Posts Tagged ‘Brooke Castillo’

How To Better Understand Self-Sabotage

Written by Kate • May 21, 2020 •
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The Ancient City in Gordes, France

In the past, I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the power of my self-sabotaging behavior. Why was I eating that food when I’m not hungry? Why am I still reading Facebook after two hours when I swore I’d only be on for 15 minutes? Why didn’t I do my yoga today? It was a total mystery to me and one that made me feel quite disempowered.

I thought that because I understand the brain’s reward system and some hacks about how to manage the system and do an end run around it, I had the keys to self sabotaging behavior. But I didn’t and still engaged in behavior that I didn’t intend to.

The Primitive Brain’s Motivational Triad

Then I read/listened to Brooke Castillo’s work about the primitive brain and how, as she puts it, it was created to pursue the live saving triad of motivating us to:

  1. seek pleasure
  2. avoid pain
  3. spend as little energy as possible

Our primitive brain is trying to keep us alive at all costs and as such, it drives us to prioritize short term pleasure, like eating sugar or other highly caloric food, in order to bolster the body’s resources. [This is a much larger discussion but I’m trying to hit the highlights. The brain drives us to seek pleasure to keep us alive, even when life is extremely hard, food is scarce, and the odds are high against our survival. We need a strong counterbalancing force to help us not give up when things get rough.]

Avoiding pain keeps us safe (but small).

And conserving energy is just smart if you never know when a bear might attack you. Rest until you need to get out there again, our brain urges.

Of course, for many of us in the developed world, this ancient way of preserving life against a nature that is red in tooth and claw is no longer necessary (except for the rare occasion) and is, in fact, keeping us living small and constrained lives.

You Can Just Say No

Here was the revelation for me.

When I’d make big plans to change or put myself out there or adopt a new expansive lifestyle change, soon enough I’d get this irresistible urge to stop changing and a lot of thoughts that would tell me in a variety of ways that it was too hard, I wasn’t good enough, I needed to have fun, I needed to rest, and on and on and on. These urges against change were so overwhelming that after using my will power to grit against them, I’d give in.

These thoughts and urges were tricky and I’d try to understand where they were coming from. I’d think they were important and something I needed to listen to because it felt so strong, so real.

Brooke Castillo says that she notices this voice rise up and start the old refrain trying to keep her small, she says something like, “Noted. But we won’t be doing that”.

And that’s all it takes. Noticing what your brain is saying and lovingly saying to the voice, “Noted. But we won’t be doing that”. You can just say No.

A Lesson from Yesterday’s Yoga Session

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you likely have gleaned that I’m a yoga addict. I really do love it although I’m not yet strong enough to do all the asanas I’d like to in a way I’d like to. Like I can’t float forward to a forward bend. I have to step forward. After some trial and error, like focusing on my upper body strength, I know I need to strengthen my core which I’m working on.

So Monday night into Tuesday, I had some GI issues that kept me up for a few hours. I assessed my physical situation early in the morning and realized I needed sleep more than I needed to make time for yoga. And that was a solid decision.

But Wednesday morning, as I started my yoga session, I noticed how tight I was, especially in my right shoulder/rotator cuff. And my brain went off on this riff that went something like “OMG, why do you even try? You didn’t do yoga yesterday and now you’re behind and you’ll never catch up. So just stop doing yoga”. And for a moment, before I shined some consciousness on these thought loops, I actually almost just quit doing yoga. Like my finger started to reach for the pause button.

I then thought to myself, how does quitting my session today help me catch up? And how can I be behind when I’m still practicing? What does being behind in yoga even mean? I don’t want to stop doing yoga. I love yoga.

But the pull to stop expending energy was briefly very strong. I realized it’s just my brain trying to get me to conserve energy even when it’s better that I do the work, to strengthen my body and my mind.

Also, my shoulder hurt so my primitive brain wanted to stop doing the thing that hurt.

The analogy to a toddler is probably way overused but it is accurate. That part of our brain really is so similar to a toddler. So I said to it, “noted, but we’re doing yoga”. And in an instant, when I put quitting off the table, affirmed it wasn’t an option, I felt a surge in energy and my yoga session deepened. Miraculously, my shoulder also felt better and by the end of the session, the pain and tightness had disappeared. And I felt deeply satisfied to have finished that session.

