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We all buffer in some ways. Many of us have big buffers, like overdrinking, overeating, or people-pleasing. Some of us have worked through one layer of buffering just to discover a new one. I know that’s the case for me, even though I tolerate a lot less than I used to.

We buffer with things like food, alcohol, and other distractions because they make life more bearable. But on the other side of the buffering is some really important information that you’re going to want access to if you’re planning on creating the life you really want.

In this episode we’re diving deep into why we buffer and what we’re tolerating. We’ll talk about why your capacity to respond to life is lower when you’re buffering, and what all those things you’re tolerating have to teach you. And we’ll chat about what happens when you stop buffering, and what you’ll need to do next.

What you will discover

  • Why we tend to buffer when we are tolerating things we don’t want or like.
  • How much energy you waste by buffering instead of just changing your situation.
  • What is actually on the other side of all the buffering and tolerating you’re doing right now.
  • Why it isn’t selfish or narcissistic to get rid of your buffers and pursue your real dream life.
  • What the things you’re tolerating and buffering against can teach you.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo episode 305.

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, my friends. I am back in Dallas. I am freezing, compared to what we were in the Caymans. But it’s actually a gorgeous beautiful day, and I’m super excited to talk to you. I’m recording this on a Sunday and I feel like I’ve just had the most amazing three days. My husband’s in Las Vegas, my kids are gone.

Did I tell you that Christian got a D1 offer and is playing D1 golf? Dreams do come true, my friends. I’m so excited for him. That was a little rough patch we had until it all turned around. Our failures lead to our successes. He is living his dream. I couldn’t be happier for him.

So anyway, they’re gone. I’m here with the dogs. It’s heaven. Small issue though, I got turned onto Google Photos from my friend Russell Brunson. He’s my friend because I listen to him on the podcast. We’ve never actually met.

But I listen to him on his podcast and he talked about Google Photos and how he was going crazy with them. So I decided to upload every single photo that I have to Google Photos from my phones, from all of my drives, all of the scanned photos that I have. I have a lot of photos.

For someone that doesn’t take selfies, I have a lot of photos and a lot of videos and that can turn into hours and hours and hours that I have been looking through these photos and watching videos of my kids when they were little and me when I was younger and my parents and my childhood photos. It’s out of control. I’ve been having a great time.

But I was very inspired to do this podcast because I have space and I have time and I’m alone and I just wanted to connect with you all, get a little cuddle from you all before I go and watch football, because today is the big day. Playoffs are today. Very excited to watch them with my dogs.

So today, what we are going to talk about is what you are tolerating. And we’re going to talk about it through the lens of buffering. One of the things that I have noticed recently in my own life is how few things I have in my life to tolerate.

I tolerate very little because I don’t have anything that makes tolerating easier. And here’s what I mean by that. So many of you, and me included, used to use buffering as a way of tolerating things that weren’t acceptable in our lives. And so, what that looks like is you have something in your life that isn’t great, something in your life that doesn’t really work, something in your life that you want to change.

But instead of changing it, instead of working on it, instead of making it better, you just buffer instead. So, for example, I was talking to my friend Chris on the phone the other day and I said, “You know, if you didn’t have cookies, that funnel would be a lot less tolerable.”

And we both were cracking up because basically when you set up a funnel online, it’s one of the most frustrating things you’ll ever do because it takes at least 15 fails to make it work. And so, you put it out there, it doesn’t work. You change something, it doesn’t work. You change something else, it doesn’t work.

It not working becomes really frustrating. And one of the things that you can do to deal with it not working is eat cookies, or drink wine, or snort drugs, or go on Facebook, go on Instagram, hey, go on Google Photos. All of that buffering will make the fact that your funnel doesn’t work a lot easier to tolerate.

The problem is, it doesn’t fix the funnel. And here’s what I mean by that; when you are compensating for things not working in your life by buffering, and that’s how you’re evening it out, nothing really changes.

