How and why can anger (and getting angry) work for any start-up, any venture?
In this episode, hear seasoned entrepreneur Alan Donegan explain how anger fuelled his desire to turn an idea into a business that has gone onto impact the lives of over 16,000 people worldwide.
By listening you'll discover how a highly distressing moment in Alan's early life connected him to his startup plans. You'll also hear his views on channeling anger, understanding rejection, the importance of saying sorry and much more.
Alan has invaluable gems to share. Don't miss this compelling first episode in Series 3.
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A bit of podcast author background...
UK-based Peter Harrington set up his first business following graduation in York in 1989. He has since started and grown several companies in various sectors including research, marketing, design, print, educational software and consultancy. Over the last 30+ years, Peter has employed over 1,000 people and experienced many highs and a few lows including burglaries, floods, fire and of course the most recent pandemic.
As well as being the CEO with the SimVenture team, Peter is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at London South Bank University.
Big thanks to LSE Generate, the SimVenture Team and Seajam Moths for supporting the Startup Survival Podcast.
Find Guest details and all Reference Sources
The full podcast series together with additional materials, guest details and hyperlinks to all episode reference sources is available on Peter Harrington's Blog 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to Entrepreneurship'.
Startup Survival Podcast
Series 3 – Episode 1 - Transcript
Speaker 1 (00:12):
Hello, greetings and welcome again to the Startup Survival Podcast and the start of a brand-new series. My name's Peter Harrington and I am so pleased you are here for series three, a series entitled: Strength of Feeling. Together, with a range of special guests, I'm going to be exploring the world of entrepreneurial emotions. One by one, we’ll be picking apart our feelings, and seeking to learn about human behaviour, and improving the way we make decisions in our entrepreneurial lives. And, to help us in this first episode, I'm going to be joined by the charismatic Alan Donogan, a determined entrepreneur who now spends much of his time in Columbia. In a moment, Alan is going to be reflecting on his successful entrepreneurial journey and sharing his thoughts on the issue of anger and the value of getting angry. Hopefully, my questions won't wind him up too much, but prepare yourself for a man who is quite happy to wear his heart on his sleeve.
Speaker 1 (01:19):
Before I catch up with Alan, I think it's important to take a moment to consider the issue of anger and frame it within the world of entrepreneurship. Please note, I am not a psychologist and I recommend you read further around the subject or talk to a professional, should you be seeking help or personal advice? Anger is one of our fundamental and more complicated emotions. According to Healthguidance.org, feelings of anger can work for and against you. Anger is healthy, if we are able to recognize and control it early, talk to others about it, and don't use it to manipulate people. But anger becomes unhealthy when we blame, lose respect, and trust, and hold onto it for no reason. Sources of anger can include low self-esteem, frustration, envy, unforgiveness, and fear. For startups and entrepreneurs who have endured this pandemic, it is easy to see why anger has surfaced more readily. For nearly two years our lives have been frustrated by loss of normal freedoms, and we have all lived through heightened levels of fear. But, unless we find ways to channel or let go of pent-up frustrations and anger, we risk unwittingly passing on these negative emotions to customers, colleagues, suppliers, and of course, those close to us. At a time when our businesses need all the help they can get, now is not the time to score own goals. So, here to help me share the virtues of anger and how to turn a negative into a positive, is my special guest: Alan Donogan. Alan is co-founder of the Rebel Business School; an organization that has helped over 16,000 people start their own companies. Rebel won the UK's Queens award for enterprise in 2021. And as a co-founder, Alan works tirelessly to inspire people to take control of their own financial destiny and build the life of their dreams. Alan Donogan, through the wonders of wires and wifi. Welcome to the Startup Survival Podcast.
Speaker 2 (03:37):
Peter, I am super excited to be here, and I've been looking forward to this subject, it’s one I've not really spoken about. So, let's get into this.
Speaker 1 (03:48):
Before we start Alan, we talked off air about the fact we are both just back from our COVID booster Jabs. How are you feeling right now?
