Watch the chat and then grab a pen!
Think of your mind like a garden—and if you want it to be a healthy and beautiful space where awesome shit grows, you need to tend it.
A next right step to practice
Write out everything that you’re thinking and feeling about the progress you want to make. Include all the questions that come to mind. Grab two highlighters. Highlight everything that is coming from love. Highlight everything that is coming from fear.
Speak to yourself as you would someone you love. You can answer most all fear with “it’ll be OK” or “I’ll love you still” or “you’ll learn something” or “that just means you’re a human being”
We create an idea of how we think it’s going to go, how it should go, what’s supposed to happen. This can get in the way. We set up conditions and create rules. And when it matches, we think it’s working and when it doesn’t match, we think something’s wrong.
A next right step to practice
Write down every expectation that you can think of—and one by one, look at them—ask yourself:
Is it possible it could go another way?
Is it possible that it could go better than I expect?
What purpose does this expectation serve?
What would happen if I let this expectation go?
A next right step to practice
Write out every tool that works for you in any aspect for you life—why does it work well for you?
What is it about the tools that works? You’re looking for clues—this will help you find and experiment with new tools
List the ones that you know don’t work for you—let ‘em go.
Hello my Dears! How are you?
Today we are starting Part 1 of our five series and it’s going to be all about learning how to make progress no matter what—that’s today’s topic—and then the rest of the week we’re gonna be talking about everything that I’ve learned in 2016, that I’m excited to share with you, about how you can make progress on purpose.
So let’s start with today, and how you make progress no matter what. I am just going to see if I can see myself here on the page so that I can see your comments—yes, I can—fantastic. And then I’ve made it…I have to make myself stop talking. Beautiful. Oh no, no, it’s not…working. Beautifuuuuul! How do I muteeeee? See I like to sing to you guys when things go not the way that I’m expecting them to go, technologically. It’s as if I forgot how to use my phone. Ehh! And maybe I did. We’re just gonna go like this.
Alright, my Dears! Making progress no matter what! I’m going to give you three things you can practice today so that after you watch this chat, you have three things to go forth with, and take as next right steps, so that you can begin your practice.
Because I think that when it comes to making progress, when we think about going after goals, creating new habits, certainly is New Year’s is on the horizon, there’s a lot of talk about New Year’s resolutions. I think what we don’t realize is that making progress is a skill. It doesn’t matter what it is that you’re trying to make progress, in any area of your life, at any level, who you are, it’s all about a skill set, and that was something that took me a long time to figure out.
I was always more focused on the goal itself or the specifics of the habit I was trying to create. I didn’t realize that there was a whole skill set to just moving forward and creating progress in any area.
So when we don’t know that it’s a skill, then we don’t know what to practice. And when we don’t know what to practice, then we can’t actually build that skill and get where it is that we want to go.
So today, I wanted to kind of break down three different practices that you can start doing now to be able to kind of build these muscles and relate to progress in a totally different way.
I think often times, in the past, when we’ve tried to go after goals, we’ve tried to achieve various things, and I’m sure that there have been times, perhaps many times, where it did’t go well, it didn’t go the way that you wanted it to go. And that is something that I think a lot of us carry with us and it gets in the way of our future progress because we didn’t know how to do it bette before.
So in my work with Map Your Progress, as a Progress Coach, my intention is to give you new information, new ways of looking at things, new practices, so that you can start to have a different story. Start to have different results! And earn a new trust with yourself, that you really can make progress, no matter what.
It’s not just a catchy headline. It’s really a skill that you can develop so that no matter what is going on in the world, no matter what happens, and there’s so much that obviously we can’t control. It’s doesn’t matter. Because you’re gonna learn how to make progress no matter what.
OK, so let’s dive into the three things, shall we? OK! I think we shall. Alright! So, I think when it comes to making progress—again, we don’t realize that it’s a skill—we just kind of get in there and wing it. Or we might think: Oh, we’re supposed to somehow know how to do this already, without actually ever being taught.
