Psychology: Internal Dialogue, Judgment, and Beliefs

Chad Peevy

Chad Peevy

Chad is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Human Progress and Development

Psychology: Internal Dialogue, Judgment, and Beliefs

The following blog post is a transcription of the podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast here:

I need to go to Whole Foods.

I love apples. Do we have peanut butter.

I hope that client comes through this week.

Where is Pasha?

Bailey is acting older, I need a puppy.

I wish my knee would stop hurting.

Ugh, I feel fat. Put that peanut butter back and go for a run.

Internal dialogue – the ceaseless, ongoing conversation in our heads.

You see internal dialogue illustrated in cartoons, the character will have an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other.

Oh, if only it were that simple.

The internal dialogue I have experienced is different than what is shown on screen, there’s no rational discussion between me, good, and evil. Are you kidding me? It’s more like me and the cast from “101 Dalmations.” Yappy, needy little voices, all in my head all competing for my attention, pulling me from one direction to the next.

Thought after thought popping into my head, some good, many unwelcome. They come and they go, here one second and gone the next.

This is Chad Peevy, thank you for listening to my podcast.

In the last podcast I talked about my practice in mindfulness, I shared with you the 4 practices that help me still my mind, one of them being meditation.

So, as I was thinking about this week’s podcast I wanted to try a little experiment.

I wanted to know how well I was meditating. I’m sure those of you who are mindfulness experts are going to have plenty of reasons to criticise me on this one and so to you I say, namaste.

My work flirts with the intersection of life and business. So while I’m always looking for personal development, I’m also looking for a return on my investment.

So I’m asking myself…

I’m meditating all day, putting in the time, I have to wonder…Am I getting better at this? How many times is my mind drifting off in thought as I try to calm my mind and stay in the present?

So I did what any rational person would do, I took to the internet.

I bought a hand-counter from Amazon, that kind you always see the bouncer holding at the door. 2 days later it shows up and I’m off to meditate.

I get into position, start the timer on my phone, and place the clicker in the palm of my hand.

“In and out, in and out, focus on the breath” I told myself.

Each time I had a thought that distracted me from focusing on the “in and out” of my breath, my thumb triggered the tally on the counter.

In my 12 minutes of meditation that day, I clicked the counter 48 times. Keep in mind this is the time I and trying to limit my random thoughts. The result? A new thought popped in my head, I acknowledged and recording it, every 15 seconds.

This was no scientific study by any means, I simply wanted to do a little self-monitoring, like stepping on a scale. And to be fair, at least of few of those thoughts were about the clicker itself.

So what does that tell me, what did I learn?

Well, my first take-away was, “dude, what a nerd”

My second thought was, “Chad, I think you’re really missing the point of meditation.”

But my third thought was, “wow! If I’m distracted by thought every 15 seconds while I’m in the act of calming my mind, what must that rate be during the regular course of my day?”

I don’t know, tracking and recording that would be a major task. And I couldn’t find any reputable scientific source to answer the question, so the mystery remains for me. But I can imagine that total daily number would dwarf the one from my little experiment.

That’s a lot of thinking. And all that thought is exhausting. By the way, did you know your brain only makes up about 2% of your total body weight, but consumes 20% of your energy? That’s why you can’t think straight when you’re hungry, your brain literally needs to be fed.

Can you imagine the impact on productivity that barrage of thoughts must have?

In the coaching program I authored, I define ‘psychology’ as the health of our internal dialogue. We will borrow that definition for the sake of today’s podcast. The health of our internal dialogue.

There is always a conversation going on inside of our heads, at least for us mere mortals.

Eckhart Tolle in his book “The Power of Now,” talks about a state of being wherein we are not the participants in that conversation, but rather observers of it. He goes on to suggest that we reach a level of being that allows us to essentially turn that conversation off when it is not in serving a purpose.

Tolle advocates the discovery of this state by intensely focusing one’s attention in the present. He speaks of focusing one’s attention on the mundane parts of our daily routine so that it essentially de-identifies you from your mind – and grounds you in the present.

I am drawn to the idea, it’s a seductive thought, to have a mind that activates on demand and stays focused on the here and now.

Easier said than done though, my friend.

While Tolle’s approach to one’s state of present mind is something I strive for, it’s not where I am nor is it where I started my journey to improving what we defined earlier as a healthy psychology.

In today’s podcast I want to share with you how I began my journey of taming un-useful thought patterns and I’ll share with you some tools to begin your own journey.

When we’re growing up, we are told – and we make up – stories that define who we are and how we view the world. These stories essentially become our worldview.

Many times, much of these worldview ideas are not based in reality. They are based on what someone told us or what we told ourselves – we believed it and never challenged the idea, and so it stuck.

Our worldview will manifest itself in our lives.

Simply put, what we think, we become.

When I realized that, it changed my life.

If you subscribe to that idea, the idea that what you think, you become, it gives you an enormous amount of personal power. It also requires a major dose of personal responsibility.

If my thoughts produced my current circumstances, then I have to take responsibility for my current circumstance.

And if my thoughts produced this, they can produce something else.

Too many people go through life though, and never take the time to reflect on their thoughts, actions or beliefs.

They go through life stuck in a pattern that is familiar, even if unsatisfying.

Many people never take the time to reflect on their belief system and ask simple questions like: Where does this thought come from? Why do I think that? Is this something that I truly believe, or was this thought passed to me by someone else?

These are simple but essential questions that a person who wants to thrive, must ask themselves and ask often. There is no greater influence on your happiness or success than your very own thoughts and beliefs.