Speaker 2 (03:57):
I'm feeling good. I had it about three hours ago, [I] had the Moderna booster jab, and surprisingly feeling fabulous.
Speaker 1 (04:06):
How appropriate to be talking about our feelings, Alan. But before we discuss your chosen topic of anger, can you say a bit more about your entrepreneurial story and background?
Speaker 2 (04:18):
It's quite interesting today, Peter, I run the Rebel Business School. It's a global movement in entrepreneurship. We won the Queen's Award for enterprise this year. We're in seven countries, Morocco, France, Columbia, the UK, America in four different languages. And we run an incredible business around the world, but it wasn't always that way, it was me in my spare room trying to build a business and crying after making phone calls that didn't work. And it's been an incredible journey from those early days.
Speaker 1 (05:00):
For context, when did Rebel Business School start?
Speaker 2 (05:04):
So, the very first Rebel Business School was almost exactly 10 years ago now. So, we started at the end of 2011. I started to have the ideas, and then we ran the first course at the end of 2012. Then it grew from there
Speaker 1 (05:22):
And Rebel supports people who want to start a business. Is that right?
Speaker 2 (05:26):
That is exactly right. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (05:29):
So how many people are you now working with in these countries
Speaker 2 (05:33):
Over the years We've helped up to about 16 or 17,000 people in live courses. And, on the podcast that we run, we've had around half a million downloads. A huge number of people around the world we've supported in a completely different style of entrepreneurship to traditional entrepreneurship,
Speaker 1 (05:58):
A completely different style. That sounds interesting. Can you shed a bit more light?
Speaker 2 9Alan) (06:03):
So, if you go to a traditional entrepreneurship advisor, the first thing they look at is what's your idea, Let's get it down on paper and create a business plan. Let's work out how much money you need to borrow. We'll get you a loan to set you up. We'll set you up as a limited company, we'll do all these different steps. And then you sort of go down and sales is the very last thing people do in a traditional startup world. And if you Google, how do I start a business? You'll find an article that says, here's the 12 steps to starting a business, and sales is normally either number 11 or 12 or not even on the list. And, for me, sales is the most important thing. So our model is the exact opposite. Don't bother writing a business plan until you've spoken to a customer and tried to sell it. Because the other way around you'll go to a customer and say, here's my idea. They may say, we don't want any of that, and then you have to change anyway. So, why not have the customer conversation first, which actually will inform you what you need to sell, rather than creating all this stuff in isolation before you even speak to a real-life customer. So for us, sales is the first thing you should do, not the last.
Speaker 1 (07:31):
Your context setting, Alan, is really helpful. And, for the record, I agree entirely that sales should be a high priority issue for all startups. But let's move on to the main emotional theme of this episode, anger. When it comes to starting in business, why is the issue so important to you?
Speaker 2 (07:50):
Well, it was interesting when you said about emotions that have impacted the business or how you use them. One of the emotions that has created incredible change in my life, has been anger. It's also one that a lot of people shy away from, anger is a bad thing. Anger is a bad emotion. We shouldn't have it. And even my wife, my wife's family, anger is not shown. You do not show that, it's a forbidden thing. You don't get angry. And yet, anger can be an incredibly powerful tool and was part of the startup Genesis of my business.
Speaker 1 (08:32):
So, tell me how anger helped fuel the Rebel Business School.
Speaker 2 (08:36):
Before I even started that, I went to support to the British government. I don’t know if you remember Business Link, it used to be the support service that they ran. I went to Business Link for support starting my business, and I wanted to start a corporate training business. I asked for help, and they gave me three workshops. They gave me how to write a business plan, which is super exciting. They gave me finance, which finance in that world is a code word for debt and how to raise the money you need. It's just the sexy way of talking about debt. Then they gave me a marketing workshop where I could decide how to print my flyers and get business cards. They did more to put me off starting a business than they did to help me.
Speaker 1 (09:27):
So did that make you angry?
