Using the Domino Effect to Change Your Business – Alison Donaghey

Alison rec



“I am not weird, I am limited edition"



  • Meet Alison and discover how she builds her house painting business [10:25]
  • When did Alison decide to paint houses? [13:37]
  • How Alison manages to differentiate her business? [17:05]
  • Is it ok to make money while helping people? [30:58]
  • How we can think the opposite when it comes to our stuff? [33:05]
  • How FB groups affect ourself, our business, our mindset? Should we leave them? [40:49]


Salena: Hey there and welcome to this week's episode of The bringing business to retail podcast. Sometimes it can be a little bit difficult to get your head out of that headspace when you're in a bit of a funk. So I brought along today's guest Alison Donaghey. She's a radio host of the show think opposite. She's the author of an international best-selling book also called Think opposite and she talks about using what she calls the domino effect to change your business to change the world. And she's also a cause and effect strategist. And today she's going to show us how you can expand your mind in ways you didn't think possible. So welcome Alison.

Alison: Oh thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here.

Salena: Now this is a very big call saying that you can help us change the world and change your mindset. Tell us a little bit about yourself first before we jump into how you are going to do some general mind tricks on us.

Alison: General mind tricks. Well, I live in Canada. I have my eye on business. I have a house painting company that I started 20 years ago. My son is now taking it over and for the last couple of years have been working at Domino thinking. My second business just trying to really have an impact in the world. I'm trying to create a movement. And just to get people to think about what they think about.

Salena: OK let's just back up there because you just said because you talk about as fast as I do. Business painting houses. Now from somebody who was in a very male-dominated industry. So for those who don't know a lot about me once upon a time I was an arborist so we used to cut trees.  I used to drive trucks and I used to also drive heavy machinery. So I know what it's like to be pretty much the oily girl in a very very male world. Tell me a little bit how about how you started your own house painting business.

Alison: Oh yeah. It's been an interesting journey it's 84 percent male. The painting industry sort of as a whole at least in North America. I was a single mom on welfare and I started dating this guy who is a house painter and I ended up moving in with him and he taught me how to paint. And then he relapsed into drug addiction. So we went through this sort of horrible five or six years where he was battling drug addiction and I was you know learning how to paint and sort of try to make ends meet and then he died in 99 and I thought oh God what am I going to do. Well, I know how to paint houses so I'm just going to start a business painting houses.  If the boys can do it I can do it. How hard could it be? You know that's the beauty of youth right. We don't actually necessarily see things through which is fantastic otherwise we would never do anything.  And then I thought well I do it for a year I dropped out of university earlier and I went back and got my degree. I got a bachelor of arts with a double minor in psychology and sociology and I'd finished my criminology diploma and then I thought I don't know what I'm going to do now.

Alison: And so I carried on with my company. I got a certificate to teach English I moved to Italy. I taught English while running the company from Italy and then my son was like I want to come back.  And so we came back and I told him that I wouldn't move him again until he graduated and then I just sort of stuck it out. And so it's been a beautiful business to have. I've grown so much and I've been able to make an impact in and not just in my life but in the lives of my staff and my community and my customers which then prompted me to write the book encompass it. Because I truly believe that business is this really magnificent way of being able to have a positive impact in the world like the domino effect is huge.

Salena: Ok I'm going to ask you about systems in a minute and I got all these things to talk to you about.

Alison: Well I'm here for you.

Salena: The first one I'm going; to the first question I've got to ask is back when you were going through all of these stress and I know it was quite some time ago but you were dealing with obviously a lot of personal issues. You had children, it is an understatement. And clearly, you had to find a way to eat. So when you decided to paint houses, did you go and look for somebody else or is that when you kind of; did you just kind of take over your boyfriend's business like what happened there?

Alison: Well, he was pretty much under the table. He didn't do things are above board and that always made me really uneasy it wasn't my business I got paid I declared my earnings whatever. But I didn't enjoy the phone calls that he used to get. And I thought well if I'm going to do this I'm like 100 percent legit and I'm doing everything that I can to make it work. I was fortunate enough so far is that he had taught me how to paint. I knew how to paint. I had painted for his company. And I had glimpses of how bidding was done and sort of why he picked the product he picked. But truly I knew nothing.

