We want everything to be easy, comfortable, and efficient. Organization aligns with all three, but getting organized requires clear thinking. Your mind itself has to be clear and organized enough for your life and business to follow. If so, then you’ll be way ahead of most people. In this episode, I walk you through a metaphor for the brain I like to use to explain why clear thinking is so incredibly valuable.
In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
5:30 – The effect of an organized mind on the planning process
9:34 – What actually creates memories and why your memories are fluid choices
12:34 – The subconscious thoughts you should look at and a better way to think of judgment
16:35 – The thoughts you want to develop so that they can infuse other areas in your brain
20:22 – Questions to ask yourself as you declutter and re-furnish your brain
25:11 – Two tools to help you focus your mind
How you manage your time is definitely a reflection of how you manage your mind. I hope this discussion around planning and scheduling, figuring out what you want to attend to, how to use tools to help you, but most importantly, how to use your mind to help you, I hope this was all helpful because this stuff helps me.
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You're listening to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I'm your host, business life coach, Andrea Liebross. I help women in business commit to their own growth personally and professionally. Each week, I'll bring you strategies to help you think clearly, gain confidence, make your time productive, turn every obstacle into an opportunity, and finally overcome the overwhelm so that you can make money and manage life. Let's create a plan so you have a profitable business, successful career, and best of all, live with unapologetic ambition. Are you ready to drop the drama and figure out the how in order to reach your goals? You're in the right place. It's Time to Level Up. Let's do this.
Hello, my friends and welcome back to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I am so happy you are here. I'm recording this right after July 4th, so I hope you guys had a good weekend. I played some golf, went to a concert, and swam in our friend's pool. I do a little bit of work. I prepped for this podcast and the next but other than that, not so much. I don't consider planning out my next quarter work. Some of you might do that. But I find that really super fun so I did do that as well over the long weekend.
Today we are talking about clear thinking. I am very excited because in Committed to Growth, if your inside Committed to Growth, in August, we are going to talk about organizing and planning and how important it is to keep an organized mind so you can have an organized life. Also in August in the Full Focus Planner masterclass, we are talking about organization.
This is something that I think everyone wants. It isn't an innate desire that we have as humans because remember, as humans we want everything to be easy, comfortable, and efficient. I think organized falls into that, those desires are aligned with those three things. We are all constantly striving to be more organized. I just need to be more organized. I just need to plan. I just need to manage my time better. All those phrases, they're all going back to “I want to be more organized.”
I recently talked to one of my clients about this and she came to her session and she was scattered in terms of her thinking, kind of all over the place, which then trickled down into felt very scattered in terms of what direction she was moving in life and her business. She's a mom, she owns a business. One of the things that she said in our discussion was that life was just happening. It was just happening and it was just too busy to really stop and get organized.
It was just too chaotic. Kind of the attitude, “Well, this is just the way it is right now. It is what it is. It's just the season of life.” She was going to hang on to that thought “it's just the season of life” until the season passed. But I reminded her that this “season of life” is not passing for a while so we discussed what is going on in life. Yes, she's got her business, but she's also got three kids who are playing travel sports and her husband travels and she likes traveling. She's helping take care of her parents at this point. They've got two dogs and she feels like she is in charge of everything at home and at work.
This is kind of sad but surely I reminded her this isn't changing anytime soon. She is like lots of you out there. What I want you to recognize is that her mind wasn't organized enough for her life or her business to be organized.
Think about this: Her mind wasn't organized enough for her life and business to be organized. If you think about organization in that way, you'll be way ahead, if you think about it as organizing your mind, you will be way ahead of most people, because if you can look at an organized mind, if you can buy into the fact that an organized mind always creates an organized life, an internal organization always creates external organization, like in order for her family to be organized, she had to be organized inside of her own mind, you're going to be blown away at how simple things can be.
Now remember a couple of episodes ago, I think it was Episode 85, we talked about the difference between planning and scheduling, and how they kind of go together and how they're different. We also talked about the element of pre planning, the part where it is necessary for you to assess what's really important to you to establish your priorities and goals. This is necessary because we have to have an organized mind in order to plan or to schedule.
Now, I talk a lot in Committed to Growth about planning. As I plan myself for the Full Focus Planner masterclass that's happening in August, well, it has become very obvious to me that having an organized mind is inherent in the planning process. The reason why having an organized mind is so important is that in order to plan, you have to have that and when you do plan, you then feel productive. You feel like you're acting on your life, like you're pro acting versus reacting.
