Permission to Kick Ass

34: Jon Reyes

Episode Summary

My guest today, Jon Reyes, is a bit of a rebel. Growing up, he had two real options for success: join the military or become a cop. Neither option really felt like the right one, so instead Jon reached for books — and what he learned took him way beyond his comfort zone. If you’ve ever wanted to move past the fear that’s holding you back... this one’s for you.

Episode Notes

What do you do when fear stops you in your tracks? Most of us either figure it out or run – and there’s nothing wrong with that since it’s just your brain kicking into “fight or flight”. But what if instead of running away from something scary, you embraced it? I was shocked when Jon and I stumbled upon a common tactic we had for dealing with things that terrify us… by leaning in and learning everything we could. Listen to this episode for our favorite way to loosen fear’s hold on your future. 

Can’t-Miss Moments From This Episode:

This one is jam-packed full of advice. Don’t miss out - listen now!

Jon’s Bio:

My name is Jon Reyes.

I'm a successful copywriter who penetrated the Influencer Marketing space, starting in 2013.

Within my first year... 

I began to dominate the influencer marketing space as an aggressive, hungry copywriter and direct response marketer.

To date, I've generated multiple 8-figures in revenue for some of the biggest, heavy-hitting names around today.

And I have no intention of looking back.

Long story short...

I continue to geek out on persuasion and direct response marketing while scaling up coaches, influencers, thought leaders, and leading agencies... while coaching and collaborating with execs and junior copywriters as well.

Resources and links mentioned:

Come kick ass with me:

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Episode Transcription

Angie Colee (00:02):

Welcome to Permission to Kick Ass. A podcast about leaving self-doubt in the dust, punching fear in the face and taking bold action toward your biggest dreams. I'm Angie Colee, and let's get to it

Angie Colee (00:19):

Hey and welcome back to the Permission to Kick Ass podcast with me today is Jon Reyes. Say hi, Jon.

Jon Reyes (00:25):

Hey! Sorry! I'm happy to be on here. I'm like, we're just in the middle of a conversation. Then I was like, oh, shoot, it's time to record.

Angie Colee (00:32):

Oh yeah. It's time to record here. We are. We are well, we're, we're live to us, but when you guys hear it, it'll be recorded. So tell us a little bit about what you do, John.

Jon Reyes (00:42):

So, you know, very similar to you, Angie kind of been immersed in this direct response copy world for since 2013 now. And, um, something at one point, you know, I realized I could never get away from it's kind of a way, I think it's kind of way operate and the more I connect with, you know, fellow direct response writers in our space, the more I realize I'm completely normal. Um, so yeah, you know, right now it's, it's the same thing, you know, I focus mainly in the influencer marketing niche, whether it's the gurus, the brand names of the world, you know, the Tony Robbins or if it's a personality based brand, such as, um, you know, an example is health supplements with a certain face behind it. That's where I specialize and, uh, you know, over nowadays overseeing playing copy chief role consultant strategists, but the ultimate, you know, bread and butter will always be copy whether it's dialing in existing stuff or creating new stuff.

Angie Colee (01:38):

I think that's great. Well, and for everybody listening to the show that doesn't end, hasn't heard me rant about copywriters before. First of all, shame on you. I've, I've given this rant before, but as a refresher copywriters, I just happen to know a lot. Um, we are sales writers in a nutshell. Uh, and so I was kind of chuckling when John was describing it as like, when you get around other copywriters and discover you're not quite as weird as you felt like you were. Yeah. We, we all have this different filter. I think that we see the world through and it's kinda like, "Ooh, that's a good hook. Ooh, that's a good angle. Oh, that would make a great story for an email." And it's just like, we naturally think like that. Uh, and other people are like, "Why are you logging this story as we're having a conversation that's such a weird thing to do," but other copywriters get it. So we were talking a little bit about before the call, we were talking a little bit about just kind of the journey to get here, where you are and what that's been like. Do you want to go into that a little?

Jon Reyes (02:37):

Yeah. You know it's, um, you know, something more recent is we were just talking about, you know, even no matter how much experience, it's not just, you know, I'm pretty sure professional athletes go through this stuff all the time is, you know, the, the fear or the self doubt, even when it's, you know, looking to create a home run campaign, whether it's like a professional athlete going to play a game, they trained, you know, their whole life for it. But, you know, for me, it was, you know, entrepreneurship is not in my blood. It was a journey of, yeah. You know, growing up in kind of a high crime rate area, um, very minority populated, which is, you know, to each their own or whether or not that's a correlation, but, um, you know, gangs and all that stuff. So for the most part, I was raised by a military dad and it was, you know, "Take care of your body and mind. Focus on your school. Don't hang around with the wrong crowd and just, you know, make yourself food, like make yourself TV dinners later when you get home."