Speaker 2 (09:29):
No. It left me confused to start with, so I was disillusioned, confused, struggling to start my own business, and wondering what to do. That left me, like figuring it out. I started to find books and look up things and learn and ask people. Then eventually, I did start to get angry with the system, I thought they’d done me and other people a disservice. So, I wrote a letter of complaints to a person in central government that funded Business Link. I wrote him a letter, a three-page handwritten letter telling him how bad I thought his service was. And I complained.
Speaker 1 (10:14):
And did you get a reply?
Speaker 2 (10:16):
He rang me, Peter. He rang me, Glen is a fabulous guy. He rang me. We had an hour-long chat where he tried to help. He coached me, we had a chat and he said, look, we're not all like this. I want to help you. And I was, I was surprised by his response. We had this long chat about business plans and loans and that they are not the way to help people actually make progress. Business plans and loans actually have the opposite effect. He then said, I'll find you someone to come and support you. I'll come back to you. I will find you someone. And if you cut to my business partner Simon side of the story, he was happily at work, sat at his desk in the Business Link office. And the managing director of Business Link came out with this three-page handwritten letter from a crazy customer. And she's looking around the office for who's going to deal with this person. They called it service recovery. I think Simon looked up at the wrong point and the managing director locked eyes with him and said, “Simon you can deal with this.” Simon got handed the letter and he's like, oh my, who writes handwritten letters nowadays? What is this? But it's come from government, like this needs dealing with. So, he organized a meeting. He came along, dreading this coffee meeting, thinking this guy has been really badly supported. He's going to be in a bad place. He's going to be angry. And I turned up in a meeting and I did have anger on the surface, but that's what motivated me to write a letter. I didn't let that spill out over Simon. We had this incredible, like three-hour coffee meeting talking about how to help people start businesses and how loans don't really help people.
Speaker 1 (12:12):
So, you are convinced that original letter would not have been written if you had not felt so angry about the situation you found yourself in.
Speaker 2 (12:21):
No, it would not have happened. Anger was part of it, I went through a range of emotions, but anger was the bit you get to at the end and that's okay. I'm angry. I need to make a change. Something has to change. That then is what drives me and motivates me to do something and to change things.
Speaker 1 (12:43):
And do you look back at that letter and sense the anger within you? Or was it controlled anger that allowed you to write something constructive?
Speaker 2 (12:51):
No, it was a rant, I've all this emotion like this is, this is wrong. This is bad. And I kind of let it out in the, in the letter and Glen (Business Link), the gentleman, he like dealt with it so well, he dealt with it so well. And I think it could have gone the other way. They could have gone this guy is crazy, whatever, get rid of him. But they dealt with it very well. And, I think over the years, I've learned more about controlling my anger, but in my youth, it's kind of sprayed everywhere, sometimes in a not good way.
Speaker 1 (13:33):
Anger is a powerful energy source, but like a firework, it needs to be guided in a timely fashion for it to fulfil its purpose. Meaningfully that said sometimes letting off steam and having a bit of a rant can work for you. It certainly worked for Alan whose three-page missive to government ultimately led him to a meeting with Simon. And I'm suspecting this meeting of minds was a pivotal moment in Alan's entrepreneurial career. Did the introduction to Simon change things for you, Alan?
Speaker 2 (14:04):
It changed everything. He had this realization of you're right. He worked for a slightly different part of Business Link that was trying to help disadvantage people start businesses. And we had this realization together, that this traditional way of doing it, doesn't actually help people. He likes to joke,” Alan, you’re white middle class, you've got a loving mother. And if it scared you off, what does it do to everyone else? ” And that meeting, then led to more coffee meetings. And eventually, we created this energy around the idea that education doesn't really teach you what you need to know to build a business, to make progress. It doesn't give you what you really need. And, so that energy then drove us to create this business, to do what we felt the government wasn't doing and education wasn't doing. Then fast forward 10 years, And we are hired by the councils and the governments to do the thing that we felt they weren't doing then.
Speaker 1 (15:08):
So you must have set up a business with Simon.
Speaker 2 (15:11):
Yes. He, he eventually left Business Link. We built the Rebel Business School together. And yeah, he's been my partner ever since on this crazy adventure of trying to change the way entrepreneurship is taught around the world. It came out of that crazy letter that I wrote saying things have to change.
