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The Self Coaching Model podcast episode cover The Life Coach School

Ep #26: The Self Coaching Model

Today, we are going to take a look into a model that I have created based on my studies with all of my teachers in my life. It is a model that I use on myself daily as well as the model I teach to my students and use with my clients. Enter The Self Coaching Model (CTFAR Model)!

Join me as I lay out each component of this life-changing model for you and explain the relationship between them. On this episode, you will learn how using this model daily can help you obtain full control over your life and make you feel powerful in any situation.

Make sure to download the CTFAR Model worksheet, grab a pen, pencil or a quill and inkwell and follow along!

Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It's the truest shortcut to self-development we have ever created!

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What You will discover

  • How our thinking about our past serves (or doesn’t serve) us.
  • How you can release about a half of your anxiety, tension and worry in your life.
  • The importance of understanding that the past has no control over us until we have a thought about it.
  • Why recognizing the difference between a thought and a circumstance is crucial to understanding how your brain works.
  • How using the Self Coaching Model will allow you to obtain full control over your life.
  • How you can move away from a completely negative thought to a place where you think positive, nurturing thoughts.

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Get the Full Episode Transcript:

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Episode 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.

Hey, everybody. What’s up? Welcome to the podcast. I’m stoked to be here today. I’m going to be talking to you guys about the model, self-coaching, the self-coaching model. I’m just really excited. I obviously have talked about the model all throughout all of the podcasts up to this point, but I wanted to do just one all- encompassing call about the model.

Before I get started with that, before I do the overview and give you a taste of it, I want to make sure that you know that you can go to TheLifeCoachSchool.com/26 and download a visual of the model, so you can look at it as you’re going through this session. If you’re on your iPhone, like I usually am, you can just look at the artwork for this session. It has the model right there on there, on the artwork, so you can have a look. I think it really helps to see it visually.

Before I get started, though, I want to address an email I got from Kara. I’m going to read you her email, and then I’m going to address it, because I think it goes along with what we’re going to be talking about in the model. Here is her email.

“Hi, Brooke. I’m one of your students from weight school, and I listen to your podcast regularly. I have a question I’m hoping you’ll consider addressing in one of your podcasts. You talk a lot on the podcast about having faith or a conviction that things were meant to happen the way they did. That’s a concept I struggle with. I know that you’re a person of religious faith, or at least faith in a divine creator, as you mention on the podcast sometimes, and so I can see how in that world view, things can be meant to happen.

“I believe that the core teachings of noticing your thoughts, managing your mind, learning from your experiences, etc. are all things that are useful and true and work no matter what you believe about religion or spirituality. But for someone like myself, who doesn’t believe in God or fate, the idea that things were meant to happen a certain way or that they happen for me doesn’t resonate. For the record, I have had spiritual experiences, and I believe they exist. I just don’t personally believe in a divine creator or that there is a fate or divine plan.

“This comes up most strongly when I’m trying to make peace with what is, or what has happened in the past or my circumstances, or situations in which I worry that I did or said the wrong thing, or regret or second-guess my actions. I don’t feel any peace or relief thinking things were meant to happen the way they did, and it feels like that makes it harder to accept what is.

“The only thought I can use is simply to remind myself that no matter what I think now, I did the best I could at the time, but that’s not quite as liberating and as peaceful as ‘it was meant to happen that way’ sounds like it must be if you did believe it. Do you have any thoughts about how an atheist can interpret your teachings on that ‘it was always meant to happen that way’ front? Many thanks for your wisdom and guidance, Kara.”

Okay. Great question, and really well asked, I might add. I want to clarify that “It Was Always Meant to Happen That Way,” it’s actually a title of my book. It’s something I really believe in, but notice that it’s in the past tense. I do not believe that our lives are predestined and that we have fate that’s unchangeable. I do not believe that. I don’t believe that everything in my future is already predesigned and that I don’t have any control over it. That’s not what I believe when I say “it’s always meant to happen that way.” I don’t think we have some scripted life, that it’s going to happen that way no matter what.

I do believe that so many of us spend so much time arguing with our past, and resisting our past, and actually, literally, trying to change it, that it doesn’t serve us in any way. When we think about our past, how we choose to think about it is either going to serve us or not. I’ve actually had quite a few of my students say that “it was meant to happen that way” doesn’t give them freedom, it doesn’t give them relief.

First and foremost, I want to say if a thought doesn’t work for you, if the way of thinking about something doesn’t work for you, then don’t try to make it work for you if it doesn’t. It works for me, and it’s a thought and a way of thinking about my life that has completely transformed it and released me from any kind of argument I have with the near past or from the long past. I really have to credit Byron Katie for all of this teaching, because she’s the one that really taught this to me in a way that I feel it in my bones.

