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May 24, 2022

Getting Over Fear of Success with Dr. Robert Glover

Getting Over Fear of Success with Dr. Robert Glover

Paul talks with the best-selling author Dr. Robert Glover about how the publication of the book, No More Mr. Nice Guy, helped him to create a platform, and to launch himself as internationally-recognized men’s dating and self-improvement expert. To date, NMMNG has some 6000+ reviews on Amazon.


Paul talks with the best-selling author Dr. Robert Glover about how the publication of the book, No More Mr. Nice Guy, helped him to create a platform, and to launch himself as internationally-recognized men’s dating and self-improvement expert. To date, NMMNG has some 6000+ reviews on Amazon.

In the interview, Dr. Glover discusses how he came to write his book, and how fear of success almost derailed that project. And he talks about how he used the initial buzz about his book to help launch his career as an early digital nomad, living part-time in Mexico as he launched online courses, retreats, and coaching. 

We also touch on:

  • What is the problem with “nice guys”
  • What the “pickup” community gets wrong about dating and women
  • How men and women can learn to become better daters
  • Publishing at a time of rapidly changing gender roles
  • How Amazon has changed the publishing model
  • How publishers view platform today

Dr. Glover is an internationally recognized authority on the "Nice Guy Syndrome." He is a frequent guest on radio talk shows and has been featured in numerous local and national publications. He is also the author of Dating Essentials for Men and is the director of TPI University. He lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Discussed in this episode:

No More Mr Nice Guy: A Proven Plan for Getting What You Want in Love, Sex, and Life

Dating Essentials for Men: The Only Dating Guide You Will Ever Need

Total Personal Integration (TPI) Workshops

Credits:

This episode was edited by Paul Zakrzewski and produced by Magpie Audio Productions. Theme music  is "The Stone Mansion" by BlueDot Productions. 

Transcript

[music]

[intro quote by Robert Glover] I was all but done with No More Mr. Nice Guy, I couldn't get finished. And I had to go back into therapy. And I started working on why can't I finish this book, it's all but done. And what I came to realize is, mainly, I was afraid of nobody caring that I had worked on this for seven years, got it published and nobody cared.

[00:00:37]

[music]

Paul [host intro]: Welcome to The Book I Had to Write. This is the podcast where I talk to authors about their most compelling stories, and why these journeys matter to anyone who wants to publish.

I'm Paul Zakrzewski. I'm a writer and book coach. In this episode, I talk with Dr. Robert Glover. Robert is best known as a men's coach and dating guru. He's a former therapist, who leads workshops and retreats, and he's a sought-after speaker around the world. All of that springs from his 2003 book, No More Mr. Nice Guy: A Proven Plan for Getting What You Want in Love, Sex, and Life.

I first came across Robert and his work back in 2016. That's when I was on a journey to change some of my own relationship patterns. Robert has some great advice for those guys who tend to lose themselves in primary relationships.

Instead, he counsels guys to create what he calls, a great cake of a life. He says, "Pursue your passions, spend time with guys doing guy things, lean into challenge, exercise strenuously, and find some kind of spiritual practice."

Robert's book has over 6,000 reviews on Amazon. And he's a great example of how a book can help you further your reach as an authority. As you'll hear, several years ago, he used the platform of his book to create products and services. This allowed him to work remotely, years before the pandemic. In addition to No More Mr. Nice Guy, Robert is also the author of a new book, Dating Essentials for Men.

[music fades]

Well, welcome, Robert, thank you so much for participating in the show.

Robert: You're welcome. It's good to be here.

Paul: So, to start off, tell me what's wrong with being a nice guy?

Robert: What's wrong with being a nice guy? [laughs]. Well, you know, I happen to have written a book about that. The problem with being a nice guy, and this applies to women as well, nice guys and nice girls, is that they internalize emotionally at a very young age, "There's something wrong with me. I'm not okay just as I am."

Now, many children do that. And then we develop some kind of survival defense mechanisms to try to get value and try to get our needs met, and try to not get abandoned. That's, we all do that at some level, whether we know it or not. And for the nice guy, because he doesn't believe he's okay, just as he is, or she, they believe, "I have to become what I think other people want me to be, and I have to hide anything from them that I think might get a negative reaction."

