After watching his family struggle both financially and personally, Jeremy Amyotte was determined not to repeat the pattern, so he committed himself to the never-ending process of self-improvement. Years later, as a result of his commitment and tenacity, he’s now a successful real estate agent with a happy family and a stable life.
Now, he synthesized all of the wisdom he picked up over the years, both from his own revelations and from the teachings of a variety of mentors, into his new book, Self-Assurance: Struggle, Confidence, and Success. On Author Hour today, Jeremy discusses the importance of exposing our insecurities, why we shouldn’t just let conflict go, and the power of putting pen to paper.
Jane Borden: Hi Author Hour listeners, I’m Jane Borden and I’m here today with Jeremy Amyotte, author of Self-Assurance: Struggle, Confidence, and Success. Jeremy, thank you so much for being with us today.
Jeremy Amyotte: Thanks for having me.
Jane Borden: This book is about a transformation, a continuous, non-ending transformation. To get us started off, will you just tell us a little bit about who you were before you began this transformation and who you are now?
Jeremy Amyotte: Sure, I’ll tell you a little bit about my story, which I guess I allude to in the book. The book actually wasn’t really intended as a memoir, but it turned out to be partially that. I grew up in a pretty good family when I was younger, except that my dad had struggled with drug addiction and it worsened as I got a little bit older.
When I was about 10 or 11, things started to deteriorate and all of a sudden, went from a pretty good middle-class family to one that really struggled. Through that, I ended up moving out of my parent’s house about 13 or 14. I had to grow up really fast and I think partially because of that, I really struggled. I watched him struggle, I watched my family struggle financially, in relationships, and anything, you name it.
I thought that because I was very much like my dad, I look like him, I act like him, we share a lot of commonalities, that I was doomed to live that same life. In this journey of really not trying to amass a bunch of success, it was just really, the run to not struggle.
So, over time, I think that I stumbled upon some advice. I had gotten into real estate when I was fairly young. It was the only thing that I could do with really no schooling that I thought could actually work out well for me. I hired a business coach who put out a CD at the time that was not so much business-focused, which I didn’t realize when I popped it in. It was more life focused than some of the advice that I had l heard.
It completely changed the way that I think about life in general and in many different facets, and it was really the start of a transformation for me. Through that journey of stumbling upon these little things where I would find a little bit more success and a little bit more success, I started reading a lot of books and when I came to writing this, it was something that I felt like I had to do to give back I guess, a little bit and almost make sense of it for myself.
Anyone Who Struggles
Jane Borden: Who is this book for?
Jeremy Amyotte: That’s a good question. I think it’s for anybody that feels like they struggle. For me, confidence was a big issue and of course, the title of the book is Self-Assurance, which is a close cousin to confidence. I didn’t have any, I didn’t know how to build any, but I kept stumbling on these things.
I think that it’s for those people. That it’s for people who feel like others have something that they don’t. Really, to be honest, I think that there’s something for anybody in there who is already kind of striving and running into issues or might have success in some areas and not in others.
The advice that I had heard originally from my business coach, his name is Richard Robbins, was that business success is one thing, financial success is one thing, but really, what you want is whole life success. Everything works better when you’re firing on all cylinders and they’re all integrated in one way, shape, or form.
Anybody that’s really curious about life. I think too much. The deep thinkers or the overthinkers, I think would really appreciate this book because it does get quite deep.
Jane Borden: There are so many wonderful nuggets of wisdom in here. But let’s just explore a few of them. You write, “So many of us are afraid of our deepest thoughts because they expose our insecurities,” and you say that we tend to bury them but instead we should uncover them, what do you mean?
Jeremy Amyotte: Well, I think that a lot of the time, this is something that I learned from my family. I think that partially, the generation before me, that was a pretty common thing with blue-collar Alberta, which is sort of the Texas of Canada–mostly farmers. We were taught that having any feeling that is negative was a weakness and so we didn’t talk about it. That led to a lot of the issues that I watched in my family, suicide, a few times, there was drug addiction, there was depression.