First of all, I don’t think it has anything to do with being religious, this idea that the past is over and it’s unchangeable. I believe that things happen the way they’re meant to happen because that’s what is. When something happens a certain way, there’s no point in debating whether it should have happened differently, because it’s over. You can’t change it. Just from a logical perspective, the idea “it was meant to happen that way,” how do I know? Because it did happen that way. That’s the concept I really got from Byron Katie, really just understanding, “I know that that’s how it was supposed to go down, because, well, that is how it went down.” When I try and argue with things that happened, and I try to reconcile them or make them be something different than they were, I never ... Like Byron Katie says, you can argue with the past, but you’re going to lose 100 percent of the time. I totally agree with that.

By believing that things happen exactly the way they should have happened, and believing that they happened for me, and making peace with what is in the immediate past, I have released, I would say, about half of the tension, and anxiety, and worry, and frustration that I had in my life. It really did set me free to believe that, but I really do believe it.
Every belief we have is a choice. You can choose to believe in God, if that brings you peace and that makes your life better, or you can choose to believe there isn’t a God, if that’s what brings you peace and feels more true to you. I’m never going to say that one belief is better than another. It’s better for you if it works for you.

You do say here that “‘I did the best that I could at the time’ is not quite as liberating and as peaceful as ‘it was meant to happen the way’ sounds like it must be if you believe it.” It sounds like there’s a part of you that wants to believe that the past is perfect, that everything happened in a way that can be used to serve you and can be used to make your life even better.

I would suggest to you that you just look for a way of looking at your past that does feel true to you but also sets you free. That is what works for me. I believe that there are no mistakes. I believe that if something were supposed to happen a different way, it would have. It would have happened a different way if it were supposed to happen a different way. I also believe that everything that’s happened in our lives can be used to serve us. That’s just my personal choice.

I would recommend that you play around with different ways of looking at your past in a way that might serve you. Again, it’s just a thought. It’s just a way of looking at things in a way that makes you feel the best way you possibly can. If my suggestions don’t work for you, find a way that you can reconcile it in a way that does work for you. I hope that helps. If you have any questions any more you want to talk about that, Kara, please go to the comments section under this episode 26, and let’s chat some more.

Okay. Now let’s move in to the self-coaching model. Hopefully, you have a visual of it in front of you. This is a model that I created based on all of the studies that I had done with all of my teachers in my life. It’s a model that I use on myself daily, and it’s also a model that I teach to my students and I use with my clients. It has been such a blessing for me and so many of the people that I know and that I’ve worked with.

I want to be really clear that the basic concept of the model is not something that I invented. It’s a basic truth. What I invented was just a way of looking at it, a way of organizing your brain around it. It’s just a tool that I created. The concepts behind the tool are universal truths. There are many models that are very similar to this one because it is based on a universal truth.

I’ve had people come to me and say, “Oh, you must have studied the work of so-and-so,” and I laugh. I say, “No, I didn’t, but they created a similar model because this is the truth.” I love that we’ve all come up with very similar ways of looking at the world and coaching ourselves, because it just confirms to me that we’re all on the right track. I have found that this model has been really, really useful as a tool for me, because it’s visual and it’s something that I can use to write down everything that goes on in my brain. If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that I feel really strongly about having a look at your brain and supervising your brain, and how important that is.

Let’s talk about the components of the model and what they mean. We have circumstances, which are the things that happen in the world that we can’t control. One of the things that goes under the circumstance category is our past. Our past has no control over us. Nothing that we’ve done or said, nothing that was done or said to us, has any power over us until we have a thought about it.

Circumstances also include other people’s behavior. Circumstances include what’s going on in the world. Circumstances are the facts of our lives. They are neutral until we have a thought about them. That’s our next category, thoughts. We want to think about thoughts as sentences in our minds. There are so many of them all throughout the day. We have about 60,000 sentences that go through our mind. We want to look at those sentences individually, and we want to evaluate those sentences. If they have any subjective terms, any adjectives, any descriptive words, we know that they’re thoughts and not facts. Facts go in the circumstance line. Thoughts, which are sentences in our minds, go in the thought line.

Understanding the difference between a circumstance and a thought is one of the most important pieces of the self-coaching model. If you learn nothing else but the difference between a thought and a circumstance, you are well on your way to understanding how your brain works and how it affects you.

Remember, circumstances are neutral until we have a thought about them. Circumstances are something we can all agree on. “That is a white door.” “This computer is on.” “That person said this.” “This happened in my past.” When you start adding, “This horrible thing happened in my past,” “This wonderful thing happened yesterday,” any time you start adding clarifiers, any time you start adding descriptives and opinions and judgments, now you’ve moved into the thought line. Only facts belong in that circumstance line.

