The Most Important Work You Can Do
Ep. 137
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    This week’s episode covers the most important thing I can teach you. I think it is the root of everything. The root of all of your problems. I want to talk to you about self-concept. This includes how you think about yourself, how you feel about yourself, and how you love yourself. Do you trust yourself? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? I want you to ask yourself right now, how do you feel about yourself?
    • Being able to identify and own your self-concept is the key to unlocking your growth mindset. And a fantastic supplement to that is a solid coaching program. Starting next month, I am going to be running a 6-month long challenge to un-stuck yourself and begin working toward your dream life.

      If this interests you, visit and schedule your first one on one call to see if this program would be the right fit for you.

Show Transcript
Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode. I am so excited to have you here. Listen, I may have said this before and I was lying because this is the most important episode you can ever listen to. I want you to listen to me. Good. All right. This is the most important thing I can teach you. I think it is the root of everything. The root of all of your problems. Are you ready? I'm going to give it to you. Don't sleep on this. I want to talk today about self-concept, okay. That means how you think about yourself, how you feel about yourself. I really lump it in, I mean, I don't really actually know what the definition of self-concept is, but the way I like to think about it is what you love about yourself and whether you love yourself, what you do, you trust yourself, what you think about your strengths and your weaknesses. All of it. Okay. And so I want you to ask yourself right now, how do you feel about yourself?

A lot of us may have never even thought about it, right. Or maybe just like, going through the motions and it's like, yeah, I'm all right. Yes, I like myself. It's not very reflective, deep thinking about how we actually feel about ourselves and I am here to tell you that is the most important thing that you can focus on or that you can think about that you can dig into and I'll explain to you why here's the problem. Most of us think that what we think about ourselves is just fact, okay. It's just the way we are. And we think it's just some objective reality that everybody also sees, right? I am filling the blank, whatever it is, I am lazy or funny or kind, or, you know, a million other things. Obviously, that's not the truth.

Your self-image is like a Jenga tower. I like to liken it. It is just stacked-up experiences. One on top of each other that you have kind of compiled into how you view yourself, right? It's all of the experiences that you've had from childhood. A lot of us look to our parents as a first place to really start cultivating how we think about ourselves, right? They become kind of our mirrors. And so we start experiencing whether we can trust ourselves or whether we're responsible or whether we're good or bad or kind or funny, right? How they react to us really informs how we feel about ourselves. And then obviously it goes from there and it goes to our classmates and our teachers and our friends and family and the people that we are around, how they react to us, starts changing the thoughts that we have about ourselves.

And it is completely biased obviously. And we've talked a lot on this podcast about how our brain is naturally biased towards the negative. And I don't know if this is just a function of society as well, but it seems like it becomes a hyper-critical, hyper-negative view when it comes to our thoughts about ourselves, right? This is why so many of us have this incessant negative self-talk nonstop and why we brush over all of our accomplishments or what we do well, and we look at only the things that we are bad at only the balls that we are dropping. Only the places that we are failing in our lives. Right? That's all we focus on. I liken it to the fact that like, do you have a friend who you see as amazing, like you love this friend and then that friend is always putting themselves down, right?

Or they don't realize how great they are, or they constantly looking at the fact that like, maybe they're overweight or whatever, something so meaningless. And you're constantly thinking, like, if you only knew how amazing you are, right. We do this a lot with our kids. Think about your kids and how much you love that human being. Even though, you know, they're not perfect. You realize how good and amazing and whole, and wonderful and unique and flawed and just everything they are. But your children are going to grow up and have tons of self-conscious thoughts and think horrible things about themselves. And that's really painful to watch as a parent because you want them to see themselves the way you see them. But that's the thing is you don't see you the way other people see you. You will have adopted this really negative self-talk and self-view.

And you take that as if it's fact. And I just want you to know that that is root of all of the problems that you have in your life. And it is the root of why you are stuck in a career. You may not like why you, aren't kind of making the headway you want. It's all this self-concept that is based on the past. Okay. I want you to think about it. And why do you think about, for instance, when we talk about people-pleasing. Okay. So many of us, I know so many people that listen to this, identify as people-pleasers. And I want you to think about what that really is. It's a need to have other people be happy, but ask yourself why, why it's so important to you because so many of us link, whether we're a good person, whether we can feel good about ourselves.

If other people around us are happy, right? We don't want them to have negative emotions. And so we jump in to fix it because it informs how we think about ourselves or think about that need for external validation or that fear that we have about what other people think. Again, if you have a solid self-concept, if you love yourself fully unconditionally, not saying that you don't realize you have flaws. Of course, you do. You're not perfect. But just knowing that knowing that you're not perfect, and you still love yourself wholly, you don't need other people to validate you that fear of what other people think kind of dissipates, because it doesn't matter so much. They can judge and you can still love yourself. But what happens is so many of us don't have that self-love. And so we're looking to other people because if they validate us, they tell us we're smart enough or good enough, or good enough wife or mother or son or whatever the thing is, then maybe we can think that about ourselves.

