TCC Podcast #292: Changing Stories, Shifting Thoughts, and Incorporating More Play into Your Life with Jocelyn Brady - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast #292: Changing Stories, Shifting Thoughts, and Incorporating More Play into Your Life with Jocelyn Brady

Jocelyn Brady is our guest for the 292nd episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Jocelyn is a brain and story coach who helps her clients create more out of their lives. She is a former copywriter whose fascination with neuroscience led her down a new path.

Here’s how the conversation goes:

  • Pig brains – How the heck did they encourage Jocelyn to go down a path of neuroscience?
  • How tragic events can change the direction of our lives and careers.
  • How Jocelyn built her copywriting business and agency by accident and worked with big time clients like Nokia, SunTrust, and Prudential.
  • How persistence is key to building a successful business and why you should think of your business as an experiment.
  • Making a more interesting ‘about’ page and how to get people curious.
  • Is everyone a natural storyteller?
  • Jocelyn’s S.T.O.R.Y framework and how you can apply it to your own stories.
  • Where do most copywriters mess up when telling stories?
  • The key to driving the sale versus justifying a purchase.
  • What are B.S., and how can we
  • Making big pivots in business – How can we effectively make it happen?
  • When it may be a good idea to pivot your business.
  • The #1 struggle in pivoting.
  • Books and resources Jocelyn recommends to start your own brain journey.
  • How to incorporate more play into our lives, and why it’s so important for our livelihoods.
  • Deathbed you – What does that mean and why is it important to Jocelyn’s messaging?
  • How Jocelyn attracts people into her programs – Going from tangible deliverables to intangible results.

Take an introspective look at your brain and check out this episode.

The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

The Copywriter Think Tank
Copywriting Income Survey
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
Jocelyn’s website
Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg
Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg
The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
Huberman Lab Podcast 
Play By Stuart Brown 
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Free month of Brain.FM


Full Transcript:

Rob Marsh:  It doesn’t matter if you write copy or content or whether you work on marketing strategy or sales. Pretty much whatever we do as writers depends on understanding human behavior and the way people think. The more we know, the better we can communicate. And our guest for today’s episode of The Copywriter Club podcast is a former copywriter and current brain coach Jocelyn Brady. She stopped by to help us understand how the brain works, what it takes to create curiosity to tell stories, and how you can keep your reader engaged long enough to deliver your message. Everyone who communicates as part of the work that they do will benefit from listening to what Jocelyn has to share in this episode.

Kira Hug:  A quick PSA, The Copywriter Think Tank price tag will increase this June. So if you have any interest in joining us inside this mastermind, don’t wait; apply today. We are so excited to introduce some of our newest members in the Think Tank to the entire crew this June during our two-day virtual retreat on June 9th and 10th. It’s coming up fast, so again, if you’ve had any interest in the Think Tank, now is the time to apply. Head over to to learn more.

Rob Marsh:  All right. Let’s get to our interview with Jocelyn.

Jocelyn Brady:  This is a long circuitous journey, I think. But I’ll say that the first time I was really that my brain went, “Wow, what brains can do,” was… Well, the first time I held a brain was in grade school when we were dissecting a fetal pig, and I really needed to see its brain. That was not part of the assignment. We were just looking at its organs. And I was like, “But that’s crazy. We’re not seeing the part that powers all the parts.” So I was the sole student there with my hacksaw, just determined to see this thing’s brain. That stuck with me.

And then later, a couple of decades later, my dad had a stroke and he had lost his ability to speak. And I was just like, “What? This guy, who’s this brilliant storyteller and poet and a lyricist and hilarious, and would always say things like, ‘I’ll tell you when you’re older,’ when he got to the really juicy part of stories.” And I’m like, “But I need to know this ends.” So when that happened, I really wanted to know what is going on in his brain and what’s possible. And that’s how I learned about neuroplasticity. The brain is magical. I like to call it a magical asset, which we can get to. But the fact that even a physically damaged brain can learn to rewire or create new connections. So my dad got his ability to speak back and to tell dad jokes and to still say, “I’ll tell you when you’re older.” I’m pushing 40 now. So I don’t know how old I have to be to get to the good parts, but…

So these are like backstory context. It wasn’t until 2016 that I got my… I enrolled in the NeuroLeadership program for brain coaching. Sometimes they call it results-based coaching. And I thought about going back to school to become a neuroscientist. But at this point, I was running my copywriting business. It was like brain voice consultancy, running that full-time. I had gotten my MFA in creative nonfiction writing, and I was like, “I’m not going back to school again right after this.” So I got this into this program, which was great, because it was just focused on the neuroscience and neurological underpinnings of the language we use and how we get into more towards-states or away-states and just giving… It gave me a lexicon to talk about things that were fascinating to me. Because while I was training people to tell stories and tell their brand stories and adoptive brand voice and have personality and their writing, I was way more interested in, like, but what’s going on in your brains and how are you guys communicating and getting along? So that’s when I jumped into it, brain coaching.

Rob Marsh:  I love that. And I kind of would love to go back and talk a little bit about your experience with copywriting, the agency that you built before we go all the way into what you’ve learned on brains. And clearly, they’re linked really tightly. But yeah, tell us just a little bit about the kinds of brands that you were working with and how you were applying what you knew at that time about this whole-brain neurology thing to tell their stories.

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. So I had gotten into… So I started in 2008 and at that time, had no plans. Like no, I was just… I’m going to earn enough to eat a sandwich and pay the bills, like an accidental business owner, or entrepreneur type. So that led into… my first big client was Nokia when they were a thing. And they were coming out with these new products. Then the iPhone’s like, “Hi, I’m here.” So that was an interesting time. And then a lot of tech companies. So I worked with Microsoft and it started with writing case studies and interviewing people all over the world to say, “Well, what do you love about Office 365?” Or whatever it was at the time.

I loved the interviewing and then it just kept growing and building. Suddenly, I had more work than I could handle. So I realized I needed to hire people. So, bookkeeper, that’s a good idea, and other copywriters and consultants and strategists. And then we were creating the brand voice that became really close with a couple of people who ultimately became CMOs, chief marketing officers. So they’re like, “Hey, we trust you. You’re great. You know how to do all this stuff. So just create our brand voice, go interview all the people, go do all the research and then go train all our people on how to do it.” So that was with… God, who was that at the time? SunTrust who turned into Truist to some banking clients, financial clients, couple of startups, and currently also consulting with Prudential. So it’s like these industries and companies I never thought I would get involved in and here we are.

Kira Hug:  So for a copywriter listening, you’ve had great success working with these big-name clients during your copywriting career. What do you think you did differently or did really well that paid off during that time and that we could pull into our businesses today?

Jocelyn Brady:  I was listening to your episode. Is his name Dan? The episode is fascinating.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah.

Kira Hug:  Yes.

Jocelyn Brady:  Oh, that’s great. And he has such a good point, which is don’t take… If you’re not asking “it’s a no” and don’t stop until you hear a clear no, I think that is just the best advice. You keep trying. You keep pestering people and reaching out to people that you really want to work with and think of… I mean, I would just blind-pitch people. I was like, “They sound fun to work with.” And I would think of… I would research them and then find, “Oh, this guy used to run a shave ice shop. I’m going to make a joke about shave ice and ice shave. And I grew up in Hawaii and he’s going to get it.” And that was it.

