It all starts in your head.
Sometimes, you have the tendency to want to jump straight into action when you have a goal. But whatever you want to accomplish, you must go into it with the right mental attitude before you can bring it to life.
But you might be stopping yourself from achieving your goals because the narrator in your head is getting in the way with a false story. So, how do you change the story and start cultivating the habit of empowered thinking?
Here is Megan Hyatt Miller to the rescue! Megan is the president and CEO of Full Focus, and she and her dad, Michael, recently released a new book called Mind Your Mindset that details their system for creating the right mindset to achieve your goals. And all it takes is three steps!
In this episode of the Time to Level Up podcast, you’ll learn about their three steps for finding a way out of your self-imposed limitations. After you listen to Megan, you’ll know how to cultivate a habit of empowered thinking for the narrator you always have in your head and put yourself on the path to imagining a better story.
Note: This page includes affiliate links. If you click and decide to purchase, I’ll receive a commission, which comes at no extra cost to you.
What’s Covered in This Episode About The Habit of Empowered Thinking to Reach Your Goals
3:57 – Why Megan and her dad feel Mind Your Mindset is necessary
7:17 – The three steps to their empowered thinking process
12:22 – How Megan switched from a limiting belief to a liberating truth about public speaking
16:35 – Why more brains are better than one
20:32 – My biggest takeaway from this conversation and three ways to challenge your mindset to think big
Connect with Megan Hyatt Miller
Megan Hyatt Miller is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Full Focus and the co-host of the popular business podcast, Lead to Win. She is also Michael’s oldest daughter. As the architect of Full Focus’s standout culture, she is committed to helping her team win at work and succeed at life, while also delivering phenomenal results to their customers. Under her leadership, Full Focus was named as one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces for 2020, which ranks the top companies in America for their employee engagement. When she’s not taking the company to new heights, she’s fully present at home with her husband, Joel, and five kids in Franklin, Tennessee.
Mentioned In The Habit of Empowered Thinking to Reach Your Goals with Megan Hyatt Miller
Mind Your Mindset: The Science That Shows Success Starts with Your Thinking by Michael Hyatt & Megan Hyatt Miller
She Thinks Big by Andrea Liebross
Quotes from this Episode of Time to Level Up
“You can’t have the systems unless you have the right thinking.” – Andrea Liebross
“Our brain is just a sense-making machine. Its’ job is to make sense of things and keep us safe.” – Megan Hyatt Miller
“That’s the reality of our stories; they either liberate us or they limit us.” – Megan Hyatt Miller
Liked this? You’ll Enjoy These Other Time to Level Up Episodes
Andrea Liebross: Welcome to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I'm your host, Andrea Liebross. Each week, I focus on the systems, strategy, and big thinking you need to CEO your business and life to the next level. Are you ready? Let's go.
Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast. Guess what? I have a real super duper guest today, someone who I heed a lot of advice and wisdom from, someone who I've been following for quite a long time, and this person is Megan Hyatt Miller.
Megan Hyatt Miller is President and CEO at Full Focus and co-host of the super popular podcast Lead to Win. She's also an author. She and her dad recently published a new book called Mind Your Mindset. You can find the link to it right in the show notes. Today in my conversation, we talk about her three-step system or process for really figuring out how to achieve your goals, how to get focused.
The three-step process all centers around this narrator that we have in our heads. I relate this to sometimes when I say it's the story inside our heads. She talks about how you need to recognize that narrator, you gotta challenge the narrator, and then you have to retrain the narrator in order to get the result you want, in order to shift your mindset to a channel that is going to get you where you want to go.
That channel is also going to move you out of small thinking, she brought that up in the conversation and I had to giggle because I like to talk about small thinking, versus big thinking. If you can wrap your hands around this narrator, then you're going to get into some big thinking, which is so appropriate for the conversations that we have been having here at Andrea Liebross's Coaching and on Time to Level Up in preparation for the release of She Thinks Big: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Guide to Moving Past the Messy Middle and Into the Extraordinary.
