What happens when you go for a hard to reach dream; make it happen; and then change your mind? Anna knew from elementary school she had her sights set on computer science. Not just dabbling in it as a hobby, but diving in and skilling up in her teens. She held a question that focused her, What do I do to get to Facebook? She leaned into that dream and went for it. And achieved it. In a world of choice overwhelm, choosing to develop a sharp focus to become an expert at something, especially early on, can really make you stand out. But then came the moment of realising there was something else after all the study, dedication and late nights. Something that was missing. And couldn't be ignored. Anna's U turn was a sharp one.
Anna Resnick 1:06
Thank you so much for inviting me and letting me be on here.
Oh, it's fantastic. Well, I mean, we struck up a friendship quite recently, but it's been a classic power of the internet story. Can you kind of say how we met?
Anna Resnick 1:24
So I think it was me. I found your Instagram through the discover page and I really loved your posts. And I think I was the one that first either reached out or started commenting and liking your pictures.
I think you liked a couple of my posts. And then I was like, Oh my gosh, this woman has definitely got an interesting story. Because I did the complete snoop - click through and read your website. It was like, whoa, this lady has done some serious transition already in her career. And then I made a beeline to you. So I was very much the keen one. But yeah, it's an awesome thing when social media does bring people from all different parts of the world together. But it was recently, a few months ago, so it's mad, really. And now we're doing a podcast episode!
Anna Resnick 2:40
Crazy. It's crazy. Instagram can connect people. These opportunities…
It would be helpful for people to understand a little bit about, you know, why (becoming a life coach) was that quite a big jump for you? Because maybe if we go back to even your initial education and your training, your focus you said for a long time was to be a computer scientist. So can you tell us a little bit about that journey?
Anna Resnick 6:08
Yeah. It's a long story. But I think around when I was 10 years old, I had already in my head decided that I was going to be a software engineer. And I made that decision, really, because of my background, my family, they're all doctors and engineers. And I thought, well, I have really, two decisions, two careers that I can live. And I love computers, I love technology. So I thought at that age, that was going to be my thing, that was going to be my dream job. And it's silly, because when I was in middle school, I was already looking up companies that I wanted to work for - tech companies I wanted to work for. And I remember finding out about Facebook and their benefits. I was thinking that is going to be my dream company, I'm going to aim for them. And up until college, I was working towards getting a gig at Facebook. And then I got a gig at Facebook. And it was everything that I initially had wanted. But then…
I would say that's a level of laser beam focus to know that you want to be a software engineer at a young age. That isn't a light hearted decision. It's very skilled work. It's not just something you can do after watching a few YouTube vids. I imagine you really leaned into that?
Anna Resnick 8:23
Yeah. Luckily, I grew up in an environment that was very supportive of being productive. I was a very hard worker. I was very competitive, and did many different things like art and dance and robotics. When I put my mind to something, most of the time I achieved that thing, because I just learned from a young age that hard work and intention really gets you far.
Anna Resnick 10:34
At the time, there weren't (tech learning) resources. So I signed up for a course, at a community college. It was like the basics for computer science. On top of that, I would look for internships that would show that I was interested in computer science. So I joined tech camps, I did an engineering programme, where we created a toy for a young kid with disabilities. Mapping this product, creating it, testing and verifying that it's actually something that this kid wanted. And all sorts of things like that. So I was very active in high school, I joined my robotics team. And in the beginning, I was the only girl on the team.
Gender and diversity, gosh, still really skewed.
Anna Resnick 11:44
Yeah, and I have seen it change over time. And I have seen a lot of progress since.
So I'm trying to get the geography in my head here. Were you born and raised in that kind of area? Or were you miles away from Silicon Valley, or, you know, just kind of paint the picture because in the north of England, Facebook feels like it's Mars!