So it’s like, what is something that’s going to make him want to open that email because the subject line is interesting enough, right? It’s like all the practices that we know in copywriting. And then, what’s that first line that’s going to make him smile, what’s going to make him want to read more, what’s going to make him crack up in his seat and say, “I need to talk to this gal.” So I think that is something. Just see how you can make things fun, especially if they’re scary and just keep trying. Think of it as all a big experiment.

Rob Marsh:  So I would love to get your thoughts on stories and what’s going on in the brain. And it’s funny because as I was going through your website, especially your about page, you’ve got one of the most intriguing about pages I’ve ever seen. And it’s like screen after screen of curiosity and wait a second, “I got to pay attention”. Like I need to know how this ends and I need to know what that is. And clearly, you’re applying a lot of the techniques that you’ve learned. Tell us about what’s going on in our brains when we’re telling stories, when we’re hearing stories, and maybe most importantly, what can we do as writers to make sure that that connection is happening?

Jocelyn Brady:  Oh yeah. So that about page is a good example of me thinking, “how can I make this really fun?” Because I think a lot of us are like, “Oh God, I have to write my own about page. I have to write my own bio, blah.” It’s hard enough to do it for other people and then to do it for yourself and it feels impossible. So it’s, yeah, what is something that makes me feel curious and, boom, open with that, right?

And taking people on a journey. I mean, you’re always taking them on a… I like imagining, I’m a guide through the going in the rabbit hole. And that’s how I like to see the world is there’s always something to be fascinated by and curious about. And it’s just like those old axioms. The job of every sentence is to get the next sentence read, is to make them want to read the next thing, to get people more and more invested using tension and release, and throwing in little bits of comedy when things get serious because there’s a lot of serious things that happen in my life and everybody’s lives.

Having a volcano eat my house when I’m seven, it’s a pretty serious thing. But to say it like that, to say a volcano ate my house when I was seven, your brain is like, “Wait, what? I haven’t heard that before.” Saying something in a unique way that you can’t help but pay attention and probably want to know more. So it’s thinking of those things like what’s going to get the brain to go, “Wait, wait, wait, what?” And when we tell stories, I mean, that is how our brains work. It’s constantly telling stories, even in our sleep. Everything that we do, it’s a meaning-making machine to help us think things. Or actually, it’s like making shortcuts all the time. So if it’s making stories, it’s like, “Okay, this is how this works. I understand the connections. I see where that goes.”

Now, I don’t really need to think about all of that because you can make shortcuts that I don’t have to think about how I’m going to go make breakfast because I already understand the mechanisms behind it. So it’s like this is a very… It’s like the brain being lazy by doing all this extra work, making connections in the background. And when we tell stories to each other, our brains sync up across time and space. Right now, us talking is going to be released in some future time and that listener right now is in training with our brains. How cool is that?

Kira Hug:  What about for storytellers? Or maybe let’s just say copywriters who don’t feel like they’re great storytellers; that’s not their specialty?

Jocelyn Brady:  Mm-hmm.

Kira Hug:  What are one or two things they could do to really step into that and feel confident telling the story?

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. I mean, I think everyone is a natural storyteller from the first time you said, “Hey mom, look, there’s a kitty. I want it.” Personal story. I did that actually. Forced cats on my father. Thank you, father. He now lives in a cat sanctuary. So it’s that, it’s that. It’s thinking of the connections in your life that are delightful. And if it feels daunting to think, “Oh, I need to tell a story,” just think what is something I would tell a friend right now about something that happened to me, about something I found curious, about something I imagined.

And just taking that kind of edge off of like, this, all you’re doing is trying to bring a smile or some delight or some wonder or some kind of movement, emotional movement, to a friend. You’re just making a friend feel something. I think that’s a really great place to start. And it’s always around like… There’s frameworks you can use. I developed one literally called story, S-T-O-R-Y. So you can think of like how to break things down into bits and get into more of the technicality of it and practice those skills. But ultimately, it’s just like, “What’s going to make a friend of mine feel good about something I can tell them that’s interesting?”

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. I’m curious what the story framework is. Because as you were talking about your about page, obviously you’re mentioning the things that you’re doing to interrupt the pattern, the things that we don’t expect. You’re creating curiosity. But once you have that, how do we make sure that we basically do the rest of the story well, so that when we get to the end, we get to the point the person is ready to take action or they’re ready to do the thing that they need to do.

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. I think, I mean, we all want to see some kind of change, right? I mean, you could think of it as a character in their context is challenged and they change. So there’s like three Cs. I guess it’s four Cs. You can think of that as like you’re setting up something. You’re setting up a reality that people are going, “Okay, okay. I’m here with you. I’m in this reality. Even if it’s crazy, even if it’s Alice getting small and talking to a caterpillar or cat, we are with you on that journey right now. Okay. We’re in that context.” So that character in that context then is challenged. So you need to feel that emotional experience. You need to feel the stakes, like that person is going through something and it’s hard for them.

Yeah. Okay. There’s like a physical version of it, but it’s always about something they have to face internally. They’ve always been afraid to speak up. So then they’re going to have to have that challenge in the story. It’s like thinking of the thing that is the most triggering emotional response for them that they have to work through so that by the end you experience the transformation or the change. Unless it’s a tragedy, and then it doesn’t turn out well. So that’s one way.

And the story framework is very similar. It’s nothing new under the sun. I just thought why isn’t there an acronym to teach people how to tell a story using story. And it turns out that it’s really hard. And it took a while, but it’s the same sort of thing. It’s your setup and your twist. You think of Dorothy and Oz. So you have Dorothy in her black-and-white world. She really wants a life of adventure and wants to feel at home in her own skin, but she doesn’t. She feels like she has to fit into this world that doesn’t make sense to her. And then twist, literal twister takes her out of her reality, puts her in a new land, and then you have, oh, obstacle. Oh no, we have to go through and face these challenges. And there’s a wicked witch, and there’s a crazy wizard.

So our resolution. You’re resolving to make a change, often with the help of friends or the new skills you’ve developed through that obstacle that you’ve learned. You’re taking with you. So that, yay, final step, you’ve learned something that you can then pass on to others or that people can take with them. Because that’s what storytelling ultimately is showing us how something works so that our brain can make sense of it so that it can again go back to make those shortcuts and make connections and make meaning.

Kira Hug:  Where do most of us mess up? Even trained writers, copywriters in our community, we think that we’re decent at this. Where have you seen us mess up? Or maybe even you’ve seen this mistake in your own storytelling.

Jocelyn Brady:  Overexplaining minutiae is sometimes like a safe space for us. We’re like, “Oh, the people…” And you can get this in copywriting if you’re writing about products, people get really focused. A classic example of focusing on the products, like the phone has one trillion megabytes of data that you can sync to that. It’s just like nobody cares about that and make me feel something. But if you show me that, “Hey, the camera on this phone is so good. You could see the microscopic specs in your cat’s eye. How cool is that?” So I think it’s getting bogged into details that aren’t emotionally relevant or resonant and not building up the stakes. I think sometimes we can shy away from the emotion or not get clear on… Here’s another one. I’m kind of like interrupting myself, but being too clever versus being clear.

