Bite-sized chunks of wisdom about self-leadership for you to chew on.
Bite-sized chunks of wisdom about self-leadership for you to chew on.
The Importance of Rest
Rest is a crucial part of life. Especially when we are stressed and things are busy. In this episode, Kate discusses rest as a radical act and rest as the foundation of productivity. 50% of Americans don’t take the vacation days they earn. 31 million earned vacation days are left unused by Canadians every year. What do we have against rest? Rest is crucial for regulating our nervous systems for optimism and joy, for memory formation, and for physical health. This episode is a call to nap, dawdle, vacate, and play for your health and happiness.
Connecting with Your Inner Sage
Your Inner Sage is capable of handling every situation you might encounter. All you have to do is learn how to put it in charge. In this episode, Kate helps you get to know this very powerful part of your consciousness. We all have subpersonalities, parts of our personality that function independently. If you have ever had the experience where you felt like one part of you wanted to do something and another part of you wanted to do something entirely different, you have experienced these subpersonalities. Each subpersonality is created by a pattern of neurons that fire together. When one pathway is activated, you experience one set of thoughts and behaviours. And when another pathway is activated, you experience things differently. Developing a mature personality is the process of integrating these subpersonalities so they are working together. Your Inner Sage is the part of you that can see all of the subpersonalities with calm, clear wisdom and choose how to integrate them in service of what matters most to you.
The Anatomy of Fear
Many of our self-sabotaging behaviors are overactive responses to fear. In this episode, Kate describes the anatomy of fear and discusses how understanding that anatomy can help us learn more appropriate fear responses. When our threat response system is engaged, we can’t think straight. We act reactively and without thought. If our threat response system is badly calibrated, we behave badly. Many of our reactive behaviors have negative unintended consequences. In order to have more control over the impact we have in the world, we need to learn how to respond more skillfully in situations that scare us. In this episode, Kate discusses the connections between fear, strong, emotions, learning and memory. She talks about how to use what we know about the anatomy of threat responses to help us have more control over how we react to the things that happen to us.
Connecting to the Largest Possible Community
We all belong exactly where we are, but we don’t always feel like we belong. In this episode, Kate describes a powerful way of increasing our felt sense of belonging. If we don’t feel like we belong, we struggle. It doesn’t matter whether we cognitively understand that we are a necessary part of all that is or how we fit in the systems that rely on us. If we don’t feel it, it isn’t real to us in a crucial way. This is even more true for those of us who are isolated from others for some reason. In this episode, Kate focuses on the sense of belonging to the Largest Possible Community. This sense is what gives us a sense of belonging when we don’t feel like we belong with the people close to us.
Cultivate Courage Through Commitment
One powerful way to overcome the disruptive effects of fear is through commitment. In this episode, Kate discusses some ways to think about and work with commitment. Have you ever been so committed to something that no set-back was enough to stop you from trying? Heard stories of heroic rescues of children by their parents in the face of enormous dangers? Commitment is a powerful motivator. A strong enough commitment to something becomes the source of our boundaries, motivation, and creative problem solving. How should we choose what to commit to? How can we increase our sense of commitment when our motivation is flagging? And when should we choose to quit?
Feelings Need to be Validated, Not Obeyed
Emotions are messages from our non-cognitive intelligence about the state of our world and what actions we might want to take. We need to take them seriously, but we don’t want to be ruled by them. When we are infants, our behaviours are instinctive reactions to emotions. We do not have any information about how the world works so there is no point in slowing down to think about what is going on. As we mature, we learn how to relate to our emotions in a more conscious and self-directed way. In this episode, Kate discusses how to become self-directed in our emotional intelligence learning and why we should.
The Importance of Noticing the Good Stuff
When life feels tough, it is more important than ever to have a practice of noticing the good that exists simultaneously. In every moment, there are good and bad things happening in the world. People naturally notice bad things more than good things. This can easily lead to a pessimistic outlook. Actively paying attention to the good things acts as a counterbalance. In this episode, Kate looks at why it is important to practice noticing the good stuff and offers some tools for finding optimism without denying tough realities.
