April 28, 2021

How to Change Your Life For Good, with the Wisdom of Tree Stumps

How to Change Your Life For Good, with the Wisdom of Tree Stumps

Episode 9- What do tree stumps (and butterflies) have to do with changing your life?

Linda explains how a couple of stumps offered insight in how to not only make changes but make change last.  She also tells us why good intentions aren't good enough anymore,  and that the voice in your head probably doesn’t know the difference between being selfish and selfless. 

Linda also discusses her uncomfortable moments during a previous episode and shares some listener feedback.

Please remember to leave a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Keep in touch by emailing questions, suggestions for show topics or comments to Linda@Normal-Lies.com or through Facebook, Instagram or Linked In. 


Welcome to episode nine of the normal lies Podcast. I am your host, Linda Heeler. I want to say a big thank you for listening. There are so many things you can be doing with your time, I am so grateful that you have chosen to be here with me. If you like what you're hearing, I have a favor to ask, please head over to iTunes and leave a review. It really helps my podcast be found. Also, if you know someone who would benefit from listening, please share this with them. We do not get through this life on our own. And my mission is to find the people who resonate with this message of hope, encouragement and community. I can't do that without you. So thank you in advance for your support. I also want to thank everyone who has reached out since I started this podcast and let me know the impact that it has had on you. Thank you to pw for emailing me and saying the line that brought me to tears. The voice in my head is not who I am. This takes vigilance, work and self kindness. So very challenging. It is challenging because that voice has been with us for so long. It can feel like everything it says is true, but it's not. Our job is to separate who we are from the voice in our head. Now, I don't believe that we will ever get rid of that voice. But I recently heard Bishop TD Jakes say, the goal is not to get rid of the voice. But to turn down the volume from a 10 to a three. I totally agree with this. I think that voice can be useful at times and it should not be running our lives. When I noticed that the voice in my head is running my life. It's usually ruining my life and I'm miserable. pw is right. It takes practice. It takes vigilance, and a whole lot of self kindness. I received numerous messages and comments about my conversation in Episode Three with my daughter, Amanda Harrington, especially around our conversation about Stanley. One person said, I loved so much your wonderful dialogue with your daughter and appreciate the work that went into achieving that with her. you're sharing your vulnerability was awesome. I also heard from Mike. He said, I really enjoyed listening to episode three of your podcast. I found it very real. And the parts with your daughter where you discussed your pet Stanley parenting mistakes and communicating hit close to home for me, I could tell you have a very special relationship with your daughter. Thanks for sharing your story and experiences. Yes, I do have a good relationship with my daughter. We have worked to create the relationship that we have today. That was a very hard conversation for me. I had given Amanda four or five questions beforehand to use as an outline. But I had no idea what her responses were going to be. There was a part where I said I think we're just about done. And she says No, mom, there's a couple other questions I want to answer. I felt so raw and so vulnerable. I wasn't sure that my ego or my survival mechanism can take anymore. After recording that episode. He was mentally and emotionally exhausted. Even though I was asking for my daughter's forgiveness. I had to forgive myself for my parenting mistakes. Another thing that really hit home for me as I listen to this episode later was if I'm asking my children to forgive me for the mistakes I made as a parent, then I need to do the work necessary to forgive my parents for anything that I may be holding against them. I heard a quote recently that's really important to take into consideration and that's intentions don't lessen impact. Let's talk about good intentions. Assuming good intentions is often a guideline. When we talk about meetings that work however, I can have the best of intentions and still have something I say or do to impact another person in a negative way, I have made mistakes even hurt others, all while thinking I was doing the right thing. It is important to monitor the impact of our words or actions. Even if we have the best of intentions, you never know how they will land with someone else. This is also true As parents, we can think we did everything right raising our kids. It's not realistic, because our children have their own wants and needs. And we can never be everything that our kids need. We do our best love them, teach them and let them know that we will be there for them. But we cannot expect to get it right all the time with your kids, your family, friends or coworkers, do your best. And when you mess up, apologize and forgive yourself. That voice in your head is going to want to keep score and use any mistake as an opportunity to beat yourself up. Don't let it I'll say it again, the practice is to learn what you can from the mistake, take the lesson. Clean up the mistake as best you can forgive yourself and move on. It is a practice and one we will do over and over and over again. Another practice is to embrace this process. As the listener said this is a practice of self kindness. I also had Michelle reach out after listening to both Episode Four with job search strategists Hannah Morgan and Episode Five with Kathy castanea. Hannah points out in Episode Four, that it's not what you know, but who you know, when it comes to finding a job. It's about networking, having that warm introduction to get your foot in the door. Kathy