It's the same thing with perfectionism and your fear of failure with you not being able to dream big enough. All of this comes down to the fact that you don't have that core. Self-trust and self-love for lack of a better word, right? Self-confidence comes from that. I think so many people think self-confidence comes from being able to do something well, and that's confidence. Sure. Once you've done something, a bunch of times you can have confidence in it, but self-confidence is confidence in yourself. It's knowing that you can trust yourself. And again, when I say trust, that doesn't mean trust yourself to get it right. Every time you're a human being. And when you have that pressure where you can only be good, or you can only be worthy, or you can only be enough if you're always getting it right.

This is what is going to set you up for failure and for a life of misery, right? Because you're not letting yourself be fully human. That's why you're not trying anything because what does that mean to you about yourself if you fail. But once you develop an unshakeable self-concept where it's like, I will love myself no matter what, I will have my own back, no matter what I will try and fail. Sure. I will try and get it wrong. I will fall short again and again, as a mother, as a worker, as an employee, as a boss, as a friend in every way, and I will still have myself and I will not use it as a reason to beat myself up and I will not belittle myself and I will not use it as a reason to think that I'm not good enough.

That's when you open yourself up to dreaming big, to being able to do anything. The reason so many people are so scared to take the risk, to take the plunge is not because of the failure or the money you're gonna lose or whatever. The fear that you have is because you have to sit with yourself. If it doesn't work, we're all so used to beating ourselves up that the idea of doing something where you will have to beat yourself up for the next, God knows how many years, if you do something and it doesn't work out, or you have to deal with what other people think when you haven't developed that core self-confidence is what keeps people stuck? Why would you go out and take a risk if you know that as soon as that doesn't work, which like I'm guaranteeing you, it's not going to work the first time.

There's tons of failure along the way, because that is the path to any success. When you know, you're just going to go into self-loathing and you know how painful that can feel. Why would anyone want to do that? It's not some great big mystery while you're stuck in a career. You don't want to be in a lot of times, people love to say it's like finances. It's, you know, a million other things, but it's not because I've coached and talked to tons of people who even have the money saved and still don't jump, who don't even have to work. Their spouse works still. Don't jump, who can make just as much doing something else, or maybe make less and live off less and be happy, but they don't want to do it because of the fear. And I'm telling you that fear doesn't go away.

But when you have your own back, when you built up this concept about yourself, when you've learned to love yourself, kind of at the core, none of that other stuff really is that scary. It's like, all right, I tried it. Didn't work. Try it again. I'll try something else. Okay. I put myself out there and didn't turn out the way I wanted, what am I going to do next? I'll pivot now. And so I want you to realize that what we talk a lot about, like the people-pleasing in a career, let's say with your boss, the fact that you need everybody to like you, in fact, that you need to be thought of as dependable. A lot of that you question where that comes from, because I guarantee you, you will find that it comes back to the foundation of how you feel about yourself.

And the great news is that you can change that self-concept most of us are never taught how to do this. And I think that's why we seem so lost and confused because I may even know what the problem is. I know I'm a people pleaser. I just don't know how to stop it. Or I know that I'm a perfectionist. I just don't know how to stop it. And the thing with self-concept and self-confidence is that, you know, not simple, I guess it is simple. It's not easy. It's going to take time because you've spent decades beating yourself up and you've trained your brain to beat yourself up. And so that's where it's going to go back to, but it can be done. And I love that. We, as a society, love underdog stories, right? We love people whocouldn't do something in the past or haven't done it and then come up and show that they can do it.

And yet we don't assume that for our own abilities like we constantly look to the past about what we can do in our lives. And I just want you to know that the past doesn't exist anymore. I know people always say this, like, it really only exists in your mind. Okay. And one concept that really helped me understand that is to think about it this way. If you woke up with amnesia today and you had no knowledge of the past of your life, of how you grew up, any of it, if you just woke up today, how would you know what you could accomplish and what you couldn't? How would, you know, what you could go for? I'm going to think about that because that past story that you have, that you're telling about yourself is a lie and it can be changed, but you have to first understand that you first have to understand that it doesn't exist anymore.

And you just keep going back to it as evidence of why you can't do the things that you want to do. I talked in episode one 29, about my past story and how I used to always call myself lazy. And I really thought it was fact, right? I'm just, I am lazy, right? I used to look for all the evidence. I like the fact that I enjoy sleeping. And the fact that I don't have boundless amounts of energy, like other people. And I don't like exercising. And I was like, well, there you go. I'm lazy. I just conveniently ignored the fact that I was a straight-A student, my whole life. And I went to a top-down law school and I worked hundreds of hours as a lawyer. And I was an extremely hard worker and I always got it done.
And I, you know, raised and gave birth to children. None of that, I just ignore that. We'll just brush over those things. And then we'll just keep telling ourselves that we're lazy. And then when I get to decide what I want to do with my life, I'll just keep going back to the fact that I'm lazy. And that's why I want you to really think about the self-concept. I want you to think about the stories that you tell yourself about what you are and what you are not are based entirely on the past. And they are skewed versions of what has happened, right? They're cherry-picked examples that have stuck with you of whether you maybe have a temper or you, you know, aren't smart enough or you are motivated enough or whatever that story is. And that is going to keep you stuck forever until you learn how to change it.