But one of the first places I think we start with when it comes to developing this skill of making progress no matter what is of course in our own mind, with our thoughts. And our brain, with the constant chatter that is in our heads, 24/7. And one thing that there is to practice is really recognizing when fear starts to creep in. And when you can start to notice the types of thoughts that you’e having about whatever it is that you want to accomplish: the “what if” questions that often come up. And I like to describe any of those types of fearful thoughts as coming from our Clever Brain.
For those of you that have been watching, you’ll know that I talk about that pretty much every time because it is so fundamental to understanding how to make progress in you life. And nobody else is privy to the thoughts that go through your head that are there with you always—except you. So that makes you the best person to observe them. It makes you the best person to just notice what’s going on.
I guess the way that I would describe this in terms of practicing recognizing your fear, practicing tending to your fear, much like it’s a garden, is to be able to identify what that fear is: And so if we think of it like a garden, thoughts you could think of as weeds.
So they are there, they can populate quickly, they can crowd out possibility, and they often show up as questions that don’t need to be answered. There are lots of questions that go through your brain, lots of various thoughts and they do not all need to be answered.
And very often, your Clever Brain will come up with these questions to take up space, to crowd possibility out, to get in the way, to suck up resources. And so you spend all this time and energy with these questions, or with these thoughts, that are based in fear and get in the way of you making progress.
It’s usually the number one thing that gets in the way, so I want to start with that as our first practice. Because I think that we—god, it happens so often—literally day after day, throughout the day, where we just don’t realize what it is.
So the practice is to be able to recognize that fear and kind of tend your brain, tend that mindset. So what I want to try for yourself in terms of experimenting with what I call a “next right step” something that you can take from this and then take into action, is I would love for you to do a little bit of writing. And you don’t have to do this right now, of course. I will have some notes as well after this chat where you can take down the questions and go through this process for yourself.
But the next right step in terms of tending your mindset and identifying these “weeds,” if you will, these fearful thoughts that get in the way, is just to write down whatever it is that you’re thinking in terms of progress that you’d like to make.
If you think about something that you’d like to see happen in 2017. Some perhaps new result that you’d like to create. You’d like your life to go a different way. You want to create a new habit. Whatever that thing is for you, that you would like to change about your life, I want you to write about it.
And I want you to write own all of the thoughts that you have about it. You don’t need to be precious, it doesn’t need to be pretty, it doesn’t need to even make sense. Just anything and everything that comes to mind about whatever it is that you want to make progress on, I want you to write it down.
And then once you’ve written to the point where you feel like you’re empty, like you’ve put it all on the page, then I want you to grab two highlighters: two different colors. And I want you to go with the first highlighter and just go through and highlight anything that is coming from a place of love.
What I mean is that it’s any thought, any question, any possibility, idea, that is coming from a place of creativity, from a place of joy, from generosity, from wanting to contribute to others in some way, wanting to feel good, wanting to just enjoy. So, anything coming from love: go ahead and highlight in one color.
And then you’re going to come back of course, with the second highlighter. And in that second color, I want you to highlight everything that’s coming from fear. Everything that’s coming from doubt, from wondering how it’s going to go, wondering how you’ll do, if it’s going to be enough, what people are going to think, things in the past, that it didn’t go well before and what if that happens again?
Often times the things that we’re afraid of, that are going to happen in the future, have already happened in the past. So we’re afraid: Actually, our Clever Brain co-opts that fear to plant these ideas or ask these questions that get you worried about it happening again. Because if you’re worried about what’s going to happen and the fear, the “weeds” that crowding things out, distracts you from being able to actually make progress.
So as a practice for that first piece of it, for tending your mindset, I just want you to do the writing. And I’m curious to see what the color ratio is. Like how much are you coming from love and how much are you coming from fear? Because I think most people, most people that I’ve talked to, and certainly include myself over the last however many years now, have come more so than fear. It’s a really natural, human thing to do, we’re kind of biased to be afraid of what could go wrong.
But in the context of this exercise, I just want you to notice. And don’t make any judgments about yourself, like “ahhh, I’m coming too much from fear!” It just means you’re a human being. That’s all that means.
