I love Kate. I simply love her. I was honored to be a guest on her podcast a little while back. If you have not listened to her podcast, check out her show and our episode.
Meet Kate Kneifel
Kate Kneifel is a therapist, small business owner , former teacher and loud laugher. She’s obsessed with the process of learning and what helps people move from insight to action in their daily lives, a concept she explores as the host of her podcast, Full of Shift.
In This Podcast
- EMDR therapy
- 3 most common obstacles
- Morning routines
- Kate’s perfectionism
EMDR is a very specific type of therapy that Kate is passionate about. It stands for eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing.
EMDR has been for over 30 years, which targets different stuck memories or traumas.
Sometimes we don’t have the resources needed to process memories or traumas and they become stuck.
EMDR uses bilateral stimulation, which is the eye movement. This involves tracking your eyes back and forth, left and right, while you are focusing on a difficult memory or belief. You’re then able to access both sides of your brain, the right and the left side of your brain.
The difficult memory is then reprocessed and stored in your brain in a big filing cabinet.
You can still access the memory, but it’s not as activating, or triggering, as it was before.
3 most common obstacles
Kate mentions the three most common obstacles that stop us from creating new habits and reaching our goals.
One of the key components that I come back to all the time, is a lot of people start too big.
- We start way too big. Then when we can’t follow through or we don’t follow through we shame ourselves. We think all is lost going even slightly off track, rather than recalibrating and continuing to forge on.
- Too perfect of expectations. Not anticipating discomfort or viewing discomfort as failure will prevent us from developing new habits that will help us reach our goals. Accepting that obstacles will come up and having a back up plan will help get you back on track.
- Viewing obstacles as drudgery that we have to get past. A lot of times they can be an opportunity to inject a little fun. Make habits fun, playful, and enjoyable rather than dragging your feet to complete them. Honor what your body, mind, and heart are telling you. If one day, you can’t work out, don’t beat yourself up and think the whole day is off. Provide your body with the rest it needs.
Kate has an in-depth morning routine that she’s built upon since she was 12 when she started daily journaling.
She is typically up by 5 and her routine starts with three stretches while making coffee or tea. Kate then goes upstairs to light some candles to symbolize her intention and her own inner spark.
After 10 to 20 minutes of reading a nonfiction book, she’ll journal. Currently she’s also tracking creativity, fun, and relationships. Depending on what her day otherwise entails, she’ll meditate for 10 to 30 minutes, and then finish it off with a work out. While she has her core pieces, she gives herself the flexibility to take out pieces here and there.
Kate wrote a children’s book years ago, when she took a break from her Master’s program to write for a year. While in a writing group, she submitted her book to an agent. The writing process itself brought both Kate and her children joy. When it to the event in which she’d receive feedback from an agent, she immediately got into her perfectionistic tendencies. She took the feedback to heart and began feeding herself negative self-talk and doubt. She immediately got in her head and shut down, stashing the book away for the last 10 years. Instead of rewriting the book, writing a different book, trying something else out, Kate completely missed out on an opportunity to play and experiment.
Progress over perfection workshop
Do you hold your self to unreasonable or unattainable standards then criticize self when don’t reach that stand?
Do you compare yourself to others? focus on parts of you that you want to change? Do expect perfection from others? Often let down because of loft expectations?
Might be a perfectionist. Perfectionism can cause anxiety, depression, disordered eating, problems in relationships, and more
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Books mentioned in this episode
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Welcome to the show. Kate. I’m so happy to have you here and to have the opportunity to have another conversation with you. Thank you so much for being here.
Oh my gosh. I’m thrilled to be here. I said I had so much fun talking to you before for my show. Like, yes, anytime you want to talk I’m game.
Well, I’ve really been looking forward to it cause I enjoyed our last conversation so much. Now I know you are a licensed counselor and I know a little bit about what your practice is about, but please tell our listeners a little bit about your journey, why you got into counseling and what your focus is.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, currently right now I am a licensed clinical social worker and I own a private practice here in Indiana. I specialize in anxiety and depression, but more specifically, I do a lot of EMDR work, which is a specific type of therapy that traditionally is used to address trauma.