Anna Resnick 12:46
I did not necessarily grow up in a family that knew computer science, my Dad, he went to MIT. His undergraduate years he studied computer science, but he actually switched his specialty to more of the hard sciences. Okay, but if anything, he was the one that kind of understood what I was doing. And could kind of tell me what was the software engineering path. But it wasn't completely clear to me. And I actually think that the fact that it was vague, was part of the reason why I was misaligned in my path. I was shooting for something that I thought would be perfect for me. Or, as you know, I ended up leaving, and I not liking what I bought into.
I think one of the things I massively admire about you is the fact that you've already crafted… How'd I say this? I guess your inner values are now much more aligned with the actual day to day work that you're doing. And that is evident from the content that you're putting out there on your social media. And if people want to find that, it's intentionally Anna on Instagram. But um, yeah, those inner values are really aligned. But I think the courageous angle for me is, you really did get embedded into that world and you went for Facebook. And, I mean, I know Facebook does get a lot of ribbing. And a lot of people have got these impressions of it. But you know, you said yourself, there were so many great things about it. I mean, what is the actual work culture like and the whole experience?
Anna Resnick 14:59
It is incredible. In many ways. I remember walking around Facebook's campus, they call it a campus. And feeling like I was in Disneyland. There are vending machines loaded with tech gadgets instead of candy.
Anna Resnick 15:30
They have snack bars, they have all types of cuisines and restaurants that you can try for free. They have launch machines, cool chairs, game rooms. All the things for anyone that is a little geeky or nerdy - they’d absolutely love. My initial impression of Facebook was, ‘This is unbelievable.’
Like you say, it's its own world? This leads into what the actual reality was for you? I guess, internally it felt like, actually, there's a question mark here, can you us a bit about when you started to sense something was disconnecting?
Anna Resnick 16:32
I think my first internship at Facebook, I was still in the mirage. I was still very excited, and grateful, most of all, just grateful that I was selected for that opportunity. So towards the end of my internship, when I started to realise there are so many other people excited by the coding. I was more excited talking to people and getting to know people. And as bad as it sounds I was excited by food and the benefits! Second time around, I really don't want to give up on Facebook. So I went for another internship. And I thought, Okay, this will be the test, I want to see if I can make Facebook work. And what I noticed is that I had a lot of trouble self motivating, unlike other people, I really was just watching the clock. Looking until it turned 5pm. And I was ready to go, like ready to leave. I felt very guilty about the fact that I just didn't seem to fit into the environment. And I really wanted to. And I also felt like I had this duty that I got selected for this internship, I need to make sure that I match up, I give them exactly what they want. But I think I did so in unhealthy ways. It was mostly food, motivating myself with the next meal, with the next snack. I wasn't excited by the work. I just didn't feel like I was making an impact.
Yeah, because I think one of the things that people probably don’t know, when it is a huge ecosystem, like its own platform, you know, you could probably be working on something very discreet. Something that really isn't visible to the end user or makes an immediate impact on the user. And you described to me that sense of working in the real, you know, cogs of problem solving and fixes. It was just part of a much bigger ecosystem of work. Yeah. Was that the thing? I don't want to oversimplify. But did the thing come down to relationships? I see you as very sociable person and, you know, you present really well and stuff like that. Was that the missing dynamic in your work?
Anna Resnick 19:32
I actually think the biggest missing factor was motivation. I needed to have either a big Why? Why was I doing this? For people? and if my work was going to make such a huge impact in their lives. That would be worth it for me and I'd motivate myself thinking about those people. Or I was doing something where I felt like I was growing myself in a way that would help me become a better person. I don't think I was getting either of those things. So I was trying to motivate myself in other ways. I'm really scrapping for the means to do that.
I get it. That's really interesting. So the transition, how was that? Tell me what that actually looked like. How did you recognise life coaching? Coming into your periphery of view? How did the two things come together?
Anna Resnick 20:44
Yeah, that's a great question. Because actually, I was thinking about this. And I think it's a totally different story. Me leaving is a story in itself. Me mentoring and coaching is another story. And they actually don't intermingle a tonne,
But surely you must have been quite brave. Because if you had a plan B, that doesn't always look like Courage. But it doesn't sound like you had this plan lined up, to jump ship and do something else.