Speaker 1 (15:32):
So anger was a fuel for you to generate change. You were clearly very unhappy with the standard traditional government approach to business startup support. And you channelled your energy very well. Looking back, do you recognize the anger you showed? What, what I mean is, do you have any sense of its origin?
Speaker 2 (15:51):
Well, I think the first real experience that I had that motivated me was that my dad was an entrepreneur, and he actually went bankrupt for 3.6 million pounds back in the early nineties. The only thing he had secured against it was the family home. And then he ran off disappeared, leaving my mom, my little brother and me in the family home, fighting the bank to keep it. We couldn't afford a solicitor. We couldn't afford support. The only way I found the energy to do it was to get angry at the situation.
Speaker 1 (16:42):
It sounds horrendous, Allen for context, can you provide a bit more sort of situational detail and, and how it felt back then?
Speaker 2 (16:50):
Me, my mum and my little brother who was two years younger than me. So, it was the three of us living at home. And this was around, started late teens, early twenties to disintegrate. I'd not left home yet. And then we're trying to manage this situation, and we're living there with the threat that any day the bank could take the home from us.
Speaker 1 (17:17):
So you were at school at the time.
Speaker 2 (17:20):
I just about broke through A-levels and I never went to university. I never got a degree. I went straight out to work to earn enough money to be able to do what I wanted to do, but I never did that. So, I was earning not a lot of the time, sort of four, five hundred pounds a month, and living at home
Speaker 1 (17:45):
And seeing your mother trying to make it through must have been very painful and distressing.
Speaker 2 (17:50):
It was a heart-breaking situation in so many ways. And there's so much more to it, but yeah, it completely ripped our family to parts. The debt that my dad had, the entrepreneurship. I think that's actually part of the reason. Well, it is. It's one of the fundamental reasons. We now run a business school that teaches debt free entrepreneurship because that debt destroyed our family. And even though my dad was incredibly successful, he took on a lot of debt. And now, I use that motivation to teach people. You do not need to borrow money to start a business. You can build a website for free. You can put your product online for free. You can do it. There's so many ways to launch a business without going into debt. Why would you ever have to? And that inciting moment, has given birth to the whole business idea. And that's also why when I went to Business Link, and they told me I needed to get a loan, I was like, I can't do this. I physically cannot do this. I will not do this. And that throughline has created the energy. I don't want anyone to ever have to experience what my family went through.
Speaker 1 (19:11):
I completely get how the issue of debt triggered some very difficult memories. Can I check, since those family events in the nineties, have you made peace with your father now?
Speaker 2 (19:20):
I've made peace. The last time I, I saw him, I threatened him that if he ever did what he was doing to my mom again, I would never talk to him again. And then he did it the next night, assaulted my mom, and it all broke down and my life is better off without him in it. But I've made peace. I just like, go off, be happy, do whatever you're doing. I just don't need to be around you. I have no Angus with him, I'm happy that he can be happy somewhere else. I just don't need him in my life.
Speaker 1 (20:04):
Thank you for sharing such vivid details. Alan, what you have expressed will really help listeners to understand you, but by being so candid, you also help us all to recognize the value of tuning into our past. In order to understand what can help drive us forward. If I may, I want to move on to another angle of anger now. And that's when we allow anger to overflow. How in your experience has anger, overflowed in business?
