Worse Than You Think (Special Edition)
This week’s episode is the most recent recording of a Self Coaching Scholars call I did with Bev Aron. It was a coaching session where I was the client and it was all about processing emotions. I went into this session feeling very fight-or-flight, lots of anxiety, and I left feeling tremendous sorrow.
In this session, I talk about my inaction, my lack of response to George Floyd’s death and the protests across the nation.
I want to publicly apologize to all of you and my team for how I handled that. It wasn’t because of lack of support or good advice; it was because I wasn’t listening.
Listen in to hear me work through my emotions after hurting those I care about. I was reminded that when you resist, you cause more resistance. You can learn how to process your emotions by listening to me do it or watching the special Self Coaching Scholars video replay below.
Listen to the show
What You will discover
- The importance of learning how to process your emotions.
- How protecting myself actually caused me to hurt others.
- Why getting things wrong doesn’t make you a bad person.
- The difference between righteousness and clarity.
Featured on the show
- Learn more about the Self Coaching Scholars program.
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, Special Edition.
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.
The following is a recording from Self-Coaching Scholars where we were teaching how to process emotion. This session was done by Bev Aron and I was the client. I went into the session feeling, like, fight or flight, tremendous anxiety and came out with deep sorrow. And you can see me process all of that emotion through.
And if you would like to watch it, instead of just listening to it, because listening to it might be kind of weird – there’s lots of pauses where I’m actually crying and sobbing. And if you’d rather watch that so you can kind of watch my body experience the emotion, you might want to go to the video.
I talk a lot here about my inaction, my lack of response, my silence to George Floyd’s death and I want to publicly apologize to all of you and to my team for how I handled that. It wasn’t because I didn’t have lack of support or people telling me or giving me good advice. It’s just that I didn’t listen to it.
And I was caught in my own thought loop and feeling like I was being protective of myself and, by resisting, I, of course, created a lot of resistance. So, I’m, of course, going to thank my team to their faces and apologize to them. But I wanted to do it here publicly as well.
So, in this special edition, please learn how to process your emotions by watching me do it.
Brooke: So, today, we’re going to talk about processing feelings. And I thought the best way for us to do that is for you to coach me because I’m having all the feelings right now, right, I’m having all the feelings. So, here’s what I want to do.
I want to tell you my circumstance in detail so everyone kind of knows where I'm coming from, what’s going on for me right now. And then, I want to tell you what’s going on for me emotionally and then we’ll talk about my new model that I want to create. And I haven’t done this coaching. I saved it for this so we could just rock and roll.
Bev: I love how you’re still in charge even though I’m coaching you.
Brooke: Yes, I love that I didn’t tell you that you were going to be doing this.
Bev: I just love how you think you’re in charge. Let’s do it.
Brooke: Okay, so here’s the situation. I got a message, I’m going to say, from someone on my team. No, it was from a coach in Slack that said, “Hey, Brooke, how are you going to respond to what’s going on in the world? How are you going to respond to the racism, to the police brutality, to all of this? You need to show up in a certain way and we’re expecting you to do this, this, and that and the other.”
And my response was, “I’m going to show up as I always show up; to coach. That’s what I’m best at doing. That’s what I know how to do. That’s where I think I can offer the most value for what I’m able to do.” And they gave me some pushback and said, “But what about posting on social media and what about offering resources and all of those things?”
And in my mind, I was thinking, “That’s not really how I run my company. I’m not really one to post on social media, especially for movements or anything political. And so, I’m wondering, is this that? I just don’t feel like I should do that.”
And I got a lot of pressure after that and people really saying, “You need to do something. You need to post this on social media,” that sort of thing. And I was kind of like, “No.” And somebody said, “Why don’t you ask your students? Why don’t you ask your black students what they would like you to do?”
And I had a reply that said something like, “Yeah, I don’t really ask other people how I should behave.” Which now, looking back, I can see was ridiculous and arrogant for me to say that. But in the moment, it just seemed like, “Yeah, I’m going to run my business how I always have and I’m going to show up the way I always have and I’m going to be who I’ve always been.”
So, I felt good about that. I felt like that was the right thing to do. I decided that I wanted to – you know, I had a lot of, like, “Look at what you did for COVID. Why aren’t you doing that now?” I felt like they were different. I just wasn’t really listening.
Then my team came to me and said, “Hey, we want to do this post on social media. It said black lives matter on it and then it had a really beautiful thing that they had written about how The Life Coach School, you know, stands for black lives and how we stand with our brothers and sisters. And it was just a beautifully done post.
