[00:00:00] Welcome to today's TLC. Whether you found this podcast on my website, through the emails I send, or simply from a friend, I'm glad that you've decided to add some TLC today.
[00:00:17] This episode is for you mamas out there who are looking at your summer and wondering,_ "How in the world am I going to conquer these next few months?"_
[00:00:27] I promise there will be something useful for you in here no matter your stage of life or your family situation. But I made this episode with you mama's in mind.
[00:00:37] I want to start off by telling a quick story that I'm sure y'all can appreciate. Years ago when I was first learning about coaching, I was chatting with a friend who knew more about coaching than I did and I was telling her how I was dreading a very long cross country drive that we were going to be taking with my four boys. Now, this wouldn't have been such a problem, but my youngest son was not even a year old at the time and he struggled to fall asleep anywhere except for a completely dark room lying flat on a bed with a white noise on. The thought of driving 20 plus hours across the country with him in a car was making me feel a little bit anxious.
[00:01:21] As I was telling her about this, she shared with me a thought that saved my summer.
[00:01:27] With one of those knowing smiles, she said, _"You know my favorite thought to think in situations like this?"_ I raised an eyebrow, unsure that her thought was really going to influence my situation.
[00:01:40] But with the knowing smile, she said to me, "_One of my favorite thoughts is this is going to be fun or it's going to be funny!_" and I laughed a little, I chuckled to myself thinking, "_Oh, that's kind of cute. Maybe I'll use that on my trip,"_ and logged it away somewhere in the back of my brain. Soon after that we started our Trek across the country.
[00:02:04] As I was talking to different people, trying to figure out the best approach to this road trip, a friend of mine said she had the most success with these long drives if you start before bed, have the kids fall asleep in the car and drive through the night. That way the bulk of your trip the children are sleeping. I thought this was a pretty good idea so we packed that car with snacks and toys and bags all ready for this road trip.
[00:02:31] I remember getting in the car and thinking to myself, _"Okay, this can be fun." _And it was... for like an hour. But, not long after we started driving my baby was true to form and would not settle down. I found myself reaching back for hours, trying to hold his pacifier in his mouth. Once my arm felt like it was going to fall off, we re-arranged the car so that I could squeeze myself next to his car seat and try and sooth him by being close to me.
[00:03:03] After multiple hours of screaming at about three o'clock in the morning, we finally decided that this was not going to work and we pulled over into a Methodist church parking lot in a small town neighborhood.
[00:03:15] I remember pulling my son out of his car seat and trying to lay him on top of me, hoping that he would fall asleep out of exhaustion from how long he'd been screaming. I tried and tried to help him calm down, but he just wouldn't. I gave up and decided to everybody else in the car deserved to at least sleep a little bit and I climbed out of the car with my son and went for a walk.
[00:03:38] Twenty-thirty minutes later, my son was still screaming and remember we're in the middle of a neighborhood at three o'clock in the morning and I have a screaming child. Feeling completely overwhelmed, I decided that this was not working and we might as well be driving if he was going to be screaming. I went back to the car and reached out my hand to open up the door. The moment I touched that handle the car alarm went off—BEEP BEEP BEEP—super loud, right in the middle of a Methodist church parking lot at 3:00 AM with plenty of neighbors around to hear. My adrenaline went through the roof and my brain wanted to freak out. I hurried and got in the car, grabbed the keys, and turned off the alarm and in that moment, something incredible happened. Instead of reacting to all the craziness that was happening around me, my brain grabbed that thought from the back of my mind and decided to focus on it.
[00:04:43] Clear as day came the thought to my mind, _"Well, this is not fun, but it's totally funny!" _and I burst into laughter. I was gut laughing so hard that my family was looking at me like I had gone crazy. But I felt such a relief of tension that I didn't have to be angry at all of the craziness—that it could be funny. It was so freeing to me to have that choice.
[00:05:18] That laughter got us through the next few hours and even lasted through the next day as we continued our trip. I remember feeling so free that when my kids bought over the snacks or when my son kept screaming and refused to sleep, or when I looked in the mirror and saw the bags under my eyes, because I was so exhausted, I just kept laughing.