Speaker 2 (20:31):
Well, I think in British society, we have a stiff upper lip. We are very polite. We do not show that emotion. And sometimes if you let out some of that raw emotion, it can shut other people down. So, they will shut down. Not say things, move away from you, and that's not particularly useful. To have the motivation to change the way things are. Sometimes I have to find that energy within me to stand up to the system, to stand up to what's going on, and that can shut other companies and other things down and move them away from you. I remember one particular time, there was a scheme where housing associations throughout the country were lending money to their tenants who were most in need. And I got angry about that. You're taking people who cannot afford it and putting them further into debt when they don't need to be. My only way to stand up to that, is to get angry about it. We lost customers over it. We had arguments over it. Some people loved what I was saying and agreed with it. Some people said you shouldn't attack the system. You should work with it. I think it's wrong. I should stand up to it. Like no one else is! We are taking the most disadvantaged people without jobs and putting them in debt. This is crazy. We're taking people who've just come out of prison and saying here, borrow money. What's that going to do to them? My anger had mixed responses. Some people went, “yes, you're right. Some people went, you are crazy”. Stay away from us. But how else do I find the energy to stand up to something that I think is wrong? In the end, we received the Queen's award for enterprise this year. Now that is a long journey from where I was throwing rocks at the establishment at the start. And they were attacking me back and we were fully attacked in what we were doing. I can understand why, we were threatening what they'd been doing for years. So, there is a dark side to anger, especially in a culture that represses its feelings.
Speaker 1 (22:47):
Just being curious. You mentioned a culture that represses its feelings. How would you describe your relationship with your business partner? Simon? Is there any anger there?
Speaker 2 (22:57):
He is the most incredibly collaborative chilled out person, and we complement each other nicely. I say he is a bit too chilled out. He'll sit there and think about things for a couple of weeks. And I'm like, no, we need to do something about it. I get this energy of; we must do things, and he always laughs. We have a meeting, and by the time he's driven home, I will have built the website, written three emails, sent several calls and done stuff. And then he'll be in a panic. I've got to fix Alan spelling mistakes and get it all right. But we complement each other very nicely. I think he's more of a chilled out reflective, who grounds my drive to make change and drive to get things done. So, I think in terms of a business partner, I've lucked out with someone who can take my anger and find [use], because my anger is never directed at him. I think this is a really important distinction that my wife and I have had to discover as well, when I get angry, it’s not at her, it's at the system or something that has happened. But it can feel like it's directly at you. If you are the one I'm talking to about it.
Speaker 1 (24:18):
And can your wife tell when you are getting angry Simon, are there any obvious behaviours you exhibit?
Speaker 2 (24:24):
No, I think I get louder. I get more animated. Like you can feel the energy. I feel the energy well up and I get louder, the less I feel like someone is listening to me, the more I feel like I have to exert my energy out there, and you can feel it in the tone, the energy, the eye contact, the, the experience of the other person. You can feel it.
Speaker 1 (24:51):
Alan, you've mentioned the word energy a few times and it's clear how the fuel of anger aligns with your work. How important in your view is it for businesses to align key emotions with what they do?
Speaker 2 (25:05):
I think it's an incredible source of energy and motivation and drive. And we have two things we do at the Rebel Business School that I think your audience will really enjoy doing like the practical steps. Number one, I nicknamed it, the Rant Technique, and this is kind of what I do. I rant about what's wrong. And I'll tell you what, if you can find something that's wrong, if you can find a problem and then you can work out how to fix it, there is a business in that. So, rant, find your energy, find what's wrong, find what you're fighting against. Find how you can change the world, make it better. That will give you incredible energy. So I would recommend to everyone listening to this to have a jolly good rant and then capture the essence of the problem you're fixing.
Speaker 2 (25:53):
So that'll be number one, the rant technique and number two, one of the expressions that I love is anyhow, is possible given the size of your why, and if you can find out why you are doing it, why is it personal to you? Why are you motivated? What's your why for doing this? If you have a big enough, why you can figure out any how, and between those two, you can discover the energy within yourself to keep pushing out into the world. Because sometimes it's tough. You're going to get rejected. You're going to get knocked down. You need to find the energy. And if you can connect with that as an entrepreneur, it can drive you to find ways to do things.
Speaker 1 (26:45):
I'm glad you mentioned that word rejection, because I want to come back to that. But before I do Alan, I've learned the clues and seeds to our entrepreneurial passions are often sewn in early life. Much like you talked about the family breakup and experiencing debt. Can you share anything with the audience on this issue?