But I just felt like this doesn’t feel like something I would normally do. Like, this doesn’t feel like part of what we do as a company. I feel like I’m more, like, let’s respond and do coaching. So, I told my team, don’t do it. And I didn’t really open it up for discussion. I just said, kind of, no.
And then, I got a lot more pressure. I just started getting a lot of negative stuff on Instagram and my team came to me again and said, “We’re getting lots of negative, lots of pressure to do things.” And I was like, “We’re not going to be bullied into doing anything.” I don’t want people to tell us what we have to do and I was kind of in this defensive stubborn mode around it.
And then I got some emails where people were saying, “I don’t like the way the model is addressing racism. Racism is not neutral and your team is saying that racism is neutral.” And I was responding to each of these emails individually saying, “Of course, that’s not what we believe and that’s not where racism would go in a model,” and I was explaining that sort of thing. And then, I got a post – I don’t know where you’re going to go with this model, but I’m just going to keep going, okay.
Bev: Yeah, yeah you just keep talking.
Brooke: Then I saw a post that actually Kara forwarded to me, because I’m not really on Instagram reading it. and somebody had done a post that said all I care about is money. I don’t care about black lives at all. I don’t care that black people are being murdered and I’m not saying anything because of the people in my audience who are racist and that I’m racist.
And I was like, “What is happening?” I just felt like, “Oh my god, I’m being attacked.” And instantly, my body went into fight or flight. So, this is where we kind of get into the emotional part of it, right?
So, I felt myself, “Holy shit, what’s happening?” And then there were all these comments, like, agreeing that I was racist. And one of the comments was from a dear friend of mine and she was like, “Disgusting.” This is a friend I haven’t talked to in a long time, but she’s like, “Disgusting, but I’m not surprised.” And then another friend was like, “Yeah, that’s how Brooke is and the model is all about white supremacy.”
And I was like, “Okay, this is a circumstance that is hurting me,” right? So, I feel like I know my heart and I know how I felt and I had recorded a podcast that is supposed to be released tomorrow about the murders that had happened and how I felt about the and racism and all of the things.
So, now I feel like, “Fuck, Brooke, why aren’t you listening? Why didn’t you listen to your team? Why didn’t you listen to your coaches? What is going on with you that you didn’t listen better? That you were defiant about this?” And I felt kind of, like, justified. Like, I know I’m not a racist. I know what I stand for. I know that coaching will help this situation. And that’s my superpower and that’s what I’m going to do.
Now, with all this backlash, I feel like, I missed it here. So, I’m in a state right now – I normally have anxiety anyway, every day. But now I’m in a state of, like, fight or flight. And I’ve got to process that emotion all the way through until I can get to a place of love and strength and power to be able to listen better.
Bev: Yes, totally. Okay, yes, because you can’t make a decision when you feel like you’re being attacked, like your feeling is under attack because you’re thinking you’re under attack, you’re thinking people are putting all this pressure on you. And so, now, you’re questioning all your decisions that you made before. Now you’re calling and coming from arrogance and stubbornness and defiance, which I don’t even know if they were coming from that.
Brooke: It seems like it to me now.
Bev: Yeah, it does, but if you look back, is that how you were feeling?
Brooke: I think so.
Bev: Okay, just good to know.
Brooke: I think so. I think that – I’m like, “I’ve got this.” And I didn’t have it.
Bev: I mean, that’s under debate.
Brooke: And this is so interesting, right, because this exact same thing happened to me when COVID happened and my event, like. I was like, “I’m not canceling, I’m not canceling. This isn’t going to be that big if a deal. I’m not canceling.” I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t paying attention. And so, I’m like, “Brooke, girl, come on. What’s going on with you?”
Bev: So, we could go in and find out – which I think we will explore, it will be so interesting – of why, in the action line, are you not listening to your team, not paying attention? But before we do that, let’s process your emotion, seeing as it’s a class on feeling on purpose. Okay, so, and I think it’s awesome to do it for people because people think it’s such a big mystery, how do I allow an emotion?
But really, the simplest way to describe it is to become the narrator of what’s going on in your body. You’ve got all these things going on and then it’s all creating emotion in you. So, if you sit back, you kind of notice that you’re totally safe, totally sitting on your chair, and just check in with your body. And is there any part of it that’s kind of calling to you? That’s saying, like, “Attack?”
Brooke: Yeah, I’m going to go with yes. I feel it all through my body.
Bev: What are you feeling?
