Honoring your boundaries isn’t always easy. Some people will think you’re being a jerk or stubborn. Some will even say that you’re changing in a bad way even though it’s good for you.
Get clear on what you will and won’t accept from others and your life will change for the better.
(The following podcast transcript has been modified for easier readability and to benefit the Deaf and hard of hearing)
When you develop personal boundaries, the people that are used to you being a certain way will either support you or be upset that you won’t be the person you’ve always been around them.
What happens when we start developing our personal boundaries is that people that preferred us to be a pushover wanted us to do what they wanted us to do, and not what we wanted to do, will be unhappy that we are now honoring ourselves.
What’s going to happen typically, is that the people that love you and support you and want you to be happy no matter what, they’re going to be the ones that are okay with you honoring yourself because if you’re happy, they’re happy.
I think that’s what a healthy relationship is: If you’re happy, I’m happy.
The people that will be frightened of your changes because you are going through this transformation are going to say things like “You’ve changed. What’s wrong?”
They’re going to say things that are unsupportive because they’re not going to like that the control they had, or the level of superiority or authority over you that they had, or the ability to just get you to do what they want you to do, is going to disappear and they’re not going to be able to figure out what to do without being able to control you.
It may not be that extreme, but for some people, it will be. Some people will be worse than that. When you start honoring yourself around people that depended on you not honoring yourself, and they know you as always giving in and always letting them “win”, and letting them tell you what to do, and you do what they say because you feel like you have to, people like that will not be happy. What they’ll do is try to make you feel bad. They’ll try to make you think that you’re doing something wrong.
I want you to be aware that when you honor yourself, when you actually have boundaries that you don’t let other people violate, that is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. That is one of the major steps toward happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction in life.
When you honor your boundaries, you tell people what you will and won’t accept for behavior. If they are already used to violating your boundaries, or if you had no boundaries in the first, or they were just able to get whatever they wanted from you because you were a people pleaser, or you just didn’t want confrontation so you never spoke up for yourself, whatever it is, they’re not going to be happy that you now have structure.
They’re not going to be happy that you are now self-disciplined. They won’t be happy that you are doing what you want to do for you, instead of doing what they want you to do for them.
Some people aren’t necessarily doing it on purpose. I spent the majority of my life being a Yes person, meaning I would say yes to other people, and no to myself. If somebody wanted me to work the weekend, and I had plans but I didn’t want to confront my boss or say no to him or her, then I would say yes and just scratch my plans. That’s how I lived my life for a good number of years, at least into my 30s. At that point, I decided that it was time to take a chance in honoring myself. That meant when I really wanted to say, No, I said it. That chance was the risk of confrontation and the risk of the consequences of honoring myself.
When it comes to honoring yourself, you may feel like you have to take a risk. You may feel like if you honor yourself in a particular moment that there are going to be severe consequences. You get to a point where you become so drained and burnt out with your relationships because you are not honoring yourself – You are not being self-loving and self-compassionate, but you are being compassionate and loving to everyone else because you’re honoring them and doing what they want.
What ends up happening is that you get to a burnout point. That burnout point is the moment that you might want to make a different decision and take a different step in your life. I’m not saying this happens to everybody but for me, I reached the burnout point. I was getting kind of sick of honoring everyone else but myself. That sickness came in the form of an emotional drain. I felt so drained so often, that I just wasn’t happy.
You experience an emotional drain because you either don’t have personal boundaries or you’re not honoring your personal boundaries. If that is the case, it is likely you’ll get to a point where you feel so drained that you’ll reach a breakdown, which is a threshold to a new way of being.
A breakdown can be the threshold you need to reach to achieve a new way of living your life.
It’s important to balance the risk against the rest of your life if you have any problem honoring yourself with anyone. This is my personal opinion. I look at the risk as either staying who I am or choosing to be a new person.
What does that mean? It means when something comes along where there’s an opportunity to express myself, to honor myself, to show someone what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t, then I weigh the risk.
Weighing the risk might be that if I honor myself in this moment, it could end the relationship. It could mean someone fires me. It could mean I get yelled at. It could mean I get punched in the face.
Honoring your boundaries doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk. It just means you let someone know what’s acceptable and what’s not. If I say to someone, “I don’t really like that behavior. Could you please stop it?” And they punch me in the face. It wasn’t something I initiated, it was something that we can all do for ourselves and we should be able to do for ourselves, which is express how we want to be treated.
When you express how you want to be treated, and someone goes overboard and overreacts, that is on them. That is their issue, their inability to be able to honor you honoring yourself. This is why you have to evaluate the situation before you honor yourself because there is a risk. And the risk could be excessive.
