Ep #322: Connection Circle
Our views on relationships change as we enter different phases of our lives.
From being a child to a student to an adult with a career and even becoming a parent, our desire for different types of connection changes.
As I start the second half of my life, I’ve decided to be very conscious and deliberate with the relationships in my life.
In this episode, I share how my views on connection have changed over the years and why I’m choosing to be intentional about them now. I cover how our identities are influenced by relationships, and why the ability to love is one of the most important skills when it comes to connection.
Be sure you stay until the end where I share a snippet of an episode from my private podcast, Conversations with My Friends. This excerpt is from my conversation with Master Weight Loss Coach, Corinne Crabtree. You can listen to the full episode over in Self Coaching Scholars!
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What You will discover
- What it means to be conscious in our relationships.
- Why having an “identity crisis” can be a beautiful thing.
- Where the feeling of connection comes from.
- How to create your relationship circle to match your exact needs.
- How to figure out what’s missing from your current connections.
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 322.
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, welcome my friends. So happy for you to be here. Today, I’m going to share with you a snippet from my private podcast, Conversations with My Friends. Corinne Crabtree and I had an amazing conversation about our history with weight and weight loss and how we think about weight loss now and also a little bit of business sprinkled in.
You can access that in the private podcast area of Scholars. If you’re not a member of Scholars, join Scholars now to access it. I will show you a little snippet, you can listen in a little bit at the end of this podcast to that conversation.
Today, I’m going to talk about connection, but before I do, I just wanted to tell you about some documentaries that I’ve been watching. I’ve watched three in the past couple weeks that are fantastic. I watched the one on Hillary Clinton, which I think is on Hulu. I watched The Last Dance. I’m actually still watching The Last Dance. It still has two more episodes. That’s the one on Michael Jordan. And then I watched Becoming, which is the one on Michelle Obama.
And no matter what your politics are, and even if you don’t like sports, these are amazing documentaries. I feel so inspired when I look at people who have accomplished so much in their life and it makes me want to do more and to see what my one life can create. And when I watch documentaries like that, I feel very, very inspired.
So I want to recommend those to you. I especially find the one with Michael Jordan inspiring because they talk about him being really the best person that has ever done his job. I love that. And even when he was at the top of his game, the best of the best, he was still the hardest working one on the court. And everything that he went through is amazing.
I really enjoyed watching the one with Hillary Clinton because they talked a lot about what it was like for her growing up and how really far we have come in terms of women and what we’re able to do and our voices. And so I was just really inspired by a lot of that.
And it’s also really interesting to me to get someone’s firsthand perspective on something. Her voice and her talking about all of the experiences that she’s had in her life in America when her husband was president, when she was running for president. Her personal experience and how she thinks about it is just really fascinating for anyone to watch.
So I really enjoyed all of those. So for those of you who are sheltering at home, those are my recommendations. So good. Alright, let’s talk about connection. Now, I wanted to talk about this topic even though I covered it in depth this year in Scholars and we created a whole book on it, a whole training on it in Scholars.
So if you’re in Scholars, obviously, you may have already been exposed to this. You can’t be exposed to it too much. But I also wanted to share it with my podcast listeners because there’s so much that so many of us need to work on when it comes to our relationships and being conscious of our relationships.
Many of the conversions that I’m having with my friends, I think I’m up to recording 12 of them by now in the private podcast. We’re releasing them every couple weeks within Scholars.
My view on relationships at different times in my life has changed. And I’m at a point in my life right now where I’m really seeing the value of friendships. So I think I’ve gone from - if I look back through my life, there’s your family of origin, my family of origin, which was my whole life for a while. Part of a family, I’m a child in a family. And we had a blended family.
And then all of our friends within that extended family. So that was huge. Then I left and went to college and kind of created a new family of friends and a new identity and a new experience outside of my family of origin, which was a very healthy and natural progression.
And then I started my own family. And my identity got tied up in that family of origin for my children and creating that family with Chris and Christian and Connor. And for the past 20 years, that has really been where my identity is.
And now that my kids have gone to college and they’re adults now, I feel like I’m kind of having a second experience of kind of “leaving home” and re-identifying myself again. And so you can look at your own life, depending on where you are, you can see how we have these different identities, and if we do it consciously, we get to create the lives that we want.