What I noticed for – there was a significant time in my life where I was drinking more than I wanted, probably five years I’m going to say. I was never a super-heavy drinker. I wasn’t, like, falling down drunk kind of drinking, but just drinking every day.

And drinking made y life, which was unacceptable to me, tolerable. And so, what happened when I was drinking is nothing changed. Nothing got better. Nothing improved. When I quit drinking, so many things in my life were intolerable to me. And so, I spent the time that I had spent drinking changing my life.

Now, here’s what I want to tell all of you who just heard me say that and said, “Well I don’t spend a lot of time overeating. I don’t spend a lot of time drinking. I don’t spend a lot of time overworking,” whatever. Here’s what I want to tell you about buffering and the time that it takes, the mental energy that it takes from your life; it’s not just the overeating that is the buffering.

It’s not just the action of the overdrinking. It’s the effect of that and you dealing with the effect of that that’s also part of the distraction from your life. So, when I spent a lot of time overeating, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I was going to eat or not going to eat. Then I spent a significant amount of time negotiating that with myself. Then I spent time actually doing the eating that I told myself I wouldn’t do, the over-eating. And then I dealt with the weight-gain and all of the thoughts about that. And then the cycle repeated again.

It was almost like I had this second life that was consuming my time and my energy. But here’s what’s genius about it; as long as I was focused on overeating and my weight and suffering there, I didn’t have to deal with the other parts of my life that weren’t working, the other emotions that I wasn’t processing, the thoughts that I needed to get cleaned up. I didn’t really have to deal with that because I was using this escape button into buffering that allowed all of that to be tolerable.

Now, people say to me, “But drinking makes life better.” And what I always say to them is, “No, drinking makes your current life tolerable. It doesn’t make anything better. It just makes you think it’s better than it is.” It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t fix anything. It doesn’t cause you to evolve. It doesn’t require anything of you but to escape.

And you tell yourself, “I’m just relaxing. I just need a little drink at the end of the day. I deserve it.” And listen, you’re an adult. You can make your own decisions. But what I want to tell you is that drinking, or whatever you’re using for buffering, is helping you tolerate something you shouldn’t be tolerating.

When you take away the buffering, your life reveals itself to you and gives you an opportunity to change and to grow. For me specifically, when I quit drinking – and I mean quit drinking the right way, where I found out the reasons why, I unwound my desire for it, and I released it from my life.

I’m not talking about quitting drinking where you’re using willpower, where you’re forcing yourself not to drink and resisting it, because that’s a whole other cycle of buffering. And that usually leads to bingeing on alcohol and then quitting and that whole drama. That is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the courage to let go of having the buffer of drinking and to feel your emotions instead, to feel the desire, to process the urges, to go through that whole process.

On the other side of that is your life; the reason you want to drink in the first place. And you have to be really careful when you evaluate that life because what you’ll say is, “That’s not why I’m drinking. My life is good. That’s not why I’m overeating. My life is good.”

If your life is so good, have it without alcohol. Hold the overeating, if it’s so good, why do you need those things? Why do you need those extra over-pleasures in your life?

So, when I quit drinking, there were some things in my life that were not working. And mainly, I was living a life that was below my potential, that was below what I was capable of, was actually below what I wanted to do in terms of make a contribution. And drinking was helping me tolerate that truth.

When I quit drinking, I realized I didn’t want to tolerate that truth anymore. I wanted to go for it. I wanted to process emotion and move forward and go after my dreams. I didn’t need drinking to make the fact that I wasn’t going after my dreams tolerable. I needed to just go after them.

And those of you who’ve been following along on this podcast know that once I stopped drinking and started really being serious about cleaning up the things I was tolerating in my life, that is when truly I created my dream life.

When I look at my friends or I look at my students or my clients, they’re using subtle buffers to tolerate subtle things. I’m not mad at them about it. I don’t want to tell them not to do that or that they can’t do that; it’s their life. But what I do know is that they’re compensating for the life that they’re not living. They’re settling for something that’s less than what they want.

