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The 30-Day Challenge: Catch The Right – Not The Wrong

Episode #728

Have you ever wondered how catching people doing things right could transform your relationships, both personally and in business?

Do you think recognizing and appreciating positive actions can lead to more of them, or is it a shift in our own perspective?

Join this insightful discussion where Tim and Doug explore the profound effects of this approach and share personal anecdotes and insights. They highlight the significance of starting with small gestures and making it an easily integrated practice, even in challenging relationships.

In this episode, you’ll learn about the 30-day challenge of catching your wife in the act of doing something right and offering genuine praise and appreciation.

By committing to this journey, you can not only alter your view of others but also foster a more positive perception of yourself and the world around you.

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Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man. 

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Doug Holt  00:32

Hey, guys. Welcome back to another episode of the Powerful Man Show. And today I have a challenge. So, Tim, what I want to talk about today is something that I did early on in my marriage when things weren’t working out very well. So I did this in business, too.

So I started a business at a really young age. I’m in my early 20s, and it was in State street in Santa Barbara, California. And I ended up having a client that I started working with. His name was Bill. I won’t give his last name, but extremely successful businessman. And so Bill and I started meeting every morning, not every morning, but once a week for breakfast. And so we’d meet in the morning. We’d talk about my business problems. He was in his late 70s. I’m in my early 20s. So it was really cool. We became really good friends, actually.

And one of the things he told me to do was catch the right. Catch my employees doing something right. I was complaining about the things they weren’t doing, and he said, catch them like they’re doing something right. And he started talking about Pavlov’s dogs or Pavlov’s dogs, for those that don’t know the story, right?

So Pavlov was a scientist in Russia. I’m going to make up the story because I don’t know exactly, but essentially what he would do is he’d ring a dinner bell and then feed the dogs, and he would do this repeatedly. And so then eventually he’d ring the dinner bell, but no food. And the dog’s mouths would be salivating because they associated the bell with food. And so Bill’s idea was, when you catch your staff doing things right, they will do more things right.

Now, I took this and applied it to my, huh. How many times can I catch my wife doing things right? And the reason I did this is I found myself complaining about her, complaining about the things that she was doing wrong. Of course, as you know, Tim, I am perfect. But doing the things that she was doing wrong and criticizing her, essentially not. Maybe not to her face, maybe in my own mind’s eye or in the journal or wherever else it may be, but critiquing her.

And so I gave myself a challenge, a challenge in finding what she was doing right for 30 days, a 30 day challenge just to catch her doing things right. So I made it like this little game. It’s kind of like we have so many guys that we talk to that try to catch their wife cheating or catch their wife having an affair, emotional or otherwise, and they’ll clone her phone, they’ll check social media accounts. They’ll do all of these things to try to catch her in the act, even if she’s not doing anything, and they’ll do that. What if they took that energy, flipped it around, and tried to catch her doing stuff right?

Tim Matthews  03:05

Sounds too tough for me.

Doug Holt  03:08

Yeah. Hopefully, Amelia never sees this one.

Tim Matthews  03:11

Yeah. I think it’s great. You get what you focus on right as well.

Doug Holt  03:15

Well, that’s exactly it. So, just like in business, what I found with my wife is when I caught people doing it right, I don’t know if they started doing more things right or if I just started recognizing and being more grateful for them. Thus, they did things right. Do you know what I’m saying?

Tim Matthews  03:32

Yeah. Let’s say their behavior never changed, but your perspective of their behavior does. Therefore, your levels of appreciation and gratitude for them will go up. They will feel better. You’ll feel better. It’s a win-win, right? Yeah.

Do you know what? I’m going to do this, because I’ve heard you talk about this challenge many times, and I haven’t done it yet, and I’d like to do it. I’d like to do it for me. I like the idea as well, of even writing those things down in some kind of card book, whatever it may be. And I’ve spoken in the past about extending it out, because often a lot of guys find is they do it for 30 days and want to keep on doing it because they realize changes. All of a sudden, their wife changes. And really, it’s not their wife, but it’s a great thing to then gift. Some guys have gifted them that. Right?

