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masterful coach



Navigating the Double-Edged Sword: Using Mindset Work Wisely with Molly and Leah Davidson

balance in thoughtwork childhood emotional neglect choosing thoughts coaching communities coaching skills development curiosity emotional processing emotions ethical use of thought work harmful behavior holistic master coach training life coaching business life experiences life situations masterful coach podcast mindset work in coaching misuse of thought work nervous system nervous system influences over-functioning personal development relationships resilience building self-awareness self-gaslighting stress reduction subconscious patterns thoughtwork trauma responses May 15, 2024

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On this episode of The Masterful Coach, Molly Claire shares a discussion she recently had with Leah Davidson on Leah’s podcast, Building Resilience. The episode begins with an engaging discussion on the importance of being aware of one's own thoughts and how this awareness can modify personal and professional relationships.

Leah, a nervous system expert, shares insights on the potential pitfalls of using thoughtwork to evaluate relationships, such as self-blame and over-functioning, which can sometimes lead to unhealthy dynamics. She brings attention to the subtle ways individuals might use thoughtwork to minimize issues or dismiss genuine concerns within relationships—a situation she describes as self-gaslighting.

A significant portion of the dialogue is dedicated to understanding the relationship between thoughts and feelings, with Leah likening our feelings to a "dashboard" that provides crucial information about our wellbeing. The conversation takes a deeper dive into how past experiences shape one’s emotional and thought patterns, and both Molly and Leah discuss how cultivating awareness can prompt a reevaluation and change of these patterns.

Highlighting real-life applications and personal revelations, Molly shares how the book "Running On Empty" influenced her understanding of childhood emotional neglect and its long-term effects on thought patterns. Leah reciprocates with her experiences, enriching the discussion with strategies to approach subconscious patterns with compassion and curiosity.

The episode wraps up with a cautionary note on the misuse of thoughtwork both in personal scopes and within coaching communities, emphasizing the ethical responsibility to wield this powerful tool wisely and effectively.

"Feelings are not there to be fixed, but to be felt and understood, giving us permission to explore our inner landscapes without judgment." -Leah Davidson

Guest Bio

Leah Davidson is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and a certified Life Coach (through the Life Coach School). She loves supporting her clients in managing the various curveballs that life throws at them, whether they are the daily stressors of life or the ones that tend to shift their world using various modalities.

Her training and experience have allowed her a unique perspective of the brain. She knows the brain and the nervous system well and has a good understanding of how they work and how resilient they are. She is a self-development, neuroscience, and nervous system enthusiast and knows that with a regulated nervous system and a growth mindset, there is always an opportunity to learn and evolve.

She has the tools and the experience to help you find joy and deliberately create the future of your dreams and help you uncover the real you.


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Full Episode Transcript:

Voice Over [00:00:02]:
Welcome to the Masterful Coach podcast with Molly Claire. If you're a coach who's ready to impact more lives, make more money, and create a life you love, you're in exactly the right place. Get the support you deserve as a female entrepreneur, master your coaching skills, grow your ideal business, and honor your priorities in your personal life. Are you in? Let's get started with your host, bestselling author and master life and business coach, Molly Claire.

Molly Claire [00:00:35]:
Hey, Coach, I've got such an important episode for you today. This is a conversation I had with Leah Davidson on her podcast. She is a nervous system expert. Her podcast is Building Resilience. And of course, she teaches in my Master Coach Training about the nervous system. In this conversation, Leah wanted to interview me about how to use mindset work wisely, and talk about the fact that it can be a double edged sword. This is such an important episode for you to listen to so that you can be safe, ethical, and effective when it comes to using any kind of cognitive approach with your clients. So I know you're going to love it. Before we dive in, I want to make sure that you know that right now you can go to and apply for Master Coach Training and set up a one to one call with me.

Molly Claire [00:01:30]:
I am enrolling now for the fall group. I have some amazing women in there already. The benefit to enrolling now is you will get to be a part of some phenomenal continued education calls this summer. It is, it's very light. We have two calls a month. It's a way for you to connect and kind of stay tuned in and connected with your business and moving your skills forward. And then we go full force. Dive in in the fall with master coach training.

Molly Claire [00:01:58]:
This program is an absolute must for you if you want to be safe, effective, and ethical. If you want to design a clear offer and have a great program for your client that works. And if you really want to understand how mindset work, emotion work and understanding of the nervous system and effective action strategies work together. This training is, I can say with 100% confidence, the very best thing I have ever offered in the last ten years in my business. It's a magical space, and I would love to have you go to, check it out, and I hope to talk with you on a one to one call soon. All right, coaches, get ready. We've got some good stuff here as I'm chatting with Leah Davidson.

Leah Davidson [00:02:44]:
Welcome, Molly, to the Building Resilience podcast. I am so happy to have you here, and if you could just take just a couple of minutes to introduce yourself in your own words to the audience. That would be great.