Later, after my yoga session, when I considered vacuuming and mopping my juice stained, food encrusted kitchen floors [do they throw food on the floor for the fun of it?] my primitive brain briefly tried to convince me that reading my book was more important (conserving energy) but I again said, ‘no, these floors are getting clean.” It took a lot longer than I intended. Dinner was late. But my floors are sparkling and I took pleasure in accomplishing what I set out to do. The primitive brain that didn’t want me to do it then took a lot of pride in getting this done. Go figure. And I still was able to read for a bit after the twins went to bed.

It Can Be That SimpleNo, we’re not doing that.

I really can be that simple, just a “no, we’re not doing that”. There are then no urges to resist or expend will power on. Focus on something different than what the toddler brain wants. No need to bargain with, try to understand, or analyze this part of your brain. It can be simply a case of saying, “no, not that. This”.

What Is The Stillness Trying to Tell You?

Written by Kate • May 18, 2020 •
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Our Yard With Our View

I’m reading Glennon Doyle‘s Untamed and I’m mesmerized by her writing, her stories, and the power of her voice. What a book. I highly recommend it.

I got into the bath Friday night after an amazing 4 hour session of mowing our yard, listening to Brooke Castillo’s podcasts. I just love her work and the sense of fellowship to help support me and remember to continue to manage my mind, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown and the isolation it brings. When it’s just you, your partner, and young kids, if you don’t manage your mind, you can slip into old patterns and it can be far too long until you notice you’ve gone unconscious. So I stay frosty and bolstered, listening to Brooke.

And then, in the bath to wash off all that grass and soak my weary yet satisfied bones- I really do love to mow, to get out there in the sun and the solitude and nature- and the fruits of my labor are obvious and immediate with the fresh mow lines and beautiful space for my kids to run and play.

I read the first third of the book in the bath. I was riveted. I was slayed. I got verklempt and I am so profoundly grateful to Glennon for using her time and her voice to create this masterpiece. What a book.

There is a section in the book where she talks about sinking into the space underneath it all, mainly in her meditation sessions but also in her every day life. Her words help outline the inexplicable. If you haven’t ever sunk into the silence and connected with Source/with God, then this might be just an interesting story.

For me, it felt like coming home, chatting with someone who really gets what you’re going through. And her explanation of the results of that connection, that “liquid gold” she talks about. I get that too. For me, it’s not liquid gold, it’s liquid silvery light. But yes, I get her.

The tag line of my website that I established in 2011 is Stillness. Clarity. Purpose. And Glennon talks about how she loves to Be Still and Know. Yes, sister, yes.

What is the stillness trying to help you know?

Upgrading Your Mental Model – using Brooke Castillo’s The Model

Written by Kate • May 7, 2020 •
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What’s Your Mental Model: Enjoying sunset in Nusa Lembongan- Bali

Of the many things I’m grateful for from listening to Brooke Castillo’s work is her effective and concise distillation of the various approaches to upgrading our thoughts and our beliefs into what she calls the Model.

She’s taken Pema Chodron’s, Eckhart Tolle’s, Byron Katie‘s, Mike Dooley‘s, and Abraham‘s work and created a model that I find incredibly a helpful and illuminating method to unearth one’s thoughts and beliefs.

As you may know, there is a vast subconscious part of your brain that is constantly filling in missing details to make a coherent story out your reality, including helping you ignore facts and data that are in conflict with your current belief system and thoughts.

Your brain is constantly trying to optimize its processes to make much of your daily routine so efficient that you do much of it without conscious thought. Take, for instance, brushing your teeth. Or driving to work. How often do brush your teeth consciously, without dropping into future or past focused thoughts? Do you stand there, two times a day, and think about exactly which tooth you’re brushing and then carefully go on to the next tooth? Or do you, in fact, brush your teeth while your mind wanders to the future or the past, only to come back to the task at the end to make sure you’ve (probably) gotten all your teeth and to rinse and end the session?

And how often are you driving to work without your mind dropping into future or past focused thoughts? Likely not often, except in instances that require you to be fully present, like unusually high traffic, noticing a police car, etc.

This is by design. Your brain is optimizing all of your routine tasks so that it runs on autopilot, allowing your brain to both spend the least amount of energy and so that you don’t expend your finite amounts of focus and willpower on routines that don’t require focus and willpower.

Further, the brain can’t focus on everything so there is a process in your brain that constrains all the input from your ears, eyes, and other senses that allow for it to filter out data that isn’t required and to stop the data from becoming something you’re consciously aware of. Think of your (now subconscious) beliefs and thoughts as gateways to your conscious brain and almost anything that doesn’t fit into your beliefs and thoughts are not allowed access to your conscious thoughts.

