Today, I’m clearing up a common misconception about mindset training.
See… I believe many of y’all have the idea that if you work on your mindset, you’ll never experience bad feelings again.
And THAT, my friend, is very much NOT the case. #SariNotSorry
Tune in to today’s episode of the FHTH podcast to learn what mindset training is actually for and why you NEVER ever ever ever want to mindset your way out of any “bad" emotions.
EPISODE 215 TRANSCRIPTION
Well, welcome, everybody. Today we're talking about when it's good to feel bad, and no, I don't mean that kind of bad, although I am going on a vacation after I do this with my beloved. So hoping to feel some of that bad later.
But today, we're talking about this because I got an email from a client of mine who lost trial and the attorney said something to the effect of, because they felt bad, "I know I need to work on my mindset. I mean, do you have any advice on how to do that?" I really think this is an important topic that we cover because I think many of you have the idea that if you work on your mindset, you won't ever feel bad, like mindset work is a way to manage away all of the bad feelings, and that is absolutely not what it is for.
So in today's podcast, I want to talk about what mindset training actually is for, why we don't want to mindset ourself out of any bad emotions, and how to deal with "negative emotions." See, most lawyers don't even think about mindset training frankly, until I brought it along. I'm sure there's others too, and I'm so grateful for the other mindset coaches that are operating in this space.
But I got to tell you, in my own world, I know that this was a new thing or continues to be a new thing as people continue to come into the H2H world, that mindset isn't something they've ever even thought of. When they start to learn about brain science, and how we can manage our minds, and how we can not cause what I call unnecessary suffering, we tend to think about it as another formula to get away from the bad aspects of this job, how we don't need to feel bad anymore, we won't need to feel sadness if we lose a trial, or we won't feel fear because we're facing a jury, or we won't feel anger because of something the opposing counsel does. That is not what mindset training is for.
I want to use the analogy of a marathon. So I decided before I turned 30 that I would run a marathon, and my goal was to run it in less than six hours. I did it in 5 hours and 59 minutes. So at least I made my goal. So I ran and I walked it. Now, when you are preparing to run a marathon, there is a shit ton of things you need to do.
First of all, you need to have the right kind of shoes. You need to have the right kind of clothes. I mean, I had no idea that there was clothes. You can't just wear plain, old cotton T-shirt and run 26.2 miles because you'll be chaffed everywhere. There's stuff that you can put on so that you don't chafe like this weird kind of deodorant stuff that you rub on your skin so that your clothes don't chafe. There are water bottles that you can find that you can strap to you so that you don't have to carry them. There are training runs that you go on and talk to coaches afterwards about how to improve. There are the people supporting you actually at the training runs or the actual event.
Now, why do you have all this? Because running a marathon is hard, y'all. It is difficult. In fact, when I decided I wanted to do this, I don't know why because it's crazy, but I thought the hardest thing about running a marathon would be the cardiovascular aspect. Meaning, how could anyone possibly exercise for that long, 5 hours and 59 minutes of exercise nonstop? Yes, I know other people do it in like three or four hours, but I was slow. That wasn't the deal at all. The issue for me was the actual pain, the pain that you felt in your feet and your... I probably have feet problems now from all of that marathon running because I did several half marathons, did the marathon.
So because running a marathon is hard, you have to have the right tools. You have to have the coaches. You have to have the practice. You have to have the support. Sound familiar? Now, no one says that if you have the right clothes, and the shoes, and the water bottles, and the chaffing gear, and the coaching, and the training, that you will never get tired, that you will never chafe, that you won't have muscles that hurt or joints that hurt or any of those things, and further, that if you do experience any of those things that you have somehow done something wrong. Yet, when y'all come into my world and you start learning how to manage your mindset, it's so interesting how immediately when you then feel a negative emotion about either a loss, or how you dealt with opposing counsel, or whatever else, you immediately go to there's something wrong with you.
Because Sari has somehow given us this formula, this way to manage our minds so that we never need to feel bad again. That is not true, and that is why I really wanted to do this podcast because it's dangerous to think that you can mindset or that you should mindset away all of your bad emotions. I mean, take the CTFAR model, which many in my crew are used to, and if you're just listening and it's the first podcast you've ever listened to, it is a model, not mine, that I borrowed that the C stands for circumstance, something that has happened in your life. So-and-so died. I lost trial. My dog got hit by a car. My kid failed a class, whatever. The circumstance is just the circumstance. That's the C part of the model.
