I’m Diana Swillinger, and this is the Renew Your Mind podcast, Episode Number 10. I’ve been building up to this episode for a while, and it just might be the most important one of all how to solve your problems. I’ll be sharing my most useful coaching tool that gets results every time.
DIANA: Hey. Hey. How y’all doing today? I’m well, let’s see, what am I feeling today? I’m feeling some gratefulness. I feel excited because this is going to be a good episode. My tummy is full with a banana protein shake. I’m good to go. I’m feeling good. I’m really glad you are here listening because today’s episode I keep saying it, but it’s going to be a good one. It’s an important one. I’m introducing you today to the tool that I use most often when I coach myself and others. But before I jump into that, I promise to read reviews to you because you guys are leaving me reviews on itunes, which are too kind.
Thanks, everyone. I know it just takes a minute to do it, but it really makes a difference. It’s quick and easy. It helps the podcast show up in more searches and be more easily found by other people like you who really want to hear the Renew Your Mind message. So it’s not just me being vain. It’s to help people. That is my goal. That’s the renew your mind movement. So leave a review and let’s help get this out there. Here’s a recent review from McElroy Lover. That name sounds mysterious. I have to say, I kind of love it. McElroy lover says, I love listening to Diana. Her concepts work to help change your life. She helped me to see that I viewed my circumstances as negative instead of neutral and how to begin to change that. I highly
recommend coaching with Diana. AHA. Ah. I should be able to figure out who this is because it’s somebody I’ve coached. I need to figure out who McElroy Lover is.
Thank you. McElroy Lover. That name is so fun. I just keep saying it. All right. Maybe McElroy is a band or an
actor or something, and I just somebody, uh, knows. Send me a message. Who’s McElroy? I don’t know. Anyway, what McElroy Lover said in the itunes review happens to fit really well with what I want to teach you today. So let’s get into it. This goes back a long time, all the way back to the time of Shakespeare and honestly, probably earlier. I want you guys to know the things that I bring to you from my coaching experience and my coaching practice, it’s either biblical or it’s been in psychology or literature or who knows? It’s been preached before. I’m not coming up with a lot of new stuff here, but I’m putting what I’ve learned into a package for you that works and gets results.
So Shakespeare’s contributed to that, and here’s what he said or wrote in Hamlet, act two, scene two. I love this. This is interesting. It says there is nothing either good or bad, but m thinking makes it so.
Nothing is really good or bad in itself. It’s what the person thinks about it that makes it so. Isn’t that
That means whatever is going on around you, all the stuff that’s out of your control, all M, the situations of
life, what other people think, say, or do, all of that. You don’t have to label any of that as good or bad. It
just is. It just is. And maybe life’s not out to get you or take you down or make things harder, or maybe things just are.
What’s happening around us is just the product of all the things that are out of our control.
Things like the weather or the economy or pandemics, stuff like that. But then also all the thoughts, emotions, actions and opinions, words or feelings of other people, it’s all outside of your control. What’s happening around you just is. The only thing making it good or bad is what you think about it. Even if we agree with what’s in the Bible, and we think something’s good or bad because the Bible says so, we’re agreeing with it, with our thoughts.
I was coaching someone a couple of weeks ago. She didn’t even think this was necessarily worthy of coaching because it didn’t seem like a super big deal. But sometimes that’s the best stuff to coach on. It’s not really charged with too much emotion, and it can just be easier to look at it. It’s less threatening, and we can gain some traction. So I’m like, let’s talk about it. The story is basically her sister, uh, had called her while she was arriving at a store. She was out driving, so she told her sister that she’d call her back later.
And now I’m coaching her. It’s two days later. We’re on the coaching call. She hadn’t called her sister back yet. I said, why not? She said, I don’t know. By the way, when you think I don’t know, it’s usually a lie. Usually, no. You just might not actually want to really think about it or feel it or whatever is going on. You just don’t want to get into it. But usually we know. So I knew she knew. I tried a different route, and I asked, when you think I told my sister I would call her back. When you have that thought, what do you feel that keeps you from calling her? She wasn’t sure at first, but then she’s like, I guess I’m afraid to call her. So she’s feeling fear. Great. Makes sense. When you’re afraid to do something, we procrastinate or we don’t do it. Two days later, she hadn’t called her because she was afraid. So we’re gradually putting the puzzle pieces together. So here’s what happened. Basically, in her story. What happened? What was the situation? She told her sister she’d call her back. What did she feel? Fear. But it didn’t make sense yet, because there isn’t a direct connection between what happened and what you feel. Because just because you say you’re going to call someone back, that doesn’t necessarily bring fear, does it? And if what happened isn’t either good or bad, it just is, then there’s something else in between what happened and what you feel.