Brooke: This buzzing, and I feel kind of…
Bev: Buzzing, kind of like buzzing…
Brooke: And then I feel it really, like, in my solar plexus right here, it’s like a gripping, like this constantly...
Bev: Awesome, so let’s stay with your solar plexus because that seems to be something more specific for you. So, there’s this constant gripping. What else? How else would you describe it?
Brooke: I feel nauseous, a little bit nauseous.
Bev: Do you feel like you want to throw up?
Brooke: Kind of, yeah.
Bev: Okay, awesome. So, that’s…
Brooke: Yeah, awesome…
Bev: If you need to throw up, right, you just go and we’ll wait for you.
Brooke: And I feel like – so, I feel fight or flight, but I also feel regret and despair.
Bev: So, what does fight or flight feel like in your body?
Brooke: That’s what it feels like. It feels like a buzzing and that gripping here and it’s like my whole body is shaking, just a subtle bit. I can feel it right here. I can feel it in my face. I can feel it everywhere.
Bev: Yeah, okay, let’s stay with the solar plexus. So, you’ve got this constant gripping. Is it like moving up and down? Is it staying still?
Brooke: It’s just staying still and it’s very heavy. It’s up and down. So, it’s this whole space, but it’s just like heavy shaking, kind of, you know.
Bev: So, it’s not moving, it’s just the whole thing is feeling this heavy shaking all the time. So, if you could just put all your attention on your solar plexus – you could close your eyes if you want to and you could just kind of be with it, tell me anything else that you’re noticing, anything else that’s coming up…
Brooke: It’s interesting because when I focus on it to describe it, I, of course, get space from it, which immediately calms it down.
Bev: Okay, so what’s going on now then in your solar plexus? Let’s check in.
Brooke: I feel like I’m consciously trying to open to experience it because I feel the temptation to push it away and shit it down. And I just want to open to it and experience it and breathe it in.
Bev: Yeah. I find the best way is just keep talking it through. It’s like you narrate it for me and us who are watching because our brain needs something to do. And so, you know, otherwise it’s going to bring you all those catastrophic thoughts. so, keep describing it. So now, there’s a little bit of space, what’s going on in your…
Brooke: Yeah, the hum has settled down a little bit. I can feel it buzzing in my ears a little bit.
Bev: Let’s go there.
Brooke: And then, what happens is I get some space from it and I start to feel a little bit of relief, and then it grips again.
Bev: Okay, you just think again.
Brooke: This is delightful… You know, and that is the shame.
Bev: Yes, it just means that you had another thought that created another emotion. So, let’s talk about the shame. Where’s the shame in your body?
Brooke: It’s in the same place. But it’s heavier than the fight or flight and it’s sickening too.
Bev: Yeah, that’s heavy.
Brooke: But it’s more localized. It’s not buzzing throughout my whole body. It’s much more localized.
Bev: Okay, so tell us more about that. So, still your solar plexus, like, heavy.
Brooke: It’s like a very heavy rock.
Bev: Totally just sitting there. Yeah, so just be with that. Put all tour attention on this heavy rock, if you want to close your eyes you can, and just focus on it. Just let us know what’s going on there with it, anything else you can describe or tell us more about it, this heavy rock.
Brooke: I just want to keep opening to it because my knee jerk reaction, again, is to start thinking and justifying, and then shaming myself again. So, I’m trying to stay out of my head.
Bev: Yes, so any time your head comes into it and you have some thoughts, just kind of notice them and then just bring your attention back to that solar plexus, this heavy rock. Just bring it back and tell me what’s going on there now.
Brooke: It’s like a river stone. It’s almost getting bigger as I think about it, as I, like, think about the sensation of it.
Bev: Awesome, beautiful. Okay, so where is it expanding to?
Brooke: Right here. It feels like death.
Bev: Yeah, it feels like a heavy river stone in your solar plexus. Stay with it. Just be there. That’s what shame feels like for you, yeah? Just close your eyes. Just be with it. A heavy stone… What’s going on now? What’s happening?
Brooke: I can just feel it, like, dissipating throughout my whole body. I’m releasing. It’s like releasing and deepening at the same time, it’s fucking awful.
Bev: And awesomely amazing.
Brooke: Not at all.
Bev: It’s moving because you’re allowing it to. What do you think it’s there to tell you? What do you think this…
Brooke: That there’s something really wrong with you.
Bev: What are you feeling now? What’s going on in your body?
Brooke: I’m, like, wanting to love myself right now. But I just want to let the shame be there. I don’t want to punish myself, but I want to really just allow it.
