How to Overcome Self-Doubt

Summary:

  • Learn what a paralyzing emotion is and how to overcome it
  • Discover how manufactured illusions of success can cause self-doubt
  • Learn 4 strategies to completely overcome self-doubt

Article:

A clarifying quote from John McKay summarizing the entire intent of this article. He says,

“Nobody becomes great without self-doubt. But you can’t let it consume you.”

I say that this is a clarifying quote because it clearly articulates that self-doubt is something that we all experience throughout our lives yet the difference is how people relate to self-doubt. Some of us allow doubt to consume us, freezing us in a paralyzed state, while others recognized self-doubt for what it is and move past the doubt into the achievement that they desire.

For whatever reason, there are people who believe that the successful have some secret that the unsuccessful is not previewed to. Some think they have the secret sauce of life and as a result, they are able to accomplish their aims.

People who think like this are those who allow their circumstances to be the thing that defines who they are. It is as if they draw a circle made of doubt, fear, disappointment, rejection, shame, and remorse and allow that circle to be their entire world; they allow that circle to be who they are and limit what and who they could become.

“Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.” Christine Bovee

So here is the reality. There are countless people out there for one reason or another that do not want you to succeed. No really. They are not a figment of your imagination nor are you paranoid about someone out to get you.

We eloquently call these people haters.

And no matter how good you are or how successful you become, these haters will always be there to remind you of your shortfalls, missteps, and failures. I’ve said that everyone has a role to play in life and these haters are playing their role in the stage of life.

But why do I mention all of this?

Look. The existence of haters is a fact. Just like it is a fact that we require air to breathe and food to survive. They will doubt you; your friends will doubt you; your family will doubt you; your parents may even doubt; And all of this is ok as long as you do not doubt yourself.

Like Christine Bovee said – “Doubt who you will as long as you do not doubt yourself.”

Doubt could be the paralysis of today or it could be the catapult of innovation for tomorrow.

It is the choice of the red pill or the blue pill. You could live in the circle made up of the paralyzing emotions like doubt or you can be exposed to the wonderful and awesome world of exploring who you are and the purpose that you serve to become the greatest you that the world has ever known.

Paralyzing emotions are we are any emotions that will cause us to get stuck or paralyzed, unable to move forward in achieving our aims. These will include emotions like the infamous fear, the sneaky emotion of disappointment, the vicious emotion of rejection, and the spooky twins of remorse and shame.

Now that we’ve gotten the foundation out of the way, let’s discuss that 4 strategies you can implement immediately to overcome self-doubt.

“We live in a world filled with manufactured illusions, in which achievements appear to happen extremely fast and in which we’re fed false, inflated images.” – Bruce Frankel

#1 Your self-doubts are unfounded in reality.

As Frankel said in his quote, we are often fed with images of achievement without the context of the effort involved in obtaining that achievement. Social media would have us thinking that our progress is slow and our efforts are unattainable. So without that context, we are left to believe that these illustrations of achievement are easily obtained. When we fall short, based on these inflated images, we begin to lose confidence in our ideas, our efforts, those around us and ultimately ourselves.

None of us are strangers to this train of thought. We all have fell victim to this at some point in our lives until we realize the truth behind marketers’ stories of achievement.

To resolve this, we must stay grounded in our purpose. When we are completely committed to our purpose then it shouldn’t matter how others are achieving because we are secure in the journey that we are on.

Now, I acknowledge that this is easier said than done and that’s why your purpose must be your grounding. Short of that, we will always look to inflated images of success as the attainment verse the goals we are to achieve in our personal journey of achievement.

#2: What we must do is keep the momentum of achievement.

Momentum is the only cure that develops self-esteem that moves beyond self-doubt.

If you find yourself making excuses, procrastinating, finding reasons why you shouldn’t do things, then you are likely in full swing of self-doubt.

Establishing small goals that take you a bit out of your comfort zone and are achievable within a two-week window, is a surefire way to build up your confidence.

When you have enough of these accomplishments under your belt, the next stage is to up the ante. Take on more challenging goals that are further outside of your comfort zone. Continue to do this and before you know it, not only will overcome self-doubt, but you will accomplish things that you never thought possible.

Superman himself, Christopher Reeve, once said,

“A hero is someone who, in spite of weakness, doubt or not always knowing the answers, goes ahead and overcomes anyway.”

Hindsight is 20/20. The thing that you are avoiding doing is not as bad as your mind is making out to be. When you do the thing that you are avoiding, you will find that it wasn’t nearly as difficult as we talked ourselves into believing.

Even if we have past experiences as evidence as why we doubt ourselves, we cannot allow the past to be our shackles – preventing us from achieving our future.

#3 Bring Your Self Doubt Into the Light

Self-doubt is the silent killer. It sneaks up on you. It is masked itself as caution, paralysis of analysis, and extreme due diligence. All these things are good until you overuse them as a cover for doubt. When we’re able to bring self-doubt into the light and have the conversations about the things that we have doubt about, then we can have a rational discourse with someone and determine if our doubts are grounded in reality.

Through this conversation, we can become clear about the aspects of our doubt that is grounded in truth while discarding those that are illusions of our reality.