Jon Reyes (03:36):

So it was, you know, the people in our neighborhood, we didn't know what business was to an extent. We were the role models and the people who were considered successful to us were you had a gun and a badge or you were high-ranked in the military. Um, you were like a firefighter or like in the high, high up there in the medical field. So, um, you know, long story short, it was kind of when I used to be really, really introverted in middle school. And it was, I would have weird hobbies of writing poetry and making movies about random stuff with my brother. And I guess that kind of prepared me drawing. So it was kind of prepared me for the entrepreneurial freelance world, but, you know, it was when I hit high school, it was okay, now's my chance to come out of my shell. I get to, I, you know, I got a girlfriend I'm going to be the cool guy.

Jon Reyes (04:28):

And at some point I kind of got mixed up. I never really thought about the future. And I was, you know, wanted to make up for my introverted years. And then over time I got mixed up in the pitfalls of our area, which was partying the wild crowd, the rough crowd, um, you know, drugs and all that stuff. I'm not proud of, you know, by the time it's like a 16 year old diving in that world, it could definitely be detrimental. But, you know, just to kind of sum that up, it was three or four years in that world until I got clean. And then my dad's like, "man, you messed up either you join the military or you finish college." And I was at San Diego state university. So it was the whole show of, you know, low self-esteem. Like I don't belong here.

Jon Reyes (05:12):

I was immersed in like being in the spotlight and high highs and low lows, you know, as these people are smarter than me and it was, I have no direction and it was basically counting all the reasons why I wasn't good enough to finish school. Um, and to kind of get over that I got obsessed about let me just like, let me just, um, plow through all the books about improving communication skills, um, learning to break out of your shell, um, self-esteem buildings through shedding your comfort zone and you know, physical challenges. And it was about a, almost a decade long journey, but I kept noticing, um, constant improvements all around, you know, became a more, well-rounded more self-reliant self-confident and that's kind of what brought me to this niche and where I'm at now was I was like, okay, I graduated college. Cool. My dad was shocked and he's like, okay. I mean.

Angie Colee (06:07):

Thanks, Dad.

Jon Reyes (06:07):

Live your life. Yeah it was the same old thing. You're like, well, you know, you could have been like a federal agent right now. If you knew what you wanted to do, I'm like, well, there's always something that could have been better, but that's just to kind of like nip that in the bud. It was kind of the whole thing of, I hate the nine to five. I'm going to now take my obsession and passion for personal growth and see the obsession and passion for entrepreneurship. And that's pretty much how I ended up as a copywriter, long story. I mean, assuming something that like, I know it was like kind of a timeline journey, but that's pretty much my, how I got my start and well

Angie Colee (06:42):

And I think you did a damn fine job condensing 20 years into like just a few minutes. That's not an easy thing.

Jon Reyes (06:49):

I got better at it the more I saw counselors and stuff. And I was like, dude. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. But you know, there's sometimes where it's like, tell me how you were in your childhood and over time, I'm like, let me just give you the cliff notes summary.

Angie Colee (07:01):

Well, let me just sum it up. Well, I thought it was interesting your, your college journey. We have like some, some overlaps and then some dissimilarities, which I found interesting. Like I wasn't afraid that I couldn't finish it. I was afraid that I would finish it because like, your dad said, I had no idea what I was going to do after this. Um, believe it or not, I have an undergraduate degree in French and political science. I'm from Texas. I don't know if you're aware that we don't really have a huge French speaking population in Texas.

Jon Reyes (07:33):

I was gonna guess that but it was like, I didn't know, for a fact, as I was going to say something, now I could be wrong.

Angie Colee (07:39):

No, but like I had this like stupid, everybody's learning Spanish, so I'm going to learn something completely different. And like, you know, when you're young and you get these ideas in your head. So, so I still have some passing, you know, I can read French really well. I still can't very, I can't speak it very well. And then, you know, I got married at 20 because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life after I got divorced. She's like, like fast forward a couple of years I get divorced. So I go back to school. And so like, it's interesting to me, like how we all experienced school in kind of a different way. Like some of us can't wait to get out. Some of us are scared to get out. And then within that mix, there's still like the same kind of overlap about how do I communicate? What do I do? How do I get better at this? Or face that challenge? Like, I, I don't know. It just really struck me this. I was, I was making notes. When you were telling your story about when you realized that you were struggling in a particular area, your first instinct was to find books and get better at that skill. I just thought that was really fascinating.