Bev: 100%. So, just keep bringing yourself back to the sensation in your body, just bring yourself to that river rock which is kind of dissipating and growing. So, where is it now?
Brooke: Yeah, it’s like here, but it’s like spread throughout my body. But it feels looser.
Bev: Yeah, okay. So, it’s in a bigger area, spreading, feels looser. Is it kind of like moving?
Bev: It’s just kind of there, this sort of looseness there.
Brooke: It’s interesting to describe it. It’s a river rock. It’s getting bigger so it’s, like, the heaviness is being spread out. Every time I focus on it, I can feel it release.
Bev: Okay, yeah, so stay with it.
Brooke: I really don’t want to.
Bev: And you don’t have to. You totally don’t have to.
Brooke: It’s so fucking awful, right, shame? Oh my goodness.
Bev: Totally awful. Just imagine you had a flashlight and shone it on this river rock that’s kind of spreading and loosening. There’s probably a little bit of space if it’s expanding. What do you see in there?
Brooke: What do I see in there?
Bev: Yeah, shine a flashlight. What’s there?
Brooke: Just darkness and blackness, ugliness.
Bev: That’s what’s there for you now; totally, totally supposed to be there. So, in that space, let’s stay curious about what is wrong. What’s so heavy?
Brooke: I just feel like I’ve hurt people that I don’t want to hurt and I’ve let my team down and all the thoughts come back.
Bev: And how are you feeling now?
Brooke: The shame.
Bev: Same place, in your body? Okay, tell me about it.
Brooke: It really is just fucking awful.
Bev: It really is just…
Brooke: Like black, heavy tar.
Bev: That’s what it is, it’s just black heavy tar right now. It’s not even awful or great. It’s just what’s there for you. You can totally handle it. It’s telling you, this is what I’m thinking right now and so this is what I’m creating right now.
Brooke: Yeah, I’m thinking, “I’m a terrible person.”
Bev: Yeah, and it just feels awful to think, “I’m a terrible person.” Sometimes, that’s what we tell ourselves and we feel this way. What do you think, if we just had to take a guess, or you could even just check in with this stone, what does it need from you?
Brooke: What does the feeling need from me? To pay fucking attention.
Bev: To pay attention. Okay, what else?
Brooke: I don’t know. It just feels super-important.
Bev: How do you know?
Brooke: Just the gravity of it, like the pull of it.
Bev: It feels super-real, yeah?
Bev: Okay, just stay with it. Just stay with it. It might help if you close your eyes and just focus in on this rock and tell us what’s going on, so you stay with us.
Brooke: What I’m finding so fascinating…
Brooke: Is, like, the anxiety is gone. It must have been me fighting the shame.
Bev: So, much more familiar for you and it’s so much more activating, anxiety. I think that’s why we choose it because at least we still feel like there’s movement. Shame is so still and so heavy.
Brooke: Now, it’s turning into grief and despair.
Bev: What’s that about? Where’s that?
Brooke: It’s the same place, but it’s like liquid. It’s like silver liquid.
Bev: Awesome. It’s awesome. That’s movement now. That’s silver liquid. What’s it doing?
Brooke: It’s flowing.
Bev: Throughout your body or the same area?
Brooke: It’s in the same area.
Brooke: It’s less awful.
Bev: it’s still just sensation, still just experiences. Now it’s liquid.
Brooke: I feel like I need my coaches to bring me a fucking tissue. Where are they? Where are you guys? I’m always bringing y’all tissues. What the fuck?
Bev: Do you want to go get one?
Brooke: No. I don’t want to move because I feel like I’m getting…
Bev: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s get really curious about this liquid that’s flowing. There’s some movement. What do you think is there, if there were any ideas or any messages, anything it wants to tell you?
Brooke: I don’t know. It’s almost like it’s right, this is the right feeling for what’s going on right now. This is what’s true for you.
Bev: This is what’s true for you.
Brooke: I’m just really sad. I’m sad ad disappointed, I guess, and regretful.
Bev: That’s what’s here.
Brooke: And now it’s, like, clear.
Brooke: Oh, my god, that was awful, and awesome.
Brooke: Oh, god.
Bev: So, what’s coming up for you now from this clear feeling?
Brooke: It’s all going to be okay.
Bev: Right. What else?
Brooke: Just like, I don’t know what the feeling is, but it’s just like I’m so sorry, like, to myself. And, you know, it’s coming to me that some of what happens for me sometimes is I’m such a people-pleaser. I try to make people like me and I try to comply so people won’t get mad at me. And I think I was trying to not do that.