And that, my friends, is what you think. Remember Shakespeare? It’s neither good or bad until a thought makes it. So I asked, what thought are you having about calling her back? She said, I don’t know. There’s that I don’t know again. So I asked, Why don’t you want to call her back? I just kept asking, which you can do to your own brain, by the way. Just keep asking your brain questions. If you don’t quite have an answer yet, you’ll get there. I said, Why didn’t you want to call her back? She said, Calling her is stressful. AHA,
it was the thought. Calling her is stressful that came before what she felt. So we put it together. What happened is you said the words to your sister, I’ll call you back. What you think is calling her will be stressful. What you feel is fear. So what do you do? You don’t call her back. And guess what she got in the end. She got a couple of days of stressing out about calling her sister. So guess how we went about trying to solve a problem.
We had to work on whatever she was feeling or thinking to get any leverage. What happened was done. Couldn’t change that. And what she did was a result of her fear. It was a result of what she felt. So the leverage is all in the area of what you think, which leads to what you feel. It’s usually at this point, when I can uncover these pieces, that my clients say things to me like, wow, you’re good. Or, um, one client called me a mind magician. You know who you are. She listens to this podcast, so you know who you are. She listens from Europe. How cool is that, by the way? I’m in Wisconsin, and I have people listening in Europe and one in Africa, so that’s cool. Anyway, honestly, there’s really nothing new or magical about this process. It’s just a practical way to solve problems.
It’s a practical way to direct our thoughts, just like God’s telling us to do in scripture all the time. Whatever
is good, think on these things. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Set your mind on the things above. Manage your thoughts. I have learned a lot in my work as a life coach. I really study all the time. I study lots of leaders, teachers, I read books, taken the college classes, listened to podcast, gone through certification processes. I’ve studied psychology and the use of cognitive behavioral therapy and things like acceptance and commitment therapy and all the stuff. I really, really want to be a good coach. It’s very important to me. So I’m constantly learning and I’ve paid attention to what has been most effective for my clients to solve problems. When I bring all this stuff I’ve learned to them, what’s given them more results to get unstuck and move forward and feel better has come when I’ve used this tool. It’s been working with whatever issue or problem they have. This tool has helped me time and time again, and it’s the one I use most often with my clients. So that’s why I want to share it with you. I’ve already kind of exposed it to you in that story, but I’m going to break it down for you now. And in the near future, I’m going to be sending this out to my email list in a PDF that you can print and actually use and try it for yourself.
So if you want to make sure you get a copy of that, you can head over to Rympodcast.com and at the bottom of the page, I think it’s on the left side, there’s a place you can sign up for weekly mind management tips. I’m not asking you for a bunch of personal information. Just plug in your first name and whatever email you want me to send that tool to. And um, in a couple of weeks I’m going to be sending that
out. So you can go get on that list if you want it. Because if you can print it out and put in a PDF and put it in
front of you, you can get a pen and you can really start working with this. It makes most sense when you can look at it and plug in your own specific situation, which is what I do with people when I get on the phone with them.
But I’ll do my best to explain it here. I know you’re not looking at it yet. So in its most simple form, there’s
three questions to ask yourself about any situation. But before you do that, you need to just take a step back and identify very objectively what the situation actually is. You need to isolate the situation, figure out how you can describe it as short as possible with factual terms. No adjectives, no adverbs, no opinions. Just say what happened, or the name of the person or the topic, whatever it is, it’s whatever has been going on or is happening, or a person that you have no control over. The weather, the news, other people, other people’s actions, their words, whatever you can’t control. This is that Shakespeare moment
when you just isolate the situation and you decide it’s neither good or bad. It just is. With that in mind, I want to walk you through the tool using that client story that I just told you about. Okay, so m the situation, just in factual terms, neither good nor bad, is I said to my sister, I will call you back later. It’s just factual.
