Ep #142: Questions and Answers
Welcome to another Questions and Answers episode where I answer questions on a variety of topics that you asked in the comments of previous episode posts.
This week, we cover a lot of ground and explore topics like dealing with feelings about the election results, the power of studying yourself, buffering, relationship management, and details about our new Self Coaching Scholars program.
If you would like to get your questions featured on the show, please leave them in the comments at the end of a show notes post.
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Listen to the show
What You will discover
- How to deal with feelings about the election.
- The importance of understanding where people are genuinely coming from.
- What practicing The Self-Coaching Model on a daily basis can do for your life.
- Questions and answers about the Self Coaching Scholars program.
- The power of studying yourself and applying what you’ve learned.
- How to make sure we’re not using technology as a buffer.
- How to decide whether you should leave your current partner.
- And much more.
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. Now, your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello, hello, my friends. Today, we are going to talk about so many things. You guys have so many great questions. I'm going to go through a lot of them today. I also want to say thank you because we are eight away from 1,000 reviews. You guys rocked it out. Thank you so much. I know for sure I will meet my goal by the new year. I just need eight more of you to write me a review. If you've been thinking about it and you're one of those eight people that hasn't done it yet, I'm looking forward to seeing who those eight people will be. Please push me over 1,000 if you haven't given me a review.
Let's talk about some Q&A. I received no less than I would say 100 emails about the election, the results of the election, questions about how to deal with feelings about Trump winning, dealing with feelings about Hillary losing, which by the way are two different things, how to deal with all the drama that other people had about it. There were just a lot of questions and a lot of really intense reactions to the election.
Here's what I want to offer to you is that whatever the problem seems to be, that is never the problem. The problem is always a thought in your head. People would come to me and say, "I love the model. I use the model but it's not working on this situation," whatever the situation is, whether it's the election or something else. I say the model is always working. You can't have it so it's your thoughts on some things and it's not your thoughts on other things, right?
Here's the thing. When you are thinking about the election, you are the one causing your own feelings. I kept asking my students, I kept asking them, "What are you using as an excuse to feel bad today? What are you focusing on in order to feel bad and does feeling bad serve you in this situation?" One of my coaching clients said to me that she didn't feel like happiness or feeling good was appropriate or moral in the situation. Regardless of what the situation is, it was a really interesting coaching session because you have to think about that there are always two things. This is something that I learned I think the most from Abraham is that there are always two things. There's the thing you don't want and then there's the thing you do want. How you approach that is really important. I talk a lot about on this podcast, I talk a lot about contrast and how important it is to know that contrast is part of the human experience. Negativity is the other half of positivity. Without negativity, you don't have positivity. Without contrast, you don't know what it is that you want.
A lot of times people will do a model and it will be a negative emotion and they will feel like that negative emotion will fuel positive action. I always tell them, I said, "It's never the negative emotion that fuels the positive action." A good way to think about this is you can have a negative emotion that's kind of like a spark, like a match or like a lighter, but what fuels the fire has to be something more sustaining because anger and being furious and being scared will completely burn you out. If you want to use anger as a spark, that's great but then you want to create emotion that can help you make a contribution, help you make a positive effect on yourself and on the world.
People will say, "How do you do that? How do you get to that place?" What I offer is, and again I learned most of this from Abraham and it's worked beautifully in my life, when you really understand what it is you don't want, when you really have a negative experience and you take the time to really understand that negative experience and what it is you really feel strongly about not having, you can then decide to resist it ongoing. When you resist something with anger and fear, you burn yourself completely out, you exhaust yourself from it, and you give it so much power. You are delegating your emotional life to that thing that you are angry about or afraid of or hating or whatever is going on. What I suggest is that you use that negative experience to understand what it is you don't want as a spark and then focus all of your attention on what it is you do want.