#4 Establish/Nurture a Quality Support System

The support system is who keeps you grounded. They are the ones who build your confidence and push you forward. When you want to draw back, they keep your mission in mind to keep you moving forward. They are the ones who you have rational discourse with to see what of your self-doubts are truly grounded in reality.

Now your support system can come in many ways, shapes or forms. It can be your friends, family, close acquaintances. It can be coaches and mentors that you have. It can be YouTube channels and books. It could be anyone and anything that you could conceive that you know has your best interest at heart to be able to move you forward in the goals that you put forward.

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt” – William Shakespeare

You have the capacity to overcome self-doubt, especially as you use the strategies shared in this article and video.

Self-doubt is an emotion that we all face, every single person on this plant – past, present, and future. It is married to fear and both fear and self-doubt are traitors to the potential future that we could be afforded if we move past our fears…move past our doubts and into the future that we create with the boldness that we declare!

4 Well-Being Techniques for Effective Productivity

Summary

  • Learn 4 techniques to instantly become less overwhelmed, anxious and stressed.
  • Understand your unique productivity rhythms and Off Track Triggers
  • #1 is the most counterproductive technique to becoming an all-star producer
  • Grab your free copy of the lesson worksheet here

Transcript:

Here’s the reality. There are a ton of things that are trying to gain our attention. Not only are they gaining our attention, but they are also trying to claw their way into our time. There’s no shortage of this activity.

At work, it’s the million emails that we need to get to by the end of the day; it’s the countless meetings about meetings for a meeting all of which we need to attend; it is the onslaught of text messages about the problems that arise for your product or what-have-you. These are the things that are continuing to claw into our time and take our focus off of productive work.

At home, it’s the ever-growing honey-do list; it’s the gnawing feeling of the new year’s resolution that you haven’t even gotten to yet, and it’s already October, and it’s the commitment that you made to your family about spending quality time.

So what am I getting at? Is there is no shortage of things that are just vying for our attention, which means that we need to have an increased mental focus. This also means that there is an attack on our wellbeing.

When we give too much of our attention and time we become only one thing…overwhelmed. We become stressed and overworked. We need to be able to have a keen focus on our wellbeing. We need to be able to move things forward. We need to be able to manage the plates that we’re balancing and we need to be able to manage our wellbeing.

All of what I described doesn’t even consider the emotional toll of all of these activities much less the emotional toll of all the roles that you play in the stage play call life.

I want to cover four wellbeing techniques for effective productivity. So let’s not even delay. Let’s go directly into it.

#1:  Take a Break.

It’s a little counter-intuitive to productivity, taking a break. It doesn’t make sense when we’re talking about being productive. But since we are talking about being productive from a wellbeing standpoint, it makes perfect sense.

Especially in American culture, we seem to have a badge of honor when we run ourselves ragged [to the point of exhaustion]. We have an issue saying no and accept every task that comes across our desk.This results in becoming overworked, stressed, overwhelmed. And that only causes us to have a mental breakdown at some point.

So what do we need to do?

Take a break. Go ahead and enjoy something new, something novel.

Take a break in between your productive time. In fact, you could use a Pomodoro technique where you have 20 to 25 minutes of productive time and then you have a short break and then another 20 to 25 minutes of productive time. And then another short break. Breaking up your work like this can allow you to stay hyper-focused in this small chunk of time.

#2 Use visualization

First, visualize your work. You have to work in front of you, but it’s on a spreadsheet or in a notebook or worst, in your email. This lack of clearly visualizing your work causes you to miss things or realizing them only in the last minute which causes you to become overwhelmed.

Since your work is not really, in front of you, we should make it so that it is. Put it on post-it notes, index cards, or whatever you have access to in a moment and place it in front of you.

This does two things: One, it really takes it out of where it’s hiding in your notebook to spreadsheets, wherever you may have it. And, two, it places it right in front of you as a reminder of the things that you need to get done.

Now don’t allow this to overwhelm you because it can. If you put too many things up there. You may have this gnawing feeling an what it is, is a gentle reminder of the work that you need to get done.

The second part of using visualization is the reality that we have is that things are gonna pop up in our mind at any given time. The thoughts, ideas of suggestions are going to sneak in and they’re going to try to distract us during our time of being productivity. An exercise we can do here is imagine our mind as a theater screen. And on that theater screen, we have the ability to see our thoughts, ideas, and suggestions come across the screen. Now imagine that they come across and the leave the screen like credits. In this exercise, we’re trying to detach ourselves from the ideas and suggestions and thoughts that are coming up by visualizing them on the theater screen and ending.

Alternatively, you can allow those thoughts, ideas, suggestions to come and dump it onto paper. Take a moment and write down the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions so that you can unload it from the brain and you can focus on the productive work that you are trying to accomplish.

#3 Obliterate procrastination.

I’m the worst. At Christmas time I wait until the last minute to get my presents. But procrastination doesn’t always work out in our best favor. Surely, more times than not, it doesn’t work out in our favor at all.

Procrastination can cause a lot of stress and anxiety about the work that needs to be done. Anxiety is one of the secret killers, if you would, in American society. It is the secret killer because it doesn’t show its face and we often think we just need to “suck it up”.