Bev: It’s coming from really a place of self-care.
Brooke: Yeah, that shit did not work.
Bev: Well, you know what the clue is?
Bev: The clue is how it was feeling, yeah. I’m so glad we did this work and that we’re doing it because I think when we’re in something, it’s so hard to catch the thoughts. But the feeling, that defiant, kind of righteous, upright, tight feeling, you just didn’t notice it.
Brooke: Yeah, because it felt like protection. I think I interpreted it – it didn’t feel like that, but I think I interpreted the feeling that way. I was so unaware. And I even did models, but I didn’t drop in like this because, you know, this is where I think the arrogance got me. It’s like, “I know what I’m doing. I’ve got this. I know what I’m feeling.”
Bev: Yeah, I know what I need to do. I think feelings, like, justify and protection, they’re tricky because they make us feel very strong. So, we’re like, “Oh, this is good.”
Bev: But almost like a brittle strong, as opposed to a flexible strong. Like, you’re very strong always. When you’re in that flexible strong, then you take other inputs and you bring it all in. So, nothing shameful happened. All that happened is you put up a very sting protection that seemed like a really good idea at the time.
Brooke: Yeah, I mean, I think I got it wrong, but I don’t think I am wrong, wrong as a person. But I think I got this one really wrong, and that’s okay.
Bev: Totally okay.
Brooke: Because I’m not going to do that shit again.
Bev: We all get things wrong sometimes.
Brooke: And that’s not true. I’m going to get it wrong so many more times.
Bev: Right, tons. And you’re just going to keep showing up, yeah?
Brooke: Yeah. But now, it’s so interesting, right? I want to describe this to you all while I’m in it because now that the anxiety is gone, because my resistance is gone, now it’s just like waves. So, just now, I was thinking about my team again. My thought was back to my team, like, I just fucked them over. I did them wrong. Like, those negative thoughts, and then the wave of shame comes back, right?
Bev: Yeah. But it pauses now, right? It will come back…
Brooke: It goes through, yeah, much better.
Bev: Yeah, but I love how you’re describing it. It’s like, first my brain goes to the thought and then…
Brooke: It’s like instant.
Brooke: Yeah, and I’m just thinking about how brave my students were in Slack and how I couldn’t hear them. And I do feel like I did some great coaching in there. Like, when I shifted into coaching mode, I was able to coach more. But I couldn’t hear them when I – I went into teacher mode and wasn’t listening.
Bev: Right, because you thought that’s what you needed to be. You needed to protect yourself. You needed to make sure you didn’t people please. It’s coming from thoughts that seemed like such a good idea.
Brooke: Totally. No, I felt like, “Oh no, this is right.”
Bev: Yeah, it’s about that feeling work, because the feeling would tell you. The way it feels would be like your sign.
Brooke: Yeah, if I would have been more tuned in. Because righteousness is never where I want to take action from.
Brooke: And I think this is what I teach with people pleasing, is like, putting up boundaries feels like love, not live defensiveness or righteousness.
Bev: Yes, so can you describe, just for everyone who’s listening, the difference between righteousness and clarity? Because they both bring kind of a strength, but are you aware of the difference of how it feels in your body?
Brooke: Yeah, because clarity is like, I’m much more open. Like, tell me more. Tell me everything. Like, I was telling them, “hey, I’m open for suggestions,” but I don’t think I really was. I think I was like, “Yeah, if I like the idea that you give me and it’s in line with what I already want to do, then I’m open for that.” And then, like, righteousness is that closed off, like, “I already know everything.” Which I tend to think most of the time.
Bev: Good to know. It’s just really good to get to know for yourself.
Brooke: Like, isn’t what so much of this movement is about and so much – I mean, it’s such a part of the problem, righteousness. We know how to do it and we’re doing it this way and it’s the exact opposite of what we need right now, right? And so, I always want to go in with the intention of love and I do feel like I’m very good with that and I want to make sure that I feel it for myself and for everybody else. And I know that there’s much more of an openness to that feeling than this, than what I was feeling before, which was more closed, more protective.
Bev: Yes, totally. So, right now, what would you say you’re feeling?
Brooke: Maybe, I don’t know, it doesn’t feel positive.
Bev: That, to me, looks like maybe open or clear or present.
Brooke: Yeah, I think I feel open and vulnerable.
Bev: So, what do you think about making decisions from that place, or coming up with ideas?
Brooke: I don’t think it’s a great place for me to make decisions from because I think it has fear in it.