But it can be used for all kinds of different things. So that is EMDR I would say it’s kind of a passion of mine. But for me, counseling was a second career. I started out as an elementary and special education teacher. I come from a family of teachers.
Actually kind of a like fun fact is my mom was a special education teacher and we taught in the same school together and she was actually in my room. She was the inclusion special ed teacher. I was the general education teacher. So we worked together in my classroom.
That just gave me chills. That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard that.
It was such a unique experience. What I loved about teaching is I was very much drawn to one, of course, as a teacher, you’re very interested in how people learn. But my background in special education really gave me the insight into all these different ways our brains can learn. Like some people learn best this way, but for other children, this isn’t going to work at all.
But if you do this, all the lights are going to go on. I really got into the learning piece there. But then also I found, at least when I was teaching elementary school, I was very drawn to my kiddos that had behavioral issues. Specifically for whatever reason, I was particularly drawn to little boys that were really struggling in the classroom behaviorally. Because of that relationship I had with my mom too, that she was a special ed teacher and I was general education.
We were kind of like a dynamic duo team to work with some of these kids. But what I really noticed is I wanted to spend more time on that end. Like really diving deeper into not only the brain and how we learn, which was really that teaching piece, but also just the emotional component and how that emotional component is so tied to the behaviors, how we show up with our behaviors.
But also if we’re able to learn or not. How much emotion is tied to that. That’s what led me really, I’ve had starts and stops at first. I was going to get my master’s in special education. Then I took a few classes and I thought, I think this feels more like my mom’s path. I need to find like what my path is.
My path was really more the counseling. I actually switched to social work then. That’s when I moved more on the focus on, the emotional and mental health side, paired with how we learn.
Oh, I love that story. And I especially love how you allowed yourself to pivot and you were so flexible along the way. You didn’t say, because I’ve started this because I’ve started in this direction, I can’t listen to myself and change and go in the direction that feels right for me. I love how you made that pivot and had that flexibility. As a parent of my oldest child ADHD, some real struggles in school with behavior.
I appreciate so much your interest in that. I really do. I’m fascinated with behavior. What needs drive our behavior, right? Why we do the things that we do. Like you said, how emotion is tied to it. It sounds like EMDR is to you what acceptance commitment therapy is to me.
So I want to hear a little bit more about. What fascinates you or draws you to that type of therapy and how it helps anxiety and depression and not just trauma?
Well, I love talking about EMDR. I love acceptance and commitment therapy too. I mean, I know you and I were like, talking about that.
Before I move on to EMDR though, real quick. I just want to make an important distinction because I still appreciate how you were saying gosh you were so flexible and I love how you were able to pivot. Here’s the thing. If you took like an overhead view of my life at that time with some of these changes, I mean, I was tantruming a lot.
Almost like, I mean, struggling with what do I do? I think sometimes, the willingness to sort of stay in the struggle almost. I mean, I really did a lot of wrestling and I think some people have this idea, especially when we change a lot, that it comes easily. Or yeah, I was just able to pivot. Or I’m super flexible.
Which I mean my family and people who know me well sort of chuckle.
For whatever reason, I’ve been able to kind of embrace that. I just share tha I know that that life path can be hard if you’re trying to find your path. If you’re crying and frustrated or what I call tantruming a little bit. This isn’t working out. What’s wrong with me. I should have this figured out by now, whatever it is.
It’s okay. Like that can also be part of the process. Just like stay with it.
I’m so glad you shared that, that distinction. To me, that’s even more impressive than when it is easy to just pivot right, is to have the awareness that even though it’s difficult, and even though it can be a struggle.
You made it through that struggle and you found your way and you didn’t stop tuck tail and run. You went through it.
