Ep 121: How To Breakup With Stress At Work


  • What bridging thoughts is and how it works
  • How it looks when your unhelpful beliefs lead to results 
  • How to create intentional results instead

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 On today’s episode I’m deep-diving into my client’s transformation. We worked together for 180 days and I’m giving you an inside look into where she started, one of the processes we used during our work together, and what her result was at the end of it all.

Her situation is one that I hear often from so many people so I invite you to listen in and see if you can relate to her experience. If you struggle with stress at work, this episode will shed light on the real reason behind it and what you can do to break up with it for good.

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Welcome to Rock Your Brain. Rock Your Life. The only podcast hosted by a high achieving tech entrepreneur and certified coach that teaches you how to use proven cognitive tools to rewire your brain and break through the second pandemic, burnout. If you lead a company or badass team and need a proven, evidence based cognitive course to retain and develop them, this podcast is for you.

Sarah helps humans break through burnout, have insane work life balance, and feel magical at work and in their lives again. Here's your host, certified coach and tech industry entrepreneur, Sarah Moody. 

Hey, rock stars. How's everyone doing this week? I hope awesome. It's the holiday season. It's fun time or silly time, as they say in Australia. 

So I'm very excited. I am, off to one of my favorite places on the planet other than San Francisco, of course, where I live. I'm off to Telluride next week with my boyfriend and I am excited for all those, winter wonderland things. We're gonna go, fat tire biking and just be in the glorious mountains of Colorado. So I'm really enjoying this holiday season. Lots of great time with friends, and I hope that you all are finding ways to feel peaceful and calm and connected to yourself, during this holiday season.

Okay. I wanna share a client story with you because it was so profound around how this client of mine broke up with feeling stress at work in 180 days that I want to talk about it. So this podcast is all around how to break up with stress at work. 

So, who out there is feeling a lot of stress at work? Check in with yourself if you are this podcast is for you. And what I love is at the end of us working together, the 180 days, this is the quote that she shared that you can actually find on sarahmoody.com, which is, "I knew how I was showing up at work wasn't sustainable, and I felt completely out of control. And after coaching, I now have a feeling of confidence and freedom around how I show up at work that, that I didn't even know was possible." 

Okay. How profound is that as an after state of weekly coaching? 

So the tool that we consistently used every week in our one-on-one coaching sessions was podcast 17- Bridging Thoughts. So I'll go into that in a little bit more detail, but just file that for the podcast to listen to next.

So, My client, you know, another high-achieving woman in the tech industry, came to me and she was feeling frazzled, overwhelmed, powerless at work. She felt like her boss, her colleagues, everyone around her kind of fit in at work, but she didn't. She felt like everyone always knew the answers and could figure things out, but that she couldn't.

She was really concerned about what other people thought of her, so she was consistently looking to others for answers because she didn't believe she could figure things out, and she took things people said to her and made them mean something negative about her. And this was a really important unraveling of her brain.

So, for example, if she was in a meeting and someone was like, oh, hey Ashley, do you mind taking notes?ʻ she made that mean that she wasn't smart. Now, if someone asked me to take notes in a meeting, I'd be like, "oh my God. They think I'm super detailed and super smart that I would get the key points down." So do you see the difference around so many things are said to us that we make mean something negative about us?

And when we make something mean, something negative about us, like my client wasn't smart enough, she would then feel shame. And then when she felt shame, she hid, she shut down. She wouldn't talk in meetings, she kind of lived in that place of like, I don't fit in, there's something wrong with me.

So, is this landing with anyone as you are listening to this podcast today? Is this you? 

The other thing that she was struggling with was following the expectations that her parents had of her, quote unquote, the rules of the game. For example, you know, to attract a man, you have to be skinny and agreeable, and if you wanna be successful at work, you need to be outgoing.

So there were all these rules of living or rules of the game that she was living by, that she learned from her parents that she thought she had to live by in order to succeed. But what was happening was she felt completely out of control and she felt just stressed at work for most of the day.

She was working about 60 hours a week, not exercising, not connecting with friends, life felt pretty empty and her relationship with her husband was challenged as well. So for example, one of the first things that we talked about when we started coaching together was, you know, she'd be in a meeting with a couple of humans and she would literally think in her mind, "I have to agree to what this human is saying because she's driving the pro that the project, and she knows more than I do."

And then she would feel resigned. Even though what I was able to show her by showing her her brain is she actually knew more than the human, but her brain had a story that this human knows more than I do. And so she would feel resigned. 