castanea and I talked about in Episode Five affirmative action and how it was supposed to level the playing field for minorities. However, it didn't work because the people doing the hiring didn't understand that whites had been recipients of affirmative action or this idea of it's not what you know, but who you know, and that this had been going on for ever. What Michelle pointed out was that we have a tendency to gravitate to people who are like us, our contacts will likely look like us have the same educational level, socio economic status as us, et cetera, et cetera. Look at your circles, your circle of people as you are networking, the people in your business circle and even your social circle. how diverse are they? Do they look like you do they all have the same opinions as you? Who are the people that you associate with? It is important that companies continue the work of diversity and inclusion. And it's just as important that we do our own work of expanding our circles to include people who are not just like us, Kathy castanea not only said that, as human beings, we crave diversity, she also pointed out how important it is for us to do our own personal work to combat racism. Again, us first, we can learn so much from people who are different from us. I know personally, my life is so much richer and fuller for the people in my circles who are not like me, they challenge me to see the world in a different way. If you notice that you are gravitating toward people like you practice diversifying your circle. I'd love to know the impact this has on you. Thank you to Michelle and to all who have reached out to let me know the impact of our conversations on this podcast. These conversations are so important to creating change, and not from having all the answers or that there is one and only one answer. If that is what you're looking for. Then this is not the podcast for you. I like asking questions and I'm not afraid to Well, no, I was about to say that I'm not afraid to say I don't know or I'm not afraid to make a mistake. That is not true. I am afraid I am definitely afraid. My practice is to feel the fear and do it anyway. I am grateful to have people in my life who will call me out. Actually, I like call me in better call me in with love. Ileana Ferraris my guest in episode eight is one of my people who will call me on my stuff, but always with love. Each time we face our ego or survival mechanism and acknowledge it and stop defending and protecting it, we chip away at it. That's how we transform our life. I often use the word transformation and the hashtag transformational coaching and I have gotten the question, what is the difference between transformation and change? When I went through coach training, we were taught that what we want to do is to transform our lives not just change. The idea behind that is if we change that we may change back. However, if we transform like a caterpillar into a butterfly, we can't or won't change back. I mean, a butterfly can't change back into a caterpillar so it is truly transformed. When I think of transformation, I think of Cinderella when the fairy godmother waved her magic wand and poof, Cinderella is transformed into a princess and the pumpkin into a carriage. Yes, in that case, the transformation doesn't last. But what I'm pointing to is the idea that transformation has to be this elaborate an immediate eye opening a piphus that can happen. Maybe you've experienced something where one minute you thought something was true. And the next moment everything changed, your eyes were opened. That's exactly what happened to me when I had my epiphany about racism. In an instant things transformed and there was no way I could go back to what I thought and understood before. But transformation can also happen over time. I mean, think about it, the caterpillar doesn't just burst into a butterfly one day, I might be kind of messy. Anyway, the caterpillar builds a cocoon and has to undergo all sorts of physical changes and metamorphosis in order to emerge a butterfly. It does not happen overnight. I think it's important for us to be aware that the work we are doing every day may seem slow. But I want you to know that you are doing transformative work. I am about to tell you a story about tree stumps, stick with me. And I think you'll get my point in our yard. We had many trees and some had died. So my husband had to cut them down. One was a pine tree. And as he was cutting it down at one point, it looked like a cactus. You know with arms coming out of the trunk. I thought it looked really cool. So I asked him to leave it as it was. And I put a dish on top of one of the quote arms and filled it with water for a bird bath. We also had a maple tree in our yard that was huge, but it was old and it had grown too big and it was too close to our house and the roots were playing havoc with our septic system so it needed to be cut down. This also left a pretty good sized stump in our yard. Before we could get rid of the stump. We noticed that the wood Packers, especially the pileated, or piloted woodpeckers that lived in our neighborhood love to come and eat the bugs from under the bark. Just an aside here if you have never seen a pileated or piloted woodpecker, look it up. They are huge. If you remember the cartoon Woody Woodpecker, Woody was fashioned after a pileated or piloted woodpecker, and I don't know how to pronounce it. I've heard it pronounced both ways. We normally say pileated, I don't know. I kind of like it that way. But anyway, back to the story. We decided to leave the maple stump in place as well. The birds loved both of the stumps and they were constantly breaking away pieces of the bark and wood to get to the bugs that lived in the stump one day. When my husband was mowing the yard, he noticed that the cactus stump moved when the lawn mower touched it. So he got off and he pushed on it. And sure enough, it fell right over. Suddenly, it was gone. And you wouldn't even have known that there had been a tree there. Because the birds have been