I grew up in a fundamentalist christian church. I was taught to believe many things that weren’t congruent with my own experience. (I know that this example is extreme, but I believe it powerfully illustrates my point.)

I was a young man coming of age, taken to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night.

I was taught a terrible belief system of hate and judgement that I believe did an enormous amount of damage to me and contributed greatly to my unhappiness as a young man.

I was so unhappy because of the incongruence that existed in my beliefs. I was taught that being gay was a sin – to hear them tell it – one of the greatest sins of all. I was taught that the “homosexual agenda” was one that was a great threat to our way of life. I was taught that gay people were disgusting, vile people who deserved nothing but an eternity of hell fire and brimstone. I was taught that gay people should all be sent away to a remote island so they couldn’t infect the rest of us.

I heard terrible things said about gay people. But what is most troubling to me and what has had the most profound impact was that, I wasn’t just hearing these things, I was also the one saying these things – from the pulpit of the church.

At some point I got it in my head that I was so damaged, the only way to repair and compensate was to go deeper into the beliefs I was being taught. I wouldn’t just internalize and adopt the belief but I would evangelize the message. If I could spew enough hatred then I would deflect attention and suspicion of myself.

I would study the book of Leviticus and then go to deliver a message to the church on the dreadful condition of the homosexual. If I could just hate myself enough, the gay had to go away.

I never made it through one of those talks without sobbing. I would stand there in front of the church, saying horrible things about gay people, crying my eyes out because I knew that I was one of them.

I was gay, I was this evil thing that I kept hearing about.

But here’s the thing: I had no role models. At that point in my life I had never met an openly gay person and as far as I could remember, never even seen one on TV.

I didn’t know that gay people were actually healthy, contributing members of society, even though many at the time were hiding their true identities.

I didn’t know that, all I knew was what I was hearing about them and then repeating in church.

It took me many years of challenging that belief system to get to a place where I wasn’t beating myself up for being gay. But if I’m honest, traces of that internalized homophobia still exists, I still get uncomfortable when I see two men or two women holding hands in public. It’s the strangest thing, I’m cheering for them in one part of my mind, and I’m scared for them in another.

So I continue to do the work and walk my own journey of acceptance for myself and others, and one day love.

I know this is an extreme example, but I want you to consider that when your internal dialogue, our worldview, the stories and conversations we tell ourselves are negative and judgemental, we are holding ourselves back from living fully.

Maybe it’s a belief that you’re not good enough.

Belief that you’re not ready.

Belief that if you leave an abusive marriage that you’ll never make it on your own.

Belief that you’ll never find the right person, that you’re meant to be alone.

Belief that you don’t have the time to work out or eat right.

Belief that you’re just meant to be a poor starving artist.

And my all time favorite, a belief that this is the way things are supposed to be, because this is just the way we’ve always done it.

How is your state of judgement, your beliefs, your internal dialogue contributing to the best version of you?

Challenging my beliefs was only one part of a healthier psychology. I also had to seek out role models, read books, and talk to people who were like me. Do you have a healthy psychology?

These are just a few examples of how our beliefs are manifest in our lives, but there are others that can also have an impact on our well-being and success.

Phrases that we grow up hearing that we perpetuate through our lives. Things like, “you can’t have it all,” “money doesn’t grow on trees,” “who do you think you are?”

One of the more overlooked lessons from Tolle is that we can be in observation, without being in judgement.

I grew up in small town Arkansas, I know all about judgement. It’s hard to see a person, a family, a situation and not be in judgement of it. But that was before you knew that you could simply observe without being in judgement.

It’s the judgement part that opens our minds up to an unhealthy internal dialogue – because who is impacted by your judgement – an inherently negative thought pattern? Is it the person or object of your judgement? Usually not. The damage of judgement falls on us.

I want to challenge you to try something this week….

I want you to make a decision to not be in judgement this week. This means refraining from judgement of what you see, hear or experience, and simply be in observation of it.

This also means not being in a state of judgement. A state wherein the thoughts and beliefs that you hold are cemented and unquestioned.

I want you to open yourself up this week to new possibilities, new friendships, new connections, new ideas, and new opportunities.

Simply be in observation. And then ask yourself questions.

Where does this thought come from? Why do I think that? Is this something that I truly believe, or was this thought passed to me by someone else? Does this thought serve me or sabotage me? Are these thoughts creating the future I want for myself? Do these thoughts reflect the person I want to be?

If you find in your life that you’re coming up short, if you know that you have more potential, you have more to give, you want to make a bigger impact and perhaps a bigger income, then examine your thinking. You may be stuck in a state of judgement. You may have an internal dialogue holding you back.

When you look at your life, you are looking at the result of your thoughts.

Consider how your thoughts and beliefs are impacting your relationships, career, health, money, your future, your very identity.

What have your thoughts gotten you so far?

If you’re not happy with what’s showing up in your life, it’s time to make some changes to your thoughts.

Maybe it’s time for some kindness, some forgiveness, some love – for yourself and others.

Maybe it’s time for some healing.

Maybe it’s time to confront and challenge your thoughts and beliefs.

Maybe it’s time to recognize that your mind is ruminating in negativing and judgement, only leading to your own misery.

Maybe it’s time to stop judgement and simply observe.

Maybe it’s time to replace the negative thoughts with thoughts that support and affirm you.

You don’t have to become Deepak Chopra or Eckhert Tolle to feel a little better. If you’re path is like mine where you deal with issues of depression or anxiety, making the leap from here to enlightenment is a long one.