Anna Resnick 21:30
I'm the type of person that I don't want to leave something unless I know for certain that I need to leave something. So leaving, I felt a lot of weight in that decision. Because I was not only thinking about myself, I was thinking about my parents, I was thinking about my mentors, I was thinking about my friends, and how everyone was cheering me on to become the successful software engineer. Even when I switched into product management, they were cheering me on. And for so many years. I just felt this responsibility to give it everything that I’ve got, and really tried to make it work. So honestly, the transition itself was horrible. It was horrible.
And I think we hate to admit that transition is kind of painful, and sucks. But you can't gloss over it any other way. Because I think that is a big part of the hero's journey. And it's like, actually going right into that valley.
Anna Resnick 22:55
Yeah, I actually think if someone saw my lowest lows during those points, they would be really worried.
So was that the biggest challenge?
Anna Resnick 23:19
The biggest challenge for me was deciphering between the messages that I was getting from my environment, to the voice inside myself about what I really wanted to do. My gut feeling, my intuition. And that actually circles back to the quote that you mentioned at the beginning of the interview. That's the reason why I wrote that because I was thinking about myself, and how I had this gut feeling. And I felt like something was off. I felt like I was meant for more. But I was so afraid to listen to that feeling. Because I didn't know if I could trust that myself versus greediness for wanting something that was more than I should ask for. And I think it was because of all the voices around me, telling me, you're kind of crazy for thinking this way. And your ideas are a little ridiculous. All these thoughts that were negative and kind of telling me otherwise, telling me not to listen to that internal voice.
Anna Resnick 27:41
When I talk to my clients, and I ask them, what experiences do they want more of? I think almost every single one of them replies travelling,
Really? yeah, interesting. It's more than just for a bunch of Instagram posts and some great night outs isn't it? The more we open ourselves up, when we're in these places.
Anna Resnick 28:27
To say one thing, though, I think a lot of us think that we need to go to London or Paris or Barcelona to have these experiences… where we're in our thoughts and where we're kind of in this alternate world. But I think there's so many opportunities for that even where we are
Yes, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. Can you paint the picture - you thought right, I know that I need to hang up my tech gloves now. What practically did life look like in the following few months after that decision?
Anna Resnick 29:18
So after I decided that I wanted to leave tech, I told the company that I wanted to take time off. I wanted to just explore my passion projects. And I went ahead into that time off. Oh, my goodness, I'm just reflecting and having flashbacks. Because it was such a crazy time. It was such an up and down journey to even get to coaching. I was working all sorts of jobs as well, because I think even though I decided, I'm out of tech, I'm going to give this feeling a shot, I'm going to listen to myself and try these passion projects. I think I didn't actually fully accept that, because the first thing I did was look for an income. And I was working babysitting jobs, I was dog walking, I was cleaning yoga studios. I was working at a restaurant. And none of these were my passions. They were just to get an income. So I didn't feel like I was wasting my time.
And that comes with its own challenges as well, when you're getting into that. So how big is this time gap now? Between leaving? And before you kind of started your business?
Anna Resnick 31:00
Yeah, I'll give a simplified version of what happened. So I was working in many different jobs. I was trying. I tried making a blog. I tried reaching people through that way. That means affiliate marketing. I was thinking, what kind of businesses could I start? What kind of projects could I create that I could also monetize? Because I was not just thinking about, what do I want to do for fun? I was thinking, how can I integrate my passions into a career? And how can I sustain myself, and pay my apartment bills and pay my food bills, while also doing something that meant something to me. And I would just talk to so many people, I would not work and experiment with all sorts of things. And it was in that period of trying and testing and talking that somehow I found out about coaching. Right. And I remember thinking this is exactly what I wanted for years and just couldn't vocalise or couldn't put into words.
Every single person, one of their biggest fears is just feeling like if they fail, that they won't be loved.