When you are going throughout your life, remember that. Nothing that happens is painful, nothing that happens is wonderful, until you have a thought about it. When you choose a thought to have about something, that’s when you’re going to determine how you feel. That’s the next line in the self-coaching model, is your feelings. We like to have your feeling be just a one-word descriptor. So often, we’ll ask someone how they’re feeling, and they will give us their thoughts. We want the feeling line to just include happy, sad, mad, anxious, fabulous, wonderful, loving, caring. Whatever it is that you are feeling based on what you’re thinking, try to keep that to one word. The thought should just be a sentence, the circumstance should just be the facts, and the feeling line should just be a one-word feeling that’s describing how you’re feeling in this moment because of the thought you’re having.

The next line is actions. All of your feelings will drive certain actions. We’ve talked a lot about that on this podcast, but I really want you to think about, when you’re feeling caring, what you might do, versus when you’re feeling angry, what you might do. Those actions are going to be very different based on what you are feeling. Your actions will always determine your results. What you do is going to create a certain result.

Let’s go through the model quickly so I can explain it to you. Circumstances, facts. You have a thought about those facts. That thought is always going to create a feeling. The feeling is always going to create an action, an inaction, or a reaction. That action will create a result. That is how the world works, folks. That just sums it up for you right there.
When I first teach this to people, they’re sometimes like, “What the what? What are you even talking about? I don’t get it.” We have to go through a lot of examples and a lot of practice. Understanding the terminology and what each one of those terms means really helps when it comes to starting to apply it.

The first thing you can do is think about anything that’s going on with you right now. Just write it down. It can be something wonderful. It can be something horrible. It can be whatever you want. Depending on how you wrote it down, you’re either going to classify it as a feeling, a thought, a circumstance, an action, or a result.

Let’s go through some examples. I have a client come to me and say, “I can’t stop overeating.” That would be an action. Overeating is a verb. I would put it in the action line. Someone will come and say, “I hate myself.” That happens more often than not, I will offer that. “I hate myself” is a thought. It’s not a circumstance. It’s not factual. It’s a thought. You’re thinking about yourself.

Some people would argue, “But it is really true. It feels true that I hate myself.” Because it’s subjective, because the word “hate” is subjective, what does that really even mean? Because when you say that to me, I may think, “Okay, you’re going to kill yourself,” and someone else may think, “Oh, she’s just kidding.” It’s so subjective that it has to go in the T line. If someone says, “I’m so anxious,” that would be a feeling. We put that in the F line.

The reason why the model is so awesome for coaches is that any time a client comes to us and has any problem, we can categorize it into the model. There is nothing that can’t be categorized into the model, and so there’s nothing that becomes too overwhelming to talk about because we don’t know what to do with it. It’s either a circumstance, something that happened in the past, something that happened earlier in the day; a thought, which is a sentence, a thought the person’s having about that circumstance; a feeling; an action or an inaction or a reaction; or a result they’re getting. The client comes to you and says, “I weigh 350 pounds.” That would be a result. You could also put that in the C line as a fact.

Once you’ve categorized whatever it is you’re dealing with, then you can look at the model and see the cause of it. The cause of all of our feelings, actions, and our results, is always going to be a thought. That’s why I’m so insistent that you guys are always paying attention to what’s going on in your brain, because if your brain and your thoughts are responsible for everything that you feel and everything that you do, and all the results you get, it’s probably a really important thing to keep an eye on. Most of us don’t keep an eye on our brain, because it takes effort. It takes effort to use your brain to watch your brain. Most of us would rather go into default mode and not pay attention to what we’re thinking.

That comes at a huge cost, because just because you’re not paying attention doesn’t mean that you aren’t thinking. You’re probably thinking on autopilot. If you’re thinking really positive, wonderful thoughts that give you great feelings and actions and results, then that’s a great thing. For many of us, we’re running old patterns that are creating results that we don’t want. That’s when we start having to pay attention to our brains.

Okay. Once you’ve categorized whatever it is you’re dealing with, then you fill in the rest of the model. If you presented with, let’s say, a circumstance, “My boss laid me off from my job.” That’s a circumstance. We can all agree that that’s what happened. That can be proven in a court of law. We all know what that means. You’re laid off.

What is your thought about it? You think the reason you’re upset is because your boss laid you off, but really you’re upset because of the thought you’re having about it. There are so many options. You could think, “Wow, that’s awesome. Can’t wait to get a new job,” “Wow, that’s awesome. I hated this job anyway,” “Oh, that’s just the kick in the pants I needed to start my own business,” or you could think, “My life is over. This is devastating. My family’s not going to be able to eat.” Look at all the different thoughts you could choose to think in that moment. Most of us don’t take the time to think about what we want to think about. We just let our brain pick something by default. Whatever we choose to think in that moment, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously, will create how we feel in that moment. How we feel in that moment will determine what we do. If we think a thought like, “This is great. I’m so excited. I can finally start my own business,” you’re going to be feeling excited. You’re probably going to take action to get that business going. If you have a thought, “This is the end of my life. My family’s never going to be able to eat again,” you’re probably going to feel depressed. The action you’re going to take is probably inaction, probably nothing, which will of course prove that you can’t get a job, and that you can’t feed your family, and that your life is over. The result you create is always going to prove that original thought.