Now, you may feel as if you don't have control over that thing that you want. You may feel as if, you know, your husband won't behave the way you want him to or your kids won't behave the way you want them to or your boss won't behave the way you want him to or the election results aren't the way you want them to be so you feel like you're out of control. That's always going to put you in victim mode if you think that way. Now, can you go about proving that to be true? Yeah, but what's the point? What can you control? What do you have the ability to change and control within your own mind and how do you use that in a way that serves you? The negative thing, whatever that is ... For some of you, there are things about the election that you find very negative so you take that negative thing and you use it to really solidify what it is you want and then focus on that in a positive way.
I'm going to give you an unrelated example so you can see this. If I really, really want to lose weight, I can focus on all the times I've overeaten. I can focus on how heavy my body is and how uncomfortable I feel and what a struggle it's been and how unfair it is and all of that. I can push against that and be angry about it. That will help me understand what it is I do want. If I'm able to shift into, "Okay, this is what I'm angry, upset, dissatisfied with, and here's what I can do and here's the alternative to that and I will now focus my energy on the alternative of that," that's where you can generate some energy.
For some of you with the election, it may be some activism. For some of you, it may be making a contribution somewhere. It may be just showing up in your life differently. Whatever it is for you, I can't possibly know what that is. What I understand and what I know is true is that when you spend a lot of time giving energy to the negative, that's what you perpetuate in your own life. All I'm concerned about is how you feel and what you're creating by feeling that way. Are you making a contribution? Are you helping yourself and the world or are you doing the opposite?
When people come to me and want coaching, I don't even need to know their political views. In fact, it's better if I don't because, especially if I'm in a group coaching call, we have such a cognitive bias when we think about our beliefs in terms of politics that we don't allow ourselves to change our minds. When you are trying to hold the space for yourself when it comes to some deeply ingrained belief, it will be much harder for you to change that belief if it means changing a belief that you've had for a very, very, very long time. From my perspective, it absolutely worth changing a belief that isn't serving you.
If what you're thinking about when it comes to ... For some of you, it's the election. For some of you, it's something else. If it's not serving you, focus your energy on the opposite of it. You don't need to change your belief about who you think should have won or what you think people should be saying. You don't have to change your beliefs about any of that, but don't focus your energy there. Release those beliefs from being the focus of your energy and what you're angry about and focus instead on what you want to do and create and offer the world. It's just focusing on the alternative, on the contrasting element of that negativity. That is my best advice for all of you who are still struggling with what's going on for you and your thoughts about this election.
The other thing I want to offer you is I feel like this election has been a true peek into a lot of my clients and how they deal with the things that they "can't control". I think that that's really important for you to look at in your own life. If you really have been struggling with this, look at, "Okay, I do this in this area of my life. Where else have I done this in my life? Is this serving me? Is this helping me? Are these thoughts really the best I can expect of myself? Am I using this as an excuse to be upset and angry? Is that what I want to be right now?"
The answer for some of you, it may be “yes” in “is it serving you?” That's the really important question. A lot of people think, "We need to be angry in order to create change." I would say the opposite is true. You will get burnt out by trying to fuel yourself with anger. It's pushing against resistant emotion. It's not going to serve you. Do you need to feel it? Do you need to process it? Of course. It's very important but you also need to take responsibility for being the one that's causing that emotion and then taking responsibility for changing it.
I'm going to say one other thing about this that's really important for you all to consider as it pertains to this election. One of the important pieces of the model, one of the categories of the model is the C line. The C line has to be factual. It has to be based on facts that can be proven in a court of law. As I was coaching many of my clients through their models during this election time, it was really apparent that a lot of my clients didn't have C lines. They didn't have the facts of what they were upset about. I would say that they thought they did. You know how you know if you have the facts about something? There are no adjectives. There is no judgment. If you are trying to complete a C line, you have to test yourself and make sure that there is no judgment in that C line.
One of the assignments that I had for quite a few of my clients was to go and research the facts, read the policy papers, understand the actual facts and then notice your thought against those facts. A lot of us think that if we heard something on the media or if we read something about someone that was someone else's judgment about them, that that was a fact. I just want to be really clear that the only time it can be a fact is if everybody agrees on it. Now, when you write it in that C line, if you feel a lot of emotion about it, it's because of your thought. It's not because of that C line. I tell you I know that's really challenging for a lot of you but not everyone agrees. I mean, I think that's pretty obvious here. Not everyone agrees. That's what I think it's such a great opportunity to learn the model because you can really see that those C lines have to be neutral.
