I turn 51 on Monday. And on my birthday, I take more time than usual to reflect on where I am in relation to my goals.
In today’s episode, I’m talking about the power of reflection, why you should join me in this practice, and how.
Like, starting now.
Mentioned in this episode:
- The Hard Questions for an Authentic Life: 100 Essential Questions for Tapping Into Your Inner Wisdom by Susan Piver
EPISODE 210 TRANSCRIPTION
Welcome, welcome to another episode of From Hostage to Hero. This is the Friday before my birthday. My 51st birthday is on Monday, and my birthday is always a time of reflection, so that's why I'm calling today's episode The Power of Reflection.
It was funny, I always pick a word for the year. This year, my word is healthy, but it was funny in 2022 or 2021 New Year's Eve, my word was leap. Normally we tend to think of leap as taking big steps toward something and what I found was my leap was actually back. It was backwards, and I was thinking about that this New Year's Eve because those are my two times to reflect is New Year's Eve and my birthday. I do reflect all the time, but those are the two big ones.
I thought how interesting is that because it's true that that word can go in either direction and a leap backwards is not a bad thing. For me, that was working a lot less and really focusing on the things I wanted to focus on, which were primarily podcasting and working with my crew in the H2H Playground. They get all of my attention. I do apologize, those of you who are like, "I've called and I want to hire you," and you know what? I'm giving everything to my crew right now. That said, if you want trial consulting, listen, I know you want me, but my two trial consultants are probably better than me because they're actual trial lawyers and they know my method so well. If you want trial consulting with two top-notch consultants, you can do that at our website, sariswears.com. Just click on the Play With Us tab and you'll find trial consulting there.
Stop bugging me about it. No, you can keep asking, but if you do want to come out and play with me, we have Trial Lab in October and May. October and May are my favorite months, so you can apply for a seat there. I only have three seats and only one this year, so come play with me for a week, three juries, three of you. It's going to be awesome.
All right. Again, as I said, two major times of reflection for me are New Year's and my birthday. It just happens to work that my birthday is about halfway through the year, not quite, and I've been doing a lot of reflection lately, especially since I've been in kind of a deep depression this last year.
But I wanted to share with you the power of reflection because reflection is really important to live an amazing life. For one, it helps you become a better observer of yourself. If you are not going to take my advice and get a coach, which is the ultimate with helping you become a better observer of your life, you definitely want to take time to reflect and think about your life in a way like a coach would help you do.
The more you know yourself and the more that you observe your patterns and the things that make you angry and the things that bring you joy, the better decisions you're going to have and the better decisions that you make, the better life you're going to have. In that way, reflection is huge. It makes you a better observer of yourself.
It also helps you assess your life. When you're consistently reflecting and what you're reflecting is negative and how you hate life and how you just need to get through the next day and how you're playing, when then, when this happens, then I'll finally be able to relax or when this happens, then I'll finally be happy. When you keep seeing that on paper when you're reflecting or with a coach if you're reflecting, you're going to make some changes. Most people are.
When you're not assessing your life is when you wake up 20 years from now and you have a life you don't recognize. Reflection is really huge in terms of taking stock of where you are and where you want to be and concrete steps to get there.
But it also helps with self-compassion and self-love. The more that you reflect, the more that you get to know yourself, the more that you know your own story and your past and your history and what got you to where you are today, the more you can give yourself love for that. I know the tendency is, I know it's particularly my tendency, to look at the ways we coped to get where we are now and make them wrong. Well, I did this, this and this, and whoa, that's wrong, and it's not wrong. I had a great therapist share with me, it's not wrong. It's what got you here. It no longer serves you, but it's not wrong.
Reflecting and really understanding yourself and your life gives you an opportunity if you choose to take it to be compassionate with yourself and compassionate and loving of your journey and where you want to be and where you want to go.
I'm going to give you three ways to bring reflection into your life, and of course, you do not need to wait until your birthday or New Year's Eve. This could be something where you do on a weekend or for me, it's almost nearly every day now. I'm consistently writing in my journal.
The first one is journaling, and people always say, "I don't know how to journal," which is so weird to me because I've been journaling since, well, I can't even remember when I started journaling. I've been journaling for so long. But there are many things that you can do to journal.
I'm going to give you at least four here today so that you can get started on your journey of reflection. The number one way or the easiest way I should say to start journaling is first of all buy a journal. Get a cute one. I love, I think it's called Peter Pauper Press. They're so beautiful. These foil design covers. You just get them on Amazon. They're about $15, some might be $20, $25, somewhere in there, between $15 and $25. Depending on how you often you journal, it may last you a full year.
