The Power of Awareness

We don’t know what we don’t know. Knowing what holds us back is 80% of the effort that is required in order to fix things.

Once you know what to do, you can put the steps into place. Then it’s just a matter of executing. This is the power of awareness.

As a life coach for women, I discovered this through the process of studying how the brain works and what drives us from a neuroscience perspective.

I love to be able to understand how we can take control of our thoughts. God says in the Bible that we need to renew our mind daily, which means it’s like taking a shower. For most of us, we shower every day. We do that physically, but we don’t do it mentally.

Here’s the thing: your brain is one of the most important organs in your whole body. It’s drives your whole system. It uses 20% of your blood flow. There’s more connections in your brain than there are stars in the sky!

To overcome mental blocks really starts with the number one key which is awareness. Number two is addressing the issues, and number three is putting the plan into place. Many people have a problem with execution too, because we have issues like procrastination or excuses or avoidance.

As a mindset coach I can help you undercover your blind spots and help you leverage the power of a disciplined mind.

TRANSCRIPT

Hello, everybody. It’s Mimika Cooney and welcome back. It’s been a few months since we’ve had the Mimika TV podcast on hold, but I’m so excited to introduce you to a new season. Welcome to season six of Mimika TV.

I really got to a situation where in my life, where I started asking the questions, why am I doing what I am I doing today? And after going through a really, traumatic experience through the family, the loss of my mother-in-law or to cancer, as well as a child in crisis with mental health issues and a business failure, I literally fell apart. Talk about burnout and breakdown. It’s not a pretty sight, not something that I advise people to do. My drug of choice was being a workaholic. I would just push and push and push and being. Like, my husband would say, you have two gears, you’re either full blast or full stop. Those kind, those high achievers, I’m sure you’re listening there. The ones are like, I just keep going until I fall apart. And then all I wanna do on the weekend is sleep because we just burned the candle on both end.

Well, that experience really made me reassess my life and what I was doing with my motivations. It really set me on the path of coaching, and understanding neuroscience like I’m a total neuroscience geek. I say, as a recovering perfectionist and control freak. I gave up my membership to control freaks anonymous, and since then I’m so much happier! It’s been so much more of a fun ride. Just really understanding that life is made for a living. We don’t have feel like there’s this giant ticking time bomb that we feel we are so rushed to get things done. It really started to reassess what I was doing. In the last sort of five years, I’ve re rebranded myself as a mindset metacog coach and life coach for women. I re-shifted, went back to school and learned as much as I can.

That brings me to what I’m doing today is officially known as a mindset metacog coach, which basically means I challenge you to think about what you’re thinking about. A lot of the time for most of us are not aware of what we are thinking. We just kind of go with the flow, and we just fall into habitual habits of doing things. Oftentimes it comes from childhood. What we learned in our formative years that we don’t think about as we become adults. I like to call them the boomerang thoughts. Everyone has those negative thoughts and responses. Sometimes I call her the drama queen. She likes to be so dramatic when something goes wrong. It’s like, “oh my God, it’s just gonna be terrible”. The runaway train thoughts where all of a sudden before it, you’ve imagined the end of the world and it’s not necessarily true.

As a life coach for women, I discovered through this process and studying how the brain works and what drives us. I’m very much come from a sports psychology mindset. I love to be able to understand how the brain works from a neuroscience perspective, but also how we can take control of it. God says in the Bible that we need to renew our mind daily, which means it’s like taking a shower. Like for most of us, we shower every day, right? We do that physically, but we don’t do it mentally. And here’s the thing. Your brain is one of the most important organs in your whole body. It’s drives your whole system. It uses 20% of your blood flow. There’s more connections in your brain than there are stars in the sky!

So I was like, wow, this is fascinating. If we could start to shift our thinking instead of dealing with ill health, once the worst has happened, what if we could preempt that train ourselves? Just like an athlete thinks about doing things proactively for our mental health, because mental, spiritual, emotional, all go together. We can’t ignore the spiritual part it all works together.

That’s why I’m excited about really diving into where the mind, the man or the women follows. I do find there’s a difference between men and women’s brains because physiologically there is. So for example, women tend to ruminate a lot. Like we tend to get an idea or tend to worry more. So a lot of blocks, or what we would call limiting beliefs, are ways of thinking about yourself that you think are true, but maybe aren’t necessarily true.

