#204 Self Coaching 101- Your Brain is Only Human

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One of the biggest pitfalls we come across when working on changing our mindset to support our wellness and happiness is the false expectation that our brain will suddenly change.  

Once you decide to let go of fear adopt healthier habits, release anger, or make any other change in your life, it’s likely that your brain will fight you all along the way. 

Expecting anything different can result in a lot of frustration. 

Worse yet, when your brain and thoughts don’t suddenly change on their own you can end up, giving up on what you want for your life. 

The good news is, that things don’t have to go that way. 

In this episode, I’ll help you understand how to accept the way your brain works, stop fighting it, and make an intentional choice to stop letting your thoughts lead you to places you don’t want to go. 


Read the full transcript here:

Laura Lummer  00:00

You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started.


Laura Lummer  00:33

Hello, friends, welcome to episode 204 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm so excited to be here today. I want to make sure and remind you right at the beginning of the show, before I jump into everything, that there are a couple of ways to work with me, I've had this question come up in a few emails lately. And I guess when you're like in the flow and in the business and doing the podcast, I just kind of think that people realize how they can work with me. But apparently, that's not always true. So you could work with me by going to the breast cancer recovery coach.com. And you'll find on the homepage, you'll see coaching and support, or you can go straight to the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash life coaching, and you will be able to select from joining the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership there. Or you can also do the VIP package, which is three months of the membership along with 12 weeks of one on one private coaching with me. So go to the website, check that out, see what you get with those packages, believe me, you're gonna love it. The work that we do there, the women that you will engage with there the coaching that you will receive from the there, it will literally change your life. And I feel 100% confident saying that, because I've worked with so many people and seen it happen over and over. So I want to make sure and say that very clearly up front for those of you have been confused about what to do what the membership means or how you could work with me either in a small group environment, or in a private one on one environment. So the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash life coaching. Okay, this show I think is so important this episode, because a lot of this has been coming up lately in my coaching sessions with men. And I want to start off by what I think is a perfect thing. That last weekend, maybe it was two weekends ago, I don't even know now, but one of my members, in one of our coaching calls, she said that her husband said to her, you know, just because you invite me to a fight doesn't mean I have to accept the invitation. Now that I doubt is verbatim of what she said. But the gist of it is there, the energy of it is there. It's because you engage in something or you try to draw somebody into something, we do not have to go there, we do not have to engage. Now, for the purposes of this episode, I want you to think of the person who's inviting you, as your brain. And the place that your brain is inviting you is that rabbit hole, that dark space of confusion, overwhelm depression, anxiety, thought loops, feeling stuck. And your brain will invite you to go to those places, and what life coaching is, and what self coaching is. So let's start with our self coaching. Because the title of this episode is self coaching one on one, self coaching is when you realize you are stuck in this place, or you are thinking in a certain way, in the way that you're thinking is creating feelings that are really not what you want to experience a very negative, maybe they're repetitive, they're keeping you very stuck, you are not getting the result you want in your life. And you realize that and you see that. So when you're in that place, that's when you start to coach that's when you take out the pencil and paper, you start to write down all the thoughts that are in your head, you start to see the way your brain is inviting you to go. You start to see what your brain is, unintentionally. And when I say unintentionally means you are not on purpose trying to think this way. Your brain is throwing at you what I call Lindsay Lohan thoughts. And I call them that because as I've shared with so many of my members before I had this funny experience one time where I'm sitting on the beach, my totally my happy place my meditative place my healing place, sitting on the beach. It's early in the morning, I'm watching the surf. I'm taking it all in. And then I notice then my brain says wonder what's going on. Oh, Lindsay Lohan.