So this is an interesting question. Can you almost describe what the top three or four blockers are? It's obviously all going on up here. But what are they in your experience? What are the real common blockers for people not following their intuition?
Anna Resnick 36:28
It's a really good question. So in my coaching training programme, we have what we call quality problems. I have safe problems, quality problems, or problems that are a little bit deeper. Safe problems are more of the label that we put on a problem. But really, the quality problem is the real problem at hand. And a lot of times with quality problems, are actually a core feeling of unworthiness. So if we don't do this thing, or if we do this thing, then if I fail, then I won't be loved. And I won't be worthy. And in psychology, one of the largest, deepest fears for human beings, is the feeling of unworthiness. Every single person, one of their biggest fears is just feeling like if they fail, that they won't be loved.
I wasn't actually expecting you to give me that answer. That is profound, but seems so true when you really analyse it. Such a driver in people and it's huge. Because actually, with stepping into things I know, I've had to deal with a lot of fear. And this is even why I've ended up doing this, doing Call On Courage. It's not necessarily having a go and it not working out, and we just can box it off and move on. It’s a hot rise of shame, and the things that come with shame. I think it is really connected to worthiness. And you've just beautifully articulated that to do with love. That’s so deep seated in people, isn't it?
Anna Resnick 40:20
For the women I coach, the most common obstacle is imposter syndrome.
And I've had my share, I've dealt with it and I still at times deal with imposter syndrome. It's just realising that every single person does. And it's not about getting stuck in that feeling, but looking for strategies to pull you out.
Imposter syndrome is a classic one. Anything else?
Anna Resnick 41:11
Another one that I see with women is, they're afraid that if they start showing up or showing themselves that they won't be authentic anymore, or they won't be genuine to themselves, they'll lose themselves in the process. So that's another one. Another one is fear of messing up, fear of failure, fear that people won't accept them, if they take this leap. And all of a sudden, they don't have the support of their closest friends. That's a really big fear for a lot of people. And another one I would say is that if they take this stuff, that there's no way they can get back to where they were, at the beginning. So if they start, for example, either coaching or maybe starting a new side gig or starting a creative project, once they enter this thing, if they mess up, and they realise this is not what I like, that there's no way of retreating back to the original lifestyle. Fear their old lifestyle is better than what their current situation is.
Pretty big, scary things, aren't they? And it might be a really difficult question, but how can life coaching actually deal with those real deep seated, sort of fears? They're not really just surface things.
Anna Resnick 43:01
I think that’s a great question, because a lot of people think that there's this one way to change these fears, or to get rid of these fears. It's not about getting rid of these fears. It's figuring out what is your attachment to these beliefs? What is your personal attachment to these beliefs? Because if you are personally attached to this belief, this story, your past, because of this specific incident in fourth grade, where someone teased you about your hairy arms or something like that, the solution or the methods I would provide you are different from someone else that has a completely different backstory or attachment. So it depends on the person, it depends on how this belief is limiting this person. On how frequently the thoughts come. The solution depends on the person.
Got it! Yeah. So one of the things that really grabbed my attention about your site was you mentioned that you've been trained on Tony Robbins. So tell me about that. Because obviously, I know, he's been around for yonks and he's very well known but I think he's kind of come to much bigger audience now because he's obviously been featured in the Netflix documentary. I'm Not Your Guru. He's a larger than life character. I mean, have you met him?
Anna Resnick 44:50
Oh, my God. I know! The reason why I did his coaching training… I was thinking what will provide me with the most value to get started as a coach. And I watched that. So I watched Tony Robbins speak at these huge conferences and coach these people just one on one and on the spot. He’s got quite nice, breezy intuition.
Well, I guess you don't, I'm not gonna swear on camera, but I guess you don't use the technique of ‘Hey Mother-Clucker!’ Or shout at one of your clients to wake up! He's got crazy intuition.
Anna Resnick 46:04
I want to quickly say, I am not Tony Robbins!
No, no, I want to say also for Anna's reference, she’s very wonderful and gentle. And she's not into shock tactics. It's just that documentary is quite hilarious, has some bizarre moments.