There are things you can start to do today to ease your mind. A practice in mindfulness and an evaluation of your internal dialogue are great places to start.

I want to remind you today that these podcasts are not a substitute for the help of a mental health professional. There is no shame in asking for help if you need it.

I appreciate your listening. If you haven’t followed me on Facebook or Instagram, please do.

And if you could take a minute to give the podcast a positive rating, that would be really helpful for me.

Until next time, I’m Chad Peevy

What we think, we become.

If my thoughts produced my current circumstances, they can create new circumstances.

Be in observation, not judgment.

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A Practice in Mindfulness

Chad Peevy

Chad Peevy

Chad is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Human Progress and Development

A Practice in Mindfulness

The following blog post is a transcription of the podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast here.

Imagine for a second that you have an itch on your leg. What happens next? Your brain senses the discomfort and what happens? You reach down to scratch. Instinctively, without thinking.

Our habits and programming cause us to do the same thing in all areas of our lives. Someone says hi to us, looks at us the wrong way, cuts us off in traffic, or even when we sit down to eat.

We instinctively react to the stimuli. We say hi back, we get angry, we honk our horn, we eat everything on our plate because that’s what we’ve been programmed to do.

A practice in mindfulness, would be to simply observe what you are seeing, hearing, or experiencing. If necessary, you then respond in a manner in which you have consciously decided to respond as opposed to instinctively reacting to every stimuli that you experience.

Mindfulness is about self-regulation of the mind. And mindfulness is a practice that can be integrated into our daily lives.

How much of your life is spent just scratching the itch?

Today I’m going to share with you my mindfulness practice. My hope is that you find it helpful and discover ideas that you can adopt for yourself. Or at least set you on a journey to discover your own mindfulness practice – to find the right tools and techniques that work for you.

Hi, my name is Chad Peevy, thank you for listening and subscribing to my podcast.

Before we get going, I have a little confession.

Every time I go down this mindfulness path, I start feeling a little too hippie-dippie

I grew up in the south, in Arkansas. I moved to Austin for graduate school where the idea of mindfulness is much more common. Truth is, a mindfulness practice sometimes feels like I’ve fallen into a web of tie-dye and beaded bracelets. For me, it can get a little too woo-woo. I usually check out on this stuff somewhere between the healing crystals and the talk about reincarnation. So for me, the idea of mindfulness has carried with it a little bit of a stigma. If that’s you, I get it, I really do.

If you share my skepticism, then I just want to ask you to just hear me out today. As a fellow skeptic, I understand the resistance. But just go with me for the next few minutes.

What finally got me to buy into the idea of mindfulness has been the benefits that I’ve seen in my life first hand.

Mindfulness is a path I have been on and off for much of my adult life. I finally resolved to the fact that, as “too far out there” some of the mindfulness ideas may go, the benefits, particularly the 4 practices I’m going to share with you today, are just too powerful for me to ignore.

So let’s start by answering the question, what is mindfulness?

Being mindful is about having a degree of control over your mind so that your mind is your companion, not your enemy. Being mindful is about not falling victim to the whims of your emotions. It’s about putting yourself in the driver’s seat of your thoughts, not being driven by them.

If you start doing research in mindfulness you will find that there are many schools of thought around that word. From an expression of gratitude to being present with the people around you, to not being on your phone.

Today we’re using the word mindfulness to describe a state of being aware of being aware, you could also think of it as thinking about thinking. Now, I know that sounds like a little bit of a riddle.

So let’s just cut right to my goal of mindfulness… and that is our ability to think about and ultimately control what we are thinking.

I’ve shared with you in previous podcast about my own battle with depression and anxiety. I can tell you without reservation that a mindfulness practice helps me to better prevent and come out on the other side of those feelings.

Depression is a serious issue.

There was an article published last week in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology that raised a lot of eyebrows. I want to share with you just a few of the findings…

The rate of individuals reporting symptoms consistent with major depression in the last 12 months increased 52 percent in adolescents and 63 percent in young adults age 18 to 25. There was also a 71 percent increase in young adults experiencing serious psychological distress. The rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017.

The study goes on to discuss potential reasons for that increase. Researchers suggested social media use and less face-to-face time with others, as well as a decrease in sleep.

If you’re interested, you can find a link to the full article here:

Now, this podcast is not a substitute for professional help. If you experience symptoms of depression or anxiety, there is no shame in asking for professional help.

Depression, anxiety, fear – absent a physical or chemical abnormality – are the result of bad management of the mind. When I first realized that it was a bit of a punch to the gut. If it’s bad management of the mind, that means that I’m doing this to myself. If I’m doing this to myself, even if it may be the result of past or current circumstances, or social media usage or lack of connection with other people, then I have the power the change it.

Acknowledging that I have that power, realizing that what I am feeling is a management issue, gives me a feeling of control that I find satisfying. Because feeling depressed or anxious, then coupled with the idea that there is nothing I can do about it, that only perpetuates those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

Acknowledging that 1) it will pass and 2) that I can do something about it, gives me back my power.

And so to me, a practice in mindfulness empowers me. Even when I’m down, I know there are steps I can take to feel better.

I know that a practice in mindfulness helps me because when I’m in practice, I feel better. It’s even more obvious when I stop my practice. I forget that the reason I’m feeling good is because of the practice itself.

It’s like when you lose a little weight, you think, oh, I can just eat this cheeseburger now, it’s fine.

