Stepping Into the Mind of Marcus Oakey
Stepping Into the Mind of Marcus Oakey
How’s it going everybody! It’s Steven, the writer of The Social Write! This week I managed to get an awesome Interview with one of the best conversation coaches that I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, Marcus Oakey! Marcus has been huge in the industry for quite sometime, and has trained hundreds if not thousands of people in the art of communication. His blog Your Charisma Coach was one of the first things I stumbled upon when learning all this, and I’ve learned a huge amount from this gentleman so it’s pretty unreal to have him with us this week.
I did try to audio record it, but unfortunately technology just wasn’t co-operating. So I decided to just get it all written down here in its entirety for you guys to each up and digest.
Marcus: “Hey, Thanks for having me Steven!”
Steven: “Absolutely no problem! I’ve been following Marcus’s blog since the beginning of my own journey, so it’s rather mind blowing to be having this conversation with you.”
Marcus: “I’m happy to be here.”
At this point I didn’t want to just fan-girl out, so I quickly moved into the the questioning!
What was the first moment that you decided to pursue this skill set?
Steven: “I’ve noticed in the industry, that most coaches, most people that are prevalent in the industry have a moment where they decide that enough is enough, and they decide to change this aspect of their lives around and get better with talking to people.”
Marcus: “Well you know I’d love to say that I was struck by a meteorite and was given green powers or something like that, but the actual situation was that I really was bad at speaking to people. I was very introverted, I had a small group of friends and I wasn’t really the life of the party so I was very frustrated at watching opportunities pass me by.”
“One difficult moment I remember I was in a bar, and there was music playing, and nobody wanted to dance with me. I just didn’t know what to say, and I struggled to ask this girl for a dance. When I finally built up the confidence, she was like NO.”
“I think the actual moment, everyone goes through a period where they want to change their lives. Where they hit rock bottom and they’re like well screw this. Because it’s either going to beat you, or you’re going to do something about it. Anger and frustration may manifest themselves into really useful motivators. So for a while you may feel angry and frustrated, and I certainly felt that for a while.”
“I didn’t really know where to turn in that situation, all I knew is that i wanted to improve. And I’m a big believer in the idea that if the Why is big enough, if why you’re doing something is strong enough, regardless of how you’ll do it you’ll find a way.”
How Long Have You Been Coaching?
Marcus: “Since 2002, I was doing it A little bit as well, but 2002 was when I was doing full time coaching”.
Steven: “Did you start Your Charisma Coach when you went full time, or was it a little bit before then?”
Marcus: “Well I was doing it a little bit before then as you know, but back then it was more through word of mouth you know, I’d help people out. It would almost be like someone would say “Oh hey, I know someone that could use your help.” So in a weird way it was kind of like Hitch, because here’s someone else who needs to speak with you. In the begging it was a little bit here and a little bit there. Then what I did was worked with lots of companies around the world to work as trainer for Social Improvement companies, dating companies, that sort of thing. And really honed my form that way.”
“I realized that everybody was focused on dating, and no one’s really focused on the area of improving your social skills, and it seems to me like, improving your social skills does more for you then just focusing on dating. And that’s where I kind of came up with the idea, I realized that if you get that handled, everything else comes as a by-product.”
How Long Have You Been Working on this Total? Like When Did You Start?
Marcus: “I started in 2001, I was in my university computer room late at night, googling how to talk to people, and I trying to find out how to talk to people, like how to be witty and things like that. From there I came across a book How To Win Friends and Influence People. It would tell you why you should do it, but didn’t go into depth on HOW to do it, and that’s what I was curious about.”
“That book set me off on a journey on looking up all sorts of resources, and I found that a lot of tips and strategies lied in drama and public speaking, so I stated going to things like Toastmasters and just finding resources that could be easily accessed.”
What got you interested in Coaching? What made you decide to start helping others?
Marcus: “I found that when you learn something, you first put it in your mind. You let it sit there and bake a bit, and that’s usually as far as it goes. But about 1 in 100, it’s a really low number actually go out and apply it. Instead by going out and putting it into practice, it helped cement it in my mind. From there, by coaching other people, it help further ingrain it in my mind and cement things into place.”