Jon Reyes (08:44):

Yeah. I mean, long story short, it was the same thing, you know, overwhelmed with self-doubt or like not know, kind of wanting to go away from the crowd, but at the same time, you know, there was that rebellious nature in me. But at the same time, it was like, if, you know, at this point in life, gimme the books and don't make me go on campus. And I think I can get my degree, but it was yeah. Stepping out of my comfort zone and, you know, just like, I think it actually applies to, I think I was actually really lucky looking back that it was kind of being resourceful. Like I got to get around good influences, but I feel like a complete failure. And I would rather take a few years off school, but my dad said I got to join the military. So I'm like just three to six months ago.

Jon Reyes (09:24):

It was like, you know, with a rough crowd or, you know, at like intense parties as like a teenager. So for, for me, I was like, I got to get away and I have to be resourceful. So the first thing I thought of which is okay, how can I be surrounded by better influences is to learn to blend in. And then I didn't. And I got really irritated by that crowd really quickly. So I had to work on myself and I saw like no way out because of my friends after, after class where they were still part of the rough crowd, like you want a party again this weekend, like no I got to change my life. And the only thing I saw was when shopping for textbooks in the library, I'm like, oh, um, there's like a book by Brian Tracy. Like "The Power of Self-confidence."

Jon Reyes (10:06):

Um, some of the good stuff, like, you know, the old school, um, "Chicken Soup for the Soul." And then it goes to, um, I dunno, what other, you know, success principles, a lot of stuff around, um, communication or read books about like how to talk to anyone. Like a lot of stuff that I think helped me tap into a resource, which was people and books. Um, and yeah, it was the only thing I thought would teach me at the time. There was people I don't think I could turn to. Um, my dad's just like, I mean, "You messed up for a few years, just go to school and just finish and stop complaining." So I'm like books and people are the only things I can think of and yeah, you know, it, it, it helped a ton. Um, I think we all go through some sort of phase like that and it was extreme discomfort and I think it was one of the books I read.

Jon Reyes (10:53):

I don't remember the name. There was so many even like by Eckhart Tolle and the mindfulness, one of them was around, I think it was around pushing your, um, social skills and it was just putting yourself into uncomfortable situations and just keep doing it over and over and over. And I think that's the point of not just confidence building, but in like career and relationships. It's, there's a point where it's very uncomfortable, um, for anyone even where you live. And then there's a point where it's like, "do I want to keep pushing or do I want to retreat?" And then it becomes a personal choice. You know, it's not always the best to do your comfort zone. I found that I do it over and over to the point where I'm like, people are just saying I'm acting erratically or like, I go overboard too much. And I'm like, well, I like the path of growth, but it can become reckless. And I'm sure, you know, you can relate to that. Cause I know you've been on a similar journey and um, the entrepreneurship freelance world, isn't always easy and we all know that.

Angie Colee (11:49):

Yeah. And you were talking about how copywriters can be a specific breed. And I know that, like we just think a different way. And I think the same could be said of people that are really interested in self development and personal growth. Like it's a different approach to, I think most people who don't have that introspective instinct of like looking I'm experiencing problems, what's happening in here. That's leading me to, to make these choices. And I like, I have, I share that rebellious instinct with you too. In fact, they don't get to see the video, but I get to show you the two little tiny risk tattoos that my dad was convinced would be the career ruiner for me. And then when I got my libret pierced, it was, oh, they thought it was lights out for me. Like, nevermind that I got, I'm looking at your tattoos. Like I've got big, massive arm tattoos now, too.

Jon Reyes (12:41):

I love it.

Angie Colee (12:41):

And, uh, when, when I was coming of age, so to speak, this was, I mean, granted the cultural attitude toward tattoos has shifted massively since we were growing up.

Jon Reyes (12:52):


Angie Colee (12:52):

We're both latchkey kids and kids of the nineties. But like I do remember strategically getting the tattoos in places that I could cover so that I could go put on a button down if I needed to and pretend to be quote unquote normal. And I think that's what really ultimately almost pushed me toward entrepreneurship because this was really in my life. And I've, I've done just about every job under the sun from picking up trash, to being a firefighter, to tutoring math.

Jon Reyes (13:22):

Oh, wow. That's awesome.

Angie Colee (13:22):

Um, and this was really the only place that I've ever felt like myself, tattoos, rock music, love of horrible dad jokes and all I can come to entrepreneurship and find other nerds like me and just be myself.

