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Our thoughts run our lives.

They create our emotions, actions, and ultimately, our results.

When you get good at noticing your thoughts, labeling thought errors, and generating more useful thoughts, there is nothing you can’t do.

To shift thoughts that don’t serve us into ones that do, we need to learn how to sit with discomfort.

We need to practice bringing awareness to our thoughts, allowing negative emotions, and shifting to a more positive attitude.

That’s what I explore in this week’s Best Of episode.

Hear why trying to find the source of your negative thought isn’t useful, why postponing fear creates more fear, how to label your thought errors, and more.

What you will discover

  • How to become the observer of your thoughts.
  • Why you can’t just swap your thoughts to avoid an emotion.
  • The difference between resting and being lazy.
  • Why I don’t suggest searching for the source of your thought.
  • The only way to change the results in your life.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast, episode number 468.

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.

Hey everyone, Pavel Amelishko here, Brooke’s podcast producer. This week on the show we’re doing another best of the podcast episode and revisiting some of the most impactful topics like sentences that run our lives, mastering and managing thoughts and feelings, accepting all aspects of ourselves, creating results that you want in your life, and generating a stronger why that will get you to the finish line of achieving your goal no matter what life or your brain throws at you.

Now, I’m super excited for you to dive into this content, so here we go.

There is a sentence at the base of your life that drives all of your actions. And we’re calling these power sentences. And they’re power sentences because they’re very powerful in your life and they usually have a lot of sister and brother sentences associated with them.

And you may not even realize it if you’re not living consciously. I wasn’t living consciously before understanding my own mind, so I didn’t even know that thoughts were running me. And many of the thoughts running our lives are unconscious, negative, pre-programmed and inherited.

So for a big portion of my 20s I would say that my main thought, completely unconscious, that I didn’t even know was there was “I’m not good enough.” And I was constantly spinning with this thought, “I’m not good enough” under the surface of my mind and trying to outrun it, and trying to outperform it, and trying to escape from it, and trying to buffer against it, while at the same time always making an effort from a place of scarcity to be better than I was. From a place a rejection of who I actually was.

And I was extremely negative in my own brain towards myself and I had a really hard time sustaining any success. And had I known that this was just a sentence in my mind driving me, I could have fixed it a lot earlier. But I just thought I was trying to create a life for myself. I just thought I was trying to do my best. Really that’s what consciously I was thinking. But really, there was this underlying thought, “I’m not good enough.”

And what we do when we have these underlying sentences that are driving our feelings and our actions and results, is we are inadvertently creating evidence for these very thoughts. Because when you have a sentence in your mind, you feel that sentence, you act that sentence. And when you act that sentence, you create that result.

And then you look at the result and you look around your life and you’re like, “Wow, this sentence is true. Look at all the evidence I have. I’m not good enough here. I can’t lose weight. I can’t keep this job. I can’t keep a boyfriend. These people keep treating me terribly. I keep treating me terribly. I’m not good enough.” I had so much proof which just kept cementing this unconscious belief in my mind. This sentence that was just running in my brain that I had picked up when I was very young.

So what we need to do with all of the people in the world who want change in their lives but don’t understand how powerful their own sentences in their brains are, is we have to help them uncover these sentences so they realize that they’re just optional. They’re just optional sentences in their brain that they can choose to change.

Step one is always awareness. And when you find out the difference between looking at a thought that you believe is true, and looking at a sentence in your mind that’s optional, that’s when your life changes.

So an unintentional feeling is what we would call an unconscious negative emotion. So if you’ve been going through your life and you’ve just been feeling anxious, or you’ve just been feeling frustrated, or you’ve been feeling depressed, or ugly, or stupid, or any of these things that some of us create for ourselves without even knowing it. And then we discover that wait, the reason I’m feeling this way is because of the thought that I’m having. I’m going to get rid of this thought right away and replace it and feel better right away.

And in the beginning, that’s what everyone does and it’s a beautiful thing because it helps you understand the power of your own thinking. But when you allow for negative emotion, when you hold space for it and you process it and you don’t try to eliminate it, something even more magical happens. You start to realize that there is no emotion that you can’t feel.

And when you open up your palate, when you open up your ability and your capacity to feel all emotions, you open up an emotional access route, an emotional intelligence, that makes you less afraid of being in the world. Specifically, less afraid of being your amazing, unique, authentic self.

