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What is stopping you from living your best life?

You might feel safe and comfortable in your job, your relationship, your city. But are you alive?

It’s so common for us to want to stay in our caves and do everything we can to maintain our comfort. To avoid heartbreak and failure. But this stops us from going after our biggest dreams and creating our fullest lives.

Friends, living your best life means running full force towards heartbreak and failure.

In this episode, I share how I wake up every day and choose to live my best life, and how you can do the same. I’m not saying there won’t be pain and discomfort; in fact, I hope there is. But what you hear today will show you why experiencing pain is worth it when you can also experience immense joy.

I want you to live a life full of both. Are you in?

What you will discover

  • The main way I see my clients wearing themselves out.
  • Why I want my journey to include heartbreak.
  • What to do when people try to stop you from changing.
  • What to do when your heart breaks.
  • What I believe living your best life looks like.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

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

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.

Hello, my friends. So, the sound may be a little bit different on this one because I have my headphones in, my iPod – or what are they called? I don’t know. Those little headphones that you stick in your ears. And I’m driving back from Denver to my house in Vail. And I wanted to record a podcast.

I have a two-hour drive and I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to live your best life. A lot of people lately have been saying to me, “You are just living your best life. And I’m here for it.” And watching me live my life, a lot of my friends, watching me live myself and being just so excited for me.

And it’s astounding that I’m making all these choices and doing all these things just for myself and for what I want to do in my life and create in my life. And it’s got me thinking a lot about what some of us do to not live our best lives, to not step into that full version of a full technicolor life that includes so much positive and so much negative, but is so alive.

And what I’ve really come to realize is that when we want to live our lives on fire, we have to be willing to grind out the pain. We have to be willing to have our hearts broken. We have to be willing to fail. We have to be willing to see what we’re made of.

And that is not an easy ask of ourselves. And so, I want to talk about how we can all do that more, how I’ve been truly doing my best to do that in my own life so I can find all the nooks and crannies and areas in my life where I’m not yet healed, where I am still compulsive, where I’m not showing up as the fullest version of myself.

And I want to say that, from the outside, a lot of my friends have just been like, “Oh my gosh, your life is so amazing and so exciting and so fun.” But it’s also super challenging and painful and heartbreaking too. It’s that balance that I’m willing to invite into my life that I think makes my life so great.

And I have one of my friends, she said, “Your life looks exhausting to me.” She’s like, “You have so much going on. You’re doing so many different things. You’re showing up in such big, strong ways that it looks like it could be tiring.”

And I thought a lot about that. I’m like, “Am I exhausted?” And I think there’s two ways to be exhausted. I think there’s two ways where we wear ourselves out. And one of them, one of the main ways that I see my clients, y’all, wearing yourself out is by ignoring your dreams, ignoring your true desires, ignoring what your soul is calling you to do. That is exhausting.

It requires a lot of buffering. It requires a lot of resistance. It requires a lot of lying to yourself. And what I mean about that – and I did a podcast on this, I think it was two episodes ago, about how knowing what you want is very scary. Especially when you’re comfortable.

You’re comfortable in a job. You’re comfortable in a relationship. You’re comfortable in a home, in a state, wherever you are. You’re comfortable there, but you have this nagging. You have this urging for something more, for something different.

And you want to ignore that because you know that it will probably destroy that level of comfort that you currently have. Which for many of us is an illusion because we’re pretending because we’re using a lot of buffering. We’re using a lot of false pleasure in order to maintain our current lifestyle when our desire is bigger than what we have.

And so, I think for me, when I get that urge, when I listen to myself and I get that nudging for more, for different, for bigger, for more expansive, for more evolving, I cling to what I currently have, usually. And for someone whose life is pretty fantastic already, I think it’s even more challenging to listen to that nudge.

So, when I get that nudge, “No, no, no, I don’t want that. I want to stay here in this cuddle, in this comfort, in this basking in this sunray. I don’t want to leave this feeling of comfort in order to go to the next version of myself.” Because in many instances, that upheaval, that identity change is excruciatingly painful.