So start there, with the mindset piece and keeping an eye out for what kind of thoughts you’re thinking and noticing which ones are coming from love and which ones are coming from fear. And for fun, you can even be kind of making it into a game with yourself. When you’re noticing your thoughts and you realize that you’re coming from fear and that you’re going into the future about whatever this thing is that you want to do and getting distracted, really, by your Clever Brain.
Just take that thought, that question that does not need to be answered. And I just want you to visualize pulling it out and then tossing it. You don’t need to worry about it. It doesn’t need to be examined. You don’t need to answer the question, you don’t need to make it mean something about you. You just get it out because you’e creating space. And you want your mind to be a place that is safe, that is healthy, where things can grow. And where you can create the progress that you most want. So, just weed: Weed to your heart’s delight, k? So that’ll be the first practice.
And then: The second practice, will be releasing your expectations. When I work with people as a Progress Coach, which is on a daily basis, of course, we’re talking about what it is that they want to do, what they want to be creating in their life, and in looking at the goals.
In other words: Most any time that we have a goal that we want to create, that we want to achieve, a new habit that we want to create, the reason the we want to do so is because we expect that we’re going to feel a certain way—having achieved that goal. And we expect to have certain experiences in our life We expect others to respond to us in a certain way.
So we have a whole vivid story that we create about what we expect is going to happen. We worry about how it’s going to happen. And we can get into a lot of detail in our heads about making this progress. And it’s almost like: We create these ideas of how we think things are going to go and then as we’re experiencing our life and reality is actually catching up to the timeline that we’ve created in our head.
If things are matching our expectations, then generally we feel good about that. It’s a false sense of security, but nonetheless, we feel good about that, right? We think, “OK, I thought this was going to happen, it happened pretty much like that, so that’s a good sign. Yes, that means that I’m going to make progress, it means I’m going to achieve my goal, it means that I’m going to feel the things that I want to feel.” May or may not—but it’s something that we do.
So we have the expectation, and then as life is happening, we are constantly checking against this script that we’ve created in our head, this idea, this movie of how things are going to go. And so when things don’t match up, which frankly is often, because none of us can tell the future, and we just have to take life as it comes. But when it doesn’t match up, then that’s when Clever Brain kind of kicks it into overdrive and has a lot to say in our heads about what this means and how well you’re doing, how you’re not doing, and there’s a lot of subjective chatter that can get in the way of us making progress.
And so no matter what’s happened, we have choices to make. And we can choose to believe that our expectations are important, that it means something about how well we’re doing or how likely we are to achieve whatever it is that we want to achieve. Or we can release them. And I’m advocating for you to practice releasing them.
Much in the way like I was describing when you were tending your mindset, where you’re sort of noticing your thoughts and looking: is it love, it is fear? When you notice that you’re having an expectation: Meaning, that you’re thinking about the future, about how it might go, whether you think it’s going to go well or whether it’s not going to go well.
But you have some sort of idea that your brain is wanting to focus on, thoughts created about how it’s going to be in the future. That’s an expectation, right? So I just want you to notice when you start to get into expectations and then practice being able to release them. And how do you release an expectation? I mean, that sounds very coach-y of me to say.
But what I recommend as a next right step, and how you can practice releasing expectations is to again, go back to whatever it is that you want to create, the progress you want to make, what you were thinking about earlier, a minute ago when I was talking about tending your mindset.
And I want you to write about that, write all your expectations that you have about this goal that you want to pursue, this progress you want to make, the experience you want to have, the feelings you want to feel—just write all the expectations you have until, again, you feel like empty. Like you got it all on the page.
And I want you to look and see, with those expectations—you can take them one at a time. Or you can maybe notice that they’re kind of repetitive or they’re in buckets so you can take themes of types of expectations. And then there’s questions you can ask yourself: If you just kind of apply these questions to each of those perspectives, it allows you to be able to release those expectations. OK?
So, questions that I want you to ask yourself, and note in terms of what you’ve written down in terms of your expectations.
Is it possible that it could go another way? Uh, the answer is pretty much always yes. Is it possible that it could go another way? Yes.
Is it possible that it could go better than you expect? Whether you think it’s going to be terrible, whether you think it’s going to be amazing, is it possible that it could go better than you expect—whatever it is that you’re expecting.