So if you’re not afraid to feel frustrated, if you’re not afraid to feel afraid, if you’re not afraid to feel humiliated, you are going to show up in your life in such a more powerful way. You’re going to take bigger risks and set bigger goals because you’re willing to go through the emotions that will present themselves when you’re living your life out loud.

If you’re constantly trying to swap thoughts so you can get out of negative emotion, you don’t learn how to feel on purpose. You don’t start to understand that emotions aren’t for avoiding, emotions aren’t for running away from, emotions are part of the experience of being alive. And there is no emotion that isn’t able to be felt by you.

And when you’re in an emotion that you’re willing to feel, the obviousness that you’re creating it with your mind becomes even more, I would say astounding. And you watch yourself think a thought, feel a feeling, think a thought, feel a feeling. And you start recognizing that powerful connection between your thoughts and your feelings. And that’s when it becomes easier to not just process a feeling all the way through, but also to let that thought go.

When you start feeling a negative vibration, when you start feeling urges, when you start feeling compulsions to get out of negative emotion, I want you to just be aware of that. Just notice it. Just notice that you are rejecting 50% of your life. That is painful, that is uncomfortable.

And when you do that, when you cover that up with some buffering, maybe you pick up your phone, maybe you go eat something, maybe you drink something, maybe you pop a pill, you go to the place that is away from your current reality and your current emotional life. What’s important to remember is that emotion is not going away, it’s simply just being pushed away. It’s being repressed and you are escaping it.

When you are done with your escape, that emotion will still be there. And you will probably also have now, the consequence of the buffering of the escape. The negative effect of that will now be compounded on top of the negative emotion.

So one of the things that is very simple to think about as an idea is when you start to feel a negative emotion, you start feeling a compulsion or an urge to escape it, just stop. Let the emotion be there. Let the urge be there. Let the discomfort be there. And one of the ways, here’s the art of allowing it to be there, is to witness it. To become the observer of it.

And the way that we do that is by describing it. Because when you go into your intellectual mind to describe an emotion, you get some relief from that emotion. And you notice yourself experiencing that emotion, so you recognize that you are not it. You are the pure energy that is experiencing it, but you are not it.

And that is a very important observation and distinction to make because when you can watch yourself have an emotion, you don’t feel like you’re at the mercy of it. Here are some tips. Say, “This is,” and then name the emotion. This is shame. This is frustration. This is pain. This is grief. This is loss. This is longing. What is the emotion that you are experiencing? Name it.

Then the next step is to describe it as a vibration in your body. Describe it to yourself as you are observing it. I feel it in my chest. I feel it in my stomach. I feel it in my limbs. I feel it in my heart. I feel it in my throat. I feel it in my eyes. Where do you feel this emotion? What is this emotion?

And once you’ve really kind of embodied the emotion and described it, then you can ask yourself what is the thought causing it? And if you notice that the thought causing it is something that you believe, that it’s something that’s true, that it’s something that’s valid.

So for example, if you’ve lost a pet, if you’ve lost a loved one, you may be feeling grief. You may be feeling sad. And if you recognize that the thought is I will miss this pet. I will miss this person. I already miss them. I wish they hadn’t died, whatever. Those might be thoughts that you want to be having, genuinely want to be having and want to be feeling. And in that case, just keep opening up to the emotion.

Now, other times you’re going to start processing the emotion and observing it and feeling it. And you’ll notice that the thought causing it is not a thought you want to be having. Maybe I’m not good enough, or this will never work or I am failing or a thought that’s just not useful. Or that person doesn’t like me. Or that person doesn’t care. Nobody likes me or whatever.

And if you notice that the thought that you’re thinking is not a thought that is serving you, just notice it. Don’t try and change it right away. Just be like, “Huh, I wonder why I’m thinking this. This thought is not serving me.” And what I do at that point is I just say, “This is a thought error. This is a thought error. This is a thought error.” That’s it.

And as I say that, it releases. It relaxes. It doesn’t grip onto my brain so hard. And the emotion that I’m feeling seems to lose all of its intensity. It’s just a sentence in my mind causing a vibration in my body. It is a thought error. It is not a thought I want to be having. It’s not a thought I believe that is true. It is simply a thought error. That’s okay, I can let it go now.

I see this with so many students who are doing thought downloads and who are doing models with negative thoughts, and especially recurring negative thoughts. And they’re trying to figure out why they’re thinking the way they are. Why am I having these thoughts? And for some reason, this feels productive to try and discover the source of it.

