From: Howie Jacobson <>
Subject: Flipping the switch: going from critic to ally

Hey, Howie Jacobson here, from Plant Yourself, Sick to Fit, and Proteinaholic.

You might have noticed something odd in my last email.

I referred to the person you want to help change as a “partner.”

Remember, your role when facilitating change is not to direct or provide solutions.

Instead, you are going to create a safe space, free from judgment, where the two of you can brainstorm solutions for their challenge. You can only do that when they see you as a thought partner or helpful resource – not as a source of criticism.

That’s the basis of the first of the Four Steps: Shift from Critic to Ally.

You may be tempted to skip this step, and jump right into the “action” steps: Outcome, Opportunity, and Plan. But I’d argue that this mindset shift, and the behavior shift it leads to, is the foundation of the entire process.

The truth is, we don’t skip this step because it’s trivial, but because it’s hard. If you’ve been frustrated by the other person’s behavior for a while, and you’ve been hitting your head against a brick wall trying to show them the error of their ways, you may not feel like dropping your judgment, anger, or fear.

I get it.

It feels good to be a critic, in a twisted way.

It’s easy to go heavy on “helpful” advice. You may struggle against the truth that you have no control over their behavior, and let your frustration get the better of you. I’m not gonna lie - this step can be challenging!

And the more you care, and the closer you are to the person, and the longer your history with them - the harder it can be.

So how do you become an ally of the person you want to change?

We share a simple and straightforward process in You CAN Change Other People. Like most things in the book, it’s counterintuitive. (If this stuff weren’t counterintuitive, we’d all be doing it and there would be no need for the book.)

The magic happens when you shift your focus, temporarily, from the other person, and point it back on yourself. Don’t deny or suppress your anger, frustration, or fear. Don’t try to “happy talk” or affirm yourself out of those feelings. Don’t debate them.

Instead, inquire what’s behind them? What is your positive intent that’s motivating the negative emotions?

In other words, if you didn’t care about them, or about values that are important to you, you wouldn’t be upset now. The intensity of your feelings is a barometer of your underlying positive intent. You want to make a difference, to help, to relieve suffering.

Once you are clear on YOUR positive intent – you can follow the rest of the process that we share in chapters 8 and 9 of You CAN Change Other People.

This is just the beginning of the first step of the Four Steps detailed in You CAN Change Other People. Until September 22, you can preorder and receive the coaching demonstrations Peter and I recorded with real people facing real challenges – professionally and personally - by forwarding your receipt to

Learn more about the preorder here.


PS: Scrolled to the bottom? Until Sept. 22, you can preorder You CAN Change Other People and receive access to our recorded coaching calls demonstrating the Four Steps. Learn more here.