Those are the words she said. There’s no opinions. It’s not a big deal. Just the facts. So you got to get it neutral. But once you define the situation as neither good or bad, and you can just briefly write it down, sometimes this is where we get stuck, because we’re very used to judging situations. But if you want to get leverage, you need to be able to step away from that. It’s really important. All right, now, here is where cognitive behavioral therapy comes in. It teaches that our thoughts affect our feelings, and our feelings affect what we do. We’ve identified the situation, and we’re going to walk through those three things with three what questions.
What do you think? What do you feel? What do you do? That’s it. Three questions. The first question what do you think? It’s hard to identify sometimes my client didn’t know what she was thinking. Thoughts are sneaky. So remember back, I’ve told you guys this before. We have 60,000 or more thoughts a day. How many of those do you think we’re actually aware of? Most of them we have we don’t even know we’re having them. So sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you were actually thinking. I had to poke around a bit with my client to help her uncover a thought. When I’ve gotten coached, my coach has helped me figure out what my thoughts are. I don’t always know, but we uncover the thought. Calling my sister will be stressful the next what question. What do you feel based on that thought? What emotion do you experience? In this case, fear. The feeling comes after the thought. Her thought that calling would be stressful is what created fear. She thought her sister calling when she couldn’t talk, and then her saying she would call her back and all their past relationship stuff and stories was causing her fear.
That makes it seem really complicated and really big. The reality is, it was her thought that one thought that was creating the fear. And if she had had a different thought, she’d have a different feeling. Maybe she wouldn’t have fear. She could have thought, my sister keeps calling me when I don’t want to talk. Have any of you guys had that situation? I haven’t. Not with my sisters, but maybe somebody else, right? When somebody keeps calling you and you don’t want to talk, you might feel annoyed. So if she had that thought, she’d feel annoyed. Or she could have the thought, how nice my sister reached out to me. Then she might have the feeling of, uh, value. Feeling valued.
Different thoughts create different feelings. Now, the third what question is important? Because this is how we show up. Have you ever asked yourself, why did I do that? Well, I’ll tell you why. Whatever it is, you did, that because of what you were feeling. Because this happens in sequence. First we think about something, then we feel, then we do. So the last what question is, what do you do? My client thought calling her sister would be stressful. Then she felt fear. Then what did she do? She didn’t call her. She procrastinated. And by the way, guess what all that got her? By not calling her and continuing to think calling her would be stressful. My client was being stressed out for two days. She was avoiding calling, so she didn’t have to feel stressed. But in the reality, she was creating more stress, maybe the phone call would be, like, ten minutes of stress. Maybe. But in the meantime, not calling her. She was feeling stressed about it for two days.
When I walk through stuff like this with my clients, at this point, it’s like the light bulbs and the bells and
the whistles start going off, and they’re like, well, that makes sense. We use the tool to play around with what you think. We use the tool to play around with what you feel and what you do, and we see what works. So you can either feel better, or you can show up the way you want or do what you want. It’s really a flexible tool. You get to start wherever you want to start. How do you want to feel? Plug that in. You want to feel peace? Plug that feeling into the tool. Now you get to figure out what do you need to think. If you want to feel peace, you want to change what you do, you want to call your sister? Then go ahead and plug it in the box of what do you want to do now? Figure out what emotion you need to feel in order to take action in calling your sister. Fear is not doing it right. What would? Maybe confidence. So what do you need to think to feel confident? So that what you do is call your sister.
So this tool is set up with different squares because you can kind of play with it. And I showed it to one of my life coach friends, Zack. He was on episode four. You guys know Zack? And he laughed, and he’s like, hey, that looks like mine. Management Bingo. Well, it doesn’t really work like a bingo game at all, but I can see why it looked like a bingo board, because it sees squares, and you can plug different things in different squares and see what comes up. And it’s kind of like a game. So when you have a problem, you can play a fun game and figure things out. And you can plug in different thoughts and different feelings and different things to do and see how it’s all interconnected.