Yeah which actually transitions really well to EMDR interestingly. So EMDR, as I mentioned, is a very specific type of therapy. It stands for eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing.
Which I always laugh because when you tell anyone what it stands for, it doesn’t really give you any more information. But that’s what it stands for. It is a type of therapy that has been used for over 30 years. What it does is you were able to target different what we would call like stuck memories or traumas.
So when there was a memory or an experience that overwhelms our nervous system, our brain will do the best that it can to process that experience or memory. However, sometimes we don’t have the resources needed to process it through all the way and it becomes stuck.
The way that I’ll often explain this to clients for the first time, if we’re talking about EMDR, is almost to imagine like in your prefrontal cortex here, this forehead part of your brain, almost like you have this little splinter that’s sticking out and it just kind of sticking in there.
It’s not a huge deal, but if you were to tap it or smooth over it, you might get a big reaction. What EMDR does is it uses something called bilateral stimulation, which is the eye movement. You track your eyes back and forth, left and right, while you are focusing on a difficult memory or belief. What happens is you’re able to access both sides of your brain, the right and the left side of your brain.
What happens is through the process of this therapy, the splinter is like pulled out. So this is kind of the reprocessing and the desensitization part. Instead of this difficult memory or belief sitting like a splinter in your brain that gets triggered at different times. It’s pulled out, it’s reprocessed, and it’s stored in your brain in like a big filing cabinet.
You take out a drawer, put that file in and you can shut the drawer. You can still access the memory, but it’s not as activating as it was before. Now the way that it can be used for trauma, it’s been studied with PTSD. The foundations of EMDR is people were coming back from being an active duty in wars.
They were going to therapy, they were taking medication and it just wasn’t helping. They weren’t able to get back to their daily life, they weren’t able to function. EMDR was first studied with people had PTSD and there was such a big response, they started using it for other traumas.
Now those traumas can be big T little T traumas, but it can also be for some like perfectionism, right? Like I know on paper, I look pretty awesome. Right. I have this great family, I’ve got this business. I’m pretty healthy, but it never feels like enough. Or I totally feel like I still feel like I do one wrong thing and I feel like a piece of doo-doo.
I know it doesn’t make sense, but it is absolutely how I feel. EMDR can really help shift some of those really stuck beliefs or experiences, memories. As a result, I just am like obsessed with it. I love it.
That is fascinating. I mean, I learned a little bit about it when I went back to school to get my master’s in clinical mental health, but it always seemed to me like the most mysterious type of therapy. How does that work to actually like track someone’s finger and have your eyes go in back and forth while accessing the memory was just like, I don’t know it was the coolest thing, but it wasn’t anything that I ever learned in detail in school. Did you learn it in detail in school or was it something that you researched and, and found more on your own?
Yeah, this, so EMDR is one of those things where one, I just want to highlight, it sounds totally like for lack of a better word, like wackadoo. It sounds so woo and weird.
When I went to training, it’s got tons of research behind it. This is a solid evidence-based practice. And yet even when I went to my training, I was like, Ooh, we’ll see about this. Because with being trained in EMDR with so many other things as a therapist, you go through the therapy first.
As you’re getting trained in EMDR, I was receiving EMDR therapy. I will tell you that therapy was still to this day, some of the most profound moments of my life. I mean, and I’m not exaggerating.
Oh, I believe you tell us about like some of those moments or kind of paint the picture of what you experienced when you went through it.
Yes. With EMDR what makes it so wonderful for trauma or just for addressing those stuck spots is a key component of EMDR is keeping the client within a window of tolerance. You want them to be activated, meaning we’re talking and we’re addressing something that isn’t something that you would just like bring up in everyday conversation with a friend or even a close friend.
But it’s not way up here that you’re like totally overwhelmed and you’re thinking I can’t handle this. You’re staying within the zone of regulation. What was interesting when I went through it for the first time is one:
I was very skeptical, even though I paid good money to go get traded it. It sounded woo to me. I was skeptical. Two: when I first started and this highlighted some of my perfectionistic tendencies is I had this huge fear, Kathryn, that I was going to be the one person in the world that was going to do this therapy wrong.