No. Step away from the cheeseburger, sir.

And so while I may sometimes vere in and out of the lane of mindfulness, there’s no doubt that a consistent practice of mindfulness benefits me.

So how does one practice mindfulness? I have a few ideas that I have discovered through research and my own experience. Today I’ll share with you the 4 practices that I use to exercise mindfulness in my life. These ideas fall into 4 categories: awareness, gratitude, intention, and meditation.

First of all, awareness of what it means to be mindful. Like so many other things in life, we have to first recognize that there is indeed a problem. The problem in this case is that we are living our life on autopilot.

Are you just going through the motions at the whim of your emotions? Are you living your life through the routine that was programmed into you by your parents or perhaps by your spouse or by your job? Are you consciously thinking about what it is that you want out of this life? Or are you just letting life happen to you? The difference can be the factor that determines the quality, satisfaction, happiness and success of your entire life.

How aware are you of the daily goings-on of your life?

I’m reminded of how we greet one another in polite society.

  • “Hi, how are you?”
  • “I’m well, how are you?”
  • “I’m well, thanks for asking.”

It’s a script, a script that we’ve all learned is acceptable by most and enough to allow us to get through nearly any interaction, really without any effort at all. If I see you walking through the airport, I don’t have to think about what to say, I have a script. Which may be fine in that circumstance, but how much else of your life is simply on auto-pilot? How much of your life are you living this way?

That script itself is your programming. That script, or programing is the rails on which we live our lives. Similarly, we have ways in which we react to situations as they arise. These are our default settings.

Think about those times when things don’t go your way. Maybe your default is to blame everyone else for the problem. Maybe your default setting is to blame yourself for everything, allowing everyone else off the hook. Maybe your default is to quit because it got too hard. Maybe your default is to keep pushing and fighting even when you shouldn’t.

My challenge for you today is to evaluate those default settings. Are you aware of your default reactions? Are you aware of how much of your life is reactions, rather than a conscious and intentional responses?

For me, I have a tendency to take on too much responsibility for any given situation. I too easily let other people off the hook for their behavior. This came up for me in therapy.

Through my own journey of self-discovery I learned that I likely take on too much responsibility for a situation because of something called ‘narcissistic defense mechanism.’ It sounds like a terrible thing to have, doesn’t it? Just the name is terrifying.

I’m not a psychologist, but the way I understand this idea is that when I was young, I picked up the idea from my mom or dad or both, that my needs or wants were a burden to them. At some point I began to believe that what I wanted or needed was too much for them to handle because they already had enough to handle without me adding on top of their already existing problems.

My perception was that they had too much to handle, and could not handle any more, specifically me asking or demanding for more. So I held on to those needs, I learned to not ask for help, I began suppressing my own desires in deference to theirs. This could have happened at a really young age, from the days of crying in the crib. I’m not sure exactly where I picked it up, but I would imagine it’s a culmination of many instances over many years that lead to this type of programming.

It’s not hard to see how this would show up for me as an adult. I don’t reach out to people for help, even when I know I should. I don’t trust other people to do things for me because I make excuses for them as to why they are unwilling, unable, or simply incompetent to deliver for me. I don’t lean on people emotionally, for me that’s too much of a burden to put on someone.

In reality though, we are social creatures. We were made to rely on one another. We have survived because we relied on one another.

To work through it I have to be aware that it’s happening. I have to make more of an effort to lean on and rely on other people. I’m learning that it’s a bit of a balancing act, sometimes I find myself relying too much or leaning emotionally perhaps earlier in a relationship than the other person is ready for.

Sometimes it gets awkward, but awareness is a practice, a work in progress.

My second mindfulness practice is gratitude. And not just gratitude for stuff or things, but gratitude for all the facets of my life, even the stuff I don’t like. Gratitude for the roof over my head, the food I eat, the people in my life, the breath I take. But also gratitude for the challenges I’m faced with and my ability to learn and grow from them. Particularly this time of year, tax time. I have to pay in to the IRS every year. Instead of complaining about it, I prefer to express gratitude that I had a great year, that I have the money to pay the tax bill, and that I’m fulfilling my obligation as a citizen.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? I freely admit that some expressions of gratitude are easier than others. But I practice nonetheless. Because today’s obstacle is tomorrow’s victory.

Gratitude, to me, is a little self-serving. I honestly feel like the more gratitude I express for my life, the better my life gets.

It’s like when you say, “I’m so grateful” that the Universe responds by saying, “Well, if you think that’s good, let me show you how much better it can be!”

Gratitude is like Miracle Grow. Could your plants grow without it? Sure. Will your plants be so much better with it? You’re damn right they will.

So how do you put gratitude into practice? I have a couple of suggestions.

First, if you keep a journal – whether a gratitude journal or just a daily planner – make it part of your daily routine to reflect on your life through the lens of gratitude. And as I said before, even the challenges you face deserve your appreciation, because it’s through those challenges that you are going to grow.

My second suggestion is to simply be more mindful or aware of gratitude. Reprogram yourself through reminders and affirmations to be intentional about seeing your life through the lens of gratitude so that you go through your life in a constant state of gratitude.

This is one thing my dad got right. My dad was a stickler for making sure that we expressed our gratitude. “Did you say thank you?” he would ask. It was saying thank you for simple things but saying thank you for the simple things instilled a sense of awareness for gratitude.

My mom and dad also prayed with me and my brother every night. Those prayers as kids were largely expressions of gratitude for basic things. But as a result, we were made to bring our attention each night to the blessings in our lives.