And when she felt resigned in this meeting, for example, she would check her phone, she wouldn't speak up, she wouldn't listen to, to her knowing that she actually did know enough so she wouldn't ask questions and she would just be agreeable and just say, "yeah, that sounds great." And so she didn't, you know, pump the brakes when the other person says they're gonna drive all the next steps, which would then leave to overwhelm and overworking.

And so the reality she was consistently creating for herself by thinking that other people know more than she does, is this place of taking all the action items and overworking and, working 60 hours a week and not exercising and feeling like life was really empty and all life was, was just about work.

And so, starting with week one, me just helping her see her mind and her beliefs was we used the bridging thoughts tool religiously. 

So if you have a belief that's creating a feeling of resigned, overwhelmed, stress stuck, it's always gonna come from a belief.

And so this belief that she had is, "I have to agree with these humans because they know more than I do", which she consistently had in most of her meetings; we had to shift that belief to something that felt a little bit more believable to her. So the bridging thought that she would use is, "I'm open to believing that I know something and can contribute to the conversation."

And so we had to take little baby steps each week from " I'm open to believing I know something that can contribute to the conversation" to the next bridging thought, "I'm willing to honor and listen to myself and say something in the meeting". And then finally she got to the place of asking the questions.

She was driving the agenda of the meeting. She was pumping the brakes. When the other person says they're driving the next steps, she acknowledged her own authority and started to see herself as an equal because she was willing to feel discomfort and embarrassment- even if she didn't say the right thing- to create a different reality for herself.

She started feeling more empowered with each week of coaching, and the reality that she created in 180 short days was for work. She was no longer on calls looking for validation from others, that she was worthy and smart. She started bringing her confident self to work. She went from no confidence or very little confidence to a lot of confidence, and knowing that there's a place for her unique self as a leader.

She started feeling like she fit in. She was their equal. She was just a lot kinder to herself. She started seeing what's unique about her as a leader, what's unique about her as a human, you know, honoring her morning routine for exercise and doing thought work and meal planning all throughout the day and, and eating things that were healthy that fueled her body and fueled her brain. 

And in her marriage, she started feeling a sense of worthiness and calmness. She used to take a lot of what her husband said personally, and she was able to hold the space for him and start to feel connected to him and not take what he was saying to her, mean anything negative about her. 

What people say to you, y'all has nothing to do with you. It's their thoughts going on in their brain and their reality. 

So 180 days later, she learned how to trust herself. She learned how to figure things out. She learned that things people say and do are not a reflection of her and her character, their words from their brain at work.

She started feeling and owning that she's allowed to have dreams and goals. And take up space in meetings, and that she can make an impact. She really learned the skill of doing hard things and embracing discomfort. Even doing the world of coaching, you know you're rewiring your brain so initially there is a little bit of discomfort, but you completely change your internal state to confidence, calm, trusting yourself, knowing you can figure things out. Really feeling like you fit in with your team, that there's a sense of freedom, that who you are at work is uniquely valued. Around her marriage and her relationship, she built this belief of "I'm worthy of my desires and dreams around having a family and I can trust myself that I know what's right for me. I know what's best for me". No longer thinking that she had to follow the rules of the game, the rules of life. No longer thinking, " if you wanna be successful, you need to be outgoing."

I mean, think about how many humans out there are wildly successful and are not outgoing. They're introverts, right? Think about how many women have attracted men who are not skinny and agreeable. So she broke up with so many of these beliefs that were, quote unquote, the rules of the game of living that were not serving her. That were creating this reality at work that wasn't sustainable, where she felt so out of control. So it was so beautiful to close this chapter of coaching with her, beacause that's really the goal. I work with my clients each week. I help show them their mind, I help them break up with these beliefs that they think are facts or circumstances, right? 

How many of you believe that you need to follow certain rules to be successful, that you need to work hard to be successful at work? That stress is a part of being successful at work? It's not. You do not have to feel stress at work. I mean, it's okay to feel a little bit of stress, but stress creating a feeling of outta control and not sustainable is not great. 

So this is the recipe for how to break up with stress at work: use bridging thoughts, keep unraveling these rules of the game that are not working in your brain, beliefs that are not working, and start creating a reality for yourself where you bring your confident self to work. 

You know that there's a, place for your unique self as a leader. She now works 20% less. Now she's got, a great relationship with her husband, built a group of friends, exercises, life feels more in balance. 

Okay, rock stars, that's what I got for you this week. I hope this was of value, have a beautiful rest of your week, and I will talk to you next week. Okay, bye.



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