Salena: But that's a good thing right because like you said if you did know all the stuff I think it's a lot like opening a shop. If people told you how freaking hard it was.

Alison: That's probably why I stayed single because I understand marriage is a lot of work. Yeah, I think it can be pretty challenging but you know when you're on welfare there are not too many places to go but up, really. And I was fortunate. The economy was just starting to take off and so I mistakenly thought I was just a rock star. And every year I kept doing better and hiring more staff and I'm like I got this and then the economy crashed in 2008/9. And I was like whoa I don't have this. It was a very humbling experience. And I realized an awful lot to learn about business but it was mostly just learned on the go and you know to keep your head down stay in your lane and try not to pay too much attention to what other people are saying and doing.

Salena: Ok. So with that, you said that you moved to Italy and you still manage to keep the business running. Everybody sitting here is thinking, I want to know how she did that or does that I want to know. Because you said your son is taking over the business so it still exists.

Alison: It does.

Salena: So how did you get your business to this point where you are making money, you're employing people and you can also move to another country and still be making money out of it?

Alison: Yes well I had somebody here that was actually supposed to be taking things over and taking the responsibility for it. And if I came back we are going to be partners but I ended up basically coaching her through all of the estimating, all of the problems.  I was still phoning clients from Italy so I was really buying an awful lot of phone cards and making a lot of phone calls just trying to keep it all going. Because I didn't know if I go back or not and I didn't want the business to collapse. And then when Italy didn't turn out I'd gotten sick, my son wanted to return. And I thought OK, well it's a good job I sort of stayed as involved as I did. And so just saying hey, little bird go fly and figure it out. And then when I got back she hadn't really contributed as much to the businesses; the original plan was and then we just went our separate ways. So yeah.

Salena: So just digging a little bit deeper there. You said; I am 100 percent with you guys. Please don't start a business in the middle of a global financial crisis. Not that you did but I did. It's a little bit slow to get started but that's OK because like you said if you're starting from that point it can only get better. Economics was not my thing. Just saying that it wasn't a good idea at the time. That's okay, it went on to be fantastic. But you kind of roared the nice high and then you hedged that economic downturn. But yet you're still here when tens of thousands of businesses around the world aren't. Can you give us some insight as to how you manage to I'm assuming, differentiate your business? Because you wouldn't still be here if you went different or better or cheaper or something has to be different for you to still be here. So how did you go to deciding what that difference was going to be?

Alison: Oh I don't think it was actually a conscious choice. I think I just stumbled along. And now in retrospect, I can see what I did that was different. But in all honesty, if I said I was doing it with any level of consciousness at the time I would be lying because I was just trying to put food on the table. I was just trying to get through my day. And then from that, I was trying to make sure my son could play the sport that he wanted to play or go on the, you know the scouting trip that he wanted to go on or maybe we could have a holiday like what was that all about right. I didn't really start paying that much attention to business until the economy crashed. And then looking back I think sort of my secret sauce I suppose was the fact that I was female and I didn't try to be a dude. You know it could have been really easy for me to have said all. I'm just going to slap a number down on a piece of paper and give it to you and that's my quote. But I didn't feel good about doing that. So I did; I do a lot of education with my potential customers and my customers. Sometimes I talk myself out of work if I'm either A. I'm not the right person for a job or B. a paint not really going to fix it. So it was always really important to me that I was able to look in the mirror and feel like I had contributed to that interaction I was having with my client in some positive way.

Alison: And sometimes I got jealous because I was a girl and sometimes I didn't. Like people would be like, can you move a ladder? I know you are all girls.  And I'm like yeah actually we can you know we got a 40 foot on the band right now.  And so..

Salena: You need picking up.

Alison: That's right, with the help of at least one other person.