And one of the questions that I like to ask is why are you choosing to think this right now? So instead of trying to find out where did this thought come from? When did I start believing this? Why is this even happening? None of that is as important as why am I making this choice to think this thought today? And sometimes just asking that question will help reveal that you don’t have to make that choice if you don’t want to.

But beyond that, trying to discover the source of negative thoughts can be very unproductive. Because what I have seen people do is they start trying to find out what is wrong with them that they would think these negative thoughts. And as soon as you start asking the question, “What is wrong with me? What went wrong with me that I’m thinking these negative thoughts” is you start going down this rabbit hole of negative discovery and trying to find negative evidence against yourself.

And I’ve just never found this to be a productive way to spend your time, by asking what’s wrong. So I want to recommend that you don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out why you’re thinking a thought, where it came from. You simply ask yourself why you’re choosing it now and see that it’s optional to choose it now or not.

That being said, just noticing, huh, my brain is having this thought. This is how it feels. Processing the emotion, not reacting to it. And then choosing whether you want to let it go or not. That is the most productive way I know of how to do thought work, trying to get to the meaning behind it.

Or some people will say to me, “Well, I want to get to the underlying thought, like the deeper thought.” I promise you the deeper thought is always that I’m not worthy. It will always lead you to I’m unlovable. I’m unworthy. People don’t like me. Right?

You’re always going to go to these recycled thoughts that all of us seem to have about ourselves. And I find those thoughts to be very challenging to unwind. I think the more specific thoughts that we’re having on a day to day basis are the ones that can actually help us make the most progress if we can hold space for them to be there.

So don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out the why or the source. Just understand this is the thought I’m having right now and this is a choice. And I can choose to keep believing this, or I can choose to not believe it. But I don’t even have to understand why I originally thought this.

I know a lot of therapy helps us discover the origins of some of our belief systems. And that can be helpful, and you’ll know that it’s helpful because you’ll feel yourself progressing. You’ll feel yourself understanding and moving forward.

What I’m talking about is the constant asking why, that doesn’t have any answer, that doesn’t have any source, that doesn’t have any cause, and is always just leading to something being wrong with you. That and then ultimately beating yourself up for feeling that way. And then trying to avoid that emotion. That is very unproductive. And so don’t get caught in the trap of trying to figure out why.

So here’s my suggestion to you, sit down one day and write down what you don’t like about yourself. And try to be playful with it and try to be loving with it and try to be compassionate with it. And separate it out from your value as a human, your worthiness as a human. And see it for what it is, just an opinion that you’re having about you.

Not in an effort to change it. Not in an effort to create an alternative reality for yourself. But just to notice that you’re not liking certain things about yourself. We have to bring them to the light of day and acknowledge them before we can change them if we decide to.

And ironically, the easiest way to change something is to establish some authority over it. To acknowledge it. To talk about how true it is. And when you’re defensive with your own self, when you’re denying with your own self, you affect that self-love relationship. You’re like, “You shouldn’t be this way. You shouldn’t look this way. You shouldn’t wear that. You shouldn’t show up this way. You shouldn’t be so lazy. You shouldn’t.”

Whatever it is you’re telling yourself that you shouldn’t be because you don’t like that about yourself, what if you just accepted that, yes, it is normal to have parts of me I do not like. That is part of my human experience today. It’s all part of it. We’re not supposed to eliminate it.

Now, the way we’re socialized is every single thing that could be wrong about us, we are supposed to solve, on every single commercial we’ve ever seen. What if there’s nothing to solve? What if it’s, yes, and? I’m this and I’m also that.

I’m this and that’s part of my human experience and I can accept that about myself. And I can own that. And when it hurts other people, or other people have feedback about it, or other people want to tell me about it, I can open to it and say, “Yes, that is who I am, and that’s where I’m at. And I love myself anyway.”

So I want you to understand that when you’re being lazy, excuses and explanations are required. When you’re genuinely resting, there is no justification needed. When you’re being lazy you’re like, “Oh, I had such a hard day yesterday,” or “I just feel so exhausted,” or “I’m just so tired,” or “I’m just so burnt out.” It’s all noise.

When you’re resting, you don’t have to do any of that. You’re just like I just finished 12 blog posts, I’m having a rest. Boom, mic drop, period. So many of the excuses and the justifications are us lying to ourselves. Oh, I’m just feeling a little off today. Yeah, welcome to your life. You’re going to feel a little off probably 30% of the time.