Molly Claire [00:02:58]:
Sure. I'm so excited to be here. So I am- my name is Molly Claire. I have three kids. I'm a single mom to three kids, two grown kids, and I just adore all of them. I am founder of The Masterful Coach Collective and that is my business. And the main thing that I do is help coaches to be able to be more effective in implementing change with their clients.

Molly Claire [00:03:23]:
So I offer a holistic Master Coach Training where of course Leah contributes as well, teaching part about the nervous system. And so I offer coaches this holistic Master Coach Training so they're fully equipped to really serve their clients well. And then I also have another program to help coaches actually create their coaching program. So those are kind of highlights of me business wise, but I love what I do. I love serving coaches. I'm a huge believer in the power of phenomenal, high quality, safe coaching and helping people to change their lives.

Leah Davidson [00:04:01]:
So awesome. Well, I'm excited to have you here for multiple reasons. And I will say that even though you work primarily with coaches, if you're listening and you're not a coach, that's okay, because what we're going to be talking about today is really relevant across the board. But definitely Molly has had a huge role in my development as a coach, as I was in multiple of your programs and masterminds. And I just learned so much from you. And yes, I do- I'm so excited and honored that I get to teach in your coaching certification about the nervous system. So that's been fun too.

Leah Davidson [00:04:39]:
But I wanted to talk today about a topic that I actually heard you talking about in another group that I was in. We're talking about the idea of thoughtwork, or mindset work, however you want to call it. I refer to it both. And I know that people who listen to the podcast have heard me over the years, introduced them to something called The Model, which is really a variation of cognitive behavioral therapy and there's lots of different ways to look at it, but it is the idea that your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your push, your actions and then your actions as well, where everything comes together with your results. And I believe that. I am a huge advocate of mindset work and thought work. And for me, the nervous system just fits beautifully in. I teach that the nervous system comes before the thought that when you have that circumstance, you're confronted.

Leah Davidson [00:05:35]:
It's an automatic thing that your nervous system is assigning safety or danger, it gets into a state, and the state is what flavors your thought, your feelings, your actions, and so forth. So that's sort of where I come from. But what I was really interested when you were teaching is this idea that while thought work is so beneficial for many of us, many of us also use it against ourselves, and it can also be used against other people in our lives and saying, like, we're deliberately going out there to harm people, I think that sometimes it is innocently done. Also have to say that sometimes thought work and mindset work can come from more of a manipulative standpoint. I don't know if that's too strong of a word, but that has been my experience as well. So I was like, we need to talk about this. We need to talk about the- how not to weaponize it, how to make sure that you're using thoughtwork in a safe way and not having it used against you.

Leah Davidson [00:06:41]:
So that's really what I wanted to bring to the table to have a conversation about today.

Molly Claire [00:06:46]:
Yes. I mean, and, and so, you know, I know those of you listening, for many of you, this idea of thought work or mindset work may be new or foreign concept. But as we talk about this, I'm planning to make it relevant for all of you. Right. No matter your level of understanding, because it is really powerful. The idea of understanding the thought patterns we have, the way we view the world, our frameworks, the way we think about our life, creates our experience of life. And it's a super powerful tool and one that I've taught up close and personal, you know, which we can get into and speak to. And I think, you know, what, what you're bringing up, Leah, is so relevant because as I have worked to teach other coaches the thoughtwork model and how to use it with their clients, I've seen where it's incredibly powerful in a positive way and ways that it is incredibly detrimental sometimes.

Molly Claire [00:07:43]:
Right. And it's kind of like, sometimes what I've seen is, is sort of this evolution, if we want to call it that. Like, you know, it's something that, that starts out as something very helpful and powerful, and then all of a sudden, we start using something that was for us against ourselves in this new way. And so I think what I just, you know, what I want to really highlight and bring out here as we're talking about thought work, mindset work, you know, changing beliefs, all of these things, it is a tool, just like a jackhammer is a tool that is super powerful and can be really useful and can accomplish incredible things. And if you're using a jackhammer on, you know, like, I wish I had a really great analogy for it, but I'm not a construction worker. I don't have something on the tip of my tongue. But when you think about a jackhammer, a jackhammer could do a lot of damage under circumstances where it should not be used.

Molly Claire [00:08:41]:
Right. And I think it's the same thing. Thought work, mindset work, you know, this cognitive approach, super powerful, and just, you got to use it in the right ways.

Leah Davidson [00:08:50]:
Right, right. Yeah, no, I love that analogy. I was just, you know, I wish I had the different tools, too, but I was thinking of, like, you know, a jackhammer, instead of, like, having something where you need, like, a delicate little pick, instead you're coming along with this.

Molly Claire [00:09:05]:
Jack and just, like, destroy everything. That's right.

Leah Davidson [00:09:09]:

Molly Claire [00:09:10]:
What you were trying to fix.

Leah Davidson [00:09:11]:
That's right. So all tools have their place. All tools.

Molly Claire [00:09:15]:
And that's.