So, really, the biggest problem with nice guys is that they're not themselves. They're chameleons. And related to that is, they're not particularly honest, because...and they don't know that. They usually pride themselves, "I'm a good guy. I do everything right." But if you're kind of always licking your finger to hold it up to see which way the wind's blowing before you interact with somebody, say anything, engage, you're not you, and you're not being honest.

You're trying to figure out what do they want to hear me say? What's going to get a negative reaction, if I do or say that? And so that's the core basic problem. And then other tentacles expand out from there. In terms of the problems the nice guys have, and the problems that people trying to relate to nice guys have.

Paul: You have a great title for your book. As you know, authors often struggle with coming up with great titles. I'm wondering, when the book came out, did you get pushback against the title, or subsequently in subsequent years, have people pushed back with this title?

Robert: No. Believe it or not, I think actually, the book initially disappointed my publisher just a little bit because I think they were hoping for that kind of pushback that people would go, "Why is somebody writing a book teaching men to be not nice? There's already enough not nice men out there."

And the beauty of the title, and to me, it's kind of interesting is that when I first connected with my agent, who has been my agent now for over 20 years, he said, "I think we should change the title." And I told him up front, "Non-negotiable." It's just got that iconic ring. Everybody at some time in their life has said, "No More Mr. Nice Guy. I'm not putting up with this anymore. I'm changing my ways. I'm drawing a line." We've all done that.

But also at the same time, like I said, there's that other side of it. Well, why would somebody write a book teaching men to be not nice? And my agent said, "Okay, all right." He's not a nice guy. He told me that up front, but he said, "I will acquiesce that it's non-negotiable.

And it's funny because probably about four years ago, I dropped by his house in New York City to pick up a check, because I was there to reread the Audible version of No More Mr. Nice Guy, because originally, the publisher picked somebody else. And after a while, I said, "You know I want to change it."

And so the same publisher came back and said, "All right, we want you to read it. We want to keep you. We're going to give you a $75,000 advance to keep you, and we're going to give you $5,000 to come to New York and record it." And I thought, "That's good stuff. I just wanted to have it redone."

Paul: That's awesome.

Robert: So, I go to pick up the check at my agent's house, and he said, "You know, that was just such a brilliant title, to call it "No More Mr. Nice Guy."" And I didn't remind him, "Oh, you wanted to talk me out of it."

Paul: I've heard you describe yourself, or what you do, as kind of anti-pickup. Can you say more about what you mean by that?

Robert: Yeah. I'm not a fan of, for those in the dating world, of pickup.

Paul: And can you say what pickup is?

Robert: Well, I can give you my version of it. It’s basically men who've learned how to walk up to women, start conversations and get phone numbers from them, teaching other men how to do the same. And there's a real immature emphasis in pickup and it's usually about you're going to do something that has a basis in psychology or evolutionary biology, that you're going to trigger a woman. Like, you're going to say negative things about her so that she'll want to try to get your approval.

Or, you'll peacock. You'll wear some really crazy thing to get her attention and make her want to talk, or you'll walk up and ask her a poll question, "Who lies more, men or women?" And it's a bunch of canned routines. And there's more than a couple of problems with pickup.

And again, it's not so much that I'm against it or think it's terrible, but I think it preys into insecure men's..."Oh, there's this magic bullet out there. There's this thing I can do that will make women magically want to be with me." And maybe the man has no social skills, maybe social anxiety, maybe he never talked to anybody, but he thinks somehow that's going to get women to instantly like him.

But there's an emphasis in the pickup community on the hot women. This is always about targeting the most attractive women. And so I tell men, I think walking across the room and talking to a woman just because she's hot, is probably the worst possible reason to talk to a woman. I'd rather know, is she intelligent? Has she got a sense of humor? Is she funny? Is she generous? Is she kind? I'd rather know those things.

Now, the other part of this that I'm not a fan of is, I think it's invasive. I think to just walk up... I mean, I've got a client. I was just talking to him yesterday. And he was talking about his frustration of practicing pickup. And he's well-educated, has lots of money. And he said, "The women here in this town are rude. I broke a set last night of three women, and I said, "Hey, can I take a picture of you?" And they basically told me to get lost."