Next question is: What purpose does this expectation serve? The expectation that you have: All these expectations have purpose, they have meaning. There’s always a logic to our thoughts and what it is that they’re doing in our head.
So in the context of looking at making progress, and making that progress no matter what, what are these expectations actually doing for you?
And then, the other question I want you to ask: What would happen if you let that expectation go? Which can seek like so crazy for those of us that are very much planners and perfectionists and who like to control things, who like to know what’s happening. But what would happen if you just let go of that expectation? Again, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or if it’s bad or anything in between.
But just letting go: What would that feel like? And what do you think would happen in you life? So that is Practice #2!
Practice #1 we were talking about tending your mindset and looking at your thoughts: Are they coming from love or fear? Practice #2 is about releasing your expectations and noticing when you’re going into the future and having all these ideas and thoughts about how it’s going to go, when you are making progress, with whatever your goal is.
And then the third thing that I want you to practice is finding tools that work for you. This is a big one. And I think, again, this time of year, when we’re thinking about the New Year, New Year’s resolutions, often times, our radar is particularly tuned to looking for things that make it easier, things that would simplify it and be the thing that makes that difference.
And certainly when I started this whole Map Your Progress journey, before I even knew that I was going to turn it into a business, or any of that—I was looking for a new tool. I was looking for a new approach. And that is how some of you, who know the story, know that I came to really change the way that I looked at making progress financially in terms of paying off my credit card debt.
And I wanted to come up with some sort of tool that would help me stay on track, that would focus on the positive, that would focus on the progress that I was making and do so in a way that was loving, colorful, and all that good stuff.
So I created a Progress Map, I created this visual representation of my goal as a tool. Because I recalled that it was something that my mother had used in the past, I had used in the past, this idea of having a visual that would represent the goal and each piece of that visual, each one of those little swirls represented the next right step that I would take toward that goal.
So that was a tool that I found worked for me. It was something that I had to discover actually worked by getting into action and using the tool. And I really get fired up about this because there are so many different tools out there, so many that work well for one person and don’t work as well for another. Because we all different strengths and personalities and tendencies. And so it’s not like there’s ever going to be a one-tool-fits-all—certainly not even with Progress Maps!
But for you—for understanding what tools are gonna work best for you and then using them to you advantage and using them as a way to make progress—particularly when things get tough: life doesn’t go the way you want it to go, something happens, the fear gets to be overwhelming. Whatever those things are that get in way. We can use tools to help stay on track, get back on track, and be even more motivated. So Progress Maps are just one tool.
But in terms of your practice of finding tools that work for you, what I would recommend as a next right step. I would love for you, to again, do a little bit of writing. And I want you to think about all of the tools in your life that really work for you. And this could be any aspect of your life. I want you to think about things that you use to create a certain result.
It could be anything that makes your life easier, that you feel like makes it more enjoyable. Certainly anything that saves you time, energy, simplifies things. But I want you to be looking for clues in the tools that you already use in other parts of your life, to help you be able to stay focused on what works for you and then also to be able to experiment with others tools, that based on the ones that work for you, may help you even more.
So it’s not just about using any tools. Just because it works for your friend or just because it works for your partner doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to work for you. And often times we put time and energy into trying to fit tools to ourselves—for fit ourselves to the tools, rather—when it’s really…it’s not something that needs to be so hard. It works for you or it doesn’t work for you. And it’s OK either way. The goal is really to find the ones that work. And to not spend so much time and energy trying to be somebody else or have something else work for you when it’s just really not designed for you.
So I want you to write out everything—all the tools that work well for you. And I also want you to make a list of the ones that you feel certain do not work for you. Certain things that you’ve used in the past and you feel satisfied, based on your own experience, “yeah, no. This does not work for me.” And that’s really good to know. Because then you can just let that go. You do not need to be worried about trying to make tools and again, don’t worry about who it works for and who it doesn’t work for. Just stay focused on what works for you. So that would be the third practice to kind of get you started in terms of making progress no matter what.