“I also became interested in coaching, is because there was a real need for it. Nobody was teaching social skills, everyone was just teaching dating. Which is very valuable, but there was no one filling that niche, so that was another reason why. I seem have a very analytical mind, so I was able to really look at conversation and break it down and explain . And people seemed to get a lot from that, so the move into coaching was a very organic one.
“I didn’t wake up one day and decide to be a coach, it built itself up bit by bit. I just kept working on it til someone said RIGHT! You should do this for a living. I moved into in in little steps, it was that process of helping people. It’s an amazing feeling seeing someone coming from place of pain and frustration and help them move through that to a place of happiness and helping them take control of their life. That transformation is really rewarding. It’s kind of like that feeling for a comedian where they tell a joke on stage and everyone laughs, for a coach when you help transform somebody, that’s one of the most satisfying feelings.”
What About the blog? What gave you the idea to start taking Your Charisma Coach to the next level and spread the word online?
“The blog started because I wanted to reach people online. I was only doing coaching through word of mouth, and I had a couple friends who had websites and thought it was a good idea, so that’s why I started it. The first website I had was shambles, it was a real mess. Then I had someone help me, and I got something more appealing, and the coaching stuff started to grow, and some people found out through the free eBook on the website, and things just grew from there.”
“So it wasn’t really a vision to take it to the next level, it was just kind of a development. What I realized is that all around the world, people suffer from social anxiety and they suffer from shyness and being lonely, and that if we can figure out some way to help them out that’s fantastic. So yeah, it started as just this little idea, and gained momentum.”
Tell me a little bit about your history! Where’s home for you? Have you always lived in London?
Marcus: “I was born on the outskirts of London, and the edges of London are my home really. I travel the world a lot, coaching and training. I been to some fantastic places and I’ve seen some fantastic places and hope to visit many more. But for me, my favorite place in the whole world is my bed. I love coming back home, the more I travel, the more I like it back home. So yeah, I’ve traveled around the world, but I’ve stayed around London for pretty much my entire life.”
“I think that it’s very important that if you’re trying to transform yourself into any type of endeavor or trying the develop a personality or anything like that, travel is fantastic. It puts you in situations that you wouldn’t normally be in. Whether it be trying to work out where your flight is in a foreign language. But it also lets you see how other people live, and really rounds you out as a person, gives you so much moire to talk about. I’ve never met anyone who travels a lot who’s negative, who has a bad mindset, who’s stuck. People who travel a lot are usually really bright, going places, and adventurous. So traveling is really important.”
“But I am based in London, and the only other place I think I’d be willing to move is Japan, which is my spiritual home I think.”
In terms of coaching, do you solely focus on social skills development now? Or do you assist in Dating, Business Building or anything like that?
Marcus: “My coaching and training has probably evolved over the years. When I first started, it was really focused on social skills, like What do I say? What’s the perfect ice breaker? How can I make these people like me? What I’ve realized is that a lot of our problems in conversation come from deep aspects of our personalities. So instead of just focusing on the relationship with everyone else, which is massively important, it’s also important to cultivate your relationship with myself. So in that respect my coaching has gotten more spiritual.”
“But I also do work with a couple dating companies. One of them is called Sasha Daygame and the other is called The Natural Life Styles. They’re two really great companies and i’m good friends in the dating industry. I also help people with business networking. You know when you go into a room, and everyone is just talking, how do you get them to love you. So yeah I teach in all of those areas, but on the website, I focus on social skills because those are the vehicle of connection, and if you’re good at talking to people, then everything comes a little bit more naturally.”
In terms of preference, I prefer to meet people during the day. Do you prefer meeting people during the day, or night?
Marcus: “I love meeting people in ALL situations. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night. I do find that people tend to be a little more receptive during the day. At night, the dynamic changes a little bit. Specially if you’re in a place like a bar. There’s a lot more things to be aware of, for example where they’re standing, how they’re standing, what they’re talking about. You can’t really so easily have light idle chit chat in a bar like you can during the day. Not in all circumstances of course. See the trick is that you have to be more engaging then everything around you. In a club with a ton of distractions, you kind of have to up your game a bit and be more engaging, whereas in a park, I simply have to be more engaging than a tree, which is quite doable.”