Leah Davidson [00:09:15]:
That's where I think, you know, I do love. I've seen the power of being able to evaluate and become aware of my own thoughts and be able to ask myself if these thoughts are serving me, if there's different ways to use my different ways to think of things. So I have a different perspective to serve me better, to help make shifts. Those have been really, really helpful, but I know that it can work against you. So let's talk about some of the different ways that you have seen thoughtwork has been either used against yourself or even used against other people.

Molly Claire [00:09:50]:
So I think that, you know, there, there are so many things we could talk about. So I'll try to highlight just a few. And, of course, you know, if there are other areas you want me to go into, I will, but let's just talk about relationships. Okay. So, one of the things, when I first became a coach and I learned the cognitive approach and I was doing it, I also started training other coaches in that methodology. Right. So I was doing contract work initially for the life coach.

Molly Claire [00:10:15]:
Well, I was, like, in the trenches of teaching it. And so let's take this idea that our thoughts create our feelings, and our feelings drive our actions. Okay? So if this is all we're looking at, and let's imagine that I'm thinking, you know, about my partner, "He's so lazy." Okay. And every time I think he's so lazy, I feel frustrated, and then I, you know, behave in a negative way toward him. Okay. So it seems like it would probably be nice to know if you're walking around all the time thinking he's so lazy and what you're creating within that for yourself and in the relationship.

Molly Claire [00:10:55]:
And so you can see that it might be beneficial to make space to understand that and make a shift potentially in how you're showing up in that partnership and how you're viewing them. Right. But then where we get into this, like, danger zone with it is if we see that we're having this thought, "he's so lazy" and that we're, that is creating a feeling. And then we're- it's driving this action that is not helpful. Where we now start criticizing ourselves for the ways we're thinking and feeling, being frustrated with ourselves and really just blaming ourselves for the entire situation. So it's like we go from blaming this other person for how we feel to now I'm blaming myself, which is also not helpful, useful at all, and detrimental.

Molly Claire [00:11:46]:
Because now, you know, not only is there erosion in the partnership relationship, but now I'm further eroding my relationship with myself.

Leah Davidson [00:11:55]:

Molly Claire [00:11:55]:
There's a lot more to it with relationship. And I actually think we could even stay, you know, potentially on that and talk about the different ways. But that's just one way to highlight how it can move over to not so helpful.

Leah Davidson [00:12:08]:
Yeah. Where you turn around and start blaming yourself and start feeling bad. And I've seen that with myself and with clients, too, where we talk about your quote, unquote, using the model against yourself, like you're using what you've learned and turning it around and taking all this blame and responsibility. I should be, I'm creating my own mess. I'm creating this because of my thoughts.

Molly Claire [00:12:33]:
Right, right, right. So it's like, it goes from taking, like, a useful way is taking ownership of what's happening by awareness. Right. Which, like, it's what you speak to also understanding your nervous system. Right. And what's going on. There's so much more to it at a surface level. And here's what I'll say.

Molly Claire [00:12:51]:
I do think it's actually useful to see those surface level thoughts that you may be having. Like, he's so lazy and say, okay, like, even at a surface level, what are some ways that I could view this or approach this in a way that might be more supportive of me and of them. Right. And so I do think there's that. And there's so much more behind the scenes. Right. Like, where in the relationship are there emotional needs that aren't being met? Where is there disconnection? Where is there hurt that needs to heal? Where is what's going on with his nervous system and your nervous system and all of that. So.

Molly Claire [00:13:21]:
So it's very complex, but even at a surface level, yes. I think it's helpful to notice even some of those little thoughts that are, that are creating something not so helpful. And I think when we can look at that more from a standpoint of curiosity and compassion and looking towards solutions, it can be helpful. And when we instead stay in this place of believing, "Well, someone has to be to blame for this. So if I can't blame him, his laziness, well, then I'll blame me, because I should be thinking differently, I should be feeling differently. I shouldn't be doing this..." Which really just puts us in a new negative spin cycle of creating something not so positive.

Leah Davidson [00:13:59]:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I love that. And it really speaks to the extremes that we go. Sort of the black and white that has to be one person, the other. And I always say to people, whenever you find yourself doing the black and white thinking, you're caught in something with your nervous system. You're in a state of arousal whenever it's so black and white, because it's.

Molly Claire [00:14:21]:
Not just desperate to calm it down. Right. Like, okay, well, like blaming, like, having an answer about this somewhere, something to go. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Leah Davidson [00:14:30]:
So not helpful. Yeah.

Molly Claire [00:14:32]:
And, you know, the other thing that I'll take it to, because I know one thing that we've talked about is gaslighting, which is, like, you know, a pretty big word and an appropriate word to use in many situations, and it's becoming more popular to hear about it and understand it, but I think it's worth talking about. And so it's kind of like, so let's imagine, let's take, you know, the same general scenario where you're talking about a relationship, and, and let's say that maybe one person has some concerns about the other partner's behaviors in the relationship, the way they're treating you. And let's say you become aware of some thoughts you have about the relationship that you might categorize as, like, I'm using air quotes, negative. Right.And so, so I think that sometimes, let's imagine that we notice some ways of thinking about our partner that we see maybe we're being a little more critical of them than we would like to be.