[00:05:44] I didn't have to fight what was going on cause I didn't feel frustrated and that was because of what I was thinking.
[00:05:55] *That thought saved my summer. *
[00:05:58] *What thoughts could help you this summer? *
[00:06:03] You can make plans for your time that will be great, but things will not always go the way that you expect—even if you're a time ninja and you plan every minute.
[00:06:13] *You want to know a plan that is going to help you the most? A plan for your brain. *
[00:06:19] In today's episode, I'm going to help you create an intentional thought model that will help you succeed this summer. So grab a piece of paper and a pencil and let's go.
[00:06:32] First, let's clear out some of the junk you might have in your mind about the summer so that we can have more space for that intentional model. I actually coach on this topic a lot (and honestly have to do self coaching about it) which makes sense because it's a natural transition of change for people when they go from the school year till the summer. There are many moving parts that are unpredictable and we just can't control everything so our brain wants to freak out.
[00:07:00] So first things first: it's totally normal that your brain wants to freak out about the summer. Just give yourself some space to say that that is okay if that's where you're at.
[00:07:11] I also want to share some of the thoughts I see often with my clients that keep them stuck while they're thinking about the summer. See if you see yourself in any of these thoughts:
[00:07:22] _I should be excited to be spending more time with my family._
[00:07:26] _I just really have a hard time with boundaries so I know I'm not going to have time for myself. _
[00:07:32] _I need to make sure everything is planned out. _
[00:07:36] _I just know that I'm going to struggle with—fill in the blank—_ _just like I did last summer. _
[00:07:43] Or this other sneaky one that thinks that it's useful:
[00:07:47] _I have to make every moment count because they only have a few summers left!_
[00:07:54] These thoughts may or may not be true for you, but chances are you probably have some thoughts about summer that are creating similar feelings for you.
[00:08:02] If you are worried about the summer, it can be very powerful to write out all of those worries and then look at them with curiosity to see if there are thoughts that are serving you or whether they might be creating more chaos.
[00:08:18] If you choose to do this, you can pause and do that now or do it later. But, keep in mind that as you're looking at these thoughts, _please_ don't judge yourself for having them. It's totally normal for your brain to be doing this. Also, if you find one that's not useful to you, you don't need to disprove it or argue with it. Just recognize it as a thought that's not useful and then go find a more useful one. That's what I'm going to help you do today. Create an intentional thought model that can be useful to you.
[00:08:51] As a reminder, when I talk about a model, I'm talking about the flow from a circumstance to a thought, then feeling, action, and ultimately result.
[00:09:04] If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go back and listen to the episode about the model and then come finish the rest of this exercise.
[00:09:12] Alright, let's create an intentional model.
[00:09:16] Grab that piece of paper and write in a column down the left side of the page, the letters C, T, F, A, and R. Those letters are going to correspond with the different pieces of the model.
[00:09:32] Make sure you leave room on the right side of each letter for you to fill out that line of the model.
[00:09:40] When creating an intentional model, you start by writing the circumstance next to the C. Remember that circumstances are really facty and boring. For this intentional model about our summer, I want you to write down "Summer 2022."
[00:09:58] Once you write in the circumstance, you can fill in the rest of the model, starting wherever feels most natural to you. If there's a feeling you're wanting to generate this summer put it next to the F line. Maybe there's a powerful thought that you've already been wanting to focus on. Put that in the T line. There might also be some actions that you're wanting to practice. That goes in the A line. For many of you, the easiest place to start will be the result line. So let's do that together.
[00:10:30] Take a moment and think of one result that you want for *you* this summer. It has to be something that is focused on you, that you can control. For example, instead of saying that you want a result to have a good relationship with your child, shift it to be more focused on you by saying something like: _feel satisfied with my efforts to connect with my child. _
[00:10:57] *With that focus on you and mind, think of what result you want for you this summer:*
[00:11:05] _Is there a relationship result you want? _
[00:11:09] _Maybe it's a goal you want to complete. _
[00:11:12] _It could be that you want to be more proactive about planning._
[00:11:16] _Or have a certain balance between work and family life. _
[00:11:20] _It could be that you want to really unplug when you're with your kids. _
[00:11:24] Take a moment to get a clear idea of one result that you want to create for this summer.