“So that’s one aspect. I don’t necessarily find one harder and one easier, there are just different things that lend themselves to a conversation. Talking to people during the day, they aren’t expecting it, so you have to be a little more persistent. But at night, people are more prone to be talkative so once you get them talking, they’re more willing to talk for longer. Likewise, people are more trusting during the day, if you get them stopped during the day they’re more willing to give you the time of day. Whereas if you stopped a person walking on the street at night, they’re more going to wonder “what does this person wants?”. So each has it’s positives and negatives.”
“Actually solid skill to build is talking to one new person a day just for one minute. If you can’t do a minute do 30 seconds. That’ll change your life.”.
Do you currently work with any other coaches in the industry right now, or just your own team?
Marcus: “So I have a team of quite a few guys spread around the world. We all work together and run workshops for Your Charisma Coach in North America and mostly in London. They’re the most intensive coaches that exist and I know that because I’ve worked with almost every other company out there, so I made ours the best.”
“I do work with a lot of other coaches, they usually get me in. There’s certain companies I’ve worked with and trained they’re coaches for them. And added to their curriculum, and I know a lot of other guys that teach others social skills have done some work with them along the way. But I like to work with people in completely different industries because you learn a lot from them. You learn a lot of things that you didn’t think of. For example if I work with dating coaches I might learn a couple of tips or tricks that they do, that I hadn’t considered.”
“But more exciting then that, for example, is working with let’s say a bunch of artists, something completely random. You know when you meet someone with a different perspective on life, it opens you up to a lot of things you didn’t realize. How much of the world do we not even know, that we don’t even know about? You don’t know, what you don’t know. So then the next step is realizing what you don’t know, and working with people that you never, ever thought about is the best way to realize what you don’t know. Then from that, you can mine and find new resources.”
“So yeah, I do work with other companies, but my main resource is my team. We have a team of specialists, each person is the best at what they do. For example we’ve got a guy named Russ from Sydney, Australia. He is Mr. Charm, he’s the most charming person ever, when I met him I thought he’s better then me. So I need him to work for me, so that’s how Russ became part of the team. I continue to learn from everyone, I’m learning every day, trying new stuff and finding out.”
Do you look up to anyone in the field? Any mentors?
Marcus: “There’s two people I look up to in the field. One of them isn’t in the industry anymore, he was a trainer who was an absolutely fantastic guy. He was a dating coach named Adams Lyons, who’s a great guy, he still about. He was probably the best in his field. And his mentor is a guy named Tom, who doesn’t coach but he happened to teach Adam, and he’s a guy I look up to. I met that way and I’m always learning things from that guy, he’s fantastic.”
“Igor Ledochowski is a hypnotist, and he’s pretty much my mentor. He’s a great guy, I’ve learned a lot from him on the journey over the last ten years. He’s pretty much the smartest guy on the planet. In regards to coaching, training, anything like that. If I don’t know the answer, if no one I know knows the answer, he does. So Igor Ledochowski, if you have the opportunity to check out his stuff, I highly recommend it (Psst, Steven Here, I put a link to Igor’s blog at the bottom of the this question ;)), your in good hands with that guy.
What goals are you hoping to achieve in 2016?
Steven: “What are you hoping to accomplish?”
Marcus: “Well in 2016 I’d like to get my first proper product out. I’m going to focus on that, i’m going to write an expanded version of the eBook that’s available on my site for free. I’m going to make a paid version, which is going to have a lot more juicy stuff in it. Loads more amazing tips and strategies I’ve developed over the last few years and so I’m pouring a lot of time into that. I’m also going to be running four seminars a year, big master classes, and continue training. We’ve develop a platinum training, which is seven days of in-depth training with myself and my team and it’s very thorough.”
“It’ll take you from a very shy guy, to a transformational rock-star. So a guy that has every opportunity, someone who can meet and connect with anyone anywhere. This training has been in development for the last decade, so it’s good to get that going. We’ve run it several times over the last couple years already, but now we’re ready to launch it properly. So those are the main focuses for Your Charisma Coach.”