Molly Claire [00:15:39]:
Okay. And then what you can do with that for you personally, is kind of go to a place of trying to flip the thoughts, switch the thoughts to create something more positive and almost make excuses for what you're seeing in that partner, because sometimes it's just easier to do that and just try to move to the positive and avoid the pain or the fear of actually addressing something going on. Right. So then it's like, if we fall into this idea of, because I've heard this many times, and I know you have, too, it's like, well, if I just change me, then the whole relationship will change. And here's what I'll say. I agree that changing one person shifts the dynamic. And I don't at all buy into this idea that a relationship only takes one person, because it doesn't.

Molly Claire [00:16:40]:
A relationship is two people. And so I know I'm getting off on a little bit of a side note there, but it's very relevant because I think that when in a relationship someone is over-functioning in the relationship right where they are. And again, like, I'm sure you're going to bring the nervous system over functioning. Yeah, that's exactly. Nervous over functioning. "I'm trying to fix this relationship. If I just change my thoughts, if I just change everything about me, it'll fix me, it'll fix this relationship." And the problem is we then start using thoughtwork as a way to minimize and dismiss things going on in the relationship that aren't okay with us, and we end up, in a sense, kind of gaslighting ourselves to say, whatever's going on here isn't really happening.

Molly Claire [00:17:26]:
I'm overreacting. I need to change my view of this. So hopefully that's helpful and clear as to what I mean by that, because I see aware of thoughtwork, not aware of thoughtwork. Coaches, not coaches. I see people, especially in relationships, that are not necessarily healthy, not balanced, where you have one person over-functioning, where they use this methodology as a way of just kind of making excuses for someone else in the relationship and end up staying caught in something that isn't positive for them.

Leah Davidson [00:18:00]:
Or making, you know, on the flip side, using it a way to make the other person take responsibility for maybe something you've done. And I'll give, like, just a funny example, like, when I was first learning about, you know, thought work and, and using it more in my life, there was always, like, a joke in our house, like, well, "that's just a thought. That's just a thought." And just joking, like, with my kids, but I can see how it can get there. So, say one of my kids would come in late from curfew or something that they had, and I would say something. They'd be like, well, mom, that's just a thought. It was in a joking way, but it could also be in a not joking way of somebody like, I'm doing something and I may call you on it and the other person will be like, well, that's just your thought.

Leah Davidson [00:18:51]:
Like, you know, if you choose to think that, it's also kind of how I feel when, and this is a little side note, when people are apologizing or they just say things to you like, I'm sorry you feel that way. I'm sorry that that's your interpretation. I'm sorry. To me, that's very, very dismissive. It sort of ends up being like, you're in charge, and I get, I preach that, too. You are in charge of all your emotions and all your thoughts, but that does not give somebody license to go around and misuse that and to use it in the way that is going to serve them and make me feel. And that's the whole point of gaslighting, like, make me feel like I'm crazy.

Leah Davidson [00:19:38]:
Did that not just happen? Did we not just agree upon this? Is that just not clearly there? And all of a sudden I'm like, well, that's just your thought.

Molly Claire [00:19:47]:
That's right.

Leah Davidson [00:19:48]:
"Never had that conversation. I'm sorry that was your understanding". And I think that that can get played a lot when people have various levels of understanding how thoughts.

Molly Claire [00:19:58]:
Oh, my gosh. Absolutely. Because so think about this idea that if I'm wanting to improve a relationship or life, I keep hitting on this one, this one aspect, just because I think sometimes then it can be easier to see the different, like, nuances of it, right. But hopefully my awareness of my own thoughts also creates awareness of my feelings and an opportunity for me to actually self reflect. Right. And in relationship and in self reflection, there has to be space for the other person's wants, desires, perspectives, thoughts and feelings as also validation. Not that one person's perspective is absolute or right, but, but perspectives are just that, and they're valid.

Molly Claire [00:20:51]:
There's validity in them, and they all need to be considered. And so it's kind of like if I'm using thoughtwork in a healthy way, then I'm actually going to invite awareness and reflection. And if I am too afraid to reflect, if I am too afraid of my feelings, then I'm going to use it in a way to abdicate responsibility, potentially for my harmful actions because my actions become someone else's circumstance.

Leah Davidson [00:21:20]:
That's right.

Molly Claire [00:21:21]:
Right. And so if I have behaviors that are, you know, unkind, even abusive, detrimental, whatever it is, that's a circumstance that I'm creating. And I probably ought to be aware of what I'm creating. And so it's very reckless for me to say, "Oh, well, my thoughts and feelings and actions and, you know, what I create is my thing. And if you have thoughts or feelings about it, well, you better go take care of that. That's not on me." And so it's a fine line, right? Because it is true that each of us can take ownership of our experience, and it is really a, I'm going to call it like a very immature use of the model to dismiss others, to abdicate responsibility for ourselves rather than being open to being vulnerable and making space for sifting through things. And I just have to say, like, one more thing about this.