Like for example, “I’m never gonna be good at math”. Maybe someone told you that when you were a child and now your assumption about math and money and anything to do with that makes you feel frustrated or you avoid it. But a limiting belief is a belief about yourself or the world or your circumstance that limits you in some way. Or that stops you from reaching your potential. For example, if you believe that you want to become a professional athlete, but you’ve never really put in the work to do anything, we would call that wishful thinking. But if you have the skills, you have the abilities, but every time you show up to go for a run or go for training, your first thought you have is “I’m never gonna be able to do this”, or “I’m never gonna win that”. I’m never, or negativity is really what’s gonna hold you back in your mental health.

This is what I love about sports psychology. We bring it into everyday life as athletes have found a way to get over those limiting beliefs. Because we all have them, but there’s a point that happens where you make a decision. Are you gonna allow it to limit you or are you gonna allow yourself to push through? Because inherently our brain wants to keep us in comfort. Everything we do is to avoid discomfort and most people are risk averse, which basically means they don’t wanna take any risk. But nothing grows in a comfort zone. We have to push ourselves past what’s comfortable, past what feels good, and get into that decision. No matter how I feel, as much as I wanna lay in bed, I’m gonna get out of bed. I’m gonna put my running shoes on and I’m gonna go for a jog down the road. Because I know this is what’s gonna be better for me, even though I feel like sleeping in.

So that is the difference between understanding those thoughts. That’s why I say awareness is super key to become aware of what’s holding you back. Sometimes it takes a bit of digging, which is what I do with my mindset coaching clients and my students in my programs, is to help them uncover what’s holding them back. Then you can put in a plan of action and then you can decide what to work on.

Like I’m an adult figure skater and I never learned to skate until I was like 31. I decided I wanted to do this as a mental challenge as something I really wanted to do. No matter how I felt about myself or what background I came from, I’ve done classical ballet, but there was a lot more to learn.

What I’ve found as an adult, when you want to learn something new, you first have undo bad habits and then train yourself through repetition and practice to do the good things, to do the good habits. But it’s almost like you have to override your muscle memory. If your muscle memory is to automatically retreat, or to go to denial, or to allow fear to stop you, we would never do great things. Because the difference between those who are doing and achieving well in life doesn’t make them extra special. They’ve just understood the concept of pushing through the pain, pushing through the uncomfortable and getting to the other side. The good news is anyone can do it if we put our minds to it.

This is something that Dr. Carol Dweck actually came up with quite a few years ago when she did studies with kids in school. What she discovered is that there’s basically two types of learners. Obviously there’s a lot more detail, but just a general overview is that someone who has a fixed mindset (and it’s not just for kids it’s adults too), is someone who is unteachable. Someone who maybe feels that they can never learn new things or maybe they’re too old or they’re too set in their ways.

But the good news is it’s not necessarily like a thing about age. It’s a thing about attitude. It’s really about, are you teachable? Are you able to open yourself up to learn things? You could be 80 years old and you can learn something new, but are we coachable? Are we teachable? Are we open to learning? Which often means we to be open to failure. Oftentimes people don’t like the feeling of failure, but here’s the good news. Failure isn’t failure it’s just experiments.

Every good invention that’s ever happened in the world never just came from the first try. Everything comes with experiments and trying and tweaking and learning from your mistakes. So if we can have that understanding of a growth mindset, “I might not be where I wanna be but I know I’m on my way to going where I want to be”. We can start to celebrate the wins and this is something that recovering perfectionist don’t do very well. We’re not really good at celebrating when we do something well. As soon as we achieve something, we are onto the next thing and what happens in our brain is we never allow ourselves to finish something. We call it the open and closed loop concept.

If you ever watch a TV show and you wonder why something like Netflix is so addictive is because they start the story with some kind of conflict and the characters have to achieve something. And just before the end of that episode, they’re kind of come to some resolution. But if you notice it doesn’t just finish there, right? Often times they open another loop with some more questions or some other dramatic thing that has to be answered, but they leave you with the a cliffhanger. That’s why we want to keep watching is our brain is inherently built to want to find closure and solutions. It needs to come to some kind of finish in order for it to know that this has been achieved. So we need to reassess the way we think about things. So if we are achieving something or we have a goal, even the little things we have to celebrate the baby steps. Because if you are thinking about this huge thing and you can’t celebrate your growth along the way, you are always gonna feel like a failure until you reach the final destination. But here’s the truth, Life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. I know it sounds totally cliche, but it’s totally true. We need to celebrate each day like each day of growth each month, each year. That’s how we grow and have a growth mindset is to always remain open to learning and always remaining teachable. To say, “I know I’m not where I wanna be, but I sure am not where I was yesterday. I am growing.”