The other thing that I want to offer that I think is kind of interesting thing that I was teaching my son about this, who's very into politics which is totally fascinating to me because I've never been into politics. I've never been very political and my son is like very excited about it. He thinks it's all very interesting and is enjoying researching it and all that. What I told him is I said, "You have to understand in order to have, I think, a very good conversation about something is you have to understand where people are coming from. A lot of times we have an opinion and we don't want to hear anyone else's opinion because we believe in our opinion so deeply. We certainly don't want to hear..." This was what my son was going through. He didn't want to hear anyone else's opinion and he certainly didn't want to understand it because his way was the best way. You know, we spend a lot of time talking about most people are coming from a very genuine place of believing that they are right and believing that their opinion is the best opinion. I told him that it's obvious to see that when he's looking on his Instagram at people disagreeing but it's even more important to apply that to relationships with people that we love.
I was talking about our relationship with each other and I was saying, "I'm coming from a place of being concerned about you and what time you come home and what you're doing when you're out and that's coming from a really concerned place. What you're seeing is that I'm just mean and I just have too many rules. There's a huge conflict between where I'm coming from and what you're seeing. When you really take the time to understand where I'm coming from, you can have a much better conversation with me."
"Let me just give you an example of this. If you're thinking that, 'You're just mean. You don't care. You don't understand what it's like to be a teenager and you don't understand the rules.' If that's where you think I'm coming from, you're just going to be angry with me all of the time. You're just going to be mad. If you understand that it's because I'm concerned and I want to be a good parent and I want to make sure I'm being appropriate, then you're not going to come at me with anger. You're going to understand where I'm coming from. Now, it doesn't mean you're going to agree with me. It doesn't mean you have to accept my belief system, but when you understand where I'm coming from, then we can have a more appropriate conversation where we're both disagreeing and still being able to have a conversation about something where I can understand where you're coming from and you can understand where I'm coming from."
I think that this is a skill that is very challenging. I coach other people through it. When it's other people's stuff, it's very easy for me. Can't we understand this person? Can't we understand that person? Can't we educate ourselves on both sides? Let's understand where both people are coming from.
One of the things that I found fascinating about the election was there's so much crossover where we all agree on things, where there's a lot of common things that everybody agrees on that totally get lost because of the disagreement. I think that happens in relationships all of the time. I think a lot of times we agree on most things like my son and I thinking about him being a teenager with a car. We agree on most things. We agree that neither one of us want him to die. We agree that neither one of us want him to get in trouble. We agree that he wants to be a good kid and I want to be a good parent, but we get lost in the specific details of the things we disagree on and then we end up in an adversarial position with each other and the results end up being terrible for both of us.
I think of all the things we can learn, it's really this idea of being willing to listen and understand where someone else is coming from, genuinely. Why are they saying those things? Why are they making me come home at 10 o'clock at night? Why are they telling me I can't do this, that, or the other? If you really give yourself a chance to see where they're coming from, it will make it much easier to have a conversation about it.
Those are the thoughts that I have about the election and about all the questions I got about that. I don't think it's important to go through all the details of all the policies and any of that stuff when you are coaching yourself. I think understanding the facts is important but also understanding that no matter what has happened in the world, no matter what has happened in the government, you are still responsible for how you feel, you are still responsible for how you think, you are still responsible for what you do. If you are trying to make yourself act from a place of judgment, anger, frustration, or hate, you will not like the result you create for yourself. Take that and flip it to the alternative, the positive opposite of that, and create that in your life. What is the change you want to create in your life, in your experience, in your world? What can you do to do that? Then do that from a positive place of the contrasting energy that gave you that spark in the beginning.