Notice, if you present with a fact, then you want to look at what are your thoughts you’re having about that fact, what are the feelings that thought is creating, and then what are you doing because of those feelings. Be really careful here when you’re asking yourself the question. What do I do when I feel disappointed? What do I do when I feel depressed? Make sure that you’re capturing the action that is driven by that exact emotion.

Sometimes people try and switch models. They’ll say, “Oh, I feel depressed, so I want to go out and cheer myself up.” That’s a different model. You need to find out what do you do when you’re feeling depressed, what action do you take or what action don’t you take when you’re feeling depressed. If you want to change the feeling of depression, then you’ll think a new thought, new feeling, new action. That will be a different model. Don’t be mixing up your models there. Then, what result will that get?

When you spend some time understanding your mind, when you start looking at your thinking and you start seeing the feelings that you’re creating for yourself and the actions that you’re taking because of those feelings, it can be overwhelming and mind-blowing, because you can see, “Wow, I can see that because of the thoughts I’m choosing to think, I can see why I feel the way I do, the way I act the way I do.” If you have a lot of negative thinking, you’re probably going to have a lot of little negative results in your life.

You might decide, when you start using this model and understanding yourself, that it’s really overwhelming to look at that and it’s really frustrating to know that you have so many negative thoughts. What I want to offer there is just be curious and just be compassionate, because when you start understanding your mind, you may not like what’s going on in there, but that’s a beautiful thing. It means there’s so much potential for you to change your feelings, and change what you’re doing in your life, and change your results. It can actually be really exciting.

I want to offer that, as you go through this process of unlayering your mind, that you plan on finding things that you don’t really like, that there’s going to be things in your brain that you’re not really amused by. That’s okay, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s actually a really good thing, because it gives you an opportunity to really make some amazing changes.

I want to offer, too, that when I introduce this model to people, and they start looking at their thinking, and they start seeing all of the negative results that they’re creating in their lives, they immediately say, “Okay. That’s fine. How do I change it? I want to change it immediately.” I often ask them to slow down, because until you really see the current patterns, until you really understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and the thoughts you’re choosing in a really deep way, in a really compassionate and observing way, it doesn’t usually help to just try and thought-swap or just try and come up with a new thought and be happy all of a sudden.

It’s much more useful to really understand the patterns, and see the effects of your thinking, and really understand it’s not the things happening in your life. It’s your thinking about the things that are happening in your life that are causing you to have negative feelings, actions, and results. That can be alarming, but it can also be really liberating to understand how much power you have in your life and that, wow, all these things you thought were just happening to you are really not happening to you. You have control by what you decide to think about those things that are happening to you.
Once you really understand those patterns and you’ve taken some time to really be in the space of understanding, then when you move on to try to create new models and try to adopt some new thinking, you’re going to be in a much better place, because you’ll understand the power of your thinking.

Let’s talk about it just a little bit. When you notice that you have a lot of negative thinking and you decide, “Okay, I want to start thinking some more positive thoughts. I want to start cultivating new thought processes in my brain, and I know that that’s going to take some effort,” one of the things that I recommend is that you ease yourself into a new thought. Instead of going from “I’m so fat and ugly” to “I’m beautiful and lovely and thin,” you go from “Oh my God, my body’s so fat and ugly” to “I have a body. My body is capable. My body is healthy. My body is functioning.”
You go to a more neutral thought, and you practice that new thought. It has to be believable. It has to be something that you really genuinely believe, and it feels slightly better than the previous thought. As you practice that new thought, it can become more dominant than the previous thought. That’s how you move away from a really negative thought to a less-negative thought, and then maybe to a neutral thought.

Then and only then, when you’ve practiced it and seen the power, then you move to a positive thought, because affirmations are really powerful, but only if you believe them. So many of us try to do affirmations. We try to think new thoughts, but because we don’t believe them, our brain just says, “Yeah, no.” We’re saying these positive thoughts to ourselves, and we’re not believing them, so they’re not becoming new patterns of thought in our brain. There has to be a level of belief there. I have found, for myself and for my clients, it’s much more powerful to shift the thought just slightly to a more neutral thought first, and then practice that one, and then ultimately move on to a more positive thought.

You can play around with the positive thought. If you try on a thought ... Let’s say, for example, you go from “My body is so fat and ugly” ... That’s a thought. The circumstance may be “I weigh 175 pounds.” It may be “I weigh 120 pounds.” I have clients that have this thought that has no basis on what they actually weigh. I’ve had clients that weigh 300 pounds that have this thought, and I’ve had clients that weigh 100 pounds that have this thought. When you have this thought, “My body’s so fat and ugly,” you may feel discouraged, and you may feel shame. The action may be, ironically, to overeat. Then the result will be that you gain weight, which of course proves the idea that your body is overweight, fat, and ugly.

