Fighting The Fear

A previous client of mine wrote this to me today and it was so good, I had to share…

‘Whoa!!!!! I’m fighting the fear today. All the reasons why it won’t work are sitting at the bottom of my stomach!! I woke up so nervous that I don’t know what I’m doing!

What a trip to listen to you and Brooke tell me I was going to fight this and not want to “leave the cave” “make excuses because I think it may harm me.” Thank goodness I was warned about all of these feelings!

It’s so helpful knowing it’s normal and that even though I’m feeling all that nothing is more damaging than not doing it!! I haven’t quite turned off the voices shaming me yet, but I’m determined to not let them stop me. Thinking of you and your brave leap…’

Pretty freaking awesome, right? On so many levels! She is GOING for a dream of hers. She is fighting the fear AND she knows this is totally normal. It does not mean retreat and run for the hills.

My favorite part is when she says “I’m determined to not let them stop me.” Boom.

What if you believed that? With whatever it is that is your goal. Weight, finances, career, relationship dreams. I am determined to not let them stop me.

Fight the fear.

Going All In – A Strategy “Willing To Lose”

So I honestly am making up the name of this strategy.  If you read this and can come up with a better name, by all means, let me know.  Until then, I’m naming it “Willing To Lose”.  

My coach has this great example of proving whether or not her clients are believing that they are really going to make their goal happen, that they are 100% all in.  

Let’s go with a weight goal – losing 6 lbs this month.  Just a tad outside my comfort zone but not ridiculously out of the question.  

I’m going to have the belief: Oh, yeah, I’m going to lose 6 lbs this month.  No problem.  

My actions are that I’m eating bread once a week, no sugar, and exercising twice a week.  

And after two weeks, I only lose two pounds.  

I start panicking or thinking I’m doing something wrong or wasting my time.  

At this point, I’m completely doubting whether or not I’m going to hit my goal.  

My coach will say to me – are you willing to pay me $10,000 if you don’t hit your goal?  

And because I’m doubting, I’m not willing to lose $10,000 so I am going to say ‘HAIL’ no.  

I’m not really all in.  I’m full of doubt and fear, not determination and focus.  

Do you see this?

A person who is ALL IN is going to say – yes.  I am going to to do whatever it takes to lose the other four pounds.  This is possible.  It is happening.  I can say yes I’ll pay you because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am going to show up for myself.  I am going to make it happen.  I am not willing to lose.

What is your goal?  Like a specific real goal.  

Are you willing to pay me $10,000 if you don’t hit it? Don’t play not to lose. Play to win.

Going All In – Chunking Your Life

When I started planning my wedding, I had no wedding planner, a mom who knew nothing about planning weddings, and no time.  I had just started a new job shortly before I got engaged to add fuel to the fire.  

Then we decided to sell my town home so I could have money to pay for the wedding.  So now I was planning a wedding, learning my new position, selling a home, and looking for a new one.  

If you’ve ever done any of these, you know they all take time and massive action.  Oh, and we were for sale by owner.  We were taking lots and lots of action.

How did I do it all almost by myself without having a nervous breakdown or failing everyone involved?  I learned to chunk my to-do list, and I became a master of my schedule.  

I didn’t just say I had no time or I was overwhelmed or it wasn’t fair.  I mean all of this was great stuff happening. 

It was easier to stay in the positive frame of mind, for sure.  But that didn’t make the work go away.  

Chunking was my plan.  For everything.  Selling my home by mid October when I got engaged Labor Day?  I spent every weekend for four weeks in a row going through each room in my house, clearing out the mess, cleaning, and staging.

Once it was sold (first day on the market for full asking price), I spent the next three and half weeks (he was paying cash), packing systematically doing the same process.  Each room had boxes, Sharpies, packing tape & paper, and all boxed and ready for when the movers came.  

Some of you might think well it’s easy when it’s selling a house and planning a wedding, but I want you to think about that. 

How many brides become Bridezillas because they are stressed and overwhelmed?  How many people never move because they don’t want to go through the process no matter how much they could make?  It’s just “too much trouble”.  

These tasks can seem overwhelming if you think they are overwhelming. When you think it’s all doable, your brain comes up with a way to do it all. It’s the way your brain works.