My folks messed up a lot, but the gratitude thing, they got that one right.

Gratitude means we have to stop complaining and criticizing ourselves for how far along we think we should be, and instead, celebrating and recognizing how far we’ve come.

The third mindfulness practice is intention.

When you woke up this morning, did you decide the way this day was going to go? What you are going to accomplish? How you are going to feel? How you are going to treat people? How you expected to be treated?

Our intentions are how we take our life off of autopilot and put our hands on the controls. Will there be bumps in the road? Sure, of course there will be. But nonetheless, we are driving. We determine when and how much we swerve. We determine how fast, how slow, and when to stop. We have a destination and we are intentionally putting pavement behind us to get there.

I have very successful clients who tell me that this was the thing that changed the game for them. One client reported to me an increase of 30% in her business when she started integrating this idea into her life. Instead of letting the day drag you and push you around, you determine what today will look like.

So how do you put intention into practice? If you’re already journaling, keep it there. Every day, ask yourself those questions I’ve asked you here:

  • How is today going to go?
  • What am I going to accomplish today?
  • How am I going to feel today?
  • How will I treat people today?
  • How do I expect to be treated today?
  • Who will I be today?

Be aware of where you want your day to go.

When you’re not doing what you intended, you’re widening the gap between where you are and where you want to be. A lack of intention not only widens the gap, but ignores that the gap itself can be traversed.

And the finally, my fourth suggestion for practicing mindfulness is meditation. There is so much literature and tools in the marketplace that can be a resource for you. Because of that I’m only going to tell you about my meditation practice and encourage you to go out to develop your own practice.

Meditation is the ‘practice’ part that I have craved for in other parts of personal and even professional development. Meditation is the daily practice by which I strengthen the mindfulness muscle.

Therapy for example, while I am an advocate for and find very beneficial, to me, the dedicated daily practice part is missing. Therapy has helped immensely. Therapy helps me connect the dots between what I went through as a kid and how that has impacted my life as an adult.

Meditation, I believe, has been the most beneficial, immediate source of mental relief for me.

Maybe it stems from the nightly prayers with my family, but I need something to do every day. That type of habitual practice in my life has been helpful.

I like meditation because it stills my mind. It’s the practice of letting your mind go, but not so that it can run wild, but so that you can slow it down. It helps me let go of un-useful thoughts and keep my past and future self from overwhelming my present self.

Full disclosure, I’m a baby yogi. My practice is so simple. But the fact that it’s so simple and yields an exponential return for me, hopefully encourages you to start your own practice.

So how do I practice meditation?

If I have fallen out of practice (which sometimes happens, I’m not perfect), or if I were just starting my practice then I would use a tool like the apps Calm or 10% Happier. These are guided meditation apps that will help you focus your mind. They will gently remind you where to focus your attention as you meditate.

If I’m in practice, I will meditate without the app. I begin by sitting comfortably with my back straight, legs crossed and my hands resting on my knees or in my lap.

I close my eyes and begin to breathe deeply.

I bring my focus to my breath, in and out. I do my best to just focus on the breath. Sometimes I can focus on just the breath for a full in and out sequence. Sometimes I can’t.

When I become aware of my mind drifting into thoughts about anything other than the in and out of my breath, I have this visual in my head of my hand gently nudging the thought along. I don’t beat myself up about it, I don’t punish myself for it in any way, I simply let the thought go and return my focus to my breath. I return my breathing to a normal pattern.

Close to the beginning of my meditation practices I will do a body scan in my mind. I start at the top of my head and work my way all the way to the bottom of my feet, checking in with every limb and portion of my body. I’m not making any judgments when I do this, I’m just becoming aware of my body. I do my best to relax each part of me as I think through this body scan. Dropping my shoulders, relaxing my tongue, my jaw, my forehead.

I honestly don’t know how long my body scan last, I’ve never looked at the clock to see. But once I’m through it, I return to my breath, focusing on in and out.

The length of my sessions depend on how practiced I am in my meditation at the time. If I’m just getting back into it, I start with 5 minutes. If I’m really practiced, then I will go closer to 30 minutes. If this is new to you and you’re just starting, that 5 minutes will feel like an eternity. Just stay focussed on your breath. You can do anything for 5 minutes.

As I mentioned, I am a baby yogi. I am no expert on meditation but I am an advocate for the practice. In your own research you’ll find that meditation is where some of the more woo-woo elements of mindfulness exist. If the extreme woo-wooness isn’t your scene (it isn’t mine), don’t discount the entire practice just because of that. Learn what you can. Find resources of more moderate meditative leanings. Or, if that’s your thing, go all in! Either way, you’ll be glad you did.

Life is 10% tactics and 90% mindset. Mindset is all about learning the skills of mindfulness. Whether you are looking to up your game in business or life, work on your mindfulness and you’ll find happiness in both.

As you develop your own practice, I want you to remember that throughout this podcast I have consistently referred to mindfulness as a “practice.”

Just like anything you want to get better at, you have to work at it. You have to set aside time in your day to do the work.

When you first started to walk, you fell a lot. When you first begin your mindfulness practice, you’re going to fall a lot.

Do you know how weird typing is? Have you ever thought about it? Do you remember when you first started typing? If was hunt and peck, lots of mistakes.

But you kept practicing. And eventually you got better.

If you’re like me, I still wear out the backspace button. But I’m better than I was when I started.

There are times when I meditate that I can’t focus on my breath for the life of me.

There are days that all I can come up with to be thankful for is being alive.