“I think in a personal way, I’m trying to learn lots of new skills. I’ve realized that you need to think on what makes you happy in life. For me, I was watching a Facebook video, a friend of mine, a skateboarder. I thought wow, he’s skate boarding that’s so cool, I’m 34, I should’ve taken up skateboarding. Dang it, I never did. S I said screw it, that night I went out and bought a skate board, flew out to Barcelona and hung out with him and skate boarded on the beach. I realized that in life, we only have so many hours a day, how many of those hours are we actually filling up with stuff we love?”
“It shouldn’t be at least one hour a day doing things we love. It should be the goal to fit in as much time as possible doing what we love, so I’m just learning to juggle at the moment, and I’m learning to do a rubix cube, which is very geeky, but I love doing it. So finding those little things, those hobbies, i’m trying to do more of those. Now my passion away from Your Charisma Coach, is Calisthenics, basically building up body strength. I love doing that, I train almost everyday, and my goal is to do a muscle up, which is basically a pull up into a dip and it’s crazy hard. So it’s very important to spread yourself in that sense. I also hope by the end of the year, to be able to play the ukulele, I haven’t played one in eight years, so things are going to change!”
How’d you get into Calisthenics?
Marcus: “So when I was younger, I hated Gym when I was in school, I hated physical fitness, but as I got older I realized that actually I probably need to get stronger. A friend of mind took me under his wing and took me to the gym, but I always felt like a tourist there I never really felt like it was my thing. So I plugged away at the gym going from doing hundreds of bicep curls and triceps curls and all this rubbish and I just wanted to focus on core exercises like bench press, dead lifts and squats. I got a fitness trainer it was going good and I was doing silly stuff like food, trying to bulk up and blah blah blah.”
“One day i’m in gym and a friend shows my a video of a guy named Hannibal for King. He was doing these crazy strength exercises like muscle ups and flags and things like that and I remember thinking that the program I’m on is never going to get me to that point. It’ll get me bulky but it’ll never get me really strong, i’m talking about the strength old men have when they’re still strong now. So I started to look into that more and I started to realize that doing body weight exercises builds strength in a very organic way, in a way that our body is designed to move in. I started to hit a wall right away and realized how weak I was because big bulging muscles doesn’t exactly mean strong.”
“For example, I tried to do 50 push ups very slowly, and I failed! I did this for about a year, and i’d do them quick and my friend said “dude you need to slow down”. So I tried again to slow it down and I died again! I was making progress, but it felt like I wasn’t making progress. I just felt constant set backs, set back, set back, set back. So I looked at Calisthenics as build strength very slowly as a discipline, and building that discipline as allowed me to apply it to other areas of my life, it’s awesome, and the thing about Calisthenics is that it builds your tendon and ligament strength before muscle growth, because that’s how you build true strength, these fibers are built slowly over years and years, but once you get them, they’re pretty hard to lose. So that approach really appealed to me, being able to move your body through any kind of plane and being able to lift your body weight up is something that I think anybody should able to do.”
“It’s funny because if you can do twenty pull ups, most guys can’t do twenty pull ups, you still get a chiseled physique, and that’s what drew me to it, I love stuff that’s out of the ordinary, a great book on it is called convict conditioning which I’d recommend to anyone.”
What were the biggest obstacles you faced when learning this skill set?
Marcus: “Wow that’s a great question, Apathy was the hardest thing for me to get over. Apathy is fear, so apathy is like when you know you could do something, but you can’t be bothered. It’s more like laziness, disguised as fear, so I got to a point where my social skills were pretty good and I can talk to anyone now…but I don’t want to. And I began to wonder is it truly because I got this skill licked, or is it because of apathy?”
“So what I did was I forced myself to go and talk to people in the end, even when I didn’t feel like it. Just so I can get the feeling of actually, it was apathy, or was it that I genuinely didn’t feel like talking to that person. So there’s a very unusual fear there and it’s something I had to pass through. One thing of note is that it’s not really a skill that anybody talks about and it’s something that you learn about a little further down the road, so yeah, doing that. I was never this guy who was like “I’m going to go out and talk to fifteen people a day”, which is great it’s a great approach, but I never went out and did it that way. I was never a shotgun, I was more of a sniper.”