But it was; it was it took time to educate people and educate myself. And then there's an exercise that I have in my book that says, What's the worst. And so I encourage people to really think about; if you were sitting in a restaurant what is the worst thing you could hear anybody say about your company. And if somebody said, Alison is not the best painter in town, it would sting but I wouldn't be devastated. I'd be like OK maybe it's possible that there's somebody out there that's a better painter than me. But if somebody said to me she didn't provide value. Or I felt like she ripped me off. I would have to stop what I was doing interrupt that conversation and figure out how to fix this because that is like soul wrenching. Like I could; I would be devastated to hear something like that. Then when I started looking at my business, everything that was working really well in my business was aligned with me giving value, the way I supplied my estimates and the education that I gave.  I created a color consultation process to help people empowered to pick their own colors. And then the areas of my business that I realized wasn't working well are the ones that weren't aligned with this, 'What's the worst thing for me'. And so when I went I noticed that then I could start correcting those things and now my company is very much in alignment. We're going through a transition because my son is taking over and he has very different triggers and pain points. And so now we're adjusting to make sure that they fit his as well.

Salena: It was interesting he told me before that you; when you do your estimates you don't just do a straight-up bid. You actually do things like, how much the ceiling is going to cost, how much the baseboards are going to cos,t how much the walls are going to cost, how much the doors are going to cost. And that same story the Bores, and you can see why people just don't do it. Like you said when you take your why, your key value being value,  your key internal thing that you want to give to others to be valued. I look at it that if you gave that to me I've got two options. One is I can choose to be a tight ass and go don't do the baseboard or don't do the ceiling, don't do this, don't do that. But then what it also does is, it makes me see that if I cut those things out, the finished product is not going to be what is in my head. Whereas if you just tell me what to say. You know it's a thousand dollars to do these room or you know we cannot do this and not do this and it will be 600 dollars.  Even though you've kind of told me that it is 400 dollars difference.  In my head, it still looks like the thousand dollar product. Does that make sense?

Alison:  Yeah it does.

Salena: Because I don't have the value of each one of those things. I have to give you like the virtual high five. It sounds like the opposite. It sounds like if you itemized all these things customers would be like you are charging me 250 dollars for these what do you know, why don't you cut shiny windows doors. But that's the wrong kind of customer right.

Alison: Yeah

Salena: He looks at it and goes Oh OK that kind of makes sense now. I don't think I want to take anything out because I want the finished version.

Alison: Well and ultimately it just comes up to providing my customers with choices. Right. They can phase it out. So say they can't spend a thousand dollars at once. Maybe they can spend 353 times right and do it in phases and they can pick and choose what they want done or maybe they do have a little bit of painting skills but they can't go up and down ladders. So then maybe they'll go OK you know what. Fair enough. I could probably do the doors myself because I can do all of them from standing or you know I can paint the window or whatever the case may be.  And then I give them tips on how to do a better job with the house because their satisfaction at the end regardless of what they've ordered or if they've ordered their satisfaction is the most important thing to me. And so all of our systems are set up so that I can ensure that they're satisfied the way we track here and how often we check in. We give wine as thank you's at the end. And you know so we'd give one for referrals. So we were always trying to stay connected with how can this be a good experience for both of us. Win-win is extremely important for me.

Salena: And especially painting and thinking so many people would think. People don't get their houses painted every 10 or 15 years which is kind of true. But most people don't get the whole inside and outside painting without doing a major remodel. So maybe you do the inside and then maybe you get some work done. And you still have to go and touch it up and then you do the outside. So really you keeping in contact maybe it will be every five years.  But you being different and memorable is going to make them come back to you.

Alison: Well and there are companies in town who are just like oh my god if I hear I'm betting against you I just walk. And there are companies too who will be like oh I've seen your estimates. No wonder you get all the work. But people aren't willing to invest the time to do what I do because their value comes from something else.

Salena: Yeah.

Alison: Right. And so if they're finding a way to niche in their business in their way they're going to be successful with their types of clients. And those clients probably won't pick me because my pain point is being satisfied in a way that doesn't make sense to them necessarily.

Salena: So what you're saying is, there are customers for everybody. You don't worry. You don't have to worry about the competition. You just have to define yourself and really, really dig into those values and I think for mine, I was just thinking if I was sitting at a table and somebody said something about me I think mine would be, she never taught me anything. If she if I worked with her and I didn't learn a thing, that would make me cry. That would just be I have failed the world.

