Ep #300: Taking Action 2.0
I feel so proud of the fact that we’ve made it to episode 300. And I’m blessed to be able to show up in your ears every week, and that you share your time and your lives with me. So to celebrate, for the first time in the history of the show, I wanted to replay an episode.
I thought it would be fun to circle back to the first-ever episode of the podcast. I thought that things would be really different, but really, so much is the same. The Brooke of episode 1 even taught the Brooke of episode 300 a thing or two.
In this episode, I talk a bit about the journey to 300 episodes of the podcast. Then we dive into episode 1, which is all about why you aren’t taking action. We talk about The Model, why you can’t just will yourself into changing your habits, and why it’s so much easier to change once you understand how your thoughts create your actions.
Thank you so much for doing this with me every week. Here’s to 300 more!
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What You will discover
- Some of the things I’ve learned from the last few years of podcasting.
- How I came up with The Model and how all of its pieces relate to each other.
- Why we can’t change ourselves, our habits, or our lives until we understand how our thoughts create our actions and results.
- How to apply The Model to habits you want to stop, like overeating.
- How I’ve seen The Model work for people and how you can start practicing it too.
- Why asking yourself “Why?” is the best way to get to know what is going on inside your mind.
Featured on the show
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo episode number 300.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Well hello, hello, my friends. 300 episodes. How many of you have listened to all 300? I bet a lot of you. I think a lot of you are like me. You got to get through them all. They’re all so good. Some of you have listened to them twice, some of you have listened to them many, many times. Especially, you know that one, your favorite one you like to listen to all the time when you feel bad, right? That’s what you’ve told me.
So I couldn’t be more proud. I feel so extremely blessed to have the opportunity to be in your phone once a week. I think that iTunes has created such an extraordinary option for us. The fact that I don’t pay to pay iTunes one dime for them to provide this service to me is extraordinary.
We had a point at one point during our podcasting career where they took the podcast down. Can’t even remember why. There was some rule change that they had about the text that could be in the title line or something, and so we had to fix it before it would put it back up.
And I remember a lot of people freaking out, like oh my god, they took the podcast down, and what if they never put it back up? They didn’t even tell me anything. They just pulled it down. And I remember thinking like, they owe me nothing. They put this podcast out for me for free every week and they don’t ask me for anything. If they want to take it down, they could take it down. And I can just be thankful for the relationship that I’ve had to this point.
So they did end up putting my podcast back up and that is magical. And the other thing that is so amazing that we’re doing now is that all of the Self-Coaching Scholars content is now a direct feed into the podcasting app on your phone too. So just as my podcast shows up there for you podcast listeners, so does the Self-Coaching Scholars calls shows up automatically in the feed there as well, which I think is magical that we can do that.
I love Apple. I love them. I appreciate them. So hats off to them for allowing me to create this podcast. And hats off to y’all for sticking with me and becoming listeners and learning this material and changing your lives and applying it and telling your friends. It’s so fun for me to hear from all of you on how my work, my podcast, my model, all of this has affected your life in such an amazing way.
I mean, think about this world we live in, you guys. I am sitting in my office right now talking into a microphone. And someone is going to be listening to this in another country in a couple weeks and may use some of it to completely change their life. So awesome.
So what I wanted to do was go back through the podcast and see what it was that has changed. And what it is that’s different now. And how far I’ve come. And so I was on an airplane and I was thinking about what I was going to do for this podcast and I went back to episode one.
And I thought it would be fun to listen to episode one because that is in April of 2014. And so I wanted to see what it was like that many years ago, sitting in a different house with a different microphone with a different setup, with my same editor though, by the way. I’ve had the same editor.
Pavel has been by my side this entire time. So shout-out to him. He’s been the most amazing person on this journey. But everything else is different when I recorded that first podcast. So I wanted to look at it and just be able to talk about how much has changed since I first started the podcast.
So I listened to that first episode, and I have to tell you guys, I was blown away. I was blown away by how little has changed. How much it’s the same. How the concepts are the same. What I teach in that is the same. What I want you to know is the same.
It was actually a really extraordinary podcast. And I listened to it and I have to tell you guys, this is so funny, but I have to tell you that some things that I said in that podcast, I went oh, and I actually wrote them down. I wrote down notes on my own podcast so I could start applying that to my own life and I just was like, holy cow, that is extraordinary.
So what I decided to do is instead of doing a best of, instead of pulling out all the little bits and pieces from all the episodes, I decided to for the very first time in the history of The Life Coach School Podcast, I decided to play an episode again.
