Hey! I’m glad you’re here.
I am smack dab in the middle of launching a new project right now. Since you’re listening to this, you are part of my project so, yay, thanks for being here! I started this podcast a month ago and we’re on episode 5. And my brain has been offering up all kinds of trash talk ever since I started.
But I’ve continued releasing regular episodes.
Let’s talk about how do you move forward even when your brain is yelling, or whispering, or using that kind caring Mama voice. What do you do when your brain’s giving you thoughtful, targeted reasons and sometimes insults at you?
Why does this matter to YOU?
It’s not just MY brain.
I know your brain has done this to you too, not necessarily the same words but the same sentiments.
You start something or WANT to start something- a project, a job, even a conversation.
Then your brain starts offering up reasons why it’s a really bad idea.
You want to talk to the guy at the brewery but then you think “Why would he talk to me?” so you never say a word to him.
Or you think exercise sounds like a good idea but you don’t ever get around to it because you need to decide on the right equipment and buy the clothes and you don’t want to turn into one of those in-your-face Instagrammers.
So maybe you’ll just go walk around the neighborhood but it’s too hot and there’s that pesky dog and you know how those kids are always out drawing with their sidewalk chalk so you’ll just stay inside. Ooh, Netflix.
Yeah, I know. My brain does it too.
Let me give ya a sneak peak into my brain. I start working on my podcast and I hear things like…
You know this doesn’t really matter to anyone.
This is harder than I thought. Do I really want to keep going?
And this one- this one’s in a Mama voice- Aren’t you tired, sweetie? Maybe you should rest and take care of yourself.
And here’s one that pops up over and over again-
Who do you think you are?
Guess what, friends.
Our brains are doing their jobs of being normal brains.
Now we want to hit some obvious suspects first so let’s look at the physical realm of things. You want to roll through these possibilities.
Maybe your brain is reacting to stress or hormones. Maybe you need some sleep, or your blood sugar is whacked out, or you’re hungry or hangry. Maybe it’s something in your environment- if I’m cold, you can forget it, I’m not nice when I’m cold and I don’t think very well. Maybe something’s up with your body chemistry or maybe it’s a medication effect.
All these physical things, of course they impact us and our thinking.
Each one of these is worth digging into if it’s something that’s on your radar. I’m not going to talk about them right now. We’ll talk about them in later episodes but right now let’s just say our most likely physical suspects are in the clear and your brain is just being a jerk for no obvious reason.
Our brains like these few things here above all the other things.
They like to operate efficiently because brains are incredible, intricate systems.
And they love to keep us safe.
Our primal brain wants us to be safe in the tribe so they don’t want us to do anything that may get us kicked and have to go forage for berries and fight tigers all by ourselves.
They want to keep us safe.
I don’t want to sound like I’m hating on our brains here. I am not. I love brains. Matter of fact, I’ll throw in a few brain facts to keep my nerdy, little self happy and we need to love on our brains a bit. So here’s a few facts.
The average adult in a resting state- guess how much of your body’s energy is consumed by your brain- about 20 percent. That’s a lot of energy for a relatively small section of yourself even if you’ve got a big head (haha). Twenty percent of your body’s energy.
Your brain never shuts off. And you may go, “Ooh, sister, I know that!” but I’m not talking about your thoughts and your dreams. I’m talking about when you’re sleeping at night, your neurons are in constant interaction chit-chatting away, updating each other and building pathways and stuff. That’s where most of the energy is consumed.
Your brain doesn’t keep a store of energy on hand. That’s why it’s really important. If we don’t have a constant flow of oxygen, bad things happen to our brains. It always needs constant energy.
And the last brain fact. Now you’re probably sitting there with your cell phone or laptop right around you, maybe all of them, maybe a whole bunch of them. Your brain is so much more impressive than those devices. They’re just amazing, amazing things. Our brains calculate, they do these things but what’s really cool- it’s called parallelism. They can do more than one thing at a time. So we can walk the dog, avoid cars and talk ourselves out of things all at once. It’s pretty amazing what they can do.