When you have less time in your schedule to get your work done, you’re going to have less laziness. Now. I’m not saying pack your day full of work. I’m saying pack your day full of creating results and rest. That is the most perfectly efficient, balanced day.

Some people do it like this, some people do create a result, rest, create a result, rest, create a result, rest. And some people create, create, create, create results, and then rest. That’s me. I work for five solid hours producing results, and then I rest. That feels the best to me.

But whatever feels the best to you is what you need to do. Exchanging laziness or procrastination for genuine rest misses your opportunity to rejuvenate yourself because your rest when you’re being lazy, is not rejuvenating. And it’s terrible for your self-esteem.

So here’s the solution, if you don’t feel like doing something and you do it anyway, you have defeated laziness. The more times you defeat laziness, the less times you have to overcome it. Your brain literally gives up.

I very rarely have to overcome laziness anymore because I understand that not feeling like doing something is normal. If something’s hard, I know that’s part of the deal, and I just do it anyway. This is true for all of us.

The better we get at something is because we do it the most. So you may be getting really good at being lazy. You may be getting really good at making excuses and justifying why your work isn’t getting done, why your results aren’t happening.

When people say to me, “I’m not successful. I wasn’t successful at that.” I’m like, well, there’s still time. What do you mean? Go. Stop doing that right now. Stop making excuses for why you haven’t created what you want to create in your life.

Lazy is always going to present as an option. We can all stay in bed all day when we want. We can all buffer instead of going to the gym and working out. It’s always going to be an invite that’s there. The difference is whether you accept the invite or not. I never accept the invite, so the invite has gotten so much quieter. It’s gotten so much less frequent.

I enjoy my earned rest way too much, way more than I enjoy laziness. Same exact action, one feels good and rejuvenating and self-esteem producing, and the other one is the exact opposite.

And if you are someone that is procrastinating because you have fear around producing the work that you want to do, I just want to offer that being lazy and not doing the work that you genuinely want to do in your life is the most poisonous way to deal with fear. Postponing fear creates more of it.

If you’re afraid of your work, if you’re doubtful of your work, if you’re questioning, if you’re shameful of your own self, putting it off does not help in the long run. So the solution if you’re being lazy, if you’re procrastinating because you’re afraid, the solution is to learn how to be afraid efficiently. Figure out what fear feels like, explore it, and get to work.

So many of the most successful people that I know work even though they’re afraid, even though they have doubt, even though they have frustration. They allow it to be there. They understand their models. They understand their thought is creating it, and they get to work anyway.

Maybe you don’t know that you have a negative attitude. I just want to give you a heads up that the way that you find out if you do is by how you approach your life. And how does it feel when you approach your life? What are you looking for?

Are you looking for things to confirm your negative bias? Are you looking for how things don’t work? Are you looking for how there isn’t any money? Are you looking for how people don’t respond the way that you want them to? Do you look at how your life is terrible?

Because what you’re looking for, you’re going to find evidence for. And that’s why when I bring this up to people and I’m like, “Hey, maybe it’s your attitude.” “I don’t have a bad attitude. I’m just telling you the facts. I’m just conveying the news. I’m just telling you what it’s like out there.”

And I’m not even talking about doing thought work. I’m not even talking about doing a model. I am talking about this simple choice to try and have a positive attitude. I am not talking about pretending at all. I don’t want you to pretend things are good when you don’t think that they are. I’m asking you to consider that they may be good and to look for evidence that they are.

If you suspect that you might have a negative attitude, ask people around you, “Hey, do you think I have a negative attitude about things? Do you think I have negativity?” And if you’re brave, you’ll ask that question. And if you’re even braver, you’ll listen to the answer. And if someone tells you yes, listen to them. Because when you are in it, it is very hard to see.

Your positive energy going out towards the world and releasing resistance will allow the flow of abundance to come to you. And maybe it’s not money right away, maybe it’s ideas. Maybe it’s the right people. Maybe it’s opportunities. But you will feel like you’re on a different highway when you adjust your attitude to be positive.

So listen, if you’re like, “I know she’s talking about me. I’ve been told I have a bad attitude. I know it’s true.” Here’s my suggestion, just give yourself a week. Take a week and try to improve your attitude about everything. Don’t pretend. Maybe you can’t go to my wife is an amazing blessing, maybe you can’t get there. But maybe you can get to the place where my wife is a human being who’s doing the best she can.

