• Side Stepping Self Sabotage

    • by Dealing with our Emotions Head On

    We are well into 2020 and this year (like all years) has likely already tossed a few unwanted curve balls at you.  And, as we all know, there will always be more to come.

    “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – anonymous

    That’s not just a nifty quote.  I think its wise advice that most of us would love to implement.  The problem is, we really haven’t been taught how to manage our emotions effectively.  

    Most of us have instead learned how to side step our emotions resulting in various forms of self sabotage.

    If you feel confused about what you are feeling sometimes, you are not alone.  Most of us have a hard time identifying, feeling, and expressing our emotions directly.  It’s much easier (and socially acceptable) to eat, drink, gamble, shop, binge watch, (etc) our emotions away.  The problem is, when you do that, you’re still stuck feeling crappy in the end…with an additional side order of guilt and regret!

    “There is no nutritional solution to an emotional problem” – Glenn Macintosh

    You can expand that to say, there is no Netflix show, facebook distraction, shopping spree, or any other form of sabotage that can fix an emotional problem.

    Sabotage is about fear, pure and simple.  And sometimes what we are fearing, is handling ourselves and our emotions directly.  Why?  Because it can feel complicated.

    We can often have conflicting feelings running at the same time.  Maybe you are both happy for, and jealous of a friend’s success.  Maybe you are both nervous and excited about a risk you want to take.  You might feel anxious, angry and depressed all at the same time!  The good news?  That’s normal.

    The best way to figure out what is going on with you is to sit down and write.  (I have a paper and pen handy at all times.)  Just write down whatever is going on in your head.  This is called free-associative writing and you can’t do it wrong.  Just write.

    At first you may write things like, “This is stupid.  I don’t know what the point of this is.  I don’t have time for this”…etc.

    About a half a page into the writing you will be seeing EXACTLY what you are feeling and why.  It will be crystal clear…  “She always treats me like I’m an idiot!”, etc.  Trust me, this process is highly effective and the more you do it, the faster you get to what’s really going on.  (and it’s free!)

    Now with this clarity, how can you address your emotions directly (and skip the sabotage all together)?  What do you NEED in this moment?  Is there a conversation you need to have?  Do you need to take care of something?  Is your inner critic raging and therefore you need to journal about your negative beliefs for a while?  Do you need to do something physical like go for a walk?  Do you need to ask for help?  

    Figure out what NEED is not being met in this moment.

    Recently I had an experience that left me feeling furious, unheard, and ineffective…I basically felt like I’d been given the runaround by a clever politician although in this case, it was with the manager of the care unit where my mother lives.

    After our conversation, I found myself angrily rummaging through the cupboard.  I was about to take a sharp turn down the road of self sabotage!

    In the past, my go-to reaction would have been to stuff away my anger with chocolate, cookies, etc.  Remember Glenn’s quote?  “There is no nutritional solution to an emotional problem.”

    So, having done this work (a lot), I left the kitchen, sat down, and started writing. I narrowed down what was going on for me.  (Again, I felt furious, unheard, and ineffective.)  The NEEDS for me were to express myself, feel like I had some control over the situation, and feel capable again.  (And making another useless phone call with her would only further fan my anger).  So, for me to feel like I had control, meant taking some sort of action.   So, I looked up other care facilities, read reviews of them plus the ones where my mother lives.  (No I did not leave a nasty review…I’m still holding out for a decent resolution to our issues.)  I spent about 15 minutes investigating other options.  That helped me feel somewhat in control again.  However, I was still angry.  I could still feel it in my body.  So?  I let myself thrash around a bit.  (I’m sure I looked like a melodramatic toddler having a full on tantrum!)  And then (after I’d calmed down), to feel effective and maybe even empowered, I WROTE THIS NEWSLETTER.  

    So ultimately, something GOOD came of my crappy feelings.  Actually, something GOOD came of me not succumbing to my old patterns of self sabotage!  Instead of crashing from a carb high, (and still feeling pissed and ineffective) I did something positive to help me feel empowered, and hopefully helped a few other people along the way (with this newsletter).

    So again, when you feel yourself heading down the road to self sabotage, stop and write out what’s going on.  Get clear about what you are FEELING.  When the clarity comes, ask yourself what NEED needs to be addressed.  And then see if you can address that need directly rather than side stepping it with sabotage.  And if you can’t solve the problem directly, (which was the case for me because this is still an ongoing issue) you can at least manage your emotions and avoid sabotaging yourself.

    Practice this.  The more you do it, the faster and easier it gets.