And the reason why it’s painful is because of how our brains have evolved to seek safety and to maintain status quo and to stay safe. And so, when we leave the comfort of our caves – and we all have many caves. When we leave the comfort of our caves, we feel very exposed and very vulnerable.

And the way that I like to describe it is we leave that warm, cozy fire, that cave, because there’s an urging for us to go out into the world, to go out of the cave, to see what’s out there. And all we’re filled with is uncertainty and doubt.

We don’t know which way to go. We don’t know when we’ll ever find another cave. We don’t know what is around the next corner. We don’t understand the dangers that we’ve now exposed ourselves to. And our brain starts to panic because it is designed for survival.

And when it doesn’t understand new things and it doesn’t understand what’s around the corner and it isn’t able to anticipate the dangers, its job is to tell us to run back into the cave.

And I know this firsthand that that desire is so strong, that need to evolve is so strong. But also, the fear and the urge to run back into the cave is so strong.

So, when you have that cognitive dissonance, when you’ve made a decision to make a change in your life, to evolve, to do something new, you’re going to have this cognitive dissonance. It’s like having these two competing thoughts in your brain creates a tremendous amount of anxiety and panic.

And the better you get at being able to manage that, the better you get at being able to tolerate that, the resilience that comes from doing it over and over again, the more expansive your life will become, the more caves you’ll be able to experience, the more journeys, the more trails, the more experiences you will be able to have in your life.

Now, many times, people will say to me, “I don’t want to leave my cave,” and insert whatever that is; your current job, your current relationship, your current home. And that is absolutely valid.

And when you feel like you’ve reached the promise land in terms of you’ve taken a long journey and found a cave that feels warm and comfortable and there is no nudging inside of you, there is no urging inside of you to go out and explore more, to go out and journey more, that’s a beautiful thing.

I’m not suggesting that we should always be going onto the next thing at all. What I’m suggesting is that we tap into a level of awareness about ourselves where we can differentiate true desire, true urging, consistent knocking on our soul to expand versus urges that are about hiding and buffering and not expanding.

And I am very thankful that the work that I have done in my life has made it so if there is a calling for me, if there is an urging, a nudging for me from what I would call the universe, it’s very challenging for me to ignore it.

I have a low tolerance for buffering anymore. I have a low tolerance for ignoring myself. And what that has required me to do is step into the next level, the next goal, the next version.

I’ll give you an example with my business. So, the Life Coach School right now is a beautifully functioning machine. It is filled with high-caliber hard-working employees that love working there, that show up for work, and produce at the highest level and are challenged consistently to evolve.

We have, I think, the best school in the world. We train the best coaches. I think we have the best value coaching program in Self-Coaching Scholars that you can find anywhere on the planet. I don’t think any other program offers what we offer for the price that we offer at the caliber that we offer.

Being able to get coaching and all of the classes and all of the live coaching and all the one-to-one coaching, it’s just like there’s no competition to it.

To just maintain the Life Coach School as a $50 million business is very safe and comfortable and lovely. The idea of that is lovely. It doesn’t require us as a team to evolve as much as it does to have a goal of us making $100 million, of us doubling our current revenue. In order for us to double our current revenue, we have to think higher. We have to think in a higher quality. We have to think more creatively. We have to challenge ourselves so much more.

We have to fail more. We have to have our hearts broken more. And so, it’s like the current cave, we could all just stay in and have a really good cuddle with very little threat to any of our self-doubts. But because we have a goal of doubling, we’re all a little bit uncomfortable all of the time, asking ourselves for more and better and higher.

And the trick becomes, can we ask more of ourselves, can we leave the cave and evolve without destroying ourselves? Without doing it at our own expense?

I see a lot of the other extreme of people running from cave to cave panicking, trying to find the solution to happiness and burning themselves out incredibly hard because they think there’s something terribly wrong with them because they haven’t arrived at 100% happiness yet.