At the same time, how much life are you willing to give up in order to please other people and allow them to honor your dishonoring of yourself? That’s how I look at this. When I come into a situation where somebody is disrespecting me or putting me down or putting me in a situation that is uncomfortable, I have an opportunity to honor myself in that moment and say or do something.
I could say “Please don’t do that. I don’t like that.” It could be something as simple as that: “Please don’t do that. I don’t like that.” That empowers them to make the next choice.
This is what I love about honoring yourself is that you can empower people to make the right choice; the next best decision for both of you. Because what you’re doing is you’re not overreacting to whatever they’re doing. You’re actually letting them know how they can show up that is pleasing to you, or at least not offensive.
You are giving them the opportunity to show up that way so that they will be pleasant to be around. It also gives them the ability to give you the gift of treating you the way you want to be treated.
How could anyone not like that? If somebody you love came up to you and said this is how I like to be treated, would that not be empowering to them? And would that not also give them the ability to create a deeper connection with you? That is empowering! That is a gift that gives them the opportunity to show up as amazing in your life. It gives them knowledge that they may not have had before.
It gives them so much to work with. They have that wonderful opportunity to show up the way that you prefer to be treated. It should feel good to them because they may not have known how you wanted to be treated. It should feel good to do things the people we love want us to do for them.
It’s sort of like the conversations we have in the bedroom. I hope everyone has these conversations. If you don’t, I think you need to. I think you need to practice this and work on it. Bedroom conversations should be about sharing what works, what feels good, and what you want. If you can do that with somebody who does the same thing, it is a wonderful gift to both of you.
Bedroom talk may not make it into “regular” talk with friends and people like that, but it’s kind of the same idea. It’s a gift. I think it’s a gift to honor your personal boundaries, and tell people what you will and won’t accept in your life, which empowers them to be able to show up that way, which makes them shine even more in your eyes. It makes us see those people in a different light because they’re showing up in a way that makes us happy and makes us look at them with admiration and respect (because they actually care about our happiness, comfort, and safety). We can witness that they actually care about that stuff, and that makes us feel more comfortable and loving toward them.
This is why I look at personal boundaries and honoring your personal boundaries as a wonderful gift you can give to everyone. It’s not just a personal gift. It’s a gift to others. It’s telling them what they don’t know until you tell them.
Have you ever been in a relationship where somebody didn’t tell you what they wanted? It’s very difficult. I’ve been there before, where you’re with someone and you really want to make them happy, yet they say “Everything’s fine.” So you just continue on in the relationship thinking nothing’s wrong. But you’re growing distant, or they’re growing unhappy because perhaps they believe you’re supposed to figure it out. Maybe they think you should read their mind or something but you can’t figure out what’s wrong.
The same can happen to you when you don’t express what you want. Maybe there’s a fear of confrontation or a fear of rejection kicks. Maybe you think they’ll see you as a bad person because you’re saying what you want in the relationship or in your life.
I think when it comes to personal boundaries, it’s important to define those in you and let other people know what they are if they violate them. You don’t have to go around with a tattoo on your forehead telling people what your boundaries are. Just express them when needed because, hopefully, most people in your life will honor you honoring yourself anyway. Hopefully, most people are happy that you have boundaries.
“You have boundaries, that’s great! That means you know what you want in life and you know how you want to be treated. And you won’t take any disrespect. I think that’s fantastic because I love you and I don’t want you to be disrespected. I love you and I don’t want you to be mistreated at all.”
If someone’s behaving badly around you, and it’s hurting you in some way, and you tell them it’s hurting you and they don’t stop, then you have every right to honor your boundaries and tell them to stop. Or you might need to make them accountable. That accountability may be, “If you don’t stop, I’m going to leave.” Or, “If you don’t stop, I’m going to take away something you love.”
It depends on the situation, of course, but you get the idea. You just want to walk tall and feel good in your own skin knowing that if somebody violates your boundaries, you can say, “Look, you need to back off because that’s against my boundaries.”
I’ve got all kinds of stories I’ve shared on the show before, but one that really stands out is the time I decided I was going to stand up for myself in front of a complete stranger, even at the risk of confrontation. I realized he could have gotten annoyed or upset or even violent, so I had no idea what his reaction would be. It was at an airport. I was at a car rental counter, and I was filling out some paperwork. I was talking to the rep behind the counter and this guy was standing behind me. At first, he was kind of close. But a few minutes later, as I was filling out my paperwork, he snuck up right behind me. He wasn’t even being waited on yet but he got closer to me because he wanted to be closer to the counter.
I felt like his head was like right on my shoulder! It was very uncomfortable. You know that feeling right? When someone gets in your personal space, you just don’t want them near you. You don’t know what their intentions are. You don’t know them, you don’t feel safe, you don’t trust them because you have no idea what they’re going to do, but he was right there.