Doug Holt  04:28

Yeah. This is a little different, though. So you’re talking about gratitude.

Tim Matthews  04:32


Doug Holt  04:33

And I’m talking about something slightly different. It’s a little tweak on what I normally talk about.

Tim Matthews  04:37

Yeah, no, I’m with you. I’m with you. I was getting confused with the gratitude challenge, but, yeah. Catching and doing things right. Yeah, I’m with you 100%. And again, going back to that point. I’m going to do it.

Doug Holt  04:47

Cool. You can start with me if you’d like. Let’s give you something easy to work on, right?

Tim Matthews  04:54


Doug Holt  04:55

So, yeah. What you want to do here for the guys or if you’re going to do this, is make it easy. Make it easy on yourself and find small things. So if it’s Amelia, as an example, find little things she does right. Like, maybe she brings you a cup of coffee, right? Maybe and this is kind of gratitude, but catch her doing. Maybe she’s doing something for your dogs or she’s in her patterns or she’s working out or, I don’t know, anything that she’s doing right. Catch her in that and compliment her.

Tim Matthews  05:22

Yeah, I’m going to do that. One thing I could do better with is praising. Yeah, definitely, I praise her, but I also know I could praise her way more and it’d still be authentic. And I’m really curious, if I was to praise her more, how might that influence or affect. I’m not doing it from a place of manipulation. I think she’d like it and I would like to do it as well. I think it’s just a nice energy to be in. It’s a nice energy to cultivate in the relationship. Catching or doing things right, praising and just seeing where it leads.

Doug Holt  05:57

Yeah. Well, what’s interesting of that is I’ve found with working with you over the years, that words of affirmation are extremely important to you.

Tim Matthews  06:05


Doug Holt  06:06

And that’s interesting that it may not be as innate for you to do right. And I wonder for myself when I look at myself, so one of mine’s acts of service, maybe I’m not showing up in that way, but that’s a side topic. But when you look at praise, praise is kind of like catching somebody in the act of doing something right.

Tim Matthews  06:23

Yeah, big time. Big time. I think, because for Amelia as well, the story I tell myself is for her, her love language is quality time. Vast majority of it is quality time. So I’ll then focus my attention on spending quality time with her. However, at the same time, I just love the idea of cultivating that perspective where you’re catching them, doing things right and just the positivity as well that comes from that.

And again, going back to praise, it’s just not something I’ve focused on with it. I’ve been with it over ten years. I’ve never focused on it, which sounds kind of crazy on one hand, but I just believe that if I was to commit to this for 30 days, the key is it’s got to be authentic. I want to genuinely believe that the thing she’s doing right, I am grateful for, I want to praise her for, acknowledge her for whatever it may be. And I think in the beginning it’s going to freak her out.

Doug Holt  07:19

Yeah. Well, I think the key here is doing even small things because you’re talking about praise and I’m talking about something. Again, a slight tweak of what I’m least I’m trying to communicate. Praise is definitely great and I think it could go along with this. What I would ask the guys to do is not do praise. They can add it on, but keep it simple and just catch somebody in the act of doing it right. You can write it down or whatever you have, like, hey, great job. Hey, thanks. Hey, thanks for taking out the trash.

Tim Matthews  07:45

Got it.

Doug Holt  07:46

Things along those lines.

Tim Matthews  07:47

It’s not sharing, it with them necessarily.

Doug Holt  07:49

It’s not like, hey, I love it when you take out the trash because you do. It doesn’t have to be that eloquent.

Tim Matthews  07:56

I might try that one, though.

Doug Holt  07:58

You could. It makes me feel when you take out the trash, I feel complete. I feel closer to you. I’ve tried those. It doesn’t work very well, but you can do it and just catch people doing it. Right now for me, when I have done this in practice, I don’t do it as much because I find myself, am I doing it too much? Am I communicating it too much where it loses its oomph, it’s weight up. Right? Because then you’re always doing it for someone that kind of. Yeah, I think it loses a little bit of its power.