There are days that I forget to set my intention.

There are days where, I admit, I just go through the motions.

Your mindfulness practice will be full of opportunities for improvement and practice. So be kind to yourself. Honor your journey. And remember, you’re worth it.

It would help me so much if you would remember to subscribe to this podcast and leave a positive rating.

Thanks again for listening, until next week, I’m Chad Peevy.

Life is 10% tactics and 90% mindset

Gratitude means we have to stop complaining and criticizing ourselves for how far along we think we should be, and instead, celebrating and recognizing how far we’ve come.

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So you want to be a coach?

Chad Peevy

Chad Peevy

Chad is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Human Progress and Development

So you want to be a coach?

So you want to be a coach?

Well, I’ll be honest with you, just knowing that you want to be a coach puts you further along on this path than I was when I embarked on this adventure.

I was the marketing director for the world’s largest real estate office. Over the years I worked with 1,000’s of agents who were launching or re-launching their business. I had a great time, the money was good, the work came easily to me and I enjoyed helping people. But to be honest with you, I wasn’t happy.

Then one of my clients and dear friend died.

As I was sitting at her memorial service, I knew that I wasn’t living the life I really wanted. I knew I was just going through the motions.

Ben Franklin said, some people die at 25 but aren’t buried until they are 75. That’s how I felt sitting at that memorial service.

So I took a good look at my life to figure out what I needed to do to feel more fulfilled, to feel more joy, to make a bigger impact and to maintain or improve my income.

Taking stock of the conversations I had everyday with agents, I knew I was really good at helping them, not just with marketing their personal brand, but also the method of launching their business.

So I created an online, group coaching program that taught just that.

I also started doing one-on-one coaching with folks, helping them through the challenges that life was throwing at them.

And that combination of helping from a distance and helping one-on-one when I wanted to…is when I caught the coaching bug. I really liked helping people. I really liked the freedom that coaching offered me. I liked the income. I really liked being a coach.

I was good at something, and I knew I could help other people develop that skill set.

Coaching, both being a coach and having a coach, profoundly changed my life.

When I got into this world I was totally hooked on personal and professional development. I couldn’t get enough of it.

I absolutely love it, I know this may sound corny, but I’ll say it anyway…. it feels like all my life I was preparing for this.

Next Level Coaching is the culmination of those years of experience and research and I am so excited to share it with you.

I wanted to take just a few minutes to tell you what you get when you come to Certified Next Level Coach Training.

Let’s start with the outcomes….

When you finish certification training, you get a fancy certificate that says you are a Certified Next Level Coach. What does that mean?

Well, honestly, only what you make of it.

Coaching isn’t a regulated industry. So anyone can go out there and say they are a life or business coach. Our curriculum is suited for both paths.

Training is 5 days of intensive learning, role-playing and workshops, broken out into 2 parts:
1) the curriculum and 2) your coaching business

The curriculum – what’s this about?

There’s a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl that I read several years ago that got me thinking about writing a coaching curriculum. In his book, he talks about the gap between where you are and where you want to be, he calls this idea “logotherapy”.

This idea of the gap wasn’t new to me, I had heard it before. I have suffered from anxiety for a long time and one of the definitions of anxiety that I had read somewhere was, anxiety is the tension that exist between the way things are, and the way you want them to be.

This gap idea, has been floating around in my head and I knew it was something I wanted to explore.

So my life has really been spent trying to fill that gap. What are the things that lie in that gulf that will help you get to where you want to be?

I started researching that idea and what developed out of it was the Next Level Coaching Curriculum.

There are 12 ideas that I suggest we must confront on our journey to our next level.

  • Clarity and Purpose
  • Productivity
  • Identity
  • Psychology
  • Money Mindset
  • Skill Development
  • Physiology
  • Ambition
  • Mindfulness
  • Leverage
  • Connection
  • Legacy

And what I learned through my own process of research and discovery was that these things were applicable to me as an entrepreneur, a business person and as a human being. It addressed my personal and professional development. That’s why we have both business and life coaches in our training.

And then there’s the training for your coaching business…

Maybe it’s my past life that causes me to obsess over this, but just knowing the material isn’t going to do much good. You have to take that information and go use it to help people and get paid for doing so. So we’ll spend part of your training, just talking about your coaching business.

One of the things that people are surprised by, is that being a coach, doesn’t have to be limited to just one-on-one coaching. You can have group coaching, like I have. You can have masterminds, host retreats, create online courses, do speaking gigs.

I told you, being a coach is pretty amazing!

We’re going to talk about all these revenue sources in your training. I’ll help you get a plan together for what your business is going to look like and teach you how to execute on that vision.

Our training sessions are intentionally small. We take a very limited number of coaching candidates. This is so that while you are in training, you get the attention you deserve, the role playing and observation hours that will make the biggest difference, and genuinely connect with me and the other coaching candidates.

If you’re like I was and you know that you have more to give, you want to help people while creating a great career, and you know that there is a next level for you…

Then I invite you to complete the coaching candidate application on this site.

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The Depressive State

Chad Peevy

Chad Peevy

Chad is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Human Progress and Development

The Depressive State

There’s an unspoken rule about what to post on the internet. It basically goes something like this, “no one wants to hear your bullshit”

You’ve seen this rule broken, it’s that friend who post information about her life online that is way too personal. Could be anything from drama with her baby-daddy to the legally gray-area way in which she disciplines her children. And quite honestly, when she does it, you’re a little embarrassed for her.