Jon Reyes (13:37):

I have to a hundred percent agree. I mean, there's like, there's, um, yeah, there's the entrepreneurship. And then there's like the kind of specialty you go down. I sometimes feel like I'm definitely a weirdo. I'm like, oh, okay. I'm a successful freelancer. And then I'm like, in my cities, different cities, like I don't meet that many. I mean, people understand it, but I'm like, I mean, I could go online and then feel like I belong, but it's the same thing. I don't, I hear lyrics when I listen to rock music. I like odd humor. I have a dry sense of humor. Sometimes I'll, I'm in, I read more than I want to. Um, I get easily distracted by text messages, especially when I write copy. Cause I'm like, I don't want to read about, um, what kind of, you know, jokes about your friends or like funny cat memes and stuff because

Angie Colee (14:25):

Oh same. Like I'm ruthless about notifications. Like every kind of pop-up notification on my computer has been disabled. Same for my phone. Um, when I have people that want to get me into like a slack room or they want to be able to like text me instantaneously, I'm like, "mmhmm no, I don't work that way." I'm so easily distractable that if you send me one text message, I happen to look at it right when I was trying to get something done that has wiped my productivity for like the next three hours. Cause I'm distracted, I'm trying to solve all these other problems.

Jon Reyes (14:54):


Angie Colee (14:54):

I have to, I have to control that stimulus. And it's, it's really funny that you kind of mentioned going online and finding your weirdos. I had an interesting encounter the other day, uh, that just threw me for a loop. So I I'm, I'm here in Nashville and I have this water bottle. I'm showing Jon, but y'all, can't see it. It's a bright yellow water bottle. And it says "Jeff Walker's Launch Club" on it. And Jeff Walker is somebody that used to work with. So I was sitting outside at this local coffee shop cause you know, COVID times, but it was a lovely spring day and I'm sitting outside and I was working on my book and somebody walked up and was like, excuse me, I saw your water bottle. Do you know Jeff Walker's world? And it turns out this dude is a copywriter who knows all the same people. I know. And we've just never met before. And we were both saying -

Jon Reyes (15:38):

That's insane.

Angie Colee (15:38):

I know. Right. Okay.

Jon Reyes (15:40):

That sounds so rare. And we're like, I'm blown away by it. And other people are like, what's so special about that. And then over time, you're like, especially if you travel, you network, you meet, you know, you have a relationship social circles. Like actually I have to explain what I do over and over and over. And I'm like, when someone understands off the bat, I'm like, "oh wow, this is amazing." Same. Yeah. Same exact concepts.

Angie Colee (16:01):

I've never been able to come up with an adequate analogy I think of like the strangeness of meeting another copywriter in the wild that I don't have to explain that this has nothing to do with the circle C copyright intellectual property, trademark stuff. Um, you know, think, think more "Mad Men" if you know, "Mad Men." Uh, I do like to picture, I like to picture myself as Don Draper, just like my job is all like sex, drinking and naps. And we make money.

Jon Reyes (16:29):

In a cool suit, or like a cool, minus the cigarettes in the office. That's like a secondhand smoke all day long.

Angie Colee (16:34):

Minus the cigarettes in the generally being a jackass to all of your romantic partners. But yeah, like other than that, I, I totally dig the lifestyle. Um, that's the, the funny thing about copywriting to me and like I came to copywriting from a corporate background actually. Like I thought that the way to go, if I wanted to be in this creative lifestyle was to take a job in it. So I wound up working my way up into a, in a corporate office with like two hour commute every day, 10 to 12 hour days, all kinds of meetings and shit.

Jon Reyes (17:06):

Oh man. That sounds like for lack of better term, I don't want to say depressing cause it's a, it's such an emotionally charged word but I already said it. So sorry.

Angie Colee (17:19):

It really was. It was. No, it was a struggle. And I used to, like, I think I gained like 60 pounds working that job. It was super stressful. It was super toxic. And it was, you know, the reason that I go on that little bit of a tangent is because I don't the concept of a Don Draper thing where you like have this flexibility to come and go, as you want. And people give you the, the space to get creative versus that corporate environment that I grew up where it was produce, produce, produce, produce. It was just like a totally different reality to me. And it didn't even make sense that people couldn't live that way. So I don't know.

Jon Reyes (17:58):

Yeah. It's weird.

Angie Colee (17:59):

I love entrepreneurship for that way because I don't, I don't know employeeship, which is the thing I think I'm really trying to break here with Permission to Kick Ass, like this idea that you have to go work 40 hours for someone and work your way up and like, keep your head down and do what you're told. Bullshit. All of it. All of it bullshit. Work for people if you like working for them. And if you don't like working for them, go find something else that you like working at, like life is too short to be miserable and be beholden to a stressful job.

Jon Reyes (18:29):

Absolutely. I mean, like, that's the great thing about freelancing is we kind of have the middle ground, um, there's times where I still do it sometimes where you kind of have a client or you're like, okay. And then it's like, I kind of, I kind of want to shift to like the intrapreneurship like, let me take my entrepreneurial skills and then just work kind of like in-house or collaboratively. And there's over time, you know, we can, um, go back to doing our own thing. And I think it's something that I love about the whole industry, especially when you get to that level, it's like, it can be the go to the intrapreneurship. If you find a client or a team you really jive with, and then it's like, well, I already have the skills to kind of go back on my own, but what's appropriate in my life.