Molly Claire [00:22:15]:
I have seen this in coaching communities, I have seen this in businesses where where it's almost like, well, I'll give you a specific example where I was working within an organization and someone is making a complaint about something where they have valid concerns, valid complaints, and then it comes back to a criticism of the way they're thinking about it.

Leah Davidson [00:22:43]:

Molly Claire [00:22:44]:
Right. Like, why are you choosing to be such a victim in this situation? It's like, wait just a minute. Right?

Leah Davidson [00:22:54]:

Molly Claire [00:22:55]:
And so I think the thing is, is thought work and mindset work is something we're supposed to use for ourselves, right? Something we're not, we're not supposed to use it against ourselves, right? We're supposed to use it for ourselves. And we need to let go of believing that it's our job to tell other people what to do with their thoughts or feelings or dismiss them.So I just think it's something to be aware of because I think it can be very confusing when there's someone that we perceive as in an authority position, which oftentimes, like in business, when we're looking to mentors and teachers, we see them in that position. And if they're trying to help us to be more effective in the way we think and we're frustrated or upset about something and they're putting it back on us, needing to change the way we're thinking, it can be like, "Oh, really? Maybe I am all wrong about this."

Leah Davidson [00:23:44]:
Right? Right. Yeah. And what I also love about the nervous system and integrating that into thoughtwork, I don't really think that it's wise to try to separate them. Is that when you understand the nervous system, when somebody makes a comment to you, like, why are you choosing to think that? It's sort of like, well, I'm not choosing based on random things. Our choices are driven because of the flavor of the state of our nervous system. So our nervous system is neurocepting and picking up things of danger. And maybe I am going to, quote unquote, choose to think a certain way, but it's not based on, like, a pre thought decision that this is going to be. I'm a victim and this is based on, this is what's coming up for me physiologically, the state that I can find.

Leah Davidson [00:24:36]:
So it is a lot more, a lot more layered than just why are you choosing to think that? So whenever I hear people say, you choose your thoughts, my answer is always kinda, yeah, yeah.

Molly Claire [00:24:49]:
Okay, so, so for the coaches that are listening, here's, like, a pro tip on this, because, you know, I think there are so many questions that we hear a lot that it's like, people think, "Oh, this is a great question." People are like, that's a terrible question. And what I'll say is, it's just a question that when nuanced and used in the right way, can be super helpful. Right. Because if, if, for an example, you're a coach and you've seen it to be powerful, to say, "why are you choosing to think that?", which I have found it to be useful at times. Right. Then you may use it, and it can often be interpreted as, you shouldn't be choosing to think that way.

Molly Claire [00:25:30]:
You're wrong in choosing to think that. And so what I think is interesting is we can take a question like that and we can actually use it with so much curiosity. Right. So, for example, like, okay, your brain is going to this way of thinking. Why is it, why are you choosing, why is your brain choosing to think that? And what I think is interesting, it can open up so many things and realize, well, when I do that, it protects me. It seems to eliminate fear.

Molly Claire [00:26:09]:
Well, I'm choosing that because of this imprint right on my nervous system. So I think that, I think that just for any of you as coaches, it's like the little nugget for coaches questions. Like, do you know that's just a thought? Why are you choosing to think that way? These kind of questions that can seem really powerful and really terrible sometimes think about how you can use them in a much more curious way.

Leah Davidson [00:26:41]:

Molly Claire [00:26:41]:
Because they're super helpful questions.

Leah Davidson [00:26:43]:

Molly Claire [00:26:44]:
Unless they're done poorly.

Leah Davidson [00:26:45]:

Molly Claire [00:26:46]:

Leah Davidson [00:26:47]:
I think that goes to if you're doing your own sort of coaching, your own asking yourself questions like, why am I choosing to think this way? What I know this is just also having it with curiosity, like, why am.

Molly Claire [00:27:01]:
I choosing to think, yeah, yeah.

Leah Davidson [00:27:04]:
What about this is going and I always turn to what's going on with my nervous system. Okay. I am hyper activated right now. Oh. That's why I'm choosing to think this work. Every way I'm going to choose to think when I'm in this hyper aroused state is going to be nuanced in this way. So having. I love that with the curiosity.

Molly Claire [00:27:26]:
And sometimes also, we know that just the question can be, like, a reminder that it is a choice. Right. And so sometimes it is just like, why are you choosing to think that? And you're like, oh, my gosh, I didn't even realize that I was. And then it almost, it's funny how sometimes it can just flip something and then you just don't ever think that way again. Right. Yeah. So it can be useful in that way and in other ways.

Molly Claire [00:27:47]:
It's that curiosity.

Leah Davidson [00:27:49]:
So, yeah, so many, I've had it where a coach asked me, why are you choosing to think that way? And what happened to me is it did sort of break me out of the pattern. And I was like, you know, you're right. I actually don't think I'm choosing this. I think this is just, like, a memorized way. I've just always thought this was a way that I was supposed to think, and I started to think about it because this is what I was taught, or this is what I picked up. But when I sort of stopped and looked at it, I'm like, I don't actually think that way. It's just sort of pre programmed in my mind to think that way. And I've never stopped to question it until the coach said to me, why are you choosing to think that way?