And of course, you all know that’s not what I’m asking of us as individuals, or of myself. What I’m asking of myself is, what is the highest best version of my life? In every single area, can I ask more of myself? Do I deserve an opportunity for more here? What is it I really genuinely want, if the world was a perfect place where I could have whatever I want?

The answer scares us, right? Sometimes, we just want, “Can’t we just be happy with what we have? Why do we have to put ourselves in harm’s way?” But in order to live my very best life, I want to listen to all those true, deep desires. I believe that they’re there for a reason. They’re there as an invitation for the best version of my own life. And sometimes, I’ll look at, like as a metaphor, I’ll look at three different mountains I can find. And one of them is easier and faster and I complete sooner. But the other one is higher and more complicated and requires a lot more technical skill, the view from the top will be so much better.

And it’s so tempting to take the shorter mountain, for me. And there’s no shame in doing that. There is no shame in doing that. But the question becomes, what is the view that I want? When I get to the top of the mountain, I want to be the strongest version of myself. So, the higher the mountain, the stronger I’m going to get. The more complicated the terrain, the more skills I’m going to get.

Yes, it will take me longer. Yes, it won’t be as comfortable. But when I am there, I will have changed who I am as a human in accepting the invitation to it. And so, the point isn’t to make life hard for hard’s sake. The point is to find the goal that would make your heart sing the loudest.

If it could come true, would you be willing to let go of what you currently have in order to explore the opportunity of getting what you most desire? Is it worth the attempt even if you fail? Will you honor yourself more for having tried to live the very best version of yourself, versus accepting what you already have?

I’m not talking about ambition. I’m not talking about pushing yourself for the sake of proving something to the world. I’m talking about taking the chance for yourself because you love yourself that much, because you want to see what you can do, you want to support yourself in expanding to that next level.

So, for me, going through heartbreaking circumstances, making heartbreaking choices and going through the pain of that has been, for me, when I listen to my true desire, has been the journey that I want to take. It has been worth it. It has been the way that I live my life, where I leave people better than I found them. I leave myself better than I have found myself in the past.

And I think about Dan Sullivan all the time, “Is your future going to be better than your past?” Are you going to be able to look back on your past and see how far you’ve come, to see that you are a deeper, richer, more expansive version of yourself this year than you were last year?

And if you cling to what you already have, the success that you already have, the goals that you already have, the people that you already have and you’re not willing to expand into that next version of yourself, I don’t think you’ll be any less happy. Because I think life’s always going to be 50-50. But I think you will have a different perspective, a different view from a higher mountain. And for me, that is worth it.

When you ask yourself the question, “What are you truly capable of?” when you meditate on that, when you think about that, what comes up for you? Are you willing? Are you able? Are you courageous enough to hear the answer to that question?

And if you are, I promise you there’s going to be a storm of opinions, of other people telling you that you shouldn’t do that, that that’s not okay, that that’s not normal, that that’s not healthy, to make your own choices that aren’t in line with societal norms, that aren’t typical, that aren’t standard.

But I think that’s part of it. It’s part of it to have the dissention around you. In order to be extraordinary, you have to do something extraordinary. And because all of our collective brains want to stay safe, we all want to stay in the tribe, we all want to stay together so no one’s in danger, it’s normal for friends and people around you to try and keep you the same.

We don’t want to hold that against them. We don’t want to be mad because they’re not supporting us. We want to understand that that’s just their brain’s call to safety as well.

But what I’m challenging you to do is listen to your deepest heart’s desire and notice what you’re afraid of. You don’t even have to take action. Just go through the process of understanding, what is it that you’re afraid to know? What is it you’re afraid to do? What do you think will happen if your heart breaks?

Here’s what I found out. When I allow my heart to break for the right reasons, for the next evolution, it gets stronger in the healing of it. And when I allow my heart to break and I survive that and I recognize that I am stronger for it, I open myself up to the next one.

Listen, the reason your heart breaks because you failed at your business or your relationship ended or somebody died or an experience didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to is because you opened yourself up to life in the biggest way.