And you can be that underdog story that you love so much where it's like, yeah, I maybe was lazy up until this point, but I no longer I'm going to identify with that. Sure. I like to take a nap once in a while. That doesn't mean I'm lazy. It means my body needs rest. And I listened to my body and I'll give it what it needs. And then I will get up and I will conquer whatever I have to conquer. Right? I'm a person who gets done. That's my story now. And until you learn how to change that story, you kind of get stuck repeating the same pattern. And so what I want you to do some homework on how we change that story. One is you get help with it, whether that's therapy, whether that's coaching, whether that's through books, podcasts, there's a lot of information out there right now.

You should spend your time working on that story and that vision that you have for the person that you want to be. I promise you if you spend most of your time on that, the rest of it figures itself out, right? All this other stuff that you're trying to fix on the outside, whether it's losing weight or getting a new career or having that relationship, once you change your self-concept, it falls into place in a different way, right? Certain things that you thought were important, aren't going to be important. And the things that are, you will go after with a sense of ease. You don't need that business to work because you need to prove that you're worthy. You'll go after it because it's fun. And you like it, right? You don't need to lose weight in order to be lovable or be whole, or to love yourself.

Maybe you'll exercise because it brings you joy. And you're only doing it for health. When you stop trying to like, fix quinoa these problems, or put a bandaid on and you go to the root of the actual problem, then it changes everything. And so I wanted to spend your time on that. And that can mean in a variety of different ways. I also want you to just start investigating it. Like you can journal this. Like, what is the story that you tell about yourself? What are those thoughts that you have about you? And why is it true? Like, are you certain it's true. Is there any evidence as to where it's not true? And then I want you to start working on cultivating self-love I want you to ask yourself, like, what does the world gain by you hating yourself? What do you gain by you hating yourself?

Why wouldn't you start looking for things that you love about yourself? Like there is no upside in hating yourself. None. I promise you. So how can you start looking for things to show how incredible and amazing and nuanced and complex and wonderful of a person you are spend time every single day, finding a reason to love yourself. It could be affirmations. It could just be a gratitude list. It could be journaling. It could be a million different ways that you want to do it. It's just consciously taking your mind to that place so that it starts building on itself. I promise you the more that you love yourself, the more you will do in this world. So many of us have been taught this incorrect assumption that like, we have to be hard on ourselves in order to get things done. I can't tell you how many people say this to me, where it's like, well, then I'm just going to end up being lazy and eating Doritos all day.

It's like, first of all, so what, but no, you're not. No, you're not because that's not what you want. And maybe you'll do that for a little bit because maybe your body just needs a break from the relentless pushing that you've done. And maybe you just need to veg out for a little bit, because you're not a robot or a machine. And so when you give yourself a break, maybe your brain and your body is like, I don't want to do anything. And that's fine too. But I want you to think about it like this. Like if you had a parent who was always criticizing you, who maybe you did have one who was always telling you what you were doing wrong, who's always yelling at you. Who's always trying to say like how you came up short was always telling you how much you failed, right?

How horrible you were. Do you think that would motivate you to go out and take risks and do the things you want to do? Or do you think if you had a parent that was so loving that you knew there was a safety net that no matter what you tried, you would come back and that love would be there, right? It was never conditional on what you accomplished. It was always like, yeah, that's great. Whether you do well or not, I'm going to love you. Do you think you would have more courage to do the things that you wanted to do? You have to be that parent for yourself, no amount of self punishment or self hatred is what is going to get you to do amazing things. And even if it does, even if you're so good at hating yourself into like, work into motivating, into like getting things done, you're going to hate the entire experience. And you're going to hate it when you get there. I promise you, cause it doesn't feel good.

So maybe you go slower if you're not constantly beating the whip, but at least you enjoy it. I used to like getting there. At least it feels better because what's the point. There is no destination. Where are you in a race with? So I want you to spend the time figuring out what you need to love yourself and what you need to change that self concept into a positive one. I want you to figure out what you need to focus on in order to see all of the amazing things that you offer, because I promise you, it will be the difference in your life. And if you need help with it, I would love to help you. This is like my favorite thing to work on and talk about. I am starting a six month program in March, and this is what we do for six months is deal with all of these issues and give you a framework on how to work on that mindset and how to start.

Re-imagining how you think about yourself and changing that self-concept and we work through your mindset blocks through coaching and through a supportive community and through a lot of the exercises that will help you get there. So if you want to go deeper and you really realize that this is what's going to hold you back, and this is what's going to impact your life. And I want you to join me and you can set up a time so we can see if it's a good fit. You can go to quitter I would love to have you in there. And if not, I would still love for you to work on this because I'm telling you now, no one in this world gains anything by you hating yourself.

Alright you guys, thank you so much for joining me and I will be back next week with another episode. Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes. It'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at lessons from a quitter and on Twitter at Twitter podcast, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.