Bev: Because of the vulnerability?
Bev: Vulnerability feels scary?
Brooke: Like I’m going to get attacked. You know, like I did it wrong so I’m getting attacked.
Bev: So, you know there’s no such thing as getting attacked, yeah?
Brooke: No, I don’t know that. You know what, it’s not even people. It’s like I’m attacking myself. My brain is attacking me. And I do think people are attacking me. I really do genuinely think that’s my C-line. You’re not going to give me that?
Bev: I’m not giving you that, but it doesn’t matter. Because if you’re attacking yourself, that’s how you’re going to feel. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing.
Brooke: But really, the truth is, like, people are teaching me. And I’m attacking me.
Bev: Absolutely, what are they teaching you?
Brooke: That I need to, like, listen more and be open more and question myself more and not always have to know what the right answer is and to let someone else have the right answer and to listen. All of it. It’s just so amazing too. It just feels like such a release of the burden. It’s like, “I’ve got this. I’ll take care of this. I’ll take the risk. And if I do it wrong, I’ll be the one to pay the price.” Versus, like, “What do you guys think? Let me hear you and let me…” you know, I still want to check in make sure it’s not coming from a place of fear, from people pleasing, so I can get people to like me, but also it’s coming from a place of openness and willingness.
Bev: Totally. And is there any vulnerability there when you think about and you listen more and you be open more, question yourself more and don’t always have to know the right answer?
Brooke: So, it’s interesting because I actually think vulnerability and fear are an interesting place to listen from.
Bev: What’s the difference?
Brooke: Between the two? I just feel like I don’t want to take action from that place, doing things, but I want to feel from that place and I want to listen from that place because I think I can hear better when I’m in a vulnerable place.
Bev: I’m curious about your thoughts about wanting to listen from fear.
Brooke: Yeah, it’s interesting, it feels like honesty. It feels like, “Hey, I’m scared, y’all.”
Bev: It’s exhausting.
Brooke: Instead of, “I’m in charge. I’m going to show you all how to do it.”
Bev: Yes, but I just want to point out to you that, “I’m scared, y’all, I want to listen to you,” would not be coming from fear. It would be coming from vulnerability.
Brooke: You’re right. You’re right. But I would still be scared, right?
Bev: The model before that would create fear, and instead of your usual, which is like, “I’m going to batten down the hatches,” you’re like, “I’m going to open up.” So, the listening would be coming from openness, vulnerability.
Brooke: So much better, right?
Bev: So much better.
Brooke: And, like, isn’t that what we’re all asking of each other, to go into the world like that? To go in and be open like that?
Brooke: And be willing to take the action and make the mistake and try again.
Bev: Right, that’s what you get to teach people. That’s what you bring to this.
Brooke: Yeah, and like, the other piece of it is there’s so many people around me who know so much more about this than I do, and I think I feel like, almost, like I don’t know enough about this so I need to be in charge of it, which makes no fucking sense. But you know what, that was what the resistance was, the tightening was, is the insecurity about it instead of the obvious thing would be like, “Hey, listen to your team.” But that insecurity brings up, I think, kind of that righteousness.
Bev: Yeah, why do you think that happens?
Brooke: For me, I think it’s always the need to be in control and trying to control the universe and feeling the sense of responsibility and not wanting to compromise myself with the people pleasing shit, that I have, like, trauma from doing.
Bev: Yeah, and then, of course, what happens is you don’t compromise with yourself.
Brooke: Yeah, it was so interesting because I was talking to Kara yesterday and she’s like, “Hey, I want you to see this post. I want you to understand what’s going on out there because I know you’re not on social media.” And I said, “This feels like bullying. This feels like they’re attacking me, trying to force me to do something that I don’t want to do.” And she was like, “Yes, but if you think about it that way,” if I think that it’s bullying, if I think that they’re attacking me, if I think that they’re telling me what I need to do or telling me how to show up, then immediately I’m in righteous indignation and I do nothing.
And that was kind of what I was doing and she was like, “But why don’t you open yourself up to the message?” Because she was like, “Yeah, they are kind of doing that, but don’t miss the message in it anyway,” which was so beautiful. And so, then I was talking to one of my friends and she was like, “What are you missing? It seems like you’re missing something about what they’re saying.” And that was really helpful for me to, like, hear.
And then I was being defensive. I was like, “I can’t believe they’re saying these things about me. I can’t believe this is what they think is true. And she’s like, “I know that’s not true. I know what they’re thinking isn’t true. But don’t come out and say those things aren’t true. Don’t push against it and say I’m not a racist or I’m not this or the only thing that I care about is money or whatever they’re saying about me, don’t resist that.”