If you want to be pro acting versus reacting, sometimes I like to say act versus react and really live your life at the highest level, planning is one of those activities that comes from the higher part of your brain. It's one of the activities that's pretty exclusive to humans and that isn't necessarily instinctual. You do not see animals, aside from human beings, doing a lot of instinctual planning.
My best analogy is that you never see dogs sitting around in a circle around a tree together, having a meeting planning things. They don't do that. But as humans, we do have a special power in that prefrontal cortex and it's the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize, but that, my friends, takes some clear thinking. Clear thinking is really the key. That is really, really the key.
If you can access the planning part of your brain and develop a method and strategy to think clearly, you will find it amazing. It's actually life changing. It's kind of like finding an app on your phone that you didn't even knew existed. If someone says to you, “Oh, I use that app all the time. It's amazing. Here's what it does,” and then you say, “Oh, my gosh, this has been on my phone the whole time and I never even knew it existed. This is life changing.”
Thinking clearly, same type of that life changing reaction. But I feel like a lot of us don't use that higher cortex. We've talked about this before. We don't use that really important aspect of our brain that is the planning and organizing part of our brain that keeps us able to produce and contribute to our lives, and be proactive in a way that's really stress satisfying, purposeful, and conscious. Because we're not even thinking clearly enough to access it, kind of ironic.
Today, I'm going to teach you why thinking clearly is so, so valuable. I'm going to use some metaphors. I want you to really assess. Follow my metaphor, follow along with me, and this might be an episode you might want to pause and go back to different parts as you kind of work through this with me.
The metaphor I like to use when I'm teaching you why thinking clearly is so important is a house. Pretend your mind is your home. What I mean by that is you think about your mind as a bunch of rooms that are connected, and we're going to take a tour through your mind, and we're going to name the rooms in your mind.
Now, there are several ways in which you could name the rooms, each room of the house could represent a facet or aspect of life, like the relationships room, the health and wellness room, the finances room, the work room, the parenting room, that's one way.
But another way, which is the way we're going to go with today, is to think about each room representing a category of thoughts that you have inside your brain, but we're going to think of this as kind of like a house, like you're taking a walk through your brain, or you're taking a walk through your house, from room to room and you're looking around, what is in this room? What's in that brain of yours, if you're taking the tour of your brain?
Here we go. The first thing I think that you'll notice as you walk through the front door of your house/brain, on your right you will find the memories room. Inside this room, this memories room, there are your thoughts about your past. I want you to be very clear about that. Your memories are thoughts that you're having right now about your past. A lot of us think that the thoughts that we have about the past or actually from the past, that memories are things that aren't fluid and that memories aren't choices, and that really is totally not true.
That couldn't be farther from the truth. Because if you ask two people from the same family to remember an event from their childhood, they will be two very different stories. How is that possible if both people were at that event? It's because the thoughts are what create the memories. I even find this in my own life, like not in the super distant past, but if I talked to my husband about when the kids were little and we did something, his memory of it often is very different than my memory but we were both there.
The thoughts we have now about the past will be what create memories. Memories are not from the past. There are interpretations now of the past. It's a very important distinction and it is important to recognize that memories are thoughts when we are doing our work on learning how to think clearly. Memories are thoughts. They're not just things from the past.
Let's keep walking in our house. We keep walking through in room number two, you will notice some subconscious thoughts, some thoughts that maybe you don't even recognize unless you put a microscope up to them because they are thoughts that are underneath the surface. Some of these subconscious thoughts are really important.
Like pick up your leg and sit down your leg, pick up your leg again, and sit down your leg, which helps you walk. Or pick up your fork, sit down your fork, helps you eat. Put on your right blinker, but on your left blinker, helps you not get into a crash when you're driving. These are thoughts you've had so often that they are regulated to the subconscious of your brain, so that you're not continuously thinking about those thoughts on purpose.
Think about when you learn to drive and how everything was very much at the surface and it was thought out meticulously and you’re worried about how you are going to actually drive in the future without thinking. We don't have to think about everything very deliberately and it makes us be able to move through the world very easily, except when those subconscious thoughts don't serve us.