I think that a lot of the time, it’s because we tried to bury something that was there, rather than uncovering it because we thought it was a weakness. It’s funny, my business partner, used to tell me all the time that my dad was carrying the cross so that I could be who I am. It’s true because all the pain that I watched him go through, it was really quite obvious to me that burying things wasn’t the path.
While it feels like a weakness to talk about these vulnerabilities or at least, even to acknowledge them to yourself, it’s not, it’s really the path to healing it, to uncover it, and really, I think that once you actually learn how to deal with those things, that actually makes you stronger because the next time you’re faced with a challenge, you know how to deal with it.
Jane Borden: This would be an example of what you were saying earlier that it’s all integrated. If we can learn to be successful in life, that’s going to bleed over into business success as well.
Jeremy Amyotte: Yeah, 100%. I think that the old way of thinking was that life is compartmental. I guess in some ways, it can be, but we don’t really just have a business life and then a personal life and family life, it’s all part of one. You’re one being. I think that when you’re having challenges in one area, some way or another, it’s going to cross over into the other.
Jane Borden: You write a lot about values and this line really stuck out to me. “When you aren’t happy with who you are, that might be your conscience telling you that your choices are out of alignment with your values.” Can you tell us a little more about that?
Jeremy Amyotte: Yeah, thanks for bringing that one up. Values are something that’s really important to me, I think that your values are your compass because when you don’t know what choices to make, when you feel a little bit lost, when you’re not sure if you’re behaving properly or if something doesn’t feel right, it’s generally something deep inside of you that is telling you you’re violating your values. Your values are essentially your hierarchy of what is most important to you.
Most of us have heard the analogy of the bigger ox and the smaller ox and I think that sometimes, we tend to be expedient, meaning that we’re chasing potentially something that might feel pleasurable in the moment, but it usually ends up violating something that is ultimately more important to us. That actually starts to deteriorate your confidence, and sometimes if you’re not actually aware enough, if you don’t reflect a lot on who you’ve been that day and how you’re acting, you can really drive yourself off course. The next thing you know, you’re kind of lost–why am I not happy with myself or why am I not confident?
It might just be because you’ve drifted off without even realizing that you’re not living your values.
Jane Borden: How can we figure out what our values are if they aren’t so immediately apparent to us, and then get back on course?
Jeremy Amyotte: That’s a good question. I think that it takes constant reflection to be honest. In the last few months, I’ve been struggling with it, and so it’s funny, I finally allowed myself to review my book here last night before this call. Because I couldn’t read it for the last while and some of the advice that was in there, it’s like, “Oh jeez, I needed to hear that.” Because it’s a constant work to reflect and to think about who you are and what you want to be.
There’s a lot of great programs, a lot of good coaches, there’s a lot of good material that you can get almost for free anywhere that really talks about clarifying how things can be important to you. To be honest, I don’t think I actually did a great job of explaining that in the book.
I did not want the book to be a how-to as much as sort of a philosophical storybook to reframe how you think about things. There’s a lot of great resources to help you through that.
Jane Borden: You also write a lot about the ego. It can serve us, and it can trip us up. Do you want to share some of your stories about your struggles with that?
Jeremy Amyotte: Sure, we villainize it a lot, but your ego is actually meant to serve you. It’s meant to protect you, essentially, it’s your awareness that you are separate from the world and if you didn’t have an ego, you really couldn’t survive.
It can serve you in some ways, but in other ways, if you’re not conscious of it, it can be a problem. It can be your friend as long as you’re aware that it’s there. The story that I shared in my book was a super personal one, probably the hardest one to write, which was issues that I had six, seven years into my marriage. I think it’s the seven-year, which is what they call it.
That coincidentally, was about six, seven years into my real estate practice. I was doing very well, and I had really gotten on this path of success. I was happy with who I was and where I was headed, yet, the only thing that I found that wasn’t quite there was my marriage. As I tried to make it better, it almost fell apart. The saving grace was actually realizing that the problem wasn’t my wife, it was actually me.