It’s fun to be clever. It’s really delightful when you find a way with words. A lot of us get into it because we love language and words and wordplay. But if it doesn’t make sense, it’s not doing its job. So get clear. Make the emotional stakes clear. And that could be again, as small as like a little product that doesn’t feel like there’s some big emotional weight to it, but there is because we make decisions based on emotions. Emotions drive the sale logic and justifies a purchase. So I think that’s it. Like it’s super clear. Forget about all the details. Just get to the very basic core. And with storytelling in particular, like show and be very clear about some kind of journey transformation or change.

Rob Marsh: So Jocelyn, one of the things that you do with stories is the opposite. Instead of telling somebody else’s story, you help people think through the stories that we tell ourselves. Talk to us a little bit about overcoming our own BS, the crap that’s going on in our heads, and how we can rewrite those stories in a way that helps us move forward.

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. So BS, that’s, thank you,  I like to call them the BS, your brain stories. And that’s again, going back to why I call the brain a magical asshat. It’s a working title of my book, Your Brain is a Magical Asshat. Because it’s magic. It does all this stuff. It thinks thoughts. Your brain does all this stuff, it breathes and it does all these things. It computes all of this stuff you never even have to think about. But it’s an asshat because it’s saying… it’s constantly telling you lies. Usually about what you’re not able to do because the brain likes to keep you safe.

And it’s such a hypocritical entity because while it wants to keep you safe, it loves new experiences and novelty. So there’s this tension. So we feel like, “Okay, I want to try something new.” My own example of when I decided to embrace brain coaching full time. When I first got into it, I was very excited about it. And that’s where you get to the thing that you know is important to you. You were very excited about something. You really want something. It’s just driving you. You’re like, “Yes, I love this. I love this. I want to do more of it. I love talking about it.”

But then it’s scary if you’ve already identified as something else, like the business owner of a brand narrative consultancy. So then to say now, “Hey guys, I’m a brain coach now,” felt very uncomfortable. And I had to reconcile with the word coach, which I couldn’t stand. It had a lot of BS around that. So it’s going, “Okay. Brain is trying to keep me safe so it’s going to say things that aren’t usually very kind. You can never do that. This is a horrible idea. Everyone’s going to think you’re stupid, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” That’s the BS to focus on, okay, how do I flip the script on that? How do I accept that these are just stories that my brain made up to keep me safe? Even if it’s being an asshat, how do I now go poke at that, flip the script, say, “What if it is possible? So what if people think I’m stupid? Who cares? I know I’m not, or maybe I am and that’s great.”

It’s just, again, like finding ways to play with your thoughts so that you don’t feel so stuck and full of anxiety. And I mean, it’s not… I get irritated when people are like, “It’s only mindset and it’s only stories.” But it is a big part of it. And if you can start to be more aware of them, you can start to pursue stories that are more helpful for you, creating what you most want before you die and being the kind of person that brings creativity and joy and kindness and compassion and the things that we all want to see more of in the world.

Kira Hug:  I’d like to hear more about this career pivot for you too. I’m wondering when you started to feel that need to pivot in your career. I mean, I know you mentioned you went to training in 2016. But did you feel like that excitement or even that fear a couple of years before that? How did you start to ease into that new direction?

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. I was terrified of… So I was sneaking in more and more brain stuff, neuroscience into storytelling workshops that I was leading and talking to people about it when they were… A lot of my clients would call me. I was basically doing coaching without really knowing I was doing that for a while. So I was doing consulting, like providing answers and recommendations versus coaching, which is just asking people questions and nudging them in directions that they already want to go. And yet saying, “I’m going to start coaching. I’m going to go into brain senses.”  No, can’t do it. Scary.

So, while this is happening, because I’m now suppressing this part of myself that wants to play in this new way, I start getting more stressed and bitter and started getting really disillusioned and bored with this thing that I had built. And now I am a multiple… At this point, multiple six-figure company, working with multibillion-dollar brands on some of their most important initiatives, consulting the CEOs on how to talk to their investors and the chief marketing officers on how to develop their brand voices and talk to their teams. And even like, “Hey, Jocelyn, can you look at the Super Bowl script and give us your analysis of the language and any recommendations?”

So it was really cool stuff on that level. And yet here I am growing more and more like, “Ugh, more words I don’t care about.” I was getting very unhappy. And that has a really horrible effect on your work and your relationships. It started building and building and around 2019, I had just led this big series of storytelling workshops. And I got home and I couldn’t… I felt so deflated. I am so tired of talking about brands because what I really want to be talking about are brains and how we deal with emotions and things like curiosity and tapping creativity and getting people to have better relationships with themselves and others. And it’s hard to reconcile this in a business world and people who know you as one thing and business and copywriting and all that kind of creative direction.

So it wasn’t really until… Again, so 2019. And I’m thinking now, how am I going to start saying no to business that comes in, because now this is my livelihood and now I’m scared of losing it. And I have a team, so I feel responsible for them, for keeping this revenue machine going. So then COVID came along and said, “Hey, heard you were bored. How about, poof, all your contracts vanish.” Okay. So that’s what happened. And I’m sitting here going, “Wow, I guess I don’t have to say no to these things because they’re not here anymore. Mm-hmm.”

And while it was unsettling and it felt like, oh wow, the ground is slipping beneath me, but I’ve been through this before with a literal eruption. So at least I have some skills to deal with it. And now I get to rebuild what I really want to be creating. So that was a really good… I don’t advocate people wait for any kind of eruption to happen, but it is a great opportunity to see things clearly and to start building. And that’s when I really went all-in on, “Okay, I’m going to go explore this brain coaching and speaking and doing workshops on creativity,” and still do things on storytelling, but really shifting my focus more to how do you tap your brains to be more creative. To create what you most want before you die, which is something I like to say a lot.

Rob Marsh:  So for you, COVID helped you make the shift by removing a lot of the reasons, the things that were in the way. But for other people who maybe are thinking about making a change and they’re still dealing with that head trash, all of the brain keeping you safe and all of that, is there a simple tool or a way, a process that we can use to reframe those kinds of thoughts so that we can start to move forward?

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, plug alert, I do have where you can type in the thing bothering you, and it will prompt you along the way to bring up what are the emotional ties to that, how does this make you feel, what is the worst thing? Okay. Now let’s flip the script on that. Literally, you just start writing the opposite thing. That’s it. You’re just tricking your brain to go, “All I’m doing is writing the opposite thing. I don’t have to believe any of it. I’m just simply doing an exercise of grammatical opposites. I know how to do this.” And then you start to see things that you’re like, “Oh, what if that were true? What if I could take a little step forward? What if I have the skills to adopt, or I could create the time to start playing more, exploring more, studying something I’m interested in?” Having one conversation with someone doing something I’m fascinated by, just those tiny little things.

So that’s one way of doing it. It’s just like literally tools to flip the script and looking at the opposite and just playing with opposite ideas. And the other thing is I’m also becoming tiny habit certified as we speak with behavior scientist BJ Fogg. And he’s a big advocate, and so am I, of tiny habits. So if you find this big daunting goal or aspiration, this thing you really, really want, like I want to become a brain coach, I want to become a speaker, I want to become a content creator, fill in the blank, right? So then ladder down, make that smaller and smaller and smaller. What are the things I would do as a content creator? What are the things I would do as a brain coach? Okay. I might be coaching people. I might be telling people I’m a coach. I might be creating content. I might make a one-minute video.

