Many of us tend to sit in a dark room and try to sort out everything that has gone wrong with our lives alone. To be able to experience radical self-transformation, however, we need to have the right external support structures. Right in the middle of quarantine, Tony Lister spent two days doing strategy sessions with a variety of people whose lives have been disrupted. He got to have several deep-dive conversations into what made them tick. Each of these people had a "story" that they didn't quite measure up. Today's episode explores what would happen if we went back and did a "rescue mission" on our younger versions and intervened just before we decided we weren't good enough. Tony encourages us to get out of the dark room, open ourselves to transformation, and rewrite our story in our own terms.
I’m super excited to have you hereon the show. The episode we're going to be talking about is about sitting in a darkroom by yourself and trying to solve your problems that way. I spent a few days on strategy calls with people who were part of my legendary mastermind group. I spent a lot of hours talking to people and digging into what's going on in their inner world. It's a big variety of people. There was a well of successful artists for a lot of years that I talked to. There's a guy that has a regular job that I had a conversation with. There was a woman who moved from another country to marry a guy, and then figured out within a few days of arriving that it was a mistake and was trying to figure out how to unravel it. I had some interesting conversations with people from all different backgrounds and walks of life.
This is right during the Coronavirus, but we're in the quarantine of the Coronavirus around the world and people are freaking out. People are trying to figure out what to do with their businesses. I had a conversation with one person who have some generational money in their family and they're enjoying the break. Another guy has a business that his grandfather started, then his dad ran it and no whe's running it. He has 600 employees he laid off. I have this variety of experiences that I've had in the last little bit of talking to people. Inevitably across the board, each of them has had some level of an inner dialogue, some dissonance with themselves. We did a bunch of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and hypnosis works. We did some deep dive hypnosis stuff to go back and do what I call The Rescue Mission.
One guy was a dentist, does well in his life financially, physically fit, lots of different great things going on in his life but there was an element of when he was a kid, he picked up a story that said, "I'm not good enough." Pretty much every one of these people that I did a deep dive with came up with this moment of, "I'm not good enough." I did this for myself. I try to be careful about revealing identities in my clients. I might tell you some basic details. Sometimes I even lie to you on the show and I say that there's something other than what they were so that I can tell the story without telling who the person was. Full disclosure about my lies that I tell you to protect the innocent. I did this deep dive for myself where there was this awareness in me that at some point in my past, I didn't have a story about myself that I wasn't good enough.
If I go back far enough in my past that there was a moment when I was a living, breathing animal here on planet earth and I felt good in my body. I felt good about me and I didn't give a crap what my hair looked like or what color my hair was or what clothes I wore or any of that stuff or what my success was or wasn't. I did this work with this coach where we went back on a timeline. You can imagine a timeline of your life and we went backward. We made all of the steps on the timeline be individual snapshots. If you've ever seen the Thomas Edison, the original movie maker than the made where there were these drawings or there were pictures of an animal running like a picture of this cheetah running. It was a picture and then if he flipped through them, scrolls through the cards, it would be a motion picture. The animal would move.
We did this visualization work where I got to look at the timeline of my life and it was individual snapshots,pictures. I could go back and dissect it and slice it like they do in these scientific experiments where they'll take the thing and they'll slice it up until they can identify the one moment when it passed from one place to another. For me, what I was looking for was the moment when I was okay, my story, and my nervous system said I was okay and then the moment when I made up a story. I went in and I did this rescue mission. When I did it myself with my coach, I didn't call it a rescue mission, but I have this with several people.I did this with a big group of people on our mastermind group where I had 850 people that are part of it, but we did this deep dive work.
When I did this myself, I went back and I was a kid, maybe four years old, but I was younger than five because I lived in this house and then we moved when I was five. I'd gone over to the neighbor's house and we're playing doctor. We took our clothes off and we examined each other. It was a lot of fun. It was great. It was a good time. I still like playing doctor a lot, but I wouldn't have had this experience as a kid. It was beautiful. It was great. I came home and I was walking across the street and I was on cloud nine and my mom was there and she said, "What did you do?" I told her because I didn't know that I shouldn't tell her. I didn't know that I needed to have any shame about it or that there was anything weird about it. It wasn't a thing that normal human beings do at some point in their life. I did it a little early maybe. If I knew my kid was across the street at four years old playing doctor, I would intervene as well.