Salena: And so then in your business at all of your processes from the moment that somebody goes to your website or picks with the phone or calls you or whatever it is whatever your process is at every single step of the way. If there is a check and that somebody is learning something or a free offer so that they can you know get this extra research or whatever the case may be is going to satisfy you because you're not going to have to hear oh my god she didn't teach me anything. And you get to be so beautifully aligned with everything you're providing your customer/client because that's who you are. That's that's your pain point that you're fixing. And then, in turn, your client has a pain point that you're addressing as well. And so I think we often think about our client's pain point first but I think we need to think about our own pain point first. Otherwise, we're jumping through all these really uncomfortable hoops that make us feel awkward in our own skin to please somebody who may or may not even be the right fit for us. So if somebody was like I needed the best painter on the planet at my house I would just be like I'm out like I can give you a name of somebody who is going to spend 72 hours painting one door. That's not going to be me, that's not going to be my crew but I'm happy to help you find somebody like that because I want to give value. Right. And I don't see spending 72 hours to paint a door is good value. So that doesn't align with anything I want to offer.

Salena: No it just makes me think. Yesterday I had a conversation with a retailer who is opening another store in a completely different field in a big shopping mall.  And they contacted me because they wanted someone to help them hire. Now I have these awesome persons it's pretty much guaranteed to find you the right people. My churn rate is about two and a half to three years for an employee which is huge in retail. And I've even had people who use the same system to sell their businesses because all it does is finding the right person. It doesn't really matter what you what that person to do.  In this case, she wanted someone to buy her business. And I was trying to explain to him that I need to write my hate job policies. You're in retail you come. You know what to do for a refund what to do for an exchange in the shop, what to do with the money. What to do in an emergency like you've got another shop. Why don't you just use those it's a different business. It was like no one selling X and one selling Y you're still selling like they buy retail shops. It's a different product. I said OK. Well, I can help you find the right people that's my job. Like that's what I'm great at, I can help you out position descriptions. Now I need; anyway, he called me back and he said I've hired an HR company to write my store policy policies 150 pages, to do the job ads, to hire the people and to do the performance appraisals. And I said; the first thing I said to him was cool; are you going to pay that store manager that this person hires for two days to read the 150-page manual? Because that's you know, that's their job you're going to have to do it. No no no no no. They have to learn that themselves.

Salena: I was like hmm, you might want to ask the HR company about that. And then he said something else and I said well, how about you give me a call when you don't have any staff in six months. You know they've all left. What do you mean? I said look I don't think you and I are aligned.  I actually like create businesses that customers like to come into and people want to work in. And it doesn't sound like that's what you are looking for; that what you're looking to create. And he said, no, no, my business is here to make money. I went yep. That's not a problem. I can help you make money. But I also like to have businesses that people like to be in. Thanks very much. And it was just that value, it was like you know, good you can pay the HR company six thousand dollars to do all that for you. But I'm pretty sure you're not going to be there in 12 months because the people that they hire, they have nothing to align to.

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

Salena: Those store people, you know the HR companies hire them to do a job to put a person in the shop. They don't care who that person is.

Alison: Yeah yeah.

Salena: Yeah. But for somebody whose sole purpose is to make money all of their processes are going to be set up that way is it? I don't see it as being an overly sustainable model. But Trump did it so and I don't think he did it with his personality. And still for some people they can be very successful. If everything that they're aligned to, they're going to attract people that just want to make money.  They're going to attract maybe they're going to attract commission sales people.

Alison: You don't hear what you're selling and then that's; it's when you can identify the businesses that you want to work with because of what you could overhear somebody in the restaurant saying about you. Then they can find somebody who doesn't want somebody to think that they're not making money or whatever the case may be. But it does allow us to beautifully stay in our space.

Salena: Do you think that people get; I am trying to think of the right word. I'll say it and then we'll see if we can figure out the right. Do you think people get a little bit stuck is not the right word; and unable to make money because they are too hooked up in this concept of making; I'm not explaining this very well. Let's talk about usually happens in the health and wellness space right. They feel like they can't charge for their services because it's a service and community and things like that. Do you think that it's possible to get caught up in this; it's not OK to make money if I'm helping people?  Does that make sense?