I got a bunch of questions about the election so I'm hoping that helps. I got a bunch of questions about this new program that I'm doing, Self Coaching Scholars. There were a lot of questions related to the study of the self and to applying what we have learned. What I want to offer there is there is no practice that is more important than understanding yourself, understanding how your mind works, understanding what you're thinking, understanding why you do what you do, why you have the results you have in your life and being able to back yourself up from your own life and understand what do you want the purpose of your life to be, meaning how do you want to manage your mind? Who do you want to be? When you think about who you are, who you are is made up of what you think, what you feel, and what you do. If you don't do that deliberately, it will happen to you. You will feel like you're doing it, but you won't be. You'll be riding on programming from everything outside of you, if you don't make the decision about what you want to think, about what you want to feel, and what you want to do. I want to offer that that's the most important thing.
People have asked me if they're too advanced for self coaching, Self Coaching Scholars, the program I'm offering this year…They've listened to all my podcasts, they've taken trainings from me before, they understand the model. What I'd like to say to everyone that's asking that question is, first of all, if you're asking that question, you probably need it because there is nothing more advanced that I teach than the model. Practicing the model, the basics of that model, and applying it to your life consistently, steadily, daily will change your life so it will be unrecognizable. You will move from an unconscious life to a life of deliberate intention. If you don't have the life that you want right now, if you are really far from the life you want right now, it is because you are not coaching yourself. You are not taking deliberate action. You're not taking deliberate thought and creating the feeling that will drive that action for yourself, period. The only thing that's holding you back is your mind. Always, always.
The first month of that program, we are going to be focused on self coaching, doing the model which is basically emptying out your brain, looking at your thoughts and seeing the effect of those thoughts in the world. There is no more important work that you can do.
The next month we're going to move into how to feel the emotions that are presented without fear and how to create the emotions that you need to create the life you want.
I was typing some coaching to one of my students the other day. What I typed to her was, "Discomfort is the currency to your dream life. The more uncomfortable you are willing to be, the closer your life will align to what you want it to be. The more you are willing to be uncomfortable, to face the truth of what you feel and not buffer, the more you'll be able to create and contribute to yourself and to the world." That is the work that we will be doing. Will we be doing a lot of models top to bottom? Yes, absolutely. That is what we will be doing.
If you think that's too basic for you, you may need a different class. I'll tell you it's not too basic for me. I do it all the time. I look at all the thoughts in my mind and I make sure they're thoughts that I'm creating deliberately. I look at the effect of those thoughts by doing models. That is how I roll.
Let's see what the next question is.
"Dear Brooke, thank you for providing such a powerful resource to the world. I really do admire your work and I'm so grateful for the changes you've inspired me to make in my own life. I'm only just starting out on my pursuit of well-being and looking at myself more closely, but I'm finding myself wondering how I can apply these practices to my use of technology. On considering this, I realize it's probably much easier, but on the other, it can also so easily take us away from being present. How can we strike a balance between utilizing the convenience and ensuring that we don't allow these devices to become another buffer since simply giving up our phones isn't exactly a practical option for most?"
Okay. Great question. This is from Jen, based on the well-being versus pleasure podcast. Here's the thing. When you listen to that podcast, I talk about the difference between well-being and pleasure. When you look at pleasure, especially false pleasure, as having a net effect, a net consequence, a negative net consequence in our life, then we know that we are using something to basically hinder our life. It's very similar to how we use food in our life. Are we using food to escape our emotional life or are we using it to fuel ourselves? Are we using technology to escape our emotional life or are we using it to support and help our lives?
Most of you know this about me. I don't have my own personal Facebook friend page. I do not spend a lot of time on Facebook. I told this story on one of the podcasts where my girlfriend Tanya Lee was showing me how Periscope worked and, like an hour and a half later, when I had read everything in Twitter, I had felt so depleted and empty and awful afterwards that I can't imagine how most of you spend an hour and a half a day reading and consuming other people's posts. For me, it was such a shocking negative experience. I think that's how most people that are naturally thin would feel if they like overate or binged on food. Why would anyone ever do that? I wasn't using it as an escape but it was addictive for that hour and a half and it created a negative net consequence for me.