When you change that to “I have a body” or “I have a healthy body” or “I have a capable body,” that’s going to change the feeling slightly. It may change it to acceptance. It may change it to just neutral. It may change it to ecstatic, who knows. You have to check in. How does that thought make you feel? When the feeling changes slightly, then the action is going to change. It’s going to be a different feeling, which is going to cause a different action. You may still overeat, but it just may be less. You may overeat with more awareness, or you may just stop overeating altogether, which then produces a different result, which will give you different evidence for the original thinking that you had.

Your brain wants to prove itself true. That’s what the model demonstrates. The brain is looking for evidence for whatever it’s thinking. The brain likes to be efficient, and it likes to be right. When you go start trying to change your thinking, you’re going to have this cognitive dissonance. You’re going to have this discomfort of adjusting from one thought to another. Most people don’t like the feeling of that discomfort, and so they give up on trying to adopt new beliefs.
I want to offer to you that if you’re willing to go through the discomfort and you’re willing to make the effort, once you’ve thought the new thought and believed the new thought enough times, then it becomes the easier thought to think. That’s where you want to get with yourself. You want to get to the place where thinking really positive, nurturing, nourishing thoughts comes naturally. You can’t get to the point where that habit of thinking comes naturally until you practice it over and over and over again.

It’s really worth the effort, and I promise you it’s worth the initial discomfort of being in a space where you’ve proven yourself wrong. If you’re willing to be wrong, then you’re going to be willing to adopt new thoughts. You’re going to be willing to adopt new ways of thinking about yourself, which will ultimately change your entire life, because it will change the way you feel, it will change the way you act, and it will change the results you get.

If this is your first introduction to this model and this is the first time you’ve ever even heard about it, I want to offer that you may be like, “What are you talking about?” I want you to be willing to stay with it long enough, because if you’re willing to practice and learn the model, and you’re willing to see it as something that you could use in your life to change how you think, I promise you it can change your life in all the ways that you want it to.

If you need any help, please go to the comments section, and write a comment and ask me any question you want about the model. If you want to practice doing a model, I will help you, and correct you, and give you a chance to be new at it so you can really dial it down and start utilizing it in your life. It has been one of the biggest gifts I’ve ever given myself, and I want to offer it to you. I hope that you will take the time to really understand it before you give up on it so you can utilize it in your life.

All right. That’s all I have for now. I’ll see you guys at the comments board, and I’ll talk to you next week. Bye, everybody.Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School podcast. It would be incredibly awesome if you would take a moment to write a quick review on iTunes. For any questions, comments, or coaching issues you would like to hear on the show, please visit us at www.TheLifeCoachSchool.com.


  1. Brooke, your discussion about our past reminds me of my favorite quotes, which I believe is Buddhist:

    “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.”

    Thanks for another great podcast!

    1. Hi Brooke! I’m a relatively new listener of your podcast and it’s been fantastic. I’ve relayed this episode several times to try and get a sense as to when to attempt to apply the model. I understand how this could be life changing but now sure how to start using. Like, do I wait to identify a negative thought or feeling and then start to fill in the diagram around that identified negative thought or feeling? Should I choose a known topic of turmoil in my life and use it that way? Any tips to guide application would be very helpful ! Thanks

      1. Hi Qadira, Thank you for listening to the podcast! You can find more information about the model here. We recommend doing a thought download and getting all of your thoughts down on paper. From there, you can choose any thought to put into the model. There is no “right” thought to use. You can start with anything! –Felicia

  2. Hi Brooke,
    I am following along with your podcast every week from Brisbane, Australia. I work in primary (elementary) schools as a school counsellor. I would love to hear your perspective on ‘resistance’ in helping others. Your process (and The Work of BK) is so laser sharp that it can create resistance in students/parents/staff…do you have any thoughts on how to bring people around to considering NEW ways of working in a way in which they can ‘receive’ it?
    Keep up the great work.

    1. Hi Damien-

      It’s all in the delivery. I do think Byron Katie’s work is very difficult for many to learn on the fly. It is a process.

      The layers of my work can be delivered in smaller chunks and I think that makes it easier to learn.

      I would start with simply the difference between thoughts and circumstances. That is not difficult to comprehend and can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

      Hope that helps.


  3. Hi Brooke,

    I enjoy the podcast and look forward to each new episode. Over time you have given me a framework for organizing thoughts I’ve been having based on some things going on with my career. I thank you for that.

    What a wonderful freedom we have once the realization comes that we have control over our thoughts. It takes recognition that there are negative emotions we must acknowledge before we can do something about adjusting our compass.

    This is the image that came to me as I listened today. The idea of adversity as a gift. Had to write about this in my journal before I started working this morning to get it out of my head. I forgave two people today and it did feel like being released from chains.

    The gift is examination of life and not staying on cruise control. Thinking about what’s next by changing how I think about what is.