Now, remember, the way that I define our identity is how we think about ourselves and our lives. And so I want to make sure that I do that in a very conscious way. And for so long, I was a child in a family. And then I was a student, and then I was an employee, and then I was an entrepreneur, and then I was a mother.
And all of those identities have really influenced and kind of led where I want to go in my life. And of course, I’ll always be an entrepreneur, I will always be a mother. I see those as identities that are not changing, but they just become less of the forefront.
And so as I’m kind of embarking on this next phase, it’s interesting because when I left my family of origin, I did some deep work on my life. And when I started a family, I did some deep work on my life. That’s when I really became a life coach and became my identity as a coach and an entrepreneur.
And now I’m really trying to take all of those identities and integrate them into really what I’m seeing as the second half of my life, which is crazy because I look at how much has already been done, how much I’ve already lived, how much I’ve already consumed, created, contributed in the first half of my life. I want to make sure that I'm really conscious and deliberate about the second half of my life.
And that’s why you’ve heard me talking a lot about what I call an identity crisis, which I don’t think is a necessarily negative thing. I think it’s when we question all our beliefs about ourselves. And I think the traditional identity crisis - my friend keeps saying, “Stop calling it an identity crisis. I’m worried about what that means for you because it always seems to end badly or a cheesy thing for people to experience.”
But I think an identity crisis can be a beautiful thing in terms of questioning everything about yourself and trying on new things. The cliché is the middle-aged guy that goes out and buys a Corvette and that’s looked down upon and starts dating younger girls and starts working out and all these things.
And I understand the cliché and I understand kind of looking down on it, but I also like to understand why does that happen. What is happening there in terms of our brain that we want to pay attention to and what do we want to ignore? What is important? And make sure that we do that consciously.
So if you go into Scholars and I hope that you will, the book on connection has Melody Forbes on the front of it. She’s a triple diamond Scholar. It’s a beautiful cover so I’d love for you to see that. And I just want to share with you the content that I created in this book for the Scholars and I want to share it with you because a lot of times I create new ideas and then as I coach on them, they get more developed and they have more kind of nuance to them as I start coaching on these ideas.
And connection has really been something that I’ve been working on a lot lately, and so I feel like as I’m applying this work to myself and really understanding it for myself, I’m able to teach it in a much better way. So I’m going to go ahead and read a little bit of this to you, and I’m reading off of page four.
“The importance of connection. Humans want connection. It’s in our DNA. We are a tribal species. We want to be included with others. You can see it in everything we do. When we are very young until exactly where you are right now. We are seeking connection and what we believe connection will give us.
This month, we will be exploring your connection history, programming, and desired circle. This work will be enlightening and empowering, but it also might bring up quite a few self-coaching opportunities so get ready. We’re going to begin with a very simple definition of connection.
Connection is when you feel the emotion of being connected with another human. It doesn’t have to be a specific type of connection. We’ll get into that later. It just needs to be the feeling you have when you think about them.
When we start talking about relationships, it’s often confusing to remember that our feelings of connection only ever come from our thoughts. We usually think that other people are making us feel a certain way or that we are feeling their feelings towards us.
I want to remind you that this is never the case. We don’t feel other people’s feelings. We can only feel our feelings. When someone says they love you, you feel love because of the thought you have when they say that. When you feel hurt, it is also because of your thinking.
So when we get more granular, you will understand that connection always comes from the way you were thinking about another person. This is wonderful news because you can become more connected to people by managing your thinking better. You don’t have to expect other people to change.
So if our thoughts cause our feelings of connection, it is important to understand our patterns of thinking and our programming when it comes to relationships. We’re going to spend a lot of time doing that this month, so I want to explain why it matters first.”
So if you’re in Scholars, you can go through this whole process, but I want to read to you the introduction of what prepares us for this process because I’ve had people talking to me about how impactful this part was for them, and I want to make sure that you get this in your mind really clearly so as you go out seeking connection or wanting to feel more connected in your life, you understand this.
“Lovability. We are taught how to love and how to think about relationships from a very young age. In our primary relationships, most often with our mothers, we learn to manage our feeling of connection as soon as we have the ability to think. Although there are many components of physical sensations and non-verbal touching in our younger years, we’re only going to go back as far as our memories, which are thoughts.