It's worth having a look in that room. What are some thoughts that you picked up when you were a child that you learned when you were young, that you've repeated so many times that aren't really serving you now? Those are the thoughts that I want you to be looking at.
The next room we go into is your room of judgments. This includes your judgments about yourself and all your judgments about other people. Now because you don't want to think about yourself as a judgmental person, you may not want to go into that room. But if you just put your opinions in that room, you might be a little bit more willing to go in there. Think about judgments maybe not as judgments but as opinions.
So many times we don't even recognize a judgment as a judgment. We don't recognize judgment as optional, as choices. I was coaching someone last week and she said, “I have a fierce hate of technology.” My mom says this too. She was stating that she has this fierce hate of technology, not as if it were an optional thought or a judgement about technology, but just as a fact. That's one of those things that I would tell her, “Hey, that's a judgment that you're having and that's optional. I'm going to argue that that dislike of technology probably isn't serving you.”
Those types of things are judgments because that dislike of technology probably isn't working for you. It's holding you back. You also get to have some type of judgment that says, “Hey, I'm worried that XYZ will happen.” Or “He really shouldn't go tonight.” Those are all judgments. Those are optional thoughts. Our judgments about other people that are negative don't serve us and our judgments about ourselves that are negative don't serve us. “I'm worried that this will happen because I will XYZ” doesn't serve us. Those are really not worth having.
It's worth you having a look around that judgment room because judgments play a huge role in clear thinking and then planning, and honestly, judgments can get clear what the judgment is that you're having but I want you to recognize that if you don't like it, you can clean it up.
All right, next room. Here's where the room is of negative self talk. You shouldn't do that. This isn't going to work, you should probably just stay in bed. Exercise doesn't work. Who cares about a diet? Just have one of those cupcakes anyway. Don't listen to her. She's a unicorn. She can do it but she's probably not going to do it right or I'm not going to do it right. You know all those thoughts. They're like humming thoughts that go on in your brain in the background, and they're all negative self talk.
But then there's the room of positive self talk. When you walk into that room, what do you see? What are the positive thoughts that you say to yourself? What are the things that you say about your life that keep you going, that keep you energized? You go into another room and those positive thoughts can come with you. But sometimes when you go into the next room, you will recognize that those positive thoughts aren't coming with you.
When I ask you about your future, you have no answer or you have no plan. We really want to develop that positive self-talk room so that those thoughts come with you, are infused into other rooms. It's like a diffuser. They float in the air and go into other rooms. We want to really increase the content in that positive self-talk room and have lots of purposeful plans, intentions, and goals. That room can really serve us to provide our brain with some direction on what to focus on.
Before thinking clearly, and cleaning up our thoughts, that positive self talk room is probably something that you're going to want to look at closely and keep most of. Then, you might go into the room of appreciations or what you're grateful for, the things that you love, the things that you think about on a regular basis that bring out emotion in you. That might be another room.
There are many categories and rooms that I haven't listed here—I've given you about seven—but you can kind of understand my idea on how you can look at your brain metaphorically and see what's going on in there; and how, by categorizing what's going on in your brain, you can organize everything and separate it. Are you asking yourself exactly what am I thinking?
If you do that, it's like eavesdropping on your brain. It's getting a sense of what's happening in there. But in order to do that, you need to pause long enough to assess, to take the walk through the rooms. Now a lot of times, we think that those 60,000 thoughts that we have each day are just cluttering our brains. It feels like our brain is cluttered with thoughts, cluttered with judgments, cluttered with negativity, and cluttered with overwhelming ideas and facts. That's how most of us look at our brain.
But when you go in and look at your thoughts, and you categorize them carefully, it is the equivalent of going in and cleaning up your house. You are putting everything in its place, you are finding out the stuff that you want to get rid of, the stuff that you want to keep so that you can have a clear path to what you want to have a path to.
Now, as we are going to go through how to use the Full Focus Planner next month in the masterclass and how to plan and organize, we're going to get into it a little deeper inside Committed to Growth, what we're doing is what we're really looking at things in our lives, all the thoughts that we have, in deciding if we want them to still be a part of our lives consciously.
I want you to go through this process of decluttering your mind, of really understanding what you have in there, where things should go, what their place is, and if you want to keep them or not. Do you want to bring in new thoughts, new ideas, and new plans? It's kind of similar to bringing in new furniture, new flooring, or remodeling. Or do you want to keep living in the same brain with the same categories and the same thoughts without any real conscious thoughts about what you're thinking?