If you haven't gotten on the launch day list, and that launch is just a few short weeks away, maybe even one week away, head over to shethinksbigthebook.com and get on that list. But while you're doing that, I want you to sit down, buckle up, and listen in to my conversation with Megan Hyatt Miller.
Well, thank you for being here.
Megan Hyatt Miller: Yes. Thank you for having me. Thank you for your flexibility on the scheduling. I know that we had a little rescheduling and all that. So thank you.
Andrea Liebross: Elizabeth was very worried about you. I want you to know that.
Megan Hyatt Miller: Oh, well, she's awesome. She's my path clearer at all times so I don't know what to do without her.
Andrea Liebross: She’s like, “I don’t know, I'm worried about her.”
Megan Hyatt Miller: Yes, thank you.
Andrea Liebross: I don't want to take tons of your time but I wanted to invite you on to just talk a little bit about your book.
Megan Hyatt Miller: Thank you.
Andrea Liebross: Kind of an informal conversation, whatever you want to share is great. I have read all the books and I think what attracted me most to Full Focus way back in the day, which I feel like was a very long time ago, were all in the systems.
I became obsessed with Full Focus Planner. I went through the certification program. I use it with all my clients. It has been the focus of this podcast. Then when I saw you came out with this book, Mind Your Mindset, I was like, “Hmm, what made you really not shift, but I guess shift in the sense of talking about that piece of the puzzle more?”
Megan Hyatt Miller: Yeah. Well, really for us, what happened is that in a way, we realized that we had left out one of the most important parts of all the systems that you're talking about that you loved, what's the prerequisite for being successful with those systems and really getting the benefit of them?
What we realized was the prequel or the prerequisite was mindset, that everything that we do at Full Focus in one way or another is challenging conventional wisdom, the idea that you can be successful but in a way that's sustainable that leaves you the margin you need in your life for your life outside of work. That is not conventional wisdom, that's counterintuitive.
Before you can even do the things that will enable you to have that life, you actually have to have a mental shift to make it possible in the first place. So I think for us, that was the reason why we felt that this book was important and important now, that in a way, we think of it as a prequel to all of our other work. It's foundational and we wish we would have written it first but then again, we probably couldn't have done it if we hadn't written the other ones first.
Andrea Liebross: That's true. I find that a lot of people go right to the actions, “What do I need to do?” It makes sense in a way, the systems are more attached to the actions versus the thinking, although you can't have the systems unless you have the right thinking. It's a chicken and egg situation but I can see how that evolved.
Megan Hyatt Miller: Well, I think your point about the action is so important because if you're successful in your life in any way, it's probably because you're an action-biased person. I think that's just our MO in the West in general but also, if you would consider yourself a high achiever or somebody who's growth-minded, you're a person who's taking action.
I think that that's good but the actions, what we have learned through the research is that our actions are derivative of our thinking. Sometimes great actions naturally follow our thinking in a way that works out for us but inevitably, we all come to this place, and I tell the story in the book about my public speaking story, which we can talk about if you want to in more detail, but where our thinking is actually predisposing us to actions that are very disempowering and we find ourselves stuck.
We just can't seem to find the action that's going to work, and that's where when we find ourselves at that place, we have to go further upstream and say, “Instead of just doubling down and trying harder, we actually need to understand what's driving the actions in the first place, what we call the story or this narrator that lives in our head because that's how we ultimately take the actions that are going to get us a result that we want.”
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. I always am saying, “That's just a story you're telling yourself.” When someone is “stuck,” that's really a result of probably not even the system or the action, it's the story that they're telling. So I did find it really interesting how you talk about recognizing your narrator and then broke it down into the identify, interrogate—they made me giggle, that word made me giggle. I like it though—and then imagine. Tell me more about those process and how you came into that.
Megan Hyatt Miller: Yeah. Well, Andrea, you talked about that we have these systems at Full Focus and that's something that you've enjoyed and benefited from. I think what we've done in Mind Your Mindset is to create a system for thinking where it's a really simple rubric that you can remember anytime, anywhere. If you're in the car line at school, if you're between meetings at the office, it doesn't really matter.