We’re going to explore who your first love teachers were and explore what you learned. Most often, the way you learned how to love yourself and others in these very early years will be the same basic way you love or attempt to love now.
If you had great early teachers, you will most likely love easily and have very secure and solid relationships. If your early lessons were less secure, you will most likely generate feelings of anxiety more easily than feelings of love. The work we do this month will not only make you more aware of this, but will help you change it drastically.
We call this your ability to love or lovability. Most people think about lovability as something determined by how good you are, how lovable you are. This is completely wrong. Your lovability is absolute. There are no dimensions to your lovability. You are 100% lovable. Period.
You are as lovable now as you will ever be. You don’t need to do anything differently or be different to be loved more. Here’s why. Your being loved is not about you. It’s about the person loving you. Your lovability has to do with the other person’s capacity to love you. Not who you are as a person.
If your parents didn’t love you, it was because they didn’t have the capacity to love you. Do not blame yourself for someone else’s inability to love you. The same is true if you are loved tremendously. It is an indication of the person loving you. Not you.
You are as lovable as the person’s ability to love. The only thing that can change how much someone loves you is their ability, decision, and capacity to love you. So relax. You’re infinitely lovable. You always have been.
But you will only feel that love if your ability to love yourself is high. If you have the skills and good programming of loving, you will experience your 100% lovable self. If you don’t have those skills, you will miss out on that experience.
This is also true of other people. Other people are all 100% lovable. Whether you feel that way toward them will depend on your ability to love. The higher your loving skill, the more love you will feel toward more people. It will not depend on how they behave. It will depend on your ability to love and love unconditionally.
I believe that the ability to love is one of the most important skills when it comes to feeling connected to others. The more we are able to love them, the more connected we feel. The more we love ourselves, the more we love others, the more connection we have all around.”
Okay, there’s a section here on unconditional love that I’m going to skip because I’ve talked a lot about unconditional love on the podcast. But what I want to talk to you about a little bit here is an exercise that we do in Scholars and it’s something you can be thinking about that I call your relationship circle.
“One concept that’s incredibly helpful is learning how to create a relationship circle that effortlessly meets all of your relationship needs. We too often want to find that one person who can take care of everything. We look for that person in our best friend or in our romantic partner or maybe in a parent. But I have found this can be a mistake.
For example, I have many desires when it comes to relationships. I personally want to have the following: intellectual banter and creation, meaningful challenges to my business goals and practices, visionary conversations about what is possible in business and life, physical connection and cuddling, a traveling companion, a parenting partner, a lover, someone to laugh hard with, someone who cares where I am at all times, someone to encourage me when I struggle, someone who cares about all the details of my life, a shopping companion, an eating companion, a secret confider, someone I can mentor and coach, a healthy relationship with my kids as their parent, student relationships, client relationships, a partner in my business who cares as much as me, a friend who is a mother, a friend who is an empty nester, a friend who is a CEO of a large company, a friend who is an amazing life coach, a coach.
Trying to find this in one person or expecting one person to do all of these things in my life is unrealistic. It causes me to try to make Chris, my husband, be everything. He doesn’t want to be all of these things. A relationship circle is a way to solve for all of these desires and needs. I simply do a want match.
I find people in my life who want what I want, where my needs match their desire. For example, I can find a friend who is a coach who really wants to be my friend but not my coach. Match. I can also find someone who wants to be my coach. Match.
These will be two different people and this lets Chris off the hook from having to be my coach when he isn’t a coach. He also doesn’t have to talk to me about coaching because that’s not what he wants to do. I can go through this list and find all the desires that Chris also desires. This would be all the things that I want that he really loves and wants to give too.
So if I want a great lover, he wants to be a great lover, match. I want someone who cares where I am, he always wants to know where I am, match. There are some things on this list he doesn’t want to do or can’t do. There are things on this list I want and don’t have a person who matches yet.
So instead of complaining to Chris to do them, I take it upon myself to go out into the world and find a new match, a new connection to add to my circle. I don’t have to break up with Chris in order to find a way to get all my desires met. I can simply expand my circle or deep connections, enrich my overall satisfaction of desires.
By creating a list of past connection, creating a list of what you want in your connections, and who you currently have in your life, you will be able to create a match list. You will see where in your life you can deepen your current connections, ask people for what you want and see if you have a match, and then you can find new connections for anything missing.