Now that we’ve celebrated some facts about our brain and I feel a little bit better that I’ve loved on our brains, now we’re going to talk some straight talk about brains.
When everything physical seems okay and your brain is still acting like a jerk saying stuff, you’ve got these thoughts in your head, what can you do?
First, realize that these thoughts really FEEL TRUE. Thoughts are sentences in your head. They run through your head like the message board that goes across the bottom of the TV screen. Constantly updating, telling you stuff. Some of it’s true, like, yes, you do need to pick up bread at the store. But some of it’s not true. You are not a worthless piece of trash.
We get to choose what to believe so it does make sense to choose to believe things that support us. But, man, thoughts. They are IN OUR HEAD. So it’s not just that they’re close to us, they’re inside us. It’s so intimate.
We hear them in a familiar voice so it really feels true. You don’t hear some foreign accent and think “Is that Albert Einstein dropping some knowledge bombs on me?” No. It sounds like the judgment from your fourth grade teacher. Yeah, Mama, I’m talking about my fourth grade teacher again. These thoughts came from way back in our family or they come from society or old relationships or decisions that we’ve made.
But we aren’t completely at their mercy. We can be aware of them and evaluate.
So it’s like driving on the interstate. I was driving, actually yesterday, I was driving down the road and I go to pass this truck. And what do you think he does? He speeds up. So now I’ve either got to let him kick it in and go past or I’ve got to speed up and, you know, sometimes it’s like this competitive oh-you-can’t-pass-me kind of thing. You know those guys. I’m not gonna call any names, I’m just gonna move on. But sometimes what happens when you’re going to pass that car, it doesn’t have anything at all to do with you. You’ve just attracted their attention so now they’ve realized, “Ah, hey, I’m not going the speed limit. I should go the speed limit.”
That’s kind of what we want to do with our thoughts. We want to have our thoughts brought to our attention so we’re not just coasting on autopilot. [laugh] I’m laughing because I started to say coasting mindlessly but it’s not mindless at all because our mind is always at work. But we don’t want to be just coasting through without being aware of what we’re thinking.
So now we’re seeing our thoughts but let’s not argue with them; what you resist, persists. You just want to go look for different, more supportive thoughts that feel believable to you.
You want to look for evidence of what you want to think.
In my example of launching my podcast, one of my thoughts is that it doesn’t matter to anyone. So what do I want to do? I want evidence that it DOES matter. So here it is.
It matters to my family. They don’t have to care about it but they do and I’m fortunate. I’ve got evidence in the backend of my podcast platform, I’ve got analytics that tell me people in multiple countries have listened to my podcast. I have reviews on Apple podcasts. I’ve gotten messages from people who have listened, actual messages from real people who have listened.
And, most importantly, it matters to me.
So instead of accepting the thought that pops in my head that it doesn’t matter to anyone, I’ve gathered a lot of evidence that it DOES matter.
So now that I’ve got evidence of what I want to think,
the next thing we want to do is to practice believing the thoughts that help us.
Now obviously it’s apparent that I’ve practiced- whether I meant to or not, and I promise you I really didn’t mean to practice this- but I’ve practiced believing that “I’ll be safer in the world if I’m quiet and don’t produce a podcast”.
That’s the underlying message my brain wants to give me.
“Quiet is safer.”
There might be a little bit of “polite ladies don’t speak up”.
Hmm, maybe that’s a little bit of that underlying message of “good girls are nice and quiet”.
I don’t know but, at any rate, quiet is safer.
Maybe it’s just my brain trying to save my physical and mental energy or trying to keep me from getting a headache from figuring these things out that I’ve had to figure out with technology.
Or it may be that it really wants to save me from rejection or embarrassment.
Doing anything in a public forum, oh goodness, whew, it’s really vulnerable and that’s uncomfortable and it doesn’t feel safe at all. It’s likely a combination of all of these things that my brain is doing trying to keep me safe.
But I really want to practice believing thoughts that are going to move me towards my goal.
So what can I do?
I look for evidence, right? I write it down. I want to write it down, journal it, write it down on a piece of paper and when you write it down, you want to read it over and over. You don’t want to just write it down once and shove it in a desk drawer and never think about it again. That’s not extremely helpful but it’s a little bit helpful. No, you want to look at it, over and over.
