and, and all the other stuff and we’re always creating them more and more. But it’s super fun. It’s me and a bunch of other LDS life coaches who coach in there. And we have a great fun time. So you can go over there to check it out and learn more.

Jennie Dildine 53:05 So much fun. Everything I see you guys do. I’m like that looks so

Joey Mascio 53:08 fun. It was not fun. It’s not really worth it.

Jennie Dildine 53:12 Not worth it if it’s not fun. Well, thanks again, Joey and we will just talk to you again soon.

Joey Mascio 53:18 Thanks for having me.

Jennie Dildine 53:20 Take care. Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today. Listen, if you are learning a lot from this podcast and you like what you’re hearing, you will absolutely love hopping on a free strategy call with me. That’s where you and I meet up one on one and talk specifically about what is going on for you. I love teaching young adults the mental and emotional tools that they need to overcome orient anxiety, serve the successful missions they’ve always dreamed of and navigate their post mission experience with confidence. So go to Jennie dildine.com, and click on the work with me link. I would love to meet you. And I would love to get you some helpful tools and strategies to help you fully embrace whatever is next for you. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you’re involved in. Just know that Jenny the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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