Some tips to really help you overcome those mental blocks is your number one key is awareness. You don’t know what you don’t know, right? And until you figure that out, then you can put a plan into place. So one of the tips that I always like to encourage my clients and students to do is to actually journal, write things down. Something amazing happens in your brain when you take pen to paper.

You do what I call a “brain dump” because sometimes we can have so many ideas and thoughts and negative thoughts and to do lists and replaying conversations, but just taking it from your head and putting it on paper, is one step towards gaining peace of mind. Because then when you have it in front of you written down, first of all, it helps to slow down your thinking and it helps you tap into your, up your subconscious can actually address the deeper issues. I’ve been a journaler since I was a kid. I always find like, even when I was young, “Dear Diary you can’t believe what so and so said to me today” and then you read it back and you go, “oh my gosh, is that what I really think about this? Oh my gosh, do I really talk to myself like that?” I wouldn’t talk to anybody else like that. So it’s really putting a mirror up and saying, “okay what is actually going on in my thoughts in my head?” So journaling is a really good habit. Once you can see it on pen and paper, then you can start to make sense of what needs to be addressed.

Knowing what holds you back is 80% of the effort that’s required in order to fix it. Once you know what to do, you can put the steps into place. Then it’s just a matter of executing. Now, of course, a lot of people have a problem with execution too, because we have issues like procrastination or, excuses or avoidance, but that that’s another conversation, we could go into a whole other topic. But mostly what I want people to know is, to overcome mental blocks really starts with number one is awareness. Number two is then addressing those issues. And number three is just putting the plan into place.

Everybody knows that if they have a situation, oftentimes they’re not exactly sure what the roots are. I’m very big proponent on digging into the roots. If we know what the problem is, so we can get it out. Because a lot of the time we deal with the fruits, which is anger, irritation, procrastination. We can’t seem to figure out what it is that keeps driving us to repeat behaviors. Right? So my process is to really start to take them to slow them down. Oftentimes, people will say, “I feel overwhelmed. I feel stuck. I feel frustrated. I can’t seem to get moving”.

There’s a mindset term. Just like when you drive a car, if you happen to get it stuck in a ditch, the worst thing you can do is apply more pressure and add more gas to the pedal, right? You’re just gonna end up flinging more mud and not really going anywhere. What you need is a tool that’s gonna pull you out of the ditch, which is usually a roadside assistance. In most cases, someone needs to come and provide some extra push or some other tool to really get you out of that stuck situation. Then you can kind of work on cleaning things up in order to get momentum. What we tend to do as humans is, “this isn’t working so let me push harder or let me try harder”. Einstein has a saying, “doing the same thing over and over is called insanity” so if we want a different result, we’ve gotta do something differently.

A part of the whole process is to first of all, to stop, take stock, figure out where you are and then decide where you want to be. And then we’ll work out the steps in between to help you take those baby steps. To gain momentum, not pushing harder until you reach burnout (which isn’t exactly the best idea either). It’s really is assessing and rest is important too. Resting the mind, resting the body. Just taking some time out to take stock and to figure out where you are, is the first step towards getting unstuck.

Here’s the thing I kind of have like a love/hate relationship with new year’s resolutions because most people, say that on average people keep their resolutions for a week, and then they give up and go, “oh well it’s too hard. I’m just gonna, why bother?”

Instead of having a New Years resolution, which is almost like a rule you make with yourself like “I’m gonna stop smoking or I’m gonna lose so much weight”. I prefer to take it as more of a growth goals. Because goals are great, but sometimes they can feel a little too fixed. Then if you fall off or lose momentum or you fall behind, what tends to happen is people feel they’re so far behind that they can’t catch up, so they give up. So instead, I like to rather encourage people to pursue growth goals. I’m learning something about where I’m at. I’m not where I was, but I’m on the way to where I’m going. So what can I do? Break it down into small little chunks instead of thinking, I wanna lose a hundred pounds, think about how you can lose two and make it achievable. Because when you achieve those little goals, you create that momentum in your brain. That goes, “oh, I can totally do that”. And it builds confidence.

So this is part of the work I do with my clients. I have my signature program called “Untick your mind” which is a coaching program, a mentorship program, as well as the name of my podcast. My upcoming book called “Untick your mind: How shift your mindset, develop grit and breakthrough barriers”. I’m excited for people. If they’d love to have resources, I’d love for them to get in touch with me. The best place to find me is my website, www.mimikacooney.com, spelled M I M I K A C O O N E Y.com. I have a bunch of free resources and downloads. Definitely get in touch with me and I’d love to help.

Mindset Book