And I’m not talking about beating yourself up and pushing yourself and overworking and hustling. I’m actually talking about the opposite of that. I’m talking about dropping into your true desire.

I just read this great quote by Martha Beck and it said – I’m going to paraphrase it here, but what she said was, “The way to determine if you should go after a dream or not is not the possibility of failure but the depth of your desire.” And when you’re feeding your desire with over-pleasuring, when you’re answering the desire call with buffering instead of with your life, you’re missing out on the opportunity to access the depth of what you truly want.

When you don’t access what you truly want and you hack your brain by using pleasures, you miss out on you. You miss out on what you have to offer you. This is not narcissistic. In fact, the most narcissistic thing we can do is constantly, constantly, constantly indulge in our own pleasure.

When we release the over-pleasure and we access our true desire, the reason why that’s not narcissistic is the human desire is contribution; contribution to ourselves first so we can fill up that pitcher, and then contribution to evolvement for the world. That is how we are wired. Now, we can hack that with pleasure and over-pleasure. And a lot of us do. And we waste away our true desire.

So, I want you to look at your life and I want you to ask yourself, if you stopped buffering, how would you feel and why? Is it because you’re not working on your relationship? Is it because you’re not working on your business? Is it because you’re not writing your book, creating your videos, going back to school changing your job? What is it that the buffering is helping you tolerate that you shouldn’t be tolerating?

When you stop buffering, it’s much harder to ignore your true desires. You’re not drowning them out with alcohol or food or distraction. It’s harder to be around people you don’t enjoy. And I really do believe that who you spend your time with will determine the quality of your thinking, the quality of your inspiration, the quality of how much you expect of yourself.

And when you’re drinking to tolerate the people around you, you’re probably around the wrong people. When I quit drinking, so many of my friends changed. I was drinking with them, and to tolerate them. Now, listen, I’m not saying they weren’t drinking to tolerate me. They were. But it wasn’t serving any of us.

It’s harder to ignore the things that you genuinely want to do but don’t feel like doing. When you take out buffering, you’re willing to feel the emotions that you need to feel to fuel your dreams.

The other thing that happens when you stop buffering is you stop tolerating indecision. Indecision creates fatigue, not making decisions, going back and forth and back and forth on your decisions creates fatigue. It creates decision debt. I’ve talked about both of those in previous podcasts. It wears you out.

Remember, in the last podcast where I talked about power, all of our power is generated from decision, whether the decision is a success or a fail, you’re generating power by the active making of a decision. Making a decision is scary for many of us, and so we drink or overeat or go on Facebook instead.

When you buffer, you don’t hear the voices that are within you. You don’t hear the ones that want you to go against the grain. You drown them out with all of your buffering and you don’t hear the wisdom that’s asking you to be different, that’s asking you to be a thought leader, that’s asking you to stand out.

All of us have that within us. Whether we listen to it or not depends on whether we’re paying attention. We can’t pay attention when we’re buffering.

One of the things that many of us buffer to tolerate is the fact that we’re not normal. Most of you listening to this podcast who are interested in self-help, interested in the ideas that I present and teach here, you’re not normal and you think that’s a bad thing. Your brain is wired to belong, to be normal, to connect with others, to be part of a tribe.

And when you notice that you’re not normal and you don’t think like normal people think and you think differently and you want different things, it’s very frightening because it separates you from the crowd, which back in the day, meant death. And so, we drown out that voice.

But I want to tell you, I believe in the idea that what is within you if it’s not realized can ultimately destroy you because you will have to keep drinking more and more and more to drown out the voice, eating more and more and more, distracting more and more and more.

You’ll know if you’re using buffering to tolerate your life if you’re disorganized. Think about your bathroom drawer, your car, your kitchen, your office. If you’re disorganized, your brain does not like it. your brain likes order, simplicity, cleanliness. If you’re buffering, you’re trying to make yourself feel better about your disorganization. When you stop buffering, that disorganization becomes intolerable and you change it.