And for those of you who’ve been with me for several years, you will not even recognize it when you hear it. You will be like, I know that I’ve listened to that before but there’s so many new things. And here’s why. You’re listening to it again with fresh ears. You’re listening to it again having evolved over the last five years.
And you’re different now, so you’ll hear it in a new way. You’ll learn about it in a new way. So without further ado, I’m going to share with you my podcast, first episode. It was titled “Why You Aren’t Taking Action,” and I put it here as just “Taking Action 2.0.” And I want you to listen to it and hear it in a whole new way. And I want to say thank you for 300 episodes and here’s to 300 more. I’ll talk to you soon.
Hi, everybody, and welcome to The Life Coach School podcast. This is our first podcast that we’ve ever done, and I was going to spend this whole first podcast giving you an introduction to The Life Coach School and me and what we are all about. But what I decided to do is just give you something that you really genuinely want, which is a lesson. You’ve come here to learn something that we have to offer at the school.
So what I’ll do is, I will intersperse our story throughout all of the upcoming podcast, so you will get a sense of who we are and what we do and why we do it. But let me just preface all of this by saying that The Life Coach School was created because of our love for life coaching, and for weight coaching. I cofounded it with my husband, Chris Castillo, and he handles all the backend customer service technical part of our business, and I handle the teaching and the coaching and I think all the fun part of it.
So it’s amazing owning this business with my husband, we have just an amazing time together. So we really decided to do this podcast because I have so much to teach and so much to offer, and we really want to give you a chance to get to know us before you ever sign-up for a training, and we hope this podcast will do that for you.
So let’s start with the topic, which is today, which is why you aren’t taking action. I would say that constantly I get emails, and even when I’m talking to clients and talking to people, one of the most frustrating things for them is their seemingly inability to take action. They have all these dreams and ideas and things that they want to do, and they try and try and try to do them but they just can’t get themselves motivated to do it. And they always want to ask me why is it that I can’t eat only when I’m hungry? Why isn’t that I can’t exercise? Why isn’t that I’m not building my coaching business? Why is it that I’m constantly angry and I can’t be kind to my kids?
And it all comes down to the same answer, which I think is great to know. One of the tools that we teach, our main tool that we teach at the school is called the model, we call it the Self-Coaching Model. And it’s a model I created based on all of my teachers and all of my mentors and all of their ideas that were so brilliant, I’m heavily inspired by Byron Katie and Eckhardt Tolle and Abraham, and many of the forward thought thinkers of our generation.
And what I noticed with their work is, although I loved it all, I couldn’t find a daily practice that really resonated with me. So I decided to create the model as really a way to coach myself through my own thinking. And the basic premise of the model, which I did not invent, it is the basic premise of how the world works is this. There are circumstances in the world that those are the things that we cannot control. Everything that happens outside of us is a circumstance. And that’s just a given, there are so many things that we can’t control.
We can’t control other people, we can’t control our past because it’s already done. We can’t control anything that happened out there in the world, and those are all of our circumstances. And really those are the only things that we can’t control in our lives, the rest of the components of the model include our thoughts, our feelings, our actions and our results. And all of those things are within our control. Now we forget that often. We think that everything is either in our control or nothing is in our control. And it never is that way. It’s always that circumstances are not within our control, and everything else is.
So again, circumstances are other people, other people are not within our control. I’m sorry, but it’s true. They are does not. And the world out there is not within our control, and are past even though we keep trying to change it, it’s just not within our control to change, but everything else is. And everything in our present experience is within our control. What we decide to think, what we think about the conscious thoughts that go through our head are completely within our control.
Now we forget this, we don’t remember that everything is within our control. We think that our thoughts are not within our control, and in fact most of us don’t even know what we are thinking. We are responding to our thoughts that we aren’t even aware of.
Now why does this matter? It really, really matters because our thoughts are what create our feelings. And everything you do in your life is because you want to feel a certain way, every single thing you do is because you want to feel a certain way. That’s just really good to know. And if your feelings are caused by your thoughts and everything you do in your life is in order to feel better, wouldn’t it be important to know what you’re thinking? It absolutely would.
And the problem is nobody teaches us this. They don’t pull us aside and say, “Okay, here is the deal.” Everything you want in your life is because of a feeling. The feeling that you think you will have in getting it or the feeling you think you will avoid in not getting it. So if feelings are the most important thing, don’t you think they should teach us that all of our feelings are caused by our thoughts and maybe we should learn how to think on purpose, so we can create the feelings that we want. That would have been amazing. I really wish someone would pull us aside, freshman year. Freshman year, the misery of freshman year, and taught us this very thing.