[00:11:31] Then, write it next to the R or result line on your paper.
[00:11:37] A quick tip here is to keep it clear, but simple. You don't want to try and capture every aspect of the summer in one result. So don't overthink it. Sometimes the simplest models are the most powerful.
[00:11:52] Okay, you got your result in mind? Let's keep filling out that intentional model.
[00:11:58] Take a moment to really picture what your life would look like leading up to that result.
[00:12:05] What actions would you need to take to create that result?
[00:12:11] Don't let your brain go into drama here about whether you have or haven't taken those actions in the past. Simply envision yourself creating that result and then write down at least four or five things that you would do or not do next to the A or action line in your model.
[00:12:30] *Alright, you've got some actions down. Now here's where the magic happens. Ask yourself, this simple question. What would I need to feel in order for me to show up this way?*
[00:12:47] You've got all these actions that are kind of come from a feeling. Feelings drive our actions and you will need to feel a certain way for you to actually do these actions.
[00:13:00] What feeling would bring you to act this way?
[00:13:04] You're gonna want to come up with multiple feelings, but I promise you, it will be more effective for you if you narrow it down to one word that best captures that feeling. Put that word next to the F or the feeling line in the model.
[00:13:21] Now I can pretty much guarantee that whatever feeling just came up for you is different from the worry fears or thoughts that you may have about the summer. I Think about how powerful it would be to generate this new, intentional feeling on purpose.
[00:13:40] So often we think about all the things we need to do during the summer to make it successful. But focusing on all the things we need to do can distract us from the more powerful question of what to feel.
[00:13:55] With your new, intentional feeling in mind consider this:
[00:14:00] *What do you need to believe to help you feel that way?*
[00:14:05] _Maybe it's a belief about the summer. _
[00:14:09] _Maybe it's about how you view yourself. _
[00:14:13] _It could be reassurance that God is guiding you. _
[00:14:17] Take a moment to practice some different thoughts and see what feelings they generate.
[00:14:25] You might be surprised at how you feel in response to some thoughts. Thoughts that you may have thought were useful, but actually aren't creating feelings that are driving actions you want.
[00:14:37] Tap into that inner voice and explore some different thoughts.
[00:14:43] _What could help you feel that way about the summer? _
[00:14:48] _What do you need to believe? _
[00:14:50] The answer truly is inside of you.
[00:14:54] Here are some examples of some of my favorite thoughts that have come when I've listened to that voice inside of me.
[00:15:01] _I am in charge of my own experience. _
[00:15:06] _All that matters is my next choice. _
[00:15:11] _I am practicing. Choosing love. _
[00:15:15] _This could actually be easier than I think. _
[00:15:18] _Christ loves mercy and so do I. _
[00:15:24] _We've got this. _
[00:15:25] _I can learn from this. _
[00:15:28] And, of course:
[00:15:30] _it's going to be fun or it's going to be funny. _
[00:15:33] When you've got a thought that feels believable and helpful to you, write it down in the T or thought line of your model.
[00:15:43] You now have a full intentional thought model. One of the most powerful tools to helping you create the summer that you want is your own mind.
[00:15:56] Take a moment to read through your intentional model. If you need to clean it up a little bit from different notes that you've been taking find a fresh piece of paper and write it all out. Let it really sink in.
[00:16:10] *That's your TLC for today. Have a clear intentional model written down and put in a place where you can see it often and practice it. Practice reading through it, really feeling the feeling, and visualizing yourself creating that result. *
[00:16:31] I promise that if you do this you'll be amazed by the ripples that it will create in your summer.
[00:16:41] You are as powerful as you believe you are. Let's practice believing on purpose. Here's to a great summer y'all. Life after therapy can be simple. Come learn how to think, light feel light, and live light www.thelightcoach.com. I offer five free discovery sessions each week and one of them is for you. Together, let's discover the joy that's possible. In life after therapy.