Think about it; if you look at your desk and it’s a complete mess, you have two options. You clean up the desk, or you go have a drink, or you get on Facebook, or you go look at Google photos. Those things will distract you from the disorganization. If you don’t distract yourself, you’re much more likely to change it.

Another clue that you’re using buffering to tolerate your life is to look at how responsible you’re being. Are you showing up? Is your ability to respond, or responsibility, your ability to respond on target? Do you lose your mind? Do you freak out? Do you get frustrated? Do you get overwhelmed easily? Are you not taking responsibility for your time, for your calendar, for your self-care, for your mind, for your emotions?

If you’re buffering, you most definitely aren’t. And that will show up in your life and it will look like a lack of responsibility because that’s exactly what it is. Your ability to respond is compromised by buffering, by ignoring.

Why do we buffer so much? Because it makes our lives tolerable. It’s a survival mechanism. It makes our life seem better. “I’m just going to have some cupcakes. I’m just going to have a nice meal with all of the things that don’t serve my body and I’m just going to have one drink, or I’m just going to skip this one workout, or I’m just going to watch these 50 things on Netflix.”

When we do that, we miss out on what is hard to tolerate. And what is hard to tolerate is important because it’s what we need to change. You deserve, and you have the desire, to connect, to contribute, and to create because you’re a human being. And if you spend most of your time consuming instead of creating, you’re going to need more and more and more buffering to tolerate that.

What I noticed, when I quit drinking completely, is that my life bloomed. I took care of business. The joy I get now from being responsible, from feeling my feelings, from contributing, from connecting, from creating is so far beyond any pleasure that I ever got from drinking. I can’t even compare them. They’re not even in the same universe.

When someone asks me if I mess drinking, I say, “Not in a million years.” I have no desire to feel the way I see some people feeling when they drink too much. I don’t need it because there’s nothing I’m tolerating in my life anymore. I take care of business right when it happens.

It’s made me less easygoing in a good way. When we drink, we don’t care as much about things. We’re not thinking about them as much. We’re overeating, we’re thinking and worrying about our bodies instead of thinking and worrying about our lives.

Your body is there to create your life, not to look at, and not to obsess over. It’s the vehicle for you to make that contribution that you want to make. Buffering isn’t just about the act of doing the escape, it’s about all the drama that buffering creates; the distractions, the sideline, the self-hate, the self-loathing, the self-frustration, the committing again and the broken promises and all that drama in a relationship with- ourselves keeps us from the fact that we’re not showing up in the way that we want to show up.

And we tell ourselves that it’s just because we’re not thin enough or we’re just drinking too much, or we’re just having fun, we’re just watching Netflix. We’re just doing all the things, that we’re just missing out on what we could be creating, the results we could be producing because we’re doing that.

Here’s the bummer about that; when you stop buffering, the layers of toleration will be revealed to you and they will come crashing down, and hard. Not only have you now had to drink more to tolerate the effects, the negative effects of your buffering, but all the reasons that you started buffering in the first place will still be there.

And you may be inclined to think, “Oh, life is better when I’ buffering. Life feels better when I’m buffering, when I’m just having a little bit here and there when I’m just escaping a little bit, that’s normal.” But inside, really, you’re screaming for something bigger and better and different.

Don’t let people tell you that your dreams aren’t realistic. Don’t let yourself tell you that. Don’t drown it out with buffering. Be willing to walk through that fire of emotion, that it will require you to go through when you give up buffering, the withdrawal that most of you will feel, and the pain of all the tolerations will come to the surface. This is a good thing, not a bad thing.

When you quit buffering, you should feel terrible because that’s the reason you’re buffering in the first place. But on the other side of terrible is the life that you’re meant to be living, is the life you could be living. It’s a complete release of beating the crap out of yourself. It’s a complete release to doing stuff that you know isn’t responsible, that you know isn’t the highest in self-care.