But the first step, and we talk about this a lot in leadership in general, but it is the self-awareness piece. We call this identify your story in the book. Step one is identify the story that you're telling. Part of what's important about that, none of us learned this in school, maybe if you were very fortunate somebody introduced you to this idea in your life, for most of us, that's not the case.
The idea that there's what happens that would be truly a fact, something we could observe on a police report or a medical report, honestly, it's boring, just the facts of our life, what happened, and then there's what we say about that. That's the narrative or the story that our brain is putting on top of the facts to make sense of it and our brain is just a sense-making machine, like that is why it exists, that's what its job is to make sense of things and to keep us safe.
The problem is that a lot of times, those stories are very self-protective, negative, or risk-averse because again, the brain is thinking “Don't get eaten by a tiger,” that's where it is at. What we've got to begin to learn to do is not stop telling negative stories about our life because that's never going to happen, our brain is just wired for us.
I was telling my young adult son last night, “Our brain is just wired for scarcity. It's going to go to the negative. It's going to go to the scary. You can't stop that. But you do have the ability to recognize, identify that story that it's telling about the facts of your life, and then we can go to step two which is to interrogate that story.”
I'll chuckle at that too because I keep thinking of those old movies where they're like in the basement of the police station and it's all dark, the one spare light bulb that's being held right over someone's face, and someone’s yelling at you, it's not quite that aggressive in our model but what we want to do in this interrogation phase is we want to loosen the connective tissue, so to speak, between the facts and what we're saying about the facts, the story.
Because in our mind, if you were to ask somebody what happened, they're going to tell you the story. They're not going to tell you just the pure facts. That's what all of us would do. What we want to become astute at is pulling those things apart because then once we interrogate a story and we're asking ourselves questions like, “How might someone else interpret these events? What else might somebody else say? Are we sure that that's true? What else could be true?”
Again, we're just loosening this up. Then we go to step three which is to imagine a better story. Like I said when I was talking about identify, we can't stop our brain from coming up with some story like when your co-worker passed you in the hallway and didn't make eye contact, your brain immediately goes to, “He must be mad at me or she must know I'm about to get fired,” that's just what our brain's going to do.
But as we interrogate and we say, “Okay, no. What happened is I was in the hallway, I passed my co-worker that didn't look me in the eye, okay, that's the fact. The story I'm telling myself is that must mean something bad like I'm getting fired or they're mad at me. Okay, what else could be true? Well, maybe they're just thinking about a meeting that they had that was stressful, or maybe they just got a call that they need to go get their kid from school but they have a conflict at work. Or maybe they ate something for breakfast that didn't agree with them. Who knows?”
But you can come up with another story that ultimately is freeing for you and most importantly, sets you up to take different actions. If you thought you were about to get fired, if you thought you were about to have a co-worker that was really angry at you, you might take some actions that, as my HR director would term, are career-limiting moves.
You might make some bad decisions and cause yourself some real suffering but if in fact you said to yourself, “You know what, maybe she's just had a bad morning, or maybe her child is sick,” you'd probably just go on about your day and not think twice about it and not make any of those career-limiting moves that would turn around to bite you.
These three steps are very simple, they're very powerful, they take time to cultivate as a habit, and then ultimately to install in your life. But again, it's identify, interrogate, and imagine. Those are the three steps in this system of thinking. Once they're installed, they really will set you free from these thought patterns that are limiting your life and that's what we really want for you.
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. I love how a lot of your work, you switch from these limiting beliefs to liberating truths. I think those new stories that you can imagine are really aligned with liberating truths.
Megan Hyatt Miller: Yeah. Well, if you think about it, there are things that we think about ourselves, and I mentioned earlier this story that I tell in Mind Your Mindset about my fear of public speaking. There are things in our lives that are limiting that we have come to believe these stories in our head that limit the actions we take and therefore limit the results that we're getting in our life.