    And if you need support tackling your needs, I’m here.  Get in touch and together we will figure out how to get past your self sabotage and handle your obstacles directly.

  • Attitude of Gratitude

    Exceprt from “Crafting A Better Life”

    A GREAT daily habit to improve our dispositions

    We are all born with different personalities, preferences, inclinations and dispositions.  There was a vast study done in the 1950’s called the ‘New York Longitudinal Study on mood and temperament’.   They studied toddlers to predict the various temperaments each child would likely exhibit as an older child and further on in life.  

    And ask any parent with more than one child, they will tell you that they are all different…same parents, same DNA, different sensibilities.

    So what about those of us drawn to the “broodier” side of life?  Some people seem to be “hard wired” to see the negative, the mistakes, the worst case scenario…is that you?

    Or maybe you used to be pretty happy in general but life has just served you up platter of shitty life circumstances and you feel bummed out more days than not?

    (Let me be clear, I’m talking about general malaise.  NOT clinical depression.  If you feel clinically depressed or suicidal, seek medical help immediately.)

    Well, there is good news for those of you who tend to feel down.  You can ‘rewire’ your brain to actively look for things that bring a smile to your face.  It just takes daily practice.

    –  Random Acts of Kindness have been proven to, over time, help elevate people’s moods.  That means, just doing something nice for someone else for no good reason, can nudge you out of a slump.

    – Physically moving your body in positive ways (dancing, singing, looking up at the sky, etc) has a psychological effect on your moods.  So if you are staring at your feet feeling sad, look up!  That sends a neuromuscular message to your nervous system to change its focus thus changing your state from bummed, to uplifted.  

    But, my favorite way to rewire our brains to see the good, is:

    Keeping a Gratitude Journal 

    Everyday for the next 2 weeks, sit down with your journal and write about something good that happened to you that day.  You have to come up with and write specifically about something new that happened to you…that you were grateful for…every day for at least 2 weeks.

    As I’ve said, our brains love repetition and love feeling good.  So, by repeating this action of positive journaling every day, your brain will start to look for more experiences for things to write about.  Your brain can’t help it!  Remember it’s wired to create habits!  And, this habit happens to feel good…so your mind will have no choice but to reinforce it daily.

    This may sound overly simplistic, until you give it a try.  For some of us, at first, finding a good thing to write about might be a challenge.  So, start small and easy.  Did someone smile at you today?  Did your car get you from point A to B without incident?  Did you see a funny video on YouTube?  You don’t have to come up with monumental things that happened to you.  Just write about something that made you smile, or laugh, or feel at peace.  Stick with it for at least 2 weeks and then start to notice how much easier it is to remember the great things that happen every day.

    And no need to wait until you’re depressed to start this habit…I think we could ALL benefit from finding more gratitude in our lives.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:  We all have the capacity to increase the sum joy in the world every minute of every day.  

    Despite our dispositions, we do have a choice.  

    And as always, repost, retweet, and forward this to your friends.

  • Energy Leaks

    …how to better manage your energy

    By now, the holidays are in full swing which brings hustle and bustle and plenty of zapped energy.  I’m a big fan of the extra cup of coffee in the afternoon, but, that is a short term solution to managing your energy.

    If you think of your energy as if it were your bank account, you can more easily see where improvements could be made.  And just like our money, if we’re not adding to our balance, eventually we go into overdraft.  Same with our energy.

    This exercise takes a little time but is absolutely worth it.

    I recommend keeping a running list of times you notice your energy being zapped…for at least a few days.  Just become present to where you are carelessly wasting energy, over reacting, unorganized, etc.

    Part of energy management is organization and prioritization.

    For example, if you know you have an early morning tomorrow, taking the time to get organized the night before will help your morning run more smoothly.  Most of us, if we wait until the morning to get organized, we waste a lot of energy running around.  Planning ahead could help us stop that energy leak.

    Also, prioritizing where you’re putting your energy and why can be a great way to cultivate and restore your energy.  Scrolling through social media might feel like a mindless distraction, but it’s stealing energy from something else that you could be doing.  Notice what you are unconsciously prioritizing and see if you can instead consciously decide what you want to put your energy behind.

    After all, we all want to ENJOY the holidays, not dread them.  Find those leaks and stop them before the holidays leave you run down.  

  • Special Newsletter for Actors

    Turn Your New Year’s Resolutions into S.M.A.R.T. Goals

    It’s almost the New Year!  This is when people create goals with the best of intentions. But then fail to follow through because they did not apply any system for success. This particular method (created by George T. Doran) is most commonly suggested because it has been proven to be the most effective way to achieve our goals.