When we are considering obliterating procrastination, it means that we need to make a commitment. We need to have a consistent commitment to delivering work. A consistent commitment to delivering value. What I mean by this is we have time during the week that we dedicate towards whatever we need to do. This may mean, we need to have the necessary conversations with our loved ones.

Say we commit to setting aside two hours to focus on writing a for our Blog, for instance, or to do a video, like this. This happens every week around the same time and everyone is aware of what’s going on. So when we are able to establish these consistent commitments in our week, in our month, in our year, we’re able to move things forward and obliterate procrastination.

#4: Count to Clarity

Again, the reality is things are gonna pop in our minds, people are going to come into our offices, people are going to distract us. This is a fact of life so we need to be able to get back to ‘center’ as quickly as possible.

One strategy we can use to get back to ‘center’ is to count to clarity. What this means is that you count the numbers as high as you need to to get back to ‘center’, but you do so slowly with deliberate inhale and exhale breaths. What this does is slows everything down: it allows you to focus on the thing that you need to get back to; it allows you to detach from the thing that causes you to get off course.

This exercise, counting to clarity, gives you the ability to calm your nerves, calm your monkey mind, and allow you to get to ‘center’ where you can then go right back into a productive mode.

Bonus #5: Find your Flow

If you’re interested in a video about flow, let me know in the comments down below. Essentially, Flow is a transcendent psychological experience where you get into the zone and you are hyper-focused. As a result, you’re hyper-productive. In Flow, your self-regulating self diminishes. You’re not questioning the thoughts and ideas that are popping up as you’re trying to focus.

There are many activities that you can do to find your flow. One of my personal favorite that allows me to get into flow pretty quickly is listening to drum and bass music. If you are a runner, you go for a run to achieve a “runner’s high” get into general adrenaline and endorphins pumping through your system that helps you get into a flow state. Alternatively, reading a good book and finding something new and novel can kick you into flow as well. Finding your flow is unique to you. It is a great tool, not only for productivity but certainly for having a transcendent experience where you go learn more about yourself than you ever think you can possibly do.

The thing that we’re trying to achieve here is a greater self-awareness and as GI Joe said, “Knowing is half the battle”. The other half of the battle are the techniques that I shared with you in this video. And to win both sides means that you win the war.

I’m Ralph Plaskett. I am so happy to share these strategies with you. Let me know which one is your favorite and which one you’re going to apply to your life in the comments down below. So glad that you could join me here today and until next week, enjoy the greatness that is life.

6 Must-Know Strategies for Embracing Complexity

Summary:

Transcript:

Well, welcome to October and for me, welcome to fall allergies. If I sounded a little funky, that’s the reason why.

Hey, listen, I want to be able to talk about complexity. You know, we don’t give enough credence to complexity and our ability to embrace it. This week’s episode is [called] The 6 must-know strategies for embracing complexity. Complexity is something that we tend not to embrace. In fact, we shy away from it. As we grew up, we learn to simplify everything that we possibly can. We look in terms of black and white [without] having an appreciation for the shades of gray that’s in between.

This type of thinking causes us to have a very narrowed view. In fact, there’s a term for this type of thinking and it’s called Either/Or Thinking. With Either/Or Thinking we are constrained with either and or. It’s either this or it is that! It either is or it isn’t! Either black or it’s white!

This thinking has its place and it’s very functional in certain areas. But as we look at the human dynamic and the human experience and the fullness as it is to engage in this world, Either/Or Thinking has its limitations. It’s is too restrictive to deal with all the complexities that we have to hold as human beings. Especially as change agents where we are here to help embrace the transformation and evolution and the development of individuals.

So if Either/Or Thinking is too constrained then what is more embracing?

Before we even go there, let me give you an example of what I mean by Either/Or Thinking. The question becomes, “Which one is more important: inhaling or exhaling?” Now, as much as you want to be able to figure out which one is more important, I don’t care how you slice it, they are both critically important for your survival; for the function of breathing. You need both inhaling and exhaling.

So if you apply Either/Or Thinking here, the result is that you don’t have the opportunity nor the time to think about the question because you would have a limited capacity to be able to either inhale or exhale and not do one or the other. That’s exactly what I mean by either or thinking – it limits our ability to embrace polarities. Inhale and exhale is a polarity.

The options that we have available to us then is Both/And Thinking. If we’re going to look at polarities, then a polarity of Either/Or Thinking is Both/And Thinking. In order to function as openly and embracingly as we can in this human experience [we need Both/Anding Thinking]. It opens us up, it’s more inclusive, it’s more inquisitive, it gives us the ability for further options, options that are not available to us in Either/Or Thinking.

There is a term that the U.S. Army War College came up with called VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. This was a means in the late 1980s to describe the world that has emerged. Certainly, in the 2020s, we have fully embraced such an environment where we have disruptions of technology that’s doing such a number on the world. And in that, we have to be able to embrace and have an appreciation to now embrace complexity as we’ve never done before in our human history.