Speaker 2 (27:03):
So I don't think I really connected with it for the first few years of running my business. And when I did, my business started to take off, and I think the question I would come back to for the audience, I would actually journal about why you doing this? What are the reasons? What inspired you? What motivated you? What went wrong in your life that you feel the need to make this change? And there's a bunch of questions there that if you get introspective for a while, open your journal, open your notebook, write, write on your computer and think about where did this come from? Answer those questions. And you will start to uncover the links between the stories when you were younger. And one of my biggest realizations over the last few years has been, I got bullied heavily at school, and I hate bullies and that's helped me stand up to all sorts of people over the years. And that drives my energy to stand up for other people and help them get the opportunities they deserve. It's really interesting as you start to answer those questions, you'll start to understand why you do what you do. And then you can use that motivation out of choice, rather than having it direct you to having to act a way. And, I think that's the bad thing is when you only have anger, that's your only go to method, rather than, okay, I have this source of anger in my past. I can choose to use it when it's appropriate.
Speaker 1 (28:48):
Whilst anger is the emotional focus of my time with Alan. It's becoming clear to me that here is a man with deep compassionate reserves supporting his mother as a teenager and standing up for others who are being bullied, being two examples. So, can I ask you, Alan, do you feel anger and compassion work together?
Speaker 2 (29:08):
They work incredibly well. And I remember one particular instance. I'm running a Rebel Business School in Croydon, and one of the breaks a lady comes to me and says, “I need your help.” I've just had a phone call. I'm going to be evicted from my home for not paying my rent. What do I do? I I've been through that. I desperate to help her. And, then I have to find the energy to make the calls. So, it's compassion for her anger at the situation and then trying to fix it. That drove me to make the calls. I rung her landlords. I spoke to all these different people. I helped her to find a way to sell stuff. We made some money by the end of the week that she was able to pay off some of it. And she's still in that house today. I think it's six or seven years later. She now has a thriving business. She's making her own money, but that came from a combination of my compassion for her and care. I didn't want her to experience that pain. I wanted to fix that situation. Then I got angry at the situation, that drove me to take the actions that inspired her to take her own actions because she could see someone's on her side and is fighting with her. We both fought and she's built an incredible furniture business. I’m super proud to say, she's in the same house. She's making money. She's happy. And that combination of compassion and anger, I care deeply about people
Speaker 1 (30:44):
That care is, is coming through in spades Alan. We have to move on, and to do that, I need to go back to that thorny, but also important issue of rejection because rejection can make us angry. What would you like to share with people on this issue, Alan?
Speaker 2 (31:02):
So, I guess the first thing for everyone listening to this is, if you're going to start a business, you will be rejected. I don't care what you're going to do. You're going to get rejected and we need to find a way to deal with that and get over it. And the only way you don't get rejected is if you don't launch that's it. So, you've got to learn a way to deal with it. So, step one, I think is to experience it. You're going to have to so start selling, start making phone calls, start talking to people, start getting rejected and experience it, and then notice what comes up inside you. And I had a whole range of responses at the very early days. A rejection could stop me for a week, and I would feel sad. I'd feel depressed that I couldn't launch my business. I would feel like it's never going to work. It would take me a week to recover, to make another phone call and to send some emails and to do some stuff. And as you go past it, you start to realize, okay, this is going to happen repeatedly. And actually the faster I can move through rejection, the quicker I can find a customer who would love to work with me. Every time I got rejected and they didn't understand what I was saying, I realized the source of that is my explanation. So, if they're rejecting me, I've not explained it properly. They're not in the right place. And I need to develop my pitch, my language, my ability to communicate better for the next one. And I think that so often we can go into victim mentality of I've been rejected. Oh, it's them. It's all them. And we avoid realizing maybe it's us. We haven't explained it. We haven't worked it. And that inspired me to learn everything I could about sales pitching. I read every book, I went on every course I, I learnt, and that inspired me to want to get better, to not get as rejected as much, to start to push out there. And even now when we're a global movement and an award-winning business and all that jazz, we still get rejected. It still happens. We're not right for everyone. And I don't think you'll ever be right for everyone.