She’s like, “I know your heart. Share that. Share what your heart is.” And so, I wrote an Instagram post and I gave it to everyone. I was like, “Tell me what you guys think.” And it was just the most amazing feeling – like, what was that feeling? It was just open and vulnerable and, like, what was that? I don’t know, I think open. And scared too, probably.
And then they gave me lots of feedback which was, like, so amazing, things that I couldn’t even see in my own copy that was like defensive and righteous and justifying. They’re like, “Delete, delete, delete…”
Bev: So, probably, your next work is this belief that you have to be in control and try and control the universe. It’s such a beautiful little snapshot for you of how when you stop trying to do that, you opened up, now you have this whole team around you. Now you’re feeling this kind of – you’re seeing…
Brooke: Is it more of me trying to control – I think it’s more of me trying to not comply at my own expense. I think I’ve taken that too far a little bit. It’s like they were saying, like one of my team members was like, “Do you want to put black lives matter in the post?” And I was like, “I feel afraid to do that because I don’t feel like I understand enough of the movement, the organization.” And I do feel like they’ve been super-aggressive, or I feel like representatives from there have been super-aggressive and I’m just concerned and worried and protective about that.
And then I step back and I’m like, but I actually really believe that statement and that’s what I can make that mean. And so, I just notice the thought process, like of course I believe that. And I can stand behind that. And if it turns out there was some ulterior agenda or something going on, that’s fine. I still stand by that belief and that statement and what that means to me. And so, I just made so much progress in such a little amount of time as soon as I recognized that, you know.
Bev: 100%. So, let’s talk about how will you know when it’s you wanting to comply and do the people pleasing thing or you wanting to be open because that’s what makes sense because you have a team and you want to hear the message, you want to listen?
Brooke: I think I already just learned this from you just talking to you about it. I think, if I’m ever afraid that I’m complying or people pleasing – you know, because people pleasing, to me, is lying. It’s saying something that I don’t really believe. And so, I wanted to make sure that, what I did say, I can stand behind it as true and wasn’t just like, “Oh, I’m going to say this so you’ll like me and you’ll stop attacking me,” or whatever. I wanted to do that.
And I think what you had said was I’m going to know that by how I feel. And if I’m open and breathe it in, I’ll be able to access, like, what is the thought here? I better do that so they like me? Or I really want to be a part of the solution here? I really want to help. That is my truth. That isn’t people pleasing at all. And that feels amazing to me, you know.
Bev: Good. How are you feeling now?
Brooke: So much better. So much better, but also here’s what I know is true. That, what I just did, I’ll probably do three more times, five more times, 20 more times. Like, it’s like I can feel the thoughts coming. It’s like, “Yeah, you got through that one? Well, we’re coming for you.”
And I just want to just be open for all of this. Like, let’s go. Bring the 50, you know. I was saying to a friend the other day, I’ve just had so much positive wonderous life recently, just so many things that I’ve been so proud of myself and so happy and getting through COVID and all of the things that we were able to do as a team. And I got just a little bit too comfortable and then I got smacked. I was like, “Alright, here’s the other side of life.”
And I just really thought about it. I want to be open to the journey. And yeah, I’m going to make so many mistakes and fuck it all up and I want to go towards it and open up to it and, like, let everything fall where it may…
Brooke: You know, and let people be wrong about me, let people hate me. I’ll hate me with them sometimes, you know what I mean? I can go through that process and understand it and I really genuinely want to love no matter what. And that is something that I just want to be able to generate. You know, listen, I made a mistake. You’re disgusted by me. You’re not going to get over it and I’m going to love you. That’s what I want to do.
And, you know, I want to be a good example here and I don’t think I have been. And that’s my purpose. That’s my goal. And so, I want to show, like, on this journey where I’m going, all the places that I go, I have to be willing to feel the pain. You have to be willing to process the pain…
Bev: All of it, and to create the love for yourself, for the people. I think it fast-forwards our self-coaching. I think you just got so much further in this coaching session because you were able to just go in and process it all. And then you just knew, you were like, so open…
Brooke: What’s so interesting about it is, like, the hard rock of it to then the liquid of it was really fascinating. When I process my own emotion, I don’t do it quite the way you just did it. But I think that it’s so powerful because, that, “Oh this feels awful.” And then it’s like, “Okay, okay, okay,” and then releasing it. And then knowing that from, “It feels awful. I’m not going to do anything good, I’m not going to produce a positive result…”
Bev: Totally. And it’s really something that all the Scholars watching, you can do it. Of course it’s easier when someone’s kind of holding witness for you. But it’s really just like, “Okay, go there. Go there again. Stay there. Notice, narrate, go there, notice, narrate, and then there’s movement. And then the self-coaching, the thought work is so much more available to you.