#1 was tending your mindset, looking at your thoughts, where they’re coming from, are they coming from love or fear? And then also #2 practice would be releasing your expectations, noticing when you’re getting into the future and then looking at those expectations and just questioning them. Using the four questions that I gave you to see: Is this expectation something that you can release? And often times, just in asking the questions, it will naturally release on it’s own. And then the third practice is finding the tools for work for you, noticing which ones work for you already, noticing which ones don’t and then going forward, having an attitude of experimentation, curiosity, exploration—trying different things. But you’re not just gonna try anything and everything. You’re going to try things that are likely to work for you based on what you already know about yourself.
So in terms of making progress no matter what: This is one of those things that again: because we don’t know it’s a skill, because we don’t know what to practice, because we don’t know that it even is a practice, that it is something you do over and over and over again—and learn and craft for yourself or what works for you—we can get stuck. A lot.
And when it comes to goals, and resolutions, and the things that we want to create, we very often have a lot of fear around it. We get stuck in the form of talking ourselves out of it and not even trying at all, of procrastinating, of going after goals that aren’t really meaningful to us, that are based on somebody else’s definition of success for value (what we should be doing, what we’re supposed to be doing).
Any one of those things are just different flavors of fear. And we get stuck or we get slowed down. Or we might get going and start to create a bit of momentum, and then something happens. Then we get thwarted. And it can just be a very discouraging experience. When really: This is a big part of what it is to be human.
When it comes to our choice, our consciousness, our ability to create: These are things, that once we understand, it just makes it so much more enjoyable, we get such better results, when we understand that making progress no matter what is about learning how to choose to take action coming from love, instead of getting stuck in that fear. Instead of staying stuck in that fear. It’s a very human experience to feel it, but you have the ability to choose to move forward and to choose to take action no matter what is going on.
When you start to make that shift, it’s a big deal. Because then; it doesn’t matter what is happening in the world; it doesn’t matter who says what; it doesn’t matter who supports you, who doesn’t support you; none of those things matter because you have that ability. You have that trust within yourself, that you know that no matter what happens, you can still make progress. You have the ability to practice your practice, to build this skill, to get good at it and then apply it to any area of your life. It’s a big deal!
This is one of those most foundational pieces to the work that I do as a Progress Coach. Map Your Progress started with just the maps, which are tools, but then now has grown to the point where I’m able to really serve you as a Progress Coach. So shifting your perspective, giving you new ideas to practice and experiment with, this is all very much the kinds of things that I do with clients. So I wanted to be able to give you a few of them to get started. This is not everything, of course, but I just want you to have a place to start from and to practice developing this skill—thinking of it as a skill—as we start to go into the new year.
And for the rest of the week, in this series that is to come, I will be back here a 3pm Pacific each day, sharing more of these key pieces of things that not only I have learned in this journey, that I’ve learned from you, but they’re also very fundamental to progress coaching and the work that I do. I want you to be able to have some of that, so you can start to bring it into your own life.
So I will look forward to seeing you, tomorrow—hopefully—at 3pm Pacific. And we’re going to be talking about putting yourself first. Which is another huge piece that most of us don’t understand about progress. What does that have to do with progress? I will tell you more about that tomorrow. But very excited because that’s one of the things that actually is unique I think to Map Your Progress and this whole idea of making progress on purpose. In a way that feels good, that is of service to you, and where you can do it no matter what.
So thank you, my Dears—thank you for being here. Any questions that you have, I would love to answer them, no matter if you’re here live or if you’re joining us after. Oh! OK, sorry! Since I am using a new tool, because I’m always in a state of progress, I just see Jen—I see your comment there. OK, cool. Awesome. Yay! See? Stuck! Understood.
Cool. We’re gettin’ there, people! Winning ugly. We’re showing up. We’re learning. We’re doing the things. This is all part of how I demonstrate everything that I’m talking about and letting you know, of course, as always that I am right here with you, as human being who wants to create things and wants to make progress on purpose and have meaning and joy and all of the good stuff.
So I will look forward to next time we chat and please certainly message me if there’s anyhing that resonated with you, that you want to learn more about, or you feel like there’s just something inside you that is calling to talk more. OK. Bye, Dears! // MAPYOURPROGRESS.COM