Speaker 1 (33:25):
You mention a very important word there, Alan noticing which in this context I take to be our ability to check in on ourselves.
Speaker 2 (33:34):
Yes. It's, it's quite a tough one to do, but in the moment to notice there's an emotion coming up and to breathe and take a second to think about it. Sometimes that's difficult to do in the moment. So, if you can't actually do it on the phone call or in the meeting do it afterwards. So, after the phone call and meeting to just reflect for a moment and go, what happened? What was I feeling? Why did that happen? What did they say? That sparked that feeling within me? What did I do that then sparked that in them and just to reflect on it and to think about it? And if you do that, every phone call, every meeting, it's incredible what you learn from your feelings and how you experience it. And the aim is not to get rid of anger or rejection. The aim is to change the way you react to it.
Speaker 1 (34:28):
And you talk about the importance of learning too, which I completely agree is so relevant because it ensures we adapt and move forward, moving on to a related subject that I'm sure people expect us to cover. Do you have any advice for listeners about controlling and channelling anger?
Speaker 2 (34:46):
So, I have learned to control my anger is to take a beat step outside, go for a walk, change your state, and to think about it. And that tends to dissipate the raw emotion, which then allows you to connect with what's actually happening and create a change based on what's actually happening rather than raw emotion. So, it's taking that beat, taking that moment. The second thing I think is the reflection piece. And one of the things that has helped me is I do a monthly reflection of what went well. What went badly, what made me angry sometimes ask myself some tough questions as what represents the worst that happened this month. What was my part in that bad situation? What can I learn from it? And where can I go with it? And I think if you start to understand that, start to understand where these things come from, you start to be more in control of it. And anger becomes a tool rather than something that just controls you. And I think that's the situation I'd love. Every entrepreneur to get to is don't be controlled by your anger, learn to use your anger when it's appropriate, when it's needed to inspire you to action.
Speaker 1 (36:17):
Looking back on my own early entrepreneurial days, I shut it at some occasions. I remember when anger got the better of me and my shameful behaviour, let me down. But I also know it's impossible to always get things, right? In your opinion, Alan is getting angry and inevitable behaviour that all entrepreneurs experience.
Speaker 2 (36:38):
Yes, you're human, I'm human. We mess things up all the time. The best thing you can do is reflect and learn. And one thing I think we really need to talk about is apologize. Sometimes we get angry. Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes we're angry, but it's actually like, it's not the other person's fault. And we need to say, I'm sorry. I apologize about this bit. I was angry about this. I did want to create a change. My behaviour wasn't appropriate. I apologize. And then shut up and listen to what they have to say. And I think an apology is an incredibly powerful tool.
Speaker 1 ) (37:19):
Many people are afraid of, or simply struggle to say, sorry, especially headstrong entrepreneurs in your experience, Alan, what happens when you apologize?
Speaker 2 (37:29):
I think most people realize none of us are perfect and things go wrong. And if you admit where you have gone wrong and you admit your part in it, it frees you to then come up with a solution to be able to move forwards. If you never apologize, if you never admit your part in it, quite often, the other person holds onto it as well. And you can never move past it. You can never find a solution. You can never find a way forwards and without acknowledging what's gone wrong, how can we never move forwards, Peter?
Speaker 1 (38:09):
So an apology helps to bring closure.
Speaker 2 (38:12):
It brings closure and it brings, if it's done with sincerity and you actually mean it, it can bring opportunity if you don't actually mean it. People can tell if it's not sincere, if you're just apologising to try and get past it, they can tell if you're doing it going, look, I'm really sorry. Tell me what we should do. Next. It can lead to good things. It can lead to opportunity, progress learning and to great stuff. So, it has to be sincere.
Speaker 1 (38:45):
I've had to apologize on several occasions, and I've found taking the time to do this and using the written as well as the spoken word can really help because we can choose words with care. What, what's your view on this, Alan?