Jon Reyes (19:09):

Uh, yeah, it's, it's, it's for sure. It's I think, you know, people listening, it's something that, um, you know, people who are getting their own thing off the ground who are hitting some sustainability that, um, you know, there's that feeling of, I mean, if I fail, I mean, I got to go back to a nine to five or vice versa, you know, if I leave my nine to five, then I'm never going to work for someone else. Again, it's too scary. But I mean, depending on what field you get into, there's always the option of staying in the limbo area, which sounds sketchy. But it's more of my thing is like, there's some times I want to be an intrapreneur. There's other times I want to be an entrepreneur, but, you know, depending on your personality type and your skillsets, there's always the beauty of it. And it's not as scary as I'm going to quit my nine to five and like take out a million dollar loan and try to build a $10 million business next year, which people do it's super intimidating. Some can succeed, but for people who want the middle ground, you know, it's always there. And sometimes people just don't realize it.

Angie Colee (20:09):

Absolutely. And I thought, like you said, two brilliant things that really stuck out to me and one was, intrapreneur like this concept that you could bring business building skills to a job, or to like a retainer role where you're working with someone. And I just, I thought that was so important to highlight and to call out because I know like one of the earlier podcast episodes that I had was with, uh, Carolyn Ananian, um, who's also a copywriter and wanted to talk about this idea of, "do I even get to call myself an entrepreneur if I took a job?" Like, like somehow I know it's a really weird bit of head trash that I think a lot of creatives in particular, like I haven't seen it so much in like tech entrepreneurs or anything like that. But at, in creatives in particular, I see a lot of head trash around, like, have I earned the right to call myself an entrepreneur?

Angie Colee (21:02):

Have I failed at entrepreneurship? If I go back to a job, if I have to take a job, I, the first time that I tried freelancing, I failed miserably, but I didn't. And this brings me to the second point that you made. Like, I didn't have business skills. I had writing skills the first time I tried to be a freelance writer, but I had no clue how to run a business. So I took it.

Jon Reyes (21:23):

So common.

Angie Colee (21:23):

Yeah. I took a job in corporate copywriting to get really, really good at writing. And then I looked for resources to get better at business. And then thankfully the next time I went out on my own, I was a little bit better prepared to ride that emo rollercoaster. But I really liked that. I think reframing it as intrapreneur entrepreneur. I really, really like that because that makes this a little bit more flexible in my mind and makes it a little bit more personal agency like, okay, I'm still this doer person, right. The French root of entrepreneur is to do or to bring about. And that's why I love that word so much. Like we're not dreamers, we're doers. We don't just dream about it. We actually bring it to reality. So I love that word. And then like, just that personal agency as switching, like right now, I'm going to be an intrapreneur. I'm going to get real good either at the skill or I'm going to help somebody build their business, or I'm going to partner and get this benefit out of it. And then I'm going to go be an entrepreneur. I love that. I think that's brilliant.

Jon Reyes (22:24):

I know, I wish I had, I wish I invented the word. I remember like the first time I did it, it was a retainer role. And then I, you know, nowadays, even a few years ago, so you can work with, I work with a CEO or the CMOs. I'm like thrown to the wolves. Like you work with a C level. And sometimes some of them are really good, really smart, but they have such a lean team and it's like, "I'm going to listen to you. And we all listen to each other. So I kind of need an intrapreneur cause there's so much stuff I need help with." And at first I'm like, "you call yourself an entrepreneur and you call me an intrapreneur. Is this like a power play?" And I'm like, okay, one, I analyze words too much cause I write copy. Two I got to take my ego out of it.

Jon Reyes (22:59):

And then I realized over time, like there is a lot of legitimacy to it. Cause sometimes intrapreneurs can be very, very valuable. And even if you're an entrepreneur one point, some quit entrepreneurship, but those skills can be very valuable, like in, um, you know, existing businesses. It's something I try to encourage because when it does that scalability level, sometimes it's completely worth it. Like do your own thing and excel. Um, but you know, it's like our age, you know, our generation millennial kind of lower those there's more options. Um, you know, we're, we're, we get the emails every day, we get the Facebook ads and it's like, what route do I go? And when it's not, there's not one right or wrong answer for anyone in my opinion, but there's always options.