Anna Resnick 46:33
It's funny, because when when I was doing a consultation with this coaching training programme, that was one of my fears. What if I become Tony Robbins? What if I become a coach that I don't want to be? And they were reassuring me and telling me, No, no. Like Tony knows that when he is on stage, he's there for some performance factor, not because he's putting on a persona, he isn't. But when you are in that kind of setting, it's a completely different environment from coaching.
In an arena?
Anna Resnick 47:13
Yeah, exactly. And they told me, No, don't worry about it. Because we don't teach you how to be Tony Robbins. We teach you skills and the tactics. And you are different, you're going to apply them very differently in a one on one coaching session, and we get trained by Tony's coaches.
Sorry, and what were you gonna say? You've had some consideration in learning how to appreciate and respect your own intuition and seeing the value of that.
Anna Resnick 49:39
Yeah, I think I have a better definition for intuition. And it reminds me of something that Brené Brown mentioned.
I love Brené. Oh my god, we haven't even… this is the first time we've started fan-girling Brené in the conversation. Right. Where do we start?
Anna Resnick 50:00
Yeah! wonderful. I think she used this analogy for trust, trust in general. But I'm going to use this analogy for building trust in your intuition. Imagine having a jar of gumballs, like, little gumballs. Imagine each gumball as a little piece of trust. So every gumball you give out to someone else, you're giving away a little bit of your trust to that person. I think, for that analogy and your intuition, is when you start to give yourself these gumballs, give yourself this one, a little piece of trust one gumball at a time. Then you start to develop this trust in yourself and your intuition in your gut, because otherwise, you've learned to listen to other people. And you've learned that the best way to navigate your life is through listening to your parents, or listening to your school or listening to the advice of your mentors and their counsellors. So a lot of us don't have, we haven't given ourselves enough gumballs to really believe we can trust ourselves and our intuition.
Hmm. I’m just aware that we're coming to the end of our time chatting and it has been insane. It's just we've covered so much in this conversation. How can people develop that intuition? And also how can people develop their courage?
Anna Resnick 54:36
So how do people develop their intuition and emerge? I think one way to start is by starting to have an awareness of the patterns that your thoughts and feelings and emotions are. Because if you don't have that awareness to start, you won't even know where you are leaning towards in the first place. That can actually be more demotivating. And more humiliating, which will make you retreat from even wanting to listen to your intuition in the first place. So I think the first step is awareness. And once you have an idea of where you're leaning towards, then it's taking steps and building that trust in taking those steps and feeling satisfied when you actually achieve those things.
And then, what would you say for building courage? Or is that kind of the same thing?
Anna Resnick 55:56
I think courage. In my opinion, courage is when you do something that is a little bit vulnerable for you. And when I think of courage in my past, I think of doing something that is vulnerable, but also for a larger purpose of doing something to impact other people. And this is a necessary thing for me to do, because I know that people are counting on me for this. So I think for courage, it's developing that greater why. What am I doing this for? Who is this going to impact? taking yourself almost out of yourself. And thinking about the bigger picture because a lot of times we are so afraid and in our heads. But our lives are so short, too. And we have to think about at the end of our lives, how are we going to feel we have looked out for ourselves when we're old and grey and wrinkly. And we're thinking about what in our life have we achieved? So I think it's getting to that greater why? Getting to that greater picture and remembering what we want to do in our lifetimes.
I just want to thank you so much. You've been absolutely fantastic to chat to. And I really appreciate your own journey and sharing that with so many people. It is beautiful. And if people want to find out more, they can obviously go to your site. I'm going to drop a link below in the show notes. But yeah, thank you for your time today. I really appreciate it.
Anna Resnick 1:00:37
Thank you so much. And I think your podcast is going to help so many people because courage, the topic of bravery, is something that I think is so needed at this time. So many different applications. But your podcast is also just a sense of courageousness that you took and stepping out of your career and I really commend you for that.
I really appreciate that. Lots of love.
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