That's how you decide, Jen. You look at your use of technology and you ask yourself, right now, stop yourself right in the middle of it: Am I contributing or consuming? If the answer is consuming, why am I consuming? Will the net of this experience benefit me or detract from me? Will I feel better and more fulfilled and more myself after I spend this hour with technology or will I feel less than?
I will say for me personally, I use technology as a means to an end. I'm using technology right now. I create a podcast using technology. I create materials using technology. I use technology to serve me. I will say I have watched so many people in my life use technology to rob them of themselves. Instead of spending time with themselves, with their families, even with me when I'm present with them, they are distracted by their phones, distracted by their Instagram or their internet or their Facebook or whatever it is. I always think it's so interesting when I'm spending time with someone and they're texting someone else. I'm like, "That's so interesting." I understand a text here and there, but I'm talking about a consistent thing. You're here with me but you're not here with me. You're really there with that person you're texting. I think we end up not being in the present moment enough. We end up being disconnected more than we're connected. That's the question that you want to ask yourself.
"Your coaching of Layla blew my mind in this episode. I've been feeling stuck, not being able to make a decision about whether to stay in my marriage for many years now. I find I have a hard time with decisions in general. I tend to research things to death, even little things, and really agonize over the choices before me. I realize that I've made many big life decisions by defaulting to the option that took the least action on my part. For instance, went to grad school at the same place I did my undergrad even though I could have gotten into a much better school and I've never moved away from my hometown even though I don't really like the culture of it. This extends to my marriage too. I married the man who was pursuing me around the time in my life that I thought I should I get married even though I had major misgivings about him even then."
"I'm guessing that I have been acting or not acting out of fear, a fear of being wrong, a fear of what I might regret later, a fear of taking a risk, stepping into uncertainty and not being able to cope with the unpredictable negative emotions that might result. I'm now working hard to act from a place of courage and responsibility for how I want my life to evolve. I'm still trying to wrap my head around your statement that there are no wrong decisions and that we shouldn't make a decision to feel better because we might not but just because we want to. You've spoken about our wants as being a map to help us become the person we are meant to be. I'm having a hard time applying all of this to a decision around a relationship. Could you give some examples of reasons people might leave a relationship other than because they're trying to change the C line because they think it will make them happy? Right now, I can't get beyond the thought that if I leave, there will be an opportunity to enter a different relationship with someone who is more compatible with me and who is emotionally more healthy and available. That's something that I want, but it's also something I think will make me happier and I know that's flawed."
Oh, Rebecca, this is such a great question and it's so beautifully asked. Here's what I want to offer you. I actually was just coaching someone else about this and what I told her and what is true is that your relationship with another person is based on your thoughts about them. Long pause was on purpose. Your relationship with another person is based on your thoughts about them and your thoughts about you, by the way.
Here's what happens. When you go into a different relationship, you take most of your thoughts with you. You'll change some of them but those old ones will still be there. I've watched so many of my students and my clients do this. Leave one situation for another situation and notice that it's the same because their thoughts are the same. I always recommend, hey, if you want to leave a situation, make sure you're happy first. Make sure you're happy in that situation before you leave. Then, the only reason you need to leave is because you want to leave, not because you think a new situation will make you happy.
Here's something that I think is beautiful to know. I can be happy in any situation. Put me in any situation and I know I can be happy. Now, it doesn't mean that I want to choose one situation over the other just because I can, but I know that if you put me in any situation I can be happy. There's so much confidence that comes from that. There's so much release of fear. The reason why I say there's no wrong decision is because any decision I make, I will make work. Any decision I make, I will learn from, I will use to evolve, I will use to find a way to be the best version of myself. It doesn't matter what it is because nothing that happens in the world will depend on the world. Depends on me and how I respond to the world and how I think about the world.
In your mind, if you're thinking that you need to leave this relationship in order for a new relationship to make you happier, what I'm going to suggest is the only relationship you need to work on right now is your relationship with yourself. When your relationship with yourself is completely solid, you won't have to ask me whether you should leave your marriage or not because you will know. Right now you don't know if you should leave or not because you don't know if a new relationship will make you happier than this one and that's the reason you're trying to leave is to find a better, easier way to be happy. I promise you that is not a good reason to leave a marriage. It's not a good reason to change anything. You don't need to leave your marriage in order to find a better way to be happy. In fact, the better way to happy, I promise you, isn't in some other man. It doesn't mean you won't leave. It doesn't mean you won't marry another guy. The reason why you're happy will not be because of that guy. It will be because of the thoughts you're having about him. That is how the world works.