But get a journal and get a pen that you love because then you'll want to journal. Just start by writing down all the things that are bothering you that you don't like. Seems like a negative way to start, but that seems to be the easiest way. It's kind of like when I'm working with you on your case and we start with, well, what are all the problems? You can just offload the problems, no problem. Same thing with journaling. What is not going well in your life? What is upsetting you? What are you stressed about? Do you have anxiety about? Write it all down.
Then, this is one of my favorite exercises that I do. Anytime I'm feeling super overwhelmed or super anxious, I will go to my journal and I will just pour it all out. It could be list form. For me, it's often list form. It could be just talking like you're talking to someone. I'm really stressed about this because for me it's just like weight or road situation. We have a big neighbor thing going on right now, so it's a list for me. Not always, sometimes I do the other. Whatever makes most sense to you.
Then I go back and I say, and what can I do about it? I can start getting some more water in if it's weight. If I'm not doing the things I really want to be doing, at least I can be doing that. Then if it's something that I don't have control over, I say, well, I can just let go. I can meditate on it. I can choose my response. I might do a model on something that I can't control, and I always feel better when I'm done with that exercise.
For me, if I lost the ability to journal, I don't know that I could function as a human. Anytime I have something to work out, I work it out on paper. Anything, whether it's a training and I mean it when I say I'm not on a laptop, I'm on paper or my iPad, writing with a pen. It helps untangle the webs in my brain.
Another thing you can do, and I talked about this in the last podcast, is you can have a conversation with your higher self, with your inner leader or inner wisdom. If you're struggling with a particular decision, you can just put it on paper and then listen for the wisdom, and when you hear the wisdom, write it down. Ask another question. Stop, listen. When you hear the wisdom, write it down.
People are afraid to try this, but the people who have tried it have said, "Oh my word, that's just incredible." It just accesses a different part of your brain, especially in this kind of listening piece. If you believe in God, you can do it as a form of prayer on the page in your journal, but it's a great way to feel supported by your wisdom, by God, by the universe to just have a conversation with it.
You can also have a conversation with your saboteur. We don't often like to have people get in conversation with their saboteur as a regular thing, but sometimes writing down what your saboteur is telling you and seeing it on paper and seeing how ridiculous it is, is really helpful. In a coaching session, oftentimes the coach will say, "Well, let's hear it. Okay, the saboteur obviously is not wanting to leave, so let's give it some space." Sometimes just giving space for your saboteur to speak is enough. Then you look at that and you're like, that doesn't make any sense.
Or you can do, as I again said in the last podcast, write down all the reasons why your saboteur is wrong. Now, you may write things down and go, those things are true. Then force your inner leader to come in and say the opposite, as an exercise. What if it wasn't true? What if there was another perspective here? By the way, there is always another perspective, then you can have a convo that way.
You can also ask yourself questions. This is really big for me. Outside of here's all what I'm stressed about and here's the things I can do. I will often say, "Why do I do this? Or why is this that way? Or why am I struggling with this so much? Or what is going on over here in this part of my life?" I'll actually write the question at the top of the page and then I will answer it. Normally long form, not in list form and just write and write and write until I've got all of my thoughts out. I'll just brainstorm with myself.
I'll do that with work stuff too. What is the H2H method now that we've really got it down? I should do a podcast on that. Back in the crew. We've gotten much more clear on what the actual method is. I'll oftentimes do that with journaling. You might do that with a case, right? Not so much reflection time, but when you're really struggling, just get it on paper. What is the actual thing that is the issue here? What does a juror really need to believe about this? What is the truth? Write it, write it, write it. Not on your laptop. Write it.
Number two for reflection for me is I have a lot of books that help me with reflection. I'm going to name three of them in today's podcast, and most of them are questions. The first book is by Susan Piver. I'm not sure how she pronounces the last name, P-I-V-E-R. We'll put this in the show notes. The name of the book is The Hard Questions for An Authentic Life. There's great questions in there. You can just pluck one out, put it at the top of your page and just journal on it.
The second one is by Debbie Ford called The Right Questions. The newest one that I've gotten is called Burn After Writing, and it's just a journal by, I can't remember. If you just look, go on Amazon and look at Burn After Writing. But it is fantastic. It has got so many different questions, but they also have checklists and just different ways to get you learning about yourself and your past.
I will sit and do that for hours, especially for those of you who are not used to journaling. You might start with something like Burn After Writing because it's much more guided than just a blank page staring at you and will get you in the habit of reflection, a little easier than maybe journaling might be. Although I think journaling is fantastic and there's no rules about it, but if you're feeling weird about journaling, you might start with one of these three books.