    But it only became a gift once I made the choice to unwrap it.

    Forgiveness is a pair of scissors or excited, lively hands ripping apart the thin paper that is negative emotion.

    Even the act of unwrapping – visualizing paper being excitedly thrown around us and raining down like confetti – changes us to have a positive mindset.

    Once we get past the negativity of a situation – which can require forgiveness of people who we allow to make us feel bad about something in the past – we can unwrap the package and reveal what’s inside. We free it and ourselves to reframe how we think so we can come at it from a positive angle.

    Negative emotion is the thinnest of wrapping paper, not a cement wall that stands between you and massive action.

  4. hi brooke!

    I am practicing using the model. I’m a beginner, and so far I can see the possibilities, but haven’t yet got a handle on everything. I try to break it down into individual thoughts because I think that is helpful. but then I get a little looped around. here’s my example:

    boyfriend dumped me.

    i miss his cute butt and how fun he was.


    don’t put effort into other areas of my life like friends, family, work.

    not growing, and missing him more. more negative thoughts about myself and my actions leading to breakup.

    my question is this: what about when there are a million zillion negative thoughts, and it’s difficult to really unpack the “root” thought, or maybe there isn’t one. is there a way to work through that? because in the above situation, the result I really get is just more negative thoughts that lead to more negative results.

    one other question:
    what if someone has a habit of using negative thoughts as a motivator? I think I might do this. I also think I would fall under the category of the romantically self-destructive friend. and wonder if I think negatively because I get motivated and feel powerful from a place of negativity. I guess that sounds pretty shitty, and I’d love to change that. I can guess that you would say, well take a look at the results you are getting. do you like them? my answer would be no! maybe this is the leap you are talking about between emotional childhood and emotional adulthood. *sigh* 🙂

    1. Hey Francesca,

      First, your boyfriend dumped me is not factual. It is too subjective. In the fact line you have to put exactly what he said and what happened exactly. Because when you say “he dumped me” vs. “our relationship is complete” you feel very differently. It’s because that is a thought causing you to feel that way.

      You only need to pick one thought at at time- no need to find a “root ” thought.

      You get to decide how you want to feel about your boyfriend no longer being your boyfriend. And by the way, sad, is a healing choice when it feels clean.

      And your second question is so perfectly answered yourself. LOVE THAT!


  5. Hi Brooke,

    On this podcast you mentioned having consequences when your son talks back to you. As the parent, this is very appropriate. How to I apply this concept with my spouse (creative clutter cloud) without compromising who I am (one who like things tidy)?

    It seems that over our 30 year relationship/marriage, no matter how I think or behave, which has spanned the spectrum, the results are the same. The clutter/hoarding thought process he has continues. I love my husband, I do not want to leave him, and I know I can’t change him, and overall we have a great relationship except in this area.

    In the past, I’ve cleaned up after him till burnout. That wasn’t healthy. I’ve hired an organizer several times and that’s helpful, but it doesn’t take too long before the space she organized is cluttered again. So, now I clean up and he does too, but the clutter pockets continue. He’s improved over the years, but there is a systemic problem that keeps our home from being well maintained.

    I’m not a neat nick or clean freak. I just really feel peaceful when the house is in order. How do I get this result? Ironically, my husband likes an orderly home too. Yet one of his greatest gifts, creative pinball thinking is also what keeps us in the clutter cloud. Broadly speaking, when other’s disrespect our bodies, beliefs, homes, spaces etc., how do we love ourselves when our “neighbors” aren’t? You can live in a state of forgiveness towards them, but what action do you take to change the result?

    Thanks! 🙂 Bonnie

    1. Hey Bonnie-

      What you need to understand before you can change your result is what your problem truly is.

      You think the problem is the clutter. I promise you that our problems are always just in our minds. So your thinking about the clutter is what makes you so upset.

      This is powerful to know on a deep level.

      You say you feel peaceful when the house is in order. How do you feel when there is clutter? What are your thoughts that cause those feelings. That will reveal so much.

      Also, your feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are also caused by your mind, not by the clutter.

      Once you clean up the clutter in your mind about this, your solutions will be creative and effective.

      Make sense?

  6. Hi Brooke! I was behind in the podcast and just listened to this one this week, and heard you answered my email! Amazing! Thanks so much for your answer. I definitely tend to get wrapped up in being able to do a program or a set of thoughts or follow a coach’s advice “perfectly” and forget that I have the only metric I need inside me, and that is the question “does this increase or reduce my suffering?” I’ll keep experimenting with thoughts about the past to see if there are any that bring more peace than simply “the past is what it is and it cannot be changed.” Thanks for answering my question and everything else you do!