Just because I thought I was a good person and I thought that she wasn’t being who she needed to be, I assumed, that actually turned out that it was my ego, it was my problem, and once I realized that I had to adjust myself, and realize that I’m the one who is not perfect. Even though I was striving to be better all the time, clearly, there was something that was missing there, and I think that that awareness, that it’s not always somebody else’s fault, it’s super powerful.
Jane Borden: On the topic of relationships, I also want to ask you, you write that when you’re having conflict, your advice is not to let it go–but tell us what you mean about that?
Jeremy Amyotte: Well, I think that a lot of times in conflict we think that to be the bigger person, you just walk away. That might be the best thing to do at the moment if you can’t handle your own emotions, but just like burying a feeling–when we talked earlier about burying your own insecurities, this is the same concept when you don’t actually resolve a conflict, it can fester and grow if you don’t really talk through it.
It really comes back to communicating what the issue is and how you feel. I think that a lot of my success and anybody’s success is really dependent on the relationships that you have with other people. If you don’t know how to have great relationships with people, I think you’re really going to struggle in life, whether it’s business or friendships or you name it, you need other people to feel fulfilled and whole in life, I think whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.
I think that a lot of us don’t learn how to deal with conflict because it’s going to happen. No question it is going to happen, especially when you’re striving to do more and to do hard things and to do hard things with other people and businesses are a great example. Marriage is probably the best example where you can’t expect it to be perfect, but you can’t sweep things under the rug and just pretend that they don’t exist.
So, for me especially as I’m trying to grow, I’m getting better at being able to actually verbalize, but when I don’t have control of my emotions and my feelings, I can’t let a conflict just sit and kind of go away because I know that it doesn’t actually go away. It will blow up at some point or another. It could be years down the road and in another fight.
The tool that I use is writing. I did that with my mother. My mom and I didn’t get along very well as a teenager, as I mentioned, I moved out very young. What we would do is because we didn’t feel like we understood each other, we would write each other letters. It gives you space to write out what it is that you think and feel and mean. Before you send it off, you get to reread it and a lot of the time what you write is not even what you mean.
I think that it’s a really good test of self-awareness because you think about that when you’re speaking in the moment. No wonder fights can arise or conflict can happen because you’re not even actually really seeing what you mean. So, writing gives you that ability to edit–to look back and say, “Wait a minute, this isn’t really what I mean,” and I think that people understand each other a whole lot more when you can do that. It’s worked really well for me. It saved my marriage, it saved my business, it saved my relationship with my mom and my dad as well actually.
Jane Borden: Wow, that’s great advice and also, it’s just kind of mind-blowing to think that we aren’t actually very good at saying what we mean.
Jeremy Amyotte: It’s true. I think it doesn’t even matter how articulate you are. Emotions are so powerful that when you are in a high emotion circumstance, it’s like you don’t really have control over yourself. I think that you can get better at it for sure but what I mean by conflict and by removing yourself from the situation potentially in that moment because you’re probably going to say something you don’t mean.
I know especially in probably the most heated conversation I’d ever had, it was in my business relationship, a new business relationship with my now partner, Ron. We had had some really big challenges that we did not expect, and it did turn into a verbal fight. I stayed up all night and I wrote a letter about everything and clarified what our vision was. I clarified what he meant to me and where I was struggling.
And that letter, that really saved our business. I realized, “Geez, there is no way I could have had that conversation with him face to face–at least not in the moment or in the near future.”
Actions Tend to Follow Beliefs
Jane Borden: There is another quote here that I highlighted that I loved. “When we believe that other people and obstacles have enough power to determine our fate, we inadvertently allow them to do just that.” Tell us more about that.
Jeremy Amyotte: Yeah, our minds are very powerful. You go to work to prove yourself right on whatever it is that you believe and so, your actions tend to follow your beliefs. That is one of the reasons it’s so important to have positive self-talk and talking yourself through certain things and see if you’re actually being logical. I’m in sales and so it happens all the time. If I’m not in a confident state, if I think that somebody with higher status is smarter than I am, literally my physiology weakens, my language changes, everything changes, and all of a sudden, I am not the same person that I am with somebody that I believe that can actually help me.