And then you think, “Okay, even smaller. What is the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest thing? I’m going to write down one idea on a sticky note for a piece of content that I think might be cool. I’m going to put it up next to my computer after I open my laptop for the day, for example.” And then that’s all you do. Just one tiny step. Once you train your brain to see that it can do that one tiny step. Oh, yay, I wrote my Post-it note. Then you can start adding onto that and building on that. And you’re giving your brain that little neural, juicy, yummy… Yay, you did it, dopamine, serotonin. I’m making things. I’m doing stuff one tiny step at a time. I think that’s a really great way to start is just like, again, make it so, so ridiculously small, you can laugh at that step. But then you’ll do it. It’s like that floss one tooth.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. I love BJ’s approach to that. It’s so hard. I think if I’m remembering it right in his book and when I’ve heard him speak, he talks about how you force yourself to only do the little tiny thing, which, again, flossing one tooth is so ridiculous. Why wouldn’t you just floss the others? It almost makes it hard to do the little thing.

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. And even with that too, it’s an experiment. Think of them, this is encouraged, right? It’s like all an experiment. There is no failure. You’re just learning. You’re seeing what, huh, being curious about it. Did this tactic or tool work for me? Did this tiny step work for me? Okay. If it didn’t, maybe I can try moving it or creating a different step or am I… Or just even examining, am I really interested and motivated to do this, and if not, I’ll pick something else. Because sometimes we might even dilute ourselves into thinking there’s something we really want, but it’s not the actual thing. Like to say, I don’t know, “I want a six-figure business.” Maybe you want that. Maybe what you really want is to find more flow or to be recognized as an expert in your field, or it’s just looking at… There’s a lot of different possibilities. So just start with one and start exploring.

Kira Hug:  All right. So Rob, this has been a really fascinating interview so far. Apologies to all of you listening. I have a cough drop in my mouth. I don’t know what’s happening to my voice, but we’re going to work with it.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, we’ll do our best. So I made a bunch of notes and lots of really cool stuff. I think I would start just with the story framework. I know I’m skipping kind of to the middle of what Jocelyn was sharing. But the framework of… and how she walked through the Wizard of Oz as that example, but sets up the  twist, overcoming the obstacle, resolving whatever the thing is, that’s got to be resolved. And then, she’s called it “Yay,” but the learning, the change, the transformation that happens.

And as I think about stories that we tell, whether it’s in the copy that we write, or as examples, teaching our kids, or even just entertaining other people, that always follows those steps and I think it’s… And might be worth writing those down on a sticky note. As we’re writing to make sure it’s like, “Okay, in the setup, I’ve done the right thing. I laid the foundation for the story that I need to tell or the product that I’m going to be selling. And I can introduce the conflict, the twist, the obstacle, how would we resolve it, and then how do we talk about the transformation.” I really like the way she framed it. And yeah, you and I are both fans of frameworks and this is a good one.

Kira Hug:  We also talked about the stories that we tell ourselves. So brain stories, and this part really hit home for me because I tell myself so many negative stories. We all do. And so recently, I’ve really been trying to catch those stories and just question them a bit more, because again, so much of this just happens every day, every minute of the day. And so I like that we touched on that topic and even pulling in some of the expertise from Byron Katie about the work that she’s done and introduced to so many different coaches and so many different people. Really catching those stories when we tell ourselves and asking the simple question, is this story true? And that’s something that I have definitely been working on.

And most of the time, the stories I’m telling myself, they’re not even close to true. And so I know there are other questions that Byron Katie will continue to ask, but that one question for me has been so helpful just to understand that this is something that I’m doing and I can catch it when it happens by asking, is it true? So that could be something that we can all use more frequently as we’re telling ourselves stories about who we are and how we show up in our business.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. I like a lot of things as Jocelyn was talking about this. The fact that she calls them BS, brain stories, but also BS with the double entendre. And they usually are BS like you’re pointing out. Oftentimes they’re not rooted in truth, and we need to identify that. But Jocelyn also mentioned that it’s kind of hard to overcome them. Even though we know they’re just stories, there’s a reason that they’re implanted in our brains. There’s a reason that they’re there, and whether they’re trying to protect us and keep us safe, whatever. It’s one thing to say, “Well, they’re just stories, so flip it around and change it.” But it’s not that easy.

And her practice of writing the opposite, literally flipping through things backward in order to overcome that, I think can be a really good practice. So when we encounter this BS that we all deal with, it’s not just a matter of, “Okay, well, that’s not a true story and I’m fine now,” but really trying to work through, “Okay, what are the outcomes that I want? Why is this story not true? What is the true story? Where can I find the evidence for the true story?” All of that stuff is really important in getting to the truth and helping us move forward.

Kira Hug:  And we also talked about BJ Fogg and Tiny Habits, which is a fantastic book that you’ve talked a lot about previously, his different models. I actually, after speaking to Jocelyn about it in this interview, I jumped into the same program that she has enrolled in, this certification program so that I can be certified as a Tiny Habits… I guess, Tiny Habits coach.

And so I appreciate that mention from Jocelyn because it was not on my radar at all. And it’s something that I’m really interested in using mostly for myself and for my family, but also to help other copywriters in some of our programs because we get most tripped up by our own mindset and our own habits. I mean, that’s what shapes our day and our week and can work well for us or can work against us. And so I have been fascinated so far about what I’ve been learning and the habits even that I’ve created in my day-to-day life over the last few weeks it just started. And so I’m obsessed with the habits we can create and how that affects our behavior design today.

Rob Marsh:  So do you do the Maui habit? That’s BJ’s number one habit.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. I mean, to jump into all of it, you kind of have to get over some of the cheesiness of parts of it, right? So waking up in the morning and planting your feet in the ground and saying, “Today’s going to be a great day,” can feel very cheesy and silly, but it has actually made a big difference for me. And I actually have better days when I do it. And when I forget to do it, the day just kind of will fall apart. So that’s one habit that I’ve created. And then I build… The cool thing with habits, of course, is you can continue to build. So you can set yourself up for success with multiple habits that turn into your routine. So, I mean, I have a bunch of habits now, Rob, in the morning, a really solid morning ritual that is working for me right now. I mean, it may change.

Rob Marsh:  I love hearing that. I love the Maui habit. I do it. I don’t actually do it…

Kira Hug:  You do it?

Rob Marsh:  … as soon as I step out of bed because my wife is right there and she’s usually asleep because I get up pretty early. But driving my kids to school almost every single day, as we’re driving like, “Man, what a beautiful day.” It drives them crazy.

Kira Hug:  You do that every day?

Rob Marsh:  I totally do. Yeah. I love it. I tell myself it’s going to be a great day. And yeah, I like it. In fact, thanks to BJ, after I read his book, that’s like what got me even flossing my teeth every single day. So there’s…

Kira Hug:  I’ve been using that habit as well where you just floss one tooth and of course, you’re like, “This is ridiculous. I can floss all of them,” and it feels like a win and you celebrate along the way. What are some of the other habits you have created for your morning routine?