Angie Colee (23:40):

Yeah. And you know, I'm glad that you said that too, because on the one hand, all of the emails and the business building opportunities and the Facebook ads and stuff that we see online can almost be like too many options. But having come from like, like Jon said, this background where there was like a certain number of rules that you go into like a desk job, you know, I was growing up on the tail end of some feminism issues. Uh, and you know, I was expected to be like a doctor or lawyer or a teacher or something like that. I was often told, go do something productive with your smarts. And like nobody ever thought that being a writer or a musician was going to be productive or a smart use of my intelligence. And I resented that.

Jon Reyes (24:23):

Yeah. It's still people still think that. And it's uh, yeah, that's kind of like where the skill set meets business, I guess with exactly like what you were talking about. It's usually one or the other, that's where my experience depends how early you get into it, but it's either I have the entrepreneurial skills, but I don't have a marketable skill set or product, or like vice versa. At some point, if it's not in the beginning, at some point it'll get to that level. Like I'm really, really good at what I do, but I need someone to help me market. Cause I am just, yeah. Anyway, it's usually one of one or the other at some point

Angie Colee (24:55):

I think that's a great point too, because in the course of doing which you, I think you really have to do, if you want to start a business, you can't just plan and then like wait for it all to come together. Someday when you have the perfect plan, you have to just kind of jump in and figure things out as you go along. And like, I never would have learned that I had a business skills gap if I hadn't tried to go freelance because technically I have a master's degree that isn't business. Like I learned a lot of business basics, but I didn't, I didn't really have the practical application in the context for it. And I think I'm a very contextual person. Like I don't really understand it until I see it happening around me and I can apply the proper context to it and go, oh, that's what that meant. Now I get it. Shit. I really wished that I had learned that in school, but that I get it now.

Jon Reyes (25:53):

Yeah. It's, there's so much. Yeah, there's the whole, like, it's the same with personal growth sometimes. Like I'm going to study the study of people or the study of myself, my own psychology and how to improve myself or I'm going to study, you know, it was like a time where I'm like, I want to, I want to get into softball. Cause I remember in middle school it was my worst sport. Cause I was terrified of the ball. And I remember getting a black eye from softball and then a few years ago, I'm like, I wonder if I can excel at the sport I used to fear the most and I would literally study like plays. I would watch YouTube, like let me improve my throwing and catching mechanics. And I'm like, I'm just going to challenge myself in a way that would freak me out. Cause I have like a physical trauma associated with softball and lo and behold, I'm like this, isn't going to prepare me unless I just get out there and join a league.

Jon Reyes (26:41):

And even if I have to be a free agent and get picked up where people don't know me, just get my ass kicked. That's the only way I'll learn is through experience. And then I was like, I I've, you know, I played like pickup basketball. I did martial arts. I rode bikes and all sorts of stuff. When I met my softball team for the first time, I was literally like literally hiding my panic attacks. And then I was in the outfield and I'm like, why did I challenge myself on something that sounds so trivial. But it was a crazy way to just like shatter my older reality. And it was something I don't think I ever could have done. It sounds so basic. Like something a child would learn, but I don't think I ever could have done that if I didn't just like go from learning to like, let's just take the real life skill into a situation. Um, it's kind of a weird analogy. Cause people are like softball, who cares? But it's the same, like what you were saying Angie, about business skills, about what you'll learn in class versus real life. And there's the point where you can be prepared, but life will teach you the rest I guess

Angie Colee (27:40):

When I think like that story, I don't, I don't think that was...That was the best story I heard. So I heard something really cool there. Cause I bet one, did you wind up having fun with your softball team?

Jon Reyes (27:52):

I still play today. I stopped for a long time. Cause I'm like, man, I don't one. I still, my friends used to call me a quote unquote Maverick, which was taken from "Top Gun" because they're like every time there's some point where people will tell you stuff and you'll start flipping out and then you'll want to not hang out with people anymore. Then you try to do things your own way, which is still true to this day. So I started to flip out on the team cause I'm like, these guys don't want to show up to practice where like last in the last in the league and I wouldn't start a group text. I'm like, this is stupid. And I was like, I'm back, I'll back. I'll go back to like solo sports. And then a few years ago I'm like I could grow by just learning to play in a team.

Jon Reyes (28:29):

So I still play to this day. I just play like pickup softball, but it's so important from like a mentality and even like an emotional health standpoint for me to play and to be like, I got to stop being a Maverick and there's team celebrations, there's team failures. They're supporting each other and it's like, it's become a way of life. I actually also love watching baseball. So being in the thick and thin I'm like, no, I'm not that great, but I still enjoy it because it helps me beyond the physical, but I get out there and I'm like, I still think of the black guy from middle school. I still think of like fearing the big yellow ball coming at me. But I, I was, I went back to bike riding and stuff, but I'm like, I think I'll play softball again, even though I don't want to. And I'm like in my mid thirties now, so yeah. I mean it was conquering one of my biggest fears from middle school, just for the heck of it as a hobby. And I didn't expect things to grow out of it, but yeah, like playing the game was the experience. That was a feeling that you can't learn in a book or through all the preparation ever.