And I said, "I would have told you the same. You were being invasive." "Well, they're rude. They should have more manners." I said, "They didn't invite you over. They didn't say, "Hey, come join us." You interrupted them."

And what I tell men, we're getting kind of way off of this thing, but most women do not feel safe walking the planet. I think #metoo movement is evidence of most women, many women have been done too, in not very kind or loving ways.

And so when a man just walks up to a woman out of the blue, and if she's attractive enough that that happens to her a lot, she doesn't know what this guy is approaching her for. Is he a weirdo? Is he a Ted Bundy? Is he a serial killer? A woozy nice guy that's just going to talk her leg off for an hour? Is he...they don't know. They have no freaking clue what the intention is. And so of course, they're going to put their guard up.

Paul: I want to ask you about a couple of other principles that you often talk about. You have a podcast that I liked a lot about fear of success. Why do nice guys struggle with fear of success? What is that? And what's that about?

Robert: Okay, here's the deal. I got divorced in my late 40s, back around 2002. And I hadn't dated since college. I wasn't very good at it back then. So, I decided I wanted to learn how to date more effectively. And so I read some books, I read pickup stuff. And I thought, "I don't like this."

So again, I just worked at becoming a social animal and I got good enough at really connecting with people, getting dates, having sex, that one of my clients said, "Robert teaches what you're doing." And I said, "Well, I'm not a dating guru. I'm not a dating coach." But I started sharing with them the principles that I was applying.

And I noticed that a lot of guys that would take my class or come to a seminar with me had a lot of success to applying what I taught. And some guys just never would, and I was curious, why weren't they having success, and come to find out they weren't doing any of the stuff that I encouraged them to do.

And so I started asking them, why not? And they said, "Because I know it will work." And I'm going, "That doesn't make sense to me. You paid money to come take a workshop with me to find out how to talk to women and get a girlfriend and expand your love life. And now, you don't do any of it."

So, what I started doing is paying attention to what are people's fears about the success they think they want? So, in terms of just relationship, just kind of focusing on single guys in this case, what was their fear of success?

If they actually talked to a woman, and were successful in her engaging with him, and maybe giving her phone number, and going out with him, and maybe later having sex with him or becoming his girlfriend. I started asking in my workshops, "Guys, what is your fear of everything that can go wrong, if you actually talk to a woman?"

So, the real piece about that fear of success is that if there's a possibility of everything you fear actually happening to you if you achieve the success you think you want, there's actually good reason to not do the things that would lead to you being successful, if there's a high likelihood of the things you fear actually happening.

So, from that point, the question that we need to ask ourselves is, "Can I either handle the things I'm afraid of?" And/or, "Can I develop skill sets or bring in resources to help me deal with the new challenges? So could I get a coach? Could I get a therapist? Could I get a wingman? Could I get a posse of people to help me with this?"

[00:12:22]

[music]

[00:12:39]

Robert: I love talking with people about how do you finish your book, all the way from, how do you start writing it? How do you get it out of the drawer and actually do something with it? And a lot of people get stuck right before they're done. I did. I was all but done with No More Mr. Nice Guy, and I couldn't get it finished. And I had to go back into therapy. And I started working on why can't I finish this book? It's all but done.

And what I came to realize is, I was afraid of being attacked. I was afraid of it not being good enough. Mainly, I was afraid of nobody caring that I'd worked on this for seven years, got it published, and nobody cared. That scared me.

And what I worked with, with my therapist at that time was, I started writing. I didn't start to write a book, I just started writing some just chapters, or might call them blog articles now to give to the guys in my group that were working on Nice Guys. Whatever I came up with every Wednesday, I sat down and wrote.

And so I just set, my main intention was to just to be able to give information to my clients. And I thought, "I'm going to go back to that. I don't have to publish a book. I just have to finish this so I can give it to my clients to read." And that took a lot of pressure off and let me kind of work through whatever fears were on the other side of getting it published, and I got it finished.