Molly Claire [00:28:28]:
Yeah, yeah. It's such a good example.

Leah Davidson [00:28:30]:

Molly Claire [00:28:30]:
Well, and Leah. Okay, so this is what that made me think of, because I definitely, like, you know, when I work with my clients, with their skills and being just, like, more effective, even just in the thoughtwork space, it is important to notice that we can't, we have these, like, go-to thought patterns. Right. That are just programmed in. And this is slightly different, but I want to relate this back to this idea of using thoughtwork in a detrimental way, and I'll tell you that, so for me personally, I'm going to share a book that, I mean, this book, it's probably the top of my list for books that have impacted me.

Molly Claire [00:29:09]:
It's called Running On Empty. And I told you to get it, didn't I?

Leah Davidson [00:29:14]:
You told me. And I have to say it was one of the books that made me have, like, aha. Moments left, right, and center and really have an explanation of. Of my nervous system, my past, my thoughts. Yes. Go on. Talk about.

Molly Claire [00:29:34]:
My advanced certified coaches. We study that book. My master coaches are going to be studying that book. And by the way, if the author, Jonas Webb, happens to be listening to this, I've been trying to get her on my podcast, and so I'm like, maybe I'll just put the feelers out if you're listening. If anyone knows her, I want to interview her. Yeah, but, so, this book, as you know, Leah, this book is about overcoming childhood emotional neglect, which a lot of us don't recognize is there because it's so invisible and just. And especially with my situation. Like, I see where I'm like, oh, my gosh, I would have never said that I had this, but.

Molly Claire [00:30:09]:
And then I'm like, oh, my gosh, I do.

Leah Davidson [00:30:11]:

Molly Claire [00:30:11]:
And so, but here's what I'll say about this. So, one of the things that I learned in this book is that if a child has emotions coming up, they have emotional needs. It's almost like you can visualize these emotions coming up and coming out, like, looking for who's here to receive these feelings or help me with these. Right. So let's imagine, like, I'm there as a child. Feelings are coming up. I'm feeling anxious, I'm feeling scared, and then I'm kind of, like, searching for someone to lean on to help me with these. And if there's nobody there, then what I do is I turn these feelings back on myself and start trying to shut them down, trying to dismiss them, minimize them, stomp them out.

Molly Claire [00:31:00]:
And so, of course, when I found the model that says my thoughts create my feelings, then this became a new way of changing and shutting down my thoughts and feelings to cope with things. So, yes, I used it in healthy ways, but it's almost like I was wired so early to turn things on myself, to minimize myself, minimize my thoughts, minimize my feelings, gaslight myself and say, like, this isn't really happening, you know? And so, so I think that's important to notice, as well, the way we will use the model and thought work is probably very much related to what our experience has been and what's natural and pattern for us.

Leah Davidson [00:31:47]:
Exactly. Yeah. And these patterns are not at a conscious level. What I loved about the book is I had the same experience where my experience was not one where I would have recognized it wasn't, like, this blatant, "Oh, yeah, I knew this happened". But as I was reading it and learning it, I'm like, I didn't realize this makes sense. These are the patterns that I have sort of running underneath everything. And then it was a sense of compassion for myself as opposed to the feeling of, like, "Oh, I have to fix my thoughts."

Leah Davidson [00:32:27]:
I have to change it. It was the sense of tremendous compassion for brilliant little Leah, as I call her, who just adapted in ways.

Molly Claire [00:32:37]:
Oh, my gosh.

Leah Davidson [00:32:37]:
And had these patterns that are, you know, served me well for periods of time because it was my survival, but then have just become ways that I no longer question. And like I said, when I started questioning some things, I just realized, like, no, it's not a choice. I'm just doing it because this is how I, I learned this. Yes, this is my programming, and now I'm aware of it. Now I can start questioning, do I still want to have this programming and where is it coming from?

Molly Claire [00:33:10]:

Leah Davidson [00:33:11]:

Molly Claire [00:33:11]:
Oh, my gosh. It really is a great book. I mean, and going back to, you know, you saying, like, you wouldn't have ever said that you had it. Like, you know, I had a mom who loved and adored all of us, and she really sacrificed, honestly, her wellbeing and health just to make sure we had food on the table. And so how guilty did I feel? Even like, asserting that I experienced emotional neglect. Right. But when. When someone's not home, when someone's out working to pay the bills, there's nobody there.

Molly Claire [00:33:46]:
So it's kind of like, of course it happens. So anyway, I just bring that up because I think we can make space for seeing how things in our life impacted us without, I'm, like, trying to think of how to articulate this. It's nothing against, you know, my mom or my parents or anything. It just is part of the reality of my experience. And when I can look at it and I can understand how I really need to shift my relationship with my own feelings in order to be healthier. It's like, it's just the greatest gift.

Leah Davidson [00:34:19]:
So, yeah, awesome. Any other ways that we are using this thoughtwork mindset, work model against ourselves?