    1. Hi KL,
      I have just discovered Brooke and I’m making my way, slowly but surely, through the podcasts from the beginning. Like you, I find her answers to be stunning, grounded, intelligent and the most practical I’ve come across in most areas but as a fellow atheist, the saying “it was always meant to happen that way” also sticks in my craw.
      Like you I find “I was doing the best I could at the time with the skills and knowledge I had at the time” useful, but I also find Sam Harris, as a neuroscientist, meditator and philosopher, has an interesting take on this suggesting “there is no such thing as free will”. That actually also helps me enormously for some unknown reason!!! It’s worth googling. He talks about it a lot. You’ll find him on youtube and has his own podcast.

  7. Hi Brooke, I can’t believe I’m just now listening to your podcasts. I guess this was the time!
    I love your model. I am a professional actress ( 30 years in the making) / acting coach / life coach. And the reason I became a life coach was because I was teaching this exact formula to my acting students.
    When I would coach someone for an audition, we’d look at the script and start with the character’s behavior ( actions / results/ circumstance) and then back track from there. Why is this person behaving like this? what are they feeling, which would lead to what are they thinking. This is how you create a “back story” for a character. You must trace all behavior back to the character’s beliefs / thoughts. This is how I justify my character’s actions! If it’s not in the script, you make it up. It’s very creative.
    The day I realized that i could use that exact same formula in my real life in order to create better circumstances, my mind was blown and I decided to become a Life Coach. My whole coaching business is based on utilizing acting techniques for your life. When I listen to you talk about this I get so excited. I just wanted to share how this model works from the perspective of acting. You can create your own reality in your own life, just like an actor creates one for their character.
    You rock. I’m so excited to hear you speak!


  8. As I was re-listening to this podcast, it occurred to me to ask you, in your opinion, if feelings ever come without the precursor of a thought? I’m not talking about physically feeling(pain, etc..). This is a question about emotionally feeling. I know there is another distinction when it comes to meditation. There, if you experience “no thought,” how would you categorize the result of that experience? Just curious about your take on all that.
    Thanks again for all the food for the mind you provide daily!

  9. Good Morning Brooke,

    I have been working on my thoughts and feelings for over a year now. I would like your help on a couple of issues/struggles I am having. One being my issue of trust and forgiveness in regards to my marriage. Also, my thoughts on my Husbands alcohol use and how I feel about that. I would love some more direction with your assistance.


  10. Brooke – since I discovered your podcasts (through Corinne at Phit-N-Phat) I’ve had epiphanies I’ve been searching for my entire life it seems. Your “stuff” is life-changing. I have begun listening to your podcasts from the very beginning and I was excited that you offered instruction and the download of the self-coaching model on this episode. I have one question regarding the model. Am I going through and just writing down the facts (including action I took), feelings, thoughts and results that came from that or is this a place where you write down the facts, thoughts feelings and then the action you want to take and the results that came from that action. I’m just confused by the Actions/Results lines.

    1. Hi Amy, Glad you found Brooke’s podcast and are enjoying it! The Model can be used both ways, and Brooke encourages this. It useful to know your current Model and also your desired Model. –Rebekah

  11. Hi Brooke!

    I am a just starting my coaching business and I happened upon your podcast. This episode has been the most profound for me. Since I heard this episode, I have been practicing self-coaching using this model and I love how simple but profound this is. Like you said, this is universal but the way you lay it out so clearly is so helpful.

    By the way, I just discovered your new podcast on the business of being a coach. Terrific!

    Thank you so much for creating these podcasts! I can’t get enough.

  12. Hello
    I am a big fan of your teachings. My question is should you approach people when you feel as though your mistreated, or find another way to think about it? I have been feeling emotionally and mentally abused by my boss. I contacted my HR dept and they set up a meeting so we can speak together with a moderator. I feel like I expressed where I was coming from but the end result of a more peaceful workplace was never met.There was no accountabilty on her part.
    Im not sure if it was a mistake to address my concerns or think differently about them.

    1. Thank you for your question. Brooke will be responding to questions in an upcoming Questions and Answers episode. Stay tuned! –Brecklyn

  13. Brooke- This was my first time listening to your podcast and I am hooked! I have been attempting to implement the CTFAR model when dealing with my 1 year old son. I often feel frustrated and anxious when he begins to get fussy and cry. He is a very active boy and always on the move and needing redirection. I am having a difficult time trying to create a new thought and would love your help with this model.


  14. Hi Brooke,
    I’m a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and work with children from 18 months to 18 years old. Not only has the self coaching model been so helpful for me personally, it has changed the way I view my client’s behaviors during our sessions and in school. I recently used the model to discuss with a parent why her 5 year old son may be shutting down after he receives neutral or negative feedback. I was wondering if you have used the model with your own children. I’ve been thinking about how it could be explained to and applied with a younger child in a “kid-friendly” way.

    1. Great question! Brooke may address this in an upcoming Questions & Answers podcast. Stay tuned! –Brecklyn

  15. Hi Brooke,

    I’ve just listened to this podcast and want to adopt the model. I may have missed it but when do you introduce the new thought? So when do you think “my body is healthy/my body is capable”? Is it at the point or the negative thought of your body or is it affirmation style when you just keep telling yourself?