    Simply said, “S.M.A.R.T.”  goals are:

    S: Specific

    M: Measurable

    A: Actionable

    R: Realistic

    T: Time Related

    Before I get into how to use this formula, let me add that for actors, setting goals can be tricky.  After all, if your goal is to book 5 commercials, that requires someone to HIRE you.  You have hardly any control over that.  I’m not saying that’s a bad goal to set.  But I am saying you should set additional goals that are in your control of actually achieving as well.  That way you can get in the habit of taking actions and achieving your goals…consistently.

    So, what is your goal?

    Is it specific?  For example, “getting a better agent” is not as specific as it could be.  “Signing with an A level agent”, or “Signing with ‘such and such’  Agency”  ARE specific goals making them better goals to set.

    And again, also set a goal that is in your control.  For example, “film, edit, and be submitting my demo real in 1 month” is specific and totally in your control.

    Then, ask yourself if it’s measurable and if not, find a way to

    make it measurable.  Both of the above goals are measurable as you will either have done it or not!  They are specific AND measurable.

    Actionable. What actions can you take to achieve this goal?  In terms of signing with an agent, what can you DO to make that happen?  Get new headshots?  A better reel? Ask for referrals?  etc…

    And in terms of getting your reel ready to submit, what steps do you have to take to make that happen?  Find material, set up shoot dates, editing, etc?  

    List out all the actions that you will take to make that goal happen.

    Is your goal realistic?  I find most people would achieve more goals if they made them 50% smaller or gave themself 50% more time to achieve them!

    Let’s use creating your demo reel as an example.  Finding material, reahearsing, shooting, editing, and finally submitting…all in one week…is likely unrealistic.  However, getting all of that done in 4 weeks may be more realistic (since most of us have day jobs).  So, you would set the goal to have an entire demo reel complete and ready for submission, 4 weeks from today.

    Take this step seriously…have an honest look at your goal, and rewrite it to be realistic in both scope and timeline.  

    Which leads me to time frame. Give yourself a specific date to complete this goal.  Using the above example, I would state this goal as, “My entire reel will be done and being submitted by January 30th, 2020”.

    So, write out the goals. Make them Specific, Measurable,

    Actionable, Realistic, and set a Date you’d like to achieve them by…and then go make it happen!

    This is one of the most common areas where people need support.  So, if you are spinning your wheels and not achieving your goals, get in touch and together we’ll figure it out.

    Contact me at brigittadaucoaching@gmail.com  to set up a private hour.

  • Self Care During the Holidays

    The term “self care” is one of the latest catch phrases we’re hearing a lot of these days.  And it sounds like a really nice idea, but realistically, most of us have pretty full plates as it is.  Adding in more things ‘to-do’ even if they might be good for us, is overwhelming and defeats the whole purpose.

    I recommend not adding ANYTHING.  I know, that sounds radical.  But stick with me…

    Rather than adding more things to do, try turning what you are ALREADY DOING into a form of self care.

    Some examples:

    Your morning coffee.  You could turn it into self care, by turning off the tv and just sitting and enjoying a few sips without distraction.  Maybe enjoy the coffee without scrolling through your emails.  Switch it up and put on music in the morning instead of CNN.

    Ladies, if you wear makeup…slow down and tune in to how it feels to apply your makeup.  Again, just stopping the distractions can turn this daily action into loving, relaxing self care.

    We can even do this for our commutes.  (I know.  Now you think I’ve lost my mind completely…self care behind the wheel?!?  Bear with me just a little longer…)

    Let’s say you’ve just dropped the kids off at school and are off to Costco to get groceries.  That time in the car can be transformed with very little effort.  If you listen to the news, shut it off.  Silence can be a beautiful thing…drive in silence rather than distraction.  Maybe you always listen to podcasts…try a different genre or play music instead.  Or visa versa.  Maybe you can crank an “80’s” playlist and sing at the top of your lungs.  Whatever you decide, you’re still getting things done.  But, you just added some self care without it taking up any extra time.

    So, look at your daily life and the things that you do, daily.  Identify a few of those things as opportunities to slow down and be present with yourself.  You can absolutely create moments of genuine self care without adding anything to your ‘to-do’ list.  And then, the stress of holidays will be a little less intense.  You will have made yourself a priority despite your hectic schedule.

    I’d love to hear your self care ideas!