“What I mean by that is that I didn’t make these skills something I did, I made them something I am. So when I went to the shops, I probably stop and talk to somebody, it never “feels like the right time”, But there’s always the wrong time and there’s always too late to help narrow your choices. So I’d go and chat with people under my own steam, when I wanted too, I wouldn’t force myself. Now, sometimes I’d have to give myself a little push but I wouldn’t set myself with the formal challenge of talking to X number of people a day. What happens is it’s great to start out with, it’s great for a learning curve, but eventually they just become numbers, they get in the way of your authenticity and building meaningful connections. It’s better to have one or two meaningful conversations a day, rather then a bunch of rushed ones. So that was something I had to get my head around a bit, that was an obstacle too.”
“So Apathy was the biggest one, and ultimately, the biggest obstacle of all is the relationship we have with ourselves. So it took me a while to understand that it isn’t about the people i’m talking to, it’s about me and my relationship with myself. Do I love myself? What do I love about myself? Things like that, that was just a good way of clearing up a lot issues we have with meeting people.”
Tell me about a significant moment during your journey. A crazy night, a situation that went explosively right/wrong, anything like that!
Marcus: “See this is the problem, me and my friend Johnny who’s a Charisma trainer based in America. So much crazy stuff has happened to us, that when people ask us a question like this it’s like “Uhh…” because it’s kind of everyday. Alright so here’s a random example, just kind of something that came into my head. I went out and was talking to people, I met this really cool girl, she was a lot of fun, and it was her birthday and she celebrated her birthday in a farmhouse in the middle of the English country side, so I went there and found out that the farmhouse belonged to a rock-star. I wound up in this rock-star’s Jacuzzi at 2 in the morning getting completely wasted. I was surrounded by pretty girls and having a great time and thinking to myself, “well this is a great life”. And lot’s of things like that happen.”
“Getting bumped up to VIP or to first-class on a flight just because I had a great conversation with someone is always fun. Okay here’s a crazy one. I went into a bar in left square, in London. It was right when the remade star trek came out, I was in this bar and I wind up talking with this guy in the corner. We get on the topic of star trek and it’s like what’d you think of it? I’m like it’s a bit geeky really, and bit like one for the nerds, and he’s laughing and says I agree actually. And we keep talking a couple girls run up to him. I asked him what’d you do, and he says he’s a producer. I asked him what’ve you done, and he says that new star trek movie actually. So I wound up talking with the producer of the Star Trek movie.”
“When you start talking to people you have the ability to create magical moments with them, and become the most intersting thing that’s happened to them that day. When you make someone feel that emotion, when you’re chatting to them, you are different from every other person. That can lead to some really fun interactions, it can lead to some really great things. Just the other day, I met the world’s top blogger, a man named Steve Pavlina, what did we do? Oh right, we played board games and he beat me EVERY TIME. Ah man, what else did we do with Steve Pavlina? Did I push him in the sea? But yeah, things like that happen! All the time, it’s crazy, I love my life.”
Approach Anxiety is something that all of us have faced, what advice could you give to someone in that situation?
Marcus: “First if you’re feeling anxiety, that’s completely normal, anxiety is an emotion, we’re given a lot of emotions to experience in life and anxiety is just one of them. So anxiety comes from fear, specifically you doubt that you’re good enough, and when you go and talk to somebody, you look at them as if they’re a mirror, and that they’re going to reflect you back. We carry anxiety when we feel broken inside on some level, and we all pick up little things that cause pain, we pick up things that cause us hurt, and we look to peoples reactions almost as a way of masking that pain. When they don’t smile, when they don’t give us validation, that internal pain starts to hurt a bit.”
“So what Approach Anxiety is pushing you to do is to look at the relationship you have with yourself, if you find somebody who truly loves themselves, and this is quite a hard thing i’m asking here but if you truly love yourself, you won’t get anxiety. It’s because you don’t want something from the other person, Approach Anxiety comes when you want something from the other person. So what I would suggest, a practical tip, is you know that voice in your head? Rather then have that voice in your head say you’re not good enough, or you’re doing something wrong, or even something positive like Yay you’re doing great, replace whatever it’s saying to you with three words.”