We spend so much time trying to change everything out there so we can feel better in here and it never works or when it does work, it's temporary. Then we want to feel better and we need something different and we need something better. Other people don't do it well enough. That new guy that you're thinking about, he won't make you happy enough. You'll still have to do that work on your own. Your current husband won't make you happy enough. You have to do that work on your own. Do that work. If you really think about what you want your life to be, how you want to feel, and who you want to be in the world, you will realize that none of that has to do with who you're married to. You get to be who you are now and you get to feel how you want to feel now. You get to show up in the world that way and then you'll know exactly what your purpose is and how to follow your desire and how to create because desire to feel better doesn't require that anything external changes.
Now, this is usually not the answer that most people want to hear because that is the deep work of our lives. It's much easier just to find a new guy, but it doesn't require you to find a new you and to find that relationship with yourself. My recommendation to you is don't leave that relationship and see what comes up for you. That is your work. It doesn't mean you won't leave sometime in the future but you still have work to do here because you're still giving your husband credit for some of your unhappiness and that's never the case.
Let's do one more here.
"Brooke," this is from Cindy, "I've started listening to your podcast in just the last few months. Thank you for clearly spelling out such wonderful life coaching that truly speaks to me. I'm changing the way I am in work, with my family and friends. I'm one of those listeners that often listens more than once to really learn the material. When you talk about applying and not just consuming, how do you suggest I schedule this? I'm always so excited to hear the next podcast that I know I don't have to do enough applying. Thank you for all you do."
Oh, I see what you're saying. You're basically like you're always waiting for the next podcast for me to release so you can consume it versus you doing the work on it. I get that because it's so much easier to consume information. It's so much easier to rely on someone else to create those feelings and those insights for you. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. Learning is a beautiful thing and getting insights about yourself by listening to my podcast is always a great idea, but if you really want to blow your own mind and expand your own world, I highly, highly recommend that you create a practice around studying yourself, around really looking at what you think, really looking at what you feel, really looking at the actions that you're taking in the world, and really looking at the results that you're creating and deciding on purpose if what you're doing now is what you want to keep doing. If it is, rock it out. Keep doing it. If it isn't, change it on purpose and deliberately.
At least 30 minutes a day should be spent on this. If your thoughts create everything in your life, why not? So many of us drop into reacting to the world, of just burning up time. Instead, we could be deliberately deciding exactly what we want our life to be. We could start believing in ourselves in such a bigger and deeper way. That's what I'm suggesting that you do. I'm suggesting that you take that time to really get to know yourself, to really study yourself, to really create yourself.
One of the reasons why so many of you are so attracted to me and to this podcast is because that's what I'm doing in my life and you recognize it. There's a huge difference between admiring someone else and admiring what they're doing and recognizing it’s a possibility for you. The only way that you can create it is by doing it. Take the practice that I teach, and if you want to do this deeper, join me in Self Coaching Scholars and we'll do it together, but take this practice and do the work and look at your brain and understand what you're creating and then decide if that's what you want to keep creating. Really, really important.
I had about 50 questions. I answered about four. I'll do another Q&A very soon, I promise. If you have questions, you're more than welcome to post them in the comment section on the podcast at TheLifeCoachSchool.com, but if for some reason I don't get to your comment and you want me to answer questions, I highly recommend you join me in Self Coaching Scholars where I will answer every single question that you have either live on the call or in the Ask Brooke section where I will answer any question that you have within 24 hours.
Okay, you guys. Have a beautiful, amazing week. I'm hoping that the next podcast I record, we have 1000 reviews. I will be so excited. Thank you guys so much for listening. I'll see you next week. Bye bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the "the" TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self Coaching Scholars. See you there.