So our thoughts create our feelings. Now our feelings are also important because they drive all of our actions. They are the fuel for our actions. So when you ask me the question, why am I not taking action? It’s because of the way you feel. Or why are you taking an action you don’t want to be taking? It’s because of the way you feel. So your feelings are driving your actions. And then, of course, your actions are always going to create the results you want in your life or you don’t want in your life. Your actions create your results.
So let me summarize this again, your thoughts, those sentences in your mind are what create your feelings. Your feelings are what drive your actions and your actions create your results. Now this is very clean and simple way of looking at the world, and it is 100% accurate. I have not found any examples where this is not the case. Everything you learned in all the cognitive thought work that you’ll ever study, I have a degree in Psychology, I studied at Santa Clara University. Everything they teach you is about your thinking, and your thinking creating your feelings, and your feelings driving your actions, and your actions given you your results.
Now what determines what we think? That is the next logical question. If my thinking is driving everything, if it’s creating my feelings, if it’s creating my actions, if it’s creating my results, then I need to know what I’m thinking. And I also need to know how to change that thinking if I want a different result in my life.
So most of us have never been taught to witness our own thinking to compassionately observe our own thinking, and it’s a practice that takes practice, really. So what I mean by that is the process of watching your mind think requires you to separate yourself from your own mind. And most of us don’t make that separation, we don’t even recognize that there is a separation there. So in order to go into that observer mode, we have to separate ourselves from our mind in order to watch ourselves think.
And this is what a lot of meditation is based on. And I’ve never been one that could just sit and meditate for hours and hours, but I can sit and watch my brain think, and I can be in that space of recognizing my own thinking. And once you start doing that, once you start noticing what your own mind is thinking, you might be a little flabbergasted. And you might also say to yourself, “Oh, will that totally makes sense?” When I’ve learned that my thoughts create my feelings and my actions and my results and then I look at my mind, I can see exactly why I’m getting the results I’m getting in my life. My mind is creating them, that’s where it’s all starting.
So a lot of students will come to me and they’ll say, “Okay, so I’ve had a look inside my mind, and I have observed it, and I don’t like any of it, and I want to change it all immediately.” And this is pretty common for all of us, we start looking at our mind, we start being more conscious, and it’s amazing that number of negative thoughts we have. We have like 60,000 thoughts per day. And if you’ve never directed your mind or never told your mind what to think, it may be thinking old thoughts from childhood, in maybe on a negative spin cycle, thinking a lot of negative thoughts. Who knows? It’s been an unsupervised toddler, basically running rampant.
I like to picture the mind when it’s unsupervised as like a two-year-old left in the house unsupervised. It may have sharp objects and maybe running around with them. And once you turn the light on in your mind, you may be tempted to turn it right back off. And I’ve had this happen with a lot of people that I’ve coached. They start looking in their mind and they start recognizing how much pain they are in and how much negativity they are creating, and they just don’t want to deal with it. And that’s totally fine, but it really denies you of all of your power and all of your ability to change.
If you change in your life without understanding this, it’s much more challenging. And let me tell you why. Most of us try to make change from the action piece of our lives. So if you think about this, remember what I just taught you, your thoughts create your feelings, which drive your actions.
Now if you try and change or action without changing the thought or the feeling that’s driving the action, you’re going to have a struggle, because you’re going to have to work against that feeling and that thought that’s creating that feeling. So that’s why for so many of us change is so frustrating because we try to change how much we are eating or we try to change exercising, or we try to stop procrastinating without changing the thought and feeling that is driving that very thing that we are doing.
And when you can instead really get a hold of why you are not doing something or why you are doing something, then it will reveal to you the thought and feeling combination that’s driving it. When you change the thought and feeling, the changing the action becomes so much easier. That’s why a lot of people will, for example, smokers will be chain-smokers, they will try to quit many, many, many, many times and they have been unable to quit. And then they’ll get a diagnosis.
This happened to my mother-in-law. They will get a diagnosis of cancer or of something else that has been brought on by their smoking. And immediately they will be able to change their action, they will be able to quit smoking. What’s changed? The only thing that’s changed is their mind, they were told something that switched that thought in there and made it, so the feeling, and the feeling driving that action were completely changed. And therefore the ability to quit smoking became easier.
People that have been unable to quit for years immediately and cold turkey stopped forever. This has happened over and over and over again with my clients. When they start to understand why they’re doing something or why they are not doing something, they understand their inaction or they understand why they can’t take action because of the thought and a feeling that’s driving it. And they decide to change that thought pattern and change that feeling pattern, they are able to change the actions so much more easily.
And that’s really what coaching is all about. It’s about finding the cause of our habits, the cause of our patterns, why we do what we do. And when we discover that, change is so much easier.