The T is stands for thought, the thought you choose to think about that circumstance. The F is the feeling that you feel based on your thought. The A stands for action, which is we almost always act from a feeling place. And the R stands for the result that you get. So meaning, something happens in our life, we have a thought about it, that creates a feeling, that feeling produces an action or an inaction and then we get a result or no result. Now, I'll be really clear, we teach the CTFAR model not so that you will never have another negative emotion in your life, we teach it so that you can use it as a tool to manage your mind, and here's the important part, to not have unnecessary suffering. So often when we have a circumstance, and circumstances are always neutral. They don't feel neutral. Someone dies, it's a hard pill to swallow to go, "That's neutral." But guess what? Everybody dies. So it is a neutral fact. People die from accidents, from natural causes, from all kinds of horrible things to benign things. People die. So on its own, it is a neutral fact.
What we choose to think about it, whatever that fact may be, often but not always, that's what we're going to talk about today, creates a feeling. So take something like opposing counsel sent me an email. Now, notice how we can't put in the.. opposing counsel sent me this asshole email. Now it's no longer neutral. They just sent an email. That's a fact. Nobody would dispute that that's what happened. If you choose to think about it, "Well, they're an asshole," then that may cause a feeling of anger, which will then have you writing off in another angry email, which gets you a result of fighting back and forth. We are going through this very scenario with our neighbors right now, side note. Yeah. So not that there's anything wrong with getting angry, it doesn't always get you the result that you want.
Now, you may just see that as they're scared that they're not on strong footing, have that thought, which creates a feeling of confidence, which produces the action of kicking ass at trial, which gets you a result of a verdict. So notice how that T line holds a lot of power, but it's not the be all, end all. I mean, when you're thinking about something like marathon running, the CTFAR model can be looked at as like a pair of shoes. It's looking to see if you're having pain during your run, is it because running for that long of a distance causes you pain? That's normal. Or, is it because you have the wrong shoes? If you have the wrong shoes, then you can change your shoes. Maybe you are pronating, or supinating, or all the fancy terms they use that I forget what that means now. It's been 20 years since I ran a marathon.
The point is the tool shows you, and that's just one tool, whether or not there's something that you can fix in your thinking that will help alleviate some of the pain that you may be feeling versus you're a natural, normal human and you're feeling bad because it's normal to feel bad in that scenario. I mean, this is what mindset training is all about. This is why those of you who have a mindset coach, or Kevin and I, we have our coaches, it's about helping you, to beat this into the ground, help you run your best marathon, help you see if you got the wrong shoes, help you learn different ways to train, help you find your running buddy. It's ways to help you get unstuck, how to be with an emotion, how to view your blind spots.
But you're still, if you're running a marathon, going to get hurt potentially, going to get tired, have blisters, all of the things because that is part of marathon running. Mindset training, here it is in a nutshell, life is hard or can be hard, let's not make it harder. Not, life will never be hard again if you just get your mind right. So that's what I want to be really clear about when we're talking about how we're using mindset training. Now, we do know that thoughts often, often create feelings. They're very, very connected, but not always. I mean, I can think of two scenarios, grief for one. Grief isn't often created by a thought. It's created by the lack of something that we used to have. Or, being in love with someone. If thoughts created feelings, then we could force ourselves to love people that we don't currently love. Believe me, I tried that in my last marriage. It does not work. So thoughts don't always create the emotions that we want.
Think about trauma. Trauma is emotions that get trapped in the body, and we can't think our way out of that. That needs to come through different modalities. If you ever read the book, The Body Keeps the Score, which is a fantastic book, it talks about how cognitive behavioral therapy, which is therapy where you talk about changing your thoughts, is the least effective therapy for people who have experienced trauma. And by the way, nearly everyone has experienced trauma. Emotions get trapped, and you can't often think your way out of that. Instincts, for example, are feelings that are not connected to thoughts. They are physiological responses. Oftentimes, your body will respond to something happening in real-time before you can even have a thought about it. So it's not always that mindset training is going to be the thing that fixes your life.
What mindset training does is help you navigate your life so that you can be with things as they happen, good things and bad things. Because guess what? Life has both. The goal here isn't to never feel a bad thing. I mean, by the way, this is the second piece. We don't want to "mindset" our stuff away because if that's what you're attempting to do, here's the bad news, you can't pick and choose. You cannot say, "I don't want to feel any bad things, but I still want to feel the good things." They come as a pair. That's just how it works. I was just keynoting a week and a half ago down with my badass women. At the time this podcast comes out, it'll be months ago because I podcast in advance.