Alison: Oh yeah. People get stuck in that all the time. I get stuck in that every once in a while where I'll be with the client and I'll just be like can I just do this for free for you?  And sometimes I do sometimes that's an itch and I just got to scratch it. But I try to have parameters around that. And so it does feed my sort of humanitarian peace. Like we just painted the Boy Scouts hut. They have no money in their budget. I know a woman whose kids have all gone through it. My son was in it when he was little. We are happy to paint it for free. And so it's picking and choosing. I think it's good for the soul it's sometimes you just donate your time or your services that sort of thing. But I think it's very very important to have a parameter around it so that it makes sense. You know I had a doctor; I think I talked about this in my book because I break my book down into self which is like you what's the worst you could hear and understand who you are in your business and why you got started. Then I deal with staff and customers and community. And when you're dealing with community it's so important to have a message that is aligned and clear and spoken about. And 1. It's super easy then to say no to people who don't fall into that parameter. And I think it makes it OK to charge what you charge because over here you're offsetting it with some community service. And I think it's really good for corporate soul to do that yet.

Salena: Yes, so let's focus on the book. We've talked a lot about your own self. We've talked; we've dug into that. I talked a little bit about stuff. Let's just quickly jump in there because the people who are listening more than likely have staff , whether they have a typical staff or a remote stuff. Tell us a little bit about how we can think opposite when it comes to our staff.

Alison: The number one thing that I see with businesses is that they treat their staff like an inconvenience. Right. And they're not like I would not be; I would still be on welfare if I didn't have staff helping me make more money, get off welfare, do the things that I wanted to have the life that I wanted to have. I needed staff in order to make that happen. And I could have gone through it just thinking staff were a commodity and I think at the beginning I probably did. There is like God I have to have staff. But I morphed into this appreciation for my staff like I care about what their goals are. I have actually helped staff start their own painting companies because that's what's important to them. And then they've sometimes left and come back and left and come back. They get a little bit more information on how to run the business and then they go back and try again because I don't believe in scarcity. I don't pay any attention to who my competition is. I think that's misplacing my energy. I just focus on the client that's in front of me and doing best by them and nobody else can do what they do like they can do them I'll do me. And even when I do hiring I do group interviews which is kind of unusual. Yeah right. So I'll bring like say 15 people who are applying for say five positions because summer we hire more people in the summer or less in the winter. And we just; I get them to play games and interact with each other and pretend they're the interviewer. They come up with a question and they ask everybody else the question like a speed dating type thing.

Salena: And I just watch how people interact. Because my favorite question in the group interview, and it goes back to what you just said it's the only reason that I'm mentioning this is, I asked them what they want to achieve in life and in some way shape or form, I might phrase it slightly differently. And the reason I ask is because a great example was one girl who I wanted to hire to be the store manager. She came up with that she said, I want to buy my family a house. But that is one goal in life. And so we offered her the job. She came in the next day and she said to me, I don't know what today entails. She said, I want to take your job but I've just been offered another job that pays 40 percent more. But I hate it. And I said to her how many years would you have to work in that job to get; you said you wanted to buy a house. Do you know how much money you need? She said yes. I said so how many years would you have to work in that job to get a date. And she said three years. Well, that means you would have to work with me for like five years to get to the same point. And I don't feel like I'm allowed to do that. I'm not; if that is the thing that you want the most in life, I'm going to tell you to take the other job. It's only 3 years. You can come back after you've done that, you can come back and work for me, there would be a place for you. You know what you just said just taking me in that scarcity mindset. And of course you know she ends up being one of her best advocates and she would always pop in. And you don't have to dislike people because they don't want to work with you or because they do need the money. Like at the end of the day it's OK to be selfish for a period of time to earn money. You need it.

Alison: Yeah. Oh God yeah. Yeah. It's been like Rosie haven't woken up every day going Woohoo I get to paint another house today. I know it was there for my dream job but I have found ways to love what I do because that goes back to the pain point right. I like educating customers because it makes me feel good that I am helping them make a decision. And I believe I've raised the bar with people with trades in the city I live in. People are expecting more. I've had clients say hey I'm not going let my plumber get away with this now. I'm like, can you take my name out of it. We are definitely raising the bar. And I think that comes with having good stuff as well. My customers are always fond of me saying I love your staff and I'm like yes because we love them.

Salena: Yes.