Chunking is a fabulous strategy to use when going all in.  It makes it seem doable.  Because it is doable.  You chunk it and then you do the small chunks.  

And if all of that doesn’t convince you to try chunking, think about the saying.  You know the one.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  

I actually don’t understand how this became a thing since no one I know eats elephant, thank the Lawd.  But I do know it’s a thing.  So think about it.  One bite at a time. 🙂

A Strategy For Getting Off The Lonely Struggle Bus

Last week, I mentioned a strategy for making decisions – Best Case Scenario.  Well, we are going to use that same theory as a strategy to help you get off the Lonely Struggle Bus.

As you know, I teach that our feelings are created by our thoughts.  So in order for us to not feel lonely as much as we do, we need to get control of and change our thoughts.  

How?  

One way is by asking these questions next time you are feeling lonely.

  1. Why do I feel lonely? 
  2. What is the circumstance/situation that I think is making me feel lonely?  
  3. What are all the worst things I believe about this situation?
  4. Now, what are all the things that are great about this situation? (Best Case Scenario) 

Pick one of those thoughts from the last question and start putting that in your phone reminders, post it notes, mirror quotes, your car, etc.  Start fixing your eyes on that thought. 

Let’s take an example:

  1. Why do I feel lonely?

I don’t have anyone to eat with tonight for dinner.

2.  What is the circumstance that I think is making me feel lonely?

I don’t have a boyfriend/husband.  

3. What are all the worst things I believe about this situation?

There aren’t very many good guys out there.  I’m old.  Everyone else has a boyfriend.  I’m just boring.  I’m weird/fat/ugly.  I’m never going to find someone.

4.  What are all the things that are great about this situation?

I don’t have to go out with someone who annoys me.  I am not stuck in a bad marriage.  No one is abusing me.  I like who I am. I get to eat what I want to eat tonight.  I can go to sleep early.  I have time to work at a job or learning something new.  I don’t have to worry about him cheating on me like so and so.  God knows best.  I trust God.  

Then pick the best of the best thoughts and fix your mind on that.  

I know it sounds like it doesn’t work.  That’s because your brain naturally doubts and assumes the worst.  Just like it does with being at home by yourself for dinner.  You have to teach it not to be.  

So just do it.  What you’ve been doing hasn’t worked, right?

Do it for two weeks, and let me know how it goes.  

THEN – have your teen try it. Go through the same steps. Have her come up with both sides though. If you just give her the reasons to think positive, she’s just going to assume that you don’t understand and that you’re controlling her. Let her learn to go through the process as well. Trust me.

XO – Natalie

How To Change Your Thoughts of Loneliness

Yesterday, I talked about how loneliness is actually a feeling and can be cured by changing our thoughts.  

So what’s one way to change them?  

Write down all the thoughts you have about being lonely. 

“I don’t belong.”

“I’m not invited.”

“No one understands me.”

“They think I’m weird/awkward/shy.”

As many as you can down…I call it a brain dump or a thought download.  Just get it out.

Then for each statement, write an opposite statement.  

“I belong to several groups – my family, my friends back in Boston, my church.”

“I am invited to other things/I invite different people to my stuff.”

“I understand me.” Or “My best friend in Idaho understands me.”

Why are we writing down the opposite?  

Because our brain will look for the evidence we tell it to to look for.  If I decide to think that I get “front row Jo” parking everywhere I go, I will see it happen more and more.  Only because my brain is looking for evidence to support this thought.

If I decide to think that I have a wonderful husband, my brain will find all the ways that he is.  

The same is true for being lonely.  If we choose to think thoughts that create loneliness, our brain will go to work finding evidence for it.  

If we choose to think the opposite thoughts, our brains will go to work finding evidence for that.  

And the more evidence our brain collects, the more it helps support the thought which turns the thought into more of a thought groove.  

And after the thought grooves is there for a while, it becomes a belief.  

Beliefs are what run our brain in the background. So we want our brain to have new beliefs.

So help a brain out.  Write the opposite.  Look for the opposite.  