Different Moods, Different Neurotransmitters, Different Tools
There are so many self-care tools to choose from. How do you decide how to spend your time? If you understand which neurotransmitter is involved in the mood or experience you are trying to shift, it is easier to decide. Different neurotransmitters mediate different emotional and behavioral subsystems. And different interventions affect different neurotransmitters. So when you are planning an intervention or a habit change, knowing which system is involved can help you decide what will have the greatest positive impact in your life. In this episode, Kate shares some information about which tools affect which systems.
Mindfulness in Action
It is one thing to be mindful and compassionate when things are calm, but how do we stay open and loving when the world is exploding around us? In this episode, Kate provides some ideas for practicing mindfulness in action. Most of us have heard by now that mindfulness creates calm and allows us to stay non-reactive, but few of us have time to sit and meditate. In fact, the people who benefit from mindfulness the most typically have the hardest time sitting still. Kate’s personal experience with 30 years of mindfulness in action practice helped her manage attention and focus issues that would probably get her an ADHD diagnosis if she were a kid now. Out of necessity, she discovered tools and techniques increasing mindfulness without adding anything more to your to do list, no matter how scattered your attention is. In this episode, Kate shares some tools for increasing our capacity to stay awake, aware, present, and non-reactive during the ups and downs of daily life. Resources mentioned in the episode: The Zen Path Through Depression by Philip Martin Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine Join the Kate's Nuggets community for opportunities to ask Kate questions and extra materials associated with topics covered in the podcast.
Use Sympathetic Joy to Improve Your Relationships
One of the easiest ways to improve relationships is to celebrate each other’s joy whether we understand it or not. Sympathetic joy is the joy we feel when others' experience joy. We delight that they are delighted. We celebrate on their behalf. When we are in the habit of celebrating other people’s successes and good fortune on their behalf, we increase our own experience of joy and reduce jealousy. But more than that, celebrating another’s joy when you don’t understand it is a wonderful way of letting them see how much you care about them. In this episode, Kate shares some tools for developing the habits of sympathetic joy and reducing jealousy.
How to Increase Your Powers of Compassion
We can get cut off from our natural compassionate natures because we didn’t know how to handle the tenderness. In this episode, Kate provides some tools for rekindling your compassion and managing the associated vulnerability. Compassion for self and others is a key component of relationships that last. Although it is often said that one cannot love another without first loving oneself, it is often through loving another that one learns how to love at all. In this episode, Kate shares some tools for increasing compassion within yourself and other tools for increasing compassion for others. Book mentioned in this episode: Say What You Mean by Oren Jay Sofer Join the Kate's Nuggets community for opportunities to ask Kate questions and extra materials associated with topics covered in the podcast.
Cultivating Grace Through Action
How can you create the elegant simplicity and ease of grace when things are busy, complicated, or stressful? Grace looks effortless. How can we maximize our sense of our own lives as elegant, generous, calm, and dignified? In this episode, Kate introduces the concept of the Physicality of Grace, one of the major principles of InterPlay, a fun and playful way of accessing the wisdom of the body. She then offers a way of creating more grace in your life and invites you to become a Grace Operative for yourself and others.
How to Find a Motivating Perspective in any Situation
What can you do when lack of motivation to get started is stopping you from reaching your goals? When people aren’t meeting their goals because they are getting in their own way, there are several places they can get stuck. They may not know what to do differently. They may not be able to find the motivation to get started. They may need to develop some new or better skills. They may have trouble sticking with the process. Many people come to coaching thinking they need help figuring out what to do differently. Many more know what needs to be done and want accountability doing it. Few think motivation is their sticking point. They know they want things to be different. They are genuinely baffled about why they aren’t doing what it takes to make things different. They think there is something wrong with their ability to follow-through or their self-discipline. But, for many people the biggest hinderance to sticking with a plan is a competition between conflicting desires and motivations. Luckily, motivation and willingness to get into action are surprisingly malleable. In this episode, Kate offers a few suggestions.
The Difference Between Helping and Being of Service
Too often, when we try to help people it doesn’t go well. We may not understand why they don’t take our feedback or advice. We feel unappreciated. Frequently, they feel patronized. In this episode, Kate offers an alternative approach. When we help others, we often inadvertently create drama. Sometimes merely offering help creates drama. And this is despite the fact that we often have excellent intentions. When we offer to help someone, we are implying that we are superior to them in some way. We would not think we would be able to help them if we did not see ourselves as better resourced or more skilled. When someone is suffering, they already feel vulnerable. A superiority claim from someone else, however well-intentioned, usually triggers a sense of threat to their status. In addition, when we help without asking if our help is wanted, we are also claiming that we know what they need and we are frequently wrong. The alternative is to put ourselves at their disposal and offer to be of service.