I am personally on this journey right now with my husband. Since our kids have left, we’ve both been working hard on what we want moving forward. This includes what we want from each other and what we want from other relationships.
I feel as if we’ve come up for air after raising our two beautiful boys and are rediscovering connection and love on an entirely new level. I look forward to you joining us this month and finding out for yourself what your deepest and most important connections are and how you can deepen each of them, including the one you have with yourself.
By listing your wants and desires and finding matches for them, you are taking care of your most primal need for connection and setting yourself up for the ultimate in self-care.”
Now, as I started, I reminded you that connection always only comes from our thinking about someone and our thinking about ourselves, and that lovability is always 100% for ourselves and for other people. And then in the next breath, I say find out what your matches are and go find people that you have want matches with and have relationships with those people.
Now, someone might ask me, “Wait a minute, if all I have to do to connect is change my thoughts about someone, why don’t I just do that?” And the answer is in order to find want matches, you do have to do that. You do have to change your thoughts about what’s possible. And the actions that you will take from those new thoughts will give you the feeling of connection before you even find that new person, before you even connect with a person who is a want match for you.
And so I think it’s important to remember that as we consciously go out into the world to create relationships and connections with people, we are the ones that are creating the thoughts that deliver the actions. And it’s so delightful to meet someone who creates that space where those thoughts come easy to us.
Where the thoughts about the person are automatic and easy and triggered in a way that makes it almost effortless to feel connected. That’s not to say that the other person is creating the connection because they’re simply giving you opportunities to think. But I don’t want you to get too caught up in the technicality of that.
I don’t want you to get too bogged down with, “Wait, how I’m feeling right now isn’t about the other person, it’s only about my thoughts so I shouldn’t give them credit.” Don’t do that to yourself because that’s not useful.
The only time really understanding that your thoughts are creating a disconnection is when you’re having conflict or a problem. When everything is going well and the thoughts are coming effortlessly and you’re going out there and you’re understanding what your own desires and your own wants are and you’re finding want matches, you will be able to create this circle of connection and circle of friends and circle of people in your life that up-level your thinking and up-level the way that you think about yourself and others.
And that is what I have been finding as I’ve been doing this work. As I’ve been meeting new people and understanding what my new desires are as part of this new phase in my life and really being brave enough to go out there and inquire with people, “Hey, do you want to be my friend? Do you want to be connection? Do we have this want match?” It has been an incredible journey in self-discovery for me.
And not just in self-discovery as I’ve been learning about myself, but as in self-discovery of learning what there is in the world. And learning about a lot of relationships and a lot of conversations and a lot of experiences that are new and different for me and I’m enjoying so much.
I was talking to my friend Todd about this and you’ll be able to listen in on that conversation and I was telling him that it feels really awkward to make friends at 47 and to really like someone and then ask them kind of on a friend date, “Hey, you want to go another date,” with some of my girlfriends.
And one of the things that he said was, he’s like, “But you have to remember that person wants to be asked on a date. That girlfriend of yours wants you to ask them. They may not want to spend time with you, but we all want to be wanted.”
And I loved that he said that because even if the person says no, they’re not going to be mad at me for asking, right? It’s just the offer of my friendship to them. And what I’ve noticed is that I have these new friends that I’m like, okay, I want to have a date once a week with you and we’ve been setting up these dates once a week and I really look forward to hanging out with her and talking to her and being with her and kind of this new friendship, getting to know each other kind of way.
And it’s added this great dimension to my life, while at the same time still having my friends that I already talk to every day and already have such a deep connection to. It’s broadening that for me and making my life come alive in a way that I haven’t been consciously creating for a long time.
And I’m not beating myself up for that at all. I’m just excited about this new adventure. So wherever you are in your life, I want to invite you and encourage you to make a list of what is it you want in terms of people, connection, relationships.
And see how many that you already have and really be thankful and excited and appreciative of that that you already have. And then see if there’s anything that you don’t yet have that you consciously want to create in terms of your circle of friends and your circle of connection of people.
One of the things that I’ve really, really wanted and started craving are more local in-person relationships. I have a lot of very good friendships. My longest best friend in the world, Erica, lives in California. She lives far away from me and I don’t talk to her that much.