For The Kids Who Want A’s & Hate School

I have a client who doesn’t like school.  Oh, wait.  I have many clients who don’t like school.  

This client (meaning most of my clients) has good grades, studies ok, and wants to have straight As.  Her goal for next year is to have the highest A possible in all classes.

She also thinks school is a waste of time, a necessity, and boring.  

Do you see the problem?  I know you hear it at home, but do you see it?  

She wants one thing, but the very thing she wants, she doesn’t like.  

No wonder we all decide that tweens and teens are extreme and confusing!  

I mean, we adults, are NEVER like that.  

We don’t want to lose weight, but also hate the gym.  

We don’t want to be happy at our jobs, but talk about how bad our boss is.  

We don’t want to be on time, and then say that being late is “just who we are”.

Nope.  I’ve never said those things.  (You know I’m kidding, right?)

As much as we’d like to only see what our kids are going through as just being drama, it’s also what we struggle with. 

Why?  It’s our human brain.  

It’s cognitive dissonance – when one’s ideas, beliefs, behaviors are contradictory.  

Your kids are just beginning to really learn what it is and what to do when it happens.  

Cognitive dissonance is a great opportunity for growth as long as you are bringing attention to it to your mind.  

Once your brain becomes aware of it, it has a much better chance of reconciling the two.  

Awareness is the first step.  

And I’ll be talking next steps for this in my Back To School meeting for parents of tweens & teens on the 23rd.  More details to come!

Good To Great – Changing the Programming

A lot of parents struggle with teaching their non-go-getter teens to go get. 

Why would you be okay with a C or not work to to get on the athletic team they want to be on? Or perhaps a teen coasts at a B and doesn’t understand why why they should push themselves when a B isn’t “bad”.  

If you think about it, though, most of their life they have been programmed for “good”.  They have been programmed to not be “bad” and to certainly do “right”.  

As a previous teacher, I’m guilty of that.  I remember teaching my kids to always do the “right thing”.  

Seriously. What the heck does that mean to a middle schooler? 

Half the time they probably truly don’t know what the right thing is to do and then they have so many voices telling them what is “right”.  Their friends, their teachers, their parents, social media.  How do they know which voice is the right voice?  

Even a pastor, Francis Chan, wrote about it in one of his books.  We get so caught up with teaching our kids to just be good and follow the rules that we forget to invite them to be great.  

Our kids programming right now is to not be bad.  Some of them, as they exercise independence and decide their friends are more important, actually believe they are bad or they want to be bad.  

It’s programming.  It’s beliefs.  It’s years of their brain believing this is the way.  This is THE WAY.  Not from you. All of it – school, church, the world, sports, etc.

What I work on with them is recognizing those beliefs.  Then we work on changing those beliefs.  And then we use those beliefs to accept themselves for who they are and then go for the dreams written in their heart! If they don’t have dreams, we start tackling that too!  

We take down the good shell and we create a great life.  Full of work, wins, and failures.  And they will love it.  Because they are no longer trapped into not being bad.

They are invited to be great.  

Best Case Scenario – A Decision Making Tool

Here’s one tool I teach my clients.  Best Case Scenario.  

You have a decision to make. Let’s say there are two options. Decide now that both options will turn out to be perfect – exactly how you’d want them to go. If that were the case, which one would you choose?  

That’s it. That’s the tool. Seems so simple and not effective, right?  I know. But try it. 

Here’s an example.

Recently, my husband and I found a house that just had framing up and we loved the floor plan.  It was perfect for our small family. And, if we bought now, we could finish building it.  We’d get to pick all the things.  So fun!

However, it was located much farther from my 2nd job and it was outside of our big city.  Away from all the restaurants and shops and activities we like to do.

We had to decide and we had to decide fast if we wanted to pick all the things.

Do we sell our home in Atlanta which is smaller and farther away from Darin’s work, and buy the bigger, newer home outside of Atlanta, or do we stay?

If we stay, we have to save more money to buy the type of house we want in the area we want.  And we’re not completely sure we’d find a house with this great of a floor plan.  

So how did I finally decide? Best Case Scenario. If all things worked out, and we moved out to the suburbs and loved our house and neighbors and restaurants and shopping or if we stayed and we saved up money in the next year and a half and found an amazing house in this location, which one did I really want?  

