What Are You Making It Mean? [OG41]

Home/What Are You Making It Mean? [OG41]

What Are You Making It Mean?

Dec 13, 2021

I had a strong reaction to someone’s decision and realized I was quickly jumping to some conclusions that weren’t necessarily true. How often do we catch ourselves doing this? Exploring what we’re making it mean can give us insight about what’s going on in our brains. We are in charge of what we believe and how much time we spend believing thoughts that can help us.

In future episodes, I’ll be featuring questions from listeners- other life owners like you. If you have a question, topic or situation you’d like for us to explore, email me at tracey@tbrowning.com with ‘podcast question’ in the subject line.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode: What Are You Making It Mean?

  • The value of considering what we’re making something mean.
  • Not every thing we think is true or helpful. We get to choose the thoughts to spend time on. Let’s choose wisely.
  • I share my reaction to someone else’s decision. They decided differently than I would have and I leapt to all kinds of conclusions. What options do I have?

Featured On The Show | What Are You Making It Mean?

Connect with me online!

Enjoy The Show?

Like what you’re hearing? I would greatly appreciate your review in Apple Podcast!

Don’t miss an episode- listen and subscribe via Anchor | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Pocket | RadioPublic | Apple Podcast | Stitcher | iHeart | Castbox | Listen Notes | TuneIn | Podchaser | Overcast | Downcast | Podcrucher | icatcher | Castaway2 | Podcast Republic | BeyondPod | AntennaPod | doubleTwist | Podcast Addict | PlayerFM

Learn More About Tracey
Contact Tracey
Follow Me On LinkedIn

What Are You Making It Mean?

Music / Intro:
Welcome to An Owner’s Guide for Your Life, the podcast that combines psychology, coaching, common sense and fun. I’m Tracey Browning, an entrepreneur, life coach and lover of people. Now let’s talk about how to live, love, make money and change the world.


Hey, I’m glad you’re here. I’m debating about what to call this episode. I’m back and forth between “Who doesn’t love puppies” because I’ve got a puppy story to tell you and “What are you making it mean? which is really what I want to get to- What are you making it mean?

I’ve got to tell you this story.

There’s a man in the coaching world that I really admire. He does fabulous work- I’ve followed his work, I’ve studied under him. He coaches really high-achieving people. He’s very impressive and he shared this story on social media the other day and I’ll share it very quickly here.

He said a few years ago he stayed at a hotel in Santa Fe that has a Puppy Enrichment Center.
What they do at this center is they train English labradors to be service dogs for people with traumatic brain injury or combat injury or emotional and anxiety disorders. One of the examples he gives is if a child needsto testify in a traumatic case in court, this dog would be trained to go sit with the child and put their head in their lap and be there with them to hold onto and pet, to relax and be more confident.

So at this hotel, this center had 90 minute sessions that you could sign up for to go play with puppies. So he did it. He was like- I signed up. The puppies are cute and what they’re doing is amazing. But here’s where it got really interesting. After 5 minutes of playing with the puppies, he was complete. So he says this very awkward thank you and goodbye to the trainer and left because he realized he was complete.

The puppies weren’t a 10 out of 10 for him so he was done.

So there’s the story he shared. Now what I want to dig into is my reaction to his story.

I’m horrified (laughs). I have such a strong reaction to what he chose because I adore puppies. I mean, puppy breath, it’s so sweet and who doesn’t love puppies? I cannot even begin to imagine having an opportunity to play with puppies and leave after 5 minutes.

And I was even telling my Dad about this. I was like, “Daddy, I don’t know if I can trust somebody who doesn’t love puppies!”

So I’m laughing but this was such a strong visceral reaction to his decision.
Are you catching the thought that i’m having?

This man that I respect and admire in my industry, my chosen profession, when he’s decided that 5 minutes of playing with puppies is enough and he leaves, my first thought is I don’t know if I can trust him? Wow, that’s a leap, that’s a leap.

Look at what I’m making his decision mean.

I don’t have any other information to go on except that he made a very different decision than I would have made. I don’t know what sort of unpleasant or possibly unpleasant experience he’s had with dogs, maybe he had other things on his mind and he couldn’t relax to enjoy the experience, maybe he’s not really a dog person. I hear there are people like that in the world.

There are all kinds of things I can choose to believe about his decision to only play with the puppies for five minutes.

But the first thing my mind goes to is, “I don’t know if I can trust him”.

So I sat and thought about this. What other things could I believe about this?

I could respect his decision to stop playing with the puppies when he felt complete.
That takes awareness.

I could appreciate that puppies are important to ME and they don’t have to be to everyone else. That just leaves me more puppies to play with, ya’ll.

That’s okay.

I could believe that, as he says, his ‘awkward thank you’ – maybe it was because he was uncomfortable with his decision or even possible judgments of his decision and he chose to do it anyway because he felt complete, he had enough, he wasn’t going by somebody else’s time limit. When he was done, he was done. There’s a lot to admire about that.

Now here’s why I’m sharing this slightly goofy example and confessing how much I love puppies.

How often in our lives do we do this?

Somebody decides to do something and we immediately make decisions based on the stories that we’re telling ourselves that may or may not be true.

It’s fascinating to pay attention to WHAT WE’RE MAKING IT MEAN.

Maybe somebody didn’t say hello to you this morning. What are you making it mean?
Well, he doesn’t like me.

Well, maybe it could be he didn’t see you or he had other things on his mind or he thought he said hello. Have you ever done that? You thought you said hello but you just thought it and didn’t say it out loud? Or maybe he did say hello and you didn’t hear him.

All kinds of things- what are you making it mean?

What if you applied for a job and you didn’t get the job?

What are you making it mean? Oh, I must not be worth much. Nobody’s ever going to hire me. This is oneof those where it’s so easy to start spiraling into catastrophizing but you don’t know how many other well-qualified applicants there were. You don’t know what was going on, what other priorities they had for hiring somebody. You don’t know if this was truly the best place for you. Maybe it was the universe taking care of you and that’s why you didn’t get the job.

What are you making it mean?

Thinking about what you make it mean can give you tremendous insight into what’s going on in your brain. What leaps are you making in your thinking that maybe are not be helping you? You know, I had to stop and think, “Tracey, really, is it true that you cannot trust someone who doesn’t love puppies as much as you?”

Well, you know, I don’t even know if THAT’S true. Maybe this guy that told me the story, maybe he really does love puppies as much as I do and that’s why it was awkward for him to say, “Hmm, five minutes. I really feel done with this. I’m going to move on.”

I’m just making leaps.

We do it all the time.

So exploring other thoughts that I can have that could be more helpful to me.

It’s really worth taking some time because, remember, we get to decide what thoughts we want to spend time on.

We get to decide what thoughts to believe because not every thing we think is true. Not every thing we think is helpful.

We are in charge of what’s going on in our brains so let’s decide to believe and to spend time on those thoughts that help us, those thoughts that serve us.

We don’t have to be at the beck and call of every thought.

That’s true. We don’t.

So as you’re going through your day, pay attention to what conclusions you’re coming to, to what assumptions you’re making about why people are doing things. Explore what are you making it mean?

For a transcript of this episode or for more information about life and mindset coaching, visit my website https://www.tbrowning.com/.

By |2021-12-13T07:53:25-05:00December 13th, 2021|Podcasts|0 Comments