As a client. They’re going to do the eye movements and I’m not going to be able to do it. Nothing’s going to happen. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to do this right. Which this concern of doing EMDR, right because it is so different is very common.
What happened was when I first started with my first session where I was the client, nothing happened. And I was like, see.
The person who did it wrong. The trainer came over and there’s adjustments that you make. Oh, no, that’s fine. For me, eye movements did not work really well. I was very distracted. I was a little like ADHD myself. So you switched things up.
You can tap alternately on your knees as well. So they switched that up. The flood gates for me just opened. Now, what is fascinating and what was so impactful for me is with EMDR, you let your brain go where it takes you. So part of EMDR is your brain knows what needs to be healed. And so it goes to the spots that it needs to go to.
Sometimes that spot seems very random. So for example, I grew up in Minnesota. My brain kept on kind of going to snow and big snowfalls, and then it would go back to the issue that I had. Now that I was working on that we were targeting. But the other piece of EMDR that is so powerful is it’s also tied to your body.
So you start with this awareness of, when you think about this difficult thought or memory, where does it show up in your body? And we know when something is cleared because you feel it in your body.
That is so cool.
You literally feel. And so, for example, not everyone is going to have this powerful of an experience.
This was a long session that I had, but for me, I went from so locked up and I was so nervous to do this, that I had actually talked to the clinician ahead of time. Like, I don’t know. I’m really worried about doing this wrong. I don’t know. I’m really kind of scared to do this. I went from that, to just like this tingling light. It was like 50 pounds had been lifted from my body.
So much so, I had this feeling of like, Oh my gosh, am I weird? Like what is happening to me? It was truly my body processing through and kind of almost like just the stuck spot. You can almost tell it as like it’s stuck and then it clears and it’s like that is really incredible.
I want to do that. It’s something I need to do and it’s definitely something that I want to experience. Thank you for painting that picture. It was very vivid in my mind. That’s amazing. Definitely want to try that sometime. So when I was on your show “Full of Shift,” which everyone needs to listen to, by the way, I kind of realized that we were kindred spirits. Perfectionist, who were also kind of obsessed with habits.
Is it fair to put you in that category of being obsessed with habit?
So let’s get into that. I’m dying to dig into that. What do you find so fascinating about habits and how humans and their habits work?
Well, I mean, I’m so fascinated by habits. It goes back to behavior. But that so much of our behavior can really be habitual.
Either we’re conscious of it or it’s subconscious. Our habits can really make or break us. It is something that it can shape our lives in such a huge way. You can make, Full of Shift, the whole concept of the podcast that I’m so obsessed with is small changes, making a big impact.
You think about when we brush our teeth every day, what would happen if we just stopped brushing our teeth? I mean, that’s not good. Your teeth would fall out, or you’d have all this pain in your mouth from cavities or different things. But just brushing your teeth, helps your teeth stay clean and healthy.
Your mouth stay healthy. Then you can eat, you can sing and talk without pain, all of those things. I’ve just been really fascinated by habits and noticing people who I really admire, their lives. They tend to have some really intentional habits that exponentially benefit them over time. I’ve always been just so curious, like what enables some of these people to stick with some of these habits?
Why do we have like the same goal time and time again that we just can’t do. Even if we really want to, like, we feel like we’re motivated and then for whatever reason, we just fall off. That is a really big thing that I’m interested in. One of the key components that I come back to all the time, is a lot of people start too big.
It’s just way too big. Then we shame ourselves. We start up way too big, but then we can’t follow through or we don’t follow through then. It’s well, it’s all my fault.
Not just that, but the second we get off track, we think all is lost.
Yes. That’s my second piece. So too big and too perfect.
Right. Which of course that’s why you’re saying it. Because you’re all about the perfectionism, but not anticipating discomfort or seeing discomfort as failure or not anticipating failure, period.