When, when we were growing up, we learned how to simplify things with Either/Or Thinking, but because we did that, that didn’t cause the complexity to go away. As an example, as an adult male, you have a spouse, you have children, you are a father, you are a role model. You are a husband. You are a professional. You are a change agent. You are a coach. You are an educator. We hold many roles. I can’t simplify myself to be this one thing. Yet, we were taught to simplify ourselves into be one thing…to be determined as one thing. We are able to hold more complexity than we often even realize. And in that complexity, we can now embrace the fullness of who we are. In complexity, we can embrace and have a more open and inclusive understanding of the perspectives of the world around us. See, with Both/And Thinking as well as Either/Or Thinking we have more perspectives that we can hold and in doing so it becomes more of a challenge. We’re moving from a simple view of the world to a more embracing, more complex view of the world.

When we’re in this space, we need to be able to learn how to deal with it. This requires more mature thinking, a more mature process to be able to hold polarities. There are six strategies I want to be able to share with you right now on being able to hold these complexities.

#1: The first one is Surrender the Need for Control. See in Either/Or Thinking we have a clear understanding of the options before us and therefore we have an ability to control. But when you have Both/And Thinking, when you’re able to embrace the complexity, that’s when you don’t have so much of a clear understanding of all the options because the options are infinite and therefore we have to surrender the need for control.

#2: Which brings me to what we need to come to understand is there are Temporary Truths, meaning that in the moment, this thing may be true but in the next moment it may have altered and shifted and what was true no longer is. Now, in the present, is a truth that we hold. This thought [process] embraces development and evolution. So to say that there is only one truth and forever constant means that there is no growth and development in our understanding. You see when we are able to embrace temporary truths, that means that we understand and we have an appreciation for our growth and development and evolution. Knowing that we will change over time.

#3: Next is that we have to Embrace Diversity. Now certainly when [diversity] comes up it is usually around racial diversity and that is also true – we need to embrace diversity – but what I’m also talked talking about is every level of diversity. I’m also talking about diversity of thought, diversity of being, diversity of options.

When we are embracing complexity, we therefore also have to embrace all of the perspectives, all of the options that come with it. You may have heard the common phrase, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.” Now, I’m not sure of all of the ways that you can skin a cat, but certainly, this is a description of the multiple roads that you can take in order to get to the same end result.

#4: Trade Assurance for Flexibility. In multiple options, there is less assurance. But in order to embrace in a whole complexity, we need to have a counter to the lack of assurance and the counter to or the polarity of that is flexibility. Flexibility gives us the necessary amount of [room] to move around in the, in the situation, in the circumstances, in an environment to embrace all of the options that are available and figuring out which option is best in the moment that you need to make the decision.

#5: Which brings us to Embracing Systems Thinking. This is quite noticeable in technology: in the past when we were able to look within the small confines of our system/organization/being we were ok. What systems thinking says, is no longer can you look at just your small piece of the pie, but you need to look at the larger part of the entire pie and how this small piece affects the overall.

One of the better examples that I have of this is in a traditional school system in the United States. The United States has these subjects and each of those subjects are taught specific within a silo and there is no integration across the whole. What this means is that if I’m teaching mathematics or science or history, I almost always teach them within those silos. But what if we can then take this, this mathematical thing that we are teaching and we can embrace it across history and science?

When we’re able to integrate across the system we can embrace the whole in order to get a better result and a better understanding and appreciation for how this small part affects the greater whole.

#6: The most powerful strategy is Look As versus Looking At. When we Look As we are putting our feet into the shoes of the other person and we are taking on empathy and having an understanding and appreciation and a perspective from their vantage point.

When we Look At, it is as if we’re looking through a microscope and we are observing from afar. In doing so we’re providing and passing judgments. We have no appreciation for Looking As the individual, as the organization, as the entity, and being able to have an appreciation for understanding and empathy of what they are going through, what is happening.

When we’re able to Look As instead of Looking As, it opens up our ability to handle and appreciate the complexity that’s going on instead of Looking At from a judgment perspective which is only a single vantage point of our own. When we’re able to truly put our feet into the shoes of others and I have an understanding and appreciation for what they’re going through, not only does it give us empathy, but it also opens up our perspective. It gives us more inclusiveness and inclusion and it allows us to ask more questions. And in doing so, learning more.

These are the six strategies for embracing and dealing with complexity. The latter being one of the more important ones I believe that you can embrace and hold today.

How to Stay Present

Summary:

  • You’ll understand what a time machine mindset is and the effects that it currently has on your life.
  • You’ll gain 3 strategies to avoid a time machine mindset and realize the gifts of the present
  • You’ll learn a key strategy on dealing with the past you want to change
  • You can access the worksheet that comes with this training here
  • Personal Transformation just got easier! Learn more about the Human Transformation Canvas and how you can leverage it in your practice.

Transcript:

Could have, would have, should have. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda. What could have been? What should have been? Imagine what could have been only if I did.

You see, we’ve all said some variation of these phrases sometime throughout our lives.

We’ve all come to the point where we wish we turned left instead of right.

We all come to the point where we went back in the past and we decided, “Man! I should’ve said this instead of that.”

We’ve all come to the point where we wish we, invested in this oddly named company called Google that did this thing called search engines back in the day.

We all been there where we’ve jumped into our time machines and went back into the past to wishing we could have changed something for the better. You see, science fiction is riddled with stories just like these: The person goes back in time to change the outcome of their present or what they expect the future to be. They go back in their time machine and they expect to change time and make it all better.