Overall, I think it’s a good rule. Some information should not leave your home and some thoughts should stay in your head. I subscribe to this idea that no one wants to hear your bullshit, but only in part.

I think when we blanketly declare that no one wants to hear your bullshit, we may be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Because what we get instead is an illusion of people’s lives. We never really see a time when things aren’t going their way or off the charts amazing. We get the view from the top of the mountain but none of the treacherous journey that it took to get there.

The consequences of us only seeing people when they are on top of the world is that it sets the bar impossibly high for us mere mortals. We only get to see the idealized versions of our mentors, role models, and friends from school. We are comparing our lives to a split second – just long enough to take a picture – of other people’s lives.

A lack of transparency and vulnerability robs the rest of us from seeing the multi-dimensional human beings that we look up to.

Don’t get me wrong, I like to hear good news. I like to follow people who inspire me to reach higher, think bigger and play this game of life full-out. I need role models and mentors to show me what is possible. I like to see what people I went to school with are doing because it can help me set a pace for my own life. But while I wish them all well, I also need them to be human.

I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have experienced some degree of success, as I’ve defined success for myself. I’m guilty of sharing openly on social media some of that success.

For those of you that follow me, you’ve noticed that I haven’t done much social media lately. A few of you have even asked me why not.

I’m not going to share all of my bullshit with you today. That’s not helpful for you or for me. But I am going to share with you what’s been going on and what I’ve been going through. I want to do so because I want show the human side of my life. I do not plan on spewing my woes on the internet, I plan to spew a little and then share with you how I’ve coped. I wish I had more of that in my life. I wish I had more more role models not just for when things are going well, but also role models for crawling out of the valleys that we go through in life. Some folks are doing this; Dan Harris and Tim Ferriss come to mind.

For me, hearing how others are handling and coping with some of life’s more challenging times helps me to feel like I’m not alone. It helps me know that you can be both successful and you can have really shitty days. Both things are possible and one does not negate the other.

Depression and anxiety are real problems that plague our everyday existence. Statistically, you or someone you know, suffers from depression or anxiety. The more dreadful statistics are the rates of suicide in the US. I read an article in Monitor on Psychology recently that said that the second leading cause of death for people age 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death among people who are 34-55 is suicide. The same article also said that the rate of suicide in the US is rising – faster than that of other countries.

I do not want what I’m about to share with you to be taken as a definitive guide on depression or anxiety. Nor should this be a substitute for seeking help from a professional. There is no shame in asking for help.

I only offer this as a reflection from someone who is fresh out of a depressive state.

That very statement brings me to my first observation.

You can be successful and you can have really shitty days. Both things are possible and one does not negate the other.

Stating that I am fresh out of a depressive state is really quite the assumption, because you never really know if it’s over. But whether or not I am through it, I am functioning enough today to be able to reflect and write about it, so here goes.

For me, depression comes on like a wave in the ocean. It’s distant at first, but you can see a small swell on the horizon.

I like to surf and so I get into this imagery. You see, when surfing, like in life, you’re floating along on your board, enjoying the water, soaking up the sun most of the time. But when you have depressive tendencies, like when you’re surfing, you’re always looking for what’s coming.

Sometimes those waves are small. Not even big enough to ride, so you just lie there and let them gently pass beneath you. But there are other times that that wave is doosey, and you know you’re going to ride it. So you pop up, get your balance and coast toward the shore.

When depression hits me, mixed with anxiety, it hits me the same that the water hits me when I lose my balance on the surfboard. It’s messy, it hurts, the ocean is unrelenting and it feels like I’m going to drown.

No really, it feels like I’m going to drown. My breath is shallow, I feel the shock of the fall in my bones, my chest tightens and hurts. My limbs feel numb and the anxiety will make my skin crawl. I often feel that sensation that says, “if I could just throw up I would feel better,” and I hate throwing up.

I’ve experienced what I now recognize as depression and anxiety, to one degree or another for as long as I can remember. What surprises me every time it weighs on me though, is the physical feelings that accompany the emotional.

It’s almost as if my body is at war with my out of control mind.

My out of control mind. The real battlefield of life.

Inside my head it’s like there is a clowder of cats, trying to scratch their way out. Every thought skews negative, and to me, every negative thought spirals into the demise of my world. It goes something like this…

A client’s credit card doesn’t go through for their recurring subscription, that must mean that they hate me, they think I’m bad at what I do, everyone else must hate me too, and now I’m going to lose my house, my car and have not have money to eat.

When in reality…

They were just travelling abroad and their bank temporary suspended their card.

I recently learned that the Buddhists have a word for this type of thought spiral, they call it papanca (pa-PUN-cha), loosely translated to “proliferation”

Imagine if every thought that came into your head spelled disaster.

Imagine that thought of disaster ruminating in your head, an unsympathetic droning of dread, over and over and over. It’s the thoughts that you fall asleep to, the thoughts that wake you in the middle of the night, and the first thoughts that hit you in the morning.

That’s what it feels like to me.

It’s an unrelenting self-beating. Maybe Freud was right right when he said that depression is anger turned inward.

When I’m in a depressive state, I’m carrying with me an oversized voice in my head that is a real dickhead. That voice criticizes me, shames me, infultraits my mind with fear, and diminishes my self-worth. That voice is a total prick. That voice would never speak to anyone else as harshly as he speaks to me.

Before I share with you how I cope with him myself, I want to address the best I can, how this impacts the people around me.