Angie Colee (29:28):

Sure. And it's like the great thing that you're, that I'm hearing in this story that you're telling was just kind of a, of a mental exercise of like this thing has power over me. This thing is causing me to be fearful, this experience that I've had. So I'm going to go throw myself head first into this experience and learn more about it and see if that fear still holds. And I think that's something that a lot, I'm saying fear a lot in the same, you know, set of minutes, but...

Jon Reyes (29:56):

Fear is huge.

Angie Colee (29:57):

Yeah. I think people are afraid to examine their fears in that way. And I, I, the reason that that peaked me the way it did and it caught my attention was I had a similar reaction growing up and you kind of lit up when I said that I was a firefighter, I became a firefighter because I had this irrational fear of dying in a fire.

Jon Reyes (30:19):


Angie Colee (30:19):

And combined with 17 year old impetuousness I drove by a fire station one day and was like, I wonder how you become a firefighter. So I went and found out and then I wound up applying.

Jon Reyes (30:26):

That's awesome.

Angie Colee (30:26):

And like impulsive Angie strikes again. But through the course of my rookie training, which was, you know, again like feminist issues, the guys were pretty tough on all of us chicks trying to get us to drop out. And you know, four years later. It was the nineties and the early odds. Um, I did wind up not making it, but I think like I just, wasn't the kind of person that was built to be a firefighter, but it was fun while I did it. But I, the education that I got in the process of like fire is three components. It's oxygen, it's fuel and it's heat. And if you remove one of those things, there's no more fire. Um, like deconstructing, the "Backdraft" was a movie that was popular in the nineties too. And had people freaked out that like if their house burns down, there's going to be like this sentience explosion of flames that's coming after you. Like that's not the way a backdraft works.

Jon Reyes (31:18):

I remember that movie.

Angie Colee (31:21):

There's like a, there's a certain series of events that happen that give very clear warning signs that a backdraft is potentially about to occur. And so they train firefighters to avoid this possibility if, if they're able to do so safely. Um, ventilation is a thing that we talk about in firefighting a lot, like strategically denying the fire, denying the fire oxygen. Cause that's what actually leads to a backdraft. I'm getting like way too into the weeds here on firefighting. But.

Jon Reyes (31:49):

No worries.

Angie Colee (31:50):

I did, I did that for awhile. And now like, because I've had that training fire doesn't scare me as much and I'm not talking like all fires scared me. I wasn't scared of a campfire and whatnot, but like I'm the best campfire buildern of all of my friends, because I know what goes into making a fire. And I know what goes into putting out a fire. Um, when I had a grease fire in my kitchen, I immediately knew what to do and it wasn't like an, oh shit, what do I do? Moment of freak out. It was just state of calm from the training. And I did the same thing with swimming, which like one of my cousins when I was a little kid got really rambunctious one day, like pushed me off my floatie. And I remember I still have this clear vivid image of me sitting on the bottom of the pool, looking up at my cousins. Like

Jon Reyes (32:39):

That's actually kind of traumatizing. I mean, that was like, yeah, I could relate to that. Maybe you're painting a mental picture where I'm like, oh shoot, that's scary for them.

Angie Colee (32:49):

And, and so my solution was kind of similar to yours. Like I'm scared of swimming, but clearly all these people are having a hell of a lot of fun in the pool. So what do I do to get over this fear? And I, I learned to swim and then I wound up learning to swim, taking swim lessons, becoming a lifeguard, becoming a lifeguard instructor, becoming a swim instructor.

Jon Reyes (33:08):

That's amazing. No way.

Angie Colee (33:08):

And so it's the same thing. Like with me putting myself in the scary situation, kind of deconstructing, what about it made me scared solving some of those problems with logical and practical applications. Like, you know, the fire can't burn if one of these things isn't present. Um, I don't know. That was so powerful. Just kind of putting yourself into that uncomfortable situation and seeing what you can learn and how you can take the edge off the fear.

Jon Reyes (33:36):

For sure. I think fear is a relationship in general over time you can have a relationship to fear. I still sometimes will let fear control me cause I'm like I got to conquer some sort of weird fear and I'm like actually got to do my work, like in not postpone until later tonight, but it's like, you know what I mean? I'm exaggerating there. Like I'm over-exaggerating for sure. But I think over time, fear becomes a relationship or it's a relationship with your, your own comfort zone. Maybe that's more accurate where, um, maybe it's not fear, maybe it is a relationship to your comfort zone. Um, everyone has one, there's some, who'll just shed it and do all they can. There's some who will try to shed it too dramatically or too early and find out they just traumatized themselves again. I think we all do that in some way.