  • Mindful Holidays

    -excerpt from “Crafting a Better Life”

    They’re almost here, folks!

    Oh, the holidays.  Oh, family gatherings.  How does it usually go for you?   Raise your hand if you eat what feels like your entire body weight in holiday treats.  Raise your hand if within five minutes of Thanksgiving dinner, you’ve already lost your shit with your relatives.

    Okay, first of all, join the club.  In my opinion, there is WAY too much emphasis on holidays and ‘special occasions’, and WAY too much pressure for all of us to do things perfectly.

    The truth is, that’s NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.  Perfection is impossible.  So let’s accept that.  And instead of killing ourselves to get it right, let’s find a way to actually enjoy these times without shame, anger, exhaustion, and an extra 5 pounds to lose.

    This is a quick and easy way to interrupt your old patterns and instead become present and, yes, I’ll say it, ‘ be mindful’.  More importantly, you’ll feel much more in control and less reactive to your family’s nagging!  The goal with this is to switch out of our impulsive system (our behavioral habits and reasons for going unconscious…) and utilize our reflective system.  (which I will talk about in more detail in my next newsletter.)

    So, let’s do it!  The ‘Presence Practice’:

    Feel your feet.  How do they feel?  Are you in shoes? Socks? Barefoot? Are they cold?  Hot?  If you had to describe how they felt what would you say…in detail…?

    Okay, you just got present.  You practiced a ‘mindfulness’ technique.  Well done.

    Here is the thing about our bodies and the ‘presence practice’.  Our bodies are living in the here and now.  Second by second, breath by breath.  Our bodies couldn’t care less about what you did yesterday or, what you have to get done by the end of the week.  Our bodies know nothing about shame, regret, or worry.  Your critical parents?  Our bodies have no thoughts about that either.  They are simply here, right now.  

    So, when you are panicked about what to wear to the holiday party or worried about getting the table set in time for the guests, zone in on a part of your body and feel it fully. 

    By just staying present with your body, your stress level is instantly reduced.  And less stress means better thoughts.  And, the opportunity to choose a different action (versus scarfing down an extra piece of pie).  By practicing this, you are more likely to have control over your reactions to other people….even Uncle Pete.

    Practice this before the holidays arrive or the relatives come to visit.  Get in the habit of doing this a couple of times a day, at least.  And then, practice it incessantly when they’re in town! 

  • Shaking it Up

    I’m going live!  (Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago.)  

    As you may or may not know, I have been publishing newsletters every two weeks for almost 4 years now.  Whew!  That’s a lot.  

    And no, I’m not intending to stop…but it’s time to shake it up!

    You will still receive newlsetters but more of them will be videos (as you’ve likely already noticed).  In addition to this, I will be going live on Facebook the 1st Weds of every month around 11:30 am…to answer questions. 

    This is a chance for you to get a little free coaching and support.   Of course, if you can’t make it to the live talk, you can still send me any questions you have.

    So, I’ll be live next week (Oct 2nd) at 11:30  

    Come say ‘hi’!

  • Detoxing your Media Feed

    …a step towards ending the comparison game

    Comparison is a normal human behavior.  We are pack animals by nature and we look to our peers to see if we are fitting in or not.  This is an old survival strategy that served us very well back in the caveman days.  However, as we’ve evolved, so has our internal critical voices which are often focussed on negative comparisons.  And social media is a hotbed for creating horrible self talk.

    Social media can be a wonderful way to reach people, celebrate our successes and share what’s going on in our lives.

    However, social media can also lead to anxiety, depression, and isolation.  This happens when we go online and compare our lives to the lives of others.  And often, we do this completely unconsciously.  We pick up our phone and scroll away without acknowledging the impact those images are having on us.

    I’ve suggested before that we all take a 24 hour break from our phones.  If you haven’t tried that yet, I highly recommend you pick a day this week, and disconnect from all technology for the whole day.  No facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, etc.  The benefit of this exercise is two fold.  First, you realize how addicted you are to ‘checkin in’.  And, you free up a LOT of energy to do others things.  And we ALL want more energy!

    Another action you can take right now, is to detox your feed.  Look at who you’re following and decide who lifts you up, celebrates you, and is in alignment with your beliefs and ideals.  

    Who are you following and why?  

    Are you following people that make you feel insecure, unattractive, or just leave you feeling bad about yourself?

    Even if you are following someone you are a fan of, how does it make you FEEL when you see their posts?  Do you feel envy?  Anger?  Guilt?  Do you compare how great they’re doing to how well you’re doing?  And if you’re like most people, you check your feed A LOT which means you are reinforcing over and over again these negative feelings.