And what you will feel is this renewed energy, the renewed desire to go after the creation of your life instead of the reaction of your life. Instead of reacting to everything and solving emotions with buffering, you will start creating and contributing to yourself and to your life in a way that maybe you never have before.

One of the main things that I noticed as I gave up my layers of buffering, because you guys know that I have the layers of it, I started really heavily with the overeating, and then I went into the people-pleasing part of it, and then the overdrinking, and then now that I’ve completely quit all of that, I see other areas where I’m still buffering, where I’m still people-pleasing, where I am still trying to soften who I am and apologize to myself for wanting to be so big, wanting to create so much, wanting to contribute.

And it’s easy to say, “Well that sounds like such a noble thing to do; to want to create value for the world.” But it’s excruciating because you have to be willing to fail so hard. You have to be willing to put up with the hate, to show up, to fall on your face so many times. And to do that without any buffering is the challenge of all of our lives.

But fortunately for me, the more I do it, the more I learn, the more I can teach, the more I can contribute. And the same is true for you. So, look at your life. I don’t want you to look at the buffering as something that you’re tolerating.

I don’t want you to even think about the buffering or obsess about the buffering, or the effects of the buffering. What I want you to do is completely remove that from your mind for a minute and look at your life. What do you need to do to your life to make it better than anything you’re doing to escape it?

What needs to change? What do you need to stop tolerating? Where do you need to stop people-pleasing? Where aren’t you telling the truth to yourself and to others? Where are you going with the grain and trying to be normal and get society’s approval when really you should be rocking your own house down? You should be putting yourself out there in a way where people will love you, people will learn from you, people will change their lives from you.

My life now is summed up so beautifully like this. I got a Slack today from one of my students, from one of my certified coaches. She sent me a Slack and told me how much my work had changed her life. In fact, I’ll read it to you.

She said, “I just want to say thank you. Thank you for saving my life two years ago. I was in complete dread and misery. I wanted to change jobs from nursing to personal training, but even as a personal trainer, I felt miserable. In my misery, I found your podcast on Google and listened to your podcast episode number 22 on self-doubt and it seriously changed my life. I had never heard of life coaching, but everything you said changed me forever. I decided to become a certified life coach through LCS just two months later, and now I’m per diem as a nurse and work fulltime as a sugar craving coach. You have helped me to see what was possible for me in my life as an entrepreneur and as a person. 2019 was the most transformative year in my life. I can’t wait to make hundreds of thousands of dollars as a life coach this year. I’m so grateful for you and the tools you teach and for having the courage to put your content and lessons out into the world.”

That’s Charmaine Platon. She’s a sugar cravings coach. But the reason why I bring up her is because I received this email, which is such a huge amazing lovely thank you to me. For just showing up and doing my work in the world, I’m able to help someone else change their life. I’m able to help coach people through my podcast and through working with them in my coach training and with them in Scholars.

The same day, I also receive an email telling me that I should be more careful with what I tell people is possible in their lives and I should stop telling people that they can do whatever they want because it’s dangerous for them. So I get both, right?

I get the thank-yous, and I get the people that are hating on me, that think I’m doing it wrong, that want me to change it. And I welcome all of it. I don’t need to buffer against that because that is what my life is made up of and that’s what I’ve signed up for and I’ve done the work of knowing how to process emotion.

It doesn’t mean I don’t have it. it doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed when someone sends me an email and says they don’t love my work. It’s not that I don’t have to do coaching on my thoughts. It’s just that I’m willing to do it in order to create the life that I want.

What are you tolerating in your life that’s causing you to buffer? When you clean that up, your life will be so good. And that doesn’t mean 100% of the time you’re going to feel good, but it will be so good in that you’ll have the ability, the desire, the knowledge, the skill to be able to handle life as it is, which is 50-50. And the better you get at that, the bigger your life gets.

So, stop buffering in order to tolerate your life. Create the life of your dreams, my friends. Have a beautiful, amazing week. I’ll talk to you next week. Take care, bye-bye.

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