Jon Reyes (34:19):

And then there's the ones who just stay in their comfort zone because they're happy. And then there's others who want to leave their comfort zone, but they don't think they're capable. I think maybe it's not fear, but there's always a fear of staying in it or fear of pushing past it. But I do think over time it becomes a relationship to it because the firefighter, you know, the story about swimming, it sounds like you have a similar, similar relationship that I do when it comes to comfort zone and feel like I'm just going to conquer some random fear maybe next year or some random way to get out of my comfort zone because I have a healthier relationship to it. Maybe that's like a risk reward kind of relationship, but

Angie Colee (34:58):

It could be because a lot of the time, you know, just like with firefighting and swimming, a lot of the times when I challenged myself to kind of step into that fear and see if it is maybe that's the mindset that I'm trying to, like, I'm struggling to articulate here, but the drive seems to be like, is this real? Is this really real? Or is this just like a really intense feeling? Is this reality or is this just a feeling? And every time I challenged myself to explore that, feel fear, feeling of fear, it kind of unraveled with the data, with the experience. Um, I think that's just such a good practice to get into. And I'm not saying like, if you're scared of King Cobra Snakes, go take a snake handling.

Jon Reyes (35:41):

Some people will do that though. Some people will be like, yeah, some people will do that. Like I'm scared of, I'm scared of like getting punched in the face and they're like, I'm going to get into a street fight. Okay. That's an example. Or like I'm scared of getting punished. I'm going to join the Marine Corps. I'm kidding. That's an extreme example, but there is always a fine line. Some people can land on their feet, but there is a fine line between using a good judgment, but for sure. Yeah.

Angie Colee (36:03):

Yeah. And I think it's totally okay to have some healthy fears and some things that you don't experiment with. Not, not every situation has to be a fear buster situation. I am afraid of spiders. It's total. And I know that most of the spiders that I encounter are friendly spiders and they do things like eat mosquitoes, which I hate, but I still, I'm not going to go on, like, what was that old game show in the nineties where you had to like sit in a tank of spiders or.

Jon Reyes (36:33):

Fear Factor?

Angie Colee (36:33):

Fear Factor! Yup!

Jon Reyes (36:33):

You might win a prize at the end though.

Angie Colee (36:36):

Yup. Or like eat raw liver, other disgusting things. No, I would never go into that, but like challenging myself to what I think I'm capable of achieving. Like goal-wise, career-wise personal development wise, I think, and life skills like surviving a fire, surviving a fire. I think that's a great practice to get yourself into just continually explore that fear line and your relationship with fear and not necessarily put yourself in a dangerous situation, but challenge yourself to explore whether this is as real as it feels, or if you could dismantle it with a little bit of experience. Well, man, I did not expect this conversation to go the way it has gone, but I'm so thrilled that we had it.

Jon Reyes (37:25):

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Angie Colee (37:27):

It's fantastic.

Jon Reyes (37:27):

It is what it is?

Angie Colee (37:28):

They don't get to see it. Of course, like I've got like a, shit-eating grin on my face. I I'm styling this whole time. I think it's a fantastic conversation and I loved every minute of it. John, tell us more about where to find information about you, your website, all that good stuff.

Jon Reyes (37:43):

Yeah, absolutely. You can find me on a Um, you know, right now I don't take on too many clients at once. Uh, I do some mentorship on the side, but you know, for the most part, it's pretty much a personable guy. You know, if you ever find me on social media or on LinkedIn or whatever, just, you know, add me, but copy will give a lot of background on me and kind of what I'm up to, you know, beyond like the, facing the fears of a big yellow softball and like in the professional world where, you know, awesome people like Angie tends to, you know, where we tend to grow and kind of give back.

Angie Colee (38:18):

Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate your time and we'll talk soon.

Jon Reyes (38:22):

Thank you.

Angie Colee (38:26):

So that is it. Another awesome episode of Permission to Kick Ass on the books. If you want to know more about the show or if you want to know more about me, Angie Colee and the mission I'm on to help entrepreneurs punch fear in the face and do big bold things, then head on over to That is all one word together, Make sure to sign up for my email list so that you know whenever there's a hot, fresh and ready podcast episode out for you. And also on Mondays, I like to send out a little newsletter called Kick Monday's Ass. I'm sure you're totally, totally surprised by that. So thank you for being here with me today. I'm Angie Colee. Make sure that you share this with a friend that needs to hear this message today. Like it, share it. Comment wherever you're listening to this today and let's go kick some ass.