Brooke: Oh yeah, it’s so much more clear because you’re not trying to bat it away, you know. And the other thing I want to offer, because most people have never seen me get coached or see me processing my own emotions is it seems like – it may seem like I have a total lack of awareness when I’m being coached of what’s going on, and it’s absolutely true.
It’s like, when I’m being coached, it’s like I’m so unaware until it comes and I feel like that’s just such the gift of understanding the model and understanding pain. And that’s one thing I really want to emphasize on this call, just because it’s really relevant right now is that I want to be in pain right now.
Racism goes in the T-line because it’s an idea that’s subjective in our brain and it’s an idea that humans created. But that – and people have been confused and saying that means it’s neutral. No, what the situation, the way we describe it, would be in the C-line as neutral. But racism feels terrible. And the goal is not to feel better about racism ever, right?
And so, I just want you all to know that the police brutality and the murder and the racism feels heavy and terrible and like that rock and like that heaviness. And my suggestion is that you do this process with that repeatedly. Do not try to feel good about racism. And don’t try to change your thought away from it. I think that’s the other thing. It’s like, don’t try to make that thought be different. I think we need to be in the grief of our country right now and this is how we do it, right?
Bev: This is how we do it. And then, can we create love so we know what we want to do about it?
Brooke: Yes, how are you doing with that?
Bev: So, yesterday was hard because I taught like six classes of coach training and I had this sick feeling in me the whole time about what’s going on. And then I had my classes and I was like, committed, I’m showing up, we’re talking about it. That’s what we’re doing.
And so, I just kept creating love; love for all the people. Love for the students, love for all the people that I literally wanted to cry. Because what I was noticing is when I was feeling so terrible and sick about it, I just wanted to scroll through the media and be more horrified, and then I wanted to go to bed and never get out. I’d be useless to the world like this.
I am just going to create love for all of it and sorrow and disbelief, and then from that place – I think it’s what you call, like, openness and vulnerability and I have ideas and then we chat to this person, I’m going to see what I can do from this person, like, where can I be of service right now?
Brooke: Yeah, I mean I love the way you say that. Sorrow is such a beautiful word for it. I think it describes it so well. It’s like sorrow can read to loving action because of the sorrow, because of the outrage and the fear and the anger and all of that. But can we drop into allowing ourselves to have those emotions but not taking action from them, taking action from, “What is the most loving thing I can do right now?” Which I’m going to do.
Bev: You are. You’re going to learn to love totally.
Brooke: Yeah, I’m going to do that and I’m going to do it first by just listening better and more and being more vulnerable and accessing what I’m afraid – and instead of being afraid of trying to comply and people please, I think the opposite of that would be asking for help, yeah?
Bev: Totally, “I’m afraid. Help me.”
Brooke: Yeah, “Can you help me with this?” Especially my team and the people that know better than I do, I think.
Bev: Right, totally, and who love you and just want to totally support you in it.
Brooke: Alright, my friend. That was a free session I just got. Thank you. I appreciate it. I think it demonstrated processing emotion pretty well.
Bev: I think it did. And what I loved the most – I was thinking about it – is no one who watched this call is ever going to be able to say to themselves, “I should be above this. I know all of this stuff. Which I think you gave everybody. Never. I remember once saying to you, “Is this ever going to end?” And you were like, “Yeah, when you stop thinking.”
Brooke: When you stop thinking, it will all end. When your brain stops getting in your way, it will all end. And I think too, we feel like we should get to the point where we don’t make such atrocious mistakes with such horrific consequences, but so far that’s not working out for me. And I’m willing for all, it’s like, come on, world. Bring it. I’m in. Let’s evolve me to the next version of myself.
So, I want to apologize to everyone for everything, for how I didn’t listen, how I didn’t show up for you all, and how I missed managing my brain on this one. And I wish I could tell you it will never happen again, but I’m going to do my best to make sure it doesn’t. Alright, my friends.
Bev: And every time, you’ll be way ahead and way better every time you do.
Brooke: I love you.
Bev: Thank you.
Brooke: Bye, everyone.
Bev: Bye, guys.
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