In the fairness of how my mother responded, it's legit that she got concerned. I would too. I’ve got five kids.If my kid is at the neighbor's house playing doctor, I'd be like, "Nope. Cut that one-off." From the experiential side, it was a lot of fun, which is often the case of my parenting. A lot of the things that I experienced that I figured a lot of fun I cut my kids off from doing, but that's what we do as parents. The point of this is I was able to go back and there was this distinct moment in my consciousness and my awareness of being okay. This moment of this story I made up, which was, "I need to be something other than what I am to get mom's approval." It wasn't like my mom even flipped out. She asked questions. She was concerned, but I could pick up that something was wrong. All of a sudden it was like, "Maybe who I'm being or what I did, maybe I'm bad. I'm wrong and I'm not lovable." We did this work where we looked at a snapshot and I got to go in. At the moment, before I bought into a story before I bought into the lie that said, "I'm not enough. I'm bad. I'm wrong or I'm darker," whatever it was.
As little kid, it was more emotion of like, "I need to be something other than I am for mommy to love me." I could go in and I could have this conversation with that kid right before that belief was taken on. I could go in there and intervene and I could go, "You haven't done anything wrong. You're okay. You're perfect, beautiful,and lovable. There's going to the situation where you were about to take on a belief that will cause you a lot of pain in life and a lot of isolation. It would prevent you from having joy and from enjoying the process of life and from receiving love." I could sit him down and I could go. The truth about you is that "I love you for who you are and not what you do. You're perfect." Take that in with this child through this Neuro-Linguistic Programming work and step into the timeline in that next moment with this truth. Mom could do what she did, which was justifiable and normal. I would be concerned if she didn't. She could do her thing and I could make up a new story at that moment,and that new story then could move forward in my life. There's this emotional shift.
I've been doing this work with people session after a session as part of the mastermind group that this is some of the work that I do. It was interesting because a couple of people brought up, one woman said, "I was an unwanted child." She didn't have this in her consciousness. Another woman that I worked with was severely abused as a child, at eighteen months she was beaten by her mother. It’s terrible. She had no awareness. There was no memory bank, there was no moment of when she didn't have this chaos in her nervous system as a child who wasn't taken care of. With one woman, we went clear back to her when she was born,when she was in her mother. She was like, "My mom didn't like being pregnant." We went further back to the moment before she became an embodied being and before the moment of her conception before there's a physical body at that point. It was pure consciousness. It was this life desiring for life to happen.
We could go back to that place and tap in that place of pure consciousness, this sensation in her body that she could carry forward through all these other stories. There's an interesting discussion on this of going, “Is this real? Are we making changes? Is anything happening?” The one lady who said, "I have this story. My mom, siblings,partner and my kids didn't want me." She had this difficult 50 years of evidence that she wasn't wanted. She was like, "This is going to work.Does this work for me? Am I making up some story? Am I trying to do some feel-good bull crap thing of shifting my emotions and thinking about bubbly thoughts and all this other stuff?" This is my answer and it's a bit brutal particularly when we struggle with finding a place in us that feels like it's okay. At the end of the day, you and I make up a story about our self.Whether that story is true, it doesn't matter because it becomes true for us.
If someone doesn't have this in their nervous system if they've never had this experience, they have all this evidence of pain and rejection of people saying that they're not wanted, that person still has to sit in a place of a story, a conclusion of not being wanted, not being worthy, not being lovable. Whether this work changes something or whether this is something that some shift in the mind and the body is a hypnosis trick or whatever it is, it doesn't matter. If you can go back and rewrite that story, you can experience now completely differently. We can't change what happened. We can't change all the rejection, pain and choices. We can change how we feel at this moment and by changing how we feel now, we step into the future from a new consciousness and a new awareness. This woman that didn't have anything in her nervous system from the time of her conception, she was able to find something in the pure consciousness before that the energy of life, wanting to come forth into life, that she has unique gifts and unique value and that she is a valuable and one of a kind individual. That empowered her to then come to the present moment and have a new relationship with herself.