We stayed.  

Using The Best Case Scenario takes off the need to analyze all of the what-ifs, the cons, and constantly think about what could go wrong.  It makes a decision out of strength and abundance, not fear and scarcity.  

It’s so simple, and so effective.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you. Then try to share it with your teen!  

How Fear Of Rejection Lost

My favorite week of the year just happened.  My step-kids came and went.  On the last day as  they were packing up the car to go, I got more and more nervous.  Were they going to let me hug them?  Would they say good-bye?  Should I say I love you to them now or together as they leave or what?  

I feared being rejected by them before they had the chance to reject me.  

And in my fear, I said nothing.  I let them walk out with just a hug, a thank you, and a wave.  

Then I sat on my couch and cried.  I cried because they were gone, yes.  But I also cried because I let my fear win.  I rejected myself before they had the chance to. 

What’s crazy about the fear of rejection, too, is that the fear is what was making the rejection so much worse.  The anticipation of it. Like a shot at the doctor.

What’s awesome, though, is I knew it.  I was at least aware this time.

I sat there crying and I KNEW it.  I knew what I had done, what I was avoiding, and I was NOT going to let fear win completely.  

I practiced allowing the fear. I felt the tears, my heart in my throat, my clammy hands.  I felt the fear and the rejection for a good two minutes.

And then I moved on.  

I wanted to love them. I wanted to show up loving them.  I wanted to love myself.  They don’t get to decide any of those things.

Even if they don’t return the I love you, I can still love them.  

My love for them doesn’t rest on them returning their love for me.   

So I picked up my phone, and I texted.  “I miss you already.  I love you lots.  Heart.” One to Drew and one to Mara.  

One texted me back with an I love you. One did not.  

At this point, I could control my thoughts, and I didn’t take it personal.  

It doesn’t matter if they returned the I love you.  I loved them and myself enough to do it.  I love greatly, so I had to risk greatly.  And sometimes that means for myself too.  

This Is Who I AM

Stop thinking “This Is Who I Am”.

Start thinking “Who Do I Want To Become?”  

I heard these words from a 17 year old motivational millionaire.

You see he used to believe he was not confident and couldn’t speak in front of people.  He just got paid $60,000 to speak for an hour in front of thousands of people. 

But more importantly, he says that numerous people have told him after a speech that they had been thinking about suicide and because of his speech, they were no longer going to kill themselves. 

Caleb said – If I had just said “I am not a speaker.  I am not a confident person” and never became the confident speaker I am, those people might have taken their lives.  

He wasn’t okay with just saying “This is who I am.”  

These are ones I’ve heard from friends & family lately.  These are who you just BELIEVE you are.  It’s not actually a fact.  Which means you can change your belief. 

“I am just a control freak.”“I am a people pleaser.”“I am a late person.”“I am an introvert.”“I am a 3 on the Enneagram.”“I just like food.”“I am busy.”“I am not disciplined.”“I am just an anxious person.”“I am just laid-back.”“I don’t really have goals.”“I don’t belong.”

This is a fixed mindset.  A static mindset.  A static, fixed person doesn’t change or grow.  

A growth mindset starts working on changing their mind. To change their life.

  •  “I can learn to let go of control.  I can let go of control.  I don’t have to have control.”  
  • “It’s possible to like food and say no to a brownie.  I can say no to a brownie.  I want to say no to a brownie.  I will say no.”
  • “I can learn to be on time.  I can be on time.  I will do everything I can to be on time.  I am on time.”  

What I just shared with you is a tool called Ladder Thoughts that I teach my clients to use to grow from one belief to another.  You baby step your way to a new belief.  

However, ladder thoughts don’t just magically give you a new mindset.  

You have to PRACTICE believing each one.  Writing them, listening to them, reading them, visualizing them, saying them to yourself.  Every day.  

This is unbelievable make-your-life-better-and-grow gold!!

Questions to ask yourself (Caleb’s), ladder thoughts, and how to practice it.  

Friends – Start doing these three things today! Let me know if you have any questions I can help answer!

XO – Natalie