Rob Marsh:  So, well, I mean, we’ve talked about some of this stuff in the past, but I get up and I exercise. I either walk or run or get on my bike, do that. I recently started jumping rope, which I can only do for a few minutes because it totally just trashes my heart rate. And so there’s that part of my morning routine. And then there’s lots of little tasks and things that happen before I hop on my computer and go through some email and get started on my day. But it’s mostly about exercise and just taking that first hour or so to hydrate, to just get my body moving, and to be thinking about something I often will read in the mornings. There’s some spiritual practice, that kind of stuff that I do as well. So that always helps.

The thing that I really love though about BJ is the Fogg model of behavior. And I know we’ve talked about this in one of the trainings that we have, our persuasion training. But the model makes so much sense when you’re combining ability and motivation and triggers. And this isn’t really something we can easily illustrate on a podcast. But look it up, check it out, get the book, whatever, because when motivation’s really high, you don’t need a lot of ability to make a change. But when motivation’s really low, now you’ve got to be very convincing. You’ve got to have a high ability to either make a change or avoid the thing that you’re trying to avoid. The model is just such a good frame for thinking about even how our customers engage with the offers that we make. And yeah, to me, it’s an amazing sales tool, even though that’s not really why BJ developed it. He’s talking about habits and personal development, but it applies to everything that we do as copywriters.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. That’s a really good point. I’m learning so much that I can apply in my day-to-day, but even better. I’m looking at it the way that we’ve laid out some of our programs and some of our offers and services. And it’s just, that you can do it so much better if you understand the model. So I think we’ll just have to bring BJ on the podcast to geek out about this properly. But what I love about what Jocelyn introduced to us and really talked through in this part of the interview is that she has been following her interest and her curiosity and her passion really for learning about the brain and just jumping fully into it and taking these certification programs and just figuring out how to pivot based off what is interesting her today. And I really admire what she’s done.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. I was going to say the same thing. I mean, she really started talking about it at the very beginning of the interview that there’s this… I think maybe a lot of copywriters, content writers operate in the same way. And we’re so curious about things that we often will follow links down rabbit holes or whatever. And one minute we’re reading some research that’s applicable to our sales page and the next minute we’re on a Wikipedia page about something that happened in the 1300s in medieval France, right?

And that’s kind of a weird way of saying: I really admire the way that Jocelyn has kind of built her own talent stack by following this serendipitous path. It’s like, oh, she went from copy and storytelling. And when that no longer was serving her, she followed her interests into brain science and neurology and was certified there. And then, she moves on to the next thing and goes from not liking coaching to doing coaching.

And this is the way that we all develop our talent stacks and how we create the things that are unique about us. And so, we shouldn’t be thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to stay focused entirely on everything related to copywriting or to my clients,” because those additional interests help make us not just unique, but more valuable as writers and able to communicate better with the clients and the customers that we’re trying to reach.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. And Jocelyn was upfront about it. It’s not easy to pivot at all. And she talked about some of the mindset trash that she dealt with in the pivot, especially if you have this great business and it’s like this six-figure business and you’re working on Super Bowl scripts like Jocelyn. I mean, she was at the top of her game as like the copywriter in the room. And that makes it even harder, especially if you have a team, and you will feel like you have to keep the revenue machine going. I mean, I have felt that way many times too. So it makes it harder to make that pivot and start to pursue your talent stack and building the next business around the talent stack. So all that to say is like, this is normal and many of us will go through it. And sometimes when you’re in it, it feels isolating and like you’re alone. But just know that there are many people like Jocelyn who have worked through it as well.

Let’s get back to our interview with Jocelyn and find out how she overcame her biggest struggles in pivoting her business.

I want to go back to the pivot because I’m kind of hooked on the whole pivot that you’ve made. What was your biggest struggle as you jumped fully into this new direction, I guess post-2020? And then, what have you done really well that’s helped you move forward a little bit faster as you’ve made this pivot?

Jocelyn Brady:  Oh, the struggle is real, my friends. The first thing was… Oh man, having to walk my own talk and market myself. So I had been telling other people how to write their words and tell their stories and do marketing. And then, now I’m faced with, “Oh, now I am the product, so to speak. I have to put myself out there? Oh no, no one’s doing it for me? No one’s going to know if I don’t say it?” So learning to confront those feelings of, “Ew, I don’t want to do this.” And they’re like, “Okay, but what is this discomfort?” And it’s just, “Oh, I’m afraid that people will think I’m silly or they won’t like it.” “Okay. Well, then be silly and make stuff you like.” So that struggle of putting yourself out there.

And I worked with Hillary Weiss, my positioning coach, who was brilliant and would constantly encourage me to like, “Hey, put more Jocelyn in there. This needs Jocelyn. You are someone who runs around in a penguin suit and wears a silly brain cap. Embrace that. That’s when you shine. That’s who you are. So stop trying to trim things back and play it safe. Brain being an asshat again.” So that was really a struggle. And one of the ways I got through that was again like playing with your thoughts and thinking, “Okay, how can I make this fun for myself?”

And the very first thing I thought is: I want to make a short video that brings together things I love, brains and stories. And I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I sat down one day and I set out my challenge for myself today is to make one short, like two-minute video and put it out there. And I did that and it felt awesome. I had no idea what I was doing. I was learning how to edit. I recorded myself on a Zoom thing and then went, hmm, Google, how cut things in Adobe Premiere, how to add text, and then put it out there.

And that was that little reward for my brain. I think that is something I continue to do well is just giving myself little play challenges. Like okay, if I’m feeling resistant to something, it’s like, how can I make this something that’s fun for me to create and put out in the world so that I keep some kind of consistency with it. And I think for people who get really bored easily and like to create different stuff, that’s a good way of going. You don’t have to put out a weekly newsletter. You don’t have to follow anyone else’s rules. See what works for you and make it fun for yourself because people feel that on the other side.

Rob Marsh:  So Jocelyn, if somebody is listening to this and they’re thinking, “Hey, I’d actually like to explore this a little bit more.” Maybe they don’t want to go all the way into brain coach, but there’s a lot here that they could use in their own businesses. Are there short of a multi-thousand dollars certification program like you’ve been through and the resources that you’ve invested in? Are there some, a couple of books or tools that you would recommend that we would check out and start our learning journey?

Jocelyn Brady:  Some books I love Words Can Change Your Brain is amazing. And The Brain That Changes Itself is fascinating because you’ll encounter all these stories that are fascinating. It’s just like wow. Somebody was crawling on the floor because they had a stroke and then they became a professor and wrote all these books. And just to spark that curiosity and wonder and to see what is possible.

What else? Dr. Andrew Huberman, Huberman Lab Podcast is wonderful. He is a neuroscientist out of Stanford and he goes into great detail on a lot of topics from play to breathing to how to optimize your morning. Things like… He talks about your optic. I think he did his dissertation on the optic nerve. So he talks about getting early morning sunlight, for example, and what that does for your brain. Those are the initial things that come to mind.

Kira Hug:  Can we talk more about play and how we can incorporate it into our lives? If you have tips or specific examples of how some of your clients may have done this and the impact in their lives?