What we learn through science fiction, is that we have no capability of controlling life to get the exact results that we imagined [by traveling back in time]. Yet, that doesn’t stop us from trying. Individually, we go into our time machines and think about a time where we wish we could have changed something and in that change, the future would have been completely different, often better.

We imagined this state where we think that things would have been so much better only if this one small detail change completely. Now that may be the case, but we would never know. The reality is, we don’t have the capability to go back in time, and even if we did this, science fiction has told us that it will not come out the way that we imagine.

The past is the past. There is nothing that we can do about it, but the present is a gift.

You see, so many of us we get in this time machine mentality (mindset) where we dwell in the past. When we dwell in the past only two things can happen: First we get disappointed. We are disappointed that we didn’t make those necessary changes that would have resulted in some better outcome. Second, we get depressed. We get depressed because we weren’t able to make those changes. This is not an empowered state of being yet we carry ourselves to this time machine and we go back to the past.

Don’t think that it is just the past that we are concerned about. There is also a challenge in the future. Many of us project ourselves to the future where we come to a state of being anxious. We observe this future outcome and we become enamored with it. We love it. We want it now. The problem is it’s not here now but there in some distant future. Because of this, we [develop] anxiety around the gap. This gap is between the present and the future outcomes or the expected imagined future outcomes.

Don’t get me wrong.

I am a complete advocate for planning and strategy and utilizing your creative enterprise in order to create the world that we live in. Everything that we have ever encountered, every human achievement created have resulted from the leveraging of our creative enterprise. What does that mean? That means that everything that you’ve come to learn, value and love was once thought of and seen in the future and that person or persons or entity brought it from the future to present.

How did they do that? Did they jump in a time machine and capture ‘the thing’ and bring it to the present?

What they did to realize those outcomes was asked, “what are the gaps? What are the knowledge, capability, and personal development gaps do I presently have that is prohibiting me from being able to realize that future outcome?” When we do that type of exercise, then we can build the necessary we could build the necessary capabilities in order to realize the future outcome.

So what am I getting at?

If you want to be healthier, for example, don’t dwell on the fact that you just had a plate of pancakes. Instead, figure out what are the commitments that you need to make in order to achieve the healthy lifestyle you desire.
If you want to be a businessperson, binge-watching Shark Tank or The Profit is not going to do you justice. You can’t duplicate what you saw on TV. You can’t duplicate, from your couch, the connections, the capital, the blood, sweat, and tears of entrepreneurship. What you can do is own and understand what you need and then go out there and get it.

If you want a healthier, more loving family, you can’t dwell on the fact that you didn’t have that in your past. But what you can do, in the present, is love on your family.

When we are able to stay in the present and realize the gift that we have in the present, we can then surrender our past. When we are able to stay in the present and realize the gift that we have in the present, we can build the necessary capabilities in the present in order to realize that future.

There are three ways to stay in the present:

#1: We know one, we talked about it this whole time. Build the future by staying grounded in the present. Now again, I’m an advocate of leveraging your creative enterprise. Use your imagination and the theater of your mind in order to see what is or what could be. Bring that forward and say, what am I missing in order to realize this thing here in the future, and then build the necessary skills.

#2: We need to be grounded in gratitude. Gratitude opens up so much for us. You see in gratitude, we can realize the gifts and have an appreciation for the present. In gratitude we can understand what is valuable to us and in that value, again, we can surrender the past and we can shape the future.

#3: Equip yourself for the future. Again, we talked about this several times. When we are able to equip ourselves, we have to do the necessary work. We have to figure out what the gap is that we need to fill in and then we need to figure out how are we going to get there? Are we going to get a coach or we’re going to get a mentor? What education do we need to go and get how we’re going to achieve that education? Who do we need to talk to? What do we need to do in order to realize this thing?

You have more capability and more capacity than you could imagine. When we allow ourselves to get into our time machines and we go to the past, we become depressed and disappointed. Or we go into our time machines and project ourselves to the future we become anxious about the gap between the present and the future state. Stay in the present. The present is the gift of shaping a future outcome and surrendering of the past that you would have loved to change. This gift is not only a present for you but for everyone around you.

I’m Ralph Plaskett and thank you for joining me this week.

Take Control of Your Own Story

Summary:

  • Discovery how stories affect our brains, especially the stories we tell ourselves
  • Learn how to control the narrative you’ve been told and author a story of your own
  • 3 ways to immediately realize the benefits of stories for your life
  • Watch the entire video to get the full lesson
  • Download the worksheet that accompanies this blog post so that you make the most of your learning
  • If you are an agent of change (coach, consultant, educator, etc) and seek to cause transformations in the lives of your clients, download the Human Transformation Canvas, free

Transcript:

Stories are amazing and absolutely fantastic. We just can’t get enough of them. We love them so much.

We’ve been telling stories since the dawn of language. In fact, even older than that. Some of the earliest cave paintings are 40,000 years old, if not older. We’ve been telling stories since the dawn of man, but here’s a really interesting thing. It’s not like it’s an old thing that we are, are, are enamored with stories. We love them today.