Shift your attitude. Maybe is a great word, a great qualifier to put in front of optional thoughts. Maybe I could have more money. Maybe I could have a better attitude. Maybe the world isn’t so bad. Maybe I’m not so bad. Maybe these people aren’t so bad. Maybe this is a little bit fantastic. I’m telling you. It’s the simplest thing in the world and it can make the biggest difference.

The goal is not to feel better. The goal is to feel. To understand. To bring consciousness and awareness to your brain, to your life, to your emotions, to your behaviors. We need to bring that to the conscious level so we can understand. And then once we understand, then we can process emotion. And once we process our emotions, we’re going to be in a much better place to be able to make decisions.

Remember, decisions are where all of our power is. And when we decide to change the way we think, we change the way we feel, which means we change what we do. That is the ingredients. That’s like the trifecta of creating the results you want. Thought, feeling, action equals results.

So when you look at your life and you see the results that you’re producing based on the way you’re thinking, feeling and doing, you need to look and understand, wait, how much of this am I blaming on external things? And how much of it do I want to take back under my own responsibility, so I can start making sure that the results that I’m producing, I’m producing on purpose and consciously because those are things that I want to have in my life. Those are things that I want to be creating.

If you hear yourself saying, I just don’t have the results I want and the reason why is external reason, external reason, external reason, blame someone out there, someone this, then you know that you have work to do. Because you aren’t using the power that you have to make those decisions, to process those emotions, to become aware of your own thinking in order to change it in a way that changes your results.

The only way to change the results you’re getting in your life is to change your thinking. You may think the way to change the results in your life is to change the world, or to change other people, or to change situations. But that’s not how it works. You don’t have to change the world in order to change your results.

You only need to change how you’re thinking. And deciding what to think on purpose consciously, understanding that it’s not just you observing the world, it’s you deciding how you want to observe the world with your mind that will determine the results that you create. Thoughts are optional.

What is the emotion of your why? So if you think about the Self-Coaching Model, your why will be a sentence, it will be a statement. And when you say that sentence, it will bring up the emotion that will propel the action. So when I think the thought, “I want to be an example of what’s possible when you use the Model,” that brings up so much determination inside of me. So much commitment. It’s such a hard why for me that nothing else matters. None of the doubt matters.

So you want to ask yourself is the emotion of your why stronger than your doubt? Is the emotion of your why stronger than your tired? Stronger than your frustration? Stronger than your confusion? Because if the answer’s no, you won’t keep going.

By the way, if the answer is no, you don’t want to sit back and go, “Well, I don’t have a hard enough why, so forget it.” No, the answer is to create one. If you don’t have a hard enough why, create one that generates the emotion that will overcome doubt, frustration, laziness, confusion, all of it. It will matter so much more.

So when you think about it, the strongest why most of us could probably have is like the lives of our children. If the lives of our children were on the line, we would not be crying about our Facebook ad not working. We would fix our Facebook ad. We wouldn’t be complaining about not having enough time. We would get it done.

You see what I’m saying? All of a sudden, everything becomes laser focused. Now, obviously it doesn’t need to be the lives of your children. But you can see how when the why is harder, everything else becomes clearer. You don’t waste as much time, you get to work.

I have watched the people succeed this year who all stand on that stage at mastermind and who will make $100,000 for the first time in their careers as life coaches, and I can feel their whys. I can feel how compelling their whys are, their reasons for doing it.

And anyone that didn’t quite make it, their why wasn’t quite compelling enough. And so we just need to make it a little bit harder. Make it a little bit deeper. Make it a little bit more important in order to get over that hump, that reason, to get them over their doubt and their frustration.

And that’s what I want to offer to you. And that’s what I want to suggest that each of you do. Make sure you have the hardest why you can possibly have, so you can have a tool to get you through the hard times because I’ve got to tell you, on the other side – I was just talking to one of my students today who she’s like, “I’ve made more in the past three months than I thought was even possible to make. I just kept believing and kept working and kept trying all through my doubt. All through my disbelief. I wanted to quit so many times.”

She’s just landed in this place of pride and excitement and joy because she didn’t give up because her why was strong enough. That is available to each and every one of you. So ask yourself, what is your why? Is it hard enough? What is the emotion of your why? And will that emotion get you through the hard times so you can make your dreams come true?

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 Make sure you type in the I’d love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.

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