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. Oh, Dr. Stuart Brown wrote the book Play, and that is also highly recommended. And he’s such a wonderful human. So yeah. I think people, sometimes if I go into a very corporate setting and I talk about play, they’re rolling their eyes and like, “What do you… No, I’m not doing a silly dance at my desk. That’s crazy.” So it doesn’t have to be anybody else’s version of play. It is simply: what is something that makes you feel good, at ease and flow, curious that doesn’t have any other purpose.

And maybe that is going outside and staring at a tree and thinking about where it came from. Or looking at its texture or the leaves and throwing them up in the air, jumping in a puddle, going out and running, playing fetch with your dog, rolling around on the floor for absolutely no reason, putting on a penguin suit. It’s that thing that you do that feels like… makes you giggle, makes you smile and it’s giving you that essential dose you need.

I mean, Dr. Stuart Brown would say, “Play is absolutely essential from birth to death. It is not just for children. It is not frivolous. It is how we learn. It is how we learn how to adapt. It’s how we stay creative and curious and open, and keep our brain active and healthy and create connections for our entire lives.”

Rob Marsh:  What else, in addition, to play, do we need to do in order to keep our brains healthy?

Jocelyn Brady:  Oh, I mean, all the things that we’re always told. So like get sleep. So when you’re getting good sleep, your fun little cell, the glial cells, I think it is, they’re going out and taking out your metabolic trash. So they’re going to the dump. So it’s important. And then you have dreams and fun things, and you’re restoring all of this magic. And getting sunlight, going for walks, movement. Brains love movement. And this is why sometimes, the whole thing about taking a shower, or you have a sudden stroke of insight when you’re driving or doing something, washing the dishes because you’re in that kind of flow state and you’re navigating between these circuits in your brain that allows for creativity and idea and flow to flourish.

Jocelyn Brady: What else? And all that balanced diet, social connections. What else? I think how you can keep your curiosity alive and how you can create things that delight, and they don’t have to delight anybody else, but you. And just what are those things that… As I said, I talk about death a lot, deathbed you. Thinking about this place where deathbed you is really, really proud of what you’re doing today because it’s the purest expression of yourself. And people on their deathbeds, one of the most common things they say is, “I wish I had lived a life that was true to me and not what somebody else expected. And I wish I had allowed for more silliness and play in my life. And I wish I had stayed in better contact with my friends.” So deathbed you, making them proud. And also thinking of little you and what lit them up, what made them laugh and smile and feel free, and what would they be delighted to see you still doing today.

Kira Hug:  When did deathbed you and that concept show up for you? Because I know you’ve mentioned it… At least you’ve mentioned on your website a couple of times in your messaging and doing what you want before you die. I guess, why is that such a big part of your messaging and what drives you?

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. I think having some early childhood trauma is helpful in seeing how things can feel like they might break you, and also experiencing death. So I had a lot of [inaudible 00:49:20] friends with feral animals a lot of the time and I loved cats. And experiencing the death of a very close pet is… And let alone people who’ve experienced the death of someone close to them. It’s really humbling and it breaks you open to see like, “Hey, this is what matters. How can you give someone at their end, the most caring transition experience where they feel the most themselves in the least amount of pain.”

So then you go to… And also things like living on an active volcano and seeing that this cycle and dichotomy of what the lava destroys, it is building on and creating at the same time. And you never know when the lava’s going to come. You never know when COVID’s going to come around or whatever insert crazy event that disrupts everything you thought you knew. Just like that, life is short. We have, what, an average of 4,000 weeks. That’s a great book, by the way, Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. You have about 4,000 weeks. What are you going to do with them? It’s so short. It’s so fleeting. And it just feels so important to me to instill that reality in people that this is finite and fleeting. We have no idea what happens after that. But all we know is we have this time here now. How can we make the most of it? How can we make that the coolest, most creative, most connected experience we can possibly make?

Kira Hug:  How do you keep that front and center for yourself day today? Because we can read Oliver’s book, we get it. We’re on board. But I think it’s so easy to forget that day to day, moment to moment. So how do you do that?

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. That’s a good question. And it’s like losing sight of that. We’re all humans. So no matter what, working with brains and working with brain coaching and how to get into toward state and all of that, it’s like, don’t get me wrong, I get frustrated with things all the time. If my AirPods aren’t working, like screaming at my AirPods and then realizing I’m being silly. But yeah, how to keep that in the forefront of that deathbed you. I think I revisit it because I talk about it so much is one thing. It’s just like telling people I’m working with or when I’m doing talks or in workshops. So that is one way I keep it present and salient in my mind.

And little things. I keep a skull with a brain in it on my desk and he makes me laugh. So I see him on my desk every day. And yeah, little reminders of how can you create those little reminders for yourself. Just putting like a Post-it on my door that literally just says, deathbed you, smiling. And so when I walk into my office, it’s like, “Oh, what am I going to do today that makes deathbed me proud?” And maybe it’s so silly. Maybe I’m just doing a doodle, or maybe I’m writing a letter to a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while. Or just sending a text to someone that I’m so happy that they applied for this job they were scared to apply for. Yeah, I think it’s that, those little reminders that help you notice something. And that’s what helps me notice and keep that present.

Rob Marsh:  I think this question’s maybe going to change the conversation just a little bit, but I’m really curious about how you do this. And your business is a really good example of niching, right down to you are the brain coach. But the problem that comes along with that is I think a lot of people aren’t really thinking, “Hey, I need a coach for my brain.” So I’m curious, what do you do to attract the right people into your business? How do you help people find you?

Jocelyn Brady:  Ooh, yeah. I think that I’m on LinkedIn a lot. I started digging into that really around COVID. And just saying those things that not… It wasn’t necessarily very common on LinkedIn. Say like, “Hey everyone, you’re going to die, yay. What are you going to do with your time?” And I think that was pretty refreshing to the right people and it’s a turn-off to people who are not the right people. And that I think is an important message is like, do the thing that brings you joy and that will connect with the people who believe what you believe, in the whole Simon Sinek Start with Why thing. And then the people who don’t, they don’t matter. They’re not part of the equation. So that’s one thing. It’s just like putting stuff out there pretty consistently.

And the videos, Tiny Tips for Your Brain videos, they do. I’ve been experimenting with shorts, one-minute versions of those. And then talk. Just having conversations with people I’ve worked with in the past, people in coaching groups that I’m part of like Hillary Weiss’ Thunder group. And then there’s this ripple effect of when people think of brains. This is so delightful to me. When people think of brains, they think of me and they send me stuff. It’s like silly brain cartoons or some headline about brains or neuroscience. And then they will think of me when somebody is talking about, “Hey, I’m struggling to define where I want to go next,” or “I’m scared to make a change.” So those are I think the most obvious ways. Like conversations, content and putting stuff out there that is very on point to what I do. Now, that said, I sometimes also go on tangents and I think that is part of it because the people know that’s part of my brain too, is like creativity, trying new stuff, experimenting.

Kira Hug:  How do you get paid today? I know you mentioned that your copywriting, and messaging business was six figures, doing really well. What are offers today and how have you structured those so that you can grow your business?