Then he started talking to the rep pretty much over my shoulder. I know that he was probably oblivious to his proximity to me. He was just in a hurry or something. He didn’t want to wait in line so he was trying to talk over my shoulder.
There I was filling out this paperwork and I thought he could probably see what I was writing. So I stopped what I was doing, turned around, looked at him, and I said, “Would you mind taking a step back? You’re in my personal space and it’s very uncomfortable.” That was very hard to do because it was one of the first times I honored myself.
He was caught off guard like a deer in the headlights. He said, “Oh, uh…” And he backed off. He didn’t say anything else. I went back to what I was writing. That was it. I thought he might yell at me, or shove me or pushed me or whatever. Who knows? But when we have these fears that come up, we usually exaggerate them to the point we justify not doing something that maybe we should do.
I was sort of starting to justify in my head not to honor myself in that moment, and just move aside giving him some room. But at the same time, it was my turn, dammit.
I was at the front of the line. I was talking to the rep so he had to wait his turn. But, I get it. Sometimes we’re in a hurry and we have to move things along, but regardless, he was definitely in my personal space and I didn’t like it. And at that moment, I evaluated the risk versus the reward, if we want to call it that. The reward was, “I’m going to honor myself. That’s going to reinforce who I am. It’s going to reinforce my very being because if you don’t know who you are, this is how you do it.”
That may sound vague, but there are people that don’t really know who they are. They don’t really have much structure in their life. If you don’t know who you are, or you feel that you don’t have a lot of structure in your life, honoring your personal boundaries is the way to make who you are. It is the way to create who you are. It is the way to build that structure in your life because boundaries are the walls we create.
Some walls have doors and some don’t. The ones that don’t, we don’t let anybody through. We make those thicker than the other walls. But the walls with doors? Yeah, we let some people through. Some people will say or do the right thing so they get through, and that’s fine. But this is how we build our foundation.
It’s the same with personal boundaries. I like to think of our personal boundaries as castle walls. We’re building our castle walls to protect ourselves and to protect what’s inside.
What’s inside is who we are. That is what we are. It is our safety, our foundation, and everything that grounds us and makes us feel comfortable in our own skin.
This is what defining boundaries does. If you ever have a question about who you are, and you’re not sure how to live your life or you have trouble making decisions, creating, maintaining and enforcing your personal boundaries creates a solid foundation for a lot of issues in our lives.
You need to do this for yourself. Like the time I was talking about, when this gentleman was very close to me stepped back, he didn’t say a word. He honored my boundaries and I actually gained more respect for him. I didn’t really like him because he was still the kind of person that does that, but at the same time, I realized he could have been oblivious.
I didn’t have to like him. He was a stranger so it didn’t matter, but I did develop a little respect for him because he listened to me. It’s not that everyone has to listen to me and do what I say, but when there’s a violation of a personal boundary, it goes a long way when somebody listens to you and does what you want them to do. It allows you to see their humanity and see that they are honoring you honoring yourself.
They may not like to honor your boundaries, but if they do honor them, then that may raise your level of respect for them. It’s possible him and I could have been great friends. We could have had coffee together. We could have sat down and ordered a drink and had a great talk, then went our separate ways.
We could have been friends perhaps. He listened. He respected my boundaries after I told them what they were. But before that, he didn’t know what they were. He came right up behind me and again, probably oblivious, he didn’t realize I had a boundary of personal space.
Maybe he doesn’t have this boundary in his life. There are people that walk around whose boundaries are different than ours. If he has no personal space boundaries, maybe his family was brought up that way. His brothers and sisters, Mom and Dad, maybe they all hang around in close proximity to each other’s faces. I can only guess.
For me, I was not comfortable with him standing right behind me. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with that. Once I told him to back off in a nice way, he respected my wants. That’s great by me. It surprised him because maybe people aren’t used to doing that. Maybe most people instead choose to step away from him to not cause any trouble. Or maybe this was the first time he ever did something like this. The point is in that moment, I was able to evaluate it and accept that the reward of honoring myself. It was worth the risk.
I don’t know if it’s just because I’m getting older. I’m 50 now, but the story I told was at a time when I was in my late 30s or early 40s. I was just starting to honor my boundaries then. But I’ve noticed when I get older, I am more willing to speak up for myself because I don’t want any more of life to go by with me being submissive.
That’s probably not the best way to put it. I don’t want to be this meek, submissive person that allows other people to use me as a doormat. As I get older, I feel like maybe it is helpful to realize that life is pretty darn short. Even when you’re in your 20s or 30s, how much life do we really have left to allow other people to use us as doormats? Or to allow them to not honor us honoring ourselves? I don’t see life as very long at all.