knocking off big chunks. We have been picking up pieces of the maple stump over the last couple years. Recently, my husband said I think it's time for that stump to go. So he went out and he started hacking away at it with a shovel, and he was able to break off some big pieces and the stump is smaller, but the maple stumps still stands. So what does this stump story have to do with transformation? There are times when we seem to experience transformation as a one and done like suddenly being able to push over the cactus stump. But think about it. Week after week, the birds were chipping away at the bark and the wood so they helped to weaken the structure until it was able to be pushed over. As we continue to do our personal growth work. We chip away at the negative thoughts fears limiting beliefs until one day, we may push over and transform something in a seeming instant. And sometimes we Maple stump it where it takes more time to chip away and they slowly transform over time. Don't let this method the maple stump method, discourage you. Instead, practice acknowledging yourself for all of the work that you have done to get where you are today. We need to look at the ground we have taken and not just focused on all the work still left to do. I think about where I was 10 years ago. It's not predictable that I would be where I am today. There is no way I would ever dreamed I would have had the courage to change careers, let alone be a coach and now have a podcast. Take a moment and think about where you were even a year ago. Acknowledge the transformation in your life and keep chipping away at that Maple stump of ego. have compassion for yourself on this journey of self discovery. Remember that it is not selfish to take care of yourself. It is essential. And then this brings up another popular topic. Selfish versus selfless. In my experience, the voice in my head has been adamant about not wanting to be judged as selfish. And according to the voice in my head. People who take time for themselves are selfish. I thought that I needed to be selfless and take care of everyone else's needs. And then whatever was leftover was for me, yeah, this is a lie. Because guess what? There's never any time or any energy left over for me. Someone always needs something. And I thought the only way I could be happy is if everyone had what they needed and everyone else is happy. Yeah, this is a setup for failure. Many people struggle with not wanting to be selfish. So they overcompensate by being selfless on I'm one of them. Well, what is the difference? The definition of selfish is lacking consideration for others concern chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure. The definition of selfless is concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own. being selfless are concerned more with other people's needs than my own caused me to be stressed out tired and resentful of those I love and care about. It was awful. I was doing things because I felt I should rather than out of love and kindness. It was not giving my loved ones the best of me. Honestly, it was selfish because I was more worried about what other people thought than doing things out of the goodness of my heart. And because I truly wanted to. There has to be something in between selfish And self less. I don't know what to call it. But in my research, I think I found a combination that works, a combination of self awareness, self care, and self love. And if you're getting that twinge of selfishness because of all the self so I just used keep listening and try this on for size. First self awareness which means conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives and desires. Our self awareness helps us to question why we are doing something, are we doing it because we truly want to? Or because we feel we have to? There are things we have to do. But what are our motives really, if we know our character, and that we are committed to the people in our lives in addition to ourselves, it's okay to say no when we feel resentment or anger starting to seep in, which leads us to consider our self care. Self Care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well being and happiness in particular, during times of stress. How do you relate to self care? If you see self care as selfish, then there is even more work to do. Consider what I talked about in episode one about how we need to take care of ourselves so we have the energy and willingness to help others. The last word to consider is self love, which is regard for one's own well being and happiness chiefly as desirable rather than a narcissistic characteristic. There is a way to practice self love, without being selfish or worrying about being narcissistic. My bet is that most of our fear comes from worry about what I said earlier, what others will think or perceive about us if we start setting limits. Consider this. If you are a parent, and you are always giving to the point of exhaustion, and likely resentment, think about the example you are setting for your children. You are teaching them their mom or dad's needs aren't important, they may interpret that is there is aren't either, either now, or when they grow up, and or become parents. We teach people how to treat us if we constantly feel taken advantage of, then we need to look at how we are allowing ourselves to be treated. It takes practice and self awareness to find the line between selfless and selfish. In the end. It's all about us and the limits we set. None of us have to do any of this self work, you are perfect as you are. And if you are interested in something different, it is possible. Practice taking small steps and before you know it, you will have created lasting change and transformation. That's all I've got for now. So take good care of yourself and let me know how you're doing. Send me your questions. If you have any suggestions for topics you'd like addressed and please keep the comments coming. I love them. You can reach me through my website, normal dash lies.com. Until next time, make it a great day.