Stories at the box office, some of them gross $1 billion in a given month. That is amazing. If you don’t think that’s amazing, frankly, I think it’s fantastic how much we are so enamored with stories. You see there is a certain part of our brain called the Broca region. Broca. Did I say it right? Brooooccccaaaa. The broca region of our brain [is responsible for language processing]. See when we say very factual statements such as, “the lady sang a beautiful song” that’s the region of the brain that lights up.

It’s okay. It’s a beautiful song. But it doesn’t give us any intrigue. But if we were to say that same statement or the intention behind that statement in all of the benefits that a story gives us, our entire brain lights up.

So for instance, if we were to say, “The lady who sang in a velvety voice, sang like she had a choir of angels behind her.” You see, that type of language as we depict it in a story lights up our entire brain and causes our visualization functions to kick in. It causes our imagination to functions, to kick in. Frankly, it causes are sensory elements within our brains to kick in and we can literally see ourselves on a theater of our minds within that story. We can hear the lady, we can smell what’s in the air, we can taste the meal that we just had before she began singing.

We can involve ourselves in the story and that is exactly why stories are so powerful. They move us. You see, stories give us the ability to really deliver emotion. Stories give us the ability to pass on ideas and connect with people far greater than factual statements. Stories allow for cultural identity and traditions to be passed on well beyond the persons who’ve created them.

The question is, “what stories are you telling yourself?”

We all walk around with a narrative. In fact, we walk with two narratives. We walk around with a major narrative and a minor narrative. See our major narrative – this is the one I like – the major narrative is the story that we tell about ourselves. It’s who we are. It’s the identity that we hold. It is a value system that we believe in. It is all of the hope and dreams that we have of our lives, our career, our family. This is our major narrative.

The minor narrative, on the other hand, it’s a little bit more defeating. It’s the one that speaks to the demoralizing statements that you had as a child. It’s the one that says, “you will never become anything.” It is the one that speaks to your fears and your doubts. This is the minor narrative, but the minor doesn’t always stay the minor and the major doesn’t always stay the major. They interchange. And when the minor narrative, the one that is demoralizing and defeating becomes a major, we have a serious problem.

Let’s take this as an example. We have two people. They are presenting at a major conference. Let’s say there are 500 people at this conference. The morning of this conference, they both wake up and their palms are sweaty, their heart is racing, the feel a little light-headed even. These are all signs of fear and anxiety. These are the physiological effects of fear and anxiety for so many people.

Jane is the first person that we’re going to have in this conversation. And Jane, you see, she feels this and she wonders: “Am I ready for this presentation? Did I prepare enough? Oh, I should have prepared some more. What if I get up there and I forget everything that I was intended to say? What if they don’t think that I know what I’m talking about? Maybe I should not go for this presentation? I should just call it quits.” See Jane has allowed her minor narrative to overtake her major narrative.

Now Susan, on the other hand, has a different response. Susan’s palms are sweaty, her heart is racing. She has a little bit of shortness of breath and she reminds herself that she’s prepared for this. She understands that this physiological response is a response to fear and anxiety, so she reminds herself that she has prepared for this presentation. She reminds herself that she’s the only one who can deliver this presentation and if she doesn’t, there is no one else who can and these 500 people will be without the message that she has come to bring.

She slows her breaths. She focuses on her exhale. She uses a meditative technique like this to gain composure of herself and her mind. She recenters and realizes that what she was going through with simply the anxiety and the excitement of the presentation.

Who do you believe had a better presentation?

You see, we all have major and minor narratives and the way that we are able to put them in check is:

#1: Aligning Narrative:

We need to all have an aligning narrative that we can author. We are the author of our destiny and we need to get into the driver’s seat and author our narrative.It doesn’t have to be a bestseller at first, but we should have an understanding of what that narrative speaks to.

One of the best exercises I’ve seen in this case is to come from the standpoint of your obituary. What would it read like? I know this can be rather morbid…if you allow it to go there. What would your obituary read? How would the people in the room at your funeral respond? Will you have left a void? You see, from this standpoint, we can author the type of life that we would want to lead so that we knew exactly how it would be at the position of our death. We won’t be there, but we could know exactly how that’s gonna play out by leading a life aligned to our narrative.

#2 Recognizing The Opposition’s Story:

Like I said in the beginning, stories are amazing and they will weave their way into our minds and into our hearts without us even realizing it. So the opposition narrative can easily come in as a major narrative without us recognizing it. We need to be able to have our aligning narrative as our anchor. We anchor down and we say, “This is the position that I am taking. This is the narrative for my life. This is the narrative that I have authored.”

We have to be able to ask ourselves, whose story am I hearing or am I telling? Does it align with my narrative? Is this story defeating or is it purposeful?

When we’re able to ask ourselves these questions, we can realign to our aligning narrative. But first, we have to have one in the first place. So number one, have an aligning narrative. Number two, understand oppositions a story so that we can align back to our narrative and stay grounded.

#3 Establish a Support System:

And number three, we must have a support system. We can’t do this alone.

No matter how you construct your support system, if its friends and family, coaches and mentors; if it’s youtube channels and magazines that empower you and make you feel good and grounded in your position. No matter how you construct your support system, it must do three things.

  1. Obviously, it must be supportive.
  2. it must be accountable.
  3. it must be challenging. It must move you and challenge you forward.