Look where we are today. There are people that I know that have died, at least three people have died in the last three months. One of them was from COVID. So we see these people in our lives, then suddenly they’re not there anymore. It makes us think about our own mortality.
How long are we going to live and allow other people to treat us the way they treat us? Hopefully, you’re being treated okay. If you’re not, it might be time to weigh the risk and the reward to see which one you’d rather live with.
Personally, most of the time, I’d rather stand up for myself. I would rather choose not be disrespected, and I’d request to be treated a certain way and risk a punch in the face.
I definitely don’t want a punch in the face, but even if I got it, I can look back and be proud that I stood in my integrity. I can feel good knowing I stood as the person I wanted to be. Every time I stand in my integrity and I stand up for myself, I am either reinforcing my boundaries, or reinforcing my character (or building more character, or building new boundaries). No matter what, it’s all in the right direction. I’m either reinforcing all those things, or I’m allowing them to disintegrate little by little with each event where I choose not to honor myself, or I choose to be a doormat.
These are extremes, I know. I like to pick my battles wisely. I’m not going to stand up to someone I know is very violent. And I’m not going to demand that they “treat me with respect or else.” I’m not stupid. I’m just going to get away from that scenario. If I’m in that situation with somebody like that, then I probably shouldn’t be in that situation with somebody like that. I should probably think differently in that moment and preserve myself. In moments like that, I might need to consider flight over fight.
Honoring your boundaries isn’t about unwavering stubbornness about what you believe is right and wrong, it’s about evaluating each situation and making sure that you are showing up as the worthy person you are.
In order for this to work, however, you have to see yourself as worthy. You have to see yourself as worthy enough to honor. If you don’t believe you are worthy, not only do I have episodes on that (see my episodes on self-worth here) but just listen to me say that you are worthy.
You’ll just have to take my word for it. You are worthy.
If you are listening to a show like this, you are worthy. You are worth honoring. You are important, so you have to treat yourself that way. If you still don’t believe me, try honoring yourself! Because as soon as you do, as soon as you start honoring yourself and telling people what’s acceptable and what’s not, telling people how you want to be treated, you’re going to feel pretty darn good about yourself. It’s going to feel great because standing up for yourself shows yourself how worthy you are.
You will feel worthy as you do this more and more. If you have any self-worth or self-esteem issues, honoring your personal boundaries helps to build and reinforce those things in you.
Today’s episode is not necessarily about honoring boundaries, but I wanted to talk about them because it is one of the foundational concepts in what I teach. Once you start honoring your personal boundaries, it creates a solid foundation that you can continue building from that point on. Once you have the foundation of boundaries in place, your life gets better.
I’m not saying you won’t have hardships, stress, anxiety, heartbreak or other challenges come up. There are all kinds of things that will happen. But with a solid foundation under your feet, you can get right back up and continue the journey.
I’m going to read you an email about somebody who is a little nervous. I’ll read this almost word for word, but I will eliminate some things not only for confidentiality, but because it will sound so much like an infomercial and I don’t want it to. You’ll understand when I read this.
It says, “Hey, Paul, I wanted to send you a message to let you know that your podcast, The S.A.F.E. Empowerment System, and all the other resources that you offer are helping me so much. I’m so incredibly thankful for the work you are doing. As someone with anxiety, I struggle with anything outside my comfort zone.”
“During this pandemic, I have been working from home. This has given me time to reflect and to realize I gained so much from helping people reach their goals. I signed up for a life coaching certification course that I begin next week. It is all online through Zoom, and I am so nervous. All this doubt has come up that I won’t be good at coaching.”
“I got an email this morning with the information that I need to prepare for the course and I panicked. I decided to listen to one of the learning pods on the S.A.F.E. Empowerment System. It calmed me and gave me many useful tips for my anxiety. I know you are busy and receive a lot of emails, but if you have any helpful advice for me, I would appreciate it. Also, I must mention I’ve been in therapy on and off for over 20 years now. My therapist is helpful but The Overwhelmed Brain podcast helps me even more. Thanks for all you do.”
All right. Thank you so much for sharing this. I read it from the email except for the part I deleted because I didn’t want it to sound too promotional, but I want to thank this person who wrote this. And thanks for mentioning The S.A.F.E. Empowerment System. I didn’t think she realized I was going to read this on the air. Actually, the S.A.F.E. System was what I talked about the very beginning of this episode. It’s to help anxiety.
I’m glad to hear you benefit from this system because I honestly don’t get too much feedback on it. The good news is when I do get feedback, it’s always good feedback. I think I’d hear about the bad feedback. So I’m glad to hear that when people buy the system, it actually helps them.