Molly Claire [00:34:28]:
Oh, my. How much time do we have?

Leah Davidson [00:34:30]:
Maybe we'll do. I know. There's so much. We have part 234567, right?

Molly Claire [00:34:35]:
We're not a whole series, but yeah, I will say that if you are using thoughtwork as a new way to blame yourself, if you are using it to dismiss or minimize your own feelings, which I think we do a lot. And, you know, in talking about how other people do that sometimes, like, totally unintended as well. Right. It's kind of like, because I think we're kind of, a lot of us are uncomfortable with feelings or someone else having feelings. And so I think sometimes when people use things like, you know, mindset or ways of thinking or thinking positive that feel very dismissive to people, it's because they're really trying to shut down their feelings that they're having. Right, right. So, anyway.

Molly Claire [00:35:21]:
But, yes, anytime that we are trying to manipulate our ways of thinking to just get out of a way of feeling, it's not really that helpful.

Leah Davidson [00:35:32]:

Molly Claire [00:35:32]:
I think over time, it actually creates a pattern of us closing off our emotions, which is not healthy for us or helpful will actually keep us very stuck in our life.

Leah Davidson [00:35:43]:
That's right. And, I mean, it sends the message, you know, always pulling it to the nervous system. It sends the message that these emotions are dangerous and that we can't have them. So we keep suppressing them, which we see can lead to not just stuckness emotionally, but stuckness even physically. It can lead to so many manifestations of chronic pain. And chronic illnesses are things that we've touched on in the podcast that these suppressed and repressed emotions, if we are, they're going somewhere.

Molly Claire [00:36:16]:
That's right.

Leah Davidson [00:36:17]:
They need to come out at some point. And it doesn't serve us to try to manipulate or change our thoughts, to bypass being able to have the experience of the emotions we're better off to, to learn how to sit with the discomfort of the emotions that come along with many of our thoughts and many of our experiences.

Molly Claire [00:36:41]:
Yeah, I mean, just yesterday, I was teaching about kind of these four fundamental pieces of effective coaching. Right. Where we've got to understand the nervous system. Of course, we've got to have advanced, like, nuanced, effective thought work. We've got to have emotion processing and modalities to do it, and effective actions. And when we were talking about the emotion piece, it's like, the thing is that if we have this idea, you know, thoughts create our feelings, feelings drive actions, and actions create results. Well, then, what do I need to think in order to fix the feeling? I think it's about fixing the feeling. The feelings are not a problem.

Molly Claire [00:37:24]:
No, the feeling isn't a problem, problem at all. And so, if you've fallen into this, please just stop believing your feelings are a problem to be fixed, that your feelings are in the way. Your feelings are the way your feelings matter, your feelings need to be attended to. And when we can make space to actually care about ourselves, that we're having a feeling and we can journal about it, attend to it, verbally, process it, cry. Right, that crying. With activating the parasympathetic nervous system, we're.

Leah Davidson [00:37:59]:
Tying this all about the nervous system.

Molly Claire [00:38:03]:
Yeah. Right. Like, when we can do that. Oh, my gosh.

Leah Davidson [00:38:07]:

Molly Claire [00:38:07]:
That's what moves us. Right? You move the emotion, and it moves you, and you can then sometimes, like, doing that with the emotion, it clears the cognition. Right. It brings clarity with just so many things. And so that's another way if you're using mindset work or thought work, to believe it is the solution to fixing your feelings, that's a little bit of a red flag, because your feelings matter, too, right? Not just the thoughts. Like, make a little bit of space for them.

Leah Davidson [00:38:40]:
And actually, you know, more modern neuroscience is really pulling at the idea that it's bi-directional, that our feelings influence our thoughts. Our thoughts influence our feelings. It's not as linear as, you know, sometimes we think it is.

Molly Claire [00:38:56]:

Leah Davidson [00:38:56]:
So your feelings are giving you lots of information. I say your feelings are like the dashboard, the light on your car. It's letting you know, engine needs servicing, you need gas. Like, you need to be listening to those. And if you shut that down, then you are missing valuable information that really impacts your life.

Molly Claire [00:39:19]:
Yes. And you know what? I will just say this like anyone that is, I really do think that using thoughtwork as I will say this, I'm like trying to make this as clear as possible, because I really do think that it's important. I've been in a place where I was desperately trying to find a good enough thought work coach to help me change a situation in my life that was not positive for me. It was very detrimental for me. And I just kept thinking, "Okay, I've got to get a handle on my thoughts. Who can help me clean up my thinking? Who can help me clean up my thinking?" And thank goodness I did reach out to a phenomenal thoughtwork coach.

Molly Claire [00:40:10]:
It was, you know her, Krista St. Germain. And what we identified was, guess what? I can't out think my nervous system. I can't do enough thought work.

Leah Davidson [00:40:20]:
That's right.

Molly Claire [00:40:21]:
To fix a trauma response. I can't do enough. I cannot twist my thoughts in, like, my brain in a pretzel enough to be able to solve what my body and my emotions were trying to tell me.