Does the furniture you currently have or the thoughts you currently have, are they serving you in your current state of life? Are they useful? For example, in my house, I don't need any more sippy cups or toy bins but I do need more workspace. So I get rid of all the sippy cups and I make more space to lay out my things to work.
This is what I like to call Marie Kondoing your brain. If you're not familiar with Marie Kondo, she says, “We need to empty everything from every room in our house, and then put it all back in a way that serves us.” For example, Marie says, “You should take all the books out of your house. If you're going to keep the book and you want to keep it, when you put it back in, all the books should be gathered in only one room. You need to put them back in one place, not scattered around the house.”
Think about it. These judgments that maybe you have, if we weren't thinking about the rooms as facets of life, as health, wellness, financial, you've got judgments scattered around the house. What if we went and put all the judgments back in just one place? It would help clear things up. I want you to think about that TV show Hoarders. Those people actually have so many things in their life, too many things, that they just have no space to live.
I want you to look at your brain in the same way. Are you hoarding thoughts about your past? Are you hoarding thoughts and judgments about other people or about yourself? Are those thoughts useful? Are they serving you? Are they just taking up space? Are they making it so you can't breathe, so you can't move around, so you can't use the other thoughts? I want you to think about it as tremendous clutter.
You need to lift it all up, look underneath, clean around, and organize it in order to have the clean, fresh, minimal house that you want to be up there in your brain. This is like the cleaning before The Cleaning Lady, the cleaning before the planning. Using that Full Focus Planner, for example, you've really got to have some clear thoughts going into it or at least go into it with some more patience knowing that you have to get the clear thoughts in order to use it effectively.
But when you bring a new thought in, you bring it in carefully and purposefully, and you make sure that it's useful to you like when you bring a new piece of furniture in; that you want to think about your brain as a container of thoughts with a limited amount of fuel to use, to fuel your thoughts, like you only have so much energy to fuel your thoughts. You want to get them organized in order and deliberate so that you're not wasting any fuel or any energy in the moving process.
Most of the time, our thoughts are just random, unfocused, and overwhelming because when you let your mind go, where does it go? What does it think about when you just let it think without direction? What are your obsessive thoughts? What are your habitual thoughts? Do you have thoughts that create a desire for buffering?
Where is your mind most efficient? Is your mind most efficient in creating over desire, creating procrastination, and creating judgment or drama? Or is it most efficient when it comes from creating your future and coming up with new ideas and plans, and creating value for yourself and the people around you? How can you become efficient in your thinking as well? You need to clean it up.
The process is to clean out and organize your mind. How do you actually do that? I took you through an exercise here going room to room. But I’ve also created a five-day challenge to help you learn the how to do this, to help you spend a few minutes each day over five days learning and putting into action a part of the cleaning out process so that you can have clear thinking. This is kind of the process that you should adapt or I recommend you adapt prior to planning and scheduling.
If you can implement the process, you'll easily be able to decide what you want to let go of and what's outdated and no longer useful. What do you not want to think about anymore? What needs to go? What do you want to fill your mind with instead? What do you want to use your mind power to create? I want you to think about that. If you have limited mind power, what do you want to use it to create? Because it's always creating something.
Most of you are just recycling thoughts and recreating the same exact life. For many of you, it's a life that you don't want to keep recreating. That's why you have such a desire to learn how to better organize and plan because you don't like recreating the same thing. There are two tools that I think will help you focus your mind.
One of the tools is to master the thought download, which is what I help you do in that Five-Day Clear Thinking Challenge. You can access that Clear Thinking Challenge easily at www.andrealiebross.com/clear-thinking-challenge. You can access that there. That is the first tool that I really want you to use. It's going to help you master what I call a thought download.
It's going to help you organize your thoughts, your brain, and your mind so you can always wake up to a very clean, filtered, and organized mind. It's like helping you take out the trash every day and helping you put in a new trash back. That's what a thought download is.
The thought download essentially lets you examine what thoughts you're having, assess if the thoughts are facts, understand how they trigger how you feel, which has been leading you to take action or not take action, and giving you A results. It's kind of how you show up in the world. Let's get really good at assessing what's going on in there so you show up in the world the way you want to show up.