Paul: So, you were just starting to tell me about how the book came together and the evolution of it. And I understand it first started out as an eBook, is that correct?

Robert: Yeah, well, what happened is that we got it finished. And Barnes & Noble at that time was just venturing into publishing, in general, and was starting with eBooks. But Barnes & Noble was hesitant to print it, to publish it as a print book. I'm not really sure why. But what happened is that I just kept hustling. I kept contacting, I lived in Seattle, local newspapers, radio stations, anybody that would have me come on and talk, or give an interview to.

And at that time, there were two local Seattle newspapers, Seattle PI and The Seattle Times, and they both had sent writers out to interview me, take some pictures, and then nothing ever happened. That's kind of the way the media works is, hurry up, and then wait.

I've had that just over and over again. "We need to interview you in the next two hours." You know, you get an email, "Can you respond in an hour to this question? Our editor needs this information." Then I respond, and then the article doesn't run for three months, something like that.

Paul: Right.

Robert: So, in one week, both local papers ran like full-page on living, the living section articles about me. They were very different articles, because they're written by two...and the two papers didn't know that was happening.

They were independently owned. So, both ran, and the national media picked up on that. 20/20, sent a camera crew out to shoot a seminar with me, but then decided...the Iraq War began right after, right about that time. So, that never ran.

Paul: Right.

Robert: Several national news places interviewed me. Bill O'Reilly interviewed me. I'd never heard of Bill O'Reilly before that. Rush Limbaugh talked about, I mean, just it blew up. And after I got done doing the interview with Bill O'Reilly, and it was like, the first big interview I'd ever done. The whole interview was, like, he's going like, "Why did my producer set me up to interview this guy?" It's like, he had no advance warning of what it was about, and he really, he went after me on a couple of things, and I handled it.

Being my first interview ever, I was drenched with sweat when it got done, but I handled it. And the next day, I got a call from my agent. And says, "Barnes & Noble wants to give you a contract." And so they gave me the print contract, and it came out in 2003. And as I said, it's continued to do well, and sales keep climbing every year.

Paul: This is a great example of getting a platform. So, you got a lot of heat on, you had the book, the project was ready to go, and then you got a lot of attention. And you were able to transition then to a traditional publisher.

Robert: Yeah, and publishing, I kind of came along, I think, at the cusp of traditional publishing, maybe the beginning of the decline of traditional publishing. Amazon has gone a long way to changing how books get done.

Printing books, actually not a very good business model, the way it's typically done. But, like, when my agent was shopping, a lot of editors at big houses, said, "Robert, I like your book. It's well-written. But our marketing department says, men won't buy a self-help book."

So, there was that. They just want, mainly, they want to give contracts to people that everybody's already heard of.

Paul: Right. You have to have...

Robert: To the Tom Clancy's, the Bill Clinton's, and so it helps to have that big thing. And because nowadays, print publishers, not only if you get a print contract with them, they also want the Audible and the eBook, because I make more money on eBook and Audible than print, a lot more. And so the print publishers now want to hold on to all of that, because that's the only way they get an income stream.

But nowadays, they won't promote you. You've got to come and prove to them. When my agent sent "Dating Essentials For Men" to my publisher, they wanted to see anything else that I wrote. And they already knew that my book had made them hundreds of thousands of dollars, No More Mr. Nice Guy, but they wanted me to show them that I had a platform that I could sell books. And I'm thinking, "Where are their heads? I've made them a bunch of money, and they're wanting me to write up this big thing of my platform?" And I thought, no wonder they're losing money.

Paul: I mean, one of the things that's really remarkable about your book is that it's been around a long time. I was just looking on Amazon, it's got over 6,000 reviews. It has, what used to be called, this long tail. It's amazing. Books usually, like they explode, and then they really trickle off. So, what do you ascribe that success to?

Robert: Probably, at least two things. One is that it hit a nerve and came along at a time that there was a major transition happening culturally, in terms of just the evolution of men, women, gender roles, gender expectations. And so, my book was really the first thing out there that really addressed this whole "nice guy" thing in a pretty significant way.