So you must choose beliefs and thoughts that serve you. Are your thoughts and beliefs the best ones you can choose? If there are some, or many, that can be improved to help you live a happier and more joyful life, one that feels more authentic and purposeful, the Model is a great tool to help you unearth your current thinking and instead change your thoughts to those that serve you better.

A quick note, Brooke Castillo has stated that the Model‘s precepts are like gravity- no one invented gravity or can patent it, it’s just the way things work. And her Model is one way of explaining how the brain works. So she encourages wide dissemination and usage of it. We all have full permission to use it.

The Model

The Model is as follows: there is a circumstance in your life that is entirely neutral. It is. You have loads of money. Or you have loads of debt. You weigh more than you’d like. Or your maintaining your goal weight easily and effortlessly. Trump is President. There is a pandemic. On and on with current reality. It just is.

However, what you think about that circumstance is totally up to you and your thoughts drive your feelings when you think that thought, your actions are based on those feelings, and the results are derived from your actions.

Here’s the not surprising ending: your thoughts about a circumstance drive your feelings and subsequent actions and usually gets results that reinforce the thoughts about the circumstance- so your results almost always remain constant and are the same.

The Model is written as follows:

Circumstance (C): neutral facts that can be verified

Thoughts (T): your thoughts about the C

Feelings (F): the feelings that come up based on your T

Actions (A): the actions that you take from the F based on the T

Results (R): what happens after the action taken

An Example of the Model:

Because weight loss is easy to model and so many people invest massive amounts of thought, will, time, money and energy into losing weight, it’s a good example.

Unintentional Thoughts about Weight Loss Model:

C: I’ve never been able to sustain my weight loss for more than a few months.

Note: this is a fact. Thoughts such as “weight loss is hard for me” or “I should weight 135 lbs” or “I want to weigh 135 lbs” or “I’m not good at losing weight” are not circumstances and possibly aren’t true. Certainly they are not neutral facts. All of those are thoughts. And any judgements about this circumstance is a thought.

T: I’ve never been able to lose weight easily. Weight loss is really hard for me and I’m not sure I can do it.

Note: This is what may come up for you when you take the neutral circumstance. There may be many thoughts that you’ll want to model in order to upgrade and change them.

F: Anger. Blame (on your parents, your genes, your past). Victimization. Blame. Lack of control, of pleasure. Deprivation.

Note: The thought that” losing weight is hard for you” doesn’t serve you and instead drives a lot of disempowering feelings. I can see no empowering feelings flowing from a thought that weight loss is hard.

A: Trying a new diet and cheating on it. Cheating on the new plan and then quitting the plan. Changing to a new plan. Not planning on all.

Note: the actions the flow from disempowering thoughts and feeling are going to keep you stuck and, in fact, continue to reinforce the thought that weight loss is hard.

R: Weight loss either doesn’t happen or isn’t sustained (reinforcing the thought and the associated belief)

Intentional Thoughts about Weight Loss Model:

C: I’ve never been able to sustain my weight loss for more than a few months.

Note: The circumstance shouldn’t change. You’re not trying to change the circumstances to suit your thoughts. You’re trying to change your thoughts about the circumstances to better thoughts. Trying to change your circumstances helps you avoid your disempowering thoughts, which lead to continued disempowering feelings, actions, and suboptimal results.

T: What’s happened in that past has no bearing on my ability to lose weight.

OR I’ve never understood what’s driving my self-sabotage and now I do/will.

OR I’m absolutely committed to losing weight. I will not quit on myself.

OR I now trust myself to follow my new plan.

Note: Any of these thoughts are better and lead to much more empowered feelings and actions. You do have to believe these new thoughts, which may take some work and additional thought modeling before you can truly believe them. It’s ok. You have the time and there is no rush to live your best life. The process is the point.

F: Powerful. Committed. Loving. Resilient. Responsible. Focused (Etc). Willing to fail and keep to the plan.

Note: These feelings help you take feel good and take action from a much better place. These feelings don’t drive actions that keep the status quo.

A: Quit dieting and commit to a new way of eating. Take stock of current eating without judgement. Stumble through a cheat and immediately recommit. Try a new supportive podcast to keep me motivated. Create a plan for eating that is achievable from where I am now. Continue examining my thoughts and beliefs.

Note: With actions stemming from powerful feelings, you can continue to reach for better feeling thoughts that keep driving better actions and results. Follow your thoughts and keep doing the model!