The whole point of personal development and transformation in this work is one thing. I learned this from a coach that had me take this in. The purpose of transformation is so that we occur to our self differently. If you can have a moment where you suddenly occur to yourself differently or suddenly you and how you relate to you and your value, success, failures, shame, joy, life and what this whole thing's about. Particularly at times right now where there's much disruption in the world and people are going to lose jobs, lives, loved ones, businesses, stuff,houses, status or sense of survival. It all gets triggered. We might lose relationships. During times of chaos and transition, if you and I can occur to ourselves differently. If we can occur simply as a living, breathing animal on this planet and we observe what's happening rather than riding the rollercoaster of what's happening. If we occur to ourselves that we have value independent of what happens outside of us, that we're a valuable human being.
Whether we lose our money, stuff,job, people, we get rejected, we get sick or any of that stuff, when we occur to our self differently, then the next choice we make comes from the new occurrence and we make a slightly different choice. The next choice we make is slightly different and our life completely transforms and changes and there's all possibility and opportunity that happens because we occur to ourselves differently. For someone who has trauma, my heart goes out to you. If you don't have a place in your nervous system when you can remember being enough, maybe you're going to have to manufacture that. Maybe you're going to have to use your vivid imagination to come up with something to say that you have value.You're a one of a kind living, breathing creation and you get to choose that because you're choosing it and that's it.
This leads me to the point of the show, sitting in a room by ourselves trying to use our thinker brain to change this complicated emotional stuff that makes us who we are is a recipe for staying the same. You're trying to use your thinker brain to think your way out of this deeply embodied emotional stuff, this trauma, these things that happened to us as a kid, these recurring experiences, pain points, losses, and difficult things we've gone through. You, sitting in a room trying to use your thinker brain to think your way out of this alone, is the most likely formula for you to not change. That's what I drilled in on these phone calls that I had with these people. A lot of them had a positive breakthrough, a beautiful shift in their awareness with themselves and they think at that moment.
This is what happens. We have a transformative moment. We feel loved. We feel a connection and something beautiful. We think that that feeling is going to last and it's convincing this new sense of self, this identity, this who we are, shift, transformation,breakthrough occurring to ourselves differently. We think it's going to last and that's the beautiful illusion that the brain does to keep us the same. The brain doesn't want us to change. Change is dangerous to the brain. What happens is we feel good and we go, "I can breathe." Let’s say we check-in in their body where it used to be tension and trauma and pain and they go, "I have space. I feel lighter. I feel better. I feel this clarity. Thank you. That was amazing.” They had a breakthrough. They’ve got the emotional high, which is the most dangerous part of transformation because we think that's real. We think that's a new reality and that has a shelf life of about four days.
If we don't implement tools,strategies and accountabilities outside of us, outside of how we're feeling,then it is absolutely the most likely thing that we will simply go back to how we were and how we felt about ourselves. It's worse than when we started because we have awareness in our nervous system of how it feels to love herself.That awareness gnaws and bugs at us and shames the crap out of us and telling us that we're not good enough. If we were good enough, that breakthrough would have lasted. What do you have to do for this change to become permanent? This is what brain science says.