So, the only difference is not the person. It’s my belief about the person, or what I think that they think of me. So, there are so many times I like to challenge myself with things that I’m not necessarily good at, and that can be physical goals. It could be anything.
I think that when I actually can visualize and see myself doing something and see myself actually winning, it’s like all of a sudden, my physiology changes, and I go to work to prove myself right. It’s absolutely crazy how powerful that can be.
Jane Borden: I got to start doing some of this stuff, Jeremy.
Jeremy Amyotte: We all do. I do too.
Jane Borden: I want to ask you one more question about some of the advice you give or ideas you explore. I’ll need to explain this to our listeners, when he writes about responsibility, it’s two words, response-ability. Tell us about this idea?
Jeremy Amyotte: Yeah, I love playing with words because if you really look at the English language and you break down certain words, they start to mean something a little bit different. So, responsibility is it’s your ability to respond, and I actually got this from Jack Canfield, who says event plus response equals the result. And so, a lot of the times we tend to blame the circumstance that we’re in, or we tend to blame the people that we’re involved with for the result or the lack of results that we want, but it is really all about our ability to respond.
I think because a big part of the equation is that what we have full control over is how we deal with certain things, and when you stop trying to control the things that you can’t control, all of a sudden life seems a whole lot easier. I think that a lot of the time you tend to blame things like what’s going on right now with the pandemic, but we can’t change that. It’s like playing chess and wishing that the rules were different.
You have to play by the rules, right? But you can always change what you’re going to do with your pawn or your rook or your knight, and I think that sometimes we’re so rigid on our strategy for whatever it is in life, and we get frustrated when we don’t get our results. But when you step back and you take that kind of 20,000-foot view and you look at the bigger perspective, all of a sudden you realize that you can change the way you play the game.
I think that a lot of the time it has to start with changing the way you think about the game. You know, again, I think that is why this book should hopefully resonate with deep thinkers like myself, where I almost confuse myself sometimes. The reason that I write is that all of a sudden, I can talk myself through a situation or through how I look at a situation, and I always end up coming back to the realization that it’s like I am a piece of the puzzle here and I can change that.
Jane Borden: You credit this work with success in all areas of your life. I imagine the people who work with you have probably been inspired to some of this work themselves seeing the success you’ve had in real estate.
Jeremy Amyotte: I hope so, yeah. I don’t want to put myself on a pedestal because I still struggle with this every day, and I think that the realization that that is the part of life is that we’re all still trying. We’re all still feeling, we’re all still going through the motions no matter where you are in life, and I think that when we look at people that are in a place that we would like to be, we think that they have it all together and we realized that it’s no, they still struggle too.
I struggle through a lot of this as well, but that was actually the reason for writing the book is I think that I actually articulate myself better in writing than I do in words. Sometimes it’s just, I’m still being me but I actually taking action because I think that who you are and who you’re being is typically the biggest influencer. I would like to hope, and I think that I influence people in my life–the people that work with me, that have worked for me and my company, friends and family, and I definitely have some great people in my life that inspired me as well.
Jane Borden: Well, Jeremy as you say, there is no destination. It’s been such a pleasure speaking with you. Congratulations on the book. Again, listeners, it’s called Self-Assurance: Struggle, Confidence, and Success. Jeremy in addition to reading the book, where can people go to learn more about you and your work?
Jeremy Amyotte: Well, this is not my full-time thing. It was a passion project that I felt compelled to write and so I don’t at the moment have a whole lot of material, but if you want to follow me on Facebook, it’s just my name, Jeremy Amyotte–on Instagram, the same thing. If I get the feedback that people want me to post more material about these things, I certainly will start but as of right now, if you want to just connect with me as a human being, that’s where I am.
Jane Borden: Great, I think a lot of people, after reading this will probably want to connect with you as a human being. Thanks so much, Jeremy.
Jeremy Amyotte: Thank you so much.