Laura Lummer  05:02

And as I'm aware of that thought popping into my head, I think, what the hell? Why would I be having a thought like that? Where did that thought come from? And I kind of left it myself. And of course, I just let that thought go. Right. I didn't say, Well, let me get out the phone. Let me see, where's Lindsay Lohan what's happening? It's just random thought, that pops up in my head, for no reason, sitting on the beach, and certainly not thinking about celebrities or celebrity lives, or whatever celebrities do with their lives just this wild, random thought. That's the kind of thing our brain does, unintentionally, it just has thoughts. It's like, just doing its own thing. And so when we are coaching, when we're learning life coaching skills, what we do is become aware of those thoughts. And notice, is this thought creating something that serves me? Is it resulting in an emotion that I want to or choose to experience? When I go with that thought, and it creates this emotion that I'm experiencing? What kind of actions do I take when I'm feeling that way? And do those actions create a result in my life that I want to have? And if the answer is no, for instance, like the Lindsay Lohan thought, there are a couple of ways to address it. One, you can just notice it kind of laugh and go whatever, right? I'm not going with that thought like, I'm not putting any energy into that. That means nothing to me that's just silliness. Or two, is we just jump in the pool with our brain with jump in the pool with it, right? Yeah. Oh, my gosh, what happened? That was so horrible. Let me look it up. Let me see who did what to whom. And we get into the drama. The way that that often affects us in our lives is what I'm going to talk about here today. Because I will often work with people. And you may have experienced this yourself, where maybe you heard something on a podcast, this podcast or any other podcast, maybe you read something in a book, maybe you heard something from your coach, maybe you heard something from someone you really respect and you think that's going to be really helpful for me that will help me move past this place that I'm stuck in. And then as you decide to adopt this skill, or practice a way of thinking, you notice, your brain keeps throwing the same stuff up at you. And then you say to yourself, we'll see that didn't work. See, they told me that and I tried that. But it didn't work. My brain is still telling me all these Lindsay Lohan thoughts. Okay? Here's what happens. That in itself is the thought error. When you decide I am no longer going to live in fear. Right? You say to yourself one day enough, I'm not going to live like this. I've made a decision that I'm not going to let cancer consume my life, loneliness, consume my life, anger, consume my life, fear, consume my life, whatever it might be. And you say to yourself, I'm not going to do this anymore. And so you decide I'm going to move forward in my life in a different way. And you feel really good about it. And in the moment you feel empowered, and you're thinking like, yeah, that's, that's what's going to happen. That's what I'm going to do. And then three hours later, your brain throws up another Lindsay Lohan thought, and then you get really frustrated. And you say to yourself, What the heck, I just decided I wasn't going to do that. And here I am thinking about that. That place, right there is the thought error. That's where you want to be super superduper, careful, okay? Because you make a decision to change something in your life does not mean that your brain is going to stop working the way that it has worked for your entire life. So if you say to yourself, you know, I've made a decision. I'm going to stop focusing on the wet towels, my spouse leaves on the floor. Because I have an awesome spouse. It's married to a wonderful person. And the one thing that person does that drives me crazy is what towels on the floor. But the million other things they do, they make me laugh, they take good care of me. They're sweet, they're thoughtful, whatever, whatever, all those things. And you decide, I am not going to get angry anymore about the wet towels on the floor. And then the next morning you wake up and there's a wet towel on the floor. Your brain is gonna say see There they go, not listening, and it starts to go down the road of the story, whatever the story is that it tells you they don't respect me. They don't love me. They don't care. If I meant more to them, they wouldn't leave what tells them the floor.