Not seeing the obstacles that are necessarily going to come up or even if you don’t see the specific obstacles, just knowing that they are going to come up and having a plan for what you’re going to do to get back on track when they come up.
Absolutely. Yes. Key component of I think any kind of habit development is being able to say, okay, ahead of time, what are the anticipated obstacles? Cause the thing is, we know what they are.
But sometimes we don’t know, we know. For example, I had a situation I worked as a school social worker for awhile, and I just noticed that I was starting to really hate my mornings. Some of my morning routine was just falling off.
So I wasn’t making my lunch as much. I I was working out in the morning, but that was kind of falling off. I thought, kind of what is going on here, like this was working and all of a sudden it isn’t working. What’s the obstacle here. Now, some people might say like, initially might say, well, maybe you’re not getting enough sleep.
Maybe you’re bored with your workout and you know what? It had nothing to do with either one of those when I stopped to really think about it. Here’s what was going on one, I realized I didn’t really enjoy the mornings anymore because I hated my wardrobe. I thought I was not excited about what I was putting on my body to go out in the day. That was number one. Like I just like, didn’t like getting dressed for work and all of those things before were kind of, I hadn’t put my finger on it. Like how annoyed I was getting dressed for work. And then two, I wasn’t making my lunch because I had gotten bored with the same old, same old lunches.
Again, that wasn’t exciting me. Now, when I switched those up, I looked up some different recipes for my lunch. I decided first with my closet, I took all the stuff out that I just didn’t like. I took it out. Only the stuff that I like is going to be in my closet.
I’m going to be intentional about adding new items to my closet. I love thrifting. So that’s like a huge thing for me. That’s fun for me too. That was able to move me forward. I think sometimes we see obstacles as like a drain or this drudgery that we have to get past. Really a lot of times they can be an opportunity to inject a little fun.
Or like a spark of joy into your habits too. I think we miss that a lot. Making something fun and playful and enjoyable.
Absolutely. So what is your like favorite morning routine that you’ve found that just really works for you?
Okay. I’m going to be really honest. I have an in depth morning routine.
I will share it. I get up and lately I’ve added just some stretches, like three stretches while I’m doing my like coffee or tea. Kind of alternate between those. I get up early. I typically am up by five. I’ve always been wired that way. That’s just kind of what I do.
I do some stretches, do my tea, coffee. I come upstairs. Right now, because it’s winter in the Midwest, I have a a light box that I turn on. I light candles every morning. For me, the candles are an intention of like my own inner fire, my own spark. And so I always light a candle every morning.
I do about 10 to 20 minutes of reading, depending on how much time I have typically have a nonfiction book, then I journal. So I’ve been journaling every single day since I was 12 years old. I mean, I’ve missed some days during vacation or things like that, but that’s pretty much what I do.
I also track right now. I have some kind of three characteristics that I’m tracking which are creativity, fun, and relationships. And I just track that real quick zero to two, like, what was it like? Did I get those things done the day before?
And then I do anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of meditation, depending on what’s going on. Then I work out.
Super star morning routine. You are covering all the bases. I was just, almost jumping up and down when I was listening to you, tracking your relationships, your fun, and your creativity. Were those the three?
Those are the three I’m tracking right now.
Those are some of your eight domains. I check in with my eight domains weekly to see where I might need to shift. Where I might need to give them some attention or action. I love that whole extensive morning routine. Before I share what mine is, I want to know is that something that all came together at once or is it something that you’ve sort of habits stacked or built upon one thing and then another thing, and then another thing. How did it come about? Cause that’s a very intricate routine.
I just want to be really open. I share that and I feel a little self-conscious about it. I’m gonna be really honest because sometimes I have this own little narrative in my head that like, Whoa, you are really high maintenance.