Speaker 2 (38:59):
My experience is when I genuinely mean I'm sorry. And I say it, people understand that. Okay. He did make a mistake. He is apologizing. He does want to learn and they're more willing to come back to the table to move on, to connect with you. And I think the secret bit is it allows me to get past it because I did make a mistake. If I don't apologise, it sits within me. And that becomes septic and causes you problems over the years and you live with regret. And that's one of the number one thing that people on their deathbed say is I wish I'd never lived with the regret, the regret. I didn't say this, the regret, I didn't do that. The regret of this. So, apologizing and move forwards releases some of that from you. So even if you do it for a selfish reason of helping you to move forwards, that's good,
Speaker 1 (40:05):
Alan. Sadly, we are nearly out of time. But before I ask whether you have a recommended book or resource you want to share, is there anything on the subject of anger you'd like to add that hasn't yet been covered?
Speaker 2 (40:18):
What I'd love to say to everyone, listening is emotions are not a bad thing. We categorize anger as bad excitement as good, but they are not those things. They just are. You experience a range of emotions. So, stop suppressing them and learn from what they're telling you. They're telling you if you have anger, it's because something needs to change or something's not right for you. If you have sadness, it's because something's happening. So, ask your yourself this question. It's one of the most powerful questions I've ever learned. When you have this feeling, ask yourself the question. What do I have to believe for this to be true? What do I have to believe to feel this way? And you will get all sorts of interesting answers that you were never expecting. And sometimes it's true. Sometimes it's not, but you are able to deal with it. Most people just suppress the emotion and try and hide the sadness or anger and move on. They never try and understand what is it actually trying to communicate with you? So, emotions are neither good or bad. They are a tool to help you learn and improve your world.
Speaker 1 (41:34):
That's great, Alan. So, tune into yourself and learn how to communicate better with others
Speaker 2 (41:41):
And yourself. Of course.
Speaker 1 (41:45):
Alan, this has been a treat. Thank you so much. And in keeping with both series that have gone before and all episodes going forward, do you have any suggested reference resources that you'd like to recommend and share?
Speaker 2 (41:59):
There's two books that have had an incredible impact on my entrepreneurial journey. And the very first started my me on my self-development journey and it was called notes from a friend by Tony Robbins. It's a very short book that gave me some key skills to be able to move on in life. And the second I'm sure people have said this regularly is the four-hour work week by Tim Ferris gave me entirely new way to think about business and progress. Those two books have had an incredible impact. And then is it cheeky to say my podcast is a good resource for people as well. The Rebel entrepreneur, we talk about how to start with debt free, how to get going with zero money and build businesses. And I've been trying to change the way entrepreneurship is taught for the last decade. I feel like we might actually be making some progress, Peter.
Speaker 1 (42:52):
Well, let me wish you and Simon all the success with the business, Alan, it has been an absolute pleasure having you join me here on the Startup Survival Podcast. Thank you so much.
Speaker 2 (43:06):
Thank you so much, Peter. And to everyone listening, go out there and have a rant about what you need to change.
Speaker 1 (43:16):
Well, there you go. Alan Dogan sharing many heartfelt, honest thoughts and views on the complex subject of anger. I really hope that in some small way, this episode has shed some light on key issues and provided you with a fresh set of reference points. Of course, if you think you have valuable insight to share on a specific emotion and you are listening to this podcast in the early months of 2022, then you may be just the person we are looking for to feature on this show, to find out more about being a guest, just visit www.simventure.com/podcast guest. In the next episode, I'm going to be joined by Dr. Claire Hookem, who having completed a PhD on Disney will be revealing some fascinating truths on the subject of surprise. If you seek a bit of inspiration and a new year charge of energy, don't miss my chat with the wonderfully upbeat Dr Claire Hookem.
So, all of this just leaves me to conclude this first episode. Thank you again to Duncan for your splendid production support, thank you for all your editorial endeavours. And of course, thank you to our special guest, Alan Donogan for sharing your time, wisdom and insight. Don't forget your podcast feedback is not just welcomed. It's needed. Share what you really like and let me know what needs to be improved. I'd love to hear from you. My name's Peter Harrington, and this has been your Simventure sponsored Startup Survival Podcast. Go well, stay safe and thank you.