Laura Lummer  09:52

Your brain will automatically do that. So you're going to expect it. Right? You're going to see it coming. You're trying to lose weight you say I'm going to change the way that I eat. I'm no longer going to want the the full fat, Trent's a pumpkin spice latte, from whenever it comes out September, it'll January. But then you drive by your favorite coffee shop one morning and your brain is like Go Go, go, go, go, go get it, go get it. And you get frustrated, and you say, See doesn't work. I think that anyway, I'm just going to go get it. So that right there is the place where your brain is inviting you to go to the place that you don't want to go. That right there is where your brain is saying, Come with me, come back down this road, we decided we weren't going to go on come on. And that is the point where you then you have half the battle done already. Because you notice that your brain just did it right. You notice, oh, look, my brain is still thinking the same way. But then you engage your rational mind at that point. And you say, No, I decided, I'm not going to do that anymore. And here are the skills I'm going to implement. Here's the new thought I'm going to go with, when I see the wet towel on the floor, I'm going to say, You know what, you're an amazing person. And I don't mind picking up a wet towel now. And then, because you decided, you're going to think this new way. When you drive by your favorite coffee shop, you're gonna say, you know, I did enjoy those for a long time. But today, I'm not doing that brain because today, I'm nourishing my body from a place of love. And that doesn't support my healing. So the trick is to expect those thoughts to continue to come. But generally, I see the wheels come off, where people notice, oh, my brain is still doing the same thing. I'm having anxiety, I'm worried about getting cancer, I'm worried about getting sick. And I said I don't want to live like this. But every time I turn around, I think oh my gosh, that ache or pain that must be cancer. Oh, I heard a story about someone else. What if that applies to me, and I keep going back to anxiety? Well, what's happening there is you're just letting the brain do what it does. And you're not making a conscious, rational decision to choose differently. Because when we are not making a choice to do something differently, we are making a choice to stay in the same place. But it's very subtle and very sneaking. So sometimes we don't say you know what, I keep choosing to go back and make those same food choices. I keep choosing to go back and yell at my spouse for leaving the wet towel. I keep choosing to go back into fear. And I'm not even engaging in my life. Because I'm so worried about cancer again. You got to remember that that's a choice. You've got to acknowledge and own, that that's a choice. So when I have clients come to me, and they say I'm still here, I'm still here, I'm still doing this. I know that I have to help them. See, you're still choosing to do this. You're expecting your brain to stop acting the way your brain acts. And that doesn't happen. Your brain acts the same way. You make a rational decision as the curious observer of your brain to say, Oh, look at that. No wonder why I've had so much fear. Look at these thoughts my brain is throwing at me. No wonder I've had so much anger if I don't stop and consciously make different choices, and conscious consciously choose different thoughts. Different true thoughts, by the way, not different pie in the sky silver lining make believe thoughts, rainbows and unicorns, different true thoughts. And let me relate this back to a very, very common that I hear with people have cancer. They say I'm cancer free, but I don't believe them. I hear this very often, especially with people who are in that first year or two after getting out of treatment. They say I'm cancer free, but I don't believe them.


Laura Lummer  14:27

Why would you choose not to believe that? Why would you choose to celebrate that? Why don't you say this is friggin amazing, cancer free. I'm all in. But we make a choice to jump in the pool with the brain who's in the place of fear and scarcity and darkness. Rather than saying, I choose to believe this because I have no evidence to the contrary to believe anything else right now. And believing this today. It helps me engage in enjoy my life more than choosing something else. Okay. So then I hear people say to me, Well, you know, I just get, I get so tired, I get so tired of, you know, fighting this and fighting this and I'm, I'm thinking this way, and I'm thinking scarce thoughts and I'm thinking something's gonna go wrong and, and I keep thinking, you know, the other shoe is gonna drop? And I say yeah, of course you do, because you have a human brain. And the worst thing you could do is try to expect your human brain to behave differently than a human brain. So the reason you're doing self coaching, the reason you're practicing becoming more aware of your thoughts, is so that you can consciously and intentionally redirect your brain to think in a different way. That reduces the amount of suffering anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, self doubt, all the other things you're experiencing. But you don't expect the brain to just suddenly one day go are amazing. You're so friggin awesome. Oh, my God, you are beautiful. Your hair looks good today. Right? As that way, you've talked to yourself your whole life. No, you have to retrain it to think that way. And then the more you work on that and the more you coach yourself on that, the more you seek coaching, or if you do therapy, you know, you have this outside unbiased source that's helping you become very aware of the way you're thinking and become very aware of yourself talk, then the more you do that, the more we we re wire the brain. So we have this neuroplasticity and our brain actually changes. So that over time, we don't have such an intensity and frequency of these demeaning thoughts and frightening thoughts. Over time, your ability to think in a different way does evolve and change. But when you're in that process, and you're new to that process, you need a lot of support. And that's why you need that self coaching, even if you have a coach. So the people who come in, they work with me, every week, they get a new lesson on Sundays. And with that lesson comes like an action guide and a journal and questions and prompts for them to do their self coaching during the week. Because you need that support, you're training yourself, you want to be able to think differently. You want to be able to live your life in the way you want to live it. And in order for that to happen. You have to become more aware of what your brain is doing. Right? So it's like this sneaky little roommate that lives with you. And every time you turn your back that roommates trying to stab you in the back, and you have to turn around real quick and go. Nope, no, no, no, I knew you were gonna do that. But we're not doing that today. I'm not doing that with you. Instead of thinking, I expect my brain to work differently now. Man, see it did the same thing. Forget it, pour me a martini and get me another creme brulee. Right? We are the ones who are in charge. We are whoever we are that consciousness, we are the observer of these thoughts. And so it isn't a matter of judging our brain cutting off our brain and expecting a human brain to work differently than it works. But for us does take charge and make a decision to make a decision. When I let my brain go unintentionally. I'm a hot mess. I am sad, I am neurotic. I am anxious, whatever it is that you are wherever your natural, unintentional way of thinking goes. And then not to just say, see it keeps doing that.