Alison: Like my staff knows we're pouring love on them all the time like if there's anything I can do. You know we even do this every month they get money towards... because I'm not a big enough company for and because of seasonal to have health plans. And I think they're kind of a rip-off. I don't know what they're like there but here, you get a life insurance but it falls apart when you leave the company. So you're paying into something that's only good while you're with the company that feels like hostage taking to me.

Salena: Yeah yeah. even in Australia, we have free healthcare. So we're very lucky.

Alison: We have free healthcare up until that point but a lot of companies will want health care because it will pay for prescriptions or chiropractor so we can see our doctors for free. Right and depending on when there's a sliding scale for prescription and that sort of thing. The dentist is over and above so a lot of these sort of fall within this. So all I do is I've picked a certain amount of money every month and they can use it for any mental health anything. So if they want to get a pedicure I don't care, if that's going to make you feel good go and get it done. If you want a massage, if you want to go to the dentist, you can use glasses. I don't care just access the money with an added bonus on your check. And then at the end of the year if you don't use any of it will just pay you. And so things like that and that's not going to work for every business. We do love tokens. So every other week between paydays my staff give love tokens, virtual love tokens to other people on the crew that they feel short for work while along with others try really hard making the sort of the most gains in their skill set. And everybody votes and the person with the most votes get some cash between paydays and it's a beautiful way of people feeling like they're making an impact by doing what they're doing.

Alison: And so there's always ways.

Salena: And it didn't have to come down to money like I was just thinking just saying thank you. Like sometimes I quite often say my team messages just like, have I told you lately that you're awesome. You doing something that I maybe forgot about. Like I was just thinking I said look my editor may be watching this. In an interview; and I'm usually making noise so he can just skip straight to that point. And I'd forgotten and I said to him Oh you publish the episode I forgot to tell you I coughed and he's like oh no no no I saw that because he could see the little white house. I was like, he said, oh no, I cut that before I published it. I was like, have I told you lately that you were awesome? It's just nice being told that you are wanted right. And that you are respected and that costs nothing.

Alison: Yeah. And you know this in between payday is $50. And we're not talking, it's not hundreds and hundreds of dollars. And often they'll just go out and buy  like doughnuts and coffee for everybody with the money right. So they are giving the love back. And so it's an opportunity for people to go, oh I work on a team that appreciates me.

Salena: I just quickly want to touch on one thing because I know it's a little bit of your specialty. And we've talked a lot and I don't want to waste too much time. I don't want to jump in because it could be a whole extra episode. But the economic downturn and even just seasonality of business which can put you into that roller coaster where you do get into the dip. And I know even personally you can find yourself doing a little bit of  hanging around in those Facebook groups where you feel much better because everybody else is doing crap as well. I am naughty. There are lots of people who are probably nodding right now. Going yeah. How does that affect our overall self. Like our self, our business, our mindset? Is it okay to do that for a period of time, should we just leave those groups and just find some more happy people to hang around?
Alison: You leave the group. Just say no, you know that negativity is like cancer. It really is and we get so drawn into it like little by little by little. And before we know it we are the biggest whiner in there. And then we don't even like ourselves and then we are going to work and we are making everything work because we are pitching and complaining about everything that is happening on Facebook which is even real. And then our staff leave and now we end up in this horrible downward spiral. I think if you start spending time with people who are using a lot of victim statement; if you find yourself, you know it is not there, why is this happening to me? Those kinds of victim statement suck. And so understanding that all of the choices that you make got you to where you are. And if you want things to be different, you got to make different choices.

Salena: So you are going to take some actions, right.

Alison: Absolutely, yeah but I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with taking a break and going, I'm going to just regroup. But give yourself a time limit. Like even if it's like 30 minutes on a clock if that's what you need. Or maybe it's a long weekend where you are going to leave town or something. But get back into it. The only way I believe to combat that is to just keep moving.

Salena: And even if you make the wrong; feels like the wrong decision later on, at least you took a step, right.

Alison: Yeah right, there is nothing worse than stagnant. And if you are heading in a direction and it ends up not being necessarily the direction that you want, at least you've got momentum behind you to shift gears and go somewhere else. And most businesses smaller businesses are pretty easy ships to turn. And it's not difficult to go in on a Monday and say, okay guys, we slipped into this. I don't like where it's heading. We are going to create a whole new policy around that. What do you think? Where do you see this going? What're your thoughts about this. Include your staff, they see things that you'll never see.