You see, stories are amazing and we have the ability to write our own story. We have the ability to get into the driver’s seat and drive and author a story that we can be proud of, author, a story that moves us and other people forward. So then we can accomplish the very goals that we have set out to be.

How to Increase Your Self Awareness

Summary:

  • Discover the 3 environmental elements that affect your self-awareness and your goal achievement
  • Learn what the perspective bubble is and how you must avoid it at all costs
  • The most common mistakes that people make once they understand this
  • Watch the entire video to get the full lesson
  • Download the worksheet that accompanies this blog post so that you make the most of your learning
  • If you are an agent of change (coach, consultant, educator, etc) and seek to cause transformations in the lives of your clients, download the Human Transformation Canvas, free.

Pre-Transcript:

Hey Growth Seekers. It’s Ralph Plaskett, author of the acclaimed book, Deepening Growth, and transformation coach to those seeking a deeper connection to purpose, clarity of identity, and effective pursuit of achievement.

Listen, have you ever had a feeling that the life you are leading doesn’t feel exactly right? Sure, everything might be good. You’ve to gain various levels of success and countless people around you shower you with praise or admire your achievements. Nevertheless, there is something missing, something just not right.

You might feel how are you to have this feeling that something isn’t right when so many things are going in your favor? The reality is, there is a void that you just can’t put your finger on. You are not alone. Frankly, there are more people who live in this state of existence than we are aware of.

I remember having a disorienting dilemma around my identity. There was a difference of I saw myself and the way that others saw me. It was the event that caused me to realize that something was just not right. Yes, everything was going well. I had everything that I wanted – a beautiful wife, two wonderful kids, and a promising career.

What I came to realize was that I wasn’t rightly relating to my authentic self. And that’s when I dove headfirst in leading an authentic life unbounded by my constructed beliefs and social norms.

Meet my client Jasmine. For the purpose of confidentiality, names have been changed. Jasmine had everything going on. She is a high achiever and what she focuses on, she accomplishes. She had a successful entrepreneur career in the high-stakes, highly political and competitive Washington DC market. She was viewed as a mentor and a leader among her peers. Yet in a few short years, she experienced two pivotal events that caused her to question everything.

Conventional knowledge would say to “shut up and color” meaning that one should stop complaining about all the good things going on in your life even if it is not exactly what you wanted and just go with the flow. But what kind of life does this lead to? Sure, based on social standards all the boxes are checked and therefore you’ve achieved what most would only dream of. Yet the reality is, social standards of success can and do lead to lives of quiet desperation and an empty unfulfilled existence.

When I began working together with Jasmin as her coach, there was a single theme that continued to come up during our sessions. Encompassed in a simple yet profound question – Who is Jasmine? – was the theme of clarity. And this is what I wanted to talk with you about today.

Before we can move into the clarity framework, it is important that we review the environmental conditions that have a significant effect on our clarity. There are three environmental conditions that we must be self-aware of in order to not allow them to unconsciously affect our psyche and its effects on our clarity.

Physical Environment

The first is the actual physical environment. The physical environment around us and the culture influenced by the environment plays a significant role in shaping our mental models that have an impact on the effectiveness of our personal clarity. You see the physical environment in part shapes our individuality.

Take two identical twins and for the purpose of this exercise, the emphasis is on their near-identical genetic makeup. Place these twins in separate physical environments – let’s say the great plains of Wyoming and the tropical isles of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The way that these twins adapt to their environments is based on the specific environment and as we can see they will be drastically different.

The physical environment shapes the way that we interact with the world and the people around us. The crowded streets of a big city like New York or Tokyo may cause someone to be more accepting of loud noises, people in close personal space, and busy. This may be just the opposite for someone who grew up in the small towns of the Great Plains.

This first environment also takes into consideration the micro-social environments such as family units and macro-social environments such as schools, neighborhoods, regions, countries, and cultures. Just listing all of these is a lot, so consider that effect and impact that these environments (the geographic and social) have on shaping who you are and its continued impact on your clarity.

The chief thing to remember here is that we are NOT our environment. Yes. It significantly contributes to our development and its impact on our clarity but it does not mold us in cement blocks, unable to move or change or adapt. We are living breathing creatures, but we are not plants. We can change, adapt, move, and shape ourselves into what we need to be to live a life that we are proud of.

Many people use their environments as the scapegoat of their excuses, the reason for their failures, the reason for their unhappiness. If this wasn’t true then there wouldn’t be rags to riches stories. If this wasn’t true then there wouldn’t be hope for 90% of the world’s population. The truth is, our greatest work is the exploration deep within to model ourselves to the achievement of our deepest ambitions. This brings me to our second environmental condition.

Mental Environment

The second is our mental environment. This environment describes how we interact in the world with others and the way that we view ourselves in the world. There are two illustrations that we are going to look at to succinctly describe the mental environment in the most action-oriented way that I know-how.

The first illustration is a framework known as the Karpman’s Drama triangle. The three corners of this triangle is represented by the victim, persecutor, and rescuer. The victim is described as the person who possesses a “whoa is me” attitude or the world is against me. The persecutor is described as the person who looks to blame anyone or anything outside of themselves. They are critical, blaming, oppressive, and controlling.