Anyway, I’m glad she said she was seeing a therapist too. I think that’s great. I think when you have someone that you can share your challenges with with one-on-one, it can be a huge help. You can listen to me, but I don’t interact with you. I can’t ask you questions. I can’t watch your body language. I can’t hear the inflection in your voice. So having someone one-on-one in front of you helping you out is a great way to do it. That’s why I usually say if you can’t get a therapist, find a friend or a family member that you feel safe expressing things to.
The only caveat with that is that, because you know the person, it might be harder to share the harder things. I remember when I went to therapy, I was in depression and I saw this therapist. I remember the very first time I left her office It felt like I was closing the door to all my problems behind me.
As I was leaving her office, it was the coolest feeling leaving my problems behind. It didn’t mean I was out of depression. It didn’t mean I was “fixed” or suddenly improved, but I felt like I was leaving those problems there. Like I could come in and just express all I wanted and have somebody that listened, asked questions, and wasn’t judgmental, then then when I closed the door behind me, it felt like “Whoa, I can just leave those problems back there! Then I can just re-address them the next time I’m here.”
I went to therapy until I felt better. That was during my stages of depression The therapy didn’t really get me out of depression, but it did help me start understanding myself more. I started to realize that when I express myself, I am able to release this tension or pent up negative energy inside of me because I’m actually giving my emotions a voice. I’m allowing the negativity to come up and out of me to be expressed as if they were manifesting outside of me.
That sounds a little weird, but when you have any type of pressure inside of you, and you turn that pressure into some sort of verbalization, you manifest it into some sort of external thing, it can feel like a release of that pressure. You can feel that pressure decreasing inside of you. This is why it’s helpful to have someone to actually express to, to release the pressure.
That’s what I learned from therapy. One of the most important things I learned is that when you decide to express yourself and say the things that hurt you, that you feel traumatized by, that you feel embarrassed about, that you feel guilty about, that you feel ashamed about, that you wouldn’t tell anyone else about… When it comes out, you feel a lot better.
When you really connect with what’s going on inside of you, and you are able to talk about it, there is a relief that can happen. I’m not saying it always happens with everyone, but this is what I learned in therapy is that when you start expressing things that you haven’t told anyone that you haven’t shared, and perhaps they come out in either words or tears, that there can be a relief. There can be an improvement in your life. Sometimes it’s all you need. It can be helpful.
That’s why I like the idea of expressing to someone that you feel safe with, with someone who’s not going to judge you; Someone you trust that you can just lay it all out there. That’s a good feeling.
I get emails like this one I just read. Somebody laying it all out there. She says, “I want to coach other people.” Let’s address that. “I want to coach other people, yet what if I’m not good enough?”
The insecurities come up. “What if I’m not the best coach? I’m just so nervous. What do I do about this nervousness? I get anxiety about everything.”
I get it. Absolutely. Let me say this: When I started becoming a coach, I was nervous too. In fact, I still get nervous. I still get a little nervous if and when I coach. I don’t coach as much as I used to but when I’d prepare for a coaching call, I would still have little doubts like “Am I the right person?” Or I might be concerned that we’re going to talk about something that I don’t know how to resolve.
The good news is that because you’re nervous, it means you’re humble. It means you are willing to accept that you might not be great at coaching.
Oh, no… What does that mean? Does that mean you shouldn’t coach?
No, that’s not what it means at all. When you are nervous, when you are humble, you’re vulnerable. That means you don’t know everything. if you are willing to admit that you don’t know everything, guess how you’re going to be as a coach?
You’re going to be phenomenal.
You’re going to be great because it’s so easy to say “I really don’t know how to help you with that, but let’s explore it.” Or, “I’ll tell you what, let me do some research on that because this is something I haven’t really addressed before. I want to address this with you next time.” You can just be honest.
Some coaching schools will teach what they call impeccability. That’s when somebody sees you as impeccable. They see you as “Wow, you know a lot. You know a lot more than I do. I look up to you. I admire you. I respect you.”
In the beginning of my coaching career, I tried to be impeccable. I tried to be prestigious. That doesn’t mean I was arrogant or egoistic. It wasn’t that at all. It was just that I wanted to appear that I had no problems. I was one of those people that others could look up to. I wanted them to think, “If he has no problems, then he could probably help me with my problems.”
This was at the very beginning of my coaching career, like way over 10 years ago. When I showed up that way, (how can I say this?) I completely screwed myself over because I couldn’t be myself. I had to show people that I was this confident, no problem guy. I could solve anything that they brought to me.
But I couldn’t be that way because it wasn’t me. I was pretending to be someone else.
I did have success at that time, but I was burning myself out trying to be someone I wasn’t. And if you’ve been listening for a while, you probably noticed that I try to be as transparent and authentic on this show as possible because I never want to burn myself out again.
This can happen in any field, any industry, any profession. When you show up as somebody that you’re not, you burn yourself out. The person who wrote this said she is getting nervous. She is thinking, “Am I going to be a good coach?”