She’s like my sister friend. She’s like, my friend that I can rely on no matter what and she knows everything about me. All the details. But I don’t have as many friends locally that are close by that I’m really close to that I connect with on a regular basis.
And it’s mainly because I’m an introvert and I hide from people, which makes it very hard to make friends locally. So I’m really excited about the new place that we have in Austin because I’m meeting a lot of new people there and I want to create new rituals and new connections there so I can have more of a regular in-person gathering type consistent relationship of friends - circle of friends that I connect with.
So what is it for you? What is it that you want in your life? What are you craving? And instead of craving that and wanting that and feeling bad that you don’t have it, I really want to encourage you to create a plan to create it. And let’s do this together. And we can create these rich social environments that only have to look the way you want them to.
Like for me, I don’t want dozens of friends. I don’t want too many people. I’m an introvert, so too much energy is too much energy. It’s too tiring for me. But a small group of close friends that can meet and get together locally is something that I’m really looking forward to creating for myself.
And so what is it that you’re looking forward to creating? If you’re in Scholars, tell me about it. I want to hear about it. Talk to me about it. I want to know what you’re creating so we can be on this journey together. Alright my friends, have a beautiful, amazing week and please enjoy this snippet of me and Corinne Crabtree.
Corinne: Once I lost my weight, I learned the necessary skills to be able to build a business. Now, it took a long time but I needed that long time. I think I needed that runway of figuring out stuff. But when I was losing weight, I was for the first time really focused on who I was becoming. I remember so many diets, running away from myself. Just hating myself so much.
Brooke: So interesting.
Corinne: Yeah. Because I would have conversations like we really need to eat this because we’re such a fuck up and if you do this, you’re never going to - it was such a different energy. And this second time - when I say second, but the last time basically. It was not the second for sure.
Brooke: Let’s be clear.
Corinne: 200th. But I remember being more - the conversation in my head when I would think about what I was going to do and everything was always about who I wanted to be. I stayed very focused on that. If I was going to make a decision about food or if I was going to make a decision about anything that I was going to do or when I would weigh, I would immediately go to how is that going to help me this week? And what am I going to be doing?
I stayed real focused in that direction. I’ve always done the same thing. I started my business literally on a couch with a busted laptop that I had been given by my old employer. It was so old that they didn’t even want it when I left. Just said you can have this shit.
And I would sit there and I would answer questions on a Weight Watchers message board because it was the only message board that people talked about weight back in the day. This was like, 12 years ago. And I just would think about how was I going to help people.
I knew that I wanted - at some point, I wanted to help other women lose weight, and I was always thinking about well, how am I going to do that? And I would think about if my goal is to eventually help a lot of women lose weight, what’s the next step? I just didn’t think about like, well, that didn’t work. Every failed website, everything that didn’t work, I never thought about it as well, that didn’t work.
Brooke: I should give up.
Corinne: Yeah. I would just be like, okay, if that’s not working, what will? What’s the next thing? And I do the same thing to this day.
Brooke: Yeah. You know what’s funny about that is first of all, someone comes to you and is like, okay, you have a 12-million-dollar business, how long did that take? Oh okay, it took eight years, well, screw that. Nobody says that. Everyone’s like, you have a 12-million-dollar business? I don’t care how long it took you, that’s amazing, right? And I’ve often thought that I should sell a program called The Five-Year Weight Loss Plan or The Hard Way to Lose Weight.
Corinne: I like The Hard Way to Lose Weight. Because like, somebody would stop and be like, I think I’ve been doing that. Is there actually a diet?
Brooke: The hard way to lose weight that’s permanent, or the five-year weight loss plan or whatever because five years sounds like a ridiculous long amount of time to lose weight, but if you were willing to sign up for that program and give yourself five years to lose 100 pounds, you could do it the right way.
You wouldn’t be rushing it, you wouldn’t be quitting because it didn’t work in three weeks. I have five years. I don’t need the scale to go down by five pounds a week. And I feel like it’s the same with business. Everyone wants to make $100,000 their first year. And I get it and that’s possible, and I want you to try and do that. But if you can’t, who cares if it takes you eight years?
In eight years, you’re going to be a millionaire. You’re going to have millions of dollars. But it’s because we’re in such a hurry to feel better. We’re in such a hurry to get to that place where we’re not who we are right now.
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.