And nowadays, you can Google nice guy, No More Mr. Nice Guy, there's hundreds of articles and blogs that people have written, and many of them wave at me of what I wrote.

And I think that the whole "nice guy" thing has continued to expand in the last 20 years. I think there's this new generation of boys who are just thinking, "If I'm a good guy and I treat everybody well, and I'm nice to girls they'll like me and life will work well." And so I think because there's more and more nice guys out there, and because Amazon has spread the reach of...

When publishers said, "Men don't buy self-help books," they do, especially on Amazon, because they'll see a book. They'll read a blog. They could click it in a blog. It takes them to Amazon. And then Amazon says, "People who bought this book also bought this book, this book and this book." And so they buy them all. Men do that.

So, that model that men won't buy a self-help book was totally wrong. And by the way, one of the things I do is, whenever I buy somebody else's book that's anywhere related to mine, I buy another copy of my book at the same time in the same shopping cart, so that it says when people bought that book, they bought No More Mr. Nice Guy, too.

Paul: That's amazing.

Robert: Yeah, I think that might help.

[00:20:58]

[music]

[00:21:08]

Paul: Were there any unexpected results that happened after the book came out?

Robert: The biggest change in my life was that I was married when I wrote the book. And after I actually got the book contract, before it actually came out, I separated from my then-wife, who I had been married to for 14 years. And so while I was in the process of my book coming out, I was also in the process of becoming a divorced and then single guy.

That's probably been the biggest change in my life was, learning to be single, to live alone, to be on my own, to break a lot of my codependent patterns that I write about in "No More Mr. Nice Guy."

And so, but in terms of what the book has done, the royalty checks are nice. I can live anywhere in the world. I live in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I still...

Paul: How long have you been in Puerto Vallarta?

Robert: I've been visiting here for about 20 years, and living here, at least part of the year, for 11 or 12 years, I bought a home here five years ago, I am now married to a Mexican woman, and so this is home. And it's funny, my mother is down here visiting, and I get to visit her quite a bit in Seattle. She's 86, and like I said, I'm 66. A lot of guys are retired by my age.

My mother made a comment the other day. And said, "You work a lot." And I go, "Yeah, I like what I do. I like my work. I'm still writing. I want to write." I made a commitment about three years ago to write 10 books in 10 years. I've got two. I've done. I'm about three-quarters through another one. And I like writing, I like doing stuff like this. I teach online classes. I got a workshop here in my home this weekend. And...

Paul: Actually, I want to ask you about that, yeah.

Robert: Yeah, so I guess, maybe the biggest change is, it's given me freedom to do exactly what I want to do in my life and to do what I love. So, that's been a blessing.

Paul: Tell me more about that. So, for listeners who may not know about your platform, as you mentioned, you teach workshops, you've got online courses. Tell me more about your offerings.

Robert: Well, primarily I work with men. My training is in marriage and family therapy. I had a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy at 29. And for about 20 to 25 years, that was how I made my living. Now, when the book came out, even before it came out, I'd really started honing in on men, especially working with them in groups.

And so really, since No More Mr. Nice Guy came out, my business has been almost all for men. Now, I said, I discovered Puerto Vallarta, Mexico about 20-plus years ago, and living in rainy Seattle, it was just, the sun shines there a lot. And I thought I want to get there as much as I can. And at that time, the internet was getting better in many places of the world. Skype was out there. It was long before GoToMeeting or Zoom.

But, so I could start communicating with people that weren't sitting in my office. And in a way, I really became an online entrepreneur. I became an online marketer and a digital nomad before those terms ever came along. And for a therapist to do that, that was really bizarre. But having written the book really helped that.

And so, I started creating online classes. I was doing a lot of workshops and seminars after the book came out. Maybe once a month, I'd be traveling somewhere. And as much as I like travel, that did get tiring and wasn't always lucrative. But I started teaching these online classes and I realized, like, I can do this while I watch a baseball game on TV, and people can come, pay to do it online.

Because by then the internet was becoming strong enough, people were trusting it. So, I continued to do that. Like, right now, I'm in the process of converting all of my online courses to video. And that's been a really fun process. It's challenged me to grow more, because I'm a writer. I want to write stuff.