R: A more permanent change about examining my thoughts. A better outlook. Better feelings and likely -weight loss.

The Key Is to Manage Your Thoughts

The truth is that the mind likes routine, no matter the routine. It take some planning, new thought, and commitment to surmount the mind’s preference for an old routine. But once the new, more supportive routine has been practiced enough times, then the mind is fine with that new routine being the new normal. It’s a bit tricky, but you can change your thinking and change your life.

Practice and Write It Down

I suggest practicing with the Model on a daily basis for 30 days, minimum, or habitually for the rest of your life as you’ll continue to uncover thoughts that don’t serve you. You can first write down your current thoughts in a stream of consciousness way in a journal. Then choose any of them that speak to you and do the Model on that thought.

It’s important to write it down so that it’s there in black and white and that your brain doesn’t trip you up with vague or sloppy thinking. Which it so wants to do to keep you from changing the current routine. Your brain is looking at your life and saying, “you’re not dead or in danger so that is working. Don’t change it. You may be miserable and unhappy but you’re not dead.” So it’s happy to keep tricking you. Writing it down helps your conscious mind see the truth.

This is a simple, quick overview and I hope it helps. I love it and use it daily myself.

What’s Your Relationship With Money?

Written by Kate • May 5, 2020 •
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The Beach at Sanur- Bali

Lately, I’ve been focusing on my relationship to money. I was listening to a podcast by Brooke Castillo (who’s amazing!) and was talking about money and how you feel about it.

I later sat down and wrote about money: my beliefs, my feelings about money, what I taught about money, my feelings when I spend money, my future expectations, and my past, my stuff, all of it.

I was intrigued with what I learned. Probably the most important belief that I unearthed is that somehow in the past decade or so, I changed my belief about money is that it is something I want because of what it can bring to me, not something I want in and of itself. This was fascinating to me as I was unaware of the effects this change in belief would create.

Consciously, I don’t want any more stuff. I’m tired of having much of the “stuff” in my house and I’m constantly trying to downsize what I have and what I buy. So having money for what it can bring to me doesn’t align with a core belief I now consciously have.

I also want money in and of itself. I want to have money in my savings account and in my other accounts. I see now that I allowed myself to have ideas that money isn’t something to save. And that’s crazy! Of course I want more savings. Lots of saving!

Taking A Look At Your Beliefs

I always think it’s a good thing to take another look at your beliefs, especially if you notice worry or negative feelings arise about the subject. That likely means conflicting beliefs or unhelpful thoughts are swirling in your mind about it.

I find writing down an uncensored stream of consciousness allows me to start to unearth what I’m truly thinking and believing about it. Sometimes, I first come up with questions about the subject to ensure I unearth all that is there.

Re-Decide

Once you know what you’ve allowed into your subconscious, you can re-decide if it’s something you actually want to believe and think. And if it’s not, start to work on a different thought and upgrade your belief about something.

Upgrade Your Beliefs

You can quickly upgrade your belief by deliberately changing your belief to original belief’s opposite. And then start to look for evidence that the opposite is true. Your mind is constantly searching for evidence to support your current belief system- also known as confirmation bias. So you can start to look for evidence of your new belief.

For example, if your current belief is that you can only earn money by working hard and long hours- and you likely have plenty of evidence of that because you’re working hard and long hours- then replace that belief to attracting money is easy and effortless. Then set about looking around for evidence to support that- from your own life or from that in the world.

Ask yourself empowering questions. How can I prove to myself that attracting money is easy and effortless? What are some examples in my life that show me how easy and effortless it is?

Good luck. Have fun blowing your own mind by choosing to believe better more empowering beliefs and seeing the results in your life.

On Coaching and Being Coached- Lessons from Brooke Castillo at the Life Coach School

Written by Kate • April 17, 2020 •
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NOTE: None of these are affiliate links. Just my honest thoughts.

A Woven Bust at the Yoga Barn

I am definitely a seeker of knowledge, experience, travel, love, and more. I finally – FINALLY- decided to hire a coach for the first time back in 2007 because I realized I needed better thoughts. The way I was thinking and living my life wasn’t working for me but I didn’t know how to be happier.

IT ALL STARTED WITH UPLEVEL YOUR LIFE

So, in secret because I didn’t want to be ridiculed, I bought Christine Kane‘s group coaching class Uplevel Your Life and started on MY path. It’s been twisty. It’s been turny. It’s been steps up and steps back. Her class was exactly what I was looking for. I wept when I read the first several lessons. What a gift.