For me, when I was probably a junior in high school, I witnessed a close friend of mine have basically a panic attack while speaking in front of the class, just delivering those routine presentations that we all do in high school. She ran out, she was in the bathroom sobbing in the fetal position.
I went in there to talk to her and try to comfort her, and my mind unconsciously said, “Megan, speaking is dangerous. Avoid it at all costs because you could be publicly humiliated and that's your worst nightmare so avoid, avoid, avoid at all costs.”
I wasn't conscious of that story at that time. I just knew that every time I went to present in any way, I felt like I was going to lose control of my body. That's a very unsettling feeling. So I began to make choices, taking actions that aligned with that story that speaking was dangerous and I started to limit myself as I was early in my career and then as my career developed, I just kept saying, “No, avoid it.”
You need to present this to the board. No, you can do it. That's fine. You could write this book, no, I don't want to write that book. That's okay. I'm too busy, and really I'm thinking to myself I'm going to have to do podcast interviews like this or go speak and that sounds terrible. I don't want to do that.
Eventually, my team, fast forward, I was the COO at the time of our company, somebody on my team came to me and said, “It's the funniest thing we just realized you have never keynoted for us ever and we're doing this big event with 800 people and we would love for you to keynote.” Of course, inside I'm like, “This is my worst nightmare.”
I'm thinking to myself, “My life is over. My career is over. Everything is over.” But what I knew in that moment, to your point, Andrea, of limiting beliefs and liberating truths is I was tired of living in a small version of my life. It just felt constrictive and I was like using my elbows to push the edges and I thought, “If it kills me, I'm going to look this fear in the face and I'm going to figure out what to do.”
I hired an anxiety coach, a speech coach, a life coach, all the resources I could possibly throw at this because I had six weeks to take my most debilitating fear and be able to stand on a stage and speak to 800 people. I'm going to just be honest with you, it was not a fun six weeks. It was scary, overwhelming, difficult but I literally rewrote the story of how I wanted to think about speaking.
It wasn't like I'm a TEDx speaker, it wasn't some grandiose vision, it was “I have a voice that deserves to be heard,” things like that that ultimately were liberating. Fast forward, six weeks later, I got on that stage in front of 800 people, I was a little bit nervous right before I got on the stage, which I've learned is not only common to every single person who speaks, it's also what helps you to do a great job, that adrenaline is what makes you sharp.
Again, that's a story. I've developed a better, more liberating story. Of course, I've gone on to speak many, many times since then and actually enjoy it. Who knew? I'm actually good at it. Who knew? But I had this story that was limiting my life and that's the reality of our stories. They either liberate us or they limit us.
In Mind Your Mindset, we wanted to give people this really simple path that if you find yourself stuck, there is a way out that isn't just brute force of double down and try harder. You can actually go upstream, identify your story, interrogate it, then imagine something better, and have a whole different life.
Andrea Liebross: And that's powerful. That's the switching to big thinking. It's interesting you mentioned you hired the speaking coach, there's a place in the book where you talk about more brains are better than one. I say that too but yet, sometimes I get pushed back and say, “Well, shouldn't I follow my own thinking? Why are more brains better than one?” What's your take on that?
Megan Hyatt Miller: You know what's so interesting, I talked about this several months ago on a podcast. We were talking about that idea of live your truth and obviously, there are great things about that, but there are also not great things about that because personally, I believe there are certain things that are absolutely true and there are way more things that are not absolutely true.
The whole concept of truth is actually a lot of subjective interpretations of things around us. Sometimes we can hide out in our “truth” or trying to be authentic and in reality, we're just limiting ourselves.
To your point, we may not know how to get out of that. When these thoughts or these stories are in our brains, they feel very true. I don't want to discount that because they feel you like facts, they feel absolutely true, that's where sometimes what we need is another person who can see our lives from a different perspective.
That can be very helpful in that interrogation step that I was talking about a minute ago. In fact, I like to think in our business Full Focus, we do a lot of coaching for business owners as well as people like you who coach people on the Full Focus Planner, when you're coaching someone, and this could be a formal coaching relationship, this could be a close friend, spouse, or other relationship that you have, that person helps you to interrogate your story.