The people around me, who are scared for me, they also suffer. I have an incredible husband, a life partner who accepts me for all of me, including this part of me. Even when he can’t relate to how I’m feeling, he feels for me. But he doesn’t always know what to do with me. So for him, I offer this…

  • I know it’s frustrating to ask me questions when in return I give one word answers, but please don’t stop asking.
  • I don’t want to be alone, even if I say I do. You don’t have to do anything, just being near me is usually enough.
  • Let’s put a pause on those topics that you know cause stress on a good day – those things can wait. If they can’t wait, I trust you to make good decisions without me.
  • It’s ok for you to be and express your happiness. Your joy is contagious.
  • Please be patient with me, this will pass. And thank you for loving me through it, I know that can be hard to do.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because when I’m going through a depressive state, it helps me to know that I’m not alone. When I read a book, listen to a podcast, watch something on YouTube that makes me realize that there are otherwise very successful people out there that sometimes feel this way too. It makes me feel less alone. It helps me realize that it’s temporary and it will pass.

So how do I cope with myself in these states? I want to re-emphasize that this is not a substitute for professional help. I started seeing a therapist when I was in 4th grade. And I’ve been in therapy every week for many years. I’m an advocate for therapy, it helps. But therapy is a long game and for me, is lacking an action plan or practice that helps in the immediate. It’s also unfair to put all the pressure of making me feel better on my therapist. It’s like asking your significant other to be your best friend, your life partner, your lover, your accountant, your lawyer, your serious friend, and your fun friend. It’s just unfair to ask one person to be everything to you. Same for your therapist.

Therapy helps me uncover what I’ve been through and how that has shown up for me as an adult in ways that sabotage me. Sometimes there’s a fancy term to describe my experience, like ‘passionate bad fit’ or ‘narcissistic defense mechanism.’ And then I go back every week and explore how those things show up in the rest of my life. It’s helpful, but it’s the marathon of mental health.

I’ve sought out other things that I thought would help me get more immediate relief. When I was younger I tried pharmaceuticals, but I decided that wasn’t for me. I tried drinking. I tried sex. I tried to be a workaholic. Those things only left me feeling more of what I was trying to escape.

Then I took a different approach…

I started keeping a personal care calendar. Where I listed out the things that I know I need to do to take care of myself on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. The things that show up on that calendar are things that I’ve learned over the years that I need in order to take care of me. My personal care calendar includes things like exercise, eating right, travel, massage, therapy, and meditation.

I’m going to confess,I believe the primary reason I found myself in my recent depressive state is that I didn’t follow that personal care calendar. I got caught up in work and forgot that productivity includes taking care of myself. Because when I don’t, productivity completely disappears.

I have also had to learn how to detach from my goals. I’m not saying to not have goals. What I am saying is to set the goal, determine how you’ll get there, and then do the work. I set a big financial goal for myself this year. I found myself so attached to the big number, that I feel like I just run myself down, beating myself over the head with that number, that goal. But here’s the rub – obsessing over the big number doesn’t change it. Doesn’t affect it at all. Has zero impact. The only things that will impact that number are the activities that I engage in every day. Those activities will drive that number.

This way of thinking forces me to stay in the moment. Obsessing over the big number is me getting too caught up in an uncertain future – an uncertainty that elicits fear and more anxiety. This isn’t helpful, in fact, the opposite. We live with 3 versions of ourselves all the time; the past, present, and future self. The present is the only thing we really have and should seek to lean into. The past represents our track record, our circumstances and our programming and is best explored, in my opinion, with a therapist.

The future self is caught up with that big goal, it’s who we are striving to be, do, and have. The future self is important when kept in check and balanced with the present. The future is best explored with a life or business coach. I have found coaching to be extremely beneficial. So beneficial in fact that I wrote a coaching curriculum and I train people how to be life and business coaches.

The present though, is all that’s guaranteed. It’s all we really have.

I was standing in line in Starbucks last week and the guy in front of me had a heart attack. Right there in front of me. Life is fragile. We get no warranty on it’s length. All we have is right here, right now. And yet, so many of us carry on, never fully experiencing the present moment, right now. We get too caught up in a long-gone past or an uncertain and unguaranteed future.

I also read a lot, I listen to podcasts, I watch videos on YouTube that lift me up. I limit the amount of news that I watch, and limit the type of social media that I engage in. Fill your head with positive, good thoughts. Especially in times that your own thoughts are anything but.

I connect with other people. This is the most challenging for me. It’s hard for me to reach out to other people, muchless to reach out for help. Some ways that I’ve worked on that is to schedule regular lunches with friends or schedule set times to get together to play cards. I’ve joined groups that meet regularly. Inside your head is a lonely place. And even if it means connecting with other people on just a surface level for a little bit, that’s better than being alone in your head.

And the most immediate relief for me has been meditation. When I’m out of practice I’ll use something like the Calm app for guided meditation, then I graduate myself to meditating on my own. The idea of focusing on my breath, in and out, has a way of calming the choppy waters in my head. I start at 5 minutes and add time as I get more practice. I’m convinced that if my meditation practice was more consistent, my depressive states would seldom appear.

On her daytime talk show, Ellen Degeneres always says, “Be kind to one another.” I support that notion but would like to add to it; be kind to yourself.

If you or someone you love suffers from depression and/or anxiety, I know that struggle. I know it’s not easy. I know it hurts. I also know that it’s temporary. And the idea of impermanence itself brings me some degree of relief.

I hope you found this helpful. If you think someone you care about would benefit from it, please share. See you soon!

Be kind to one another - be kind to yourself.

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