Laura Lummer  19:01

But it's like having this little toddler right? And the toddler wants to keep, I don't know, sticking his fingers in the cake. And you say no, and you have to go back 100 times. That's not what we do. We don't stick our fingers in the cake. You don't go up next to the taller go. That looks like a really good idea. Let me stick my fingers in it too. I rub my face in it. And we do the same thing with our brain. Right? We notice it we have to say no. You're inviting me to go down that dark place that makes me feel like shit and I decided I'm not going today. I decided I'm taking another path. And I'm going to take you along with me brain and teach you how to behave better. And I thought it was really important to talk about this today because I've received a few messages lately from people who say, hey, you know I listened to your podcast and I heard you say this and I heard you say do that. But how do I do it? I'm five years out from having breast cancer, and I'm still anxious. How am I supposed to do this? And that's why I want to talk about this. So that you realize that when you're in that place of anxiety, that's not what you intentionally want to do. So that's a place where the self coaching practice comes in, and you become aware, right? So first step is awareness. What is happening right now? What are my thoughts right now? Write them all out. The second step is asking yourself, How does this make me feel? When I see these thoughts, how do I feel I feel really anxious? Is that what I want? Is that my plan? Is that my intention to live this way? If the answer is no, you have got to make a commitment to yourself. To start to work on that, you have to say, I'm the one that has to choose to think about this in a different way. I'm the one who has to approach this differently. I'm the one who has to take the reins here, and change the direction of my life. So when you hear yourself, say things like, I'm stuck, I'm not moving forward, this just keeps happening. I want you to consider that. What that means is you haven't made a commitment to you. And then then your best friend and had your back and following through with that commitment. When you said, I'm going to try not to have a 20 Pumpkin Spice Latte, I'm only going to have a tall pumpkin spice latte, twice a month. And then you're like, Well, that's what I said I would do. But I'm still having one four days a week. It's not like you're not in control of that, right. And this applies across the board in life, anything that you say, See, I said I wouldn't do that. See, I said I wouldn't live like that. See, I said, I wouldn't say keep allowing that. But here I am. It comes back to you making a commitment to yourself, to be the observer, make a decision, and then have your own back and following through not expecting your brain to behave differently, but expecting you to make a rational, intentional decision to choose differently. And to not accept the invitation your brain offers you to go to the place you don't want to be.


Laura Lummer  22:40

I hope that makes sense. I hope that helps you. If you have questions, please come and find me at the breast cancer recovery coach on Facebook, you can join the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership to get coaching on that. And you can join my free Facebook group, the breast cancer recovery group where there's hundreds of breast cancer survivors in they're having discussions to support each other. And you can come and ask me questions too. I really want this concept to be something that really resonates with you and and sinks in with you because it's so simple, and so powerful, powerful in both ways, that if you don't embrace it, and exert your power over your mind, unintentional thoughts, then it can keep you in a really ugly place, really sad and suffering place. But if you start the practice of engaging in it, and you start the practice of engaging your rational brain, and you start the practice of refusing those invitations from your brain, it can lead you to a really beautiful, intentional life. Not necessarily easy, definitely not perfect, and definitely not without thoughts that you will have to manage that you will learn to be an exam and you have a lot more happiness in your life. All right, my friends, I'll talk to you again next week. And until then, Please be good to yourself and expect others to be good to you as well. Take care



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