They can help you to loosen that connective tissue because they're not caught up in the story in the way that you are. Sometimes we can't think for ourselves the kinds of thoughts and stories that would ultimately be liberating for us, and that's what for me happened when I hired a speech coach, an anxiety coach, a life coach. Those people helped me to interrogate my story and imagine something better.
They served as a type of scaffolding that I couldn't have made the journey on my own probably or maybe I could have but it would have taken longer and been more painful. I think we can avail ourselves of these people in our lives, whether that's a formal relationship like hiring a coach or whether that is just somebody in your life that you really trust that can help you to see your circumstances, the facts of your life from a different perspective that ultimately could be way more empowering, and give you access to different kinds of solutions and actions that will really get you the results that you want in your life.
Andrea Liebross: I love it. I love all the things you said. What is the best way for someone to get their hands on a copy of Mind Your Mindset? Is there the best way?
Megan Hyatt Miller: Yeah. Well, if you're like me, you're an Amazon girl and I love some Amazon, I love to go to Barnes & Noble when I have time, local bookstores, and all that. Really, it would be anywhere that you enjoy shopping.
But one of the things that you should definitely do once you've purchased the book is go to mindyourmindsetbook.com because we have some cool bonuses and other things, you just take your receipt, redeem it there, but some neat things like a course that really helps you to put the things we talk about in the book in action, a little form that you can go through those steps for and just keep as like a Mad Lib style method for going through the steps we talk about in your Mind Your Mindset.
Anyway, don't miss out on that because it's a great opportunity for implementation which we're, at Full Focus, really passionate about. We don't just want you to learn something, we want you to be able to put it into practice so that it can transform your life. Again, mindyourmindsetbook.com. But you can buy the book anywhere you enjoy shopping.
Andrea Liebross: Love it. All that will be in the show notes so you'll be able to find Megan and all the things she does. Thank you for being here.
Megan Hyatt Miller: Andrea, thanks so much for having me.
Andrea Liebross: You are welcome.
Friends, what did you think of that conversation? What were your three biggest takeaways? Inside my coaching groups, I always ask at the end of every call, “What are your three biggest takeaways?” #threebiggesttakeaways.
From that conversation with Megan, what did you find? I think one of my biggest takeaways was that she had this fear of public speaking but she didn't really realize that until the opportunity presented itself to speak in public, to speak on a larger stage. At that point, she really identified that narrator, that story that narrator was telling in her mind and she was able to challenge it because that narrator was thinking small, definitely thinking small.
Thinking small doesn't get us anywhere. It doesn't get us any more opportunities. What is your narrator saying? What's your narrator's story? Is it helping you get onto bigger stages, to get to bigger places, to be the person or woman you want to be? If it's not, which it might not be, I think it's time to challenge it.
Here are two great ways you can challenge it, actually three: one, you can head to the show notes and grab the link to get to Megan's book Mind Your Mindset. Two, you can head to shethinksbigthebook.com to get on the launch day list so you can access the book She Thinks Big on launch day at discounted pricing and grab some other goodies that go along with it, like a free ticket to an insider session I'm doing in October. The third way is to go to andreaslinks.com and book a call with me.
I bet in 15 minutes or less, we're going to identify what your narrator's story is—I will bet you money on this—15 minutes or less, we're going to figure out what your story is, what the narrator is saying in there, and whether or not that's helping you think big or think small. If it’s think small, we're going to figure out how to change it.
Alright, my friends. Next week is the week, if you're listening to this in real-time, that She Thinks Big is live, in-person, and on stage so to speak, on stage within Amazon. Head to shethinksbigthebook.com right now and get ready to get your copy. Remember, right now, time to level up. No better time. Let's do it. See you soon.
Hey, listening to podcasts is great. But you also have to do something to kick your business up a notch. You need to take some action, right? So go to andreaslinks.com and take the quiz. I guarantee you'll walk away knowing exactly what your next best step is to level up.
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