This Clear Thinking Challenge helps you learn to eavesdrop on your brain. It's Marie Kondoing your brain. You download all the thoughts. It's the equivalent of taking everything out of the cupboards and all closets, and putting back only the stuff that's really healthy, serves you, and satisfies you. This is the process of organizing your mind. Get to work and start cleaning. You can download that challenge at www.andrealiebross.com/clear-thinking-challenge. Don't be a hoarder. Don't let your mind be a mess.
The second tool is to ask your brain very good questions and to have it seek answers for you. Your brain does not like an unanswered question so it will answer the question and seek solutions. This is why I'm telling my clients to never say I don't know. Instead, ask your brain to figure it out. What do I need to know? If I did know, what would I be able to do? If I was willing to make a decision on this, what would that decision be?
Because a lot of times, what you need to do is make a decision and do that thing to find out if that's the thing that you should be doing. So many of my clients get stuck and say, “I don't know if this is what I should be doing.” Well, maybe you won't know until you start to do it. If you want to know what you should do, do it and then you'll know. But we want to know before we do it.
Most of the time, we can't know that. So ask your brain really good questions and expect it to seek solutions. Your brain is the most powerful piece of technology on the planet. Nobody has a machine that they paid for. That is as exceptional as your own brain. Your brain is the most valuable machine on the planet but if you let it get clogged up, if you don't maintain it, if you don't oil it, if you keep too many files in it, and you just let its memory get overloaded, and you don't clean up the desktop, you will feel the effects of that on your life and you will see the effects of that in your life.
But when you choose only high-quality thoughts, when you choose only luxurious thoughts, I want you to imagine what it would be like to tour your brain with very carefully-chosen thoughts that are beautiful, that feel good, that are luxurious, that serve you. When you do that, you will get to feel the effect of that, you will get to have the deliberate life that you're looking for, not just letting life happen to you.
This is what we're doing inside Committed to Growth. We're creating those thoughts that let you have that life you want and that business you want. This is what we're doing when we use a system like a Full Focus Planner in conjunction with our mindset, with clean thinking. I created that Five Days to Clear Thinking Challenge which combines these two tools. It teaches you how to do a thought download and then it helps you ask yourself questions, which is really helping you clean out your brain. It is an amazing prep for any type of planning.
The way I teach this tool is through a five-day little bit by bit process. This is the brain cleaning we need to do before planning. This challenge is free and can be accessed at www.andrealiebross.com/clear-thinking-challenge. I encourage you to go do that, to help your brain get organized.
You will feel so much better just by understanding what's going on in there and then you'll be able to decide what you want to keep or not. When you do go to plan, you'll be putting in what you want to keep and allowing space for the new things you want. You'll learn how to ask yourself questions that will keep you moving forward.
This is an amazing thing and it gets you ready to do planning for that Full Focus Planner for a masterclass that we're going to do in August that you can go register for before August 5th, because we're going to start on August 11th. That's www.andrealiebross.com/fullfocus. You want to download the challenge and you want to register for that Full Focus Planner masterclass so that you can start your fall off with a plan and a focus and a schedule that works for you.
I am super passionate about this topic, my friends, as you can probably tell. I really think it's the key, one of the main keys to success. I've seen it work for me, I've seen it work for so many of my clients, it's life changing. It's like that app you never knew that you had on your phone. That is what I'm going to leave you with this week; www.andrealiebross.com/clear-thinking-challenge and www.andrealiebross.com/fullfocus, those are the URLs that you need to check out.
I will see you next week for some more exciting dialogue on how you can lead the life you want, not just create another to do list. Remember, this is part of leveling up, this is part of growth, and now is the time to do it. Goodbye, my friends. See you next week.
Thanks for listening to the Time to Level Up Podcast with me, your host, Andrea Liebross. If you know someone who could benefit from listening to this episode, I encourage you to take a screenshot and share it with them. Okay. Now, what about you? You've listened to the podcast, and if you now know that you're ready to upgrade your life, upgrade your business, upgrade you, then stop being only a listener and start being a liver living that upgraded life. Head over to my website and schedule a call. Right there on that call, we'll start changing the way you think and act so that you can have the freedom to achieve the impossible in life and business, and have the resources to do it. You deserve an upgrade. Let's do it.
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