    My negative thoughts are about not being able to make things work/be successful but it isn’t necessarily a distinct thought, more of an underlying feeling of anxiety or not being good enough. Even those sentiments aren’t distinct thoughts, when I feel low or am not taking action I often can’t even identify the feeling I have.

    I’d really appreciate your help on this please.

    Thank you


  16. Hi Brooke!

    I’ve been adopting the model to many areas of my life and it has been so moving. I can’t thank you enough!

    I have a specific question on my current work with the C line. I have racing thoughts at night about my job. It’s at a very specific moment while I’m getting ready for bed. I’ve been trying to catch myself every night to see exactly what triggers these racing thoughts thinking I can change THAT trigger. It’s so frustrating. I keep falling down the rabbit hole and totally missing the trigger of course. I’m not kidding, it’s some time within seconds after I brush my teeth.

    Instead of all the frustration I wanted to reach out and ask, am I actually going about this the right way or is my C line “mind racing”?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Thank you for your question, Kari. Brooke may address this question in an upcoming Questions and Answers episode. Stay tuned! –Brecklyn

  17. I’ve been listening to your podcast for a few weeks and i thought it was time I came and found a podcast on the model. I thought I had it clear but this has just blown my mind a little bit! (and also annoyed me a bit 🙂 )
    I used this example
    C- my utility room needs fixing,
    T- i can’t afford to fix it (actually this is also a circumstance so it gets a little confusing)
    F – upset, slight despair!
    A – none, hiding, not keeping the rest of the house as nice as I could, not having visitors

    I think even if i can change the thought to how can I fix it the action should change, although it is pretty overwhelming!

    Thanks for your work,

    1. Hello Rebecca, Thank you for your question. Brooke will be responding to questions in an upcoming Questions and Answers episode. Stay tuned! –Lori

  18. This is gold!! I have been listening to the pod casts from the beginning, on my way to work and I can not tell you how much it helps my day.
    It’s like a reminder to acknowledge my emotions. I am a hairdresser so plenty of emotions and feelings going around. I have found it really difficult to block the negative energy till now because I have realised I have been trying to control the way others are.

    1. Hello Neesa, Thank you for the feedback. Brooke appreciates it. Glad to hear her podcast has been helping you during this time in your life. –Lori

  19. I love the idea of following this model. I believe I am in a place where I can reroute my thinking to feeling more positive and staying away from negative thoughts, however I can admit Im not consistent and find myself stuck in the past and not taking action due to my obstacle thoughts. after hearing this podcast i can see it’s because im skipping the neutral thoughts stage and saying affirmations i only partially believe. i would like to practice this model more. may you please help me?

    1. Hi Alexis, Great question! Brooke may address this in an upcoming Questions & Answers podcast. Stay tuned! –Felicia

  20. Brooke,
    Thank you!
    I happened to stumble upon your podcast about a year ago and knew after just one episode that you were the real deal. Through your model, your podcast and your shared knowledge, you have touched my life in such a healing and empowering way. I first listened to this episode about a year ago but today felt drawn to re-listen to it. You use the example of being laid off and the thoughts you can have about that fact or circumstance and go even further to advice on providing yourself compassion to the negativity and awareness is the first step to change.
    Why do I (or people) default to negative? I understand that training and re-training the pre-frontal cortex takes time and continual conscious effort; maybe a year of actively monitoring my brain is not an adequate amount of time to redevelop the emotional pathways and see the world with more positive eyes.
    What advice do you have on things I can do over the next year that will impact a more thought positive default?

    1. Great question! Brooke may address this in an upcoming Questions & Answers podcast. Stay tuned! –Felicia

  21. Hi Brooke,

    I am slowly making my way through your fabulous podcasts, thank you for making them available to us. You mention near the end of this podcast you will help if I wanted to practice doing a model. I would like to take you up on that offer. Its my first introduction to this so its all overwhelming. I am going to listen to it a few time.

  22. Hi I’m just new to the model but am interested if it can help me. The circumstance is that my partner ended our relationship by text 6 weeks ago. I have not been able to get her to communicate at all since then. My thoughts about this lead to feelings of sadness, loneliness, frustration and general grief. I’m struggling to generate any believable thoughts to even incrementally move to a more neutral position. I feel really stuck in grief mode. Any suggestions or examples or referral to other pod carts would be very appreciated, thanks.

    1. Hi Mike, This is one of my favorite episodes to help with ended relationships. I also want to offer that circumstances are always neutral. Her text is not what led to your feelings, it was just something that happened. Reality. Sometimes we try to change our thoughts about something we already see as a “bad” thing. And sometimes we want to have negative thoughts about reality, and that’s totally okay. We just have to be willing to feel the feelings that come with that. We would be happy to coach you more on this in Self Coaching Scholars. –Felicia