    And let’s be honest about what we post…we share our best moments that have been filtered and photoshopped to look even better than they actually are!  There are not a lot of us out there sharing our bad hair days on instagram!

    So do yourself a huge act of self love and unfollow who is not serving you. 

    And if you want to follow me …I only post pics of my latest newsletters, beautiful vacations pics, crafting projects, and my cat!  Follow me at CollywobbleCounty/BrigittaD on instagram and Brigitta Dau on Facebook.

    And while you’re looking me up, repost, retweet and forward this to a friend.

  • Crafting a Better Life

    “Crafting a Better Life”…is a 4 week online course to create lasting change to help us more easily achieve our goals. 

    Over the period of 4 weeks, we’ll be investigating what is stopping us and why by examining our patterns of self sabotage and procrastination.  We will be busting our maladaptive belief systems and creating new empowering beliefs.  By utilizing trigger stacking, mindfulness training, cognitive behavioral exercises, and many other tools, we will create comfort in our “uncomfortable zone” and accelerate the change we desire.   

    There will be video classes, written material and group coaching calls to support you through this journey.  And, because this is an online course, you can do the work at home, at times that work for you, and at a pace that suits you best.

    Cost: $125. Space is limited. Early bird special $95 if you register by August 21st.

    Start date: September 9th

  • Giving our Power Away

    We are all guilty of this to some degree…giving our power away without even realizing we’re doing it.  If it’s a minor issue, we can usually catch it and course correct pretty quickly.

    But, if we are consistently disempowering ourselves (on a daily basis, for example), we need to take a closer look and see if there are some underlying stories going unquestioned.

    You will notice you have given your power away when you feel anxiety and the need to control every aspect of the situation.  The second you feel this energy shift, stop what you’re doing and take note of what you’re thinking.  

    Some examples of how we disempower ourselves daily:

    Having issues with your self image can make you feel you must control and dominate your body in some way.  Just looking in the mirror could disempower you instantly with an unconscious story… maybe the belief running in your head is about looking a certain way to please others, be accepted, etc.

    Your bank balance might cause you to obsess about money, shopping, or your debt.  Maybe that story is about your self worth equalling your net worth, or maybe your story is saying you need more money to even begin to own a high level of self worth.

    Or maybe you have a story about your boss or your partner and how they would react if you behaved a different way, stood up for yourself, or stopped bending over backwards to please them.

    Whatever your story is, it’s worth examining to see if you are sapping your energy in the desire to live up to unconscious expectations…that you have placed upon yourself.  

    Another clue of when we are disempowering ourselves is when we use the phrase, “I can’t because…”  I’ve written about this in the past, as an excuse we all make sometimes.

    But, this phrase can have a deeper, more insidious meaning to it…because by blindly accepting that you ‘can’t’ have or do something throws you smack in the middle of victimhood.

    Now maybe it’s true that you are in serious debt, for example.  I’m not suggesting we cover our ears and say ‘la, la, la I can’t hear you…’.  You know I always favor being honest with ourselves rather than going into denial.

    But…being in debt doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself crazy obsessing about it and denying yourself the joys you could experience right now…for free!  Taking a walk in nature is free and absolutely stress relieving!  

    Maybe your skin is breaking out or your hair is thinning.  Rather than buying into the story that you have to look a certain way to be happy, see if there is something you can do lovingly, (right now!) maybe in the way of self care, to counter your disempowering feelings.

    Your stories are simply…beliefs you have about the way things ‘should’ be.  Rarely are they based on fact.  And if your stories leave you feeling anxious, depleted of energy, or cause you to shut down, then you are allowing that belief to disempower you.  Thus, leaving you the victim of your own thoughts.

    If it’s appropriate, write out what you’re saying to yourself when these feelings arise.  If the time isn’t right to stop and write out your thoughts, (maybe you are at work, etc.) then schedule a time to come back and revisit this situation.  See if you can gain some insight into how your mind is contributing to your lack of power.

    One more thing about standing in our power.  When we are empowered, we naturally look to empower other people.  Personal empowerment is inclusive, creative, supportive, and highly effective and energizing.  And we are at a time in history when we need all hands on deck…and owning our power, is how we create the world we want to live in.

    Life is hard enough without us putting the extra pressure of false stories on ourselves.  Examine your beliefs and get your power back. 

    This is an ongoing challenge for many of us.  Please, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are struggling with this.  Together we can get you on the path to true empowerment.