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah, that’s also, that when you were talking earlier about the struggles, it’s like, “Oh no, how do I price this?” It’s really hard to go from a service-based business, or if you have gone from hourly copywriting to then maybe more project or retainer-based, and you’re always kind of experimenting, exploring. And it’s difficult when you start with something that feels tangible. Oh, in this many hours or this amount of time, or by this date, you get this thing. You get this thing you can look at and open and scroll and whatever. There’s words on it. Then you go into coaching and it’s like, “Wait, what am I giving people, a life change?” It feels so uncomfortable and it’s like, “Wait, how do you package that?” Because it is less tangible, but it has an extremely huge impact.

Even if you’re not a coach, one conversation you have with someone can literally change their day, which can ripple out and change their life. No joke. It might make them make a new decision to enroll in school, to get out of a bad job, to break up with someone, to say yes to someone. So yeah, structuring my offers was also an experiment. And currently, I have it set up as a 90-ish day adventure. I say 90-ish because you know life happens. We might want a little flexibility. And that’s a 90-ish day brain-changing adventure. So we have sessions every other week and then in between there. There’s Voxer back and forth. And then I will send out exercises or little tips, worksheets, exercises based on what someone is going through, what they’re aiming for, what they’re challenged with. That’s one of the ways.

Another one is I still do some consulting. So this is when a company came and said, “Hey, we want to create a behavior change program based on habit formation.” I thought, “Yes. Awesome.” So there’s still obviously a lot of writing involved, but it’s more on, okay and now I’m creating this thing to influence behavior change. It’s part of the impetus for getting Tiny Habit certified as well. So I can say I’m a Tiny Habit certified and have access to BJ Fogg, which is incredible. And that’s not something I really advertise that I do consulting because I don’t want it to be a huge part of my work. That’s just a result of doing it for 15 years and spending the last three of them, telling those people I’m no longer doing copywriting and narrative. Now I’m doing behavior science, brain science, that kind of stuff.

And I’m also working with Hillary’s group. She actually… Because I was very active in her group, she came to me and she said, “Hey, I want to pay you for the stuff that you’re already doing. So can you be our resident brain coach?” So that’s another way, is joining Hillary’s Thunder.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, nice. So I’m curious, you mentioned the videos that you create. That you had to  basically teach yourself how to do that. You obviously script them out, create them. Is that still something that you do on your own? Or do you have a team? What does the team look like?

Jocelyn Brady:  I still do those on my own. I did work with an editor for a while and kind of experimenting or experimenting together to see what works. So this is a really tricky one, but for me, this particular project is such a personal creative outlet. I have so much joy and fulfillment in creating them, even though they are intense. They take a lot of time. I’m not an expert video editor, but I really enjoy what it’s become and what it continues to become and how it’s changing and watching my own skills develop. So part of that is it’s not meant to be super polished. I put most of my time into getting the research right. And then, how do I now deliver that in a fun accessible way?

We’re talking about something like heavy science and studies, and how do you make that, inserting some pop culture and other kinds of… Mapping the way my brain works like, “Oh, because we need Ferris Bueller in here now. And then we go to the brain science and then Ace Ventura says something.” So handing that off to an editor was so tricky because I found that I had to do more work. And so that works for some people and sometimes it’s more work upfront and then you get more in the flow.

But in this particular one, I thought, “You know what? I think I want to hold onto it for a while longer until I’m either clearer about what else I want to do with it or turning them into something else because I really want to have full creative control over it,” because working in copywriting for so long, you do what the client says. You give recommendations, but ultimately they do what they want with your words.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. Those videos are so fun, especially the more recent ones. I checked out on Instagram and it does feel like it’s all you. It doesn’t feel like someone else is stepping in. And adding those little bits of commentary and pop culture, the way that you do it, it just feels unique to your brand. I want to circle back to your original story about the fetal pig. I feel like you touched on the story and then we quickly moved on. But can you share how that played out as you were like pulling out the brain. And I’m picturing this classroom and I just need to hear about the rest of the story.

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. Oh, what was it? Fifth grade. So it’s a science lab class in fetal pig dissection. First of all, they stink, man. It’s like that really strong formaldehyde. I’d never smelled that before in my life. And you’re just like consumed by these strange metallic stinky feet. Oh, what did I call it? Like spoiled pickled egg farts. That’s what it smells like. And then, going through the assignment of, okay, you slice open here, the abdomen. And you pull out one organ at a time, so you can pull out the tiny, tiny, little liver and the tiny… and then the intestines.

And I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that movie. Oh, what is it? D’Onofrio and Jennifer Lopez. Crazy movie. The Cell. And the crazy character D’Onofrio is like… The premise of that movie is Jennifer Lopez is a detective and she goes into his brain to kind of discover, and find out what happened in this crime. So she steps into his brain universe and it is just wild out there, dark. And there’s this one scene of him going do, do, do, do, do, do, and he’s just winding up intestines on this like…

Kira Hug:  Oof.

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. Sorry. You’re welcome. I don’t know. It’s very… It’s stuck with me. And so pulling these things out and then that’s it. So the teacher’s like, “Okay, so we’ve done all of the organs.” And that’s when I was like, “What? Hello, I need to use the hacksaw for the brain now.” And the teacher’s like, “Go for it. You don’t need to do that.” And I’m there with my best friend to this day, Nova, and I’m looking at her just like… I probably look this little Gollum. “I need the brain. You want to cut?” And she’s like, “Dude, no, gross.” And I’m like, “Yay, more for me.” And I just sat there. I don’t know. It took a really long time because skulls are pretty strong and thick, even a fetal pig that’s been soaking in formaldehyde.

And I just sat there just like chiseling, until like creating this little line around its skull, like the perimeter. And then, suction cup off the top of it and gently put this little gelatinous orb into my hands. It just cradled it there and stared like I had just birthed the universe. And staring at my friend like, “This is where thoughts come from.” And she’s like, “Okay.” And I don’t remember what I did with that brain after. I think like… I wish I had put it into a jar and kept it to this day. I don’t think it would transport very well. Yeah. And I think that was just like such a magical moment to me. And I was like, “I was just flabbergasted that no one else wants to do this. What?”

Kira Hug:  Rob, you’re going to eat lunch after this, right?

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. I was just thinking it’s lunchtime and I’m actually not all that hungry at the moment. So yeah. I might be able to stick to my diet today. Who knows?

So, Jocelyn, you’re maybe one of the few people that can sort of answer a question about like, where is copywriting… Or the combination of copywriting and brain science, where is it going in the future? How can we use more brain science in the copy that we write? And what do you expect the copywriters will be doing in the next few years as we try to use more of the neuroscience that’s available to us?

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. I think that it’s becoming more and more hot topic and present. I think a few years ago, even when I started, people weren’t really talking about brain science, neuroscience, behavioral science in the same way they are today. It’s kind of exploding. And I think that people are trying to tap, okay, well, if we know these certain things trigger, if we know that these emotional words work and people are doing a lot of testing, I think we’re going to see more and more demand for that. And a lot of people are going to like seeing the credentials of people who have had experience studying behavior science, neuroscience, that kind of thing.