Salena: Oh, that is so true. And I was just thinking about, have you seen that stop video. I have to find that on Youtube. I saw the lady walked into the therapist and she was talking about how bad her life is. And he said, well I just got one thing for you. Stop!!! And he was like stop, stop. And every time I get into one of those little fogs, I can't find that video on Youtube but I'll find it in the show notes. But it's absolutely hilarious. It's kind of like this hurts when I push it. Well, don't push it.

Alison: Exactly, yeah. And you know misery loves company, sadly. And so when we are feeling a little bit miserable, I personally hate having miserable people around me because I don't want to feel more miserable that I do at that moment. And just because somebody else is having a bad day doesn't stop my day from being shift. And so I don't see an upside to listening to other people whining and complaining. As soon as I get around it, I'm just like ah I'm out. If it's not going to solve what you are saying in the like the next five minutes and you actually want to solve what you're talking about..

Salena: Wanting to solve an issue. So let's just say that you are having a bad day, bad week, bad month, whatever it is. And you are still in that Facebook group, my suggestion is instead of saying, I had no customers today or my orders are down, would be hi, had anyone got any tips for me to do such and such? But you just said, you have to actually want to solve the problem. Why did someone not want to solve the problem?

Alison: Their success. I've heard somebody with like that's the number one fear is that people think what if I'm really as great as I could be? And that's scary for people. When we succeed we often leave people behind. And that can be sad and scary. I know for years my parents said to me, well, when are you going to get a real job? And I'm like, I have 18 staff, I'm making good money. I own more than one property and you want to know when I'm going to get a real job? And so it's so easy to sort of go down that road. But they were scared for me so they didn't want me to grow. They had their own business that hadn't done well and so they didn't want the same thing happened to me. So it really didn't matter how successful I became. Their fear just wanted me to go with what they knew to be safe. And so we had some rocky years because I wasn't prepared to listen to them. And I was prepared to do what I needed to do to continue to be more successful. Fortunately, they came around and now they are like, look at my daughter, she is great. And so we've come a long way, but it's scary I think, thinking that you might have to go it alone.

Salena: That is very true and we are very much in the same page. We have a lot of similarities. I really struggle with one side of my family. Like I have one side of my family who thinks I'm awesome and there a couple of entrepreneurs on that side of the family. And they always go, how is the business? Oh that's great. And then if you've got a question, they are like, oh this something we tried. And then I've got people like my dad and my brother. And this hurts like you said. This really, really hurts. Just hypocritical of everything I do. I think because they are just jealous. You know I'm living this really lovely life. Whereas they get up 3 o'clock in the morning to drop the forklift and struggling. They are both divorced and things like that. So they are just being totally divide down our family. And in your heart you want your parents to love you. You want your brothers and sisters to love you but you almost have to distance yourself because you can't let them bring you down. And that is so true. So I was just thinking when you said that, it took a very long time. Like I have been doing this for over a decade now. It would almost be like when I see, like I would see him, I would just be like ah yeah, you know. We'd never be like I just won an award. You want your parents to be so excited for you if you win an award or you've had your best year ever. I always felt like I had to dull that down. Whereas the other side of my family. My aunt would be posting on Facebook. Oh look at this, she just won an award. So that kind of; even if it is self-conscious; and I hadn't really thought of it before until you said it. But that kind of sub-conscious who are we going to leave behind? That could be a huge limiting factor.

Alison: Yeah, and it's not that we necessarily have to leave them behind. Like you don't have to leave your dad and your brother behind. But it won't change the nature of your relationship. And maybe we can do things like get them aware of what's the worst. So that when they are driving their forklift they can bring their own personal meaning to that. Right. So maybe; I don't know what that would look like. But maybe if they could figure out how to get to that place where they are more in alignment with what they are doing and doing it less begrudgingly.

Salena: So you said that, and I guess this is a mindset thing. My brother drives a forklift for a fruit and vegetable company. The most obvious thing is, how cool is this? I get to deliver. I get to work in a process where people in Australia get to eat beautiful, fresh, healthy organic food. That seems obvious. Like you said, even the most, not menial job, but if you are doing a job, you are doing something. Something in that process is helping someone else. Otherwise it wouldn't be a job.