I was talking about in there, Brene Brown, the great researcher on shame, talks about the most terrifying emotion that a human can have, and that emotion is joy. People are always surprised to hear that. But she says the reason why joy is so terrifying is because it is so closely related or you must feel, I should say, vulnerability in order to feel joy. When you have that baby, and you bring it home from the hospital, and you lay it down in the crib, and you look at that baby, and you think, "I love this little human more than I ever thought possible," right behind that feeling, right behind that thought is the thought, "If anything ever happened to this child, I don't know that I could make it." I know I've had that feeling. I've definitely had that feeling. Joy and pain are two sides of the same coin.
And you know what? I see this all the time with you in terms of not wanting to feel fear, and sadness, and anger. The flip side is y'all celebrate either. To get rid of the one, you've also gotten rid of the other, Kevin and I were talking about this how there's so much pride in this lawyer world about being a warrior in the arena and just fight and just move on. "I lost, move on." "I won, move on." You never take the time to appropriately celebrate your wins. Why? Because that means you would also need to look at your losses because you cannot separate one from the other. This is what I'm trying to tell you is that you do not want to mindset your shit thought or your shit moments away. Because if you want those major moments in your life, if you want the joy of birthing a child, if you want the joy of winning a trial, if you want the joy or the exhilaration, is really the word I'm looking for, of falling in love, then that's going to come with some downsides. Your child may get hurt, or worse, die. You may lose at trial. Your heart may get broken.
I mean, think about grief. Grief is the price we pay for losing someone we loved. We wouldn't have grief if we didn't have love. They are the two sides of the same coin. I mean, the question becomes, and Kevin and I have been talking about this quite a bit, "Can we manage our mindsets so that we never have bad feelings? I mean, is that even a possible goal?" Maybe. I mean, I see those monks that they have no attachment to anything, no attachment. Nothing happens that's bad, and nothing happens that good. They're super neutral. I don't see a lot of pain, but I don't see a lot of joy there either. Maybe I'm wrong. But to me, I don't want that. I want the highs. I want the lows. And I know that they come as a package deal. So how do you deal with these "bad feelings?"
Well, the first advice I have for you is to feel it. When you feel bad, when you feel sad, when you feel angry, when you feel upset, when you feel scared, feel it. Because if you don't feel it, it will get stuck. I've seen it happen client after client, we start our work together, but there's something stopping them from moving forward. And it's not until we go back and we look at something that they never appropriately felt in the first place, and we process that, and we release it that they can move on and do the work that they're meant to do in the world.
Number two, check for that unnecessary suffering. Feelings, while valid, do not always reveal the truth about a situation. So you may feel sad, but that doesn't necessarily mean that your husband meant to hurt your feelings or that you're not seeing it incorrectly. Just because you feel something, doesn't mean it's truth.
So use the tools like the CTFAR model, or talking with your coach, or whatever else it may be. Do check for that unnecessary suffering. And if you are causing that by a thought that you are holding, then change the thought. Absolutely, that is part of mindset training.
Three, have compassion for yourself. Realize that if you're feeling something necessary or unnecessary, that makes you human, period. Emotions are the human experience. That doesn't mean we let our emotions rule us and overrule us. We do the thought work. We process them. We, oftentimes, just let them be and notice them by being present. That's the other thing that you're missing out on, by the way, when you're consistently trying to shove the bad feelings down or avoiding the good feelings is that you are missing out on being present. Because being present to emotions is being present to life.
This is part of your trial lawyer training. You're not going to get the presence and the emotions that you need to generate at trial for the jurors to experience if you are not experiencing them in your normal life. Some of the best trial lawyers I know have processed their trauma, have dealt with their emotions. They feel deeply. They are not these washed, clean, sanitized, emotional robots. They have ups, they have downs, and they bring every last piece of that to trial. And it makes them awesome because that is a human experience, and that is why you stand on the side of the right because you stand for human values.
Number four. I know, I have four things. Can you believe it? Take extra care of yourself when you are dealing with big emotions. Big emotions equal big energy output. This is why I consistently say, If you have a trial, win or lose, take at least, put it in your calendar, a week off afterwards, minimum a week off to decompress from a high or a low. Big emotions equal big energy drain. So you need to give yourself that time.
So again, mindset training isn't so that you never feel bad again. Mindset training is to help you live your best life when it's up and when it's down. You just have to ask yourself if you're willing to feel both because you cannot feel one without the other. Talk soon, my friends. Love you.
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