Lastly, the rescuer is described as the person that seeks to solve the problems of others while not addressing their own; what’s more, the rescuer enables both the victim and the persecutor personalities. Each of us has the ability to be in any one of these personalities at any given time in any given circumstance.

As you may have noticed, the drama triangle is well, full of drama and is associated with negative responses to the world around us.

The flipside of this is Emerald’s empowerment dynamic triangle. And you guessed it, it has three corners that represent the creator, challenger, and coach. Like the characters in the drama triangle, we are able to possess anyone of these characteristics at any given time. The creator characteristic is described as tapping into their passions to fuel the achievement of outcomes. They are focused on creating and moving things forward. The challenger is described as focusing on learning and growth. They are the ones who like to hold the creators accountable by building them up vs the persecutor who seeks to tear people down. Finally, we have the coach who uses compassion and active inquiry to help creators develop a vision and plan. They provide encouragement, support, and a safe space to design and improve actions.

If we look at both of these triangles, they both represent two distinct ways that we can view the world. One more positive than the other. One more empowering and liberating than the other. One focuses on growth while the other focuses on limits. Two ways to view and operate in the world and the choice is yours on which one you feel enables you to achieve your aspirations.

The goal is to be aware of how we are relating to others and which personality we are most displaying. We want to possess what I call the achiever personality where we relate rightly to the world around us, owning not only our good but also our bad and ugly circumstances; possess the resilience to handle difficult situations, and focus on achieving my aims.

Emotional Environment

The third and final environment is our emotional environment. I like to call this our emotional climate. This environment encompasses our emotions, moods, and feelings about ourselves and the world around us. All of these words may sound familiar but there are some key distinctions that when we understand them, we are more aware of the things that affect our states of being. For instance, moods are long-term effects of our state of mind. We essentially live in a mood. The mood is our baseline. Moods are not affected by external factors. Our emotions are short-term responses to external factors that have an effect on our mood. So our mood is our baseline not affected by external factors while our emotions are short-term instinctive responses to external factors.

And then there are feelings. Feelings are our conscious response to moods and emotions. If we had absolutely no control over our moods and emotions, then we have full control over our feelings. In our feelings we have the ability to respond differently than our emotions often do. Take the emotion of fear for example. In fear we have the feelings of fright, of being scared, of being anxious. These are typical responses. But we do not have to respond this way. In our feelings we have a choice. For instance – instead of responding to fear with feelings of fright, being scared or anxiety – we can redirect that energy to feelings of readiness and focus.

In the martial arts world, Aikido is a martial art form that was featured in countless 1990s films by Steven Seagal. This martial arts form is known for using the opponent’s own energy/attacks against them. Likewise, we can use the instinctive response to external factors known as emotions and redirect that energy to a more empowering feeling.

This is a powerful technique that you can begin employing today. You don’t have to be a zen master. You don’t have to practice 10,000 hours of meditation before you can begin. What you must do is become more aware of your mood, emotions, and feelings.

There is a common misconception that you should stop having bad emotions. As we just learned, emotions are natural instinctive responses. We don’t want to stop having those. They are built-in responses that have allowed humans to survive this long and allowed for you to get this far. What we want to do is move from surviving to thriving. We do this by changing how we respond to these instinctive responses to external forces; by changing the meaning of the feelings that we have when these emotions come up.

So let’s review. Here are the 3 ways to be more self-aware of your environment.

  1. You can choose not to be a product of your environment as they would say. Your physical environment plays a significant role in developing you as an individual. Becoming aware of how your environment has shaped you allows you to focus on the areas that require attention that will bring you closer to your wants out of life.
  2. You can either be the victim or the creator. The way you respond will determine the outlook of your future. How we relate to ourselves and the world around us determines how far we can climb.
  3. You have the ability to control your emotions by changing how you feel about them. Like the martial arts form – Aikido – you have the ability to shift the energy of your emotions to a more productive state. You can change how you feel about Fear, for example, and change it from fright to a feeling of readiness; from anxiety to a feeling of focus.

Here are the most common mistakes that people make once they understand this.

  • They reject everything that they hear and think that they have everything going on. Listen, even the most successful people in any area of life, understand that regardless of the level of achievement, there is more growth, that is required. Learning, especially about yourself, doesn’t stop.
  • They give up on the change because it is difficult. Look, change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and focused effort to do so. You will slip back into old habits. The goal isn’t to get frustrated when this happens, but recognize it for what it is and identify the triggers that caused you to revert back to those habits.
  • Which brings me to not becoming self-aware specifically, in identifying the triggers that you have around your habits and emotions. Your triggers are indicators on what causes you to do unproductive/disempowering things. Knowing what they are is half the battle. The other half is identifying the appropriate response to get the results you want.

Listen. You are a powerful person who has or can develop more control in your life by understanding the elements discussed in this video.

You are not stuck.

You are not a product of your environment.

You are capable of more than you imagine.

And that’s not just a cliche saying. I’ve studied human performance for a long time and I’ve dedicated my life to facilitating the transformation of persons to reach their highest potential. And one thing is for sure. You are capable of much more than you imagine. You have the capacity for greater things than you are even aware of. It will take work. It will take time. Anything worth doing is worth the work and time.