You need to do that much in the morning. I just shared that because if anyone else fit, if anyone else feels that way, I just want to say, Hey, there are other people out there that maybe sometimes think that too. But it does really align with my values and what really brings me joy and peace and a sense of grounded-ness.
But there are times where, even though it’s so good for my soul. And I know a lot of people like try to implement more of a routine, but sometimes I’ll notice I’m almost like hard on myself for it. So I have to really recognize it and make some space for it and be like, okay, let’s remember, you get to be you.
It’s okay. Whatever that looks like. And so I will say, I journaled almost every day since 12. I’ve always been a morning person, so I’ve always had some kind of morning routine. Whether when I was little, it was getting up and watching like Woody Woodpecker and the Flintstones before school and like curling my bags. I wanted time to do my best.
I mean, priority. But over time my bare minimum is to get up before my kids are up to at least journal. That’s always been the bare minimum. Now, as I’ve had my private practice, I have much more flexibility. My day doesn’t start at my practice now until most days nine o’clock. Mondays it’s earlier.
So I didn’t have as much time when I was working for the school system. But now that I’m able to do it,I just stack things. And I really use, going back to habits like BJ Fogg has a, he calls it the ABCs. Anything new habit. You find an anchor like after I do this, then I do this.
After I do my journaling, that’s when I put on my workout clothes. After I get my tea, I come upstairs and light the candles. I really use that, but then there’s some flexibility. There’s some core pieces that stay there, but then other pieces I’ve taken in and out as a meetup.
I love that you give yourself the flexibility there too, because you know, when it comes to habits and routines, we can get so rigid with ourselves. If I don’t do all of this, I’m not going to have a good day. It doesn’t need to be forced. It needs to be flexible and fluid so that you always give yourself the space to change it, to be what you need for that day.
I didn’t use to be a morning person, but COVID has forced it. And I’ve realized it’s been to my benefit. My youngest son is a swimmer and their practices have been moved to before school just because there are only so many lanes in the pool and we had to distance kids and make it safe for everyone.
So now I get up at 4:45 and that starts my day, but it’s a very similar. When I get him to practice, that’s when I asked myself my morning questions. I’ve shifted my morning questions recently to spend a little bit more time thinking about what I need in the day as well. So it’s always been, who do I want to be today?
How do I want to show up for those I love today? What do I want to accomplish? And what action will it take. Recently I’ve really wanted to tune into myself a little bit more so I asked, what does my mind need today? What does my body need today? What does my heart need today? Because I have a tendency to focus on only what my mind tells me. I’ve realized I really need to listen and be forgiving and flexible with my body.
Most days I go for my workout straight while my son swimming. And that’s what my body, my mind and my heart needs. Some days, I know that I’ve got so much work to do or something on my mind that I’m going to feel better throughout the day if I sit in my car and get on my computer and get something done in that quiet time.
So I’m trying to show myself even more flexibility by asking, not just what is my mind telling me that I want, but what is my body and my heart telling me that I need.
Right, because I think there’s such a big distinction from like what we need to do during the day, like the to-do list versus our needs.
I don’t know about you, but I mean, being a mom, being female, there’s such a socialization to meet everybody else’s needs. We’re so often, trained to look outwards and address all of the needs around us. That sometimes then, I feel like I work with clients and I noticed this myself.
Then you think like, well, what do I need? Or is it okay to meet my own needs?Feeling guilty about meeting your own needs. Sometimes there’s a need, I’ve done that practice before too. For example, you know what, I need to be really angry about this, like permission to be angry for two hours.
Whatever it is. It’s not always like prettying things up. Sometimes it’s just that checking in and that practice of checking in can be so liberating for people, especially if they haven’t done it for a long time.
Yeah, absolutely. What do you think is like the number one way that gets in an individual’s way when they’re trying to set new habits and reach their goals. What is their like biggest stuck point or tripping point in general?
I don’t know if I know like a number one.