So let me give you an example, so you might be able to play this out in your own life because understanding this can change everything. And when you first hear something like this, you might be like, what the ... what is she talking about? I don’t know. Or maybe this is obvious to you, I’ve taught this to people who are like, of course, that’s how the world works. Isn’t that amazing that you’ve known that, why didn’t you share with us? Oh my gosh, I wish I could have learned this so many years ago.
So when you start to understand this, you can think about something in your life, and my background is in weight coaching. I started off as a weight loss coach, and I spent many years just coaching clients who wanted to lose weight. So I use an example there. And actually, this example is also found in my book, If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight? And you can get that in Amazon, if you would like to. And it just basically covers all my tools for weight loss.
But I want to give you an example to demonstrate how this, why you’re not taking action works? So I had a client who really wanted to start exercising. It was really important to her that she lose weight, she wanted to be healthier, so she wanted to start exercising. She wanted to start taking that action, and she just could not get herself to do it. She would write it all out, she would set reminders, she would get it on her schedule, she would plan it. Nothing. As soon as it came time to do it, she wouldn’t do it.
So I asked her to remember what I had taught her about how all of our thoughts drive all of our feelings, which drive all of our action, reaction or inaction. So in this case it was inaction. She wasn’t exercising. So I asked her, I said, “What do you feel when you don’t exercise?” And she said, “Right before I decide that I’m not going to exercise, I just feel apathetic.” I feel no drive at all. And I said, “Okay, what are you thinking that’s causing the feeling of apathetic?” So remember our thoughts cause our feelings, cause our actions or inaction.
So I knew that her feeling was apathetic, I knew that apathetic was creating this inaction, this lack of exercise. So I needed to find out what was the thought creating apathetic? And what we found out was that she was thinking it wouldn’t matter anyway. She had exercised before, she hadn’t seen any results, she didn’t really want to exercise, she didn’t see it as something that she enjoyed doing. She was telling herself that she had to do it to get results, and yet her thought was, it’s not going to matter anyway, which created the feeling of apathetic, which, of course drove inaction. It drove her not to exercise.
Now typically when a client discovers something like this, they want to immediately change it. What I told her is I said, listen, let’s just understand this with some compassion. So many of us spend so much time beating ourselves up, and it’s one thing I don’t allow any of my clients to do. I tell them, “Listen, hey, we are not going to beat ourselves up today, we are not going to beat ourselves up ever again if we can help it. What we are going to do though is understand with curiosity and fascination why you do what you do?” Because I believe that everyone has a really good reason for why they do what they do or why they don’t do what they don’t do.
And if we don’t take the time to really have some compassion and be curious with ourselves, we won’t reveal our truths to ourselves. So when she discovered this pattern, when she recognized that she was creating her own apathy, she was the one creating that emotion that was driving her inaction, she started to get mad at herself. And, “Oh gosh, I can’t believe I’m doing that.” And I said, “No, no, let’s wait a minute. Let’s have a look at this. If somebody told you that they didn’t think something mattered, wouldn’t you want to listen to them? Wouldn’t you want to understand why they were saying that? And let’s have that same compassion with ourselves.”
And that’s really what I think the most important piece of coaching is, it’s really revealing ourselves to ourselves and developing that relationship where we can trust ourselves. So she decided just to notice it, she decided to pay attention to it, and I asked her not to change it. I said I think for you to fully understand it, you need to be patient with yourself and fully understand the pattern, and why you are thinking that way.
And as she was able to watch this pattern in herself and see it with compassion and understand why she was doing it, and literally not doing it, she understood. And from there, when she understood like, of course, this is what you are thinking, you are exasperated with all of the things you’ve tried to do. You’ve been beating yourself up, you’ve been putting yourself on these crazy diets, you had been making yourself for years to crazy exercise regimes that were punishing and painful. And now, of course, you are apathetic towards it.
And when she was able to connect with herself, and give herself really her due to like understand that the reason why she was thinking that made sense, like of course that’s what she was thinking. From there she could really decide whether she wanted to change the way she was thinking or not. But you can’t really change your thinking until you understand it.
So in the upcoming podcast, we are going to talk a lot about how to change your thinking and how to think deliberately and how to create a motion that you want to create. But I purposely don’t want to go into that in this podcast because one of the things that I want you to understand, really to know is that you must understand yourself before you can change yourself.
You must be in a place of compassion and understanding and love, and from there you can ignite yourself to change. You cannot struggle yourself into change, you cannot beat yourself into change, it will not be permanent, and it will not last, whether you are trying to lose weight or you are trying to do something in your life, create something in your life, you can’t do it with force because you will buckle under the pressure. And you can’t do it with willpower because you are against you, you are trying to defeat your own mind with your own mind.