And from there I was off. I know that they are better thoughts that serve me better and I’ve hired several coaches in the intervening years. Most of them in group coaching sessions but a few handfuls in one on one sessions too. I think they both are helpful in different ways at different times in one’s life.

Group coaching is helpful when you’re super busy and you just can’t be available at a specific time. (I’m looking at you, new mom of twins or new RFP just hit the street and you’re working upwards of 100 hours per week or any such intense moments in your life).

A VERY QUICK TOUR OF SOME OF MY PAST COACHES

I’ve hired Christine Kane in multiple ways, including her UYL, Gold Business coaching, and Getting your First 10 Clients. I’ve hired and trained with Sara Wiseman in private and group calls for all my woowoo needs and got certified through her wonderful, loving Intuition University. I worked with Erin Pavlina for a long weekend in a small group setting in her home, to get further trained on doing readings and sessions with clients. Amazing.

I hired JaiKaur to help me heal some of my earlier trauma. Amazing. Totally recommend. I bought Jeff Walker’s PLF program- I think his work is for someone who’s a bit more advanced in their business than mine but he’s shown me what is possible.

BROOKE CASTILLO AND THE LIFE COACH SCHOOL

And about 2 months before we moved to Bali, I took the plunge and joined Brooke Castillo’s Self Coaching Scholars. My first month in her program was Dec 2018. Christmas. Kids. Plans fell in place to move to Bali in Jan 2019. And I didn’t get to much of the Dec program. Then we moved to Bali.

And upon arrival in Bali and about a month of settling in, I turned back to her program to “start” it in earnest. I didn’t give it the time it deserved at first and then when I tried to access the video trainings, I couldn’t do it (technology-wise). It took me a few months to figure it out that not being able to view the videos wasn’t an internet problem. It was that Indonesia blocks all Vimeo videos. Can you believe? It took me 4 long months to realize I needed to buy a VPN to tunnel back to the US (or anywhere else like Singapore or Australia) to be able to watch the videos. But by that time, I had decided I couldn’t do the program without the videos. And that I didn’t have the time. I love my excuses. I laugh at it now.

Fast forward to Jan 2020. We’d been back in the US for about a month but I’d spent the first three weeks of Jan spending three to four nights a week at the hospital with my very ill Dad (pre-Coronavirus- ah those were the days). He finally got released in late Jan and I was able to spend the next several days resting and not traveling 100 miles round trip to visit my Dad in the extremely far away hospital.

With that rest, I faced February trying to reintegrate into the US and settle back into a routine here. I knew I wanted to relaunch my business and the idea to start again on my program with Self Coaching Scholars bubbled up, to support me on my journey. And so I made the commitment to begin again on 1 March with the December program subject. (Each month has a specific subject- Dec was the Year of Doing the Impossible). And it’s been amazing. Even without the videos and with even less free time than I had in Bali, I’ve made the time and effort to listen to the teachings and Q and As that I downloaded from Dec 2018. I followed through with the program, pretty much with a 100% compliance.

And the Universe is amazing. I’m so so glad I made the true commitment in early Feb because life sure took a hard turn in early/mid March with the whole COVID-19/coronavirus upheaval. Brooke puts out free podcasts and I’ve been listening to those and I had the privilege of being able to hear her take on the crisis through additional podcasts that she put out in mid March. Such gifts. She is so incredibly compassionate and yet no nonsense. She speaks my language, for sure.

I started on the Jan 2019 month in April 2020 and have been working the program every since.

I can’t recommend her school or her teachings enough. She is DA BOMB. Amazing. I would actually ditch the idea of being a coach myself and just direct all clients to her except for one thing that sets me apart as a coach. Brooke isn’t as focused on the woowoo side of things as I want to be in my life. She has so much to offer to me in all things except the woowoo side of life. But Brooke is fully Brooke and we don’t want her any other way, right?

So definitely run to your phone RIGHT NOW to start listening to Brooke’s podcasts or even join her school. You won’t regret it.

Get the Help You Need

Each of my coaches/mentors have helped me enormously. I love learning new things and it’s clear I’m a lifelong learner. I love upgrading my mental model and my thoughts and getting additional resources to help me make my way in the world. I think working with coaches is a great way to get stuff done and there is so much content out there. There’s just no reason for you to keep living and playing small- except for your mindset. Upgrade your mindset and your thoughts and your life will be increasingly amazing.

PS I forgot to include the wise and amazing Martha Beck and Lissa Rankin, These two simply must be mentioned when talking about coaches and mentors.