Alison: But that doesn't always motivate people. Right. Doing something nice for another person doesn't motivate. So often what we do is I think that because I care about providing great value and education with everything that I do, that everybody must think that's important. Well, not everybody does. Right. And I see other people do things and I'm like, that's not important. But to them, it's really important. So how do people get in touch with what that is? Because he might not care that he is giving fresh produce to people in Australia. He might be like I don't like produce. I never want to see another lettuce. So it's possible that that's not a good motivator for him. Maybe what's important is that he gets to reclaim some of his life. So he has a job but he does it at 3 o'clock in the morning but he's done it 1 o'clock in the afternoon whatever it is. Now he can go fishing, or surfing or whatever it is that he wants to do. And then he can see the job as a tool to allow him to go fishing. Now his relationship with that job is different because it's not that direct. I need to educate somebody so I can incorporate education in this. For him, this is a tool so that I can do that. I can't make money fishing and I love fishing but this job allows me to go out every day and fish for four hours. I couldn't do that with a different job. So when we can start to see things as gifts or as a way of allowing us to have the life that we want, it's going to look different for everybody. And so we don't necessarily have to leave people behind, we can either help them in sort of discreet ways, figure out a way of appreciating what they are doing more, or get into something that they would appreciate more. Or we don't have to talk about those things or we can leave them completely. But sometimes as family, we don't want to walk out on them completely. So maybe you just don't talk about work. Maybe you guys just have an agreement that we just don't talk about work.

Hey, let's just talk about food because we love food, whatever.

Salena: Yeah, fishing.

Alison: Fishing, exactly. It just changes the nature of things. And I think that it's getting into that domino effect that understanding how the choice I make today is going to affect tomorrow. So if I get pissed off with my brother because he's not supportive of my award. How is that going to impact our relationship? If I don't tell him of the award, how is that going to impact our relationship? And will I still feel good about it if I don't get to toot my own horn because I work hard for that award? Right. So it's spending time to think about what's acceptable and what's not.

Salena: That's interesting. So I think you have just made it very, very clear that you can help us change our minds by thinking differently. If people would love to know more about you, I'm going to finish up there because I think that was a really good spot where you just kind of brought the whole conversation around right back to the beginning where thinking things differently, just not thinking about it from the other person's perspective but just thinking about, what is the opposite. That's exactly; thinking opposite is the name of your show, is the name of your book. I think that may just change someone's life today. They may be in a situation where they think, well, what if, what can I change to look at this completely differently. So people want to find out some more about you, where can they find you?

Alison: My website is I'm also on social media, you can find me under my name Alison Donaghey Domino thinking depending on the platform. But hit me up on my website I answer all of my emails. I'm always happy to have a conversation with people or to delve into something little bit further. Most things are pretty quick fix. Like a lot of times people will just say, hey you said thins thing. How does this apply? And I'm like oh, like this. And they are like oh, great and it's done. Sometimes it's just a different way of thinking about things. And I just want to reiterate when you were talking about the whole thing called opposite thing. The important part is to be willing to suspend your belief. Because we can't think positive unless we are willing to suspend our belief. So the very first step is to suspend your belief. Then there is space to consider a different perspective. But as long as we are holding unto our belief as the only belief there is no room for any opposite thinking. And so that's that first step is to be willing to think that there could be a different way, then you can let go the emotion around it to explore a different way.

Salena: And letting go the emotion, that's a whole different podcast. Thank you so much for sharing all this information with our guest today.

Alison: Oh it's been my pleasure spending time with you. Thank you so much.


Alison Donaghey is a Radio Host of Think Opposite, Author of an international best-selling book Think Opposite: Using the Domino Effect to Change Your Business, Change the World, Speaker, and a Cause and Effect Strategist and will expand your mind in ways you didn’t think possible.
Alison’s latest project is #mypart. Accepting our part in every single situation we find ourselves in which brings us to a place of true empowerment with the goal to see ourselves as part of humanity as a whole rather than dividing it into victims and victimizers, oppressed and oppressor thus moving towards understanding the inherent value of everyone.

“Each week I interview industry and thought leaders for their take on business and life. Subscribe and leave as a review”