The one, I would say like any tool, we can use it for different purposes and to different ends. And just like when mass psychology kind of comes out or when people started to use… Oh man, what’s his name? Very famous. Skinner. People started to see, “Oh, we can use this to manipulate,” and maybe not in people’s best interest. And I think that is the challenge a lot of us can experience when we do copywriting for a living is because you’re designing something to shift a behavior or create an action. You’re hoping that is beneficial, or you try not to think about it if it isn’t.

So I think that we’ll also see more of that come into play of the questioning the conscious consumerism. And people are going, “Okay, well, how are we using this behavioral neuroscience manipulation? And how can we create guardrails that don’t limit our creativity, but aren’t abusing these powers?” I’m also really interested to see what role AI is going to play because that is going crazy. I mean, we know we had a few years ago that really unfortunate Microsoft AI that just became like a racist troll in a few hours when they set it free on the internet, because it was learning from Twitter how to behave. But don’t raise your baby robots on Twitter, people.

Rob Marsh:  Maybe more of us should stay off Twitter as well.

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah. Yeah. So I think there’s going to be a lot of exciting things and seeing like, how can a neural network in a computer and AI interpret and create things that seem to mimic humanity? And what are the implications of that? I don’t know.

Kira Hug:  All right. Well, as we wrap, Jocelyn, where can we find more about you, what you’re sharing, what you’re teaching? Where can we go to learn more?

Jocelyn Brady:  Yeah, And you can go to @jocelthem, J-O-C-E-L-T-H-E-M, on Instagram and YouTube where the Tiny Tips for Your Brain series lives. And then, again,, if you want to try flipping the script on a sucky situation today.

Rob Marsh:  Awesome. And I’m going to go check out The Cell, so that I can watch Vincent D’Onofrio twist intestines.

Kira Hug:  I am not. I am not going to do that.

Rob Marsh:  Check that out.

Kira Hug:  That sounds awful.

Rob Marsh:  Thanks Jocelyn.

Kira Hug:  Thank you, Jocelyn, for your time. We appreciate it.

Jocelyn Brady:  Thank you so much.

Rob Marsh:  That’s the end of our interview with Jocelyn. Before we wrap up and send you off to whatever else you’re doing in your day, Kira, what else stood out to you from this last half?

Kira Hug:  I think the main point was just talking about the deathbed. And really talking about death and how that shows up in a lot of Jocelyn’s messaging and digging into why that shows up for her. But that’s very important as we live our life and figure out how to fit the business into it. It’s something that I’ve struggled with in terms of how to incorporate our end-of-life perspective into our day-to-day when everything feels rushed and busy and overwhelming.

And so, I’m glad we touched on that. I think it’s not easy. There are no easy answers on how to do this well. But it’s something that I think a lot about in terms of I don’t… especially in a culture where we shine a light on the people who are workaholics and the hustle culture, and we’re still doing it. It’s hard to get out of that trap. It feels like a trap to me and I get pulled into it frequently. And then I’m just like, “You know what? That’s not how I want to end my life when I’m on my deathbed two months from now or two decades from now.” I mean, hopefully, more than that. But I don’t want to think back and think about all the long days I worked and how I didn’t see my kids or my family. So it’s something I think about a lot, but I don’t necessarily have answers to it. It’s just an ongoing struggle.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. The idea of deathbed you, or even little kid you. Seven-year-old Rob, what would he think about what I’m doing right now. Or let’s say 98-year-old Rob laying on the deathbed and what would he think about what I’m doing right now. Kind of reminded me of what we talked about with Allison Carpio a few weeks ago with this personal board of directors and the idea that you can kind of create these other versions of you to advise where you are today.

So thinking through that and putting yourself in those other situations, what would it be like looking at this from my deathbed? Is this important? Should I be doing something differently? I think it’s just such a really smart frame. And yeah, if you combine it with what Allison was talking about, maybe a really good practice for figuring out that we’re working on the right things and we’re having the impact that we really want to have in our lives.

Kira Hug:  We also talked about play and how to add play into our lives. And I mean, I’ve mentioned on several episodes that this is an ongoing struggle for me. You wouldn’t think so because I have young kids. This should be easy, but it’s been a struggle. And so, I’m glad that we touched on this topic. It is something that I’m actively working on as well. How do you integrate play into what you do, Rob?

Rob Marsh:  I was thinking about this because as I think about my day, okay. Yeah, I’ll do some exercise in the morning. And if my kids are home from college or whatever, sometimes we’ll go play pickleball, that kind of a thing. But on a day-to-day thing, I’m trying to think. One of the things that’s so hard for me and probably for a lot of copywriters is for me writing is actually play. And so there’s almost no separation sometimes between what I’m doing for work and that play. And I’m not sure that that’s always a healthy thing. And so I was thinking about that, okay, what else could we do? But there are other things too. There’s puzzles; Wordle or whatever that I’ll do almost on a daily basis. It stretches my brain a little bit. I know some people will turn to social media as play. I kind of don’t think that that really counts. It’s probably triggering your brain in some similar way, but it’s probably not stimulating the right stuff.

So I actually think I’m looking at and thinking, “Okay, I do need to have more play in my life,” and what should that look like. Whether I should get back out, exercise in the middle of the day. Should I be getting on my bike more? Maybe just hanging out with friends or going shared meals, lunches, those kinds of things. But it’s definitely something that I want to put into my life more. I am glad that she mentioned other things to keep our brain healthy in addition to play. Things like movement and getting sunshine and balanced diet, those social connections, just having a certain curiosity about life. I think all of that stuff helps stimulate our brains and keep us at least mentally healthy. And maybe that physical play can be a part of it as well.

Kira Hug:  Yes. And this is why I am going to a slumber party this weekend…

Rob Marsh:  Oh wow.

Kira Hug:  … to have that social connection and to help my brain perform better because I’ll have a social time. So yeah. I mean, I think if we can’t get the play in every area of our life, like the social part is usually a little bit easier for me to add it in there.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. Jocelyn also mentioned a bunch of books. We already talked about BJ Fogg’s book. And there are other books, the book about play and some about brain science. And so, if this is something that’s interesting to you, check out some of those recommendations. I’d love to hear what listeners think about them as they read them. I was just scribbling down notes and add them to my list as well. But this is a topic that to me it’s really fascinating. And so, hearing from others what they think as they go through those resources. I’m just inviting people. Yeah, email me. Let’s make those social connections and talk about some of those books.

Kira Hug:  All right. And that is the end of this episode. I apologize for my voice. And if you’re still listening, thanks for putting up with it. I promise it’ll be better before the next podcast episode goes live. The intro music today, and every day, was composed by copywriter and songwriter Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Muntner. If you liked what you’ve heard, share a screenshot of the episode with your favorite takeaway and tag us on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. That’s new. Yeah.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. I’m looking forward to seeing some of those fresh takes. And since we’ve been talking about brains and Jocelyn even mentioned it earlier, if you’re looking for the next podcast to listen to, be sure to check out episode 275, where we interviewed founder Dan Clark. He shared how music, especially the… I think it’s binaural? I can’t remember exactly how he describes it. But that kind of music can help make you much more efficient as a writer. And since I’ve started using it, anytime that I sit down to write something, I throw on my headphones, I turn on And literally, within a minute or two, I feel totally focused. It really does work. You can try for free for a month by using the link in the show notes for this episode or in episode 275 with Dan Clark. Thanks for listening. We will see you next week.



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