Again, the Hard Questions for an Authentic Life, The Right Questions, and Burn After Writing. When you go and you click on Amazon books, they'll show you a bunch of books underneath that other people have bought, and I'm sure you'll be able to find a lot more. I own many, many, many question-type, journal-type books.
The third thing, which some of you and many of you I would assume have never probably even heard of or thought of are card decks. If you've been here in our studio and worked with Coach K or come and worked with me, you know that we use cards all the time, and there are tons and tons of card decks that you can use. The three that we've used quite often, and I own many, many more, but these are the three I keep coming back to are angel cards, archetype cards, and animal cards.
We're going to get woo woo here for a minute, but stick with me because I'm going to show how this helps you in trial. Angel cards are just these little cards. They almost look like the size of the thing that you find in a fortune cookie, but they're harder than that. If you just go on Amazon and look for angel cards, I'm sure you'll find them. Again, we'll try to put a link in the show notes.
They just have a word, one word like positivity or depth or surrender, whatever it may be. Now it comes with a little booklet and you can invite the angels and then pick a card. You don't have to do any of that if you don't believe in any of that. What I would say is before you pick a card, you have an intention for the card. You might pick a card in the morning and say, "Okay, what do I need to be reminded of today for my day?" Take a moment to center yourself. Breathe. Pick a card and it will say a word.
At first it may not mean anything to you, but this is the part that I think is really important for trial lawyers is that when you're looking for meaning, you will find it. The other day I picked a card depth and I had a question that I wanted answered, and the card I got was depth, and I'm like, what the heck? What does depth have to do with this question? In the box, it comes with that booklet, and I looked up depth in the booklet and it was exactly what I needed to hear. It was basically go under the surface, look at what your shadow is telling you, what is happening down there.
Now again, you don't need to be mystical to believe in any of this. It's just a way for you to jog your brain and find meaning and connections. Because when we're thinking about in trial, there's a exercise that I do with some of my clients, and what I'll say to them is, "Okay, let's play voir dire, and I am going to say something totally random and I want you connect it to your theme." They'll ask a question and I'll be like, I love hamburgers. Just nothing to do with what they asked. I do love hamburgers, by the way, and they will have to say, "Oh, well, hamburgers connects," and they'll just talk to me. They'll say, "Hamburgers make me think of Burger King, which makes me think of children, which makes me think of the child in this case that was paralyzed," whatever. It doesn't have to be a strong connection. It's just a game that we play to say anything you can move to somewhere else, there's some connection that can be made.
When you start using these cards in your life to reflect, you're going to start using a part of your brain that's going to dig in and try to find the meaning and how it connects to whatever it is that you're asking the wisdom for. That is going to create new neural pathways in your brain and get you thinking in much different creative ways.
The other two card decks we use are archetype cards, we'll put a link there. These are things like warrior or mother or creation, and they have a lot of deeper meanings and so they'll have lots of things written on them. Sometimes I will pull a card in the evening and say, "Okay, what does this card, how does this card reflect the learning that I need to take from today?" It will, I'll tell you, Kevin and I will always say this, the cards are never wrong. Whether it's mystical or your brain doing the work, and it doesn't matter, they are never wrong. They are always what you needed.
In fact, last New Year's Eve, we pulled cards to help us think about our next year, and Kevin pulled a card and he's like, "Hmm, that doesn't really resonate with me." So I said, "Okay," and so we reshuffled the cards and he picked it and he picked the same card, and it was like, no, this is the card for you. It led to a really great conversation.
The third one is animal cards, animal spirit cards. It's just a different way again of doing the same thing. Here's a different way to tap in and have something totally random like leopard show up and then you'll read what leopard is and then connect it to whatever you needed some insight in. To whatever happened in your day, to a question that you want answered, to some wisdom for something that's coming up. Your brain will make the connections, and the more that you give it this way of making connections, the more creative and elastic your brain is going to be, because you all tend to be in your cognitive space and you're running along the same neural pathways over and over again to try to fix the issues in your life, or think about problems in a different way.
I mean, I could see, I'm just thinking this right now, using these cards in trial prep, right? You're stuck on an issue. In fact, I'm going to make my trial consultants buy these cards right now, and it's just like everyone's stuck. Let's pull a card and get creative. What the fuck does the elephant have to do right now? It just accesses a different part of your brain.
Those are the three things that I'm going to suggest that you use to reflect. You can use journaling. Journaling goes with all three of these things because you're going to want to journal on your cards. You're going to want to journal for the books. You can get books to help with your journaling. You can get the cards to help with your thinking.
Again, we want to be reflecting so that we can have more compassion for ourselves, so we can assess our lives, and so we can be better observers of our lives so that we can make those better decisions. Hope that helps. Happy reflecting. Talk soon.
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