When we think of a thought, it's firing electrical impulses in the brain through the neurons of our brain. We fire a sequence of neurons in our brain that releases chemicals into our bodies. That's an emotion. That's a sensation. We feel it. We embody the belief. It goes from a thought to an embodied belief. We go through life and we go into these difficult situations. We do something that's going to scare us.We take a risk. We become vulnerable. The body reacts because of the trauma and protects us from getting hurt again. We feel that and it stops us from moving forward and we back up and we keep being the same. That's what's happening. If we want to change, we’ve got to play the same game. We've got to get the neurons to fire in a certain sequence to cause the new feeling to occur in our body. The brain science says if we'll feel this every day for about 30 days, it will develop a new neural pathway. If we keep reinforcing it over 90 days, it will become a primary neural pathway and on a cellular level, it becomes who we are. In order to do that, we have to get ourselves to feel. To get ourselves to feel, we have to do some embodied exercise.
If we're sitting alone in a room by ourselves trying to think our way out of this or usually at a level 2 or 3,we’re at a low level or not at a peak state or not feeling this energy in our body. We're not doing this embodied response. The way I've designed my courses and my programs is to give the best support to how the brain works. Whether you go into one of my courses, not that it’s irrelevant, but think about this in your life. If you want to, you can, and that's great and I welcome you. If you want to implement this in your life, make sure you apply these principles.
First, you have to do something to activate the body. We do the breathing exercise. If you've downloaded my free mini-course, I take you through the steps of my morning ritual. The purpose of the morning ritual is to get into a peak elevated state so we change our emotions. We change how we're feeling. I finished this phone call. I've been on the phone so much, but I was like, "I got to talk about this." I want you to have a transformation. That's why I do this. I don't just want to get up to tell stories. I want you to experience transformation. I've experienced a radical transformation in my life and I'm deeply grateful for the mentors,teachers, coaches and the people that showed up that I thought were the evil people that were sometimes the universe’s gift in my life to help me see me. I'm grateful for that and that's why I create this stuff.
I want you to have a transformation. You’ve got to think about how your brain's already working, and you've got to put tools in place to work with that. If you think you're going to change your defined billions of years of evolution, this brain that keeps us alive has figured out how to stay alive by only changing incrementally. If you want to have some radical transformation about who you were raised to be and who you want to be in this life, then you have to follow the rules because the brain's going to try and go against you. It's going to go against you through emotion. The same way it keeps you from taking risks or from doing things that are vulnerable or scary. It's going to stop you through emotion. What you have to do is you have to have structure outside of you.
One of the structures I have is a mastermind program. This is a group setting where we join as a group digitally on a weekly basis, sometimes twice a week. What that means is it's outside of you, it's not you sitting in a dark room by yourself trying to think your way out of these issues. We gather as a group. We have a social structure and social accountability. One component is, you have to have some structure that'snot you and not how you feel. You have to have some meetings, activity or some accountability that you're going to show up at a certain place at a certain time. You're going to show up independent of how you feel because your commitment is stronger than your emotion. This is where radical accountability comes in. Radical commitment to what we're intending to create. I don't know if I've done this on any of the other videos, but we have this group of 850 people, and the first training I did, I showed a picture of me taking a drink in this little plastic cup. I was in a restaurant bathroom and I've taken a drink of my pee.
It was what I call a Power Pledge or sometimes I call it a Piss Pledge. It was this commitment that I made, and I mean it, I'm going to do this thing that I say. I'm going to do it. If I don't,in the timeframe, say I'm going to do it, I'll drink my pee. I broke my word and immediately when I realized I broke my word, I got up from the meal. I went into the bathroom and I took a picture of myself in the mirror having this drink and I texted it to the person. I said, "I broke my word and I'm now getting back in my word." I did that because I wanted radical accountability. I wanted something that I was resistant to, something that made me gag and I was like, "No way. I don't want to do that. I'm going to be my word on this thing." You have to have something outside of you, some radical accountability that isn't based on how you're feeling in the moment that keeps you doing the step that causes the neurons to fire, which causes you to feel a new feeling until it becomes who you are.
Structure, accountability with someone you're accountable to, a radical power pledge of your accountability,then you need to have some tools. The tools are designed to get you back into the peak state regardless of how you feel. My opinion on this is it's got to be easy and it's got to be something I can do on my worst day. I have a lot of days where I don't feel well. I had a lot of days where I don't feel like doing this. I had a guy messaged me on Facebook and he goes, "How is it that you're always incredibly positive all the time?" I had done this video where I was walking barefoot across snow and I got into this pond down the road here and I'm sitting in the pond. I shot this 3.5 or 4-minute video where I'm in this pond of freaking cold water.