And it can be really fun. And sometimes it does feel a little magical. I admit it. I could talk about this all
day, but I try to keep my episodes under 30 minutes. So I’m going to be wrapping this up. But you can see how looking at your thoughts or your feelings or what you do, your behavior, is directly tied with the renewal of the mind. We will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, by having new thoughts, by focusing on new things. Then we transform our character and our behavior. This stuff is so good. This was the key to me enjoying life again when I was a miserable Christian, trying to do all the right things and feeling like life was so heavy and so hard and not what I imagined and didn’t feel like the good Christian life I thought I was supposed to be having. This is what got me out of that funk that I was in for years and years and years. This is the key to feeling joy in all circumstances. Man, I’m getting worked up and emotional. This is the key to contentment. You guys don’t need to be stuck in pain. I lived there for a long time. I know how miserable it is. This helps you get out.
I know I’m wrapping this up, but I just want to give you a couple of reminders or say a couple of things here. I always want you to give yourself grace. Sometimes we learn tools of how to do things better or find new ways to do things. And then we use it to beat ourselves up about doing it wrong in the past or not figuring it out yet. That’s not allowed. I, uh, do not allow you to beat yourself up for anything you’ve done in the past. Or if you try using this tool and it doesn’t work outright, it takes a while to learn. Transformation takes time too. And I know many of you are going to try this at home. When you sign up to get it, the PDF and I send it to you. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work. It’s new. Just practice it and see what you can learn. I want to give you another piece of insight about this tool. Changing your thought needs to be done thoughtfully. You can’t plug in a thought you don’t believe.
My client couldn’t go from calling my sister will be stressful to calling my sister will be fine. She didn’t believe that. This is why cutesy, positive memes on social media don’t give you any lasting change. No thought will help you feel better if you’re lying to you. You’re smarter than that. So why it doesn’t work you’re not falling for some feel good BS. Thought my client didn’t move from a feel good thought at all in
the story, by the way. She was so used to thinking that calling her sister would be stressful that the thought we moved her to was maybe talking to my sister will be stressful, but maybe not. It still allowed her to hang on to that old thought that she was used to a little bit. Maybe it will be stressful, but then it opened up just a little bit of hope, but maybe not. So she decided she would call her sister anyway, even if she felt some fear, but also allow herself to think that maybe it wouldn’t be stressful. That was also possible. And so it felt
better. She still had a little fear, but she also had a little hope. And you can have both at the same time. It
wasn’t a cure all moment. It was just a little step forward in the mind renewal journey. She’d gained awareness and she found some relief. And that is a great place to start. Last thought about this tool.
In my last episode, I talked about process and emotion. So I want to say that thinking a different thought might not work if you haven’t given yourself space to feel the emotion that you’re currently having and process it. Sometimes you need to do that before you direct yourself to a new way of thinking.
Okay, so there’s lots of little nuances to this tool and we’re all on our own unique journey. Every time I use it on myself, it’s different. Every time I use it with a client, it’s different. But it works because it’s flexible
enough to let your specific situation be plugged in and then you get to play around with it. I use this tool on my own thoughts and feelings almost every day. And sometimes I don’t even have to pull it out and write on it. I can just kind of run through it quickly in my head. And now I choose my thoughts and feelings. I’m in control of um, them.
It doesn’t mean I think positively and feel positively all the time because sometimes I don’t want to. Or sometimes it’s appropriate to feel disappointment and have a thought that creates that. Sometimes it’s important to feel sadness and have a thought about that. Okay, but I also get to be intentional about a lot more positive thoughts and feelings. It’s all my responsibility. I need to pay attention to how I think and feel and how it affects the things I do m because that’s how I’m showing up for the people in my life. The mature thing to do is to examine and manage my own thoughts and feelings. And this tool makes that easy. It’ll point out where you’re focusing too much on the negative. It lets you see where you’re focusing too much on the problem. It allows you to take a step back and be intentional with your thoughts and emotions so you can start focusing on the solution and start feeling better. So if you want to try using it like I said, I’m going to email it out soon. Soon. Make sure you go get on the list. There might be a learning curve to using it, so some of you are going to try it and it’s going to all make sense.
Some of you might be like, I don’t quite get it, so feel free to contact me and I am here to help you play around with it. We’ll figure it out together if we need to. So to get on that email list, to get
the tool, head on over to Rympodcast.com, scroll to the bottom and sign up for the weekly management tips.
Thanks so much for showing up and listening. I’ll talk to you next time. Take care. As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to RymPodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.