So now, I'm doing stuff on video, and it's been highly popular to make that transition to creating video lessons. So that's been fun and exciting. And I just finished two six-week virtual workshops and we met once a week for three hours. I have an in-person workshop covering pretty much the same material here in my home this weekend.

Paul: And what's that workshop called, for people who might be interested in that?

Robert: I just call it a TPI, Total Personal Integration workshop. It's for men. And so basically, Friday night, we'll get here. Spend three hours, and I'll ask the guys, "Why are you here? Why did you plunk down the money and travel to Puerto Vallarta to do this work?" So I find out what's going on with them. I'll make notes.

And then Saturday and Sunday, we'll just dive into those things, the things that...and it's usually similar issues. There's guys struggling in relationship, either trying to meet somebody, or the relationship they're in isn't going well, or they're just going through a divorce. Work and career, we'll talk about their struggles with success. Learning to set boundaries, learning to make their needs a priority, learning to ask for what they want, learning to connect with men.

A lot of men nowadays don't have tribe, and I really see, really a worldwide movement of men seeking tribe, whether like, going to martial arts programs, or church Bible studies, or pickup seminars or mankind project, or 12-step programs. Men are seeking to connect with other men.

So, I emphasize that a lot while the guys are here and really do things to help them create a deep connection with each other, and continue that after the workshop. And it's limited to eight guys, so it's a small group, kind of like group therapy. And we'll just go into anything and everything that these guys want to dive into.

Paul: Tell me how Dating Essentials for Men, how did that grow out of the work that you're doing?

Robert: Well, really, as I said, when I got divorced in my late 40s, I hadn't dated since college. I had no idea, how do you even do this? And so I did. My clients would give me videos and books, and I read Neil Strauss's The Game. And again, I wasn't turned on by the pickup. But I thought, but I do want to learn how to interact with people and how to ask a woman for her phone number, and how to engage in ways that increase the likelihood of success.

And, I just went out. I just, like I said, worked at being a social animal. If I could do any work on my computer, in a public place, I would. I'd go to Starbucks. Being single, I'd go eat in a nice restaurant and I always sit in the bar. I'd get to know bartenders. I talked to whoever's on my right, left, none of it was like, "I'm going to... Oh, there's a hot woman. I'm going to pick..." I just would talk and engage.

And as I did that, really interesting things kept happening. I kept meeting interesting people, interesting opportunities arose. I got invited to engage. Just I started having this really interesting life that was really full in many ways. And as I said, some of my clients said, "Robert, what are you doing?"

So, I put together a weekend workshop and thought, "Well, I'll turn this into an online class." So, I wrote 16 lessons for a 16-week online class, and taught that for 10 or 12 years. From doing that, I created these Q&A podcasts. Guys would ask me questions so I'd create podcasts. I now turn around and can sell those, monetize those podcasts that are answering their questions. And basically those lessons later then turned into the core of the book "Dating Essentials for Men."

Paul: So, people want to find you or No More Mr. Nice Guy, or Dating Essentials For Men, where do you send them?

Robert: Easy enough, drglover.com, just D-R-G-L-O-V-E-R dot com. If they Google No More Mr. Nice Guy, it comes up like the top 10...it be beside Alice Cooper. They Google Robert Glover. It gets all the top spot. So, drglover.com has everything that I do. And that's the best way to just find out what I've got.

Paul: Robert, I want to thank you so much for your time. It's been really enjoyable talking with you today.

Robert: Thank you for inviting me. It's been fun. And I hope people get benefit, not only just in terms of the content I've written about, but I hope it's beneficial for people writing their own books and getting them published, and like I said, in putting the hustle into it that it takes to actually spread the word about it.

[00:29:46]

[00:29:54]

Paul [host outro]: You've been listening to "The Book I Had To Write." I'm Paul Zakrzewski. My guest today was Dr. Robert Glover. If you enjoyed the show, then I hope you'll subscribe on Apple podcasts. I'm always grateful for reviews, and for sharing the show with friends. To get a transcript of this, and every episode delivered to your inbox, sign up at thebookIhadtowrite.com/subscribe.

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And thanks for listening.