The truth is, you’re going to be a great coach because you’re nervous!
You’re going to be a great coach because I can tell you’re humble and that you’re not “the greatest”. I know I’m not the greatest. I know I need to work on things. But as you work on yourself, and this is the best part, as you heal things in yourself, the wisdom comes.
The wisdom of understanding of what it takes to heal comes automatically as you heal from your own stuff. When you heal from something you’re going through, you go through a transformation. That is part of going to school for certification and things like that is that you transform yourself.
You don’t walk in as the coach, you walk in as the student. You walk in as someone who needs help. I shouldn’t put it that way because not everyone needs help, but everyone has something to learn as the student. And from what she’s saying, if she’s experiencing anxiety, if she’s experiencing nervousness, she is in the perfect place. This is exactly where she needs to be.
They don’t want you to come in with your ego. They don’t want you to come in as perfect. I don’t think anyone does. If they do, then they expect too much. Again, any industry, any profession, any field, if they want you to come in as perfect, they expect too much.
If they want you to come in and learn as you go, then you have somebody that understands how it works. If they understand how it works, then they’re going to be easier to work with and they’re going to be easier to work for because anyone who expects perfection, right from the get-go, they’re going to be sorely disappointed. They’re probably a micromanager and they may not care about people or give anyone a chance to learn as they go and try to synchronize themselves with all the variables of the job that they’re doing.
It just takes a while to get accustomed to what you’re doing as a new thing. In this person’s case, she’s wanting to become a coach. You’re going to be working with other coaches. And you’re going to be working with volunteer students. You’re going to go through the process of working with these people. You get to make all the big mistakes at the beginning in a safe environment.
That’s what I had to go through. Again, that was over a decade ago. I had to go through the process of making all my beginner coaching mistakes at the beginning. You do that because you won’t know every single problem that comes up. When you get certified, they give you a lot of tools to work with. You’re going to apply those tools to yourself because you’ll want to. You’ll want to figure out if the tools actually work. Other coaches are going to work with you and apply those same tools as well.
After that, you can customize those tools and modify them. Then you can innovate and make your own tools. And your toolbox will grow from there. as time goes on. As you go through this, you’ll develop more tools, more resources, and more ways of doing things. Then pretty soon you’ll have your own unique flair, your own personal touch of how to do things.
One of my personal touches, I think, is the ability to be vulnerable with my clients. In fact, I’ve had clients that I’ve told them stories, and one of the things I say before the story is “between you and me.” When I say that, it is a story that I haven’t told on the air. It’s a story that I haven’t told any other client probably because the client in front of me might be going through something very specific that I know about, or I’ve been through, or healed from or whatever. If they are going through something I’ve been through, I’ll tell them how I did it. “Look between you and me, this is what happened to me.”
I’m honest about it. What that means is I have a level of trust for my clients. This is going to be helpful for you, the person who wrote who wants to become a coach, it’s going to be helpful to have a level of trust in your clients. To be yourself.
I’m not saying that you have to tell your personal stories, I think it’s a good idea because once you heal from a lot in your life, your personal stories become tools. You’ll have all these tools: your traumas, your fears, the things you’re still working on. When you hear, “Hey I have a problem. I have this emotional trigger… ” This could be one of your tools because you had the same trigger in your past or you are still dealing with it today. You can say, “I have that same problem. And when that trigger comes up. This is what I do.”
That’s humble. That’s vulnerable. That is letting go of your ego and letting the client see who you really are. They don’t feel like they have to look up at you as the all-knowing guru – the person who can’t do anything wrong. I recommend that you aren’t all-knowing and all-seeing and all-understanding and all-wisdom, mainly because it wears you out. You will be so worn down if you walk in any job or any project and you put out this air of knowing everything and that nothing can faze you.
Doing that will wear you down so much. And you’re going to feel all this pressure. And you’re not going to enjoy what you’re doing because you feel like you have to show up as perfect. It’s just going to take its toll on you. I don’t want that to happen.
To the person who wrote this, I just want to say nervousness is good. Welcome it! It shows that you have a lot to learn and you’re willing to learn because you are actually taking the steps that you need to take to get through this and give you a lot of skills that are not only going to help your clients but they’re going to help you as well.
Every coaching certification course that I’ve ever seen includes the healing journey for yourself. They don’t really advertise that, but because you end up working with teachers and working with other students, you end up exploring what’s going on inside of you to take care of those things before you are in front of a real paying client that is looking to you for guidance.
Even when you are certified and you’re not ready to take paying clients, you can still have volunteer clients, which means you’ll have people that you’ll be able to help. It will help build your confidence in yourself so that you can move forward and turn what you’re doing into a business.