I mean, I think that kind of the heavy hitters. I do think it’s, we talked about, too big. The other one is too perfect. Not thinking about discomfort, but also not anticipating failure. But the other one that I talk about or that I think is really this idea, I call them sexy goals. And the reason I call them sexy goals is people doing things because they think they should.
A classic thing is like, this is going to look really good on like social media if I do this. Some things that I think can sometimes fall in, like the sexy goal category would be like whole 30. Whole 30 is great. I love Melissa Urban, but sometimes it’s like, this is going to look really good for me to do this.
Other people are doing it, but it’s not truly tied to a core value or really who they want to be.
Yes, I would completely agree that. That’s how I would have answered that question would be that we can’t see to reach the goals that don’t align with our values because willpower only gets us so far.
We have to be deeply connected to the why that we are doing something that’s difficult. Or it it’s just too hard to get there.
I think sometimes we won’t know if it’s a sexy goal or not. For example, I have a goal or something that I would like to do that might be, and I’m saying goal and habits, a lot of times habits lead you to a goal.
But I’ve had this idea in my mind that I would love to ride across the United States on my bike. Like I’ve had this kind of goal forever. It sounds good. Like fun to say it, people kind of like, Ooh, like they think I might be like really fit or whatever, but then I read a book about it and I was like, Ooh, I don’t know if I would actually like that.
Like, you’re hot, you’re dirty a lot. I still haven’t written it off because I love being outside, I love riding my bike, I love freedom, I love long, big endurance events. So there’s some things that still might tie into my values, but I have started to recognize that might be a sexy goal.
This idea that I’m training for to ride my bike across the United States. I’m not sure if that aligns or not.
Yeah. I see what you’re saying there, for sure. When I was on your show, we talked about perfectionism, right? And there was some stuff that you really identified with.
What perfectionistic traits do you think you have?
I really didn’t think I was a perfectionist before. And then I was starting to kind of feel like it. I think that whole feeling of setting yourself up with these unrealistic expectations and then kind of either opting out because it’s too high or claiming you’re not enough because you can’t meet those expectations. That really resonated. As far as I love to learn, I love to have fun, but I can also like suck the fun out of something so fast by making it harder than it needs to be, or setting kind of these benchmarks that don’t even need to be there.
It’s no reason why I have a podcast that is, small changes make a big impact. Because I know for me as like having some of those perfectionistic tendencies, keeping it small and keeping the momentum is such an important piece.
Yes. So can you think of a time when your perfectionism really showed up and maybe kept you from doing something that you wanted to do because of a fear of failure or fear of making a mistake.
I wrote a children’s book years ago, so I decided, so this is part of the tantrumy piece of my journey. Even when I went to go get my social, my master’s in social work.
I took a break for a year to write. And I just really wanted to focus on writing for that year. And so I found this opportunity with this one writing group to write and submit a children’s book to an agent. So I had so much fun writing this book. I wrote this book, my kids were little, I would read them different drafts.
We had a blast. The kids had a blast. I had a blast, I loved it. But then I went to this event where you submitted the book and you went to this event with other people, other authors. Or other people submitted their writing. And it was kind of a mingling event.
And then you got your book back, they give you a hard copy of it back with notes from the agent. Well, the perfectionistic tendencies of like, I’m not enough, who do I think I am? Why did I even do this? Why did I think I could do this? I mean, flared up huge. I could barely be present with these other authors because I was so self-conscious.
And so in my head, all I did the whole time was like, these people are so much better than me. They have this published, they’ve done this book, like. Why am I here? I mean, I really just got, so in my head. Then I got, they called the title of my book, which it was called the burping princess and see you laugh.
I was so in my head, Kathryn, that I felt this shame, even the title of the book, I was like, I’m so embarrassed. And I got the book and there was just normal feedback on it. Normal feedback. I saw that feedback and I just totally shut down.
I put the book away and now I don’t know where it is. I wish I could find it. I did a podcast episode about this for one of my podcasts. Might’ve been when I did an earlier podcast and I wish I could find it. I would love to look at it through the eyes of what I know now that was probably 10 years ago.