4 Tools for Emotional Control in a Crisis
Kate shares 4 tools for quickly calming the emotional storm provoked by a crisis so you can avoid becoming paralyzed, or overreactive and can act with courage and clarity. When a sudden challenge arrives in our lives, most of us compartmentalize our emotions, act out, or freeze. If we compartmentalize our feelings and deal with the crisis without feeling them, we can maintain a level of control that allows us to handle the crisis. We will need to release the emotions provoked by the situation at a later date or they will become frozen in our bodies and have a negative impact on our future flexibility and adaptability, but we will at least get through the present moment. If we act out or freeze, however, we may not even be able to successfully navigate the current situation without making things worse. The tools Kate offers in this episode are especially helpful in calming the emotional storm for people who tend to act out or freeze. If you tend to compartmentalize, you may not feel like you need these tools, but you might find that some of them help you save post-event processing time.
How to Feel Your Feelings Without Becoming Overwhelmed
If we are afraid of being overwhelmed by our feelings, we avoid feeling them, at great cost to our mental health and our effectiveness. If we are not in the habit of feeling our feelings all the way to completion and letting them pass through us, they get stuck in our bodies. Unreleased feelings create a sense of pressure within us. When we start to feel some of our feelings, that pressure can push feelings from our past out in great waves of emotion. If we are afraid of not being able to contain our expressions of our emotions, we resist feeling them at all. When we lose touch with the waves of ordinary emotions, we feel alive only when extreme pain or extreme pleasure overrides our self-numbing. In this episode, Kate shares tools for feeling our feelings in manageable quantities so we can let them pass through us.
The Power of Your Inner Witness
When we are able to observe ourselves as if from the perspective of an external witness, we are able to speed up our growth and personal development. In this episode, Kate shares tips on how to develop this inner power of self-observation. Without the ability to observe ourselves clearly, we cannot gain enough perspective to determine whether we have the skills we need to accomplish our goals or whether we are being the person we want to be. Developing our internal self-observer is a crucial stage in personal development. Most of us first develop the ability to observe ourselves as a response to criticism and feedback about our mistakes and tend to develop a strong inner critic before we develop our inner witness. The inner witness serves a more neutral function, seeing us simply as we are without emotional content. The inner witness is pure acceptance of what is at this moment. Unlike our inner critic, our inner witness never judges us as less worthy of love for our faults or because of our mistakes. Our inner witness accepts us unconditionally. And, because the inner witness does not see us without emotional content, it can neutrally assess when we fall short of our aspirations and be with us as we work to learn from our mistakes. Cultivating our inner witness enables us to hold compassionate, non-judgmental space for ourselves. The inner witness allows us to nurture ourselves and coach ourselves to be better. In this episode, Kate discusses why the inner witness is crucial for healthy relationships at home and at work and teaches some tools for developing this part of yourself.
The Differences Between Stress, Strain, and Trauma
Stress needs to be managed, strain needs to be reduced, and trauma needs to be healed. In this episode, Kate discusses the differences between stress, strain, and trauma. When you understand the difference between them, you can quickly assess what techniques to use to handle various challenging situations.
Finding Your Way When You Are Exhausted and Things Feel Futile
When we are overextended and want to give up or can't get motivated, there are some gentle, easy things we can do to help get us moving again. In times of stress, it is common to have lots of focused momentum, to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated, or to swing between both. There are two primary brain circuits that are responsible for those cycles. In thie episode, Kate discusses the difference between an adrenaline crash and the desire to quit that comes from the neuragenic system. She offers tools for working with both systems.
Fun and The Art of Enjoying Life When Times are Tough
Having fun is more important than ever when things get rough. Here are some tips on enjoying the journey while minimizing unintended negative long-term consequences. How can you find fun without ignoring the real challenges in this time? Many of the easy ways people have fun when they are stressed bring short-term relief and have negative long-term consequences. How can we play and have fun in ways that minimize unintended negative consequences? How can we balance our needs for safety and control as we look for ways to feel alive and happy?