I’ll tell you something I’ve done. Yes, I am an adult woman with no little kids in the house but I went and bought Crayola window crayons and I made a list of words that I want to think about myself and I wrote them on my bathroom mirror. So every time I walk into my bathroom, and I’m not going to tell you how many times a day I walk into my bathroom but it’s a lot, I look at these words that I have written in five different colors. The words that I want to think about myself. I don’t always read every single one but I look at them and I go,
“Yeah, that’s who I want to be. This is the kind of person that produces a podcast. This is the kind of person that goes after her dreams.”
Now you might think that’s ridiculous to write on your mirror.
But listen, you don’t want to be shy about doing whatever you think will help you.
What’s more ridiculous- writing words you love on the mirror or talking yourself out of going for your dreams?
Yeah, I gave you a look right there. You know what’s more ridiculous.
If you’re going to own your life, it is your job to discover what you want to do with your life and to go get what you need.
What are you willing to do to have the life you want?
Who do you want to be?
What are you willing to feel?
What are you willing to think to have the life you want?
I have a goal of reaching as many people as I can to help them understand how to use their minds to have the life they want.
I am literally being the change I want to see in the world.
I decided I’m willing to do things that feel uncomfortable and stretch me and enlarge my boundaries. At this point, it’s more painful for me to NOT DO my podcast than it is to do the podcast because it really is a tool to help me reach people I want to reach.
But it wasn’t always like this. Here’s a big turning point.
A few years ago, I don’t know if you’ve heard of 75Hard.
Andy Frisella came up with the 75Hard program.
In a nutshell, it’s like this challenging exercise thing that you do for 75 days. You choose an eating plan, drink a gallon of water a day, you don’t drink alcohol, take a daily progress picture, you exercise two times a day for 45 minutes and one of those 45 minute stretches has to be outside, and you read from a business or personal development book. If you miss any step, you have to start over.
So what do you think I did? Alright, I start 75Hard and on freakin’ day 2, I forget to read and I read all the time. I read more than one book a week so that was just, ugh, I was so put out.
So day 2, I start back over. Here I am, and at this point I’m going to tell you about, I’m about halfway through 75Hard. And it is a cold, dreary, rainy, nasty day. And I’ve done everything except my outdoor exercise and I keep putting it off and putting it off because I don’t want to go walk in the rain. No! It’s yuck. [Sigh] so I realize in the late afternoon that I’m just gonna have to suck it up and go do this or not and start over.
So I go get my dog who loves to be in the rain because he’s a Lab and put his leash on and get my raincoat with a hood and my hat and everything and we start walking.
And I am not happy.
But about 5 minutes in, I have this particular thought and I burst into tears.
I realize that for the first time in I don’t even know how long, oh, I can’t even do this without crying. [deep breath]
I showed up for myself. [through tears] I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m a daughter, I’m a professor, I’m a coach, I’m a business owner, I’m all these things. I take care of people. That was my identity. Somewhere along the way I’d learned the lesson that my value was in taking care of everybody else and it just hadn’t clicked that I wasn’t doing it for me. But in that moment, in the cold nasty rain as I’m walking through my neighborhood sobbing but nobody could tell because it was raining, I showed up for me.
I’d heard the example of the flight attendants, when they tell you on the plane to put your oxygen mask on first before you try to help anybody else. You know, I’d heard it but this was, it just hit me in the chest that this is it, I’m experiencing it. I showed up for me, I’m taking care of me.
Have you ever experienced really showing up for yourself like that?
If you haven’t, I’d spend some time pondering that one.
Realizing you can trust yourself to show up for you- it’s unbeatable.
It will have you do things like share stories on a podcast and cry and just keep going.
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life managing my mind. Getting coached, coaching others. Coaching and learning how to manage my mind has changed my life.
I want to share that gift with the world.
Deepak Chopra says, “Every cell of our being is constantly listening in on the dialogue in our minds.”
What are you telling yourself?
Now go live, love, make some money and let’s change the world!