Leah Davidson [00:40:38]:
That's right.

Molly Claire [00:40:39]:
And so if you're always in this battle of, you know, nervous system activation, like, body is elevated, emotions are elevated, and you're trying desperately to use cognition to fix it, stop trying to use the cognition, drop the model, forget about your brain, and find help in supporting your nervous system and listening to what's going on, because that is going to give you clarity to make decisions in your life.

Leah Davidson [00:41:06]:
And I also think it's really tied to, I did a couple episodes a while back just called stress reduction and stress resilience, and I talked about how we do have to be aware. Sometimes we talk so much about resilience and how to think things differently and perspectives, and I'm like, it's amazing. But sometimes it is the reduction we need to actually change something in our life. So if you're in a bad relationship, yeah, you can think, you know, different thoughts, and how can I think differently? How can I serve myself? How can I empower myself? But sometimes when you change your partner and when you change the relationship altogether, it changes everything. You don't have to try to do all the thoughtwork and turn your life into a pretzel.

Molly Claire [00:41:48]:

Leah Davidson [00:41:50]:
And I give the example on those podcasts where I say it's like when we're shopping for travel, because I love travel. If I get a situation where I'm going to go buy a ticket, and the first ticket that I come up, you know, it leaves at 04:00 a.m. And there's eight different connections, and it takes me 36 hours to get there. And I'm only allowed hand luggage. I mean, I guess I could try to work. How bad do I want it? I really want to be there. I could do that.

Leah Davidson [00:42:17]:
Or I could be like, I need to search for a direct flight that leaves at 09:00 a.m. That's only 6 hours. That allows me to have luggage. Oh, look at that. There's one there. That's the flight I need to buy.

Molly Claire [00:42:30]:
That's right.

Leah Davidson [00:42:31]:
And instead, so many times respect spending, like, well, you know, I only have to take the bus between this terminal and that terminal. And then once I take the train and, yeah, maybe, but at the end, you're probably going to be completely exhausted and not enjoy your trip. Sometimes we need to back up and we have to look at things and is there a different ticket that I need to buy? And is that what I need to be doing, my focus on? So I think there has to be both. And sometimes the stress resilience piece is the thought work piece. And sometimes, you know, the stress reduction is paying attention to what your nervous system is telling you and also looking at the circumstances in your life that some things are very, very different when you are with different people. And both of us have experienced that. Different marriages, different lives. And you can say, well, it's because you thought differently about the person and because I'm married to different people.

Molly Claire [00:43:31]:
Yeah, I think it becomes a problem. Right. Always think everyone else and everything around us is the problem, and we're, like, powerless to our circumstances, but let's not go to the other extreme and just, like, believe that there is no validity in, like, the facts of circumstances and situations in our lives either. So. Yeah.

Leah Davidson [00:43:49]:
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. All right, well, this was amazing. We could go on. Thank you so much for- and again, I hope people got the message. Neither of us are saying that thoughtwork doesn't have such an important role.

Molly Claire [00:44:04]:
Oh, it's tremendous. Yeah.

Leah Davidson [00:44:06]:
It can change lives. I know. It has changed my life, my perspective. I continue using it personally with my clients, teaching about it, but just knowing that there is the other side and what to look out for so that we aren't using it against us. And thank you for, for bringing up so many examples and for being here. For people who want to know more about you, where can they find you and what to you are up to.

Molly Claire [00:44:33]:
Yeah. Okay. So if you're a coach, definitely check out The Masterful Coach podcast. I talk about coaching, skill, life, and business. You can go to, where you can find information about the Masterful Coach Collective and the offerings. Specifically, I am enrolling for Holistic Master Coach training. This is like my work, my heart, my everything. It is really where I'm helping you as a coach to be able to implement effective change with your clients.

Molly Claire [00:45:08]:
And we study advanced and nuanced thought work. We study emotion focused modalities. Leah teaches some classes on the nervous system, and then we also talk about affection, action focused strategies that really work. And we cover several different niches. It's very comprehensive. And, and what I'll say about it is that program is really designed to be very supportive of the coaches in there, supportive of their nervous system, and really create an environment where you are able to, to really learn what you need to, to be a phenomenal coach.

Molly Claire [00:45:44]:
So I could go on and on, but I won't. But that's where you can find it.

Leah Davidson [00:45:47]:
That's awesome. I'm rah, rah, rah. I love that. I love being a part of it. I love sharing about the nervous system, giving people a taste of the nervous system. And then I always say, well, if you love the nervous system and you want to know more, then come over to me and we can go much deeper in the nervous system. But I think it's wonderful what you're putting out in the world. So thank you.

Leah Davidson [00:46:08]:
And thank you for being on today, and we will see you next time.

Voice Over [00:46:14]:
Thanks for listening to the Masterful coach podcast. Are you ready to build your amazing business with Molly as your coach coach? Check out to find out about Masterful Coach foundations and the 10k Accelerator Method. It's the ultimate support for you as a coach, building your ideal life and business.