“Those three words are I Love You, just keep repeating that in your head, I Love You. Every time that voice pops up in your head saying “No Don’t Go Talk To Them!” say, I Love You. Keep saying that, keep telling yourself I Love You. Direct your love not into other people to start, but into yourself, because you’re going to find that when you love yourself talking to people comes a lot easier. For the record if I see a girl who gives me a bit of anxiety, that’s the girl I want to go meet, that’s the one who stands out for me. So yeah, ideally you WANT a bit of anxiety, it gives you a bit of an edge. It makes you authentic, if you’re a bit nervous, that’s real. If you don’t have any anxiety because you’ve just muscled through it so often you come across as too smooth, too polished.”
“So experiencing that fear and doing it anyways is cheesy advice, but it’s very powerful. How you handle it is you take deep breaths and remind yourself that you love yourself.”
In your personal opinion, do you think the world has become a more disconnected place because of the invention of the smartphone?
Marcus: “Absolutely, yeah smartphones have connected us on one plane, one scape, but they’ve sort of destroyed the cultural landscape as well. People really don’t talk to each other anyways. Why? Because we all doubt ourselves, and the phones they kind of give us the illusion that we’re connected. But before phones, people were reading books, so there’s always been that go to thing to do to remove yourself from a social situation. I do think they’ve degraded interpersonal skills, and I think they’re a great thing as well ,they’re a great resource, but I think that most people don’t have the balance down and spend too much time on them.”
“So I think in the future, we’re going to be connected to lot’s and lot’s or people but on a very surface level. I personally believe that it’s more powerful to be connected to six people on a very deep level then to be connected to a thousand people on a surface level. So I think the people who are going to get ahead in the future are going to be the ones who build deep connections, not those who communicate through their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. After all what are they? You can only communicate through like, dislike, but that’s not communication, that’s advertising and validation.”
“Now I’m not seeing a future of doom and gloom, I think we’re just passing through it, I think kids are going to look at it and go “What were you guys up to?”, but I think until we get there it’s definitely creeping up. Ya know a lot of people in movement and fitness and strength training say you don’t realize how much damage you do just sitting on a chair all day. Not using your body you get tight hamstrings, arterial pelvic tilt doing that because we’re supposed to be outside moving around and we don’t because we’re taking our health for granted. You see the phones doing the same thing that sitting does to our bodies, the phones are doing to our interconnections. So yeah, not a great thing right now and that it’ll eventually pass, maybe seventy years from now we’ll look back and say Ah yeah, we screwed up there let’s fix it.”
Outside from the Internet and Reading and practicing, have there been any unorthodox ways you’ve found to get better at this?
Marcus: “Yeah a really great way to improve your skill is to really make a point of mental rehearsal to think it’s going to go great, and to do that you have to get your voice to quiet in your mind. Most people are subservient to the voice in their mind, so in other words the voice controls them. For the true leaders in life, they’re the ones who control the voice. So getting the relationship with the voice in your head sorted has massive effects, and to do that takes discipline. You can build discipline in many areas in your life, and once you’ve got it, apply it to your voice. If you’re not sure what to say to the voice, say I love you and see what happens with that.”
If you could give one piece of advice to those who’re thinking of working on this skill, what would it be?
Marcus: “Every time you take action and go and talk to somebody, you’re better then anyone else in the room or in your immediate proximity, and after you finish the conversation that’s when the learning takes hold. After you finish the talk ask yourself what did I do well, what can I get better next time? If you do that, you’ll just improve anyway because you’re focusing on that area. You’re focusing on your improvement, and you’ll notice in conversations that you’re becoming more aware of what’s happening. So that’s kind of the key advice, after you get done with conversation meditate on what you did well, and what you could improve on.”
What should everybody keep an eye out for in terms of the most ambitious projects Your Charisma Coach is doing this year?
Marcus: “Okay so Your Charisma Coach will be producing a more expanded version of how to talk to anyone without fear of rejection eBook which will be coming out shortly and we’ll also be doing more training across the world but mostly focused in London and America probably around San Diego. And you’re live intense 7 day training with us, so 7 days is flag gold standard for training. so check it out at the link below!”
I really want to thank Marcus for taking the time to interview with me! It was largely insightful, and I think everyone who reads it is going to get a lot of worth out of the interview! so THANK YOU SO MUCH MARCUS AND YOUR CHARISMA COACH!!!
I really hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did speaking with Marcus and getting the information for all of you, til next time…