Tim Matthews  08:32

Yeah, that’s what I was saying. It needs to be authentic. Like if I did it every day, looping back to your distinction there between outwardly praising someone and just recognize catching, doing something right. Writing it down, for example, because, yeah, I think if I was to do it every day for Amelia for 30 days, she’d be like…

Doug Holt  08:50

She’d know you were doing a challenge or something. We’re weird guys.

Tim Matthews  08:56

So regardless whether I choose to share whatever I choose to share with her, I’ll park that one. But just doing it and recognizing it and allowing that to shift my own perspective of how I’m seeing her, I really like it.

Doug Holt  09:09

Yeah. It’ll be interesting to see my prediction. If you do this for 30 days, we’ll have a little Timmy running around about ten months from now.

Tim Matthews  09:18

A Timmy or Tim. I may not do it.

Doug Holt  09:23

You never know. Yeah, but see, for men, for the guys listening to this. We’re joking about this, and you touched on it really well. What tends to happen when we change our focus as the leaders of the house? The focus, then what happens is the people react to it. So our energy comes into the room before we do. Said another way is when you’re anxious or angry or whatever it is, you can try to hide it, but when you go into your house, it disrupts the energy of the whole house.

We had men share this this past week when we were at The Alpha Reset. One guy goes, oh, my gosh, I remember this. As a kid, my dad was an angry guy. And as soon as right before he’d opened the door of the house, my friends would be walking out the back door. They didn’t want to be around him. They could feel his presence before he’d even come in, and they’d go out the back door. So I spent most of my childhood playing at other friends’ houses. It’s a similar thing.

Now reverse that. Imagine that house is filled with love or praise or catching people doing things right. The kids would be coming in the front door as soon as dad gets home, they’d want to be there. They’d be greeting him, and that’s a different thing. People respond to the way that you act and the way that you treat them. And so by catching them, the act of your wife for 30 days, or in your case, Amelia, your partner for 30 days, is really what happens is your outcome changes. The way that you act changes. Then all of a sudden, your partner and, you know, this already miraculously changes.

Tim Matthews  10:50

Yeah. Again, I’m really excited about the possibilities, because you’re right. I am aware of how this could work. Therefore, I can see the possibilities here, and that’s what gets me excited. And I guess there’s some guys listening to this, though, with mud on the glass, let’s say, and resentments towards their wife, and they’re probably resisting it. Right?

Doug Holt 11:11

So we got to make it easy.

Tim Matthews  11:22

Yeah. So what advice would you give to those guys that don’t want to do it, that feel like they’re in a little bit of a power struggle, maybe, or whatever is going on?

Doug Holt  11:19

Suck it up, Buttercup. Don’t be a baby. Like, in other words, you’re throwing a tantrum like a little kid. Like, give it a try.

Tim Matthews  11:28

I’m with you.

Doug Holt  11:29

Give it a try and just see what happens and make it easy. So if your wife’s,  well, I’m just going to say it because the words some guys use with us, if your wife’s being a b****. And you don’t want to give her praise yet. You want to save your marriage, you got to change your mindset right there. So what you want to do here is find the small things.

You know what? I like the fact that she take care of the kids. I like the fact that she takes care of her own health. I don’t have to worry about her mental stability or whatever it could be. Make it easy, right? When I had guys do this for themselves, as an analogy of finding things they’re grateful for, some guys have a hard time with it. I said, look, if you have legs, be grateful you have legs, because some people don’t have them. That you can walk, you can run, or if you don’t have legs, be grateful that you have eyes that you can see or whatever it is.

Make it easy at first, and when you flex, it’s like working out. When you go back to working out and you haven’t worked out in years, it’s friggin hard, right? So make it easy. Do five push-ups, and then the next two days later do six push-ups. And then if you do that consistently for 30 days, you’ll be banging out push-ups like nobody’s business. You’re not going to be sore. It’s going to be easy. You’re going to pick up other weights, you’re going to try other things. You got to start small.

I think all too often guys think I have to go all in and do all this grand. I have to find 50 things my wife’s doing that are amazing, that are book worthy. No, just catch her in the art of doing something right. Maybe it’s simple as that. She parks in the right parking spot. If you guys have a driveway and two cars park in the driveway, my guess is that you always park on one side and she always parks on the other. Right?