And when you allow that to happen and you don’t fight it and you don’t resist it, you’re willing to do it again and again and again. And if heartbreak is just a reflection of how deeply you love and how big you loved, then you want to do it again over and over again.

I want to open myself up for failure. I want to open myself up for that deepest, hardest, most beautiful success, beautiful love, beautiful connection. Even though I may get my heart broken again, I know I can survive it.

And at the end of my life, instead of saying, “I avoided getting my heart broken,” I want to say, “My heart was full and big and broken often. I’ve put myself in harm’s way to live the biggest life I possibly could, to love the most people I possibly could.”

Because I opened myself up to this business, to sharing myself with all of you, I get to love millions of you. Literally millions of people, I get to love through my podcast. I get to put that love out into the world. I get to love my family and my friends and my lovers and my relationships.

And the people I meet once, I get to love that. And I know that if my heart is broken, I know that if someone lets me down or I let myself down that I will heal from that and I will recover from that. I will never let any heartbreak – no matter what it’s about – prevent me from opening up my heart to love again.

And when we see our lives that way, when we see our lives as inevitably painful when we live big, and inevitably ecstatic when we live big, then we will be open to all of it. And that is what I believe. That is my personal opinion of what living your best life looks like.

I’m showing up for all of it. I’m being there for all of it. Living your best life doesn’t mean you put your ducks in a row and find a way to be happy as much as you possibly can by not getting your heart broken. Your best life is so much richer than that. It has so many more flavors than that.

It has ups that are so high, your head feels like it’s going to explode. You’re so in love with your life and the world and the people around you. And it’s so low that you have to dig into the deepest part of your strength to even just get up in the morning.

That, to me, is not exhausting. That, to me, is living with the nature of how we were created, understanding how the brain works, understanding that the pain is caused by the way our brain has evolved, not because the world is a scary dangerous place and we should stay in the cave.

There are so many opportunities that are available to each of us. And what I find the most delicious and the most fascinating is that the opportunities that I’m being called to are probably different than the opportunities that you’re being called to.

I have clients come to me that want me to help them figure that out. I can’t listen to the whispers of your heart. I don’t know what your soul is telling you. But you can find out by just questing down the noise, running some models and understanding that whatever it is that you can dream matters.

And if you find a dream within you that feels impossible, that’s the one. That’s the one that you need to start showing up for.

I was just talking to my friend Ryan the other day and he was saying to me, I have such a strong belief in myself in terms of what I can do with my art of coaching and what I can do in terms of making money in my business and helping people. But there are other areas in my life where I have so much more self-doubt and I have so much more worry and so much unhealed pain.

And for me, it’s so astounding to him because it’s like so clear for him to see my brilliance and my excellence in all the areas. But I can’t see it in myself as much.

And the same is true for me with him. I can see in him how much potential and how easy his life could be if he showed up in that way and believed in himself.

And so, instead of hiding, I want to hear what he has to say about where he sees me holding myself back, where he sees me choosing comfort instead of excellence, where he sees me settling instead of going for what I actually really truly genuinely want for myself.

And so, I wanted to give you all that same kind of pep-talk that he gave me, that same encouragement, that same nudge forward. This is possible for you. Your dream is possible for you.

You can live the very best version of your life if you’re willing to be in pain half the time. Which, just a note, you’re going to be in pain half the time anyway, my friends. That’s how the world works.

You’re either going to be in the pain of regret for not listening to yourself, the pain of hangovers after buffering, the pain of lethargy because you’re not allowing your life force to truly flow through you, or the pain of living your very best life.

Who’s coming? Who wants to live their very best life? People are going to point their fingers at us. People are going to tell us we’re doing it wrong. People are going to criticize us for the choices that we’re making. Our heart is going to get broken over and over and over.

And do you know what I have to say to that? Let’s effing go. Let’s do it. Come on. Have a beautiful week, everyone. Talk to you soon. Bye.

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