And the mind loves to repeat itself, it likes to look for patterns, and it likes to be efficient. So once the brain and the mind had been thinking the same thoughts over and over and over and over and over again because it’s been unsupervised, and it has … You haven’t even been aware that you are thinking these thoughts. To change it requires practice and skill. And if you’re trying to change it without understanding it, you’re going to be in a battle with your own mind. And, of course, when it is you against you, you are going to be the loser.
So I really want to emphasize that once you understand that your thoughts create your feelings, which create your actions, and that’s why you are not taking action or that’s why you are doing something you don’t want to do, that you take a breath, understand the pattern and not beat yourself up for it.
The other example that people always are coming to me with is overeating. Now remember if you are overeating, that’s an action, it’s fueled by a feeling, which is created. That feeling is created by a thought. So you have to back it up, what is this feeling that I’m having when I’m overeating? And most people will say anxiety, most people will say resistance. For some it’s frustration, for some it’s apathy, for some it’s hostility, loathing. Whatever it is, you need to not just try to stop overeating because you probably have and it probably didn’t work. You need to look at that action that you are taking and understand it, what is the feeling fueling it? And if it’s anxiety, then what is the thought that’s creating that anxiety?
And when you understand what you are thinking, and that that thought is creating anxiety, for example, one of my clients was having the thought constantly, I’m going to miss out, there is not going to be enough and I’m going to miss out. That’s what she was constantly thinking. She wasn’t aware of this at all. This was a thought she’d been thinking since she was a little kid, but it wasn’t serving her as an adult. So when she discovered that she was having that thought, she was like, “Well, that’s ridiculous. Why am I even thinking that? That’s so dumb, I’m just going to stop thinking that.”
And again, I told her, “Whoa, slow down the train. Let’s understand this thought, let’s understand this pattern before we just jump on, beating ourselves up over it.” Like let’s really see if it makes sense because usually everything we do, even if it seems illogical on the surface, we usually have a very good reason for it. So if we take the time to be curious and fascinated with ourselves, we can find that answer.
And for her, as a child there wasn’t enough, there wasn’t enough love, and there wasn’t enough food. So as an adult that pattern, because when she was a child, when she thought those thoughts, they created really strong emotions in her, the same thing happened to her as an adult. As she thought those thoughts, it created a lot of emotion for her. And that drove her overeating. So even when she tried to stop overeating, and she tried to replace it with there is plenty, there is so much food, it will be fine, she wasn’t going to be able to do that until she understood what the cause was.
And once she did then she could comfort herself and be kind to herself without using food, and without the anxiety that she was creating, she didn’t have the need to overeat. I have seen it thousands and thousands and thousands of times when you take the time to really understand why you do what you do, from there you can start to change it.
It doesn’t mean you have to go back into your past, it doesn’t mean you have to sit on a therapist couch and talk about any kind of anything that happened when you are a child. All you have to know is that the thought you are thinking now, and that you might have been thinking since you are a child is what’s causing your pain. You don’t have to understand exactly why you are thinking it as an adult, you just have to recognize that you are, and be kind to yourself in that recognition.
So let me just summarize what I taught you, because I gave you a lot in this first podcast, and I know for some of you who haven’t been exposed to me before, this might be mind-blowing; for others of you, this might seem very basic. But I want to take you through the process, and really make sure that you understand that every action in your life is because of a feeling. And every feeling in your life is because of the thought you are thinking.
So step one is to really begin to look inside your mind and see what you are thinking, to become conscious of your thoughts to ask yourself why. When it comes to anything in your life, if you ask yourself why you are doing something that you are doing, why you are feeling the way you are feeling, the answer that you give yourself will always be a thought. And that is the best way to get to know what’s going on inside your mind, because what’s going on inside your mind is what will determine how you feel, act and the results you get.
So practice this. If you look in the show notes, there will be an example of this model, the Self-Coaching Model, so you can see it visually. So you just need to go to TheLifeCoachSchool.com/1, which will be the first episode of the podcast, and you can go there and look at these show notes and get a sense of this model. And there is also going to be a blank sheet there where you can practice with something that maybe you are doing in your life that you want to change or something that you’re not doing that you want to change. Remember to be patient, give yourself a chance to really understand yourself, and only then can you decide if you want to change.
So that’s enough for the first session, I hope you enjoyed it. It has been my pleasure to be here with you and to begin this process of teaching you what we teach at The Life Coach School. Until next time.
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 the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.