I'm talking about sensations and how we allow sensations to govern us. Leaning into uncomfortable sensations is important if we want to have a transformation in our life. He is like, “How are you so positive all the time?” I was like, "Social media is fake news." I'm positive when I shoot that video because I've done my peak stuff. I'm in a peak state and I'm doing my ice water and I feel amazing after I get out of that cold water. All the endorphins in my system are firing. All the blood's rushing into the surface of my skin. It's this incredible fight or flight experience where I feel alive and I shoot a video. I don't shoot videos when I'm feeling shitty. I'm not going to shoot videos right after I have a fight with my partner.
I had an argument with my teenage son. He was saying that I shouldn't require him to get up at a certain amount of time because he's a YouTuber and he needs to play his video game as part of his YouTube experiments. Sometimes he has to stay up late playing his video game because that's one of the things he's creating in his life is, "Don't you support my creation?" I'm like, "You need to get up at a certain time and you need to do your schoolwork first." He was like, "Why are you knocking my creations?" We had this big fight and I thought it was ridiculous and he thought I was ridiculous. I don't post my stuff about that.There's going to be times when we're having a rough day and this stuff has to be easy. It has to be something we could do on our worst day. What I like to do is put tools in place that will reinforce this belief, emotion, and the sensation you're having in this embodied response in your body.
For example, one of the things I do is I record my voice speaking statements to myself or asking questions to myself. I mix it with Mozart music and I lay in bed and I listen to this. What happens is it'll ask me these questions. One of the questions I have is,"How can I love myself more fully at this moment?" I hear my voice speak that and I'll lay there and listen to Mozart music and I'll answer it."How can I create more value?" What I have is, "How do I create more ridiculous value so that I experienced greater abundance in my life?"I answered that question. That's a tool that's outside of me, it's outside of my thinker brain. I recorded it when I was in a peak state. It brings me back to that peak state. It's not based on how I'm feeling in the moment. It's something outside of me. What happens is when you build this up, think about this, you have accountability, power pledge, community, the clear objective of what you're going to do.
You have these tools on the outside of you and you have your rituals and then you start to do those things and then you're going to implode and crash because that's part of it. That says your brain is on track. Instead of letting that be the end of it, you just getup the next day and you go through the same steps. Why? You have this stuff outside of you that's supporting you. There's this illusion that we can sit in a darkroom by our self and think our way out of these problems and we stay the same. I needed to get that off my chest. This is my invitation to you.Figure out what tools support you the best. Figure out what accountability supports you the best. Figure out a power pledge for you. Some people will say,"I'm going to write a check for $1,000 to this group. If I don't do what I said I'm going to do in the timeframe I said I'm going to do it, I'm going to send that check." There can be a pain point associated with it. Sometimes people like to do something where it's a reward, “If I do this thing at this time, I'm going to get a massage. If I do this thing at this time, I'm going to have a meal at this place.”
Something that feels good,something that's a reward experience or whatever that is for you. Don't buy into the illusion that this transformation is going to happen when you sit there alone and use your thinker brain to do it. Put the tools in place so that you get to experience the fruits of this. You get to experience this aliveness in you, this healing in you, this being able to show up in confidence in a new way that you occur to yourself differently. You get into that same situation and you respond a little bit differently this next time because you occur to you as more valuable and more capable. You occur to you with a greater level of contribution and impact, a greater level of purpose. You occur to you and your physical that you are someone with a foot, a strong, vibrant, energetic,physical body. You occur to you in intimacy as being centered in you, able to be with yourself, and therefore able to be with another human being and have this deeper connection that's available. That's what's possible when you build the right structure around this transformation. Thank you for playing with me.I look forward to talking to you at the next show. In the meantime, create yourself a fantastic day.