I know that I’m talking very specifically about coaching and if anyone wants to become a coach, that information might be helpful, but please do apply this to anything that you do in life is that. It’s so much easier to be yourself and be accepted as yourself. Not only does that give you a break so you don’t have to always have that pressure of being someone you’re not, but it allows you to enjoy what you’re doing. You’ll find that perhaps 98% of the time, the people that you are working with, or working for, they’re going to appreciate your authenticity much more than any false front that you put up because you’ll just be more pleasant to be around.
They’ll feel it. They’ll see it. They’ll be able to talk with you and connect with you that way. I know you might be nervous. But like you said, you have The S.A.F.E. System, so you can use that. And of course, use the drill-down technique I talk about every now and then.
I talked about this in other episodes, but the drill-down is just exploring your nervousness. When you get nervous, ask yourself, “What am I nervous about?”
You might answer, “That’s obvious. I’m nervous I’m not going to be a good coach.”
Why does that make you nervous?
“What if I don’t know enough to help someone?”
Okay, so what will happen if you don’t know enough to help someone? What will you do then?
“Either I’ll have to make something up or I’ll just tell them I don’t know.”
Alright. if you make something up, that’s probably not a good idea. But if you really don’t know, how is that a problem?
“If I don’t know, maybe they’ll look down on me.”
Okay, now we’re talking about vulnerability. Here we go. we’re talking about full transparency. What if they look down on you? How is that a problem?
“It might hurt my coaching career. “
Okay, let’s say it hurts your coaching career. How is that a big deal?
“What? How is that a big deal? It could be my main source of income!”
Let’s just say it’s your main source of income and your income decreases… How is that a problem?
I could continue here but the idea is to drill into what we think are the real issues in our life so that we can understand the origin of these issues and keep asking what I call “stupid questions that lead to healing“, so that you finally understand where the nervousness and fear come from.
Drill into these things and get to the absolute bottom of the hole of all these layers of the emotional onion. These are the layers that have been stacking up all your life. The questions I ask help you get through those layers so that you understand where they come from.
There’s a point where you’re going to ask yourself a question that you may not be able to answer at all. That is typically the point of healing. I’ve heard it called “non-verbal”. You have verbal answers while you’re drilling down, but you can finally ask yourself a question so deep that you can’t answer it. At that point, there could be a connection to the deepest fear inside of you and that deep fear has an opportunity to be released in that moment. There’s more to it, of course, and it helps to have somebody walk you through it, but you can do this yourself.
I do this to myself all the time. I might think, “Okay, why am I feeling judgmental right now? While I’m feeling judgmental? Because he or she’s doing this? Yeah, but how is that a problem? It’s a problem because this and this.”
I keep drilling down trying to figure out what’s underneath that layer and what’s underneath the next. You can look at this as cause and effect:
What caused me to feel that way? And what caused me to feel that way?
You keep answering and drilling down until you get to the origin, until you get to that nonverbal place. It’s when you can’t even speak about what it is. It’s almost only a feeling. That feeling came from somewhere though.
Then you can start the second process, which is asking yourself, “When is the first time you felt that way?”
When you get to those deeper feelings, you might find an origin. And that can be helpful in getting past the feeling because once you understand it, once you unwrap the layers surrounding your issues, the feeling loosens its grip on you. And you may not even feel nervous or anxious anymore.
The grip was so tight before because of all the resistance you had about feeling it. People with anxiety don’t want to feel anxiety, so they resist it. People that feel nervous don’t want to feel nervous. People that don’t want to feel sad, they resist the sadness. And they keep resisting it.
Because of that, they actually amplify the negative emotions. Their resistance to the “bad” feelings is what continues to keep that tight grip around the negative emotions. This is why I like drilling into them and releasing some of the pressure. And I hope it releases for you too.
Thank you so much for writing and I appreciate this. I hope that you have an amazing time in that class. Sometimes new things are nerve-racking. You just have to go through the process. And as you do it more and more, just like climbing a ladder multiple times a day will make you not afraid of that height anymore (like I did a few weeks ago), that’s what happens: You just repeat the process and pretty soon you feel pretty comfortable doing what you’re doing.
I started the show talking about personal boundaries, and I’m going to share something with you that two people I know called me something that I didn’t think I was. They called me stubborn.
I couldn’t figure out what they meant because I don’t see myself as a stubborn person. Although I think they say Taureans are stubborn (I’m not sure if that’s a universal thing), but I didn’t understand. I asked, “Why do you think I’m stubborn? How am I stubborn?”
What I figured out is that I honor my boundaries to the point where I know what I want. And when there’s something that I know I won’t accept, I will be stubborn. What that means is if somebody says, “I want to paint your house pink,” and I say no. And they say, “Oh, come on. Let’s try it and see what it looks like.” I’m going to say, “No, that’s not going to happen. You’re not going to paint my house pink.”