But what happened was perfectionism, shut it all down. So instead of rewriting that book or writing a different book or trying something else out, I completely missed out on this opportunity to like, play and experiment with that.
Oh, if you ever find the book, let me know. I want to read it.
I love the title.
Now I am able to look back on that is just that it’s part of the journey. It’s part of the process, kind of those bumps. I look back now, I’m like, Oh geez, bless you. That did not have to be so precious. You were fine, but at the time, wow, it was really rough.
Yeah. That’s so easy to do. It’s so easy to pull ourselves out of the present and into our heads and get stuck. Now you have something fabulous for our Imperfect Thriving listeners. Don’t you.
Yes, the “Full of Shift” podcasts there is a free ebook. It’s just the “Full of Shift” ebook and how to kind of make meaningful change, small changes, making a big impact.
We talked about a couple of the obstacles that people encounter as they’re trying to develop new habits, or as they’re trying to reach a goal. What the ebook does is it walks you through these different obstacles.
How do they show up in your life? How have they showed up in some past habits you’ve tried to establish or pass schools. Because here’s the thing, all of the different times we haven’t followed through. It’s amazing information for us to use.
I know you said on my podcast, like your super power was finding patterns and then be able to connect those dots.
We can do that with our past experience, with trying to develop habits or trying to reach a goal. It really provides a roadmap for us. Like, Oh, these are my common obstacles. Fantastic. Then we can work on, okay. How do we work with that obstacle as you move forward? So that’s really what the ebook does and allows you to just explore things. Hopefully with a little different filter than maybe you’ve been using when you’re thinking about habits and goals in the past.
Oh, that’s fantastic. Thank you for sharing. I will put the link to that in our show notes so that everyone knows exactly where to find it. Y’all go grab the ebook in the show notes for today’s episode. Even though I could just talk to you for hours on end, to wrap things up, I always ask the same question.
What is one imperfect action that you suggest we can all take today to move closer to our best life?
I love this question. Okay. Here’s my suggestion. Wear a hat. And you know what? You were wearing a hat today.
I am it’s Friday, so it’s hat day.
There’s more to this story though. Wear a hat.
This is why Martha Beck. She is an author and a life coach that I just love. In one of her books, she talked about really one way to embrace discomfort and just sort of shift your patterns of behavior is to do something different. She gave an example of this couple that was arguing and they would get in the same argument all the time.
She said, next time you get into an argument, I want one of you to grab a hat and put it on. I think they had, like a cowboy hat. So they got into an argument, the wife put on like the cowboy hat, disrupted this pattern, and created this discomfort that things started to shift and change. So my recommendation is, sometimes we need to start really, really small.
Like maybe it is wearing a cowboy hat to the grocery store. What would happen? If you wore some kind of different hat to the grocery store. Or what if next time you want to yell at your teenager for their messy room, you put on a hat before you go up there and just kind of see what some of those differences are.
It can be like, just noticing how you feel different. You can use something like a hat. You can be like, well, I’m going to wear red lipstick to gait today. And just see how I feel wearing red lipstick. Doing something different and noticing what comes up can be a really safe way to just take a baby step into discomfort, but also kind of shift up some of our patterns of behavior too.
Okay. I love that suggestion because you are right. We get in patterns. We are a part of a family system. We’re a part of all these different kinds of systems. Without even being aware of it, really, we do the same thing in the same situation, have the same triggers, the same reactions every time. We cannot ever get a different result unless we make at least a small, tiny change.
I second that motion wear a hat, grab a hat today, something different. See what happens as a result of it. And then take that data that you gained from doing that one small different change and use that moving forward to see what other kinds of change you can make. Kate, I have absolutely loved talking to you again.
Thank you so much for sharing your time and all of your expertise with the Imperfect Thriving audience.
Oh, it’s been so fun. Thank you so much for having me.
I’ll have to do it again soon.
I hope so. That’d be great.