It’s a habit you’ve gotten into. Compliment her on it, make it right. You don’t have to compliment her on it, but catch her in the act of parking in the right space. Stupid, simple. And you can build upon that because you’ll start finding other things. Like, oh, yeah, you know what? She puts my clothes back. Or you know what? She does the laundry or you know what? Wow. She turns the TV off and the lights off at the end of the night, or she locks the doors. Whatever it is, you’ll start adding up. You’ll be like, oh, crap.

What you realize is how much stuff you take for granted. I can tell you what, I’ve been in a house with you and what we’ve had, like, a total probably 15 different guys. There’s little, little things that people do differently that you’re just not used to and doesn’t make them right or wrong, but you’re not used to that. Maybe my wife just does and then that I never compliment her on until somebody does something different, then I’m like, oh, Erin, my wife always does these things. Cool. That’s a really cool thing because Tim Colton or whoever else doesn’t, again, doesn’t have to be. I’m not making anybody wrong, although sometimes you have been wrong, but just those little things make a big difference.

Tim Matthews  14:21

Yeah. And you know what? Let’s say I catch Amelia doing things right for 30 days. That’s going to shift my perspective not only of how I see Amelia, how I see myself, how I see other people, because I’m not just going to be able to filter it towards Amelia. Right? And typically, often the guys we work with are so hard on themselves, they very rarely catch themselves doing anything right. They very rarely stack their own wins. They set the rules of the game where the standard is so high and it’s so difficult to win that it’s hard for them to ever feel like they are winning and hard for them to ever see any progress.

So therefore, they then see everyone else through that same lens of typically always falling short or it never been enough or whatever it may be. So I think the secondary benefit here that has been the unspoken one, but I think is a huge one, is by committing to this practice. How is that then also going to change how you see yourself and how you see everybody else?

Doug Holt  15:23

You’re not supposed to give away my secrets. Come on. Yeah, that’s exactly what happens, is it changes your mindset on everything. But pick one focal point for sure, keep it easy. And then there are tertiary and secondary and tertiary benefits to doing this, and it goes even more. It multiplies out and you’ll start seeing the world through a different lens. It’s kind of like this whole concept of, is the world working for me or is the world working against me? However you answer that is going to change the way events appear in your life, the way things happen, circumstances in your life.

Tim Matthews  15:57

Yeah. I love this.

Doug Holt  15:59

Awesome. Well, I’m excited. Will you report back in 30 days on how this goes?

Tim Matthews  16:02


Doug Holt  16:03

Okay, gentlemen, as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. If you’re on the fence, I don’t care what side of the fence you’re on or looking or leaning towards, get off. Get one way or the other. If you don’t join the powerful man, join another program. Do something to allow yourself some growth. The very least, please take action. If you get any insights in these at all, we’d love to hear your feedback as well. And as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. We’ll see you next time on the Powerful Man Show.

All right, guys, that’s a wrap for this episode. But as I always say in the moment of insight, take massive action. You see, there are two types of men that listen to a podcast like this, those that go on from one podcast or show to another just hoping things are going to change and realizing that they’re going to be in the same place month after month, year after year.

You see, I was this guy so I completely get it. You may just not be ready. But there’s also a second man, a second man that listens to a show just like this. And this is a guy who takes massive action so they can shorten the learning curve, compress time, and get RESULTS to be the WOLF. See, WOLF is an acronym for Wise, Open, Loving, and Fierce.

Now ask yourself, which one am I? And just be honest with yourself there. And there’s no judgment on my end. But if you’re ready to move from deactivated DEER mode, which is Defend, Excuse, Explain, and React to activated WOLF, Wise, Open, Loving and Fierce, then go over to thepowerfulman.com/grow. And go there now. In fact, I’ll make it super easy for you. I will even put the link right in the description here so you can just click it and go over there now to learn more. Guys, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Go from deactivated to activated, because like I said, life is too short for average and I’ll see you on the next episode!