That’s probably not the best example but this is a good example of when somebody might call me stubborn. Like, “Why don’t you want to do that? Why don’t you want to try this? Why don’t you want to take a chance or see what it looks like?” Or whatever. When I say no, they might call me stubborn.
I’ve always thought of stubbornness as a negative quality. To be called stubborn when I’m open-minded and willing to try new things doesn’t seem right. I love learning about stuff and I don’t think I’m stubborn at all. ,Yet I have a feeling my stubbornness might kick in when I choose not to settle. There are certain things I won’t allow someone to do against me or talk me into. I really don’t succumb to peer pressure. I think, in that sense, I might be stubborn.
I might admit that I’m stubborn when it comes to settling for things. When it comes to personal boundaries, I don’t think it’s a problem to be stubborn. There’s a difference between being closed-minded and not considering anything, and being open-minded and considering the options.
The point where people might perceive you as stubborn, is when you’ve made a choice. Sometimes I just make a choice. “No, that’s not going to happen.” Or, “Yes, that’s what we’re going to do no matter what.”
I don’t make a choice for others. I make a choice for myself. If the people I love all want to go skydiving, I’m going to be stubborn and say “No, there’s really no reason for me to go skydiving. I don’t have anything against it, but I’m not going to go.”
They might say, “Oh, come on, give it a shot. Let’s all do this.” And I’ll say, “No, I’m not going to do it.”
That doesn’t mean I’m being a jerk. That doesn’t mean I’m a party pooper. It just means I’m comfortable with my decision. I think that we look at the term “stubborn”, or at least I look at it this way, I think there’s a negative connotation to it. But because I’ve been called it and I had to explore that in myself, and because I didn’t like being called that, I learned that, yes, there are times when I will stand by my word and honor myself.
I will stand up for myself and make a decision. I believe it’s the right decision when I have considered it and considered all the options and evaluated that decision against my values. I want to make sure that I’m in alignment with my own decisions. And there’s going to be a point where I’ll draw the line.
When you draw the line, somebody might see you as stubborn. Somebody might call you something worse. If you’re offended by what they said, you can take a moment to make sure that your decision is sound and based on an evaluation of all the data. If it is, and you feel comfortable inside yourself making that decision, then stick with it because not everyone’s going to agree with you. Not everyone’s going to have the same perspectives as you. Not everyone’s going to have the same beliefs as you.
Some people might be offended that you aren’t agreeing with them or you aren’t doing what they want you to do. You might have to live with that term “stubborn”, then wear it as a badge proudly.
When these two people I love (which is actually my girlfriend and her son), called me stubborn, I had to think about it and try not to be offended and realize that the way I’m stubborn actually is a good quality in me. I like it!
There might be qualities about you that people point out that sound offensive, like maybe you could be a better person or something like that. But really, if you look at those qualities, are they actually emphasizing something that you’re proud of in yourself?
I’m proud of my ability to stand up for myself and honor myself and say Yes, when I mean yes and say No, when I mean, no, and do things that I feel comfortable doing and not do things that I don’t. I’m very proud of that. I wear that badge. I just never called it stubbornness before, but if somebody has something they call you, explore that and find out there’s something good about it.
I’ve heard some women say, “I don’t mind being called a B I T C…. because even though that’s not the term I use for myself, if they think I am that, then it’s emphasizing the quality in myself that I like, and because they don’t want to accept that quality in me, that’s not my issue. It’s not my fault, not my worry. If they have this perception about me, that’s their perception and not who I truly am because I don’t consider myself that. I consider myself a strong, independent person. Other people that want me to do what they want me to do, they want some level of control over me or something. Or they want me to show up in a way that makes me uncomfortable or puts me in a position that I don’t appreciate. Then I’m going to honor myself. They may call me a name for honoring myself, and I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is because if you love me, if you respect me, if you care about me, if you have a heart, I’m going to treat you wonderfully. I’ll treat you just like you treat me. But if you show up in the opposite way, and you’re not respectful toward me and you’re trying to control me, or you’re trying to hurt me, or trying to make me do things that I don’t want to do, then yeah, I might show up as something you don’t like. But that’s not my problem. I’m sorry but, just be nice to me. Be nice to me and I’ll be nice to you.”
I think most people get that. The people that don’t, they might have some words. They might call you something you’re not. So they’ll just have to figure that out on their own. If they can’t, like I say at the end of every show, I hope they keep an open mind because keeping an open mind helps you step into your power which helps you be firm in your decisions and actions so that you can create the life you want. Always take steps to grow and evolve. You are powerful beyond measure.
And above all, and this is something I absolutely know to be true about you, you are amazing.
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